* Posts by Alien8n

467 posts • joined 15 May 2007

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What's it like to work for a genius and Olympic archer who's mates with Richard Branson?

Alien8n
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Re: “Surgical titanium is quite distinctive,” Alien8 wrote.

Depends, while it's entirely possible he was lying about it's purpose (for all I know it could be part of a motorbike) I do know when my brother had brain surgery they rebuilt his face using a titanium wire mesh. Had to explain every time he went through customs...

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Alien8n
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Ralph

Love the idea of this story being promoted with a picture of Ralph from the Simpsons. Almost a shame I don't still work there, but not sure he'd understand why everyone suddenly starts calling him Ralph instead of Dick

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Alien8n
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Re: I would post

Reminds me of the story of the bloke who wrote (part of) Windows 95. Article was on here a few years ago but I've never been able to find it since.

He started at MS back in the old Windows 3 days and for fun created a 6 line program in MS Basic. And then couldn't understand why it wouldn't work.

New developer "It won't work"

Boss "It's a bug in the code"

ND "It's 6 lines"

B "Not your code, in MS Basic"

6 months later he's debugged MS Basic and fixed the bug, calls everyone in to show them and then exclaims "What kind of idiot writes a piece of shit like this?"

Bill walks out the office and his boss tells him "That idiot was Bill". Amazingly he wasn't fired, which was lucky as he fixed the memory issue with Windows 95 iirc.

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Alien8n
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"I remember the day I took over a "database" responsible for running a £20m budget. On Excel."

My first "IT" job. I was a trainee engineer for a semiconductor firm. The engineering budget was somewhere in the region of £40M per day and I was given the budget variance report to run. It was an Excel spreadsheet that ran on an old 486 laptop in Excel 5 and took 20 minutes to run. The report was run at exactly 10:30 every morning (ready for the 11:30 engineering meeting) which just happened to coincide with the day shift's breakfast break (so tea/coffee and full english was consumed while the report ran).

Unfortunately for me I took over in the first week of April which meant having to rewrite the report for the new financial year. This being the first Excel report I'd ever used. And most of it being VBA driven.

Somehow I managed to decode 4 pages of VBA code over the course of a weekend and got the report out without any mishap on my first full day on the job.

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Alien8n
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One ex-boss did end up in jail. After the Finance Director went to the SFO with the company accounts and told them to investigate.

The irony being the FD used to work for Enron.

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Alien8n
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Re: Nothing wrong with Access

For what it was doing it wasn't a bad tool, it was the implementation of it that sucked.

It used an ODBC connection to create a faux SQL connection to take a dump of the entire fulfilment system. By the time it was taking 8 hours to run the database tables were hitting 2Gb each (this was around 2004 so was hitting the maximum size Access could handle at the time before corrupting everything). It quickly grew into 3 separate databases to hold the data and a 4th database to do the actual work, at which point it got handed to me. Turned out all the views were pulling everything from the ODBC connection, then pulling everything into a single query which was the filtered for the final report. I rewrote the ODBC view adding where clauses to only pull the data we actually required (resulting in a single database of a few hundred Mb) and then added where clauses to each view accessing that data so all the filtering was done before it hit the final report view.

From 8 hours it went down to 2, most of that now in the SQL of the ODBC connection.

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Alien8n
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Lol, no, Richard.

Unsurprisingly everyone called him Dick (with just a slight emphasis).

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Alien8n
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Re: Let me see ...

Wouldn't surprise me if he was behind the design of the Universal Credit system. If he'd been in the army they would have promoted him to General in order to keep him as far away from anything important as possible.

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Alien8n
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Re: “Surgical titanium is quite distinctive,” Alien8 wrote.

LMAO

No, it was removed after his shoulder healed up, he kept the titanium as a souvenir.

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Apple’s retail chief: ‘Touching customers’ key to retail success

Alien8n
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Re: How about touching a REAL UK Keyboard?

*Looks at the keyboard that came with the Mac for work*

Yup, that's a UK keyboard, has the £ sign above the 3. Biggest gripe for me is finding the # sign (I now know it's Alt-3, but they should really have added it the same way they did the € sign)

US keyboard layout has # above the 3.

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Alien8n
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Touching customers

Gives a whole new meaning to "fondleslabs"...

