TIME Samsung

People Are Complaining About a Nasty Problem With Samsung’s Newest Phone

Samsung Celebrates The Unveiling Of The Galaxy S6 edge+ And Galaxy Note5
Donald Bowers—Getty Images for Samsung Samsung unveils the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5.

It's way too easy to break

Samsung users have discovered a design flaw in the new Galaxy Note 5 that makes it all too easy to reinsert the S Pen the wrong way, disabling certain features on the phone, The Verge reports.

With previous versions of the Note, it was difficult to insert the pen incorrectly. It required a certain amount of force, making users aware that the pen was facing the wrong direction. With the new Galaxy Note 5, inserting the pen incorrectly requires virtually no force, providing users with no warning that they are mistakenly reinserting the pen backwards.

Removing the pen from its slot is supposed to launch either a quick note taking app or the S Pen’s radial menu, but a video from Android Police shows that this flaw with the S Pen slot could permanently disable these features. However, a similar article from Ars Technica reported that it was able to get the features working again.

TIME Social Media

Facebook ‘Spam King’ Faces 3 Years in Prison

Social Media Illustrations
Bloomberg/Getty Images Privacy setting shortcuts are displayed on Apple Inc. iPhone 6.

He's been spamming since the fax machine days

So-called “Spam King” Sanford Wallace has admitted to using around a half-million Facebook accounts to send more than 27 million unsolicited messages on the social network, Bloomberg reports.

Wallace pled guilty to charges of fraud and criminal contempt; he faces up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine for his activities.

The notorious spammer was found to have violated a court order banning him from Facebook by logging onto the site while onboard a Virgin Airlines flight in 2009. He violated the court order again in 2011 by maintaining a profile under the name “David Sinful-Saturdays Fredericks,” according to an FBI press release.

Wallace has been a pest for consumers for decades. Throughout the mid-90s, he spammed people through fax, then through e-mail, according to Ars Technica. He gained such notoriety that his critics named him “Spamford”–a domain he later registered, despite protests from SPAM foodstuff maker Hormel. He also dabbled in spyware and MySpace spamming, which resulted in a lawsuit in 2007.


Here’s How Passwords Could Disappear Forever

So long, "jimmycupcakes617"

Everybody hates passwords. Between coming up with them, remembering them, and finally resetting them when we sheepishly admit we can’t remember them, they’re a total pain.

But technology known as biometrics is slowly but surely replacing memorized passwords. With biometrics, your smartphone, computer, or even ATM could scan your fingerprint, eyes or entire face to recognize you’re who you say you are, granting you password-free access to your devices or bank accounts.

Want to learn more about our possibly password-free future? Watch the video above.

TIME Apple

Here’s a Big Clue About Apple’s Next Event

Apple Shares Take A Beating On Wall Street
Andrew Burton—Getty Images The Apple logo hangs on the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue on August 5, 2015 in New York City.

It could be a massive happening

Just call Apple the king of hype. Blogs and tech geeks have devoured leaks about new technology updates from the secretive company for years, but that fascination has evolved to a new level: guessing the building in which Apple’s next gadgets will be announced.

According to the local blog Hoodline, San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium has been mysteriously booked for a 7,000-seat “private event” until September 13th, fueling speculation that Apple is planning to announce the iPhone 6S in the space.

Many Apple watchers expect the company to announce its new phone on Sept. 9. The iPhone 6S is rumored to feature sensitive Force Touch technology, which gives phones the ability to differentiate between hard touches and taps, among other upgrades.

The blog reports an unusual amount of security around the events space, with some sidewalks on the perimeter of the building even being shut down.

Hoodline reports that the events application in question identifies the goings-on as a “trade show,” and the mysterious events planner has received permission to hang misshapen-star-shaped logos in some of the windows. And while Apple’s logo doesn’t match that description, speculators are still optimistic: “that could just be something that Apple’s using as a placeholder to throw off the scent,” Yahoo Finance writes. MacRumors was more skeptical, pointing out that the space is booked under “Adams and Associates”–a company without known ties to Apple–and that the designs for the star logos are a bit too detailed to be decoys.

Fortune has reached out to Apple for comment and will update this story with any reply.

