Mac News Review

End of 3.5" Floppy, Linux Ready to Take on OS X?, Moving Files from an Old Mac to OS X, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2010.04.30

MacBook, PowerBook, iBook, and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPad, iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iNews Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

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Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Sony Discontinuing 3.5" Floppy in Japan

Japan Headlines Examiner's Joshua Williams reports:

"Sony announced on April 23rd that they will be discontinuing sales of the classic 3.5 inch floppy disk in Japan in 2011. The news marks a major end to a nearly three decade history of the disk type that the company helped to pioneer.

"According to Sony, they introduced the 3.5 inch floppy disk size to the world in 1981, and began sales within Japan in 1983. Sony had shipped approximately 47 million disks within the country at its peak around the year 2000, but that number had fallen to around 8.5 million by 2009, Sankei News reported."

Editor's note: Apple was one of the first to adopt the 3.5" floppy, which was built into the first Macintosh (introduced in 1984, just a year after Sony began selling it). Apple was also the first to build a desktop computer with no space for a built-in floppy drive, the first iMac (introduced in 1998). dk

Steve Jobs Says 'Nope' to Mac App Store with Software Only Running with Apple Verification

9 to 5 Mac's Seth Weintraub reports:

"A Mac developer who was worried about Rixstep's warnings about OS X 10.7 having a Mac App Store and requiring applications being signed by Apple, wrote in to the big boss man himself for some clarification.

"As per usual, Jobs was short and sweet debunking that rumor."

WWDC Ignoring the Mac?

TUAW's Brett Terpstra says:

"As we noted (see press release below), the WWDC 2010 dates have been set, and the new pages have been posted. Several folks are noting with dismay, though, that the AppleDesign Awards appear to have completely forsaken desktop apps this year, instead only allowing submissions which are available on the App Store. This obviously would make the ADAs specific to iPod touch, iPhone and iPad apps, disallowing any of the magnificent software for the desktop that we've seen highlighted in years past."

Ubuntu Linux 10.04 'Lucid Lynx': OS X Doppelganger?

ServerWatch's Paul Rubens suggests that Apple is fading from relevance in the computing space as it focuses more and more on phones, Web tablets, and other consumer gadgets, contending that selling style over substance works only as long as you remain stylish - and in his opinion, Apple's hardware has become tired, boring, and predictable.

Rubens' thesis is if you're an old-style Apple fan (i.e.: a fan of "real" Macintosh computers, "not the new Apples R Us toys and games company"), there's a lifeline, because while Apple may not "get" it anymore, it seems Ubuntu does. During the past 12 months, Ubuntu Linux has evolved into something powerful, easy to use, and far more stylish than Snow Leopard, which he thinks is not really that surprising when you consider that Apple is far too busy with its iPhone OS to bother much with updating OS X.

Canonical has released Ubuntu 10.04 "Lucid Lynx" in both server and desktop editions, sporting a new look, new graphics card drivers, and other consumer-oriented innovations like the MeMenu panel for easy access to messaging and social networking services, the new Gwibber microblogging client, and an online music store.

Rubens says that Ubuntu is on the move, driven onward and upward by Canonical, as opposed to "slowly ossifying and sinking" like Mac OS X, arguing that innovative, forward-looking, stylish, and fun, Ubuntu is rapidly becoming everything OS X might've been had Apple not decided to turn its back on it and become fixated with iPhone OS.

How to Move Files from the Classic Mac OS to OS X

MacFixIt's Topher Kessler notes that you may have an old Mac lying around that you'd like to retrieve files from, but you find yourself thwarted by the older machine's lack of USB and/or FireWire ports, making the majority of today's data transfer devices - such as flash drives, CD/DVD drives, and external hard drives - unusable for the job.

However, Kessler notes that protocols for TCP-based networking have not changed enough to prevent connectivity with older machines, and the Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) in OS 8 and 9 should be able to connect with current computers in one way or another, so if you have an older Mac with ethernet, you should be able to connect and transfer your files.

Other suggestions for moving data include floppy disks or using a CD burner on the old Mac.

