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Is Microsoft Blocking Kaby Lake And Ryzen From Users?

March 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Software king of the world Microsoft is locking down system updates for those using AMD’s Ryzen and Intel’s Kaby Lake processors on Windows 7 and 8.1.

Users are now starting to encounter the following error message: “Your PC uses a processor that isn’t supported on this version of Windows.”

This message appears when a user attempts to update their OS and a quick look at Microsoft’s support page reveals upgrading to Windows 10 is the only way to fix the problem.

Microsoft’s support page on the matter says that Windows 10 is the ‘only’ OS to support these updated hardware configurations. You will need Windows 10 if running Kaby Lake or newer, AMD’s Bristol Ridge or newer (this includes Ryzen), or the Qualcomm 8996 and want to receive important updates to remain secure.

Those who own these chips should not be surprised, and indeed those who spend money on getting the latest chips should probably not be using Windows 7 or 8 anyway. AMD warned that this would be happening in February.

At the time, it said it would not be releasing drivers for Ryzen running on Windows 7. Intel hinted that something similar would happen for Kaby Lake support last year.

The question really is one of ethics. Windows 8.1 won’t hit its end of life until next year, Vole is switching off its support early for new chips.

Courtesy-Fud

Trello Updated To Integrate With BitBucket, Jira, HipChat And Confluence

March 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Trello will be linked into the entire Atlassian ecosystem with a series of integrations announced this week. The new “power-ups” for the project management software connect it with BitBucket, Jira, HipChat and Confluence, to help customers get their work done more efficiently.

Using Trello is intended to help users keep their projects organized. The service lets people lay out virtual cards in columns on a workspace known as a board. Doing so can help with things like tracking the status of software bugs or tracking contracts through different stages of completion.

Each of the connections announced Wednesday is supposed to help with the process of using Trello. Confluence users can now tie cards to new pages in Atlassian’s content management system, Jira users can connect issues from the bug tracker with cards and BitBucket users can better organize their code.

The integrations come two months after Atlassian announced that it would be acquiring Trello. They show a glimpse of a future where the project management software is increasingly tied into the other products that Atlassian owns.

Customers were asking for the integrations as soon as Atlassian’s acquisition of Trello was announced, according to Hamid Palo, the director of product and partnerships at Trello. Overall, the goal behind them is to minimize how much users have to switch between different services, in order to save time.

The acquisition and power-ups don’t mean that competing services will be boxed out of connecting with the work tracking software, Palo said.

“We’re going to continue making Trello awesome, we’re going to integrate with all of the tools that people use with Trello, and that is not going to change,” he said.

All of the integrations announced on Wednesday are available immediately, for no extra cost.

Was Intel’s Purchase Of MobileEye A Good Move?

March 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Technology

Intel has just written a $13.5 billion cheque buying its Jerusalem-based partner MobilEye.

MobilEye is one of the largest players in autonomous vehicle tech and hit the headlines recently when it had a spat with Tesla following a fatal Model S crash in Florida. However, it recently teamed with Intel on BMW’s iNext self-driving platform, which the automaker aims to put into service by 2021.

Intel and MobileEye’s cunning plan is to build a “scalable architecture” that can be used by any automaker, especially if they don’t want to build their own tech from scratch.

It could become a huge money maker for both Intel and MobilEye, which may help explain the huge acquisition price. The deal is one of the largest acquisitions of an Israeli-based tech company ever.

Compared to PC hardware autonomous cars, are one of the sexist things in tech, with virtually every automaker, tech company and even peripheral firms like Uber and Lyft working on (and fighting about) something.

Intel’s acquisition of Mobileye was officially confirmed this morning, and it will mark a huge investment in self-driving cars for the chip company. Intel previously said it will spend $250 million over the next two years toward the development of autonomous vehicles, but a $15 billion deal is far more significant.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said the acquisition of Mobileye brings together the assets of Intel’s Xeon processors, FPGAs, 3D XPoint memory, and 5G modems with the world leader in automotive computer vision.

“This acquisition essentially merges the intelligent eyes of the autonomous car with the intelligent brain that actually drives the car.”

