back to article Web geeks grant immortality to Sir Terry Pratchett – using smuggled web code

The death of Sir Terry Pratchett last week left many fans bereft, but some canny geeks have devised a system to ensure his name lives on in everyday web traffic. In Pratchett's 2004 book Going Postal, the deceased inventor of the "clacks," a form of communications system for sending data over large distances, is immortalized …

  1. durandal

    El Reg has jumped on the bandwagon

    ~ $ curl -I theregister.co.uk

    HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently

    Date: Wed, 18 Mar 2015 20:18:05 GMT

    Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1

    Connection: keep-alive

    Server: Apache/2.2.22 (Debian)

    Location: http://www.theregister.co.uk/

    X-Reg-BOFH: PFY

    X-Clacks-Overhead: GNU Terry Pratchett

    (although I enjoy the BOFH header as well!)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: El Reg has jumped on the bandwagon

      On Firefox the add-on shows an icon that signals if a browsed page's server is using it. The icon uses a changing series of white dots on a black background like a domino. The dots seem to spell "Terry Pratchett"

    2. sjs298

      Re: El Reg has jumped on the bandwagon

      It's a particularly half-assed implementation - it doesn't appear on the correct URL for el-reg or even the canonical URL for this article. It only seems to appear on the redirect for the bare domain.

      [/Users/sam]$ curl -sI http://theregister.co.uk | grep X-

      X-Reg-BOFH: PFY

      X-Clacks-Overhead: GNU Terry Pratchett

      [/Users/sam]$ curl -sI http://www.theregister.co.uk | grep X-

      [/Users/sam]$ curl -sI http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/03/18/sir_terry_pratchett_http_header/ | grep X-

      [/Users/sam]$

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: El Reg has jumped on the bandwagon

        It's been activating the GNU FireFox icon on this forum page since before you posted..

      2. Marco Fontani

        Re: El Reg has jumped on the bandwagon

        Sorry, we don't like replying to HEAD requests. I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere?

        ➤ curl -sI http://www.theregister.co.uk/ | grep HTTP

        HTTP/1.1 405 Method Not Allowed

        so… you've got to go the long way around:

        ➤ curl -v 'http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/03/18/sir_terry_pratchett_http_header/' -o /dev/null 2>&1 | grep X-

        < X-Reg-BOFH: pfy

        < X-Clacks-Overhead: GNU Terry Pratchett

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: El Reg has jumped on the bandwagon

          Sorry, we don't like replying to HEAD requests.

          Why in the world not? Support for HEAD is a MUST requirement of RFC 2616 (for "general-purpose servers", which would definitely apply here). Returning 405 to HEAD is appropriate for some resources, but not for any that accept GET.

          1. Martin Summers Silver badge

            Re: El Reg has jumped on the bandwagon

            "Sorry, we don't like replying to HEAD requests"

            No, neither does the Mrs.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: El Reg has jumped on the bandwagon

      They can mess about like this, but can't add IPv6?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: El Reg has jumped on the bandwagon

        "They can mess about like this, but can't add IPv6?"

        HTTPS would be nice.

        1. Marco Fontani

          Re: El Reg has jumped on the bandwagon

          We hear you, we hear you!

          Both are on the roadmap, and have been for a while. Neither is a quick & easy thing to do, though, compared to the simple:

          + add_header X-Clacks-Overhead "GNU Terry Pratchett";

          1. Lee D Silver badge

            Re: El Reg has jumped on the bandwagon

            Don't want to crow about this (well, actually I do, but saying that excuses the following) but it's not that huge a deal to roll out a Beta site that does this.

            I mean, really, IPv6 Day proved that you won't break anything just by enabling or pushing an AAAA record. From there, it's just a case of opening up port 80 and 443 on IPv6 IP's. From there, you have a beta copy of the site from the same Apache servers. From there, it's just a case of asking us to trial it so we can break it while you fuddle around with scripts and logs and all those nasty hard-coded things.

            While there, a cert from a CA plugged into the Apache config would at least enable it, and securing, say, just the login form would be a welcome addition.

            I realise you may have cloud, failover, load-balance, etc. on such a site but, really, it's not like a 5-year-plan kind of thing so much as a couple-of-weeks to start a Beta and the year following to check it isn't going to fall over and you have hardware to cope with the strain. And we've (I've!) been crowing about this for a bit longer than 5 years now!

