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Readers' letters this week on digital toilet paper, slating Intel, hypocrisy over cybersquatting, Internet World Babe Watch, NTLWorld apology, Internet on the buses, scaled down, crappier version of Netimperative, and a joke about US law enforcement agencies

And when you've stopped reading it...

This site is the equivalent of digital toilet paper. You people try to seem like you know the tech industry, but you end up sounding like you work for the Enquirer! Everyone knows to disregard the crap that you send "across the pond" ha ha.

Intel-ligent and trouble-free slagging

[Big Andy (an ex-Intel employee) couldn't take it anymore and launched into a tirade against The Great Stan's style-over-substance approach of the last couple of years in an opinion piece: Intel: Who exactly is running the show?]

I totally applaud you and The Register for having the guts to post this story. It parallels my sentiments exactly. And, as I have tried to convince my co-workers for months, states unequivocally the trends I have seen and the practices I have witnessed.

Intel is a monster! And customer loyalty there seems to know no bounds. I feel it will be a while before Intel finally realises and owns up to their mistakes, perhaps during the June AMD announcement (hahahaha). But seriously, I am so happy right now. I can't tell you how refreshing it is to have a publication as respected and well read as The Register post such an article.

My hat is off to you. Congratulations on posting a wonderful story. It is something that has needed to be said for a long time now. I'm glad The Register had the courage to do so.

Rick C. Hodgin



A spin paramedic who wishes to remain anonymous also commented on our hatchet job on Intel:



"It must be great to have power without consequence… journalism has definite attractions."

And we thought it was the beer.

Web infected by Reg virus story

[Yep, Thomas C Greene has got them angry again. This time, by claiming that McAfee anti-virus enables employee monitoring

As a daily reader, and avid fan, I was disappointed to read the McAfee/NetBus article. Unusually, I find myself in almost total disagreement with a Register hack. It lends little credibility that the story is very one-sided and written in vitriolic and provocative language (even for The Reg). The style of a journalist who perhaps knows they are on shaky ground, but seeks to provoke anger, rather than thought. It certainly makes for a better story. But let's, for a moment, cloud our vision with a few facts.

Firstly, NetBus is not a virus by most definitions, since it does not reproduce itself. You mention that it can be installed by a trojan horse - so (potentially) could VNC, PCAnywhere, even Microsoft's own remote admin software (the name of which eludes me). You seem to have made the same blunder that McAfee made initially - singling out NetBus because it is cheap.

"Beyond malicious hacking and mischievous pranks, the only conceivable use for a Trojan such as this is to enable employers to monitor their employees' use of company machines."

"Only conceivable use"... that is simply not true. Yes, it does have some intrusive and highly questionable features, but that does not preclude its use as a legitimate remote administration tool. It is no more reasonable to demonise UltraAccess than network news providers, or crowbar manufacturers for that matter - they all provide practical tools that can be, and are, abused.

Remember too that NetBus is not produced by a teenage h4x0r, but a company. If software with perfectly legitimate applications is reported as a virus, that damages the manufacturer's standing, and potentially threatens their business. (What manager would approve the purchase of software which is flagged as a virus?) McAfee is a highly respected anti-virus company. Given their weight, and the stigma that less technically minded users (like managers) attach to "viruses", misreporting NetBus as such is damaging, and possibly (I'm guessing) even libellous.

I can see how detecting NetBus could be seen as in keeping with the general role of an antivirus package, but IMO their job is to detect actual malicious code, not that which is just potentially harmful. That is why they don't flag format.com (no reason that couldn't be in a trojan either).

McAfee are not supporting spyware, or "Big Brother" tactics. They have simply realised the obvious - blanket labelling a potentially legitimate piece of software as a virus is not an option. And I'm inclined to agree.

All that said, I would like to reiterate that this article is an exception - The Register's news coverage is generally the most entertaining and insightful out there. Many thanks, and keep up the good work.

John G Ineson

Digital Business student and e-business cynic



Both of these articles are misinformed: The Registry [

That's The Register

]: McAfee anti-virus enables employee monitoring; Toms' Hardware Guide: Latest Technology News: Is Big Brother watching? Don't ask McAfee



Please read the (attached) email reply I received from Sally Hines (Virus Research Analyst, McAfee AVERT).

