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  • My Personal Blog.

    This blog is where I place my own thoughts and reflections. For me this allow me to express things that are painful and frustrating, but also things that are amazing and put a smile on my face. This is me in my most intimate form.

    As a member of my site you are invited to get to know the personal aspects of me here. As I share my innermost hopes, fears and dreams I hope I can show you that you are not alone with yours. All people are complex and wonderful beings and by giving you a glimpse into me maybe I can make you see that in yourself as well.

    This is my heart I present to you. Please handle with care.

  • My Personal Blog

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

    ― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"

    A crappy week and something to look forward to

    This week I spent in bed mostly as I was home sick. Typically, this comes at a busy week with lots of fun things to do, both at work and privately. I had some setbacks on the Task manager as well, so I decided to pay for some help. On the upside however things are going well with building a new office space at home, which I very much look forward to.
    Being sick always suck and even if I still have some crap lingering in my joints that still hurt a bit, things are significantly better. Of course this came at the worst time with me having several sessions at work to get new work processes going, and I was working on the task management system.  I will pick this up again next week of course, but it cost time and that sucks.
    As for the task management system I am working with a developer I found on Fiverr to try to figure out how to manage the drag and drop functions. It is a one step forward and one step backwards kind of process, but we do the best we can with a setup that is so far from optimized for what I try to do. It is a bit frustrating as I could not really commit to it when being sick. We'll see how it evolves next week I guess.
    On the positive side however I am getting a new space to work from at home. I have had a sort of gaming spot in the hallway for a while. It is not really a great experience as I sit on a regular chair and my desk is only 40 cm deep with a  fixed height that is way too low for me. It works for short periods of time, like for gaming a few hours, but it is not a great experience for prolonged periods of time. Combined with a lot less movement working from home it has caused issues with my back.
    My wife suggested that we could move the wardrobes in our bedroom as they are standing in a sort of alcove inset in the wall. Since we are renting the apartment I checked with the landlord, and we have approval to move the wardrobes. So next week we get a carpenter coming by to help with that as there is some electrics that needed to be managed and of course securing the wardrobes in the hallway where we will move them.
    I have also ordered an adjustable desk to fit that alcove, so I can both stand or sit when I work. I also ordered a proper chair, so I get a good working situation when seated. As my keyboard I have for my PC is pretty old and the cord has been damaged I also invested in a new keyboard. As I prefer low profile keys I went for the MX Keys keyboard as it seem to fit my needs. I will also switch between my mac and the PC, which is easy to do as the MX Keys have dedicated keys for that. It also has both PC and Mac designations on the keys, which will be great.
    I will invest a bit more in this office space once I see how it will be setup. I will for example need to extend the network cable and do some cable management. I also plan to buy a wireless loader for my Apple devices, which I should have bought a long time ago. I will probably get the Mophie 3in1 charger, just so I can manage all my devices at once. I also plan on getting the Airpods Pro, not just for the video calls, but also for the gym that hopefully will soon be open again, so I can get back to that.
    Overall I am a bit tired from last week, but I feel very good about finally building a proper office space at home. I think it will be amazing, and it is all thanks to my amazing wife ❤️

    Task management and other fun stuff

    This week has been very productive. This is true for work where I held two pretty big training sessions, but also for the site where I built a task management system from scratch using Pages. This week has also been a busy week for recruitments and I have received five actual job offers this week alone.
    At work this week I held two training sessions for the client I am working for. One for portfolio management and one for requirement analysis. Both of these required quite a lot of preparations and with both training sessions being two hours long, I could definitely feel the price. Fortunately these things also give quite a lot of energy, so even if it drains you it also put just as much back. So I have felt very good this week I must say.
    This has also led to me taking on yet another crazy project (I know!). This time it is to build, or rather try to build, a task management system. I used Jira as the starting point, but with the aim to make something that land between Trello and Jira. Fast, easy to use and very lightweight. What I have now is very much an MVP, but I like it very much. The backlog of things I want to do is still quite long, but I am in no hurry. I am digging into JavaScript a bit more, trying to find solutions for how to sort and later drag and drop cards in a Kanban view. It's fun, and it feels good to have a good tool for task management at hand on the site as it make it much easier to use.
    Other than that  have been overly popular this week from headhunters and I have had no less than 5 job offers so far.  What is interesting is that the job offers are more on point than usual, and it seems that the salary they offer is more in line with what I expect for my experience and knowledge. I do get more than a few job offers over the year, but they are often not really something that fit me, or the salary offered is 20-50% below what I would even consider. It seems that the headhunters are stepping things up a bit and that companies out there are willing to pay for experience.
    So overall this has been a great week because not only have I accomplished a lot, but we also got some snow finally!
    I hope your week has been good as well and that life treat you well.

