* Posts by hugo tyson

347 posts • joined 20 Apr 2007

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Blade Runner 2049: Back to the Future – the movies that showed us what's to come

hugo tyson
FAIL

Video Conferencing

Star Trek has videoconferencing that actually works properly. Still beyond our grasp....

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I've arrived on Mars. Argggh, my back!

hugo tyson
WTF?

How much decrease in muscle mass?

The sentence in the article is a bit mangled, do you mean the muscle cross-sectional area decreased to about 80% of what it was originally, the range being 86% in the best case and 72% in the worst case?

Or if it decreased by 86%-72% does that mean only 14% to 28% remained (which seems terrifying)?

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GPS spoofing can put Yik Yak in a flap

hugo tyson
Unhappy

Hardly GPS spoofing

Hardly GPS spoofing is it? Just setting your location somewhere else. Fake location, fair enough.

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Turing, Hauser, Sinclair – haunt computing's Cambridge A-team stamping ground

hugo tyson

Details, details...

In Cambridge it's a Court not a Quad; Quads are from The Other Place ;-)

But yes it's a great photo, so of its time.

Re the pic on the steps of 4a Market Hill, L-R David Johnson-Davies ("DJD"), Hermann, Chris Curry, Roger (now Sophie) Wilson, Nick Toop, holding an Acorn Atom. 4a MH was never an ARM office; only Acorn.

The Turing Room in King's is the College Computer Room as I understand it; named after the great man. But I don't think there's any implication that he lived in that basement room, it's a cellar. As a Fellow he might well have lived in the rooms above, though.

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Great British Great Bake Off gets new judge

hugo tyson
Coat

Needs a proper critic

Why can't we have Brian Sewell? Aside from him being dead. And his bro George as sidekick to introduce some gritty realism.

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The field at the centre of the universe: Cambridge's outdoor pulsar pusher

hugo tyson
Thumb Up

Thanks!

Just: thanks for the article - great stuff, I enjoyed that day out enormously; thanks to Cambridge Wireless too of course.

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Milk IN the teapot: Innovation or abomination?

hugo tyson
Thumb Up

Perfect optimisation

We did exactly that - but in a proper teapot, I'll grant - at (later to be troubled) Cambridge micro-maker Acorn Computers in the early 1980s.

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Brit chip biz ARM legs it to Softbank for $32bn

hugo tyson
WTF?

Re: Apple will never own ARM (again)

I thought the licence those big players have ("foundry") lets them re-implement the hardware as they like, but absolutely not fork the instruction set and software interface generally (ISA, eg. cache behaviour) to make sure code portability can never be sacrificed. Intel IIRC learnt this when they acquired DEC and its Xscale designs, and tried to fiddle with the ISA, and found they couldn't because the ISA is copyrighted in some way separate from the IP licence.

WTF because this is a complete surprise. I could believe it's as simple as SB having a huge mound of cash and looking for the best possible investment, as ARM is starting to work in servers too, and the IoT bubble.

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DARPA's 'flying wing' drone inches closer to lift-off

hugo tyson
Happy

Mmmm.... contra rotating....

But not as sexy as a Fairey Gannet, eh?

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Model's horrific rape case may limit crucial online free speech law

hugo tyson

Re: law enforcement?

It's not clear from the report whether the "agencies" or indeed actual agencies had to be registered or vetted in any way. Is it?

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hugo tyson
Unhappy

Different law?

This does seem separate from the protection afforded to common-carrier-like websites in that law, in that this is abusive readers/consumers of the site, who cause no change to its state -- not abusive speech published via/though/on the site. Tricky.

It does suggest that reader accounts should strongly be vetted, in such cases, and contacts should be only through the site so that they are logged in an evidence-worthy fashion. Otherwise it's just like telling Facebook everything with entirely public access.

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Watch: SpaceX finally lands Falcon rocket on robo-barge in one piece

hugo tyson
Happy

Yay indeed!

I'll drink to that; wups, I was anyway!

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Regular Fast Radio Burst detected outside our galaxy

hugo tyson

Multipath?

...as it's not regular.

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$17 smartwatch sends something to random Chinese IP address

hugo tyson

It's the app that leaks, right?

