Archive for the ‘Apple MacBook Air’ Category

GoPro two-for

May 6, 2022

This blog post is a GoPro two-for. First I will prove that there are only two user-selectable settings that can be made using the GoPro HERO4 Black action camera set for Video Mode / “Time Lapse Video” submode. Second I will demonstrate two settings that you should make under Setup Mode in order to use your GoPro camera as a Webcam.

I used a relatively inexpensive MavisLink Video Capture Card to connect my GoPro HERO4 Black to an Apple MacBook Air. Open Broadcaster Software (OBS Studio) was used to record two video clips showing the small LED screen on the front of the HERO4 Black.

Video Mode / “Time Lapse Video” submode

The following short video (0:34) shows all of the settings that can be made in Video Mode / “Time Lapse Video” submode. First I cycled through all of the submodes under Video Mode. Next I cycled through all of the setting options under “Interval.” Finally, I cycled through the settings under “Resolution.”

Like I said in my last blog post, there are two user-selectable settings in the “Time Lapse Video” submode: Interval; and Resolution.

At the end of the video clip, the screen goes black (there was a lens cap on my camera) except for information displayed in white text at the top and bottom of the LCD screen. GoPro calls that “On Screen Display”; some people refer to it as a “heads up display.” More about that in the next section.

“Clean HDMI”

“Clean HDMI” output and continuous power are considered to be essential if a camera is suitable for repurposing as a Webcam. Two settings are recommended in “Setup Mode” in order to use the HERO4 Black as a Webcam.

Use the Power/Mode Button (front of camera) to scroll down through the menu items until you reach “On Screen Display.” This setting can be toggled ON or OFF; set it to “OFF” by pressing the Shutter/Select Button (top of camera). The next menu item is “Auto Off”; set it to “Never” so the camera won’t power-off automatically. Finally, press the Settings/Tag Button (side) to exit the Setup menu.

Notice the “On Screen Display” is gone when the screen goes black at the end of the video. Ah, “clean HDMI!”

Thanks to YouTuber “Tech Explores NYC” for showing me how to setup my GoPro HERO4 Black for use as a Webcam!

Related Resources

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Can “Panasonic Image App” for iOS run on a MacBook Air?

March 4, 2022

I read a recent article from Macworld entitled “How to run your favorite iPhone and iPad apps on an M1 Mac.” Naturally I wondered whether the “Panasonic Image App” for iOS would run on my MacBook Air (13″, M1, 2020). I’m pleased to report it works!

I followed the directions in the Macworld article and downloaded/installed the Panasonic Image App from the Mac App Store, shown on the left in the following screen capture from my MacBook Air.

Next, I opened the app. Notice the “Home” screen on my MacBook Air is almost identical to the “Home” screen on my Apple iPad mini 6. I clicked on the “Wi-Fi” button.

Then I looked under Settings/Wi-Fi (on my MacBook Air) for an access point to connect with the camera.

After the Wi-Fi connection was established successfully, I clicked on the “Remote operation” button on the “Home” screen and voilà, the “Live Control” panel appeared on-screen.

I wanted to see a larger view of the window, but the app doesn’t allow the user to click-and-drag in order to resize the smallish window. No problem. I clicked the green dot in the Menu Bar and the app filled the screen!

I tested a few camera functions. In particular, I changed the aperture and shutter speed and recorded a few photos. There was noticeable lag when I moved the tripod head to change the camera view, but it’s not something with which you can’t live.

When I minimized the app in order to check my folder of screen captures, that resulted in the unexpected loss of the Wi-Fi connection.

A few surprises might be expected given the disclaimer for “Panasonic Image App” that appears on the Mac App Store: “Designed for iPad. Not verified for MacOS.” From my proof-of-concept testing, I can verify the app runs on my MacBook Air and almost everything I tried works.

I really like being able to see a larger display of the “Live Control” window on my MacBook Air than on my iPad mini. Still wireless; still portable, with a larger display. In my opinion. that’s a win-win!

Related Resource: How to run your favorite iPhone and iPad apps on an M1 Mac, by Roman Loyola, Senior Editor, Macworld.

