* Posts by Neil Barnes

2878 posts • joined 18 Apr 2007

US visitors must hand over Twitter, Facebook handles by law – newbie Rep starts ball rolling

Neil Barnes
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Refer the border guards to the passport:

"Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State Requests and requires in the Name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary."

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Neil Barnes
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Re: But

it's going to be crowded in that room...

Did the Senator not learn about logic, proofs, and the impossibility thereof in some cases? Perhaps that day it rained and the teacher didn't go to school.

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The Register's guide to protecting your data when visiting the US

Neil Barnes
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Re: passports

When I was travelling a lot, I had two UK passports for about ten years, and on occasion, a third - not so much for 'been there? can't come here' issues but more because I would often be somewhere while my passport was required at a consulate for a visa application.

Whether that's still allowed or not, I can't say.

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NASA picks three Martian wet patches for 2020 splashdown

Neil Barnes
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Coat

If they're planning on landing in Mars' Grympen Myre

Does that make the Rover the Hound of the Marskervilles?

--> the one with the Collected Works in the pocket, thanks!

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UK prof claims to have first practical blueprint of a quantum computer

Neil Barnes
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I'm reminded that the cat has *three* states:

Dead, Alive, and Bloody Furious.

But at least those big modules will give it somewhere to sit.

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Kids these days will never understand the value of money

Neil Barnes
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Stop

If you can't scratch a window with it

it's not cash.

And if it's not cash, you shouldn't, in most cases, be spending it.

Swipe this/tap that/toch the other is all about persuading money to leave you without you realising it, as pointed out in the article.

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Samsung's Chromebook Pro: Overpriced vanilla PC with a stylus. 'Wow'

Neil Barnes
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Re: On the subject of the hardware specs.

Surely the requirements and processes for Chromebooks are exactly the same as those for Linux, as that's what Chromeos is?

If the processor is fast enough to keep up with a video playing, if there's easy external storage (e.g. micro-SD or USB), and there's enough memory to avoid regular thrashing then for most people that's going to be good enough.

Certainly is for me, for the portable sofa-surfing machine... sure, it gets a bit slow trying to use the Gimp on large images in 16 bit/colour mode, and I wouldn't care to use it OCR a thousand page novel in one go, but it's quite happy doing 2-d CAD and software development, LaTeX book authoring and Libre Office tasks. For the heavy lifting, there's an older but still operational laptop with a couple of spinny discs in and a decent amount of memory which spends most of its time being a file server.

A Chromebook is a lightweight commodity laptop with a decent screen and a good battery life. I prefer to use a different OS, that's all. My only complaint is that they took away the bloody delete key...

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Neil Barnes
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Or check out Seabios which allows most (all?) Intel chromebooks to run from a USB or SD device and install native Linux on the internal 'disc'.

I favour Mint Cinnamon on a Toshiba CB II - sadly no longer available - for the brilliant IPS screen.

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Get orf the air over moi land Irish farmer roars at drones

Neil Barnes
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Black Helicopters

Re: Drone hunting drones.

tell it to look for the operator instead, *then* dangle/strangle.

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Macs don't get viruses? Hahaha, ha... seriously though, that Word doc could be malware

Neil Barnes
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I've never had an answer to the question

Why on earth is there a programming language buried inside a text-editor/formatter?

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Last Concorde completes last journey, at maybe Mach 0.02

Neil Barnes
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Re: I once spotted one of these at Schiphol

I have not forgiven whoever it was that removed the model from the roundabout at the end of the Heathrow-M4 spur and replaced it with some modern tat.

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Neil Barnes
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Facepalm

Welcome to the UK

The only country in the world to have given up *both* a working space program and a working supersonic plane.

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Neil Barnes
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Go

Re: Don't know why...

From talking to one of the guys who did the accident analysis, the chain of events was originally that a Concord wheel axle was (re)assembled incorrectly, misaligning the wheel, increasing drag, decreasing takeoff acceleration, increasing tyre temperature, and thereby rendering the tyre more sensitive to the damage caused by the cowling it ran over.

But it's still rather cool to have had in one's country's commercial airline fleet a passenger jet that could out-drag every fighter in the world, *and* keep it up for three hours or more, *and* make a running profit (though we ignore the dev costs :).

