back to article Take it or break it: the return of the drop test

In flagrant negation of the forces of nature, I seem to be growing less clumsy as I get older. That is, I break fewer things and do it less often. This is partly the result of a series of conscious decisions to be more careful. One such was choosing to don my spectacles before making breakfast rather than after, thus cutting …

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  1. gazzton

    So . . . .

    . . . . that's what an "old school technology reviewer looks like?

    Who knew?

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: So . . . .

      We finally got a real picture of Verity Stob! Hurrah!

  2. nuked
    Pint

    I approve of the female

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >I approve of the female

      I don't- the JPEG compression artefacts are far too obvious.

      1. frank ly
        Unhappy

        I was ok with it ...

        ... until I noticed the bright red shoes forming an unfortunate contrast with the black jacket. Not enough thought goes into these kind of pictures.

        1. Silverburn
          Coat

          Re: I was ok with it ...

          ...too much jacket, not enough shoes, eh Frank? ;-)

          1. frank ly
            Gimp

            @Silverburn Re: I was ok with it ...

            Oh good, someone else who understands the aesthetics of it all.

        2. Benjol

          Re: I was ok with it ...

          And I was until I saw what she was doing to the parquet with those heels!

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        That's because you are an un-reconstructed old-fashioned sexist el'reg reader

        The modern metro-sexual caring-sharing new-man looks beyond the jpeg artifacts to imagine the real women within.

    2. TRT Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      At least...

      she'll have RTFM.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: At least...

        Probably got the qualification as well. A paid consultant perhaps :)

      2. James Micallef Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: At least...

        First time I've realised RTFM can be read with the 'F' as an adverb rather than an interjection

  3. Mark #255
    WTF?

    Going for the FHM demographic?

    Is there any real need in this article for a photo of a semi-naked woman?

    1. Small Wee Jobbie
      Trollface

      Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

      Can you find a reason NOT to have a picture of said semi-naked women?

      1. Mark #255
        Mushroom

        Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

        Several reasons, actually, @Small Wee Jobbie:

        It makes the article NSFW (in many Ws, probably).

        It's insulting (it suggests that readers click links to see titillating pics, not to, you know, read the article).

        It's irrelevant (unless you're seriously suggesting that she's either carrying out a stress test, or is correctly attired to carry out such tests).

        It's irrelevant, 'cos this is the internet, and if you want pictures of scantily-clad women (or men, or goats), then they're over there. But please don't let el Reg get cluttered up with irrelevant irrelevancies.

        And FFS, it's another brick in the wall of mindless Page 3/Daily Mail/Heat/Closer/etc objectification of women

        for no apparently better reason than "because I like looking".

        That's why.

        1. Flawless101
          Gimp

          Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

          Wonder if you would care so much if it was a guy in the pic.

          1. Mark #255

            Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

            Similarly attired?

            Certainly.

            But of course, we both know that's a straw man.

          2. Captain Underpants
            Thumb Down

            Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

            A bloke in a similarly-irrelevant-to-the-claimed-context outfit, posed and dressed in such a way as to suggest that the undercarriage may be flapping in the breeze (but just about hidden from plain view) and with no real relevance to the article?

            No, no, of course that would be completely different.

            If you're going to defend randomly sticking photos of semi-naked women in articles allegedly about technology, at least be honest while doing so rather than using crap straw-man arguments. It makes you look less of a prat.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

              *shrug* She's not semi-naked, unless we're now living in some kind of conservative world where showing leg is considered semi-naked.

              If anything the best reason to have it is to make irrational people angry, so I get to laugh at all the "it's objectifying blah", "but what if it was a man blah", "it's irrelevant blah", what it is, is a girl showing off her legs and probably earning a reasonable amount of cash for a perfectly legitimate career.

              As far as I'm concerned you could have a stark bollock naked man with a sledge hammer and his wang flapping proud and I'd probably think much the same as I do with this lass and her legs doing whatever it is she's doing. "Heh" actually if it was naked man I'd go direct to the comments to see the unbridled rage!

