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May 28, 2012 12:31 PM   Subscribe

Anno NTK: Every Edition of NTK, 15 Years Late.

Were you subscribed to NTK, but always felt that they were a bit too cutting-edge, too advanced, too futuristic for you? Never got their references? If you sign up for Anno NTK, you'll be able to relive those days, with each newsletter from #1 appearing smartly in your inbox 15 years late. Maybe this time around you'll get it!
posted by subbes (56 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I still wear the Elite T-Shirt with pride. Double-retro nerdery!
posted by Artw at 12:42 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd never heard of NTK, and I thought of myself as a pretty knowledgeable long-time internerd. So I've subscribed, to get caught up.
posted by moonmilk at 12:43 PM on May 28, 2012

Just the other day I thought of NTK when I saw a reference to Kevin 'Cyber' Warwick!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:55 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Ah, those heady days when we used to eagerly await the weekly nugget of internet goodness on Friday afternoons. NTK, we salute you.
posted by pharm at 12:55 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

A NTK meetup was where I first saw both the Star Wars Christmas Special AND Shatner singing Rocket Man.
posted by Artw at 12:58 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

I loved NTK for telling me about OpenTech 2005 (and thus being indirectly responsible for the Open Rights Group), for selling me a ++ungood; t-shirt, and for being registered at the post office as "the least we could do".

Thanks Danny.

Those were the days: when the web felt like The Register, Memepool and NTK, and nothing else.
posted by Talkie Toaster at 12:59 PM on May 28, 2012 [6 favorites]

I have this t-shirt - yellow print on black... But I'm not sure I'd want to re-subscribe. I got probably half of their references back then. I'd likely get even fewer now.
posted by Nauip at 12:59 PM on May 28, 2012

I think my very first postings to an internet forum were comments on their weekly slagging off of 'Killer Net'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:02 PM on May 28, 2012

I won't be satisfied until I get NTK at my door every week on a CD-RW, delivered by someone on a skateboard pulled by a large dog.
posted by Smart Dalek at 1:04 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

If it wasn't for NTK, I wouldn't have found Metafilter (not directly I think - via the website of someone who called herself The Misanthropic Bitch talking about the Kaycee Nicole Situation).

Also, confectionery reviews.

NTK and TV Go Home made Fridays special.
posted by Grangousier at 1:08 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh blimey, I think I was AT the Tribal Gathering in Luton mentioned there...
posted by Artw at 1:26 PM on May 28, 2012

This level of retro introspection may be very bad for me...
posted by Artw at 1:30 PM on May 28, 2012

Oh the memories! I landed the best job I ever had from reading a story on NTK. I'd hung around in the office long enough on a Friday afternoon to download the newsletter to my Palm Pilot 5000, then called the job prospect on my Nokia 8110 as I was making my way home by cab from Shoreditch to Hackney.

I was so hip then, I had practically no knees. Seems like a lifetime ago and as I get old and worn-out I now often wish I had no hips. I look forward to reliving it all again. Thanks for the link, subbes.
posted by punilux at 1:30 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Great! We can find out about all of the happening ZX Spectrum demo parties.
posted by scruss at 1:36 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Ha! Even the Amiga was dead then, we were at the start of the period where Windows dominates home computing for about a decade.
posted by Artw at 1:46 PM on May 28, 2012

I spent more time ferreting out the meaning of NTK's obscure references than I care to reveal. It turned me on to a lot of good TV too -- NTK is where I first heard the names "Nathan Barley" and thus to Chris Morris, to Alan Partridge, to Rob Bryden...indirect but very fruitful lines of inquiry. And all those obscure websites. B3ta fills that gap now, but isn't quite the same.

And even now I spend more time trying to impress the totally uninterested with my awareness of same obscurities than I care to admit....
posted by Fnarf at 1:53 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Only 15 years late? They're getting better...
posted by Devonian at 2:02 PM on May 28, 2012 [7 favorites]

Those were the days. NTK inspired me to go to London in the late 90s, just after leaving college. The closest I could get to the scene was working at a pub frequented by web designers, where I managed to trade my Photoshop skills for a laptop. It was an ugly windows machine, but it was the second computer I owned after my Amiga 500.

