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My New Computer

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Well, I finally did it. After years of promising myself that the next time I'd need a new computer, I'd get a Mac. YES. I got my 27-inch iMac!!! So far, it is so much faster and nicer. No more PCs for me!!

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Well, that's it.

That was the tipping point, the straw that broke the camel's back, the final brick, last puzzle piece, the writing on the wall.

Microsoft, former Software Giant, Loses Paul, Closes Doors

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Well, that's it.

That was the tipping point, the straw that broke the camel's back, the final brick, last puzzle piece, the writing on the wall.

Microsoft, former Software Giant, Loses Paul, Closes Doors

The end of the line, the last leg of the trip, it's not over till it's over, I took the fork when I go to it.

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Well, I finally did it. After years of promising myself that the next time I'd need a new computer, I'd get a Mac. YES. I got my 27-inch iMac!!! So far, it is so much faster and nicer. No more PCs for me!!

So are you going to be a latte or a cappuccino man, Paul? (Whole milk, triple grande, no foam latter here.)

Congrats on the iMac!

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For us gamers, a PC with good 'ole Windows is still the only game in town. A little competition would be nice, but as far as I know, no one else is even trying. :/

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Well, I finally did it. After years of promising myself that the next time I'd need a new computer, I'd get a Mac. YES. I got my 27-inch iMac!!! So far, it is so much faster and nicer. No more PCs for me!!

So are you going to be a latte or a cappuccino man, Paul? (Whole milk, triple grande, no foam latter here.)

Congrats on the iMac!

I guess I'll take latte. It fun trying to figure out how do to thinks on the iMac. Many differences with PC. But many similarities.

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It fun trying to figure out how do to thinks on the iMac. Many differences with PC. But many similarities.

When you begin to properly acquaint yourself to using it, you should discover that many things are just simply easier to do in ways you would never have anticipated.

For example, when I have an enormous number of windows open while working, and I need to copy-paste a number from one window and place it in another. In Windows you have to go on a minimize-maximize "hunt" for the specific window you are looking for. On my Mac, I simply move my mouse to the upper-left corner, and all windows automatically shrink and separate themselves into an organized grid, allowing me to click the one I'm looking for.

Contrarily, imagine you just downloaded a document to your desktop, but your desktop is obscured behind layers of windows and applications. I just simply move my mouse to the lower-left corner, and all windows temporarily fly off the screen, revealing my desktop below. I think click-drag the document, move the mouse back to the lower left, and all the windows come back. Now that the windows are back, I move the mouse over the folder I want (while click-dragging) and the folder automatically opens after a pre-set amount of time, "bubbling" up a new window, allowing me to repeat the process until I find the desired location.

Thousands of similar processes such as these are transformed from being plodding and tedious to fast, efficient, and graphically dazzling.

This functionality is brought to you by "Exposé", which you can find under "System Preferences" which should be on your Dock. (your Dock, btw, can be positioned on any side of the screen, set to "magnify" to a specified amount when you place your mouse on it, changed in size, and made to "hide" and appear as you need it).

Another general difference I've noticed is that anyone who seriously uses a Windows computer inevitably has a Desktop obscured behind a bewildering array of clickable icons (documents, programs, etc), because it is unfortunately more efficient to do that than to navigate the tedious Windows "Start" button. On Mac my Desktop is usually literally empty, as anything I need is either already on the Dock, or can be found effortlessly through Finder or Spotlight. It's nice that way, because having the Desktop clear allows me to see my beautiful astronomy pictures I download, which change automatically every time I wake my computer up from sleep.

On the subject of "sleep", you should almost never have to actually turn off a Mac. The sleep is somehow different on a Mac than on a PC, and also because Mac's are much more stable, you never actually have to turn off the thing for months at a time. Sleep is fine!

