NTK bits, 1999-02-05
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 99 12:17:19 -0800
Subject: NTK bits, 1999-02-05
Excerpted-from: NTK now, 1999-02-05
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>> HARD NEWS <<
Anti-trust trial? More like a nasty brawl at a Demo Party. This
week, the elite scene team from Microsoft attempted to outhack
Princeton prof Edward Felton's demo that removed Internet Explorer
from Windows 98. Their own demo showed that, sure, EF may have
found and removed some of IE4.0, but we hid another bit in the
Windows help system! C00l! The Department of Justice (excellent
name for a hacking crew) fought back the traditional way, by
claiming MS faked it . As always, it ended it tears, with the
Microsoft posse working overnight in a hotel room with their
Amigas, err, Thinkpads to fix the bugs, and abandoning the best
bits (the much-acclaimed "Win98 runs even *more* like a dog without
IE" sequence) in the process. And to think, they might have gotten
away with it, had not the DOJ team spotted a tiny change in one of
the Windows title bars in the original demo - a subtle indicator
that it was a mock-up, but one which passed Microsoft's Jim
Allchin's notice entirely. To be fair, it can be difficult to spot
subtle changes in the most familiar interfaces. For instance, we're
sure the management at http://www.multimap.co.uk/ must have been
staring at their homepage's title banner every day this week,
without noticing the giveaway change:
- bet you they'll have fixed it by the time you read this
- but we'd like to submit new evidence...
- by contrast, demo scene not dead shocker
- meticulous attention to dull trial details
We're laying off the Internet Service Providers' Association this
week. True, Yaman Akdeniz did manage to firm up his accusation that
they've been having secret meetings (no, say the ISPA, just
"private") with the Association of Chief Police Officers, and
submitting secret ("private") documents explaining exactly what
info on their own subscribers they could hand over to the police.
But these days, ISPA seem to be incredibly touchy about any press
coverage at all - even taking a break in their e-commerce
submission to the DTI select committee to rail at "countless,
poorly researched press articles" that suggest they were doing
anything untoward. Well, excuuuse us: I mean, we're only the people
who pay your *wages*, whiny boy. Tell you what - how about a
"private" meeting with your members' subscribers - maybe a note or
two in the newsgroups, or a Website to discuss what *they* want,
rather than an ad hoc bunch of police officers? Okay, okay, just
a suggestion. No need to call the cops.
- maybe you could hire Yaman to do publicity
- still, can't knock their anti-crypto stance
Response to HEATH BUNTING and RACHEL BAKER's SUPERWEED prank
("invulnerable to herbicides", "designed to attack corporate
monoculture") was a bit, well, weedy. The hoax managed to hit just
the right targets, with a small mention in the Big Issue and
gullible anti-GM activists e-mailing us practically in hysterics.
And if you are going to launch a media hack, isn't having a press
conference at the ICA a bit of a giveaway? The irational kids are
going to have to work a bit harder to beat the real-world genetic
pranks of MONSANTO: The WASHINGTON POST revealed this week that
the Zaibatsu is hiring private detectives to take snippings off
Canadian farmers to catch them using unlicensed copies of the
company's GE crops. MONSANTO then reads out the names of these
seedz pirates on local radio, and encourages other farmers to shop
their neighbours using a FAST-like hotline. In this country, FOE
reports - improbably - that the government is to use loyalty card
stats to trace the long-term effects of GE food - now this sounds
like they're actively *baiting* Heath to come up better. One
suggestion: given that a recent study showed a quarter of shoppers
aren't loyal to their supermarket at all (they said they'd shop
elsewhere "given the choice"), maybe he could combine the two -
with "treacherous" consumers named and shamed over shop tannoy
systems? Or is this just giving Them ideas?
- bet you fell for that marijuana-in-oranges one too
- ah, the good old days
- fact genetically engineered to be stranger
- credit: diversions from the meme
>> TRACKING <<
making good use of the things that we find
Hotmail is all very well, but... alright, we lied, Hotmail is an
utter pain. You have to clunk through all those forms, mentally
tippex out the banner ads, squirm under the bright lights of those
Microsoft logos, and worst, you're paying to stay online throughout
it all. C-WEBMAIL is a Windows 95 app that wraps Hotmail with a
POP3 interface - so you can read it with Eudora or Outlook or
Netscape Navigator or (if you want to be perverse) ICQ. We imagine
that Microsoft will keep jiggling the site designs so as to
regularly break the program: but C-Webmail is one of the Crazy
Israeli start-ups, and they *never* give up. Thirty days free
trial, ten American dollar for the supported version, or several
million in mixed currency if you're MSN looking for a buy-out.
- Yahoo Mail and others to come...
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
may contain strongly-typed language
COMIC BOOK CONFRONTATIONAL>> STAR WARS: PRELUDE TO REBELLION (Dark
Horse) leads into some film or other that's coming out in the
summer. Good thing: it's canonical; bad thing: it therefore has to
be set in some far-off galactic backwater so it won't affect the
main plot anyway. To be honest, this is sub-Dune galactic
economics, enlivened only by cute-looking aliens who haven't
mastered basic English sentence structure (a common SW universe
failing, we find)... PLANETARY (Wildstorm) launches with a
superstrong first issue, featuring a cameo by an evil JLA in a
gentle dig at Grant Morrison... but not as excellent as Alan
Moore's THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN (America's Best
Comics) starring all the 19th century adventure fiction greats -
Capt Nemo, The Invisible Man - as rendered by Kevin "Marshal Law"
O'Neill, the only artist to have his entire *style* banned by the
Comics Code Authority. Good to see Moore back with the big
companies again - his America's Best Comics is a subline of
Wildstorm, itself now a subline of DC, so we should get good runs
of all his new books - as hilariously previewed in this month's
WIZARD... and finally, sticking with the O'Neil(l)s, we are assured
that the "Bill O'Neil" credited as writer on the record-breaking
good-girl-art fest WITCHBLADE/ TOMB RAIDER is *no relation* to the
"Bill O'Neill" who runs that other action-packed high-tech
tit-thrills rollercoaster, the "Online" section in The Guardian...
>> 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 "Y0Ua00YOua-00Y00Aa0000e""
NEED TO KNOW
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