_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk>
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|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "His larger fear is that the best job of his life - writing
for The Spot - is behind him, and his career will be a string
of boring jobs..."
- ZDNET fondly remembers the "good old days"
...and they say there's no justice in the world
>> HARD NEWS <<
LL's not cool
After months deliberating exactly how much illegal content a
newsgroup should have before it's banned [NTK 2000-11-17],
the INTERNET WATCH FOUNDATION has, suddenly, taken a brand
new tack. At a board meeting this week, chair Roger
Darlington cut through the waffle, and proposed that any
newsgroup whose very name *sounded* illicit should be
removed. He refused any debate on this policy, pressed for a
vote, and won.
And so, to celebrate the IWF's fifth birthday, an unknown
set of newsgroups, whose crime is not to harbour illicit
content but merely give the impression they *might*, are
dissappearing from British spools. A little ironic birthday
present for the IWF, an organisation that was founded to
stop a similiar blanket blacklisting by the Metropolitan
police back in 1997. As if by magic, IWF's board members are
disappearing too. Malcolm Hutty, of the Campaign against
Censorship of the Internet in Britain, quit in protest at
the meeting. He joins Demon's representative, Clive Feather,
who resigned in December saying - like Hutty - that he felt
that proper scrutiny was being perceived as unhelpful by the
organisation. Ruth Dixon, the deputy Chief Executive and one
of the original founders, handed her notice this week too.
Left on board are the new IWF: a bloc of child protection
experts (including John Carr, no stranger to NTK readers),
Peter Robbins - a new CEO who is an ex-Met ex-obscene
publications squad copper himself - and a very nervous set
of ISP representatives, facing a coup in their own industry
body. The new IWF, in a rather pointed press release, says
it's seeking to increase its powers, and will be
"repositioning" as "a body which protects children as well
as ISPs". But what did the old IWF do? Its hotline uncovered
thousands of illegal images, and gave the police a valuable
data trail to track their origins - unlike the new system,
whose bans risk simply hiding the traffic elsewhere. And
when the transformation is complete and the newly censorious
IWF considers banning all newsgroups containing the word
"anime" - as one sub-committee proposal suggested, before
Hutty squelched it - who will be around to say no? Who
watches the Watch Foundation these days?
- bulletin board
- John Carr in full flow
- the old IWF takes it slowly
- that resignation note in full
- the even longer story
So what *would* a Usenet tyranny run by distant overlords
who disdainfully smack down their vassal slaves be like,
exactly? Well, look no further than uk.people.gothic. Let's
start again. Such behaviour *is* perfectly acceptable in
u.p.g if performed in moderation in a well-kept village
graveyard, but one recent case has proved to be controversially
non-consensual. Worse, it involves the dreaded intercession
of [thunderclap on soundtrack] the UK.* USENET COMMITTEE.
Seems some yukster noticed that the goths are lacking a
committee-approved newsgroup charter, set about organising a
vote to install one, as required by uk.* Usenet committee
rules. Unfortunately, since uk.people.gothic precedes the
creation of the omnipotent committee by some years,
negotiating whose rules have primacy in the gothosphere
means... well, as usual on Usenet, a massive flamewar. You
might want to check this one out, given that it involves
committee matters of procedure, the genteel senior citizens
of u.p.g. attacking the "young rebellious upstart
newcommers" of the committee, legalistic time-travel, Goth
Rights, and the everpresent unspoken threat of Control, the
uk.* Usenet committee's splendid seven foot high robot
master. It also shows what Usenet governance is *supposed*
to look like. Anarchic, pedantic, transparent and -
ultimately, despite the worries - more consensual than you'd
guess. Or, possibly, can stand.
- the trusty slippers of fair play
We do have a government-mandated weekly limit on headachey
civil liberty stories, so we're going to bounce our eagerly
awaited analysis of the EUCD, Europe's DMCA, until next week.
