Meet Mickey and Daffy: Pluto's new moons

Plus: pedants form queue to kick El Reg

Letters It's Friday, so we'll kick off this round up of the very best our bulging mailbag has to offer with a bit of light relief, viz: names for Pluto's new moons:

Hi,

Who or what are "Tracey and Chardonney"? (mentioned at the bottom of the letters page). A search on google only gives back 289 hits, none of the early hits are relevant besides the first hit - your own letters page! Putting the phrase in quotes in a google search limits the results to only your letters page.

Changing the spelling to "Chardonnay" doesn't yield much either.

Thanks,

Allan Whiteford

Well, Pluto's other moon is called Sharon, sorry Charon, so...


Dear Lester

Obviously, the other two moons of pluto should be named Mikey and Goofy or Donald, as you choose.

Albert Gonzalez


As to the two new moons of Pluto, I think we should explore the Walt Disney side of things and call them Mickey and Daffy.

Jim Lyon


I think Robert Anton Wilson already worked this out in Schrodinger's Cat Trilogy: Pluto's new companions simply have to be Mickey and Goofy...

:-)


Re: Pluto's moons. Whilst I too would like "them" to stay with the theme, I must admit that my first thoughts came down to these few: Romulus & Remus, Tom & Jerry and GNU & Linux. Sigh... sad or what...

Colin Sharples


Hi Lester,

For the names of the two new moons how about

Bush and Blair

because neither of them are of any practical use to mankind at all?

Andy


I humbly suggest the names "Iran" and "Syria" for Pluto's two recently-discovered moons. Should they be so named, Bush and Blair will no doubt wish to invade them to bring freedom and democracy to those struggling Plutonians who have too long lived under the oppressive yoke of their dictatorial overlords.

Dan Halford


Right, that's enough frivolity. Let's get down to something serious - like brooadband. Apparently (and non-UK readers can look away now) British Telecom is upping its broadband speeds across most of its network:

I always thought that the UK was more advanced than France as far as the Internet is concerned. Internet penetration in households was always higher than this side of the Channel and broadband arrived earlier. Yet, here I sit behind a computer that has had a 10mbps connection for about a year. And that speed would be 20mbps if the local loop was unbundled by France Telecom. What went wrong?!?!

Godwin Stewart

What went wrong? This is Britain, for God's sake!


With most swedish ISPs now offering up to 100Mbit/s as standard, some even offering up to 1Gbit/s (In Lund only) and several other European countries offering 16Mbit/s upwards as standard, isn't it a bit embarassing for BT to call 4 - 8Mbit/s fast? The only ones they're going to impress with such figures are possibly the Eircom technical staff.

Ian.


Which?! Who?! What now?! Is this a free upgrade like the 2Mbit one? Which exchanges? Where do I find more?! Aaarrgghh!! Damn you and your dangling information antics!!

No, not really. Though I would like to know if there's any chance of some further information, such as a link to the list of exchanges that aren't getting upgraded? I'm out here in the sticks (whee, snow) and I'd hate to get left behind; I was only able to get broadband a year ago as it is. Cheers.

Tim Hale

Fair enough - you can find BT's list of exchanges and their status right here.


And pity the poor suckers who live 2 miles from a big BT exchange but are connected by cr*ppy quality aluminium cable and only just lucked through the line test to get 512Mb!

Yeah, that's me... Failed the 1Mb test on several occasions, including one where the guy on the other end of the phone couldn't even believe I'd managed to get a 512Mb connection installed, let alone working!

As for LLU... Pah... Who's gonna want my loop!

Steve Evans

Not us mate - you can keep your loop, with our blessing.


And on the subject of fast internet connections, some ISPs are thinking about throttling connections, thereby limiting useability of apps such as Skype. Well, that was the example we used in the headline:

I would like to take issue with the FUD spreading title of your article and question why it is stuck on the front page of the Register.

I am a big fan of Skype, I use it on a daily basis to talk to people around the world, I have a Yamamoto Easyblue box that allows me connect my home cordless phones to my PC to use for Skype, and in fact I am dropping my landline in favour of purely using Skype for my home telephony needs.

