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1 460 shares, 32 trendiness, 1171 words and 9 minutes reading time

The iPad Awkwardly Turns 10

Ten years ago to­day, Steve Jobs in­tro­duced the iPad on stage at the Yerba Buena the­ater in San Francisco. It sur­prised every­one, in sev­eral ways. Some ex­pected a touch­screen Mac with a sty­lus. Some ex­pected a prod­uct that would do for the news in­dus­try what the iPod had done for the mu­sic in­dus­try a decade prior. Most ex­pected a $1,000 start­ing price. The iPad was none of those things. It was also Jobs’s fi­nal big new prod­uct an­nounce­ment.

It’s just a big iPhone” was the most com­mon ini­tial crit­i­cism. Turns out, just a big iPhone” was a fan­tas­tic idea for a new prod­uct — mu­sic to tens of mil­lions of iPhone users’ ears.

Jobs’s on-stage pitch was ex­actly right. The iPad was a new class of de­vice, sit­ting be­tween a phone and a lap­top. To suc­ceed, it needed not only to be bet­ter at some things than ei­ther a phone or lap­top, it needed to be much bet­ter. It was and is.

Ten years later, though, I don’t think the iPad has come close to liv­ing up to its po­ten­tial. By the time the Mac turned 10, it had re­de­fined mul­ti­ple in­dus­tries. In 1984 al­most no graphic de­sign­ers or il­lus­tra­tors were us­ing com­put­ers for work. By 1994 al­most all graphic de­sign­ers and il­lus­tra­tors were us­ing com­put­ers for work. The Mac was a rev­o­lu­tion. The iPhone was a rev­o­lu­tion. The iPad has been a spec­tac­u­lar suc­cess, and to tens of mil­lions it is a beloved part of their daily lives, but it has, to date, fallen short of rev­o­lu­tion­ary.

iPad hard­ware is un­de­ni­ably great. Lower-priced mod­els are ex­cel­lent con­sumer tablets, and are the cheap­est per­sonal com­put­ers Apple has ever made. They re­main per­fectly use­ful for many years. The iPads Pro out­per­form MacBooks com­pu­ta­tion­ally. They’re thin, light, re­li­able, gor­geous, and yet de­spite their im­pres­sive com­pu­ta­tional per­for­mance they need no fans.

Software is where the iPad has got­ten lost. iPa­dOS’s multitasking” model is far more ca­pa­ble than the iPhone’s, yes, but some­how Apple has painted it into a cor­ner in which it is far less con­sis­tent and co­her­ent than the Mac’s, while also be­ing far less ca­pa­ble. iPad mul­ti­task­ing: more com­plex, less pow­er­ful. That’s quite a com­bi­na­tion.

Consider the ba­sic task of putting two apps on screen at the same time, the ba­sic de­f­i­n­i­tion of multitasking” in the UI sense. To launch the first app, you tap its icon on the home­screen, just like on the iPhone, and just like on the iPad be­fore split-screen mul­ti­task­ing. Tapping an icon to open an app is nat­ural and in­tu­itive. But to get a sec­ond app on the same screen, you can­not tap its icon. You must first slide up from the bot­tom of the screen to re­veal the Dock. Then you must tap and hold on an app icon in the Dock. Then you drag the app icon out of the Dock to launch it in a way that it will be­come the sec­ond app split­ting the dis­play. But is­n’t drag­ging an icon out of the Dock the way that you re­move apps from the Dock? Yes, it is — when you do it from the home­screen. So the way you launch an app in the Dock for split-screen mode is iden­ti­cal to the way you re­move that app from the Dock. Oh, and apps that aren’t in the Dock can’t be­come the sec­ond app in split screen mode. What sense does that lim­i­ta­tion make?

On the iPhone you can only have one app on screen at a time. The screen is the app; the app is the screen. This is lim­it­ing but triv­ial to un­der­stand. On the Mac you can have as many apps on screen at the same time as you want, and you launch the sec­ond, third, or twen­ti­eth app ex­actly the same way that you launch the first. That is con­sis­tency. On iPad you can only have two apps on screen at the same time, and you must launch them in en­tirely dif­fer­ent ways — one of them in­tu­itive (tap any app icon), one of them in­scrutable (drag one of the hand­ful of apps you’ve placed in your Dock). And if you don’t quite drag the app from the Dock far enough to the side of the screen, it launches in Slide Over”, an en­tirely dif­fer­ent shared-screen rather than split-screen mode. The whole con­cept is not merely in­con­sis­tent, it’s in­co­her­ent.

How would any­one ever fig­ure out how to split-screen mul­ti­task on the iPad if they did­n’t al­ready know how to do it?

On the iPhone, you al­ways launch apps the same way: tap­ping their icons. On the Mac, it’s slightly more com­plex. In most con­texts — the Dock, LaunchPad, Spotlight re­sults — you launch apps by sin­gle-click­ing them; in the Finder, how­ever, you must dou­ble-click them. There’s a method to that seem­ing mad­ness — you must dou­ble-click to open some­thing on the Mac in any con­text where sin­gle-click­ing will merely se­lect that item. But the Mac’s When do I click, when do I dou­ble-click?” is­sue has con­fused un­told mil­lions of non-ex­pert users for decades. How many peo­ple have you seen who dou­ble-click links in a web browser? The iPhone’s sim­plic­ity elim­i­nated this sort of con­fu­sion. No one need­lessly dou­ble-taps tap­pable items on iPhone. The iPad, orig­i­nally, shared this sim­plic­ity and clar­ity. When the iPad de­buted it was, from top to bot­tom, eas­ier to un­der­stand than the Mac, and you could learn every­thing there was to learn about it just by tap­ping and slid­ing to ex­plore. It was im­pos­si­ble to get lost or con­fused.

As things stand to­day, I get a phone call from my mom once a month or so be­cause she’s ac­ci­den­tally got­ten Safari into split-screen mode when tap­ping links in Mail or Messages and can’t get out.

I like my iPad very much, and use it al­most every day. But if I could go back to the pre-split-screen, pre-drag-and-drop in­ter­face I would. Which is to say, now that iPa­dOS has its own name, I wish I could in­stall the iPhone’s one-app-on-screen-at-a-time, no-drag-and-drop iOS on my iPad Pro. I’d do it in a heart­beat and be much hap­pier for it.

