* Posts by Neil Barnes

2719 posts • joined 18 Apr 2007

I want to learn about gamification but all I see is same-ification

Neil Barnes
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I just bought Snakes and Ladders for granddaughter.

On a proper cardboard board, with genuine 3-d effects.

Does that count?

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Patriotic Brits rush into streets to celebrate… National Cream Tea Day

Neil Barnes
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Unhappy

Re: “tea before milk”.

Sob: no more Lester to chastise me for my degenerate Lapsang Souchong ways.

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Holy Crap! Bloke finishes hand-built CPU project!

Neil Barnes
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Pint

Re: 16 bits? Nicely done!

Indeed. I built a couple of 8-bitters, but (a) I used gates in little boxes with legs on, instead of those tripod thingies, and (b) 16 bits looked like a step too far (though it *would* have simplified some things!)

A pint, sir.

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Late night smartphone use makes women go blind

Neil Barnes
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Boffin

Wait a minute...

You're temporarily blind, in one eye, when you're in bed and *in the dark*.

Why do you care?

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Cloudian clobbers car drivers with targeted ads

Neil Barnes
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Flame

So how long

before we can purchase targeted ad-blockers?

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Bees with numberplates will soon be buzzing around London. Why?

Neil Barnes
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Thumb Up

Re: An old Tom Digby song comes to mind...

Damnit, you beat me to it. Though I know it from its inclusion in a Larry Niven novel - A World Out Of Time.

Have an upvote!

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You lucky creatures! Mammals only JUUUST survived asteroid that killed dinosaurs

Neil Barnes
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Boffin

Re: Yep, there's a huge difference between ''wiped out" and "nearly wiped out".

But, but, surely the big dinosaurs went extinct because they were too heavy for the trees? When they climbed the trees to lay their eggs in their nests, the trees fell over and broke the eggs, no?

This whole meteorite tale is just a theory.

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Lester Haines: RIP

Neil Barnes
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Malaria No More

Tara Sherjan, of Malaria No More, has asked me to express her sympathies to Lester's family and friends, and to say that her thoughts are with them at this very sad time.

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Neil Barnes
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Pint

Damn, that was not good news.

Tonight, a pint.

In the morning, bacon.

And perhaps a quid a day for the rest of the week.

RIP me old mate, and condolences to Katerina, Sean, and the rest of the family.

p.s. it might lighten things a little if I report that our last emails were on the subject of computer controlled catflaps...

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Dad of student slain in Paris terror massacre sues Google, Twitter, Facebook for their 'material support' of ISIS

Neil Barnes
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Re: What a wanker

Logically, the people whom he should be suing are the terrorists.

I seem to remember that terrorist groups have managed perfectly well *without* the internet: its absence doesn't seem to have slowed down, for example, the IRA, the Mau-mau, the Stern Gang, or any number of other folk with a grievance and an attitude throughout history.

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BOFH: Follow the paper trail

Neil Barnes
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Re: Pens...

Dilbert interviewing a baby engineer: "I have thirty-five pens and pencils here. How many are really required to do your job?"

"All of them."

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The Microsoft-LinkedIn hookup will be the END of DAYS, I tell you

Neil Barnes
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Stop

Re: HR rejoice! Now y'all can just ask Cortana who to hire ... good luck with THAT one!

Already done.

You have to change to the 'old' config page to find the 'account' section indicated in the first google 'how to' hit.

Now I wait to see whether the data did actually go away. Ah well, there wasn't a lot there anyway.

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Oooooklahoma! Where the cops can stop and empty your bank cards – on just a hunch

Neil Barnes
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Paris Hilton

Re: wait....... what?

>> And that's before you look at overdrafts and the like.

Hmm. I wonder if you could put your overdraft on a card, buy a cheap car, and take a motoring holiday in Oklahoma?

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Redmond adds malware, phish warnings to Bing

Neil Barnes
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And what does it show

For a Windows 10 update page?

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TeamViewer beefs up account security after rash of PC, Mac hijacks

Neil Barnes
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Re: So for v10?

