Tag Archives: ‘charging

Tesla Will Begin Charging $10 Per Month for ‘Premium’ LTE Features

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Tesla only started making cars a few years ago, so it had the luxury of designing its features around a connected experience. All Tesla vehicles have LTE built-in, but the online features are about to get a price hike. Tesla has informed many drivers that their free LTE connectivity features will cost them $ 10 per month going forward. 

This change has been a long time coming, ever since Tesla launched the original Model S with free LTE in 2012. By 2014, questions about the viability of free LTE prompted Tesla to clarify that it would keep the service free for at least four years. CEO Elon Musk has been saying that LTE on Tesla vehicles would cost around $ 100 per year when the service went paid, and that’s what’s happening now. The company also started to show data usage in the car’s software earlier this year. 

The Premium Connectivity package in Tesla vehicles will cost $ 10 per month starting next month. The company hasn’t announced any discounts for yearly subscriptions, so we’re looking at $ 120 per year for LTE in Teslas. According to Tesla’s email notifications, drivers who got their cars before July 1st, 2018 will continue to have access to premium LTE. Everyone else is now on a 30-day free trial and will have to start paying at the end. 

The premium LTE service powers all the “non-essential” data features in the car. For example, satellite maps, live traffic updates, and media streaming. Anyone who chooses not to pay Tesla’s subscription price will have to settle for Standard Connectivity. That includes basic maps and navigation, music streaming over Bluetooth, and important vehicle updates over cellular. You can still use the integrated media streaming and web browsing functionality if the car is connected to Wi-Fi. So, you can potentially retain most of the same features by flipping on your phone’s Wi-Fi hotspot whenever you hop in the car. 

These are not inexpensive vehicles, so anyone who bought a Tesla can probably afford to drop another $ 10 per month for access to premium LTE features. Still, with the loss of tax subsidies, limits on free supercharging, and an increasing number of competing electric vehicles, Tesla doesn’t offer the same value proposition it once did. Musk once famously said Tesla would run out of money if it didn’t make some changes to the business model. This might be a necessary step. 

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Volta Offers Free EV Charging, With Caveats

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Tesla set the bar high with free charging for many years. Now comes Volta Charging, a company that aims to build a network of high-speed chargers for all EVs that are free for the first 30 minutes. They’d be in upscale locations that meet Volta’s standards and supported by advertising, including on signage near the DC fast chargers.

The typical motorist would pick up 175 miles of driving from the half-hour charge. The user then decides to complete the charge on their own nickel, or disconnect and drive for a couple more days. Volta already has a series of Level 2 (240-volt) charging stations in and around a dozen major metro areas. The first DC fast-charge station will be in Norwalk, Connecticut, along I-95 linking New York City and Boston.

Ads on the Volta charging units would underwrite the cost, about $ 5-$ 8, of each free charging session.

Already, the cost of electricity is a third to half that of the amount of gasoline burned comparably sized cars, if you charge at home where electricity costs about 12 cents a kilowatt-hour. Charging at public stations adds overhead costs that cut into the dollar savings but the energy efficiency is still there. Volta tilts the tables further in favor of EVs if it can make the ad-supported model work. Volta estimates a steady user of its charges would score $ 1,155 in “equivalent fueling costs” each year.

Volta Charging, based in San Francisco, was founded in 2010. It has significant investment capital. The idea of expanding into fast charging for all EVs that’s on par with the speeds of Tesla Supercharging — meaning a full charge in about an hour — is the obvious next step. We wish them well. We hope they put DC fast chargers near us.

But. Reading Volta’s marketing materials and press releases is a deep dive into buzzword bingo language. The gist is that high-speed chargers will go where the most affluent EV drivers live: more likely in, say, Newport Beach, California’s, Fashion Island, or the Mall at Short Hills (New Jersey) than at a mall anchored by WalMart and Popeyes. Volta’s web pages for prospect charger host sites promise:

No hardware purchases or monthly service fees and not a single charging fee [for venues that meet the Volta data model] … The entire process is turnkey, with costs covered by an innovative sponsorship model that allows forward-thinking brands to advertise across the network.

Volta also tells potential charger hosts that “68 percent [of their customers] consider going electric … after seeing a Volta station. Providing charging triggers a meaningful dialogue with customers while delivering millions of miles of clean energy. Businesses can also earn LEED certification points (for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, signaling a green facility) by hosting vehicle chargers.”

