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Cellphones Iphone Apple Hardware

What Has Your Phone Survived? 422

Posted by timothy
from the very-harsh-words dept.
NotAnIndividual writes "On an ice fishing trip two months ago, I lost my iPhone somewhere in the snow. I searched and searched, but to no avail. But just this weekend when moving the ice hut, lo and behold there it was. I quickly threw it into a bag of rice and placed it under a lamp to defrost. Three hours later I plugged it in. I wasn't expecting much. I mean, really, it had been frozen in snow for the last two months! To my surprise, the Apple logo popped up. I put in the SIM card and voila, my iPhone was back. My apps, my contacts, my music and more importantly my life were back. And this is the same iPhone that I dropped in a cup of coffee a few months ago! This got me wondering how much damage a cell phone can actually take. How have other Slashdot users punished their phones without actually killing them completely?"
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What Has Your Phone Survived?

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  • Slow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Exitar (809068) on Friday February 26, 2010 @08:14PM (#31292642)

    news day?

    • Re:Slow (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2010 @08:59PM (#31293128)

      Yes, my phone has survived many a slow news day.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Idbar (1034346)
        My iPhone, has survived several drop calls, particularly when I left my girlfriend ends up talking to her self. This my be good for me sometimes, but she normally never blames the phone, but me.

        I don't know if I'm going to be safe next time I leave my gf talking to herself, but the iPhone has remained unpunished.
    • Re:Slow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mdwh2 (535323) on Friday February 26, 2010 @09:03PM (#31293168) Journal

      Exactly. Today has been the day of "But we couldn't think of anything else for today's obligitary Iphone Slashvertisement".

      We've already had the classic of judging the success of a product in a completely different market, by comparing it to how few Iphones have been sold [slashdot.org]. So here we have Saturday's obligitary Iphone story. Before you know it, there'll be stories about how you can now finally visit a website On Your Iphone, like it's 2001 again. Oh wait, we we already did that one too [slashdot.org]. Before you know it, there'll be stories about how you can use your Iphone to talk to a complete stranger, as if they were in the same room as you, just like on Star Trek...

      (Seriously, as soon as I read the headline of "What Has Your Phone Survived", I immediately guess that there'd be obligatory advertising for Apple, despite being a niche player in this market. You know what my Nokia 5800's survived? Not being the subject of a major spam campaign by the media, that's what.)

  • by its (190516) on Friday February 26, 2010 @08:15PM (#31292656)
    I lost my iPhone while skiing on Mt Hood slopes in February last year. In July I got an email from someone that he had found the phone, charged it and retrieved my email account for it. I let him have it since my insurance had already replaced it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cbiltcliffe (186293)

      Mine got run over by a car once, while it was lying in an inch of snow in the street.
      The velcro on my belt clip let go, and I didn't hear it hit the ground, because of the snow.

      Realized it was missing a little later, and when I got home, there was a tire track right over it.

      The front display was cracked - it was a flip phone - but the internal one was fine, and the phone still worked for the next several months or so until I changed carriers. I still use it on occasion for a camera or flashlight, but not a

      • by mmarlett (520340) on Saturday February 27, 2010 @12:40AM (#31294644)

        My iPhone didn't live through it, but when I got hit by a little old lady who ran a red light, my iPhone took a direct hit. I was thrown 20 feet and broke a half dozen ribs. I had a bruise up my left side from my knee to my shoulder -- with a non-bruised rectangle where the phone was. It was at ground zero of the impact, and may have absorbed enough impact to keep my thigh from breaking. iArmour.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        My iPhone's screen shattered when it fell less than 3 feet from my bed and apple wanted $200 +tax to fix it. I talked them down to $100 but the fact that it took them less than 10 minutes to fix still left me feeling a bit taken advantage of.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by tlhIngan (30335)

          My iPhone's screen shattered when it fell less than 3 feet from my bed and apple wanted $200 +tax to fix it. I talked them down to $100 but the fact that it took them less than 10 minutes to fix still left me feeling a bit taken advantage of.

          They didn't replace the screen. They just gave you a replacement.

