_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the UK>
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|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "Solving the problem is like having open-heart surgery on
your IT system. Do you want a medical student doing that?"
- ANDY KYTE of the Gartner Group, Y2K hypochondriac
well, we'd prefer programmers...
>> HARD NEWS <<
In a popular week for near/actual death experiences (Milli
Vanilli, Tammy Wynette, Kurt Cobain, Jesus), the European
Net played a few rounds of "chicken" itself. On Tuesday,
DNS gods NETWORK SOLUTIONS decided that the RIPE.NET domain
was too dodgy to live, and put it "on hold". Bad idea:
while an excellent name for a porn site, Ripe is actually
the major European IP database, storing (amongst other
items) chunks of Net routing information that many ISPs
rely on - no RIPE, no Net. Plus, the unsinkable TELEHOUSE
managed to zap two floors Friday, vanquishing AOL, PsiNet,
Infocom and other almost-household names. Interestingly,
this was almost 11 months to the day since the UK Net last
fritzed, implying that perhaps the Telehouse generators
really don't "go to eleven". And the scariest part of this
lesson in the Net's vulnerabilities? Well, did you notice
- another "accident" in the domain name wars
- "don't even look at it"
Microsoft launched a US ad campaign to win the public over
its side of the Force this week. Points made in the
newspaper placements included identifying that "at the
heart of this incredible computer revolution is the kind of
innovation that is uniquely American", and that "Every wave
of innovation and integration creates another wave of great
ideas." But some uniquely American ideas are greater than
others. The LA Times today revealed secret Microsoft
strategy documents that show Bill's latest wheeze to be a
fake grass-roots letter-writing campaign, with opinion
pieces and editorials apparently written by independent
individuals, but in fact commissioned by Microsoft with
costs "billed to Microsoft as an out-of-pocket expense". MS
spokesman Greg Shaw at first denied the plan existed, then
stated that it was only hypothetical - an innovation indeed
to the regional PR firms who, the Times says, were lead to
believe it was a done deal.
- "welcome to my world, Mr. Gates"
- sign right here, Mr Dvorak
- two can play at that game, Mr Gates
Obligatory Web-Agency-In-Trouble-Story for this week:
medium-creepy NY Web corp AGENCY.COM look set to buy a
majority stake in ONLINE MAGIC after ad agency BMP DDB
decided to pull out of the plucky^H^H^H^H^H well-
established British Web house. Us? We're buying shares in
Tired Hacks Writing "Shake-out In UK Net Industry"
Articles. Looks like boom time there.
- We only put this in because we have 20 OM subscribers. Hi!
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
Bill Gates buys FIREFLY: I don't remember putting *that* in
my preferences... Predicting Twisters Relies On People,
Technology, says CNN ... WIRED in trouble, uncovers
FORBES... anonymous Falco to the man who said NEW MEDIA
FACTORY, Cambridge would call in receiver this week... YELL
picks Comedy Web as Top Ten site, despite not having been
updated for nearly two years... YELL selects
www.britstuff.com as "most popular site in UK" after
company writes "click and reload" script... MICROSOFT
attacks Lessig again: this time over his pop knowledge...
jokes of the form "I'm never going to <X> again, guilty <Y>
got no rhythm" ... OMNI ONLINE to continue as "static
site"... Japanese man's inflatable pants activate on
underground... Scallywag SIMON REGAN arrested *again*...
ANTINEWS SPECIAL: Guardian Online's Richard Barry ran an
intriguing story in his Videowatch column this week. In it,
he claimed that "George Lucas has purchased all Paramount's
Star Trek rights" and "plans to merge the two films" later
this year. The two, the piece went on, would be linked by
an "Ensign Obie" - Dr McCoy's son-in-law, played by Mark
Hamill. This story originally appeared on April 1st on
C|Net's GameCenter, where it was written by one April F.
Ewls. Barry later said that he had checked the story with
Paramount and "they did not deny it". Barry placed it as
the fourth most important item in the column, behind a
Pitfall Harry plug, details of Heretic II - and news of a
new Tombraider sequel.
http://www.gamecenter.com/News/Item/0,3,1612,00.htmlhttp://online.guardian.co.uk/computing/892055104-video.html >> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Amazingly, some pop stars have survived the annual Easter/
New Tax Year purge, and the irony is, they're KRAFTWERK.
