* Posts by DougS

12862 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

OM5G... Qualcomm teases next Snapdragon chip for phones: The 855 with a fingerprint Sonic Screwdriver, er, Sensor

DougS Silver badge

Radiation nutjobs

On last night's local news I saw a story on the electric utility in a nearby city that was installing "smart meters". They mentioned a woman who came to a city council meeting objecting to them claiming the usual list of non-specific symptoms when she lived in Colorado and a neighbor had a smart meter installed 70 feet from her house, and said she moved back home to get away from it and her symptoms improved.

Then they had a utility spokesman on who said that it uses the same amount of power as a cell phone, and is active only once a day for about a second. I'm sure she'd find a reason that a single second's exposure to that smart meter was somehow worse for her that being anywhere in public where she is around other people, all of whom have cell phones, many of them in use as she walks by.

DougS Silver badge

5G skeptics

People aren't skeptical 5G won't work, they are skeptical that it is going to drive phone replacement demand.

Though lately I've seen a lot of alarmist nonsense about 5G "death towers", so it looks more anti-science nutjobs will be out claiming 5G is somehow far more deadly than LTE, wifi, bluetooth and all the other terrible radiation we are bathing in daily. That might be a bigger problem than "skeptics".

GOPwned: Republicans fall victim to email hack

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Re: The Russians are Coming!!!

The Russians don't really care about the results of any election

They did care abou the results of the 2016 presidential election - Putin even said so. But the reasons for wanting Trump mostly evaporated once Hillary lost and things were out in the open. Everyone is watching now so he can't do them any backdoor favors like lifting the Magnitsky sanctions.

So it is quite possible Russia wanted the outcome of the recent election with democrats winning the house, to guarantee Trump would be tied up with congressional investigations for the rest of his term, because that will distract him and make him even more volatile and unstable.

Hell, they'd probably like to see him impeached now, since that would really throw the US government into chaos for a time - so they could have a reason to provide far more help to Mueller's investigation than Trump may assume they will. Heck, if Putin REALLY is as smart as some claim, he might have colluded with Trump with the intention of making the evidence available later that would lead to his impeachment!

DougS Silver badge

Re: All we can do is wait

It isn't like there was much "there" there for DNC emails, other than the attempt to tilt the playing field in Hillary's favor. The RNC was openly discussing how to "stop Trump" in late spring, but it turned out they were too late - and their only alternative would have been Ted Cruz, who isn't exactly anyone's favorite. The revelation wasn't exactly news except for Bernie fans who were too young to realize what a dirty business politics is, or false outage from republicans who acted like the republican establishment had always been behind Trump once he won the nomination.

Emails are probably stolen from politicians 10-20x more often than they are publicly released. The contents are far more valuable to use as leverage over individual politicians who will all say things they wouldn't want publicly aired in "private" conversation. Especially for foreign governments, who like to have something to influence the decisions of lawmakers should things come to a vote like sanctions, tariffs, arms deals with countries they are not aligned with, etc. Won't matter when the decision is clear, but in a close vote they don't need to have influence over many to swing things their way.

Google internal revolt grows as search-engine Spartacuses prepare strike over China

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Re: No matter what happens

If half of them have mentioned they would not be willing to work for Google, maybe one or two of the rest think likewise but haven't mentioned it - and the rest, upon hearing that so many other top flight devs don't want to work for Google, might think twice before taking a job with them too.

DougS Silver badge

Re: No matter what happens

Sure, Google is a top flight employer but if you reduce the pool of potential employees by making some refuse to consider working for you you aren't getting the best and brightest. You are getting the best and brightest of those who are willing to work for you. Apple is a top flight employer too, but they will always lose out on employers who don't believe in keeping things proprietary. Google loses out on employees who think personal privacy is important.

The more "evil" Google does (the recent article about Google people filing patents of someone else's work they learned about during an interview) is just another example of why Google is going to be selecting from a reduced pool of applicants in the future. You winnow down the potential pool of employees enough, and you are no longer the place "everybody wants to work".

DougS Silver badge

No matter what happens

Google is going to lose many of its best and brightest over this. You know, the type of people who can get a dozen job offers in the week after they've quit just by word of mouth from associates who know they are back on the market.

