Readers' Letters Euthanasia and the Blue Screen of Death

Flames ain't what they used to be - and much, much more

Where did all the flames go, WAP, BT Surftime, Euthanasia and the blue screen of death, advice for investors, good riddance to Atiq Raza, Don't be so horrid to Chile, poor people ain't the crooks, TLAs, Who really spreads the viruses, Web retailers, Cindy Margolis, some rare fan mail.

Back in the bad old days

I rather enjoyed reading the Flame of the Week column on 5/28, but must admit the most stunning portion was the repartee on your part. Sadly, I am disappointed in the weak thermal output of the flamage these dim bulbs are attempting to shove up your cyberfundament. You simply must dissolve the old class of loonies and hire a superior class of crass, a clot of clowns, a bevvy of benzadrine bozos more suited to amusing the audience. Possibly you could host a competition?

Wait, these are actually letters submitted in all serious and intense fervour regarding some dork's take on the whichness of something or other, not gag letters, a competition would not be suited. Pity.

Do you ever get a REAL screamer, a howl you would rather never expose to the corrosive light of day, for fear of a lawsuit?

Respectfully, Kirk D Bailey

Your computer wants to kill you as well

You don't mention which operating system is used on the laptop, but if it's Windoze would you really entrust your last moments to it ? Mind you, I suppose it gives a whole new meaning to "Blue Screen of Death" :-)

Bye for now ! PeterG <disclaimer>All views expressed are strictly my own, not my employer's !</disclaimer>

Most surprised you didn't go for the obvious gag - "Press any key to Discontinue" :-)

Howard Richards

Wondering what to do with that new WAP phone?

[We've been having trouble finding good ideas for what to do with WAP phones. Our readers are an imaginative bunch, however.]

Standing in my local boozer yesterday, having a few pints whilst watching the match, a mate of mind decided to be an irritating dickhead by constantly being on his mobile phone, and sending text messages.

That's not the point. What is the point is that as the pub was hooked up to Sky Digital, I started to notice that the picture would break up occasionally, and managed to have a leap of insight when another attending drunk used his phone after the match, right next to the bar where the decoder is kept - total freeze-frame.

Once the pub had fairly well cleared (wouldn't want to spoil the match now, would we?) we did a couple of unscientific tests by ringing each other and discovered that you can completely wreck the transmission even if you're 10 yards away from the decoder. It would seem that whatever brand of decoder the pub had is very susceptible to a GSM900 signal.

I always thought it would be funny to buy one of the Casio watches with the built in IR remote control, so as to change channels at certain vital points during a sports event, but I think the mobile phone trick of reducing a collection of alcohol and football thirsty lads into a raging mob would be fascinating.

I think I'll have to make that vital call during any penalty shoot-outs of Euro2000!

Richard Parrott

As your site comments on WAP ideas - could you suggest to BT to get their head out of their arse and WAP enable their UK phone directory Website. I think having access to the UK phone directory would be quite handy (& obvious)

Regards Jim Mckay

Boo! Arrgggh, you almost gave me a cash-flow attack

[Of course this was the week when Boo was cut up and sold off for tiny sums. It caused a lot of people to finally wake up and wonder how come Boo had squandered so much money]


The downfall of is quite interesting - it kind of nicely emphasises that there's too many clueless people in charge of too much money in the wacky world of dotcoms.

I had a look at for the first time today, only to notice that its approach is not much better (technologically inferior, as it so happens) to that used by ye olde shirtmakers Charles Tyrwhitt of Jermyn Street, London (whom I can only recommend). They have done a fair bit of work on their Website recently, and also offer 3D viewing, online ordering, etc, etc.

OK, it's aimed at a different market, but the technology and the approach is the same. Except that it probably cost two orders of magnitude less. It still makes me wonder what on earth spent all their money on (mind you, my company is currently working on a project for a startup - it's amazing to see how ignorant of the real world these people are - and cashburn is almost firmly engraved into the business plan...)

