* Posts by clean_state

86 posts • joined 14 Oct 2010


Dark-web pedo jailed after FBI and co use vid trick to beat privacy tech

Paris Hilton

Tor decloaking subtleties ?

The article states that using NIT trackers could "land the Feds on shaky legal ground".

The linked article explains what an NIT tracker is: "a Flash file, is hosted by a seized child porn website, [when accessed] this Flash file is run in Adobe's plugin, and establishes a direct connection to an FBI-controlled server on the public internet without going through Tor"

The technique used here instead involved a video file that "when [...] loaded up, somehow automatically opened a second network connection, this time to a server monitored by the police. This secondary connection did not go through [Tor]"

How is that different ?

FYI: The FBI is being awfully evasive about its fresh cyber-spy powers


Red tape is not a proper way to stop abuse

FBI agents should be able to do their jobs with clear rules and minimal obstruction. Here, they still need a warrant so the rules are clear. There is less paperwork and that is a good thing because FBI agents should be doing more policing work, and less meaningless paperwork.

Privacy is also a primary concern but for that, we need clear rules. Additional meaningless paperwork will just slow them down, not prevent them from investigating political opponents if that is your concern (and it should be).

For example, a clear rule that that classifies all correspondance as, well, correspondance, protected by the 4th amendment, regardless of the medium it is written on is the kind of safeguards needed. It is laughable that there could even be a discussion about this: https://www.cnet.com/news/doj-we-dont-need-warrants-for-e-mail-facebook-chats/

Google has unleashed Factivism to smite the untruthy


Facts = illusion ?

This article is trying to push the idea that facts are an illusion, or an opinion:

"One fatal flaw is that it supposes the existence of a Brahmin caste, a Priesthood of dispassionate fact-checkers, who will deliver a verdict everybody will trust"

Well, I know for a fact that a blatant lie is not illusion and should be fact-checked.

Fact-checking is for objective pieces of information. When we enter the realm of debatable opinions we can have debates but at least they will be informed debates.

Thanks also for pushing stupid examples of fact-checking figures of speech. They do prove that all fact-checking is stupid. They sure do, don't they ?

Unsurprising piece, given the author...

Days are numbered for the Czech Republic


where does this spelling come from ?

I speak Slovak and Czech but even so I am puzzled by the spelling of the word "Czech" in English. Who came up with this ? Anyone on this thread knows ?

"Cz" for a sound as in "Chaplin" or "Chewbacca", that is the *Polish* orthography. Why !?!

"Cz" does not exist as a special spelling, neither in Czeck nor in Slovak. The first sound of "Chaplin" is written "Č".

As for "ch" being pronounced "k", it is *not* pronounced like that in Czech or Slovak. And not in Polish either... There are some rare occurrences like "chitin" or "chronic" in English, but it still is a weird spelling to choose.


The Rise, Fall and Return of TomTom


I'm stuck with HERE maps

I have never tried TomTom but my car (recent Citroen C8) came with HERE maps and they are NOT GOOD. I'll pass on the horrible experience of trying to "type" in the address using up/down/left/right arrow keys only. Apparently Citroen was too cheap to include a touchscreen or too lazy to figure out a way to connect with a phone. That's not HERE's fault. But HERE maps is regularly sending me in the wrong direction, like asking me to exit a highway and then immediately instructing me to turn back and get on the highway again. There is also one intersection where I live (near Paris, not some obscure corner of the countryside) that it does not know how to navigate at all, despite the latest update.

Speaking about updates, the complete update to European HERE maps cost me €100 (!!!) and I got the data on a USB Key to plug into the car. You then have to jump through some stupid DRM hoops and wait in your car, engine running, for more than an hour for the update to be applied ! And their stupid software needs a human interaction in order to start the update for each european country so you cannot even let it run while driving.

Conclusion: HERE maps is in my experience utter complete total rubbish. Long live TomTom.

Eight budget-friendly 1TB SSD data packers for real people


Samsung ?

Why do the Samsung drives have the lowest endurance ? I thought the whole point os 3D-NAND was to have both incredibe density and endurance.

Database rights are no 'impediment' to Europe's data-driven economy


Clarification ?

