back to article User fired IT support company for a 'typo' that was actually a real word

Welcome once more to On-Call, The Register’s weekly reader-contributed story of tech support trauma. On-Call dipped into its mailbag in the hope of finding an Easter story, but found a cracking Christmas story sent by chap named “Peter”. “An irate customer called me on Christmas Eve, incandescent that a letter had gone to a …

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Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

> The entire story is a fabrication, designed to play off of existing Solstice ritual and sucker the rubes. Thus my laughing at today's unthinking masses.

In England we do have some unthinking, but not as much of it is inspired by the Christian sects as it is in the USA, if conversations between Douglas Adams and the Humanist Association of America are a guide. Indeed, many of our English non-conformist Christian sects were also political in nature, formed in times when the political and the religious vocabularies were harder to separate. Rather than ubthinkingly conforming to the political orthodoxy, they were actively taking a stand.

The Church of England is generally considered to fairly low down on the nutter scale.

That said, phrases such as 'unwashed masses' have been used within priesthoods for millennia, so just be careful now!

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Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

"we live in a culturally Christian society"

Who is "we", Kemosabe?

And frankly, that's the first time I've ever heard Wall Street and Madison Avenue accused of being "Christian".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

"[...] most paintings of Christian themes say more about the artist's culture than they do about the Bible scene in question."

Jacob Epstein's sculpture of Christ was the subject of a hate campaign by sections of the English Press. In particular "The Catholic Herald" objected to the features being of "an Asiatic Jew".

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Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

Strange. When did this turn into a UK vs. USA conversation?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

"The Church of England is generally considered to fairly low down on the nutter scale."

The CofE has its Evangelist and Anglo-Catholic factions who want to impose their religious dogma on civil law.

My cousin is married to a vicar - who in the 1960s was one of the more trendy types. She is appalled that I am an atheist - and said that she couldn't countenance any of her many children being atheists.

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Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

"Next you'll be telling me that Santa couldn't visit all the children in one night."

Indeed I will. In most countries in the world, children are not visited by a North Poll-dwelling Santa on Christmas Eve / Early Christmas Morning.

In most countries, Santa visits on St Nicholas Day (6th December), and someone else delivers Christmas Presents, or they don't celebrate Christmas, and the main present-giving day is on a completely different date.

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Pint

Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

Kemosabe?

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Who is "we", Kemosabe?

They were clearly talking about the UK, not the US.

Anyway, Wall Street is totally biblical, there was some bit about money lenders in the bible right?

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Meh

Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

"My cousin is married to a vicar - who in the 1960s was one of the more trendy types. She is appalled that I am an atheist - and said that she couldn't countenance any of her many children being atheists."

Friends had their child christened/baptised/whatever the catholic equivalent is. Mother was born and raised by a fairly ardent catholic mother, father a somewhat uninterested atheist. My (atheist) wife and the mother's notionally catholic brother (one of them *HAS* to be a catholic apparently) were named as god-parents and when it cam to the bit about renouncing and casting out satan (satin / santa?) and all his works, 3 of the 4 voices could only be heard to utter "mhmhmmm hmmhabbm m ms tm emem".

During the post ceremony gathering (in a pub) the brother freely admitted to having actually said "Mumble mumble mumble" because "who has time for all that crap?"

Kid's father apparently mostly went along with the whole thing for an easy life and because he'd had to promise to christen any kids when they'd got married in the same catholic church - so he wasn't prepared to break any of his wedding vows.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

Of course they're visitors from afar who did not understand the weather. How else could there be a white Jesus with white parents in a Middle East country? Duh.

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Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

The CofE has its Evangelist and Anglo-Catholic factions who want to impose their religious dogma on civil law.

Which is actually less of a problem in the UK than in the US. I think it helps that we just give seats in the house of lords to religious leaders (25 out of 797 seats) so they can have their say directly, which eliminates the need to persuade politicans to represent the church in politics.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

It was not winter. Shepherds were out in the fields with sheep. People were travelling. Where does it say it was winter?

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Joke

Re: ... depict a newborn surviving a snowy night ...

I just took a look at modern January temperatures in Bethlehem. Finally we have to proof we need to convince Christians of global warming!

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Re: my mistake

"It was not winter. Shepherds were out in the fields with sheep. People were travelling. Where does it say it was winter?"

My mistake, I thought Jesus being born on the same day has Santa meant it had to be Winter. I forgot that allowing for continental drift Bethlehem used to be in New Zealand.

