June 9, 2013
Written a week ago & published today …
Our family is into it’s 3rd week of 20 weeks on the ‘off-roads’ of Australia’s North West. As a family unit, we have only just found our rhythm with the set-up/pack-down of the tent, 4WD navigation and the discipline needed for home-schooling 3 young boys. You can read about our adventures over here at Camping Feet.
I awoke this morning (at a remote beach under Goulet Bluff just south of Monkey Mia) with a renewed focus after a few days of unsettling (gale force) winds and lack of sleep. It’s taken time to adjust to the change and uncertainty that comes from leaving behind a life of work and school, a house, 2 dogs, a car and a community of friends and family. We have slowly found our roles that contribute to a well oiled camping machine. The kids are learning what they can do (that’s useful) and we parents are learning to let-go of control.
As I reflect on the time it has taken me (and us) to settle into a gentler pattern of living off-road, I started to think about the groups and teams that I work with. Here are some first cut thoughts (as I sit in our 4WD heading north to Carnarvan) …
I’ve spent my life working with groups and I’ve learned that it takes time – days of ‘doing stuff’ together – for a group to find it’s mojo. Time for conversations, playing games, relationship building and time for individuals to get in touch with their own inner game. Time is needed for a group to build a shared understanding of the world (as it is now and how it could be in the future) and co-discover what needs attention … all whilst practicing the art of suspending judgement.
At some point (and not all groups get there) groups/teams naturally start to experiment with solutions and test their ideas for actions. They find a core purpose that builds energy and keeps them on track when the going gets tough. Individuals have a sense of their role and need a high degree of autonomy in order to thrive. They learn to improvise together and they begin to realise the potential of group genius. Collective action toward something bigger than the group may then follow.
These groups may have started as loose networks of people with a shared interest scattered across a community. They might be a newly formed committee or a new team within an organisation. Whatever the context, groups begin to look outside of themselves and serve the greater good. The conversations about themselves and their own practice become a broader conversation with communities and stakeholders around them.
Of course none of this group stuff is linear … it’s messy. How long does it take? Well, it all depends … there are no hard and fast rules, only broad principles and practices as a guide-beside. Questions of leadership crop up everywhere and groups have to face up to their fears and struggle with the questions that keep them up at night. “How do we proceed amid such uncertainty?” … “How do we make sound decisions in such change and complexity?”.
I think I’ve learned to sit more comfortably in that space of “not knowing” … and to trust and be present to whatever emerges next. On this 5 month family journey, we are learning to gently push our adventurous edge, whilst remaining safe. Everyday we are faced with countless choices, decisions and opportunities. Everyday we grow stronger and closer as a family.
Facilitation, Gone Supping, Leadership, Yes!And Improv
May 1, 2013
BREAKING NEWS: The fix described below appears to only partially resolve the GoPro freezing issues when playing back videos on the LCD touch screen. I’ve submitted another request so we’ll see what happens next!?
(Note: Those directed here for a fix to freezing issues on the GoPro Hero3 see the steps at the bottom of this post).
In January … I excitedly purchased a GoPro Hero3 (Black Edition) …
By February … I was wondering why I rushed into the latest version of their high def, super-small action camera. It was freezing up regularly and I couldn’t even play videos back on the touch screen. Waste of money?
By March … I’d learned to put up with the camera freezing and start using it. It’s insanely great and my kids love it too. Here’s some evidence of our very beginning efforts to shoot and edit action footage … cheesy I know!
And on May 1st … The GoPro help desk just me a “possible” fix to the issues I was having. I just shared this procedure on a few of the Forums and I hope it works for others like it did for me.
POSSIBLE FIX to GoPro Freezing Issues! Hi everyone, the instructions (pasted below) that I just followed from GoPro support actually fixed a significant freezing issue I was having when using the LCD touch backpack for video playback – the touch screen would blank out and the camera would freeze and needed a battery in/out procedure to unfreeze. I am hoping that the other random freezing issues I’ve been having are resolved as well!
This procedure (which is complex and very long) required me to re-format my 32G (x10) Sandisc SD Card on my GoPro first and then on the computer before upgrading the firmware to the latest (April 2013) version. Here goes and good luck everyone:
Before you proceed, please make sure that the battery is fully charged.
