Original URL: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/11/15/letters_today/

Alien invasion cancelled due to TV licence restrictions

And the greybeards revolt

By Lucy Sherriff

Posted in Bootnotes, 15th November 2006 09:41 GMT

Letters Not strictly technological, except where you get into TV by phone, and PCs with tuners in them, but TV licensing is a subject obviously close to your hearts, so we try to keep you abreast of the latest developments. Why? Well, we're just nice like that.

So this week when we found out that a man's appeal against the TV licensing authorities had gone uncontested, we felt duty bound to pass on the news:

The same thing happened to me for over a year, when i first moved out i didn't even own a TV, the most I ever did was watch DVDs on my PC. I later bought a home-cinema which was never attached to an aerial, and despite me filling in all the correct forms and informing several people on the phone, and allowing TV Licensing Officers to view my home, i still received letters either warning me that i didn't have a license and would soon be checked, or letters stating that this was my last warning and i would soon be prosecuted and fined. In the end i gave in to mounting pressure from my girlfriend and got a license, installed an aerial and tuned in the TV, and the letters stopped. TV's still cra p though.


Another thing I found about the TV licence people is that they seem to think they can come and search your house if you tell them you haven't got a TV. I know this because I haven't got a telly.

I sent a snotty letter to their legal dept. telling them about EU guaranteed right to privacy, but I was still getting the knock on the door. The sooner the Romanian system of licensing typewriters televisions is abandoned the better IMO.

All the best


An analysis of the headache a desktop manager might get from IE7's critical updates prompted wrath and welcome in unequal measure, but probably equal total word count:

Your article on the release of IE7 through windows update is highly misleading, especially the scary sounding title implying imminent doom. I thought spreading Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) was the job of the software authors who want to increase takeup, not journalists trying to scare people into not upgrading.

MS have been saying for a long time that this would NOT go out as a critical update, thereby avoiding the issue you describe when people set their machines to auto-accept these (including SUS and WSUS servers). The updates appear quite happily as "rollup updates" in WSUS, requiring approval before anyone will get them.

This is where your article is fundamentally wrong and scaremongering. MS have done what they said they would do, whereas you choose to give people a half-baked conclusion based on incomplete research. It seems that you have only just heard of IE7 and quickly read up on it having not been paying attention over the many months of Beta versions. You need to read this page more carefully:


As for Windows Updates, this will still provide people a choice, which only local admins will be given. They can choose to install or not, and as you point out, could be using the blocking tool to prevent this if they wanted to. The tool has been out for ages now - for example, I wrote an article about it a couple of weeks after its release in September here: http://www.gpanswers.com/newsletters/20

The issues you describe will not be a burden to most users of home systems or other lightly-managed environments, and those with better control should be in a good position to block this deployment or prevent it even being attempted.

Your article is factually wrong in several places - this is not a critical update (a central point to your article), Windows Update users will only be prompted to install it if they have local admin rights AND choose to say "Install" (not automatically for all users), it is not "already on SP2" (wherever did you get this idea?) and the control of IE7 through group policy is as good as it ever was on IE6, and improved further with Vista. Faculty of Advanced Technology? More like Faulty Advice and Tripe.

PS: For your next article you might want to point out that the old SUS goes end of life on 6th December and people should really upgrade to WSUS (=SUS 2.0) which has been available for about 18 months and at SP1 since May. Of course, you could add your own spin to this and say that anyone using SUS will have all their systems freeze on them, their Windows licences revoked and a plague of frogs will fall from the sky. Your call really. Happy scaremongering.


What I want to know about IE7 is that what exactly does the anti-phishing tool do? Does it send my every page request to Microsoft to check if it is kosher? If so, does MS promise not to use the information for other data gathering purposes other than security?

Additionally, does that slow everything down, does it mean every piece of traffic from local use (i.e. NZ in this case) is checked via query traffic to Redmond in the US?


The IE Blocking is something I'd put on my user's computers but I can't push it out until I've got one of the user's computers. Although Microsoft now recognises the existance of Firefox, they want you to run a validation check on your PC. That won't work on my Linux systems.


Next, a series of complaints from the over 50s who feel they are still sprightly enough to deal with technology as it advances, and that there is not yet any need for a PC especially for Baby Boomers:

This sounds like age discrimination to me:-)


Sod off! I'm 54 and planning on being around for a few more decades with any luck:-)


I should hope the machine does come in at under £1,000, running Linux and locked in to whatever .....

Surely they mean under £100.00 With a free 8mb broadband + life time subscription and I might be interested. Otherwise they require my seasoned talents at the head of their market research department.

Age > 50. + Information Systems BSc. regards


Denial of service attacks will come to a screeching halt all across the UK as laws are written making them illegal. Phew:

"to prevent or hinder access to any program or data held in any computer," Does that include the rather peculiar "retract this mail" 'feature' of MS Outlook/Exchange?


"Impair the operation of a computer" sounds like it would also cover mal/ad/spyware. Consider NewDotNet, which often causes issues with DNS lookups ('netsh wins reset' to the rescue in most cases.)


Isn't Microsoft guilty of all of these by default just with their base OS install? Not to mention their patches (epsecially by automatic update)!!


Two further points on the risk of little green men attacking. The first for the sake of completeness, and the second because it contains some good questions, and slides us neatly into our next topic...

Fun article on being 'wide-open' to alien invasion. I don't have much of interest in this stuff, but this sounded half-credible. So I did some searching.

You may be interested in this: a pretty clear-sighted debunking of the Cosford "incident".

I doesn't show Nick Pope in the best light, either. Credited to the Fortean Times, which I suppose is reputable as these things go.

Cheers, Rob

I'm intrigued by Mr Pope's comment about hundreds of people phoning in sightings.

Who does one phone in this instance? There's no entry in the Yellow Pages for reporting aliens flying overhead. The two blokes with moustaches give you the number for Lunar House in Croydon, and there's no point phoning the Police because they are always out.

So who does one phone? I really need to know, especially as we only seem to have a few days left and the rechargeable battery in my wind-up torch has failed.

Yours in mild Panic, DT

Poor DT gets into a state of less mild panic (presumably a panic Madras to his previous Korma) upon seeing the large swirling hurricane at the pole of Saturn. There were some predictable jokes too. Observe:

Cassini snaps hurricane

Ahh! It get's worse.

That's not a hurricane, it's an alien's photograph of my bellybutton. They're closer than we thought.

No wait a mo, that's not my bellybutton, it's a close-up of my arse. Where's my ray-gun?

yours in ewven greater panic


That's no storm! Anyone can see that Saturn is the original Cyclops opening its eye to see who the suitor is - it's CICLOPS! Giovanni Domenico.

[aka David]

Nice picture. But is it Saturn or is it Uranus? <ducking for cover>


That'll do. Back on Friday with more. ®