Interesting laptop news articles

Discussion in 'Technical Corner' started by denverpilot, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Apple floundering, Silicon Valley insider does a fairly accurate analysis of where the company is currently...

    https://chuqui.com/2017/01/apples-2016-in-review/

    And HP in the meantime announces some very nice hardware at CES...

    http://www.theverge.com/ces/2017/1/...-laptop-2017-announced-price-release-date-ces

    The HP article doesn't even cover all the stuff they announced, but that laptop looks pretty solid for a LOT less money than the MacBook Pro line.

    Just sharing with all the techno-geeks here...
     
  2. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    For me, the author summed it up in this paragraph:

    About a year ago, I was this close -->| |<-- to buying a Mac. But the intentional lockdown to prevent user upgrades turned me off. You basically have to buy the most powerful machine you think you'll ever need because there's no way to upgrade it once you buy it.

    I mean, seriously, they solder the RAM in. Is that really necessary? What possible advantage is non-upgradability to a user unless that user is an idiot who is clueless about technology, who wouldn't seem to me to be the sort who would buy a Mac Pro in the first place?

    The fact that the nearest place I could get a Mac fixed was a long trip into another state was kind of a turn-off, too, especially when you consider that they may not be able to fix it same-day. That means either renting a hotel or making four long drives to pay someone else to do something that I'm perfectly capable of doing myself on a PC, such as replacing a power supply or upgrading a hard drive. Why? When did it become good marketing strategy to annoy and inconvenience your customers, especially when your customers are a niche market to begin with?

    One of the reasons Dell became so successful back in the day was that their machines were designed to be easy to work on. Even ordindary users who had never seen the inside of a computer before could swap out a hard drive or upgrade their RAM with the help of "Bobby" from Bangalore, who was only a phone call away. Hell, they didn't even need a screwdriver once Dell introduced "tool-free" cases.

    Macs, on the other hand, are designed to be impossible to work on. It make no sense to me.

    Rich
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017
  3. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    iTunes sucks as well.
     
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  4. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Yeah big time. But it's sucked for a decade so we're all kinda used to it like frogs slowly boiled.
     
  5. flhrci

    flhrci En-Route

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    Interesting comparison. :D
     
  6. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Gosh, I'd not heard from Chuqui in a decade. You have to realize he's reviewing it from a geek's not a businessman's viewpoint.
     
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  7. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Geeks buy stuff. But yes. He's definitely a valley geek insider.

    Saw where Cook missed so hard on numbers the entire exec staff is missing bonuses for Christmas, and also saw Apple's desktop market share numbers went down more than any other brand in 2016.

    I suspect he's about one more miss from being tossed.
     
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  8. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    When you consider that neither Win8 nor Win10 are especially popular Windows releases among long-time and business desktop users -- Win8 because of the GUI and Win10 because of the GUI and the spyware -- the fact that Apple is losing desktop market share is even more significant.

    I was shopping for a replacement machine for my parents last week. Their ancient e-Machines desktop succumbed to a power surge along with the UPS the computer was plugged into and the DirectTV box in the bedroom. It must have been a hell of a surge to take out the UPS. But I digress.

    I looked at all manner of replacements and noticed two things that were rather surprising to me. One was that many manufacturers are still making Win7 Pro machines. It's almost as easy to get a Win7 machine as a Win10 machine from real computer stores like Micro Center. That doesn't say much about Win10's popularity.

    The other thing I noticed was that the Macs I looked at did not have touch screens, and apparently never will, according to my admittedly superficial research. Apparently Apple doesn't think making a desktop look and work like a phone makes any sense, which is something I agree with. In fact, their more-conventional desktop GUI was one of the reasons I looked at Macs for my own use a year ago. I detest tiled GUIs on non-touch machines.

    But there are people who do like touch screens and tiled GUIs; so I was very surprised that Mac hadn't come out with a touch-equipped machine with a touch-friendly GUI as an optional interface for users who would like that functionality. By not offering touch as an option, they're as guilty as Microsoft of ignoring their users' preferences: Microsoft forces users into a tiled GUI that only makes sense for touch even if the user doesn't have or want a touch screen; and Apple won't let their customers have a touch screen and a touch-friendly GUI even if they do want them.

    The thing is that on Windows, you can install Classic Shell or some other GUI add-on to sort of get around Microsoft's compulsory tiled interface and make the computer feel more or less like a conventional Windows machine. There's no equivalent that I know of that will make a Mac touch-friendly. I don't even know if Mac desktops can support touch-screen monitors. (Obviously their laptops won't.)

    Personally, I detest touch screen desktops, along with the tiled interface needed to make them useful. I just don't get the point. Why reach out three feet in front of me to do what I can do with the mouse and keyboard that live by my fingertips? It makes no sense to me.

