Fun_People Archive
5 Feb
NTK bits, 1999-02-05

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri,  5 Feb 99 12:17:19 -0800
To: Fun_People
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Subject: NTK bits, 1999-02-05

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649
Excerpted-from: NTK now, 1999-02-05

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                                >> HARD NEWS <<
                                crocodile shoes

	 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 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

	 ("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

	 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
	 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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