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Seven Steps to Software Security

Letters Roundup What's vexing you this week? Not too much, but if you miss the good old language wars, you'll enjoy the responses from Apple developers here. Highlights include the battle royale between Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft which generated some reports from readers. And an excellent analysis of the grey software ruling, discussed in last week's Vulture Central Mailbag can be found here.

Several of you objected to a headline we ran this week, on this story.

Steven D'Aprano writes:

I've been reading your work, and enjoying it, at The Register for a while now.

But I must admit that your latest article, 'PC-poor pop pops pills', left me feeling uneasy. Not so much the article itself, which was a standard piece of reporting. But who's idea was it to use such a humorous punning headline for such a serious matter?

Joe Powell agreed:

I read The Register daily, and was very sad to hear about the suicide of a man unable to afford a computer for his daughter. Nice to see you covering a serious story but did you really need to give it the 'PC-poor pop pops
pills' tagline?

It seemed a bit callous to me, maybe its just me but at the end of the day someone is dead and died feeling a failure - cause for a cheap laugh?

And finally one mystery may be solved here and now. I asked Reg readers if they could decode a baffling email received last week:

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

Andrew Crawford writes:

This one is easily explained. It's a novice Unix user attempting to quit vi, the most unintuitive text editor on the planet! (They should have typed Esc-:-Q. Obvious when you know.)

Steve Sparks suggests:

If you assume that each pixel is a duplet, but a single underscore indicates a blank, you can create this comparison chart: ?q = .'q = *!! = o_ = spacethe image comes out looking something like this:

*ooo**
.**o***
.******
.====
.==
.

Hmm. A pencil point? A knife point? What's the point?

But Jonathan Armstrong from Canada has an alternative theory:

I tried taking my glasses off to get an overall impression... I'm pretty sure it's two hands applauding. An apt response to The Register's article about ASCII art - and very Japanese.

urtddd/// O drr ejsy upi ,rsm

Er, OK ... I'd put my glasses back on too. Flattery gets you everywhere round here, Jonathan.

This week Kieren reminded you of the ASCII version of Star Wars, in the hope that author Simon Jansen would complete the epic adaptation.

We're obliged to Steve H from Loveland, Colorado for this link to streaming ASCII video Cheers, Steve. ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

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