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  • BlackBerry Slider Coming in April?

    Posted on March 20th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    According to some reports, a BlackBerry slider device (looking a bit like a Palm Pre) is coming. Not only that, but its coming to Sprint and its possibly to be released in April.

    It will have touch screen, without the clicky SurePress of the Storm. It will have a slide out portrait QWERTY keyboard. From prototype photos, it looks like a Bold 9700 with some Palm Pre sliding.

    Looks interesting. I’m typing this on WordPress for BlackBerry, so will post some photos when I get to a computer.

    The people at PC World and Engadget seem to have a scoop on it.

    The Canadian company RIM famous for BlackBerry smartphones is releasing a new model next month. Known as the ‘T,’ The new model is an ambitious product aimed at competing against iPhone’s storm of success. Rim will present it (‘T’) as its flagship model to compete in global markets such as the U.S. and Europe.

  • Google Buzz, A Real Threat to Twitter & Facebook

    Posted on February 10th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    I’m just learning what Google Buzz is all about today.  I like to keep things short and simple here. Think of Gmail mixed with all the social aspects of Facebook and Twitter.  Photo sharing, status updates, posts/blogging, geolocation, etc.  All this in the simplistic Google interface.

    Who doesn’t have a Gmail account? Just about no one.  Who doesn’t use Twitter and/or Facebook?  Just about no one.

    Google Buzz is rolling out today to Gmail users.  The coolest part, is it’s not only rolling out for desktop users, but also smartphone users.  At first rollout, a bunch of dekstop (Windows, Mac, etc) users already have the Buzz features enabled, plus iPhone and Android users have access just by navigating to http://buzz.google.com from the browser. No word yet on BlackBerry or WebOS support.

    Knowing that Gmail already has a huge install base, would you give Buzz a try? I know I will.

  • BlackBerry Magnum, Bold with Touchscreen

    Posted on January 29th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    From zdnet.com

    To the gadget readers, I’m sorry for the lack of postings on gadgets. I’ve been slacking in this area for a while, as I generally have been using Twitter for quick thoughts.

    Well, I have a reason to write up a post now. My history comes from Palm Treo’s, you know the original smartphone with both a real QWERTY keyboard and touchscreen. I love that setup. But, due to rules and regs at my employer, I was required to move over to BlackBerry. My first go round was with the Storm 9530 on Verizon. That’s the BlackBerry that was complete touchscreen with the clicky screen. It was supposed to be Verizon’s answer to the iPhone. Due to the click screen and software bugs (to keep this short), the device was a failure, in my hands-on opinion. My use of the Storm lasted a whopping 3 months. Then I moved to AT&T and got the Bold 9000. That was known as the Cadillac of BlackBerry’s, with a large keyboard, hi-res display, WiFi, GPS, and everything you’d expect in a top notch smartphone. Though, it didn’t have touchscreen.

    Now, let me fast forward to sometime in late 2010 or 2011 (ooh, this is some Back To The Future kind of thing).

    There have been FCC reportings of a new BlackBerry that has both a QWERTY keyboard and touchscreen, code named Magnum. Now, a video has surfaced of a working prototype. And, I have to say…I see my next BlackBerry. This device, or as the prototype shows, is exactly the same size and layout as the Bold 9000 (interesting that it’s not the same size and layout as the newer Bold 9700). Possibly, the Magnum prototype was built before the 9700, and we may eventually see a newer prototype that looks more like the 9700.  Though, I prefer the 9000 size and layout.

    This new phone has a couple changes over the Bold 9000, like a micro-USB input, instead of the mini-USB. Plus there is no trackball or trackpad. That means all navigation takes place on-screen, like the Storm.

    Other than those features, there is the obvious touchscreen, which looks to have the clicky screen of the Storm. Touch = good. Clicky = less than good, but better than nothing.

    I’ll embed the video below. But, as far as things go, I’ve been using the Bold 9000 for just under 1 year, and I’d expect the Magnum to make it onto shelves by Christmas 2010 (or maybe Spring 2011). This will likely be my next phone soon after release.

