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* Posts by John H Woods

1403 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

Could this be Google's slick new touchscreen Chromebook?

John H Woods
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Headmaster

To be really pedantic ...

... its is not an exception to the rule. "Its" doesn't have an apostrophe for the same reason that "yours", "hers" and "ours" don't: they are possessive pronouns. The easy way to remember this is to remember how you would spell "his" -- an apostrophe would obviously be incorrect.

An even easier rule is to never to put an apostrophe in unless you are absolutely sure one is required - its quite possible to pass off an unintended omission as a stylistic choice, whereas the spurious apostrophe cannot be so justified.

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The truth on the Navy carrier debacle? Industry got away with murder

John H Woods
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Re: Why bother?

Thanks! Now I can't get rid of the mental image of de Kirchner's face as she sees the entire of Mainland GB hove into view from over the horizon.

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Why you need a home lab to keep your job

John H Woods
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Re: But if this cycle continues

Can you offset the cost of these things against tax if you are a regular PAYE employee?

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Android gets tipsy on Wine, runs WINDOWS apps

John H Woods
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Re: Daniel Palmer

As a performance engineer, I completely agree. And they should be forced to execute their unit tests (on client-sized PCs) against production-size DBs.

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Bring out your dead: Reg readers reveal filthy, filthy PCs...

John H Woods
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I opened a Sun workstation once ...

... inside was the standard anti-static warning on a Sun label. Underneath was a further label, in neat handwriting, attached, I presume, by a previous tech. It posed the following riddle.

Before, dear user, you hoover this horrible dusty mess, answer me this question:

What's the difference between a Vacuum Cleaner and a Van de Graaf generator?

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First video inside thinking fish's brain captured by boffins

John H Woods
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I thought it was well known what pets think...?

Dogs: "These people feed me, they must be gods"

Cats: "These people feed me, I must be a god"

Fish: "OMG THERE IS FOOD! FALLING! FROM! THE! SKY!"

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Oh, Sony, you big tease: Mystery PlayStation reveal date set

John H Woods
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Re: I already have a PC

I bought my two boys parts for a budget games PC (AMD K-5 based) and we overclocked it to half way decent 3Dmark score. What I didn't realise was how much more expensive the games are. Because, thanks to Steam, I appear to have to buy two copies of every game now.

Unless I'm wrong, in which case I would be very much obliged if someone could put me right.

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ESA proposes 3D printing on the moon

John H Woods
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Re: more techo-wanking

Repeating it might not be enough. You probably need to address the points that (a) this article indicates that liquid isn't that important and (b) there may be enough liquid on the moon for what we need to do anyway.

I do like your idea of a CNC router, but I think 3D printing will also be useful, and I'm not sure why you seem to be so annoyed by it. Of course there's hype, but behind most hype there is at least something worth talking about.

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I watched Excel meet 1-2-3, and beat it fair and square

John H Woods
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Re: Improv

Actually, it became Quantrix. Download a 30 day eval copy and blow your mind, just by following the really good intro doc that comes with it. THIS is how spreadsheets should be, tables with sensible column names like Item, ItemPrice, Quantity and Subtotal, and rules like Subtotal = Quantity * ItemPrice, Total = Sum(Subtotal).

I'm not sad Excel beat 1-2-3. But Improv should have at least made people aware that there is a better way than 'stretching' elementwise formulae over ranges.

Honestly, if you have 10 mins, and you like this sort of thing, check out Quantrix.com. Unfortunately I could never persuade my company to buy it.

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Greedy Apple told it can't triple Samsung's $1bn patent payout

John H Woods
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Re: No such thing as bad publicity

"while i wouldn't buy another sammy TV after the last one died at 14 months old.."

Did you ask them to fix it? When my 8+ year LCD packed in before Xmas, I phoned Samsung - just for advice on how repairable it was. They asked me for the S/N and when I told them they said they had had an issue with bad caps on some PSUs on that model. Long story short, free engineer visit and, shortly afterwards it was repaired for free.

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Squillions of bytes in one cup of DNA

John H Woods
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Obligatory ...

http://www.gnu.org/fun/jokes/dna.html

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Google's Larry Page: MY SECRET TO VAST WEALTH, SUCCESS

John H Woods
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Re: Modest

Agree 110% about Google Docs.

