My Comments

THIS POSTING INDICATES “MY COMMENTS” AND SOME FOLLOW UP RESPONSES TO POSTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE LEARNING PROCESS AS I AND MY FELLOW STUDENTS HAVE COMMUNICATED OVER THE PERIOD OF THIS COURSE.

What is RSS by alrosa

MY COMMENTS:

You said 1 month ago:

I learned a bit more about RSS after reading your blog post. After taking a look at http://www.faganfinder.com it appears that RSS is not really complicated. This site also indicates that the acronym can have a variation on the names. To name a few according to this site, there is “Really Simple Syndication, Rich Site Summary, RDF Site Summary, or a variation on one of those.” While there are different versions, most RSS feeds have no problem from one version to another. One particular point to note is that there is a similar and improved format quite like RSS called Atom. There are advantages and disadvantages to using Atom, but the major difference is that for Atom, “it is also able to carry more complex information, and it is consistent across the syndication, storage, and editing of information.” This site notes that most everything applicable to RSS on their web pages are applicable also to Atom, but notes that to learn more about what is specific to Atom go to http://www.atomenabled.org.

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Don’t Be Nasty On The Net! Use Netiquitte!! by scoutmstr25

MY COMMENTS:

  You said 1 month ago:

I visited http://www.livinginternet.com and learned that every once in a while there seems to be a surge of people on Usenet correcting each other and tearing apart spelling and grammatical errors. This type of use of the internet is called the “spelling flame” and this site states that this is also a very poor, counterproductive use of the internet. It is further suggested that perhaps such mistakes be corrected privately through a single e-mail to the party who wrote the blog or article. Doing this privately prevents further irritation and shows a courtesy in discreteness, and does not bog down the internet with material that really becomes more cluttering in our lives. After all, we continue to have more and more junk mail in our lives, electronically and otherwise.

LA said 1 month ago:

I would consider that to be the case, as it would be polite not to endanger someone’s professional reputation by posting personal information about them where it is publicly accessible. Employers often google employees before interviews, so one has to be really careful about what information attached to their name appears on the internet. People have been denied jobs because of publicly accessible pictures of themselves appearing on sites such as Facebook.

Take the case of two girls from Yale Law School– they were attacked by anonymous individuals on a message board and subsequently sued, due to being denied employment on the basis of their names’ presence on that board in conjunction with lewd remarks. This may be an extreme example, but it is something people need to be aware of. A link to part of this story is here: http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/article/?id=2155

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Install your own Home Network!! by scoutmstr25

MY COMMENTS:

You said 1 month ago:

I think the next most helpful piece of technology to acquire following the purchase of a wireless laptop is a wireless printer. After reading your post, it seems like the most common sense assumption to me now. I did some looking around to learn more about wireless printers at http://www.shopping.hp.com and I liked their slogan, “Live wirelessly. Print wirelessly.” The Officejet J6480 All-in-One printer can print up to 31 pages in black per minute and just slightly under that, 25 pages, for color. This machine will print, copy, scan and fax. One additional capability is the paper saving feature of automatically printing the output as two-sided documents. This unit is currently available for $169.99 after a $30.00 instant rebate and has been awarded the Editor’s Choice Award by PC Magazine while it also bears the Energy Star mark.

LA said 1 month ago:

Well, you don’t necessarily need a wireless printer in order for your entire network to be able to access printing. We have always just hooked a printer (ours is a small Canon Pixma IP1600, quite cheap but good enough for home use) to one of the regular desktop PC. After setting the printer as a shared printer via the Windows control panel, you are easily able to access the printer from any other computers on the network. A wireless printer is definitely a nice thing to have, but it’s not strictly necessary.

