Gadgets For Musicians And Music Lovers

jamstikplus

After learning about how music effect’s our body, it’s time to know how you can enjoy it even more. Over the years, technology has robustly changed the way we enjoy music. Now you can enjoy high quality stadium sounds at home, play the guitar on your smartphone or take turns acting the DJ at a party with your friends.

You can even enjoy quality music while travelling, working or enjoying a gaming session on gaming sites like those in www.bingosweets.com.

This piece looks at some of the best gadgets designed for music lovers and professional artists alike.

UE Boom 2 speaker

The UE Boom 2 wireless speaker is a solution for people who regularly have reasons to play music from source at an event. This is the most updated version of Logitech’s Ultimate Ears speaker product. The speaker can stay functional for at least 15 hours which makes it a great option for music lovers on the move. The manufacturers went one better than others by ensuring that the UE Boom 2 is fully enabled to receive firmware updates on both iOS and Android.

Not only that, but the speaker’s ability to play music from different sources intermittently means you can now play your favorite Albums of 2015 while your friend plays his – avoiding any musical squabbles.

PRYMA headphones

Each year, the shop shelves are loaded with new headphones, often making it difficult to choose one that truly stands out. That was before the new Pryma headphones  hit the stores and quickly transformed the true meaning of a stylish pair of headphones. These headphones are handmade by Italian artisans using high quality leather, stainless steel, copper and die-cast aluminum. Unlike some others, these headphones are not just a style statement. They are engineered by Sonus Faber, top-tier audio constructionists, meaning you’re guaranteed high quality, robust sounds.

Jamstik+ smart guitar

In the age of smart technology, it’s somewhat surprising that it took this long to get our first smart guitar. The first thing you’ll notice when playing the Jamstik+ smart guitar, is that you’ll barely be able to tell the difference between it and a traditional instrument. The smart guitar features infrared sensors that will pair notes to your iPhone and iPad, so you won’t have to worry about tuning. After pairing the smart guitar with your phone, you can enjoy playing with the help of several guitar apps in the store – JamTutor and JamTutor 2 are probably the best apps you can pick up if you’re still a learner.

AfterShokz Bluez 2s headphones

We are constantly reminded about the dangers of listening to in-ear headphones, which makes AfterShokz’s Bluez 2s a gadget that everyone must have. This is a unique pair of wireless headphones that delivers sounds via your cheekbones. The world’s first cheekphones feature high quality sound and have incredible technology that keeps all audio limited to your hearing alone – meaning you won’t have to worry about disturbing anyone close by.

Archer Vinyl Record Player

Technology may have come a long way in a short time, but many of us just can’t leave behind the classic sound of a traditional spinning record. If you’re one of those older music lovers, you will love this chance to leave behind the world of smartphones and earbuds. The Archer Vinyl Record Player is your perfect gadget to relive the experience. It brings the classic turntable to the modern era but, of course, there is also an auxiliary input option just in case you suffer a little change of heart and feel like using that phone after all.

What is Bitcoin and Should I Invest in It?

What is Bitcoin?

In early 2009, a man named Satoshi Nakamoto debuted a project that he had been working on for several years. Designed to be an experiment in something that would later become well-known as “cryptocurrency”, this project was named Bitcoin. It was created as a way for individuals to exchange payment in exchange for goods and services without a centralized banking institution, sensitive financial data or third-parties having to be involved.

Over the past five years, this once unheard-of digital currency has become a powerhouse in the world of online commerce, and now enjoys a total market value of around $6 billion. There have been countless success stories of individuals who bought in early and made millions as confidence surrounding the currency continued to grow. Are these opportunties still available to investors, what exactly is Bitcoin and what does the future hold for it? We’ll discuss these concepts below and help you make the best financial decision regarding the currency.

The Basics of Bitcoin

Bitcoin functions as a decentralized, P2P (peer-to-peer) currency. Many people often refer to Bitcoin as a cryptocurrency or simply “crypto”, due to its relatively anonymous and secretive nature. Ecah Bitcoin can exist as a whole unit, but can also be broken down into smaller units, with the smallest one being known as a “satoshi” (0.00000001 BTC; worth around 1/2000000th of a penny at the time of this publication). As the currency grows, this ability to split and combine coins will increasingly come in handy.

