_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk>
| \ | |_ _| |/ / _ __ __2000-03-24_ o join! mail an empty message to
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| |\ | | | | . \ | | | | (_) \ v v / o website (+ archive) lives at:
|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "Portugal wants to create a common lexicon made up of a
set of keywords in different European languages. It seems
to be very concerned with the tech-slang of hackers,
'such as for instance the use of the letter z in the end of
words by the hacker community (passwordz, gamez, crackz,
softwarez).' The ignorance of such mechanisms makes it,
according to the document, 'an extremely hard task to
achieve good results in the research'"
- the EU struggles with the use of encryption amongst cyber-terrorists
...you know, wildcard technology is going to blow this scene wide open
>> HARD NEWS <<
if they only knew
Like a supply teacher late for his first class, Charles
Clarke, Home Office minister in charge of Not Being Scared
by The Crypto Freaks, looked most put out by the giggling
during his speech at Wednesday's SCRAMBLING FOR SAFETY.
Whenever he tried to praise the work done by the experts in
the audience, the experts laughed - and not in a nice,
self-deprecatory way. And when he patiently answered the
question "how do you prove that you've forgotten your
password to your key, when failure to do so makes you a
criminal?" not once, but five times, everyone smiled like
goons. And excuse me, but *WHO* was snickering at the back
when I mentioned drug barons and terrorists? Sadly for
Clarke, most of the attendees had spent the half-hour time
while they waited for his appearance scurrilously sketching
out predictions of his key points. Chief among them: Talk
highly of the audience; dissemble furiously when asked about
the "forgot password? got jail" provisions, and whenever the
need for the bill was questioned, segue to the "Four
Horsemen of the Infocalypse" defence: to protect us all from
terrorists, paedophiles, drug dealers, and money launderers.
As it was, Clarke was lucky no-one shouted out "bingo!".
What makes it all the stranger is that much of the audience
weren't bear-like cypherpunks at all, but professionals
entrusted with tough security jobs in multi-billion pound
companies. Even more peculiar: when the opposition spokesmen
gave their viewpoints after Clarke vanished back to the HO,
everyone went quiet, looked increasingly surprised - and
even applauded at the end. Both Mr. Heald (Con) and Mr.
Allan (Lib) appear, in the space of two weeks or so, to have
got it. So there's a glimmer of hope that RIP might get
fixed after all.
- blah blah blah read about RIP blah blah fax your MP
- because somebody's listening
This week, the Observer exclusively revealed the dark side
of "the underbelly of the Net" - USENET. Something, they
railed, should be done about it. It's good to see that
they've managed to maintain their level of indignation about
this whole "illegal material on the Net" shocker since their
last exclusive on the problem, back in August 1996.
Something was done then: among them the closing down of a
Finnish anonymous remailer - heavily used by the Samaritans
and support groups to protect their clients' anonymity. The
Observer's assertion that anon.penet.fi remailer was a den
of paedophiles depended on quotes from an "FBI investigator"
- who later turned out to be nothing to do with the FBI, but
a sergeant at a Californian sheriff's office. He strenuously
denied the viewpoints that the Observer ascribed to him.
This time, they claim that "Internet sources" - anonymous,
this time - revealed "over forty" newsgroups containing
illegal posts (but have yet to tell any of the authorities
what these groups are), and imply a sinister conspiracy to
keep them quiet between Demon and the industry's watchdog,
the Internet Watch Foundation - while forgetting to explain
exactly what advantage Demon and the IWF would have for
allowing illegal material to be propagated in the first
place. Actually, it's odd that the newspaper doesn't make an
explicit link between the two stories, given that they're
make exactly the same discoveries. Maybe that's down to the
fact that last time, they fingered Clive Feather, the Demon
newsmaster, as Britain's "pornographer in chief". Whereas
now, Clive's a board member of the IWF, and one of the few
people who could actually claim to be really doing something
about it. Rather than just sitting around, recycling the
- not that we'd ever do that
- hey, maybe Declan can re-animate his Observer expose too
D-Day for ADSL, as BT finally turns on broadband in the 400
selected exchanges ready for end of March, and the Great
Leap Forward. But BT's getting increasingly paranoid about
making any move that will knock their short term profits.
