The 'Book Review

Intel's Quad-core Mobile CPU, Prevent OS X 10.5.6 Crashes, 'Netbook' Name Under Fire, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2009.01.05

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

General Apple and Mac desktops is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iNews Review.

News & Opinion


Tech Trends


Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Intel Releases Quad-core Notebook CPU

Macworld's Dan Moren reports:

" legally obligated by that Moore fellow, processor companies continue to release new chips like clockwork (Get it? Because processors have clock spe - oh, never mind). Intel's newest line, quietly unveiled this week, features five new mobile processors, including one quad-core model. In fact, PC maker Acer has already gone ahead and released their first notebook with the new Intel Core 2 Quad Q9000, running at 2.0 GHz....

"Intel is, of course, Apple's exclusive chip supplier, so there's a pretty good chance that some of these powerhouses will make it into Apple's portable line before too long...."

Intel Births Mobile Quad Core Processor

The Register's Cade Metz reports:

"Intel has birthed a recession-friendly quad core mobile processor. And you can find one at the heart of a new Acer laptop. Maybe.

"The new quad core - dubbed the Intel Core 2 Extreme Q9000 - offers 6 MB of level 2 cache, a 1.066 GHz front-side bus, and a 2 GHz core clock speed....

"It would seem that the Q9000 drives Acer's Aspire 8930G-7665, an $1,800 notebook that hit stores just this morning."

Apple Prepping a Quad-core MacBook Pro?

APC Mag's David Flynn reports:

"Just one week ahead of Macworld, Intel quietly slips a low-cost quad-core processor into its mobile line-up. Is this the powerplant for Apple's new unibody 17 inch MacBook Pro?

"Apple's mid-October refresh of its notebook line left a curious gap at the top end of the card, with the 17 inch MacBook Pro missing the make-over of its 15 inch cousin and the 13.3 inch MacBook....

"There's no doubt that the 17 inch MacBook Pro will soon boast the same sleek 'unibody' chassis as its siblings. In a company with Apple's design and marketing ethic, it couldn't be any other way.

"So why the delay?"

Market Watcher Heralds 'Age of the Notebook'

Register Hardware's Tony Smith reports:

"More laptops shipped in Q3 than desktops, the first time this has ever happen during a given quarter, apparently.

"So said market watcher iSuppli today, though a close look at its numbers show there's not a lot in it: 38.6m notebooks to 38.5m desktops. What's a 100,000 units among friends? Laptop shipments were up 40 per cent year on year, while desktop shipments were down by just 1.3 per cent.

"In short, it's not so much desktops losing the war - or even becoming unpopular - as laptops winning it. As the PC market grows, it's the mobile segment that's taking all the extra sales, essentially."

Notebook PC Sales Outpace Desktops: Good News for Apple

Silicon Alley Insider's Dan Frommer reports:

"Notebook computer sales outpaced desktop PC sales for the first time last quarter, according to research firm iSuppli.

"Worldwide, PC companies shipped 38.6 million notebook computers in Q3, up almost 40% year-over-year. Desktop PC shipments grew 1.3% year-over-year to 38.5 million units.

"That's good news for Apple, which is increasingly a notebook company. If the trend toward notebooks continues - which we expect it will - Apple stands to gain market share."

Make a Laptop Stand from Cardboard

DIY cardboard notebook standA new The Instructables illustrated tutorial says:

"My work computer is a 17" laptop, and I was tired of hunching over my desk all day to use it. I wanted a stand that would prop up the laptop's LCD screen to a more ergonomic height, but I didn't want to spend any money. This cardboard laptop stand provides a much better work environment at no cost!

"After using my cardboard stand for 3 months or so, it started wearing out and becoming a bit sloppy. I could have made another one from cardboard but decided to make one from plywood."