Every Bitcoin user has a digital wallet, where coins can be stored on a digital device. Coins can also be stored offline and in “paper wallets”, for retrieval at a later date. Whenever the owner of a Bitcoin wishes to spend his or her funds, he or she simply sends the payment from the Bitcoin wallet (which has one or more unique addresses associated with it) to the address associated with the recipient’s wallet. Within just a couple of hours, the payment is fully available to the new owner and the coins can be spent freely.

Bitcoin Security and Use

Bitcoin is a secure system that allows for easy payment, but with any financial information, your fortune is only as secure as the devices used to access and safeguard it. Nobody can steal your Bitcoins from an offline device, nor can they can be duplicated or hacked. If your Bitcoins are stored on a machine that has been compromised, however, then they can be stolen. Likewise, many people keep funds in online currency exchanges; if these exchanges are compromised, the funds can be stolen.

Despite being digital, Bitcoin functions more like cash than credit: once a payment has been sent, it cannot be reversed (unless the recipient of the payment decides to refund/return the money). This makes Bitcoin an attractive solution for many people, including those who wish to engage in illicit activities and those who want to make a quick buck with virtually no reprecussions.

All in all, though, Bitcoin is a secure and modern method of payment that is growing in popularity by the day.

Success Stories of the Past Five Years

When the first Bitcoin exchange debuted in 2009, the currency could be traded for as little as $0.01. At the time, very few people bought any significant number of coins due to a low amount of demand. Some people, however, saw investment opportunities and grabbed a large number of coins at the time. As of this publication, Bitcoin is currently worth around $500 per coin; for every $1 invested in 2009, an investor would possess $50,000 worth of coins today. Someone who threw cool a cool $500 back then would possess roughly $25,000,000 of the currency today.

bitcoin

A finite number of coins will be produced, or “mined”, via computer software that anyone can utilize. Your graphics processing power is the most commonly-used form of power to generate hashes, which are best compared to purchasing lottery tickets. At regular intervals, a “block” of Bitcoins are mined and one random entity receives them. Those who began mining Bitcoins in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and held onto their coins have made many, many times their initial investment in electricity and hardware.

Investment Potential for the Future

Despite now being in existence for five years, it has only been within the past couple of years that the currency has gained real steam. Both the market value and number of Bitcoin users have exploded, which has led to bouts of volatility and speculation. Many people consider the currency too risky.

There is money to be made in Bitcoin, however, via short-term speculation and possibly through long-term investment. Nobody at the onset expected Bitcoin to be anywhere near what it is worth today, but the exact future of Bitcoin cannot be predicted. A massive collapse could occur tomorrow, or a huge rally could send the coin to new heights.

Bitcoin’s all-time value reached $1,200 in late 2013, and as of March 2014, has since lost more than half of that. While that may sound devastating, similar situations occurred in 2010, 2011 and 2013. In all cases, the cryptocurrency ultimately rebounded and reached new all-time highs.

Investors who want to make a quick buck can invest funds and use one of the many popular exchanges – such as BTC-e or Bitstamp – and attempt to speculate. As with all forms of investment, there are risks, but many people have been able to double their investments in a single day when markets are volatile.

What Should I Do?

What Should I Do?

Bitcoin is a relatively new phenomenon and therefore subject to risks, potential regulation and a variety of other issues. Many people have made tons of money off of the cryptocurrency, while others have had disastrous things occur. Ultimately, it is much like any other type of investment: you win some and lose some. For those who simply want to purchase goods and services without fear of transmitting financial information, Bitcoin is a solid currency that is gaining momentum. Even if people do not universally adopt Bitcoin and it ultimately fails as an individual method of payment, the concept of cryptocurrency is something that is here to stay.

Shaw Rolling Out Free City Wide WiFi Across Canada

Shaw Go WiFi

Shaw customers will gain access to Shaw Go WiFi, a network of Wi-Fi locations all over your city for free!