In what other word processor would it be acceptable for the *pagination* in the print out (downloaded PDF) to differ significantly from what was displayed when you were editing? I don't care whether the fonts look that similar, but for the pages to be different is totally unforgivable.

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Smarm-bot Siri seeks side-splitting script-writer for charm transplant

John H Woods
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Re: Does this relate to...

Becky O'Donohue - one of two gorgeous twin sisters (the other is Jessie). I don't think either of them is really Siri though.

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Google's JavaScript assassin: Web languages are harder than VMs

John H Woods
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Re: Not so much

I agree with you, but this is less true with properly OO languages, where differences in syntax hide a much bigger underlying similarity in function. Look at Smalltalk - in one sense (class libraries) it is absolutely enormous but in another (syntax) it is minute - it doesn't case statements, if-then-else or loops.

The only thing wrong with Smalltalk bytecode is that it was not secure, and that was, if I recall, one of the underlying principles of Java bytecode design (not that it worked completely). A standard bytecode into which a bunch of different OO languages could be safely compiled would be a wonderful thing.

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Google files patent for eyewear that SHOOTS LASERS

John H Woods
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Was excited because I misread the headline...

... thought it said "...shoots lawyers"

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Microsoft to end Windows 8 discounts on January 31

John H Woods
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Upgrade = Full

You can 'allegedly' use the upgrade as a full licence

Strategy 1)

a) Download Win8 prerelease beta from some torrent site

b) Use upgrade on that

Strategy 2) - more Lulz

a) delete your disk partitions and install your upgrade

b) now you have a copy of Win 8 that won't activate

--- with the stern message that your licence was only for upgrade purposes

c) now upgrade that inactive install with the same upgrade

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El Reg's 'Chuck Norris' faces down charging elephant

John H Woods
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Re: An alternative unit of Force

* with regards to scaling here, more thought required.

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MEGAGRAPH: 1983's UK home computer chart toppers

John H Woods
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Re: A technical question

This has got to be the worst graph I have seen for a while, will add to my collection of 'how not to present information'. The raw table with the sales figures would have been vastly better, and whenever raw data is easier to interpret than a given visualization, the visualization is a total waste of time.

"Crunched the figures" -- yes, virtually to oblivion. Publish the figures, and a dozen commentards will provide you with better graphs.

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Samsung ordered to cough mobe sales figures to world+dog

John H Woods
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Re: um

Downvoter might like to check their facts. I was never a fan of the short scale, but it has been used officially by the UK government since 1974.

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John H Woods
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Re: um

It's a billion dollars. A billion pounds would be slightly more - not much, because long scale billion is not used for UK currency. Or for much else, tbh, but it very definitely is not used for pounds sterling.

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How an Amazon engineer's slip-up started a 20-hour Netflix cock-up

John H Woods
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As with the NatWest disaster ...

... it should not be possible for a single engineer to wreak this kind of havoc: systems like this should be resistant even to deliberate malice. Your engineer could be tired, inexperienced or unwell. But they could also be a saboteur working for a competitor, an employee with a grudge, a criminal who is going to hold your system to ransom or even an out-and-out terrorist.

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Making MACH 1: Can we build a cranial computer today?

John H Woods
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Interesting...

... primarily in that such piss-poor prose can qualify as great sci-fi, even if the content is startlingly interesting. Almost makes Harry Potter look like part of the Western literary canon by comparison. Of course, I may be reading it wrong ...

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John H Woods
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Re: Memory is the second thing to go

Remember you can train the brain ... so the interface may not be as tricky as you think, the wetware is much more flexible than the hardware. For instance, with the brainport, a 2D array of electrodes is placed in the mouth. It doesn't take too long before blind people wearing one of these devices report a phenomenon very much like seeing.

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UK games market clutches chest, bleeds out sales in 2012

John H Woods
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Re: Just a thought...

... also, in retail stores the price of new games reflects time elapsed since release rather than quality, and it is only once they are on the pre-owned shelves that any relationship between price and quality is apparent.

When the games are new, however, they are often cheaper in the supermarkets than in the specialist stores. It's almost as if the latter don't want to compete ...

