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24
May

Pebble 2 vs Pebble Time 2: What’s the difference?


Pebble has announced a trio of new devices comprising the Pebble 2, Pebble Time 2 and the Pebble Core.

The Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2 are both successors to the original Pebble and the original Pebble Time, but how do they differ from each other?

Read on to find out how the Pebble 2 and the Pebble Time 2 compare.

Pebble 2 vs Pebble Time 2: Design and build

The Pebble 2 measures 39.5 x 30.2mm and has a depth of 9.8mm. It hits the scales at 31.7g and it looks very similar to its predecessor. It is made from polycarbonate with TPU buttons and it comes in black, white, aqua, flame and lime colour options.

The Pebble Time 2 is a little larger than the Pebble 2, measuring 40.5 x 37.5mm with a depth of 10.8mm. It weighs 64.6g, making it over twice as heavy as the Pebble 2, but it is made from 316L Marine Grade Stainless Steel instead of polycarbonate. The Time 2 comes in black, silver and gold PVD finishes.

Both the Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2 have standard 22mm bands that will fit wrists with a minimum diameter of 62mm and a maximum diameter of 80mm. The Pebble 2 has a quick release silicone strap with a polycarbonate buckle, while the Pebble Time 2 has a quick release silicone strap with a stainless steel buckle.

Pebble 2 vs Pebble Time 2: Display

The Pebble 2 has a black and white E-Paper display like the original. It has a 1.26-inch screen with a resolution of 144 x 128 for a pixel density of 153ppi.

The Pebble Time 2 has a colour E-Paper display, again like the original Pebble Time, so everything will pop a little more on the Time 2 than the Pebble 2. The Time 2 also has a slightly larger screen at 1.5-inches with a resolution of 200 x 228 pixels. This means the Time 2 has a higher pixel density of 202ppi, which should deliver slightly crisper, sharper images in comparison to the Pebble 2.

Both devices are protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 so they should both be able to withstand scratches.

Pebble 2 vs Pebble Time 2: Features

The Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2 are both swim, shower and rain-proof up to 30-metres. They also both come with a built-in optical heart rate monitor, an accelerometer and a microphone.

Neither offer built-in GPS or Wi-Fi but they do come with Bluetooth 4.1 and the Pebble OS. They also both offer music control, work with iPhone and Android smartphones and they will both track sleep and steps, alongside heart rate.

They are also both charged via the standard Pebble USB charging cable so in terms of features, the Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2 are identical.

Pebble 2 vs Pebble Time 2: Hardware

The Pebble 2 comes with a ARM Cortex M4 processor under its hood, while the Pebble Time 2 features an ARM Cortex M7 chip, meaning it is likely to be a little faster.

The biggest difference comes in the battery life however. Pebble claims the Pebble 2 will last for up to seven days before it needs recharging, like the original. This is of course much longer than most smartwatches and one of the reasons Pebble watches are appealing.

The Pebble Time 2 takes the battery life up to 10 days, like the Time Steel, which again is great for a smartwatch, especially with a coloured display.

Pebble 2 vs Pebble Time 2: Price

The Pebble 2 has an estimated retail price of $129, with a Kickstarter price of $99.

The Pebble Time 2 is a little more expensive with an estimated retail price of $199 and a Kickstarter price of $169.

Pebble 2 vs Pebble Time 2: Conclusion

The Pebble 2 is cheaper, more colourful, smaller and lighter than the Pebble Time 2. That said, it will probably look a little cheaper given its polycarbonate build and it has a black and white display over a coloured display.

The Pebble Time 2 is a little more expensive than the Pebble 2 but with that you get a larger, coloured display, longer battery life, more premium design and a faster processor.

Both the Pebble 2 and the Pebble Time 2 have the same features on board so the decision between these two smartwatches will come down to your budget and which you prefer in terms of design.

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24
May

OnePlus 3 specs leak revealing core hardware


The OnePlus 3 is coming, due to be launched in glorious VR, with the company recently offering free Loop VR headsets to enjoy the show.

That announcement confirmed that the phone would be called the OnePlus 3 and that we can expect the launch some time soon – just as soon as The Loop headsets have been delivered.

