The Media Guru
Sep 25, 2008

My_Old_PC

Yeah, it's exactly a decade ago that I got my first PC. At that time I certainly didn't have a camera, so the above photo was taken 4 years ago when both the PC & the camera were working. Now join me for a little nostalgic journey along memory lane...

The Beginning 

win98logo

In August 98, Windows 98 had just been released. & the Windows piracy problem was making headlines - even in Mauritius. Many computer shops had been caught selling counterfeit copies of Windows - the counterfeit being nothing more than a copy of the cd & the manual without the hologram (there was no activation at that time!).

So there was this one computer shop which was selling original Windows 98 & the best specs at the best affordable price! Hence for a sum of around Rs 40,000 here's what I got:
- Intel Celeron 300 – 300Mhz (Covington 250nm – 0 KiB of L2-cache!)
- 32MB SDRAM
- 3.2GB Hard Disk
- 2MB PCI Graphic Card
- 14" SVGA Monitor
- 104 keys A4 Keyboard + Mouse
- Multimedia Kit - 32x CD-Rom Drive; Yamaha 16-bit Sound Card; Aiwa Stereo Speakers.
- Canon BJC-250 Printer
- 56K Fax Modem (Rs 2400!!!)

A configuration that you won't even find in a smartphone today. & to think that this was high-end 10 years ago! Moore's Law still standing firm.
I don't think you'll ever find a 56K modem today at that price - but at that time there was no ADSL & dial-up was the global norm.

Hardware

Win95

The rule of world states that everyone starts off as a noob - & I was no different. But in a certain way, I was an "experienced" noob because I had previously used a Windows 95 computer for a few months. My experience consisted mainly of gaming (PacMan, Solitaire & an unknown game which I forgot) & of having an uncanny ability of breaking that computer every time I touched it! The number of times it was sent for repairs is almost comparable to infinity... Usually that meant me fiddling with the settings (device manager!) or installing apps that corrupted Windows. But I once did mess-up the BIOS! (How would I have had known what was the BIOS at that time?)

So the switch to my own PC meant that I knew something about what not to do. However, this time, it wasn't me who was (primarily) responsible for the frequent breakdowns. The computer itself was faulty! For no apparent reason it would refuse to boot-up! That meant repairs every few months. Sometimes a good bang would do the job & at other times reconnecting the cables did it – my most used trick was re-connecting the printer’s serial cable, but I have no idea how this would work?!? I never managed to know what really the problem was, but most probably the hardware wasn't great...

Troubleshooting Windows… 

Windows_98_BSOD

Or was it the Windows 98? Fortunately I didn't have frequent BSODs, but "This program has preformed an illegal operation & will be shut down" error was a terrible nightmare!

win98error_msg

It was the most dreaded errors of all time. The error message wasn't very helpful - it gave you some hex codes which were totally meaningless! At that time, the Googlian culture of searching for anything on the Internet wasn't there - you could only turn to computer technicians! & what in hell’s name was invalid page default??? 

n00bs pwn 1337s!

win98se_My_Computer

A few weeks after the purchase, someone gave some floppy disks to check out. Using CD-ROMs was a breeze, you just insert the disc & it will Autorun by itself. But unfortunately that didn't work with floppys. I tried various ways to make the floppys work, checking the Computer settings, restarting & all that - but in the end, I had to admit defeat that my floppy drive just wasn't recognising them! Why?
It was much later that I found out by reading the Windows 98 Manual that you had to go to My Computer & double-click on the Floppy Disk icon to access it. How stupid of me!!!

Volume

One day, my speakers stopped working suddenly. Because it was still under warranty we took it to be replaced. But there weren't any problem with those speakers. So logically it must instead be a problem with Windows or the sound card, so the PC was taken for repairs. It turned out that I had muted the system volume...

Connect to

On a certain occasion, I deleted the Dial-Up connection settings & when I re-installed it, the computer couldn't connect to Internet. When the Telecom Plus technicians came, they found out that I had put my own telephone number for the dial-up instead of 3121212!

