"We will firewall Napster at source - we will block it at your
cable company, we will block it at your phone company, we will
block it at your [Internet-service provider]. We will firewall
it at your PC."
- "We will never surrender", promises SONY PICTURES Senior VP
( http://www.uwiretoday.com/computing081700001.html )
...those PS2 "Trojan Horse" claims more worrying than we thought
>> HARD NEWS <<
open to abuse
While roughly similar in actual physical dimensions, the real
difference with a Mini-NTK is that we don't put as much effort
into checking if the stories are actually true or not. So, for
instance, wouldn't it be funny if BBC ONLINE really was "about
to sign a deal" (as our source believes) for a customised
version of the amusingly named ICQ-based chat/warez client
POST-@ ? Post-@'s site promises "Expected" compatibility with
AOL, Yahoo and MSN IM networks (and we know how keen they all
are on that), plus a "Find files" facility that lets you
"Search for files that other users have made public" -
typically, your pre-existing "My Music" directory. After all,
BBC radio has long pioneered its own CD-"sharing" protocol
(permitting listeners to record streaming FM audio, often
encouraging them to "request" specific tracks from a central
server) - the last thing they want are upstarts like Napster
coming along and stealing that entire market.
- they've both got a commitment to public service broadcasting
- cash that could have been spent on more UKP100 TV shows!
Dotcoms? We remember when this were all .nets and .orgs as
far as the eye could see. Well, those imagined halcyon days
returned briefly this week when a faulty update from NSI
caused four of the net's root-servers to forget that .com ever
existed - again [NTK 2000-08-04, NTK 1997-07-18]. Looks like
the transition to gtld-servers.net isn't going quite as
smoothly as you might expect. So with all the bad publicity,
maybe now wouldn't be the best time to announce changes to the
whole damn system - or would it? NSI have just announced a
trial of a multilingual unicode-based domain system, hired
from root-zone "competitors" i-DNS. What with all the ranting
ICANN conspiracies (or ICANN-spiracies, if you will) of the
post-Postel net, we've forgotten who we trust least.
- grab the amusing reverse encodings while you still can
- low interest blamed on lack of ugly, drunken dwarves
And what "slow news week" would be complete without another
exotic AMAZON loophole? Amazon.co.uk are currently selling the
top 5 CD singles for UKP1.99, which wouldn't be *that*
exciting, except that the delivery charge on 2 CDs is a mere
UKP1.77 + VAT (UKP2.08), bringing your grand total to UKP6.06.
Combine this with the fact that, thanks to the way they deal
with VAT, an Amazon UKP5 gift voucher [see NTKs 2000-06-23 &
30] is, apparently, worth UKP5.88 against anything which is
not a book (ie which includes VAT in its price), and you're
looking at 2 CD singles for just 9 pence each! As with the
previous "Wilbur Smith"-based scheme, the obvious flaw is the
assumption that you'd be prepared to spend 18p on (at time of
writing) two of: "Out Of Your Mind", "If This Ain't Love",
"Rock DJ", "Music" or "I Turn To You" - though, of course, you
can always send them to a friend, get another UKP5 voucher for
yourself, and repeat the whole process ad infinitum.
- hey, they haven't kicked us off their referral scheme yet
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
ALTAVISTA withdraws never-launched "free calls ISP", blames
exactly the same market conditions that existed 6 months ago:
GUARDIAN 2000-08-21's "Bluff Your Way Through Any New Media
Conversation" guide contains curious references to "DoA
(Denial of Access)" attacks, "Out of the box (thinking):
analysts who need to get out more", and "The Need To Know
network, a groovily retro HTML site for insiders: www.ntk.com"
... TIMES INTERFACE acquires a "debugged" Playstation 2 which,
bafflingly, uses Japanese convention of "O" for Yes, "X" for
... "Based on feedback from British Airways, CONCORDE flight
dynamics at lower speeds have been enhanced" euphemises
... DREAMCAST to hit UKP149 in Sep... estate agents strangely
aroused when you move pointer over "Enquiry Form" button:
http://www.pearsons.com ... STEVIE WONDER fans facing wait of
11 years: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00004TA39/
... usual, perhaps excessive honesty from BIG BROTHER site:
>> TRACKING <<
sufficiently advanced technology : the gathering
Most of the publicity opportunities leading up to the launch
of KEVIN WARWICK's new book - "QI: The Quest For Intelligence"
- have now passed without incident, no doubt partly thanks to
community robotics monitoring group KEVIN WARWICK WATCH, who
remained at "full readiness" during the entire period. The
book itself can only be described as "reassuringly bonkers",
and spends most of its time recounting amazing feats of
intelligence from the animal kingdom, to demonstrate how it's
possible to be smart without being any good at IQ tests. In
which case, Warwick concludes, how do we know that robots
aren't already cleverer than us - just in ways that we don't
readily appreciate, with our all-too human biases favouring
(say) the ability to fend for yourself, to effectively
recognise a wide range of real-world objects, and/or move
unassisted across a variety of terrains? Nice big writing,
too, offering perhaps a hint of the professor's next target
audience: the larval geeks of THE ROYAL INSTITUTION CHRISTMAS
LECTURES (from 2000-12-14) which, with their usual emphasis on
practical demonstrations, will hopefully feature several
youngsters receiving live neuro-electrical implants, all the
better to receive his wordless instructions to "rise up"
against their fleshy human masters.
