2343 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
The report sounds as confused as the existing IT
> tech it believes the police should be using but isn't – such as mobile apps, social media and the cloud. ... national rollout of 41,000 devices between 2008 and 2011 sucked up £71m while achieving very little.
So which is it? The Met should spend a ton of hard-paid community charge and taxes on tens of thousands of hand-held devices, or not do it because they've been shown to be ineffective?
It does appear that there's a total leadership vacuum at the top of the Met, so far as IT is concerned. No ordinary business could ever justify having 70% of it's (obsolete) IT kit as redundant. Assuming their meaning of "redundant" is the same as everybody else's and this isn't just a political football being kicked resolutely towards one's own goal.
As with a lot of these things, the blame lies firmly with the top echelons. The IT management for not spending their budget wisely, and the Met's top brass for keeping them on and allowing this situation to arise. Maybe the time has come to outsource the whole mess to a foreign call centre. Then they'll really learn a thing or two about "having to re-enter the same information in ten different systems"
Re: Not so much
> UPSs? That's why we've got laptops!
But UPSs are for so much more than computers!
They also run LCD/LED TVs, Sky boxes, lights, WiFi+routers and most other things that don't have switch-on surges or excessive power requirements. Plus, they generally have spike/surge protection, so they keep your precious gear safe from the nasties that can happen when the power does come back, or only fails for a second or two.
Not so much
> a freelance technology tart
Any self-respecting technology tart would have UPSs to handle all this (though admittedly not on the cooker or uWave).
Re: Please stop with the "Growing plants" thing
> Last lot who argued with him got turned into a pillar of salt
Actually it was Lot's wife who got turned into a pillar of salt. But in Deuteronomy and other books, people got stoned.
So basically the guy paid $500 to be introduced to a large number of potential clients and given 8 months to cultivate the contacts and relationships he'll need when he gets released, to distribute his crop and grow the business.
And the judge who gave him this opportunity said he wasn't smart.
Honking your horn
> If you don’t toot your own horn, who is going to do it for you
And there we have it! The secret to success: not just in IT, but in any career in any country, for anyone of any gender.
If you want a pay rise, you have to ask for it. If you want a promotion you need to go out and GET IT. Sitting at your desk waiting for muggin's turn to finally favour you gets you nowhere. However, grabbing the bull by the balls is a trait that is more often seen in a certain type of (usually, but not exclusively) man - generally the ones who make a lot of noise, attract (management) attention, are a pain on the arse around the office and let people know (loudly and often) about their successes. If you think that demurely saying "yes, maybe I would be willing to take on a little more responsibility" or "I do think I've grown into the job" at your annual appraisal is all it takes, think again - everyone. It may not appear "seemly" or "feminine" but - if you don't ask, you don't get.
You need to take the initiative (and not as an ex-subordinate did when I gave him his review: [Me] "You don't use your initiative" [Him] "you never asked me to") and be one step ahead. Tell you boss that you think "X" is going to be an opportunity and you'd like to try making it work - don't wait for the honour to be bestowed on someone else.
I have to say that this seems to me, in large lart at least, to explain why women so often get paid less than men and/or don't rise so fast and so high. Simply because they don't ask for pay rises or promotions; they take what is offered. Similarly when applying for a new job, the tendency is to not rock the boat and accept the salary being offered, rather than haggling for an extra grand or two.
So get that horn and start honkin'
If you want some serious LED flashing, have a look at the WS2812 based RGB LED strips.
Like this product, they are controllable from a serial bus and can be got either as strips up to 4m long (at 60 LEDs per metre, each one RGB with a built in controller chip) or the more interesting-looking 16x16 squares.
Though given the Amperage these could suck, you'll need a much better power supply to drive them.
I'm up here
It doesn't sound as if this will stop (presumably bottle-fed as babies) adolescents from staring at the cleavage of women they are skyping with. It just means the other parties won't see it.
Online Power of Attorney
> allows someone to log on and nominate someone to make decisions on their behalf.
Presumably most people where phoning in to ask why the gummint was wasting so much money, when simply giving the "someone" your password would achieve the same result.
Add another one to the pile
I'm sure I've heard this rhetoric, wrapped around different "developments" every few year for the last few decades.
