_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk>
| \ | |_ _| |/ / _ __ __2003-01-03_ o join! mail an empty message to
| \| | | | | ' / | '_ \ / _ \ \ /\ / / o firstname.lastname@example.org
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|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ >> SLOW NEWS <<
Q. You know, I'm a busy man and I'm nearly forty years old and
I've got kids and everything but, pretty much every week I
read your newsletter from end to end (it's a Sunday evening
kind of thing), including (and this is the funny thing) the
frankly weird review of new confectionery (and crisps). What's
wrong with me? Can you help?
- Steve Bowbrick
How does NTK pay the bills? I couldn't live without it...
well, actually I could (that was, he said to clarify the
bleeding obvious, a figure of speech) but a small, angry ray
of sunlight would be missing.
- Mark Gibbs
I hardly ever read it but whoa - when I do I have fun and I
laugh and hop with delight. So what do you get out of it?
Adulation? Creative satiety? Emails asking similar questions?
- Ross McLean
A. All of the above, Ross - all of the above. NTK, you'll be
reassured to hear, doesn't cost much to run (largely thanks to
the generosity of http://www.unfortu.net/ ), and makes some
money via t-shirt sales at http://www.ntkmart.com/ and other
"merchandising spin-offs". But, to be honest, the main reason
we keep going is that we get such interesting mail - plus the
opportunity to reach such desirable opinion-formers as Steve
"Webmedia/Another.com" Bowbrick, with news like this year's
(somewhat belated) NTK CHRISTMAS/NEW YEAR APPEAL:
[THROUGH MOUTHFUL OF PRINGLES] Hi - Danny here. Now, many of
you will have heard of LEE FELSENSTEIN, the Berkeley free
speech activist who helped found the Homebrew Computer Club in
Silicon Valley (where the Apple was first demo-ed), created
the first cheapo modem, hacked up the Osborne 1, and co-
founded the still-heavily-cloaked Hackers Conference (the
place where information first wanted to be free). And what is
the original social engineer up to now? Well, at the request
of a local charity, he's invented a five-PC, bicycle-powered,
ultra-cheap Linux network that will let remote villages in
Laos (between Thailand and Vietnam) connect with the local
market town via WiFi, and thence onto the Net. But they're
having problems convincing their sponsors that they'll be able
to get it working before the monsoon. So they're going to
scratch the money together and do it anyway.
So far, I've managed to fail to convey the coolness of this
idea via several forums, including Slashdot, BoingBoing,
Metafilter and RobotWisdom. Now it's your turn. Read the bumf
below, and then consider donating UKP10 of that money your
gran sent you to:
http://www.jhai.org/donations.htm - and mark it "Remote IT". C'mon - pedal-powered retro Linux
WiFi: imagine how much practical economics the villagers could
learn from a few games of emulated Elite.
- origins of the Information/free meme
- you've been stalking him for a while now then, Dan?
- NTK's scheduled bitterness and illwill to all men...
- ...will return next week
Q. Have you thought of trying to provide a glossary for those
who don't know all your in-terms (like me)? Even when you
occasionally explain them, they're soon forgotten and the
explanations are hard to re-find: e.g. "Falco", "Meme". I'm
left with a dodgy feeling where I think I understand what they
mean but don't know the reason/origin.
- Paul Streeter
A. Ah, but what if that's the effect we're trying to create?
Seriously, "meme" now appears to be regarded as a real word:
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=meme although the origins of "Falco" are becoming increasingly
obscure. Just for you though, Paul, here's a step-by-step
explanation of what some of our regular features are supposed
to be about, conveniently coinciding with this week's seasonal
lack of material.