This is pretty neat. I’m sure not all cities will get this, or at least not right away but my city (Sault Ste. Marie, ON) is supposed to roll this out with 400-500 access points within 18 months. For many this might not seem like a big deal considering most people have data plans with phone carriers etc. but realistically this is pretty huge.

If you have a laptop you can go anywhere and be connected to the internet, including sitting on a park bench or parking your car to have a random video chat session with someone. This is also beneficial for mobile phones because even though we may have data, video/audio streaming whether it be from Skype, Netflix or an internet radio service eats up a lot of bandwidth fairly quickly.

Another huge thing is for those who maybe don’t have a cell or a data plan but happen to have an iPod or similiar device. All of a sudden you can have Skype going and essentially use it as a phone as you virtually have “service” everywhere.

To make use of Shaw Go WiFi you will need to be a Shaw Internet customer so that you can log in. You then register whatever device you want a connection on and it will connect automatically whenever you’re in a WiFi zone.

Shaw Go Character

I have to applaud Shaw for making a bold move like this as it somewhat reminds me of a Google project. They’re not even charging you ANYTHING extra for this! Hopefully it stays that way but time will tell. More than likely they will get everyone hooked then add a price tag on it because honestly, it makes sense business wise.

Shaw has an app for both iOS and Android devices so that you can: find zones, share your favourite locations, get directions etc. You can break down access points by category such as: entertainment, coffee shops, education, healthy & beauty, hotels and of course all available locations.

One thing important to note is that not only with 802.11 g/n be available but ALSO 802.11ac which is the next generation of wifi speeds and capabilities. As a techie this is extremely exciting! Eventually Shaw says that Home Phone customers will be able to have their home phone calls travel with them as they roam the wifi network with a mobile device.

Looking forward to using this and hope it becomes available everywhere and not just select cities!

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Scam Phone Calls Impersonating Microsoft/Windows Team For Your Credit Card Information

The Microsoft/Windows team wants to specifically call me?!

I sure must be fortunate and it’s a good thing Microsoft takes the time to call each individual customer on the phone to address potential problems! Oh wait, no they don’t do that…

Ladies and gentleman, please be aware that this happens daily and sadly enough some people are uninformed or are tragically taken advantage of because of their level of trust.

Computer Hacker

Likelihood Of Authenticity

Microsoft or anyone from the Windows team would not and will not ever call you to speak with you about an individual problem.

Furthermore they will never ask for your credit card or personal information so don’t be foolish and give it out regardless of how convinced you are that they are trying to remedy a problem with your computer system.

The reason I’m writing this post is because today for the second time I’ve received a call from someone pretending to be from the “Windows Live” team. The first occurred probably around a year ago but both calls ended the same way.

I work in IT. I’m a geek by passion and techie by nature. As soon as I hear someone on the phone saying they are from any large company and have noticed something with my particular machine I instantly grin and try and hold back my laughter.

Do You Really Think I’m That Stupid?

The truth is that many people aren’t necessarily stupid, but are unaware or uneducated on the plausibility of this scenario. This simply will NEVER legitimately occur. Now this goes for almost all “random” phone calls where the end result is someone asking for your credit card to fix a problem. Don’t fall for it.

This is still a prominent issue today because there are a lot of people that do in fact believe it’s real and do give out their credit card information in hopes of the mysterious problem being solved.

A Real Life Example

This is a true story that unfortunately happened to a colleague of mine. He got a call from his wife at home who exclaimed that there was a major issue on one of their computers but luckily the windows team called her and informed her of the problem. Yes, she fell for it.

Right away my colleague asked shockingly if she gave out their credit card information. “Yes I did and the problem has been solved “, she retorted. Queue the smack on the forehead, rolling eyes and unending head shake.

You have to keep in mind that some things are obvious to people involved in a particular field or expertise but others just don’t know, and when they hear that they’ve caused a problem they are usually eager to fix it.

Confused Woman

Back To My Story

Now my two calls were identical and probably the same script my colleagues wife heard.

First an odd caller ID such as “v31702460400001″ comes up, and the number in one of my cases was 1-253-802-0308.

“Hello? I am from the Windows Live team and I’m calling about a problem with one of your computers”. To be honest I haven’t ever heard what they say after that because I can’t help but burst out with, “No your not. Microsoft wouldn’t call someone individually about a problem.”

