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* Posts by John Sager

387 posts • joined 28 Apr 2008

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The Reg parts ways with imagineer and thought pathfinder Steve Bong

John Sager

Please can we have Lewis & Tim back now? Pity we can't get Lester back from the other side.

15
2

Firefox 57: Good news? It's nippy. Bad news? It'll also trash your add-ons

John Sager

Re: Such is life. Have a look around - it's a constant race of arms.

They changed the voltage a while back to 230V so as to be in line with the rest of the EU

No they didn't. The allowed tolerance was changed by EU administrative fiat so that both nominally 220v (in Europe) and 240v (UK) would fall into the new allowed tolerance bands. I don't know whether recently installed LV transformers in the UK network have moved to be centred on 230v - can't be arsed to google it.

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Europe's one-patent-court-to-rule-them-all rocked by 'Brexit, EPO reforms, German laws'

John Sager

Re: How does the government work in Germany?

Was this a rhetorical question? Most parliaments tend to follow the second model, with the 'authority' ranging from the Politburo via the President/Prime Minister to the most munificent lobbyists.

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One-third of mobile users receive patchy to no indoor coverage

John Sager

Femtocell

I have had one for 8 years or so. Connects to Vodafone over 't Internet. I live in a hole RF-wise and it's been a godsend. I think all networks now provide these (need lucre though). I wonder what the household penetration is of these per network?

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Humble civil servant: Name public electric car chargers after me

John Sager

Re: Belisha Beacons

The public's attitude to politicians has evolved significantly since the days of Hore-Belisha, as witnessed by many comments here. He is obviously far too far up his own arse to realise this.

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Arm isn't saying IoT firmware sucks but it's writing a free secure BIOS for device makers

John Sager

Re: Good idea, I think

Regulation will probably be the final blow to those security blunders

You mean, like all those CE-marked devices from China?

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FCC Commissioner blasts new TV standard as a 'household tax'

John Sager

Re: ATSC 3.0 fixes a lot of problems with ATSC 1.0

Excuse me while I ROFLMAO! Being sorta involved when both DVB and ATSC were being developed, I never understood why the Yanks were so stuck on 8VSB. All the tests then in all sorts of environments showed that OFDM was better. Hence most of the rest of the world went with DVB or variants (Japan, Brazil).

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Twitter: Why we silenced Rose McGowan after she slammed alleged sex pest Harvey Weinstein

John Sager

Re: Sense of proportion

If Twitter is half the company they are supposed to be then they will have tweet analysis keyed to the T&C's, as well as lots of other stuff presumably. A phone no filter is not a hard regular expression, and they will get flagged.

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Q. Why's Oracle so two-faced over open source? A. Moolah, wonga, dosh

John Sager

Well, Larry is still making lots of dosh. Oracle's attitude won't change until that changes.

3
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WannaCry kill-switch hero Marcus Hutchins collared by FBI on way home from DEF CON

John Sager

I'll probably get downvoted for this but what the hell. I've been to the US countless times over the last 30 years both on business and vacations. I have never had any hassle from either the guys on immigration or the customs guys though I did once get asked a domain knowledge question by immigration related to the purpose of the visit. And I'll be going there soon on vacation. It's true that this time I'm taking a clean laptop rather than my normal one but that's the only concession I'm making to their increased paranoia. I would probably be more trepidacious if it were my first visit though, as they would have no previous history.

Having said all that, I hope the guy gets it sorted PDQ, though I wonder if there is more to this than 'security guy gets nabbed by the Feds for no apparent reason'

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Don't make Aug 21 a blind date: Beware crap solar eclipse specs

John Sager

Re: Curiousity and dead cats...

It works in space, but not on the ground - too much glare from the atmosphere. Flying high also lets them see wavelengths that get blocked by the atmosphere, as well as extending the eclipse period by flying along inside the shadow.

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John Sager

I've got two different types. One is cardboard glasses with a plastic filter. They have a CE mark & say 'tested at Durham University'. The other is a rectangular filter with both ISO and CE marks, and says 'Meets the requirements of ISO 12312-2-2015 and EC directive 89/686/EEC'. Both give me a dull orange disc viewing the sun, with no fuzziness. Both were bought from Amazon UK.

