* Posts by Return To Sender

190 publicly visible posts • joined 27 Jul 2009


Please install that patch – but don't you dare actually run it

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Working at a company hosting a reasonably significant online-only trader. Network design, servers etc all set up to be properly redundant for potentially zero application down time. Arse-covering know-nothing senior mangler refused to allow down time regardless, even for patches - didn't want to take the grief if anything actually went wrong.

Come the day when the DC had a massive power outage, taking down everything (I'd left the company by then, but still in touch with good friends made there so got the story). Once power was restored, a goodly proportion of the (Cisco) switches were basically bricked - an actual bug in the Cisco OS (whoulda thought) causing gear that hadn't been restarted for 'n' days (actually years, if I recall) to very permanently retire itself.

Never did find out what happened to the mangler, hope he got dumped on from a great height but suspect he weaselled his way out of it.

Firefox 122 gets even more competitive with Chrome on translation

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Re: Awesome Bar

- Similarly, the word "fuck" can make up almost every word in a sentence. For example, "Fuck the fucking fucker!"

Or indeed, "Fucking fuck. Fucking fucker's fucking fucked"

Lawsuit claims Google Maps led dad of two over collapsed bridge to his death

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Re: Were there no signs indicating that the Bridge was out?

The articles I've seen report that the signs were missing "due to vandalism". You'd have thought if the bridge has been out since 2013 something rather more substantial than signs that can be removed by vandals would be there. Like big lumps of concrete, or barriers bolted to the road. Like you, can't see how Google can be liable, but sueballs & lawyers, big target with lots of money...

Techie labelled 'disgusting filth merchant' by disgusting hypocrite

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Re: Ear-vermicide

or this


My ringtone for some time before the angry mod with pitchforks etc. caught up

PEBCAK problem transformed young techie into grizzled cynical sysadmin

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Beware the clued-up, not just the clueless...

It's not always the clueless users that are hard work. Dealing with people that do genuinely know their shit, just not necessarily the stuff we have the problem with right now can be tough. Mainly 'cos they tend to interpret what's going on and their responses are coloured by that. Genuinely trying to be helpful, most of the time, not just dick-waving "I am the supreme being in the universe" showing off. Something I always try to remember when escalating calls to vendors, if not always successfully :-)

Most of the competent people I deal with/ have dealt with are more than happy if I say something along the lines of "I know you know your shit[0], but just take your brain out and put it somewhere safe for a bit, I just need you to be my ears, eyes and hands so I can figure exactly what's going on".


[0] Grammar; the difference between knowing your shit and knowing you're shit.

Microsoft’s Azure mishap betrays an industry blind to a big problem

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Re: rm -r *

Had a colleague do something similar whilst dialled in (yep, modems) to a customer system, RS/6000, probably AIX 4.3 or 5.1. Fortunately he 1) spotted the mistake/killed the command pretty quickly and 2) called for help immediately instead of trying to cover up. He lost a small amount of weight very rapidly too...

Some judicious investigation ("for $deity's sake don't drop the line"), assistance from several of us and remote copying from customer's other AIX systems on their network followed by a 'fess up to customer and a reboot to make sure all was good and you've never seen anybody look so relieved. We took the piss for a while afterwards, you definitely don't do that whilst the poor bugger's looking terrified.

Microsoft promises it's made Teams less confusing and resource hungry

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Re: Thank $deity, lowered shimmering

Ta for that. So it is basically the bleeding obvious, even though I still say I hadn't spotted it as such. Silly me, there had to be a way of soaking up all those spare CPU/GPU cycles just lying around. Presumably reducing it is one of the ways MS have managed to ostensibly get Teams using "half the system resources".

Usual moan, stop giving me pointless 'features' and just give me something that lets me do the job in hand quickly, effectively and without faff. Don't get me wrong, I actually quite like Teams when it's working properly, I just hate having to re-learn application interfaces every time some sodding UI design team comes up with a new 'philosophy'

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Thank $deity, lowered shimmering

What the hell is shimmering (apart from the obvious naturally occurring optical effect)? Can anybody remember sitting in front of Teams saying "Bloody shimmering, it's destroying my user experience! Bastards!"? I mean, lots of other things screw the user experience and are the cause of invective, but shimmering? Last time I thought about that, I was using CRT monitors, fercrhissakes.

I must be getting too old for this, losing track of the latest buzzwords, obviously.