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Alien8n
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Re: How about touching a REAL UK Keyboard?

It's actually a UK keyboard but with some US layout features (primarily they swap the @ and " keys around)

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'Critical' Israel power grid attack was just boring ransomware

Alien8n
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Re: Ransomware infected the machines

Not sure if the story's been re-written, but:

"...new reporting shows that the cyber attack was simply ransomware delivered via phishing emails to the regulatory body's office network, and it appears it in no way endangered any infrastructure."

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

Alien8n
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Re: Lack of knowledge may be reasonable

Lack of knowledge may also be taught judging by my daughter's GCSE computing course. No, that's not "memory" that's a hard drive. I'm pretty sure we learnt more on the old Cambridge Computer Literacy course than today's kids learn as a full GCSE. Mind, I was one of the kids programming the ZX81 and ZX Spectrum using the free code printed in magazines (one issue had a broken version of frogger in it, resulting in my first ever attempt at debugging code. As a kid I was quite proud when I finally got it working).

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Trump's new thought bubble: Make Apple manufacture in the USA

Alien8n
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Re: You know the good thing about DT?

Hasn't been called EuroDisney for over 20 years, was formally changed to Disneyland Paris back in 1995 to match the rest of the Disneyland parks worldwide.

(Amazing how expensive 2 weeks staying in the park can be, but what a couple of weeks... Even managed to get out into Paris for a couple of days)

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Stephen Hawking reckons he's cracked the black hole paradox

Alien8n
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Re: Evaporating black holes

This is the hypothesis in David Brin's Earth. They accidentally drop a black hole into the Earth which then starts to (very slowly) destroy the planet. On trying to search for the rogue black hole they then discover that an alien race had actually beaten them to it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_(Brin_novel)

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Discworld fans stake claim to element 117

Alien8n
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That's good to hear, probably means my mate is out of work (musically) then (he was touring with Paul around 1999-2001).

(A quick check and he's still been working with Paul, most recently Paul's 2013 album. Website here: http://www.ans-graphics.com )

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Alien8n
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Thinking about it I used to work with a musician and producer years ago, he co-wrote and produced Paul Raymond's (ex UFO) Man On A Mission album. His day job was as a technician at semiconductor factory. Pretty sure the only things he discovered though were broken mosfets...

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Alien8n
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Both are technically correct in his case, as he has earned his Doctorate, but is employed as a Professor.

(copy and pasted from the original reply, at least have the guts to stand by your original posting)

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Alien8n
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Both are technically correct in his case, as he has earned his Doctorate, but is employed as a Professor.

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Alien8n
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Sir Patrick Moore. His glockenspiel was genius.

(Moorium anyone, that'll take us to 4 elements)

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Alien8n
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Did pTerry ask for an element to be named in his honour? No he didn't, same with Lemmy (and I guess now Bowie). None of them have asked for an element to be named after them, this is something the fans of each of them has asked in order that they'll be remembered going forward. It's probably unlikely that any of them will be picked (after all names are chosen by the discovering scientists, but their views on the mythological status of the Discworld or Lemmy's contributions to Heavy Metals is unknown at this time).

Personally I think each has it's merits (including the probably soon to be requested Bowium). As stated elsewhere Lemmy already has a star named after him and lets face it he was Heavy Metal (not to forget being a former member of the original space cadets, Hawkwind). pTerry created a rich mythos in his Discworld series, which at times needed several degrees in literature and the sciences in order to fully get the most out of. And for me Bowie was the original Starman, and you can't argue that he gave a certain Canadian astronaut one of the coolest sendoffs from the ISS possible with Space Oddity played in outer space.

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Alien8n
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Re: May I be the 94th to suggest

Beat me to it, and as the original Starman it's in with a good shot.

There's enough elements that need naming, surely they can have one of each?

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Bloke sues dad who shot down his drone – and why it may decide who owns the skies

Alien8n
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Re: "250 grams (1 pound)"

But what is it in Elephants? (Or do we measure in Mice given the smaller weights being used here?)

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The Register's entirely serious New Year's resolutions for 2016

Alien8n
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Not sure about the Guardian, most of what I've read on there seems well written, but the BBC appears to be written by school kids and semi-literate bloggers nowadays. The sheer number of grammatical and spelling errors I see in almost every news article is astounding considering this is supposed to be the best news site in the world.

