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The Almighty Buck Wireless Networking Technology

Get Ready For the High-tech Beach 247

Posted by samzenpus
from the natures-friends-electricity-and-water dept.
coondoggie writes "Ocean City, New Jersey is a nice, family-oriented beach that will apparently soon be the high-tech model for seashore lovers and now perhaps geeks everywhere. The city has on its plate a $3 million plan for myriad public services and Internet access using radio-frequency identification chips (RFID) and Wi-Fi wireless technology. A wireless network will let Ocean City expand economic development and control the cost of local services. Wireless allows the City to save on cell phone usage, T-1 lines, and it adds efficiency. The city is looking to replace its ubiquitous but mostly annoying beach tags — which indicate you paid to get on the beach $5 per day, $10 for a week, or $20 for the whole summer — with wristbands that contain an RFID chip. Yet another cool feature of the high-tech beach will be the ability to track beachgoers — an application that is being touted by parents."
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Get Ready For the High-tech Beach

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  • Hmm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by EmilyColier (76034)

    The city is looking to replace its ubiquitous but mostly annoying beach tags -- which indicate you paid to get on the beach $5 per day, $10 for a week, or $20 for the whole summer -- with wristbands that contain an RFID chip. Yet another cool feature of the high-tech beach will be the ability to track beachgoers -- an application that is being touted by parents."
    Hello big brother.
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Aladrin (926209) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @08:01AM (#19994767)
      I was wondering how long that post would take to appear.

      Unfortunately, I have to agree... -sigh- While this would be great to find your children, should they be unruly or kidnapped, nobody else has a use for this. And the kids would rip it off if they didn't want to be tracked (they're unruly) and the kidnapper would rip it off, too. It's no better than the slips of paper, and probably quite a bit more expensive to implement -and- maintain.

      So who is it better for? People that want to track you. That's it. You can't very well throw anyone out that managed to break theirs (on purpose or not) as they paid their money and can't be held accountable for the technology failing.
      • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by CaptainPatent (1087643) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @08:09AM (#19994825) Journal
        Well the solution is obvious.

        Instead of putting the tags on a flimsy wristband, why not inject them into the patron's blood stream. It may also worry some of you that a kidnapper may just take the kid off of the beach thereby eliminating the ability to track and monitor. This is why it is necessary to expand the sensing to a full nationwide, or better yet worldwide scale.

        I'm big brother, and I'll keep an eye out for you.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by FractalZone (950570)
        The city is looking to replace its ubiquitous but mostly annoying beach tags -- which indicate you paid to get on the beach $5 per day, $10 for a week, or $20 for the whole summer -- with wristbands that contain an RFID chip. Yet another cool feature of the high-tech beach will be the ability to track beachgoers -- an application that is being touted by parents.

        Pardon me for asking, but why are beach tags or RFIDs necessary in the first place? Is the beach in question not a public one? If so, why does
        • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Aladrin (926209) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @09:29AM (#19995593)
          I've already answered this elsewhere, but I'll say it again: Clean beaches aren't free.

          They get paid for somehow, and if you don't charge admission, you have to charge taxes. Why should people who never go to the beach have to pay for it? I personally hate it (phobia) and never go. When I used to go, nobody ever complained about the admission fee.

          I think maybe you've been spoonfed by the government too much if you think everything 'public' should be 'free'. I feel exactly the opposite and people that wish to use a public service should be the ones supporting it. Emergency services/etc are the obvious exception, of course.
          • by blueskies (525815)
            Why don't they just tax all the extremely profitable businesses on the boardwalk since they all benefit from the main draw of the ocean? And if you go to any of the businesses you are indirectly benefiting from the beach because they wouldn't be in business if it wasn't for the beach (think boardwalk in tom's river, nj). Everyone who likes the night life down there benefits from the beach because that's what gets everyone down there. Have a summer "vacation" tax to cover beach benefits. Just think about
          • by Asic Eng (193332)
            if you don't charge admission, you have to charge taxes.