I always liked the logic after it came back into service, when BA did a survey asking how much people thought their ticket had cost (since most passengers were commercial and didn't pay for the ticket directly). About five grand, said the passengers. Right, said BA, since that's what you're obviously willing to pay, we'll have some of that - and raised the price from two grand to five grand...

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Eee by gum! Aye up, Microsoft, what's tha y' got? Cloud for accents?

Neil Barnes
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Please tell me

that the swearing and porn module is called 'Emily Post'.

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Vizio coughs up $2.2m after its smart TVs spied on millions of families

Neil Barnes
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First, we kill all the lawyers?

I'm thinking Shakespeare had it wrong: let's start with the advertising agencies...

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Coming to the big screen: Sci-fi epic Dune – no wait, wait, wait, this one might be good

Neil Barnes
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Re: Make something new

Hell, if you fancy a bit of massive special effects good guys vs bad guys space opera, what's wrong with Doc Smith? I'd pay to see a decent Lensman film.

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Free smart fridges! App stores in fountains! Plus more from Canonical man

Neil Barnes
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Re: I dunno...

But neither of those functions require a network connection.

If the fridge announces that its door is open when you're halfway to work, or halfway to Cuba, there's little you can do: it's only effective if you're actually there. Equally, a bar code reader/reminder needs to make its announcement when you open the fridge door, where there's a chance you'll actually do something about it there and then.

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Neil Barnes
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Re: I dunno...

Kubla - obviously I simplified, but the point was that the user interface is simple, logical, and debugged.

Would you not think it more logical to have a single device (e.g. the thermostat/timer for a CH system) which does nothing other than that, and does it well, than moving the control logic onto a second device (having gone through who-knows-where in the meantime) which is used for a dozen other tasks? Particularly as the system also needs to be able to operate correctly in the absence of the second device?

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Neil Barnes
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WTF?

I dunno...

Every time I start to think that the IoT might actually, in spite of all expectations, have one or two minor uses that provide some benefit to them, along comes some genius like this...

As always - someone has looked at a perfectly good mature working technology and found a way to make it an over-complex, over-engineered, over-priced, pile of foetid dingo's kidneys. Truly, the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation is alive and well.

Lemme see:

- Fridge: requires a thermostat and a little switch to turn the light on.

- Heating: requires a thermostat to turn the heating on and off.

- Lighting: requires a switch on the wall to turn the lights on and off.

- Lifts: requires a little control logic and a set of buttons to select a target floor.

Nope, not seeing anything there that requires an attached app store.

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Cassini sends back best ring-shots yet en route to self-destruct dive

Neil Barnes
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Rings?

Nah... that looks suspiciously like a close-up of an old 78 recording of Beethoven's 7th Symphony, second movement.

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Human memory, or the lack of it, is the biggest security bug on the 'net

Neil Barnes
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Re: Try blaming the correct people next time.

Except...

How many sites that require passwords actually *need* them? How many shops require a login for what is in all likelihood a single transaction? Do they really need to keep details of my name and address and credit card?

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Trump's cartoon comedy approach to running a country: 'One in, two out' rule for regulations

Neil Barnes
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If this goes on...

Am I the only one who's been thinking for weeks "Nehemiah Scudder"?

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Ransomware killed 70% of Washington DC CCTV ahead of inauguration

Neil Barnes
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Big Brother

Re: Wait, what?

I dunno - killing half a city's spy cameras might be considered a good thing...

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Microsoft's Cloud UI brings Windows full circle

Neil Barnes
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Re: For the love of God, get your bearings straight

There are a handful of things that people have become used to - and not just on windows: menus, overlapping windows, the task bar, start menus, scroll bars and the like.

It doesn't *matter* if there are better, newer, more innovative ways of doing the things that people do with computers; they want to do things the way they have learned to do them. Apple and Ubuntu demonstrate that there are ways to do things that are different, and that can work, but the vast majority of people (on desktop computers) prefer the 'old' ways.

UI designers seem to have a generic policy - maybe it's something you pick up at UI school? - of forcing unwanted changes on users and in many cases not providing a route back to something with which the user is familiar. MS is not alone in this - consider Ubuntu's sidebar, or window control buttons on the 'wrong' corner, or Mint's current disappearing scroll bars - but they have the largest audience and so they have the most complaints...

