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New Windows Coming In Late September -- But Which One?

Dogtanian Re:Which means... (234 comments)

There are a lot of hints that Microsoft is backing away from this mistake and realizing that the desktop is still important to their bottom line.

I'm not sure that MS actually thought that the desktop was entirely unimportant, per se. Rather, it's my understanding that because they had a near-monopoly on the desktop market, they thought could get away with dicking about desktop users- most of whom had to use Windows anyway- by force-familiarising them with the Metro interface (whether or not it was appropriate for that purpose) so that when it came to tablets, they'd go for the one with the interface they were already familiar with... i.e. Windows-based ones.

Of course, MS were right to be worried about tablets. They've had a near-monopoly on the x86 desktop (and laptop) market for well over 20 years, and it was- and is- very unlikely that they could easily have been unseated from that position in the forseeable future. The biggest threat to MS's dominance is that the computing market itself undergoes a paradigm shift away from the traditional desktop model, not destroying their monopoly, but rendering what it covers less important. Which is exactly what's happening with tablets, and- to some extent- online apps.

Of course, whether forcing Metro on people was actually successful is open to question, but the motivation behind it sounds plausible. I don't think MS would throw away or ignore the desktop market simply for a chance of the tablet one, but I can certainly believe that they'd leverage their existing monopoly to stand a chance of competing in a tablet market that they're already miles behind the compeition in.


For Microsoft, $93B Abroad Means Avoiding $30B Tax Hit

Dogtanian Re:Don't feed the parasites! (314 comments)

Whatever his motivations, it doesn't change the fact that your original assertion (and the specific point that was replied to), i.e. "I thought people were allowed to have their own beliefs in this country without others attacking them for it." was wrong, and demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of even the basic principle of free speech, let alone the specific details of the US constitution's version of it.

It always surprises me (*) how so many of the Americans who bleat on about "free speech" et al don't even understand the basics of either the principle or the US implementation of it, thinking- as you do- that one is free to express one's own opinion, yet somehow protected from others' right to respond to it (i.e. *their* free speech). Or- the other common misconception- that the constitutional right to protection from *government* interference in free speech is actually the right to free speech in any private place or forum.

(*) It doesn't, really- but it ought to.

3 days ago

For Microsoft, $93B Abroad Means Avoiding $30B Tax Hit

Dogtanian Re:Don't feed the parasites! (314 comments)

In what sense was your argument supposed to be "rhetorical"?

3 days ago

Would Scottish Independence Mean the End of UK's Nuclear Arsenal?

Dogtanian Re:Actually, it does ! (375 comments)

A word of advice- posting your comment as a single wall of text like that makes it very tiring to read and digest, and thus a lot less likely to get read. Try using paragraphs, and it might come across more credibly, rather than appearing as a train-of-thought comment.

I don't claim to understand the Scottish-UK relationship

You evidently felt that you "understood" it enough to judge Scotland "proving itself stupid" for wanting independence.

You come across as someone who lacks experience, someone who is thinking out the abstract principles, but applies them to a real-world situation that you don't understand the important details of at all.

Regarding WW2; yes, that is generally considered one of the better times of the British state. If Scotland had been independent then, I would hope that it would fight together with England (and the rest of the UK), and there are aspects of defence where I feel that the proposed independent Scotland may be relying too much on the efforts of others.

Still, the comments I made regarding the reasons for wanting Scottish independence were just a small proportion of the total I could have posted- in other words, there were many more reasons, but I did not have more time to add to a post that was already very long at that point.

3 days ago

For Microsoft, $93B Abroad Means Avoiding $30B Tax Hit

Dogtanian Re:Don't feed the parasites! (314 comments)

To play devil's advocate in "I'm New Around Here"'s defefence, it was the user "Third Position" who posted the racist link in his sig, and the comment from "I'm New" himself wasn't (necessarily) condoning the views expressed.

What he *was* clearly doing was defending Third Position's "right" to express his opinion without being attacked for it. Which is, of course, stupid and ignorant, because no-one has such a "right" under the freedom of speech in the US constitution (which I assume is what "I'm New" has misunderstood when he referred to what was "allowed" in "this country"), despite many thinking it does. Freedom of speech obviously cuts both ways, otherwise it's not true freedom of speech. (Anyone making such a deal about it should have realised this already.)