Even if Google backs down over this, the secrecy and lying around the inception of this program has to make them wonder what else Google is doing in secret that has yet to see the light of day.

That's the problem when they've grown as big and dominant as they have. There are only so many people on the Earth, and when Google already has over a third ignoring nearly a fifth of them was never going to be a long term strategy for executives whose compensation is predicated upon continual stock price increases.

Sysadmin’s plan to manage system config changes backfires spectacularly

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@Tixr - dozens of deletes a day

If you are doing this as part of an actual process, you don't delete the accounts of users who leave. You disable them (make it very easy to undo, and have sanity checks to insure not too many are done in one day which may indicate a problem) and then have a process that acts later and deletes them - making sure they are already disabled before trying to delete.

DougS Silver badge

Re: My worst config error?

IMHO, the OS should protect you from that by refusing to permit writes to a device that's mounted. There's no possible scenario where this could be useful.

DougS Silver badge

Script deleting HR accounts

That's just stupid having a script delete accounts in automated fashion. It should produce an alert "the following accounts are ready for deletion for $reason" and list commands that will do it. Then sysadmins can investigate, decide it is valid, and cut and paste the commands to do the deed.

Anything that is going to have a major impact should not be done in automated fashion unless it is time critical (like disabling accounts that may be involved in a security breach) Deleting accounts certainly falls under that! It isn't like there's a rush to delete them, account deletion is never an emergency that can't wait for a human to approve.

You think you're hot bit: Seagate tests 16TB HAMR disk drive

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Re: Meanwhile, 8TB is still above €250

Which is why Seagate will need to get HAMR working so they can start doubling capacity of hard drives every few years to match to what they are doing with NAND. They expect it to be good to at least 100 TB capacities, which should keep it well ahead of SSDs for years to come.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Meanwhile, 8TB is still above €250

Hard drives are likely to get bigger but not less expensive. This type of tech will raise the minimum cost of production, and the shrinking market mean it is only viable to produce high capacity high cost drives. The old days of selling max capacity drives alongside drives way down in capacity using only a single platter for under 100 <monetary units> are over.

Tesla autopilot saves driver after he fell asleep at wheel on the freeway

DougS Silver badge

Drunk in a vehicle

Where I live if you are drunk in a vehicle - even in the back seat - you can be arrested if you have the keys on you. I was told by a friend who is a lawyer that if you want to sleep it off in your car, you need to get inside, lock the car, and toss the keys out of your reach before you go to sleep. And even that's not foolproof as if a cop sees you entering the vehicle drunk you can be cited for drunk driving since you can't prove that you were not intending to drive or would be leaving the keys out of your reach.

Obviously you could still be arrested for public intox if your car is not on private property, but that's a minor inconvenience compared to what happens to you for drunk driving.

ICO to probe facial recog amid concerns UK cops can't shake their love for unregulated creepy tech

DougS Silver badge

How long before someone is killed by this?

Imagine using facial recognition tech in a crowd, and getting a false positive on some highly dangerous wanted person like a terrorist suspect. That person is followed by CCTV cameras getting into a car, and driving to a house. Your house. The police bust in, guns blazing (OK this part is probably a lot more likely in the US than the UK) and you get shot dead in the confusion.

All because a poorly design system had mistaken you for someone else, and led police to your door.

Space policy boffin: Blighty can't just ctrl-C, ctrl-V plans for Galileo into its Brexit satellite

DougS Silver badge

Why not use them all?

Surely a single receiver that used publicly available information from all of GPS, Galileo, GLONASS and Beidu would be nearly as accurate as using one homegrown military-accurate alternative? If those were all turned off at once, there is a pretty big war going on and either the UK is allied with one or more of the participants or if it is the UK vs the world will be blown up regardless.

Blockchain study finds 0.00% success rate and vendors don't call back when asked for evidence

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Re: FWIW

And there's a perfect example of one of the idiots who thinks because it has dropped and then jumped multiple times in the past it always will (or more likely he's mad at himself for holding onto it too long and needs greater fools to come along and bid the price up so he can dump his)

There may be a use case for cryptocurrency, but there IS NOT FOR BITCOIN. Bitcoin is useless for transactions due to the high transaction cost, it is only useful for speculation (greater fool theory) and crime.

