* Posts by Richard 12

2280 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

MPs slam mandarins over failed GP IT system

Richard 12
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So call them on it

Your product claims to read the data format of %other%, please now demonstrate.

If it won't do so usefully, then give them some time to fix it and eventually can take them to court over it (failure to meet published spec).

If it gets most of the way there, then you can pay them to do the last bit.

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Got a pricey gaming desktop from PC World for Xmas? Check the graphics specs

Richard 12
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Re: Probably never be an issue...

An overloaded SMP PSU sags, produces pulsed DC and huge amounts of electromagnetic emissions.

That doesn't affect resistive loads like heaters, but is extremely bad for electronics.

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After Death Star II blew: Dissecting the tech of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens

Richard 12
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Re: "Si non confectus, non reficiat"

Trident is very different to Death Stars - the intention is never to use Trident, it exists to ensure that nobody else ever uses their Trident-equivalent.

The Empire always intended to use their Death Stars, as the Rebels didn't have any of their own that they could blow up important Empire planets with.

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What did we learn today? Microsoft has patented the slider bar

Richard 12
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It's a "Registered Design"

However, I don't see how they can possibly have a case when their own documentation specifically recommends using the same style as MS Office.

Direct quote from Microsoft's User Interface Principles document:

For example, if your application supports, application or an add-on for, Office OneNote 2003, it is wise to follow the styles of UI and interactivity standards of Office—and OneNote itself, in particular. This includes using the Office-style command bars instead of the standard toolbars, and other such things— both visual and behavioral.

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Microsoft halts downloads of new PowerShell power-up

Richard 12
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Re: Leave it up to MS...

It seems that MS have never really understood localisation, it's always been a last-moment bolt-on that gets broken in odd ways.

I've yet to see any usable localisation tools from them at all, which is probably one reason.

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Microsoft in 2015: Mobile disasters, Windows 10 and heads in the clouds

Richard 12
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Re: On Windows 7 in 2015 ....

"Files are locked..."

No, files are locked if the application requests a lock when opening them.

Or the application doesn't ask for a lock and doesn't get one.

That is sensible and extremely useful.

It is generally bad to delete a file from under the user, so many editors (Word etc) do ask for the lock.

And many don't. The decent text and code editors don't, instead opting to be notified if the file is changed or deleted out from under it.

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Bookstore sells some data centre capacity, becomes Microsoft, Oracle's nemesis

Richard 12
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Re: Trevor, surely Office sells Windows, not the other way round?

But even Microsoft can't write two versions of MS Office that round-trip.

Or even one version in some cases.

The inertia is nothing to do with feature parity or UI similarities - after all, MS Office' radical UI overhaul took three versions to reach all the applications in the suite.

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Software bug sets free thousands of US prisoners too early

Richard 12
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Re: surely its normal to check these things

Computer says you go home now. Bye!

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Richard 12
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Use all the numbers!

Min, mean, median, mode, max...

Heck, just publish the complete list. It'd make several pretty graphs.

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Getting metal hunks into orbit used to cost a bomb. Then SpaceX's Falcon 9 landed

Richard 12
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Re: A bit negative...

SRBs are basically a metal tube.

There's very little in them that's breakable - other than gaskets that were expected to be replaced every time.

Liquid engines are really expensive with loads of fiddly bits to go wrong.

They are aiming to get 30 launches out of each engine. If they get a 10th of that, it's a gamechanger.

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Free Wi-Fi for the NHS, promises health secretary Jeremy Hunt

Richard 12
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Re: Silliest thing I've read in a long time

Deleted or changed? Almost certainly not.

Read by anyone determined enough to try? Quite probably, given the general lackadaisical approach to online data security.

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An on-demand video subscription isn't just for Christmas... Oh. It is

Richard 12
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Over The Top

It's supposed to indicate that it's supplementary to normal Over The Air (OTA) broadcast.

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'Powerful blast' at Glasgow City Council data centre prompts IT meltdown

Richard 12
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Re: Gas fire suppression is bad for hard disks...