          Check out iFixit to determine how to replace the screen - it's very difficult and prone to breaking something. Instead, it's just like the iPod - they give the customer a refurb unit, then send the bad one

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Walzmyn (913748)
      I had an old just-a-phone get ran over by a loaded 18-wheeler. I had laid it down on the tire when I climbed the side to check the load and forgot it. It cracked the screen, but still made calls.
      • by quenda (644621) on Saturday February 27, 2010 @01:53AM (#31294958)

        I had an old just-a-phone get ran over by a loaded 18-wheeler

        While deep-sea fishing 3 years ago, I accidentally dropped my iPhone over the subduction zone of the Mariana Trench.
            Last month I got an email from a guy in New Zealand who found it while skiing on Mount Ruapehu after a volcanic eruption.
        Praised be Apple.

    • by catd77 (1743104) on Friday February 26, 2010 @08:45PM (#31293002) Homepage
      Wow, my phones just break on me for no reason. I keep mine in a case with screen protectors on ecery screen. I've already had to replace it once because it wouldn't shut off. My phone before that I took amazing care of and it stopped making calls after a year. All my phones hate me!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      Damn those white iPhones. Once at the summit of Mount Stirling in Victoria, Australia I saw these guys madly digging in the snow. One of them had pushed his ski pole into the snow and it came up without the plastic basket. New baskets are cheap but skiing to the shop without one would be a PITA.

      The basket they lost was white. Now when I replace mine I don't buy white ones.

      • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Saturday February 27, 2010 @02:48AM (#31295178)

        Learned that one the hard way. I spent 2 hours searching for a ski that popped off in powder. A SKI! It was lost in about 40 square feet. Took 2 hours to find. Learned my lesson and after that always rolled a neon streamer up my snow pants. In the event of losing a ski you get a bright trail to where it went. Might be able to do that to a cell phone. :D

    • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Friday February 26, 2010 @09:08PM (#31293206)

      I left my blackberry in my pants once when I put them in the washer. The phone was on during the entire cycle. I feared the worst, but put them on the heater for a day, turned it on, and.... it worked. Ok, so for the next two weeks or so buttons would randomly press themselves, and login was occasionally tedious, but it worked - and still does. I'm still pretty amazed that it didn't completely short it out.

      Oh, and to you nitwit support people who gaze at that stupid little humidity strip and tell me that it is my fault the phone is crashing all the time.... go hump a lamp post. That strip turns pink when it's just somewhat humid outside. Since submerging a phone in water for about 20 minutes doesn't kill it, I'd like you to support your piece of crap hardware like you promised you would.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by walt-sjc (145127)

      Mine is a (work) Windows Mobile. I looked at it and it froze up. It doesn't survive much use at all (worst user interface EVER!)

  • by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Friday February 26, 2010 @08:15PM (#31292668) Homepage Journal

    but if I did, I'd probably leave it in the stove, and the next day is wouldn't be burnt at all and would work perfectly.

  • drove over it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by czmax (939486)

    Similar to your story I was out shoveling snow one day last winter... and after I was done my iPhone was missing.

    I tracked it down in the tracks of my truck -- I'd moved it to finish shoveling and driven over my phone. As in your case all was fine -- didn't break the screen and it's been working just fine for at least a year since then.

  • your life? (Score:5, Funny)

    by SharpFang (651121) on Friday February 26, 2010 @08:16PM (#31292674) Homepage Journal

    My apps, my contacts, my music and more importantly my life were back.

    You should really see a dotor about your addiction. I mean, seriously, that's just a phone!

    • Jesus Phone (Score:3, Funny)

      by MrEricSir (398214)

      No, it's so much MORE than just a life. It's life, it's the meaning of life, and it's the afterlife.

      • by tomhudson (43916)

        No, it's so much MORE than just a life. It's life, it's the meaning of life, and it's the afterlife.

        No - for that you can just dial #42 from any cell phone.

      • by mdwh2 (535323) on Friday February 26, 2010 @10:08PM (#31293738) Journal

        What has my iPhone phone survived?

