Write to reply – readers' letters

It's the less insane version of Flame of the Week

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That's right. While we love to relay the insane rantings of some readers, it's about time the more reasoned got through. So here is the first of a weekly series in readers' letters.

If you have something you need to say, email either the writer or your new Reg Letters Editor (that's me) here. Oh, and we edit them as we please, alright (but leave any spelling mistakes in)?

We start with an ego-stroking message from our new-found friend Bob.


As a Yank who's curious enough to want to know how things look from Across the Pond, I've been a fervent reader of The Register for quite a while. All this time I had thought I was reading The Register for the news, views and the occasional chuckle, but today's content and some subtle observations now lead me to conclude otherwise.

I have NEVER read as many sequential Register news stories that had me guffawing to the point of spewing coffee out my nose as I have today! One after another, you managed to make the stories stand up and do tricks inside my brain. My abs thank you for the workout. My nose does not.

He's a big bear of a man is our Thomas. The fact that he consumes the underbelly of American culture and then vomits it back up is to his credit, but unfortunately this slips past some. Oh, and we're still getting comments (pro and anti) from PR folk concerning his anti-PR tirade earlier this week.


Can I have the references for the "Privacy-loving space aliens put the smack down on SETI" article posted 19/04/2000 8:09am by Thomas C. Greene in Washington.

There is a link to this site from www.coasttocoastam.com

I have included the message below from quite reliable source that there is no telescope of that size in South Africa. + SETI is not using it if it even existed!

Thanks for the info,


PS. If this is a hoax, could you please at least put that at the bottom of your site instead of a slogan "Only The Register Tells it Like it is". Now is you slogan wrong???!!?!?

Folder: Astronomy
Date: Wed 10 May 2000 8:19P (Read: Thu 11 May 2000 10:42P)
To: Adam Majer
Subject: Problems for SETI - Alien

More info: As best I can find, the largest radiotelescope in South Africa is the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory 50 km west of Johannesburg. It is 26 meters (85 feet) in diameter, far smaller than the 250-foot giant in your article.

Also, I believe the Rand is a South African unit of currency, possibly associated with the gold mines. So "the Rand Wilson telescope" may be equivalent to "the Megabuck telescope".

Jeff, in Minneapolis.

Nuclear power plant relies on Register SETI winner (Headline comes courtesy of Bob Cunningham, our lucky SETI competition winner)

We ran a competition for the fastest SETI machine. The results were interesting viewing.

My Cyrix CPU and/or mobo fried almost three weeks ago, LITERALLY the sameday as I sent you my message! Could the two events be connected?

I ran out and bought a chrome-plated red-painted dual-Celeron 366 mobo overclocked to 550 to make up for the loss of my feeble friend, only to find that while I can now run Linux apps at warp speed, I can't run my legacy Win95 apps at all (I literally have to physically remove the second CPU)!

Unfortunately, I had blown every penny possible on the new mobo. So, here I am, living life large, and I STILL need ANOTHER new mobo to run my legacy Win95 apps! Arrrggggghhhhh! Of course, if the WINE project were just a LITTLE closer to beta...

Anyhow, many MANY thanks to you for your kind and generous gift! It is very much needed and equally appreciated.

Backstabbingly evil

No doubt your gift is a Freudian reflection of the agonizing pity you must feel toward my stone-age predicament, and was motivated primarily by guilt after having a good round of laughs throughout the office at my expense.

Yes, I suppose you felt SO superior with your 850 MHz systems and 100 Mbps Ethernet links (if only he knew - Ed). I know how you journalist types are: Fair and friendly up front (well, I suppose neither of those apply to The Register), and backstabbingly evil behind the scenes.

Always playing one-upmanship games to see who can find the most pitiful reader or story victim. I suppose my sad situation had you and your cronies blowing pints out your noses!

Well, you're gonna pay for that: Send me my mobo!

We wrote a pretty irreverent piece on the Pope's beatification of two dead shepherd children. Some Catholics felt his approach was inapproppriate. So much so that one consistently referred to meself in female terms.

I read with interest a story on your companies web site this morning (May 10, 2000) entitled "The Pope gets beatiful: see it live." While I am overjoyed to see your company reporting on wonderful occasions relating to the Pope's agenda I must ask how blatant and irrelevant opinions get into such a piece of work? The blatant and irrelevant opinion I am speaking of is Kieren McCarthy's statement describing the Pope as the "Marian-obsessed JP", of which she follows with another blatant and irrelevant opinion in describing the Pope's chance in "hanging in there a few more years" as "looking increasingly unlikely as [he] gets weaker with each trip he goes on." Is she medically qualified to make suck a statement? (No. But two eyes are probably good enough - Ed)

I must wonder what were to happen if this particular were to address other in authority with the same lack of respect. A particularly good example would be yourself. Would you have a great deal of respect for this woman if she refer to you by slamming you because of your age and outward appearance.

I will freely admit that I am Catholic and can overlook many things, but Mrs. (or Ms.) McCarthy's lack of respect demonstrates her utter ignorance of the Pope's life experiences.

I look forward to reading your company's news each morning, however I would ask that in the future you either assign important stories to people who can report then without personal bias.


Burke Squires

Tune in next week for more remarkable observations ®

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