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Communications

Use A Regular Phone For Cellphone Calls 248

Posted by timothy
from the convergence-knocking dept.
nizo writes "Not too long ago I decided to get rid of my landline, however I miss being able to make a call with a regular phone, especially long calls that might drain my battery. It would also be nice if I didn't have to hunt for my cellphone at home when it rings. Well, it looks like there is a simple solution with a Cell Socket, a cradle for your cellphone that can be used to attach your cell line to one or more regular phones." Even better, for those with a landline or VoIP phone, would be a system that automatically picks the cheapest route out for any given call.
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Use A Regular Phone For Cellphone Calls

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  • by biryokumaru (822262) * <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Monday February 07, 2005 @08:59PM (#11602984)
    stolen from hack-a-day:

    a rotary cellphone [sparkfun.com]

  • Enter Asterisk... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PornMaster (749461) on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:02PM (#11602997) Homepage
    I think that you'd be able to hack something together with Asterisk to do the "Even better, for those with a landline or VoIP phone, would be a system that automatically picks the cheapest route out for any given call." bit.
  • by Faust7 (314817) on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:02PM (#11602998) Homepage
    Just the cosmically wrong image of my sleek Nokia cell sitting right next to a black Western Electric rotary phone is enough to make me want one of these.
    • Actually, I've been *really* wanting an antique Kellogg 925 bakelite phone vintage 1930s. The problem is that I no longer even have a landline to use it on. This would be cool.
    • if it's anything like my vox.link (same idea, from radio shack) you have to use DTMF touchtones (incl # to 'send') it's generating a real dialtone.

  • um... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:02PM (#11602999)
    Even better, for those with a landline or VoIP phone, would be a system that automatically picks the cheapest route out for any given call.

    For those with a VoIP phone, there's already such a system: always use the VoIP phone.
    • Re:um... (Score:3, Insightful)

      Two words: local calls.

      Two more: unlimited minutes (for a certain type of call).
  • I miss being able to make a call with a regular phone, especially long calls that might drain my battery. ... Well, it looks like there is a simple solution with a Cell Socket, a cradle for your cellphone that can be used to attach your cell line to one or more regular phones."

    Apparently the server needs a Cell Socket.

    I can't wait for the page to be...well...not-Slashdotted.

  • Well... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Seabass55 (472183)
    "especially long calls that might drain my battery."

    It seems like a simple solution would be to not talk on the phone so long.
    • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Doppler00 (534739)
      And you can always just plug the phone in and use a headset. This would be exactly the same as using a landline (wired phone), only you can unplug the phone when it's done charging!
    • Re:Well... (Score:3, Funny)

      by paulkoan (769542)

      Exactly. What is a slashbot doing on the phone anyway?

      Haven't they heard of email? Or IM? Or text messages?

      Or any other technology that means you aren't reminded everytime that it is another human you have to talk to.
  • interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blew_fantom (809889) on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:06PM (#11603031)
    with cell phone plans getting cheaper, this looks to be a viable alternative what with national call plans and competitive prices from all providers. the only thing of course, is that to have DSL, you need an actual phone number/line. unless everyone is going to run to cable, land lines are here to stay. that and many places don't even have cell towers anywhere near them so cell phones are useless in many areas anyway. in that respect, i don't see the land line market dying anytime soon.
    • Re:interesting (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm not so sure about DSL requiring a phone number. I know it needs a phone line, but according to some Speakeasy promotional materials, one of the advantages of signing up for their DSL service is you can drop your landline service if you don't use it. Maybe this is new, but I'm not at all surprised.
      • Re:interesting (Score:3, Informative)

        by technobard (247654)
        When SBC first started offering DSL (many moons ago), they would only install it on a second line. This second line did not require a phone number. They have since moved away from that, but for reasons too long to get into, I still have service setup that way. Whenever I talked to them, they always encourage me to switch to the Yahoo DSL branded offering. They really want the line back.
    • the only thing of course, is that to have DSL, you need an actual phone number/line. unless everyone is going to run to cable, land lines are here to stay

      Looking with a longer-term view, high-speed WiFi can eliminate the need for landlines altogether, as you can use a broadband WiFi connection rather than cable or DSL.

