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Darkness falls on despairing (and bogus) IT pros

And we witness a catastrophic sense of humour failure

Letters The bogus Lord BOFH has kept you all agog this week. This, for the uninitiated, is the story of a man who assumed the identity of a dead baby. Catch up on the details here before you take a stroll through your fellow readers' thoughts on all things Buckingham related:

"Bogus Baron?" Please, "Ersatz Earl."


Well, regarding the 'Earl of Buckingham', you drew the connection between the aquisition of his identity and a Frederick Forsythe novel. But the same trick was used by Christopher Lambert as the Highlander in that movie - so perhaps we have an immortal uncovered? (and then the 21 months in prison would be laughable to him)

*chuck* *chuck* *chuck* (black helicopters closing in....)

Kind regards,

Thomas Buck

23 years, a wife and two children: I don't know what it takes to establish a 'true' identity in where you come from, but that identity sounds true enough to me: certainly more 'true' than any previous identity he may have had.


There's so much wrong with this story on so many levels, it's hard to know where to begin:

1/. Firstly, how and why was this man's passport revoked? Granted he'd assumed a false identity many years ago, but surely the documentation was valid documentation based on a false identity. What was it about his documentation that raised suspicion?

2/. Can he really be said to have 'stolen' the dead baby's identity? Granted he assumed a false identity, but we can all do deed poll. The baby, being dead, had nothing stolen as such. I've heard over-emotional claims that this man lived a lie (really? isn't he the same man whatever he calls himself?), that he lived the dead baby's life (wtf?), that his children don't know who he is anymore (maybe that's more to do with the fact he lived in Switzerland?). A mother still grieving after 23 years feels sinned against...a family turn against a man they're supposed to love...all because he chose a false name and then was obliged to stick with it? Maybe he's just a bit whimsical!

Lets ask ourselves what this guy is really guilty of. He took the name of a dead baby. That was foolish, since he'd have been better off just plucking a name out of the air. But many people change their name legitimately. Isn't this guys crime simply that he didn't use proper channels? Who was the crime comitted against?

He continued to live under the assumed name for the next 23 years. So? Having made the decision to do it, he stuck to it. The longevity of the event bears no relationship to the severity of the crime. The fact that his family and friends only knew his assumed name is entirely consistent - that would probably be the case if he'd changed his name legitimately. Again, no big deal. Besides, lying to your family isn't illegal, as far as I know.

In the end, this guy did one (slightly baffling) thing 23 years ago, then lived a quiet life as a BOFH without annoying anybody or doing anything wrong. If he comitted some terrible crime before that, then find it out and convict him. But 21 months for pretending to have a different name than he really has seems a bit steep. It seems like he's been sentenced to a stiffer penalty simply because it's 'believed' he's comitted some more severe crime, and because people having been queueing up to air their slightly fanciful grievances.

It's all very rum.


Just goes to show the importance of peer review, hey?


Oh well done, sir. Well done.

Are you in IT? Do you despair? Join the club:

Why is the study worried about what we as IT people can do to stop people from unloading on us? Why isn't it taking a stand against the meglomaniacs with PDAs they refuse to learn how to use, email bulletins they refuse to read, and warnings and guidelines they refuse to abide by? So _I_ could have done something better if they feel angry? Bull. Meet me halfway.


and it never fails - the people who are stupid enough to by the worst kit at the lowest prices always demand the most tech support and have the worst attitudes about it - I D 10 T problems are thedeath of any helpdesk operation.


I've personally watched abusive users literally badger IT personel into full blown nervous breakdowns in the past. Its not a pretty sight.

typically it will be someone who is the IT guy being called repeatedly at all hours of the day [2am, 4am etc etc etc ] while he's trying to sleep. [having not slept in 45 days]

one thing that comes to mind as a BASIC RULE OF ENGAGEMENT is to ensure that the userbase understands in very clear terms that...

"The redial button is a privalege, not a right, don't abuse it".


Websense briefly mistook Microsoft's software download page for a nice big doobie. Oops:

Makes sense. How often have you thought to yourself: "What were they smoking when they did THAT?" while cursing the latest, greatest MS "it's-not-a-bug" feature?