            1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

              Re: El Reg has jumped on the bandwagon

              No, but it is a question of return on investment. There's no pressing need to be on IPv6 right now, but there are eleventy squillion other fires, all of which provide more immediate reward for solutions.

              Welcome to business.

              1. phil dude
                Thumb Up

                Re: El Reg has jumped on the bandwagon

                @Trevor Pott "eleventy squillion"...

                ...caffeinated nasal enema.

                P.

  2. Pomgolian

    Practising What You Preach

    ..and just in case anyone is inclined to check, el Reg's server sends this:

    X-Reg-BOFH: pfy

    X-Clacks-Overhead: GNU Terry Pratchett

    Nice one.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I believe you're wrong, read it again. I plan to.

    'U' meant turn it around at the end of the line and send it back.... a U turn.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: I believe you're wrong, read it again. I plan to.

      Why include the N?

      Surely not logging it means that it won't be written down as much?

      1. nijam

        Re: I believe you're wrong, read it again. I plan to.

        > Surely not logging it means that it won't be written down as much?

        Surely logging it means that it will be chopped down and sent to a sawmill?

      2. Jedit
        Headmaster

        "Why include the N?"

        Because of context. In the books, the clacks is basically a semaphore-based version of the telegraph network and the cost of sending a message is based on how many towers it has to pass through. The amount of money each regional clacks office needs to earn to be worth running is reckonable by the number of messages that have passed through it. The N code is added to messages that are not to be logged, and hence not included in the financial calculations.

        In short: adding the N means you don't care how much the message costs.

        1. jai

          Re: "Why include the N?"

          Without the N then the GNU jokes don't work. Wasn't the hack (in the book) implemented by the group calling themselves the Smoking GNU ?

          1. Jedit

            "Wasn't the hack implemented by the group calling themselves the Smoking GNU?"

            it was, but the GNU code wasn't the hack. The group took its name from the code used to transmit the names of dead operators because they were inspired to form by the clacks company seemingly not caring about the operators any more.

            (Thank you to the second person who upvoted my previous post, by the way - that was my 3000th upvote. :D)

  4. Dazed and Confused
    Angel

    Join The Rev's RFC campaign.

    http://www.me.uk/draft-kennard-padding.txt

    Use it as the padding in ping packets.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Join The Rev's RFC campaign.

      Brilliant.

      Let's make this happen!

    2. Gordon 11

      Re: Join The Rev's RFC campaign.

      ..although it might have helped to mention that the bytes are in hex, as 2 lines before it mentions decimal.

  5. Terry Cloth
    Coat

    I Suspect Jon Postel would approve

    So can we call it ``going Postel''?

    Mine's the one with snail mail in the pocket.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I Suspect Jon Postel would approve

      Another one reminding us that those who the computer gods love die young.

  6. Don Dumb
    Go

    This makes me so happy

    What a perfect tribute to the great man. As I write, I have Going Postal in my hands, it was (one of) the book(s) where he experimented with chapters while clearly not taking it seriously. It was also the only of a Discworld book that was well adapted into a TV movie, the actor Sky cast as Moist Von Lipwig was perfect.

    Re-reading the very passage that this idea comes from, it's clear how much Pratchett understood about how the internet works, that he created such a good parody in the clacks. I feel compelled to quote here for prosperity:-

    "Not all the signals were messages. Some were instructions to towers. Some, as you operated your levers to follow the distant signal, made things happen in your own tower. Princess knew all about this. A lot of what travelled on the Grand Trunk was called the Overhead. It was instructions to towers, reports, messages about messages, even chatter between operators, although this was strictly forbidden these days. It was all in code. It was very rare that you got Plain in the Overhead. But now..."

    Another tech link is that VLC versions are named after Discworld characters, version 2.1.5 is 'Rincewind'

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This makes me so happy

      Didn't know that. (checks...) So it is. No wonder this version runs so well...

    2. Phuq Witt
      Holmes

      Re: This makes me so happy

      *"...I feel compelled to quote here for prosperity..."*

      * Unless you get paid to comment here, I think you mean "posterity"

      * I'm fairly sure that the fact the passage you are quoting is already physically printed in thousands of books spread around the globe will ensure its posterity better than a throwaway comment on a website.

