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Multiple Manufacturers Push Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars, But Can They Catch Tesla?

WebCowboy seems like a lot of trouble... (277 comments)

...to use a natural gas home filling station to power a fuel cell car. It might make more sense to just use the gas to power a more conventional combustion engine. CNG engines are simpler and have been around forever.

Using natural gas to power a fuel cell in a vehicle would require an onboard reformer. The process is rather complex to implement at such a small size, involves some temperature extremes and produces carbon dioxide in the end anyways. Though i suppose if done right it would be quite a bit more efficient than a regular combustion engine.

yesterday
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City of Toronto Files Court Injunction Against Uber

WebCowboy Please enlighten us... (168 comments)

...on the crucial finer points that make being paid to drive someone around so much different that it merits such massive legal protection and draconian regulation.

It certainly is not the burden of inspection. At least where i am at, taxis are given the EXACT SAME inspection as out of province used vehicles registered by regular drivers. As for maintenance, when i was still scrimping and saving to pay off student loan and get a house i drove used cars and went to the junk yard to get parts, and there were ALWAYS taxi drivers there getting tires off wrecks for their cabs. They were less picky than me...if they were not flat and not worn to the belts they'd take them.

I understand there may be liability issues in driving taxi as well, however that doesn't merit the nature of regulations in place--so many rules are in place to limit competition and have nothing to do with safety or fraud protection. People can and have set up online services to do deliveries, operate guided tours and so forth that require professional drivers without the challenges and hassle. Even driving schoolbus isnt given so much scrutiny! Think of the children!

I dont fault drivers, it is the fault of taxi companies and plate brokers. Tight regulation makes plates so scarce relative to demand that they can cost more to buy or lease than the vehicle.

The whole anti-uber thing honestly confounds me. I understand the need for regulation in terms of safety and liability but i really fail to see why governments ate so obstructionist. They are supposed to HELP the public, and the public is helped by efforts to improve transportation.

I suppose it has to do with history of taxi operation. Perhaps back at the early 1900's before regulation a few shady operators ruined it for the honest ones. Perhaps even organised crime established itself in the industry leading to closer scrutiny by government for our protection. My theory is that criminal element never completely left. They may have established a presence on boards/commissions to ensure that if they had to follow rules to operate honestly and safely that the rules would also ensure their enterprises were lucrative and free from competition.

I have no solid evidence of this happening, and I believe whatever mob presence there was is long gone, but there certainly is a legacy there in present regulations and powerful lobbies suggesting such influence in the past.

The lobby must be bery powerful still. A couple of right leaning pro business councillors in my city are usually quite outspoken in defending policies to cut red tape, limit taxation and regulation and so forth to help especially entrepreneurs and small businesses, but they roll over and defer to the taxi commissioner at the mere mention of uber or more taxi plates and back amendments to blunt efforts to ease restrictions or outright vote against adding plates or permitting uber and others to operate.

It makes me wonder what goes on that makes the taxi lobby so influential that even some opinionated politicians clam up at mere mention of taxis or uber.

about a week ago
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Longtime Debian Developer Tollef Fog Heen Resigns From Systemd Maintainer Team

WebCowboy Re: Not resigning from Debian (550 comments)

I do find it annoying to deal with binary formats for some non executable files like configs and small logs. That said the argument you make about fragility of binary is false and has little merit.

There is no "mostly ACID"--a database is or isn't, and the human-readability of a file has no bearing on how corruptable it is. Things like underlying file system and implementation have more to do with it.

PostgreSQL for example is a very robust, multi-concurrent ACID compliant data store, so much so that it is often used as the back end for logging in large important systems. Failed transactions roll back cleanly and single byte errors most certainly do NOT render all data theteafter inaccessible! Despite that you have binary formatted data, even if it is all VARCHAR fields.