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Deutsche Telekom G.fast demo pushes G.Fast faster, further

John Sager

I can't imagine it goes further. 212MHz spectrum on a phone line, especially in a multi-pair cable? If it were made to Cat5e standards, perhaps, but the existing cable infrastructure isn't. Also as lines are never particularly well balanced, the spectrum pollution into the airwaves is just going to get worse.

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Russia launches non-TERRIFYING satellite that focuses Sun's solar rays onto Earth

John Sager

Re: Tracking info freely available

Or use Gpredict on Linux. The object is catalogued as 2017-042F. I just looked at predictions on Gpredict. It looks like it won't be high in the sky in SE England until around midnight BST, so it may already be in eclipse by that time. Check it out looking NE at about 23:45 tonight.

1
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Openreach asks UK what it thinks about 10 million 'full fibre' connections

John Sager

Not here methinks

I have, finally, just got on to FTTC, which took ages and rural broadband money to get the cabinet locally, then another several months to get moved off an EO line onto that cabinet, then a bit of intervention from my ISP to get Openreach's data in some semblance of accuracy before the order went through. Sadly, some more distant EO lines in our area will have to wait another 2 years, but then they get FTTP, apparently. I sincerely doubt they'll upgrade those of us where FTTC is available.

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China pollutes ocean with bloody big rocket

John Sager

Re: All my sympathy..

The Chinese are probably slightly more civilised than that now unless it was a really egregious & stupid mistake by someone. Now the NorKs probably have the more brutal approach, which may explain why their technical endeavours don't progress too fast.

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Not that scary or that hard: Two decades of VLANS

John Sager

I've implemented several VLANs on my home network to segregate guest WiFi, security cameras, etc. The Netgear switches I use are cheap & very capable.

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IoT coverage for 95% of UK by 2019? We can't even do 4G, Sigfox

John Sager

Re: Mixing IoT with cellular networks

Privacy usually isn't an issue with such applications as they usually monitor things like pipe pressures or weather clock are still running

Speak for yourself. The pressure in my pipes is my own affair. And monitoring IoT traffic from premises will eventually tell you quite a lot about the behaviour of the occupants if it's in clear.

Being tech-savvy will hopefully help me avoid the most egregious horrors of the IoT world but I pity the poor buggers who can't evaluate this stuff themselves.

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TalkTalk customers complain of being unable to load Amazon website

John Sager

Re: normally

Yup, AAISP are a top ISP and unlike XKCD it's not a dream. They helped me with 2 problems that were/would have been call-centre hell with BT.

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F-Secure's Mikko Hypponen on IoT: If it uses electricity, it will go online

John Sager

Lots of tinfoil-hattery going on here

Much of this assumes that these devices can communicate to their parent 'cloud' as if by magic. The Amazon Whispernet idea doesn't really pass the economics sniff test for a lot of them. A Kindle is quite pricey, certainly compared with a toaster, and the Whispernet only worked in the US - needed to talk via AT&T. The most obvious route is via Bluetooth or wi-fi, or perhaps even z-wave or zigbee to the home router, where this stuff should be properly policed. Home routers need to be better than they are in many ways - both security and QoS, for example, but this won't happen as long as they're still based on cheap & nasty MIPS-based SoCs. Fortunately SoC-land is getting much better in this respect so we might hope to see better products in the next few years. Customer push would help, as would reviews from hell for the stinkers. However, sadly I can see wings evolving on pigs first:(

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Report estimates cost of disruption to GPS in UK would be £1bn per day

John Sager

Re: That's why the EU has started Galileo...

Perhaps it's time for someone to build an NTP-disciplined oscillator. :) (NTP has lots of short time yitter, but obviously no long term drift, so it might work)

It does work, sorta. The 3G femtocell devices use long sequences (2hrs or so) of NTP queries to get enough accuracy to discipline the local oscillator. My device seems to do it every 24 hours or so.

As for local knowledge, that seems to be disappearing for all the services that need it. I was talking to a coastguard officer recently & he said that his area would be concentrating to the national centre in Fareham, but that his people didn't want to move to Fareham so their local expertise would be lost.

