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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks


This Week I Learned - Week #3 2021

Saturday, January 23, 2021

This Week I Learned - 

Azure vWAN provides *managed hub and spoke topology* facilitating any-to-any connectivity

* An n-gram is a statistical analysis of how frequently something, such as a word or phrase, appears in writing or speech. The Google Ngram Viewer is a tool that allows you to generate n-grams and compare how often certain words appear.  can:

  • See which spelling is considered standard between two variants.
  • Check whether a variant spelling is still used in modern English.
  • Compare the use of words and spellings in American and British English.
  • Check whether a term is typically capitalized (e.g., Brownian motion vs. brownian motion).
* Hitachi Vantara was created in 2017 as the combination of three previously separate Hitachi
organizations: the Hitachi Data Systems storage subsidiary, the Pentaho data integration and analytics
business, and the Hitachi Insight Group. The company sells a range of block, file and object datacenter storage systems. 

* Nidhi Razdan is a former Executive Editor, NDTV with a 21-year career in TV. She found out that a “terrific opportunity” of an offer as an associate professor at Harvard was "an elaborate and sophisticated phishing attack". India’s job-fraud industry is neither new nor small, but its prospects have never looked brighter

* The percentage of the female population is 48.04 percent compared to 51.96 percent male population in India. In the United States in 2020, the percentage of female population is 52.52 percent compared to 49.48 percent male population.

* According to Jewish law, when a Jewish boy is 13 years old, he becomes accountable for his actions and becomes a bar mitzvah. A girl becomes a bat mitzvah at the age of 12 according to Orthodox and Conservative Jews, and at the age of 13 for Reform Jews. As with charity and all other gifts, it has become common to give in multiples of 18, since the gematria, or numerical equivalent of the Hebrew word for "life", ("chai"), is the number 18. Monetary gifts in multiples of 18 are considered to be particularly auspicious and have become common for the bar and bat mitzvah.

* In Season 29 Episode 11 of The Simpsons, "Frink Gets Testy", Professor Fink tells us about his system of the Personal Value Quotient, which doesn't just measure how intelligent you are but also measures your worthiness as a human being. The P.V.Q. test tests for a wide range of attributes in a person including sympathy, empathy, group collaboration, artistry, neatness, complex socialization, sarcasm, prudence, confidence, ambition, the teams you root for, earnestness and ego - every trait that integrates a winning personality.

* Failures like IL&FS, Yes Bank and Templeton have been absorbed by the Indian financial system, but at a cost. For years now, faith in the integrity of India's markets has hemorrhaged, with everyone from rating firms to auditors, fund managers and trustees putting their own commercial interests above — and often against — those of the investing public. - Bloomberg Opinion

* Former Indian Cricket captains, Kapil Dev and Saurav Ganguly have undergone coronary angioplasty following heart attacks they have suffered.

* Narinder S. Kapany is considered the father of Fiber Optics. 

George Bernard Shaw  was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925. He accepted the award, but rejected the monetary prize that went with it, on the grounds that "My readers and my audiences provide me with more than sufficient money for my needs". Shaw provided the screenplay for a filmed version of Pygmalion for which he received an Academy Award in 1938 thereby becoming the first person to win the Nobel Prize & Oscar. 

* When Mao came to power in 1949, he recklessly encouraged Chinese women to produce as many children as possible, to boost the workforce and the ranks of the Red Army. By 1976, China’s population had almost doubled. Panic-stricken, the new leader, Deng Xiaoping, introduced the draconian one-child policy. 

* A Starbucks branch in Dublin has been ordered to pay compensation to a customer of Thai heritage after an employee drew "slanty" eyes on her cup

* Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol) and Virginia Wolf self-published their books. In a way, Dickens was a blogger who released his stories in instalments. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer and  John Grisham’s A Time To Kill are some famous books that were self-published. Indian authors Amish Tripathi and Ashwin Sanghi self-published their first books.

Dr. Mayim Bialik who played the role of Amy Farrah Fowler, a neuroscientist and Sheldon's love interest in The Big Bang Theory holds a PhD in Neuroscience from UCLA in real-life.