The iPad at 10 is, to me, a grave dis­ap­point­ment. Not be­cause it’s bad”, be­cause it’s not bad — it’s great even — but be­cause great though it is in so many ways, over­all it has fallen so far short of the grand po­ten­tial it showed on day one. To reach that po­ten­tial, Apple needs to rec­og­nize they have made pro­found con­cep­tual mis­takes in the iPad user in­ter­face, mis­takes that need to be scrapped and re­placed, not pol­ished and re­fined. I worry that iPa­dOS 13 sug­gests the op­po­site — that Apple is steer­ing the iPad full speed ahead down a blind al­ley.

...

Read the original on daringfireball.net »

2 347 shares, 14 trendiness, 963 words and 9 minutes reading time

What's wrong with computational notebooks?

This post is an in­for­mal sum­mary of our re­cent CHI′20 pa­per, What’s Wrong with Computational Notebooks? Pain Points, Needs, and Design Opportunities”. Check out the preprint for more de­tails. Special thanks to Microsoft for sup­port­ing this work.

Computational note­books, such as Jupyter Notebooks, Azure Notebooks, and Databricks, are wildly pop­u­lar with data sci­en­tists. But as these note­books are used for more and more com­plex tasks, data sci­en­tists run into more and more pain points. In this post I will very briefly sum­ma­rize our method, find­ings, and some op­por­tu­ni­ties for tools.

To un­der­stand the pain points, we con­ducted a mixed-meth­ods study that in­volved (a) ob­serv­ing 5 data sci­en­tists as they worked with note­books, (b) in­ter­view­ing 15 data sci­en­tists, and (c) sur­vey­ing 156 data sci­en­tists. We tran­scribed the record­ings from the ob­ser­va­tions and in­ter­views, per­formed qual­i­ta­tive analy­sis on the tran­scrip­tions, and then used the sur­vey to val­i­date and tri­an­gu­late the find­ings with a broader pop­u­la­tion.

We iden­ti­fied the fol­low­ing 9 cat­e­gories of pain­points based on our ob­ser­va­tions and in­ter­views:

Setup. Participants stated they of­ten down­loaded data out­side of the note­book from var­i­ous data sources since in­ter­fac­ing with them pro­gram­mat­i­cally was too much has­sle. Not only that, but note­books of­ten crash with large data sets (possibly due to the note­books run­ning in a web browser). Once the data is loaded, it then has to be cleaned, which par­tic­i­pants com­plained is a repet­i­tive and time con­sum­ing task that in­volves copy­ing and past­ing code from their per­sonal library” of com­monly used func­tions.

Explore and an­a­lyze. Modeling and vi­su­al­iz­ing data are com­mon tasks but can be­come frus­trat­ing. For ex­am­ple, we ob­served one par­tic­i­pant tweak the pa­ra­me­ters of a plot more than 20 times in less than 5 min­utes. Moreover, build­ing mod­els break the quick and it­er­a­tive work­flow of note­books since it can take sev­eral min­utes or longer to fin­ish.

Manage code. Notebooks do not have all of the fea­tures of an IDE, like in­te­grated doc­u­men­ta­tion or so­phis­ti­cated au­to­com­plete, so par­tic­i­pants of­ten switch back and forth be­tween an IDE (e.g., VS Code) and their note­book. One par­tic­i­pant we ob­served kept both win­dows side-by-side and copy and pasted code be­tween the two win­dows rapidly as they worked. Another ma­jor pain point is man­ag­ing pack­age de­pen­den­cies. Participants also in­di­cated that they de­velop their own processes for de­bug­ging and test­ing, and some ex­pressed ir­ri­ta­tion with the lack of tool sup­port.

Reliability. It is not un­com­mon for a note­book’s ker­nel to crash in the mid­dle of an op­er­a­tion, which may leave the note­book or data in an in­con­sis­tent state with­out proper feed­back to the user. Participants com­mented that they find it eas­ier to just restart and run the en­tire note­book again with hopes that it does­n’t crash. Additionally, note­books have lim­i­ta­tions when it comes to big data, which re­quires users to move to a dif­fer­ent tool set (e.g., Java or Python scripts).

Archival. Participants ex­pressed much dif­fi­culty with us­ing ver­sion con­trol sys­tems for note­books. For ex­am­ple, the out­puts are saved in the note­books along with meta­data, which will al­ways in­di­cate changes to the ver­sion con­trol sys­tem. Searching and find­ing in­for­ma­tion from pre­vi­ous note­books is also an un­solved chal­lenge.

Security. Participants were con­cerned about sen­si­tive data that may need to be masked from other users while still al­low­ing them to ex­e­cute the note­book. Notebooks also don’t sup­port re­stric­tions such as read-only or run-only, thus re­quir­ing ex­ter­nal tools to en­force ac­cess.

Share and col­lab­o­rate. While it is easy to share the note­book file, it is of­ten not easy to share the data. For ex­am­ple, the data may re­quire ac­cess to a data­base. Participants said that they of­ten need to cre­ate doc­u­men­ta­tion to ex­plain how to in­stall and setup any nec­es­sary de­pen­den­cies to run a note­book. Furthermore, there is miss­ing sup­port for shar­ing the note­book re­sults with oth­ers, es­pe­cially non-tech­ni­cal users, for the pur­poses of re­ports or pre­sen­ta­tions.

Reproduce and reuse. Due to the de­pen­dency is­sues and en­vi­ron­ment set­tings, it is un­likely that a note­book will work out of the box. Reusing even small por­tions of a note­book is dif­fi­cult due to pack­age de­pen­den­cies and even de­pen­den­cies on other cells within the note­book.

Notebooks as prod­ucts. If a large data set is used, as one might ex­pect in pro­duc­tion, then the note­book will lose the in­ter­ac­tiv­ity while it is ex­e­cut­ing. Also, note­books en­cour­age quick and dirty” code that may re­quire rewrit­ing be­fore it is pro­duc­tion qual­ity. For ex­am­ple, par­tic­i­pants in­di­cated that note­books are not al­ways de­signed to be ex­e­cuted top to bot­tom, which will re­quire ad­di­tional work to fix the ex­e­cu­tion or­der for a stand­alone ar­ti­fact.

