* Posts by Dave K

921 posts • joined 25 Apr 2008


Telegram criticizes Apple for 'intentionally crippling' web app features on iOS

Dave K

It's a far cry from when the iPhone first came out with no app store. I recall a certain Mr Jobs back then stating that there was no need for one as web apps could provide 3rd party content on the iPhone. How times have changed...

Intel details advances to make upcoming chips faster, less costly

Dave K

Yes, yes, but branding!

"It's 7nm, but we consider it the same as everyone else's 4nm, so we call it Intel 4". Genius!

Of course the proof will be in the pudding when the performance and power requirements of "Intel 4" chips are compared with those from genuine 4nm fabrication processes...

How one techie ended up paying the tab on an Apple Macintosh Plus

Dave K

Ahh, the fun of documents from people new to word processing who feel it is a great idea to fill the document with Comic Sans and WordArt (shudder) to "show off their skills".

It reminds me of the early days of the internet with people creating homepages in FrontPage Express that featured gawdy, blinking/scrolling text, hideous tiled backgrounds and "under construction" gifs everywhere.

Back then I also remembered coming across a website that scrolled really slowly and unresponsively. After checking the page source, it transpired that instead of setting a solid colour background, they'd created a 1x1 pixel JPG which they had then tiled to create the solid colour background.

Microsoft accidentally turned off hardware requirements for Windows 11

Dave K

Re: Win 10 is good enough

I'm still running Windows 7 on my main PC with the tweak to continue getting updates. I do have Windows 10 on the same PC as a dual-boot OS, but I much prefer Windows 7 and will continue to use it as long as it is patched and the software I use continues to support it. Of course, that will unfortunately change over the next 6 months.

As for Windows 11, I have no interest in it until MS undo some of the stupid decisions they made with it, such as the hobbled task bar and woeful start menu. I imagine in 6 months time I'll have to bite the bullet and start booting into Windows 10. Not ideal from my perspective, but at least Windows 10 is more usable/customisable than Windows 11.

Start your engines: Windows 11 ready for broad deployment

Dave K

Re: I really wanted to like it ...

Same here. After hating the flat, ugly look of Windows 10, Windows 11 initially seemed promising as they actually put some effort into making it look quite good (IMO). Unfortunately, the daft system requirements, increasing push to a Microsoft account, the lousy start menu and frankly crippled taskbar have really spoilt things.

It's a pity. With a few tweaks, it could be a pretty good and well-liked OS. But instead of turning W11 into the OS that people want, MS wastes time faffing about with search bars on the desktop and other pointless gimmicks.

Bing! Microsoft tests search box in the middle of Windows 11 desktop

Dave K

Especially considering that most people have these things called "applications" open which hide the desktop behind other windows. Who is going to minimise things to get to a search box when they can just hit the Start button? Or better yet use the search box in their likely-already-open web browser?

Maybe instead of adding ugly, intrusive and questionable "features" like this, they might want to dedicate some time to adding back features they've removed and which people are actually requesting? Like 90% of the missing taskbar functionality perhaps?

Logitech Pop: Stylish, portable, but far from the best typing experience

Dave K

Re: Number Pads

I don't get that either. I have a mechanical keyboard myself (Ducky Shine) and it has a numerical keypad which does see regular use. Maybe I'm just considered old these days? I like my peripherals to be comfortable and useful, not slimline and "stylish"...

Dave K

Couldn't agree more, it looks simply awful. And with a half-length shift key as well? I imagine using that keyboard would be a pretty dreadful experience - despite the mechanical keys.

Google Russia goes broke after bank account snatched

Dave K

Re: Very bad idea

Correction, the German *government* were required to pay compensation/reparations.

Other Western nations didn't wander around seizing the property and money of ordinary German citizens. Should Putin and his cronies pay for the invasion? Absolutely. Should we wander around confiscating money and goods from ordinary Russian citizens with no links to Putin? No.

Engineer gets Windows 11 working on a Surface Duo

Dave K

And that is the problem. Should TPM and everything else have been requirements? Or should they have been part of the "recommended specs"? After all, Windows 11 currently works just fine on systems with older CPUs, no TPM etc.

Dave K

Re: Then we just hated you

At least back then MS still seemed to care enough to ensure that the follow-up version of Windows was good. Now though we're onto our third crap release in a row.