Existing Volta charging stations as the network looks to expand to DC fast charging, starting along I-95 in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Level 1 chargers run on 120 volts while Level 2 EV chargers run on 240 volts and can recharge, say, a Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Bolt EV in four to eight hours. (Level 1 chargers need overnight, sometimes longer.) Level 2 chargers draw 15 to 40 amps, roughly equivalent to a Level 1 charger if it could draw 30 to 80 amps. DC fast charging bypasses the charger/transformer in the car and feeds power more or less directly into the battery pack. They are typically 50 kW to 100 kW, with plans to go to about 350 kW. Most DC fast chargers support the two major standards, CHAdeMO, supported by Nissan, and CCS, or Combined Charging system, supported by Jaguar, Volkswagen Group, Renault, General Motors, BMW, Daimler, Ford, FCA, Tesla, Kia, and Hyundai. 

After that first Volta fast-charge station arrives in Connecticut, Volta says it will focus on bigger cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, and Chicago.

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ET Deals: Dell Core i7 Laptop $649, Seagate 2TB External HDD $59, Apple AirPods w/ Wireless Charging Case $179

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School’s out for summer, but that’s only for so long. If you are headed to college in the fall or have a child in high school, now’s an excellent time to pick up some new tech to help get them through their classes. Our first deal today, Dell’s Inspiron 15 5000, is also an excellent system for anyone that needs a new computer to replace an aging laptop that’s been slowing them down.

Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Intel Core i7-8565U 15.6-Inch Notebook w/ 1080p Display, 256GB NVMe SSD and 8GB RAM ($ 649.99)

Dell’s Inspiron 15 5000 was designed as a well-rounded solution for students, office workers, and home use. It features a capable Hyper-Threaded quad-core Intel Core i7-8565U processor that can run at speeds of up to 4.6GHz. Right now with promo code 50OFF699, you can get this system from Dell marked down from $ 818.99 to $ 649.99.

Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB Portable HDD ($ 59.00)

External HDDs like Seagate’s Backup Plus Slim external drive are excellent devices for moving files from one system to another. As this product’s name suggests, it’s also an excellent place to save backup copies of your files to help avoid their loss in the event of a hard drive failure. Enclosed inside of a durable aluminum shell, this drive is able to withstand a fair amount of abuse before breaking, and the 2TB drive can transfer data at speeds of up to 120 MB/s. Today, Amazon is offering this drive marked down from $ 79.99 to just $ 59.00.

Apple AirPods w/ Wireless Charging Case ($ 179.99)

This set of Apple’s AirPods comes with a wireless charging case. Simply set the earbuds into the case whenever you are finished using them and they will automatically start charging. They also have support for Siri to quickly access your iPhone, and they can last for over 24 hours while listening to music. Amazon is offering these AirPods currently marked down from $ 199.00 to $ 179.99.

Hyundai 480GB Sapphire SATA-III 2.5-Inch SSD ($ 45.99)

Hyundai doesn’t just want to sell you a faster car, it also wants to help make your PC faster by upgrading it with an SSD. This isn’t the fastest SSD on the market, with read speeds of 500MB/s and write speeds at a meager 300MB/s. But if you are still using a hard drive as your C: Drive, this will give you a significant boost in performance. Currently, it’s marked down from $ 149.99 to $ 45.99 at Walmart.

Razer Phone 2 Unlocked Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Smartphone w/ 120Hz QHD Display, 8GB RAM, 64GB Storage ($ 499.99)

Razer’s second smartphone is well equipped to run the latest Android-based video games. It features a remarkably fast 120Hz QHD display and a high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC. To increase gaming performance, Razer also equipped this phone with a special passive cooling solution with vapor chambers that helps to keep the CPU and GPU running at peak performance. The phone also comes with 8GB of RAM and 64GB of storage space. It’s currently marked down from $ 799.99 to just $ 499.99.

Dell Inspiron 5676 Ryzen 7 2700x Gaming Desktop w/ AMD Radeon RX 580 GPU, 256GB M.2 SSD, 1TB HDD and 16GB DDR4 RAM ($ 699.99)

Dell has sharply slashed the price on this well-equipped gaming desktop, dropping its price all the way from $ 1,378.99 down to $ 849.99 with promo code 50OFF699. The powerful AMD Ryzen 7 2700X processor at the heart of this system has eight SMT enabled CPU cores that are clocked up to 4.3 GHz, and this system is also equipped with one of AMD’s Radeon RX 580 graphics cards with 4GB of GDDR5. Working together, this hardware should be capable of running a wide range of games with midrange settings.

Note: Terms and conditions apply. See the relevant retail sites for more information. For more great deals, go to our partners at TechBargains.com.

