* Posts by John H Woods

2481 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

Comcast staffers join walkout over Trump's immigration crackdown

John H Woods
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AC, I'm not missing the point. I don't think he said that his Muslim ban would be an immediate, ill-thought, rushed through executive order which applied (after some shilly-shallying) to people who were already legally resident in the US.

You've only got a realistic choice of two presidential candidates. Just because you voted for one of them doesn't mean you have to support everything they do; it's entirely possible you thought they were the lesser of two evils. This seems clear to me, but perhaps I am, as you say, a numpty.

"There is a difference between "protesting and acting like a spoilt child" --- these people think they are protesting; you think they are acting like spoiled children. So, it appears the difference is just whether you agree with their protest or not.

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John H Woods
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"Will they be campaigning about fewer foreign nationals taking away American jobs? Probably not.."

Did this make some logical sense to you? Because it reads to me that you feel that it is not acceptable to protest against a policy you think is unjust if it is the policy of someone who might have some other policies you don't consider unjust.

I know people who voted for Tony Blair himself (i.e. he was their MP) but still protested against his decision to go to war with Iraq. I don't think there's anything incompatible about that.

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Brexploitation? Adobe gets creative with price hikes

John H Woods
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Re: By The Short and Curlies

"The reality is, if your business depends on a piece of software, you will probably pay whatever." P.Lee

Indeed. Furthermore, most businesses are, in my experience, ridiculously squeamish about CapEx even when their OpEx is almost out of control, so an ongoing subscription or licence often gains approval more easily than a lump sum. Although, that's possibly a good thing, because often when they do cut OpEx they normally do it in a way that damages the business.

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John H Woods
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Re: By The Short and Curlies

A more honest approach would be to say "if you subscribe for x years then when you cancel you get to retain the version you are on" --- Morphius

Perhaps the Eurocrats might propose this kind of cap on the subscription model? Good job the UK will be out of the EU and safe from all their silly concerns about consumer protection by the time that happens.

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Who do you want to be Who? VOTE for the BBC's next Time Lord

John H Woods
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SWIMBO says:

Aidan Turner but then she would, wouldn't she?

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Motivational speaker in the slammer after HPE applies for court order

John H Woods
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Re: Judge with a sense of humour

" If you get on the wrong side of one you'll find they're well able to express their opinion." -- Dr Syntax

During an epic divorce/residence battle that went all the way to the High Court, my ex-wife's solicitors were somewhat untruthful. Unfortunately for them I had evidence of that which I was permitted to present. The almost unimaginably eloquent ire that was then directed at that side of the court room was so intense I *almost* felt sorry for them.

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GitLab.com melts down after wrong directory deleted, backups fail

John H Woods
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Re: All of the above notwithstanding, it's a bit hard to understand use of rm -rf ...

"Nobody every done "rm -rf . /tempfolder"?" -- Ogi

30 long years ago I over-lingered on the SHIFT key, rm -r *.o became rm -r *>o and left me with a single file containing a single byte. Now I usually put an -i in, and when it seems to be right, exit and edit the command line to remove just the -i before setting it off in anger.

But for specific critical folders you could use cp -al DoomedFolder/ QuickSnapshot/ ... Now, QuickSnapshot contains hardlinks to all the files and folders in DoomedFolder but because you haven't copied anything you don't need all that much space (just a bit for the new inodes) to do it (or much time to execute it). Now you can rm -r DoomedFolder and you've still got a second chance.

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Felted! AI poker bot Libratus cleans out pros in grueling tournament, smugly trousers $1.8m

John H Woods
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Re: Colossus: The Forbin Project

"Imagine if Libratus was allowed to keep its winnings" --- Ashley_Pomeroy

It would pay its debts: as noted above 19M core hours cost more than the winnings.

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Mumsnet ordered to give users' real life IDs and messages to plastic surgeon they criticised

John H Woods
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Errm ...

If they have posted potentially libellous information on a public forum, there is a reason for requesting their identities. What I can't get my head around is the request for any private messages they have passed between each other. Can anyone enlighten me?

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NASA honors Apollo 1 crew 50 years after deadly launchpad fire

John H Woods
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Re: The agency is recognized the world over as the most careful and risk-averse space agency.

"Richard Feynman's observations on the Challenger failure are well worth a read" -- Fred Dibnah

As are Edward Tufte's speculations on the role of PowerPoint in the Columbia disaster

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Stop replying! pleads NetApp customer stuck in reply-allpocalypse

John H Woods
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cc

The total number of individuals in a cc, after enumerating any groups, should not exceed N.