Once its usefulness for crime is over, because cops start treating possession of bitcoin similar to possession of large amounts of cash as highly suspicious or simply because criminals move to a different cryptocurrency, then bitcoin's value will drop and keeping dropping until it reaches zero.

DougS Silver badge

Re: FWIW

The latest spiel from bitcoin pushers is a claim that bitcoin has dropped 75% several times in the past, and that was always followed by a more than 10x jump in value. I don't know if that's true or not, but even if it is, it is pretty obvious that you can't depend on something like that to keep happening over and over again.

DougS Silver badge

Re: FWIW

"mining" cryptocurrencies with other folk's resources

They are already doing something that isn't legal or beneficial to society, so what's the difference? Most of them are using highly customized hardware that's only suitable for that purpose, so the fortunate answer is "nothing".

DougS Silver badge

Re: Gold rush...

In any "gold rush" an infinitesimal number of people become very rich, a small number of people become well off or rich, and the vast majority lose money. Most of those having come late to the party, whether it was after tulips or bitcoin had already doubled in value a couple dozen times, or after all the places with gold easily pannable from the stream had been claimed and picked clean.

How do you know if you are "late to the party"? If you heard about it on the news, you are too late.

The dingo... er, Google stole my patent! Biz boss tells how Choc Factory staff tried to rip off idea from interview

DougS Silver badge

Anything you plan to disclose in a meeting

You should have written documentation for, dated prior to your meeting and notarized. You don't need to have already filed a patent, or published a paper. You just need proof it is yours.

Then tell them that you've done this before you leave the meeting. Don't tell them at the start, if you do they might send you on your way if the only reason was to try to steal your invention. That way if their questions lead you to think about novel ways to improve upon your work you can turn the tables and steal their idea (only do this if their attitude changes in a quite obvious fashion once you tell them that you've protected yourself)

Prez Trump to host chinwag with Google, Microsoft, Oracle and Qualcomm – report

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Re: guess who will be missing from the meeting?

Apple should mark up all their products in the US by 10%, and put it down on the receipt as the "Trump tax". Make sure people know who is to blame.

Dog with 'psychotic tendencies' escapes home to poop on his neighbours' pillows

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@Neil Barnes

You should contact this guy's neighbors and offer them your product for free. The publicity from this case could only help your business.

Little FYI: Wi-Fi calling services on AT&T, T-Mobile US, Verizon are insecure, say boffins

DougS Silver badge

Well of course VoLTE is more secure

I can't hang a device off a carrier's VoLTE network like I can off a wifi network! I imagine there may be worse security failings in VoLTE, and much of its improved security relies on the carrier's network being much harder to access.

This is like saying it is easier to pickpocket someone when they are walking on a public sidewalk than when they are walking down the halls of the Pentagon.

Marriott's Starwood hotels mega-hack: Half a BILLION guests' deets exposed over 4 years

DougS Silver badge

Address and reservation date

There's hardly ever any crossover between virtual and physical crime. They'd have to get this information in real time and have a nationwide network of burglars on call to monetize that. Even the mob wouldn't be able to do that these days.

Most likely the hackers are halfway around the world, and could care less about knowing when I'm out of my house for a few days.

See this, Google? Microsoft happy to take a half-billion in sweet, sweet US military money to 'increase lethality'

DougS Silver badge

Declare war?

We're talking about the US here. We haven't declared war since 1953. None of the fighting we've done has been to directly defend citizens of the US, other than arguably going into Afghanistan and trying to root out Al Qaeda and Bin Laden.

No, US companies supporting the war effort by increasing US soldiers' survivability are only ENCOURAGING the US to fight more wars. Imagine how much killing the US would do if US soldiers were 100% protected from harm? The only thing that stopped Vietnam, and caused draw downs in Iraq and Afghanistan was the public being unhappy with how many soldiers were dying there. Its an unfortunate reality that dead servicemen are the one thing that prevent politicians from sending US troops to even more places.

