back to article Reg competition: Cisco goes isup

It's five days since the lower case letter 't' briefly disappeared from Cisco's home page. Since the curious case of the missing lower case letter (a browse of the html source showed that capital letter Ts were not affected) surfaced on Thursday morning, we've sought in vain for an explanation through Cisco's PR UK agency. …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward

    Ironically, a couple of [t]ypos

    "After drawing a blank there, we've also reached OWN to an internal PR person..."

    "... we've decided to turn the mystery over to you, OUT beloved readers,..."

    "If you have a better (OF funnier) idea...

    OK, three...

    (and did you mean to write "caCk-handed"?)

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Not HHGTTG...

    No, instead of Adams' first foray into Interactive Fiction, the game you're thinking of is Infocom's fabled L****** Goddesses of Phobos (name censored in case people want to read this at work) which actually featured the Tee-Remover device... used to turn untangling cream to un-angling cream.

    Though the game's crazy enough it could have had the towel-enabled one's input.

  3. Ravenous Bugblatter Beast

    I pity the fool...

    Perhaps Mr T has registered it, and set his lawyers on them for failing to capitalise it and acknowledge their use of his trademark.

    I vaguely remember some time ago Adobe making such threats about publications using "photoshop" as a verb.

  4. Steven Raith

    I know the problem immediately...

    They need to get more junior web devs in, as they are clearly lacking a tea-boy.

    I'll get me coat...

    Steven R

  5. Winston Smith

    South Park

    Perhaps their new webadmin was once a plane'arium operator? Or I guess I should say, he *was* their new webadmin.

  6. Jeff


    I think the t's were crossed one to many times and decided they would take a break. After which negotiations took place and they requested that they be warned before they are crossed, With Cisco really needing the "t" of course they quickly complied.

    Of course while of this was happening they had fillers keep their spaces open so that it wouldn't effect productivity.

    Of course there is the possibility that someone had bitten their tongue, and couldn't pronounce the letter t,

    My favorite excuse would still have to be that they were testing a new cloaking technology and it leaked into the system somehow making the letter t seem nonexistent but actually still there.

    Dont let our new alien overlords know that I told you they can't say or translate the letter "t" but "T" works just fine, so they hacked what they thought was the network central (most places use cisco switches so assuming they got there they could expand everywhere else). Of course this will all be gibberish to them as I frequent the use of the "t".

    Penguin because i think we all know this was most likely a regexp error. (I really was in the wrong window when i did a search and replace for my translation of the hidden messages in my email. The best for of secret messages, make 20 pages of t's and add your letters in the correct order randomly through your messages, who would think to remove ALL the t's?)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It was stolen

    By Big Bird from Sesame Street

  8. Darkwolf

    Cease and desist

    Turns out, one of them damn IP "companies" (you know, the ones whos only existense is to sue for copyrights) found that they held the copyright on the letter t (but not T) from a screw up at the US patent office.

    Cisco was just the first company that they found to be violating their IP and they sent a cease and desist order on the letter t's usage.

    Cisco promptly removed all instances of t from their website until such time as they were able to negotiate a licensing agreement.

    Keep an eye out for other sites who will the removing all instances of t or replacing t with T.

  9. Simon Painter

    Russell Tea Lady

    It was Russell T Davis. He used the 'ardis to 'ranspor' all of them to the Medusa Cascaid.

  10. Solomon Grundy

    Cheap Bastards

    The problems are caused by Cisco's 2nd quarter implementation of several Open Source Software (OSS) products. The last month has seen more than a two dozen people evicted from Cisco because of their OSS adoption approval decisions in Q4 '07 and Q1-2 '08.

    Unfortunately Cisco has chosen to use several OSS products for managing many of their sub-sites and because most OSS products support some weird standard (not the most used or popular standards, just some arbitrary "standard") the Cisco site, possibly the company itself, is in trouble. It hasn't even really begun yet - the support and character issues they are/have experienced are just part of the problem that the public has noticed. Their issues grow worse with each day and their tech staff is running around in a pure panic because if it doesn't get fixed ASAP they're next on the block. Business professionals at the higher levels aren't communal hippies and they don't take kindly to "oh well, we all contributed for free, surely that's worth something, even if it doesn't work"...

