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November 2005

Firefox 1.5 Officially Released

30 November 2005

The Mozilla Foundation has officially released the final version of Firefox 1.5. If you use Firefox, I strongly recommend you download and install this new version - I suggest uninstalling any older versions first though. If you haven't used Firefox before, now is a great time to start. I have updated my Firefox Tweak Guide completely for Firefox 1.5, although note that a large number of the changes in 1.5 are under the hood and not necessarily visible.

Firefox 3D Graphics Demo

28 November 2005

This site demonstrates the ability to render 3D graphics within Firefox (and Opera and Safari as well), using the canvas tag in a javascript window.

Update: I should have mentioned, this only works on Firefox 1.5, and highlights one of the new 'under the hood' features of Firefox 1.5.

Call of Duty 2 Server Boycott

26 November 2005

It looks like the lack of an anti-cheat system in Call of Duty 2 has finally made some of the fans crack. Some of them are calling for a 24-hour Boycott en-masse to send Infinity Ward the message if an anti-cheat for COD 2 is not announced soon. I can't say I blame them - COD 2 Multiplayer is great fun, but the spectre of cheating is ruining games both through the actual cheaters, and the accusations of cheating aimed at good players. All online games these days require a decent anti-cheat system to provide at least some protection against casual cheaters. The hardcore cheaters of course will never be totally prevented.

MS Power Toys Updated

26 November 2005

Microsoft have added some new tools to their Power Toys. The Power Toys are a range of handy little tools you can use to tweak Windows settings and increase the convenience of using Windows. The key ones are already covered in my TweakGuides Tweaking Companion, particularly TweakUI which is a very useful tool (but doesn't appear to have been updated).

Need for Speed: Most Wanted Tweak Guide - Final Version Released

25 November 2005

I bought the retail version of NFS:MW today and finally got the chance to update my Need for Speed: Most Wanted Tweak Guide. If you haven't read it yet, I definitely think you should give it a try. If you have read it, check pages 4 and 8 for updated tips and info which you should find useful.

VIA Hyperion Pro 5.06A Released

25 November 2005

VIA have released the latest Hyperion Pro 5.06A drivers for VIA-based motherboards. These drivers can be used on any VIA chipset, but they're really only recommended for those with the latest VIA chipsets, and only if you're having problems.

XBox 360 - No-Hassle Console Gaming?

24 November 2005

Like most other gamers I've been watching as the next-gen consoles have been getting closer and closer. As the XBox 360 was just released yesterday, I expected to hear lots of rave stories of how great it is, and the console gamers telling PC gamers that they wasted their money. Sadly, as I had predicted earlier in my rants against gaming companies and their "Release, Wait and Patch" approach on PCs, it seems consoles have been bitten by the same bug. Reports from places like Slashdot and our own Games Forum reveal that games developers have once again become lazy, and games are coming out with bugs and glitches, only to wait for a patch to come out and resolve issues. I really can't stress how sick and tired I am of this trend. It used to be that console games were rock solid - at least that's how I remember my Nintendo 64. Now, because developers want to rush games out for major sales dates like Christmas, and have patches as fallback, even consoles aren't safe anymore.

For all you PC gamers, just remember my advice: Do not buy a game until it has been satisfactorily patched, and you'll know whether it has or not by keeping an eye on the game's official forums to see what users are saying, as well as checking here and other places where you will get honest assessments of the state of a particular game. As we speak, FEAR is still bug-ridden due to SecuROM and the infamous 1.02 patch (which I strongly suggest not installing), Star Wars Battlefront 2 is still a mess awaiting a patch, Battlefield 2 has game balance issues which look like they will never be addressed, while Quake 4, Call of Duty 2 and Need for Speed: Most Wanted appear to be quite solid on most systems and well worth purchasing.

Update: More reports of XBox 360 problems here. Microsoft have responded to these problems here with the standard "It only affects a small number of users". It looks like it may be a combination of hardware and software problems, but the reason is undoubtedly the fact that Microsoft and the games developers rushed this console to beat the competition and make the lucrative Christmas sales period.