  • by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:08PM (#11603041) Homepage
    I have a set of lookup tables on my asterisk server which do this.

    Of course the cheapest route is always analogue, so it's not a great advert for VOIP :)

    Not sure I'd want my mobile phone to link to it though.. that's a separate number that only a few trusted people know.
    • Of course the cheapest route is always analogue, so it's not a great advert for VOIP :)

      I'd have to disagree there... Broadvoice.com has some pretty cheap unlimited packages--especially if you BYOD (bring your own device, such as Asterisk.) I've only been trying them out a little while, but to be honest I haven't been incredibly impressed with their support (hard to reach over the phone, occasional high latency at some locations, etc.) But for $20/mo you get unlimited calling to 21 countries (including U
  • TFA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Teclis (772299) on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:08PM (#11603042) Homepage
    I hope their phone system is built better than their webserver.

    I can't RTFA right now, so my only concern is the ability to adapt to different cell phone manufacturers, and what about newer cell phones after purchase. Otherwise, this actually doesn't sound like too difficult a project, but it's the idea that counts. This kind of device can easily be created with a few components and a PIC for under $10.

    • No, you see, the phone system *is* the webserver. Who says 56K over cell isn't fast enough to handle web services?

      Well, apart from the way the page doesn't load.
    • From TFA:
      "CELLSOCKET kits for Motorola V60, V120, T720, T730, T731, V300, V400, V500, V505, V525, V547, V555 and V600 now only $99.95"
  • Fast Forward (Score:5, Informative)

    by classzero (321541) on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:14PM (#11603074) Journal
    Cingular offers a device called a fast forward. You put the device in a cradle that connects to the landline and it automatically forwards all calls to your landline while charging your device.
  • by KillerCow (213458) on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:14PM (#11603076)
    I miss being able to make a call with a regular phone, especially long calls that might drain my battery.

    When you get home, plug your phone into the charger. If you use it, leave it plugged in.

    It would also be nice if I didn't have to hunt for my cellphone at home when it rings.

    Leave it in the same place... attached to the charger.
    • I do exactly that. However, I have been utterly unsuccessful at convincing my wife to do the same with hers. Her battery is dead more often than charged; she checks her voicemail more often from my phone than from hers. Of course, she also handles her keys the same way; there have been times we've spent half an hour looking for her keys because she just sets them down wherever she finds convenient at the time.
      • ditto for me... I know all women aren't like that, but sometimes it feels that way. my wife will put her driver's license, atm card, and folding money into whatever pocket is convenient, or sometimes into whatever bag she's carrying at the time (!)

        although that's changed for the better as the years go by, it still scares the crap out of me. I like to keep my wallet and keys in the same two places all the time, so I don't even have to think about where they are and if I have them or not. maybe that's just m
    • Sadly I only have a cradle charger, which makes it impossible to talk on the phone while it charges. I hate carrying it around at home, so leaving it in the charger makes sense but the ringer isn't loud enough to hear everywhere in my new house, which means I miss calls unless I am carrying it. Plus I keep picturing a big tumor on my side where it hangs all day, which makes me want to carry it around the house even less :-)
    • If you live out east in a studio apartment, perhaps, that works quite well. In my house, anyhwere I put the phone will be inconvienent to get from at least two other locations I'm likely to be and leave me jumping up and running to grab it. It simply takes three phones to have one in easy access everywhere. It's also not a particularly large house by Arizona standards. Plus, I find the reception really vaires throught my house. It's full strength in some places, rather weak in others.

      I'd be interested in s
    • Seconded. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Atario (673917)
      I have never understood people who have these problems with cell phones.

      Can't find it? Easy: keep the damn thing on you! I assume you take it with you in some way when you leave the house...keep doing that when you're at home. In my case, that means my pocket. I have yet to misplace my phone for even a minute. Over several years. How difficult, eh?

