Archive for the ‘Decades’ Category

Disney+ on Fire TV: 1st impressions

November 12, 2019

Disney+ on Fire TV: 1st impressions

It’s here!

I’ve been so excited about Disney+, and got to be even more so when Amazon and Disney worked out the deal to put it on the

Fire TV family (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I’m watching it this morning on our

Fire TV Cube (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I normally watch the news for a while first thing in the morning, but wanted to give my readers my first impressions. I’ve talked before about the content

Disney+: a deeper dive

and even though a lot has been added since then, this post will focus more on the experience of using it. I’ll go with simple bullet points: if you have specific questions, you can ask me by commenting.

Note: for the readers of my most popular blog,

I Love My Kindle

where I’ve been writing about e-books, EBRs (E-Book Readers), and Amazon generally for over 10 years, I’ll link to this post. I have some other catching up to do there (I intend to do one of my round-up posts today) and while this is about watching content on an Amazon device, I didn’t want this to dominate that blog today.

  • I subscribed yesterday by going to Disney+ on the web. Honestly, that was a bit clunky. It kept taking me to a place to enter a redemption code for a limited tie offer, but I didn’t get one. I suspect that might be because I did the year subscription instead of month to month. It also didn’t link me in any way to our long time Hulu account, at least as far as I could see. Again, maybe the yearly subscription makes it better than the bundle, but it would have been nice for them to tell me. They are supposed to link them through our e-mail addresses, based on stories I’ve read
  • There was no link on the Fire TV home screen that I saw. I searched for Disney+ (it came up as Disney Plus) while I was typing. Amazon may not have had time to put something together, but I hope they fully embrace Disney+: this is a symbiotic relationship, and I don’t think they’ll lose much Prime Video membership over it…viewership initially, perhaps, but I’m sure the vast majority of people watch PV as part of their Prime Memberships and don’t pay extra for it. Update: it timed out while I was writing this, and then there was a splash in the slideshoeat the top of the FTV home screen
  • There were zero reviews! I was seeing it at about 2:00 Pacific (my local time)
  • It took about a minute to download and install: nice!
  • Excitingly, it suggest that the app could automatically log me into it when I had the Disney+ app open on my phone (saving me, presumably, from entering my password, which can be tedious with a remote), if I was on the same network. However, after I downloaded the app, got the confirmation code, entered that on my phone…nothing. Maybe I had to be logged into the account on the phone when I opened Disney+ on the streamer…I’ll try that later today on another FTV
  • There was a collage character portraits of Maui from Moana, Elastigirl from The Incredibles, Captain America, Rey from Star Wars, and Jeff Goldblum from…well, it’s never been quite clear where he’s from, but we’re always glad to visit his world. 😉 He has a new show on D+, part of the National Geographic brand. They didn’t label or brand these
  • They did brand at the bottom: Disney/Pixar/Marvel/Star Wars/NatGeo
  • Further in, there were different character portraits, and with the brands in a different order: Iron Man, Darth Vader, hello again Elastigirl, Moana from Moana…and Jeff Goldblum
  • Once I was logged into the app, they had a slideshow. They promoted: The Mandalorian, Avengers: Endgame, Lady and the Tramp (the new “live” version), High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, The Simpsons, Avatar, Encore!, Captain Marvel, The World According to Jeff Goldblum, the Dumbo live action remake. So, that’s five D+Os (Disney+ Originals), two Marvel theatrical hits…Dumbo is an interesting choice, given that it wasn’t their biggest box office hit
    • What I’m not seeing so far promoted at all is Disney backlist (that’s what I most want to see…movies/TV more than, oh, I’ll go with more than thirty years old). Mickey Mouse hasn’t shown up at all yet, for example. That’s interesting to me: this should be a great service for movie/TV buffs and older fans, but I’d say it’s pretty clearly marketed at parents of kids and younger fans
  • Navigation:
    • 5 clickable tiles for Disney-Pixar-Marvel-Star Wars-National Geographic. One sort of cool thing is that when you scroll to one of those, you get an animated thumbnail, just for that one
    • Below that (I’ll start top to bottom):
      • Originals
      • Recommended for You (hmm…they don’t know me yet, presumably, so this must be a generic “me” at first): Avengers Endgame, The Simpsons, Dumbo, Captain Marvel, Free Solo, Lady and the Tramp, Expanding the Universe (Marvel), The Mandalorian, HSM:TM:TS (High School Musical…I’m not going to keep typing out that long title!), Marvel Hero Project, Frozen, Encore!, a Toy Story tile…but I’ll admit, I can’t read it from here (there may be a way to increase the size of the images, haven’t checked yet…something about money), that Jeff Goldblum series, The Imagineering Story, Avatar, Pixar in Real Life, Float, The Force Awakens, Noelle, The Sound of Music (part of the Fox acquisition: yay!), Cars, Clone Wars, The Family something, Moana,
      • Hit Movies: Avatar, Frozen, Toy Story 3, Avengers Endgame, The Force Awakens, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Finding Dory, The Avengers, Rogue One, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Finding Nemo, The Avengers Age of Ultron, The Phantom Menace, Alice in Wonderland (Johnny Depp version), Inside Out…I’m going to stop listing individual titles or this will take too long!
      • Trending (The Simpsons is #1, if they are in order)
      • Out of the Vault: they do go beyond The 90s wave, including The Jungle Book, Cinderella, Snow White…
      • Inspired by True Stories
      • Ultra HD and HDR
      • Disney Channel Favorites
      • Musicals
      • Throwbacks: Hannah Montana, Boy Meets World, That’s So Raven, Darkwing Duck, Gargoyles, The Sandlot, Hocus Pocus, 10 Things I Hate About You…
      • Beasts and Monsters
      • Nostalgic Movies: here we go! Tron, the original The Parent Trap, The Rocketeer, the original The Love Bug, Return to Oz (if you haven’t seen it, be prepared to be creeped out!)…
      • Disney Junior Series
      • Feel Good Sports Movies
      • MIckey Mouse Through the Years (Hi, Mickey!)
      • Documentaries
      • Shorts
      • Fun Mysteries: Zootopia, The Great Mouse Detective, Sister Act…
      • Action and Adventure
      • Animal and Nature
    • Sidebar navigation
      • Profiles (Hi again, Mickey)…when I went to edit, I found that a bit difficult–just getting to the right places. Lots of icon choices, though, including Featured, Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Nat Geo, Mickey Mouse and Friends, Disney Classics, a separate category for Disney Princess (why no plural?), Villains, Disney Channel | Autoplay | Background Video (on or off) } App Language (English UK, English US, Espanol (Latinoamericano), Francais (Candien), and Nederlands)
      • Search: title, character, or genre (no actor search? When I tried to search for Kurt Russell, it showed me appropriate choices when I typed Kurt, but by the time I added the R, it found nothing). Search also had “Collections”, like Through the Decades, Star Wars, and Spider-Man
      • Home
      • Watchlist
      • Original
      • Movies
      • Series
      • Settings: Account, Help, Legal, Log Out…I don’t see any accessibility settings (I checked under Account) to make it bigger, for example
  • UPDATE: Oh, oh, here’s a problem! I stopped watching a movie in the middle. When I went back into Disney+ it showed at first…that’s fine. When I deliberately went to home after that, I can’t find where it went! I figured they would add a navigation for incomplete viewings, but I don’t see anything. I checked under watchlist. I’ve scrolled through Home. I reselected my profile…nothing. They need an incomplete and/or recent part to the navigation
  • UPDATE: JustWatch, my favorite app/website to search streaming offerings, is already listing Disney+