Intel’s interest in Mobileye could help it against competitors like Nvidia and Qualcomm. Both chip makers have been investing in vehicles, and Intel appears to be paying a premium to catch up and push forward with its autonomous vehicle plans.

Courtesy-Fud

Samsung Reveals More Details About Personal Digital Assistant ‘Bixby’

March 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Samsung has revealed that Bixby, an intelligent voice assistant, will run on the Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone scheduled to be announced March 29 in New York.

Bixby will be activated using a special physical button on the side of the phone, differentiating it from some other assistants that rely on a trigger word, like “Alexa” or “Siri.” Samsung also said Bixby will eventually work on millions of Samsung-made devices, potentially including TVs and washing machines.

The S8 will come with a subset of preinstalled apps that are Bixby-enabled, according to Injong Rhee, executive vice president of software and services for Samsung Electronics. Over time, this set of apps will expand; Samsung will release a software toolkit to allow third-party developers to Bixby enable their apps and services.

“Bixby will be our first step on a journey to completely open up new ways of interacting with your phone,” Rhee said.

Gartner analyst Werner Goertz said Bixby is a late-comer to the digital assistant game, arriving two years after Amazon’s Alexa and behind Google Assistant, which already have rich databases of voice inquiries and searches to add context to queries.

Alexa is well known for working with Echo room units. However, just last week, Amazon announced that Alexa works in its Amazon app on iOS devices.

Bixby is going to be playing catch up,” Goertz said. “Samsung faces a complete greenfield with its knowledge base.”

Even Alexa is in its “very early stages” in terms of how well a user can get an answer to a complicated question. “Everybody has a good time trying to trick these digital assistants, but if you bring in Bixby it’s going to be even easier to trip up Bixby.”

The functions of converting speech to text with digital assistants “works relatively well unless you trip it up with accents and background noise,” he said. The more critical issue is the knowledge base needed to find accurate information.

Still, Samsung argued that Bixby will offer a “deeper experience.” The company said that the feature in a Bixby-enabled app will support almost every task the app is capable of performing, including touch commands. By comparison, most agents currently only support a few selected tasks, which can confuse users about what works by voice command in an app.

Samsung also said Bixby will know the current context and state of an app to allow users to carry out work in progress. Users will be able to weave touch with voice interactions, depending on what they like.

And Bixby will also be smart enough to understand commands with incomplete information to the best of its knowledge, then ask for more information. “This makes the interface much more natural and easier to use,” Rhee added.

Even though Samsung is getting a late start with Bixby, Goertz said it stands to gain traction quickly, partly because Samsung is so large.

 

 

Chrome Making Updates To Make Tabs More Power Efficient

March 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Google’s latest upgrade to the Chrome browser spearheads what will be a series of changes over the next few years to reduce the browser’s power consumption by limiting activity in background tabs.

“Starting in version 57, Chrome will throttle individual background tabs by limiting the timer fire rate for background tabs using excessive power,” Alexander Timin, a software engineer on the Chrome team, said in a Tuesday post to a company blog.

Chrome 57 debuted on Thursday, March 9. Some users, however, may not have yet received the upgrade.

Throttling background tabs isn’t new: All browsers do it to some extent, primarily by instructing them to check for a refresh to the pertinent page or app just once each second rather than more-or-less continuously.

With Chrome 57, Google got even more aggressive. According to Timin, the browser will further delay those timers to limit the average processor load to just 1% of a single-core CPU. Tabs that play audio — such as one aimed at spotify.com — and those that must maintain real-time connections, including those for video conferencing, will not be affected.

Timin claimed that the new throttling generated “25% fewer busy background tabs,” although he did not express that in a battery-savings format that, if not more precise, would be clearer to users.

Google has also outlined a longer-term program whose goal is to “suspend background tabs completely.” By the end of June, for example, the Mountain View, Calif. company wants to suspend all tasks in mobile Chrome’s background tabs; at some point next year, desktop Chrome should by default fully pause a background tab after N minutes, but still give web developers the option to keep their apps active when they’re not the front-most tab.