Editor's Note: And if you think this is a cool idea but would rather not mess around with cutting out your own from cardboard or plywood, check out the $19.95 Keynamics Aviator laptop stand, which offers a similar type of stand in ready-to-use form. cm

Apple's Secret Holiday Weapon: A Redesigned MacBook Pro

Seeking Alpha contributor "Compete" says:

"A lot has been written about the phenomenal success of the iPhone, but another Apple product line, the MacBook, has been booming in the background. MacBook sales have skyrocketed over the last 2 years: Apple sold 1.675 million laptops in their fiscal Q4 2008, up 70% over the same period in 2006.

"This holiday season, Apple appears poised to capitalize on this tremendous sales growth with a new line of MacBook and MacBook Pro computers...."

Mac OS X 10.5.6: Black Display on MacBook Pros after Updating

MacFixIt reports:

"Previously, MacFixIt reported on a problem experienced by many MacBook Pro owners in which systems were not starting up properly after installing Mac OS X 10.5.6. After installing, the system would reboot twice as expected and then the screen would not light up, resulting in basically a useless laptop.

"This problem was initially suspected to be caused by a faulty firmware update in the 10.5.6 package, but it turns out users who have been affected by this problem have not updated their MacBook Pros to the latest EFI firmware. Mac OS X 10.5.6 installed some additional firmware updates which were incompatible with the older EFI firmware, and this resulted in the faulty video."

Delete Files to Prevent Crashes from OS X 10.5.6 Update

Macworld's Ted Landau reports:

"Apple has recently posted several articles that offer advice on how to prevent crashes and freezes related to the Mac OS X 10.5.6 update. The fixes all involve deleting files, most often heretofore little-known system files.

"When installing an OS X update, the Installer may stall or freeze at the stage where a 'Configuring Installation...' message appears. The good news is that this bug has been eradicated in Mac OS X 10.5.6. The only problem is that you may still see this error while attempting to install the very 10.5.6 update that fixes it! If so, the solution is to go to the /Library/Updates folder and delete its contents."

Blackberry Storm Not a Netbook (Neither Is the iPhone)

Laptop Mag's K. T. Bradford says:

"I will admit, I only clicked on the link to CNET Asia's interview with RIM co-founder Mike Lazaridis because the headline said 'The Storm is a Netbook, says RIM's founder'. Nevermind that the interview is not really about that - it literally takes up one very short exchange - CNET Asia knew this statement would get a lot of attention.

"Forgive me, I'm about to give them some attention.

"I can't help it. It bothers me when tech people say things like this. I'm sure that Lazaridis knows the Blackberry consumer base really well. But he doesn't seem to get the netbook consumer base. He made the same mistake Steve Jobs made in thinking that people only use netbooks to access the internet and email. More and more I'm starting to agree with Brad (of Liliputing) that the netbook name gives a false impression of the uses for mini-notebooks...."

Mini DisplayPort Adapters Creating Jumpy Mouse Cursors

The Apple Core's Jason D. O'Grady reports:

"Apple's Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapters finally started arriving - over two months after their introduction. These little doohickeys allow you to run a 30-inch monitor with the new MacBook Pros.

"After waiting this long, however, users have reported that they cause the mouse cursor to jump while tracking. This has been confirmed with wired and wireless mice, and with two different adapters...."


MacBook White 'a Great Laptop'

Gaj-it's TazzaHall reports:

"The MacBook MB402B/B may not be the latest MacBook on the market, but it's one of the most affordable which in current financially unsure times, is a pretty important feature.

"But let's not take away from what else this particular MacBook holds in store for us. It come with the latest Intel Core 2 Duo processor, to give you top-quality graphics without compromising on the all important battery life. This means you can keep up to speed with online gaming, as well as office and multimedia programs....

"While it's not as good-looking as the aluminum case MacBooks on the market, the polycarbonate case on this model is extremely tough and perfect for absorbing knocks as you take your laptop on the road....