    Reflections on building a task manager

    It is kind of weird how your mind get wired to certain ways of working. Even more weird is when you are forced to do things differently you actually find that those ways may not be the best way to do things. When building the Task Management using IPS Pages I found this to be particularly true...
    Coming from 10 years working, designing and educating for Jira I had certain things hardwired into the way I designed the Task management database here on the site. The Hierarchy of issues for example has constantly been an issue in Jira. In Pages there are no hierarchies and after trying to hack it a bit I realized that I can actually have any hierarchy without having to build it.
    By adding a database relation field pointing to the same database I can create a bidirectional link between the tasks. I use this to allow each task to define a parent issue. By doing this I can create any structure I want. In the issue view itself this linkage is shown for the parent link, but it also shows that link from the other end. This allows me to show tasks as subtasks for any task that have set the task as its parent.
    I added a form below the subtasks that automatically add the parent link of the task you create them from. That makes it very fast to create subtasks as well.
    Show all and use the filters
    At first, I wanted to hide subtasks to get that same look as in Jira. Once I stepped away from the hierarchy idea I also realized that since I no longer had a hierarchy that was no reason to hide anything. Everything is just tasks to be done, and I added both the issue type and the assignee fields as filters. This makes it very flexible as I can show tasks on any level assigned to anyone, or I can just look at all activities at once.
    I think this will be even more powerful when I add the sorting feature, so I can drag and drop things to set the order of items. Even without that I really love the flexibility these filters provide.
    Notifications are something that is very annoying in Jira and at first I had my mind set on making sure you get notified when you get assigned and so on. Once I started to look into it however I realized that this is actually not something that benefit most users. I started to consider how many times I have set up rules for notifications from Jira just to get rid of them and how many times I actually had any action taken based on a notification.
    I realized that it is far better to communicate if I want to make sure the assignee take some form of action. This is very easily done using the comment form with a mention.
    A good way to challenge your views
    Overall I think I have challenged my views on what a task management should look and behave like. Old ways are not always the best, and it is refreshing to consider things from different angles because the platform forces you into new ways of defining your workflow.
    More lessons to be learned.
    I look forward to digging deeper into this and to see if I should add a second database for support requests, or use the same. The idea of one single entity for support kind of appeals to me to be honest, and I am playing with the idea of adding different issue types to different categories to some extent. I might even add support articles, so I can tie them into a support ticket and so on.
    There is so much to explore and learn.

    Building a taskmanager using only standard Pages functionality

    Yesterday I started playing around with a new database to see if it is possible to make a task management system using nothing but standard functionality in Pages. I am going for a list type of task management similar to Jira as the first step and so far it is going pretty well.
    The biggest challenge so far is of course that Pages do not have hierarchies. Task management should have at least tasks and subtasks, which is proving to be a bit challenging. My first try is based on just having a separate issue type called subtask that is not shown in lists, only if it is related to another issue. It is a crutch, but it seems to work so far.
    I am using categories as something between an Epic and a component, but it makes it fairly easy to manage that type of categorization. Labels are of course built in as are notifications, so that i nothing I have to worry too much about.
    A challenge I need to figure out if how to make fields editable in the front end instead of having to go through the edit form all the time. I can make the fields editable in the frontend just fine, but they are all tossed out in one place, so I need to figure out how to reposition them where I need them. I also need to make it so that people that can edit can see the edit fields and the ones that can not edit only see the output.
    Create new subtasks is another thing I want to find a good solution for. Just an input fields and a submit button would be ideal for quickly creating new subtasks inline. I can add the database relation in a hidden field and then refresh the issue to see the newly created subtask. It should work, but I need to find out how to do it as right now it is not working properly.
    This should be a fun side-project and later on I will try to add a drag and drop functionality for ranking in the list. I also will try to find a solution for making a kanban board with columns for each status, so I can drag and drop things. For this I will also need two states for issues, so I can have a backlog and a "sprint". For first iteration though I can probably just have a continuous work setup where all issues will show in the kanban.
    It is a fun little thing to play around with, but I do not put it high on the priority list at the moment.
    So it will be done, when it will be done.

