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Big Announcements From WWDC 2017

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wwdc

A few weeks ago, Google held its I/O developer conference, where they laid out the vision for the future of Android and its various services. This week is Apple’s turn at their own World-Wide Developer Conference (WWDC). Apple usually uses the headlining keynote to outline updates to their major software platforms. This year they delivered those software updates as usual but with a few hardware surprises thrown in there. In the weeks leading up to WWDC, the internet was awash with rumors about a smart speaker to compete with Amazon Echo and Google Home as well as a new iPad. Let’s dive in and check out the biggest announcements from WWDC:

iOS 11

The newest version of Apple’s most popular operating system, iOS 11, brings a slew of new features centered around social interactions. The Google Assistant, Siri, is now able to translate sentences into different languages. Siri can also use machine learning capabilities to gradually learn your habits and make suggestions automatically based on how the device is being used. The Control Center was also updated slightly to condense all of the controls to one page (hooray, no more swiping over for music controls!) and 3D Touch can be used to expand those controls.

iMessages was also updated with the ability to synchronize conversations between Apple devices, meaning that if you delete a conversation on your iPhone, it’s also deleted on your Mac as well. Apple is also integrating a peer to peer (P2P) payment system directly into iMessage. Previously, most people would use a third-party app such as Venmo or Square Cash to send payments to their friends or businesses. Now, you can simply use iMessage to send and receive money using Apple Pay. The payments are transferred to a special “Apple Pay Cash Card” which can then be transferred to your bank. Because this P2P payment system only works inside of iMessage, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to use it outside of the Apple ecosystem (sorry Android owners). However, it does make transferring money to family and friends who use Apple products that much easier without having to use a third-party service like Venmo.

Live Photos are updated with the ability to be edited. Now users can create small GIFs from the Live Photo. The photos themselves can also be edited with Apple’s SVP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, showing off by changing a woman’s hat to a totally different color. Those changes in Photos can also be imported into third party photo editing apps such as Photoshop.

While Apple didn’t introduce any new features to CarPlay, they did introduce a new safety feature that is able to recognize if you are driving and will turn on the Do Not Disturb to prevent any distractions. The App Store has been completely redesigned and looks more in line with how Apple Music looks. The tabs at the bottom now have dedicated sections for Apps and Games. The redesign is supposed to improve app discovery and visibility.

For the past few months, Apple has been heavily touting the iPad as a tablet that can replace your laptop. How well it will do depends on the user but to further the point, iOS 11 introduces several new features specifically for the iPad to increase productivity. There is improved multitasking that allows users to drag an app from the dock and onto the screen for split screen. Information can also be dragged from one side screened app to another, with Federighi again showing a demo where he dragged texts and pictures from one app into the Mail app. Finally, Apple created a Files app that allows users to manage files similar to a desktop (the app itself was leaked a few hours before the event started though). Power users have wanted Apple to allow access to a file system for a long time and Apple finally gives some kind of desktop feature that allows that. The Files app can also connect to external cloud storage such as Box, Dropbox, and OneDrive.

Apple also showed off the augmented reality (AR) capabilities of iOS 11 and is banking on AR being used more on mobile devices like phones and tablets rather than dedicated headsets. Apple is releasing ARKit to allow developers to create AR apps for iOS devices.

macOS High Sierra, tvOS 11, and watchOS 4

Unlike recent years where a new macOS introduced tons of new features, this year’s update featured at WWDC is more of an incremental update. In fact, the new version will be called High Sierra (which is similar to when Apple went from Leopard to Snow Leopard). With this new version, it comes with a new file system called Apple File System (APFS). APFS was first introduced in the iOS 10.3 update. Along with other improvements, this new file system speeds up file transfers with native encryption. The Photos app has additional editing features and Safari will automatically block web trackers to stop those annoying autoplay videos (I’m looking at you CNN). There is also a new Metal graphics API called Metal 2 that supports VR (and AR) and external AMD graphics cards.

Apple’s tvOS wasn’t particularly showcased at WWDC this year, however, Apple CEO Tim Cook did announce that the Amazon Prime Video is coming to Apple TV. Most of the newer features of tvOS such as, new background modes and notifications, custom sound support, and automatic light/dark switching are buried in the release notes.