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It's JUST possible, but Apple MIGHT not make an iWatch in 2013

John H Woods
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Devil

When I was at school ...

... we had this joke:

A man is at the airport catching a flight to Germany, when he meets his boss flying back from Japan. Hi Mike, says the boss, how are you? Mike has a few minutes before his flight, so he goes up to the boss for a chat. Putting down a couple of heavy suitcases the boss says, you gotta look at this, and shows Mike the most amazing watch he has ever seen. Got it in Tokyo airport, says the boss. It has a Z80 processor and 16MB of RAM [remember this joke is at least 30 years old], and if you press this ... a tiny aerial pops out and the color display starts showing BBC news.

Now Mike is a real gadget freak and is green with envy. But his boss is really nice, and says - look, Mike, I'm back in Tokyo next week. Why don't you have this, I'll grab another one? Mike is ecstatic; strapping the watch on he goes to his flight, which is now being called - only for his boss to say "wait a minute" - points at two massive suitcases - "don't you want the batteries?"

It is somewhat ironic that this joke predates mobile phones.

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Steve Bong's 3D printing special Xmas showcase

John H Woods
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This was funny ...

... but if anyone thinks 3D printing is hype, watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQ-aWFYT_SU&noredirect=1

If you don't think the action at 3:00 minutes is magic, you don't belong here :-)

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The year GNOMES, Ubuntu sufferers forked off to Mint Linux

John H Woods
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Happy

On the off-chance any of you missed it ...

... this has to be one of the funniest Ubuntu bug reports I've ever seen, (complaining that 'grep' does not automatically search Amazon):

https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/command-not-found/+bug/1055766

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Steve Jobs' Apple yacht freed after family settles the bill

John H Woods
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whose butt hurts?

One does not not need to be able to purchase a thing to form an opinion on its aesthetic qualities. One does not necessarily say something is ugly because one has a beef with the people who created it or to whom it belongs. What is irrational, however, is to assume that the only reason someone can have for criticising something is that they couldn't afford it themselves.

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That square QR barcode on the poster? Check it's not a sticker

John H Woods
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Re: Do you follow every random URL you encounter?

But I agree with Lee Dowling - you SHOULD be able to follow any URL without compromising your device. The fact that you can't is simply due to the fact that a lot of browser security sucks.

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Parliament to unleash barrage of criticism on Snoopers' Charter

John H Woods
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Mushroom

It's about trawling, not about process.

Your are not telling me that any remotely compent national security agency does not have a good few moles embedded in telcos, Google, Facebook etc. If they want data on any single person, I bet they can get it in minutes without going through any formal processes whatsover.

The only purpose for a dragnet this big (and this leaky) is to hoover through vast quantities of data to see if anyone is doing anything wrong - or, even better, to ensure that when the government do want to go after someone, there's a previous record of them having done something "wrong" like watching internet porn or visiting suspect sites.

I'm sorry to keep saying it, but we used to be prepared to risk nuclear war to avoid ending up in such a sick, surveillance society.

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Sir Patrick Moore

John H Woods
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Will never forget ...

... on being asked why he had never married (Desert Island Discs, I think) he mentioned his fiancee, Lorna, who drove ambulances in WWII. Unfortunately she was killed by a bomb and no-one else was ever good enough. Such a profound expression of loss in such a blunt statement.

I think he was a truly remarkable man, made more so by his blissful ignorance of his own greatness.

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'Facebook is completely undreamt of even by the worst spying nation'

John H Woods
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Re: Hypocracy

I agree. I'm not sure I would be very pleased if I were a shareholder in a company that decided to make millions of pounds less profit that it could. Whilst I think Starbucks should be paying more UK tax, the fact that they aren't is a failure of UK law, politicians and tax collectors.

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Stallman: Ubuntu spyware makes it JUST AS BAD as Windows

John H Woods
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Re: As an impartial observer

"It has been interesting to see the amount of bickering and disunity exhibited here."

I think that might be your confirmation bias. I certainly never trust anyone who declares themselves impartial. My impression, reading this forum, that there is broad consensus that RMS is a bit nutty, but often says true stuff, and that Canonical did a bad thing with their Amazon integration. That may of course be my confirmation bias.

If only there were some way of telling which of us were nearer the truth ...