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Apple Sidecar

December 17, 2021

Apple “Sidecar” is a free utility that enables you to use an iPad as a secondary display for your Mac.

Sidecar is only compatible with relatively newer devices such as my MacBook Air (M1, 2020) and iPad mini 6. [Note: Significant capability is added to my iPad mini by pairing the tablet with a Logitech “KEYS-TO-GO” wireless keyboard (compatible with both my iPad mini and MacBook Air) and Apple Pencil (2nd generation) or Logitech Pebble M355 Wireless Mouse.]

I tested Sidecar recently and I’m pleased to report it works as advertised. I’m just starting to think about how to utilize Sidecar. Any suggestions? If so, then please comment on this post.

Must-see TV

The show notes for the following video by Apple Support lists a link to a Web page entitled “Use an iPad as a secondary display for a Mac.” The first section is called “Get ready” and includes a sub-link to another section called “Sidecar system requirements” (located near the end of the same page). Also see the next section, “Additional requirements.”

The next video by Tech Gear Talk provides lots of useful guidance for making settings, how Sidecar works, as well as some practical applications.

The last video by Terry White answers the obvious question, “Can your iPad be used as a graphics tablet for use with mac OS applications such as Adobe Photoshop?” The answer, in a word, is “Yes!”

As you might have guessed I’m wondering whether Sidecar can be used to enhance my Photopea workflow. More later after I experiment.

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

“Tech Tips” Tuesday

November 30, 2021

In this blog post I’m going to show you how I add special characters to some of my annotated images, such as the pictograph for “male,” shown below.

Photo used with written permission from Michael Powell.

I’ll show you how to do it on my older Apple 24″ iMac desktop computer (Early 2009), then I’ll show you (in more detail) how to do the same thing on my newer Apple 13″ MacBook Air laptop computer (M1, 2020).

macOS Yosemite (Version 10.10.5)

Open “System Preferences” and select “Keyboard.” Click on the tab labeled “Keyboard” and check the box for “Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in menu bar.”

As you might expect, a new icon will appear in the menu bar, located on the right side of the screen. When you click on the icon you should see three (3) options (listed from top-to-bottom): Show Character Viewer; Show Keyboard Viewer; and Open Keyboard Preferences… Select “Character Viewer” and navigate to Pictographs. (The last option takes you back the same screen that is shown above.)

macOS Monterey (Version 12.0.1)

After I was unable to figure out how to make the same setting on my MacBook Air, I referred to the “macOS User Guide” that is a built-in feature of the computer. A screenshot of the guide is shown below.

Open “System Preferences” and select “Keyboard.” Click on the tab labeled “Input Sources” and check the box for “Show Input menu in menu bar.”

A new icon will appear in the menu bar, located on the right side of the screen. When you click on the icon you should see the three (3) options shown below. Select the first option, “Show Emoji & Symbols.”

A new window will open on-screen. Navigate to Pictographs. Some sample Pictographs are shown below, including the female and male symbols (fifth row from the top).

Practical example using Photoshop

Here’s an example of part of my workflow to annotate a photograph using Adobe Photoshop.

Open a photo file in Photoshop. Select the “Text Tool” and create a new layer called “male symbol.” Click on the image to add an insertion point, then click on the “Show…” icon in the computer menu bar and select “Show Emoji & Symbols.” Navigate to “Pictographs” and select the “male sign.” You should see a list of “Font Variations.” I always use “Arial Bold.” Double-click on the icon and it should appear on the photo. ♂ Use the “Move Tool” to, well, move the symbol wherever you like on the image.

Photopea

I stumbled across an application recently called “Photopea” that is a free alternative to Adobe Photoshop. Photopea is a Web-based clone of Photoshop — Photopea doesn’t do everything Photoshop does but it could be used to annotate photos using a workflow similar to the one I just described. Look for one or more Photopea-related blog posts in the near future.

Related Resources

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Dragonfly socks

June 4, 2021

A good friend sent a special gift to me. I love me some dragonfly socks. Thanks, Susan!

I know you’re thinking “Gee, I wish had a pair of dragonfly socks.” But you don’t. Hah!

