Tech Xpress

Close Multiple Applications Simultaneously - Windows Tip

This is pretty useful if you have packed the Windows taskbar by opening many applications and files. Do you hate closing all those files individually? If yes, then this is for you!

It is unbelievably easy; just press and hold the Ctrl key. Now click all the applications you want to close while still holding down the Ctrl key. Right-click any of the applications you selected and click Close Group.
It is done!

So, now you know to get rid of this annoyance.

Thanks Jason

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Friday, June 29, 2007
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Latest Real Player lets you download videos with one click

It's finally out! The latest version of Real Player had gathered some interest, particularly among the online video sharing community because of its one click video downloading feature.

The media player can download multiple videos of almost any format simultaneously, share & burn them to a disc. RealPlayer will work with Firefox and Internet Explorer.

The concept of watching videos offline, in other words, saving them to your hard drive, may make RealPlayer an automatic choice for video lovers as it puts the control firmly in the hands of the user. No more browser addons or tweaks or third-party sites to save videos; if you like them, just save them with a click.

The download link will appear for only those videos that are not protected i.e DRM-free videos. Off course!

[Download RealPlayer]

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Wednesday, June 27, 2007
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Show Hidden software in Add/Remove Programs

Want to uninstall programs like WordPad from your computer? Chances are you won't find it in Add/Remove programs in Windows XP. These are programs that stay hidden from the Add/Remove programs window.

How to make hidden softwares show up in the Add/Remove box?
Look for a file named sysoc.inf in C:\Windows\INF\sysoc.inf. Here, C:\ can be any drive on which Windows XP is installed.
Open sysoc.inf in notepad which will show a list of programs. Some of them will have the word 'Hide'.
Remove 'Hide,' for programs you want to be listed in the Windows Add/Remove programs and save the file.
The programs will now be listed among the others.

Also note, not all programs can be uninstalled after they are displayed in the Add/Remove box.

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Via Downloadsquad
posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Tuesday, June 26, 2007
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How to do Picture-less surfing with Firefox

'A picture is worth a thousand words'; have heard it a million times, haven't we? But many won't appreciate if that picture is too large and takes heck a lot to load.

Fortunately, you can disable images in Firefox. Firefox, like most browsers, automatically loads images it encounters in web pages by default. And disabling this feature is quite easy too. Follow the steps listed below to speed up page loads.

1. In Firefox, go to Tools >> Options.
2. Click on the Content tab and Uncheck Load images automatically.
That's all. Now Firefox won't load images in web pages.

A lot of content on the web includes images. Images convey information, feelings, emotions, beauty to readers. You probably don't want to disable this. I can only think of disabling this if my internet connection is too slow or when pictures aren't really necessary.

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Oh! And you also read the post on Cleaning Firefox's Right-click Context Menu.
posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Tuesday, June 19, 2007
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New at YouTube >> YouTube Remixer, YouTube Mobile

Things have surely happened at YouTube last week. Three of them include : YouTube Remixer, YouTube Mobile & YouTube integration with Google Account. Here's a brief overview of each of them.

YouTube Remixer
Officially launched last week, YouTube Remixer is an online video editing tool that lets you edit videos on YouTube directly from your browser.
The Remixer allows users to add graphics, text, audio, overlays and transitions to YouTube videos. This video editing tool is powered by Adobe.
A similar service is provided by Photobucket's remix tool which is also powered by Adobe.


YouTube Mobile Goes Live
A mobile version of YouTube has been officially launched, thus bringing the popular video sharing site to the cell phone.
Before proceeding, users will be warned "YouTube Mobile is a data intensive application. We highly recommend that you upgrade to an unlimited data plan with your mobile service provider to avoid additional charges."
You can access YouTube for mobile from m.youtube.com. Presently, only a few limited videos are available on YouTube Mobile.


Sign-in YouTube with your Google Account
You can now link your YouTube account to your Google account. What this means is signing in to YouTube with your Google username/password.

To link both of them, first Signup to link YouTube with your Google Account. Once signed in, you'll notice the 'Link Accounts' section. Provide your YouTube username and password to link both accounts.
An option to unlink both these accounts is also provided. Once unlinked, you can login to YouTube with your old username/password.

