Nybbles and Bytes...

loves good coffee!

Nybbles and Bytes...

wants to know if you need this button on your keyboard...?

Nybbles and Bytes

...loves exotic places...

Nybbles and Bytes

is occasionally old school...

Nybbles and Bytes

loves smartphone debates...!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Google celebrates 50 years of The Flintstones...

Today's Google doodle is in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of The Flintstones.
Check it out:

What an awesome bunch those Google geeks are :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Can you imagine how embarrassing this must have been...?

You gotta feel for the hostess of Australia's Next Top Model.
Let me not spoil it for you though - watch the video below to see what I mean...

Ouch!

Heads will roll for this I'm sure, although it won't be that of the show hostess - apparently the wrong information was fed to her from backstage.
Still, I wouldn't want to be in her shoes!

Guys vs. Girls... 'aint this just the truth! :)

Click to zoom in if you can't read it...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Parvati is sole Survivor... your thoughts?


So after another exciting Survivor season, this time in Micronesia, Parvati Shallow finally emerged as the victor and ultimate survivor.
"OMG I WON!" The look says it all...

Even though I really thought that Amanda had it in the ba
g, Parvati edged her out in the end, and if I was wearing a hat right now, I would most definitely take it off to Parvati and all the contestants who endured this decidely injury-prone season of what is still an amazing show.

For some reason I simply do not tire of Survivor. 
Season after season of Jeff's famous uttering - "The tribe has spoken" just never gets old for me!
Jeff Probst flashes his signature "The Tribe has Spoken" grin...

It is also interesting to note just how far behind we are in terms of seasons - the finale last night spoke of the upcoming Survivor season in Gabon, which promises to be a killer in its' own right.

Truth is, we are currently 5 seasons behind the USA!
Subsequent to Gabon, Survivor has been filmed in 3 other global locations, with another season currently on the go in Nicaragua.
What's more, a 22nd Season is already being planned for 2011. 
I think if I were to visit the USA at some point, I would plan my trip to coincide with the next Survivor Finale in New York City!
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Wibiya is super cool... check out these nifty features!

I really am a sucker for cool add-ons and gadgets that make the Blogger platform so cool to work with.
Most recently I came across the Wibiya toolbar, which is a seriously useful add-on to any blog, in my humble opinion.
Image representing Wibiya as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase

To see the toolbar in action, have a look at the bottom of this page - you should see a toolbar hovering there, locked to the bottom frame as you scroll up or down.
Now there are some useful tools to be found in the Wibiya arsenal, for example:

- realtime stats of visitors to Nybbles and Bytes, including an interactive world map pinpointing each visitor's location on our very own planet Earth;
- a translator, in case I suddenly decide to write all of my copy in Swahili... not that I can actually speak or write in Swahili... ;);
- a quick shortcut to a list of the most recent posts on Nybbles and Bytes, including a thumbnail of each post where relevant;
- a quick shortcut to share the current post with the most common social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace etc.;
- a quick shortcut to Tweet directly from Nybbles and Bytes - no need to leave my blog while you happily Tweet away :);
- a quick shortcut to "Like" Nybbles and Bytes, using the by now familiar Facebook thumbs-up icon;
- a quick shortcut to subscribe to my RSS feed;
- shortcuts to the Nybbles and Bytes pages on both Facebook and Twitter;
- a live chat room, built right into the toolbar... how cool is that?;
- live messages (pop-ups), allowing me as the blog administrator to communicate any updates or info to my visitors, in realtime.

Sheweee, what a mouthful!
Honestly, I don't know when last I was able to get so much for free!

Got your own blog or site? I suggest you head on over to http://www.wibiya.com right about now and grab your free toolbar, before they change their minds and start charging for the thing!
As if that isn't enough, there are heaps of other applications you can add onto your very own Wibiya toolbar - it is seriously powerful stuff.

Enjoy!
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Google turns 12 today...

Can you believe that Google is 12 years old already?
In traditional fashion of course, they marked the occasion with one of their annual "Google doodles"...