Back on the rumour side of the OnePlus circle, Evan Blass has been playing his part, not only revealing the tempting design of the OnePlus 3, looking like the offspring of the iPhone 6 and HTC One M9, but now we have specs to accompany it too. 

In a tweet, Blass shares a screenshot from the OnePlus 3 running Android N, but also equipped with OxygenOS.

OnePlus 3 basics: 5.5-inch 1080p, Snapdragon 820, 64GB storage, 16MP rear camera, NFC. SS from an N preview build. pic.twitter.com/u1a0hQoEIP

— Evan Blass (@evleaks) May 24, 2016

Accompanying the screenshot are a collection of specs. Firstly, as we’ve previously heard, the OnePlus 3 is expected to be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset. That means power to match the best flagships out there.

Rumours (not confirmed by Blass) suggest it could have up to 6GB of RAM. That might sound a lot, but if OnePlus is serious about the VR experience, perhaps that RAM is aimed at making that as slick as possible. The storage is given as 64GB, perhaps suggesting that there’s no microSD, although we’d expect different storage models to be offered. 

Secondly Blass reports that it will have a 5.5-inch 1080p display. That’s not such new information, as we’ve heard plenty of previous suggestions that this will be the size, with Blass himself saying previously that it would be an AMOLED display. 

Thirdly, Blass says that the camera is going to be 16-megapixels. The OnePlus 2 was 13MP, so this is perhaps an incremental step up, but likely to be a newer generation of sensor hardware. We’ve seen some great 16MP smartphone cameras recently, such as on the Samsung Galaxy S6, but there’s always more to a camera than just the resolution. 

With the OnePlus Loop VR headsets due to ship from 6 June, we’re expecting to learn a lot more about the OnePlus 3 very shortly. 

READ: OnePlus 3: What’s the story so far?

24
May

Pebble Time 2 vs Time Steel vs Time: What’s the difference?


Pebble has announced successors to the original Pebble, as well as the Pebble Time. The company revealed three new devices in the form of the Pebble 2, Pebble Time 2 and the Pebble Core, the latter of which is a fitness tracker.

You can read all out how the Pebble Time 2 and Pebble 2 compare in our separate feature, as well as how the Pebble 2 and original Pebble compare. This feature is all about the Pebble Time 2 compares to the original Time though, as well as how it stacks up against the Time Steel.

Read on to find out the differences and similarities between the Pebble Time 2, Pebble Time and Pebble Time Steel.

Pebble Time 2 vs Time Steel vs Time: Design and build

The Pebble Time 2 measures 40.5 x 37.5mm and features a depth of 10.8mm, excluding the built-in heart rate monitor. It weighs 64.6g and has a casing made from 316L Marine Grade Stainless Steel that comes in black, silver and gold finishes.

The original Pebble Time measures 46.1 x 37.5mm, making it a little larger than the Time 2. It is slightly slimmer though at 9.5mm and lighter at 42.5g. The Pebble Time comes in black, red and white colour options and like the Time 2, it has a 22mm standard silicone band.

The Pebble Time Steel is the largest of the three smartwatches being compared here, measuring 47 x 37.5mm, with a depth of 10.5mm, which is ever so slightly slimmer than the Time 2. It weighs between 62.3g and 116.3g, depending on the model, and it comes in gun metal, stainless steel and gold finishes.

All three Pebble smartwatches are swim, shower and rain-proof up to 30-metres.

Pebble Time 2 vs Time Steel vs Time: Display

The Pebble Time 2 has a 1.5-inch colour E-Paper display that offers 64-colours. It has a resolution of 200 x 228 for a pixel density of 202ppi.

The Pebble Time and Pebble Time Steel both have a slightly smaller display compared to the Time 2 at 1.25-inches. Again there are 64-colours on board and they have a coloured E-Paper display.

The resolution on both of the older Time devices sits at 144 x 168 for a pixel density of 177ppi, meaning the Time 2 should offer a slightly sharper, crisper image.

All three Pebble Time devices have Corning Gorilla Glass protection to resist scratches.

Pebble Time 2 vs Time Steel vs Time: Features

The Pebble Time 2 has several features on board including a built-in optical heart rate sensor, an accelerometer, microphone, Bluetooth 4.1 and music control.