      OK. That's the pedantry out of the way.

      Now, at the risk of gate-crashing the universal Terry Prattchet love-in (and with the disclaimer that I've not actually read Going Postal*) I feel 'compelled' to point out that, everything I've read about 'The Clacks' (including the above quote) suggests that, far from being an original, genius, Pratchett invention, he's pretty much just copied the concept of the 'Guild of Signallers' from Keith Roberts "Pavane", published over thirty years earlier.

      [*No. I'm not the person childishly down-voting any pro-Pratchett posts. I've tried a couple of his books and they didn't do anything for me. But fair play to the man for giving so much pleasure to so many other people.]

      1. Electron Shepherd

        Re: This makes me so happy

        far from being an original, genius, Pratchett invention, he's pretty much just copied the concept of the 'Guild of Signallers' from Keith Roberts "Pavane", published over thirty years earlier.

        The bit you've missed is that the genius is in the copying, and the parodying and satire thereof. For example, Wyrd Sisters (an early Discworld book) opens with three witches, one of whom asks "When shall we three met again?". Apparently some bloke from the Midlands came up with that idea some time ago.

        There's nothing new under the sun. That same bloke from the Midlands wrote the famous play about a couple of "star crossed lovers", and he pretty much copied the idea from a previous Italian love poem. Non-one says that Romeo and Juliet is not a classic of English literature just because the concept isn't original.

        It's how you take the original, and extend and transform it, that counts.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Coat

            Re: This makes me so happy

            Microsoft really doesn't do it all that well, that's why people whinge & of course a lot of us are whinging poms so its in our blood so to speak.

          2. breakfast
            Linux

            Re: This makes me so happy

            As the line you appositely quote states: It's how you take the original, and extend and transform it, that counts.

        2. Phuq Witt
          Thumb Up

          Re: This makes me so happy

          @Electron Shepherd

          Fair point. Have a thumbs-up to prove I'm gallant in defeat.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This makes me so happy

        "...far from being an original, genius, Pratchett invention, he's pretty much just copied the concept of the 'Guild of Signallers' from Keith Roberts "Pavane", published over thirty years earlier."

        Or perhaps it is a reference to a real-world system used in England back around the 1790s. Pratchett is well known for real-world references in his work.

      3. SolidSquid

        Re: This makes me so happy

        He mentioned either in Going Postal or in one of his Science of Discworld books that the technology for this existed over a century ago and was used for short distance signalling and that the books were just applying it on a larger scale a la the internet or telegram. He might well have gotten the idea from Keith Roberts (not familiar with the work, probably going to look it out now), but it's also possible they both had the same original sources.

        Also there's no guild running the Clacks yet, although that sort of starts getting set up towards the end of the book, and the company running it has money but not much political clout, there is no Guild of Signallers. There is a company running it, but while rich they have little in the way of political clout

        Still, interesting observation and no reason not to be bringing it up. Considering his (somewhat joking) suggestion of education by way of finding a library and reading everything, I think he'd very much approve of you pointing out other books with similar themes and technologies which might interest people

      4. BenM 29

        Re: This makes me so happy

        Being something of a Pavane/Roberts fan I have to agree... also the public persona of pTerry leads me to suspect that he may have read Keith Roberts in the past. I meant to ask pTerry if there was a connection but it is to late now :(

        1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: This makes me so happy

          "I meant to ask pTerry if there was a connection but it is to late now"

          I'm sure there was. Terry was a fan before he was a writer, and fans of his/my age generally knew Pavane well. (Also Keith Roberts' reputation, but that's a different matter.) The signalling technology was much the same, but the purposes each author used it for were very different.

      5. Mister_C

        Re: This makes me so happy - @ Witty Phuq chappy

        'Keith Roberts "Pavane", published over thirty years earlier.'

        Thanks for that reference, saved me needing to point out that Gibson & Sterling used the term Clacker in "The Difference Engine" (1990).

      6. Don Dumb
        Boffin

        Re: This makes me so happy

        @Phuq Witt - " I think you mean "posterity""

        Yes, well spotted. Cheerfully withdrawn.