Whether you agree with this or not, this is why a lot of tech workers don't want their work to be used to support the US war effort in far flung places with a highly tenuous attachment to the safety of US citizens. If the whole population of the US ever gets behind a war again, which hasn't happened since 1941, the world better look out.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Not surprising at all

but they weren't sure what a "Walled Battlefield" was

Urban fighting in the "old city" part of any 1000+ year old middle eastern city?

GCHQ pushes for 'virtual crocodile clips' on chat apps – the ability to silently slip into private encrypted comms

DougS Silver badge

Forcing software modification

Basically they are trying to do what the FBI tried to get Apple to do, but on a grand scale that would allow them to snoop anything they wanted. At least the FBI's "request" was to get into a single phone, though of course we all know the slippery slope that would have led to.

Because there's no way the GCHQ would settle for having to request to be added to a conversation in real time, or even being automatically added to every conversation with a given end point. They might say that's what they want now, but eventually they'd say the process is too cumbersome and they need to be able to add themselves to any number of calls they want to at any time, because "what if there's an active threat in downtown London and we don't know who the suspects are, we need to be able to look at all calls in a wide area to find the one that's of interest to save lives".

No matter what intelligence services propose for eavesdropping encrypted comms, even if it seems "reasonable" at first glance, there's always a slippery slope immediately behind it.

Canuck couple returns home after night on tiles to gaggle of randomers hanging out in their flat

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I always assumed that the porn producer knows a few horny rich guys, who allow use of their place for free in exchange for a quickie with one of the "actresses".

Apple in another dust-up with its fans: iMacs, MacBooks lack filters, choke on grime – lawsuit

DougS Silver badge

Re: re: Shorting Apple stock

Apple is (or was for many months when it kept rising, not sure if it is still is now that it has already fallen 25%) the most heavily shorted stock in dollar terms, which isn't surprising as it also has (or had, until Microsoft closed higher today) the largest market cap.

It is nowhere near the most heavily shorted stock in terms of percentage of float, which is how analysts measure "the most heavily shorted stock".

Fee, Fi, bring your own one... Google opens up Project Fi to mobes built by Apple, LG, Samsung

DougS Silver badge

Re: no WiFi calling on iPhone?

Maybe Google wants to get iPhone owners in the door on Google Fi, and hope they will trade them in for a Pixel once people notice those features are missing and Google says "oh hey, this Pixel here supports those features".

Pulses quicken at NASA as SpaceX gets closer to crewed launches and Russia readies the next Soyuz

DougS Silver badge

Re: Keeping your people from revolting

Yes but puritans and Nazis really aren't all that different. They believed in exercising extreme control over what people say, do, and think in their daily lives. The main way to tell them apart is whether they give allegiance to god or the fatherland.

Anyway, Nazis aren't "socialists" any more than North Korea is a "democratic people's republic".

DougS Silver badge

Re: Keeping your people from revolting

Well there isn't a whole lot of point in going back to the Moon over and over again. At least on Mars there are some mysteries to solve - though I think people living at least within the lifetime of anyone currently alive is folly.

There's little point in setting up a Moon base when you can do most of the same stuff (much of it better) in a space station and there already is one of those. Much better IMHO to invest in a bigger and better space station than going back to the Moon or trying to live there.

What a meth: Woman held for 3 months after cops mistake candy floss for hard drugs

DougS Silver badge

Re: I recently had to deal with the cops (and live in the US)

Maybe I should have contested it, but it would have been a three hour round trip to the county where it happened. Anyway, I couldn't dispute the fact that I DID "lose control" so I'm not sure if I could have it dismissed without lying to the judge, even if the cop didn't show (tickets are not automatically dismissed if the cop doesn't show, despite common advice to the contrary)

Trying to argue that the cop only wrote me the ticket because he was pissed I didn't go along with a search isn't likely to impress a judge. They are almost always on the side of police.

DougS Silver badge

Re: @eDog - why should the taxpayers be on the hook?

People who drive for a living have to carry insurance, even in states that don't require insurance for personal driving. Why should cops be exempt?