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
[Originally this was supposed to be news sources which report
the blindingly obvious - hence the tagline - but has since
expanded to take in the likes of DOHs, topical goofs and
misprints (ideally of a humorous nature), and those ever-
popular GOOGLE MISSPELLINGS:]
eg, NEW ZEALAND doesn't cancel next Christmas, but at least
postpones it: http://www.tnzi.co.nz/us/numbering.asp#public
... RADIO 4 broadcasts a minute of "traditional" dead air:
- listen in at: http://www.ntk.net/2003/01/03/dohchimes.mp3
... or, how *not* to change table headers to table cells:
http://www.google.com/search?q=witd+tde ... SINATRA to "live
in infamy as one of the greatest crooners of our time":
... and goodbye from them - SWEDEN's future not so "Orange"
after all: http://www.ntk.net/2003/01/03/dohswe.gif ... the
HUMAN LEAGUE song?: http://www.ntk.net/2003/01/03/dohdarts.gif ...
>> MEMEPOOL <<
ceci n'est pas une http://www.gagpipe.com/ [Superficially resembles the AntiNews section, consisting as
it does primarily of links preceded by cryptically hard-to-
read "humorous comments". But while AntiNews is mainly things
which are unintentionally amusing - misprints and so forth -
MemePool is supposed to be matters of greater importance or,
failing that, intentional attempts at comedy. Note that this
does not typically extend to funny animal Photoshoppery or
"topical" Flash rewrites of Breakout or Space Invaders, which
http://www.b3ta.com/ are more than welcome to.]
eg, "Weihnachten" (Christmas)/ "Wermacht" (army) confusion?:
... spoof page: http://mirrors.meepzorp.com/imdb.com/gnfos/ -
for an actual imdb entry?: http://us.imdb.com/Title?0274518
... "do not engage in sexual activity with your partner for 4-
5 days prior to use": http://www.sexdetect.com/faq.php - or
ever again, if you're not careful... 2003 is "third year of a
sequence", divines: http://www.biblenews1.com/ ... worth a go:
Q. Any self-respecting FAQ goes self-referential in the first
item. So, my FAQ: where can I find the entire NTK FAQ in a
standalone doc (rather than spread across a couple of old
- Andrew Simmons
A. OK Andrew, we're working on it. We just need to update
some of the more "exotic" claims we've made in the past:
http://www.ntk.net/index.cgi?b=01997-08-29&l=263#l >> GEEK MEDIA <<
get out less
TV>> great news for "robots in disguise" fans, with the UK
debut of TRANSFORMERS: ARMADA (8am, Sat, Sky One) and the
addition of BEAST WARS (10.30am, Sat, C5) to C5's two-hour
lineup of Saturday morning CGI... there's a chance to digitise
more Arnie prank call samples from KINDERGARTEN COP (5.35pm,
Sat, ITV): http://www.btinternet.com/~pir8/arnie/ ... and we
still think the next sequel to Ashley Judd sub-"Silence Of The
Lambs" thriller KISS THE GIRLS (9.25pm, Sat, BBC1) should be
called "Kiss The Girls III: Wee Wee Wee All The Way Home"...
the schedules seem to be busily propagandising the benefits of
Western/Allied/NATO intervention in Nazi drama-doc CONSPIRACY
(9.10pm, Sat, BBC2), weapons-of-mass-destruction missions
OPERATION CROSSBOW (7.10pm, Sun, BBC2) and IRON EAGLE II (8pm,
Mon, C5), ethnic cleansing docu THE FALL OF MILOSEVIC (9pm,
Sun, BBC2), plus of course EMPIRE (9pm, Thu, C4), covering the
- apparently numerous - positive aspects of British
Imperialism... a more humanitarian position is espoused in
Gerry Anderson profile MR THUNDERBIRD (4.55pm, Sun, C5) and
subsequent feature-length spinoff THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!
(6.10pm, Sun, C5) - if only International Rescue had been
around to intervene in Bonnie "Die Hard" Bedelia eco-disaster
THE FIRE NEXT TIME (2.30pm, Sun, C5), or indeed dire Richard
Blackwood vehicle ED STONE IS DEAD (11am, Sun, BBC2)... while
it's "a virus" that's making Americans obese, theorises FAT
PLAGUE (9pm, Mon, C4), as opposed to the "All You Can Eat"
buffet at Pizza Hut... FRASIER returns in the unprestigious
10pm, Mon, C4 slot... 1997's Southall crash is the subject of
pseudo-educational "When Trains And Other Vehicles Crash Into
Each Other" reconstructer COLLISION COURSE (9pm, Tue, BBC2)
... someone purporting to be an investigative reporter
examines identity theft in KENYON CONFRONTS (7.30pm, Wed,
BBC1)... and videogaming returns to kids' TV - where it
belongs? - in the form of Borg-Cube-set multiplayer battler
LAN-JAM (4.20pm, Fri, ITV): http://www.lanjam.tv/ ...