        "(with the disclaimer that I've not actually read Going Postal*) I feel 'compelled' to point out that, everything I've read about 'The Clacks' (including the above quote) suggests that, far from being an original, genius, Pratchett invention, he's pretty much just copied the concept of the 'Guild of Signallers' from Keith Roberts "Pavane", published over thirty years earlier.

        [*I've tried a couple of his books and they didn't do anything for me.]"

        I would disagree with your assertion, as someone who didn't get Pratchett (and there's nothing wrong with that) and therefore didn't read much of his work, it may not have been apparent how much well researched satire (both recent and historical) and parody Pratchett put into his books. Such as the passage I included where he clearly understood enough about the workings of the net. There are so many references, parodies and pisstakes that I got a whole load of new jokes when re-reading them as an adult and still probably missed hundreds (much like The Simpsons).

        He may well have taken up the idea from Roberts (I have no idea) but The Clacks became an integral part of the world in several of the later Discworld books (it was introduced before Going Postal) and certainly took on a life of its own but it was never the plot of any books, just a plot device and a part of the evolving environment.

        Side point - Even if you didn't like his books, I would suggest that you might find love for him in his fight for rights such as the right of people in terminal illness to die and defending atheism/humanism*

        *I always thought it was funny that he was knighted despite having displaying a dislike for Monarchy in much of his books.

        1. Robert Baker
          Holmes

          Re: This makes me so happy

          This sub-thread is reminiscent of the way misinformed people accuse J K Rowling of "plagiarism" for various reasons, in particular that Hogwarts is supposedly "ripped-off" from Greyfriars because both are fictional boarding-schools; not realising that by the same "logic" the Billy Bunter stories are themselves "ripped-off" from Storky & Co. (or whatever the exact title is), which in turn was "ripped-off" from Tom Brown's Schooldays. (In reality, of course, the only thing all four have in common are that they are boarding-school stories.)

          What the JKR detractors fail to realise is that the art of story-telling does not consist of devising a new story, but of devising a new way to tell one of the half-dozen or so stories which are all there are, or are ever likely to be. Isaac Asimov freely admitted that the classic Foundation series was heavily based on Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, but I've never heard of anyone thinking any less of it, or of Asimov, because of this.

          tl;dr: There's a world of difference between "inspired by" and "stolen from".

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Elmer Phud

      Re: This makes me so happy

      " VLC versions are named after Discworld characters, version 2.1.5 is 'Rincewind'"

      I used to grin when it said it was updating TwoFlower.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    Brilliant!

    I can't think of a better tribute.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Brilliant!

      ... and because I can't have two icons, I'll just have to have two posts!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Going Home

    "It lives while the code is shifted, and they live with it, always Going Home."

    Wonder if there is another of his throwaway references in that capitalised "Going Home"? The Dvorak song of that title is about DEATH - the tune being more popularly recognised as the Hovis advert.

    Libera singing it at one of their concerts recorded for DVD.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvThHk-wMRk

    1. Graham Dawson

      Re: Going Home

      The Largo from Dvorak's symphony no 9 isn't about death. Going Home was based on it, but that was written by one of Dvorak's pupils.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Going Home

        "[...] but that was written by one of Dvorak's pupils."

        Thanks - my slip. Should have known better than attribute the words and setting to Dvorak. Not sure if that slip is the reason for the downvotes - or just the whiff of religious organisations in that Libera concert setting. Many British supporters of the choir are atheists - as were/are many choirboys in the English choral tradition.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Going Home

          "or just the whiff of religious organisations"

          I've never been able to work out this gut reaction from some people. And one of the recurrent themes in Pratchett's work is that there is no moral value in being an atheist or a theist - it is entirely about how you live your life.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Going Home

            "I've never been able to work out this gut reaction from some people."

            It is possibly that many organised religions and many of their followers believe it is their $(deity)-given right to proscribe how others will live their lives. Couple that with hypocrisy and corruption and the feelings of revulsion are visceral.

            Join a club and follow its arcane rules to give a feeling of belonging and identity - that's ok - *if* it is your free choice. Try to impose that dogma on all civil society - and that invites a backlash. The major English Churches have not yet accepted that their usefulness as a means of State control of an uneducated population is largely a spent force.