NTK, in a very roundabout way, introduced me to memepool and robot wisdom. Then B3ta. That in turn led me to the San Francisco scene, and BoingBoing when it was better.

15 years later I survived a startup, sold out and became a corporate drone.

There are 3 things that I have to be very careful around, or I get trapped in weeks long episodes of nostalgia, moist eyes and mourning for a wasted youth: 2600 archives I keep on CD, textfiles and Santa Cruz hacker houses websites. I am adding NTK to the list.
posted by Ayn Rand and God at 2:05 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm pretty sure I had no idea what the hell was going on in three quarters of the text of any given NTK, but I sure have missed it.

I don't really want to re-read it so much as I want someone to be writing an equivalent thing right now.
posted by brennen at 2:05 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

I remember having some rubbish thing I'd made linked to in ntk and being quite excited about it, and getting some emails from friends also being excited about it. It was the best of times.

Being linked to on reddit doesn't seem so appealing.
posted by dng at 2:33 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

This is great, but I still miss Suck.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 2:56 PM on May 28, 2012

I keep seeing this story but nobody ever has a part to it saying just what NTK is/was and why it's so awesome to see it again.

I just look at the site and go "oh god I don't want to parse all this monospaced text". Can somebody please explain NTK like I'm five?
posted by egypturnash at 3:09 PM on May 28, 2012

It was a weekly email newsletter with links to interesting news stories and other things on the internet in the late 90s, early 2000s, written by metafilter's own Danny O'Brien.
posted by dng at 3:15 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

It's a newsletter.

They were like blogs back when setting up and maintaining a website was a dark art.
posted by LogicalDash at 3:15 PM on May 28, 2012

I worked with Dave and Danny in the late 90s, developing a pilot for a late-night Channel 4 programme. It wasn't NTK on TV--that was '404 Not Found', their show for Sky's [.tv] channel, broadcast digitally some years before anyone could receive digital TV--but something more hip. I remember there was a segment about MP3s and how they were going to change everything, and a recorded interview with the guy who claimed to have been the source for the rocket-car-in-a-cliff urban legend, dramatising the story with model cars pushed by sticks.

It was insanely fun to make, but evidently not insanely fun enough for Channel 4 to broadcast. And every so often they'd go off for an afternoon with Lee Maguire and pull an issue of NTK together.

I still only understand about 25% of what Danny O'Brien is talking about.
posted by Hogshead at 3:27 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I still wear the Elite T-Shirt with pride. Double-retro nerdery!

Whenever I wear my Adminspotting t-shirt (which I still do), people always express envious desire.

They stole our revolution, now we're stealing it back!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:39 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

I still chuckle at "Sufficiently Advanced Technology: The Gathering". Re-subscribed.
posted by kandinski at 4:42 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]

The worst bug I ever perpetrated in my coding-for-a-living days was first reported to me via NTK, when for a short period the good citizens of Scunthorpe were unable to post the name of their town to the website of a certain well-known broadcasting corporation in Britain, and it was entirely my fault.

God I miss NTK.
posted by motty at 4:51 PM on May 28, 2012 [14 favorites]

Ah, didn't they start a Falco competition for predicting dead startups almost the same week he died? That newsletter was hilarious.
posted by Blue Meanie at 4:52 PM on May 28, 2012

So many great Friday afternoons reading the latest issue. I'd love to get a new set of the t-shirts
posted by Z303 at 4:55 PM on May 28, 2012

motty: "for a short period the good citizens of Scunthorpe were unable to post the name of their town to the website of a certain well-known broadcasting corporation in Britain, and it was entirely my fault."

Oh my gosh, that was you?
posted by subbes at 5:00 PM on May 28, 2012

I'm afraid so, subbes.

