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8 Dec 2023

December 2023 – Improvements & Bug Fixes

By |2023-12-09T06:08:51-08:00December 8th, 2023|Sidekick Hero Blog, Sidekick: What's New|0 Comments

Sidekick has only been out for a few days, but as a result of your feedback and suggestions, we already have a few improvements and bug fixes that we want to announce! Users should start to see these over the next few hours, so you’ll definitely see them before church on Sunday.

The following features were improved:

  • Presentations that are live now have an indicator on the dashboard, allowing the user to jump directly to the live presentation.
  • Videos now autoplay unmuted by default.
  • Videos can be set to be muted or unmuted on load.
  • Added better descriptive language for Image-based Question Poll.
  • Landscape view on mobile shows current slide, controls, and next slide (See below) – NOTE: This is an incremental step to make mobile better, but it’s still work in progress.

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The following bugs were fixed:

  • Muting/unmuting no longer restarts the video in Presenter
  • Video play button now works when editing
  • Mobile voting view now shows the actual slide (See below)

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Plus, I have it on good authority (I just talked to one of our developers) that when you first load your presentation, you’ll notice that the slide thumbnails load A LOT (and I mean A LOT) 🔥 FASTER 🔥! Don’t get me wrong. It was already fast, but now it’s almost too fast… if that was actually possible.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

These improvements and fixes are a direct result of users like you telling us about your Sidekick experience. I speak for our whole team when I say that our goal is to make Sidekick the best and most engaging presentation tool for youth workers around the world. And we absolutely can’t do that without you. So, seriously, thank you for putting Sidekick through the paces. And thank you even more for letting us know what you think.

You’re the best, and you deserve a day off.

And since I can’t technically give you a day off, I’ll do the next best thing and make sure you know how to contact us with questions, issues, and suggestions…

Contacting support

If you ever have any trouble using Sidekick, or if something just doesn’t seem to do the thing it seems like it should, just reach out to our support team at [email protected]. They’re all super-nice, and super-helpful!

Suggesting New Features

We’d love to hear about any feature that you think would be an awesome addition to Sidekick! Now, users can suggest new features (and vote on features that other users have already submitted) by visiting https://sidekick-tv.canny.io.

Finally, if you choose to use the new Sidekick… let us know how you do it and what types of polls you do because we want to highlight you. Our goal is to highlight a youth worker every week with different ways they’ve used Sidekick to help their students engage. If you’re interested in being recognized as a Sidekick Hero, just click the big red button below:

8 Dec 2023

Meet A Sidekick Hero: Scott Tinman

By |2023-12-08T09:03:17-08:00December 8th, 2023|Sidekick Hero Blog|1 Comment

From Doug: I asked Scott Tinman to share why he’s excited about Sidekick. Scott has been part of our Sidekick Testing-Team over the past month or so, and he has had so many different ideas and use cases. Scott is a friend to DYM, he’s a veteran youth pastor who is always willing to help other youth workers. He serves at Living Hope Church in Findlay, OH… and he’s our very first Sidekick HERO (a shirt is coming your way Scott!)

The NEW Sidekick is here!

As a veteran youth worker, I am excited about the potential of what is currently available and what DYM has planned for the new and improved Sidekick. For the past few weeks, I’ve been using Sidekick as part of the “Sidekick Beta Test Group,” and I AM ABSOLUTELY LOVING IT!

A little while ago, Doug asked me to write down some of the reasons I’ve been so impressed with the NEW Sidekick…here are my top 5:

1. It’s Web-Based!

Since this is a web-based program it means it’s available wherever you have an internet connection for both presenting and also for creating your presentation. Gone are the days of needing to be in the youth room to create your program slides or get a jump drive, or create a Dropbox or Google Drive to download and hope it works. You can create this anywhere you have an internet connection and when you open it up on the youth room computer it is ready to go! Just this last weekend I worked on my weekend program while hanging out at one of my favorite coffee shops. When I got to my church computer, it was all there. Love this!

