* Posts by John Robson

1580 posts • joined 19 May 2008

Uber Australia is broke: 'We don't pay tax because we don't generate revenue'

John Robson
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Re: It beggars belief...

Interesting - but is a driver who, for instance, accepts a fare each way on their regular commute acting as an enterprise?

I'm not entirely convinced that they are - it's just a dynamic, and large, car pooling service.

Obviously if you are just driving around all day grabbing fares then you are operating as an enterprise...

How far out of your way do you have to go to become a taxi rather than a car share?

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Car radars gain sharper vision after ITU assigns special spectrum slice

John Robson
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Re: Interesting link

Can your eyeballs penetrate fog? Not really.

Why assume that this is the only system available - advantage of sensor arrays is that you can easily design a few of them - 79GHz, and optical, and IR, and???

Some might not work very well in fog, but between them they will easily exceed the capacity of the plasmic scanner available to the current control system...

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BitLocker popper uses Windows authentication to attack itself

John Robson
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Re: Sadistic?

- Is that, typically once a quarter, really so insufferable?

Once a quarter? Try every 30 days (i.e. not quite aligned to months)

Particularly when you normally work remotely (at a client site) and therefore don't get any warnings of password expiry...

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Child abuse image hash list shared with major web firms

John Robson
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MD5 Bad....

PhotoDNA - I hope it's somewhat better...

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California cops pull over Google car for driving too SLOWLY

John Robson
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"Without valid reason..."

So you are suggesting that conforming to the Californian regulations for their vehicle (which was in California at the time) wouldn't be a valid defense if for some odd reason they chose to prosecute a purely Californian case in Germany???

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CloudFlare drinks the DNSSEC kool-aid, offers it on universal basis

John Robson
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Re: Trust is supposed to be a two way street

That's why there is LAV (Look Aside Validation) - so you can have alternative checks of the key's validity.

It's a bit like saying that IPv6 hasn't been fully deployed so we shouldn't bother

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John Robson
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Re: All I want to know

No - and it doesn't make you coffee either...

It alows you to verify that the record you just got back from your query to theregister.co.uk was indeed signed by The Register, as authenticated by ".co" as authenticated by ".uk" as authenticated by the root.

Given that you visit frequently you can also use a preload or triangulationto further verify that the cert chain hasn't been tampered with.

You could of course add DNSCurve to secure the request/response to/from the DNS server you spoke to, but they probably keep logs anyway.

There is no reason DNSSEC cannot be used with DNSCurve - and you can add preloads and triangulation, amongst other things to provide further verification [more importantly to increase the cost of an attack, since that is all we can ever really do]

When diud you last clear out the 600+ certificate authorities in your browser?

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John Robson
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DNSSEC does provide a decent chain of trust though - you can see who you are trusting in the URL, no need to check that the cert isn't issued by a dodgy elbonian authority.

It could also allow a sideband transfer of HTTPS certs, allowing those certificate chains to be combined into one, easily visible chain of trust.

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Thin Client Devices Revisited

John Robson
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I use a thin client...

an iPad - add mouse support and they are great little devices.

I access a full fat Linux desktop running in a virtual frame buffer usinf X11VNC over a VPN tunnel.

The fact that it happens to be on a VPS in some far off datacentre doesn't ever seem to cause an issue. Of course I'm not doing anything too challenging on it...

When I contracted for the NHS they had CAROL (Computer Access Regardless Of Location) and it was nice to disconnect in one office, drive home, then 6 hours in the other direction and sit down at a random desk to the same desktop, with the applications still running....

I did manage to kill it once (I went to IT and suggested that I might, and could I have a test server - It'll be fine they said. When 20% of the office got simultaneously disconnected they gave me a test server)

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Your taxes at work: Three hours driving to turn on politician's PC

John Robson
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Really - there wasn't a cleaner or anyone else in the building...

...that she could have asked what colour the light was?

I'd have suggested she grab someone off the street to check the colour. I am presuming that this is before the days of camera phones, where a simple picture message of the light would have done the job...

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US military readies drone submarine hunter

John Robson
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Re: WTF, ok i may be a little late to the party but !!!

Alot of salaries on a destroyer..

