"British English and American English are EXTREMELY
different. Considering that the assumption was that one
version of each language was sufficient, problems cropped up
and some of the perfectly normal British English stuff ended
up being very offensive in the US."
- TRISTAN LOUIS learns from his Boo time
...you know, we'd pay good money for those expressions, Boo
>> HARD NEWS <<
These days, we mainly we log on to Cix ("the nerds, the
rebels, the cosmopolites" - (c) 1991 Howard Rheingold) when
we don't have enough spam to read on our other mail
accounts. This week, though, the place was... jumping. Well,
as jumping as Cix gets: the pipe-smoking, free-thinking,
and in their own words rather curmudgeonly raconteurs have
been sent their new terms and conditions - and aren't
pleased. Under their noses, Cix has nicked the right to
reproduce any content posted to the conferencing system (or
Website), forbade them from using any Cix trademarks (making
a little tricky, for instance, to give out their cix.co.uk
e-mail addresses), and promised to terminate their contract
if they ever thought of violating the new terms and
conditions. Now, if there's one thing that the average Cixen
knows (apart from the wingspans of every post-war prop
aircraft, which Radio 4 comedy shows are objectively
amusing, and why you should not be wanting to do that with
your shelf units), it's their consumer rights. Several
million postings of a precise, discursive, and rivetingly
pedantic nature later, the management relented. They have
now - in true Cix fashion - set up a user committee to
investigate the matter further. We await the next
rip-roaring episode with ill-disguised glee.
- like the Well, but with the sex and drugs replaced with
Changing the tone: Last week, we implied that the
"Why Do All These Homosexuals Keep Sucking My Cock?" piece
at SMEG.CO.UK may have been based on a slightly better-known
near-identical article from THE ONION. But, in an
exceptional case of Life Imitating The Onion - Imitating The
Onion - Smeg's editor revealed: "I'm afraid you are wrong! I
actually wrote the original version 3 years ago - it caused
quite a stir - quite unlike anything my friends had ever
seen." Smeg joshes that the piece "travelled quite a
distance by email" before the Onion "took it and changed
several parts to make it 'sound' american", and says they're
"currently in a legal battle with Ken Artis, their lawyers"
- if you've seen anything pre-dating the Onion's version of
October 1998, do get in touch, because Smeg have yet to
provide us with any substantiating evidence or witnesses. In
a tone entertainingly reminiscent of the "Why is this *keep*
happening to me?" original, Smeg refers to "an increasing
number of webmasters who [The Onion] have done this to" and
believes "[The Onion] have also taken other items from our
site" - including, presumably, the only other remotely funny
piece on the Smeg page, the familiar-sounding "Ford
introduce new instant-win airbag competition".
- at least it's not - oh, our sides - an angry agony aunt!
- published 1996-11-06 ("The Onion's Finest News Reporting")
Finally, it's occasionally nice to hear from companies that
take their security seriously. When NTK subscriber GEORGE
WRIGHT heard from MONEYGATOR.COM that they had "the best
Internet security in the world", he had every right to
expect amazing things of them. Unfortunately, he'd already
had his share of amazements - he'd just been telephoned out of
the blue by a stranger, who told him "I've read your
phone number on Moneygator.com. And your account numbers,
bank, and mother's maiden name." Turns out that the
registration form at Moneygator tended to preserve the data
entered for a little longer than planned: long enough for
the next user to read it. It's fixed now, says the CEO,
(well, George reports him saying "we're pretty sure
it's fixed"), and has reassured Mr Wright by telling him "when
breaches like this happen, it makes the Internet safer".
Absolutely: and when we stop hitting ourselves with this
cricket bat, we're more comfortable too.
- the scary thing is, we're probably giving them more publicity
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
premier BT ADSL site http://www.bt.com/adsl/ touts chief
benefit as "CD-quality jazz from a radio station in Chicago"
... German lawyers say filtering out virus attachments at
ISP level "punishable with up to two years imprisonment" ... TV
doh from Look North http://www.ntk.net/2000/05/26/dohlooknorth.jpg
... that "unique blend of whispering and dove's coo" - Falco!
http://www.sneeze.dircon.co.uk/cart.html ... press report
Dando suspect is "Loner", "Freddie Mercury Oddball" ...
poor BBC's MARK WARD says "I did ask the http://totl.net/Spud/
folks if it was fake and they said no", while the
meticulously researched REGISTER sets itself up nicely:
http://www.deuceofclubs.com/moj/mojave.htm - Falco!... CRAZYNET 2.0
- Falco! ... LOOKING GLASS - Falco! ... with "successes" like these:
http://www.sun.co.uk/dot-com/ready/ready3_print.html ... cover
of new BUSINESS 2.0 magazine looks exactly like AMIGA SHOPPER ...
