30 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
The Telecom Digest for October 15, 2011
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Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2011 07:59:13 -0500 From: email@example.com (Robert Bonomi) To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Lightsquared being called to account Message-ID: <8eadne9byfG8rwXTnZ2dnUVZ_rednZ2d@posted.nuvoxcommunications> In article <email@example.com>, Scott Dorsey <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: >David Clayton <email@example.com> wrote: >>This may be bloody obvious - but since most state of the art military >>hardware uses GPS for so many things these days (Cruise missiles, drones >>etc.) - wouldn't you really not want transmitters capable of jamming GPS >>receivers indirectly, or if they were slightly modified, possibly directly >>jamming GPS receivers, on the market? > >The military receivers have VERY VERY tight specifications for adjacent >channel interference, and they also have much more robust lock-in algorithms. >The Lightsquared devices will not be a problem with properly-designed >receivers, "best available evidence" says otherwise. To wit the public comments by the military commander in charge of armed forces GPS systems.
Date: Sat, 15 Oct 2011 00:02:23 +0000 (UTC) From: danny burstein <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Lightsquared being called to account Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> In <8eadne9byfG8rwXTnZ2dnUVZ_rednZ2d@posted.nuvoxcommunications> email@example.com (Robert Bonomi) writes: [snip] >> >>The military receivers have VERY VERY tight specifications for adjacent >>channel interference, and they also have much more robust lock-in algorithms. >>The Lightsquared devices will not be a problem with properly-designed >>receivers, >"best available evidence" says otherwise. >To wit the public comments by the military commander in charge of armed >forces GPS systems. Keep in mind that the military mindset for matters of this sort doesn't look at the "likely" problems, but gets concerned (more or less justifiable so) with the absolute worst case, even if highly unlikely, possibilities. So yes, the general is concerned. It's kind of like... the folk who tell the villagers there's no need to keep banging drums to scare away the dragon that's eating up the sun during a solar eclipse... Chances are there's no issue, but... what if there is...? -- _____________________________________________________ Knowledge may be power, but communications is the key firstname.lastname@example.org [to foil spammers, my address has been double rot-13 encoded]
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2011 23:32:45 -0400 From: Bill Horne <bill@horneQRM.net> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Lightsquared being called to account Message-ID: <20111015033245.GA6408@telecom.csail.mit.edu> On Sat, Oct 15, 2011 at 12:02:23AM +0000, danny burstein wrote: > Robert Bonomi writes: > [snip] > >> > >>The military receivers have VERY VERY tight specifications for adjacent > >>channel interference, and they also have much more robust lock-in algorithms. > >>The Lightsquared devices will not be a problem with properly-designed > >>receivers, > > >"best available evidence" says otherwise. > > >To wit the public comments by the military commander in charge of armed > >forces GPS systems. > > Keep in mind that the military mindset for matters of > this sort doesn't look at the "likely" problems, but > gets concerned (more or less justifiable so) with > the absolute worst case, even if highly unlikely, > possibilities. So yes, the general is concerned. > > It's kind of like... the folk who tell the villagers > there's no need to keep banging drums to scare > away the dragon that's eating up the sun > during a solar eclipse... > > Chances are there's no issue, but... what if > there is...? Keep in mind that the post-"W" political mindset for matters of this sort gets concerned (very justifiably so) with the absolute worst case possibilities. So, yes, I'm concerned: this looks to me like a sellout on a national scale, started by a deep pockets financier who is willing to endanger lives and ignore the expert opinions expressed by disciplined professionals who cannot gain anything, and might lose their jobs, by telling the truth. There are millions of GPS location transponders that keep track of the location, speed, and arrival times of semi-trailers, freight cars on trains, and utility vans used by every major corporation from telephone companies to package delivery services. That's not to mention the millions of consumers who have purchased GPS devices, smart phone "Aps", and GPS-enabled cellphones, all of which are affected by this sellout. I don't pretend that my Garmin GPS going dark is going to shake the earth or endanger my life: it will be an inconvenience that forces me to start printing trip routes from Google maps again. However, much of the E911 system's