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British Expat Newsletter:
26 January 2005

Hello, and welcome to those who have joined up since our last newsletter.

In this issue

  • This week: Worms, cats and dogs
  • Virtual Snacks
  • Sponsor
  • Bizarre Searches
  • Joke and quotation

This week

There were any number of things I could have written about this week. A couple of days back, bandwidth theft would have been top of the list.

I was sitting here, browsing through the latest postings on our forum, when I noticed that we seemed to be attracting record numbers of guest visitors – over 300 at one stage. While it’s great to have plenty of people visiting the site, I couldn’t think of any reason why so many people should suddenly start visiting at once.

After Dave did a bit of digging, it turned out that some Internet worm was probing our forum’s security. A couple of months ago a loophole was discovered in phpBB (the script which powers our forum), and someone wrote a hack (nicknamed the “Santy” worm) to exploit it. We installed the update which plugs the loophole and thought no more of it.

Since then someone’s created a worm which probes phpBB fora for the Santy loophole, puts in a partial patch and warns the forum owner to update their forum. Unfortunately the worm (predictably nicknamed “Anti-Santy”) doesn’t detect whether the update has already been installed, so it kept probing ours for about ten hours until we worked out a way to block it. In the meantime it used up as much of our bandwidth as we’d normally use in five days. Grrr!

Coincidentally, just a couple of days later our pal Alan from Savannah Software discovered that he’d been the victim of another form of bandwidth theft. While looking at his site’s access logs, he noticed that an image on his site was attracting a lot of hits – but the page it appeared on wasn’t. He soon discovered that someone was hotlinking to that image on their blog, so that people viewing the blog were using Alan’s bandwidth rather than the blogger’s.

Alan came up with a witty response – he replaced the image with a picture of his pet dog Hannah, bearing the message “Woof! My name is Hannah and you should not steal pictures from other people’s servers!” It makes the blog – and the blogger – look rather silly.

Talking of pet dogs, we were coming home yesterday evening when we saw the neighbour’s dog come racing up to meet us. Although he’s a Doberman, we weren’t in the least worried – he’s a miniature and doesn’t even come up to my knees! However, we didn’t know that when we first saw him as a puppy, so I made the effort to befriend him early on, just in case.

Some of the dogs around here are fine. Others are a real pain. I’ve already mentioned in an earlier newsletter that stray dogs are a real problem here – though not as much as in India, where the sudden disappearance of virtually the entire vulture population has led to the rise of scavenging packs of up to a thousand dogs or more. (You can read more about this here: Vulture Recovery Plan) But it’s almost as annoying when the neighbours leave their houses for the day and let their dogs wander freely around the compound, barking at passers by and fouling the driveways.

Having pets is a big responsibility, but you wouldn’t think it from the way some people treat theirs. Mind you, many others do care greatly for their pets and look after them as they would their children. When the pet dies, it can be like the loss of a family member. British Expat’s resident gardening and whisky expert, Mike Clark, has written affectionately and movingly about his geriatric Jack Russell Bisto, and how, after Bisto died, Jake the Dawg came into the household. Bisto’s Tale

Of course, this can go too far. I was quite disgusted a few years back to read that the editor of BBC Good Food magazine let his cat climb on his kitchen worktops. (Apparently that particular editorial received more mail than any other item in that issue, which must say something about the readers’ attitudes to cats, or perhaps their feelings on hygiene.) Mind you, I’m not that keen on cats anyway. Especially when they go crapping in my herb garden.

Are you a cat person or a dog person? Whichever you are – or even if you’re neither – we’d love to hear why. Why not visit our community forum and let us know? (Link at “The BE Fora” below.)

Virtual Snacks

Just a couple of suggestions if you have a little time to spare:

Have you got a clever dog, a cunning cat, or a brainy bird? The BBC have a whole series of intelligence tests for pets on their website. Very interesting even if you don’t have a pet. Great fun for the kids to try out with the family pet too!
BBC Science and Nature: Test Your Pet

If you’d like to know more about bandwidth theft, Wikipedia have a helpful and informative article:
Wikipedia: Bandwidth theft


If you’ve got a pet you’d like to treat, why not try Pucci Designer Petware? Doggie baking kits, diamante collars, comfy beds, gift vouchers – they’ve got the lot! (We’re members of Pucci’s affiliate programme, so if you buy from them via the link below they pay us commission.)
Pucci Designer Petware

Bizarre Searches

Some strange search terms which led people to visit British Expat recently:

  • _adr (9)
  • the best risqué jokes (4)
  • cabin crew shop (3)
  • penises (3)
  • nissan sunny sequel (3)
  • stuffed loch ness monster (2)
  • wheels and deals magazine (2)
  • half man half monkey (2)
  • someone who’s (sic) hobby is football (2)
  • what money did buy 1901 (1)
  • penang nice dinner (2)
  • ftv kay (2)

Till next time…
Happy surfing!



“I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”

Sir Winston Churchill, statesman (1874-1965)


A dog runs into a butcher’s shop. As the butcher goes to shoo him out, he sees £10 and a note in the dog’s mouth, reading: “10 lamb chops, please.”

Amazed, he takes the money, puts a bag of chops in the dog’s mouth, and quickly shuts up shop. He follows the dog and watches him wait for a green light, look both ways, and trot across the road to a bus stop. The dog checks the timetable and sits on the bench. When a bus arrives, he walks around to the front and looks at the number, then boards the bus. The butcher follows, dumbstruck.

After a couple of miles he stands on his back paws to push the “stop” button, then the butcher follows him off.

The dog runs up to a house and drops his bag on the doorstep. He goes back down the path, takes a big run, and throws himself -Whap!- against the door. He does this again and again. No answer. So he jumps on a wall, walks around the garden, beats his head against a window, jumps off, and waits at the front door. A big guy opens it and starts cursing and kicking the dog.

The butcher runs up and screams at the guy: “What the hell are you doing? This dog’s a genius!”

The owner retorts, “Genius, my arse. It’s the second time this week he’s forgotten his key!”

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