Criminal BillG? Etymology of 'Itanic'… and Columbine's back

Gripe juice

Letters Another hiatus in the Letters page. I hit the road to see the dusty glories of Arizona for a few days in early March, and on the way back stopped off at what I'm now convinced is America's Greatest Work of Art. Since late last year, you can walk right through it, and if you're in need of spiritual uplift, I can't recommend it enough. It's awesome. [Fantastic. Now get on with the Letters - ed.]

But first a footnote to our April's Fool Story. Many of you enjoyed this, too many to thank personally (OK, I'm being lazy). It was fun to see some of the blogs pick up the gag and run with it - including Steve MacLaughlin's Saltire site, which embellished the details here, and Glenn Reynold's Instapundit, which revised its masthead:

Now for some etymology. We inadvertently credited Register co-founder Mike Magee with coining the word Itanic. Actually this is something Mike's never claimed. (On the whole). The first appearance of the word on the site is here, and it was contributed by reader "Andrew N". (Andrew would like us to withhold his full name.)

But pre-dating El Reg by days was Dan Knight, publisher of the fine LowEndMac site, who first used the word "Itanic" on 20 October 1999 in this article. Future dictionary compilers please note. (Our Jargon Guide can be found here, although it doesn't include more recent entries such as the user-contributed "Share Denial" technology, or the Sircam Merger, and our Acronym Dictionary here).

Is Bill Gates a criminal?

Gates pitches Armageddon scenario to court
Feel My Pain! - mapping the mind of Chairman Bill
Gates testimony a PR jewel
Judge betraying pro-MS bias?

Is the Pope a Catholic? Well, some of you object to our description of the good Chairman:

Please stop referring to Bill Gates as a criminal. It really does taint your articles.

Shaun O'Kane

Surely it's a civil case?

Martin Keegan

Lyrically though this article begins, it is founded on an absurdity: The antitrust trial to which you refer was never a criminal trial. Microsoft is therefore not a convicted criminal, nor does it seem remotely likely that there is sufficient evidence of criminal activity to secure a criminal conviction. As for your talk of punishment, the only concept of punishment in US civil law is punitive damages. These were not awarded. Neither, if I recollect correctly, were they sought.

Let's count the errors:

[since 1999 ] we've had the addition of a print preview feature, and little else of note

Someone has not been paying attention.

Improved CSS support
Standards compliant DHTML DOM
Improved XML support -- now includes CSS layout of XML and standards compliant XML DOM. Support for XSchema, Support for XSL-T etc....
Improved support for international languages such as Thai, Right-to-left layout for arabic and hebrew, top-to-bottom layout for CJK and so on...
Improved securtity cross-site-scripting model, and endless patches thereto. Surely the patches must take up ten engineers full time alone!

Some of these are dual-use to be sure, but that merely underlines the microsoft point about it being an integrated product. [How? - Ed.]

Remember: this is the plea for clemency from a convicted criminal.

No it isn't. See above: It's the retrial of portions of a civil (non-criminal) antitrust trial.

The current hearings are being held to resolve the punishment.

But it isn't supposed to be a punishment! And additionally some of the facts are being retried. The applals court

we remand the District Court's finding that Microsoft violated s 1 of the Sherman Act by unlawfully tying its browser to its operating system.


we vacate the District Court's finding of a per se tying violation and remand the case. Plaintiffs may on remand pursue their tying claim under the rule of reason.

punishment is supposed to hurt. Murderers - either civic or corporate - don't get to choose their own sentence.

Punishment is irrelevant, as it was never asked for by the plaintiffs. Even if this was a criminal trial -- which it isn't -- this is a really poor analogy. And if it had been a good analogy, it is nevertheless founded on an error: Even murderers get to argue life vs. death penalty.

As for remedy, it is the court which will choose, and it is entirely in order for Microsoft to argue its case. The appeals court:

A party has the right to judicial resolution of disputed facts not just as to the liability phase, but also as to appropriate relief.

Those 43,000 words explain how badly the proposed remedy will harm the convicted company. Which rather misses the point,

No, it doesn't miss the point, because it is not a punishement but a remedy. Someone hasn't read the appeal, and it isn't Microsoft. One of the reasons the final judgement was overturned was because there was no hearing on the effect of the remedy on Microsoft. The appeals court made much of that fact.

the District Court's remedies decree must be vacated for three independent reasons: (1) the court failed to hold a remedies-specific evidentiary hearing when there were disputed facts; (2) the court failed to provide adequate reasons for its decreed remedies; and (3) this Court has revised the scope of Microsoft's liability and it is impossible to determine to what extent that should affect the remedies provisions.


We therefore vacate the District Court's final judgment, and remand with instructions to conduct a remedies-specific evidentiary hearing.

Since you appear unsuited to a career in journalism, may I suggest a move to be a Slashdot editor? Or are facts no longer important in journalism?

Ben Liddicott

You make a mistake here ... you are assuming we have a judaeo-christian justice system. We don't, we have a roman system.

For example, the judaeo-christian punishment for murder might be execution, but it would just as likely be blood-money. Paying the victim's family to replace lost income. Remember the nurses' trial in Saudi? The muslims have the same judicial base as Judaism and Christianity. It's just that, unlike us, they use it.