Software

win98

Windows 98 was fairly stable - it ran most of apps I had & most of the games as well. At that time, I had indeed heard of Linux & I thought that it was just another type of… Windows! LOL

win98_Start_Menu

Windows 98 desktop included Active Desktop, which had a sidebar-like thing called the channel bar, linking to MSN, MSNBC & Discovery Channel. I always thought that one day I would be able to watch Discovery Channel through it...

win98_Start_MenuVista_Start_Menu

This is absolutely amazing! 10 years from then, the Start Menu has hardly changed!

win98se

Windows Media Player was still in its classic version & you couldn't play mp3s on it. Clips were still in MPG or MOV requiring a software called QuickTime from an unknown fruit company Apple, that sold Macintoshes?
& there was also XingMPEG Player which was bundled along with Windows 95/98. I always thought that it was some sort of game because it was called Player...

win98_ie4

Remember Internet Explorer 4? At that time, IE was the underdog since it was facing tough competition from Netscape. But with IE5, WBWI (World Browser War I) was won by Microsoft. & to think at that time these folks never thought about inventing tabs. The problem was that with a dial-up connection, you could only surf with 2 or 3 windows, which didn't clutter the desktop. But with faster connections & more cluttered windows, tabs had to be invented. Necessity is the mother of invention…

PSP5

Among the various software, one of my favs was Jasc Paint Shop 4 which had an unlimited trial. Winzip as well had an unlimited trial – which was really a bug in fact…

Warez

Office97_front

From Day 0, I've always used warez on my PC. What happened was that the technician who came to setup the computer fooled us into buying Office 97 & F-Secure Antivirus at a cheaper price from him. I don't know whether there were cd-burners at that time, but he didn't give us a copy of the cd & just installed it. Little did I know that the Office 97 & the F-Secure were illegal copies - there were no cracks at that time, only serials! & the most stupid thing is that we called him after one year to extend the license of the antivirus...

Office2001to2003

Microsoft Word opened up new possibilities - I can now type with spellchecking, add WordArts, pictures & even charts. But the sub-zero feature was the animated office assistants - As you were typing, the office assistants entertained you through their animations! Links & Rocky (& co)  got better in Office 2000 until they finally disappeared in Office 2003 & never to return in Office 2007. I miss them a lot! (Microsoft, please revive them!) :’(

Games

winmine

Yeah, that was THE BIG THING for a kid like me! In addition to the usual PacMan, Solitaire, FreeCell & Minesweeper, there was only 3 games that really initiated me to gaming at the very beginning.

Ancient_Conquest

First was Ancient Conquest demo. At that time, the only way you could get PC games were by buying those computer magazines which came along with bonus CDs having trial software & games. So we had bought this issue of PC Quest & we didn't really know how to use the cd, so the computer technician browsed around it, installed some software & the Ancient Conquest demo.

Ancient_Conquest_2

That was the first time I encountered Real-Time Strategy (RTS). I found this game more awesome than any FPS. The scenario is classic RTS. You've got a settlement, you gather resources, research upgrades, you expand, you make your own army (navy here) & you fight!

Ancient_Conquest_3

My favourite ships were the Quicklime-thrower & the Fire-thrower. You use the Quicklime-thrower to disable enemy ships by covering them in quicklime(chalk) & then set them on fire using the Fire-thrower! You also had the Temple which granted you special powers like Lightning strike... I do really miss that game!

118264

The first game that I installed by myself was Commandos: Men of Courage demo.

118285

Commandos really fascinated me. One of the early games where AI was quite intelligent & where rushing things was certain death. That was the game that really taught me the virtue of patience & perseverance.

118248

At that time, I didn't know anything about the Save function - & who to save? So everyday I kept trying these 2 demo missions over & over again. You can well imagine what happens when I die & I have to restart the mission... (banging the desk & ripping my hairs off!!!)

118281

118293

I didn't know that at that time, but Commandos was a role-playing game with environment interaction - like blowing up a dam! One of the misconceptions I had was that I thought there must be way to unlock these demos to become full games...

Age_Of_Empires_Rise_of_Rome_Expansion_Trial_2

The 3rd game was the ubiquitous Age of Empires! That was the Rise of Rome Expansion Trial. That was really the most advanced game of its time. The reference for all RTS games to come. The above screen is the first mission.

Age_Of_Empires_Rise_of_Rome_Expansion_Trial

Here's the second mission where you have that huge Carthaginian city & you have to build a Wonder. My preferred unit was the very powerful Phalanx!
It was through AoE that I learnt of cheats & walkthroughs...