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Alien8n
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"I find it very frustrating to have to keep changing tabbies every few minutes - shirley"

I do not want to know what you're doing to those cats if you have to change them every few minutes...

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The Police Chief's photo library mixed business, pleasure and flesh

Alien8n
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Re: Pr0n

Amazing how many stories I have from the same telecoms company...

Senior manager came in complaining his laptop was running Outlook slowly. Knowing that certain staff members had a habit of sending funny pictures and videos we immediately guessed (correctly) that he was storing a horde of attachments in his emails. What we weren't expecting was every single picture to be of a fleshy nature (including a rather tasteful tattoo of butterfly wings either side of you know what). A quick select and delete fixed his speed issues and it was decided that neither the machine operator who had been emailing the manager the pictures, nor the manager would be reported to the HR department on the grounds that they were being made redundant and only had a couple of months left at the company (redundancy payouts at that company were 4 to 5 figures)

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Alien8n
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Re: Ah floppy disk stories

We had a girl who worked in the engineering department at a telecoms company, decided to check what was on her old floppy disk from University. Needless to say the anti-virus system lit up like a Christmas tree when it was put in the PC.

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Star Wars Special Editions

Alien8n
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Re: Not the dredded Holiday special

The Grexnix Edition?

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Alien8n
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Blade Runner

The film that takes the crown for special editions has to be Blade Runner, 5 different cuts before you get the final version. And even that leaves more questions than answers.

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

Alien8n
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Re: I wonder if...

AC of Swindon:

The access database just meant the operators and engineers (primarily myself as I was the one tasked with running the reports from the data) had a usable system that did what was needed. The collapse of the telecoms industry was what prevented myself from having to move to Swindon. It was the choice of redundancy or moving to Northampton that persuaded me to move jobs (plus the nice redundancy package)...

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Alien8n
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Re: I wonder if...

Same company that bought the lasers had a factory in Swindon (I was originally hired with the plan of moving over to the Swindon site as an industrial engineer). They spent several million on a bespoke manufacturing system (somehow they were sold a manufacturing system by a company that said it was completely configurable, but my best guess is it was really vapourware). Every few months they'd demo the system and management would go "that's great, can you make it do this as well?" Well as you can guess after 18 months they had a factory with no manufacturing system as every change made it less user friendly (NEVER let management design a system that's to be used by other people). The entire system was dropped for a quick Access database system that I knocked up in a week that did everything the engineers and operators needed (including stock control and batch management). I basically took the functionality of the system I'd used at a previous job and built that into the database.

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Alien8n
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Re: I wonder if...

I think I've worked there...

The company had 2 laser testing rigs sat in the hallway behind reception. When ordering them they were asked how much they were:

"£750,000 each"

"Buy 2 just in case".

To the best of my knowledge neither of them were ever switched on.

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US Navy's newest ship sets sail with Captain James Kirk at the bridge

Alien8n
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Re: When?

Both clearly had their biases, Worstall at times came across rabid capitalist, but at least they had some understanding about their subjects. Worstall's analysis of the rare earths trade was actually informative. I do find lately that I take one look at the main page and there are less stories that grab my attention.

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Alien8n
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When did that happen? Sure I was reading their articles just recently..

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Enraged Brits demand Donald Trump UK ban

Alien8n
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Re: All you treehuggers need to look at the numbers.

For those who seem convinced that terrorists aren't Christian, I have only this to say. The IRA still exists. I also don't recall anyone calling for a ban on all Irish Catholics during the 70s and 80s.

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ASCII @dventure game NetHack gets first upgrade in ten years

Alien8n
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Re: loved Rogue/Nethack

If you keep your eyes open for the sales they often do every D&D game (Baldur's Gate I & II, Neverwinter I & II, etc) for about 20 quid. Think it's about 9 games in total?

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Doctor Who: Oh, look! There's a restaurant at the end of the universe in Hell Bent

Alien8n
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Re: Er, what destruction?