TIME Gadgets

This Webcam Dispenses Treats For Your Dog

Petzi has a trick (well, a treat) up its sleeve

A rescue dog that, years ago, was snatched from the clutches of a puppy mill, my best friend has a little bit of an anxious streak. She tends to sleep while I work, but she also has a tendency to loose her marbles at any distraction. If my son is home during the work day, the FedEx truck stops in front of the house, or a thunderstorm is within 50 miles, she’ll pace like a guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, whine like an old timing belt, and pant like, well, a dog. I used to think the few times I’ve had to step out of the office, she would work herself into a tizzy. At least that’s what I thought until I installed Petzi.

A webcam-connected treat dispenser that can help pet owners keep track of their four-legged friends, Petzi is the latest smart home device that you never knew you needed, because, let’s be honest, you probably don’t. Any webcam can help you monitor your pets while you’re away — and nearly all of them do it better. But this gimmicky gadget can do something else, too: With the press of a smartphone button, it will let you treat your furry friend to a snack from anywhere you’ve got a data connection. What a lucky dog.


A little larger than a bathroom hand soap dispenser and about the same build quality, the $169 Petzi has a poor-to-average camera by today’s increasingly high-definition standards. But if you’re buying this device, you’re likely not fussing over specs. Using the Petzi smartphone app to connect the camera to my Wi-Fi network worked without a hitch, which is more than I can say for many web-connected devices on the market. And filling it with treats is also easy; simply pull off the cover and pour in some kibble. And I do mean “kibble” — Petzi only works with treats smaller than one inch, a lesson I learned the hard way after buying a box of standard-sized Milk Bones. (And now I’m stuck with a box of these pumice stone puppy treats. Woof.)

Upon setting up the camera, I left the house to work remotely for the day, periodically checking in on the little pooch to see how she was doing. It’s worth mentioning here that my dog, a mutt of undetermined makeup, is pretty darned smart. I often joke that she understands several languages, but doesn’t speak any herself. While she won’t fetch my slippers, she does understand when I tell her a wide variety of things, such as, “if you really need to lick yourself, please do it somewhere else,” and “the baby’s sleeping, so keep it down.” In fact, she won’t even eat a morsel of food dropped on the floor unless I give her the go-ahead first. That’s my girl!

So when I pulled up the video feed on the camera, I was disappointed, but not surprised, with what I saw: My dog could not have cared less about the strange object in the room — even though when you open the video feed on the app, Petzi makes a little noise announcing to the dog that she’s being watched. She just laid there, looking at the door I had exited through. Next, I pressed the microphone button on the app, which allowed me to talk to my dog through Petzi’s speaker. One ear perked, but she remained focused on the door.

One thing I like about Petzi is a feature I wish every webcam would adopt. In addition to the jingle alerting the dog that someone is watching, you can also hear the camera click to action. In other words, the camera doesn’t turn on until you connect to it with your app. It’s reassuring to know that this device isn’t a gateway for sly dogs to spy on your home.

When I finally hit the “treat” button, three tiny bones shot out onto the floor. The treats were so small and the camera’s resolution is so poor that I could barely see them on my phone’s screen. But my dog looked over — and then she looked back at the door. I wish I could have captured all this on video, but Petzi’s camera only saves still photos, perhaps the most disappointing part about this device. She eventually warmed up to the snacks — she’s not particularly food-motivated — but she stayed cool to the technology overall. She wasn’t even fooled by my voice on the speaker; she knew the only voice that mattered is the one that came back through the door.

Some people reading this might argue that my dog is more dysfunctional than Petzi. I’ve got no defense against that — she truly is a little weirdo. And besides, customer reviews for Petzi on Amazon average five stars, with people raving about how their separation anxiety-ridden pups were consoled by this camera-and-speaker combo. But my dreams of her latching onto the box as a proxy for me rolled over and played dead. The truth, I came to realize, is that my dog doesn’t want her own webcam. All she wants is her people.

TIME technology

The Next Revolution in Photography Is Coming

Stephen Wilkes

In the future, there will be no such thing as a "straight photograph"

It’s time to stop talking about photography. It’s not that photography is dead as many have claimed, but it’s gone.

