_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk>
| \ | |_ _| |/ / _ __ __2000-12-01_ o join! mail an empty message to
| \| | | | | ' / | '_ \ / _ \ \ /\ / / o firstname.lastname@example.org
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|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "And how filthy is the display going to be in about a week?
That poor son-of-a-HAL will be all covered with Frito grease..."
- so-called "experts" dismiss touch-screen-based supercomputer AI
( http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,40398-2,00.html )
...though then again, a greasy viewscreen might stop him
lipreading his human masters through the space-pod window
>> HARD NEWS <<
Intended for the 6pm "Robot Wars" slot, touted by many as the
last, best hope for mainstream TV videogaming, BBC2's BLEEDING
THUMBS has, finally, haemorrhaged into oblivion - though,
admittedly, life-signs had been ebbing for some time (viz:
regular email press releases from London's Playing Fields
enthusiastically relating how many pilots they were making).
Some blame over-ambitious technical requirements (a CGI host
called "Spank The Monkey"); some say it wasn't "televisual
enough" (one treatment we saw promised Unreal Tournament
deathmatches in real-world levels - "eg an Albert Square
mission to frag as many Ian Beale-bots as possible, or perhaps
a giant Dale Winton") - but we're tempted to blame the current
"Curse Of Videogame TV Shows With The Word 'Thumb' In Them".
Also residing in off-air limbo is Channel4's hour-long
videogame history THUMB CANDY, which EDGE reported was due
"in October" but which dropped from the schedules in events
perhaps not unconnected with presenter Iain Lee's last-minute
disappearance from The 11 O'Clock Show. Unlike Bleeding
Thumbs, Thumb Candy still seems likely to eventually see the
light of day - and deservedly so, as it apparently consists of
Lee asking, say, the inventor of Space Invaders: "It would be
great honour for humble Westerner to play wise videogame
creator". Then he beats him, and yells: "Skills! This makes me
the best Space Invaders player ever! You're shit!"
- Sky's "Blam!" technically classed "as an ad"
Heavy breathing and shudders from the new media wing of
EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS, who've just been told by their new
Northern & Shell pornmeisters to "make the sites profitable,
or be shut down". An understandable - if fantasy-laden -
request from moguls of a sector that has traditionally done
rather well online. So, will we see a swift slide in Express
sites towards XXX photos and interactive Flash goatsex? Not
too easy - especially as the most successful and soft-porn
friendly of the Express Digital Media sites, the Daily
Star's MEGASTAR.CO.UK, was inexplicably left out of the
deal, and remains in Clive Hollick's own hairy palms. Given
that Megastar is principally a repackaging of the divested
Star's content (with even fewer words and more breasts),
what does Hollick have in mind? A reverse foray into the
porn business for United News & Media? A swift flogging of the URL
to Richard Desmond's even seedier competitors? Or a foreplay
sweetmeat for whoever's dumb enough to snap up LineOne, the
next overvalued UM Net asset to go up on ebay?
- ooh! ah! ... umm!
- well, they could start by charging UN&M for all those ads
- Apache directories: naked and unashamed!
- unexpected "front end" for signup.cix.co.uk
A day without Weblogs, huh? Well, given that most of our
subscribers are too lazy-busy to do Weblogs anyway (and NTK
is not a "blog". We are a "Telegraphic Gentleman's Weekly"),
we thought we'd celebrate a year's political inaction by
doing something visibly worthy instead. So, for those of you
who continue to pester about the lack of updates to STAND
post-RIP, allow us to invite you to the pre-launch of
FAXYOURMP.COM. It's the best bit of STAND - the automatic
Web-to-MP gateway - cunningly refactored so as to be of use
to any pressure group that wants its members to contact
their MP easily, or just for the everyday punter who wants
to reach that elusive representative. We'll run it at beta
for a week, then send out the press releases, so by all means
have a go at berating your MP on software patents, CCTV
proliferation, the poor accessibility of warez sites - and,
heck, why not, asking how they're celebrating World AIDS
day. It's probably the least you - and we - could do.
- corrections and patches to email@example.com, pls
- rather than just usual outages at blogger, groksoup, port5.com
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
"BRITISH ASSOCIATION OF WEB PROFESSIONALS" hacked last Thu:
- still down: http://www.bawp.co.uk/ ... RAILTRACK making up
lost time somehow: http://www.ntk.net/2000/12/01/dohrail.jpg
... free cars from http://www.yourautochoice.com/ : '1.4I 3
DOOR [AC]' option for HONDA CIVIC reduces price by UKP11,184
... BRAIN OF BRITAIN finalists didn't know "Who created the
World Wide Web?"; answers included "Bill Gates" and "Martin
Lambie-Nairn", creator of "Spitting Image"... shame of the
GAMES BOSS homepages: http://www.jezsan.com ... *very* RETRO:
http://www.ntk.net/2000/12/01/dohweez.gif ... Nooooo! They've
registered bananana.com, banananana.com, bananananana.com -
the *three most common* iterative misspellings of "banana"...