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Tethered

April 13, 2021

“Tethered.” What does that word mean to a photographer? In its simplest sense, it’s when a camera is connected to a computer either by some type of cable or sometimes wirelessly.

“Tethered shooting” implies the photographer is able to control the camera remotely, either partially or completely.

Is there really a distinction between the two terms? I think so.

In my last two blog posts I mentioned that my older Fujifilm X-T1 mirrorless digital camera cannot be used for tethered shooting using either the free Fujifilm X Acquire 2 software or via some sort of HDMI Video Capture device. That being said, the Fujifilm X-T1 camera can be tethered to my computer in order to display the output from the HDMI port on the camera.

The section entitled “Viewing Pictures on TV” that appears on p. 108 of the Fujifilm X-T1 Owner’s Manual is shown below.

When the Fujifilm X-T1 is connected to my Apple MacBook Air computer via a MavisLink Video Capture Card and displayed on-screen using OBS Studio, the camera thinks the computer is a TV. Well, sort of.

OBS Studio | Properties for ‘Video Capture Device’

First, add a “Video Capture Device” to a “Scene” in OBS Studio. Select “USB Video” since the “HDMI Video Capture” device connects to the computer via USB. A colorful test pattern appears on screen, even when the camera is turned on.

When the “Play” button on the back of Fujifilm X-T1 camera is pressed, a small green LED in the upper-right corner of the camera turns on and the photos saved to the memory card in your camera are shown on-screen, one image at a time. Use the “D” pad on the back of the camera to cycle through all of the photos on the memory card. Press the “Play” button when you’re finished and the test pattern reappears in OBS Studio.

By the way, the photo shown in the preceding “Screenshot” of OBS Studio is one of the images I shot for Sumo Citrus still life, a recent blog post.

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Tethered shooting using Canon EOS Utility

March 5, 2021

Canon EOS Utility (EOS-U) can be used to tether many models of Canon digital cameras with computers (running either macOS or Windows). For example, my Canon EOS 5D Mark II appears on the list of cameras supported by EOS-U.

Canon EOS-U is like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re going to get! The way that tethering looks and functions seems to depend upon a combination of your camera model and your computer operating system.

My new 13″ Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) features the “Big Sur” macOS. The drop-down menu for “Operating System” (shown below) doesn’t list either “Big Sur” or “Catalina” — the last two versions of macOS. So I selected “macOS Mohave v10.14” …

and downloaded/installed “EOS Utility 2.14.31b for Mac OS X.”

Canon EOS Utility 2

Here’s how to get started. Tether your camera to a computer using an appropriate cable for your camera and computer.

Trouble-shooting tip: Set the camera Drive Mode for “One Shot” before tethering your camera to a computer. EOS Utility 2 doesn’t work when the Drive Mode of my Canon EOS 5D Mark II is set for Timer (either 2 s or 10 s).

Launch Canon EOS Utility 2, or EOS-U 3 if you are using a newer camera than me. The “Main Window” (shown below) should appear on screen. Click on “Camera settings/Remote shooting.”

The “Capture Window” (camera control panel) should appear on screen, as shown below.

Click on the button labeled “Preferences…” that is located in the lower-left corner of the “Capture Window” (camera control panel). The following screenshot shows all of the categories of preferences.

Select Preferences → Basic Settings in order to set the “Main Window” to show on startup. I recommend ticking the checkbox to automatically display the “Quick Preview” window whenever a photo is taken.

Select Preferences → Remote Shooting in order to set where photo files are saved. My camera is set to shoot RAW files only; CR2 files are saved to both my camera and computer, as indicated by the icon in the camera control panel that looks like a computer + camera.

Select Preferences → Destination Folder to specify the location where photo files will be saved on your computer. My preferences are as follows.

Help requested: A little help from my readers, please. What is the purpose of the “Monitor Folder,” shown in the preceding “Preferences” panel? I speculate it might be a folder that is watched by “Digital Photo Professional 4,” free photo editing software available from CanonUSA.

Subfolders within the “Destination Folder” are created automatically as per my preferences.

Select Preferences → Linked Software in order to set an application that will be used to open photo files automatically. In my case, I registered “Preview,” an Apple graphics utility.

