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Robin Lettice

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Sat nav blunder places The Rock in Skegness

In an epic, multinational sat nav cock-up, a Syrian lorry driver aiming for Gibraltar left Turkey and ended up in Skegness. Only as Necdet Bakimci inched his 32-ton car transporter down a narrow Lincolnshire lane leading to Gibraltar Point nature reserve did he twig that he might have taken a wrong turn, but by this point the …
Robin Lettice, 22 Jul 2008
The Register breaking news

US stops Optimus Prime at the border

Comments Air travel was a major theme last week, starting with the news that the US is to require those travelling under the Visa Waiver Program to register their details at least 72 hours prior to leaving for the States. At present citizens of participant countries can enter the US without first obtaining a visa, but from January next …
Robin Lettice, 09 Jun 2008
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Vista isn't crap but the 'leccy is

Comments On Tuesday the UK's electricity network was shaken by the failure of two major power stations within minutes of each other and a further seven succumbed as the day went on. The crisis is over, but there's chatter over power-rationing, only made stronger by these events. Cospiracy Theories will no doubt abound. (Nice to see the …
Robin Lettice, 01 Jun 2008
The Register breaking news

Scientologist ASBOed for being over 36

Comments A man dubbed "Leeds’s dumbest criminal" has been served with an ASBO forbidding him from posting videos of criminal activity on the internet. Andrew Kellett, 23, had been in the habit of showing off his exploits on YouTube, which made some of you wonder why he hadn't been convicted of the acts he seemed so proud of, and why he'd …
Robin Lettice, 27 May 2008
The Register breaking news

Aliens, astronauts and Pope partition PC World

Comments It's been a while since astronauts were last in the public eye, but recently a bunch of them have been quoted as saying that aliens exist. Well, they should know, having undoubtedly exchanged glances with little green men through the windows of their space station. The government suppressed news of these encounters, naturally. …
Robin Lettice, 19 May 2008
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Extreme porn, hard drives and election strain

Comments Windows XP Service Pack 3 dropped this week, later than expected but finally here. This triggered an unending litany of cynicism and doubt from you. Keep up the good work. Very well tested by those redmond jerks then. I just downloaded the iso and the faq.htm linked in by the installer says: More information about installing …
Robin Lettice, 10 May 2008
The Register breaking news

Lesbian lesbians fight extreme porn law

Comments The UK Criminal Justice Bill is quietly making its way into law, and its uncertain scope raises some worrying questions. Clause 63 of the Bill could criminalise viewing or owning "extreme pornography" - whatever that is. It's not made clear. This threat brought a lot of you out of the woodwork, with nearly 200 comments at the …
Robin Lettice, 03 May 2008
The Register breaking news

Brown fingerprints wanted as Phorm bungles again

Comments In an effort to calm the European Union's anti-trust concerns, Microsoft has released 14,000 pages of coding secrets. The documentation for the first time publicly shows the underlying protocols for Office 2007, Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Exchange Server 2007. It's going to get really fun when the US Supreme Court looks …
Robin Lettice, 15 Apr 2008
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Ubuntu unpwned as CERN prepares to destroy Earth

Comments Distressingly-named Los Angeles law firm Kabateck Brown Kellner is suing Apple for "deceptively" marketing the new 20-inch iMac. This provoked a spray of Apple spittle from readers, and a bit of a tussle: Apple is a corporation. The entire goal of any large corporation is to rape customers just enough to make the most money …
Robin Lettice, 06 Apr 2008
The Register breaking news

Heathrow fingered over prints as Apple bungles EULA

Comments Apple cocked up the licence agreement for its Safari browser by forbidding installation on Windows PCs. The EULA only allowed users to install the browser on "a single Apple-labeled computer at a time." Apple quickly changed the licence agreement to say that you can install it on "each computer owned or controlled by you." But …
Robin Lettice, 30 Mar 2008
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SP1 drops, iPlayer falls over and Phorm is less than legal