        After spending hours trying to work out how to get my iPhone to run more than on aPplication at once, I thought sod it, and proceeded to nail my iPhone to a wooden cross.

        Three days later, I picked it up again. I wasn't expecting much. I mean, really, I'd shoved a nail right through the almighty touchscreen! To my surprise, the aPple logo popped up. My apps, my contacts, my music and more importantly my life were back.

        Life wouldn't be worth living if I hadn't discovered the iPhone.

    • You should really see a dotor about your addiction. I mean, seriously, that's just a phone!

      That's the last person he should see - his problem is too much doting!

    • by wsanders (114993)

      And his life was gone for **two months**.

      Sad.

      I mean, I lost my cheap-ass work cell phone last week, and it's only a PITA because I have to look up everyone's number again until they are all in my contacts.

  • "This got me wondering how much damage a cell phone can actually take. "

    Stopping a bullet.

    "How have other Slashdot users punished their phones without actually killing them completely?"

    Does browsing Slashdot count?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cbiltcliffe (186293)

      Does browsing Slashdot count?

      Maybe hosting a popular story that's linked to on slashdot would be a more appropriate test.....

  • Sony ericsson (Score:5, Interesting)

    by isthisnametaken (1468337) on Friday February 26, 2010 @08:19PM (#31292706)
    I had their flip phone from about 4-5 years ago. After about a year the texting got quite difficult as the buttons started to stick and it became difficult to text quickly. One day when I was filling up my car with gas I put my phone on the hood of my car for some reason and then drove off. I realized about 5 minutes later and drove back and someone had run over it. It actually worked BETTER than before as the buttons no longer stuck. It was pretty scratched up though. Later that year in the winter I was digging my car out of the snow on a warm day and it fell out of my pocket and into a giant puddle of water.I took it out, turned it off and let it dry for a day or two near a heat source and it still works to this day. Sweet phone, and if anyone else has this phone and the buttons stick, run it over with your car.
  • wtf? (Score:5, Informative)

    by retchdog (1319261) on Friday February 26, 2010 @08:20PM (#31292730) Journal

    There's practically no difference between being frozen for one day, or arbitrarily long. There are only two dangers: contraction of metal and joints while freezing; and condensation/expansion while thawing. I'm sure the rice helped with the condensation, although putting it under a lamp couldn't have helped; better to warm it as slowly as possible.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Yup. Most of the damage from freezing and thawing electronic component comes from any water in the device. Other than that, the LCD may take some damage.

      Silicon is not water based and is already frozen in a solid state. The chip components can go to -20 to -40 Celsius before damage occurs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by demonlapin (527802)
      Actually, it's probably better to be frozen for several days at least - to make sure that the battery is totally dead. That way, when the ice and snow in the phone thaws, the water won't hurt anything. Just let it dry completely before recharging.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MartinSchou (1360093)

        Actually, it's probably better to be frozen for several days at least - to make sure that the battery is totally dead

        If you're very worried about small bits of ice and snow inside it, just pop it in your freezer for a while. The water will slowly sublimate. Simplest way of testing this, is to make a really good snowball and leave it in your freezer for a couple of days.

  • Simple (Score:3, Informative)

    by moogied (1175879) on Friday February 26, 2010 @08:21PM (#31292740)
    Phones break from physical impact(shattering LCD and stuff), or from short circuits.. or from component failure(caps blowing, overheating, etc). TECHNICALLY you can drop a running circuit into *PURE* water and nothing happens. Water isn't very conductive. FYI
    • Re:Simple (Score:5, Informative)

      by kelanden (1680090) on Friday February 26, 2010 @08:27PM (#31292806)

      TECHNICALLY you can drop a running circuit into *PURE* water and nothing happens. Water isn't very conductive.

      I'm fairly certain that if you tried this, the water would be rendered conductive by dissolving whatever contaminants you happen to have on the surface of the device and you'd still get a short. YMMV.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nomel (244635)

        Nah, it's very low conductivity even with regular contamination. Try testing your tap water...pretty pathetic. Not even remotely close enough to directly kill something. The death would be from a secondary effect, like a power converter going unstable from a huge change in circuit wide capacitance or, if you were real unlucky, something like a high impedance transistor gate being physically close enough to a voltage source to actually turn the thing on (or off), even with the high resistance.

