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  • Lips: Number One Hits gets California Love

    Posted on July 29th, 2009 Shawn No comments
    Courtesy of About.com

    Courtesy of About.com

    Well, the deal has been sealed. I will purchase another game this year. So far, it’s been Cars (for my kids), Lips, and Prototype. I’m already 99% confirmed to be getting The Beatles: Rock Band and Lego Rock Band. DJ Hero is also looking very tempting.

    That said, here comes “Lips: Number One Hits”, which is basically the sequel to the original installment. I only got Lips 1 for the wireless mics (hoping they’d eventually be compatible with Rock Band 2). Then my family found that Lips is fun to play. It’s no Rock Band, but doesn’t involve any button mashing or drumming skills. It’s easy and fun.
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    Lips 2 (or Lips: Number One Hits) has been announced for a few months. What’s new then? More songs have been announced. The one that’s going to make this game a must have is, California Love by Dr. Dre and 2Pac. It’s possibly my favorite hip-hop track of all time, and a past club favorite.

    Here’s the announced list:
    * “California Love” by 2Pac feat. Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman
    * “Barbie Girl” by Aqua
    * “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga feat. Colby O’Donis
    * “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears
    * “The Fear” by Lily Allen
    * “Don’t Phunk With My Heart” by Black Eyed Peas
    * “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin'” by Scissor Sisters
    * “Heartless” by Kanye West
    * “Touch My Body” by Mariah Carey
    * “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s
    * “Always On My Mind” by Pet Shop Boys
    * “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz
    * “Push the Button” by Sugababes

    So, there’s stuff in there for the grown’d ups and the kiddies. Add that to the ability to import all the Lips 1 songs, and I see this as a hit release. If they add a little more game functionality (like “real” online play and better external song import features, like lyric downloads), it will be another great party/time killer game.

  • The Beatles: Rock Band Pre-Order Club Update

    Posted on July 28th, 2009 Shawn No comments

    Courtesy of www.thebeatlesrockband.com

    Courtesy of www.thebeatlesrockband.com


    Have you heard that The Beatles have a video game coming out?  (That was a bit of a joke).  The Beatles: Rock Band comes out everywhere (worldwide) to all systems (Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii) on 09.09.09.


    A lot of info has been released for the game.  25 confirmed songs, 6 in-game venues, and new plastic instruments.  There’s also a pre-order club, trying to get people to buy the game before its release date.

    What do you get by joining the pre-order club?  Access to a special web site that gives an early glimpse of things to come.  As far as I know (I haven’t pre-ordered the game yet), it’s just a glimpse of new songs, venues, game play, etc.  Stuff that will be all over the web within minutes of the pre-order announcement.  So, why pre-order?  I don’t have the answer.  But, I do know that I will be getting the game, so I might be pre-ordering this week to take advantage.

    I do know that an announcement will be coming out via the pre-order club today.  Check back.

    UPDATE: Here is today’s announcment, as I currently know it. [SOURCE]

    The Conclusion of the Alex Rigopulos and Giles Martin Interview and The Beatles™: Rock Band™ Exclusive Screenshot and Wallpaper
    This week we conclude our two part interview from Abbey Road Studios in London with Harmonix CEO and Co-Founder, Alex Rigopulos and Creative Producer and Music Supervisor for The Beatles: Rock Band, Giles Martin.

  • BlackBerry Bold 9000 versus Storm 9530

    Posted on July 28th, 2009 Shawn 2 comments

    I haven’t given enough love lately to My Gadget Obsession, most of my time has been spent on My Game Obsession.  Let’s talk BlackBerry.

    We last left off on the continuing series where I had jumped ship from Verizon Wireless after many years and headed to AT&T.

    Part 1 – Last Days on Verizon Wireless
    Part 2 – First Days on AT&T
    Part 3 – BlackBerry Bold 9000 versus Storm 9530

    Now, let’s talk about My new Gadget Obsession, the BlackBerry Bold 9000. This has been my primary device since February 2009.  As far as smartphones go, this one wins over the three I previously owned (BlackBerry Storm 9530, Palm Treo 650, Palm Treo 700p).  It’s not perfect, but hits enough pluses to be a huge success for me.

