Danny O'Brien on Fri, 22 Jan 1999 21:39:38 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> NTK now, 1999-01-22

     [orig to: NTK now <ntknow@lists.ntk.net>]

 _   _ _____ _  __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk>
| \ | |_   _| |/ / _ __   __1999-01-22_ o join! mail 'subscribe ntknow'
|  \| | | | | ' / | '_ \ / _ \ \ /\ / / o  to majordomo@lists.ntk.net
| |\  | | | | . \ | | | | (_) \ v  v /  o website (+ archive) lives at:
|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/   o     http://www.ntk.net/

      "If somebody took a gun and pointed at me and said write proprietary
      software or I'll shoot, I think under those circumstances, I'd
      be justified in writing some proprietary software, although I
      think that it would be very buggy and would never get to work
                                                - RICHARD M. STALLMAN
   http://www.nwfusion.com/news/1999/0111stallman.html (id/pw: hatenw )
                    - /* pppllease exxcuse inconsistent indenttattion */

                                >> HARD NEWS <<
                               dictats and coups

         FREESERVE's attempts to pass itself off as the non-techie,
         family ISP took a dent last week. E-mailing subscribers to
         tell them about its new anti-spamming policy, they announced
         that users would have to turn their CLID on to access the
         full service. "I don't even know where my CLID is!", wrote
         one correspondent, underestimating how low we'd sink for a
         joke. To prevent fly-by-night spammers, the ISP now prevents
         outgoing mail from any phone which withholds its number.
         Paranoid freeloaders with particularly sensitive CLIDs
         instantly kicked up their conspiracy template wizards and
         "revealed" how Freeserve was going to sell the phone numbers
         to marketeers (without, perhaps, picking up on ENERGIS being
         a Telco: who could get the telephone numbers at the switch
         anyway. And why would they draw attention to it, anyway?).
         Few, however, noted on one of the nastier clash-of-interests
         in the mess. Non-BT users moaned that their cable phone
         provider didn't have Caller-ID, making Freeserve useless to
         them. We note that it's those same cable phone providers who
         are peeved that Freeserve has skimmed off interconnect money
         from their meager local call profits, and would love to keep
         their customers offline. No caller-ID, no Freeserve -
         and more room for their own freebie ISP services. Now,
         *that's* denial of service... 
         http://www.freeserve.net/ - dunno about free
               - freeload got c. 200UKP from my last phone bill

         The .com artists, NETWORK SOLUTIONS, got hit with more nasty
         hacks by domain name speculators. People are now reserving
         .com addresses, sitting out the thirty days before you have
         to pay up, and then - just before NSI's automated system
         releases the domain again - bludgeoning the Internic servers
         with thousands of new reservation requests. That lets the
         speculators hold domain names indefinitely without paying a
         penny. It also crashes NSI's servers, as the more worthy (or
         less sneaky) domain masters have discovered. Network
         Solution's answer has been intriguing: instead of devising a
         more sophisticated reservation system (genuine name &
         address authentication? PGP registration? actually holding
         people to the requirement that they have valid DNS
         servers?), they've simply deleted the "Status" and "Last
         changed" fields from the whois database without telling
         anyone. You'll note that this a) potentially busts other
         programs, b) doesn't solve the problem, since the domain
         name speculators already *know* when they reserved the
         domain. Network Solutions - placing the emphasis on neither.
                    - we're just asking to be put on hold, aren't we?

         And now to the heart of information economy. France. As more
         cheerful publications are celebrating that country's
         decision to liberalise their crypto laws, we've been hanging
         out at the Paris UNESCO conference on the Net and
         pedophilia. Fun, fun, fun. There, INTERPOL's Agnes
         Fournier-Saint Maur revealed that the problem demanded
         immediate action, as "studies in the United States in 1995
         documented one million online pornographic images involving
         children." One million images? 1995? Porn scare? We're not
         100% sure, but it *looks* like Ms Maur is citing as evidence
         that famously reputable Net porn expose, the infamous RIMM
         REPORT. Old timers will remember that this was the
         Carnegie-Mellon survey that TIME magazine ran as its cover
         story, only to discover that the principal conclusions
         (among others, that 83.5% of all Internet imagery was
         pornographic) were the entirely spurious inventions of a
         publicity-seeking undergraduate. But even the Rimm report
         claimed only to have found a million *descriptions* of
         *adult* images - not a million *child porn* images. It's
         good to know that officers in charge of catching child
         pornographers are incapable of spotting misleading evidence
         when it's a four years old mishearing of one of the most
         widely documented cases of Internet fraud ever committed.
         Truly, these Interpol folk are the *elite*.
               - Inspector Clouseau will be heading the investigation
                          - we don't think she's online much, do you?