Worldwide Developers Conference Kicks Off June 7

PR: Apple on Wednesday announced that it will hold its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) June 7 through June 11 at San Francisco's Moscone West. The five-day conference includes the first ever iPad development sessions and hands-on working labs for iPhone OS 4, as well as Mac OS X core technology labs.

"This year's WWDC offers developers in-depth sessions and hands-on working labs to learn more about iPhone OS 4, the world's most advanced mobile operating system," said Scott Forstall, Apple's senior vice president of iPhone Software. "WWDC provides a unique opportunity for developers to work side-by-side with Apple engineers and interface designers to make their iPhone and iPad apps even better."

WWDC 2010 is focused on providing advanced content for skilled developers across five key technology tracks: Application Frameworks; Internet & Web; Graphics & Media; Developer Tools; and Core OS. Apple engineers will deliver over 100 solutions-oriented technical sessions and labs. WWDC 2010 gives an incredibly diverse community the opportunity to connect with thousands of fellow iPhone, iPad and Mac developers from around the world.

Sessions offered in support of the five technology tracks include:

  • Application Frameworks: Implementing Local and Push Notifications; Future Proofing Your App; Understanding Foundation; What's New in Foundation for iPhone OS 4; Advanced Cocoa Text Tips and Tricks; API Design for Cocoa and Cocoa Touch; Advanced Gesture Recognition; Integrating Ads with iAd; Building a Server-driven Personalized User Experience; Using Core Location in iPhone OS 4; and Calendar Integration with Event Kit.
  • Internet & Web: Delivering Audio and Video Using Web Standards; Getting the Most Out of Safari Integrated Developer Tools; Using HTML5 Local Data Storage; Adding Touch and Gesture Detection to Webpages on iPhone OS; and Creating Info Graphics with Standard Web Technologies.
  • Graphics & Media: OpenGL ES Tuning & Optimization; OpenGL ES Shading & Advanced Rendering; OpenGL ES Overview for iPhone OS; OpenGL for Mac OS X; Game Design and Development for iPhone OS; Introduction to Game Center; Setting Up Games on Game Center; Game Center Techniques; Core Animation in Practice; Discovering AV Foundation; Editing Media with AV Foundation; and Advances in HTTP Live Streaming.
  • Developer Tools: Developer Tools Overview; Designing Apps with Interface Builder; Working Effectively with Objective-C on iPhone OS; Mastering Core Data; Advanced Objective-C and Garbage Collection Techniques; Advanced Performance Analysis with Instruments; Mastering Xcode for iPhone Development; and Adopting Multitasking on iPhone OS.
  • Core OS: Network Apps for iPhone OS; Core OS Networking; Creating Secure Apps; Developing Apps that Work with iPhone OS Accessories; I/O Kit Device Drivers for Mac OS X; and Simplifying Networking Using Bonjour.

Additionally, there will be five iPad and five iPhone AppleDesign Award winners announced at WWDC 2010. There is no requirement to enter and winners will be selected from the App Store based on criteria that includes design, technical excellence, innovation, quality, technology adoption and performance.

Pirate Party of Canada Now an Officially Registered Federal Political Party

PR: The Pirate Party of Canada is now officially registered to run candidates in Canada's next federal election, avowedly on a platform of policies to fight copyright laws.

Pirate Party of CanadaCanada's chief electoral officer, Marc Mayrand, granted the Pirates eligible party status on April 12, officially joining 19 other registered parties after a 60-day "purgatory period," according to a statement on the Pirates website.

Modeled on Sweden's Pirate Party, that country's third-largest political party, which won a seat in last year's European Parliament elections, and established in 2009, the Pirate Party of Canada is committed to reform Canadian copyright laws, reform the patent system, reform copyright legislation, facilitate access to culture, and protect every Canadian's right to privacy, arguing that if we don't adjust copyright to today's realities, artists will continue to be limited in their creative expression as well as their ability to make ends meet, while consumers will face ever more excessive measures such as iPod searches by border guards.