Comments On Friday the BBC's iPlayer went down because of a back-end database failure. It has since come back online, but the Beeb nevertheless earned your scorn: The irony is that while they are doing all they can to stop the likes of me from using an illicit method to get the programmes, if they produced a Linux version, with the 30 …
Robin Lettice, 21 Mar 2008
The Register breaking news

Vista SP1 launched as Phorm declared illegal

IT greenery Personal computers have come in for a lot of flak lately over their impact on the environment, but just how environmentally unfriendly are they? We spoke to Fujitsu-Siemens Computers CTO Dr Joseph Reger to get a better idea of the answer. Whatever the answer, Nintendo probably aren't aware of it. The video games …
Robin Lettice, 20 Mar 2008
The Register breaking news

Google-Doubleclick clicks as Phorm loses form

Do the job shuffle In an unexpected move - and that's putting it lightly - Intel hired former Transmeta CEO David Ditzel and put him in its Digital Enterprise Group. Wannabe head of mobile at Motorola Stu Reed has become the latest exec to jump ship. It seems he took being passed over for the top spot to heart. Mobile software …
Robin Lettice, 14 Mar 2008
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'Vista capable' isn't and Yahoo! foils MS proxy attack

Wikileaks stays afloat A court decision against Wikileaks, a website for whistleblowers to publish info exposing unethical practices, has been reversed. US District Judge Jeffrey S White has rescinded his orders to shut down Wikileaks after its operators raised two fingers in his direction by setting up on a "bulletproof" …
Robin Lettice, 07 Mar 2008
The Register breaking news

Naked old pilot executes unauthorised barrel roll

Comments A brash Cathay Pacific pilot has been sacked after an unauthorised wheels-up, low-level flypast in a new Boeing 777-300ER. Well, he did get permission from the air traffic control tower, but the sacking was based on the fact that he didn't get it from his employers. You lot had a good old argy-bargy over whether it was fair, and …
Robin Lettice, 01 Mar 2008
The Register breaking news

Microsoft class action to go ahead as spammers crack Gmail captcha

Privacy matters Google continues to try to muddy the waters around the debate over the privacy of IP addresses by saying that, sometimes, IP addresses can change and be shared. Which, of course, implies that sometimes they remain a way to identify people. Meanwhile, the Information Commissioner's Office has dropped its probe …
Robin Lettice, 29 Feb 2008
The Register breaking news

Nude Marilyn Monroe flambés dog, serves atop fire extinguisher

Comments A particularly militant anti-smoker doused his girlfriend with the contents of a fire extinguisher on Sunday. The 42-year-old German lost it after his squeeze refused to stop smoking in his apartment. You applauded and derided him: I gave up the weed years ago and have periodically felt smugly superior for my triumph. Alas, this …
Robin Lettice, 22 Feb 2008
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Reins put on key Vista SP1 update as Microhoo! is released into the wild

Suits and suits A former contract worker is suing Google for $25m. He claims that the search giant stole his idea for Google Sky, an addition to Google Earth that allows users to browse the night sky. But at least Google can take heart in the fact that it has not been convicted of crimes against humanity. Pennsylvanian Dylan …
Robin Lettice, 22 Feb 2008
The Register breaking news

Exploding moose steals copper cables

Comments An illegal immigrant evaded security at Heathrow airport by having it away on her legs,. Later, she worked as a cleaner at the House of Commons. You cheered her on: Absolutely hilarious. I think she should be given a visa and allowed to stay indefinitely. She has done an invaluable service to this country, she has exposed a fool …
Robin Lettice, 16 Feb 2008
The Register breaking news

Microsoft closes in on Yahoo! amidst BlackBerry black out

Microsoft scents Danger, circles Yahoo! Microsoft picked up Sidekick designer Danger Inc this week for an undisclosed sum, in a play for a stronger position in the mobile market. But the main event of the week is Microsoft's attempts to woo Yahoo!. The exclamation-bedecked firm remained coy by rejecting Redmond's initial offer …
Robin Lettice, 15 Feb 2008
The Register breaking news

