Monday, 13 July 2015

Nikon D5100 'Error Press shutter Release Button Again'

and the story of a helpful repair agent

There is nothing more frustrating than error messages, especially those that aren't listed in any manual with a fix next to them.  Last week I accidentally knocked my D5100 off my desk onto the thickly carpeted floor.  Only a tiny bump really but it was enough to cause a few problems.  Initially when I tried to use it the camera kept hunting to focus and failed each time.  I put it in Live view mode and that is when I got the error message to press the shutter release button again.  Needless to say, pressing said button made no difference at all.

I decided to look it up on the internet as one does and found many forums where people had had similar issues with this camera.  I also found a site showing you how to fix it on a D40 by taking the back off but the D5100 is totally different and taking the back off was not so straight forward.  Another site showed me how to achieve that but it does not show where the shutter release mechanism is located so I decided to abandon that idea.

finally I decided I would have to send it to a repair agent so I Googled for a local one.  I came up with one that I phoned straight away, but it was answered by a not very enthusiastic guy who sounded like some regular Joe.  He asked me to supply an e-mail address and he would send me a quote for fixing this problem which he did almost as soon as I put the phone down.  £96 including vat but an extra £15 for the courier unless I could deliver it myself.  Second hand this camera isn't worth much more than £100 now so I felt a bit despondent.  I decided to try another agent.  This time I got through to a very professional sounding man who, after I had explained the problem, asked me if the mirror was stuck.  I remove the lens and sure enough the mirror was down at 45º.  He told me to see if I could flip it up as it should go really easily.  I carefully put a fingernail under the bottom of the mirror and pushed up.  It didn't want to go at first proving that it was indeed stuck but then it flipped up back in place.  I put the lens back on and checked to see if the error message had gone.  It had.  Not only that, but the camera was now focusing and taking photos as normal.

So, if any of you reading this have this problem you know what to do but more importantly, if you have any problems with your DSLR, live in Kent and feel you need it to be repaired by a professional then I would recommend these people "thegadgetmender.co.uk".

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Special Character Keyboard Shortcuts for a Mac Running Mavericks


Having recently converted to an iMac from a PC I have had to get used to using a completely new keyboard.  OK so the querty layout is the same but many of the other keys have been moved around.  Especially as I am using the Apple wireless keyboard which is a lot smaller than the standard keyboard and is missing a number pad.  When I used to use the PC keyboard I had a laminated chart of all the special character keyboard shortcuts, most of which utilised the num pad.  For me, being able to type the copyright sign © without calling up the Special Characters window and then scrolling through them until I find the one I want, was important, to use an example of just one.  So I did what most modern people do these days, I Googled it.  That was relatively successful but not completely.  Yes I did come across a number of sites where there were tables of all the special characters and their associated keyboard strokes but none of them were totally accurate.  The most accurate was this site http://www.forlang.wsu.edu/help/keyboards2.asp for the Language Learning Resource Centre.  There had been a recent operating system upgrade to Mavericks so I can only assume that certain shortcuts were changed during this upgrade.  Either that or the shortcuts are specific to the mini wireless keyboard.  As a result I set about creating my own table and I have published it here so that anyone who finds themselves looking for the same information will be able to find it here.  I hope it is of as much use to you as it is to me.








Tuesday, 4 June 2013

BADGER SWAGGER

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Pet Portrait Stories Chapeter 4

This is Monty. He was a prize winning Arab who was used to being shown in hand. so used to it that when he was brought out to be photographed he just stood in the ménage and didn't move at all. He would have stood there all day.
This portrait was spotted on the internet by some unscrupulous advertising company who turned it into a pub sign for a pub called the Nags Head. Luckily I spotted it, got a solicitor involved and they settled out of court.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Nikon 35-70mm f/2.8D

This lens is no longer in production but that doesn't mean it's not worth seeking out.  On the contrary, this is a little gem and I bought mine recently second hand.


First Impressions 

This first thing I noticed about this lens is the build quality.  This was no kit lens. It's metal casing gives it a solid reliable feel in your hands.  There is no lens creep or play in the moving parts.  This lens was built to last.  
The finish is quite glossy compared to the current lenses which might make it look a little dated to the sharp eyed among you but you'd have to be very shallow to let that put you off.