2. Controls!

Remember trying to have someone in the tech booth and hoping they keep up with the slides in the presentation… well now you can have control with your phone, iPad/tablet or even your laptop. When you are in Live Presentation mode you can join from any device from the stage and control things yourself. Or, you can use your laptop as a confidence monitor for what slides are coming throughout your program and use your phone to advance your slides. I also like the feature of adding presenter/speaker notes that you can insert and use for when you are upfront.

3. LIVE Polls!

It’s time to stop fighting the cell phone/technology battle and use phones for some good interaction! Now with the LIVE Polls we can create simple ways of engagement with our students and our programming. Being able to see LIVE results on the screen has been fun for our group and bringing a different excitement to our weekly programming. These are easy to create and can be created for games and ice breakers as well as interaction during your teaching. It’s really versatile.

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4. Streaming YouTube Videos for Worship!

One of the elements you can utilize is streaming YouTube or Vimeo for worship. Right now, our student worship team is in a bit of a restructuring/development phase, and we need to utilize worship lyric videos in our weekly program. In Sidekick, you can get the video URL, put it in a slide, and stream the song straight from YouTube. Gone are the days of asking youth workers what YouTube downloader they are using to download a video to put in your presentation software. This will also be helpful in streaming clips for teaching or other fun videos you want to share in your program. If you do have your own worship team and need to import song lyrics, Sidekick now has the integration of Song Select and CCLI, so you can import the slides automatically instead of the old cut and paste from searching the lyrics on Google.

5. Synchronizing between Coleader & Sidekick!

I have always been an early adopter of what DYM has done for youth workers and the resources they provide. Now, with my Coleader subscription and the NEW Sidekick, I just click a button, and everything that is in the Coleader program automatically shows up in Sidekick (it’s almost TOO EASY!). Instead of creating everything from scratch, you now have a template to work from, which saves tons of time! Whether you customize it or use it exactly like it is, Coleader content in Sidekick is an absolute game-changer!

I truly believe the NEW Sidekick is a game-changer in youth ministry. Sidekick is a resource created for the youth room and with the youth worker in mind! And, this is just the beginning! I’ve seen the list of updates and improvements that will be coming out soon to help us youth workers win! My gut tells me that if you check it out, you’ll LOVE the NEW Sidekick just as much as I do!

Check Out This SIDEKICK HERO In Action:

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If you run into any issues, or if you just have a question, please feel free to reach out to our support team at: [email protected]

Finally, if you choose to use the new Sidekick… let us know how you do it and what types of polls you do because we want to highlight you. Our goal is to highlight a youth worker every week with different ways they’ve used Sidekick to help their students engage. If you’re interested in being recognized as a Sidekick Hero, just click the big red button below:

7 Dec 2023

What Are Connections & How Do I Get More?

By |2023-12-07T17:42:01-08:00December 7th, 2023|Sidekick Hero Blog|0 Comments

One of the biggest questions we’ve gotten since launching Sidekick, is:

What Are ‘Connections’ & How Do I Get More?

So we’ve written this handy guide to help you understand connections and how the number of connections are related to your DYM Gold or DYM Gold+ Membership:

Understanding Sidekick ‘Connections’

The most basic explanation is that “connections” are the number of phones/tablets/devices that are able to connect and participate in interactive elements (like Live Voting) at the same time. Here are a few helpful scenarios to show how we calculate the number of connections in different situations:

Scenario 1: If you are presenting to a room of 50 people, and all 50 decide to scan the QR code to vote in a Live Poll, you are using 50 connections.

Scenario 2: If you are presenting to a room of 100 people, and 50 decide to scan the QR code to vote in a Live Poll, you are using 50 connections.

Scenario 3: (However unlikely) If you are presenting to a room of 50 people, and all 50 decide to scan the QR code on their phones AND on their tablets (effectively letting each person connect twice) to vote in a Live Poll, you are using 100 connections.

This means that if you are planning on using the live voting element during your presentation, you’ll need to make sure that you have enough connections available for each person to scan the QR code that is presented on the screen.

Since launching, our users have asked a lot of really good questions about connections, so we wanted to take a moment to answer them here for everyone:

Nope! ’50 connections’ refers to the first 50 devices that scan the QR code shown on the screen during an interactive element such as Live Voting. As soon as your presentation ends, all connections are reset, and you are able to connect a completely different set of 50 devices. The same is true for our 50, 100, 250, and 500-device plans.