      Always running out of charge? How about plugging it in to charge when you drop it from your pocket (or whatever)? In my case, that means plugging it in
  • google cache (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:14PM (#11603079)
    • I can't decide if I should feel happy that my article was accepted or sad that I caused the destruction of a poor innocent website. I should have ordered one before I posted the article, because now they will probably raise the price to pay their extra bandwidth fees :-(
  • by billyradcliffe (698854) on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:14PM (#11603080) Homepage
    A company has a product. Slashdot notes the companies product. Company's website becomes Slashdotted. Product == No Good.

    How does one come to this conclusion?

    The company's website is Slashdotted, therefore it cannot handle a massive amount of traffic, therefore they did not expect this much interest in their product, because they have little faith in said product, because, well, they developed it and they themselves think it sucks, so it must suck.

    Just a thought... ;)

    Awesome concept though...I would love this. One of the biggest things I hate about talking on a cell phone for an extended period is how warm the phone gets cause of the battery.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      One of the biggest things I hate about talking on a cell phone for an extended period is how warm the phone gets cause of the battery.

      Think of how warm your brain gets cause of the transmitter.
  • by pintpusher (854001) on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:18PM (#11603104) Journal
    interface with my shoe phone?

  • by Veovis (612685) * on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:22PM (#11603130)
    For those of you who live in an area without high speed internet access, devices like these will not allow you to use your cellphone to make calls to analog (traditional) internet service providers. (Same applys to mobile/flea market merchants with credit card terminals that dial into their processing center) 99.9% of cellphones are on a digital network (CDMA/TDMA/iDEN/GSM/GPRS/etc) and can not provide the channel clarity needed for analog signals
    • This shouldn't be a worry if you have a digital cell phone. A simple cord turns your phone into a modem. With Verizon, for example, you get full internet access, billed simply as regular phone minutes. There's no additional charge. The speed is only 14.4, but that's plenty for email, credit card validation, etc.
    • 99.9% of cellphones are on a digital network (CDMA/TDMA/iDEN/GSM/GPRS/etc) and can not provide the channel clarity needed for analog signals

      Even though I'm familiar with the differences with analog and digital signals, this at first seems a bit ironic. To those that have bought into the marketing hype about digital speakers, cable TV, and telephones, I guess they are scratching their heads.

      As an AC points out, credit cards use a 300 baud modem over an analog line. And anyone that has heard a modem, wel
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:28PM (#11603157)
    The Dock-n-Talk seems to be a much better product than the Cellsocket.

    http://www.phonelabs.com/prd05.asp [phonelabs.com]

    It claims to work with over 400 cell phone models and has a bunch of features not found in the Cellsocket.

    While we are on it, does anyone know of a product that allows you to make landline calls THROUGH your cellphone? Here is my idea:

    1) Landline phone hooked up to a cell phone (Phone A)
    2) You have another cell phone (Phone B)
    3) Both cell phones are on UNLIMITED Mobile-to-Mobile plan.
    4) You place a call from Phone B to Phone A and tell Phone A to dial a number through your landline.
    5) You chat on the phone for 3 hours AND USE UP NO MINUTES since you are on Mobile-to-Mobile connection.

    Viola, UNLIMITED PEAK MINUTES AT PRICE OF 2 CELL PHONES, CHEAPO 2-PHONE PLAN, AND UNLIMITED LANDLINE!!
    • For the price of a landline AND two cellphones, you just might find an unlimited plan :-p
    • 5) You chat on the phone for 3 hours

      The intersection of the set of geeks who would go through this hassle and put up with the less than ideal fidelity, and the set of people who would actually talk on the phone for 3 hours is pretty damn small.

      I can't imagine many teenage girls doing all that.

    • The problem with Dock-n-Talk is that it doesn't seem to be a dock. From what I can tell, you must have a matching cable for your phone, which then lays around on the table connected by said cable. Or use Bluetooth, with the security risks, and still have your phone laying around.

      Cellsocket is a dock. The phone plugs in, like a real desk charger. To my mind, a much more elegant solution.

