Hear Ye! Since 1998.

Archived Posts for December 1998

Please note: The posts on this page are at least 3 years old. Links may be broken, information may be out of date, and the views expressed in the posts may no longer be held.
30
Dec 98
Wed

New Year’s Eve

Here we say farewell to 1998 and welcome in 1999. No doubt we will all spend the first month (or more) trying to remember to write “99″ as the date and not “98″. It’s gonna be even worse in 2000, after writing “9″ as the first digit of the year for a decade, we’ll have to change to “0″. But that’s another 365 days away.

As a sidenote – my thoughts on the Millenium Bug? I don’t have any. You simply cannot ask a lay-person to give an opinion of Y2K. If there are major problems when the millenium turns, they will be with major systems – mainframes and proprietary (spelling?) operating systems. I mean, unless you have a vague idea of what airport control computers are running on (that’s just an example) you’re not going to have any clue as to how the change in year will affect airports and airplanes. You have to be in some way connected with the IT industry to even have an informed guess as to what happens. Other than that, as far as O/Ses go for the home user (you and me), Windows 98 is it. While Win98 isn’t 100% compliant (don’t worry – MS released a patch to solve it, but even without the patch Win98 won’t die when it hits 1/1/00), anything that fails on a house level will be a minor annoyance. It’s the major infrastructure and big company networks that have the potential to cause widespread problems, and guess what? I don’t know jack about them. Do you know how the traffic light system works?

When 1999 does roll around, I promise some updates of substance. Along with that, I’ll post my HSC results on the page. Everyone will almost certainly be messaging around on ICQ asking for everyone else’s results, so instead of re-typing out marks for 5 subjects, I’ll just forward on the address of this page :).

Until then, here’s a line you’ve probably been hearing all through the past week: I’ll see you next year!

24
Dec 98
Thu

Christmas Day

Have a safe, but memorable, Christmas.
(Closed for Boxing Day :)

23
Dec 98
Wed

Ten Days…

Only 10 days until the HSC results are released. I wonder how many will be waking up at 6AM just to check their results. While the phones will be jammed, the Net won’t (hopefully the traffic won’t crash the server hehe). I’ve been going to bed at ridiculous hours lately (I’m a late, late, night person), so it’s unlikely that I could get up at 6AM, so what I’m probably going to do is not go to sleep at all :). My ICQ online list is going to be burgeoning when the day rolls around – half of of everyone has taken off on holidays or overseas, but between Christmas and New Year’s day, there’s gonna be an influx of people returning to grab their results.

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22
Dec 98
Tue

Team Fortress II

Looks excellent, except that Valve is turning it into a separate game. Which means we’ll have to shell out more money. Looking at the increasing realism in games… You know what would be a good idea? You get affected by weapons in other ways than damage. If a grenade, for instance, goes off in front of you, you run around blinded by a white screen (this happened to me on a cadet camp several years ago – a bunger went off by my face and I was crawling around blind for a few seconds). Then of course, if a grenade goes off close to you, you get deafened (à la Saving Ryan’s Privates) – one speaker shuts down (no more stereo sound or, surround sound). Someone’s probably going to steal this idea :). Or, a shot to the leg with a pistol when you’re on low health makes you limp (travel slower).

20
Dec 98
Sun

Remember Milli Vanilli?

They’re still infamous :). Click Here for a small diversion.

Apologies

Apologies for the long loading times… I know they’re getting longer, but I’m too lazy to archive more than once a month :). But I’m sure you’re surfing with 5 windows at a time, aren’t you?

Plagarised from KillKrazy

Directly from Watch the World Die (other great stuff there :), is the answer to the question I asked on 18/12.

ask killkrazy
Inferno lobbed this question on his website…what’s the difference between the music genres rock, alternative rock, and alternative? Instead of emailing him what I thought, I’ll answer it here instead.

First off, alternative rock and alternative are one and the same thing, so the question really is, “What’s the difference between rock and alternative?” Nowadays, and this is gonna sound repetitive, there is no difference. Alternative died when Nirvana hit it big (and was buried when Nine Inch Nails also hit the charts) and record companies realized that the buying public was sick and damn tired of Madonna, Michael Jackson, Def Leppard, and Bon Jovi (and all their clones).

