* Posts by abufrejoval

19 posts • joined 29 Jan 2014

What's this under the Christmas tree? A gift-wrapped Mellanox, for Microsoft? Say it ain't so

abufrejoval

Need a new type of anti-trust

Of course, Microsoft won't dominate the network market after that acquisition. But as a web-hoster you can now much to easily find yourself in a position, where your ability to compete with Azure is impaired by using Mellanonx switches and NICs.

I don't like this one bit better than Bigfoot being bought by Amazon, Google or Facebook (nor RedHat by IBM for that matter).

Mark Zuckerberg did everything in his power to avoid Facebook becoming the next MySpace – but forgot one crucial detail…

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Actually, most people enjoy being lied to... until they find out

In Germany's "Guardian" these days (http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/claas-relotius-reporter-forgery-scandal-a-1244755.html) we see proof of the opposite: The best lies get awards, because they make such beautiful stories, much better than the soul numbing prose the real world etches into the lines below our eyes: The truth is so difficult and so complex, we simply yearn for something beautiful and simple.

That's why populists flourish and Facebook became an Internet supernova. Just because populist typically hang after a bang and supernovas leave nothing worth looking at, doesn't mean that history won't repeat.

I'll make to copy all the great tech stuff they open source and publish these days before they're gone; something else will crop up: Always does.

Memo to Microsoft: Windows 10 is broken, and the fixes can't wait

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Re: Am I missing something here?

Windows NT 3.51 was ok, especially the multi-user variants from Citrix and NCD (X11 support).

But NT 4 was a nightmare: Any cheap printer driver that wasn't thread-safe could crash a terminal server with 50 users on it just because they decided to go against everything Dave Cutler had been preaching and put device drivers at ring 0 to make them fast enough to beat Apple.

abufrejoval

Re: At least the Stasi had ...

No they didn't, they had shitty commuist stuff. I am ever so glad they didn't and keep waking up drenched in cold sweat, imagining "what if?" they had today's technology at their disposal. As with the Nazis, it wasn't the brightest who ruled at the top of this repressive organzation, if only because Mielke was little more than a shifty bastard and brute.

abufrejoval

Re: "Sell Office on Steam, make sure it runs on Linux, too"

Edge, Chrome etc.:

I guess what I dislike most about Edge is that it's Windows-only. If it were simply another browser besides Firefox, Opera and Chrome it would be worth a try, but tying it to Windows and pushing it they way they do is just not doing anyone a favor. Every time I switch the preferred browser to Firefox, I have to click extra and confirm that I really am not interested in even trying Edge: I won't try, because they don't make it a simple choice. And I won't try, because they overwrite that setting on every upgrade for every user: An upgrade is supposed to maintain the previous settings, but they overwrite them every time. It shows lack of respect for user choices and I won't even consider using one of their two browsers precisely for that reason.

Of course I am also not using Chrome if I can avoid it, for the exact same reason: They make it hard to do what I want. I want to delete all cookies when I close the browser. Chrome makes that extra difficult and you're left thinking, that "delete all" actually means "delete all non-Google cookies" to them.

That's at least lack of respect if not downright fraud, so I treat Chrome with the respect it deserves.

Everybody has a bias, but I tend to use what fits best. I do prefer running my desktop on Windows over running it on Linux, because it tends to be snappier and I am quite simply more used to it. In fact I like it so much, I'd love to run Linux Docker containers on Windows without having to switch the OS. They come with a Linux base, because that's what developers use and because it does a rather good job at most things servers: Even Microsoft seems to agree. Does that make me a Linux dreamer? Not in my book.

I own Crossover Linux and regularly try running Windows applications on Linux as well, just to see how or if things are progressing. Typically that doesn't last very long and I am back to Windows. Actually these days I even prefer RDP over X11, even if X-Windows originally (except perhaps for SunView or NeWS) was the only proper remote GUI environment und much better than the first MS terminal servers.