NHS Direct launches text message service

NHS Direct has launched a text messaging service providing details of local health services. The pilot is linked to the already-available information service on Freeview digital TV, which was launched in December. Send a text message to 61121 containing the name of the service required and a postcode and a response will be sent …
Robin Lettice, 13 Feb 2008

Microsoft dishes out six critical updates

Microsoft released eleven patches yesterday, with six of them meriting a critical rating. The critical updates affect the WebDAV Mini-Redirector, Object Linking and Embedding Automation, Microsoft Word, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office 2000, XP and 2003, and Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac. They all focus on flaws in the …
Robin Lettice, 13 Feb 2008
The Register breaking news

Microsoft acquires Sidekick designer

Microsoft has agreed to purchase mobile software developer Danger Inc. for an undisclosed sum. The deal, which has not yet been finalised, means the software vendor has closed at least one bid this week - its unsolicited bid for web search competitor Yahoo! was officially snubbed earlier today. Danger designed the popular T- …
Robin Lettice, 11 Feb 2008
The Register breaking news

Fermented fish symbiotically pollinate model's hardwood feet

Comments Swedish police are investigating a case of an open can of surströmming which was hurled through the bedroom window of a 52-year-old Motala man. The strong-smelling local delicacy has a deserved reputation as a potent biological terror agent, so the offence is a very serious one. Just as serious as the comments: Had a swedish …
Robin Lettice, 09 Feb 2008
The Register breaking news

MS woos Yahoo!, bugging investigated and fraud costs skyrocket

EU likes patents, hates patio heaters The cost of European patent protection is to plummet on May 1, when full English translations will no longer be required. Translations will, at most, have to be available in English, French and German. The EU is gunning for patio heaters, which have proliferated massively since the smoking …
Robin Lettice, 08 Feb 2008
The Register breaking news

Blue-eyed schoolgirls headshot vegetarians

Comments Ryanair has come under fire from the Advertising Standards Agency for an ad featuring a "saucy schoolgirl". Despite being ordered to, Ryanair refused to withdraw the ad. You were disbelieving and appreciative: So, let me get this straight... they placed an advert in a few newspapers, which a couple of people complained about. As …
Robin Lettice, 01 Feb 2008
The Register breaking news

ID cards target the young, MySpace targets MySpace

Privacy back-and-forths The Halifax bank has issued unsuspecting customers with trial wave-and-pay RFID-enabled bank cards. As Reg reader Pete found out, it can be hard to extricate yourself from this unasked-for privilege. A US federal judge has banned company AccuSearch from selling customers' phone records without their …
Robin Lettice, 01 Feb 2008
The Register breaking news

The internet's up sh*t creek, but at least we have aliens

Comments Alien hunters trawling NASA images for evidence of life have posted what appears to be a little green humanoid in a snapshot taken by the Spirit rover on Mars. The image has since been the focus of a great deal of debate, both informed and otherwise, and you lot were full of interesting theories: It's the Virgin Mary! How long …
Robin Lettice, 28 Jan 2008
The Register breaking news

ID cards delayed, Microsoft in court and HP buys bills

Taxes and piracy - money goes round and round Chancellor Alistair Darling this week made a concession for small business over the recent capital gains tax changes, which had some SMBs howling. The Entrepreneur's Relief tweak may placate grumbling small biz, but concerns were raised over the perceived lack of consultation …
Robin Lettice, 25 Jan 2008
The Register breaking news

Alcohol where the sun doesn't shine, and nanotubes darker than that

Comments Polish limb boffins have concluded that 'perfect' legs are 5 per cent longer than average. They had volunteers rate silhouettes according to attractiveness, and found that a bit of legginess went a long way. Unfortunately for the lanky among us, however, limbs 10 per cent longer than average were considered even less attractive …
Robin Lettice, 20 Jan 2008
The Register breaking news