Can someone clarify if database rights prevent you from independently reconstructing the database ? I guess not. Football DataCo might have database rights on the data they collect, but it's not a monopoly on this kind of data, is it ? I can set up an independent operation to monitor football matches and provide the data as a stream. In other words, to prove that you are breaking someone database rights, it needs to be proven not only that you have the data, but also that you hase stolen it in bulk from him, correct ?

comments moderation or censorship?


Re: Censored too

small correction: the post does appear in my Register history, under "My Posts", but not under "Posts by XXX" and is not visible in the comments of the article.


Censored too

I juste posted a rather informative and detailed comment on Andrew's latest article "Europe could be drowned in 'worthless pop culture' thanks to EU copyright plans". I was calling him out, in an argumented way, for supporting big business against consumers.

I was censored. The comment does not even appear in my Register history.

I read The Register because it is an unconventional rag with a variety of opinions. Publishing rigidly conservative articles that border on misinformation AND censoring dissenting comments on them raises questions on how "unconventional" El Reg really is.

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Bryndzové halušky



Thanks for posting an article on Bryndzové Halušky but why did you have to make such a massacre of the recipe ?

1) Eggs in bryndzové halušky ? What ?

2) The potato grater you used is wrong. You want the one with spikes that reduces raw potatoes to a uniform paste, not the grater that makes thin strips. That's for carrots.

3) Bacon ? C'mon, the real thing is flavoured with lard, not bacon. You know what lard is right ?

4) Kitchen knife and cutting board are the tools of the trade for dispatching small pieces of the dough into the boiling water pot.

5) Bryndza: sadly not readily available outside of Slovakia but halušky are not the real thing without Bryndza. Bryndza is not a strong cheese, it does not smell, it's fresh cheese actually. It looks like cottage cheese but is made from sheep. It has a distinct flavour though.

An finally, for those who need even more calories on tom of the potatoes, flour, lard and cheese, it is a delicacy to "lighten" your halušky with a touch of sour cream and I like them with a glass of fermented milk.

Dobrú chuť (good appetite - Bon appétit)

(and jokes aside, thanks for the article)

Hey, YouTube lovers! How about you pay us, we start paying for STUFF? - Google


On overpaid football players

A different way to look at it: football players actually generate the cash that drives their revenues. Everyone seems to be crazy about football and ready to pay to watch it in stadiums or pay (through ads) to watch it on TV. The obscene pile of cash is there. Now where should it go ? To fatten the pockets of middlemen ? Or to the players on the field ? I think the current arrangement is somewhat better than what gladiators in Rome were getting...

A pint to them, they can afford it!

Everyone can and should learn to code? RUBBISH, says Torvalds


Coding + math

Let us rephrase so that everyone can agree:

Everyone who learns mathematics, should also learn coding (I mean algorithmics more than some specific IT skills).

I think the situation with programming skills and mathematics is exactly the same. They are both a great teaching tool to develop analytical problem-solving skills and logic. They are both hard which is a good thing because they also teach kids to make a sustained effort. And yes, some people are not good at them and they will find their life passion elsewhere which is fine.

Calxeda co-founder unleashs 48-core ARM SoC


MBA interference ?

Exciting yes, but what is it with the product range? Why do they need to have 4 different variants for different workloads ? This looks like typical MBA-driven attempt at market segmentation. I know the theory, but I am not sure it will fly with Cloud vendors. They will already be upset about multiplying by two the number of server types they offer (an x64 range and an ARM64 range) but asking them to carry four different ARM 64 ranges is madness.

Apple, Beats and fools with money who trust celeb endorsements

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good audio R&D from Apple with little buzz: the new earpods

I recently bought a pair of earpods from Apple because my previous pair broke. It is the first time I am impressed by the design of an earphone. They are almost completely closed. The sound escapes through two tiny holes. This is practical as dirt has little room to go in. The to holes are also cleverly positioned to send the sound into you ear canal in an optimal way. With a usual pair of earphones (no in-ear), when you press on the buds slightly, the sound usually increases significantly in quality. But it is not practical to keep your finger on the earphone al the time while listening. In-ear earphones solve this but are very uncomfortable and I find listening to my deglutition noises superimposed on my music rather disturbing. With the App earpods, the sound quality is good without pressing on them and does not improve markedly if you do. I guess this is a consequence of the two cleverly designed directions to which sound is sent.

