* Posts by Gavin Chester

89 posts • joined 17 Dec 2007


Very little helps: Tesco serves up 3-for-1 borkage special to self-scanning Tesco shoppers

Gavin Chester

WinCE - The memories...

WinCE despite its flaws, still follows most Windows conventions. I suspect its because the Apps coders knew Microsoft frameworks, and it easier to stick with what you know.

I suspect that the shopping part is really a web page running in a captive browser, Motorola used to offer something called Pocket Browser (and Symbol, who I think eventually bought that division, may still do) that once the browser started on boot it would not offer the user a way to close the browser (running Full screen/Kiosk mode so no window controls). Couple that with no on screen keyboard and it was semi- secure (borkage excluded) from casual attempts to break it.

Four cold calling marketing firms fined almost £500k by ICO

Gavin Chester

Re: I am surprised at this much progress

As soon as they start the spiel that they are from my ISP (Pro Tip - It helps if you get my ISP's name right if your trying to con me, and saying I'm calling from Sky, sorry BT [neither are my ISP] is a bit of a give away) and are detecting my internet issues I've taken to asking why they called me direct rather than it coming through the police switchboard.

The call drops rapidly, and I'm hoping sooner or later it gets marked in enough places as a police number and so it slows the flow.

Or I get back in the office and they can call all they want and talk to the Answerphone as its not me paying for the call

Dusty passports, smart tops and tracksuit bottoms: Are virtual events better or worse than the real thing?

Gavin Chester

One thing that annoys me is the virtual sponsor booths/ halls.

Often when you go around the halls in a real conference you come across companies you have never heard of, and you usually try and see if they are relevant to you and your role.

In real life I can look in from outside and decide if I want to "go in" and then get badge scanned and the emails for the next months, in exchange for learning about a product and getting some trinket my wife will disapprove of, or just walk by with just a vague idea what company does filed away for future use.

In the new virtual world often the company has a buzzword laden "tile" (you know that small square they get on the Sponsor hall page to hook you) , and you often need to go into the virtual booth, (or go google them) just to find out what they really do beyond the buzzwords. They get a virtual badge scan, before you have even got an idea what they do, and have chosen to virtually walk out before talking to anyone.

More and more I just avoid the virtual sponsor halls so I don't get the inevitable junk email about how we connected XYZ conference, when all I was trying to do was understand what they did. Its not great for sponsor that I don't go see them, , but at least its less plastic tut in the house.

Publishers sue to shut down books-for-all Internet Archive for 'willful digital piracy on an industrial scale'

Gavin Chester

Re: Digital Era

Been there, Done that.

My purchased books on Barnes and Noble eventually vanished after they went from B&N to Sainsburies, and then to Kobo, who really dont want to suppoort a rivals obseleted product.

If its something I think I will want to keep I buy a dead tree edition.

Think before filling in that convenient flight refund form with all your delicious details – there's a scam going about

Gavin Chester
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Ryan Air finally cancelled some of our holiday flights overnight and I filled out the refund form this morning. While I had I'd done the obvious checks that the link was Ryanair and so on, for a few second on reading the headline I did think "Oh Pants".

One quick re-check later and it was Ryan Air, but a timely reminder to all to always check carefully...

Criminalise British drone fliers, snarl MPs amid crackdown demands

Gavin Chester

Re: What's the difference

From the point of the view of the proposed legislation there is no difference.

What most people think of as drones are more correctly described as MultiRotors but the proposed legislation defines a drone as any Unnanned Airbourne Vehicle (UAV). That means it impacts model planes (including free flight models), model helicopters and the quadcopters people tend to think of when you say drone.

As there’s no defined weight limit yet (250g is often mentioned but as there’s no laws it’s still an unknown) then technically even a paper plane will fall under the UAV description.

Uber JUMPs at chance to dump load of electric bikes across Islington

Gavin Chester


Isn't that a bit of a fail?

If the miscreant can just lock it to itself and not using any solid object, then whats to stop them going back a few mins later to put it in a metal van a drive it off for tinkering and disabling the GPS/Comms so getting a free electric bike.

I heard it happened a lot to the electric scooters, (they get picked up and the mainboard replaced for a few tens of pounds) , and to some extent the un-powered bikes, but the bikes re cheap, heavy and not as desirable as an electric bike would be..