            True, but taxes are more efficient. The amount of overhead you create by charging per user is enormous - you need to put a payment system in place, need to distribute the tags, need to pay people to monitor the system isn't bypassed, etc. It's the same thing as with paying the same postage rate, no matter whether your letter travels a short distance (e.g. within NYC) or a long one (e.g. from Austin to Washington). Paying a flat rate is less fair, bu

            • by galego (110613)
              Granted, I went to public schools. Despite that, I know that you shouldn't mix taxes and efficiency in the same sentence or paragraph without a '!', 'not', or 'never'.
            • Flat rates only benefit the rich, and penalize the poor. Besides, in order to collect taxes, you would need to put a payment system in place, need to pay people to monitor to make sure the system isn't bypassed, establish rules and laws for people trying to not pay, monitor the collection agency to make sure it is on the up and up, etc. So either way you are paying for overhead.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Hans Lehmann (571625)
            Why should people who never go to the beach have to pay for it?

            I've never driven on 90% of the interstate highways in this country, so why should my federal tax dollars be used to build & maintain them?
            I've never needed to go to the emergency room either, so why should I have to pay taxes to support those frivolous hospitals?
            My house has never been attacked by a foreign nation, so why should I foot the bill for our trillion dollar armed forces?
            Get the point?

            I hate the beach as much as you; it's

          • by drsquare (530038)
            All public areas need money to be kept clean, does that mean every single area you visit should charge? $5 to go to the park, $5 to go to the beach, $5 for a walk in the hills, $5 to walk down the street without litter everywhere etc.
          • by kestasjk (933987)
            But then the people using the beach will say "but I'm not the one littering! Why should I have to pay to clear it up?"

            While so much money is being pumped into the global arms race I think it's silly to pinch pennies about keeping public property clean. (Though I do prefer less government spending as opposed to more, I think people have their priorities wrong.)
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mike_the_kid (58164)
          A beach tag costs about $15 for the season, and are available for the week or day as well. The trash and recycling cans on the beach fill up each day, and the beach tag essentially pays for this, as well as lifeguards. There are about five swimming areas per mile, each with two lifeguards. And they also pay some kids to walk up and down the beach checking for / selling tags.

          The beaches are kept safe and clean. People do complain about the cost of the beach tag, but when you consider that people often dr
      • by alienmole (15522)

        So who is it better for? People that want to track you. That's it.

        Although if you're one of those being tracked, it can be more convenient for you, too. Both in the beach pass situation and the customs/passport situation, being able to be cleared as authorized without having to interact with an enforcement official can actually be quite convenient and pleasant.

        I'm not a big fan of this kind of thing -- the possibilities for sliding down the slippery slope towards abuse are endless -- but we have to recogni

    • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

      by MrNaz (730548) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @08:13AM (#19994861) Homepage
      Security Monitor Guy into walkie talkie: Hmm... Jim, I'm seeing JANE_2 and SAM_12 at exactly the same location in some shrubbery behind the dunes. Perhaps they're lost.
      Security Patrolman: Yea I'm watching them now.
      Security Monitor Guy: Why does your voice sound distant?
      Security Patrolman: The walkie talkie is on the ground coz my hands are... occupied.
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

      by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@@@hotmail...com> on Thursday July 26, 2007 @08:37AM (#19995029) Journal
      Hello big brother.

      Big Brother hell!

      What happens when the sharks get wind of this? Not only will they have frickin' lasers on their heads, they'll be able to track our every move with their radio direction sensors.

      Those chips'll be inside fish in no time, you mark my words...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 26, 2007 @07:58AM (#19994753)
    I live in the land of the free....beaches.*

    WTF: you paid to get on the beach $5 per day - Australia may suck big sweaty pendulous donkey balls, but at least we don't have to pay for our beaches.**

    * Not so good as the land of the free biatches

    ** Please return to your scheduled why-noone-needs-wireless-on-the-beach flamefest.
    • by Don_dumb (927108)
      I couldn't careless about the tech or survellance issues in this story. I am sitting here thinking "You have to pay to use the beach". Then I remember a
      Michael Moore's TV Nation where somewhere in the North Eastern US had private (district residents only) beaches, which is even worse. The land of the selfish seems to be a better motto.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Michael Moore's TV Nation where somewhere in the North Eastern US had private (district residents only) beaches, which is even worse. The land of the selfish seems to be a better motto.