Or breaking in and vandalising someone's front room. Our judicial system would send the perpetrator to jail (or fine them and the state pocket the money). Judaeo-christian justice would make them redecorate the entire house - at their expense!

Look at the standard biblical punishments - for example sheep stealing. Steal a sheep, and you have to return the self-same sheep that was stolen, PLUS ANOTHER in compensation. If you can't return the original, the punishment is doubled - to four sheep. And note, the fine goes to the VICTIM, not the state.

So no, judaeo-christian punishment is NOT meant to hurt, it is meant to re-imburse the victim - and then a bit more.


Anthony W. Youngman

Now a few odds and ends.

Several of you point out in reference to our story about OQO's tiny PC, that the screenless Tiqit has been on the market for several months.

But one reader makes an excellent point that quite I missed when I wrote the article:

Here is what they are probably doing with their "screen and keyboard" shell

Insert the "Ultra-Personal" as the touchpad in a laptop case. The case will have all the components the "UP" lacks.

The beauty? While you may pay $1200 for the "UP" and $1800 for the shell, next year when the "UP2" comes out, you'll only need to pay another 1200 to upgrade your 3000 laptop.

I have been waiting for this device since I first heard with word Transmeta.

Corey McGuire

Now that's pretty modular. Of course the price could come down below $1200 if the device didn't include an LCD of its own, all though would nullify its appeal as a standalone unit. An intriguing thought, however.

Not all of you are impressed:

Subject: OQO-oh

Well, I'll put my vote in early. This thing is destined for the crapper. It looks too small to be useful for day-to-day computing tasks on the go
(bigger yes, but not big enough) and too big to be a convenient and unobtrusive PDA.

It reminds me of a cheese brick, but thicker. And the thicker part is not good. I am used to being able to slip my Palm into pocket and this looks
like it would rip the pockets of any other than a street kid with ultra baggy pants. So that's a strike against it.

Secondly (thirdly?) the custom connectors look almost as large as the unit in photos on the site. Not good. I can imagine when this is docked it's going to be a snake fest of cabling. Oh, and lots of bits to get lost it looks like too.

Nice try I think, but not enough of one. Especially at this price point.

With ultra-light rapidly coming down in price, it would be hard to imagine wanting this.

Bryan McCormick

But you might be being a bit hasty there, Bryan. The OQO is actually about the size of an Apple iPod, and I haven't heard anyone complain that the iPod rips their pockets. OQO's single connector (that carries the PCI bus, video, audio and peripheral I/O) also suggests that they've thought about the spaghetti cabling nightmare. We'll see.

And anyway, aren't ultra baggy pants already making a comeback?

Return of Columbine

FoTW: "You hafe no balls and are all homosexulle"

Marc Seldhin wants it on a T-Shirt - we've forwarded the request to our merchandising department. Several of you wanted her email address, and many more wondered if it had been run through Babelfish a couple of times.

Or are we just being too nice, these days?

You call that a FoTW? I've never had reason to flame El Reg (my favourite IT news source) before, but that was PATHETIC! For you to call that rubbish the FoTW, clearly indicates that your cheeky attitudes at El Reg have resulted in FEWER DISSATISFIED READERS! I hereby demand that one of the staff write an inflammatory article POST HASTE in order to give cause for a superior FoTW for next week! Whatever happened to integrity!? (We've heard of it!) The fact that El Reg would even run FoTW when all that was available was THAT rubbish, is pathetic! Quickly now! To the keyboards, mighty hacks! The grapevine says that Red Hat intends to be bought by Microsoft in an all-stock deal! ;D

With tongue in cheek,

Phillip R. Jaenke

Well it's an authentic email of course, but on the basis of Columbine's follow-up to us, we're sure it's an authentic troll, as

Subject: "Stupid English Wankers" FoTW
Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2002 10:25:50 -0700


I reckon you hafe bin trolled.

"Stupid English Wankers" (SEW™) is awfully colloquial for an alleged Frog with limited English skills. Furthermore, the troll spells Canada as "Canade," which would represent extreme
orthographic innovation in Francophonia, a (linguistic) region notorious for its reactionary attitude towards such behavior.

Probably the author is Australian. Or a SEW.

As a flame, it is definitely at least a 9.5. As a troll, I only rate it a 4. However, the Pelican's willingness to go for the bait makes me think that maybe the fishing is good in these parts.


Jason Christian (the SCalifW)

Now judge for yourselves from "Rachel"'s latest missive:

Date: Tue, 23 Apr 2002 16:45:57 +0200
Subject: Re: FoTW
From: "columbine"
[address and IP address witheld]
X-XaM3-API-Version: 3.0.1build13 R13
X-type: 0

Ha! Ha!

So you types are so foolish that you can not recognise criticisme when you see it. You think you can flatter me by saying I write usefull and complementary message ?

I am moqueing of you !

And you do not even know your own langage, which is from French any way. "crudite" is a small cut raw vegetable not a complement.

You probably think that you just have to flatter french woman and she will sleep with you. We french are a proud race - why would we have sex with gay english mens ?

I would rather sleep with a hairy wombat than you silly beer drinking rosbifs !


For "Rachel"'s benefit, here's a Guide to The Fine Art of Trolling. ®

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