Cheap inertial devices are getting better so they may be stable enough soon for trips of a few hours, especially with road lock to estimate the drifts. Also the nav display function 'I think I'm here. Touch the screen where I really am' would set it up for a journey.

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Small carriers aren't showing up to IPv6 standards chats, consultant warns

John Sager

Religion on both sides

There are religious 'keep V4'ers just as there are religious v6ers. The address problem isn't going to go away, NAT or no, and v6 is the only game in town to address that. If its protocol support is too geeky for some, then essentially all that should be hidden away in the CPE. Unfortunately most CPE makers are producing crap products with features you don't want (UPNP) and a complete lack of features that are now quite important (QoS). Apart from one or two, I'm not sanguine about the prospect of getting performant v6 kit anytime soon. I went down the 'roll your own' route to fix this a long time ago but then I'm in a small minority of punters that can.

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Raspberry Pi sours thanks to mining malware

John Sager

Re: Captain Bodge-tastic speaking

Just analysing my firewall logs for the last 4 months & I've had 36k hits on telnet and 6k hits on ssh port 22. Those are the top 2 TCP ports for hits, followed by 5358, 1433 & 7547. I occasionally see a hit on my obscure ssh login port - 1 every few months perhaps.

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Tech industry thumps Trump's rump over decision to leave Paris climate agreement

John Sager

Re: cripple your own economy

There is a tipping point where solar becomes cheaper than coal

So where, and at what cost, is the backup generation/storage for when the sun don't shine? You have to compare like with like. Or should we shed the load at sunset and have a North Korea-style nighttime scenario?

Like it or not, a *lot* of the world's generation capacity will run on coal for decades to come Trump or no Trump, especially in China and India. And if they get their act together in terms of development, Africa too.

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Openreach hints at fibre network strategy rethink

John Sager

Re: FTTP?

I wonder if this is why, when I last enquired, we're going to get FTTP on our DP (in a year...)? I was very surprised at this. A FTTC cabinet went live in our village recently, and although it is <100m from me, my DP and another one close by are EO lines. The other DP is supposed to be re-parented on the cabinet very soon but, although it would be easier & cheaper to put both on the cabinet at the same time, mine is to be FTTP. I shan't complain though (except for the extra wait), if that's what actually happens.

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OK... Red wire or black... *Clickety* You've emailed the schematic? Yes, got it! It's opening. And... WHAT? NO!

John Sager

Re: Why is that not adequate

A lot of the issues are to to with totally shit wifi routers that can't do QoS for toffee. However, it's not exactly easy. I had this problem with my own home-brew router - a satnav update I started totally clobbered my daughter's Netflix session. I spent a *lot* of time analysing that & coming up with a working solution using combinations of iptables rules to mark traffic and qdiscs to filter & queue traffic appropriately. I think recent versions of OpenWrt have something similar, and eventually the Cake qdisc should make this a no-brainer.

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I need an ISP that offers IPv6. Virgin Media: Whatevs, nerd

John Sager

Re: If in the UK, I recommend

Likewise. I changed to A&A when the previous v6 support I had from Enternet broke and they never bothered to fix it. It was apparently something cobbled together for customers on BT's 20C network.

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Do you use .home and .mail on your network? ICANN mulls .corp, .mail, .home dot-word domains

John Sager

Silly to use generic tlds on a home network

I picked one that's not generic and not in ISO3166 so that it wouldn't cause me or anyone else any problems in the future. I also got the local root name in the company NNTP server changed many years ago to avoid ISO3166 before it would have become a problem. Far better to foresee these problems before they bite you...

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Public IPv4 drought: Verizon Wireless to stop handing out static addys

John Sager

Re: but it's suffice to say IPv6 is so big,

My ISP gave me a /48 by default, which is equivalent to a /16 in v4-world. Not that I use more than a /63. I could, in principle, change my home network to v6 only, at least for the laptops, android, a couple of servers, as my ISP runs a 4-to-6 service to map v4s in the Internet to temporary v6 addresses. No such luck for the blu-ray player and DVRs though. I guess it'll be a long while before new models of them become dual stack.

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It's time for our annual checkup on the circus that is the Internet Governance Forum

John Sager

Isn't this SOP in the UN generally? They would be constitutionally incapable of doing anything useful anyway because of the completely diverse & irreconcilable views in the world of what the Internet is for and how it should be controlled.