Features

The lens will take a 62mm screw on filter, however, as the front part of the lens rotates during focussing it would not be suitable for a circular polarising filter unless you were prepared to adjust it every time you re-focussed.
The front part of the lens contains the focussing ring for manual focussing although this lens will auto focus provided your camera is compatible.  The closest it will focus in normal mode is .6m but there is a 'macro' button, which if pushed in when the lens is set to 35mm, will allow you to manually focus to a distance of .26m.  Although this is referred to as a macro setting it's not a true macro as it will only give a ratio of 1:4.  A true macro ratio is 1:1 so it would be more accurate to call this a 'close-up' setting.
The larger grip area is for the zoom.  this lens is back-to-front compared to modern zooms.  It's default setting is at full zoom of 70mm and you have to extend the lens to 'zoom out' to 35mm.  This is totally counter intuitive and takes a bit of getting use to as does the way it zooms. You don't twist this grip to change the zoom, you pull and push it.  It's a bit clunky at first and not easy to select a distance in between.  You would not want to use the zoom feature whilst recording video as it is difficult to get it smooth enough.  The fact the lens slides out as it does is something you need to remember if you are in the habit, as I am, of picking your camera up by the lens.
At the back of the lens is another small ring that allows you to set the aperture.  There is a sliding lock that will lock it at f/22 and I suggest you do this if you are using on a digital camera body that allows you to set the aperture on the camera.
There is no vibration reduction as this lens was made before that feature was developed.


Lens Test

I have used this lens on my D300s and D5100 cameras.  The former is the better camera for this lens as it has an auto-focusing mechanism built in so it will auto-focus with this lens.  The D5100 does not have this so all focussing has to be done manually but this is relatively easy if you use the built in AF assist icon.
The lens fits nice a tight on the body and the grips feel comfortable in the hand.  The auto-focus works well with the D300s and the images are very sharp with no discernible drop off at the edges.  At the 35mm end there are some very slight signs of chromatic aberration but this is barely noticeable and easily fixed in post processing.  Distortion too is very low which makes it perfect for portraits.
Being a fast and with it's 35-70mm zoom range this is a brilliant portrait lens in most lighting conditions and I suspect it will quickly become my main workhorse for my pet portraiture as it gives me a little bit more flexibility over my 50mm f1.4 prime but is faster and distorts less than my 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom.


Landscape at 70mm


Same landscape at 35mm


100% crop of the top right hand corner of the last image showing slight cyan/yellow CAs  around the trees.


Portrait taken at 70mm f5


 35mm f8 'Macro' shot at closest focusing distance.


35mm f14 in normal mode at closest focussing distance.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Photographer for the Day plus Photo Books

I am now available for daily hire for that special event.  No matter what the event you can get me to record it from start to finish, setting up to packing up.  I will follow your brief throughout the day taking candid and posed shots of everything that makes the day special.  Once done I will add copies of all the images* to a DVD for you to keep.  You can use this DVD to select as many images as you like to be included in the layout of a Jessops photo book.  The layout design will be professionally designed, tailor made to suit the occasion and the images selected.  The layout fee for one layout is included in the daily rate and you can use this to order as many books as you like.  The books will be charged as cost price so the prices you see on the Jessops web site are the prices I will charge you.  Should you wish more than one layout, either because you want different images in a separate book or you want books of different shapes, that can be arranged for an extra fee.  
Apart from photo books, you can also use the images on the DVD to order prints, large canvases, pet portraits or any of the products offered by Sally Jane Photographic Art.  
All images on the DVD will measure 700 pixels along their longest edge making them more than suitable to share on the internet.  Please reference the images as taken by Sally Jane Photographic Art if you do out of courtesy. 
For further information and prices visit the Sally Jane Photographic Art web site.

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Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Jump Up Media cold call con

Please report any problems with this company to Manchester Citizen's Advice on tel 08454 04 05 06 (9am to 5pm) (8.45am to 5pm) and they will refer it onto Manchester Trading Standards.

