'Slow' SATA in New MacBook Pros Fixed, MacBook Pro Display Issues, Macs Hold Their Value, and More
This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News
All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.
News & Opinion
- Apple Fixes 'Slow' SATA on New MacBook Pros
- No End in Sight for MacBook Pro Display Issues
- Apple Acknowledges Lack of 'Ignore Trackpad' Option for Some MacBooks
- Proof That Macs Hold Their Value
- Hard Drive Clicks and Pauses When Moving Laptops
- Quanta Regains MacBook Orders
- Petition Asks Apple to Bring Back ExpressCard, Matte Display for 15" MacBook Pro
- 13" MacBook Pro 'Makes an Impressive Debut'
- Mid 2009 15" MacBook Pro 'Delivers Better Value'
- Mid 2009 17" MacBook Pro 'a Better Value'
- Engadget's Looks at New MacBook Pro Line
Products & Services
- Gadget Gore: Where Gadgets Go to Die
- Ultra-Slim USB Flash Cards Put Your Digital Content in Your Wallet
- Micron Brings High Performance, Low-Power DDR3 Memory to Notebook Computers
- Mercury On-The-Go Pro 500 GB 7200 RPM Portable Hard Drive
- Belkin Gigabit Powerline HD Starter Kit
- New ExpressCard Modem Offers Quad-band 3G Connections
News & Opinion
AppleInsider's Aidan Malley reports:
"In one of its quicker turnarounds, Apple has released a firmware update for its mid-2009 MacBook Pro lineup that addresses Serial ATA speeds that were unintentionally cut in half."
Daily Tech's Jason Mick says:
"Distortion problems on the new MacBook Pro leave some units unreadable and unusable. A firmware update failed to resolve the issue, indicating Apple still is unsure what is causing it.
"Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice...."
"Many people have noticed that on newer MacBook and MacBook Pro computers, the option for ignoring trackpad input when typing is missing. In a recent knowledge base document, Apple acknowledges the lack of this feature and discusses the reasoning for its removal."
AppleMatters Chris Howard notes that most everyone has heard that Apple computers retain their value better than PCs and asks how would you feel if you bought a 4-year-old iBook five years ago and were still able to get 50% of what you paid for it?
Not entirely a rhetorical question, since back in May 2004 he and his kids bought his wife an G3 iBook 366 FireWire clamshell laptop for AU$405 (plus AU$20 delivery), another AU$115 for a 256 MB RAM upgrade, plus AU$80 for a replacement battery last year for a grand total of AU$620 cost, and was just able to sell the machine on eBay for AU$200, which is evidently the average price for an iBook of that age - with contemporaneous PC notebooks selling for roughly half that.
Chris says that in all honesty he doesn't think the old iBook was worth what he got for it, and I agree that it isn't in terms of its utility, but of course the clamshell is something of an exception, as it's becoming a collectable, and while his wife replaced the old machine with a secondhand 1.33 GHz iBook G4 for a bit under AU$500, he muses that a new PC netbook for a bit more money than he got for the old G3 machine would be a more sensible proposition with a hacked install of Mac OS X.
MacFixIt notes that the sudden motion sensors in Apple laptops detect when the computer is moved or dropped and let the computer prepare the hard drive for movement, an ability that can prevent the heads from either being damaged or from scraping against and damaging the disk surface - which can happen if the computer is struck, dropped, or subjected to severe vibrations, which is a good thing, but says that while this safety feature should not impede on general function, there are times when it can cause pauses in computing tasks, and that if you desire you can disable the sudden motion sensor by changing a variable in the power management settings of the system.
DigiTimes' Joseph Tsai reports that Quanta Computer has recently gained back manufacturing orders for Apple's MacBook, according to a Chinese-language Commercial Times report citing component makers, with longtime Apple notebook subcontractor Quanta expected to become sole manufacturer of the MacBook in the second half of 2009 and estimated to ship a total of around 10 million units to Apple for the year.
