* Posts by horsham_sparky

129 posts • joined 15 Dec 2010

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Sex ban IT man loses appeal – but judge labels order 'unpoliceable'

horsham_sparky
Big Brother

Medical treatment?

what's not mentioned here is that the guy went to his GP.. was he looking for treatment? why else would he tell these things to his GP?

It sounds like this guy needs treatment more than court orders, that's far more likely to end up with the right result of preventing him from raping/abusing women. Frankly how would a court order achieve that? if he were so inclined he could ignore the court order completely and go where his fantasies take him.

The law in this country seems to be skewed to devastating an accused persons life before any evidence is produced or proven in a court of law. Punish first, ask questions later mentality seems to prevail..

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PM resigns as Britain votes to leave EU

horsham_sparky

Re: If I hear a single pensioner...

count me in.. though the pensioners involved being my parents, my dad voted out 'cause he can't land more than one sea bass anymore under new EU fishing rules on sports angling

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horsham_sparky

Re: On days like today...

Thirded.. I shall miss his post pub nosh recipes..

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horsham_sparky
Trollface

English Independence vote in disguise

After the scottish referendum many people in England asked "why can't we vote to boot scotland out?" I reckon that's what this vote was really about, convincing them to have another vote and go for yes this time! :-p

On a more serious note, I was torn on this one.. heart was saying go (get rid of all those ridiculous EU laws), but the head was saying stay.. i.e don't screw our economy for the next 20 years while we go around trying to get new trade deals and the like.

I ended up voting to stay, and having seeing the congrats from the likes of Donald Trump, I'm off to dig my fallout shelter..with internet, beer fridge etc.. in fact I think I should just move to Germany, I can stay in the EU and still have some decent beer, though I might skip the currywurst

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Pentagon fastens lasers to military drones to zap missiles out of the skies

horsham_sparky

Re: "given enough power, given enough beam quality, given enough altitude,"

Only if you happen to know the wavelength of the laser they're using..and even then its not too difficult to change the wavelength of a laser if you need to.

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horsham_sparky
Black Helicopters

I reckon

They've already got a system that can knock out ballistic missiles.. probably satellite based. But it easier to keep it secret if they keep working on it in public and failing.. frickin' lasers on drones?! seriously? its all a smokescreen!

And of course, they never landed on the moon (it was faked), they can probe your mind with WiFi if you don't wear tinfoil hats, and Donald Trump is really an alien hell-bent on world domination! :-P

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Bone-dry British tech SMBs miss out on UK.gov cash shower

horsham_sparky

not so Smart

I'm currently in a tech start-up consisting of myself (electronics hardware/firmware and CTO), and my partner (software and CEO). Do you think we can find a grant that doesn't require more time in applications/interviews/bovine excretion than it actually awards in grants? by the time we had finished the process and gotten a grant, we could have engineered it 3 times over (OK, maybe slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean).

I even have a friend whose wife works for the local grants group.. she said unless you have someone dedicated (i.e. you're a medium size company that can afford a full time "grants-getter") then don't bother.

in comparison to the amounts being awarded to companies that don't really need it, a paltry sum (say £30k) would have paid for all our prototypes (we do the engineering ourselves and outsource the manufacture). That would have allowed us to get up and running a lot faster. As it stands we have to contract part time to keep the company going..

The government needs to sort it out otherwise we'll only have banks and digital media firms left in the UK..

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El Reg mulls entering Robot Wars arena

horsham_sparky
Boffin

tricky

We had a team started when I was back at Uni (the original series with philippa forrester).. those were the days when the best battery you could get was sealed lead acid or Ni-Cad.

The rules were pretty tight at that point as well.. its tricky to get anything that has the run time, damage, weight, control and robustness and still meets all the rules. We never did crack it, we just didn't get the time to do it properly and graduated before finishing it. Oh well!

Would love to have another crack at it though.. there's a lot of new tech on the market now which would be interesting to use, particularly with batteries and motors and motor drives etc. Lester, get in touch if you need a sparky/embedded SW engineer on the job ;-)

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Itty-bitty pyttipanna

horsham_sparky
Pirate

Var är chilisås ?

I've had this before in Stockholm.. where the addition of lashings of hot pepper sauce made it a dish worthy of note, particularly after a night on the alcoholic sauce (you need something to compensate for the fact that your bank account is now empty after a night out in stockholm!)