Even the "poor results" in last year's 3rd quarter has them
streamlining like crazy to please the City. That means
lowering the headcount: they're planning on losing 3,000
middle managers, and the company's has offered a full year's
salary to all management over the age of 59 if they retire
now. So what are the chances of those 1200 other exchanges
getting ADSL soon, given the technical difficulty of
offering it in remote areas and the nasty possibility that
widespread use will temporarily wipe out BT's lucrative
leased-line service? We wait with bated breath the release
of the full timetable...
- although we advise not holding said breath
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
god help us when they discover *pre-emptive multi-tasking*:
http://www.diskbooks.org/part1.html#hs1b10 ... MITNICK FLICK
smuggled out - in France!: http://www.cybertraque.com/ ...
Domain name not registered: killdando.co.uk ... MS "high on
management": http://www.ntk.net/2000/03/24/hashfile.gif ...
http://www.symantec.com/press/2000/n000321c.html - new
features in this upgrade... special "Mission Impossible" dept:
whois happygeek.com... 3 more IRIDIUM users than you thought:
best "best viewed with" http://www.canda.com/ ... all very
amusing: http://www.fenn-den.co.uk - until someone clicks on
the "about us" link... post-show online chat for last night's
"video games violence" DISPATCHES makes at least one convert:
http://www.ntk.net/2000/03/24/c4chat.gif ... guy seems to know
a *bit* too much about JILL DANDO: http://www.jilldandofund.com/ ...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
And what nicer gift could there be for our UK "Mother's Day"
than your continued absence - because you (or your mother)
are in Boston for the second international GEEK PRIDE
convention (actually starts Fri 2000-03-31, hence the
advance warning). Music, technology and talking are all on
the agenda, with the usual gang of idiots (well, two core
NTK personnel, for a start - plus Keith "Tasty Bits" Dawson,
Rob "Slashdot" Malda, and Eric "Duck!" Raymond) - and for
any of you perhaps dissuaded by the early pre-publicity, it
now sounds like Jon Katz may not be attending after all.
- hey, Mother's Day and April Fool's don't coincide this often
- early registration for VR seminar too. "Get Real", indeed...
>> TRACKING <<
sufficiently advanced technology : the gathering
You'd think the guys behind OPERA, the low-fat browser with
the funny low-slung URL box, would know enough not to fall
for the Law of Software Envelopment, wouldn't you? But
noooo. The new beta of 4.0 manages to squeeze HTML 4.0, HTTP
1.1, CSS1 & CSS2 and XML parsing onto the traditional 1.44MB
single floppy, then blows it all with an improved 300K POP
mail client which takes it over the limit. Oh, how could they?
- 25 days to really definitely seriously consider buying it
- then grudgingly switch to watch Mozilla crash for free
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
sending threatening emails to previous recipients via the
"back" button on DOME web terminals... countering usual press
comments that the X-Box is MS's "first venture into hardware"
by calling it the MSX-Box... http://fyl.xymox.net/sworigmi.htm
vs http://www.geekhaus.co.uk/toybox/trek.htm ... not that I'm
*really* bitter http://www.ozemail.com.au/~ksolway/misogyny.html
... Windows DeCSS installs registry key under a key called MPAA
(HKLM\SOFTWARE\MPAA\DeCSS)... "right to life" imitates ONION
http://www.rconline.net/archiv-05/mig29/mig29.shtml - the MIG
they'd let Larry Ellison bring into the US... JAVA - with legs
- http://www.soda.co.uk/soda/constructor/ ... life imitates
MCSWEENEYS: http://www.mcsweeneys.net/2000/03/23changes.html ...
... sometimes nothing beats jamming a pair of scissors into
your crotch: http://www.armchair.mb.ca/~scissors/ ... one
Flash dude: http://download.theforce.net/stardudes.html ...
