* Posts by Peter Simpson 1

1334 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

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Official UN panel findings on embassy-squatter released. Assange: I'm 'vindicated'

Peter Simpson 1
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Never mind Assange

I'm drooling over all that HF radio gear in the background...

73 de KA1AXY

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US taxmen borked in computer cockup riddle

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Assuming you're serious...

Dammit, John, I'm an engineer, not a tax accountant!

I did not know that. I do know that I am required to make quarterly estimated tax payments, but that's a separate issue (too much income from investments or something).

Thanks for the info. And yes, it must be a huge loan...interest free.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Assuming you're serious...

...you're constantly paying estimated tax bills. That only happens here if HMRC are actively pursuing you for suspected evasion.

Ahh! You see, that's (one) difference between you and us. IRS ASSUMES you're evading and acts accordingly.

Well, that, and you can't know what your tax will be until all your annual income and deductions have been determined. IRS also doesn't want to get to the end of the year and find that you don't have enough money to pay your taxes. The rule here is that IRS gets their money first, before anyone else can touch it.

// wish I was kidding

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Peter Simpson 1
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Childcatcher

Re: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

What I never understand about US taxes is all this talk of "refunds". Why are so many people overpaying in the first place??

Assuming you're serious -- it's because the tax rate varies by your annual income and you're allowed to deduct certain expenses before the tax is calculated. A prorated part of your estimated tax is withheld from your weekly/biweekly/monthly paycheck. At the end of the year, all your deductions (unpredictable things like mileage, business and medical expenses) are deducted, any profits from investments are added (but these may be taxed at a different rate, depending on how long you've held the investments) and the actual tax due is calculated on the total.

So, you never know exactly how much tax you owe until the year's over, but you must pay an estimated tax (based on what you earned last year) during the year. Whatever's extra, you get back. Without interest, natch. If you've erroneously underpaid, you owe the difference, with interest, of course.

// death and taxes, and I'm not too sure about death

// ask Cratchitt, he knows

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When customers try to be programmers: 'I want this CHANGED TO A ZERO ASAP'

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: What are the odds?

...what happens after a power cut?

The switch is bistable, so it retains its state through power failures. At least they got *that* right...

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Peter Simpson 1
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Re: What are the odds?

Good idea.

The Germans (or Chinese) had thought of that. The button, which is located on, and sits proud of, the mating surface, fits into a carefully crafted recess in the door itself, meaning that the cover would need to fit into the space between the button and the recess, in order for the door to close.

I haven't crafted the custom cover yet :-)

I'm puzzled that someone even thought an on-off switch was necessary on a refrigerator. At least, they put it high enough so that inquisitive little fingers couldn't reach it.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Re: What are the odds?

CSB:

I have a Bosch refrigerator. It's very nice. However, it does have one feature which I have never before seen on a refrigerator: an on/off button. We installed the refrig, and were surprised to see that the light didn't come on when we opened it. Read the manual, found the button (at the top, near the hinge, marked with the circle-with-a-short-line power symbol), pushed it, and all was well.

Fast forward now, to the day we came back after a long weekend. Cleaners had been in and one of them had thought it a good idea to press the power button, thereby turning off the refrigerator. They do a good job cleaning, but frequently do something random like this. Luckily, it had only been off for 24 hours and things had not thawed.

There is now a prominent label next to the power switch: "DO NOT PRESS THIS BUTTON".

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'Dodgy Type-C USB cable fried my laptop!'

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Oh, for a sensible cable...

Quality Chinese Engineering, at its best.

Backed up by 100% inspection (if the customer is watching) and rigorous agency testing by "Random Chinese Testing Agency You've Never Heard Of"

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How many Surface power cords are a fire risk? 2.25 million in the US alone

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Oh, balderdash!

I have extension cables in my garage that have seen abuse no human would survive, and they work just fine. No visible damage at all, and they're 20 years old.

Of course, they're made with many fine copper wires in each conductor and have neoprene insulation, as opposed to cheap thermoplastic and ten strands of heavier gauge copper-tin alloy wire per conductor.

You get what you pay for.

