TIME apps

The Top 25 Smartphone Apps, Revealed

Digital analytics firm comScore recently released a list of the top 25 mobile apps in the United States, each based on the number of unique users over a one-month period this June. Did your favorites make the list?

According to the report, the top app in the United States is Facebook by far – 115.4 million people over the age of 18 used the social networking app in June. YouTube comes in second with 83.4 million unique users, followed by Google Play, Google Search and streaming music app Pandora. The full top 25 list is as follows:

1. Facebook (115.4 million)

Check out Comprehensive Guide to Facebook Privacy Settings as well as the 5 Biggest Facebook Mistakes and How to Fix Them.

2. YouTube (83.4 million)

Find out How to Discover What’s Hot on YouTube, 6 Great YouTube Channels for the Latest News, 8 World-Class College Courses Free on YouTube, and more about YouTube’s new music subscription service.

3. Google Play (72.2 million)

This is the Android app store that comes preinstalled on every Android phone.

4. Google Search (70.2 million)

Get the most out of search with 11 Google Search Tips Everyone Should Know and How to Use Your Smartphone Camera to Search.

5. Pandora (69 million)

While Pandora is the most popular music stream app, there are many others with different features you should consider.

6. Google Maps (64.5 million)

The indisputable king of online mapping apps, Google Maps is constantly being updated. Just in this year, it added functionality that allows you to save maps for offline use, hail an Uber ride and measure aerial distances..

7. Gmail (60.3 million)

If you check your smartphone all the time for important emails, check out How To Never Miss an Important Email as well as 5 Tips for Getting More out of Gmail.

8. Instagram (46.6 million)

This image sharing app has the bells and whistles that keeps social photographers clicking away. Now you can even post video.

9. Apple Maps (42.1 million)

This comes standard on iPhones now, but is still far inferior to Google Maps.

10. Yahoo Stocks (42.1 million)

Again, standard on many phones.

11. iTunes Radio/iCloud (40.5 million)

Standard.

12. Facebook Messenger (39.2 million)

This one is now required to use Facebook chat, but on the upside, you can make free voice calls with it.

13. Yahoo Weather Widget (36.1 million)

Standard app for many Android phones. Consider these top-rated competitors.

14. Twitter (34.7 million)

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced user, you can’t be a part of today’s social media scene without Twitter.

15. The Weather Channel (30 million)

See #13.

16. Google+ (28.8 million)

Google’s attempt at a social media service hasn’t done very well, but it still comes standard on many phones.

17. Netflix (27.6 million)

Great for streaming a full season of Orange Is the New Black, but be careful only to watch when connected to Wi-Fi otherwise you’ll eat through your data plan in no time.

18. Snapchat (26.5 million)

This photo sharing app that destroys the image shortly after sending has become an enormous hit among teens.

19. Amazon Mobile (26.5 million)

Many people don’t know the best feature of this app: You can order a product simply by taking a snapshot of it with your phone.

20. Pinterest (24.6 million)

This moodboarding service is a great way to find inspiration, recipes and more.

21. eBay (22.2 million)

While eBay is a great way to unload your used goods, remember to change your password.

22. Skype (18.8 million)

The popular video chat service is always improving. Group video calls are now free and real-time speech translation is coming by the end of the year. It’s also a great way to get free messaging.

23. Shazam (18.4 million)

A popular music recognition service. Check out #5 for listening and discovery options.

24. Yahoo Mail (17.6 million)

Standard for many phones; #7 has more resources for you.

25. Kik Messenger (17.2 million)

A popular messaging app that younger users have flocked to.

As you can see, there are a large number of Google apps on the list, thanks in part to so many of them being built in to Android phones by default. Social networking is big, too – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ all make the list.

Obviously, because the above list is constructed based on user numbers, there are a ton of great apps worth downloading that aren’t in the top 25. You can take a look at picks for the best mobile apps by checking out Techlicious’ top 10 free Android apps and top 10 free iPhone apps.

