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on June 15, 2005
I reduce my stars to three for most people, but four or five for me since I listen to Audible books 90% of the time with the MP3 player.

I really liked what I heard about this player for audiobooks until I saw the review that said that it does not bookmark. I thought so, too, but I discovered all you have to do is press the Play button and it brings you back to where you left it. (see details below of the steps, but they are
1. Turn off while playing
2. Turn on.
3. Press play. Starts where you left off.

Sound
The sound is beautiful. It is the only flash drive player I have found that handles Audible format 4 which is the highest and is comparable to MP3. The next lower is format 3 and is comparable to FM radio. Format 3 is the standard for most. I tried it with NetLibrary audiobooks which is available from a number of public libraries. I had the same problems with the Sansa that I have had with the Creative Muvo (see below) so I think it is the NetLibrary format.

Volume Knob
I did not find the volume knob hard to use when it was out of the case. I have not tried it in the case.

Case
There is a trick to get the player out of the case. It goes into the case top first so the top of the player is at the top of the case. All you have to do is press with a little pressure on the the top of the case - toward the bottom of th case - to ease it out of the bottom of the case.

Display
The elapsed and remaining time digits are WAY, WAY too small.

##############
Additional information on the bookmark. I am beginning to suspect that there are different versions of the firmware on different ones.

Works with Audible Audiobooks
Here is what I am able to do consistently. I have tried in different chapters of a book and in different books.
While listening to an Audible book.
It is playing...
1. Hold the side button until it shuts down ...it will shut down when you hold down the side button for 5 seconds - it counts down with squares on the screen and then when you let up, it shuts off.
2. Press the same button to turn it on.It is now NOT playing, but it DOES show the title of the book and its chapter on the screen.
3. I press Play and it starts exactly where it left off.

Bookmarking Does Not Work with Music
I WAS NOT able to get this or any other form of bookmarks to work with music. This is definitely a screw-up.

Problems Using NetLibrary audiobooks.
I have problems with NetLibrary audiobooks with my Creative Muvo MP3 players as well. These are being used by several public libraries, but not all players - iPods don't work at all - work with their files. The problem I have seen is that files longer than about two hours do not show a longer length or they show as 00:00 in the elapsed time.

Cable Not Proprietary
Another point was made that the cable is "proprietary." The cable is not proprietary. It is a USB 2.0 A-Mini 5-Pin B cable. I didn't think it was proprietary because my Creative n200 has the same cable. To be sure, I bought two different makes and designs (one regular, one retractable) from Radio Shack tonight. They worked with no problems with the Sansa e140.

Does NOT take three to four minutes to start up with card. I have an e140 with a one Gig SD card. I timed it. It takes 10 SECONDS!
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on November 24, 2005
The Sansa E140 isn't going to win over anybody who is looking for a fashion accessory that plays music or those who tend to stop the minute they hit a learning curve. It is a nifty little flash based 1GB MP3/WMA player, expandable by 2MB with an SD card, but it has some noteworthy quirks, some of which are fixed by up to date firmware. You are going to have to decide if those quirks are enough to make you look elsewhere.

Physically, the E140 is a little less than credit card sized, and as thick as an AA battery. It's all plastic, with a screen about as big as a standard SD card. There is a centered button on the front, surrounded by four select buttons that are under the plastic face of the Sansa. The right side has an SD card slot, a Menu button and the scroll wheel up on top. The left side has a sliding switch to lock the other controls. A mini jack and five pin mini USB connector sit on top. The back of the Sansa has the AAA battery compartment with a slide on cover at the bottom of the player. The rubber covers for the USB connector and SD slot are not tethered, so you have to be vigilant or you'll lose them.

Other goodies that come with the player include a clear plastic case, armband, battery, sparse printed instructions, short USB cord, ear bud headphones and a mini CD with more detailed instructions and some offers from music/e-book vendors.

Thoughts on the above: The scroll wheel has subtle clicks when you turn it, and some folks have found it stiff to operate. I didn't find that to be true. The wheel is used as the volume control and an option to navigate the menus, if you choose not to use the buttons up front. The buttons are fairly positive. The snaps on the case are too easy to unsnap, making the armband unusable, but it is adequate to protect the player while pocketed. Sadly, there is no belt clip, so an aftermarket case is probably called for if you are going to exercise with the E140.