Foreword

I have added this paragraph after this mater has been successfully resolved  as it is important you know this before reading the rest.  All the following paragraphs were added shortly after each event. Jump Up Media t/a Talking Fast Ltd may well be a genuine company, I cannot prove otherwise.  However my involvement with them left a lot to be desired.  If you do get involved with this company I would advise you to take the following precautions;
  • Don't agree to pay any money on the first call.
  • Make a note of the names of everyone you speak to and document it.
  • Make sure they send you detailed information of the service they will supply you with including a complete list of the key phrases that will be used either in writing or via e-mail BEFORE you pay them any money.   Credit card companies won't do anything unless you can provide written proof.
  • Shop around and check out Google's other authorised partners under Google adwords. 
Please Note: I cannot vouch for the authenticity of any of the third party comments on this blog.
    The Story from the beginning

    I don't normally buy anything from cold callers full stop but today I got caught.  I had been looking for ways to further advertise my Pet Portrait Service and had had friends recommend giving Google a try on several occasions but I had always dismissed the idea.  Today I got called by someone who I shall refer to as 'CJ', who said he was calling on behalf of Google.  He was offering top ranking for my web site for a period of 31 days for 5 key word phrases for just £99.  He seemed to know a bit about my web site and made it sound very convincing.  What he was selling;
    • I was told that within 48 hours my web site would be placed at the top of a Google search page for my 5 key phrases and if it didn't I could get my money back.  
    • I would be able to change those key phrases at any time for free should I wish.  
    • He also assured me that he would be my personal Google account manager and I could ring him at any time should I have a question or problem. 
    • After the 31 days if I wanted to continue I would just need to let them know but it would not automatically renew.
    • All for just £99.  (I wasn't too convinced about the 'just' as it seemed a lot of money for a month but he pointed out I should easily be able to recoup that amount by increased sales.)
    Against my better judgement I decided to give it a go.  It then transpired he was not from Google itself but a company called Jump Up Media t/a Talkingfast LTD a Google Certified Partner.  I checked out their web site which initially seemed genuine enough and even checked that their company was registered with Companies House which it had been for a couple of years.  He said he needed to take payment over the phone but that I would get an invoice e-mailed to me with all the details straight after the call. I agreed to pay by credit card where-upon the price automatically went up by £10 to pay for 'Google inclusion'.  I told him "you said it would be just £99" and he replied that this was a one off free that Google make and he had already explained that to me.  I told him he hadn't said anything about that and as he was now producing extra hidden fees I didn't want anything to do with this and wanted to cancel the whole thing.  He spoke to his manager and they agreed to wave the £10.
    I went ahead with the purchase.  How stupid is that???

    After nearly 2 hours I had not been e-mailed an invoice as promised so I phoned the Jump Up Media back but was told 'CJ' was on the phone so I asked the person about the invoice.  I was told that 'CJ' should not have told my t would be sent straight away as it can take up to 2-3 days but she agreed to get one sent out today.  When it arrived the £99 had gone up to £118.80 as vat had been included.  There had been no mention of vat during my conversation with 'CJ' and I had taken "just £99" to mean just that.  I am not vat registered so cannot claim that back. 

    I got back on the phone to Jump Up Media but once again 'CJ' was not available.  I voiced my concern and was put through to someone I shall refer to as 'AW' in customer services.  I told him I wanted to pull out of the whole deal and get a refund.  He said he could not do that and I should have expected them to charge vat on top of the price quoted but he would listen to the tape and if it was the case that vat had not been mentioned he would, "as a gesture of goodwill" refund my vat.  He promised to get back to my by 5pm tonight.  He also said that for future months I would only be charged £99 inclusive of vat should I decide to stay with them.  I told him there was no chance of that.

    Jump Up Media may well be a genuine company and my site might get top ranking for 31 days but if that is the case why do they need to employ such sharp selling techniques?  Unfortunately there is no way of contacting Google in the UK to confirm their credentials as Google don't supply a contact e-mail or phone number.  Google do supply a postal address in London but by the time my letter had found it's way to the correct department and I had received a reply my 31 day period would probably be almost up.  It remains to be seen if I do get my vat back but I will let you know either way.   In the mean time, if you do get contacted by Jump Up Media steer well clear.

    ooOOOoo

    17:30hrs - No call came from Jump Up Media so I contacted my credit card company.  I was informed that as the transaction had not fully been processed onto my account they could not do anything at this stage but I should call them back in 3 days time.  By then the details of the transaction should be on my account and I can report it to their complaints team for investigation.  He told me that I had a case as I only authorised a withdrawal of £99 and they took more.  He said any hidden charges should have been made clear no matter what they were for.  If I don't get any satisfaction from Jump Up Media before hand I will contact the credit card company back on Friday.  Watch this space for updates.

    ooOOOoo

    Wednesday 20th July - Still nothing heard from Jump Up Media so I rang them again this morning about 10:30.  I asked to speak to 'AW' but was told he was on a call but that he would call me back straight afterwards.