Petitioners want Apple to review its product policy regarding the 15" MacBook Pro and to reintroduce matte displays and an ExpressCard/34 Slot.
Bastian Noffer has posted a petition to Apple Inc., noting:
Apple Inc. produces great products and their overall quality is great. Although the last updates of their professional notebook line were not satisfying for many professional users.
We, the signers of this petition, want Apple Inc. to review their product policy regarding the 15 inch MacBook Pro line and to reintroduce the following features:
- Option for matt [sic] displays as of 17 inch model
- The removed ExpressCard/34 Slot
In addition the following features would be appreciated:
- More up-to-date connectors like eSATA
- User removable battery (suggested by signers)
Macworld's James Galbraith says the original aluminum MacBook in Macworld Labs testing posted performance scores very similar to the 15-inch MacBook Pro that was released at the same time in October 2008, with the main differences between the MacBook and Pro essentially specific features, but Apple's latest 13" aluminum laptops (2.53 GHz version) now match the latest 15-inchers in all but screen dimensions.
Macworld's Jackie Dove reports:
"The 15-inch MacBook Pro has historically been the most popular model in Apple's pro notebook lineup. It's certainly easier to tote around than its more powerful and hefty 17-inch big brother, though its feature-to-price ratio compared favorably. Now, with Apple's debut of a 13-inch MacBook Pro, the standard-bearer is now relegated to the middle ground. While this update to the 15-inch category delivers better value and even more specification options, the upgrades to this newly appointed mid-2009 model are more nuanced than flashy."
Macworld's Dan Frakes reports that while most MacBook Pro models gained new capabilities with the WWDC upgrades, the 17" MacBook Pro was the sole Mac laptop that kept its design and feature set intact - not surprising, considering it was first released just a few months earlier. However, Apple's largest-screen portable did improve its performance and upgrade options while becoming more affordable.
Engadget's Nilay Patel riffs on the new MacBook Pros, saying he's a little perplexed, observing that Apple didn't really make enough changes to warrant a whole new review of the unibody lineup, and that using one of the new machines feels pretty much like using most any recent Mac. On the other hand it's becoming clear that all the seemingly minor changes will have a big impact down the line - especially the move to sealed-in batteries across the board, in which Patel agrees with my own assessment that it's a decision that will have decidedly mixed consequences.
Patel thinks these changes impact the 13" and 15" models quite differently - the $1,199 13" configuration still essentially being an entry-level consumer machine, and consumers and professionals don't have the same needs.
MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.7 addresses an issue reported by a small number of customers using drives based on the SATA 3 Gbps specification with the June 2009 MacBook Pro. While this update allows drives to use transfer rates greater than 1.5 Gbps, Apple has not qualified or offered these drives for Mac notebooks and their use is unsupported.
System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.5.5, MacBook Pro.
Platform Support: Intel
File Size: 3.35 MB
- About the MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.7 and iMac EFI Firmware 1.4 Updates
- MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.7
Products & Services
PR: TechRestore CEO Shannon Jean writes:
We've just launched a new site and thought your readers might be interested - GadgetGore.com is the place to share your photos and stories of shiny gadget roadkill. Would love to get your readers to upload their pics and stories of busted up gadgets to share with the world.
Gadget Gore, the place where gadgets come to die!
- Give us your crushed, your cracked,
- Your broken gadgets yearning to be fixed,
- The wretched refuse of your electronics drawer.
- Send these, the hopeless, tempest-tossed to us,
- We'll post the photos and the share the gore!
There are also a Gadget Gore screen saver and a Gadget Gore desktop image.
PR: Slim Data USB Card is the same size and thickness as a credit card, making it the most usable, versatile, easy-to-carry USB flash drive for consumers and businesses
Storing, carrying, and sharing digital content has become more convenient with the launch of the innovative Slim Data USB Card, a high-quality, plug-and-play, ultra-slim USB flash drive the same size and thickness as a credit card. The ultra-slim Slim Data USB Card can be conveniently carried in a wallet, minimizing the chance of loss or misplacement and enabling users to keep their USB storage with them at all times.
