Feb 25, 2010

Cairo-Dock in Bauer-Puntu 10.04

I know that I just finished with Bauer-Puntu 9.10R2, and so far it seems to be a really big hit. Apparently what people want is a USB stick with tools they can actually USE on a daily basis! Go figure! Anyway, since 9.10R2 is so popular (Well, as popular as a no-name distro can be) I am already thinking about the next release which of course will be version 10.04 and based on Lucid Lynx.

I think I will keep with the same formula as 9.10R2, which is to have a healthy balance of fun stuff (i.e. social networking, social media, etc) as well as useful tools for the computer tech/system administrator crowd (Virus scan, Windows password reset, disk partitioning, etc).

One more thing to add to the mix is a little eye candy, so I thought it would be fun to install Cairo-Dock by default. Here is a glimpse of what it might look like. I installed Cairo-Dock on Bauer-Puntu 9.10R2 here:



What do you think? Do you like animated Mac-like docks? There are others besides Cairo-Dock. Which one(s) do you like? Let me know in the comments.

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Feb 24, 2010

Checking in With Kip Kay: DVD Stash Box

One of the best sites for random mods is KipKay.com. I periodically check out his site to see what that guy is up to, and many times I have put his videos here on Bauer-Power. Kip is a real life MacGyver who makes really cool things out of common household items. This particular project is no different.

In this video, Kip shows us what we need to do to take an old DVD drive, or CD drive and turn it into a really cool stash box that can hold spare cash, SD cards or as he said “spare catnip” for his cat (Yeah right). Anyway, he guts his DVD drive, then re-wires it with a batter so pushing the front button opens and closes it as it would if it were installed in a desktop PC.

Don’t take my word for it though, check it out:



Pretty neat right? Sure, maybe it isn’t all that practical, but if you wanted to try it out, it will give you something to do.

Via KipKay

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Feb 23, 2010

Easily Restore Deleted Active Directory Objects

Today I walked into the office with a little bit of a shocker. One of the Help Desk users said that his, and another user’s active directory accounts on our parent company’s domain had miraculously vanished. WTF? The only changes to active directory the previous day was my co-worker was setting up OCS, and that require some schema changes. I am not sure why those schema changes would delete accounts, but whatever, this is the problem I was facing when I walked in (Still no coffee yet either).

Well it turned out to not be that huge of a deal because I found a really awesome free tool that easily finds deleted active directory objects, and with a click of the button restores them. The way active directory deletes objects is pretty cool, and it also makes it relatively easy to recover. According to Petri, “When an object is deleted from Active Directory, it is not immediately erased, but is marked for future deletion…The marker used to designate that an AD object scheduled to be destroyed is called "tombstone". A tombstone is an object whose IsDeleted property has be set to True, and it indicates that the object has been deleted but not removed from the directory, much like a deleted file is removed from the file allocation table but the data is not actually removed from the drive.”

The tool I used to recover the objects is called ADRestore.net. To use it you simply install it on one of your domain controllers, then click Enumerate Tombstones. Find the missing object (User, OU, Computer, Etc) click on it and hit restore. Easy as pie!


Yes! This works on 2008 Active Directory’s as well as 2003. How do I know? Because we are a 2008 native shop! Here is a list of the main features available:

  • Browsing the tombstones
  • Domain Controller targeting
  • Can be used with alternative credentials (convenient if you do not logon to your desktop as Domain Admin, which you should never do anyway)
  • User/Computer/OU/Container reanimation
  • Preview of tombstone attributes

Know of some other good, free tools for recovering deleted AD objects? Hit us up in the comments!

Feb 22, 2010

Episode 18 – How To Wipe A Hard Drive Remotely

I promised this back in December, and now the wait is over! I mentioned that I was going to be doing a Bauer-Power episode on wiping a hard drive remotely, and here you go. Along with the utility I mentioned back in December, I will also show you how to wipe select folders, or files using a free Sysinternals command line utility called Sdelete.

In both methods, I am using Microsoft Outlook 2007 as the vehicle for wiping the drive, and I am launching the wipes using an email with a key word in the subject line. Very Mission Impossible type stuff if you ask me.

