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10-Year-Old iTunes DRM Lawsuit Heading To Trial

Divebus Re: Change in operations instead of cash.... (246 comments)

Which market was Apple a monopoly in? Making Macs? That's about all I can think of. Monopolies are not illegal, but abusing a monopoly is. Apple was in nothing but an uphill battle against everyone else and they overcame competitors with products nobody else could package right.

What harmed other music players was they were mostly shit compared to the iPod. I already owned a few players when I first touched an iPod and thought "wow, so this is how it's supposed to work".

Follow that on with the computer industry's self-admitted iPod Halo Effect. In that era, everyone with an iPod was thinking "if this thing is so good, I wonder what their computers are like". The Apple Stores which started opening in 2001 let people see for themselves. In 2005, when Apple opened their 100th retail store, a lot of people I knew began dumping their PCs for Macs.

An Apple store opened near my former job and people would go there for lunch to see what a slick computer experience looked like, because they sure weren't seeing it on PCs. For the next five years, I knew more people who used to own a PC and bought Macs, including some very combative Windows users who never touched a Mac before. Now, I hardly know anyone who automatically buys PCs, and I'd say all of them owned iPods first when the trend started. That's what killed the competition.

That was also the era where Microsoft started feeling consumer backlash. The mantra of "Windows Windows Windows" made people think of pain and suffering, not an ecosystem they deliberately wanted. Fewer people trusted Microsoft and viewed Plays For Sure as another lure into a stagnant technology future. They were right.

It's probably hard for the Slashdot crowd to understand there are large numbers of people who don't care about hacking systems. In their eyes, fiddling with technology is far different from using it. Even I know that most hackers pride themselves on doing things the most difficult way possible and call people who would rather click an icon and make something work stupid, but the hackers are still in the minority by a long shot.

For full disclosure, I'm a sysadmin maintaining about 50 servers, 1.5 PByte of online Fiber storage and 50 user facing workstations. Most of the servers are HP/Windows/Linux and most of the workstations are now Macs. When I started there in 2010, all the workstations were PCs. I salted in three Macs amongst 30 Windows workstations and watched the users start fighting over them. People would come to work early so they wouldn't get the Windows machines.

about a month ago
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10-Year-Old iTunes DRM Lawsuit Heading To Trial

Divebus Re: Change in operations instead of cash.... (246 comments)

...this is about the biggest online music store tying one product to another such that the only portable music player you could use was the ipod.

The iPod was the only player engineered to uphold the antipiracy protections demanded by the record labels when purchasing from iTunes. Could someone else have joined a Fairplay coalition? Of course, but Apple was under no obligation to license that technology. There were many many alternatives to players and the store anyway, so the iPod was far from a monopoly. RealNetworks cracked Fairplay several times which was a breach of Apple's contract with the labels and Apple had to engage in electronic warfare with Real to keep them from cracking the encryption Apple guaranteed. The labels didn't want any decrypted files leaking into the wild (HA!) and anything which occurred outside of Apple's technology loop was treated like a renegade hacker.

Palm started copying Apple's USB port IDs to allow their devices to sync with iTunes. After some cat and mouse there, even the USB Implementers Forum sided with Apple and told Palm they were in the wrong for copying Apple's USB codes. If Palm or Real or anyone else doesn't like Apple not giving them free access to what they've built, then build something better. Go ahead and try. Nobody did. Apple didn't hack its way into acceptance but a lot of others were trying to hack their way into Apple's system.

Ballmer himself called the iPod a piracy platform. Even then, the number of music stores which worked with players competing with the iPod were numerous. Microsoft's DRM'd WMA format was offered by AOL MusicNow, Yahoo! Music Unlimited, Spiralfrog, MTV URGE, MSN Music, Musicmatch Jukebox, Wal-Mart Music Downloads, Ruckus Network, PassAlong Networks, Rhapsody, iMesh and BearShare. The iTunes Store was far from a monopoly.

The competing Plays For Sure music players were made by Archos, Cingular, Cowon, Creative Labs, Denon, Digitrex, D-Link, Ericsson, Insignia, iriver, Kyocera, Motorola, Nokia, Palm, Pioneer, Philips, Roku, RCA, Samsung, SanDisk, Sonos, Sony and Toshiba. The iPod was severely outnumbered. The competition was huge and didn't fail until 2007 when Microsoft brought out the Zune and left everyone flapping in the breeze... except Apple.

