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MS anti-virus beta. Hmmm...

Plus, Otto and Rotting Dog cop a shoeing

Letters First up in this Friday's trawl of the Vulture Central mailbag are a few comments on Microsoft's launch of anti-virus public beta. Take it away, beloved readers:

I just tried following your link to the Microsoft anti-virus beta and got the following error: "Wow, we must have really messed up and are currently down. Please come back later."

Very reassuring :-)

Alan Greig

Well, did you go back later? Are you now totally satisfied as a user?

I decided to take you advice and after 6 hours I finally removed it. The firewall prevent MSN working, even though it was on the list things let through the firewall. Don't even both trying to use a VPN as it'll block that as well. In fact the best plave to use it is on a machine you don't intent to use to connect to the internet at all and save yourself the trouble. That and it seriously reduces your internet speed. Let us hope the full release is better, or at least unbundable from Vista!

Ian Strickley

We'll take that as a no, then.

"At this time, participation in the Windows OneCare Live Beta is open to U.S. residents only."

Probably worth making the point in the article?

John Gray

So, MS are persisting with the name 'OneCare'?

Oooh la la, they are ze OneCares, no?


Ah yes, the old ones are always the best.

Moving swiftly on, Mac OSX is not the granite fortress of security we always thought it was, shock, horror, etc, etc:

I agree that Mac OS X has security flaws, but if you said were true, we would have Solaris and Linux hacked as much as any other OS as well. I still say it's harder to hack Mac OS X and the other Unix variants, but not impossible, obviously. Solaris and Linux have done well, better than Windows. Something to think about. To say it's just because of market share is boloney.

James Lagnese

The "security through obscurity" concept is a complete myth. Mac OS X has not had any attacks propagated in the wild NOT because there is a smaller user base than Windows. Mac OS X will not have a huge upsurge in exploits if the installed base suddenly quadrupled or quintupled.

The simple and easy counter point to the "security through obscurity" myth is Windows itself. The Windows Vista beta was out for less than 10 days to only about 10,000 users when there was an exploit already propagating in the wild which specifically targeted that version of Windows by taking advantage of a vulnerability in the Vista beta.

Extrapolating from that Vista beta exploit to at least 5 million Mac users running OS X for up to 5 years (say the average is 2.5 years) would give, based upon the time frame and number of Vista beta users, almost 23 thousand exploits in the wild. The simple fact is there are none.

Listing the number of vulnerabilities patched and comparing them across operating systems is ludicrous. Many "vulnerabilities" patched by Apple, Microsoft or any other OS vendor concern issues which have very little chance of a true exploit of any significance.

The only true measure of an OS's security is the number of exploits out there. So far (yes, that's "SO FAR") there are none for Mac OS X.

Frank Williams

Any further comments on this matter are, as ever, welcomed.

Amazon has successfully defended its patent for 1-Click, which "allows customers to make repeat purchases at a website with just one mouse click, storing customer details for future use". RLW cries foul:

Odd, that. If IPXL's patent claims are invalid due to prior art, does that mean the the Amazon patent that alledgedly infringes them is also invalid due to prior art?

I'd think so since the Amazon patent introduces no new technique or technology. Storing customer details in computer systems has been done since the days of Hollerith cards. Using them at point of sale has been done since someone first added a cash drawer to a PC, decades ago.

Well, we could debate this one 'til the cows come home. However, the courts have spoken, and who are we cast doubt on the wisdom of the US legal system?

Penultimately, an anonymous reader reckons he may have solved that most enduring of mysteries, viz: What the Hell is Dutch lobster?:

It appears there was an interesting experimental perfomance theatre piece that took place in Scarborough last night at the university of Hull's Scarborough Campus. You can see what one attendee though of it here, under the title 'Objects Lost and Found'. I thought you had to go to amsterdam to find that kind of thing...

No rude pics at the link so probably SFW, but Good Lord!