Our find­ings high­light nu­mer­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties for tools. From my own ob­ser­va­tions and con­ver­sa­tions with data sci­en­tists, I think there are three ma­jor ar­eas that tools should sup­port:

Traditional de­vel­op­ment tools. Notebooks are miss­ing fea­tures that tra­di­tional IDEs have, such as au­to­com­plete, doc­u­men­ta­tion, de­bug­ging, unit test­ing, and refac­tor­ing. We ob­served par­tic­i­pants re­peat­edly mov­ing be­tween tools to uti­lize these dif­fer­ent fea­tures. Should IDE fea­tures be moved into note­books or should note­books be moved into IDEs?

Cleanup and ex­trac­tion. There are op­por­tu­ni­ties for tools to aid in clean­ing up note­books be­fore archiv­ing, shar­ing, or pro­duc­tiz­ing. Since a lot of note­books are started for ex­ploratory pur­poses, it can be a lot of work to clean them up or to ex­tract spe­cific por­tions.

Feedback of note­book state. Notebooks could pro­vide more feed­back to the user. What is the cur­rent state of the note­book? Which cells are de­pen­dent on each other? Which cells should be re-run?

Hopefully this pa­per pro­vides ev­i­dence for the need for more re­search in this area! For a lot more de­tails, take a look at the full pa­per and let me know if you have any ques­tions.

Like this post? Consider buy­ing me a cof­fee! Buy me a cof­fee

...

Read the original on web.eecs.utk.edu »

3 326 shares, 15 trendiness, 2424 words and 32 minutes reading time

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SanDisk CompactFlash Extreme Pro 64GB CF Memory Card (SDCFXPS-064G-X46) and 64GB SDHC Extreme Pro (SDSDXXG-064G-GN4IN) for Canon EOS 7D Mark II Camera with Everything But Stromboli (TM) Combo Reader

Lexar 64GB Professional 3500x CFast 2.0 Memory Card for 4K Video Cameras, Up to 525MB/s Read, Up to 445MB/s Write Speed

SanDisk 8GB ULTRA Compact Flash Card, 8GB, Up To 30 MB/s, 200X Read/Write for Cameras Nikon Canon Kodak

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Lexar 64GB Professional 3500x CFast 2.0 Memory Card for 4K Video Cameras, Up to 525MB/s Read, Up to 445MB/s Write Speed

Picture Keeper 8GB Portable Flash USB Photo Backup and Storage Device for PC and MAC Computers

Picture Keeper 8GB Portable Flash USB Photo Backup and Storage Device for PC and MAC Computers

Estone 5pcs x1GB Security Digital SD Card ,High Speed ,Compatible with cam­eras ,camcorders , com­put­ers ,car read­ers and other SD com­pat­i­ble de­vices

Last up­dated at 2020-01-28 11:41:50 UTC. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qual­i­fy­ing pur­chases. Product prices and avail­abil­ity are ac­cu­rate as of the date/​time in­di­cated and are sub­ject to change. Any price and avail­abil­ity in­for­ma­tion dis­played at the time of pur­chase will ap­ply to the pur­chase of the prod­uct. CERTAIN CONTENT THAT APPEARS ON THIS SITE COMES FROM AMAZON SERVICES LLC. THIS CONTENT IS PROVIDED AS IS AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE OR REMOVAL AT ANY TIME. Read the FAQ, Privacy state­ment, or email sup­port@diskprices.com with ques­tions.

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4 286 shares, 23 trendiness, 1130 words and 8 minutes reading time

My 2020 Hackintosh Hardware Spec — Core i9-9900K & Aorus Master Z390 on OpenCore

I built my last hack­in­tosh in 2014 and it was over­due for an up­date. Since Apple re­cently up­dated their iMac with Core i9s and skipped the T2, this is prob­a­bly the last time I’m build­ing this sort of com­puter, be­fore MacOS is locked down for­ever. Unfortunately, noth­ing in their lineup fits my needs, hence I chose to go down the hack­in­tosh route once again.

Header photo by Phenom Design for il­lus­tra­tion pur­poses only.

* The iMac has a build-in screen which likes go bad from dust, as do the com­po­nents in­side.

* The iMac Pro is a bit too ex­pen­sive and while it has a new air­flow sys­tem, it still ac­cu­mu­lates dust in­side. Replacing an iMac also means get­ting rid of a per­fectly good mon­i­tor.

* The Mac Mini is un­der­pow­ered, not ex­pand­able enough, and too ex­pen­sive.

* The Mac Pro is al­most per­fect, but much too ex­pen­sive.

* So is the Pro Display XDR.

* All Mac RAM and SSD up­grades are ridicu­lously ex­pen­sive. I’d hap­pily pay 30% to 50% more than the in­dus­try stan­dards but not two to four times more.

* A Mac Mini 64 GB 2666 MHz RAM up­grade from 8 GB to 64 GB costs 1000 USD. A Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 3600 MHz 64 GB kit costs around 400 USD. The 2 TB SSD up­grade also costs 1000 USD from Apple, while a Sam­sung 970 Evo Plus 2 TB costs around 500 USD. The RAM and SSD prices are even cheaper over in Europe.

I decided to base my spec on the 2019 iMac Retina 5K, to make the build as vanilla as pos­si­ble. I don’t want to mess with MacOS and I need this to be a sta­ble plat­form for the years to come. I’m still on 10.14.6 Mojave be­cause of Catalina’s bugs, but I will up­grade in the com­ing months.

The plan was to make this build Stealth Black, with as few RGB lights as pos­si­ble. I mostly suc­ceeded.

Fractal Design Meshify C (case) — This is the small­est, best qual­ity, and best air­flow case that I have been able to find. It fits up to 2 SATA SSDs, 2 HDDs, and how­ever many NVMe SSDs fit on the moth­er­board. Oh and it has dust fil­ters every­where. While I appreciate the crafts­man­ship that went into the Captain America edi­tion in the header im­age, I’m not there yet, but I am con­sid­er­ing cus­tomiz­ing mine a bit in the near fu­ture.