All of these music players could not play non-Microsoft encoding formats by contract, including MP3 initially until a huge backlash forced Microsoft to allow it. There's your antitrust target. A court case forced Microsoft to soften that later, but it was too late by then. Apple was under no obligation to license their ecosystem to other manufacturers just as Microsoft would not license WMA to Apple (don't know if they tried). That's not illegal. And why would they join with these people anyway? Apple just came out of an era where they let other manufacturers determine the success of their products by selectively supporting what worked for them, not Apple. Apple started selling their own software, invented or purchased, to replace what everyone else was failing at and they did pretty well. What is illegal is to disallow competition by force of presence like Microsoft did to the Plays For Sure partners.

Any player that supported "Plays For Sure" could also support AAC if they wanted, there was no restriction that forced them to only play "Plays For Sure" media just like there was no restriction that forced iPods to only play Fairplay media.

The Microsoft Plays For Sure license prohibited makers of portable devices compatible with WMA from using non-Microsoft audio encoding formats. If player manufacturers wanted to get on the Microsoft Gravy Train that was certain to flatten this iPod nonsense, they were not allowed to play AAC files. Even iRiver had to abandon Ogg Vorbis to get Plays For Sure certification. Does that help make you a little mad at Ballmer?

I totally get why everyone believes the iPod and iTunes were made to lock everyone else out. Problem is, all the other manufacturers were doing the same thing and iTunes did not hold the majority position at that time. What killed everyone else was not monopolistic force, it was constant improvement of the iPod product category in ways the competition couldn't follow.

The competitors against the iPod were also competing with each other and they created a clumsy, fragmented presence which looked pretty shitty against the fit and finish of the iPod ecosystem. In the face of almost no viable competition, for years, iPod capabilities and offerings increased several times a year without increasing prices to match.

If you look it up, you'll find Ballmer and the record labels were dreaming to sell time bomb singles for $2.50 apiece once the iPod was swept away. You may have also forgotten that for several years before Apple worked out the deal with the music companies, there were companies selling songs online including the record labels themselves with their own stores.

It's easy to sit back and say Apple engineered this monopolistic presence and that's how they won the war. Facts of history say something different. Apple won the war by making an increasingly superior product which satisfied everyone except whoever posts on Slashdot, and that number is in the many millions.

...no other software was every able to do that

Like what? Really, I don't know. WinAmp? YamiPod? Foobar2K? MediaChest? How are they doing from 2005? Or are you talking more present day things, well out of the time frame of the complaint against Apple? doubleTwist? Fidelia? So, I don't know of a real competitor to iTunes when it comes to meta tagging and arranging music and video. There's always Rdio and Spotify to compete with where it's really going - streaming and the perpetual pay model. Have you tried the Beats Music service? Dr. Dre and his bunch made a really nice system there and Apple purchasing them confirms it.

Cheers.

about a month ago
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10-Year-Old iTunes DRM Lawsuit Heading To Trial

Divebus Re: Change in operations instead of cash.... (246 comments)

Of course it wasn't a problem because Apple was not a monopoly in desktop, browsers or music players. In 2004, the iPod represented 42% of all music players and they opened the iPod to other platforms.

DRM was a requirement by the music industry to move forward in legal downloads. Apple didn't force anyone to do anything, including buy their iPods or load it with music only from the store. iTunes was a mechanism to rip CDs and load your iPod with unencumbered music files or load it with your Napster MP3 files.

I'd say they were pretty open about it and Apple ditched DRM as soon as the music industry let them, well after other music stores could ditch DRM.

about a month ago
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10-Year-Old iTunes DRM Lawsuit Heading To Trial

Divebus Re: Change in operations instead of cash.... (246 comments)

The iPod was first and foremost an MP3 player. Where did they force anyone to buy music through the iTunes Store?

Where's the lawsuit against Microsoft to force all the hundreds of "Plays For Sure" players to not play AAC files? Everyone knows AAC is a dialect of Dolby Digital and not an Apple invention, right? It's just associated with Apple in a big way because that's what they picked.

Did everyone forget the media exit doorway Apple left in place? You can burn an unrestricted CD of whatever DRM'd file you have and put it anywhere in any format.

I don't particularly like iTunes myself, but it's a damn sight better than shoving files around where the massive file names contain all your metadata. iTunes organizes the library, let's you metatag everything, let's you search by lots of criteria and let's you manipulate collections into handy playlists. That includes MP3 files which interoperate nicely. Shoving raw files around is relatively Byzantine, but to each his own.