But that misunderstanding doesn't *necessarily* mean he's a racist... just stupid and ignorant.

3 days ago

For Microsoft, $93B Abroad Means Avoiding $30B Tax Hit

Dogtanian Re:Don't feed the parasites! (314 comments)

Freedom of speech isn't freedom from consequences of your speech, sweet cheeks. He's free to associate with a disgusting ideology that holds certain people inferior because of how they're born, I'm free to mock him for it. For that matter, I'm free to mock your ignorance.

Go on, attack and mock those who you don't agree with. Attack me all you want.

The implication in your reply being that he mocked and attacked you because he disagreed with you?

Either that's a strawman or you really weren't paying attention.

The paragraph you replied to was mocking you not because he disagreed with you on a matter of opinion, but because your belief that "people were allowed to have their own beliefs in this country without others attacking them for it" was *factually wrong* (and by implication showed that you really don't understand what "freedom of speech" does and doesn't get you.). End of story.

3 days ago

Would Scottish Independence Mean the End of UK's Nuclear Arsenal?

Dogtanian Re:Actually, it does ! (375 comments)

I mean, what does the Italian-Chinese community have to do with it?!

holy hell batman, you just triple-downed on his racism. impressive :)

Well... not really. It just came across- or so it seemed originally- as a bad hybrid of stock cliche Italian and Chinese accents (which may well be considered racist now, but it's not like *I* was the one doing them! Mind you, we can't blame Jeremiah Cornelius for that either, at least not in intent- his only crime was being very bad at Scottish accents :-) ).

On reflection, though, it's *not* actually that much like Chinese at all- not even the most offensively stereotyped version- and it only looked cod-Italian because of the vowel at the end of "need(a)"- not sure how that's even incorrectly reminiscent of a Scottish accent!

Now that I think about it, I'm not sure *what* the fsck it *does* resemble, to be honest.... oh yeah, a very bad Scots accent. :-)

4 days ago

Would Scottish Independence Mean the End of UK's Nuclear Arsenal?

Dogtanian Re:Actually, it does ! (375 comments)

I disagree. I think every country has the right to self defense, and possess these. However I'd be a big fan of a global nuclear weapon's ban that everybody signs. PS. What are the Scots thinking of trying to be independent? If I were them I'd be happy to be ganged up with England, as long as England is not exploiting me economically because I'm Scot, nor does it restrict my liberties such as freedom of expression, or practicing my own Gaelic mother tongue. tradition. But hey. they are the Scots, and you have to let them decide for themselves. I just think they are proving themselves stupid. Instead of separation, they should be trying to liberties and while united, and only if that's impossible while being united, when push comes to shove, do you have to lower your expectations and strive for independence. But they might be misjudging England, and its willingness to allow for broad reaching internal freedoms, within the UK, such as practicing your own language, etc. United is usually better than divided. The proverb says together we stand, alone we fall. But there are of course many exceptions.

Thank you for your half-baked opinion on why Scotland is "proving itself stupid".

In fact, the freedom to speak Gaelic (which is the "mother tongue" of very few Scots, and still only spoken by a small proportion) has little to do with the push for independence.

Your er.... *eloquent* speech on remaining together did nothing to address the contradiction that traditional Tory voters in their south-east England heartlands are moving against EU membership. The Tories-- afraid of losing votes to UKIP (the UK Independence party) who are pushing this policy- are pandering to *their* potential voters by promising a referendum on EU membership in 2017, which- if they win- would result in the UK leaving the EU.

Scotland is (in general) much more in favour of the EU, and UKIP support here is *much* lower than it is in the south-east of England. But, of course, if the English vote is sufficiently against EU membership... tough for poor Scotland who (hypothetically) remained attached to Little England. Should Scotland "stand together" with the people who didn't "stand together" with the EU?

Devolution has improved things somewhat, but control of the UK overall- including the economy and many devolved matters- remains with Westminster, which is run by an increasingly right-wing Tory government which the Scots did *not* elect, and whose political trajectory has been veering away from Scottish values for a generation. (Some readers may be surprised to note that the Tories once had a significant share of the Scottish vote. In the 1955 general election, they gained a majority of votes and a majority of the seats here. Such a prospect would be unthinkable now- there is only one Scottish Tory MP).