FILM>> Janeway "phones in" her cameo, but - on the plus side -
Wesley Crusher doesn't have any lines, in nature-vs-nurture
tea-flavour would-be "Wrath Of Khan" remake STAR TREK: NEMESIS
( http://www.capalert.com/capreports/startrek-nemesis.htm :
reference to transgender practitioners; approval of nudity for
display; order to officers to comply with nudity display
"requirements"; control by telepathy; "clone-ology")...
otherwise there's the Portugese-language version of "Lock,
Stock And Two Smoking Barrels", Rio-de-Janiero gangster
coming-of-ager CITY OF GOD (imdb: child/ crime/ death/ gun/
murder/ police/ poverty/ traffic/ violence)... or Ralph
"Strange Days" Fiennes and Miranda "Blackadder" Richardson in
David Cronenberg's disappointingly body-horror-free character
study SPIDER ( http://www.bbfc.co.uk/ : Contains infrequent
strong language and disturbing behaviour)...
BONERS: CORRECTIONS, CLARIFICATIONS, AND "INCORRECTLY REGARDED
AS GOOFS">> Q. I spotted a mistake in last week's issue.
Should I tell you about it?
A. Yes, please do. If we make a mistake, we tend to get a lot
of mail about it, usually in the form of amusingly sarcastic
comments - and, if we're lucky, screenshots of our own website
captioned "How about this for your doh section, guys? Hahaha!"
Much as we look forward to these moment of public humiliation,
we may not always have time to reply to all contributors. And
if we do, we are sometimes regrettably short. On that note,
well done to readers FRANK ARNAUD, JAMES METHLEY, ANDREW
MORLEY, DOUGLAS YATES, SIMON "AM I THE THOUSANDTH PERSON TO
POINT THIS OUT?" PARSONS, ROGER SAN MATERO, and IAN TRUSKETT
who contested last week's answer that the YYYY-MM-DD format had
"no precedent in established practice anywhere in the world" -
when apparently it's very much in vogue in those notoriously
depopulated nations of China and Japan. How about that for our
doh section, eh? Hahaha!... a similar crowd commented on the
issue of 2002-11-22 apparently providing "Tomorrow's news,
today!", due to being datestamped from 24 hours in the future.
But crypto-activist RICHARD CLAYTON was the first to astutely
diagnose this as a side-effect of that issue's command to "set
your clock to 23:59" in order to see all the numbers flip
over: http://www.ntk.net/index.cgi?b=02002-11-22&l=174#l ...
OWEN BLACKER incorrectly regarded us as goofs when he wrote to
rectify NTK 2002-12-13's attribution of the Requiem For A
Dream/ Two Towers trailer theme to one "Clint Poppie" - "I
think you'll find that's Clint Mansell (and played by the
Kronos Quartet)", he preened, continuing to maintain that the
track is "credited to Clint Mansell" even after we pointed out
that "Mansell" (and not "Vestan Pance") is actually Clint
Poppie's real name! And finally, JOHN HOLLINGUM provided a
timely reminder of why this is called the "Boners" section by
bashing NTK's 2002-10-04 correction of the quote from a
search-engine optimiser, which we reported as: "Google's
penalty literally took food out of my families mouth". As John
noted, the original comment identified that it was Google's
"penality" (sic) which "literally took food out of [his]
families mouth" - a mental image which, although it isn't
technically a synonym for "penis", certainly gave him
something to "snigger about". NTK regrets the non-error and
any absence of double-entendre it may have caused...
>> 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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