Most of the restrictions people complain about are to prevent piracy and Apple had a responsibility to put some of those restrictions in place. However, they supported the "Rip Mix Burn" model in spite of the record companies. This could be a real short case if anyone takes off the hysterical blinders.

about a month ago
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Apple To Face $350 Million Trial Over iPod DRM

Divebus Re:This is typical of the "Jobs era" Apple (135 comments)

If you show invisible files on your Mac, tada... there's all the music on the iPod right in the file system. But, I haven't actually fired up a plain iPod in many years, so I don't know what the newer ones act like.

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles true

about 3 months ago
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Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

Divebus Re: Trust us with your payments (730 comments)

Was that on purpose? If you backup the phone with encryption turned on, all the passwords get restored to the phone.

about 4 months ago
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Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

Divebus Re:Trust us with your payments (730 comments)

So, you can lift a fingerprint with sticky tape and reconstruct the capacitive touch signature which includes the sub-epidural structure of the finger? It's a little harder than a picture of a fingerprint.

about 4 months ago
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F-Secure: Android Accounted For 97% of All Mobile Malware In 2013

Divebus Re:Open Source? (193 comments)

Fair enough... but nobody "found" the GnuTLS bug until the effects of it became apparent. Then the Open Source community started looking for it. That's what runs counter to the claim of "many eyes on the code makes security". Nobody was really looking and nobody noticed that some random cert could be reported as trusted for almost ten years. It's just a truth even I've advertised about Linux until I find the truth has been shattered.

Ignorance isn't blissful at all and this very thing is the weakness of closed code - not many eyes looking and things get fixed retroactively after the effects are revealed. However, Apple realizes the great majority of users don't know a thing about computers except they're appliances which need to work reliably. Apple knows they're not allowing the Dancing Pigs into the iOS spectrum and with that comes restrictions which will frustrate some people. They don't advertise anything different from that. So far, they've made 800 million iOS customers really happy at the expense of maybe 100,000 code monkeys.

My bigger problem with Android is who the mother ship is; Google, which has turned into a spy agency in their own right. They've brilliantly created a portable vehicle to map and catalog your every move and view. Their business model is to destroy your privacy and sell what they learn about you to marketers, the scum of the earth, without restraint or remorse. Apple, on the other hand, is well known to frustrate efforts by marketers to gain access to your private data. Frankly, I don't like computers or cars all that much and don't code or race anymore, but I have to use them. Since I have to use them, I'm going to use something I like a lot and not have to worry about too much.

Cheers.

about 10 months ago
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F-Secure: Android Accounted For 97% of All Mobile Malware In 2013

Divebus Open Source? (193 comments)

Maybe I'm conflating several notions from your post, but I get the distinct feeling you liken Apple products as being in a cage. I can tell you it's more like being in Club Med with hot cocktail waitresses and sunny days with the chain link fence holding back hordes of lepers.

This entire decade, all I've heard was how fully vetted open source gave you freedom and security at the same time. Write all the code you want and run it everywhere. Safely. Freely.

The GnuTLS Library bug tells me it's all been BS. To that end, why should I trust any random developer's software, certificate or not? Isn't everyone in the open source community supposed to be looking at the code? Actually looking at it? You just can't trust anything these days.

about 10 months ago
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F-Secure: Android Accounted For 97% of All Mobile Malware In 2013

Divebus I've heard this before... (193 comments)

...the old Windows meme submerging the fact that Windows really was a piece of swiss cheese.

about 10 months ago
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Acer Pulls Back From Windows To Focus On Android and Chromebook

Divebus Re:From the ashes into the fire? (253 comments)

I would think that someone with such a low UID and [assumed] broad experience would have a little more insight, especially the "no one uses Macs for business". There are a lot of businesses that would chuckle about that, starting with one of the world's most profitable and valuable businesses (on and off).

You can add to that practically everyone in the entertainment media creation field, especially in LA. Forrester says almost half of enterprises with 1,000 or more employees are issuing Macs. Macs are the default choice of many Silicon Valley startups and larger companies like Google. Some CTOs even make fun of the last Windows holdouts for using a "typewriter".

I work for a giant media conglomerate which four years ago forbade Macs from entering the IT system, but after a great deal of upheaval from the top, IT has been told to shut up and deploy Macs, now present as some 30% of new machines. The greatest "ecosystem" Microsoft has are the IT admins who don't know of or won't examine anything else. Those days are ending.

The Mac is not "an obscure also ran" since more than half of new Mac users come from other platforms... well, one in particular. It's more of a refuge for the many millions of people who are sick to death of Windows. Just having Macs in my workplace side by side with Windows machines is driving many users to ditch their home PCs in favor of Macs (some of them Hackintoshes). None of them would even consider a Linux machine. The Mac is now what Linux wants to be.