It is all in the design and implementation. Binary formats and protocols generally have field and record delimiters, as well as error detection and correcting features like checksums. If a byte is corrupt you lose one record at most and usually just a single field. Delimited text is just a very primitive binary format in that sense, and without checksum or error correction at that. I've never seen a truly robust data store built atop a text format!

On more than one occasion I have seen log files in text format become corrupt, and in most cases the missing or unreadable lines of text were exactly at the point i was interested in seeing. It is quite possible for a text log to go haywire and stay that way until a process is killed and restarted. Text does not help here. Similarly a binary database store can be useless if poorly implemented, such as not using transaction statements in SQL or using myISAM storage for your mySQL database.

My criticism of systemd in this particular instance is not because using binary formats is more fragile than text...indeed i dont know enough to say either way. It is really just a minor annoyance to me due to the fact it creates a need to use an unfamiliar, less generalised tool to view and analyse the data than cat and grep and so on.

In any case for a REAL hgh volume critical system i would push all my data via syslog to a robust storage system underpinned by a database like PostgreSQL or other ACID compliant system. There are some times when a system crashes on boot at a point before such facilities are online, however bootups happen very occasionally on servers and if i have to view a binary log out of a failed system i will just deal with the annoyance and use the provided log viewing on a functioning system or rescue boot environment.

Yes it seems to ignore the unix ideal, but Linux, mac OS and other contemporary platforms and applications with unix roots abandoned the unix way a long time ago as tech moved on and pragmatism set in. It gets tedious to manage text files; they do not scale. I guess the decision was made to use binary for compactness and to forego the need to rotate logs and use general text processing tools to do log analysis, which i am comfortable using but could be thought of as cumbersome.

I am still getting used to systemd. I am a bit disoriented and find the scope of what they are trying to tackle rather wide to put under management of a single project, but hey, the Linux kernel is huge monolithic and has thousands of tightly coupled binary modules, and it works well enough. And, in my experience once i figure out the systemd way of doing it i find it a big improvement over the old crufty init way. Making your own init scripts, even using LSB template, and using things like monit or other more kludgy ways to monitor and restart processes is not a status quo i miss anymore.

I hope the petty bickering in debian community over what boils down to politics over technical merits does not stifle innovation. Debian is not known as an innovation leader but it has done and will have to continue to embrace change and progress when it meets stability standards.

about a week ago
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Debate Over Systemd Exposes the Two Factions Tugging At Modern-day Linux

WebCowboy Re: How about we hackers? (863 comments)

This here is a hint of why systemd gets all this hate. Sysadmins who embrace old school methods and cling to an ideology that, whatever merits it may have, has in practice been abandoned at many levels.

This here post suggests that you arent worthy of being a sysadmin if you cannot manually edit and manage inittab and dozens of files in init.d and links for your run levels and so on. Sorry some people have to spend their time doing real work and would rather just use their systems not manage some brittle low level mechanism.

Ignored here is that traditional init SUCKS. It only works for most people because most people do not mess with the canned scripts in the package. It is ridiculous that a misplaced semicolon or ampersand in one of any number of files could cause an entire system start to fail for example. And instead of doing something better all too many sysops would blame the user, as if this sort of thing should always be beyond "normal" people.

The other reason for the hate also seems to be the person behind the product. I see hate comments made solely because Pottering founded the project. Because of his personality and the track record of some of his work on initial release he could cure all cancer and some people would let a tumour kill them because Pottering invented the cure. This is stupid. Who is behind a project is only one of many considerations and not the most important one especially if the case of Free software.

I am not qualified enoygh to pass judgement on systemd yet, but i do know that the status quo is unsustainable. SysV style init scrips are brittle and from a developer/distributor perspective so burdonsome to maintain that it is nearly intolerable, especially considering where traditional sysop positions are being supplanted by "devops". THAT is why users/hackers/old school sysops are having systemd "forced" on them. Package maintainers have embraced the first true, full refactoring of the init system ever done in Linux OSes because nobody who has to develop, maintain or distribute a software package has ever said wow, writing init scrips is so much fun!