  • BlackBerry Not Reconciling with Outlook? Read on

    Posted on December 10th, 2009 Shawn 6 comments

    BlackBerry BoldI use a BlackBerry Bold 9000 on AT&T. This is a corporate device, and it’s connected to my companies BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), for over the air (OTA) syncing of email, calendar, contacts, and tasks.

    A few months back, I opted to upgrade my Bold’s operating system to a leaked version of the BlackBerry OS.  After it was complete, my Bold started showing signs of syncing issues.

    In a quick detail it goes like this:

    • I delete an email from Outlook, and it does not automatically delete (aka Reconcile) from the Inbox on the Bold.
    • I open an email in Outlook, and it does not automatically mark as opened on the Bold.

    These things used to work, prior to upgrading the OS.  On the flip side, if I open or delete an email message on the Bold, it does reconcile within Outlook.  So, this is saying the there is some sort of syncing, but it’s not fully working both ways.

    I’ve done many tests, including following RIM’s Knowledge Base suggestions of KB 10939.  I’ve gone as far as to wipe the device (aka remove all the data, applications, and OS; and reinstall an official OS and every app from scratch. I’ve even tried exploring deleting/undeleting messages in Outlook.  None of these options resolved the issue.

    This morning, as I continued to troubleshoot, I stumbled on a tip that suggested I toggle Wireless Reconcile from on/off and then from off/on.  Interestingly, doing this process, cleaned up the Inbox on my Bold to match Outlook.

    The steps to do this process are below (which I suspect are similar for any BlackBerry):

    1. On the BlackBerry, open the email application.
    2. In the menu, select Options > Email Reconciliation.
    3. In Email Reconciliation, change Wireless Reconcile to Off, and then Save.
    4. Return to Email Reconciliation, change Wireless Reconcile to On, and then Save.

    The above steps forced my Inbox on the BlackBerry to match the Inbox on Outlook.

    As a follow-up test, I created a new email message in Outlook and sent to myself. As expected, the message arrived in both my Outlook and BlackBerry Inbox. I opened the message within Outlook, but the message remained unopened in the BlackBerry Inbox. Grrr!

    So, I’m able to do a one-time clean up by using the steps above, but I’m still not able to get the Reconcile feature to automatically update the BlackBerry Inbox.  My plight continues…

    If you have any suggestions, please post below.

  • BlackBerry Software Deals @ CrackBerry.com

    Posted on November 30th, 2009 Pabel No comments
    TetherBerry
    The web anywhere on your laptop from your BlackBerry! Access the Internet on your laptop through your BlackBerry’s data plan anywhere there is cellular coverage.
    $49.95 $24.98 Get App Now
    BerryBuzz
    The essential alert tool for every BlackBerry. Customize LED colors and audible reminders for email/SMS/MMS/BBM/Facebook/Calendar/Tasks/Missed Phone Calls/Coverage Indicator and more…
    $5.95 $2.98 Get App Now
    Empower HTML Email Viewer PRO
    View HTML Emails on your BlackBerry with Images, Colors, Smileys, Web Links and more. With PIM Integration, WiFi support, Inline Replies, PDI, Prefetch, Cache, AutoUpdate, SmartHeaders and much more…
    $29.99 $15.00 Get App Now
    QuickLaunch – Launch Apps, Web, Mail, SMS, Calls…
    App Shortcuts, Bluetooth Toggle, Memory Cleaner, Weather, Email, Stay Lit, Music, Vids, Pics, Device Info, Camera, App Switcher and much more from a scrollable popup menu from any screen!
    $4.99 $2.50 Get App Now
    AddOnis
    AddOnis (formerly BerryAddon) – The All-In-One Super Utility
    $9.95 $4.98 Get App Now
    Mobiscope: Video from webcams on mobile
    Video from webcams on mobile – for home surveillance or just for fun! Enjoy real time webcam video and audio streams on your mobile, get motion detection alerts over email, any web/IP cam support.
    $19.95 $9.98 Get App Now
    Beyond160
    Tired of composing a text message and seeing “Field Full” when you still have more to say? Then go Beyond160!
    $6.99 $3.50 Get App Now
    Pocket Informant for BlackBerry
    Pocket Informant brings order to your life. With a beautiful user interface that can be customized to your whims and is designed to help you see and manage your schedule and todos
    $19.95 $9.98 Get App Now
    Druglord Wars
    Druglord Wars pits you against the world in the high stakes occupation of drug dealing!
    $4.99 $2.50 Get App Now
    Real iBerry Blocks
    Turn your BlackBerry into a true iBerry with the Real iBerry Blocks. Pack with the sharpest, newest and latest icons.
    $6.00 $3.00 Get App Now
  • Slacker Radio for BlackBerry: Update