One alternative I've seen elsewhere is a set of individual fire-extinguisher "tubes".

You put one inside every piece of kit the could start a fire.

If it starts heating too much the tube melts at the hottest spot and poof! the fire is doused.

There's a sensor at the end of each tube to detect a discharge.

It probably damages the kit it's inside - but that was on fire anyway.

Quiet, simple and relatively cheap.

Couple with a zoned sprinkler system over the AC and I suspect you'd never lose more than the box that went on fire.

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Strict new EU data protection rules formally adopted by MEPs

Richard 12
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Re: Right to be forgotton

Ah, but what about the private companies who have acquired this info?

Does this now mean all those "private parking scare-letter" companies can be torn asunder and their corpses hung from pikes?

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13,000 Comcast customers complain to FCC over data caps

Richard 12
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Re: toejam13 Router fault?

So Comcast are using data that they know to be incomplete and likely incorrect, and refusing to properly check it until the press get involved?

Sounds like fraud to me.

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CES tech show adds new security checks after fears of violence

Richard 12
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Re: Won't do dick.

I disagree.

It makes an incident more likely, as it's much easier to attack a stationary, slow-moving queue outside a venue than to actually go to the trouble of getting a ticket and going in.

Plus a getaway car becomes both possible and a weapon.

It's effectively worse than useless.

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EE Power Bar recall: Telco will waive £5 fee for laggards

Richard 12
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Re: 2nd hand battery?

That was apparently the idea.

You were supposed to walk into an EE store with an "empty" one and they'd swap it for a "full" one.

Probably sounded great to scientifically illiterate management.

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North Wales Police outsourcing deal results in massive overspend

Richard 12
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Re: Call me stupid...

Including the "If not realised, we take your liver" clause?

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Richard 12
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Re: Let's think about this...

There are cases where outsourcing makes sense.

1) It's a very common, generic function that almost everyone needs. Eg payroll processing, banking, component manufacture.

2) It's a one-off, high-skill design job or buyout component.

Note how neither of these ever involve a transfer of staff.

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Sneaky skimmer scam stings several Safeway supermarkets

Richard 12
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Re: Massive outbreak of skimmers in U.S.

The "oh, I have some extra coins" thing is also a common scam.

By bouncing a few coins around it's relatively easy to get a tired cashier to give too much change - or even the original large note back.

So they are always told "ring it all into the till, give exactly what it says".

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Windows for Warships? Not on our new aircraft carriers, says MoD

Richard 12
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Re: better than 28 backspaces ...

And how many in Windows? And OSX?

There's no way of knowing how many accidental bugs or deliberate back doors exist in any closed-source software.

It is at least theoretically possible to find and fix them in open-source.

Both of them will contain bugs - they're written by people.

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Lower video resolution can deliver better quality, says Netflix

Richard 12
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There's plenty of silicon to do it

Including relatively programmable silicon that can be configured to handle a variety of source and target encodings.

Or just go for commodity GPGPU, which is slower but much cheaper.

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Richard 12
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They're trying to deal with the lack of customer bandwidth

Pixel resolution is a fairly meaningless quality measurement in video anyway.

If the video is 3840x2160 but breaks up into clearly visible encoding blocks at any point, the video is unwatchably bad.

Even if it doesn't break up, the sustained bitrate you can actually get from your ISP will probably wipe out any possible extra detail.

At 1280x720 the same bandwidth can probably encode a much better looking video, and your 4k screen can upscale the result to give something objectively and subjectively better.

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How to build a real lightsabre

Richard 12
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@Ian Michael Gumby

JET.

The Joint European Torus does produce more energy than it consumes.

The current trouble is that they can't fuel it while it's running, which means it only burns for a minute or so before it runs out.

Refuelling while running is the current technical challenge for fusion.

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Seagate wears dunce's cap in hi-cap disk ship slip

Richard 12
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Re: These drives float right into their racks, like magic

The way to separate out the N2 from the air is to liquify it by cooling.

This freezes out all the water, so an N2 tank is going to be almost perfectly dry.