Thanks - as you can tell I don't use Windows much.

Now I need to work out how to talk the old man through it while I can't see his screen... Hmm.

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Neil Barnes
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So for v10?

Did some experimentation last night: me with a linux box and my father's machine on W7, with the 'use as required' executable. Neither of us have an account at TV.

1/ until the remote end is executed, my end advises me that the remote is unavailable (I have the remote user number from previous sessions)

2/ when the far end wakes up, I get the request for his passcode, delivered by phone

3/ at this point, I can drive his machine

4/ while connected, there are three TV services running in the windows running program list (I forget what it's called)

5/ after disconnecting and closing the remote end, there is still one TV service running.

6/ trying to kill that service appears to re-spawn it

So what's going on here then? It looks as if there's something running (though my father may well be misreporting!) which isn't announcing availability but doesn't want to go away.

On my linux box, once the program is stopped, there's nothing left showing in ps -ax

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Unicode serves up bacon emoji

Neil Barnes
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Re: What's wrong with ASCII?

Thee and me both. If you're going to give me bacon, bloody tell me; don't expect me to recognise the same symbol that has been printed on hand driers for years.

Emojis have no place in the writings of civilised people.

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Computerised stock management? Nah, let’s use walkie-talkies

Neil Barnes
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Re: Stock Control

How does that work then? The gap between passing the place where the bananas ought to be and getting to the checkout sans bananas can be at least a quarter hour, and if the missus is being particularly inquisitive at the shelves I get bored at, maybe a half hour.

Unless I've just gone in for bananas, of course, but usually I visit once a week and want everything.

#Yes, we have no bananas, we have no bananas today!

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Smartwatches: I hate to say ‘I told you so’. But I told you so.

Neil Barnes
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Re: how to make it useful

Blood sugar. Pulse rate. Blood pressure.

In order of importance (to me).

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TeamViewer denies hack after PCs hijacked, PayPal accounts drained

Neil Barnes
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Re: But... TeamViewer doesn't *require* an account, does it?

I had the same kind of query: my parents have a teamviewer executable on their windows boxes which is fired up only when they are (by phone) talking to me, theoretically. Neither of us have a TV account, so every time it's used it's necessary for them to tell me the pass number.

I'm assuming that when TV is closed, it's leaving nothing behind running?

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ISS pump-up space podule fully engorged

Neil Barnes
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Paris Hilton

Re: Anyone else read this:

Bouncy walls, zero g, mixed crews? What's not to like?

(I hope the psychologists sorted the right friendliness ratings!)

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Which audio format sounds better?

Neil Barnes
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What?

dB is a measure of relative power. Double the power, increase the dB by 3.

Years of empirical testing - real people, real ears - have established that a 3dB change in power causes the smallest change in volume that most people can detect. 10dB approximately doubles the perceived volume.

As an aside, dBv is a measure of the ratio of voltages and is commonly used when the signal is measured in voltage, since it is independent of output impedance. It's numerically twice as large as the equivalent power dB measurement. On a digital representation of such a signal, each bit of the binary value is equivalent to 6dBv; since a CD uses 16-bit linear PCM it has a theoretical maximum dynamic range of 96dB - which cannot be practically achieved for other reasons. Where your 136dB came from I don't know - but you should probably change your software for something that works.

CD players have internal software to correct for errors and missing bits in the data stream, but they should never perform any other processing; what comes out should be as close a duplicate of what went in as the condition of the medium provides.

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BBC post-Savile culture change means staff can 'speak truth to power'

Neil Barnes
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Re: staff won't be punished for "speaking truth to power"

It's not that the staff were punished for speaking truth to power. It's just that power didn't listen to what was spoken.

I know; I was there - and very briefly working on DMI.

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Microsoft won't back down from Windows 10 nagware 'trick'

Neil Barnes
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Holmes

Re: I feel left out....

I have a single VM with W7 in it for some diagnostic software that can't run on Linux, so it's never connected to the network.

I thought I'd play... cloned the VM, fired up the cloned W7, no W10 request.