    Time to work on a design system on top of IPS?

    The more I build, the more I see the need for a design system for JWSE. Not to replace the IPS underlying styles, but to extend on top of them. I have quite a lot of duplicated code right now from trying things out, and it makes sense to try to consolidate things into a more focused design experience.
    As with all sites where you explore and tinker around with things there will be a need to clean things up and optimize from time to time. I already started to explore a design system when I started this site, but I find it a bit hard to switch over to a different system just to document things.
    The question is if the problem is that working with IPS just fall outside of regular development processes since I do not really use an IDE or code repositories. Maybe I just have not found the right tool for me for this purpose. I am not sure, but I will explore it a bit in 2021. There is always the option to simply build a database for it right in IPS, which is an idea I am not terribly against to be honest.
    For the CSS I will start breaking things down in 2021 and define some standard classes that I use most. Tabs and forms for example makes sense to standardize since I use them quite a lot. I have already setup variables for colors and I will extend that a bit where it makes sense for a more functional CSS style.
    I do not plan to have a fully fledged Tailwind or Bootstrap setup, but at least some structure that makes it faster to add components that I use often. It also makes sense to define certain design elements such as colors, fonts and border radius for example. It also makes sense to have a standard definition of things like flexbox and a library of components.
    In the best of worlds this would allow me to simply drop in a custom CSS file in a new theme, change a few colors and then everything will work out of the box.
    It will be a fun project to play around with I think.

    The databases are coming along just fine

    The work with creating the new databases are moving along fine. The hosting database is getting finished and the company database is just missing the form design. The Product database is next on my list and after that I will focus on the Profiles database. Things are not moving fast, but steadily.
    Hosting Database
    The hosting database is coming along fine. The record view is pretty much done, and I am working on adding the category structure. Since there are quite a lot of countries in the world I found that I have to break some regions into subregions. I want to have icons that match the map of the section that forced me to remake the icons a bit, so I can map out the countries for each region in the larger map.
    Fortunately I found that Vemaps have great vector maps I can use for this. The biggest issue right now is to figure out what regions are since it varies quite a lot depending on what type of break down you want to do. This should be ready for its first iteration shortly I think.
    The Product database is next on my list of databases to finish. There are quite a few fields for that and a few are new features here on the site. I think this database will need a few iterations because there are so many ways to make this, and it will take a few attempts to get it right I think.
    At the moment I have added connections to several other databases, which looks good. I also added a gallery slider and some other goodies, so I am pretty happy with things right now. I still need to make a custom form for this database, so that is next on the to-do list.
    The roles database is pending a bit. This is because I have not put my final thoughts on how this should look, or what information should be added. I have plenty of thoughts and at the moment it is a mix of traditional role definitions such as responsibilities, mandate and relations within the organization and information found in personas such as goals, motivations and pain points.
    I am also toying with the idea to add some personality sliders for things like introvert/extrovert and connections to certifications and education, people and jobs and assignments.
    The Profiles database is still very much a database in progress. I have some thoughts running in my mind, but nothing defined just yet. I want something like the Awesome People, yet more focused on a sort of online CV to promote yourself. Unlike  LinkedIn where the focus is on experience I want to focus on skill. I aim to connect these profiles with roles of course, so you can connect multiple roles that you feel that you are great at.
    Products allow you to show off your expertise, company show what company you are working at, and I might add a way to show previous companies as well. Of course, you should be able to add files such as a CV and a gallery for images of yourself or work that you have done. I might even build a special function for a portfolio...
    Personality I will add the DISC/16personalities as for Awesome people and I might even add a slider like in the Roles database. I will for sure connect to awards and things like certifications and probably to articles as well, so I can connect articles to profiles.
    Other Databases
    As you can see I already have some plans for additional databases such as Awards, Jobs & Assignments, Certifications and Courses & Training. I also have the Atlassian Apps database that I am working on. The way I can connect these make it interesting to create a web of databases. Considering how easy it is to set these up it also means I can do this pretty quickly.
    So things are coming along just fine, and I am having a blast building these databases!

