_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk>
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- Steve Hayden, copywriter for Apple "1984" ad
...well, as we recall, the OS was usually bigger than the
>> HARD NEWS <<
hello? Howard Hughes?
It's always good to see a thriving new community springing up
in Usenet's barren wasteland - especially ones with interests
as specific as those of "Richard Craft", "Kevin Steward",
"Kyran Goring", "Danny Farrell", "Sean Rogers", "Mike Harding",
"Oliver Hammond", "James Goodman", "Cameron Ellis" et al. Take
it from us, these guys have a *lot* in common: they all post
from a Mailbox Internet account, they all have Hotmail
addresses, and the products they just can't help recommending
to each other include student info-hub thesite.org, the
musical output of Elvis Costello and Afroman, plus the
Activision games Wreckless, Rally Fusion and Minority Report.
All of which, any idiot with a search engine can see, are
clients of new media marketing agency DIGITAL OUTLOOK, who
define guerrilla marketing as "participating within a variety
of carefully targeted online communities [...] and initiating
'unofficial' discussions about our clients' offering". They've
yet to confirm or deny whether these individuals are Digital
Outlook employees (or their aliases), and whether they have
any kind of code of practice on the use of false identities
for promotional purposes. Or maybe the company intranet was
down, thus forcing the staff to communicate with each other
- some 2001 posts resolve to "DIGITAL-OUTLOOK COMMUNICATIONS"
- original tip from reader "John Smith", as luck would have it
You wait all year for the government not to do anything, and
then it screws up everything all at once. Well, almost: to
be honest, we don't know what's going on in half of the
consultations, bills and white papers we've seen flying out
of Whitehall in the last few days - but what we don't know
scares us. A bill that forbids entertainment performances
without a license in any public place, an utterly anodyne
review of the use of the Terrorism Act; patent reform; ID
cards, and unforgeable photographs showing giant cacodemons
operating the puppet strings of Her Majesty's Cabinet. All
this activity can't be a good sign, surely?
- pub musicians: no good with fonts
- Lord Carlile says "nothing to see here, move along"
- you have until the 21st Febuary to understand this
- this will take rather less time
We grow more worried still when we hear the Home Office
minister in charge of ID Cards say their sketchy plans "have
won backing from most of the people who have given the
government their views". Of course, who wouldn't suspect the
others must have SOMETHING TO HIDE. This consultation paper,
prior to Lord Falconers' mini-gloat, hasn't exactly been
trumpeted from the rooftops, but now you've had warning,
you've got until the 31st of January to get your word in.
Those wishing to hear the counterargument might like to
reveal their identities on the floor of PROVING YOUR
ENTITLEMENTS, a FIPR special event on ID Cards. Lord
Falconer and the HO homies will be there (although he's
currently got no way of proving he's *really* Lord
Falconer). As will the Privacy International counter-posse.
It's at the LSE, 2PM this Wednesday afternoon, 2002-12-11.
- with a "summary for young people" that uses the phrase "Get Activated!"
- the only public meeting during the consultation
- Casper Bowden settling in OK at new job?
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
PLAIN ENGLISH award goes to ANADROM "mission statement":
http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/goldenbull.html#anadrom - aka
output of Dreamweaver extension "Corporate Mumbo Jumbo":
... what the? this week's barely-puerile GOOGLE MISSPELLINGS:
http://www.google.com/search?&q=-recorded+devilery , "sydney
oprah house", "hell hath no furry", and - new thrill! -
misspelled GOOGLISMs: http://www.googlism.com/?ism=engalnd ...
so who's "working wiser" here then - Docherty, or Telewest?:
http://www.ntk.net/2002/12/06/dohdoch.gif ... template
journalism: http://www.ntk.net/2002/12/06/dohtemp.gif ...
even more efficient if the assignment's *inside* the loop:
... why it's still there: http://search.guardian.co.uk/_ ...
and this year, why not give her something you can both enjoy?:
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
"We're trying to get wi-fi into the ICA theatre so that anyone
with a PDA or a card in their laptop can blog the talk while
it's happening, and it will appear on a screen behind me",
claimed BILL THOMPSON of his upcoming CYBERSALON CHRISTMAS
LECTURE (from 8pm, Mon 2002-12-09, the ICA, London SW1Y, UKP6)
- swiftly followed by an email from the organisers asking if
we had an Airport "or other 802.11a wireless network hub" they
could borrow. Well, one place they could try would be
Bristol's EASTON COMMUNITY WIRELESS NETWORK, who are holding
their non-denominational Christmas bash at 8pm, Tue 2002-12-10
in The Cube Microplex, Dove Street South (Off Kings Square),
Bristol BS2. In the spirit of wireless networking, entrance is
free, for an evening of "discussion, talks, demonstrations,
music, and beer". By which we hope they don't mean the sort of
Powerpoint presentations that apparently take place at Consume
meetings sometimes, courtesy of well-meaning individuals
extolling the benefits of - what else? - wireless networking!