The egg yolk is particularly delicious when mixed in.. hmm, think I'll have to make some tonight :-)

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NOxious VW emissions scandal: Car maker warned of cheatware YEARS AGO – reports

horsham_sparky
Black Helicopters

First rule of engineering.. cover thine Arse!

I've seen many practises in my time as an Engineer that could be described as dubious as best and downright dangerous at worst. These always seem to involve management pressuring engineers into fudging results or designs, particularly when it comes to things like EMC compliance and regulatory/safety compliance.

I've been overruled more times than I care to count by managers/business owners who simply don't understand the implications of the decisions they make. As a contractor I have the luxury of being able to state my professional opinion and objections without affecting my career prospects (there are lots of contracts around for engineers like myself).

However what worries me is the permanent staff who do have to worry about it, and don't object.. the problem for them is that if something goes wrong, the law is that whoever signs off on the safety/regulatory aspects is the one most likely to be prosecuted and jailed.. particularly as instructions from management are nearly always verbal.. getting them to commit it to paper/email is like getting blood out of a stone.So this shoves the permanent staff between the proverbial rock and hard place

In this case it sounds like the engineer involved, did what I have always done.. commit it to paper/email, so there's a record when the smelly stuff hits the rotating air cooling device. The first rule of engineering is to cover thine arse! bravo to whoever the engineer was :-) I bet you they never find out who did the overruling...

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Bacon and egg sushi

horsham_sparky
Trollface

Re: Where's the Bacon?

you mean swine surely?

and its mr.sparky to you :-p

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horsham_sparky
Happy

Where's the Bacon?

oh there it is.. and there.. and eggs.. OMFG! I think I've just had a pork-gasm looking at that!

Top notch nosh el-reg, I thoroughly approve of the high porcine content :-)

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Keep your stupid drones away from piloted aircraft, rages CAA

horsham_sparky
Devil

Re: defense system

I'm sure you could adapt one of these for the purpose :-)

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horsham_sparky
Stop

defense system

its a problem that's relatively easy to solve. Install some UAV denial systems around sensitive installations (airports, nuclear reactors etc)and be done with it. Sure the systems are expensive, but they'll be far cheaper than the consequences and costs of a crashed passenger jet..

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Chopstick-collapsing Spam musubi

horsham_sparky
Trollface

Spam spam spam spam egg

and spam.. except can I have mine without egg please? :-)

I wonder if that would work with Bacon.. anything can be improved with the addition of bacon!

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Bloke called Rod struck by lightning for second time

horsham_sparky
Boffin

Re: re how many are called Rod

isn't the odds of being struck twice just the odd of being struck once times itself, i.e. 1 in 3000 x 1 in 3000 = 1 in 9billion?

That said I haven't done probability maths in years and can't be arsed to google it (it's saturday after all)

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Tortilla de patatas

horsham_sparky
Thumb Up

Re: Yum!

third-ed.. I was going to suggest adding the bacon goodness.. smoked streaky preferably :-)

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European Parliament mulls law on use of blood metal in tech

horsham_sparky
FAIL

Please don't do another REACH to us

I've been working in the Electronics industry designing circuits and systems since 2000.. so I've seen the introduction of RoHS, WEEE and worst of all REACH legislation.

I can see the point of the WEEE directive (recycling waste electronics), which negates the need for the some parts of RoHS, namely leaded solders, as its easy to recycle and therefore doesn't contaminate the environment.. and incidentally makes electronics easier (there simply isn't a non-leaded solder anywhere near as good as the traditional tin-lead mix)

However Reach is an utter nightmare for us, as its a vastly larger list of substances, which changes at short notice.. for the average engineer, its simply not practical to check every single component in every design.

But at least with RoHS and to a lesser degree REACH, there are tests you can perform to determine the content of PCBs. However a conflict mineral is identical to a non-conflict mineral.. so this becomes even harder, as even fairphone have found, there's simply no way to be 100% sure.

So then the question is what is the point of a new law that cannot be enforced? how do you prove a company is using conflict minerals in their supply chain for a prosecution? and if you can, how can you prove they did so willingly?

For heavens sake EU.. we don't need any more hurdles to getting products out the door! The problem needs tackling at source, not at the end of a supply chain

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SpaceX to deliver Bigelow blow-up job to ISS astronauts

horsham_sparky
Trollface

I can't quite see it

I'm sure there should be a piece of string tied to it somewhere :-) it does look like a childs helium balloon! as long as the astronauts don't start talking like chipmunks..