The Apple Watch operating system, watchOS 4, introduces a few new watch faces such as Siri and Toy Story characters. The Siri face will display information such as reminders as well as a feature dedicated complication to access Siri directly. Of course, being fitness focused, watchOS 4 also allows Apple Watches to pair with gym equipments in order to receive the most accurate workout and calorie information.

Hardware

Because WWDC is a developer conference, most of the announcements are centered on software. However, Apple took this time to introduce a few new surprising hardware announcements.

Apple unveiled a new 10.5 inch iPad Pro which features Apple’s new A10X CPU and a 12 core GPU. The screen supports HDR video and can run up to 120 Hz refresh rate. This is especially important for the Apple Pencil as the increased refresh rate allows much finer control and responsiveness. The refresh rate changes dynamically depending on what’s happening on screen in order to maximize battery life. The new iPad Pro starts at $650 for 64GB of storage and goes up to 512GB of storage.

In regards to the iMac, Apple is finally updating their all-in-one computer with Intel’s 7th generation Kaby Lake chips. The screens are 43 percent brighter and it displays more colors. The 21.5” iMacs get upgraded Intel Iris Plus GPUs while the 4K models get AMD Radeon Pro 555 and 560 graphics cards. The top end 5K 27” iMac  gets Radeon Pro 570, 575, and 580 graphics cards. These are the most significant updates to the iMac since 2015. But wait, there’s more! In addition to upgrading the existing iMacs, Apple introduced the all new iMac Pro at WWDC. Until the new Mac Pro comes out, the iMac Pro will be the most powerful computer Apple has ever made. It ships with an 8-core Intel Xeon processor which can be configured all the way up to a whopping 18 cores. It also features a 5K display and the new AMD Radeon Vega GPU. Save up your pennies because the entry level iMac Pro starts at $5,000. Apple also took the time to make minor spec bumps to the new Macbook line by upgrading them to Kaby Lake as well.

Apple also introduced the HomePod, it’s smart speaker is to compete with the likes of Amazon Echo and Google Home. Apple calls it a “breakthrough” speaker that will reinvent music like the iPod did. Those are pretty bold claims but sound-wise, the HomePod seems to deliver. Covered in a mesh material, the shape is reminiscent to the Mac Pro “trash can” look and features, an array of seven tweeters and a subwoofer. The A8 chip inside utilizes technology that Apple calls, “special awareness” that allows it to automatically tune the sound to match the makeup of whatever room it’s in. Naturally, it’s also integrated with Siri and Apple Music, the form of which has been upgraded to answer numerous music queries. Apple says that Siri is able to hear commands even when the music is blasting full tilt. Because Siri is built in, most of the abilities Siri has on iOS is also available here, such as asking for; weather, news, sending iMessages, and creating reminders and timers. HomePod also integrates with HomeKit for centralized control of your HomeKit devices. In an apparent dig at Amazon and Google, information sent to Apple is encrypted and sent using an anonymous Siri identifier. The HomePod doesn’t ship until December and will cost $350 when it releases.

homepod

Camden

Camden Catalyst – $25,000 Pitch Competition Recap

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Camden Catalyst was a $25,000 pitch competition hosted in Camden NJ with the goal of attracting Tech Startups to the city of Camden. The first annual Camden Catalyst was hosted on October 20th 2017 featuring a judging panel consisting of leads, innovators, and people that are shaping Camden.

Camden has been an active community within the last several years due to nearly $2.5 Billion (that’s with a capital B) in tax credits given to Fortune 500 companies to move to Camden. The incentive drew many companies to the city including Holtec, Subaru, 76ers Innovation Lab, and American Water to name a few. The last several years Camden has been busy with many of its major construction along the Camden Waterfront done by Liberty Property Trust and also development of Knights Crossing overseen by Brandywine Realty Trust. The process has garnered attention from businesses and startups from the surrounding region.