        Now, if you dro

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by baileydau (1037622)

        I'm fairly certain that if you tried this, the water would be rendered conductive by dissolving whatever contaminants you happen to have on the surface of the device and you'd still get a short. YMMV.

        Actually that's very unlikely. Even in a fairly conductive liquid you don't necessarily get a short.

        Many years ago I dropped my calculator into Copper refining electrolyte.

        Electrolyte is
        * ~180 g/L H2SO4
        * 35 g/L Cu++
        * plus lots of other stuff.
        It's meant to be conductive.

        It's also at 65 degrees Celcius (to aid conductivity).

        I fished it out as quick as I could and pulled out the batteries. I asked the ex electronics foreman what to do. His advice as to pull it

    • by ashridah (72567)

      I'm pretty sure the skin flakes, hairs, dust and other miscellaneous gunk trapped in and on the device would make the water conductive after a short period, however.

    • water is suicide - distilled, lab grade whatever...
      As an EE I have done a little too much "suicide testing" of devices.

      cold freeze you should be able to survive, the battery might need replacement, but the chips will survive.

      If you want to dunk a phone into a fluid and see it survive you need to use something like 3M's Fluorinert

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluorinert [wikipedia.org]

      Neat stuff - you can take a computer (No disk drive) and put it in fluid and it still keeps on running while totally immersed in the fluid.

      • by tomhudson (43916)
        Mp>

        Neat stuff - you can take a computer (No disk drive) and put it in fluid and it still keeps on running while totally immersed in the fluid.

        Big deal - people were running their computers in aquariums filled with olive oil years ago. Adds whole new meaning to "do you want fries with that?"

  • by howardjp (5458)

    I dropped a BlackBerry 8800 off the roof of a seven story building and it worked fine with a crack in the case.

  • I broke the screen on my iPhone over a year ago. It looks hideous, with spider-web cracks all up and down it now.

    It still works. Hasn't failed at all. I have the required repair kit to fix it, just been too lazy to do so ($79 to buy the kit myself, by the way -- Apple wanted $200, and most online fixers are about $100). At this point, it's almost a badge of pride, because no one who sees the phone believes it still works.

    However, I can certify that putting an LG NV3 through the washing machine and dryer

    • My Nokia didn't survive the wash cycle either. The SIM card still works fine!

      Are there any phone manufacturers that will certify their products as 'washing machine safe'? :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by v1 (525388)

        Are there any phone manufacturers that will certify their products as 'washing machine safe'? :)

        Be sure to set the washer on delicate, and dry on low heat

  • You really have a love-hate relationship with your iPhone!

    Is it the love of the shiny status symbol combined with the hate of your AT&T "service", or vice-versa?

  • My old Nokia fell out of my pocket whilst riding the roller coaster (Medusa) at Six Flags. It fell about 30 feet onto the sidewalk and the only issue with it was that the casing kinda split a little and the bottom 4 rows of pixels on the screen stopped functioning. I stuck some tape on the thing and it kept chugging along for about another 6 months before finally failing.

  • Dropped an iPhone 1.0 down a 4 story stairwell

    It now has a small case scratch near the ring/vibrate switch. Still going strong after 3 years on the same battery, too...

    -- Terry

  • by digitalsushi (137809) <slashdot@digitalsushi.com> on Friday February 26, 2010 @08:24PM (#31292778) Journal

    slashdot is mirroring the crazy awesome friday night conversation i'm having at the bar with all my male friends *right now*! and there's no girls here either!

  • My god (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2010 @08:24PM (#31292782)
    I'm *so* glad your iphone survived. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story with us, I can sleep easy tonight knowing full well that another iphone owner out there has found another way to talk about his iphone on slashdot. Thank you, thank you for this.
  • It's amazing how many people on the subway I've seen with cracked screens on their phones. Apparently, their phone still works after whatever violent past it had!