I think it is obvious that a lot of R&D has gone into the design of these $30 earpods and I like the result. I also own a pair of $300 Parrot Zik Cans and I have to admit that they do not sound "better" to me.

Congrats to the engineer who designed the new earpods. The $3Bn should go to him and not to some idiotic audiophile-branded hyper-marketed brand.

Learn about Microsoft Cloud OS

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This is a commercial

Hi Register - could you please mark this commercial as such ? You advertise for every AZURE event! Reputable publications keep ARTICLES and COMMERCIALS separate.

Traditional RAID is outdated and dying on its feet


broken RAID

Have they fixed the broken RAID controllers that take the WHOLE ARRAY offline if they encounter a parity error during the rebuild ? So a sigle bit flipped because of a cosmic ray, something that should have cost you one file, takes down the entire array thanks to the geniuses that made the RAID controller (in my case, it was DELL).

Apple RESURRECTS the iPhone 4: report


iPhone 4, 3 years later: FUBAR

My wife has a 3-year old iPhone 4: the front screen was broken, replaced and broken again. The back glass is shattered. The touch screen works on sunny days only and then stops responding to touches on a whim. The on/off button is broken.

Bottom line: a badly designed product with serious reliability flaws. Sad for Apple, I thought they were making premium products.

Canada says Google broke law by snooping health info to serve ads


two easy solutions

1) use Incognito browsing mode when searching for sensitive information. All your cookies will be gone as soon as you close the Incognito window.

2) if you do not like the ads being served to you, go here and tell Google to stop:


(this page is linked from every Google ad as a blue triangle "AdChoices" button")

How to kill trolls and influence Apple people: A patent solution


There is something wrong with your assumptions

"A patent protects what you do / copyright protects how you do it".

That analysis is too shallow to help us move forward here. A patent has to protect a specific way of doing something, even if the specificity does not go as deep as in the case of copyright.

Otherwise, I can patent the "cure for cancer", the mere idea of curing cancer, before anyone actually finds a working cure for cancer.

Why Microsoft absolutely DOESN'T need its own Steve Jobs


a tablet for windows apps ? really ?

> "[imagine] a brand new tablet operating system that maintains

> compatibility with your old Windows x86 apps but

> goes head-to-head with Android and iOS."

Yes, Bill Gate's old dream with tablet PCs, Steve Ballmer's with TIKFAM and probably a killer argument in a room full of marketroids. Even this article - otherwise not unreasonable - resurfaces it.

The reason everyone else is doing a separate system for desktops and another one for phones/tablets is that the problem here is not API compatibility but the UI. An app for tablets needs to work with touch and gesture input while a desktop app needs to be usable with keyboard and mouse. No amount of compatibility API layers are going to make a legacy windows app even remotely usable on a tablet.

Wintel must welcome Androitel and Chromtel into cosy menage – Intel


Intel used to be an ARM manufacturer - so why not go back

Remeber Xscale ? Palm and pocketPC devices were running on them back in 2002 - 2004. ARM architecture, Intel design and manufacturing:


Hell froze over in 2002 already, why not again ?

Oooh! My NAUGHTY SKIRT keeps riding up! Hello, INTERNET EXPLORER


Inari ?

Change one letter and Inori becomes Inari, the japanese Fox-god. Inori means "prayer" by the way.

Prayer, Fox, ... Firefox, ... Hmmm

IT'S ALIVE! IT'S ALIVE! Google's secretive Omega tech just like LIVING thing


Re: Like an intermittent high tension leak from a sparkplug

> theoretically, if one knew every tiny factor that influences the

> oncoming weather one could, theoretically, predict it with

> precision any time into the future.

Unfortunately not. The weather system is chaotic. From the system of equations, you can compute how the error margin evolves in time. The evolution is exponential. This means that whatever the precision of the initial measurements, even if you know the speed and position of every atom of the atmosphere at one point, your prediction and the reality will diverge exponentially (i.e. very fast).

Paris Hilton

is this 1970 ???

Thanks dan1980 for beating some common sense into this story.

