_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk>
| \ | |_ _| |/ / _ __ __2002-02-08_ o join! mail an empty message to
| \| | | | | ' / | '_ \ / _ \ \ /\ / / o firstname.lastname@example.org
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|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "...the brand-name purveyors of American food, fashion and
entertainment have never had it so good. Hardly a city on the
planet is without McDonald's and CNN and Levi's and MTV. American
films are omnipresent and in some markets dominant, accounting for
nearly three quarters of movie admissions in Western Europe. Who
Wants To Be A Millionaire is a hit in several Asian countries."
"The Ever-Expanding Profit-Maximizing
Cultural-Imperialist, Wonderful World of Disney"
- WIRED 10.02, pp.72
... Millionaire comes from the US? Is that your *final answer*, Wired?
Or would you like to call a friend?
>> HARD NEWS <<
etat des .coops
Cambridge cryptomancer ROSS ANDERSON continues to be
citizen-most-likely-to-be-classed-a-munition, as he blows
the (and his) lid off a classy new bit of UK legislation.
The EXPORT CONTROL BILL 2002, Anderson notes, allows the
government to proactively prohibit any "transfer of
technology" between British people and dirty foreigners.
"Technology" here means intangibles like encryption
algorithms, and reverse-engineering techniques. "Transfer"
here includes teaching or publishing in peer-reviewed
journals. Or speaking loudly to people who might know
foreigners. (Oh, and the government can also ban any talk of
DSPs, spread spectrum devices, parallel programming and the
crazy monkey magic inside 3D graphics cards that have a
"three dimensional vector rate of over 3,000,000"). Those
who remember when the only way of exporting crypto out of
the US was by tattooing it onto your arm will recognise some
of these provisions: nice to see us finally catching up.
Especially since the US relaxed those embarrassing crypto
regulations last year, when it became obvious how flawed
they were. Takes time for that sort of common-sense to leak
out of any country though. Careless talk and all that.
- shhh! parliament at work
Not to be left out, the EU of course has its own answer to the
USA's ever-popular Digital Millennium Copyright Act - THE
EUROPEAN UNION COPYRIGHT DIRECTIVE. The former-Free-Sklyarov
guys (now called "the Campaign for Digital Rights") are
currently gathering a fellowship of dissenters to try and toss
some of its more extreme sanctions back into Mount Doom, and
are holding their first public planning meeting in Cambridge
in a couple of weeks' time (Sat 2002-02-23). No confirmed
venue so far, but that's because you haven't RSVPd yet (to
email@example.com ) so they'll know how many people
are coming. Full details will be in next week's issue, so if
you're a reverse-engineer, an activist, a librarian, an ISP,
or just generally concerned about the dark shroud of copy
protection spreading across the once-carefree internet, then
it should definitely be a fun day out.
- now comes with its very own DMCA-style "Takedown Clause"
Oh, just what the world needs: another unmanageable top
level domain. Enter ".coop": ICANN's token nod to the Left
and exclusive TLD for the co-operative movement. And one of
the first customers for the freshly besuited registrars, the
comrades at POPTEL? Why 2600 Magazine, those crazed
hackeratchiks and preemptive owners of such classic DNS
mindgames as verizonsucks.com, and fuckgeneralmotors.com.
Amazingly, it transpires that the co-operative movement
isn't too keen to associate themselves with such types,
Battle for Seattle or no. Except; wait. Can POPTEL
legitimately refuse? The criteria for the new TLD, as listed
on the NIC's About page, seems strict - but includes
organisations "that are committed to the 'seven cooperative
principles'". Which, a quick ruffle through the charmingly
Swiss International Coop Alliance website shows, is about as
holey as the co-located cheese. According to this,
practically anything a bit hippyish and organised via the
Net gets through: any open source project, bloody
kuro5hin.org, a good bit of USENET, probably us. And almost
definitely 2600. First one to get foo.coop wins!
- the real winners: whoever's "escrowing" the registration cash
- so who's the treasurer, kids?
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
UKP44,000 jewellery generously throws in ribbon "free of
... BBC NEWS ONLINE fears nightmarish 1984-themed bouncy
castle: http://www.ntk.net/2002/02/08/dohbro.png ... getting
WIDDY wid' it: http://www.ntk.net/2002/02/08/dohcat.png ... we
could try looking down the back of the sofa again, I suppose:
http://uk.news.yahoo.com/020203/80/crhyh.html ... will I be
forced to repeat myself here?: http://www.poptel.org.uk/scgn/
... wow - just look how fast this new NVIDIA chip "blits":
http://www.ntk.net/2002/02/08/dohnv.gif ... where JESUS JONES
"are now": http://www.sxsw.com/music/0festival/bands/ ...