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Charging Donald Trump with crime wasn’t an option, Robert Mueller says

Special counsel Robert Mueller said Wednesday charging the president of the United States with a crime in his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election was not an option his office could consider, given existing Justice Department guidelines that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

In his first public comments since being assigned in May 2017, Mueller said on Wednesday “it would be unfair” to potentially accuse someone of a crime when the person couldn’t stand trial to defend himself.

“Charging the president with a crime was … not an option we could consider,” said Mueller. “We concluded that we would not reach a determination one way or the other about whether the president committed a crime.”

President Donald Trump has claimed the report exonerates him and his campaign team of “collusion.”

Mueller’s report did not exonerate Trump on obstruction of justice charges.

Mueller seemed to emphasize that point in his appearance on Wednesday.

“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” he said.

Despite that, Trump said on social media within 30 minutes of the presentation at the Justice Department, that “nothing changes from the Mueller Report.”

“There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed!” said Trump.

If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.– Special counsel Robert Mueller

House Democrats have tried to arrange, so far without success, for Mueller to testify publicly. Mueller indicated that he was not open to testifying beyond what was said in the report and his statement.

Mueller, 74, told a news conference he was speaking to the report as his time in the Justice Department would come to a close imminently and he would return to private life.

Mueller, who said no one had instructed him whether to or not to testify, did not take questions from reporters.

Watch the full Mueller statement here

Mueller, a former FBI director, was given the brief in May 2017 to investigate “any links and/or co-ordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement: “After two years, the special counsel is moving on with his life, and everyone else should do the same.”

‘Insufficient evidence,’ Mueller says

Since Mueller delivered his report in late March, it has been the subject of partisan dispute in Congress and at the White House.

Mueller’s report concluded that for the purposes of a successful criminal prosecution, it could not be established that Trump campaign associates conspired with Russian officials to sway the election.

He reiterated Wednesday there was “insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy.”

The Mueller Report identified a series of episodes involving Trump that the special counsel considered potential obstructions of justice. But Robert Mueller chose to not charge Trump with a crime. CBC’s Washington correspondent Keith Boag walks us through the long-anticipated report. 23:03

With respect to a controversial June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York attended by Russian individuals promising dirt on Hillary Clinton as well as Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr. and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, Mueller said “the government would unlikely be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the … meeting participants had general knowledge that their conduct was unlawful.”

Attempts by Trump associates to lie about the meeting once it was publicly reported “may reflect an intention to avoid political consequences rather than any prior knowledge of illegality,” he wrote.

As well, Mueller said it wasn’t clear that the thing of value that was being offered to the Trump campaign rose to the level that made it a contravention of federal election law.

Several Trump associates have been ensnared as a result of the investigation or ancillary probes, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort, Manafort’s second-hand Rick Gates, former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen, and low-level foreign policy advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. They were charged with various offences, with Manafort and Cohen currently in prison.

Flynn report info ordered to be made public

Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, is said to have co-operated with the Mueller team. A federal judge has set a Friday deadline for the Justice Department to make public unredacted portions of the Mueller report that pertain to Flynn, plus transcripts of Flynn’s calls with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and of a voicemail during which someone connected to Trump referenced Flynn’s co-operation.

Dozens of Russian individuals and entities were also indicted in Mueller’s probe, most related for intrusions of Democratic and Clinton campaign computer systems and for online and social media efforts to sow discord in the U.S. election. The report concluded those efforts largely favoured the Trump campaign over Clinton.


Special counsel Robert Muller speaks at the Department of Justice on Wednesday in Washington. Mueller spoke for about 10 minutes, re-emphasizing parts of the report that has been released in redacted form. (Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press)

“As alleged by the grand jury in an indictment, Russian intelligence officers who are part of the Russian military launched a concerted attack on our political system,” he said.

Russian entities, he said, “used sophisticated cyber techniques to hack into and then release that information through fake online identities and through the organization Wikileaks.”

“The releases were designed and timed to interfere with our election and to damage a presidential candidate.

Impeachment inquiry calls from Democrats

Democrats in Congress and a lone House Republican, Justin Amash of Michigan, have heavily criticized Trump’s attorney general William Barr for a four-page summary he delivered on Mueller’s report as well as for the number of redactions in the report.

Mueller, for his part, privately complained to Barr in a letter that the attorney general’s summary did not adequately capture the investigation’s findings. Barr has called Mueller’s letter “snitty.”


Several portions of the Mueller report were redacted by the Justice Department. A federal judge has set a Friday deadline for the department to make public portions of the Mueller report that pertain to former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn. (Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has so far resisted efforts by some Democrats who would like to launch proceedings for impeachment of the president. The bar for impeaching a president does not require criminal activity.