Although browsers once fought it out on speed, as performance equalized makers looked for other ways to trumpet their wares. Power usage, because of notebooks and smartphones as primary surfing tools, became a more important metric. Increasingly, browser developers have expended resources on reducing power consumption, applying tricks ranging from putting background tabs into cryosleep to barring Adobe’s Flash Player from running without explicit approval.

Microsoft, for instance, has been insistent that Edge, the native browser in Windows 10, is more power efficient than Chrome or Mozilla’s Firefox. After one such boast last year, Google shot back with counter claim.

 

Does Spreadtrum’s Chip Really Have Intel Inside?

March 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

China-based mobile chip vendor Spreadtrum has announced a new chip dubbed the SC9861G-IA, targeted at the “global mid-level and premium smartphone market”.

The chip is based around Intel’s Atom-based Airmont processor cores and it was made by Chipzilla using its 14-nanometer chip manufacturing technology.

Spreadtrum said the chip will go into mass production in the second quarter of 2017 which means we should see it in the shops in the second half of 2017.

One thing should be noted is that Intel is not involved in the branding at all. Spreadtrum is pitching it as being made by the Intel Custom Foundry (ICF) but other than that its name is off it.

Spreadtrum claims the Airmont CPU core inside the SC9861G-IA runs at 2GHz and it is unlikely to beat the Snapdragon 652 in per-core performance. Running on x86 make it less useful as a rival to ARM based chips. Intel’s mobile chips were not as bad as was claimed by the armies of Android fans, but it was not as robust, which is one of the reasons we suspect Intel pulled the plug on it.

There can be only one reason why a smartphone maker would opt for this chip and that is that it is considerably cheaper than the rivals.

Courtesy-Fud

Los Angeles Testing Gun Shot Sensors Attached To Street Lights

March 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Los Angeles has installed sensors attached to streetlights to wirelessly detect gunshots and other noises, and may expand the service to include sensors to recognize air pollution and earthquakes.

Dozens of cities globally, including New York, began monitoring gunshot sounds with sophisticated rooftop sensor technology that measured two to three feet in length more than a year ago. However, newer sensors to detect gunshot sounds that are being tested by L.A. are smaller, about 1.5 inches in diameter, and can be placed farther apart, on a light pole every 10 blocks, according to Ed Ebrahimian, director of the city’s bureau of street lighting.

These gunshot detection sensors are being tested on some of the 25,000 poles that already have wireless controllers installed for turning city streetlights on and off remotely and for monitoring, he said. “Now we’re taking the next step with gunshot detection sensors and working closely with Philips,” the manufacturer, he said.

“We can easily connect [the gunshot information] with 911 and instantly detect gunshots in high crime areas,” Ebrahimian said. “With 911, we can send police cars to a location in minutes. If we can send a car five minutes earlier and save someone’s life, we’ve done our job.”

The light pole controllers can also be equipped with inexpensive sensors for general noise levels and have been tested successfully next to an elementary school where peaks in noise were detected when school children were outside. Sensors to detect earthquake tremors, pollution and moisture are also under consideration, Ebrahimian said.

“Our first phase is to have sensors without cameras, but really the sky’s the limit” on what can be detected, he said.

L.A. police already use cameras in high crime areas, but that information is handled on a separate network infrastructure from the city’s streetlight network, he said.

 

Is Intel Right About Processors?

March 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Intel thinks that users don’t give a monkey’s what process their chip has and will be more interested in its performance, according to a man with long job title.

President of Intel’s Client and Internet of Things businesses and Systems Architecture Group, Venkata Renduchintala, thinks that rather than tying chip upgrades directly to the manufacturing process involved, Intel will look at delivering a sustained set of performance upgrades with each new chip architecture.

“We’re going to be focused more on the generation by the amount of performance increment it will give us. I don’t think generations will be tagged to node transitions,” he said.

He claimed that the performance benefits will matter more, and the process technology that lives underneath is going to be less conspicuous.

“We can translate that into more predictable cadence of product, which delivers meaningful performance to stimulate PC upgrades,” Renduchintala said.

