2262 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
Usual project phases
> Have I missed anything?
(presuming the Paralympics has their own spreddy of cultural thingies)
I'd suggest penciling in dates for:
mid-August: hunt for the guilty
August-October blame for the innocent
May 2013 (deadline forThe New-Years honours list) rewards for the uninvolved
The possible and the probable
I don't know if we can blame the lack of numerical literacy or the lack of credibility that "clever basterds" have, ever since Magnus Pike and Patrick Moore broke into song on The Morecambe and Wise Show. However the gap between what's possible (hint: almost anything) and what's probable (hint: very little) seems to have got lost in the mix, somewhere.
It's that lack of being able to quantify the risk in the statement that leads to a lot of the ludicrous decisions that get made these days. Yes, it's possible to get cancer from a cellphone. But is that more likely than dying from an infectious disease caught from an unsanitary handset? Unless the risks put into a meaningful context: HOW MANY people have died from cel[phone-induced cancers in the past 25 years? Am I likely to be one more? there is nothing but a little more free-floating anxiety which is probably more harmful to us, as a society, than all the one-in-a-trillian chances that make up daily life.
Personally I plan to ignore this scare story and carry on using my phone, inside it's tinfoil wrapper - though dialling numbers while wearing hazmat gloves is becoming a bit of an inconvenience.
I'd be very impressed indeed
... considering Afghanistan is land-locked. Maybe they could fly it in, in pieces?
Essentially, he wants to control it.
Standard government gnome's response to anything new: it must be regulated and brought under government control. After that, the next stage is to apply restrictions "to stop abuse" and ensure <whatever> remains safe and legal. Stage 3 is to start taxing it, ostensibly to "cover the cost of regulation" and later to limit it's use (though really, just to raise revenues).
As for "assuring the public that we are not creating a Big Brother state." just who does this guy think he's fooling?
Work harder for strangers?
So this professor is saying that the students are more motivated into being careful once they know that a bunch of complete strangers will read their work, than they are when they know their teacher will read it.
Tells you a lot about the amount of respect they have for their teachers.
Corporate OSS: somebody, somewhere pays for it
... and if the corporation that's "giving back" has customers and/or shareholders, that's who will foot the bill.
Leaving aside the loner hobbyist who hacks out code (but hardly ever documentation) in their own time and for their own reasons. They're different from industry-quality OSS contributions. However for corporately sponsored OSS there is a measurable cost: the developer costs money, the support costs money, the legal defence costs money, even the publicity and promotion costs money.
Now, I appreciate that it's customary to regard large faceless organisations, financial institutions and governments, as "them" - as if they exist in a parallel universe and receive and disburse money in a way that's completely unrelated to us and our "real-lives". However, their revenues come from somewhere and for every £ they spend, they've got to earn (at least) another £ from customers or taxpayers or investors.
And in party offices all over the country
activists, volunteers, passing members of the public and even trained monkeys are being paid out of MPs expenses and office management budgets to get their local representative to the top of the poll.
Never mind ability, vision, leadership, honesty <choke, splutter> or willingness to tow the party line. This is IMPORTANT, dammit.
> eBay wants 4G radio spectrum to be cheap
Yeah, and I'd like beer to be free, politicians to be honourable and TV to be entertaining.
top or bottom?
> bottom-quoted as the hypothetical deity intended.
See, now you're just trying to start an argument.
I do miss getting PQMFs for cheap hardware, though.
So that's what they mean
by monky business
Very silly move
> wearing nothing more than his specs and a pair of trainers
He should have had his helmet on, too. Though the report contains a curious set of priorities:
"I saw a male on a bike with absolutely nothing on, not even a pair of socks" Hmmm, so that would've been OK, then - depending where the sock(s) were worn?
That's one helpdesk I wouldn't mind working on
Whenever the service has major faults, the desk goes quiet.
"Problems? we haven't heard of any problems? In fact it's not busy at all. Ahhh ...."
abbreviated present continuous
Of course boffin is a word. It comes from the verb to "boff" an activity that even scientists do.
FB is probably one of the more benign 'net destinations
Trying to stop a child surfing is as pointless as trying to stop them swearing or watching the "wrong sort" of TV or sneaking some booze. They'll deny they do it, and it serves their parents interests' to go along with that charade - even though everybody knows they are almost certainly lying. Just like their parents' generation did.