    Hosting database with pricing tables

    As the companies' database is starting to look good I am looking at the first product based database, which is the Hosting database.  This is something I have wanted to do for a very long time and I did a first attempt back in 2009 that failed because I did not have the tools to make it a reality. Now I have the tools and I just need to figure out how to best make this as good as possible.
    The main focus of the Hosting Database will be the pricing table. The idea is to allow for three packages for each hosting offer. This way most hosting companies can fit their different plans into a nice comparison view. I will need to add some nice CSS accordions to the form to make it easy to work with, and it will need a ton of custom fields.
    This morning I created the new icons for the hosting part and set up the base category structure. I had an icon from back in 2009 in mind and when I searched for my old website I stumbled upon an interview I did with Tommy that sadly passed away in 2019. It made me a bit sad, but I know Tommy would love to see this new section as he loved services like this.
    So, I will continue building this and will make sure it will be a service worthy of an article or two. It is fun to read the ambitions I had back in 2009 are almost the same that I have today!

    Companies database

    The first step towards setting up the new databases has been taken, and I now have a pretty good start I think. The basic template is there and the first countries has been added. The template for People work great and the other tabs are showing up as they should. I feel that this is a good start!
    Even though there are some CSS magic to be done still for mobile and tablet, I think things are looking pretty good already. There will be a lot of work setting up the countries, but other than that I think that the design is pretty much done. I decided to use a 7 continent setup and then have countries as subcategories. This should be sufficient, especially since I have set up the Industries field as a filter.

    For the company listings I designed it light, and I also added a color to the pinned and featured listings. That will come in handy to highlight special companies, but it can also be used down the road if I want to add a form of paid listing feature.

    The detailed view comes with a little backdrop in the header if you like that and some basic company related fields. I also bring in data from the People database and the Hosting database right now. I will add the Atlassian Apps database later as well and there is support to add as many tabs as I want down the road.

    For the People tab I am still playing around with it, but I can directly call the template I made for My Projects. This makes it very easy to just add the CSS to the page and then everything works perfectly. I will build up the People database with more data though and expand that information even more. For example, I am considering a "looking for work" feature like on LinkedIn.

    So far so good, next up is the hosting database and then the People database....

    2021 - I still have hope

    2021 is almost here and despite a world in flames filled with madness I still have hope. It is easy to focus on the negative in these times, but I refuse to get trapped in that negative spiral. I already have clawed through that earlier this fall and I plan to focus on positivity in 2021. Even more than usual.
    Rather than making resolutions or make promises that fail for 2021 I will simply focus on one single thing next year: Keep moving forward. No big plans, no fixed goals, just continuous momentum no matter how slow. Nothing perfect, just small increments of improvements. All the time.
    I will stop feeding the trolls in 2021 as well. There are a lot of angry, confused and stupid people out there and most of them swarm towards social media to unleash their madness. While it pains me to not point out the lack of logic in their feeble attempts to rationalize their inability to form coherent logic I have realized that it is a futile effort. I have already more or less left Facebook and will do the same with Twitter.
    I will consider what to do with Instagram, but it is a limited platform, so I will most likely dial that back as well in 2021. LinkedIn is one of the few platforms I will remain active on, mostly because it is a good platform to form useful connections rather than a platform for madness. I will still try out different new platforms that popup, but less active than before.
    Instead, I will focus on my website. It is what give me most satisfaction and now that I see some traffic coming in I feel the passion to write and build again. This is where my heart sings with joy, and it is here that I can make meaningful contributions to help others realize their own dreams. Even though I plan to write some controversial things here under my Debate category, I will make sure that critique is partnered with suggested solutions to make it constructive.
    So, for me, I still have hope for 2021, and I look forward to a new year filled with new teachings and explorations.