But do you need the app to use the watch or is it just like the "drivers CD" you get with every little toy that nobody needs because they're actually standard USB devices? Put another way, if it's a proper BlueTooth device it'll use the standard BT profiles to be remote-control for the phone functions, and not need no steenkin' app.

Course it could just be checking for updates...

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Oh TechNation. Britain's got tech talent. Just not like this

hugo tyson
FAIL

Tool users vs tool makers

They're failing to distinguish people who use IT as a tool to run their business - ie. have a website and email and maybe an online shop - and those who actually make new IT/digital things. And the people who make websites for businesses, or set up their email, are somewhere in between, IMHO rather closer to users.

Like people who make TV ads or soap operas are not innovating in the photography business.

It's like classifying every business which acquired a shiny new landline in the 1920s and '30s as a telecoms business. (Might have the decades wrong but YKWIM)

It's like saying that B&Q is part of the steel industry because they sell spanners.

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'I bet Russian hackers weren't expecting their target to suck so epically hard as this'

hugo tyson
Mushroom

Unsigned....

So what's wrong with

for ( u = 100; u < 200; u-- ) { ... }

I think I have seen this as a fix! :-(

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Lights out! Newbie IT manager's dark basement trip

hugo tyson
FAIL

Re: Ah Diesel Generators

One job, the modal cause of genuine fire alarm evacuations was "the temperature is too high in the detached generator building" - following the regular testing... especially in summer.

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You've seen things people wouldn't believe – so tell us your programming horrors

hugo tyson
Coat

So much fun....

Once we shipped some embedded software as a relocatable binary to a customer. It needed to be started with some workspace memory. They were getting nowhere. So I went to Japan, and spent two days working out how the hell to debug/single-step in their useless environment, to find they had started it giving it the memory where the code was, as its own workspace. It ran just fine, initialising its memory, until it shot itself in the head by overwriting the code that was doing the initialising...

In PostScript, double-slash is a meaningful token, prefix to a name for immediate evaluation. It's used a lot in the bootstrap, itself written in PS, of a PostScript-compatible interpreter. Trivial example

/inc { 1 //add } def

For one reason or another, the bootstrap source was macro pre-processed. This was fine until the C-preprocessor - for it was he! - enabled C++ comments by default. Most of the bootstrap disappeared.

Re. sweary messages and customers: in the 1980s, at Acorn, I wrote tests for the very first ARM CPUs, even before we had silicon back - to check the various emulators, and to test in simulation the chip layout before tape-out, to test the chips when they came back. One said - or rather didn't, because it worked OK - "Shifter fucked!" in the error case. This was all lovely, and the same unit tests were still used 10-15 years later by ARM. They even shipped them to customers (making their own ARMs) as binaries. This was lovely too. Until one customer somehow managed to make chips whose shifter was not entirely correct...

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Intel admits Skylakes can ... ... ... freeze in the middle of work

hugo tyson
Mushroom

0xE40001

is that exponent in hex. Interesting. One might wonder if it's all exponents of the form 0xNN0001 (NN > 0)

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The Register's entirely serious New Year's resolutions for 2016

hugo tyson
Devil

Getting "across" the news

(you) "can get across a day's news quickly" - if you're dropping the sexism, you can use correct English and say "keep abreast of the day's news" without sniggering, rather than that revolting neologism. Or even just "catch up" ffs....

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PM wheels out snoop overseer minutes before latest snoops' charter bid lands

hugo tyson
Black Helicopters

What will they log?

So what will the govmt require ISPs to log? DNS lookups? So use 8.8.8.8 or 8.8.4.4 - or will they snoop on DNS request packets en passent for all? Or do they log what IP addresses you open connections to, which reverse-DNS gives domains? So something like Tor or other onion router gets round it. Just curious if anyone knows, if the detail has come out yet. Because it seems likely that a determined operative could circumvent any obvious logging....

Separately, I too worry that someone out of touch will be prone to assertions about what can be done which are not realistic, such as "well force them to decrypt it" given a noisy image + allegation that it contains a steganographic code, for example. Point is old media (paper letters, morse code) are either plaintext or definitely something cryptographic. Modern media/messaging can be perfectly valid gibberish and still be your pictures/music: you can't prove the positive "there is encrypted data here" nor the negative "this is just a picture, no encrypted data present". That's what could cause the traditional legal profession's assumptions problems.

