50 posts • joined Friday 28th December 2007 13:00 GMT
@ Greg Fleming
The entire point of disabling autorun, as with most of the conventions you mention for coding, is to avoid potential pitfalls for those who aren't aware of them - ie if you really want to ignore it you can do, but you should only do so if you properly understand the issue. Given that MS have (probably unintentionally) made it harder to effectively disable autorun than it necessarily has to be, at least from the view of Joe Not-Particularly-Technical, this isn't a bad thing. I'd love to see more user education before people are given machines, but complaining about actions intended to correct existing insecure behaviour is a dumb way to try and bring it about. Unless I've missed your point completely, that is...
...especially when viewed in context of that out-of-sequence .NET 3.5 update that didn't mention anything about critical security vulnerabilities when it popped up but did silently install a plugin into firefox that couldn't be removed without making registry changes.
Does make me wonder how they expect people to take out-of-sequence critical vuln fixes seriously when they go and use them for such blatantly non-critical purposes...
"Our netbooks are for people who want a better BlackBerry, with a proper screen and keypad"
Having seen the first generation Elonex Ones, they'd struggle to be a better digital watch, never mind trying to compete with something like a BlackBerry. The OneT might be an improvement, but having seen the Elonex One after 3 months happily using a first-gen 701, I don't understand who's going to want to buy this that wouldn't prefer to drop the extra hundred quid and get a machine that's actually worth *using*.
@ David Gosnell
That sounds about right, actually - I still find my first-gen 3EPC 701 to do everything I want it to, but that's because it's not replacing an existing piece of kit for me so much as providing an alternative. It's meant that I've had decent mobile web access available that I otherwise wouldn't have had and, on one memorable occasion, allowed an entertaining overnight videoconference between Dublin and Belfast that just wouldn't have happened if I'd needed to bring my full-size 15.4" Dell with me to do it.
That doesn't mean that the mass market is really ready for these things though, and with a recession looming people will try to use the smaller ones as a substitute for a full machine rather than as a complementary device. (I'm kind of surprised none of them have shipped with a "proper" Linux distro and a Citrix-client to allow workers to connect to company-managed production servers, since that would be the kind of cloud-concept thinking you could easily sell to corporations...)
Show some compassion to Axl Rose
After all, it's been what, over a decade since the band last had a release? That's over a decade since he started spending the advance on a record that is, by now, supremely irrelevant and thus going to be a bought by considerably fewer people than he might hope. So, since album sales are clearly going to be in the crapper, suing a major soft drink manufacturer is the only way he can try to pay off the advance for the label.
Another perspective on the matter
I've long been interested in the idea behind the Long Tail, because of the possibilities it seems to offer to those who implement it. However, I have the impression that the Long Tail for retailers and the Long Tail for creators are two different things, and that may be muddying the water further.
Case in point: webcomics. There are significant numbers of artists out there making daily or several-times-weekly comics and making a living out of it. Not even close to all of them, of course, but then again not everyone who plays in a band makes their living out of it. The point as I understand it with most of the high-profile and successful webcomic crowd is that they find ways to get paid for the same thing multiple times. So the comic shows for free on the website on the day (but money comes in from ads). Then the comic is collected into a dead-tree-edition and sold. Then the original art for the strip is sold (assuming someone wants to buy it, that is). If the largest part of the work is creating the original artwork, that's 3 revenue streams for the same piece of work (over enough time to make them all viable). Not to mention the possibility of special editions of books, sketches sold at conventions, and merchandise.
This all relies on the cartoonist being able to establish the comic and find an audience, but that's a pretty universal issue for entertainers. While it may not be possible to find exact analogues for these revenue streams for musicians, I would be interested in seeing someone write up a detailed analysis, and particularly to find out whether there are singers/musicians out there working to the same model and making a living out of it.
I like how Mr. Orlowski manages to ignore the irony of complaining about people who twitter constantly about nothing very interesting...through the medium of blogging.
We get it. You don't like Web 2.0. Try finding a more interesting story to write about than "Har har har, look at those NuMeeja twats and their twittering blogotrons", and maybe you'll get more interesting comments than bandwagon-jumping twitter-haters.
(Twitter has always struck me as one of those solutions searching desperately for a problem, but I just ignore it and find that to be the best solution all around)
Copyright issue or resource management issue?
