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gilipollas

gilipollas

// ATL //

gilipollas's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Snowboarding
Climbing
Biking

gilipollas

gilipollaswrote a review of on July 9, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Really nice poles. They save my knees when backpacking and hiking incline and declines, and keep me standing up straighter with a heavy pack on. They're a bit goofy and awkward at first, but after a mile or two, you'll wonder how you got along without them.

Carbon fiber is nice, they're lightweight and stiff, and damp out vibrations well. The included polymer tips are really nice, they feel very solid, but don't scape everything like nails on a chalkboard.

The foam grips are nice and comfy, and dry quickly. I left them out all night in a rain storm, and they were dry when I picked them up the next morning. The loops feel high-quality.

5'10" and went with the 120cm. Perfect sizing. The only real complaint is, like others have mentioned, they tend to wobble a bit because of the z-pole system, but it's minimal and not really bothersome. It just doesn't feel overall as solid as an FL pole with solid clamps.

(1)

 

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gilipollas

gilipollaswrote a review of on July 9, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I bought this as a "tourist" bag, for taking my camera and lens, maybe an extra lens, rain jacket, phone charger, sunglasses, and a bottle of water. Sometimes, I don't need to take everything in the camera bag, and also want to carry some non-camera items that don't fit well into a dedicated camera bag.

This bag works pretty well. It looks nice, although it does scream "tourist" because of how rigid and bulky it is, but not as much as some other camera bags. The main body/lens compartment is fairly large, but my Canon 50D with Sigma 18-35 (a huge lens!) fits snugly. Any long telephoto lenses or full-size bodies like the 1D won't fit. It's lined with a nice material, and it holds the camera well. I would feel comfortable dropping the pack and that my camera would be safe in the compartment, it's padded well.

The upper compartment is also nice. It has enough room for my rain jacket, sunglasses, a large phone charger, a couple bars, and a few other small items. Perfect for what I wanted. It securely fastens with two buckles, so theft shouldn't be a problem.

There are a few zipper pockets, one on the flap, and one on the main body under the flap. Both are spacious and could fit additional camera batteries, memory cards, etc, or other personal items.

The water-bottle pocket is small, but fits a slim bottle like a smartwater bottle well, and holds it securely. I used the laptop compartment during a flight for my laptop, it fits well, even with the pack fully packed. Alternatively, it holds a book well, and prevents it from getting damage.

One of the best parts about this pack is the comfort. I thought the "Anvil" ventilation system was a gimmick but it really does work, and the shoulder straps and back pads are really comfortable, especially walking around all day. They keep you relatively cool and distribute weight very well. The pack is fairly rigid, so you don't feel lumps on your back from items in the bag. The rain cover packs away at the bottom, and works fine.

My only gripes are that I wish the styling were a little less boxy, and I wish there were a lashing for a lightweight tripod. I tried using the water bottle holder for my small tripod, but it threw off the balance of the pack and didn't fit well.

Overall, really nice, glad I purchased, and I'll use it frequently for hikes and tourism where I want my camera and some other things, but don't need all the camera gear and lenses.

(0)

 

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gilipollas

gilipollaswrote a review of on July 9, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Backpacking and camping in Georgia summers is a hot, sweaty, sticky affair. Even a 35 degree bag is just too hot to be comfortable. Car camping, you just take a blanket, but what about when you need something lighter and more compact for backpacking?

This bag is perfect. It's light enough, perfect temperature rating, extremely compact, and the material isn't all plasticky and sticky. What's not to love?

It comes with a nice compression sack, and is seriously smaller than a Nalgene bottle when compressed. It's a bit heavy for what it is (55 degree down bag would weigh probably half this, but cost $200+), but compared to other 35 or 40 degree down bags, it's competitive. Plus, it can get wet or at least damp and no worries with the synthetic insulation.

The material is great, it's less like an ultralight synthetic weave, and more of a microfiber cotton. Really comfortable and not sweaty. The length is good, 5'10 and I fit comfortably in the regular with a few inches to spare.

Backpacking in July, I started the night out with it draped over me like a quilt, and in the middle of the rainy night I got a bit chilly so I zipped it up and was great for the rest of the night. It's perfect for summer in the south.

My only gripes are that it could be a bit lighter (maybe it doesn't need a hood?), and the zipper doesn't go all the way to the bottom, so you can't use it like a big quilt. Otherwise great bag at a great price.

(1)

 

gilipollas

gilipollaswrote a review of on July 9, 2015

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These pedals are inherently a huge compromise, and I take that into account when giving them a 3-star rating. These are used on a commuter bike.

