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* Posts by Peter Simpson 1

872 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Not cool, Adobe: Give the Ninite guys a job, not the middle finger

Peter Simpson 1
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FAIL

Someone should tell Adobe

Nobody likes a company whose updater pops up in the middle of a {presentation, experiment, editing session for a document due in 10 minutes} taking up a good chunk of the screen, right in the center, asking you if you want to update their damn PDF viewer now.

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Surprise! Republican bill adds politics to science funding

Peter Simpson 1
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WTF?

Re: "this shows a basic misunderstanding of how scientific experimentation works."

He's not just a Republican, he's the poster child for the "party of stupid"

There are signs that the Republicans are starting to believe that there might not be an inexhaustable supply of older wealthy white guys. One by one, they are beginning to understand that the conservative wing of the party isn't resonating with the majority of US voters.

But Lamar Smith stands proudly for the old ways.

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Combover King Donald Trump: 'I miss Steve Jobs'

Peter Simpson 1
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Paris Hilton

The Donald

A legend...in his own mind.

//he'd get along great with Paris

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Mosaic turns 20: Let's fire up the old girl, show her the web today

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Have you got the right date?

"The date was for the Unix version but I couldn't find that one easily..."

Funny you should mention that. I went through this same experiment about a year ago, when I found and resurrected an SGI Indigo here at work. It had Netscape Navigator, and my results were pretty much the same as yours: very few sites opened, many caused the browser to go down in (virtual) flames.

Old UNIX systems are cool...this one was being used as a footrest until I spent close to $200 on adapters to allow use of PS2 keyboard and mouse, VGA display and twisted pair Ethernet. The payoff was a classic /etc/passwd file with usernames of people long gone from the company (but who I knew, either personally, or by reputation) and lovely graphics demos. Loads of un for the idle mind.

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Microsoft hoists ZTE onto the Android patent bandwagon

Peter Simpson 1
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WTF?

Re: Not Android

"The FAT file system for one is a native part of Android."

Do you want to know how I know you are completely ignorant of how an operating system works?

No file system is "native" to any OS - they're bolt-on appendages, and Android can support many, of which FAT is but one.

FAT is a file system structure, of which there is a dazzling variety. Android and all other operating systems support FAT simply because it is a defacto standard, having been the original MS-DOS file system. So if you want to read and write files to a storage device, FAT is the "common denominator" format. It is in no way innovative or patentable, as there were many, similar file systems being used at the time it was chosen for MSDOS.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Another anti-competitive win for MS by bullshit patents

@AC: You're confusing FOSS with bittorrent.

Software patents are a bad thing for innovation.

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Chinese IEEE members want MAC control for cognitive radio

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Privacy is orthogonal here.

"And you think your mac isn't already being broadcast over the net? along with your IP address????"

Not necessarily. The MAC address of the transmitter is going out, but that may not be your MAC address (if your transmission is being repeated, for example).

MAC addresses aren't usually passed beyond the first router. So if you're going through some kind of access point, the MAC that goes out is that of the access point, not the one of your computer. Of course, you may own the access point or router, so in that case, it would be "your" MAC address, but it would be lost (actually, replaced) as the packet goes through the cable company's router.

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Brit cops blow £14m on software - then just flush it down the bogs

Peter Simpson 1
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FAIL

Re: Place your bets

Too many managers, not enough experienced and capable software engineers?

//Mythical Man-Month should be required reading for all

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French spies do a Barbara Streisand over secret nuke radio base

Peter Simpson 1
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Le voici

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Creek_Naval_Radio_Station

//go big or go home!

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Peter Simpson 1
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Alert

Re: VLF tales

I don't htink you'd want to be any lower...they pump out megawatts at VLF.

Here in the US, we had (have?) a good part of upper Michigan devoted to VLF antennas...

//there's a design for one directional antenna array floating around on the web that spanned a valley somewhere

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Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Re: This morning's idle thoughts

New keyboard here also, please.