The 4 GB Slim Data USB Card, which weighs a mere nine grams, enables users to conveniently store and carry digital photos, music, video clips, and other documents in their wallets keeping them available to share with friends or family whenever or wherever the need arises.
Ideal for business uses, the customizable Slim Data USB Cards can provide long-term branding with an innovative method to distribute presentations and marketing materials on a medium that will be reused for years by the customer.
Available in multiple colors, the customizable Slim Data USB Cards are Mac, PC, and Linux compatible and support both USB 2.0 and 1.1 interfaces.
Product Features and Specifications:
- Storage Capacity: 4 GB
- Dimensions: 3.4" x 2.1" x 0.11"
- Compatibility: Windows, Macintosh, Linux
- Interface: USB 2.0, USB 1.1
- Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty
- Colors: Clear, Gray, Orange, Red, and Blue
- Customization: Custom colors and printing are available.
Slim Data USB Cards are backed by a limited-lifetime warranty from the manufacturer and are available at TopTechProducts.com and Amazon.com at a list price of $24.99.
PR: Notebooks can now take advantage of optimized battery life and portability with a new line of low-voltage, high-bandwidth DDR3 memory modules introduced today by Micron Technology, Inc. Offering a combination of performance and efficiency for notebook computers, Micron's new modules are available in densities up to 2-gigabytes (GB) now, with 4 GB samples coming this fall.
Sustaining battery life and delivering desktop-equivalent performance are two critical criteria when developing notebook computer designs, and Micron's new modules provide an ideal combination of performance and power efficiency. The modules are designed using the industry's lowest 1.35-volt 1-gigabit (Gb) DDR3 components, allowing for even greater power savings compared to standard 1.5-volt DDR3. More importantly, this low-power is achieved without compromise to memory performance - the modules provide an optimum bandwidth of 1,333 megabits per second.
"Across the board, we are making our DRAM more efficient - from both a power and performance perspective - which ultimately empowers users to be more productive," said Robert Feurle, vice president of DRAM marketing at Micron. "Our new DDR3 notebook modules offer approximately a 20 percent reduction in power usage compared to standard 1.5-volt modules while maintaining DDR3's high performance advantage, enabling a desktop-class computing experience for portable computers."
"Our notebook graphics processing units deliver industry-leading performance and visual fidelity," said Barry Wagner, director of technical marketing at Nvidia. "Micron has been a valued partner in defining the performance and power parameters necessary for portable computing applications. We look forward to working with Micron to validate their new modules with our notebook processing solutions."
Now Sampling 1.35V DDR3 SO-DIMMs
Micron announces the world's first 1.35V DDR3 SO-DIMMs. These compact modules deliver all the performance of standard DDR3 modules (1333 MT/s), but draw just 1.35V - offering about 20% power savings over 1.5V modules. They're sampling 1 GB and 2 GB modules now, with 4 GB parts coming later this year.
Nvidia and Micron - Enabling the Shift to Low-Voltage SO-DIMMs
Because your memory choice often hinges on compatibility, Micron makes a point to actively engage with key industry partners to validate our modules. They are working closely with Nvidia to validate their 1.35V DDR3 SO-DIMMs on the chipset maker's latest high-performance laptop graphics processors. The idea is to deliver the advanced features and performance that Nvidia customers have come to expect,with a power-conserving, high-bandwidth SO-DIMM family.
PR: The OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro 500 GB 7200 RPM line features three models, including a "Triple Interface" model for FireWire 800/400 and USB 2.0; a "Combo Interface" model for FireWire 400 and USB 2.0; and a USB 2.0 model priced starting at $189.99.