Check it out:
Keep up the good work guys - what you do certainly keeps everybody on their toes and at the top of their game!

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Can't write files to an NTFS hard drive on your Mac? Try this...

This is an oldie which has long plagued me, and probably many others as well.
It confounds Mac owners the world over, and it stumps anybody who gets an external drive (NTFS formatted), when they suddenly realise that they cannot copy anything onto the drive from their Mac.

Enter NTFS-3G
an open source cross-platform implementation of the Microsoft Windows NTFS file system with read-write support.
I won't go into the technical details of the software here - all I can say is that this little gem has saved me many grey hairs, many a time.
Visit the NTFS-3G Blog here, where you can download the latest free version for your Mac, and read all about the inner workings of the software.
Install it, reboot, and VOILA! You can now drop files onto your NTFS hard drive.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Can you get by without your cellphone...?

Right now I can already hear the resounding response to the title of this post... "NO!" will most likely be the most popular answer :)

It is pretty ironic then, that I am typing this up on my trusty Nokia N97 - a device which I am more or less glued to most of the time.

I went out to the shops this week and halfway there I noticed something amiss... OMG I LEFT MY CELLPHONE BEHIND!!
I managed to suck it up though, and I made it through my entire excursion minus my cellphone.

What an amazing feat... Or is it?
Fact is, humans were getting on with their daily business just fine, long before anybody could even begin to imagine such an alien thing as a cellphone...

I'm not even talking about recent times.
I mean how the heck did the Romans build such an incredible empire without cellphones?
How did any of the incredible civilizations of times gone by, manage to achieve their greatness without the kind of technology we have at our disposal today?

Nobody really knows - I am sure conspiracy theorists would love to jump on this one with crazy fanciful claims of as yet undiscovered technologies, that may or may not have existed back then.

In any case, the bottom line is that people have long survived without cellphones.
So why is it such an inconceivable thing to go anywhere without one?
Why do we break into a panic if we realise that we are without them?

I suppose the political climate in South Africa is one reason - we all want to know where our loved ones are and that they are safe.
I totally get that and am very thankful that cellphones allow us to stay connected in this way.

Even so, maybe just for your own interest - next time you go out somewhere, try doing it without your cellphone on you.
Only then will you begin to realise how many times you automatically try to check your phone for missed calls, messages, emails and so on.

Go on - try it... I dare you!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The coolest drummer ever... nuff sed.

No words necessary... except these... watch this!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jellyfish Lake, Palau - this week's amazing place...

As an avid watcher of Survivor, I was chuffed to see Jellyfish Lake again featured in an episode of the season currently airing on SABC.

For those who don't follow Survivor, one of the reward challenges offered the prize of snorkeling in Jellyfish Lake, Palau.
Jellyfish Lake is located on Eli Malk island in Palau. The surrounding islands are mostly uninhabited, but the lake offers a peculiar phenomenon in the form of millions of non-stinging jellyfish which migrate across the surface daily.
Although the lake is connected to the ocean via several fissures and tunnels, it is sufficiently isolated from surrounding lagoons to have allowed the jellyfish in it, to evolve in a rather unique manner.

The jellyfish do still have stingers, but their stinging cells are generally not powerful enough to be of any danger to humans - apparently due to a lack of predators, they have lost the ability to defend themselves over thousands of years.
This means that humans can safely snorkel in the lake, in a surreal and somewhat eerie setting...:



What an awesome... and bizarre place :)
Read more over at Wikipedia.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

One of the most beautiful places I have ever visited... Plitvice Lakes National Park (Croatia)

In my ongoing series of posts about extraordinary places on Earth, this one is about a place that I have had the rare privilege of visiting myself. Today's post is all about visual eye candy and beauty. While I hear a lot of people talking about what a tourist hotspot Croatia is, they almost always mention a cruise of some sort, which is certainly fantastic but which possibly skips a few noteworthy sights further inland.

