* Posts by Lotaresco

1422 posts • joined 24 Sep 2007

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Virgin Galactic goes where it's gone twice before, for the first time in two years

Lotaresco Silver badge

Space operators' Licences

"The flight also collected data needed for the company to obtain its FAA commercial reusable spacecraft operator’s license"

I suppose it's a sign that space travel is maturing that we now have a commercial reusable spacecraft operator's licence. I recall the good old days when teenagers were free to build an antigrav device in their bedroom and set out for Mars in a well insulated tea chest.(Welcome to Mars, James Blish, 1965)

Watch this: Ingenuity – Earth's first aircraft to fly on another planet – take off on Mars

Lotaresco Silver badge

"Engine design (pulse jet): Victorian England children's toy and the reinvented in the US by GE circa 2013"

I think you're forgetting that there was "quite a bit" of work on pulse jets in Germany between 1939 and 1945. And many other uses of them by hobbyists before GE's work.

Of course there's also Colin Furze with his 2013 Jet Bike.

Salesman who helped land Veritas UK's 'largest ever' deal was lawfully docked £275k in commission, says judge

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Re: Back in the 80s...

"And always getting such offers in writing, then checking that they're ironclad before proceeding"

The problem being that just about every contract for sales staff specifies that bonuses can be withheld on a whim.

I'm glad that as a scientist I didn't have much to do with sales, although even there we got shafted too. I worked for a company that made a product that was brining in about £3m a year. Sadly it was costing about £2.5m to manufacture. I was asked to have a look at it and work out a way to reduce costs. I examined the manufacturing process and worked out the most length and expensive part of manufacture was completely unnecessary and came up with a much cheaper alternative. Cost of manufacture per unit fell from £5 to 23p. Cost savings bonuses were 15% of the saving, so I reckoned that left me looking at a bonus of about £300,000. What I actually got was 12 bottles of wine, a pen and the undying thanks of the directors that lasted for about 24 hours.

More galling was that the sales manager got an award for improving profitability and a new company car.

Lotaresco Silver badge

Back in the 80s...

Someone I know was once given a sales portfolio of "unwinnable" contracts. The sales team had tried to bid for all of them but had failed. They were promised a 10% sales bonus on any of the contracts they could convert. A quick look made it clear that the pitches made to the potential clients hadn't been very good and the sales team were not interested in the capabilities of the systems. They just wanted to sell "product" and didn't care what it was. So every bid response was rewritten and tailored to the organisation letting the contract. Soon orders rolled in and within a year contracts for £10m let.

When it came to bonus time the bonus paid was less than £60K. The employer was questioned about which bit of 10% they didn't understand. The response was "Yes, but we didn't think you'd make any sales. We're certainly not going to pay you £1m!" They left the company and the order book collapsed again.

Seeing a robot dog tagging along with NYPD officers after an arrest stuns New Yorkers

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Re: Probably..

"Source?"

Note that I stated "It is claimed", not "I claim". I suspect you may be knee jerking a little here. The jury is not even convened to fact check the claims. However news reports exist and are distributed across the political spectrum. There's a report in The Telegraph here for example. If you want a more reasoned discussion then the Marshall Project Report has a detailed analysis, this shows a rise in some crimes, finds alternative explanations for some of them, but does have a conclusion that some crimes increased and others are probably not affected by defunding. As they say "Well, it's complicated."

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Re: Probably..

"I'd really love for the police to just say one day "Okay, sure.. We'll stop" - and not patrol or do any of their duties for a whole 72 hours,"

The experiment has already been done in the USA with the defund the police movement. It's claimed that violent crime rose sharply in the areas where police patrols were withdrawn.

Lotaresco Silver badge

Re: Guy Montags worst nightmare...

"Still, looks more like a remote control drone to me rather than full-on robot."

They look more like robots when you see one being used in a work environment. They actually do simple[1] decision making, including knowing where to place their feet to climb or descend stairs, stepping over obstacles and performing autonomous missions. They actually make decisions on the best way for them to perform a mission and over-ride the instructions given to them by the operator. Watch Adam Savage of Mythbusters showing off how Spot works and how he works out his route.

[1] Not that simple in fact. Stuff we do without thinking such as stepping over an obstacle that wasn't there last time we walked on that route, for example.

A floppy filled with software worth thousands of francs: Techie can't take it, customs won't keep it. What to do?

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Re: Not entirely unrelated...

"Much much cheaper to send someone with a tape to New York and record a band there than to ship the band to the UK!"

