mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (Default)
  • 08:30 Talking about comic strips at work. Anyone who recognizes the reference to "Uchuu Sensuikan Rabendaa" has known me for quite a long time. #
  • 11:35 Cannot reach any JPop radio station on iTunes today. Found a vocal trance station which at least kinda reminds me of Yoko Kanno. #
  • 12:49 @DontPanicJasz Well, I don't even have an epic flying mount. yet... and the moment I earned my regular one at 68, I headed for Northrend :( #
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mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (Default)
  • 10:14 Ok, fandom: if you say, "Oh, I want to be *just like* Rorschach", or indeed any Watchmen char, I suspect you've utterly missed the point. #
  • 10:33 Huh. The WoW Armory seems to be busted, I can't look anyone up. #
  • 11:08 @UrsulaV Fools on the Internet are like the legendary Hydra - cut one down, and two more spring forth to replace it. #
  • 13:21 Meiran's going to want to see this: tinyurl.com/aum42e 1978 "Lost Ark" story conference, Lucas and Spielberg (125pg. PDF) #
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mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (Default)
  • 07:49 @starstryder That's right! you need Katamari Damacy instead: tinyurl.com/iPrince #
  • 07:51 Wow. Absolutely exhausted yesterday, nearly wrecked on the way home. Think I'm feeling better this morning. #
  • 13:33 @queenofpith If a Richmond Dave & Busters installs the VWE MechWarrior simulation pods, I am so there! #
  • 14:56 Job perk: had lengthy hallway discussion with boss this morning about Dollhouse, Dr. Who, and BSG. Local PBS may be showing 4th Doctor eps! #
  • 17:30 Just watched Blizzard's Uldar preview video. Holy smoke! For the first time ever, I'm really sorry that I've never done endgame raiding. #
  • 18:42 OMG, this History Channel program on the secrets of the art on the dollar bill is complete bunk. #
  • 19:42 Microsoft will ban you for XBox Live for being out as gay. Not that my money matters, but they won't get a gaming dime from me now. #
  • 20:55 This History Channel program on Atlantis is also bunk, but at least I expected that going in. #
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mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (Default)
  • 06:25 Since I didn't manage to see a single new movie in 2008, the Oscars piqued my interest not at all. #
  • 09:15 Sewing machine FAIL. Got nice book, but was too busy with other errands this weekend to sit down and play with machine. Maybe later this wk. #
  • 19:14 @fuzzface00 I found out about the anti-air flak in WoW the hard way myself! Thank goodness for mage Blink and Invisibility. #
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mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (Default)
  • 11:38 I hope that plenty of folks got to take LeVar Burton's Birthday off yesterday. #
  • 13:42 Holy smoke, I completely missed the WoW "Love Is In The Air" festival! Glad I wasn't going for the meta-Achievement this year. #
  • 14:22 @dragonpearl Print jobs submitted late always made me homicidal, because I knew I'd be staying until 11 or 12 that night. #
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mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (Default)
  • 09:31 @meiran Awesome! Very well done! Are you going to shoot for "Elder" in the last couple days you have left? #
  • 09:44 A 32-degree morning seems much balmier compared to the 12-degree ones last week. #
  • 10:05 Dangit, I have just accidentally spammed Starr's work address with the invite to the Shadowrun tonight. Hurr, me use computer good. #
  • 11:47 @meiran I picked up the coins for all of Kalimdor yesterday (not counting capital cities). The Horde outposts were a bit exciting :) #
  • 12:01 I think the guy two people ahead of me in the lunch line was trying to pay in Euros or something. #
  • 13:15 Wish I could leave early. I still have dishes and laundry to put away before gaming. And the Xmas tree should come down someday too. #
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mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (gaming)
Could a techno-magical item in an online computer game be a sign of personal growth in real life?