It seems that ONLY "non-standard" installations of NetBus will be detected by McAfee VirusScan from now on. This means that older, malicious versions of NetBus (which WERE Trojans) WILL still be detected. But LEGITIMATE installation and use most likely WILL NOT be detected. Which is the way it SHOULD BE. Can you imagine if virus alerts went off every time you used Symantec's PCAnywhere? God how annoying that would be! :o)

Darren Winter

Tom replies I consider ANY server that can be installed without a user's knowledge to be malicious. That includes PCAnywhere. You have your opinion of remote administration tools; I have mine - as for me, they make me sick. The potential for abuse is extreme and palpably Orwellian. If the government were installing stuff like that on our workplace comps, there would be blood running in the streets. Should a private company be entitled to abuse people just because they pay them? Is the boss sitting in loco parentis now? Anyone who would run a server on someone else's comp without their knowledge is scum. Not every sysadmin would agree with that, I know. After all, they have to try to dignify the disgusting things they do for a living.

And then, a very beautiful person got it just as Tom intended:

Mr. Greene,

I consider the "Big Brother" and the "Hitler-Gestapo" as examples of the social inclinations of man to be extreme, albeit regular, expressions of man's penchant for attempting to control his logical environment. The paranoia of the individual must offset the paranoia of government if any reasonable and viable balance is to be achieved.

In using the Internet as a vehicle of correspondence WE are dancing in THE MOST DANGEROUS ARENA yet devised by ANY government ever to contemplate the control of a populace. And, sadly, we, as a culture (East AND West) have blindly placed our monkey-hands in the jar and grabbed the banana. We will NOT let go of the banana, even though it belongs to someone or something else, and even though it means we are relinquishing our freedoms.

The U.S. Military created the Internet. The U.S. Government (and whatever hidden global authority exists) controls it. The 'Web' as a FREE ground is a myth of the grandest proportions. And the governments of the globe WILL pull the noose tight in a very few years. As has been shown in the past, in China, in Rome, in Germany, in the United States, and virtually every country which consists of social orders larger than tribes, THE PEOPLE will blindly allow themselves to be led into the confines of their own self imposed prisons.

That is why this is NOT a global issue. As always, it is a PERSONAL issue.

The icons of man's history have, singularly, espoused giving unto Caesar that which is Caesars. Not demanding that Caesar benevolently give the greatest MATERIAL gifts ever created to the people, free of any entanglements. And admonishing us AS INDIVIDUALS to find the truths and knowledge's which exist for us IRRESPECTIVE of the pressures and enticements of our societies.

I am glad that there are those, such as yourself, who feel the rage of hate for social issues. Extreme activities on the Right demand extreme activities on the Left, and vice versa. I try to walk the Middle and stay away from bananas when I can see them. I WILL be leaving the noose of the Internet very shortly.

May you have a fruitful and exciting campaign.

Respectfully, David R. Katz

Yesssss.....

Hypocrisy over cybersquatting

[Although the law now protects companies' trademark when it comes to cybersquatting, registering people's name is still a grey area. Linda ran two stories: one about someone registering Tony Blair's new son's name and another over court action stemming from a man who tried to sell a famous author's dotcom to the writer herself. She eventually won the case.]

I am somewhat puzzled as to the two recent stories The Register has posted. Generally, you seem supportive of the Baby Blair domain name cybersquatter, but not of the Jeanette Winterson cybersquatter. I am confused by this. While I agree the guy in the JW case was pretty stupid in how he handled it, I do not believe that the WIPO is correct in forcing him to hand it over.

What about the other Jeanette Winterson's around the world? Don't they have just as much right to it as the author since it is their name too? Or it is just a question as to the scale of the reimbursement? I can understand in the case of actual trademarked names, but obviously there is a lot more than one Jeanette Winterson and she has not, from what I understand, filed a trademark for her name. Nor am I sure that such a trademark would or could be approved, since that would theoretically automatically criminalize all the other Jeanette Winterson's every time they signed or wrote their own names.

Mike Finney

Babes line up for recognition

[As an amusing aside, we ran a Babe Watch for last week's Internet World 2000 show at Earl's Court. Two PR bunnies took offence that we hadn't featured them and so emailed us a pic to demonstrate their worthiness. We emailed back asking for names and ages. This is the kind of initiative we admire at The Reg and both girls are formally invited for drinks at The Old Monk]

You obviously didn't come into the Brompton Hall - top Internet Babes at the Maya Stand B234!

On the left - Marie Cronogue 30
On the right - Deborah Levy 29

PS. didn't you know its rude to ask a lady her age?!

NTL saga continues

[Last week, Sean had trouble with NTL and made his feelings clear in 'Hi, thanks for calling NTL - we suck'. We also ran a collection of the subsequent letters. On Wednesday (only 10 days later), he finally received a reply from NTLWorld.]

Dear ntlworld customer,

I am extremely sorry that you are still waiting for your ntlworld disc. You deserve an explanation for why we are in this unsatisfactory position and I want to tell you what we are doing to resolve it.