So, what the hell was alternative? Well, the genre can only be defined by the bands that were considered alternative. Janes Addiction and the Pixies spring to mind. So does The Smiths, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Skinny Puppy (before their music was classified as Industrial – this may be my own personal interpretation). Love and Rockets (and the previous incarnation of the band Bauhaus – although, as is the case of the Smiths and The Cure, these bands are retroactively called Goth Bands).

Basically, alternative was advanced garage bands that were too skilled to be ignored and two weird to gain “mainstream” attention – thus, they were “alternative” to mainstream tastes (as defined by record companies). That’s the best I can do for an official definition of the term.

But, like I said, alternative is dead. The music scene is one big melting pot of Marilyn Manson, The Prodigy, and Puff Daddy and his extended family. Ten years ago, these bands and others like them would be basically unknown with a hardcore following. Times have changed, thank all that’s holy, and now more exposure is given to bands and artists that don’t just sing shitty little love songs. Nowadays, the closest anyone comes to being alternative is, maybe, Ani DiFranco or Bif Naked. Maybe Rammstein and Atari Teenage Riot can be thrown in there, too. It’s a hard call, and not one I’d like to make to be perfectly honest.

Regardless…it’s all rock ‘n’ roll, which is even easier to define…it’s whatever music your parents hate.

Thanks! There’s your answer Yappy. So… it appears all the genres have blended somewhat.

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19
Dec 98
Sat

Clinton Impeached by the House of Representatives

Now for the Senate trial.

Taco Bell

Yesterday I visited what must be Sydney (or maybe even Australia’s) first Taco Bell. As Aussies, I don’t think many have heard about it, but I’ve heard about it through the net :), and when I visited the US a few years back. This is a definite nice change from the burgers at Macca’s and Hungry Jacks (Burger King, but they lost the naming rights before they came to Australia). A couple more things about Taco Bell – unlimited refills of drinks, and they sell Mountain Dew! Which is great, cos that’s my favourite soft drink – not too fizzy but sweet.

Taco Bell Roselands...

What the heck does “Yo Quiero” mean? It’s not “you queer” I’m guessing.

WTF? BRBT?

brbt is a homespun abbreviation for “be right back, toilet”. Quicker than “going to toilet, brb”. I suppose you could specify brbt and brbt2 to designate how long you will be away from the computer for, as a #1 is much shorter than a #2 :) Especially if you haven’t been getting enough fibre. Of course, there’s brbt3, but let’s not think about that here (elaboration required? Link may offend some, but it’s to a text only page, so relax.). By homespun I mean I thought it up. So remember, you heard it here first :).

Carols In The Domain

Well my argument below almost got shot to shit by the screening of the annual Carols in the Domain (carol singing in the city broadcast on tele). It still reeks of commercialism :) but it was still enjoyable.

More Christmas Stuff

Went out tonight to walk the estate last night. They were holding a carols thing in the local park. Anyway, our street and the surrounding streets were lit up from house decorations. Seriously, there was one house who turned their lounge room into something akin to the full-scale commercial Christmas window displays you see at big department stores (like David Jones in the city). There were heaps of people just walking up to look at the display – it was actually quite impressive. It’s gonna be hell to take down after Christmas.

Just as an observation, however, I noticed that there was a distinct lack of religiously-associated displays, as opposed to the cardboard cutouts and moving figurines of Santa, reindeer, elves and so on. However, it’s true, Christmas is a Christian festival/celebration (hence its name). Technically, only Christians should celebrate it. However, looking at the growing number of atheists in the world, it seems evident that many non-Christians celebrate Christmas too. Hehe, reminds me of Kyle in the Christmas South Park episode (who, for the uninformed, is a Jew). You can see that this post is quickly going to become an unplanned rant.

So how did this happen?