ability to track the location of persons in distress depends on GPS receivers which are installed in exactly the same class of devices that LightSquared's power grab will render useless in emergencies. Of course, there are more immediate, more likely threats: such as the danger for thousands of General Aviation aircraft with GPS navigation equipment. If those go dark, so may the pilots and passengers who depend on them. General Aviation isn't high-budget military flying - it's people and planes that extend from restored Piper Cubs to multi-engine turboprops carrying both road warriers and vacationers from "spoke" airports to regional hubs, and they all depend on GPS to navigate safely to "off airways" locations and secondary fields which don't have the dedicated navigational aids present at major airports. In short, compromising the GPS system will kill more people every year than every firearm in every nut's hands, but politicians seem to be willing to pry GPS from the cold, dead fingers of aircraft pilots and passengers who did nothing more onerous than believe it would work as the government promised. LightSquared's future is on one end of a political see-saw that has at its other extreme an entire system of navigation designed and implemented over decades, and nobody on Pennsylvania Avenue seems to care. It's kind of like ... the little voice in the back of my head that says "Not him: I can't believe that Barack Obama would turn into the kind of politician he was elected to replace". "Oh, it can't be", the voice tells me, "please don't let him turn out to be for sale like his predecessor, that vote-for-anyone-but-him vicious, snarky, spoiled rich kid". Chances are there's no issue, but ... if there is, then the Democratic party is dead for the next thirty years. If the President is a participant, then this is right up there with Watergate. If he's allowing it to go forward because he's unaware, then it's right up there with Teapot Dome. Either way, or anything in between, President Obama bears the blame. -- Bill Horne (Remove QRM to write me directly) "Did nine of a possible twelve Still says he didn't know what the package held Just a favor for a friend Big Buddy Carol left him to swing in the wind" - John Gorka
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2011 16:52:40 +1100 From: David Clayton <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Lightsquared being called to account Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> On Thu, 13 Oct 2011 00:56:54 -0500, Robert Bonomi wrote: > In article <email@example.com>, Gary <firstname.lastname@example.org> > wrote: ......... > I believe the operating cost of GPS is essentially -zero-. That > basically all the cost is in the construction -- including the per-bird > programming -- and delivery into orbit. There is a tiny cost associated > with maintaining the ground-based equipment needed to enable/disable SA, > but, as far as I know, that's the only 'operating' expense. > > ***** Moderator's Note ***** > > The operating cost of any satellite-based system has to include the > salaries and training of the controllers on the ground, and their > equipment and its maintenance, and those costs are (excuse the pun) > astronomical: the list is long enough to circle the earth. > > There are teams of well-paid, professional specialists who spend their > working lives keeping track of the space junk which might cross the paths > of the satellites they are responsible for, and others who are always > agonizing about what might happen if one of the solar panels goes dark, > and groups of orbital planners who have nightmares about a 1% change in > the Keplerian elements of the birds they're assigned to guide. Of course, > that doesn't include the actual operating staff for each satellite, > i.e., the men and women who schedule the various tests that verify proper > operating margins and antenna aiming and rate-of-spin and wobble. They > monitor fuel budgets, respond to mission change orders, reposition both > aerial and ground-based assets as needed, and keep track of all they do so > that the Government Accounting Office knows they're doing their job. > > The bills don't stop when the countdown reaches "zero". THAT is just the > starting point. > > Bill Horne Agreed, the complexity of keeping a single Geosynchronous satellite on station is hard enough (and when the fuel runs out and it drifts out of the assigned antenna window, well there's another piece of space junk to deal with), let alone a LEO constellation that probably depends on precise positioning of all the birds for the basic functionality of the system. Actually, does anyone know if they use the last bit of fuel in a satellite to send it on a "death spiral" to eventually burn up and clear the sky of that particular piece of junk? -- Regards, David. David Clayton Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Knowledge is a measure of how many answers you have, intelligence is a measure of how many questions you have.