In the show I give two very lame scenarios on when you might need this. The first one was if the authorities were busting down your door, and they wanted information off your computer (Which of course isn’t wherever they arrested you… I know, LAME!). The other scenario is if you are a disgruntled employee who just got called into HR to get canned. In both cases you could theoretically get an email out to your laptop/desktop to either wipe the whole thing, or just select files. Either way, this was more of an experiment to see if it could be done. As you can see in the video, you certainly can:

If you want to try this out yourself, you can download the programs I used here:

As Mentioned in the video, I got the idea of using Outlook from my buddy Karl over at AskTheAdmin.com when he first blogged about using Outlook to kick off a script. You can read his post here: (Make Outlook Your Biznatch…)

If you want to watch the full drive wiping, you can watch my teaser video from December here:

If you have some better ideas on why and when to do this, I would love to hear them in the comments!

Feb 19, 2010

Outlook Won’t Open!

Today I didn’t cleanly shutdown my laptop, because I was in a hurry to reboot it and boot up to Bauer-Puntu Linux on my USB stick to take a look at some different application docks that I might use in the next release. Anyhoo, to get back on topic, when I was finished I rebooted my laptop back into Windows 7. That is when I discovered that I couldn’t open Microsoft Outlook 2007. WTF?

Now, I have seen this before on other people’s computers, but never really had it happen to me. Since I had seen this before I knew what to do. I once read on a forum that the way to fix this is to do a system restore. Um… drastic much? No, Outlook comes with some built in switches so you can easily fix problems like the one I had today.

When I opened Outlook I got an error saying:

Cannot start Microsoft office outlook. Cannot open the Outlook window


To fix it, all I had to do was click on Start>Run and type in the following command then click OK:

outlook.exe /resetnavpane

Done! Fixed! Best thing? I didn’t have to use system restore!

If you want to know all of the cool Outlook 2007 switches visit this link from the Microsoft Office Website: (Outlook 2007 Switches)

Feb 18, 2010

How To Change The Start Button in Windows 7

I like to customize my installs. I don’t know why, but I just can’t leave what the software developers, and graphic artists gave me by default! I guess that is the underlying reason why I made Bauer-Puntu Linux. Windows is no exception. In Windows XP, I would use programs like StyleXP to change the boot up splash, and the theme. I hated the default blue and green, and just had to make it something that not too many people had.

Now I am using Windows 7 (When I use Windows) and although Windows 7 looks a million times better than Windows XP out of the box, when the opportunity comes to tweak it to make it look a litter more unique, I am going to jump all over it!

I found a program that will let you change the way your start button looks in Windows 7! Check it out, here is how your start button normally looks:


And here is how it could look with a little Bauer-Power!


The program is called The Windows 7 Start Button Changer, and it comes with 10 different buttons so you can make your Windows 7 install unique. It also has an option to backup explorer.exe before you make any changes so you can revert back if you really screw things up.


If you want to download a version that has the Bauer-Power logo (Plus a bunch of other extra orbs), I have repackaged it and uploaded it to my FTP server here: (Windows Start Button Changer w/ Bauer-Power)

What other free tools do you use to change the look and feel of Windows 7 to make it a little less like Bill gates, and a little more like you? Let us know in the comments!

Feb 17, 2010

Close All Open Programs At Once

I am going to give you some scenarios. Some, hypothetical situations if you will. First scenario; Let’s say you work the standard 9 to 5 gig. It is 4:59 and you have 30 windows open, what do you do hotshot? What do you do? I suppose you could spend the next five or ten minutes manually closing out of each application, but in a worse case situation, you won’t be getting out until 5:10! We can’t have that! Not when there is beer to drink!

Second scenario; you have a very important presentation, and you have to take your laptop across town. Same as above, you have 30 programs and windows open. You have to shutdown fast. What do you do?

I’ll tell you what you can do, you can download a free program called Close All. It works in Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. It even has a 64 bit version. Just download it it to your program files directory, and create a shortcut on your desktop, or quick launch. Now you can close all 30 windows in one click! I dropped mine in C:\Windows\System32 so I can just close my windows it from the run line.


