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Letters Christmas is coming - the mailbag's getting fat.

Topic of the week here, it seems is last week's ruling about grey imports. Read all about that here. There's a good bellyache about developing for the Mac too but it'll have to wait until next week.

Now onto the trivia.

The Ziff-Davis Guide To Britishers (and other foreigners)

Lucas MacBride, evidently a connoisseur of vintage translation manuals, pleads mitigation on behalf of Americans:


Americans have five disadvantages which you should take into account before giving us too hard a time:
- We're landlocked
- We're monolingual
- We have poor math and geography skills
[Oh, you wag. Very good - ed.]

Your article was pretty funny, and by funny, I mean "blowing scotch and haggis out the nose" funny.

It also raised a very important question for me, such as "Considering many Americans think all Londoners have Cockney accents, is it possible that many Londoners think all Americans have Texas drawls?"

Tell me, tell me...inquiring minds want to know!

Unfortunately, that's probably true. Louche Californians and cosmopolitan New Yorkers might dominate popular culture, but when asked to describe a visiting American most Londoners would describe an elderly chap in enormous shorts, and his bouffant white-haired spouse. But who said life was fair?

RMS tagged as Gnomewhere man in board elections

Now onto two things the British excel at: failing heroically, and producing whacky election candidates. This week Rhett Creighton managed both.

Nick Alcock explains:

Rhett Creighton, the lowest-scorer (with one vote), didn't want to use the position to impress chicks, but rather to turn GNOME into a for-profit company making bowling balls. He ran on the platform of getting fewer votes than anyone else, and succeeded (getting one-third as many as he got last year; one assumes that people followed his advice that `anyone who votes for
me deserves to have all his votes thrown out'.)

It was George Lebl, the panel and libgnome hacker, who's allegedly running 'to get babes'; also to cure cancer. Why he bothered is questionable because he's apparently the Dictator of the World, as well, and you'd think that'd be a good enough platform.

Screaming Lord Sutch - look to your laurels.

What else?

You can resell software. Ian Miller writes:

Praise the lord! Finally someone comes a long with a little bit of common sense. I wonder just how long people would put up with the idea that when they bought a car they could never resell it.

Who the hell ever thought up that bit of wisdom should be "put up against the wall and shot like a dog"

Seattle-based reader Carrick Mundell objects to the phrase coined by another Register for the DoJ cave-in as a "Seattlement":-

"Excuse me, but last time I checked M$ was headquartered in Redmond. Redmond has as much in common with Seattle as Menlo Park does San Francisco. Maybe they don't know this in 'Lichetenstein' Or could it be 'Lichen-stain?'

Tim Lewis points out that SMS text messaging, described here as the world's most popular P2P system, isn't:

"there's nothing P2P about SMS, all messages are sent to the SMSC which distributes them out again; it is strictly a server client thing!"

Which has us bang to rights.

Kim (not sure of the surname or location) makes an excellent point about sticking imaging on a phone:

While I think it looks like a very intriguing device, I have my suspicions about how long such a device will last as a viable market -- while the phone+camera combination sounds neat, it may have some downsides, particularly if the motion-video/phone is ever realized. The younger market has generally been one of the first to embrace new technologies, the youth market is also normally a bit privacy sensitive in some ways.

The market for camera+phone may only last until one parent calls up their teen with: "You say you're at the store? Show me!"

Good point Kim - the "I'm working late" syndrome. Someone enterprising will come up with a workaround, or kids will have to carry portable backdrops around with them.

And a couple of days after we musing how to send images to ordinary phones - they'd be downgraded to ASCII art, we suggested - a reader from Japan wrote:-


?q'q!!!!!!'q'q
?q'q'q!!'q'q'q
?q'q'q'q'q'q'q
_?q_q_q_q_q
__?q_q_q
___?q

Now this arrived in our Mac OS X mail client, which does an excellent job of foreign character sets, so it's clearly an ASCII art photo of some kind.

Or is it? What are they trying to tell us? Is there a cryptographer in the house? ®

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