When you click on the “Register…” button the first time, what you see varies depending upon whether you are using EOS Utility 2…

or EOS Utility 3. In either case, all of the default options are Canon applications. If you would prefer to link to a non-Canon application, then select “None” and press the “Register…” button again in order to browse the applications available on your computer.

The “Capture Window” (camera control panel, shown below) can be used to change some but not all settings for my Canon EOS 5D Mark II. The initial settings shown by EOS-U should be the same as your camera before it was tethered to your computer.

The grayed-out “M” indicates my camera is set for Manual shooting mode. The shooting mode (M, Av, Tv, P, etc.) cannot be changed in software — you must make that setting by turning the dial on your camera. Also, adjusting the focal length of a zoom lens cannot be done remotely by the software.

The camera settings shown in black can be adjusted remotely. For example, I set the White Balance for “Flash,” as indicated by the lightning flash icon. Press the virtual shutter button when you’re ready to take a photo.

EOS-U 2 seems to have no idea what type of lens is mounted on the camera. In this case, I used my Canon “Nifty 50” lens (EF 50mm f/1.8 II) to take some test shots. The “Quick Preview” panel appears after you take a photo. (The panel is resizable.)

Each photo also opens automatically in “Preview” based upon my settings in Preferences → Linked Software. To some extent, it’s redundant to open photos in both EOS-U “Quick Preview” and Apple “Preview.” My goal is simply to demonstrate for Fujifilm that Canon has shown it is possible to make “Linked Software” work on a computer running the Big Sur macOS.

Click the “Live View shoot…” button, located near the bottom of the “Capture Window” (camera control panel), in order to display the “Remote Live View window” (shown below). There you can set the focus point, and zoom in/out. Other options might be available depending upon your camera model.

Canon EOS Utility 3

Mike Powell, my good friend and photowalking buddy, experimented with his Canon EOS Rebel SL2 tethered to Canon EOS Utility 3. Sincere thanks to Mike for patiently helping me begin to figure out things that are software-dependent and things that are camera-dependent.

Your mileage might vary, but it’s worth noting that the “Capture Window” (camera control panel) for Mike’s Canon EOS Rebel SL2 shows several options that aren’t available for my older Canon EOS 5D Mark II. This is the box of chocolates thing that I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post.

For example, the Drive Mode [Single Shot, Continuous, Timers (2, 10 s)] can be set in EOS-U 3 (on Mike’s camera) but can’t be set in EOS-U 2 (on my camera).

Look closely at the “Capture Window” (camera control panel, shown above). Notice the icon for a movie camera located to the right of the “Live View shoot…” button. That button is supposed to enable remote video shooting; neither Mike nor I have tested the process.

Here’s a screenshot of the “Remote Live View window” on Mike’s computer. Notice the EOS-U 3 window features more buttons than EOS-U 2. Also notice the histogram shown in the lower-right corner, a useful tool that isn’t featured in EOS-U 2 using either Mike’s Canon EOS 50D or my Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

What are the take-aways?

Canon EOS Utility can do so much more than tethered shooting using Adobe Lightroom Classic that EOS-U is the tool of choice for tethered shooting with my Canon camera. I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface of what EOS-U can do, and I’m looking forward to further exploration and experimentation.

Who knows? The joy of tethered shooting with EOS-U — and the frustration of the limitations of the software when used with my older camera — might motivate me to buy a new Canon mirrorless digital camera. That is, assuming Canon introduces a pro-grade camera with an APS-C sensor at a sub-$4K price point. If I’m going to spend $4,000 or more for a camera — the current price range for higher end Canon mirrorless digital cameras — then I think my money would be better spent on one of the Fujifilm GFX medium format digital cameras.

Related Resources

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Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

“Fujifilm X Acquire” updated

February 26, 2021

Fujifilm X Acquire” tethered shooting software for Apple Mac was updated on 17 February 2021 from Ver. 1.18.0 to Ver. 1.19.0.

What’s new?

The release notes say Ver. 1.19.0 includes a “1. Fix of minor bugs.”