            Over the last 50 years my support of the major Churches has now been reduced to just the choral traditions in concert. My local CofE church lost my support for maintaining their ancient building when they started using community donations to target proselytising in non-denominational schools.

  9. Christoph Silver badge

    There's even a song about it.

    1. James Anderson Silver badge

      The Hedgehog Song would be more appropriate

      Probably the one and only time this statement could possibly be true :-)

  10. Kaltern
    FAIL

    Downvoting

    Someone seems to have a serious Anti-Pratchett problem, and is downvoting almost every post.

    To you I say;

    Ook.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Downvoting

      Indeed!

      Also, by doing this they are effectively UPvoting everyone, because as soon as you realise it's happening you start subconsciously subtracting 1 from all downvotes.

  11. Sean Kennedy

    Bloody hell

    Why do *I*, of all people, have to be the one to point out that the inventor of the clacks ( Robert Dearheart ) did NOT die? His son John died while working on a rival company to The Grand Trunk, but Adora's father is very much alive in the books.

    1. Thecowking

      Re: Bloody hell

      I was about to say the same thing. Though I'm not certain of Robert Dearheart's mortal status as of Raising Steam, I don't know that it's ever actually mentioned. However it was definitely her brother who was murdered on the tower.

      Or on the ground by the tower depending on whether you take cause or effect as the actual murder.

  12. cortland

    Wonderful!

    And full employment for the Orc's flocking to clacks as a trade.

    1. Holtsmark

      Re: Wonderful!

      Having no access to my references, I still believe that it were the goblins, not the orcs that were flocking to work on the clacks. The orc(s) only enter the diskworld multiverse in "unseen academicals".

  13. Mage Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Clacks

    They actually existed and used by Napoleon.

    Wikipedia article on Semaphore

    "A semaphore telegraph, optical telegraph, shutter telegraph chain, Chappe telegraph, or Napoleonic semaphore is a system of conveying information by means of visual signals, using towers with pivoting shutters, also known as blades or paddles. Information is encoded by the position of the mechanical elements; it is read when the shutter is in a fixed position.

    The system was invented in 1792 in France by Claude Chappe, and was popular in the late eighteenth to early nineteenth century.[1][2][3]

    They were much faster than post riders for bringing a message over long distances, and also cheaper in their long-term operating costs, once constructed. Semaphore lines were a precursor of the electrical telegraph which would replace them half a century later. The electrical telegraph would in turn be cheaper, faster, and more private. The distance that an optical telegraph can bridge is limited by geography and weather; thus, in practical use, most optical telegraphs used lines of relay stations to bridge longer distances. This also prevented the optical telegraph from crossing long expanses of water, unless a convenient island could be used for a relay station."

    The privacy thing is NUTS. People tapped Telegraph wires.

    People wanting privacy (on Semaphore or Telegraph) used code systems, cyphers, encryption. Just like some people today. Semaphore in reality wasn't really any less private than email or telegraph.

    UK started having copies of all International telegrams (via UK, which was a major hub) before WWI.

    1. Kevin Johnston

      Re: Clacks

      There were also telegraphic towers between Admiralty House in London and Portsmouth (not sure if they did Falmouth too)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Clacks

      " Semaphore in reality wasn't really any less private than email or telegraph."

      IIRC "The Count of Monte Cristo" involved a MITM attack by bribing an intermediate semaphore operator. Something to do with disrupting the financial affairs of one of his persecutors?

    3. Dazed and Confused

      Re: Clacks

      > UK started having copies of all International telegrams (via UK, which was a major hub) before WWI.

      Hence just about the first action of WW1 was the navy cut the German telegraph cables so that Germany had to sent its telegrams via the UK.

      I'm sure El'Reg published a map of major sub-sea comms fibre a year or so back which looked incredibly similar to the early 20th century map of mostly British run cables.

      1. DocJames
        Pirate

        Re: Clacks

        I'm sure El'Reg published a map of major sub-sea comms fibre a year or so back which looked incredibly similar to the early 20th century map of mostly British run cables.

        http://www.submarinecablemap.com/

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Elmer Phud

      "Am I the only person who thinks this is a crass waste of time, effort and bandwidth by people who

      usually consider themselves more intelligent than average?"

