* Posts by Adam Foxton

763 posts • joined 16 Nov 2007

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You know how that data breach happened? Three words: eBay, hard drives

Adam Foxton

Whatever happened to

just hitting the drive repeatedly with a hammer until the casing is buckled and PCB smashed? It's quick, effective, and great stress relief!

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Manchester cops to strap on 3K bodycams

Adam Foxton

That's not too bad

Anything visible from the street is publicly visible anyway.

It can easily be thwarted by curtains, blinds, clothes horses, some sort of legal indoor foliage, or anything else not optically transparent.

As other have said, the worry is when they turn it off. Why even give officers that ability? Storage is cheap and something like a mobile-phone-grade camera reading onto an SD card would take sod all power to run.

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First successful Hyperloop test module hits 100mph in four seconds

Adam Foxton

Re: Concorde

No, Concorde was the British version.

We dispensed with the American's vulgar evacuated tube concept and simply added wings and engines to get it to a height where there was naturally sod all air.

This also allowed it to travel rather a lot faster than a Hyperloop, take off and land all over the world without needing to lay new track, operate alongside existing infrastructure, and for a bill of £1.2Bn rather than $6Bn.

Its passengers also didn't suffer the G-force issues Hyperloop passengers will, and had access to what was described as a 'surprisingly large' selection of drinks. If it was still in operation it'd also no doubt have wifi, which will be in short supply inside a big steel tube in a bigger steel tube.

So Concorde looked better, was faster, more flexible, more practical and pleasant... and we built it about 50 years ago. A more elegant solution from a more civilised age.

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'I hacked Facebook – and found someone had beaten me to it'

Adam Foxton

Re: Shhh!

Nah, it's not the classic injunction- it's just the SQL

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MH-370 search loses sharpest-eyed robot deep beneath the waves

Adam Foxton

Re: At least they know where THAT is

Quite possibly. If they're towing it subsea it'll have a USBL beacon on it, hopefully rated to the full depth of the water column they'll be in.

For some reason no-one fits this sort of thing to aircraft flying over huge water masses, though. It's a shame as we'd have been able to find at least part of the plane in no time at all.

The question with the tow fish is 'would it be worth recovering?' though. SAS kit is expensive, but then so's hiring in a 6000m rated ROV, vessel, etc before the battery runs out!

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Donald Trump wants Bill Gates to 'close the Internet', Jeff Bezos to pay tax

Adam Foxton

These are people of the land. The common clay of the New West. You know...morons.

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Terrorists seek to commit deadly 'cyber attacks' in UK, says Chancellor Osborne

Adam Foxton

There is another alternative

The issue isn't so much the data streaming out of these facilities as the possibility of sending commands into them.

So the 'internet' connection should just be one-way. Just take the data being fed out of the systems and feed it into a web server box via RS232/RS422/something similar. And then cut the Tx line(s) from the webserver to the computer it's monitoring.

Et voila, instant perfect security; it physically cannot be hacked into.

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Big mistake, Google. Big mistake: Chrome OS to be 'folded into Android'

Adam Foxton

A chrome android?

Yes, Impirious Leader. By Your Command.

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HTC in crisis: How did it get to this point? How did it get this bad?

Adam Foxton

Re: Nice hardware, crap management.

Amazing battery life?! Only in that I was amazed at how terrible it was on mine, barely eking out a workday.

That's when I swore off HTC, despite buying 8 of their smartphones from 2004-2010 as better and better devices were released. My two Samsung Galaxy Notes (one either side of the HTC one) have performed better for longer. And have a removable battery and external storage.

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Cambridge boffins: STOP the rush to 5G. We just don't need it

Adam Foxton

Why does 5G have to be faster?

Why not have the 5G specification focus on lowering power consumption, signal range, etc rather than just headline speed?

Okay, they don't get to advertise it as "15,000,000x faster than wax cylinder" or whatever, but it does mean that the standard would be a valuable addition

If it's backwards compatible- or at least can be implemented on the same silicon with a firmware update- then all the better!