Whether it was said about high-level languages, application generators, 3G and 4G languages, Object-Orientated, Agile, Multi-threading or whatever fad is getting taught in tertiary education these days.
The point is, that adding more layers just hides the underlying stuff. It's still there: in all it's flawed implementations, assumptions and incompatibilities.
Programming is hard. Mainly because people who do it don't have complete familiarity with the tools they are using, place showing off their intelligence above writing clear code, only have a vague idea of what the final goal should look like, haven't been given the time to do a proper job of keep getting new and conflicting changes added to whatever specifications they started with. None of these problems is helped by having a new programming fashion, toolset or language foisted on them every few year (or university generation: the time between a new intake and them graduating).
Simply coming up with a new set of buzzwords and more hoopla won't fix the underlying difficulties. It certainly won't help inexperienced and time-pressured programmers make better applications.
Programs and programmes
The same inability to spot the turkey in the BBC's IT is also apparent in it's broadcast choices.
It takes a brave (or foolhardy, or someone on the verge of retirement) to casually mention that the database has no clothes, or that the new production starring every luvvie under the sun is a total stinker.
Even when they do: whether as a TV critic, programmer who's unable to control the laughter (having seen the design docuemt) - or the tears, or simply an interested outsider who has seen a few disasters (both televisual and computerised) - nobody at a decision making level is prepared to listen.
It's this arrogance within the Beeb that is the basic problem, compounded by the BBC Trust being either purposely toothless, professionally indolent or far too close to the "establishment" (and probably all three) to crack the whip.
What the corporation needs is both transparentcy and a root and branch purge. Decisions should have named individuals identified (no more committee decisions and meetings - which is the usual way of muddying the water so it becomes impossible to discren who decided what) as being responsible and those decisions should be out in the open were we; their employers can scrutinise them.
Flocking to join
> Google thinks Helpouts could be handy for “teachers, counselors, doctors, home repair experts, personal trainers, hobby enthusiasts and more.”
So if the "more" does refer to all the sex workers who will be the first to populate an online service where money changes hands, that might be just what Google+ needs to kick it into high gear.
I bet Youtube wish they'd thought of that!
Daytime use only?
> it can record any crimes that do take place
So long as the baddie in question is obliging enough to turn on the lights in the room and not just shine a torch around.
(Plus, isn't a movement activated wifi camera a perv's dream come true?)
> prison officials confiscated 7,000 phones and SIM cards from prisoners
What's so hard about installing electronic jamming equipment to make whatever phones do find their way in, useless?
We know from the prevalence of drugs in chokey that it's impossible to stop people (whether vistors, guards or other workers) from bringing in illicit goods, or even tossing them over the walls. So surely a better solution - assuming the authorities want one that works, rather than one which merely placates the whiners - would be to remove the service that the phones rely on.
A tech woman's worst enemy? Other women.
> Mayer does not look so much passive as she does rigid and brittle,... and a set of straps on her Yves Saint Laurent stiletto shoes
IT is a creative industry. As such people within it will judge their peers (and betters) by their achievements and what they have produced. That's what wins respect.
However as soon as an IT woman gets publicity, it seems that all that the women columnists care about are her looks. her colour scheme and what she's wearing. Whether it's Mayer, Whitman or Rometty (HP and IBM) there are more column inches written about their clothes than about their skills.
So Google has finally achieved sentience.
I guess we all just sit back and wait for it to take over the wor !*(£^&"~~
One man's survey is another man's flaw
> offering participants a link to an online survey
It sounds like the results were only drawn from the self-selected participants who then chose to fill in the survey. What about the moods of those who didn't? (and doesn't getting continuously harangued to fill in surveys tend to be depressing, too?)
Although this was only about FB - presumably to grab the attention of FB users and those in the media, I would hazard a guess that the same effect - if there actually is one - would be seen with all social media and forums.
Though you do have to ask: why would people continue to do something they didn't have to, if it made them unhappy?
Re: It's all gone a bit Princess Di
> does taking a lot of other products and combining the features in an easy to use way count as invention?
If done right, it's a lot more useful than mere invention. The key thing is not necessarily to invent new things but to find new ways of using and combining existing stuff. Jobs' genius was to get to the essence of a device and combine that with a clear vision for the design and how it would be used. He (or rather, the team he built) was able to clear a lot of the clutter from existing "stuff" and make products that just worked.
