_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk>
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an Internet connection is all one needs to disable the economy
and endanger lives..."
- Lamar Smith, US Senator
> DISABLE ECONOMY
> You cannot do that here.
> EXAMINE CYBER INFRASTRUCTURE
> Access Denied.
> HIT ECONOMY WITH STICK
>> HARD NEWS <<
On July 17th, 2001, DMITRY SKLYAROV, coder for the Russian
software house ELCOMSOFT, was arrested while visiting the
US. His crime: writing code that exposed flaws in Adobe's
e-book security, in contravention of the USA's exciting new
DMCA. In the next year, thanks to widespread protests, Adobe
withdrew their call to prosecute the Russian hacker and
Dmitry was freed. Elcomsoft is still in the dock for
breaching Adobe's copy restriction routines. If the aim of
the prosecution was to cow them into keeping quiet about
security problems, it doesn't appear to have worked. On July
12th, 2002, ELCOMSOFT posted to Bugtraq a flaw in Adobe's
e-book security. Namely, that in Adobe's "lending library"
web app for the Adobe Content Server, you can borrow a book
for over twenty years (instead of three days) just by
changing a hidden Web form value. The library site is just a
demonstration app, so it's not a serious problem, but it
does give Elcomsoft room for a catty little addendum. "Some
time ago", they write "we have found much more serious
problem with another Adobe software and reported it to the
vendor; however, there was no response at all, and so we
decided not to waste our time reporting this one (about the
library) to Adobe". How much reaction do they want?
Salt sown in the soil of Moscow and the Volga canal aflame?
- don't plan any trips to Disneyland, Vlad
- fixed, it looks, by stubbing out the code
- now, for real chutzpah, post a Symantec exploit on the newly 0wn3d BugTraq
We'll tread cautiously with this one, as it involves Vast
Ageless Corporations Who Have Retained Counsel Living Where
Their Glowing Eyesockets Used To Be. Just days before we
read on Slashdot that zombie company FORGENT is demanding
patent license fees for users of JPEG, we're contacted by
someone who has received a similiarly threatening letter -
this time, from the rather more established Lucent
Technologies. The message reads: "After some market research
it has come to our attention that some of your company's
products may employ the JBIG/JPEG Standard. Therefore,
Lucent Technologies GRL LLC, Lucent's licensing agent, is
contacting your company regarding your interest in obtaining
a license for patents." What follows is the usual demand for
fees, dire threats if compliance is thwarted, requests that
the guards seize the criminals and throw them in Patent
Dungeon, etc. Now, Lucent's patents don't seem to be
breached by a JPEG implementaton (although it's known that
JBIG is patent-encumbered; hence JBIG-2). So why does Lucent
bring up JPEG at all? A curious wording for sure, and we'd
be interested to see if anyone else has been contacted in
these terms. Mail us at email@example.com if you have.
- best use of porn collection in slashdot post modded funny +5
- JBIG encumbered, JBIG2 no
Oh, is it time again already for Esquire's 50 Sharpest Men
2002? Joy! Hidden among the usual suspects - which include
Richard Dawkins ("scientist"), Kevin Warwick ("scientist"),
Kevin Eldon ("comedian" - and KING OF HOBBIES), is one
Charlie Brooker (listed here as a "TV Go Home"). Merely
appearing in the list seems to have prompted the reclusive,
unsmiling, and often violent comedian to hurredly post a
TVGoHome update from his pile of cardboard boxes near Soho,
which is all to the good. But does he really deserve the title?
What *is* sharpness? "In case your are [sic] in any doubt",
the site explains, "sharpness is, above all, an attitude". Now
the dictionary says it's also "having a bitter taste", and
"harshness of manner", and given that Hank, the Angry
Drunken Dwarf is both unlisted and dead, we think Brooker's
a show-in for the Web protest/mess-with-publisher's-heads
vote. We urge you to vote now, express the will of the
people, and win some vile perfume or a horrible watch.
- warning: torturous and unnecessarilly prolonged web form
- Hank: another exciting Net meme you missed because you go out too much
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
when oh when will the public tire of PUERILE GOOGLE TYPOS?:
http://www.google.com/search?q=overcocking , "addtition",
"t-shits", "eductation", and (via prudish spellcheckers?):
http://www.google.com/search?q=%22public+lice%22 ... don't buy:
... bringing a whole new meaning to "colour naming systems":
http://www.ntk.net/2002/07/19/dohhue.gif ... might explain its
bewildered state: http://www.ntk.net/2002/07/19/dohpot.gif ...
http://www.contactnet.ro/solutiixxi/index.php?lim=e vs "On our
children's game-place, they can romp after hug-desire!!":
... self-fulfilling: http://www.ntk.net/2002/07/19/dohdig.gif
... and when VIM met the PALM platform, the "Related E-Books"
were MOIDER: http://www.ntk.net/2002/07/19/dohvim.gif ...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Yes, we have concerns about encountering Slashdot readers "au
naturel" without any kind of intervening moderation system.