"The MacBook MB402B/B is a great laptop with a heap of features that makes this particular model pretty good value for money. It's not as stylish as other MacBooks with an aluminium cover, but it's more affordable and allows you to do more than you could with a basic model MacBook Air."

Unibody MacBook Nice but Flawed

Palluxo reports:

"New 13-inch aluminum MacBook from Apple has been the single best-selling laptop of any brand in US retail stores for the past several months. In terms of hardware, this is a remarkable engineering achievement, but it does have some insignificant drawbacks. After all, nothing is perfect....

"Glossy screens . . . tend to exaggerate colors and shade, to the point in which they over-saturate and have poorer grayscale accuracy. This makes glossy displays unsuitable for people who seek to use their computers for graphics work which requires color accuracy....

"It is disappointing that FireWire port is not available....

"If you are looking to play games on this laptop, then you might find yourself a bit disappointed...."

Tech Trends

Netbook Websites Cease & Desist Using Term 'Netbook'

jkOnTheRun's James Kendrick reports:

"This is very preliminary but we are hearing that some netbook enthusiast sites are getting 'cease & desist' letters from a firm in the UK ordering the sites to stop using the term 'netbook'. The letters claim that the term netbook is trademarked by the firm that produced the Psion netBook in the early 2000's.

"We have not received one of these letters but have corresponded with a site owner who did receive one and they were ordered to remove the term 'netbook' from content by March 2009 or face legal action."

We May Need a New Name for Small, Cheap Notebooks

Psion netBookTechnologizer's Harry McCracken says:

"Back in the mid-1990s, I loved my Psion PDA as much as any gadget I've ever owned. But Psion stopped making consumer products years ago, and I wasn't even positive if the company - which spun off its software unit into phone OS powerhouse Symbian - was still in business.

"Well, it is. And jkOnTheRun is reporting that its lawyers are sending letters to netbook sites telling them they have until the end of March to stop using the term 'netbook.' That's because Psion once made a subnotebook called the netBook, and apparently still has a trademark on the name."

"The possibility remains that Psion (which calls itself Psion Teklogix these days) may succeed in squelching use of 'netbook.' Which would mean we'd need a new name for small, cheap notebooks....

"Or we could simply call them . . . notebooks. Which is what they are."

Acer Aspire 8930G Extreme Gaming Notebook with New Intel Quad-Core Mobile CPU

The Aspire 8930G-7665 Notebook is designed for "extreme gaming" and multimedia performance. Will Apple follow suit with a quad-core 17" MacBook Pro?

PR: Acer America has introduced the Aspire 8930G-7665 notebook PC, utilizing the new Intel Core2 Quad Mobile Processor Q9000. The new quad-core processors allow for extreme mobile performance and speed for gaming on the go. Designed for multimedia and gaming enthusiasts, the Aspire 8930G-7665 combines desktop level computing power, innovative technology and productivity features, with stylish PC design.

Featuring Intel's Core 2 Quad Mobile Processor Q9000, the Aspire 8930G-7665 offers groundbreaking levels of high-definition performance needed for multimedia applications and 3D gaming. Utilizing four processing cores, 6 MB of shared L2 cache, 1066 MHz Front Side Bus and clock speed rates up to 2.0 GHz, the Aspire 8930G-7665 brings unprecedented swiftness and realism to 3D games, which extreme users demand.

Along with new quad-core mobile processing power, the Aspire 8930G-7665 offers gamers and multimedia enthusiasts dynamic HD functionality. The notebook PC features an 18.4" HD CineCrystal widescreen 1920 x 1080 pixel display, with 16:9 aspect ratio for intense color and visual detail. Feature-rich high-definition entertainment is provided by Blu-ray Disc technology, Nvidia GeForce 9700M GT graphics and Dolby audio, giving users a true cinematic experience for movie watching, playing games and listening to music.