The Pirate Party wants to adjust copyright law so that artists can better build on previous works and choose the distribution and licensing model that allows them to make a living, and also to help music artists educate themselves about earning money through other means than selling records, for example by performing live shows and selling fan articles and where feasible. The party pledges to evaluate the introduction of levies to further compensate artists, but in turn, wants to adjust copyright legislation to make private, noncommercial copying of content legal for consumers, which it contends will will promote artists and help spread culture farther than ever before.

As for patents, the Pirate Party notes that currently patent grants its owner a 20 year monopoly over the use of an invention. In the fast moving software industry, inventions however always build on previous work. Issuing patents on software therefore exposes all innovators to the risks of major lawsuits. This reduces innovation, meaning that your software will be harder to use and will not offer the features you need.

The party wants to ban patents on software to spur innovation and allow new startups to enter the market without the fear of being sued for building upon previous work. We also want to ban patents on life forms and plants since we find the notion of corporations owning the ingredients to life downright unethical.

The Pirate Party would also strengthen privacy protection, noting that almost all aspects of our daily lives are now affected by digitalization, and the possibilities to track, analyze and monitor us by looking at our digital traces grow with every passing day. For example, if privacy is not reclaimed and actively protected, your communication will be recorded and your movements tracked (your cellphone is an ideal tracking device already today) simply because it can be done without effort as technology becomes ever faster and cheaper.

The party would extend privacy laws to provide the same protections to all of our digital data that already exist today for non-digital items such as conventional mail. We also strive to ensure that government access to our data is only granted for specific, well-defined purposes and in criminal investigations where probable suspicion can be demonstrated.

Pledging to ensure Net neutrality, the party notes that in recent years, several Canadian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have started slowing down certain types of data sent to and received from the Internet by their private customers. These ISPs have stated that they pursue this practice in order to prevent overloading their networks which would negatively impact service for all customers. The issue however arises from the fact that there is little to no public evidence available which proves that this is actually the case and that ISPs are not simply degrading performance so that Internet services which compete with their own offerings are penalized. For example, a telephone company could reduce the quality of Skype calls over their DSL lines to prevent customers from using this competing service.

Products & Services

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Make sure you enter the coupon code MICSALE to get your 20% discount when you check out on MacSpeech's web site.*

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Visit the online MacSpeech store in Canada or the United States to check out our available microphones and find the perfect one for you. Remember, you need a top-quality microphone to get the absolute most from MacSpeech Dictate.

Daystar Offers Free Diagnostic Review of Your Computer Until May 31

PR: Is Your Computer Fast Enough? Whether Mac or PC, you have options.

Daystar's certified techs are rated the highest in the Southeast. That means you'll get accurate information with the best results. Bring your computer by for a free evaluation, or use Daystar's mail-in service.

  • Pro-Maintenance tunes up your system for $75.
  • Upgrading RAM can speed up and extend hard drive life.
  • Replace your old hard drive with a newer faster model.
  • Hidden Trojans and viruses can slow you down.

Are You Paying to Much for IT Support at Your Business?

Daystar is Mac Certified and also has expertise for Microsoft Networks.

It is rare to find a company with qualifications in both areas. Daystar can handle everything from iPhone integration to full Exchange server VPNs.

  • Economical server based plans available.
  • Full turnkey, monthly support plans for all IT needs.
  • For business owners, Daystar's "balanced" service contracts offer low monthly fixed expenses, with maximum security.

Thinking It's Time to Buy New? .. Trade Up!

Mac or PC, Daystar can provide a deal on your old, then migrate you to new! Call 770-614-5400 or email

  • Drop off or mail-in.
  • Daystar can even send a box for your old computer.

Daystar couponFree Diagnostic - Save $55

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Offer Expires: 5/31/2010

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Opera 10.52 Released for Mac

PR: Opera has released version 10.52 of their browser for the Mac.

Enhanced Mac user interface

Along with a unified toolbar, new Opera 10.52 now uses the Cocoa and Core Text frameworks for improved performance and a native Mac OS look and feel.

Multi-Touch trackpad gestures

On MacBooks with the Multi-Touch trackpad, you can pinch to zoom in and out, swipe two fingers to scroll, and swipe three fingers left and right to navigate backward and forward in browser history.