http://www.theonion.com/onion2816/vowels2816.html ... banner
adversity: http://www.ntk.net/2002/02/08/dohorac.png ... why
not impress your prestigious clients with a clearly unfinished
page design?: http://www.australia.org.uk/home/html/ ,
http://webdesign.freezone.co.uk/ ... most disturbing "doh" of
the year: http://www.ntk.net/2002/02/08/dohinnis.jpg vs
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
In a slightly more brutal commemoration of the fact that we're
all just mindless automatons driven by genetically
predetermined instinct honed by the merciless rigours of
natural selection, Tue 2002-02-12 is of course DARWIN DAY,
internationally celebrated by "with it" biology teachers
dressing up and taking questions as the great man
(increasingly regarded to have been at least as influential in
his time as Richard Dawkins is today). The occasion seems
particularly popular in the US where, we understand, Darwin's
theories are now regarded with merely suspicion, not fear,
though you can't help wonder what kind of message they're
sending with events like the "Darwin look-alike contest"
(Ennis High School, Texas), and the University of Louisiana's
showing of the notoriously Lamarckian David Duchovny comedy
- guest of honour: the dolphin from Seaquest DSV
- a heart, stuffed with chips? is this a health warning?
- oh god, awards season again: http://gbloggies.blogspot.com/http://www.cucs.ucam.org/
- on Wed: that talk he did at Strange Attractor that time
>> TRACKING <<
sufficiently advanced technology : the gathering
MIRC, Britain's most popular software export (yes that is a
made up fact - but sounds likely, doesn't it?) hit the big
6.0 this week. Unfortunately, it's one of those slightly
dull integer version upgrades involving an invisible rewrite
of the Windows IRC client to remove krufty 16 bit code, some
epic struggles with fairly pressing bugs, and heavy code
mincing to include multi-server sessions. For users, perhaps
a disappointing end to the long wait. Still, worth getting
if only for its reassuring Class of '95 interface, and to
prevent the 1337 taking advantage of the <v5.9 exploits that
even the freaking BBC know about.
- "People who like to talk on the internet"
- *** You were kicked by CrackMonkey (No mIRC users allowed)
- but you have no "emotisounds", old man!
- "while I am a BitchX user, and look down on them both"
>> MEMEPOOL <<
ceci n'est pas une http://www.gagpipe.com/ newspapers exploring new online/offline content paradigms:
http://www.weeklyworldnews.com/ ... the force is strong in
ENRON: http://www.startribune.com/stories/804/1402822.html ...
yeah, right - like we don't all have a drawer full of these:
http://rs.snoochdesigns.com/rejection.jpg ... looking forward
to the inevitable http://www.b3ta.com/ animation already:
http://www.datagenics.com/n/html/shutup.htm ... look-likey of
the week: it's Johnny Vaughan crossed with Stelios Easyjet!:
... top-posting perverts make sick bid for respectability:
... must be a bit dull playing it on a flat surface, surely?:
... .asp programmers flaunt sophisticated sense of humour:
http://www.teamfishcake.co.uk/royle/ ... "What kind of woman
doesn't get wet when she sees a good-looking man [...] typing
software code at light-speed with 10 different windows open,
including the debugger?", ponders white separatists' guide to
dating: http://www.vanguardnewsnetwork.com/index192.htm ...
say it with DESPAIR: http://www.despair.com/bittersweets.html
- or live crustaceans: http://www.lobsteranywhere.com/ ...
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
get out less
TV>> the aptly named Jim Hacker attempts "to have privacy
safeguards implemented for the new national computer database"
in a still-topical 1980 episode of YES, MINISTER (8.30pm, Sat,
BBC2)... we found ourselves rooting for the NSA geeks in
flashy Will Smith technoparanoia chase flick ENEMY OF THE
STATE (9.15pm, Sat, BBC1)... and if that guy off POP IDOL LIVE
FINAL (7.10pm, Sat, ITV) doesn't stammer when he sings, why
doesn't he just sing everything he says, like he was in a
musical or something?... disaster docu ACCIDENTS IN SPACE
(11pm, Sun, BBC2) probably isn't intended to refer to
insufficiently advanced Arthur C Clarke adaptation TRAPPED IN
SPACE (11.50pm, Sun, BBC1), nor comic-book Bruce Willis stunt-
casting space-opera THE FIFTH ELEMENT (10pm, Sun, C4)... the
uncredited Jon Lovitz is the funniest thing in Sandler/
Barrymore nostalgia-bash THE WEDDING SINGER (8.30pm, Mon,
BBC1)... the start of half-term coincides with two new digital
kids' channels, CBBC (formerly UK Play) and CBEEBIES (formerly
BBC Choice), plus - presumably unintentionally - the postponed
DOUBLE LIFE OF JONATHAN KING (10pm, Mon, C4)... while Graham
Hancock continues probing the FLOODED KINGDOMS OF THE ICE AGE
(9pm, Mon, C4) - can't wait for his show about the Face on
... Tue sees a two-way head-to-head trenchcoat shootout
between Schwarzenegger classic THE TERMINATOR (10.30pm, Tue,
ITV) and DiCaprio's THE BASKETBALL DIARIES (12.05am, Tue, C4),
followed by HG Wells short story fantasy THE MAN WHO COULD
WORK MIRACLES (2am, Tue, C4)... ok, we'll shut up about the
Tarantino cameo monologue in SLEEP WITH ME (3.20am, Wed, C4)
... then it's ratings gimmick night on Wed, as HORIZON (9pm,
Thu, BBC2) looks at parallel universes, TROUBLE AT THE TOP
(9.50pm, Thu, BBC2) blames management shortcomings for the
downfall of "Rock Profiles" favourites Bucks Fizz, yet BUFFY
THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: THE MUSICAL (8pm, Thu, Sky1) turns out to
be better than you'd ever dared hope for...