Sure, there was / is the evil side to Apple: patents, restrictions on use and interoperability. However that doesn't take away SJ's biggest contribution which gave us a better quality and higher expectations.
Oh, and from a horticultural point of view, doesn't Peak Apple occur just before it falls off the tree?
> We must protect the children from culture!
Well, you might want to "protect" then from Titus Andronicus. Death, rape, killing the rape victim for being raped, cooking and eating one of the character's children and most of the cast meet a gory and violent end.
"Culture", like the maturity of people (not just children) covers a very, very wide spectrum. And what is fit and proper for one individual may be completely unacceptable to another (whether older or younger).
Skip the middle man
> Otherwise the freetards will just prove all the networks were right
And if it does work, the logical question that the programme makers will start to ask is: who needs cable TV at all?
Re: I must be getting old
> I am still gobsmacked that it was never aired in the UK
To be fair, the trailers (from what I recall) were of some middle aged guy running around in his underpants. Even if the programme was better than that, it was a big turn off chez moi, hence never made it onto the list of "must see's"
Re: Signal to noise
> Dave, the ooo-arr-35 inside the combine blades is about to fail, I suggest you pop down and take a look
Gives a whole new meaning to getting
bailed baled out
Signal to noise
The primary characteristic of big data is that for any particular problem you wish to apply to it, the proportion of interesting information compared to the amount of garbage you have to sift through is very, very small. With old-fashioned databases, designed when storage was expensive, the intended use was to focus on a small number of very well defined questions: where does account number 8892784237 live? How many months in arrears are they? What was their latest purchase?
While we're getting better at storing big data, which just increases the volume of stuff we collect, we're still in the infancy of extracting relevant, accurate and causally-linked intelligence from it (just ask the NSA or GCHQ). Sure, you can use it to foretell failures, a la HAL in 2001 - so long as your computer doesn't have an agenda of its own - but the number of false positives is very high. There is also the danger with BD of treating everyone as if they were Mr. or Mrs. Average and not designing enough flexibility into its reporting to allow for the possibility that maybe some people are different, or purposely give odd answers.
So while BD probably has some advantages in industrial processes, can feed back failure modes to manufacturers to design-out faults from products - it also leads to an increasing homogenisation when applied to people. Until we can advance the data selection processes to match the data collection abilities there will always be the wrong attributes applied to the wrong people, just because we accidentally triggered something while buying granny's incontinence pants on Amazon.
They *all* sound like ideal candidates
> go to Mars and never, ever come back
The sorts of people who are willing to demean themselves on reality TV are just the sort of individuals this planet would be better off without. Either we could start a global lottery to fund sending them all, or we could persuade them to sell all their assets (since they wouldn't need them on Mars) to pay for the trip themselves.
I'm sure D.A. would approve if we called their spaceship the B Ark.
It was never about tax
All this talk about paying "fair" tax is merely a sop to the sound-bite addicted millions of people in the country who can't do sums.
Even if all the companies involved in "scams" coughed at the same level that the average wage-earner does, it would still make bugger all difference to the government's expenditure plans. Raising a few billion, or a few tens of billions by grabbing these companies nuts and squeezing "until the pips squeak" is a drop in the pot compared to the half a TRILLION or more of revenue the government rakes in - and duly spends again - every year.
Sure, an extra bil or two would allow someone to employ another 50,000 nurses, or policemen or paperclip benders(!), but unless that can be shown to have a tangible effect on anything except the paperclips it would not benefit the country as a whole. Specifically: would it do more good than the damage caused by having a bunch of multinationals pulling out and causing probably the same number of redundancies, as they leave the UK and go elsewhere?
It does however, make an exceedingly good headline (provided the readers don't immediately go: Hmmm, and reach for their calculators - which, lets face it, the sorts of rabble who are so easily roused are hardly likely to do). And that's really all it was intended to do.
Admission of failure
Outsourcing a part of your business is admitting that someone else can do it cheaper, if not better than you can. Although that's what successful businesses do: focus on their strengths and buy in goods and services from outside (after all, no business makes everything it owns or uses - that would be silly), the question that needs to be asked is whether IT is a core part of your business or simply a necessary evil.
Given how much all modern businesses rely on their IT to survive it seems short-sighted to hand over total day-to-day control of it to the lowest bidder.