First, the good: Classic SPD durability and reliability. They work all the time, and they almost always give a nice reassuring 'click' when you're clipped in. They aren't too heavy. They look nice, especially in black. They're built well for the price. You can find them on sale pretty often for ~$50. You can ride with cleats and with regular shoes (this is the main reason you would buy this pedal).

The bad: The bearings are a bit stiff, so the pedals don't roll over to the same position every time, meaning you're always looking at your pedals to make sure you're on the correct side. If the bearings were smoother, and the platform fell to the bottom all the time, that would help. Speaking of the platform, it's not that great. It's a good shape and size, but there really isn't a lot of grip. If you're wearing skate shoes while it's dry, you'll be fine, but if you try to ride in any other shoes, and heaven forbid in rain or snow, you're going to slide off the pedals if you apply any real torque to them.

I realize that you buy this pedal as a compromise, but it's too much of a compromise. The SPD interface works well, just like all Shimano SPD's, but the lack of consistent pedal orientation makes them hard to deal with. But the real deal breaker is that the platform just isn't that good. If the platform was really grippy, or had some pins or set screws in it like true MTB platforms, these would be worth it, because then you could actually trust the platform.

As is, they're too much of a compromise for me, and don't do either thing well enough to warrant using them. I'll be switching to XT or XTR trail pedals, with double-sided cleat entry, and enough of a platform that I can ride them with street shoes on if absolutely necessary.

(0)

 

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gilipollas

gilipollaswrote a review of on July 8, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 160 lbs
Size Purchased: 40.5

I bought these to use on my commuter with SPD cleats. This is the first pair of non-road shoes I've bought and my first time on SPD.

The shoes look great, they aren't crazy-looking, and material selection doesn't make them look cheap (i.e. matte materials instead of hyper-gloss).

Sizing feels true to size, but I'd size up if you're on the cusp. I typically wear a 7.5 or 8, but like my athletic shoes to fit a bit more snug. I went with the 40.5 (=7.5 US), and they are definitely snug at first. After about 50 miles, they loosened up a tad, but not much at all. I wish I would have ordered a 41, but it works.

Also make sure to use the included arch size pads. Giro includes 3, they stick seamlessly to the bottom of the insole with some velcro. It comes stock with the Medium installed, which was a bit uncomfortable. When I swapped to the Small (low arch), it immediately changed the comfort on these, they are really nice.

Takes a bit to break in the seams and padding inside the shoe to get it formed to your foot, but after that, really nice looking, stiff, comfortable shoe. Would recommend.

(0)

 

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gilipollas

gilipollaswrote a review of on April 29, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs large
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 160 lbs
Size Purchased: Small

After looking high and low for a pair of good, slim-fitting rain pants I could use for getting to work on my bike in the rain, I settled on these, without trying them on. Not bad for the occasional rain use.


The fit is a little strange, as other have pointed out. I'm about 5'10, 160lbs, usually wear a 32x30 pant size, and got the small. It fits snugly in the waist over my jeans, with a little stretch from the elastic in the waist. I'm actually really happy with how they fit in the waist, seat, and thighs. Very slim, not a lot of extra fabric or bagginess. The closure system for the waist works well, and is less goofy and more low-profile than having plastic buckles on the front, like some of Arcteryx's other pants.


From the knee down to the ankle though, they are pretty baggy. I'm used to wearing skinny jeans, and I knew they wouldn't fit that slim, but there's really a lot of extra material around the ankle that doesn't need to be there for any reason, except for those hikers that feel self-conscious wearing tighter clothing. Seriously, this is supposed to be Arcteryx's lightest, fastest, most trim-fitting pants, and there's probably an ounce of material they could get rid of here, and at the same time keep me from catching the pants in my chain when riding my bike or dragging on the floor when I walk, which brings me to my next quibble...


They are way too long. For someone wearing a small pant, I feel like I'm hardly on the short side, but these are about an inch or so longer than I would have expected them to be, maybe more like two. I know there's a short version, but it wasn't available when I bought these, and I didn't want to risk getting the short and having it be too short. The pants seem made for someone who is a 6ft+ beanpole, which is what the tall sizes are for, right?


Performance-wise though, they are excellent. The fabric feels VERY durable, much more so than the Alpha SL and Beta SL jackets I own, and the extra-durable parts in the ankle are really nice. The pants repel water well, and even after wetting out, nothing gets through. I'm very pleased with these as far as waterproofing, and that's why they'll get 4-stars, they do what they advertise.