Like these, for example:
I was fortunate enough to be able to take these shots myself, at the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia, back in 2008.
Truly, this place has to be seen to be believed.
The photos, awesome as they are, simply cannot convey how amazing this Croatian gem actually is.
Water, water everywhere, coming from who knows where...

As can be seen in the photo above, walkways have been carefully constructed so as to take you around and sometimes directly over the water. 
The intense blue colour (un-photoshopped!) of the lakes also makes this place something straight out of a fairytale.

The day these photos were taken was particularly dreary weather-wise, as can be seen from the thick fog blanketing the place... next time I hope to be able to experience Plitvice on a hot sunny day :)

An incredible destination if you are looking to Europe for your next getaway...


Thursday, September 9, 2010

What's that background track they use on 5FM when Catherine is doing the traffic...?

For a while now I have wanted to know what the background music on 5FM was, when Catherine reads the traffic report in the afternoons.
I thought it must just be a catchy tune that they conjured up using Fruityloops or some other music-making software.

Then I heard it again today, but this time as a standalone song... cool beans I thought, as I fired up Shazam on my trusty N97...
15 seconds later, and the tune was officially identified as "Witchcraft" by an Australian band called Pendulum.

Really cool tune, in my humble opinion at least :)
Check it out on YouTube:

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Some easy ways to save a few bob...

I was thinking about ways I could reduce the amount of money I spend each month, and the more I thought about it, the more I realised some obvious ways in which I could easily save a few ZAR each and every day... (for those readers outside of South Africa, ZAR = South African Rands) :)

...collect enough of these and it all soon adds up...

- Take that call:
This one is not immediately obvious as a money saver. Ever had your cellphone ring at exactly the wrong moment? Maybe you just aren't in the mood to speak to that person right now...?
Trouble is, if you let the call go to voicemail, you will most likely have to return that same call at some point - at your own cost of course.
So unless you are driving, or otherwise engaged in an activity which makes it totally unreasonable to answer the phone, rather take the call as it rings, and save yourself a few rand in the process.
Take it - they pay.
Leave it - you pay.

- Chill out on the roads:
Most people spend a fair amount of time in their car, driving to and from work and all over the place.
Unfortunately driving on the road nowadays can be misunderstood to mean "treat it like a racetrack" or "licence to act like a toolkit"... you get the idea.
Often when stressed out or late for an appointment, people also tend to drive in a far more urgent manner than they normally would - which translates directly into higher fuel consumption and more wear and tear on the vehicle.
So next time you feel the urge to put your foot flat on the road (for no good reason other than to go fast), just take a second to translate that brief moment of speed, into hard cash... coming out of your own pocket.

Hey you might even get a few less speeding fines!

Suppliers should come to you... wherever possible:
Do you run your own business?
Do you use suppliers of services and / or stock?
This is great one to use on a daily basis - a supplier, by definition is somebody who supplies something. This can be goods, a service, anything that you need for your business to work.
Being a supplier, then means that they should be more than happy to deliver their product or service directly to you.
The costs involved in always collecting from suppliers can quickly add up for a small business, and getting them to come to you will help to reduce this unnecessary expense big time.

- Make it a habit to switch off anything you don't need right now:
Eskom recently dropped a bomb on the average Joe in the street, with crazy hikes in the price of electricity in the months of June and July.
Truth is, most of us act in a very wasteful manner when dealing with electricity.
So, starting today, right now in fact, take note of any electronics around you that can be switched off if they are not being used.
This includes lights, hifi's, laptops, printers, geysers (if not being used for a day or more), radios (often left on more out of habit than for enjoyment), and even cellphone chargers (which, although not much, do consume electricity just by being plugged in).
Do it a few times and soon it will become a habit - something that you just do without thinking about it.

In addition to being more "green", you will be saving yourself a few bob each month as well.
You just can't lose! :)

I will continue to update this post as I conjur up more easy ways to save those sought-after rands and cents...
Got a decent money-saving tip? Feel free to share it by posting a comment.
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cell C "4Gs" rollout has started...