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Re: my mistake

St Nicholas (Santa) was born on 15th March.

Nowhere in the bible does it say that Jesus was born on 25th December. 25th December was a pagan mid-winter festival that was rebranded as Christmas because the missionaries figured that telling people to stop celebrating it wouldn't be very popular.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

Kid's father apparently mostly went along with the whole thing for an easy life

Google "Pascal's wager" (yep, that Pascal).

Kid may thank him later. When I got married my wife wanted a church wedding, which would only have been possible if I had been christened/baptised. Just as well I was, as a baby, since going through it as an adult would have been way too hypocritical for my athiest adult self.

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Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

I more puzzled about what context exactly can the word "manger" appear in a letter, and "manager" be substituted in and still make sense?

Are we to assume that this picky customer had no problem with a letter saying "Away in a manager, no crib for a bed", as long as it was spelt correctly?

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Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

> Strange. When did this turn into a UK vs. USA conversation?

When you made a reference to the great unthinking, unwashed religious masses I thought it would might help to clarify that the same isn't as true on this side of the pond. It wasn't meant as a dig, just an observation. Indeed, the differences in religious attitude twixt the UK and the US are social and political in nature. For much of European history the Catholic church was a huge power structure, and thus talking about political, social and diplomatic relations outside of that context is meaningless. In the UK we don't take Christianity too seriously because our prominent flavor came about from Henry the VIII's desire to get what he wanted - it was a geopolitical move.

When other posters here, and the likes of the Unitarian and creator of the Simpsons Matt Groening, say many of us are in a Christian culture they mean we are the inheritors of European history and so called Enlightenment, as opposed to holding, for example, a Confucian world outlook.

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Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

Strange. When did this turn into a UK vs. USA conversation?

Jake, you've been around here long enough to know that the answer is "every Friday" and "every Thursday before a holiday Friday".

Also, most Mondays and some Tuesdays. Wednesdays you're probably safe. Saturday/Sunday you've probably got something better to do. :)

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Re: surviving a snowy night

It was most likely October, probably feast of Succot (Tabernacles) based on Elisabeth's pregnancy and when her husband would have been serving in the Temple. John the Baptist's parents. Though passover matches the schedule too, however John's Gospel and other aspects suggest Succot. Late December was a Roman invention over 300 years later.

Where does it say there was no door?

Also shepherds do not watch sheep in the field in December either. Though it's not that cold at the end of December in Bethlehem.

Also snow is very rare there. The snow is an invention for Christmas cards.

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Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

I more puzzled about what context exactly can the word "manger" appear in a letter, and "manager" be substituted in and still make sense?

Are we to assume that this picky customer had no problem with a letter saying "Away in a manager, no crib for a bed", as long as it was spelt correctly?

The customer made two mistakes. The first was trusting spellcheck. The second was not proofreading the document or having someone in the office proofread it for them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

"And frankly, that's the first time I've ever heard Wall Street and Madison Avenue accused of being "Christian"."

In this context (white dudes on LHS of the Atlantic) "Christian" means "not Muslim". To get more specific: "not Muslim, probably not Jewish (but sometimes they're ok), not those strange eastern religions, oh, and not Catholic if you're including Mexicans, cause, you know"

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Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

"I thought it would might help to clarify that the same isn't as true on this side of the pond."

For extra clarity, the pond will be the one with the Isle of Man in it.

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Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

"In this context (white dudes on LHS of the Atlantic) "Christian" means "not Muslim"."

Not this white dude on the LHS of the Atlantic. To me, "christian" means "deluded idiot, just like any other denomination of god-botherer". I'm fairly certain that every white dude that I've come in contact with in the last month or so is in agreement. Christianity is a minority around here. A very vocal one perhaps, but a minority nonetheless. And shrinking, thankfully.

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Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

"which eliminates the need to persuade politicans to represent the church in politics."

More even than that; it ensures that the HoL contains a number of experts on religion, which encourages politicians to keep their traps shut for fear of having their ignorance exposed.

And none of our bishops are likely to describe black people as "monkeys" or let anyone get away with prosperity gospel nonsense. Though in principle I think there should be no places in Parliament reserved for religions, in practice the CofE is about the least worst option.

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Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

Of course, it doesn't hurt the UK side of things that they exported the majority of their Religious Nutters over to what would become the US.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

that'll be an ecumenical matter.

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Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

"The Church of England is generally considered to fairly low down on the nutter scale."