Just as there’s a time to stop talking about girls and boys and to talk instead about women and men so it is with photography; something has changed so radically that we need to talk about it differently, think of it differently and use it differently. Failure to recognize the huge changes underway is to risk isolating ourselves in an historical backwater of communication, using an interesting but quaint visual language removed from the cultural mainstream.

The moment of photography’s “puberty” was around the time when the technology moved from analog to digital although it wasn’t until the arrival of the Internet-enabled smartphone that we really noticed a different behavior. That’s when adolescence truly set in. It was surprising but it all seemed somewhat natural and although we experienced a few tantrums along the way with arguments about promiscuity, manipulation and some inexplicable new behaviors, the photographic community largely accommodated the changes with some adjustments in workflow.

But these visible changes were merely the advance indicators of deeper transformations and it was only a matter of time before people’s imagination reached beyond the constraints of two dimensions to explore previously unimagined possibilities. And so it is that we find ourselves in a world where the digital image is almost infinitely flexible, a vessel for immeasurable volumes of information, operating in multiple dimensions and integrated into apps and technologies with purposes yet to be imagined.

Digital capture quietly but definitively severed the optical connection with reality, that physical relationship between the object photographed and the image that differentiated lens-made imagery and defined our understanding of photography for 160 years. The digital sensor replaced to optical record of light with a computational process that substitutes a calculated reconstruction using only one third of the available photons. That’s right, two thirds of the digital image is interpolated by the processor in the conversion from RAW to JPG or TIF. It’s reality but not as we know it.

For obvious commercial reasons camera manufacturers are careful to reconstruct the digital image in a form that mimics the familiar old photograph and consumers barely noticed a difference in the resulting image, but there are very few limitations on how the RAW data could be handled and reality could be reconstructed in any number of ways. For as long as there’s an approximate consensus on what reality should look like we retain a fingernail grip on the belief in the image as an objective record. But forces beyond photography and traditional publishing are already onto this new data resource, and culture will move with it whether photographers choose to follow or not.

As David Campbell has pointed out in his report on image integrity for the World Press Photo, this requires a profound reassessment of words like “manipulation” that assume the existence of a virginal image file that hasn’t already been touched by computational process. Veteran digital commentator Kevin Connor says, “The definition of computational photography is still evolving, but I like to think of it as a shift from using a camera as a picture-making device to using it as a data-collecting device.”

The differences contained in the structure and processing of a digital file are not the end of the story of photography’s transition from innocent childhood to knowing adulthood. There is so much more to grasp that very few people have yet grappled with the inevitable but as yet unimaginable impact on the photographic image. Taylor Davidson has described the camera of the future as an app, a software rather than a device that compiles data from multiple sensors. The smartphone’s microphone, gyroscope, accelerometer, thermometer and other sensors all contribute data as needed by whatever app calls on it and combines it with the visual data. And still that’s not the limit on what is already bundled with our digital imagery.

Our instruments are connected to satellites that contribute GPS data while connecting us to the Internet that links our data to all the publicly available information of Wikipedia, Google and countless other resources that know where we are, who was there before us and the associated economic, social and political activity. Layer on top of that the integration of LIDAR data (currently only in some specialist apps) then apply facial and object recognition software and consider the implication of emerging technologies such as virtual reality, semantic reality and artificial intelligence and one begins to realize the mind-boggling potential of computational imagery.

Things will go even further with the development of curved sensors that will allow completely different ways to interpret light, but that for the moment remains an idea rather than a reality. Everything else is already happening and will become increasingly evident as new technologies roll out, ushering us into a very different visual culture with expectations far beyond simple documentation.

The world through an app #15: 3D weather overlay. #augmentedreality #machinevision #appeyeview #theworldthroughanapp

A photo posted by Tomas van Houtryve (@tomasvh) on

Computational photography draws on all these resources and allows the visual image to create a picture of reality that is infinitely richer than a simple visual record, and with this comes the opportunity to incorporate deeper levels of knowledge. It won’t be long before photographers are making images of what they know, rather than only what they see. Mark Levoy, formerly of Stanford and now of Google puts it this way, “Except in photojournalism, there will be no such thing as a ‘straight photograph’; everything will be an amalgam, an interpretation, an enhancement or a variation – either by the photographer as auteur or by the camera itself.”