From there the person on the other end will search their brain for the next words to say, perhaps saying they didn’t understand or couldn’t hear me. I continue on with my allegations that they are a scammer trying to steal from people and need to get a life earning an income legitimately. I’ll start asking for their personal information even though they’ll probably lie and it wouldn’t help much anyway since I doubt the authorities would ever take it seriously and devote time to resolving this repeat issue.

That’s right about where they hang up.

Oddly enough after the call today, 10 minutes later I got a pre-recorded call from 1-250-881-1305 regarding reducing credit card debt etc. If it’s a coincidence or non-related it makes no difference to me as I just hang up on this spam.

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Conclusion

Moral of the story is to be logical and never give out your information to anyone who calls you. A few tip offs might be that the Caller ID is numeric or odd, that the caller claims to be from a massive corporation, and not to sound racist but in my two cases just happened to have a foreign accent. Share this with friends and family because chances are, there’s a bunch of them that are just too trusting and will fall for this scam.

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Microsoft Windows XP Still Racing In OS Market Share + Rant

microsoft windows xp

According to statistics from NetMarketshare the numbers are in and with Windows 7 claiming 44.55% of desktop operating system market share and trailing right behind is Windows XP with 38.99%.

As expected Windows 7 should be the most used operating system as it’s the best OS Microsoft has made including Windows 8. What’s funny is that XP is the runner up bypassing Vista, Windows 8, Max OS X 10.8 and the remaining “other” category OS’s.

I have to admit even I was reluctant to switch from XP many years ago when even Windows 7 came out because XP worked, was fast and had all of my programs etc. connected and synchronized. I already knew I wasn’t going to put Vista on my main machine because let’s face it, Vista tanked. When I finally was convinced it was time to switch and after reconnecting everything up I was pleased and hooked on the next GOOD operating system.

It seems the trend with Microsoft lately is to make a good operating system then make the next one absolutely and clearly horrible. As seen with Windows 98 being  great, Windows ME/Windows 2000 sucks, XP great, Vista sucks, 7 great, 8 sucks.

Actually just for a minute I wanted to rant how unbelievable it is that Windows 8 HAD to have went through several high level executives and countless employees and all of them said, “Yeah this is great, let’s continue down this path!”. Seriously? Was everyone afraid to speak up and say that almost everything they are now trying to do is obviously a bad idea? Why should you force a desktop environment to use a touchscreen tablet/phone interface? Worse yet, why would you ever think a business or server environment should use this? These are inexcusable decisions not to mention killing the start menu…

At any rate, leadership at Microsoft is weak and lacking true vision at the moment. They can say they are trying to be revolutionary and changing the game, but really they are delirious and shooting themselves in the foot.

Microsoft Dominance

Back to the current affair. The problem right now is that support for both Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 will be ceased on April 8, 2014. This introduces a vulnerability as there will not be anymore security updates/precautions to new threats on these operating systems. It is critical to protect your computer and information by having a supported OS.

It does look like XP is falling now as April 2012 had 46.08% usage, October at 40.66% and February at 38.99% but it’s important to update all machines soon before hackers launch a full scale attack knowing exploits will not be fixed anymore.

Leaving your computer with an outdated and unsupported operating system is truly a risk and one that is highly not recommended. Spread the word, get everyone to update their computers!

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Controlling Electronic Devices With Your Arms (Yes… Your Arm!)

Google Glass is a very interesting project and although it has a lot of uses it would certainly be weird to change your song on your iPod in public by saying, “Next Song”. Well maybe it’s just me because realistically there are thousands of people looking odd at first using a Bluetooth headset, Siri or some other voice detection system. Now this is something new and surprisingly has a lot of practical functions. It’s called MYO by Thalmic Labs and it’s a wearable armband that allows you to send signals using the electrical pulses sent by your muscles during movement. The product will be shipping in late 2013 for $149 with an open API for developers to build or connect it to their own programs and applications.

myo

The process is called electromyography and it measures the activity from your forearm contracting and producing small amounts of electrical activity. The device then amplifies that activity by thousands of times and processes the signals. The great thing is that it will get more and more accurate over time as the device learns your specific movements more precisely and thus it’s algorithms  and accuracy improves. This technology is similarly found in high tech arm and hand prosthetics.