The licence fee is always an awkward one. I'm in favour of it in principle - it's not that expensive and it funds some great programming (especially if you compare it to the programming the Irish system funds for a not dissimilar amount of money per household per annum). Thus enforcing it is something I'm also in favour of.
However, I do wish that the paying public had more say in what the money gets spent on. I'm not talking about the Paxman-style criticism of some of BBC Three's lineup for example (although God knows that he had a point when he questioned the merits of programmes like "My Man-Boobs And Me"), but more on cash wasted on twits like Jonathan Ross. I don't have any objection to paying for a licence, but it's irksome to see so much of the money it raises spent on some waste of space. At least with the likes of the Mighty Boosh the budgets are small and they can recoup cash via DVD sales...
@ What about the crazies?
What about them? Yes, they're a scary bunch at times but acting like this to pre-emptively avoid upsetting them is basically saying "Yes, your conduct is valid and acceptable", whereas in reality it's anything but. Trying to placate the crazies leads to nobody doing or saying anything for fear that it'll upset someone. Although at least the kids'll be safe then, eh?
So, having pioneered the netbook market and then failed to capitalise on it properly by releasing too many versions of what amounts to the same thing...they're now trying to put it in a shinier case and sell it to the Mac fans?
I love my eee701, but I'm really starting to wonder whether the folks at Asus actually understand why netbooks became popular in the first place....
TFL have of course leapt into action
and upgraded the Oyster card system....wait, what's that? They did nothing and hoped the problem would go away?
You're having a laugh, surely?
So Sega are going to release a new handheld console, despite having been out of the hardware market for the last two generations of consoles? The same Sega that basically admitted their hardware business died on its ass because they tried to over-saturate the console market with too many options, and then failed to properly support and promote the one console they'd come up with in years that people actually wanted to buy?
It's got less chance of beating the PSP than the Pandora, I'd say...
Google may well have found the answers for me, but do you really think I want to search for information on how to make an explosive agent out of Tang and hydrogen peroxide while at work?
Chances are, carrying out that search would answer my question while also potentially leading to pages/discussions I don't really want to be associated with. Whereas the author posting the explosive agent that he postulates is at the core of the plan, and possibly the active ingredient in Tang that will allow its manufacture from hydrogen peroxide, would mean I could research the chemistry angle at my leisure from academic sources that are less likely to cause me grief.
Now, all that aside, the hexamethylne triperoxide diamine you mention is, as I understood from the article, used in the detonator rather than as the main explosive agent. Are we talking about a bomb that's all detonator here, or a bomb where the detonator sets off a larger explosive charge? I'd like to understand what's being postulated here so that I can make my own mind up, assisted with further research if necessary, rather than just being expected to take someone else's opinion at face value about whether the threat is real and whatnot.
Hang on a sec
I may have misunderstood, but it appears that part of this article's argument is that the accused had planned to use a completely different set of reagents to those which had previously been debunked as possible implements of terror, and that this differing set of reagents would in fact work, thus justifying the whole liquids ban.
However, the author has not specified what the explosive agent would be (other than to refer to it as a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and Tang). There's a reasonable amount of detail about how the detonator would be assembled, but nothing to explain what it's going to detonate. Without telling us what the chemical basis of the explosive agent is, we can only take the author's word as to whether an explosive agent can be made with those ingredients. Which isn't a very good starting point for an article discussing the relative merits of controvertial (albeit relatively minor) travel restrictions...
How frigging small would your hands want to be?!
That's pointlessly small - at that form factor a standard QWERTY layout's going to be no use. I get the appeal of small laptops, but this is reminiscent of the "small mobile phone" thing where you got tiny devices which couldn't be used by anyone with hands bigger than an 8 year old. Not to mention that they've rammed in enough hardware to run Vista. Exactly what Vista functions are so indispensable that you need them in a netbook, I ask?
@ Adam Foxton
If all your files are so important, you probably wouldn't have a problem with using a paid-for backup service rather than whingeing about how what you used to have for free isn't free anymore because *gasp* it turns out that providing resources costs money.
I'm not going to claim that BT are wonderful or anything, because they're not. But there's a retarded mentality that gets encouraged every time a new free service launches where people assume that every service, no matter what it is, can and should be free.
