* Posts by Sam Adams the Dog

55 posts • joined 6 Apr 2011


Core-blimey! Riddle of Earth's mysterious center finally 'solved' by smarty seismologists

Sam Adams the Dog

Gone fission....

@denarius I think the belief is still prevalent that the reason that the earth has not cooled down more than it in fact has since the birth of the solar system is that heat has indeed been generated by fission reactions deep within.

The mysterious life of Luc Esape, bug fixer extraordinaire. His big secret? He's not human

Sam Adams the Dog

Free Beer

Most importantly, if Repairinator accepted a monetary reward for fixing a bug, how would it buy a beer for its buddies?

Your RSS is grass: Mozilla euthanizes feed reader, Atom code in Firefox browser, claims it's old and unloved

Sam Adams the Dog

I've always liked RSS

I use feedly.com now and am pretty happy with it.

It seems to me that The Reg used to supply RSS links to individual authors. I used to use it to keep up with new postings by Alistair Dabbs, but I haven't been able to find an alternative for a long time. Perhaps someone can tell me if there is a way to do this that I am just missing.

I like RSS a lot and have been annoyed at its gradual demise.

Python joins movement to dump 'offensive' master, slave terms

Sam Adams the Dog


But don't we already have "client" and "server" for that purpose? Or is "server" now too politically incorrect? (Or too sullied by its predominant use to refer to web clients and servers?)

How about "exploiter" and "exploited", instead, or maybe "lord" and "serf"?


A decade on, Apple and Google's 30% app store cut looks pretty cheesy

Sam Adams the Dog

They still distribute the IOS version via the Apple store.

"This means it doesn't pay the high, non-negotiable distribution fee Apple and Google both require."

Not. They still distribute the IOS version through the Apple store, perhaps because that's the only way you can distribute and IOS app.

Microsoft takes another whack at killing off Windows Phone 8.x

Sam Adams the Dog


Actually, the Palm Treo phone was the precursor to the iPhone.

Extract, transform, load? More like extremely tough to load, amirite?

Sam Adams the Dog

How do the data integration platforms actually work?

@Trevor I thought the article was quite cogent and to the point re. ETL, which conceptually IMO is well used to apply to the problem, regardless of implementation. But I wish you had given as much detail about how the data integration platforms work as you did about the general ETL problems and its other solutions. The moreso because they are now your preferred solution. Perhaps you could do this in a future article.

Open source community crams itself into big tent

Sam Adams the Dog


It all sounds very tent-ative....

Are you an open-sorcerer or free software warrior? Let us do battle

Sam Adams the Dog

"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose"

With apologies to Kris Kristofferson....

I can't believe how many respondents are harping on the multiple meanings of "free." Stallman told us what he meant, and we all probably agree that "free" is a crummy word to describe it, because it's bound to be misunderstood if you haven't read Stallman's gloss. But enough already about that.

Having said that, I don't subscribe to Stallman's social agenda, which is very obviously what his definition of "free" is about. He reluctantly accepted LGPL as a compromise, understanding that without such compromises the Free™ SW he espouses is unlikely to gain traction. LGPL is Free™ technically, but is in practice as usable in the commercial context as un-free open source.

Stallman was already on the slippery slope with LGPL; from there it is only a small step to BSD, MIT, and Apache open-source licenses. But the earliest BSD license (1988) actually predated GPL (1989), so I would alter the author's remarks to rather state that Free™ is what open-source became after the ideologues showed up.

Hitchcock cameo steals opening of Oracle v Google Java spat

Sam Adams the Dog

Been there, done that

The federal appeals court that Oracle is appealing to previously took on an appeal by Oracle, which resulted in their remanding the case back to the district court for trial. The result was a unanimous jury decision for Google, which Oracle is now appealing. Which means that they have to get the federal appeals court to agree that no fair jury could possibly have rendered such a decision. Well, if so, it would seems that the federal court would have summarily ruled in their favor on the previous appeal. Aside from the merits of the case, the history does not augur well for Oracle.

If you're big enough, Cisco will cook you a private software SKU

Sam Adams the Dog

Wait a second....

Were they trying to run a cloud across Telco-owned routers at customer sites?

