_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the UK>
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|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "There's really not much in the way of news here. People
point out security issues with the product all the time."
- NT product manager KEVIN KEAN
on the phone, in the pub, from my own admin account...
>> HARD NEWS <<
in garish hues
No news at all this week. Well, we presume there wasn't -
every time we tried to find out, our e-mails got sucked
into the anti-spamming Black Hole that descended onto PIPEX
users over the weekend. Paul Vixies' ruthlessly efficient
Mail Abuse Protection System meant that a sizeable chunk of
Pipex's outgoing mail and a few slivers of incoming were
forwarded to /dev/null until the sysadmins promised to be
good. Like they did last time Pipex got blacklisted.
- like an author of "cron" is going to forget
Any remaining news, we suspect, was destroyed in collision
with the purest anti-news made by VIRGIN NET on Tuesday.
Whispers over the weekend intimated that the ISP was going
to announce an entirely free dial-up service that was going
to "revolutionize the UK Internet industry". Well, up to a
point. Virgin Net, is indeed, waiving their twelve quid a
month charge - if you have account with partner Citibank.
And have two grand in it. And have an income of over thirty
thousand a year. And they're only waiving it for 12 months
(of which three months would have been free anyway). So
that's revolutionary in the sense of redefining "free", then.
- we're only running this because everyone said we wouldn't
ICE-style security software that comes back down the phone
line to attack hackers' computers? Just how closely did the
LA Times, CNN, and New Scientist question the FUTUREVISION
GROUP about their supposedly quantum-based "self-healing"
Lightning Server? Well, it "debuts" at next week's TechNet
'98 show in Washington - hey, maybe it really is a genuine
breakthrough cleverly disguised by an appalling website
(you naturally assume it's an art student prank) plus
impenetrable journo-frightening jargon ("Using the UGEM
generalization of Godel's Incompleteness Theorem, precisely
partition any continuous NP-Complete problem into
decideable [sic] and undecidable components" - yeah,
*right*). Oh, and we know this was on slashdot a while
back, but they gave it quite an easy ride, with comments
like (paraphrase): "Hmm, a revolutionary new non-local
computing paradigm and security implementation? Well it
won't affect me, I run Linux..."
- and they fell for the Nortel story too! Chortle!
- sexy brochure pictures, too
- from the (scary) folks who also brought you milcom98
>> MORE ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
DEJANEWS beta-tests it all - www.ntk.net/doh/deja980605.gif
... WIRED strapline: "The New Economy" (again)... "Videos
good for children" - says DISNEY... TELETUBBIES outselling
Godzilla merchandise 3-1... open government site features
BT banner ads - http://www.open.gov.uk/index/orgindex.htm
... Times INTERFACE runs article on "the Lara Croft
phenomenon"... NEGROPONTE's column still e-mailed to
"email@example.com" - does he have to forward it every month?...
POURNELLE estimates Byte column would cost $500,000 to fund
independently; $1,000,000 ensures he'll never write it
again - http://home.earthlink.net/~jerryp/fiasco.html ...
applicants may "attribute desirable characteristics or deny
undesirable ones" during interviews, scientists reveal...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Can one play Gran Turismo and still party on down at
London's RECLAIM THE STREETS on Sat 6/6/98? Well, yes - as
long as you don't ask for a lift home afterwards. Dancing,
singing, brightly coloured banner-waving and other forms of
anti-democratic aggravated trespass will be conducted, in
an attempt to persuade motorists that air-conditioning
isn't an optional extra for everyone else. Meet in front of
the Ritzy, Brixton or Euston Station at noon, and follow
the instructions of your decentralised anarchist leaders.
- say you prefer "Street Fighter"
>> TRACKING <<
head up! load down!
Remember when you first ran a retro-gaming emulator? Meta-
nostalgics have a chance to re-re-live that moment, with
the 0.1 release of MESS, which is kind of the Exidy
Sorcerer to MAME's Pong, or something. Perhaps a better
description would be a NES, Sega Genesis (nee MegaDrive),
TRS-80, Colour Genie, and Colecovision emulator for Mac,
DOS and (retro upon retro) ARM processors. Freenix versions
are promised soon. The MESS license explicitly prevents
distribution of ROM images with the emulator, cough, cough,
so you'll have to dig those out for yourself. Although you
will go to Hell if you do. You know that, don't you?