Have you tried Microsoft Office for Android? I cannot see it being any worse than the Windows variant. And there is plenty of other software out there, which gives a much better desktop experience than some of the 'native' Linux apps. I run PhoenixOS, an Android-x86 variant for PCs as one of the many operating systems I regularly track for their evolution. It's perhaps the best desktop OS I have found for low-power Atom computers: Much snappier and flexible than any CentOS/Ubuntu/FreeBSD/PC-BSD/Hackintosh or Windows.

I actually run ext4 on Windows via a Paragon Systems add-on. It's just that they tried to position ReFS against ZFS and Btrfs and failed somewhere mid-way, wasting a tons of engineering time they could have spent on QA. AFAIK file systems can be dynamically loaded on NT and thus not risk violating the GPL. NT at its base was very much designed by Dave Cutler to be a multi-kernel-API OS, supporting OS/2, Posix, Win32 and NT from what I remember.

I have an MSDN subscription so I typically run Windows server editions on my machines, if only because that way the store and all the data forwarding are disabled by default. I like any-2-any RDP, NFS services and some other stuff the server editions activate, but I hate drivers which fail, because they won't support 'servers' that are actually also workstations: Either way there are annyoing restrictions which are all politics.

And unfortunately Hyper-V is about the worst hypervisor, Virtualbox wonderfully consistent across Windows/Linux, while it will actually use KVM as hypervisor on a Linux host and dropped whatever hypervisor they originally had. I guess if Hyper-V as type 1 hypervisor could be used with VirtualBox the way KVM is on Linux, I would prefer that to using VirtualBox as type 2 as I do now: Because I move VMs between Windows and Linux hosts quite regularly.

Did I say that I need access to Nvidia GPUs in the Docker containers for CUDA applications? Not sure that's anywhere close to working on Windows.

Vulkan is a standardized API. If Microsoft had serious quality concerns about the quality of the API, I am quite sure the Khronos group would welcome their contributions, especially for a new Ray-Tracing extension or Augmented Reality.

But instead Microsoft is pushing their proprietary derivatives, the way they have always done. And I give them the respect they deserve for that.

abufrejoval

Here are some tips on how to reduce the testing workload

Slowing down, is not really an option, slimming down should help making the workload manageable.

Short version: Concentrate on the Operating System, not an ecosystem of vendor lock-in that nobody wants

Detailed version for things to kill:

- The microsoft shop or store or whatever it's called: Never used it, never needed it, deactivated it. Nobody wants a Microsoft software tax on applications. Sell Office on Steam, make sure it runs on Linux, too

- Edge, Internet Explorer: You are not a browser company, but more importantly: Nobody wants you to be. How many more decades do you need to understand that it's not a good thing to do what nobody wants you to do?

- Anything Xbox: Steam works better, Uplay and Origin are ok, nobody wants yours!

- Stop this editions crap: S, Home, Professional, Ultimate, Enterprise, Server, Client... Just create a single server edition, eliminate all that license checking stuff, because it breaks things

- Sell the OS at a reasonable price per user independently of computers: Don't penalize people who run several perhaps even a dozen different physical/virtual computers or just OS images that get moved/swapped between PCs. The ease with which a single SSD can be booted on a handful of systems is one of the major advantages Windows 10 currently has even over any Linux, is something I have come to enjoy (with VLK enterprise editiions). Look at Android (any number of devices) or Steam (no concurrent use) for how to not penalize buying more hardware, when they only ever use one at any given time.

- stop trying to play catchup with Apple: Why would anyone want to sink that low?

- stop collecting user data

- stop sending collected data to Microsoft servers

- stop Cortana and this Microsoft specific OS embedded AI stuff: Create usable AI API frameworks which allow users to chose Cortana, Alexa, Siri or Whatnot if they want, but don't try to make it the new MediaPlayer, InternetExplorer etc.: You're evidently too small a company to do that properly

There are also things to add:

- support running Android applications, including Play Store, seamlessly

- support running Linux applications, including native Linux kernel API docker containers, seamlessly

- native Linux file system support

I got really big machines with dozens of cores, hundreds of gigabyte of RAM, Atoms and many things in between: Every month I am banging my head on the table when I see how slowly patches get installed, while nothing, absolutely nothing is going on these machines: One core is burning hot, no network or storage I/O of any kind, just some code ruminating on: "To copy, or not to copy this file, that is the question..." Pitiful!