Apparently, somewhere along the line, as Christianity grew less prominent in Western society (don’t get me wrong, it’s still quite prominent, but not as much), people decided to adapt Christmas into a universal holiday of sharing, goodwill and everything that goes along with the “Christmas spirit”. This gave a morally based excuse for atheists to celebrate Christmas. I’d just like to point out that this excuse is a load of bullshit. That isn’t the Christmas we celebrate at all. Why? Check out these responses the the question, “Why do non-Christians celebrate Christmas?”:

1. “‘cos they like the present stuff and the atmosphere…..”
2. “dunno… presents? :)”
3. “they only believe in presents”
4. “because most of them like presents (and are materialistic).”
5. “hmm, maybe for the presents and all the colour, celebrations and happiness which it could  bring, but we all know their hearts are hurting and are really crying out for help”
**
6. “That is a big mystery- a big excuse to take the day off or to purchase gifts for each other hoping the other person’s gift is gonna be better than the piece of shit you’re getting them.”
**
7. “they want presents …is this phoungy??”
8. “because it is a time 4 all family members be togeher”
9. “for an exuse to get presents… most of em dont even know its for god or dont care they jus see it as a lil get together and fun time like thanxgiving or halloween”
10. “out of social habit and pressure from the commercial sector… pressure as in the “big business” like christmas, and beef it up into such a huge deal over it so lotsa people will buy lotsa stuff. advertising has a big influence over people, and business puts a lot of money into advertising christmas. after so many centuries of predominantly christian population, our society has also adopted the “habit” of celebrating christmas… such habits are hard to break. Christmas is no longer a christian celebration, the whole philosophy behind it has changed.”
**
** I like these responses :).

Do you see the incredible correlation here? I couldn’t believe it. Each quote is verbatim from different people, and represents 100% of the people asked. All but two replied presents/gifts. None of them were prompted to say gifts (all responses were first replies).

So much for the Christmas spirit. Christmas turns out to be based on materialism. No, don’t give me any crap about it being based on a “pagan holiday where they had a feast”. Christmas, as in the real meaning of Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ. I doubt the pagans called their holiday “Christmas”. Christmas itself is not pagan, but the date Christmas is set on has pagan origins (that’s because no one knows the exact date Jesus was born).

It all comes down to commercialism (“duh”, you might say, but it’s not as apparent as you think – if I asked, “What is Christmas about?” the response would be a hell of a lot different from “What is Christmas about for non-Christians?” wouldn’t it?). Even that festive, Christmas atmosphere is sustained by the commericial lighting and storefront displays. The multiple Santas in shopping malls – “pay to get your photo taken with Santa”. Heck, no wonder why there are rumours the Coke created Santa (and remember that Black Santa fiasco? hehe – I think he was barred because a Black Santa would scare the kids more than any other reason). And who is Santa? Spreading presents my ass. Just a pure, commercial tool (think about it). Oh, and may we never see another “tickle-me-elmo” farce again. Parents physically fighting each other over them. Huh.

What’s my point? Christmas is a farce. An excuse. The Christmas spirit is what the Holy Spirit is to atheists – basically non-existent. Of course I’m being a little harsh here – people do get a “warm feeling” during Christmas (charity esp. – but that’s caused by the media, who are also commercially motivated) but then again, so do the capitalists corporate giants who literally reap the money from us “habitualised” people. See responses 6 and 10 above. Essentially, what is happening, is that this religious festival is being “violated” (for want of a less potent verb). Fine have a holiday, but it really shouldn’t be called Christmas to those where the true meaning of Christmas has no meaning.

Do I really belive Christmas should be renamed? No. I’m not trying to bash capitalism, or atheists or whatever. I’m just pointing out a development in society. I mean, try changing what Ramadan means to Islamic (or is it Muslim?) people :). People don’t associate Christmas with Christ anymore, but with Santa. The meaning of Christmas has changed. In essense, something religious has been desecrated (I don’t think I’m being too extreme in saying this). I suppose Christmas really has a dual meaning now.

Turning back to my street’s house displays, it just passed through my mind… wouldn’t it truly be a spectacle if you had a bunch of Islamic fundamentalists roving the streets with machine guns blowing up Christmas displays “in the name of Allah who will strike down all non-believers!” Hahaha.

Merry Christmas (in both senses of the word). Ah… who cares. Have a Merry Christmas. Period.

18
Dec 98
Fri

Corporate Christmas Sites

Blizzard, Westwood, Yahoo, HardwareZone, Mining Co.,
… all have modified their site in some way for Christmas without directly being motivated by profit (see IBM and Qantas‘ site, for an example of modifications which use Christmas to get them more money).