In the context of this, the article states that the free access cuts off after the 30th of October. Which is about 10 weeks time by my reckoning. Now if someone manages to completely ignore their irreplaceable data storage service and doesn't have other copies elsewhere for 10 weeks, to my mind they forfeit any right to whinge about it. Especially when it's a free service we're talking about.
So cloning dogs creates "unnatural spawn of Satan" but using electronic equipment to post on interweb pages doesn't? Good to know, I'd be up to my eyes in cackling, trident-waving puppies otherwise...
I think the "check" card is in relation to the Yanks calling "current accounts" "checking accounts", rather than the usual linguistic incompetence.
It's still funny to see someone defend a corporation so rabidly...
Re: the "convicted felon" - I agree completely. If he was convicted, served his time, and openly admitted to it when applying for the job, where's the problem? I didn't think El Reg subscribed to the Daily Mail's "once a criminal always a criminal" policy...
Pricing info from the horse's mouth
Folks buying the One or One+ were given the chance to upgrade to the OneT (but not the OneT+, I don't think) for £50, but their stated retail price is supposed to be something like £200-220, afaik. (I'm going on memory here, She Who Must Be Obeyed was finally invited to put her full order for a One+ through yesterday morning and mentioned the upgrade offer).
Aw, isn't that nice?
Because we all know how, when a case comes to court, the verdict is dependent on what the legislator *wanted* rather than what they actually put down as law.
Re: "I don't think that privacy is the issue"
Ah, but it *is* the issue. There is a fundamental difference between an individual taking pictures for personal use (whatever that might be), and a representative of a company taking pictures AND PUBLISHING THEM for commercial use.
The publication and the purpose of use is where privacy becomes a fundamental aspect of this issue.
Aren't they *already* falling foul of the law?
Given that StreetView counts as publication, shouldn't they be requesting consent before making the pictures live? (Which would entail the kind of bureaucratic nightmare that would make them rethink the point of the entire thing, which I have yet to have explained to me in a way that doesn't have me responding "What a fucking waste of time").
On a more serious note, those who think that this isn't important should bear in mind that allowing people to take and publish your image without first requesting consent could have serious implications, not least when it comes to the right to retain control over how (and where) your likeness is used.
Re: Oxford v Cambridge rivalry
Hmmm, evidently I'm missing out on the entertainment here. There again, I find that "tongue-in-cheek" is often slang for "not actually funny" so maybe that's it...
Curious to see it compared to the English/French and English/German rivalry; as an Irish citizen, quite a lot (though by no means all) of proponents of the "Ah, mocking the French is all just a bit of fun" theory take extreme exception when the tables are turned by the Irish presenting the "800 years of oppression, you bastards!" variant.
Not so much a pinch of salt as a pillar required here, I think...
I'd take this more seriously if it wasn't an american psychiatrist saying this. In a country where taking anti-anxiety medication, anti-depressants or even anti-ADD medication is considered the norm, are we really surprised that someone's trying to resolve yet more issues through medication? (Do we know whether this psychiatrist is being bankrolled by one of the big pharmaceutical corporations, incidentally?)
Full disclosure means that being biased is allowed?
"Somehow this trumps the mere facts of Cambridge students and profs being brainier and doing better, both at research and outside the garden of academe in real life."
If you click on the link in your own article, you'll see that Cambridge came behind Oxford for the student/staff ratio, the degree completion rate and the good honours ratings. Which speaks against the notion of "doing better", at least to me.
But then again, as with most education related league tables, the tendency is to look at the placing on the table rather than the actual performance metrics. I expected more, frankly.
(And on a related note, speaking as an Oxford graduate, am I alone in wanting the pathetic fuelled-by-wankers rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge to just die out?)
Well done on missing the point, mate
If a court's teams for defence AND prosecution have agreed that this is the most likely explanation, why then are you persisting with the "accusation = guilt" mentality? In the relevant legal system, the onus is on the accuser to provide the burden of proof. They have not done so. End of story. Keep your fearmongering "ZOMG THE PAEDOS ARE INVADING!" crap for the likes of the Daily Mail.
HAH! Whatever next?
It's always funny when a commercial broadcaster complains that public service broadcasters are being anti-competitive. Presumably by offering anything for free the "anti-competitiveness" involved is the requirement on the commercial broadcaster to prove that their non-free offering provides value for money.
