NTK now bits, 3/10/97
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri, 3 Oct 97 13:00:51 -0700
Subject: NTK now bits, 3/10/97
Excerpted-from: NTK now, 3/10/97
_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the UK>
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"It will be available within two weeks, or maybe sooner
- 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?
http://www.wcom.com/ - 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
DEATHMASK OF TUTANKHAMUN, for God's sake! DUMP THE
CONTRACT. BURN THE MANUALS. SOW SALT IN THE SOIL OF THE
CURSED R&D'S CAMPUS BUILDING - WHILE YOU STILL CAN. Oh, and
there might be an embedded AmigaOS for industrial
applications, such as WebTV.
http://www.gw2k.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 1997 Peter Langston