When a recognized command is completed you can have a small vibration occur to confirm an operation such as pointing/pinching a finger or waving/swiping your hand. The Myo’s sensors can determine when a certain gesture is being made and translate it into a digital command for your computer, phone or remote controlled vehicle.

magic of myo

Given it might not be the new hot item that everyone NEEDS you have since it isn’t made by Apple or isn’t prefixed with an i such as iMyo, it’s still a neat item that could have many uses in the home, business, teaching, health and recreation environments. Things are definitely changing and consumers are starting to witness emerging technologies that they never would have thought of embracing years prior. “Right now we’re just on the cusp of a major shift in computing, and whether it’s a Google product or something else, at some point in the next couple years wearable computing devices are going to change how everyone will communicate and interact with technology,” says Thalmic Labs co-founder Stephen Lake. “Ultimately the line between us and our devices will start becoming a lot more blurred.”

In a video showcasing some of the Myo’s uses you can view it controlling video and audio playback, switching between windows on a computer, shooting a gun in a game, directing remote controlled devices and even sending a video to share on social networks WHILE you’re skiing! The device isn’t just limited to a few uses though. “If you think about your daily life, you use your hands to interact with and manipulate just about everything you do, from pressing numbers on your phone to picking up your coffee,” says Lake. “Now think if we can take all those motions and actions and plug them into just about any computer or digital system, the possibilities are endless.”

Check out the video below:

In truth we’ve always wanted to have some kind of advanced computer on our wrists to make us feel like super heroes or futuristic badasses  How amazing would it be to play a Star Wars game and force choke someone with your own hands!? I wouldn’t be surprised if in 5 or 10 years everyone has some sort of hybrid device strapped to their body (besides the current cell phone of course!). I’m thinking more of a wrist watch that has holographic type capabilities and it will be our phone, computer, projector and maybe even stereo. As cool as it would be I hope it doesn’t turn into some thing that every “citizen” is required to have because it identifies and GPS tracks you. Sorry about that last part… Let’s keep it positive! :P

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Google Glass Now Available Through Contest

The revolutionary and futuristic set of glasses by Google are becoming available to a select few who submit an application of up to 50 words explaining what they would do with the Google Glass technology.

Google Glass

Unlike most contests however you still will have to pay for the product. Essentially you are just getting the chance to be a paying beta tester and get a product that no one else can get yet! The pair of internet connected glasses will cost $1500 and to be eligible you must reside in the U.S.

Google Glass is supposed to mirror a smartphone in functionality with voice commands instead of a touch display. Before this becomes widespread I’m sure you will get several funny looks like you are a cyborg trying to take over the world. That’s okay though you can film their reactions!

The technology is in fact very intense and could have many uses. Freeing your hands while still being able to interact with the internet or smartphone functions is very cool. It would be awesome to be travelling somewhere that speaks another language and when one of the native talks you can visually see what they are saying translated to English  There are an endless amount of uses this could spawn the only thing for now is the odd look of a pair of glasses with a weird Bluetooth looking dongle on the front with a tiny screen.

If you’d like to pick one of these up go on Twitter or Google+ and use the hashtag #ifihadglass to post a status convincing Google with your bold and creative plans for the eyewear.

Check out the video Google posted regarding Glass:

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Is Google Building Retail Stores? Apple and Microsoft Store Rivalry

Will it be made of glass? Maybe instead it will be made of all concrete or mirrors!

Google Store

An “extremely reliable” source claims that Google is in the midst of creating retail stores in the United States says 9to5 Google. Apple may have started it, but now giant companies like Microsoft and quite possibly Google are following suit making their own branded stores. The goal is to have a few stores open in major cities in time for the 2013 holidays.

At first when you think of Google, the only major thing that comes to mind is a search engine. Next might be an email platform and afterwards maybe documents/calendar. My personal favourite that I truly wish would come to my area would be Google Fiber. Oh sweet fruit of the heavens that would be sweet.