* Maye Musk is the mother – of Elon, the world’s most famous inventor, Kimbal, a tech and food entrepreneur, and Tosca, a film director who recently started a streaming service to bring romance novels to television. She is a dietician who has run her own nutrition business for 45 years and has been a model for 54 years (after starting at at 15). At schools she was a “science nerd”, and teachers would send her to demonstrate mathematics to classes of older children. Her brains made her a magnet for bullies – South Africa was a rough place – but her larger and more athletic twin, Kaye, fought them off. In 1970, she married an engineer, Errol Musk.  After the divorce nine years later, she took the children and started on her own as a single, working mother. She was hands-off, just as her parents had been. Her business, run from home, provided her children with training as budding entrepreneurs. Elon was an obsessive reader and thinker from an early age, so absorbed in his own world that his parents thought he might have a hearing problem and took him to the doctor. He struggled to make friends at school and was badly bullied. But he developed strong, lifelong bonds with his brother and sister which, to this day, seem to serve as a stabilising influence in his life. While Maye regards cooking as “torture”, Kimbal was always an enthusiastic and ambitious cook. Kimbal’s cooking created connections. After starting two technology companies with Elon – Zip2 and PayPal – in 2004,  Kimbal became a founding father of the farm-to-table movement. He has built 13 restaurants since then and has more on the way. They specialise in unprocessed, locally sourced foods. By the age of 18, Tosca had landed a job in a studio and from there went on to become a film director. Elon has tackled this dilemma of child rearing by setting up a private school, which his five children attend, that teaches problem-solving and matches the curriculum to the aptitudes and capabilities of the child. It is called Ad Astra, meaning “to the stars”. - Economist

Smiles are the hooks by which we are drawn into each other’s lives, if only for a moment. Smiles are capable of almost infinite variation and subtlety, and of split-second shifts, passing over like weather. The Rueful, when something hasn’t gone as planned. The Uneasy, when you’re not quite sure how the land lies. The Triumphant, just making it as the carriage door shuts, and the Relieved, as you settle back at the end of a long day. The False, the Febrile, the Delighted, the Empty, the Defensive, the Innocent, the Fixed. Not the least deprivation of the covid world is that all this variety is so often covered up. Eyes may be the mirrors of the soul, but they need the mouth to show what they mean.

* Yeast is a fungus that, as it consumes sugar, produces ethanol and carbonation, which is the process of fermentation. Louis Pasteur developed pasteurization to kill yeast (and microbes and other bacteria), but brewers saw the possibility of using this same idea to create new strains of yeast. Much of beer’s flavor comes from yeast.

* In wine tasting, there are high level categories like flavor, appearance, aroma and texture, then subcategories, so within aroma, wine that can be leathery, or tobacco within flavor. The same world exists for audio - there are high level categories like timbre, artefacts or spatial components, and lower levels for each. For example in dynamics you have attack or punch. Bass anchors the fidelity, it anchors the music and adds a layer of depth and emotion. Within bass there are negative attributes like boxy and boomy, and positive ones like bass strength and depth. - Forbes

* Of the energy that people pay for (as opposed to the energy that comes from burning firewood) 34% comes from burning oil, 27% from coal and 24% from gas. Nuclear power, hydroelectric power and all other renewables combined provide just 15%. The result of all this fossil fuel use is a modern industrial economy and an annual flow of 9.5bn tonnes of carbon out of the ground and into the atmosphere. Humans have unbalanced the carbon cycle. The world’s seas and plants suck up roughly half of all the extra carbon dioxide that industry puts into the atmosphere. This is not enough to compensate for the damage climate change does to agriculture by higher temperatures and altered rainfall. - The Economist

* If prices for fossil fuels reflected their true cost to society—in deadly heat waves, water stress, disappearing crops—they’d be a lot higher than they are now. The costs of climate change are not going to be spread evenly

* Rich-world countries continue to consume totally disproportionate shares of the world’s energy, resources, food, forests and even water—in terms of the water embedded in all the food we import from poorer countries. - The Economist

Adults tend to have anywhere from 10 to 40 of these moles on their bodies.

