Fun_People Archive
3 Oct
NTK now bits, 3/10/97

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri,  3 Oct 97 13:00:51 -0700
To: Fun_People
Subject: NTK now bits, 3/10/97

Excerpted-from: NTK now, 3/10/97

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          "It will be available within two weeks, or maybe sooner
           than that..."
            - Microsoft's Andrew Dixon, on a patch for new Excel bug
          He'd be more precise, but the spreadsheet says -3.33 years

                               >> HARD NEWS <<
                               storms in brews

         Once again taking their first name a little too seriously,
         WORLDCOM this week swatted BRITISH TELECOM out of the way
         and made a bid for MCI, the US long-distance telco that BT
         craved so greatly earlier this year. If it succeeds,
         WORLDCOM, who own UUNET-Pipex, the old Compuserve backbone,
         and your mother, would then control around 60% of US
         Internet traffic and be "a new world player in the telco
         industry", according to our dictionary of unimaginative
         tech-biz journo cliches. Similarly, BT were described by
         all as "tight-lipped" and "shaken" by the move. Well, they
         could have been stifling giggles of relief - despite all
         the effort, the combined MCI/BT "Concert" was looking an
         increasingly tough gig to pull off. Meanwhile, Worldcom's
         CEO Bernard Ebbers told the excellent COMPUTERGRAM: "After
         we have got a deal finished with MCI, we might acquire BT."
         Hahaha ha ... hello? HELLO?  - live from Bernard's underwater base
                   - Jesus : how much is *this* guy holding out for?

         MICROSOFT INTERNET EXPLORER 4.0 was launched on Tuesday. By
         Wednesday, it had almost finished loading. Reviews were
         mixed, yet universally scared: impartial observer Marc
         Andreessen described it on CNN as "a 60MB hairball" (as
         opposed to those 30MB Netscape snowflakes, we guess).
         Still, it wasn't a complete rout - and Microsoft's early
         beta back in July may well have set the seeds for future
         troubles: journalists were seen running from the launch to
         test months-old security flaws they'd discovered then and
         kept quiet about. Not us, mind. We joined the crowd
         crashing it right there at the launch. Hey, you want beta-
         testers, you pay us in T-shirts, okay?
         - includes not-so-dynamic HTML, inActiveX pages...
         - see the all-new scaleable Windows NT 'Server Busy' errors

         Amiga Inc designed the AMIGA - and was bought out by
         Commodore. Commodore marketed the Amiga - and went bust.
         Escom purchased the rights to the Amiga - then filed for
         bankruptcy. GATEWAY 2000 purchased the Amiga from Escom,
         and has just revealed plans to release the new AmigaOS 4.0
         series within the next year, with an interim 3.5 release
         before that. Promised goodies included extended graphics
         card compatibility, and possibly a new machine with USB and
         other goodies. Oh, and Gateway announced an expected
         company loss for the third quarter of 1997, and this week,
         as news of the Amiga return spread, sacked 500 workers,
         with rumours of another 500 to go shortly. Gateway blame
         inventory problems for their fall from grace, but, come on,
         join the dots, guys - the Amiga's image test file is the
         there might be an embedded AmigaOS for industrial
         applications, such as WebTV.    it's called "going down the blitter"
                   - Amiga announcement made to audience of over 20!

                              >> EVENT QUEUE <<
                           thy buffer overfloweth

         The more tedious of the Nobel prizes are announced next
         week, which can only mean - it's Ig Nobel time again.
         Treats to be savoured at the awards ceremony (where Ig
         Nobels are bestowed upon those whose achievements "cannot
         or should not be reproduced") include an operatic version
         of the Big Bang, "Il Kaboom Grosso" (featuring live
         Laureates as sub-atomic particles), and the auction of
         plaster casts of scientist/supermodel Symmetra's left foot.
         Naturally, there's a live Webcast of the event, which
         starts at 00.30 GMT, Thursday evening. You won't be able to
         tell what's going on, but for once in a Webcast, this is
                            - check out the AIRhead 2000 project too
                                            - the beautiful Symmetra