Sounds a bit like the days of Grid Computing, when an emergent concept (so-called because it never actually emerged ;-) ) was for cable companies to rent out (to third parties) computational resources on large numbers of set-top boxes that the cable companies owned. The boxes usually had MIPS chips, and they were nodes in a fast network connection, so what else did you need? Or so the argument went....

Firefox doesn't need to be No 1 – and that's OK, 'cos it's falling off a cliff

Sam Adams the Dog

Re: Two wrongs don't make a right

@Chemical Bob: "I would like to point out that three lefts do make a right."

Especially in radical politics.

You are the one per cent if you read Firefox's privacy spiels

Sam Adams the Dog

Tedious or Devious

Ummm... why do we have to choose? I'll take both (with my pony....)

Tanks for the memories: Building a post-Microsoft Office cloud suite

Sam Adams the Dog

I like the google suite, but....

I rarely use anything but the google suite. Easy to use, free of some brain dead Office legacy (like the fact that sorting in Excel on a column by default sorts only that column. I don't think I've ever wanted to do that). The interface and options are far more limited than in Office, and that's for the most part a good thing, to me. I find it nearly impossible to find a even feature that I've used in Office if I can't remember where it is to be found. Some features are entirely missing in the Google suite, but I'm not sure I've ever missed them; but whatever I've wanted to use in Google has been easy to find.

I have used the JavaScript API to Google Sheets to mock up a full working POC for a new facility I was developing for a web-based, spreadsheet-like existing product. It worked great. I'm sure I could have done it with VBA in Excel, but I was happy to be able to stay within the Google suite.

But clearly, the Google suite isn't under serious development & improvement. What you can do with a multiple selection is very limited. You can't define style profiles for re-use. The viewing options for a Doc are limited (even if you don't show a paginated view, you get a heavy horizontal line in the middle of a table cell at the place where a page break would be). Another thing I'd really like in Google docs is the ability to tag revisions with names. It's nice that you can recover to any edit in the past, but I'd still like to be able to tag and recover revisions myself.

What I miss most in ALL the suites I am aware of is the ability to have a single, tabbed document where each tab can be a different type of document: a doc in one tab, a spreadsheet in another, a presentation in another. I realize that today we use folders for that, but it gets quite cumbersome. So if I were writing a new suite of my own, that's the main differentiating feature I'd add.

Looking for an Ubuntu Unity close cousin? Elementary, my dear...

Sam Adams the Dog

Omygod! You actually like the Mac OS Finder?

I've been mainly a Mac user since (true confessions) 1985. I've simultaneously had Windows at home and at work, and for many years my main desktop at work was CentOS. More recently I was able to switch to Mac OS there, too (though I'm retired now).

To me, the single worst feature of the Mac has been the Finder. Why can't we just have a hierarchical display of files in the column, as on Windows? OK, a list of favorites would be a cute enhancement, but as as the only option? No effin' way!

My opinion only, but then again whose else could it be, right? Besides, IOAD™ ("I'm Only A Dog), so what do I know?


What a To-Do! Microsoft snuffs out Wunderlist

Sam Adams the Dog

On Letting a Thousand Flowers Bloom

If you're going to let a thousand flowers bloom, you'd better be willing to weed the garden.

Zut alors! Uber wrecked my marriage, fumes French businessman

Sam Adams the Dog

My favorite ...

My favorite is the Frenchman who sued Google because a street view depicted him peeing in his garden.

"The greater the truth, the greater the libel."

Pair programming – you'll never guess what happens next!

Sam Adams the Dog

What's next?

Clearly, what's next after pair programming is ménage-à-trois programming....

Good God, we've found a Google thing we like – the Pixel iPhone killer

Sam Adams the Dog

Re: I hope...

Hmm... gotta say... I've been using Android phone since it first came out; currently with a paid-off T-Mobile G3 running 6.0.

I have to say I've tried 3 or 4 Android keyboards, including Swype and have found them all awful.

I also assumed iPhone keyboards must be better, but maybe not. I suspect all cell-phone keyboards are awful. I wish we could get a built-in stylus and use Grafiti, like the early Palms. (I once had a Samsung with a mechanical keyboard, and didn't like it either.)

A finger banging or sliding across a small LED screen is a terrible input method.

BSODs of the week: From GRUB to nagware

Sam Adams the Dog

These are not real...

They are obviously all ads for Apple.