So on that basis, would you prefer the little darlings to spend time on a popular website that has a great deal to lose if it's reputation goes sour, or to be frequenting some of the webs darker corners? It's not a choice of internet or no-internet: that battle was lost years ago, but where the tykes go.
So, employing the "keep your friends close, but your enemies closer" principle it's better to give the children a piece of FB they can call their own. Safe in the knowledge that the laws that govern it are some of the most restrictive, unforgiving and prudish in the western world. Maybe once this "playground" version of FB is up and running, kids can build up some sort of history that (assuming good behaviour and indications of a degree of maturity) will eventually permit them to graduate to the "big boys" Facebook. You never know, that sort of qualifier or probabtion could even be a good entry requirement for ordinary FB and it's supposedly mature users.
Being unmanned is the key
That's really where the scuttle went wrong (the Soviets managed it, with their Buran: who's one and only flight and landing was handled autonomously by the on-board AI).
Without the weight overheads of people and all the inconvenient stuff they must bring along,, the cost goes down considerably. Likewise, the preflight checks don't have to meet human-standards of safety, so there is a possibility that one of these, could be turned around in a few days.
I just wish the development cycle for this could have been measured in years, a la Apollo, rather than the decades it's taken so far and another one to get something onto a runway.
So, after all that
It might be a bit faster than 3G
Provided you have enough data credit to make the extra speed worthwhile
Provided your telco isn't traffic-shaping/speed limiting
Provided whatever you're (eventually) connected to can send data fast enough
Provided your signal is strong enough
Provided there's no interference with the signal
Provided few, or no, other people are trying to use the same mobile tower
Provided your phone has enough grunt to handle that many packets/second
.. or then again, it might not.
I wouldn't bother
I saw the first episode (a full 1 hour) last night. Not impressed. A lot of the programme was about the much vaunted Ayn Rand, but she came across as emotionally stunted and, frankly, a bit of a nutter: if not quite Barking, at least Upton Park. Although I was impressed by Curtis' earlier work "The Power of Nightmares", in this effort he seems to treat facts as plasticine: to be molded for his convenience. The description of the Asian financial crisis seemed to me to be fanciful and bore little resemblance to Wiki & other web entries (which I was reading as the programme went on in the background).
The link to computers and how they'd all look after us didn't really come over - though I guess that will be revealed in later episodes and I felt his link, tenuous at best, to Enron/Lehmans/etc and computerised trading was a stretch too far.
It was nice to hear Laughing Len's "Suzanne" as backing in one scene, though.
The simple answer
> I'm sure there is going to be a simple answer," said the PM.
Well, there are two simple answers. Either for the british public to stop buying papers that trade on salacious rubbish or for people to stop doing things they're ashamed of and wouldn't like to see published.
Sadly I can't see either happening any time soon - so the least-worst alternative is to get it ALL out in the open, preferably in a medium that no-one can make money from. That would remove most of the incentive for digging up the dirt (which, let's face it is neither newsworthy, relevant nor particularly entertaining) in the first place.
We've already got it
> provide everyone in the UK with a minimum of 2Mbit/s by 2015.
If you order a Blu-Ray disc from Amazon or elsewhere (capacity 50GB) and it arrives next day thats a "download" speed of 50e9 / 86400 = 578kByte/sec or a smidge over 4MBit/sec, excluding packet overheads. Even better: if you order 4 discs you've just upped your data connection's speed close to 20MBit/sec - faster than most of the rest of the country
OK, the latency is awful - but the guy is asking for _speed_ not ping times.
Moral: be careful what you ask for
Moral 2: Never underestimate the data-carrying capacity of a Post Office van. (Royal Mail? Post Orifice? meh!)
The difference between free and paid
Yes, this seems to be the crucial issue that the money boys (and girls) seem to be incapable of grasping. Put a product on the 'net for free and you'll get a lot of takers. Charge 1p for it and you'll get none. The difference in popularity between 0p and 1p is infinite (if not more :)) and the popularity between a free online service LinkedIn/FB/all-the-others and their paid-for cousins at least as great.
There is no possibility of predicting the popularity or RoI a service will attain when it stops being free (or goes behind a paywall) from the number of freetards who use it for nowt. You can't say that the value of advertising on these sites will recoup the investment (does LinkedIn show adverts - I don't ever see any, but that might just be my ad-blocker doing its job) as if it was already making money from them, what would an extra few $Bil get you - and why would you want to share that with investors?
