"'We've put the crack pipe away,' said Chris Kitze, who
invested $9 million of his dot-com fortune to revive
Wine.com, one of the Web's biggest busts, with a strategy
that mostly promotes the sale of premium wines."
... while guzzling down the rest in the backroom. No crack though!
>> HARD NEWS <<
Are you - or have you ever met - a member of the LIBERAL
DEMOCRAT PARTY? If so, there may yet be time to encourage them
to debate our old nemesis - the proposed UK implementation of
the European Union Copyright Directive - at their conference
in Brighton next week. An Emergency Motion has been put
forward, but still has to be voted far enough up the running
order to make sure it'll actually be discussed, along with
matters of such vital contemporary importance as "Maritime
Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships". A peaceful delegation
from the Campaign For Digital Rights are going down there to
provide moral support, as part of a general awareness-raising
campaign which kicks off next week - in case you need
reminding, the EUCD is bad because it curtails most "fair
uses" of digital media by introducing DMCA-style penalties for
circumventing copy-protection schemes. Oh, and if anyone has
any idea how to pull a stunt like this at the Labour or
Conservative shindigs, we're all ears.
- next week: write to your MP, or PGP all your MP3s
- funny how these things are always at the seaside
Some strange inconsistencies in the coverage of the US anti-
paedophile operation OPERATION CANDYMAN. The Independent
reports that the 7,300 suspects - of which "hundreds" are
from Britain - were credit-card subscribers to a
pay-per-view child porn site. Steve Silberman's exhaustive
and disturbing Wired account, "The United States of America
v. Adam Vaughn", on the other hand, maintains that they
joined a free Yahoo group which gave "for people who love
kids" as its public description. That, you would imagine,
might create a slightly higher risk of false positives. The
Independent's credit-card site was discovered by a "curious
internet user browsing through the millions of websites";
Wired's Yahoo group by an undercover FBI agent Geoff Binney
after three months of research. What's strange is that they
appear to be talking about exactly the same operation. And
if the press can't handle these technical distinctions,
here's hoping that the courts can - even if US judges are
still asking "What are GIF files?" during their
- "One click, you're guilty"
- and what are these three Houston servers?
Who hasn't, in a shameful moment, wondered whether it might
be *worth* spamming the world and its "world89231" hotmail
account for some crazy yet lucrative cause? Well, thanks to
the correlative nature of spamming and stupidity, you can
see what to expect when you finally sit your moral compass
on the electromagnet of desire. Someone has been sending out
a spam asking for help finding "Metaphysical Margot", a girl
they met once in New Mexico. Those who are in the habit of
handing over personal details (their own and/or Margot's) to
anonymous spammer/stalkers are directed to an online form.
With a predictable disinterest in privacy, the Margot hunter
has left all the submitted details on a Web page. It's
pretty impressive how much bile can be packed into a simple
text box: the just-about-safe-for-work suggestions include a
Margot-sighting in the "One Hour Room" in a mexican hotel,
several curt personal messages from unmetaphysical Margots
the world over, and a smattering of queries from piqued
journalists and naive dogooders across the world. Still, to
see the statistical ratio between furious antispammers and
clearly fake leads is commendably high, hopefully preserving
all of our scruples for another day.
- wow, this is going to trip off a few work anti-hate speech filters
- "WHY THA HELL ARE YOU LOOKIN FOR ME!!! "
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
as the world waits for the next PUERILE GOOGLE MISSPELLINGS:
"penisnula" , "facitity" and, that instant shortcut to the
flamewars of idiots: http://www.google.com/search?q=pureile .
Also, some dispute over who this generator really belongs to:
... makes you read the show summary in a slightly different
light: http://www.ntk.net/2002/09/20/dohadult.gif ... THE
OFFICE DVD "Special Features" promise "exclusive frottage":
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000063W2U/ ... the
welcome return of an old favourite - WIDDECOMBE OF THE WEEK:
... MSN background pic promotes "new bread of SECRET AGENT":
http://www.msn.co.uk/specials/xxx/ ... BBC tackles one of "the
most difficult problems in mathematics" with early MacOS
calculator: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/sci/tech/527914.stm ...
comedy web translations continue, down at "Lime-of-Bottoms":
... Yell.com "has several business types related to the term":
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Obviously if you're anywhere in the region then you should be
going to the FOUNDATION FOR INFORMATION POLICY RESEARCH MINI-
CONFERENCE: A FAIR DEAL FOR COPYRIGHT (5.30pm, Wed 2002-09-25,
Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, London School of Economics,
London WC2A, free but RSVP by email) - see coverage elsewhere
in this issue. And we don't want to see you fanboys sneaking
off early to the likes of THE MOUSE(TM) VS THE MOUSE, an ICA
talk on the use of computers in comic-book artwork, featuring
DAVE "Watchmen" GIBBONS and DAVE "Sandman covers" MCKEAN (7pm,
2002-09-25, the ICA, London SW1Y, UKP8). Because - how can we
put this? - we believe that the European Union Copyright
Directive constitutes a greater threat to life as we know it
than Lex Luthor, Magneto and Galactus put together.