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Your servers are underwater? Chill OUT, baby – liquid's cool

Adam Foxton

I use oil-cooled electronics daily- it's been common for cooling and waterproofing subsea kit for decades, I'm amazed it's considered such a new idea by you guys- and they clean up nicely. Just remember a non-conductive contact cleaner. Even Limonene or alcohol based ones are good if the equipment won't be powered on for a while!

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Gremlins in the first six months? It's the seller's problem – EU court

Adam Foxton

Re: Nothing new

Existing law in the UK, yes. But what about the rest of Europe? Anyone able to update us on how this affects the other however many countries would be covered by the ECJ judgement?

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Silk Road boss Ross Ulbricht to spend LIFE in PRISON without parole

Adam Foxton

Re: Take a good look

Actually the cartels are an example of what happens when drugs are illegal

Their weapons come from the necessity of defending themselves against armed police enforcing laws created by self proclaimed hardasses...

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DEEPENING MYSTERY of BRIGHT LIGHTS on dwarf world Ceres

Adam Foxton

Re: Ceres bright spots iluminate without sun light

Rather than just insulting you, how about a little educated guessing?

The bright spots are bright. Really, really bright. Ceres' albedo is below that of our Moon but not by much, and on the moon the reflected sunlight is incredibly bright- that's why there are no stars in photos from the moon, the brightness had to be lowered that far to stop the cameras being swamped that the pinpricks of light became invisible.

Now look at the photo. Its actual brightness would be like looking at the sun through a slight cloud- still retina-searingly bright. It's clearly had its brightness lowered (or more likely the sensitivity of the camera was lowered). That dull-grey looking surface is very bright indeed. The really reflective spots are even brighter as they're reflecting far more of the sunlight.

When the brightness is juuust right for looking at craters etc, the reflective areas are still substantially above the maximum brightness that the camera can record- hence the brilliant white appearance. And they're so much brighter that the camera finds them off-the-scale bright even when they're not in direct sunlight.

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Ha! Win 10 preview for Raspberry Pi 2 pops out of the Microsoft oven

Adam Foxton

Really?

Microsoft released the .NET Micro Framework- free-as-in-beer and open-source under Apache 2.0- almost 6 years ago, allowing .NET code (okay, MOST .NET code) to run on anything from tiny ARM microcontrollers (anything with >256kbyte Flash and 64k RAM) up through mobile devices, through PCs and on to massive hyperscale Azure deployments.

They've also not set the lawyers on groups like the open-source Mono ".NET on non-Windows platforms" project, either (indeed they're now actively helping them), so that code can be run on Android, iOS, OSX, loads of flavours of Linux, UNIX.

As for their Windows range of OSes, CE/Compact have been about for years on a variety of platforms. It also provided the basis for their older Windows Mobile platform and the (terrible) new Windows Phone platform.

So no, Microsoft doing things with ARM based devices isn't exactly anything new, and neither is their fondness for developers.

I'll just leave this here for a laugh too... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8To-6VIJZRE

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Chinese 'Superphone' manufacturer declares war on Apple

Adam Foxton

Re: Chinese And Hitler ? Wong

Does he have a sibling with a similarly Nazi-ish name?

If so, could the two Wongs make a Reich?

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KABOOM! Billionaire fingers dud valve in ROCKET WIBBLE PRANG BLAST

Adam Foxton

Re: Call in Scott and Alan Tracy!

That's because the vertical-takeoff Thunderbirds landed on ground. SpaceX have already done that.

Plus, when landing they dropped onto a catching apparatus. Which is what SpaceX needs, actually- something to catch the underside of the rocket and fasten it down.

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Astronomers battle plague of BLADE-WIELDING ROBOTS

Adam Foxton

Re: Astroturf

Not quite

I have a job that requires lots of travel for short periods of time, so when I bought my house I tore up the lawn and replaced it with AstroTurf.

I've since done no maintenance to it, what with it being UV resistant plastic and all, but have recently found that it's covered in weeds!

Gardening with a bucket of weedkiller once every 2 years isn't much of a problem, I guess...

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Sony nabs cloud gamers OnLive, administers swift headshot

Adam Foxton

What, like having to choose between being able to use a linux installation on your console or having it locked down to be a dumb gaming rig, even when when sold it included both features simultaneously?