They do tend to get hot, like any waterproof layer, but a little sweat is better than a lot of water, so they're worth it. Typical Arcteryx build quality and performance, just not the fit I was hoping for.


I had considered getting the Beta AR pants as well, for the extra durability, but after seeing those in-person, they were VERY heavy, definitely more of a winter-use product with gaiters and more features. The Alpha SL is more than durable enough for occasional rain use.

(2)

 

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gilipollas

gilipollaswrote a review of on April 15, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Just bought this helmet on clearance last week, so maybe this review won't help a lot, but I really like this helmet. It's the first high-end road helmet I've used. I've had a cheaper Giro Encinal from probably 8 or 10 years ago that served me well, and have been using a Bern Macon for the last year or so on my commute to work, so that's my perspective.

I bought the helmet mainly for my daily commute to work in Atlanta, where it's hot. Ventilation is fantastic, especially coming from the mostly vent-less Bern helmet. Ridiculously light, I look over my shoulder for fun just so I can feel how light it is.

Comfort is great, the RocLoc really snugs it down on your head, and adjusting it while it's on your head is very easy. Padding is minimal, but sufficient, and it fits my head well with no pressure points or irritating spots.

I got matte black, it's a really nice-looking color, but not the most visible. Very understated and stealthy.

Compared to my Bern Macon, the sizing was a bit off. I have a medium in the Bern, which fits large on me, I probably actually need a small. So I compared measurements for the Giro, and the lined up. I initially ordered a small Giro Atmos, and it was far too small for my head. Medium is the perfect fit. So either Giro runs small, Bern runs large, or a combination of both.

Compared to the Atmos, I liked the Pneumo more. You get a visor which is a nice plus, but I like the shape, colors, and the Pneumo feels a little more sturdy in the materials used, like the chin strap, shell, etc. Both are great, but the Atmos is lighter, at the cost of durability of some materials.

(0)

 

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gilipollaswrote a review of on June 5, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've owned several Tikkas over the past few years, and I have yet to find a reason to buy anything else. The design is spot on as far as functionality, reliability, convenience, and aesthetic. This one is no different. Picked it up on sale, and it's a good buy. I'd been using a Tikka 2 (not the plus), and it was on it's way out (and it was brown, not as cool as red). I decided this would be a good purchase, and for the most part, it is.

First, it's pretty bright. Enough for pretty much anything I use it for. Doing stuff around camp, climbing when it's starting to get a little dark, working on projects at home, etc. It's comfortable, the tilt mechanism works well, and it feels and looks solid. I pretty much only use the brightest setting.

However, the red light isn't that great. At least for me, I can't really see anything with the red light. Perhaps it's just my night vision, which I've never had problems with, but I think if Petzl is going to advertise a red LED, they need to do better than just putting the blinking light from your portable hard drive on here. It's pretty much useless in my opinion.

Overall, I'd love to give this 5 stars, and definitely would if there wasn't a red light, which doesn't really do much. It seems like an after-thought to me. If you really want a red light, go with the Tactikka, that works quite a bit better.

(1)

 

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gilipollaswrote a review of on June 3, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs small

I typically don't wear shorts unless at the gym or doing something outdoors, but bicycle commuting to work in Atlanta summers has forced my hand. I looked all over for some slim-fitting shorts, and finally decided to give these a go. I bought a pair in each color.

First, as others have stated, they do fit skinny, both in the waist and leg. I have chicken legs and typically wear 510's, and these fit about like those, but they stretch A LOT. They're kind of a thinner cotton chino material with a lot of stretch, not really denim at all. I like them, and the light weight is nice for the heat.

Sizing...As others have stated, I would size up an inch. I wear a 32 in Levi's usually, sometimes a 33 (which gives me a lot of room), and a 33 in these fits me like a 32 in regular jeans. I've worn 511 shorts before, and these are consistent with 511 shorts--skinny and a little smaller at the waist.

I've never really been super interested in the commuter series, even though I do commute, until recently I got tired of the crotch of all my pants getting shredded. There is a definite difference in quality between normal Levi's and the commuter series. There are more details, better durability, and the fit is better (higher waist in the back is nice not only for commuting, just for covering your crack).

Overall, really nice shorts, and the fit on my skinny legs isn't too tight, but slim enough. I didn't like the look of the reflective tape on the sides, so I just took an Xacto knife and removed the stitching and took it out. It took about 10 mins. The green shorts look almost the exact same color as the picture. Maybe a touch lighter, but really close. I was hoping they'd be a bit lighter, but I guess they'll fade with time.