- sorry, still processing the backlog of old sightings
- "Science fiction gives us ideas". No kidding, Kevin...
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
ELIZA software out-smarts AOL chat users (if you only read
one, read "five"): http://fury.com/aoliza/ ... elitism-free
NATHAN-only HOTMAIL clone http://184.108.40.206/~ro/faq/
accidentally reveals "Society"-style hideous, extendable,
grasping arm: http://220.127.116.11/~ro/about/poster.html ...
nothing sacred any more - TVGOHOME guy diversifies into
symbiotic Radio Times parasite THE INNOVATIONS CATALOGUE:
http://www.zeppotron.com/unnovations/ (and asks "please stop
mailing me http://www.trollied.com/scooter.jpg ")... DANCING
STAGE makes kids imitate Carlton from Fresh Prince Of Bel Air:
... MS gives over-literal answer to "What's your handicap?":
... famed POWER OF GRAYSKULL hasn't faded as much you'd expect:
http://www.he-man.org/fun_stuff/grayskull_tour/ ... GOD vs OPEN
SOURCE: http://www.thedailybread.net/users/cudi/main.html ...
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
the less sold-out www.tvgohome.com
TV>> the BBC begins its Bank Holiday bonanza with Rik Mayall,
Jane "Tesco Ad" Horrocks and Danny Aiello - together at last!
- in the notoriously poor BRING ME THE HEAD OF MAVIS DAVIS
(10.20pm, Fri, BBC1) - we'd rather they Televised Mayall's
Quad-Bike Head Injuries... C5 wheels out another of its "Sci-
Fi Weekends", with Christopher "Nigel Tufnel" Guest's
misfiring remake ATTACK OF THE 50FT WOMAN (12.50am, Sat, C5),
and a Gerry Anderson-a-thon incorporating old SPACE: 1999
(12.40pm, Sun), JOE 90 (1.40pm, Sun), and STINGRAY (4.50pm,
Sun)... up against, presumably, the "You're about to see some
serious *stuff*" version of the first BACK TO THE FUTURE (1pm,
Sun, BBC1) film, plus a bumper bunch of overrated sci-fi
spoofs: THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (9.55pm, Sat, BBC2),
David Cronenberg's SHIVERS: THE PARASITE MURDERS (11.30pm,
Sat, BBC2), and Duran Duran-inspiring '60s soft-porn yawn
BARBARELLA (11.55pm, Mon, BBC1)... bracketing these treats are
a deja-vu-ish batch of semi-recent repeats, including Carrie-
Anne "The Matrix" Moss shoot-em-up SABOTAGE (9pm, Sat, C5),
last shown September 1999; Christopher "Back To The Future"
Lloyd's summer-camp comedy CAMP NOWHERE (10.35pm, Tue, ITV),
last shown December 1997; comedy-free "Groundhog Day"-alike
12:01 (1.45pm, Tue, C4), last shown August 1998; and HORIZON's
"New Asteroid Danger" (9pm, Tue, BBC2) - well, maybe it was
"New" when it was last shown in March 1999... genuine
novelties include Heinz Wolff applying a little Germanic
scientific rigour to his reports from the NOTTING HILL
CARNIVAL (11.20pm, Mon, BBC2)... plus, inexplicably, a double
tribute to CHARLES BRONSON: BRITAIN'S MOST DANGEROUS PRISONER
(9pm, Thu, C4), and the rather less judgemental CHARLES
BRONSON: BRITAIN'S HARDEST MAN (10.55pm, Tue, C5)...
FILM>> "not a particularly good Jackie Chan film, but not a
bad Owen Wilson one" is the verdict on sub-Rush-Hour kung-fu
comedy Western SHANGHAI NOON (http://www.capalert.com :
urination in public; two men in bath tubs; sex "kittens";
pictograph of animal intercourse) - oddly, it doesn't feature
the really big train explosion that's in the trailer, though
there's a hint of the BBFC relaxing their famed anti-nunchuks
... otherwise it's "battle of the post-modern teen slashers"
with Joshua "Dawson's Creek" Jackson's bad-meme-rising GOSSIP
(http://www.screenit.com : NORMAN REEDUS plays their other
roommate, a multimedia artist who similarly goes along with
the gossip plan, smokes, and drinks to the point of passing
out)... and an intriguing reversal of Joe-Bob Briggs'
"everyone who has sex must die" rule in the virgin-murdering
CHERRY FALLS (imdb trivia: cuts include graphic sexual
activity during the climactic orgy sequence and the death of a
character named Annette - supposedly the longest in horror
movie history)... and no killings - though you may find
yourself wishing for some - in Robert Carlyle/ Ray Winstone/
Gina "Brass Eye" McKee's kids' footie fantasy THERE'S ONLY ONE
JIMMY GRIMBLE (http://www.bbfc.co.uk/ : passed '12' for
moderate violence and sex references)...
>> 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
"the bar in Blackpool that looks like a Photoshop fake, but isn't"
NEED TO KNOW
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