_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk>
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|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "Suppose you find yourself somehow trapped, as I
once was, in a website called "Boobtropolis", which blurts
an embarrassing welcoming song. Does anyone, apart from the
indulgent readers of this newspaper, have a right to know
- BORIS JOHNSON, TELEGRAPH 2002-06-13, sharing "too much information"
>> HARD NEWS <<
ghosts spooks and ghouls
It's not often you catch Slashdot, Kuro5hin, Newsnight and
BBC's Question Time covering the same story. And while we
still await the day Jeremy Paxman screams "MOD THE PARENT
UP!" at a ashen-faced spokesman, one topic bound them all
this week: the insane new RIP STATUTORY INSTRUMENT. This
piece of pseudo-legislation, which the government clearly
hoped to sneak past parliament next Tuesday, extends the
list of authorities able tap everyone's traffic data without
a warrant. In the original RIP bill, only coppers, customs
and the secret services could obtain phone numbers, Web
addresses, and cellphone positions willy-nilly. With the new
instrument, anyone from a local councillor to the Office of
Fair Trading, down to the Post Office^W^WConsignia^Wthe
Royal Mail can stalk you without judicial oversight. Over
twenty new government departments are listed, with no
explanation or justification (the Department of Work and
Pensions is fighting terrorism how exactly?). It really is a
"shopping" list in every sense but the car-jacking one. As
with so much of the original RIP bill, *nobody* thinks this
is a good idea. Councillors we've spoken with are worried
about the abuse potential, other departments are freaking
out at the cost of overseeing the new powers. Already the
hundreds of faxes sent to MPs and messages to the news media
have secured one concession: our gracious leaders have
postponed the debate until next Monday, 2002-06-24. If we
keep the pressure up, they may be obliged to withdraw it
completely. Check out STAND for more info on what the Blunt
Instrument means, and what to do about it.
- looks like we chose a good week to relaunch STAND (and give up glue-sniffing)
- mail here to get regular updates
Don't expect to see those Radio Four Ogg streams for much
longer. News arrives that the oldest and most deeply Unixy
wing of the BBC, the bunnies at Kingswood Warren, have been
summarily merged with Streaming Media Services, some
quasi-commercial bit of Intel tat the Beeb bought back in
the day. SMS is a Windows shop and does such cutting-edge
work as providing KPMG with videofeeds, and signing
"significant" content deals with 3G companies. You get the
idea. Kingswood, for all its paranoia and somewhat BOFHish
reputation, does things like set up public peering
arrangements (and publishes the statistics for everyone to
see), experiments with aforementioned patent-free Ogg Vorbis
technology (can't see the Windows Media fans at SMS going
for that), and otherwise handles the deep research that the
BBC needs in these winnowing times. With heavy muttering
coming from the beards about a lousy relocation package and
a prospective two hour commute to Maidenhead, is this the
Beeb's deliberate attempt to ditch anyone with a clue?
- this kind of BBC, versus
- this kind of BBC.
- activate the Stallman bomb!
- still, if you think you can fix it
We had a couple of excuses lined up in case the weekend's
EXTREME COMPUTING festival didn't come off - that it was
inherently experimental, that we didn't know how many people
were going to turn up, that no-one else had ever tried to
combine semi-scientific seminars with the ambience of a
Scandinavian demo party. Of course, the one thing we weren't
prepared for was it turning out to be so much of a success -
we won't single anyone out for particular thanks, because
everyone did such a great job, making it the best fifth
birthday party any sarcastic technology newsletter could ask
for. Sure, it wasn't perfect - apologies to the ZX Spectrum
panel for making them beta-test the PA system, and a few signs
here and there wouldn't have gone amiss either. But there were
almost 1200 visitors during the course of the day, the
feedback has been almost embarrassingly positive, and we'll
definitely do something similar again next year. It only
remains to say: would the owners of the POP logins "steve",
"e.tedeschi", and "olly" please change their email passwords?
They showed up unencrypted in the wireless network traffic
logs and - if you hadn't noticed - we're trying to campaign
quite hard against this kind of thing.
- now with pics, written reports, William Shatner videos
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
sneak preview: http://www.olympiapark-muenchen.de/english/ -
vs "it's never too late": http://www.the2002worldcup.com/ ...
yes, in response to everyone who's written in, this *is*
"getting too easy": http://www.google.com/search?q=acocunts ,
- though, if you're lucky, you can get login details too:
... gave up ages ago: http://www.bigbrother-online.co.uk/ ...
is that the London Eye Millennium Wheel Jigsaw in your pants:
- or are you just pleased to see me?... missing gay millions:
http://www.coronaproductions.com/tp/scoops/scoops.html#queerasfolk2 >> EVENT QUEUE <<
proudly "sponsoring": http://www.ukuug.org/events/linux2002/ Perversely, one of our favourite pieces of Xcom feedback was
the guy who said it was "full of people getting far too much
satisfaction out of playing C64 games". Assuming such a thing
is even possible, that's one person who almost certainly will
not enjoy BACK IN TIME LIVE LONDON 2002 (7.30pm-3am, next Fri
2002-06-21, Gossips Nightclub, London W1, UKP5.00, pre-
registrations now closed). Billing itself as "the first 8-bit
rock concert outside of Japan", it features performances from
demo musicians, C64 remixers and live bands, plus Jon "Sensi
Soccer" Hare, Bjorn "Dr Awesome" Lynne, and Jeff "Llamasoft"
Minter. And hints of an appearance by Emily "Bouff" Booth,
from that "Bits" videogame show on Channel 4. Look, it's
effectively sold out already, so don't start scalping on eBay.