And yet, at the same time, we cannot look away. 7pm local
time, Thu 2002-07-25 marks the world's first SLASHDOT MEETUP
EVENT (check local listings for details, free), attracting -
at time of writing - an impressive 91 interested signups for
the London gathering (19 for Manchester, Leeds 17, Glasgow 11,
Birmingham 9, Liverpool 6, and so on). Usual warnings about
meeting your online "friends" are, we imagine, more than
usually applicable here - especially as no-one can work out
what the organisers are getting out of it. Spamming lists?
Kickbacks from the democratically selected venues? Or valuable
demographic info like the fact that "Elijah Wood" is currently
more popular in hobbit-friendly Glasgow than U2, Tori Amos, or
- #goth girls for bearded sysadmins
- plus Defcon in Vegas in two weeks' time
>> TRACKING <<
sufficiently advanced technology : the gathering
Once again that silly 5K Web competition thing gets the
headlines. And once again, we must rub its fatty, fatty chin
against the honed shard of flint that is the 2002 1K
MINIGAME 8-BIT CODING COMPETITION until it's shaved meek.
1024 bytes is all you (must have) wrote: to enter, arrange
them to form a working game on any 8-bit micro you choose.
In response to complaints from last year, "middle class BBC
Micro Fauntleroys" will be permitted, says last year's
judge, Matt Westcott. More weakness is shown by permitting
Atari 2600s, which have 2K cartridges, to enter (you must
fill the last 1K with zeros), and also the TI99/4A which as
everyone knows has sixteen bits. We do hope this doesn't end
in Zork virtual machines or Postscript or something.
- "The competition will never be 'fair'" - BETTER!
- oh, the decadence
- $20,000 prize money; probably not accepting Oric Forth games this year
>> MEMEPOOL <<
ceci n'est pas une http://www.gagpipe.com/ "Now That's What I Call Copyright Infringement, Vols 1,2,3":
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/2131236.stm - a case for:
... forget offshore accounting - what's to stop them going back
in time with the proceeds and killing all the investors'
grandfathers?: http://www.timetravelfund.com/ ... telnet
econet: http://www.heyrick.co.uk/econet/misc/tcpip.html ...
... you know, wouldn't a simple 404 attract less attention?:
http://www.ttfn.com/ ... Transformers! Terrorists in disguise!
obligatory filk Pie cover: http://home.mchsi.com/~jeffwadler/
... they laughed when I sat down at the VT100 terminal:
http://www.prodikeys.com/ ... and kept laughing, thanks to:
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
what, *another* http://www.tvgohome.com/ ?
TV>> now that kids are taking over from teachers in RULE THE
SCHOOL (5pm, Fri, BBC1) and redecorating their homes in HOME
ON THEIR OWN (7pm, Sat, ITV), we can't wait for the concept
gameshows where they fly planes, run pubs and perform
lifesaving surgery... Wired UK's Hari Kunzru reappears on
NEWSNIGHT REVIEW (11pm, Fri, BBC2)... and if you like James
"Copland" Mangold's sensitive character study of an overweight
man HEAVY (1.05am, Fri, BBC2), the IMDB also recommends Eddie
Murphy's "The Nutty Professor"... The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds"
is the subject of ART THAT SHOOK THE WORLD (7.20pm, Sat,
BBC2), even though it doesn't have "Good Vibrations" on it...
Meg Ryan experiments with setting a romantic comedy during the
Gulf War, and where one of the protagonists is dead, in
COURAGE UNDER FIRE (9.15pm, Sat, BBC1)... but we'd skip that -
along with laboured Tim Burton homage MARS ATTACKS! (10.35pm,
Sat, ITV) - in favour of Ensign Ro and Kevin Spacey - together
at last! - in top-notch low-budget office horror SWIMMING WITH
SHARKS (10.50pm, Sat, C5)... Radha "Pitch Black" Mitchell
shows up in Aussie relo-drama LOVE AND OTHER CATASTROPHES
(1.05am, Sat, BBC2)... Matt "Max Headroom" Frewer fails to
halt the downward slide of the "National Lampoon" franchise in
Washington excursion NATIONAL LAMPOON'S SENIOR TRIP (12.30am,
Sat, ITV), compared to acknowledged classics like NATIONAL
LAMPOON'S VACATION (9pm, Tue, C5)... the final of JUNKYARD
WARS (8pm, Mon, C4) offers a taste of where these shows are
going when the teams must build full-size remote-controlled
"combat cars"... while a "I Preferred The Terrorism Of The
1980s" special recreates the SAS - EMBASSY SIEGE (9pm, Thu,
BBC2) - if only everything was as simple as pseudo-'70s
supernatural action comedy GOOD VS EVIL (9pm, Wed, Sci-Fi)...