Regards, Phil C. Mueller

Big Bad Blinkered Bill

[It's been Microsoft crazy - for good reasons - over the last couple of days. While the trial outcome remains undecided, an interesting insight in Billy Boy's brain occurred when the DoJ released an email from Mr Gates concerning Symbian]

Of all the IT articles I think I have ever read, that one strikes a chord at a level which nothing else has ever achieved.

I think DOJ could base the trial around that one letter and your commentary. It's INCREDIBLE to imagine how that man thinks. Predatory doesn't seem to come close. It's appalling!

What I really want to know is what Bill was thinking when he made that arrangement with Steve Jobs back a MW NY a couple of years ago. Apple is not big enough to be considered a competitor for the DOJ case, but it's still significant enough to be a major thorn in MS's side... especially if it delivers on OS X.

It's concerning. Do you think there could be another reason? I tried to think the same way Bill did in that email and I just can't conceptualise any reason he would have... or maybe he was forced into it for another reason...

Cheers, and keep up the great work. Stories like this (and that headless Intel one) make for some pretty intense and interesting reading.

James Allworth

So M$ is supposed to do better than your average stock? Don't trust 'em dealers...

Recently I wandered across a very interesting piece at The - a beginners guide to stock ratings. For various good reasons, the ratings system is nowhere near what it would seem. Like when did you ever see a stock rated 'strong sell'? There was a nice string of reasoning behind it, but it boiled down to the system is chronically mal-aligned for lots of good reasons. A translation of ratings could be:

Strong buy We suggest you pick up some stock, it's definitely gonna rise.
Buy You did a decent deal, hold on and it might pay off.
Outperform We don't really trust this thing - wanna buy our holdings?
Hold Until you have an opportunity to sell, that is.
Underperform These guys are in serious trouble, your best bet is to get out fast.
Sell Get out NOW, before everybody else does.
Strong sell: Don't hesitate, a fast and intense panic is the sane thing to do.

M$ is merely having a break before the next round of panic. And the greatest contributors to that panic are the Dynamic Duo of Gates & Ballmer telling everyone with an ear that breaking the company will utterly destroy it. A self-fulfilling prophecy if I ever saw one :)

Don't worry, use KDE2 - KOffice is lean and cool.


The viral industry around computer bugs

[With every announcement of a big computer virus, the number of "experts" double. Now, virus warning itself has become a mini industry]

How come this virus that the FBI have been trumpeting (W97M/RESUME.A@MM VIRUS) hasn't made an appearance in the UK that I know of and that the only info that seems to be coming out is from the FBI/NIPC itself and is particularly vague ("Anti-virus industry sources are reporting that a number of corporate e-mail systems have already been infected, and some shut down as a result")???.

Having been monitoring a 10,000 user+ mail system over the last few days (American owned) I have yet to see one single instance of the virus, which seems strange when LoveLetter went through the same system in 15 minutes. It hasn't even made an appearance in Trend's top ten. Are the FBI joining the virus companies "trumpet any virus to see how important we are" bandwagon?

Cheers Puk

P.S. apologies for the mail address but it keeps my employer relatively anonymous. Your email address says a lot about you.

Hey, I've got a great idea! Go back to sleep darling

[We had a dig at, which announced the postponement of its IPO. It's just not very viable, we argued]

Yes - Right!

The idea of a co-buy is good in principle, unless you happen to be one of many (like me) who attempted to buy a Samsung DVD Player at 159 and then discovered it didn't arrive on the due date, emails were being auto-acknowledged but not followed up, and the only way was to phone. Despite this being a London number, connected to a CS centre not far from Edinburgh.

Yes, we see you've bought it - we can't tell you when you'll get it - but bear with us.

Comments on the Samsung-fan site reveals others have suffered a similar fate - ignored emails and a lack of credit card refunds.