Ok, in the above scenarios, you could possibly just lock your screen and leave your windows open. If you are “that guy” more power to you. I prefer to have nothing running when I take off for the day. To each their own I guess. Also, I am sure that this might cause problems in some applications that need to be cleanly shut down, so exercise some caution when using it.

This application can help you out in this type of a situation:


So what do you think? Useful application? Are you going to try it out? Know of a better one? Let us know in the comments.

Feb 16, 2010

Geeky Arts and Crafts Time! Paper Tux!

How many of you out there love Linux? How many of you out there love Tux? How many of you out there love mutha-friggin’ arts and crafts time? Okay, maybe we are not in kindergarten anymore, but it doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun with some paper and scissors right? I mean, it is for a good cause. You know, decorating your work desk with geeky stuff!

I found this little gem in my recent Internet travels. It is a cutout model of the Linux mascot Tux himself! Just cutout the pieces, and put him together to show off your geeky pride! It is that simple!


For full instructions and full size printout, you can download the PDF from my FTP server here: (Tux Instructions)

Don’t forget to tell all of your friends!

Via Digital Kamera

Feb 12, 2010

The Best Valentine’s Day Gift Ever!

It’s that time of years boys! That’s right, Sunday is  Valentine’s Day! According to Wikipedia, “The holiday is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentine and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). The holiday first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.”

Many men will rush out and buy their ladies something expensive like jewelry, or perhaps will take them out to a fancy dinner at an expensive restaurant. Well, I’m here to tell you that valentine’s day doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, all you need is an old box with a lid, and a pair of scissors. I learned this from Saturday Night Live! Just follow these three instructions, and your lady will be putty in your hands for Valentine’s day. Ready?

  1. Get yourself a box
  2. Cut a hole in the box
  3. Put your junk in the box
  4. Make her open the box

Yep, it is that easy. If you aren’t much of a reader, and you learn better with pictures. Here is an infographic showing how to make your lady the perfect Valentine’s gift:


Still not following huh? Well, lets let the original video that started this phenomenon do the talking:


Awe yeah, she’ll get that special feeling when you give her this gift. You know what I’m sayin’. This reminds me of that time I got a Volcano Box at Taco Bell. Delicious!

On a serious note, what kind of stuff are you doing for your loved one on Valentine’s day? Let us know in the comments!

Feb 11, 2010

Dual Boot Android and Windows Mobile

I caught this on Digg yesterday and had to share it with you in case you missed it. Apparently some developers over on the XDA forums have released a free tool that will allow you to dual boot your Windows Mobile device with Android! That’s right! Dual-mutha-friggin-boot!

In the video, the narrator hacked his HTC Touch Pro 2 (aka the AT&T Tilt 2) device so it can run either Windows Mobile or the Nexus One ROM. According to the original article, “Using the Google Android mobile software ROM, your Windows Mobile hardware runs like an Android mobile phone, just like the Nexus One.”

Here is the video:


For the full instructions take a look at the step-by-step instructions from Androgeek.com.

Feb 10, 2010

Meetings: Essential or Time/Money Waste?

I found an interesting website the other day and thought I would share it with you. How many of you get stuck in meetings that seem to be pointless and accomplish absolutely nothing? Come on, I can’t be the only one! Now I have to say that in my current position I don’t have to go to that many meetings luckily, however at my last gig I used to get pulled into meetings for hours on end that frankly I had no business being in, and didn’t apply to me at all.

Seriously, I was one of three Systems Administrators, and each of us had our own projects and responsibilities. Some of the responsibilities I did not have were SAN maintenance and configuration, yet for some reason I got pulled into every meeting we had about the SAN. I would be stuck in there for one or two hours without saying a single word! I used to wonder how much company money we were wasting by having me sit in a meeting and not working on my projects. Well now I can get a good idea.

Introducing MEETorDIE:


With MEETorDIE you can input your company name, the industry you work in, how many employees your company had, how long the meeting is/was and who is in it (CEO, Manager, Ad Agency Clown etc). With all of that input they will tell you approximately how much money your meeting wasted!

Try it out. I want to know how much your meetings are wasting in the comments!