    2020 in retrospect was not a great year, but it had som highlights

    I think we can all agree that 2020 was not the greatest of years in general. Even though COVID-19 changed the world in 2020, and we lost a lot of people not all things was pitch black. For me the year got better with time because I started the year really bad even before COVID-19, but the end of 2020 was actually not that bad all things considered.
    I started out 2020 being almost burned out from after effects from a bad internal situation at Zington and a high stress situation in 2019. This situation escalated with new management at Zington that did not fit my view of good management and I choose to resign rather than stay in a work situation I was not happy with. I was not alone in taking this decision and after checking my options in the midst of the Corona outbreak I followed some colleagues to build up something new at Cartina.
    The first quarter of 2020 was really bad, but there was one thing that made everything awesome despite that and that was the assignment with ChessIT. Working with ChessIT was great, and it was exactly what I needed at the time. Great people, great attitude from all involved and the soothing work of making design again. This not only sparked my creative side during the project, it revived that passion I have for this website as well.
    The second quarter was a bit rough as I resigned from Zington and did not really have a plan going forward. I just knew I could not stay with Zington the way I felt at that moment. With COVID-19 raging across the world most companies stopped hiring and after some consideration I decided to follow some colleagues to Cartina. As I had worked with Cartina before on several occasions and with the opportunity to help build something new, this looked like a good fit for me. Even with a new employer it was still hard to find assignments, which was the same for most consultants at the time. I helped out with the new Cartina website and looked for assignments, but overall things was pretty slow.
    After the summer we managed to lure over our former boss Aki and also Margit. This is where things really started to turn around for me emotionally and searching for assignments got a big boost knowing I can always count on Aki and Margit to be there to support me when if I needed it. Never any pressure, just support and positive energy. We also added a nice CV tool that made applying to assignments so much easier, especially for me with so many roles I can take. Slowly the market started to change as well and where the market was reluctant to hire, I now got bombarded with offers. Most of them was for employment of course, but it did not take long before I had three projects landing in my lap. I have now concluded 2 of them and working on the third. For next year it looks like I have assignments at least until the summer.
    After a rough patch in 2019 things was much better in 2020. My wife started working again after her studies and got a job she really likes and that seem to fit her perfectly.  My son started to find his place in school as well. After a nice vacation in Dalarna with Jenny's mother and a little balancing with Benjamin's medicine for ADHD he seems to have settled in and is doing well in school again. He also grew quite a bit and lost weight in the process, just like I did in his age. He also started working out at the gym and for the first time ever he actually enjoys gym at school, which is amazing.
    We had some big expenses at the end of the year for car issues and a cat that needed surgery, but overall this year has been pretty good for the family. I am gaining some pounds and need to get out more, but I am having fewer issues with my SHR since I stay home. I also don't really have any good place to work, which in combination with not enough exercise have given me some back issues. Nothing more than usual though, so overall things have been pretty ok.
    The website
    This website has been my savior this past year. There has been so much to learn, and I feel that 2020 was the year when the website really started to come together. I have several new sections that I have wanted to build for so many years that I finally could see come to life this year. The fact that I have several more coming next year just make my heart sing with joy.
    While I have been posting blog articles and slowly rebuilt the site after loosing all graphics back in 2019, things was a bit slow for the first half of the year or so. It was when I finally rebuilt the templates and moved from the SuperGrid app that I first used while learning how to build my own themes. With that knowledge I now feel that I can build pretty much anything in Pages.
    The big highlights however came at the end of the year when I built the database for My Book - working for real and then the redesign of the Movies app. I have been feeling bad about my book since it has been locked away in a software that I find hard to commit to opening. By moving things to a public database this becomes so much easier to access and work on. The fact that it is public also make it a bit more rewarding to write as I can get feedback on it.
    The Movies app was just a spur of the moment purchase as I love movies and TV Shows and spend quite a bit of time watching those. I also worked in a video store for several years, so the idea of building a database of movies and TV Shows have been a long dream of mine.
    Life in general
    If this year has taught us anything, then it is that change is painful and that even the smallest of problems can cause big disruptions. A small virus has pretty much crippled the entire world, and we will live with the effects of this for decades. Thousands of people have lost their lives and the situation have illuminated big problems in pretty much every country.
    In Sweden, it is our elder care, or rather lack thereof, that has become painfully obvious. It is nothing new, but we have ignored it for decades. Even if we focus on COVID-19 right now you can be sure that thousands of our elders have died needlessly from other viruses such as the flu due to the same lack of education and routines that is now killing our elders by the thousands.
    Hopefully we can make sure all who work with elder care at least get basic healthcare training, proper time to care for the elders that survive and of course that we have solid routines to prevent virus and bacterial spreading. As bad as things have been this year I do have hopes that those that survive will see better elder care in the future.
    For introverts this year has been the year when remote work finally became acceptable. We could see a huge spike in investments in the remote work sector and once the initial trial period was over most could see that remote work actually works very well for many in the IT sector. I have a feeling this will increase in 2021 as well and hopefully this will lead to a hybrid situation in the future that work for both Introverts and extroverts.
    I also think this year have shown the contrast between those that will sacrifice themselves to help others and those that care only about themselves. Never have I felt more despair than this year watching people willing to cause physical harm to others for selfish reasons. Never have greed and selfishness been more apparent to me than this year as more people are forced to deal with their inner demons in isolation or as desperation sets in due to loss of income. It is clear that as fear takes hold of our hearts we will lash out and show the worst part of ourselves.
    This year my respect for those that are willing to sacrifice to help others have grown to new heights. It is something amazing to see a person go through a literal hell to help others. To see people work beyond exhaustion or give freely of what little they have to ease the pain of others. These are the people that give hope in a world that seem to continuously drown in selfishness, envy and greed.
    2020 was a difficult year, but we will survive and move forward. I only hope that we have learned something from the suffering the world have endured. I doubt the greed will subside magically, but I have hope for a more tolerant world in the future...