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PC sales will rise again, predicts Intel, but tablets are toast

hugo tyson
FAIL

Intel-based tablets

Exactly, my first thought was: Intel got the market for Intel-based tablets wrong. They did; they're not so good, so people didn't buy many,

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Silicon Valley now 'illegal' in Europe: Why Schrems vs Facebook is such a biggie

hugo tyson
FAIL

Re: Let me count the ways...

I agree the email example is a very poor one: by sending an email to a person you give them the right to do whatever they like with it, stupid legalese boilerplate on the end notwithstanding. And email never has been private. Of course, the public's expectation might be different, but that doesn't make it so.

A better example, and easier to understand would be: you think you order a product from an EU business. Name, address, credit card, implicitly shopping habit. Turns out their servers are in the US. They just exported your personal data without your consent.

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Doctor Who storms back in fine form with Season 9 opener The Magician's Apprentice

hugo tyson
Holmes

Handmines

The "Handmines" is just a crap pun on landmines innit. Cute that they're like the hand-from-the-grave thing in every zombie movie, but with dalek (biological) eyes spliced in.

And my bet is it's the handmines that he's going to exterminate in the opener for Ep.2.

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Typewriters suck. Yet we're infinitely richer for those irritating machines

hugo tyson
WTF?

Re: <pendantry>

Pendantry? Should be bloody well hung...

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IWF shares 'hash list' with web giants to flush out child sex abuse images online

hugo tyson
Go

Re: Am I being a bit thick here

I think that if you change one bit, it is impossible that the signature/hash will not change. With a proper sig/hash/crypto, if you change any single bit of the input, an unpredictable (to an attacker) 50% of the bits in the hash will change (invert).

If you change 2 bits, same as changing 1 then another, 50% change, then some proportion p, whose mean is 1/2, of those change back and proportion 1-p of the others change: making on average a 50% change in all - repeat by changing another bit: so by recursion, any change in the input including complete replacement (whatever that means) changes, on average, half the bits in the output.

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RBS sticks it to customers once again as IT woes continue

hugo tyson

Re: Should be shutting down soon

I haven't had any problems with my banking in over 30 years either. With NatWest. Just FWIW. The last "major cock up" didn't affect everyone, and nor is this one. Put another way, every last company has some customers who have experienced a horror story, and who swear that after switching all was roses...

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Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV: The new common-as-muck hybrid

hugo tyson

Re: A lot I could live with...

I must say I think it's good that we are getting both kinds: those which flaunt design and are uniquely identifiable as EVs, for those who want that, and also the way to the mass market, making EVs *not* remarkable but commonplace, by making it just one variant of an ordinary car.

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hugo tyson
Go

"Charge it" button

Surely the button to force it to eat petrol to charge the battery is for when you are a few miles from entering a ZEV zone or some such, ie. London, and you forgot to use the "keep it full" button for the first part of the journey. Or when all the charging points at the services you planned to use are full, also on the edge of a ZEV zone?

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SpaceX Dragon crew capsule in 'CHUTE ABORT drama – don't panic, no one died

hugo tyson

The Shuttle was indeed intended to be its own escape capsule

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_abort_modes details lots of cunning plans; but they all address a detected component failure - nothing's available to deal with an actual explosion or other gross mechanical failure.

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Boeing 787 software bug can shut down planes' generators IN FLIGHT

hugo tyson
Mushroom

Misplaced caution?

I agree it looks like a 100Hz ticker reaching 2^31 and going negative. But I think (without going off into comp.risks) there might be something else going on.

Problematic code can fail at overflow one of two ways: looping forever (very bad) or exiting prematurely (softer). It's not hard to get it right, of course, but if, say, the API changes (!) after you wrote your timer code or something like that it can end up wrong. So, for ultra-cautious safety-critical stuff, how do you make sure? You add asserts. Lots of asserts. Sounds like that's what we have here, as it goes into a fail-"safe" shutdown.

