_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk>
| \ | |_ _| |/ / _ __ __2003-05-02_ o join! mail an empty message to
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|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ >> HARD NEWS <<
sender, returned to
In the upper section of four-colour problem that is mainland
Britain, Scotland's election has come to an end, and a new
batch of MSPs sent to Holyrood. Well, actually, it's mostly
the same batch of MSPs - but with one difference. This week,
they won't have a backlog of email. In their infinite
wisdom, when Parliament was dissolved back in April, all the
MSP's (and their assistants) email accounts were deleted too
- on the grounds that they were no longer MSPs. Mailing
lists and personal mail alike have since received bounce
errors, suggesting instead that you write them a letter or
track down their personal email address yourself.
Apparently, the same thing will happen at Westminster next
election: Like Bagpuss, when the Parliaments disappear, all
their mailhosting services disappear too. In the interest of
keeping track of these people, wouldn't it be better to set
up a forward to whatever lucrative city job politicians move
on to? Or at least hold the mail for the 80% of politicians
who just keep getting re-elected?
- ah, I appear to have been helpfully unsubscribed from everything
We have a simple antispam filter at NTK: we only read mail
with self-deprecating subject lines - "You've probably
already seen this" and "Not very funny", as opposed to "The
best invention ever" and "Offer you cannot refuse". It's
worked for us so far - so it's been particularly upsetting
to discover our Legitimate Corporation Spam Corpus
collection turns out to be chockablock now with greedy nasty
grasping multinational capitalists, but meek little lovely
charities. Following that first dark omen of the RSPCA, it
turns out they're *all* at it: Oxfam (via France), the WWF
(via Los Angeles), and Save the Children (via good old
Florida and sent, according to the headers, using Pine on
Mozilla via Outlook Express). What is going on here? Are
charities more desperate than we thought? Are spammers now
manipulating our guilt and our non-profits to get some sort
of clickthrough reward for themselves? Is it possible to
overclock being good so much you become evil again? We'll
carry on looking into it, but we though we'd share being
weirded out with you.
- take action for a spamming planet
- don't click, it only encourages them
Dave writes: Debbie Barham was the geekiest person I ever met.
She stood up for me when Davey Winder flamed me on uk.media in
1996. She wrote three books, at least one sitcom, gadget
reviews for Wired UK, and god knows how many jokes for
newspaper columns, and radio and TV shows. She came up with
the NTK section heading "Confectionery Theory", and the first
winning entry in our competition "Buy A T-shirt, Subvert The
Mass Media, Get One Free". She died on April 20, of heart
failure due to anorexia, aged 26. Deb didn't write about
herself much - she preferred the classic one-liners - so
here's her byline from her acclaimed dissection of the
'Bridget Jones' genre: "Debbie Barham lives in London, where
she works as a journalist and writes comedy for television.
She has just finished her first novel and hopes to read
another one soon."
- see also "Debbie Barham" +Psion, +webloggers, and so on
- Debbie "DA" Barham, 1976-2003
- just in case
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
bias-free: http://www.ntk.net/2003/05/02/dohfoxiran.gif ...
leading by example: http://www.ntk.net/2003/05/02/dohroy.gif
... OK, trying to make the GOOGLE GOOFS a bit less puerile
now: http://www.google.com/search?q=%22my+strenghts%22 (don't
seem to include spelling), plus phrase "be pendantic" and
ultimate OCR demo: http://www.google.com/search?q=Qmfice ...
