( (by way of t byfieldf ) on Fri, 21 May 1999 20:15:16 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> NTK now, 1999-05-21

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        "LUCAS: That's sort of why I say a benevolent despot is
         the ideal ruler. He can actually get things done.
         The idea that power corrupts is very true and it's
         a big human who can get past that."
                     - from (suppressed?) New York Times interview at
        ...and we hear George is *looking* like Jabba these days, too

                                >> HARD NEWS <<
                           we sound like schnews

         SORM-2, the Russian security service's plans to monitor the
         Internet, finally broke this week, with one Volgograd ISP
         manager, Nailj Murzahanov, deciding he'd had enough, and
         suing the spooks in court. SORM-2 is a Tap-You-Yourself
         policy by the cash-strapped KGB successors, the FSB: it
         requires ISPs to connect their local FSB office for free to
         their pipe, with agents able to sniff any and all packets
         (incoming and outgoing) from the comforts of their offices. 
         Oh, and the ISPs have to provide free support and training.
         Weirdly, in the year since the proposals were leaked, almost
         none of Russia's 350+ ISPs have protested. Nailj, who runs
         Bayard-Slavia Communications tried, and says he received
         death threats and - almost as bad for a Russian - an
         unscheduled audit from the dreaded tax police. Finally he
         was given just one month to be the first ISP to implement
         SORM. After that, the FSB cut off his feed. Now he's taking
         them to court for constitutional improprieties. Nailj's
         fellow sysadmins, though, remain quiet. But then, why
         make a fuss? As Andrei Sibrant, of Moscow's Glasnet said
         last year: "there is no reason for human rights groups who
         know nothing about the business to provoke a conflict".
                                        - and then they came for root
       - still masters of terror, as the X.25 references will confirm

         Couldn't happen here, of course. So, in other news: European
         Justice ministers are meeting next week to discuss the all
         new ENFOPOL proposals. These are, you'll recall, a draft EU
         ruling that would require all Internet Service Providers to
         set up "high security interception interfaces inside their
         premises". Interfaces which would, if feasible, be linked
         remotely to government security agencies. But this time you
         don't get the death threats and the taxmen. But then again,
         we wouldn't know, because no ISP has complained yet.
             - too busy stopping them outlawing Web-caching, we guess
             - or trying to stop them introducing software patents...
             - bloody human rights groups trying to provoke conflicts

         So, in a depressing week for civ libs, what can you do to
         cheer yourself up? Well, perhaps not peruse DUNCAN
         CAMPBELL's ECHELON report, with its perky descriptions of
         NSA taps at MAE-East and MAE-West, and happy-smiley
         descriptions of transatlantic mass interception technology.
         But we *do* like the suggestion that spun out of one of its
         discoveries. You knew, we assume, that the non-American
         versions of Lotus Notes encode 24 bits of their 64-bit
         encryption key with the NSA's key (thus making it possible
         for the NSA to crack European companies' private
         communications)? No? Oh. Sorry. Well, anyway: why not spend
         this weekend reverse-engineering it, to discover what the
         NSA public key actually is? That way, everyone can change it
         on their copies of Notes so that the NSA can't snoop. And we
         can all send them secure messages about exactly what we
         think about all of this unchecked, unbalanced, undiscussed,
         unpriced and, we'd suggest, unhinged surveillance apparatus.
                                                     - your free hint
                  - hey, and if it's <56bits, we can *become* the NSA

                                >> ANTI-NEWS <<
                             berating the obvious

         N64 down to UKP49... AUSTRALIA gives up zoning DVDs ...
         TELEDESIC - F-ff-ff-fff--aallc ... now we know one paperless
         office - ... 2038 METEOR
         to arrive just in time to prevent UNIX date bug... DEJANEWS
         *still* using Apache beta, a year on [NTK 1999-06-05]... E3
         full of people claiming to be "JOHN CARMACK - id software"
         ... SLATE advertising on Salon... a million jackpot if
         you reach the end of ... REGISTER
         too scaredy-cat to publish MI6 story ... ""? Oh
         God... BOL says "Just William & Girls" by Richmal Crompton
         will be published in 2008: scweaming until it's Y2K ... ESR
         begs hackers to heal divisions, work on kindness, declares
         RMS to have poor personal hygiene... RICHARD BRANSON
         wanders out of live Webcast "to go to toilet" ... "Perhaps
         you remember when computer magazines routinely carried
         'Build your own PC in five minutes' type features. Not any
         more. Today, it's not worth it." - COMPUTER ACTIVE 20 May
         page 110... "Next Issue - Do It Yourself. We tell you how
         to build your own computer" - COMPUTER ACTIVE 20 May page 93