At level 70 in WoW, players unlock the ability to ride flying critters (for a substantial training sum of 800 gold pieces). At this point, a player will usually spend an extra hundred gold to buy a flying mount, but engineer characters may build their own. (Unless one's second profession is mining, one's going to spend much more than a hundred gold on the necessary materials.)

There's a single part to the flying machine that my miner/engineer didn't know how to make on her own, and it's only taught by one NPC - who would teach her the blueprint if she achieved "Revered" diplomatic status with his organization of dimension-hopping smugglers. The good news is that she could gain 250 reputation points every time she turned in 10 certain emblems that certain slain enemies would drop 33%-50% of the time. The bad news? She needed about 18,000 reputation points to reach Revered.

The good news is that in the process, my engineer looted enough gold to pay for the flying training. In fact, about 14,000 points in, she had enough to just go and buy the griffon flying mount. But, despite temptation, I didn't do so. Enough of the enemy characters had died to populate a small village by this point, and the whole thing had become fairly tedious, but I'd started this job, and something inside me wouldn't take the easy route. I dug in my heels, and little Mirandala collected another 160 emblems.

Now, Mir has her Gnomish Flying Machine (a magical steampunk rattletrap in which the engine misses a few cycles every five minutes or so). And, funnily enough, I'm proud of myself. Sure, it was only a game; but I find it easy to fall into the trap of procrastinating about things, taking shortcuts where offered, or being distracted by shiny things that catch my attention. Here, I chose a task and stuck to it, and now I have something different than the griffon buyers do. Not too shabby.

(Yes, I did much other cool stuff this weekend, including a good party and some general housecleaning. It really is still just a game.)
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (crusade)
This morning Chesapeake got its first real frost of the season. Combine that with a very light fog, and the drive to work was just generally washed out a bit. Just a little bit dim and faint, as though the world was fading in around me and had gotten stuck at 98% complete.

On the other hand, at least I got to make the entire drive with the sun up. This has nothing to do yet with the longer days, but with the fact that the new kitten fall asleep on my chest this morning as I read the night's email. I can't blame it on the kitten - she weighs substantially less than a pound - but she was certainly a contributing factor.

Did you know you can program your computer to play World of Warcraft for you while you're not there? Pretty pointless of course, and Blizzard and the rest of we players would like it to stop because it messes up questing and the economy, but it can be done. I decry the practice - decry, decry - but the one place I'd consider it is the Fishing hobby.

You can level up your character's Cooking skill by standing in front of a stove for a few minutes with all those critter parts you've been collecting while you killed everything. You can do the same for your First Aid skill by spending five minutes making bandages from all the cloth the bad guys dropped. But leveling up Fishing takes hours and hours and hours and hours of staring at the little float on your fishing line. The higher Fishing level you reach, the larger number of hours you'll be spending for the next 25-point gain.

WoW fishing is fairly useful in the game, and I wish I had a higher level in it, but this is just too much realism for me.

EDIT: Just to be clear, I will repeat that using the autoplay programs will get a player banned from the game, and myself I agree with Blizzard's reasoning on the matter. On top of all that, it's also lame. You don't want to be lame, do you?
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (Default)
  • 07:51 Woke up this morning on Riff & Magenta's home planet: Land of Night (and high electric bills!) #
  • 13:02 Ozzy Osbourne for WoW: tinyurl.com/6drrfj Guess his race / class. Go on, guess. #
  • 19:57 Still unpacking. A bit stunned at the amount of STUFF one can extract from a three-bedroom apartment. #
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mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (gaming)
Nice, nagging back pain today, the result of moving boxes. I'm packing everything into those folding white "banker's boxes" so that they'll fit easier in the cars, and so there will be more of them safe for me to lift; but it doesn't mean my body's used to it, oh no. The funny thing's that I didn't do any lifting at all yesterday, because I was simply out of energy. Why does my body keep waiting 24 hours to start announcing muscle pain?

Also, sore throat. Yay weather changes.