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2011 11:19:15 -0700 From: email@example.com (Dave Platt) To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Lightsquared being called to account Message-ID: <email@example.com> In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, David Clayton <email@example.com> wrote: >Actually, does anyone know if they use the last bit of fuel in a satellite >to send it on a "death spiral" to eventually burn up and clear the sky of >that particular piece of junk? They definitely do that for geostationary satellites, as the geostationary orbital slots are a limited resource. Wikipedia for "disposal orbit" - says they don't try to drop the satellite down into a burn-up orbit (probably requires too much delta-V and thus fuel) but instead boost it upwards into a higher, non-geostationary orbit. I'm not sure what they do with GPS satellites... these are in much lower orbits and it might be feasible to drop them into a lower-altitude "enters atmosphere and burns up within a few decades" orbit. -- Dave Platt <firstname.lastname@example.org> AE6EO Friends of Jade Warrior home page: http://www.radagast.org/jade-warrior I do not wish to receive unsolicited commercial email, and I will boycott any company which has the gall to send me such ads!
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2011 07:54:48 -0500 From: email@example.com (Robert Bonomi) To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Lightsquared being called to account Message-ID: <8eadnexbyfGFrAXTnZ2dnUVZ_rednZ2d@posted.nuvoxcommunications> In article <20111013230921.GA31646@telecom.csail.mit.edu>, Bill Horne <bill@horneQRM.net> wrote: >On Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 03:11:49PM -0400, Scott Dorsey wrote: >> >***** Moderator's Note ***** >> > >> >If Lightsquared's use of "satellite" spectrum for terrestrial >> >transmitters causes the GPS network receivers to become unreliable, >> >then Verizon (and, possibly, other LECs) will have to replace the >> >GPS-based timing sources with Stratum I atomic clocks, resulting in >> >millions of dollars spent for engineering effort, hardware expense, >> >transition planning, training, and implementation. >> >> This is not an issue. Verizon does not use cheap consumer junk with >> front ends that are wide as a barn. > >Nor does the military, but the Air Force General in charge of GPS said >it won't work. > >> The issue is that Lightsquared has paid for bandwidth. They bought it >> fair and square. They should be able to use it in any way that meets >> the legal radiation limits for that space. > >Wrong: they bought an insolvent company with rights to use a SATELLITE >band for SATELLITE reception, and are trying to bribe Congress to let >them use the SATELLITE channels for ground-based communications. > >> Now, if you believe that the government can step in and take bandwidth >> away that has been paid for, and re-purpose it for reasons relating to >> public service and the common good, that's fine. But if THAT is the case, >> why haven't most TV radio stations lost their licenses years ago? > >First, it's not paid for: it's licensed. The FCC issues licenses to >those firms who win spectrum auctions, provided that those firms >_ALSO_ meet the requirements for a license in the band being applied >for. > >Second, the LICENSE issued to SkyTerra was for transmission FROM a >satellite TO ground stations, NOT from ground stations to other >ground stations. > >And, third, the government CAN step in and take bandwidth away and >"re-purpose it for reasons related to public service and the common >good". The Class C and D Citizens Radio Service assignments at 27 MHz >are in what used to be a 11-meter Amateur band. There is ample >precedent for the FCC reallocating spectrum. See what happened to Television channel '1', or the UHF channels 70-83. Also channel 37. And what is currently happening to TV channels 52-69. >The reasons that "TV radio stations" don't lose their licenses aren't >important to this discussion, except as they relate to the spineless >nature of our current Congress and its willingness to sell their souls >and our future for chump change. Not to mention that TV station licenses have been revoked in the past. I don't have the specifics to hand, but there have been 'more than one' such instance. ***** Moderator's Note ***** Oh, yes: I forgot to point out that SkyTerra didn't "buy" the spectrum at anything near the going rate: they got some low-rent SATELLITE spectrum, never paid to orbit the required SATELLITE, and were bought out by an avaricious gambler who wants his going-downhill-fast hedge fund to profit beyond the dreams of Croesus by ruining the GPS system for everyone. All in a day's work, by the standards of Capitol Hill: I bet he figures that when the bill comes due and a few lightplanes crash and common people like me have to buy new, improved GPS receivers to compensate for his greed, he'll be a both richer and gone. I'm not being too subtle here, am I? Bill Horne Moderator
