# Monday, 30 December 2002

ADONET PowerToys My Friend And Author Of Pragmatic ADONET Has Released

ADO.NET PowerToys. My friend and author of Pragmatic ADO.NET has released a package of his tools to the community, including:

-A general library of ADO.NET utilities
-A new release of my Improved DataSet Generator
-A Stored Procedure Wrapper Class Generator

Shawn says that contributions are welcome. [
sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]
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# Saturday, 21 December 2002

Yes This Is AA Hrefhttpmsdnmicrosoftcomlibrarydefaultaspurllibraryenusdnsoaphtmlsoapliteperlasp

Yes, this is a Microsoft MSDN article! "Learn how to call a .NET-based Web service from a UNIX-based system and how to return a Microsoft .NET DataSet to a Perl array using SOAP::Lite. " He starts the artic;e talking about Interop and then returns a Microsoft .NET DataSet.... [Sam Gentile's Weblog]

Mightly useful snippets of info in here for anyone trying to connect to a .NET based web service, i.e. anyone not using a VS.NET generated client.

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Doom Archive Is Back After

Doom Archive is Back. After being offline since 1998 the Doom Archive is back online. It holds source code, old reviews, alpha and beta versions of Doom.... [Lockergnome's Bits and Bytes]

I dunno, might be fun to browse the source code sometime, perhaps I'll be able to figure out a way into that room I could never find but was supposed to be there.

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# Wednesday, 18 December 2002

Daniel Berlingers Really Simple Discoverability Format Aka RSD Has A Hre

Daniel Berlinger's Really Simple Discoverability format, aka RSD, has gone to version 1.0. Congrats to Daniel, Seth Dillingham and Brent Simmons, who all believed in the format before it caught on. This morning I released new code to bring Radio's support for RSD up to the 1.0 level. When Jake gets in later, he'll do the same for Manila. Thanks to Daniel for pursuing this. Tools for editing weblog posts will be easier to configure once there's across-the-board support for this format. For users this means word processor-like editors to write for your weblog. Turning the Web into a fantastic writing environment, one decade at a time. ";->" [Scripting News]
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# Tuesday, 17 December 2002

a BDGcompliant SOAP Implementation

a BDG-compliant SOAP implementation
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At The Tomb Of The IUnknown Interface

At the tomb of the IUnknown Interface. As COM is dragged kicking and screaming towards the airlock, a strangely dry-eyed COM warrior celebrates its demise. [sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]

Indeed, it was fine in principle but lost it somewhere in the implementation. ... IMHO, the major contribution Java made to Windows programming; there is a better way to do this (the MS teams *loved* Java, tragically Sun and MS couldn't love each other so now we get .NET which is maybe better than Java, or maybe worse - we still seem to be waiting for a real big .NET application). Anyways...

Rebodged (sic) interfaces with names ending in "2."

and for server side scriptx users:

DCOM security, or "I can sometimes make it work if I log on everywhere as Admin and start a copy of the EXE on the remote."

 

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NET DataBound TreeView Control DataViewTree Is A UserControl That C

.NET Data-Bound TreeView Control. "DataViewTree is a UserControl that can load hierarchical datasets into a Windows Forms TreeView control. The included sample project shows how to load an xml file into a dataset which is then passed to the DataViewTree control for display.

Complete source for the DataViewTree control and sample project is included in the download."

I know lots of folks want to data bind hierarchical data and this one includes the source if it doesn't do exactly what you're after. [
sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]

Interesting .NET based components.

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On A Providers Page Heres A List Of 36 Survey Systems All Of These Seem To Be Online Web Based A Hrefhttpwwwsurveym

On a providers page, here's a list of 36 survey systems. All of these seem to be online (web based): SurveyMonkey
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# Monday, 16 December 2002

NewsCom

News.Com: "Microsoft has yet to disclose the proprietary dialect, or underlying schema, of the XML used in Office 11."

All Office products will output to an XML file, which would be viewable via any browser, but editable only from within the originating office application--or by a very, very skilled XML programmer

So its going to be more complicated than <xml><worddoc>blah blah</worddoc> then - wow, why am I not surprised.

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Creative Types A Lot In Common The Inter

Creative Types: A Lot in Common. The Internet is teeming with creative people who aren't famous or rich. A new set of licenses from Creative Commons will allow copyright holders to share their work according to conditions they specify -- and boost their profiles. By Kendra Mayfield. [Wired News]

I presume this will get a lot of coverage over the next few days.

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Alintex Script Host Brings Scripting To NET Alintex Script Host Lets You

Alintex Script Host brings scripting to .NET. Alintex Script Host lets you run scripts written in three Microsoft .NET languages - VB, C# and JScript.

One can take full advantage of the power of the .NET Framework Class Library (FCL) to produce lightweight, yet powerful applications and utilities. Amongst other features, it allows you to mix and match all three supported .NET languages in the same script, yet optionally produce a single XML based Portable Script file for easy distribution.