Fuck 'em, frankly, with something big and pointy, if they think that they're entitled to make money without having to offer the consumer something in return.
Missing the point somewhat?
How, exactly, are they hoping to dupe people into going along with this gadget-restricting tech? Effectively this is the same mindset as DRM, and I imagine it will die in the same way - if it requires everyone to opt into it, all you need is one person not doing so and the system falls over. And lets face it, no manufacturer wants to be part of the group that lost millions of sales by opting to be part of the "restrict your device's freedom" group.
(Aside from which, the assumption that stopping new tech from doing things = stopping people from doing things is misguided at best; if people want to break those rules they'll find a way of doing it...)
Oh, give over
"Also shouldn't it be that you can say what you want "without" fear? In otherwords, it protect you from the other party and you can/should do it with your real name."
Pull the other one, it's got bloody bells on. We're talking about the US here, a nation that claims on the one hand to protect freedom of speech while on the other allowing corporations to fire people based on what they do in their own time. When the day comes that someone can genuinely voice opinions critical of the government without fear of reprisal, then you can expect people to put their names to such comments. Until then, well...I suspect anonymous posting of one form or another will continue.
On another note, regarding the defamation aspects of creating a fake account on a social networking site - these are privately owned websites. Having a fake Myspace account is not in any way shape or form comparable to having a fake identity card, passport, or other official document. It's surely more a reflection on the stupidity of the people using these sites than anything else if they assume that only the "real" George Bush could set up an account called "George Bush". They're usernames, not real names, and frankly I fear a world where Myspace et all are taken seriously enough that you can only have an account in your own name on them.
Accenture says so? Right, must be true then.
Isn't it convenient how a survey carried out by Accenture (who probably shouldn't be trusted to be able to correctly crap in a toilet without help aiming) suggests that most of the money "lost" by companies providing returns on faulty goods is down to those pesky consumers rather than, say, poorly engineered products, rubbish software or interface design, crap documentation, or misleading advertising...
Do they define what their criteria for "gadgets" are? Can't see a EEEPC being considered on a par with a Macbook Air in terms of expectations and perceived value for money, to be honest...
It's good to see they've got their priorities right when it comes to security
Your bags may not arrive on the right continent or even at all, but they've halted the growing menace of 2-dimensional fictional robots committing acts of terrorism by, er, being depicted on t-shirts.
If this is the kind of guidance provided to their security staff overall, then it's little wonder they made such a spectacular balls of the opening of the new terminal...
Yeah, because an alpha-stage OS is a better idea than using WINE on a more stable version of Linux....
Nice idea, but not quite unique...
As the happy owner of a EEE 701, I like the idea of an equivalent approach to desktop computing, but it looks like the Linutop crowd got there first (I'd never heard of them, but a mate working for Blackwater in Ireland says they've started rolling them out in at least one office...)
Hah! Observe the lack of surprise in the general population...
It's not about "protecting people" (because if it was, govt. would consider some form of dutch-style legalisation process), it's about criminalising people who don't go opt to use the legal, highly-taxable yet more damaging "allowed" recreational narcotics.
Even in the Talk To Frank campaigns, there's no mention of whether those who suffer schizophrenic episodes as a result of cannabis usage would be likely to suffer similar episodes as a result of alcohol abuse. (But we can't go pointing out that the legal, taxable stuff causes problems, that would be facts determining policy rather than policy determining which facts to pay attention to...)
How to keep XP?
Well....you can go along with the MS plan to "force" you to upgrade to Vista, or you can wait until you have a positive and compelling reason to move up (eg wanting DX10 gaming, or something like that).
Until then, you can consider one or more of the the following options:
Google-search "activation files" to find out how to back up the activation files from an existing Windows install - meaning that if you reinstall XP on the same box, you don't need to reactivate if you don't want to;
Download SP3 for offline installation, then use something like nLite to create your own slipstreamed XP SP3 installation media;
Get a copy of XP Corporate;
Use the likes of Norton Ghost or DriveImageXML (the latter being free) to create images of your existing hard disk, preferably directly after completing a new installation & configuration of XP, so that should disaster strike you can just swap in a new disk and re-image it, rather than having to start from scratch.