    Carousel, new categories and Company profiles

    Today I look into Company profiles over at TechCrunch and try to figure out how ipsCarousel works while mind mapping the new categories for the site. There are still some days left on this year, so let's make the most of it!
    As I continue the planning for the site I look into CrunchBase from TechCrunch as inspiration for the Company database. Basically it is the tabbed design and some of the data fields I look at. I will start small and then build based on that I think. I have this idea that a user can add themselves to the company with the click of a button, but not sure how to actually do that. Yet. I will probably will start with something easier like directing the user to the people's database where they can connect their profile to a company.
    ipsCarousel is the feature that make those nice sliders in most apps. It is a great feature, but also very much undocumented. This goes for a quite a bit over at IPS, so I am considering making some sort of database for that. At least for the templates it should be easy to make a list of attributes that can be used to help people get started. For ipsCarousel however I will look at making a block or two into sliders as I found a forum thread with some basic info and some example code:
    <div class='ipsBox ipsSpacer_bottom'> <h2 class='ipsType_sectionTitle ipsType_reset'>{lang="featured_downloads"}</h2> <section id='elDownloadsFeatured'> <div class='ipsCarousel ipsClearfix' data-ipsCarousel data-ipsCarousel-fullSizeItems data-ipsCarousel-slideshow data-ipsCarousel-shadows='false'> <ul class='cDownloadsCarousel ipsClearfix' data-role="carouselItems"> {{foreach $featured as $file}} {template="featuredFile" group="browse" app="downloads" params="$file"} {{endforeach}} </ul> <span class='ipsCarousel_shadow ipsCarousel_shadowLeft'></span> <span class='ipsCarousel_shadow ipsCarousel_shadowRight'></span> <a href='#' class='ipsCarousel_nav ipsHide' data-action='prev'><i class='fa fa-chevron-left'></i></a> <a href='#' class='ipsCarousel_nav ipsHide' data-action='next'><i class='fa fa-chevron-right'></i></a> </div> </section> </div> This weekend I also went over the categories on the site and made a little mind map over the databases and sections using XMind. This is because I see that the IPS content will grow, and it is a niche that have potential for the future. I also see that I need to add a new section for Databases where I will place People, Companies and Roles. I have also mapped out Section specific databases like a hosting database, Atlassian App database, Management Frameworks database and so on.
    2021 will be an exciting year for sure 🙂
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