Quick Update

24 November 2005

Just to let you know where I'm at with some of my guides. Firstly the full retail version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted finally comes out in Australia tomorrow, so at that point I will be able to update my NFS:MW Tweak Guide to reflect the retail version. I will try to complete my Star Wars Battlefront 2 Tweak Guide, however I've been quietly waiting for LucasArts to release a patch for the game first because the main problems people have with SWBF2 are untweakable and need a patch to resolve. And of course I will update my Firefox Tweak Guide for Firefox 1.5 Final when it hits. Right now I'm also working on revising the TweakGuides Tweaking Companion to include recent developments, add some new info and fix some things (like dead links). Along with work on the forums, this will keep me busy right up to Christmas.

Forums Down...Again

23 November 2005

This time it's not my fault! Looks like my host HostingOnNet have some kind of MySQL issue which causes a 'Too many connections' error and a total database wipeout on all sites on their server. Even their own databases (check that link above) seem to be gone. Last time it happened, they restored the databases after a short while, so hopefully the forums will be back up soon. Fortunately the front page is not powered by any database, just good old fashioned HTML, so it's not affected. By the way I'm pressing ahead with making the forums a unique place to share tips, tweaks, troubleshooting advice and both tech and non-tech discussions. Once it's back up, I want readers to drop by, check out the differences and join in on the discussions.

Update: Forums back up and no data seems to have been lost. I'll chase this issue up with my host as it's getting quite annoying, my apologies for the inconvenience.

Battlefield 2 1.12 Patch Released

23 November 2005

EA Games have released the latest official patch for Battlefield 2, bringing it up to Version 1.12. This patch weighs in at 280MB and contains some fixes - primarily for the Grappling Hook and Zip Line - and some new Special Forces weapon unlocks. It is recommended all BF2 players update to this version, although disappointingly it doesn't look like EA have addressed any of the much more significant concerns players had about game balance issues.

Nvidia Forceware 81.95 Released

23 November 2005

Nvidia has officially released the Nvidia Forceware 81.95 graphics drivers. The major difference of these drivers over the 81.94 Forceware released last week is that these are WHQL certified, fix texture problems in Guild Wars on 6800 cards, fix problems with Civilization 4 on 6600 cards, provide an improved SLI profile for better SLI performance in FEAR, and fix some earlier driver issues when using the Nvidia tray, as well as incompatibilities with WDM drivers.

Guide to Customizing Windows Appearance

22 November 2005

If you want to know how to completely change the appearance of Windows XP, there is now a Detailed Guide to Windows customization (or 'skinning') over at It runs through the basics so that even if you're not familiar with any of the methods, you should be able to see how it's done.

Forums Back Online & Improved

20 November 2005

I've reopened the new and improved TweakGuides Forums. All the existing data from the previous forums are there as are all user details. For the moment it's running the default VBulletin forum theme, but in the near future I'll jazz it up a little. The new forum software allows much more customization and control, and shortly I will implement a Reputation system on the forums instead of post counts to determine user ranks and titles. That way the more helpful and knowledgeable users are rewarded and at the same time you know who to trust if you need advice on the forums. Drop by and take a look, and if you run into any problems click the Contact Us link and let me know.

Quake 4 1.04 Patch Removes CD Check

20 November 2005

I hadn't even noticed, but thanks to alert reader Charles Hepner, I can confirm that the Quake 4 1.04 patch removes the need for the Quake 4 CD/DVD to be kept in the drive. It looks like Activision have done what everyone wanted and put a built-in 'No-CD' in their 1.04 patch, and it is very welcome; thank you Activision.

Forums Down Temporarily

19 November 2005

In attempting to install some new forum software, the server has had some sort of error and deleted all of my existing databases. Luckily I took a full database backup before installing the new software, however I will now use this outage to try to install the new software, and transfer the old databases across. The forums should be back up within the next day or two (with or without the old data to begin with). Sorry for the inconvenience, this should be the last time the forums are disrupted like this.

Update: The databases have all been restored and the old forum is working fine. However I have disabled the old forums until I can install the new software and transfer data across.

NVTempLogger Nvidia Temperature Logger

18 November 2005

NVTempLogger is a free utility which can record your Nvidia graphics card's temperature in the background as you play games, benchmark etc. and save the results to a log file. This allows you to view your temperature fluctuations and see the maximum temperatures it reaches when under full load during a game for example.