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Sir Terry remembered: Dickens' fire, Tolkien's imagination, and the wit of Wodehouse

horsham_sparky

Start at the beginning, the colour of Magic :-) it sets the tone for the rest of his books really. you don't have to read them in order, each book is a good read in isolation.. but you get to know the characters and the history if you do go in order though

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horsham_sparky

RIP Terry

I'll be hoisting a pint of Turbot's Really Odd in your memory

Have been a fan since university days when I was lucky enough you meet you at a book signing at the Uni bookshop..

Say Hi to Albert, Death, Susan and the death of Rats for us :-)

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Smažený sýr

horsham_sparky

eww

the only time to use marmite is if your driveway needs re-surfacing.. yuck!

blue cheese is the food of the gods though.. om nom nom

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horsham_sparky
Trollface

double dipping?

I thought that was unhygienic, or so sayeth Seinfeld anyway.. :-)

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horsham_sparky
Devil

looks good..

now all it needs is some chili sauce! :-)

On the subject of cooked cheese, grilled or fried halloumi would also fit the post-pub nosh neckfiller category, seeing though its dead easy to make (slice it, bung it in a frying pan with a little olive oil and maybe garlic and herbs, fry on both sides 'till golden), its lovely cheesy and salty.. though the saltiness always makes me want another beer...

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: El Reg eggs Benedict

horsham_sparky
Meh

you had me at Bacon..

Anything tastes better with Bacon.. too much faff for a morning after hangover cure though, as tasty as it looks! think I'll stick with the triple fried egg chili and chutney sauce sarnie from last time.. which is also improved with the addition of Bacon (tried that yesterday) :-)

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The Red Dwarf chilli chutney egg sarnie

horsham_sparky

Re: An explanation

hmmm I'm thinking of smokey bacon.. will go well with the chili sauce methinks :-) and crispy bacon is best with eggs, gives a nice contrast in texture with the runny eggs.. although rind is optional, can be a bit of a pain in sandwich (you end up pulling half the bacon out with every bite), but you can't beat the taste of crispy rind.. dammit I'm hungry now! luckily there's a cafe 5 minutes walk from the office :-)

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horsham_sparky

Re: An explanation

Hey Sean.. good job overall buddy, despite the lack of decent chili sauce! the photo's did prompt me to go immediately down to the kitchen to have a go (I posted the story earlier on in the comments :-)

I'll definitely put bacon in next time though.. I'll have to make sure the ingredients are available in the fridge this saturday morning :-)

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horsham_sparky

Re: Proper chili sauce

I already did, I told the story earlier on in the comments.. though I neglected to say it was the ghost pepper edition of mad dog 357 :-)

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horsham_sparky
Devil

nom nom nom

having over indulged in curry and beer last night, and still suffering a bit from the cold this seemed to be a stroke of genius.. so off to the kitchen I went in search of what is to all intents and purposes "food porn"

I was fairly faithful to the recipe.. though I agree with earlier posters comments about the insipid flavourless encona so called "chili sauce", so instead I used a good dollop of Mad dog 357 (about a teaspoon full) with a couple of teaspons of nandos garlic peri peri for some extra flavour..

What can I say? it was a warming satisfying gooey mess, necessitating in a hasty shower and change of t-shirt.. and I feel much better already :-) Will definitely make it again.. though I feel the recipe could be improved with the addition of some bacon (anything tastes better with bacon!)

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Slash tuition fees for STEM students, biz boss body begs UK.gov

horsham_sparky

Re: The liberal arts people will game this

"How long before history gets rebranded as "past science"?"

I believe that should be "temporal science" :-)

same thing in Engineering.. "sanitation engineer", "meat distribution engineer" to name a couple..

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horsham_sparky

Re: When I finished my STEM there were no jobs

As Ledswinger said, the quality of STEM education seems to have been declining in the UK. In Electronics Engineering, new graduates are often pretty useless when it comes to design work. But the degree at least gives them the basics, so after a couple of years of mentoring and practise they can become useful members of the team. I suspect that's part of the reason graduate wages aren't great.

The other part of it is that too many people can call themselves engineers these days, so yes the respect for engineers has declined. However its definitely possible to get decent wages, particularly in fields that are more difficult and in demand. RF Engineering and DSP are a couple of good examples.

