Category: Technology

How to Install Nextcloud Owncloud App on Ubuntu Phone

Before you begin: Always first check in the stock ubuntu software center to make sure that it’s not simply available there first.  As of the date of this post it is not, but I expect it will be there very soon.  Do not proceed with this tutorial if there is a one click app in the software center 🙂

1 Go to this link on your Ubuntu phone browser, follow the installation instructions.

http://open.uappexplorer.com

2 Scroll down until you see the ‘Open Store’ app

(image coming).

Click ‘install’ and it will show you the 4 steps you have to follow.  Follow them.  Do them. Love them.  However, if you aren’t awesome with difficult stuff, I’ll expand on each step:

  1. download the openstore thing: click it.  It will download.  Then at bottom of browser, slide up again and it will bring you back to instruction page
  2. your terminal app is the black thing on your main home screen of phone (image coming).  open that.
  3. to navigate to your downloads file, in your terminal app, type this:   cd ~/Downloads
  4. for the ‘run the command’ simply copy the pkcon install-local – – allow-untrusted openstore.openstore-team_0… stuff’ to your phones clipboard by pushing and holding.  Long slide from the right side of your screen. paste it in your terminal with a long push on screen and then enter key by pushing the keyboard icon lower right.

3 Go back to the link above and scroll down until you see the owncloud file sync app and click the ‘install’ button.  It will give you a warning that you are about to kill your phone and ruin your life.  Accept this because life is short.

4 Install again (you’ll see an orange install button down a bit after the warning screen)

5 Go back to your home screen of phone and the owncloud app will be waiting for you.  When you open it enter your owncloud or nextcloud credentials and server location

From here you should be able to connect a shared calendar and also share files and backup files.  I’ll do a quick tutorial on that at my next available minute but hopefully this helps a few people out.

 

 

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How to Sync a Calendar Between Owncloud/Nextcloud and Thunderbird Lightning

For some reason this is not that intuitive the first time and there don’t seem to be many/any specific tutorials out there.  I kept getting a ‘modification fail’ error message or other errors. So, here you go:

In Nextcloud/Owncloud

1. Log in to your browser-based owncloud/nextcloud page

2. Go to the top left and click the down arrow to access the calendar app

Note: this *must* be enabled first by your admin, if you happen also to be your own admin

01_nextcloud_lightning

3. Grab the caldav link from the … share icon drop down

02_nextcloud_lightning

4. Select the content of the link and copy it to your clipboard (control A/Control C)

03_nextcloud_lightning

Back in Thunderbird Lightning

Note: You must first have the Lightning add-on installed in Thunderbird if yours does not already have it.  It should come default but I recall in the past it did not…

Now skip past step #10 in this tutorial, and start at the ‘Back in Thunderbird Lightning’ steps

The key point is that it is ‘caldav’ that you select, *not* ical.

 

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How to Get Korean (Hangul) Working on Ubuntu 16.04

EDITED October 31, 2016

This tutorial might also work on Ubuntu 14.04, I haven’t tried yet.

I love Ubuntu and I love Hangul but I’m not going to deny it – it’s not hyper-easy to get it running on Ubuntu, not because it’s super hard but because there aren’t any helpful blog posts out there to walk someone through it.

By golly, miss molly, that ends today!  Let’s begin…

  1. Hit the super key and type ‘languages’ and then click/open the “language support” icon as per this:

01_language_support_in_dash

2. Click ‘install/remove languages’ as per this:

02_install_remove_languages

English should be selected already (if your mother-tongue install was English).

3. Choose “korean” from the list, then apply, and wait (a really long time sometimes) while it downloads King Sejong and the kitchen sink…

03_select_korean_from_list

EDIT! Some have reported not finding the Korean option in this list.  I cannot explain why this would be, nor have I experienced this, but I would recommend that if this is your case try logging out completely and logging back in and trying again.  Let me know if that helped.

Here is where the non-intuitive stuff starts.  You’d think doing the above would be all you need but you need to do a bit more.

EDIT! If you have tried this tutorial before, make sure you *log out* here completely and log back in or you might not see the next “Korean (Hangul) (ibus)” option.