This has been happening since Thatcher came to power in the late-1970s, promising "Where there is discord, may we bring harmony"- either hugely ironic or intentionally hypocritical since she was a divide-and-rule politician with a "them and us" mentality that abandoned any notion of "one nation conservatism", decimated Scottish industry, squandered revenues from North Sea Oil- most of which would have belonged to Scotland if independent- on funding the unemployment her policies caused. In short, she pandered to the Tory heartland of the South East (England), and foisted her values on Scots who profoundly disagreed with them.

In the post-Thatcher era, we got the once left-wing Labour party selling out to stand any chance of being elected by the South East, to the point they were arguably more right wing and more pro free market than the pre-Thatcher Conservatives. Following Blair's nauseating arse-licking of George W Bush (which bought him nothing- as any idiot could see at the time- and was a result of his egotism, hubris and messiah complex) we got the Tories again, even more right wing despite initial promises, and the Liberal Democrats selling out to become their meaningless lapdogs, and Labour giving laughably diluted wishy-washy concessions to their socialist past. All three promising nothing I- and many other Scots- find of value.

And that's partly what it comes down to. Some people clearly did vote for all this- but not the Scots. If the "Yes" campaign loses, it'll be because the "No"s cast sufficient doubt on Scotland's ability to go it alone, not because they had anything inspiring or positive to say about the Union.

I could go on about this all day, but I have other things to get on with. But once again, thank you for your patronising opinion on our stupidity. Cheers!

4 days ago

Would Scottish Independence Mean the End of UK's Nuclear Arsenal?

Dogtanian Re:Actually, it does ! (375 comments)

Wae Don' needa nae Nukies! Wae gots... HAGGIS!

It's actually quite impressive that you didn't even say anything out loud, yet still managed to convincingly give the impression of the least-convincing Scots accent *ever*. :-)

I mean, what does the Italian-Chinese community have to do with it?!

5 days ago

Scientists Find Traces of Sea Plankton On ISS Surface

Dogtanian OldMeme. Apply directly to the wastebin. (116 comments)

They look completely different. Watch:

*puts forehead ridge on*

AlienOn. Apply directly to the forehead.
AlienOn. Apply directly to the forehead.
AlienOn. Apply directly to the forehead.
AlienOn. Apply directly to the forehead.

about a week ago

Scientists Find Traces of Sea Plankton On ISS Surface

Dogtanian Re:nuke it in orbit... (116 comments)

Unless this is Star Trek, where the entire biodiversity of the galaxy can be accounted for by face paint and is sexually interoperable with starfleet captains

You're making quite a big assumption there- we didn't actually *see* any of this. (*) It's far more likely that Kirk- being Kirk- is engaging in what we can euphemistically call "inter-species sex" (cough) and just doesn't give that much of a ****. (**) I'm sure that if there wasn't a... compatible hole, he'd find one that fits closely enough.

That looks a lot worse now that it's been typed out. :-/

(*) Though I'm sure that one or more geeks have attempted an unofficial porno version focusing on this anyway.

(*) And no, post-hoc rationalisation 30 years down the line doesn't count. Pretty sure that as far as the original authors were concerned, Kirk was banging green-skinned alien, er, chicks, and that was it.

about a week ago

Scientists Find Traces of Sea Plankton On ISS Surface

Dogtanian Re:But is it really plankton? (116 comments)

Because, Aliens.


While we're here, what's up with that Ancient Aliens guy's hair? Is he a massive Babylon 5 fan or something?!

about a week ago

Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

Dogtanian Re:Database? (371 comments)

An intelligent person would recognise this

You conflate "intelligence" with being coldly logical and rational in purely monetary terms.

In my experience, human psychology is not purely logical. For example, people will often respect someone- or something- more if they are paying more for them; and, conversely, less if they are getting something on the cheap or free.

An employer that is paying top dollar for his workforce can afford to treat his sophisticated tools with as much contempt as the law allows.

An employer that does that is probably paying through the nose for the minor privilege of being able to treat some people with such "contempt".

It would smack of someone who was more interested in indulging his bullying than running a business competently and thus raise two sets of alarms for any potential employee(!)