You could relax this criterion a bit by making it only applicable to replies and/or automatically moving the remaining addressees to bcc and/or being overrideable on confirmation.

I'm not convinced N needs to be much greater than 20.

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PS4 Pro woes: Random display blackouts caught on camera

John H Woods
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Re: Never had a single problem. PS4 Pro working perfectly here.

"The muppet of course is the one that believes internet "news" like this, without anything other than a forum thread to back it up."

There appears to be video evidence backing it up.

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H0LiCOW! Hubble's constant update paves way for 'new physics'

John H Woods
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Today: 299792.458 km/s

Pedantic note: the last measurement in the sequence should be 299792456.2±1.1 m/s from the 1970s

As the majority of the uncertainty was due to that of the length of the metre, the metre was redefined in terms of c and seconds (1975 I think) which is why the current value of 299792458 is exact.

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China's Great Firewall to crack down on unofficial VPNs – state-approved net connections only

John H Woods
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"I now know more about than I ever wanted to – a system known as VoIP, the Voice over Internet protocol." --- Lord Blair

It's amazing people can't die of shame --- I nearly passed out just reading that nonsense.

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Brexit, schmexit: Christmas sales up 4 per cent at Dixons Carphone

John H Woods
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Despite or Because?

I'm not sure increased sales are always a sign of confidence. I'm not in the market for any of their products, electronic or white goods, for some time but if I were planning a 2017 purchase and I anticipated further price rises (or redundancy!), I might be tempted to do it sooner rather than later.

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Lloyds Bank outage: DDoS is prime suspect

John H Woods
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9 upvotes but ...

... Mrs Uk_Gadget clearly reads El Reg

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Welcome to the Wipe House: President Trump shreds climate change, privacy, LGBT policies on WhiteHouse.gov

John H Woods
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Bog Roll

like this, perhaps? Not sure it would give you that "Andrex feeling of clean"

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My hole is a private thing – see for yourself

John H Woods
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Doesn't have to be a circle ...

... other shapes are available (NB: moderately NFSW)

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Clone wars: Wrestler sues Microsoft over Gears of War character

John H Woods
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This must be one of those infrequent occasions when a black man actually needs of a jury composed mainly of members of the "I'm not racist but they all look the same to me" brigade.

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CIA director AOL email hacker coughs to crime

John H Woods
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Why are the Americans apparently addicted to plea deals?

There's a place for them, sure. Someone who has committed a sexual assault, for instance, will be making life a tiny bit easier than it otherwise would be by sparing his victim from a trial; someone guilty of homicide will be similarly reducing the burden on friends and family of the victim. Perpetrators can get (relatively small) concessions in sentencing for cooperating in these instances.

What is the purpose of a plea bargain in crimes such as this? It just seems to me that the US approach is to present the defendant with a non-trivial % chance of (often amazingly severely) punishment if they plead not guilty so they just plead guilty to get a more certain bet of a realistic punishment.

I can't see how this is justice being seen to be done, which I believe is nearly as important as it being done. Can anyone enlighten me?

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Ransomware sleazeballs target UK schools

John H Woods
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Stop with the network shares please ...

It seems to me that nearly every network share I have ever come across would have been more useful as a version control system than a big dumb file storage area. Even before ransomware became a big issue, the increased auditability and resistance to user error seemed compelling advantages.

If I had to secure a network share, in the quickest and cheapest possible manner, I'd think about scheduling a job to nondestructively* copy all the files in it to a nonshared filesystem on a regular basis.

It's not a substitute for regularly made and regularly tested backups, but it might expedite getting prior copies of ransomed files back.

* using some system to prevent existing files being overwritten with new versions (even just something like rsync --backup --suffix `date +%Y%m%dT%H%M%S` would do the trick)

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Insane blackhats behind world's most expensive ransomware 'forget' to backup crypto keys

John H Woods
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Re: Google docs spreadsheet with Ransomware info

"Seriously, if you can only safely open links by going through a sandbox or temporary VM, you are either doing it wrong, or have the stupidest OS setup going, and should not be acceseing the internet with it in the first place."

I absolutely agree that it *should* not be the case that browsing to a link should be able to compromise your machine, but unfortunately, time and again, it has been shown to be possible, even with properly installed and maintained operating systems. Suggesting that people don't click on unknown links, at least without taking precautions, is hardly "overly paranoid advice" let alone "showboating" or "grandstanding."