Intel Core i9-9900K (CPU) — The best there is and also the same CPU that is found in the top-end iMac Retina 5K. Those 8 cores and 16 threads should be more than enough for the next few years.

Noctua NH-D15 (CPU cooler) — I went for air cool­ing this time around. The NH-D15 is the best there is and it can keep the CPU at or be­low 70°C at full load, while work­ing prac­ti­cally silently.

Noctua NF-14 PWM Chromax 140 mm & NF-S12A PWM Chromax 120 mm (case fans) — I chose a to­tal of three 140 mm fans and one 120 mm fan for the case. Two 140s serve as in­take fans on the front, one sucks the air out on the back top of the case, and one 120 mm fan does the same in the rear. They’re all vir­tu­ally silent, even at speed.

Gigabyte Aorus Master Z390 Rev. 1.0 (motherboard) — This is the best moth­er­board to use if you want or need Thunderbolt 3. It also sup­ports up to three NVMe SSDs.

Gigabyte Titan Ridge (Thunderbolt 3) — This add-in card adds a to­tal of two Thundertbolt 3 ports, one DisplayPort, and two Mini DisplayPort ins. You can use this card to con­nect an LG Ultrafine 5K mon­i­tor (two TB3 ca­bles needed).

Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 (RAM) — I went for a to­tal of 64 GBs of RAM, run­ning at 3600 MHz. It should be more than enough for the years to come.

AMD Radeon RX 580 (GPU) — I went with a Sap­phire RX 580 be­cause it’s fully sup­ported by Mojave. I will up­grade this GPU to a 5700 XT once I upgrade to Catalina.

Samsung 970 Evo Plus 1 TB (NVMe SSD) — More than fast enough and should pro­vide me with enough space for the next year or two. I plan to up­grade to a 2 TB model.

Samsung 850 Evo 1 TB (SATA SSD) — This is the SSD with a Win­dows in­stall from my pre­vi­ous hack­in­tosh. I will re­place it with the 1 TB 970 Evo Plus when that gets re­placed by a 2 TB model.

2x WD Red 4 TB (HDD) — I have two 4 TB HDDs run­ning in RAID 1 as my archive. I will split these up, so that one HDD can be used for Time Machine.

Seasonic Prime Platinum 1300 W (PSU) — Since this sys­tem should not need more than 600W or so when un­der full load, the PSU will prob­a­bly have its fan off most of the time.

Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 (speakers) — I have had these for years and they’re still go­ing strong.

Apple Broadcom BCM94360CD — 802.11 a/​b/​g/​n/​ac with Bluetooth 4.0 (connectivity) — This add-in card sup­plies the hack­in­tosh with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, it works OOTB with MacOS, and al­lows for na­tive sup­port for iMes­sage, Hand-off, Continuity, etc. Works per­fectly, though there is a newer model with BT 4.2, which I’ll up­grade to if there is a need for that.

EIZO EV3237 32″ 4K (work) & Alienware AW2518H 5″ FullHD (240 Hz, play) — I currently run two screens. I use the EIZO un­der MacOS for work, and the Alienware for oc­ca­sional gam­ing un­der Windows — 240 Hz re­ally makes a dif­fer­ence.

Think6.5° Custom 65% Keyboard — Made from alu­minium, fin­ished in e-yel­low thanks to elec­trophore­sis, one of three made world­wide, and fully pro­gram­ma­ble via open-source QMK firmware. Built with Zeal trans­par­ent sta­bi­liz­ers and Zeal Sakurios (62 g silent lin­ear switches), with GMK Metropolis key­caps.

I am con­sid­er­ing over­clock­ing the i9-9900K be­cause there’s more than enough ther­mal head­room in this setup.

It runs like a charm, and is up to six (!) times faster dur­ing 3D ren­ders than my pre­vi­ous i7-4770K hack­in­tosh.

The Geekbench 5 scores are around 10% higher than the iMac Retina 5K which this build is based on.

The SSD is more than fast enought for my needs. Funny thing is that it’s even faster un­der Windows (3.5 GBps read and 3.3 GBps write).

Everything is run­ning on OpenCore 0.5.4 and seems sta­ble enough. MacOS is fully func­tional, in­clud­ing iMes­sages, sleep/​wake, Hand-off, Continuity, and Sidecar should work fine once I upgrade to Catalina. My biggest prob­lem is the RGB lights on the moth­er­board — I need to fig­ure out how to turn them off, change their colour to white, or per­haps red.

I ran a few real-world bench­marks to com­pare its per­for­mance to my old hack­in­tosh. I was pleas­antly sur­prised.

FinalCut Pro X BruceX — It’s 1.6x faster in this test al­though it all fair­ness, BruceX used to be a tough bench­mark back in 2009.

Blender (3D ren­der­ing) — 6.85x faster, cut­ting down my ren­der time from around 40 mins to less than 6 mins.

Lightroom Classic Import — 2.4x faster on my im­port bench­mark, which in­cludes gen­er­at­ing 1:1 pre­views from 42 MP RAW files.

Lightroom Classic Export — 3x faster when ex­port­ing 42 MP RAW files in full res­o­lu­tion, in sRGB.

I’m re­ally pleased with how this build worked out. It’s vir­tu­ally silent un­der full load, even dur­ing long ren­der ses­sions, and all I can hear is a very quiet whoosh­ing sound if the room is com­pletely silent. Now if only Apple made some­thing like this, I’d buy it in­stantly.

...

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5 277 shares, 40 trendiness, 1364 words and 12 minutes reading time

microsoft/ApplicationInspector

Microsoft Application Inspector is a soft­ware source code analy­sis tool that helps iden­tify and sur­face well-known fea­tures and other in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics of source code to aid in de­ter­min­ing what the soft­ware is or what it does. It has re­ceived at­ten­tion on ZDNet, SecurityWeek, CSOOnline, Linux.com/news, HelpNetSecurity, Twitter and more and was first fea­tured on Microsoft.com.