Windows 8 - good underpinnings, but dreadful user interface

Windows 10 - perpetually in beta, ugly and unfinished UI

Windows 11 - some UI improvements (looks more polished), some UI regressions (woeful Start Menu), almost all customisability removed, insane hardware requirements.

Yep, MS have been on a bad run for quite some time now.

Apple's grip on iOS browser engines disallowed under latest draft EU rules

Dave K

Re: Shiny shiny ...

I don't really get the comparison here. Android has allowed competing browser engines for some time, plus also supports sideloading of apps and other app stores such as Amazon's store, so you don't have to use Google Play (of course, adding apps from unverified sources can be risky if you don't know what you are doing).

How exactly does this result in Google having more control than Apple?

Buying a USB adapter: Pennies. Knowing where to stick it: Priceless

Dave K

You're not just paying for the time spent on-site however. There's the travel to/from the site, the cost of the fuel, the time spent on the original phone call. Depending how far he had to drive, suddenly this balloons Cliff's total time up to an hour or two.

Bear all this in mind and £50 sounds quite reasonable to me.

If you fire someone, don't let them hang around a month to finish code

Dave K

Never risk it

Whenever you fire someone who has privileged access to *anything* of importance, you always revoke the access immediately and ideally put the person on gardening leave for the duration of their notice period. It's simply due diligence and is for their protection as much as yours.

I have sadly been in this position myself - not the being fired part, but being pulled into HR to be informed my that my boss was about to be dismissed. It wasn't for reasons of performance or anything, the company had been bought out and the new parent company decided they didn't need two IT managers.

Anyway, I was told that my boss would be called into a meeting with HR, and whilst he was there I was to disable every account he had, change any shared passwords (ie, admin account passwords) and make sure that he no access to any systems whatsoever. It can sound harsh, but you've simply got to do it - no matter how much you may think you can trust that person.

Windows 11 growth at a standstill amid stringent hardware requirements

Dave K

Re: The gas lighting by this company is becoming utterly unbearable.

There are fair ways of telling users, and annoying ways. A permanent watermark on your desktop is excessive and intrusive. It would be less of an issue if they just popped a footnote in Windows Update to point this out.

Thing is, most people that run Win 11 on unsupported hardware are well aware of it. They've jumped through the hoops when installing it, so permanently nagging them about something they're already aware of is pointless and annoying.

Still, "Microsoft" and "pointless and annoying" sadly seem to go quite hand-in-hand lately.

Microsoft backtracks on lack of easy Windows browser choice

Dave K

Re: Please explain to me

The problem isn't so much in the launching of an alternative browser - many people are capable of clicking on a shortcut to Chrome, Firefox or whatever to open their browser of choice - even if it isn't set as the default browser, it's when you follow links from other programs.

So, I have Firefox open on my system, then I click a link in a (trusted) PDF, Word document, e-mail, program or whatever. Instead of that link opening in my preferred and open browser (Firefox), Windows 11 fires up Edge because "it's the default". This is both unnecessary - because I now have two browsers open, and annoying.

Previously of course, you simply set Firefox/Chrome/Vivaldi as the default browser and that'd fix the problem. Click the "help" link in a program and the help site opens in the correct browser as it should do. With Win 11, MS deliberately made changing the default browser unnecessarily difficult just to try and forcibly push everyone towards Edge at every opportunity. It's even worse of course for OS handles that now even ignore the default browser option and use Edge regardless.

As some have said, the result for me personally is that I refuse to use Edge out of principle. Doesn't matter how good MS may make it, I deeply object to their forceful coercion.

The solution is simple: I don't care if Edge is the default browser out of the box, but let me easily change the default browser as I want, don't periodically revert that setting, and respect that setting whenever I click anything which prompts the opening of a website.

Epson payments snafu leaves subscribers unable to print

Dave K

Re: Just use freeflowing documentation.

Who says he was just printing out documentation? There are plenty of examples of where you still need to print things these days. I try and avoid it where I can (it's a hassle firing up a printer unless I really have to), but some times it is unavoidable.

One decade, 46 million units: Happy birthday, Raspberry Pi

Dave K

Re: How many?

I have three. Two aren't doing anything, but only because they've been superceded by my current Pi 4. Mine is used as a media centre machine with Kodi on it. It was a doddle to set up, streams HD video over my network with no issues and can handle 1080p H265 video perfectly. What's so difficult?