A statement by Pelosi on Wednesday afternoon stressed the need for Congress to pass legislation to protect U.S. elections from interference, but steered clear of talk of impeachment.

Jerry Nadler, the Democrat chair of the House’s judiciary committee, said that given Mueller’s limitations because of the Justice Department guidelines, “it falls to Congress to respond to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump ” and we will do so. No one, not even the President of the United States, is above the law.”

Presidential candidates Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Seth Moulton and Julian Castro were quick to weigh in, each saying that Congress should begin impeachment proceedings, with Booker calling it a “legal and moral obligation.”

Amash said simply, “the ball is in our court, Congress.”


While Trump first praised Mueller after Barr’s summary was released, the president has more recently returned to a recurring theme, alleging without evidence that the Mueller team was a collection of “angry Democrats,” with the origins of the Russia probe characterized by political bias.

Trump last week used words such as “coup” and “treason” in speeches to partisan audiences and gave Barr the authority to investigate the origins of the Russia probe.

Mueller said Wednesday that the same Justice Department guidelines that recommend that a sitting president cannot be indicted do explicitly permit “the investigation of a sitting president, because it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents available.  

“The constitution provides for another process to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing,” he said.

Barr, currently travelling, was not present at Mueller’s appearance.

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Habs' Paul Byron to have NHL hearing for charging against Panthers' Weegar

Paul Byron's availability for the Montreal Canadiens' visit to Columbus on Friday is up in the air following a hit on Tuesday night that caught the eye of the National Hockey League.

The veteran forward will have a telephone hearing with the league Wednesday to discuss his charging penalty against Florida Panthers defenceman MacKenzie Weegar that put the second-year NHLer in concussion protocol.

At 3:40 of the second period, Weegar's head appeared to be the principle point of contact by Byron, who seems to leave his feet on the hit.


Following his team’s 5-1 loss, Panthers head coach Bob Boughner told the Miami Herald he believed Byron got off lightly with a two-minute penalty and would let the league take care of further discipline.

"I thought we should've had the five-minute power play there," Boughner said. "In my mind, at least, [Byron] left his feet. There's some intent to injure. So we'll let the league take care of that and see what they think."

The 29-year-old Byron, whom the NHL has never suspended, has 10 goals and 18 points in 34 games this season while recording just six minutes in penalties.

WATCH | Highlights from Montreal's win:

Montreal beat Florida 5-1 for their 3rd straight win as Antti Niemi makes 52 saves, a new career high. 1:53

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Samsung: Graphene Balls Boost Battery Charging Speed by 500 Percent

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Mobile devices have long been hamstrung by lithium-ion batteries, which have been advancing much more slowly than other pieces of the hardware puzzle. Every few months we hear about a new battery design that might be able to replace the li-ion cells in our phones, but none of them have worked out yet. Maybe a newly published study from Samsung will be the one that finally frees us from archaic battery tech. According to Samsung, graphene balls can be used to boost battery capacity by 45 percent and charging speed by a whopping 500 percent.

564769-samsung-graphene-balls

The new experimental battery was developed by Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) and Samsung SDI in collaboration with researchers at Seoul National University. This battery tech has potential for several reasons. First, it addresses both capacity and charging speed. Many experimental batteries are only good at one or the other. Second, the materials needed for the battery aren’t exotic or hugely more expensive. Finally, Samsung believes it can incorporate graphene balls into batteries without completely retooling its manufacturing facilities.

Graphene comes up a lot in advanced materials science because it’s a remarkable substance — it even earned its discoverers a Nobel Prize. Graphene is a hexagonal lattice of carbon just one atom thick. It exhibits high stability, thermal conductivity, and can act as a semiconductor. In this case, SAIT used readily available silica to process graphene into a 3D form — the aforementioned balls. The graphene balls are used as a protective layer on the battery’s anode and cathode, and this is what allows for the higher capacity and charging speed. As a bonus, the battery should also maintain a lower temperature for improved safety. That’s certainly something that would appeal to Samsung after the issues it had with the Note 7 last year.

The increase in capacity should be able to push smartphone batteries to the 5,000-6,000mAh range, which we’ve previously only seen in larger devices like tablets. Samsung says the graphene ball battery is capable of recharging completely in about 12 minutes compared with a typical hour-long recharge cycle. Of course, the recharge time will be a little longer for a battery that also has a boosted capacity.

Most of the internal structure of the graphene ball batteries remains the same as it is now. Thus, adding the balls to existing smartphone battery production is something that could be worked out in the next few years. In addition to mobile devices, the graphene ball process could be useful in larger batteries like the ones used in electric cars. That’s not something Samsung manufactures right now, but it could license the technology to Tesla or another car maker.