Application Inspector is dif­fer­ent from tra­di­tional sta­tic analy­sis tools in that it does­n’t at­tempt to iden­tify good” or bad” pat­terns; it sim­ply re­ports what it finds against a set of over 400 rule pat­terns for fea­ture de­tec­tion in­clud­ing fea­tures that im­pact se­cu­rity such as the use of cryp­tog­ra­phy and more. This can be ex­tremely help­ful in re­duc­ing the time needed to de­ter­mine what Open Source or other com­po­nents do by ex­am­in­ing the source di­rectly rather than trust­ing to lim­ited doc­u­men­ta­tion or rec­om­men­da­tions.

The tool sup­ports scan­ning var­i­ous pro­gram­ming lan­guages in­clud­ing C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, HTML, Python, Objective-C, Go, Ruby, Powershell and more and in­cludes html, json and text out­put for­mats with the de­fault be­ing an html re­port sim­i­lar to the one shown here.

It in­cludes a fil­ter­able con­fi­dence in­di­ca­tor to help min­i­mize false pos­i­tives matches as well as cus­tomiz­able de­fault rules and con­di­tional match logic.

Be sure to see our pro­ject wiki page for more help https://​Github.com/​Mi­crosoft/​Ap­pli­ca­tion­In­spec­tor/​wiki for il­lus­tra­tions and ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion and help.

Application Inspector helps in­form you bet­ter for choos­ing the best com­po­nents to meet your needs with a smaller foot­print of un­knowns for keep­ing your ap­pli­ca­tion at­tack sur­face smaller. It helps you to avoid in­clu­sion of com­po­nents with un­ex­pected fea­tures you don’t want.

Application Inspector can help iden­tify fea­ture deltas or changes be­tween com­po­nent ver­sions which can be crit­i­cal for de­tect­ing in­jec­tion of back­doors.

It can be used to au­to­mate de­tec­tion of fea­tures of in­ter­est to iden­tify com­po­nents that re­quire ad­di­tional scrutiny as part of your build pipeline or cre­ate a repos­i­tory of meta­data re­gard­ing all of your en­ter­prise ap­pli­ca­tion.

Basically, we cre­ated Application Inspector to help us iden­tify risky third party soft­ware com­po­nents based on their spe­cific fea­tures, but the tool is help­ful in many non-se­cu­rity con­texts as well.

Application Inspector v1.0 is now in GENERAL AUDIENCE re­lease sta­tus. Your feed­back is im­por­tant to us. If you’re in­ter­ested in con­tribut­ing, please re­view the CONTRIBUTING.md.

We have a strong de­fault start­ing base of Rules for fea­ture de­tec­tion. But there are many fea­ture iden­ti­fi­ca­tion pat­terns yet to be de­fined and we in­vite you to sub­mit ideas on what you want to see or take a crack at defin­ing a few. This is a chance to lit­er­ally im­pact the open source ecosys­tem help­ing pro­vide a tool that every­one can use. See the Rules sec­tion of the wiki for more.

To use Application Inspector, down­load the rel­e­vant bi­nary (either plat­form-spe­cific or the multi-plat­form .NET Core re­lease). If you use the .NET Core ver­sion, you will need to have .NET Core 3.0 or later in­stalled. See the JustRunIt.md or Build.md files for help.

It might be valu­able to con­sult the pro­ject wiki for ad­di­tional back­ground on Rules, Tags and more used to iden­tify fea­tures. Tags are used as a sys­tem­atic heirar­chal nomen­cla­ture e.g. Cryptography. Protocol.TLS to more eas­ily rep­re­sent fea­tures.

Application Inspector is a com­mand-line tool. Run it from a com­mand line in Windows, Linux, or MacOS.

> dot­net AppInspector.dll or on *Windows* sim­ply AppInspector.exe

Usage: dot­net AppInspector.dll [arguments] [options]

dot­net AppInspector.dll -description of avail­able com­mands

dot­net AppInspector.dll -options de­scrip­tion for a given com­mand

Usage: dot­net AppInspector.dll an­a­lyze [arguments] [options]

Arguments:

-s, –source-path Required. Path to source code to in­spect (required)

-o, –output-file-path Path to out­put file. Ignored with -f html op­tion which auto cre­ates out­put.html

-f, –output-file-format (Default: html) Output for­mat [html|json|text]

-e, –text-format (Default: Tag:%T,Rule:%N,Ruleid:%R,Confidence:%X,File:%F,Sourcetype:%t,Line:%L,Sample:%m)

-r, –custom-rules-path Custom rules path

-t, –tag-output-only (Default: false) Output only con­tains iden­ti­fied tags

-i, –ignore-default-rules (Default: false) Ignore de­fault rules bun­dled with ap­pli­ca­tion

-d, –allow-dup-tags (Default: false) Output only con­tains non-unique tag matches

-c, –confidence-filters (Default: high,medium) Output only if matches rule pat­tern con­fi­dence [

dot­net AppInspector.dll an­a­lyze -s /home/user/myproject

dot­net AppInspector.dll an­a­lyze -s /home/user/myproject -r /my/rules/directory -r /my/other/rules

dot­net AppInspector.dll an­a­lyze -s /home/user/myproject -f json

Use to an­a­lyze and re­port on dif­fer­ences in tags (features) be­tween two pro­ject or pro­ject ver­sions e.g. v1, v2 to see what changed

Usage: dot­net AppInspector.dll tagdiff [arguments] [options]

Arguments:

–src1 Required. Source 1 to com­pare (required)

–src2 Required. Source 2 to com­pare (required

-t, –test-type (Default: equal­ity) Type of test to run [equality|inequality]

-r, –custom-rules-path Custom rules path

-i, –ignore-default-rules (Default: false) Ignore de­fault rules bun­dled with ap­pli­ca­tion

-o, –output-file-path Path to out­put file

-x, –console-verbosity Console ver­bosity [high|medium|low

-l, –log-file-path Log file path

-v, –log-file-level Log file level [error|trace|debug|info]

dot­net AppInspector.dll tagdiff –src1 /home/user/project1 –src2 /home/user/project2

dot­net AppInspector.dll tagdiff –src1 /home/user/project1 –src2 /home/user/project2 -t equal­ity

dot­net AppInspector.dll tagdiff –src1 /home/user/project1 –src2 /home/user/project2 -t in­equal­ity

Used to ver­ify (pass/fail) that a spec­i­fied set of rule tags is pre­sent or not pre­sent in a pro­ject e.g. user only wants to know true/​false if cry­tog­ra­phy is pre­sent as ex­pected or if per­sonal data is not pre­sent as ex­pected and get a sim­ple yes/​no re­sult rather than a full ana­lyis re­port.