"By incorporating the latest capabilities of Intel's Core 2 Quad mobile processors into the Aspire 8930G-7665, Acer is delivering a perfect combination of mobility, innovation and extreme gaming capabilities," said Sumit Agnihotry, vice president of product marketing for Acer America. "Gamers and enthusiasts who enjoy HD multimedia entertainment will find the performance benefits of quad core mobile performance in the Aspire 8930G unrivaled to other multimedia notebooks on the market."

Aspire 8930-7665 Specifications and Pricing

  • Intel Core 2 Quad Mobile Processor Q9000
  • (6 MB L2 Cache | 2.0 GHz | 1066 MHz FSB)
  • 18.4" WUXGA Acer CrystalBrite TFT LCD (1920 x 1080)
  • 4 GB DDR3 1066 MHz Dual Channel Memory
  • Nvidia GeForce 9700M GT with 512 MB dedicated video memory
  • 500 GB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • Blu-ray Disc/DVD-Super Multi double-layer drive
  • 6-in-1 Digital Media Card Reader
  • 802.11a/g/Draft-N WiFi CERTIFIED
  • Acer Crystal Eye Webcam
  • Dolby Home Theater
  • Windows Vista Premium 64-bit
  • MSRP $1799.99

Availability and Warranty

The Acer Aspire 8930G-7665 is available now via Acer's authorized resellers and at select major retailers nationwide. The Aspire 8930G-7665 is backed by a one-year limited warranty.


rainDesign mStand Laptop Stand

PR: Working on a laptop can strain the eyes, neck, back, and arms. Prolonged strain may lead to health problems or injury. mStand raise the screen to meet eye level for better posture and view.

Designed for the Apple MacBook and MacBook Pro, suitable for all laptops, rainDesign's mStand helps you work comfortably and safely by raising your laptop to the same ergonomic height as an external display. mStand is made of a single solid piece of aluminum with matching MacBook Pro's sandblasted and silver anodized finish.


  • Better ergonomics is achieved with higher screen height.
  • Increases screen height by 6 inches.
  • Tilt design brings screen closer and improves airflow around laptop.
  • Single piece aluminum design provides solid stability.
  • Keyboard stash clears up desk area when not in use.
  • Cable organizer behind arranges cables neatly.

mStandAll ergonomic guidelines recommend placing the screen at comfortable eye level, and keeping your back, forearms and wrists straight. This can be achieved by using your laptop with mStand, an external keyboard and a mouse.

The mStand is extremely stable because it has a large base support of 7.5 inches x 10 inches. (190mm x 253 mm), and big enough for the 17" MacBook Pro to sit securely on it. All ports can be fully accessed and are not blocked. A lip at the front of the mStand prevents it from slipping forward, and there are also rubber pads on the corners for extra grip.


The latest mStand has been updated to have a cutout for easy access to the latch.

The mStand is fully padded with thick rubber feet so that no part of the notebook actually touches the mStand's aluminum surface.

Price $49.90

Pogo Sketch Stylus Works with iPhone and MacBook Multitouch Trackpads

Pogo Sketch StylusPR: The Pogo Sketch stylus features lightweight aluminum alloy construction and precision graphics, with a soft tip that glides easily over the surface of the display or Multitouch trackpad, making it fun and easy to sketch, draw characters, or just slide to unlock. Sized for accuracy, it does away with the awkward typos and misfires common to fingertip-only use.

Wear gloves in the winter? With an iPhone, the stylus allows you to answer calls and surf the Web all while keeping your hands toasty.

Longer nails can be a problem with touchscreen devices. Using a Pogo Sketch, you'll soon find that problem is history.

Turn your MacBook trackpad into a pen tablet for premium drawing programs. The new multitouch trackpads allow the Pogo Sketch to control drawing programs (like, say Scribbles).

Lastly, the cool, glossy Pogo Sketch pocket clip will keep your stylus close by, wherever you are.

