back to article Calling Doctor Caroline Langensiepen of Nottingham Trent uni

Dear Dr Langensiepen: We learned with interest that one of the assignments you set your students studying Computer Systems (Forensics & Security) at Nottingham Trent University is to write an article in the style of The Register. We were also interested to note that only one of your students, Tom Watson by name, considered …

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  1. John G Imrie Silver badge

    Bravo

    He should get at least an A for this.

    1. Peter Simpson 1

      Re: Bravo

      I think perhaps only if he had succeeded in his attempt.

      B+ for effort, though.

  2. Kit-Fox
    Thumb Up

    Clearly someone who has read & paid attention to Mr Mitnicks books on social engineering as it applies to the field of computer security

    I applaud this students application of knowledge & Elreg's response :)

  3. El Presidente

    A bodacious attempt, it sits well with this commentard.

    Doffs cap to Watson's chutzpah !

    I would like to know if it was a straightforward story pitch or if he let on to his cunning plan beforehand, though.

    Either way, good lad!

    1. That Lewis Page (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: A bodacious attempt, it sits well with this commentard.

      He told us everything - but that was not a naive thing to do, at all. We like cunning plans much more than unsolicited freelance pitches.

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: A bodacious attempt, it sits well with this commentard.

        Would it not have been smarter to include £500 to sweeten the deal? Recouped by a few bets with fellow students about getting the article published.

        1. Darryl
          Pint

          Re: A bodacious attempt, it sits well with this commentard.

          Or at least the promise of a round at El Reg's local pub staff meeting site

          1. John Gamble
            Pint

            Re: A bodacious attempt, it sits well with this commentard.

            Surely a round for the El Reg staff would cost more than £500?

            1. DougS Silver badge

              Re: A bodacious attempt, it sits well with this commentard.

              Surely a round for the El Reg staff would cost more than £500?

              Do you think their staff that large, or their tastes that high end? I have no idea, but I suspect neither is true and you could get away for well under £500 for a single round.

              If you had to take the staff out for the whole night, on the other hand, you will likely need to up the limit on your card and may want to consider a second mortgage just to be safe.

              1. Marvin the Martian

                Re: £500 is optimistic

                There's a bureau across the pond, there's spatial shenanigans in Spain, and there's Vulture South. Only on postage you're going to spend that much, let alone medium-class drinks.

        2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

          Re: A bodacious attempt, it sits well with this commentard.

          "Recouped by a few bets with fellow students about getting the article published."

          If he was cunning enough to make the bets with sufficiently vague wording, he may have won already.

  4. Cliff

    Maybe it was another Register?

    The Daily Universal Register - they've been going longer, not some digital fly-by-nights

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did the article mention Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan?

    1. Michael Shelby

      @AC

      What it really needs is a Playmobil image.

    2. Darryl

      Or references to Peak Apple, Dead Steve Jobs, Landfill Android, TIFKAM, etc. etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Or boffins!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Just mention "nasty iPhone, fruity attempts at world domination, dead hand of Jobs, how fantastic Windows Vista really is, Ballmer = God" and you are deff in with a chance at El reg

  6. Vic

    But we do feel that Mr Watson showed commendable initiative and a suitably twisty mindset for a career in computing security by trying to social-engineer his way to a solid outside confirmation that his assignment had been satisfactorily completed

    Now if he'd mentioned the CCTV stills he has of you, the proxy logs of goat porn, or even just the location of a quiet and deep pit with adequate lime supplies, that would definitely have shown promise...

    Vic.

    1. Peter Simpson 1
      Big Brother

      "Now if he'd mentioned the CCTV stills he has of you, the proxy logs of goat porn, or even just the location of a quiet and deep pit with adequate lime supplies, that would definitely have shown promise..."

      That would have made it BOFH material...

  7. phuzz Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Nothing to do with the MP for West Bromwich (east) I assume?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ok, Tom.

    You need to comment on this article about your not-article and give us a link to it so that the rest of us can abuse you in the comments.

    Fair's fair.

    1. Sir Sham Cad

      Re: Ok, Tom.

      Yes. Excerpts or something after it's been graded. Then we can compare to our favourite Reg Journos unfairly from the safety of AC- dom

      1. Number6

        Re: Ok, Tom.

        You're not AC from the Reg journos, only the rest of us.

  9. Lord Elpuss Silver badge
    Pint

    A pint

    for this gentleman. Good effort all round!

  10. Mephistro Silver badge
    Happy

    ElReg FAIL!!!

    Guys, you just lost the opportunity to publish an article written by the true Thomas Watson! *. You should have accepted the article and oriented this young fella to be your in house IBM expert. A big opportunity missed.

    *: One of them, at least.

  11. Pete 2 Silver badge

    auto-plagiarism?

    I think the guy had a lucky escape.

    If he had got his article in "print" and then submitted the same piece of work for course assessment he could have set off alarm bells from the college's systems that detect students copying stuff wholesale off t'net.

    Obv. having the same name as the submitted work's author could help his case, but it could still lead to some awkward questions and some unwelcome scrutiny. Although any El Reg. in-house editing could be difficult to explain.

  12. James 47

    Shame

    That article sounds interesting

  13. Denarius Silver badge
    Happy

    you realise what this means

    ElReg has transitioned from being unorthodox to Establishment. Have you turned 30 ?

    In a century will ElReg be the Daily Email or Electric Grauniad ? Decisions, decisions; hang on, not this generations problem.

    As the old saw has it, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      Ah

      So it's you who has my old saw? I was looking for it this morning.

  14. David Glasgow

    Well I for one....