So what would a Google store actually carry for products? They definitely do have their hands in some physical products such as the Nexus smartphone, Chromebook laptops, Google Glass and Google TV but is there really enough to fill a traditional store? Could this be more of a lounge to explore new Google technologies?

The rumour is that it will be both. A place to try new products and technologies before you buy.

It’s hard for me to imagine right now because I picture a very expensive building but only a handful of different products to sell. I’m sure there will be massive things coming from them in the future and having their own brick-and-mortar chain will absolutely make it easier to get products into the public’s hands. If it will be an odd few years of vacant shelf space is a question to be pondered but as it stands I’m sure many would welcome the stores and enjoy the experience.

An important question is if each store will have a slide or something unique that brings an out of the ordinary touch to retail. It is Google, and with that mentality there’s bound to be something fun and quirky in their environment!

google store lego

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Tweet To Buy – Twitter and American Express E-Commerce System

Announcing something that most people probably wouldn’t have even thought of, American Express is going to let people purchase things by tweeting! It definitely sounds unconventional and maybe even ridiculous but these out of the ordinary things can very well become a common sensation. The service will also allow people to get discounts from normal stores.

amex twitter

The service is called Amex Sync on Twitter and it essentially lets you tweet to buy a select few items. Now the selection isn’t very big right now but there are some cool gadgets like the Kindle Fire and the Xbox 360. It’s not exactly a smooth experience and includes connecting your Amex card to your Twitter account, tweeting a hashtag to make a purchase, then reply to a confirmation tweet from Amex but you have to do it within 15 minutes!

For the most part I’d normally expect people to feel more comfortable just buying off an online site of some sort or even in a local store. What if you want to buy a new My Little Pont themed Xbox and now all your friends know about it because it’s all over Twitter?! It could happen. This could be useful for those that feel the need to let the world know what they are doing and getting. You know the people that update their status, “I’m waking up”, “Eating breakfast with orange juice!”, “Just got bacon grease in my eye from the frying pan!”. Now they can automatically let you know that they bought something without having to type the tweet, which instead they might say, “Just used Amex Sync to buy something new!!”.

In a move to potentially make a real revenue stream for Twitter vs. unprofitable status updates we could be hearing a lot more unnecessary things that people seem to NEED to express. Social networks are trying to make some profit through sales instead of just their usually free service and that’s understandable. Personally I think there are better ways than this but it could still be useful. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing someone tweet, “Just purchased a Kindle Fire that donates 10% to breast cancer” or something along those lines. Something going viral that actually supports/aids a good cause is all good in my book.

For now it seems most social networks plans for sales revenue haven’t been successful yet but you can be sure that this is just the beginning. They will continue to search and experiment until a profitable solution is found and then everyone will feel compelled to do it.

Let’s just hope someone doesn’t leave their twitter account logged in on a computer or phone and a stranger or evil friend decides to, “BUY ALL THE THINGS!”.

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New Pirate Bay Documentary! (TPB AFK)

The Pirate Bay – Away From Keyboard

Companies and governments alike have been trying to extinguish internet pirate’s for as long as they’ve been around. Simon Klose, a Swedish music/documentary filmmaker WANTS you to pirate his flick!

The Pirate Bay Logo

If you don’t know what The Pirate Bay (TPB) is or at least heard of it, then you’ve been seriously deprived of a world of almost limitless media. People for years have used TPB to download all of their movies, albums, TV shows and software. It’s not that they actually have all the files on their servers but that they are essentials a giant database that links to the files. It’s also the most popular and respected torrent website.

The documentary covers the tales of Pirate Bay administrators Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Fredrik Neji and Peter Sunde as they deal with their Sweden court case in 2009 regarding civil and criminal copyright laws. After conviction they are led to live life “away from keyboard”. The film can be bought or seen for free on YouTube/Pirate Bay torrent.

“The cool thing is that you guys are going to be part of the premiere.… We’re streaming the film online, for free. You can download it, you can share it, you can remix it… It’s all up to you,” said Klose. “I’m doing this because I believe – from a personal perspective – I want my films to be seen by as many people as possible, so my problem is that a normal copyright would become an obstacle between me and my audience.”

Watch it here:

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