London Gatwick Airport reopens but drone chaos perps still not found

Gavin Chester


Potentially yes, but practically probably not as most drones are small and the onboard camera would have a limited field of view to actually be useful. DJI stuff will not fly close to airports by default, and an override is possible but would probably take a while as you have to request if from DJI (I know how to do it by reading the instructions but I've never had any reason to actually requested an override to know how long it takes)

However they have these helicopter things that can stay up far longer, have multiple people in them, plus FLIR and stuff that may help tracking. Normally a Helicopter at an airport would have defined flight path, but as the airspace was closed there could have been more leeway where a copter could go, but I'm no expert on air traffic control..

You are also assuming the miscreants want the drone back, if they really were intent on creating chaos, they may consider them one shot devices and fly them to a random location and dump it there to prevent the authorities tracking them back.

Gavin Chester

I fly a drone for fun (a DJI Spark) and I really hope they do find the people who did it, and give them a long sentence for the problems they caused, but now the pilots seemed to have left the area I'm unsure how the police have any chance of doing so.

Unfortunately as Alister points out, the only people this will affect are people like me who fly for fun, and do stay within the laws. I have no doubt there will be calls for bans and restrictions, but as you can build a drone with a PiZero as its brains, I can't see how a determined adversary would be put off by such a ban on off the shelf products, like DJI kit, that already have GPS Geofencing built in to prevent this sort of thing happening. Another option is the bad guys buy the parts in France and come back through the tunnel, or ferry so evading any UK requirements.

BALPA are calling for the exclusion zone to be increased from 1KM to 5KM, licences for pilots and to fit something that transmits a signal to ATC, but as the bad guys here are already ignoring the 1KM zone, and ignoring Air Navigation Orders then why does anyone expect they will suddenly respect the 5KM zone, get a traceable license or bother fitting and registering a transponder.

There should be something done to try and prevent this in the future, but a knee jerk reaction probably only serve to restrict the already law abiding hobby fliers while the criminal element just wont care.

London's Gatwick airport suspends all flights after 'multiple' reports of drones

Gavin Chester

Re: I wonder if...

d3vy said:

Time for the airport to nip into the duty free PC world buy a dji and send it on a suicide mission to collide with the offender?

They don't sell them, I looked on a holiday last year, oddly most other airports do sell DJI stuff.

However DJI stuff is geofenced, if the GPS says its within 1KM or an airport is simply wont take off.

Can't imagine this is something off the shelf in use, the fact its not geofenced, and seems to have a really long battery life (been there 15 hours so far as far as I can tell) suggests this isn't a hobbyist grade bit of kit.

Pork pulled: Plug jerked out of beacon of bacon delight

Gavin Chester


"Where's Kevin?"

Please let him be there rather than in another annoying EE advert...

Brits pay £490m extra for mobes they already own – Citizens Advice

Gavin Chester


To be honest you may not be happy but unless you make sure you cancel the DD to them Mortgage company they will still try and take it.

Not its not personal experience, but one of a friend who trusted the Mortgage company to stop once they took the final payment without checking.

If you have to simulate a phishing attack on your org, at least try to get something useful from it

Gavin Chester

We sim-u-phish employees too.

I'm not sure whats worse, the fact we can't use anything as realistic in these exercises as the real phishers do, so most of our people can tell its a phish as it looks amateur (We can't use real brand/names/logos for examples such as fake Paypal/ iTunes invoices as that may cause other issues).

Or the fact we still have a small number of people fall for these phishes almost every time even through they look fake to a semi-trained eye...

Beam me up, PM: Digital secretary expected to give Tory conference speech as hologram

Gavin Chester

Pah. It will be a Pepper's Ghost effect, not a Hologram...

If it was a real hologram I'd be impressed...

Discover which dangers lurk ahead – at Sophos' 'See the Future' event

Gavin Chester

It would be nice to know what the focus is, I'm interested in some of Sophos stuff but not all , and I dont want to spend a day hearing about something I dont use.

Last years one was about Intercept-X and while very interesting wasn't directly related to the areas I was interested in. And Yes I asked via Twitter, and got told it was about upcoming in Cybersecurity and Sophos in general with a few breakouts at the event.