Pocket-Sized & Bus Powered - Ideal for the Mobile Office
Designed for the active "On-The-Go" computer user that needs the largest and fastest portable storage solution available on the market, the OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro is compact at 3.5"x 5.5"x 1" in size - small enough to fit into a shirt pocket, yet big enough to offer 500 GB of capacity. Stylishly engineered in a sleek, acrylic enclosure, the Mercury On-The-Go Pro is bus-powered, so it doesn't require an AC adapter, which makes it ideal for presentations, multimedia, law enforcement, surveyors, and other "mobile office" uses. Additionally, notebook users with internal 5400 RPM drives will find that using the OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro as a startup disk offers faster system bootup and overall system performance.
Works With Macs, PCs, and Digital Devices
Featuring a variety of FireWire and USB 2.0 interfaces, the Plug-and-Play ready Mercury On-The-Go Pro can be used with Macs and PCs for additional storage capacity, transporting large files between multiple computers and real-time A/V editing. The drive can also be used with storage capable digital cameras and camcorders with FireWire and/or USB data ports for quick, convenient backups of images and video while on the road.
"Since we launched the first Mercury On-The-Go Pro in 2001, this pocket-sized powerhouse has established numerous industry innovations in portable storage," said Larry O'Connor, CEO, Other World Computing. "As the first 500 GB 7200 RPM portable drive on the market, the Mercury On-The-Go Pro continues to deliver best in class portable performance and convenience."
OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro 500 GB 7200 RPM Pricing:
- OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro "Triple Interface" FireWire 800/400 + USB
Features Oxford 934 chipset, two FireWire 800 ports, USB 2.0 Mini-B port, FireWire 800/FireWire 800 to 400 and USB 2.0 connecting cables, carrying case, $200 retail value disk utility bundle, and a three year warranty.
- OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro "Combo Interface" FireWire 400 + USB 2.0:
Features Oxford 934 chipset, FireWire 400 port, USB 2.0 Mini-B port, FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 connecting cables, carrying case, $200 retail value disk utility bundle, and a three year warranty.
- OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro USB 2.0: $189.99
Features JMicron 20339 chipset, USB 2.0 Mini-B port, USB 2.0 Mini-B connecting cable, carrying case, $200 retail value disk utility bundle, and a three year warranty.
The three new OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro 500 GB 7200 RPM models are available immediately from Other World Computing at macsales.com. They are compatible with Apple OS 8.6 to 9.2.2, OS X 10.0.x, and 10.2.8 or later; and Windows 98SE or later operating systems and come ready for Plug and Play ease of use with all supported interface connecting cables, carrying case, $200 retail value disk utility software bundle, and an industry leading three year complete solution warranty.
In addition to the new 500 GB 7200 RPM Mercury On-The-Go Pro drives, OWC also offers a full line of 5400 RPM Mercury On-The-Go Pro models with FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and/or USB 2.0 interfaces in capacities of 80 GB to 500 GB, priced starting at $72.99; and 7200 RPM models in capacities of 250 GB and 320 GB priced starting at $89.99.
Mercury On-The-Go Pro Specs:
- Fully suitable for Audio/Video applications.
- Oxford or JMicron bridge chipset.
- 2.5" Serial ATA (SATA) 500 GB 7200 RPM hard drive.
- 16 MB hard drive data cache.
- Data transfer speeds up to 100 MB/s.
- Cool blue activity LED.
- Super quiet fanless operation.
- Compact size: 3.5"(W) x 5.5"(D) x 1"(H).
- Lightweight: 11 ounces empty case, 2.5 lb. with drive.
- Clear, shock resistant polycarbonate acrylic case.
- Industry leading warranty: Three years complete solution.
- Carrying case.
- All interface connection cables.
- Mac and PC compatible.
- Includes $200 retail value disk utility software bundle: Carbon Copy Cloner, ProSoft Engineering Data Backup 3, NovaStor NovaBackup, and Intech SpeedTools Utilities.
PR: Belkin introduces fastest way to stream HD movies over your existing home electrical wiring with new Gigabit Powerline HD starter kit.