In the good old days, Intel used to deliver two generations of PC chips with each manufacturing process node,

But Intel has made three generations of chips including Broadwell, Skylake, and Kaby Lake, on the 14-nanometer process. The company recently revealed that the 8th Generation Core processors will also be made on the 14-nm node. This was a little weird as Intel’s next-generation 10-nm process, dubbed Cannonlake, is supposed to be ready.

Now it seems that the company hasn’t yet decided how it’ll brand or market the Cannonlake chips due later this year.

“If Cannonlake comes out at the end of the year, it’ll be interesting what we actually market it as. We haven’t decided it yet,” Renduchintala said.

Of course a cynic might say that Intel can’t keep up and it is therefore hoping to God no one notices.

Courtesy-Fud

Will Intel Release The XMM 7480 This Year?

March 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

In the light of recent legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm, this could spark a rumor that Apple is preparing to use the modem in the 2017 iPhone that someone calls iPhone 8 or 7s. 

The Intel XMM 7480 supports LTE advanced 3GPP Release 12 with LTE FDD/TDD support for speeds up to 450 Mbps download and 150 Mbps upload. Intel is supporting more than 33 LTE bands simultaneously as well as multi SIM configurations.

Chipzilla says it is using 450 Mbps at its official PDF and website and at the same time it claims that it supports four CA Carrier aggregation channels. Something doesn’t add up as the Snapdragon X12 modem inside of Snapdragon 820 phones supports Cat 12 LTE and 600 Mbps speeds using four 4 CA channels.

IIt seems that the new 7480 is using the QAM 256 for download and QAM 64 modulation for upload. With Qualcomm announcing that the Gigabit LTE modem is inside of Snapdragon 835 and that it has the Snapdragon X12 modem shipping for a while with Gigabit LTE speeds for more than a year means that Intel is late to game.

Samsung has just announced that Exynos 8895 SoC also supports Gigabit LTE and Intel shared at the Mobile World Congress that 7560 will support Gigabit LTE and CDMA but that won’t come before next year.

Our colleagues from Cellularinsights gave you a good idea what happens when you buy a phone with Intel modem inside and if you haven’t read it, we encourage you to do.

Apple strong-armed its modem to all of the European and some important telcos markets such as AT&T and T-Mobile in the USA. Customers using Verizon, China Telekom or Japanese customers are still having a much better life with their iPhone 7 powered with a Qualcomm modem that is according to Cellularinsights and our own testing, clearly superior.

Apple cares only about profits and increase of the stock value and it will run over its customers just like it did so many times in the last few decades. It doesn’t give you any choice and even if you are using superior modem, Apple will throttle and limit the speeds and features using its infamous common denominator strategy. To clarify if you have two modems in two versions of iPhone and one has 600 Mbps capable modem and 4×4 and other has 450 Mbps and doesn’t have 4×4, the common denominator is a 450 Mbps modem for both models with 4×4 missing.

Intel is doing great job catching up in modem business but from where we are they looks two generations behind both Qualcomm and Samsung. The Qualcomm X20 modem supports 1.2 Gbps speeds while Samsung 8895 is about to get to Gigabit LTE speeds and is expected to ship in Galaxy S8 in April. 

Apple fans willl still get excited that their phones might end up stuck with 450 Mbps / maybe 600 Mbps speeds  when T-Mobile USA promises to launch 1000 Mbps aka Gigabit LTE before the end of the year. Good job Apple. Thanks for slowing the industry down.  

Courtesy-Fud

Google Drive Gets Update, Allows Users To Stream From The Cloud

March 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Google Drive users will be able to view all the files they have stored in the company’s cloud service on their desktop without downloading them, thanks to a new feature the company has announced.

The Drive File Stream offering will — as the name implies — show placeholder files on a user’s desktop, then download them only when a user needs to look at them. It’s similar to Dropbox’s Smart Sync feature, which recently entered beta.

Google also made a pair of its key enterprise-focused Drive features generally available last Thursday. Team Drives is a feature that lets administrators create shared folders for groups inside their organizations. Vault for Drive lets companies manage data retention and legal hold policies for content stored in the service.

To help enterprises move to Drive, Google acquired AppBridge , a partner that has helped enterprises migrate to the service. The company offers migration services from sources like SharePoint, Exchange and on-premises file storage.