Not exactly noted for their lively stage presence, the
once-pioneering robo-musos are booked to play The Royal
Festival Hall on 04-05/10/98, as part of a South Bank
electronica season tentatively entitled "Machines". If you
can't wait that long, tonight Russian semi-tribute act
SOLAR X (aka "Outremer") plays the Blue Note, Hoxton Sq,
London N1 - UKP10 to get in, but "free drinks" are
- maybe the same DATs they played at Tribal Gathering?
CINERGY, our favourite film club, risk disfavour with their
wanton prostitution at the hands of the Arch-Satan ICA. But
we guess that's justified, given the theme of their PEEK-A-
BOO theme evening, at said monstrosity on 16/4/98 at
2100GMT. They save themselves by featuring THE POD, Dance-
Thought Collective of egoless faceless transhuman beings.
- "salacious cabaret"
- Expand your eyes... widen your head...
Susan Arbetter and Tim McEachern (off of WAMC's
"GeekNation" show - yes, *that* Susan Arbetter and Tim
McEachern) write to tell NTK that they're holding a special
GEEK PRIDE DAY celebration on 17/04/98 in Troy, New York.
And if you can't make it to there - well, ignore the logic
of any song that suggests you can't make it to anywhere,
and, T+S suggest, hold your own Geek Pride party! Full(ish)
details from GeekNation's... refreshingly sparse Website.
- you needed an excuse?
>> TRACKING <<
I'm picking up something on my radar, Michael
Cleaning up their own mess by replacing yet another
"unhackable" encryption system was reported to have cost
BSkyB UKP 30million in '96 and *someone* had to pay.
Unfortunately for pirate card seller Chris Carey, it's him:
four years in prison for reselling stuff you could have
found on the Web anyway. Condolences, but it's not all bad
news for multinational-media-conglomerate-smashing tube-
jockeys. There's a new version of SELECTOR, the program
that allows you to repeatedly alter the hard-wired regional
limitations on DVD-ROMs. UK owners of the Creative Encore
DVD drive can now watch Zone 1 discs in all their glorious
phased line alternative. Should you ever be stuck in the US
with only a PAL TV, that is.
- so no word on a series 11 anytime soon then?
- hollywood motion pictures: now in colour!
Ever wondered how much shorter the Easter weekend might
have been if the disciples had a reliable lifesign-
monitoring system installed in the tomb? Maybe not, but
surely the modern day equivalent is ARGUS, a useful free
service for Webmasters that pings your site every hour, and
sends an e-mail or GSM SMS message if your site, like God,
- or "hangs"
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
http://beta.yahoo.com ... JAMES CAMERON to direct HBO "Red
Mars" mini-series... MTROPOLIS going open source?... Kosher
Kola... RUPUTER *not* named after RuPaul (or Rupert the
bear?)... www.io360.com/v2/yo/asciiworld/gs.html ... PETER
GREENAWAY doing porn? ... next MAC OS will have stereo
desktop noises (woo)... ARTHUR C CLARKE outs himself;
pedophile allegations collapse... learning from Teletext:
we need a <REVEAL> tag... www.chaosengine.com... two words:
Pot Mash... http://vision.ucsd.edu/~atai/softwarewar.gif
... www.odci.gov/cia/ciakids/ ... the real reason for the
MS/RealNetworks spat: nslookup www9.real.com ...