Finally, we come to Otto Z. Stern and The Rotting Dog, who have been taking a righteous shoeing this week on the matters of open source software and terrorism, respectively. Mr Stern, of course, has his own dedicated letters round-up, but kindly forwarded this taster from "Suresh":

Btw, asshole the OpenSource movement was not founded by Linux Torvalds, but another American, Richard Stallmann. Get your fact right before you publish crap. Its because OpenSource's pressure that good services are being offered to consumers or else you would be stuck with Crapped version of IE for the rest of your life without any fixes and with thousands of flaws. its because of opensource OS like Linux and FreeBSD that we have companies like Yahoo and Google providing services that are far better MSFT's MSN.

Look at shares of Google and Yahoo and compare it MSFTor SUN

Enjoy sucking up to MSFT

No sooner had Suresh vented his spleen on Stern that the almighty Slashdot was all over the story like Linux programmers at a Natalie Portman nip-slip website, as the Rotting Dog might put it. One poster noted:

The Register runs this kind of stunt from time to time. The whole point is just to boost readership. They don't care if people come there for something insightful or because it's utterly moronic; the page hits are the same after all. And it works too - as I write, they're probably high-fiving themselves as they see the hit counters spin from the slashdotting.

Yup, there were unparalleled scenes here at Vulture Central as high-fiving Strategy Boutique boys turned off the whalesong CD, slipped on Tina Turner's Simply the Best and uncorked the champers.

No champagne today for The Rotting Dog, however. The Reg new boy has only been at the job three weeks and he's already upset most of the civilised world:

Is this some kind of flame-bait? ... or is your head really that far up your ass, you imperialistic yankee wanker.


For those of you who have not read the offending article, here are some specific gripes:

Dire Sir,

With the greatest of respect for the rest of your crew, I must alert you to the presence of a disgusting addition, aptly named "Rotting Dog".

There can be no justification for dumping this drivel on us. It is infantile and purile and without visible merit. If there's a pony buried in this room, I can't find it.

The November 27 21:46 pm barge carries the phrase "spook the Gooks" and seems to enjoy doing so. But this is not comedy, it is simply inciting hatred, and it is very disheartening to see The Reg stoop so low for what fails to be a laugh.

And the November 27 20:11 pm disgorgement reached the height of insults when it said (quote), "It's all very well the Brits whining about human rights and landing rights but they'd be packing planes full of Arabs quicker than you can say "Sinn Fein" if they had any first-hand experience at all of terrorism."

The Brits have in fact had first-hand experience and proved themselves worthy. This column is an unremorseful and disgraceful waste of electrons.

Please discard the author at your earliest opportunity.


"It's all very well the Brits whining about human rights and landing rights but they'd be packing planes full of Arabs quicker than you can say "Sinn Fein" if they had any first-hand experience at all of terrorism."

Yeah that's right - we've never had any experience of terrorism on mainland Britian. We only had 30 years of the IRA carrying out bombings in the UK, mainly in London, and shooting soldiers on English Railway Station platforms. Stupid Americans have one event happen to them and they think they're the only victims of terrorism ever.

And the moral of the story? Always read to the very last paragraph. As our illuminating guide on how to write a flame of the week states:

Pick a story to rant about but for God's sake don't read anymore than the first paragraph. And don't read this very carefully either. There are jokes and smatterings of sarcasm and irony in Register stories but these aren't for you. Everything you (don't) read is the literal truth as we see it. Once you haven't grasped the story you can start to twist the words into whatever makes you most angry.

So there you have it. For the record, though, Neither Stern nor Rotting Dog will be attending the Reg Xmas lunch this afternoon - they have both been locked in a room with a copy of OK! magazine's essential guide for journalists: How not to offend anybody, ever. Enough said.

And with that, I hear the distant sound of the Strategy Boutique still a-whooping and a-high-fiving as the hit counters spin towards hitherto unimaginable page impression counts. A hearty lunch awaits. Bon appetite. ®

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