Waterfront Ventures

In 2016, Waterfront Ventures, an economic development organization, joined Camden with a mission – to bring 100 startups to the city of Camden to kickstart the startup community and provide jobs/opportunities for Camden students and residents. If Waterfront Ventures is successful, they promise Camden will be a vibrant community with an abundance of jobs/opportunities with a similar ecosystem like Philadelphia. They’ve since hosted several conferences in the city including Startup Conference on May 25th of 2016, UP Conference on January 14th of 2017, and also hosted a plethora of events and programs such as Breakfast with Titans, Camden Tech Meetup, and Lighthouse Mentorship.

Birth of Camden Catalyst 3/24/17

Given their growth and development in the city, a pitch competition was inevitable. On March 24th, Bob Moul CEO of Cloudamize, Dan Rhoton CEO of Hopeworks N’ Camden, and the Waterfront Ventures team got together and created a pitch competition with a prize pool of $25,000. The plan was to have a high enough prize pool to generate buzz for Camden and also provide incentives for a startup to consider building their HQ in the city. The winning startup would have to build their HQ in the city of Camden, hire their first employee in the city, and 50% of their workforce must be Camden students or residents. With the plan in place, the team set out and created Camden Catalyst and announced it to the world.

The Practice Pitch 8/17/17

Hundreds of startups signed up within weeks of Camden Catalyst going live.  The Waterfront Ventures team’s first challenge is to call and vet each and every single startup to ensure that they meet the requirement and qualify. 102 startups qualified through the screening process. On August 17th the team created a practice pitch to help first time entrepreneurs prepare for the big day.

Camden Catalyst Pitch Competition – 10/14/17


The big day took place on October 14th 2017 at the Waterfront Technology Center. Of the 102 startups that passed screening, 40 made it to the big day to pitch. The pitch competition’s format required 2 groups of judges in order to accommodate 40 startups. The judges from these 2 groups were community leaders in Camden, non-profit organization leaders in Camden, business owners, investors, and innovators both in Camden and Philadelphia. The first round was a 90-second elevator pitch. The startup had to sell to the panel of judges in 90 seconds to move onto the round of 16. This was challenging since most of the startups have planned for a 10-minute pitch, but few were ready for a 90-second elevator pitch.

From the 40 startups that came, 16 moved onto Round 1 of Camden Catalyst.

Round 1 of Camden Catalyst

The Waterfront Ventures team opened up Camden Catalyst by sharing the mission and vision of the organization and what their hopes were for all the startups in attendance. 16 Startups will enter Round 1, and 8 Startups will move onto Round 2 of Camden Catalyst. The startups and judges divided into 2 separate rooms and Camden Catalyst officially commenced.

Round 1 Judges

Brett Buterick, Associate at Hill Wallack LLP

Shahid Rana, V.P. of Business Development at Cooper’s Ferry

Rashaan Hornsby, President at Education Over Everything Foundation, Inc.

Sean M Brown, Chief Operations Officer at DuBois Douglass Strategies

Sean O’Donnell, Partner at BALLAST IP LAW, LLP

Ryan Wertman, Co-Founder and Business Lawyer at Growth Counsel

Damon Pennington, President & CEO at ATS Group, LLC

 

Startups that pitched in Round 1

  1. Linked Noodle (Katrina Naidas)
  2. Jauntify (Dennis Pitcock)
  3. Rezzio (Jessica Sarkisian)
  4. Eoko (Jeremiah De Leon)
  5. Denial Flow (Robert Rupp)
  6. Rising Leaders (Jamia Santiago)
  7. Frostheave Fantasy Esports (Kyle Hampton)
  8. Networked (Roger Chinchilla)
  9. Invincible City Farms (Fredric Byarm)
  10. Unishare (Stephanie Huang)
  11. Engageathon (Veniece Newton)
  12. First Responders Live (James Corbett)
  13. Tribes (Liwen Ma)
  14. Nuj Health (Deboleena Dutta)
  15. Higher Hospitality (Yaz Barqawi)

 

Round 2 of Camden Catalyst

The success of Round 1 brought 8 semi-finalists to round 2 where they competed again for a seat to pitch at the Camden Catalyst Awards Ceremony & Final Round on October 20th 2017.

Judges for Round 2

Chris Kohl, Vice President & CIO at Vertex Inc.

