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Articles: site-business

Page 1

Hey Everybody
Saturday, 2015 August 22 - 11:04 am
I guess the site's been down for a couple of days due to changes from my web host. I'm here so rarely that I didn't even notice.

So, what's new? Well, there'll be some interesting Apple news coming up, and I'm getting geared up to resume reporting on college football. This season is hopeful for both Michigan and NCSU, so maybe it'll be more cheerful than years past.

Anyway, who knows if anyone still even reads this stuff any more, but if you do, sorry for the inconvenience. Regular posting will resume shortly.
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Posted by Ken in: site-business

The Evolution of Blogging
Sunday, 2013 October 13 - 11:21 am
Well, I've finally had enough. As of today, there'll be no more comments on this blog.

There was a time when blogging was a community conversation. We found people with common beliefs and interests, we shared information and personal stories with each other, and we had a constructive dialog via our comment sections. I made several real-life friends through this blog, and I learned to open up about myself; I don't regret any of it.

But blogging has changed as a medium. Now, really, there are basically two types of blog commenters: rabid Obama-bashing trolls, and spammers. I didn't get so much of the former category on this blog, but I did get buckets and buckets of spam. Despite all my attempts to rein it in (CAPTCHA, keyword blocking, IP address blocking, country blocking), I still got a thousand spam comments for every useful one. I'm tired of trying to ban every possible spelling and usage of "Oakley", "Gucci", and "Nike". Handling email spam is easy compared to handling comment spam.

I'm really not sure where I want to go with this blog in general. I don't write as much overall, as I'm sure you can tell. For short-form stuff, I've pretty much switched to Facebook and Twitter. I still like having this blog for longer-form writing every now and then, because I like having it under my control, and I like that my posts won't get lost in all the noise of social media sites.

I predict that someday we'll come up with something new: some kind of decentralized social media organization, one where we can connect with real people and real friends, but cut out spammers, trolls, and advertisers. Ideally it'd be a place where each person has some control over their own layout and content. The technology exists; someone just has to put it together and find a way for it to gain widespread adoption.

Maybe we'll call it "Geocities".
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Posted by Ken in: bloggerscommentarysite-business

Site Updates
Saturday, 2013 May 4 - 2:29 pm
Hey, yeah, this blog is still alive... barely.

Lately I've been fending off comment spam like crazy. I have a giant list of banned keywords, URLs, and IP addresses, but it always seems like I'm a step behind the spammers. My latest step is to ban all comments from certain countries, especially China... I think 90% of my comment spam comes from China.

Frankly I'm not sure what's going to become of this blog in the long term. Every now and then I feel like I have a long-form essay to post, but that seems like it happens less and less often. Meanwhile all my short-form stuff goes onto Facebook, or less frequently, Twitter. Is blogging dead? Very few of my friends do it any more.

I have a sentimental attachment to this site so I doubt it'll go away any time in the near future. Maybe what I need is a new project, like the frozen lunches thing I did a while back. Hmm.
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Posted by Ken in: site-business

Frozen Lunches: The Year-End Wrap-Up
Friday, 2010 December 24 - 2:17 pm
Well, that's the end of my year-long experiment. All told, I reviewed 131 frozen meals; not quite the 150 I had planned, but still a good chunk. Here's the year-end wrap-up.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: foodinterestingsite-business

Pellet Mills? Really?
Monday, 2010 November 8 - 10:39 pm
So I spent today cleaning up some comment spam for "pellet mills". Really? I mean, I can understand the desire for trying to drive search engine traffic for your replica handbags and your Vytorin, but are there really that many people who are searching on the Internet for ways to make tiny pellets for their wood-burning stoves? Huh. Techmomogy is weird.

Now, I wonder how many Google searches will lead to this post? I'd better close comments on it right away.
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Posted by Ken in: site-businesstechwatch

Hello Again
Tuesday, 2010 August 17 - 1:20 pm
Well, hello everyone... I've been away on holiday for a few weeks, so sorry for the dearth of posts lately. I've got several frozen food reviews backlogged, and some current events that I need to write about. And of course, I've got vacation pictures to post. I'll try to catch up over the next few days.
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Posted by Ken in: site-business

Blog bug
Thursday, 2010 January 7 - 7:33 pm
For those who are interested (which, I'm pretty sure, is nobody), I think I've fixed a long-standing bug with my blog that put the wrong timestamp on my RSS feed, and prevented Facebook from importing my blog notes in a timely manner.