              1. Captain Underpants
                Thumb Down

                Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

                @AC 14:05

                It's not "showing leg", she's at best got a greyhound skirt on and at worst is wearing nowt from the waist down. Which, you know, is fine if its what you want to look at - but it's bog-all to do with the article and the kind of thing that's considered NSFW in many workplaces.

                Nothing against the woman in question doing whatever she feels like doing in front of a camera - my objection is the use of her picture in an article where "tangential" is too generous a description of the connection between the two.

            2. Dave 126 Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

              >A bloke in a similarly-irrelevant-to-the-claimed-context outfit, posed and dressed in such a way as to suggest that the undercarriage may be flapping in the breeze (but just about hidden from plain view) and with no real relevance to the article?

              Here you go:

              http://blackbooks.wikia.com/wiki/Dave's_syndrome

              (IT angle?- image taken from Black Books, a Graham Linehan series that pre-dated The IT Crowd)

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

                You know you a middle aged home-owner when you look at that picture and think.

                "She's going to make a hell of a mess of that cheap Ikea wooden flooring with those heals."

        2. David Neil
          Facepalm

          Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

          "It's insulting (it suggests that readers click links to see titillating pics, not to, you know, read the article)."

          How would the reader know there was a picture of a lady in a short skirt prior to opening the article?

          "It's irrelevant (unless you're seriously suggesting that she's either carrying out a stress test, or is correctly attired to carry out such tests)."

          It's a stock photo of someone expressing anger at a piece of tech.

          "it's another brick in the wall of mindless Page 3/Daily Mail/Heat/Closer/etc objectification of women"

          I hate to tell you but people have been using 'sex' to sell things for a very long time, oh and thanks for pointing out that we are all incapable of treating half the species as nothing other than eye candy.

        3. James Micallef Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

          NSFW, Insulting, Irrelevant, objectifies women.... Oooh, you forgot gender stereotyping!! El Reg readers, being techie types, will be mostly male and therefore will mostly prefer to see an attractive girl than an attractive guy.

          Will anyone think about El Reg's femael and gay readership?

        4. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. stanimir

        Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

        "semi-naked women"

        Here is a reason: getting fully naked ones instead!!

    2. Zaphod.Beeblebrox
      Angel

      Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

      Is there ever any real *need* for a photo of a semi-naked woman in a tech article? And is there anything wrong with that after all?

    3. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
      Go

      Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

      There is always a need for a picture of a semi-naked woman. Irrespective of content. Especially that good looking.

      (it's Friday).

    4. david 63

      Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

      Yes.

      Next question?

    5. Goldmember

      Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

      Since when were a pair of exposed legs 'semi naked'?

      But to answer your question anyway, Yes.

      1. Thomas 4

        Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

        I find this behaviour shocking and disgraceful. I long for the days when hardware reviews were dignified and restrained, like in the days of the Asus EeePC 701.

    6. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

      Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

      No need for the semi-naked woman. Even less need for the entire El Reg crew to be in attendance to 'assist' the photographer.

    7. Oninoshiko
      Facepalm

      Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

      Can someone please point me to the semi-naked woman? I seemed to have missed that part. -_-

      Or are you referring to the to the woman wearing far more then the holiday photos of their SOs most people put on the desk in professional environments?

      Good lord, you're prudish.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

        My thought was, gratuitous use of sex in advertising/marketing is exploiting the men just as much as the women.

    8. mickey mouse the fith

      Re: Going for the FHM demographic?

      Why are people getting so worked up over a humorous stock photo acompanying a lighthearted piece?

      And where would you have to be employed for the pic to be considered nsfw?, puritan industries inc.?

      Sexist?, pffft, its usually fat munters and lesbo`s that cry sexist out of petty jealousy because noone wants to drool over em.

