Larry Hosken: New: Tag: pedestrian

Google Streetview knows Muir Woods trails

Why walk the Steep Ravine trail like a chump when you can traverse it virtually through street view?

There's the Steep Ravine, the Matt Davis, much of the Dipsea… I was thinking of walking the Dipsea, wondering how well it was marked. In these enlightened times, it's well-marked in real and virtual realities.

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Wanted: Mnemonic for Proper Coyote Hazing

What this photo is failing to show you is a coyote peeking out from amongst the eucalyptus trees uphill from UCSF Parnassus Heights, i.e., really really close to where I live.

That's from my walk this morning. I guess I should learn how to behave around coyotes, since they're evidently settling into the neighborhood. From the leaflet I saw on my walk yesterday on Telegraph Hill, I remembered that I was either definitely supposed to "haze" the coyote or definitely not supposed to "haze" the coyote depending on what month it was and some other things. Here, to "haze" a coyote means to yell at it and annoy it so that it doesn't get too comfortable with humans.

Anyhow, now that I'm back home I can look at this Project Coyote flyer. It says…

Don’t haze if it is March through July, and you are in a park or open space and think you could be near a coyote den, or if you think that pups could be present.

Haze if a coyote approaches you in a park or in a neighborhood, or if you see a coyote who is comfortable walking your street or visiting yards.

I've forgotten that "March through July" before, so I want a mnemonic for that. Then again, maybe that would be necessary but not sufficient. Maybe the Project Coyote people, upon encountering a coyote in some environment, have opinions about whether they "could be near a coyote den." But of course, I have no idea; I'm not even sure what counts as "close" for this purpose.

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Further Around the Bay

I walked more of the way around the bay. You may recall that my walk most of the way around the bay last month skipped a few parts that seemed too dangerous for walking; and a part that didn't seem too dangerous, but made sense if you were already planning to ride the bus past the dangerous parts… Except that I later found out about another bus line, a bus line that meant I could skip the dangerous parts but not-skip El Sobrante, Pinole, Hercules, Rodeo, and Crockett. Anyhow, last week I walked through El Sobrante, Pinole, Hercules, Rodeo, and Crockett (riding the bus between Rodeo and Crockett because: scary).

Have you ever wondered why Hercules has a bus line called 10 GEMS BIRDS. I didn't wonder—because I didn't even know it had such a bus line. Did you know there's a bar called The Green Lantern that doesn't seem to have anything to do with comic books? I found out about these and other things on this walk.

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That time I walked most of the way around the bay

I took eight days and walked most of the way around the bay. I wrote down some things that happened, took some photos. Let's hope I left out the tedious parts and included only the interesting parts.

I wasn't hugging the coastline of the bay. I don't like wetlands that much. And in some places you can't walk along the coast without trespassing. Instead, I let Foursquare pick out interesting places for me to visit along the way. Some of those were scenic spots on the coast. But others were taquerillas and stranger things, many of which I hadn't visited before.

Anyhow: You can read Around.

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I finally tried a Detour audio tour. These tours are like a neighborhood audio tour that you listen to on headphones, but use your phone's geolocation to figure out if you're at the right place to hear the next bit. They work by means of an iPhone app; but for the Market Street Prototyping Festival (I love all of the undefineds on that page, little gaps in JS APIs reminding us of what we can expect of prototypes.), the kind Detour folks were loaning out iPhones, so Android users such as myself could try it out. (Though it took me a few minutes to figure out how to turn the phone on. The next person who tells me about elegant iPhone ease-of-use should brace for cussing.)

tl;dr: Detour's a cool app, but the wise content creator won't lean on the newfangled features too hard; rather, concentrate on creating some great audio and let the app features complement that.

I was curious how/if this app could work. Playing with Munzee and Ingress, I knew the frustration of an app that only worked right if it at least kinda knew where you were—because with geolocation nowadays, your phone is all-to-often a half-block off. This sample audio tour took place along Market Street, which is pretty bouncy, GPS-signal-wise. How could the audio-tour folks put together something that worked smoothly if it was only dimly aware of where I was?

Well, it didn't know exactly where I was. At one point, it told me to go stand next to a BART entrance. I did, and wondered why the app's narration didn't resume. I hauled the phone out of my pocket, looked at the app's wayfinding compass—and saw it was directing me 100m forward, crashing through a construction fence. Instead, I Brownian motioned around until the app un-confused itself and resumed telling me where to go.

But that only happened once. I doubt that's because the app always had a firm grasp of where I was. Rather, it's because the tour's content built in some "wiggle room" for geolocation. It told me where to go and gave me plenty of time to get there. It gave me so much time, I think I walked past its waypoints a few times. At one point, it told me to cross Market St. to Midtown Jewelry—which was behind me by a block.