Starr and I continued to run around Azeroth for a while last night hitting the candy buckets at the inns. I have the feeling we'll be spending more time before the expansion collecting Achievements than attempting to level, which is absolutely fine with me. The more 'ways to play the game' Blizzard can add, the happier I'll be to keep forking over my subscription, especially since I've never exactly been a speed leveler, and just am not really sold yet on the whole raiding thing.

After I went to bed, Starr got recruited by a group shooting for the Leeeeeeeeeeeeeroy! Achievement. Seems it didn't work out; but I'd have been mightily amused if it had.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (gaming)
WoW FigurePrintIn case you hadn't heard, we have indeed invented the Star Trek replicator. Of course, it's expensive, slow, and only works on solid objects, plus the results are a bit fragile. But, one step at a time, right?

A company known as FigurePrints is using this first-generation technology to sell gamers unique figurines of their World of Warcraft characters. The service is so popular that they've had to establish a lottery for accepting orders, even with round-the-clock production. Customers dress their characters in their favorite gear and submit the orders; the figure company retrieves (with permission) 3-D model information from Blizzard, then does a little touchup to cover gaps and clipping artifacts. In a bath of extremely fine powder, something much like an inkjet printer head sprays layers of colored glue, and after some hours, the figure is gently removed from the bath and cleaned up a bit. The result looks like the picture on the right (click it to embiggen).

So, if you play WoW, would you pay $130 for one of these? Does your character have the outfit you'd want to see it in? Would you get one if it were available for another game? Would you get one when the technology gets a little better? Expound!
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (passing)
After watching Yahtzee take apart the XBox 360 game "Too Human", I saw a trailer for the new Warhammer Online game starting up, so I stuck around. Now, I won't be playing "WAR", as it's called, if for no other reasons than a) I'm still enjoying WoW just fine, thank you, and b) as is so often the case, I'm using the wrong OS. One WAR developer's mentioned with a wink that he's working on something important involving his non-Windows computer, but I take that with a Massively Multiplayer Grain Of Salt (MMGOS).

Okay, but I do read the blogs from the beta testers, and it looks like while WAR won't be a revolution in online role-playing, they have a few nifty ideas, and kudos to them if they make it all work. As I've said before, I've long grown out of the idea that my fandoms and other people's fandoms must engage in steel cage matches until only one can stagger out. But the point of this whole entry is the reaction I had to the trailer, a reaction that surprised me. While I might have been interested in the game under other circumstances, I hated the trailer. I had an intense negative reaction to it. Why?

WAR has two 'factions' one can play: Order and Destruction. In the trailer, we see Destruction assault a capital city of Order. Death is everywhere, people dying of (bloodless) sword wounds, spear wounds, arrow wounds, magical fire, magical ice, and crushing mass. The trailer shows us the Dwarves, Humans, High Elves, Dark Elves, Greenskin, and Chaos forces slaughtering each other as the city is knocked apart around them. (I am somehow unsurprised that both Elven 'hero' avatars are females who manage to make it through the trailer unscathed, and in the case of the Dark Elf, scantily dressed.)

So, of course there's war. It's called Warhammer! But the video made something abundantly clear: in the world of Warhammer, Destruction wins.

It may not look like it. The last scene of the trailer shows the three Order races facing some huge monster, and we are led to believe that the resolution is up in the air. But look around the heroes. There are bodies everywhere. The city is smashed. Even should the monster be defeated, Destruction can just come back tomorrow, to a city that's still smashed and carpeted with the dead.

(Oh, I know that in the game, the city will reset overnight, buildings will spring back into existence, and the citizens will respawn. I'm not talking about the game, I'm talking about the fictional world.)

It takes years to build a city, weeks to construct a building, and decades to produce an adult warrior. It only takes hours, minutes, or seconds to end that existence. Destruction is easy. The years of food and housing and training and socializing that went into that warrior are countered with a single arrow. If all one cares to produce is wreckage, the world is quite willing to help.