Random destropyer picked on wikipedia - 35 officers, 218 men.

And that ignores any consumables...

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Virgin Media whines about Sky's customer service claims, ad watchdog agrees

John Robson
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Re: Why only private companies

Apparently three people disagree and think that collisions are better at higher speeds. I just hope they don't get trusted with a couple of tons of metal with a significant power plant in it on a regular basis.

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John Robson
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Re: Why only private companies

Speed is however a massive factor.

It increases the energy involved in any collision. Since the energy is proportional to the square of the speed even relatively small speed increase makes a significant increase in the energy brought to the scene.

It decreases the time available to react to any situation - whether that be a mechanical failure or a human failure on your own or someone else's part. It also increases the distance required for that reaction to occur - compounding the difficulty.

Obvioulsy travelling at 30mph (relative to what?) doesn't kill, but the energy which does kill people is readily available at speed, and judging by the number of road deaths each year is beyond the capacity of many people to reliably control...

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John Robson
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Re: Why only private companies

Take GoSafe who run the speed cameras in North Wales and areas of England, all material they produce states "we don't hide cameras", "speed kills"; both claims have been proven to be untrue or cannot be proven

Find me an accident that would have killed someone if noone had had any speed - speed kills... Obvious innit.

(Yes, I know it's the sudden stop - or the sudden start in the even that you hit someone else, which is more likely at high speed than low)

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E.ON fined £7m for smart meter fail

John Robson
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Re: And for customers who say "sod off"?

230MW isn't much compared with the grid overall, but it is still 230MW which we don't need to be supplying...

I might have to get myself a natural gas powered generator for blackouts...

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John Robson
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Re: And for customers who say "sod off"?

"But can you see both meters from the kitchen and do they give readings using your current tariff in pounds and pence?"

No - but that doesn't stop me turning off the lights, and leaving various items on standby - because I'm happy to burn a few watts continuously in the name of convenience.

A few watts will take hundreds of hours to become a kWH, at which point it costs me somewhere in the region of 10p, depending on the time of day. I don't need to consult a screen constantly, because I've done the sums and am happy with them....

I'll guarantee one thing - the new meters will take more power than the old ones did.

Whilst *I* might not care too much about 1Watt over a few million installations that adds up and that's several MW the grid now has to find.

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John Robson
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And for customers who say "sod off"?

I have stuff running on mains - you can switch my meter live if you must switch it at all...

I don't need a new meter to tell me that I am using electricity - or how much.

The current one already does that. No supplier has read it in years because I supply readings periodically.

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Royal Mail mulls drones for rural deliveries

John Robson
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Where we're going, we don't need a letterbox...

Just drive through the wall...

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What the Investigatory Powers Bill will mean for your internet use

John Robson
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Assuming HTTPS - then yes. But since they can just issue a warrant for those logs anyway (assuming a UK server)

My only point was that NAT isn't a perfect anonymisation tool as implied in the article. There is alot of information leakage...

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John Robson
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And which machine is in use behind NAT can be inferred from UA headers etc. Which can easily be enough to ID a user...

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Microsoft Band 2 wrist watchers in pay-first-ship-much-later rage

John Robson
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Re: How much?

That looks like a sum, so I get $900 for getting one of these?

I might even be tempted at that price

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Lithium-air: A battery breakthrough explained

John Robson
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Re: Oxygen makes things burn brightly

Yes - because obviously we camn't vent the oxygen into the atmosphere.

Apollo 1 had a high pressure pure oxygen atmosphere - not quite comparable...

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End in sight for wireless power standards war as field shrinks to two

John Robson
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I sometimes carry a pair of laptops, pair of phones and my tablet between home and work - I consider that to be massively excessive, but it's useful occasionally

Carried cable count: 0

I have a docking station and charger for the laptops at work, and a pair of chargers at home.

The phones both take MicroUSB, one lasts 10 days, the other 2 - so they very rarely need charging at the same time, but there is a cable on my desk and by the sofa.

The tablet takes a proprietary connection - and there is a cable for it at work and at home.

When I go on holiday I'll normally take a USB charger and one of each cable type... Maybe take two (one for me, one for the wife)

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Skype founders planning non-drone robodelivery fleet. Repeat, not drones

John Robson
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Re: @John Robson Mast Needed

@ Turtle...