According to the Cell C website, the first of many South African cities (Port Elizabeth) has now received the long-awaited "4G" network upgrade that Cell C has been promising for so long.
An update at this link on the Cell C site claims that this is the very first of its' type in Africa...

Man oh man, Cell C's "4G" better be rolling out in JHB very soon... and trust me, when (if!) it does ever arrive in JHB, I am going to be reporting back here on it regularly.

Cellphone charging stations in shopping malls - a really smart idea!

I was walking thru Eastgate recently and I came across a machine that looks like one of those fortune telling machines that you put your finger on...
Thankfully this was not one of those machines, but rather a small stroke of genius, in the form of a machine that you can charge your cellphone with.

Check it out:

Seriously, how many times have you had to make that one important call, or read that one SMS that you saved so long ago but need to read right now... and your phone dies.
AAAARRRRGHHH!! - this is the best possible way to describe the frustration of such a situation... which is exactly why this is such a clever idea!

I saw 2 of these machines in different locations in the mall (one next to the Cell C shop, and one next to the Birthdays shop) - you pay R5 and you get 15 minutes of charging time.
Worried that the charger may not fit your phone model? 
Fear not - the mighty cellphone charging station has got it covered, with approx. 18 different types of adapter to fit just about any cellphone out there today:


Never again will you have to be stranded without the lifeline that is your cellphone... just make sure you are in a mall somewhere :)
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Friday, September 3, 2010

How much smaller can the iPod Shuffle get?

The new iPod Shuffle is here, and while I have my own personal digs at Apple here and there, I must say that it looks pretty darn impressive.

Take a peek at Apple CEO Steve Jobs presenting the product here:
http://i.bnet.com/video/itunes/10z0901_Apple_iPodShuffle_sd_DL.m4v

I was fortunate enough to be the proud owner of a first-generation iPod Shuffle, and this little thing still rocks.
then...
As the iPod Shuffle progressed though, it eventually lost the navigation / volume button on the front - turns out that people really liked that big round button... which is why it has now returned on the new iPod Shuffle.
...and now
Clip this baby onto your jacket and you have 15 hours of music play time on tap - all from a tiny square little gadget... seriously it is crazy small!

Truly an amazing little piece of electronic engineering.
Want all the tech specs? Click here to go to Apple's homepage for the device.

Free Antivirus solution for Microsoft Server and SBS 2003 / 2008...

One of the more common problems I have bumped into when dealing with Microsoft Server or SBS machines, is the fact that there are no well-known free anti virus programs available for these platforms.

Windows XP? Windows Vista? Windows 7?... no problem - just download Avast / AVG / NOD32 among many others, and you are good to go.


Server 2003 / 2008? SBS 2003 / 2008?... hmm slight problem - my hunting online has led to many dead ends in the past, as I searched fruitlessly for a decent antivirus package that would cost zip, nada,  nothing.

Then finally one day I stumbled across a true little gem called Clamwin - a free open-source antivirus package that seems able to deliver the goods...

Clamwin runs on Windows XP, Vista, 7, Server and SBS 2003 / 2008... which is fantastic news for anybody who likes free stuff (and who doesn't?) :)

While Clamwin seems to do a great job protecting Server and Small Business Servers alike, I cannot compare it to the likes of other free antivirus software like Avast (which I swear by), purely because I have not taken the time to do so... maybe that is a topic for a future post.
Even so, it is darn useful to know that you don't have to fork out extra cash on virus protection, just because you want the functionality of a server OS.

Head on over to www.clamwin.com and grab your free software now.
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Nybbles and Bytes reaches position 299 on SA Topsites :)

While this might not be a big deal for someone who blogs professionally, Nybbles and Bytes has broken the 300 mark in ranking on www.satopsites.com :)


Thanks to all the readers out there who take the time to view my blog - although it is not my primary focus I still want to get it pumping and up there in the site rankings :)
Rank 299 today... maybe rank 199 tomorrow... Top 100 here I come! ;)

p.s. what do you want to see more of on my blog?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Looking for a bizarre place on our planet? "The Door to Hell" in Turkmenistan certainly fits the bill...!