FILM>> "he scares, because he cares" - but that's enough about
Johnny Depp/ Heather Graham cor-blimey Victorian Silence-Of-
The-Lambs Alan-Moore-adaptation Jack-the-Ripper-romp FROM HELL
(http://www.capalert.com/capreports/fromhell.htm : knife
murders, repeatedly)... because Pixar CGI-fest MONSTERS INC
doesn't just reflect the new "Trekkian Idealism" in kids'
entertainment - http://www.hollywoodjesus.com/monster_inc.htm
- it's also packed full of pixel-perfect details like the kid
not having a speaking part, a genius closing shot, and there's
even a couple of references to other movies every now and
again ( http://uk.imdb.com/Trivia?0198781: the last half of
Chuck Jones' 1952 classic Feed the Kitty (1952 short) cartoon
is included scene-for-scene when Sulley thinks that Boo has
been thrown in the trash compactor; this is the fourth movie
to feature both John Goodman and Steve Buscemi and is the
first of the four not to be directed and produced by Joel Coen
and Ethan Coen)...
CONFECTIONERY THEORY>> when we saw him in a pub this week,
comedian MILTON JONES was philosophical about the new REVELS
- loads of people wrote to The Guardian saying he'd being
doing the "Russian roulette" idea for years, though obviously
Mars have ditched the life-threatening peanut allergy aspect
... sorry, LAURA JAMES, but Pfizer have "no immediate plans"
for a UK launch of the breath-freshening LISTERINE POCKETPAKS
(US$1.49) which you say you enjoyed at last year's CES, and
evocatively describe as "little strips of green cellophane-
type material", which "dissolved on the tongue into a strong,
minty haze": http://www.prodhelp.com/oral_care17.shtml ...
you'll have to make do with the unsettling oral experience of
NESTLE'S "MONSTERS INC" MIKE'S BURSTING EYES (32p/packet) -
"Eyeball Shaped Gums With A Liquid Centre" - though we thought
they'd benefit from a Fruit-Pastille-style sour-sugar frosting
... over in savouries, BURGER KING are taking advantage of
McDONALD'S new-product lull with their bizarre yet pleasant
CHICKEN KORMA WRAP (from UKP2.49), BK JALFREZI DOUBLE (from
2.49), and ONION BHAJI RINGS (99p) - "made with real Indian
spices", apparently, which certainly assuages our doubts about
their being just ordinary BK products with a different sauce
on them. BIRDS EYE hope to save their "ailing" ENJOY! frozen
meals http://www.ntk.net/index.cgi?b=02001-02-09&l=270#l with
3 new varieties: "Sweet Chilli Chicken with Szechwan Noodles",
"Tandoori Chicken Biryani" and "Vegetable Biryani", while the
ongoing ingratiation of PepsiCo-owned WALKERS into the UK
snack market continues with Marmite and Cheese-and-Branston-
Pickle flavoured crisps, plus Bacon and Cheese-and-Bacon
flavoured CORN FOOTBALLS (27p/packet)... as ever, we await
your sightings of: SUN-PAT PEANUT BUTTER FLAVOUR MARYLAND
COOKIES, FOX'S COOKIE POPPETS, NESTLE LITTLE ROLOS (32p),
TWIXELS Twix fingers (99p box of 24), TERRY'S CHOCOLATE ORANGE
EGG & SPOON (UKP1.99), the CADBURY'S CREME EGG ICE-CREAM CONE
(only in supermarkets, UKP2.49 for pack of 4) and, perhaps
most intriguingly of all, WRIGLEY'S X-CITE "pearls" of gum
(49p) - available in "Rush" and "Delight" mint flavours, the
intensity of which can be controlled by how many you put in
your mouth at once, and thus appealing to "adventurous 16 to
34 year-olds looking for new experiences". Keep looking, kids.
>> 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
"Surprisingly Full of WeWe"
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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