4. Go to the top right of the screen where you see English (En) and click that and you’ll see ‘text entry settings’

04_text_entry_settings

Now you will English sitting there all alone.

5. Press the + sign and then type ‘korean’ and select it.  Then you’ll see a screen like this.  Choose Korean (Hangul) (Ibus).

05_adding_hangul_ibus

I had some issues leaving the ‘master keyboard’ (that’s a name I gave it) switching with the default (something with the super key) and so I changed mine to Control + space bar.  You can do whatever you want by just clicking in the space where the default is and hitting your favourite combo in on your keyboard.  When finished just close the window and your changes will be saved.

Remember, this is *not* the hangul-english keyboard language switching combo.  This is the keyboard combo that switches your keyboard from the “English only” (En) one to the “Korean with English capabilities” one.

06_changing_accelerator

Now, we’re getting close to being able to angle your Hangul, but just one more critical step that will save you the pulling out of multiple strands of hair.

6. You must now either reboot, or log out and log back in again in order to be able to eat your green eggs with Hangul.

You will know that you have successfully reached Hangul-Land when the top right area that used to say “En” is now a colourful Korean swirl like so:

07_korean_swirl

Although you now have full Korean capabilities, you now must use the keyboard combos found within this Korean keyboard in order to switch between English and Korean.  The default combo is shift + space bar, and you can try it out now for a fun test.  You may, like me, wish to change this keyboard combo to something else. If you do,  go on to the next section.

How to Customize Your Shiny New Korean Keyboard with a Custom Language Toggle Keyboard Combo

Click the colourful swirl and select ‘setup’ as per this:

08_hangul_customize

Next, you will see the Hangul toggle key space with the defaults. If you want to change the keys used to toggle between Korean and English, just click ‘add’ and then, even though it says ‘key’ singular in the pop up, you can hit the key combo with your computer and it will work.

*Warning!* It shows this popup when you hit ‘add’ under the Hangul toggle area, which is *incorrect*. It should say ‘hangul’ not hanja here. Both hanja and hangul display the same pop up box so it just needs a bug report to fix this but I’m too tired at the point of writing this blog…

10_incorrect_hanja_in_popup

In this case, I used control +right alt key because I remember using something like that back in the day and it felt comfortable.  You can do whatever floats your boat.

09_new_toggle_added

아이구! 신기 신기! 오렛동안 한국말 이컴퓨터에서 못했어….  드디어.

Hope this helps you grow in Ubuntu and Korean!

 

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Working with PDFs in Ubuntu

Ubuntu is by far the best operating system in existence.  One of the things that hasn’t been broadcast around much is how Ubuntu is also awesome for business.

If you run a business (or work in one) you will know that PDF files are one of the most standard documents that you work with, or would like to work with.  Here is a bullet proof list of things that I’m always dealing with and that Ubuntu solves:

  • people sending .jpg or .tiff or .png files instead of PDFs (unprofessional but a reality)
  • PDF files being way too big which is unfair to bandwidth, especially if someone will be downloading on a mobile (good percentage chance)
  • I need to split a bunch of pages, do something, and then glue them back together again and I don’t want to print it all and scan it
  • I need to watermark or stamp a PDF with something
  • I need to create a PDF from a word processing document or spreadsheet

These are just some of my regular issues, but great news!  All of them will be solved for you in this post, once and for all, and for free.

How to Compress a Big PDF File Without Killing the Quality

This one took me a while, but all you have to do is:

  1. open a terminal (if you don’t know how, click here)
  2. Navigate with the terminal to where your over-sized PDF file is (If you don’t know how, go to the section on “File & Directory Commands” on this page.)
  3. In the gobbly-gook that is sitting in step #4 below, change the ‘OUTPUTFILENAME’ to the name you want the resulting file to be named and the INPUTFILENAME to the name of the file that is too big and is sitting in the directory you just navigated to.
  4. copy this gobbly gook into your computer clipboard AFTER doing step #3 to it.  I would recommend pasting it to a separate text editor (like body of an email) first, do your changes, and then re-pasting it to the terminal) :  gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 -dPDFSETTINGS=/default     -dNOPAUSE -dQUIET -dBATCH -dDetectDuplicateImages     -dCompressFonts=true -r150 -sOutputFile=OUTPUTFILENAME.pdf INPUTFILENAME.pdf
  5. Copy your updated version of the gobbly-gook to the computer’s clipboard
  6. Paste it to the terminal with this *different* version of control V.  If you use the normal paste, it won’t work.  Do this: control + Shift (same time) then press ‘v’ and it will paste to the terminal.
  7. press the enter key and the process will run

You should now have a smaller PDF file that didn’t lose too much quality.  There are other versions of this command above which I found killed the quality too much. This one was great for me.