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME apps

Here’s How to Embed Your Hyperlapse Videos on Twitter

It's a YouTube-based workaround

Instagram’s new app Hyperlapse is pretty nifty for creating silky-smooth timelapse videos with your iPhone. Sharing your favorite Hyperlapse videos on Instagram and Facebook is super-easy right from the app, but what if you want to tweet them as an embedded video? That’s a bit harder, as Instagram disabled Twitter embeds back in 2012—not long after Facebook bought Instagram in a $1-billion deal.

But embedding Hyperlapse videos in your tweets is possible, with this workaround.

After you’ve made your Hyperlapse video, it’s automatically saved to your iPhone’s Camera Roll as a normal .MOV file. To get that bad boy on Twitter as an embedded video, simply upload the .MOV to YouTube (preferably over Wi-Fi, as big .MOV files can really eat into your data plan). You can do this either automatically through your iPhone, if it’s linked to your YouTube account, or by emailing the .MOV file to yourself and uploading it on your desktop.

Once your Hyperlapse is up on YouTube, simply tweet out the YouTube link and your video will appear embedded in the tweet:

Done and done.

TIME apps

Every Dropbox Pro User Now Gets 1TB for $10 a Month

Dropbox's new unified Pro subscription plan brings it (almost) into alignment with Google Drive.

The verb “slashed” may not do what this amounts to justice: Dropbox just collapsed its Pro-member pricing model, allowing you access to 1TB of storage for $10 a month, or $100 a year.

Through August 26, Dropbox allowed Pro subscribers to buy any of three monthly plans: $10 for 100GB, $20 for 200GB and $50 for 500GB. But as of August 27, you can have twice the prior maximum storage offering for one-fifth of the monthly cost.

What’s more, the $10-a-month plan is now the only plan on the block. Everyone pays $10 a month, everyone gets 1TB of storage.

Here’s how the plan stacks up to some of Dropbox’s competitors:

  • Google already offers the same rate for its Google Drive service, and includes several others besides: $2/month for 100GB, $10/month for 1TB, $100/month for 10TB, $200/month for 20TB and $300/month for 30TB.
  • Amazon also offers cloud storage plans, but on a yearly basis that’s more expensive gigabyte-for-gigabyte, starting at $10/year for 20GB and climbing to $500/year for 1TB.
  • Apple’s new iCloud Drive (due with OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 later this year) looks similarly steep by comparison, with prices said to range from $1/month for 20GB to $4/month for 200GB.
  • Microsoft offers OneDrive personal plans for $2 and $4 per month for 100GB and 200GB, respectively, and a business-focused 1TB plan for $2.50 per user per month.

Google and Microsoft, for their parts, give “free” users 15GB to play with, whereas Dropbox, Amazon and Apple still draw the line at 5GB.

But this is an important move by Dropbox on its subscription side toward making the service competitive with Google’s offerings (some will understandably quibble with the lack of a comparable $2/month-for-100GB option, but on balance, it seems like a considerable step in the right direction). And today’s update comes with other collaboration-related enhancements, including the option to place passwords on shared links, set expiration timeframes on shared links and tweak permissions on shared folders such that select recipients can be set to “view-only.”

The company’s also added a “remote wipe” feature, allowing you to zap your Dropbox files off a lost or stolen device (but without removing them from Dropbox’s servers).

For Pro members, the new features should go into effect “in the next couple days,” says Dropbox.

TIME apps

Instagram’s New ‘Hyperlapse’ App Lets You Make Super-Smooth Timelapse Video

Get ready to make professional-looking timelapse videos with your iPhone

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Instagram introduced a new video app Tuesday that collapses long, shaky timelapse videos into smooth, professional-looking clips.

The new app, called “Hyperlapse,” uses image stabilizing algorithms to iron out the jolts and tremors that typically mar timelapse smartphone footage, creating what the company calls “a cinematic look, quality and feel—a feat that has previously only been possible with expensive equipment.” Users can set playback speeds at 1 to 12 times the speed of the real world, collapsing prolonged shots into a few speedy seconds.