Microsoft had become quite lazy under Ballmer. Anything a competitor did, Microsoft would release a half baked lookalike that generally really sucked in a number of ways. Microsoft's belief is that they would automatically prevail because the competition (usually Apple in this context) was an obscure also ran. After having their asses handed to them over and over, they're finally getting it.

The best thing I can say about Microsoft's foray into the tablet and advanced phone world is they're the only ones not blatantly copying Apple. That's turning out to be a mistake but I don't think they could have won if they had copied Apple. The tide has turned against Microsoft and once the legacy has worn off, they're done unless they come up with something totally new that nobody can live without.

about a year ago
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Camels May Transmit New Middle Eastern Virus

Divebus Re:My First Thought... (163 comments)

Sounds a lot like John Maddon's Turduckin. Would this be Cameepin?

about a year ago
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Study Finds Fracking Chemicals Didn't Pollute Water

Divebus Re:Sounds iffy (237 comments)

"Six independent studies have proven that fracking doesn't harm the environment or people one bit" - Fracking Institute of America

about a year and a half ago
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Explosions at the Boston Marathon

Divebus Re:Counting the enemies of Uncle Sam (1105 comments)

I'm sure every Muslim in this country hope the guy's name doesn't have Mohammed in it.

about a year and a half ago
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Firing a Laser Into Your Brain Could Help Beat a Drug Addiction

Divebus A laser to the brain (156 comments)

Could also cure breathing.

about a year and a half ago
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Google and MPEG LA Reach VP8 Patent Agreement

Divebus Re:So MS may now back WebRTC??? (112 comments)

Correct again. Microsoft likes to play the "standards" game as long as they can retain a proprietary component inside. Their very first attempt at "standards" was to contribute WMV to the HD-DVD consortium and press for its adoption for Blu-ray without releasing any information required to create the codec. The effort eventually became the VC-1 standard, but the people I knew on the standards body said Microsoft kept thinking they didn't have to release any details about the codec believing the world would simply accept a Microsoft based "standard" because nobody dared bet against them. Meeting after meeting ended with no resolution which looked anything like a disclosure suitable for standards ratification. That was about the beginning of the end for Microsoft (the very first concrete indication that nobody trusted them any more) and signaled the end of HD-DVD.

about 2 years ago
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Google and MPEG LA Reach VP8 Patent Agreement

Divebus Re:So MS may now back WebRTC??? (112 comments)

Correct. The A/C has an agenda and doesn't understand that codecs have less to do with video quality, extensibility and function and more to do with royalties. Microsoft's history has always been to run as far away from standards as possible as fast as they can.

about 2 years ago
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Google and MPEG LA Reach VP8 Patent Agreement

Divebus Re:Woo hoo (112 comments)

Why would anyone want more of the crudely inferior VP8 in the world?

The joke is on Google if they gave anything up. Nobody wants it except YouTube.

about 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Dealing With an Advanced Wi-Fi Leech?

Divebus Re:CO-OP (884 comments)

Open the Wi-Fi completely, don't use a password at all. Next stop to the internet is a VPN firewall. Let's see how much time he's got on his hands.

about 2 years ago

Submissions

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John C. Dvorak's Big Secret

Divebus Divebus writes  |  more than 6 years ago

BorkBorkBork (860563) writes "Say it ain't so. John C. Dvorak, long time Apple troll (or anything troll, actually) was pulled into a story about a Vista laptop gone horribly wrong. The article centers around a PC exorcist who was hired to make it right, but in it was this shocking admission:

I called John C. Dvorak, a prominent columnist for PC Magazine and a podcaster on the Podshow network. "I advise everybody to buy a Macintosh because Apple products are the easiest to use," he said. "If you own a PC, you have to find a local nerd, a kid, maybe a relative. Every family has one unless they've just moved here from a foreign country. That's the only solution."
Did he forget to say "don't publish this" before saying that? Most telling in the article is a line about the exorcist himself from the viewpoint of the PC owner: "He started tinkering with computers during the green-screen era of the 1990s". Oh, wow."

Link to Original Source
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Apple's Market Share Up

Divebus Divebus writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Divebus (860563) writes "Snips from the article: "Reflecting strong holiday sales of both MacBooks and iPhones, Apple's (AAPL) market share grew sharply in December, as measured by a Net Applications survey released today. The Mac OS share, by contrast, grew 7.4% in the past month, nearly double November's rate. The iPhone grew even more sharply, jumping 33% over November's numbers. The Linux operating system also showed strong growth (up better than 10% to hit a .63% share), as did "other," a category that includes the iPod touch, Web TV and the Nintendo Wii."