Sony has form on this sort of thing. The sooner people stop buying Sony products the quicker they'll learn.

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It's the FALKLANDS SYNDROME! Fukushima MELTDOWN to cause '10,000 Chernobyls' in South Atlantic

Adam Foxton
Joke

Even nuclear reactor rods

Even nuclear reactor fuel rods are pissed with how the Argentinians treated the Top Gear team.

Let's hope they don't find out what''s happened since or they'll be popping up in the middle of Chipping Norton in... òh, about exactly a year today.

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Nesting falcons interrupt £200m Vodafone 4G mast upgrades

Adam Foxton
Joke

Re: World’s fastest bird

But just imagine the packet droppings

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'What don't we want? Robots. When don't we want them? Ever.' Anti-droid hipsters hit SXSW

Adam Foxton

You can't uninvent something

And you can't keep something from being invented- especially something like intelligence which could emerge from a complex system.

So we should push forwards as fast as possible. Crash through the barriers. Accept that we'll develop dangerous things, and trust that by having us- the technically adept though potentially amoral- develop it early society can take advantage of the good aspects and identify- and counter- the dangers as early as possible too.

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Forget viruses: Evil USB drive 'fries laptops with a power surge'

Adam Foxton
Happy

A salt and battery

What Electronic Engineer worth their salt hasn't already though of doing this, far past that basic description?

Didn't BOFH do this many years back? Except with a Laptop full of batteries?

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HAWKING ALERT: Leave planet Earth, find a new home. Stupid humans

Adam Foxton

Re: There's Nowhere To Go

@AC The guy's talking about murdering 3 billion people as a first step and you're criticising his religious views?!

Lowering the earthbound population without nigh-genocidal actions could be accomplished by simply moving us somewhere else. Then there's space and resources for everyone.

It's an engineering challenge then, nothing more. And if there's one thing Humans are good at it's solving engineering challenges.

Unfortunately as well as Engineers and Scientists we also breed the sort of short-sighted retard who think that success is bred in Gigadeaths.

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You'll NEVER guess who has bought I Taught Taylor Swift How To Give Head dot-com

Adam Foxton

Re: Asking for trouble...

Or ITaughtTaylorSwiftHowToGargle... and well, that opens up a few interesting choices of its own!

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Is it humanly possible to watch Gigli and Battlefield Earth back-to-back?

Adam Foxton

Pearl Harbour sucks.

Team America agrees.

http://youtu.be/_pM8PrqY5Rg

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Police radios will be KILLED soon – yet no one dares say 'Huawei'

Adam Foxton

Re: Why change the system?

I was thinking that. Unless you're sending photos or video 7kbit/sec should be sufficient.

If they were equipping the police with live helmet cams or drone downlinks or something like that then it could make sense to use 4G. But why would you tie a power-sucking frivolity like that to the officer's main method of communication?

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Star Wars: Episode VII trailer lands. You call that a lightsaber? THIS is a lightsaber

Adam Foxton

Re: Apparently the big meme so far

For EpIV special edition, Lucas had a bunch of rocks added to cover R2 when he's hiding. It looks ridiculous when you think about how he got into.this space in the first place...

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Adam Foxton

Re: That lightsabre...

"Your anger mays you strong. Let the hate flow through you, don't hold back. Let it goooooo, let it goooooo! Can't hold it back anymoooooore!"

"We're sending you to Hoth." "The cold never bothered me anyway."

"Do you wanna be a Sith Lord? Come on lets go and train. The Light Side it can be a bore, but the Sith is more, powerful everydaaaay"

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This 125mph train is fitted with LASERS. Sadly no sharks, though

Adam Foxton

Re: Good, but not good enough

You're moving along at 125mph, and producing a phenomenal amount of wide-band noise. Plus with steel rails and pulsing through the air there'd be multipath errors galore- the steel can conduct sound faster and re-radiates it efficiently so you can get 'phantom' readings.

Sonar isnt practical on trains. Laser measurements maybe, but high frame rate optical measurement is probably easiest.

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Apple on the art of the deal: 'Put on your big boy pants and accept the agreement'

Adam Foxton

That just means the followers change tactics

In the main, this seems to be by inventing things before Apple...