That’s enough to get you started! I may add more to this later, but that’s a good introduction.

Overall? The interface looks cool, but could use some smoothing. For example, why do I have to delete the word “profile” to enter a name for a profile? Why, when there is an arrow pointing to my right, does the arrow on my remote not work (you have to click select instead)? Discovery seems okay, but will get better, I’m sure.

Enjoy! If you have questions, feel free to comment…but I might not respond right away! I’m off to Medfield College (a fictional Disney location used in quite a few of their movies).

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Bufo’s Alexa Skills

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The Geeky Nineties

July 10, 2017

The Geeky Nineties

Sunday (July 9th) at 9:00, CNN will debut

The Nineties

the latest in the Tom Hanks/Gary Goetzman/Mark Herzog pop culture decade documentaries.

I’ve been writing about the decades from the geek perspective…and the 1990s had its share of iconic entries.

Overall, the decade felt like the mainstreaming of geek culture had become mature. The transformation had really begun in the 1970s with The Exorcist, Jaws, and Star Wars. It was still a surprise to see them do so well in the 1980s, but by the 1990s, not having geek-friendly movies dominating the box office would have been a surprise. The respect they had garnered became apparent, with the talents and tools of geek-friendly works moving into mainstream works (James Cameron directed the special-effects laden Titanic, and Robert Zemeckis also using the new technology in Forrest Gump).