        So there are private beaches. There is no reason for every stretch of the coastline to be 100% public access, just as there is no reason for every acre of forest to be 100% public access. Is it that hard to imagine that some people would want to find a quiet little area on the ocean to setup a home. A home that doesn't have a flock of people who have no regard for the residents of the area tramping through their backyards to camp out on that little section of beach. Not every piece of coastline has to

      • by hb253 (764272) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @09:10AM (#19995379)
        I live in New Jersey and am annoyed to no end that we have to pay to use the beach. Worse yet, there are some wealthier commmunities along the shore where the residents think they own the beach. They make it extremely difficult for day visitors by restricting parking and obscuring or outright hiding the beach access points between the mansions. It's sickening, but it seems that money always wins.
        • My family rents a home in North Carolina that sits right on the ocean. There are public access paths just a few meters up and down the road. However, you get a large number of people who will wander under the house with all of their gear to setup camp. Now, I don't mind it usually, but without fail these bozos scrape their aluminum chairs against our cars that are parked under the house. My aunt got a nice scratch in the paint of her car, because these people were too damned lazy to walk down the paths
          • by rtechie (244489)

            My family rents a home in North Carolina that sits right on the ocean. There are public access paths just a few meters up and down the road. However, you get a large number of people who will wander under the house with all of their gear to setup camp.

            "A few meters..." as in a quarter of a mile. If it REALLY was easier to use the access paths, EVERYONE would be doing it. People are probably going under your house because there is no parking anywhere near the access paths. Are you going to volunteer your house for demolition to build a parking lot for visitors?

            People, especially rich people, have to accept the fact that they are not islands. If you live near a PUBLIC resource like the beach, or a park, or an airport, you have to accept noise and discomfo

        • by Anthony Liguori (820979) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @11:34AM (#19997305) Homepage
          I live in New Jersey and am annoyed to no end that we have to pay to use the beach.

          It's for good reason. The individual communities are responsible for maintaining the beaches. This includes cleaning (people leave a ton of trash on the beach), life guards, and sand. Most of the communities along the Jersey shore lose a lot of sand to erosion during the winter and have to periodically buy sand to put on the beaches. This all costs money. There's no reason why only the residents of the communities should bear the cost of this.
        • by twitter (104583)

          there are some wealthier commmunities along the shore where the residents think they own the beach.

          They do the same thing in south Florida. Sometimes, it's even the same people with their second home. It's disgusting but there are people who live within a mile or two of the ocean who've never been to the beach.

        • by spun (1352)
          In Hawaii, the beaches are all free. It is against the law to obscure beach access. Anyone can camp for free on any beach for up to a week. It goes back to old Hawaiian custom, one of the few that haven't been destroyed by missionaries. I've heard missionaries were the ones who introduced acacia trees onto the islands to keep people from hanging out barefoot on the beach, but that may just be an island legend.
    • by Gordonjcp (186804)
      That was my first thought, too. Who would want to pay $20 to go sit on the beach? Especially considering that once you got there, it would be full of the kind of people who would pay $20 to sit on a beach...

      Balmedie ftw.
      • by mikael (484)
        That's Balmedia up on the NE Coast?

        Picture #1 [beachwizard.com]

        Picture #2 [belhelvie.org.uk]
      • by way2trivial (601132) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @10:13AM (#19996085) Homepage Journal
        20$ is the price for the entire summer
        10$ is the price for a week
        5$ is the price for a day.