    15:30 - Still no call back from 'AW' so I phoned again.  He was apparently still on the phone but I was invited to hold if I wished.  I said I would but when no one got back to me after 25 minutes I hung up and rang again.  I spoke to the same lady receptionist who said she was sitting next to 'AW' and he was still on the same call.  She said she would pass the message on to phone me back as soon as he finished his call which she expected to be in the next 10 minutes.

    No phone call came!

    ooOOOoo

    Thursday 21st July - Well it's been over 48 hours now so my web site should now be coming up at the top of any Google UK search  for each of my key phrases, but it's not even appearing on the first page for any of them!  'CJ' did say if this happened I would get a full refund.  I phoned Jump Up Media and spoke to the same receptionist again who's name I now know and will refer to as 'B'.  She told me 'CJ' was unavailable as he was on the phone.  I explained to her that he told me when he convinced me to sign up with Jump Up Media that he would be my personal Google account manager and I could phone him if ever I had a problem.  She said that as he is in sales he is always on the phone so very difficult to get hold of.  I then explained that it had been over 48 hours and my site was not top of any Google UK page.  'B' said she would have to discuss the matter with tech support and would get back to me by the close of play today.

    In the mean time I have gone through Jump Up Media's terms of service that they sent me.  It states there that they will renew the service each month unless I write to them giving them 30 days notice!  This is contrary to what I was told on the phone before I agreed to the service.

    I have now written a letter to the company pointing out that they are in breach of contract on the 48 hour front and demanding my money back as promised.  I have also informed them I will not be renewing so they are not authorised to take any more money out of my account.  Letter to sent by recorded delivery very shortly.  I am also writing to my credit card company to keep them fully appraised.

    Result!...tentative :-)
    14:55 hrs 'B' phone back (well that was a result in itself).  She told me that the reason my site had not gone live was because 'AW' asked the tech team to put a hold on it as he was investigating the possibility of refunding my money in full.  She then said that she could confirm a full refund would be available if that is what I want but it would need to be via a cheque.  I asked why it couldn't simply be put back on my credit card but she said they did not have that facility.  I accepted the refund via cheque.  She told me it would be put in the post either by end of play today or first thing tomorrow morning.  I thanked her for her help.  Of course, I won't fully believe it until it is in my hands but at least I feel I am getting somewhere.  In the mean time the letters have gone out to Jump Up Media and my credit card company as stated above and I was in the process of composing a letter to Google UK but I'll put a hold on that one for the time being.

    ooOOOoo

    Friday 22nd July - contacted my credit card company again to appraise them of the current situation and to see if my letter had arrived. They did not yet have my letter but would open the case in the mean time.  They would be in contact with me once the letter arrives to see where to take it from there and check to see if Jump Up Media did indeed send the cheque.  They also told me there was nothing to stop Jump Up Media refunding the money back onto the credit card.

    I have just searched Google for Google Certified Partners, which Jump Up Media claim to be as shown on their web site, but Google returned no results for Jump Up Media or for their t/a name of Talkingfast Ltd.   This is where I searched https://adwords.google.com/professionals/search/
     You might like to try it yourself.

    This is looking more and more like Jump Up Media t/a Talkingfast LTD might be a spoof company.

    ooOOOoo

    Saturday morning  - a cheque arrives from Jump Up Media!...the cheque has been written out incorrectly.  The cheque is written for £118.80 in words but the figure in the box is £118.00.  There is a covering letter with it from a person I shall refer to as 'RM' from the Retentions Department. The letter doesn't say much other than to say there is a cheque enclosed for £118.80.  I took this and the cheque to the bank but they won't accept the cheque even for £118 and told me I'd have to get back in contact with the company to ask them to send out a new one.  This could be a genuine mistake but I think this was probably deliberate as a stalling method, after all, there was no reason for them not to simply put the money back on my credit card.