Firefox 1.5 RC3 Released

18 November 2005

Firefox Release Candidate 3 (RC3) has been released. Read more about it here. So far everything has been cool for me with the various pre-release versions of Firefox 1.5, and I recommend this update if you already run Firefox 1.5 - use the built-in updater to get it (Help Menu>'Check for Updates'). The final release version of Firefox 1.5 should be out any day now, so keep an eye open for it as it will be well worth the upgrade for all Firefox users given the improvements under the hood.

Windows Genuine Advantage on Firefox

18 November 2005

I just read at that Microsoft have released a plugin-in for Firefox which allows it to run the Windows Genuine Advantage check. What does this mean? It means that you can now use Firefox to download certain MS downloads which require the WGA check, but it doesn't mean you can run Windows Update on Firefox as yet.

Slight Change to Site Appearance

17 November 2005

If you've noticed that looks slightly different today (make sure to press CTRL+F5) but you can't tell what exactly has changed, all I've done is remove the blue border around the main body text and make the borders on the side elements thinner. I've moved everything down a bit to space things out more neatly at the top of the page. I think it looks a bit more 'mature', but it's no big deal, just thought I'd tell you in case you thought your eyes were playing tricks :) If you have any feedback on the layout or any suggested (small) improvements, let me know.

Quake 4 Patch and SDK Released

17 November 2005

The first patch has been released for Quake 4, bringing it up to Version 1.04. The patch weighs in at 12.38MB and mostly contains some (unessential) fixes which tidy up the game browser and the interface a little. A Quake 4 SDK (Source Developer's Kit) has also been released, which will allow fans to provide custom maps and mods for Quake 4. I have updated my Quake 4 Tweak Guide accordingly, although there are no major changes.

Quick Update

16 November 2005

Well I'm on the home stretch in terms of writing guides. Having released four guides in four weeks, I now have to look at completing my Star Wars Battlefront 2 Tweak Guide, and updating my Firefox Tweak Guide for the imminent release of the final version of Firefox 1.5. Then in the next few weeks I'll move to update/expand the TweakGuides Tweaking Companion based on new developments, user feedback and recent changes. I'm hoping to have these major changes done by Christmas so I can enjoy a break, but as always I will update the news page daily and update guides as necessary. It's been very tiring and has consumed most of my spare time, but I hope you find it all useful.

SoundBlaster X-Fi Driver Version 2.07.0004 Released

16 November 2005

Creative have released a new official SoundBlaster X-Fi driver Version 2.07.0004. This driver improves performance and resolves some issues found in the original X-Fi drivers which come with the sound card. I recommend all X-Fi users update to this driver version.

Intel Chipset Driver Released

16 November 2005

Intel have released their latest INF Chipset Driver Version If you run an Intel-based motherboard, you can update your driver to this latest version, although it is not absolutely vital that you do if you're not experiencing any problems.

Nvidia Forceware 81.94 Released

15 November 2005

Nvidia has officially released the Nvidia Forceware 81.94 graphics drivers. These drivers include performance improvements for Quake 4 and Call of Duty 2, as well as added performance for dual core CPUs and SLI so it is strongly recommended that all Nvidia users playing recent games update to these drivers.

DMW Announce Call of Duty 2 Anti-Cheat Software Support

14 November 2005

DMW, makers of anti-cheat software similar to PunkBuster, have Announced that they are working to provide support for Call of Duty 2 in the next version of their software. I'm not sure what this will mean for the game, but really any anti-cheat method is better than none.

Update: An anti-cheat method for COD 2 is also being worked on by, but details are not firm. Thanks to Daniel Martinez for the heads-up on this.

Site Under Heavy Load

14 November 2005

Due to the fact that I've released several guides in the past few weeks, each of which is proving quite popular, and because each guide also has more graphical elements (some almost 1MB each), the server can come under heavy load at times, meaning slower performance. Up to 30,000 people a day are visiting the site, both new and regular readers. Unfortunately there's not much I can do to improve site performance, so if you notice is slower to respond at times, please be patient or try again a short while later.