  • Pissed off (Score:4, Funny)

    by mrobinso (456353) on Friday February 26, 2010 @08:26PM (#31292800) Homepage

    Realized the iphone didn't have a drive I could mount, Safari didn't have flash, no voice recognition... a battery that can't get through The Dark Knight...

    Laid it down on the basement floor and pissed on it.

    Still running. Didn't help at all.

    Mike

  • dropped it in water (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BLAG-blast (302533) on Friday February 26, 2010 @08:28PM (#31292822)
    I was on the third floor of an apartment building, taking pictures of the moon from a balcony when I dropped my Nexus 1. I watched it fall two floors before bouncing two or three times on to another roof, landing in a large puddle under and an extractor fan. I figure it would be dead and climbed down to recover my SIM card. After about 10 minutes of fishing around under the extractor fan in a 4+ inch deep puddle I recovered it, it was still on and in camera mode, not even a scratch on the case. I wiped it off and it's been working fine with no side effects from the fall and bath.
  • This guy's story trumps all lost cell phone stories: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article2277640.ece [thesun.co.uk] His Nokia phone spent a week in the belly of a fish and it still worked after a fisherman found it.

    Personally, I had a Motorola phone that didn't survive being dunked in a toilet bowl. And a Samsung one that seemed to cave into the extreme heat of a radiator.
  • The iPhone has a glass screen that is very prone to cracking. I imagine it's a case of form over function, since glass looks nicer than plastic. It's not so pretty if ever the phone falls on a hard surface flat on the screen. This means an iPhone won't survive the ninja powers of a 2-year old who managed to grab your phone when you least expected it, to use as a hand grenade...

    Also, for some stupid reason the screen was designed in such a way that changing it means also replacing the digitizer (the touch pa

    • by peragrin (659227)

      really? let me check my iphone which i have dropped onto reinforced concrete no less than 5 times. Nope not a scratch. twice from heights of 12 feet. A particular ladder at work can be awkward. The phone has dropped out of my pocket a couple of time there.

      no scratches in the glass, no cracks, just a small nick in the corner of the black back.

      Also all touch panels are either glued to the top of the glass, or to the bottom of the glass. that keeps them in place. Only low quality ones aren't attached.

  • by nharmon (97591) on Friday February 26, 2010 @08:29PM (#31292836) Homepage

    I once took my cell phone scuba diving. It was a couple of years ago at White Star Quarry in Ohio. I was having trouble donning my rented wet suit and forgot my cell was in my swim trunks pocket. I did not even notice it until we were on our safety stop, which is where you stop on your way back to the surface for a few minutes ease decompressing. So that was 40-some minutes submerged in water up to 50 feet deep.

    Miraculously after drying out the phone worked just fine.

  • My stories don't involve cell phones but it's devices of about equivalent size. And are from a different era.

    I used to work at a medical device manufacturer that made TENS units. I worked in the Reliability Lab and my bench was across the room from the guy who serviced all the field return units.

    He would occasionally get back devices that had fairly 'interesting' stories behind them. In that era, for the price we charged for the units, they came with a lifetime warranty. And the circuit boards were conf

  • Several years ago I witnessed a restaurant developer's Samsung flip phone fall out of his shirt pocket and into a deep fryer. It took a few seconds to fish it out, and the pull-out antenna was a bit mangled, but the phone still worked! He continued to use that phone for quite sometime, though it has since been retired due to old age, I think.
  • My phones like water.

    First phone, went swimming three times: pool, lake, then creek. Survived fine. This wasn't "splash, oh no!". This was swimming around for a good 10 minutes and then "meh...it's a trooper.".

    Second phone: swimming in lake, dropped into "freshly flushed" toilet. Works fine. Still can't hold this one close to my face...

    For all the cases, took the battery out and let it dry in a sunny window for two weeks without trying to turn it on. Always powered right up. The water indicators always work

  • "My apps, my contacts, my music and more importantly my life were back."

    Where was your life during the last two months?! Associating having a life with having a gadget is pretty sad.