Problem is, if your code would do the soft failure - premature exit from the loop - then the assert makes it less reliable. Because what would otherwise be a single spurious shorter timeout, perhaps no worse than noise in whatever it is you're measuring/updating periodically, perhaps completely harmless, the assert failure turns into a complete shutdown.

In other words, assert - and thus shutdown - if you see insanity in your inputs, or detect an actual failure signal, for example. Asserting for anything less might help find bugs if you test it enough, but when deployed, you want something weaker, that logs an unexpected condition, but doesn't panic the system. IMHO.

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hugo tyson
Coat

Avro Vulcan

You're right, Vulcans weren't fly-by-wire at all; it's pushrods and levers, but the large force to move the control surfaces is electro-hydraulic: each PFC actuator is a self-contained unit taking 200V AC electric power in, to hydraulic pump, to hydraulic piston making a large force on the external hardware - but controlled by a mechanical lever input. The mixing of elevator and aileron signalling to the elevons, and the artificial feel is all (electric-powered) mechanical. Essentially it uses electric instead of hydraulic power to do all the power-assisting, but the control connections are very traditional linkages.

Not sure, but I think the batteries were only 28V for running other control systems, not enough to power the PFCs, enough to operate the RAT or AAPU to work around generator or bus failures.

So complete electrical failure left all the controls locked. Not good at all, especially for the 3 guys in the back. :-(

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Microsoft: It's TRUE, you'll get Android and iOS apps in WINDOWS

hugo tyson
Facepalm

Fair point

.... but Java was originally intended to be an ANDF, remember? How these pages were filled with mockery as managers insisted on Java for mainframe projects an other inappropriate targets because it was trendy!

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Health & Safety is the responsibility of Connor's long-suffering girlfriend

hugo tyson
FAIL

It's all about liability

We have to do stupid "how to sit on a chair" training. OK, it's supposed to be "how to set up your workstation" meaning monitor, mouse, keyboard. It's designed so that any moron can pass by picking the middle one of the answers. "Do you set your chair a) too low b) middle c) too high" but in pictures. It's designed to take a certain time by making you mouse over things to see popups for a certain time before you can press "next". The only thing it does is relieve the employer of liability for your bad back or RSI. It's utterly utterly pointless.

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Man asks internet for $1k for pebbles. INTERNET SAYS YES

hugo tyson
Joke

Gotta be nuts!

http://www.screwfix.com/p/hex-nuts-a2-stainless-steel-m20-pack-of-10/38163

There, much cheaper...

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Snapper's decisions: Whatever happened to REAL photography?

hugo tyson
Happy

Re: Whence the next generation of professional photographers?

Tee hee. But those people are happy with those pics! Let them have their fun!

The existence of appallingly inept amateurs does not imply the non-existence of acceptably competent amateurs.

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hugo tyson
Flame

Whence the next generation of professional photographers?

We don't need a next generation of professional photographers. Image data is no longer a scarce resource, and people look at pictures on tablets, or occasionally laptops. Print magazines are dying. Glossy catalogs too.

It's like asking "where will the next generation of hand-thrown clay potters come from?"

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Yes, Samaritans, the law DOES apply to you. Even if you mean well

hugo tyson

It's the processing that makes the data subject to the Act, no?

Sure, all the input is public. But if a company googles your name then does analysis (automated or not) to separate the several individuals with that name, and builds a profile of you, then uses that to make statements - true or not - about you available to some or many or all other individuals, then that analysis is subject to Data Protection under the Act, surely?

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Guns don't scare people, hackers do: Americans fear identity theft more than shooting sprees

hugo tyson

Strangers....

But isn't the fear of "walking alone down a dark street" also down to the guns thing?

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Yahoo!... Our Alibaba stake's worth BILLIONS. Oh – our shares are in the toilet

hugo tyson
FAIL

Troubled Cambridge Micro Maker....

....Acorn Computers found itself in the same situation when its net worth was less than the value of its ARM shares. At that point they had an EGM and decided just to give the shareholders the ARM shares instead and call it a day, selling off various teams to BroadCom et al. Methinks the same comments about them not really knowing what to do with any money they might make, or indeed what to do at all, applied there also.