Chuck Sacco, Assistant Dean of Strategic Initiatives & Director of the Baiada Institute at Drexel U. Close School of Entrepreneurship

Johnathan Grzybowski, Co-founder of Penji

 

Startups that pitched in Round 2

  1. Linked Noodle (Katrina Naidas)
  2. Denial Flow (Robert Rupp)
  3. Invincible City Farms (Fredric Byarm)
  4. Higher Hospitality (Yaz Barqawi)
  5. Tribes (Liwen Ma)
  6. Unishare (Stephanie Huang)
  7. Nuj Health (Deboleena Dutta)
  8. Engageathon (Veniece Newton)

The 8 startups pitched their ideas to the panel of experienced judges in round 2 and the finalists were determined at the conclusion of the 6 hour Camden Catalyst Pitch Competition. The 4 finalists will now have time to recuperate and plan their strategies for the final round on October 20th.

 

Camden Catalyst Award Ceremony & Final Round 10/20/17


This is the biggest startup event ever held in the city of Camden. Over 470 attendees came to the award ceremony to witness the very first winner of Camden Catalyst and to celebrate the birth of an emerging tech community in Camden. Attendees ranged from CEOs and executives from the major fortune 500 companies in Camden, city officials from City Hall, freeholders of Camden, Rutgers/Rowan/Camden County College representatives, to startup founders, community leaders, investors, from both sides of the bridge.

The event was a huge success and brought everyone who shares a common dream together under one roof. Camden Catalyst was the historic day where all the business owners, executives, founders, and investors who believe in Camden came together to support a new startup coming into the city. It was a day of celebration, joy, excitement, and love.

Opening Ceremony

The event opened up with Congressman Donald Norcross sharing his hope for the city and excitement for a new age of technology. Freeholder Director Lou Cappelli followed up with a talk about his efforts to bring safety and security to Camden and elaborating on the police department’s great work in the city to lower crime rates and increase public safety.

Let the final round begin!

Katrina Naidas, CEO of Linked Noodle kicked off Camden Catalyst with her 10 minute pitch about her tech startup. Her startup Linked Noodle connect students and local instructors. Instructors aren’t limited to teaching boring education-based classes. Linked Noodle is a platform for creatives to teach what they know and love best. And allow others to join in on the fun. Prospective teachers and students meet online and end with a tangible offline connection.

Robert Rupp, CEO of Denial Flow pitched second and presented his idea on solving a $250 Billion dollar health insurance issue. The mission of Denial Flow is to bring a lean and agile software to enterprise revenue cycle management while providing clean, practical solutions at a reasonable price.

Veniece Newton, CEO of Engageathon pitched third and presented her idea of providing an incentive empowerment software for students and community. Engageathon is a software platform that provides tools for school districts, nonprofits, and corporations to improve community engagement. They will use Engageathon to promote, track, and reward student engagement, outreach, and social impact.

And finally Fredric Byarm, CEO of Invincible City Farms presented his idea of building a sustainable farm in Camden to solve the food desert problem and also provide jobs for residents in Camden.

The Winner is announced!

With much excitement and anticipation in the room, the winner of the first annual Camden Catalyst Pitch Competition is announced…Invincible City Farms! The room exploded with applause while the startups all congratulate one another and come together for a group celebration.

Camden Catalyst was an exciting event to witness and brings a different kind of energy and enthusiasm to the city. It’s a much needed energy, the kind that sparks innovation, ideas, and the kind that drives people. Now the rest of Camden will have to wait and see if Invincible City Farms can live up to the hopes and expectation that was set out for the startup.

Waterfront Ventures also announced they are currently working to put together the second Camden Catalyst for 2018.

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Events

2017 Holiday Gift Guide For Entrepreneurs

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The entrepreneur in your life is always pushing to be the best. This holiday, you can get them a present that will assist them on their venture. You can always take a look at the hottest technology this year, or perhaps you want to get them something for their pet. Whatever it may be, you’ll be helping them enhance their lifestyle. The average entrepreneur is working every waking moment, growing their personal brand and building their business. We put together a Holiday Gift Guide that will help the entrepreneur in your life crush it.

