* Posts by Kubla Cant

1928 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

The developer died 14 years ago, here's a print out of his source code

Kubla Cant
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Holmes

Re: Portrayal of computer tech guys in films/tv.

The very best USB device was in a preposterous TV series called London Spy.

When the gay spy was murdered in the attic, his boyfriend found a USB stick hidden inside a laptop*. But the USB stick was locked! You could tell it was locked because it was contained inside a shiny combination lock barrel**. He took it to a locksmith, who told him he couldn't open it without the combination***. Eventually he guessed that it was 0001 because of something the late spy had said.

* Laptop computers always have plenty of empty space inside.

** I remember those locks from my schooldays. Kids used to secure their bikes with them, but anyone could open them by feeling for the notches in the mechanism.

*** See icon.

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West country cops ponder appearance of 40 dead pigeons on A35

Kubla Cant
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Pigeon flash mobs

There seems to be a time of year, or perhaps a type of weather, that prompts pigeons to stand around in the road, sometimes in crowds. They seem reluctant to move, and if you're driving at any speed you're highly likely to hit one or two. This year I noticed it about three weeks ago.

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You think Donald Trump is insecure? Check out his online store

Kubla Cant
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Re: "Foopah"

I think you missed a few [sic]s: that cover's [sic] they're [sic] whole entire [sic] groin area.

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What's long, hard and full of seamen? The USS Harvey Milk

Kubla Cant
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Re: Missing info

the USNS Harvey Milk is the second ship in the John Lewis class

Good quality ships, tasteful, if a bit dull. And never knowingly undersold.

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Windows 10 still free, even the Anniversary Update, if you're crass

Kubla Cant
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FAIL

Re: tried to upgrade

I thought MS was desperate to get everyone to install Windows 10, but to judge from my experience, they aren't. I decided to give Windows 10 a spin, so I imaged my W7 disk and burned a W10 install CD (not enough space to upgrade).

Problem 1: no sticker on the laptop, so I have to download a 3rd party tool to read the licence key.

Problem 2: MS doesn't accept the licence key (from a Samsung laptop running OEM Windows 7) so I delete some files and try an upgrade installation.

Problem 3: Upgrade fails because Windows 10 does not support my graphics adapter. FFS, it's Intel integrated graphics on a 4-year old machine! On this basis, Windows 10 won't install on 80% of home computers.

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The dev-astating truth: What's left to develop? Send in the machines

Kubla Cant
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Strange article

I've been a software developer for over 30 years, and I've worked in agile* development for at least the past 5 years. So this article should be about stuff I'm very familiar with, but that's not how it reads. It's like when you're questioned about development skills and practices by recruitment agents - they talk the talk, but there's something funny about their gait.

* Or should that be Agile?

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The return of (drone) robot wars: Beware of low-flying freezers

Kubla Cant
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Re: Ah Amazon!

The other day I ordered a phone battery from Amazon. The battery fits inside my phone and that fits in my pocket, so there should have been no problem getting it through the letterbox. But in the event I had to waste Saturday morning travelling to a depot to collect a 6in x 8in box.

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Plenty of fish in the C, IEEE finds in language popularity contest

Kubla Cant
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Re: Clearly bollocks.

SQL below Assembly! Seriously?

Maybe the scoring method involves counting lines of code.

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Captain Piccard's planet-orbiting solar aircraft in warped drive drama

Kubla Cant
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Lighter than air?

I can see that it will be difficult to scale a solar-electric heavier-than-air plane up to anything useful. But I wonder if it makes more sense for airship-like craft such as this. It seems to have a very big upper surface, and the battery weight is less of an issue.

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Free Windows 10 upgrade: Time is running out – should you do it?

Kubla Cant
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What I think I'll do

I have a laptop that's running Windows 7, and I've been wondering what to do. I don't especially like Windows, but it's occasionally a nuisance not to have a copy. Here's my plan:

Boot off a Linux USB and take an image backup of the Windows 7 disk.

Upgrade to Windows 10.

Take another backup of the disk.

Install Mint.

Create VMs of Windows 7 and 10.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Just like to say . . . .

