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* Posts by Primus Secundus Tertius

351 posts • joined 31 Oct 2010

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NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails

Primus Secundus Tertius
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@JI

Agreed! Dreadful sub-editing in this article.

Who is Slater?

Who is Fairfax?

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BOFH: The current value of our IT ASSets? Minus eleventy-seven...

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Re: Budgetary crazyness

You have to be ruthless or the conniving bastards will screw you out of every penny and more. At least, that's the way it works with ordinary folk as opposed to saints.

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Pay to play: The hidden cost of software defined everything

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Re: "The basis of this article is laughable"

@gc73, AMBxx,

But it is not always you who does the buying. When the bean counters buy it...

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Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws

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@kmac499

The spelling in that notice, as quoted, does not inspire confidence.

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Re: Not surprising

I believe some C compilers have an option to include bounds checking. (It is a long time since I wrote C; the nearest I get to programming these days is a spreadsheet.)

Unfortunately there are always some people who want to optimise the hell out of the program. That is so rarely needed these days, with the hardware so much better and indeed the compilers; but old ideas never die, they just fade away.

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Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM

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Look at the BIOS

On another thread recently, I asked how does malware sense that it is running on an emulator? Another reader answered that the BIOS usually looks different.

So if this universe we are in is a simulation, where is the equivalent of the BIOS?

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Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE

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The Great Firewall

The Chinese have strong ideas about how the hoi polloi should use the Internet.

So do, for example Turkey, Iran, Pakistan; usually at the instigation of religious institutions that claim authority..

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Researcher details how malware gives AV the slip

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Virtual question

How do you detect that you are running on a virtual machine?

Is it, for example, some difference in the networking when closely examined?

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Brit Sci-Fi author Alastair Reynolds says MS Word 'drives me to distraction'

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Re: Not the first one …

He was complaining, wittily I grant you, that Word at that time did not have "smart quotes" or a word count. Both are long since fixed.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Some text editor fanboi war this is...

My first document editor was DEC's EDT. It had a 'word wrap' feature so you could get a paragraph looking nice again after you had hacked it about. OK, you had to do that manually, but nothing else at that time (ca 1980) would do that except a dedicated word processor box.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: Not WYSIWYG

But Word has Themes.

A style is a set of attributes (font, size, colour, etc) for a specific type of text such as body text or caption or whatever. A theme is a related set of styles for all the components of a document: body text, various header levels, etc.

So in Word you can use a default or a chosen theme, and mark headers, captions, etc as if you were writing html or Latex. Someone else can change the theme, and the appearance of the document is changed at a stroke. That is, if the author has used themes and styles properly.

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Primus Secundus Tertius
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@d3rrial

I worked for a company that used Latex for its documents, partly because of its ability to handle mathematical stuff. But the Latex whizzkids in the company kept changing the header files we used, which meant that old documents could no longer be edited or reprinted.

There is an arguable case for using L/M/O Office and saving documents in html - thus avoiding page format issues. Minor edits are then possible even with vi, or by hand-punching extra holes on paper tape.

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Re: Personally ...

@Adrian4

For producing simple narrative text, Notepad will do; or Geany/Kedit on Linux machines.

But for a complex technical document with tables, illustrations, and captions, you may not have the time to faff around trying to remember the Latex directives. So it is Libre Office or Word. Also, I need the spell check: not because I can't spell, but because I can't type (to a professional standard).

I like using One Note for first drafts.

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Renegade NSA, GCHQ spies help fix Tor vulns, claims project boss

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Re: Cynical, moi aussi

Just what I was thinking.

Our side leak the ones they think the other side are using. But what do the other side get up to?

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New twist as rogue antivirus enters death throes

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Re: Be a pleb

I was, of course, referring to the vast majority of installations (including my own) which run Windows. I am typing this as a pleb user on my own machine set up by me. Some of my relatives have been caught by viruses because they were running as administrator.

XP was notorious for in-house applications that were sloppily written and would not run properly except as administrator.