Folklore says the Linux install base is much larger than Apple's OS X but a measurement like this says otherwise. This method only appears to measure market share for computers certain hitting web sites. Market share is always the focus of these articles when growth/decline may be the more interesting data point."

Link to Original Source
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Another Nail in the Windows Media Player coffin

Divebus Divebus writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Divebus (860563) writes "Imagine my surprise when I lookded at CNN today and found yet another major web presence which has abandoned Windows Media Player and installed something else, namely Flash 9. Who's next? Or better yet, what's left of the great Microsoft Media Empire and what will it take for the remainder to see the light?.. and I don't mean Silverlight."
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Divebus Divebus writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Long March Hare (860563) writes "Recently, I was a approached by a group of people doing a study about hacking electronic media delivery systems in the U.S. and how to defend against it. The premise of the question revolved around a foreign power clearly gearing up to disrupt our networked systems if we (the U.S.) became hostile with [insert guess here]. Theoretically, "they" could disrupt communication, banking and the Government as reported in countless articles (obligatory link). This is a different potential threat. It seemed ridiculous at first but the nightmare of The Joker laughing out of every television and radio in Gotham City could be a high impact psychological warfare goal.

How could an attacker insert themselves into our existing media technologies to disrupt news, movies, VOD services, IP based cable television boxes, teleconferencing, VoIP telephones, cell phones, anything on YouTube, music services, IPTV etc? Much attention has been paid to keeping people from stealing some of these services but could attackers gain access to the data connections and insert their own content by hacking clients directly, hijacking network connections or taking over the servers? What is anyone in the business doing to defend against this possibility? Has this even been considered by anyone in this sector? What defenses should be in place for these [now] seemingly low threat services? Should there be backup systems available to switch on in the event of an attack? Could our media content delivery satellite systems be hijacked or overpowered by other satellites? Waddayathink?"
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Divebus Divebus writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Divebus (860563) writes "REDMOND, Wash. (AP) — A Microsoft Corp. executive responsible for its newly launched Zune digital music player will leave the company. The software maker said the departure of Bryan Lee, a corporate vice president in Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices division, was for personal reasons and "absolutely not" related to sales of the music player, which came out in mid-November to soft reviews.

Right. Absolutely nothing to do with it. Never crossed their minds."
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Divebus Divebus writes  |  about 8 years ago

Dead_In_3_Days (860563) writes "In the realm of Holy Crap, I've just stumbled upon the most frightening/maddening piece of video I've ever seen. On Google Video, you'll find "America: Freedom to Fascism" from Aaron Russo, a bona fide Hollywood feature film producer. This is no sensationalist Michael Moore tripe, although it potentially had some of those elements. The film began with the premise of discovering the legality of the IRS. Through investigative discovery and interviews, it quickly expanded to how the American Banking Industry essentially took over the Government of the United States way back in 1913. Some of the testimony is downright hair raising and certainly eye opening. It also nicely fits some technical puzzle pieces together concerning the use of RFID chips, voting machine fraud, National IDs and where we're likely headed. Couple this with our increasing loss of rights, plus abuses of Special Interest groups customizing laws to criminalize American Citizens, it's now clear to me that we Americans had lost our Constitutional Democracy long ago... and The Planet will soon follow."
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Divebus Divebus writes  |  about 8 years ago

Divebus (860563) writes "Just in time to boost Zune sales, KING TV 5 in Seattle (http://www.king5.com/) blew the following story wide open and CNN.com followed:

"It's one of Time magazines "gadgets of the year" — a hybrid of consumer genius from the marketing giants at both Apple and Nike. But it also has a serious security problem that could leave innocent users vulnerable to invasion of their personal privacy, and it's all exposed by a few UW grad students."

It's really hilarious and ridiculous at the same time, yet the news anchor puts on a concerned face when announcing the serious security flaw. Coming from Seattle makes me call FUD on this story right away but it could have some merit. CNN.com missed the point by announcing you could be "Tracked through your iPod". It's the transmitters that count, silly, not the iPod.

The premise is to salt enough wireless receivers in the path of your victim to track the movements of whoever is wearing the Nike + iPod Sport Kit. The researchers ponder how it could be used by stalkers to track unsuspecting prey. You just have to hope they get within 30 feet of your receivers and that the kit is turned on. First, the power switch defeats the whole thing. Second, who in the hell is going to set up their own vast cellular receiver network to track anyone like that? Wouldn't binoculars be simpler? How about just hiding behind a tree? On the other hand, what if you didn't know someone slipped a transmitter into your backpack? The researchers have a web site — http://www.physorg.com/news84118849.html"

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