But even assuming the company's long-term survival was assured... Some people *will* undoubtedly accept this if they're being paid enough, but in *some* cases (which will vary depending upon the psychology of the persons involved and their motivation), it's unlikely that you'll ever get their best work, regardless of how much you pay, if you treat them with contempt.

Which, of course, makes them worth less.

A person less intelligent would complain that in his role as a sophisticated screw driver he is not getting respect he believes he deserves.

Again, you are imposing your own pseudo-logical values on the concept of "intelligence". I say "pseudo-logical" because since human beings *don't* always behave as the purely rational, logical, self-interest-maximising idealised entities you assume, anything that relies on this being the case is ultimately flawed. Which, ironically, makes it illogical.

If you are treated with more than simple master/tool interaction, you are exchanging top dollar for 'warmer' treatment

Once again, this assumes that all human behaviour is purely logical and can be traded off and gamed in such terms.

I worked as a permanent employee, as a contractor

I would guess that you are probably more suited to the "in and out", supposedly demonstrable-value contractor style of doing things, as it's probably closer to the situation you describe above. If that's what suits you, then fair enough, but your chosen way of working isn't how everything works.

and I run my company now, I know all of this very intimately

Remind me never, *ever* to work for you.

about two weeks ago

Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

Dogtanian Re:Database? (371 comments)

I don't know what exactly the point of this story is, however many people think they are not getting respect or their worth of whatever, not just engineers, and many people are of-course wrong.

An employee is part of a company, a company is a machine that makes the investor/owner money, and the way it makes investor/owner money is by implementing idea/solving a problem that the investor/owner is solving. [..] The employees are part of the system that is set up by the investor/owner to be productive. To talk about respect in this sense is meaningless [..] they are part of the machine that the owner/investor has created to make himself more productive in the market, to offer his solution to the market.

Ironically, by (possibly unintentionally) personalising the role of "investor/owner" you undermine the case I thought you were making (i.e. that of a corporation being an abstract, purely profit-maximising entity with no feelings and behaviour that would be considered "sociopathic" if they were human).

If the "investor/owner" was a single individual (or small group) that had personally planned out and set up every aspect of the functioning of the company- as the tone of your argument suggests- one could argue that he/she is a human being, and unless they are a sociopath, it'd be quite reasonable to expect him or her to view fellow human beings as more than just cogs in a machine, a means to an end. (*)

Of course, as mentioned above, in reality even the set up- let alone the running- of a larger company will require many people, to the point that people *are* cogs in a money-making machine, leading to the abstract, soulless "company" becoming something distinct from any of its employees.

That's the case I thought you were making at first, but even that well-worn argument would miss the point here.

Companies are still made up of individual people with a generally-shared group culture and values, and it's *those* values that one is ultimately talking about when we speak about companies "understanding" (or not understanding) and "respecting" engineers.

A "group" is- after all- just a set of individuals, but we talk about what certain groups of people think, their behaviours, their value judgements, etc. etc. because human beings *are* social creatures.

And even when such people are constrained by the fact they're working for a company whose ultimate aim is to make money, their interactions with each other still reflect the values and culture associated with that company. Those values may have been explicitly encouraged by those that run the company, they may have arisen indirectly due to the mentality of those at the top (e.g. lack of respect for engineers) percolating down, they might reflect behaviour that the structure of the company has encouraged.... whatever the reason, groups of humans share values even when that group is made up of millions of individuals (e.g. nations).

(*) Of course, many people running companies small and large *are* sociopaths anyway. But that'd be a reflection on them personally, and not the same thing as the purely profit-maximising "sociopathic" behaviour often ascribed to the abstract concept of a corporation.

about two weeks ago

Microsoft Considered Renaming Internet Explorer To Escape Its Reputation

Dogtanian Re:Call it Web? (426 comments)

Having worked at Microsoft for a decade and a half, I can assure you that (a) the dev team can't just have a hallway conversation and decide to rename a product and (b) if the company did somehow decide a name change was in order, they'd pay a consultant millions of dollars to do research and come up with the new name. Marketing names like "PowerShell" and "Silverlight" cost about $100K a pop and basically have no input from "the development team".