A strange response to a nice picture from outer space:

"It is a generally accepted part of the theory of star formation that large and dense dust clouds eventually collapse in on themselves under the force of their own gravity, eventually forming massive stars"

Oddly enough this theory also applies to Local Government in the UK. I know of a couple of Authorities which are dense dust clouds on the verge of collapse, and the Chief Execs are adamant they are about to become stars.

They will be delighted to have science on their side :-)


News emerged this week that Sunncomm isn't planning to deafen downloaders with a 250 decibel shriek should they attempt to play illegally copied music on their portable music players. There are reasons for this beyond those identified by the author, as we shall see:

Perhaps the most amusing part of this story is that 250 decibels is rather louder than the loudest sound pressure level physically possible in the Earth's atmosphere; at that intensity, the minimum pressure in the "troughs" of the sound waves is a hard vacuum. Bit of a reach for those teeny stylish earbuds, what? Regards, Steve Hersey (and, yes, I *am* a rocket scientist ;-)

If SunnComm was paranoid about that, and then was found to be talking to themselves, it sounds to me like they should seek help for schizophrenia, no? Let us hope that they can find help in a nice safe padded room (or, well, anywhere but here) soon.


250db? Sorry, but 194db is the loudest sound possible.


Dear Sir / Madam,

Decibels of sound volume must be specified with the distance, typically one metre, otherwise they are meaningless. Which unfortunately makes your article meaningless. Kind regards, John

Why the 250dB claim cannot be true Let's look at this scientifically: Typical headphones have a sensitivity (i.e. how much level do I get out for a given 1mV input voltage) of 100 dB. (Data from other standard headphones, Apple give no spec on their website). 6dB increase in level equals a doubling of the input voltage - so 250dB requires >30000 Volts. Any questions on the reliability of this story?


Shouldn't buying copies of your own album be frowned upon as unethical and dubious practice? Only if the album in question has actually been released. Otherwise its just a publicity stunt perfectly reasonable attempt to keep hold of your copyrighted material:

I like the fact that the winner of this auction has been given this as feedback: "A buyer of the highest integrity......" Click here while its still live...

Oh, the sarcasm.


Sad sack that I am I had a search on eBay for the offending item. Here it is.

Shouldn't be too hard to find out whodunnit as the seller's postal address and email address are on the page too, tho the email addy is missblenehassit, but the postal address says Kevin Blyth. The seller has been a member since 1999 and seems to mostly sell records.

As further evidence of my sadness, a Google search for Kevin Blyth turns up a couple of possibilities in Oz. One was an electrician on Star Wars 2 and the other contributed to an article on Australian Punk

Cheers, Colin.

We build an ark to prepare for the coming floods, just like Defra wants us too:

Do us a favour and leave the IP lawyers behind....


"*We are preparing for the impact of climate change here at El Reg by commissioning the construction of a large floating craft upon which animals could go, two by two."

You mean Vulture Central doesn't have a rad bunker in the mountains stocked with enough materials to last for decades? Or is that plan B?

Sincerely, Arah Leonard

They really don't have their heads around this, do they...

Would it even be possible to hurricane-proof the entire southern and western coasts, prepare for a six-month drought in the south and east, or move London so it doesn't flood completely when sea levels rise by several metres.

But, they must be seen to be doing something....


And top prize for Missing the Really Obvious Joke goes to Bjorn, who spectactularly failed to spot the satirical tone of Orlowski's musings on the "leaked" (cough, cough) company memo:

Is this "leak" a hoax? It all seems a bit unlikely to me. Either that, or Bill has a very strange sense of humour.

"Excellent! See, Steve? This is why I hired him"

"... attempted to undo the damage caused by my book" "Products that remain in beta for many years should be ... Microsoft products."

This just seems a bit _too_ honest, even for Mr Gates, and sounds more like the clichéd outsider's view of MS (the M$ mob, if you will).


We're going to have work on the assumption that something was lost in the translation there... And on to the weekend. ®

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