The “splash screen” that featured cryptic characters from an Asian alphabet is gone. Otherwise, I see no difference between Ver. 1.18.0 and Ver. 1.19.0. Most notably, a fix for the “Linked Software” problem is not included in the latest X Acquire update.

Catch-22

The “About FUJIFILM X Acquire” window directs the user to allow access to “Photos” and “Files and Folders” from Apple “System Preferences” → “Security & Privacy” → “Privacy” [tab].

The same directive is reinforced on the Fujifilm X Acquire “Preferences” page.

First, a word of caution: In my strong opinion, Apple “Photos” is the wrong application to pair with Fujifilm X Acquire — if you do, then “You’re entering a world of pain.” (Source Credit: “The Big Lebowski.”) I think Apple “Preview” is a better solution for this task.

Second, there is a “bug” in “Big Sur” — the latest version of the Apple macOS — that doesn’t allow users (including system administrators) to add items to the list of applications that can access “Files and Folders,” as shown by the grayed-out +/- symbols in the following Screenshot (an Apple utility).

The same screen shows several Adobe applications can access “Files and Folders,” including “Adobe Lightroom Classic,” “Adobe Photoshop 2021,” and Adobe “Creative Cloud.” I must have granted permission (during installation) for these Adobe applications to access “Files and Folders” because it’s clear I can’t do so manually.

I strongly recommend Fujifilm should update X Acquire to do likewise, otherwise we’re stuck with a “Catch-22” dilemma in which X Acquire doesn’t set the necessary permission(s) to operate properly and Big Sur doesn’t let the user grant permission for apps to access “Files and Folders.” Both Fujifilm and Apple should fix these problems STAT!

Related Resource:Return to tethered shooting” – a blog post by Walter Sanford.

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Testing tethered automated focus bracketing

February 1, 2021

I changed the orientation of the ruler featured in my last blog post and used the “FUJIFILM Tether Shooting Plug-in PRO (Mac)” to shoot another set of automated focus bracketing test photos. The ruler was aligned with the barrel of the camera lens, sloping downward gradually as the distance from the lens increased.

Based upon the end-points I selected, the plug-in set the number of shots to 11. The following slideshow shows photo No. 1, No. 6, and No. 11. The focus point moved along the ruler from back-to-front, opposite from the order in which I set the end-points. In other words, End-point 1 (located somewhere near the bottom of the photo) is photo No. 11 and End-point 2 (located near the middle of the photo) is photo No. 1. Is that a Fuji thing? Further testing required.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In case you can’t see each image clearly in the slideshow, here’s a gallery of larger versions of the photos through which you can move forward/backward manually. Click on any photo, then use the left and right arrows to cycle through the gallery.

Finally, here’s a focus stack of all 11 photos. I created a quick-and-dirty composite image using Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 plus the 11 JPGs straight from my camera (without any editing).

What looks like “ghosting” isn’t — the numerals and tick marks are raised above the surface of the ruler.

I don’t see any noticeable “focus gaps” from the middle to lower part of the ruler (relative to the photo) where my end-points were set. That’s a good thing!

As always, a small sample size is insufficient to declare success but the proof-of-concept is established and so far so good (he said with fingers crossed).

My Fujinon XF80mm macro lens lens was set for less than its maximum magnification ratio of 1:1. I’m curious to see how the plug-in performs when using macro lenses that feature auto-focus and a magnification ratio of greater than 1:1. On second thought, both of the high-magnification lenses I own are manual focus only. Perhaps one of my readers can comment.

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

More FUJIFILM Tether Shooting Plug-in PRO (Mac)

January 29, 2021

Adobe Lightroom Classic doesn’t support tethering with my Fujifilm X-series digital cameras (X-T1 and X-T3), that is, unless you buy a plug-in from Adobe. The plug-in is available in two versions: Standard ($29.00); and Pro ($79.00). I recommend the Pro version. The plug-in runs on my 11″ MacBook Air (Intel processor, 2011); it DOES NOT run on my new 13″ MacBook Air (M1 processor, 2020) although both Adobe and Fujifilm report they are working to update both Lightroom Classic and the plug-ins to be compatible with the Big Sur macOS.