    • Erm ... let's say that's $30/month for each phone (both cells, plus the landline). At $90 a month, given that you're dealing with all sorts of crap setting it up, and that the quality won't be good (degraded at every switch from one place to the next), wouldn't it be smarter to go with something like Verizon's unlimited minutes (including long distance) plan for about $95 a month?

      I don't work for Verizon; I just use 'em 'cuz Cingular coverage in my area is weak. I'm sure other providers have similar plan
  • wait for competition (Score:2, Interesting)

    by edstromp (522727)
    Cellsocket is a great idea. I looked into them extensively about 2 years ago. But they didn't make a version for my cellphone, and worse, they were quite slow to develop new adapters for new phones. This is a great market for such a device, but I honestly don't think it'll really take off until the cell manufacturing companies start making this a default must-have accessory with every new phone.

    Nothing sucks more than being forced to buy an old, outdated phone, just so you can use the Cellsocket.
  • LCRs (Score:5, Informative)

    by mindriot (96208) on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:29PM (#11603167)
    Even better, for those with a landline or VoIP phone, would be a system that automatically picks the cheapest route out for any given call.

    Basically, you're looking for something like Least Cost Routers [google.com] (anybody wanna translate this [wikipedia.org]?). These things have been very popular in Germany ever since the telecom market was deregulated. In Germany you can use other (landline) telecom providers through a Call-By-Call system, dialing the provider's prefix before your actual phone number if you want to use a provider other than your default one (e.g., 01033 for German Telekom [telekom.de], 01013 for Tele2 [tele2.de]). There's whole websites [billiger-telefonieren.de] dedicated to providing lists of the cheapest call-by-call providers. These LCRs can store such lists of providers and their rates for different types of calls (i.e., local, long-distance, other countries, cell phone networks, etc.) at different times of the day/week, and the automatically prefix the number you dial with the cheapest provider's. Of course, lists can be updated manually or automatically. Now, I'm not sure if anybody has built such a device with cell vs. landline vs. VoIP in mind, but if that exists, other Slashdotters who can be bothered to look it up instead of working ;-) will surely post links...

    FWIW, there's also an isdn4linux-based LCR tool [voip-info.org] and corresponding phone rate databases [sourceforge.net] (see English summary at bottom) available. For cell/landline/VoIP solutions, if there's nothing else available, there is probably a good starting point.

    • My parents used to have a fax machine (made by Panasonic I believe) that had this capability. It didn't seem to work all that well though.
  • Telular (Score:4, Informative)

    by jammer 4 (34274) on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:33PM (#11603200) Homepage
    I had a Cell Socket for a while, then it died. Plus, I couldn't upgrade that one phone either since it was only compatible with a few models.

    What I settled on was a Telular [telular.com] box. It's a company that makes high end boxes for companies that need phone service where there isn't anything but cell. They've got a bunch of products and it works pretty good for most needs. You can even hook it into a phone system so you can route your companies long distance through it to use free long distance minutes.

    FYI, Sprint is doing a trial with Telular boxes in selected cities as a way to replace your land line.
  • With a system like this you could just buy a mondo cell phone plan and use your cell for all your calls- When you're at home, you just plug in the phone, and now it's your home phone number- I like it!
  • by lemonboy (456438) on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:46PM (#11603283)
    according to an advertisement in CE magazine this cordless phone from uniden will allow you to make calls from your cellphone using the handsets in the house...via the dead bluetooth http://www.uniden.com/productpop/00_productpop.cfm ?prd_code=ELBT595
  • by aquarian (134728) on Monday February 07, 2005 @09:47PM (#11603291)
    Another benefit of this is being able to record cell phone conversations, if that's something you need.
  • Option #2 (Score:3, Informative)

    by torinth (216077) on Monday February 07, 2005 @10:07PM (#11603396) Homepage
    Another option would be to get a VOIP phone (i.e. Vonage) for home, and have it simultaneously ring your cell phone when it's called. Then you can just have people dial the VOIP phone when they want to reach you, leaving you to decide which line to pick up.