The trouble with helium fill is that any gas fill will leak out, and the drive will fail once enough of it has escaped.

He also leaks out relatively quickly compared to most other gas fills in common use (eg GS or halogen lightbulb)

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US House okays making internet tax exemptions permanent

Richard 12
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Re: A tax by any other name.....

As Worstall said - anything you tax will be harmed.

That has to be balanced against the need for tax revenue to pay for the things everyone needs to exist (physical infrastructure, law and order etc)

So you should tax in such a way as to do the least harm to things considered "good".

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Richard 12
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Re: What's so wrong with tax?

You mean like VAT in the EU?

The idea of that is every member state must charge VAT on the final transaction where the product goes to a consumer, for most goods and services.

Businesses (above a certain size) don't pay VAT, but must collect it from their customers and give it to their state.

So they pay it when they buy stuff and claim it back, by offsetting against the VAT they collected.

The rules get pretty complicated once a business is buying from another member state and selling to a third.

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Adobe: We locked our customers in the cloud and out poured money

Richard 12
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Meanwhile, in another industry

There was a piece of software with basically no competitors. It was the only thing that did the job and had a huge range of 3rd party plugins from all the major players in that market.

They started charging an annual subscription of around £1000.

There are now five competing products, all of which are both better and cheaper - and offer perpetual licence options with free updates.

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Electrician cuts wrong wire and downs 25,000 square foot data centre

Richard 12
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Re: 1% chance?

With a good plan and good people, it can be done.

If either of those are missing, it cannot.

I know of one site that moved over 500 circuits from old system to new during an overnight shutdown, with no faults. The new system took over in the morning, and the site ran perfectly. Still is.

And another that moved two circuits and literally vaporised the contents of the electrical cabinet.

One was planned, rehearsed and undertaken by very good electricians, the other wasn't.

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Richard 12
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Re: As an ex industrial Sparky, I have to agree.

What? You believed that pulling a fuse isolated something?

1) Test that it's live.

2) Pull the fuse/breaker and lock.

3) Test that it's dead.

If someone tells you it's dead, do not believe them!

On the bright side, you clearly have good "No touchy shiny bits" skills on account of not being dead yet.

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Richard 12
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Re: Do you get paid the same money as a professional?

A single 3-phase supply?

The actual phases don't matter, only the phase rotation.

So if Neutral is correctly identified, you have a 50% chance of getting phase rotation right.

Get it wrong and the motors spin backwards - bad for aircon and lifts for obvious reasons...

If neutral is swapped with any of the other three, instant boom.

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US government pushing again on encryption bypass

Richard 12
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It would be the most valuable dataset that could ever exist

So all criminal and terrorist organisations, and all "rogue" states will immediately try to get hold of that register.

Once any of them do, every related encryption is broken, forever and ever, past and future.

It would be the literal end of the Internet and mobile telephony.

And they will definitely get hold of it eventually. Some of these are people who would be willing to torture a keyholder to death in order to get access to this type of register.

That is why it is a fundamentally stupid idea.

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Battery-free IoT sensor feeds off radio waves

Richard 12
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Don't touch the walls

They'll eat you.

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Lenov-lol, a load of Tosh, and what the Dell? More bad holes found in PC makers' bloatware

Richard 12
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Re: Build your own or White Box

Last time I bought from a smaller custom-build place.

It came with exactly what I'd asked for, and the only thing they did to the Win7 install was to add their logo, name, address and phone number to the About screen.

That is as it should be.

I will never understand why any OEM adds so much of their own crapware. At least they got paid to install 3rd party crap, but stuff they wrote/rebranded themselves?

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Alert after Intel Skylake chips, mobo sockets 'warp under coolers'

Richard 12
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Holy war time!

Personally I prefer the liquid coolers, as they are usually quieter systems overall - the radiator fan is the case exhaust fan.

Though I do worry about the pump lifetime - it's easy to tell when a fan is dying, but hard to tell when a pump is failing.