(This, by the way, is why I had to give up on Battletech fiction after a while. Excellent games, and the individual novels ranged from okay to excellent, but they painted a reality where a star-faring humanity nearly pounded itself back to coal and steam, called a truce, recovered long enough to rebuild some technology, and then immediately resumed smashing everything within the reach of a Jump Drive. And they did this cycle repeatedly.)

Now, the game isn't exactly its fiction. Once online, Order and Destruction have nigh-infinite resources in the long run, and new weapons, warriors, and metropolises with the click of a mouse button. But the fictional background shown in that trailer is far too bleak and pointless for my tastes, and unless the WAR loremasters have something up their sleeves, this is a world that offers me little appeal.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (flying_gif)
Things to do today, in random order:

1) Have large breakfast so I don't mope all day.
     Completed at 1:00 pm.

2) Call Mom and check up on her. Continue searching for home care.
     No answer at Jon Reid's. Left message on his phone.

3) Clean gerbil cage.
     Gerbils looking much happier. Cat still sad this is not a buffet.

4) Get badly needed haircut.
     This is being put off for a week-and-a-half due to time and budget issues.

5) Get lamp for spare bedroom.
     Lamp secure. Only been meaning to do this for months.

6) Do laundry.
     Third load in dryer. That's all I have energy for tonight.

7) Contact plumber who fixed kitchen sink at Kentland to make payment arrangements.
     Number not in phone. Left voicemail with neighbor contact.

8) Try for Azeroth Olympics tabard and pet.
     Got tabard. Pet looking unlikely.

9) Clean up living room. Empty dishwasher from last night.
     Dishwasher is empty and reloaded. Living room in progress. Vacuum cleaner belt is broken.

10) Make dinner.
     Seared then baked chicken randomly seasoned with garlic, lemon, cumin, and cilantro, with couscous on the side. An Iron Chef would be appalled, but it came out yummy.

11) Call local lifestyle group about demo they asked for on Tuesday.
     Done. No problem, they just need me to revise the entire presentation, that's all.

12) Buy new pantz to replace 1 holed pair and 2 pair falling off my hips (good thing, right?)
     This is being put off for a week-and-a-half due to time and budget issues.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (gaming)
Players who participate in WoW Battlegrounds from the 8th to the 24th get a Competitor's Tabard with 4 linked colored rings. What could that refer to? Battleground winners *may* get a gold medal summoning a special dragon pet.

So, I jumped into my first PvP Battleground ever today: "Warsong Gulch", a capture-the-flag competition. Great Cthulhu, but that was lame. I see the enemy, and I'm preparing a spell - oh, I can't move while casting, and they've run off. Okay, another enemy, and I'm using my lower-damage instant spell - oh, their warlock has "feared" me, and I will now run in circles while they zap me dead. Okay, I'm back, and I've infiltrated their base... oh, wait, the enemy Priest just killed me with a single instant spell. Yes, that's right, their Healer class one-shotted me.

Hmm, three captures for the Horde, and they've won. How many did we have? Oh. None at all.

I have the tabard. I've lost interest in the pet.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (gaming)
It takes a certain kind of person to play World of Warcraft, yes. It takes another kind to try and figure out the geographical details of the place.

Azeroth's "Google Map" has been assembled at mapwow.com. For most of the game, players have explored two continents on that fantasy world (though at least one more is known to exist), but the actual map scale has never been revealed. Some time ago, I figured that one could record the time it takes to walk between two points on the map, and multiply that by the average walking speed of a hero laden with equipment, and come up with a fair estimate of the scale.

I'm far too lazy to do that, of course, but someone else wasn't, and neither was another person. Turns out that the "continent" of Kalimdor is about 4 miles wide... or around 41 square miles in size. For my Virginian friends, this is vaguely the size of the combined cities of Blacksburg and Christiansburg.