                                >> ANTI-NEWS << 
                             berating the obvious

         BARCLAYS online banking - as easy as unplugging your
         computer from the phone:
         http://www.ntk.net/doh/barclays990122.gif ... "We're in
         desperate need of new writers," chortles .NET MAGAZINE
         (p.87)... WIREPLAY aims to find best strategy gamer in
         England, Scotland, Wales - using SETTLERS III...
         http://www.sonymusiceurope.com/ tech news last updated Sep
         1998... FRAUD SITES may use "security encryptions (sic).
         Once you try to find out where the Internet site is located
         the whole thing destroys itself", reveals "Dan Morrison,
         fraud expert" in THE OBSERVER... EDGE persistently refers to
         Interactive Digital Software Association as ISDA, despite
         screenshot showing "IDSA" (which, in turn, is captioned
         "ISDA")... COREL sell off Netwinder... Dreamcast heatsink
         pipes contain "purified water", posits NEXT GENERATION
         MAGAZINE (US Edge), unaware that water needs to circulate in
         order to cool things, may explode if turns to steam... ...at
         OPEN SOURCE CONFERENCE, old Unix hands couldn't pronounce
         Linux properly, new Linux weenies couldn't say "troff"
         right, and the suits couldn't spell either... and this
         week's KATZISM, courtesy of Slashdot: "The Internet is the
         first organic technological revolution, the first one that
         and self-replicates." How very true... INTEL to put random
         number generator in new chips, relaunches thousands of
         floating point jokes... BLOOMBERG e-mail bounces any message
         with "fucker" in it as a virus (including this one)..

                               >> EVENT QUEUE << 
                         goto's considered non-harmful

         We're kind of hoping that the "INSTITUTION OF ELECTRICAL
         ENGINEERS, YOUNGER MEMBERS" is a zany youth spin-off
         movement in the spirit of Young Einstein or Young Sherlock
         Holmes. We can just see them screaming "IEE!" in their
         unbroken squeaky voices, as they punch some Faraday-hating
         luddite to the ground. More somberly, they also hold regular
         events most Mondays at the IEE building, Savoy Place,
         London: this week's lecture - Human-Computer Interaction:
         Brain Interfaces To Pen Computer - is open to the public
         (apparently) and hosted by Dr Richard Reilly (age 12).
         Alternatively, there's Feb's "Short Papers Evening", with a
         UKP100 prize for the best 10 minute presentation on a
         project or technical subject of your choice - ideal if you
         happen to know a photogenic Irish schoolgirl cryptography
         genius (or perhaps you are one!). You do have to email them
         about this event in advance, though. Use the subject line "I
         know a photogenic Irish schoolgirl cryptography genius (or
         perhaps I am one!)".
              - "Starting and Running a Software Company" - Postponed

                                >> TRACKING <<
                  making good use of the things that we find 

         Linux 2.2.0 is out, and the only people who know what *that*
         means are working on Linux 2.4 and mustn't be disturbed.
         ALAN COX did his best to explain the benefits to last week's
         Open Source conference, but recalling the list of changes -
         even for him - had the quality of a high-IQ Generation Game
         conveyor belt quiz. "Errm... more filesystems, improved
         symmetric multi-processors support, [AUDIENCE MEMBER: EURO!
         EURO!] yes, yes, euro character set... ermm... ARM
         processor, cuddly penguin..." And in laymen's terms? Well,
         exhaustive tests have shown - it's faster. That's right, a
         OS upgrade that encourages people to buy older machines. No
         wonder it's hard to explain.
                  - laymen who can re-edit their lilo settings, natch

