Tech – the Existant the Assistant to your Existence Mon, 06 Aug 2018 10:44:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Tech – the Existant 32 32 The Cryptocurrency Craze: 4 Reasons Bitcoins are a Big Deal Wed, 04 Apr 2018 05:26:59 +0000 the Existant
The Cryptocurrency Craze: 4 Reasons Bitcoins are a Big Deal


You’ve heard of the Bitcoin. You basically understand it. What is all the hype really about?

The Cryptocurrency Craze: 4 Reasons Bitcoins are a Big Deal

the Existant
The Cryptocurrency Craze: 4 Reasons Bitcoins are a Big Deal



Whether we like it, expect it, or realize it or not, the cryptocurrency craze is real. Day by day, as the value of Bitcoins increase- they are slowly but surely becoming a big deal.


Bitcoins are the initial virtual banking currency that has existed for years and only recently has picked up pace and value. They are created with individual and unique encryptions, making each Bitcoin unique yet able to use in transactions and trades.


As just a type of cryptocurrency, Bitcoins are formed by lines of computer code that hold monetary value and are similar to holding gold nuggets in your pocket. Over the years, individual Bitcoins have increased in monetary value over the years as less are created.


Are they of any value? Is there any hope for Bitcoins as the future of a universal currency?


Without knowing the outlook or trajectory of Bitcoin business, one thing is for sure: They are a big deal.


Here’s why.



  • No government regulation or bank creation

Banks cannot and do not create Bitcoins, making it impossible for any government to actually regulate or control Bitcoin transactions or ownership. There is no bank logging the movement of Bitcoins- making them similar to owning gold that can increase in value, or even cash.


Though for now, governments cannot regulate the usage and ownership of Bitcoins, this is bound to change because of the way in which Bitcoins are being used for contraband trade, money laundering, and hiding assets for criminal transactions and organizations.


In the past, the value of Bitcoins skyrocketed when wealthy criminals bought them in large volumes in order to move and access their “money” in secret without regulation.


However, without regulation, it is possible to lose out as a miner or investor if you are not careful.



  • Bitcoins completely bypass banks

As Bitcoins are transferred from person to person, within networks of individuals between wallets, there is no mmiddleman or bank to take for themselves any portion of your money.


Without the usage of banks, there is no possibility of Bitcoins possessed for being seized, frozen, or audited by both banks and therefore law enforcement. There can be no spending or withdrawal limits imposed on Bitcoins as a piece of code.


Though this is threatening to banks, it only increases the power to the buyer and seller using the Bitcoins.



  • Bitcoins change how we store and spend our wealth

Before the advent of cash currencies, there was always the trading of goods and services or goods for services, and then the value of gold with goods and services. In a way, Bitcoins and cryptocurrency is the return to more hard, tangible wealth that can increase in value and be bought or sold as a currency.


Bitcoins are designed to make people less dependent on banks- who mint money and print our “virtual money” made while working, and charging us for middleman services. When in need of more currency, banks simple conjure more digits to their electronic ledgers, allowing the system to be used and abused because paper money is essentially a license to spend, whether there is a value attached to it or not.


Subsequently, Bitcoins bring the control back to the owner of the Bitocin, bringing ownership and true control of personal wealth back in the hands of each individual. Rather than depending on banks and their promises on value, packages of data that are in the form of Bitcoins have value in themselves, and are ours without any middle man to store or handle them.



  • Bitcoin transations are irreversible.

Unlike convential payment methods like using a credit card, check, or cash- the benefit of being insured by the bank in reversing a transaction exists. However, with the Bitcoin, every time it is moved from one wallet to another, the transation is final.


Additionally, there are no insurance protections for a Bitcoin wallet. If a wallet is lost or the password is forgotten, the wallet’s contents are gone forever.





In an ever-changing world ever-moving faster and more surely towards dependency on technology and digitized ways of life, it is quite clear that the advent of Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies can usher in a new era of a sort of digital economies.



