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* Posts by Mike Richards

3578 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Kiwi archaeologists cook up a record of Earth’s magnetism

Mike Richards
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Re: Ground Movement

You're bang on the mark. Any movement of the rocks could throw up errors in magnetic inclination and declination. Any signs of seismic disturbance of the site and you'd have to exclude it from your sample, so you have to be absolutely sure the rocks are in situ and haven't moved since the last moa was thrown on the barbie.

Where they could be really useful is plotting movements of different slices of New Zealand across fault zones. As the faults move the alignment of contemporary barbecues would differ allowing you to trace the movements of the fault through time.

And if you thought this was odd, I once met a biologist who was tracking the movement of the San Andreas fault through time by measuring differences in the genomes of weevil colonies.

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Apple: 27-inch iMac won't ship until next year

Mike Richards
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Re: crap glossy screens

I agree, I'd love to have a matt screen on this iMac. When its not reflecting light it's magically attracting fingerprints.

According to Ars, the new iMacs have dramatically better glare reduction, but they're still not matt.

http://arstechnica.com/apple/2012/12/review-21-5-inch-2012-imac-takes-two-steps-forward-one-step-back/

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Behold ATLAS, the fastest computer of 50 years ago

Mike Richards
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Soot?

I wonder which management genius thought it would be a good idea to build a precision machine in a locomotive factory?

Hard to remember how good Britain used to be at this sort of thing. Not just Atlas but the monster transistor computers built by the University of Manchester.

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The best e-readers for Christmas

Mike Richards
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Re: any recommendations for a 70 year old with parkinsons?

They're not tablets, but the Sony Reader line has audio out and supports MP3 playback. If you dad likes reading it might make a good buy.

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Fred Flintstone may not have been real but his pet Dino WAS - boffins

Mike Richards
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Re: Non-dinosaurs in the background

'I think those are suppose to be therapsids,'

I think they're actually rhynchosaurs which are more closely related to crocodiles, snakes and turtles than to dinosaurs.

One of the way of retaining a tiny amount of respect with the kids at the museum is being able to distinguish dinosaurs from all the other reptiles and mammal-like reptiles of the Triassic. Dinosaur legs were tucked under the body rather than being splayed out to the side.

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Home Sec: Let us have Snoop Charter or PEOPLE WILL DIE

Mike Richards
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'I don't think it is the Home Secretary that is ever in charge, that is the problem.

'Civil servants come to whoever is the current incumbent with all sort of scary stuff which frightens them into making these decisions.'

My theory is there's something in the water supply at the Home Office which turns anyone into raving right-wing control freaks within six months of their appointment.

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Mike Richards
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Does anyone know Labour's opinion on this

Part of me says they must be gagging for the opportunity to vote for greater state surveillance. But another part says they'll oppose it on the principled grounds of binning their actual policy for the sugar rush of trying to defeat the government (see recent EU vote).

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Ready for ANOTHER patent war? Apple 'invents' wireless charging

Mike Richards
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Re: Prior art?

'But did he "applying power at a distance wirelessly - on a mobile device"?'

There are photos of Tesla holding lightbulbs that are lit without having wires attached so it depends on your definition of a mobile device.

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NASA: THE TRUTH about the END OF THE WORLD on 21 Dec

Mike Richards
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Re: not the end

'Frankly if people want to find a reason to worry themselves to death, suicide or otherwise, then they should be left too it and not have NASA waste their time wet-nursing them. Good riddance to their stupidity!'

What if they're kids?

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Mike Richards
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Re: @NomNomNom

'fair point - but then, being magical, it's probably invisible. stealthy like a ninja. so could be coming from any direction'

What if the planet's hiding in an invisible shed? We'd never see it - unless someone opened the shed door to pop out to the bathroom.

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Groupon chief Mason keeps his job - despite rubbish share price

Mike Richards
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I'm waiting for Groupon and Zynga to form a gruesome murder/suicide pact, then I can buy popcorn and watch the two spiral down the drain together.

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Microsoft braces for Surface RT feedback storm

Mike Richards
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Re: Not have had any hands on with the Surface RT I have no personal experience.......

