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Letters The fire just won't go out. We've tried pouring sand on it, water, throwing blankets at it, but all we got was the odd feeling we'd been on an English seaside holiday. We're talking of course, about the flames licking up the edges of the pages we used to publish any mention of the new phone from that company. You know, the fruity one?

Two readers in particular were so incensed they earned themselves an increasingly rare (but shared) flame of the week mention:

Though provoking and well constructed pieces i'll grant you, but all this mac jiggery-pokery has got me worried. I have recently purchased a mac and am getting more and more worried by the day that I will have to start talking like an extra from clockwork orange, plus launching expletive riddled letters at anyone who prefers anything else at all on earth to surfing on their mac. I'm scared.

Grahame


spectacular! can you bar them from the site? and anyone accessing thereg on an iphone? please please!

Dave

No. They're funny...


This article had me thinking about the implications of people being so aggressive over an opinion you expressed and the link to the reaction with the people's political preferences. So I thought that with the huge collection of flames you must have in your in-box, you could show these people that having an opinion is no crime but trying to force their opinion might be.

And maybe add that all this energy could be spent informing about the horrors perpetrated by governments. Or maybe scrutinize the work conditions of the people who will build these iPhones. They might be a device of genius design but how much is the labour cost in the final price?

We pride ourselves of living in a free society where the freedom of cult and opinion is guaranteed. I find it disquieting how fascism is quick to appeal to people when it fits their immediate needs.

Let's hope they'll keep it in the technological realm and will not try to force everyone to love carrots or papaya or worse still dislike strangers and jews... kind regards, Micha Roon

Micha


Guys... If I want to read slashdot I go to slashdot. Can we please let the iphone flamewar die? Thank you.

Jakob

Apparently not...read on.


Not to be insanely logical or anything and fly in the face of this wonderful flame, but here's a thought: people buy what they want or need. They want the iPhone, but not at that price and contract. And, it gives them nothing they need - or at least, that cannot be found elsewhere, cheaper. Take me as the perfect example of someone who loves a good gadget, regardless of who makes it, but I do love a good bit of Apple tech. The iPhone looks cool. And clever. And has loads of great features. Would I switch to another provider for two years and pay £300+ (as you well know it will be) for it? Flame this: fuck off would I.

Ergo, the iPhone will fail.

Pete

PS You may also have "ergo" as your word of the day as a small weekend gift from me to you.

You are too kind.


Bargain of the century: books on sale for a hundred million quid Or thereabouts. The things you find online, eh?

That's one amazing commission the author must be getting. Imaging a 1% commission on the RRP of a book. just 1p short of a million.

Stephen


I take offence to you sarcastic remarks about Woolworths chagrin £2.74 for delivery of Children’s books. At a price of £99m per book as stated in you article headline, £2.74 represents excellent value for delivery. I myself will order several to benefit from this fractionally small delivery cost.

B


Ever electrified a mole? Neither have we, and thanks to some Germans, we don't have to.

Hi Lester, a bit of technical trivia for you (should you be planning any high-voltage capers in the father land).

Unlike England or Ireland, German houses are all supplied with a 3-phase 380V supply, the phases are then split between lights, sockets or areas of the house as one wishes. There is one 3-phase outlet in the kitchen, because German cookers use all 3 phases (also split within the cooker for oven / Grill / rings). I don't think any particular phase is assigned to "Rodent extermination", but I could be wrong.

Ian.


The US did what it could for the latex glove industry by announcing that it will need all 10 of your grubby digits on its FBOI database, should you plan on visiting Uncle Sam:

not only if you plan to visit the USA. they take your fingerprints even if you stop there to refuel, and never leave the lounge, never get through immigration etc. And if you refuse you are sure to be interviewed until your plane has left. the shits.

Kevin


Perhaps Mr. Cherthoff will let us know when a CSI team manages to dust a terrorist training camp for fingerprints.

Dave


"A spokeswoman for the US Department of Homeland Security .....argued that the two digit fingerprints currently required had not deterred vistors from travelling to the US.

Really?

According to http://www.tinet.ita.doc.gov/view/f-2005-05-001/index.html, there are less people traveling to the US from the UK now than 1999/2000, with a slump around 2001 (surprise). The forecast for 2006 (actual figures not released) still shows less visitors than 2001.

Of course the requirements for obtaining a visa, ringing a premium appointments line at £1.20/min, dragging my family up to London for the day (how much for an underground ticket?) and waiting up to 16 weeks to know if I will be allowed to travel (what is question 38 anyway?) may mean that the experience of waiting in a huge queue for fingerprinting after a transatlantic flight is just a trivial additional annoyance which will not deter any more people than it already has.

Peter


"We will have a world in which any terrorist who has ever been in a safe house or has ever been in a training camp is going to ask himself or herself this question: have I ever left a fingerprint anywhere?""