It will track sleep, steps and heart rate through a new feature called Pebble Health and it runs the latest version of Pebble OS with access to 15,000 apps. Neither Wi-Fi or GPS are on board.

The Pebble Time and Time Steel offer most of the same features but miss out on heart rate monitoring. They too run on the Pebble OS, no surprises there, and all three devices are charged via the standard Pebble USB charging cable. They also all work with Android and iOS smartphones.

Pebble Time 2 vs Time Steel vs Time: Hardware

The Pebble Time 2 features the ARM Cortex M7 chip under its hood, along with a battery that Pebble claims will last up to 10 days.

The original Pebble Time and the Pebble Time Steel both come with an ARM Cortex M4 processor, so the new smartwatch should be a little faster and more capable.

The Time has a battery life up to seven days, while the Time Steel has a battery life up to 10 days like the new Time 2 meaning the Time 2 should offer the same endurance as the Time Steel, but a little more than the Time.

Pebble Time 2 vs Time Steel vs Time: Price

The Pebble Time 2 has an estimated retail price of $199 and a Kickstarter starting price of $169.

The Pebble Time costs $149.99 and the Pebble Time Steel starts from $249.99.

Pebble Time 2 vs Time Steel vs Time: Conclusion

The Pebble Time 2 has a larger, sharper display than both the Pebble Time and Pebble Time Steel.

It also offers a faster processor than both previous models and a longer battery life than the original Time.

The Pebble Time 2 is more expensive than the original Time, but less than the Time Steel, placing it in the middle. It also brings heart-rate monitoring with it, as well as extra fitness features.

24
May

Brian May makes any smartphone VR ready with his Owl Stereoscope


Brian May is a legend for being Queen’s lead guitarist, but Doctor Brian May is an astrophysicist and former maths teacher with a passion for 3D. This love has birthed his Owl Stereoscope that holds any smartphone, allowing it to become a 3D virtual reality device. We went along to his launch event to find out more.

If you think this sounds like something you’ve already heard of, that’s because it is. The Owl is essentially another variant of the Google Cardboard device that uses two lenses to turn a dual-image into a three dimensional one. Move your head and the view in the virtual world, created by the phone’s app, moves as if you’re really there.

Brian says: “Telling a story in VR is a challenge. You can miss a lot, as in real life. It’s a very young technology and there’s a fantastic amount of room for people to use their ingenuity to create experiences.”

Google created a modernised version of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody for viewing and hearing in virtual reality. Even the audio was in three dimensions as Brian says: “The audio, very cleverly, stays in one place so as you turn your head not only the imagery stays but the sound does too.”

The Owl Stereoscope recognises that the Victorians, who cracked 3D way back in the 1800s, got it right first time. Brian says: “Owl gives you very good focus and geometrics. A lot of people haven’t looked at the experience of the Victorians. This should stop headaches and sickness. It makes it light easy to hold up.”

This flat plastic unit folds up to allow for a lens-to-phone layout that’s conducive with 3D. A magnetic strip attaches to any phone and the magnetic back plate on the Owl holds any sized device in place, be it Android, iOS or whatever. The stickiness of this strip gave up half way through our demo so how this would work long term, especially if you don’t always want it on your phone, is puzzling.

The Owl Stereoscope is just £25 and will be available from mid-June. There will also be an Owl Light model which is essentially just the lenses in one piece, which you can hold to your eyes for viewing 3D images anywhere.

Brian finished the launch event reflecting on a VR experience he had at NASA: “Ultimately VR will change the world as it’ll be a place where there’s everything you want and can love and cherish. Eventually people may not want to come out.”

READ: Best VR headsets to buy in 2016, whatever your budget

24
May

Facebook Live will broadcast a Spanish soccer game


Facebook’s ability to broadcast live video makes it great for breaking news, but perhaps its eventual aim is to become an entertainment destination in its own right. The Spanish football league has announced that it’ll use the service to broadcast a European football soccer game for the first time. The game will be streamed by Grabyo, an online video company backed by luminaries of the game Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas. If you want to watch the title tussle between Atletico Madrid Feminas vs. Athletic Club in the Women’s league, then head to the Facebook on Saturday at 11:45 CET.