The Cryptocurrency Craze: 4 Reasons Bitcoins are a Big Deal

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Is your iPhone getting slower? Apple faces lawsuits for slowing down old iPhones Wed, 24 Jan 2018 11:33:32 +0000 the Existant
Is your iPhone getting slower? Apple faces lawsuits for slowing down old iPhones

Apple lawsuit iPhone slowing down

Apple faces a lawsuit to deal with their age-old yet secretive practice of slowing down their old iPhones

Is your iPhone getting slower? Apple faces lawsuits for slowing down old iPhones

the Existant
Is your iPhone getting slower? Apple faces lawsuits for slowing down old iPhones

Apple lawsuit iPhone slowing down


After finally admitting to slowing down it’s older iPhones- after years of speculation and suspicion, Apple has been facing weeks of bad press and frustration from all of its dedicated users.


According to Chicago-Sun Times, a lawsuit was filed in Illinois on behalf of iPhone owners who alleged that iPhones were engineered to purposely “throttle down” performance speeds and to push owners to chuck their old ones and go out to buy the ever glitzy, promising, and fast releasing new models.


People have been spending their hard-earned dollars on products they believed to be dependable and of the highest-tier of quality- the price tag on all Apple products would seem to be just so.


However, with this murky, concealed practice it seems that Apple itself does not have faith in its own products and feels the need to slow its older phones down to bring up sales even more.


Two law students from the University of Southern California have filed a lawsuit as well, claiming the same as their counterparts in Illinois, stating- “[Apple] breached the implied contract it made with [iPhone owners] by purposely slowing down older iPhone models when new models came out and by failing to properly disclose that at the time that the parties entered into an agreement”. Their class action lawsuit is hoping to represent all iPhone owners of those before the 8.


Although the common perception is that the $750 billion company is slowing down its phones so people ditch the old ones and run for the new ones- but another side of the story is being ignored in this case. There was generally a lack of transparency in Apple’s dealing with the handling of phones with aging batteries- that generally need replacements after they start to “die”


Lithium-ion batteries begin to lose their ability to hold a charge after being used for some time, and all phone manufacturing companies have to find a way to deal with or work around this squabble.


A large number of Apple’s iPhones shutting down unexpectedly due to this issue could have easily be solved by a gentle reminder to replace the battery- just another one of the many reminders that Apple has set in their iPhone software. Or, that the phone will continue to slow down until the battery is changed.


Any sort of simple yet direct reminder could have solved the issue if this was just Apple’s way to work around aging batteries.


But if it was truly a money-making scheme, then what was once a success is slowly but surely snowballing into not only bad press but a host of million dollar legal ramifications.



Is your iPhone getting slower? Apple faces lawsuits for slowing down old iPhones

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The Bitcoin Buzz: Understanding Cryptocurrency and the Emergence of a Digital Economy Thu, 04 Jan 2018 14:05:28 +0000 the Existant
The Bitcoin Buzz: Understanding Cryptocurrency and the Emergence of a Digital Economy


Ever heard of bitcoins and cryptocurrency? What are these newfound concepts and how relevant are they to our lives- or better yet, the future?

The Bitcoin Buzz: Understanding Cryptocurrency and the Emergence of a Digital Economy

the Existant
The Bitcoin Buzz: Understanding Cryptocurrency and the Emergence of a Digital Economy



There has been a new trend in the last couple of years leading into a market of the digital currency known as cryptocurrency, with the use of Bitcoins. A bitcoin is the initial banking currency of the Internet.


Although it has been in existence for a couple of years now, they are still not as commonly heard of. Even if the word sounds familiar, chances are most people don’t understand the concept.



What is Cryptocurrency?


Cryptocurrency is just lines of computer code that hold monetary value. These “lines of code” are created by high-performance computers and through electricity. It can also be called digital currency.


Whatever it is called, it is a form of public money that is digital- and is created through painstaking mathematical computations and is monitored and controlled by millions of supercomputers called “miners”.


Although there is nothing physical in the concept of cryptocurrency, it is similar to cash or money itself as it is used in buying and selling and has monetary value.


The initial popularity of digital currency came from the fact that no government owns or controls is- the Bitcoin is universal. This is vastly unlike other currencies which are generally different from one country to another,  making conversion the only way to obtain currency of any other state.


They are created with a market cap- in which production is decreased over time and each particular coin only increases in value as time passes.



What are Bitcoins?