More stations than listeners?
> a Raspberry Pi could have filled that role
'cept that the RPi doesn't have an audio input - hence the need to generate the stream elsewhere and pipe it in using IP.
But really? DAB - does anyone care?
> What was consistently different was flavour
Which is exactly why we invented hot chilli sauce (and beer). Enough of either of those and you really won't care whether it tastes like meat. As many a burger van owner will attest.
What we need is a confusion filter
Jimbo's right: the software won't work AND it won't deter people who choose to opt in (though it will give the government a nice list of "the usual suspects" to haul in every time someone suspects a single man might be having naughty thoughts.
However, it should also be recognised that this filter was never meant to STOP anything - except the continual whining and muttering by the "I'm against everything" brigade. Since none of them can decide what pornography actually is, they won't ever know when they've succeeded in filtering it - but I suspect the issue is more about wielding power, than making progress. Even recent articles on this site have confused nudity with pornography: not to mention the difference between skimpy clothing and wearing _no_ clothing, which seems to be another area where the tutting busybodies go into overdrive (maybe we should ban swimwear and shorts too - or ban the display of ankles and everything above, just to be "safe"?)
Before anyone starts banning, filtering and marginalising anything, the first thing that should happen is that whoever is pressuring for this added censorship should be asked: "What is it you actually want (as opposed to being against)?" Then, if they can come up with a coherent response, there may be something to base a national debate on.
Re: whats the point?
> Find the root of the problem and cure that instead of trying to cure the symptoms.
The root of the problem is that there are too many afraid americans who think that having a gun will make them safer AND too many saddo's who think that having a gun is a suitable substitute for "character", or could somehow make them into a "man".
Do ya feel lucky?
"I know what you're thinking, punk. You're thinking "did he fire
six shots or only five fourteen shots or only thirteen?" Now to tell you the truth I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being this is an unreliable piece of plastic prototype junk that cost a few dollars to make you've gotta ask yourself a question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?"
That spinning sound is Dirty Harry¹ at the prospect of having his "my that's a big one" .44 Magnum replaced by something that you'd expect to get in a box of cereal.
 Yes, I know Clint's not dead, but I doubt the character would have a very long life expectancy, given how he conducted himself
A modern day laser
In the early 1960's LASERs were touted as a solution looking for a problem. It appears that whoever came up with this
advertisement article has created a problem, or a whole set of problems to fit the solution. (And to be fair to 3D printing, maybe in 20 - 30 years it will evolve into something worth doing, too)
There are a few issues however. You don't need to buy this printer to get the tat it produces - you just need someone in the neighbourhood to sell this junk at a car boot sale. Second is that once you've produced your ration of cheap, plasticky garbage you don't need the printer any more - so off it goes to eBay, or FREEGLE if it still works. So the second hand market for these things should be quite bouyant (provided you can wait the few months for these to trickle through).
Finally, if you're producing all these things yourself, what is little Jonny going to bring home from his/her/its woodworking class? Maybe schools need to adapt and move with the times.
Re: If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.
> I wonder how long it will be before the sheeple get pissed off & demand changes
The great thing about our mass-media, always-on world is that we can be shown the "results" of terror attacks live on TV, and then over and over again. Positive reinforcement is a wonderful thing and imprints certain "facts" on the public. Like every time you see a plane fly into an office block it reinforces the view that the threat is current and as real today as it was ten or twelve years ago. After that, it's just a case of sitting back and letting public
opinion paranoia do the rest.
The worst outcome a terror attack can have (for the perpetrators) is not that it fails, it's that nobody talks about it.
Re: You don't have to turn you phone off
> these same 'stupid rules' may have been ncecessarily correct 30 years ago
Possibly (though it's more likely that a 1980's mobile phone's battery would have caught fire than the R.F. would cause interference). The problem with stupid rules that everyone ignores is that they are indistinguishable from the sensible rules that only a complete fool would ignore. So once people start ignoring the ones they consider dumb - generally judged only by the level of inconvenience the rule causes them combined with the lack of immediate tangible benefit they see) they are more likely to start ignoring the "good" rules, too.
Stupid laws have the same corrosive effect. They reduce the credibility of the law as a whole and also reduce our respect for the people who try to enforce those laws: the "the law is the law" types.