I often come across online resources about our planet and some of the really bizarre and fascinating places that exist on it... some of which I would love to visit, and others perhaps not so much... :)

So over the next few days I am going to randomly post about some of these places, from the amazingly beautiful to the downright bizarre.

Let's start with the bizarre shall we...? :)

- Derweze, Turkmenistan - "The Door to Hell"
The aptly named "Door to Hell" is the result of a 1971 drilling expedition where geologists accidentally discovered an underground cavern filled with natural gas, during the process of drilling.

The ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a pit approximately 70 metres wide.
To avoid any poisonous gas discharge, a decision was made to burn the gas...
Not a very smart decision, it turns out...

39 Years on, and the pit is still on fire! Sheesh, I guess the guy who lit the match must feel like a bit of a tool...
By night the phenomenon is nothing short of spectacular:

According to my ever-reliable (nudge nudge, wink wink:) online resource Wikipedia, the President of Turkmenistan visited the site in April this year, and ordered that the hole should either be closed (how on earth do you close up a pit of fire?), otherwise measures should be taken to minimize its influence on the development of other natural gas fields in the area.
Either way, the "Door to Hell" is certainly one bizarre place on our planet. The nickname it carries also adds a degree of mystery and intrigue I would guess.

Worth a visit would you say...? 

Personally I would find it fascinating to see such a rare sight with my own eyes.
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Could you make the switch from Outlook to Gmail...?

Google are a smart bunch of guys - this is common knowledge to most people who know even a small amount about IT and the internet.
One of their attempts at being really smart is their Google Docs offering, which is available free of charge if you have a (free) Gmail account.

If you have never used Google Docs before and you have a Gmail account, look out for the "Docs" link up at the top of the screen next time you are logged into Gmail.

Anyway, long story short is that Google Docs is essentially the beginning of a cloud-based suite of software that eventually aims to supercede the likes of Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint.
Nice idea Google, but could that really happen in the working world?

I have also had experience with people in the workplace who have been switched over to Google Apps, which is the corporate Google offering which aims to replace Microsoft Exchange, which has been a tried, tested and proven corporate solution.
I must say that user resistance to something other than Outlook is simply huge - even though Google Apps can do most of what Microsoft Office and Microsoft Exchange can do.

People see an interface that they do not recognize and it seems like they get a bit spooked... and the problem is that some of their being spooked is actually justified.

Google are selling their Google Apps solution in a very aggressive manner, by basically trying to alter user mindsets from a largely local, Microsoft Office-based solution, to a largely cloud, Google Apps-based solution.
While this is great in theory, Google Apps still falls short of the mighty MS Office / Microsoft Exchange on many counts. Niggles and irritations abound if you try to integrate Google Apps into Outlook - corrupted meeting requests, mysterious Unread items all over the place, mail from decades ago suddenly reappearing in your Inbox... it can quickly add up to a lot of users suddenly feeling a little peeved about migrating from the tried and tested solution that is Microsoft Office.

The positive flip side of this confusing little coin is that Google are a hugely proactive company, and this means a process of continuous improvement, development and therefore frequent updates and additions to their products.
They are constantly listening to customer feedback and altering their offerings accordingly, wherever possible. Could you ever see a company like Microsoft doing that...? Sure, Microsoft do release Service Packs, hotfixes and the like, but no way as frequently as Google do.

I guess only time will tell if the cloud will get the better of the traditional Microsoft Office suite - while Google Docs cannot offer the sophistication and full functionality of its' Microsoft counterparts, it does allow a user to work on documents, spreadsheets and presentations live on the web, from anywhere in the world, while collaborating in real-time with colleagues, friends and other contacts who can be thousands of miles away at the same time... it's powerful stuff by any standard.

Don't think that Microsoft are taking this lying down - they have their very own cloud strategy called Windows Azure which has already attracted tens of thousands of customers, although it is more geared towards developers.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How come Cell C cannot send me an SMS straight away, but Gmail can?