The ear buds are adequate, and come with three differently sized rubber covers to help get a proper fit.

So, how does the E140 operate and sound? First thing you should know is that the Sansa does not support user made play lists or folders, and since it is truly a drag and drop device with XP, that's a shame. The E140 will organize the songs for you, like it or not. The most recent firmware allows you to create a favorites list on the fly by pressing the center button while a song is playing. The categories the E140 choose for you are: Artist, album, songs, new music, genre, year and spoken word. Now, if your MP3 or WMA tags are all to your liking, all is good, but for most tag editing software will be a must. There are shuffle and repeat functions, and a play all function.

The blue backlight for the screen is bright enough, but it is tough to read the without the backlight on.

There are some preset equalizer settings, and you can adjust the equalizer, choose to use SRS WOW and 3D, TrueBass and focus for high, low, or mid sounds. The Sansa delivered solid sound with the supplied ear buds once I had it tweaked to my liking, and after reading a lot of scathing comments posted about stock ear buds in general on MP3 players, I was pleasantly surprised. Sound was improved when using Sennheiser HD201 headphones. The amount of hiss and general quality seemed to be as much a factor of the source file as what the Sansa could do, some 64KB WMAs were "hissy", most weren't. With a good file, the E140 put out good sound. Volume was loud enough without being ear splitting. Equalizer settings seemed to have a lot of effect on volume.

The FM radio worked adequately, and with the latest firmware, the player goes back to the last selected station instead of going to the bottom of the dial every time the radio is selected

There is a stopwatch function that must have been added with joggers in mind.

So, what to make of the Sansa E140 overall? The older firmware didn't support favorites or a resume function, and the E140 rightfully took lumps for this. This has been addressed. The latest firmware also arranges the songs on an album in track order, rather than alphabetically, if your tags are in order. I think a lot of the bad press that the Sansa has received is due to poor early firmware.

Power up, power down and menu choices all work rapidly enough for my taste. Ten seconds to power up with an SD card inserted, two seconds to power down, and there can be some slight hesitation when navigating but nothing drastic.

I would prefer software support for folders in the player, but you can work with the self organizer if you use a tag editor.

For me, the AAA battery and SD card slot are strong points. The alkaline batteries seem to be good for about 12 hours, lithium batteries much longer. No internal battery to charge, go bad or lose the adapter for. SD expansion is a big bonus, especially as prices for cards drop.

The Sansa E140 fits my needs, but I would hesitate to recommend it to someone who can't or won't work with a tag editor, unless they plan to rip CDs exclusively, and not work with individual sound files.
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on April 5, 2006
I've had the player for a few weeks now and I'm really liking it alot. I owned an ipod before (battery problems and not capable of making on-the-fly playlists) ; a creative zen xtra (love it, alot a space, capable of making playlists on the player, intuitive design and functioning, just too heavy and could be little smaller)

Major Pros:
*plug and play
*cool design and interface, blue blacklight
*Expansion slot, reads up to 2GB
*Very small and light weight
*Durable
*No internal battery, just one AAA battery
The player reads a variety of track properties: artist, album, song, genre, year, etc...what does this mean, all the more categories to filter and sort music and ways to create playlists
*Extensive sound settings

I like the sandisk because it has an expansion slot, so I could get a 2gb sd card and extend my memory to 3 gigs, or even get a couple. It uses AAA batteries that I can simply and conveniently purchase at a local store. I dont have to keep hoping that my player retains enough charge to last me until I can reach home or find an outlet.
The sound quality is good, the fm radio quality works well for me.

Making playlists:
Before I figured it out, this was my major complaint, all else was well. This is how you do it:

1. On your computer organize your songs in labeled folders. These folders will represent your playlists, so for convenient organizing, the name you will give a playlist give the same name to the folder that contain the songs.

2. Open the folder, then "select all"

3. After selecting all, right click and select "properties"

3. When the properties window pop up, select "summary" then where you see "album title," enter the name you want for that playlists , so therefore all the songs for that folder will have the same album title.