“From documenting your whole commute in seconds or the preparation of your dinner from start to finish to capturing an entire sunset as it unfolds, we’re thrilled about the creative possibilities Hyperlapse unlocks,” Instagram wrote in its announcement of the new app, which is now live in the iOS App Store for iPhones. An Android version is also in the works.

TIME Gadgets

8 Things You Didn’t Know You Can Do with Your Smartphone

I use my smartphone every day, often in the first few minutes I wake up. It’s not because I’m addicted (ok, maybe I am a little bit addicted) – it’s because my phone is so darn useful. It tells me the weather. It helps me avoid and navigate around traffic jams. It helps me keep in touch with my friends.

Of course, you probably know all about that stuff. But your smartphone can do some pretty unusual things that you’ve probably never even considered. Here are some of the most amazing, out-there tasks your smartphone can help you conquer.

Diagnose a leaky window

flir-one-thermal-imaging-camera-longer-510px
FLIR

As a homeowner in the oft-frosty Northeast, I know how important it is to have tightly sealed windows in the wintertime. Finding leaky windows doesn’t just make my home more comfortable; it saves money on my electric bills.

How can you find these energy-wasting areas of your home? Simple: Turn your phone into a thermal imaging camera with the FLIR ONE add on. It fits onto your phone much like a Mophie Juice Pack does, and translates thermal energy into color images. It’ll show you where cold air is seeping into your house, where pipes need better insulation and even help locate overloaded circuits.

The FLIR ONE Personal Thermal Imager is compatible with both the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. It’s available for purchase directly from FLIR.com for $349.

Measure your heart health

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AliveCor

You don’t need to take a trip to an expensive hospital lab to get a detailed look at your heart health – there’s a smartphone app (and device) for that.

The AliveCor Heart Monitor rests on your chest or finger, converting electrical impulses from your body into a printable ECG graph. The included AliveECG app helps you understand if your ECG is normal, or if you have an issue you should consult a professional about. The device is no substitute for an expertly trained doctor, but if you’re concerned about your heart health, it makes a great supplement.

The AliveCor Heart Monitor is available as a stand-alone device or with a case for the iPhone 5/5S. Both are available for order at store.alivecor.com for $199.

Prevent drunk driving

bactrack-vio-smartphone-breathalyzer-350px
BACtrack

Imagine you’re at a house party with a couple close friends. You’ve all shared a glass or two of wine. You feel like you’re probably O.K. to drive, but it’d be far more responsible to know for sure.

That’s where the new Bluetooth BACtrack Vio Smartphone Breathlyzer comes in. The compact keychain device measures the alcohol present on your breath in just five seconds, wirelessly sending your BAC reading to your iOS or Android smartphone. An included app will predict how long it’ll take for your levels to return to 0%, helping you plan whether to call a cab or just “wait it out.”

The BACtrack Vio is available directly from BACtrack and at Amazon.com for just $49.99.

Watch over-the-air TV

Belkin

You may already know that your smartphone can connect to streaming video services like Hulu, allowing you to catch your favorite TV shows on the go. But did you know there’s a way to watch your favorite shows live, over-the-air? It’s possible with the Belkin Dyle.

The Dyle is a small antenna device that connects directly to your older iPhone or iPad’s charger port to receive over-the-air digital signals. It’s a great way to catch coverage of the big game while you’re sitting in the stands, pass time while riding the commuter rail or keep the kids busy in the car. Of course, for the device to work, you’ll need to be close to a major metropolitan area to pick up a quality signal.

The 30-pin Belkin Dyle is compatible with the iPhone 4/4S, iPad, iPad 2 and 3rd generation iPad. You can buy yours direct from Belkin or on Amazon.com for $29.99.

Measure your muscles

skulpt-aim-body-fat-monitor-350px
Skulpt

As any health expert will tell you, your bathroom scale isn’t the best way to measure progress at the gym. Muscle weighs more than fat, so gaining the occasional pound or two can be a very good thing.

The Skulpt Aim helps you get a better handle on your fitness by tracking your body fat percentage and the muscle fiber size instead of your weight. It uses small electrodes to measure individual muscle groups and areas and relays the info to your phone, giving you an overall picture of where you’re making progress and where you’re not. The device even comes with an app that recommends exercises that are best for your body’s unique composition.