PayPal reminds users: TLS 1.2 and HTTP/1.1 are no longer optional

Gavin Chester

Oh.. So it wasnt spam?

I did look at the links and think if it was spam it was good as it looked legit, but then erred on the side of caution and I just assumed it was the usual scam to try and get me to click a link and deleted it.

HP Ink to compensate punters for bricking third-party ink cartridges

Gavin Chester

Some Laser Printer have these chips too.

HP also chip some of the Laser Printers range too. The on toner cart chip records toner use. If the chip reports to the printer the toner is cart is empty the printer wont print.

OEM makers have been making chips and reset chips them for a while, but to just say buy a laser isn't that simple.

HP say its to prevent damage to the drum when printing with empty toner cart, although they probably meant damage to their consumables profit line...

And I have no doubt other makers use similar chips, I just know HP does as my laser printer has this "feature"

Supercycle to su-'meh'-cycle: Apple iPhone warehouses heave with unsold Notches

Gavin Chester

Is the lack of headphone socket such an issue?

£1 (delivered) on Fleabay buys you a Bluetooth receiver/ mic dongle that converts a wired headset to Bluetooth one.

Its not super audiophile quality, and yes its something more to carry and charge (mine lasts maybe 6 hours on a charge) but it means the lack of a headphone socket isn't such a showstopper I thought it may have been before I got my 8+. I'm not a big headphone user so this solution works well enough for me, with the bonus my cheap non microphone equipped earbuds can be used as a headset for call.

As to why did I get an 8+, basically my 5 was long in the tooth, battery life sucked, and some apps were no longer available for it, I could have put a new battery in it and continued for a few more years but was getting slow and it was about time for a change.

However I hope this will last me the the same 5 years of so that my 5 did,

What most people think it looks like when you change router's admin password, apparently

Gavin Chester

Re: Hmmm

With the V6 upgrades VM just send you the box and your on your own to do the install....

Gavin Chester

Re: Hmmm

The short answer is the Tivo is in the lounge and the VM line comes in to the other side of the house...

Stringing a Cat 5 across the house is not going to get wife approval, more get my strung up ....

HP starts slinging Apple hardware, tech support vending machines

Gavin Chester

HP just copying...

The hardware selling vending machine isn't a new idea or even innovation . Facebook experimented with it back in 2011.


Openreach ups investment plans: Will shoot out full fibre to 3 million premises

Gavin Chester

Re: Still does not solve all the Ali Wires issues...

I Did.

The UK has around 25 million households, this will target about 12% of the UK, and be focused on places where its cheap such as big metropolitan centers that are usually already well served. It does nothing for the rural and semi rural places that often have no choice than ADSL.

And remember this is OpenReach, they will say one thing then do another when they work out the costs, its not like they don't they have prior form for missing broadband targets after soaking up boatload of government and EU funding.

Gavin Chester

Still does not solve all the Ali Wires issues...

A lot of the slow areas suffer from the decision back in the 70s when they used "white copper" (ia Copper clad Ali) as it was cheaper. The wiring has since been been cut, snapped, rejoined, flooded, dried and generally abused over its life and generally has not aged well, it really needs to be replaced.

Unless they string fibre to the premises rather than to the cabinet many areas will still have issues due to the last few hundred meters of wire. And let me guess these areas will be stuck on what they have due to costs.

Heathrow Airport's local council prohibits drone flights from open spaces

Gavin Chester

Its a bit broad brush as there are areas to the left and right of the approach path that will never see traffic, due to the way the flight paths have to line up to the runway, but I can understand why its been put in place. Unfortunately its worded as all model vehicles and aircraft, so impacts everything from a kids toy to a RAF Watchkeeper.

IANAL but would you be OK to take off, land and fly from your back garden, overflying the parks and public areas, as not using the land in question.

As usual law abiding fliers will try to follow it, the people out to cause malicious intent will not care and continue regardless.

UK.gov pushes ahead with legal right to 10Mbps

Gavin Chester

Re: pay enough , and you can get any speed you want

- Customer: "Er, OK - I'll stick with 1.5Mbps on my shitty aluminium phoneline, thanks."

Maybe (just maybe) it means people like my parents who live on an estate with Copper Clad Ali wiring that's no doubt bee drowned, snapped/fixed and generally abuse for the last 50 plus years, will be able to get BT to rip out the crap Ali and put in copper. That can't really be that expensive, especially if they were to do the estate at once, and not piecemeal.