Google's become an obsessive stalker and you can't get a restraining order

Sam Adams the Dog

Re: Do people care?

I don't care very much, and to the extent that I do care, I like it more than I hate it.

I'm always amused when my phone tells me something that proves it knows where I am, what I'm doing and what I'm thinking; and in the far more frequent situation when it is dead wrong, I get to chortle over its stupidity in a self-satisfied manner.

BSODs at scale: We laugh at your puny five storeys, here's our SIX storey #fail

Sam Adams the Dog

Apple Ad?

Some years back, there was a BSOD displayed on the large sign on the Ernst & Young building, high above Times Square. We all joked that it was secretly an Apple ad.

Windows Update borks PowerShell – Microsoft won't fix it for a week

Sam Adams the Dog

How does something as bad as this get through QA?

Seriously. No hint of irony expressed or intended, or requested in reply.

How does something like this not get caught in their automatic testing? They have to have this, right?

If you really know enough about MS's QA process to comment, please do.

Thank you.

-Confused in NY.

Oracle Java copyright war latest: Why Google's luck is about to run out

Sam Adams the Dog

Mr. Orlowski seems to misunderstand fair use

IANAL, but AFAIK, neither is Mr. Orlowski. I thought I'd look a few things up -- mostly Wikipedia, and therefore, not the word of God, but relevant just the same, I believe.

1. Orlowski states "Fair use is not a right, it's an affirmative defense." According to the Wikipedia Fair Use page, "the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that fair use was not merely a defense to an infringement claim, but was an expressly authorized right, and an exception to the exclusive rights granted to the author of a creative work by copyright law." The parties agreed that ninth-circuit law applies, so this interpretation applies. (https://www.eff.org/files/2014/11/10/oracle_v_google_13-1021.opinion.5-7-2014.1.pdf, p.15.)

2. Back to Wikipedia: "The third factor assesses the amount and substantiality of the copyrighted work that has been used. In general, the less that is used in relation to the whole, the more likely the use will be considered fair. ¶Using most or all of a work does not bar a finding of fair use. It simply makes the third factor less favorable to the defendant.... the 'substantiality' of the portion used is considered in addition to the amount used." I don't know what fraction of the source code the 11K copied lines subsumes; not much, I would guess, though this is not the only consideration, as noted. But if all it does is call other code which Google themselves wrote, as we would expect in API interface code, the courts would likely consider this insubstantial, and rule in Google's favor. I do recall a lawyer's opinion being relayed to me to the effect that if the code is so simple that there is basically only one simple way it makes sense to do write it, copying it would be fair use. Admittedly, the example in question was something as trivial as "int add(int x, int y) { return x +y; }". But if the interface code just contained a little logic that terminated in calling functions (re)written by Google, presumably the same rule would applyl.

My Microsoft Office 365 woes: Constant crashes, malware macros – and settings from Hell

Sam Adams the Dog

Re: Interesting quote on Google's mail client

Heh. A user of Office and Windows should be the last to complain that someone else "keeps changing the UI"....

You've got to be ribbon me. ;-)

But I agree that the old ways are best. Long live BSD mail (or rather, Mail).



Sam Adams the Dog

Interesting quote on Google's mail client

"Google's mail client can only be described as the result of colliding MC Escher with Dr Seuss while simultaneously tearing a whole into multiple alternate space-times, allowing for an unpredictable and constantly shifting non-Euclidean design philosophy."

I've been using Gmail since it first came out, and the company I worked for prior to retirement has been using Google Apps for at least the past 5 or so years. The calendaring interface is good. I've used Windows in the past including Outlook, but just as a client; my only real knowledge of the server is the complaints such as yours, which I've been hearing forever. It's been many years since I've even used the client. I also use Office on a Mac (and have used it on Windows).

What don't you like about the Google mail client? I rather like it, and in the past I've used Thunderbird as well as Outlook, and of course in the very distant past (going back to 1983) whatever email client was available on the BSD Unixes of the day. (Who remembers zmail?) And of course, Apple's Mail on the Mac. And Pine for a while on Linux, before I switched to Thunderbird.