In a related note, this destroys a hypothesis I had made before about the shape of the world of Azeroth. The "world map" seen in the Burning Crusade game expansion must be considered an artistic rather than a faithful representation; and I argued that Azeroth was clearly flat, because there is no difference in the position of shadows between the northernmost and southernmost points of the continent at the same time of day and season. (The Greek Eratosthenes used the shadow trick to figure out the Earth's size in the 3rd century B.C.)

Unfortunately, if Kalimdor is around 10 miles long, then that's not enough distance for the shadow trick, and the question remains unresolved. Oh, well. Perhaps the Gnomes can develop a space vehicle and get some photographic evidence (there is indeed photography in WoW).
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (mecha)
I really want to sit and watch some good DVDs, preferably with company as I hate watching movies alone. I wonder if it's worth it to buy an upconverting DVD player at some point; we're using the PS2 at the moment.

The Aviator and Catch Me If You Can are on my list. I've seen them before, but they are cool enough to make me appreciate Leo as an actor, and Starr's never seen either. The uncut, re-dubbed My Youth In Arcadia is on the list, as is the recent CGI Appleseed. (Is there an uncut, properly dubbed Galaxy Express 999 available? I'd like to find a good version of that too.)

Also sitting unwatched on my shelf: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; The Heroic Trio, about which I endlessly badgered [livejournal.com profile] kittykatya for a copy; and the new Transformers movie, which may not be fanservice perfection, but at least it's got the right Optimus Prime voice.

We won't even talk about the movies in theaters. Everyone's raving about Iron Man, yes I intend to see Speed Racer despite the reviewer bashing, and ditto Indy 4.

I can't even blame World of Warcraft for this. I enjoy the game enormously, but go weeks without touching it sometimes.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (flying_gif)
T - I - R - E - D.

Went back to Roanoke on Saturday. My mom's doing great: she can move both her leg and arm now, and on Sunday took a few steps (with a great deal of support). I'm told this is still Gold Medal performance, and my optimism was repeatedly fed this weekend. [livejournal.com profile] nanoreid was there for a bit, and I got to say hi to Ginny and Ian as well. Starr bought my mother a knitting loom which can be fastened to a solid surface, and now my mom can indulge her addiction one-handed for the duration!

Roanoke felt a little odd, there are buildings and shops which weren't there last time I passed through - a bit like hearing an old song on the radio and finding an entirely new chorus after the second stanza. I took a hotel room there Saturday night to save us the drive to and from [livejournal.com profile] shrewlet's offered crash space in Blacksburg, but while the room was huge, the bed was hard as a plank, and we slept poorly for folks who would be driving 204 miles home. Route 460 was a beautiful, tranquil drive, though. I'm sold on that road for now.

Yesterday we woke too early, and headed over to spend lunch with Starr's mom, then the afternoon at Amy's with the gamer group. Her mom was going to gas grill the food, but after the gas loop rusted away at a touch, we went with good old charcoal, and lunch was yummy. I now know where Starr gets her habit of cooking a regiment's food for a few people, and felt guilty leaving before I could consume a second hamburger.

While the afternoon was sold as a combination grilling / gaming event, I'm not sure anyone was really into the gaming, and after a few hours of excellent chatting and cattching up, we left to get me some badly needed quiet time. I developed yesterday something that feels much like my old migraine headaches, something which comes in short, searing pulses then goes away for a half-hour or so. (One of the first things Starr did when hearing about that was to check me for stroke indicators - of which I seem to have none.)