None of these social websites appear to offer any value-add, nor do they have any products to monetise, so I am at a complete loss to see where their income can come from. It does seem that the "balanced portfolio" excuse is the only reason institutional investors (i.e. pension plans in the UK) would want these mega-IPOs, but surely long-term profitability is more important than balance? If not, I can see a lot of surprised retirees feeling the pinch in the near future.
IPO sure, but then what
Presuming the vastly inflated price that LinkedIn managed (flooked?) isn't just a drain for some of the trillions of quantitative easing that's sloshing around the financial world. Once the shares have been sold and the founders have finished counting their loot, what happens next?
The problem with the last tech bubble was that there wasn't anything after the IPO. The "floaters" got their money, but the investors wanted a return on their investment and there just wasn't any opportunity to make one.
For LinkedIn and their $9 Bil, sooner or later someone's going to be asking them to start making money - and an ask of around 8% would be about right, historically speaking. So: how could a website like LinkedIn possibly earn 9Bn * 0.08 = $700 million a year for the investors. Worse, the word regarding Facebook is a valuation of $60Bn (that's from before LinkedIn, maybe more now) which would imply their investors would expect to trouser several billion USD a year for their troubles.
Until someone can show where FB and all the others could possibly make those sorts of returns for their investors, I can't see any end to this - except tears, followed by bed time.
Put it on the tab
We're informed that Chinese banks (i.e. China) holds over $1T of american IOU's. Maybe these people should just get the chinese to knock their claimed $16M off the debt - then they could ask the american govt (nicely, of course) for their money.
Good luck with that, it's about as sensible as trying to sue.
> parents needed to be given tools to control what's coming into their homes.
Parents already have this: they just choose not to, or choose not to find out how to, use it. A lot of people (still) consider having children to be a "right", rather than a responsibility - though it's really both. However, the willingness and ability to accept responsibility for raising YOUR children is the only measure of a good parent. It's not the state's job, it's not society's job, nor is it solely up to schools or the welfare services and it's definitely not the responsibility of a tenner-a-month internet service provider.
Maybe what we need are two sorts of ISP, distinguished by the answer to a simple question on the sign-up screen: Will children have access to material from this internet connection?
If the answer is "yes", the applicant is politely referred to the protected service, which has a cost structure that reflects both the additional work needed to screen the 'net connection of suspect content and the additional possibility of compo-seeking gimme's who will try to sue if they find their standards haven't been met. The other, non-protected, service would say simply: Here's our no-frills connection, off you go but don't come wingeing to us ...
Maybe mumsnet should start it's own, premium, protected, ISP to practice what they preach I would be interested to see whether parental principles extend so far as actually paying for what they believe in, or it's it's just a case of assuming it's another "right"?
What's sauce for the goose
is sauce for the gander.
So presumably they won't mind if other world powers take the same attitude and do some militarised arse-kicking of american nationals in the USA who take part in cyber attacks on other countries?
Though historically, a lot of the "attacks on the US", have come from it's own citizens inside the country.
Occam's bolt cutters
All the victims in these thefts have a vested interest in making it appear that they were turned over by master criminals or specialists, as this (somehow) reduces the burden of blame on them for having lax security and no failover/backup system.
However, it's just as likely that the stuff was nicked by a casual thief with a hookey transit and a crow-bar, and the "swag" will end up on eBay or down the scrappy for the however-many pounds per ton that gash electronics fetches these days. Obviously that doesn't put the £billion telco in such a good light, when anyone can break into their critical network hubs and knock their services offline for a considerable period.
Presumably if this had happened during Obama's visit next week it would be counted as a terrorist atrocity, or the conspiracy nuts would be having a field day with it. Maybe they still will?
Who'd want ti steal it?
Well, it's got £1500's worth of battery in it - though you'd want a proper car to haul it away.
Batteries? That's probably the true cost, so not green at all
The battery life/cost of 32p/mile is reasonable. I'd guess it is a true-cost reflection of what a rechargeable actually costs, taking into account it's manufacture and disposal costs. I doubt that Renault make any monkey out of the battery rental side (and that it will only increase, over time).