Windows 10. Because you're worth it.

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She wants it. She needs it. Shall I give it to her or keep doing it by myself?

Kubla Cant
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Re: Drag and drop between windows

why does no FS by default keep all versions of all the files

You mean like VMS did 30 years ago?

I believe you can get similar safety feature on modern journalling filesystems, but I think you have to be using Linux.

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HMRC research finds 'resistance' to proposals to shift contractor tax compliance burden

Kubla Cant
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A bit of history

Back in the day, there was a good deal of dismay in the contractor community when Red Dawn Primarolo introduced IR35. I initially shared that dismay, until I read an article by an employment lawyer that described the history of attempts by Inland Revenue (HMRC's predecessor) to prove employment status. Mostly they were trying to prove that somebody was an employee, but occasionally they were trying the opposite. Either way, they lost just about every case. Even with IR35, I don't think they've enjoyed much success since then.

Unsurprisingly, HMRC's preference is for a system where they decide who pays tax as an employee, without reference to any pesky rules.

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Microsoft to rip up P2P Skype, killing native Mac, Linux apps

Kubla Cant
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Skype spam

The only reason I have Skype is that I seem to work in a lot of offices with WiFi but no mobile signal. I can rent a landline number that I can give to people who might want to call me. If anyone can suggest a good alternative, I'd be interested.

But I'm heartily sick of Skype spam. I get numerous contact requests and even (unanswered) calls from exotically-named women that I've never heard of. What's the business model here? I can understand email spam - it's as easy to send a million messages as one, so the infinitesimal response rate is still profitable. But phone call spam sounds much more time-consuming, and where's the payoff?

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Correction: There was no hangman's noose, claims Hyperloop countersuit ... it was a cowboy's lasso

Kubla Cant
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Re: I'm sorry...

I know the proper term is portmanteau word

Even portmanteau words aren't usually camel-case.

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Blighty's Coastguard goes into battle against waterborne Pokemon

Kubla Cant
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Re: New Brighton Marine Lake

Was it too much trouble to create a channel from the lake to the ocean, so that boaters could explore beyond the rather limited boundaries of the lake?

Tides present a problem. Also, these lakes tend to be used by fairly young children. With all due respect to Arthur Ransome, I don't suppose many parents want their kids to set sail for Ireland in a 10-foot rowing boat.

And, if the lake was built with public money (not clear from the linked article), why are people prohibited from using it in a way which doesn't interfere with any boating activity?

Jobsworths. Local council mentality: everything that is not compulsory is prohibited.

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Cycling paramedics in epic rush to save patient who ate stale sandwich

Kubla Cant
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Re: Swiss Mountain Patrol

Driving down the Swiss side of the St Bernard Pass (IIRC) a few years ago, we met the cycling Swiss soldiers coming up. I was stunned with admiration.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Excellent job folks

how do they balance a stretcher on a bike?

There's obviously no room on the carrier with those monster panniers, so presumably the patient rides on the crossbar, or perhaps the handlebars.

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Wannabe Prime Minister Andrea Leadsom thinks all websites should be rated – just like movies

Kubla Cant
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yet another politician trying to regulate something they have zero understanding of

How can you say such a thing. Just look at her CV. Andrea Leadsom will have learned everything there is to know about IT during the time she was a Director in charge of thousands of employees and billions of pounds.

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The Great Brain Scan Scandal: It isn’t just boffins who should be ashamed

Kubla Cant
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“Philosophy is dead. Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics. Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge,” boasted Professor Stephen Hawking at the start of his bestseller The Grand Design.

I don't think Professor Hawking actually knows what philosophy is for. It's not a quest for knowledge so much as a quest for meta-knowledge.

The brain-scanning fad always looked to me like phrenology with the skull removed. I'm glad to find my prejudice confirmed.

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Bloke 'lobbed molotov cocktails' at Street View car because Google was 'watching him'

Kubla Cant
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Re: yep

When I recently installed Pale Moon I found that Duckduckgo is the default search engine. Seemed promising, until I searched for Cambridge restaurants and got a lot of results for some foreign country that's copied the name.