These moves are aimed at making Google Drive more appealing to customers who might consider another competing enterprise file sync and share service like Dropbox or Microsoft’s OneDrive for Business.

Team Drives are important for enterprises, since they give administrators the ability to create shared storage spaces for groups without having one particular user own that space or the files shared within it. That way, if someone on the team leaves, all of their contributions stay with the other people who need them.

The news is part of the company’s suite of project announcements at its Google Cloud Next conference in San Francisco. Google also announced major changes to its Hangouts services and cloud price cuts.

FCC Says It Will Investigate AT&T Mobile’s 911 Call Issue

March 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

AT&T’s mobile subscribers in some states were not able to place 911 emergency calls late Wednesday, leading to complaints from police departments and emergency agencies in various parts of the country.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai wrote on Twitter that his agency was receiving reports of widespread AT&T 911 call outages and its public safety staff was investigating.

Pai tweeted about an hour later that AT&T had reported to him that 911 service was restored. “The @FCC will investigate the root cause of the outage and its impact,” he added.

AT&T tweeted that an issue that affected some calls to 911 from wireless customers had been resolved.

Mobile users in at least 14 states and Washington, D.C., were unable to call 911 for a few hours on Wednesday night, The New York Times reported.

The FCC has previously fined service providers for outages. In July 2015, the agency reached a $17.5 million settlement with T-Mobile USA, resolving an investigation into two separate but related 911 service outages that occurred on the company’s national network in 2014 and together lasted nearly three hours.

The outage on Wednesday will likely give momentum to plans to upgrade the current 911 system to a next generation system that would allow people to send text, images and video when reporting an emergency.

The National Emergency Number Association said Wednesday that the outage highlights the immediate need to transition 911 centers in the U.S. to the next-generation NG9-1-1 technology that can “intelligently route around outages, redirect calls to other regions, or use backup facilities in ways that legacy E9-1-1 systems cannot.”

U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson, a Democrat from Florida, and Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, have released draft legislation to quicken the national transition to next generation 911 systems that will take advantage of new broadband and voice technologies.

Are Analyst Right About The Nintendo Switch?

March 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

The games industry’s leading analysts have highlighted just how difficult it is to predict how well Nintendo Switch will perform.

IHS, SuperData, DFC and Niko Partners’ predictions range from 4.4m to 10m shipped by the end of 2017.

DFC thinks Nintendo Switch will sell 8.3m units in its first year, as detailed back in January, to eventually hit an install base of 40m.

IHS estimate a rather weak first year for Switch at just 4,4m, reaching 10m by year two and 30m by the end of the lifecycle – which is a slower start than Wii U but a stronger finish.

SuperData, as revealed yesterday, have concerns over the Switch’s price and software line-up and pencil year one as hitting just 5m units – which is slightly better than Wii U.

Finally, Niko Partners’ Daniel Ahmad thinks the machine could ship 10m this year, although how it does beyond that he’s not sure. That’s stronger than most Nintendo launches, but behind that of Wii and PS4.

Much like previous consoles from the company, Nintendo is targeting an altogether different market to PS4 and Xbox One, and even a slightly different one to its previous machines – which makes estimating its potential difficult.

There are legitimate concerns about the price – if not of the console itself, then the accessories and games. Although it’s possible Nintendo will address this if consumer uptake is sluggish, as it has done in the past with 3DS and GameCube.

There are also concerns about the relatively soft launch line-up and the rather sparse schedule throughout the year – although it’s important to note major first-party IP including Zelda, Mario Kart, Mario and Splatoon are all scheduled to launch his year. It’s also likely Nintendo is holding off many game announcements for E3 in June.

As we’ve observed twice now, it appears Nintendo is taking a softer approach to the launch of Switch than previous machines, although early retail reports is that the product is selling out in many locations.

We won’t get an accurate picture of the Switch’s potential for little while now. In the words of our very own Rob Fahey: “As with any risky new venture, keeping an open mind until the picture is clearer is going to serve any observer of the industry well.”

Courtesy-GI.biz

Microsoft To Introduce ‘Teams’ Slack Competitor On March 14th

March 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Microsoft’s debut into the workplace chat app market will become  available in about a week. The company announced  on Tuesday it will mark the occasion with a webcast to discuss what’s new since the service was announced last year.