On the Side

I found these definitions on the CNN web site :

BROKEN ARROW
A Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff term to identify and report an accident involving a nuclear weapon or warhead or nuclear component.
BENT SPEAR
A Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff term used in the Department of Defense to identify and report a nuclear weapon significant incident involving a nuclear weapon or warhead, nuclear components, or vehicle when nuclear loaded.
EMPTY QUIVER
A reporting term to identify and report the seizure, theft, or loss of a U.S. nuclear weapon.
FADED GIANT
A reporting term to identify an event involving a nuclear reactor or radiological accident.

Maybe the movie Broken Arrow should have been called, more accurately, Empty Quiver :)

17
Dec 98
Thu

Brood War goes GOLD!

Blizzard has released Brood Wars, expansion pack to Starcraft. Along with it is a picture of the Zerg Queen Kerrigan shown in a Christmas light :). The pic they put up last year was better… a Santa Hydralisk :) hehe

Music

Can someone point out the differences between the genres – rock, alternate rock, and alternate?

16
Dec 98
Wed

Weather

After three days of temperature nudging 40 degrees, it started pissing down a couple days ago. It even started hailing, and of course, we had a momentary blackout… while my computer was on. No thunder/lightning, otherwise I would have shutdown straight away. Paranoia maybe, but I’ve heard of consoles being blown up by lightning-induced electrical surges, and people leaving modems on during thunderstorms, only to return to a smoking box.

Site Redesign

Starting another site design – not of this journal, but of the rest of the site. I haven’t been really happy with the look and content of the other pages. I think I’ll try and structure it so that I can neglect them for lengthy periods of time :).

14
Dec 98
Mon

Insurrection

The reports that have been filtering down from the US haven’t been positive. I must admit that the premise of the fountain of youth is dodgy, but its also interesting to find that the net has a lack of neutral responses. You ask friends and the most common response you’ll hear is, “it was ok” or “it was good”, but on the net, it’s more “it’s shit” or “it was good” and nothing in between. Am I generalising wrongly here?

Inferno is happy

After going through the torturous process of an interview, I got an offer of a uni scholarship! It’s not so much the scholarship I’m happy about, it’s the money they’re giving me :) and the fact that I can do a course that I actually *want* to do at a university I want to go to! It’s for business information technology at this place, by the way.

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MSCE

I going to be sitting a course that, after it finishes in March, should make me a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (pretentious name for a Windows NT Network Mr Fixit). Starts in January so that should keep me busy for the rest of the holidays. Apparently you can earn $30-60/hour if you have this qualification.

Hmm

Something that happened yesterday made me think – how close a friend can you be to someone you’ve only met and known through the net? Are they really “worthless” ’cause you’ve never seen them or talked to them? Or can they be friends in the familiar sense? My guess is somewhere in between. Of course, once you actually make contact with that person, the relationship may develop (even @ landays etc.). There are all sorts of interesting sociological experiments you can conduct on the net – especially through icq and the anonymity that comes with it.

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11
Dec 98
Fri

ICQ Note

If ICQ won’t let you accept file transfers from some people, this is probably the reason. ICQ creates a directory which matches the person’s nick and stores all incoming files from that person in there. If that person has weird crap in their name – * / \ ? ” < > : | – then ICQ won’t accept the transfer, because it can’t create a directory with those illegal characters in it.

10
Dec 98
Thu

More Astronomy-related stuff

You can keep track of the ISS’ (“mankind’s greatest feat of engineering”) status through NASA’s nice looking site : http://station.nasa.gov/.

Weather

It hit about 37 degrees today. Summer’s coming… We’ve got this thermometer that keeps track of maximum and minimum temperatures outside, and for a few years now the max temp has been 45 degrees. I wonder if that will get broken this year.

As seen in the newspapers

Read in the papers yesterday that the Wax Gallery Madame Tussaud’s (sp?) were having some trouble with their wax figure of Bill Clinton. Apparently, patrons keep unzipping his fly. HAHAHAHA… so in the end they had to sew up the zip, and check back on the President’s pants to “avoid embarrasment”. Furthermore, people taking their picture with the President are often doing it in a kneeling position :D.