                               >> MEMEPOOL << 
                              hasta la altavista

         SUCK tires of knocking Canada, turns to UK
         http://www.suck.com/daily/99/01/22/ ... meanwhile, Americans
         pass law banning "gullibility" from dictionary:
         http://www.dumblaws.com/england.htm ... all new CAMBRIDGE
         COFFEE-POT: http://www.orl.co.uk/cgi-bin/coffee ...
         bookmarklets... Brian Eno meets MAGIC: THE GATHERING at
         http://hcs.harvard.edu/~slking/cards/ ... HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE
         feeling guilty about this whole Y2K thing:
         http://nt.excite.com/news/r/990121/11/tech-millennium ...
         ROMERO caught sneaking out the easy way:
         http://www.themushroom.com/mush0115/romerodeadagain.html ...
         socially-contracted IP diseases... overts... SUN asks its
         programmers to explain why their code *shouldn't* be open
         sourced... Interesting choice of top listing when you search
         for "blue screen of death" on YAHOO... no-one's bought
         receivers to listen to DAB broadcasts; expect to see
         spectrum rented for commercial apps... DETROIT's finest gather at:

                               >> GEEK MEDIA << 
                      may contain strongly-typed language

         TV>> as if the trailer for BBC2's Friday Comedy Zone (Gimme
         Gimme Gimme, The Young Ones) wasn't horrific enough, BBC1
         has "built its schedule on a graveyard", with Spielberg's
         last great movie, POLTERGEIST (10.25pm, Fri, BBC1) - sure,
         Tobe Hooper's credited as director, but Steven's spirit is
         strong in this one. And the little girl who talks to the TV
         people? She died in 1998, after making Poltergeist III...
         Simon Mayo and Paul "Sunday Show" Tonkinson keep the tension
         simmering until Cthulu gorefest THE UNNAMABLE RETURNS
         (1.10am, Fri, BBC1) - wouldn't "HP Lovecraft" be a great
         name for a goth sex shop?... while 4Later's EXPLOITICA (from
         1.15am, Fri, C4) pores over now-tame burlesque strippers
         like inexplicably popular pin-up Betty Page... Saturday is
         morally complex Western day starting just after HIGH NOON
         (12.35pm, Sat, BBC2) then moseying on over to dreamy-looking
         Eastwood-inspiring SHANE (2pm, Sat, BBC2)... Carol
         Vorderman's tarty alter-ego Davina McCall takes the public
         on death-defying stunts in DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME (6.10pm,
         Sat, ITV) - too much emphasis on the "defying", we reckon...
         while C4 rakes over the coals of previous conflicts with
         Cold War espionage gadgetry in THE SPYING GAME (7.25pm, Sat,
         C4), a repeat of slow but interesting Enigma crypto docu
         STATION X (7.55pm, Sat, C4), one of those '60s WW2 airwar
         epics BATTLE OF BRITAIN (8.55pm, Sat, C4), and post-war jet
         bomber porn CLASSIC AIRCRAFT (8.30pm, Tue, C4)... watch for
         the Wes Craven/ Evil Dead in-jokes in low-tech cybergirl
         RoboCop rip-off THE DEMOLITIONIST (10.50pm, Sat, C5)...
         tragically, all-action costume romp THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL
         (8pm, Sun, BBC1) seems specifically designed to pander to
         Richard E Grant's bizarre notions of grandeur... and it's
         clueless metamorphic soon-to-be-superseded night on C5, with
         Michael Jackson's MOONWALKER (5.50pm, Sun, C5) followed by
         original movie version of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (9pm,
         Sun, C5)... STAR TREK: DS9 (8pm, Mon, Sky1) flaunts its
         scientific ignorance by *shrinking* the cast to a point
         where their metabolisms couldn't possibly function (btw,
         Disney Paris really are opening a "Honey I Shrunk The
         Audience" show)... HORIZON (9.30pm, Thu, BBC2) shows its
         relevance to everyday life with something to do with
         universe expansion... and last week's was a bit tame, but
         VIDZ (1.40am, Thu, C4) could be 1999's most promising
         programme, largely for its pioneering use of the phrase
         "wanking with envy"...