And they have cake. Or death. But you get to choose!

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Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

Only those religious leaders who happen to be members of a certain section of the Church of England,

Priests Out Of Parliament!

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Re: my mistake

"25th December was a pagan mid-winter festival"

I thought it was a solstice festival (because the winter solstice falls around the 21st).

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Re: my mistake

The solstices (summer and winter) were/are festival times for the group of people often lumped together as "pagans". The early Christians appropriated them, and wove the dates into their own mythology. As they did with the equinoxes. And the quarter days. And anything else they could do to separate the rubes from their money.

Now if you'll pardon me, the position of the sun tells me lunch is over and I need to get on with the spring planting.

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Names....

An older version of Word's spellwrecker once tried to tell me that a Mr Dixon was actually a Mr Dioxin, which seemed a little harsh, even though he was a manger.

Then there was the version which had the delightful spelling "liase" marked as correct, leading to a load of people thinking it had to be right.

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Re: Names....

I recall that old versions of word always used to flag "jobs" as erroneous. Some reference to the Apple chief not being a friend of MS?

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Coat

Away in a manager

Aha! Uniting the christmas carol with the dodgy office doings.

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Re: Away in a manager

Is that Carol singing?

Yeah, I wish she'd stop.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Away in a manager

"I wish she'd stop."

It might be a "he".

"In English the meaning of the name Carol is: Manly, strong. A; from Carolus, the Latinized form of the name"

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Re: Away in a manager

This thread seems somehow to have degenerated into a holy war.

Next up:

Which is better? EMACS or VI?

Seconds out...

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Anonymous Coward

Which is better: EMACS or VI?

Horses for courses ..

Change MM/DD/YYYY to YYYY-MM-DD

EMACS: M-x replace-regexp: \([0-9][0-9]\)/\([0-9][0-9]\)/\(20[0-9][0-9]\) with: \3-\1-\2

VI: F*** that, use AWK or SED

Still cracks me up that EMACS was "Eight Megabytes and Constantly Swapping" --- that dates it

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Re: Away in a manager

It might well be a "he", but Dennis Waterman clearly said "she".

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Re: Away in a manager

It's Friday, so I'll bite. Vi, always vi.

I'm not a particular fan of emacs, it really is terribly unfriendly, but even if I accept that emacs can do more exciting regex work I'd still choose vi. vi is installed on pretty much every Unix system, emacs isn't. vi is often actually vim, which has shedloads of functionality. Works fine on Windows, too.

I'm prepared to be convinced, but vim has managed almost everything I've thrown at it so far.

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Re: Away in a manager

At the risk of adding TNT to a flame war - nano. Not kidding. It's simple, easy to use, and the most common keyboard shortcuts are always displayed at the bottom of the screen. (Of course, I rarely use regexes.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Away in a manager

Which is better? EMACS or VI?

Neither. EDT rules!

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Re: Away in a manager

"It's Friday, so I'll bite. Vi, always vi."

Ah, the joy of six...

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Re: EMACS or VI?

Nano

Because on random box with random custom Linux, it's probably there and you don't need to learn it.

I'm sure I've forgotten how to vi, I think it was on Cromix.

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Re: Which is better: EMACS or VI?

Um doesn't vi support regex ?

:s/\([0-9][0-9]\)/\([0-9][0-9]\)/\(20[0-9][0-9]\)/\3-\1-\2/

as required

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Emacs vs VI!

You know it's a religious war when you have a tee-shirt mocking both EMACS and VI! https://www.zazzle.com/vi_versus_emacs_t_shirt-235580440891567435.

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Re: Which is better: EMACS or VI?

"that dates it"

Strangely enough, vi and EMACS were both born in early 1976. I know both very well, and have contributed code to both in the past. I use vi almost exclusively. If I want an EMACS-like editor, I just use TECO with my custom macro set (as Stallman intended before his head got too big).

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Re: Away in a manager - not just English

The name Carol derives from a Slavonic word meaning "King". The Russian Chief Designer's name (Sergei Korolёv) makes him Mr. King. A number of Eastern Europeans kings were confusingly named Karol, thus making them King King.

How it became a female name I have no idea - the feminine equivalent is Karolёva.

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Re: Away in a manager

"vi is installed on pretty much every Unix system"

I'm still looking for a version that will run on my PDP-11 Unix system.

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Re: Away in a manager

But why, J.G.? ex is the editor, as any fule no.

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