Even those in my company who don't like the Google mail client have found it non-problematic to use the client of their choice to pull from the Google mail server using IMAP or POP3. What they didn't like was the threaded nature of the Gmail "conversations." They much preferred to keep related emails in manually managed named folders of their own and view them individually. (That's what I did prior to gmail, but I had a hard time recalling which of my folders I had kept for a particular purpose, when there were several equally logical choices.)

I'd be curious to hear what you find so annoying about the Gmail client as to warrant your umm, vituperative, but inexplicit, outburst. Could you make it a bit more explicit? (The vituperative part is OK....)

P.S. Separately, and FWIW, I use Office 2011 on a Mac, but have never tried O365. I find that Google Docs and Sheets more than satisfies my personal needs for docs and spreadsheets, but have always fount PowerPoint indispensable for presentations. Also, I've found Word indispensable for some forms of collaborative document revision, especially for Legal documents (where I think Word is just better than Docs) or with others tied to Word (where, for informal collaboration, Google Docs actually has a collaboration model that I prefer).

Dell tempts hordes with MASSIVE DISCOUNTS on PCs

Sam Adams the Dog

Canadian money

Yes, but that's just $1000.60 [US].

Who you callin' stoopid? No excuses for biz intelligence's poor stats

Sam Adams the Dog

Re: Pearls to Swine

Neither is going to happen but neither is necessary. As the article makes clear, it is not Sales or Management that has to understand the math. It's the planners and developers of BI software, who presumably can understand the math and can translate the conclusion into fairly simple assertions.

Here's a great idea: Let's make a gun that looks like a mobile phone

Sam Adams the Dog

As in all else, Orwell is correct.


Linux fans may be in for disappointment with SQL Server 2016 port

Sam Adams the Dog

Is a Linux Fan some sort of IoT device?

Well, what sort of DB would such a device require? Hmmm...

Good thing this dev quit. I'd have fired him. Out of a cannon. Into the sun

Sam Adams the Dog

As in all else, Orwell is correct.

Fortran 90 and successors are actually reasonable languages. Fortran 77 and earlier didn't even have dynamic allocation. One of my more interesting projects was converting a multi-hundred-thousand-line Fortran 77 program to Fortran 90. Because allocation was static, (1) There were many places in the program where a given array could be first filled; and (2) It made use of "work arrays", which were utility arrays that were equivalenced (Fortran programmers know that word!) to different arrays of different types, depending the current input. Even when a single array was used for a single purpose throughout the code, depending upon the work flow, it might be first filled in any of a number of places. So it was a challenge to know when and how to allocate it. Fortunately, I already knew the program pretty well, but I have to say that by the end, I knew it much better. The program is still widely respected and in general academic and commercial use, and his been greatly advanced since I worked on it in the '90s.

AMD sued: Number of Bulldozer cores in its chips is a lie, allegedly

Sam Adams the Dog

The lawsuit and charge are a lot of crap

At one time, it was common to build computers without any floating-point units at all. By this lawsuit's argument, these computers had no cores at all. And by the way, there are lots of operations that don't require floating point, and it appears that each of what AMD calls a core can independently perform integer operations. So, for such loads, one can, at least in theory, get 8-core performance.

HP slaps dress code on R&D geeks: Bin that T-shirt, put on this tie

Sam Adams the Dog

It would be really terrible if...

... you were a new employee and had just laid in a fresh supply of torn shorts and tee-shirts.

AI finally understands primitive sketches – aka marketing presentations

Sam Adams the Dog

OK, so it could circle the square. But could it square the circle?

Sam Adams the Dog

As in all else, Orwell is correct.

but... but... if it's so much better than humans, how are humans able to judge its accuracy?

-Confused in NY.

Scientists love MacBooks (true) – but what about you?

Sam Adams the Dog

Right for the wrong reasons

I am a scientist/software-developer working for a company that sells software to scientists. Linux is our main development platform, and indeed most of our income comes from HPC apps that run on large clusters or GPU-enabled machines, including some on the cloud. Front end-end GUIs run on Linux, Mac and Windows (and, to some extent, in OS-agnostic browsers).

First, the idea that if you build on Linux it just runs on Mac is completely wrong. The back end is easier to port to Mac than Windows because of the shared *x heritage, but easier ≠ easy. Front-end cross-platform compatibility is made easier by our use of Qt, but on this level, it's actually a little bit easier to port Linux to Windows than Mac, because Linux and Windows share the paradigm of separate menu bars for each app, whereas Mac has "one true menu bar."