- if only Ally McBeal had shown the TRS-80 Dancing Demon
- Ironic inversion: Speccy users get an IDE interface
Mmmm, text files. For the million or so Web years that
we've been hitting the Internet Movie Database (from back
when everyone used to call it the Cardiff Movie Database,
and you could legitimately kill them for their ignorance),
we never realised you could download the *whole database*
in plaintext for local searching. And as well as interfaces
for Unix, OS/2, DOS and Amiga (spot the missing platform),
there's now a Newton book version, for the too-sexy-for-
your-Psion brigade. So Barry Norman can bog off to Sky now.
See if we care.
- with UGEM, you could use this to predict future films...
- "I'll look that up in my - oh have I not shown you this?"
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
the Brian Hook/Alan St John mudfight... ONION back on form:
DAIKATANA "boring"... DEER HUNTER RSAC rating - "Violence:
3 out of 4. Rewards injuring non-threating animals"...
Pnickies! ... CARBON for Intel... "Your computer's so slow"
jokes... DIY H-Bombs using staged Z-pinch... American filth
exposed at http://lemur.ecs.soton.ac.uk/VisibleMars ... do
Spice Girls tribute acts now have to fire all their
"Gingers"? Not the Thai transsexual version, SPICE GAYS...
Tom Hanks in - THE APPLE STORY... funny SUN fart humour at
Brit games PR company "guarantees" at least 70% review
scores? (and don't most get 90%+ automatically?)... SOUTH
PARK remix MP3s... VIC REEVES for next Doctor Who...
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
fluoresce with the best
TV>> Friday still a science/sci-fi minefield, with X-Philes
fan profile LOST IN SPACE (7.15pm, Fri, BBC2), car ad
spokesman Steve Jones ecstatic about evolution in QUANTUM
LEAPS (7.30pm, Fri, BBC2), and the interminably ponderous
INVASION: EARTH (9.30pm, Fri, BBC1) - so why not make it a
"Darwin Awards" theme night with THE WORLD'S DUMBEST
DRIVERS (9pm, Fri, ITV)?... hosting a singles party in his
flat, it sounds like a good episode of FRASIER, too (10pm,
Fri, C4)... THE SCI-FI FILES (8pm, Sat, C4) looks at
"Spaceships And Aliens" - which go together like
international co-productions and earth-shattering
boredom... then spice up your life with David Lynch's
great-looking star-studded DUNE (9pm, Sat, C4) - in many
ways (eg, the "weirding modules") actually *nuttier than
the book*... else it's Sam Peckinpah's classic ultraviolent
Nam-metaphor Western THE WILD BUNCH (9pm, Sat, BBC2)...
satellite schedules collide with two early '80s shockers:
Doug Trumbull's BRAINSTORM (11.45pm, Sat, TNT) and
Cronenberg's VIDEODROME (12.55am, Sat, UK Gold)... Paul
Newman barely represses chain-gang lust in COOL HAND LUKE
(2.30pm, Sun, BBC2)... and those Victorian antipodean
ladies *love* it when you steal their musical instruments,
and will then show you their underwear, implies THE PIANO
(10pm, Sun, C4)... with this week's white-water
bodysurfing, THEY WHO DARE (7.15pm, Mon, BBC2) is still the
scariest 15 minutes around... the most terminal thing about
TERMINAL VELOCITY (9pm, Mon, ITV) was Charlie Sheen's
career... and the erratically entertaining STRESSED ERIC
(10pm, Mon, BBC2) finally keels over at last... offsetting
that whole Computers Don't Bite nonsense comes drama-docu
DISASTER: THE MILLENIUM TIME BOMB (6.50pm, Tue, BBC2)...
Chris Morris pops up in repeated I'M ALAN PARTRIDGE (10pm,
Tue, BBC2)... and gorgeous futuristic cannibal delights in
DELICATESSEN (10.55pm, Tue, C4) - as recommended by Firefly
if you say you like Terry Gilliam's Brazil... ah, NASA may
well be able to deal with an asteroid on collision course
with Earth, but what if there was also an *alien monster*
that dwelled WITHIN THE ROCK (9.45pm, Wed, C5)?... and
rounding off the week, a coupla "Oirish" filums, to be
sure: CIRCLE OF FRIENDS (9pm, Thu, C4) with Minnie Driver
and Chris O'Donnell, followed by THE FIELD (10.55pm, Thu,
C4) - and also mostly starring Brits and Americans...