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Check out related posts on YouTube:
Download YouTube videos with a 'Kiss'
View/Recover deleted YouTube videos
Download YouTube videos in different formats with Vixy
Download videos from YouTube & other sites with Keepvid
Search videos in YouTube & other sites with Vdoogle
posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Tuesday, June 19, 2007
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Upload file to multiple File Hosting sites together with MassMirror

Wanna upload files to Megaupload, Rapidshare, Sendspace etc at the same time? Then don't miss this! Bookmark MassMirror quickly.

What is MassMirror?
It's a site which allows you to upload a file to multiple file hosting services simultaneously for free. Just a few clicks and you file will be uploaded to seven different file hosting sites.
At present, MassMirror supports Megaupload, Rapidshare, Sendspace, DepositFiles, Badongo, 4FileHosting and ZShare.

The user interface is pretty easy too. Just select a file from your computer and click the Upload button on MassMirror. That's it! The file is first uploaded to MassMirror, which automatically uploads it to all the other sites.
You can upload files up to a maximum size of 1 GB at a time.

Once the uploading process is complete, MassMirror provides you a url to share the file. The url will load the sites from which users can choose to download the file.

I personally like this stuff. The reason? One of the popular posts in this blog is Megaupload/Rapidshare tricks to download files. It is a well-known fact that Megaupload has limited country slots for downloading files from it. Many users find it difficult to get files with these restrictions in place. By providing more mirror sites, MassMirror may just make it easier for users.

So what do you say about this?

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, June 18, 2007
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Copy text (error messages) from Windows Dialog Boxes

We hate it when Windows throws that small box with an error message displayed on it. Don't we?
The next step we do is send that message to software support or do a search about it on the net.

There lies the annoying problem. There is no way to directly copy the text from that box. Right-click and nothing appears. I usually open a text editor and manually type it. That was until is saw this post at LifeHacker.
Well, remember that Ctrl + C copy command of Windows? Use it next time! Surprised?

You can test it out. Not by creating a error message, but here it goes:
Open Notepad. Type some text and try to close it without saving. A box pops up which shows a message.
Now type Ctrl + C. The text is copied to the clipboard. Paste it in a text editor to see the contents.

You may also want to read the post on making Notepad automatically insert date and time.

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Friday, June 15, 2007
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Safari patch for Windows released

This development was expected. After Apple released a public beta of its Safari browser for Windows, reports trickled out about vulnerabilities in the browser within hours.

And Apple has reacted. Apple has patched the browser and Safari version 3.0.1 public beta has been made available at Apple's site.
Considering how quickly Apple released the patch, they may have fixed the 0 day exploit that was discovered in the browser.
Also, it also won't be surprising if more patches are lined up.

Download Safari

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Friday, June 15, 2007
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Download Music from MySpace

Download some mp3 music files from MySpace? Head over to MySpaceMp3.org.
MyspaceMP3 is a mp3 search engine that finds mp3 files in MySpace.

To get a list of files, go to MySpaceMp3, provide a band name and click the Get Songs button.
Offcourse, you'll only get the files that are available on MySpace.


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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Wednesday, June 13, 2007
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Safari for Windows pops up Flaws

1
Don't install Safari 3 for Windows yet! At least wait for a patch from Apple. After Apple released Safari 3 for Windows last week, researchers around the globe have found multiple number of flaws in the browser.

One must remember that Safari 3 for Windows is not the final release and is still in public beta. This obviously means it is under testing. However, it could not be verified whether Safari's vulnerabilities in Windows are also present in Mac OS X. Well! Not yet.

Apple had showed comparison tests to prove their claims that Safari is twice as fast as IE 7 and 1.6. times faster than Firefox 2. It may be fast, but is it safe? That is the question Apple has to answer. But then, don't forget Safari is in beta. Let's see what Apple has to say.

Read more here.