    But my mother fell in love with my younger brother's touchscreen AIO Win10 machine when she was at his house, so that was the direction in which I was looking. She also told me how disappointed she'd been when she tried to upgrade to Win10 and found that her hardware wouldn't support it, so buying a Win7 Pro machine and pretending that 8 and 10 had never happened wasn't an option. So in the end, I ordered her a Dell AIO machine with Win10. I suspect that she'll hate it after a week, at which time I'll install Classic Shell on it, and the screen will likely never be touched again.

    Then again, though, I could be wrong. Mom's actually quite the geek for an old lady once you get past her non-conventional terminology; her refusal to accept that software is almost never really "free"; and her difficulty accepting that when I say "click," it means "left click" unless I specifically say "right click." She's made some progress on the first two, but I think the last one's a lost cause. She'd give Bobby in Bangalore fits if she ever called for support.

    But again, I digress. My point is that for whatever reasons she might have (possibly arthritis), Mom really wanted a touch-screen machine. But Apple doesn't make one. So the company that prides itself on innovation and user-friendliness lost a potential sale for being behind the technology curve and not giving a prospective new user what she wanted.

    Rich
     
  9. Van Johnston

    Van Johnston Line Up and Wait

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    iPad with bluetooth keyboard?
     
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  10. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    At her age, I think screen size comes into play, as well.

    But my point is that neither Microsoft nor Apple seem to care very much about what their users want anymore. They want to push whatever product they're pushing, even if it means actually removing code, as Microsoft did when they started pushing tiled GUIs. All they really had to do was leave it in place as an option while also implementing the alternate tiled GUI. Apple, on the other hand, refuses to implement touch at all on desktops and laptops even though it would be an easier transition for their loyal users who are already used to the iPad interface.

    Neither company seems to grasp that annoying your user base and ignoring their wishes are not viable log-term business strategies. But I think it's an even dumber move for Apple because their user base is a niche market to begin with.

    Rich
     
  11. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Good point. But we did covert our toughest user base at the office to Win10 and they survived it, just fine. Been on it now for half a year or more. You get used to the UI or you install classic shell.
     
  12. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I installed Classic Shell. Under the hood, Win10 is fantastic. But I can't deal with the tiled interface.

    Rich
     
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  13. iflyvfr

    iflyvfr Cleared for Takeoff

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    I have a slick little Dell notebook with Win 8 and a touchscreen. I thought I'd hate the touch, but I don't, it's not half bad. What I do hate is Win 8. It just makes no sense to me at all. For the first time since I taught myself DOS working at the original Micro Center on Lane Avenue, I feel like I need to take a class to understand how to do much of anything.
     
  14. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    Classic Shell and Godmode.................all is good with WIN10.
     
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  15. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Yep it ain't bad. We had to move that group for Bitlocker, which turns out to be infinitely havkable if you have physical access, but the customers' secruity departments know better than we do, and have 30 people dedicated to checkboxes on forms in a Security Department. Of course we charge for doing all of their busywork so it works out fine.

    My favorite today was the customer who asked if we have a PCI certification. Nope. Did we start handling credit cards for you? No we didn't. In fact we'll refuse to get sucked into that time suck if you ask. You handle the credit cards we'll handle the other stuff. LOL. We would have to charge you enough to hire two security engineers just to handle it if you really want it... minimum.
     
  16. Ghery

    Ghery Final Approach

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    Win10 has one annoying "feature" that has me ready to launch nukes at Redmond periodically. When I fire up Windows Explorer, or whatever they call it this week, to look at files it goes off and updates something. And takes FOREVER to do it. Previously this was just a problem with my newer machine, but tonight my older Lenovo that originally had Win 7 (and I wish it still did) started showing the same crap. I don't know what the idiots at MS think they accomplished with this "feature", but they've thoroughly ****ed off this long time (and I mean LONG TIME, as in 30+ years) customer. I don't like Apple, but what other choices do we have? It's a good thing we civilians don't have access to nuclear weapons, as I'd probably use on one MS. Did I mention how much they **** me off these days?
     
  17. pkuhns

    pkuhns Filing Flight Plan

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    I'm shocked at the complete absence here from all you 'smarter-than-average' pilots: Apple doesn't buy into 'touch-screen laptops' because they have a completely different eco-system for that: IOS. At some point in the past they realized the concept of a touch-screen laptop made close to zero sense. Thankfully. A completely new OS would need to be created to encapsulate the advantages of touch.

    RJM62's refreshingly bizarre analysis says it all (without exactly knowing it did).

    Apple needs to get rolling on some new amazing thing we didn't realize we need because thinner and thinner (the culprit behind non-upgradeability) just ain't cuttin' it.
     
  18. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's a traditional mind set shift between Apple and Microsoft.