1. Format the SD card in the camera, using the Delete All/Format option in the settings menu, so it acknowledges the card and builds it’s info on top of it. This step also removes the current version of the Firmware. Even if you have upgraded already, re perform the upgrade! (Also note that you’ll need a Class 10 SD card from a reliable brand, poor performing SD may result in freeze up issues or corrupted files)
2. Turn off GoPro and remove micro SD Card
3. Then format the SD card (using the adaptor) in your computer, either in FAT32 if its 32 GB or less, or exFAT if it’s 64 GB. For Mac users watch this super quick video to see how (using the Disc Utility App – found in your Utilities folder in Applications) -
4. Then follow these steps to perform a hardware reset:
- Remove SD card and Battery.
- Press and Hold Shutter Button (it will need to be kept pressed throughout the whole process)
- Insert the Battery … and insert the SD Card (keep holding down the shutter bottom!)
- Click the Power/Mode Button.
- Once the camera has powered up you may release the Shutter Button
Then follow these steps to try and do a manual update in order to re-flash the firmware. Before starting the procedure write down your camera’s serial number, that can be located on a silver sticker inside the battery compartment on one it’s side panels, and is composed of the two rows of numbers present.
1. Connect you camera to your computer with the USB cable and power it on.
2. To manually update the HERO3’s firmware you’ll need to have JAVA disabled on your Browser (for Mac users goto Safari Preferences … click Security Tab … untick the “allow java” option … that’s it)
3. Go to http://gopro.com/support/product-registration/hd-hero3-cameras
4. You’ll get a message ‘install Java’ on your screen, please don’t do so. (I didn’t get this instruction when I did it?)
5. Please click the manually update camera link on lower-right. (you’ll need to click it twice to confirm). Fill in the registration fields.
6. On the next screen you’ll need to type in the camera’s serial number (it’s case sensitive, so make sure that you have Caps Lock ON)
7. Following will be the registration information for the WiFi connection. The Name and Password chosen must have 8 characters, only Numbers and Letters, no other type of characters.
8. You’ll then have the link the download the firmware update files, which are downloaded in a standard zipped folder.
9. After you have the zip file on your computer, unzip it and place ALL files that came inside the zip onto the root of your micro-SD card. (You should noticed that the Root Folder is completely empty because you re formatted the SD card completely in the first step above)
10. Power Off the camera, and unplug it from the computer.
11. Power On the camera, the update process will begin automatically. Please do not press any buttons at this stage.
The firmware update can take between 5 to 10 minutes, and the camera may power off and back on by itself.
It worked for me guys and gals. Hoping the other issues are fixed along with it!
Just observations, Uncategorized
May 1, 2013
I’ve fallen out of the habit of blogging and I write this (quite eco-centric) post dressed in a theatre gown. I have an hour to wait before being “wheeled” unconscious into surgery for a 3rd episode of dental surgery (on the same tooth!!!). So here goes …
3 things have just come up for me:
1. I am feeling privileged that I can even afford this intervention
2. Like my wiser friends have warned me, “You’re in your 40′s Geoff!” They are right. At 42 I’ve racked up x4 operations on a dodgy molar and dicky right knee. I vow this to be my last procedure until my 7th decade of life!
3. My habits have changed drastically since this 40 year old body began to fall apart …
A Story of Changed Habits
Firstly I’ve always been active, physically fit and healthy. I was still 39 when I tore my medial meniscus (aka cartilage). During the rehab phase I learned that it tore because I’d lost strength and tone in my VMO’s – the big muscle that runs on the inside half of the thigh. It tore so badly that I needed surgical removal of 2/3′s of the essential “shock absorber” in the knee that prevents ‘bone-on-bone’ deterioration. If I don’t look after my knee (and strengthen the muscles around it), I’m staring down a total knee replacement in my 50′s or 60′s!
Fuelled by a determination to stay pain free, out of the dentist chair, remain surfing and avoid major knee surgery, I have been slowly transforming my daily habits. Here’s just some what’s changed, including a bunch of things I’ve had to let-go of …
1. I ride my bike practically everywhere!
- I have given up running for trains and walking long distances with heavy backpacks – anything that involves jarring the knees
- I avoid car travel whenever I can – it’s the sure-fire way to stiffen my knee and back!
- I’ve joined Melbourne Bike Share and transformed the way I get around Melbourne when working – this also means being prepared to show up to meetings with messed up hair and a bit sweaty!