How to Convert a .jpg or a .tiff or a .png File to a PDF File

  1. Open a terminal (if you don’t know how, click here)
  2. Navigate with your terminal to where your .jpg or a .tiff or a .png files are (If you don’t know how, go to the section on “File & Directory Commands” on this page.)
  3. type ‘convert’ and then start typing the name of the file you want to convert.  *TIP: after you start typing the file name, you can press ‘tab’ and it will auto fill.  If it doesn’t completely auto fill it means there is another file name there similar so you have to type a few more letters and then ‘tab’ again.  This saves much time and errors.
  4. start typing the name of the file you want the newly created PDF to be named.  Likely it will be the same as the photo name which is great and convenient because you can use the same TIP above with the tab button and it will auto-fill it quickly.  Caution: if you use auto-fill make sure you change the last three letters to ‘.pdf’ so that it will actually open as a pdf!
  5.  Here is what an example command will look like before you press enter: convert photo_document.png photo_document.pdf
  6. Press enter

If you know how to do basic terminal navigation, this is truly a lightening fast process and super useful.  That said, there is probably a light conversion app out there that does this on Ubuntu and I’d like not to use the terminal if possible so please share

How to Take a Multi-Page PDF File and Split Them into Individual Files

  1. go to the Ubuntu software center search and get “PDF Sam” pdf_sam
  2. Use the ‘split’ feature
  3. Mess around with all the options (I don’t have time to do a full tutorial here)
  4. Enjoy!

How to Take a Multi-Page PDF File and Split Them at a Certain Point in the File

 

  • go to the Ubuntu software center search and get “PDF Sam” pdf_sam
  • Use the ‘split’ feature
  • Make sure you choose the ‘split after these pages’ and the file will ‘cut’ right there.  I haven’t tried it but I bet you could put a comma in there after each page number you want to split at and split a whole series of pages….
  • Enjoy!

 

How to Watermark or Stamp or Batch Adjust Multiple Pages on a PDF in 10 Easy Steps

Tutorial about how to stamp.

Tutorial about how to watermark.

How to Rotate All Pages in a Multi Page PDF File

I wrote this tutorial earlier for this one here.

How to Turn Anything You Can Print into a PDF Document (ie. Emails, web pages, etc)

I wrote this tutorial earlier for this one here.

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How to Easily Open a Terminal in Ubuntu

There are two ways:

1.  FROM THE LAUNCHER ON THE LEFT

On the left side of your Ubuntu machine you’ll see the vertical column of apps you can one-click open.  Usually the terminal is here.  It’s the black box thing with the right-pointing greater than symbol thing and underscore.  Click it.  It opens.

terminal_on_left

2.  THROUGH THE DASH

  1. push your super key (aka ‘windows key’ if you have a redeemed machine)
  2. start typing ‘terminal’
  3. it shows up
  4. click it with mouse or use arrow keys to navigate to it and push ‘enter’ key
  5. it opens

terminal-in-dash

If opened it looks like so:

terminal_open

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Google’s Tentacles Stretch Further: Verify Your Identity

I had an old ‘smart phone’ lying around and I thought about reconnecting it for one single purpose for our business.  It would not phone, it would not text, it would not even go to a website and search.  It’s only job would be to take a photo, and upload the photo to our private cloud storage.

Of course, I know that Google is invasive and nasty so I was sure to create a new account, without linking any of my personal contact information to the account.  For the single purpose of uploading photos, surely they won’t want to know who I am, right?

Wrong.

