* Posts by Neil Barnes

2311 posts • joined 18 Apr 2007

Heroic German rozzers rescue innocent lamb from sordid brothel

Neil Barnes
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Windows

Re: breaking news : european dna

Don't be silly: the English have Saxon drugs 'n' rock 'n' roll.

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School's in for Chromebooks, Google's the top swot in class

Neil Barnes
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Just bought a Toshiba Chromebook II

Partly for the *excellent* screen, partly for the portability, battery life, and weight.

Now I've installed a Linux distribution (using crouton, with Cinnamon desktop environment, after jumping through a few hoops) I'm really pleased with it. It'll never be a power-user machine but it does simple development, plus all the internet stuff that I need and without the need to be connected all the time.

Though it's not something I'd recommend to the Aged Parents[tm] or even daughter who has used linux for years. As a chromebook it does suffer rather from the same problems that afflict android tablets: not everything I do is connected to the web.

And where's the bloody delete key? What imbecile decided that was unnecessary?

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New Windows 10 Build 10122 aims to fix file association hijacking

Neil Barnes
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Re: Joe Belfiore said there would be adware and spyware in 'start menu'

It's the same trick as supermarkets do: check your recent receipts for things you never buy and offer you vouchers for them: "Ah, you buy lots of fresh vegetables and meat: why not buy this hair product?"

I'm no great fan of Windows but the presence of adverts and helpful suggestion will trigger the same response in Windows as they did in Ubuntu: I won't use it.

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Neil Barnes
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Re: "Adobe’s PDF reader is better..."

I find Evince excellent, in most cases.

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Well YES, Silicon Valley VCs do think you're a CRETIN

Neil Barnes
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Re: Well,

But... but... but... toast is *essential* for the proper consumption of marmite.

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Neil Barnes
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Coat

They lose money on every one...

but they sell so many!

The one with "For carrying-on an undertaking of great advantage but no-one to know what it is!!" picked out in gold studs on the back, please.

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Twitter CRAWLS to Google ON ITS KNEES, starts blowing content

Neil Barnes
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Re: Did I understand this corerctly?

I am not convinced that there *are* any relevant tweets.

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Neil Barnes
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FAIL

Did I understand this corerctly?

I run a search in Google and get Twitter vomited upon me?

No thanks...

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Milking cow shot dead by police 'while trying to escape'

Neil Barnes
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The question is...

Where can we collect the beef, once it's been hung for three weeks?

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Ricoh rolls out electrifyingly exciting RUBBER!

Neil Barnes
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Paris Hilton

A shocking conclusion

Every condom electrically tested... ooer missus!

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Airplane HACK PANIC! Hold on, it's surely a STORM in a TEACUP

Neil Barnes
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Re: Err minor detail

And indeed, that is one of the safeguards: due to the built-in airgap, you can't hack a Boeing from and Airbus.

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Neil Barnes
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Coat

Re: Times sure have changed

Ah yes, the days of my youth: have toolkit, will travel. With screwdrivers, cutters, knives, soldering iron, wires, plugs/sockets and spare parts.

All in the carry-on.

Although there *was* that time, when I chanced to be on the last flight out of Delhi before a mid-air collision, flying into Tashkent with not one but two passports, when they had royalty on a state visit and I had a toolcase full of equipment... That was an uncomfortable couple of hours.

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You can't put a price on LOVE, says Apple after court's Samsung payout slash

Neil Barnes
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"...inventing products that people love, which is hard to put a price on"

Yet they seem to manage to find a price, each and every time, and quite a high one, too.

Probably they have to sit on a mountaintop naked while they meditate about it.

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Right Dabbsy my old son, you can cram this job right up your BLEEEARRGH

Neil Barnes
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So you can rule out her being called Clair Voyant.

I knew you were going to write that...

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Neil Barnes
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Pint

Re: Working in the movies...

I have known some colleagues for over thirty years, spoken to them daily, remembered their names... and forgotten them the minute one or another of us has changed department. I have difficulty even with household names (e.g. news reporters and presenters that I worked with for years). On the other hand, I can remember the pinouts for chips that I used twenty-five years ago...

