* Posts by Alien8n

320 posts • joined 15 May 2007

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$533 MEEELLION – the cost of Apple’s iTunes patent infringement

Alien8n

Re: Gotta love Apple.

@Eddy While true that patent law was amended to require just the description of how the invention worked it was originally required to provide a working model. By the time of the invention of the telephone this had been changed. (Working models were required from 1790 to 1793).

The main problem with patents since they were first around is still one of money. Most people simply cannot afford to file a patent, so we're still down to the fact that Joe Public can have the best idea on the planet but will never see their idea make him rich unless he can find the money to patent it. And certainly in the early days there were plenty of clerks willing to not only "lose" patents for money but also to steal them wholesale on behalf of unscrupulous businesses.

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Alien8n

Re: Gotta love Apple.

@TheMole This is exactly how patents were designed to work. If you don't have a working model or process, demonstrable and deliverable to the patent office you can't patent it. I'm not saying it's fair, only that it's how it's supposed to work. In the form of code it's deliverable, but the idea of "swiping to unlock a phone" should not be patentable. The code behind it should be, but not the idea. It's how many patents work in real life as well, you can have 2 items that look identical and work the same way, but built differently so 2 separate patents. Neither infringes the other's patent but to a layperson they may seem to do so as they appear to be the same.

To take your example again and with what I said previously Elisha Gray was unable to patent his telephone as an idea, he had to have a working model, a device that physically existed. As Alexander Graham Bell beat him to the patent office he lost out. That's the fact of innovation, if you have a great idea and can't build it, or persuade someone else to build it for you, someone else will beat you to it. Doesn't matter if you had your idea 20 years previously or 20 minutes previously, the one who gets their model into the patent office first wins.

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Alien8n
Alien

Re: Gotta love Apple.

Unfortunately for Mr Fred Smith (or fortunately depending on how you view it) the way the patent system is *supposed* to work his patent would be invalid as he is unable to produce a working model. First to production should be the rule and the reason most patents are ruled invalid is due to prior art. Not always the case, famously Alexander Graham Bell is credited with inventing the telephone, despite Elisha Gray actually inventing it first. Credit goes to AGB though as he was first to provide a working model to the patent office. The way the patent system has been broken is in enabling the patenting of "ideas" which are then worded in such a wooly way that they cover entire areas that were never intended in the first place.

So in the case of iTunes if the patent system was working properly it should rule in their favour for this simple fact that the holders of the patent cannot show a functional product created before iTunes and that there is also prior art to show that their patent is not a new and novel invention.

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For pity's sake, you FOOL! DON'T UPGRADE it will make it WORSE

Alien8n

Re: Copy/paste between OS's...

@Disko if by logging you mean timber, I know just the company. I used to support software for the timber industry, I think you'll find even that's an IT role now. Lumberjacks now carry barcode scanning PDAs which are then connected to the internet back at the main camp. This is to make sure your 100 feet of tree doesn't magically turn into 500 feet of logs...

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Did NSA, GCHQ steal the secret key in YOUR phone SIM? It's LIKELY

Alien8n
Alien

Re: renewables

Actually when you think about it until coal and oil were discovered all fuels were renewables (with a possible "exception" of peat depending on its definition of renewable). Even the first industrialised mills were built using either wind or water power.

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Alien8n
Facepalm

Re: @Christoph

UKIP and "have a clue" do not go together in the same sentence.

Most of UKIPs members are baying idiots. Genuine quote from a prospective UKIP member standing for election this year:

"What happens when renewable energy runs out?"

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IT knowledge is as important as Maths, says UK.gov

Alien8n

Re: My IT classes...

Only hacking we did at school was cutting the slots out of one side of the floppy disks to make them double sided. Not one kid at our school ever paid for the double sided disks after it was discovered that all disks were actually double sided and all you were paying for was the number of holes in the plastic casing...

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Alien8n
Facepalm

First update the syllabus

My daughter was doing IT at school until she dropped off the course to concentrate on her maths and English. She's perfectly computer literate and knows exactly how a PC works and even what's needed to build her own PC. Which is more than her teacher seems capable of doing as the coursework she was bringing home kept insisting that the CPU of the PC was the hard drive and the hard drive was where the RAM was.