I think the final part of the problem is Engineers themselves.. we're next to useless at negotiation compared to other parts of the company (e.g. sales, marketing etc), so on average our wages are lower, despite the fact engineers can make or break a company just as easily. If you believe the psychiatric studies its probably because most of us are Autistic to varying degrees! in fact if you believe an old 'el reg article, we're cold and dead inside, with no empathy for others.. sounds like most engineers that I know :-)

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horsham_sparky
Flame

Too bloody right!!

Tuition fees should be based on their value to the economy and to society.. i.e. if Engineers are in high demand, engineering degrees should be lower cost and/or subsidised. Those that elect to study far less useful subjects like "David Beckham Studies" should be charged more to pay for those subsidies. Agreed this might not cover all the costs, but the gains in productivity and ultimately tax revenue for having more STEM workers available would easily outweigh the additional costs.

I keep seeing articles about Uni-grads working in jobs that have no relation to their degree.. what's the point of that? OK, i can understand that some industries can be difficult to get into, but if a significant proportion of students never get into their subjects then they have wasted their time and money as well as the taxpayers.

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UK's CASH POINTS to MISS Windows XP withdrawal date

horsham_sparky
Holmes

That's what you get for going with Microsoft

Windows was never intended as an industrial OS (ATM's would probably qualify as industrial, harsh environment, long service life etc)

There are other OS's out there with better security, support and licensing options, and I don't just mean the various flavours of Linux.

But companies like NCR go for windows because there are lots of Dev's out there with windows experience, and the inbuilt UI cuts down on some of the development time. Plus they can now charge their customers for brand spanking new ATM's rather than just upgrading the old ones.

Its the banks own fault for not specifying a more suitable OS and feature roadmap for these devices.. no sympathy at all.. just annoyance that the cost will be passed on to joe bloggs public yet again.

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Barclays warns freelance techies of DOUBLE DIGIT rate cut

horsham_sparky

Re: Perspective

My facts are straight. I don't pay myself a full salary, I take some of it in dividends (like most contractors). I still pay PAYE to keep up my NI contributions. I fully agree, corp tax is paid on profits after expenses (i didn't state that it wasn't)

my point was that the original post was misleading, which I still stand by

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horsham_sparky

Re: Perspective

Touché :-)

Not living/working in London, the ones I know earn considerably less than £500 per day. The additional costs of living in or commuting to London and the more specialist area (banking) probably accounts for the difference.

However I still stand by the fact your post was misleading as you didn't account for most of the costs contractors face. I regularly get told by permies/managers that I'm a rich contractor (I wish), purely because of this kind of misconception, which tends to get annoying after a while

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horsham_sparky

Re: idiot bosses @horsham

Yep, I've heard those justifications before. And then those large companies wonder why their IT/Engineering projects run over-budget, deliver late and don't meet the requirements.

When IT and Engineering resource decisions are made on purely financial reasons, that's when projects go wrong. The sad fact is that as a contractor its rare that I get contracts in well run engineering departments.. almost always they're getting me in at the end of projects, when deadlines are looming because they haven't properly resourced or specified the projects, and are they are into headless-chicken mode of project management.

using contractors in this fashion means that you lose all the learning and experience that they gained during the project.. that means future projects take longer and are a lot more wasteful. Its a false economy.

Unfortunately financial planners rarely understand this and think IT staff/Engineers can be brought in and moved on at a drop of a hat and still keep their effectiveness and productivity.

So your justification whilst being a valid one financially just doesn't work very well in the real world :-(

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horsham_sparky

Re: idiot bosses

My experience is that most bosses in the IT/Engineering sector don't understand the skillset of the people they employ, and therefore are unable to place a value upon it. Those that do understand will rarely bother with contractors but will seek good pay/conditions/opportunities for their permanent staff. However this seems to be the exception rather than the rule these days :-(

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horsham_sparky

Re: Perspective

Why don't you actually talk to some IT contractors and find out how much they're paid? 'cause frankly I seriously doubt there are many earning that level. Most will be between the £300-£400 mark per day, see

http://www.contractoruk.com/market_rates/

As a highly qualified, and in demand Electronics Engineer (there's a shortage of us in the UK), not even I earn as much as £500 a day, nevermind £700 a day!

