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Getting Your Cloud Knowledge On This Lockdown

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Since a majority of us are working from home these days and so many pundits are claiming that office work will never be the same again (or at least in the near future), cloud services have become an integral part of the “new normal.” With physical offices becoming passé, cloud storage has become the most suitable option for keeping data. Just months ago, storing data and online files for companies would automatically mean physical devices and in-house servers. But with offices currently located in the living room of a supervisor and a kitchen of a secretary, cloud servers have become a must for storage for various reasons. Accessibility and affordability are just some of the reasons why anyone should be knowledgeable about cloud drives.

For one, online document storage using a cloud is super user-friendly. All you need to do is drag and drop the files in the cloud storage and voila, your document has been “saved” or “uploaded”. You can now access it anywhere as long as you have an internet connection and a device. You can also share your document with your colleagues and teammates by simply giving those you want to have access to the document a link. They can then download the file from their end, thanks to the link you shared. Of course, another benefit of cloud storage is that your files will not be compromised if your gadgets or devices get damaged. Afraid of losing all your beach photos because your phone got wet? Are you in panic mode because you dropped your laptop day before an important meeting? Not to worry if you have tweaked your settings to automatically save everything on a cloud.

Let’s have a look at your options available for the best cloud storage and which expert users constantly recommend:

Microsoft OneDrive

While Google seems to always edge out Microsoft in terms of innovation with online products, the latter can boast of holding its own when it comes to cloud storage solutions. One huge advantage Microsoft OneDrive has over Google or any competition in this field is its seamlessness with other products in the MS Office suite, So, if you are a heavy Excel, Word, or PowerPoint user, then OneDrive is your best cloud storage option.

If you’re more interested in integrating online storage with Microsoft Office then OneDrive is the way to go.

(Via: https://www.pcworld.com/article/3510499/google-drive-vs-microsoft-onedrive.html)

 

Google One/Drive

The fact that so many people are on Gmail would be Google One/Drive’s main selling point. You can easily save attachments and everything you receive on your Gmail on your drive. Any attachments coming from you are also automatically saved on your Google Drive. How’s that for convenience? Moreover, Google is still rolling out some new features, assuring you and millions of its users that it is still on an innovation hot streak.

Google is rolling out a new “Privacy

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Making Yourself Mentally Strong in a Crisis is Possible

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We are living in tough times. While we started off thinking a lockdown is a novelty and having fun with it (Imagine not having to go to the office to work? How cool!), we have settled into the reality where people are away from each other, we are prohibited to gather, and we aren’t allowed to travel. Suddenly, this lockdown has become such a bore and hassle that we have forgotten the fun side of everything. Before, we considered what’s happening like a little inconvenience. After all, we are only asked to stay indoors as our contribution to the world overcoming this crisis. But then, everything has started to lose significance and meaning. What started as a fun and even ideal set-up for most of us working has become something that has affected our mental state, big time.

Since we can’t meet up with friends physically, we’ve lost our rhythm, we can’t blow off steam by engaging in outdoor activities, our stress and anxiety levels have gone haywire. We may be suffering from simple cabin fever, but then, there surely has to be something more to what we’re experiencing now.  What can we do to get back our “sanity”? How can we keep our heads together and come out thriving even when the COVID-19 crisis is through?

Build positive habits

Think of what your life will be like once the world shifts to the “new normal”. Would you still want to wake up at 10 in the morning and go through the rest of your day in pajamas and uncombed hair? Surely not! Continue good habits you’ve had prior to the lockdown, such as your early morning jog and a healthy breakfast after. You will have to tweak some elements of your habits like doing a home workout instead of a jog, but you get the idea. They say you form a habit after doing it for 21 days straight, so if you start developing one now, you should have enough time to make your system get used to it. Before you know it, you will keep on doing the activity without even thinking about it.

The thing is, habits are pretty important right now. They’re a big part of how able we are to cope. More than ever, we need to look after ourselves, mentally, physically and emotionally.