Hyper Chiller

hyper chiller

Have you ever wanted a cold beverage, but don’t have the patience to wait an hour for your drink to chill? Hyper Chiller can fix that problem in one minute. It has a multi-chamber design that chills anything from wine, coffee, tea, or even shots without any dilution. This gift is bound to be frequently used and become a house favorite.

 

Travel Halo

travel halo

Perfect for the frequent traveler, the Travel Halo allows for you to sleep comfortably no matter where you are. It’s a less clunky alternative to the standard airplane neck pillow and is made to prevent your head from rolling while it’s on. It is compact enough to fit into a carry on, so you don’t have to worry about space in your luggage.

Bellroy Notebook Cover

Bellroy

Do you know someone who’s obsessively organized? The Bellroy Notebook Cover A5 is a great accessory for their notebook or sketchbook. It can even fit a small tablet or e-reader. The leather is made of premium hides that has been tanned and dyed through to ensure graceful aging. This gift is great for the entrepreneur who is always networking and attending professional events.

 

DRIPO

Dripo

This latest innovation in coffee has got caffeine addicts hooked on cold brew. Dripo has a proprietary slow-drip cold brew method that creates an old-world, bitter-free luxurious taste. The device releases 45 drips per minute, and a perfect up of coffee is ready in about 2-3 hours. Dripo is ideal for the patient and those who appreciates coffee brewed to perfection. If you’re looking for a gift for your company Secret Santa, this is it.

Dripo

 

Portable Power Bank

WLTH

There’s always that one friend that is constantly on their phone, complaining about low battery. Help them out by gifting the High Capacity Portable Power Bank. It has 7-10 full charges so they will never have to worry about their phone dying ever again. The power bank fits comfortably in your car, bag, or even your pocket! Both Android and iPhone users can charge at the same time, making it one of the most convenient charging banks out there.

 

Adventure Assist Notebook


Travel efficiently with Adventure Assist. It is beautifully designed and perfect for organizing trips. Plan every detail of your journey beforehand and relive the adventure whenever you want. Adventure Assist is a great alternative to a conventional notebook or agenda. You can log your travels while you travel as well as have all your documents in the convenient pocket on the inside cover. Enjoy your dream trip over and over!

 

Espro

Espro

Take your favorite hot coffee with you, no matter where you’re traveling. The French style two filter system in Espro leaves all of the flavor and none of the grit. Not only is it great for coffee, you can use Espro for tea too! It still goes through the double filtering system to provide maximum flavor. It is made of double wall vacuum insulated stainless steel and keeps your coffee and tea hot for 4-6 hours. You can venture to the ends of the earth with this travel press and be confident that you will still have your favorite cup of coffee.

 

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Business

Holiday 2017 Gift Guide For Techies

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2017 gift guide

Gift giving is either a pleasant or overwhelmingly pressuring experience. There are various types of people to shop for and it is difficult to indicate their interest. More complications arrive as an entrepreneur, there is simply no time to look for gifts. Fortunately, with new and improved technology products being released, the search for gifts are located here with the 2017 Gift Guide. Everyone is an announced techie now in modern times with the release of newly different products. With the iPhone X, Qi charger, and more, no matter their level of tech-knowledge, these are the perfect gifts for techies.

Sewell Direct Mos Pack

2017 gift guide

The Sewell Direct Mos Pack carries all of your electronic devices in an organized fashion. It is the backpack that allows you to plug in to charge your laptop, tablet, and more. The charging mechanic of the backpack didn’t seem to be that useful at first but after a bit of adjusting it was convenient and quick for me to unload my laptop and begin work. The one thing I want to have seen was the ability to have the charge stay stationary since it was sitting in an uncomfortable position in the bag, additionally I had a protector on my laptop making it unable to fit into the dedicated pocket for the laptop. With its durable and rigid designs I can safely say it could protect my laptop and with all the custom navigation with all the wires I had, organization was easy. Especially the top pocket, which held my most used items and was quick to access most importantly.  

iPhone X

2017 gift guide

In honor of the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, Apple released the iPhone X in November, just in time for the holiday season. The upgrade contains numerous features that are highly beneficial. With the removal of the home button and the add in on a wireless charging option, the iPhone X stands out from their past models. A Qi charger will come along in the order to wirelessly charge your phone, however, the most popular upgrade is within the camera. The dual Optical Image Stabilization helps avoid blurry pictures due to camera shakes, and as a result, produces intensive high quality photos. Although the iPhone X is also water and dust resistant, their camera feature is an upgrade that is unmatched. The ultimate gift that is desired from all techies and the first choice in the 2017 Gift Guide. 