2023: The year SK Hynix expects profit-whacking dip to end, and 238 layer RAM to debut

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Re: "Our plan is to mass produce 238 layer by 2023."

238 it is.


Microsoft finds critical hole in operating system that for once isn't Windows

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"Article suggests that MS submitted the finding with a bit of giddiness"

Oh dear. Reading what you want to read, I guess.

I saw this as a complimentary article describing how MS researchers responsibly reported a flaw in a widely used platform and Google's timely and effective response. Wouldn't it be nice if everybody played the game that way. Which they often do...

The suggestion that MS might be being triumphal about this is 1) yours and 2) a sub-ed's crack at titling the article in true Reg style, i.e. somewhat tabloidy and tongue in cheek playing on the traditional perceived antipathy between the two sides.

(edit: I try not to play Corp A vs. Corp B / Platform X is better than Platform Y games, it's counter productive. Just give me something that works safely, please)

NASA wants nuclear reactor on the Moon by 2030

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The (relative) lack of atmosphere on the moon means you get roughly 1/3 extra energy density per square metre (around 1.36 kW/sq metre vs 1kW/sq metre). Which is a handy little boost in itself.

Halfords suffers a puncture in the customer details department

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Re: Is this the same Halford....

--> It's also lifetime-guaranteed.

Yep, and they don't piss about when you need to use the guarantee either (at least at my local store). Only ever had to replace one thing, a T40 bit socket where the shaft broke. Straight up to the store, showed the lass on the counter, 2 minutes later walking out with the replacement.

Definitely worth watching out for the discounts, although they seem to have shifted to a paid-for loyalty scheme now to get the best discounts

Toyota battles Tesla, Ford with own residential energy storage battery

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Re: Fire


Dell's rugged Latitude 5430 laptop is quick and pretty – but also bulky and heavy

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Re: "At 1.97kg and 33.6mm x 340mm x 220mm it is heavy and bulky."

We've come a long way from the 13kg Compaq Portable (luggable) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compaq_Portable). You could even get a carry case with a shoulder strap. One particular example proved to be robust enough (Compaq made a bit of a thing about how tough the case was) to survive bouncing down a flight of concrete stairs after the clasp on the aforementioned strap broke...

Not to dis your diskette, but there are some unexpected sector holes

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Such memories...

Ah, the joy of the diskette. Figuring out which manufacturer's media worked most reliably in which manufacturer's drives. Explaining to users why diskettes shouldn't be used as coffee cup mats. Carefully extracting the (usually 5.25") diskette from its jacket, rinsing it under a tap, drying off and replacing the diskette in the jacket of another sacrificial one, because the user (accountant's secretary) ignored the bit about cup mats. Explaining to a customer who was having trouble with reading diskettes that folding them in 4 to fit your shirt pocket really isn't a good idea. Turning single-sided diskettes in to dodgy double-sided by cutting the notch on the other edge of the jacket (it was an emergency, game state needed saving). Trying to get some sort of recognisable tune out of ACT Sirius (Victor 9000) diskette drives - which had variable speed zones across the disk. Attaching 8" drives ("Big D", I think?) to PCs for data transfer (EBCDIC to ASCII, anybody?).

Them were the days :-)

Not too bright, are you? Your laptop, I mean... Not you

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Re: Floppy solution

Our misdeed, if such it was, was using the Norton hex editor (this was when you could actually meet the guy and the utilities were genuinely useful) to change the internal commands in command.com. No checksums or anything awkward like that so you just overtyped the characters and wrote back to disk. Handy number of 4-letter commands to work with...

One of our corporate customers' support guys (good drinking buddy) got wind of what we were up to and did a rather more SFW version to defend against some of their more curiosity-driven/careless end users.

NASA signs $1bn deal with Northrop Grumman to build studio apartment in lunar orbit with room for 3 vehicles

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Astronaut taxi service?

I can hear it now...

I had that bloke Bezos in the back the other week, wanted to know if I thought it'd be worth setting up a Martian doorstep delivery service. So I says to him "Nah mate, won't get a look in there, bloody Martians have got it all sewn up. You should see what they want for a cabbie licence, criminal I calls it. And they gets preferential use of the saucer lanes anyway so there's yer profit margin straight out the airlock. And that bugger Musk got in first with delivering a vehicle for type approval so all the cabs have to come from Tesla, looks ok but you try finding a charging point that's working this side of Phobos..."