    Since I am both a Bold and Storm owner, I feel I can give a fair comparison of the two.  I’ll put features in categories to make it a quick read.

    Screen – The Storm has a much larger screen (3.25 inches versus ~2.3 inches), yet only a slightly higher resolution (480 x 360 pixels versus 480 x 320 pixels).  What this translates into is the Bold has a brighter, crisper display. Side-by-side, there’s no comparison, the Bold looks nicer.  Though, the sheer size of the Storm display, at 480 x 360 is higher than the iPhone, is extremely good.  Both the Bold and Storm excel in the display department.  In my opinion, there are very few smartphones on the market that look as good and sharp as the Bold and Storm.
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    Keyboard – The age old story, of preference should come into play here (but it does not).  Do you like a physical QWERTY keyboard on the candy-bar layout (that would be the Bold), or do you like all touchscreen with an on-screen soft keyboard (that would be the Storm).  Personally, I want both!  I had both on the Palm Treo, and I want it on my newer phones. Rant aside, preference really doesn’t apply much here…well, not in the standard sense.  The Storm keyboard just plain falls down with the patented “SurePress” technology of the screen clicking for every typed character.  No matter how good a smartphone typist you are, you just cannot get much speed out of typing on the Storm, plus my fingers quickly get sore typing on it.

    The Bold keyboard has been called “the Cadillac of smartphone keyboards”. It’s big, the buttons are wide and the have a very solid click feel to them.  I believe it is a very impressive and solidly built keyboard, though it’s actually a little too wide for me, but only a little.  I’m being very picky here.  If the keys were just a tad shorter and thinner, I’d be able to type lightening fast.  Plus the form factor of the phone could be a little smaller. (I think the recently released BlackBerry Tour 9630 on Verizon has slightly smaller keys).

    The one major complaint to the Bold keyboard is I have not figured a way to press the ‘alt’ key and have it lock to type several numbers.  Same thing goes for the ‘sym’ key to type several symbols.  This makes typing anything other than letters slow and challenging.  On the Storm touchscreen keyboard, there is the ability to lock the ‘alt’ key.

    Now, if email and text isn’t your main use for a smartphone, then the Storm might just be right for you. We’ll get into that on Navigation.  Overall the Bold wins and stomps on the Storm in the keyboard category.

    Camera – The Storm camera is an impressive 3.2 MP with flash, auto focus, 2x digital zoom.  Whereas, the Bold is a 2.0 MP with flash, 3x digital zoom.  The Storm takes better quality pictures, that’s for sure…but there’s a cost.  The software (and/or hardware) running the Storm camera is very slow and can take about 3 seconds for a photo to snap.  So those posed pictures commonly have closed eyes, or those candids have a a blur since the photo opportunity passed by the time the shutter captures the image.  Though, if the picture is captured as expected, the Storm photos are very impressive.  The Bold is decent and easy to use.  Though at only 2.0 MP, do not expect semi-professional quality photos to come out of it.

    Audio – The Storm has a single speaker in the back-bottom-center of the battery case. The Bold has two-speakers hidden under the top of the battery case emanating sound out of the left and right side.  You’d expect the Storm being the media device to have better speaker sound, but the bold takes the win here.  As far as using headsets or bluetooth Headsets, both sound excellent.

    Media – As for the media players, the Storm (with it’s larger display) can display album art more than twice the size of the Bold.  I love displaying album art, and wish there was a full-screen option to the Bold.  The Storm was designed for media and videos, although crisper on the Bold, are best played on the larger screen.  I don’t use my smartphone for much video though, but I do use it for my regular MP3 player.  The BlackBerry Media Player (on both the Bold and Storm) does not stand up to the old PocketTunes player on Palm OS or iPhone/iPod.  There’s no bookmarking feature, no cross-fade feature, no custom skin feature, and limited EQ options.  The BB Media Player is just so-so.  I’m looking at 3rd party players, but have yet to find a perfect replacement.  For podcasts, I use PodTrapper and highly recommend it for any BlackBerry user that listens to podcasts.