"...may we count on your vast historical experience in South East Asia,"

//why? we ignored their advice the first time it was given...

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The ten SEXIEST computers of ALL TIME

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Thinking Machines

"It was a lot easier to get on with than the CDC-6600 (aka Cyber 74) on which I did my first computer practicals."

My (required) assembly language course would normally have been on PDP-11s in the Computer Science lab. As EE students, we were guests, which meant we would get secondary access (i.e.: early morning) to the machines. But the semester I was to take the course, we had a one-time opportunity to use the newly installed Cyber-74. The course was taught by a guest lecturer, a CDC software engineer we got as part of the machine purchase (actually, I think we go it used when someone else upgraded).

Anyhow, I learned assembly programming on a machine with a 60 bit word, hardware floating point and was introduced to the "count bits" instruction. Totally useless to me in my future career, but fun, nonetheless. As was watching the vector graphics operator's console and distributing the contents of the card punch chad box among the underwear of a particularly obnoxious neighbour in my residence hall.

As a graduate student, I was able to take the PDP-11 assembly language course during a summer job at Digital, so I didn't miss out.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Digital's PDPs

For those who are fans of brighter colors and bolder designs.

Real Computers have switches and lights.

//used to work at Data General, where the carpeting was bright orange

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Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Wot no SGI?

Have a working Indigo on my desk.

Had been used as a footrest for 10 yrs before I resurrected it.

//adapters for VGA, Ethernet and PC keyboard/mouse

//missing the disk bay door, though

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Star Trek phaser sells for a STUNNING $231,000

Peter Simpson 1
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Reg measurement standars

Have we found the constant which relates volume in Bulgarian airbags to dosh?

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Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Re: Hmmmmm 3 or 4 hours in my workshop....

On the other hand, the guy who paid $250k for it could probably afford it, and that's money he won't be spending on hookers or blow...

//job creator

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How I nearly sold rocket windows to the crazy North Koreans

Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Re: Air Power

And just wait till they see their first Wal-Mart.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Re: You'd be surprised

"Plus, he must know where Dior hand bags for his wifey are coming from..."

China, natch!

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'Pong' ported to 29-storey skyscraper 'screen'

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Oh dear

Well, just barely distinguishable as...

...not Pong,

...not Snake,

but Space Invaders!

//have played it a bit...running on a DG Dasher D200 terminal.

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Chinese search king Baidu testing Google Glass competitor

Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Re: Great.

Worse....the GPS automatically detects your location and transmits anything interesting you see straight to the People's Committee for Industrial Espionage in Beijing. No more having to send "students" who get caught trying to board planes with one-way tickets and briefcases full of documents.

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FTC splits $50,000 robocall killing tech prize

Peter Simpson 1
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FAIL

Re: Only in America

Would it even be *possible* to spoof caller ID. Seems like it should be under the control of the carrier to whose network you are connected.

//missing option: "press 3 to deliver a lethal shock to the caller"

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Rocket boffinry in pictures: Gulp the Devil's venom and light a match

Peter Simpson 1
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Mushroom

Re: Obligatory

The whole sciencemadness library seems to be full of books about things you (and your neighbors) would be better off not trying...

//thumbs up, or explosion???

//shame we can't have both

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Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Obligatory

Max Gergel: Excuse Me, Sir, Would You Like To Buy a Kilo of Isopropyl Bromide?

http://library.sciencemadness.org/library/books/gergel_isopropyl_bromide.pdf

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Peter Simpson 1
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Mushroom

Re: Obligatory

This looks like a good read.

There is another, similar book. I have a PDF at home and will post the details. The author was somewhat of a "cowboy chemist". He started a chemical company when there were no regulations and left behind him a trail of Superfund sites. It's an interesting and exciting read...you come away from it wondering how he lived long enough to write the book.