Date: 13 Oct 2011 22:42:11 -0400 From: email@example.com (Scott Dorsey) To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Lightsquared being called to account Message-ID: <email@example.com> >Why would truckers want GPS jamming devices? Devices to jam police >radar, I can understand, but not GPS. > >Bill Horne >Moderator Most of the trucking companies have gadgets on board the trailers so that the trailers radio their GPS position back home. This allows them to track containers, but it also allows them to check how fast the driver is going, how much time he's spending on breaks, whether he's goofing off, etc. Drivers don't like this, so they buy small jammers which are broadband noise sources that knock out all kinds of adjacent services. Sure, it's illegal, but so are the 10 watt long-range cordless phones that they sell at the flea markets. The FCC has no money to actually enforce the rules. --scott -- "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2011 03:58:03 +0000 (UTC) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Moroney) To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Privacy alert: Verizon is now monitoring your mobile Web habits Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> email@example.com (Michael Moroney) writes: >***** Moderator's Note ***** >Please pass along the URL so that others can test it: I don't have the >email anymore. TIA. https://www22.verizon.com/foryourhome/myaccount/protected/account/MyAccountGeography.aspx You'll need a Verizon login to see anything interesting, of course. ***** Moderator's Note ***** Thanks for sending that: I've uploaded a screen shot that shows what I just saw when I accessed the site. Of course, I already checked the box (using lynx), but the screenshot shows how the "Suggestions" link is in the way of the checkbox. It's at http://www.telecom-digest.org/R5C.png Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2011 18:21:34 -0700 (PDT) From: "Mark J. Cuccia" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: VeriZon Now to Exit the Payphone Business Message-ID: <1318641694.12937.YahooMailClassic@web31105.mail.mud.yahoo.com> There is an article from Dow Jones Newswires (Wall Street Journal) dated Thursday 13-October-2011, regarding VeriZon being the last "Bell" telco to officially exit the payphone business. The full text of the article as it appears in the Wall Street Journal can be found at the following WSJ link: http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20111012-712578.html (Notice: the Wall Street Journal now demands payment to read the online version - Moderator) There is a line in the article regarding Sprint having exited the payphone business when it spun-off Embarq in 2006. While that is true, Embarq did (at least at the time) inherit those once-Sprint-branded payphones. Here is the text of that reference, and my reply regarding that, and payphones service in recent years, in general: > End of an era as Verizon sells most of its pay phones By Greg > Bensinger, Dow Jones Newswires Thursday 13 October 2011 Pacific > Telemanagement acquires majority of U.S. operator's remaining 50,000 > pay phones. Verizon Communications Inc. is hanging up on the pay > phone business. The telecommunications giant agreed in principle > this month to sell off virtually all of its remaining 50,000 pay > phones to a little-known California operator, Pacific Telemanagement > Services. [ ... ] > Verizon, Sprint and AT&T once commanded 75% of the nation's pay > phones but sold or shuttered most of them. Sprint ditched the > business in 2006 with its Embarq spinoff, and AT&T scrapped its pay > phone operations at the end of 2008, leaving Verizon as the lone > Bell still offering pay phone calls. Embarq did acquire Sprint-LEC (legacy United/Centel) payphones in 2006 when Sprint "spun-off" legacy United/Centel LECs into Embarq. Those payphones were re-branded "Embarq". I remember seeing the Nortel Millennium "super" payphones in (most) Greyhound bus stations (at least those stations which were either Greyhound owned, or which Greyhound had the payphone contract with Sprint; some Greyhound stations are owned by the city or a local