Simply put, a Bitcoin is the first crypto coin that was invented. It is unclear who exactly created it, as the cryptocurrency market is designed for maximum anonymity.


However, it is known that it appeared first in the public eye in 2009 by a developer by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto. Afterwards, he disappeared and left behind a Bitcoin future.


Although Bitcoins were the first cryptocurrency to exist, other digital currencies that were created afterward were called Alternative Coins, or Altcoins. Some examples of these are Litecoin, Peercoin, Feathercoin, Ethereum, and hundreds of others that are not Bitcoins.


The advantage of Bitcoins is that it can even be stored offline on a hardware, in a place that can be referred to as cold storage. This prevents Bitcoins from being stolen by others. When it is in hot storage or stored on the Internet, there is a high risk for it to be stolen.


However, if a person loses access to hardware containing Bitcoins, the currency is simply lost forever unless retrieved. An estimated $30 billion in Bitcoins have been lost or misplaced by investors and miners- yet still not taking away from their popularity and hype.



Why is Bitcoin Controversial?


Although there is a definite sensation that makes Bitcoins so popular and intriguing, there are also many reasons that they are just as controversial.


Criminal traders in the years 2011-2013 made Bitcoins famous by buying them in batches of millions of dollars in order to move money outside the eyes of law enforcements- skyrocketing the value of Bitcoins as a result.


For a less digital currency savvy person, scams can happen easily where people lose hundreds of thousands of dollars.


In the end, Bitcoins and Altcoins alike are controversial because they take away the power of money from the banking system and the government, meaning that these accounts cannot be examined or frozen by taxmen or banks.


In a way, Bitcoins are seen as “gold nuggets in the wild west”- beyond the control and scope of police, government, and financial institutions.



How do Bitcoin Work?


As they are completely virtual, Bitcoins are self-contained for their value, without the need of another system to move or store them other than basic technology- unlike paper currencies needing banks. In a way, Bitcoins behave like gold coins- they can be used to purchase goods and services or kept hidden away to increase in value over the years.


Bitcoins are stored in personal “wallets” virtually and can be traded from one wallet to another that can be stored on either cold storage offline on a hard drive or in hot storage- one’s smartphone, computer, tablet, or even cloud storage.


Bitcoins are forgery-resistant, making it impossible to make copies of them or even to attempt to manipulate the system through counterfeits.



How are Bitcoins Tracked?



It seems almost as if something so completely online can either be invisible and impossible to track in terms of transactions or completely public and trackable if one is savvy enough to do so.


However, Bitcoins are very well tracked by a data ledger file attached to each one called a blockchain. Each blockchain is unique and specific to a user and his or her wallet.


Each transaction is logged and made available in a public ledger to ensure the authenticity of trading and transactions. In a way, they are always digitally confirmed and completely anonymous at the same time. Though your personal identity cannot be seen, digital addresses are recorded for each trader and user’s benefit.



Bitcoin Security


As mentioned before, Bitcoins are in essence like holding a gold nugget in your hand- they hold the value of physical, precious metals. Although offline, cold storage models are more hacker-resistant and safe.


Other than the threat of hackers in hot storage, the highest risk of loss is in forgetting to back up your wallet with a failsafe copy- as in the past, a Mt.Gox exchange service collapsed because the organization did not have any money invested in security measures or guards.


For this reason, it is important to update a .dat file each time one receives or sends Bitcoins so that it is copied and stored in each transaction.



Is Bitcoin the future of universal currency?


Although current currency systems are working simply because there are established systems of currencies in all parts of the globe- there is always an issue of inflation between the values of different currencies and the complications of having currencies exchanged while traveling.


In the face of the technological advances leading to the future, it is safe to say that there is tentative, yet possibly bright future for the usage of Bitcoins.


As their values increase every day and if more are created in the entire system of cryptocurrency, it can become a simple, universal way to buy and sell, trade, invest in a stock market type of system, and even a way of transacting in day to day life.


Would you invest in Bitcoins?  Do you see a future in cryptocurrency in the ever changing, ever developing, ever leaning towards a world of technology and digitization of all parts of life?




The Bitcoin Buzz: Understanding Cryptocurrency and the Emergence of a Digital Economy

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The Truth about the Social Media Addiction Fri, 30 Jun 2017 03:10:13 +0000 the Existant
The Truth about the Social Media Addiction

social media addiction

This generation is marked by a serious social media addiction. Is there anything truly wrong with this addiction?