You'll also notice that while occasionally (no software is perfect) individual programs or applications may crash or freeze, requiring a Force-Quit, these crashes/freezes will virtually never result in the crashing or freezing of the operating system itself (resulting in the inevitable ctrl-alt-dlt reset or whatever it is you barbarians do on a PC). I don't understand why, I've just been told repeatedly by very intelligent programmers that this difference is a result of the fundamental difference in how PC vs Macs or other Unix systems are built. It is a difference that gives them intrinsically more stability in their OS.

Enjoy! "You have taken your first step into a larger world."

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It fun trying to figure out how do to thinks on the iMac. Many differences with PC. But many similarities.

When you begin to properly acquaint yourself to using it, you should discover that many things are just simply easier to do in ways you would never have anticipated.

For example, when I have an enormous number of windows open while working, and I need to copy-paste a number from one window and place it in another. In Windows you have to go on a minimize-maximize "hunt" for the specific window you are looking for. On my Mac, I simply move my mouse to the upper-left corner, and all windows automatically shrink and separate themselves into an organized grid, allowing me to click the one I'm looking for.

Contrarily, imagine you just downloaded a document to your desktop, but your desktop is obscured behind layers of windows and applications. I just simply move my mouse to the lower-left corner, and all windows temporarily fly off the screen, revealing my desktop below. I think click-drag the document, move the mouse back to the lower left, and all the windows come back. Now that the windows are back, I move the mouse over the folder I want (while click-dragging) and the folder automatically opens after a pre-set amount of time, "bubbling" up a new window, allowing me to repeat the process until I find the desired location.

Thousands of similar processes such as these are transformed from being plodding and tedious to fast, efficient, and graphically dazzling.

This functionality is brought to you by "Exposé", which you can find under "System Preferences" which should be on your Dock. (your Dock, btw, can be positioned on any side of the screen, set to "magnify" to a specified amount when you place your mouse on it, changed in size, and made to "hide" and appear as you need it).

Another general difference I've noticed is that anyone who seriously uses a Windows computer inevitably has a Desktop obscured behind a bewildering array of clickable icons (documents, programs, etc), because it is unfortunately more efficient to do that than to navigate the tedious Windows "Start" button. On Mac my Desktop is usually literally empty, as anything I need is either already on the Dock, or can be found effortlessly through Finder or Spotlight. It's nice that way, because having the Desktop clear allows me to see my beautiful astronomy pictures I download, which change automatically every time I wake my computer up from sleep.

On the subject of "sleep", you should almost never have to actually turn off a Mac. The sleep is somehow different on a Mac than on a PC, and also because Mac's are much more stable, you never actually have to turn off the thing for months at a time. Sleep is fine!

You'll also notice that while occasionally (no software is perfect) individual programs or applications may crash or freeze, requiring a Force-Quit, these crashes/freezes will virtually never result in the crashing or freezing of the operating system itself (resulting in the inevitable ctrl-alt-dlt reset or whatever it is you barbarians do on a PC). I don't understand why, I've just been told repeatedly by very intelligent programmers that this difference is a result of the fundamental difference in how PC vs Macs or other Unix systems are built. It is a difference that gives them intrinsically more stability in their OS.

Enjoy! "You have taken your first step into a larger world."

Thanks for your insights. I'm having a problem connecting it to my network (of other PCs). Any idea how do to that? I've set the Mac up to the appropriate newtwork and workgroup, but I don't know how to see the other computers.

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I use a Microsoft mouse with my Mac Mini. Using right click brings all kinds of options up that would otherwise require an extra step or two to access. (This mouse has five programable buttons and a roller for scrolling both vertically and horizontally. The Mac just went with it, NP.)

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For example, when I have an enormous number of windows open while working, and I need to copy-paste a number from one window and place it in another. In Windows you have to go on a minimize-maximize "hunt" for the specific window you are looking for. On my Mac, I simply move my mouse to the upper-left corner, and all windows automatically shrink and separate themselves into an organized grid, allowing me to click the one I'm looking for.