- I’ve replaced lots of little, local car trips trips with the bike
- I’ve NOT turned into a lycra-wearing, competitive bike rider – it’s a lifestyle thing.
2. I ‘sit-less’ and ‘move-more’
- I avoid my computer wherever possible because it usually means sitting … or standing in the one spot – both activities don’t do me any favours
- It’s anti social, but when the TV is on at home, I’m in the studio stretching or exercising
- I avoid driving any distance beyond 50km unless I absolutely have to
3. I floss regularly and avoid sugar
- After 30 years of trying to form regular flossing habits, finally the threat of dental pain has transformed me!!!!
4. I PAUSE before I lift or move anything!
- The other day a neighbour asked me to help him lift a really heavy workbench off his ute … I politely refused … we found 4 extra people the next day and potentially back/knee breaking activity was made easy
- This habit extends to everything in the garden, in the house and at work when re arranging chairs/tables in workshop spaces
5. I’ve lost my mojo in the home garden ;-(
- I used to be the most passionate home gardener I know … but instead of gardening I now go surfing!?
6. I’ve given up Karate … for good this time!
- 12 months post surgery and after a dedicated 12 months of rehab, I briefly returned to the dojo. One night my knee flared up with swelling and it scared the shit out of me. I all of a sudden realised that this might prevent me from surfing, riding my bike and remaining pain free … just like “that”, I turned my back on an activity that I dearly loved.
In Sum …
During this journey to change my lifestyle and remain pain free and active in the longer term, I’ve unintentionally let-go of some rock solid habits like sitting down to blog and picking up the guitar. I still love these activities, but it’s now an effort to get to them. And if I do them too much over a period of days (which usually involves longer periods of not moving) I feel the effects in my back and knee. Instant feedback!
The home vege/fruit gardening is the most compelling example of forced change. Before my knee injury, growing food at home was everything to me. But for months of rehab I simply couldn’t do it – it hurt too much. The hours I used to spend plating, tending and harvesting were directed elsewhere (in the surf on my SUP). Now that I’m strong and fit again, it’s bloody hard to rekindle the same passion!
I’ve taught myself to be much more “body aware” and I do not put up with aches and pains, niggles and sprains like I used to! If I feel knee joint stiffness coming on, or a dull lower back ache upon waking, that my signal to do more of what’s good for me. Go for a ride, stretch, go for a SUP or make an appointment with the Osteopath.
I’ve tasted the pain of surgery and felt the fear of losing my physical capacity to do the things I love. Funny how we humans struggle to make lasting, lifestyle changes before we start to breakdown.
How Stuff Spreads & Changes, Story
March 22, 2013
I recently heard the term “Urban Acupuncture” as it relates to the Better Block movement and their efforts to bring-to-life precincts and neighbourhoods in cities all over the US. The acupuncture metaphor go me thinking about my own work and the work that my art-form supports.
I have just enjoyed 3 days of working and playing with diverse groups of people, mainly leaders beavering away at the grassroots to make their community (and the world) a better place. Listening to their wisdom and their stories has been inspiring. Witnessing their vulnerabilities and supporting them at their learning edge is a privilege.
Each of these community leaders are like healers … each performing their own version of social acupuncture. Directly and indirectly their little actions heal the fabric of community. We see symptoms like community fragmentation and signs like reduced community participation in decision making. Their purpose driven projects stimulate the acupuncture points of community by bringing people into conversation, to break bread together, play music, create art and build stronger relationships across the community.
My work supports community leaders to experiment, take risks, notice more and fail informatively. This week I went to edge of my own practice and pushed out a bit further. I was supported in this by my friend and colleague Russell Fisher. Together with Suzie Brown, Russell and I are embarking on a new journey that will support an ever growing network of community leaders to DO – both big a small.
Being Present, Community & Belonging, Facilitation, Just observations
March 18, 2013
I am sitting in the after-glow of another (the 6th) memorable Aireys Inlet Open Mic Music Festival. Like in previous years, my role was to organise logistics and an army of local volunteers to drive buses, set-up, pack-down and co-host an event that our whole town is now proud of. It’s a privilege to be involved. This year, acclaimed band Mark Seymour and the Undertow closed the 2013 festival. And as our town’s musical matriarch said in closing, “Aireys Inlet’s biggest day” provided a stunning conclusion to our weekend of music.”