    Posted on September 21st, 2009 Shawn No comments

    SlackerUpdate20490

    Hey BlackBerry users, and music lovers, our favorite internet radio application has been updated. After a quick check this morning of the BlackBerry App World, I see that I’m offered an upgrade from v2.0.45 to v2.0.49.0.

    In this update we get the following:

    SlackerNotes20490

    All the details in the release notes look warranted to me.  As a heavy user of Slacker on both my desktop and BlackBerry, I’m looking forward to testing out this new version.  If you are new to Slacker, you can point your BlackBerry web browser to www.slacker.com to get the application, or you can use App World on your BlackBerry to get it, or you can go send it to your ‘berry from the App World site on your desk top.  To play Slacker from your desktop web browser, just go to www.slacker.com in your browser of choice to get the complete awesomeness of Slacker.
    [ad#post-banner-ad]
    Slacker is available on all BlackBerry models.  I use it on both the Bold and Storm.  Works great on both, and looks incredible on the Storm.  Slacker also offers a full-featured application for iPhone and iPod Touch too.

  • Must Have Apps for BlackBerry

    Posted on September 8th, 2009 Shawn No comments

    It’s been ages since I wrote about my gadgets, thanks to my love affair with the Xbox 360. Right now my Xbox is setup at work for a big Guitar Hero 5 and Beatles Rock Band event tomorrow.  I’m here talking about my other big obsession, applications for BlackBerry.

    As far as BlackBerry’s go, I’m somewhat of a n00b. My first berry was the Storm 9530 on Verizon, which after 5 months, I switched to AT&T and got the Bold 9000. Don’t worry, I have been a smartphone junky for 6 years now, just recently new to BlackBerry.

    So, now onto my list of must have applications for BlackBerry. I’m going to spare the suspense and jump right into my #1 app and work my way down to the minutiae.

    1. PodTrapper (Versatile Monkey) – This is the premiere podcast player for BlackBerry.  I’m a heavy podcast listener, and in the past used iTunes on my Windows computer to download podcasts.  Then I’d transfer over via Windows Media Player syncing.  Basically, it was a crappy kludge, and I never much liked all the steps to get podcasts on my device. With PodTrapper, all podcasts can be downloaded over the air (OTA), via cell signal, WiFi, or USB. There’s even a pseudo-store front for browsing known ‘casts. The app lives within BlackBerry’s limited usable memory, but the podcasts live in the microSD (or on-board 1GB flash) memory. I use this app several hours every day. It’s available at www.versatilemoney.com for $9.99.
      If you are wondering, the podcasts I most listen to are 2old2type Radio, BB Geeks, CrackBerry.com, Jay Severin, PalmCast, Pandora Presents…SANS Internet Storm Center StormCast, Starpower, The Live Music Podcast, gspn.tv Weekly Lost Podcast, The Xbox 360 Fancast, Major Nelson.
    2. Garmin Mobile GPS – This full-featured GPS is just as good as the stand-alone units and costs the same as the cheap units, but offers features that some of the high-end units can’t match. The benefit of Garmin Mobile for BlackBerry is that your BlackBerry has a cell phone radio in it and the software uses the cell radio to assist in location finding. You may know of tower triangulation, which uses your cell phone radio to determine roughly where you are.  Well, Garmin uses both the on-board GPS and the cell phone radio to locate you (better known as aGPS), which just about every stand-alone GPS does not have.  Also, Garmin Mobile is a very small application and there is no downloading/installing maps. The maps all come to your BlackBerry real-time, OTA. So, as maps (in the Garmin cloud) update, you get them immediately without having to purchase maps every year. Garmin Mobile has the features you’d expect, audible turn-by-turn announcements, 2D, 3D, text views that update as you progress in your trip, speed, and estimated time of arrival (which updates as you progress). It also has traffic warnings, which is another benefit of the cell phone radio. Garmin Mobile will determine the best route if a major road is known to have traffic or construction. On the somewhat downside, if your phone cannot get a cell signal when you start Garmin, the app will not open. It needs a cell signal to get the initial maps. If you lose cell service during your route, that’s ok, as long as your phone can access GPS satellites, your route will continue. For Storm users, you have full touch screen capability, making it even better to use, plus the portrait or landscape layout is very nice. I chose Garmin Mobile for my Bold and my wife’s Storm, instead of paying $100+ for a stand alone unit. It’s available at http://www8.garmin.com/mobile/blackberry/ for $99, but can be found for $79 if you do a little online searching.
    3. [ad#post-banner-ad]