The Truth about the Social Media Addiction

the Existant
The Truth about the Social Media Addiction

social media addiction


Just a little over a couple of decades ago, the World Wide Web and the internet started is boom on our dear planet earth- and our horizons expanded.


People were seeing miracles before their own eyes. Not only was it a step forward from television broadcasting, but it was something through which people could navigate and explore.


Then came social media.


Ancient Myspace. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat. You name it, it’s there. Tumblr, Pinterest, Tinder.


The list goes on and on.


The amount that a person visits these sites and switches between them on not only their computers but now on their smartphones, varies from statistic to statistic. For sure, social media time takes up hours and hours of our daily lives.


And sure, the idea of social media seems to be something positive, a place for people to connect to one another and interact, an innovation to letters, emails, and even mere phone calls.


But the drawbacks, as the majority of us know yet do not acknowledge in the midst of our addiction, are many. And they are as severe as they are many.



  • Lack of empathy

Social media, and any sort of technological interaction, is prone to desensitize users and make a person feel separate from the situation. This is why bullying happens; this is why people are able to say things they normally would not mean.


Teenagers get into relationships with people they do not know. Predators find children. Bullies do their mean work on others. People create a new identity that is not their own.


In a way, the lack of physical contact and appearance brings a wider range of possibility of action. Empathy is lost, and we are desensitized.


  • Time Wastage and Distraction

It is a no brainer that the amount of time spent on social media is indeed a waste of time.


Of the many hours in a day that we spend on social media, we can do something productive- something that can make us happy or make us feel successful and like we are actually getting something done and making some progress.


When we waste time, we take away from the actual things in life that need to get done. Housework, assignments, homework, actual work, errands, chores, quality time with family. The things that shoud come first are pushed off as we slide and scroll and double tap our hearts away.


We are distracted from the things that need focusing on, without even realizing it, just for the surge and rush we feel from the scrolling and sliding and double tapping.


Even beyond the mere wastage of time, we are wasting the quality of our time by focusing on how we will portray our lives to others, rather than living and enjoying the moments for what they are in themselves.


The social media addiction takes away from the experience of life as it comes, causing us to set up a book of memories based on a time where you ran to just do that- collect a list of memories and not true, memorable experiences.



  • Overstimulation

Constantly scrolling through our social media overstimulates our minds and eyes, and makes us unable to think without scrolling through one app or the other.


The problem with this is, that we lose the practice and ability to think, to meditate, to sit quietly and reflect. Meditation and deep thinking, and even the ability to clear one’s mind is essential to daily life. What our social media addiction does is makes us constantly stimulated.


And what comes with this overstimulation beyond the inability to sit back and relax, is the desensitization of enjoyment- any other stimulation is not enough or fast enough or controllable enough. Movies will feel cumbersome if you cannot forward and rewind on your own. The park will feel like a slow place, any natural setting feeling empty and heavy.



  • Lack of satisfaction- Comparison and Jealousy

One of the biggest drawbacks of the social media addiction is the way in which scrolling through our newsfeeds and dashboards make us feel.


We observe the lives of others, we attempt to post pictures and statuses and activity that seem to match the status quo. We compare ourselves to others. We become depressed- we feel that we can never reach other people.


There is no surprise in this- that social media addictions take away a large chunk of our happiness and satisfaction in life. Rather than being able to see the reality, we see the fake world that our friends and followers portray.


Editing, smiling, faking, lying. It is not necessarily an evil thing that they do- they are attempting to do the same thing that you do. Compensate for feelings of unhappiness.


The truth is, behind every snapshot and status there is a reality of a life that is feeling as dissatisfied and possibly problematic as yours. Every person has issues and problems in their lives, and judging by happy statuses and pictures is not a proper base point upon which to gauge just how happy a person seems to be, or to compare off of your own life.


  • Can we really unplug?


The fact of the matter is, that we live in a world where social media rules. Our very way of life depends upon connections and quick movements, and with the innovations of our day and age moving lightning speed, the only way to survive is to keep up with the flow.