      Some people just have to read too much into everything.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two major fails here

    1) Blatant sexism. Grow up.

    2) The "test" seemed to favour the Apple (or maybe that's just the result of the totally unscientific nature). In the frist drop test, the SIII is allowed to land face first, the Apple is dropped edge-on. In the final drop test, the flat surface of the bottle strikes the Apple, by the bottom corner of the bottle strikes the SIII (much harsher impact). The only test where the Apple could be safely said to have "won" is the wet test, and that was quite impressive.

    1. david 63
      FAIL

      Re: Two major fails here

      Misogyny is the hatred or dislike of women or girls.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Two major fails here

        ""Misogyny .... is a central part of sexist prejudice and ideology and, as such, is an important basis for the oppression of females in male-dominated societies. Misogyny is manifested in many different ways, from jokes to pornography to violence to the self-contempt women may be taught to feel toward their own bodies.""

        (Johnson, Allan G. The Blackwell dictionary of sociology: A user's guide to sociological language. )

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Two major fails here

          She's there because we'll find her attractive. Why should she have contempt for her body?

  5. LeeS
    FAIL

    Immediately not impressed that they dropped the S3 at a 45 degree angle so it landed on the edge of the screen and then hit the screen on the ground and dropped the iphone on it's end so the screen didnt impact.

    That can not be considered a test. So it's a video of some plonkers breaking phones.

    Rest of the video becomes irrelevant, rather see them blended..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Also, the beer bottle hits the iPhone5 flat, hits the S3 with the edge of the base of the bottle.

      With the drop test, you can see the dropper using a different angle when releasing the phones, ensuring the iPhone5 lands on the edge, and the S3 flat.

      I wonder who paid for the tests....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Need to revisit Key Stage 3 Science

        and remember what the term "fair test" means.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Need to revisit Key Stage 3 Science

          Mythbusters once built a machine to drop buttered toast, to see whether they'd land butter-down more often than butter-up. I'm sure that with minor modifications it could be used to drop smartphones in a brand-agnostic and orientaion-neutral way. Then we'll have a true statistically-valid drop test.

      2. Alistair Dabbs Silver badge

        > I wonder who paid for the tests....

        No comment but I note they weren't giving a Galaxy Tab away at the end.

  6. Goldmember

    Am I the only one..

    ..who actually looks after expensive things?

    If I spend £500 on a phone, I put it in a protective case, screen protector and don't make a habit of throwing it around. Same with laptops, games consoles etc.

    Whether they belong to me or not, I feel like technology items need my protection, not abuse.

    1. Flawless101

      Re: Am I the only one..

      I look after my tech, but I don't go to the point of caring for it like a baby.

    2. Jess--

      Re: Am I the only one..

      I view most technology as a tool, I use it, treat it with some respect but am not overly protective of it.

      a good example is my laptop which is covered in scrapes (9 inch scrape across the back of the screen) however after 4 years it is still working perfectly and has no damage to the keyboard or screen, if I was overly protective of it then it would be in pristine condition but wouldn't have done 75% of the jobs it has.

      as I said.. it's a tool I will use it till it falls apart and then repair or replace it but I won't avoid using it because it might pick up some damage.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Am I the only one..

      .who actually looks after expensive things?

      No, you're not. Having said that, my experience with the iPhone is that it works best for me "naked" (blame the pic, grin). I did have it in a case for a while but it got annoying, so it only got back into a case because I wanted more battery power (and it gives it a normal micro-usb connector, also a win).

      Personally, if you want to test how robust tech is, all you need to do is give it to some 5..10 year olds. The 5 year olds will stress the hardware, the 10 year olds will do things with the software you'd never dream of. If it survives that, you're probably up to military spec..

      1. The Serpent

        Re: Am I the only one..

        "you're probably up to military spec.."

        ..which is a wholly different spec - the phrase "squaddie-proof" exists in the army for a reason

        Agree with the child testing requirement though

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Am I the only one..