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Computers in Emergency Vehicles by alrosa

 My Comments:

You said 1 month ago:

I think the flip side to quick emergency response through modern technology is a system such as Onstar which can indicate when and where an emergency such as a car accident or heart attack has occurred. At http://www.onstar.com I looked at some of the quick bullets about this great service now available due to advancements in technology. When an automobile is involved in a crash, sensors can give critical details to the response team on call. This is significant if you are unconscious or otherwise unable to give verbal details by mobile phone. I would like to mention some very fascinating facts I did not know about this type of system until I went to this website. A crash report comes up on the emergency response team’s screen which tells the status of the air bag, whether deployed or not. The maximum velocity (speed) at the time of the impact is indicated. Whether or not the vehicle has rolled over or had multiple impacts is indicated. Even the direction of the impact, such as front or rear, is indicated. This type of information is key to those on the way to assist with physical trauma as they race to grab emergency equipment and can determine ahead of time if other emergency service is needed, such as a medical helicopter for transport. Key elements are recorded in real-time details!

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The Manifold Failings of Microsoft Vista by LA

My Comments:

You said 1 month ago:

It is amazing how harsh the CNET’s critique is of Windows Vista as a terrible top ten item. When I read from this site that it took six years of development but was instantly hated by computer experts, I would never have guessed they were talking about Windows Vista. Perhaps some of the problems are not as easily noticed by a basic user like me. I can say that I was very distracted at first by the new ribbon, but once I got familiar with that, all went much better. Of particular importance is the location of the office button, and I really frustrated myself until I learned that all of the key functions for basic document control are located there. I got my new Windows Vista last year when my system went down, and expanded to the upgraded software with a customized Dell package including more memory for gaming. This pleased my son as he was becoming so frustrated previously to the computer “freezing” in his military tactical games when using the previous Microsoft program. Because he spends so much time on the computer with the newer games and has constant keyboarding practice in his junior high keyboarding class, along with all the new popular software, the switch for him was like gravy!

tchrwannab2 said 1 month ago:

From all the reviews I have read on Vista, it’s not an operating system I want to pay money to upgrade to any time soon. I have had XP on my desktop and laptop computer for a few years now and am very content with it. I don’t have many problems at all. At work we are under an older version of Microsoft as well but I can’t recall which one. Working at a bank, I deal with banking programs not typical microsoft office programs. The only time I have used Windows Vista was at John Tyler when in the computer lab or library. Maybe the system is more user friendly than the review I have read and I’m pretty good on computers. I wonder how the ratings for the next operating system by Microsoft will play out.

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Software by ddj8

My Comments:

You said 1 month ago:

I think it is fascinating that you have actually made software for both federal and state government employment applications. I have had very little programming experience; actually what I learned was years ago on the mainframe system at University of Richmond in a course called Basic Computer Programming. In reading your post I thought about how to get started in learning programming and I found a site that sounds very user friendly, http://programmingtips.com. Judah, the TipMaster, and president of ProgrammingTips.com indicates that her site is for everyone, from the professional programmer to the person just getting started who is a “non programmer.” This might be a helpful site, as she emphasizes that she encourages a lot of input from everyone, and wants this site to be a “software development resource.” I just wrote my recent post on the advantages of helping people through the internet with free sharing of technology information, so I was pleased to find this spot for tips. This “site includes articles, opinions, and links to other points of interest on the web” according to Judah. As one of your bookmarks, she suggests adding this site to gain expertise from connections and individuals that represent all levels of experience in computer programming. In adding a comment about distributing through online technology and easy access payments, I would think such resources are unequalled to other alternatives for someone quite busy like yourself where management is almost hands free exept for touching the keys on the keyboard!

krworks said 1 month ago:

First and foremost I must say that, as much as I enjoy learning about computer software, I can’t imagine ever actually producing any. I have a lot of respect for people who come up with software in general– but after reading your post and seeing everything else that goes behind distributing it, I think it’s even more amazing.

In response to your post, though, I believe that selling software online is the best way to get a loyal following. Everything is being marketed and sold directly over the internet nowadays. From musicians to authors, people are cutting out the middleman and selling directly to users–so why not computer software?