As for the idea it will increase cost because insurance companies want to maintain a profit, that's only true if you assume that cops will act with as much disregard for the law as they do now. If they face the loss of their job when too many complaints for excess brutality etc. are made against them, they won't do the things that currently result in payouts. Once you weed out the bad cops because they lose their jobs or quit because they only joined the force for the wrong reasons, the insurance rates shouldn't be all that high for experienced cops with clean track record.

DougS Silver badge

I recently had to deal with the cops (and live in the US)

I was driving on a wet evening and as I rounded a curve a deer was in the middle of the road and I swerved to avoid him, slid on wet leaves, and ended up in the ditch and couldn't get my car out. While I was waiting for roadside assistance a cop saw and stopped by to see if I was OK. After talking to me he claimed he could smell alcohol on my breath (I hadn't had anything for three hours at that point) and performed sobriety checks, which I passed easily.

Then he said he wanted me to blow into the portable breathalyzer, and I asked him if he had any indication from the sobriety check that I was intoxicated and was I required to do so and he said it was my choice so I told him I chose not to. He seemed visibly irritated I was questioning him, and asked me if he could "have a look in my car" and I refused. Obviously he had been hoping for a drunk driving arrest, and when he couldn't get one was fishing around for something.

He ended up citing me with a $200 ticket for "failure to maintain control". Maybe if I had played along with his power tripping he wouldn't have written me up, but even if I knew that for sure I still would have refused despite having no reason to worry about the search of my car. Just on principle I don't want to encourage that kind of shit with police, and I'm willing to pay $200 and get a hit on my license if I have to.

DougS Silver badge

Re: profilling

I find it very interesting that the title of the piece calls out that she's a "white woman". Maybe they are trying to make up for how for years news stories would always specify when suspects were black, but not mention their race when they were white. I see that in my local paper all the time, and I live in a pretty liberal university town.

DougS Silver badge

Taste test?

You've been watching too much TV. Cops don't taste suspected drugs to see if they are drugs in the real world!

DougS Silver badge

@eDog - why should the taxpayers be on the hook?

IMHO police officers should be required to carry liability insurance, for when they do something like shooting an unarmed black man whose family sues for a few million dollars. That way the ones who do that sort of thing will be forced out because the department won't want to employ someone whose insurance costs more than the next dozen officers.

Better yet the bad officers won't simply be able to go two towns over and get a job, their high rates would follow them around so no one will hire them and they'll have to find another occupation where they can't do as much damage.

Something like this woman's false imprisonment would be covered by overall departmental insurance, and hopefully the taxpayers would force changes in the department if their rate (as compared to similar departments) got too high from fiascos like this or because they have too many officers with personal claims made against them.

Not a price cut! Apple perks up soggy iPhone demand with rebate boost

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apple's problem

I suspect the BOM won't really back that up

You would be wrong. Teardowns put the cost of the OLED display at $120, versus less than half that for the XR. Are OLED displays from Shenzen cheaper? Probably, but nowhere near the quality. They don't want to buy from Samsung if they can help it (they buy some from LG but LG doesn't have much capacity for smartphone sized OLEDs yet) Samsung and LG have the only OLEDs that are as color accurate as LCDs.

DougS Silver badge

Apple's problem

Is that the OLED display adds a ton of cost, and while it is nice I'm pretty sure if I was buying today I'd go for the XR over the XS or Max because it isn't $250-$350 nice!

Apple probably doesn't mind the stock drop though - they still have $150 billion in stock buybacks planned over the next few years so having the stock fall by 25% means the buybacks are a better deal. I think if Apple's numbers aren't as bad analysts seem to think they will be, it will turn out Apple spent a lot more on buybacks this quarter than they have the last couple when the stock price was riding high. Gotta take advantage of those downturns and get more bang for your buck!

Plus it isn't just Apple, all the FAANG stocks have taken a big drop lately. They all went up too much too fast, and were overdue for a correction.

Gigabit? More like, you can gigabet the US will fall behind on super-fast broadband access

DougS Silver badge

Re: You Gotta Have Backhaul, Oh you Gotta Have Backhaul If You Want 5g...