Growl notification support

Growl users can now get all of Opera's notifications from downloads, Opera Unite, Opera Mail and more.

Opera 10.52 is a recommended security and stability upgrade. Opera highly recommends all users to upgrade to this version to take advantage of these improvements.

Hands On

Unfortunately, being a longtime Opera browser fan, I quickly downloaded release version of 10.52 and clicked to start it - and all I got was an "Opera quit unexpectedly" dialog . When I click "Reopen", the process repeats itself.

I've tried restarting the MacBook, removing the Opera files from the Preferences folder, and doing a clean install, but with no success.

I've been running Opera 10.52 beta 2 since it was released, and when I reinstall and reopen that build, it works fine.

I also tried downloading a fresh copy of the installer and trying it on my old G4 Pismo PowerBook running OS X 10.4.10. It crashed on my first startup attempt, but it finally started. However, it was extremely unstable and locked up every time I attempted to access my Gmail account, making a Force Quit necessary. I reverted to Opera 10.10 on the Pismo, and everything is working normally again.

Third act: I tried downloading and installing Opera 10.53.8343 RC 1 on the MacBook, and alas the same behavior as with the 10.52 final manifested.

I'm stumped. I've notified Opera, and they say they're looking into it.

Evidently, I'm not alone:

Free Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac Beta Download's Mihai Andrici says:

"While Office 2010 for Windows has been tagged with a June 2010 release date, the Office for Mac OS X was named Office 2011 for Mac, with a release date set for this holiday season. Fortunately, if you want Office 2011 for Mac and want it now, you are now able to download the beta 2, a version that has been leaked online, along with the serial key you need.

"The beta 2 version of Office 2011 for Mac you can download, is the build and comes with one major visual UI improvement called Ribbon user interface, but also adds some features such as better integration into Office Web Apps.

"And come to think of it, these are the only major problems Microsoft Office has at the moment. In my opinion, yes, the Ribbon UI is an obvious improvement, but my guess is that the main feature/improvement in Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac (as well as the 2010 Windows version) is Microsoft's ambition to try and respond to Google Docs easiness of use when it comes to collaborating on a Word document, an Excel spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation over the Web.

"But you can check out more for yourself by downloading Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac Beta 2 version free. When asked for the serial key, enter: TDMC8-7GYKM-DXJFD-7PVCC-6GX4J."

WindowShade X 5.0.1 and Application Enhancer 2.6 Released

Unsanity Software finally has a Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard friendly version of WindowShade X out the door, but note that it's a paid update and only free for registered users who purchased after August 28, 2009.

PR: WindowShade X provides a useful way of organizing your work on Mac OS X. With this handy tool, you can assign the following actions to the minimize button and a double-click on the window title:

  • Minimize the window to the Dock, like always;
  • "Windowshade" the window into a tiny strip to quickly peek below or get it out of the way;
  • Minimize-In-Place the window so it becomes really small so you can move it out of the way yet still see what is going on;
  • Make the window transparent so you can continue working in it while seeing things under it;
  • Hide the application quickly;
  • Do nothing and ignore the action (sometimes it is quite useful as well).

These actions can be set on per-application basis so you can configure your workspace to be convenient for you - get more accomplished, and make it happen quicker.

Note: The WSX 5.x upgrade is not free. This release implements a new URU (Unsanity Registration Updater). If you bought WSX on or after August 28th, 2009, this upgrade is free. If you bought WSX before August 28th, 2009 and you have a previously valid serial number, you will be given a 33% coupon if you wish to update.

All of the serial number updating is done through URU. URU presents itself if needed when you open the WSX Preference Pane. It's all very straightforward.

* Note: WindowShade X v5.0 and newer are not compatible with Mac OS X 10.5.x. Download version 4.3 if you are running Mac OS X 10.5. Please note that version is unsupported. Your currently valid code will continue to work with older releases of WSX.

New in version 5.0.1 (released Apr 26, 2010)

  • Addressed a problem that caused EyeTV to deadlock on launch.