(1)

 

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gilipollaswrote a review of on June 2, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

You know those things you sometimes buy, and you love them so much you wonder if maybe you should buy another one just in case they stop making it? That's about how I feel about this bag. It's so good.

There are plenty of great camera bags out there, especially a few from Lowe that are nice, but after seeing video with Andy Mann explaining the features of this thing, I was sold.

The two main things that make it such a great bag are:
1) Sling style -- allows you to just slide the bag from your back, under your right arm, and it's right there in front of you, ready to go. The bag is designed so this functions fluidly and in a way that it feels connected to your body.
2) Top opening -- after you've slung it around to your chest, you can just leave it there, open from the top, and grab all your stuff. I frequently change lenses, which, before now, meant trying to find somewhere to set lens or cap down while doing it. With this, you have a few nice little slots in the bag where you can just leave the extras while you change, and it's all safely contained. It's really great, and I never worry about dropping anything.

I keep my body and LARGE wideangle zoom on it (Sigma 18-35 for size reference), and two medium sized lenses in other compartments. I could easily fit 2 more lenses in there if you divided it efficiently.

I also keep a card reader and cable, an extra battery, a few filters, an extra card, tripod quick release mount, and a few other odds and ends in it, with room to spare. The main pocket is well designed and deep, the outside organizer is nice for a phone, a pen, a snack, or smaller camera odds and ends.

I have only two minor quibbles:
1) After a long day, my left shoulder starts feeling a bit sore. Just one of side effects of a sling, nothing too major.
2) There's no place to hold a tripod! I have a travel tripod, which is moderately light, and it throws the balance of the bag off, but still, it would be nice to have the option.

(2)

 

gilipollas

gilipollaswrote a review of on May 22, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I own the Q-Core SL long/wide, which I've reviewed on backcountry, and I like it a lot. I recently got married, and it was time to buy a new pad. I went through all the typical options: thermarest, exped, even a second Q-Core SL. The NeoAirs just didn't do it for me and my wife, and the Expeds to me seemed a bit gimmicky, and not quite as comfortable as the Q-Core. I could have bought a second Q-Core SL, but with their narrow pad fiasco, the only one worth buying is the long/wide, which is expensive, and, after trying both of them out, not quite as comfortable as the standard Q-Core. Even though it's a bit heavy for backpacking, it's worth it.

I've since paired it with a lightweight BA sleeping back, the Horse Thief 35, and love the system, really well thought out. In the end, I almost wish I had 2 regular Q-Cores rather than my other SL version, as it's more durable, more comfortable, and cheaper. Oh well, one will do.

(2)

 

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gilipollaswrote a review of on April 15, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These little lights are pricey, but worth it in my opinion, especially on sale (they are currently).

At first, I was taken by the fact that these are small and aluminum. Lots of other lights are huge, plastic, and ugly. I commute on a single speed, and I don't need a huge light with 500 lumens, and I need the lights to be small so I can remove them quickly when I lock my bike and put them in a backpack pocket easily. These did the trick.

They're nice looking, small, and feel really high quality. Operation is a bit tricky, don't throw out the instruction manual, but once you get it, it's easy enough. 6 settings (constant and strobe at 3 different brightness levels), but the middle and low settings are enough for me. The bright one is ridiculous, I can see the reflective layer on street signs a quarter mile down the road when it's on bright.

They're waterproof and shockproof, I've dropped them a few times and they still work. They charge with included USB cables (2) and have mounts for front handlebar and rear seatpost. I purchased the under-the-saddle mount from a seller on ebay as I couldn't find it anywhere in the US, and that's also a nice product (if you care about a lot of things hanging off your bike and cluttering it, like I do).

I would equate these to the iPhone of simple bike lights. They don't offer any incredible functionality over cheaper lights, but they do what they do reliably and in a sexy package made of top-of-the-line materials.

(0)

 

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gilipollaswrote a review of on April 15, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

I've been wearing 510's the last few years, they just fit me better than anything else out there, and they are relatively cheap, especially on sale. However, there are a few problems with regular 510's. The main problem is that the crotch wears out SO fast, especially if you bike commute, which I do, about 4 miles/day. After 5 or 6 months, you get a hole there, and it's ugly, and ruins an otherwise good pair of jeans. These have the crotch gusset, so they should last twice as long, and they feel pretty burly near the balls, I'm impressed.

On top of that, they are "waterproof." I wore them today in a light drizzle, and water beaded right up and rolled off. Nice feature. I'm sure it won't last long, but it's still pretty cool.

I don't care about the lock holder on the waist, or the reflective accents when you roll the cuffs, those are things that you don't see if you wear jeans without rolling and a belt. So it's cool.