(or not) When I was a kid, we had these things called "telephones", made by a company named Western Electric. The part you talked into was connected by something called a cord. Constantly twisted, never replaced and always worked. It is perfectly possible to make a cable that will last almost forever.

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For sale: One 236-bed nuclear bunker

Peter Simpson 1
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Internet connection: multichannel 5-level Teletype.

Over wired or HF, your choice.

Antennas may need repair.

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Hackers mirror 250GB of NASA files on the web

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Re: Chemtrail fuckwits

Yet global warming is a "myth"...

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Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Oh the conspiracies ...

Heavy metals? Last year it was mind control chemicals...

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Dutch cops train anti-drone eagle squadron

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Guided Water Rocket

I'm somewhat surprised that Googling does not reveal an Az-El water bottle rocket launch system.

They do exist for NERF darts, USB controlled. Would seem like a fun project to scale it up and attach to a (stereo?) vision system for low level drone defense.

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State Department finds 22 classified emails in Hillary’s server, denies wrongdoing

Peter Simpson 1
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@Wolfclaw: You forgot Nixon.

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El Reg nips down to the Hewlett You Inn?

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Re: Last photo

Only when she's angry enough to kick you out of her pub...

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Hillary Clinton kept top-secret SIGINT emails on her home email server

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: It proves again that Hillarity is a liar and can't be trusted

@Dan Paul

I'm assuming there should be "sarcasm" tags around that post. Hillary is no better and no worse than any other politician. I'd give her a B- or a C+ as Sec of State. GWB flunked out. Reagan slept through class. Obama "didn't work up to his potential", as they used to say about me on my report cards.

None of them were as bad as Nixon. And he served no time.

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BOFH: In-depth IT training needs a single-malt distillery

Peter Simpson 1
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Damn ROHS lead-free solder. The flux built into the braid can sometimes go off -- happened to me yesterday. Thus the handy bottle of flux to move things along.

Speaking of which, the PFY is coming along nicely :-)

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You've seen things people wouldn't believe – so tell us your programming horrors

Peter Simpson 1
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WTF?

If you enjoy this kind of thing

I'll just leave this here:

http://thedailywtf.com/

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Berlin takes down ‘for sale’ sign over top Nazi’s love nest

Peter Simpson 1
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FAIL

Re: once

"Their" wasn't enough coffee in my system...:-)

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Re: once

Isn't their still an airworthy Lancaster?

Would be more historically accurate.

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Come on kids, let's go play in the abandoned nuclear power station

Peter Simpson 1
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Holmes

Re: I can't believe I'm the first to say...

Is there a Reg standard for scale, as there is for measurements?

We use a banana, where I come from.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Mushroom

Re: The finest blend of empirical and inductive proofs

"OOPSIE!"

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Peter Simpson 1
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WTF?

Picture of the (ex) waste hole

You get passing marks, just for that. Amazing that they thought it was even a good idea.

And then...we have the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Superfund site in Colorado...proving that anything YOU can do, WE can do "better".

U-S-A!

U-S-A!

oh...wait...

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US rapper slams Earth is Round conspiracy in Twitter marathon

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Issac Asimov delt with this ...

B.o.B won't accept math or science, he's already demonstrated that.

edit: I see the turtles have already been covered.

So...let's go with Python:

"He's a WITCH! BURN him!"

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Four Boys' Own style World War Two heroes to fire your imagination

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Re: Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown

OK, El Reg, you sold another book for Captain Brown. Riveting reading. He seems to have more lives than a cat.

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Apple's Tim Cook rocks up at Vatican - one week after Schmidt

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Re: Fun fact!

As others have already "gone there", I will take the higher road and congratulate you on exposing us all to an interesting bit of obscure canon law.

// if it smells like fish...

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BOFH: I want no memory of this pointless conversation. Alcohol please

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Why can't you JUST ONCE say 'sure' and do what we bloody ask?

Sometimes I feel the same way about management.

// can you order a cheaper meter/scope/whatever?

/// yes, but this is the one I think is the best one to buy, that's why I asked you to authorize it.

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Boeing just about gives up on the 747

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Re: 747 memories

Last minute business trip to Israel (board's not working, we need to complete testing -- send the engineer!).