Pogo Sketch StylusSome Pogo Sketch features:

  • High-gloss curved pocket clip keeps the stylus handy
  • Works with any combination of gloves and nails
  • Allows you to use your touchscreen device or multitouch trackpad at a natural drawing angle
  • Typing on a software keyboard (especially at first) is much easier with a stylus
  • Sleek aluminum design with precision graphics

The Pogo Sketch's soft, durable tip is designed with the needs of mobile users in mind. It is precision-formed to the perfect size for selecting smaller links and buttons.

The tip's high-tech material makes it unique in its ability to function with iPhone's multitouch display. The tip glides easily over the surface of the display, making it fun and easy to sketch, draw characters, and slide to unlock. Functioning like a fingertip, it moves quickly and easily through the touch interface. The screen's glass surface is kept scratch- and smudge-free.

Pogo SketchThe Pogo Sketch looks comfortable and classy in any environment. The high-end anodized aluminum finish complements everything from the MacBook to your Mother.

Pogo Sketch sells for $14.95

Axiotron to Debut Exciting New Products at Macworld

PR: Updated Modbooks and new software to be showcased by artists, designers, and software partners at Axiotron's Booth during Macworld Expo 2009 - innovative new hardware products and technologies to be unveiled

Macworld Expo 2009 - Booth #502

High-tech hardware and software manufacturer Axiotron today announced that it will be returning to the Macworld Expo for the third year in a row, where the company's booth (#502) will showcase the improved and enhanced Modbook - the one-of-a-kind tablet Mac computer and previous winner of Macworld's "Best of Show" award. The company will also demonstrate new software for the Modbook and will unveil innovative new hardware products and technologies at the show.

Axiotron's booth will feature artists, designers, photographers and software representatives who will highlight the Modbook's new hardware and software enhancements. In addition, Axiotron is partnering with a number of companies, including Adobe, Microsoft, Autodesk, Vision Objects, SmileOnMyMac, Chromatic Bytes, MindMeister, Circus Ponies, Edge Health Solutions and AssistiveWare, to present the Modbook's broad range of application functionality at numerous hands-on demonstration stations.

Macworld visitors will get an exclusive first look at innovative new hardware products and technologies from Axiotron. An unveiling event featuring Axiotron CEO Andreas E. Haas will take place on Tuesday, January 6th, 2009, at the Axiotron booth.

"We are very excited to be back at Macworld. Our booth is designed to be highly interactive, informative and fun for visitors," said Mr. Haas. "It is especially exciting this year since we will have the opportunity to present some of the new technologies our team has been working on."

At Macworld, Axiotron will also debut Quickscript™, its new handwriting recognition software developed in partnership with Vision Objects. Quickscript will offer a dramatic enhancement of the Modbook's capabilities by providing high-quality handwriting recognition - the software accurately recognizes cursive and printed handwriting in 21 languages. Already embraced by artists and creative professionals as a portable sketchbook and all-in-one studio, the Modbook significantly expands its usefulness for general users with the new Quickscript application.

Presentations and seminars featuring the Modbook will be conducted at Axiotron's booth by artists and designers, including comic book artist Kody Chamberlain, Emmy award-winning animator Shannon Tindle, painter and illustrator Paul Lee, and storyboard artist Louie del Carmen.

The Axiotron booth will host various promotions during the expo. Visitors will have the chance to win free software and other prizes, and will even have the opportunity to win a brand new Modbook.

The Macworld Expo takes place Tuesday, January 6th through Friday, January 9th, 2009, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California. For more information visit

Bargain 'Books

Bargain 'Books are used unless otherwise indicated. New and refurbished units have a one-year Apple warranty and are eligible for AppleCare.

PowerBook, iBook, and MacBook profiles linked in our Portable Mac Index.