Note: The user is ex­pected to use the cus­tom-rules-path op­tion rather than the de­fault rule­set be­cause it is un­likely that any source pack­age would con­tain all of the de­fault rules. Instead, cre­ate a cus­tom path and rule set as needed or spec­ify a path us­ing the cus­tom-rules-path to point only to the rule(s) needed from the de­fault set.

Otherwise, test­ing for all de­fault rules pre­sent in source will likely yield a false or fail re­sult in most cases.

Usage: dot­net AppInspector.dll tagtest [arguments] [options

Arguments:

-s, –source-path Required. Source to test (required)

-t, –test-type (Default: rule­sp­re­sent) Test to per­form [rulespresent|rulesnotpresent]

-r, –custom-rules-path Custom rules path

-i, –ignore-default-rules (Default: true) Ignore de­fault rules bun­dled with ap­pli­ca­tion

-o, –output-file-path Path to out­put file

-x, –console-verbosity Console ver­bosity [high|medium|low

-l, –log-file-path Log file path

-v, –log-file-level Log file level

dot­net AppInspector.dll tagtest -s /home/user/project1 -r /home/user/myrules.json

dot­net AppInspector.dll tagtest -s /home/user/project1 -r /home/user/myrules.json -t rule­sp­re­sent

dot­net AppInspector.dll tagtest -s /home/user/project1 -r /home/user/myrules.json -t rulesnot­p­re­sent

Simple ex­port of the rule­set schema for tags rep­re­sent­ing what fea­tures are sup­ported for de­tec­tion

Usage: dot­net AppInspector.dll ex­port­tags [arguments] [options]

Arguments:

-r, –custom-rules-path Custom rules path

-i, –ignore-default-rules (Default: false) Ignore de­fault rules bun­dled with ap­pli­ca­tion

-o, –output-file-path Path to out­put file

-x, –console-verbosity Console ver­bosity [high|medium|low

dot­net AppInspector.dll ex­port­tags

dot­net AppInspector.dll ex­port­tags -o /home/user/myproject/exportags.txt

dot­net AppInspector.dll ex­port­tags -r /home/user/myproject/customrules -o /hom/user/myproject/exportags.txt

Verification that rule­set is com­pat­i­ble and er­ror free for im­port and analy­sis

Usage: dot­net AppInspector.dll ver­i­fyrules [arguments]

Arguments:

-r, –custom-rules-path Custom rules path

-i, –ignore-default-rules (Default: false) Ignore de­fault rules bun­dled with ap­pli­ca­tion

-o, –output-file-path Path to out­put file

-x, –console-verbosity Console ver­bosity [high|medium|low

dot­net AppInspector.dll ver­i­fyrules

dot­net AppInspector.dll ver­i­fyrules -r /home/user/myproject/customrules -i

Building from source re­quires .NET Core 3.0. Standard dot­net build com­mands can be run from the root source folder.

dot­net build -c Release

dot­net pub­lish -c Release -r win-x86

dot­net pub­lish -c Release -r linux-x64

dot­net pub­lish -c Release -r osx-x64

...

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6 265 shares, 10 trendiness, 0 words and 0 minutes reading time

Master algorithms together

...

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7 251 shares, 28 trendiness, 0 words and 0 minutes reading time

Ted versus The Media Lab

For over thirty years, the MIT Media Lab has done strange

and mys­te­ri­ous things, us­ing hype and hokum

to im­press the un­wary and raise ever more money.

Whereas the prin­ci­ples of in­ter­ac­tion and me­dia,

as far as I’m con­cerned, are and al­ways have been

sim­ple and pow­er­ful, with hu­man cre­ativ­ity at the cen­ter.

The cre­ative men­tal­ity of the film di­rec­tor

is ex­actly what is needed in soft­ware– an­tic­i­pat­ing

the user’s un­der­stand­ings and ex­pec­ta­tions,

and ful­fill­ing them el­e­gantly.

...

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8 243 shares, 10 trendiness, 451 words and 5 minutes reading time

Government privacy watchdog under pressure to recommend facial recognition ban

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), an in­de­pen­dent agency, is com­ing un­der in­creas­ing pres­sure to rec­om­mend the fed­eral gov­ern­ment stop us­ing fa­cial recog­ni­tion.

Forty groups, led by the Elec­tronic Privacy Information Center, sent a let­ter Monday to the agency call­ing for the sus­pen­sion of fa­cial recog­ni­tion sys­tems pending fur­ther re­view.”

The rapid and un­reg­u­lated de­ploy­ment of fa­cial recog­ni­tion poses a di­rect threat to the pre­cious lib­er­ties that are vi­tal to our way of life,’” the ad­vo­cacy groups wrote.

The PCLOB “has a unique re­spon­si­bil­ity, set out in statute, to as­sess tech­nolo­gies and po­lices that im­pact the pri­vacy of Americans af­ter 9-11 and to make rec­om­men­da­tions to the President and ex­ec­u­tive branch,” they wrote.

The agency, cre­ated in 2004, ad­vises the ad­min­is­tra­tion on pri­vacy is­sues.

The let­ter cited a re­cent New York Times re­port about Clearview AI, a com­pany which claims to have a data­base of more than 3 bil­lion pho­tos and is re­port­edly col­lab­o­rat­ing with hun­dreds of po­lice de­part­ments.

It also men­tioned a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, part of the Commerce Department, which found that the ma­jor­ity of fa­cial recog­ni­tion sys­tems have demographic dif­fer­en­tials” that can worsen their ac­cu­racy based on a per­son’s age, gen­der or race.

The PCLOB did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment on the let­ter.

While sev­eral cities and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties have re­stricted the use of fa­cial recog­ni­tion by gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and po­lice, there is no fed­eral law spec­i­fy­ing when, how or where fa­cial recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy can be used.