Our office put in an order for an RT to evaluate its usefulness. It should have been shipped for release day. So far no Surface and Microsoft can't tell us where the order is - only that they took the money. And yes, dealing with the Microsoft Store is just as bad as you describe.

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Ten badass brainy computers from science fiction

Mike Richards
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Wait a moment

They want to remake The Forbin Project with Will Smith (and doubtless one or all of his endlessly annoying children)?

Doesn't this constitute a crime against art and humanity?

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RETURN of the PLAYMONAUT: El Reg's space hero suits up again

Mike Richards
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Re: says:

Now you've got me thinking (tragic - but it had to happen).

Aircraft pressurisation is lower than sea level which means the boiling point of water is lower than 100C - resulting in the tragic situation it is impossible to make a good cup of tea in a plane.

Unless we can invent a pressurised cockpit kettle/teapot.

Bugger the space race this is important!

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America planned to NUKE THE MOON

Mike Richards
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Re: Note on Sagan

Speaking of Carl Sagan...

he was one of the investigators on Project A119.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_A119

Not sure why this is news, it was declassified more than 10 years ago.

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Amazon makes BEELLIONS from British customers, pays pennies in tax

Mike Richards
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Re: Title here

Anyone know if Amazon warehouse workers are paid more than the upper limit for working tax credits from the government?

If Amazon workers are getting top-ups from the government then the taxpayer is helping subsidise the company's profits.

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New science upsets calculations on sea level rise, climate change

Mike Richards
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Re: If this is true...

If anyone wants it, the draft paper is here:

http://www.princeton.edu/geosciences/people/simons/pdf/PNAS-2012.pdf

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Boffin claims Bigfoot DNA reveals BESTIAL BONKING

Mike Richards
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Constitution

"Government at all levels must recognize them as an indigenous people and immediately protect their human and Constitutional rights against those who would see in their physical and cultural differences a 'license' to hunt, trap, or kill them,"

I assume Sasquatch will also have the constitutional right to bear arms - which would make the hunting season interesting.

Let's not overlook the fact that once recognised as human the Big Foot community would be the sort of back-to-basics, small-government, proud American voters that the Republicans need. And don't you think a sasquatch running mate would add gravitas to any Gingrich campaign in 2016?

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Girlfriend 'tried to MURDER ME with her AMPLE BREASTS'

Mike Richards
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One for our German speakers

"Treasure - I wanted your death to be as pleasurable as possible."

How romantic is that in the original German?

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Hefty beauty GAGA gets voluptuous new undercarriage

Mike Richards
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And when will you be slinging this under a balloon?

Go on it has to be done - air-dropped autonomous lawnmowers.

It's an untapped market.

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Sandy Island does exist - on a 1908 chart

Mike Richards
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Re: Tectonic activity?

'could the appearance and subsequent non-showing of this 'island' be somehow related to the local tectonics? The surrounding area is part of the 'ring of fire' for a reason so maybe the whole thing was formed, and destroyed by natural processes causing sand to rise and subsequently subside?'

Although the Coral Sea is adjacent to the Pacific 'Ring of Fire' it is a distinct geological body.

The sea appears to have been formed by crustal extension and subsidence of Eastern Australia during the fragmentation of an earlier continent (Zealandia). New Caledonia, (which is in the general region of where Sandy Island isn't) is another part of Zealandia and is depressingly geologically inert. Its north and eastern fringes are marked by the San Cristobal and Vanuatu trenches so volcanic and earthquake activity is concentrated in a sharp band along the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

There is a spreading centre in the middle of the sea but it is now extinct and my bumper map of all the world's geological wobblings shows no atolls or hot spots in that part of the ocean.

So IMHO, tectonism is out.

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Acid oceans DISSOLVING sea life

Mike Richards
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Re: They'll evolve

'CO2 levels were quite a bit higher (4-8x or more) during the Cretaceous so presumably the oceans were acidic and yet large amounts of chalk and limestone were deposited. '

By plants and animals that had evolved to cope with gradually increasing concentrations of dissolved CO2, not the sudden increase we're seeing now. There's also plenty of geochemical evidence that calcium ion concentrations in ocean water in the Mesozoic were at least twice those of today, so in some respects, carbonate formation was easier.