          I've noticed that toddlers are more attracted to cameras, spectacles, mobile phones (even when the phone is turned off) and wristwatches [in short, expensive stuff designed to appeal to adults] than they are to toys. They seem to instinctively know what you don't want broken, and make a beeline to it.

          You would have though that toy designers would have noticed this too, but no.

          Fortunately, the whole post-a-jam-sandwich-in-the-VCR-door experiment is a thing of the past in most households.

      2. Darryl

        Re: Am I the only one..

        Don't need 5 or 10 year olds... Just give said piece of tech to some of my users... It's amazing how quickly they can make a brand new mobile phone look like it's been underwater for three years and then left in the middle of a road to be run over repeatedly. Note these are company-supplied mobiles. I'm willing to bet their own personal stuff lasts a lot longer.

    4. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Am I the only one..

      It depends. I can't stand having a case on my portable devices, but I make a major effort not to drop them. I dropped my original Droid *once* and discovered the power button does not deal with impacts. Lesson learned. Fortunately I was able to set up Cyanogen to power on with the camera/volume buttons.

      The only protective rule I adopted for my new smartphone was that it goes in a pocket separate from the keys & change.

      We'll see how my Nexus 4 does with the glass front *and* back (if it ever gets here)

  7. Brian de Ford
    Boffin

    They're wimps. Sound like wimps. Look like wimps. Test like wimps.

    Now if you want to see a robust technical comparison of the iShowOff 5 and the Galaxy S3, go to

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rofgMueCOqo

    1. Neill Mitchell

      Let's ask Bunny. He's a wimp.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Are you a wimp bunny?

        Oh yes, I should say I am rather a wimp.

    2. TheProf
      Happy

      The S3 smells like Jelly Beans.

      Well it made me smile.

  8. TRT Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Why...

    did I click on the ISO sani-pad link? WHY?!

    1. Fading
      Stop

      Re: Why...

      I think it's for the same reason we all have the urge to press a big red button (especially if it has a sign saying "Don't Press" )

      Hyperlinks are a known "bad" especially as they frequently point to things best left unseen.

  9. Pie

    Accidents happen, it may make a difference to me when buying something if similar products have different drop test resistance, but it wouldn't be my first reason for buying.

    1. Nigel 11
      Happy

      Drop-ability

      Surely that all depends on how likely it is to be dropped?

      If it's a piece of test equipment that is used on building sites, the ability to survive being dropped onto hard concrete or into a muddy puddle verges on essential. For a camera to be used by a war reporter, even more so. If it's a 24inch office monitor or printer, it doesn't matter at all. OTOH surviving a cup of coffee being spilled onto it, or surviving a sheet of jammed paper being wrenched out backwards by an 800lb gorilla called "sir", are useful attributes for a printer. I've watched speechless as that sheet of paper come out along with a handful of small broken plastic pieces.

      My list of unexpectedly tough kit has Fluke DVMs and IBM ThinkPads near the top, and Sony VAIOs near the bottom. An HP LasetJet 4 is tough and longlasting, but does not survive a flight of concrete stairs at the hands of a "professional" removals company.

      And the most memorable "failed" drop test of all was an 80Mb (yes MB) disk drive the size of a washing machine back in the 1980s. The engineer unpacked it, took one look at it, and told us he needed to call the insurers. I asked what was wrong - it looked fine. "Well", he said, squinting, "it's an inch wider at the top than at the bottom". Indeed, it was. "And it rattles when you wobble it. And [grin]... it's got a hole the shape of a fork lift truck prong in the side, right through all the controller boards".

      1. The Serpent

        Re: Drop-ability

        I remember watching a Compaq Proliant 5500 being moved down stairs on a barrow, it was carefully lowered down one flight onto a flat bit of floor and then, for no reason anyone could see, leapt like a large, beige lemming down the remaining two flights.