The current version is to take a laptop to the artist and get them to record in their own studio. A friend did that for one of Mr Sting's albums, taking the laptop to wherever Sting was in the Caribbean at the time.

Lotaresco Silver badge

Re: Porsche in France

"I showed him the owner's manual. He confiscated it and said that I must pay the customs fees for importing the car before he will return the manual.

Do you mean the owner's manual or the carte grise (certificate d’immatriculation)? The owner's manual is a worthless pile of bumf created by the manufacturer that tells you not to drink the battery acid and how a steering wheel works. If you lose one you need a pay a dealer a few Euro to get another one. It doesn't prove ownership of the vehicle. The CG (or Luxembourg equivalent) is an important document that proves that the vehicle is registered. It isn't proof of ownership either. It's actually illegal to be resident in France and to have your car registered in another country, so you were lucky that all he did was seize some paperwork.

Lotaresco Silver badge

Re: How F***ing much?

For the avoidance of doubt, in 1960 there were 1,400 FFr to the £.

Lotaresco Silver badge

Re: Minitel

"it could be lots of things... from the weather forecast, to being able to send emails, to checking your bank account, and much more."

I recall stopping at a truck stop on a long haul drive down the Loire valley. I was astonished by the queue to use the Minitel. It was all truck drivers who were "tramping" and used Minitel to find loads in the area of a drop off so they didn't have to return with an empty truck. It seemed like a great use of resources.

Lotaresco Silver badge

Re: F1 and customs

"Your probable employer was sponsored by TAG and because of that was the only team I didn't supply."

Indeed it was for the team whose boss was famous for not putting a wheel back properly on Jack Brabham's car, causing some harsh words to be said. He seemed to learn from it since he became fanatic for good pit lane procedures.

The actual application we were looking at was re-using some military stuff to squawk compressed data streams back as the cars passed the pit lane. Superseded these days by work I suspect you did to get continuous coverage around the circuit.

Lotaresco Silver badge

Re: F1 and customs

"I worked from the mid 1980's to early '90's for most of the Formula 1 racing teams"

I'm surprised we haven't met. I did similar at the time, although mostly from an address at Woking Business Park.

Lotaresco Silver badge

How F***ing much?

software worth thousands of francs

So that would be about £1 then?

Their 'next job could be in cyber': UK Cyber Security Council launches itself by pointing world+dog to domain it doesn't own

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Brought to you by...

This entire "cyber" nonsense is a concept of a government that is composed mostly of PPE graduates. That's PPE, the degree that covers skimming reference sources, bullshitting and busking essays. They genuinely think that any subject can be skimmed and understood (to the level they consider it necessary to understand) any subject. They are disgusted at the costs of IT security. I have been told by several of them that they think it's revolting that graduates of red brick universities, mere "grammar school boys" should be paid as much or more than a cabinet minister gets paid. We're the wrong sort, we went to the wrong place, we are very much "non-U" and it's disgusting that there are very few Eton educated individuals in IT. Apparently.

They are setting out to get the costs down and degrade the profession to a box-ticking exercise. Sadly there are far too many within the civil service who are keen to help them. They are also enraged that a consultant in industry makes several times what they earn in Cheltenham or Milton Keynes. Therefore the entire profession is being worked over with lukewarm schemes such as "Cyber Essentials" and the NCSC sponsored MSc. Add to that the advertising campaigns which attempt to push people with zero interest in the subject into "cyber" and you have the reason whey I'm looking forward to retirement.

Facebook says dump of 533m accounts is old news. But my date of birth, name, etc haven't changed in years, Zuck

Lotaresco Silver badge

Re: Time for the usual security advice

Also this remind me of the stupidity of some people who set security questions. One site asked me to choose an answer to give for a password reset request. Among the options available was "The name of your first pet." I chose that one and gave the correct answer. I then got "Answer is too short, please give a longer answer (eight characters minimum)."

I don't think I've had any pet with a name longer than five characters. Most people seem to pick names like "Spot", "Fido", "Rover"[1] etc.

[1] For cats at least.

Lotaresco Silver badge

Because sticking your phone number in a newly created random website - who probably store the details sent - is the thing to do these days...

Plus the "Have I been Zucked" interface appears to have been created by a moron. The search box states that it accepts "Phone Number, Email Address, Full name" but the user has to select which to use in a separate drop-down list halfway down the page which is designed to be difficult to see (black box, black background, tiny dark grey down-arrow way over to the right, no explanatory text. Get it wrong and you receive a snarky comment.

I've no concern about searching for name, phone number, or email since all of them used on FB are false as is the DOB.