While working in the United Nations building in New York (as you do) I bumped into John Prescott - whom I had last spoken to at least ten years previously in a different bit of the BBC entirely. "Eyup Neil, how's it going?" as soon as he clapped eyes on me.

I guess that's why I'm an engineer and he's a politician.

So a beer to all my old colleagues whom I have cut, ignored, slighted, or otherwise offended by not know knowing their names. It's not my fault, honest! I still recognise your faces.

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Lightbulbs of the future will come with wireless extenders and speakers

Neil Barnes
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Muzak muzak everywhere

nor any sound to think...

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4K refresh sees Blu-ray climb to 100GB, again

Neil Barnes
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Re: out of interest...

Can't comment on 4K Netflix - but grabbing the opportunity to rant about the quality of 'HD' cable TV in Berlin, which I see when I vist the kids and the granddaughter... and every time I see it I have an urge to wander down to the provider and knock some heads together until they *at least* double the bitrate. Probably just as well I don't know who the provider is!

When an HD system provides a worse visual experience than an out-of-focus PAL signal, there's something wrong... and when the viewers have been condititioned to accept this as 'good because it's HD' then there's not a lot of point waiting for 4K because it's going to be even more compressed to buggery on the common distributions.

Yes, there are high-bitrate sources available, but if you just want to watch the telly, I can't help feeling you are being done a disservice.

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Neil Barnes
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Re: Why?

Never mind the quality... feel the width.

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It’s Adobe’s Creative Cloud TITSUP birthday. Ease the pain with its RGB-wrangling rivals

Neil Barnes
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Re: Paint Shop Pro

I stopped using PSP at around version 5 - version 4, if I recall correctly, had an image size limitation (and was I think a 16-bit application) and version six was incredibly slow in comparison to 5. It was one of the few shareware programs which I've considered worth paying for - but they never did a Linux version and I moved pretty much full time to Linux at that point.

I've also never found a graphics program for generic photo use that has a waveform monitor equivalent. I lived in the video world for thirty-odd years and to my mind, histogram data doesn't do the same job. A waveform monitor is a bit more subtle: the overall luminance of the image is shown and the position across a line or across the field (vertically) is also indicated; the brightness of the trace shows how much of the image is at that level. http://www.studentfilmmakers.com/enews/images/camera_test_7.jpg

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Back to the Future: the internet of things as imagined in 1985

Neil Barnes
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Boffin

But it *must* be wonderful

It has a blue LED...

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UK safety app keeping lorries on the right side of cyclists

Neil Barnes
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My sport is paragliding - you should hear the complaints when I land on a motorway!

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Neil Barnes
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"getting drivers a street-level cab"

Now that's an interesting approach I hadn't heard of or considered previously.

Observation of other road users - and probably my own reactions, too, though I prefer low cars as a rule - seems to suggest that the higher the driver, the less considerate they seem to be of other road users. I wonder if it's just because from a higher vantage point, a lorry driver (or a large 4*4 driver) can see further ahead over other traffic and thinks less of the vehicle immediately in front of him?

Bringing the cab down to car level might increase the lorry driver's sense of vulnerability, which seems a logical way to persuade them to drive further than four feet from my bumper, as well as allowing them to look sideways...

Of course, if they feel vulnerable, they might not want to buy the lorries in the first place.

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BARMY bio-boffins are growing DINOSAUR SNOUTS on CHICKENS

Neil Barnes
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Re: Whilst I obviously welcome our Dino-chicken overlords...

But they *still* taste a bit like chicken.

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Infosec bods demo GPU keylogger. Don't tell the NS... oh, wait

Neil Barnes
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Coffee/keyboard

Oh you cycnic...

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DEEPENING MYSTERY of BRIGHT LIGHTS on dwarf world Ceres

Neil Barnes
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Re: A new world - new puzzles

Tars Tarkas approves of this message.

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Lies, damn lies and election polls: Why GE2015 pundits fluffed the numbers so badly

Neil Barnes
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Re: Shy Tory

Indeed. I will not reply to a pollster, without exception.

I see nothing good from a poll, and plenty of bad; wait until Friday morning like the rest of us have to and the answer will be clear.