Microsoft gives tablets some love in latest Windows 11 build

Dave K

Typical Microsoft really. Introduce new functionality of limited benefit (I'm sure a few people may like this, but for many it will be irrelevant), but ignore basic missing functionality that lots of people are asking for.

I don't recall this feature being particularly sought for in the Feedback hub, there are many features for the taskbar that have many more votes. But then fixing these would be an admission by MS that they have screwed up certain aspects of Win 11. And it usually takes a while for MS to realise where they've cocked up...

IT technician jailed for wiping school's and pupils' devices

Dave K

Re: Wrong job description

Agreed. You can maybe understand the rush of blood in the immediate aftermath of being fired (not saying I condone any action here just to be clear) after all in the heat of the moment people can do stupid things. But to come back to this four *years* after being fired is pretty damn ridiculous.

Make no mistake, this was no "heat of the moment" incident, but something carefully planned over a prolonged period. Either way, I doubt anyone would hire him after this.

Microsoft says the internet is the nicest it's been since 2016. Obviously they didn't look at The Reg comments

Dave K

Think of the time and effort you'd save by not clicking the "reply" button in the first place...

Happy birthday, Windows Vista: Troubled teen hits 15

Dave K

Re: 512MB ram minimum memory requirement

To be fair, it's not the first time MS have screwed up system requirements. Windows XP calls for a minimum of 64MB RAM, and recommended of 128MB. Yet it runs positively *painfully* on such systems. I once saw XP on an old laptop with 64MB and it took over 10 minutes of hard-drive thrashing before it booted. Even the recommended 128MB was pretty painful if you wanted to do anything other than stare at an empty desktop.

I think Vista's main issue (apart from the cluttered UI and overly-lean minimum specs) was that it was just too heavy for many mid-range systems of the time and ran considerably more slowly on systems which had handled XP just fine. Windows 7 avoided this because more time had passed by, systems were more capable, and it maintained pretty much the same system requirements as Vista - hence people didn't see a performance drop when they installed it and most average systems were now well above the minimum specs.

Crack team of boffins hash out how e-scooters should sound – but they need your help*

Dave K

Re: Missing options

I like the Clarkson idea, but only if the voice changes to "POWERRRRR" every time you hit the accelerator.

OpenShell has been working on a classic replacement for Windows 11's Start menu

Dave K

Re: "If it ain't broke..."

Plenty of times there are changes that are positively received, this isn't just about "resistance to change". It's about pointless change and missing functionality. Windows 7's task-bar was a big change from Vista/XP, yet was pretty well received. It offered functional benefits and was customisable enough that you could tweak it quite readily to suit your needs.

Windows XP's new Start Menu had a bit of a Marmite reception initially, but you could easily customise it and drop it into Classic mode if you wished. Hence, everyone could be happy with it once they'd tweaked it to suit their needs.

Windows 11's task-bar offers next-to-no new functionality, but instead removes a whole pile of options that have existed for years. If you like Windows 11 in default form - good for you! But for many people, the heavily reduced functionality is difficult to comprehend and deeply frustrating.

There's a lot that I like about Windows 11. But the crippled toolbar and overly basic/restrictive Start Menu are major regressions IMO and spoil the OS quite significantly.

Saved by the Bill: What if... Microsoft had killed Windows 95?

Dave K

Re: Windows 95 + a few service packs

A company I was contracted to until just a few years ago still had dozens of CNC machines running Windows 95 on their consoles. Despite the age, they still worked OK. They were also still networked to download new designs for milling, albeit they were on a separate VLAN and were heavily firewalled.

Dave K

I agree, although I did find that 95 really needed 16MB of RAM to run smoothly. A 486 was also at the lower end I found. With a Pentium (or AMD/Cyrix equivalent) and 16MB of RAM, it ran absolutely fine. Still, this was also back in the era when PCs were rapidly improving in performance year-on-year and a system that was a few years old often fell below minimum requirements for modern games and software. Hence a new OS that had notably higher system requirements than its predecessor wasn't really that surprising.