This game is, naturally, both the league and Facebook dipping a toe into the water, but it could have big implications for the future. Most of the high-end sporting world is locked behind lucrative pay TV deals but Facebook’s richer than most blue-chip broadcasters. As social sharing dries up, the site needs a new way to keep people’s attention focused on the site, and offering sporting fixtures could be the solution. It’s not the first time a soccer game has been streamed using the service, but it’s the first to have blessing from its parent league.

Its main rival, Twitter, is also adding some premium sports broadcasting to its arsenal, albeit in a much bigger way. The site secured the rights to stream 10 Thursday Night Football games from the NFL that are broadcast on NBC and CBS. While it’s not an exclusive deal, it demonstrates the power of tech companies in beating back the behemoths of broadcast TV. Although it’ll take more than a few years before we see the back of pay per view contests in favor of just clicking “like” on something.

Source: La Liga

24
May

Pebble’s new smartwatches focus on fitness


Way before there was Android Wear or the Apple Watch, there was Pebble. It was arguably one of the more successful smartwatches on the market, raising a whopping $10 million on Kickstarter with its simple e-ink design. It’s faced quite a few challenges since then, but it came fighting back last year with the Time, a revamped version of the Pebble, complete with color e-paper screen and a redesigned user interface. Still, Pebble wanted to take it further. So this year, it has. Say hello to two new Pebbles: The Pebble 2 and the Pebble Time 2. The big new addition on both? Built-in heart rate monitors.

The reasoning behind that is simple; health and fitness is the focus for Pebble this year. Activity tracking, says Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky, is the second most popular usecase of the Pebble, right next to communications. It’s why the company added more functionality to its Health app and it’s also why it just introduced the Pebble Core, a standalone connected wearable designed for runners. It’s all part of a renewed effort by Migicovsky and team to target the health market, but with a something that’s more sophisticated than a simple Fitbit. “It’s the best of the smartwatch world combined with an amazing fitness tracker,” he says.

The Pebble 2 is the more casual of the two new models. Its style is reminiscent of the original Pebble — right down to the black-and-white e-paper display — and features a similar sporty design, albeit with a softer and more flexible silicone strap. Just like before, it’s water-resistant up to 30 meters so you can swim with it if you like, and has a quick-release button so you can swap out the strap with other 22mm bands. Though it has the same 1.26-inch display as before, the surrounding bezel is noticeably thinner, resulting in a slimmer watch overall (39.5 x 30.2 x 9.8mm) . It comes in five different colors (Black, White, Aqua, Flame and Lime) and supposedly has a seven-day battery life. Also of note is that the heart rate monitor continuously tracks your heart rate — both active and resting. Migicovsky tells me it tracks your resting heart rate every 10 minutes. The heart rate monitor on the Pebble Time 2 works the same way.

Speaking of the Time 2, it’s essentially an updated version of last year’s Time, except Pebble decided to fuse it with the Time Steel. That means the Time 2 is built out of Marine-grade stainless steel, not plastic, but ships with a silicone strap (Though you can always buy a separate leather or metal option for $30 or $50 more). It also retails at just $199, which was the price of the original Time. Unlike the Pebble 2, the Time 2 has a color e-paper display, boasts a 10-day battery life and is also a touch bigger (40.5 x 37.5 x 10.8mm). The big news with the Time 2, however, is that it has a dramatically larger screen. It measures 1.5-inches diagonally, which is around 50 percent bigger than the original and takes up almost the entire watchface. The display resolution has also increased to 200 x 228 pixels, which is about 80 percent denser than it was before.

In addition to introducing new hardware, Pebble is also updating its software. If you’ll recall, one of the benefits of the chronological Timeline interface it introduced last year was that you could easily see what was coming up just by hitting one of the buttons on the side. You could basically “peek” what’s coming up next without having to open an app on your watch. Now, the company is making that process one step easier with a new setting that’ll automatically surface that “peek” 5 to 10 minutes before an event. It’s basically like a calendar notification, except it doesn’t take over the entire watch screen. Instead, it just takes up a small sliver on the bottom of the watchface, which resizes automatically based on the size of the “peek.”