- only 90 mins long, but continuing in the pub afterwards
- and they don't mean McKean taking photos of bits of cables
- Pinker speaks tonight, in creole of his own devising
- Oxford retro event on Sat: just down the road from St Hugh's
- London open LINE IN night on Sun, in disused public toilet
>> TRACKING <<
sufficiently advanced technology : the gathering
DVDSYNC is a low-level Windows filter that can sit between a
DVD player and your DVD player software, and mess with data
streams and controller commands on the fly. There's not much
there yet but what there is demonstrates the great promise
of the design. Already You can create your own subtitles
(there are already some improved English subs for Gauche the
Cellist, and a couple of other anime tracks). In the future,
we imagine, you'll be able to perfectly sync-up extra audio
tracks or even skin your own DVD menus. There's also, ahem,
a filter to take out any DVD zoning information before it
gets to the DVD playing software. In other words, a really
useful utility for DVD watchers - and anyone who likes
improving on the creativity of others - which will have the
military- industrial-entertainment complex spitting blood.
This is what TCPA, EUCD, DMCA and any anagrams thereof were
cynically designed to smack down. Get it while you can.
- despoiling our DVDs with homemade content? Who could want such a thing?
- Ah. And wasn't killing Siskel enough of a warning?
>> MEMEPOOL <<
ceci n'est pas une http://www.gagpipe.com/
still holding out for the President Clinton made out of porn:
... when will the public tire of topical satire in popular
website formats?: http://www.defectiveyeti.com/iraqevite/ ,
http://www.talibanreunited.com/ ... things to do on a rainy
day: http://www.emanator.demon.co.uk/bigclive/makendo.htm ,
http://lurk.org/ ... what it sounds like, when drives die:
... close enough: http://www.dictionary.com/search?q=sociophobe
... warshitting: http://www.computertorture.com/portaloo/ ...
"genuine Disney product": http://www.weirdco.com/prod04.htm -
but it doesn't even produce "a burst of fruit flavored ooze":
http://www.ausomecandy.com/us/static/frooze.html ... an
elaborate pun on "CAV (Constant Angular Velocity)" discs?:
http://www.saysgod.com/ ... only 7 glaring errors in the past
year: http://www.ananova.com/about/?keywords=Corrections ...
as the old showbiz saying puts it - leave 'em wanting more:
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
get out less
TV>> the sparks fly between Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche in
piping-hot geothermal thriller VOLCANO (8.30pm, Fri, ITV)...
Tom Hanks talks about his latest role - a brooding, tormented
hitman - in PARKINSON (10.25pm, Sat, BBC1), intriguingly
contrasted with his turn as Dan Aykroyd's brooding, tormented
sidekick in DRAGNET (11.25pm, Sat, BBC1)... and it's a very
special week for fans of low-rent Buffy knock-offs, in the
form of James Cameron's daft DARK ANGEL (7.15pm, Sat, C5)
and the Crystal Method-themed WITCHBLADE (8pm, Mon, SciFi)...