That alone would help my parents, who struggle to get 1Mb even through they are are less than three miles as the crow flies from the exchange (and yes I know the cable route will be longer)

Microsoft's 'Surface Phone' is the ghost of Courier laughing mockingly at fanbois

Gavin Chester

Re: Microsoft FAIL

Nope, although mine is now a secondary phone to an iPhone...

Gavin Chester

Re: Microsoft FAIL

I have a Lumia 1020, I bought it as a second phone mainly for the camera, but then found the OS hangs together and it works really, really well in use. The free included Nokia mapping (Nokia Here) lets you download entire continents on to the phone to use offline and save data costs overseas, the display is crisp and clear, and it feels "right" in your hand, not too heavy, not too plastic-y.

I know it was the flagship for a while and you expect some these things but I was impressed with it as a device.

Unfortunately the world lives on IOS and Android so there's less apps (I have all I needed but I'm not a big social media user), and the battery life if you use the great display is lousy (I use it as a sat nav on holiday having a car USB adapter is a must).

I still use it as a general phone satnav when out of the UK, and the fact its unlocked and 4G means it gets a local sim in, but its starting to show its age and lack of updates are starting to have an effect when modern websites wont display correctly.

What was probably the final nail, and why I would not have considered a Windows phone again even if MS pulled the plug was, almost like some Android makers, less than 18 months after release (shorter than most mobile contracts) Microsoft announced no more firmware updates and that it cant go to W10 Mobile. Not a huge deal for most mobiles, but if your trying to build brand loyalty its not a great life cycle on what was a flagship phone. Compare that to Apple, when an iPhone usually gets 4-5 years support before they consider it EOL.

Facebook Messenger ... for who now? Zuck points his digital crack at ever younger kids

Gavin Chester

It make me wonder why UKGov repeatedly parrots the lines that the "Tech Companies" need to do "something" to prevent child abuse / terrorism/ cyber threats, when its clear that said Tech Companies do not seem to care what UKGov thinks as long as they can continue to monetarise their product. Any "conversations" seem to be lip service that's got the aim of doing just enough to avoid regulation but not really make a heck of a difference.

I can fully understand the request to do something, I just wonder why UKGov can't see that without a suitable stick to force any company into action its very unlikely that these requests will bear any fruit. After all they are usually not UK based so seem to manage to skirt most of the ways they could be forced to action.

Thou shalt use our drone app, UK.gov to tell quadcopter pilots

Gavin Chester

Re: Another great decision

Possibly, but the rules exist already in the Air Navigation Orders. It's creating new rules that will be hard to enforce for the same of it.

Look at mobile use in cars, it was already covered under driving without due care and attention, a new rule may make it a more tangible "crime" but judging by the number of people I still see clutching their mobile as they drive its not really effective as a deterrent.

Gavin Chester

Another great decision

The majority of law abiding fliers will register. The people breaking the existing rules will not bother and continue to break the rules.

Not sure how this improves the current situation (I already use Drone Assist...) If I was looking to do something illegal why on earth would I bother registering in the first place???

Apple chief on Chinese VPN app ban: We always toe the line with other nations' laws

Gavin Chester

But they do comply

Tax law is complex, and everyone (both corporates and individual people) will look to minimise the tax they pay.

Some of the MPs who were highly vocal over the tax of Apple / Facebook/ Amazon etc, were also themselves using some of the same rules to benefit form Offshore accounts. On a much smaller remember how IR35 was introduced to stop the self employed doing tax avoidance, the point is we all would try to pay less tax if we could.

Yes big corporates can afford to set up complex systems that minimise tax, but they do so by cleverly staying inside the law. It may not be in the spirit of the law, but it will be to the letter of the law.

And I fully expect downvotes ,,,

Crap gift card security helps crims spend your birthday pressie cash

Gavin Chester

John Lewis use printed barcodes

Not sure it makes any odds as to the mechanism of discovering valid accounts, but you would hope the staff are trained not to accept cards with stickers with new bar codes printed on...

Mind you monochrome card printers are probably just as cheap as mag stripe reader / writers...

Apple hurls out patches for dozens of security holes in iOS, macOS

Gavin Chester
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Credit to Apple, At least they do updates.