However, the momentum was moving out of the movie theatres and on to the videogame systems…

Movies

  • Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace (that’s not a moon…it’s the box office! There was a lot of controversy with this movie, even with the concept of a prequel ((not to mention the execution and characters)), but it changed the game)
  • The Disney Renaissance began in 1989 with The Little Mermaid, but really dominated in the 1990s: Beauty and the Beast (nominated for Best Picture), Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Mulan, and Tarzan all happened during the 1990s. Disney partnered with Pixar (which they would later purchase) in issuing the ground-breaking computer animated movie Toy Story (and the sequel, Toy Story 2, was in the top ten grossing movies for the decade). Also, 101 Dalmatians with Glenn Close presaged the life action remakes we are seeing now
  • So much Star Trek!  The Star Trek Next Gen crew had First Contact; Star Trek: Generations (Kirk and Picard); Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Star Trek: Insurrection
  • Steven Spielberg directed the adaptation of Michael Crichton’s The Lost World, and for many people, brought dinosaurs back from the cinematic dead (echoing the plot)…and Jeff Goldblum ruled the geek screen scene!
  • Speaking of Jeff Goldblum, Independence Day came out in 1996…with another geek star, Will Smith, showing that Goldblum didn’t rule alone! Roland Emmerich directed  blew up  a lot of landmarks. Emmerich also directed Moon 44, Universal Soldier, Stargate, and Godzilla in the 1990s)
  • M. Night Shyamalan burst on to the scene directing and writing The Sixth Sense, which got six Oscar nominations and everyone talking
  • Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith were the Men in Black, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, and based on Lowell Cunningham’s comic (which radically departed from the concept of Men-in-Black in ufology…you can read my coverage of that here)
  • Yes, that was Jack Nicholson in Wolf
  • For some people, Ghost is still the most romantic movie, but it is also solidly geek-friendly. It also won two Oscars, including one for Whoopi Goldberg
  • Oh, behave! We met Austin Powers…and befitting a time traveler, had a second date with The Spy Who Shagged Me
  • Seven years after the original, the Terminator was back in Terminator 2: Judgment Day
  • Michael Bay directed Meat Loaf music videos before directing Armageddon (which had competition from Deep Impact)
  • This seems familiar…Groundhog Day
  • Drew Barrymore starred, and Rocky Horror’s Richard O’Brien had a small part in Ever After
  • Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, and George Clooney all starred in Batman movies (following Keaton’s first turn in 1989)
  • “Never give up, never surrender!” Galaxy Quest
  • Tom Cruise did decide to accept the Mission:Impossible give to him by Brian De Palma
  • Geek-friendly can be funny, as was the case with Jim Carrey in Liar, Liar and The Mask (and the latter introduced us to Cameron Diaz)
  • We took the red pill in 1999 and entered The Matrix
  • John Travolta and Nicolas Cage were the stars, but a lot of interest was in the director of Face/Off, John Woo
  • Houston, we have a problem…but not with Ron Howard’s Apollo 13
  • Alrighty, then! Jim Carrey was Ace Ventura, Pet Detective in two movies (but not in the animated series)
  • Bond, James Bond was Brosnan, Pierce Brosnan in Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough,
  • The Blair Witch Project created the “found footage” genre, and was incredibly profitable
  • Babe, a pig raised by sheepdogs, was
  • Michael Jordan was in the animation/live action hybrid, Space Jam
  • Anaconda tried to put the squeeze on J-Lo
  • Luc Besson brought us his vision of The Fifth Element
  • There were three Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movies (following the animated TV series), and two TV series
  • Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia were Mortician and Gomez in The Addams Family
  • Some other movies: A Bug’s Life; The Mummy; The Santa Claus; Dr. Dolittle; The Green Mile; The Flintstones; The Nutty Professor; The Truman Show; Hook (“Bangarang!”); Total Recall; Wild Wild West (the song was popular, but the movie was a misfire with many fans); Interview with the Vampire (Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, based on Anne Rice); George of the Jungle (Brendan Fraser…and John Cleese as the voice of Ape); Phenomenon (John Travolta); Dick Tracy (Warren Beatty and Madonna); Scream (Wes Craven); The Prince of Egypt; Tim Burton, who was a major factor in 1990s, directed Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci in Sleepy Holllow; Carl Sagan’s book Contact was given the big screen treatment (and treated as “serious” science fiction movie); The Rugrats Movie; Casper; Jumanji; Matthew Broderick starred in another cartoon to live action adaptation; Michael (John Travolta as a down to Earth angel); Flubber; The Haunting; Antz; Waterworld; Back to the World Part III (1990); Pokemon: The First Movie; The X Files; Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Gary Oldman); The Nightmare Before Christmas; Deep Blue Sea; Mortal Kombat (Christopher Lambert); Blade (Wesley Snipes); Lost in Space (Jonathan Harris didn’t cameo…he said they offered him a bit part, and he had never done a bit part in his life and wasn’t about to start); Beavis & Butt-Head Do America; Flatliners; Misery; The Devil’s Advocate; Fantasia 2000 (which came out in 1999); Natasha Henstridge starred in Species; name ten Meryl Streep movies: was Death Becomes Her one of them?; Bicentennial Man; Demolition Man; Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys; Edward Scissorhands; Forever Young; Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection; What Dreams May Come; Halloween H20: 20 Years Later; Spawn; Starship Troopers; Small Soldiers; Arachnophobia; Dragonheart; The Crow; Mighty Joe Young; Angels in the Outfield (Christopher Lloyd); Stigmata; The Rocketeer; Practical Magic; RoboCop 2; Meet Joe Black; Timecop; The Jungle Book (Jason Scott Lee); Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990); House on Haunted Hill; Encino Man; Pleasantville; The Faculty; Hocus Pocus; Urban Legend; Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey; Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie; Mars Attacks!; Sphere; My Favorite Martian; Junior; A Goofy Movie; Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare