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Be a pleb

It is much harder to corrupt the hosts file if you are running as an unprivileged user.

There again, if you need admin privilege to run a poorly-written work application, perhaps you should not surf during work time.

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The Register to boldly go where no Vulture has gone before: The WEEKEND

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Seriously, though, they are doing ...

I have doubts about this weekend publishing idea.

The market niche of the Reg is computer trade press plus science and technical reports, all for technically qualified readers who tire of the dumbing down in the mainstream press and TV. Although the tech reporting has lost some of its sharpness in the last year or so.

The weekend will be different, and you will be competing with many other competent sources. Looks like a way of losing money.

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It's time for PGP to die, says ... no, not the NSA – a US crypto prof

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Re: Not saying PGP is perfect

Lo! They met in Llandudno!

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Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Re: You're password has expired, please change it

I did that at one place I worked. Not with 'Password', though. More like 'Fred'.

Why pick on Fred? Look where the letters are on a US/UK keybooard.

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Re: @J.G.Harston and spelling

I remember a work account used by a small group. After the password was set to 'pterodactyl' the non-spellers objected. These people were graduate engineers.

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Pop-up ad man: SORRY we made such a 'hated tool', netizens

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Who else is gonna pay?

So Zuckerman regrets that the Internet is run by advertisers for advertisers.

But tha'ts how TV in most of the world is run.

Maybe one day we shall all have to pay an Internet licence/license fee to the NSA. Not that that will stop the rubbish adverts, of course.

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Hackers' Paradise: The rise of soft options and the demise of hard choices

Primus Secundus Tertius
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Before IBM PC

Before the IBM PC there were Word Processors (*): dedicated machines, not generally programmable, running on 8-bit processors with crude and simplified MMUs. So there was no obvious need for user login, file protections, and of course the many pitfalls of networking.

As the author implies, it was that tradition that the IBM PC inherited.

But what do we do now? As others above remark, the article kind of fades away into nothing.

It seems fair to say that VMS and Unix sorted out most of the basic issues for single machines. What have never been properly resolved are the many issues in large scale networking. I remember seeing claims in the early days of the Arpanet that much research on network principles and details was being done. That all seemed to come to a halt after IPv4.

(*)There were also the dedicated calculator/plotter machines found in many labs, mostly made by HP.

PS VMS could be hacked if the machine minders had not amended certain system accounts intended for maintenance and testing. I speak at first hand.

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Totes AMAZEBALLS! Side boob, binge-watch and clickbait added to Oxford Dictionary

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Re: Each year we get the 'new words' announcement...

The full OED don't get rid of nuffink. Every word used a few times since 1185, and the cat sat on the mat long before that.

The Concise OED does prune things, however. I have a 1965 edition with words that were not republished in 1992.

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Govt control? Hah! It's IMPOSSIBLE to have a successful command economy

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lies, damned lies, and ...

As a right-thinking man politically (blue collar, not blue blood) I support Worstall's preference for a free economy.

But as a techie with a physics degree, I claim his arguments are mistaken. Sure, there are 60 million or more individuals in the UK, but one group of a thousand individuals is very much like another such group. That is the science of statistics, which recognises what people have in common as opposed to what differences they have.

So a planned economy will be driven by statistics. For example, there are some 600,000 births per year in the UK. Of these, some 100,000 will have an IQ greater than 115 (i.e. above average by more than one standard deviation), and therefore ought to be receiving a grammar school education. If each grammar school admits about 100 pupils per year, as mine did, we need 1000 grammar schools. We currently have about 150.

This is the kind of issue where central planning can help It does not deal with 60 million individual cases but with a manageable number of statistics.

So, try again Tim!

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The internet just BROKE under its own weight – we explain how

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Re: We need IP6

@Mage and ...

IPv4 is in retrospect a work of genius. It has been running for over 30 years, compared with about 10 years for the original Arpanet protocol.