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Storage and Security by rsjblog

My Comments:

You said 2 months ago:

The storage of data on smaller devices seems to call for some type of newer security. As you suggest, the smaller size of something like a thumb drive offers convenience, but also is a concern for loss or theft. Perhaps these could be tracked to rightful owners by a fingerprint technology or by coding some type of bar code that might imply “in case found–please log on to the following website and enter the code…” If such technology exists, I am not aware of it. There is certainly money to be made where the industry of information technology is a new field for newcomers to the world of theft.

Mike Reining said 2 months ago:

Security certainly is a tougher thing to maintain with the shrinking of data storage devices. There have been several USB drives lost by the British Ministry of Defense over the past few years. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/cornwall/7605923.stm) Also, there was at least one incident in the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs regarding the loss of a laptop loaded with veteran’s personal data.

I think this topic should be addressed on several levels at all establishments. The business I work for is very tight on security for product sensitivity reasons. Having a USB key dropped with all of our new products on it could be disastrous.

Robert Johnson said 2 months ago:

As part of the Risk Management department at my work, computer security is never something too far from my thoughts. One of the most important keys is to just be aware. Keep your laptop with you if you have to get up and go somewhere in the library. If you are at work, just lock the workstation when you get up. These simply things will easily thwart a criminal. If you use a thumb drive, make sure you don’t loose it or don’t put personal information on it. If you are paranoid, you can get one that is password protected and self destructs. Check out http://www.ironkey.com. Secondly, get a good virus and firewall package. McAfee sells one as does Symnatic and many others. You need more than just anti-virus software. Look for anti-spyware and a firewall. Next, change all of the default passwords for your devices. This is so important! Hijacking access through wireless is big business. In fact, there is a website where “they” are actively mapping wireless hot spots. You can actually put in your address and find out where unsecured routers exist near you. Check out http://www.wigle.net/.

To be honest, I don’t use wireless at home because you have to really know what you are doing. I also have a couple of USB drives on which I keep personal information, like budget, etc. I only access that information when I’m not attahed to the network. I never just leave my computer attached to the network (DSL). I always “disable” the network interface when I don’t need the Internet.

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Hello World! by alrosa

My Comments:

You said 2 months ago:

In reviewing what you have indicated about the Environmental Protection Agency and that agency’s revelation on computer wastes, it is more than amazing how much solid waste we do create through modern technology. I did not know that there were so many things in a circuit board that were harmful if ingested. There are some charitable groups which are accepting ink cartridges for recycling, and proceeds are donated to animal rescue missions. This is something that I have learned about, encourage, and actively participate in at work. As far as the decision not to sign the Basel Convention, I think in the next presidential campaign, citizens should stress the importance of remedies to the hazardous waste problems of societies such as ours where the same technology that lends us our freedom carries with it the responsibility of reforming our world without the threat of these toxins. This is a nicely covered topic, and thanks also for the mention of recycling companies that offer to dispose of old technology hardware for free.

mnd103 said 2 months ago:

Thank you for bringing such insight regarding the issue of recycling of electronics such as the computer. I have been more familiar with the need to probably dispose of batteries, bulbs, and similar household products; but I was unaware of the transboundary movement of hazardous materials like computers; especially to LDCs (Least Developed Countries). Knowing that the relationship between human behavior, such as this, and its effect on natural hazards to cause major catastrophes ; I question why the United States signed into this international treaty (the “Basel Convention”) and have yet to ratify?

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A Note on This Blog by LA

My Comments:

You said 2 months ago:

I am at https://annwill.wordpress.com and I like your design. Hopefully we will get to communicate quite a bit through class–I hope you will enjoy my blog! Thanks!

MY COMMENTS:

You said 2 months ago:

With prices at $250.00 for a rather substantial hard drive, it should be easier all the time for people to afford the new desktop computer you described. Noting that there is room in the case is particularly important for planning expansions. I got my new system with Windows Vista last year and I no longer hear my son complaining about any games freezing, or sluggish behavior with various functions. Still I am very interested in noting the CybertronPC Armor Gaming Personal Computer that you share in your post. This is because I am sure down the road the gaming for older teens with advanced computer skills will require knowledge of the best technology available, even if for comparison to products that are considered the “next best” for gaming. Thanks for sharing the tips, and also for the website suggestion of NewEgg.

