Fun_People Archive
18 Jun
NTK Bits, 1999-06-18

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 99 10:37:52 -0700
To: Fun_People
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Subject: NTK Bits, 1999-06-18

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Excerpted-from: __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk>
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                                >> HARD NEWS <<
                                 us versus you

	Volume XXVII of that endless Dianetics saga, BATTLEFIELD:
	ALT.RELIGION.SCIENTOLOGY. In the last fortnight:  Scientologists
	cheered a Dutch court's ruling that hyperlinking to a pirated doc
	is itself an infringement of copyright. But some pretty bad engrams
	must have clouded the rest of that decision - those leaked Church
	docs they'd sought to ban online *weren't* copyright, and so stay
	up and linked - including the scurrilous (and yet oddly dull)
	Fishman Affidavit. Not so good news in the States, where a.r.s
	litigant KEITH HENSON (ex-husband of happy hacker hate figure
	CAROLINE MEINEL, obscure gossip fans) did indeed lose his appeal
	against the Scientologists in a case that suggests (in the US) that
	copyright can protect even alleged criminal material...
                                                - all the clams you can eat
             - interesting blind-spot in the Bonnie Woods press release too

	...but not, it seems, the other way around. We covered the
	BUSINESS SOFTWARE ALLIANCE's tactics of "opt-out" piracy
	investigations back in NTK 1999-06-11. The routine then was - you
	reply to the BSA's unsolicited spam asking nosy questions about your
	business, or they put you on their suspected pirate list. The
	follow-up mailing was apparently even cheerier - "imprisonment...
	prosecution... damage to an organisation's reputation can also be
	irreparable ... It is highly advisable for companies to return the
	duplicate form enclosed within the next 7 days, or we'll have to
	break your legs..." The Advertising Standards Authority have upheld
	the complaint, saying that business circulars generally don't
	"warrant this tone of fear". Whose fear, though? The small
	companies, or the increasingly desperate BSA?
                           - imagine if RMS had these people on his side
              - ok, we lied about the broken legs. so who you gonna call?

	Consider it a Falco across the bows. The omphalos of high weirdness,
	Austin's FringeWare store, is beeping a quiet SOS. We can't tell
	from here whether they're genuinely closing down, or if the 75% OFF
	- EVERYTHING MUST GO signs, and a unusually coherent plea for help
	from certified cyber- psycho Don Webb is just an ingeniously direct
	media hack to up sales. We can't test either theory though, because
	their online catalog is on the fritz, and their website's got bad
	links hanging off it like an explosion in a frankfurter factory.
	Nonetheless, you should know that FringeWare has been, if not the
	home, then the battered half-way house for half of the memage in
	your head. Schwa, SubGenius, the FringeWare review, BoingBoing, them
	Bots which win the Turing Contest, the Dead Media Project. I'm sure
	they'd consider it an honour if you were in the area and find out
	- as was always FringeWare's creed - WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON.
            - oh, what do we look like, journalists? Find out for yourself

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

	Borrowing both Access All Areas' acronym and venue, THE ASSOCIATION
	OF AUTONOMOUS ASTRONAUTS begin a 10-day festival of pie-in-the-sky
	amateur spaceflight antics with an "Intergalactic Conference" at
	London's University of Westminster, from noon tomorrow 1999-06-19.
	We don't know whether to be pleased or disappointed since one of
	them discreetly explained that they *know* they don't have a chance
	of reaching space in the forseeable future; they're just a bunch of
	like-minded ne'er-do-wells having some sort of art-hippy
	pseudo-sci-fi laugh. Still, sufficiently "autonomous", we note, to
	pick a launch window when many of their core audience will be at
	Glastonbury. Had they scheduled it a month later, it would have been
	the 30th anniversary of Apollo 11's landing on the moon, arguably
	the most visible achievement of the military-industrial complex in
	this particular field.
                     - see this week's "The Onion" for Space: 1999 '99...