        (btw, if you snap them up early, it's 15$% for the season)

        This pays for the
        1- DAILY sweeping of the beach with a big ol' sand rake machine along the heaviest portion of the beach (directly in front of the 20 block boardwalk) which sifts through the sand

        and the intermittent raking of other beaches

        2- the lifeguards

        3- the trash removal off the beach/emptying the trash cans...

        strangely, (and I originally found it shocking too) it works.. much like the toll roads, it's a pay to play system.. the nicer motels in town (see my homepage) include them with your stay.... so do most of the condo rentals.. so for those folks, it's free/subsidised by direct spending at area businesses (in my case, a motel) and day trippers also pay in proportion to the # of dollars they leave in the town (i.e. little) someone enriching my business at a few hundred a night doesn't pay the 'tax' directly, but indirectly... someone who comes into town for 8 hours pays more... beacause their direct benefit to the towns economy is a whole lot less....

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by LordBafford (1087463)
      In Ocean City, Maryland the beach is free, people in Jersey are getting ripped off.
      • Who do you think pays for the life guards, beach patrol, cleaning, shore maintenance? The tax payers, so in Maryland, all the people who don't use the beach are paying for your fun. In NJ the people who use it are charged.

        Just like gas prices. In america we think we only pay 3-4$ per gallon, while in Europe, they pay $7. However, most Americans forget that we just spent a TRILLION dollars make sure the oil keeps coming.
        • by drsquare (530038)
          Who do you think pays for the people who clean and maintain public parks? The tax payers, so in Maryland, all the people who don't use the park are paying for your fun. I hope for the sake of not being hypocrites, NJ charges for all public places.
    • The mob probably gets a cut or something. Ocean City MD doesn't charge any fees for beach access. It also has free (though somewhat limited) parking on the beaches.
  • by Glowing Fish (155236) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @08:02AM (#19994771) Homepage
    Since there is a big crowd of Slashdotters who are reasonable luddite-like, and who rightfully decry the unnecessary adding of technology to everything, I am guessing that an article suggesting that what the majestic natural experience of ocean and land needs is RFID tags was perhaps posted knowing that it would cause scorn and derision.

    Which doesn't mean I am not going to fall for the bait.

    Man, is this a stupid idea OR WHAT?
    • by andy1307 (656570)
      Absolutely right. And Wi-Fi internet was Hi-Tech maybe 6 years ago.
    • majestic natural experience of ocean and land
      Er... We're talking Ocean City here. This is beach as playground, not beach as majestic natural experience of ocean and land

      You're still right, it's technology for technology's sake.
    • by robably (1044462)

      there is a big crowd of Slashdotters who are reasonable luddite-like

      A technophile and a technophobe can come to the same conclusion that one aspect of technology is invasive or unnessecary, but that does not mean the technophile is now a technophobe, or that they both used the same logic to get to that conclusion. On the contrary - an understanding of technology makes you more acutely aware of its disadvantages.

      Calling someone who is concerned with how technology affects people's privacy rights a Luddite

  • Is this a joke? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chineseyes (691744) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @08:05AM (#19994795)
    Why on earth would you need wi-fi and rfid at the beach? Maybe its just me but when I go to the beach I don't bring anything that would allow someone to contact me except an old cellphone which is usually OFF. Why an old cellphone? Theft is a huge problem at beaches these days leave your average device that is wi-fi enabled and you'll probably find it gone by the time you are out of the water.
  • by ArcadeX (866171) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @08:10AM (#19994833)
    If we take these rfid tags and throw them in the water, will a lifegaurd come save it? Technology vs. the undertow, and all i want is pam anderson to save me
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      If we take these rfid tags and throw them in the water, will a lifegaurd come save it? Technology vs. the undertow, and all i want is pam anderson to save me

      Sorry, she's not available.

      You get the unusually hairy guy with bad breath. Bummer dude.
  • Wrong Spin (Score:3, Insightful)

    by detain (687995) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @08:12AM (#19994855) Homepage
    Great idea, but they're not focusing on the good parts of it. This shouldnt be about wireless on the beach but more wireless within the city. This is a great technological advancement and something I hope more cities start to do as well.

    As far as wifi on the beach little people will use it, but most people will be using it in the city where the wifi also is.