Elephants take over transport network, mandate sex parties

Comments Researchers at San Diego State University have found that, contrary to the general rule that men get more heavily plastered at parties, women tend to booze more if the parties involve sexual themes and fancy dress. Why? They don't know, but you all agree that they must have had fun trying to find out: Dr Clapp ? Investigating …
Robin Lettice, 12 Jan 2008
The Register breaking news

Paris Hilton goes for gold while crims are pretty in pink

Comments Hello and welcome to the last comments roundup of the year. It's been a good one, with many wits and twits showing how wise or otherwise they are. We start with the latest news on a person who has become something of an institution around here (no, not amanfromMars). Everyone's favourite heiress is reaching for new heights of …
Robin Lettice, 14 Dec 2007

Never use an internet translator to hire a gorilla

Comments In a possible bid for Mum of the Year (or the intervention of social services, depending on your views on such things), a Nottinghamshire woman sent a stripper to her son's school for his 16th birthday. So stunned was the teacher that she allowed the show to continue, as the boy was whipped and led around on a leash, until the …
Robin Lettice, 10 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

Ming the clam battles wolfman over Jordan's jubs

Comments Boffins have dredged up what is thought to be the world's oldest animal - a 405-year-old clam - and rather satisfyingly named it Ming. Unfortunately the clam seems to have since copped it, but the culpable scientists hope that studying it will lead to a greater understanding of the aging process - good news for current and …
Robin Lettice, 03 Nov 2007
The Register breaking news

Flaming squirrel nicked for blatant forgeries

Comments A suicide squirrel, possibly trained by the sciurine arm of Al-Qaeda, dove into and destroyed a Toyota Camry. The critter bit through a powerline and was set alight, causing it to plummet onto the car. It then slid into the engine compartment and caused an explosion that did for the vehicle. In anticipation of Halloween, the …
Robin Lettice, 27 Oct 2007
The Register breaking news

Leprechaun steals Gandalf's trousers, is offered starring role in The Hobbit

Comments Microsoft has announced its intention to try to read our minds. Saying it wants to better understand human-computer interaction, the mega-corporation has filed a patent for a psychic alternative to those irritating surveys no one likes. You were full of dystopian predictions: It looks like you're trying to compose a thought. …
Robin Lettice, 19 Oct 2007
The Register breaking news

Never trust a robot with anal beads and a fixed grin

Comments The flying car, that which we Reg hacks demand of all and sundry after a few pints, looks like becoming a reality. The Terrafugia Transition® is a bit more like a plane that can drive, but it seems to fit the bill anyway. You shared our excitement: "Marty, where we're going, we won't need roads, just a runway. Oh, and you might …
Robin Lettice, 14 Oct 2007
The Register breaking news

Alcohol makes you smart enough to study it

Comments Studious teens can now take a course in "alcohol awareness" and earn a certificate equivalent to half a GCSE. The exam appears not to include a practical section, instead focussing on the dangers of drinking to excess. Always willing to discuss alcohol, you bit right in: Happy days. I actually moved from lager to mild (i.e. the …
Robin Lettice, 05 Oct 2007
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Ninjas battle invisible frogs in Hitler's San Diego bunker

Comments Ninjas have invaded Pennsylvania, and are holding up petrol ('gas' to their American victims) stations at swordpoint. Two female ninjas, that staple of the videogame industry, stole "cash, cigarettes and lottery tickets" from a terrified clerk. While the latter two items don't really fit the ninja mystique, that didn't matter to …
Robin Lettice, 29 Sep 2007
The Register breaking news

Spunky salmon return to life to gas us all

Comments We begin the weekly comments mishmash with a close look at fish sperm. Apparently there are many, many salmon farmers sitting around wondering what to do with all those gallons of salmon spunk they don't need. So to forestall them getting any bright ideas, a top light-emitting-diode boffin has announced plans to use it for a …
Robin Lettice, 21 Sep 2007
The Register breaking news