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
the less rude http://www.tvgohome.com/ TV>> the increasingly odd-sounding OPEN MINDS slot (9am, Sat,
BBC2) features Richard Dawkins, Tony "Mind Maps" Buzan, plus
items on "cybersouls" and carbon dioxide... which may soothe
you back to sleep if you've woken too early for Sky's later
weekend showing of the persistently excellent fmv cgi STARSHIP
TROOPERS: THE ANIMATED SERIES (10.30am, Sat, Sky1; 7.30am,
Mon-Fri)... Keith Chegwin aptly introduces the TOP TEN REALLY
ANNOYING RECORDS (8.55pm, Sat, C4)... followed by - ideally -
a revival of Game For A Laugh's old "watching us, watching
you" slogan in THE BIG BROTHER STORY (10.30pm, Sat, C4), re:
the surprise Dutch webcam popularity-contest hit... in a weird
"little book of" stab at modern-day relevance, a new series on
Western PHILOSOPHY subtitles itself as A GUIDE TO HAPPINESS
(7pm, Sun, C4) - can't wait for the one on Nietzsche... plus
you can skip the rubbish ending of SPEED (9pm, Sun, C5) and
still catch that cool twist at the end of THE USUAL SUSPECTS
(10pm, Sun, C4)... Inspector Morse takes on his toughest
villain yet - Adolf Hitler! - dressed as MONSIGNOR RENARD
(9pm, Mon, ITV)... and Channel4 sets up a new kangaroo court
to investigate both "criminal acts" in HATE CRIME (11.40pm,
Mon, C4) and policemen who run over its own presenters in
DISPATCHES (9pm, Thu, C4)... I POSED FOR PLAYBOY (11.10pm,
Mon, C5) blurts out Lynda "Wonder Woman" Carter - here aged
40... we still have a soft spot for Jim Carrey lawyer caper
LIAR LIAR (8.40pm, Wed, ITV) - not just because it provided
the start quote for NTK 1997-05-09... while Yorkshire-centric
news spoof FOCUS NORTH (12.30am, Thu, C4) concludes with an
all-new episode from the future, where our so-called "swear
words" have lost much of their power to offend...
FILM>> perhaps even more controversial than the (censored?)
performance of South Park's "Blame Canada" at the Oscars
(apparently they *did* ask "that bitch" Anne Murray to sing
it, but she declined), we can't find any reference on
viewaskew.com to Kevin Smith slagging off Paul "Boogie Nights"
Thomas Anderson's ultra-long Aimee Mann video MAGNOLIA
(http://www.capalert.com/capreports/ : graphic fall injury;
exceptionally hateful screaming; "I am firing pearls at you"
when spouting boasts of sexual conquest; admission of adultery
with oral sex and other sexual improprieties; insane
mannerisms in aggression) - plus, after this, 2 Days In The
Valley, Short Cuts, (and Boogie Nights as well) just what *is*
it about LA's San Fernando valley and its residents' multiply
intertwining lives?... apparently it's supposed to be a chick-
flick "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest", but the prospect of
Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder running round a mental home in
their pyjamas surely risks attracting quite a different
demographic for James "Copland" Mangold's GIRL INTERRUPTED
(http://www.capalert.com/capreports/ : sensual positioning;
brief lower female nudity, front and back; teen girl
unbuckling pants of teen boy to perform oral sex; incredibly
arrogant aloofness about suicide; graphic suicide)... and
Norman "Rollerball" Jewison returns for another look at
sporting violence in overblown miscarriage-of-justice punch-up
- based on both "The Inspirational True Story Of A Champion"
*and* the Bob Dylan song of the same name - THE HURRICANE
(http://www.capalert.com/capreports/ : exaggerated boxing
violence; improper intimidation by police; multiple rear male
nudity; a slime slug attempting to molest a child; three
murders by gunfire with bloody detail) - again coming in for
some criticism over "dramatic reinterpretation" of the facts,
since fallen-from-grace '70s snooker star Alex "The Hurricane"
Higgins was, in reality, neither American, nor black...
>> 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
on Friday afternoon or print it out then take it home if you have
nothing better to do. It is compiled by NTK from stuff they get sent.
Registered at the Post Office as "Now that crazy's Knowledge!"
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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