Unforgivable sins:

- Knowing "better": At one point in time, Microsoft decided that users who click "shutdown" on their computers, would rather 'hibernate' their systems, even if that is a different button on my Classic Shell (without which Windows 10 would be unusable). So whenI then take that SSD and start it on a different computer, it looses all the data and changes in the hibernate file, because the new computer has different hardware and cannot just blindy resume a suspended image. I knew that this would be the case, which is why I hit "shutdown". But Microsoft knew better and after a couple of swaps forth and back I finally figured out I had to hit a greyed out option somewhere deep in the energy settings...

That's how engineers just following manager's orders get shot on their way home

- Forced Windows upgrade etc.

Generally:

- Don't go for world domination, try being better than the competition for a change, that might just be enough to ensure a leading position

- Concentrate on slimming down

- If you really think the world needs a new file system, make sure it also works with Linux

- work with open standards e.g. Vulkan instead of DX12. If Vulkan is worse, make it better

'Prodigy' chip moonshot gets hand from Arm CPU guru Prof Steve Furber

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I was thinking MIPS and Mill/Belt architecture

My first reaction to moving smarts from hardware to software is "MIPS learned the hard way".

And when it comes to a promising new architecture fulfilling the aforementioned goals, the last rather exciting thing I saw was the Mill Computing belt architecture (https://millcomputing.com) fabulously expounded by Ivan Godard in sessions easy to find on YouTube.

Voyager 1 fires thrusters last used in 1980 – and they worked!

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Re: Code does not deteriorate

even bit rot requires a radiation source to provide the energy and there is only one, very nearby. So since bit rot would be self-inflicted I assume they designed the nuclear battery and the storage to stay out of each other's hair.

abufrejoval

Even wear and tear...

...requires something to play with and there isn't

anything

or

any

one

out

.

.

.

there

Unloved Microsoft Edge is much improved – but will anyone use it?

abufrejoval

Edge only runs on Windows, right?

And just who uses Windows exclusively?

It's like building the world's greatest coffee machine which only runs on 400V three phase power.

Dark times for OmniOS – an Oracle-free open-source Solaris project

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ZFS, Dtrace and much better containers on Linux

First time Linus published his stuff, I laughed: I worked at a research lab and had full UNIX souce code as well as a far superior micro-kernel OS (similar to L4) in my hands. I also had a 80486 running both pre-SCO Unixware and 386BSD (I had even run Microport Unix on a 80286). And I had SunOS running on a Sparcstation 1. Couldn't see me using Linux for years, especially after reading the task switch source code, which used the horrible Intel task state segments.

I guess for Linux the GPL made quite a difference some time later.

While I continued to evaluate all those BSD and Solaris variants for x86 during those decades, I finally gave up BSD and Solaris when everything I wanted had arrived at Linux: ZFS is as good as it will be outside Oracle on Linux, Dtrace I thankfully do not need and systemd to me is mostly something Solaris inspired.

The biggest difference, however is containers, more specifically OpenVZ containers. Those have been so much better, more mature, manageable and given a degree of flexible control, that VMs couldn't ever achieve, while I could still use or combine them with VMs if I wanted to. These days OpenVZ gives me a unified API and CLI to run containers, even nested ones with Docker as well as KVM VMs, while I can still run VirtualBox or VMware Workstation as type 2 hypervisors.

Have a look and dry your tears: https://openvz.org/Virtuozzo

Been running it for a decade with PCI-DSS compliance on hundreds of servers and never looked back to paying for an operating system.

Smell burning? Samsung’s 'Death Note 7' could still cause a contagion

abufrejoval

Note 7 was never the best Android phone by far

I bought the original Note the minute it got out: The size was just right for my eyes and fingers.

I also bought the Note 3 the minute it got out, because the Note 1 had issues with performance and battery life that were hard to ignore when you put an SIII or pretty much everything else at the time next to it.

The Note 3 still is pretty much a perfect phone and I continue to use it (actually the Note 1 ist also still active) and thanks to new batteries, Mumbi silicon sleeves and glass covers they all look pristine and perform at their respective optimums.

