OWC Tips & Deals 5/31/2007

Greetings and salutations! It's already the last day of May and the graduations now in full swing. We congratulate the 'class of 2007' and our well wishes for your success, be it continuing studies or into the world to make your mark. Just remember, you do make a difference and it's also up to you to make things happen. The future is what you make of it unless you'd rather wait around for someone else to dictate you instead.

On that note, we owe great thanks and remembrance to those who sacrificed to make the choices we have today possible. The freedom and liberty we take for granted today aren't without a price. We remember and honor on Memorial Day as we should each and every day. It's our duty to honor those who have sacrificed in doing our part to see the generations to follow, that they too enjoy same privileges of Freedom and Liberty we enjoy today.

For all there may be to complain about, there is far more to be thankful for. And there's plenty of complaining that wouldn't even be in the thought process if not for what our Freedoms make possible. I believe it's important to focus on the positive as it far outweighs any negative one can get mired up in. In the big picture, we have to make things happen at the individual level and in this country we certainly have the opportunity to do so. And in doing so, collectively we can all make for tomorrows that are even better than today.

New MacBook Speedbumps
A long time coming, Apple's best selling Mac, the MacBook finally gets its next speedbump. We'd hoped for a boost to the video chipset, but hey, faster processors are always very welcome indeed.

The MacBook has always been about value and no question the base model is now the best value ever. For the same $1099 as before, that base MacBook now gets you 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo processing (previous 1.83GHz), an 80GB Hard Drive (was 60GB), and 1.0GB of memory (was 512MB).

It's still a $200 delta to the next MacBook model up... but the $200 now brings you to a 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo (was 2.0GHz), a 120GB Hard Drive (was 80GB), as well as this model being standard with a Superdrive DVD Dual-Layer/CDRW vs. the CDRW+DVD-Rom Combo drive standard with the $1099 base model.

While the $1099 and $1299 MacBook offering are white, another $200 and you can select what is effectively the 'special edition' cool Black MacBook. This $1499 model is now also standard at 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo processing (was 2.0GHz) with a 160GB HD (was 120GB), and otherwise all the same features as the $1299 model. The Black model is $200 more for being the cool black and having an extra 40 Gigs of HD space.

Unless I've missed something... It's the memory bump to the base $1099 model, larger hard drives and faster processors to all the models.

Our recommendations....

The first primary choice is whether you need the internal SuperDrive or are you ok with a CDRW and just DVD Read capability. If you do not need to burn DVDs, the base $1099 model is very attractive. If you need the Superdrive, unlike the memory and hard drive, this is something you really don't have a good option to upgrade after the fact and should then be looking at the $1299 model. Either way, the $200 mostly goes for the extra 160MHz and swap to SuperDrive as well as that extra 40GBs of HD space. The other choice is literally black and white cause you're not paying the next $200 just to go to a 160GB hard drive.

Once you've selected which 'base' makes the most sense - your best value will be to keep it at base. Both the memory and the hard drive are absolutely supported for user upgradability and you can see from our online videohandy installation videos just how easy those upgrades are. Buying those upgrades from OWC offers quite a savings as well.

For Memory, Apple is charging $175.00 to go from 1GB (2 x 512MB) to 2.0GB (2 x 1GB)... This compares to us at OWC getting you a new 2.0GB Kit for $95 (2 x 1GB) or, even better, maxing out with a 3.0GB Kit for $165.00 (2.0GB + 1.0GB) that still comes in under the Apple 1GB option cost and with both options also gaining you the factory installed 512MB x 2 to hang on to, or just trade in. This premium memory from OWC also benefits from a Lifetime Advance Replacement Warranty vs. the 1yr limited standard for the factory installed.

When it comes to the internal hard drive options for MacBook, we've got a wider selection that with options up to 250GB 5400RPM as well as the faster 7200RPM models for up to 160GB capacity. We've got more options for you to choose from and looking at the 5400RPM factory options vs. purchasing the larger drive at OWC, you can outright get that larger drive from for about the same cost (in some cases for a lot less) as the difference Apple charges for upgrading to that same higher capacity. So - upgrading the HD via OWC = dollars ahead and you get an extra drive too. The original drive you can trade in for more dollars back or, better yet, from $34.99 make it external for backup, etc.