Another new feature is called Actions, which lets you access certain apps and functions a lot faster than before. Think of it as a list of shortcuts; you bring up the list with the top button and select the action with the center button. “Instead of having to open a list of apps and then navigate to the app and then choose one of the features, we want to make you have the ability to do it within seconds,” says Migicovsky. So, for example, if you access the weather app through the Actions list, it’ll automatically call up the weather in your current city without you having to specify it. You could also set it up so you can text one specific person — say your significant other — really quickly.

Migicovsky was especially keen to show off the Uber app integrated into Actions. “It takes a lot of concentration to choose an Uber — you have to choose what car you want, confirm your location, and so forth. We wanted to simplify everything down to one click.” With Actions, the app will automatically do all of that thanks to your preferred settings. Migicovsky gave a demonstration where he was able to call a car the instant he pressed a button; no need to confirm it or anything.

These Actions will be introduced as an open API and built on top of Javascript so that developers will find it easier to build these integrations. The actions can then be distributed on the Pebble App Store and downloaded just like a regular app.

The Pebble 2 and the Pebble Time 2 will be available for pre-order on Kickstarter starting today. Just as before, Migicovsky and crew are essentially using the crowdfunding platform as a way to reach out to the community and get a certain amount of public confidence; it’s not because Pebble is in any dire need of finances to make the products. The Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2 will retail for $129 and $199 respectively, but their Kickstarter prices are just $99 and $169. Both are expected to ship in September this year.

Source: Pebble

24
May

Pebble’s first non-watch is basically a next-gen iPod Shuffle


One of Pebble’s big goals for 2016 was to focus its efforts on health and fitness. It updated its Health app to provide more meaningful stats and, just today, it announced two new smartwatches with built-in heart rate monitors. But that wasn’t quite enough. The company also wanted to make something that would let people run without their phones — it needed to have GPS and be able to play music. Unfortunately, bundling all of that functionality into a watch would make it very expensive, so Pebble didn’t want to go that route. Instead, it built something entirely different. This is the Pebble Core, the company’s first-ever non-smartwatch. It’s an Android-powered wearable designed for runners. It has GPS so you can track your runs and, here’s the interesting part, a built-in 3G modem that lets you stream music over Spotify. Think of it as a next-generation iPod Shuffle.

That’s not all. That same 3G modem can be used to send emergency SOS notifications if you’re in trouble. It has WiFi for syncing your running stats with apps like Runkeeper, Strava, MapMyRun, Google Fit and Under Armour. You can map the Core’s buttons — there’s a big one and a small one — to activate certain apps or actions, like ordering an Uber or calling your spouse. There’s a 3.5mm headset jack for earbuds but it also has Bluetooth if you prefer to go wireless. On its back is a magnetic clip, which can be clipped on to your shirt or your pocket.

As for that Spotify streaming we mentioned earlier, you do need a SIM card for that. Also, Pebble tells us the streaming only works with Spotify Premium thanks to a special partnership between the two companies. But the Core should still be perfectly functional without a SIM card. You won’t be able to stream music, but it does have 4GB of storage that you can load up with songs over WiFi. 4GB isn’t much, but the idea here is that the amount should be enough for an hour-long workout session at least.

“We’ve split up the capabilities that runners want into two products,” says Eric Migicovsky, Pebble’s CEO and founder. “You’ve got the watch for doing heart-rate and a display. And [the Core] is a tiny little computer that you keep in your pocket.” The Core has other potential uses too. Migicovsky says you can clip it to your kid’s backpack and it instantly becomes a kid tracker. It’s also kind of like a Tile — attach it to your keys, for example — and you’ll be able to find it from anywhere thanks to the GPS and 3G modem.

The Core is usable without a Pebble watch, but having one does add a little bit more functionality. The watch essentially adds a display, with which you can use to track your speed, distance and pace in real-time. You’ll also be able to see what song is currently playing and changing tracks would be a little easier too — otherwise, music controls are relegated to the buttons on your headphones. As for its battery life, Migicovsky tells me it should last 9 to 10 hours before needing a recharge. It comes with a wireless charger or you can charge it via an included headphone port cable.