New in version 5.0 (released Apr 21, 2010):

  • All of this is done through URU. URU presents itself if needed when you open the WSX Preference Pane. It's all very straight forward and we hope you enjoy the action.
  • Now requires Mac OS X 10.6.x.
  • You may have to restart after installing WSX for the first time.
  • Updated to support Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard 10.6.x
  • Now supports only Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard 10.6.x
  • Adds support for 64-bit processes (x86_64 only, ppc64 is not supported)
  • Requires Rosetta. If Rosetta is not installed, Mac OS X 10.6.x will offer to install the 4 MB Rosetta package during the install of WSX.
  • Now uses CoreAnimation for MIP (Minimize in Place) windows. Yay, CoreAnimation!
  • Addressed a lot of problems (WSX was inactive) with various applications.
  • Addressed the issue that caused most of the kCGErrorIllegalArgument errors. If anyone continues to see it, tweet it with the application name, pretty please. TIA!
  • Should no longer give errors for "CPS" named functions.
  • Clang/LLVM's excellent static analyzer ( helped us to find and fix some bugs that would only show up during a red moon.

System Requirements:

  • Requires Mac OS X 10.6.x; Rosetta
  • Compatible with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.

Price: $15.

This release implements a new URU (Unsanity Registration Updater). If you bought WSX on or after August 28th, 2009, this upgrade is free. If you bought WSX before August 28th, 2009 and you have a previously valid serial number, you will be given a 33% coupon if you wish to update. Your currently valid code will continue to work with older releases of WSX.

You can download the previous version of WSX from (WSX 4.3 does not work with Mac OS X 10.6.)

For more information, visit:

Unsanity Application Enhancer Version 2.6 Released Apr 21, 2010

Requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or Mac OS X 10.6.x - Compatible with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.

Application Enhancer (APE) is a system used in our and third-party products that helps them to enhance and redefine various applications behavior running on your system.

What exactly is Application Enhancer? It is a combination of a Framework and a system daemon. Application Enhancer performs its task by loading plugins (Application Enhancer modules) containing executable code into the running applications. Once loaded, the APE module performs the needed modifications (such as redefining the minimize window action, or customizing the standard Apple menu) on the launched application memory space, never touching any files on disk, utilizing set of functions defined in the Application Enhancer framework. To help the APE modules to be loaded into newly launched applications, the Application Enhancer daemon (aped) is used.

Why? First of all, to reuse code. This helps us and other developers to save time, disk space and network bandwidth by including a set of commonly used methods in one place, which can be easily upgraded. Second, to preserve compatibility - every now and then a need for one or another product with the functionality Application Enhancer provides arises. To avoid the unnecessary clutter on your system (various approaches to do the same thing all running at the same time incur potential problems) there is now Application Enhancer along with the Software Development Kit available for any developers interested in the technology at reasonable price, or completely free, depending on the type of the project. Third - to allow the APE modules to initialize before the application launched is actually started executing its code, allowing the Application Enhancer module to do the proper setup.

Can Application Enhancer or its modules crash your system? Application Enhancer itself is not known to have ever caused a crash itself. However, APE modules potentially can crash individual applications if there is a bug in the module or in the application being modified (sometimes APE modules expose "hidden" bugs in the applications). However, there is a number of technologies incorporated into our products that attempt to make sure your applications are safe: Haxie CrashGuard makes sure the application is not modified if it has recently crashed; APE Check makes sure no damaged APE modules are loaded; also, all of our products go through a tedious beta testing process to make sure it runs as expected. However, even if an individual application crashes, this cannot bring down the whole system due to the fact it has the protected memory and the Application Enhancer operates in user memory space, which means it cannot affect the system itself or processes belonging to other users (in this regard, Kernel Extensions (kext) are much more dangerous as they operate on the lowest possible level and have access to all memory and processes; because of that, Kernel Extensions can cause "kernel panics", while Application Enhancer cannot, as they don't have access to the kernel memory space). If you suspect Application Enhancer or its modules cause crashes, you can always temporary disable the Application Enhancer system using the preference pane. If the crashes persist, then likely it is not caused by Application Enhancer. If not, please contact us at and we will investigate the problem as soon as possible.