While we can always look forward to the next update, from $1099 the MacBooks are ever the exceptional value.

To Pair or Not to Pair revisited
Back in December we did a bunch of memory testing with the intention of showing why Apple was recommending memory to be installed in pairs for the MacBook 13.3", Mac mini, and GMA950 iMac Intel model offerings. As I noted in the December newsletter, I was very surprised when rather than quantifying Apple's recommendation it debunked it instead.

Unlike Mac Models equipped with the ATI or NVidia video chipsets, those equipped with GMA950 integrated video (which include every Macbook 13.3" model; all Mac mini Intel models; and the low end iMac 17" Intel model) have 64MBs shared from the main system memory for the VRAM allocation. Correlating that with Apple's recommendation of using memory by the pair (which enables the 128 bit addressing) one might reasonable conclude that without the memory being paired a significant hit would be likely to system video performance.

All of Apple's current Core 2 Duo Models (same is true between Core Duo equipped Mac models) share the same processor bus and memory controller. It is only the models with GMA950 which Apple pushes the memory pairing recommendation upon, even limiting factory config memory options to pair sets.

The tests done in December went up to 2.0GB and had been geared to show differences between pair and non-pair performance.

Since then, we have now officially support up to 3.0GB in all Core 2 Duo GMA950 Macs + have completed new testing that goes further to illustrate what there is to gain maxing your memory. I think you'll be amazed too at the benefit with 3.0GB vs. 2.0GB as well. Yielding to popular demand, we also did 4.0GB testing. Note that while you only get a max of 3.0GB usable, the 4.0GB config still appears to give a benefit from 128 bit addressing with some very slightly higher scores resulting. That having been said, unless you absolutely need the absolute max performance attainable I still recommend the 3.0GB as the best.

So there ya go. Adding additional memory, especially if your at 512MB or 1GB now, is good to make a difference - even if it's just replacing one of the 256MBs with a 512MB to make 768MB, etc. Do what's right for your needs and budget and when the time makes sense. If you are on the low side of the memory config, now is a pretty good time though - can hardly beat 1GB for $47.50 and 2GB modules at $117.50 - today's memory prices are at the all time lows. :)

Convert Video for iPod, AppleTV, Etc - Fast with Turbo.264
In addition to tying up your processor and slowing down other work you might like to do, converting video for playback on your iPod, Apple TV, or a Sony PSP can be an extremely time consuming ordeal. Now, Elgato changes that with their new Turbo.264.

Available for $95, the Turbo.264 frees up your Mac processor(s) to keep you other applications working quick + does the video encoding up to 4 times faster even compared to Intel Core 2 Duo based Macs. When comparing conversion time on PowerMac G4s and even G5s, the difference is even more staggering.

The Elgato Turbo.264 works with any G4, G5, or Intel processor equipped Mac with a built in USB 2.0 Port. It's plug and play with easy to use software that finishes by moving the converted file right into iTunes ready for synching to your iPod or AppleTV. Another great Elgato product, the EyeTV Hybrid, lets you Watch, Record+Schedule TV right on your Mac. Once again, this nifty product (that's portable too), is plug and play on any G4, G5, or Intel Processor based Mac that has a built in USB 2.0 Port. Normally a $149.95 retail, you can TV enable your Mac now for the reader special of $130. With the included EyeTV 2 TV Software, it just doesn't get easier for Mac TV/DVR!

New NewerTech Guardian MAXimus RAID-1 Performs & Protects
Nothing beats having good backups. If something is going to go wrong, most likely it will involve a hard drive failure. Hard Drives are the most mechanically complex of the components involved with your computer and with platters inside spinning at up up to 10,000RPM - have the fastest moving parts too.

Even if you're backing up everyday, you're still left vulnerable to losing new/updated data since the time of that last backup...

Unless you're using one of NewerTech's new Guardian MAXimus FireWire 800/400+USB2 Hardware RAID-1 solutions! Starting from $319.99 for the 250GB model and available up to 1.0TB(1000GB), this solution provides 'live activity' data redundancy between a matched pair drives inside. Typically, you shouldn't have to worry about any drive failure for years - but in the event one of the Guardian's drives do fail, it's completely transparent to you with all your data present and activity continuing via the still functioning drive.

