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Moving airbases, codebreaking and supermodel behaviour

Miracles aplenty

Letters The faithful gather to worship at the altar of Ballmer in Boston. Perhaps we missed the importance of Microsoft's relationship with its partners. You were quick to set us straight:

I find your lack of faith...disturbing. Microsoft understands the importance of third-party developers, and in fact has opened new markets to some, the anti-virus vendors for example.

No business I have dealt with has ever treated its third-party partners so kindly and solicitously, which Microsoft goes out of its way to do right up to the morning of the day they slip the shiv between the vertebrae.


A question about paraphrasing from the same story:

"As it happens, Ballmer said Microsoft had been trying to figure out what its customers liked about its software and the answers could be condensed mostly into a single religious motive, which was that everyone else used it."

Balmer actually said this?


Mr. Ballard will elucidate:

"We're summarising for him. What he actually said was that when Microsoft looked into the why people buy their software, they discovered four common reasons: i) they think it's easy to use; ii) it connects with so many other software applications; iii) it's innovative; iv) it's widely used and supported.

"In other words: i) it's familiar because everyone uses it; ii) because everyone uses it, everyone else makes their software connect to it; iii) do they know any better?; iv) everyone uses it."

Clearer? Good. Moving on...

"Microsoft had been trying to figure out what its customers liked about its software"

Tough one, especially as the best answer seems to be that people use it because they have to. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, is it?


"Seven thousand people sat in a Boston conference centre listening to a live band play soft rock while they waited for Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to deliver his opening speech at the MS Worldwide Partner Conference this morning. He was running half an hour late because a woman had sadly died in a Boston road tunnel last night when a three tonne slab of concrete fell from the roof and crushed her car. "

Followed by a deep voice heard muttering from on high, "Me dammit! Missed again!"


Now, now, Morely. Play nice.

The US Senate is (probably as we speak) debating how to legislate for stem cell research. Most pundits are predicting that although the bills that would free federal funding for some embryonic stem cell research will pass, Bush will veto it, making that part rather pointless:

Why is it always assumed that only federal funding will achieve scientific breakthroughs? And is there no room for the gov't to say, while we are not criminalizing a practice, or a research branch, we are also not funding it?

Is not funding something in your mind the same as banning it? Some would argue not funding abortions for low-income women is the same as banning them from having them, but I feel there is a distinction.

I am not a fan of EMBRYONIC stem cell research. I haven't read a single paper that showed any real progress in this side of it. unlike adult stem cell or umbilical cord stem cells, which have shown some great breakthroughs.

Personally, I don't understand why people are so ramped up about embryonic stem cell research. Unless they have some motive not related to stem cell research. Or they don't know the distinction. And noone seems to want to make the distinction. In case noone's made it clear why a person could be against using a IVF embryo for research, since they are already going to be destroyed.

All I can say is I am not comfortable creating a market for unborn child parts. The line is nice and clear at the moment, It would get blurred quick. How many cells do you let the embryo grow into? Six? Thirty? 3 million? What if it develops a pulse? a nervous system? I know the intent is to stop it before it reaches that point, but in a lab environment, what guarantees do we have some rather frightening and grotesque things won't be grown, in the name of research?

Just my 37 cents.


I suspect you'll get quite a return on that investment, Dan...

The world laughed when it discovered this week that US academics have cracked some of the codes Galileo has been using:

So Cornell University, having been denied access to the codes for Galileo, set of to break Galileo presumably using tools outlawed by the Digital Millennium Copyright laws.

I hope the full force of the American law is now thrust towards Cornell, with the Galileo team pushing, in a similar manner as it will no doubt be when the US gets their hands on Gary McKinnon.

Alternatively the Cornell team could be extradited to the EU to show that the US will treat the extradition laws in the same way as they expect the UK/EU to.

I’m not holding my breath however!


A quick clarification on the costs of a Sky TV installation, prompted news that the digital entertainment behemoth is pitching free broadband as part of its subscription packages:

In your Sky broadband article you state "The base service is free except for a £40 connection fee and a £50 installation fee.".

This isn't quite correct. - While you are correct in stating the connection fee, the install fee only applies if the customer chooses to receive the Home Installation option (whereby a Sky engineer visits to install the Netgunk router).

By default, the product is 'self install' therefore the install charge doesn't apply. While I'd imagine a fair amount of people mahy go for the install option, it definately isn't mandatory (which internal documentation makes quite clear).

Anonymous Sky contractor

Good to know...

Don't ask us for a serious tech angle, but when a supermodel stands accused of losing the plot aboard a luxury yacht, you can bet Team Reg will want to let you know about it:

Two things.

First of all after misreading your article I realised that if you insist on including ham in your starter, best not list it last:

...and served up a "simple tomato, mozzarella and dried hamster"

Secondly, that blackberry attack (you think it wouldn't hurt until you read that it was encrusted with golden jewls) reminds me of that song we used to sing as children in the Woodcraft Folk about a wife throwing tomatoes, which continues:

Now tomatoes are soft and don't injure the skin, Well these ones they did, they were inside a tin.


Isn't Naomi due for some anger management program by now?


Er, been there done that.

This little article baffles and teases me. How can anybody not like antipasto? Did he serve bread with it? What do we know about the boat's wireless capabilities? Does "dried ham" here imply prosciutto (== "italian for ham")? How could *anybody* not like prosciutto? Great, now I'm confused AND hungry. (If any article ever needed a "discuss this" section, this one does.)


That Naomi, isn't she a hoot ;).

It must be truly delirious to be so rich that you can set your standards to such heights that not even the gods could hope to attain them.


It's nothing that a month in a warzone, with MREs to eat, real bullets to avoid and the smell of roasted human-a-la-tank wouldn't cure.

Or better: a native tribe, no preference, that offers delicious worms and bugs to eat and who consider it an insult if you refuse to taste it :).

Not that I want Naomi to suffer, I'm just siding with the Italian chef who knows his kitchen and has to waste his talent serving food to a brat.

Who is ponying up the dosh to get the boat ship-shape again, is what I want to know.


And finally, a small error of our own. Well, my own. Vulture eyed readers may have spotted that according to the pages of this esteemed organ, NASA had standby crews ready to receive the Shuttle at the Edwards Airforce base in Canada. This was not entirely accurate:

So do the US Airforce know that Canada have nicked their Californian air base and moved it North? :)


I was stationed at Edwards AFB, California for two years , and watched two shuttle landings, but never saw any Royal Canadian Mounted Police running around, or moose crossing the runway for that matter.

K. Boyd

Ahem. Mea culpa. Sometimes the fingers type of their own accord. Thanks to the many (many) other gentle readers who pointed out this Britney-level geographical error. ®

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