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Neil Barnes
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Re: "Shy Tories"

Quite. Proportional representation is exactly the opposite of the system we have now: vote for a party instead of a local representative. Remind me again to whom I should complain when I am unjustly jailed, or something similar?

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Neil Barnes
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We don't vote for parties...

which renders the whole thing of opinion polls somewhat pointless.

We vote for a local representative, whom we feel best suited to represent our local issues. It is only because these representatives claim a party affiliation that the party can claim any kind of majority.

So even if we are a rabid party member, and vote for the party of our convictions come what may, we're *still* only voting for a local member. To be honest, I'd like to lose the party thing completely; it skews any semblance of sanity from the system and requires our carefully selected candidate to follow the party line, come what may. Let's see more loose coalitions!

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Mildly successful flying car crashes - in mildly successful test flight

Neil Barnes
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I suspect the only way to do it is to replace all the fuel with parachute. Two problems: a 747 weighs around four hundred tonnes, and it's moving at maybe six hundred knots. The deceleration alone from a chute would probably break the plane in half, and if it did stay intact you want to get the impact speed under five metres a second or so, a mahoosive chute.

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Neil Barnes
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Paris Hilton

Re: As the old pilots used to say...

I'm still trying to classify my paraglider crash unexpected diversion from controlled flight eight years ago: it took me a month before I could walk again (and three more before I could walk well) and yet the aircraft was undamaged...

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NASA plans electrolysis-powered ROBOT EEL for Europa's oceans

Neil Barnes
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Pint

Less of a robot squid

Than an electric eel, then?

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Extreme community policing: West Virginia crook pepper-sprays HIMSELF mid-robbery

Neil Barnes
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FAIL

Take this, there may be danger...

oh, wait...

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So what would the economic effect of leaving the EU be?

Neil Barnes
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Re: "how stupid will British economic policy be if it does leave the EU?"

Thing is, when a 'normal' company fails, those hurt are the employees, the creditors, and perhaps people with work by the company half completed. One assumes the directors will have salted their, er, pension funds away somewhere where they can't be touched...

With a bank, you as a user are *not* an investor. The bank has undertaken to borrow your money, on an incredibly low rate of interest, with the aim of making more money through loans and investments of the actual shareholders - who should take the hit if it goes titsup.

The point is that governments for *years and years* have pushed saving and using a bank as a model of probity; to the extent of requiring that for some transactions it is almost impossible without a bank account. And since most people don't understand that money is an abstract concept, and not something you can scratch a window with, the government is responsible both for persuading people to load money to the bank *and* failing to ensure that the directors and staff of said bank behave in a way which keeps that abstract concept safe. That seems a reason for a government to guarantee, at least for personal users, that the bank should not be allowed to crash.

Though in such a case, the people making the decisions should be explaining there and then what and why they were making them and possibly be doing hard time as a result. It may be a game for the big swinging dicks of the finance markets but it's not for granny who saves a tenner from her pension every week.

(Of course, the gummint's money is, of course, *ours*, but let's not get tied down in technical details.)

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Going up hills past blokes with coke-bottle legs: The Smart E-bike

Neil Barnes
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Pint

Archway hill

I remember cycling up there, though not with any particular fondness.

Too steep, too long, too hot, too cold, too wet, too many busses trying to hurry you along.

I could trigger the speed camera going down it, though.

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ALIEN HUNT: Water similar to life-bearing Earth lakes FOUND ON MOON of Saturn

Neil Barnes
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Pint

I find myself

Utterly impressed at what can be inferred and deduced from a billion kilometres away, just by watching with the right sort of instrument.

A pint for these fine boffins, who are probably feeling thirsty after that salty ocean.

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NSA spying is illegal? Then let's make it law, say Republicans

Neil Barnes
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Re: Where did he learn his use of analogies?

Oh indeed. Here I have (had) the choice of three major parties (two, or possibly one, after last night's showing) all of whom want to cheerfully slurp everything they can. Because terror.

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Neil Barnes
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Re: Where did he learn his use of analogies?

Emigrate.

Oh, wait, they'll still be watching, because now you're a potential enemy alien.