What we’ve learned in 6 years of hosting this music festival
1. “Purpose is the invisible leader” - This quote by Toke Moller has been at the centre of our festival’s strategy.
7 years ago Marty came to me with an idea to start a music festival in Aireys Inlet and he had 2 things to say. First, the festival model had to put the music at the centre of everything. Our core purpose statement became, “It’s all about the music”. This simple little statement has guided our decisions and direction ever since and we have not lost sight of this core.
Second, the idea of an ‘Open Mic’ (whilst not new) is an invitation. It invites musicians from all walks of life and all ages to sign up, show up and perform ion front of a festive audience. And because we design the event to be “All About The Music”, every performer is treated with a great sound system, a sound-tech, a beautiful stage and a listening crowd. In 6 years, our little festival has achieved BIG things by providing a springboard for scores of young singer songwriters and bands. They all come back to Aireys again and again.
Even Mark Seymour recognised this and said during his act:
“Local communities need to develop and grow our young people. Aireys Inlet gives them wonderful opportunities to gain confidence and expression through Music.” Mark Seymour
2. Ownership and a Sense of Belonging is Everything!
Aireys Inlet resembles village life. People look out for each other and many live here for this very reason. With this in mind, Marty has always invited contributions and has gone out of his way to thank people publicly. I am one of many who have been swept up by Marty’s vision and together, we have fostered a sense of ownership across the community in the festival. Initially, I used to hear people saying “it’s Marty’s festival”. But now I hear the same people saying “this is our festival”.
This sense of belonging and ownership makes volunteer recruitment easy. Our job is ensure that people don’t over commit and have fun doing it. Our operating principle is “many hands make light work”.
Today, Marty and I had lunch to capture what we learned about the weekend events. This year we experimented with some new stages and new configurations. These changes (together with a dose of cold weather) conspired to create more intimacy and a closer connection between performer and audience. Next year, we have decided to use the “intimacy” principle and redesign some other spaces. We were joined at lunch by one Aireys’ favourite performers Sarah Carnegie, who regularly travels down from Melbourne to perform here. She agreed that Intimacy is a crucial ingredient.
Each year we stub our toe a few times and get some things right. Each learn we learn something new by watching and listening to the feedback from others. Each year the festival gets better and our job get easier.
A final thank you Marty Maher
I am not sure who wrote these words of thanks on the festival home page … but they nailed it:
“A final thank to Marty Maher, who kindly thanks everyone a the festival close, without noting his own efforts. Seven years ago the festival was Marty’s vision to postively influence our young people and community. Singled-handedly he has grown the festival beyond our wildest expectations. Marty organises and schedules the entire event, and gives all 168 acts his close personal attention. His dedication, drive and enthusiasm sweeps the whole community along for the ride and gives artists and young people significant opportunity. We are proud and truly fortunate to have Marty Maher as a guiding patriarch of our community. Ask Marty what you can do to help next year, and critically with costs going up, donate or become a sponsor to secure the festival’s future.”
Community & Belonging, Music
March 18, 2013
The ‘Notice More’ mantra is one I keep coming back to. Johnnie Moore first introduced me to the concept of Notice More-Change Less – it’s like a principle to live by.
Well, last week I ‘noticed’ an interview with Kelly Slater, arguably the world’s most enduring sports champion. He’s been at the top of surfing for 23 years and has beaten 5 era’s of surfers with 11 World Titles. This detailed info graphic sums his achievements …
Here are a couple of quotes from Kelly on ‘Noticing’
When asked how he can keep winning so many tight contests …
“I try to pay attention to a lot of things”
“I notice things and adjust accordingly.”
The detailed of the interview reveals that he spends a lot of time watching the waves and the forces that shape the wave direction, frequency and form. Like noticing the ball in tennis, being in tune with the waves is everything. I’m sure Timothy Gallway
(author of the Inner Game series) would agree.
So, here’s a question to consider. If ‘noticing’ the ball is everything in tennis and being in the flow of the waves in surfing is the secret to success and mastery … what is the ‘ball’ or ‘wave’ in the game you play? What are the critical factors that need more of your attention?
Being Present, Facilitation, Yes!And Improv
February 7, 2013
Being an active contributor in a small community is a fascinating subject! You could write a book about it!!