If that's the case, I'd suggest that all the money MS paid those consultants for endless rebrandings has ultimately proved to be hugely counter-productive. As I commented on another site a couple of years back:-

This is the same company changed the name of its "passport" service a ludicrous amount of times:-

"Microsoft Account (previously Microsoft Wallet, Microsoft Passport, .NET Passport, Microsoft Passport Network, and most recently Windows Live ID)"

I'd have said that MS's stupidly confusing naming is marketing-over-clarity, but *it's not even good marketing!!* I bet the man on the street doesn't have a clue what MS's constantly-changing brands-of-the-week are supposed to mean to him anyway, beyond being a confusing and counter-productive mish-mash of pseudo-terminology.

The quintessential ironic example of how MS just don't get it was their (then-)latest media-player compatibility scheme called "Plays for Sure" which obviously implied Apple-style "no brainer just works" straightforwardness. They proceeded to totally undermine this by renaming it to tie in with "Certified for Windows Vista" (which also encompassed other schemes) and launched a separate, incompatible DRM/compatibility scheme for their now-defunct Zune range. Does anyone know (or care) what MS's attention-deficit clusterf*** of overlapping brands are supposed to mean?!

I'm guessing that either:-
(i) MS were throwing money at consultants for repeated relaunches because they had no focus
(ii) The environment was conducive to consultants making money out of MS by constantly encouraging pricey rebrandings and relaunches
(iii) The constant rebranding was a reflection of the politics, internal power struggles and identity-stamping going in within MS, or
(iv) All of the above.

At any rate, I'd be interested to find out how on the money- if at all- this guesswork is, from someone like yourself who actually worked at MS. :-)

about two weeks ago

Microsoft Considered Renaming Internet Explorer To Escape Its Reputation

Dogtanian Re:American car companies... (426 comments)

Audi, BMW, Porche, Volkswagen, Honda, Ford, Mazda, Mitssubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota weren't sitting on their thumbs in the 15 years it took GM, Ford, and Chevrolet to get their cars up to snuff.

Since Chevrolet is a GM brand anyway (and has been since the early 20th century), I'd assume that's redundant unless Chevrolet is run and/or seen as being significantly separate from GM's other operations in North America?

I specifically noted North America because I live in the UK, and your mention of those brands brought up and issue- the European market is quite different, both in terms of cars and in perception of brands. Chevrolet was virtually nonexistent here until the mid-2000s, when GM started using it for Korean-built lower-end models formerly sold under the Daewoo Motors brand (which they'd bought out). *That* probably bears little resemblance to what the brand is associated with in North America.

(The Chrysler brand is interesting in that- following its reintroduction in the UK and Ireland (*) after the Fiat takeover a few years back - they *did* use an all-American voiceover and American-style ads relating to their heritage... hinting at, but never explicitly linking it to America. Which is probably because the cars being sold as "Chryslers" in those ads were those sold elsewhere in Europe under the Italian "Lancia" brand! (**))

Similarly, Vauxhall and Opel, GM's "main" brands in the UK, and in the rest of Europe respectively (***) have a generally decent reputation, and even though Ford sells cars under its own name here, it doesn't have the generally-bad reputation it does over there. In both cases, this is almost certainly because most models sold by those companies in Europe are entirely different to the North American lineup, and also because they're generally either built in Europe or imported from Asia, not North America.

In fact, to some extent, it's not so much North America and Europe, as it is North America and the rest of the world. It's been pointed out that the North American car industry may be an example of the Galapagos syndrome relative to the rest of the world. (For example, I can imagine many Japanese cars being usable on British streets, but some of the larger American models would be massively out of place and impractical on smaller and twistier British roads).

But the tl;dr bottom line is that the repuation of such companies and their brands is often very different outside the US- often to their advantage!

(*) Chrysler apparently tried entering the European market in the 1960s, but- unlike GM and Ford- didn't succeed, and left in the late 1970s.
(**) Lancias were taken off the UK market after they gained a notorious reputation for corrosion problems in the 1980s- probably exacerbated by the climate here- and I suspect Fiat's decision not to use the brand here may still be for this reason, i.e. a European example of a hard-to-shake bad reputation.
(**) Vauxhall has long been to all intents and purposes just the UK counterpart brand for Opel cars- the models are virtually identical.

about two weeks ago

World's Fastest Camera Captures 4.4 Trillion Frames Per Second

Dogtanian Re:4.4 trillion frames per second, and (94 comments)

high pixel resolution (450Ã--450 pixels) [..]
Will I need to update my TV to 4K to play it?

