QuotW This was the week when Stephen Fry didn't get upset with The Register, he just called everyone at Vulture Central "cruel and vicious".
Fry was not upset about Reg hack Andrew Orlowski's calling him out on a wee slip of the tongue when talking about Alan Turing, when he said that he was responsible for the first programmable computer, an honour that goes to Tommy Flowers.
The British luminary did not take kindly to being gently ribbed (admittedly for the umpteenth time) by this publication over that, and his large volume of voice-over work, and proceeded to lambast any and all involved with El Reg. As well as calling Mr Orlowski a "twat", he said:
It doesn't upset me. I am a voice-over artist, I have read every one of the Harry Potter novels - and I'm proud to have done so, and I'm proud to have done so for advertisements.
And I'm proud to have a few more followers on Twitter than you, Mr Orlowski.
This is frankly, evil. The Register, whatever that is, the magazine - Register dot co dot uk - exists merely to be nasty.
This was the week also the week when Yahoo! made a teenage boy very, very happy with a special gift of around $30m for his news-summarising app Summly.
Nick D'Aloisio spent two years raising over $1m in funding for the app, which only launched in November, before the Purple Palace invited the now 17-year-old over to persuade him to part with his app for the reportedly princely sum of $30m. But of course, the money isn't why he did it, oh no. No new technology business transaction is conducted for mere money. What actually happened is that Yahoo! and Summly are a "perfect fit".
After spending some time on campus, I discovered that Yahoo! has an inspirational goal to make people's daily routines entertaining and meaningful, and mobile will be a central part of that vision. For us, it's the perfect fit.
When I founded Summly at 15, I would have never imagined being in this position so suddenly. I'd personally like to thank Li Ka-Shing and Horizons Ventures for having the foresight to back a teenager pursuing his dream.
Also to our investors, advisors and of course the fantastic team for believing in the potential of Summly. Without you all, this never would have been possible. I'd also like to thank my family, friends and school for supporting me.
Meanwhile, Google spent the week trying to change the Swedish language. The internet giant objected to the inclusion of "ogooglebar" - which translates as "ungoogleable", meaning something that can't be found on the web using a search engine - in the dictionary.
The Swedish Language Council was forced to withdraw the word from its 2012 list of new words for the dictionary when the Chocolate Factory stepped in and threw its weight around. It does not expect Swedes to stop using the word however, despite the fact that it means anything that can't be found on any search engine and not just on Google as the company's definition would have it.
Swedish Language Council head Ann Cederberg said:
If we want to have ogooglebar in the language, then we'll use the word and it's our use that gives it meaning – not a multinational company exerting pressure. Speech must be free!
Over on eBay, thousands of sellers in the US, Australia, Blighty and Germany had their listings wiped out by a software glitch. The tat bazaar said that it was recovering the ads, but it might not be able to get sales histories back, leaving sellers without the positive trust a history would give them with customers.
A Reg reader said:
This impacts businesses as we will lose the momentum that we have built over the years for these products – losing the trust that has taken a lot of time for us to build. eBay have said that there is nothing they will do to help sellers and it is something that we have to accept.
There will be no compensation given and they will not reinstate the listings history [which] means that all the effort we put in has gone in the blink of an eye with there being no accountability on the part of eBay.
And finally, UK intelligence agency GCHQ has admitted to emailing plain-text password reminders to folks registered on its careers micro-site. Unless this is some sort of double-bluff spy thing, the agency has been left with a lot of egg on its face, after a person who came across the security snafu blogged about it two months later, and it was still going on. Darren Farrell said:
Pretty shocking in my opinion, so i sent them an email on the 28th of January letting them know about this issue, but have heard nothing back. After checking back today, almost 2 months later, this still has not been fixed so i can only assume they have ignored it.
GCHQ tried to downplay the incident:
The current applicant tracking system used by GCHQ is a legacy system and we are currently in the process of changing it. Only the very small percentage of applicants (who need their accounts reset) are sent a new password. This comes with clear instructions of how to protect their data.
But as Farrell pointed out, a security hole like this can have serious consequences:
Not really sure how we can trust somebody like that to protect us, when they are still doing stupid things like this. For those that don’t think this matters, bear in mind the type of information you’re submitting to these online applications. Names, dates, family members information, passport numbers, housing information. With this type of information identity theft is a major concern. ®