Alintex Script Host is FREE for both personal and commercial use. [
sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]

 

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Tim BernersLee Reports On The Semantic Web

Tim Berners-Lee Reports on the Semantic Web.

Its good, but is it really that good? I fear it is being over hyped. The 'commercial internet', i.e. post 1995 was paid for by venture capitalists, and eventually nearly everyone, pouring money in - and loosing it. One might conjecture that this was a one off occurence. Can/will the Semantic web be paid for by the current operators, it will only occur if your competitors are getting an advantage over you from it - ye classic chicken and egg, but for the Semantic Web, its a very large egg, needing a very big chicken.

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# Friday, 13 December 2002

NET Image ReColoring This Code First Sets Up An

.NET Image Re-Coloring. "This code first sets up an array of ColorMap objects, each of which contain the old color to transform from and the new color to transform to. The color map is passed to a new ImageAttribute class via the SetRemapTable. The ImageAttribute object is then passed to the DrawImage function, which does the color mapping as the image is drawn." [sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]
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A HrefhttpcedarintelcomcgibinidsdllcontentcontentjspcntKeyGeneric20EditorialdotnetprocessingampcntTypeID

High Perf. Image Processing in .NET Clients. "Not so many years ago, serious image processing meant using highly specialized hardware when same-day service was required. However, microprocessor manufacturers have consistently delivered exponential performance improvements for so long that even relatively modest client systems can now perform non-trivial image manipulation very quickly. These client capabilities were especially aided by the introduction of Streaming SIMD (Single Instruction Multiple Data) Extensions to Intel® processors a few years ago, along with Intel's highly-optimized libraries for exploiting the technology. This article shows how to take advantage of these libraries in .NET client applications." [sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]
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A HrefhttpcedarintelcomcgibinidsdllcontentcontentjspcntKeyGeneric20EditorialnetbottleneckampcntTypeIDSE

ADO.NET -- Offline and On Tap. "In the .NET* Framework, rich clients can bring database servers to their knees, just like Web-based applications. But with the disconnected nature of ADO.NET, your rich clients can manipulate and analyze database data without impacting the database server. Once you have the data in the rich client, you can do high-performance analysis of the data—including sorting, filtering, and querying—without expensive server calls. In this article we will show you how to use DataSet, DataView, and XmlDataDocument to make your rich clients work with database data in a disconnected way." [sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]
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Following Some Of The Garbage Written By Tim OReilly Heres A View From The Other End Of The Battle Field A Hrefhttp

Following some of the garbage written by Tim O'Reilly, here's a view from the other end of the battle field: Bitwise Operator: The Plain Truth About Piracy. It's very well written and interesting.

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# Thursday, 12 December 2002

December 11 2002 Lord Palmerston The Schleswi

December 11, 2002. Lord Palmerston: "The Schleswig-Holstein question is so complicated, only three men in Europe have ever understood it. One was Prince Albert, who is dead. The second was a German professor who became mad. I am the third and I have forgotten all about it." Programming has gotten too hard. [Joel on Software] [Sam Gentile's Radio Weblog]

I'm glad there are others around who think this. The other apposite phrase is "knowledge shock" (as in future shock, which probably has about 30,000,000 web references). His point about API surface areas is well made - it so happens only yesterday as I was remembering the first real GUI app I wrote (I had done some toy Lisa/Mac work years before) for the venerable Acorn RISC OS. RISC OS had a small, but very primitive API, one had to write one's own library to achieve the functionality of Window's 'RegisterClass' and 'WindowProc' and a whole bunch of other stuff; maddening, but one ended up with the API surface area you needed and you understood (and could fix), 'cos you had written it all yourself. I wouldn't like to go back to that, but the number of technologies there are now does lead to confusion and obfustication - do I solve this with this, that, the other, something else - and the constant fear that there's something else out there that's an even better solution. Working out what to use to solve the problem is probably harder than actually solving the problem.

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DaveNet Weblogs In Meatspace

DaveNet: Weblogs In Meatspace. [Scripting News]

And there was silly me thinking that Weblogs were supposed to be one continuous conference - all the time, dip in dip out, that guys page is interesting, blimey that's dull, I'll follow this one for a bit.

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# Wednesday, 11 December 2002

Personal Web Proxy Part The Second Well Its Not Earth Shatt

Personal Web Proxy, Part the Second. Well, it's not earth shattering, but after some research and some more feature brainstorming, I've gotten a start on a PersonalWebProxy. At the moment, it's not much code and is transparent except for the fact that it transforms every appearance of "0xDECAFBAD" on pages into "0x31337D00D". What's exciting to me though, is that I tossed it together with an hour's hacking in [[Python]], using the [[Twisted]] framework. So, starting work in a language and framework... [0xDECAFBAD]
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# Tuesday, 10 December 2002

Dec 9th 2002 Mono 017 Has Been Release

Dec 9th, 2002: Mono 0.17 has been released. Mono 0.17 has been released. Many new features as well as plenty of bug fixes. Many new System.Data providers and a more mature System.Web (ASP.NET) which can now be hosted in any web server. A simple test web server to host asp.net has been released as well. [Mono Project News]

This project does seem to be bowling along quite nicely.