    RFID tags: great for your kids, wonderful idea.. but not everyone will want these, should be optional.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      I couldn't see bringing a laptop, or any other wireless device to the beach. First, when you want to go in the water, what do you do with it? Trek all the way back to your car and leave it to roast in there? Second, even if you don't plan on going in the water (why are you at the beach), the sand would still be a major problem.
  • C shells by the sea shore.
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday July 26, 2007 @08:21AM (#19994909) Homepage Journal
    I grew up going to the beach. Some of my earliest memories are of fun days at the beach. One thing I've never seen in the last 30 years was public lockers. It just seems like such an obvious thing to me. You go to the beach, you can't swim with your wallet in your pocket. So where do you put it? Under your towel and hope no-one steals it? Pretty much. I asked a friend who is a lifesaver once if he'd ever seen lockers available. He had, but it's pretty rare. Apparently the most common excuse is that the lockers would attract thieves. That's, umm, interesting logic.

    • by Aladrin (926209)
      Maybe it's not logic but experience. I'm sure the beaches can compare the number of theft complaints when they had lockers to when they didn't and see the difference. (Comparing different beaches is harder, of course.)

      There are quite a few thieves out there that see unattended storage as a beacon, where leaving your wallet in your car or house or hotel room, hidden, isn't so much of a beacon.

      I'm sure the headache of people that lose their key/combination or are just plain scamming is another large part of
      • by QuantumG (50515)
        Well, the best way to avoid complaints is to have no-one to complain to.

      • by CaseyB (1105)
        How is a beach fundamentally different from a pool, for any of the issues you mention? By your logic, everyone should keep their wallets wrapped in their poolside towel.
        • by Aladrin (926209)
          Size? Public accessibility? Ownership? Location? All of these things mean that the people are easier to watch and control.
    • by toQDuj (806112)
      Yes, and somehow, everyone assumes that if they put their watch/gsm in their shoe, it is safe. No wait, make that the tip of the shoe, because the thief will only check the first bit of the shoe!

      Just.... don't bring anything valuable or bring friends.

      B.
    • by Otter (3800)
      One thing beaches do need (and this aint it)

      If you'd ever been a lifeguard, you'd definitely see the value of a way to track kids who have wandered off. Reconnecting little kids and parents (or older siblings) is about 40% of what you do on a normal beach, and I can't imagine how much there is on a zoo-like beach like this.

    • by Reziac (43301) *
      From what I've heard and seen, lockers at the beach went away for two reasons:

      1) Vandalism -- there are always dicks who destroy stuff just to be destroying something.

      2) Drug couriers using them for drops.

      As to TFA, it seems to me that having a high tech beach is contrary to the whole purpose of going to the beach!!

      Tho I'm reminded of an ad for Netware 5.5, where several Netware engineers are lounging on a tropical beach.... while doing a remote Netware install back at the office.
  • The Wi-fi aspect is nothing new. Brighton [wikipedia.org] beach in East Sussex, southern England, has had wi-fi access [piertopier.net] for years now. I believe it's free too...
  • We go down to Ocean City a few times a summer, and at least at one point we're doing there for a week straight. Needless to say, sometimes it rains, sometimes you're bored, but regardless the reason I've had need/desire to get online. I for one welcome the idea that we may be able to get wireless access in OC or on the Boardwalk or wherever.

    However I agree with RFID complaints. Right now teenagers stand at the top of the steps leading down to the beach, and 'check' that you have you beach tags. Most
    • with wifi.. the RFID tags are a new aspect..

      I've been following this story closely.. and the RFID stuff just came out in the last few days..

      My hotel, stopped plans to expand it's wifi access point to cover the entire building because the city announced blanket coverage over the entire island...

      Now it turns out the city plans to charge a fee of 6-9$ a day, and upto $30something a week..

      (my hotel btw only charges $1.00 a day and $5.00 a week- and that only because it solves more problems than offering it for
  • Wireless allows the City to save on ... T-1 lines,

    How's that? Do they honestly think they can build a wireless network with sufficient capacity for an entire city? Presumably, they want to replace local T-1 connections (from the telecom exchange to customers) with WLAN. But with the limited number of channels available, they'll run out of bandwidth in no time (esp. near the exchange).
    • all local traffic will stay local.

      the plans include all city workers who travel around town using wifi/ip phones...
      (no cells) and all incity network traffic to stay on this network...