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Just the facts, STT-MRAM: Your DRAM replacement's on its way

Kubla Cant
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Re: Call me jaded...

Sounds a lot like all the new battery technologies that fuel dissertations...

Isn't fuel dissertation one of the new battery technologies?

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Get ready for mandatory porn site age checks, Brits. You read that right

Kubla Cant
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Re: Thank you, Sir

and Slough

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ZTE Axon 7: A surprise flagship contender

Kubla Cant
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A question of balance

it's tall but well balanced

What does this mean? Do you make a habit of standing your phone on end?

To judge from what I've seen inside most smartphones, I'd be surprised if they don't all have a similar centre of gravity.

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Last panel in place, China ready to boot up giant telescope

Kubla Cant
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Igor?

Not that I don't recognise the allusion, but is Igor a common name in China?

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Kubla Cant
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Re: size conversions

To quote a brilliant mind of of our age, the great Aleister Dabbs

I think the spelling "Aleister" is more usually found in Aleister Crowley, The Wickedest Man in the World (TM).

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Isis crisis: Facebook makes Bristol lass an unperson

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Re: Isis

I've never heard of Isis Academy, but Oxford has had a magazine called Isis since 1892, and an eponymous river (aka Thames) for rather longer.

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Bacon is not my vodka friend

Kubla Cant
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It's OK in other states

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo

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You can be my wingman any time! RaspBerry Pi AI waxes Air Force top gun's tail in dogfights

Kubla Cant
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Re: Is that my flying car I hear approaching.....?

@LDS All good points. It sounds like what we need is a lighter-than-air flying car, but I suppose there are problems, such as size and slowness, with that.

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This local council paid HOW MUCH for an SD card?!

Kubla Cant
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Re: Procurement always works this wonder

The expensive supplier is often chosen because it delivers on account and invoices.

It might be cheaper and quicker to pop out to Maplin, but it creates issues like "Why isn't X at his desk?" and then there's the faff of drawing petty cash or paying with your own money and claiming on expenses. The solution is a company charge card, but the PHB doesn't like allowing minions to spend company money.

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My plan to heal this BROKEN, BREXITED BRITAIN

Kubla Cant
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Re: Order and decency can only be restored by reversing the First Referendum vote

That would be the Scotland one, then.

Tick, tock...

The First Referendum was on 5 June 1975. Reverse the result of that and we've been out of the Common Market European Economic Community European Union for 41 years.

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'I urge everyone to fight back' – woman wins $10k from Microsoft over Windows 10 misery

Kubla Cant
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Re: GOOD FOR HER!

Dupl post

And that means dupl downvotes.

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Gun-jumping French pols demand rapid end to English in EU

Kubla Cant
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Whichever way you voted, it's fun to see the Eurocrats spitting the dummy. First of all, we get "Leave means leave! We want you out tomorrow." Then we had "We won't let you screen immigrants in Calais any more." Now it's "See how you like it when we all start speaking French."

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Botnet-powered ballot stuffing suspected in 2nd referendum petition

Kubla Cant
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Re: The next question is whether the UK should add this min limit for next Scottish IndyRef?

Definitely not. The 60%/75% rule only applies to referenda that return the wrong result.

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Germany: If Brits vote to Remain, we'll admit Hurst's 1966 goal was a goal

Kubla Cant
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Re: As I think Spike Milligan said..

Laugh? I almost did.

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You lucky creatures! Mammals only JUUUST survived asteroid that killed dinosaurs

Kubla Cant
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Re: Yep, there's a huge difference between ''wiped out" and "nearly wiped out".

Moa, Ostrich, Rhea, Elephant Bird, Penguins, ...

I don't see many of those 'hopping around in the treetops'.

I suspect the flightless birds evolved from flying birds, rather than being dinosaurs that couldn't climb trees. Even though they're grounded, they retain most of their bird-like adaptations, such as wings and beaks. That's why they're "flightless birds", rather than "feathered dinosaurs".

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Hey cloud lawyer: Can I take my client list with me?

Kubla Cant
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Willie Eckerslike

Steve Eckersley, head of enforcement at the ICO

As soon as I read his name, I found myself thinking of Willie Eckerslike*. In light of the toothless enforcement reported in the article it seems appropriate.