I remember years ago before I had started my google exodus journey (89% complete now, btw) they had added this neat little ‘security’ feature under the log in.  It was saying ‘Add a phone number to make sure you won’t ever get locked out and to make sure we can verify your identity.”  That was the start of my ‘questioning’ period.  Why does my email provider need my phone number?  And why do other companies not ask for this?  And if I give them this number, and they are connected to my telecom, will this provide tracking even if my GPS is off?  Etc, etc.  I remember always choosing the ‘skip’ option when this prompt came on.

It seems like skipping this option is now over.

Today while setting up this phone, I successfully:

  • created a new and anonymous google account on the phone
  • created fake answers to the security questions, not linked to me.
  • skipped adding the phone feature
  • saw the successful account creation message

Then, as I went into the google play store to download the only app I need to do the only purpose this phone will perform, there was a ‘something is wrong with your account’ message.  I entered the password about 5 times and it still spewed the same error.

Finally I went to the gmail login page and tried to log in that way where I was greeted with the message “Suspicious account activity is suspected” (something like that).  I then was *forced* to ‘verify my identity” with a phone number.  It gave me two options: sms (text) or voice.  So, I went and got my Fongo number, which works for both SMS and voice calls no problem, and I entered that and chose the SMS option.

It then spewed out a message “You can’t use this phone number.”

Really?  Go figure.  It’s a fully working phone number which can receive texts.
Then I chose the ‘voice call’ option since there is nothing wrong with that whatsoever.  And, as long as the owner of the phone number is there to receive the call and enter in the code, the identity is verified, right?

Wrong.

It also would not accept my fongo number for that voice call either.

Finally, just to test the theory, I gave google one more piece of my identity.  I entered my ‘big telecom’ personal cell phone number into the sms verification code window and *boom*.  Instantly I received the code which I entered and the account was activated.

Now it is proven that there is no way to be part of google without giving them *undeniable proof of your identity* but even worse, your big telecom phone number.

I encourage everyone reading this to start their own google exodus journey because it’s for sure that you’ve already given them way more than you thought.

Don’t wait.  Ubuntu is there as the solution and on any platform.

ps. Yes, you could probably use a pay-as-you-go phone to accomplish this account verification – I didn’t test.  This would be better that what I did.

 

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Tutorial: How to Make NextCloud/Owncloud Calendar Work on Iphone Ipod

Unlike my typical tutorial formats, this one will be a near copy/paste from an email I sent to a real person so that other real people can connect this to their real brain and emotions:


Dear _____,

I’m going to forewarn you that this email is dripping with anger/frustration so try to just plunder through it and even try to enjoy it if you can….

Apple/mac is nuts.  I can’t put into words how much I can’t stand the company.

They do everything under the sun to make their users dumb and compliant – in fact, it’s creepy if you think about this….  I remember now (after this morning) why I full scale boycotted Apple and threw this iPod in the ‘smartphone trash pile’.

I will stop my rant here.

<insulting section about all iphone users removed>

But, back to  the solution because at this point I just want to get our calendars working for the next few months, but please let me put in a plug here to strongly consider the company you are supporting and know that yes, there is a way to totally escape the Apple corporation forever.   – It’s called Ubuntu. I hope your next move is far away from these guys…  I leave it with you and I promise to dedicate all my free time to helping you if/when you are ready to make the move.  Until then I hope I never have to turn this stupid thing on again:

Do this in this impossible-to-imagine difficult workaround solution, and I hope by God’s grace that your ‘issue’ is the same one I’m having here which has everything to do with the Fruit Co. and their ‘ways’.,,,

1. go to ‘settings’
2. go to ‘mail/contacts/calendars, etc’
3. add account
4. go to ‘other’ (because they weren’t respectful enough to give calDav and iCal a title or it’s own option space)
5. add calDAV account (*not* calendar subscription because it seems this fruit co can’t make this work without upgrading to the $10,000 phone or buying the latest fruit air laptop to go with it…??)
6. server: YOURSERVER.COM
7. user name: YOURCLOUDUSERNAME
8. password: your cloud password
9. description: your creative name for calendars
10. hit ‘next’

now here is where it gets *real lame*.  It will say want to continue without SSL? Sure, no problem:

