"I might be threatening to write code."
- BILL GATES, ex-CEO of Microsoft
...or I might not. Get my drift, DOJ?
>> HARD NEWS <<
Plenty of corporomancy in the air this week, as pundits
attempted to guess the future by observing movements in the
heavens. AOL entered into conjunction with the
Time Warner constellation, prompting the prophet of
slashdoterati, Jon Katz, to doomsay the end of the world.
Microsoft was occluded by Caldera in a $150 million plus
settlement in the DR-DOS case, followed by the declension of
now ex-CEO Bill Gates, to be replaced by a Steve Ballmer
ascendant in the astro-organisational charts. But do stellar
movements like this have any bearing on life in the real
world? After all, there's not much evil AOL Time Warner
can wield that they couldn't have managed in their slightly
less fat bastard previous incarnations. And the
Gates/Ballmer shuffle was just the final precession of
Bill's longterm move from daylight operations at MSFT, all
the better to skulk in preparation for the DOJ split.
- so moved with what I experienced today, I will set up a new page
A Damnable Subscriber Loophole: BT Internet's engineers
discovered they weren't the only people fiddling with the
settings of their ADSL set-up this week. In December, the
telco had tweaked the routers to prevent their customers
from opening static incoming ports (and thus preventing such
obscure Network services as passive ftp, online gaming, ICQ
etc). Sadly for BT, the customers tweaked back: prising open
the DSL adaptors and re-configuring them to not only
re-instate the services, but also to change the security
passwords so that BT couldn't change them back. In a
heart-warming New Years Message, BT threatened its own users
with breach of contract, and re-asserted its powers to mess
about until it gets a service that keeps pesky consumers
where they belong - forking out extra for anything but the
more asymmetric of Internet services. Expect locked
cages for the DSL roll-out next year, kids
- get it while you can, triallists
Just when you thought the continuiiiiing story of "Mir in
Space" couldn't get any weirder, another Western business
partner has emerged to save Mir and convert it into that
anti-news stalwart "an orbiting space hotel for
billionaires". This time, who should it be but Gold & Appel
Transfers, of the Cayman Islands. Yup, "Gold & Appel
Transfers": last observed in Shea and Wilson's ILLUMINATUS!
trilogy as the front organisation for neophile outlaw
Hagbard Celine and his Legion of Dynamic Discord.
Terrifyingly for the few who still believe that book to be
fiction, G&A is a real company with funds of over $300
million. President Walt Anderson made his money as
co-founder of Esprit Telecom, and is now a major investor in
the Space Frontier Foundation and the Roton, the orbital
transfer system that looks like a beanie. G&A have already
offered $21 million to the Russian government to maintain
Mir in a serviceable orbit, with more, they say, to come.
It's unclear whether the group of investors can really
rustle up the huge amounts needed to maintain Mir; but
wouldn't it be nice if, when the ISS finally boots in the
22nd century, NASA found that a bunch of Discordians had
beaten them to it?
- financier "reclusive"; Cayman Islands last outcropping of Atlantis
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
CEO of Apple now officially Steve ... VIRGIN NET mess up
e-mail passwords: but it could be worse -
http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/emergency/ ... CEO of AOL
Time Warner as of now, a Steve ... from the Millennium
Doh!me: http://www.ntk.net/2000/01/14/doh/dohme1.jpg ,
http://www.ntk.net/2000/01/14/doh/dohme2.jpg ... METACREATIONS
seamlessly erase 100 from staff photo ... CEO of Microsoft -
from this week, a Steve ... "Internet may be crowded". Sure
it is, http://www.ntk.net/2000/01/14/doh/go.jpg ...
http://www.cesg.gov.uk/news/ mildly alarming ...