  • by AbbyNormal (216235) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @09:24AM (#19995549) Homepage
    for my family and my dollars to leave this cesspool. Beach tags at the beach for $5/$10 a day? 7-8 dollar cheesburgers on the boardwalk without fries? Ocean city used to be a family friendly destination, but its turning into a playground for the rich. Now a network that monitors all of its visitors? No longer family friendly in my book. Its a shame to see this place degrade in such a short period of time. I've been going down there since I was a kid. Not anymore.
  • I think that it is time that the USA puts together some Federal investment into national infrastructure. The Internet is a highway, and just as much as the federal highways repay themselves many times over from the increased economic activity they generate, so to will pervasive broadband.

    We should have broadband wireless in the entire northeast corridor, and along all the major highways and railways. All the trains, commuter and Amtrak, should also offer free public wireless service. How much could it co
  • Git reddy fo' da hi-tek, Biatch!
  • by Tyrsenus (858934) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @10:09AM (#19996051)
    I've been to Ocean City, NJ every summer for 10+ years.

    Ocean City has a large life guard staff. A lot of people (esp. from Philly) visit this beach. The guards aren't just guys sitting around getting a tan-- they actively monitor the beach. There's a stand every hundred yards or so, with 2-3 guards to a stand. I estimate at least 200 lifeguards are on the beach on a normal day. In a given week, I've seen 3-4 saves done.

    By using the beach during lifeguard hours, you automatically give them consent to perform first aid, saves, CPR, etc. in the event of an emergency. Being that many beach-goers are not locals (shoobies), it would not be fair to charge a tax to citizens for a service used in a large portion by outsiders. By paying for a beach tag, you are supporting this public service that is not supported by taxes alone. The tags are only $20 for the season. I think that's a small price to pay for safety and compared to what they could charge.

    http://www.ocnj.us/comersus/store/comersus_viewIte m.asp?idProduct=1 [www.ocnj.us]

    For the record, you may use the beach for free after life guards have left (5PM I believe).
  • Get ready for the high-tech beach? Alright! I'll go put on my high-tech speedo. It's like a regular bathing suit, but with SMS!

    Seriously, though-- if every beach in the world is going to be overrun by loud-mouthed douches talking to Bob about the documents for my entire vacation, I'm hiring that guy from the old comic book ads [vpix.com] to come around and deliver some sand-kicking!

  • by NUBlackshirts (680256) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @10:31AM (#19996333)
    I think they should just tag your ear like Marlin Perkins did on Wild Kingdom. According to the show, you wouldn't notice it at all. And some guy can just track you down using a radio with a funky antenna.
  • Oh, great. From TFA:

    The city is looking to replace its ubiquitous but mostly annoying beach tags - which indicate you paid to get on the beach $5 per day, $10 for a week, or $20 for the whole summer - with wristbands that contain an RFID chip. That way there's be no more hassling with beach tag checkers as they can use handheld devices to see who has a tag and who doesn't. Last year, Ocean City spent more than $282,000 to pay 170 badge checkers and with the new RFID wristband it will certainly reduce tha

  • You guys all miss the point that these could save lives.

    If they can pick up your signal they can track you and find you when you get dragged out to see. This could save hundreds of lives just by giving them a rough area to look in even if they can't pin point the person directly.

    How did you guys miss such an obvious thing?
    • by Reziac (43301) *
      Assuming the signal is strong enough ... and water tends to block such signals.

      My solution is a bit different. I'd post a sign saying "beware of undertow" and let natural selection do its job.

    • by Asic Eng (193332)
      You guys all miss the point that these could save lives.

      I don't think it can help with tracking swimmers - on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RFID [wikipedia.org] I find "... passive tags have practical read distances ranging from about 10 cm (4 in.) (ISO 14443) up to a few meters ...". It would have to be a special tag to allow the usage you envision, and I didn't find that mentioned in the article.

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