(Via: https://www.tes.com/news/coronavirus-lockdown-wellbeing-4-ways-maintain-positive-habits)

Extend yourself

Nothing can set your head straight then feeling a sense of accomplishment because you have helped another human being. Doing something good for your community doesn’t require you to leave the corners of your home. Check out volunteering opportunities that would usually be posted on social media and see where your skills can take you in making a difference with other people’s lives.

It’s a rare win-win proposition in a bleak landscape: In helping other people get through this crisis, you can help yourself in equal

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Know Some Not-So-Good Points of VPNs

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There have been a couple of circumstances when I encountered the term “VPN”. The first time was when I read about people downloading movies en masse in the late 2000s. “Experts” in the field of piracy then advised those who want to download stuff to use a VPN so that their identities can be masked and the authorities would not be able to trace their illegal activities. I had a friend forward to me a copy of a movie he downloaded illegally, and the quality was so poor that I didn’t bother finishing the film and waited for it to be released in theaters of my little ‘ol town. Suffice to say that first experience didn’t warm me up to this VPN thing everyone else seemed to be enamored.

The next time I heard of VPN was when I started playing Pokémon Go. One of my friends who also played the hottest game at that time had “caught” so many Pokémon, even those I only read of as available in other parts of the world. When I asked him how he got this monster that players can only catch in Japan when I know for certain that he hasn’t even taken a plane ride in his life, he nonchalantly replied, “VPN”. And so, I tried this VPN thing for myself. Apart from the game, I noticed my browsing speeds were at a snail’s pace.  Right there, I decided virtual private networks are not my thing.

If you are considering installing a VPN on any of your devices, take note that they also have a number of disadvantages. With all the hype you surely may have heard about VPNs, there are some things that may make your web experience not that pleasant. It is up to you to weigh the pros and cons, but for now, let’s look closer into the cons.

You will encounter issues in speed

As I remarked earlier, a VPN may decrease your internet speeds. As a VPN works hard to encrypt your network traffic that should result in your improved security and anonymity, it also will use more resources and may time more time. Thus, the introduction of some overhead can slow VPNs. You may find ideal VPN services that strike a balance between security and speed, but prepare to shell out some cash for that, because these services are paid.

There are many reasons for a slow VPN, starting from your device’s limited resources to the encryption method used and everything in between.

(Via: http://techgenix.com/slow-vpn/)

 

Your VPNs can stalk you

Some VPN service will give you access to their private servers to provide you with enhanced services such as improved speed and security, but at a price: your data. This can be hidden in their fine print when you agree to their services, and who has the time and patience to read the …

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Why Not Take Advantage of a VPN?

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Unless you’ve been stuck in the 1990s computer knowledge, you’ve surely encountered VPNs. Virtual Private Networks are private networks that exist because two (or more) locations need to be connected with each other so that it would appear and they would work like they are in the same network. For us non-technical people, when a VPN is created, people who have access to it can be far from each other and they can use it to access the network itself or another network (that be a public one). Businesses use VPNs so that their private networks can be more secure and so that remote employees, as in people who are not working near or are connected to the network in their office, can have access to company data that are hosted in those office networks. This benefit is highly popular nowadays, with lockdowns forcing employees all over the world to work from their homes.

For individual users, VPNs can be relied on if you want to be anonymous while you are browsing. VPNs are also known to do a good job in securing your data when you are using networks that have poor security, like free WiFi public networks. Thus, when it comes to assessing the pros and cons, you might get swayed that VPNs do provide more advantages than disadvantages. But then, if you are considering using one, you may need to really know what these pros are so that you can maximize its usage.

VPNs provide enhanced security

VPNs primarily encrypt all your network traffic, so its transmission through the network is very secure. Thus, when you are using an unsecured network like WiFi hotspots in malls, airports, and libraries, using a VPN can prevent eavesdroppers on that network you’re using from seeing your traffic and therefore they cannot steal confidential data stored in your devices such as your credit card information or passwords.