    Microsoft has ALWAYS just made their handheld and tablet market a stripped down version of their desktop/laptop OS. This has caused a lot of issues in the past (those of us who were WIN/CE users/developers can tell stories). However things are getting to the point where a lot of these issues goes away. Of course, to accomplish everything, Microsoft has put "tablet" features into Win8 and Win10, figure, why not a touch screen. Frankly, both my windows lappy and desktops are touch screens but I rarely use the feature.

    Apple on the other hand decides to make a different specific environment for the tablet/phone/watch systems. This has some good aspects of eliminating unneeded desktop bloat and allowing things to really be tuned to the types of things you want to do on the phones. There is some API level compatibility for the developers (in fact, they are both built from the same Xcode development environment). But it does mean you can't just cram a desktop app into the tablet or vice versa.

    Android's in the middle. Essentially they gutted the Linux OS to get something that can run a dedicated tablet/phone system on top that's different. It's more along the lines of Apple's approach.
     
  19. luvflyin

    luvflyin Pattern Altitude

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    Yeah. That "auto you can't pick what and when to update" is pisin me off to.
     
  20. Everskyward

    Everskyward Administrator Management Council Member

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    Personally, I don't see the advantage of a touch-screen laptop. That's what the keyboard and trackpad are for. It would seem awkward to lift your hands off the keyboard to touch the screen, then bring them back down to type. Also, unless the back of the laptop was braced against something, you would have a tendency to tip it over if your touch was too vigorous.
     
  21. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Edge indeed sucks badly (and not just because of the update issue). I run Chrome on both Windows and the Mac.
     
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  22. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Pattern Altitude

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    I haven't used a laptop in years.
     
  23. JOhnH

    JOhnH Final Approach

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    Steve jobs lived by the adage that the consumer didn't know what they wanted until he showed them. (Note: "the consumer" is a macro term).
     
  24. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Apparently, he had the talent to make that work.
     
  25. JOhnH

    JOhnH Final Approach

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    No argument there.
     
  26. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Just call me "Captain Obvious"! :D
     
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  27. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I use web based email and I can't get through two lines of typing with Edge as the browser. Something is always going on in the background and I have to wait for the spinning wheel to stop before I can type anymore. I am not a big fan of google - any other browser recommendations out there?
     
  28. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Pale Moon if you don't need a lot of plug-ins or extensions. It's still pretty slim and fast compared to anything else out there for Windows at the moment.

    It started as a fork of Firefox, which some say it still is. I say that it's now departed enough from Firefox (it doesn't even use the same rendering engine) that it's become its own project.

    There are some limitations in terms of extensibility. Also, you'll occasionally have problems on poorly-coded sites that demand to know what the User Agent is, but vomit when it's not one they're expecting. Setting User Agent to "Firefox" usually solves those problems. It's worth trying out, in any event.

    Rich
     
  29. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    He also told us we were all "holding it wrong". LOL.
     
  30. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks Rich
     
  31. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'll look for the video, but there is a review of a new mac book pro, like damn near a $5,000 machine, the guy loads some games on it and it just taxes the heck out of the laptop to the point you couldnt even play the game outside of super low settings

    Now I know this isn't the target demo for a MacBook Pro, but for almost 5k come on.

    Where as my sub 2k Asus ROG laptop can do anything I've yet to ask it to do and at max settings and is built to be EASIER for the end user to upgrade...


    It also seems the raw materials and build quality of iPhones have even been going down, my 6s isn't nearly as well built as my last 4s, which I would still have if it hadn't been dunked, I mean it was all steel and glass, my 6s has much more of a flimsy through away feel and has plastic lines all over the back with a camera that sticks out, far from the fit and finish back when Jobs was alive.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017
  32. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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  33. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Found it.

    $4,300 laptop FAIL
    Ok performance if it was the price of a netbook :dunno:

     
  34. Cpt_Kirk

    Cpt_Kirk En-Route

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    $4,300... it just goes to reaffirm that most people who purchase those kinds of Apple products are morons.

    Like other have said in the comments, I'm drooling over what I kind of PC I could build with that kind of budget.
     
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  35. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I wonder why the difference in price? Pogue said that he paid $3000 for his, and it sounded like it was fully loaded.
     
  36. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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  37. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Buying Apple at their price premium pre-Cook was often worth it, but even old school tech pundit Leo Laporte said even as an Apple fan himself, on his nationally syndicated radio show this weekend, while it hurts emotionally, he's disappointed in Apple at the moment.

    He says the iPhone's success has tweaked Apple's business model because the iPhone and online services (of which he says flatly that they're all too expensive and don't have the featureset of competitors now) are the top two revenue lines at Apple with OSX devices waaaaay down the list.