- and no posting "get a haircut, scruffy!"
- c'mon, Consume, you know we're kidding. Aren't we?
- this Sat: Linux logical volume management, live in London
- Dave Green's so-called "Christmas Song": SOLD OUT!
- next Fri: Stew Lee and friends, doing it for the kids
>> TRACKING <<
sufficiently advanced technology : the gathering
STRAW is an RSS reader. It is like all those other RSS
aggregators, except it's for GNOME2, its interface is akin
to MacOS X's NETNEWSWIRE, the best of the RSS readers, it
uses Mark "Dive Into An Early Grave From Overwork"
Pilgrim's supertolerant RSS parser - and it's all in Python,
so you can at least consider hacking new features onto it.
Downsides are that it has more than a handful of library
dependencies (always the sign of an enthusiastic Debian
developer), a few rough UI edges, no keyboard shortcuts to
speak of, and no OPML exporting right now. Butbutbut - it's
good enough. And surely there are *some* Linuxen out there
who have a vital desire to fill another three hours of their
day with even more blog-reading.
- yet another fine productivity-killer-app
>> MEMEPOOL <<
ceci n'est pas une http://www.gagpipe.com/ also woolly on exactly which "principles of quantum mechanics"
she might be on about: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/2541761.stm ...
an "Are you Tony Hawk(s)?" book and TV show in the offing?:
... more celeb confusion: http://www.glennhoddle.com/ ... life:
... terrifying glimpse into the subconscious of POPBITCH
posters everywhere: http://makeashorterlink.com/?N2F235FA2 ...
puerile Whitehouse press releases - "Is it because I's a...":
... claiming "diplomatic immunity" from usual bloody popups?:
... file under "fun DIY/electronics projects to try over the
Christmas holidays": http://n5m4.org/index.shtml?118+575+2494 ,
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/2539949.stm , and all the fun of the
fair: http://www.abnet.or.jp/knt/kingyo/topE/furetopE.htm ...
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
get out less
TV>> Rachel finally has a baby in FRIENDS (9pm, Fri, C4)...
Oysmyso, Cartel Communique and other b3ta cut-up favourites
sell out to new Sara Cox music show BORN SLOPPY (11.05pm, Fri;
11.40pm, Wed C4)... and, assuming no terrorists set off any
nukes or anything, there's yet another showing of TRUE LIES
(9pm, Fri, ITV) - last scheduled by ITV this September, and by
the BBC back in May... the more "human" the Robin Williams
robot gets, the more unbearable Asimov-adaptation BICENTENNIAL
MAN becomes (5.30pm, Sat, BBC1)... a simple train-missing
incident sees Gwyneth Paltrow transformed from a 19th century
matchmaker in EMMA (8pm, Sat, C4) to a PR woman battling
parallel-reality romances in SLIDING DOORS (10.20pm, Sat,
BBC1)... and Will Smith: A Celebration expands from now
thrice-weekly showings of THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR (6.20pm,
Mon, Thu & Fri, BBC2) to take in Heather Graham conman comedy
SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION (12.15am, Sat, BBC2) and Tea Leoni
buddy cop actioner BAD BOYS (10pm, Sun, C4) - still Michael
Bay's best ever film... the notion of banning chocolate, as
explored by teatime-drama BOOTLEG (5.55pm, Sun, BBC1), would
be even funnier if there wasn't currently an epidemic of child
obesity... appallingly juvenile spider-scarer ARACHNOPHOBIA
is pointlessly mis-scheduled at 10.55pm (Sun, BBC1)... while
TOMORROW LA SCALA (9pm, Tue, BBC1) sees bloody Jessica
Stevenson confirming something social workers have long
suspected: the one thing that can rehabilitate violent
criminals and unemployed steelworkers alike is - the magic of
showbiz!... the "UK resistance" episode of HITLER'S BRITAIN
(9pm, Tue, C5) is marred only by repeated use of the
orchestral sting from "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?"...
another web fad is swiftly appropriated in EXTREME IRONING
(10.35pm, Tue, C4)... ultraviolent French crime chaser
DOBERMANN (12.40am, Tue, C4) appears only loosely based on
the "Sergeant Bilko" character of the same name... and the
acclaimed all-musical episode of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" is
bumped from its terrestrial debut by, you've guessed it,
SNOOKER (6.45pm, Thu; 11.35pm, Fri, BBC2)...