This is not a fair comparison. First off, you didn't state it, but I'll figure you're comparing to Windows. Ask around to people who use Windows and see if anyone minimizes and unminimizes windows to find the one they're looking for. You can switch using ALT+TAB, or find it using the taskbar, which, unlike Mac OS's Dock, shows individual windows (changed somewhat in Windows 7 but it can be configured), not just applications.

Another general difference I've noticed is that anyone who seriously uses a Windows computer inevitably has a Desktop obscured behind a bewildering array of clickable icons (documents, programs, etc), because it is unfortunately more efficient to do that than to navigate the tedious Windows "Start" button. On Mac my Desktop is usually literally empty, as anything I need is either already on the Dock, or can be found effortlessly through Finder or Spotlight. It's nice that way, because having the Desktop clear allows me to see my beautiful astronomy pictures I download, which change automatically every time I wake my computer up from sleep.

This is a weak criticism since Windows Vista. Windows Desktop Search allows searching the start menu, with results of programs, and all other files, shown next to each other simultaneously. If people choose to clutter their desktop with files, that is their own problem, and not a fault of the operating system. (I will grant that Windows stole the whole desktop mechanism from Mac OS, making it a virtual folder without ever really grokking how it was supposed to work, like Apple does. But give credit for the significant improvements that Windows has made in the last several years.)

You'll also notice that while occasionally (no software is perfect) individual programs or applications may crash or freeze, requiring a Force-Quit, these crashes/freezes will virtually never result in the crashing or freezing of the operating system itself (resulting in the inevitable ctrl-alt-dlt reset or whatever it is you barbarians do on a PC). I don't understand why, I've just been told repeatedly by very intelligent programmers that this difference is a result of the fundamental difference in how PC vs Macs or other Unix systems are built. It is a difference that gives them intrinsically more stability in their OS.

Individual program crashes do not cause system instability in Windows. This is not a "PC" issue; it depends on the operating system. Windows does become unstable from time to time in difficult-to-diagnose ways, which I vaguely suspect are related to deadlocks on system resources (such as handles). Some of these issues don't immediately "crash" the operating system but nevertheless require it to be restarted before the system can become useful.

CTL+ALT+DEL has not reset Windows since the 9x line before Windows 2000, released February 2000. Have you used Windows since then?

To the Mac's credit, I don't dispute the other points you have made which I have not quoted.

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As a general disclaimer, I do have to work on PC's often, as my work occasional requires a software visualization package that we didn't yet have a Mac license for. All of my statements are a result of doing research, often using both Mac and PC simultaneously in a given day, all day.

For example, when I have an enormous number of windows open while working, and I need to copy-paste a number from one window and place it in another. In Windows you have to go on a minimize-maximize "hunt" for the specific window you are looking for. On my Mac, I simply move my mouse to the upper-left corner, and all windows automatically shrink and separate themselves into an organized grid, allowing me to click the one I'm looking for.

This is not a fair comparison. First off, you didn't state it, but I'll figure you're comparing to Windows. Ask around to people who use Windows and see if anyone minimizes and unminimizes windows to find the one they're looking for. You can switch using ALT+TAB, or find it using the taskbar, which, unlike Mac OS's Dock, shows individual windows (changed somewhat in Windows 7 but it can be configured), not just applications.

If it's not a minimize-maximize hunt, then its squinting your eyes and crawling through the list of minimized tabs. Both are inferior to the rapid and painless Expose method I discussed with Mac.

If you do Alt-Tab, then Apple does something identical anyways.

Another general difference I've noticed is that anyone who seriously uses a Windows computer inevitably has a Desktop obscured behind a bewildering array of clickable icons (documents, programs, etc), because it is unfortunately more efficient to do that than to navigate the tedious Windows "Start" button. On Mac my Desktop is usually literally empty, as anything I need is either already on the Dock, or can be found effortlessly through Finder or Spotlight. It's nice that way, because having the Desktop clear allows me to see my beautiful astronomy pictures I download, which change automatically every time I wake my computer up from sleep.