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About Shayla by shay23

MY COMMENTS

You said 2 months ago:

I used to sell Mary Kay Cosmetics…I enjoyed the ‘girl” things about cosmetics and fashion. Otherwise, I like sports, motorcycles and martial arts. I can share more information about me if you go to my blog at https://annwill.wordpress.com and I wish you much success! Good luck with the class.

kim74 said 2 months ago:

We definitely have a few things in common. I am a girly girl as well. Shopping is definitely on the top of my list of things to do. Not only do you get to go out and look at all of the new clothes, make-up, shoes (by far my favorite), but you get to go out and spend time with your girlfriends. Spending time with them has always allowed me to get my life into perspective. Good luck to you in this class. I look forward to your future blogs.

1 comment November 15, 2008

BE AWARE OF PHISHING!

Phishing is a type of scam that involves taking advantage of computer users in data transmissions or data storage to find out personal information with the intent to misuse the information for fraudulent purposes.  Phishing scams can take various forms.  Most people who use the computer on a regular basis are familiar with one of the most popular types of phishing scams, which is when the perpetrator is trying to copy or borrow logo, symbols, wording, corporate colors and other similarly related categories to disguise themselves as financial institutions or well-known corporations, such as Bank of America or Microsoft.  One of the techniques these scam artists might try includes placing a link on their site or in their e-mail which will connect the unknowing computer user to their location on the web, or to another person they are working with to steal valuable personal information.  Quite often, but not always, their wording in an e-mail directs you to take action urgently or immediately, so that an account or another financial matter can be handled without interruption of activities.  This attempt works effectively to catch people who are not on guard.  Now to take a look at efforts to monitor phishing.

Microsoft offered some information about phishing.  The address at

PHISHY!

PHISHY!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.microsoft.com/protect/yourself/phishing/identify.mspx, describes a type of “spear phishing” which is another phishing scam that “might look like it comes from your employer, or from a colleague who might send an e-mail message to everyone in the company, such as the head of human resources or IT.”   As Microsoft indicates at this site, the primary object of scam artists such as these is to “ask for personal data, or direct you to Web sites or phone numbers to call where they ask you to provide personal data.”    Windows Vista and the use of Internet Explorer 7 helps control phishing, but if you do not have these, Microsoft advises that everyone should use some type of phishing filter to protect valuable  personal information.

I decided to check at two banks where I have accounts to see what was indicated about phishing.  Of course, all banks ask us to review our accounts regularly, if not daily, to watch for suspicious activity.  What Bank of America states at their site at www.bankofamerica.com/privacy is that, while the bank does use cookies to gain information about the effectiveness of using their sites, they never use cookies or files such as “Flash Objects” to gather information and store that personal information unless it is encrypted.  This means that the data is not readable to anyone else.  They also of course must follow strict regulatory guidelines about who can use and access that information, and for what specific purposes.  Financial institutions must also send their updated privacy policies to customers at least once per year, as per federal requirements.  While Wachovia notes similar information in their internet privacy policies, this institution indicates at www.wachoviasecurities.com/disclosures/internet-privacy.html that Wachovia may “also use cookies to enhance risk analysis and fraud detection.”  Wachovia attempts to monitor customer behavior patterns and makes every effort to alert a customer when something questionable might be happening with a customer’s accounts.  Many banks and financial institutions have also tried to put the word out to the general public that they will never attempt to have you verify an account by having you provide any type of personal information over the internet.

2 comments October 4, 2008
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Wireless Network Access

Wireless network options are improving lives with even more convenient access and adding more flexibility for our many diverse and busy lifestyles.  In talking with a gentleman named Phil at Starbucks (located near the University of Richmond on Huguenot Road), I found that wireless options there are not free at the moment unless you use a T-mobile account or unless you get a Starbucks card online at www.starbucks.com.  Such services have kept Starbucks very busy and he had limited phone time to talk with me as this location was plenty busy with customers at the moment I called.  I next talked with a library clerk named Anne with the Powhatan Countly Library.  She says that this has been very beneficial to people in the community who have come even after library hours (anytime night or day) to sit in the parking lot near the library building and access the wireless network, as this service is free and unlimited.  The only limitation might be if a good signal is not available.  More can be learned about the Powhatan County Library and the technology available at www.powhatanlibrary.org. In talking with Cindy at this library today, she indicates that the wireless technology as well as other modern technology available at this location has increased the usefulness of the library to the community. 