I drive a recumbent most of the time, and a flag or mast makes neglibible difference to visibility to motorists.

I dont' see many flags/masts here: Google images

I've been commuting by 'bent for 7 years now, and my worst incident occured when I had colourful 2" wide 6' long kite streamers on a fishing whip and an 18" england flag at the driver's eye level as well as being lit up like a proverbial christmas tree. The driver looked straight at me and failed to see me...

The issue is that motorists look for cars, not clear tarmac. That's why there are so many "SMIDSY" incidents with motorbikes, cyclists and pedestrians. If you claim you can't see this box-on-wheels then how do you avoid concrete blocks in the road?

How do you avoid dogs?

How do you avoid children?

Besides which this thing would only occasionally be crossing a road, so most of the time it should be safe from motorists, except that they can't seem to keep between the kerbs - motorists in the UK kill 40-60 people a year on pavements (this even excludes crossings where the pedestrian has priority)

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John Robson
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Re: Mast Needed

Yeah - because motorists can't see the white lines on the road, or the cats eyes between lanes, so how will they see anything taller than that?

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Time Lords set for three-week battle over leap seconds

John Robson
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Re: Why stop there?

@NumptyScrub - Metric, for all it's faults, is far less confusing when trying to learn the various measures; just learn the SI prefixes and you are good to go with mass, length, and volume right away ;)

Well, except for units of mass...

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John Robson
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Re: Why stop there?

Wow - I made two typos ;)

356.25 is close enough to convey the relationship I mean... If I typed 3.14 then you'd be able to fill in the rest.

The missing day is because I don't work on Friday (pick one at random)

Awkward was missing a "w" - That usually gets typed on that Friday....

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John Robson
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Boffin

Re: Why stop there?

60 and 24 are actually nice numbers - they have many useful factors.

That 364.25 is akward, but is the relationship between two fundamental properties of the planet (at the moment, one of those properties is gradually changing)

Yes - I know (hope) you were being sarky, but too many people blindly agree with that kind of nonsense...

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John Robson
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Sorry - GMT wasn't recognised as *the* prime meridian until 1884

So it's only 130 years old...

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John Robson
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So basically

We are having a discussion to decide whether to keep a time standard that has only existed for a fairly short time (1765 - so less than the 600 years we are worried about into the future).

Yes, I'd like Greenwich to continue to be the centre of time, but it is just an arbitrary point on this roughly spherical planet. It isn't even at 0 degrees according to the shperoid used by GPS (no idea what shperoid is used by GLONASS/GALILEO etc)

Given that we can measure the variation in day length caused by the wind on the mountains - is "high Noon" really important? Cornwall is already 15 minutes "out", so we're talking about "High Noon" moving by ~600 miles in ~600 years (at our latitude)

I'd do away with BST as well, we could all agree to get up an hour earlier or later during some months if we really want to... Office hours are 9-5 in the Winter and 8-4 in the Summer. There, how hard was that?

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'iOS 9 ate my mobile broadband plan'

John Robson
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Re: Are you listening MS ?

You leave the tethering on by default?

Why?

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John Robson
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Re: I don't have a 'cellular' setting..

This - the toggle should be at the TOP - with all the other monile data options.

Why would it be so far "below the fold"?

It's an idiotic design decision...

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Joining the illuminati? Just how bright can a smart bulb really be?

John Robson
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Re: .re: Even if you want this...

@Charles Manning - It's really no more stupid than $150/metre gold speaker cables with $4000 speakers on the ends. The sound isn't any better than speakers and wire a tenth of that price.

That really depends on how much you've spent on the acoustics of the room (well, it does for the speakers, if not the cable)

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ITU rubber-stamps '3D' audio format

John Robson
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Re: Mono

And it is a single speaker - it just has more than one driver.

In the same way a battery is usually composed of multiple cells.

A disc is made of many platters.

etc...

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John Robson
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Mono

A single driver cannot be coaxial - because it has nothing to be coaxial with....