David Allan Serfozo, Tripod user, lists wisdom of - David
Allan Serfozo: http://serfozo.tripod.com/dave/id24.html ...
and the award for "Double-take Logo of the Week" goes to:
http://www.janustraining.co.uk/ ... top test sites of the web:
http://www.kenneymoore.co.uk/who.htm , http://www.globesprinkler.com/
... moneybags JK Rowling still wearing special warm cardigan:
http://www.ntk.net/2003/05/02/dohjk.gif ... oh, those hormone
treatments: http://www.ntk.net/2003/05/02/dohtao.gif ... May
1st issue of http://www.ntk.net/2003/05/02/dohzen.gif imitates
http://www.ntk.net/index.cgi?b=02003-04-04&l=9#l , believes
Barbelith to be ".com WebZine", goes on to fall for last
month's Tom Watson MP "Yo, teens" page...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Broadly, we're in agreement with SPIKED ONLINE that it's hard
to get accurate assessments of how dangerous anything actually
is, which is (loosely) the theme of their PANIC ATTACK all-day
conference (10am, next Fri 2003-05-09, The Royal Institution,
London W1S, from UKP20) featuring, among others, controversial
Skeptical Environmentalist author BJORN LOMBORG, whose claims
have been applauded as both "dishonest" and "clearly contrary
to the standards of good scientific practice". Fortunately,
we're also persuaded by the position of The Ecologist magazine
- that ignoring the potential hazards of, say, genetically
modified food just makes it look like you're in cahoots with
Monsanto. For a somewhat less Pollyanna-ish view of the
future, there's always SCRAMBLING FOR SAFETY 6 (1.30pm-5.30pm,
The Hong Kong Theatre, LSE, London WC2, free but RSVP), the
Foundation for Information Policy Research's almost-annual
crypto get-together, this year looking at those hilarious
data-retention proposals in the company of Simon "Privacy
International" Davies, Duncan "Zircon" Campbell, et al.
- not remarking on how practical and well-thought-out they are
vs http://www.bowblog.com/archives/000327.html#000327 ,
- cannabis weekend, vs http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/2995275.stmhttp://twenteenthcentury.com/uo/index.php/CcSchedule
- in London on Sat: sod the psychogeography, show me bunkers!
>> TRACKING <<
sufficiently advanced technology : the gathering
So you've got a friend and you've been telling them for
years about how the Intarweb is going to transform society
and change the way cities are designed. Only these days,
they're stuck in the usual nightmare world of popup, ads and
spam. You have one lunchtime to put things right without
completely screwing up their Windows machine (again). What
do you do? If your friend is using POP to pick up their
mail, download SAProxy, a local free POP SpamAssassin proxy.
It's good enough, and you won't have to bork too much with
their mail client. Be prepared to fiddle around with
exciting text config files, albeit wrapped in a sensible
configuration UI. Moz Firebird does great popup handling, if
you can cope with unzipping it somewhere safe. Or you can
wait until 0.6 comes out, any day now. Stick one of the
userContent.css files mentioned in the slashdot discussion
below into its chrome directory, and it'll CSS style away
most banner ads too. If it's an XP machine, you can skin
Firebird to use IE-a-like widgets with Christopher Cook's
Luna skin. And, voila! The Internet like it's supposed to
be, and a Windows machine perforated with destabilising Free
- pay no attention to the exhortations to download Bloomba
- okay, maybe a nightly isn't the best choice. Wait a week.
- flash or no flash
- for Firebird (or whatever it's called this week)
- or if sir prefers Win 98 and Mozilla
>> MEMEPOOL <<
ceci n'est pas une http://www.gagpipe.com/ Ain't It Cool News "reviewer" imitates The Onion's "The Star
Wars" guy: http://www.aintitcoolnews.com/display.cgi?id=15110
... EVENING STANDARD joins in the b3ta-style photoshop fun:
... when will the public tire of vocal samples over piss-poor
ambient techno?: http://www.boycott-riaa.com/article/6532 ...
SARS imitates title sequence of 1970s SF thriller Survivors:
it's basically "extreme piercing": http://www.trepanning.tv/ ,
... harder to spot those "50 Years Ago" stories in Georgia:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,85737,00.html ... Japanese
Nazis Party borrow poster from http://www.motherearth.org/ :
http://www.nsjap.com/axis/english.html ... more Nazi consumer
goofs: http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_775737.html ...
http://www.amcgltd.com/archives/002450.html#002450 - if so,
the Kilroy team would like to hear from you...