http://www.aol-girls.com/ now hosting "Street Walking The
World Online Escort Magazine" ... explaining Y2K to any kids
you didn't smother in their beds to save them the horror:
http://www.fema.gov/kids/wytookie1.htm ... so bad it broke
the wankometer: http://www.get-time.org/thinking_article_2.htm ...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
First the mild ripples of netfreedom's Internet Article Of Shame
[see NTK 1999-12-24], and now some shadowy security dudes propose
the "E-nsecure Awards" - this could be the year to redress the
balance of all those backslapping "best of" giveaways. The
"E-nsecures" are aimed at naming and shaming award-winning,
beautifully designed sites that, nonetheless, ignore basic
security precautions, thus exposing their owners to the "e-
gnominy" of receiving an "e-gnoble" E-nsecure Award. We have
little to add to this clearly worthwhile goal, other than maybe
they should shorten the name (in the style of the Oscars, Tonys
etc) to "the Ians" - partly in tribute to BT's Iain Vallance,
partly because trying to read their manifesto is, perhaps
intentionally, like that old "Ian (and Iain) News" sketch by Lee
- No list of nominees? Did they only get 3 or something?
- yes, it *does* look a bit like that London 2600 party page...
>> TRACKING <<
making good use of the things that we find
On the happy assumption that everybody else shares the same
obsessions as we do (hey, it's worked so far), here's
another solution to that perennial "trying to log into our
shell account from a cybercafe because we've locked
ourselves out of the flat" issue. MINDTERM is a Java
implementation of an ssh client. Actually, it has been for
ages, but it's recently got much much better (no flickering,
signed applets so you can log into arbitrary machines, very
cool scp file-transfer utility). Do remember: you should
assume somebody's sniffing all your keystrokes anyway and do
all your private correspondence by Post Office mail.
- from sshweden
- Elite: *that's* the Java killer app
If you haven't heard already: MP3.COM, in a Napsterish fit
of legal hubris has created MY.MP3.COM. It's an elegant
scam, uh, customer service, whereby you download an app that
checks for the presence of an audio CD in your drive,
cross-references the ID with MP3.COM's own monster track
cache, then creates a streamable MP3 copy of the album
tracks in a mp3.com hosted directory (without that tedious
uploading of the ripped files). Obvious applications:
instantly ripping all your album collection, sneakily
ripping other people's album collections when you go around
their house, publicly putting out your id and password so
that everyone can auto-rip their collections for you, and
generally undermining intellectual property rights in the
music industry. Again. Catch it while it's uninjuncted.
- worth checking out, no matter how badly we explained it.
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
SHATNER PRICELINE ads: we want MP3s ... media-map that's out
of date already: http://www.cjr.org/owners/index.asp ... BSD
vs BDSM: http://www.digitaldiscipline.com/products.html ...
SANDRA in EASTENDERS another Demon exile ... Beano hits prog
3000 - http://www.beano.co.uk/ ... the future of heavy metal
karaoke: http://antonmaiden.eu.org/am.html ... spot the pot
with http://www.geekhaus.co.uk/teapot/ ... 2001: A SPACE
ODYSSEY, compressed to 1 pixel: http://www.isness.org/2001*1/
(no, really) ... "not that I'm bitter or anything":
SAGAN on drugs! http://ftrain.com/index.php3?fileid=2000-01-11 ...
interesting take on "public relations":
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
the less rude http://www.tvgohome.com/
TV>> good to see Andrew Chitty - MD of digital TV company Illumina
- helping Shirley Manson collect her award at the (repeated) VH1
FASHION AWARDS (6pm, Fri, C4)... "*Do* give up your day job", we
advise "New Adventures Of Dr Who" author Mark Gatiss, who returns
in a new series of ubercamp "broken" comedy THE LEAGUE OF
GENTLEMEN (10pm, Fri, BBC2)... and, yes, new post-Beadle prank
slot TRIGGER HAPPY TV (9.30pm, Fri, C4) looks all very amusing,
but it's no http://www.tomgreen.com/ ... after boring us all to
death with The Exorcist, Mark Kermode lauds *another* dated 'n'
overrated '70s genre movie THE FRENCH CONNECTION (8.55pm, Sat,
BBC2)... similarly, Channel 4, inexplicably, devotes an evening to
a show it doesn't seem to own the rights to, in CHARLIE'S ANGELS
NIGHT (from 8pm, Sat, C4) - unless it's still part of their
"cocaine" season... and "watch the skies" for Howard Hawks '50s
scifi THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1.20am, Sat, BBC2), though
John Carpenter's shape-shifting remake is actually closer to the
short story original... enthusiastically casting doubt on parents
who make tearful televised pleas to "help catch our daughter's
killer", CROCODILE TEARS (10pm, Mon, ITV) focuses on 15 recent
cases where it was *actually them who did it*... should anyone
still care, THE X FILES (10.20pm, Wed, BBC1) is the "long take"
time-travel Bermuda Triangle one... and notorious spoilsports
HORIZON (9.30pm, Thu, BBC2) reveal that that Peru's "Nasca Lines"
*aren't* alien runway markings after all, but the work of some
fucked-up ancient religious cult or something...