    4. Slacker Personal Radio – This is a free music application that has access to over 100 pre-programmed (and unlimited custom made) radio stations. It’s based on the popular browser based streaming radio at www.slacker.com, and is used daily on my BlackBerry. It has taken over as my primary music player, used more often than the built in BlackBerry Media Player. For Slacker, you pick a station and songs play at random. Stations can be cached, which helps reduce data usage and saves battery. The app is free and all music is free with an occasional advertisement. There is a paid option for about $4 per month, which supports no ads, song lyrics, and other features. You can download it at www.slacker.com.
    5. SocialScope Lite– This is one of the many Twitter applications for the BlackBerry.  Previously, I used TwitterBerry and UberTwitter. I switch out Twitter apps like underwear. This current favorite, also integrates Facebook support into a single feed, which is a good thing for me. I have noticed though, that during times of limited BES coverage, SocialScope does not update, but UberTwitter figures out how to reroute traffic through a different port and works fine. That is something SocialScope, I hope, will fix in their next update. The app is still in beta. It’s free (for now) and can be located at http://www.socialscope.net/.

    Some other mentionables include: GymTechnic, WeatherEye, CaptureIt, LeaveItOn, and I Love BlackBerry.

    I’ll cut there for now. How about you BlackBerry owners, what apps are you using every day?

  • 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.

  • Initial Thoughts of AT&T versus Verizon Wireless

    Posted on April 23rd, 2009 Shawn 3 comments

    Welcome to part two of a multi-part romance novel (not exactly) of a man, and quest for the ultimate device and network.

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

    I’ve been rockin’ the BlackBerry Bold 9000 on AT&T for a few weeks, so it’s time to publish part two of this series. If you need to catch up, read part one.

    I’m going to focus solely on the network here.  I won’t be comparing Bold versus Storm (that will be in an upcoming post). I will not be talking BlackBerry versus Treo (that will also be in an upcoming post).  For this, we talk Verizon Wireless versus AT&T.

    This is not my first dance with AT&T, but it has been about 6 years since I was on their network.  Plus back then, they were called Cingular and Cellular One before that. 3G didn’t exist back then. Hell, 2G didn’t exist (as far as I know). Smartphones were only for mobile technology uber-geeks, which I wasn’t one at the time. I had the most plain Jane Nokia phone. Monochrome screen, no texting, analog and digital capabilities, no vibrate mode (but I did buy a 3rd party battery that had a vibrate feature, and it made the phone sound like a quacking duck when it rang).

    I left Cingular because they screwed me on a billing issue, which went to a collection agency.  At the time, I was in the process of getting qualified for a home mortgage and Cingular’s collection agency (a 3rd party company) threatened if I did not pay a late fee that it would effect my credit rating. So, I negotiated a payment and promptly cut all ties with Cingular.