TV

TV saw a few important geeky high points. We made our first trip into the Whedonverse…yes, the Buffy movie was in the 1990s, and there was Toy Story, but it was really with the Buffy TV series that we were there. While it wasn’t the first time that we’d had female led geeky TV series, Buffy and Xena brought straight up fighters (although there was much more to them than that). Xena was part of Sam Raimi’s shows, having spun off from Hercules. The X-Files was groundbreaking, but it’s really worth noting how animated series got quirkier and in some ways, more grown up. That was in part due to the fracturing delivery landscape, with Nickelodeon rising. Batman: The Animated Series was a milestone, and we would particularly cite Space Ghost Coast to Coast and The Tick animated series.

  • Family Guy
  • South Park
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager
  • Stargate SG-1
  • The X-Files
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
  • Charmed
  • Futurama
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers
  • Batman: The Animated Series
  • Sabrina, the Teenage Witch
  • Babylon 5
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess
  • The Flash
  • Pokemon
  • Spaced
  • Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
  • Lexx
  • Dragon Ball Z
  • Roswell
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Spider-Man (1994 animated series)
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun
  • Farscape
  • Goosebumps
  • Dinosaurs
  • Rugrats
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark?
  • Sliders
  • X-Men (1992 animated series)
  • Highlander
  • Passions
  • The Outer Limits (1995 series)
  • Batman Beyond, The New Batman Adventures
  • Hey Arnold!
  • Touched by an Angel
  • Barney & Friends
  • The Pretender
  • Sailor Moon
  • Animaniacs
  • The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles
  • The Lost World
  • Arthur
  • The Powerpuff Girls
  • Relic Hunter
  • Blue’s Clues
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion
  • Millenium
  • Gargoyles
  • Dexter’s Library
  • Early Edition
  • The Secret World of Alex Mack
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog
  • The Magic School Bus
  • Superman
  • Rocko’s Modern Life
  • The Odyssey
  • Teletubbies
  • The Wild Thornberrys
  • The Ren  & Stimpy Show
  • Digimon
  • The Worst Witch
  • Young Hercules
  • The Wiggles
  • SeaQuest 2032
  • Weird Science
  • Spawn
  • Beast Wars: Transformers
  • The Tribe
  • The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.
  • Swamp Thing
  • The Tick (the animated series)
  • Bob the Builder
  • ReBoot
  • Trigun
  • Earth: Final Conflict
  • BeastMaster (1999 series)
  • Pinky and the Brain
  • CatDog
  • Kung Fu: The Legend Continues
  • So Weird
  • Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
  • Gullah, Gullah Island
  • Detective Conan
  • Jumanji (animated series)
  • Space: Above and Beyond
  • Bear in the Big Blue House
  • Darkwing Duck (“Let’s get dangerous!”)
  • The Sentinel
  • Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles
  • Aladdin (animated series)
  • Forever Knight
  • Get Smart (1995 series)
  • Seven Days
  • Ocean Girl
  • Talespin
  • The Tommyknockers
  • V.R. Troopers
  • Space Ghost Coast to Coast
  • Duckman
  • Beakman’s World
  • Harry and the Hendersons
  • Bill Nye, the Science Guy
  • Caillou
  • Eerie, Indiana
  • VeggieTales
  • The New Addams Family (1998 series)
  • Wishbone
  • Timon & Pumbaa (series)
  • Big Wolf on Campus
  • Big Bad Beetleborgs
  • Celebrity Deathmatch
  • Bobby’s World
  • Dark Shadows (1991 Ben Cross series)
  • Happy Tree Friends
  • The Hunger
  • Tiny Toon Adventures
  • Crusade
  • NightMan
  • First Wave
  • Men in Black: The Series
  • The Adventures of Sinbad
  • Poltergeist: The Legacy
  • The Angry Beavers
  • Spider-Man Unlimited
  • The Little Mermaid (series)
  • Get a Life
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
  • Animorphs
  • Earth 2
  • Back to the Future (animated series)
  • The Mask (animated series)
  • Cow and Chicken
  • Freakazoid!
  • The Crow: Stairway to Heaven
  • Svengoolie
  • The Land of the Lost
  • Robocop (TV series)
  • Team Knight Rider
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (TV series)
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (TV series)
  • Kindred: The Embraced
  • Archie’s Weird Mysteries
  • Goof Troop
  • Now and Again
  • Space Precinct
  • Highlander: The Raven
  • Zooboomafoo
  • The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest
  • The Incredible Hulk (animated series)
  • Tarzan (Wolf Larson)
  • Legends of the Hidden Temple