The question that then arises is whether that makes battery operation any greener than petrol/diesel operation. On the presumption that petrol taxes already cover the CO2/carbon costs in $$$/ton - even though the government has chosen not to spend the revenue on carbon reduction - the answer would appear to be NO, since the electric operation costs are so much higher than petrol costs.
But what about the insurance?
It's all very well targeting the vehicle at "young city dwellers " (does that really mean gullible/inexperienced sorts, who are desperate for a cheap set o' wheels?) but if the insurance is going to add a few £k per year on top AND the extra spondulicks for the battery, then it's not looking all that cheap.
Plus, hasn't anyone in Renault heard of car crime (or rain, for that matter). Without any doors, they may as well put a STEAL ME sign on the back, so far as city life/parking is concerned. Though maybe it's lack of desirabiity is its main defence.
Clive Sinclair would be proud.
> SpaceX, founded in 2002, has made meteoric progress
Errr, don't meteors usually disintegrate and burn up spectacularly on their rapid, crashing DESCENT.
Not a metaphor you'd want associated with a fast rising company and deffo not one in the space industry.
When you've got it you're just itching to use it
> Maybe this should also be a lesson for the police to not get so worked up over something.
But, but, but ... they've got all this cop stuff. Dogs and helos and anti-terrrrist units and robots and sniffer-thingies and emergency units and training and ... and ... if they never get to use it WHAT'S THE POINT?
Which would you rather: spend all day trying to make writing that single-page report last until knocking-off time, or being able to pretend you were Bruce Willis and you were saving the world from Dick Dastardly? Being able to strut around and shout orders and impose the overwhelming might of your will on all the local squirrels and pigeons must be better fun than trying to think of another word for "suspect".
And as far as using common sense goes. Well yes, you or I might think that (and everybody else in the country too, for that matter) but really, we have no say whatsoever. From a cop perspective, would you prefer to not get yelled at by your boss for not following the rules to the letter or NOT inconvenience hundreds or thousands of inhabitants, who just want to get home/to work/away from the place? Since they are not answerable to any of us, ordinary people in any way shape or form there is little prospect (short of elected chef constables - you know: the police who wear big white hats) that they would ever feel the need to consider our comfort, convenience or expense - especially when there just might be a bit of excitement to be had.
The Jeremy Clarkson of t'web
While you can't fault MLF's zeal and enthusiasm, I can't help but wonder WHY she thinks everybody simply must use the internet - just as I can't fathom JC's petrol-headedness¹. Sure, the internet has it's uses, just as cars do. However that doesn't mean it's everyone's cup of tea and that non-users (whether through disadvantage, inertia or personal choice) should be thought of as somehow inferior, uninformed or mistaken - and therefore in need of her "miracle cure".
My old mum is a prime example. She's never used the internet (nor a computer since the 80's). Not because she's incapable, or simple, or poor, or unwilling to learn new things. All the "2" clan (and the "3" generation progeny) are fully up to speed on all things digital and she is fully aware of our online activities. She just chooses not to partake - just as she chooses not to drive, go mountain climbing, or exploring the culture of places further than her bus pass will take her.
In fact, I am quite glad that she has forsaken an online presence. She was brought up in a time where a stranger would be far more likely to hand you back a dropped wallet than mug you for it. When authority figures were trustworthy and upstanding and nobody troubled you (except for Reader's Digest) with exhortations to take up this special offer, this week only, save ££££'s. With that background she would be more likely than most (despite all the warnings from everyone she knows) to divulge card or personal details, to take pity on that poor nigerian who only wants to get away from the nastiness or to click on the link that is plainly from her bank.
I also take issue with MLFs assertion that cheap PCs will fix the problem. She's nursing a logical disconnect between not having a computer and not going online. What about the tenner a month ISP subs? Why not just encourage non-liners (oooh, have I just invented a neologism?) to use their local library's faciiites? If she thinks cost is a primary factor, rather than knowledge or desire, shouldn't she be more concerned with the ongoing costs, rather than the startup price? Especially if the deal with "Three" is typical of 3G internet cost-structures.
Personally, I'm planning to stick with my recommendations to MoM (My old Mum) to not invest in internet connectivity, unless SHE wants to. The few times she has needed or wanted to do "webby" things (such as claiming a fuel-surcharge refund from British Airways) Myself or another "2" or "3" relative has been quite happy to step in and press the relevant mouse buttons, just as we are to fix her leaky taps, change a smoke-alarm battery or other household chores.