> 27 per cent said they couldn't cope without a switched-on phone and nine per cent said...
It does appear that a significant proportion of the (presumably adult) sample regard their phones as a sort of good-luck charm, or talisman - in the same way that insecure children will cling on to their favourite object / toy / blanket to comfort themselves.
I guess in the past, this role would have been fulfilled by a St. Christopher medal, prayer beads or some other quasi-religious artefact. And now those same, impressionable and insecure types just worship at the altar of Nokia, Samsung and Apple instead..
Don't drag the bag
> they are fed up with out-of-hours bag searches
... and yet they still insist on taking bags to work with them (or more significantly: trying to take them out, afterwards). Slow learners, or what?
Refreshing the parts other SBCs can't reach
> Why would potential customers be interested in x86, if they're not tied to Windows?
Well that's the key, isn't it? Say you're an OEM making annunciators for trains, or portable ATMs, or things that trundle round warehouses following lines on the floor. If your *current* products are based on WinTel technology and you want better, faster, cheaper, more reliable, more power and a board that hasn't recently gone out of production then yes: this could be for you.
If you're upgrading an existing product or giving it a mid-life boost you don't want to spend vast amounts of developer time (and time to market) redeveloping stuff, checking if drivers will still work and integrating peripherals, USB thingies and so forth. You just want to drop in a new "heart" to the machine and get it out the door.
However if you're building a mass-market product where space, power consumption and unit-price are more important and you're writing all the software from scratch anyway, then you probably wouldn't consider this board.
Re: Devil's advocate
Yes, this product is obviously not aimed at the RPi buyers and seems to be intended for the "big boy" embedded systems manufacturers (who will no doubt get some juicy discounts) who produce products for corporations, not hobbyists on a budget.
For them, the Pi is a nice starter board and other products like the BBB (also made by CircuitCo I believe), or the Olimex Linux boards (some with wifi or SATA on board) are much more capable as Linux hosts and a great deal cheaper.
Award to reward
> Other channels also commission UK-created content, but to a much lesser degree
So just award the primo slots to those broadcasters who screen the most hours of original drama, current affairs, sport, light ents and factual programming. If there really is a link between EPG pole position and audience figures, that would incentivise the content creators and reward them with larger audiences and therefore greater advertising revenue. Review every year.
Though I suspect that the "big 5" channels would stay in their current positions, more or less and everyone else would be right down at the bottom.
Going back to basics
> Google simply doesn't have the material today that drives any significant demand
And what is the single biggest driver? Yup, porn.
Maybe that's what Google needs to dip it's dongle into. If they're smart they could spin it as "look: we're taking all the porn off the internet searches and only making it available through our specialised hardware (that only 18+s can buy)"
The best part about that is that apart from satisfying all the prudes in the universe it would make all the other search engines look bad if they didn't follow suit. But without a dongle of their own, they'd be stuffed.
Hit and miss
> "Every object is original and unique,"
Is that just a polite way to say that 3D printers can't reproduce models accurately?
Failure is not an option ... it's a distinct possibility
> For example, businesses will complain about the procurement strategy that public sector body is following if they think that strategy favours their competitor
Remarkable! You'd expect people or companies who felt they were being discriminated against to just sit quietly and let it go.
I wonder if the Cabinet Office, who investigate these complaints could ever come to the conclusion that most of them (In 19 per cent of the cases investigated no serious concerns were found) - the other 81% - DO actually have merit and the fault could simply be that the officials responsible for drafting the bids are a bunch of clueless bureaucrats who have no idea about what they want, how business works or even what is technically possible.
It could also help to explain why so many government projects are so utterly flawed.
Doin' the 2-step
Step 1: you advertise a load of left-over food on a regular basis
Step 2: All the local vagrants start hanging around outside your house
Here's a thought - either BUY LESS or get a refrigerator and some tupperware to store your leftovers until you're feeling hungry again.
@Chris - The first sane post
Having read through this whole collection of comments, I weep for the future.
It does seem to me that there is so much ignorance, so much naivety, so much idealism and so much ignorant, naive idealism that the only solution would be to take the entire population of the country and force a copy of The Economist down their throats (other orifices are available) every week and hammer them home with a copy of the weekend FT.