The number of connections in your plan covers the number of phones/devices that are able to connect and participate in interactive elements (like Live Voting) at the same time. Here are two scenarios that may help make this clearer:

Scenario 1: If you have multiple groups who are using Sidekick at the same time (like youth group and kids ministry both meeting at 7pm on Wednesdays), this would mean that the number of connections is shared between those two groups. If your plan includes 50 connections, but you have 40 participants in each group (totaling 80 participants trying to connect at the same time), only the first 50 participants will be able to connect. In this scenario, we would suggest increasing your membership to include the

Scenario 2: However, if you have multiple groups who are using Sidekick, but they meet at different times (for example, your youth group meets on Wednesdays at 7pm, but your kids ministry meets on Sundays at 11am), you will only need enough connections to cover each group individually. For example, if your youth group and kids ministry each have 40 participants, you will only need a plan with 50 participants, since the two groups are not trying to connect at the same time.

That’s so exciting! In order to increase the number of connections on your account, you will need to upgrade your account to the next DYM Gold+ membership tier. The best way to do this is to contact our support team at [email protected] so they can pro-rate your current plan so that you’re not paying more than you need to (plus they’re super-nice people who are always eager to help!).

If you need more connections than your current membership allows for a one-time event, please reach out to [email protected]. Our support team is made up exclusively of veteran youth workers who totally get what it’s like to lead from the trenches. Plus, they’re really nice people, so when in need, reaching out is always a good idea.

Understanding DYM Memberships

Whether you are considering purchasing a DYM Gold or DYM Gold+ membership for the first time or you’re thinking about upgrading in order to have more connections on your plan, below, you’ll find a comparison of all of our DYM Gold & DYM Gold+ memberships, including cost and how many connections come with each membership tier:

DYM Gold Monthy

$2699monthly
  • Pay Month-to-Month, Cancel Anytime
  • Access to Sidekick for 1 User
  • 5 Simultaneous Phone Connections
  • $20 Monthly DYM Store Credit
  • Free Monthly Members Only Resources

DYM Gold Annual

$29689annually
  • Get 12 Months for the Price of 11 Months When Paying Annually
  • Access to Sidekick for 1 User
  • 5 Simultaneous Phone Connections
  • $20 Monthly DYM Store Credit
  • Free Monthly Members Only Resources

DYM GOLD+50 Connections

$3999monthly
  • Access to Sidekick for 10 Users
  • 50 Simultaneous Phone Connections
  • $20 Monthly DYM Store Credit
  • Free Monthly Members Only Resources

DYM GOLD+100 Connections

$5999monthly
  • Access to Sidekick for 10 Users
  • 100 Simultaneous Phone Connections
  • $20 Monthly DYM Store Credit
  • Free Monthly Members Only Resources

DYM GOLD+250 Connections

$7999monthly
  • Access to Sidekick for 10 Users
  • 250 Simultaneous Phone Connections
  • $20 Monthly DYM Store Credit
  • Free Monthly Members Only Resources

DYM GOLD+500 Connections

$10999monthly
  • Access to Sidekick for 10 Users
  • 500 Simultaneous Phone Connections
  • $20 Monthly DYM Store Credit
  • Free Monthly Members Only Resources

DYM GOLD+50 Connections

$35991annually
  • $29.99 per month when paid annually
  • Savings of $119.97 over monthly subscription
  • Access to Sidekick for 10 Users
  • 50 Simultaneous Phone Connections
  • $20 Monthly DYM Store Credit
  • Free Monthly Members Only Resources

DYM GOLD+100 Connections

$53991annually
  • $44.99 per month when paid annually
  • Savings of $179.97 over monthly subscription
  • Access to Sidekick for 10 Users
  • 100 Simultaneous Phone Connections
  • $20 Monthly DYM Store Credit
  • Free Monthly Members Only Resources