If systemd is somehow seriously undermining the ability to provide stability or security then it warrants serious discussion. That subject is orthogonal to who wrote the code and how it adheres to the unix way. The unix way can be exploited and be unstable too if poorly implemented, but the point is moot as linux systems have been departing from the pure linux way at various points since the beginning.

I like the unix way, and should a systemd alternative come out that both follows that better AND actually addresses init shortcomings better than systemd i would adopt that. So far it is not the case. Upstart was not the answer for me, status quo is not the answer. OpenRC is lipstick on the init pig right now--a step in the right direction but not mature enough to handle parallel execution and appears more burdonsome to support for software maintainers who still need to manage that legacy init pig in the meantime.

So systemd is the least of all evils in some peoples views. Part of the problem is yhat nobody stepped forward with a stable, elegant next gen init system until systemd was entrenched. They fell short technically or have been promising but had issues working with developer communities. So it is time to sh!t or get off the pot and implement a better systemd alternative if the problems are that serious and more than philosophical.

about a month ago
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Shooting At Canadian Parliament

WebCowboy It is terrorism regardless of target. (529 comments)

Are you inferring that it is only terrorism if the target is important enough or the number if victims is high enough? You are sadly mistaken then.

This was textbook terrorism, a loud public statement and nothing at all personal. The terrorist shot and killed a ceremonial military guard at the cenotaph, a monument honouring our fallen soldiers. If that doesnt make a statement of hatred and distain for a nation then what does?

The terrorists very next act was to proceed directly to the centre block of parliament, where the prime minister and his cabinet were meeting. He was fatally shot by the seargant at arms, who found the criminal roaming the halls looking for more victims.

There is no doubt here at all.

about a month ago
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GNOME 3.14 Released

WebCowboy GNOME is the same (250 comments)

"Super" key then type ter and hit enter. Exactly same number of keys and no mouse required.

Recent GNOME 3.xx are actually quite accessible and keyboard friendly. Most haters here hate just to ride on the 'leet bandwagon.

GNOME suffers from the same affliction as systemd and pulse audio before it...lots of prejudice because it was too crappy or weird when they first came out but are much improved over time. Kind of like people who still think Hyundai cars are junk because their 1985 Pony died on the road all the time, but nowadays Hyundai is as good or better than Toyota.

Some people will never like GNOME 3.xx that's OK, just a matter of taste really. Power users obviously frustrated at lack of tweakability and advanced stuff being hidden, But in my experience it is presently the best desktop by far for beginner and casual computer users. Mum and Dad learned their way around it faster than Windows or Mas OS X, seriously!

about 2 months ago
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Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

WebCowboy Please get some help (1262 comments)

It is evident from your posts here that you have some personal issues to deal with.

It is NOT normal to lash out with a vitriolic tirade of graphic sexual threats under ANY circumstances, much less being "provoked" by inflammatory speech. It is sick, and it should not be tolerated or even expected in a peaceful civilized society.

You don't let a thief go or belittle the victim because the door wasn't locked at the time or there were no bars on the windows so a break in should have been expected. You don't defend a rapist and blame a rape victim because she wore a bikini to the beach on a hot day. And yoy certainly don't threaten someone with grave injury or death because what they say offends you. Actions of this sort are those of sick, twisted people...not always evil people as they could be victims of their upbringings, but sick people who need help nonetheless.

about 3 months ago
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Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

WebCowboy Its the second one Re: Surprise? (579 comments)

Likely some MSFT graft in the picture. MSFT is relocating regional headquarters and Munich is a front runner. Lots of potential tax revenue, both directly from MSFT and indirectly from the employees and spin off economic activity.

Selection of Munich would undoubtedly be contingent on the city migrating back. I dont believe any outright bribing was involved or required. All Microsoft had to do was have a bean counting meeting with the high ups...if you go back to MSFT the extra money spent on migration, licensing, hardware and administative burden of the windows platform is more than offset over time by the economic benefits of a new major employer in the city.