Dave K

Re: Windows 95 was more masterful marketing

Personally, I think 95 was the right OS for the time. True in some respects it was really quite a bodge and decidedly flawed, but it ran far better than NT on more modest hardware (it ran fine for me on a 133MHz Pentium with 16MB of RAM), it had better compatibility with DOS programs and games - including the "restart in DOS mode" for games that struggled with 95 running in the background, and it introduced a user interface that I found to be pretty intuitive and a big step forwards from Program Manager. Windows 3.11 was only really used in our house for more serious apps, word processing and the likes. For most games you usually quit back to DOS.

NT was technically better, but was just too heavy for average home PCs, and had much poorer compatibility with games and other legacy applications of the time (as it didn't have DOS in the background). To be honest I have never used OS/2, so am not in a position to comment on that side of things.

Running Windows 10? Microsoft is preparing to fire up the update engines

Dave K

I'm mixed regarding Windows 11 as well. I like that it looks more polished. I always thought Windows 10 looked incredibly bland, flat and lifeless. Windows 11 looks a lot prettier, and that's good IMO. Unfortunately the regressions to the task bar and start menu seem pretty illogical to me. I just don't understand the benefit of removing features and customisation options for no understandable reason.

The new task bar also means that OpenShell isn't currently a seamless option for adding a properly functional start menu back in just yet. For that reason, my W11 test rig will remain a VM until both MS fix some of Windows 11's stupidities and 3rd party tools catch up to fix the other annoyances.

The minimum requirements issue is also daft, but so far it is fairly easy to circumvent.

The inevitability of the Windows 11 UI: New Notepad enters the beta channel

Dave K

Re: Last decent version of Windows was

Still on Windows 7 on my main PC here (typing this from the very machine). A quick ESU hack and the security updates continue to flow, all programs I want to use still work and receive updates, and it looks a shit-load better than Windows 10 and supports a lot more customisability and flexibility than Windows 11.

A time when cabling was not so much 'structured' than 'survival of the fittest'

Dave K

Re: Sounds like us (sic)

Yeah, 240v can be unpleasant. I once got a nasty belt in my parent's old house. We had a hanging ceiling lamp downstairs in the hallway with 3 bulbs in it and one of the bulbs had blown. I changed out the bulb and switched it on. All looked well! I noticed the lamp fitting was swaying back and forth due to my recent work on it, and reached up to steady it. Cue a nasty zap from the fitting which felt like someone had yanked my arm off. Thankfully, no worse damage to me than that.

Later that evening, we removed the fitting from the ceiling and found that the genius that had fitted it originally had just twisted the bare wires together from the fitting and the house wiring (no connector block, not even some insulating tape around them), then screwed the (metal) fitting of the lamp over the top. Unsurprisingly, one of the cables had come to rest against the light fitting. Result? Every time the light was on, the whole fitting became live.

Wi-Fi not working? It's time to consult the lovely people on those fine Linux forums

Dave K

Re: Similar problem with a moped

I've had this a couple of times with my motorbike (a BMW). Sat on it, tried to start it and it just wouldn't fire. Kill-switch was off in my case, ignition was on, starter motor turned but it just wouldn't fire. 2 minutes later after lots of trying and head-scratching, I realised I still had the side-stand folded out - and on my bike there is a microswitch that kills the fuel pump if the side stand isn't folded back. It's a safety feature to prevent you starting the bike and riding away with the stand sticking out.

<clunk>, <click>, <vroom!>

When product names go bad: Microsoft's Raymond Chen on the cringe behind WinCE

Dave K

Re: The BASTARD system

One that did make it was Active Roles Server for managing AD. Shortening it you get ARS, but every technician at my previous place of work simply called it Arse. And of course the common queries between technicians of "I can't find this user in my arse", "Is your arse working?", "Arse seems to be f*cked" etc.

We also had a programmer there that wrote a simple user-data backup tool called "Back-Up My Stuff". Albeit it was deliberate, and as a personal tool, BUMS never attracted sufficient attention higher-up for anyone boring to complain about the name.

BOFH: Time to put the Pretty Dumb F in PDF reader

Dave K


Brings back plenty of bad memories of being forced to roll-out buggy and hopeless applications in years gone by. Bonus points if said application is ridiculously bloated, you're working at a university and a very large lab-full of students power up 60 PCs simultaneously in a remote lab that only has a 10Mb network link. That was fun!