Internet

Win98_Connect2

Internet use wasn't widespread at that time. But since you had a modem, getting an Internet connection was quite obvious. The cheapest Internet package was the 10h Discovery at Rs 375.

Yahoo.com - 1998

At first, the Internet was quite useless as surfing was limited to Yahoo! & its linked websites listed on different categories. Compared to now, the Yahoo! portal was quite simple. & its search was powered by something called Googol or Grogle (well it was spelled something like that).

Servihoo.com - 1998

Remember the Servihoo portal?

Microsoft.com - 1998

Microsoft?

Google!

& Google… First let me thank Google for 10 years of services & innovation to humanity (on the Internet & beyond). On the 7th September 1998, Google! Inc was founded. At that time, Google had the ! which they copied directly from Yahoo!

FireShot capture #5 - 'Google!' - web_archive_org_web_19990125084553_alpha_google_com

& here's the original search webpage which can be found on the Internet Archive. At that time, even the founders themselves could never have thought that one day Google will reach such heights. They own the web search, the advertising, the mail, the maps & have their own browser, mobile OS & satellite! Rock on Google! (Read more about Google’s 10th Anniversary on GeekScribes)

designing-google-logo

A few years later, the Discovery package was bumped to 12h & I began to realise the importance of email for registering in forums. I never managed to configure Outlook Express (bow.intnet.mu??), so I still used the default Servihoo mail! My first forum post was a help message on a game forum. Afterwards Google became popular & my internet use exploded. But it was only last year that I got my ADSL connection & the rest is history… :)

Upgrades
I didn't do much big upgrades on the system, but I did bought a scanner, HP Scanjet 3300C (appearing in the first photo at the start of the post) in 2002. Almost one year later, the scanner stopped being detected on my computer & because the warranty was still valid, the scanner was sent to HP France to be replaced. & when I got my brand new scanner, it still didn't work! I googled for the problem & I found out that I had disabled an important background process!

In 2000, 32MB of SDRAM was added to my old PC after being sent for repairs. In 2002, lightning struck the telephone cable which was still connected to my modem & both my modem & sound card fried! While replacing them, I bought a 40GB secondary hard disk which lasted only for a year. It was replaced by a 20GB hard disk which also lasted until 2004.

My_New_PC

The original 3.2GB, which contained Windows, never failed until mid-2004! By that time I had my new PC (the current one – the bunch of wires above!)… & that old PC was scrapped off...

The Future
So it's been more than a decade since I've been using computers. My old PC definitely wasn’t a great experience, but I did learnt a lot & I don’t regret it… How that noob of yesterday came out to be a blogger today is astonishing… but who knows what will happen 10 years from now? Will we even have “PCs” by then??? :)

win98_shutdown

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Sep 19, 2008

Check out this video! It’s awesome! :D

Just too good! PC! PC!! LOL

This one’s great as well…

FireShot capture #15 - 'Windows_ I'm a PC' - imapc_lifewithoutwalls_com

These are really good ads from Microsoft, better than the Gates & Seinfeld ads & I hope more are coming! You can check the related website http://imapc.lifewithoutwalls.com/ for more videos! The message intended is clear enough – anyone can be a PC!


Front-engined Lamborghini??

image002

& btw Lamborghini have released a new teaser for its forthcoming supercar… & it seems to be a front-engine Lambo... which means… 4-doors!?!?! Nooooo!!!! I can’t believe Lamborghini have gone the Porsche way, building SUVs & sedans instead of sticking to supercars! But the most impressive thing is the secrecy! There hasn’t been a single spyshot of that infamous car – when you consider that almost 99% of all forthcoming models have already been caught in the wild! So will the King of Hypercars be the first to make a four-door hypercar???  Wait till the 2nd of October to find out… ;) (Crossing my fingers & praying it’s not a sedan!)

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Sep 16, 2008

lamboteaser_paris

"It’s not just a new Lamborghini. It’s a new world."

The above pic is the only teaser Lamborghini have released for the new model they are planning to unveil at the Paris Motor Show on the 1st of October. & given the above saying, it doesn’t appear to be any Lambo. My best bet is that it’s a Murciélago replacement since that model was introduced in 2001! Or a Reventón-like Special Edition. But certainly not the LM002 SUV!!! All we know is that it’s going to be named after a fighting bull… ;)

Lamborghini

 

Bugatti Veyron GT?!?!?