However, keeping with the flow and moving with the times should not mean we ignore scientific data on health issues, or that we abandon our own happiness.


If social media is making us unhappy, but is still necessary to our daily lives- it can be important to create a social media diet.


Plan timings where you can unplug for a while and slow downm teach yourself to be less stimulated, train yourself to go without being distractedly yet indirectly connected to the World Wide Web.


If you really think you can do it, unplug for the majority of the day and only log in when you need to- or for a designated time of the day.


Health matters. Happiness matters. Sanity matters.


And with a constant plugging in to this web of lies- despite all the benefits of social media and its innovations in the speed and essence of connections, the reaching of news and the spread of movements through social media- there is a quality barrier that keeps brushing past.


The truth about the social media addiction is that it is real, and it is dangerous.


And to battle this, it is up to each and every one of us to manage our own time wisely. Use the facilities and apps out there for their uses and benefits.


But not the extent that we become the zombies of tomorrow- heartless, energy-less, motivation-less- without even the most minuscule tidbit of quality left in life.



The Truth about the Social Media Addiction

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Paper Books Vs. E-Books: What 92% of College Students Actually Prefer And Why Mon, 20 Mar 2017 10:04:59 +0000 the Existant
Paper Books Vs. E-Books: What 92% of College Students Actually Prefer And Why

paper books vs e-books

Worried e-books are taking over the print industry? Hoping for e-books to gain normalcy? Find out what 92% of college students actually prefer!

Paper Books Vs. E-Books: What 92% of College Students Actually Prefer And Why

the Existant
Paper Books Vs. E-Books: What 92% of College Students Actually Prefer And Why

paper books vs e-books


The rise of the use of electronics in every day life has brought about huge changes in the way that we live our lives- and one extremely popular and relatively new debate is the paper books vs. e-books.


We communicate using a phone in every single way- from calls to text to messaging to Facebook live- everything that we do is mediated by some sort of electronic device.


Not surprisingly, the innovation of E-books and E-readers felt like an alarm sounding for the industry of print publishing. The newfound experience and popularity of reading books in electronic version brought remorse and panic for our book-lovers.


After all- there is nothing like the feeling of a book in your hand and the smell of its pages at your fingertips.


If you are worried that E-books are taking over the market and pushing aside our printed ancestors, then think again.


Although books are read by people of all ages, from early elementary years through middle and high school, through college and adulthood- the interesting age range to zoom into is definitely the age where the most amount of money is spent on textbooks in particular- for college-going students.

paper books vs e-books2


  • Recent Study Shows Which One Is Preferred

In a recent research between 2010 and 2013  researchers asked over 400 students in the United States, Slovakia, Japan, and Germany whether they prefer reading from print textbooks, or using e-books.


In this survey, which was part of American University’s linguistics professor Naomi Baron’s book Worlds Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World, researchers found that 92% of college students in the United States preferred print over digital.


With such alarmingly high numbers, it is interesting to explore why students preferred one over the other.


Of course, as of any popular debate, there are pros and cons to each side.


Here is a list of some very strong pros (and cons!) for each side in the paper books vs. e-books war.



E-book PROS

paper books vs e-books


  • Quick and Easy:

It is easy to skim through book selections and purchase a book on your fingertips- and be able to start reading right away!


  • Portability:

It is easy to carry your entire library around on your one device!


  • Price Advantage (sometimes!):

Sometimes, e-book versions can be found as much cheaper than print versions of the same book!


  • Cool features:

There are many available features in the majority of e-readers or e-book softwares that make reading enjoyable and engaging. You can highlight quotes, find popularly highlighted quotes, click on a word to immediately find its dictionary definition, highlight pages, share books with others you know for short periods of time, and more!



E-book CONS

paper books vs e-books


  • Permanency of Purchase:

As easy as it is to pick a book, you are less likely to think your purchase through as you would with a physical book. If you buy a book you are not satisfied with or do not wish to keep, buying it as an E-book (unless it is a rental), you are stuck with it forever!


  • Price Disadvantage:

Although sometimes e-books are cheaper, a lot of the times they are the exact same price. Seems unfair when considering that the print version provides you with a physical copy!