    Personally I think they've forgotten Jobs' vision which was a great unified ecosystem between the mobile and the desktop. iTunes continues to suck, iCloud is overpriced for storage by a mile, and OSX keeps getting graphical changes but isn't keeping up "under the hood" with Windows or even Linux.

    Right now, as much as it pains me to say it, Google's ecosystem is better at unified behavior and usefulness than Apple's. Mainly because they don't have a desktop OS to maintain really. Chromebooks won't replace what OSX does, without a Net connection though, so you're stuck with Windows or Linux talking to Android or their web interfaces, but their web interfaces are light years ahead of iCloud's.

    I moved out 55,000 emails from iCloud/.me mail recently to GSuite for my personal account and I couldn't be happier about it. Next phone is Android. Probably the only reason to keep iOS around is Foreflight and I'll be looking at that decision real hard too.

    Still need to prep more, move all the music out of iTunes, and move all the photos out to somewhere. May even just suck all of that stuff into a Synology NAS and forget about keeping that stuff anywhere in the cloud. Don't need it there.
     
  38. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I don't know if the intent behind Apple's insistence on making their machines upgrade-proof and difficult to repair is to force users to buy new Macs when their needs change, but I do know that it has prevented at least one user from switching to a Mac in the first place. Here's an example of why.

    When I bought my current "work" PC a little over a year ago, I didn't do any video editing to speak of, so I chose a computer with an i5 processor and 8 GB RAM. For the work I was doing then, that was more than sufficient.

    Shortly thereafter, I started having to edit and transcode short videos for clients and was running into disk caching problems because of lack of RAM. No worries. A few clicks on Amazon and two minutes of work, and I was able to upgrade the RAM.

    More recently I find myself having to edit and transcode much longer videos for both my clients' and my own sites, and the transcoding was taking way too long to happen using the i5. No problem. Four hours of driving to and from Micro Center in Paterson (Yonkers was out of stock), $279.99 (plus NJ sales tax of only 3.5 percent -- woo hoo!), and 5.7 gallons of gas later, my computer now sports an i7 6700.

    Micro Center's commissioned salesman tried very hard to upsell me. He came very close to violating Micro Center's "low-pressure" rule, but gallantly (and barely) managed to stay on the right side of that line. The i7 6700 was on sale at Micro Center for less than I've seen it anywhere else. I wouldn't be surprised if they're losing money on it at that price. No other vendor I checked with was willing to price-match it. Also, it was an "in-store only, one per-customer" sale, which usually means it's a loss leader. So the kid did his absolute best to upsell me -- in a low-pressure way, of course.

    The problem was that he didn't have a chance. I didn't need anything else, and the i7 6700 was the most powerful i7 that I knew with certainty was supported by my HP's mobo. I couldn't get a straight answer out of HP regarding the Kaby Lake processors, nor could I find any reference to Kaby Lake in the BIOS update history.

    Given the distance involved, I didn't want to take a chance of having to return the processor, so I went with the i7 6700 Skylake. The performance difference between that and one of the Kaby Lake processors would have been minimal in any case. I did buy a $4.99 anti-static wristband to save me the trouble of having to dig through the boxes in my basement to find one, but apparently the commission on a wrist strap isn't even enough for the kid to have bothered putting a commission sticker on it.

    Rich
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2017 at 10:45 PM
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  39. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'm just as disappointed in Apple's direction as denverpilot, but let's no go overboard here. Comparing that rig to a netbook? Gimme a break. Install Windows on that same MBP and you know how well it'll perform? *Identically* to any other laptop with a quad i7 at 2.9GHz, 16GB of 2133MHz RAM, and it'll game just like any machine with a 4GB Radeon Pro 460. I agree that the high end of Apple's lineup no longer commands the high end prices, but go ahead and run Handbrake on the same piece of media on this MBP and a netbook and tell me how it goes.

    As far as comparing it to gaming laptops, well I guess go ahead. I'll game on my desktop thank you very much. I don't think anyone has figured out how to put a heavy hitter GPU in a laptop without also giving it a bunch of stupid s###t like light show keyboards and a case designed by a 13 year old Asian kid.
     
  40. JGoodish

    JGoodish Cleared for Takeoff

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    Apple certainly seems to have lost Steve Job's vision and/or ability to execute on that vision. I don't think that Cook's personality lends itself to the mission, even if he were trying to follow an enumerated playbook authored by Jobs himself. Apple is still turning in impressive financial results, and as long as they continue to do so, Cook is likely going to remain the guy.

    MacOS is still far preferable to me than Windows (especially Win10), but if Apple collapses again I think I'd look long and hard at Linux and open source stuff before I'd move to Windows. Unfortunately, in the past much of the open source stuff has lacked polish and integration, something that Apple still does well.


    JKG
     
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