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Alien8n
Alien

Re: today we are going to learn about IT

1999/2000, Open University course at Bath University. I ended up teaching half the class web design as I had more experience than the lecturer who was teaching that module.

My page was a bit more advanced than "changing colours and typefaces" though :)

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Alien8n
Alien

"Does this make them [...] unfit to govern"

Nope, the very fact that they want to govern in the first place makes them unfit to govern.

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Cannonbridge sells us a dummy – great premise, crap ending

Alien8n

Re: Could always be worse

Soul Music was pretty much a setup for "there's a guy works down the chip shop, I swear he's elvish"

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Alien8n

Re: Could always be worse

To get the most from Terry Pratchett you have to have an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of literature, pop culture and both current and historical events. Sometimes, like Soul Music, the entire book is a setup for the one liner at the end, in others, like Masquerade, it's a subtle parody of circumstance that takes a comedic actor to the stage of one of the biggest musicals ever produced. Always told with humour, almost always with a message. His is the Ronnie Barker of situational comedy opposed to Douglas Adams' Rick Mayall slapstick. Both immensely fun to read in their own ways.

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O2 notifies data cops 'for courtesy' ... AFTER El Reg intervenes in email phish dustup

Alien8n

Judging from some of the companies I've worked for it certainly is not a requirement to maximise profits. I recall one firm where the company's mission seemed to be to maximise the company's losses. I recall a figure of 25 million per quarter. Not helped by the purchasing attitude of "we need a laser testing machine" "how much?" "£750,000" "buy 2".

All the time I was there both machines remained in storage and were never used.

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Enough is ENOUGH: It's time to flush Flash back to where it came from – Hell

Alien8n

I've been hinting at this to my other half for a while, but she's adamant she doesn't want a tablet, she seems happy enough with a woefully underpowered years old laptop that she complains doesn't work fast enough. You try to help some people eh?

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Windows 10 heralds the MINECRAFT-isation of Microsoft

Alien8n

Re: Dungeons and Dragons

I was actually thinking animated characters on the table, similar to the star wars holo chess game.

It also brings in the whole idea of having a visual display on each character for things like range for weapons, distance you can reach by walking or running etc.

A friend also had the idea of using dice that contain little accelerometers in them so it automatically tells the computer what you've rolled (no more "it fell on the floor, but it was a 20, honest!")

Actually thinking about it with multiple hololenses and night vision and infra vision programmed for each character you could seriously limit some people's views, and checks for secret doors for the rogues and elves become interesting as no one else would know if they've spotted something. They don't even have to have the same map displayed, so splitting parties up becomes really simple.

Think multiplayer Baldur's Gate in AR with real dice :)

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Alien8n

Dungeons and Dragons

Can you imagine how good this would be for a DM if you could build dungeons on the fly with hololens and have the whole party looking at it projected onto the table? No more 1 p coins making up armies of goblins...

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Nexus 6 would have had a fingerprint reader, but Apple RUINED IT ALL

Alien8n
Alien

Re: What's the big deal?

They also have different fingerprints. If I recall correctly even if someone was to clone you their fingerprints would still be different.

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Alien8n
Alien

It's a bought in feature, it's been around for a while for laptops. The problem for Motorola was that there is currently only one manufacturer of fingerprint sensors that will fit in a phone or tablet. Apple bought that supplier, and I don't see them selling the technology to their competitors.

In the UK there may have been a case for government intervention to block them buying the company, but in the US pretty much anything goes, especially it seems if it can stifle competition and innovation.

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Netadmin wanted for 'terrible, terrible, awful job nobody wants'

Alien8n

Re: Microwave

Funny you should say that, tomorrow involves making swivel chairs and removing a door from an office because they can't open the door once the tables go into the new office. I managed to get away without actually having to move any of the tables or filing cabinets, but do appear to be expected to make archive boxes (probably as well under the dubious assumption that the paper being archived may have been near a printer at some point)

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Alien8n

Re: Essential skill

Reminds me of 2001. We need this essential machine adding to the network. It's the only way we can remotely manage it.