    Still in 2003, after researching the other available networks in my area, Sprint didn’t make the cut, and Verizon Wireless won my business. Up until May 2009, Verizon has been my carrier.  So, why the switch?
    [ad#post-banner-ad]
    A couple reasons made my decision. (1) Choice of devices. (2) Voice/data coverage in primary locations. (3) WiFi.

    Choice of Devices
    As a work mandate, if I want work email on the device, I have to use BlackBerry devices. My employer has determined the most recent available BlackBerry device on Verizon (BlackBerry Storm 9530) is not a viable option. That leaves us with older BlackBerry devices that have older operating systems (BBOS 4.5) and lower screen resolutions. For AT&T, they have one of the three available “next generation” BlackBerry’s, the Bold 9000. It has a newer operating system (BBOS 4.6), higher screen resolution, and other features. AT&T wins on the “newness” factor for devices, since the Storm was ruled out by my employer.

    Voice/data coverage in primary locations
    We all know the commercials for Verizon Wireless, about “the network”.  Well, sorry to say, I get little to no coverage at home with Verizon Wireless. The coverage is so bad that I never take a call on my mobile at home, knowing that it will end in a dropped call. Other primary business areas near me (Waltham, MA) have very poor coverage also. I switched to AT&T blindly, without knowing what coverage I would get. Boy, oh boy, I was pleasantly surprised. Voice/data quality at home is excellent. I commonly get 3G signal strengths, and have not dropped a single call in the three weeks I’ve been on AT&T. AT&T wins in my area. NOTE: The network all depends on where you are at.  Verizon has a great network, just not enough coverage where I need them.

    UPDATE: I completely forgot about the capability difference between the two different networks. Without going into the technical details, Verizon Wireless’ network is setup to allow voice or data. There is no simultaneous capability on Verizon to let you talk on a call and use data (internet) at the same time.  For AT&T’s 3G network, you have simultaneous voice and data capabilities. This was not a must have feature for me, but the cool thing is the ability to be on a call, while the integrated GPS is running Garmin software and updating maps over the AT&T data plan. In another scenario, I can be on a call trying to make plans for dinner, and use the web browser to locate directions to a restaurant.  This can’t be done on Verizon’s network.

    WiFi
    This area AT&T wins without any discussion. AT&T has been very open to devices with built-in WiFi for several years. Whereas Verizon has been slow to adopt WiFi. Verizon has only a few devices with WiFi, and none are BlackBerry. No WiFi on the Storm, and none on the next BlackBerry coming to Verizon sometime in the next couple months. The BlackBerry Bold for AT&T has WiFi built in. AT&T wins on the WiFi front.

    Wrap Up
    To sum up this part, I’m very happy with the AT&T network thus far. I previously had been lulled into beleiving Verizon was the only company with great network coverage, and that AT&T had poor coverage. Please keep in mind, your mileage may vary where you are located. My AT&T coverage is so impressive, that my wife will be dropping her Verizon plan when her contract is up in a few months and will sign up with AT&T.

    As far as customer service goes, I loved Verizon’s web site. I would use it regularly to keep track of my acocunt and pay bills. I very rarely call customer service for help, but Verizon’s customer service was hit or miss. They took care of me a few years ago when I had an accidental $700 monthly bill, but they were unable to help me with technical questions on the BlackBerry Storm. They also put up a brick wall, when I tried to transfer my Storm to my wife’s account (without a data plan). As for AT&T’s customer service, I do not plan on using it at all, since my employer will now handle all my BlackBerry/AT&T customer service needs.

    That’s it for now. Check back next time where I will focus on the comparison of the BlackBerry Bold 9000 versus BlackBerry Storm 9530.

  • Gym Technik (workout app) for BlackBerry Updated

    Posted on January 28th, 2009 Shawn 1 comment

    You may have read an earlier post where I was comparing three fitness software apps for the BlackBerry Storm; Ascendo Fitness for BlackBerry, PumpOne Mobile, and Gym Technik. Well I haven’t gotten around to writing up a full comparison yet. In fact, I still haven’t seen what PumpOne can do. I have ruled out Ascendo since it was not Storm-friendly when I tested and was more app than I needed. I will cut to the chase and say that I use Gym Technik for my daily (wishful thinking) exercise tracking.