The Guardian MAXimus plugs and plays no differently than any FireWire or USB2 Hard Drive. As a Hardware RAID-1 solution, it does all the work so you get to treat it like you would any FireWire or USB2 device.

What sets it a part of course are the duplicate drives inside keeping all the data you store on it real-time redundant for that extra level of protection. Its front panel LED display keeps you appraised of disk drive activity and the status of the RAID. If there is a problem, it lets you know and then it would be a matter of replacing the bad drive, after which it will automatically rebuild and sync the mirror again.

If you're looking for that ultimate backup solution, this is a no brainer solution to keep prized data up to the second protected. And in addition to being available from $319.99 pre-configured, the Guardian MAXimum is also available for $179.99 with no drives - just add your own same matched set. All Guardian MAXimus solutions and 0GB Kits include FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB2 Cables; Intech HD Speedtools for Mac, Prosoft DataBackup III ($59 retail value) for OS X, and NovaStor NovaBackup for Windows ($49.95 retail value). The 250GB to 1.0TB solutions are backed by a 2 Year NewerTech Warranty, 0GB kits covered for 1 Year. Check 'em out. :)

For Fun and of interest
It's always been a love/hate relationship between Macs and PCs.... and PC Magazine's Top 10 things they Love and their Top 10 things they Hate about Apple is a pretty good read. :)

Intro Closing:
Alrighty then. Apple's stock is soaring, the options scandal appears to be history, and I'm betting going to see some great things out of Apple come the June WWDC show and more than just the start of iPhone shipments. Fun stuff to follow with part of that stuff I'm better to soon include the MacBook Pro model updates. We'll be watching and ready to report as various rumors come to be the next Apple releases.

Thanks for reading, and will be back again soon come the WWDC releases. Till then and of course beyond, the best always to you and yours.

On we got to this week's Quick Tip: Keep that Intel Mac cool, this week's Reader Specials Highlights, and Roger's Music on the Mac following some 'messages from our sponsor'.

Quick Links
A better Apple/Macintosh ISP at a better price - FasterMac.Net
Super competitive rates, Toll Free Tech Support, and a brand new level of Anti-Virus and Anti-Spam protection coming on line - you'll be amazed at how much you get for less at FasterMac.Net. Even just for e-mail, FasterMac.Net makes the hassle of Spam effectively no hassle at all.

Just what does OWC do with trade-ins, open box items, discontinued goods, etc.? We put 'em up on our Clearance Deals Page. New goodies recently added!

Use Apple OS 9.2.2 & Apple OS X on Macs Apple doesn't support because OWC does with OS 9 Helper and Xpostfacto!

Quick Tip: Quick Tip: Nifty FireFox Weather Plug-In

I've been a big fan and been using the FireFox Web Browser on my Mac for well over a year now. The relatively recent 2.0x release is a huge winner (IMHO) and looking forward to the 3.0x version under development now. FireFox is fast, free, and uncluttered. Safari isn't anything to scoff at, and in the end it's about user preference.... I prefer FireFox.

Now Duane, a long time OWC Technical Support Rep, has given me one more thing to like about FireFox with his first ever Quick Tip article. In short it covers a particular useful plug-in that I've yet to see for Safari. The ForecastFox plugin lets updated forecast information be displayed via icons in any of several locations on your browser window. Personally, I selected the bookmark bar location. These icons indicate current weather conditions (sunny, cloudy, etc), when you mouse over pop a current radar map and additional details, and when you click on the icon it takes you to the accuweather page to see the full details.

Sure you can use an OS X widget - but it's just so darn nice having that info right there displayed for at a glance weather status displayed. If you're a FireFox user already, I believe you'll truly appreciate this plug-in. If you're not, well - something else that might just have ya giving it a chance.


Check out our Quick Tips Archive, Hardware/Software Review articles, and more - all in the OWC Product Reviews and Editorial center.
Great Buys and Featured Exclusive Specials for OWC E-Mail Subscribers:

A much larger selection of regularly updated Tips n' Deals reader discounted specials can be found on the Tips n' Deals Specials Page, which is updated just for - well - readers like you!