Microsoft makes tweaks to Windows 11 Start Menu for Insiders but stops short of mimicking Windows 10

Dave K

Re: previous versions

I don't mind positive change where I can see the advantages it brings. I thought the Start Menu that Windows 95 introduced was superior to Program Manager. I also grew to like the updated Start Menu in XP (and liked that you could switch it to Classic Mode if you preferred). Similarly, I had no problem with the updated menu in Windows 7.

That changed with Windows 10 as lots of options from the W7 menu are either missing or more deeply hidden, I don't see the point of the "live tiles", and the menu is far, far less customisable than it was in Windows 7. Plus of course no "Classic" options or anything like that. Win 11s menu continues that tradition of being very rigid, missing in functionality and missing many customisation options.

Same goes for task-bars. There was little change up to Vista, but the Windows 7 task-bar had genuine advantages and I liked it! I also liked that it was fairly customisable. Windows 10's taskbar isn't bad either (despite the bland, flat look). Windows 11 once again adds no real benefits and instead removes a lot of customisation. Want to change grouping of icons? No can do. Want the buttons to expand to bars with program/file text included? Can't do it.

In summary, I don't mind positive change. But when the "new" version offers no real advantages but lots of disadvantages and missing features, then I consider it a design fail and a usability regression. What do you think incidentally? "Woo-hoo a new taskbar and start menu with far less functionality than the old one - how awesome"??

Survey shows XP lingers on while Windows 11 makes a 0.21% ripple in the enterprise

Dave K

Re: "could be totally reasonable if it's just from the managed company PCs"

I don't know a single company that adopted Vista if I'm honest. All the ones I worked for stuck to XP and then migrated to Windows 7 once XP approached EOL.

Dave K

Some may also be from people like myself who spun up a VM of Windows 11 just to try it out. It's a decidedly mixed bag, but then again I'm still not a fan of Windows 10 either.

Apple says it will no longer punish those daring to repair their iPhone 13 screens

Dave K

Re: make 3rd party repairs impossible

Clearly many parts of the iPhone already report their serial numbers - hence how the screen is "paired" with the rest of the device by Apple. And you are trying to suggest that a company the size of Apple isn't capable of maintaining a database of serial numbers with flags as to whether they're from handsets that are reported stolen?

Really not sure why you're so against the idea of cheaply repairable devices. I understand the theft-for-parts concern, but surely there has to be a better way than blocking anything but super-expensive official Apple repairs.

And for what it's worth, I'm not an iPhone user. However I do care about generating senseless electronic waste for no good reason.

The return of the turbo button: New Intel hotness causes an old friend to reappear

Dave K

Re: I use the Scroll Lock at least weekly....

It's also commonly used for keyboards connected to a KVM. I use my scroll-lock key regularly. Two taps on scroll-lock, then number 1-4 to switch the KVM to the required computer I wish to control.

Say what you see: Four-letter fun on a late-night support call

Dave K

Re: Reminds me of a message I once got.

Ah, the amount of times someone has e-mailed me, then immediately phoned me as well "Hi, I've just sent you an e-mail".

Very nice. Maybe you'd like to give me more than 5 seconds to try reading it first? That's assuming I have time tor read it now and am not in the middle of something far more important...

Dave K

Re: X-Ray

He was obviously too tired to develop something witty to say.

One click, one goal, one mission: To get a one-touch flush solution

Dave K

Re: Posting AC because its recent stuff

Reminds me of so many airport toilets I've visited in the past (back when flying was still a thing). Sitting there, as still as possible - which let's face it, isn't that easy when you're "doing the business". Eventually, you move half a millimetre and the sensor behind your back decides that you've finished. Immediately, you're subjected to an arse soaking as the flush triggers beneath you.

Waterfox: A Firefox fork that could teach Mozilla a lesson

Dave K

Re: With fewer and fewer reasons...

I agree, but for most people the rendering engine isn't really a concern. Interface, speed, compatibility, flexibility all tend to be attributes that matter more.

Don't get me wrong, for the more technical minded person you're absolutely right. However the typical geek that cares about rendering engines is also usually the same geek that likes the very customisability that Firefox keeps clamping down on...

Dave K

Fully agree that Mozilla seem to enjoy doing their utmost to alienate long-standing users. I used Firefox as my primary browser for many years, but migrated to Pale Moon after the awful Australis makeover came along. It wasn't just the "Chrome-clone" theme that alienated people incidentally, it was that Mozilla also removed a lot of customisation options with Australis and locked many of the UI elements in place.

