_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk>
| \ | |_ _| |/ / _ __ __2000-07-28_ o join! mail an empty message to
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|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "And then people won't buy my records. And how will
I pay for my daughter's schooling?"
- MADONNA vs Napster in this month's The Face (p4),
shortly before buying a UKP10m house in Belgravia (p8)
...ironically, with the money saved on CDs, our children are going private
>> HARD NEWS <<
slipping the noose
First, the bad news: RIP got Royal Assent a few hours ago.
The good news? It's all futile anyway. As a valued NTK
subscriber, we know you value your privacy. We also know you
are some sort of international cocaine smuggler (How do we
know? Cookies, my friend, cookies). So you won't need us to
remind you that you can bypass the twenty million pounds
plus worth of surveillance technology that the government is
foisting onto the ISP industry with a nifty combo of
PGP/GnuGP, an offshore ssh shell account, and maybe a
subscription to ZeroKnowledge's Freedom. Of course, if
they're really suspicious, the authorities could come and
demand the passphrase for all of these from you: but at
least you'll know about it then, rather than have to play a
guessing game as to whether you're being picked up on the
mass surveillance powers provided by the Act. I mean, what
was the point? To somehow tweak the ears of people who start
hyperventilating the moment "security breaches" are even
hinted at to work on moving the Net out of simple
plain-text transmission protocols, and onto something a bit
more secure and scaleable, like IPv6? Oh. Oh, we get it now.
Thanks, Mr Blair! Thank you so fricking much. Mwah.
- a few more ideas
And now, the other bad news: NAPSTER ate the judicial
bullet, as if you hadn't heard. And, hey, it's futile too!
Even if Gnutella and Freenet still don't, ahem, actually
work very well, we're sure somebody will have the smart idea
to use them as systems to pass around a simple text file of
the new, free, Napster server IPs. That should keep things
going after Napigator gets shut down, or the RIAA starts
cutting out the middle man and shooting its customers
direct. And then there's sure to be someone writing a
simple search program to iterate through all those servers.
Or, dammit, why not just code up a front-end for IRC which
is where all of this stuff would have stayed, out of the way
of all you damn college kids and in the hands of the
slightly-more-obsessive college kids who've been trading for
- sorry, it's all a bit antinews this week
- on the other hand, glad they died, proprietary bastards
- coming out of their shells a little late as usual
It's amazing what happens when you breathe; but don't hold
your breath too long, or we'll cut off your oxygen, freak.
BREATHE, you may remember, was offering a "internet
connection for life", free from sub or dial-up costs, for
50UKP. Not if they're "heavy breathers", though: who this
week received a mail announcing that they'd been sucking at
the rate Breathe pipe just a little to long, and, oh, bye.
Any chance of getting the fifty quid back, though? Kinda:
you get a fifty quid pay-back if you return to using their
standard dial-up lines. Incredibly, Breathe managed to spin
this to the proper media as "surfer abuse"."When we said
unmetered we didn't mean that people could leave their PCs
on seven days a week, 24 hours a day", said their COO. Uh,
isn't that the *point* of unmetered connectivity?
- bad breathe, bad puns
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
http://www.rubberburner.com , http://www.supergreg.com ,
http://www.borntodestroy.com - all fake MAHIR cults registered
by viral marketeers... ironic use of famously unpatented GIFs:
http://petition.eurolinux.org/signatures.html ... CERBERUS
bought by L0pht^H^H^H^H^H@STAKE - l0pht not as l33t as once
thought?: http://www.starwarskids.com/arena/r2d2/index.jsp ...
EMILY POST http://www.emilypost.com/etiquette.htm suddenly
advises calling email "amyl" [nitrate?] half-way through...
BIG BROTHER working title was "Slags In New Age Forest Drama"?
Redhat CFO jumps ship to - *SGI*? Man's a falco-hound... .EXE
magazine to close "as of August issue" - unless *you* can save
it... JWZ wants to hear from "cute chicks", not "fanboys"...
Peter WEIR to direct PATRICK O'BRIAN film: dull historical
accuracy ahoy!... whois CONCORDCRASH.COM (sic) ... BOO
staff trying to claw back unpaid wages any damn way they can:
... Yup, "Selecting Blendolini Causes CHOCO-BANANA SHAKE HANG":
http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q157/6/68.asp >> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Not too much for the much-beleagured "Amiga Nation" to look
forward to nowadays, perhaps, with the exception of Finland's
top demo-party, THE ASSEMBLY (from 2000-08-03) - and, of
course, the (US) Amiga West Coast Show, AMIWEST 2000 (2000-07-
29, Sacramento, California) where, in order to compete with
the kinky thrills of DEFCON (happening now, Las Vegas), you
can pay good money to watch an Eyetech Next Generation Amiga
Development Machine "coupled with a Classic A1200".