  • Unease of Page-Flipping:

Although you can bookmark and travel from one page to another at your own will, it is very difficult to do so- and of course impossible to look at two places simultaneously as you could with print.


  • Distractibility:

Whether you read your digital copies from your phone, laptop, or e-book device, it is easy to become distracted with other features when engaging with a digital version, taking away from the experience of reading!


  • Difficulty Engaging:

Even with awesome new features, it is never the same as highlighting, dog-earing a page, or writing notes in the margins. You can personalize and engage with a physical book in a more real way.


Especially as a college student when you need to take notes, sometimes you need to flip back and forth and take notes with Post-Its galore- something you can’t quite do with a digital version


  • Eye-strain:

The strain on the eyes from reading excessively from any type of screen is the biggest complaint of college students in the above study. With the need to read for hours on end, the strain on the eyes from a digital version can make it difficult to concentrate, causing headaches, vision blurriness, and difficulty focusing on the information in front of you.


  • Tech Issues:

There is always the issue of needing to charge your device especially if you are in a place where you can’t charge it, if there are technical issues, if for some reason the battery stops working, or some error causes your books to be deleted or God knows what else! What if your book just suddenly disappears? You would never have such issues with a printed version!


Print Books PROS

paper books vs e-books


  • Kinesthetic Enjoyment:

Nothing compares to the feeling of holding a book in your hand and reading. The feel of the pages, the smell of the book.


  • Retention Boost

Research findings suggest that reading from a page on a book allows for better retention, understanding, and overall engagement. People who read from the paper books were more likely to retain information such as plot points and even details than those who read digital.


  • Reading Amount:

Research findings also suggest that when reading on a page, you are more likely to read through the entire page- and through a device you start off reading the top of the page thoroughly, the further you go down on the page the less time you spend absorbing the information. This is called an F-model of reading.


  • Return-ability:

You can ACTUALLY return a print book, or resell it at a used bookstore, or give it to a friend, or put it in a library. It will not go to waste in your shelf as it would in your e-book- and even the book-sharing features on your e-books are faulty and unsuccessful!


  • Variability of Engagement:

Even with the cool features of bookmarking and highlighting on a digital version, the amount of ways you can personalize your engagement when reading on a print over digital- use post its, dog-ear your book, write in the margins, highlight your favorite passages, you name it! Being able to handle your print physically automatically changes your level of engagement and absorption of what you read!


  • Intellect Illusion:

Just seeing your books on a shelf makes you feel smarter, researches show. You are more motivated to not only read, but the accumulation of books is a physical manifestation of an accumulation of actual knowledge as well!


  • Flippability:

Another one of the key arguments by college students is that it is easier to flip from one page to another while reading from a paper book, you don’t have to remember page numbers in the same way.


In an e-book, you can easily forget what is on the other page, and lose your place once you flip. With a paper copy, you can flip around, put your fingers between the pages, see the entire book physically at once rather than as a line of dots or page numbers on the bottom of a screen!


  • Motivation to Read:

Visibly seeing a book in your bookshelf or in piles around the room makes you more willing, and easily pick up a book to just read in the way you wouldn’t be able to make the effort for in a digital version.


Not only that, but the tactile sense of progress of visibly seeing and feeling how many pages have been read and are left to go helps in motivation to continue reading and complete the book thoroughly, rather than skipping around or stop reading when not knowing your progress.


Paper Books CONS

paper books vs e-books


  • Paper Cuts:

This doesn’t seem like much of a CON now does it? Flip your pages carefully!


  • Difficult to carry around

Interestingly, despite the fact that paper books are enjoyable, sometimes we have a weight limit when we are traveling and we can’t carry the amount of books we would like to. Good books are often left behind because of this sad reality.


  • Takes up too much space:

It is very rare to find a person who complains of books taking up too much space. The visual aesthetic pleasure in piles of books and bookshelves in a room not only makes one feel more intellectual, and it just looks beautiful!




Do you prefer e-books over print, contrary to research findings? Or do you consider yourself as a part of the 92%?


Comment below with your own experiences of both e-books and paper books, and your own personal Pro’s and Con’s of both sides of this heated debate!


Where do you stand on the paper books vs. e-books debate?

Paper Books Vs. E-Books: What 92% of College Students Actually Prefer And Why

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