It could have been an interesting article in a pulp magazine back in 1970 when the game of life was invented. But that was 40 years ago and I would have hoped this "it's alive!" bullshit had died off since then. So yes, non-linear systems have all kinds of weird behaviours. Some of them are even chaotic which means the behaviour cannot be predicted whatever the precision of your simulation. Visualisations of such systems can even be beautiful (fractals). That does not make them alive or sentient. Three bodies orbiting each other, the Mandelbrot set or the game of life all exhibit this behaviour and there is nothing living or even mysterious about them.

EU digital tsar 'Steelie' Neelie Kroes: Telcos must adapt to losing roaming cash


grim reapers

SFR message to me last time I was traveling from Paris to Germany: "Your SFR data in Germany: 5€/ day for 15MB. That's 341€ euros for a GB, you +=&# and I can't even have a full GB.

They follow it up with this GREAT offer: 5€/day for 100MB. Still 100€ the GB - what a bargain! And by the way, trying to subscribe to this option does not even work. The SMS comes back with a "cannot activate offer" message.

Then, they also have a 7-day plan with 200MB for 15€. That is 75€ the GB. Still in the "insulting" category in my book, way above "pricey" or "expensive".

And here is what happens if you do not pay up: 0.54€/MB which is 553€ the GB !!!!!

What is the reason SFR can get away with insulting its customers in this way ? They have an agreed cartel monopoly with the other telcos - which is forbidden by law and punishable with hefty fines.

They should be happy the the european commission is giving them early warnings or is talking to them at all, otherwise than in a prison visiting room.


Re: With less money you will do more

>>> Sorry, as much as we might hate it, they are there to make a profit.

Yes, and regulations are in place to make sure they make a profit by creating products and services users are willing to pay for, not by creating cartels and monopolies that force users into submission.

Hollywood: How do we secure high-def 4K content? Easy. Just BRAND the pirates


+1 for watermarking

I'm all for the watermarking - if they could just remove all of the other encryption nonsense. If I look at my current movie consumptions, it's all pretty legal. Paying 4€ for a V.O.D. movie streamed directly to my house seems fair and it is more convenient than torrenting it. The same for paying 10€ for a children's film DVD that the kids will be playing over and over.

And yet, are the various anti-piracy systems the reason why I bittorrent less and less ? Not at all. Convenience and fair price are.

So please, big content studios, add watermarking everywhere, then remove all the artificial incompatibilities you introduced (you call it "security features" - as if it was making my life secure in any way) and let me enjoy my content on any device I want.

(Loudspeaker, in hope the message reaches their ears)

Down with Unicode! Why 16 bits per character is a right pain in the ASCII



I spent a lot of time fighting with text encodings when designing the .mobi file format for Mobipocket (and later Kindle). The conclusion was also that UTF-8 wins everywhere. The self-sync feature is superb. As for the "hassle" of handling a variable-length character encoding, you soon realize that:

- in most cases, you need the length of your string in bytes (for memory allocation, string copying, ...)

- cases where you need to decode UTF-8 to code points are rare, mostly when you display those characters and then you usually display the whole string from first to last byte so going through the bytes in sequence to decode the code points is not wasteful.

- the typical case when you need to know the characters is parsing, BUT, ALL keywords and ALL control characters in ALL computer languages are below the 128 code point so you can actually parse UTF8 as if it was ASCII and never care about the multi-byte encoding outside of string litterals.

So yes, UTF-8 everywhere!

London Underground cleaners to refuse fingerprint clock-on


the UK: one happy place

Lots of brits on this comment threads have never heard of the Stasi, or realised that 1984 was not a completely fictional novel (Big Brother = Stalin in case you wonder).

In countries that have been burned by the horrors of the last century, making a computer file on anyone is controlled, even more so if it is a biometric file. You have to declare the purpose of the file and then stick to it. Finally, cross-referencing files between various organisations is allowed under strict and exceptional authorisation only. And it's a good thing.

Publishers put a gun to our heads on ebook pricing, squeals Amazon



>The publishers fell for the DRM snake-oil

No, the publishers insisted on DRM. I was in the Kindle team at the time and DRM was nothing but a pain to us. However solid you make it, it is cracked in 24h and then it makes a bad news splash. We would happily have ditched it and focused on more relevant customer features but publishers insisted on it (all but one: O'Reilly, which I salute for their clairvoyance - their books are still DRM-free in the Kindle store)

Amazon cloud soars far above Google and Microsoft


Since when are more features equivalent to a better product ?