Veyron_GT_memo_MotorAuthority_001

A Bugatti memo has been leaked which claims that there’s a special edition Veyron GT in works that will add in a little bit more power (1350hp) & some minor add-ons – to take it up to 425km/h (264mph)! If that’s true, then the Veyron GT will be the fastest production car on Earth, beating the SSC Ultimate Aero TT’s 412.28km/h speed record (the Bugatti Veyron 16.4’s top speed is 408.47km/h).

Unofficial document reveals details about 425km/h Veyron GT

It’s been known since the outset that the Bugatti Veyron would be limited to just 300 units, and from its early days there has been talk about a special run-out model. Last month reports emerged claiming that Bugatti is already working on a Veyron successor, however a leaked memo alleged to be an official document suggests that before its arrival there will be a special edition of the Veyron simply called the ‘GT’.

Specifics on the new car are few, but according to the memo the Veyron GT will essentially be a standard Veyron with more power and a few minor mods. How much power you ask? Apparently 1,350hp (1,007kW) and 1,018lb-ft (1,380Nm) of torque – enough to take it to a new top speed of 264mph (425km/h).

The memo claims the car will also be fitted with upgraded carbon-ceramic brakes, a new electronic stability program, and a revised active aerodynamics package. With the upgrades on board the Veyron GT will sprint from 0-62mph (100km/h) in just 2.4 seconds and will go back to zero in just 2.2 seconds.

The expected launch date is scheduled for the Geneva Motor Show in March next year. Importantly, the memo also states that current Veyron owners will be able to upgrade their vehicles to GT status.

While the concept of an even faster Veyron is exciting, Bugatti is yet to release an official statement on the car so it could all just be rumor.

In a previous interview with Autocar, Bugatti CEO Franz-Josef Paefgen confirmed the launch of a Veyron successor sometime in 2011 or 2012. In another interesting twist, the Bugatti boss also hinted that the company could take the new car racing, an activity that has been completely ruled out with the Veyron. What series or races the company might be considering are unknown, but Le Mans and similar activities might carry the prestige and notoriety that would suit Bugatti’s image.

[Source: Motor Authority]

& here’s the Bugatti Grand Sport, which is the targa top version of the Veyron. There’s both a removal hard top & a normal roof. The hard top allows the Grand Sport to reach 405.55km/h (252mph). The fastest roadster on Earth!!!

34_grandsportunveil

21_grandsportunveil

 30_grandsportunveil

11_grandsportunveil

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Sep 14, 2008

Stephan_Buckland

Stephan Buckland has won the 200m IAAF World Athletics Final at Stuttgart!

Men's 200 Metres

stuttgart_2790_full-lnd

The effect of the chilly conditions that enveloped Mercedes Benz Stadium today was vividly illustrated in the men’s 200 where just two men managed to reach the finish in under 20.60.

Brendan Christian of Antigua, a 20.12 man this year and the winner in Oslo, entered the straight with a two metre lead, but running out of steam in the waning stages, was edged by Stephane Buckland of Mauritius and Irishman Paul Hession.

After the photo was read, the win and $30,000 went to Buckland (20.57) who edged Hession by just 0.01 seconds. It was the first World Athletics Final victory for the 31-year-old after finishing fifth twice and sixth a year ago in the last three editions.

Christian held on for third in 20.61, edging Jamaican Christopher Williams and American Rodney Martin, a sub-20 man this season, who each clocked 20.66.

Brian Dzingai of Zimbabwe, who was fourth in the Olympics, was never a factor here, and finished sixth (20.88).

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF

Source: IAAF

Watch the video here:

& here’s Stephan’s win at the 200m Zagreb Grand Prix in Croatia which allowed him to qualify for the Stuttgart final.