The Skulpt Aim works with both Android and iOS devices and is expected to start shipping in fall 2014. You can preorder yours at skulpt.me for $169.99, which includes free shipping.

Figure out why your check engine light is on

automatic-car-check-engine-light-diagnoser-350px
Automatic

I own an older Honda Civic. It’s a great, reliable car. But now that it’s been in service for nearly a decade, seeing the check engine light come on is a fairly regular occurrence.

The good news: You and I don’t need to take our cars to an expensive mechanic just to get that light diagnosed – we can do it ourselves using our smartphones and a device like Automatic. It connects directly to your car’s onboard computer, turning check engine events into push alerts to your iOS and Android phone. If it’s a minor issue, you may be able to fix it and clear the light yourself, saving a trip to the shop.

Automatic also tracks your driving, giving you feedback on your acceleration and breaking habits that can help improve your gas mileage. It can even alert emergency authorities in case of a disabling crash.

Automatic is compatible with most gasoline cars sold in the U.S. since 1996. You can purchase the device directly from Amazon for $79.99.

Improve your basketball skills

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94Fifty

Are you looking to take your son or daughter’s basketball game to the next level? You could clear out the spare bedroom and spend some serious cash on a live-in NCAA-quality basketball coach. Or, you could save the six-figure expense and get a similar coaching experience from a smart basketball like the 94Fifty.

The 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball is a regulation size and weight ball that contains a tiny Bluetooth sensor that measures spin and bounce. It connects wirelessly to iOS and Android phones to offer real-time feedback during the included training exercises, helping to improve skills in the moment. It’s like having a real basketball coach with you at all times, even when you’re just shooting a few layups in the driveway.

The 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball is available in both men’s and women’s sizes on Amazon.com for $249.95.

Catch fish

smart-fishfinder-350px
Friday Lab

Normally, a family camping trip would be a reason to leave the smartphone behind so you can better enjoy the great outdoors. But let’s face it, this is 2014. Modern technology can make everything better – even your time away from it on the lake.

How? Check out the Deeper Fish Finder. The small, spherical device works as a fish-finding sonar in both salt and fresh water, helping you locate fish up to 120 feet under the surface. You simply attach it to a fishing line and cast it where you want to fish – it’ll turn on automatically upon hitting the water. Deeper works with most modern iOS and Android devices, but we recommend pairing it with a waterproof phone or tablet like the Samsung Galaxy S5 or the Sony Xperia Z2.

The Deeper Portable Fish Finder is available for purchase on Amazon.com for $243.43.

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME apps

Good Idea: Dock a Tiny Netflix Window in Your Browser While You Work

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Behold Netflix Mini in all its glory.

The idea was spawned from one of Netflix’s hack days. That’s the bad news: Netflix Mini is still just an idea at this point.

It would ostensibly be an extension for Google’s Chrome web browser that would dock a tiny window in the lower-right corner, allowing you to work on whatever you’re working on while catching up on whatever show you’re binge-watching. A similar extension called PIP Video already exists, but I couldn’t get it working with Netflix videos. YouTube videos worked fine, however.

While Netflix Mini may or may not become real someday, can we all agree that it probably should? Yes? Handshake?

Check out Netflix’s writeup of its summer hack day for other ideas that were presented.

[Geek.com]

TIME apps

Most of Us Don’t Download Any Smartphone Apps at All

Using a smartphone with Spotify app
Jonathan Nackstrand—AFP/Getty Images

And most people spend a huge chunk of time on just one app

More and more of us might be using smartphones to meet our digital needs but, according to the latest data from analytics firm Comscore, we aren’t downloading more apps on top of what comes with our phones.

Only about 35% of smartphone users download any apps at all in an average month, says Comscore’s Mobile App Report—put another way, 65% of smartphone users don’t download a single app in any given month.

That’s not to say that people aren’t using apps, or even that app downloads are down overall. Smartphone sales have been soaring worldwide, broadening the pool of potential app downloaders even as people individually tend not to be downloading very many apps. Indeed, July was Apple’s best month ever for app store revenue.