Apple Store

  • refurb 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,149
  • refurb 1.8 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,399
  • refurb 1.8 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/64 SSD, $1,699
  • refurb 2.4 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook, black, 2 GB/160/SD, $949
  • refurb 2.4 GHz Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,399
  • refurb 15" 2.5 GHz MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,499
  • refurb 15" 2.6 GHz MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $1,799
  • refurb 17" 2.4 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,799
  • refurb 17" 2.4 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,849
  • refurb 17" 2.5 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $1,899
  • refurb 17" 2.6 GHz hi-res Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200 @ 7200 rpm/SD, $2,299


  • 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,199.99
  • 15" 1.83 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, $949.99
  • 15" 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 1 GB/80/SD, $989.99


  • 2.0 GHz Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,199.98
  • 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,299.99
  • 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $1,349.99
  • 15" 2.4 GHz Unibody MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,844.99
  • 15'' 2.5 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,598.99
  • 15" 2.53 GHz Unibody MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, $2,339.99

Mac Connection

  • 2.1 GHz MacBook White, 1 GB/120/SD, $999.99 less $50 mail-in rebate = $949.99 shipped

Wegener Media - G3 iBooks - 15" Titanium PowerBook - 15" Aluminum PowerBook - MacBook - 15" MacBook Pro

  • 12" iBook G3/500 MHz, 128/10/CD, $169.99
  • 12" iBook G3/600 MHz, 128/15/CD, $249.99
  • 12" iBook G3/700 MHz, 128/20/Combo, $329.99
  • 12" iBook G3/800 MHz, 256/30/Combo, $399.99
  • 12" iBook G3/900 MHz, 256/40/Combo, $489.99
  • 1.83 GHz Core Duo MacBook, white, 512/60/Combo, 60 day warranty, $594.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, white, 512/60/Combo, 60 day warranty, $659.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, black, 512/80/SD, 60 day warranty, $719.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/SD, 60 day warranty, $769.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/120/SD, 60 day warranty, $799.99
  • 15" titanium PowerBook G4/867 MHz, 256/30/Combo, $549.99
  • 15" titanium PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $699.99
  • 15" aluminum PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $599.99
  • 15" aluminum PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $639.99
  • 15" aluminum PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, $679.99
  • 15" aluminum PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, APX, $729.99
  • 15" hi-res aluminum PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 512/80/SD, APX, $799.99
  • 15" 1.83 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, 90 day warranty, $899.99
  • 15" 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD 90 day warranty, $979.99
  • 15" 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/100/SD 90 day warranty, $1,099.99
  • 15" 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro, 1 GB/100/SD, 90 day warranty, $1,179.99


  • 2.0 GHz MacBook, white, 2 GB/80/SD, $729
  • 2.0 GHz MacBook, black, 2 GB/80/SD, $779
  • 2.0 GHz MacBook, white, 2 GB/120/SD, $799
  • 2.0 GHz MacBook, black, 2 GB/120/SD, $799
  • 2.0 GHz MacBook, black, 2 GB/500/SD, $999
  • 2.0 GHz MacBook, black, 2 GB/320 (7200 rpm)/SD, $999
  • 1.83 GHz 15" MacBook Pro, 2 GB/80/SD, $899
  • 2.0 GHz 15" MacBook Pro, 2 GB/100/SD, $899
  • 2.0 GHz 15" MacBook Pro, 2 GB/80/SD, $979
  • 2.16 GHz 15" MacBook Pro, 2 GB/100/SD, $1,049

Baucom Computers

  • 15" hi-res PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, $715
  • 15" hi-res PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1.5 GB/100/SD, $805

PowerBook Guy

  • 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 512/30/Combo, $499.95
  • 12" iBook G4/1.33 GHz, 768/40/Combo, AP, AppleCare, $599.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, APX, $799.95

For deals on current and discontinued 'Books, see our 13" MacBook and MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro, 15" MacBook Pro, 17" MacBook Pro, 12" PowerBook G4, 15" PowerBook G4, 17" PowerBook G4, titanium PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerBook G3, and iBook G3 deals.

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