    Of course, this means you'd need to get a new line with a recurring fee if you don't already have a VOIP line, which will cost you $20+ per month instead of whatever fixed rate the cell-socket costs. But its worth considering.
  • Stupid Trick (Score:2, Interesting)

    by scovetta (632629)
    I've been using this (stupid) trick to talk to my girlfriend (long distance): Party A: Forward your cell phone to Party B's Land-line, then call your own cell phone FROM your own land-line. Now you're both talking on normal-size phones, and you're using cellular minutes (good for night/weekends). Sure, you're double-paying slightly, but it's definately worth the not-brain-tumors [funnytimes.com].
  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Monday February 07, 2005 @10:13PM (#11603428) Journal
    I got one of these about a year ago.

    I recently built a vacation/retirement house in a remote area (where I could get a landline but can't get DSL or cable internet) and got cellphones to use during the construction project - then decided to try using them with a cell socket rather than installing a landline. Didn't work as well as I'd like.

    My phone is an older Nokia model and the service AT&T (now Cingulair) wireless. That company is the only carrier available in the area - and no GSM, just TDMA (and maybe AMPS but I can't tell for sure).

    The Cell Socket works reasonably well for voice calls.

    It provides charging current when the cellphone is ON hook, but stops when the phone is engaged in a call. (Apparently the power brick is too small to power the cellphone and POTS-emulator line at the same time.)

    The Cell Socket doesn't provide a dial tone. Instead (if you pick up the POTS phone when the cellphone is plugged in and ready) it provides a series of three beeps. Apparently these emulate the three beeps you get at the front of an intercept recording. My guess is that this is intended to keep people form trying to use modems and FAX machines with the Cell socket.

    I tried programming a modem to use it (ignoring the wait-for-dialtone). But even at the lowest speed setting it would not work with the TDMA cellphone service.

    (I hear you can get 1200 baud or so through an AMPS cellphone connection. Unfortunately, my phone was a Nokia with AT&T firmware, and (as far as I can tell) those (at AT&T's insistence) can not be forced to make an AMPS call when a digital carrier is available. So I couldn't test that.)

    So it's good for:
    - Making long distance calls on your cheep cell plans comfortably.
    - Eliminating your long-distance carrier on your landline.
    - Using your cellphone anywhere in a house when there's only a few good spots for the signal.
    - Putting voice-only service into a remote location, where a landline would be expensive to run (or used too little to justify the expense when you already have a cellphone).

    But it's not good for:
    - Data
    - FAX
    - Long calls with little time between them to recharge the cellphone battery.
  • Reception (Score:2, Informative)

    by Autobahn (785686)
    Another advantage of this that nobody's noted yet is that you don't have to worry about reception. My apartment gets such poor cell coverage that I drop calls just walking around. With one of these I could put my cell in the spot where it got the best reception and leave it there. Or I could just stop pacing maniacally, but then I'd have to cut down on the coffee...
    • My problem is that cell reception at my apartment is so unreliable that I need my landline to make any truly important first-impression call, such as to a potential employer or business associate. The majority of my calls are fine to use the cell phone for, but anything particularly sensitive needs the special reliability and sound quality guarantee of a land line.
  • by Jerry (6400) on Monday February 07, 2005 @10:26PM (#11603493)
    My wife and I have LG VX3100A cell phones, We consider her number to be the "home" phone, regardless of where she is. She uses her phone about 1800 minutes per month and I use about 200 minutes per month. She recharges her phone every Sunday and Wednesday or Thursday, and I recharge my phone every Sunday whether I need to or not.

    Getting rid of the land line was the best communication move we ever made. It got rid of the telemarketers, too.
  • so we have the inconvenience of a fixed phone with the cost* of a mobile.

    Has this guy not heard of a battery charger?