First to market at Gigabit speeds of up to 1000 Mbps, Belkin's Gigabit Powerline Adapters allow you to quickly transfer large data files as well as stream multiple HD movies online. PC gamers can rely on the stability of Gigabit Powerline, which reduces online gaming latency
Today, Belkin announces an addition to its Powerline Networking line with its new Gigabit Powerline HD Starter Kit adapters, letting you create an ultrafast HD entertainment network through your home's existing electrical wiring. Powered by Gigle Semiconductor's mediaxtream™ chip, Belkin's Gigabit Powerline provides a secure, stable networking signal anywhere in the home - even for areas that are hard to reach by wireless connections.
Because of its high Gigabit speeds and consistent connection, Gigabit Powerline reduces online gaming latency and provides large bandwidth, making it ideal for online PC gaming and ultrafast high-quality transmission of multiple video streams. While the current fastest powerline technology runs at 200 Mbps, Gigabit Powerline delivers content at 1000 Mbps of speed.
- Setup of a powerline network is simple with its plug-and-play connectivity:
- Plug one end of the Adapter into an available wall outlet.
- Connect the other end to any device with an available ethernet port (RJ-45), such as a gaming console, set-top box, or computer.
Of those people questioned in a 2008 survey by IDC, 84% reported that they are watching more Internet video now compared to a year ago. The number of videos viewed by US Internet users has grown from approximately 10 billion in 2005 to 100 billion in 2007. When surveyed about concerns with having a TV connected to the Internet, reliability of Internet connection was named 40% of the time.
Now available in North America. Availability in Europe: early August
Gigabit Powerline HD Starter Kit (F5D4076) - $149.99
- Ideal for ultrafast high-quality transmission of multiple video streams, reducing online gaming latency and quickly transferring large data files
- Includes one single-port Adapter for a gaming console, HDTV, or a computer and another single-port Adapter to plug into a router
- Stream multiple HD movies and game online
- Improves Internet connectivity in remote rooms or places hard to reach with wireless connections
- Provides a secure, stable networking signal
- Push-button security
- Plug-and-play setup
- Mesh network: Adding a third (or more) Belkin Powerline Adapter enables Gigle's xtendnet™ feature that provides increasing networking stability and performance by creating a transparent mesh network.
- Compatible with HomePlug® AV products
*NOTE: The standard transmission rate (1000 Mbps) is the ideal physical data rate. Actual data throughput and distance will be lower, depending on interference, network traffic, building materials, and other conditions.
PR: nova media has announced the GlobeTrotter Express 441, a sleek modem which supports quad-band HSPA connections with up to 7.2 Mbit/s download speeds and up to 5.76 Mbit/s upload speeds. The GlobeTrotter Express 441 allows Macintosh users for the first time to establish 3G connections with an ExpressCard on all continents. The necessary software is delivered on the modem's flash memory ready to install and does not need a separate CD or download.
The GlobeTrotter Express 441 modem offers quad-band 3G internet access for MacBook Pro computer with an ExpressCard slot. The built-in HSPA support offers download speeds with up to 7.2 Mbit/s and upload speeds with up to 5.76 Mbit/s, if supported by the mobile operator. The antenna of the GT Express 441 is retractable and automatically powered off when retracted, so it can stay in the ExpressCard slot of the MacBook Pro, even when traveling in an air plane.
"This card is the closest thing to a built-in 3G module. Whenever you withdraw the antenna, the Internet connection is established. By retracting, the connection will be closed." states Jan Fuellemann, PR spokesperson at nova media. "The supplied GlobeTrotter Connect software for Mac OS X is a mac-like and convenient to use mobile Internet manager and features a powerful SMS text manager solution as well."
For 3G, the GlobeTrotter Express 441 supports 850, 900, 1900 and 2100 MHz bands, for GPRS and EDGE connections, the 850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz bands are supported. The necessary software is delivered on the modem's flash memory ready to install and does not need a separate CD or download, which makes it very convenient to use on different computers.