IPv5 and IPv6 look like student project designs in comparison. What was IPv5? A long-forgotten attempt to make multi-casting efficient, so that for example lectures could be distributed to students - or other one-to-many applications.

Will IPv6 be forgetten? I hope so, we need an IPv7 that is backward compatible with IPv4, as others have commented here.

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DIME for your TOP SECRET thoughts? Son of Snowden's crypto-chatter client here soon

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Re: 4 point type

4-point type is a doddle.

The magnifying glass version of the Oxford English Dictionary is printed in 2-point type.

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Hacker crew nicks '1.2 billion passwords' – but WHERE did they all come from?

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Re: Cut of Russia from the Internet

@javapapa

The logic of these comments would be to have separate internets, rather than one size fits all. But do it by topic rather than by country. E.g.

1. Cat videos

2. Advertisements

3. Emails

...

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UK.gov wants public sector to rip up data protection law

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Local sharing only

From the comments above, it seems that there is a case for sharing information about social care, which is handled at county council or lower level. But only if shared at county or lower level.

I recently got a new driving licence to celebrate the big 7-0. With my permission, they used my passport photo, thus saving me the bother of a trip to a photo booth. But I don't want them snooping without my permission at my electricity bills, internet usage, or whatever. Other people, subject to warrant, I don't mind. So the principle for central governement should be permission (explicit, informed, etc.) or warrant.

For health matters, social trends, etc: aggregated data, yes; "anonymised" data no. And not to any civil servant unless they show that they know the difference between these. Not many PPE graduates, then.

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Call off the firing squad: HP grants stay of execution to OpenVMS

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Re: Legacy only

@macrorodent re file types

Yes, the file types distinguished the men from the boys in VMS (and RSX11) programming.

1. The major distinction between serial, sequential, and indexed files.

2. Within serial files, the distinction between

a. first byte is a counter of those remaining in that record.

b. first two bytes represent a line number. This could increment by more than 1, eg for Basic line numbering, and later lines could be inserted or deleted.

c. CRLF files, where embedded CRLF characters are line separators.

3. Then they had various magentiic tape formats: FLX, something they said was ISO, and finally their VMS Backup formats.

I saw many mistakes made by novice programmers unfamiliar with those file types.

In unix, of course, a file is a blank sheet to be defiled at will.

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The Register is HIRING technology hacks for the WORLD

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Re: editing is a PITA

It sure is if the "writer" just dictated into a "voice recognition" machine. Mind, that seems to be the way some national papers (no names, no libel suits) seem to work.

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Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees

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Re: The heat is on?

"...has it ever been warmer...or colder"

Yes to both.

a. When the dinosaurs inhabited Mesozoic Britain they did not have to worry about frosty evenings. For most of the last 500 million years, where abundant fossils can be subjected to isotopic analysis, the earth was much warmer than now.

b. The most recent ice age peaked (or troughed) about 20,000 years ago. Most of Britain was covered in a sheet of ice. All humans now in Britain arrived since, or are descended from those who arrived since. There are older human remains in Britain, from earlier warmer times.

In the last two million years three ice ages came and went, long before men were burning coal and oil on an industrial scale. The fourth ice age is receding, erratically. So things are getting warmer because the climate is returning to a long term equilibrium, not because things are out of control. Climate can change without human intervention, and in my opinion the IPCC have not proved that present changes are caused by humans.

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Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?

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Big Chief Salmond

I watched the BBC coverage of the euro-elections in May. Not that they really covered Europe apart from the UK. It was as if they had covered a UK general election while staying within the M25.

Of all the politicians they interviewed, Salmond was the least unconvincing, even though I disagree with Salmond on most things.

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Re: Salmond airport etc

I once visited a museum in a small French town. It was Bastille Day and nothing else was open.

They had a fascinating section about the German occupation during WW2. Old identity documents, etc, etc. There was a map of the town. The central square had become Adolf Hitler Platz, the main street Adolf Hitler Strasse.

Later, I told this to German friends. They laughed, and said they saw many possibilities for that naming scheme.