And where does the Daily Mail come into it?

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John H Woods
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Re: Google docs spreadsheet with Ransomware info

"Anyway, QubesOS when??" -- Destroy All Monsters

Errm? Right now. I opened the spreadsheet in a disposable VM in Qubes 3.2.

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Could YOU survive a zombie apocalypse? Uni eggheads say you'd last just 100 days

John H Woods
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What an incredibly simplistic mathematical model.

Maybe these guys should have talked to some biologists?

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Former car rental biz staff gave customers' details to phone pests

John H Woods
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Re: WTF?

"Where does insecure systems come into play here when you are the person that was given that information in the first place before you enter that into the company's car hire system? [...] also noted down the customer details separately, probably on a post-it, to be sold on, " --- AC

"Details of tens of thousands of the company's customers and sold them on for hundreds of thousands of pounds" ---TFA

Seems unlikely to me that the mechanism for selling that quantity of records is Post-Its; a pound to a penny we're talking USB sticks or other portable media and taking details in bulk from "databases" (which may be nothing more than spreadsheets) rather than filching them one at a time.

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NASA plans seven-year trip to Jupiter – can we come with you, please?

John H Woods
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Re: Rolf?

What do you mean by suggesting that Capricorn One is an "alternative perspective" --- it's not a documentary you know!

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These boots are made for kicking imaginary things, and that's just what they'll do

John H Woods
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Maybe Bishop Berkeley was right?

Dr Johnson: "I refute it THUS!"

*kicks virtual stone*

*stone dematerializes"

Dr Johnson: "oh"

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Fatal genetic conditions could return in some 'three-parent' babies

John H Woods
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Re: suck it darwin

"so, we've figured a way to beat natural selection ... if you have a fatal genetic issue, then would have taken that as a signal ..." -- chewyfruitloop

Natural selection cannot be beaten: in this case the "fatal genetic issue" is no longer fatal thanks to a change in the environment (the availability of technological remediation). Genes don't send signals --- they impact the reproducibility of the genome they are part of or, if they don't, they drift randomly through the population over time.

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John H Woods
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Re: Prediction...

"Got anything to back that up ?"

I'll back that up. Whilst I understand why the scientists are keen to emphasise that mtDNA does not confer any identity linked traits (to mitigate against people wibbling on about designer babies), we have always found that there is always more to find (e.g. epigenetics vs pure sequencing) and our genetic (and, perhaps more significantly, biochemical) knowledge is clearly some way from being complete, even assuming complete knowledge is possible.

As it is trivially true that mtDNA mutations can cause different phenotypes (otherwise we wouldn't even be discussing this) it is almost certain that other mutations, or other epigenetic factors, would result in physical manifestations of those differences.

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Google's Grumpy code makes Python Go

John H Woods
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Re: Calling BS

"I'm sure it's a percent or two slower than a pure C program, but for the short development time I can cope with that."

As a performance specialist, it's a shame I can only upvote this once. >95% of performance issues can be improved by improving the code (data architecture, etc), and the sooner you've got the code working the sooner you can start. When you get down to could I use a faster language you frequently aren't far from the making the choice of just using faster hardware just as appealing, if not more so.

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Put walls around home Things, win $25k from US government

John H Woods
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Two ideas

1) Default / hardcoded credentials: Fines or other sanctions against manufacturers who produce devices, any two of which share credentials.

2) Support: all devices must be supported by the manufacturer for at least X months (perhaps depending on price?) When support ceases, devices must be open to user-customisation.

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‘Artificial Intelligence’ was 2016's fake news

John H Woods
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Re: replaced them with an AI editor.

" ... then we could all go away and do something more productive"

seems unlikely; Many of us work in IT.

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John H Woods
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"flavourless botulism"

nice ... your post reminded me of an all time favourite quote, probably not that off-topic in fact ...

"The way it functioned was very interesting. When the Drink button was pressed it made an instant but highly detailed examination of the subject's taste buds, a spectroscopic analysis of the subject's metabolism and then sent tiny experimental signals down the neural pathways to the taste centers of the subject's brain to see what was likely to go down well. However, no one knew quite why it did this because it invariably delivered a cupful of liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea." --- Douglas Adams

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Amazon files patent for 'Death Star' flying warehouse

John H Woods
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PARIS option?