Most cell towers in populated areas already have fiber run to them, so that's not a problem. For rural towers AT&T has come up with a pretty nifty technical solution called AirGig. It uses incredibly high frequencies so it actually travels in the air surrounding aerial power lines (using them as waveguides, essentially) and can support tens or hundreds of gigabits per second. So all the rural towers need are aerial power lines run to them (they need electricity anyway) and fiber connecting somewhere along that aerial tower path.

Very easy to install too since the devices clamp onto the power lines about every third pole or so, and take what little power they need from them. Just needs permission of the electric utility, but in rural areas of the US most electrical utilities are cooperatives owned by the customers, so getting permission will be very easy.

DougS Silver badge

Re: "Gigabit class wifi"?

Even if you have a 15GB patch for a game, if when you start up the game it says "please wait while we download and install this 15GB patch" you should bitch at the game developer for not having a background process to download the updates so they are already on your PC!

DougS Silver badge

Not really

Many wired services, at least in the US, are capped. If 5G is capped, but it is capped at 1 TB are you going to care?

DougS Silver badge

Downloading 5GB in seconds instead of hours

That's a false choice. I said nobody needs gigabit, not that one megabit is fine. Once you get past 250 Mbps there is little value in faster speeds for home.

What's the use case for downloading grandbaby movies in 50 seconds w/gigabit versus in 200 seconds with 250 Mbps or even 500 seconds with 100 Mbps? You aren't sitting there waiting for it to complete, unless downloading those movies is the ONLY thing you use your computer for. Whether 50 or 250 seconds, you will probably want to find something else to occupy your time while the download happens.

Besides, just because you have a gigabit to your ISP doesn't mean you have a gigabit all the way to the cloud provider where your grandbaby movies are stored. What good does it do you have to be faster if you can't maintain that speed all the way to your destination?

DougS Silver badge

If you have decent cellular where you live, you'll have fixed wireless 5G broadband available within a few years. If Frontier is still sticking to their guns and living by that statement they'll likely be driven out of business by that, but I have a feeling you won't mind if they are.

DougS Silver badge

Re: A variation of the early computer model then...

Something that was never said and was obviously not true doesn't imply that our needs will grow forever without limit. There is no use case for consumer gigabit broadband today. Never say never, but there's nothing today and nothing on the horizon.

People buy it because they hope it will fix their issues with Netflix stuttering at times or web pages that are slow to load, but those problems have nothing to with the link between your home and your ISP.

We needed more than analog modem speeds because our content consumption got richer - from text to GIF to MP3 to video, but now that we've got HD/4K video there's no richer sensory input remaining to create demand for the next big jump in connection speed. Maybe someday "cloud VR" will become a thing, but not anytime soon.

DougS Silver badge

"Gigabit class wifi"?

So in response to the correct claims that no one needs gigabit speeds today, they hope rolling out gigabit wifi will create a demand for gigabit internet service?

You still have to do something that actually USES a gigabit. Which you won't come close to needing/using with web browsing, gaming, streaming, or any typical tasks.

Montezuma's Revenge can finally be laid to rest as Uber AI researchers crack the classic game

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Re: Still..

It isn't as if it has taken this long due to the difficulty. It is just that hardly anyone cares about these games anymore, let alone cares about them enough to try to make a computer play them well. I assume the head researcher is of the right age to have played this as a kid and still have a soft spot for it, and decided to use it as a test.

If it had been paid the amount of attention chess has, it would have been cracked 25 years ago.

DougS Silver badge

@Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

We keep trying different approaches, discard the ones that don't work, and remember the ones that do?

But we aren't trying stuff totally at random, unless it is a really poorly designed game. There should be something that gives you a hint of which path is better than another. If you just blunder left/right/up/down at random until something kills you or you get points, that's a game not fit for anyone over 4.

Huawei MateBook Pro X: PC makers look out, the phone guys are here

DougS Silver badge

What's the point of 3:2

When the screen is still so tiny? Based on the dimensions, the keyboard would only be suitable for someone with small hands like Trump.

Why not give us something as wide as a 16:9 14" laptop but make the screen taller to get to 3:2. Then you get something like 16", and it is wide enough for normal sized keys!

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