         FILM>> "Pretty fly for a Warren Beatty movie" is the
         remarkable verdict on wildly confused passionate
         anti-politics rant BULWORTH (imdb: hitwoman / insurance /
         interracial-love / liberals / los-angeles / love /
         may-december-romance / political-campaign /
         political-corruption / political-satire /
         politically-incorrect / political / politicians / rap /
         satire / senator / socialism / south-central / suicide /
         vulgarity / afro-american / assassination-attempt /
         assassination / black / california / controversial /
         drug-dealer / election / gangs / hip-hop / hitman) - but
         then again, remember how critics rave over any lame
         Hollywood output that's got even a hint of subversive satire
         (Wag The Dog, The Truman Show)... sticking with the
         Presidential theme, the ghost of a former First Lady
         comiserating with the current one over their errant menfolk
         isn't the plot of moving cello-playing mad genius unofficial
         Shine-sequel HILARY AND JACKIE (imdb: biographical) - shows
         the sexy side of those uptight classical musicians, and
         anything that winds up Julian Lloyd-Webber can't be all
         bad... as anyone who saw his "What's New Pussycat?"
         performance over Christmas will attest, "not enough Mike
         Myers" is the lethal failing of Boogie Nights-wannabe Neve
         Campbell disco expose 54 (imdb: clap / drug-abuse / erotica
         / gay / tax-evasion / drugs / hollywood / nightclub / sex /
         studio-54 / studio / 1970s / 1980s / bartending / disco /
         the-clap)... and despite Dianne "Scissorhands" Wiest,
         Stockard "Rizzo" Channing, Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman and
         that bloke who looks like Sledge Hammer, wicca-friendly
         chick flick PRACTICAL MAGIC (imdb: drama / romance) is the
         latest in a long-cursed line - Eastwick, Hocus Pocus, The
         Craft - of not particularly wicked witch movies...

         CHEAP PRINT>> we're pleased to report that after the searing
         disappointment of his "Net Force", Tom Clancy's eminently
         put-downable RUTHLESS.COM (pay no more than Tesco's UKP3.99)
         may be *the worst tech-thriller of all time*. Not only is it
         turgidly written, appallingly paced, and peopled with
         characters who wonder in and out of chapters seemingly at
         will - the hero is a software CEO who opposes crypto export
         relaxation and supports key escrow, and doesn't change his
         mind when the bad guys break into a key escrow bank to steal
         the codes that open the doors to the Presidential submarine.
         A shameful addition to the already patchy roster of
         video-game spin-off books (Rise Of The Robots, the Doom
         novelisations) - no wonder amazon.co.uk isn't mirroring the
         reader comments at amazon.com... a much easier read flops
         out of Alex "The Beach" Garland's THE TESSERACT (retail
         UKP9.99, still on 30 per cent reduction at Borders); he says
         it's a 3D representation of a hypercube, we say it's 3 well
         observed interlinking short stories, each viewed from 2
         different perspectives - like the early, good Iain Banks...
         we don't know much about Ray Kurzweil's blue-sky AI future
         history THE AGE OF SPIRITUAL MACHINES (Amazon import:
         UKP13.88) but the excerpt in last Saturday's Guardian wasn't
         encouraging: "1999: A $1000 desk-top personal computer can
         perform about 450 calculations per second." Although, as
         contrib Gareth Bellamy points out, "Perhaps this explains
         why the hyped 'New' Guardian websites were uncontactable for
         most of the week"... and, finally, thanks to everyone who
         wrote in with their descriptions of Jim Flint's sinister
         synchronistic Pi movie tie-in HABITUS (UKP10.99), but the
         prize - our remaining unconsumed CRUNCHIE EXPLOSION bar -
         goes to Adrian Moulder, for "The best episode of Grange Hill
         that Umberto Eco never wrote". NTK regrets that this
         correspondence is now closed...

                               >> 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 "brown-toothed shills" 

                                 NEED TO KNOW
                         Archive - http://www.ntk.net/
                      Excuses - http://www.spesh.com/ntk/

      Unsubscribe? Mail majordomo@lists.ntk.net with 'unsubscribe ntknow'.
        Subscribe? Mail majordomo@lists.ntk.net with 'subscribe ntknow'.
             NTK now is helped by THE ILLUMINATI and UNFORTU.NET.
              They worry about us, but we don't worry about them.

           (K) 1999 Special Projects. Non-business copying is fine,
                        but retain SMALL PRINT. Contact
                terry@spesh.com for commercial license details.

                   Tips, news and gossip to tips@spesh.com.
#  distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo@desk.nl and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  URL: http://www.desk.nl/~nettime/  contact: nettime-owner@desk.nl