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Giant ad company (Google) offers tool assessing worth of ads

Peter Simpson 1
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FAIL

7 hours before

Didn't get the point of the video in the article. I find I'm totally unable to mentall construct a sequnce of events when those events are presented to me in random order, like they are in the video.

Maybe I'm just not the target market...or maybe I just don't feel like trying to pass a Google employment test when I'm watching a video...

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I am NOT a PC repair man. I will NOT get your iPad working

Peter Simpson 1
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Dell refurbs

I recommend to my "clients" that they go to geeks.com or someplace like that, and buy a refurb Dell office machine (but NOT the ultra-small form factor ones!). When they say something about the Dell Inspiron they saw on sale at Best Buy for only $399, I bring up the page with Latitude laptops for $250 and tell them they're older but they will have far fewer problems with them. No complaints yet.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Linux

I've had this happen twice

My brother and a couple who are close friends. Converted them both to Linux. I told them I could fix their PC, remove the malware ("My computer's running slowly") and reinstall Windows, but that it was highly likely they would be calling me again next month. Linux would solve all their (and my) problems, if they'd give it a try for a few months. If not, I would come back and reinstall Windows for them (because I convinced them to buy a larger HDD and set their old Windows one aside)

For the applications they needed to run on Windows (camera software and iTunes), I installed VirtualBox and a copy of WindowsXP. Firefox works on Linux the same way it works on Windows, and that's 90% of their use.

It was worth the gamble. Both are happy after several years as Linux users. I have had one or two calls, usually because a wifi link needed to be reconfigured or something minor like that.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Paris Hilton

One of life's little puzzles...

Where on earth are all the hot 20-something women who don't know anything about computers?

//and who do they ask for help?

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Swedish linguists nix new word after row with Google

Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Re: what's swedish for bollocks ?

We have the Pythons to thank for that misconception.

//the people responsible for the tiles have been sacked

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India’s outsourcers battle for customers in a cloudy universe

Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Re: Competant Staff

"To say Polish or Nigerian programmers are the best in the World would also be incorrect."

Now, Nigerian fiction writers, on the other hand, *that* is a different story altogether...

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Blighty's revolutionary Cold War teashop computer - and Nigella Lawson

Peter Simpson 1
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Really good read!

Well done. The quality of the first two articles has been outstanding! Keep it up, Reg!

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Oi, Microsoft, where's my effin' toolbar gone?

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: There is a simple explanation

Word *used* to be fine. A fully featured word processor. This was back in '97 or so. Soon, everyone who needed one had a copy, and Microsoft's revenue stream from Office was drying up. THIS is when the troubles began.

Yearly releases were decreed...incompatible file formats were mandated and frivolous "features" were added. And the "ribbon" was born! A time-tested UI, with which every user was familiar and comfortable, was replaced with something that took up more room and required more clicks to use. Because it's so big and special, you have to have tabs. And, of course, there's no going back to the clean, simple, functional menu interface that you were familiar with, because Microsoft just KNOWS you're going to LOVE the ribbon, if only you'll give it a chance!

Such mind-boggling stupidity does not deserve to be rewarded.

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Boffin road trip! The Reg presents Geek's Guide to Britain

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Red-rag Last Paragraph

Let's not forget the mechanical geeks:

http://www.clockmakers.org/museum-and-library/museum/

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Feds cuff ex-NASA boffin at airport amid state-secret leak scare

Peter Simpson 1
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WTF?

The first question should be

Why should we, an organization that handles sensitive government information and does basic research, hire a foreign national from a country we know to be interested in both those topics?

//granted him a security clearance, as well???

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Lenovo: Windows 8 is so good, everyone wants Windows 7

Peter Simpson 1
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FAIL

Re: More proof...

And...if Microsoft thinks the Enterprise market is going to sign on to the "completely new and different UI every two years" bandwagon, they're in for an unpleasant shock.