Thanks also to a large community of ROM developers both run Marshmallow with current security fixes.

Of course they are rooted, because these are miniature PCs, which happen to have a phone built in. Can't have anyone mess around with my PC, in fact that's illegal where I live, quite independent of who produced or sold the device: You modify software or data on a computer without the owner's permission you go to jail around here (Germany).

So what's wrong with the newer Notes?

You can't root them any more, which means you can't take control of a computer you bought. That means you can't trust it any more as somebody else has more control than you. Could be Samsung, could be Gooble (spelling intentional) could be anyone with sufficient criminal energy, but evidently not you, the owner. Doesn't get any more wrong that that, honestly.

You can't store the data outside the mPC itself any more (somewhat fixed on the 7 actually), because SDcards were first banned then allowed back with limited functionality. So if your phone decides to die or break on you, there is no way to get the data off. Primary storage of data on SDcards mean that you can simply take the card to another mobile or your desktop PC and get things off.

You can't properly protect your mobile computer from breaking, because they went with design over function. The metal body has absolutely no functional advantage over the previous plastic and once the device is in a proper silicon cover, which protects the backside, all edges and even the front via raised silicon edges, the body material is invisible anyway. The only thing that matters on an mPC is the screen anyway and that needs protection via a changeable hard glass cover that goes right under the raised edge of the silicon cover.

At least that's how it was until Samsung lost their sense and started this edge nonsense, which mostly means that both the edges and the front of the device can no longer be properly protected with a silicon sleeve and a glass cover.

I don't make it a sport throwing my phone around like others do, but it does get dropped from time to time. It drops in rain, it drops on tiled floors and even on rocks from time to time, because those are often around when you run to catch a plane, a bus, a metro or just need to open a door while managing kids and groceries at the same time. I don't expect engineers to create a device that doesn't scratch nor spinter, I just want them to allow me to compensate in a way that suits me.

I got Notes, because I have large hands and bad eyes and I don't need nor care for a fashion accessory. I'd much rather have a docking station with USB 3 or better to hook up Ethernet, at least one external Monitor, keyboard and mice to turn the mPC into a better desktop replacement: By now it certainly has enough computing power and storage capacity (via SDcard or USB) to do that.

Samsung's Note series started as a mobile PC Android device oriented towards professional users. And at one point they took one wrong term after the other, until they ruined it completely.

In my eyes they completely deserved what they got, but because they designed a mPC which was wrong in just about every way. But I'm afraid they won't understand the message just as evidently the author of this article didn't.

There is a gadget or design accessory mobile phone already out there. It's called the S7 or S7 Plus, or Edge: I don't remember nor do I care. There is a market for these devices and Samsung should serve it as best they can.

But why on earth did they have to turn the professional device into such a disaster?

Got myself a LeEco Le Max 2 a couple of weeks ago.

Qualcom 820, 6GB RAM, 64GB UFS, 5.7" 2560x1440 display.

Yes it has a metal body, but it came with a silicon case and a glass screen cover.

I ordered 2 extra sets, just because they might be more difficult to get later.

Can't swap the battery, can't get extra external storage, which I find sad.

But it's easy to root, it now runs Canogemod 13, neither bloat nor spyware.

And at €350 it was so cheap I could afford to buy the slightly "smaller" version (4GB RAM/32GB UFS) @ €230 on top without reaching the price of a single Samsung pocket warmer.

The only problem that I have is that a weakened Samsung allows Google to pursue their gApple strategy with even less opposition.

May both get what they deserve!

Asking for big money without delivering significant value to the customer tends to annoy them.

Windows 10 pain: Reg man has 75 per cent upgrade failure rate

abufrejoval

I've installed Windows 10 on older hardware than that

I've installed Windows 10 on quite a few Core 2 machines, Acer notebooks that started with single core Pentiums and which eventually got upgraded with T3200 CPUs + SSDs but still use chipset graphics, various home-grown desktops with ASUS P45 boards and of course some newer stuff as well.