4. When you disconnect your player, you look for this album and you will see the name you typed it, it will read all the songs in that folder as belonging to the same album, even if they are of different artists/genres/etc.

5. The is very useful, since you can have songs of the same artist in different folders, but not confused by the player because they have different album titles, or as I see it, in a different playlist.

cons:
Wish it could read bigger sd cards,3GB,4GB, etc :)
Takes a while to power up...thats about it
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on January 3, 2006
There's nothing I dislike about this unit. I am not heavily into music, but do like good sound - use that as a barometer:

BENEFITS:

* Most importantly, it uses a regular AAA battery - and I use rechargeable batteries (my AAA's are rated 800 mah). If you buy a unit that uses an internal rechargeable battery, you will eventually have to source one and you will need to have a charging cradle with you. With this SanDisk unit, if the power goes down, just pop in a readily-available AAA.

* There are firmware updates available on the SanDisk website. Make sure to upgrade to the newest version first thing.

* Has expandable SD memory slot. While it might cost somewhat more to get to 4 GB, it is unlimited in the number of cards one can use.

* I like that the volume control has positive stops since I put it in/out of pocket a lot - yet it is easy to adjust even when the player is inside its plastic sleeve.

* Great sound - it has a built-in equalizer and other sound adjustments - take the time to adjust them since it makes all the difference.

* Earbuds work great once they are adjusted properly. I think the bass is good.

CONS:

* None except that it won't bookmark in the middle of a song file - it will bookmark to the beginning of the song you last heard (see below).

CLARIFICATIONS:

* It uses the alphabetical listing of song titles:

* Non-random- if you turn off the unit after listening for a while, turn it on again, and press the >| button, it will start with the beginning of the song you were last listening to and then continue on down the alpha listing.

* Random mode - if you turn it off, turn it on, and press the >| button, it will also start at the beginning of the song you were last listening to but will start a new random order - this means you might hear something you had previously heard in the random order. You can use the pause button if you want to continue with the previous random order. This has not been a problem for me.

* If you start playing by using the menu's Play Music option, it will start at the first alphabetical song.

* As mentioned by other reviewers, proper tagging of the songs is important in getting it to play the music you want to hear. (While this is obvious to some, it initially wasn't to me so I'll mention that this is different from the directory filenames - tagging is like naming the fields in a database). I am also using the MP3-Tag Studio 3 freeware to do the tagging - you can right click on a directory and choose the MP3-Tag Studio 3 option to name the songs in that directory.

* I found that when I am doing the tagging, it doesn't like, for example, last names of artists that are too similar so I have been running the last and first names together with the first letter of each capitalized.

* The process I have been using (and I'm not saying there isn't a better one) is: set the filenames of the artist, album, and songs in Windows Explorer (I keep each album in a separate directory), then right click the directory and select the WP3-Tag Studio 3 option and use that to mass set tag the artist, album and genre all at once and then browse/edit tags to label the song, then open the Windows Media Player library (verify the songs are properly labeled), then drag them to a playlist, and sync it to the MP3 player. If you have the fields tagged properly, you can then play them by artist, album, song or genre, for example.

ACCESSORIES:

I take this unit everywhere:

* At work I use a Belkin TuneCast II FM transmitter in conjunction with a universal AC adapter (to avoid going through the 2 AAA batteries that the transmitter requires) in order to play the music through my small radio's stereo speakers since I can't use the earbuds while working. The Belkin FM transmitter has its power requirements on the bottom of the unit where the AC adapter is inserted. If you choose to use an AC adapter, make sure you purchase an AC adapter with an mah limit that is higher than the unit and with a high-enough voltage capability and make sure to read the instructions for polarity and voltage settings so that you don't blow out your equipment. Choosing a station that doesn't tune in real well works best for me - it may take some patience to choose the proper station for this purpose; but, once that is done, it works consistently well for me

* I use it in the car:

* If you have a cassette player, you can use an adapter that looks like a cassette (I have a Belkin) that inserts into the cassette player slot to hard wire it to your car radio's speakers.