Choetech Qi Charger

2017 gift guide

 Choetech reveals their new wireless charging system for the iPhone X with the Choetech Qi charger. Upon initial review and opening the box, the overall quality was lacking, but after placing it on my desk, I can’t stop using it. A few weeks back, I purchased the iPhone 8 plus. Yes, I know. Judge me., One of the leading selling factors for me was the wireless charging. I never knew I needed the wireless charge, until using it. At my office desk I have the core nerd essentials, funko pop toys, legos, computer stand, keyboard, and my Choetech charger. I use the wireless charger primarily in the office and can grab my phone and go as I wish.

I decided to go a step further and take the charger home with me. I placed it on my night stand and in order to indicate if my phone is charging, you are met with a rather dim light. Contrary to their competitor product, ROCK qi charger which has an extremely “loud” light that turns an entire dark room light.

After leaving the phone on the charger overnight, I did notice my phone was considerably hot. Not drastic, but it was indeed warm to the touch. I found with this product, it’s best to use the device in an office setting that promotes the use of place and grab.

Incase DJI Mavic

2017 gift guide

Incase contains various technology products that are subdue. This is by far the best case for any magic pro users. Upon opening the case, you immediately see the foam casing that will secure the magic pro, controller, extra batter, and various items in it’s case. The foam casing layout alone is enough to already win as best in class, but not to mention there is additional space to store things like extra propellers, entire charging unit, and more than likely a third battery (I did not try this personally)

The overall weight of the case was light and can easily fit on any carry on/check in luggage or backpack. Upon testing, I accidentally dropped the incase carrying case and the magic was still securely tucked away, unscathed without a scratch.

Overall, this compression case was marvelous and perfect for the 2017 Gift Guide, but it’s as expected from a quality company like Incase.

Anker

2017 gift guide

Anker’s Powercore Slim 500 Charger is a light and compact battery. In offering a fast charge for both Androids and Apple devices, this is a gift for techies, travelers, and anyone who possesses a mobile device. Anker’s slim charger is designed at a uniquely perfect size to carry with your phone. The weight also is light but the most impressive feature is within the speed charge to almost any device of up to 2A. Identified as part of an essential 2017 gift guide for mobile users.

Twelve South Hirise

2017 gift guide

The height adjustable stand for MacBooks deliver a comfortable working position for the office, and at home. The Twelve South Hirise has a soft silicon grip to your laptop without damaging it, that is additionally attached to a V-shaped arm. With a structure that has an opening at the bottom with the V, this product allows complete airflow around your laptop in case of overheating. The adjustment lifts your MacBook between 2-6 inches above the surface to support good posture. This product prevents you from slouching and is perfect for tech entrepreneurs that are working on their laptops 24/7. The Twelve South Hirise allow entrepreneurs to get work done safely.  

Nomad USB Charging Hub

2017 gift guide

Tech entrepreneurs are on a constant move and are dependant on their phones. These mobile devices guide all communication and business activities so without it, entrepreneurs are inhibited from work. With the Nomad USB charging hub, you and the whole team can charge their devices from up to five different stations. The availability in multiple charging outlets allow users to destress about finding a station to charge their phones. Uniquely, the Nomad USB charging Hub has an ambient light sensor that mutes the LED indicator in the dark. An essential 2017 gift guide choice for a business team.

Super NES Classic

2017 gift guide

A collision of modern technology with classical components, the Super NES classic is a nostalgic gift to receive. To fully relive your childhood, the gaming system offers the Super Mario RPG, Donkey Kong Country, Street Fighter, and more games from the original Super Nintendo. The product has a SNES Classic Edition Console, two controllers, AC adaptors, and HDMI cables to come along to complete the purchase. There is an additional HDMI cable to grant access to play the games on your television. The Super NES Classic is an absolute choice for a 2017 gift guide for techies.

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