NFS:MW Tweak Guide - Advanced Tweaking Update

14 November 2005

That's right, I made an incorrect statement in my Need for Speed: Most Wanted Tweak Guide! As alert reader Christian Jensen pointed out to me today, there is in fact a way of doing some advanced tweaking in NFS:MW. These advanced settings are held in the Windows Registry, and in my haste to finish my guide yesterday I overlooked them. Well now I've had the chance to experiment with these settings and I've added a new Advanced Tweaking page to my guide which covers the major ones in more detail. Check out the guide, and if you've read it recently make sure to press CTRL+F5 to see the latest versions of each page.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted Tweak Guide Released

13 November 2005

After a fair bit of experimentation, I've managed to compile my 6-page Need for Speed: Most Wanted Tweak Guide for the demo, and for when the game is released in stores. It's a fairly brief affair, mainly because much the same as previous NFS games, there is little room for any advanced tweaking. The game has been designed for consoles, and as such there are no major .ini/.cfg files which can be played around with. So instead the guide focuses on giving you the rundown on how the various in-game settings affect image quality and performance through a series of screenshot comparisons and performance discussions. It rounds these out with some troubleshooting tips and general performance optimization information which should help you squeeze the most out of the game on your machine. Give it a run-through and you'll see what I mean.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted Demo - First Impressions

11 November 2005

I downloaded and installed the newly released Need for Speed: Most Wanted Demo tonight, which weighs in at 545MB - get it from the usual places like FileShack or FilePlanet. Having played the game for a little while, I can tell you one thing - it looks fantastic with the eye candy maxed out! I've placed some screenshots I took (and performance tips) in this thread on our Forums, and they really don't do justice to how great the in-game effects can look. If you like the Need for Speed series, I recommend you download this demo and see what you think of it.

Now here's the bad news - the game really needs some video card grunt to run at decent settings. Even my 7800GTX feels the heat this game is putting out, and what's worse, I can't find anything in the game's various directories which will allow me to tweak it. Most Need For Speed games have been virtually untweakable, so this isn't a break from tradition unfortunately. All that can be done is the adjustment of the in-game settings, and since the full version of the game will be out in around a week, I will try to do a brief NFS:MW Tweak Guide which looks at those settings and do the usual screenshot comparisons as well as their performance impacts to help you better choose what to turn up and what to turn down without losing too much image quality.

Windows Security Updates & .NET 2.0 Released

11 November 2005

Microsoft have released a new security update as well as a new version of the Malicious Software Removal Tool - make sure to run Windows Update as soon as possible to update your Windows. Importantly for those using the .NET Framework - such as ATI Catalyst Control Center users - Microsoft has released the new .NET Framework 2.0. Upgrade to this if you use an application dependent on .NET, such as the ATI Catalysts. Note that the option to upgrade to .NET 2.0 will be under the Optional Software section of Windows Update.

Firefox 1.5 RC2 Released

11 November 2005

If you're running the current Firefox 1.5 beta/RC version, you will find that the next time you use your browser it should automatically download and prompt you to install Firefox 1.5 RC2. The main fix in Firefox 1.5 RC2 appears to be a fix to the automated update system, otherwise from my experience using Firefox 1.5 so far there are few if any problems, and a lot of optimizations under the hood, so you may want to give it a try.

ATI Catalyst 5.11 Released

11 November 2005

The guys over at Bit-Tech and Tweaktown have teamed up to provide you with the Official Catalyst 5.11 Drivers a day before their actual release on the ATI website. These are official drivers, and should be safe to download and install. The main changes include better OpenGL performance, better support for the new X1x00 series, and the new Adaptive Anti-aliasing method. You should install these drivers if you play recent games like FEAR, COD 2, or Quake 4, as they contain fixes for such games. I will have to give my ATI Catalyst Tweak Guide a thorough update soon for a range of things, including the changes in these drivers.

Call of Duty 2 Tweak Guide Released

9 November 2005

After a lot of work, I've managed to finish my guide for this great game. I've compiled this Call of Duty 2 Tweak Guide to help all COD 2 players out. The guide runs through all the in-game settings in careful detail, providing lots of screenshot comparisons of the main graphical effects to aid you in deciding on the precise balance of performance vs. visual quality on your system. It covers all the advanced tweaking possible in Call of Duty 2, and finally it provides links to a range of valuable resources to help you in troubleshooting, modifying and patching the game.

Realtek AC97 Driver Version 3.79 Released

9 November 2005

If you run a motherboard with AC97 onboard sound, you might want to update to the latest Realtek 3.79 Drivers. In particular these drivers may help resolve any compatibility problems you have with particular games when using onboard sound.