As we tumble forwards into these unknown territories there’s a curious throwback to a moment in art history when 100 years ago the Cubists revolutionized ways of seeing using a very similar (albeit analog) approach to what they saw. Picasso, Braque and others deconstructed the world and reassembled it not in terms of what they saw, but rather in terms of what they knew using multiple perspectives to depict a deeper understanding.

While the photographic world wrestles with even such basic tools as Photoshop there is no doubt that we’re moving into a space more aligned with Cubism than Modernism. It will not be long before our audiences demand more sophisticated imagery that is dynamic and responsive to change, connected to reality by more than a static two-dimensional rectangle of crude visual data isolated in space and time. We’ll look back at the black-and-white photograph that was the voice of truth for nearly a century, as a simplistic and incomplete source of information about what was happening in the world.

Some will consider this a threat, seeing only the danger of distortion and undetectable fakery and it’s certainly true that we’ll need to develop new measures by which to read imagery. We’re already highly skilled in distinguishing probable and improbable information and we know how to read written journalism (which is driven entirely by the writer’s imaginative ability to interpret reality in symbolic form) and we don’t confuse advertising imagery with documentary, nor the photo illustration on a magazine’s cover with the reportage inside. Fraud will always be a risk but with over a century of experience we’ve learned that we can’t rely on the mechanical process to protect us. New conventions will emerge and all the artistry that’s been developed since the invention of photography will find richer and deeper opportunities to express information, ideas and emotions with no greater risk to truth than we currently experience. The enriched opportunities for storytelling will allow greater complexity that’s closer to reality than the thinned-down simplification of 20th Century journalism and will open unprecedented connection between the subject and the viewer.

The twist is that new forces will be driving the process. The clue is in what already occurred with the smartphone. The revolutionary change in photography’s cultural presence wasn’t led by photographers, nor publishers or camera manufacturers but by telephone engineers, and this process will repeat as business grasps the opportunities offered by new technology to use visual imagery in extraordinary new ways, throwing us into new and wild territory. It’s happening already and we’ll see the impact again and again as new apps, products and services hit the market.

We owe it to the medium that we’ve nurtured into adolescence to stand by it and support it in adulthood even though it might seem unrecognizable in its new form. We know the alternative: it will be out the door and hanging with the wrong crowd while we sit forlornly in the empty nest wondering what we did wrong. The first step is to stop talking about the child it once was and to put away the sentimental memories of photography as we knew it for all these years.

It’s very far from dead but it’s definitely left the building.

Stephen Mayes is the Executive Director of the Tim Hetherington Trust.

Read next: Instagram Photographers to Follow in All 50 States

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TIME Smartphones

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Samsung's latest devices go head-to-head

There’s a lot riding on Samsung’s latest smartphones, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5. Ever since the South Korean company hit a bit of a rough patch early this year it’s been looking for ways to improve its bottom line. Meanwhile, profits at the company have declined for seven straight quarters, forcing it to cut prices for its Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.

Samsung is in dire need of a hit device to put the company back on a path towards rising profits, which is hopefully where the Note 5 and S6 Edge+ can help. For the past week I’ve tested both devices, using them non-stop to snap photos, capture videos, and do all the things you’d normally do on a smartphone. And you know what? These devices just might be what Samsung’s looking for.


As noted in a previous story, the company will no longer offer smartphones equipped with microSD card slots and removable batteries and instead offer devices made from svelte aluminum and glass; much to the chagrin of its most faithful of users.

The S6 Edge+ and Note 5 were each crafted with a different type of consumer in mind. The S6 Edge+ is for those who like to watch videos and play games thanks to the immersive experience its curved display lends itself to. Meanwhile, the Note 5, as its lineage dictates, is aimed directly at those who want a productivity device, complete with a stylus for jotting notes and sketching ideas.

Storage options are limited to 32- or 64-gigabytes for both devices, again, with no option to add storage via a memory card. The lack of storage is a confusing omission when looking at the Note 5, a device that’s made a name for itself as a productivity-first device.