    Try the outdoors, now with 100% surround sound and full-immersion 3D.

  • by CmdrPorno (115048) on Friday February 26, 2010 @08:32PM (#31292876)

    My iPhone 2G has survived almost three years of AT&T's spotty reception, their failure to offer a reasonably priced rate plan for people who don't talk much but need data service, their woeful customer service, and their lack of 3G coverage outside metropolitan areas. Other than that, it's been very enjoyable.

  • ... iPhone frozen in snow for the last two months!
    ... same iPhone that I dropped in a cup of coffee a few months ago!

    Note to self: Never lend him electronics.

  • My own phone has survived more than a mere season's worth of snow, getting run over, being dropped in a cup, and the more mundane causes of death. My own phone has survived the nuclear apocalypse. The zombie one. It was used as a weapon to bash in zombie skulls, and it survived a direct nuclear blast from a 50 megaton nuclear warhead; not even a scratch. Let's see your phones do that! Oh, and it survived a direct attack by God Almighty; all I had to do was trick the bastard into thinking that the phone was
  • Zune (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xbeefsupreme (1690182) on Friday February 26, 2010 @08:37PM (#31292928)
    I know it's not a phone, but someone in my scout troop brought his zune 120 on a campout and accidentally left it out on a bench the night it rained. After finding it in a small pool of water, he turned it on to find that it still worked like new.
  • none at all (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jamesh (87723) on Friday February 26, 2010 @08:49PM (#31293040)

    This got me wondering how much damage a cell phone can actually take.

    One of my previous phones was working just fine one minute, and then the next minute it wasn't, and it never worked again. Based on the overwhelming weight of that single anecdote I would have to say that 'none it all' is how much damange a cell phone can actually take and still continue working.

    (by a strange coincidence, 'none at all' is exactly how much of a scientific conclusion you can draw from this :)

  • -- and unfortunately it didn't survive. I ended up donating the phone and accessories to a charity, because I heard that they can still make money from recycling it.

  • my friend and i were canoeing around toronto island in the summer of 2007 - which unfortunately got us turned-over from a big wave on the home stretch - there we were in the water, bailing out the canoe - cell phone in the back pocket... dried it out for a week.. got a black screen.. dried it out for two weeks.. it worked!! and for another two years after that. :-D

  • I got my daughter a Palm Centro via AT&T. It did not survive normal use. She is not particularly careless, the case never showed any visible damage. It was replaced 3 times by AT&T and failed again. She fell back to one of those $15 by-the-minute phones they have at Target, which work when you swap in the SIM card. At least the damn thing works reliably. AT&T no longer sells Palm smartphones, at least in California.

    News Flash: Palm stock is down nearly 40% in the last 5 days. Gosh, I wonder wh
  • Put my phone in the wrong pocket once. I always put it in my left hip pocket, so I got a fright when I reached for it and it wasn't there. Eventually found it in my right hip pocket. Fortunately it still worked.

  • I put mine on vibrate mode, inserted it into a hooker's vagine and had all of my friends call my number.

    It wasn't easy retrieving it, but it still works. I just have these funny bumps around my ears and cheek now.

  • 7 years of constant, daily use and abuse. Still runs awesome.

    Image: http://208.69.42.194/scpfiles/6310i.jpg [208.69.42.194]

    I've been actively looking at replacement phones for over 2 years now and
    cannot find a phone with the quality and battery life that come even close.

  • Once at a tram stop in Melbourne I noticed the guts of a phone beside the road. It looked like it had been run over enough times to push it sideways into the tram stop. I scouted around for a bit and found the battery and cover.

    It powered up okay so I searched the sent and received calls to try to identify the owner. Everybody puts "Home" in their phone book but this started with +60 which made sense because this was near the university. I wasn't going to call this students parents in Malaysia and tell them

  • by Evil Shabazz (937088) on Friday February 26, 2010 @09:12PM (#31293254)
    The worst for me would have been my old Motorola Razr that survived a full cycle in the washing machine, then tumbled dry. I left it off and let it dry for a week before trying to power it back on - and not a thing wrong with it.

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