FILM>> a triple treat this week for fans of serial killers and/or
human remains as, for starters, Spike Lee churns out his grittily
overwrought Italian-American remake of "Do The Right Thing" (with
sex scenes instead of Public Enemy) in '70s disco heatwave soap
SUMMER OF SAM (http://www.capalert.com/capreports/ : The listing is
not fit for display due to the vulgarity of the movie). It's a bit
like "This Life" set in the "Boogie Nights" era with someone
picking off characters with a .44 handgun, though not as much of a
recommendation as that sounds... despite the presence of Married
With Children's Ed O'Neill, Angelina "Hackers" Jolie's ongoing
audition for Jodie Foster's "Hannibal" role is by far the best
thing about graphic sub-Silence Of The Lambs knock-off THE BONE
COLLECTOR (imdb: new-york / brooklyn-bridge / police / destiny /
quadriplegic / helicopter / serial-killer) - although action hack
Philip "The Saint" Noyce keeps sticking her in contrived "Crystal
Maze" set-ups where bedridden Denzel Washington, against the
clock, yells murder-solving instructions at her... and salt-of-
the-earth Oirish folk may be poor - *but they've got each other* -
reveals ponderous vomit-packed poverty porn ANGELA'S ASHES (imdb:
drama) - the ashes are a cremated serial-killer-style "trophy"
taken from one character, possibly "Mrs Doyle" from Father Ted...
THE BONER COLLECTOR>> full report on our apocalyptic server-
busting Y2K Kwiz next week (so still time to mail in *your* DIY
compositions) - though, it's official, you *can* stop sending us
"19100" pages now (especially http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~lenzo/yapc/
which, believe us, has been "wrong" for some time)... NICK DRAGE
leapt to attention over last week's assertion regarding "season 3
of Buffy The Vampire Slayer", enquiring "Tut, tut, what kind of
nerds are you? It's season FOUR", though then spoiled the effect
by failing to get NTK 1999-12-24's reference to the "Argos dog
penis" nicked off us by The Graham Norton Show. No, Nick, we
meant *this* Argos dog penis: http://www.ntk.net/doh/991210dog.jpg
...subsequent to which, MARK WHITAKER mailed us his "treasured"
(yet popular) piece of phallic clip art, an ad for the
Northumberland Lawn Tennis & Squash Rackets Club in the Newcastle
Yellow Pages: http://www.ntk.net/2000/01/14/doh/tennis.gif . Please
stop sending us these, you're ruining the "boner" section's
sophisticated tone... similar concerns were raised by the
Mimesweeper program at FLEMINGS.COM, which rejected NTK 1899-12-31
"because it contains unacceptable words or phrases, e.g. jokes or
profanities". The handy output log enclosed ("Found phrase Value
20, Text 'sex ', Found phrase Value 100, Text 'COCAINE '") gave
some indication of how amusing or profane it thought we were
being, while (at last!) establishing than cocaine is, officially,
5 times more profane (or amusing) than sex... clearly not a
problem for ANDY ISAACSON, who mailed to confirm unsubstantiated
reports of Richard Stallman singing the "Free Software" song at an
NTK "event" in London, then being rushed by geeks who wanted him
to sign their copies of the sheet music, and "at least one girl
who got him to sign her collar bone". Well, we've checked, and
we're sorry to say these rumours are false: the girl concerned
insists it was her breast that RMS signed. Yup, we don't get out
often, but when we do: "hoo, boy"...
>> SMALL PRINT <<
Need to Know is a useful and interesting UK digest of things that
happened last week or might happen next week. You can read it
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