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Letters We've had an interesting, and no doubt provocative, couple of letters about the seizure of Indymedia's servers. Then they came for the tree-huggers and squatters. Then they came for the PC support staff...

Why are you giving such concern to seizures of indymedia's hard drives. I've just had a quick look at some of the sites they host and they are all run by the kind of people this country should be ashamed of. Tree loving swampy types, you know the kind of people I mean, soap dodging, drinking a can of special brew, roll up fag in mouth with emaciated dog on a lead, willing to protest at there own shadow but never done a days work in there lives but happy to sponge income support from the likes of you and me.

So what if the FBI has seized their hard drives, they haven't seized mine because I do not go smashing up MacDonald's at the weekend or fighting with police on an anti globalization demonstration. Don't give these social bloodsucking miscreants the keyboard time they don't deserve, I certainly don't want my frigging time wasted by reading this crap.

What really pissed me off was one of indymedia's websites

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/09/297978.html

Gives a run down of local events, fair enough I suppose, let the soap dodgers advertise a tea and coffee morning maybe to raise some money for there next spliff but then I see a note titled another eviction. This is eviction happens to be in my neighbourhood in Birmingham. According to the site Birmingham city council are in the process of evicting a bunch of loser hippies from a disused nursery.

Most decent people would applaud this however the web site is campaigning against this and organising a demo against this eviction order. I sorry but such social deviants cant just squat down anywhere you feel, I may go down there tonight and give them a good kicking. Fucking tree huggers make me mad. Take the hard drives, send them to the FBI or CIA don't expect any sympathy from me if you squat in my neighbourhood.

Mike Bailey angry and pissed off.


Plausible Deniability: If nothing was taken, there's no reason anyone should know about it. Or, if that doesn't tickle your fancy, what about Lex Rex? We live in a democracy, in a place that is supposed to be tolerant of all people, but we're afraid of those with a natural tan because of a man on dialysis understands that it is cheaper to blow someone up than it is to protect against such an action. "Death is cheap; life is expensive. " -Me

This means, in brief, that we, as Americans, are not as free as we think we are. We're under the guise of freedom, but indeed our freedoms must be taken from us in order to protect us. We whine about the time it takes to go through airport security, and I've also heard that there's a complaint against Logan Airport for "profiling" against people display attitudes that make them suspicious. Tell me, what are we supposed to do? The only thing the Iraqis had to fear was their dictator. We have to fear the freedoms we're giving up to protect us from those that would take our lives. We're stuck between Iraq and a hard place. Yes, bad pun, but it has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

Matthew


John Lettice writes: A very small letter, but important. A government with the backing of enough electors like this one can run as many Auschwitzes as it wants:

PLEASE STOP THE WHINING !!!

The FBI don't just grab PC's cause they have nothing to do.

Time for The Rag to Get REAL !!!

Randy

We are bracing ourselves for more on this one...


Lexmark came under fire this week for a piece of software that monitors its customers' printing activity and reports back to HQ. The crafty piece of code also identifies which cartridges are installed, an important piece of information in the event of a warranty dispute:

This sort of thing is why I tell my customers "NEVER register any commercial software. If it won't run without registration, return it to the vendor and demand a refund, or replacement with equivalent software that will run without registration."

Of course, demanding an open source alternative instead of buying closed-source stuff is smarter anyhow. A quarter-million programmers performing peer review will produce products superior to two thousand programmers who are all trying to keep their source code as secret as possible.

Morely


It seems, from your letters, that you were as terrified as we were by the news that robotic, laser-toting cockroaches are to be deployed throughout the land. But there are even more sinister cyber-goings-on, er, going on:

I have followed The Register's brave (so I thought) reportage of the growing robot menace. The portable toilet that I purchased as Y2K survival gear is proving very useful for avoiding murdrous, lurking cyberloos.

What about the robots with shotguns? Are you trying to suppress this story?