      I doubt it, but it was nice of you to tell us.

      Have a banana

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      I guess you parents failed your first 7 years

      Looks like your parents failed during the first 7 years. The ones where traditionally it is their responsibility to teach their offspring:

      1. Respect for the dead

      2. Respect for the ones that are greater than you

      3. Respect for what other people like or dislike. While we may disagree with what other people do or honor, that is no reason to treat everyone else with disdain.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I guess you parents failed your first 7 years

        1. Respect for the dead

        They're dead. What we do makes no difference to them.

        2. Respect for the ones that are greater than you

        Still dead. Though it is nice to see that some peons still know their place.

        3. Respect for what other people like or dislike. While we may disagree with what other people do or honor, that is no reason to treat everyone else with disdain.

        I respect peoples' choice to smoke. I don't respect their choice to smoke in a public area, any more than I would their choice to litter or defecate in that same area.

        If this were done purely on a LAN I wouldn't consider there to be an issue, but the Internet is effectively a public area in this instance. The more garbage people add to their internet traffic, the worse the Internet performs for everyone. Tragedy of the commons and whatnot.

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          Re: I guess you parents failed your first 7 years

          Sorry, I happen to be with you on your response to the first two points but they are COMPLETELY irrelevant here. Bringing them up is a nonsense, to be honest.

          "Respect for ... other people['s choices]" is the only one that matters.

          If people want to do this, it's not hurting YOU. Nobody asks you to participate. Nobody cares if you do or not. But to suggest blocking on it is to say you'll actively HINDER the operation. (In real life, nobody will care about your site doing that, sorry but they won't - they'll just tell you your site is broke like those old sites that used to block Opera and then tell people Opera isn't supported because nobody using it appears in your web logs). That's just being a pillock. You've gone out of your way to actively interfere in something that didn't affect you one bit.

          So you don't like it, fine, don't participate. Don't encourage. Air a reasonable opinion on it and leave it at that. You disagree with us, we disagree with you. But don't be a pillock. Your actions will have zero effect on anyone else, in all probability, so it really doesn't matter (and applying my philosophy expressed above, you're not hurting me or anyone I know, most likely, so my caring stops there).

          There's disagreement. There's condemnation. Then there's trying to prove some kind of point that nobody really cares about anyway.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I guess you parents failed your first 7 years

            "[...] just for the younger generation to waste that bandwidth with an http header that does nothing."

            Hmm - I'm an old fogie who appreciates the occasional frills in life that add a little lightness and humanity. That's why my web site has the memories of old boys from a technical school that ceased to exist in the late 1960s. There's no reason for the visitors to need to download the texts and panoramic pictures - other than to remind them that we were all young once and that DEATH is now one of our companions.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I guess you parents failed your first 7 years

                "But that's actually real history and quite interesting, as opposed to made up fiction writing [...]"

                What is purveyed as history is generally a type of fiction. It is an interpretation of a past society filtered through the mores of the writer and their own society. The historical research resources themselves are often the biassed views of a narrow stratum of that past society. Sometimes that bias is simply what was felt worth recording at the time.

                Some of what my school's old boys write is factually wrong - they mostly remember their school days as they would have liked them to have been. Convenient memory lapses are not solely down to the effects of old age. It is interesting when one has two contributors with quite different memories of the same situation. Several teachers were sadistic brutes - yet some old boys laud them as enlightened beings.

                Eventually the site's content will be archived to the local museum - and that will also contain the unpublished contributions that might balance the picture for future historians. Unpublished because of their potentially controversial contents which often cannot be verified beyond all doubt.

                Written fiction is often about human nature distanced from named individuals. TP's books did that - they held up a mirror to human nature and society - hopes, fears, warts, and all - and dressed it as a divine comedy. Fiction allows the reader to get inside situations and paradoxes that would otherwise be beyond their experience or current comprehension.

        3. Dazed and Confused

          Re: I guess you parents failed your first 7 years

          > The more garbage people add to their internet traffic, the worse the Internet performs for everyone.

          Hence the proposal to put it inside otherwise wasted space such in the unused bytes of the typical 64byte ping packet.