The bug had to do with the fact that I'm in the eastern time zone and GoDaddy's servers are in the mountain time zone. I should have always used UTC timestamps on everything, but my old iBlog blog used local time, and I didn't convert to UTC when I imported it, so I just hacked my blog to subtract five hours from the time stamp. It was mostly fine for the web page, but until now, the RSS feed was always two hours off.

Anyway, hopefully posts will show up on my Facebook page sooner now.
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Posted by Ken in: site-business

It Ain't Julie and Julia
Monday, 2010 January 4 - 12:14 pm
I had this idea for my blog this year... each day, I'll take a different frozen entree or meal to work, and post a review of it. It shouldn't be much of a stretch, since I typically eat these kinds of things for lunch anyway. So accounting for days I work from home, or go out to eat, I should be able to post three reviews a week, or somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 over the course of the year. That should cover a large percentage of the frozen meals available at the supermarket.

I'll score each entree based on taste, nutrition, and packaging, with the most weight given to taste. I'll have today's review up in a couple of minutes.
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Posted by Ken in: foodsite-business

UR CAPTCHA SUCKS
Saturday, 2009 May 16 - 10:19 am
Lately we've been getting robocalls at 8:00 in the morning, from someone trying to tell us that we need to update our account information for "the Internet", because apparently the we are behind on our payments.

Also, my web site has been seeing more and more comment spam.

Here's the thing: I'm supposed to have mechanisms to stop both of these things from happening, but they're not working right.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: site-businesstechwatch

Comment Spam and IE
Tuesday, 2008 December 16 - 2:46 pm
Well, I've finally hit the big time, I guess. I've started to get comment spam. I have anti-spam measures on this site but they're not foolproof. So I've gone back through my old posts and I've closed comments for all but a few of them (a couple that still get useful comments, and the most recent posts.)

My guess is that the spam is intended to get people to visit an infected web site that will exploit the recently-discovered, zero-day, unpatched security hole in all versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer. Folks, if you're still using MSIE... stop. Just stop. Download Firefox or Safari and use them whenever you can. Microsoft's response to this issue is just pathetic.

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Posted by Ken in: site-businesstechwatch

Placeholder
Wednesday, 2008 December 10 - 10:22 pm
Hi everyone... I'm long overdue for a full post, I know. I've been away (went to Cancun for a wedding) and also, I've been lazy. But I'm tired of seeing controversial articles at the top of my page; so for now, I'll just post this filler article and promise that I'll have Cancun photos up soon.
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Posted by Ken in: site-business

Coining phrases
Thursday, 2008 August 14 - 7:47 pm
It's occurred to me that whenever I have a high-effort blog post to write (like, say, a recap of a trip to New Zealand), I put off writing it until I have a bunch of free time. (Which is practically never.) But I also avoid writing about anything else, figuring that I should be making the big post the highest priority item. So what happens is nothing ends up getting written. I'm trying to think of a word that properly sums up this blogging gridlock phenomenon: blogridlock? intestinal bloggage? Suggestions are welcome.

It's also occurred to me that I should probably create a way to micro-blog on this site. I want something sort of like Twitter, but I want it more of a place to put up a quick link or interesting story that I've found, rather than a place to let the world know that I'm about to go take a dump or something. I'd make the feed into a daily digest of these items, so it doesn't clog up RSS feeds with a bunch of tiny items. I need a name for this too, like "ittybittyblog". (I've already registered the domain name, natch.) Maybe I'll make it a service that others can use, hmm.

Anyway... I'll get started on my New Zealand post. It won't be perfect, but I need to get it out of the way.
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Posted by Ken in: bloggerssite-business

Hiatus
Wednesday, 2008 July 9 - 9:45 pm
I'm long overdue for a post, I know. Please bear with me... I've got lots going on right now.
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Posted by Ken in: site-business

Genius
Tuesday, 2008 February 5 - 10:56 pm
Google is famous, or perhaps infamous, for its strict hiring standards and its population of brilliant employees. So it was with some interest that I read about a security vulnerability in Gmail. Apparently, if someone manages to steal a Gmail session cookie (by snooping your network traffic), they can impersonate you and access your account.