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
as much fun as you can have in 2D
TV>> repeats of the first four ADAM AND JOE SHOWs (11.05pm,
Fri, C4) conclude with them complaining to Walkers about
how their salt-n-vinegar bags are green and their cheese-
and-onion ones are blue, in strict contravention of ISO
crisps regulations - and the laws of nature... fab '60s
miniaturised FX-fest FANTASTIC VOYAGE (3.35pm, Sat, BBC2)
isn't based on an Isaac Asimov story - but nearly could
have been... Easter weekend means themes, themes, themes,
with C4's A NIGHT ON THE MERSEY (from 6.30pm, Sat, C4)
heralding both a massive Brookside overdose and Beatles-
bootleg BACKBEAT (10pm, Sat, C4), which is like Hackers
(from the same director), but without all that dumb
computer stuff... then BBC2's POLITICALLY INCORRECT NIGHT
(from 9pm, Mon, BBC2) sniggers over a Miss World docu,
three retro clip-shows, plus an On The Buses film - and
doesn't seem to incorporate the preceding Noel Coward
tribute, Spinal Tap on The Simpsons, or even Battlestar
Galactica... final series of space-soap BABYLON 5 (12.40pm,
Sun, C4) now follows Hollyoaks, The Waltons - next: Crusade
( http://tnt.turner.com/babylon5/se_crusade_z.html )... get
up early for vicious Reboot/ Transformers hybrid BEAST WARS
(8.50am, Mon, ITV), triple billed with the reassuringly
ridiculous BIG BAD BEETLEBORGS (7.45am, Mon, ITV) - then
shut down for the "upgraded" '95 version of teen Kurt
Russell Disney superhero romp THE COMPUTER WORE TENNIS
SHOES (9.50am, Mon, ITV)... go on, try decoding the ASCII
hex in the rarely-repeated 3D episode of THE SIMPSONS (7pm,
Wed, Sky1)... followed by their new effort about cars,
FIRST ON FOUR (10pm, Wed, C4) should surely have focused on
The Comic Strip's early, almost-funny, films... fun with a
low-rent cast and pre-texture-mapping CGI in THE LAST
STARFIGHTER (10.30am, Thu, ITV)... and Emilio Estevez, Rene
Russo, writer Robert Sheckley, and Mick Jagger time-swap
bodies in FREEJACK (10.50pm, Thu, BBC1) to create a
nightmare vision of a future ruled by PC Zone journo,
former Doom champion and winner of Q Magazine's "Starmaker"
competition, David McCandless...
FILM>> virtually nothing new after last week's glut, unless
you count JUNK MAIL (imdb: thriller/ comedy), a bizarre
Scandinavian cross between Kevin Costner's The Postman and
Massimo Troisi's Il Postino - which does, however, feature
the lyrics from Postman Pat in Norwegian... equally off-
beat, DIFFERENT FOR GIRLS (imdb: comedy / sex-change) turns
out to be a rather bland romance merely disguised as an
intriguing transsexual relationship exploration - and it's
hardly based on the Joe Jackson song at all... PS: we don't
think either of these are on particularly wide release yet;
either that or www.virgin.net/cinema/filmfinder genuinely
reckons it's worth travelling distances in excess of 300km
just to see them...
MAGS>> starts with some bad news: James Wallis (of the
still entirely healthy Bizarre) informs us that influential
hate-zine ANSWER ME is no more (or "basically fucked", as
he puts it). Joint eds Jim and Debbie Goad are now
divorced, Debbie has cancer, and Jim's off writing books -
but let's face it, could AM ever have sustained the sheer
vitriol of those first 4 issues?... new, supposedly anti-
lads' semi-music mag DELUXE, published by The Face/ Arena,
is far too dull to live, with a design that looks like
Neon, far too many cartoons by the same guy, and the worst
back-page rip-off of www.theonion.com ever attempted by
non-teenagers... OFFICIAL UK PLAYSTATION MAGAZINE hasn't
taken to its new lifestyle-bracket circulation at all well,
with lame little box-gags, the same tired-looking review
section, plus a gripping interview with 6 PR people you've
never heard of (p16). Plus, what's up with their video
grabbing hardware?... the "Spring 1998" issue of .NET leads
with a searching account of "Online Identity" that, indeed,
reads like it's been extensively rewritten (p79), and slams
CyberSitter for blocking the words "shit" and "fuck"
possibly sent to one young reader via their hacked netmag
mailing list (p24)... that said, the first FRONTIERS isn't
bad at all, despite a bizarre caption mix-up over ICBM,
Minuteman, and missile (p20), a failure to observe the
"first issue only 1 pound" rule, and insanely billing
itself as "the magazine of popular science, technology and
space" - like space is at all accessible without the first
two... no, even we don't know why possibly fictional (but
definitely carnivorous) NTK ed Dave Green is in the current
issue of BBC VEGETARIAN GOOD FOOD (p20)... The inevitable
Kevin Smith indie comic spin-off is already into its second
printing: CLERKS #1 draws us into the shadowy world of star
wars toy dealers in a similar vein to Dorkin's Eltingville
Club... anyone want to contribute to a site devoted to
cataloguing the occasional technical, grammatical and moral
errors in EDGE magazine? mail us at email@example.com : we're
asking for trouble...
>> 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.
It is registered at the Post Office as "bigger than www.jesus.com".
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
Archive - http://www.ntk.net/
Excuses - http://www.spesh.com/ntk/
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