government agency, and that government agency has the payphone contract with someone else, such as the local Bell incumbent telco.) Greyhound contracted with Sprint as the payphone company for most bus stations, regardless of who the actual legacy landline telco is for that city. Those payphones were re-branded Embarq. I haven't been inside a Greyhound bus station since probably 2008, so I don't know if those Embarq-branded Nortel Millenniums have been re-branded CenturyLink since 2009. CenturyLink has had AE single-slot payphones in its legacy CenturyTel service area, a good deal of which is not too far from where I live. However, private COCOT vendors have been MUCH more common in more recent years. There were at least TWO AE single-slot payphones I noticed, CenturyTel "c.o.switch and at&t/BellSouth-TOPS-ACTS controlled" payphones, one in Roanoke LA and another in Elton LA. Both were located right outside of the CenturyTel c.o.buildings, and in "egg-shaped" enclosures. The enclosures were still there a couple of years ago, but empty of their payphones. Both locations (Elton LA and Roanoke LA) are both one-time GT&E that were sold circa 1972/73 when GTE sold-off its Louisiana rate centers to CenturyTel. I don't know if long-time CenturyTel still has other payphones in service though. Nor do I know if CenturyLink has continued with the once-Embarq (once-Sprint/United-and-Centel) payphones. Qwest (US-West) sold off its payphone business circa 2004/05 to "FSH", but for some time, the payphones were still "branded" Qwest. There was recently (about two months ago) an article somewhere regarding once-time Qwest payphones (I think that FSH and another company's name were mentioned) whose payphones in airports/etc. in legacy Qwest states, were over-charging for card/collect calls made from those payphones. I don't know if those payphones would still have been branded as Qwest when CenturyLink acquired Qwest earlier this year... if they were still Qwest-branded, even though FSH actually now owns the phones, are those payphones being re-branded as CenturyLink??? BellSouth was one of the first RBOCs to officially exit the payphone business, announced about ten years ago. The last one-time Bell payphones that I still saw in New Orleans were either removed completely, or else rebranded with the name of some COCOT owner, circa 2004. Apparently, SBC still owned payphones in states of legacy SW Bell (MO, KS, OK, AR, TX), Ameritech (OH, MI, IN, IL, WI), SNET (CT), Pacific Telesis (CA, NV), when SBC bought out AT&T in late 2005, renaming everything as "at&t" ILEC. I don't know how many such payphones were still owned by SBC/at&t. In 2006, I took several trips to Houston TX, passing through Beaumont TX and Orange TX, but all I noticed were COCOT payphones. At a hospital on Houston where I was visiting a relative, there were no payphones, but rather banks of "courtesy" phones, desk phones bolted to the table, in rows of (privacy divided) "carrels" with chairs, in the lobby areas on the main floor and near elevator/stairway landings throughout the hospital. I don't know if they were toll restricted or not. I forgot if you had to "dial-9" for an outside line (i.e., these courtesy phones were on the PBX or rather on a straight outside c.o.line). But you did NOT need to have 35c or 50c or whatever to make a local call. Toll-free numbers (800/etc) were all allowed, so collect, card, pre-paid card, etc. calls were all possible (if the phones might have been toll-restricted). The old blue Bell "credit" phones did NOT allow (free) local calls, but these courtesy phones in lobbies and elevator/stairway landings in the hospital in Houston, in 2006, did allow free local calls. SBC's at&t bought BellSouth in Dec.2006/Jan.2007. I was hoping that since SBC/at&t still had payphones, that MAYBE they could be re-introduced into BellSouth territory. But during 2007, I heard news that "at&t" was also going to exit the payphone business, and some news stories did mention that "recently acquired BellSouth" had already exited the payphone business. Yes, VeriZon is the last of the RBOCs to formally exit the payphone business. (I wonder if Cincinnati Bell still has any payphones?) VeriZon, being the merger of Bell Atlantic/NYNEX and what-remained-of GTE/Contel at the time (2000), there were both WECO and AE single-slot payphones that were being rebranded "VeriZon" in 2000 and 2001. VeriZon has retained the "Bell" logo in many legacy landline telco functions, such as repair trucks, payphones/signage, hard-hats on repair men, etc. This applied not only in legacy Bell Atlantic/NYNEX