America used to be such a nice place. Now I really don't want to go there any more.

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With FTC suit looming, AT&T backs off on throttling 'unlimited' data plans

Neil Barnes
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Headmaster

Re: Yeah, well, to fair....

All you can eat restaurant - but the plates get smaller and smaller...

'Unlimited' is such an easy word to understand for *everyone* except telcos. I blame the modern education system,

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Citizens denied chance to vote in local-government IT cockup

Neil Barnes
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@Paul Crawford

Yes, I was trying to look at things from Ukip's point of view, but then I had to go and bleach my brain.

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Neil Barnes
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Stop

Well, if Ukip have their way there will be no undesirables remaining...

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Neil Barnes
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Windows

I fear, m'Lud, that the ink used in our official quills has faded.

Or a mouse ate the papers.

Or something.

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Weird ARCHAEAN LIFE FORM found at 'Loki's Castle' DEEP beneath Arctic Circle

Neil Barnes
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Eukaryon with your research

Bravo. +1 for the subtitle writer.

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Why don't you rent your electronic wireless doorlock, asks man selling doorlocks

Neil Barnes
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Re: Just who needs 'smarthomes' ?

I want mine to be warm when I'm there, a little cooler in the morning and warmer in the evening. A 'be at 20C by 05:30' is overcomplex; the difference is presumably that it changes the start time earlier or later slightly depending on the ambient temperature? It's a difference without a significant distinction: if the temperature has not reached 20C when I want it, it's a degree or so cooler and the heating is still on; if it has, then the thermostat has turned it off.

Consistency is not, for me, a driver; the efficiency difference I would have to measure to see whether it was worth it, but I doubt it.

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Neil Barnes
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Paris Hilton

Re: IoT Doorlocks...

@Credas - quite: it's a solution to a problem that exists only in the minds of the marketeers... we have perfectly good, robust, understood, and well-tested solutions to such problems as:

- closing the curtains

- maintaining house temperature

- checking if the fridge has anything in it

- locking the door

- turning the lights on and off

and many other delightful non-problems. While I appreciate, and indeed applaud, the design and the technology that allows us to play games with coloured lights or remotely access the fridge interior, that's all they are: games.

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EU geo-blocking: Ansip's crusade liable to disappear through 'unjustifiable' loophole

Neil Barnes
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Re: Hang on a sec...

The second scenario has arisen, in the past, within the BBC itself: when it sold BBC Technology to Siemens, it was impossible for ex-BBC Siemens employees, even those like me who were working on iPlayer, to see the external UK view of the site since Siemens' IT was routed through Germany.

Easily solved, of course, but annoying.

Though as previously stated, the desire is less within the BBC to restrict viewers to the UK than the requirements of the rights holders, particularly for live sports and music events but not only them, who get all soggy and hard to light over territoriality and repeats.

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EC probe into murky cross border e-commerce kicks off

Neil Barnes
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Headmaster

Re: re: Language

As above; I'm native English but can stagger through conversations in German, Portuguese, and Spanish - and I'll have a go at anything until the natives' ears bleed... but I wouldn't trust myself to read T&Cs in any of those other than English. (And to be honest, even then I'd be a bit dubious.)

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Neil Barnes
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Why don't I buy cross border?

Because I live on a bloody island with a different currency from everything outside that border. Even if we stipulate flat exchange rates, the postage and delay does it every time.

I want instant interwebs gratification, and I want it *now*.

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PEAK PC: 'Most' Google web searches 'come from mobiles' in US

Neil Barnes
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WTF?

Re: Similar results

There's an unpleasant side effect: sites are starting to appear which are definitely leaning to a small portrait screen, rather than a large landscape screen. Large letters, loads of white space, minimal text.

Thanks. Just what I wanted.

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Hey devs! Confused by EU privacy law? Pull out the FLASH CARDS

Neil Barnes
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Headmaster

On the other hand

They were doing oh-so-well until they included the faux-word ideation.

There was really no excuse for that.

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It's beers and bacon all round for our Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse

Neil Barnes
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Pint

May I add my own thanks

Both to those who supported directly, and those who have purchased either paper or electronic copies of my book.

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