My almost 5 year old Iphone 5 got the upgrade, I know it drops out of support in September with the new IOS 11, but how many other phone makers offer support for such an old device?

And yes you may be able to get custom or 3rd party Roms, but I'm referring to the original maker supporting there products longer than it takes Marketing to think up a new advert campaign for the latest shiny, shiny (I'm looking to you Sony!!)

The nuclear launch button won't be pressed by a finger but by a bot

Gavin Chester

See The Film Wargames

While in the film the key switches were replaced as the humans were considered a possible weak link in the chain, its not a huge stretch to consider replacing the human with a box to do the work as its cheaper, and does as its told.

Drones over London caused aviation chaos, pilots' reports reveal

Gavin Chester

"One described the drone as five feet across, while another said it passed within 50 metres of his airliner."

"A Boeing 777 pilot reported a "large white drone, about 2m across and with four 'prongs'" "

These are not the likes of a typical off the shelf hobbyist machine like the DJI Phantom range, which is about 40 or so centimeters across. I doubt anyone would be able to see a 40cm object half a nautical mile away if you are traveling and 150+MPH.

Yes there are idiots out there flying like twonks, and they deserve to be caught. But a 2m wide drone is not the sort of thing you can buy off the shelf at Maplins, so either the pilots are mistaken, or if it really was a drone, it's most likely commercial or military, not a hobbyist.

Is Britain really worse at 4G than Peru?

Gavin Chester
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And I'll swear the Llamas know exactly where people go to take photos and photobomb them deliberately, I've got a very similar image at home on the wall from when the wife and I went to Machu Pichu...

First cardboard goggles, now this: Google's cardboard 'DIY AI' box powered by an RPi 3

Gavin Chester

Let me fix that last line...

For the lazy or time-constrained, the kit could bought through UK retailers Asda, Sainsbury's, Tesco, and WH Smith but all the kits have now all been bought up and are being sold on Ebay for inflated prices.

European Court of Justice lays down the law on Kodipocalypse

Gavin Chester

Re: Do you know what would deter pirates?

Have to echo that sentiment.

I'd happily pay for the Sky F1 channel but I can only get it if I subscribe to the sports package, and I've no interest at all in football. £27 for, on average, two races a month is too much especially as I would guess a chunk of that goes to buy football rights. Sky Sports is a 8 channel bundle, if they package F1 separately for a reasonable cost (say a fiver or so, as I doubt it would be as simple as charging an 1/8 of the bundle price) I'd be interested.

End result I watch it on Channel 4, Sky get nothing from me, the rights holders get whatever C4 pay, I could get it by Kodi but I can't be bothered.

I understand F1 is a high cost sport, maybe I'm not rabid enough of a F1 fan to pay the extra money, but the side effect is I'm watching less races , I'm less likely to buy any merchandise for the teams, I'm not so bothered if I miss a race either, and that's not good for the sport long term to lose viewers.

You just sent an on-prem app to the cloud and your data centre has empty racks. What now?

Gavin Chester

Blacklights, UV reactive paint, loud 80's disco music and maybe some foam on the corners and you have a 90's throwback Quasar suite ready to go...

Will the MOAB (Mother Of all AdBlockers) finally kill advertising?

Gavin Chester

I can live with ads, things need to be paid for in one form or another.

The main reason I use adblockers are I get annoyed by the auto play videos especially when I'm on a mobile, it's my data they are using, or the ads that pop up full screen and you have to play "hunt the X" to get rid of them...

Annoying the potential customer isn't really a good marketing strategy.

Lenovo's 2017 X1 Carbon is a mixed bag

Gavin Chester

My work 2016 T450 keyboard is quite nice, only think missing the "new thinkpad smell" that they used to have...

Dear Microsoft – a sysadmin's wishlist

Gavin Chester

Re: Dear Microsoft - Windows 10 Phone

I would assume the requirement for Wifi to download comes back the fact the beeb got a lot of flack in the past for letting downloads happen on 3/4G.

There were reports of holidaymakers who were downloading TV over hotel wifi (I guess regional restrictions were not in place back then) when the wifi died and the phone switched to a data signal. That resulted in a huge bill.