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

         Maybe someone's accidentally kicked over the server for this
         weekend's festival of CAPOEIRA 2000 - the Brazilian
         martial-arts/acrobatic-dancing hybrid popularised by Eddy
         Gordo from Tekken 3, and Gun's "Steal Your Fire" video (at
         The Rocket, 220 Holloway Rd, London N7, tel 0171 684 1260)
                        - or maybe it's one of those "blocking" moves

         ...apparently "Winn Schwartau" isn't a Dutch hacking tool,
         but a highly respected non panic-monger in the steadily
         grant-expanding field of INFOWAR CON '99 (1999-05-27/28,
         Copthorne Tara Hotel, London)
                          - hey, you guys schwartau'd out my Windows!

         ...the EROTIC OSCARS and SEX MANIACS BALL (Sat 1999-05-22,
         The "Pleasure Rooms", London N17) prey on the deviants lured
         to London by INTERNET WORLD (1999-05-25/27, Earls Court 2)
                                    - bgcolor="#ff0088". Mmm, *sexy*.
                        - "Try it. Touch it. Test it." Mmm, *sexier*.

         ...and at least one NTK staff member had agreed to speak at
         this year's music-biz backslapping conference IN THE CITY
         (1999-05-27/28, Glasgow Hilton), till it turned out they
         weren't in the habit of paying accommodation or travel
         expenses. That MP3 piracy must be hitting them harder than
         we thought...
                    - can't afford to update last year's site either?

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

         "This SETI@HOME screensaver's rubbish. I've been running it
         for weeks and haven't found a single alien", writes one
         angry correspondent. "Oh, *sure* I'm looking for aliens with
         my spare processor cycles. NASA=NSA man!" adds another.
         Probably enough paranoia for us this week. Nonetheless at
         least some of you should start training up on the peculiarly
         hibernian SPACE INVADER screensaver, an emu-perfect
         rendition of the 1978 classic. You know, just in case.
       - we reckon we're just MPEG encoding the Arecibo CD collection
                                        - come to ... Visual Basic...

         Many fans had nothing but praise for its technical
         achievement, but one critic in particular - NTK's Lloyd Wood
         - felt the need to voice his disappointment over the
         much-publicised "new chapter" in ASCIIMATION STAR WARS. "The
         animation is amazing," Wood concedes, "particularly when you
         read the FAQ and you realise that the author doesn't seem to
         have heard of Unix terminal support, curses etc and he's
         doing it all in a text editor and displaying chunks at a
         time. He's not generating deltas." Concerned by the
         creator's status as a lone auteur, Wood advises: "Somebody
         find a copy of the Twilight Zone VT100 animation, send it to
         him (and send me a copy), and explain how he can view it.
         Then explain rendering deltas using terminal support so he
         can do ASCII-MPEG, introduce non-flickery special effects,
         and call it 'Star Wars - the Special Edition'".
                                      - requires THX-enabled Java 1.1
                                    - features excellent "N4rq V4d3r"

                                >> MEMEPOOL <<
                              hasta la altavista

         XSL vs CSS: let battle commence!... is this a joke? [Y/N]: ... View Sourcing QNX
         auctions... So, is PETER LLEWELLYN going into space, or
         isn't he?... Whatever happened to JOEL FURR? Did he end up
         like we all imagined he would?... one way to stamp out MAME
         piracy, we guess: ... ... Arf, arf!
         XENO humour: ... PATRICK
         MOORE pronounces Websites as "w w w stop bbc stop co stop
         uk" - and now must we all ... Death of USENET predicted: ... still
         spotting marketing people with "http:\\" in their sigs (step
         forward this week, JULIE PEARCE, marketing manager of
         Mediasurface) ... these aren't the PREQUELS you're looking
         for? ... here
         are data-points your team leader has been requesting: (apparently is in the
         lead) ... now the press furore is over: who's next? - or could
         be decoys: ...