GlobeTrotter Express 441 is available now for Euro 189.21 including VAT. The ExpressCard includes GlobeTrotter Connect software for Mac OS X 10.4.11, 10.5.6 and higher, as well as Windows XP and Vista.
Bargain 'Books are used unless otherwise indicated. New and refurbished units have a one-year Apple warranty and are eligible for AppleCare.
PowerBook, iBook, and MacBook profiles linked in our Portable Mac Index.
Factory refurbished units with Apple's full one-year warranty.
- 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80 HD, $999
- 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/120 HD, $1,199
- 1.8 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80 HD, $1,099
- 1.8 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/64 GB SSD, $1,299
- 1.86 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/128 GB SSD, $1,449
- 2.0 GHz MacBook White, 2 GB/120/SD, $749
- 2.0 GHz Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/160/SD, $949
- 2.4 GHz Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,099
- 2.4 GHz Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/128 GB SSD/SD, $1,449
- 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,349
- 15" 2.66 GHz MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, $1,499
- 15" 2.8 GHz MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, $1,699
- 15" 2.93 GHz MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, $1,949
- 17" 2.5 GHz MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, $1,999
- 17" 2.66 GHz MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, $1,949
- 17" 2.66 GHz MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, antiglare, $1,999
- 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,049.99
- 2.0 GHz Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,049.99
- 2.4 GHz Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,249.99
- 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,569.99
- 15" 2.53 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, $1,499.99
- 15" 2.53 GHz Nvidia MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, $1,829.99
- 17" 2.6 GHz hi-res Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200 @ 7200 rpm/SD, $2,149.99
- Lombard PowerBook G3/400, 256/6/DVD, OS 9, $179
- Pismo PowerBook G3/400, 512/10/no optical drive?, AP, $299
- 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, black, 1 GB/80/SD, $879
- 12" iBook G4/800 MHz, 256/30/Combo, 60 day warranty, $289.99
- 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 256/30/Combo, 60 day warranty, $369.99
- 12" iBook G4/1.2 GHz, 256/30/Combo, 60 day warranty, $409.99
- 12" iBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512/40/Combo, AirPort & Bluetooth, 60 day warranty, $489.99
- 14" iBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512/60/Combo, 60 day warranty, $499.99
- 14" iBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512/60/SD, 60 day warranty, $529.99
- 14" iBook G4/ 1.42 GHz, 512/60/SD, 60 day warranty, $529.99
- 2.0 GHz MacBook, white, 1 GB/60/SD, scratched, $549
- 2.0 GHz MacBook, white, 1 GB/60/SD, $629
- 2.0 GHz MacBook, white, 1 GB/60/SD, $649
- 2.0 GHz MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/SD, $649
- 2.0 GHz MacBook, white, 1 GB/100/SD, $679
- 2.0 GHz MacBook, white 2 GB/160/SD, $769
- 2.0 GHz MacBook, black, 1 GB/100/SD, $749
- 2.0 GHz MacBook, black, 1 GB/250/SD, $769
- 2.0 GHz MacBook, black, 2 GB/250/SD, $769
- 15" MacBook Pro, 2.16 GHz 2 GB/100/SD, scratched, no FW, $749
- 15" MacBook Pro, 2.0 GHz 2 GB/80/SD, mark on LCD, $799
- 15" MacBook Pro, 2.0 GHz 2 GB/80/SD, scratched, $799
- 15" MacBook Pro, 2.16 GHz 2 GB/100/SD, $999
- 17" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, scratched, $549
- 17" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, $699
- 17" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, $799
For deals on current and discontinued 'Books, see our 13" MacBook and MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro, 15" MacBook Pro, 17" MacBook Pro, 12" PowerBook G4, 15" PowerBook G4, 17" PowerBook G4, titanium PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerBook G3, and iBook G3 deals.
Links for the Day
- Mac of the Day: Outbound Laptop and Notebook, introduced 1989.09. The best known among the early Mac clones.
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