Based on this I was rather perplexed as to the dramatic headline "The real reason Skype isn't as good as it was". The article is fair enough, a *few* ISP's use bandwidth shaping to deter users using P2P apps, but for the vast majority of users, Skype is up and running better than ever.

The headline is one thing, but it has now been innexplicably stuck to the front page of the Register for a week and is just serving to put people off trying a great product.

Thanks,

Andrew Prockter


Surely ISPs restricting the flow of VOIP traffic other than their own is a serious anti-trust issue. And if they're (NTL) looking at trialling 100Mb broadband, surely they don't have major problems with network capacity. I just hope they don't trial a 100Mb down / 200Kb up line....

Chris Key


I just read your article titled "The real reason Skype isn't as good as it was" on The Register and thought I'd send a quick edit, from the article:

The number of file sharers has risen dramatically, says Sandvine. "Users are moving from sharing three meg songs to uploading and downloading 600 gig movies. That means that service providers have had to apply a lot of traffic assistance for this increased traffic."

I know Lord of the Rings was a long movie - but 600 gigs? Surely that should be megs?

Regards,

Haydn.

No, that's right - Lord of the Rings was possibly the longest movie ever. Or at least it seemed like it.


Mac OS vulnerabilities - guaranteed to generate some traffic:

All this noise being generated over Mac vulnerabilities and the fact that a member of the 'security community' himself created a virus 'just to prove that it can be done' smacks very hard of the great desire of the producers of anti-virus software to find new markets for their products.

In over a decade of driving a Mac I have never once worried about viruses. As soon as more former Windows friends get real sick and tired of having to update their anti-virus definitions every 15 minutes or so and they migrate to a platform that doesn't suffer from the same ailment, we see them bringing along the virtues of their 'cultural diversity' and now I have to start taking security seriously. Thank you very much.

To make real sure that we don't forget that 'Mac OS X is not invulnerable' the security industry itself tries to prove its relevance really hard by producing a virus of their own, a hands-on approach to creating your own market the likes of which I have not seen many times before.You have to ask yourself whether they have not created some of the best Windows virii themselves. You know, just to keep the business going...

I could have done without that one more worry that is going to compromise my computer use one way or another somewhere down the line. Arguing that it's much more productive to just use the machine, warts and all, for the purposes it was intended to is undoubtedly testimony to a naivety that we just can't have in this world. I -must- be security conscious because there are so many people on this planet that have no practical use for their life and by jove I, and countless others, will suffer the agony of their existance. How else would we know they are here, right?

Vermin, the lot of them!

Jorge


ALL of the recent security attacks rely on users accepting or giving permission to the application to elevate it's privileges. IF they deny the application the superuser rights it's craves then the whole system won't be compromised, just what the user has rights to.

I think people need to be better educated as to using MacOSX and the security implications of giving applications root access when requested. But the traditional virus as we see on other platforms which spreads by itself or by leaving a floppy in the drive so it attempts to boot aren't here yet, I'm not saying they won't but they'll take a lot more effort to write to combat the traditional UNIX security features like seprate memory and spereate user and system spaces.

Even though we have these exploits, OSX is still MORE secure than anything that will ever come out of Redmond.

Aaron Johnson


Right, on with the show with a section entitled "kick the Reg", featuring a litany of errors, snafus and general misdemeanours. First up, something about schizophrenia:

You appear to be confusing schizophrenia with dissociative identity disorder, sometimes known as multiple personality disorder or "split personality". The two are not related. The name "schizophrenia" (Greek for "divided mind"), does not refer to a splitting of personalities, but more a dissociation of the external and internal universes.

More information can be found on Wikipedia, which is always right: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizophrenia

Regards, A schizophrenia sufferer with only one identity (withheld)


Nigerian email scammers: not someone you want to meet everyday every day:

>> I figured everyday I was eating up Mr Ibrahim's time, <<

Oops - better command of the English language ?

"Everyday" = normal, ordinary (adjective)

Regards, Mike


A botanist writes:

Tim Price is talking garbage when he refers to " this plant also known as 'Morning Glory' ". For the record, Morning Glory are members of the the Convolvulaceae family, of which common species include Rivea Corymbosa and Ipomoea Violacea ('Heavenly blue').