    Service – “Your mileage may vary”.  I get good AT&T signal at home and inside some buildings.  I get poor Verizon signal at home and inside some buildings.  As for data service, the Bold has WiFi and the Storm does not.  That’s a huge negative on the Storm for me.  I have my home wireless network setup on the Bold. As soon as I walk in my front door, the Bold detects my home network and connects.  That way I get broadband speed for downloads, email, and web browsing at home.  Makes audio streaming work near perfect.  The Bold is my first smartphone with WiFi, and I will never go back to one without it.  The battery life is not that bad when leaving WiFi on all day.  For me, the Bold wins on the AT&T signal and the WiFi capabilities.

    Navigation – Not GPS navigation, but navigating on the device.  This is really a preference.  The Bold has the standard BlackBerry trackball, where the Storm is all based on touchscreen.  I think the trackball is ok, at best.  I commonly navigate to something and click with the trackball, only to have the item above/below selected.  It’s frustrating.  The trackball is also likely to build up “gunk” over the months/years of use and will reduce its performance.  I do not favor the trackball very much.  Though, when it works, I can fly around for navigation.

    The touchscreen navigation on the Storm is nice.  Finger flips on the screen scroll it any direction you need. Pressing on the SurePress screen selects your item, and I rarely ever click the wrong item.  For me, the Storm wins in the navigation department.

    Size – Both are big and clunky (see pictures).  If you are looking for something small to hide in your bag or pocket, don’t go for either of these.  I’m not so worried about size :-) so I’m OK on both.

    Speed – Both the Bold and Storm are fairly snappy.  The time they slow down is when you are running low on flash memory (see Storage).  Otherwise, both perform quite well.  No complaints.

    Storage – The Bold comes with 32MB flash memory for storing and running applications, plus 1GB of memory for storage (files, photos, music, etc.).  There’s also a microSD slot for adding up to 16GB of additional storage. Once you start playing with downloading/installing/running applications, you’ll quickly learn that 32MB is just not enough.  The Bold cannot run like an iPhone loading up hundreds (or even dozens) of apps that you may (or more likely may not) use.  32MB quickly gets taken with only a handful of installed apps.  Keep in mind that the 32MB is needed not only to store the apps, but to run them too.  Just not enough.  1GB of on-board storage is nice, and the microSD slot is great.  I have an 8GB microSD card, and considering upgrading to a fast 16GB card in the future.

    The Storm comes with 128MB flash memory for storing and running applications, plus 1GB of memory for storage (files, photos, music, etc.).  There’s also a microSD slot for adding up to 16GB of additional storage. The 128MB is respectable, and will go a lot further than the Bold.  It’s still not up to iPhone snuff, but easily trashes the Bold.

    Let’s wrap this up.  Both are great devices.  The Bold keyboard wins.  The Bold WiFi wins. The Storm screen size and media capabilities win. The Storm flash memory wins.  The Storm navigation wins.  Now that I have owned two very different BlackBerry devices, I realize that I cannot wait for the rumored next generation that will combine the best of the Bold and Storm, a BlackBerry with both physical keyboard and touchscreen.  It’s not very groundbreaking since Palm has been doing that format for more than 7 years.  It will be nice to have the best of both worlds.  For now, I’m content with the Bold and my wife is content with the Storm.
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  • Pantera Coming to Rock Band?

    Posted on July 27th, 2009 Shawn No comments
    Courtesy of thedemonslair.com

    Courtesy of thedemonslair.com

    Thanks to some interweb friends (RockBandAide.com, wrestingligs.com), maybe we will finally get some Pantera for Rock Band.  This (if it is true) is some of the best Rock Band DLC news I have heard in over a year.

    [SOURCE]

    So apparently VH-1 Classic leaked the DLC for August 4th. My friend was watching earlier, as it was hip-hop time on Fuse, in his words. The video for one Cemetary Gates played. After the video, there was a recording that said “Play this song, and 5 other Pantera classics on Rock Band starting August 4th.”

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    UPDATE:
    According to HMXSean, Alex Navarro of Harmonix:

    Love Pantera, but sadly have to debunk this one. Stay tuned to RockBand.com (not wrestling forums) for DLC news.