Books

Harry Potter: drop the mic! Just kidding, there were a lot of geeky books of note. I listed

90 books of the 1990s

in my I Love My Kindle blog, but those include non-geeky titles, too. I’d particularly note:

  • Jurassic Park and the sequel by Michael Crichton
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
  • Man After Man by Dougal Dixon
  • I Am Spock by Leonard Nimoy
  • The Golden Compass (AKA Northern Lights) by Philip Pullman (first of His Dark Materials)
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (kicked off a successful book series, which was later adapted for TV)
  • Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (the first of the Pendergast series)
  • The Children of Men by P.D. James
  • Blindness by Josè Saramago
  • Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
  • The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey (first in the series)
  • Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
  • Star Wars books by Kevin J. Anderson (Champions of the Force, Dark Apprentice, Jedi Search, Darksaber); many other people were writing Star Wars novels, too
  • A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  • Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
  • Dinosaur Summer by Greg Bear
  • The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (1st of the A Series of Unfortunate Events books)
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  • Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
  • The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time #1)
  • Wizard’s First Rule (Sword of Truth #1) by Terry Goodkind
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
  • Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson (start of the Mars trilogy)
  • The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter

Of course, the Animorphs series (starting in 1996) had a big impact on younger readers.

Videogames

There was significant innovation in home videogames in the 1990s; arguably the biggest innovations since then (Virtual and Augmented Reality) are just really happening now. That’s not to say that there wasn’t innovation in the intervening period (there was), but the groundwork was laid for most of what followed.

The videogame consoles debuting included the Nintendo 64, the Game Boy, the Playstation, the Sega Saturn, and the Dreamcast. CDs began to replace cartridges, haptic feedback became a thing, and of course, online gaming took off (the term MMORPG ((Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game)) was coined).

Some notable games:

  • Street Fighter II
  • Virtua Fighter (arcade)
  • Tekken
  • Dead or Alive
  • Doom
  • Wolfenstein 3D
  • Goldeneye
  • Quake
  • Half-Life
  • Wing Commander
  • Super Mario World
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Super Mario Kart
  • Gran Turismo
  • Ultima Online
  • EverQuest
  • Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid
  • Alone in the Dark
  • Resident Evil
  • Silent Hill
  • Baldur’s Gate
  • Banjo-Kazooie
  • Oddworld
  • Battletoads
  • Pokemon
  • Diablo
  • Duke Nukem
  • Earthworm Jim
  • The Elder Scrolls
  • Fallout
  • Grand Theft Auto
  • Monkey Island
  • Rayman
  • Rollercoaster Tycoon
  • Spyro
  • Super Smash Brothers
  • Tomb Raider
  • Warcraft

Toys (edited to add)

Tech toys were big, but so were simpler, low-tech items. Collectibles were big, perhaps spurred in part by the rise of eBay in 1995 and other innovative ways to convert pop culture to cash.

  • Beanie Babies (geeky? Yes, there was a unicorn, for one thing)
  • Furby
  • Sky Dancers
  • Tamagotchi
  • Tickle Me Elmo
  • Magic: The Gathering

I’m going to stop there for now (after all, this is over 2,000 words) because I want to get it out before the first episode is broadcast. I haven’t covered comics (and that’s not because the 1990s have…a reputation for not being the best comics decade), Bufo’s Weird World, science…but what I’ve done so far should show you that the 1990s were geeky!

Feel free to suggest some of your own geek-friendly items for the 1990s by commenting on this post.

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