They have no connection with Banisteriopsis caapi, which is of the Malpighiaceae family, apart from the fact that, as one of your other correspondents writes, the mixture referred to as 'ayahuasca' often contains both.

cheers, Dave Korn


Wannabe headline writers beware the pitfalls of "Sting nets two spam scam suspects":

So has the former lead singer of The Police turned his tantric skills to spam busting then?*

Stuart Gray

* This comes to you as part of the "Give an old joke a Home" appeal. If you feel it in your heart to make a donation, please contact the sender of this email for a bank account number. Then add yopu r name to the bottom of the list and ... (deleted due to lack of space)

Yup, bless 'im. When he's not shagging the missus for thirteen days or saving the rainforest, young Sting likes to wind down by indulging in a bit of roving melodic anti-spam vigilanteism. Remember: you read it here first.


Some chap from Gizmondo wrapped his Ferrari round a telegraph poll. At the scene, the cops found a gun clip/magazine (delete as appropriate):

I might not be the first (nor the last) person to write this, but just in case I would like to point out that the terms "clip" and "magazine" - as they relate to firearms - are not interchangeable.

A magazine is the box-like spring-loaded structure that goes into the hole in the firearm with a satisfying "click". (Usually slammed home roughly with the heel of the hand or the palm in action films.)

Clips on the other hand are not as common nowadays but they are still used - a Google image search for "mauser clip" will trim the results sufficiently to get you good images of loaded clips. They are thin sheet-metal things that hold a row of cartridges (a "bullet" is the part that flies out the barrel - the entire thing is called a cartridge or 'round' as in 'one round of ammunition').

For firearms that use clips, the magazine is usually an integral part of the gun - it cannot be removed. The gun's action is held open while the clip is inserted into a notch designed to hold it, and the rounds are pushed down into the gun to refill the magazine - leaving behind the empty clip. An empty clip doesn't look like much, if you were to see a barrel of them, you probably would not guess they had anything to do with firearms.

To get technical for a moment, what I just described is more accurately called a "stripper clip" (the rounds are "stripped off"). The Lee-Enfield can be reloaded with a stripper clip, for example.

Another kind of clip is the enbloc clip. It is used in another WWII firearm - the Garand. The entire clip is inserted into the gun (like a magazine, but it is technically a clip). When the last round is fired the clip is ejected with a distinctive "PING" sound.

In any case, hope I shared something useful.

Regards,

Don Papp

Trust us, you were the only person to set the record straight on this. Good job, though.


More arithmnetical blunders now, to compliment that featured in last week's letters:.

Just read your letters page about poor vulture arithmetic in that RSI piece, only to find the following in an article on IMS (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/02/24/telcos_collaborate_for_ims/)

"70 per cent of the experiment will work reasonably well, ten per cent probably won't work at all, and that the remaining 30 per cent..."

That's 110 per cent then? That scrubbing brush is going to get worn down to a stub

Michael K Vegfruit


Which would you vote for: retention or prevention?

The UK's keenness to push through tough data prevention laws during its stint in charge of the European Union (EU) has won it the "Internet Villain Award" at this year's net industry awards.

Typo. Ought to be Retention, not prevention, surely. Get that spell checker sorted out or lay off the gin.

Jez

Data prevention, eh? We'll drink to that.


Right, that's enough Reg-bashing. Let's get down and dirty with something of import, like that filthy MS New Zealand Office advert:

"Dinosaur head" is an apt description for Microsoft - that particular series of advertisements not only demonstrates a poor grasp of English grammar, it also shows that the Microsoft Corporation regards "data" as a singular noun.

I've never forgiven Microsoft for inventing the word "unmovable" when they created their disk defragmentation tool, which leaves immovable data (plural) where they were found, unless of course MS staff pirated their version of the word from the Bible (OK, yes, it's in there) and presented it as the company's own intellectual property, but they wouldn't do that, would they...? (don't mention Burst.com).

I mean, I know that they are American, but even then...


You wrote: > Fantastic. For the record, an MS operative confirmed this morning that this is "an old > advertisement which ran only in New Zealand for a short period and is no longer being used". For the love of all that's Holy, why not? <

Because it angers and alienates 51% of Microsoft's potential customers.