I also talked with an employee at the Richmond International Airport, Gersain Agudelo Valencia, who described the use of the wireless system at the airport for an additional perspective.  Gersain indicated that wireless use is free and available anywhere there, with no password needed for access.  Also, when a passenger is in flight this service is available on some airlines as an incentive to use their airline.  The latest in technology invites the savvy business person to airlines providing such services. 

I also conducted a bit of research to find out more about some of the leaders in wireless service.  Verizon Wireless claims to operate “the nation’s most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 68.7 million customers” as per information from www.marketwatch.com.  This website explains that Verizon Wireless is actually “a joint venture of Verizon Communications (VZ: 32.18, +0.13, +0.4%) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD)” and also this website advises that more can be learned about the availability of “broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills” by going to  www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.

1 comment September 27, 2008
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HOW ABOUT OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE?

The culture of technology should fit the needs in our lives...

The culture of technology should fit the needs in our lives...

 

Free software is taking on many viewpoints as the open culture in technology emerges.  We have had a trend with many proprietary interests such as Microsoft to fight for copyrights and rights to restrict sales of upgrades on new versions, licensing entanglements and other such proprietary interests.  I must agree with people like Richard Stallman since I feel that technology is so expansive globally now, that the right to improve technology for the benefit of everyone in the world who uses this mode of communication is similar to a basic fundamental human right.  If we give someone a pencil and teach them to write, should the manufacturer of that pencil require royalties of that individual if he or she writes a masterpiece resulting in a Pulitzer Prize?  And what about the paper manufacturer, the copy machine/printing press manufacturer, or even the university staff where the individual attended school last to perfect his or her writing skills?  Perhaps sometimes we can take proprietary interests to the extreme.  Do the car manufacturers of today still owe tribute monetarily to the descendants of Leonardo da Vinci, since he sketched drawings of the first automobile?  I really think we have to draw the line after a certain point, and accept some things as the cumulative result of a progressive, global civilization.

In reviewing Wikepedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_software_movement), I found out that Richard Stallman is considered by many to be the founder of the free software movement by launching the GNU Prjoect in 1983.  I think his intentions are for the general good of humanity as he wholeheartedly supports his views to liberalize computer use for the benefit of all.  Stallman is quoted in this Wikipedia site aforementioned as delivering  the following words:

“The only thing in the software field that is worse than an unauthorised copy of a proprietary program, is an authorized copy of the proprietary program because this does the same harm to its whole community of users, and in addition, usually the developer, the perpetrator of this evil, profits from it.”

 Again, I think his intentions are for the general good.  However, I also understand that hackers and highjackers can be a concern for uploading software if these types of individuals intrude on the Internet…running the risk of adding corruption to files and infecting computers with deadly viruses if careful software development is totally disregarded.  People who are willing to work for credible companies tirelessly to combat these types of ill-intended technology bandits should also be compensated for their honest labor.  Perhaps a mix of free software and proprietary software is best.

Another pioneer in the open software culture is Linus Torvalds.  He was born in Finland and upon studying computer science at the University of Helsinki and using a Minix system, he “lamented its inability to do terminal emulation, which he needed so he could connect to the university’s computers”(www.linux.org).  Out of this frustration grew a desire to develop a program that would accomplish this task.  This was the beginning of the creation of Linux.