         Well, we missed the actual start of the MC ESCHER
         exhibition but, frankly, with his stuff, *who's gonna
         know*? The show devoted to every Quake player's favourite
         engraver continues at The Croydon Clocktower till 04/01/98,
         complete with walk-through "giant models", "tessellations",
         "moebius bands", and "optical paradoxes". Plans to link the
         show with a Bach recital in Romford and a Godel
         retrospective in Harrow (thus completing London's "Orbital
         Golden Braid") are as yet unconfirmed.
                                    - MC Hammer: Can't touch this...
                                   - MC Escher: Can't *draw* this...

                                >> TRACKING <<
                                clots of bots

         Up until now, PC users could talk behind Mac users' backs
         using ICQ, the original "Is my mate online? Oh no, he is,
         better pretend to be out" buddy monitor and chat system. No
         longer - Macintosh users now have a beta to pester their
         "friends" with. And there's even a very rough-and-ready
         Java version, so even the most anti-social and insolent
         UNIX system administrator in your office can be forced to
         join in. Now, if only they'd implement a brawl function.
                           - platform will speak peace unto platform

         Informal surveys show our readers to be mostly senior
         executives in established firms, controlling an annual IT
         budget of, on average, 6 million UKP, manage 100-200 staff
         and plan to buy any product that they see advertised in NTK
         ever. Or that's what you always write on those little
         reader survey cards. What we know for sure is that you
         *love* exploitative Star Wars merchandise. The demo of Dark
         Forces II : Jedi Knight, LucasArt's Quake-a-like is now
         out. 20Megabytes. Get one of your staff onto it.
         - a million ftp servers cried out and were suddenly silenced

                               >> MO' MEDIA <<
           why don't you turn in and do something less interesting?

         MOVIES>> Disappointingly only released at "selected
         cinemas", FIRST STRIKE (Motion Picture Association of
         America rated: PG-13 - "for plentiful action/violence") is
         exactly what you'd expect from Jackie Chan (alternative
         titles: Police Story 4, Piece Of Cake, Story Of The CIA, or
         Jing Cha Gu Shi IV: Jian Dan Ren Wu). Still, it's a
         livelier James Bond spoof than, say, Austin Powers... Tommy
         Lee Jones and Anne Heche (aka Mrs Ellen DeGeneres) battle
         that hot LA lava in VOLCANO (MPAA: PG-13 - "for intense
         depiction of urban disaster and related injuries"). An
         improvement on Dante's Peak, but then again, so's being
         burned alive... drowning's too good for Harvey Keitel and
         Cameron Diaz in their Norwegian comedy thriller remake HEAD
         ABOVE WATER (MPAA: R - "for language, nudity, violence, and
         another hopeless performance by a former model" - yeah, I'm
         making them up again, did you guess?)

         COMPO>> Spot BILL GATES - win a prize! Okay, we admit, it's
         not the competition we were planning (more on that, ahem,
         next week) but Bill *is* in the country next week, and to
         celebrate, we've arranged a contest that could earn you UKP
         UKP UKP. Mr Gates is visiting Tony Blair at Downing Street
         on Monday, then travelling up to speak at St John's
         College, Cambridge on Tuesday afternoon. If you can furnish
         photographic proof that you saw the Redmond giant during
         this period, and are first to send it to us, we'll furnish
         *you* with ten whole pounds and just some of the many
         rubbish CDs that we get sent by fool PR agencies who think
         we review music. Yes. Be impressed. Contestants who use
         digerazzi-style rudeness will be summarily disqualified -
         but there *is* an extra fiver in it for anyone who
         *politely* asks him "I heard from a friend that you
         promised to release the source to your original 4K
         Microsoft Basic - are you?". You may not know what that's
         about, but we do. And we want that code.

                              >> 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 "ditherated".

    (K) 1997 Special Projects. Non-biz copying ok, but retain SMALL PRINT.

                   Tips, news and gossip to

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