    ....demand to read the Estonian/Russian 2011 click fraud botnet article.

    It is exactly the sort of stuff I lurk around el Reg for.

    1. Marvin the Martian

      Two years is a long time in computing.

      It's not like there's no rash of historical articles --- there's old computer hard & software almost weekly, there's the recent 2-part article on running a porn site through the ages, etc etc.

      But we should be told if he was writing the Estonian article in 2011 El Reg style, or anachronistically in 2013 style. That should be the difference between a 1 or 2:1.

  15. ausnerd
    Pint

    Why in my day....

    Tom Watson (Sr/Jr) ran IBM. Coincidence? I think not.

  16. Karlis 1

    But was there an assignment in the first place?

    The cunning bit might be that there wasn't an assignment at all - the bloke just wanted to get published to win an unspecified, but most certainly excessive, amount of lagers at the local uni pub.

    1. Paul Wells

      Re: But was there an assignment in the first place?

      An excessive amount of lagers? Is this possible?

      1. mathew42
        Joke

        Re: But was there an assignment in the first place?

        Suprisingly it is possible to have an excessive amount of alcoholic beverages if we assume that the alcoholic beverage requires consumption within a certain time frame (e.g. bar closing) and consumption leaves you with insufficient hand eye co-ordination skills to raise beverage to mouth.

        Fortunately in most cases this can be solved by the help of (temporary) friends. However application of the solution careful judgement to be excercised to prevent the abundance from rapidly becoming a drought. Unfortunately experience suggests that the majority of people in this situation find the excercing of careful judgement challenging.

  17. F111F
    WTF?

    Furthermore

    ...an article truly in The Register style is the product not only of its writer but also of sub-editors, editors and usually some time spent writing for us beforehand.

    Wait...what?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Re: Furthermore

      I think the author is trying to indicate that El Reg's keypounders have a monopoly on snark, euphemism, and all else, and that they transform otherwise mundane articles about, yes, the mundane into glistening and wholly you-would-get-marked-off-for-this prose.

  18. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Joke

    Neat, but...

    a true compute science approach to generate an ElReg-style paper would be to write a script to turn an ordinary paper into and ElReg paper by auto replacement of terms like "scientist" into "boffin", "psychologist" into "trick cyclist", and convert every SI unit into approved ElReg units. Alternatively, adapt the SCIgen automatic scientific paper generator into an ElReg article generator

  19. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  20. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    We'd note that Mr Watson was cunning to think of this for the first time, but would caution others that copying him, now that the idea is out, would be merely to waste our time and one's own.

    This is definitely true.

    I heard a story along a similar line a few years ago. I cannot vouch for it's accuracy, but it is amusing and I thought I would share.

    A lad applied to an art college, and was invited for an interview/audition. After speaking with the admissions panel, he was taken to a large room at around 10am. In this room were all manner of art supplies, from paints to pottery wheels, along with a buffet table with a large selection of food. He was told to make something by 4pm.

    He proceeded to spend the next few hours dabbling, hoping for some inspiration. He started painting a landscape from memory, then abandoned it. He tried producing a sculpture from clay, and gave up. He tried a few snacks. Nothing was coming to him.

    Around 2pm, he resigned himself to the fact that he had failed. He had tried just about every format available, and couldn't think of any way to proceed. He had also finished the entire table of food, except a small piece of cheese he had dropped. This is when he decided to have some fun.

    He started at the piece of cheese, and painted tiny mouse footprints along the floor. When he reached the wall, he chiselled out a mouse hole in the skirting. He painted a new window in between the existing 2, replicating the view outside (a brick wall). He was like a mad man, running around and adding bits to (or removing from) the room everywhere, until he heard a knock at the door.

    As the door opened, his heart sank. He felt sure he would be booted out, or possibly arrested for criminal damage. Looking around the faces of the admissions panel seemed to confirm this view: There was a look of horror on their faces.

    At this point, one of the panel spoke: "This... What... This...

    "is amazing". He went on to say that it was the most creative and imaginative piece of artwork he had ever seen, and immediately offered him a place at the college.

    When he got home, he told his friends about this. The next week, one of those friends went to the same college. He took the same idea, and made the room into a piece of art (albeit in a slightly different way). At 4pm, when the panel arrived to inspect his work, he was escorted off the premises and told to expect a bill for the damages.

  21. Linker3000
    Headmaster

    Marking Scheme Notes

    1) Extra POINTS to be awarded to the student for apparently RANDOM words TYPED in capitals

    2) Strained references to body parts, sexual innuendo or 'fourth form humour' to be considered for merit

    3) Half point bonus for inclusion of the word MEELLION (MUST be in capitals)

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He missed the obvious

    Buy one of you hacks a few beers and get you to write the article for him.

    A pint per paragraph seems like a decent rate.

  23. Getriebe

    yer wot?!

    "Furthermore an article truly in The Register style is the product not only of its writer but also of sub-editors, editors and usually some time spent writing for us beforehand."

    As the article conatined the above lines - and the very idea El Buitre is edited, I need a nurse.

  24. mastodon't
    Pint

    Easy Peasy

    In the style of the Register could mean anything

    BoFH, Bong, or amanfrommars are on here too

  25. Faye B

    Gis' a job

    Ok, so how do you get to write articles for the Reg?

  26. gazthejourno

    Come to the pub and enjoy a beverage with us. If you can't work out where and when Vulture Central enjoy a bevvy, odds are you're possibly not suited to El Reg for a variety of reasons.

    1. Faye B

      Yes you are probably right. Oh well.

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