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Wednesday, June 13, 2007
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Powerpoint viewer introduced in Gmail

Google has embedded a PowerPoint viewer in Gmail which let's you view PowerPoint Presentation (PPT) and PowerPoint Show (PPS) files within Gmail. Now you can watch powerpoint slides within Gmail, even if you don't have PowerPoint installed on your computer.

How to view the slides?
When you receive PowerPoint files as attachments in Gmail, a 'View as slideshow' link is displayed. Clicking it will open a new page where you can view the slides. The slide show page has two navigation buttons to move through each slide.
A drop-down menu is also present which shows all the slides in the file. Use the drop-down menu to jump to any slide within the file.

This wasn't unexpected as Google had already disclosed that its working on adding a PowerPoint like presentation tool in Google Docs & Spreadsheets. Once included in Google Docs & Spreadsheets, the presentation tool will complete Google's online Office suite offering.

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Wednesday, June 13, 2007
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Convert Audio and Video files Online for Free with Media Convert

Wanna convert your audio or video file into a different format without installing any software? Well! I stumbled upon a site that let's you do that. Media Convert vx2 is a web based service that lets you convert video and audio files into different formats. And it is Free!

You can upload a file up to 150 MB in size. Yup! there is a size limit.
There are two ways to upload a file; either upload a file directly from your computer or provide a url to the media file.
Specify the input and output types for the file in the boxes provided.
The input type is automatically detected when you choose to upload the file directly from your computer. If you choose to provide the url link of the file to be converted, you'll have to explicitly specify the input type of the file.

Conversion may take time depending on various factors like Internet connection, size of file etc. There are other online services too, like Zamzar, which lets you convert files between various formats and Vixy, which is an online flash video converter.

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Source Ghacks
posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Tuesday, June 12, 2007
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Download Apple Safari 3 for Windows

Apple has made its Safari 3 web browser, which is in public beta, available for the Windows platform. Safari 3 will support Windows XP, Windows Vista and obviously, Mas OS X.
This was one of the announcements at the Apple WWDC 2007 conference.

With more than 70% percent of the world's computers running Windows, Apple clearly wants a larger pie in the browser market, dominated by Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Opera.

Safari is the fastest browser on any platform! That's what Apple claims; when loading web pages, Safari is 2 times faster than Internet Explorer 7 and 1.6 times faster than Firefox 2.
They further claim it executes javascript up to 2.8 times faster than IE 7 and 1.6 times faster than Firefox 2.
If their claims are true, then Safari is indeed the fastest browser.

Some Safari features
Resizable Text Field: You can resize a text field in any web page just by dragging it from a corner.
Private Browsing: Switching on Private Browsing in Safari and your browsing history, cookies, Google searches, download history and online application forms won't be stored. This feature is also one of the recommendations for Firefox 3.
Tabbed browsing: Ok! Every browser has this. Safari resizes tabs based on how many sites you have opened.
Pop-up blocking: Safari will block those annoying and unwanted pop-up windows by default.

Apart from these, there are a lot more features too. Check out the list here.

[Download Safari 3 for Free]

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Tuesday, June 12, 2007
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Clean Firefox Context Menu with Menu Editor

Amit has written a post on a productive add-on for Firefox that lets you manage which items appear in your Firefox right-click menu and the Main menu bar. The main menu bar is the one on top that contains File,Edit,View etc.

If you are a Firefox junkie like me who's got tons of add-ons installed, this one is for keeps. More the add-ons, longer the right-click menu list. A longer list definitely slows Firefox's response time. Enter Menu Editor!
Menu Editor is a Firefox add-on that allows you to clean your right-click menu and main menu bar by allowing you to easily rearrange or remove menu items from them.

So you would want to install it and get rid of rarely used items. Once installed, you can access Menu Editor by going to Tools >> Add-ons.

Very useful if you want to increase the response time of Firefox. Menu Editor is definitely worth a try. What do you say?

Get Menu Editor

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, June 11, 2007
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AOL Mail to offer Unlimited Storage

This had to happen! Especially after Yahoo removed the storage size limit from Yahoo Mail.
AOL Mail, the third most popular U.S mail service provider will offer unlimited storage to its 53 million email accounts. Not sure whether users will be in awe over this unlimited thing.

