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A Reader Writes #2,743

Dear Sir

I - and I image many others like me - will have been gratified by your elegant exposition of the reasons for the "intermission" in the otherwise admirably consistent flow of interesting materials emanating from your generous digi-portal. I also take this opportunity of wishing both Mr Sol Dringiyrne and ARSE all the best in their well-earned and [it would seem] long-overdue retirements.

I hope, however, it will not seem churlish if I step in to correct a number of obvious errors in your otherwise admirably straightforward and - as far as I can judge - otherwise factually accurate account/mea culpa. To begin with you describe ARSE as a word processor. I note, however, from the photograph that he/she/it/ze is in fact a CPT 8100 which is an early electronic computational device capable of processing relatively complex numbers [it is no mere "calculator"] as well as running a small but significant family of elementary programmes of which a word-arranger is but one. Having worked in the industry for many years I can recognise a CPT 8100 anywhere. The very early models gave us any number of problems; though I think I am right in saying that yours is a CPT 8100 Mark IIB which had the newer steel springs replacing the heavier and slower brass springs characteristic of the Mark I and Mark IIA. This does not mean, of course, that they were not "a bugger to fix" and I do not envy Mr Sol Dringiyrne his job of daily maintenance!

The devices in question: [LEFT] an ACL 9550 and [RIGHT] a CPT 8100. Experts say "only an idiot would mistake one for the other".

Secondly, the photograph of Professor Thrupiece encouraging a staff member to make the best use of her ARSE, is surely a mistake - I hesitate to say a fake, for I have no idea of its provenance. The machine to which the lowly staff member is giving her full attention is not a CPT 8100 at all, but rather a ACL 9550 - a very different kettle of fish! The ACL 9550 had a dual core chipset with bi-wired circuitry designed to enhance its performance via a proprietary moto-bakelite bridge. The fact that the CPT 8100 required rear entry, whilst the ACL 9550 was a "top off and down to business" model emphasises this point. Only a novice could mistake an ACL 9550 for a CPT 8100. I can only conclude on the basis of this reasoning that either the machine which Mr Sol Dringiyrne has been maintaining over the past five decades is in fact an ACL 9550 [unlikely given his alleged experience] or that the photograph is of a machine other than yours and - who knows - perhaps taken in an office other than yours. [Such is the level of suspicion generated once a reader's confidence has been breached.]

I well understand the need to spice up a good story with fetching and appropriate illustrative material, but surely journalistic license does not extend to misrepresenting critical technology and misleading the more naive amongst your readers into thinking that his/her/zes regular diet of news and stories has been produced on a machine other than that on which it has actually been created. These things matter - and as Adolf Hitler realised [alas too late] - it's the little things in life that trip you up and serve to scupper an otherwise well-laid plan.

Am I alone in thinking that there is a potential breach of trust lurking somewhere in yesterday's disingenuous communication and that, in consequence, some kind of apology is called for?

Your sincerely

Harold Geek

former IT Technician, Dorset Techno-fascist Society, Little Bredy

author of "Did Goebbels invent the silicon chip?"

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