  • WordPress for BlackBerry

    Posted on July 23rd, 2009 Shawn No comments
    Courtesy of WordPress.org

    Courtesy of WordPress.org

    I’m a BlackBerry junky. I’m a WordPress blog junky. Now, there is a WordPress for BlackBerry app that allows full blogging capabilities on your ‘berry. I’m typing this post on my Bold.

    It’s still a beta app, at version 0.9.0.134, but so far, so good. I installed the app no problem. There’s not much to look at on the main screen. You need to hit the BB menu button to see initial login options. After typing in my URL, by the way, that’s here, admin user name and password; blammo, I was presented with the name of my blog. By the way, that’s My Gadget, Game & Gizmo Obsession.

    Like the login, there’s not much to look at on screen, until you hit the menu button. The menu gives options to view posts, pages, etc. Also, it gives the option to write a new post, which brings me to right now.

    Other than the limitations of typing on a BB keyboard versus a full size desktop keyboard, all looks good.

    The things I need to look into next is:
    Can you add images, and how easy is it to do so?
    Can you add Amazon or Google ads, and how easy is it to do so?

    You can pick up the app directly on your ‘berry here. (I believe, it works on all models–Storm excluded)

    I’ll be back with an update.

  • TWIRB: RBN, Country Track Pack, DLC, Pepsi, more

    Posted on July 21st, 2009 Shawn 1 comment

    Rock Band DLC UpdateTHIS WEEK IN ROCK BAND! It’s been a while since my last TWIRB update, but with all the news recently, it’s time I put together an update.  This week we talk about DLC (of course), the Pepsi Rock Band promotion, a new Track Pack, the end of Wal-Mart exclusivity for AC/DC Track Pack, The Beatles: Rock Band update, an upcoming Rock Band 2.2 update, and……..THE ROCK BAND NETWORK announcement.

    Downloadable Content News:

    Let’s get the DLC update out of the way first.  Not that it’s a bad week for DLC either, there is just a ridiculous amount of Rock Band news this week, that it’s dwarfed by other news.  This week we get four bands, mixed genres, 3 3-packs and a single.  I’m likely to add Rise Against to my wish list, and possible Rancid too.  I’ll have to give Lush and Kings of Leon a listen to decide.
    Here’s the condensed announcment from HMXHenry [SOURCE]:

    Default DLC Week of 7/21 – Kings of Leon, Rancid, Rise Against & Lush

    Hey gang,

    Here’s the DLC hitting Rock Band next week! We’ve got a pretty rad selection of track packs from Kings of Leon, Rancid, Rise Against and a single from Lush.

    And below that you can see the back catalog additions for the Wii, and the RBU DLC. Read on!

    Tracks available for Xbox 360 (July 21) and PS3 system (July 23):

    Kings of Leon “Crawl”
    Kings of Leon “Molly’s Chambers”
    Kings of Leon “Sex on Fire”
    Rancid “Last One to Die”
    Rancid “Ruby Soho”
    Rancid “Time Bomb”
    Rise Against “Prayer of the Refugee”
    Rise Against “Re-Education (Through Labor)”
    Rise Against “Savior”
    Lush “Sweetness & Light”

    (All tracks are original master recordings)

    These tracks will be available for purchase as part of the “Kings of Leon Pack,” “Rancid Pack,” “Rise Against Pack” or as individual tracks for Xbox 360 and PLAYSTATION 3 systems.

    Price:
    $1.99 (160 Microsoft Points for Xbox 360) per track
    $5.49 (440 Microsoft Points for Xbox 360) for “Kings of Leon Pack,” “Rancid Pack” or “Rise Against Pack”

    Pepsi Rock Band Promotion:

    Are you aware of the ongoing Pepsi Rock Band Promotion?  I’ll sum it up in two words, “Free DLC”.  Simply buy a 20oz or 1L bottle of Pepsi (or other Pepsi product) with specially marked yellow caps.  You’ll notice a Rock Band icon on the cap.  Inside the cap is a code that you enter into www.pepsirockband.com.  You can use that code to enter one of three contests: 1) Trips to Vegas and other places, 3) Consoles, RB2 packages, and other hardware, 3) DLC.  Your chances of winning 1 or 2 is slim, at best.  But, your chance of winning DLC is 99% (give or take).  I’m 7-for-7 right now, and I know others who are 250-for-250.  The word is out now about this contest and supplies are starting to run out at places.  So, what are you waiting for?  Buy up all the yellow capped Pepsi’s you can, dig through your friends recycle bins, or use your eagle eyes at the beach to swipe those bottle caps off others bottles when they are not looking.
    [ad#post-banner-ad]

