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3
Oct

Plex Web Shows offers unlimited online videos to everyone for free


Do you want to start hosting a home media server? Plex is your best option!

While streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have a healthy catalog of content, they don’t have everything. It’s also a bummer when the show you’ve been binging gets removed while you’re still watching it. If you want to make sure you’ll always have access to your favorite shows and movies, a home media server may be the best option. There are a few different programs that let you run a home media server, but none are as pervasive as Plex.

Here’s everything you need to know about Plex!

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What’s new with Plex?

October 3, 2018 — Plex Web Shows offers unlimited online videos to everyone for free

On top of everything else Plex already offers, the company’s now breaking into the world of online streaming video with Plex Web Shows.

Web Shows is a curated selection of high-quality videos from all sorts of brands —including GQ, Engadget, TWiT, Field and Stream, and others with “many more to come.”

You can access Web Shows on just about anything (Android, iOS, Android TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, etc.) and it’s free to use for everyone — no Plex Pass required.

Plex Web Shows is currently in beta and you can start using it right now.

See at Plex

All the big details

What is it?

At its most basic level, Plex is a program that lets you access your movies, shows and other content from any device, so long as you have access to the Internet. It works in two pieces: at home, your desktop, network attached storage or even your NVIDIA Shield TV stores the files. The Plex Media Server program gets installed, and does the hard work of actually transcoding and pushing your files over the Internet.

The other piece is your smartphone, Chromebook, tablet, game console or streaming stick. Install the Plex application on your device, sign in, and you’ll have access to all of your content. Since all the processing is done on your server device, your smartphone or other client just needs a strong Internet connection for your media to play.

What content is supported?

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Plex can host movies, TV shows, music, photos and personal videos. Plex also lets you automatically sync photos and videos taken on your phone with your home server, just like you would with Google Photos. Finally, Plex has started offering a curated news service.

How much does it cost?

Plex has two tiers: the free tier and the Plex pass. While other free services may be useless trails, Plex’s free tier actually has a robust set of features. The free tier offers:

  • Support for nearly any music, photo and video format.
  • Access to your content on any supported platform, anywhere you have an Internet connection.
  • Customs collections — you could create a collection of superhero movies, for instance.
  • Automatic organization of your library, including importing album artwork and DVD covers.
  • The aforementioned Plex News service.
  • Support for VR headsets.
  • Sharing your libraries with friends and family.
  • Recommendations based on the shows and movies you’ve watched.
  • Support for as much storage as you’re willing to buy.
  • Online channels such as NPR, TED Talks and more.
  • Chromecast support.

While you can easily get by with the free tier, the Plex Pass offers enticing options such as the ability to download your media for offline viewing, DVR support, Live TV support — though this also requires a compatible antenna — the aforementioned photo syncing and early access to new features.

A Plex Pass costs $5 per month, $40 per year, or $120 for life.

What platforms are supported?

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The Plex Media Server can be installed on any Windows, macOS, or Linux desktop; on compatible network attached storage units; on the NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 router; or on the NVIDIA Shield TV.

The Plex client is available for iOS, Apple TV, Android, Android TV, Windows (including Windows 10 Mobile), Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Amazon Fire tablets, Fire TV, Roku, any web browser, and most other smart TV platforms.

What else do you need?

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You obviously need some files to stream, and you’ll want to make sure they are named correctly. Your server should be something that stays powered on, like a desktop or your home router.

You’ll also want to make sure your router has the Universal Plug-and-Play (UPNP) protocol enabled. This protocol is what Plex uses to make your files available outside your home network. The instructions for turning this on vary from router to router, and some routers don’t even offer this feature for security reasons.

Finally, be cognizant of how many people are going to access your server at once. A NVIDIA Shield TV or a NAS unit aren’t going to have the power to serve as many video streams as a more powerful desktop would. You’ll also need some extra power for the Live TV and DVR features.

More: Your whole family will appreciate a home media server

What say you?

Do you use Plex for your media server needs? Let us know down below!

3
Oct

Amazon is already bundling the new Fire TV Stick 4K to help you save


It’s already time to save!

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Amazon has just announced an all-new Fire TV Stick 4K, and if you’re in the market to buy one, you can already score a bit of a discount. The company is no stranger to offering pre-order bundles, and there’s no exception with this new hardware. It’s set to begin shipping on October 31, but if you get your orders in early, you can group it with some of Amazon’s other new hardware and save a couple bucks in the process.