    It'll only take one Tier-1 company to try and implement OSS offerings and fail to kill everyone in the OSS commune. Time will tell what happens but Cisco's troubles are just beginning.

  11. James Wade
    Paris Hilton

    I went to cisco's website and all I got was this lousy t

    Marketing: "Honestly guys, the removal of the letter t from the website will put us in first place for "c" searches on google!".

    Web Developer: "I wrote a regular expression and now I have two problems. First I can't remove upper case Ts, and secondly I broke the website".


    Mr. Anderson, what good is a tit if you have no t's?

  12. Kenny Millar
    Gates Horns

    Obvious really

    They must have been running their web editor on vista.

    It's just the sort of thing a moribund OS would do.

  13. Brian Griffin

    This website...

    This website was brought to you by the letters A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S... *cough* *cough* ... *clear throat* sorry, where was I? Oh yes... U, V, W, X, Y and Z!

    I'll ge my coa.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It was viral marketing...

    ...for the car bodywork product T-Cut.

  15. Barry

    Someone is taking the 't'

    Well, I take tea at 9am, 11am and 3pm.

    Perhaps Cisco takes theirs on Thursday's?

  16. Matt Bradley

    Content Management

    Perhaps they switched over to "YCMS"

    ...Yorkshire Content Management System?

    (Matt ov Wakey)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...that we have, indeed, reached and passed "Peak Consonant".

    Existing reserves of consonants are drying up and new reserves are becoming more difficult - and expensive - to find and exploit. We can expect to see rolling shortages of the more popular consonants - T, S, P - over the coming months along with a corresponding increase in the usage of the less popular ones - X, Z, and the consonantally ambiguous Y.

    Eventually the quality of crude consonants will dip to such a poor level that it will become necessary to recycle consonants from existing printed material. Scientists estimate that the complete works of Shakespeare can provide a viable source of high quality consonants for up to 20 years at current usage levels but the resulting impact on the cultural development of society may be a hard pill to swallow. On the other hand, recycling Paris Hilton's autobiography - "Confessions of an Heiress: A Tongue-in-Chic Peek Behind the Pose" will generate little to no cultural or intellectual impact but will only produce a few days worth of barely usable consonants and a number of highly toxic and volatile waste products that may defy handling.

    Our only hope is to find a renewable source of consonants - widely considered to be an impossible dream - or to invest our energy adapting to life in a world without consonants. Even then scientists warn that increased use of vowels - doing double duty as consonants - will accelerate the onset of "Peak Vowel" and a calamity far beyond our ability to comprehend.

    There are some, though, who say that "Peak Consonant" and "Peak Vowel" are orchestrated myths and in the interests of fairness and balance, we end on this statement from one such prominent "alphabet skeptic":

    ".ea. .o..o.a.. i. ..e .e.e.e. ..ea. o. ..e .i.... .i..y ..a.e .u.a.i.. .i... ..o..!"

    A compelling argument? Passionate, certainly. We leave you to make your own mind up.

  18. Ben winnipeg
    Paris Hilton

    Missing t

    new webmaster spent too much time looking at Paris pictures. At first the "t" was stuck and thats all he would get, after cleaning the keyboard "t" only works with Shift...

  19. J Perseo

    It's simpke really ...

    Considering their parent company Cisco, Inc was busy sinking their money into t-bills, They needed all the t's they could get. Not that you could get me to buy their stock for all the t in China. Perhaps they were defec-t-ive and it required a To-t-al T-call (Total Recall). But it is in-t-eres-t-ing now that you poin-t it out.

  20. Magani


    'cos they're running on.... Em-T



  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Cisco's web admin supervisors have stacked several layers of web personnel.

    For an improved complete service.

  22. Daniel Dainty

    It's a special keyboard, y'see

    and when you buy it, you can license 7 of the keys. Then, when you've used those keys and need some more, you buy another license, and so on. A bit like the Cisco managed access points system - you buy the hardware, then unlock the ports as and when you need them.

    Blatantly obvious, the credit crunch an' all that, the web monkey has decided to sell back one of his/her licenses to the keyboard manufacturer. As a result, he can't use the letter "t", and he can't type the words "free post-sales support".