I'd been so pleased with myself too, as I'd named the profanity filter module in question the Multiply Extensible Rude Description Eliminator (or - no idea how I got away with that - then totally screwed up one of the key regexps in the first version that got deployed.

I was very young and very foolish and this was before the days of compulsory test suites round those parts.

Fixed it that Friday afternoon though.

posted by motty at 5:12 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

First, I had no idea we even *sold* that many t-shirts. Second, I'm personally sorry we dragged so many of you into exciting but curiously dysfunctional career paths. In retrospect, I think maybe we were the opposite to the Almost Guy for some people. In my defence, we did try and warn you...

The story of Anno NTK, in a nutshell: I had a re-union earlier this year with the other editors. Dave and Lee are understandably very cautious of my "brainstorming", which often revolves around collaring other people for non-remunerative one-joke ideas that take ten years to fulfill (though they can talk -- at one point in the conversation we were each going to start our own new splinter newsletters: the Provisional NTK, the Real NTK and the Continuity NTK). Someone at my "Fall of the Geek Triumphant" talk a year ago had suggested sending out the mails again, and Simon Wistow suggested the name, so we didn't even have to come up with a new idea for this one.

The clincher, though, that forced me to start it up again was this MeFi comment, which I posted on a whim, and realised immediately afterwards that just saying it out loud now required me to follow through. So, as ever, you can blame Metafilter for this too...
posted by ntk at 5:15 PM on May 28, 2012 [21 favorites]

My '1337' t shirt came with me to Australia and I still wear it on rare occasions, but it should be in a display case I guess.

Gratified that I'm not the only one who didn't understand it all
posted by JustAsItSounds at 5:30 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

People here in the US seem to get confused about the Elite t-Shirt having "FRONT VIEW" written on it but no corresponding "BACK VIEW" on the other side, FWIW.
posted by Artw at 7:20 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Subscribing now means I'll have missed the first batch of issues. This feels wrong somehow.

Maybe it'll be better if I wait until this runs its course and then try again on the 30th anniversary.
posted by ardgedee at 7:20 PM on May 28, 2012

I still have my "Code Poet" tshirt. Though it now says "-o-- p-et"
posted by zoo at 10:31 PM on May 28, 2012

Grar! Google informs me that the code poet tshirt came from think geek. Not NTK.
posted by zoo at 10:33 PM on May 28, 2012

First, I had no idea we even *sold* that many t-shirts.

Not only do I have an Adminspotting tshirt, I've also got a BofH O'Reilly tshirt -- Distributing Clue to Users, and I bought at least two Think Dissident t-shirts for Xmas presents for friends.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:38 AM on May 29, 2012

You used to have design a t-shirt competitions IIRC. That's probably why there were so many.

I would like to thank you for bringing Metafilter to my attention and for parsing popbitch.
posted by asok at 1:14 AM on May 29, 2012

I have a black nylon anorak that says they stole the revolution, we're stealing it back. It still keeps off the rain. And I'm pretty sure I am still subscribed to the main list, wasn't there a one off issue just 5 or 6 years ago?
And the Friday Thing would be good too.
posted by bystander at 1:42 AM on May 29, 2012

First, I had no idea we even *sold* that many t-shirts.

I had the 'ILoveYou.vb' t-shirt, and the 'cerr << "it works on my machine" << endl;' t-shirt.

Sadly, both long gone. Any chance of reissuing some of those shirts for those of us who refuse to grow up?
posted by veedubya at 2:09 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd completely forgotten this is how I discovered Metafilter.

Also, I require a new Elite t-shirt as mine now lacks an armpit.
posted by Quantum's Deadly Fist at 2:24 AM on May 29, 2012

Whenever I wear my Adminspotting t-shirt (which I still do), people always express envious desire.