Is one device better than the other? It depends on how you plan on using it. I suspect the majority of users will opt for the S6 Edge+ due to its curved design. The S6 Edge+ is lighter and thinner than the Note 5, and overall just feels easier to hold.

The Note 5 was more to difficult hold on, an issue that’s undoubtedly a byproduct of it’s 5.7-inch, but also an unfortunate side effect of its design (and despite the fact the back of the Note 5 is curved in a similar fashion to that of the screen on the S6 Edge+).

The S6 Edge+ is equipped with the same screen size as the Note, and is .7 millimeters thinner on the spec sheet.


Both devices are equipped with Samsung’s 2.1 GHz Exynos 7420 64-bit octa-core processor, which translates into a fast experience. Apps were always fast to open and close, with no discernible delay. Even after a full day’s use of installing, loading, and customizing over 50 applications, neither device showed signs of slowing down.

The only time I briefly experienced a slight slowdown was when using Samsung’s multi window feature, which allows two apps to run at the same time in a split-screen orientation.


When Samsung launched both devices at its Unpacked event it failed to include one word: TouchWiz. The term refers to Samsung’s divisive proprietary software that runs atop Google’s Android platform, adding features and customization options.

Unfortunately, the omission wasn’t an indication the company had decided to walk away from the interface. The software is still present, for better or worse, and still a hindrance.

For example, S Voice is the company’s digital assistant, much like Apple’s Siri, and responds to voice commands. After summoning your personal assistant, you can ask it for weather updates or to set reminders.

The setup process for S Voice requires you to set your own activation phrase, repeating it several times to train your device. In my case, I opted for “Hey Edge” to beckon its attention. Only, I rarely was able to activate it on first try. Unfortunately, many times the device had no reaction. How did I figure out if I needed an umbrella? I asked Google instead, and it responded nearly every single time.

Compounding the frustrating experience, S Voice would randomly turn on. I can only assume the device thought that it heard my personalized “Hey Edge” command from something on TV or radio, and that whatever it heard did a better job at sounding like me than I did.

Inconsistent experiences such as what I experienced with S Voice are found on both devices’ software. Thankfully, however, most of it can be disabled.


Samsung put the same 16 megapixel sensor from its previous generation phones in its Note 5 and S6 Edge+.The result means performance is the same, but the larger screens make it easier to frame and setup photos.

Samsung offers different camera modes designed for specific situations, such as sporting events or, yes, even food pics.

Low-light performance was a weak spot, as it is with most smartphone cameras. Instead of grainy photos, however, both devices struggled with capturing the proper white balance. In comparison, the iPhone 6 offered up grainy photos with better balance.

Battery life

The Note 5 and S6 Edge+ are each equipped with a 3,000 milliamp-hour battery. The size may be a disappointment to some, given the battery is smaller than the Note 4 and no longer removable, meaning users can’t simply replace a dead battery with a fully charged spare when needed.

Unlike my experience with Samsung’s smaller flagship devices, the battery life on the Note 5 or S6 Edge+ was a non-issue. I failed to completely deplete either battery throughout the day, in spite of heavy use.

At one point I forgot to place the Note 5 on its charger before bed, and when I woke the battery was at 16%. Normally when this happens—and I think we’ve all been there—you charge your device while you get ready for the work day, and leave the house with a half-charged battery.

However, I plugged the Note 5 in and 15 minutes later the battery had an extra 25%; another 15 minutes later I was nearing 60%. Samsung’s integration of Qualcomm, a quick-charging technology for devices, is an invaluable feature.

Samsung Pay

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to test Samsung Pay on either device during the review period, but the beta is scheduled for launch this month.

Both devices are equipped with the required hardware and—according to Samsung—already contain the software needed to use the mobile payment service once it’s available (users will still need to download the Samsung Pay app to enable it, rather than wait for a software update as is the case for S6 and S6 Edge owners).

If Pay works as advertised, it has the potential to be one of the increasingly rare features capable of changing smartphone use through its ability to work with both standard credit and debit card terminals and NFC readers.


Both devices are available starting August 21 across all four major U.S. carriers, plus U.S. Cellular. Pricing is carrier dependent, but most are offering the device at $700 for the 32GB Note 5. Full retail pricing of the 32GB S6 Edge+ is in the neighborhood of $770. Though some carriers such at AT&T still provide the option to sign a two-year contract, putting the cost below $300 for either device.