"Hang on - this doesn't look like the FURBY HAPPY MEAL I asked
for": http://dailypress.com/news/stories/87795sy0.htm ... cry
for HELP: http://www.ntk.net/2000/12/01/dohinject.gif ...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Numerous "surprises" appear to be in store at PRIVACY
INTERNATIONAL's UK BIG BROTHER AWARDS (7:15pm, London School
of Economics, 2000-12-04), not least of which was our invite
saying "Your names will be at the door" when we hadn't
actually told them who we were. Oh well, maybe you get the
chance to turn in your "plus one" instead. Annoyingly, it
clashes with one of the most oddly-billed events of the year,
the BRAVE YOUNG GUNSLINGERS business skills workshop being
held at the equally brilliantly named INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS
HEADQUARTERS (6.30pm, Portland Place, London, UKP3 - includes
"refreshments and buzzwords"). The email we were forwarded
about this makes several remarkable claims about techniques
for "developing decicivenes [sic] and creativity", with "over
UKP200 worth of Institute of Physics Publishing books" to be
won by "the most striking performances", but sadly no mention
of actual shoot-outs involving supercolliders and railguns.
- based on George Orwell's totalitarian classic, natch...
- ...rather than the recent prole-pacifying TV show
- Q*Bert's post-videogame movie career shaping up nicely too
>> TRACKING <<
sufficiently advanced technology : the gathering
SPAM MIMIC is a simple CGI that takes your "activate sleeper
agent"-style short message, and converts it to the robotic
gibberings of your average unsolicited commercial mail. And
what, patient reader, is the point of that? Consider: what
better way to pass a note unnoticed across the networks than
to hide it in the background noise of spam? Additionally,
you can protect the identity of your true recipient by
mass-mailing it to thousands without suspicion. My God, what
are we saying? Beliefs about popular cryptography and
bulk-email preconceptions - fighting in our tiny minds!
Cannot process! Dump core!
- there is no secret message concealed in the URL
- this goes for you lot too ('cept we don't have hushmail yet)
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
"I shall become more POWERFUL than you can possibly imagine":
http://www.microsith.com/jedix-myths.php3 ... first result:
http://www.google.com/search?q=tingly ... now, no PEEKING:
http://2shortplanks.com/xmas/ ... new "Invasion Of The
Bodysnatchers"-style WH SMITHS Christmas ads feature Nicholas
Lyndhurst's face on body of a dog... life imitates ONION gravy:
... folk CONNIE fanfic outdated by new AOL price structure:
... original storyboards, handwritten Z80 code for 3D ANT
ATTACK: http://www.sandywhite.fsnet.co.uk/ants/ants.htm ...
"What would the characters in ATTACHMENTS need in order for
them to seriously consider the claims of Jesus Christ?" asks
- already commissioned second series implies "a pact with
Satan"... http://www.semenex.com/ vs http://www.dolphinsex.org/
- but does it get rid of that overwhelming taste of TUNA?...
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
the less rude www.tvgohome.com TV>> Danny "Judge Dredd" Cannon's prototypical '90s Britcrime
caper THE YOUNG AMERICANS (11.05pm, Fri, BBC1) appears to be
based on neither the Kevin Williamson Dawson's Creek spinoff,
nor the David Bowie song of the same name... it's almost as if
they made Glasnost-metaphor STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED
COUNTRY (2.55pm, Sun, BBC2) specifically to preserve the "even
numbers good, odd numbers bad" mythology... and it's Dr David
Banner vs The Mighty Thor in THE INCREDIBLE HULK RETURNS
(5.10pm, Sun, C5)... Sky1 launches its BABES IN SPACE (9pm,
Mon & Wed) strand with a saucy Deanna Troi episode of TNG...
terrestrial-dwellers must make do with wild fossil-record
suppositions about the NEANDERTHAL (9pm, Mon, C4) plus semi-
primitive rock-video gothfest THE CROW (10pm, Mon, C4)...
while Dudley Moore makes his last public appearance before
dying of a terminal neurodegenerative disease on OMNIBUS
(10.35pm, Mon, BBC1) - unless, of course, this turns out to be
an unusually cruel Peter Cook prank... C5 accidentally show a
nudity-free documentary in the form of intriguing identity-
theft exploration ID (8pm, Tue)... Mulder and Scully team up
with Millennium's Frank Black in a crossover X FILES (9pm,
Wed, BBC2)... and some guy tries to make a profit by betting
12 grand in pioneering new programme-finance model THE GAMBLER
(10.35pm, Wed, C4) - his first "gamble" being getting child-
genius composer Daniel Pemberton to do the theme tune...