Several bills have been in­tro­duced, ad­dress­ing the tech­nol­o­gy’s use by po­lice and pub­lic hous­ing ad­min­is­tra­tors, but no leg­is­la­tion has ad­vanced through Congress.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee held a hear­ing on fa­cial recog­ni­tion ear­lier this month, when law­mak­ers on both sides of the aisle sug­gested some ver­sion of a freeze on the tech­nol­ogy.

It re­ally is not ready for prime­time — it can be used in pos­i­tive ways … but also se­verely im­pacts the civil lib­er­ties and rights of in­di­vid­u­als,” Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Bosher MaloneyHouse passes bill aimed at bol­ster­ing Holocaust ed­u­ca­tion Government pri­vacy watch­dog un­der pres­sure to rec­om­mend fa­cial recog­ni­tion ban House Oversight com­mit­tee asks DHS for in­for­ma­tion on fam­ily sep­a­ra­tion MORE (D-N. Y.) said at the hear­ing.

While we’re try­ing to fig­ure out … what’s all hap­pen­ing, let’s just not ex­pand it,” said rank­ing mem­ber Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanBolton up­ends Trump im­peach­ment trial  Government pri­vacy watch­dog un­der pres­sure to rec­om­mend fa­cial recog­ni­tion ban Jordan says he thinks trial will be over by next week MORE (R-Ohio), later telling re­porters that leg­is­la­tion was be­ing drafted to gather in­for­ma­tion on the use of fa­cial recog­ni­tion and pause the prac­tice while do­ing so.

...

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9 239 shares, 8 trendiness, 541 words and 5 minutes reading time

Scotland to reach 100% renewables in time to host 2020 climate summit

Scotland is shap­ing up as an ex­em­plary host for this year’s UN cli­mate con­fer­ence, with data show­ing it is likely to meet its na­tional tar­get of 100 per cent re­new­able elec­tric­ity in good time for the cru­cial November meet­ing.

Scotland, whose south­ern city of Glasgow was named last September as the host for the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26), has a goal to source the equiv­a­lent of 100% of its elec­tric­ity de­mand from re­new­able en­ergy sources by the end of this year.

And it is shap­ing up to do just that. Having closed its last coal-fired power plant in 2016, the UK coun­try’s only re­main­ing fos­sil fuel source is a gas-fired power sta­tion at Peterhead in Aberdeenshire.

In the mean­time, Scotland has been mak­ing great progress on re­new­ables — and par­tic­u­larly wind power.

On the tech­nol­ogy front, it lays claim to in­stalling the world’s first float­ing off­shore wind farm, the 30MW Hywind pro­ject, to which it added last June a 1MW on­shore bat­tery stor­age sys­tem.

And in terms of out­put, a new na­tional record was set in November last year, with pro­duc­tion out­strip­ping de­mand on 20 out of 30 days and over the whole month pro­vid­ing 109 per cent of elec­tric­ity de­mand.

Scotland’s largest source of re­new­ables — the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm — can gen­er­ate enough power for 450,000 homes. And the Seagreen Wind Farm, which is be­ing built off Angus, will be big­ger again, and able to power one mil­lion homes once com­pleted.

And while it’s not quite of­fi­cially 100 per cent re­new­able yet — ac­cord­ing to the BBC the most re­cent of­fi­cial fig­ure was 76.2%, based on 2018 data — a re­cent re­port from Scottish Renewables es­ti­mates it will hit its mark within the year thanks largely to am­bi­tious and for­ward-think­ing gov­ern­ment pol­icy.

As well as its 100 per cent re­new­ables tar­get, the Scottish gov­ern­ment has set it­self a legally-bind­ing tar­get to cut green­house gas emis­sions to net zero by 2045, five years ahead of the UK, and leagues ahead of coun­tries like Australia. (And as the BBC points out, Scotland also does­n’t rely on in­ter­na­tional cred­its or any other sort of tricky ac­count­ing to dis­ap­pear emis­sions.)

All told, this will pro­vide great in­spi­ra­tion for COP26, which is be­ing billed as one of the most im­por­tant in­ter­na­tional cli­mate con­fer­ences since Paris in 2015.

As noted in The Conversation ear­lier this month, the two-week meet­ing — from November 9-19 — is con­sid­ered piv­otal for a num­ber of rea­sons, not least be­ing that 2020 is the year when all coun­tries, in­clud­ing Australia, are asked to sub­mit their new long-term cli­mate goals.

The meet­ing will also be ex­pected to tie off the loose ends of COP25, in par­tic­u­lar to set out the rules for a car­bon mar­ket be­tween coun­tries, deal with Australia’s much crit­i­cised claims of surplus cred­its” and set in mo­tion the 2015 Paris Agreement as the key dri­ver of in­ter­na­tional cli­mate ac­tion.

And it will be held just af­ter the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. The re­sults of the last elec­tion, when Donald Trump won in 2016, left del­e­gates at the Marrakesh con­fer­ence stunned, and many in tears. Trump has since an­nounced he will pull the US out of the Paris treaty.

...

Read the original on reneweconomy.com.au »

10 237 shares, 23 trendiness, 1203 words and 11 minutes reading time

Anatomy of a Scam · Jacques Mattheij

There is a lot of ma­te­r­ial about the not-so-nice VCs who take ad­van­tage of young and in­ex­pe­ri­enced founders. But the re­verse also hap­pens, founders that try to get money out of VCs for pro­jects that have zero chance of every com­ing to fruit. Or worse still, founders that pre­tend to have some­thing on the go when they re­ally don’t and are just look­ing for the cash to make a run for it. The Modular Company, the merry band of friends that I founded and that does tech­ni­cal due dili­gence has about 25 cus­tomers, mostly VC and PE com­pa­nies. The part­ners of these com­pa­nies are bom­barded with decks from par­ties look­ing for in­vest­ment and these decks vary greatly in both qual­ity and de­gree of se­ri­ous­ness.

Every once in a while some­thing pops up that is ex­tra­or­di­nary, the deck be­low is one of those. The deck is in­cluded here in its en­tirety, noth­ing has been redacted, the only thing I changed was to re­duce the im­ages in size to save a bit on band­width and to make the page load faster. The analy­sis col­umn on the right hand side is mine, the deck it­self has an in­ter­est­ing ori­gin, and it seems as though vari­a­tions on this scam have been around for a while but this is the first sam­ple of such a deck that I got my hands on.