It seems to be that people just don’t need that many apps. According to Comscore, “a staggering 42% of all app time spent on smartphones occurs on the individual’s single most used app.” It may also be the case, as Quartz notes, that Apple’s app store—the elephant in the app retail room—relies too heavily on Top 25 lists and makes it difficult for users to find new apps they might want.

TIME Software

5 Cheap Must-Have Apps for Back to School

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Ready for the school year to begin? Once you’ve picked out a tablet or laptop for your student, it’s time to grab the software that will make it the most useful. We’ve found the best cheap apps and programs to help kids study, work more efficiently and keep up with their assignments.

YouCam Snap

Pictures of whiteboards, projector slides and book pages are great for notes. However, the camera apps that come with them can’t always handle these tasks well, especially if it’s not possible to take pictures head on.

YouCam Snap solves this problem. It can straighten out the curve of book pages, whiteboard text taken at an angle, and even correct the brightness and contrast to capture usable images of bright projector screens in a dark room. And the ability to output the captures as PDFs that can be annotated and shared is a big plus.

Price: Free at iTunes and Google Play

iStudiez Pro

A digital student planner can be just as useful as its paper counterpart, especially if it syncs data across devices. iStudiez helps students keep track of class schedules and manage homework assignments, including pop-up notifications around due dates. Students can even keep track of their grades.

Price: $9.99 at the Mac App Store and $2.99 at iTunes

Looking for an Android alternative? Check out Class Buddy Student Planner for $1.99 on Google Play

Zotero

Zotero makes it easy to collect and organize information on the web as source material for research papers. When the software is installed, it detects usable content pulled up on your computer—text, images, video files, screen shots of web pages or documents, like PDF files—and gives the option to save with one click.

All of the text is searchable and tags can be assigned to each piece of content for easy organization. Once it’s paper-writing time, Zotero will create accurate citations for each item.

There are two versions of Zotero: a Firefox add-on that works across operating systems, and a standalone download for PC and Mac that plugs in to browsers. There are also plugins for MS Word and LibreOffice to make citing easier. All for free.

Price: Free at zotero.org

LibreOffice

If you want a full-featured free office suite, LibreOffice is the best choice. It can do everything that Word, Excel, and PowerPoint can do (except a very few functions only business/power users need) and can save to all the Microsoft Office file types as well as export to PDF.

The only things missing from the suite are Outlook and OneNote equivalents. If desktop email is a must-have, Thunderbird works well and has a great associated calendar app called Lightning. For notes, I suggest Evernote.

Price: Free for Windows and Mac at libreoffice.org

Looking for a good (free) mobile office suite? Check out WPS Office on Google Play and iTunes.

ezPDF Reader

PDFs are one of the most common file types students will encounter, and having an app that can read and edit them is a must. With ezPDF, students can add highlights, notes as comments, scribbles and written annotations, plus add, crop, rotate and delete pages.

Price: $2.99 on iTunes and Google Play, Free for Windows 8 at unidocs.com

Bonus: Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium Edition

Dragon NaturallySpeaking is not inexpensive, but it’s so useful for students that it’s worth the price.

Why? The top-notch voice recognition engine is able to easily to distinguish a voice from background noise, which makes it possible to get transcriptions of lectures. All a student needs is a good recording device or a smartphone with an external mic.

Price: $199 at nuance.com

This article was written by K.T. Bradford and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME How-To

3 Apps That Actually Pay You Money

fronto
Fronto

“Earn extra money simply by doing the things you do every day!”

Let’s be honest: You have good reason to be skeptical of “free money” claims. But there really are a small handful of legitimate advertising-powered smartphone apps that offer you money in exchange for being able to advertise to you.

That’s right, the following three apps won’t save you money — they’ll actually pay you money. None of them will make you a millionaire, but they could put an extra $20 or more in your pocket each and every month. And that’s not too bad just for playing around with your smartphone, right?

Fronto

Would you subject yourself to extra advertising if it meant more money in your pocket? If the concept seems appealing to you, check out the Android app Fronto.