                               >> GEEK MEDIA <<
                  the less rude

         TV>> a plot we can all relate to: three kids raise 100
         dollars to see Melanie Griffith naked, then get her to marry
         their dad when they realise they've been ripped off, in
         consumer-conscious prostitution comedy MILK MONEY (10.55pm,
         Fri, C4)... an unmissable sweeps episode of FRASIER (10pm,
         Fri, C4)... plus, The Pretenders and country legend Steve
         Earle headline what might be a special former heroin users'
         edition of LATER WITH JOOLS HOLLAND (11.20pm, Fri, BBC2) -
         though, in a way, aren't they all?... THE PASSWORD IS
         COURAGE? (11.55am, Sat, BBC2) - no, the password must
         contain at least one non-alphabetic character... Lea "Back
         To The Future" Thompson and a cute robot accidentally blast
         off in kiddie romp SPACECAMP (7.30pm, Sat, C4)... a double
         treat for Jeff Daniels fans with DUMB AND DUMBER (6.20pm,
         Sat, ITV) followed by pre-Scream film-within-film Woody
         Allen farce THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO (2.35am, Sat, C5)...
         let's hope John Carpenter's brain was taken over by
         child-aliens when he "directed" sleepwalking Midwich Cuckoos
         remake VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (10.15pm, Sat, BBC1)... and the
         man at the back said: "Everyone attack" - and it turned into
         a BELGRADE BLITZ (7pm, Sat, C4) - with subsequent shorts
         KOSOVO ONLINE (12.55am, Sat; 12midnight, Sun, C4) plus THE
         WEB WAR (7.55pm, Mon-Fri, C4) featuring "well known
         personalities" - what, Kate Humble? - nodding sagely at
         amateur HTML propaganda... in accordance with prophecy,
         there are indeed further yuks to be had in the form of
         LEGEND OF FONG SAI-YUK II (2.25am, Sat, C4)... preceded by
         nutty sounding alterno-fest DPROGAM (1am, Sat, C4), starring
         Nick "UFO" Pope, Alexander "LSD" Shulgin, and Jah "terrible
         bass player" Wobble... we're sure it's a hilarious insiders'
         satire on Hollywood, but we still just don't "get" GET
         SHORTY (10pm, Sun, C4)... it's *exactly* 1 year and 2 weeks
         since C5 last showed lame Jeff "Lawnmower Man" Fahey VR
         trash ADDICTED TO LOVE (9pm, Sun, C5) - not based around the
         Matthew Broderick film based around the Robert Palmer song
         of the same name... you're better off with sub-Harryhausen
         ho-ho WARLORDS OF ATLANTIS (5.40pm, Sun, C4)... it's
         obviously Jeff Fahey week on C5, as he pops up again in
         terrorist train-pun LETHAL TENDER (9pm, Mon, C5)...
         promising, gimmicky snuff thriller MUTE WITNESS (10.35pm,
         Mon, C4) marks the debut of the director of An American
         Werewolf In Paris... and maybe it's the presenters and
         pet-owners who need their heads looking at in Philippa
         Forrester prime-time animal therapy BARKING MAD (8pm, Tue,
         BBC1)... not enough Jennifer Lopez in Snipes/ Harrelson
         actioner MONEY TRAIN (9pm, Tue, C5)... not enough Will Smith
         in Goldberg/ Danson "comedy" MADE IN AMERICA (7.25pm, Wed,
         BBC1)... probably not much OJ Simpson in unsporting
         clip-show WHEN ATHLETES ATTACK (10pm, Wed, ITV)... but last?
         - and best? - of this run of POLICE SQUAD (7pm, Wed, C5)
         features Drebin as a nightclub entertainer and the jokeless
         punchline "I don't think I could take 67 more of those"...