          BTW rejecting requests that contain correctly formatted information is a violation of RFCs. If nothing else it violates the rule that you should be precise with what you send and generous with what you receive. Which is why the Internet more or less works most of the time rather than some of the more formally proposed networks like X.400 where so many implementations effectively sent garbage and rejected everyone else's garbage.

        4. fruitoftheloon
          Stop

          @Miserable git [AC] Re: I guess you parents failed your first 7 years

          I bet your parties are fun!!!

        5. hplasm Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: I guess you parents failed your first 7 years

          "They're dead. What we do makes no difference to them."

          A bit like your servers (if you have any) now that you have effectively cut them off from anyone who isn't you.

          Stupid twat.

        6. Wommit

          Re: Re: I guess you parents failed your first 7 years

          You really don't get this whole respect thing do you. When you die do you hope people will say "Oh, he's dead now. Whats on tele tonight?" I hope someone remembers to bury / cremate your body before you start smelling too bad.

          There will always be people "greater" than you. And those "lesser" than you. If you have no respect for the abilities, talents and achievements of the "greaters" how are you going to acknowledge any assistance you could give to the "lessers?" This isn't about peons knowing their place. It's about knowing when (and from where) to ask for help, and when (and to whom) to give help. I take it that you've never needed assistance in your (seemingly quite lonely) life.

          And you don't respect other peoples choices. You only seem to take note of what affects you. If people are smoking in a public, outdoor area, why don't you exercise your right to move elsewhere?

          I wonder, when you die will people who have never met you say "My life is better for his being here, for his work." Will someone on another continent say "Did you know ACs died, Oh my $(diety) how awful."

          Will thousands of strangers want to keep your name alive?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Holmes

        Re: I guess you parents failed your first 7 years

        Respect for the dead is nice, but they do not need it. Like most things realted to the dead it is we who need it not them. Still, it's good manners.

        I rarely respect anyone who is said to be greater than I, except those who prove it like TP

    3. fruitoftheloon
      WTF?

      @AC (the miserable git)

      Dear AC,

      yes!

      Jay

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "[...] this is a crass waste of time, effort and bandwidth [...]"

      Apply those criteria to the traffic on the internet and suddenly there would be the sound of wind whistling through lonely telegraph lines. Apply it to the world in general and it would become a very grey existence akin to the Puritans.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. Merchman
      WTF?

      You sound like a bit of a humourless SYNT and I hope you lose all your web traffic.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, yes you are.

    7. Robert Baker
      Flame

      "Am I the only person who thinks this is a crass waste of time, effort and bandwidth by people who usually consider themselves more intelligent than average?"

      Very likely; look at the number of downvotes your post has gathered. One of the few times recently that downvotes here have actually made sense.

  15. BongoJoe

    Unexpected benefit

    When I am bashing out ASP pages I sometimes* forget if I am looking at a live page hosted elsewhere or whether I am looking at the page on my test IIS rig.

    Now with this added to the IIS server I can see at a glance if I am looking at a live page or not. The live page will, of course, have a silent clack.

    (* i.e. most of the time)

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Unexpected benefit

      Not silent.

      Merely the sound of no clack clacking.

      Could be worse. It could have gone through silence and out the other side into anti-noise.

      1. BongoJoe

        Re: Unexpected benefit

        Indeed have an upvote from me.

        I used 'Silent Clack' because using a clack is more or less like using a morse key and when a member of the RSGB (Radio Society of Great Britain) passed on their obituary was marked in the magazine column entitled "Silent Keys".

        Yes, a little contrived, but there you have it.

  16. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    To the miserable git

    Please don't visit my website. It's full of 'unnecessary' stuff.

    Oh, and it now proudly displays its clacks.

    1. The Vociferous Time Waster

      Re: To the miserable git

      Ditto

  17. Kernel Silver badge

    Re: Unexpected Benefit

    'I used 'Silent Clack' because using a clack is more or less like using a morse key and when a member of the RSGB (Radio Society of Great Britain) passed on their obituary was marked in the magazine column entitled "Silent Keys".'

    The term Silent Key or SK is still pretty much universally used for a deceased amateur operator. It's derived from the standard CW operating procedure of sending SK at the end of a 'conversation' to indicate that the sender is not intending to transmit any further information. related to the exchange ie., "over and out".

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