Documentation

FUJIFILM Tether Plug-in PRO – Features — page one of a set of nine Web pages — is the only documentation for the plug-in that I have been able to find. We might say it’s a work in progress although I can’t say that I know anyone actually is working on updating the guide.

FUJIFILM Tether Plug-in PRO – Users Guide 1 -Preparing for tethered shooting. Step “3. Launch Lightroom, go to [File] > [Plug-in Manager] and make sure that the FUJIFILM Tether Shooting Plug-in PRO is enabled.” I did; it is.

The Pro version of the plug-in features two modes: CAMERA mode; and PC mode.

In CAMERA mode, your camera operates as it does when it isn’t tethered to a computer; a view of your last shot is shown on the right side of the window. (See the following screen “Grab.”) The areas shaded in red are over-exposed. That’s good, since I want the background to be pure white.

In PC mode, the camera is controlled by the computer; press the LIVE VIEW button to see a Live View from your camera. The following screen “Grab” shows the plug-in in PC mode, LIVE VIEW.

Automated Focus Bracketing

FOCUS BRACKETING is a feature of the plug-in of particular interest for me. Eye droppers can be used to set two (2) end-points: End-point 1; and End-point 2.

Specify one end of focus-bracketing range as End-point 1 and the other end as End-point 2. Click on applicable positions on your image, using the eye dropper tool, to specify the end points. Source Credit: Using the Control Panel in the PC mode (operation from Mac or PC).

The function of the slider for each eye dropper is unclear to me. (Anyone? A little help, please.)

As far as I can tell, the user has no control over the number of shots in the bracket — it appears to be set by the software automatically based upon the user-selected end-points. For example, the following screen “Grab” shows the camera will take seven shots based upon the end-points I selected. My camera is set to display focus peaking (in red). It’s possible the focus peaking provides a visual display of the part of the photo that will be in focus based upon the end-points I selected. Then again, the focus peaking might just show what will be in focus for a single shot. I’m thinking it might be helpful to use dots on a screen overlay in order to display the user-selected end-points.

A feature conspicuously missing from the FOCUS BRACKETING settings panel is the option to set an interval between shots. This is especially important for flash photography because it’s necessary to pause between shots for the flash units to power-cycle. Some time between say 3-5 seconds is long enough for many (if not most) external flash units to recharge to full power. Lacking this option, a Godox PROPAC PB960 was used to power the two Godox TT685 flashes that lighted this test shoot. (See “Burst mode flash photography” for a demonstration of the power recycle rates possible with the PB960 external power pack.

Full disclosure: Before I began the FOCUS BRACKETING test shoot, I set my Fujifilm X-T3 to use a two-second timer. I have no idea whether the timer was working during the test shoot. I need to try again using a 10-second timer to be sure. Point being, if the timer works during automated focus bracketing using the plug-in then it could compensate for the lack of an interval setting in the FOCUS BRACKETING settings panel. POST UPDATE: A 10-second timer was set BEFORE a tethered session was started. I’m pleased to report my interval work-around works!

Not to belabor my point (too late?), it’s interesting to note that in-camera focus bracketing allows the user to set a step size, the number of shots, and an interval between shots. For more information about in-camera focus bracketing, see the link from the Related Resources to a video by pal2tech. In-camera focus bracketing has two big disadvantages: 1) the user can set only one end-point (the beginning point); and 2) setting both the step size and the right number of shots in the bracket is a guessing game at best.

What are the take-aways?

I shot two sets of focus bracketing test shots: a set of three (3) photos at f/16; and a set of seven (7) shots at f/8. I used a purple plastic 12″ ruler as the subject, thinking it should be easy to see where each photo is in focus. Problem is, I posed the ruler poorly and it’s not easy to see the focus/out-of-focus areas from one photo to the next. I need to try the test again with the ruler aligned along the lens barrel. POST UPDATE: I changed the orientation of the ruler and shot another set of focus bracketing test photos. The 11-photo set clearly shows the focus point moved along the length of the ruler. Details in my next blog post.

Is automated focus bracketing using the plug-in better than in-camera focus bracketing? I don’t know, but I think it’s worth further exploration.

Related Resources

Plug-in related videos…

Automated in-camera focus bracketing…

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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