        The only damage was a ding in the door which had flown off and made its own way down. I think we ran that for the rest of the year before it went out to stud.

        They literally don't make them like that any more.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Drop-ability

        "And the most memorable "failed" drop test of all was an 80Mb (yes MB) disk drive the size of a washing machine back in the 1980s"

        After waiting many weeks we had a memory extension delivered to our overseas site. A classic 6 x 2 x 2 feet steel cabinet filled with a whole 128Kbyte of core memory. It was in perfect condition - so it was taken off the transport pallet and carefully unwrapped. On opening the door the inner PCB frame was no longer a rectangle but a rhombus. It appeared that some where en route it had been dropped on its side without damaging the paintwork.

      3. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: Drop-ability

        As a FS tech I've heard of many such stories.

        Like the PDP11 that kept misbehaving, board swap after board swap after board swap. Finally it was decided to swap the entire machine, and a replacement was delivered and hooked up. The misbehaving one was rolled out the door towards the van; on that route lay a somewhat sloping footpath. It got away from the movers, rolled with ever-increasing speed down the slope, and when it reached the kerb, it toppled forward as Newtons Laws dictated, crashed into the pavement, and made a fair impression of one of those exploded views you find in service manuals. It was decided to change the status of the swap unit to 'permanent'.

        Or the mainframe that had to be manhandled, using stairwalker lorries, to reach the floor where the computer room was (presumably, machines installed earlier fitted in the elevator, but this one was a bit bigger). On the final stairs someone lost his grip and back down the machine went, through the staircase's glass facade, into the parking lot. Again, the pavement won.

        And on a site I worked for a few months there had been a rather failed delivery attempt of a server and storage unit, each in their 19" rack. After undoing the straps securing the systems for transport, the driver found the van wasn't positioned right, and moved forward with the intention of then moving backward again with the lateral correction needed. In stepped good old Isaac again, stating "An object at rest remains at rest unless an external force acts upon it". Well, the horizontal forces were absent due to the unhooked straps, but once the van had moved out from underneath the racks, gravity got free rein. It then turned out that due to standard Government purchasing procedures they were insured by weight, which added up to about Dfl.500 (a bit over ten years back) for the lot.

  10. IronSteve

    Nice looking woman, but slightly pissed off when opening that on my lunch break in work....I'm not a prude, but I work with many

  11. snowlight
    Thumb Up

    Ah

    The happy times of drop testing old CRT monitors and laserjet printers* prior to disposal in an appropriate fashion.

    *From the third storey roof, they were certainly ready for disposal afterwards ;).

    1. J. Cook Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Ah

      @snowlight: I'm assuming that the 'landing zone" of the tests was the bin they were destined for, to reduce the time needed for the post-mortum area cleanup?

      a while ago* I was given the task of tossing a bunch of non-functional CRTs into the local skip. Those things can take one hell of a beating- I never got any of the tubes to blow.

      * before all the enviromental laws went into effect forbidding such things.

      1. GBE

        Re: Ah

        > a while ago* I was given the task of tossing a bunch of non-functional

        > CRTs into the local skip. Those things can take one hell of a beating-

        > I never got any of the tubes to blow.

        The weak point in a CRT is the neck at the back. The front part

        that's normally exposed can take a phenominal amount of abuse...

        --

        Grant

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ah

          In the early 1960s neighbours were starting to throw away their ancient TVs. We kids requisitioned them to scavenge useful electronics components, wire, and big magnets. The tube was put in the metal dustbin face down. We would then throw a big brick in very hard with one hand - while holding the dustbin lid as a shield against any implosion fragments. As I recall there was just a disappointing sharp sound like a deflating tyre as the stem broke off at the neck.

        2. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Re: Ah

          and you don't quite want to have the front crack and implode on you. High-velocity glass shards are bad for your health.