Though most of us internally have Linux on the desktop, most of us use Mac on our personal machines, including (a) developers developing and testing code at home and (b) field engineers demonstrating SW and helping customers on site.

This is in contrast to our commercial customers, 90% of whom use Windows. So (1) why do our field engineers use Macs, and (2) why do our commercial customers use Windows?

1. Our people use Macs because: (a) We can run Windows and Linux on VMs. You can't run a Mac VM on another platform. So we can support all three of our platforms from the same machine. (b) We do find the Mac easier to use (especially because many of us come from Linux/HPC backgrounds) and also because of the generally acknowledged convenience factors you mentioned. Because of this, our Systems group has to support Mac whether they like it or not; and indeed, many of our customers, especially in the academic world, use Mac. But again, our bread-and-butter is HPC apps that run on Linux clusters, including GPU-enabled clusters, and on Linux on the Cloud.

2. Our commercial customers use Windows primarily because that's what their IT department supports. But that begs the question, why is that? (a) Yes, there is a heritage of Windows support and a large body of Windows-trained system personnel out there to hire. It's hard to find IT admins who know Linux and Mac well, especially when the Linux side includes GPU-equipped boxes, large clusters and the cloud. And there is a large body of legacy enterprise-level desktop clients that run only on Windows. But (b), having been personally involved in efforts to support Windows HPC (which succeeded technically, but not economically), and who has had Windows on my desktop over periods of many years, and who has listened to my sysadms, the fact is that Apple has nothing to compete with the support that Windows has for enterprise-wide management of machine and software configurations. In an earlier post you gave a few alternatives for this sort of support, but, as you concluded, the extent of it does not compare with what is available for Windows.

The fact is that Apple has never really been interested in pursuing the enterprise market and creating such tools. They may never. In the meantime, the past few Mac OS X releases (Mavericks, Yosemite) have been rather unstable, and we are hearing more and more good things about Windows-10. So we could possibly see a reversal of preference, where even people like me decide that Windows makes more sense. But, to be honest, that would be a long time coming.

Google versus the EU: Sigh. You can't exploit a contestable monopoly

Sam Adams the Dog

Rockefeller and Amazon?

"Rockefeller was a shrewd cookie. He continued to push the price of kerosene and other oil products downwards, even when he was the dominant player."

Just like Amazon with AWS....

Erik Meijer: AGILE must be destroyed, once and for all

Sam Adams the Dog

Bunk is bunk

"Is Agile bunk? No, but much of what is sold as Agile has little to do with what you find in the Agile Manifesto.®"

Ahem. i'm only a dog (iOAD™), but:

Is Communism bunk? No, but much of what is sold as Communism has little to do with what you find in the Communist Manifesto.

Is Free Enterprise bunk? No, but much of what is sold as Free Enterprise has little to do with what you find in Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations."

Cf. The "No True Scotsman" fallacy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

Jony Ive: Apple isn't here to make money. And students shouldn't use computers so much

Sam Adams the Dog

Too easy.

It's easy to say you're not there to make money when you're rolling in it.

Saying students shouldn't use computers so much is like saying (back in my day) that kids shouldn't watch so much television. Both are ubiquitous because they are fun. The prissiness of the Ives of the world won't win any battles.

Firefox decade: Microsoft's IE humbled by a dogged upstart. Native next?

Sam Adams the Dog

Browsers make for impoverished interfaces

After many years of using both browsers and native apps, I'm convinced that browsers make for impoverished interfaces. There are several issues, but at the interface level, an important one is that many special keys (tab and control sequences) are co-opted by the browser itself, and are unavailable to the app interface without (1) requiring stentorian effort by the developers to overcome the browser's natural behavior, and (2) causing the user grief in some circumstances when the tab (let us say) does not carry out its expected browser-related function. Try adding a tab to your text in your web-based mail app.

Then, browser-based client-cloud apps are generally slow and unresponsive compared to local native apps. I use Google Spreadsheets a lot; I do love the way I can easily make them visible to other users. That's a big plus. But even on a Mac, Microsoft Excel is just so much more responsive, Or searching in Gmail, compared to the native app. These behaviors in the brower-based client-cloud app are just Bad. As I said, there are compensating virtues. These things are more due to the client-server aspect of the apps and of the poor performance of Google's cloud than they are to the browser itself; but nevertheless, there it is.