Check this out

I’ve actually being wanting a PDA or HPC for quite some time. And now it appears that the PalmPilot can do more than it appears. Link to New Scientist. This is incredible :).

9
Dec 98
Wed

Red Hat

No, not the Linux distribution. Does anyone have a picture of one of those Santa hats – you know, the floppy red hat with the fluffy white ball on the end (can’t remember what they were called)? I’m looking for a reasonably large pic, so I can stick it on someone’s head digitally (yes, it’s in response to Shish‘s request on the soapbox :). Actually, I’m still looking for holly and other Christmas related pictures…

Strange, slightly repulsive stray thought

Does anyone else notice a large buildup of phlegm in the throat/mouth after drinking a cup of orange juice?

A New Computer – I

The search for a new computer has begun. My P-133 “classic” is falling down around me. Pentium Classics are out of production. I’m probably looking at getting one in January – hopefully prices will drop a bit post-Christmas. It’s gonna be a kick-ass system ;).

8
Dec 98
Tue

Keep a Lookout

It’s that time of year again. The time when web sites start adding holly to their pages and change their colour scheme to green and red. Me? I’m still looking for a nice picture of holly :). I remember last year Auran had modified their logo to reflect the Christmas season. So just watch out for the blinking lights, pictures of Santa and Christmas trees.

X’Mas

What is “xmas”? I suspect that the X stands for “cross”, as Christ died on the cross. Christ = cross = X. If that’s true, who the hell thought that one up? The printing companies trying to cut down on their ink costs?

7
Dec 98
Mon

LAN Games II

I went back to his house last night for a longer and better Half-Life game, and it ended up carrying on all night. That game rocks, I swear – it’s an improvement on Quake 2 in so many ways, so it was quite easy to keep playing. When I mean all night, I mean all night. We played during the arvo, stopped for dinner, then continued to midnight. Midnight passed. Then, very soon, we saw the sun come up. It was 7.00am before we stopped playing, and 7.45am before we got to sleep. I feel like shit now :), but I don’t mind – it’s holidays and it can’t be as bad as a hangover.

LAN Games

Something will always go wrong when you try to get a LAN running to play games. I went over to my cousin’s house a couple nights ago to give the recently purchased copies of Half-Life a go. Anyway, after dragging my computer over to his house (sans monitor), we found out that the null-modem cable was missing. No matter, he drove out to buy one, while I stayed back to figure out how to get the TV-Out working on his Canopus – I was going to use his monitor, whereas he was going to use his bigass TV.

Of course, he came back with, not a cable, but two network cards. We banged them in. The TV-Out was still giving problems, but after 20 minutes we managed to figure it out. The output was fuzzy, and it was hard to make out the words, but it made you realise how clear proper monitors are. And probably why we’re not hearing anymore about Gateway’s Destination system (computer shipped with a TV instead of a monitor, and other home theatre equipment).

Then the network wouldn’t work. Another half-hour of looking through crappy documentation, we found out that we forgot to plug the T-Connectors and Terminators onto the coax cable – we had just plugged the cable straight in, from one port to the other.

Right, now the network worked, but the computers weren’t recognising each other. We couldn’t figure this one out. At that point in time we had to leave the house, but on the way we picked up a null-modem cable to use instead of the network. I said jokingly to him, “Knowing our luck today, Half-Life won’t support null-modem.”

When we arrived back, the network was working. Somewhere along the line he changed a few input/output values for the card which “didn’t look quite right” and it started working, miraculously. It was just as well – Half-Life didn’t support null-modem. Then came the Voodoo card in my computer – I hadn’t loaded on the drivers, and the drivers we had weren’t installing. So, we had to connect to the net and transfer the files over the network onto my computer, and that was another problem down, and we were ready to play, but by that time it was so late that we only got a couple hours in.

Deep and Philosophical

I’ve been checking out various other journal/diary-type sites, and the majority of them have some statement on the human condition or likewise sociological comment. Sorry I haven’t been able to offer anything like that. But I am a deep an’ philosophical person. Really. Heh. Okay, maybe not :).

5
Dec 98
Sat

Internet Time

The year is 1998. The date, December 6 and the time is @671.