* If you don't have a cassette player in the car, you can either purchase a portable speaker system (I'm using the Altec Lansing inMotion iM2 system) or use the aforementioned FM transmitter to play the music through the car's radio speakers although this works better for local use due to using a certain FM station. You can get a universal DC adapter to avoid the batteries in the FM transmitter, but make sure to read the instructions thoroughly regarding mah limit, voltage, and polarity or you risk blowing out your equipment.

* At home I have a Philips Master Video Switching Center that can be used to attach various peripherals to our home stereo system's input jack. There are four inputs on the Philips hub, and one of them is on the front of the unit so I purchased an inexpensive audio cord for auxiliary equipment (such as portable CD players) that plugs into the MP3 player's headphone jack at one end and the other has two cords - one red and one white - that plug into the hub. Great stereo sound very easily.

* I use it when walking with the OEM earbuds and find them comfortable.

I initially didn't think I needed an MP3 player - now I'm thinking of giving it a pet name!
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on April 28, 2006
I purchased this from Amazon. It worked for about 18 hours -- long enough for me to transfer about 256 mb of songs to it. I used it for about 2 hours. Then it died, less than 24 hours after I opened the package.

Amazon was very wonderful and replaced it. I sent back the broken one, and they shipped a new one before they even received the broken one.

I have not had any problems with the 2nd one not working, though I was unable to upgrade the firmware, and since the first one died immediately after I did this, I decided not to try too hard.

I paid $92 and change for this player. It's really a bargain at the lower price it is now listed for (around $75). It's hard to find a 1 gb player with that kind of price.

Pros:

*1 gb for a low price

*attractive look, looks a bit like an iPod

*comes with a short USB cable (though this would be a "con" if you have a desktop computer which only has USB ports on the back)

*lots of ways to search for songs and other files

*good sound

*immediately recognized as an external drive when connected, no software required to transfer files to it

*expansion slot included

*compatible with Windows Media Player -- you can use that to sync songs to it, and you can also rename songs in there before syncing them. Changing the genre and making sure the artist, album and song name are correct makes it much easier to search

cons:

*runs on AAA battery, no rechargeable battery included

*generally awkward interface (see comments below)

*inconsistent battery life -- one batter will last a long time and then the next one, from the same package of batteries, will die in about a week

*it doesn't remember where you were in a file -- if you listen to podcasts and shut it off in the middle of one, you'll have to fast forward to find where you left off when you turn it back on

*it takes a long time to turn on when it's got lots of songs on it

*you can't play songs that you download from iTunes on this player

I still haven't figured out how to make a playlist or to make something a favorite. And while it has a lot of things you can search (name, artist, album, genre, and also new songs that were added to the player within 1 day, 1 week or 1 month of today), it's still sometimes hard to find songs.

The interface isn't intuitive -- you'll have to at least take a peek at the manual unless you're really lucky to think that pushing the power button once will bring up the menu -- I would have thought it would shut it off, but to shut it off you have to hold the power button down for several seconds. Once you know how to bring up the menu, most of the functions are relatively easy to use. There's this funny little wheel/gear thing that you turn instead of using the round thing on the front of the iPod to scroll up and down.

The player came with relatively cheap ear buds, but I bought better ones at Best Buy.

It also comes with a clear plastic case. I've kept mine in this all the time to keep it scratch-free. It's got holes so you can do everything but change the battery with the case on. It's hard to figure out how they meant for you to use the armband with the case, though. There's a grey strap across the back that the armband fits through, but then you've got this top-heavy player strapped sideways to your arm. It just doesn't work that well. Then I tried it with the strap slipped through the clear flap that you unsnap to change the battery or to take the player out of the case. So far, that has worked for me, though I would be afraid to do any strenuous exercise while it was strapped like that because if the snap unsnapped, it would fall. There are 3 snaps that hold the case closed, and this slot I'm referring to is between them, so only one snap holds the armband in place when you've got it slipped through that part. I don't know how they intended for the armband to be used -- there were no instructions, unless they were in the manual which I did't bother to completely read.