The Teams product is Microsoft’s answer to group chat apps like Slack and HipChat. The service provides Office 365 customers with shared workspaces they can use to discuss work with one another. It connects with Office 365 to let users collaborate on notes, documents, spreadsheets and more while discussing work in the same place.

Teams’ marquee features at the time of launch were its support for threaded conversations and rich third-party integrations that let companies bring the functionality of their services into Microsoft’s chat app. Teams has been in public beta since early November, but general availability is expected to bring new functionality to the service.

A Spiceworks survey released earlier this year showed that Teams drew the most interest from IT pros looking to deploy a group chat app in the future. One of the key advantages Microsoft has over its competition is that Teams will be included in Office 365, meaning that customers won’t have to pay an extra fee for group chat.

What remains to be seen is how Teams will fare in the market after launch. It’s missing features compared to Slack and other competitors, but it’s in the early days for Microsoft’s group chat app.

Mozilla’s Firefox Rolls Out Version 52, Bans Nearly All Plug-ins

March 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Mozilla has officially updated Firefox to version 52, which warns users when they put passwords into non-encrypted websites, bars all plug-ins other than Adobe’s Flash Player and adds support for an under-consideration technology standard that claims to run web apps at nearly the same speed as native code.

Firefox 52 also patched 28 security vulnerabilities, a half dozen of them tagged with the “Critical” label. On another security front, the browser now pops up a warning message when users start to type in a password into a page not secured — and encrypted — with HTTPS.

The just-instituted plug-in prohibition applied to NPAPI plug-ins, (Netscape Plug-in Application Programming Interface) a format from the 1990s and Netscape, the browser Microsoft buried in its antitrust-triggering battle over the browser market. NPAPI has now been banned from most browsers; Apple’s Safari is the largest exception.

But Mozilla trumpeted Firefox 52’s support for WebAssembly the loudest.

In a pair of posts — one to a company blog, another to Medium.com, Mozilla executives touted Firefox as the first to support WebAssembly; that wasn’t much of a surprise, since the potential standard stemmed from a Mozilla research project.

“WebAssembly is one of the biggest advances to the Web Platform over the past decade,” contended David Bryant, who leads the company’s platform engineering team.

According to Bryant, WebAssembly will let developers create CPU-intensive apps — such as games, 3D renderers, video editors — that run in near-native speed without relying on plug-ins. Bryant envisioned WebAssembly (which also goes by “wasm”) as leading to both revamped current web apps and new categories that have been stymied by performance issues.

Bryant also called WebAssembly a “game changer.”

Apple (WebKit, the foundation of Safari), Google (Chrome) and Microsoft (Edge) have also signed on to WebAssembly. Google has said it will enable WebAssembly support in Chrome 57, currently slated to ship March 14.

Firefox 52 can be downloaded for Windows, macOS and Linux from Mozilla’s website. Current Firefox users may trigger an update by selecting ‘About Firefox” from the Firefox menu.

Avaya Selling Network Business To Extreme

March 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Avaya has secured a buyer for its networking business. Extreme Networks will acquire the division for about $100 million as part of Avaya’s bankruptcy process.

The venerable enterprise voice, collaboration and networking company filed for bankruptcy in January and said it would shift its focus from hardware to software and services.

Extreme, based in San Jose, makes wired and wireless enterprise network products, including an SDN (software-defined networking) controller based on the OpenDaylight platform. Last September, it acquired the Zebra Technologies wireless LAN business for $55 million to flesh out its own Wi-Fi division.

Avaya has been around since 2000, when it was spun off from Lucent Technologies as a supplier of enterprise phone gear, call-center systems and network equipment. It was taken private in 2007.

The rise of smartphones and cloud-based communication squeezed the collaboration business, and enterprise networking has become a tight market. When it sought bankruptcy protection, Avaya said it would hold on to its call-center business but sell off other, unnamed assets.

The deal with Extreme has to be approved by the court overseeing Avaya’s bankruptcy and go through other reviews. It’s expected to close in three to four months.

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