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Passport and binary tree code, please: CompSci quizzes at US border just business as usual

John Sager

They did something similar to me in the 90s

I was working on digital TV standards at the time, told the Immigration guy I was going to a meeting on the subject. He then asked "what screen aspect ratio do you think will win out in the long run" or words to that effect. So I went "Oh, definitely 16 by 9". He then said he was interested in the subject as he had just been to CES. May have been true I suppose. The guys at the meeting were a bit boggled when I related this tale.

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Blighty floods with techies' tears as Capita boss Parker quits

John Sager
FAIL

Does anyone have a good word to say about them?

My crap Crapita story is the TVL one, and frightening my elderly MiL with the usual nastygrams, even though she had a licence, and free to boot because of her age. Turns out they had no way of dealing with alias addresses, where the account address in their database is not quite the same as the Postcode Address File one. Got her MP involved but no satisfactory resolution:(

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One IP address, multiple SSL sites? Beating the great IPv4 squeeze

John Sager

Yup. I'm just a home user & my ISP just handed me a /48 no problem - the equivalent of a Class B in old money. Not that I need that much (yet...).

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Germany, France lobby hard for terror-busting encryption backdoors – Europe seems to agree

John Sager

Re: Getting bored of pointing this out

So why do we see so much 'the State must' talk from the Left? 'Minimise the State' seems to be perceived as more of a Right position.

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$350m! shaved! off! sale! price! as! Verizon! swallows! Yahoo!

John Sager

Can we finally get rid of the bangs. Please

That joke wore out for me about a decade ago.

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

John Sager

Re: Timely advice

I am going to see the eclipse

Likewise. I've been to the US numerous times over the last 30 years on both business & vacation. I've never had any problem with Immigration or Customs & hopefully I've built up a record of probity with them. One assumes they look at previous history of visits.

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ITU-T wants video sizes to halve again by 2020

John Sager

Run the Battle of Helms Deep locally

That was a lot of AI avatars interacting in Weta Digital's CPU farm. I guess it'll take a few more iterations of Moore's Law before we see that capacity in our smart TVs.

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

John Sager

Re: Alternative choice

Not Doctorish enough. I thought about Mel & Sue - the idea of the regeneration going wrong & producing a fission would be interesting. But there are better pairs - thinks:

Chuckle Brothers? - no!

Jedward? - kill me for that thought.

Rowan Atkinson & Tony Robinson? - worth a second thought.

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BT installs phone 'spam filter', says it'll strain out mass cold-callers

John Sager

Re: BT need to sort out CLI

You do realise that some people do genuinely have 5 digit phone numbers?

How many area code areas still have 5-digit numbering schemes? Northern Ireland used to be a bit strange but have they now not regularised that? In any case, all the calls like that I had up until recently were scammers (PPI mostly). I did let them go to the machine but the bastards just play their recording into the machine, unlike most other scammers who just ring off when they get the machine. Now I have to answer the call & then ring off:(

If BT can stop these then all power to their elbow but I still WANT THEM TO SORT OUT CLI!

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John Sager

BT need to sort out CLI

I get a bit fed up of BT's approach to calling line identification. Lots of scam calls come through with obviously weird CLI (e.g ok area code but 5-digit phone no), and a few judiciously crafted regular expressions should filter most of them. What's worse is that BT don't seem to be able to forward incoming international CLI with any consistency. A US friend has a mobile on Sprint, I think, but when she came over here her calls were marked 'Unavailable' so they went straight to our answering machine:( Her calls to our mobiles (Vodafone) had correct CLI.

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How the NYE leap second clocked Cloudflare – and how a single character fixed it

John Sager

Re: Use NTP

Google do this- it's called a Leap Smear

I set my internal NTP servers to sync from Google. Google drifted their time linearly from 10 hours before to 10 hours after the leap. My servers responded with a rapid 50ms offset initially which then decayed, and then a -50ms offset at the end. The drift changed by 14ppm. Personally, I would have preferred them to do a raised cosine profile over -/+ 12 hours. That would reduce the initial offset errors considerably for a peak drift change of ~18ppm.