One of the biggest inconveniences of this player is the way it doesn't remember your place in a podcast file, when you shut it off. My old player, a little Rio Cali that I loved except for the small storage size, would turn on and be right back where you left off, except if you updated the files. This player remembers what file you were in, except when you update files, but it will bring you back to the beginning and you'll have to fast forward to where you were. I try to remember the number of minutes into the file I was, that's the best I can do. One thing it does remember, for some reason, is the very first song -- I don't know if it's alphabetical or what, the song starts with a (parentheses), so maybe that's why it's first, but every time I update, and then turn it back on, that's the song that's played first. If I turn shuffle on, it will choose a random song after that, but it always goes to that first.

I learned an interesting thing that I didn't know before I had an mp3 player: iTunes doesn't sell mp3 files. Really, it's true. They sell some proprietary file format with drm that only iPods can play. So, if you buy this player, or any of the non-iPods that Amazon sells, you have to find another place to buy songs. There are lots of them, but they all seem to require you to use Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player to download them. Not a great alternative for us Firefox users. I just wanted to include this in case anyone else was mislead a bit by all this talk of mp3s. I just assumed iTunes sold mp3s, and I don't think I'm stupid to have thought this.

This player also plays wma files, and audible book files. That's another good point.
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While this player sounds great on paper [and the sound quality is very good!] it does NOT do everything some of the reviews claim that it will. Below is a quote from the reply I received from SanDisk regarding the inability to return to your ending point on a 14-hour audio book. This is not satisfactory!

"...The Sansa Series MP3 players support the resume feature with ONLY Audible.com's audible files (with the .aa file extension).Likewise, there is a specific folder designation for AudioBooks in the Sansa Series called "Spoken Word" but, again, this folder is singular to Audible.com's .aa files.If your AudioBooks come from any other location, then the Sansa will recognize them as regular files and mill them amungst your songs...."

This means that if your audio books come from Audio.com you're all set. If you are listening from another supplier your book will be filed as "music" on the player. "Music" will not return to the exact point you left off. It will return to the beginning of the track, no matter the length of the track.

While the booklet that comes with the player states that it is not necessary to install the software which also comes with the player, if you want all the songs from one album to be catagorized together you do need to use their software.

Bottom line - if you want to listen to only music...it's great. If you want to get your downloadable audio books only from Audio.com...buy it. If you are getting your audio books from a service provided by your local library...BUY SOMETHING ELSE!
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on April 14, 2006
This player works well and is easy to use, but in my experience it does not work with 2 gig cards, it will only really use about 1 gig of the capacity. To make a very long story shorter, I went back and forth with their tech support, who did respond promptly, but even after a firmware update, the player would simply ignore random parts of data on the card once 1 gig was exceeded. This occured on both an Adata card and a Sandisk Ultra II 2 gig card, no differences by brand. Within the 1 gig limit, the player works very well.
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on April 15, 2006
I've had this mp3 player for around a month now and love it!! Love the size, the SD slot for unlimited storage and all the features like the FM tuner, the play by feature, and the ease of putting on the mp3's from the computer. Love the sound quality as well. Very clear. I also love that the player duplicates as a card reader as well. I had a slight problem with the SD card and the player not recognizing it after you took it out and put it back in again, but that was solved by pressing "Play all." (This along with a million other things aren't mentioned in the extremely cheap and useless instruction book.)

I only have a few complaints and they aren't even related to the player itself. First of all, those white tabs covering the SD slot and USB port aren't attached to the player and will eventually get lost because they are so small. Secondly, any extras, except for the headphones (and I had to change them), are so unbelievably cheap, it's not funny. The USB cord is 6 inches....what if it is your only USB cord and your USB port is on the floor in the back of the CPU? You have to sit on the floor and download songs? Ridiculous! The armband is cheap, the plastic cover for the player is very cheap and hardly useful. I'm also not crazy about that triangular of snaps on the back of the cover, they are bulky.

Don't get me started on the intruction booklet, it is just terrible. How can it use room to tell someone how to put in a battery and leave out the important, more complicated things like that problem I had with the SD card not being recognized. Everyone knows how to put in batteries! So, this player looses a star for cheapness and poor instructions. If the stars were based on the player alone, it gets 5 stars for sure!