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Re: Realism

@John Robson

You have a tremendous sense of humour, I see.

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Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network

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Re: Open WIFi

Virgin Medium are appallingly bad. "Two nines" reliability rather than "five nines".

Their Internet and TV disappeared (from my locality, at least) from 10pm 22-July-2014 to 10am 23-July-2014. So I used Plan B, an account with BT Wifi that enables me to log in to their open servers. I don't know who owns the node I used; and they don't know me because I was indoors at home.

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UK government officially adopts Open Document Format

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Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

@Trevor Pott

Word used to produce horrendous text markup language (HTML). Word 2010 can produce "filtered" html which avoids most of the MS iniquities. Still far from clean, though!

Nevertheless, I wish them luck trying to exchange odf documents produced variously by MS Word, Libre Office Word, Open Office Word, and Abiword. Spreadsheets might be fun, Access databases will be inaccessible, and nobody pays attention to presentations.

The only compatible format is paper.

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MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets

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The conventional view is that life began in or under the oceans. So not on land (and not in the presence of oxygen).

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Banning handheld phone use by drivers had NO effect on accident rate - study

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The real contribution to road safety would be to ban cyclists.

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Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery

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The old song

What did Dela Ware?

Less than a brand New Jersey, it seems.

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Forget the mobile patent wars – these web giants have patented your DATA CENTER

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Re: The 21st century version

@FrankAlpha

"...the species will continue..."

Quite right. Look at Germany, 1945. The economy was destroyed, but the population survived.

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Get ready for LAYOFFS: Nadella's coma-inducing memo, with subtitles

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Re: Good!

I wish el Reg would get rid of the INSANE CAPITALS in the middle of their headlines.

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Re: @MrNed

@tony2heads

I just checked the Concise Oxford Dictionary, 1992 edition. They agree with you, much to my surprise.

Another day, another new thing to learn.

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Virgin Media goes titsup AGAIN. The cause? Yet MORE DNS strife

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Not just DNS

VM "teletext" was screwed from ca 7.30pm 7th July to 9am 8th July. Was working again 11.20am 8th July. This was in Surrey. VM Internet was working normally.

OK, it is not old style teletext but some private network on 10.x.y.z.

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BAE retracts hedge fund hack allegation

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Whom do you hate most?

Who is the more villainous? The hedgies or BAe?

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SUPER EARTH possibly home to life FOUND in our 'solar backyard'

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Re: Solar backyard

@Mage

The gravity would not be noticed within an ocean. (Except for higher pressure at the bottom.)

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Rockall pod-dweller braces for stormy weather

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Re: 60 days of learning the harmonica

I wish my local bell-clangers would go there.

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New MH370 search zone picked using just seven satellite 'handshakes'

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Re: What about those black-box locator pings?

Natural mimicry is possible.

Some fishy entity may be having a whale of a laugh.

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Snowden defends mega spy blab: 'Public affairs have to be known by the public'

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Re: jail sentence

@YAAC

Your comment would hold if the authorities were specifically looking at somebody. The mass surveillance is not actively looking at people by the million, just establishing a cache of information.

If Mr Snowden were really in full disclosure mode, he would tell us how the authorities use that cache of information when the need arises.How do they search efficiently? How do the distinguish J Smith (Jack) from J Smith (John). Or Mahomet from Mohammed from Muhamed?

Lots of interesting data processing questions here, and there is a genuine public interest in how well it is being done.

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Today's get-rich-quick scheme: Build your own bank

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Why the middle man

Why do we need the intermediate bank here? Why can't we each deposit directly with the Bank of England? Rather like the old Post Office savings account thet my mother opened for me when I was ten days old.

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Blame WWI, not Bin Laden, for NSA's post-9/11 intel suck

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Re: shot Brazilian

@Ledswinger

I have always suspected there is an overwhelming venality within the Metropolitan Police, leading in that instance to a poor piece of surveillance and the resulting fatal error.

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