The real intention of free software is “a matter of liberty, not price” according to the GNU website.  At www.gnu.org one can revisit some of the real purposes for this culture, such as the motive to help your neighbor with improving a software application for his particular needs, or for improving and adapting software for your own goals in computer uses at home.  If the whole community can benefit from an improved technology, as concerned citizens we should be active in liberalizing our own rights.  When we especially think of state, federal and foreign governments which tend to pass expenses directly to citizens by increasing bureaucratic costs, fees and taxes when these entities operate inefficiently, then it makes sense that software should be improved by a freer mode of collaborative technology. That brings us to the obvious crossroad where we should all “sharpen our pencils” and take notes on how to fit in to this developing culture.

1 comment September 20, 2008
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A Day in the Life of Annette Branch

Today I used my personal computer to learn more about collaborative technology, and in particular the most popular computer uses and voice recognition systems.  A list of 101 uses will inspire anyone of any age to take advantage of the many resources available on the internet.  That is exactly what I found in browsing the web at www.edzone.net/~mwestern/101computeruses.html.  My favorites are number 78, which is “viewing a shark-live!” and number 80 which is “watching astronauts on the space station-live!”  But there are also helpful hints for creating slideshows, recording songs and much more. 

I am also curious about voice recognition systems in particular since I think this technology will be increasingly effective in our lives.  For activating the microwave, telling our phone to call someone or check our messages remotely while we are cooking dinner, or activating banking functions such as electronic payments, this feature would offer even more expedient access for everyone.  Those who would benefit besides business entrepreneurs or business executives include the elderly, those with visual and auditory challenges, as well as other individuals with various disabilities.  This is applicable in my own life today as I think of someone personally for each of these categories with special challenges who could be helped more effectively with this type of technology which they currently do not possess.  Voice recognition is also extremely helpful for secure access, whether computer access or building and property access.  You can learn more about voice recognition systems at www.microsoft.com/responsepoint as one example.  This location also offers a demonstration, which I watched and simultaneously added a bit of humor to my day:  That was a nice touch, ironically, since I faced some stressful issues with computer technology at work earlier this week.

I also stopped at the gas pump today to add one final note here in my diary page about computers.  I used my visa, charging my gas purchase to save time so that I could return home quickly to my writing of this article.  The convenience of not waiting in line for the cashier or losing cash and even pumping gas after hours when gas station doors are locked is tremendous.  The computerized listing on my visa statement has helped me target better my actual expenditures for gas, and this has compelled me to car pool recently when I saw it all itemized on the statement.  From an even more technological approach, however, the Sheetz gas station and gas pumps must be managed by computer hardware and software systems such as those I found today on the web at HiTech Computer Services.  HiTech Financial Accounting for Petrol Pumps lists many managed formats for computerizing a gas station; some modules include “Petrol Pump”, “Employee Module”, “Inventory Control” and “Accounts Module”, among others.  More can be learned on the web about this company at www.hitech-on-web.com.  When I stop to think about how much the impact has affected me and those around me at the gas pump alone today, and mostly for the better, the effects on our lives are truly life-transforming in almost indescribable proportions.

1 comment September 13, 2008
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Two of My Favorite Web Sites

♥♥  I wanted to share two of my favorite Web Sites.  The Central Virginia Foodbank is at www.cvfb.org and my other favorite is richmondspca.org, just so you can take a visit and spread the word that summer can be a time of unique need for both of these agencies…hope you will learn a bit more and find some time to help in some small way as the opportunity allows.

Add a comment September 7, 2008

About Annette

My name is Annette and I live in Powhatan, Virginia.  I have a wonderful son who is in Boy Scouts and two dogs.  I also have a wonderful boyfriend, Jose.  Currently, I work at Westminster Canterbury in Richmond, Virginia and have just begun my eighteenth year of service.  The reason I am currently studying at the University of Richmond is to continue my education in liberal arts and paralegal studies to gain a B.A. in liberal arts and a minor in paralegal studies.  I have gained much personal satisfaction and professional growth through my experiences at the University of Richmond.

My hobbies include martial arts, swimming, reading and all of the many activities I am learning in scouts with my son.  I also enjoy collecting music of all types, and studying historical literature as well as visiting historical points of interest.

3 comments September 6, 2008

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