Quick Update

8 November 2005

Just want to quickly let you Call of Duty 2 players know that I'm working on the guide and it should be out in the next couple of days. I apologize for the delays, but aside from the late release of the game in Australia, I've also been busy at work, not feeling 100%, and have had only a few hours a day to put towards writing my guides. Once this guide comes out, it will be the third guide in three weeks I've released. It's a lot more difficult than you think to research, test and write tweak guides. So once again, my apologies and I think you'll like the guide so stay tuned!

Update: While you're waiting, you can download the full cvar and commands lists for COD 2 here: (4KB). Full descriptions of most of these will be in the guide.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 Tweak Guide Update

5 November 2005

As is my normal procedure now, I've created this Star Wars Battlefront 2 Tweak Guide placeholder page in anticipation of the full guide which will be out immediately after my Call of Duty 2 Tweak Guide. However this time I've included a couple of solutions to a common problem people are experiencing at the moment with Star Wars Battlefront 2, so if you own the game, check it out and bookmark the link.

Quick Update

4 November 2005

Now that I've completed the FEAR and Quake 4 Tweak Guides, I am turning my attention to Call of Duty 2, which only came out yesterday in Australia. I will hopefully be able to get the full Call of Duty 2 Tweak Guide up and online within a week at the most. Then I will look at doing a Star Wars Battlefront 2 Tweak Guide to round out what has been a very busy month for me. Stay tuned, and as always if you spot new tips or tweaks you think need to be included in these upcoming guides, or the existing ones, let me know.

Update: I also have to revise the TweakGuides Tweaking Companion (TGTC) to fix dead links, add new advice for more recent technology and additional recommended programs, and generally include various aspects based on user feedback. Within the next month or so I will release a fully revised edition.

Half Life 2 Lost Coast and Source Update Released

4 November 2005

Valve have released a Steam Update for HL2: Lost Coast and the Source Engine. Restart your Steam client to download this update.

New NForce4 Drivers Released

4 November 2005

Nvidia has released a range of new NForce drivers for the various NForce platforms. Go to the Nvidia Driver Page, select 'Platform / nForce Drivers' and your particular NForce chipset type and operating system, and see if there is an update for you. Note that you don't have to uninstall older NForce drivers before installing the new ones - just install the new ones over your existing drivers to minimize problems.

Quake 4 Tweak Guide Released

3 November 2005

Despite the fact that tweaking the game is extremely similar to tweaking Doom 3, and after some delays, I decided that given the large fan base for Quake 4, the game deserved a tweak guide of its own. This Quake 4 Tweak Guide covers all the in-game settings in detail, including screenshot comparisons of image quality differences, and contains a wealth of links to important Quake 4 resources. The guide is rounded out with advanced tweaks which have been tested and work on Quake 4, since some of the Doom 3 commands are different for this game. All in all, the guide is a central resource for Quake fans and should help new and experienced Quakers alike.

Imagecfg - Processor Affinity Tool

3 November 2005

Recently a range of dual-core CPU users - those who have Pentium D, AMD X2 and even Pentium 4 HyperThreading CPUs - are complaining of odd game problems, such as random crashes to desktop and lockups. I have no doubt some of these problems are due to the buggy nature of some recent games like FEAR and Star Wars: Battlefront II (especially the secuROM copy protection system used for these games). However it may be that indeed dual core CPUs are triggering some odd behavior. The best way to test this on your system is after launching the game in question to bring up the Task Manager, go to the Processes tab, right-click on the name of the game's process and select 'Set Affinity'. In the box that opens, untick 'CPU 1', leaving only one CPU for the game to use. If you find this resolves your problem, and you want to force the game to only use one of your CPUs each time you run the game, see the instructions here for using the Imagecfg utility, a small Windows NT file you can safely copy into your \Windows\System32 directory and then use to permanently set the affinity for particular programs.

Firefox 1.5 RC1 Released

3 November 2005

Last night while using Firefox 1.5 Beta 2 I suddenly noticed it gave me the message that it had downloaded and installed the Firefox 1.5 RC1 update. It was a nice way of seeing Firefox 1.5's new auto-update function, and it all happened so quickly and smoothly that I'm looking forward to when Firefox 1.5 Final is released. For the moment if you're tempted to test out Firefox 1.5, I suggest you give 1.5 RC1 a go as so far I've had no real problems with the 1.5 Betas. There are no other dramatic new features however so if you're happy with Firefox 1.07, stick with it.