Tech gets steamier with mp3 vibrators and strap-on kit

Comments An armed robber, evidently going for the soft targets, attempted to hold up a karate school in the Columbian town of Bucaramanga. For his pains he received a dis-arming and further pain when the students "put their knowledge to use". A bit of practical experience probably did them some good, although the robber might have …
Robin Lettice, 14 Sep 2007
The Register breaking news

Toddler flexibility at risk as rock stars and goats die young

Comments: Toddlers have been banned from practicing yoga in a Somerset church hall, because the activity is "unchristian" and promotes other spiritualities. The interesting image of toddlers doing yoga aside, at least one of you dove straight into the gutter: Have you seen some of these yoga mums and the clothes they wear to do yoga in? …
Robin Lettice, 07 Sep 2007
The Register breaking news

Kung-fu monks can kick ass, but they can't reincarnate

Comments Monks at the Shaolin Temple in China, highly incensed by an assertion by a Japanese internet user that a single ninja had once laid the smackdown on their greatest, have deployed a fearsome warrior lawyer (presumably trained to an equally high standard in both law and arse-kicking). They have demanded that the internet user " …
Robin Lettice, 03 Sep 2007
The Register breaking news

Boys' toys get burned, glued and impounded

Comments Bad things have been happening to the male anatomy this week, with torchings and glueings being sustained. Well-known extensions (cars and guns) get a fair mention too. We begin with a sticky situation. Captain Dan the Demon Dwarf (that noted performer) has attached himself by the danglies to a vacuum cleaner. The DIY gluing …
Robin Lettice, 24 Aug 2007
The Register breaking news

Man loses leg in bathtub romp

Comments Friday is here again, and we begin on a pious note. Good news for the ostentatiously religious among you: Gold River Productions has come out with a Christian ringtones service. Fellow commuters can be treated to a reading of a bible verse or a Christian rock ditty, among other choices, and you might want to hold off answering …
Robin Lettice, 17 Aug 2007
The Register breaking news

AK-wielding geckos levitate in from the Tower of Doom

Comments Another week goes by and there are more lizards, more weapons, more examples of verbal silliness and, of course, more comments. Note: some comments are attributed to "Anon". This is shorthand and stands for "The Anointed One"; he who is all-knowing, all-reading and on-all-commenting. Desperate for something to do with …
Robin Lettice, 11 Aug 2007
The Register breaking news

Ban the internet! It's full of worms and iPlayers

Comments The internet is a blight on our fair society. The iPlayer, viruses and The Register are testament to that fact. The Professional Teachers Association has voted to ban the internet and Wi-Fi from schools. It's a sensible proposal from a sensible organisation. You seemed to think otherwise: I assume none of these 'professionals' …
Robin Lettice, 03 Aug 2007
The Register breaking news

Laser iPhones shrink your brains

Comments It's been a fairly average week, with the normal crop of lasers, abnormal cranial conditions and massively overpriced drinks. We'll start with an iPhone article. Don't worry, it's the only one. A vulnerability has been discovered in the iPhone, and an exploit devised. There's been less of a row than usual, but it's still there …
Robin Lettice, 28 Jul 2007
The Register breaking news

Keeping abreast of disappointing Apple products

Comments The iPhone continues to dominate this week, with many comments telling us or fellow readers to shut up. Nobody seems to have any intention of doing so, which is as it should be. Reg reviewer Cade Metz decided to return his iPhone and moaned about the restocking fee. This led to a great many comments. As usual, there was a …
Robin Lettice, 21 Jul 2007
The Register breaking news

iPhones, iPhones and more iPhones

Comments It's been a particularly iPhone-strewn week, now that the Yanks have got their hands on the precious device, and the lovers and haters have come right out of the woodwork. New hack Jefferson Alberry II received the customary Reg reader welcome in the comments on his first story, What's al-Qaeda's take on the iPhone? A …
Robin Lettice, 13 Jul 2007