Other interesting features expected are in-built chatting integration with AIM, RSS feed support, searching through attachments, and support for POP and IMAP.
Apart from this, user interface improvements are also in the pipeline.

Personally, Gmail's dynamically ticking storage concept has expectedly become a bit uninteresting but is not too bad. Anyway 2.8 GB it good enough for me and must be for at a lot many. At least, it is different.

More details available here85

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, June 11, 2007
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Adobe Apollo enters beta; renamed Adobe AIR

Adobe has released a beta of its Apollo platform that lets web developers create rich internet applications that can run on your desktop or outside the web browser. The initial Apollo release was an alpha release meant for developers only.

With this beta release, Adobe Apollo has been renamed AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime).
A significant change is applications can now be created without using Flash. With Adobe AIR you can create applications using HTML, Javascript & Ajax.

More details are available at Adobe Labs

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Monday, June 11, 2007
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How to use Firefox Address bar as a Search Bar

Many of you may or may not be aware that Firefox's location bar or address bar can be used to do a Google Search. By default, it gives you the result that the 'I'm Feeling Lucky' button of Google gives you i.e only the first page among the search result.


The behaviour of the location bar can be modified so that it performs the usual Google Search instead of the 'I'm Feeling Lucky' search.

Before we proceed, it is important to note one thing. The Firefox address bar will behave as a search bar only when you type words that are not a valid url address. When you type a normal web site address, it will behave as a normal address bar and open the site.

Steps:
1. Type about:config in the location bar and press Enter.
2. Find the keyword.URL key and double click it. A small box is displayed.
3. Paste http://www.google.com/search?btnG=Google+Search&q= in the box and click Ok.
4. That's all! Now you can type the keywords in the Firefox location bar to perform a search.

Why just Google? You can also use other search engines.

Yahoo Search: http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=
Ask: http://www.ask.com/web?q=
Microsoft Live Search: http://search.live.com/results.aspx?q=

Hang on! You may also find something useful in Firefox shortcuts to complete web addresses quickly.

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Saturday, June 09, 2007
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Grab Divx Pro suite for Free! Be Quick

Today I read this post over at Ghacks about getting a free copy of DivX Pro. Well! It seems like Divx.com is giving DivX Pro suite to Windows and Mac users. For those who don't know, DivX Pro bundle enables you to create, view, convert, share high-quality compressed videos.

What you need to do?
Download DivX Pro for Windows or Mac. While installing, enter a email address when prompted. You'll receive the registration key at the email address.
After installation, start Divx and register it by entering the key you received in your email.

DivX Pro contains DivX Player, DivX Converter, DivX Web Player, DivX Pro Codec.
The post also mentioned it may be a limited offer. So hurry up if you want a copy!

You may also be interested in the post on Getting Limewire Pro for Free using Google.

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Saturday, June 09, 2007
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How to Search Faces with Google Image Search

Google Image Search recently introduced face recognition which lets users like you and me to restrict search results to only show faces.
If we search for 'bush', Google Image Search will display all the images related to the keyword 'bush'. However, adding a imgtype=face at the end of the url will show us facial images.

For example.
Do a Google Image Search for 'bush' and copy the url from the address bar. It should look something like
http://images.google.com/images?svnum=10&hl=en&gbv=2&q=bush&btnG=Search+Images

Now append &imgtype=face at the end of the url. Now, it would look like
http://images.google.com/images?svnum=10&hl=en&gbv=2&q=bush
&btnG=Search+Images&imgtype=face


Notice &imgtype=face at the end. Hit Enter and only facial images will be displayed.

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Related Reading:
Google Currency Converter
Search US patents with Google Patent Search
posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Saturday, June 09, 2007
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Firefox 3 Alpha 5 (Gran Paradiso) available for download

Firefox 3 Alpha 5 has been released by Mozilla and is now available for download. Note its an Alpha, so it is for developers and testers. The Mozilla site specifically mentions current Firefox users to avoid installing it.