They run true to size for 510's. I normally wear a 33x30, which they don't stock here, but the 32x30 is fine, a little snug, but still comfortable.

Overall, better than regular 510's, at not too much extra cost on sale. Will be purchasing more.

(2)

 

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gilipollaswrote a review of on March 25, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I never thought a hammock could be comfortable for your back sleeping all night. I was wrong. I love this thing. So much more comfortable than a sleeping pad, easier to set up, lighter, cheaper, and way more fun.

Just watch your back/butt, they will get cold if you camp in fall or spring, I put some foam under me or wear extra layers of shirts if it's going to be cold.

My dad has one of these as well, and said the carabiner on the end of his bent out of shape while laying in it one afternoon. I've decided to replace both of mine with some real climbing carabiners for peace of mind and it looks cool. Minor bother, but ENO should include something rated to more than the 400 lbs included here.

(1)

 

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gilipollaswrote a review of on March 25, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

I've had this jacket for several months now, and feel like I can finally offer a review of it. I own this and the Alpha SL Hybrid, which I believe has been discontinued, but I'll compare it anyways.

First, I have both jackets in size medium. I'm about 5'10" 165, they fit me with a little bit of room to layer, but still fit well and look good just over a t shirt. The fit is almost identical, the Alpha SL might be just a tad roomier, but not enough to notice.

Both are incredibly waterproof and windproof, no problems there, and the feel of the fabric is great. For some reason I feel like the Alpha fabric is a bit tougher and the Beta a bit softer, but it could be just the color, in my head, or who knows. Both feel bombproof.

There are a few things I really love about the Beta over the Alpha:
--The hood--it's not massive for a helmet, which I rarely use with this jacket, and fits SO much better on my dome.
--Pockets--on the Alpha, the pockets are a bit too high, they make walking with your hands in them crappy. Beta placement is good, out of the way of a hip belt or harness, and still good for hands in pockets.

What I like about the Alpha over the Beta:
--PIT ZIPS! why are they not on the Beta?
--Vislon zipper rules. Doesn't snag, feels so much nicer.

Overall, if I had to choose one, I'd probably go with the Alpha hybrid, because of the zipper and pit zips. But it's nice to have both for different reasons. I'm sure during summer Atlanta rainstorms, the Alpha SL will win (pit zips!), or if I wear one climbing or anything with a helmet. The Beta is more of a throw-it-on-over-a-hoodie-for-wind-and-rain-protection piece for me, and it excels.

The soapstone color is amazing. It's a great dark great, goes with everything.

(1)

 

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gilipollaswrote a review of on March 25, 2014

2 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

I picked up two pairs of these for cheap, and if it didn't cost more than they are worth to send them back, I probably would. First, I'll have to admit I didn't plan on using them for hiking. I want taller socks for hiking anyways, these were just to be casual wool socks. I LOVE smartwool PhD running and outdoor socks (light mini and light micro are amazing), but these are thick, hot, and not tightly woven like the PhD. Much much hotter, cause my feet to sweat, even in the cold, and feel like they will pill and snag. The only benefit I see in them is that they are thick and cushioned.

(0)

 

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gilipollaswrote a review of on March 25, 2014

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I impulse bought this for $3.99 a few weeks ago. Don't get me wrong, it's not that it isn't cool for what is is, and for the price not a bad investment, but the cool factor wears off after you shoot sparks up twice. It will go in an emergency kit, but unless I really think about it, I'll probably just grab a mini lighter the next time I go backpacking. Not too much special to me. Works how it says it should though.

(0)

 

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gilipollaswrote a review of on February 13, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These are basically like "healthy" candy, made from honey rather than processed sugar. They're really good, and, surprisingly, take the edge off hunger really well. I use them as a mid-morning snack at work, or on the trail when I start to feel tired. They really do work. The fruit smoothie ones taste like those vitamin gummies, which are delicious.

The best part about these? They aren't dry, so you don't have to guzzle half your water just to get them down when you're hiking or working out and already thirsty.

Cons: a bit expensive and there aren't a whole lot in each package.

(1)

 

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gilipollaswrote a review of on February 13, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

Interestingly, these say they are women's socks on the package after I received them. I think the sizing is still consistent with other SmartWool socks, as the mediums fit just like my "men's" socks.

Without getting into colors and intended gender of the sock, I will say that the "spearmint" color is a bit more pastel-ish than the picture seems. Not a bad sock, and they're comfortable and durable, but lightweight, more for spring/summer use. Typical SW quality, feel great, and should be more durable due to the nylon.

(0)

 

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