* "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness" - Mark Twain

Let everything happen to you.
Beauty and terror.
Just keep going.
No feeling is final.
- Rainer Maria Rilke

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Azure Well-Architected Framework & Cloud Adoption Framework

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Azure Well-Architected Framework is focused on providing guidance at the workload level. Cloud Adoption Framework is separate, and is really focused at the portfolio level.

The Well-Architected Framework picks up the conversation were CAF leaves off, ensuring that each application team is developing and operating well-architected workloads.

Together, CAF & WAF ensure your entire enterprise is well-architected and well-managed throughout your cloud adoption journey.

CAF ensures the platform, processes, and people are delivering a well-managed operating model across the portfolio. WAF goes deep on each application (or at minimum the most important ones) to validate architectural decisions at the workload level.

Each is a powerful tool for certain types of conversation. Together, they unblock operations, innovation, and migration to accelerate business outcomes.

The Azure Enablement show on Channel9 is a series of technical conversations with a community of Microsoft experts, addressing common questions and challenges in your cloud adoption journey.  The show introduces two series aligned to key resources that support your cloud journey—the Cloud Adoption Framework and the Azure Well-Architected initiative. 

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This Week I Learned - Week #2 2021

Saturday, January 16, 2021

 This Week I Learned - 

Migrate for Anthos is one of the most scalable approaches to modernize applications with Kubernetes orchestration, image-based container management and DevOps automation. Migrate for Anthos automatically generates a container image, a Dockerfile for day-2 image updates and application revisions, Kubernetes deployment YAMLs and (where relevant) a persistent data volume onto which the application data files and persistent state are copied. This automated, intelligent extraction is significantly faster and easier than manually modernizing the app, especially when source code or deep application rebuild knowledge is unavailable. Unlike VMs, all containers on a single node share one copy of the operating system and don’t each require their own OS image and vCPU, resulting in a much smaller memory footprint and CPU needs. This means more workloads running on fewer compute resources. 

The Five Disciplines of Cloud Governance in the Cloud Adoption Framework

* Private clouds are commonly used for predictable workloads (75% according to IDC)  and the elastic nature and consumption-based charge of public clouds are good at supporting unpredictable workloads. Without proper visibility, businesses won't even know what's driving their public cloud costs. Start with a secure private cloud and slowly move applications to a public cloud as growth demands. Slowly move resources and expand to a hybrid cloud model. Private cloud is known as the most secure option but it needs to be built that way - Nutanix: Top 20 Private Cloud Questions

Top Python web frameworks:

* Wikipedia turned 20 years old on Friday, 15 January 2021

* Social-media service Parler vanished on 10th January, when Amazon.com Inc. followed through on its threat to stop hosting the public-messaging platform that has exploded in popularity among supporters of President Trump. Parler’s effective disappearance came shortly after Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google removed the Parler app for mobile devices from their app stores - WSJ

* Signal is developed by the Signal Foundation, a non-profit funded by a loan from Brian Acton (co-creator of WhatsApp) of $105m, repayable in 2068 at 0% interest. He co-founded WhatsApp with Jan Koum in 2009 and it was acquired by Facebook in February 2014 for US$19 billion.

* The United States celebrates the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr on the 3rd Monday of January every year, giving people a 3 day weekend. 

* Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, was sworn in as India’s first Muslim home minister in the VP Singh government. His daughter Rubaiya was kidnapped a few days later and released after the Farooq Abdullah government released five militants as demanded by the JKLF. Mufti later formed the J&K People’s Democratic Party in 1999 and became chief minister in 2002 and 2015. Rubaiya never joined politics but her sister Mehbooba took over the mantle from Mufti after his demise. 

* Food Corporation of India distributes 47.5 million tonnes of food grains every year to 800 million poor people at subsidised rates under national food security act (NFSA).

* National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla was inaugurated on 16 Jan 1955. The three chiefs of the Indian Armed Forces are NDA Coursemates(1976).