(I may have walked even faster than my usual jumble hop. I think the distraction of the audio made me concentrate more on walking, concentrate more on dodging around people. Janet Cardiff's video walk in SFMOMA made my brain concentrate on dodging things that were no longer there. This audio tour got me similarly focused, but only on things that were there.)

Parts of the tour took place inside the Main Library. These didn't seem to use geolocation. (Obviously not GPS inside. Did it try to geo-locate? The app has permission to use bluetooth. Is there such a thing as a bluetooth beacon that you could put inside the library? IDK. Anyhow.) Instead, these relied on user pausing the narration if they fell behind.

It makes you think: Was this app with its fancy-pants geolocation easier or harder to use than a plain ol' audio player with a pause/resume button? I think it's easier. Not for me, not on this particular tour, but in general: this app is easier than a plain ol' audio player. This particular tour only sent me to places that I knew about. It was easy to get ahead of the narration; I never felt lost. But what if I'd been an out-of-towner? Or what if I'd been in some part of the city I didn't know? Then that built-in wayfinding compass, the built-in map—those would have been darned nice to have.

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Over-Engineered Walks: Pittsburg

Yesterday, I walked from the Pittsburg/Bay Point BART station to Old Town Pittsburg and back.

This was my last walk chosen by that "Geocaching Vicinity" system. It was a good system. It was a good way to pick walks. For example, it got me to visit Pittsburg, which I hadn't seen before. Cooling towers, windmills, cow pastures: Pittsburg has all these and more. So why stop using that system? Bay Area transit riders might recognize that "Pittsburg/Bay Point BART station" as a line terminal. Specifically, it's the terminal furthest from my apartment. (I might use future BART station openings as an excuse to dust off this walk-choosing technique.) I've taken this system as far as I can unless I'm willing to devote more of my "walk" time to sitting-while-riding-to-walking-places.

Maybe a system like the original "geocache vicinity" but without so much backtracking? Maybe a system that chooses a walk's starting location from the set of intercity transit stop locations within an hour of my apartment? Maybe… maybe I'll keep thinking it over.

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I finally figured out there's no great way for me to walk south off of San Bruno mountain, a.k.a., the dramatic hill from the end of the WHO game.

Ages ago, when I wanted to take a long walk, I used the "keep walking south" rule to pick my route. This was a good rule: I didn't have to think about it very hard. This was a not-so-good rule: depending on how it played out, I'd find myself on top of San Bruno mountain with no further-south place to aim for. Trail maps showed some trails heading down; it wasn't so easy to spot those trails when actually up there.

A while back (a couple of years ago?) I tried walking down a fire road; it got pretty steep at a couple of points. To get down without fallng, I scrambled around on all fours for a bit. It was kind of scary. Maybe someone with better balance than mine could have made it down with no worries… but I am a bit tall and gangly. I didn't really want to do that again.

In my time off, I've been taking some long-ish walks. For a couple of those walks, I tried hiking up San Bruno mountain from the south, to figure out where its down-trails started. One of those was the trail I'd already tried. But the other one was new, and seemed less steep; though it got kind of undefined where it hit a fence around a water tank. But BUT it was a new trail to try walking down.

So today, I tried walking down that trail. It was less steep than the other, but still steep enough to get me down on all fours at a couple of points; and at another point, I still slipped and fell on my butt.

So it was a bit of a tumble, but also a bit of a triumph: now I'll stop wondering if I've been overlooking some easy way to head south from there.

Thus this morning, I triumphantly walked the streets of South San Francisco, tapping at my phone to update Swarm: I'd survived falling down.

And then I walked into a signpost because I was looking at my phone instead of where I was going. Served me right.

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Overloaded Name

If you say
Gordon Moore, as in "Moore's Law"
…now we have to ask if you mean the Intel co-founder's rule of thumb about computer hardware advances or the San Francisco beat cop.

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Book Report: Cool Gray City of Love It's a book about San Francisco. Something of a cross between a history and a gazetteer; it's a collection of 49 essays, each using a San Francisco neighborhood as a leaping-off point for talking abo...

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Book Report: A Sense of Direction In which the author goes on a few walking pilgrimages, though he is not himself religious. He discusses what folks got out of pilgrimages back in the day. Similarly, he discusses what they get out of...

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Assumption school exists. The jokes practically write themselves. ...

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Over-engineered Walks a year later: Munzee I still play Munzee, in which folks post the GPS coordinates of barcode stickers, and I go find and scan those bar codes. Since you only get credit for scanning any particular Munzee once, it gives m...

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Over-Engineered Walks a Year Later: randomized deck from index cards I still let some written-on index cards figure out my walking route to work each morning. If my route doesn't bring me to the correct block, then I take the last card, cross out its number, and write...