William Hill fix loophole; www.victorchandler.com still working!
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
In accordance with prophecy [NTK 1999-08-06 and most of
October], BAFTA have been forced to ditch the "comedy"
category award altogether, rather than give it to us. But
there's still time to get your entries in for the equally
corporate-sponsored (but rather less heavily contested, if you
know what we mean) NET MEDIA EUROPEAN ONLINE JOURNALISM AWARDS
(deadline 2000-05-31). Hilariously ironic categories include
the "Netimperative Award for Best News Story" (what, them
going bust, for instance?) and the "Shell Award for Best
Investigative Reporting", while the judging panel features
such luminaries as beardie Bill Thompson, Ben "Ed" Rooney
(formerly of The Telegraph Connected), plus no less than *two*
"Mike Brackens". Plus, they're simultaneously running an
"Autistic Web Design Contest" (like there's any other kind),
sponsored by Sega Dreamcast. Don't get your entries mixed up!
- no, really, one of the judges told us that was why
- otherwise they'll just give them to each other. Again.
- more banner advertomancy
>> TRACKING <<
sufficiently advanced technology : the gathering
What with ESR's religious-war-by-the-backdoor plans to make
Kernel configuration dependent on Python, Tom Christiansen's
slow descent into Kurtz-esque insanity on the
perl5porters list and Segfault's recent revelation that all
Perl core development is to end because Larry says
"a language is syntactically complete when you find a use for
every bit of the keyboard", it's not been a good Spring for Perl.
But the camel has many humps, and if all else fails, the
loyal mongers can alway hack up an escape route. Easing the
transition to the promised land is LANGUAGE::BASIC, a new Perl
module that provides complete emulation of the latest BASIC
dialects - if your real time clock stopped around 1980, that
is. Special features: ON... GOSUB and DEF FN. Free code to
"Hunt the Wumpus" included! Let's go!
- no RESTORE statement though. damn.
- oh, Perl's always funny
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
meta tags at http://www.sinclair-research.co.uk/ imply
existence of "ZX 79" ... http://www.pumpgirls.com/ unlikely
to cover "Sugar, Sugar" ... searching for "eyes only" on
http://www.open.gov.uk/search/search.htm ... recognise
anyone? YOURSELF? http://www.winternet.com/~mikelr/flame1.html ...
rats on coke ... also, pretend it's a tricorder:
the "FIST OF FUN makes me *mad with power*" guy and E3:
the ill-advised http://www.postboo.com/ blacklist versus the
genius of http://www.k10k.net/issues/issue073/ ... kill 'em with KLM:
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
get out less
TV>> apart from the BUFFY vs "Adam" season finale on Sky (8pm,
Sky1, Fri & Sun), a god-awful selection on the Bank Holiday,
with potential "highlights" restricted to the "skeet surfing"
sequence near the start of Abrahams/ Zucker/ Zucker WW2 spoof
TOP SECRET (11.50pm, Sun, BBC1)... two blokes on a sofa,
talking - the radical premise for BADDIEL AND SKINNER
UNPLANNED (10.30pm, Sun-Wed, ITV) - Skinner presumably won't
be emulating his live BBC1 show by spoofing the show that
comes before, in this case Daniela Nardini's hard-hitting
military rape drama, "Rough Treatment"... while THE DAY THE
WORLD TOOK OFF (8pm, Sun, C4) promises a "fresh look at the
Industrial Revolution"... BBC MUSIC LIVE (all day, Mon, BBC1 &
2) proposes the terrifying prospect of televised toddlers
banging tin trays across the land... Ralph Fiennes whistle-
blower QUIZ SHOW (10.10pm, Mon, BBC2) harks back to a pre-"Who
Wants To Be A Millionaire" era of more diligent contestant-
vetting ... Sharon Stone CCTVer SLIVER (10.30pm, Mon, BBC1)
features a murderous C programmer... and the makers of "TFI
Friday" set a dangerous precedent for the TV spin-off of
class-tourism gangster fetishisation LOCK, STOCK, ETC (9pm,
Mon, C4) by subtitling the first one "And Four Stolen Hooves"
- can't wait for "Lock, Stock, And The Twenty Rings Of
Mordor"... CAN YOU LIVE WITHOUT (8.30pm, Tue, C4) revels in
"Why Don't You?" irony by making its first deprivation TV
itself... the director's cut of TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY
(9.30pm, Wed, BBC1) gets its second outing in about six
months... while, combining Robot Wars with The Great Egg Race,
we'd like to see the Medieval trebuchet-constructors in
MYSTERIES OF LOST EMPIRES (9pm, Thu, C4) take on the ill-armed
castaways of ROUGH SCIENCE (7.30pm, Fri, BBC2)...