You also didn't add in corporation tax (20%), PAYE (yes, most contractors DO pay this, myself included). Add in some travel and lodging expenses (a lot of contractors like myself go where the work is, and that means local accomodation during the week and long drives at the weekend). So if they're doing well, they might net between £50k and £70k per year, assuming they work all year around. Take away pension contributions, healthcare, professional indemnity insurance, end of year accounts and tax returns, etc etc etc, then I think you'll find contractors are not the extreme high earners that you make them out to be

Please get your facts straight before posting stuff like that, you only reinforce the misconception that we contractors are earling loads'a'lolly... though we would if we could!! :-)

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horsham_sparky

Ironic

I'm electronics design contractor.. ironically my business account is with Barclays! time to reconsider if their IT is about to go down the sh***er

sounds like Electronics contracting is different to IT contracting, I've never had to drop my rates.. Although I do move around every year or two to ensure I keep getting market rates (companies never voluntarily increase their rates unless they're desperate to keep me) and to make sure I fall foul of IR35

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My work-from-home setup's better than the office. It's GLORIOUS

horsham_sparky
Flame

standardisation

This is the scourge of the engineering department.. being expected to build FPGA/microcontroller code, or run Matlab or Spice simulations on a PC that was designed for a company secretary who rarely uses anything other than Word or Internet Explorer (yep, the standard browser for the company, no you can't have firefox, its free! it can't possibly be legal!). 2GB of RAM which IE and windows swallows whole when you have more than a few windows open.. a single core CPU that needs its clockwork winding up regularly..

Anyone tried to design a PCB using a 15" screen? for heavens sake, my smartphone has more pixels! not fun!

*sigh* sorry rant over

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PM Cameron leaps aboard Internet of Thingies

horsham_sparky
Terminator

beginning of skynet?

I'm just waiting for someone to say that these devices will suddenly somehow coalesce and form a big bad AI that will wip-out mankind, whilst curiously resurrecting an aged austrian holywood star

first there was GM.. then nano-particles (grey goo), next we'll either be blasted by liquid-metal robots, or we'll be grown, farmed for electricity and controlled via artificial reality implants

personally I'll be watching with amusement supping ice cold beer ordered automatically from my internet fridge :-)

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horsham_sparky

Re: A fridge that can order you milk when it notices you are getting low

now if it ordered beer by itself, that would definitely make me feel better.. mmmmm beer

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horsham_sparky
Black Helicopters

nah

This isn't about improving the economy, lifestyle, saving the planet or all the normal crap politicians spout.. this is about connecting up more devices to the webs that NSA/GCHQ can hack into! pretty soon server farms will be analysing your milk-drinking habits for signs of subversive activity..

personally I believe we should invest in aluminium foil headwear.. several layers should do the trick :-)

p.s. its only paranoia if nobody is out to get you..

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Heroic Playmonaut wowed by LOHAN's bulging package

horsham_sparky

Re: dont' forget

a test glide to check the trim might be prudent, local RC flying clubs are a good place to go and get help from, the gliders use powered planes to get them going :-)

and while I'm at it, the best way to suck an egg is to make sure you don't get one too big, and to thoroughtly wash the chicken poo from it first :-p I'm sure you've thought of all this stuff already.. nice work on the assembly :-)

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horsham_sparky
Facepalm

dont' forget

to check your centre of gravity now that all the kit and kaboodle are in.. would be a shame to see it nosedive instead of gliding elegantly.. it would spill playmonaut's cuppa-char!

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Florida bloke cuffed for pit bull shag outrage

horsham_sparky

Re: I shouldn't need to know

That's soo... wrong! my eyes feel violated! I don't want to know any of that.. *covers up ears* lalalala can't hear you lalalala *shudder*

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horsham_sparky
Coffee/keyboard

Re: Police later described the scene at the house

genius comment.. lol

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horsham_sparky
Alert

blimey

His picture makes it look like the pitt-bull is getting its own back! His eyes look like someone's just slapped his back and they're about to pop out and cannon off the cameraman

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Roll up, roll up for the Commentards' Ball

horsham_sparky
Pint

d'oh!

I'm flying out to germany to demo my new product the next day, I doubt they'll be impressed by me turning up smelling of stale lager, late night curry, with eyes redder than Saurons after a particularly bad session of quaffing hobbit blood-mead (just made that up). Knowing 'el Reg, I wouldn't discount the possibility of traffic-cone headwear, and handcuffs attached to bits of hack-sawed lampost

*sigh*

to those that make it, I damn you!!! :-) sounds like it will be an awesome night out

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