Of course it would also be a massive compromise in terms of frequency response - a decent multiple driver coaxial mono speaker with good crossovers is a nice bit of kit though ;)

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How do you create an SLA and status page for the whole internet? Meet IANA: Keepers of DNS

John Robson
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Re: Root hints...

It only has access to the root servers, they have access to the root zone, and tell me the "next step" DNS server to contact.

I don't use the root zone *file* at all - that's the job of the root servers, which are accessed via the root hints file (which is very rarely updated - and usually changes have at least a six month lead time, so you can reasonably update once every six months.)

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John Robson
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Root hints...

...file is even smaller and more useful - although the root key is also useful at that point.

I've *never* had to use the root zone file - because root hints gets me to that information without having to update it any time elbonia decide to update something...

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'Death star' reaches out invisible hand, rips planet apart

John Robson
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Re: Now, that is something

So aroudn a dwarf star a dwarf planet is called a planet, not a dwarf planet?

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Wait a minute, Doc! Are you telling me that you built a self-driving car ... out of a DeLorean!?

John Robson
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That's the best...

description of rally driving I've heard in a while, and an excellent piece of research - I can't wait for autonomous vehicles to start drifting round mountain hairpins that currently take a three point turn for most people...

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Some like it hot ... very hot: How to use heat to your advantage in your data center

John Robson
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My "data centre in my loft" used to get so hot...

...that the rubber feet on the keyboard melted into the top of one of the PC cases.

Only occasionally the CPU temp alarms went off (set to 85) despite all CPUs being maxed out by SET@Home, and the loftspace was seriously toasty!

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Bug-hunt turns up vuln in LibreSSL

John Robson
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It doesn't stop - because the bad guys don't stop either...

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Volvo to 'accept full liability' for crashes with its driverless cars

John Robson
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Re: this issue will get solved eventually

Surely the only way premiums wouldn't drop is by cartel?

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John Robson
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Re: Risky strategy at first

The record will become longer than a typical human will ever manage within months, maybe faster.

A typical human might drive for 70 years...

So if you sell 12*70 cars = 840 cars...

Then they'll take 4 weeks to accumulate a lifetime's experience - in fact the test program has probably already gained more than a lifetime's experience!

Added to that is the fact that the early adopters won't be the elderly ladies who run them down to the shops once a week, but the salespeople who do 35-50k miles/year, and want to make phone calls on the journey - the time taken to get HUGE experience will be trivial.

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John Robson
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Re: How do these cars cope with motorcyclists?

They are MUCH better at doing so, pedal cyclist, pedestrians and other cars as well.

Horses, concrete bollards, ambulances with Blues and Twos going - all more likely to be spotted by a self driving car than a meatbag

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John Robson
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Re: Questions that bugs me....

How do you tell? You edge round iff safe and stop if not.

Of course with more driverless cars the one that is stopped, defending a collapsed person, it can tell the car behind...

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John Robson
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Not all that brave...

They know what their cars are doing - and can therefore insure against that.

Their first insurance policy will be quite pricey - but it will rapidly come down in price...

As for theft - how do you steal a car that will drive itself back home?

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WIPO punts Cambridge University over attempt to grab Cambridge.com

John Robson
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Re: Land grabbing

Meh - There'll be a cambridge there as well - co.ms.us - or whatever the mass 2nd level domain is.

com isn't appropriate for a huge number of the domains therein.

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John Robson
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Re: Land grabbing

Why should one random Cambridge in the US get the "commercial" domain - why should the UK cambridge have a company domain?

Surely there is a .co.us for the larger Cambridge in the US (although again - why is it considered a company), and maybe there should be a reversion to type for domains - there is no reason that everything has to be a ".com", not everything is commercial.

maybe cambridge.council.uk

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El Reg keeps pushing Apple's buttons – its new Magic Keyboard

John Robson
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4/5 - maybe

Does the key marked "1" produce the number "4" when pressed - that's the only excuse I can see for this score...

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Playmobil cops broadside for 'racist' pirate slave

John Robson
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Re: The bigger problem:

I sometimes try to build one of the "official" designs of lego that we have, but it never lasts long... about 5-6 pieces is a good run (excluding when *I* get bought lego, in which case it gets completed at least once before being distributed into the kids lego box...

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