FILM>> it's half-price "National Cinema Day" this Sunday
with (for once) at least a couple of things worth seeing -
and we don't mean previews of MIMIC or CITY OF ANGELS...
disbelieve the lame trailer for cracking 1980s karaoke
romance THE WEDDING SINGER (imdb: "Anachronisms - At
Robbie's nephew's house, some pieces of LEGO are visible.
The red bottom half arch (like from model 6099) was not
produced until after 1985")... like John Woo before him,
Chow Yun-Fat makes a fun-but-flawed attempt to go Hollywood
as one of THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS (imdb: action / thriller
/ murder / police) - and, disappointingly, he's not trying
to kill '80s US post-punkers, The Replacements... in the
race to create the ultimate "fruit corner" yoghurt, Richard
"The Gerbil" Gere goes on implausible trial in anti-Chinese
nonsense RED CORNER (imdb: thriller / crime / drama /
cultural-revolution / torture / murder / assassination-
attempt / bamboo / pond / corruption / pipa / law /
courtroom / human-rights / courage / china / separation-of-
powers / frame-up / television-industry / prison / embassy
/ political / controversial)... seriously, could *you* sit
through Patrick Stewart's performance in Brit crime caper
DAD SAVAGE (imdb: thriller) without yelling "HOLODECK
MALFUNCTION!!!"?... an equally small-scale release for
bizarro Gen-X saga NOWHERE (imdb: drama / apocalypse / rape
/ alien-abduction / gay / idol / drugs / satire / youth)...
though in fact we'd plump for similarly grungey Kids-style
drama HURRICANE STREETS (MPAA rated: R for "language,
violence and drug use involving teens") - and that's
*despite* the fact that NOWHERE's got Traci Lords, Shannon
Doherty and (possibly) Christina Applegate being vapourised
by a UFO...
CONFECTIONS>> [With two guest reviewers - first, TV's BEN
MOOR, on "lollies":] WALLS have attacked the summer thirst
with a new logo that looks like the symbol of a bizarre
Christian cult or something. Or a political party. Or,
side-on, simply an ear. But the proof of the lolly is in
the licking and, boy, they lick good this year... SURFER's
bubblegum and vanilla flavour has to be the taste of the
season, with fab colours - the extreme blue and white
ripple is sensational - and two bonus candy chews on top.
The wrapper calls them 'hand' and 'foot' but to me they
looked more like a useless surfer separated from his board.
I, like Jaws, ate them, with my jaws, and was happy... the
crazy and triangular TRICKY LICKY has four fruit flavours
and tastes like all the MR MEN lollies in one... the
fruits-of-the-forest stripe through the new MAGNUM EGO is
promising, but then they stuck what look like roasted
rabbit droppings on it (and what happened to the Dirty
Harry-style TV ads?)... CALIPPO SHOTS try to be the new way
to enjoy frozen ice, but *I can't find them anywhere*...
and how long will it be before we get alco-ice-pops? A
summer? Two? Till then, TONY'S FREEZER COCKTAILS with the
phoney US sitcom commercials are pretty good. I had a
margarita at Christmas and it was a little taste of
summer... [Thanks Ben. Now over to NTK staffer LEE MAGUIRE,
at the "sweets" desk:] CADBURY has a new white choc/milk
choc bar out: MARBLE. Is summer really the best time to
lauch new chocs? Mine was just a gooey mess - or maybe it's
supposed to be... the packaging of POLO SUPER MINT suggests
that yes, this is one huge hotel-soap-sized Polo. But
really it's just a plastic container for about 50 tiny tiny
ones. I wanted to indulge my "Honey I Shrunk The Kids"
fantasies, yet was stuck with "Honey I Blew Up The Baby"...
and finally from the Cads: a thin finger of choc-covered
krispy cereal/caramel called NOBBLE (ho ho ho). Packaging
reads: "Nobble makes Nobble bars to 'Nobble your hunger'.
He works so hard that no one in Cadbury Land has ever
caught more than a glimpse of him. You've seen his friends
like Chomp, Fudge and Curly Wurly; what do you think Nobble
looks like? Send your drawings to:" Lee and Herring
>> 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 "independent ... and unemployed"
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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