We are having huge demand in some parts of the country - especially from our existing telephone customers. Hindsight is a great thing, and we now know that all of our research had underestimated how many people would want ntlworld. The number of people wanting to go online for the first time using ntlworld has caught us out especially.

To meet demand in some areas of the country, we need to get even more network capacity. We are working very hard to do this but the speed it can be done varies area by area.

Because of this we have been sending out thousands of discs a week on a postcode by postcode basis. So some people have to wait longer than expected, while people in other parts of the country get a disc quickly. We have been working flat out for the last 5 months to be ready for the launch of ntlworld and continue to invest more than 31 million each and every day to make our network capacity match the hotspots of demand for ntlworld. I apologise unreservedly that these efforts have not proved enough for you - just yet.

We took a decision to control the number of discs sent out at any one time to a level that guarantees a high level of service to customers using ntlworld. It would have been very easy to launch an unreliable service but we chose not to, because first and foremost people told us they wanted a high-quality service. For the thousands of customers who have been using the service they have found it excellent and reliable. But I know this does not make you feel any better if you are still waiting for the service. Now that the picture is becoming clearer of how many people actually register their disc, when and for how long they go online, we will be doing everything in our power to bring on customers more quickly.

I'm sorry that I cannot provide you with a date when you will get your registration disc. I will keep all people who have pre-registered for ntlworld updated by email or letter on the progress until such time that they have a disc. We are in the process of doing what no other company has been able to do - to make accessing and using the internet free for all. This is a mammoth task but we are well on the way.

Believe me, we are doing all we can to improve the situation as fast as is humanly and technically possible. You will receive a registration disc, in due course, and I hope to welcome you to the service soon. Bear with us and I assure you it will be worth it.

Robin Melvin
Head of Customer Communications
ntl

Anti-South Africa policy shows through

[PC rage was taken to new lengths when a South African man repeatedly shot his computer, completely destroying it].

Funny story, but what's with the sub-heading "Extreme IT rage grips former Apartheid-riddled country"?

I'm not a South African, or an apartheid sympathiser, but surely the above sentence is only there to piss off any South Africans reading it.

The story has nothing to do with prejudice against blacks, so why mention apartheid? It's been a few years now since apartheid was dismantled, so why dredge up old tosh? Shock value?

It's a bit like writing a story about a British issue, and describing the UK as "the former colonial tyrants" or as "the country which used to have homophobic laws". Both true, but neither fact has anything to do with IT.

I like the site, very enjoyable and satirical. But stick to IT, eh?

Luv.
Chris Bardell

Internet buses are the future, actually

[We described a plan to solve the public transport problem by installing Net terminals in buses as "this week's most stupid Web idea". Not everyone agreed.]

Subject: Lame article "On the Buses"

Internet terminals on buses wouldn't be a bad idea at all. There is more to using the Internet than shopping though. There is email to read and send , news and articles to read (including those by short sited journalists such as Kieren McCarthy).

Andrew Marychurch

PS some of your commentary is good but some ... well?

Register crappier than collapsed dotcom news site

[Shortly after the collapse of boo.com, a second dotcom fell over. Finance news site Net Imperative called in the liquidators. We said it "had no wit, no sparkle and no information to make it a 'must read'".]

I can't believe how you could slam netimperative.com when your site is a crappier, scaled down version of it. All I can say is - what goes around, come around, my friend - and you will soon see the same fate.

Speaking from a professional in the new media business, I can say that Net Imperative has a much better reputation in the industry that The Register has, or ever will.

Your ex-reader,
Gemma Hirst

And finally...

(And after all that, we feel it's only right to lighten the mood. This gag was sent by Bill Marquis)

Top Crime Fighters

In an effort to determine the top crime fighting agency in the country, the president narrowed the field to three finalists, the CIA, the FBI, and the Chicago Police. The three remaining contenders were given the task of catching a rabbit which was released into the forest.

The CIA went into the forest. They placed animal informants throughout. They questioned all plant and mineral witnesses. After three months of extensive investigation they concluded that rabbits do not exist.

The FBI went into the forest. After two weeks without a capture, they burned the forest killing everything in it, including the rabbit. They made no apologies. The rabbit deserved it.

The CPD went into the forest. They came out two hours later with a badly beaten bear. The bear was yelling "Okay, Okay, I'm a rabbit, I'm a rabbit".

We always welcome readers' views - even if they're ill thought-out, daft or just plain wrong. If we think it's entertaining enough to share with others, it'll probably appear on this letters page. Email us at I need to tell the world what's going on in my brain ®

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