Boston to JFK at 4:30pm , on a shuttle, get off the shuttle, run to the gate and the gate agent says "you're the last one, and closes the door behind me. I hurry down the jetway, get on the 747, and am treated to the following:

- an absolutely full plane. one seat open, the middle one, in the middle.

- my seat is right next to a very attractive young lady... (WIN!)

- ...who, I notice, is reading her Bible (not so much win)

- FA is trying to get a woman to take her seat ("I'm not sitting there!")

- Behind the FA is an older Orthodox gentleman, wide brim hat, earlocks and all, who's trying to pray in the aisle

I swear, it was like a scene out of Airplane.

Having worked the entire day, I believe I curled up in my seat, put in a pair of earplugs, and attempted to sleep. I don't remember much more. I spent about 40 hrs in Israel, the board passed the testing without my help, and I got upgraded to Business on the Lufthansa flight back to Boston (a bit surreal, boarding a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt from Israel, though).

The really weird part -- I had no trouble entering Israel, but spent 30 minutes being interviewed about why I had been there and what I was doing when trying to leave. Apparently, this step is dispensed with if one brings an "invitation letter", but my trip had been so sudden that this detail had been omitted.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Other museums worth a visit if you're in the area:

- Pima Air and Space, Tucson,Arizona (take the bus tour of The Boneyard if you can)

- Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy Annex, Chantilly VA ($15 parking, free admission, SR-71 in the lobby)

- USAF Museum, Dayton OH (free admission - three huge hangars full of good stuff)

- The Museum of Flight, Boeing, Seattle WA (they have a Connie waiting for restoration)

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How to help a user who can't find the Start button or the keyboard?

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Of mice and men

"meeses", as in:

"I hate meeses to pieces!"

- Sylvester Puddy-Cat

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It's not just you: Massive Comcast outage blows Bay Area offline

Peter Simpson 1
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FAIL

Bungled network reconfiguration

...if my experience is anything to go by. They periodically reconfigure their lower level subnets to account for growth, one would assume. In my area, they have a history of bungling the default gateway addresses provided by DHCP.

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Ad-clicking bots predicted to rip US$7.2 billion from Mad Men

Peter Simpson 1
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Holmes

Re: Someone has to...

Now, here's a question: do bots clicking ads compensate for adblocked ads?

// inquiring minds could care less

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Adblock Plus blocked from attending ad industry talkfest

Peter Simpson 1
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It's even a problem on store sites!

Go to a website to order things. Immediate popup asking me if I want to save 10% by subscribing to their newsletter. Or...online chat popup -- in the first 15 seconds I'm on the site.

I'm going there to order light bulbs, because my local home center doesn't have them.

Light bulbs is all they sell.

No, I don't want your light bulb newsletter. Just take my order and send it to me.

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El Reg mulls entering Robot Wars arena

Peter Simpson 1
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Launch the frigging space plane first.

I can wait...the tankard's refillable :-)

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You've heard of Rollercoaster Tycoon – but we can't wait for Server Tycoon

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: "In-game Ads Messaged"

It's part of the game. You unlock an additional level when you figure out how to block the ads.

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Russian Pastafarian wins right to bear colander

Peter Simpson 1
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I suppose this sort of thing must be a strain on the authorities...

I certainly hope so.

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Late night server rebuild led to 'nightmares about mutilated corpses'

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Vines

The founder of Banyan used to be my grand-boss. When I was designing comms hardware at Data General, Dave Mahoney ran the group.

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Investor to AT&T – give us a peek at your NSA data dealings

Peter Simpson 1
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Black Helicopters

Room 641A

However, we're happy to allow NSA to tap our cables whenever they want. We'll even provide floor space in our facilities to them for that purpose. Just being a good citizen.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_641A

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Never mind the patent trolls. Here's a riddle: What about the inventors?

Peter Simpson 1
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Background on the image?

The poor guy doesn't look to happy.

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Nest thermostat owners out in the cold after software update cockup

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: DevOps for the win

Matt Rogers, "Director of Engineering", needs to learn a bit more about software testing, methinks.