Along with being able to hide their IP address and location, users of VPNs also have their personal data hidden, thanks to some sort of encryption system.
(Via: https://www.information-age.com/how-vpn-improve-cyber-security-posture-123487910/)

VPNs allow you to bypass geo-restrictions

Do you get frustrated when YouTube doesn’t allow you to view the video you so want to watch because “it is not available in your region”? with a VPN, you can forget about these frustrations as a VPN gets all your network traffic through a tunnel, which makes it look like you are accessing the web from another location (the VPN’s), not your actual location. Thus, if you want access to sites that heavily put geo-restrictions on their content, a VPN can transform you into a ghost and give a free pass.

VPNs change the IP address a website sees and can fool them into thinking you’re from a different region or country. If successful, you’ll pay the price intended for that country, which can be less than

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Stay Busy and Get Rich With Some Side Gigs This Lockdown

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Two months into lockdown because of the coronavirus, most of us have may have already realized that spending the entire day watching TV shows on Netflix and playing video games can only be good for weeks or a month at most. Vegging out and doing very minimal stuff for days, a scenario most of us may have dreamt of before this pandemic broke, has already started to feel like a drag. We don’t have friends to support us with their physical presence, and there’s only too much “we’re with you in spirit” anyone of us can handle. But then, there are ways we can turn this downtime into something more productive.  Not that we’re encouraging you to be active or work yourself bone-tired every single day until the end of the lockdown period (although that’s another idea you might want to explore), but why not look into adding to your skillset and exploring side hustles during this time?

Securing a side gig or two is a great way to make yourself productive this lockdown period, not to mention get yourself extra income. With the world economy currently in very tumultuous waters, it doesn’t hurt to be in a secure financial disposition, something which income from side jobs can help you with. Not sure where to start? Here are some areas and skills you may want to look into.

Consider web development and design

There are so many opportunities available for skilled people in the field of web development and design nowadays. This is because the nature of web design and development work is predominantly online, which favors the current situation of remote work. You can develop and design a website everywhere, as long as you have a trusty device and a reliable internet connection. Get your skills in this lucrative sector by enrolling in online classes ASAP, and soon enough you can get jobs and earning a lot.

Web developers work independently as freelancers or with company teams to create websites. Depending on the job, these professionals may focus on front-end development, which involves designing sites and producing content, or back-end development, which involves writing code to make website features work.

(Via: https://www.computerscience.org/careers/web-developer/)

 

Sharpen your pens (or dust off your keyboard)

As everything, especially businesses, require an online presence nowadays, an endless amount of work is available for content writers who can fill blogs, websites, white papers, and social media accounts with content. If you have great grammar, can be interested or can stir up interest in just about anything, and can whip up blog posts, articles, and social media posts at a drop of a hat, then, there is a wide array of opportunities waiting for you. Get your keyboard (or your pen or typewriter if you’re old school) ready!

In fact, freelance blogging helped me go from earning $1,600 per month to earning more than $5,500

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The Costs of Ransomware

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Businesses, beware! Ransomware attacks have developed through the years, with attackers implementing more covert and advanced techniques, while at the same time learning from the mistakes in implementation that occurred in earlier generations of attacks. Moreover, a number of attacks have become more devious with a new component that involves data leaks, which in turn makes companies vulnerable, as they are exposed to graver threats than traditional data loss that used to be the only threat posed by ransomware.

So, how has ransomware threatened so many institutions?  How has it evolved into a more threatening event? Are businesses ready and have they equipped themselves with the necessary tools to combat these attacks? Finally, can the government do anything about this, since there have been some government institutions that have been affected?

Not just business, but whole towns!

The trends that have been prevalent in 2019 indicate that not only will these attacks be more present, but they are likely to happen more. And this will not only affect businesses, but also entire towns. In fact, it has been reported that for every six towns in the state of Massachusetts, one is a victim of ransomware.