          Up to about 1960 television sets, especially the bigger ones, tended to have a pane of sandwich glass in front of the actual tube. Apparently the production process back then wasn't quite up to manufacturing tubes with a sufficiently low chance of maiming the viewer..

  12. ScissorHands
    Angel

    Ahhh... the memories

    I do not remember the original drop test, but it had a few column inches in the review of the sequel which is from my time, old fogey that I am.

    I'm talking about those wonderful inventions, the Tandem DATAPAC and DataPac II.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fond memories

    of regularly chucking £50k of proximity sensors off the roof and onto the concrete carpark for testing purposes.

    (If more than 3 out of each 100 failed, the whole batch was scrapped.)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's have a little equality at least...

    Now, I can't say I'm a massive fan the cliché semi-naked female photo appearing in this article. But if you're going to have them, it would be nice if (for once) female readers were recognised too, with a similar picture of a scantily clad attractive male posing alluringly with some piece of tech. (The first IT/gaming/tech website that actually manages to do this will win kudos from yours truly, at least).

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Let's have a little equality at least...

      Before we do that, I think we should at least ask the female readers.

      Personally, I do find semi-clad males more annoying than interesting (and certainly substantially less, umm, decorative), but as a male I'm probably biased. Only an in-depth survey can answer this question - anyone else for the pub?

      1. Simon Harris

        Re: Let's have a little equality at least...

        What we need is a Reg survey.

        Can we have a selection of images of people (both sexes of course) in various states of cladness so we can vote on NSFWness/general level of objection?

        Purely in the name of science, of course!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let's have a little equality at least...

        @Fred "Before we do that, I think we should at least ask the female readers."

        Somewhat delayed reply here but just in case it wasn't clear: I *am* a female reader.

  15. ScissorHands
    Facepalm

    Me old fogey's memory not quite up to standards

    TANDON DataPac, of course.

  16. Alan Brown Silver badge

    "And unless you’re an easily impressed tit who finds it shocking that a Samsung Galaxy S III screen risks cracking every time you throw a bottle of beer at it, even delicate smartphones can survive an extraordinary amount of rough treatment."

    I slipped while walking down a flight of stairs. Galaxy S2 fell out of hand and plummeted 4 metres onto concrete, landing on corner.

    Result: one _slightly_ mashed corner (you can feel it rather than seeing it).

    It didn't even spring the battery cover open.

  17. jungle_jim
    Paris Hilton

    she should

    Drop test her clothes.

    Really how is that considered NSFW?

  18. Azzy

    Please provide the video to us readers

    When you use the next laptop review sample to fend off fireworks.

    That would be fun to watch - a tech writer using the latest ultrabook as a shield to block fireworks fired at him by the rest of the office. If it had a solid state drive, and decent build quality, and the hack didn't drop it, it'd probably survive.

    Actually, that might be a good test of build quality, you know...

  19. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Happy

    I remember the first computer show I went to in mmmfty mmmfty mmmmf. There were dozens of girls draped around the place almost wearing sexy little black skirts. It really was hard to concentrate on what I was there for... so I gave up.

    Now then, what were we talking about?

  20. the real BOFH
    Pint

    send it to the BOFH

    send it to the BOFH for testing, I'm sure he would be thorough:-)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I always unpack things very carefully - including taking pictures if necessary. Then when the item is DOA or fails after a few hours it can be neatly repacked for the RMA. Seems to happen a lot these days.

    The only thing that defeats that strategy is shirts held on a cardboard former with lots of pins.

    1. Simon Harris

      Now that's something you do want to unpack carefully...

      ... Or there's always that one last pin you missed - ouch!

  22. Unicornpiss
    FAIL

    Biased

    While the remaining tests were mostly fair, the initial drop test was invalid---the Samsung was dropped on its face, apparently intentionally, as you see the tester tilt it when dropping. The iPhone was dropped on edge. Any phone will fare better not having a flat smack on the screen.

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