Please note: The deck be­low is an out­right scam, do not be­lieve a word of what you read, do not be­lieve that peo­ple men­tioned in it ex­ist or are aware of the fact that their name is used in this way (though they may very well be, there is no way for me to be sure). I ob­tained this deck with­out NDA and so I’m free to share it with the world as an ex­am­ple of what a scam can look like, even though the au­thor has copy­right on the con­tents, I think the grav­ity of this Public Service Announcement far out­weighs the right­sh­old­ers claim. Note that the re­sources ref­er­enced in this post suf­fer from bi­trot in a way that not much else on the web does, and that the play­ers have every in­cen­tive to cleanse their rep­u­ta­tion so if you read this long af­ter it was posted the chances are that ex­ter­nal links and search re­sults ref­er­enced here will no longer work. If you want to en­large a slide just click on it.

The web­site is up and run­ning, maybe that will give us some more in­for­ma­tion about this ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity. So we nav­i­gate there and have a look at their pages. Again, the same slick ba­sic web­site. But when you get to the team pho­tographs the Head of Legal seems to have van­ished. And Sam now has a name: Sam Chester. That’s good, we can feed that into google. A link to Seelz.net pops up as the first re­sult on Google. Unfortunately, the server is down, but Google has the re­sult page cached. Let’s read up a bit on the founders:

Sam ChesterBitcoin Finance Expert

sam

Areas of ex­per­tise

BitCoin and ICO Research & Development

Competitive ad­van­tage

The Ethereum Platforme

Turnaround Consulting

Is your busi­ness ready for a blockchain?

Education

MBA, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University

BS, en­gi­neer­ing, Technical University of Denmark

MBA, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University

With over 20 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in en­tre­pre­neur­ship, man­age­ment,

busi­ness plan­ning, fi­nan­cial analy­sis, soft­ware en­gi­neer­ing,

op­er­a­tions, and de­ci­sion analy­sis, Brandon has the breadth

and depth of ex­pe­ri­ence needed to quickly un­der­stand en­tre­pre­neurs’

busi­nesses and craft the most suit­able so­lu­tions.

Blockchain WP comes up with re­sults that are ac­tu­ally im­ple­mentable.

That is their strength com­pared to other con­sult­ing com­pa­nies.

Before found­ing Blockchain WP in early 2001, Brandon started two

Internet com­pa­nies in Silicon Valley. Previously, Brandon held

var­i­ous man­age­ment po­si­tions in New York at Simon Brothers,

most re­cently as Vice President in Goldhill Group, fo­cus­ing on

new busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and risk man­age­ment. He has also worked

as a se­nior fi­nan­cial risk man­age­ment con­sul­tant to the fi­nan­cial

ser­vices in­dus­try; soft­ware en­gi­neer; ad­ver­tis­ing sales man­ager

for the pop­u­lar Caribbean travel guide se­ries; gen­eral man­ager

of an ad­ver­tis­ing and graphic de­sign agency; and en­gi­neer­ing

in­tern at the Best Health Coach.

Wow, that’s quite a track record, you can’t make that up. Scratch that, maybe you ac­tu­ally can, and some­one ac­tu­ally did. Also, amaz­ing ed­u­ca­tional back­ground. Management in NL, (twice!) and Engineering in Denmark. But what does Brandon’ have to do with any of this, and what is this Blockchain WP’?

Also in­ter­est­ing is how many other peo­ple have ex­actly that same com­bi­na­tion of ed­u­ca­tional back­ground: Anselm Hannemann/Peter Stumbles (that page is full of gems), Marko Dugonjić/Peter Stumbles (coincidentially, same phone num­ber!),Clark Roberts (note how Clark Roberts does not ap­pear on the team page it­self, just on his own pro­file page), Veerle Pieters (who changes names and gen­der sev­eral times on the same page, and last (but not least) A lady called Mary Spencer, only she went three times to Rotterdam and twice to Denmark. What are the chances of this be­ing co­in­ci­c­dence?

It ap­pears that these sites have been com­pro­mised and the pages have been added sur­rep­tiously giv­ing cre­dence to the pro­files linked. See, it’s not al­ways that hack­ers want to have your data, some­times your com­pany can - un­be­knownst to you - be­come part of an in­vestor con.

The longer you dig, the more you will find with decks like these. The net­works of con­tent and peo­ple (real or faked) are vast. Decks such as these as well as the con­tent pages on the web­sites can be made us­ing stock pho­tographs and tem­plates. All you need to do is fill in the blanks and an­other scam is born. What I find sur­pris­ing is how lit­tle ef­fort has gone into cre­at­ing a cred­i­ble back­story for all this, even the most ca­sual re­view of the data pre­sented im­me­di­ately leads to a ton of red flags and is­sues. Maybe this strat­egy is sim­i­lar to how the Nigerian scam­mers work: put some ob­vi­ous er­rors in the text, any­body that misses those is prob­a­bly well worth the time in­vested and those that can­cel early would have can­celled any­way, an op­ti­miza­tion strat­egy.

Whatever your take­away from this is, re­mem­ber at least this: if you are an in­for­mal or an­gel in­vestor, or even a VC that is not tech savvy or able to do re­search on the sub­jects of your prospec­tive in­vest­ments then there is a non-zero chance that some­one will sim­ply try to ex­ploit that. Confer with your col­league in­vestors, as­sume that if it is too good to be true that it prob­a­bly is­n’t, and that the other side is will­ing to in­vest a lot of time and ef­fort into look­ing cred­i­ble, they as­sume that you will do no back­ground checks at all. If some­one claims cer­tain cre­den­tials, ver­ify them. If they do busi­ness with cer­tain par­ties check if they re­ally do. If they don’t have last­names, an on­line pres­ence that is eas­ily ver­i­fied and they’re over 20 years old then there is prob­a­bly some­thing fishy go­ing on. Honest mis­takes of course do hap­pen, but not at this level and when try­ing to pick up this much in fund­ing.

...

Read the original on jacquesmattheij.com »

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