This is a weak criticism since Windows Vista. Windows Desktop Search allows searching the start menu, with results of programs, and all other files, shown next to each other simultaneously. If people choose to clutter their desktop with files, that is their own problem, and not a fault of the operating system. (I will grant that Windows stole the whole desktop mechanism from Mac OS, making it a virtual folder without ever really grokking how it was supposed to work, like Apple does. But give credit for the significant improvements that Windows has made in the last several years.)

From personal experience of using PC's at work the search system on Windows is not as fast or useful as Spotlight.

It's not much of a credit that Vista improved this by stealing the Dock mechanism, when that mechanism was five or six years old at the time. In the timeframe they worked on Vista, Mac unveiled I think over three separate OS's, each being better than the last. In the meantime the only OS accomplishment for Microsoft was a less-polished, more memory-consuming rip-off of Mac OS? Fail.

You'll also notice that while occasionally (no software is perfect) individual programs or applications may crash or freeze, requiring a Force-Quit, these crashes/freezes will virtually never result in the crashing or freezing of the operating system itself (resulting in the inevitable ctrl-alt-dlt reset or whatever it is you barbarians do on a PC). I don't understand why, I've just been told repeatedly by very intelligent programmers that this difference is a result of the fundamental difference in how PC vs Macs or other Unix systems are built. It is a difference that gives them intrinsically more stability in their OS.

Individual program crashes do not cause system instability in Windows. This is not a "PC" issue; it depends on the operating system. Windows does become unstable from time to time in difficult-to-diagnose ways, which I vaguely suspect are related to deadlocks on system resources (such as handles). Some of these issues don't immediately "crash" the operating system but nevertheless require it to be restarted before the system can become useful.

Eh, I'll default to the judgment of programmers that I've spoken to.

As a personal anecdote, I remember when a IT guy I know installed Windows 7, and chortled with unsuppressed glee "It's so stable, I haven't turned it off in like 2 weeks and it hasn't crashed yet!", to which I thought but didn't say "I haven't turned my Mac off in 7 months, and it hasn't crashed yet....?".

CTL+ALT+DEL has not reset Windows since the 9x line before Windows 2000, released February 2000. Have you used Windows since then?
As little as possible. After watching family computer after family computer fall to the wayside when I was growing up, all my personal comps have been Macs. The PC I work on in the office actually is stable, and has never "crashed", so no recent experience restarting a frozen Windows, no.

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From personal experience of using PC's at work the search system on Windows is not as fast or useful as Spotlight.

Though in fairness, I think the Windows 7 search is faster than its predecessors.

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As a general disclaimer, I do have to work on PC's often, as my work occasional requires a software visualization package that we didn't yet have a Mac license for. All of my statements are a result of doing research, often using both Mac and PC simultaneously in a given day, all day.
For example, when I have an enormous number of windows open while working, and I need to copy-paste a number from one window and place it in another. In Windows you have to go on a minimize-maximize "hunt" for the specific window you are looking for. On my Mac, I simply move my mouse to the upper-left corner, and all windows automatically shrink and separate themselves into an organized grid, allowing me to click the one I'm looking for.

This is not a fair comparison. First off, you didn't state it, but I'll figure you're comparing to Windows. Ask around to people who use Windows and see if anyone minimizes and unminimizes windows to find the one they're looking for. You can switch using ALT+TAB, or find it using the taskbar, which, unlike Mac OS's Dock, shows individual windows (changed somewhat in Windows 7 but it can be configured), not just applications.

If it's not a minimize-maximize hunt, then its squinting your eyes and crawling through the list of minimized tabs. Both are inferior to the rapid and painless Expose method I discussed with Mac.

As an additional point, the premise of using the tab of windows on Windows to find the window you are looking for (redundant sentence is redundant) is that the tab contains enough information to recognize easily which tab corresponds to which window, so that you can rapidly locate the information or whatever it is you need. This won't always be the case, especially if you have many similar windows open.

