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That ‘Microsoft’ RTFM page (and sundry spoofs)

In the Whitehouse

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Updated Our inboxes are filling with links to a rogue "How to RTFM" page posted supposedly on Microsoft's Web site.

For those of you who have never worked in tech support, RTFM means Read The Fscking Manual. If this page for lamers really did appear on Microsoft.com it would be hilarious/disgraceful/career-limiting for the poster etc.

But it's a hoax and as such not very funny. It's not a very clever hoax at that - although we can say that because we already know the trick.

Here is the URL in full: http://www.microsoft.com&item%3Dq209354@hardware.no/nyheter/feb01/Q209354%20-%20HOWTO.htm".

Everything before the @sign is irrelevant. The real URL starts at hardware.no which is - you guessed it - a Norwegian computer news site. And no, before you ask, Hardware.no is not trying to hoax anyone: it saved this as a local page when writing about RTFM a year or so ago.

For this Microsoft RTFM page did the rounds last February, on a site called hwnd.net, which appears now to be moribund. We wrote about it at the time too. By this reckoning, it should resurface again sometime in December.

And thanks to our Opera-loving users who point out that this much-loved web browser supplies a security warning when you click on the above link. It tells you that the site address contains a user name (i.e. the bit before the @sign), tells you what the real server is and asks you if you really want to go to the site.

As one reader comments: "Let's all sit down and count down till Microsoft "borrows" this feature for IE 7.0 or something..."



Now for a big fat Register welcome to

Whitehouse.org

. Post-September 11, we received several emails pointing to this Web site, telling us that the US Government's web site had been hacked. These quickly died down - but lately we're getting the same reports. Simmer down: Whitehouse.org is a spoof - as opposed to a hoax - of the US government site. It makes not so gentle fun of the Bush administration, and sometimes it's very funny.



The "real" Whitehouse site is whitehouse.gov. Do not confuse with Whitehouse.com, a hardcore porn merchant. ®

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