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Dogs would say: SIZE is IMPORTANT, shape - not so much

Mike Richards
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Re: I always wondered...

'Police dogs have been trained to do this since before anyone ran except criminals and people who were late for a bus. Seriously question. There are a lot more running people these days, often sweaty and smelling of nasty lycra. Doesn't that mess with the dogs?'

That sounds like an EPSRC grant application well worth pursuing. Your deliverables should be a paper, conference presentation, a lawsuit and YourTube video with laugh track.

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Just bought an Apple product? Need support NOW? Drop an F-BOMB

Mike Richards
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Call me back

Apple UK now have a 'call me back' system (like Amazon) which gets you a human being within seconds.

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Pakistan bans 'immoral' late night mobe deals

Mike Richards
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Re: Very sad

Sadly true.

Every sign of a failing state that is actively throwing itself into the abyss - with nuclear weapons.

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Why did Comet fail? Hint: It wasn't just the credit insurers

Mike Richards
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Re: OpCapita didn't fail

'Who said Gordon Gecko was dead ?'

Didn't he just stand for the Republicans?

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Mike Richards
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Re: "consumers stay away .. avoid dogged selling of extended and expensive warranties"

It's not just the extended warranties - it's the hard selling of peripherals, such as Monster cables that puts people off. My parents were conned into spending £80 on Monster HDMI cables by Comet staff. When they asked if cheaper cables were available they were told that cheaper cables would ruin the quality of the image on their new HDTV. Sadly, they didn't tell Comet where to stick their cables and walk out of the store. Instead they paid up.

When I found out I hit the roof and got on to Comet HQ - eventually getting to the then CEO. It was only his personal intervention that got a refund for the unwanted cable and an apology. Yet Comet continued to aggressively promote Monster over no-brand cables that were just as good.

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BRITISH BIGFOOT ON LOOSE in Tunbridge Wells

Mike Richards
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Re: Hmmmm......

He's been getting noticeably less hirsute over the last few years.

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AARGH! We're ALL DOOMED, bellows UN - right on schedule

Mike Richards
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'The issue here is resources - especially fossil fuels'

I suspect lack of phosphates and declining access to fresh water will do for us first.

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Why do Smart TV UIs suck?

Mike Richards
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Sony Bravia

I've got a 2.5 year old Sony Bravia whose remote control also controls a Sony amplifier.

It's not meant to. It just happens to.

Changing to the Blu-Ray input shouldn't mute the sound, switching to teletext shouldn't start the test tones - but it does.

Sony's response - oh that problem was addressed in the updated firmware for your tv (which has never been pumped out to existing sets). But you really should know that amplifier is discontinued, you should get a new one. Have you thought about the Sony....[click]?

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Kobo Glo illuminated e-reader review

Mike Richards
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Re: The review lost all credibility on line one

'From the photo it appears that the light on the Kobo Glo is less evenly distributed than on a PaperWhite, for example. Is that an artefact of the photography, or a genuine advantage of the Kindle technology ?'

I've got the Glo, a colleague has the Paperwhite, we put them side by side and displaywise they are very similar. Both have a slightly darker band running along the bottom of the screen and in the ones we examined the Kindle seemed to be slightly more even horizontally than the Glo - but it was marginal. The Glo was much brighter on maximum illumination than the Paperwhite, but the contrast suffered.

I've been very happy with my Glo and I can't fault either the construction or comfort in use. For £99 it's a bargain.

Oh and another thing in their favour, the Kobo developers are active participants on the various eBook forums.

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HP: AUTONOMY 'misrepresented' its value by $5 BILLION, calls in SEC

Mike Richards
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Holy crap!

That's a shocker of a story. It's hard to believe companies like that still exist.

Tell me things have got better since.

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Register boffinry confab: Mass debate on the Perfect Kilogram

Mike Richards
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Alternatively

We could just replace that horribly expensive lump of platinum with a bag of sugar.