    Gym Technik is completely web-based, with a web client for the desktop and a web client for the BlackBerry. You are due for a full review, but work (the job that pays me, not this one) has been busy and I haven’t been able to write the review. So, instead I will post the news update verbetim from Gym Technik announcing their new features. In short, I love the new desktop features, and like the BlackBerry Storm features. It’s available for all BlackBerry models, and yes you iPhone guys can use it too.

    Here’s the announcement, with my review coming sometime in the not-so-distant future:

    The team at Gym Technik has a big announcement that we’re excited to inform you about. We’ve just upgraded the Gym Technik application and added a slew of new features, all of which were requested by you and your team – other Gym Technik members!

    New Features Now Live

    Gym Technik has just been upgraded and we’re excited to bring to you the following new features that so many of you have requested the last few months. This upgrade is automatic and free so all you have to do is just login and continue using Gym Technik as normal and you will see all the new changes. Below is a quick rundown of our new features:

    ·New home page when you login

    Instantly view informative summaries about both your workouts and body stats as soon as you login on your home page. You will also see a much more intuitive navigation to other portions of the site

    ·Articles at your fingertips

    Informative articles, both featured and latest, displayed to you on your home page as we update them. Now you’re always in the loop on the latest informative articles from Gym Technik

    ·Workout and Routine Library

    This is probably our most exciting new feature. We’ve built out a workout library section where you can find pre-built workouts and routines each within its own category. So if you’re looking for a new routine or just need some guidance in building out your workouts, browse all the categories within our workout library and in one click add any of our 60 published routines to your own workout library and begin to track on your calendar and your smartphone.

    ·The library

    As an extension to our workout and routine library, we’ve built out a content driven library where you can browse through for fitness tips, nutritional advice, lifestyle articles, and smartphone tips. So if you’re looking for that extra bit of motivation or want to learn a few tricks on the latest integrations with your smartphone – The Gym Technik library will have what you need in here.

    ·More exercises and more images

    Gym Technik has extended it’s already extensive exercise list with new exercises requested by many of you. We’ve also added videos and images for almost all of our exercises so you can now get the guidance you need for any new exercises you add to your routine.

    ·Edit or delete your custom exercises

    This was probably the most requested feature so this is sure to excite many of you. Now you can edit or delete any of your custom exercises that you’ve already created

    ·Upload photos

    Now with Gym Technik, you can track both your workout stats AND the progress of your body through photos. Upload photos of yourself using your smartphone or directly from the web site and tag each photo to a body part to visually watch yourself get closer to your goals.

    ·Enhanced user interface for smarthones

    We have taken a lot of your suggestions and improved the user interface of the smartphone application. Improvements will be seen across all smartphone handsets.

    ·Faster experience on mobile

    We have optimized the way images load up to give you a faster experience on the mobile application. And to make it even faster, you can turn images off in your mobile settings.

    ·International launch

    We are proud to announce that Gym Technik is now multi-lingual, with our first language launched in German at www.gymtechnik.de

    ·Browser compatibility

    With the launch of all these new features and the enhanced user interface, Gym Technik no longer supports Internet Explorer 6.0. So if you’re using IE 6, you will have to upgrade to version 7.0 or use Firefox, Chrome, or Safari to enjoy all of our new features.

    Again, this upgrade has only been possible thanks to the overwhelming submission of feature requests we’ve received from all of our members and we sincerely appreciate this feedback. We are already planning for our next upgrade which will contain more exciting features which are once again driven by exactly what you’ve asked for – so stay tuned!

    And if you haven’t taken the opportunity to get in touch with our team to share your ideas, then make sure you do by visiting the “Support” section of our website and letting us know how you feel we can improve. We’re always listening.

    The team at Gym Technik wishes you a great 2009 and a year in health.

    Team Gym Technik

    http://www.gymtechnik.com

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