Clean installs generally worked much better, I'll admit freely. When it came to migrations, Windows 10 mostly failed when there was no separate boot manager partition or if that was too small. Since quite a few of these machines had started their life with Windows XP and then migrated to Windows 7, many of them just had one primary partition and Windows 10 doesn't seem to like that. Others came from a larger hard disk and had been squeezed to a smaler 128GB SSD with all partitions adjusted proportionally. But a 50MB boot manager partition isn't big enough for the upgrade, inceasing its size via Paragon typically help things along.

Acronis is a standard part of my kits so I'm pretty sure I went through some upgrades with Acronis installed and preserved. Paragon also survived, I think.

Drivers seem to work from as far back as Windows XP if you get them in 64-Bit (or install a 32-Bit Windows 10, I guess). Certainly Windows 7 drivers generally work, but may lack some features.

I've been avoiding UEFI in the past and I keep avoiding it today, which may have helped keeping things simple and Linux compatible.

Because I tend to run Windows 7, Windows 10, Windows 2008R2/2012R2, ESX and various Linux or even BSD flavors in parallel on all these systems just by popping in another SSD (used to be floppy disks ;-)

If you are thinking about leaving Windows and can't get comfortable with Linux you could try running RemixOS, basically a desktop flavored Android x86. Microsoft Office is available for that and your Office 365 licenses can be reused. Of course there is plenty of other Office suites which also run on Remix like Softmaker's, which are surprisingly good and proper quick, even on old hardware or low-cost Atoms.

But Office 2010 actually also runs under Linux if you use CodeWeavers Crossover extended WINE emulator.

Generally there are far more options than you tend to believe.

Never-never chip tech Memristor shuffles closer to death row

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too good to live

The videos with Martin Fink and Meg Whitman promising usable Memristor DIMMs in 2016 is still on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33WPphbFeDY) and I'm quite astonished both are still around after failing to deliver.

I found the stony faces of the Intel and Microsoft CEOs especially telling towards the end of that video, where Meg happily invited the other American IT giants to follow HP's technology lead.

If the Memristor promise were to become true in every aspect just as Stan Williams hinted, it quite obviously would have destroyed more IT market value than it would have created. Essentially you'd have to rename Silicon Valley to Titanium Dioxide Valley, remove all spinning rust and dynamic from memory, rewrite all transistor logic in memristor cross-latches and generally go back to a single level address space whilst we wait for neuromorphic computing eat up what's left of IT niches beyond SAP and Excel.

On the other hand, when you look at the price and performance points of 3D Xpoint, slotting almost perfectly in between DRAM and Flash, you can't help thinking that disruptive technology never naturally lands exactly where the sales guys want it and that we're being played, chipzilla scale.

It's quite clear Intel doen't want the Memristor (unless it's theirs), Micron wants what Intel tell them, Samsung would love the memristor without paying and Hynix is struggling badly to stay alive.

I hope that we'll hear the story behind the "failure" of the memristor eventually and my feeling is that it didn't fail for technical reasons, but was stopped because too much IT spending would have become unnecessary.

And where IT giants suffer, consumers must suffer, too, right? So Intel did the proper thing (and product placement), where HP failed to respect it's position in the pack and it's not even an anti trust issue!

Intel quite cleary said that they wouldn't support any other NV-RAM technology than Apache Pass aka 3D Xpoint in their x86 chipsets and CPUs just like you won't see Power-8 or ARM supported 3D Xpoint DIMMs, because Intel has the right to protect its home territory.

It would probably take a China size opponent to challenge that.

The concept of hundreds of terabyte of non-volatile DRAM speed storage in a smart phone form factor certainly got my creative juices flowing.... and then left me with few meaningful outlets, because no current battery would survive a single compute pass across the complete range.

NSX Daddy Martin Casado leaves VMware to become a VC

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Too Honest

I remember his session at VMworld in Barcelona about a year ofter the purchase.

Pretty much the first thing he said is that you *don't* need VMware when you run your own software as a service, because any sane IT service company would obviously put all netelligence into the application layer.

He explained that VMware (and NSX) are all about recreating as much as possible the management bliss that the likes of Facebook and Google enjoy for legacy IT shops.