200m_IAAF_WR

Of course, the “big boys” like Usain Bolt, Shawn Crawford, Walter Dix & Wallace Spearmon weren’t there, but nevertheless Stephan Buckland did an incredible performance to beat the likes of Brian Dzingai, Christopher Williams & Rodney Martin. Long live Buckland! & I hope he gets a hero’s welcome like Bruno Julie back home! :P

More photos coming up as they get uploaded… :)

P.S. – Totally unrelated but check out what retards in Mauritius are doing to animals - http://blog.yashvin.net/massacre-dun-cheval-a-maurice/

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Sep 11, 2008

Mauritius_Fibre

According to l’Express, there are currently 5 submarine fibre-optics projects that aim to connect Mauritius! But a closer look at those projects reveals a much darker face…

INTERNET
Cinq câbles sous-marins pour aller plus vite et moins cher

Une connexion rapide et pas chère. Une utopie diraient certains. Toujours est-il que les tarifs d’accès à Internet pourraient connaître une baisse drastique, alors que Maurice s’apprête à être reliée à cinq câbles sous-marins à fibres optiques.

114557_1 

A quand un Internet ultra-rapide et très bon marché? Si la question se pose depuis des années, la réponse ne devrait plus trop tarder. Il y a enfin une lueur au bout du tunnel…

D’ici peu, Maurice pourrait être reliée à cinq câbles sous-marins à fibres optiques, pour transmettre ses données électroniques vers le reste du monde. Conséquence directe : une baisse drastique des tarifs d’Internet ainsi qu’une hausse très conséquente de la vitesse de la bande passante.

Le projet le plus ancien est le câble EASSy. Celui-ci ambitionne de connecter 21 pays africains entre eux et avec le reste du monde. Longeant la côte est de l’Afrique, ce câble de 10 000 km qui sera posé par la compagnie française Alcatel-Lucent devrait être opérationnel vers la mi-2010.

L’autre projet intéressant est l’initiative Uhuru Net. Celui-ci devrait également être opérationnel en 2010, si tout se déroule selon le calendrier établi. Placé sous la tutelle du NEPAD, programme de l’Union Africaine visant à pallier le retard du continent en matière de développement, ce câble reliera, par le biais d’un câble sous-marin, l’Afrique entière à l’Europe, au Brésil, à l’Inde et au Moyen-Orient. Ceci devrait permettre de ramener les coûts de connexion de 50 ou 60 % par rapport à ce qui se pratique aujourd’hui.

Comme Maurice est un des premiers pays à avoir signé officiellement sa participation au projet, elle devrait être parmi les premiers connectés.

Là où ce projet se démarque des autres, c’est sur le plan de sa politique générale. Il ne s’agit en effet pas que d’un simple câble sous-marin à fibres optiques. Afin de ne pas faire les mêmes erreurs que par le passé, le NEPAD a opté pour une approche plus ouverte. «Jusqu’ici, les opérateurs historiques ont gardé les tarifs des liaisons par le biais des câbles sous-marins élevé. Cela a posé problème pour offrir des prix de télécommunications abordables aux usagers. Nous avons, à travers l’initiative Uhuru Net, comme objectif de réduire drastiquement les tarifs de connexion», a expliqué Edmond Katiti, NEPAD ICT policy & regulatory advisor, à l’express récemment.


Énormes oppotunités

Un autre projet risque cependant de devancer l’EASSy et l’Uhuru Net. SEACOM, dernier venu en date, pourrait bien être le premier à entrer en opération. Ce câble à fibre-optique d’une longueur de 15 000 km reliera l’Afrique, l’Asie du Sud avec l’Europe. Deux tiers du câble sont déjà prêts et seront acheminés dans la région d’ici quelques jours. Trois navires vont commencer à poser le câble au fond de l’océan à partir du mois prochain. Le câble SEACOM, auquel Maurice devrait être connecté, est financé par le secteur privé, composé à majorité d’entreprises africaines. Les promoteurs mettent les bouchées doubles pour que le câble soit opérationnel d’ici juin 2009. Une vraie course contre la montre.

La multinationale française Orange a pour sa part révélé son projet il y a quelques mois. Baptisé «LION», il est bien moins ambitieux, et prévoit de relier Madagascar à Maurice et La Réunion pour le connecter au SAFE. L’objectif ici est de booster le développement des nouvelles technologies à Madagascar en le désenclavant. La Grande île n’est en effet pas connectée à un câble sous-marin à fibres optiques pour le moment.