Does Application Enhancer slow down the system? Due to the fact that more code has to be loaded at the application launch time, Application Enhancer can increase the application launch time (usually in the range of 40-60 ms per Application Enhancer module loaded on a modern Mac). Once loaded, most Application Enhancer modules stay latent and will not hog your processor. We are constantly working on improving the situation, so please make sure you always run the latest versions of our products.

The technology behind Application Enhancer system has been in research and development for more than 4 years now, and many of our products are using it.


  • Provides capabilities to use Application Enhancer modules.
  • Completely free of charge*.
  • Application Enhancer system is completely free for you - we believe we are opening a whole lot of possibilities for other developers to enhance Mac OS X further, so we're not charging you, the end user, for all the exciting things Application Enhancer allows developers to do. While the Application Enhancer system is free, individual modules may not be, depending on module developer's decision.

Drive Genius 3 Now Available

PR: Drive Genius 3 is now available.

New Features:

  • DrivePulse: Monitors the overall health of your drive, alerting you to possible issues before they become major problems.
  • 64-bit: Runs as a 64-bit application on Mac OS X 10.6 or later with a compatible 64-bit processor.
  • Enhanced Defrag: Provides even better defragmentation of your files and even more fragmentation information in a new user interface.
  • Scan: Realtime bad-block scanning and an extended block verification test that stress tests the read/write validity.
  • Email Notifications: Notifications can be sent to your email when long-running tasks complete and you are away from your computer.
  • RAID Support: Support for hardware RAID and Apple's software RAID.

Drive Genius 3 from Prosoft is the ultimate Mac maintenance tool

More power! More speed! More options!

$49 upgrade for Drive Genius 1 and 2 owners only.

FileMaker Launches Bento 3 Family Organizer Kit

Bento 3 Family OrganizerPR: FileMaker, Inc. has announced the Bento 3 Family Organizer, a fast, free, and easy way for families to get organized using their Mac, an iPhone, or new iPad. It includes a free 30-day trial of Bento 3, the latest version of the personal database that's as easy to use as your Mac, plus beautifully designed templates that organize bills, meal planning, shopping lists, chores, and weekly routines - all within Bento.

For families who worry over whether they have missed a bill or are frustrated because they constantly recreate shopping lists, meal plans, chore charts, and weekly family events, the Bento 3 Family Organizer is the answer.

Meal Planner"Organizing a household is challenging for all of us. From paying bills to shopping, planning meals and other responsibilities, it's a major job," said Ryan Rosenberg, vice president of marketing and services for FileMaker, Inc. "The Family Organizer, together with Bento 3, helps make the task of organizing a busy family much easier."

The Bento 3 Family Organizer is designed to work with Bento 3, which has received numerous media accolades including an Editor's Pick award from Macworld. Bento 3 adds useful new features such as Grid View, integration with iPhoto, sharing data with others on a local network and securing data with 128-bit AES encryption. The Bento 3 Family Organizer also works with Bento for iPhone and the new Bento for iPad, so customers can organize their bills, shopping lists and other family management activities on an iPhone or iPad and then synchronize the information with their Mac.

The Bento 3 Family Organizer includes a free, 30-day trial of Bento 3 and 5 predesigned, ready-to-use templates:Chore Chart

  • Bills - track your bills, due dates, payment dates, and more.
  • Weekly Routine - see each person's weekly routine all on one-screen.
  • Chore Chart - print a list of each person's chores for easy viewing.
  • Meal Planner - store meal ideas, ingredients needed, and more.
  • Shopping List - keep track of what you need and where to buy it.

FileMaker also provides the Bento Template Exchange, offering hundreds of additional ways to use Bento. The Bento Template Exchange is a Bento community site that showcases real-world uses and offers Bento templates that users can browse, download and import into Bento 3 and use on a Mac, iPhone or iPad. Today, Bento users have created and shared over 600 templates on the Bento Template Exchange.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.5.7 and later Leopard or Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

Price: $49 ($99 Family Pack)

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