Pentagon scraps $10bn JEDI winner-takes-all cloud contract

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Yeah, sure...

> Microsoft focused "on our customer, and not politics or litigation,"

Amazing how virtuous you can be when you won the damn contract. Bet you many $ that had the contract gone the other way there'd still be the litigation, just with a different name attached. sed 's/Amazon and Oracle/Microsoft/g'

Roger Waters tells Facebook CEO to Zuck off after 'huge' song rights request

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Re: Worth ?

I'd happily start by kicking him

EE and Three mobe mast surveyors might 'upload some virus' to London Tube control centre, TfL told judge

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Re: Does this not happen in the UK? Building owners aren't compensated at all?

Most likely it'd be a wayleave. This is probably the relevant bit of info:


FCC urges Americans to run internet speed app to counter Big Cable's broadband data fudging

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Re: Excuse my ignorance but...

Won't downvote, but will comment that the speedcheckers I use (speedtest, broadbandspeedchecker et al) all report in Mbits.

Broadband providers just can't get out of the habit of bending truth in to a pretzel.

Spotify to introduce lossless audio streaming: Better sound or inefficient gimmick?

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Re: nobody needs to spend £100 per metre of cable

13A UK mains flex (not solid core) does the trick. Saw it used (carefully hidden from the eyes of the great unwashed) at an audio event for some pretty serious (read expensive) kit. Had a bit of a chuckle with the guys behind the stand about it, their professional take was that cable thickness/no. of cores was the important bit unless you run unfeasibly long lengths...

Yahoo! Groups! to! shut! down! completely! on! December! 15!... Tens! mourn!

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Re: I wonder

Y! made it pretty difficult to get info out of the groups even when you owned the group. As mentioned elsewhere a lot of active Y! groups migrated to groups.io, in our case mainly because it's one of the few that still support email-only operation and we (still) have some very web-averse members...

There was a lot of traffic on the groups.io forum around Y! groups whose owners had either disappeared, or weren't interested. Y! were completely unhelpful so there will be a lot of active groups whose archive will basically be lost.

After huffing and puffing for years, US senators unveil law to blow the encryption house down with police backdoors

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Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

Never come across the expression 'rich beyond the dreams of avarice?'

Even better, call them venally avaricious and I suspect you're close to the truth... Aren't obscure words fun?

RetroPie 4.6 brings forth an answer to 'What do I do with this Pi 4 I bought last year?'

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Ta for reminding me about the TI99 - sold a fair few of those back in the day, along with the likes of the Commodores (VIC20, C64), BBC Micro (A & B), Dragon 32/64, Oric, NewBrain... Much tinkering needed, probably in part why I have a fair few rPi hanging about in case I feel the need...

5G signals won't make men infertile, sighs UK ad watchdog as it bans bonkers scary poster

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Re: Infertility - maybe not such a real problem in this day and age

Surely you'd need two bricks to cause male infertility? One in each hand and bring 'em together rapidly...

BOFH: 'Twas the night before Christmas, and the ransomware struck

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Re: A what USB stick?

A useful piece of plausible jargonese guaranteeing that the director won't have just any old USB stick, thus allowing BOFH to slip in the key logger.

AFAIK 'class' does indeed only exist in the world of SD cards

Who knew? Fabric access NVMe arrays can work with Spectrum Scale

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Re: "lossless Mellanox Ethernet"

Sigh. Yes, regular Ethernet is potentially lossy. No, gold plated cables won't help 'cos there are so many other funky ways and places that frames could go missing (like cheap switches that can't support all ports flat out at wire speed).

Lossless Ethernet is intended to guarantee frame delivery so's you don't have to add in things like error checking and retransmission further up the stack. Different animals.

Los Alamos National Lab fires up 750-node RPi cluster

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Re: Pi flavour?

Full sized Pi:


Intel raises memory deflector shields in Xeon E7 processor refresh

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Where's my S/360?

Old farts corner. TSX; my first reaction - it's a variation on Storage Protection Keys. There ain't nuthin' new under the sun, son...

And SPK has been there ever since.

Google's new scribble-tab-ulous handwriting interface for Android

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Handwriting in schools

I'd be curious to see if there's any research comparing the (rate of) development of fine motor skills in young children between handwriting and using a keyboard. It's at least partly the lack of those that produces the 'spider on acid' effect, so maybe there;s a spin-off benefit?

