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Alive 2

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By popular demand, the longest lived regular Maggie column, makes a
welcome return to the pages of Alive! At least I like to think there
is some popular demand back there??

Anyway, it's on with the showtime, with the first news item, which
goes something like.....


It is planned that the public, here in the UK, are to be able to
report most minor crimes through the internet. It was reported by some
government minister person as "part of a wider vision for delivering police
services electronically to the public." Oh the glorious vision of
criminal suspects "accidentally" tripping up and falling down on the way
to the cells, in a format exactly like Donkey Kong!

Might not be of too much use, if your computer is stolen though.....


Is a 'Deli-Llama', a Tibetan Llama of great spiritual significance,
who works on the freshly cooked produce counter, at a large food store?!
You like that? Oh never mind!

Anyway, the following gem beams itself into our consciousness, from
the Llama Question and answer page:-

Q. Is it a good thing when a llama is standoffish?

A. It would be normal for a llama to be standoffish. They know that
they are superior to us, and look down their noses at us. Eventually,
they learn to tolerate us, and may even decide to do what we ask
occasionally, just to make us think that we are teaching them

But does that not describe the vast majority of parent/child and
pupil/teacher interactions as well!?


This internet self-help and learning is getting into all sorts of
areas now, from the otherwise respectable New Scientist website:-

Q. I have heard that if you drink beer through a straw, you will
become intoxicated more quickly. many of my friends have heard it too.
Is it true, and if so, why?

A. As a former student, I can testify to the definite financial
advantages of drinking beer through a straw. For an even cheaper
inebriation, beer can also be 'eaten' from a bowl, with a soup spoon.

But leave the croutons out of it, please!


In a move that suggests Sam Tramiel has been visiting Sega GHQ in
Japan, as some sort of 'business advisor', Sega reassess what they are
doing out there.

The Dreamcast hasn't been doing well since the launch of the
Playstation 2. This seems to be in line with confident industry
predictions of Doom, almost since the Dreamcast was released. Now it
looks like the naysayers are to get their way, as it looks like Sega
are to stop manufacturing the Dreamcast, to concentrate solely on
software development!

Now does this sound familiar to you lot out there? If I mention the
words "Atari" and "Jaguar", does that bring it closer to home?

Well Atari went down exactly the same road, when the Jaguar was in its
final days! Atari did release one or two titles, including a PC
version of the hit Tempest 2000 game, but shortly afterwards, Atari
was no more.

You will know the grim reaper is beckoning for sure, when Sega merges
with JTS, in a chaotic closing down sale scenario, and disappears out of
sight completely!


The vast and exploding popularity of mobile phones in the UK has led
British Telecom, for the first time in its history, to stop adding to
its phonebox network. Revenue is down, people preferring to speak or
text message into their little hand-held devices instead.

It isn't all bad news though, as BT have got some exciting new plans
for many of their existing phoneboxes. It seems that these will no longer
be mere conveyances of the voice from hill to vale, or from continent
to continent. Now, these are set to become single person, walk-in
Internet cafes, but without the coffee.

One British Telecom spokesperson seemed to sniff a bit too much
Sci-Fi Excitability Gas (trademark Arthur C.Clarke), as he predicted a
fate for the humble phonebox that was like the Holodeck out of Star
Trek (The Next Generation). He burbled on enthusiastically about
wall-mounted screens generating scenic landscapes, and some kind of 'roller
bearing', mounted on the floor, so you could walk in any direction you
chose, for as long as you liked!

This sounds all very well and good, but I don't remember the following
from any Star Trek script!

"Hmmm Data, that stale urine smells at least ten days old. Maybe we
shouldn't let drunken tramps wee on the Holodeck in future?"


How not to build a career in investigative journalism, part seventeen..

Future Publishing's 'PC Format', successor to ST Format and its ilk,
recently despatched a crack investigative team, the short distance to
the premises of warehouse-sized nationwide boxshifter, PC World. Their
conclusions in the December issue of PC Format were not too encouraging.

They accused PC World of being "A retailing goliath, taking advantage of
a lucrative opportunity to sell overpriced products to the PC
illiterate." The mag compared prices with the internet reseller, The verdict was not at all favourable to PC World.

The January edition of PC Format announced. "PC Format reinvestigates PC
World..." It goes on to say "We've had so many letters and emails (from
senior PC World management?) that we thought it only right to run a
follow-up piece reinvestigating (whitewashing?) the UK's biggest PC

Apparently, from the hands of the person who wrote the original December
piece, he was now eulogising the former 'Goliath', stating that the
store was "Really great, and always at the forefront in offering
customers the best value." (!)

As far as we are aware, this has nothing to do with the fact that Future
Publishing does the contract publishing for PC World!