Alisa Neeman


hiya Lester: Study the photo more carefuly, look at the bulging sheet. the bloke is masturbating, thats why the bird is annoyed. There more to this advert than first impressions, prob why it got pulled. regards Malcolm


The bloke in the ad looks disturbingly like Bill Gates.

Now *that* is just too high a price to pay.

David Harper


Brilliant bit of advertising, that. Thanks for sharing.

Of course, it becomes a bit more interesting if you consider that it's the "Student _and_ Teacher Edition" and we question whether it's necessarily a pair of _students_ in the pic.

Just a thought from a sad (married), lonely (married) high school teacher.

Cheers,

Michael


Ahh, but the interesting thing is that this ad is not AIMED at the geek... let's just analyse this a minute, eh? The ad is implying that the person reading it may have to pay to get their assignments done. This is not likely to be the geek, as he's got the smarts to get things done, right? It must be the blonde girl next to him who has 'paid' to get her assignment done.

You see, the ad is actually addressing the beautiful people, who may or may not have to get a geek to do things for them. It's saying to them: "Look here! You don't have to be beholden to those nerds anymore. If you buy our Office for Students, you can do the work yourself!"

The horrific implication here, that I think your article may have omitted, is that with this ad, Microsoft was actually trying to take away what little currency exists for us geeks to get laid in this world. Of course, I have a beautiful fiancee, so I'm not too worried. But I've been there, and it's a sad world to be in. It would be even worse if the non-geeks of this world didn't have to rely on us! ;-)

Francis


Mr. Haines,

Bah this is old news it appeared "somewhere on the net" on "sometime before today" so you are a bunch of "reporters", because *I* had NOT seen it 'til THIS morning !!

Don't forget the old French (I think) MS commercial showing off their security by stopping some poor lad from undressing his girl ! [And the anti-Sun "car-ride" video featuring Bill & Steve !!]

They DO have a sense of humor ! Then again, they MUST.

Thanks for the early morning chuckle !! Second best way to start the day !

Jim B ===


Hi Lester, Regarding the prurient MS Office ad, "old" and "no longer being used" are a bit misleading. For the record, it appears in the current issue of 'Salient', the weekly student magazine at Victoria University here in Wellington, NZ. I will avoid rising to the bait of "unseen in the civilised world" ... Cheers Frank.


Linux programmers have plenty of sex with women, thank you very much.. but you seem to know a lot about not having sex, huh ?

:)

Oooh er, the enraged Linus programmers are out to get us - if they can find time between shagging gorgeous Brazilian supermodels and eating cold pizza (the best way to start the day).


Right, we've had enough of this now and it's time to go to the pub for a couple of pints of gin. To wrap it up, let's have a couple of quickies:

Re: Bird flu licence plate

Interestingly the RAC data search (http://www.rac.co.uk/web/carbuying/vehicle_data_search/) doesn't come up with anything for HN51FLU... I also notice that the entrepreneurial fellow has upped the buy it now price by £5k since you featured it - what kind of cut are you getting?

Mark Knowles

For the record - 10 per cent, 15 minutes with Giselle Bundchen and as much gin as we can neck in an hour.


And finally, we at El Reg know better than most that you mock Candian rock legends Rush at your peril. God alone knows what John Leyden thought he was doing, then, when he decided to indulge in a light bit of Rush-bashing:

As a Rush fan I should be incensed by your slanderous, defamatory etc comments. However, if there's one thing I've learned from my time on the Internet, it's don't get into flame wars about Rush :-) So I feigning un-incencedness. Don't be surprised if FotW is from a Rush fan though...

I can foresee a Rush fan or two buying one of these pads and re-enacting their drum solo of choice... Though not me of course. I'm a bass player.

Cheers, Andy

PS No, I'm not Canadian

Well thank God for that. Have a good weekend and, if you're a Linux programmer, try and save a little bit of energy from those 12-hour Sunday tantric sex marathons with the Brazilian female beach volleyball team - we're expecting you back bright and early on Monday. ®

Sponsored: Driving business with continuous operational intelligence