WTF? 450 x 450 is effectively sub-SD (640 x 480 or 720 x 576).

Not that this is a criticism if one is shooting a mindboggling trillions of frames per second, but in terms of spatial resolution alone, it'd probably disappoint even on your existing HD set.

Also, you'll probably complain that the high frame rate makes it look like a cheap soap opera and prefer it when they go back to 24 fps. ;-)

In all seriousness, trillions of frames per second... WTF?! How does that even work? Modern CPUs operate in the low GHz (i.e. *billions* of ops per second) range, "trillions" is a thousand times faster (THz). Even assuming the use of specialised hardware, how does one even begin to deal with handling frames at that speed?

Ignoring the amount of capacity that might be required to store such high frame rates- we could assume it might just be recording a very short burst- one still needs to get it off the sensor (or whatever) and store it somewhere in an average of one-trillionth of a second. Even a Class-10 SD card probably isn't going to cut it here(!)

about two weeks ago

Telegram Not Dead STOP Alive, Evolving In Japan STOP

Dogtanian "Revealing Japan's low-tech belly" (144 comments)

This BBC article is four years old now (I remember submitting it to Slashdot at the time, but it wasn't greenlit). However, it's probably still quite informative about aspects of Japan that aren't quite as high-tech as the stereotypical image would suggest:-

Police stations without computers, 30-year-old "on hold" tapes grinding out tinny renditions of Greensleeves, ATMs that close when the bank does, suspect car engineering, and kerosene heaters but no central heating.
Despite the country's showy internet speeds and some of the cheapest broadband around many Japanese are happier doing things the old way.
Considering Japan's top heavy society of over 50s, many of whom have not got to grips with the internet, and who make up 30% of the population and that figure begins to make sense. [..] "The easiest way to tell is whether they have an e-mail address on the all-important name card. If they're over 50 and don't have an e-mail address, it's a dead giveaway that you either use the phone or forget about contacting them." [..] Some say this technophobic demographic helps explain why many of Japan's industries do not benefit from IT.

about two weeks ago

Oracle Hasn't Killed Java -- But There's Still Time

Dogtanian Re:Nobody kills Java (371 comments)

it's acknowledged quite clearly that Java Applets still enjoy *niche* usage for banking and internal-usage business tools

There's nothing "niche" about ADP.

As the post you're replying to makes clear, the "niche" referred to is that of "banking and internal-usage business tools" relative to the number of web-based apps and programs as a whole, and not to ADP's relative position within the former.

ADP may be a big fish within the moderately-sized lake of banking and corporate apps, but that lake is still tiny compared to the ocean of endless Flash apps and games aimed at 10-year-olds et al.

about two weeks ago



Low-tech, out-of-date... is this Japan?

Dogtanian Dogtanian writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Dogtanian (588974) writes "Japan is often seen as the archetypal high-tech society, years ahead of the rest of the world and the first to adopt innovative new technology with gusto. Yet while every good Japanophile knows how this facade hides a very traditional and conservative society with roots going back centuries, it's less well known that this ultra-modern image also hides the fact that many aspects of Japan are far from high-tech- quite the opposite. Police stations with no computers, ancient tape-based answering machines, antiquated heating... and a very real danger that they've already missed the boat in several important technological areas. Is this really the same country as the Blade Runner-esque tech utopia of geek lore?"

NASA Uncovers the Original Moon Landing Tapes

Dogtanian Dogtanian writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Dogtanian (588974) writes "Having been missing for almost forty years, the original video footage from the original 1969 moon landings has been uncovered, promising much higher quality images of the event. The low-quality, grainy images we're all used to were converted to NTSC, compressed for relay to the US, then archived by pointing a 16mm film camera at a monitor. Although the technology now exists to view the slow-scan source transmissions in much higher quality, unbelievably the tapes with the original recordings were misplaced and lost until recently. NASA was apparently hoping to keep a lid on this for the 40th anniversary, but I'm very happy to have heard about this sooner. [Note to editors: IIRC you might have covered the loss of the tapes previously]"
Link to Original Source


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