Basically he said

1. VMware isn't for all of you

2. VMware won't make you perfectly happy

and was actually surprised they didn't shoot him right on the stage.

How utterly refreshing and inspiring, though!

I wish him the best!

Who's right on crypto: An American prosecutor or a Lebanese coder?

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Smartphone is a brain extension not a home: Would you tolerate a brain search warrant?

New things, new rules: Once you do such things as planting seeds you have to rethink property.

So a smartphone isn't exactly a home or exactly your brain, but I'd argue it's a lot more like a brain extension, a digital prosthestic limb or like your spouse and neither you yourself nor your spouse typically have to testify against you.

So for starters I believe seizing your smartphone is already getting awfully close to mental (and physical) abuse (especially once you start implanting the "smart" part of the phone).

You can be imprisoned (for good reasons) and so can be your smartphone along with you. In such a case your communication with the outside world may be cut completely or monitored (unless it's with your attorney) and so can that communication which passes through your smartphone to the outside under such circumstances. But you're still allowed to think, talk to yourself and the digital part of your brain.

In other words, where you are, who you talk to, across which physical or logical limits your communication crosses, determines the level of privacy you can enjoy.

But we better establish that your brain will always remain private, before they manage to actually scan that constantly for your thoughts.

New jurisdiction must be developed along these lines if you want to avoid the kind of wars that raged between hunter gatherers and planters.

Samsung grows 'custom ARM' brains to outsmart arch-nemesis Apple

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Deepening the value chain has always been Samsung's motto

I remember buying a Samsung notebook ten years ago for my wife: Main motivator was price/feature set on paper. Once I got my hands on it, the first thing I noticed was the quality and finish. Of course I had to add extra memory so when I opened it up, the next thing I noticed was that it used Samsung components exclusively, wherever that was possible: Display, DVD, disk, memory etc. nothing but Samsung.

It was quite evident even then that Samsung would have preferred Samsung CPU, Chipset, OS and applications.

It's still working just fine so, of course, I never bought her another notebook, from Samsung or anyone.

Samsung only ever used Qualcom SoC, where and when their Exynos wasn't competitive: They aren't suicidal about using their own stuff, just persistent and probably very aggressive. The smear campaign against the 810 is as sure an indicator as the sabotage aginst LG washing maschines.

An EMC-HP Borg cube will totally ANNIHILATE its storage worlds

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Imagine the Memristor was real...

Imagine for a moment, that what Meg Whitman and Martin Fink announce in the opening session of day 2 of HP Discover might actually come true:

Imagine the memristor is real: Hard disks, flash and all DRAM up to L3 cache will no longer be able to compete with memristors on performance, energy consumption, physical density and price per unit of storage.

Meg Whitman literally says she is betting the company on this happening.

Now imagine an EMC without spinning disks and flash.

Imagine also an HP without any of those.

What both will still need is customers and those customers will need to run their software and services to make money and pay HPEMC to make it happen.

HP is trying very hard to make the transition for those customers as easy and painless as possible and that may even include *not* lowering their prices as fast and as sudden as the memristor technology might be able to (truly heartwarming that!)

Parts of EMC are working very hard on creating software assets, which manage compute workloads, geographically dispersed policy managed data and software defined everything.

Those parts and the customer base of HPEMC is what is attractive to the enterprise part of HP.

The rest will follow the vacuum tube and core memory.

If you can spare the time, please have a lookt at the full HP discover session:

(youtube prefix) watch?v=33WPphbFeDY

And then pay close attention to the joint session (starting ~54:04) with HP, Intel and Microsoft, which is two old time HP bedfellows who are very carefully prodded by Meg Whitman to either follow along, or join the vacuum tube. You can see how both of these senior execs feel somewhat uneasy at being offered a junior partner role, while their brain should be telling them that it's the best they could hope for, when HP has an exclusive technology lead which makes the AMD/Intel gap look miniscule.

Intel clearly isn't as much into SoCs as HP would expect them to be and Microsoft ist mostly about customer base and protecting HP revenue flow.

IBM dive-bombs into all-flash array pool

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Would have been nice to have SkyEra join in

For me they are the company which is one step ahead at least conceptually.

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