    Looking closer at their web site this company is looking more and more like a fake.  The testimonials page has 3 testimonials with the clients name and web address.  The first testimonial was by a Mr Akay Arnold for a Pan-Asian restaurant in Manchester but the phone number on the web site is not in use so I can't check that one out. There is a e-mail address for Akay but as Jump Up Media also build web sites this restaurant web site might also be fake along with any e-mail addresses.  The second is for The Amblehurst Hotel, also in Manchester and the person leaving the testimonial was Mr A Hussain.  I phoned the hotel, they had never heard of this person but there was no one there to confirm if their hotel had had any dealing with Jump Up Media and suggested I phone back on Monday.  The last was from a Mrs N Dean - B Inspired, a chocolate company but their web site simply doesn't exist.  Draw your own conclusions.

    ooOOOoo

    Monday 25th July 2011 09:04 - Phoned Jump Up Media again and spoke to 'B'.  She is actually 'RM' the  person who sent the letter and cheque.  I pointed out the mistake and she said she would have to get in touch with her manager 'R' as he signed the cheque and would have to write another.  I cannot read the signature on the cheque so I'd just have to take his word for it.  I told her that the credit card company said there is no reason to prevent you simply refunding the money back onto my card.  She said she didn't know why they didn't do that but they never had.  she said she would mention this to 'R' when he came in but he was not in the office yet.  I asked her to get him to call me if he was unable to refund the money back onto my card.

    09:20 - Phoned my credit card company but the charge back department were not open yet.  The lady I spoke to said my letter was still not on my account either although the notes were.  She said if the letter had been posted on Thursday it probably would not get entered onto my account until Tuesday so I should ring back then.  I explained to her the events over the weekend and she advised me to photocopy the letter and cheque and send that into them as this provides stronger proof for the claim, she would update the account accordingly.

    14:25hrs - Still not been phoned back by Jump Up Media so I rang again and spoke to 'RM'.  She said that 'R' had still not been into the office or answered any of his calls but she had left a message on his mobile for him to ring her about this.  She said that she would keep trying but that if she did not hear from him by 3 o'clock she would try and get another manager involved.

    16:00 hrs - I phoned Jump Up Media again and spoke to 'RM'.  She said that 'R' had still not turned up but she was expecting him in soon.  She then said she would make some enquiries in the accounts dept and put me on hold.  When she came back to me she said that 'R' wasn't back you but the dept had already issued another cheque and posted it to me.  I said I was not happy with that as I wanted it put back onto my card.  She apologised and said she had told them that.  I voiced my concerns over the testimonials not checking out and the fact that Google didn't seem to have any record of their company being a Google Certified Partner.  She insisted the company was legit and if I wished I could be put through to a manager to have that confirmed.  I could not see much point in that.  She also told me the web site was in the process of being rebuilt so many of the links were disabled.

    ooOOOoo

    Wednesday 27th July  - I am now in possession of a second cheque with covering letter.  This time it looks OK, it remains to be seen if it gets cleared.  Funnily enough, despite being told that 'R' was not available and this cheque had been issued by someone else in the accounts department also without 'RM's' knowledge, the cheque was signed by the same person who signed the original and the letter was apparently from 'RM'.  Things still don't really add up but as long as this cheque clears I'll be happy.  If I get it paid in today it will still be at least a week before I know for sure.  I will update this blog accordingly either way.

    ooOOOoo

    Friday 8th August - The bank has now had 7 working days to clear this cheque and it is appearing OK on-line so I guess that means it's gone through OK.   Looks like they delivered on their promise after all but just had a strange way of going about it.  Not sure I would have got the same result if I hadn't put up a fight though.

    ooOOOoo

    Tuesday 6th September - At 12:52 today I was contacted by phone by Andrew Pearson, Operations manager of Jump Up Media.  He was concerned about the catalogue of problems I had had with the company and wanted to assure me they were doing all they could to improve their performance so this would never happen again.  He told me that B had been sent on a training course, another employee had been 'let go' and AW had been given a talking to.  I told him that out of all of them 'B' seemed to be the most genuine and was the only person to return any calls and appeared to do her best to try and sort things out but that she was in the difficult position of being stuck in the middle.  Andrew Pearson then asked me what measures I thought the company should take to improve the service they offer.  I mentioned a list;