Firefox 3 Alpha 5 introduces the next generation of Mozilla's rendering engine, Gecko 1.9. So expect websites to be displayed in a different manner.
An interesting feature that has made a re-entry is 'Places'. 'Places' enable you to manage bookmarks, rss subscriptions and browser history in your sidebar. 'Places' use the SQLite database, so it won't be compatible with previous Firefox bookmarks.

Besides 'Places', it includes a new password manager based on Javascript and there is Breakpad, which is a crash reporting tool enabled by default on Mac OS X and half of Windows installations. Breakpad is not yet available for Linux.

Firefox will not support Windows versions 95, 98 and ME and Mac OS X versions 10.2 and older.

A Mozilla Blog post has additional information on the User Interface changes they are working on. Not all of them may be included in the final release of Firefox 3, but looks promising.
Features include 'Places' as we mentioned before, Microformat detection, Location bar changes, Malware detection, Private browsing etc.

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Via Webware | Image Source billkill77
posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Saturday, June 09, 2007
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This Car takes Street View pictures for Google Maps

A few days ago Google introduced 3D street views for a few select cities in Google Maps. Ever wondered how Google gets the street level pictures? A car does it. Check the images below. (If you cannot see the images, click here & here).

It is a car with a 11 lens camera on its top. Immersive Media uses this Street Level View Mobile to take snapshots for Google. The camera on top is Immersive's patented 11 lens camera.

Apart from this, Google has also got its own vehicles taking snaps. And its also believed Google's vehicles have higher resolution than Immersive's.
So what do you say about this?

Via PR

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Tuesday, June 05, 2007
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This day, Thirty Years ago, the first PC went on sale: Apple II

June 5, 1977 should be a red-letter day in Personal Computing. On this day thirty years ago, one of the first widely successful commercial computers, Apple II microcomputer ( sometimes called Apple ][ or Apple //), went on sale.

Image Source: Wikipedia

Built by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs and first introduced at the West Coast Computer Faire in 1977, the Apple II series of computers became popular and changed the technological world forever. Not just business users, the pricing enabled schools and home users own a computer. It became ever more popular after the release of VisiCalc, the first computer spreadsheet program.

The original Apple II was discontinued in 1980. However, in 1983 Apple introduced Lisa, the first commercial personal computer with a Graphical User Interface (GUI) and a mouse. The GUI was influenced by Xerox Alto, which was the first computer to employ a GUI. The GUI concept ultimately made its way into Microsoft Windows operating systems.

Apple II triggered the IBM PC, which led to Microsoft making software for personal computers and eventually the Internet was developed; and all this in 30 years.

Read more here
Also check out the post on Nine inspiring photos about the evolution of Computers and the Internet.

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Tuesday, June 05, 2007
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Orkut gets RSS feeds; but what are feeds?

It is a well-known fact that a big percentage of web users still don't know what that orange coloured icon is supposed to do, even though it's been around for quite some time.
Hopefully, that will change and feeds will get wider acceptance with Orkut integration.


That Orange icon is actually a 'feed' link
A lot of web sites provide a feed url, and the orange icon represents that link. A feed brings web site content to you.
Web sites use feeds to provide, promote and distribute their content. Feeds are used on those sites that update content frequently. This includes news websites, blogs etc

Reading a Feed
A 'feed Reader' or 'feed aggregator' must be used to read feed content. Once the user provides a web site's feed link to a reader (this is called subscribing to a feed), the reader will check for new content and consequently download updates if it finds any.

Feed Readers
For beginners, an example of a feed reader is Firefox's built-in Live bookmarks feature. Internet Explorer 7.0 and Opera also has built-in feed readers. Subscribing from browsers that have a built-in feed reader is easy; one only has to click the orange icon and the browser will try to subscribe to that feed.
Google Reader is another popular web based feed reader.

Image: A Firefox Live Bookmark example

Basically, one uses feeds to keep track of their favourite websites.
For eg. A user who has subscribed to a Tech Xpress or BBC feed, need not visit those web sites manually every time to check what's new. The feed reader will show some part or whole of the content from these sites and users can choose to view only the articles that interest them.

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posted by Vijeesh Ravindran, Sunday, June 03, 2007
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