Virgin Media is so rustic and artisan you get to hand-sort your own spam

Gavin Chester


If you get the right service, you can even do things like have it forward emails to BOTH a GMail and a POP3/IMAP account so you can be sure to never lose an email while also using your favourite service.

I do and no-one has been told my Gmail address, I never delete anything on Gmail as they keep adding storage, so can search my old received emails anywhere I have connectivity, regardless if they've been pulled down to the local PC client in my web domains software.

UK.gov flings £400m at gold standard, ‘full-fibre' b*&%*%£$%. Yep. Broadband

Gavin Chester

Re: Get the basics right first.

"His point was that they are set targets for delivery by the bean-counters who manage the funding, and they want to see new connections, not improved connections for existing customers"

I wasn't just looking to point the finger at BT but they have history here...

I absolutely understand that for the accountants the potential returns are the key, which is why the government needs to mandate a minimum speed or bean counters won't do the work.

Mum's estate was built in the 1960's when Ally was cheap and copper expensive, Ally is fine for voice so they used that through the estate, but its bad for data. Add in to that years of wiring fixes, cuts and re-soldering joints, and general age and weather degradation, and the only real means to fix is it to re-wire the estate. That's a large outlay but unless there is some legislation to force the issue (sort of like the post office has to deliver letters to everyone in the country) it won't happen.

4/5G may be an answer, but at the moment Mum has no change of fast broadband and FTT(anything) is just a dream for her.

Gavin Chester

Get the basics right first.

My Mother is 6 miles from Barnsley, and joking aside that's not a technology backwards northern town, nor does she live in a small village consisting of two houses and a well, but a village of probably 10K of houses, that is more like an extended suburb. And Yes I've posted this comment before.

She gets 0.5mbs on a good day, all down to the old ally cabling that no-ones interested in renewing as it would mean re-wiring the entire estate she lives on..

If the Government wants to be serious they need to mandate *ALL* premises need to get the minimum speed they indicated in the past.

Yes I knowt his may be an unpopular post, and yes some people will be hard to reach and be costly, but until its mandated companies will continue to avoid doing expensive, but needed remedial work and concentrate on cherry picking the quick wins and the highest paying contracts.

Drone idiots are still endangering real aircraft and breaking the rules

Gavin Chester

Re: C'mon

I'd have thought self interest may have played a part.

Planes can glide to some extent, Heli's don't, and the next contact may be with the police copter....

Height of stupidity: Heathrow airliner buzzed by drone at 7,000ft

Gavin Chester

Re: We need:

Same thing applies.

Law abiding fliers will do so. The people who do this probably realised they are already breaking the laws they just won't bother.

And much of the cheap Chinese clones makers won't care as long as they can keep selling things

Gavin Chester

DJI devices have such a database tied to the GPS, and yes UK airports are in it. There is a however groups of "enthusiasts" who see it as getting in there way and did actively seek out lower software revisions without this database in it.

One problem with this approach is that the no fly zones can be huge. The FAA in the US changed the one around Washington DC airport from 15km to 30km (and then later returned it to 15km). That will affect a lot of law abiding hobbyist fliers who were flying responsibly but then found they had a expensive paperweight through no fault of their own..

For some zones there is the now the option (and you have to manually turn the option on each time) to allow the drone to fly within some of these zones. Remember there are legitimate commercial uses of drones, and some of the higher end DJI devices are aimed at professionals, who may well be filming with permission in what may be restricted space..

Clones or self built devices on the other hands are a different story, they may not have the software installed, have obsolete databases with no update mechanism, or the owner has deliberately removed such restrictions.

As I said before, the law abiding flier will find these tools and mode useful to help them stay within the law. The people who fly without regard to the laws will continue to do so.

Gavin Chester

Re: Sorry, but . . .

So the propellers stop and gravity takes over, leading to a few KG of plastic and metal falling at 120 mph to the ground.

May not be seen as a great idea by the folks are under the flight path.

Gavin Chester

Re: Genuine question

Technically nothing.

Drones are classed as Multi-Rotor aircraft, effectively a sub class of model helicopters, and subject to the same rules as other model aircraft.

There are additional rules if the drone has a camera fitted related to privacy. Recording images for your own use is fine, but any form of selling those images is not, as that then can be seen as a commercial operation not a hobby with different rules around it.

The BMFA has lots more details but that's a summary for here..



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