Was a windows 3.1 machine using software that ONLY ran on windows 3.1

Company before that in 1999 was using a mix of Windows 3.1, 95, 98, BeOS and an AS400. Was rather worrying that as a trainee engineer I discovered that the person with the most AS400 knowledge in the company turned out to be me (after a conversation with the IT guy in charge of the data admitted he didn't know anything about the data structure)

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Alien8n

Microwave

Nope, I'm still asked questions regarding the microwave oven. Strangely it doesn't even need a plug to be considered an IT job here, small enough that if it needs a screwdriver it's considered an IT thing...

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Alien8n

Re: Thank fuck for jake!

lol, been there myself before. Made redundant from one company for them to then have to hire me back in on twice the rate to fix everything that the guy they kept then screwed up. For the sake of saving 3k a year on salaries (yeah, they just shuffled the job description in order to push me out and hire someone cheaper. Doesn't work when a required skill is Crystal Reports).

The cluster**k at another company that the contractor they replaced me with caused? I wouldn't go back to fix that even if they gave me a million.

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Alien8n

IT managers

Usually if you gain enough experience in the various roles that you become a "jack of all trades" the next step up is management. Which is pretty much where I am now except without someone to manage (apart from myself). Doesn't matter what they call my job title, IT Manager is what I'm actually doing. Maybe in a couple of years I'll be able to pitch for a PFY if they keep growing at this rate :)

Must admit though, the evening job has better perks. Off to an all expenses paid night out in London next week for a record label showcase :)

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MYSTERY RADIO SIGNAL picked up from BEYOND our GALAXY

Alien8n

It's almost like the entire Universe has taken one look at Earth and gone "nope!"

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Alien8n

In seriousness though

The main thing to note about this is that we do not know of anything that could produce this burst, or of anything strong enough magnetically to affect it in such a way. Wonderful thing physics, we're still learning new stuff daily :)

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Alien8n
Alien

Battlestar Galactica

"Cylon base station to Cylon attack fleet, commence attack now..."

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TERROR in SPACE: ISS 'Nauts end panic by switching computer off and on again

Alien8n

Re: Can you believe it?

"Well, percussive maintenance usually helps too."

I believe that only works in the Russian sections of the space station...

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Alien Earths are out there: Our home is not 'unique'

Alien8n
Alien

Re: What alien race would want to communicate with us?

Not round here, BT was being extremely stingy and used copper plated aluminium...

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Huawei? Apple and Samsung's worst nightmare, pal

Alien8n
Alien

Re: Consequences - just like the US

In the semiconductor industry IP theft by Chinese companies is rife. It actually got to the point where if your product was truly innovative the last place you wanted to sell it was China. You'd have sales of 10's of thousands for months and then suddenly dry up. The Chinese companies would quite blatantly admit they stopped buying them because they'd figured out how to make them themselves.

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If BT gets EE, it will trigger EU treasure hunt for fixed lines

Alien8n
Alien

Re: Quad play

If it's not Virgin it uses BT's infrastructure (1). Regardless of whose name is at the top of the bill, it's BT that you're using. Which is not a good thing, as there's no incentive to improve. Our local network is either Virgin Media or BT. And since BT decided to install the infrastructure for the entire village using copper plated aluminium that pretty much just leaves Virgin Media if you want anything faster than the slowest ADSL connection in the country.

(1) Except in extremely rare cases, such as Hull which for some reason has its own local telephone and broadband provider.

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Yes, Obama has got some things wrong on the internet. But so has the GOP

Alien8n
Alien

Re: VATMOSS

I know a few authors that sell e-books. They've pretty much unanimously decided they will no longer sell anything online in the EU due to the almighty mess of this. Doesn't help that like most laws of this type the advice given is completely different each time you ask.

"No, e-books aren't covered by VATMOSS"

"Yes, e-books are covered by VATMOSS"

And that's asking the same person at HMRC on 2 different days. It's the biggest mess ever, designed to ensure large businesses cough up their taxes and in reality putting thousands of small businesses out of business as it's actually too much hassle for them to ensure compliance.

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Robox: How good could a sub-£1k 3D printer be?

Alien8n
Alien

I was thinking almost along the same lines, as a DM I'd love the ability to churn out an army of orcs on demand (well a few days before the game). Then there's the customisable main characters "what do you mean his main weapon is a frying pan?"