First up, Amazon is offering $10 off when you buy two of them at the same time and use coupon code TWOPACK during checkout. This brings the cost of both down to $89.98, or about $45 each. Only need one of them? Amazon has the new Fire TV Stick 4K bundled with its third-gen Echo Dot for just $79.98, which is $20 less than buying the two pieces on their own, and also a bundle with the Recast DVR for those really serious about cutting the cord. It comes with the new Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Recast (DVR), and an HD Antenna all for just $249.97, which is $50 less than it normally sells for.

The other part of the announcement was Amazon’s all-new Alexa Voice Remote, which the company is selling on its own for $29.99. There are no current bundles on this, but if you’re content with your current Fire TV hardware, you can just grab this remote to gain the new functionality. Amazon is still selling the non-4K Fire TV Stick for $39.99 and the Fire TV with 4K (pendant design) for $69.99.

Amazon is also still offering a bunch of killer discounts on its new lineup of Echo hardware, so be sure to check all of those out as well.

See at Amazon

3
Oct

UK Daily Deals: Google Pixel 2, Casper mattresses, and more


Whether you’re looking for new tech gear or household items, we’ve got you covered.

We found plenty of great deals today on Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, Casper mattresses, portable hard drives, multi-device keyboards and much more!

View the rest of the deals

Each day, the Thrifter UK team scouts out and shares amazing deals on products you know and love, helping you find the best prices on the ‘net.

For more UK deals coverage, be sure to keep an eye on Thrifter UK and follow the team on Twitter for the most up-to-the-minute coverage.

3
Oct

Apex Construct PS4 Pro review: The battle to take back humanity


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Up there as one of my favorite PSVR games ever

AC
Score
4.5


There’s a battle over a world humanity once inhabited before… well, something happened. This game takes place during the battle between Mother and Father, both sentient robots created by different companies. At the start of the game, you’re lead to believe the one known as Father is on your side to take back the planet. But, as you progress in the story, you’re left wondering just how true that is. Are any of them actually on your side? What started this whole fiasco in the first place?

Well, if we’ve sparked your interest then continue on to read our review on Apex Construct. This title finally released as a physical game disc for the PlayStation VR (PSVR) on August 31, 2018, and I was more than excited to get my grubby hands all over it. If you can’t either, you can find it on Amazon for $30!

See at Amazon

Everything is so highly immersive

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When it comes to immersion within a VR game, every little detail can make a world of a difference. Anything that makes us feel less like a person with a headset on, and more like the character we’re trying to portray, the better. This is why I am so head over heels for the instructions of Apex Construct being sprawled out across the maps like little treasure hunts for you to find. You find them in forms of clipboards from old employees, messages on the computers, hidden ciphers in the world, and so on. Not only was this incredibly immersive, but it made every new thing I learned to feel like a small victory.

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The only downside to using the computers was realizing how much it sucks to type in VR. I found myself slapping the virtual keyboard on more than one occasion when I realized I would have to erase almost everything I typed so far and start over. This always happened to due image shaking, or the keys of the board feeling just a little too small to navigate with ease.

Then there were the weapons. Archery as a form of combat is something you don’t see in too many titles, and it’s popping up more and more in VR. In this game not only is your bow a killing device, but it also serves as your shield too. That means you only need one hand to set your weapon or block an attack, forcing you to really strategize how you plan to jump into battle. Since the bow is attached to your brand new robot hand, you can upgrade the entire kit, including the arrows, at your home base.

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The only downside to both of these amazing features of the game is the shaking that is all too known on the PSVR. I can’t blame the developers for this, as it falls to the issues with the PSVR tracking. As someone who has been playing more and more Oculus Rift titles, I could clearly see the difference in smoother gaming and better hand controls. Despite all this, the combat system in Apex Construct was pretty great. It was fun holding up my shield and having a little panic while I tried to get a correctly aimed arrow out there before my enemies’ next strike.

Control options are a little bittersweet

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I will always be a huge fan of any VR game that allows the player to decide if they’re going to be standing up or sitting down. Not only does it make the games easier to play when you just want to relax, but it also makes them that much more inclusive for people who need that accessibility. That being said, I was kind of disappointed that it served as no real difference from standing up except for how tall your character appeared to be.

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For instance, when you play standing up you’re just above the computer screens. When you play sitting down you’re just below them. Despite being closer to the ground I was still unable to open doors and drawers that were at my feet.

Sure, when you want to pick up an item that is just out of your reach, you just have to point, push the button, and it will fly to your grasp. But, when it comes to opening drawers or doors, you actually have to grab the handle. When I play the sitting down option I glue myself to the chair to see how the game plays for someone who can’t just get out, bend down and attempt to interact with an item on the ground. So, when I did this there were a number of handles I simply couldn’t reach. While I’m sure there was nothing noteworthy within them, the whole experience left me feeling a little deflated and sad I couldn’t at least inspect.