* Bahrain has fewer than 2m residents, the UAE fewer than 10m. Bahrain and the UAE authorised Sinopharm's BBIBP-CorV vaccine in December after declaring it 86% effective. BBIBP-CorV is based on an inactivated strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, a long-established way of making vaccines, rather than the new mRNA technology used by Pfizer and other Western manufacturers. Many countries have been reluctant to approve BBIBP-CorV because it lacks reliable trial data. There are few reservations in the Gulf about BBIBP-CorV partly due to public trust in governments with a reputation for being well-run. The UAE’s embrace of Sinopharm is bringing them closer to China. State-run telecoms firms in the Emirates have awarded 5G contracts to Huawei, which is blacklisted by America. Military ties are growing as well, with the UAE fielding Chinese-made attack drones in Libya - The Economist

* Japan has the world’s longest life expectancy, and 80,000 centenarians. Japan has long had one of the lowest sugar-consumption rates among the OECD countries, a club of mainly wealthy countries. Japan largely banned meat for 1,200 years, and still consumes relatively little meat and dairy. The unhappy irony is that Japan’s health gains, paired with a low birth rate, threaten its economy. By 2060, 40% of Japanese could be 60 or older. In a study of 48,000 Britons, vegetarians were unusually resistant to heart disease, but prone to strokes. Japan’s rate of strokes fell during a period when it began eating a bit of meat. - The Economist

Ear training or aural skills is a music theory study in which musicians learn to identify pitches, intervals, melody, chords, rhythms, solfeges, and other basic elements of music, solely by hearing. The application of this skill is analogous to taking dictation in written/spoken language.

* "Patterns are funny things, for you can see them your entire life without ever noticing them. But once you finally notice, they appear everywhere. When I learned to notice this pattern, it was like finally seeing the world in three dimensions—I was still looking at the same objects, but now everything had depth. My  enhanced vision revealed even more patterns. Patterns that have changed the world." - Jim Mckelvey, Innovation Stacks

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HOW TO present a collection of Tweets as a Slide Show

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Twitter Moments lets you curate a set of public Tweets from anyone all at one place. Twitter’s recommendation is to keep Moments, the feature to stitch together multiple tweets into slideshow-like stories, around 10 tweets long. From my experience, there may be an upper limit of 50+ in a single collection but managing the list gets messy and some Tweets in the list may disappear or the order may get jumbled.

I found that Twitframe allows us to display Embedded Tweets on websites to dynamically show retweet and favorite counts, inline media/card data while isolating the Javascript and DOM manipulation to an embedded iframe. This is an independent service not affiliated with Twitter in any way. No guarantee of availability or security is made by using this service by Twitframe.

I used this service to build a slide show of any collection of public Tweets. Check a sample and the Github Gist of the code

If you enable Tracking prevention in Microsoft Edge, the code doesn't work as this setting blocks a script required by Twitframe. This warning shows up in Dev Tools - Tracking Prevention blocked a Script resource from loading https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js.

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This Week I Learned - Week #1 2021

Saturday, January 09, 2021

 This Week I Learned - 

Microsoft Cloud App Security (MCAS), a cloud access security broker (CASB), helps you gain control over shadow IT with tools that give you visibility into the cloud apps and services used in your organization, asses them for risk, and provide sophisticated analytics.

Source: SharePointTalk.net

* Azure AD Conditional Access What If tool allows you to select a user, the app that user is trying to access, and the conditions of that sign-in to see which policies will apply. The simulation estimates the impact this sign-in has on your policies and generates a simulation report. 

* Defense in depth means we don’t rely on a single security mechanism, but have multiple layers of security instead.

* The LinkedIn breach in which 6.5 million user accounts were compromised was caused by passwords being stored as unsalted SHA-1 hashes.

The Periodic Table of M365

* A Helm chart is a collection of files that describe a related set of Kubernetes resources.