But don't forget - there's an informal seminar on the EUCD's
legal implications and vulnerabilities, organised by those
Campaign for Digital Rights troublemakers, taking place next
Saturday afternoon 2001-02-23 in Cambridge (to be followed by
a national tour - well, London and Edinburgh, at least). Open
source enthusiasts, music fans, and anyone with an interest in
opposing EU legal directives will be more than welcome -
although, due to the "white hat" nature of the proceedings,
delegates are politely reminded that they should not swap
warez and VCDs - or indeed mod-chip any PlayStations - while
attending the (currently undisclosed) venue.
- please RSVP in advance, specifying favourite real ale
- chipping: the clampdown continues
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
EDS' gardening skills to give Jaguar team "competitive hedge":
http://www.itv-f1.com/news/news_story/9144 ... just the sort
of free-spirited education the NEW STATESMAN is looking for:
... top of the Enterprise-wide Risk Management "case studies":
... BBC reveals hitherto-unsuspected Republican sympathies:
http://www.ntk.net/2002/02/15/dohlife.png ... GUARDIAN goes
all pro-war: http://www.ntk.net/2002/02/15/dohgo.png ... don't
forget all those DOS users: http://news.bbc.co.uk/tmp.txt ...
http://www.totalise.net/ small print forbids "downloading and
printing out any web pages"; http://www.sitescope.co.uk/
generously permits you to "make one electronically stored,
transient copy of the Content solely for the purpose of
viewing it"... The Case Of The *Double* Missing Millions:
http://www.ntk.net/2002/02/15/dohpound.png ... taste my
breadcrumbs!: http://www.ntk.net/2002/02/15/dohbread.png ...
what part of "Must have previous experience" don't you
... cracks appear in glorious old VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM
facade: http://www2.vam.ac.uk/ ... inappropriate google ad:
... glossing over recent cutbacks, BA place leading questions
in market research: http://www.ntk.net/2002/02/15/dohba.png ...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
You've got to credit an event whose two principal panels are
called "Money: Do We Need It?" and "Legality: Could We Be In
Trouble?", but still charges $65 and holds itself in that
monument to draconian club licensing regulations, JWZ's DNA
Lounge, San Francisco. CODECON 2002 - it's a long weekend of
P2P cypherpunkitude, working code, heady brainstorming, and
all the best bits of the subsequent RSA conference, without
that tedious marketing crap. It won't get you a job, but
nothing will these days - so you might as well go back to
changing the world.
- social value redeemable only in anonymised pseudo-currency
- opening new windows like a goddamn X10 surveillance STATE!
- home of the real-life doh...
>> TRACKING <<
sufficiently advanced technology : the gathering
Okay, so we don't think shaped Microsoft windows are quite
as unique as the author thinks they are and the 50,000 lines
of C++ sounds like a fib, but the remapping of the mouse
pointer, blitting of the HTML rendered pages, and highlight
shading are nice hacks, it doesn't install any adware AFAWCS,
and you completely forgot about Valentine's didn't you, you
idiot? Didn't you? Well, thank goodness there are young men
in Bagshot writing mini heart-shaped browsers you can
pretend you wrote for your beloved.
- god i hope this isn't a demo-scene virus or something
>> MEMEPOOL <<
ceci n'est pas une http://www.gagpipe.com/ World Trade Center movie about "two fractured people who found
each other late in life and enjoyed a storybook romance":
vs "they kick and scream and fly through the air in an
unbelievably cool way": http://www.tachyon-tv.co.uk/news.htm
... http://brunching.com/toys/oralsexdonation.html imitates
... seller "not responsible" for any loss of "immortal souls":
... or are biologists just more susceptible to urban legends?:
... FAO Patrick O'Brian fans - before you get press-ganged:
... http://www.lindkvist.com/digitaldataporn/xxx.html vs new
IMAC discovering what CD-ROM tray is for (left-hand pic):
http://www.apple.com/hardware/ads/newimac.html ... Macs just
big "Game Boys": http://www.4bitterguys.com/rants/officegba/
... deriving general evolutionary principles from failed past
relationships: http://magnus.huckvale.net/2002/valentines/ ...