    Country Track Pack Released:

    Just released last night at midnight (if any store was open) is the Rock Band: Country Track Pack, featuring (most importantly) The Gambler by Kenny Rogers. Twenty other songs make it on the disc, though 8 are already available for DLC.  It’s $29.99 for the disc at retail.  You can pick it up with FREE shipping at Amazon. For $1 a song, it’s a good deal. If you already own the previously offered DLC, it works out to $2.30 per song, not a great deal. But, the Track Pack can be played on its own and for Xbox 360 players, that means new achievements.

    Complete Track List: [SOURCE]

    Artist Song Title

    1. Alan Jackson Good Time*
    2. Brad Paisley – Mud on the Tires
    3. Brooks & Dunn – Hillbilly Deluxe
    4. Cross Canadian Ragweed – Cry Lonely*
    5. Dierks Bentley – Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go)
    6. Dixie Chicks – Sin Wagon
    7. Drive-By Truckers – 3 Dimes Down
    8. Jason Aldean – She’s Country*
    9. Keith Urban – I Told You So*
    10. Kenny Chesney – She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy*
    11. Kenny Rogers – The Gambler*
    12. Lucinda Williams – Can’t Let Go
    13. Martina McBride – This One’s For The Girls*
    14. Miranda Lambert – Gunpowder & Lead
    15. Montgomery Gentry – Gone*
    16. Rascal Flatts – Me and My Gang*
    17. Sara Evans – Suds In The Bucket*
    18. Shania Twain – Any Man of Mine*
    19. Steve Earle – Satellite Radio
    20. Trace Adkins – Swing*
    21. Willie Nelson – On the Road Again*

    * Denotes track new to Rock Band platform

    Wal-Mart Exclusive for AC/DC Track Pack Ending:

    I don’t have a date yet, but the Wal-Mart exclusivity for AC/DC Track Pack will be ending soon, which would mean a possible price cut too. I will pick it up once it’s on Amazon and below the $30 mark. How about you?

    The Beatles: Rock Band News:

    We got an announcement from HMXSean today of 15 new songs/venues for The Beatles game. [SOURCE]

    The 15 new songs for The Beatles: Rock Band and the venues they are featured in are:

    • Twist And Shout / Cavern Club
    • Do You Want To Know A Secret / Cavern Club
    • Can’t Buy Me Love / Ed Sullivan Theater
    • I Wanna Be Your Man / Ed Sullivan Theater
    • Eight Days A Week / Shea Stadium
    • Paperback Writer / Budokan
    • And Your Bird Can Sing / Budokan
    • Yellow Submarine / Abbey Road Dreamscape
    • Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band* / Abbey Road Dreamscape
    • With a Little Help from My Friends* / Abbey Road Dreamscape
    • Within You Without You / Tomorrow Never Knows / Abbey Road Dreamscape
    • Revolution / Abbey Road Dreamscape
    • Birthday / Abbey Road Dreamscape
    • Dig A Pony / Rooftop Concert
    • I’ve Got A Feeling / Rooftop Concert

    The Rock Band Network Announcement:

    This deserves its own LONG post, so I’ll keep it short for sake of time.  We will no longer be limited to Harmonix adding DLC to Rock Band.  RBN will allow bands or digital music producers to add DLC to the game, including vocals (take that GHTunes) and on-screen effects.  This will use Reaper and Magma (professional digital recording software) and the Microsoft XNA development tools.  Importantly, it’s only going to be for Xbox 360 at lauch.  It will work with Rock Band 2, via an update to the game (dubbed Rock Band 2.2).