And, well, how could you expect MSFT to do such a favour if you continued to spurn them at city hall?

about 3 months ago
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Suddenly Visible: Illicit Drugs As Part of Silicon Valley Culture

WebCowboy Re: Taking responsibility? Ha! (511 comments)

From what I've seen at least half the addicts that I've seen here became addicted based on the advice of a medical professional. Workplace injuries and other accidents led to prescription pain meds that brought on their addiction.

It also doesn't help that they are in an emotionally fragile state, on account of them being unemployable living on disability and other social assistance, with a sudden reduction in income and feeling worthless.

The rest, well yeah Darwin's law can take care of them I suppose, but very many addicts did not get where they are out of selfish pursuit of a high. Some were just dealt a bad hand.

about 4 months ago
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Suddenly Visible: Illicit Drugs As Part of Silicon Valley Culture

WebCowboy Re: Red Bull (511 comments)

It should be noted that the drug in question is not caffeine or sugar. Red bull gives you wings because it contains TAURINE. Without that stimulant it would be tamer than a double-double coffee from Tim Hortons

about 4 months ago
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The Era of Facebook Is an Anomaly

WebCowboy Re: Laughable (260 comments)

You didn't read the article thoroughly. Danah boyd specifically makes the point that Facebook can only continue as a "utility" if they must sustain their immense size and growth. That is not how Facebook started, hence the end of the Facebook "as a community" era.

There is no community based around utilities themselves like phone, email and what Facebook is devolving into...they are merely tools to facilitate communication amongst people.

about 8 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Linux For Grandma?

WebCowboy Re: I disagree (287 comments)

They said it themselves. I showed them gnome, kde and xfce and they chose which one they liked. Any if them would do but gnome was closest to what they liked put of box so they went with it.

Style is matter of personal taste. They liked. Gnome because of its launcher. You click activities and up comes a launcher with favourite apps and an expose-style view of all their open windows.

The way they view an OS is that it launches their apps. Besides launching apps they barely do anything else with the desktop or os itself. They also open all windows maximised all the time and even worked that way in XP--shortcuts on the desktop for all the apps they used and maximised all their windows. In that way gnome3 suits them. We don't all work the same way.

about 9 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Linux For Grandma?

WebCowboy I disagree (287 comments)

KDE is ok but not the best unless the user is a power user who likes a more custom desktop. Better XP alternatives are mint with cinnamon or xfce. Both seem a bit snappier and less laden with configuration options. If mum is running XP with the default Fisher price theme and the clouds-and-rolling-green-fields wallpaper the featuritis of KDE is wasted on her.

That said a bit of change is not always bad. If mum uses web for everything then chromebook is pretty classic looking and very simple to use and maintain assuming you are getting new hardware and want affordability. OTOH it could be useful to depart from the possibly stale XP era desktop style if mum is not too set in her ways. In my personal experience GNOME 3 has gone over fairly well. If us FOSS hackers hate it that often means it is something casual users will like;-) . With GNOME 3 you get something that reduces down to a simple launcher. In just a few minutes you can put mum's apps in the favourites dock, do a couple minor tweaks then show mum how to launch her app. Virtually everything us /. types b!tch about w.r.t. GNOME like hidden or missing config options or problems with multi desktop on multi monitor are stuff mum has no clue about and will never care to learn about. So GNOME is the choice I made and now they think all forms of MSFT windows suck.

about 9 months ago
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Is Traffic Congestion Growing Three Times As Fast As Economy?

WebCowboy Yes this is the biggest reason. (187 comments)

Whoever is at fault large scale transportation projects are one if the two main drivers for all short term changes in traffic patterns. The other is weather.

The tail end of the economic bubble and the first round of stimulus programme projects led to high levels of construction. Those projects likely completed between 2010 and 2012. As they completed road capacity increased faster than demand or traffic load. Hence reduced congestion over that time.