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Faster, Igor! Boffins stuff 255 Tbps down ONE fibre

Adam Foxton

Re: Pfffft !

Obligatory Futurama quote: "Those things are all from the 19th century"

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SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION

Adam Foxton

Re: I find this report...

Missiles tend to operate in the air, so with view of a lot of satellites. If one of them was looking out of sync with the others it's likely just discard that satellite.

Also, missiles use inertial nav, star-fixes and other such techniques for nav rather than just relying on GPS. Otherwise a simple GPS blocker would have them dropping out of the sky.

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Judge nukes Ulbricht's complaint about WARRANTLESS FBI Silk Road server raid

Adam Foxton

Theres a right against self incrimination

Shouldnt the Feds be working on the principle that SOMEONE- the owner- has a personal privacy interest in that server?

Or that warrantless hacking of a computer system is plain illegal? That's why we have warrants for things- it means they're allowed to do this thing that would otherwise be illegal.

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Google ordered to tear down search results from its global dotcom by French court

Adam Foxton

How about a war metaphor

If I want to destroy a city, I don't start by bombing cartography offices. Erasing every map reference in the world for a city doesn't affect that city except making it harder to bomb in future.

The courts should be mandating the removal of the information, so long as it's incorrect or untrue. Removing it from Google does nothing to remove the data.

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You don't have to be mad to work at Apple but....

Adam Foxton

Re: The same podcast?

I hate to feed trolls, but pinch-to-zoom was demoed long before the iPhone was released... IIRC it even worked on some single-touch phones.

What messaging functionality was copied? Texts predate the iPhone, as do emails and IM. And mobile video calling. All by a decade or more. Conversation views were done to death by the time it was released, the keyboard-with-a-magnifier/indicator thing had been done on phones before. You could get all the functionality of a modern iPhone- albeit a little slower- on a top-end smartphone from 2006, 2007ish.

As with the mouse and... well, anything else technical they're known for, Apple just copied what was done before and shouted about how innovative they were. They are, however, good at making pretty things.

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Coming to a theater near you: the TETRIS MOVIE

Adam Foxton

why goes it have to be the game?

If memory serves, Tetris has a convoluted international story about its copyright. Throw in some peril (rampaging lawyers, armed russian gangsters (well, KGB) Enforcing the copyright) and you could have a decent drama movie. Maybe blocks falling into place as the link to show that an action is done and you're moving on. Fades to cities crated by falling blocks arranging to make the city's skyline then fading in the buildings.

The Lego movie wasn't about lego, it was about a small boy's creation. ai don't think they used the term Lego once in the film. And it was still Awesome. Tetris could do the same.

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Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights

Adam Foxton
Joke

Re: @Vimes

It's the world of Tech.

We don't need Wat Tyler, we need Watt Tyler!

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Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week

Adam Foxton

That would be brilliant

Also creating subsidiaries called Micro$oft (corporate accountancy) and Microsloth (either small animals or home automation for the really lazy). Just to wind up the trolls as they havent got a joke to make...

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Stray positrons caught on ISS hint at DARK MATTER source

Adam Foxton

Re: Pedant alert

But when you're referring to a mob you're referring to a singular subject- the mob. Same with Set- It's a collective noun that allows you to refer to its members as a singular rather than a plural.

So 'these mob' is nonseneical, but 'these mobs' would make sense if you had multiple mobs.

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Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables

Adam Foxton

Re: It would be pretty hard

I frequently cut back and reterminate armoured subsea cables, and work with subsea HV systems as part of my job (going round the world fixing ROVs).

Onshore this would be a pretty simple operation (aside from the safety implications of working on live multi-kv electrics) to undertake.

Subsea it would be a lot harder, but the pressure and water aren't the significant problems. The difficulty comes from the lack of human hands and eyes and brain doing the job, but a couple of million dollars in sensors and actuators and hydraulics would get round that problem. It's far from impossible.

You can take it for granted that this happens. Fortunately they're secretive government types, so they'll want to keep it hidden. If they developed it in-house it likely didn't cost you that much :)

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Adam Foxton

It would be pretty hard

With a sub or divers. But with a dedicated ROV + custom tooling you'd be able to do it in any depth.