dividing the cast lists of every movie you see into "the
sexiest, the knight, and the one I'd most likely end up with":
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
commemorating the "return" of http://www.tvgohome.com/ TV>> FRASIER (10pm, Fri, C4) swaps "emotional" for "technical"
support when Bill Gates guests on the 200th episode... without
warning, Zoe Ball returns to our screens in "Friendsreunited
Like These" gameshow CLASS OF (9pm, Sat, BBC2), plus regularly
bland industry-backslapping event THE BRIT AWARDS (8pm, Thu,
ITV) - Dido currently front-runner for Poshest Female Singer
With Self-Effacing Regular Diary: http://www.dotcock.com/ ...
small-town puritan oppression proves no match for Kevin Bacon
"kicking off his Sunday shoes" in FOOTLOOSE (9.45pm, Sat,
BBC2) ... comedy fans are ill-served by sub-"Airplane"-style
spoof JANE AUSTEN'S MAFIA (11.25pm, Sat, BBC1) and recently
remade French time-travel slapstick LES VISITEURS (12.45am,
Sat, C4) ... and chances are it'll be the canned-laughter US
episodes of M*A*S*H (7pm, daily from Sun, Paramount Comedy
Channel) rather than the laughtrack-free ones the BBC used to
show... coinciding with the fictitious Fresh Prince's Olympic
disappearance from the schedules, BBC2 compensates with a UK-
set THE REAL FRESH PRINCE (8pm, Sun, BBC2) - "I got in one
little fight and my mom got scared/ she said 'You're movin'
with your uncle and auntie in Hertfordshire'"... which handily
coincides with BEHIND ENEMY LINES: THE REAL CHARLOTTE GRAYS
(8pm, Sun, C4)... and, later in the week, The Real "Law And
Order: Special Victims Unit" - SEX CRIME INVESTIGATORS (9pm,
Thu, C4)... Michelle "Dawson's Creek" Williams blunders into
semi-unironic teen horror HALLOWEEN H20: 20 YEARS LATER (10pm,
Sun, C4)... SHOOTING STARS (9.30pm, Mon, BBC2) doesn't seem
quite as fresh as it first did all those years ago, and ditto
for dullsville El Mariachi remake DESPERADO (10pm, Mon, C4)...
though fans of the originals will still enjoy scathingly
accurate Wayans-brother ghetto-movie parody DON'T BE A MENACE
TO SOUTH CENTRAL WHILE DRINKING YOUR JUICE IN THE HOOD
(12midnight, Mon, C4)... in the absence of those elusive
remaining episodes of "Attachments", MANCHILD (10pm, Tue,
BBC2) is like "Sex And The City", but with unattractive
middle-aged men instead of women... while YOUR NHS DAY (from
6am, Wed, BBC1) features novel interactive options like
viewers being able to vote on which sympathy-evoking patient
should receive life-saving surgery, and which underperforming
hospitals should be bombed into oblivion...
FILM>> it's a remake of one of the few Frank Sinatra movies to
feature an EMP weapon, featuring Don "Swordfish" Cheadle
(uncredited, following criticism of his Cockney accent?),
Joshua "Dawson's Creek" Jackson (as himself), "and introducing
Julia Roberts, as Tess" - look out for other big-name stars in
inoffensively cheesy grown-up plot-free caper comedy OCEAN'S
ELEVEN (http://www.capalert.com/capreports/oceans11.htm :
planning crime, extensively; at least 11 counts of successful
crime; impersonating police officers, multiple; Elliot Gould
[plays] the quintessential potty-mouth in this film... and
potty-mouthed he was!)... while Will Smith is convincing, but
that "When We Were Kings" documentary is still ultimately more
informative than staggered-release heavyweight biographical-
epic ALI (http://www.screenit.com/movies/2001/ali.html :
Bundini states that he sold Ali's championship belt for $500
that he then put up his arm - possibly referring to heroin;
the assassins who shoot and kill Malcolm X and Martin Luther
King obviously have extreme cases of bad attitudes; some kids
could be inspired to imitate Clay/Ali in and out of the ring,
including his verbal but humorous taunting of opponents, and
his religious/political stances)...
>> 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
"that's *100%* better, losers!"
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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