I can’t get enough of this inventory system

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You can reach the inventory right from your robot hand, and the way that it’s set up is pretty dope. There are 6 slots to hold items you find in the world on the left screen, all of your weapons on the middle screen, and your personal stats on the final screen. What made the inventory so amazing to me was the fact there were 3D images available of what you had stored away.

What made the inventory a little frustrating was that it doesn’t tell you what the item in your inventory actually is. I would find myself testing the importance of items by seeing if I could put them in my inventory, and was sad to find that when the items could go in that I still had no idea what they were. “Oh hello, Mr. Weird Battery. I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do, but we’re friends now. Welcome to my wild ride.”

The final breakdown

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This game was entirely captivating to play. There was so much detail put into every aspect that you interacted with, and it really shows. Most of the time the enemies will spawn with noises to let you know they’re coming, but still, catch you off guard for a few scares. This is the perfect combination to keep your adrenaline rushing and your interest peaked. When I first booted up, I told myself that I was only going to play for an hour or two over the span of a few days. That absolutely never happened. Before I knew it about 6 hours had passed, I beat the game, and then missed dinner.

Pros:

  • Highly immersive story and gameplay
  • Compelling writing
  • Amazing combat system (archers, yes!)
  • Phenomenal graphics
  • Takes about 5 hours to complete the story

Cons:

  • Typing in this game is terrible
  • Needing to type to move onto the next level makes me sad (see reason above)
  • PSVR tracking issues

4.5
out of 5


Overall, I give this title a 4.5 out of 5 stars. It only lost a few points for the PlayStation VR version because I do so realize how much more I would enjoy this game on an Oculus Rift with better controls of my hands. That, and the tracking issues that come with PSVR that can’t be blamed on Apex Construct (but still affect gameplay) also influenced this rating.

See at Amazon

PlayStation 4

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  • PS4 vs. PS4 Slim vs. PS4 Pro: Which should you buy?
  • PlayStation VR Review
  • Playing PS4 games through your phone is awesome

Amazon

3
Oct

Sony Xperia XA3 + XA3 Ultra renders showcase slim bezels and dual cameras


These will be the first mid-range Sony phones with 18:9 displays.

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Following up on the Xperia XA2 mid-range series from earlier this year, new renders have surfaced to give us an early look at its successors — the Xperia XA3 and XA3 Ultra. These renders come by way of MySmartPrice, and should they turn out to be legit, we could be looking at an exciting affordable smartphone lineup from Sony this year.

One of the biggest things to take note of is that the XA3 and XA3 Ultra will be the first mid-range Sony Xperia phones to have an 18:9 display. This makes them a lot narrower compared to the XA2 and XA2 Ultra and the bezels surrounding the screens have been shrunk down substantially.

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Xperia XA3 (left) and XA3 Ultra (right)

Also present on the phones are dual rear cameras. While the specs of the sensors are still unknown, expect them to be fairly high as the single rear shooter on the XA2 and XA2 Ultra came in at 23MP. Other goodies include a 3.5mm headphone jack, side-mounted fingerprint sensor, Snapdragon 660 processor, and as much as 6GB RAM with 64GB of internal storage.

The Sony Xperia XA3 series will likely be announced either later this year or at CES next January, so be sure to stay tuned for more info in the coming months.

Sony Xperia XZ3 hands-on: Damn fine hardware, with potential pain points lurking

Updated October 3, 2018: Added renders and new info about the larger Xperia XA3 Ultra.

3
Oct

Wi-Fi 6 is the next big upgrade to wireless networks


The new standard will start arriving on devices in 2019.

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Wi-Fi is something we all use each and every day, but with crazy names such as 802.11n and 802.11ac, it can be difficult to remember which standard is better than another. When the next generation of Wi-Fi arrives (802.11ax), it’ll go by a much simpler name — Wi-Fi 6.

The Wi-Fi Alliance announced this change on Wednesday, October 3, saying:

For nearly two decades, Wi-Fi users have had to sort through technical naming conventions to determine if their devices support the latest Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi Alliance is excited to introduce Wi-Fi 6, and present a new naming scheme to help industry and Wi-Fi users easily understand the Wi-Fi generation supported by their device or connection.

Looking back at older generations of Wi-Fi, their new naming goes as follows:

  • 802.11b is now Wi-Fi 1
  • 802.11a is now Wi-Fi 2
  • 802.11g is now Wi-Fi 3
  • 802.11n is now Wi-Fi 4
  • 802.11ac is now Wi-Fi 5

The first Wi-Fi 6 devices are expected to arrive at some point next year and offer increased speed and better handling of multiple connections at once compared to Wi-Fi 5.