Cheap rubbish is still rubbish
HAH! It's not price cuts that are needed to drive user uptake, it's a non-crappy system. I have to support a couple of Vista Business machines at work and have a partition with it installed at home and it seems to be ok (still clunky, bloated and crap compared to XP SP2 though).
IF SP1 improves performance and reliability, people might move to it. I doubt that'll happen though...
I really can't see this sort of thing being used in the suggested "3 strikes" system at all. Either as a way of flagging up people looking at/for torrent sites, or as a way of identifying people who might be up to no good (based on a variation of the old security principle of "if you don't sign up to have your colon probed by a bulldozer, you're obviously hiding something up there!").
It's nice when your broadband supplier tells you about this sort of rubbish before going ahead with it....
That idea seems vaguely familiar...
...It sounds like the idea behind the BugLabs modular thingamabob:
Only with a product that you can actually sell - "phone with optional expansions will be easier to sell" than "generic gadget that doesn't exactly do anything until you add bits on and configure it", especially if they want to expand its appeal beyond the gadgetfreak market...
Excellent thinking folks
I love the "against" attitude expressed here:
eBay tries to force high-volume sellers to provide information normal RealWorld 2.0 businessses are required to provide
world+dog complains that this makes them vulnerable as they are running a business out of their home
Here's a tip - if you're running a business out of your home, and have goods of enough worth to make you fear burglary more than the average Terrified Citizen, *invest in home security*. Other businesses have to do this; why should you be exempt from displaying an address and thus being "vulnerable" just because you don't have a high street shop?
(Given the lack of concrete information on what the cut-off point is, I'm inclined against believing that Granny Goodness who sells two embroidered doilies a year via eBay will end up assaulted and burgled because of the nasty new policy, but that's just me and my cynical ways...)
@ David Wiernicki
Yes, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday 13th & Halloween are by no means masterpieces, certainly not when regarded as franchises. But the 1st parts of all 3 franchises did interesting things within the constraints of the genre they defined:
Nightmare On Elm Street introduced a surreal approach to horror that was mostly lacking from mainstream american films
Friday 13th had a solid storyline in and of itself which was then butchered to allow the creation of a franchise
Both followed the lead of Halloween in having killers who embody an essentially puritanical code of ethics regarding the behaviour of their victims, as well as appealing to the then-current fear of the middle classes that they were under threat from those scary scary lower-class people...
So yes, by no means excellent films. However they're still a step above the effects-laden rubbish that Michael Bay seems to think cinema should be; we're talking about a man who thinks that without a core love story, films can't be interesting, after all...
Oh, for the love of...
South Park got it exactly right recently regarding Michael Bay - he doesn't know the difference between a storyline and a special effect.
That being said, does the world really need more Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees & Michael Myers films? If they'd given the franchise over to someone who could do something interesting with it, then maybe, but after the hatchet job that was Rob Zombie's Halloween remake, it's not looking good.
Never mind all this rubbish, I want to know what happened with Don Coscarelli's proposed higher-budget remake of the Phantasm series as a trilogy bankrolled by New Line (possibly the only '80s horror series to actually have a consistent storyline across all the episodes). Not sure who they'll get to replace Angus Scrimm as the Tall Man though...
Interesting to a certain extent
An interesting read, and it's certainly good to see that someone involved on the record companies' side is aware that they have to provide an incentive to consumers in order to get them buying again, but I can't help feeling that he's either inadvertently or deliberately avoiding 2 particular ideas:
1) It's the larger record labels that have created the scenario of 12-track album with full price tag, of which only 2-4 tracks are actually worth a damn. Music may be more popular than ever now, but the majority of music out there is cruddy filler material, at least when it comes to the more famous/succesful artists. The easiest way of addressing this is to remove the pressure on the artist to release an entire album, and shift away to releasing individual tracks as and when they are ready for release. There's something to be said for the notion of an album as a complete package, but there's also something to be said for a consistent quality level. What alternative systems to the "get artist on contract, lock them in a room until they've got an album, release album and hope it does well" method are they considering or trialling? Or is this just another example of looking for a bigger stick with which to beat people back into the habit of paying for a full album when half of it isn't worth listening to?*
2) For all the talk of "Value for money", there's remarkably little talk of adjusting the existing mechanism for distribution of money when shifting from physical product to digital product. If people feel that an album priced at £15 is too expensive and they only want 5 tracks, why should they still be paying £5 for those 5 tracks when they don't get a physical copy or any of the stuff that allegedly contributes to the £15 cost of the album in the physical world?