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Huawei buys Cambridge Internet of Things pioneer Neul

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Stalwart hatchback gets a plug-in: Volkswagen e-Golf

hugo tyson
Coat

Sums

" I’d used 62 miles (100km) of range by doing 25 miles (40km) "

I think your logic is wrong. What it says is that continuing to drive *like that* you would only have 51 miles left. Your driving style reduced the overall range to about 65% of what it could be. Original prediction was 113 miles. After driving a bit, the prediction for the total available was 51 remaining, plus the 25 you already did gives 76 miles total available range for your driving, about 65%.

Possibly, depending on how fast the car learns your style, you could have driven "vigorously" for 2 miles and cut the predicted range from 111 miles to 74. Doesn't mean you used up 37 miles in going only 2.

Not saying this is any good, mind, just the implication that you used 62 miles of predicted range in 25 miles distance is not valid.

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

hugo tyson
Coat

Cloud-based services company for businesses

So they'll give up on operating systems, and end up a cloud/server-based services company for businesses, implementing your email/messaging, document/content creation/management/sharing, databases, planning tools, .... and... nothing for people outside of work?

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New Bluetooth tech lets you control 4 BILLION lightbulbs at once

hugo tyson

Re: The QR code/UUID is only used during installation

I saw an article named "CSRmesh non-NDA presentation" somewhere whose content matched what the Reg was talking about, so I guess they were given that. I don't know if it's generally available, looks like not.

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hugo tyson

Re: The QR code/UUID is only used during installation

Though 15 bits for DeviceID and 15 for GroupID is just a convention - you could potentially have 63k devices and 2k groups, for example. Point is the IDs live in the same 16-bit space.

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hugo tyson
Boffin

The QR code/UUID is only used during installation

The QR code/UUID is only used during installation. After that the device has a 15-bit local ID, and a network key which was distributed securely during installation. Messages are signed and encrypted using that key. Up to 32k devices can share a network key and so interwork without additional bridging or gateway sorts of things.

So you can't control your neighbour's lights.

The QR code is used to handle the race condition when you and your neighbour are both installing a new light bulb at the same time - to keep you from accidentally acquiring control of each other's. And so you can tell which of your several exciting new devices is which as you give them IDs and set them up.

Group IDs are also 15-bit; each device can also belong to multiple groups and so respond to commands addressed to eg. "all kitchen lights" "all lights" "downstairs" &c &c. So long as they share the same network key.

The reportage about 64k groups each containing 64k devices, making 4bn, is, um, confused. With separate network keys, there can be billions of distinct mesh networks worldwide, each with up to 32k devices, without them interfering with one another.

Aside: the "advertising channels" name has nothing to do with pushing marketing messages, though many companies are looking at doing indoor location/proximity via BLE ads, and then layering push messaging on top of that using a separate server connection made by the supermarket-loyalty-card-app or equivalent.

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'Disruptive innovation' is nonsense? Not ALWAYS, actually

hugo tyson
FAIL

Re: Too much law

I agree it's too much law, but it's not only/mainly patent law. It's regulatory capture, intentional or not.

For example motorcycles with roofs, seatbelts and roll cage (and weather protection) still requiring a helmet; taxis versus Uber; new "cars" which should be light and efficient being required to be as over-equipped with airbags and electronics and ABS, ASC,... as old fashioned heavy metal + oil ones. Construction laws making new building materials, power schemes, heating systems... infeasible.

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Piketty thinks the 1% should cough up 80%. Discuss

hugo tyson

Re: Politics of Envy

I think there's a certain level of inequality that society *requires* otherwise, as a later poster said, why bother striving in any of the various meanings of the word. Reward for effort towards common goals - ie. work, the common goals being "the economy continues" and "you don't rely on the state completely" must be selectively available.

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iOS 8 to PROBE your GUTS and your HOME

hugo tyson

Re: Why did I read that as

Me too. Showing my age?

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Boeing CEO says no more 'moonshots' after 787 Dreamliner ordeal

hugo tyson

Re: @Dan

Electrical flight systems (instead of hydraulic): Avro Vulcan, B.1 1956; B.2 1960.

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