So if you're tempted - don't bother, you can get high blood pressure other ways that are far more pleasurable.


Just how good are those breasts?

[Super Internet babe Cindy Margolis announced she was going to sit at MyGeek's stall, advertising her overpriced beauty products. We had the audacity to say we didn't think Cindy matched her credentials.]

Thank you for pointing me to the pictures of Cindy. She pushes hypocrisy and cheesiness to previously unheard-of levels. Check out this quote from the site (this is before you get to the bikini shots):

Thank you soooo much for stopping by my picture gallery! Snuggling up on the couch with friends and photo albums... is THE BEST! I love being able to share some of these special moments in my life with all of you.. I hope you enjoy them too!

Great stuff! exactly what i was thinking: hey friends, let's snuggle up and watch Cindy "breast implant" margolis' cheesy website!

Nik Heger

Ok guys, you're joking right? Right? You really didn't mean what you wrote? Please say yes?!? <see below>

"While it's very fancy, we were struck by the fact that Cindy (look out! here come the flames!) isn't actually that gorgeous - more plastic Barbie doll than sensual woman."

Cindy, the last remaining all natural babe. (i.e. no implants) The same babe that has a body the pope would sneak a peak at. We ARE talking about the same drop dead beautiful, absolutely gorgeous and quite approachable Cindy right?

C'mon guys, Cindy is the epitome of the girl next door with a body to match. Heck even my fiancee admitted that she has a very nice body.

Ok, ok if you don't find her all that attractive, then who do you think is "gorgeous"? And if you answer some porno star, I'll flame you. ;)


My big three (Cindy M., Gabby Reece, and Sandra B.)

Return of the Jedi

[Andrew Thomas found out some ex-AMD old friends had set up a new company in Silicon Valley]

Dear The Register,

All this press coverage of "AMD Defectors" and "Former AMD President" crap is a blatant smear job, but some of us remember how Atiq Raza tried to screw us, in your own article: "AMD must cut expenses-Atiq Raza" I don't care if you use my name. I don't care if you delete this. Raza was a dink and I'm glad he's gone.

Sean Brennan San Francisco

It's good to baulk

[BT has been having a rough ride of late - not helped by the fact that its service has been poor to say the least. Its new Surftime package not only caused a court case and Oftel slapping but failed to deliver and massaged the figures to look more popular than it was.]

Further to your article about the above, I'd like to add that I think BTi are really dodging responsibility on this. Funny how if only "a few thousand" users out of their 400,000 were affected that absolutely everyone I know who uses BTi (that would be seven people) had no email service this week.

Some got back into their mailboxes yesterday, and I finally got my week's delayed mail tonight. And of course now I can't get back in again. <sigh>

Now FTP is off tonight.

This lot has had a never ending plethora of failures and continually dire service (again, notes compared with friends here).

If you have a moment, please browse the customers' newsgroup btinternet.whinge and even allowing for exaggeration (of which there isn't any in my own experience) you MUST be able to grasp the serious underlying problems here.

Technical support has virtually given up answering demands for service and explanations, and resorts continually to stock "please bear with us while we endeavour to resolve these problems as soon as possible" answers day after day.

Further proof of the catastrophic behaviour is available by calling their "status" line on 0800 731 7777 - you're guaranteed to hear the same old rubbish updated every hour.

It's impossible to tell what exactly is going on, but I do know this; BT has the resources to have a team of crack contractors descend upon their entire system and beat it into excellent shape within a few days, but it's quite apparent that our national telecom giant would rather throw away a million quid on a dumb competition, and a few more on their stupid ET ads. I'm sure the technicians are either underqualified or underfunded. Either way, it's not acceptable when they continue to take 400,000 people's tenner-a-month subscription for a service which would have rated poorly ten years ago.

I'm only one voice and I have no weight. I wondered if you might be able to encourage someone somewhere to take this seriously?

God, this is so frustrating. Any thoughts?