Ah, do the updates. 171 of them. Couple of hours later, now I have the W10 request.

Request it.

Wait.

Wait.

Wait.

VM restarts, announces it failed...

Try again.

VM ums and ahs for a while, then drops back to W7.

Delete clone VM.

Seems I can't catch it either.

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Thai bloke battles jumbo python in toilet todger thriller

Neil Barnes
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Wild Python?

After being tied to a door, and then having its face taken to bits, I bet it was bloody furious!

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Hooves in spaaace: Goat Simulator goes galactic

Neil Barnes
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(cloven meaning "split in two")

Or even 'cleft in twain'

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Facebook's turbo-charged Instant Articles: Another brick in the wall

Neil Barnes
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WTF?

Google and Facebook <...> they're both great at providing users with fast experiences

Can't speak for Facebook - but have you hit crtl-U on the Google homepage? On this machine, it pops out 268 lines of text totalling 175,623 UTF-8 characters... which is no doubt why I can frequently type half a sentence before it rebuilds the page display.

No doubt ignoring that half sentence is a mere courtesy detail. Because there is *no* way I should be able to out-type a text entry field on even the most feeble of modern computers.

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Shakes on a plane: How dangerous is turbulence?

Neil Barnes
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Be glad you had not chosen to fly, for the sake of argument, from Khojand to Dushanbe on Trajik Air.

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Neil Barnes
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Re: Big jets are boring and stable

Try a paraglider; probably the only aircraft in which the wing is not only flexible but liable to tie itself in knots in severe turbulence... though most of the time it will put itself back together for you, with a little help.

On the other hand, huge fun :)

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The underbelly of simulation science: replicating the results

Neil Barnes
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Boffin

Why do you need reproducability?

Surely "Scientists say X" is all that's necessary? Are these scientists not the outstandingly trustworthy and intelligent people on the planet, with nothing more than the good of humanity in mind?

Or have I been reading the wrong sort of Golden Age Scientification?

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Google Chrome deletes Backspace

Neil Barnes
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Linux

Re: Is this more a Windows thing ?

In twenty-five years, Windows has *never* understood the difference between keyboard focus and mouse focus (e.g. trying to follow along with some example on a web page, scrolling the web page in the background with the mouse scroll wheel *without* sending your work to the back of the pile.

There are an impressive number of posts complaining about this, but not one of the suggested solutions actually works, and certainly not as well as (e.g.) Linux Mint. Apart from the suggestion to install Mint, of course...

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Neil Barnes
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Don't care about backspace

@AndrueC - definitely didn't delete itself; it wasn't there to begin with. I know, because I counted it, twice!

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Neil Barnes
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FAIL

Don't care about backspace

I want a bloody delete key! Alt-backspace is *not* an acceptable substitute.

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Oculus backtracks on open software promise

Neil Barnes
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So presumably...

the guys who wrote software for free will be submitting *large* bills for their time, and pointing out any applicable t&cs in the licence?

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NASA's stadium-sized sandwich bag overflies Oz

Neil Barnes
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I hate it when spectrometers fall on me

Should've gone to spectrometersavers, I guess.

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Boffins achieve 'breakthrough' in random number generation

Neil Barnes
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Paris Hilton

Re: I'm no Mathemagician...

Easy. Put all the ones together at one end, and all the zeros at the other.

What could possibly go wrong?

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Chaps make working 6502 CPU by hand. Because why not?

Neil Barnes
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Pint

Hat off. Beer raised.

It turns out I can still remember 6502 assembly op-codes...

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When the reach-around goes wrong. Or is that right?

Neil Barnes
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"Why didn't we think of that?"

Because the dilithium crystals will never tak' it, cap'n!

Obviously.

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Ooh missus, get a grip on my notifications

Neil Barnes
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Stop

Re: Notifications... Off

Herself is from Brazil. Herself regularly fails to mute notifications. This morning, it all went wild at 04.48...

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We're calling it: World hits peak Namey McNameface

Neil Barnes
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Coat

Posty McPostface

Someone had to do it...

I'll get my Coaty...