The only feature of use to me is an autoscaling platform and on that front, the only credible offering is Google App Engine.

Google platform cloud now takes PHP apps


the database is cloud SQL

The database is cloud SQL which is a managed version of MySQL that Google maintains, patches and replicates for you.

If you prefer the NoSQL camp, Google has also wrapped their datastore as an independent product called cloud datastore so you can call it from PHP on App Engine too.

Apple asked me for my BANK statements, says outraged reader


another one on the list: Nymgo

VoIP outfilt Nymgo lately rejected my payment (which already went through with the bank) and started asking me for all sorts of private documents. Of course, their support never replied when I said "no way" and their support escalation procedure was equally a memory hole. Avoid them.

If you spend THIS much on cloud, perhaps you need a rethink

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Go home with your servers, or maybe go for a PaaS like Google AppEngine. It scales automatically. Failovers are automatic too. Data is automatically replicated across two or three datacenters. I do not know how cheaper or more expensive it would be compared to Rackspace (well, it's hard to be more expensive than Rackspace) but at least you get more than dumb VMs. And you get none of the "maddening problems" mentioned above.

(disclosure: I work at Google)

(disclosure II: independently of that, PaaS is the future, the rest is legacy)

Court orders Visa partner to allow donations to WikiLeaks


PayPal censorship

Another example:

A while ago, PayPal blocked payments to my book selling business because they did not like the books I was selling. They asked me to "fix" my catalog before they would reinstate the payment. Seriously, this happened. I was shocked. The debate about the written word like the works of the Marquis de Sade being broadly available or "on the index" is an interesting debate but that debate was closed 100 years ago. PayPal has no standing for reopening it. I do not even understand how PayPal could think they have a right to censor books. But they did and still do.

Avoid PayPal like the plague

iPads in education: Not actually evil, but pretty close


Re: e-book readers?

Well, apart from the fact that all ebook reading apps on the market today are woefully inadequate for text books. They are designed for linear books like novels that you read from page 1 to 500. For books you browse, consult, study with, lookup as reference and so on, the required functionality does not exist. Annotate is the best you can do but good luck for doing something, anything with your annotations.

There was a good article on El Reg about Kindles in universities:


Vietnamese high school kids can pass Google interview

Paris Hilton

Re: confused

Same here. What is a maze with diagonal walls and how is it different from a "normal" maze rotated 45° ?

Weev gets 41 months in prison for exposing iPad strokers' privates


Re: @ AC (18:56) - Re :

not quite: a "criminal" is someone who gets afoul of penal law, i.e. commits a deed that the state deems harmful enough to society to commit public funds to prosecute it and punish it with a jail sentence.

In this case, please demonstrate the harm to society. There does not seem to be any, actually, there is a benefit in the flaw being promptly fixed by AT&T.

The fact that there is a penal law that allowed this conviction just means that the law-making system is corrupt enough for such a law to exist. This law is an aberration so upholding it to quai-religious standards with statements such as "the law is the law" is pretty short-sighted.

But well, with the Supreme Court declaring that bribing a politician (election money) is "free speech" and protected by the first amendment, you guys are in big trouble.

Google in cloud-support price war with Amazon, Microsoft


Re: Pratical World

App Engine has a free quota: 28 instance/hours per day + other free limits.

App Engine is a PaaS. It runs Python, Java and Go. Running the php-based WordPress is possible through Quercus (a Java implementation of PHP) but it's not 1-click.

US diplomat: If EU allows 'right to be forgotten' ... it might spark TRADE WAR


right to delete credit card details

I would love to be able to tell businesses to delete my credi card details. Or even better, I would love them to be forbidden from storing them in the first place. You want my credit card ? I'll need an invoice first.

Microsoft's ARM blunder: 7 reasons why Windows RT was DOA


Samsung out = bad news

If even Samsung is bailing out of WinRT, there seems to be a really big problem. Usually Samsung plays the early adopter role quite benevolently. They do not mind experimenting with a couple of devices and they do not care about OS consistency much either.

SECRET 28 'scientific experts' who Greened the BBC - Revealed!