Sharon Stone almost steals the show from de Niro in Scorsese's
typically epic CASINO (10pm, Sun, C4)... there's hardly any
Janeane Garofalo in ROMY AND MICHELE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION
(9pm, Sun, C5)... but you still can't go far wrong with John
Woo's last good film FACE/OFF (9pm, Sun, BBC1)... C5 replaces
its 7 o'clock arts slot with contemporary discussion programme
LIVE WITH CHRIS MOYLES (7pm, Mon-Fri, C5)... the new slew of
autumn shows continues with Steven "Press Gang" Moffat's
filthy "Friends"-alike COUPLING (9pm, Mon, BBC2), and a new
series of THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN (10pm, Thu, BBC2)... though
surely ratings pressure isn't behind the likes of THE MONEY
PROGRAMME SPECIAL - PORN STAR! (9.50pm, Tue, BBC2), or indeed
THE REAL LINDA LOVELACE (10pm, Thu, C4)... THE X FILES (9pm,
Thu, Sky1) at last reaches some sort of long-drawn-out
conclusion... Kevin Warwick pops up in the "Pleasure" episode
of UNTHINKABLE (9pm, Thu, SciFi)... and never mind historical
accuracy, let's hear more Nazi nuclear physics ethics dilemmas
in excellent discussion drama COPENHAGEN (9.10pm, Thu, BBC4):
FILM>> shockingly, only a limited release for the rarefied
arthouse appeal of Eliza "Faith" Dushku and DJ "Road Trip"
Qualls in high-school gross-out nerd-revenger THE NEW GUY
( http://www.capalert.com/capreports/newguy_the.htm :
brutalizing a midget; sensuous [Dushku] dancing to entice in
brief swim wear; little more than an exercise in discovering
how many ways natural inhibitions toward sexual immorality and
behavioral aberrations can be violated)... the family of the
voice of the Ford Mustang in "Team Knight Rider" are shocked
to find she's marrying dopey Chris from "Northern Exposure" in
zany ethnic self-stereotyping exercise MY BIG FAT GREEK
WEDDING (imdb: baptism/ country-club/ cousin/ etymology/
extended-family/ greek-dancing/ intoxication/ lamb/ make-up/
parthenon/ travel-agency/ vegetarian/ wedding/ windex/ zit)...
the "Bring It On" reunion week continues as Jesse "Hackers"
Bradford discovers not only that Erika "Traffic" Christensen
is a big fan of swimming, but that her ISP appears to have at
least 84 other users with the eponymous email address SWIMFAN
( http://www.capalert.com/capreports/swimfan.htm : bully
rudeness; planning cohabitation for sex; teen girl stripping
to underwear to "swim" when she cannot swim; skipping class to
meet a boy)... while the director of "American Beauty" and the
presence of Tom Hanks don't exactly point to "a thrill-packed
rollercoaster" for 1930s soul-searcher THE ROAD TO PERDITION
( http://www.screenit.com/movies/2002/road_to_perdition.html :
[Jude Law] is a hitman who kills various people; some
impressionable kids might get the wrong idea about killing
people after seeing such occasionally nonchalant behavior)...
BONERS: CORRECTIONS, CLARIFICATIONS, AND "INCORRECTLY REGARDED
AS GOOFS">> we're reassured that at least 2 people - namely
SEAN D SOLLE and LLOYD WOOD - expect NTK to be so error-free
that they wrote to complain about a "misplaced apostrophe" a
couple of weeks back. Fair cop, lads, but we do get away with
"goto's considered non-harmful" every week - what if it was
the classic greengrocer's "Potato's considered non-harmful",
or indeed "Goto's 45p"?... rather more insightfully, MJ RAY
was one of several to point out that "interface" can also mean
places where different religious communities meet, which
rather took the wind out of last month's lame Macintosh joke:
http://www.ntk.net/2002/08/23/dohfaith.gif ... but only RONAN
WAIDE observed that the title of Robert Rankin's "The Hollow
Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse", as inadvertently
promoted in NTK 2002-09-06, appears to have several online
antecedents, including http://nerv.cx/hcbd/about.html - though
to Rankin's credit, instead of the full "Apocalypse", it's
usually just "Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of Death"... GARETH
OWEN was sufficiently traumatised by Alton Towers' WEBMASTER -
AN ADVENTURE ON ICE [NTK 2002-08-02] to describe it as:
"Imagine if your local amateur dramatics group decided to
produce 'Tron: The Musical' and spent UKP12.65 on special
effects and costume, casting Ricky from Eastenders as Jeff
Bridges, Bargain Hunt's David Dickinson as David Warner and
added a supporting cast composed entirely of rictus-grinned
synchronised swimmers". That said, "some of the skating's OK",
apparently... DAN SHEPPARD got all the way to the end of the
consultation paper on the European Union Copyright Directive
discover that, yes, the Patent Office had directly consulted
such intriguing sources as the "Guild of Hairdressers" and the
"Chinese Takeaway Association"... while MARTIN BACON merely
mused that "if Alan Turing was alive today, the homosexuality
would be OK but he'd be in trouble for codebreaking"... yet
the most unusual criticism we've had for months came from a
MailMarshal inbox filter responding to NTK 2002-06-28, which
proudly reported that "farting" had been "Triggered 1 times"
upon that issue's arrival, producing a profanity weighting of
"60". Now we might have got away with that, had we not also
triggered "analsex OR anal sex" in that same workplace, with a
significantly lower weighting of "50" - which, depending how
you look at it, seems either astonishingly prudish or
remarkably open-minded. We still can't decide which...
>> 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
"asking the important questions"
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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