  23. Corey Maddocks

    Xiao Chen did it

    He had successfully hacked the Cisco network and stolen enough information to effect a fix for the Shenzhou VII spacecraft which was currently suffering a network failure on its clustered operating system running on 4 chipods and a 9 volt battery, leaving it unable to gain atmospheric re-entry with it's spacesuit-wearing inflatable dolls.

    Unfortunately, in order to make it easier on himself, he had converted the data to his native tongue, but when he converted it back to try to hide his tracks, he committed a classic "Engrish" mistake and left out every instance of the lower case 't'

    When Cisco system admins noticed the missing letters, they promptly fixed them, and sent an email to Xiao Chen reminding him he need only ask, as all Cisco data exists soley for the betterment of Chinese technology and is freely available whenever needed.

    Just don't Google it from a Chinese ISP.

  24. simon casey
    Black Helicopters

    Dot the i

    cross the t (out?)

    Maybe the webmaster was playing nethack and the scroll of genocide went a bit too far when it wiped out all the t's in the game...

    Or he wasn't appreciated enough on Sysadmin appreciation day and went one better than the whitehouse keyboard letter removal? (how many of us ever are?)

    My last suggestion would be for Lester to investigate this as a rogue RoTM, they're slowly removing ASCII until there's no language left and the economy crumbles (oh... hang on...)

    P.S we need a lizard alliance icon for the comments

  25. Jon Leighton

    I can' believe ha ...

    ... for he onerous ask of sugesing reasons for he lack of 's on the Cisco websie ha he only remuneraion is a shie -shir which probably won' fi as I am on he peie size.

  26. Karl Lattimer


    Obviously Mr T sued for trademark infringement...

  27. Rubber chicken

    In moral support for Arnie

    After taking great offence at Boris' uncalled for retort to Arnie, the webmaster at Cisco decided to have his own version of a Boston "T" party, and destroy the "t's"

    "Damn the Briish, I'll show hem...."

  28. Annonymous Howard

    the T virus

    maybe resident evil is onto something... only, like symantec, got it all wrong...

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Blatantly obvious

    It's French, bitch.

  30. Colman Lalka
    Jobs Horns

    All about funding

    Seeing a recent leak from the US House about taxing companies by letter usage on their website in order to pay for the pending bailout, Cisco realized that, while not being the most used letter on their site, they could save a significant amount of money by dropping lower case "t".

  31. Geoff


    Chuck Norris showed up for a round of golf with the execs and someone misinterpreted the request for "ALL THE F****N' TEES YOU CAN GET YOUR HANDS ON!!"

  32. Pierre

    2 cens worh*

    2 words: Gary McKinnon. That's the new security buzz at the Pentagon (brought to you by Cisco and Symantec, the "best" of both worlds): the anti-Brit-intruder technique. Nothing like a t shortage to keep the UK-borne |-|4><0rz at large.

    *no, I won't move that "h" 2 letters back.

  33. Lee Humphries
    Jobs Horns

    Getting ready for the new company name

    It's all part of a plot to obscure Cisco's imminent name change.

    Unfortunately the new name had already been registered before it was discovered that market testing revealed some unfortunate associations in the minds of "average" Cisco customers.

    By removing all of the lower case t's and then restoring them with the change of name, it has been hoped that no one will really notice pustulent "Cistco" being squeezed out into the global marketplace.

    Now if only there was a biohazard icon - so I've gone with the next closest thing.

  34. Ben

    Executive Compensation

    With world markets tanking, stock options as executive compensation are becoming inadequate. As an alternative, Cisco's board recently voted to give top executives futures in commodities. The meeting was held in secret, because shareholders would be none to pleased to hear of such ridiculousness. Because of this, the board member who had proposed the idea initially had indicated he would subtly signal if the measure was approved by the board by having a sys-admin slip an extra filter into the firmware through a back door left on the firewall hardware Cisco sold to China. So as not to expose this back door, the filter was also installed on Cisco's own firewall firmware to look like some sort of strange bug.

    The board OK'd the measure to offer futures in tea leaves, and so the filters were enabled, giving Cisco "all the 't' in China."