FILM>> incredibly, it's *even lamer* than this year's "Mission
To Mars", but big-screen sci-fi special effects and mild
Carrie-Anne "The Matrix" Moss nudity may nonetheless justify a
trip to the RED PLANET (http://www.cndb.com : Carrie-Anne's
character takes a shower [...] There's a shot of her full-
length showing her great body, including her butt [...] A nice
closer shot of her from the back left side showing most of her
upper torso. Large breasts but no obvious nipple seen)...
Woody Allen returns to some kind of erratic form in SMALL TIME
: planning crimes; illegal purchase of dynamite; development
of immoral relationships; monologue of sexual matters; picture
nudity)... the "Urban Legend" franchise goes all self-
referential on anyone who still cares in URBAN LEGEND 2: THE
FINAL CUT (imdb: film-in-film/ murder/ axe/ sequel/ teenkill/
urban-legend)... and "Another Fond Childhood Memory Destroyed"
is the Onion's verdict on Jim Carrey's very own "Battlefield:
Earth", complex Fight-Club-style corporatisation critique THE
GRINCH (http://www.capalert.com/capreports/howthegrinch.htm :
long series of rudeness; eating a glass bottle; eating a live
bat; yelling hatefully at a child by an authority figure;
sensuous outfit on a woman; an outfit revealing the details of
the Grinch's posterior; I know it seems like a h-u-g-e leap
from How The Grinch Stole Christmas to Columbine, but is it
BUY ONE, SUBVERT THE MASS MEDIA, GET ONE FREE>> and the winner
of the first proper round of our ongoing "Drily Ironic T-shirt
Competition" is, you've guessed it, that guy called "Bruce"
for his: I GOT UKP80MILLION IN VENTURE CAPITAL FOR MY .COM
IDEA - AND ALL I HAVE LEFT IS THIS LOUSY T-SHIRT, which now
heads up our full Winter collection at http://www.ntkmart.com .
The judges particularly enjoyed Bruce's repurposing of a
popular slogan; use of a familiar, but not trademarked, font
and colour scheme; and the fact that we could do it as a
single colour print, which works out cheaper. Bruce receives
UKP2 for each shirt sold... also joining the range this week
is our first winner in the category for "4K Graphics Files
(And Under)", which is kind of trickier to describe (oh just
go to the site and have a look), which came from rogue NTK
staffer LEE MAGUIRE, who has generously donated his design
royalty to "fund future T-shirt research". New entries are
continuing to flood in - our favourite so far being "No
Preview Available" from http://www.guru.gg/ntk/tee/ ; time's
running a bit short to get new designs printed and on sale
before Christmas now, but we're going to need a fresh bunch to
launch as our "Spring Collection" next year. We'd especially
like to see some sort of blocky low-res non-copyrighted giant
"Space Invaders" alien, or maybe a Designers Republic spoof...
thanks to everyone who bought a T-shirt last week - if it
hasn't arrived yet, it will do soon; we blame those usual
e-commerce excuses of overwhelming demand, unprecedented
popularity, scalable infrastructure etc (in fact, it's usually
2 days' delivery if it's in stock, or 10 at the most if we
need to print some more). So, to be absolutely sure of
receiving your sarcastic NTK merchandise before Christmas (and
what family gathering would be complete without it?), order
before midnight December 11th to be on the safe side. Do you
really want to risk having to explain to your tearful XL-sized
child, partner, or other family member on Christmas morning
that their NTK T-shirt is still in the print queue at a
Brighton-based nonprofit "providing work opportunities for
those who cannot compete in the open jobs market"? No sir, you
do not... so: what if you've already bought yourself a "Viral
Marketing" T-shirt but now find yourself tempted by the
seductions of our two new designs? Well, you can either buy
another one, you tightwad, or you can take advantage of our
exclusive "Buy One, Subvert The Mass Media, Get One Free"
deal, in which anyone prominently and recognisably displaying
an NTK T-shirt in a national TV programme or print publication
can claim another one, *free of charge* (bonus points for
getting them in Times Interface or Wired). Offer limited to
one shirt per person per appearance; the judges will favour
applications which provide documentary evidence and/or advance
notice of the shirt's appearance (contact NTK directly on this
one by the way - Cybercandy will disavow all knowledge); and,
finally, NTK does not advocate law-breaking or antisocial
behaviour (for a change) - entrants who, for instance, commit
a hideous felony then wear the shirt to the subsequent court
case will be considered to be acting "outside the spirit" of
the contest and disqualified at the judges' discretion...
>> 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
"not a game - but a way of life"
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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