I'm not sure what the Mozilla guy is saying when he says native is dead. Is he saying native is dead for a browser performing ordinary browser functions, like search, display, and the simple filling of forms? This seems likely to me. Performance may lie in the web connectivity and server performance -- and by the continual serving up of stupid ads. But that's all part of the browser-based umm, "ecosystem". A native-coded browser isn't going to help you there.

But if he's talking about apps in general, like number crunching apps, including large spreadsheets, he's clearly way, way off base.

It's a pain in the ASCII, so what can be done to make patching easier?

Sam Adams the Dog

As in all else, Orwell is correct.

"Looking at my own desktop, it has been pending updates for about four months now, even though I know full well how important patching is.:"

It was better in the old days when your computer crashed several times a week, relieving you of the necessity of pressing the Restart button....

And by the way, don't you love the apps that tell you you need to upgrade only when you open them to use them?

BlackBerry claims ugly duckling Passport mobe is a swan in the offing

Sam Adams the Dog

Too awkward

I agree with those who say it looks too hard to hold and with those who point out that it's too big to put into a pocket. If I have to carry it in a bag, I'd rather have a tablet, so no good for me, unfortunately.

If they had only made it about 30% larger and kept the large keyboard and square screen, it would have made a great tablet. And as for those who buy note-size phones and keep them in a large wallet, as one responder alleged, where do they put the large wallet?

On the other hand, this may be a good solution for women who are never without a purse but don't need a larger tablet.

We got behind the wheel of a Tesla S electric car. We didn't hate it

Sam Adams the Dog

As in all else, Orwell is correct.

Hey, regarding how you'll feel about the touch screen 20 years from now, I'd say don't worry. In 20 years, people will be producing "retro" Tesla-S control software so that your new car or spaceship or whatever it is will look and feel like a Tesla S. Of course, 10 years from now, it will feel embarrassingly antiquated. May you live a long life.

Walking while texting can – OUCH! – end badly, say boffins

Sam Adams the Dog

And whatever you do...

... don't try chewing gum at the same time.

iPad Air peels off in racy pics for wide-eyed geeks, reveals 'worst battery ever

Sam Adams the Dog

About those guitar picks....

Will Fender Heavies do, or do I have to slim down to Mediums? (Just askin'....)

Torvalds frustrated at missing simultaneous release

Sam Adams the Dog

You can read about it in your bible.

"Windows 3.11" -- that's a bible verse, isn't it?

Linux 3.11 must then be the second coming. Behind schedule, as they tend to be.

Hallelujah, praise the Lord, and Amen, anyway.

So, who here LURVES Windows Phone? Put your hands up, Brits

Sam Adams the Dog

Can't you just call it?

@Vociferous "the only way to access the phone from another devices is via the worst, most insultingly poorly designed and misfeatured, piece of software I've ever had inflicted on me"

You mean you can't just call it?

Customer service rep fired for writing game that mocks callers

Sam Adams the Dog

That is very unfair

He has a good point, irregardless.

El Reg contemplates the ultimate cuppa

Sam Adams the Dog

As in all else, Orwell is correct.

When my master was a grad student in chemistry in the '70s, his advisor once asked him which is better: adding tea to milk or milk to tea. He had no idea. The advisor said, "You should always add milk to tea, because then the tea will heat the milk up immediately and if the milk is just beginning to go bad, the proteins will denature and curdle. You will know it right away. If you add tea to milk, this may not happen and you could unwittingly wind up with a sour cup of tea." So the Royal Whoever They Are are in the unenviable position of being wrong for the right reason. And Orwell is of course sound on the subjects of strength and sugar. Let us drink to him -- tea, or something stronger.

Infographic: The road to desktop virtualisation

Sam Adams the Dog

Infographics don't suck, but....

i'm only a dog, but this infographic looks pretty good to me. The question i would have, though, is how the list of "hurdles" was created. In His company (my owner's that is), provision of applications directly to the end user via virtualization has been impeded by poor performance of the virtualized applications, especially in IO, and has been abandoned. However, virtualization of back-end services has been successful. It seems strange that the above hurdle was not presented as an option to the respondents.



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