FILM>> the makers of Adam Sandler's "Big Daddy" reshoot "Ace
Ventura: Pet Detective" in post-Farrelly bad-taste feel-gooder
DEUCE BIGALOW: MALE GIGOLO (imdb: aquarium), with former Judge
Dredd sidekick "man-whore" Rob Schneider poking affectionate
fun at amputees, Tourette's syndrome, the blind etc... STIR OF
ECHOES (imdb: bagpipe / murder / independent-film / ghost /
hypnotism) attempts to mesmerise viewers into enjoying a
grown-up Kevin Bacon remake of "The Sixth Sense"... three-
quarters of "All Saints" contribute to half-baked sub-Austin
Powers '60s crime caper HONEST (http://www.bbfc.co.uk/ :
passed '18' for infrequent strong sex and drug use, and
occasional strong violence) - directed by the multi-talented
Dave "Hackers" Stewart, though we'd rather find out what
happened to his previously web-touted sitcom collaboration
with Carrie Fisher, set in a "nail salon"... and, bizarrely,
it's not Anna Friel examining her armpit on the poster for
limited-release arthouse French-a-thon GIRL ON THE BRIDGE
(imdb: suicide-attempt / gambling / knife-thrower) but her
Gallic '90s sex-kitten equivalent, Vanessa Paradis...
FERROUS PARTICLES' DAY OFF>> our irregular soundalike music
slot returns next week - get your "uncanny resemblances" in
now - but for the moment, a special one-off bootleg report
from DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION AND THE MUSIC INDUSTRY at Olympia
earlier this week, in the company of NTK's fully anonymous
correspondent... PAUL SCHATZKIN (CEO, songs.com) admits he
owns an illegal Alanis Morrissette MP3, provoking heckle of
the day(from myself): "That's Ironic!"... SCOTT MOSKOWITZ
(Blue Spike geezer and top SDMI encryption dude) gets
starstruck on his panel (Security of Digital Distribution or
some such arse) and piles on the rhetoric. "Music should be
free!" he opines, and then comes a cropper when some geek in
the audience asks him about Blue Spike's open source policy
- or lack of one... several execs are reported leaving the
building with "tears in their eyes" after being "thrown to
the lions" on their panels... no such shame for one
executive from [a major TV production company] who admits
she knows nothing about the music or internet industries.
Over canapes she surprises everyone at the table by turning
to me and asking "What's a Napster?" Audible coughs and
raised eyebrows all round - I smile calmly and tell her it's
a major e-commerce site. No-one says anything... there is,
of course, a "no recording" embargo during FRANK "METALLICA"
HALL'S speech - annoyingly, as he was excellent. If you're
going to be a webmaster, (and presumably, some people have
to be), then you may as well have the added advantage of
being a 50 year-old, Irish ex-squaddie... extended metaphor
of the show came from JIM GRIFFIN (Evolab and "Internet
Guru"), who recommends that future business models should
"feminise" their thinking. He likens the current way we sell
CDs as a violating, penetrative experience and says we're
only interested in "the fuck" (I'm paraphrasing here). What
we should be doing is modelling ourselves more on Amazon,
where it is the relationship after the fuck that is more
important than the fuck itself. Griffin wants to cut off our
dicks!... at this, Iain Lawson of Universal Music UK
audibly snorts and crosses his legs. Don't expect any change
in Universal's blanket ban on video streaming any time
>> 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 very very late
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 "pii!"
NEED TO KNOW
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