    1. They should always return calls when promised.  He said this was being addressed in a training course.
    2. Customers that are cold called should not be expected to have to give out their credit card details straight away but should be given time to think about it and research their key phrases.  He said it was difficult as they needed to get things under-way quickly as only one business of any one type would be called at a time so that there would not be more than one business chasing the same top spot.  He did say that they would probably be able to allow a customer a few hours to think it over and then call them back before the end of the day.  That at least would be an improvement.
    3. All charges should be made clear before people are asked to sign up. He agreed with me on this and said that would be resolved.
    4. A contract or letter of agreement should be e-mailed to the customer including the chosen key phrases before they are asked to pay.  He said that the full terms of service were on their web site (I can't find them but then maybe I'm not looking in the right place) and they could not give the key phrases as the customer might just take them away and use them without buying their service.  I said this didn't hold water because you have already verbally agreed these key phrases on the phone so they could still do that so putting it in writing would not make any difference to that.  He then said that the other reason was because they could not guarantee the chosen key phrases would be available although 99% of the time they would be, but that if they were not they might have to substitute.  I pointed out that this would mean the customer would not know what they were paying for then, so he replied by saying they could change them if they were not happy of we could issue them a credit note.  I said in such instance you should offer them a full refund.
    5. Refunds should be put back on the credit card.  He said they didn't do that because it would often take up to 10 days for the funds to be clear that way but they were looking at offering a direct bank transfer.  I said you should let the customer decide and if they want it put back on their card you should agree to do that.
    6. The references on their web site don't currently check out.  He said the web site has been rebuilt but they are awaiting authorisation before it can go live.  Funny, I was told that 2 months ago!  Later in the conversation I said it would not take an afternoon simply to re-write the out of date testimonials on the current web site and replace them with current genuine ones.  He agreed that would be done today.  Worth checking.

    Andrew Pearson then went on to say that all these points would be raised with the intention of putting them into a re-training course and asked me if they were put in place if I would think it would improve their service. 
    I said if all those points were put into place the service would be phenomenally better.
    He then went on to say that my blog was causing them a problem and losing them custom and would I mind taking it down seeing as how he had promised to address all these issued. 
    I said that would be entirely at my discretion and I had no plans to do so.
    He went on to say that my case was a one off, that it was not simply one error but a whole catalogue of errors and as such would not happen again.  I asked him what he intended to do about all the other people that have had or are having problems with Jump Up Media and he promised that he would sort it all out if they contact him. 
    He said he thought my blog presented an unbalanced view of their service and that there was no other bad publicity or comments on the internet about Jump Up Media. He also said that people never write articles to say how good a service they get from companies.  I agreed that it generally is only when someone want to complain that they are prepared to write about it but that they themselves were not helping there as their current testimonials on the Jump Up Media web site did not check out.  This is when he agreed to have them updated by the end of the day.
    He asked me what else he could say that would convince me to remove this blog.
    I replied "Actions speak louder than words"
    He agreed.

    but said that Google had been in contact with them as they were concerned that one of their partners was being seen in this bad light and had told them they should get me to remove this blog.  He also said that "this is not a threat but it had been suggested they take legal action but I said it would be better if I just talk to you". 
    I pointed out that I had just noted the facts and there was nothing slanderous in anything I have said.  Naturally I can't vouch for the authenticity of other peoples comments. I also said that if I did not get any more people commenting on my blog to say they had either bad dealings or had felt they were being trapped by a cold caller from this company then I would assume that things had been put right after a while and remove it but that would take time.
    He spent ages trying to convince me to remove this blog giving me 7 days to do so after which they would have to look at other means.  The conversation eventually ended with no agreement by me.

    ooOOOoo

    Latest Update
    Monday 16th July 2014  I have just been in contact with Manchester citizen's advice bureau.  You have to go through them in order to be put in touch with their trading Standards dept.  They have advised me to encourage as many people as possible to contact them if they are having difficulties with Jump Up Media or Trading Fast Ltd on tel 08454 040506. I informed her that several people had already been in touch but she could not give me any information on what was being done.  She gave me an address to write to to see if I can get any details under the Freedom of Information Act which I shall do.  I will post any response I get in due course.

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