Lotaresco Silver badge

Re: Time for the usual security advice

But my date of birth, name, etc haven't changed in years

Well then. It appears to be past time to change them.

Your name must be six or more characters long it cannot contain more than two consecutive characters, it must contain characters from the following categories:

  • Uppercase characters A-Z (Latin alphabet),
  • Lowercase characters a-z (Latin alphabet),
  • Digits 0-9,
  • Special characters (!, $, #, %, etc.)

Come kneel with us at UK's Cathedral, er, Oil Rig of the Canal: Engineering masterpiece Anderton Boat Lift

Lotaresco Silver badge

Re: One of Severn Wonders

"Standedge Tunnel"

Probably better described as Standedge Tunnels, since there are four of them, two single track and one double track railway tunnels and one canal tunnel all linked by adits. It's a phenomenal work of engineering, the trick of using the canal to drain the railway tunnels is a clever element of the design.

Your hardware is end-of-life... and it's in space. Worry not, Anglo-Japanese sat to test new orbital cleanup method

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We're going to need...

… a bigger vacuum cleaner. A Spaceballs sized vacuum cleaner in fact.

Chairman, CEO of Nominet ousted as member rebellion drives .uk registry back to non-commercial roots

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Re: Think that we're not periously close--continually--to idiocy? To lunacy? Think again!

GODWIN

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Mark Wood, clinging on with his fingernails

I see Mark Wood has appealed to the government to overthrow this vote. He's continuing his claims from three days ago that Nominet is "part of the critical national infrastructure" and has stated several times that "The government is watching the situation closely". This sounds like an appeal to cronies in government to back up his particular right to the gravy train. An independent not for profit Nominet would be an asset to CNI since it would be independent of commercial interests and have a vested interest in providing an efficient service. Nominet as-is with its burbled nonsense about "for profit with a purpose" only had an interest in maximising the payments to its officers. That was the "purpose" of profit as seem by the chairman, directors, and CEO.

Nominet claims Government could intervene in boardroom ousting

"Mr Wood claimed the Government may intervene using an obscure claims of the Digital Economy Act to retake control of the registry in the event of a “serious” failing that could harm consumers."

I agree with Simon Blackler that Mr Wood was, and is, trying to spread FUD and I'll add that he appears to be trying to bamboozle the government with technobabble in the hope that he can scare them into letting him continue to profit from Nominet.

Space station dumps 2.9-ton battery pack to burn up in Earth's atmosphere after hardware upgrade

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Re: Australia?

The lavatory seat landed on Toilet Seat Girl (allegedly).

Rocket Lab goes large with Neutron – a big rocket for big constellations. Oh, and it confirms a merger proposal

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Oh no

Hal Stewart (Tighten) has his own rocket company, we're doomed!

NurseryCam hacked, company shuts down IoT camera service

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Re: It’ll be the same story as Owlett (remember them)?

"We need another circle of Hell for the people who peddle this stuff."

We already have the Fourth Circle (Greed) and the Eighth Circle (Fraud). One of those would house the people responsible, I'm sure.

Lotaresco Silver badge

What's the point of NurseryCam?

I think it's obvious. It's so that "doting" parents can show off how their little crotch goblin is getting on at nursery to friends, neighbours, and family. Look everyone! Little THX 1138 has just learned to crayon a dinosaur!

Microsoft unveils swappable SSDs for Surface Pro 7+ but 'strongly discourages' users from upping their capacity

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Re: What's the point

"Officially, for corporates and government departments, so they can keep their data secure when the machines get sent off for repair, or re-allocated to other departments."

Officially according to whom? UK GOV does not trust third parties with their data and SSDs are regarded with great suspicion. Disk wiping is not approved for SSDs so the only permitted option is to remove the SSD and destroy it. The Surface Pro 7+ helps in that respect because it's now possible to remove the SSD and dispose of it securely, but it's not so much "keeping data secure" as "ensuring the data was destroyed".

NASA sends nuclear tank 293 million miles to Mars, misses landing spot by just five metres. Now watch its video

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Re: And for us East Pondians

"Hats off to Heathcoat Fabrics of Tiverton, Devon"

I came here to say that, dutifully scanned every comment to see if I was the first, and happy to see someone else got there before me. Well done Heathcoat Fabrics and thanks to those who appreciate their work.

This scumbag stole and traded victims' nude pics and vids after guessing their passwords, security answers

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Re: Hacked ?

"if you wouldn't put it in the local paper, Don't Put It Online"

Precisely and it may be extended to "Don't put it on your phone either".

Fujitsu scrapping fuel card benefit to cut costs, threatens dissenters with fire and rehire

Lotaresco Silver badge

I'm glad...