For a few, some of the economic wisdom they publish might rub off. For the remainder: at least it would get some fibre into their diet.
So what needs to happen now if for these "victims" (sheesh!) of being "exposed" to over-aged advertising to be compared with children who haven't seen stuff they weren't supposed to (if there are as many as 24 in the whole country who fall into the category). Then we will be in a position to gauge what "damage" has occurred. However, if it turns out that these children are indistinguishable from the unsullied, there is an obvious question about the effect of adult material on the under-aged.
What the fork?
The problem with banning specific words is that there are so many near homophones that would be impractical to ban. Until anyone in power comes up with the ability to ban context rather than content schemes like this will always be flawed.
Of course, when people realise that there are many, many acceptable words and phrases ("taking the mick", being a fine example) in everyday use that have exactly the same meaning as "nastier" equivalents and that by using the sanitised versions they are committing the very offences they are so outraged about - just with different words, what will they do then? Somehow I doubt they will recognise their own hypocrisy: they'll probably just make it illegal to point out how inconsistent all these rules are.
Not their job
> Police are powerless to stop ... criminals from hacking
Although the way the police work, it's rare for them to jump in during the commission of a crime and stop it. Historically, the police have always been a force that acts after a crime: both to catch the baddies (if possible) but mostly to act as a deterrent to prevent further crimes being committed. More recently they have acted as both advice-givers to help citizens enable themselves to not become victims of crime and most recently they have been used as a salve to reduce the fear of crime - rather than crimes themselves (although recent figures suggest that crime rates are at their lowest for 30 year, for what that's worth) so it looks like something's happened.
For more "modern" crimes against companies, organisations like the Serious Fraud Office have been set up - although their success rate is amazingly low, the cost of their prosecutions is amazingly high and the time it all takes is amazingly long. It appears that we need an SFO for cyber-crime, but preferably one that is actually able to be effective: both in catching the baddies and deterring the noobies.
Although before any crime-fighters can start to take action, we need a decent set of laws and some judicial precedents setting out what is OK and what is actually a little bit naughty.
Just another thing to hang off the back of my telly
> sends is just a command that tells Chromecast to grab the content stream and render it itself, via a custom receiver application that's loaded and run on the Chromecast dongle.
So basically you use your PC, lappy, tablet or phone to find something you want to view or listen to. You then use an app on that device to send a link to the Chromecast dongle saying "here, suck on this teat". CC then tickles the source and starts to pull the stream with no further interaction from you or your "big" device.
Okaaaay, so the CC dongle is still basically just a dongle. The cleverness is in the two apps and the commercial power of Google who can persuade media companies to develop CC interfaces for their stuff.
So why can't I just have the Chromecast software on the Android TV dongle I bought last year? The app that sits on my tablet would be just the same and since there are already millions of TV dongles out there, the market has been established. It sounds like I already have all the hardware needed to implement this. The tablet/laptop app would be the same irrespective of the dongle used, so I just need a Chromecast for Android app to run on my existing dongle.
Sounds almost yawn-worthy.
A long way to go
> poking fun at the fact that a woman had created a male image.
Because men *never* create female images. Oh, wait ...
(maybe this means that all straight male porn, most advertising and pretty much every nude portrait has been completely misunderstood and is really just an ironic commentary?)
Never forget the personnel angle
> two sayings are worth keeping in mind:
There's a third. Restores are useless unless you have the staff available to apply them
All the talk about backups, restores, DR, high-availability focuses on the technical aspect and never seems to address the issue regarding people. There's little point having a full tested recovery plan, or backups that you *know* you [ well: someone ] will restore if needed, if that someone is either unavailable, indisposed, sacked or chooses not to do it (Yeah, go ahead: fire me. How will that get your system back up and running?)
Whether it's something as mundane as the staff canteen serving up a dodgy lunch that lays the whole IT staff low, a particularly good party that does the same but more pleasantly, a scheduling "hundred year wave" where all the players are simultaneously on holiday, off sick, on strike, on maternity leave and freshly redundant or any other unforeseen circumstance that means nobody answers the phone when the call goes out.
Possibly the worst of all is when no-one can remember the key to all the encrypted personal data that was backed up and can be successfully restored, but for one tiny detail.
So yes: make sure your tech is all fired up and ready to rock. But don't take for granted the person who has to make it all happen.
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