It's not that we *we* can't work with new UI paradigms, it's that we can't work efficiently, or do things in the way we are used to - it's that we don't want to unless and until we see a major advantage to it.

(Personal grump: MS's inability to understand the concept of independent mouse and keyboard focus: as late as W8 (dunno about later) moving the mouse out of the window which has focus and to another window and then scrolling it causes the window it just left to respond. Every Linux desktop with which I am familiar understands this: the UI thingie under the mouse responds to scrolls; keyboard focus does not pass until the mouse is clicked.)

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Naughty sysadmins use dark magic to fix PCs for clueless users

Neil Barnes
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Re: The Exorcist

That'll be a quid for hitting it, sir, and forty-nine quid for knowing *where* to hit it...

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Neil Barnes
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Re: You want an evil genius IT man.

Broadcast video recorders use(d) a lot of infrared sensors to track the tape loading mechanism. Kindly Evil Genius engineers would 'help' their colleagues by making sure they had enough light in there to see properly...

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This goldfish and its steerable robot tank will destroy humanity

Neil Barnes
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Linux

Re: Missed QI much?

We must have the same dreammeister, because I recall it too.

---> mmm, fishies!

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UK ISPs may be handed cock-blocking powers

Neil Barnes
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Flame

I don't often resort to profanity in discussion fora, but...

IT'S NONE OF ANYONE'S FUCKING BUSINESS.

When the police have a suspicion that I am doing something illegal, they may take that suspicion to a judge along with any supporting evidence. The judge may decide that a case exists.

Then, and only then, they may concern themselves with what I may or may not choose to watch, which sites I may or may not choose to visit, what comments I may or may not choose to make.

This is nothing about pornography or sex or even prurience; it's all about making a citizenry control *itself* by making it feel more or less uncomfortable about its own activities. Today it's porn, because that's easy, and who would dare object? But tomorrow? What? You want to look at sites that support staying in the EU? Oh, no, sir - you won't even see them.

Great walls round China, North Korea, soon half the US, and now the UK...

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Google hardwires its Android app store into new Chromebooks

Neil Barnes
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Re: It had potential ...

Many have said...

But some have said, Hmm, yes, that looks and interesting piece of hardware, I wonder if I can run native Linux on it (or even for all I know, Windows)?

Turns out you can, and for some of those people's use cases, it's an ideal package (I favour the no-longer-available Toshiba Chromebook II, myself). If you want to use a computer to do things other than entertainment and shopping (okay, that's probably a minority) then they're an inexpensive solution that worth a look.

I'm not at all sure though I'd be willing to pay the top end prices asked for some of the chromebooks out their, particularly from Google itself: I am not sufficiently enthused by easy access to fart apps.

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We've found a ‘vaccine’ for fake news. Wait! No, we really are Cambridge researchers

Neil Barnes
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Yup, it's working...

Already I can feel the 'bollocks' antibodies circulating in my bloodstream.

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Learn to code site Code.org loses student work due to index bug

Neil Barnes
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It's always good to repeat previous instruction

That's how we learn

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Rap for crap WhatsApp trap flap: Yack yack app claptrap slapped

Neil Barnes
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And there's the problem...

A very technical issue that I suspect many folks here would not have comprehended immediately - but the print journo has a deadline and a nice headline is always nicer than two inches on page seventeen.

What do you expect him to do?

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Smart guns are a neat idea on paper. They'll never survive reality

Neil Barnes
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Prior art

(c) The Weapon Shops of Isher.

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Opera scolds stale browsers with shocking Neon experiment

Neil Barnes
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Re: Cool effects and animations

Spot on.

Anywhere there's the option, irrespective of OS or software, first thing to disable is the graphics effects.

It's amazing how much this improves the user experience, for those who want to *use* rather than play with their computer.

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Asteroid nearly gave Earth a new feature, two days after its discovery

Neil Barnes
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Boffin

So close?

I'd best take my hat off, then.

btw - doesn't 'velocity' include a direction, not just a speed? And surely the quoted 11km/s isn't a constant differential? Just askin'...