Let's never forget that up until 15 years ago, most people led a perfectly fulfilled life without any home computers, mobile phones or internet access. It's really not that big a deal. No matter what the pundits would like us to believe.
 well I can, both he and she have made a great deal of money from their chosen zealotry. I just wish they'd turn down their messianic fervour, it's tiresome and no longer entertaining.
While waiting for the knock
I'd spend a bit of time checking YouTube, too
The lengths some people will go, to be disgusted
You'd almost think they enjoyed it.
Painters and decorators across the land know that Screwfix (amongst others) supply disposable coveralls in a nice, tasteful and clearly not-mistakable-for-being-naked white. Maybe it's time they introduced various skin-toned colours to the range?
Then all the Mr. or Mrs. Spriggs' of the country can don them for a wander around their garden, safe in the knowledge that when the cops come a'knockin' they have plausible deniability.
Surely the author has seen The Jetsons
> should Navy SEALs penetrate the defensive cordon
Just toss 'em a few fish. They'll soon stop trying to balance beach balls on their noses and waddle off to partake of your snack.
Wasteful use of Helium
He is a very rare gas - since it is only produced as a byproduct of radioactive/nuclear processes. As such, it's probably THE least renewable substances we know of - and far too useful and valuable to waste of merely ferrying american soldiers around.
Sound of explosions is a bit of a giveaway
Not much point having all that sound-deadening technology if you then alert the whole neighbourhood to your presence by blowing up one that doesn't work properly. (Wonders if the added tech might have been the -cause_ of the problems?)
And after that presumably there was a bunch of americans, who were on that chopper, trying to look inconspicuous at Islamabad airport, waiting for a commercial flight back to the USA while muttering bad things about unreliable aircraft and stoooopid technology that's more trouble than it's worth.
If it wasn't there originally ...
... it sure as hell will be after "they" have finished processing it.
I expect the merkins have a whole trove of intelligence that they can't attribute to anyone, without blowing their cover or causing even more political ructions, or even stuff they'd like to be true - if only it could be assigned to a credible (preferably dead, so they can't refute it) source.
What better than to "find" all this stuff on Osama's hard drive. It would effectively give them carte-blanche to carry out as many purges - wherever they please. All based on the transparently dodgy "it came from OBL computers, so it must be true". Don't be surprised if one of the first things to be "found" will be a list of credit card numbers/mobile phone numbers - that will belong to people the yanks don't like, but couldn't touch, before this.
I wonder if, in further efforts to smear him, they will "discover" material of dubious moral values too - or would that be over-egging it?
It's a miracle!
What with all the stuff recently about JP2 getting beatified (i.e. "promoted" in catholic-speak) I found out that you need 2 miracles to achieve sainthood. Personally I'd reckon that if someone at conference could manage to get the copyright holders of all this stuff to agree with their views, that would count as a pretty good miracle and (whoever the lucky person was) would only need one more - say getting Apple to open the iPhone hardware - to become a fully fledged saint. The world's first techno-saint. (Well, after they're dead that is - presumably providing tech support in heaven)
All that remains would be to decide how we should commemorate that particular saint's day?
Consigned to a footnote in IT history
Hands up: who remembers Icebergs? Storagetek's (at the time) rather amazing RAIDed, compressed data storage with a whopping 77GB native capacity - or 200GB for compressed data. it also had a sort of built-in data optimisation scheme, so you were never really sure where your data was. And no, it wasn't SSD it was a pile of itsy-bitys little disks with some proprietary smarts to talk to your mainframe.
The thing is, while it was super hot tech at the time, it solved a problem that was fleetingly temporary. Within a year or two disk capacity had doubled and a year or two later had doubled again. That sorta kinda made all the fantastical innards of these things ever so slightly redundant.
That's what the makers and buyers of on-the-fly compression SSDs will find. In a short time their 2011 technology will be overtaken by smaller/cheaper/faster storage and they'll be the Icebergs of this decade.
It's not really sex ...