What do you think of the new naming scheme?

Router vs. Mesh Networking: What’s best for your home Wi-Fi network?

3
Oct

Best rechargeable battery for your Oculus Go controller


Your Oculus Go is a virtual reality headset you almost never want to stop using. Sometimes, however, your fun is cut short when you realize your controller has died and you’ve got no spare AA batteries laying around the house. This is where rechargeable batteries come in. This way you can always have a backup battery waiting for you. We at Android Central are tech experts, so we’re here to show you the best rechargeable batteries that will help not just in your Oculus Go, but your average household as well.

The full package

Energizer Rechargeable Batteries

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Get yourself four rechargeable batteries, and the charger port, for a great price. The charger port will stop the power from going into your batteries when their full to protect them from overcharging, and it only takes about 3-5 hours maximum to get full charges on all four of your batteries at once.

$18 at Amazon

Long lifespan batteries

EBL Smart AA Battery Charger

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EBL’s batteries claim to have a 10-year lifespan on them, and that’s one heck of a deal. This package also comes with eight AA batteries, with 2,300 mAh, and the charging device.

$23 at Amazon

Batteries in bulk

AmazonBasics AA Rechargeable Batteries

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For a few dollars less than Energizer you can get eight of these rechargeable batteries right out of Amazon’s own product line. They have a guaranteed 1,000 charges to them and hold 2,000mAh on their battery limit.

$15 at Amazon

Highest mAh available

Tenergy AA Cell

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Tenergy AA offers 2,600mAh with their 8-pack of batteries. While it doesn’t come with a charger these are definitely the batteries that will last the longest per charge.

$19 at Amazon

Deciding what’s best for you

As you can see, Energizer and EBL offer the best deals out of the options above. While all are the same price, those are the only two packages that also come with the plugin that will charge the batteries. If you’re a first-time rechargeable battery owner, those are the best options for you. But, if you already have the charging device, then the last two options are better for you.

3
Oct

Amazon Announces Fire TV Stick 4K With Dolby Vision, Atmos, and HDR10+ for $50


Amazon today revealed its latest streaming TV device, the Fire TV Stick 4K, which includes support for Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, and HDR10+. The device also comes shipped with a revamped Alexa Voice Remote, all packaged together for $49.99.

Amazon says the 4K stick is over 80 percent more powerful than the previous generation, with a new quad core, 1.7GHz processor for quicker load times and enhanced picture quality. With 4K support, users can watch Amazon’s catalog of thousands of 4K Ultra HD, Dolby Vision, and HDR10+ titles. The company says this is the first time a streaming media stick has supported Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, the latter of which requires a compatible connected home audio system.

The Fire TV Stick 4K also provides access to the usual array of apps and Alexa skills that users expect, like Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, Starz, Showtime, CBS All Access, and more. There’s also over 500,000 movies and tv episodes available directly on Fire TV through Amazon Prime.

The company announced new apps are gaining in-app voice control on Fire TV, including A&E, AMC, Sony Crackle, Hallmark Movies Now, HBO Now, HISTORY, IFC, Lifetime, and VH1. These join Netflix, Prime Video, and others, and the feature allows users to call up Alexa to play, rewind, fast forward, and navigate through menus with just their voice.

“We’ve listened to our customers and pushed to deliver the complete 4K solution they are looking for, all within a compact stick form factor,” said Marc Whitten, Vice President, Amazon Fire TV.

“The team invented an entirely new antenna technology and combined that with a powerful 802.11ac Wi-Fi chip that optimizes for the best possible 4K UHD streaming experience, even in congested network environments. Our new quad-core processor delivers a fast and fluid experience and support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+ provides an amazing picture. Plus, the all-new Alexa Voice Remote lets you control your complete entertainment experience and use your voice to quickly find the content you want. Just say, ‘Find 4K movies.’”

The Fire TV Stick 4K can be paired with an Echo device and Alexa to control streaming content with far-field voice recognition. Customers can also opt to use the bundled-in Alexa Voice Remote, which combines Bluetooth and multidirectional infrared technology to power on compatible TV and AV equipment, switch inputs, or even tune to a channel on a cable box. The new remote also has dedicated power, volume, and mute buttons, and users can speak directly to Alexa by holding down the microphone button.

Roku has also recently cut down the cost of entry-level 4K streaming devices, announcing the Roku Premiere with 4K support at $39.99 in the U.S. Comparatively, the Apple TV 4K is $179.99 in its cheapest 32GB option, although it has dipped down to as low as $105 in previous sales.