Over the past 12 months I’ve dived into the Parent Committee at our local primary school (aka Parent Club) and taken a co-lead role with 3 mums. As with much of my working life, I find myself the only man actively involved in the community building space.
Last year our new committee found our feet, tightened up some policies and, like in previous years, took the lead on some important initiatives and fund raising activities. The co-leadership idea that I pushed hard for worked really well. There was always 1 person to step and lead when others became too busy with life. We did good … without being great. We changed some stuff, and as you’d expect, copped some flack from others in the community. As Seth Godin says in one of my favorite posts … “If you are not being criticized, then you are not leading!” Criticism and leadership are intertwined like innovation and failure.
One area of intense criticism and community ‘rumor-milling’ that I did not expect was our effort to set up an After School Care (ASC) Profram. Identified as the #1 need by large parts of the school community, a small group within Parent Club (and others) worked tirelessly to broker a deal with Camp Australia, the Surf Coast Shire and the Aireys Community Hall. After more than 1/3 of families at the school ‘showed up’ late year to a registration session, it starts next Monday!
So why is school care needed in Aireys Inlet – a small, coastal village nearly an hour from the nearest big town (Geelong)? And why has ASC created rumor, innuendo and dissent in our community? I don’t have answers, but I have a few opinions.
So why is ASC needed down here? Ok, imagine you are a young mum with 2 children in prep and grade 2. You are desperate to gain a university qualification so that you can have a career in your 30′s and beyond. Your husband works and school pickup (at 3pm) 2 days a week is not possible with your study timetable. Or imagine you are a single mum struggling to make ends meet. You’ve got one child and have an opportunity to work 3 days a week in Geelong to help make ends meet. But your job finishes at 5pm. Without a reliable and accountable ASC Program, neither woman can pursue their goals.
The examples above are fiction, but very close to some local truths. The fact is, very few families down here have family support for the 1 or 2 days they need their kids picked up from school – those that have family support are blessed. And this is a community that, more than most, sees friends step up and look after each other’s kids when needed. I love that local support about this community and I’ve written plenty about it in the past. However (and this is my opinion), you simply can’t rely on friends 2 days a week, 40 weeks of a year so that you can work or study.
As for the rumor mill and criticism … it comes with the territory and I’m not going to even share my opinions because they are probably wrong and based on false assumptions! In Parent Club last year, it is clear that we did not communicate clearly enough or often enough. The program funding model evolved and underwent many iterations … and met its share of roadblocks going through school council. It’s re-taught me how tough communicating something new like this is. On the surface it seems simple, but it is complex and felt like a journey of 3 steps forward and then 3 steps back. Little by little, with perseverance and commitment from a select few, ASC is now a reality for this little community.
So, as the Parent Club AGM approaches and I put my hand up to co-lead once again, my 2012 experience of success and failure makes me a little wiser. One thing is for sure, I’ll be sticking to my main principle for working in committees – learned by working alongside the wonderful Viv Mcwaters – “By working together and supporting each other in this committee, we will have fun, make each other look good and we all end up closer friends at end than when we started.” Now that a principle to live into!!
Community & Belonging, Leadership
February 1, 2013
Today was one of those days where everything converged – where a lot of past stuff came together and, at the same time, the future I am co-creating came into view. The story of today …
My youngest of three boys, Hamish (aka Mr Chipper), attended his first day of school today. He was excited, but not overly so. He was confident, with a hint of vulnerability. His two older brothers, like his parents, could hardly believe he was off to Aireys Inlet Primary School – a small, coastal school of 130 students where students at all levels know each other.
But, I wasn’t there to see Mr Chipper off, or witness his first steps into class surrounded by his little mates. I wasn’t at work and I wasn’t out for an early surf. No, I was being admitted to hospital for (long ago booked) dental surgery on a tooth that has cause me more grief than any other part of my body. That tale of suffering (of the first world variety) is for another time! Happenstance and bad luck saw these 2 dates converge to January 31, 2013.
I’ll fast forward the story of today … past the hunger pains of having to miss breakfast … beyond the news that I was last on the list and would have to wait (growing ever hungrier) until lunchtime to enter theatre … past that 20 second period where the general anesthesia goes to work … past the recovery room and up to the point where my mum picks me up and drives me back to her place.