My tirade against Cell C continues.
I was editing my details on the Cell C site, and before you can do anything, you need to enter a one time password that Cell C is supposed to send to your phone.

That was 20 minutes ago, and still I wait for my one time pin, the patient guy that I am.

Confusing, that.
When Gmail sends me SMS reminders of upcoming appointments, I receive them exactly 2 hours prior to the meeting itself, which makes sense since my default reminder period is, in fact 2 hours :)

So how is it then, that Gmail, sending an SMS from a UK-based number, can relay an SMS to me in a single second, yet Cell C, my very own local network, cannot.
I am actually going to point hellopeter.com to this post, in the desperate hope that Cell C may actually do something about it... watch this space.

Want a free iPad...? 5 of them up for grabs...

Want a free iPad? First come first served.

Check it out:


:)

If it says "T's and C's Apply", then they can say pretty much anything they want...

Adverts always carry small print - whether it is a food product being sold, with the words "Serving Suggestion" on the packaging, or an unbelievable deal which is somehow limited in the small print, most ads we see have got some disclaimers built in.

Obviously this is necessary to cover the advertiser in legal terms. I saw a good example at Makro the other day - Logitech had a special on their Alto laptop stand and keyboard combo, with a free Wireless mouse.
The box showed a photo of a laptop on the stand, and the small print stated "laptop not included"...

Apparently some customers had actually complained about there being no laptop in the box (which is really too small to hold a laptop anyway - use your noggin people!), so Logitech had to cover their butts on that count.

Trouble is, some ads are just downright misleading, especially when you cannot see the ad - i.e. on radio.
I heard the new Mango Fever one today and it goes something like this:

"If you do this and this and blah and blah and buy a ticket on Mango this month.... then you can WIN A PLANE!....


What more do you want? It's a flippin' plane!

T's and C's apply."

The actual prize, as quoted on the Mango website includes the following:
The prize includes 2 reserved seats for whenever you wish to fly.  Winners enjoy an entire month of absolutely free travel between 15 November and 15 December 2010 on any of Mango’s routes (Cape Town, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Durban). 4 winners will be drawn and each will receive personalized treatment over the travel period. A plane will be branded for each winner, this will include the winners name and his / her picture on the plane’s exterior. Winners will travel on premium Mango Plus tickets which entitles them to:
Access to BidAir Premier Lounges. Additional 10kg checked-in baggage weight allowance. Free on-board refreshments to the value of R40 per passenger. Two seats will be personalised for each winner when flying.
The prize also includes courtesy of our partners: 
  • R2000 cash for each winner courtesy of Tempest Car Hire
  • Complimentary car hire from Tempest Car Hire over this same period
  • Complimentary accommodation for one weekend from Southern Sun (bed and breakfast, for 2 nights for 2 guests)

So when some gullible nut hears the ad and takes it at face value, they might be forgiven for thinking that they will actually end up owning some sort of flying machine... not so?
Don't get me wrong, the prize is fantastic. I am just trying to point out that when someone includes a disclaimer in their ads, they can pretty much say whatever the hell they like in the ad itself.

I could be advertising a new soft drink - let's call it "Super Juice" for want of a better name... :)
Here is how the ad could go:

"New Super Juice contains all the vitamins to keep you healthy but also sustains your energy with a blend of natural substances. The juice is non-carbonated and contains no preservatives!

Try it now - available from all leading retailers nationwide, for the limited introductory price of only R 6,99!

T's and C's apply..."

and here are the T's and C's:

"Super Juice actually contains no vitamins;
It will not keep you healthy. It may in fact make you violently ill;
Substances used in production are in fact, not natural but entirely synthetic;
The juice is carbonated. Heavily so;
The juice consists entirely of preservatives;
The juice is only available at one shop in Koffiefontein, called "Super Spaza";
The introductory price is actually R 25,00 per bottle;

Get my drift? Ok this is a silly example, but the advertiser would reasonably be able to contest any comebacks on the product, based on their disclaimer - if the customer just read it :)

Even I use T's and C's when I advertise specials, but mine are not quite that hectic :)
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