DYM GOLD+250 Connections

$71991annually
  • $59.99 per month when paid annually
  • Savings of $239.97 over monthly subscription
  • Access to Sidekick for 10 Users
  • 250 Simultaneous Phone Connections
  • $20 Monthly DYM Store Credit
  • Free Monthly Members Only Resources

DYM GOLD+500 Connections

$98991annually
  • $82.49 per month when paid annually
  • Savings of $329.97 over monthly subscription
  • Access to Sidekick for 10 Users
  • 500 Simultaneous Phone Connections
  • $20 Monthly DYM Store Credit
  • Free Monthly Members Only Resources

As always, if you run into any issues, or if you just have a question, please feel free to reach out to our support team at: [email protected]

Finally, if you choose to use the new Sidekick… let us know how you do it and what types of polls you do because we want to highlight you. Our goal is to highlight a youth worker every week with different ways they’ve used Sidekick to help their students engage. If you’re interested in being recognized as a Sidekick Hero, just click the big red button below:

7 Dec 2023

We’ve been testing Sidekick at Mariners Youth!

By |2023-12-07T08:47:12-08:00December 7th, 2023|Sidekick Hero Blog|0 Comments

This past Wednesday, we got to use Sidekick for a little fun in our youth group to choose a punishment for our High School Pastor if/when registration fills up for the youth conference our church is putting on.

Students scanned the QR code SO FAST, and weighed in quickly with their votes … now we have to fill up the event so we can see one of these awesome choices happen in real-life:

How will YOU use Sidekick + Phones creatively this week? Give it a shot … just beware of the consequences if you choose this idea!

Josh

If you run into any issues, or if you just have a question, please feel free to reach out to our support team at: [email protected]

Finally, if you choose to use the new Sidekick… let us know how you do it and what types of polls you do because we want to highlight you. Our goal is to highlight a youth worker every week with different ways they’ve used Sidekick to help their students engage. If you’re interested in being recognized as a Sidekick Hero, just click the big red button below:

6 Dec 2023

My Initial Reaction to the Sidekick Launch LiveStream

By |2023-12-07T08:55:24-08:00December 6th, 2023|Sidekick Hero Blog, Youth Ministry Ideas|2 Comments

Doug and Josh hosted a Facebook live event and asked me to simply jot down my thoughts and reactions to what they shared. So here we go…

Initial Thoughts

They started off by sharing what the new Sidekick looks like, and let me tell you, it is amazing! Not only was there a whole lot of hype about how youth pastors will be able to use phones to engage students instead of trying to fight against students using their phones, but there are some pretty significant giveaways going on as well!

Also, Josh was drinking something yellow and weird out of a suspicious-looking water bottle… but I don’t think that had anything to do with Sidekick 🙂

The Big Reveal

The big news is that Sidekick has been rebuilt from the ground up!

Instead of having to download a program onto every computer, you plan on using it with, Sidekick is now a browser-based web program! So you can design your youth program in your office and walk over to the youth room and load it up without having to ask anyone for their permission to put a new program on a computer (for some of us, this is a BIG DEAL).

Bring on the Phones!

You can now use Sidekick to engage with students by having them answer multiple-choice questions on their phones! Wild! 

Speaking of phones, you can CONTROL Sidekick on your phone, laptop, iPad, other computer, anything you can log into the web and see the internet. This is a SUPER BIG DEAL! Now, you can make each slide appear as soon as you want it to and not necessarily wait for your computer person who may or may not be tuned into your lesson (we’ve all been there, right??).

The Giveaways (…it is DYM after all!)

There are also some MAJOR giveaways going on with the launch of Sidekick! If you sign up and use Sidekick three times or more during the month of December, you’ll be automatically entered into a giveaway for an iPhone, Xbox, or a $500 Slurpee gift card. These are some exciting times! Get in on this right away!

Questions

As I was watching the live stream, there were a few questions that kept coming up, so I reached out to my friends at DYM and asked if they could help me answer some of those for you here.