3) How is the music industry going to adapt to the shift away from physical media, given that there have been several instances of shifting from old to new media which allow them to artificially boost sales by re-releasing their old back catalogues in the new formats? Presumably this is why they're so terrified of DRM-less digital music sales with implicitly perpetual licensing schemes, but they're going to have to address this sooner or later....
* Personally, I'd like to see something like a subscription-based channel mechanism. You pay your x per month, you get a new track every 1-2 days with a perpetual ownership license attached, and the incentive is that the artists involved in this channel are being commissioned to create individual tracks. Sort of like a singles club, really. You could even have a tiered mechanism - lower tier gives you a time-limited version via stream or something, higher tier gives you the perpetually-licensed downloads. With an option if you're on the lower tier to upgrade individual tracks to the perpetual license.
@ Abdul Omar
Apparently you *can* run Vista on a EEE, though why you'd want to do that is beyond me....
Re: No DVD Drive?
Well yes, but as of the release of Leopard, a DVD drive is an OS requirement for Apple machines. What happens when 10.6 hits? Oh, that's right, you get to use Remote Disc and piggy-back on someone else's optical drive (assuming you've got another Mac in the house), or you get to fork out $99 for the external drive...
There are other issues, such as that highlighted by the recent Apple iTunes shift - what about region-specific pricing? Why is the same content worth more on a disc formatted for EU-standard DVD players than on a disc formatted for US players?
What about content that is not available in the country of residence at the time? (I'm thinking films here, but you get the idea). If there is *no* way for me to legally view or purchase, say, Season 2 of Heroes in the UK....where's the lost sale caused by me downloading it? It's not as simple as saying "Ah, but once you've downloaded it you'll obviously never pay for it".
Besides which, there is an abject failure of the Government to address the kind of cultural shift consumers as a whole want from media providers. The whole DRM fiasco has shown that the attempted business model of stopping you ripping a CD of music you've paid for, and then trying to get you to buy the same music again as a set of mp3s or whatever, is not acceptable. The cultural perception of art is "if you've paid for it, you should be allowed to view/listen/read it as you see fit". This does not have to involve any violation of copyright; in fact, you'd think that an industry that keeps its profit margins healthy by regularly devising new formats in which to re-sell the same product would be in a good position to devise a cross-platform standard that allowed consumers the portability of product they desire...well, until you re-read that bit about keeping profit margins healthy, anyway.
(On a separate note, it's heartening at least to see that we're not quite as screwed as the Americans with their constant re-extension of copyright...personally, I'd quite like to see the kind of cultural shift that rewards artists come into place, but only if artists also realise that they don't get to retroactively raise the price thirty years after the fact...)
@ Kenny: "Just because nothing 'physical' was taken doesn't mean it is not theft. It is. You got something for free which was not yours to take, so that makes it theft."
No, it makes it a breach of copyright. The act of theft as it is legally defined requires the original owner to be deprived of something that they originally possessed, in order for an act to constitute theft.
Thus, in the chain of events you've described there is never a point wherein theft specifically is committed. The illegal component is breaching the broadcast permissions provided with the CD/DVD/whatever by making it available for anyone to download. You'll notice the punitive damages demanded by the RIAA and MPAA involve stupidly high amounts of money per-song if you view the damages as purely related to downloading the songs. The act of downloading a track itself is not illegal, because the law does not yet require private citizens to verify licences on the media they purchase - the illegal act is the redistribution of the media being downloaded, which is inherent in most P2P clients out there.
It's still not theft though - downloading a copy of an album you haven't paid for does not *take away* the cost of buying that album in a shop from the record label, because you'd never paid for it in the first place. It could only be theft if you handed over the money, grabbed the music, then grabbed your music back and did a legger.
This may appear to be semantics to you, but it's an important distinction in how the law is formulated. Shouting "Piracy is theft" over some allegedly trendy video is not an intelligent way of trying to get the issue addressed, it's a knee-jerk reaction of an industry which has quite a lot of people in it who suddenly see their jobs disappearing as digital distribution threatens to render their jobs obsolete.
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