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

	Flash! We love you! But we only have fourteen hours to download this
	page! Macromedia Flash 4 - both the editing software and the plugin
	everyone will have upgraded to by about year 2015 - are now
	officially available. On the whoop-de-fucking-doo list:
	now-mandatory MP3 audio support, forms, importable palettes, and
	some kind of admittedly cool state persistence that lasts between
	sessions. Available now for Windows 95/NT, MacOS and oh. Sorry,
	Linux users - oh *dear*. Did we forget about you again?
                              - and here it is all "free sourced" as well

                                >> MEMEPOOL <<
                              hasta la altavista

	UK public not buying PHANTOM MENACE games to "avoid spoiling the
	film"... hmm: BT INTERNET doesn't stop simultaneous logins... CHRIS
	MORRIS re-appears: as Observer's suicidal RICHARD GEEFE... Citizens
	of KAMCHATKA OBLAST *ask* to be UN protectorate... this explains *a
	lot* about JAVASCRIPT ... - it's like an alternate universe SLASHDOT.
	Oh, wait - it is ... the "ANSWER ME" games news has been waiting
	for ... fog in a bottle,
	cloud chamber, TESLA COIL, toast: things you can make in a kitchen
	at ...  3D sculptures
	of CGI classics - gloriously missing the point ... well, here we go again: ...
	sub-"Thrift Score" zine CHEAP DATE falls in with bad crowd: ... looks
	like ADAM AND JOE got out just in time: ... and
	find out who really would win in a fight: ...

	FEEBDACK>> following those "One Year On" flashbacks we ran a couple
	of weeks ago, TAMSIN HUGHES asserts: "this Belgian dioxin scare: it
	struck me that chlorine is proving to be a problem in all these
	products - including chicken".  Is this perhaps what we meant by
	our Nostradamusly-cryptic warning in NTK 1997-06-27: "next food
	scare: chlorinated chicken"? Well, this happens to be one of those
	memes where a) we can no longer remember what we meant by it and b)
	we're not even sure we understood it at the time. So, to sum up:
	yes, we did... on a more serious note, a tipster asks: are the
	"Bindman & Partners" acting for online libel- winner LAURENCE
	GODFREY [NTK 1999-06-04] the same ones as behind this stirring
	Charter 88 free-speech declaration ? (in fact
	those weren't his exact words, but obviously we're treading *very*
	carefully here)... echoing NTK 1999-05-07, the excellently-named
	ALAN MOUNTAIN describes The Weekly as "a fair attempt at an English
	Onion", though his favourite page is of course much
	more closely "borrowed" from the National Lampoon, which - in its
	turn - clearly influenced The Onion. In response, The Weekly this
	week chose to go "on holiday"... keen to see us resume our
	temporarily-truced vendetta against OFFICIAL PLAYSTATION MAGAZINE
	[NTK 1999-05-28], ADRIAN MOULDER remarks: "That largely uncritical
	review of Star Wars: Episode 1 in the last issue - I wonder if it
	was 'approved' by Lucasarts?"... PAUL RANDALL reckons that last
	week's "Spectrum techno" [NTK 1999-06-11] sounds "an awful lot more
	like an Amstrad CPC. Especially the repeated short/long two tone
	burst, which sounds a lot like the initial burst that the CPC used
	to gauge motor speed, and hence the following data frequencies".
	Lay off Paul, you're scaring the straights... and finally, after
	our claim that DESERT EAGLE DISCS are "the only upcoming hip- hop
	act to combine the name of a popular Radio 4 show with that of an
	Israeli firearm" [NTK 1999-05-28], reader AQUARIUS adds: "apart from
	'I'm Sorry I Haven't An Uzi'".  Well *done*, Aquarius - a phrase we
	love typing because it makes us feel like the boss-character from
	a 1980s Glen A Larson action series...

                               >> 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
       "often, or at least sometimes know what they're talking about."
          - John Browning, First Tuesday Forum (no figures available)
                                 NEED TO KNOW
                          (K) 1999 Special Projects.
             Copying is fine, but include URL:

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