QR codes can be malicious and can trigger malicious action. Scammers stick their fake QR code above the legitimate QR code in a legitimate poster. Phishing is the main security issue involved with QR codes. It is also described as QRishing by some security researchers. Drive by download attacks are attacks in which a website forcefully downloads software in your device when you visit the website. It does not need any action from the user’s side. Visiting the website is enough to trigger the download action. Scammers try to install malicious apps and then exploit that device. These infected devices can join an existing botnet or can send SMS to premium numbers. It can also leak your data. Sometimes websites have browser exploits which can enable microphone/camera access, access browser data, send emails or join a botnet to perform a DDOS attack on any legit website. All these actions occur in the background, so users never know about this.

* Twitter’s recommendation is to keep Moments, the feature to stitch together multiple tweets into slideshow-like stories, around 10 tweets long.

* The maximum number of people you can follow on Twitter is 400 per day or 1,000 if your account is verified. In 2017, the number of characters in a Tweet has been increased from 140 to 280. The maximum number of Tweets you can post per day is 2,400 spread across a 24 period. There is a limit of 5,000 "friends" on Facebook.

* Speech recognition systems from five of the world’s biggest tech companies — Amazon, Apple, Google, IBM and Microsoft — make far fewer errors with users who are white than with users who are black. Separate tests have uncovered sexist and racist behavior in “chatbots,” translation services, and other systems designed to process and mimic written and spoken language. All these systems learn by analyzing vast amounts of data. In many cases, the systems mimic the biases they find in the data, similar to children picking up bad habits from their parents.  - NYT

* Gaslighting is a set of manipulative tactics composed of deceit, intimidation, criticizing, judging, guilt-tripping, bullying, and withholding. Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where a person or group makes someone question their sanity, perception of reality, or memories. People experiencing gaslighting often feel confused, anxious, and unable to trust themselves. 

* Words formed by duplicating or repeating certain sounds are called reduplicative words. Examples are pooh-pooh, riff-raff, okey-dokey, and pitter-patter.

* The church plays a massive role in the U.S. economy — spending some $170 billion in 2010, with much of that going to health care services. Catholic institutions themselves employ over 1 million people in the United States. That would make the church one of the nation's largest employers, behind only Walmart. It employs far more people than General Electric or McDonald's or GM or the U.S. Postal Service - Washington Post

2020 is year the internet came of age

Arrogance is weaponized pride

* Zhong Shanshan, 66, is now the sixth-wealthiest person on the planet. Zhong, chairman of Nongfu Spring Co., a bottled-water company, dethroned India’s Mukesh Ambani as Asia’s wealthiest person last week. His firm has produced dozens of millionaires, including more of Zhong’s relatives and employees. While Covid-19 upended much of the global economy in 2020, it was a good year for the world’s ultra-rich. The 500 wealthiest people added $1.8 trillion to their fortunes and were worth a combined $7.6 trillion by year-end. Jack Ma who was until recently Asia’s richest person, is now the world’s 25th-richest person - Bloomberg

* At 70, Benjamin Franklin was drafting the U.S. Constitution, Winston Churchill led the United Kingdom in World War II, Golda Meir became prime minister of Israel and Helen Hayes won her second Oscar.

* The reconnaissance efforts of Colonel Narendra "Bull" Kumar on the Siachen glacier were key to the Indian Army's reclamation of the forward posts of the glacier in Operation Meghdoot in 1984. He was the deputy leader of the first successful Indian Mount Everest expedition in 1965. He was a recipient of multiple military and civilian honours including the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (the only Colonel to have received the PVSM), Kirti Chakra, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, MacGregor Medal, and the Padma Shri.

* Prabodh Chandra was determined to become India’s best wrestler. His poor eyesight led to mishaps on the wrestling mat, especially when he wore glasses while competing. He soon changed careers and became known as Manna Dey, enthralling millions with his music. 

Savitribai Phule is regarded as the first female teacher of India and mother of Indian feminism. Savitribai's birthdate, i.e. 3 January, is celebrated as Balika Din in the whole of Maharashtra, especially in Girl's Schools. At the time of her marriage Savitribai was an illiterate. Her husband, Jyotirao educated Savitribai at their home. Savitribai and her adopted son, Yashwant, opened a clinic in 1897 to treat those affected by the worldwide Third Plague Pandemic. While nursing victims, she contracted the plague and passed away on 10 March 1897.