territory, but also in some GTE/Contel territory, both in PA/VA (which are otherwise Bell Atlantic), as well as in OTHER states (i.e., Florida, Texas, California). I was told that VeriZon's logo with the 1970s-era "Bell" logo was added to payphones/signage in old GTE/Contel states on AE single-slot payphones, certainly PA, VA, FL, TX, CA. But I wonder if other states had the "Bell" logo for VeriZon added as well to their GTE-AE payphones and other now-VZ telco things? (And what about Hawaii, the Dominican Republic, etc back at the time? Of course, VeriZon sold once-GTE in Hawaii to the Carlyle Group in 2005, once-GTE in Saipan/Mariana Islands to a new Philippine-based PTI in 2005, and once-GTE in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico to American Movil in 2007-or-so. But where GTE-AE payphones in those locations added the "Bell" logo to the VeriZon logo in the early 2000s as well?). I also understand that in PA and VA, VeriZon would sometimes replace AE payphones in legacy GTE/Contel areas with WECO single-slot payphones, since VeriZon had those states as well being the RBOC Bell Atlantic. I don't know if WECO payphones ever began to replace AE payphones in other GTE/Contel states that became VeriZon in 2000. In 2009/10, there was the great "purge" of legacy GTE/Contel by VeriZon, in states OTHER than FL/TX/CA and PA/VA (legacy Contel in Knotts Island NC also retained by VeriZon), sold to Frontier. And legacy BA/C&P-WV (including Crows-Hematite VA) was sold by VeriZon to Frontier at the time as well. I wonder how many WECO (WV) and AE payphones existed in these other states as VeriZon payphones? Did Frontier acquire them? Does Frontier still have them? What about other Frontier areas that were Citizens or Frontier/Rochester Tel? I assume that Frontier (Citizens, Rochester, etc) have used AE single-slot payphones -- Citizens (prior to being acquired by Frontier) did acquire a great deal of GTE-including-Contel that GTE chose not to retain during the 1990s-era. And then VeriZon sold off NET&T in ME/NH/VT to FairPoint in 2007/08. I wonder if remaining VZ/NET&T WECO payphones were acquired by FairPoint at that time? Windstream (Alltel) acquired a great deal of once-GTE-and-Contel that GTE chose not to retain during the 1990s, and that VeriZon sold off in the early 2000s. I assume that Alltel acquired the AE single slot payphones of once GTE-and-Contel. Valor itself was created in 2000 to acquire old GTE/Contel in Texas, New Mexico, and GTE in Oklahoma that VeriZon chose not to retain. Windstream was formed in 2006 by the merger of Valor and the landline side of Alltel. BTW, in 1999, Alltel acquired Aliant/Lincoln Tel & Tel in Lincoln NE (which I assume used AE single-slot payphones), and in 2009/10, Windstream acquired Iowa Telecom which was formed in the early 2000s to take over GTE and Contel in Iowa that VeriZon chose not to retain. I wonder how much Windstream still has of payphones? Throughout the later 1980s and continuing, more and more once-telco- owned payphones were replaced with private "COCOT" payphones, but even those are disappearing as well. But even telco payphones have mostly abandoned traditional TOPS/OSPS "ACTS" control, as well as c.o.switch-control for local coin calls, and basically made their payphone internal operations and interface with the rest of the network like a "COCOT/private" payphone. AT&T-LL eliminated OSPS ACTS control for coin-paid inter-LATA (and some intra-LATA) and international calls back circa 2002/03. SOME remaining ILEC payphones were still c.o.controlled and had TOPS-ACTS control for coin-paid intra-LATA calls, but were now turned into "hybrid" operation, where internal chips were also added for inter-LATA coin-paid calls (since ACTS no longer existed within AT&T-LL OSPS). I rarely ever have had the need to use a payphone in more recent years. But in the old "Bell" days, and even when COCOTs first began coming out in the later 1980s and throughout the 1990s, I used payphones a LOT more than after 2000 or so. I also would find payphones, especially telco-owned c.o.switch/ACTS-controlled payphones, quite useful when visiting places on trips out-of-town, to determine the type of local dialing/trunking/switching/etc. used in that place! And it is quite a shame that payphones are disappearing or turning completely into COCOTs. There are still going to be times when one needs to find a (working and non-cheating) payphone to use! And to think that payphones were SO commonplace not that long ago! Mark J. Cuccia markjcuccia at yahoo dot com
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