Many towns recovered their files from backups, but at least 10 handed over taxpayer money to hackers to unlock their data, records obtained by the NBC10 Boston Investigators show.

Inside the Bay State, a handful of attacks against cities and towns have garnered widespread attention, though the problem may be more prevalent than many imagine.

(Via: https://www.nbcboston.com/investigations/1-in-6-massachusetts-communities-hit-by-ransomware-attacks/2076600/)

 

The academe is not spared

Even higher institutions of learning have also fallen victim to cybercriminals peddling ransomware. Niagara University had to cancel classes on the second week of February as their computer system came under attack. The university’s IT personnel discovered on February 12 that ransomware attacked has caused some of its email servers to lockdown.

These attacks can be very serious, like the attack which crippled Erie County Medical Center recently. Some companies have been driven out of business because they can’t gain access to their own computer systems.

(Via: https://news.wbfo.org/post/niagara-university-recovering-ransomware-attack)

 

The new danger

What sets the new wave of ransomware cybercriminals apart from the older generations is that they have taken extortion to a new level by exposing data that they stole online and threatening whole batches of data if they do not get paid by the companies in exchange of unencrypting the data they got.

The Italian foods company Fratelli Beretta saw all the data exfiltrated from 53 systems (a total of 3GB) posted online by Maze. And more recent victims have had smaller dumps posted. Stockdale Radiology, a radiology clinic in Bakersfield, California, saw screenshots of affected systems and data from the clinic’s fax server posted—including patient data transmitted from another MRI clinic.

(Via: https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/01/dozens-of-companies-have-data-dumped-online-by-ransomware-ring-seeking-leverage/)

 

Recovery comes with a price

Not only is being victimized by ransomware an …

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Samsung’s Updated Flip Phone Gets Teased in the Oscars

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The Oscars on February 9 was one for the books. For the first time in its award giving history, the Academy gave the Best Picture recognition to a movie that is not in the English language and produced outside the USA. Parasite, a South Korean film about a poor family trying to infiltrate the lives of a rich family also took home trophies for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film.

But then, that wasn’t all South Korea’s appearances during the televised (and streamed) ceremonies. During one of the commercial gaps, another South Korean brand claimed the spotlight, none other than phone maker Samsung. To tease its upcoming unboxing event, Unpacked 2020, to be held on the 10th in San Francisco, the phone giant showed off its next foldable phone to the delight of the TV viewers. Not to say that Samsung still doesn’t have foldable phones, as it already has. Looking back, their first release of the foldable phone in September last year, had people wax nostalgic, although a lot were still unimpressed with their fragility.  But whether you’re a Samsung-stan or not, the ad sure got a lot of people talking!

Did the ad show anything new?

From the 20-second ad, we saw the device’s homage to retro fashion. The clamshell clicks are there, but there also seems to be the addition of new things like the degree of opening that would allow for facetime-style chatting.

The ad shows the flip phones from all angles, opening and closing while the Comic Strip sounds of Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot pop and crackle in the background.

(Via: https://techcrunch.com/2020/02/10/samsung-teases-videocalling-on-its-next-foldable-during-the-oscars/)

 

But wait… what was that?

So basically, the ad tried to make retro-chic again, and that for sure appeals to a lot of people on the lookout for a phone that brings them back to both the 1906s (Bardot and the quirky soundtrack allude to that) and the glorious 2000s when everybody had a clamshell phone. But then, eagle-eyed viewers of the commercial were able to spot a disclaimer.

One thing that became clearer though is what will happen to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip’s screens across the globe: They’re gonna get fucked up fast.

https://thenextweb.com/plugged/2020/02/10/samsung-galaxy-z-flip-phone-oscars-trailer-had-some-weird-small-print/)

 

One tall phone

Other than the ad, some pictures of the Galaxy Z Flip (yes, that’s what the phone is called) were also leaked and the first impressions centered on how long the model is and how there’s a crease in the center where the phone folds (pretty much the point of the second entry here).