Best regards, John Doyle Clarity (whose email isn't routed back to BTi - you can be sure of that!)

Regarding your story "BT Surftime: All men are not born equal", I can confirm that BT are not offering it right now to all users. I have been quoted a date of September when I should contact them again... apparently some dribble about them having to upgrade the exchanges with software to charge the correct amount for the calls. Surely it would make a great deal more sense to launch the product when they are actually capable of delivering it... But then again maybe we should not be surprised by the incompetence shown by BT yet again.

Stuart Coates

Reg sparks diplomatic crisis

[There wasn't any hardware to review in the Hardware Review, so Drew tackled it in his own inimitable fashion - causing consternation from across the Atlantic]

Hi, I'm Carlos Castillo, a computer engineer at Santiago, Chile, South America

I've see with surprise your news in section "Hardware Roundup" regarding a small earthquake in Chile. Earthquake are very dangerous and common things around here :)

At first I must confess that I didn't get the joke, but I understood later, with a lot of sorrow, that it means that there were no news about hardware at that time. An earthquake in Chile is the smallest thing that can happen.

It doesn't hurt me-in a patriotic sense. I understand that "Chile" for every English-language country is synonym of a thin, long, vegetable used in Mexican food.

Chile may appear in the map as chilli-shaped, long, thin and pathetic, laying on the corner of the southern hemisphere. But there are a lot of software engineers, webmasters, and fans of The Register in this beautiful country.

I'm sending this letter knowingly about that no international treaty endorsed by any of the two countries tells anything about making mock of the smallness of another country, but a little respect will honour common sense, and most of all-the sense of belonging to a global online community.

Please send a copy of this letter to the writer of the cited article, and if you wish, you can make it public (or a portion of it) at your Website.

Thanks for your time,

Carlos Castillo PS: Please excuse my poor English.

Drew writes:I> No offence meant. It is not denigratory to Chile - it is a spoof of dull headlines. This is a reference to a legendary Times headline (legendary among British journalists) anyway. "Small Earthquake in Chile: not many dead" This was composed in - we think - the 1930s by Claud Cockburn (pronounced co-burn), a famous British journalist, in a competition among sub-editors to compose the most boring headline. This was the winner.

The caring, sharing, grassing new millennium

[We mocked a Net-based plan to get people to grass up their neighbours whom they suspected of welfare fraud]

I think you overlook a basic fact when you assume most welfare cheats are poor and don't have Internet access. In reality, it is the people who are not poor that are the biggest cheats. They, in all probability, have computers and so do their neighbours who would report them.

Richard Reiher

Whatever happened to words with small letters in?

[With so many acronyms in the IT world (mostly three-letter acronyms, or TLAs as they're known), we put out a call for some that mystified us]

Subject: Intel TLAs...

FAE = Field Application Engineer (Liaison between big customers and Intel's engineering staff) PCG = Product Component Group (Chipset guys) BMD = Sorry, never heard that one... ADC = Application Design Center (The integration guys, who deal with everything from finished motherboards to finished network cards. They deal with complete products, not individual components.)

I know because I used to be a TME and PSE with the EMSD, FSD, ESG, SPD, RPD, ADC, ICS, and sometimes a CSE or PSE with CISD and OPSD...

Ed Hurtley

The soothing part of the letters page - sponsored by Radox

[Just a bit of ego-rubbing for us. It hurts having people being angry at you all the time. We're a sensitive lot you know. :-)]

I read you directly from the Website and sometimes via other people picking up your stories.

And as the subject line says: "You are a funny bunch of coots".

Thanks Michael Zerman Adelaide, AUSTRALIA

PS: Of course your reporting is excellent also, or I wouldn't bother coming back !!

You guys are gentlemen ! And have such a great way of presenting things (not sure Chipzilla would agree however :-)))). It does sometime stretch my English to it limits, but always produces a big laugh after the effort :-)

Cheers, Jean-Christophe ®

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