Feb 9, 2010

A Better Way To Make Custom Live Linux CD's

Right! Of course just after I release a new version of Bauer-Puntu Linux I find a better way of making my custom live CD and USB! In fact, it uses the same back end scripts the Debian Linux team uses. The utility is called Live-Helper, and up until recently had no GUI interface to make things simple.

Well a team of Python geniuses made a GUI front end that makes building a standard ISO, USB Image, or a Netboot Tarball easy as a wizard! The GUI front end is called Live-Magic. Because Ubuntu is a Debian based distro, it is available in the Ubuntu repositories. What does that mean? It means installing it is as simple as using apt-get!

>sudo apt-get install live-magic

Here is a screen shot:

From what I can tell there are two main scripts involved with making the Live Distro. The scripts are lh_configure and lh_build. Here is what each does per their page:

lh_config Procedure

lh_config is a shell script to prepare the current directory as a workspace to build Debian Live images. It accepts a number of command line parameters (see lh_config --help) influencing the kind of image to build and other aspects of the build process, and generates configurations in the config subdirectory.

lh_build Procedure

lh_build is a shell script to automagically create Debian Live images for you. The image generation is as simple as:

  • cdebootstrap a debian standard system in a subdirectory.
  • apt-get install the linux kernel image together with squashfs, unionfs modules and the live-initramfs image generator.
  • Install the proper flavour packages with right preseeded questions.
  • Clean things up
  • Compress this rootfs as a squashfs image.
  • Copy out the kernel and initramfs image.
  • Assemble the iso, hd or netboot final image.
I am just starting to play with this tool now. So far, so good. As I am writing this, I am building a test ISO. If everything comes out well, I may be replacing Remastersys in Bauer-Puntu 10.04. I really like the idea of being able to make the ISO and USB image all in one application instead of making the ISO, then having to use Unetbootin and Roadkil's disk image utility.

What do you think? Have you tried Live-Magic? What about Remastersys or UCK? What is your favorite Live-CD creation tool? Let us know in the comments.

[EDIT] - Okay, so I was way wrong about this. The wizard is very user friendly, however nothing happens. I left this program running over night and it gets caught on the "Retrieving Release" stage forever and never progresses. Looks like Remastersys is still number 1.

Feb 8, 2010

Download Bauer-Puntu Linux 9.10R2

I was teaching at my college the other night when I had an epiphany. I needed to reset the local password on one of my student’s lab workstations in order to fix a problem. It was at that instant I realized that I didn’t have any of my password reset disks, or hacker live CD’s. All I had was my trusty 1GB thumb drive with Bauer-Puntu 9.10 installed. Then I thought to myself, “Self, why don’t you install a Windows password recovery tool on Bauer-Puntu?”

Good idea right? I thought, that I would definitely do that for the next distro of Bauer-Puntu. So what’s the big deal? Well, Bauer-Puntu 10.04 will not be available until after April. I wanted something a little sooner than that! That is when I decided I would just re-lease another version of Bauer-Puntu 9.10, and call it R2! Why not right? It works for Microshaft!

I didn’t stop there though. I thought, that if I was going to go through the pain of re-vamping Bauer-Puntu, why not add some other tools that an I.T. guy on the go could use. So I did! Along with the original features of Bauer-Puntu 9.10 which are:

  • New chat client – Empathy
  • Upstart for faster boot
  • New Software Center
  • Gnome 2.28
  • Ubuntu One
  • Ext4 by default
  • Grub 2 by default
  • And a few others. See the release notes for more info
  • Flock as the default web browser
  • Adobe Air and Twhirl
  • Penguin TV
  • GParted
  • Removed the Shit Brown!

I also installed the following tools:

Other than that, it looks the same. Here are the old screenshots:

Bauer-Puntu Xsplash


Bauer-Puntu login

Login Screen

Bauer-Puntu Desktop


Bauer-Puntu flockRSS

Flock w/ RSS Reader

Bauer-Puntu installer


Here are a couple of new ones:

chntpw on Bauer-PuntuHacking Windows 7 Administrator Account


Scanning a Windows Drive for Viruses

You can download the Live DVD iso image here: (Bauer-Puntu ISO)

You can download the Live USB image here: (Bauer-Puntu USB)