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Laser-zapping scientists will save the Earth from meteorite destruction

Neil Barnes
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Or cut them in half with a laser.

Oh, wait...

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Google kneecaps payday loan ads

Neil Barnes
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Paris Hilton

Coming soon...

GoogleLoan - just 35% APR

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Blocking ads? Smaller digital publishers are smacked the hardest

Neil Barnes
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Re: 404 : This title does not exist.

And therein the point.

The majority of advert-plagued sites on the web are there for one reason only: to sell your eyeballs to the advertisers.

You don't see adverts on commercial sites like computer makers or washing machine makers or grocery stores or furniture stores other than for the things they are currently selling - usually directly from the store/maker in question. You don't see adverts on some sites - e.g. the BBC or NASA and no doubt others.

You see adverts on the clickbaits of this world, where the people running the sites have found a way to get people to keep coming back by offering some other service for free. The service *isn't* the raison d'etre of the site, it's just the bait - whether it's a gossip site or a news site or facebook or twitter or blog sites or porn sites. The reason the site is there is because they want to make money from advertisers. To be fair, I suspect most have tried charging and found it didn't work - or if it did, it didn't make anyone a zillionaire... and now they're starting to find that advertising wasn't quite the golden goose they thought it was.

There is no difference between a site relying on adverts (absent the commercial sites I mentioned earlier) and commercial advert-funded radio or TV - and if they can't find a way to make me and everyone else pay for the service they provide, that service will cease to exist. And for the majority of sites, that will be an issue why?

For curiosity - anyone at El Reg care to give a rough idea of the advertising income divided by the number of users in a month? A year? I bet it's in pennies a month... I did the sums on facebook a while ago and it looked under forty dollars a year.

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Google asks Unicode to look over 13 new emoji showing professional women

Neil Barnes
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Headmaster

But, but, but...

if you want to include an image in your writing, include a bloody image. Don't mess around defining the image as a character.

Emojis? Stop 'em at the firewall. Bah.

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Researcher arrested after reporting pwnage hole in elections site

Neil Barnes
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Re: Breaking into computers you don't own..

Knock knock.

"Hi. I noticed your window is open. You might want to close it; there are burglars about."

(a) "Thanks, I'll sort it."

(b) "You're nicked, son!"

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Facebook image-tagging to be tested in Californian court

Neil Barnes
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And presumably if you are *not* a facebook user, but have merely been identified by a third party, facebook will do the honourable thing and seek your permission before including you in the database.

So we can sleep safely, untracked and anonymous.

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Neil Barnes
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How does this work?

Presumably, there must be some user input to identify people in the images? Might it be possible to poison the database if enough people are identified only as famous people from the past - Gottfried Leibitz or Isaac Newton, perhaps?

Or is the software doing something smarter and mining comments for references and cross-referencing against other named comments with the same faces, and working it out for itself?

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Linux Mint to go DIY for multimedia

Neil Barnes
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No Evince or Gedit?

First installation then...

(Actually, as what I have on this Acer works fine out of the box with 17, why would I change it? And on the Tosh Chromebook II, it was quite hard to get it all working so I think I'll leave that alone, too.)

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You can always rely on the Ancient Ones to cock things up

Neil Barnes
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So, a couple of months into a bureau refit in Paris

We arrive one Monday morning to discover the place three inches deep in that which is normally all over the Parisian streets when the dogs have been by... Turns out a cast iron pipe had a right angle bend before running across our hung ceiling, and sometime over the weekend, the pipe had cracked and the poo had failed to make the bend.

The icing on the cake, so to speak, was the discovery, during rectification of the issue, of a couple of square feet of asbestos sheeting - which required another fifty or sixty thousand quid to dispose of in the approved manner.

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'Apple ate my music!' Streaming jukebox wipes 122GB – including muso's original tracks

Neil Barnes
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Happy

Re: Cloud?

To be honest, I care less about the gaucheness of my CD collection than I do about the truffle hunting season in the Loire valley.

The mechanism is irrelevant: they're *mine* to do with as I will, and they will not evaporate into the fog...

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