    More seriously, though, I'd guess it came from a sed command run from a shell necessitating escaping the \ in \t. Thus, a 's/\t//' should have been a 's/\\t//'. Then they had two problems: One, they were still using regexes, and two, they were snarked by El Reg. And there was much chagrinning.

  35. Rolf Parker


    I don't know what the fuss is all about! It's quite simple that Cisco's graphic designers have been trying out a new voice recognition system and forgot about their colleague who stutters. He only wanted to do a simple delet.ttttttttttt.e

  36. Mark Burton
    Paris Hilton

    Top Cat did it

    I seem to remember he was always "whipping the T". Perhaps that's why Officer Dibble was always after him.

    --Paris, 'cos I work there.

  37. Barry

    Cisco is like many big companies recently

    They were caught being not-t.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cisco lowercase t

    Simple.- The IT guy spilled a bottle of T-Cut into the main server.

  39. TeeCee Gold badge

    Easy one.

    It's Executive Golf day and they've taken all the tees with them.

    Another effect of this is that Cisco are now vulnerable to other vendors poaching their client base as they also have no balls.

  40. ClausR
    IT Angle

    The usual suspects

    In face of the financial crisis even Cisco has to tighten its belt again. Cisco's financial analysts looked at the frequency of the letter "t" in the English alphabet. As "t" grabs up 9.06% (, a reduction of it will translate into direct savings especially on bandwidth requirements for Cisco's webpages. In a page of about 25 KB that's already 2.265 KB saved. Multiply this by number of users and page calls and it translates into big savings across all of Cisco ISP usage.

    A nice side effect is also the decreased page load times which will increase customer satisfaction due to quicker page delivery.

    So this is a win-win for both Cisco and its customers.

    (If you believe their financial analysts....)

  41. Paul Murphy
    IT Angle


    I bet it was a CSS error - setting any 't's in a links to display:none or something.

    Or maybe they only sell coffee and soft drinks in the canteen (no 'T'ea you see?) and stocks finally ran out.

    Or maybe the South Park Gnomes have a new plan;

    1. Collect ts

    2. ?

    3. Profit

    Anyway - whats the I angle?


  42. Thomas

    Resident Evil

    I suspect the work of the T-Virus.

    An evil affliction that strikes innocent webpages and corrupts them into something horrible while hordes of zombified "t"s run rampant, infecting innocen websie....



    THEY'RE HERE! Run for the hills!

  43. Rob

    Dagnabbit, foiled again

    I admit it, it was me. I had kidnapped them and have been keeping them in a darkened room hoping for ransom ( but they just went out and hired some cheap replacements. Maybe I'll just put them on Ebay, unless anyone here wants some used but good quality ts?

  44. GrahamT

    Mandatory Python reference.

    Cisco's not the Messiah, he's a very no "t" boy.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The 't's have been outsourced to EDS and are running behind schedule?

    Mind you when they come they'll probably turn out to be a consignment of unwanted 'å's.

  46. Antony

    It is an efficiency drive

    Someone in accounts presented the figures for what was being spent on Tea, so management decided as a cost cutting measure they should stop use so many t's on the website. Although one or two people tried to point out the mistake they where cautioned for being obstructive and told the matter did not concern them. (or perhaps I'm the only person who works in a place like that)

  47. Nick Rutland

    Someone said 'Website needs polishing up a bit'

    ... so they've made a start with the t-cut.

    Next, the wax and buffing.

  48. Graham Marsden


    A follow up to the comment at the top:

    You have no Tea.

    > Drop no tea.

    Your common sense says you cannot do that.

    (Mines the one with the Joo-Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses in the pocket)

  49. This post has been deleted by its author

  50. Simon B
    Thumb Up

    another dell cockup?

    Maybe it was another Dell cockup, supplying a keyboard this time with the letter "t" missing!

  51. Psmiffy


    Don't you see? its all a bit of the left over from talk like a Pirate Day. If you read it all properly with the right accent, no "t" required ... although it does fall over on some of the words.

    aaarrr!!!! me hear'ies, ge' the plank!!

  52. Schultz

    Hard times

    You failed to notice that other characters are missing too! (z,h,j,q,¢,ÿ,...)

    Here is my take: Cisco fell on hard times and now aims to retain the Compeeive Edge™ with an uncompromising streamlining of its operation.