The reason this is interesting to me is that here on realkato.com, I was very careful to prevent this vulnerability. I do use cookies so that you can remain logged in to the site, but the cookie is tied to the IP address you're using to log in, so it can't be used by anyone who's snooping your machine or your connection (unless they also manage to grab your IP address). Now granted, I don't use SSL on my site to further protect your connections, but that's just because I'm too cheap to pay for it, not because I didn't think about it.

So I have a security feature that Gmail doesn't. Nothing against all the geniuses at Gmail, but... hey, if I thought of it, shouldn't you have, too?
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Posted by Ken in: site-businesstechwatch

Oh No, It's American Idol Season
Wednesday, 2008 January 23 - 12:04 pm
... and, as my several long-time readers will know, it will soon be time for the tediously detailed analyses of American Idol performances... which will compete for blog space with the tediously detailed analyses of Apple, Michigan football, and national politics.

It occurs to me that perhaps I should split this one blog into several independent blogs... an Apple blog, a Michigan football blog, a political blog, and a personal blog. That would possibly let me expand my readership; an Apple blog might get linked from MacSurfer, a Michigan blog might get linked from MGoBlog, and a political blog might get linked from any number of political sites. But then again, that'd be four times as many blogs to let wither through neglect. I guess I'll only go down that path if I think I can make some money doing it.

So anyway, American Idol... it's started, but it's only in the early rounds. Best moment from last night's show: 20-year-old Valerie Reyes fancies herself to be as good as Mariah Carey. She's watched all the previous seasons of American Idol, and has enjoyed laughing at all the losers who embarrass themselves in the early auditions. When she gets rejected by the judges, she comes to a horrifying realization: "OH MY GOD... now I'm going to be on the 'rejects'". Brilliant.
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Posted by Ken in: site-businesstelevision

Oops
Thursday, 2007 December 20 - 11:02 pm
Okay. I am a dumbass.

I've been changing people's access level as they register... and just now, I noticed my web site is saying "Password has been updated"... even when I didn't want to change the password. Oops oops oops. That would explain why a bunch of you can't log in: I've been wiping out your password.

For everyone who went through the trouble of registering, I'm gonna have to reset your passwords. I'll email you with a default password, and then you can change it using the user prefs page. Sorry for the inconvenience.
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Posted by Ken in: site-business

Blast From the Past
Thursday, 2007 December 20 - 2:21 pm
The process of going back and recategorizing old posts continues to make me well up with nostalgia. I looked at the first real blog post I wrote, and then I remembered: my online history goes back further than that post in 2003.

In fact, I had a web page all the way back in 1999. This was back when most of up were still on dial-up internet, when the term "Web 2.0" hadn't been invented, when the few people who had "home pages" on the Internet were posting garish flashing graphics and embedded music on GeoCities. (Whereas today, people post their garish flashing graphics and embedded music on MySpace. Progress!)

It took a lot of digging through old Zip disks and other archives, but I found that original web site, and I'm making it available in all its cringe-worthy glory for you to see... but only for registered users with level 2 access or higher. (Everyone registered as of the time I'm writing this is level 2 or higher; anyone who registers after this will be at level 1 unless I bump them up.)

Why am I doing this? It's not as if there's a lot of top-secret content on that old site (and in fact, it's possible to dig it up in the Internet archives, if you know where to look). No, there are two reasons for making it access-restricted: one, to encourage all my readers to go ahead and register, and two, to test the access control mechanisms that I'll use for private content in the future.

If you register and I know who you are, I'll bump your access up to level 2... and your reward will be, you'll get to see a truly ridiculous picture of me Photoshopped next to Stephanie Seymour.

If you've already got the access rights, click here.

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Posted by Ken in: site-business

Squashing Bugs
Wednesday, 2007 December 19 - 5:30 pm
So, I think I've hacked the timestamps to show in Eastern Time. Who knows what else I've broken, but damnit, at least things will be broken in the right time zone.