In geek news, the Mars Phoenix robot probe has a Twitter account. Andy Ihnatko referred to the account as cosplay for rocket scientists, but I'm enjoying keeping up with what the probe's doing (or at least what it was doing 15 minutes ago - speed-of-light lag, y'know). Some quick Googling finds images taken by the Mars Recon Orbiter of Phoenix on the way down (Phoenix Down?) which means that we Earthlings not only managed to hit a target scores of millions of miles away, we got a picture of it from another camera that had previously done so under our instruction. [T]hese are the things that hydrogen atoms do when given 13.7 billion years. - Carl Sagan

So, yeah. Probably another early bedtime tonight, which is a shame because I wanted to get some WoW levelling in. With luck, the rest of the week will go a little easier on me!
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (TARDIS42)
This weekend was good. I got to chill a little bit, which I'd long needed. Had caviar for the first time ever; it tasted mostly of salt, and slightly fishy. I've heard it's served on buttered toast, and I think that would improve it quite a bit.

I also tried the Lord of the Rings online role-playing game. The first thing I noticed is that it's certainly prettier than WoW (and therefore needs more video processing power than, say, my desktop can handle). I enjoyed the Minstrel class I tried - there's something entertaining about whipping out a lute in the middle of a melee and dealing damage with a few bars of a song.

But, when all's said and done, I enjoy the slightly surrealistic graphics of WoW - they seem to fit with a world which has so many fantastic shorthands for everyday actions - and the LotR game takes itself fairly seriously, which also isn't really what I'm here for. I might play it if there were a Mac version and no other competitors, but my subscription will stay with Blizzard for now.

This week's Doctor Who episode brings the Series 4 average down to .667. Even discounting the goofy, thoughtless science - which is hard, since one element is a major plot point - there wasn't much special about it. Donna was great; her emotional arc about the future of humanity and our ethics, and the conditions of the Ood provided a welcome touch of development.

But overall, the episode was fairly formulaic, including at least one completely gratuitous CGI death, and someone trying viciously to kill the Doctor for no reason at all. One touch I did like: minor spoiler )

Fun fact: the episode was filmed in sweltering heat - yay for fake snow. And I'm looking forward to seeing some old foes of the Doctor next week!
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (Default)
  • 12:56 Mirandala dinged 66. I know this is a matter of vital national importance. #
  • 13:06 Looking at the first few scenes of the unearthed Infocom Hitchhiker's Guide sequel game: tinyurl.com/5su79h #
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mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (cyberpunk)
This morning brought a bank of that 30-meter visibility fog, and the "bridge from nowhere to nowhere" effect on the Monitor-Merrimac. Already, though, it's turned clear, mild, and sunny with a cool breeze: I suddenly want to skip work tomorrow and go to Busch Gardens. Won't, of course, but still.

Yes, "I can't support your virtualization software at this time" means I can't troubleshoot the apps you're running in it, either.

I finally have the free Pirates of the Carribean MMO running correctly on my laptop. I'm likely to play it about as often as I launch Second Life - which is to say, almost never - but it's amusing nevertheless to get "FedEx" quests* from Johnny Depp. None yet from Orlando or Kiera, but then, those are probably saved for people who actually play.

Starr went to her mom's on Tuesday to plant the irises I retrieved. Turns out there were about two dozen, so with the other plants she'd brought, she spent most of an afternoon digging. Add that to her hospital shifts for Wednesday and today, and I've got a still-tired lady on my hands!

Happy WoW stuff: thanks to [livejournal.com profile] shrewlet, I got all the materials to finish building Mirandala's epic quality Destruction Holo-Gogs. Among other materials necessary were 206 chunks of difficult-to-mine ore... I can only assume that a LOT of refining is done to turn that into a single pair of goggles.

Also, my polymorph quest issue was resolved while I was offline, so Mir can now turn people into pigs. Thank you, GMs! Too bad that the spell's unavailable to my warlock, since I named her Circy.

And thank you [livejournal.com profile] ranchonmars for the postcard! I have too aged since the Pathfinder days, but it's dang nice of you to say otherwise :)

*Game character A gives you item to take to character B, who will reward you with money, loot, XP, or often as not another FedEx quest. Perversely amusing when characters A and B are less than 20 gameworld yards from one another.

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mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (Default)
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