@stucs201 That's often the case with prophecy, you interpret it in one way, only to find that you can still fulfil the prophecy in a completely different way. The Doctor standing on Gallifrey at the end of the universe fulfils the prophecy, however the Timelords bring about their own destruction by not realising that the true meaning of the prophecy may not be their destruction at all.

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Sysadmin's £100,000 revenge after sudden sacking

Alien8n
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Re: a very well known company supplying fantasy wargaming products

Yup, that was the one :)

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Alien8n
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Re: a very well known company supplying fantasy wargaming products

Having been involved in the "Space Marine" incident of a few years ago (I was one of the bloggers that helped break the story and show that said "gaming company" didn't have a leg to stand on) I have zero sympathy for them. Heck, the Space Marine incident meant they even got slated by ex-employees, didn't help that one of the old White Dwarf artists happened to be friends with the author of "Spots..."

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BOFH: Taking a spin in a decommissioned racer? On your own grill cam be it

Alien8n
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Lotus

So the real question would be which Lotus. If the CEO spends any time in London I'd guess the Lotus Esprit. Mainly because the tyres are too wide to attached a clamp to (as the R&D Manager at a previous company discovered)

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Bank fined £1m after outsourcing faults led to improper transfers

Alien8n
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Re: Outsourcing is like...

Rather badly for my uncle, all of his wives have been the nanny for the prior wife's kids (he's now on wife number 4, but no kids this time so he may actually manage to stay married this time)

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

Alien8n
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Re: There's a difference

And then you get US welfare systems. Where no one wants to pay tax to have universal healthcare, so instead they have private healthcare that costs a hell of a lot more in insurance premiums. So those that can't afford the insurance premium must go without, but it's their own fault for not earning enough from their 3 jobs that they need to do just to pay the rent...

Tax is a necessary evil, without it nothing gets done. Otherwise you get the argument of "but why should I pay for the road that goes north from my house when I only ever drive south?"

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Doctor Who: The Hybrid finally reveals itself in the epic Heaven Sent

Alien8n
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The Doctor's mindset

It says something for the Doctor's mindset that at the point that he realises that it will take billions of years to escape, dying over and over again, he accepts his fate and proves why he's so dangerous. He admits that one of his greatest fears is dying, and yet knowing the only way to escape is to die over and over again he sets to it and starts chipping away at the crystal

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BOFH: How long does it take to complete Friday's lager-related tasks?

Alien8n
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BMW

BMW regularly do Time & Motion studies on their production line. When they have sections running so fast that you have to run to keep up it should be ringing health and safety alarm bells, but no. Instead they just kept ramping up the speed and let the mistakes be found at the end. You're not meant to need a full team of engineers just fixing the production errors, but that's what they had when I was there. Good time and quality management should enable 95% of cars to roll off the line straight into the car park for shipping. From memory when I was there they were closer to 75%. And people wonder why I refuse to drive a Mini...

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Alien8n
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Time sheet systems

Had these at a previous job, but there they had a pretty good reason for using it as each task was for a different client so would generate it's own invoice for the work done. They did have the sense to add a task of filling in the task system though.

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Irish electricity company threatens to cut off graveyard

Alien8n
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Joke

Re: Who opened the letter?

Probably something along the lines of:

The local post office was robbed by a psychic dwarf yesterday. Police are warning the public to be on the lookout for a small medium at large.

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Alien8n
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Re: Who opened the letter?

If it was the US it would have to be opened by an Extra Large.

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Alien8n
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Re: Not only in Ireland

I'm still getting letters demanding money from Npower and it's been over 8 months since my dad passed away. This is despite them telling me that the bill would be cancelled as he only left enough to pay for the funeral...

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Doctor Who: Even the TARDIS key can't unpick the chronolock in Face the Raven

Alien8n
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Re: "without a convenient McGuffin to bail them out"

She did say that she can only take the curse off the one she gives it to, that her contract with the Raven is between herself, the victim and the Raven. If the curse is transferred to a fourth person it negates the original contract leaving only Raven and the new cursed person, so she can't call it back.

It would appear from the storyline that Me didn't realise that the Doctor's enemies are devious bastards and it would not surprise me at all if Clara's death was part of the plan. Not only do they get to remove the Doctor to some unforeseen place, but they also in one fell swoop remove his only support. A plan worthy of the Master (Missy) perhaps?

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