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Networks in 2016: A full fibre diet for UK.gov

John Sager

Multiple 4k

Exactly. There seems to be a dastardly plan to stop broadcast TV at some unspecified future point & put it all on 'broadband'. At least that's what a woefully under-advised House of Lords committee suggested a year or two back. If that ever happens, then 'broadband' will need to carry multiple decent quality TV channels for those houses that have multiple viewers with different tastes. So there's your FTTP use case right there (and a properly engineered multicast network). Of course, the HoL were totally out of their tree but I can imagine the lure of filthy lucre from mobile companies for the UHF spectrum might precipitate the same end result.

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What can we use to hit Intel between the eyes, thinks Qualcomm – a 10nm ARM server chip

John Sager

Re: People don't buy x86 because of Performance or anything

all Java, python, perl, ruby, C/C++ just needs recompiling usually

And there's the rub. Intel have spent a lot of effort on developing a compiler that will produce really good x86 code - it's better than GCC & CLANG/LLVM for a lot of things. An ARM server ecosystem really needs an equivalent highly optimising compiler.

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Exclusive: Team Trump's net neutrality guru talks to El Reg

John Sager
Unhappy

RFC791

As the article says, that's what the Internet should be. RFC791 is a bit outmoded now and has been replaced by Differentiated Services - RFC2474. It makes sense to classify traffic according to its characteristics and separate/prioritise on that basis. However the Net Neutrality debate has been hi-jacked by commercial entities & anti-commercial activists for their own political purposes. Unfortunately, what we'll probably end up with is a network with totally skewed parameters that don't suit anybody.

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Google turns on free public NTP servers that SMEAR TIME

John Sager

Well, I'm giving it a punt

I read about Google's approach some time ago, and for non-sub-second-critical apps it's a better solution than stepping by 1 sec. If you do need the sub-second stuff then TAI is the way to go. Of course, even things like HFT need to ultimately tie to real-world time but it's much more important to have a unique time ordering of transactions (no, relativity doesn't (yet) apply!) and the reference back to real-world time can be done after the fact from logs, e.g. when litigation requires it.

I've configured my home network now to have two internal NTP servers referenced to the Google ones & then everything else talks to them. I'll see what happens at New Year, probably set up a client with logging on & talking to NPL or Linx.

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Jeremy Hunt: Telcos must block teens from sexting each other

John Sager

Re: This country

The Lib-dems seem to speak sense but nobody votes for them.

The Venn diagram of 'Sense' and 'Lib-dems' has an exceedingly small intersection. They may be OK on civil liberties but on economics & Europe they really haven't a clue, which is why nobody votes for them.

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Lib Dems to oppose porn checks in Blighty's Digital Economy Bill

John Sager
Facepalm

I'm totally, one hundred percent sure that will persuade Amber Rudd to have a radical re-think.

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More than half of punters reckon they can't get superfast broadband

John Sager

Re: exchange only lines...

Same in the country. I'm on a EO line which is about 3km in line length according to Openreach's TDR. There is a cabinet 200m away from me which has finally had a fibre cabinet installed next to it, but it's awaiting activation. I am assured that they will eventually transfer my DP to that cabinet, but it looks like it'll be many months before that happens.

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We're going to have to start making changes or the adults will do it for us

John Sager

Re: Ok, so...

My .indent.pro file says '-linux -i2'. 8-space indents are too wide for anything that has much in the way of block nesting. Now you could argue that deep block nesting is bad coding practice, and I tend to agree, but I still read (and sometimes hack on) existing code that had weird or no coding standards applied. As for spaces, my editor of choice (nedit) puts tabs in automatically after it gets to 8-space indent. I don't care. indent will prettify it and the compiler doesn't care.

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UK prison reform report wants hard-coded no-fly zones in drones to keep them out of jail

John Sager

No-name drones from China?

I don't think HMG has that kind of clout in the PRC. Having said that, I remember, oh, 20 years or so ago, the US Treasury suggesting that printer manufacturers should install anti-counterfeiting software. It seemed to me at the time a stupid thing to ask - greenbacks should have had better anti-forgery features anyway. Now we find that quite a few printers will barf on printing a banknote, and not just of the USD variety.

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