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FCC waves big fines at political robocallers

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Telling if a number is a cell?

You can't tell from the number alone, but the phone company knows, and those autodiallers are supposed to pay for access to that data, so they don't call cells or business numbers.

If you're running a robocall operation, you want to make as much money as possible before you're shut down, so you don't bother checking said database...or, needless to say, the Do-Not-Call list.

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Plucky Swede glides spaceplane to Earth from edge of stratosphere

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: LOHAN II

As usual, the SPB is ahead of the curve!

//I stand corrected, thanks

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Peter Simpson 1
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Mushroom

LOHAN II

For the next flight, has the SPB considered using Hydrogen as a lifting gas rather than Helium? Far cheaper and saves the scarce Helium.

//playmonaut not a smoker, is he?

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Coca Cola in the dock over illegal China GPS map claims

Peter Simpson 1
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Obvious answer

Coke: "OK, we're sorry. To preven this kind of error in the future, we will henceforth be making no Coke deliveries to government facilities of any kind."

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En Garde! Villagers FIGHT OFF FRENCH INVASION MENACE

Peter Simpson 1
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Alert

Re: rant

"Why the Westphalian FUCK do we even still have roaming within the EU?"

Because there's shedloads of dosh to be made by all concerned.

//always the explanation for things that should have been fixed long ago

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Boy Scouts get Game Design badge

Peter Simpson 1
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Boy Scout Games

When my son was doing Scouts, an indispensible accessory on all camping trips was the pack of "Magic" cards. The boys spent hours with them. No power needed (except for a light) and portable enough to go anywhere.

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On International Woman's Day we remember Grace Hopper

Peter Simpson 1
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RADM Hopper at UMASS in the 70s

She came to speak when I was a graduate student. In full naval uniform and clearly not to be trifled with. She delivered her presentation (and nanoseconds for all) with the authority of one who has been there and done that. As a yet-to-be-employed EE, I was impressed, and the "nanosecond-a-foot" rule of thumb has been in my memory ever since.

//RIP, trailblazer.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Feminism was created to destabilize society

You know how I know you're a guy?

Alternative theory:

Feminism was created because some women were sick and tired of being second class citizens. As the father of a daughter in IT, I think it was a d@mn good idea.

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Wannabe infosec kiddies put Enigma Bombe machine to the test

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: CWMTWRCH

You can find anything on the Internet:

http://www.sttmedia.com/characterfrequency-welsh

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Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Re: CWMTWRCH

encrypting Welsh would look like plaintext.

Wouldn't there be frequency spikes for the letters L, W and N?

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Peter Simpson 1
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Re: If you have any interest at all in the subject...

Well worth the trip. And send 'em some money as well.

Regarding the Bombes -- they used wire brush contacts, similar (if not identical) to those used in tab card machines. Don't underestimate the amount of maintenance required to keep one of those electro-mechanical beasts doing its job. When I worked with punched-card machines, one of the skills you needed to know was how to replace brushes and plugboard contacts (and to know which relay, when removed, doubled the speed of the machine -- in direct violation of your lease agreement!).

//Mum was in "the business" at Nebraska Av during the war

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Spies in the sky: The leaps and bounds from balloons to spook sats

Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

SR-71

Imagine being one of the designers? "You can use anything you want except nuclear. Just make it go as fast as you can and as high as you can."

Probably less fun for the camera designers: "You want *what* resolution, from *what* height at *what* speed?"

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Peter Simpson 1
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Unhappy

Passendale on 1st pg

Passendale on 1st pg

Should be Passchendaele.

Since so many died there, it seems important to get it right.

//sorry, not funny.

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Air-to-ground rocket men flog top-secret mobe-crypto to Brad in accounts

Peter Simpson 1
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Holmes

Re: Does it need pointing out.

You probably pick it up from the Embassy, it having beed delivered via diplomatic bag.

But getting stopped with it by the police could be uncomfortable...

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