Now, considering that plenty of renders and even a brief video claiming to be a hands-on with the Galaxy Z Flip have already surfaced, a few new pictures may not seem like much of a big deal. But they do appear to clear up a few rumors, including what a monster of a

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Ready to Go (Windows 10) Pro?

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When Windows 10 was released in the middle of 2015, it came out with three versions – Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, and Windows Pro 10 for Workstations. Like previous Windows release, the public was quick to conclude that the Home version is, as its name implies, best for household use by the family. Individual contributors and office workers will benefit from the Pro release, and large working groups is the obvious target for the Pro 10 for Workstations.

But then, people that have been using the Pro version have been singing it praises, this despite the constant bugs to updates. So now, people who want more than what the Windows 10 Home provides and even those who still have Windows 7 (which has been de-supported in the middle of January 2020), ask, “Is updating to the Windows 10 Pro worth it?” and “What would the differences be between Windows 10 Home and pro?

 

Remote Desktop

Take note that all versions of Windows 10 can remotely connect to another Windows 10 PC. However, if you’re looking for remote access, only Windows 10 Pro has that. Staying with Windows 10 Home edition will not let you find settings to enable remote desktop connection, although you can connect to another PC, if that PC runs on Windows 10 Pro.

The Remote Desktop or RDP feature is disabled by default so you will need to enable it in the settings.

(Via: https://www.groovypost.com/howto/setup-use-remote-desktop-windows-10/)

 

Bitlocker

For those who prioritize their security and keep their data safe from possible intruders, it’s time to consider switching to Windows 10 Pro even with its extra cost. Also, for those who have gotten used to Filevault of MacOS’, the Bitlocker found in Windows 10 Pro is the most similar to that service you’re looking for.

BitLocker is the name given to the full disk encryption software that’s built into Windows. First introduced with Windows 7 Ultimate Edition, BitLocker is now available with the Pro editions of Windows 8 and Windows 10.

(Via: https://www.onmsft.com/how-to/getting-started-with-bitlocker-windows-10s-built-in-full-disk-encryption-tool)

Trusted and Secured Boot

Working in tandem Secure Boot and Trusted Boot aids in keeping your system away from malware and rootkits, allowing you full control of it. Trusted and Secured Boot, as their names suggest, works by checking each component of the startup process before it is loaded.

By working with Windows 10 device manufacturers, Microsoft hopes to make firmware security compromises, those that happen before Windows itself boots, a thing of the past.

(Via: https://www.forbes.com/sites/daveywinder/2019/10/25/windows-10-security-microsoft-announces-a-new-before-windows-boots-strategy/#2a5ff5056f26)

 

Hyper-V

Virtual machine fans, rejoice! Hyper-V on Windows 10 Pro allows you to run virtual machines on CPUs that support virtualization.

There are many reasons to use a virtual machine. In most cases, they are used to run software that does not work on your OS. Whether you’re using a Windows, Mac or Linux OS, a VM will remove its limitations. For

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Is Windows 10X a Threat to iPadOS?

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When the iPadOS was released in September 2019, a lot of people believed that this might already be the endgame for mobile operating systems. People were impressed with the iPadOS, claiming that it has made iPads that powerful to the point that iPad owners can already consider their Apple tablets as their main computer. The addition of new capabilities may have been overwhelming at first, but as the users got used to it, it only became a testament to how Apple has incorporated a lot of improvements to it, particularly in the areas of touch gestures and multitasking.

But then comes Microsoft with Windows 10X. Windows 10X is not really something new; it is a version of Windows 10X that is, as of February 2020, still a work in progress. This reengineering of Windows 10 has so far (at least according to those who have experienced it through an emulator for developers) resulted in a sleeker look and a system that is specifically catered for dual-screen devices, such as Microsoft’s own Surface Neo and Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold. And by the looks of it, Windows 10X may give iPadOS a run for its money.