Infogrames, the merger maniac French Softco, got slightly more than they
expected, when they took over the assets of Hasbro Interactive..

Included in the treasury of newly acquired software, was a new flightsim
called 'B17 Flying Fortress, The Mighty 8th', being developed by Uk
development house, Wayward Design.

They decided to live up to the 'Wayward' part of their name, as the
initial pre-Xmas release included a little extra file, which apparently
gave a number of links to certain internet sites featuring the terms
"amateur", "teenage", and "model", among several others, in them!

A patch is hastily winging its way to maddened or secretly disappointed
consumers. According to Mr Pink, who knows a bit more than most about
what goes on in these strange places, sabotage by disgruntled coders was
a very likely cause!


Now I know that you are all aware of Bill Gates occasional and
well-documented lapses in the self-control department. Well a new book
has just come out, 'World War 3.0: Microsoft and its Enemies', which
manages to closely document the steep decline of the Microsoft founders
personal well-being!

Author Ken Auletta actually gets quite personal about Bill G. himself.
At the 1998 Davos World Economic Forum, Bill was cleary suffering from
the anti-Microsoft sentiment that was building up. The author was
sitting next to Bill G, at dinner, and Bill complained to the author
that the Microsoft Chief Technology officer, Nathan Myrvold, had been
roughly handled in a panel called "Monopolies and Technology", a few
days earlier.

"Gates sat huddled over, his arms folded across his chest, his brown
hair unparted, unwashed, and combed stright down like a boy's. He rocked
back and forth in his chair, his eyes fixed to the floor."

"His manner was gruff, and he was either unwilling or unable to hide his
rage. The eight other guests at the table stared at him in wonder.
Suddenly, his voice rising to a shrill pitch, Gates proclaimed, "Neither
Nathan nor anyone from Microsoft will ever appear again on such a

Bill was clearly still affected by this outburst, as he got up to make a
speech. At first, he managed to compose himself, until the fateful
trigger question came from the audience.

"What do you say to those who believe that Microsoft has behaved
arrogantly, as if the government had no right to ask questions?"

According to the text.. "Perhaps it was the word arrogant that provoked
an eruption, for Gates plunged into a five minute rant, memorable less
for what he said, than for the deep hurt he betrayed."

"Then just as suddenly as it had erupted, the storm subsided, and the
belligerent Gates became a vunerable adolescent. "What should I do?" he
asked plaitively, in a subdued voice. Like everyone else at the table, I
froze in awkward silence until the luncheon mercifully concluded."

-------------------- Telling quote department! ---------------------------

Judge Jackson, (Monopoly trial judge) "I've often said to collegues that
Gates would be better off if he had finished Harvard."


Just to finish off this edition of Dirk, here's a few choice cuttings
from my favourite internet news provider, NTK. Roll those scandal drums
and let it go!

_   _ _____ _  __ 
| \ | |_   _| |/ / _ __   _____      __ o 
|  \| | | | | ' / | '_ \ / _ \ \ /\ / / o 
| |\  | | | | . \ | | | | (_) \ v  v /  o 
|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/   o

"A few years ago, we realised that we weren't far away from
having a global telephone network with as many connections
as the human brain. We've passed that now. BT tried to
explore whether there was any danger of consciousness
occurring, but had to give up, because we don't know what
makes a thing conscious."

    - IAN PEARSON, BT's head futurololologist

..."A BT Engineer called to verify the existence of a self-aware
    artificial intelligence in the phone network, but you were out."


Q: Will the virus impact my Macintosh if I am using a
   non-Microsoft e-mail program, such as Eudora?

A: If you are using a Macintosh e-mail program that is not
   from Microsoft, we recommend checking with that particular
   company.  But most likely other e-mail programs like Eudora
   are not designed to enable virus replication. client not spreading viruses properly? Upgrade to Outlook today!


"Think of it as a sandwich," said Linda McNulty, director of
worldwide product marketing for Apple's desktop lines. McNulty said
the bold colors represent the energy of the music revolution Apple
is embracing. "We wanted to further convey what music would look a color."


...and as the stock falls, the kool-aid gets stronger and stronger


"I've gotten into plenty of arguments with fans who just wanted to
'discuss' it. This poor girl in Atlanta, I made her cry. She felt
money was evil. Why don't you go live in Canada or some socialist

- METALLICA's JAMES HETFIELD on the NAPSTER "unpleasantness"

...a communist pirate datahaven with groupies and no Metallica? we're so there


Okay folks, that's it for now! See you again next time!

CiH, in a dilatory fashion, culminating in frantic half-assed attempts
to get this finished at the end of March '01!

For Alive! Magazine, in case you didn't realise!

Alive 2