FILM>> sure, it's not vintage Woody Allen, but it's got him
swapping snappy dialogue with Helen Hunt and sometimes that's
better than nothing, cautions THE CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION
( http://www.screenit.com/movies/2001/the_curse_of_the_jade_scorpion.html :
some kids could become interested in trying to hypnotize
others; [Allen] tells [Charlize Theron] to remove her coat
since it hasn't rained in his apartment in twenty years. She
then opens and partially lowers it, apparently exposing her
nude body to him)... that "Billy Elliot" kid is kept on his
toes by as-you'd-expect Brit-made WW1 frightfest DEATHWATCH
( http://www.bbfc.co.uk/ : contains strong language, violence
and horror) - not to be confused with John Malkovich's epic
South American terrorism directorial debut THE DANCER UPSTAIRS
(http://www.bbfc.co.uk/ : contains strong language and
moderate, bloody violence)... while Adam Sandler adapts some
of the tracks from his "Stan and Judy's Kid" album - though
sadly not the excellent "She Comes Home To Me" Sinatra spoof -
into kids' gross-out "A Chanukah Carol" animation 8 CRAZY
NIGHTS ( http://www.capalert.com/capreports/8crazynights.htm :
masochism, repeatedly; licking a dog's tongue; flatulence as a
weapon; song of hate; a boy is seen wearing a girl's
underwear; the entirety of this show [is] focused around
impudence, hate and sex)...
CONFECTIONERY THEORY>> so, we figure, what's to stop you
skipping the whole text 'mcflurry' to 80101 business and just
brandishing a phone displaying "FREE Chocolate Orange McFlurry
with any xtra value meal. Use as many times til 31Dec.Join
McDs;-)TXT if 14+.Rules@mcdonalds.co.uk. Rply with age+gender
eg18M" (ours originated from +447950081690)? And the McFlurry
itself? Delicious!... reader CHARLOTTE LATIMER didn't exactly
hyperventilate over the "Spicy Cocktail" AIRWAVES GUM - "a
touch orangey but it quickly fades to that indistinguishable
'Airwaves' flavour all the others get. As my grandma always
said: 'Limited demand begets limited edition'", while we only
liked the yellow and red ones out of the four colours of MARS
HARRY POTTER FIZZING WHIZBEES (39p), making the HONEYDUKES
BEST CHOCOLATE BAR (20p) - with its blue-green raspberry
flavoured caramel "mystery filling" - this month's undisputed
"Taste Abomination". Can't wait for their four different
flavours of DRAGON EGGS early next year, to be joined by
CHEERIOS, NESQUIK and GOLDEN GRAHAM CEREAL AND MILK BARS, plus
the ever-popular WRIGLEY EXTRA THIN ICE melt-in-your-mouth
soluble breath-freshening strips (75p for pack of 24)...
following previous speculation in this column, NESTLE's six-
chunk MINI SMARTIES CHOCOLATE BAR (39p) at last arrived in the
UK, in milk and white variants, though we don't have the
international experience to compare it with HENRY SCOTT's
Belgian sighting of white chocolate GALAKA with embedded
smarties, which he evocatively dubs "a real life-affirming
bastard of a biscuit. Stunning." (Anyone tried the SMARTIES
COOKIES apparently sold in Germany?) And finally: tests of
VANILLA COKE continue in the colonies, described by visitor-
to-the-US JENNY COLGAN as "like some kid who'd eaten too many
sweets at Hallowe'en walked past and happened to throw up in
your mouth", and by Australian resident ADRIAN FURBY as "very
very tasty - reminds me of 'Creaming Soda'". Cream*ing* Soda,
Adrian? We really don't want to know...
>> 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
"self-styled computing comedian"
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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