Highlights: Desktop/Tower/External HDs - 500GB SATA $119; FireWire 400GB $159 & More
500GB Maxtor MaxLine Pro Enterprise Class 7200RPM SATA II now $119.00
This is one of the fastest, most reliable drives you can get. Not just a standard fare drive, this model is Enterprise 'Nearline' rated for mission critical data storage needs and backed by a 5 year Seagate/Maxtor Factory Warranty.

Get that SAME drive bundled with ProSoft DataBackup III for $135.00
That's an extra $20 to include the $59.95 Retail Value Backup Application.

300GB Maxtor MaxLine III SATA 16MB Cache 5yr Warranty HD now $69.00

300GB OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro 7200RPM FW800/400,USB2,eSATA Solution - $167.50
Includes all cables, Intech HD Speedtools, DataBackup, 2yr+ Warranty & More

400GB OWC Neptune 7200RPM FireWire 400 Complete Solution - $159.00!

500GB OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro 7200RPM FW800/400,USB2,eSATA Solution - $229.00
Includes all cables, Intech HD Speedtools, DataBackup, 2yr+ Warranty & More

800GB OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro FireWire 7200RPM 800/400 RAID - $319.00
Includes all cables, Intech HD Speedtools, DataBackup, 2yr+ Warranty & More

1.0TB OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro FireWire 7200RPM 800/400+USB2 RAID - $379.00
Includes all cables, Intech HD Speedtools, DataBackup, 2yr+ Warranty & More

Big Storage for your Apple Laptop - 120GB $79; 160GB $99
MacBook and MacBook Pro 2.5" SATA Internal Hard Drive Upgrades:
100.0GB Hitachi Travelstar 7K100 7200RPM 8MB with 3yr Warranty $119.99

120.0GB Western Digital Scorpio 5400RPM 8MB with 3yr Warranty $79.00

160.0GB Western Digital Scorpio 5400RPM 8MB with 3yr Warranty **$99.00

** 200.0GB Toshiba MK2035GSS 4200RPM 8MB with 3yr Warranty - $167.50

PowerBook & iBook G3/G4 Internal IDE/ATA 2.5" Hard Drive Upgrades:
80.0GB Hitachi Travelstar 5K160 5400RPM 8MB with 3yr Warranty $65.00

100.0GB Hitachi Travelstar 7K100 7200RPM 8MB with 3yr Warranty $125.99

120.0GB Western Digital Scorpio 5400RPM 8MB with 3yr Warranty **$79.00

** 160.0GB Western Digital Scorpio 5400RPM 8MB with 3yr Warranty $109.99

Use and/or transfer data from the 'old' drive externally:

SATA 2.5" Portable HD Enclosure Kits for MacBook/MacBook Pro Hard Drives
OWC Mercury On-The-Go FireWire 800(+400)/USB2 SATA 2.5" Enclosure Kit $80.00
OWC Mercury On-The-Go USB 2.0 SATA 2.5" Enclosure Kit - $34.99

For IDE/ATA 2.5" from PowerBook or iBook:>BR? OWC Mercury On-The-Go FireWire 400 IDE/ATA 2.5" Enclosure Kit - $55.00
OWC Mercury On-The-Go USB 2.0 IDE/ATA 2.5" Enclosure Kit - $27.50

Transfer/Access Data from Drives easily with Universal Adapter
NewerTech 2.5/3.5/5.25" IDE/ATA/ATAPI/SATA I&II to USB 2.0 Adapter $19.99
The Swiss Army Knife of Data Accessibility, all cables included.

1GB all time low $47.50, 2.0GB modules $165
Memory update 5/31/2007: For pretty much all of 2007 we've seen memory prices drop and drop and drop. This past week is the first time we actually saw that trend reverse. The uptick, while not significant - _could_ indicate a reversal to what's been an all year downward trend. In truth, this stuff can hardly go much lower and seeing that Apple held their own memory upgrade option pricing unchanged with the recent 5/15 MacBook model updates - that may possibly suggest that long term contracts for memory in the current price range just aren't being offered. I have no crystal ball - but I do have this advice: More memory = fewer spinning beach balls and improved Mac performance - if you can use more memory, it's a deal at twice the price and a bargain where it is now. That said, buy it if you need it, not just because it's a deal.

OWC Memory is meets or exceeds Apple Qualified Specifications and is guaranteed for a lifetime of reliable, trouble-free operation and our Lifetime Advance Replacement Warranty stands behind it.