> lonely dorks with poor social skills ... are in fact more likely to get squiffy, have sex
... if there's no-one else present
While I can appreciate that "seeing people engaged in a behaviour is a way of learning that behaviour," to some extent has merit, there's a huge difference between watching (say) an olympic swimmer and then claiming you can swim - if not exactly win a gold medal. It also takes practice, which just about brings us back to lonely teens having sex in their bedrooms.
Wireless: open, to accusations
> I figure it's only fair to let other people use [my open wireless] . ..., these few incidents represent a very small risk, literally less than one in a million.
I have to admire your altruism: being prepared to get arrested and charged with child pornography (which as has already been said is a guilty: with no chance of removing the stigma, offence) just so that some anonymous strangers can get internet access for free,
Interesting thing about drones
... they tend to level the combat-scape.
In "the good old days" air superiority required the deployment of many aircraft: none of which cost less than a small countries GDP to buy, operate and eventually crash. Even without the problems of getting someone to train up your pilots, without asking awkward questions like "well why would you want to fly a combat mission over Paris?"
In the age of videogame warfare, where all the nasty, shooty stuff is done by disposable flying robots that come free when you have enough clubcard points, the balance changes. Now every despot, along with the good guys (if there are any good guys, any more) can have a try at building their very own flying robot. Better yet, it's not the end of the world if you crash a few during testing and training. Hell! if a country like Israel (which doesn't have a drop of oil to its name) can develop some world class drones - albeit with some surreptitious outside help, then it shouldn't be too tricky for any other country that can muster a few engineering graduates to have a bash, too.
In fact, one could easiily see a niche market for small and cheap flying robots. Maybe just a couple of feet big. Just large enough to propel an armour-piercing nosecone through the bullet resistant glass of an industrialist or politician's vehicle, if that person was dumb or unlucky enough to have offended said despot, despot's family or deity. With such a small drone, moving it into the country of your choice shouldn't be too difficult and I'm sure the control systems could be made to look like perfectly ordinary spying equipment - the sort that goes through diplomatic channels every day.
Maybe, once we get to the point where any decision maker of any significance can be "reached" at will, they'll all start to see the light and start making sensible decisions for the greater good. (OK, you can dream). At that point these flying robots may, accidentally, become a force for democracy and liberation rather than a way of raining down detached and anonymous death on a location that your unreliable intelligence though might just be a likely target.
RE-entered? No ... but try this for size
OK so ESA hasn't sent something up and had it come back down. But that's such a narrow definition of success that it's pretty close to meaningless.
What ESA *has* achieved is to land a probe on Titan, buzzed a few asteroids and bothered the occasional comet which I personally think is a dam' site more impressive, and not just for the distance, Maybe when SpaceX does get a soft landing on (say) The Moon, then they'll have something to start measuring up to the BIG boys with.
10/10 for optimism
> successfully flown to orbit and back once in a test flight ... this puts SpaceX on its own at roughly the same level of space punch as the 19 allied nations of the ESA.
Minus several million for an accurate comparison.
Still, I suppose he did say "roughly". Which gives me hope that the Perl script I wrote this morning will one day attain sentience.
> I haven't read the article properly before posting my comments
You'd have to make that the default, as everybody does that.
p.s. you might have suggested that in the rest of your post, but I didn't read any more ....
I'm not a great icon user as few of them "speak to me". In fact I'd have to say I don't know what most of the ones with a face on them mean - or are for. They're too small and too busy to have an immediate impact.
We keep getting told that tablets are the way of the future, providing we keep taking them. So I'd suggest a fondleslab icon - I'll leave the details of what, exactly, should be fondled up to t'committee.
something to do until Royal Wedding fever dies down.
Reassuring to know
I'm sure we'll all sleep soundly in our meetings knowing that the Beeb wouldn't kill the internet. However, whether anyone who would (if they knew how to use their technology) quote from twitter has any credibility at all, makes me wonder about the soundness of this guy's judgement.
Know why you're doing it.
As the article says, virtualisation is a strategic decision. The people responsible for company strategy and direction inhabit the boardroom (not the I.T. cupboard - if this is being driven by the IT dept, it's fundamentally running at the wrong level) and they should be able to complete the sentence:
"We are committing to Desktop Virtualisation in order to ....."
and that answers the "why are we doing this?" question. If you have the world's only talented IT director, that sentence will be followed by a qualifier "and we'll know it's succeeded when we can do <X> better/cheaper/faster/more reliably than we could before."
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