Windows Live Online

3 November 2005

A few people have written to me to tell me Windows Live is now online in beta form. Windows Live is pretty much a central hub for a range of Microsoft services in one place. Follow the link if you want to find out more, however personally I'm not a huge fan of these centralized homepages (such as Google's Personalized Hompage). This is a classic case of Google and Microsoft battling over the next "killer app" to win our hearts and minds, and I'm a little jaded by this. Let's wait and see how useful these things are before getting too excited.

Star Wars: Battlefront II - First Impressions

2 November 2005

I bought my copy of Star Wars: Battlefront II today, given I was actually quite a keen player of the first one. It had a certain atmosphere and charm to it that meant I enjoyed many mindless hours happily fragging away in the Star Wars universe. I expected the sequel to take that gameplay and atmosphere and improve on it, and I have to say it actually seems to have done that. Obviously I've played it for only a little while, but the improved visuals, gameplay adjustments, and the addition of playable heroes and jedi are a nice touch, not to mention the ability to pilot a ship in large space battles.

Now here comes the bad part. This game is currently very unstable, and often crashes to desktop for no known reason, even on my high-end and optimized machine. I am fairly certain it is once again due to our old friend SecuROM - the very same copy protection system which has caused a multitude of headaches in FEAR, and continues to do so after 2 patches. So despite the fact that this game should live up to Star Wars Battlefront fans' expectations, I recommend that you do not purchase this game until at least the first major patch arrives.

Finally, it seems the underlying game engine is very similar to the first game in the series, so for the moment those who have bought the game can refer to my original Star Wars Battlefront Tweak Guide for tips. For example, go to your \Program Files\LucasArts\Star Wars Battlefront II\GameData directory, right-click on the BattlefrontII.exe file and select 'Send to>Desktop'. Now go to your desktop, right-click on this new icon, select Properties, and in the Target box add "/nointro" (without quotes) one space after the last character in the Target box. You can now use this icon to launch the game and you will firstly skip having to click Start in the red SWBFII launch box, and secondly you will skip the intro movies. You can use other switches from page 7 of the guide until I get the chance to do a full Star Wars Battlefront II Tweak Guide shortly.

Update: I'm not the only one experiencing the crashes to desktop. The SWBFII Forums are buzzing with the same problems. Some blame it on AMD X2 Dual Core CPU incompatibilities, however single core users are also experiencing crashes and lockups. As I said, best wait for a fix before buying this game.

TweakGuides Clan Server

2 November 2005

A few of the guys on the TweakGuides Forums banded together recently to form the TweakGuides Clan, using the clan tag {TwK}. They've now taken the initiative and put up a TweakGuides Clan Server, currently running 16 player CounterStrike Source maps, and it can be found at the IP Address: If you're up for a match with the guys, drop into this thread on the forums for more details of match times, server rules and so on.

WinZip 10.0 Released

2 November 2005

The final build of the popular archiving utility WinZip 10.0 has been released. This new version apparently brings with it even smaller compressed files, interface enhancements and more, and comes in Standard and Pro editions. For the most part if you're happy with your current version of WinZip, I really doubt an upgrade is necessary. However if you work with archives a lot you may want to upgrade now, or for perhaps the smallest possible archive sizes use the completely free 7-Zip.

FEAR 1.02 Patch Released

1 November 2005

In a somewhat predictable pattern (albeit slightly accelerated), another patch has been released for FEAR, bringing it up to Version 1.02. This patch is 120MB and basically contains a few "localization" fixes, a new multiplayer map, and it prepares the game for when the FEAR modding tools come out. I don't believe the secuROM problems have been fixed, however if you own FEAR you may want to update to this version - although it's not urgent that you do. It doesn't contain any performance improvements.

Update: A range of people are complaining that the 1.02 patch has introduced new problems for them, such as FEAR not starting up and in-game graphics glitches. You may want to hold off on applying this patch. I'm also wondering if 1.02 enables the in-game console, but I have yet to confirm this.

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