    *In Australia off peak calls with mobiles are about $0.50 per minute local calls on land lines are about $0.30 flat rate.
  • Simpler solution: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by man_ls (248470) on Monday February 07, 2005 @11:00PM (#11603693)
    Call-Forward your cell phone to your landline. It won't cost anything as long as you're forwarding to another local number (same area code)

    for Verizon Wireless customers, this is

    *72 + 10-Digit Number to Forward + SEND, wait for the tone, END. (to deactivate, *720 + SEND, wait, END)
    • Re:Simpler solution: (Score:4, Informative)

      by lordkuri (514498) on Monday February 07, 2005 @11:47PM (#11603955)
      watch your ass on that one... from Verizon's site:

      Airtime applies to forwarded/transferred calls even if you send the call to wireline telephones. When forwarding calls to phone numbers outside your local calling area, you'll be billed for any toll, long distance, and airtime charges incurred. Additional per-minute charges may apply to all forwarded calls.

      I know here in Central IL, it's 10 cents per minute plus airtime for all forwarded calls. I got out of my contract 3 years ago when they implemented that.
    • by cameldrv (53081)
      I once worked for an ISP that massively abused this feature. They had about 20 cell phones, all set to forward to their main hunt group. The brilliant part was that there was no limit to the number of simultaneous calls that could be forwarded from a single phone number, and it even worked across LATA boundaries. This sort of service would otherwise have been very expensive, as at the time, and I believe now, running a T1 across a LATA boundary required provisioning multiple segments, each at around $1k
    • Re:Simpler solution: (Score:2, Informative)

      by CptnSbaitso (800632)
      Verizon may be nice, but at least with my T-Mobile plan, I get a seperate pool of "Call Forwarding" minutes (500 per month). When forwarding I have two options: 1.) If I use the option on my phone which says "Forward when unable to answer" (which lets the phone ring first, THEN forwards it), it pulls from the special "Call Forwarding" minutes. (That's good). 2.) If I "Forward all calls" (the phone forwards the call immediately), it pulls from my regular "Whenever" minutes. (That's bad.) So, I just l
      • They're not so bad, either. Forwarded calls are simply charged at whatever airtime rate applies. So if you forward during peak hours, you deplete your peak minutes.

        If you forward during nights or weekends, it's free.

  • by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Monday February 07, 2005 @11:25PM (#11603835) Homepage
    My cellphone doesn't work inside the house!
  • Looks nice. Would be even nicer if they worked with brands other than Motorola. Hasn't this site been in "other phones real soon now" mode for a while?
  • Just yesterday I completed a bluetooth conversion of a payphone handset. [charter.net]It has a range of 30-50 feet and is much easier to hold and shoulder than a regular mobile. Theres just something about gripping a ceramic handset and metal coil shielding. [charter.net]

    Someone said I should sell these.

  • I highly recommend that if you plan on using your cell in your home that you invest in a couple different products. First and foremost is a quality cellular antenna. I recommend those made by Wilson Electronics [wilsonelectronics.com]. I've had excellent luck with them. The basic magnet mount antenna [wilsonelectronics.com] by Wilson can be found on eBay or Amazon [amazon.com] for around $30-40. It gives me on my brand new LG VX7000 an extra bar or so. You cell phone antenna is neither properly tuned (or long enough) nor does it use enough juice to give you an
  • here in brasil cals from cell phone-to-cell phone are cheaper than calls from land line-to-cell phone, so many comapanies are ataching cell phones to their PBX sistems so any call to numbers starting with 7,8 or 9 (is mandatory that cell phones numbers begins with one of these digits) are routed through the mobiles. some say the cost savings pays the cost of the equipment really soon.
  • I'm not certain, as I haven't looked into it, but I have a Motorola v551, and I believe you can make voice calls from a computer with the Phone Tools software (And the USB cable for the phone).

    And if you can't, I'm still having a blast shoving WarCraft 2 and Final Fantasy 7 midi onto the thing and using them as ringtones. It might only have 24 polyphony, but I can barely notice dropped notes, and the MIDIs sound great.
  • (I know this post sounds really shady, but if you look at my profile you'll see that I'm not just here spamming slashdot, I'm a regular reader and poster)

    I have designed a device similar in function to the Cellsocket/Dock-n-Talk/Cidco Merge, but that will work with almost any cellphone instead of the few brands that those devices work with, and will cost a SMALL FRACTION of the price of the those products - I estimate around $25. My device will also work with VoIP softphones, such as Skype, and audio ove

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