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Register your discontent at online signing up

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webwatch

You don't have to be a subscriber to the ArtchNewsNow newsletter to know that a lot of otherwise free websites insist on you registering. You can, I guess, understand this of newspapers which want your details in order to focus their advertising - or whatever they use the information for. The Dallas Morning News does, as does the New York Times. The San Francisco Chronicle and the Guardian do not. So you really wonder if the others really need to - especially when you have never had any ad-related stuff from any of them. But the baffling thing is why ordinary free websites, and especially architecture-related sites, require you to register. The answer, of course, is sad, simple vanity: 'My site is so important that if people want to enjoy the privilege of entering it, they have to register.' The blame should be shared with obsequious web designers pandering to their clients' sense of their own importance or who don't have the courage to tell them to stop being tossers. The fact is registration on free sites is stupid: people either go somewhere else; fill out all the details and seethe; or they enter false information.

As the daily Wired newsfeed reported recently, 'anecdotal evidence and online chatter suggest readers are annoyed with the registration process. Some readers enter bogus information, while others are looking for ways to bypass the registration roadblocks.' Well, according to Wired, it looks as though there is a way of bypassing registration. Devised by an anonymous anti-registration Australian, the site is at www. bugmenot. com/faq. php. Its reasons for not registering include the fact that it is a breach of privacy, that sites can't guarantee that spam won't follow in return, that it is against the spirit of the Web, a waste of time and, most convincing of all, 'is annoying as hell'. What it does is generate login names and passwords for registration sites. There are two nice little tutorials which even I could follow. And there are plug-ins for both Mozilla and Internet Explorer. Let me know if they are useful.

sutherland. lyall@btinternet. com

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