         FILM>> you know, someone should make a film where the most
         beautiful, desirable person in school turns out to have a
         fantastically geeky side - but of course semi-amusing
         Matthew Lillard ultra-conformity advert SHE'S ALL THAT
         (imdb: teen / high-school / party / art-student / prom /
         popularity / bet / makeover) has to be just like everyone
         else, and does it the other way around. And it's directed by
         a former choreographer - natch... Mark "Marky Mark" Wahlberg
         continues his startling impersonation of that weird spanner
         kid from your primary school when partnered with Chow
         Yun-Fat in average police shoot-'em-up THE CORRUPTOR (imdb:
         mafia / gangster / gangs / new-york / police / triad /
         betrayal / boss / chase / chinatown / corrupt-cop)... while
         the biggest con in Stanley "Big Night" Tucci's old-fashioned
         farcical swindle-rama THE IMPOSTORS (imdb: 1930s /
         screwball) is making you think it'll be any good... so, our
         tip, salvaged from this week's wreckage: Sam Raimi swaps the
         Evil Dead for the greed-fuelled living, in deceptively
         uncomplicated Bill Paxton / Billy Bob Thornton wintry
         chiller A SIMPLE PLAN (imdb: murder / fratricide / money /
         pregnancy / small-town / snow / tragicomedy / stolen-money /
         librarian / tragedy / fbi / police / hospital / accountant /
         violence / twist-in-the-end / winter / based-on-novel /
         brothers ) - like "Shallow Grave", but good... or maybe
         Stephen King's most terrifying monster of all - Adolf
         Hitler! - in Bryan "The Usual Suspects" Singer's predictably
         harrowing David Schwimmer Nazi nutfest APT PUPIL (imdb:
         adaptation / psychological / teen / nazi / holocaust /
         evil). Can't imagine they'll be discussing its "Bloody
         Revenge of Internet Nerds Obsessed With Holocaust And Nazis"
         plot at Columbine High movie night any time soon...

         promised, a round-up of fruit ices (and adulterants),
         kicking off with reader TIM BANNISTER's timely
         composition-analysis of WALLS' STAR WARS: EPISODE 1 "BATTLE
         DROID" FLAVOUR LOLLY (UKP0.35): "purports to be apple
         flavour... everyone I know thinks it tastes foul. It does
         smell a bit like a urinal block... the most refreshing thing
         in the freezer"... frozen north correspondent ALI DANIELS
         claims WALLS' SOLERO SHOTS are merely CALIPPO SHOTS by
         another name, and instead recommends TREATS' 5-ICE (price
         unknown), a stripey 5-flavour giant Fruit Pastille-style
         lolly which leaves you with "a useful 10" long piece of 1/4"
         dowling, which you can use to poke your respected colleagues
         in the side"... not much between the jelly blobs in NESTLE'S
         A BUG'S LIFE and WALLS' MR SPOT; our award for excessive
         innovation goes to NESTLE'S CRACKLER (about UKP0.45, Buzz
         Lightyear on pack) - an "orange and cherry" water ice
         containing what can best be described as a small,
         bullet-shaped payload of frozen popping candy. Don't eat
         it and let it melt of its own accord, and it collapses into
         a purple mass of seething, fizzing protoplasm... similarly,
         how much hot tea can you drink through the hollow chambers
         of otherwise standard chocolate bar CADBURY'S DAIRY MILK
         QUICK (UKP0.35) before it melts in on itself like a bad Dr
         Who villain?... in other confectionery news, it is of course
         "NESTLE'S special skill in combining chocolate, toffee and
         biscuit that makes ROLO COOKIES (UKP0.28) so delicious" -
         though much less biscuity than we expected, going from the
         precedent of the Cookies & Caramel Rolo Eggs... over in
         pudding corner, the "Chocolate flavour custard" variant of
         BIRD'S SCOOPZ (UKP0.57) is perhaps the least violently
         disappointing, followed by the strawberry Angel Delight one,
         then the bizarre vanilla custard featuring apple-tainted
         biscuits... while the junior MULLER YOGZ 4-PACK are perhaps
         the most palatable of the "candy corner" yoghurts, in
         various sugar-heavy flavours (though no "YOG SOGOTH" version
         yet, Cthulhu fans!)... and finally, thanks to everyone who
         sent in the result of the consumer referendum at - if you hadn't guessed from the
         widespead offloading of old boxes of "Choco Krispies", a
         vast majority wanted them renamed COCO POPS - in accordance
         with natural law. Apparently "almost one million votes were
         cast", about the same number as in recent elections for the
         Welsh assembly...

                               >> 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 "culturally corrosive"

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