For the writing the USB image on Windows, I recommend using the Roadkil's Disk Image utility available here: (Roadkil's Disk Image Portable)

For writing the USB image in Ubuntu I recommend using the USB-ImageWriter program. See here for instructions: (IMG to USB)

Once again, if you are a netbook user just run the following from the terminal to install the Netbook Remix version:

>sudo apt-get install ubuntu-netbook-remix

So now you can carry around your trusty USB stick with Bauer-Puntu 9.10R2 on it the next time you have a nasty malware infection, or if some joker changed the local administrator password on a company Windows box, or if you want to make a quick “Ghost” image of your drive. Maybe you just need to recover your mother-in-law’s pictures; who cares? You’re covered!

I mentioned before that 10.04 is coming up. What kind of tools do you want to see in the next version of Bauer-Puntu? More desktop tech utilities? More social media apps? Let us know in the comments!

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Feb 5, 2010

Free Alternative to Pandora One

If you haven’t heard of Pandora, then prepare to live! According to Wikipedia, “Pandora is an automated music recommendation and Internet radio service created by the Music Genome Project. Users enter a song or artist that they enjoy, and the service responds by playing selections that are musically similar. Users provide feedback on approval or disapproval of individual songs, which Pandora takes into account for future selections.”

What does that mean in simple terms? It means that if you like a particular artist or song, all you have to do is type it in, and Pandora will automatically play you a million other similar songs! It is probably the best way to listen to free, legal music in my opinion, and by far the best way to find new songs you will enjoy!

So what’s the problem? The problem is that if you don't want to go to their website to listen on your PC, you have to pay $36 per year on their desktop application called Pandora One. Well, I should say, that used to be the case!

I found a free application for Windows called OpenPandora! Here is a list of features from their website:

  • Hide to tray
  • Show song details in tray icon tooltip
  • Popup tray notification balloon with full detail and album art
  • Full control from tray icon - station change, play, pause, skip, like or don't like
  • Control with multimedia keyboard (play, pause and skip)
  • Global shortcuts
  • Support for Logitech G15 keyboard
  • Control with Wiimote
  • Send song details to Last.fm, Microsoft Messenger, Xfire and Skype
  • Display lyrics in external browser window
  • Copy song details to clipboard
  • Customizable title with song, artist and radio station names
  • Keep on top of other windows

Here is a screenshot:


Know of another free Pandora client? Perhaps one for Mac or Linux too? Let us know about them in the comments!

Feb 4, 2010

How To Lockdown Applications in Windows 7 Using AppLocker

This is a Windows 7 only feature don’t be jealous…

Do you want to lock down what applications the kids can run on your shinny new Windows 7 computer? Well they have a little known feature built into the latest and greatest version of Windows. It takes a little know how to get it going but that is what we are here for – right?

First set up the machine in question with the applications you want on it. Install the versions you want to run. Then we will need to open up the Group Policy editor or Local Security Policy Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in.

  1. Click Start, type secpol.msc in the Search programs and files box, and then press ENTER.
  2. In the console tree, double-click Application Control Policies, and then double-click AppLocker.
  3. Right-click Executable Rules, and then click Create Default Rules.
  4. AppLocker rules are automatically created.


To get into AppLocker and more advanced setups check out this page from Microsoft entitled AppLocker step by step scenarios http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee791835%28WS.10%29.aspx.

By Karl Gechlik of AskTheAdmin

Feb 3, 2010

Make Windows Vista and Windows 7 Your Biatch

Back when I used Windows XP all the time I liked to customize it a little bit. You know, make it my own. I also liked to do little tweaks to make Windows run a little more efficiently. A good tool for making little tweaks in Windows XP is TweakUI. Well, apparently there is a tool that can do the same for Windows Vista and Windows 7. Windows 7 is pretty good by itself, but Vista needs some serious help. This tool can do those important little tweaks that can make your Vista or Windows 7 installs hum!

The tool is called the Ultimate Windows Tweaker. With it you can change security settings, boost system performance, customize your install, tweak your network settings and so much more. Like just about everything I blog about, it is 100% free!