...and so will anyone _else_ who could possibly have the misfortune to have contact with a terrorist safe house, e.g. postmen, electricians, plumbers, census takers, Jehovah's Witnesses... Or a place that _used_ to be a terrorist safe house, or a place that the American government reckons might be / have once been a terrorist safe house but actually isn't / wasn't (I'd like to believe they always get it right, but then I'd also like to believe in the tooth fairy and Father Christmas) - e.g., well, pretty much anyone at all.

Touch the wrong house, visit the States, win a free one-way trip to Gitmo! Lovely.

Adam


The European Commission published a report suggesting that open source is good for the economy. It might seem obvious that code developed by volunteers, or donated by companies would be good for the economy, but that is where it all gets a bit political. Still, they made some recommendations:

"Students ... should be encouraged to participate in open source communities."

Indeed, as a professional programmer for the last 25 years, I'd encourage students to do so: quite apart from being good for your soul and helping keep industry honest, OSS provides an avenue for building up a "portfolio" of past work that you can show to potential employers. Proprietary work from past jobs isn't available for this purpose and personal projects are necessarily small. With OSS you can show a potential employer that you can work with a team on a large-scale project and make worthwhile contributions - which is exactly what the proprietary software vendor wants to know whether a potential hire can do. Employers with any sense are more comfortable with hard evidence of a useful contribution than with any amount of potentially-misleading CV filler; and you don't want to work for an employer with no sense.

I'd also encourage Universities to make participation in an open source project a (possibly optional) part of the course work for computer scientists. The project could be an in-house one set up by the faculty (in which case it needn't be real-world useful), a specific public project the faculty has adopted or a matter of discussion between each student and the staff; what matters is that the teaching staff get to evaluate the student's abilities. Teaching staff would need access to the project's version-control system and mailing lists, naturally; but it might not hurt some CS academics to experience the chaos of the outside world some of the time ...

If the pure-CS academics are aghast at the prospect of crippling their innocent charges' minds with C++, yet have trouble with finding real-world projects that can be done in pure functional languages, I would encourage them to take on the security-critical arena and re-code standard apps in (for example) Haskell. It would be awfully reassuring to have an implementation of ssh/sshd that's *guaranteed* to have no buffer over-runs and *provably* correct, to take but one example; and a fine feather in the cap for a student to show off when applying for jobs, even as a minor contributor.

Edward


"FLOSS stands for Free, Libre and Open Source Software. We will continue to refer to it as OSS, because floss is something dentists talk about."

There is OSS which isn't free on both accounts: costs money and is proprietary. MS could argue that Windows is OSS since you can have the source (in some severely constrained conditions).

I would expect an El Reg journalist to keep the public well informed about the difference, and to not muddy up the case, by using the appropriate terms. If you don't like FLOSS, call it Software Libre or Free Software (with capitals).

Bert

So we can take the piss out of everyone except Flossies? OK...


We brought you news of the tragic demise of Jennifer Strange, who left this earthly plane after drinking nearly seven litres of water without going to the toilet in a bid to win a Wii console. Strange died after taking part in a radio competition entitled "Hold your wee for a Wii". The program concerned is now off the air, indefinitely.

Darwin awards will doubtless be forthcoming, but that will probably not be much of a consolation to the family she has left behind:

Just one more tragic example of what's wrong with people's heads when it comes to worthless, ignorant electronic toys like Wii, Xbox, Ipod and cellphones. When are people gonna get a clue? Now who is gonna take care of these kids? Was it worth the risk to get a POS Wii?

Oliver


ISTR similar reports, related to "college-dudes" doing water-drinking contests. I had thought that the dangerousness (and stupidity) of these contests had now been widely circulated - even more so in the US, where they put stupid warning labels on almost anything. Searching google for "water drinking contest" puts new truth to the old saying "every day, a new sucker is born". Perhaps it's time for warning labels on bottled water, water taps and dispensers.

I see a big lawsuit coming.

Of course, that doesn't give the three their mother back.

cheers, Rainer


All I can say is...

"Well duhhhh"

Sad.... truly sad.

- Matthew


"Strange drank 224 ounces (6.62 litres) of bottled water."

6.62 liters ????! For fuck's sake, the blokes at the radio station must have been totally off their shoes !!! As was apparently, and anyway shortly, the well-named Strange woman. Pleading anything but plain guilt is gonna be *really* challenging for the station.

What a horrible and absolutely stupid way to die. At least with beer, you feel speepy largely before 6.5 liters :-)

- Herve


And on that horrible note, we'll call it a day. Try not to have too much fun in between now and Friday, when we will be back with a dizzying round up of the best from El Reg's ever-bulging postbag. ®

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