- and there weren't any C64 games at Xcom, were there?
- "overwhelmed by the excess of geek": oh boo hoo hoo
- Crass at the NFT on Sat: subversive enough for you?
- also next Fri: looks like big hacker fest in Bologna, Italy
>> TRACKING <<
sufficiently advanced technology : the gathering
If Perl is the Swiss Army chainsaw of programming languages,
then SOCAT is the Swiss Army chainsaw of, uh,
shell/networking tools. Socat works by connecting the input
and output of two files together - where file can be a
socket, or a pipe, or any number of other filish mutants
that Unix has spawned. Need to connect to your SMTP server
to do some manual diagnostics, a la netcat or telnet? Sure.
Feel like wrapping readline around that to get command
history? No problem. You can connect an IPV6 address to a
chrooted shell script, run ssh with its controlling tty
connected to stdin so it'll accept the password from
something other than the keyboard, or attach a Unix socket
to an inet socket. You can tunnel a local Unix socket
through someone's socks server to an unprotected internal X
server, using a source port of 20 to slip by a
poorly-configured firewall. And that's just the manpage
examples! It's available as a Debian unstable package and
FreeBSD port, and v1.2 (due this month) has a pile of extra
goodies to anticipate, including fake pseudo terminals, and
ssl support. I can't believe I just wrote "fake pseudo
- ironically unreachable for most of yesterday
>> MEMEPOOL <<
ceci n'est pas une http://www.gagpipe.com/ the cards don't lie: http://www.geocities.com/metatarot/ata.html
... companies you didn't expect to have corporate anthems, #1:
http://www.acetaxisyork.com/song.htm ... should be able to
offer integrated targeting with their Trident and Patriot
missile systems: http://www.lockheedmartin.co.uk/news/109.htm
... http://www.travisa.com/ vs http://www.amazon.com/ ... JILL
DANDO shooting threatens to affect home insurance premiums:
usability gurus on toilet #2 - terrible interfaces on trains:
... "throbbyness" etc an improvement on boring old "osc/dis":
... though haven't we been LEGO CONDITIONED all our lives?:
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
get out less
TV>>> Dolph Lundgren Week gets off to a flying start in his
long-awaited collaboration with Russell "Highlander" Mulcahy
and Gina "Coupling" Bellman: flashy sniper thriller SILENT
TRIGGER (11.20pm, Fri, BBC1)... then he's back in C5's annual
showing of UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (9pm, Sun, C5), but not UNIVERSAL
SOLDIER: THE RETURN (9pm, Tue, C5)... Susan "The Partridge
Family" Dey scans her ass into a computer in overlooked
Michael Crichton 1980s synthespian romp LOOKER (2.40am, Fri,
C5)... and there's more stuff the DVD director's commentary
doesn't tell you when THE HOLLYWOOD MACHINE (8.20pm, Sat,
BBC2) takes a long, hard look at "Charlie's Angels"... Vince
"Swingers" Vaughn puts the "master" back into "Norman Bates"
in unnecessary remake PSYCHO (9.10pm, Sat, BBC1)... Sam
"Spider-Man" Raimi redoes "Fargo", but from the criminals'
point of view in A SIMPLE PLAN (10.35pm, Sat, BBC2)... and
Jonathan Ross once again maintains he's laughing *with* - not
at - the wacky foreign culture in JAPANORAMA (11pm, Sat; 10pm,
Sun, BBC Choice)... BITTER HARVEST (8pm, Sun, BBC2) sounds
like a promisingly non-partisan look at the history of GM
food... Robin Wright Penn falls for Kevin Costner in overlong
nautical-metaphor closure-weepie MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE (9pm,
Mon, C5) - as we said back in 1999, not based around the
Police song of the same name, though the soundtrack does
occasionally break into the opening line of Queen's "We Are
The Champions"... and Mike Myers presents another of his
famously understated characterisations in 1970s Neve Campbell
nightclub nonsense 54 (12.15am, Mon, C4)... C4 takes a timely
look at the relevance of reality TV in what is basically a
rebranded "Right To Reply", THINK TV (7.55pm, Tue-Thu, C4)...
"Tomorrow's World" maintains its academic credentials with a
look at THE SCIENCE OF SPIDER-MAN (7pm, Wed, BBC1), including
"a real-life gene-transferring technique that could explain
how Peter Parker got his amazing abilities"... Michael Douglas
finds the frustrations of even an imaginary job too much to
bear in FALLING DOWN (10.35pm, Wed, BBC1)... as Pauline "Birds
Of A Feather" Quirke ingeniously sidesteps being typecast as a
middle-aged fat woman in what appears to be a sequel to that
Liza Tarbuck drama, BEING APRIL (9pm, Thu, BBC1)...
FILM>> so it's not as bad as "Attack Of The Clones" - and it
has Kirsten Dunst in it - but if Jon Katz likes it this much:
- then just watch out for appalling acting and dialogue in
SPIDER-MAN ( http://www.capalert.com/capreports/spiderman.htm :
promotion of evolution; ghosting of [Kirsten Dunst's] anatomy
through "wet T-shirt" clothing; corporate brutality)...
alternatively: you wait 7 or 8 years for a Philip K Dick
adaptation, then two come along at once - the first of which
being expanded-from-short-feature exploding-replicants-with-
implanted-memories "Blade Runner"-lite chase-fest IMPOSTOR
( http://www.capalert.com/capreports/impostor.htm : [Madeline
Stowe] in bed in underwear; inappropriate touch; nursing a
baby in public - though a beautiful and indeed necessary
thing, do you do it for display as entertainment?)...
>> 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.
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NEED TO KNOW
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