From their page:

Ultimate Windows Tweaker is a freeware TweakUI Utility for tweaking and optimizing Windows 7 & Windows Vista, 32-bit & 64-bit. It can simply be downloaded and used as a portable application to customize your Windows to meet your requirements. With judicious tweaking, it can make your system faster, more stable, and more secure with just a few mouse clicks. The tweaker detects whether you have Windows 7 or Windows Vista installed and accordingly offers you the relevant tweaks only.

Here is a screenshot


What tools do you use to customize Windows 7 and Windows Vista? Know of some other good free tools to speed performance of either Windows systems? Let us know in the comments!

Feb 2, 2010

A Good Reason NOT to Use The Google Toolbar

I love me some Google, that is just a fact. However, not all of their freebie products I will use, or  trust. One of them is their new DNS service. They collect enough information about my Internet usage just by my searches, but if all my DNS queries are going through them, then 100% of my internet surfing will be cataloged by the almighty Google. Another freebie from the search giant is the Google Toolbar.

I found this mentioned originally via gHacks Technology News. Apparently a gentlemen by the name of Benjamin Edelman has been doing research on the possibility of privacy issues that arise when using the Google Toolbar. We all know Google collects information, but Benjamin’s findings are still kind of alarming.

In my opinion, there is no need for the Google Toolbar anymore anyway. All new browsers come with Google Search built in. Why add a friggin’ toolbar to the mix? Well, if the fact that all browsers already have Google Search built in is not a good enough reason for you, Mr. Edelman has discovered that the Google Toolbar continues to collect internet usage information even when it is disabled!

Google toolbar

From Benjamin Edelman’s write up:

A user presses "x", then chooses the option to "Disable Google Toolbar only for this window." The entire purpose of that option is to take effect immediately. By the time the user restarts the browser, that option is supposed to turn itself off, and transmissions are supposed to resume . For that option to work as its name promises, Google Toolbar must cease transmissions immediately. Google is right that, once a user restarts the browser, Google no longer falls short of its promise. But that's because Google's promise to stop tracking was a promise limited to a particular browser session -- not because Google ultimately got around to turning off its tracking. Fact is, the "Disable Google Toolbar only for this window" option doesn't work at all: It does not actually disable Google Toolbar for the specified window.

Crucially, these nonconsensual transmissions exactly hit users who are specifically concerned about privacy. A user who requests that Google Toolbar be disabled for the current window is exactly seeking to do something sensitive, confidential, or embarrassing, or in any event something he does not wish to record in Google's logs. This privacy-conscious user deserves extra privacy protection. Yet Google nonetheless records his browsing. Google fails this user -- specifically and unambiguously promising to immediately stop tracking when the user so instructs, but in fact continuing tracking unabated.

Now we all know Google likes to collect user statistics right? We don’t however expect them to collect data from us when we are not using the products, or their products are disabled. I don’t know about you, but that does seem rather shady.

What do you think? Do you have a problem with collecting data even if you disable their software? I want to know how you feel about it. Hit me up in the comments!

Feb 1, 2010

How To Run Trial Software Forever

A few years ago I wrote about a little freeware utility that allowed you to remove the date protection that is found on most trial software. Well, I found another one!

You see, there are so many free trial versions of software out there. The software is really great too, however not good enough to spend a gob of money on them. Maybe you are an open source revolutionary and you don’t believe in paying for software. Maybe you are just a cheap ass bastard like me. We all have our reasons for shady software use.

Now, I am not saying I do it… and of course this article is for educational purposes only, but there are ways to extend the trial date, or at least fool the trial program into thinking it is still running in the trial period.

Enter RunAsDate from NirSoft! Here is a description from their page:nirsoft2

RunAsDate is a small utility that allows you to run a program in the date and time that you  specify. This utility doesn't change the current system date and time of your computer, but it only injects the date/time that you specify into the desired application.
You can run multiple applications simultaneously, each application works with different date and time, while the real date/time of your system continues to run normally.


How it works from their page:

RunAsDate intercepts the kernel API calls that returns the current date and time (GetSystemTime, GetLocalTime, GetSystemTimeAsFileTime), and replaces the current date/time with the date/time that you specify.

Know of another utility that can extend the date for trial ware? Is it free? Post your links in the comments to your favorite trial ware extending tools!

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