Eyes on the prize: Ten 23-24-inch monitors for under £150

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The BenQ Gl2450 (#3). 2nd sentence, first paragraph:

"Most useful of these is the ability to rotate the screen 90 degrees to portrait mode"

Just thought I'd point it out :-)

HAWKING ALERT: Leave planet Earth, find a new home. Stupid humans

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Re: Flaw

Possibly because 1) dragging weapons-grade nukes with you to Mars etc. might get a few people asking questions in the first place, and 2) getting to the point of being able to mine & refine nuke fuel once you're there probably isn't going to be top of the list of priorities for an new colony?

Guess you'd also have to hope the colonists have a bit more common sense to work with as well. Or maybe that we'd have worked out how to colonise other places apart from Mars, so that there's a chance of at least one colony (and thus humans) surviving.

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@Gordon 10

Because naming & shaming in public is so much more fun?

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Thumb Up



Spot on. Have an upvote. If you're going to be careful anywhere, do it with the headlines, First two comments (three with this one) are about the grammar - says it all, really. From the context of the article it should be 'lose' (something I've posted about before on ElReg, btw).

Lightbulb moment for visible light networking: 200 Gbps without a fibre

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Re: What's the use case for 100 Gbps wireless?

As a callow youth I used to think on the same lines. Started networking with sub-Mbps networks, where yeah, faster would be nice, through Mbps, then 4, 10, 16Mbps (spot the tech), and by the time 100Mbps appeared it was 'why would you want 100Mbps to the desktop?'. Same sort of question with 1Gbps, of course.

The answer is generally that most people, to begin with, don't need the higher bandwidth. But eventually, the ability to push high-bandwidth stuff around means apps appear which do exactly that. Then there's a killer (or at least ubiquitous) app that everybody uses and suddenly the big bandwidth connections start making sense.

Actually, I suspect what makes more of a difference is not so much the bandwidth as the improvements in stuff like latency, which tends to make the 'feel' of things that bit nicer. Kind of an intangible for most end users. Add in rapidly falling cost and a decent bit of backwards compatibility and it's just easier to put the new stuff in. As I think others have pointed out, the headline speed is more of a hook for marketing; fairly pointless unless you also develop the techniques to exploit it fully.

These days, I try not to think in terms of "what's the current use case?". If I can get the tech at a sensible price, the use case will probably turn up in due course, In the meantime, if all the extra tweaks improve my current usage, then that's a bonus to me.

Elon Musk snowed under with Googley dollars for Space Internet

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What the f**k has a still from the execrable version of War of the Worlds got to do with this story? Not sure if I've had too much or too little alcohol at this point to find the answer. Bloody El Reg random image selector. Grumble, mutter, mutter...

Apple v BBC: Fruity firm hits back over Panorama drama

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Units, dear boy...

"Furthermore, a metric shit ton "

No, no , no; "Furthermore, a metric shit tonne".

You're welcome.

El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

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Ah, respite...

Well done chaps, starting to tone it down. It's surprising what just darkening the side bars does for you, isn't it. Now all we really want is for the font sizes to be dropped a wee bit; that should increase the overall text density on screen and help to bring down the impression of burnt-out retinas.

Pics; still too big. And frankly, just plain pointless at times. And a banner ad above the Reg masthead? Why? In the name of any four gods you care to name, why? It just looks silly, as well as wasting vertical screen real estate. Put tower ads down the empty space at the sides or something, maybe.

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Re: Expensive!


Think you've missed the point of many of the comments - fix (or set a maximum for ) the width of individual articles by all means - once you're reading them. That's fine, for the reason you state.

However, on the front page, each article link is already constrained within its own container (essentially an 'n' column table (or grid if you prefer), whatever the markup used to achieve it). Allowing the value of 'n' to vary with the screen width is not that complex, frankly, and would allow more article links to be displayed. Which is highly desirable, given the larger text and wider spacing around the article links now which has reduced the number of articles visible at a glance.

And just to add another voice to the 'too much white' theme running through the comments, El Reg - it bloody hurts with all the clear space on the page. Way too bright. If you must keep this new theme (please don't), at least knock the background colour down a notch or two, even #fafafa would help.

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Consultant. Somebody mentioned a consultant?