As for the price? It’ll retail for $99, but it’s currently available for preorder on Kickstarter for $69. “We think the Pebble 2 and the Core makes a very compelling combination,” says Migicovsky. Seeing as the Pebble 2 is only $129 retail ($99 on Kickstarter), buying both devices would set you back $228 ($168 on Kickstarter), which he says is still pretty affordable when compared to other smartwatches on the market. That proposition might only be attractive to those already in Pebble’s camp, but if you’re a fitness nerd on a budget, it’s not a bad idea. Still, you’ll have to wait awhile before you can get your very own Core — it’ll start shipping in January of next year.

Source: Pebble

24
May

Twitter drops media and @name replies from 140-character limit


Well, that was quick. A week after Bloomberg reported that Twitter was getting ready to relax its rules for what counts against your 140-character limit, the company is confirming the move today. Soon, photos and video won’t be included in that tally, freeing up more space for those witty quips. What’s more, usernames in replies won’t count against the limit either, and you’ll be able to retweet or quote your own posts. You know, just in case you need to remind everyone of that hot take you had a few months back.

When sending a tweet to someone you want all of your followers to see, you’ll no longer need to include a period or some other punctuation in front of their username. With the changes to the character limits, all tweets that begin with a Twitter handle will be seen by everyone who follows you by default. Despite the rumblings last week, regular ol’ links still count towards that 140-character allotment. CEO Jack Dorsey explained that these changes are the latest in an attempt to make the social network “simpler.”

Twitter has been busy adding new features over the past few months in an effort to attract new users. For example, there’s Moments that serves up a collection of items you might have missed and retooled DMs. Rumors of Facebook-like algorithmic timeline seem to have been exaggerated, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be more changes in the months to come. Unfortunately, there’s no definitive timeline for this new tweet structure to go live as the company says it’ll be available “in the coming months” across the web, TweetDeck and both mobile and desktop apps.

24
May

Pepper the robot gets a job at Pizza Hut


SoftBank’s Pepper robot has been gainfully employed in the past, but it’s apparently ready for a new career in the food industry. Pizza Hut Asia is partnering with MasterCard on a trial that will use Pepper for orders and information in restaurants by the end of 2016. Once you pair your MasterPass account, you can do everything from paying for your meal to asking about the calorie count. It’s not necessarily as quick as ordering directly from your phone, but a demo (below) suggests that it’s fairly painless — it’s easy to see the humanoid helper taking some of the load off of Pizza Hut’s staff. Let’s just hope that it fares well in less-than-ideal conditions.

Source: MasterCard

24
May

LG’s 2016 OLED 4K TV lineup is still expensive, starts at $3,999


For the past few years, LG’s OLED TV lineup has been the pinnacle of TV quality, with deep black levels, insanely bright colors and none of the motion blurring issues that LED/LCD TVs have. But they’ve also been far to expensive for most consumers. It doesn’t look like anything’s changing this year: LG just announced that its latest 4K OLED lineup will start at $3,999 for its 55-inch OLEDB6P and OLEDC6P (a curved variant) models. If you want the larger 65-inch version of those sets, be prepared to shell out $5,999.

At the highest end of this already pricy scale are LG’s models with its new “Picture on Glass” design, which are only around a tenth of an inch thin and feature a translucent glass back. Those start at $4,999 for the 55-inch version and go all the way up to $7,999 for the 65-inch model with integrated soundbar. (There’s also a 77-inch version that hasn’t been priced yet, but will be sure to cause heart palpitations.)

All of LG’s new OLED displays support HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR standards, which allow them to display a wider amount of colors and an increased amount of dynamic range. For example, in very dark scenes, you’ll be able to make out more details in shadows. More so than 4K, HDR has the potential to change the way how we watch TV, so it’s good to see LG supporting both standards. The TVs are also running LG’s WebOS 3.0 platform, which it says offers more ways to find and watch content.

While LG deserves plenty of credit for bringing OLED to the television market, the technology won’t really have a chance to take off until it can make its sets more affordable. With companies like Vizio developing great-looking 4K LED sets for just $1,000, only the most discerning consumer will pay four times as much for an OLED experience. Unfortunately, since LG is pretty much on its own in the OLED TV market, prices will likely remain high for some time.

All of LG’s new OLED TVs are available today at retailers like Best Buy and Amazon.

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