11. continue (yes, i will move forward without SSL)(why? Because fruit co is not secure so why bother with https? in fact, let’s make it *not work at all*)(let’s encrypt is legit SSL and it doesn’t want to work)
12. you will get  “unable to verify account information” error.  Why?  No reason. Just because they want you to use their systems…  but let’s overcome!
13. ‘ok’
14. advanced settings
15. change whatever port number is listed there to 80
16. make sure SSL is off (should be)
17. go back (which somehow saves these settings even though there was no indication saving was happening..?)
18. hit ‘next’
19. but it doesn’t work! cannot verify account details blah blah?  why? Because for no explainable reason, the advanced settings just randomly chose its own URL for the calendar – randomly – as if somehow Fruit Corporation is supposed to know where your calendar is hosted?  no problem. let’s overcome…
20. hit ‘advanced settings’
21. make sure the ‘account URL’ is set exactly to this: http://YOURSERVER.COM:80/YOURSUBDIRECTORY/remote.php/dav/principals/users/YOURUSERNAME/
22. go back
23. done (which somehow means save?)

Here is a summary of what the two screens should look like to make it more simple to make sure you ‘followed their rules’

1.

account: ON
server: YOURSERVER.COM
user name: YOURCLOUDUSERNAME
password: YOUR CLOUD PASSWORD
descxription: some long url probably

2. advanced settings screen

advanced settings:
use ssl: off
port: 80
account url: http://YOURSERVER.COM:80/YOURSUBDIRECTORY/remote.php/dav/principals/users/YOURCLOUDUSERNAME/

Now, you *BETTER* report back to me that this @#$#$@#$@#$@#$  is working or I’ll @#$@#$

<SMASHES FACE ON DESK>

Wayne Out There


 

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Pressure Sensitive Conveyor Labeler Troubleshooting: Backing Paper Snaps

There are many reasons why the paper backing of the labels might break I have discovered.  Here is my list (and I may edit this from time to time as I discover more ways label paper can break!):

Rips at the peeler plate in a nearly perfect line

  1. Plate angle is too harsh: try reducing the angle and making it more straight in line with the path right before it.  So it could be angled too far towards the conveyor so reduce that angle away from conveyor direction which should straighten the path and reduce the intensity right there at the edge of plate at moment of peelage
  2. Peeler plate is too sharp: the actual metal of the plate may not be filed smooth enough
  3. Tension issue has driven the label path up or down and the top or bottom of paper is catching on corner of peeler plate and ripping instantly after cut begins

Snaps at Rewind Drive or Before

  1. The label backing was die-cut too deeply by printers and areas of weakness in backing paper have appeared and the general tension of machine is ripping it.  There really isn’t much to be done, that I know of yet, other than try to reduce tension if you can without screwing up your label application
  2. The unwind assembly isn’t functioning properly, or the dancer arm is jamming somehow so the the rewind drive engine is pulling but the unwind assembly isn’t releasing the new labels so it snaps near the drive.
  3. The clutch/brake is too tight or seized: replace clutch or loosen tension (I guess).  This one seems to really affect everything so try to avoid this one unless you’ve tried everything else.

Other Snap Location?

I haven’t seen it snap anywhere else yet, but I’m sure anything is possible.  If you have some snap action somewhere else along the feed path be sure to let me know and we can share solutions here as notes for ourselves and others.

 

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Ubuntu Phone About to Shake Things Up

I’ve been an Ubuntu fan since 2009 now.  As soon as I met Ubuntu it was game over for all my desktops, laptops, netbooks, home media servers, etc.  There was no competitor who could make a new or existing machine run so quickly and reliably, and without the pain of viruses and continual financial investments to keep it up to date.  The most exciting thing was that no one owned me.  When I heard that Ubuntu was moving to the phone, I purchased a Nexus 4 (N4) so that I could go along for the ride, as that was the first device for development.

I flashed it on, and took it for a ride.  The first thing I noticed was how amazing the user interface was.  It was as if (shocking as this may sound) someone had actually designed a phone with the user in mind.   When I was forced to use a fruit-phone by the big fruit company for a job once, it was like driving a luxury sports car with one arm cut off and in a cement warehouse:  high quality hardware, perhaps, but I’d rather have my freedom and functionality, thank you.  The big US spy agency phone (google/android) not only spied on me, but also has a user interface experience that never quite made sense.  It was (and still is) difficult to do some basic setting changes.  I tried cyanogen mod as a bit of a ‘lesser-of-two-evils’ but it too had the same issues because ultimately it’s all built on the same shaky foundation.