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iPhone X Rollout Means In-Car Wireless Charging Will Be Standard (Eventually)

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Apple’s newest iPhones all support wireless charging, and that means automakers will move to make this a standard across most of their fleets. Never mind that dozens of Android phones already embed wireless charging. Overnight, Apple made it a standard.

US automakers have deployed, slowly, wireless charging in their cars as far back as 2013, on a handful of models. Some existing charging mats or stands may not support the Qi standard that is quickly becoming the de facto standard.

BMW wireless charging.

What Apple Announced

Apple announced three phones: the high-end iPhone X (pronounced “iPhone Ten”) celebrating Apple’s 10th anniversary and the first time Apple is asking $ 999 for a base phone; and the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which are enhancements to the 7 and big-screen 7 Plus. All three, plus the new Apple Watch and Apple EarPods, embed wireless charging using the Qi standard. Qi is Chinese for “energy flow” and pronounced “chee.”

Qi and its supporting group, the Wireless Power Consortium, were the comfortable leaders before Apple’s announcement this week. That makes things tougher for Powermat and the Power Matters Alliance, which joined forces with the Alliance for Wireless Power to create the AirFuel Alliance.

Apple will bring out a new AirPower mat for charging larger devices such as phones, but that’s not until next year. For sure, the accessories industry will get there quicker with tabletop mats, charging stands holding phones near vertical for ease of reading, and in-car mats that will fit in many existing cars. There are already charging cases with Qi support embedded and a couple case-Qi-external battery packs.

Chrysler wireless charging. They’ve had it since 2013.

Apple Empowers Automakers to Move Forward

In-car wireless charging mats or stands have been in cars since the 2013 Dodge Dart. The number has risen since then, more so on higher-end cars. BMW, for instance, makes Qi standard on the 7 Series, 6 Series, and M cars, none of which cost less than $ 53,000. Automakers had delayed going with wireless charging across the board because, they said, it was uncertain who would win. In reality, Qi has been the leader for some time, some phones supported both standards, and it’s possible to create higher-cost mats than handle both. PowerMat has had support in business markets. It was embedded in tables at Starbucks, because it’s possible to log usage, although some Starbucks have been adding Qi chargers, too.

The upshot: Automakers now see there’s just a single standard to support. Automakers will probably do the same accounting-driven rollout as they did with USB — meaning putting it mostly in high-end vehicles to start, not offering enough charging stations, maybe offering it in weird combo packages, such as a front-seat Qi charger, moonroof, and leather seating surfaces. Only now, for instance, is it possible to get six USB jacks in a handful of vehicles (the Chevrolet Equinox, for example), which is the right number given that some passengers carry a phone and tablet.

On higher-end cars and those where the ads show four adults heading out the evening, you should hope for two USB jacks in back and/or a wireless charger in the rear center armrest once automakers gear up for Qi. Recall that the USB audio/charging connector has been around going on 20 years, and yet still there are cars with CD players. Change can be slow.

Asus, Blackberry, Google, HTC, Kyocera, LG, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Saygus, Sony, Techdy, Vertu and Yotaphone all have Qi-compatible phones. Now, Apple too.

What the Customer Can Do

If you have an Android phone, you may have Qi embedded already. You can put a Qi conversion case on an existing iPhone or get a freestanding charging ring that attaches to the Lightning connector. Or wait for the new iPhones.

If you’re buying a new car right now with integrated charging, make sure it works with your phone. Understand that it may charge more slowly than using a current wall charger. Here’s how to understand if you’re getting enough power: Recall from high school physics class that volts (direct current, what cars use) times amps equals watts. 5 volts (what USB outputs and what a charger probably uses) times 1 amp equals 5 watts. 5 volts times 2 amps equals 10 watts, and that’s what virtually every tablet uses, as well as many of the larger smartphones. If the charger supplies 10 watts, fine. If it’s just 5 watts, your phone may charge slowly.

A couple automakers have a designated holder for the phone, not just an area where you loosely drop the phone. The holder may also have an inductive coupler to the car’s external antenna, giving you much better signal quality.

Here are some automakers we know that have wireless charging on at least some of their cars:

  • Audi
  • BMW, Mini
  • Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep
  • Ford
  • Hyundai, Genesis, Kia
  • Jaguar
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Toyota, Lexus

Qi in the Home, Office, Dorm

Dozens of Qi chargers exist already, so there’s no need to wait for Apple’s charging mat. They cost as little as $ 10-$ 20. If you also want a protective phone case, you can retrofit a legacy Apple iPhone with a Qi case for as little as $ 25.

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