Last year it is possible more projects started up causing lane and road closures again. Also as I mentioned weather can be an issue. The flooding in Alberta Canada and in Colorado for example caused extended closure of damaged roads. Also the very cold winter discourages use of public transportation in most cities as nobody wants to walk to a stop and wait for a bus or train outdoors in freezing weather...plus public transportation can be very unreliable in bad weather....more so than using personal vehicles. This may br a long term thing too. The climate is changing (NOT warming... where I live average temperature has gone DOWN most of the last 10 years and it is noticeably colder than at the turn of this century especially...all year but especially in winter...this rapid cooling has changed snowpack melting and caused flooding issues more typical of what happened 100 years ago). Whether you live where it is warming or where it is cooling she effects of weather on traffic are likely to become more pronounced.

about 9 months ago
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Apple's Messages Offers Free Texting With a Side of iPhone Lock-In

WebCowboy Re: WTF (179 comments)

That is what confuses people. An iphone user sends a text to a phone number so they expect it to go to a phone number but that is not what happens by default.

The default behaviour once your phone number is hijacked by imessage is for the iphone to look up your phone number to find the apple account it is attached to then route the message to ANY device associated with that account.

As a result, if the recipient has any device associated with their apple account and they do not remove their phone number from their apple account imessage will NOT fall back to sms...it will consider the message sent!

Some examples of the confusion of crapple iMESSage default behaviour for the poor ex iphone users I know:

* wife replaced iphone with a Note 3. 3 days later she turned on her ipad and several hijacked texts sent to her phone number showed up there...on her wifi only device

* my niece upgraded from ipgone 3gs to a galaxy and gave the old deactivated/no-sim iphone to her son as a toy after wiping it. For the next few days her son was getting many of the texts that were supposed to go to her phone number

* A coworker received a blackberry z10 to replace an iphone and he started getting texts on his macbook air.

This is maddening insane default behaviour. Apple is supposed to be intuitive and this is the opposite. No sane person would expect to have a text sent to a phone number to get sent to some other random device that has no phone connection when they switch phones but that is what happens. Imessage is not as smart, simple or as sensible as you suggest it is.

about 9 months ago
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Apple's Messages Offers Free Texting With a Side of iPhone Lock-In

WebCowboy Re: Turn off iMessages ? (179 comments)

We purged our household of iphones last year and went through this little "eff you" crapple experince. Nobody tells you that apple hijacks your sms permanently by default and it must be manually taken back if you switch platforms.

After 3 days of missing texts the wife turned on her ipad to watch some netflix and saw all these texts. After going on a treasure hunt we figured out how to free iphone-source texts from the imessage prison via the apple website as the old iphone was gone.

Apple makes this harder to find than it should be but it isn't too hard to do. You don't have to tell all your friends who still have iphones to mess with their settings but you may have to wait a day or two for the de-registration to propigate to all your friends iphones--the imessage system seems to work like DNS.

about 9 months ago
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Quebec Language Police Target Store Owner's Facebook Page

WebCowboy bad fix (506 comments)

You are wrong. Quebec is not officially recognised as a distinct society since neither the Meech Lake nor the charlottown accords were passed into law. The only parliamentary motion that did pass specifically uses the word NATION.

about 9 months ago
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Debian Technical Committee Votes For Systemd Over Upstart

WebCowboy Re: Beta (379 comments)

Interesting...I prefer systemd over upstart and I know many others that do as well. So I know it is BS to day systemd is almost universally despised. At worst it is seen as the least of all evils.

It anything the debate is over retaining init.d scripts and systemd as upstart is somewhat of a single vendor stepchild. The main legitimate concern with systemd is its Linux-only implementation complicating the porting of packages to BSD and HURD based systems. The other might be a matter of taste but still worthy of debate--that systemd does not honour the 'Unix way' sufficiently.