Eventually, you'll have a user preference to show timestamps in your own local time as well. And not only that, I'll make some aspects of the site layout user-customizable too (text size, background and text color, etc.). Amy complains that the black-on-white is difficult to read... and you know, I chose it because a long time ago, Jen had complained that black-on-grey was too hard to read. I guess there's no one-size-fits-all solution, so I'm gonna have to allow some manner of customization.

And finally, I guess no one has tried to change their passwords until now, because that was broken too.

Let me know if you see any other problems, or have any complaints.
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Posted by Ken in: site-business

Stupid Time Zones
Friday, 2007 December 7 - 10:21 pm
Well, two irritations.

1. Where the hell are GoDaddy's servers? All my timestamps are apparently in mountain time. Dang, I'm gonna have to go through and calculate time zone offsets everywhere.

2. I thought I was being clever by inserting "​" into text strings so that FireFox could word-wrap them. That's a pretty well-known hack for the fact that unlike IE, FireFox doesn't support the "word-wrap: break-word" CSS property. Well, today I discovered that "​" isn't rendered as an invisible break character in FireFox, at least in the Mac version. Grr!

No doubt, thousands of web designers have suffered from these kinds of things already. The question is, why doesn't someone fix it? There should be an HTML sequence where the server provides a GMT timestamp, and the browser formats it in local time. And, there should be a standard CSS property for word-wrapping. Geez!
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Posted by Ken in: site-business

Re-Categorizing
Friday, 2007 December 7 - 4:54 pm
Whew. I'm going back and re-categorizing every post I've written, all 1250 or so, and my main thought is, BOY DO I WRITE ABOUT AMERICAN IDOL A LOT.

I haven't even gotten a quarter of the way through yet. The good news is, it's making me re-read my own blog, and it's fun going back down memory lane.

A few things I've thought of:
  • Remember all those password protected photo albums that I published over on dot.mac? Well, I can actually move them all here, and control access to them via user permissions. That means, I don't have to tell you to email me for the shared password; I can simply turn on access permissions for subsets of registered users.
  • Live-blogging is going to be much easier now. Look for more of that in the future.
  • I can create a specialized database for tracking American Idol results. Heh.

I tell ya, new features are going to start coming fast and furious. Polls! Quizzes! A "note to self" page for registered users!

On the RSS feed question... I'm hesitant to do "option 2" as Jen and Alan wanted. Here's the thing: if there are static URLs available that can be used to read restricted content, then it's more likely that unregistered users will see that content, especially if such URLs are used to generate LiveJournal feed pages. And that's exactly what I don't want. So, I think it'll be option 3, the dummy item in the feed that requires click-through. Don't worry, the number of access-restricted posts will be small, I promise.
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Posted by Ken in: site-business

More Site News
Wednesday, 2007 December 5 - 9:49 am
So the odd thing is, now that I can post from anywhere, at any time... I find I'm more interested in tweaking my site and less interested in posting new entries. I promise, I'll get back to posting real stuff soon.

One thing some of you may note is that the last post was contained in the RSS feed, and on the main page, in its entirety. I may keep doing that unless the posts are large. Right now there's no indication of whether the RSS feed is the complete post or just an abstract... I'll fix that soon. Just so you know: this post is broken into an abstract and a main section, so click through for more.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: site-business

We Are Live!
Tuesday, 2007 December 4 - 8:54 am
The new site is live! Uh, as you can see. I've been fixing bugs like mad, and there are still bunches of them... hopefully none of which you'll notice.

And yes, Bake Town gets the prize for the banner idea. Alcohol was the only idea I'd come up with anyway, and her comment clinched it. Sorry, Brett... the baby/gun thing will have to come later.

Search is working, sort of. I'm running into the limit of how much I can have indexed for free by FreeFind. I might still install my own search engine... I have a basic search implementation ready, but the search wouldn't be quite as complete unless I put a lot of work into it.

Another thing I need to do is come up with new categories... and then re-categorize the 1250 posts I've written to date. Fun!