  • What about CCLI Worship Licenses? Yep! CCLI SongSelect is integrated directly into Sidekick. That means you can import any of SongSelect’s 100,000+ songs directly into your presentation without having to type out every word!
  • If we have Coleader and/or DYM Gold, will there be any retro for us to change to DYM Platinum? You bet! If you’re in this boat (or if you have any issues at all with your membership), just reach out to [email protected], and they’ll help you get your Platinum Membership up and running!
  • So with DYM GOLD+, how many members can I have on my team? With DYM Gold+, you can have 10 users under one account.
  • So if 50 voters is the base, how do you upgrade to the larger tiers? You can find all the info about upgrading to more connections here: https://help.sidekick.tv/en/articles/8673101-getting-more-phone-connections-on-sidekick

How Do I Rewatch the LiveStream?

Well, obviously, the Sidekick Launch LiveStream was a HUGE deal for youth workers, so if you missed it, here’s how you can watch:

6 Dec 2023

Adding Images, Text, and Video to Slides in Sidekick

By |2023-12-06T07:14:40-08:00December 6th, 2023|Sidekick Hero Blog|0 Comments

Adding images, text, & video to slides in Sidekick is super simple! Just watch the video below, or scroll down to see step-by-step instructions.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

To see step-by-step instructions (along with a screen shot of each step) for adding images, text, and video to your slides in Sidekick, just click the plus (+) button next to each step below:

It’s really that easy! And, of course, once you add any element to a slide, you can use your mouse to move and resize that element so you can place it exactly where you want it on your slide.

Be on the lookout for upcoming posts on how to do the following:

  • 🎵 Adding Songs to Sidekick via SongSelect
  • 🔀 Moving Sections and Slides in Sidekick
  • 📺 Presenting Full-Screen in Sidekick
  • 📱 Controlling Your Sidekick Presentation from Your Phone
  • 📙 Adding Speaker Notes in Sidekick
  • ✅ Live Voting in Sidekick
  • ‼️ And more!

If you run into any issues, or if you just have a question, please feel free to reach out to our support team at: [email protected]

Finally, if you choose to use the new Sidekick… let us know how you do it and what types of polls you do because we want to highlight you. Our goal is to highlight a youth worker every week with different ways they’ve used Sidekick to help their students engage. If you’re interested in being recognized as a Sidekick Hero, just click the big red button below:

5 Dec 2023

Sidekick … the Beta Testers Have Spoken!

By |2023-12-07T08:57:13-08:00December 5th, 2023|Sidekick Hero Blog|0 Comments

The DYM team has been working on Sidekick for months already. And people have already been playing with Sidekick for weeks. And launch day for everyone is … TODAY!

And we couldn’t have done it without a very special group of people: OUR BETA TESTERS!

Sidekick is made for YOU:

  • It’ll work in youth room basements!
  • It’ll AirPlay in Sunday School classrooms!
  • It’ll command youth buildings with giant LED walls!
  • Even church sanctuaries with orange pews get a serious upgrade!

Because they were willing to use Sidekick before it was ready for release, these beta testers have made sure that Sidekick was ready for primetime in whatever scenario you can throw at it.

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In addition to the beta setups – we’ve shown it to a few groups of youth workers publicly, too – we showed a teaser at DYM’s First Few Years Conference and really took attendees for a more extensive tour during the DYM100: Roundtable Conversations Conference. The reaction has been incredible … the anticipation very real … and all of that hard work banging on every edge case we could come up with has helped shape it for YOU with your students.

Which means, it’s ready for you to use… TOMORROW NIGHT!

Jump in and enjoy the new Sidekick – this is just the beginning – and engage your students like never before!

If you run into any issues, or if you just have a question, please feel free to reach out to our support team at: [email protected]

Finally, if you choose to use the new Sidekick… let us know how you do it and what types of polls you do because we want to highlight you. Our goal is to highlight a youth worker every week with different ways they’ve used Sidekick to help their students engage. If you’re interested in being recognized as a Sidekick Hero, just click the big red button below:

5 Dec 2023

What’s New in Sidekick? 🎉 December 2023

By |2023-12-07T13:42:33-08:00December 5th, 2023|Sidekick Hero Blog, Sidekick: What's New|0 Comments

 What’s New? 🎉 December 2023

  • Full-featured presenter launched!
  • Video backgrounds
  • Embed YouTube and Vimeo
  • Song Select CCLI integration
  • Polls w/Live Voting via Phone Connection
  • Remote Control – use your iPhone or iPad to control the presentation
  • CloudSync – build your presentation anywhere and it’s in the youth room computer

What’s Coming! January 2024

  • Wheel of Destiny
  • Pick Me
  • Boxes
  • Upload your own video
  • Chrome Window Control
  • Q&A from phones w/moderation
  • Bug fixes & optimization

What’s Planned after that?