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TV anchor says live on-air 'Alexa, order me a dollhouse' – guess what happens next

Neil Barnes
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FAIL

Alexa, Tea, Earl Grey, Hot

When the system is as smart as me, able unambiguously to identify me, able to correctly understand free-form speech without error, and never allows any signal out of itself without confirmation and permission, it will still get it wrong.

Proof? People living together for twenty years or more, such as me and Mrs Barnacle, can still have massive misunderstandings from a misheard or misunderstood word, or even a misinterpreted tone of voice. There's an awful lot more to speech communication than knowing what the words are.

But it's not going to happen. Why would any sane person leave a live microphone connected to a sales machine? No microphones, no cameras Chez Barnacle.

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Puny galaxy packs a big punch: A gazillion joules' worth of radio bursts

Neil Barnes
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Happy

Re: Obviously it's going to be dim...

Well I'd hate to be snarky, but in the original error-strewn post, it was an apostrophe that was misplaced, not a comma. But it would be uncivil of me to point that out.

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Neil Barnes
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Headmaster

Re: Obviously it's going to be dim...

Mea culpa maxima - I was still asleep when I mistyped the errant punctuation. I shall report myself to the Association for the Abolition of the Abberant Apostrophe immediately.

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Neil Barnes
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Coat

Obviously it's going to be dim...

All it's energy is going out as these bursts.

Ah yes, the one with the lead lining, thanks --->

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

Neil Barnes
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Alien

Job advert?

Wanted: liguist competent in Trailing Trojan Recent. Fyunch-click!

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Florida Man sues Verizon for $72m – for letting him commit identity theft

Neil Barnes
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Re: Not only in America

I recall a case where a previous employer was successfully sued under the H&S at work rules, by a burglar who fell down a hole in a construction area. And another where a person, caught in the act climbing out of a sixth floor window after a series of thefts, sued on grounds of racial discrimination. I don't recall whether he one that one, though.

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My fortnight eating Blighty's own human fart-powder

Neil Barnes
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Four kilos in a fortnight?

That's an extreme amount of weight-loss, I feel. Isn't this stuff supposed to provide all you need? It seems somehow lacking...

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Those online ads driving you bonkers are virtually 'worthless for brands'

Neil Barnes
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Facepalm

Not sure how they would promote it though..

Well duh, online advertising. Obviously.

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Ruh-roh! Rick Ruhl rolled out of Ham Radio Deluxe in software kill-switch aftermath

Neil Barnes
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Boffin

Re: Low blood sugar

Um, turns out you *can*, actually.

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The Life and Times of Lester Haines

Neil Barnes
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Re: Thank you

Mr Brown, my own 'hewn from the living glass' LOHAN tankard is a thousand kilometres from me at present, so please be diligent on my behalf also!

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Neil Barnes
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Pint

The reminder we needed

I knew him beyond the comments pages only once he roped me into the LOHAN project; he was kind enough not to sneer too much at my designs for high-altitude altimeter tests and we followed a few balloons up and down...

And then there was the whole 'quid a day' thing. Triggered, I think, by his adventures in Darien, it was a cause that he really pushed - and persuaded me and a handful of others to join in, raising significant funds to the benefit of Malaria No More over the years. I trust that El Reg will be running the event when it returns next year, perhaps as Lester's memorial?

Sadly I never met his family other than Matt and Katerina; several attempts to meet at his house in Spain came to naught on synchronisation errors. Aye well.

ad astra tabernamque, Lester, and here's one from me.

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How Rogue One's Imperial stormtroopers SAVED Star Wars and restored order

Neil Barnes
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Re: Grunts

"This one's split..."

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Neil Barnes
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Trollface

Grunts

I'm waiting for the book that does for the stormtrooper what Grunts did for Orcs... Maybe I should drop Mary 'death of trees' Gentle a line...

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Did EU ruling invalidate the UK's bonkers Snoopers' Charter?

Neil Barnes
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Big Brother

Mass surveillance?

Nah, we're targeting.

Targeting everyone...

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What gifts did ol' kitten heels May get this year?

Neil Barnes
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Re: Checklist

Yes, yes, but it's all right! We've *got our country back*.

Or so I am frequently told...

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