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Over-Engineered Walks a Year Later: Geocache Vicinity When I want to get out from behind the computer and go for a walk and don't want to choose the route myself, I still do this: Choose a geocache that I haven't visited yet that's a little further away...

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Larry Lane …as encountered on a walk through the Oakland Hills ...

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Nautical Flags, Richmond Posting this just in case it shows up later as a Shinteki puzzle site, you know? ...

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even Stanford Campus and/or the Moon This long weekend was all about location-based games, mostly out in the world. Played Shinteki's Stanford Puzzle Tour Failed to Real-Escape the Moon Base Followed a Hash House Harriers trail from th...

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Happy National Poetry Month I saw a poem this morning: Parent demonstrates-by-example how to look both ways… ...

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Updated a photo of McGrouther-Conradi tacks with an informative message I got about their history. ...

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How to be sure a site is GPS-friendly? How do I know if a place is "glitchy" for GPS? I thought it was enough to just glance at my phone-map for a few seconds, but now I don't know what to think. The other day, I met friends downtown. I ...

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OK, I've tried Ingress now It's another location-based game; Egnor finally nudged me over into trying it. By checking in at one spot and then checking in at a nearby spot, I drew a line segment on a map between those two spots...

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To try a game prototype where the "map" depends on where you physically play, go to Amnesia Fortnight, pony up a few bucks, vote for "Buried Metropolis," and hope for good luck. That's the skinny. H...

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Book Report: The Ludic City Mostly, an academic jots down observations of people goofing around in cities' public spaces. Pedestrians waggle their arms. Buskers and street crazies accost passers-by. Bicyclists ride in perhaps-s...

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The plan was to stick some Munzee barcodes to things. Things did not go according to plan. I tried sticking a barcode under a utility box and the barcode fell right off—the box was covered with...

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even 10.4 N 75.5 W This morning, I had the spirit to look up. Above the usual eye-level was a crudely taped-up laminated message, triva-lly cluing a certain location. (Not my location; I was in San Francisco, USA, of c...

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Over-Engineered Walks: Munzee Addendum Last week, the Munzee folks must have spidey-sensed that a puzzle-hunt enthusiast was writing about their geocaching-in-the-age-of-smartphones game. We know this because soon afterwards, they launche...

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Over-engineered Walks: Munzee Munzee is a game that encourages you to go places, something like Geocaching in the age of smartphones. In Geocaching, you are given a set of lat/long coordinates; you go there, you find a little con...

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Over-engineered Walks: randomized deck from index cards A few weeks back, Brian Enigma posted in response to one of these "Over-engineered walks" posts: @lahosken Or get a set of DiceCards and remove/ignore the ones with a north or diagonal compass. Or ma...

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Over-engineered Walks: Geocache Vicinity When I'm traveling and I want to to do some semi-random wandering, I look for geocaches, little boxes hidden around the world whose lat/longitudes are posted on a website. Except I don't really look ...

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Tonight's talk wasn't recorded, which is too bad because it touched on The-Game-ish themes. Participants move through space, facing challenges which they overcome as a group. Still, that lack of reco...

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Over-engineered Walks: Dice Around the start of 2012, I started work at Google's San Francisco office. I walked to work, but quickly got tired of walking the direct route day after day. I started walking a different route each ...

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Over-engineered Walks: Keep Walking South I walk for exercise. I don't like deciding where to go, though. I set up systems to make that decision for me, so I can enjoy the breeze and the sweet, sweet endorphins. Complicating these systems: I...

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Vertical garden, Hickory Alley ...

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A resident addressed me: "It would be interesting to set up a time-lapse camera here." I was walking at Waldo Point Harbor in Sausalito, a big houseboat area. Specifically, I was stepping off a tempo...

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The people of Brisbane, California, decorate the town's fire plugs. When a fire plug wears out, they don't want to discard their art, so they have a plug preserve. ...

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New-to-me Golden Gate Bridge overlook by Battery Godfrey ...

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The @Shinteki logo, before it was a triangle, was a seated discus thrower. (Specifically, it was a mash-up of Rodin's Thinker and Discus Thrower statues.) That was pretty funny because ha ha who thin...

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Photo: Niantic Ave If you walk from San Francisco to the Daly City BART station, you could pass this. ...

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Saw a Hash House Harriers pack run past, my first time seeing a live pack instead of just leftover chalk marks on the ground. At first I was kind of disappointed. I thought "If I were the hare, I wo...

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Windows Phone event setting up at San Francisco @BillGrahamCivic, preparing for major crowd control. ...

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Link: SpliceVine interview with Sara Thacher @thacher is a big name in the @jejuneinstitute game and other TransMedia experience/game/thingies. This site about video editing(?!) interviewed her, and she mentions an early influence: Janet Cardif...