Upgrade MacBook, MacBook Pro Models (Core 2 Duo & Core Duo)
For all speed/models of MacBook and MacBook Pro
All models have 2 slots - upgrade one at a time or with a set.
1.0GB PC5300 DDR2 now $47.50; Upgrade with a 2.0GB Set $95.00

Add a 2.0GB Module to any Core 2 Duo Model for $117.50
or 3.0GB Memory Set (2.0GB + 1.0GB Modules) for $165.00!

See other up to 3.0GB Memory and Hard Drive Upgrades options online.

Add up to 16.0GBs to Apple Mac Pro Quad Xeon
Max the Apple Mac Pro Quad Xeon with up to 16GBs of Top Quality Memory Apple Qualified with Apple Approved Heat Spreader for Optimal Reliability Mac Pro has 8 Slots, Memory must be installed in Matched Pairs.

512MB x 2, 1GB x 2, and 2GB x 2 Module Sets now starting from about $86 Per GIG!

Upgrade iMac Intel, Mac mini Intel Models (ALL)
Both Systems have 2 Slots, May be upgraded one module at a time or pairs.

1.0GB PC5300 DDR2 now $47.50; Upgrade with a 2.0GB Set $95.00

Add a 2.0GB Module to any Core 2 Duo Model for $117.50
or 3.0GB Memory Set (2.0GB + 1.0GB Modules) for $165.00!

See other up to 3.0GB Memory and Hard Drive Upgrades online.

Upgrade your PowerMac G5 and iMac G5 with PC3200
iMac G5 1.6GHz, 1.8GHz, and 2.0GHz; all PowerMac G5 Models with PCI-X Slots
(all PowerMac G5s prior to the PCI-Express 'October 2005' models)
PowerMac requires Matched Pairs, iMac allows one at a time.

2.0GB Matched Pair PC3200 DDR 184 Pin DIMMs - $139.00

1.0GB PC3200 DDR 184 Pin DIMM Module - $70.00

512MB PC3200 DDR 184 Pin DIMM Module - $35.00

Click for All Memory Options.

More Memory for iMac G5/1.9GHz & 2.1GHz Models, PowerMac G5 'Oct 2005'
PC4200 Memory for Late 2005 Model iMacs; PowerMac G5 PCI-Express PowerMac requires Matched Pairs, iMac allows one at a time.

1.0GB PC4200 DDR2 240 Pin DIMM Module - $48.00

2.0GB PC4200 DDR2 Matched Pair 1GB x 2 Matched Set - $95.00

Click for All Memory Options including 2.0GB modules/4GB kits from $119.50 per 2GB!.

Upgrade PowerBook G4 Aluminum 12"/15"/17"; iBook G4 12" & 14"
PC2700 for all iBook G4 Models, All 'Pre-Oct 2005' PowerBook G4 Aluminums
PowerBook has two slots, iBook only 1 slot - no advantage to matched pairs.

512MB PC2700 DDR SO-DIMM 200 Pin - $37.50

1.0GB PC2700 DDR SO-DIMM 200 Pin - $97.50

Click for All Memory Options.

Upgrade PowerMac G4 AGP Graphics, Gigabit Ethernet, Digital Audio, Quicksilver models
Three or Four total slots, up to 512MB per Slot - Each slot independent with no advantage to matched sets.

256MB PC133 CL3/PC100 CL2 SDRAM DIMM 168 Pin - $25.00

512MB PC133 CL3/PC100 CL2 SDRAM DIMM 168 Pin - $59.00

Click for All Memory Options.

OWC stocks top quality, fully tested - Apple Spec Memory for nearly every Mac made
If you don't see your model listed and/or are not sure what your system needs, use our
'MyOWC' compatibility guide will list out just options are correct for your Mac.

Add the Latest BlueTooth 2.0+EDR to existing Macs via USB Port
Really doesn't get any simpler to upgrade your Mac for use with the latest BlueTooth Equipped printers, phones, cameras, organizers, keyboards, mice, etc. Just plug this simple little dongle into an available USB or USB 2.0 Port and you're off! Fully compatible with Apple OS X 10.2.6 and later (also various Windows versions), no separate drivers needed.