Since then, every single makeover seems to have focused on stripping out customisation and extensibility that used to be Firefox's USP. With fewer and fewer reasons to use Firefox over a Chromium-based browser, it's little wonder that their market share continues to slide. Meanwhile, forks such as Pale Moon and Waterfox have largely retained market share because they've done their best to retain the unique selling points that Firefox used to have.

A Windows 11 tsunami? No, more of a ripple as Microsoft's latest OS hits 5% PC market

Dave K

Re: Do I want Win 11?

Have you checked the BIOS for an fTPM option? I have an older self-build Ryzen system with a Gigabyte motherboard and no hardware TPM. However after enabling fTPM in the BIOS, it passes that part of the system requirements check.

Of course it then fails on the CPU as Microsoft don't consider a Ryzen 7 1700X (3.4GHz, 8-core) CPU to be good enough...

Windows XP@20: From the killer of ME to banging out patches for yet another vulnerability

Dave K

Re: Still deploying it - not kidding!

Yep, I maintain a couple of XP machines for my wife's university lab. They run XP due to interfacing with an old but expensive motion tracking system. Obviously they're off the network, however it is amusing that she's now dealing with students that weren't even born when XP was released!

Florida man accused of breaking Mastodon's open-source license with botched social network launch

Dave K


Brilliantly written article with one of the least click-baity headlines of all time. Have a beer on me!

Nobody cares about DAB radio – so let's force it onto smart speakers, suggests UK govt review

Dave K

Re: Don't touch FM!!!!

There's also the aspect of not wanting to throw away perfectly usable kit. I have a wake-up lamp with radio in my bedroom. The light steadily brightens in a morning, then the radio slowly fades up at alarm time to wake me. It works, it does the trick, and the FM receiver in it can receive the station I want to wake up to and plays it with perfectly acceptable quality.

Why should I want to throw it away if it works OK?

Plenty of other people I know use radios that are far older. They still work, they play what the listener wants to hear, and the audio quality is fine for that person's needs. I just don't see the point or the obsession with binning working kit just to jump on the rather questionable DAB bandwaggon.

Intel's €80bn European chip plant investment plan not bound for UK because Brexit

Dave K

Re: What a surprise

Norway and Switzerland are not in the EU, but are in the single market and the customs union, so I'm afraid that's untrue. The EU were perfectly open to the UK remaining in the single market so long as we satisfied the requirements of this - something the Tories were unwilling to do.

Also, prior to the referendum, nobody was saying we'd leave the single market (not even Farage), so it simply isn't true to say that it would not have delivered what was voted for.

Dave K

Re: What a surprise

I suspect a lot of the downvotes are due to the claims that the "EU isn't taking it seriously" - or words to that effect.

The NI protocol exists because both the EU and UK were very keen to avoid a return of the troubles by slapping a hard-border down the middle of Ireland (as I'm sure you know). I fully accept that the Ireland situation is very complex and I'm not going to pretend I understand absolutely everything about it.

My main gripe is that the UK government readily opted out of the single market and the customs union to satisfy the ERG and the hardcore Brexiteers, yet didn't seem to even consider the implications that this would have on Northern Ireland. Now the EU is getting stick because of the border in the Irish Sea, despite no reasonable alternatives being offered by the UK and despite it being a solution that the UK proposed.

So far the only "solutions" I've heard from the Tories are vague waffles about using "technology" to magically fix things, yet no firm information as to what this would actually involve.

To some level, it's understandable. Boris is a master of lies and bullshit and doesn't want the issues in Ireland to be thought of as the fault of his government, so he keeps sticking the boot into the EU for not "negotiating" - even though it's a mess of his (and his predecessors') making and the "problem" is something that he proposed, championed and signed not that long ago.

Dave K

Re: What a surprise

The EU does understand that, but what exactly do you expect them to do here? Allow goods to freely cross the border into the EU without tariffs or checks?

It was the UK that opted out of the single market and customs union. There is a simple solution here: We accept that it's been a mistake and apply to re-join the single market at the very least. Call it a "Norway deal" if you like. However it's a mess completely of the making of the UK, and it's out responsibility to fix it. Not the EU's.



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