FILM>> David Cronenberg explains why the "Friday The 13th"
machete murderer is so hard to kill, shortly before he goes up
against two of the chicks from "Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda"
in undemanding self-referential "Alien"-alike JASON X
( http://www.cndb.com/movie.html?title=Jason+X+%282001%29 :
[Lexa "Andromeda" Doig] [is] flat on her back on a table
recuperating, and the camera shows her boobs; [Lisa "Beka
Valentine"] Ryder plays a robot who wants to be more of a
woman [...] her nipples fall off for a little comic relief)...
while the director of "Candyman" and UK hacker classic "Smart
Money" digital-videos drug-fuelled Hollywood self-excoriation
IVANS XTC ( http://www.cndb.com/movie.html?title=ivans+xtc :
[Lisa Enos], who also wrote the screenplay and whose first
film this is, appears in a few full frontal scenes a little
more than a third of the way through)... otherwise it's star-
packed CGI talking animal interspecies romance STUART LITTLE 2
(imdb: sequel/ anthropomorphic/ based-on-novel/ bird/ mouse/
part-computer-animation/ soccer)... or odd-sounding Oirish
period frolic THE ABDUCTION CLUB ( http://www.bbfc.co.uk/ :
Cuts required to sight of 2 men hanging by necks in execution
scene, on grounds of potentially harmful imitable technique,
[in accordance with] category standards and Video Recordings
CONFECTIONERY THEORY>> as tastebuds acclimatise to the
acquired tang of DIET COKE LEMON, reader WAYNE WILLIAMS has
been forced to look further afield for his acidic thrills,
proclaiming the "Citrus" version of ROWNTREE'S FRUITSOME
CEREAL BARS "pretty tasty, a bit like a lemon meringue pie in
a bar". Frankly we preferred the "Tropical" and "Red Berry"
variants, though neither as much as the various ALPEN BARS
with "yoghurt" or "chocolate" style toppings - and all for
just twice the fat of ordinary breakfast cereal! In other
most-important-meal-of-the-day news, those eggy "breakfast
pizza" CHICAGO TOWN SCRAMBLES [NTK 2002-04-12] are delicious
(particularly with tomato ketchup), and have been flying off
the shelves in a 2-pack for 99p deal in selected branches of
Sainsbury's... as predicted in NTK 2001-08-10, KFC have taken
advantage of MCDONALD'S weakness in the KITKAT MCFLURRY arena,
and rolled out their identically-sized rival AVALANCHE (also
99p) with a freakish selection of toppings including chocolate
sauce, Cadbury's Flake, M&M's and Starburst Joosters. In a
non-ice-cream-related incident, CHARLOTTE LATIMER was the
first to contact us with a sighting of STARBURST "straight-
out-of-the-1993-naming-dept" FLIPSTERS HARD CANDY (from
30p/pack): "pretty nice hard candies (peach, apple, raspberry
and forest fruits) with a yucky plastic-looking splodge on one
side that purports to offer some kind of creaminess (we
guess)", but still no news yet of the brand's other mutant
offspring: teardrop-shaped FRUITINESSE (from 49p), non-fish-
flavoured gummy SEA MONSTERS (from 99p/bag), and STARBURST
CAKE BARS (UKP1.05 for pack of 5)... and finally, MIKE WALSH
of Finland remained nonplussed with last month's UK sighting
of an imported South African NESTLE SMARTIES IN MILKYBAR
CHOCOLATE, maintaining he bought a White "Ritter Sport" bar
with Smarties in, "in a branch of the (German) Spar chain in
Tenerife in January", and was generally disappointed by its
usability: "Smarties kept falling out", he complains. But
Nestle is innovating over here as well, with the imminent
arrival of WONKA XPLODER and GOLDEN CRUNCHER biscuits (79p/
pack of 6) - replacing underperforming former NTK "Taste
Abominations" WONKA OOMPA sweets - and its first new chocolate
launch in 5 years, solid-looking would-be Dairy Milk-killer
NESTLE DOUBLE CREAM (40p, available from July 29)...
>> 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
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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