Let me know if you see any odd behaviors. And please register! It'll be worth it! You won't be spammed! Really!
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Posted by Ken in: site-business

NoMoPoNoBlo
Friday, 2007 November 30 - 3:56 pm
...ho ho ho.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: site-business

So... Close...
Thursday, 2007 November 29 - 9:21 pm
Soon, all *this* will be gone.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: site-business

Four Days Left!
Monday, 2007 November 26 - 11:01 pm
NaBloPoMo is winding to an end.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: site-business

So, What's Up?
Tuesday, 2007 October 30 - 8:06 pm
Just catching up a bit.

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Posted by Ken in: site-business

CSS Irritation
Friday, 2007 May 4 - 8:06 am
Who out there is a web designer? Maybe you can relate to this statement: whoever wrote the spec for CSS DIV positioning should be shot.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: site-businesstechwatch

More On Blogging
Sunday, 2006 December 3 - 12:16 pm
What, I'm supposed to blog about myself?

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: lifesite-business

Blogging
Friday, 2006 November 3 - 9:37 am
Or, my many excuses on why I don't blog more often.

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Posted by Ken in: site-business

This Post Is For John
Thursday, 2006 March 16 - 10:15 am
... who says I don't post enough.

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Posted by Ken in: commentarylifesite-business

Holy CRAP
Monday, 2006 January 30 - 7:10 pm
Man, I haven't posted in a while.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: lifesite-business

Hiatus
Monday, 2005 November 21 - 4:14 am
Back in just a bit.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: lifesite-business

Teaser
Monday, 2005 October 17 - 8:15 am
Just a taste of things to come.

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Posted by Ken in: lifesite-business

Blog Notes
Tuesday, 2005 October 11 - 8:51 am
Must... post...

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Posted by Ken in: site-business

ALERT... ALERT...
Wednesday, 2005 October 5 - 12:43 am
An old friend has returned.

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Posted by Ken in: funnyhahasite-business

Katrina Aid Meme Summary
Tuesday, 2005 September 13 - 9:14 am
A recap of Katrina Aid posts on realkato.com.

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Posted by Ken in: bloggerscommentarysite-business

Katrina Aid Meme Update 2
Monday, 2005 September 12 - 7:58 am
Another followup.

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Posted by Ken in: bloggerscommentarysite-business

Katrina Aid Meme Update
Friday, 2005 September 9 - 9:33 pm
You people all rock. Thanks for participating and spreading the word.

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Posted by Ken in: bloggerscommentarysite-business

The Katrina Aid Meme
Friday, 2005 September 2 - 10:10 pm
I've been trying to think of the best way to exploit the power of the blogosphere to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and I think I've got an idea. (Updated 14 September 2005, 8:23 AM EDT.)

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: bloggerscommentarysite-business

Blog Note: Site Updates
Thursday, 2005 August 11 - 12:21 am
Oh, I'm gonna be really dangerous now.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: site-business

I'm Back
Thursday, 2005 July 14 - 11:40 pm
Nothing to make you appreciate an Internet connection like having to go without one for a while.

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Posted by Ken in: lifemusicsite-businesssports

Geek Night
Wednesday, 2005 July 13 - 11:28 pm
Tonight's activity: sitting in front of the computer. Actually, sitting in front of three different computers, and dismantling another one.

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Posted by Ken in: site-businesstechwatch

Better Days
Tuesday, 2005 June 21 - 11:56 pm
Just about everything was better today than yesterday.

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Posted by Ken in: lifesite-businesssports

Blog Notes: Site Updates
Monday, 2005 May 23 - 12:24 am
A few notes about this site.

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Posted by Ken in: site-business

Blog Note: Site Updates... and Recap
Friday, 2005 May 13 - 11:49 pm
Looking back on twenty months of blogging.

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Posted by Ken in: interestingsite-business

Blog Note: Site Updates
Saturday, 2005 April 2 - 12:33 pm
The old site is slowly going away (much like the Pope).

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Posted by Ken in: site-business

Hiatus
Thursday, 2005 March 24 - 2:35 am
I'm not going to be able to post any updates for a couple of days. Will the blogosphere keep on turnin'?

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: lifesite-business


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