  • Content library to store your files
  • 100s of pre-loaded FREE worship backgrounds
  • Sync your purchases of DYM games, media and more
  • Scan QR code for student check in
  • AI generated options for engagement tools

Would you like to suggest a feature?
Because we want to hear from you!

Click the link below to suggest new features or to vote on features that other users have already submitted:

Submit and Vote on Features Here!

5 Dec 2023

Why I’m BEYOND Excited About the NEW Sidekick!

By |2023-12-07T09:06:34-08:00December 5th, 2023|Sidekick Hero Blog, Sidekick: What's New|0 Comments

This may sound like a hyperbole… but, it’s not… it’s how I genuinely feel about the launch of the NEW Sidekick. It’s one of the most exciting things that has happened to me/DYM/youth ministry in a long time. Now, to be fair, I share that same excitement about Coleader (that we launched earlier this year)… but at the time we launched Coleader, we didn’t have the vision that we’d be able to combine Sidekick with Coleader (check this out).

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Okay… BUT WHY AM I BEYOND EXCITED? 

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1. Sidekick will change the way I communicate! 

I will use a Sidekick Poll EVERY TIME I speak. Since I got to play around with this before most, I’ve used it in a large crowd (1,400 couples at a marriage event) and a small crowd (9 interns in a training event). In each message, I included 3 different polls, and the people loved participating. 

2. Sidekick moves the phone from distraction to engagement!

When I first started in youth ministry, there was no such thing as phones in the hands of teenagers. Phones hung on the wall. For the last decade, phones have been one of the constant battles with teenagers. Now, with the NEW Sidekick, their phone will become a tool of engagement.

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3. Sidekick allows me to run my presentation from my phone!

This alone almost gives me an aneurysm of excitement (most of my medical comments should not be taken seriously). I like to use graphics when I teach. I use A LOT of them, and it’s really hard to delegate “timing” to the AV person. Don’t get me wrong, I love my AV people, but humor/timing isn’t usually one of their gifts. But now… I.AM.IN.CONTROL (yes, this comes up in counseling). In 40+ years of speaking to teenagers I’ve never had the freedom to run my presentation from my phone or my iPad. Now I do… and, my heart is happy. 

4. It’s so easy to use that even I can use it. 

The team at DYM teases me about my age and technology… I feel like I could talk to HR about that, but technically I’m HR. Anyway, I may be a little behind on the newest tech-wizardry that “the kids” are gushing over, but I can make a Sidekick deck… AND… run it… without help. Boom. Mic drop. And I’ve done it (I even have photos to prove it!). I’ve taken old Keynote presentations, exported the slides, imported them into Sidekick, made my own polls (which takes about 1 minute), and presented on my phone, my iPad, and my laptop. So, if Doug Fields can do it… you can do it!

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5. There are upcoming features that I can’t even tell you about.

We’ve put together a list of so many features that will be added to Sidekick, and there are so many that our developers don’t want them released… but, the developers aren’t in charge of me (what? Who talks like that? Since when have youth pastors been so bold? 😄) There is going to be a Spinny Wheel (AI integration–yep, probably), there will be Scripture Inserts (type in a reference and it creates a verse slide), there will be Name Picker (coming in January), there will even be the ability for students to text in comments and questions that will appear on the screen (with the ability to moderate, of course!).

SERIOUSLY!

There are so many fun ways that Sidekick will change the way you communicate with teenagers and program for them. 

Finally, if you choose to use the new Sidekick… let me know how you do it and what types of polls you do because I want to highlight you. My goal is to highlight a youth worker every week with different ways they’ve used Live Voting and Sidekick. If you’d like to become part of our Sidekick hero team, just click the big red button below:

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