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My high school chums and I used to go to the No-Name Sushi restaurant every so often. We stopped going after it caught fire. (How does a restaurant specializing in raw fish catch fire? Anyhow.) I wal...

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@HollowSF now has @DandelionChoco. nextdoorsweets.com is open and serving boba and gelato. I'm gonna get fat. ...

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I used to stop in at the Roastery for the decor. They used Papyrus font despite being across the street from an art school. I always wondered what woke the art students up more: the coffee or the gra...

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People are surprised that Barefoot Contessa's at @sfcarts Stanyan/Waller. But "no shoes, no service" law sez she's gotta eat outdoors. ...

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Each morning, a food truck pulls up behind the San Francisco opera house. Its car horn plays the bugle tune First Call. A night at the opera meets a day at the races. ...

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I walked home a different way yesterday and bumped into #OccupySF . It's a real thing. You know how sometimes you read a news report of a protest, but eventually figure out it was just a half-dozen p...

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I walked south and took some photos http://goo.gl/nQMb5 ...

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Puzzle Hunts were everywhere, even the Magic Mountain area at Coyote Point park I went for a walk partway down the peninsula this morning. At one point, I realized I was walking past the Coyote Point playground, the one with the big castle-themed play structure. This site was th...

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I went on a walk this morning. I took a few photos. ...

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Wooly Pig Cafe There's a Wooly Pig Cafe 3rd Ave and Hugo in San Francisco. I feel like I scored some kind of "scoop" by discovering this cafe by walking around instead of by reading Heath Putnam's Wooly Pig blog. ...

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In the Haight, trading words with a tattooed dope fiend is old news; but shopping in a supermarket is novel. ...

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Art Hunts are Everywhere, even the Presidio I was just reminded of a walk I recently took in San Francisco's Presidio. There was an art event going on around the Fort Winfield Scott area; exhibits scattered around outside. You could approach...

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, but the Edges are Fuzzy On my way to Saturday's excellent Shinteki Decathlon game, I swung by a few places to take care of a few things. E.g., I stopped to take an unhurried look at that worn-down Jejune sticker I'd spotte...

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, Even the Marin Headlands and maybe the Seat in Front of me on the Bus There was that awesome Shinteki Decathlon game a couple of weeks ago. One of the clue sites was Hawk Hill, a high hill in the Marin Headlands. It seemed like a neat site, so... yesterday I went bac...

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Link: Ken Jennings roolz San Francisco City Hall runs this town. And who runs city hall? Not Gavin Newsom--he's bumbling around, grooming himself for a gubernatorial run. Fortunately Jeopardy star Ken Jennings stepped in to keep city ha...

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even San Jose I like The Game. I like the puzzles, but in between puzzles, I like hopping into a van and zipping around, visiting interesting places. Even though... all too often we don't really linger at the in...

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Follow-up: SFZero Suggestion Box You may recall that last month, I stumbled onto a suggestion box on Waller and Steiner streets. This suggestion box, as it turned out, was part of a game. This game, SF0, is a sort of mutual-dare c...

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Not-Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, but especiially at Waller and Steiner On my way back home from the library, I encountered a nicely-made suggestion box at the Northeast corner of Waller and Steiner. Signage encouraged passers-by to write suggestions on index cards and ...

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Book Report: The Roads to Sata In this travelog, our hero walks the length of Japan, from the tippy-top of Hokkaido, the length of Honshu, down south past Sakurajima. This was in the 1980s, and gaijin were mysterious; he encounte...

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Can I Mooch a Ride from San Francisco to Mars Saturday Morning? Dear Lazyweb-- I'm volunteering at the Googol Conglomerate tomorrow, i.e., Saturday. I could spend three hours getting there from San Francisco on CalTrain. But I'd much rather mooch a ride with y...

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Book Report: New Yorker Feb 14 & 21 2005 I read the New Yorker in stack order; magazines are not pushed on the stack at publish-time, but are queued elsewhere for a nontrivial time; that is, I don't read them in chronological order. So you ...

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere I stepped off the streetcar two stops early tonight. I wanted to walk a ways. I had recovered from my wild and crazy weekend. I was no longer hobbling around--I could walk. So I wanted to walk, g...

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Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere Peter Tang just rented a new apartment. Today Steven, 'Lene and I went over to paint some of the walls. Watching paint dry is not interesting. So between coats we headed out for lunch. As we walk...

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Park Challenge Today Team Unwavering Resolve (a.k.a. Steven Pitsenbarger, Paul du Bois, and I) played in Park Challenge, a puzzle hunt game organized by the Desert Taxi folks. It was a fun stroll in Golden Gate Pa...

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Book Report: A Walk In the Woods Bill Bryson confirms that hiking is difficult. This book was OK. Tags: book | Appalachian Trail |Labels: book, ok, pedestrian...

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