Today’s news comes a few weeks after Amazon announced a long list of new products at an event in Seattle, including new Echo speakers and Alexa-enabled subwoofers, amplifiers, a microwave, wall clock, and more. In total, senior vice president of Amazon Devices Dave Limp said that the event marked the largest number of devices and features that Amazon has ever debuted in one day.

Amazon has put the Fire TV Stick 4K up for pre-order today for $49.99, and the device will start shipping on October 31 in the United States and Canada. The United Kingdom, Germany, and India will see a launch in November, and Japan will get the 4K stick by the end of the year. Customers can also pre-order the new Alexa Voice Remote separately for $29.99, and it will launch on October 31 as well.

Tag: Amazon
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3
Oct

DxOMark: iPhone XS Max is ‘Surefire Option’ With ‘One of the Best Smartphone Cameras Ever’


DxOMark today published the results of its in-depth analysis of the iPhone XS Max’s rear camera. Apple’s flagship smartphone achieved an overall score of 105 points, trailing only the Huawei P20 Pro at 109 in the site’s all-time rankings.

Note that the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max have identical camera specs, so this review applies equally to the iPhone XS.

In its testing, DxOMark found the iPhone XS Max to have “excellent” photo and video quality in bright light, with a “very wide dynamic range and good detail.” In terms of photo quality, they found exposure in outdoor images “tends to be spot on,” with high levels of detail and pleasant colors.

The review adds that Apple’s new Smart HDR feature generates images with “very good target exposure and a wide dynamic range in all conditions.”

Backlit indoor scene shot on iPhone XS Max
Backlit indoor scene shot on iPhone X
Achieving a video score of 96, DxOMark said the iPhone XS Max shows “outstanding video quality in bright light.”


DxOMark concludes that the iPhone XS Max has “one of the best mobile cameras” it has ever tested, with noticeable improvements in many areas over last year’s iPhone X. Their review praises the iPhone XS Max camera as being “very reliable overall” and “consistently delivering good results.”


In lower light, however, DxOMark found that noise becomes “a little more intrusive than with other high-end phones,” adding that the iPhone XS Max’s zoom capabilities lag somewhat behind the competition — specifically, the Huawei P20 Pro. Beyond that, they say the device is a “surefire option for any mobile photographer.”

For scoring and analysis in its smartphone camera reviews, DxOMark says its engineers capture and evaluate over 1,500 test images and more than two hours of video both in controlled lab environments and in natural indoor and outdoor scenes, using the camera’s default settings. More on their methodology here.

DxO is a well-known French image lab that has been reviewing smartphone cameras for many years, but they’ve attracted some criticism. At the end of the day, camera quality is subjective, at least to some extent.

Related Roundup: iPhone XSTag: DxOMarkBuyer’s Guide: iPhone XS (Buy Now)
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3
Oct

Dankzij Windows 10 update nu sms’jes versturen vanaf je PC


Grote kans dat je momenteel een foto naar jezelf mailt als je hem van je telefoon naar je PC wilt hebben. Met Microsoft’s Windows 10 October 2018 update en de meegeleverde Your Phone-app hoeft dat niet meer. Je kunt content van je Android-telefoon en iPhone rechtstreeks vanaf je PC benaderen.

De Your Phone app is onderdeel van de oktober update van Windows 10 en is vanaf vandaag handmatig te downloaden. Wie daar geen tijd voor heeft krijgt hem op een later moment automatisch binnen. Met de app is het mogelijk om je foto’s rechtstreeks op je PC te bekijken waarna je ze kunt bewerken en versturen. Ook is het mogelijk om sms’berichten via je PC te versturen, mits je een telefoon met minimaal Android 7.0 Nougat hebt.

iPhone-gebruikers missen die functies maar krijgen de mogelijkheid om webpagina’s die op de telefoon geopend zijn verder te bekijken op de PC. Die functie doet denken aan de Handoff-functie dat onderdeel is van Apple’s Continuity. Microsoft’s functie werkt draadloos dus het is niet nodig hem via een kabel aan je PC te koppelen. Tijdens Microsoft’s presentatie werd verder een demonstratie gegeven waarbij de gehele Android-telefoon werd overgenomen. Handig om een app groot op je monitor weer te geven. Deze functie doet dan weer denken aan Samsung DeX. Eenmaal gekoppeld aan je computer kun je min of meer ook dezelfde telefoon-apps draaien. Deze functie is momenteel nog geen onderdeel van de Your Phone-app maar komt later.

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