But as I mentioned.....all of my complaints are unrelated to the actual player, so I am glad. This is an excellent mp3 player, with great features at a great price. I would never buy "that other famous i-mp3 player" now after having this one. Too expensive and you can't beat some of the features on this Sansa.
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on October 21, 2005
Currently sold for $90-120 with 1GB memory. Comes in silver, blue colors and with a smaller 512mb memory ($70-80).

After using 2 MP3-CD players, and some 2 RCA Lyra models I found that this one - is what I always wanted.

While the footprint is not as tiny as Nano, it is still a very small and light device. Its a "credit card" size, and as thick as a AAA battery. Very convenient button layout, and ergonomic design. Various extra features and playback options. SD expansion option would allow you to add up to 2 GB (or possibly even more if larger SD cards come out). Single AAA battery lasts for 6-10 hours if you don't use the sound effects and backlit display too much, while rechargeable is still an option (check capacity of your rechargeable batteries before you buy them).

Very good quality of FM Radio, if you have a good reception. Good i-pod like ear-plugs with 2 extra sets of plastic thingies to fit the size of your ear, so keep them if you haven't got better pair of headphones. By the way, your MP3s probably never sounded better since you get to customize the equalizer to your like. When the song plays, you can see the Artist's name, Track Name and the Album, elapsed and remaining time, bitrate etc.

I am also very happy with some other little things like custom equalizer, timer, configurable display, timeout and "sleep" option, SRS WOW sound effects similar to the ones you can find in the Windows Media Player. It comes with black arm-band and clear plastic case, which I could digest at first, but then I got to like it a lot. You don't have to take a player out of the case to replace the battery or to connect to USB. You'd have to take it out to replace the SD Card though.

Supports English, German, Italian, French, Spanish, Korean, Chinese and Japanese languages. Connects to your computer with USB2.0 and can be opened on your computer as an external drive (no drivers or interface are required). The transfer speed was not too bad.

Few minor issues I've come across so far:

a) If your media is not properly tagged (such as album name is missing), you are likely to have those tracks played in alphabedical order (not by folder). So, either tag your media, or create playlist on your PC before moving your songs to this device.

b) If the player doesn't boot don't assume the battery is bad. Replace a battery with a new one, and let the old one "rest" in your bag or your pocket for couple of hours or even a day. The chances are the next time you'd use it the player would boot perfectly, and the "old" battery would play for 1-2 hours longer. In other words, through it away if it "dies" on you, not when it can't boot.

c) When use "shuffle" playback mode, the system would start from the "last played" track, but then would use a different algorithm every time you boot. In other words, it doesn't cycle through all songs completely if at some point you decide to shut it down. So every time you "shuffle" you'd hear some old and some new songs.

I hope this review helps, and if you buy it you'd be as happy with this player as I am.
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on April 22, 2006
This is a great player and I am very happy with it after several months. What I love most is the FM radio and that it needs no additional software on your computer to download music. There are two ways to load music: You can either sync music with any of your playlists on Window's Media Player or just copy music to the device (it shows up as a flash drive). It plays MP3 and WMA (WMA give better sound for the same file size). I tried a Creative Nano and it wouldn't run since their software didn't work. Customer service couldn't help and I had to send that back. Not so with this SanDisk, just hook it up, download music, and start listening. I am very happy with it.

The user interface is simple enough and I like the display. It is small and black and white, but I bought this to listen and not look. All the information I need is displayed. Frankly it isn't the best looking device, but the controls are simple and it sounds great.

I listen to audible books with it and have had no difficulty starting where I left off. There have been some upgrades to the firmware in recent months, maybe that has something to do with it.

My friends are iPod Nano converts but I think this is a better value: FM radio, more music vendors from which to choose, subscription music, and 1/2 the price. It is also expandable if I want to store more music.

I also like the use of batteries. I have rechargeables that each last many days (a few hours each day) and when one runs out, I just pop in a new one. No need to ever hook up to a computer or buy a special charger. On a long trip I can carry several batteries and have days of listening.

I've never heard of SanDisk until I bought their flash drive (a Micro). I am impressed with that and with the e140. Their customer service seems first rate too.
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