If I have 8 different windows open in my visualization software, and each is showing a unique molecule and each is cryptically labeled with a name that doesn't allow one to discern between each (which is nearly always the case), then the tab is useless, and one must resort to min-maxing all the windows to find the one you want. Expose would be more efficient, as it allows you to pick the one you want from simple visual instant recognition.

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As a general statement, I'm not a "Mac Fanboy" who "hates" Windows and thinks that all Apple products are the greatest inventions on the planet. For the average computer user, especially people seriously into gaming, PC is probably a better purchase for you.

Windows XP was a good OS, and 7 may turn out to be nice as well (and pre '95 I thought our Windows home computers were stable). I just find it professionally disappointing that Microsoft cannot deliver consistency in their OS, which for a company of their vast size and resources they should be in a position to attract the best talent and deliver the best products. It seems they oscillate, with every-other OS being good, and the ones in-between disasters.

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In Windows Vista and later, the ALT+TAB screen shows the window contents using the desktop composition. In Windows 7, pointing at it with the mouse, or pausing on it with the keyboard, while holding ALT, displays that window full screen. Not the same as Expose (which no doubt they didn't dare copy precisely), but somewhat comparable.

I do use Mac OS with some regularity and I found that Expose was sometimes useful but not my preferred method of switching applications. I found that typically I preferred CMD+TAB.

I preferred the taskbar a little bit more before the change in Windows 7, and preferred that much to the Dock. I like launching programs being separate from switching to them. I found that the large visual area of a taskbar button to convey that a program is running was much more useful than the little triangle in the Dock.

But, either because Microsoft wanted to move closer to the Mac, or because their usability studies suggested the changes that they ended up making in Windows 7 were better (they talk about this extensively on the Windows 7 Engineering blog), or a combination of both, they made the taskbar more Dock-like in 7.

There was a version update of Windows Desktop Search that delivered a speed increase, so that might have happened somewhere along the way. (The original Windows Desktop Search, as well as this update, became available for XP and Vista, even though XP originally never had the feature.)

Although Windows Vista was the after-result of a completely failed Windows project that was thrown out in August 2004 (and thus, really, only the result of two years of work after they had squandered three), .NET has made large gains during this time, and remains one of the best general-purpose programming platforms. Mac OS is stuck in the NeXT-originated Objective-C/Cocoa land, and is really way behind the state of the art. It's not even managed code! End users don't directly experience this but I suspect this is one of many reasons Macs are less used in business as .NET is used heavily in business applications (more than consumer-facing software). .NET is one of the very few areas in Microsoft that I would say is actually innovating.

Eh, I'll default to the judgment of programmers that I've spoken to.

Well, I am a programmer, so you have my input. :D

Anyway, I don't mean to get into a Windows vs Mac debate, because the choice really does depend on personal and individual factors (I could list many more things that are much superior about either Windows, or Mac); but I did want to correct a few things.

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From personal experience of using PC's at work the search system on Windows is not as fast or useful as Spotlight.

I've never tried Spotlight, so I can't compare the two, but my start-menu search function is as fast as I can type and filters results for each letter.

Eh, I'll default to the judgment of programmers that I've spoken to.

As a personal anecdote, I remember when a IT guy I know installed Windows 7, and chortled with unsuppressed glee "It's so stable, I haven't turned it off in like 2 weeks and it hasn't crashed yet!", to which I thought but didn't say "I haven't turned my Mac off in 7 months, and it hasn't crashed yet....?".

I only reboot my system after installing new updates. I constantly run several rather demanding applications and have a bunch of small stuff going on constantly(explorer, spotify, playing media etc). Only times i've had any real trouble has been with faulty hardware or drivers. A few applications can also be a real pain(like flash, i've noticed).

