CoTW It is with the deepest and most heartfelt concern that we here on the Register's standards and conduct committee wish to reach out today to our readers and apologise for a very serious violation of our editorial code.
The error in question occurred with respect to this article, since amended:
The article referred to research by computer scientist Yossi Oren of Columbia University in New York and his colleagues. It has justifiably made Dr Oren very angry. Making use of our "Tips and Corrections" button to begin with - a courtesy we always appreciate - he writes:
I am writing to express my deepest disgust and disappointment in your article covering our recent result on Smart TV security. After spending countless years in graduate school, reading boring technical specifications, fighting with incompatible Python versions and finally taking the trouble to write a scientific article, you go ahead and neglect to call me a “boffin”. I have no idea what a “boffin” is, but since other security researchers get called it it’s probably something good.
I demand that you immediately revise and re-boffin your article. Otherwise I will be forced to make a sarcastic comment on your website, and we all know how hurtful that can be.
Dr Oren is of course quite correct. On these pages, "boffin" has always been a title of honour accorded only to proper scientists and engineers whose work we respect. (Sadly the term "scientist" itself has been unacceptably debased in recent times to include such marginal types as psychologists, sociologists - and even specialists in "essential oils" and "natural toiletries").
We have of course amended and fully boffined-up the offending piece, and would like once again to tender our heartfelt apologies for the lapse. ®
Any readers who may not have encountered the term "boffin" before should be aware that it probably started out as a World War Two British armed-services slang term, affectionately referring to the scientists and engineers who developed such war-winning technologies as radar, computer assisted crypto-breaking and so on - and by so doing saved the servicemen's lives and won their battles. There are those who claim nowadays that it has acquired a negative connotation, but we disagree: when we use it, it is a title of respect.