Sounds sci-fi-ish? Well, it had to happen. Swatch has introduced the concept of Internet Time. Swatch describes it as a “revolutionary new unit of time” with “beats” instead of seconds, bypassing timezones and geographical borders. It bases the time of day into 1000 beats (metric time!), with one beat lasting exactly 1 minute, 26.4 seconds. The time is denoted with the prefix “@” and is timezone independent. Swatch’s logic behind this seems to be reflected in the quote they have on their page: “Internet Time is not geopolitical, it is global.” Funny how the meridian/standard time for Internet Time is based on Swatch headquarters in Switzerland, with @000 denoting midnight and @500, midday in the Neutrally-orientated nation.

Personally, I think the idea, while not altogether stupid, is just too radical to work. I don’t think time will ever be converted to metric, or a universal measurement (perhaps until we take to the stars, but even in Star Trek they are using 24-hour time :). For one, the current standard of time is too deeply embedded in our sub-conscious for us to really learn Internet Time. What will invariably end up happening, is people equating the Internet Time with a current time (for example, @670 is 2am in Sydney, Australia and so on). The only visible benefit is that there is no hassle in converting between timezones – only converting from Internet Time to local “Real” time, so the chance for error is less – you’re much more familiar with local timezones and daylight savings than you are with another country. How many Aussies know what MST or PST stand for? And what timeshift designation they represent? With Internet Time, you don’t have to specify a timezone at all. Anyway, I predict that this idea will ultimately be widely utilised by geeks. Too bad for Swatch. They are producing a range of watches that tell Real Time, and Internet Time, on the same display.

It’s now @680.

Music

Here’s a song that’s being played to death on MIX 106.5. I heard From this Moment On (Shania Twain) played 4 times in a 24-hour period, and 3 times in another 24-hour period within the last fortnight. I wasn’t even listening 24-hours – it just happened that every time we were in the car, that song was being played. As a sidenote, I *think* I heard somewhere that she was going to sing this at the Nobel Peace Prize… huh?

Formal Pics

Pics of me and some friends at our grade’s formal are up somewhere on the net. But where? :) I’m not telling… which reminds me – I have a swag of scanning to do for a few pages I have to write.

Daily Quotes

Um. I will get some. Promise. It’s just that I haven’t been at home very much for the past week. Been out every single day, and never been to bed before 1am (maybe even 2… dunno can’t remember). It should be quieter next week.

Geminid Meteor showers

I wasn’t happy that I missed the Leonid Meteor showers due to the clouds. Apparently someone in Perth stayed up outside to watch it (where it was reputed to be cloud-free), but it ended up raining at 2am, which is even worse. Anyway, at December 13, the peak of another meteor shower is forecasted to take place. Less spectacular, but 120 meteors per hour are predicted, nonetheless (compared to 600/hour of the Leonid one). Look around the Gemini constellation during the night of Dec 13 or early morning of Dec 14. I’m not sure about these dates – I think they are American, but I’m sure there’ll be something in the papers about it. More info here if you’re interested.

This NASA Site, Space Science News, is also a brilliant site if you happen to be interested in astronomy as I am (but who isn’t at least a little bit interested?).

Alcohol

Went to a party yesterday (well… day before yesterday, actually), and once again confirmed that I can’t drink wine – red or white. I don’t like the taste, but it’s more than that… any more than a couple mouthfuls and I start to feel nauseous. It’s not the alcohol, either, because I don’t get the same reaction from beer. Beer doesn’t taste fantastic either… Tried some vodka (Glen brought along some Stoli) – potent, but good, mixed :). Didn’t have much, but I turned a bright red and got a headache. However, I still haven’t been drunk yet, which I guess is an accomplishment, given the opportunities I’ve had lately.

Use the Guestbook (link at top)

Just one of my sporadic requests for you to sign it. It’s getting lonely.

2
Dec 98
Wed

Christmas Month

Been out for this week. Speech night, Uni Open Day, Formal Night (fun, but ultimately toxic, with all the cigarette smoke in the air and shattered glass on the floor :), and an interview tomorrow for a uni course (which for some reason I don’t think I’ll get). Oh.. yeah and Christmas is just round the corner. Cash gifts please :) j/k.

Link

Common Errors in English is quite an interesting site, actually. Especially applicable to writings in the web.



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