    A successful test run (removal of ¢, ÿ and þ) showed the big saving potential available by cutting overhead from the common typeset and now they go for the real savings. As times get harder, we may expect further cuts into the common alphabet.

  53. Jos

    Nah, it was the B-webdesigner-FH

    BWDFH: "Boss, my 15 year old keyboard seems to have some problems, can you order me a new one [preferably the one with the gaming and internet shortcut keys]?"

    Boss: "Nah, we are in a credit crunch, the beancounters wouldn't approve it, just try the best you can do until we have money to get you what you need in about 5 year's time."

    BWDFH: "yah, ok, no problem". Clicke y-clicke y-click. "Ok Boss, the new web portal is up and running. See you Monday!"

  54. Jolyon Ralph

    They should switch to using Vodafone

    if they're having too much T mobile

  55. Vic
    Paris Hilton


    ITs adverTising the HP Cisco STrategic Alliance. Duh.


    ThoughT ThaT was obvious.

  56. Chris Hainey

    How about...

    Cisco cleans up in t-cut merger?

    the messy overalls covered in car paint please?

  57. Josh Holman

    I have some hostages, and they are tied up in a sack at the top of a flag pole!

    I'm going to blow them up at midnight, unless I get these three demands:

    1. I want a million dollars!

    2. I want a getaway car waiting for me!

    3. I want the lowercase letter 't' stricken from the English language!

    See, you have to make one crazy demand, so if they catch you, you can plead insanity.

    LOL, getaway car.

  58. B B Beyer
    Thumb Up


    As Mr. Joseph Franklin of the U.S. Council of Standards and Measures informed us in introducing the metricated "Decabet" to the American people, "t" is one of the so-called "trash letters". So perhaps it's not surprising it's gone. Presumably it will be followed by the other trash letters (p, q, r, s, u, v, w, x, y and z) in due course.

  59. Steve Rogers

    play on words

    After the success of retiring the GD release software, the aptly named "T release" was being looked into. However the change control was misunderstood, software compiled, "horoughly esed" and deployed with haste. Questions are being asked internally if they really can put the 't' in echnology.

  60. Alan Esworthy


    It was the Very Old BOFH. He was trying to steal all the £ he could get and forgot to switch his editor from EBCDIC to ASCII.

    I'm not making this up. Check 'A3'x in your character maps.

    Hey! Where's the Grace Hopper comment icon?

  61. Josh Holman

    3 Step plan

    1. Remove all lower case 't's from website

    2. ??????

    3. PROFIT

  62. Dalen

    It was the Illuminati whodunit

    Who are actually aliens from Tau Ceti. They are testing their global plan to eliminate the lowercase-t in order to preserve their secrecy - if they succeed, no one will ever be able to spell Tau Ceti or Illuminati correctly.

    I wonder if amanfrommars is involved?

  63. Anonymous Coward

    It's because they prefer coffee??

    As you know, Americans prefer coffee as they can't brew decent tea.

    So, the new company policy is no t, only coffee.

    In a lather of semi-religious fervour, the HR & PC police decided too that work-place policy precluded any form of teasing, thus one can no longer tease at Cisco.

    However, upon the removal of all the T's, a complaint was received from the A-Team production team advising that they needed the capital T reinstated so that Mr T could be properly credited, and too avoid confusion with Mr Mr.

    Thus, it was determined that the only acceptable tease are big T's.

  64. Anonymous Coward

    Regional variations

    Cisco tailor their website to different regions based on IP address, your IP address was mis recognized as being in the American south where the only T's that are pronounced are capital T's.

    Tomato = Tow-may-der

  65. Steve Sherlock


    Maybe their T-bag ripped?

    Mine's the one with pockets full of chocolate covered espresso beans...

  66. Paul Murphy

    If this is still going..

    I was also going to add:

    Maybe (just maybe) the web server was broken, so all the html ('n stuff) was being done live. The problem being that the rather overworked keyboard that the caretaker was using to respond to html requests had a broken 't' key.

    ttfn .. sorry fn

  67. Christopher E. Stith

    They were stripping tabs and forgot the backslash

    s/\t//g; # good, saves space on the server and allows the page to download a bit faster

    s/t//g; # bad, changes the text

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like