Amazing how many times the elf rogue's character was actually the halfling's model

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Doctor Who's tangerine dream and Clara's death wish in Last Christmas

Alien8n

Re: A female doctor possible?

Never mind that. Whatever happened to the Doctor's "daughter"?

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Alien8n

Re: Old Clara

It's not that you can't change history, you can't change the Doctor's history. It's for this reason that River Song couldn't tell him what was in her book, in case he tried to change his own timeline.

Did anyone else think "old Clara" was supposed to be the original ending and "young Clara" was written back in after a new contract was signed sometime in Autumn?

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Reg man confesses: I took my wife out to choose a laptop for Xmas. NOOOO

Alien8n
Alien

Re: Not so hard

Semi-jokingly I offered to get my other half a top spec macbook pro for her birthday next year. Her only criteria is "will it play the games I want?"

Which is fine by me as the games she plays are the really cheap rubbish that come with an online subscription and will run on 10 year old tech, so no need to buy her a laptop again until she breaks the one she has. My daughter however is looking at wanting a 2k gaming laptop (she's really into her gaming and it'll mean she won't be nicking my pc once I get the Occulus Rift and flight joystick for it, not to mention the new MB, graphics, RAM... who am I kidding, I'll be building a whole new PC :) )

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Alien8n
Alien

Re: Even when people ask your opinion they make their own decisions

Depends on the mods. No way the other half's laptop could handle Minecraft (vanilla or otherwise) and the PC only just copes now it's got 8Gb of RAM in it.

When looking at modding check the spec required for Resonant Rise 3 and Sphax. Ideally you're looking at 16Gb of RAM if you want to run the server on the same machine as the game (at least 4Gb for each, possible on 8Gb but not recommended, my server regularly errors out due to lack of RAM now they've ditched Cauldron)

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Space Commanders lock missiles on Elite's Frontier Devs

Alien8n

Re: Still waiting for a free trial

The computer is clean, it's a hardware issue. Installed a new graphics card not that long ago and now any game that is heavy on the CPU/Graphics trips the PSU. I'm just biding my time until my birthday in March when a new PC will magically appear among the birthday presents ("No dear, it wasn't expensive, honest")

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Alien8n

Re: Still waiting for a free trial

I know the problem. My pc seems to like anything that's either over 3 years old or from a small indie publisher (Banished works fine). Anything else (Skyrim, Civ V, etc) and the PC reboots itself as soon as it tries to do anything past the loading screen.

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Alien8n
Alien

Re: No offline? Screw you guys, I’ll play with myself instead.

So when playing "solo mode" which of the below is true? Because for people with a dodgy network there's a big difference between them.

Is it a) the game is "always online"?

Or b) the game connects when it needs to for universe and transaction information?

If it's b then while it's not truly offline, it's as offline as it needs to be short of pulling the ethernet cable out of the wall socket. The danger would be that you may have a wait while it tries to download the new system Information when you jump from one system to the next, but it's not going to suddenly disconnect you mid fragging of pesky vipers chasing you.

(Disclaimer, I have a pretty good network connection. I'm just waiting for a decent pc as the current build needs an upgrade so I'm not currently playing this game, or anything else that's less than about 3 years old)

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Microsoft tries to defend Irish servers from US g-men invasion, again

Alien8n
Alien

MS has it's data between a rock and ...

The problem for MS is that they could end up stuck between a rock and a very hard place.

If the US declare all data held by a US company abroad to be fair game MS will find that no matter what they do they're breaking the law, either in the US or in the EU. Note they never state in the article that the emails they wanted to see were from a US company, just that the data was being held BY a US company. Further from the wording of MS's brief it would suggest that it's NOT a US company that's being investigated. It's bigger than just MS though. I almost ended up working for a company called LexisNexis a few years ago. The company that decides how much credit you as an individual or as a company gets is US owned. If the US Govt gets access to that data they basically get free reign over every person's financial history in the UK. Add to that the increasing privatisation of things like the NHS and you could soon see pretty much every piece of data about every person in the UK being held by US owned companies.

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So this Saudi Prince calls and asks why he can't watch movies ...