Remove the armouring at 2 points with a grinder (standard practice when cutting ROV umbilicals, which are km-long kv-carrying electric/fibre cables, and easy enough to automate)

Surround the 2 sections in oil, held very slightly above ambient pressure (cheap to do)

Abrade away the plastic sheath around one conductor. The oil prevents it shorting to seawater. Connect to it a surface-mounted jumper wire. Repeat for the other conductors.

Repeat at the second position, and join the jumper cables in the middle with a wet splice. Et voila, you've got a jumper for the power. You can now cut the conductors somewhere in between them and, so long as your jumper is correctly specced, no-one will know.

So you cut and intercept the fibres at your leisure. Fusion splicing is quick and cheap (well, sub-10k for a small unit. Cheap on a SpecOps budget) and introduces very low losses. Pass your data down the adjacent fibre you rent on this cable, or take your fibres off as single strands (so they'll snap off if the cable is recovered, with the remains hidden under marine growth).

Re-seal the cut-apart section and re-lay everything layer by layer.

Remove the power jumpers and relay the armouring, welding the ends back together.

The whole operation could take a few minutes with appropriate automated tooling and practice. The total disruption to the fibre could be under a minute with appropriate planning and equipment.

Even manually, reterminating armoured subsea umbilicals like this can be taken down to well under an hour if you're using a fusion splicer for the fibres. It's essentially the same process except without the power jumping (as it's turned off at the time).

Do it close to a booster and a cable guy onshore with an OTDR would barely notice.

It's not just possible that they could have done it, it's plausible that they do it semi-routinely.

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It's official: LOHAN's arboreal avoidance algorithm is PANTS

Adam Foxton

Re: I'm glad that LOHAN has PANTS

To make sure it could also do with a round of Bureau Electronic Longevity Tests.

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Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?

Adam Foxton

Re: MORE regulation might help the situation

Thats as may be.

But if I had the £250k to buy the stocks and shares I wouldn't need a mortgage, would I?

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Wearables market set to EXPLODE... Wait, is that a STRAP-ON chair?

Adam Foxton

Can't help but notice

In their video the guy working the production line is stood still next to that production line for a long time.

Wouldn't installing a chair / stool / bench / other non-person-mounted sittable make more sense in this context?

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May: UK data slurp law is fine, but I still need EMERGENCY powers

Adam Foxton

"genuinely about making sure that the existing powers remain in place."

Even assuming that what she said is true, given that those powers they're trying to maintain were just declared illegal, shouldn't May and Cameron be getting arrested about now? Or at least getting various enormous books thrown at them for contempt?

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ISPs 'blindsided' by UK.gov's 'emergency' data retention and investigation powers law

Adam Foxton

Re: DRIP...DRIP....DRIP...

the next act is going to be called "THINEDGE"

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SpaceX FINALLY lobs six sats into orbit (don't mention the landing)

Adam Foxton

Re: "(aka kaboom)"

"Boeing is pleased to announce that the first of it's new range of reusable rockets has successfully operated it's self-dismantling systems. This breaks the housing up into 325,000 small tiles which can be washed and used as drinks coasters- hence 'reusable'."

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LG unfurls flexible SEE-THROUGH 18-inch display

Adam Foxton

Really useful

Years ago I had an old TFT screen (An LG, as it happens) and found I could remove the polarisers, backlights, etc to leave more or less just an LCD panel with a bunch of electronics connected to one edge.

Which left me with a semi-transparent (we're talking at most 20% transmissive) panel that I blu-tacked to a window.

When hooked up to my PC it meant I could see the weather forecast and see if I had any Outlook appointments or if it was safe to stay in bed. Nowadays it could be hooked up to a hugely increased number of services and data feeds.

It had two problems, though:

(1) Without a backlight it only worked during the day. As an emmissive tech this would be far better.

(2) Anyone could see what was on the screen. Not a problem in a 10th floor flat, but it's none too practical in my new house...

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Google starts selling Glass to Brits – for £1,000 a pop

Adam Foxton

Re: No symetrical frames

Three well-collimated lasers, giving you a proper Predator targeting system

Or a single one and have a choice between pretending you're a Borg or a Shark :)

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