There is nothing like being with your mum when recovering from illness or surgery. Mum’s are hard-wired to care for their kids and feed them soul food, even when they are 41 years old! I hadn’t seen mum since Christmas Day nearly 6 weeks before and was struck that I hadn’t spent much time with mum, just the 2 of us, since Dad passed a year ago.
After sharing photos of our recent family adventure in Tasmania, and after a late afternoon (still in recovery phase) nap, we began to talk about Dad. How proud he would have been to see Hamish off to school. How much he’d have loved our tales of camping in Tassie.
In his final weeks alive, Dad made me promise him to take our kids travelling, to learn and experience life as a family as much as we could! Living up to this promise has opened up a whole new world for me. It’s transformed my view of parenting, of community, of how to listen and of what’s most important. It’s given me a clearer purpose to my own consulting work and the direction I want to take my offering. My experiences in recent months have rekindled a child-like enthusiasm for what I do.
And as I share these private thoughts in this public space, I realize (again) how important writing has become. My private journal (using Evernote) and my blog (Yes!AndSpace) are spaces where I connect dots between things. When writing, like now, its like time and to-do’s fade away. The meaning evolves and emerges as I write and it’s always, always best when I simply write what comes … and keep suppressing that tyrannical urge to be clever and witty!
Like I said above, lots of things have converged during my long chat with mum tonight. I read to her one of my private journal entries, written after spending a day with dad only weeks before he died. It was like finding a lost treasure and, like magic, reading this entry brought him into the room with us. This is the gift of writing and of sharing it with others.
Being Present, Just observations, Story
January 18, 2013
I am writing from Coles Bay, Tasmania – famous as Australia first Plastic Bag-free town!
After 3 weeks in Tasmania we finally scored some waves this morning – a lovely little right at Bicheno. Whilst waiting for set waves on my SUP I started thinking about the rhythm we are in on this leg of our journey around Tasmania.
We have stopped asking each other the question – “What time is it?”. Our day is quite simply regulated by the rumblings in our tummies and the rise and fall of the sun. We have realised how time-bound life is at home. We are also cherishing every moment of this time-boundless trip. Whilst I write this, Ingrid and Griff are playing a card game, Lachie is writing his journal and Hamish is playing music on the iPad. No plans and no deadlines. It’s living a life of Open Space where passion (doing the things we love) is bounded by a discipline … a responsibility for things like keeping our camper organised and for teaching (un-schooling) our kids on-the-road.
Left – Kids keep the daily budget so we can stick to our target!
Right – Our Mr7 (Lachie) writes a daily journal … he has a unique “in-the-moment” style
I’ve been applying Open Space Technology to my work with groups of people for years now, and every so often the simplicity of the Open Space principles amazes me. Like I said above, this camping trip is not bounded by the clock on my iPhone – “Whenever it starts is the right time” and “When it’s over it’s over”. We have a plan but we riff around the pre-thought notes and, like this morning’s surf, seize opportunities as they arise – “Whatever happens is the only thing that could have”. We meet people along the way and form new relationships. In the remote bush camps, kids are amazing at launching into a day of beautiful play without the toys and stuff we left behind at home. Kids are not selective about who they play with and, from what I’ve observed, apply the principle “Whoever come are the right people” naturally.
And on that note … I’ve got two kids at my side pestering me with a sing song version of “I’m Hungry …”. I’ll leave this post with selection of kids’ creations in and around campsite across Tasmania.
Being Present, Gone Supping, Just observations
January 13, 2013
Another thing I’ve noticed on this off-road trip around Tasmania is my kids. I pay plenty of attention to them at home, but … when you get to hang out with them all day, every day that’s when you really get to know them.
Both Ingrid and I are really seeing their individual traits – their frailties, humour and their gifts! More though, we are noticing the relationships between all 3 boys. I can see, more clearly than ever, who niggles who and when. I am sensing the friendship, love and respect between them.
We have a little more than 2 weeks to go where we are constantly in each other’s company. 4 canvass walls and a canvass roof is our home. We are eating home cooked meals from the camp stove and we are exposed to the elements from the time wake to bed. We are growing accustomed to the lack of facilities when “out bush”. We are not running by the clock, but instead, by the need to eat and sleep. None of us have missed our toys from home as nature offers so much more!
Being Present, Just observations
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