* I thought this was just the name of a character invented by the much-missed Victoria Wood, but It seems to have wider currency.

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Cats understand the laws of physics, researchers claim

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

A cute accent

I'd never heard of a cat café, so when I read "Twenty-two cats from Japanese cat cafes" [sic], I thought I'd post a short WTF. I didn't want to appear ignorant, so I copied "cat cafes" from the article and did a quick search of the 45 comments already in place. Nothing found, so I went ahead.

When I came to read through the posts, I found there was quite a bit about "cat cafés", with the accent, so I had to withdraw my post. Serves me right for under-estimating the literacy of Reg commentards.

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Austrians are most likely to bare all on beaches

Kubla Cant
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I recall a girl saying around 1990 that all her friends suntanned topless at the swimming pool, and she was feeling peer pressure.

The peer in question is now being investigated by Operation Yewtree.

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Virgin Media goes TITSUP* in South London due to painful piles

Kubla Cant
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Re: Not just Virgin....

a separate incident with a rogue JCB

Backhoe screws backhaul?

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Wales gives anti-vaping Blockleiters a Big Red Panic Button

Kubla Cant
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Publicly owned open spaces in Wales now feature a Red Button...

Sounds like the Brecon Beacons or Snowdonia National Park.

(OK, maybe these aren't actually publicly-owned, but I don't know the names of any other Welsh open spaces.)

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Strange Sign

"bulking out bread flour with white Lead" That doesn't make any sense. Lead carbonate is, and has always been, more expensive than flour.

The main adulterants for white flour were alum (hydrated potassium aluminium sulfate) and chalk. Ground bone was sometimes added, too.

If you didn't want to eat it, you could always pave the patio with slices.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Anonymous? Really?

the real health issue in Wales, alcohol

So Sunday closing really worked as expected?

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No 10's online EU vote signup crash 'inevitable' – GDS overseer

Kubla Cant
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Re: Still don't understand how this happens

This stuff shouldn't go out to AWS or any other commercial cloud provider. G-Cloud should be able to offer the same. And if it doesn't, why not?

Because the scalability of cloud services is largely a result of serving a lot of different clients with varying load requirements. A government facility isn't a cloud in this sense, it's just a web server scaled to what is thought to be the maximum likely demand.

The odd thing is that the sites always crash when they're overloaded. If overload is likely it would make sense to throttle access through a proxy that is sufficiently lightweight to have little risk of overload. It wouldn't solve the deadline problem, but it would reduce the problem where slow response makes people queue up numerous retries and open several clients, thereby increasing the overload.

I accept that the use of a commercial provider might be inappropriate, but I should have thought that the information being processed isn't super-sensitive, and it ought to be possible to devise an arrangement that respects security requirements in a commercial environment.

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Don’t let the Barmy Brexiteers wreck #digital #europe

Kubla Cant
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WTF?

Re: fx comapny gb

onepintleft? I'd guess you've drunk a few dozen.

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So. Why don't people talk to invisible robots in public?

Kubla Cant
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Wouldn't it be 'format space c colon backslash enter'?

No backslash. "C:\" is a directory. The thing you want to format is a drive, so "format space C colon".

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England just not windy enough for wind farms, admits renewables boss

Kubla Cant
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Re: Tidal?

Rivers are another massive (and reliable!) source of energy and again untapped ( in this country)

@Prst. V.Jeltz: citation? I'd be amazed to learn that the comparatively small, slow-moving rivers of England could deliver much energy.

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Capitalize 'Internet'? AP says no – Vint Cerf says yes

Kubla Cant
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Re: I'm still upset...

No doubt you still telephone for a taximeter cabriolet to take you home?

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Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Language, by it's nature (at least the English language in all it's various flavors) changes. As a tech writer in the defense industry seemingly eons ago, I used to use machine-gun... then that was changed to machinegun.

I hope that in your role as a tech writer you observed the difference between "it's" and "its". One is a contraction of "it is"; the other is the possessive form of the inanimate pronoun. It's the latter you want.

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