I'm glad that I didn't take up Fujitsu's Borg offer to join them in 2015 when they annexed the IT services at the place where I was working. It has been a constant round of disappointments for those who did TUPE into Fujitsu and the levels of anger expressed by those people is growing. It becomes counter productive fairly quickly. People I know who were always willing to help are now work-to-rule enthusiasts. They will just do the minimum to avoid getting fired and that's it. Also any change that could possibly be construed or misconstrued to affect Health and Safety results in the instant downing of tools. For example a new data centre was built and someone on a tour didn't see the emergency exit button, even though the tour guide showed it off. When they got back to the flock they told everyone that there was no emergency exit which resulted in every worker refusing to enter the DC, which means that none of them saw the button and the union got involved and... it all dragged on far longer than it needed to. People only do this stuff when they are unhappy.

People were enticed to accept the move with a lower salary but with more "benefits" such as a company car and fuel card. I'll have to go back and see what mood they are in now.

UK watchdog fines two firms £270k for cold-calling 531,000 people who had opted out

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Hmmm...

I've encountered (a) Roberto Milanesi in a work context. I didn't like him. I wonder if it's the same person? It's entirely possible since the context was one of regulation of on-line sales industries and the DPA/GDPR a couple of years ago.

Lotaresco Silver badge

"Unsurprisingly, the politicians refused to implement the ban."

The same in the UK. It's easy to stop scammers making scam phone calls. Just make it illegal for anyone to make an unsolicited sales call or "survey" call. Require any organisation that wants to contact members of the public obtain a licence before they can operate and post a bond to cover compensation claims. All sales calls to be opt-in, and no blanket opt-ins permitted. This went before Parliament and what we got was the TPS, an opt-out system with no real teeth.

"Personally, I call that corruption."

So do I. It's obvious that politicians will not take effective action if there's a chance that a party donor will no longer be able to make money hand over fist.

Pure frustration: What happens when someone uses your email address to sign up for PayPal, car hire, doctors, security systems and more

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"I will definitely be using that in future to use asa spam filter and also see who is selling my email address."

I've used my own domain reserved entirely for communication with retailers etc for a couple of decades. Each retailer gets <theirname>@mydomain as an address. That way I can tell very easily who is selling email addresses. So far none of the companies I deal with for banking, insurance, travel, or retail has sold my address to anyone. Sadly the same is not true for conference organisers. Those b*stards sell email addresses to anyone, the spammier the better. All of the spam that gets dumped in the bit bucket has an email address previously used to register for a conference. No, I don't want the once in lifetime opportunity to buy an apartment in Dubai. I think I'd rather remove my nipples with a cheese grater.

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Re: Used to get emails at work from a woman thinking she was emailing her husband

I used to work in government. There were three of us with exactly the same name separated in the GAL by putting a number after our names with no other indication of who did what. So as an IT security person I got questions about getting visitors passes (no idea, ask #2) and about some light engineering jobs (see #1). It gets so tedious that at times it's tempting to pretend to be the other person and make up the advice.

Lotaresco Silver badge

Yup

I had that about six years back and then again just recently. In the first case someone misspelled their own email address. A single character omission meant that all mail relating to their Next online account was coming to my domain. I tried to notify Next that the mail was not being delivered. And all I could get was autoreplies that they are not authorised (DPA) to talk to me about someone's personal details. They were particularly obtuse and refused to recognise that if mail is sent to my domain then it's my mail. I solved that problem in the end by configuring my mail server to auto-forward all of the mail for that account to their CEO, CFO and postmaster, adding a note to each email to tell them why they are f*cking idiots. It took a year before they did something, during which time I accumulated many demands for payment, threats of court and bailiff action etc. Presumably their poor customer never received a request for payment. They has interesting tastes in wellingtons and big knickers.

The second time was weirder still. I started to get lots of mail to my .eu and .it domains. All of it about the funeral trade, adverts for coffins, cremation devices, shrouds etc. At first I thought someone was taking the p*ss but then one mail arrived with an invoice that had an address and I recognised the address as being in the same city as one of our offices in Italy. Next time I was over at the office I walked around to the funeral director and asked why they were issuing accounts that were using our domain. Their IT guy looked puzzled and said that he assumed that since their business was named after the city he could just use that name in their domain and mail would mystically be routed to their servers. I stared at him and suggested that either they get their own domain or I'd start charging for their use of our servers. Oh and BTW what did he want to do with all the mail that we had ended up with? I told him I was going to charge him if we had to forward it to them. It all ended up being deleted.