Alien8n
Alien

Re: I have a mate that used to do IT on superyachts.

Having known a few of the well to do I don't think I'll be doing that as a retirement job. Not unless the owner of the yacht doesn't mind going the way of Maxwell...

"Yes, you need to get this phone working now."

"I don't recognise it, where's the asset tag?"

"It doesn't have one, it's my daughter's phone"

"What's the problem?"

"I don't know, just get it working"

Turns out the bill hadn't been paid. Which obviously was someone else's fault...

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Whitehall at war: Govt’s webocrats trash vital digital VAT site

Alien8n

Re: Should we really encourage 17 year olds to drop out of College?

Don't know about you, but if this kid's CV passed in front of me and I saw GDS in the previous employers bit I'd be dropping it straight into the shredder. He might want to rethink going back to college if he wants a job in the future

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Brit smut slingers shafted by UK censors' stiff new stance

Alien8n

Re: AI in routers

Sounds like Virgin Media already have this, they seem to believe everything must be filtered after 6pm. That or some git's just set fire to the switch box down the road again...

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Sinclair is back with the Spectrum Vega ... just as rubbish as the ZX

Alien8n

Re: now I know

We had a kid at our school who could play that with his eyes closed (iirc it blanked the screen on the 3rd or 4th go round the levels, and he would still continue playing it).

One of the other kids even got a game he wrote reviewed in Crash magazine. I still remember the maps for Sabre Wulf and Atic Atac in there.

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UK.gov biz dept: Yoof APPRENTICE? Get a degree while YOU'RE HIRED

Alien8n
Alien

Re: Not good for the other students

It depends on the nature of the course. If you have 20 people doing a course with a module on asp.net development and 2 apprentices doing a course which includes an asp.net module it makes more sense to dump the apprentices in with the regular students. Happens all the time at the college I work at with the English, maths and IT courses, you'll get a real mix of students from across the college, from arts students through to engineers, all in the same room because they all need to improve their English or maths.

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Alien8n
Alien

Not good for the other students

Does anyone else spot the elephant in the room here? So you do your apprenticeship degree and the govt will now pay 3/4 of the fees. While I'm all for getting more people into STEM courses it does mean that if you're unfortunate enough to be a full time student on any of the courses that the apprentices are on you are left with the undeniable fact that the person studying right next to you effectively has a full grant for the course while you're left with a 9k (probably more as the fees will most likely have to rise to pay for the apprentices) debt each year. The only way this can be fair is to go back to the old grant system and scrap tuition fees.

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GT sapphire glaziers: You signed WHAT deal with Apple?

Alien8n

Re: Been there, done that.

Works the same with software. I've just been poached back by an old boss as I know more about how the software they use actually works than the developers. Not that hard though given that over the last 6 years most of the new features in the software were specced and designed by myself for the specific use of the company I was working for.

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Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode

Alien8n
Alien

Jumpgate

Hopefully this won't go the way of Jumpgate. Jumpgate was a very nice Elite style space game, but the single biggest issue with it was the sheer volume of idiots who decided that the only way they could enjoy the game was to spawn camp and kill everyone regardless of affiliations. This then had the result of driving a lot of the core gamers away from the servers.

Personally I've stayed away from Elite: Dangerous for the time being as I found the cost of participating in the Alpha and Beta releases to be eye wateringly exhorbitant.

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Why can't a mobile be more like a cordless kettle?

Alien8n
Joke

Re: Qi (pronounced chee)

So the next version will be Obi Wan?

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What kind of generation doesn't stick it to the Man, but to Taylor Swift instead?

Alien8n
Alien

Re: Moan bitch ... starve?

In the words of Noddy Holder. "To you it's a Xmas song. To me it's my pension". If you wrote a best selling song and someone did a cover of it I'd bet you'd want your bit of the profits regardless of how long ago you wrote it.

Copyright is about right in the UK. It enables an artist to benefit for their lifetime and then their dependants to benefit for a while afterwards. What isn't right is the American way of "oh, it's coming up to Walt Disney's anniversary of his death again, quick, let's lobby for another 10 year extension to copyright to stop China making Mickey Mouse knock-offs".

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