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
get out less
TV>> the squealing-and-pointing gesture remains the ideal way
to highlight signs of human weakness, thanks to the second -
and by far the scariest - version of INVASION OF THE BODY
SNATCHERS (12.15am, Fri, BBC2)... the Bank Holiday is
"Directed by Richard Lester" with both A HARD DAY'S NIGHT
(3.25pm, Sat, BBC2) and SUPERMAN II (10.30pm, Mon, ITV)... as
Fi Glover's debt documentary SPEND SPEND SPEND (7.15pm, Sat,
BBC2) is intriguingly juxtaposed with a "Revised repeat" of
THE 100 GREATEST TV ADS (7.30pm, Sat, C4)... "The Bill"
spinoff M.I.T (9.15pm, Sat, ITV) appears to stand for "Murder
Investigation Team" rather than "Massachusetts Institute of
Technology"... get out the markers and the whiteboard for a
double-bill of LAW AND ORDER (10pm, Sat, C5) plus the best
abandoned-by-Channel4 cop show ever, HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE
STREET (11pm, Sat, C5)... and who knows what Robinson and
Schofield are hoping to find this time with the now-annual
TEST THE NATION: THE NATIONAL IQ TEST (8pm, Sun, BBC1) - it
probably won't have gone up, given that the trailers count
Angelina Jolie among THE 100 GREATEST MOVIE STARS (9pm, Sun &
Mon, C4)... it's movies, movies, movies on Bank Holiday
Monday, with candlepowered Kubrick classic BARRY LYNDON
(11.50am, Mon, BBC2), Robert Altman-style ensemble chase caper
IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD (1.10pm, Mon, ITV), darker side
of "Toy Story" semi-CGI satire SMALL SOLDIERS (6.20pm, Mon,
BBC1), "The Fast And The Furious" - but with surfers instead
of cars! - POINT BREAK (9pm, Mon, C5), plus De Niro beat-'em-
up RAGING BULL (12.05am, Mon, C4)... fortunately, Sky and
cable subscribers can maintain some sort of balance with a
remorseless 12 hours of DALEK DAY (7.20am, Mon, UK Gold)...
occupational makeover show HEADHUNTING THE HOMELESS (9.50pm,
Wed, BBC2) is appositely preceded by management intervention
I'LL SHOW THEM WHO'S BOSS (9pm, Wed, BBC2)... can't wait to
see what earth-shattering revelations they've dug up for
HEATHER MILLS: THE REAL MRS MCCARTNEY (10pm, Wed, C4) - she's
not really an amputee? is actually a top arms dealer? killed
and ate Linda McCartney?... while the ever-insightful Dave
Gorman and girl band "neX-us" http://www.nex-us.tv/ discuss
their lunch preferences on THE NATION'S FAVOURITE FOOD (8pm,
FILM>> another perfunctory outing of obvious special effects,
appalling dialogue, and mutants, mutants, mutants - including
one which, if you're not paying attention, appears to go by
the name of "Biro" - make up tame "Wrath of Khan"-template
sequel X2 (imdb: fighting/ leader/ mutant/ sequel/ based-on-
comic/ superhero/ marvel-entertainment/ mansion/ bigotry/
hatred/ racism/ adamantium-claws/ adamantium/ marvel-comics/
wolverine)... otherwise it seems to be a good week to dump
potentially underperforming local projects, like THE HEART
OF ME ( http://www.bbfc.co.uk/ : contains moderate sex and
nudity), HEARTLANDS ( http://www.bbfc.co.uk/ : Contains
moderate sex and language)... or, continuing the "starts with
an H" theme, Steven Seagal, Ja Rule and Claudia "Babylon 5"
Christian - together at last! - in HALF PAST DEAD (imdb:
helicopter/ machine-gun/ martial-arts/ prison/ body-landing-
>> 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
"24 hour party people"
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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