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Kiwis demo DARPA-funded rocket project

Mike Richards
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Re: I seem to remember that the Kiwis...

'We need to keep an eye on our antipodean cousins - and not only on the rugger field...'

Don't worry they'll go after the Aussies first.

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Design guru: Windows 8 is 'a monster' and 'a tortured soul'

Mike Richards
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Whether you agree with him or not

Nielsen is actually reporting research conducted with users. Whether you agree with his opinions he is highlighting issues with products that designers would be wise to consider.

Personally I like not-Metro and haven't found it that difficult to get used to, but then I was one of the three people who bought a Windows Phone 7 handset.

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Telcos react coldly to renewed UK.gov smut-censoring push

Mike Richards
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'Labour MP Helen Goodman, who is the shadow culture secretary, recently displayed her woefully inadequate knowledge of installing software on a computer, which makes her brain go "bzzzz", apparently.'

Maybe they need to change the batteries on her New Labour era thought-control chip?

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Mike Richards
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The telcos should install the filter

And block the Daily Mail on the grounds that it has an unhealthy obsession with photographs of teenage girls.

Then see how long it is before the Mail changes its tune.

Actually a filter which *only* blocked the Mail would improve the world in so many ways.

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LOHAN to join mile-high club with BRITNEY or NAOMI?

Mike Richards
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Re: I'd vote for NAOMI

Well there you have it. The Reg is wondering what it should add to its review sections; publishing the effect of a well-aimed mobe (ranging from 'ouch!' through to 'quick trip to casualty and police caution') would set you apart from the competition.

'Whilst some would criticise the Lumia 920 for its large size and weight, our ballistics test (video below) shows that the handset is a new benchmark when settling disputes with the domestic help. Recommended.'

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Mike Richards
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Re: I'd vote for NAOMI

NAOMI should be reserved for a future project - such as determining the terminal velocity of a mobile phone.

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Galapagos islands bombed with 22 tonnes of Blue Death Cornflakes

Mike Richards
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You have hit the nail on the head

'Drop starving celebs on the island. Including hairy cornflakes.'

Who wouldn't want to see Nadine Dorries chasing rats around the Galagapos?

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Boss wrong to demote man over anti-gay-marriage Facebook post

Mike Richards
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Polygamy

'On a somewhat related matter -- I never understood why polygamy isn't allowed. Surely, if it's consenting adults...'

It's also permitted in the Bible.

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LOHAN to slip in sexy little black number

Mike Richards
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Oh that is awesome

But I think it was Playtex that used that slogan. In which case:

PLAYmonaut

Transport

EXtractor

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Mike Richards
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TART

Trans Atmospheric Remote Trigger

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ROGUE PLANET WITHOUT A SUN spotted in interstellar space

Mike Richards
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Re: Too obvious?

And another important question.

d) Is it coming our way?

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Mike Richards
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Re: Very strange stuff

It's very young so its going to be generating a lot of internal heat as it compacts under gravity and then differentiates according to density. And we're talking about an enormous amount of energy - the Earth obtained something like 2.5 * 10^32J from compression and another 1 * 10^31J during the formation of the Core.

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Mike Richards
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Re: Or...

Anorak primed.

I think you meant Mondas from 'The Tenth Planet' in which William Hartnell had a lie down and woke up as Patrick Troughton.

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Cawing retail vultures circle dying Comet, might rip some chunks off

Mike Richards
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Poor old Comet

Having Dixons come to pick over your retail carcass must be like being molested by a syphilitic hyena.

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Liberator: the untold story of the first British laptop part 1

Mike Richards
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Re: Cambridge Z88

Any chance of a detailed history of the Z88 in a future episode? That was a terrific little machine with so much potential.

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Plastic screen outfit teams with Epson to offer screen on your plastic

Mike Richards
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Brilliant idea

Now I can put my PIN on my card so I never forget it!

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LOHAN slips BRA over BOOBIES in ballocket backronym buffoonery

Mike Richards
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FLASHR

Firmware

Location

Altitude

Signalling

Hardware

Reusable

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