Sadly mine have shrunk over the years and no longer quite fit my bulging manframe, so I wear them much less often than I used to. A friend of mine took the design and made a Pterry/Discworld based version, featuring the druid menhir programmers from one of the later novels, calling it something like menhitspotting. Wearing that got him doubly puzzled looks, first from people who didn't recognise the original, then from people who did.

Good times, good times
posted by MartinWisse at 3:23 AM on May 29, 2012

I was given some NTK T-shirts for doing 'the worst impressions of Iain Lee', something that didn't make sense in retrospect, until I remembered that he used to present a games show. I think it said 'They stole our revolution - now we're taking it back'. They also had one based on an MJ Hibbert song, which I quite liked.
posted by mippy at 3:38 AM on May 29, 2012

Can somebody please explain NTK like I'm five?

It's Popbitch, but for geeks rather than readers of HEat magazine.

I'm not a geek by any means, but I used to look forward to the TVCream digest, the Popbitch newsletter (back when it was less part of the showbiz establishment and much more salacious) and getting NTK.
posted by mippy at 3:41 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

And the Friday Thing would be good too.

Oh, Christ no. Partly because Paul Carr is a weapons-grade cunt, and partly because they subscribed me without asking to some kind of London-themed banter list which really pissed me off, because I didn't live there at the time and I didn't need to receive provincial newsletters about where people are drinking and buying ponchos now. And it would probably involve Nero who gives me the blue hives.

(I live in London now and I still think it's its own little provincial bubble. So many things matter here that mean nothing elsewhere.)
posted by mippy at 3:45 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

My contribution to NTK - (The Ferrous Particles Day Off section in this issue from May 2000) remains one of my proudest internet moments ever.
posted by Jofus at 3:55 AM on May 29, 2012

It wasn't NTK on TV--that was '404 Not Found', their show for Sky's [.tv] channel

I actually found an old clip of that, when I was researching the demoscene post.
posted by Z303 at 4:56 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

You might have had the t-shirt, but my *wedding* was announced in NTK. I was extraordinarily proud.
posted by DangerIsMyMiddleName at 8:26 AM on May 29, 2012

^^^ registered as the post office as of
posted by ntk at 12:48 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I still chuckle at "Sufficiently Advanced Technology: The Gathering".

I'll probably resubscribe, even though every issue will rekindle my shame at taking literally years to get that one.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 4:22 PM on May 29, 2012

My NTK t-shirt is this one. I'm not entirely proud of it.

I've already said this to those responsible, but the web of 1997 doesn't just feel like a long time ago: it is bloody hard to retrieve today, even if you know where to look and are willing to spend time in, because modern search algorithms treat last week as so last week. (It also doesn't help that idiot Wikipedia editors are more than happy to RfD a lot that's written about the pre-2000 web.) It's mainly oral history with smatterings of archaeological evidence, and Anno NTK is a nice way to relive it.
posted by holgate at 8:18 AM on May 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

I still wear this one (not me in the photo), and the "works on my machine" exception handler (was that an NTK shirt?). But only on special occasions.

Danny is directly responsible for introducing me to the world wide interwebs, in a pub courtyard, in Edinburgh. Which must be... oh my god 17 years ago?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 9:42 PM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

My T-shirt was the anti-audio-CD-copy-protection-one. Still is.

My favourite NTK joke, riffing on a quite from MacWorld:
"XML sounds scary. Stuff that begins with the letter X usually does. There's a reason they didn't call it 'The C Files.'"
...because only cable would show pointer arithmetic in prime time? 
I'm impressed at some of the connections in here. My only brush with NTK-fame is that I once sent in a link that was printed in Memepool (or Anti-Memes) and even I never figured out what NTK's comment about it meant. Maybe it referred to the previous link and they just put the ... in the wrong place.

God, I loved NTK so much. (apart from the bits about snack food) If I was offered the choice between a universe with am ongoing NTK and one with an ongoing Metafilter, if would be a very hard decision. But, sorry Matt, I think I know which way I'd swing.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 9:31 AM on June 19, 2012

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