Fronto works by placing ads and curated links to content on your smartphone’s lock screen. Every time you interact with this content, you earn points. Unlock your phone while an advertisement is being shown, for example, and you might earn 20 points. Download an app that Fronto suggests for you, and you might earn 100 or more. Fronto also doles out points for referring friends.

Points do take a while to accumulate, especially if you don’t take Fronto up on any of its special offers. But that’s okay – here, it’s worth the effort. Every 25,000 points can be exchanged for $10 in cold, hard cash, payable directly to your PayPal account.

You can download the free Fronto app on Google Play.

Perk

Want to take your earnings beyond the lock screen? Then check out Perk, a series of apps, browsers, search tools and more that converts virtually everything you do on your phone into points, redeemable for cash.

There are a lot of different apps in the Perk universe: Perk Shopping, Perk Search, Perk Screen, Perk Browser, Perk TV and Perk Pop Quiz. Each offers a function along with a small reward for using it. Search using Perk and you’ll get a few points. Watch an ad on Perk TV and you’ll get a few more. Buy something on 1-800-Flowers and other similar retailers via the Perk Shopping app and you’ll earn a ton.

Like with Fronto, Perk points can be redeemed for cash via PayPal. You’ll get the most bang for your points by redeeming them for gift cards instead. Minimum payouts with Perk are $5.

You can find out more about and download the Perk family of apps at Perk.com.

Shopkick

shopkick
Shopkick

Walking around your local mall may be a good way to get a little extra exercise, but it can also be a way to get a little bit of extra money, too. That’s the idea behind Shopkick, an app that rewards you simply for visiting stores.

When you open the Shopkick app at your local mall (or really, whenever), you can see a list of nearby stores that are willing to offer you “kicks” (points) just for walking through the doors. Most of the stores tempting you with points are the type you might walk into anyway, like Walmart, Macy’s, Target or Crate & Barrel. Once you’re in the store, the app might offer you a few challenges (e.g., find and scan a certain item) to earn bonus points. You can even link a credit card to the app to earn points for completing a purchase in-store.

You can rack up enough points to get a reward in a single trip, given the right mall. The minimum reward with Shopkick is a $2 Target gift card, yours for redeeming just 500 points.

You can get the free Shopkick app for iOS via the Apple App Store and for Android via Google Play.

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME Video Games

Reddit Comes to Xbox One First with ReddX App

It may not be the first reddit app you can browse on a TV, but it is the first one you can access through a dedicated games console.

I’m not sure a big-screen TV’s the most natural home for a glorified bulletin board, but if you’ve always wanted to browse vast fields of reddit text on your TV, Microsoft has just the thing for you: an app called ReddX for the Xbox One (as well as Xbox SmartGlass), which it describes as “the first reddit app for the TV.”

You’re going to wind up in a semantic debate with the “first for TV” thing, since not all consoles connect to TVs, and we’ve been able to screen-share whole libraries of reddit apps from mobile devices for ages. But this is the first I’m aware of someone designing a reddit app specifically for a games console, so give Microsoft props for getting out in front of that.

ReddX, available today, lets U.S. and Canadian Xbox One owners browse or zoom in on text, images and videos, as well as tap to upvote, downvote, or comment on threads, just as you can through a browser. You can optionally save images you like to your profile, or make it the ReddX app’s background. And in addition to the Xbox One controller (with or without text keypad), ReddX will take input from the Xbox One media remote as well as Xbox SmartGlass via a smartphone, tablet or laptop.

Microsoft says the app can be snapped to your TV’s side while you game if you want to keep tabs on a thread, allowing you to “interact with each other in similar ways to the reddit.com experience.” That’s probably the most interesting thing about ReddX: the keeping reddit up while you’re doing something else part, a migrational Windows 7-original feature that feels even smarter on a game console.

The least interesting (but slightly amusing) thing: unlocking “media achievements named after some of the Internet’s favorite memes.” I have no idea if any of these are real, but someone’s purportedly taken screenshots of some of them.

And the first reddit thread ever created with a games console? Right this way.

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