... if the descending drones were paper aeroplanes it might be possible to make them so cheap that they are little more than "advanced packaging" ... No need to return them to the mother ship, just toss them in the recycling ...

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John H Woods
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Re: Amazon Prime "2 Day" shipping...

"almost 100% reliable" --- agreed.

Son told me at 16:40 on the 27th that he had "not yet got round" to purchasing a secret santa gift for a visit to the family the following evening. 10 minutes later we had ordered it, 1 hour later it was dispatched and it arrived in Middlesbrough the next morning, about 12 hours before we did.

Next day delivery of in stock Prime items is nearly always 100% reliable in my experience --- so much so we didn't even bother buying a back up gift in case it hadn't arrived.

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Folders return to Windows 10's Start Thing

John H Woods
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Re: Clippy

Bob

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Government calls for ideas on how to splash £400m on fibre

John H Woods
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"All in a day's work for a civil engineer. Who'll also know who keeps plans of what is buried where and how to read them. And can tell you in advance which permissions you'll need and how to get them. And at least a good approximation of how much it will cost. And how to set everything up so it will actally work." --- allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

This is true, certainly of making holes in the ground ... as in the ancient joke: if you look up "Boring" in the yellow pages it says "see Civil Engineers"

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The Register's Top 20 Most-Commented Stories in 2016

John H Woods
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Predictions for 2017

a) You'll still be ables to garner a few downvotes every time you suggest that no-one in their right mind would choose to use RAID5

b) Still no Brexit (I'm not saying that's good or bad, but I'm pretty sure the uncertainty and delay is worse than either leaving or remaining).

c) It still won't be economically feasible to wall off Mexico.

d) Less than 30 UK terrorism deaths and more than 1500 road deaths.

e) We won't need another leap second.

f) No UK government IT projects will come in on time or with a less than 10% overspend.

g) I'll be proved wrong on at least one of the foregoing and subjected to the obloquy of the commentard community.

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Netgear: Nothing to see here, please disperse. Just another really bad router security hole

John H Woods
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Re: Too F***ing Late...!

"I probably should have bought a larger 6/8-bay device from the outset and used RAID 5" -- paulf

Dude, no. Just no. I'd recommend 6 disks and RAIDZ2 but other sensible options are available; RAID5 is not one of them.

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Rollout of smart meters continues at a snail's pace

John H Woods
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"As long as it is generally secure to operate"

ah, about that ...

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Don't pay up to decrypt – cure found for CryptXXX ransomware, again

John H Woods
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Re: It's only a matter of time ...

@LDS, I mostly agree but still think snapshots can be used ...

My home ZFS box snapshots itself every minute, whilst another cronjob tidies snapshots periodically (keeping a few hours' worth of per-minute snaps, a few days' worth of 6-per-hour snaps ... etc., etc., ... down to quarterlies which are never auto-removed). None of the remote users are sudoers; root cannot log in remotely; so I think snapshots can only be removed from the console.

I have, very recently, deliberately infected a client machine attached to this storage, and sure enough it immediately started encrypting every file in its network attached folder (in fact, one of my monitoring scripts on the ZFS box mailed me to tell me that there was a huge peak in write activity). When it subsided, I successfully recovered all the test files from snapshots (although I cheated and just went for a the last snapshot before my deliberate infection: if I had not known the date of the infection and the files had been changing there'd have been a bit more work to do (I'm trying to work out a decent way of automating this).

One could create and market a NAS box which was "reasonably ransomware resistant" using a number of similar approaches.

"Backups should not be local" --- agreed, because of fires, theft, etc. I'm not remotely suggesting that snapshots replace backups. My box makes encrypted copies of my most important files and dribbles them up to Dropbox.

But it seems to me that there is no technical obstacle to "reasonably ransomware resistant" local storage.

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John H Woods
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Re: It's only a matter of time ...

"Wouldn't a variation on Windows UAC achieve that already?" --- Nifty

I think it could. Presumably it would be possible to create a system where UAC prevented some files / folders from being deleted or overwritten regardless of the privilege level of the user, and the only way to do so would be to turn UAC off (am I right in thinking UAC can only be turned off by booting to safe mode?) to do whatever was required before turning it back on and returning to normal operating mode.

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Did webcam 'performer' offer support chap payment in kind?

John H Woods
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Re: Oh tomato tohmahto..

viridae is probably the word you were looking for ;-) but come on, it's all a bit of a laugh, isn't it?

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