- now features Playstation demos and overclocking compos
- "Don't book your holidays!" advises UK rival, optimistically
- unless of course you'll be swinging by Blackpool...
And finally, this week's short-range Nathan Forecast features
one of the more ill-favoured alignments of the year, the
"Arena For The Millennial Age Of Global Urban Culture"
HEADRUSH (until 2000-07-30, central London). Largely based at
the ICA? Check! Attendees include Mute Magazine, Hari Kunzru,
Kodwo Eshun, and Normski? Check! Flyer promises, seemingly
without irony, "a supra-consciousness of 'Binary Soul'
inviting the intellectual, the b-boy, the glamour girl
and the PhD on a digital and analogue exploration of our
soulful Selves and the 'Futurenow'"? Check, check, CHECK!
- oh, and Chuck D. Is "Urban" maybe a euphemism for "Black"?
- even YAPC::Europe now tainted by "the Art of Perl"
>> TRACKING <<
sufficiently advanced technology : the gathering
VAR'AQ is a stack-based, Forth-ish language, with Lispish
data structures, and an object-verb-structure grammar
designed for use by Klingons. Ah, yes: There's little to say
that you haven't already guessed: written in Perl, minimal
documentation, Linux-oriented, no *real* working Klingons on
the standards committee. There is example code, however,
including the usual "What do you want, Universe?" program.
The leader of the project, Brian/B'Rian Connors/C'onnarrghs
expectorates: "If you are afraid to tread in hostile
territory like this, you might want to hold off on playing
with var'aq for a while." But then, maybe you are weak, and
dishonour us all with your cowardice, toDSaH!
- calling it loSDIch (Klingon for "Fourth") "would be silly"
- but no Klingon could face the terrifyingly real BANCstar
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
moodily tasteful "go towards the light" bereavement e-cards:
http://www.british-airways.com/concorde/spirit/ - not quite
the "arrive before you take off" that AIR FRANCE had in
mind... Soundscapes For Compromising A Remote Host [By]:
http://www.musicforhackers.com ... When TVGoHome Fans Go Bad
(#1): http://www.planetvom.co.uk/amazon/ ... Here's WALDOES:
... pics of RICHARD STILGOE reveal shadowy influence of SATAN:
http://www.boreham.co.uk/surrey2000/Sherrif.htm ... When
TVGoHome Fans Go Bad #2 - And The Robots That Trust Them:
http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/~dmb/IHPRS.html - Mad About
*Something*... open software's very own MAGINOT LINE:
http://www.iloquent.nl/signs/ ... life imitates CRYPTONOMICON:
... Of/By/For The People: http://www.norvig.com/Gettysburg/
... http://www.lehmans.com - best viewed with a non-electric
web browser... so fake, even THE GUARDIAN saw through it:
concluding our CONCORDE coverage: http://www.amigoingdown.com/ ...
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
the less sold-out www.tvgohome.com . yeah.
TV>> Tim Berners-Lee grabs the prestigious OU Saturday am
technoslot, enquiring WHOSE WEB IS IT ANYWAY? (9.35am, Sat,
BBC2)... you can while away the dull bits of MAD MAX 3: BEYOND
THUNDERDOME (11.20pm, Sat, ITV) trying to spot the samples
used in The Messiah's techno track of the same name... Robbie
Williams' flesh-stripping ROCK DJ: UNCUT (1.20am, Sat, C4) now
seems to last an entire half-hour... and the walking-on-their-
hands amputee robots of '70s eco sci-fi SILENT RUNNING
(12.35am, Sat, BBC2) trundle back for their second showing
since July 1999... something of a treat for fans of kid-
friendly animatronic sci-fi, with back-to-back showings of
PROJECT: ALF (5.20pm, Sun, C5) and JURASSIC PARK (7pm, Sun,
BBC1)... Gene Hackman auditions for his "Enemy Of The State"
role in comparatively thrill-free wiretap-obsessed prequel THE
CONVERSATION (11.40pm, Sun, BBC2)... and, even if you don't
buy Cameron "Singles" Crowe's extended men's-weepie schtick,
there's always the "Spy Who Shagged Me"-inspiring catchphrases
of JERRY MAGUIRE (9pm, Sun, C4)... though we can't remember
them showing the original "Law And Order" series, Sky still
seems oddly keen on its Homicide Life On The Street-alike sex-
crimes spin-off SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT (9pm, Mon, Sky1)...
presumably celebrating the "stay up as late as you like" start
of the school holidays, comes an out-of-nowhere showing of
ROBOCOP (12.30am, Mon, ITV) - last shown on ITV this April...
and, after appearing in god-awful knock-offs of both "Mad
About You", and "The Larry Sanders Show", Tracy-Ann Oberman
completes the set with "one-off" (read: uncommissioned pilot)
newsroom spoof THE WAY IT IS (11.35pm, Thu, BBC1) - hey, if
Hat Trick aren't going to make any more episodes of "Drop The
Dead Donkey", why shouldn't someone else?...