    There is already a company that is signing indie bands to add their songs to the game.  They are at www.rhythmauthors.com.  This is going to add endless possibilities of music for the game.  Harmonix will still work on DLC for the game too. Go here to learn more. I plan to be getting RBN setup, so will have a lot more to say in the near future.

    Rock Band 2.2 Update Coming:

    RBN will be a major part of the update.  It will add an “audition” element to the game, allowing approved RB2 users to audition RBN songs for inclusion to the DLC store.  To get access to audition, users (I believe) will need to purchase a subscription to Microsoft’s XNA tools at $99 per year.
    This is just a guess, but I’d expect the update to include support for the Lips microphones.  That would correspond with an announcement that they would be supported “Summer 2009”.

    So, that’s a crazy amount of news this week. I need to get back to my regularly scheduled life.

  • Beastie Boys MCA Diagnosed with Cancer

    Posted on July 20th, 2009 Shawn No comments
    Courtesy of http://www.beastiemania.com

    Courtesy of http://www.beastiemania.com

    Ugh, I’ve written about the loss of some of my favorite entertainers. Today, I got word, not of a loss….but of an illness to one that is at the top for me. Adam Yauch (MCA) of Beastie Boys, has been diagnosed with cancer (according to an article on Comcast.net) [SOURCE].

    Beastie Boy Adam Yauch has been diagnosed with a parotid gland tumor. The Beastie Boys have consequently canceled their upcoming tour and pushed back the release of their forthcoming album, ‘Hot Sauce Committee, Part 1,’ according to their publicist. Fortunately, Yauch’s tumor was discovered at a very early stage and this type of cancer is considered very treatable, and it’s not expected to affect his voice.

    Here’s the video announcement:

    [ad#post-banner-ad]
    Adam, your fans care about you greatly and hope for a quick recovery. If our readers are Beastie Boys fans, leave your thoughts below and share.

  • Fresh From Twitter today

    Posted on July 16th, 2009 Shawn No comments

    RedOctane unveils Guitar Hero 5 drums #MyGGGo http://viigo.im/0fBB

    Slacker Radio Now Pushed To Verizon Storm #MyGGGo http://viigo.im/0fBo

    Pandora News: Free Streaming Radio App for BlackBerry Updated with New Features and Fixes. #MyGGGo http://viigo.im/0fBl

    BlackBerry OS 5.0 To Have Tabbed Browsing! #MyGGGo http://viigo.im/0fBh

  • Fresh From Twitter today

    Posted on July 15th, 2009 Shawn No comments

    Netflix has been on Xbox Live for 8 months. I\’m considering signing up for Netflix to take advantage, is it worth it? #MyGGGo

  • iPhone or BlackBerry + Slacker Mobile = Every Rock Band Song for FREE

    Posted on July 15th, 2009 Shawn 1 comment

    Regular readers know I’m a fan of Slacker Radio (www.slacker.com), which is a free streaming radio service that offers canned and customized radio stations. I’m also a giant fan of the video game, Rock Band. Add to that, I’m a mobile gadget junky…and you get the perfect combination.

    I have created an all encompassing Rock Band “radio” station on www.slacker.com, which has every song (that I can locate) from the entire Rock Band series. This includes Rock Band 1 & 2, all downloadable songs, the Unplugged game, and all confirmed songs from The Beatles: Rock Band. There are well over 650 songs on the station, and growing on a weekly basis. Check it out in your web browser, below.

    If you have an iPhone or BlackBerry, sign up for a free Slacker account and install the application to your phone. Then you can add my Rock Band station to your phone and take it with you wherever you go. BlackBerry users get an extra boost, being able to cache the station to save on battery drain and data use. (You’ll get 100 songs randomly loaded when you cache.)

    If you want to sign-up for the paid Slacker option, you will get the ability to see lyrics while songs are playing, plus unlimited skips.
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    Rock Band
    Radio
    Station Image
    Rock Band
    This station contains artists from the ever growing collection of Rock Band content across all versions, consoles and regions. As of 7/15/2009 every available song on Slacker is “hearted” in the station. I have banned all unrelated artists and songs. You will find very few non Rock Band tracks in this station. As of today, 654 songs from the collection have been hearted. (No SpongeBob)
    Enjoy, Rock On!

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