UK Ministry of Defence: We won't prosecute bug bounty hunters – oh btw, we now have one of those

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Re: Seems a bit... pointless?

What are they actually after then?

An anodyne report they can stick in front of a minister and say "Look, we are testing our systems and they are all good." <tick> "Annual bonus, please. Oh and my friend will have an MBE."

NCSC's London HQ was chosen because GCHQ spies panicked at the prospect of grubby Shoreditch offices

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Re: It's near the Star

It's near The Star if by "near" you mean "not near". It's handier for Sainsbury's than The Star.

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Spies

NCSC are spies? Yeah right, I'm convinced. Not.

Arecibo Observatory brings forward 'controlled demolition' plans by collapsing all by itself

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Re: Very sad, but...

I mean there are fucking dozens of them. Why all the fuss?

"It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it."

-- Maurice Switzer

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Re: Very sad, but...

"Damn I wish people would stop calling this uniquely-capable facility "obsolete"."

Probably the same people who were wondering recently how we can could get high resolution images of asteroids without sending a spacecraft to look at them.

So bye-bye, Mr Ajit Pai. You drove our policy into the levee and we still wonder why

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Re: Phew!

Alas, it is Patel burnishing her hard Brexiteer credentials

It doesn't matter how extreme, divisive or even murderous a political movement is. There are still those who will support politicians who are actively targeting their own community or religion because they see personal gain in being a collaborator.

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Re: "he was the first Asian-American to head the agency"

I am a first generation Imigrant to the UK. I was born here but both my parent are Italian and came here in the 50's, but because I am white I am treated as English, My name is NOT English but people just accept it.

You're lucky. I'm a first generation migrant the other way - to Italy. My friends left Italy to work in the UK on the South Coast, they've had to return to Italy because of the racist attacks they have suffered at home, at work and on their children in the local school. They speak fluent English, so this is targeted racism. Someone has worked out they are Italian and is orchestrating attacks against them.

We encounter racism in Italy. I've been told to go home, had hunters on my land shouting racist insults at me, and even had racism from public officials. When I tried to register my car the official refused to process the paperwork and told me "Brexit has happened, go home, we don't want you." It's common for people to pretend they can't understand me speaking Italian too - yet north of Perugia everyone understands me and I get complimented on bothering to lean Italian.

Racism exists everywhere, but it has got worse in the UK and in Italy since the rise of populism in politics. Salvini encouraged anti-immigrant politics.

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Re: "he was the first Asian-American to head the agency"

"The first looser Asian-American"

Could they not tighten him up somehow?

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Re: Taciturn president

I'm assuming lots of irony at work at ElReg.

Privacy campaigner flags concerns about Microsoft's creepy Productivity Score

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Re: Why not by number of code lines?

Compact code simply didn't fit the corporate style.

I was once reprimanded because in the Monday team meeting I announced that in the previous week I had spent time pruning the cruft out of the code and had speeded up execution times, improved reliability and got rid of many, many errors that had been fixed not by correcting the errors but by writing a routine to "adjust" the outputs.

Fixing our own mistakes was a revenue earner. Slow execution time a good reason for marketing to sell the customer a new improved system and keeping a large farm of coders in work made the boss look good because he was responsible for a large team.

Oh and of course the thousands of lines that I pruned away looked like negative productivity on the metrics.

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Re: evaluating "productivity" data can shift power from employees to organisations

Our helldesk is outsourced to an outfit with a name very similar to a well known brand of brown sauce.

IIRC that means that the work is done in the Czech republic. Their English language skills are much better than centres outside Europe but they are under the usual pressure to get you off the phone ASAP and aren't going to be spending lots of time on actually fixing the problem.

Sopra Steria: Adding up outages and ransomware cleanup, Ryuk attack will cost us up to €50m

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Re: Training

Training staff not to use email from privileged accounts is much more likely to be useful.

Privileged accounts should not have access to email.

Who knew that hosing a table with copious amounts of cubic metres would trip adult filters?

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Re: Inside joke?

A quick web search confirms that Pen Island, maker of branded business gifts, still has their original domain name online.

It is very important, in a work context, to note that www.penisland.net is the domain name for Pen Island. Do not confound it with www.penisland.com.

This has been a public service announcement.

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Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

""Stow-cum-Wendy" is a real place!"

So was "Yeardsley Cum Whaley" until county border changes erased the name.

US Air Force deploys robot security dogs to guard base

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Re: Electronic sausages ?

"You can always distract a real dog with a string of sausages. Is there something equivalent for a robo dog ?"

You could always distract them with a trail of nibbles.

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