Now there is a difference, I believe, in how Windows and Mac run things. I'm no expert on Mac's but as I understand it they run applications in a sort of sandbox mode, meaning everything the application needs is contained within the application itself. Windows programs on the other hand may need to access system files. That's how I understand the difference anyway. In practice though, if a program crashes on Windows you press ctrl-alt-del and kill the process, and that's it.

Anyway, I support Paul's decision of getting a new computer. New toys and gadgets are yay to life! :D

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Wonderful news! Apple makes beautiful products - the quality of engineering and design is simply unequalled as far as I'm concerned, in any other product or asset class. My new iPhone 4 is simply beautiful and remains so after months of use. I pity Blackberry users at work...

Still, for me personally, the choice remains a PC, simply because of the USD for your buck consideration. I am no serious gamer, merely an office guy who also likes to listen to classical music and open hundreds of Google Chrome tabs (preferably with YouTube clips, it's my way of remembering which to watch). At some point, I might even have access to my own Bloomberg terminal at home :D

The best set up, for me, is to have the OS on an SSD, data on HD, and use the rest of the mac-price cash to invest in memory, a good processor, a silent fan and another widescreen (amazing what multiple screens do to your productivity by the way). I found, for work and daily life, Macs too frustrating (perhaps because I do not have sufficient experience in solving problems on a mac). For example, when I left my last firm, I wanted to transfer about 600MB of client files to a colleague before destroying them. Of course, no USB key was large enough, so I thought about using my iPhone. Unfortunately, whilst the iPhone is a large HD, it is also not accessible for data storage, which something like an Android would be.

For solving these little problems (printing to PDF, troubleshooting a printer, etc.) I as a novice find PCs much easier to handle, if only because I can just google the problem and the solution will come up in the first few results.

As for security issues, I haven't had any (perhaps because I'm using a free firewall and a free antivirus from fresh install). And my now 2 years old $200 netbook has never crashed nor had any problems although it is getting slow these days (perhaps in comparison to work computers).

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USD for your buck should read bang for your buck.

The troubleshooting consideration is actually the biggest drawback of Apple for me. I particularly remember not being able to connect to a hotel wireless with my iPhone (I had left the laptop at work and personal laptop home in another country) and not being able to tweak settings to get it to work (as was shown in the hotel instructions booklet) was seriously frustrating. Idiot proofing should have an "advanced" tab.

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Now there is a difference, I believe, in how Windows and Mac run things. I'm no expert on Mac's but as I understand it they run applications in a sort of sandbox mode, meaning everything the application needs is contained within the application itself. Windows programs on the other hand may need to access system files. That's how I understand the difference anyway. In practice though, if a program crashes on Windows you press ctrl-alt-del and kill the process, and that's it.

The dependency on external files is a function of the design of the specific application and not fundamental to the platform.

What is true of both platforms:

  • Applications run in separate memory spaces, and ordinarily a program crash does not negatively impact the operating system as a whole.
  • Applications have full access, with some exceptions, to the full logged-on user's account resources, and thus a malicious application can do quite a bit of damage. There is protection across user accounts, but not "sandboxing" of specific applications in any significant or effective way. (UAC in Windows Vista does not affect this in any significant way. The purpose of UAC was not as a direct security barrier; rather it was a strategy on Microsoft's part to make running as a administrator account no less annoying than running as an administrator account. (This is a very widely misunderstood point, so I cite the source: cite (see the second-to-last paragraph))

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I use a Microsoft mouse with my Mac Mini. Using right click brings all kinds of options up that would otherwise require an extra step or two to access. (This mouse has five programable buttons and a roller for scrolling both vertically and horizontally. The Mac just went with it, NP.)

I forgot about Magic Mouse:

Link (Scroll to the middle of the screen for a 2:25 video on this wonderful gizmo.)

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That's the mouse that came with my computer. Amazing options with no apparent buttons. I can scroll up and down, back and forward (with 2 finger swipe), left and right click.

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It's a great idea but it doesn't fit my hand well at all. I've never found Apple mice personally usable, I end up using a Logitech typically.

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