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Letters Seems young Ashlee upset a few people with his latest article about Segway Polo. Turns out there are a lot of people out there with scooter envy, who take umbrage on behalf of Segway Poloists. We still think its a bit silly, to be honest, but that might just be us.

You must be really proud of your ability to pour scorn on people who choose to use the freedom that comes from living in the USA, differently than you do. Thank God you put the kibosh on Segway polo before they resort to doing something really stupid, like throwing a bladder of pig skin around for an hour, or jumping out of a perfectly good airplane to see if the parachutes work. Would'nt that be something to examine in minute detail! You really must be a perfect person, in every way.

How I wish I could be like you.

John Egan-Wyer

You are right. We are a regular bunch of Mary Poppins round here.


Dear Ashlee, What a spiteful little article you have written about Segway polo. I am sure it amused you no end to write it. What was the point? Was your goal to belittle Segway, its owners and creators? What value did your article bring?

Clearly you have never ridden or even seed a Segway. If you had, you would not have called it a "Scooter" - it is not a scooter. I have taken the time to write this because I want you to know that Segway is an incredibly useful tool for those that need it. (Not everyone needs it.) My wife uses one as an alternative to a wheel chair. It has been a fantastic improvement to her life, and the lives of many others. You might write an article on that. As for me, I enjoy riding the Segway - it is an incredible engineering achievement. If you have seen or ridden one, you would know why it cost $4000. You would also know why you could not play Polo on any traditional scooter. I am now looking forward to playing Segway polo. Regards, Roger


you're an idiot. seriously, use your freaking brain. if you have issues against the segway, then why don't you join into an open debate about them. come onto the segwaychat board and voice your concerns and let people respond. your one sided pathetic report only makes you look like a moron.

'Pete'


"Inspired by the Segway enthusiasts' passion for exercise, your reporter left the office this morning with a six-pack in hand, hailed a cab, drank the six-pack, returned to The Vulture Compound and then waved his arms wildly while riding the elevator back up to the office. This feat did not cost $4,000, and it left us with a shred of dignity."

There's a Vulture compound in Chicago? these places springing up like Starbucks

Anyway, that isn't a fair test, drunks with no control of their limbs heading into the office is normal staff practice for you guys, right? How else do you explain the music survery...

Adam Cains


OK, Ashley, so it's fun to bash Segways. And no, Segway polo really isn't much of an achievement, when you consider all the pre-release buzz about "Ginger". But please take a look at this site before you decide the Segway is only a trivial rich-guy toy. Although it isn't sold as or advertised as an assistive technology, the Segway offers some disabled people the chance to glide through the world at face-to-face level. Please consider giving this usage some space in your column. FYI, I don't represent Segway in any way, and I don't own one myself. Thank you,

Ann


Computer games are being held responsible for the decline of the morality of youth. Again. This is all just like the time TombRaider was blamed for an alarming rise in thefts from pyramids. Actually, we made that part up, but we think you'll take our point.

If Game and Dixons will boycott games after a silly, knee-jerk headline, I think it only fair that us, the people who this whole thing actually involves, respond in a reasonable and useful way.

So, I've started a boycott of game retailers that boycott games. As I say in the petition-thing, if they want to cater to the tabloids instead of us, the gamers, then they can fuck right off. I presume you'd agree.

The boycott is here. I'd appreciate it greatly if you gave it some coverage.

Peace and love, Dave

ps. To add weight to my whole 'Games don't make violence' claim thing, I think it worth pointing out that I was jumped by five neds on the way home from the pub half an hour ago. They had me surrounded. They were short, skinny, puny , vicious-but-stoned little junkie neds though, the sort that look like the result of numerous generations of inbreeding, and the sort that a moderatly tough young man like myself could've overcome without too much difficulty. So, did I, an avid gamer, embrace it as an oppertunity to kick shit out of people, or did I sweetly talk them out of everything, and end what could've been a bad situation with a handshake? Well, the fact that there isn't a STREETFIGHTER 2 CAUSES PSYCHO TO MURDER FIVE INNOCENT ANGELS Daily Mail story brewing away should answer that.

So, you slaughtered them but hid the bodies? Just joking...


I presume from thetone of your article you are not familiar with much of the research - a sample from the Web to whet your appetite

"There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both counts.

At this time, well over 1000 studies - including reports from the Surgeon General's office, the National Institute of Mental Health, and numerous studies conducted by leading figures within our medical and public health organizations - our own members - point overwhelmingly to a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some children. The conclusion of the public health community, based on over 30 years of research, is that viewing entertainment violence can lead to increases in aggressive attitudes, values and behavior, particularly in children. Its effects are measurable and long-lasting. Moreover, prolonged viewing of media violence can lead to emotional desensitization toward violence in real life. " Perhaps if you had listed the variety of ways you kill and win in this game more readers would feel that perhaps enough is enough - ! Roll on snuff movies - after all they are probably fiction too.