Why do I get the horrible feeling that Bong's behind this...?

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No. No, doesn't do it for me

First up, it would have been nice if you'd posted an article at the same time as pushing out the change so I didn't waste 20 minutes trying to work out what I'd done to my browsers

Second; there's a huge amount of wasted space on my main screen. Either make the page aware of what it's rendering on and use the space accordingly, or don't bother. And please don't make the header pic a third of the screen, it's pointless and irritating. I read the articles for the information, it's not a picture book fer chrissakes.

Third; not opening the article in a new tab? That's so basic I can't believe it's a deliberate design choice rather than a cockup, kindly fix it forthwith (edit: ah, it changes from black to a dark grey. Didn't spot that on the screen set the way it was. Grey. Really? C'mon...)

Fourth; what have you done with the 'visited' CSS so's I can see which articles I've already read? I use that sometimes as a fast-scan when looking for an article, not to avoid the article.

Fifth; article spacing on the main page; too much. I'm spending far more time scrolling up and down than before, it's a pain. And if you've got to have pics for the article, leave 'em in the rotating banner, or on a mouseover or something, don't throw another another possible row of article headers away just to look exciting and funky (or whatever).

That's from five minute's worth of browsing, so first impressions. But I'm concerned that as it stands it's not going to grow on me. The value of El Reg to me is the content, not the presentation so much. By all means make changes, but please don't lose sight of what people come here for. We enjoy the tabloid humour, since by and large it's not accompanied by tabloid-level journalism; let's not have the tabloid presentation style suited to limited attention spans for people who struggle to reach the end of a sentence, let alone a whole article.

Independent inquiry into British air-traffic-control IT nightmare

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Political PHBs

Obligatory knee-jerk reaction from people who know sod all about the subject but think they need to be seen to be on the side of the poor old travelling public. Politicians should obliged by law to keep their mouths shut until they've had it explained to them with pictures and short words exactly what happened and why they shouldn't overreact.

There may well be areas where more money could be usefully spent, but it'll never stop something like this happening; all systems are fallible. It's how it's handled that matters, and in this case nobody died. The disruption (or length of it) could have been reduced if the major airports weren't running so close to full capacity, but that's a different argument for the politicians to get excited about / duck depending on where their constituencies are.

Sink your teeth into OCZ's ARC 100 SSD sizzler with tasty home-grown chips

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Re: OCZ Reputation

Talk to insiders and you'll find out there were some horrendous bugs in the firmware / silicon. The new stuff's subject to vastly more rigorous testing. Their biggest problem is going to be getting past the crap reputation they've gained (deservedly) over the last few years.

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Re: Dear father christmas !!

No way Santa's emptying his sack in to my stockings - that's what Mrs. Santa's for.

Violet, you're turning violet! Imagination unveils graphics-tastic hobbyist board

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Re: "The Ci20 will cost $65 (US)/£50 (Europe)"

'Johnny Foreigner can't buy gasoline (petrol) from the pump in the USA.'

If you have more time to waste, try leaving the car at the pump, going through the queue to get pre-authorised, getting back to the car to realise that you've parked with the filler on the wrong side and the hose doesn't reach, getting back in the car to turn it around, grab the hose again and then realise that the authorisation has timed out, meaning you've got to do the whole thing again. This at a Wawa in Collegeville, PA, where the counter staff just randomly walked off leaving the queue wondering...

Sick of the 'criminal' lies about pie? Lobby the government HERE

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Re: Accept no substitute!


That would be methadone, then. I, personally, have never fallen asleep eating a pie ('real' or 'fake') but have had some slightly surreal experiences from one.

Ref. Denis Healey describing Geoffrey Howe as 'mogadon man' in the house of commons.

Suffering satellites! Goonhilly's ARTHUR REBORN for SPAAAACE

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Re: half and an hour? And bring back the barbeques.

And if you've made the effort to get to Goonhilly, Ann's Pasties is only about 8 miles down the road in Lizard village of course.

DEATH fails to end mobile contract: Widow forced to take HUBBY's ASHES into shop

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The one thing that briefly raised a smile the day after my dad died; fielded a junk call at Mum's:

JC : "Can I speak to Mr. M..."

Me: "Only if you know a damned good medium - he died last night"

JC: "Ah.. Err. umm.. *Embarassed silence*"

I really like to think that the old guy managed to ruin a junk caller's day with that one.