Equal airtime for both sides of a debate: OK, if both parties are there for debating

In the US, some networks give equal airtime to evolutionists and to creationists. Creationists are actually pushing for the "equal airtime" rule to apply to education too. But let us not forget that the creationist camp is not there for the scientific debate. They have no arguments and no evidence to show. Their only goal is religious propaganda. They need to discredit science globally because scientifically-educated audiences never buy their nonsense (sorry, "holly scriptures").

No equal airtime for people who want the airtime to push their agenda and have no scientific evidence to offer.

For climate change, I understand the situation is more difficult for journalists as they have to sort scientific arguments for one side, for the other, and then also the arguments of whackos and lobbies of all kinds who push for the removal of any evidence they do not like. It's not an easy task, but not a reason either to give up and just give equal airtime to all.

Don't panic: Arctic methane emissions have been going on for ages


is this an article or a troll post ?

Everyone is looking for the "correct" climate model. Why is it that any scientist studying a positive feedback mechanism is labeled an idiot while anyone studying a negative feedback loop is a genius ?

Curiosity photographs evidence of ancient streams on Mars

Paris Hilton

Re: Excuse my ignorance.

Is it just me or do these pebble not look that much rounded to you too ? I would expect a piece of rock crumbling for any reason to look exactly like that.

Paris cos that's my level of expertise in matian geology.

Yahoo! Poaches! New! CEO! From! Google!


Re: @ratfox (was: "all of her education is in technology")

I don't know about running tech companies - I've been told biscuit bakers can do it. But in my experience, in a product design meeting, every time someone is loud, off-topic and not helping, he has an MBA.

Will the titans of storage decide to flash their bits?


they might be working on the next flash iteration

Is it really worth for these companies to buy controller technology for NAND flash ? NAND seems to be at the end of its useful life anyway so in 5 years time, chances are flash drives will use some other technology which will have other physical constraints that the controller software will be asked to overcome. As the article points out, there is no rush yet. Maybe the right strategy is to bet on the next tech and develop it internally, rather than joining the fight in the current flash iteration.

Samsung offers cool green RAM for the same cold hard greenbacks


Re: What innovation?

You do not seem to be aware of the amount of science and engineering that does into each process shrink. The fact that the Moore law has been successfully followed for decades does not mean it was easy.

IP law probe MPs hunt for smoking gun, find plenty of smoke


go civil society, go

Yes, the long slide of copyright and patent law towards the american standard seems to be slowing down with at least some MPs realizing that 1) their voters do not support it and 2) it is probably not such a great idea for the long-term production of new IP.

Scared Orlowskis, short on arguments are now flying into conspiracy territory with headlines like "who's done it ?" , "who is pulling the strings from the shadows ?" and so on. Good.

The answer is simple: civil society. Yes, such a thing exists. We, the people also have economic and societal interests that we would like to promote alongside the purely economic interests of corporations.

For example, we love arts: music, movies, paintings, live performances. We want more of them, we want new ones and yes, we can pay. But we know that only true artists can deliver new works of art. So the money needs to go to them, not some greedy middlemen. We also want to have useful access to these works of art, without unworkable DRM schemes and territorial restrictions. Thank you for mentioning Apple in your article. They are the ones who killed DRM on digital music making it actually useful.

An example from Japan: a Japanese law prohibits replays of Anime series on TV. This amounts to artificially dialing the economic value of an anime after its first airtime to zero. Pretty extreme isn't it ? Yet, the Japanese have found it a useful incentive for the creation of new works. Now compare this to the author's life +70 years copyright in the USA ? It's a different option and yet, you will have a hard time labeling the Japanese as evil communists or dumb freetards.

So yes, I welcome this fresh look at IP law. I think it was badly needed. The way Orlowski likes to describe it, "more IP versus less IP" is a reduction that does not do it justice. The real issues at stake have to do with the dynamism of the arts and entertainment scene and, for patent law, with the dynamism of our industry. Those are important topics, well worth having a fresh look at. Let us think them through and implement an IP system that works for society as a whole and not copy the US and the dead-end their neo-conservative policies have brought them to.

Can Amazon become the biggest platform peddler in the world?


big iron love

"I love big Iron"

I used to love big iron too. Even configuring it was kind of fun... until I found better things in life. Now I send my code to App Engine end work on my underwater basket-weaving skills instead ( http://xkcd.com/1052/ ).



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