OWC BlueTooth 2.0+EDR Plug n' Play Reader Special $9.50 (normal $19.99!)

NewerTech 7448 G4 Specials from $335.00
Check out the latest NewerTech G4/7448 Processor upgrades - state of the art with Freescale's latest 7448 processor featuring twice the cache of prior generation 7447 processors. New with 3yr Warranty and 30 return guarantee. Universal upgrades for PowerMac G4 Models Sawtooth/AGP Graphics, Gigabit Ethernet, Digital Audio, and QuickSilver:

NewerTech MaxPower 7448 G4 1MB L2 @ 1.8GHz - $350.00 or 2.0GHz $385.00

Again, deals like these and more - reserved just for Readers - found on your regularly updated Tips n' Deals Exclusive Specials Page.

Music on the Mac: Take 'Kontrol' of your Audio

Greetings from the macsales.com Music Department!

A visionary company called Native Instruments has recently come out with a feature packed and unique Audio Interface. It's called Audio Kontrol 1.

It is a USB 2.0 audio interface. It makes it possible for you to connect microphones and instruments to your computer. The audio quality is very high...192 kHz, 24 bit. In simple terms that means that a picture is taken of the audio 192 thousand times per second and a 24 bit (highly accurate) number is used to describe each of those pictures. That translates into very natural sounding audio.

All of that is great but the real magic with this hardware is the built-in control knob on top. This controller can be used to step thru presets on a software instrument, or be used as a crossfader (DJs absolutely need this) on a DJ application such as Traktor LE , which is included. This controller and the buttons below it can be "trained" easily to control many different types of things on lots of different applications and it is a unique inclusion on this product.

Other software included at no additional charge: Guitar Combos, a lite version of their fabulous Guitar Rig software, Cubase LE, an easy to use recording application, and the so called KEYBOARD Collection, virtual instruments to use when creating your tracks!

One additional point to consider is its USB 2 connectivity...not all computers have that but for those that do, this is a high speed connection similar in speed to FW 400, certainly much faster than USB 1.

I want to remind all of our newsletter readers to take advantage of our Audio/Music Forum. We want to be your resource for answers to your questions...and let you share your experience with others too.

Please find the "right stuff" at great prices here. Get our entertaining Widget called Daily Guitar Jam.

Browse and read other 'Music on the Mac' articles by Roger posted online.

See how Roger created The Garage Album CD at The Garage Album website.

About our Music Guru:
Roger Adler is a four-time Emmy nominated composer, producer, and performer. He is an endorser and clinician for the iGuitar by Brian Moore Guitars and his work is recognizable in over 1000 television commercials. Adler performed at the Presidential Inaugural Ball in Washington D.C. as recently as 2005 and his recordings include appearances on the Groundhog Day feature film soundtrack and The Garage Album. He is widely recognized for his role as Music director for the A&E television series "The Best of Comic Relief" starring Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, and Whoopi Goldberg and for 16 years as Music Director for the popular series "Wild Chicago." Adler is the owner of two recording studios serving the professional entertainment industry, i^3 audio at North Pier in Chicago and studioA at Lakeside Legacy Arts Park in Crystal Lake, IL. In addition to facilitating the Daily Guitar Jam Widget, Adler produces the popular Podcast Show "Rock Your Computer" which broadcasts to an international audience via Apple's iTunes Music Store.

Shooting for the short and sweet, although often run long of the short part of that. Will make this newsletter the exception.

In short, still cautiously optimistic on the whole Apple, Inc. deal. The Steve Jobs Macworld Expo Keynote still is burnt in clear memory having had no new Macs or even new major Mac Software updates presented along with the extra poke of taking that feature opportunity to bring it home that Apple Computer, Inc. is now just Apple, Inc. I know the Apple options 'scandal' was a distraction and now that's past. The iPhone drew away a bunch of internal resources reportedly, and that's now to start shipping in just a couple weeks. Plus, strong positive indications that Apple's WWDC event is going to be strong on Mac and not a total iPhone shadowed event. Although I've had the perception of the Mac hardware/software side being a little off schedule, my growing believe is that some nearterm releases and updates are about to about to put things back about right. Be back real soon once we get to WWDC, that you can count on either way.

Thanks for reading and hey and being an OWC Tips n' Deals subscriber!

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