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Major £30m cyberheist pulled off using MOBILE malware

John H Woods
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Funny how almost every malware issue ...

... designed to make money for criminals is targetted at the most popular, and therefore most profitable platforms.

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2020AD: Space tourists will be FOUND ON MOON

John H Woods
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Space tourism ...

... the ultimate tax on the super rich?

They want to enjoy amazing experiences, so they're happy to pay. We want better space infrastructure, so we're happy to oblige. If there's any better form of individual taxation, I'd like to hear it.

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Apple, Samsung patent judge: 'I feel like I'm in Groundhog Day here'

John H Woods
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A jury of their peers...

... wouldn't that be composed of representatives of other tech / phone companies rather than individuals? I really cannot see why a jury of laypeople is necessary, or even desirable in cases like this.

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The best tablets for Christmas

John H Woods
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Re: There is no 'Best' device any longer

You can replace your Maglite bulb with LEDs. You can't generally run over the knockoffs in an artic and still expect them to work.

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John H Woods
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Re: What about the no-names?

I agree and disagree. Yes it would be nice to know about no-name brands, but no, I wouldn't necessarily trust the Supermarkets. Although many will accept returns on things that are not what you wanted, they are not under anything like as much legal obligation as mail order companies, who must take something back, opened or not, faulty or not, if you just say you don't want it.

In fact I have often seen things in shops, whipped out my phone and ordered it from their own online store. Most recently some Beats from HMV (and they were cheaper). Oh I should just say they are for my fashion conscious daughter, before anybody says anything...

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Explosion of DANGEROUS IT GEAR injures and CRIPPLES MEDICS

John H Woods
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Re: I'll get downvoted, but...

Thanks for your replies, guys.

I would agree that Dvorak doesn't necessarily make you any faster, but it does make typing a lot easier for many of us. Because of my job I tend to have enough access to most of the machines on which I am required to work to remap the keyboard. I don't need to move the keys because I touch type (it's a great way to stop casual farting around at your terminal, because colleagues cannot commandeer your keyboard). Also nearly all HR will support your right to take your own keyboard in for health reasons (with the added bonus of better hygiene!) and you can quickly plug it in.

But whatever happened to chording? A long time ago I had a colleague who could take dictation at conversational speed on a Microwriter with his hand in his pocket. There's got to be a better way of entering text, especially for mobile devices.

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John H Woods
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I'll get downvoted, but...

... ban Qwerty already!

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Microsoft's anti-Android Twitter campaign draws ire, irony

John H Woods
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A lot of Malware is a billing problem

I don't worry about premium SMS or calling because I run my phone as PAYG. Every month I spend 15 on a 300min, 3000sms, ayce data. Any attempt to dial a premium number or send a premium message then fails because they are not covered in that bundle. Surely it's not beyond the bounds of possibility to have contracts that have similar properties?

How about a core-level setting for android that meant that premium numbers require user confirmation, regardless of whether they are initiated by a user or by an app?

I realise there are other ways to compromise a phone, but I'm pretty sure we aren't yet even doing the easy things that would make life harder for the malware creators.

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Start the clock! Public sector web MUST be disabled-friendly by 2015

John H Woods
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Re: 100 meeeeellion?

(ducks to avoid arrows)

Probably better off jumping?

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

John H Woods
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Re: Bad dinoboffins!

@code monkey - who's to say it wasn't purple?

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The Times offers subsidised Nexus 7s to get subscribers

John H Woods
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Only one news paper worth subscribing to ...

... Private Eye.

Especially because you then have an excuse to write to them to say you are disgusted about something and you are cancelling your subscription.

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John McAfee 'captured'

John H Woods
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Re: I bet he used ReiserFS

Apparently he killed her because she got FAT. (Too soon?)

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Who's using 'password' as a password? TOO MANY OF YOU

John H Woods
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Re: ¡Hola!

Random hex is fine, as long as you remember it effectively shortens your password by at least 2 bits per char.

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

John H Woods
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FTFY

"The people who say they’re for this bill need to look refugees, veterans, survivors of the holocaust; descendants and relatives of those who fought in WWII etc. in the eye and tell them why they’re prepared to give the police the powers they need to turn the UK into a police state"

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