 

What you see when you boot it up   

While Windows 10X is indeed a new “expression” of Windows X, you won’t necessarily get tiles and a taskbar when you open it just like what you see when you turn on a device running on Windows 10. What you’ll see is a Start menu that is centered and a thicker Taskbar, which feels like the dock on iPads.

Windows 10X is designed exclusively for foldable and dual-screen hardware, and Microsoft has customized it as a result. One of the biggest noticeable changes is the new Windows 10X Start menu. It no longer includes the animated Live Tiles found on Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows Phone, and it now includes a more simplified look.

(Via: https://www.theverge.com/2020/2/11/21132826/microsoft-windows-10x-features-dual-screen-foldable-hands-on-developers)

 

Multitasking gestures  

One of the current selling points of the iPadOS is making multitasking and its associated gestures easier for users. This is one area that Windows 10X also wants to also be recognized in, and so far, reviews on how multitasking can be done with it are promising.

Gestures for multitasking also exist, where you swipe up from the bottom of the display to access the Start menu or list of running apps on the taskbar. You can also access an updated Action Centre from the taskbar that includes quick access to settings like volume, brightness, Bluetooth, rotation lock, and more.

(Via: https://www.criticalhit.net/technology/emulators-give-a-glimpse-of-what-windows-10x-will-be-like/)

 

Notifications

Microsoft has reportedly made controls and notifications look better by not making it as heavy as what is currently seen on Windows 10. Although there’s been an improvement in its looks for Windows 10X, the iPadOS may still be better in not letting controls and notifications be too distracting and allowing …

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Free Yourself From AirPod Woes

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Do you still remember the time when everybody made fun of AirPods as early as when Apple teased it in late 2016? One of the most scathing and funny commentaries about it was Saturday Night Live’s little skit about it, when it ridiculed the way Apple promoted these cordless earphones as the best device to jam to your favorite songs. How are you supposed to dance and jump to your heart’s content when they will most likely fall out from you ear with all the movement?

Fast forward to three years, AirPods and wireless earbuds have become almost ubiquitous as their wired counterparts. Everyone suddenly wants the convenience of listening to music from your smartphone without being bothered by cords getting in your way. Somehow, no one seems to be laughing at how popular AirPods are, that people want to own one despite their steep price tag. But then, as the technology is still relatively new, there are still problems users must deal with when enjoying wireless earbuds. What are these problems and are there fixes to them already?

The most common problem: Lost AirPods

They may not be directly related to the device itself, but then users would consider misplaced earbuds the most common problem they encounter. May it be because of an earbud popping out of the user’s ear while in use (which is actually not as common as a lot of people might think) or because it rolled over from where the user placed it last, there are a good number of solutions.

Your iPhone will show you the last known location where they connected to your iPhone, right on a map. This will let you know if you accidentally left them at work or if they’re still cruising around in an Uber you rode in.

(Via: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/17/how-to-find-lost-airpods-and-make-them-ring-if-theyre-hiding.html)

 

Problem pairing?

Another common problem AirPod users experience is difficulty connecting the device to your iPad, iPhone, or other Mac devices. Experts advice putting them back in the charging case, let it stay there for ten seconds, then try using them again. If that doesn’t work, look deeper.

If you’ve never connected these AirPods to your iPhone or iPad before, make sure that the devices meet the minimum system requirements. If you have first generation AirPods, your iOS device must be running iOS 10 or later; for the second generation AirPods, you need at least iOS 12.2.

(Via: https://www.businessinsider.com/why-wont-my-airpods-connect)

 

Uneven connection

Another issue that’s common among AirPod users is an uneven connection. The left side may play the music while you can’t hear anything on the right. As with the pairing problem, it is advised that you put both in the charging case and try them after 10 seconds.

There is no one definite cause but there is one definite suspect and that’s Bluetooth. We might suspect this anyway because Bluetooth is startlingly wobbly, but

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