Yours despairingly Patrick


Moving on to happier topics: El Reg may be branching out into dance tuition, following an interesting response to the news that Peter Stringfellows' girlfriend published an online lapdancing guide:

hi my name is danielle im 18 i have wanted to do lap dancing 3yrs but i dont know how to get in to it so if you get back to me and help me that would thanx

Kieren says: "Anything to help an aspiring lap dancer, Michelle. As luck would have it, The Register Lap Dancing School has just opened up. We have a free slot on Friday at 6pm. Please keep the evening free as lessons may overrun." What a generous soul.


A quick reader review of US immigration, inresponse to Bruce Schneier's piece about the Houston airport rangers:

To give you a flavour of the high standards of Huston Airport security, particularly as it relates to WMDs such as biological contaminants, I had to fly to Huston on business as a database consultant in 2001, at the height of the foot and mouth crisis, a few months prior to 11 Sept. Since I lived opposite an infected dairy farm with a destruction order, in Gloucestershire, I took with me a complete change of shoes and clothes, and wore old clothes and shoes on the flight on the assumption that they would be destroyed in Huston, the heart of Texas beef country. I had become used to the routine of disinfecting my car tyres and boots on my regular commute from farmland into the bustling metropolis of Tewkesbury, and expected that the cattle ranchers of Huston would take it even more seriously.

On the plane I filled in my immigration card.

"Do you live in a farming area?" Yes

"Do you live on, or regularly have to travel over, farmland?" Yes

"Is this land used for cattle or sheep farming?" Yes

"Has this farm been subject to any disease orders in the last ten years?" Yes

"Is this farm currently subject to any disease orders?" Yes

"Is it swine fever or foot and mouth disease?" Yes

"Has the livestock been issued with a destruction order?" Yes

It didn't actually say "Are there plumes of choking thick smoke rising from the burning carcases in the field behind your house, whilst government officials roam the parish with rifles taking down cattle for the cull?" but if it had, the answer would have also been "Yes".

Arrived at the airport. No disinfectant mats. No warning posters. No men in blue overalls and yellow wellies. No clothing incinerators. Handed over my immigration card to the passport guy. He looked at my shaggy hair and asked me a few questions relating to the drugs trade and organised crime; I explained I was a computer consultant working for the men in suits he'd just waved through. He waved me through.

And that was Huston airport security.

If that's how they deal with the people who tick "Yes" to all the biohazzard questions on their paperwork, then they have a long way to go before they protect themselves from WMDs carried by less honest passengers. -- Andrew Oakley

Dunno 'bout you, Andrew, but we reckon it might be a little bit different now...


In this next section, company names have been omitted to protect the guilty. Why? Yes, you guessed it. It's all about corporate mail snooping:

I'm not sure if you're still interested, considering the story has been published, but the insurance company I worked as an intern for monitored all outgoing email. I discovered it one afternoon while I was reinstalling software on our VP of IS's computer... she basically had all outgoing email in the company cc'd to her through the server. Since she had preview on in Outlook, she'd just skim the first 3 or so lines, and if something in there required attention, she'd read the whole damn thing.

This was happening three years ago, but I have no reason to think that they'd [the company concerned] change their policies. It blew me away... people that are paid a fantastic amount because the company basically rides on their backs, and their time is spent reading everyone's (about 130 employees) email. Can you imagine?

Name supplied


I used to work at a merchant bank based in London and I know for a fact they had an information security officer that read the e-mails as he queried one of mine which kind of gave the game away.

Name witheld


And finally : this might not come as a surprise, but news that DoubleClick was under DDoS attack hasn't exactly made you lot cry:

All I can say is "hooray".

How many times have I had a webpage wait piggin ages for ads.remote.com or some other winker site to finishe putting the "finishing touches" on a website. It wouldn't be so bad if they used a certain host name for their ad/tracking software, but no. They KNOW that there are people who don't WANT to get their guff, so they use "ads1.thingy", "ads2.thingy" .... just so that blocking them from a site you ahve NEVER been interested in watching the ads for becoems more of a pain in the ass than waiting, looking at a bank(ish) screen for "retrieving data from ads.scripps.com" to finish and it to start downloading the data you WANTED in the first place.

Garn.


Boo Hoo Hoo. Double-Click begins to get what they deserve. Too bad the worm didn't wipe them out.

Lynn


Excellent - where do I sign up?

Jim

Enjoy the weekend, dear Readers. ®

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