* Nelson Mandela was locked in prison for 27 years but came out as a great reconciler.

* Akbar’s name itself means ‘great’, in Arabic. Akbar did not start out as the beacon of tolerance he is considered today. The defeat of Chittor was stridently proclaimed to be the victory of Islam over infidels. This was a path that was soon forsaken, quietly assigned to past mistakes and experiments. Akbar believed that all religions are either equally true or equally illusory. He just realized that he could not keep the country together without including Hindus. He abolished the jiziya and aware of the sentiments of his people prohibited the slaughter of cows and the eating of their flesh. On weekends, he was vegetarian. In 1582, he had the Mahabharata translated from Sanskrit to Persian. Akbar was effectively unschooled and practically illiterate. In the parlance of the 21st century, (he) may have suffered from attention-deficit disorder. Other historians have said he was dyslexic. - Akbar: The Great Mughal by Ira Mukhoty

* Humayun-nama, the biography of Humayun was written by Gulbadan Begum, Akbar’s lively and adventurous aunt.

* The world population in 1CE (birth of Jesus) was 170 Million (17 Crores). In 1800CE, it reached 1 Billion. In 2000CE, it reached 7 Billions, increased by 7 times in a span of 200 years. Today, the world population is 7.8 Billions(780 Crores) - American Museum of Natural History


Virologist Peter Piot was one of the discoverers of the Ebola virus in 1976 and spent his career fighting infectious diseases. He headed the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS between 1995 and 2008 and is currently a coronavirus adviser to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. He fell ill with COVID-19 in mid-March 2020. 

* Russian-born Waldemar Haffkine is recognized as the first microbiologist who developed and used vaccines against cholera and bubonic plague. He tested the vaccines on himself.   Haffkine considered India, where hundreds of thousands died from ongoing epidemics, as the best place to test his vaccine. He proceeded to India in 1893 and established a laboratory in 1896, which was later called the Haffkine Institute. Haffkine worked on the plague and by 1902–03 half a million were inoculated. He retired in 1915 and suffering from malaria, had to return to France.

* Bharat Biotech has partnered with the National Institute of Virology and the Indian Council of Medical Research to develop an inactivated coronavirus vaccine called Covaxin. It is a vaccine made from Coronaviruses. Covaxin works by teaching the immune system to make antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Inactivated viruses have been used for over a century. Jonas Salk used them to create his polio vaccine in the 1950s, and they’re the bases for vaccines against other diseases including rabies and hepatitis A - NYT

* Many people do not die from the tissue damage caused by the COVID-19, but from the exaggerated response of their immune system, which doesn’t know what to do with the virus. The cytokine storm is a result of your immune defense going into overdrive.

* The third plague pandemic was a major bubonic plague pandemic that began in Yunnan, China, in 1855. This episode of bubonic plague spread to all inhabited continents, and ultimately led to more than 12 million (perhaps 15 million) deaths in India and China, with about 10 million killed in India alone, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in history. According to the World Health Organization, the pandemic was considered active until 1960, when worldwide casualties dropped to 200 per year.

* The Punjab-Haryana large farmer (farm ownership over 4 ha) earns Rs 1.25 lakh a year per ha from cultivation of wheat and paddy - ET 

* Be more interested than interesting. Expressing curiosity by asking thoughtful questions (without interrogating) creates connection and emotional bonding, which makes the other person like you. Interrogation-style questions produce facts, but not an emotional connection. Great first impressions are about establishing an authentic, deeper connection. Your online presence primes someone to see you through a positive or negative lens. - HBR

* Dante’s describes the nine circles of Hell  in Inferno, the first part of his epic poem, "The Divine Comedy".

* "We are learning while we are sailing. That’s why I get so annoyed by the many commentators on the sidelines who, without much insight, criticize the scientists and policymakers trying hard to get the epidemic under control. That’s very unfair." -  Peter Piot, Virologist

* “If you want a job in five years, study computer science. If you want a job for life, study computer security.” - Aaron Levie, CEO of Box

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