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are Linux Desktop Users More Pragmatic Now Or Is It Inertia?

WebCowboy you do know... (503 comments)

...that pressing the super key (aka windows key) and typing is not an innovation exclusive to windows 7 don't you?

IIRC win8 retains that ability though I don't use that os. My regular desktop is GNOME 3 and it works just like that too.

The thing with Win8 and GNOME3 is that there is so much angst over what amounts to the introduction of a full screen launcher to replace a stale but familiar cascading drop down menu launcher. In both cases once you launch the same old apps all that crap is out of sight.

Of the two however GNOME 3 is clearly superior in my experience to WIN8. Microsoft went even far beyond GNOME in hiding functionality--at least GNOME retained their equivalent of a start button. Also windows is a confusing mess because it presents the launcher as the application environment...but just for metro apps. Then there is still the old desktop...but without a visible launcher (until 8.1 anyways).

At least in GNOME 3 there is still a clear division...it is clear when you are on the desktop running apps and when you are in the launcher/Switcher. It still hides a bit too much config but it is evolving faster than windows and plugins are quite useful.

In any case I spend most of my time in a handful of apps, text editor and terminal and just tab between them so the desktop environment makes little difference to me.

The one thing that actually surprised me was how much faster beginners and casual users caught onto GNOME than win8. The latter had them mystified, especially coming from XP. Despite being different GNOME was much more intuitive for the most part. Both, however, caused power users much frustration because of their instinctive desire to tweak their environment. Casual users have no such compulsion...their focus is the apps not the environment they are hosted in, and if apps are easy to find and launch that is all that matters.

about 10 months ago
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OpenBSD Looking At Funding Shortfall In 2014

WebCowboy Re: Power Bill (277 comments)

The OpenBSD project is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. The electrical grid is provincially regulated but owned and operated primarily by a number of different investor owned corporations.

Alberta residents can choose from multiple distribution companies-in Calgary Enmax is most common. Further to that you can lock in on a contract rate where the price per kwh is constant throughout, or you can avoid a commitment and pay a spot price called the "regulated rate option".

If you pick R.R.O. then it is really no choice since all Providers offer about the same price. Contract rates vary more between Providers but often the lowest contract rate at a given time can be more expensive due to long contract terms and bigger exit penalties.

Overall though the choices do not significantly reduce energy cost. The more effective solution is to reduce consumption. If the bill is too large upgrade to more efficient modern hardware where possible and do load shedding of sorts, powering off certain architecture machines and scheduling builds of different architectures on alternating days and off peak hours.

20k seems steep to me but maybe not if it is residential rates...the picture looks like it might be in Theo's basement...

about 10 months ago

Submissions

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SCO Re-org Deal Falls Through

WebCowboy WebCowboy writes  |  more than 6 years ago

WebCowboy (196209) writes "SCO Group has hit the reset button again on its restructuring plan to emerge from chapter 11 bankruptcy. The $5M cash injection and $95M line of credit offered up by SNCP is no longer on the table. Instead, SCO is hoping to have SNCP simply purchase SCO's remaining assets. The trustee overseeing this case must be getting impatient, and an independent fiduciary may be brought in to take over SCO operations outright, which at that point would probably mean Chapter 7 liquidation was not far off..."
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Investment firm bids to buy SCOs UNIX operations

WebCowboy WebCowboy writes  |  more than 7 years ago

WebCowboy writes "It appears that there are still enough people out there deluded enough to see value in SCOs UNIX operations. York Capital Management has put in a $36 million bid for SCOs UNIX operations. The offer includes coverage of up to $10 million for payment of legal fees and York Capital would assume ownership of the disputed UNIX IP as well as what is left of the lawsuits. Interestingly, SCO has offered this up for competitive bid (who would want to though?). Upon completion of the transaction, should bankruptcy court approve, SCOX would become solely a mobile applications provider (which is the only part of SCOs offerings that have undergone any meaningful development for quite some time)."

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