Seriously, up here in the (now) frozen Northeast, it's a big deal when your heat goes out -- pipes freeze, etc. Yet another reason not to let Google manage the heat in your house, I guess.

// no ice cube icon?

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Server retired after 18 years and ten months – beat that, readers!

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: I find this one a bit difficult to believe

After checking the prices of 300W 13.8V DC supplies (to power a land mobile FM transceiver used indoors), and recovering from the considerable sticker shock, I once reverse engineered and heavily modified one of these AT supplies (acquisition cost = $0) to output 13.8V at 20+A. As far as I know, it's still working fine, complete with overcurrent and overvoltage protection.

They are versatile, cheap and highly modifiable supplies, and very underappreciated, in my opinion. It's a robust design (they're all cut from the same pattern) with many possibilities.

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Lovelace at 200: Celebrating the High Priestess to Babbage's machines

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Great visionaries

Visionary, yes, but Babbage's ideas came faster than it was possible to realise them...and that's what killed his projects, the inability to deliver. He didn't understand that, to keep his funding, he needed to deliver. Or, maybe he just wasn't very good at setting his customer's expectations.

Lovelace, on the other hand, was dealing with software. Much easier to deliver (even if it doesn't work to spec). She had the easier job -- writing papers.

If you ever have a chance to see one of the two Difference Engine recreations run, take it! It's absolutely mesmerizing. The scale is impressive, as are all the shiny bits, but the rotation of the spiral carry propagation shafts is sheer poetry in motion.

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Hacks rebel after bosses secretly install motion sensors under desks

Peter Simpson 1
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Tracking/monitoring badge?

I think the odds that it would take a trip through the washer are fairly high. I might even use the microwave to dry it off.

Or, it might just get clipped to my bag and remain at my desk all day. I've worked in several companies that required me to wear a badge, and it was always in my wallet, never clipped to my shirt. Managers were the only ones who wore them. Corporate fear of unauthorized snoopers was always the excuse for asking you to wear them. As both companies went under, I pity the [alleged] snoopers.

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Lights out! Newbie IT manager's dark basement trip

Peter Simpson 1
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TV station

A friend was the tech honcho for a US TV station. They had built a brand new transmitter building, all new kit, several stations shared the building. There was a HUGE diesel generator outside and a fairly large UPS to carry the load while the diesel spooled up. Everything tested fine*.

First power failure comes, and everyone's off the air. Cables from the UPS to the generator had been improperly connected. Generator never started. Heads rolled (luckily, not my friend's)

*That is, the UPS tested OK, and the generator fired up when the "test" button was pushed.

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Chinese unleash autonomous airborne taxi

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: There we go-

The Future is here, and it is Chinese.

Best not to cast too critical an eye over it, then.

// lest it explode, crash or poison you.

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Philae's phinal phling: Germans made weekend spin-up attempt

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: I mean what is the point

Velcro

Penicillin

Vaccines

Computers

Cell Phones

Aircraft

Automobiles

Oil

The Internet

Well, yeah, but apart from Velcro, Penicillin, vaccines, computers, cell phones, aircraft, automobiles, oil and the Internet, what has science ever done for us?

// need a Python (Monty) icon

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Catalan town hall seriously downsizes monarch

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A bit too sophisticated for those boys, I'm afraid

// can you really call a group of 20 armed men a "militia"?

/// note the use of the more polite term "Men" as opposed to, say, "delusional fools"

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Foetuses offered vaginal music streaming service

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Re: Only one album fits

[ahem]

Nothing by Monty Python, then?

// you know the one I mean...

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HPE's London boozer dubbed the 'Hewlett You Inn?'

Peter Simpson 1
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Pint

Re: Is the company bar a European thing?

Years ago (1978), when I worked for Data General, they had a strict "no alcohol on premises" policy. This was, granted, in the United States of Lawsuits, and I understand and accept that the norm in other countries is different.

But, a bar??? Seems like a lot of expensive square footage which would be seldom used to its capacity (unless the sales weasels have a daily "beer o'clock" meeting)

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Anyone seen my DVD? Ohio loses disc holding 50,000 citizens' records

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Most probable explanation

Disc was left in someone's drive. Drive (and attached computer) then sent to recycling facility.

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