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Microsoft encrypts explanation of borked Windows 10 encryption

Richard 12
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Decrypted :

**** off, we don't care.

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Bitcoin cloud miners a '$20m Ponzi scheme – there was no cloud at all'

Richard 12
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Re: This might be a stupid question.

Quite a lot.

Plus the electricity bill.

Bitcoin mining itself has more than a passing resemnlance to Ponzi schemes, so perhaps they decided to skip the volatility of the middleman.

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Sued for using HTTPS: Big brands told to cough up in crypto patent fight

Richard 12
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Re: Personal Liability

Or just give judges the power to debar lawyers for being involved in bringing a "bloody stupid" case to court.

More seriously, this is why software patents are bloody stupid and should never, ever be granted.

This is a patent on basic maths. It should never have been granted.

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Estonian vendor sparks Li-Fi hypegasm with gigabit demo

Richard 12
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Re: Where's the back channel and back haul?

Very funny.

Nobody is going to run Cat6 to their existing light fittings, and PoE is the wrong solution to the wrong problem. Even assuming they actually use copper and not CCA, the cable and switch PSU losses are ridiculously high. Might even burn down the building.

Yes there is a company trying to push PoE for powering and controlling light fittings, fortunately almost nobody is that stupid.

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Richard 12
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Where's the back channel and back haul?

Sure the lamp in the ceiling can transmit 1Gb/s.

But my device has to get data back to it. It can't be that bright and line-of-sight implies directionality.

Aside from that, the lamp needs to get the data in the first place.

Powerline would get forcibly killed due to the RF interference it creates if it ever became genuinely popular, while wifi is better sent directly to the end device.

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Research: Microsoft the fastest growing maker of tablet OSs ... by 2019

Richard 12
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Re: Useless prediction

Indeed. "Fastest growing" within a filled market is damning with faint praise.

Even if the prediction is true, they aren't notably touching the incumbents or expanding the market.

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VW's Audi suspends two engineers in air pollution cheatware probe

Richard 12
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Re: Hands Up.

The PR fallout from a public unfair dismissal lawsuit and tribunal would be interesting.

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Mobe-maker OnePlus 'fesses up to flouting USB-C spec

Richard 12
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Re: This is what happens when you couple Chinese design to Chinese manufacture

I believe their products have to meet the same H&S standards as everyone else's in order to sell in, for example, the EU.

While true, a lot do not.

The liability for ensuring compliance lies with the entity that imported it into the EU.

Unfortunately, Trading Standards apear to only be interested in going after fake handbags, and have no time for dangerous electrical kit. Possibly not even after someone gets killed by them.

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Ofcom asks: Do kids believe anything they read on the internet?

Richard 12
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Re: Untrue stuffs on teh intarwebz

Several well-known news sites with "proper" journalists have republished The Onion stories (in some cases without permission) multiple times in recent years.

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Richard 12
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I wish the "page must contain this" and "page must not contain that" methods still worked.

Google became a lot less useful and a lot more frustrating when those ceased.

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Taxi for NASA! SpaceX to fly astronauts to space station

Richard 12
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Cargo doesn't need life support!

Even pressurised cargo.

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How TV ads silently ping commands to phones: Sneaky SilverPush code reverse-engineered

Richard 12
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Those frequencies are too high

IIRC, the broadcast audio bandwidth is 50Hz to 15kHz.

So TV broadcast will distort and alias that to buggery - not entirely convinced this can actually work at all.

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£2.3m ZANO nano-drone crowdfunded project crashes and burns

Richard 12
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Facepalm

Re: Convertibles

Damn - you're absolutely right.

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Richard 12
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Re: Bah!

Not really.

It is possible to build a quadcopter that does all that. You can even do it for that money.

No profit margin in it though, and you do need to know what you're doing and how to design for cheap manufacture.

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Richard 12
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Re: So let me undersand this correctly...

But Kickstarter has nothing whatsoever to do with VCs. It doesn't resemble that relationship in any way, shape or form.

If the company becomes wildly successful, the KS backers will never see any return on their 'investment' at all - if they are lucky they get their trinket, at the very most.

It is simply a risky way of pre-ordering.

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