Samsung’s latest devices carry a steep price tag in a market that’s increasingly seeing quality Android devices hit the market at cheaper prices, and with the added benefit of no contract or monthly payments. For example, the OnePlus 2’s most expensive model is $390, while Motorola’s $399 Moto X will soon be available.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 vs. S6 Edge+

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ are the best Android smartphones I’ve ever used. Their large, vibrant displays were a joy to look at. I even began to appreciate the curved screen of the S6 Edge+, a departure from the my feelings after using the S6 Edge.

The fingerprint reader is fast, and most importantly, reliable. The camera is one of the best I’ve ever used on a smartphone, giving me pause each time I pulled out my iPhone to snap a photo. The battery offered enough power to get me through an entire day of heavy use.

If I was asked to pick between the S6 Edge+ or the Note 5, I’d be inclined to pick the former. The curved display doesn’t offer any true advantage other than making the device easier to grip, and the Note 5’s biggest differentiator (and only feature worth nothing) is its stylus. Outside of that, both devices offer the same software and hardware experience.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Autos

How Carmakers Are Banding Together to Fight Hackers

Chrysler Issues Recall On 850,000 Sport Utility Vehicles
Joe Raedle—Getty Images 2014 Jeep Cherokees are seen on a sales lot on April 2, 2014 in Miami, Florida.

After some high-profile incidents

As automobiles become more connected to the Internet, drivers will become more vulnerable to hackers. That’s why major automakers are teaming up to try and make sure their cars can’t be hacked.

Companies like Ford, General Motors and Toyota are working through the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers to create an Information Sharing and Analysis Center, reports Automotive News. The data-sharing center should be operational by the end of the year, that publication reports.

Computer hackers targeting vehicles have made several big headlines in the past year. Just last month, it was reported that hackers were able to disrupt a Jeep Cherokee being driven by a Wired journalist. In theory, hackers can manipulate advanced car functions like automated parking to affect vehicles’ movement, a potentially massive safety issue.


TIME Security

Toronto Police Investigating Possible Ashley Madison Suicides

Hackers Release Confidential Member Information From The Ashley Madison Infidelity Website
Carl Court—Getty Images A detail of the Ashley Madison website on Aug. 19, 2015.

After hackers leak info about users of cheating website

Toronto police are looking into two suicide reports with possible ties to the Ashley Madison hacking scandal, law enforcement officials said at a news conference Monday.

Toronto Police Superintendent Bryce Evans said details about both cases remain sparse. He added that the police’s investigation would be directed at finding the hackers responsible for leaking more than 30 million email addresses and credit card numbers from Ashley Madison, a Canada-based website that helps married men and women arrange affairs.

“Your actions are illegal and will not be tolerated,” said Evans. “This is your wake up call.”

Evans also announced that Ashley Madison parent company Avid Life Media is offering a $500,000 reward to anyone providing information that leads to the arrest of the hackers. Still, the hackers may be well outside the jurisdiction of Canadian police.

TIME Apple

Apple Is Leading the Dow’s Comeback

The Dow plunged 1,000 points on open but Apple's stock is green.

Shares of Apple recovered in Monday afternoon trading after slumping badly along with the broader market as investors fretted about a weak economy in China.

The stock, which was at one point the worst performer of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, is now the best performer. It is up around 2%, even as the broader index is down more than 180 points. Two other tech firms – Microsoft and Intel – were the only other stocks trading in positive territory among the 30 shares that make up the DJIA.

Apple has depended on China for growth in recent years, so it made sense the shares would be hit by concerns that a weak economy there could result in fewer gadget sales. But the upward move could be because some investors sensed a buying opportunity. Apple’s shares are trading at around $108 apiece currently, the lowest level since January. The stock has lost around 20% of its value in the past month.

The recovery could also be attributed to a rare move by CEO Tim Cook to reassure investors. Cook sent an e-mail to CNBC’s Jim Cramer, telling the host that Apple’s growth remained “strong” through July and August with growth of iPhone activations accelerating in recent weeks.

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