FILM>> It's "Das Boot" - but on a boat! - as Mark "-y Mark"
Wahlberg re-teams with his "Three Kings" pal George Clooney
and his "Boogie Nights" sidekick in Wolfgang "Air Force One"
Petersen's air-sea-rescue weather-porn THE PERFECT STORM
(http://www.capalert.com : graphic scenery of gutting and
butchering fish; coldness at a man's death; adult woman in
short nightwear; talk of intercourse with aftermath imagery;
suggestion of psychic communication; tattoos) - blistering
Twister-style CGI f/x eventually triumph over salty Captain
Birds-Eye stereotypes and a Disney-alike score from James
"Titanic" Horner... Stephen "The Usual Suspects" Baldwin ends
fevered speculation on the "Flintstones" fan sites over who'd
play "Young Barney Rubble" (before he turned to the dark side
and his eyes became tiny black dots) in live-action slapstick
stage-setter VIVA ROCK VEGAS (imdb: modern-stone-age-humor /
love / prequel / rich-poor / rivalry / romantic-rivalry /
based-on-cartoon / casino / flintstones / frame-up)... and
never mind life "After Earth", there wasn't any future for
20th Century Fox's in-house animation dept after Don "Dragon's
Lair" Bluth's sci-fi toon flop TITAN AE (http://www.cndb.com:
"Matt Damon - provides the voice for Cale, a cute guy with a
very buff body... we briefly see [on two occasions] his bare
butt") - extensively trailed on TV with the incongruous poster
quote "Titan AE *is* Star Wars", from otherwise respected US
mag Entertainment Weekly. Handily, EW have just ditched all
that Time-Warner Pathfinder crap and made all their back
issues searchable on-line, meaning you can swiftly establish
http://www.ew.com/ew/review/0,1683,1363,00.html that the full
quote was in fact "Titan AE is Star Wars - pulped and mashed
into flavorless kiddie corn"...
CONFECTIONERY THEORY>> no major upheavals at the moment,
though reader DERYCK RAWLINGS took the no-prize for first
confirmed sighting of CADBURY'S SHUSH (15p), describing his
reaction as "disappointed - hardly a Milky Way killer. The
fact that you can now get different flavoured Milky Ways (the
strawberry ones rule!) just shows that Mr Cadbury has been
asleep at the wheel." Del further advises sensation-seeking
Bristolians that "new confectionary always shows up at the
newsagent around the corner from Redcliff Street, next to the
1 Redcliff Street Building and the CompuServe Call Centre"...
so thanks again to our friends at http://www.cybercandy.co.uk/
for enabling us to extensively sample their range of US and
Australian exotica - pausing only to note the irony that
Cinammon and Wintergreen Altoids (UKP2.35/tin) are actually
made in the UK, but not sold here, unless they've been
exported to the US then re-imported again... standouts from
the Aussie selection were, as ever, the indigenous chocolate
bars, despite an alarming enthusiasm for making them out of
malted milk powders, as in the surprisingly palatable
compressed Ovaltine-tablets OVALTEENIES (45p/packet), and the
almost unpleasantly raw-cocoa-effect MILO BAR (UKP1.29)... our
top three: the solid-chocolate FREDDO (49p) - with biscuit
bits inside!; the Finger-Of-Fudge-meets-Dairy-Crunch titling
triumph CHOKITO (UKP1.29) - less novelty, but more substance
than the POLLY WAFFLE's "Choc-coated marshmallow filled wafer"
(UKP1.10); and, Bar Of The Month, the NESTLE VIOLET CRUMBLE
(UKP1.29), a giant-sized Crunchie with smaller air-bubbles and
the slogan "It's The Way It Shatters That Matters"... also
available from the same source, an international selection of
the latest in "extreme candies", from the US's semi-sour WONKA
"Feel the *Power*" SHOCK TARTS (78p/pack) to Australia's super-
hot WARHEADS (7p each, various flavours), rivalled only by two
(unintentionally?) hard-to-swallow down-under variants of LIFE
SAVERS, as immortalised in Paul Lukas' superb "Inconspicuous
Consumption" book http://www.core77.com/inconspicuous/ :
Citrus-Polo-alike "Thirst" flavour ("makes a flavour out of an
*abstract condition*... suggests a whole series: Hunger,
Restlessness, Drowsiness, Pain, Indifference"), and the
perfumed, justly notorious "Musk" - Lukas again: "Initial
sensation is extremely sweet... soon gives way to... raw meat"
- a flavour which then "repeats" on you for up to several
hours, the perfect reminder of the original unpleasantness...
>> 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 "Want Be the cause of Be certain!"
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