Ubuntu, on the other hand, is built with freedom and people in mind.  Randall Ross wrote a great post a while back about the pillars of Ubuntu (seven P’s) This article really helps us understand why Ubuntu is not just software.  Randall has been preaching this message for years but only now it’s starting to really hit home with some people.  People are starting to ‘get’ that they have been sold a bad deal for computers (Ubuntu has already taken over that show) but now also the computers we carry in our pockets.

As a business owner as well as sales person for our company, I will not deny that there were some bumpy roads in the beginning.  I needed some basic things that a smart phone could offer which were a bit buggy when Ubuntu launched on the phone a few years back.  I would flash back and forth between the bondage robot (android) and Ubuntu on my N4 while I tried to do my sales job.  No battle is easy and it was never promised to be so.  Some naysayers would laugh and say ‘why don’t you just wait until they have fixed it’?  This would anger me because “relying on they” is what has caused the world to be enslaved by their technology.  I knew that I could not wait for ‘they’ to fix things.  I had to become part of the solution somehow.  So I would stay up to date the best I could, periodically flash in and out and watch the growth. I would offer my feedback and needs to the developer groups and to my surprise, I found out that I wasn’t alone.  Others were listening, fixing, building, changing, debating, enhancing and more.  I realized one very exciting thing – I was and still am part of what is a major revolution in technology.

A revolution?  Isn’t that word a bit strong?

No, it’s not.  Do you remember just a few years ago when every phone in every pocket was either a Blackberry or a Nokia?  It wasn’t that long ago.  I believe it was around 2006, perhaps.  Their day is over.  A revolution occurred, albeit perhaps not one that has not helped the world.  The employees at Blackberry and Nokia felt the revolution and when it came time to renew your nasty cell phone contract, you felt the revolution too.

But this revolution is different.  This one comes without catches, snags or enslavement.  This one allows you to finally have some control over your phone instead of it and ‘they’ having control over you.  Now tell me that that is not a revolution?  Unless your head is really deep in the fruit and robot sand, you will be nodding your head in agreement with me and looking painfully at the ‘nice phone’ you just bought.

And so we are at another turning point.

How do you know when it’s a turning point?  For me it’s when the ‘thing’ moves from the underground to the masses.  It’s the point when it starts to ‘peek out’ and when ‘regular people’ start to acknowledge that something is happening.  For me, it’s when the mainstream media has *no choice* but to start covering it or be forced to lose respect.

I believe today is the day.

This article on a very mainstream technology website (you can tell it’s mainstream by the nasty ads for Microsoft, etc, that interrupt your reading) covered the revolution.  This article explains how the excitement is now here.  The author is unable to deny that something is going on.  He is unable to restrain from wanting to be involved.

The timing on this article was also interesting for another reason.  It perfectly confirmed advice I gave to a friend who is in the middle of launching a kind of ‘uber business’.   He launched his business with the traditional iOS and Android ‘app’ approach.  He wanted to show it to me and so he instructed me to ‘download the app’.  After a short discussion, I explained to him that this business model may be outdated and on the way to extinction.  I did not want to be forced to give a big bad company my information (including GPS location!) to explore my friends business on my phone. I explained politely that he was violating my privacy.  By the end of the conversation, I believe that he took my advice to *strongly consider* moving his development to the Ubuntu platform – a place where he will be immediately received with a warm embrace, not to mention a place that is future proof.

Every business that uses technology (and I believe that is *every* business) needs to seriously consider where they will be in three years.  The way of the fruit and the slave robot is now over.  With the Meizu Pro 5, there is now a very exciting and viable option out of the box.  There are no more excuses to not jump in with all support.  Not only will you bring more freedom to your customers but you will also sleep better at night knowing that the future of your success is not in the hands of a few very powerful people.

Today is a new and very exciting day for the Ubuntu project.

 

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