Fun_People Archive
14 Jan
NTK Bits, 2000-01-14

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 100 14:58:08 -0800
To: Fun_People
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Subject: NTK Bits, 2000-01-14

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649  -=[ Fun_People ]=-
Excerpted-from: NTK now, 2000-01-14
Originator: "Danny O'Brien" <>

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                    "I might be threatening to write code."
                                    - BILL GATES, ex-CEO of Microsoft
                                ...or I might not. Get my drift, DOJ?

                                >> HARD NEWS <<
                                 fernando poos

	 Plenty of corporomancy in the air this week, as pundits attempted
	 to guess the future by observing movements in the heavens. AOL
	 entered into conjunction with the Time Warner constellation,
	 prompting the prophet of slashdoterati, Jon Katz, to doomsay the
	 end of the world.  Microsoft was occluded by Caldera in a $150
	 million plus settlement in the DR-DOS case, followed by the
	 declension of now ex-CEO Bill Gates, to be replaced by a Steve
	 Ballmer ascendant in the astro-organisational charts. But do
	 stellar movements like this have any bearing on life in the real
	 world? After all, there's not much evil AOL Time Warner can wield
	 that they couldn't have managed in their slightly less fat bastard
	 previous incarnations. And the Gates/Ballmer shuffle was just the
	 final precession of Bill's longterm move from daylight operations
	 at MSFT, all the better to skulk in preparation for the DOJ split.
         - so moved with what I experienced today, I will set up a new page

	 A Damnable Subscriber Loophole: BT Internet's engineers discovered
	 they weren't the only people fiddling with the settings of their
	 ADSL set-up this week. In December, the telco had tweaked the
	 routers to prevent their customers from opening static incoming
	 ports (and thus preventing such obscure Network services as passive
	 ftp, online gaming, ICQ etc). Sadly for BT, the customers tweaked
	 back: prising open the DSL adaptors and re-configuring them to
	 not only re-instate the services, but also to change the security
	 passwords so that BT couldn't change them back. In a heart-warming
	 New Years Message, BT threatened its own users with breach of
	 contract, and re-asserted its powers to mess about until it gets
	 a service that keeps pesky consumers where they belong - forking
	 out extra for anything but the more asymmetric of Internet
	 services. Expect locked cages for the DSL roll-out next year, kids
                                   - get it while you can, triallists

	 Just when you thought the continuiiiiing story of "Mir in Space"
	 couldn't get any weirder, another Western business partner has
	 emerged to save Mir and convert it into that anti-news stalwart
	 "an orbiting space hotel for billionaires". This time, who should
	 it be but Gold & Appel Transfers, of the Cayman Islands. Yup,
	 "Gold & Appel Transfers": last observed in Shea and Wilson's
	 ILLUMINATUS!  trilogy as the front organisation for neophile outlaw
	 Hagbard Celine and his Legion of Dynamic Discord.  Terrifyingly
	 for the few who still believe that book to be fiction, G&A is a
	 real company with funds of over $300 million. President Walt
	 Anderson made his money as co-founder of Esprit Telecom, and is
	 now a major investor in the Space Frontier Foundation and the
	 Roton, the orbital transfer system that looks like a beanie. G&A
	 have already offered $21 million to the Russian government to
	 maintain Mir in a serviceable orbit, with more, they say, to come.
	 It's unclear whether the group of investors can really rustle up
	 the huge amounts needed to maintain Mir; but wouldn't it be nice
	 if, when the ISS finally boots in the 22nd century, NASA found
	 that a bunch of Discordians had beaten them to it?
 - financier "reclusive"; Cayman Islands last outcropping of Atlantis
                                                              - fnord

                                >> ANTI-NEWS <<
                             berating the obvious

	 CEO of Apple now officially Steve ... VIRGIN NET mess up e-mail
	 passwords: but it could be worse - ... CEO of AOL Time
	 Warner as of now, a Steve ... from the Millennium Doh!me: , ... METACREATIONS
	 seamlessly erase 100 from staff photo ... CEO of Microsoft - from
	 this week, a Steve ... "Internet may be crowded". Sure it is, ... mildly alarming ... now hosting "Street Walking The World
	 Online Escort Magazine" ... explaining Y2K to any kids you didn't
	 smother in their beds to save them the horror: ... so bad it broke the
	 wankometer: ...

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

	 First the mild ripples of netfreedom's Internet Article Of Shame
	 [see NTK 1999-12-24], and now some shadowy security dudes propose
	 the "E-nsecure Awards" - this could be the year to redress the
	 balance of all those backslapping "best of" giveaways. The
	 "E-nsecures" are aimed at naming and shaming award-winning,
	 beautifully designed sites that, nonetheless, ignore basic security
	 precautions, thus exposing their owners to the "e- gnominy" of
	 receiving an "e-gnoble" E-nsecure Award. We have little to add to
	 this clearly worthwhile goal, other than maybe they should shorten
	 the name (in the style of the Oscars, Tonys etc) to "the Ians" -
	 partly in tribute to BT's Iain Vallance, partly because trying to
	 read their manifesto is, perhaps intentionally, like that old "Ian
	 (and Iain) News" sketch by Lee and Herring.
                  - No list of nominees? Did they only get 3 or something?
           - yes, it *does* look a bit like that London 2600 party page...

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

	 On the happy assumption that everybody else shares the same
	 obsessions as we do (hey, it's worked so far), here's another
	 solution to that perennial "trying to log into our shell account
	 from a cybercafe because we've locked ourselves out of the flat"
	 issue. MINDTERM is a Java implementation of an ssh client.
	 Actually, it has been for ages, but it's recently got much much
	 better (no flickering, signed applets so you can log into arbitrary
	 machines, very cool scp file-transfer utility). Do remember: you
	 should assume somebody's sniffing all your keystrokes anyway and
	 do all your private correspondence by Post Office mail.
                                                - from sshweden
                                - Elite: *that's* the Java killer app

	 If you haven't heard already: MP3.COM, in a Napsterish fit of
	 legal hubris has created MY.MP3.COM. It's an elegant scam, uh,
	 customer service, whereby you download an app that checks for the
	 presence of an audio CD in your drive, cross-references the ID
	 with MP3.COM's own monster track cache, then creates a streamable
	 MP3 copy of the album tracks in a hosted directory (without
	 that tedious uploading of the ripped files). Obvious applications:
	 instantly ripping all your album collection, sneakily ripping
	 other people's album collections when you go around their house,
	 publicly putting out your id and password so that everyone can
	 auto-rip their collections for you, and generally undermining
	 intellectual property rights in the music industry. Again. Catch
	 it while it's uninjuncted.
         - worth checking out, no matter how badly we explained it.

                               >> 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.
               Registered at the Post Office as "Web Activists"
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