Le projet Seganet (Submarin Extended Gateway Network of the Indian Ocean) piloté par la Commission de l’océan Indien (COI), reliera de son côté les cinq pays membres de l’organisme, à savoir Maurice, Madagascar, Seychelles, Comores et La Réunion.

Il n’en est cependant encore qu’à ses premiers balbutiements. «L’objectif est de diminuer de manière drastique le coût des télécommunications dans la région. Nous avons élaboré un protocole d’accord qui doit être signé entre les pays. Celui-ci contient plusieurs conditions auxquelles ils devront se plier pour créer un environnement propice au développement économique», explique un responsable du dossier à la COI.

Ce projet, qui sera bâti sur le modèle de partenariat privé-public, pourrait coûter environ Rs 8 milliards. «Avec des télécommunications bon marché et de qualité, les opportunités créées sont énormes», précise-t-on à la COI. Aucune date pour la mise en opération de ce câble sous-marin n’a été fixée pour l’heure.

[source: L’express  - copied as it is with typos! ;) ]


Eassy

Eassy

Let’s start off with the Eassy, which has been stalled so much that is should be renamed Slowy! Remember, it was supposed to be here by now, but the latest deadline is now mid-2010 (in time for the 2010 WC). Construction has already started, so everything’s right on track.

southern_region

Btw, the Eassy website has just been revamped into a much better one with some more info about the project. Although, I guess seeing the above diagram, they have yet to update it to include a connection to Mauritius. Do check out the website: - http://www.eassy.org/


SEACOM

Seacom

That’s the only project that is in-schedule & at the rate the cables are being laid, SEACOM will attain its target of being fully operational by 1st June 2009.

mapAfricaBig

Except, there’s one big thing that even l’Express failed to notice before jumping on the story… The fact is that SEACOM IS NOT being connected to Mauritius! Mauritius was never included in the plans! Why the hell does the SEACOM website has a Mauritian domain then?!?! - seacom.mu

diagMadag

I don’t know where were the big just-married deciders when the SEACOM project was still in the blue-print? Didn’t they know that Madagascar was being connected as well? :@


LION’s meow

carte_lion

& that’s where LION comes in… LION is a cable, financed by evil Orange, that will connect Madagascar to Mauritius & Reunion Island! Or just plainly, steal the bandwidth from the SAFE cable to give some much-needed ADSL connections to Madagascar. That’s where Mauritius should seize the opportunity to negotiate connection to SEACOM using LION! (But perhaps I’m being too optimistic here…)
More on LION: Orange Mad – orange.mg


UHURUNET

MissingLinkAFR35399

Uhurunet will be an all-Africa submarine fibre-optic network with terrestrial segment called Umojanet. The Kigali Protocol, a policy & regulatory framework for ICT broadband infrastructure under the NEPAD was signed by 12 countries, including Mauritius. You can find more info about NEPAD’s Uhurunet here, but the main thing is that Uhurunet is one of the biggest fibre-optic projects ever! While the NEPAD have predicted the implementation before the start of the World Cup, it would very difficult to connect each & every country & island within Africa. Ambitious, but certainly not rubbish. Mauritius may not gain that much international bandwidth, but it will definitely get some better African links. (Tip: African file-hosting will be great venture – how about Slowshare.mu!)
Btw that’s the original version of the pic from World Bank which highlights the fibre-starved regions of Africa.


SEGANET

COI

Seganet is a project pioneered by IOC to inter-connect all Indian Ocean islands - Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and Mayotte (French regions) and Seychelles. Think of it as Indian Ocean LAN! But if there’s to be SAFE-sharing on Seganet, why not that of SEACOM as well. Seganet sounds promising, but for the time being it’s just at the decision-making stage. No one has given the go-ahead for that project. [More info]

Conclusion
Apart from Eassy, none of the above fibre-optic cable will provide significant speed boosts to our snail connections. Hoperfully, when Eassy will debut, everyone will be able to make the jump to ADSL2+…. like we did with SAFE to ADSL. So it must have been pretty disappointing for everyone who thought Mauritius was getting 5 new fibre-optic connections! Congratulate l’Express for making a mountain out of a mole hill…

P.S. Today’s 9/11.

Candle-Light_remembering_911


Update: L'Express late as usual on the FUP - Geekscribes: Orange’s Capping Policy hit L’Express Newspaper

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