See link one, link two, link three and link four.

I understand that robot cockroaches should be of deep concern to us all, but what about FRICKIN' ROBOTS WITH FRICKIN' SHOTGUNS? Robots, may I add, that are made by the same people putting cute, harmless Roombas in every home?

What lurks behind the mask of Lester Haines? Could it be a PackBot EOD with smoking shotgun module, treads crushing Lester's blasted corpse as it stretches its OmniReach manipulator toward the keyboard?

Paul


"Boffins Unleash Robotic Cockroach"?

Personally, I think the incredible part in this tale is not the story of micromechanical engineering, but the fact that you can get a collar and leash on any cockroach to begin with.

Ok now everyone, let's summon our inner Barbara Woodhouse, and using the ever-so-proper tones and accent say out loud: "Come on, Scuttles. Walkies!!!"

Ian


We liked this letter, in response to the Pentagon's $20m war internet:

Reading your article, "Pentagon's $20bn war internet will 'cure world hunger'" I was reminded of a documentary I watched a while back called "Future War" - if I remember correctly. They were reporting on a global battlefield view system (or some such) that enabled generals to move their troops around like an RTS strategy game. Basically, as they moved the pieces orders were sent out to the troops - how this was achieved wasn't mentioned. The scenario was that Green Beret detachment played the role of some insurgents attacking a smallish group of marines.

The commentator asked the insurgents' leaders, "are you worried about this new technology?" and he replied, "No, we've never lost in this scenario - and we've done this lots of times." So the wargames continued. After a while all of the insurgents were "dead" with the notable axception of the leader. After a while the commanders running the wargame started to get reports that they were receiving artillery fire and that units were being killed off.

Eventually the wargame was abandoned with the insurgents declared the winners. It turned out that, while the commanders were busy worrying about the insurgents regular attacks, the insurgent commander had sneaked into the office where the new technology was housed. He had taken up a position on the flue above the 'war room' and was using a pair of binooculars and a mobile phone to pin point the defenders' vehicles and troops and was calling in artillery fire.

The moral of the story was that; lots of technology doesn't make a good army, good soldiering does. The green berets were extremely dismissive of this new technology and pointed out that all that the defenders had to do was search the building. Basic stuff.

Cheers

Gav


Someone whose friends evidently have an encyclopaedic knowledge of bars, restaurants, plumbers, florists and window cleaners, writes in response to the launch of Microsoft's google killing search engine:

In answer to your question on how to find a pub, restaurant, or any other business in your proximity, Google and friends are like swatting flies with mallets. The best tool for the job in my opinion is Yahoo Yellow Pages (yp.yahoo.com), after which I'd place asking nearby people.

Sam


Suggestions that Einstein might have copied someone else's homework when he put the last pieces of the General Theory of Relativity together, have been received with a yah, a boo, and a sucks:

Hi Lucy,

Based on what I know, I'm not sure what the fuss here is about. Abraham Pais's biography of Einstein, for one, makes clear that Einstein was actively seeking help with the mathematics he needed to finish general relativity - including help from Hilbert. Einstein was thought to have worked alone for his three 1905 papers, but I've never seen that claim for GR. Hilbert willingly gave Einstein priority for the theory, saying that the grand scheme was clearly the result of Einstein's vision.

Pais's biography is one of the best scientific biographies I've read: it doesn't shy away from showing the actual mathematical progression in Einstein's work, rather than simply using narrative.

Bruce


Re: Einstein vs Hilbert

Perhaps in those long lost days of yore, two or three bright people were cooperating, trying together to figure out how the world works, in a time before priority determined future funding and pension rights.

Walter


This last little gem came to us, not in response to any particular story (although we can probably all guess which one might have had something to do with it), but aproposof nothing at all. Seems the writer felt we ought to know:

Apparently your site is heavily biased politically!

Regards,

LFM

Good to know.


Come back on Friday for more of the same. ®

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