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Adventures In Content Management A While B

Adventures in content management. A while back I set up a category for tracking my InfoWorld columns and stories.... As always, though, this little exercise in content management wound up being trickier than I'd planned. ...

Is there a name for the kind breakage that occurs when unchanged code is confronted by more or different data than you were expecting?

... [Jon's Radio]

Yes there is: bug.

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# Monday, 09 December 2002

Having Moved To A NET Server The Radio Userland Button No Longer Appears On The Web Log Pages And Yet This Is Just Doing A G

Having moved to a .NET server, the Radio Userland button no longer appears on the web log pages - and yet this is just doing a get of http://radio.xmlstoragesystem.com/weblogStats/count.gif with args to do referrer counting - the counting seems to work (the referrer counts page seems to be updating). Weird.
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Keep An Eye On A Href

Keep an eye on http://msdn.microsoft.com/net/ecma/ - A little birdy told me there should be a pretty significant announcement on Monday about 8am. [Managed Space]  Hmm, what could it be? [Sam Gentile's Radio Weblog]

Not sure its 8am here yet, but nothing so far.

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Office 11 Gains Develo

Office 11 gains developer tools. Microsoft debuts a product for customizing Office 11 applications based on its Visual Studio programming environment. [CNET News.com]

Hmmm, is this the beginning of the end of OLE? Since OLE is built on COM and .NET most decidely isn't are they moving here to something that is the 'native' .NET replacement for OLE?

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# Sunday, 08 December 2002

WinForms Control Inspector Spy For NETEM

WinForms Control Inspector -- Spy++ for .NET. "ControlInspector hooks on to all events on a given control, user-control or form and shows when they are fired, along with any eventargs. It even handles custom events and custom event args using dynamically generated assemblies."

This looks *very* cool and was inspired by DevelopMentor's Guerrilla .NET course. Wahoo! [
sellsbrothers.com: Windows Developer News]
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ping

ping
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# Saturday, 07 December 2002

The New Suites Overall Blue Beige And Mustard Color Palette Seems Inspired By The Look Of Mac OS X A Hre

...The new suite's overall blue, beige, and mustard color palette seems inspired by the look of Mac OS X.... [Office 11, PC World]

Err, I thought colours were down to the user -- or are MS giving up on that as well now.

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# Friday, 06 December 2002

Oh Dear Its Going To Go To Appeal And Get Over Turned And The Judge Slapped About A Hrefhttpwwweweekcomarticle2074

Oh dear, its going to go to appeal and get over turned and the judge slapped about: eWeek.
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# Thursday, 05 December 2002

Blog Browsernbsp OKnbsp Theres AnbspBlog Browser

Blog Browser. 

OK - there's a Blog Browser available in Zeepe Applications. Dave Winer is still working on the definition of files.xml so this may or may not work at the time of reading this if his format has changed and the software hasn't caught up yet.

The format is a little tricky because it just lists all archived files via pathnames, with no information within the xml as to what the file pointed to contains. Currently the Blog Browser assumes that anything stored in a directory 'posts' or 'archives' (because two different systems are using different conventions) is a weblog archive and that the year and month are encoded in the path name as yyyy/m.xml.

If anyone can tell me I'm being daft and there's a really easy way to tell what's what, then I'll be glad to know.

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Blog Browser

OK - there's a Blog Browser available in Zeepe Applications. Dave Winer is still working on the definition of files.xml so this may or may not work at the time of reading this if his format has changed and the software hasn't caught up yet.

The format is a little tricky because it just lists all archived files via pathnames, with no information within the xml as to what the file pointed to contains. Currently the Blog Browser assumes that anything stored in a directory 'posts' or 'archives' (because two different systems are using different conventions) is a weblog archive and that the year and month are encoded in the path name as yyyy/m.xml.

If anyone can tell me I'm being daft and there's a really easy way to tell what's what, then I'll be glad to know.

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Company That Disentangled WPA Says Its Built A Better OneE

Company that disentangled WPA says it's built a better one. Now we've proved that one's rubbish, buy ours instead [The Register]

For once I agree with Mr Lettice, 36 chars is too long. But the vendors site is worth a browse.

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Reminder The Bootstrap Of Blog BrowsersE

Reminder, the bootstrap of Blog Browsers continues. This was originally a Brent-Dave collaboration, but other people are now working on browsers, and other blogging tools are producing archives in a compatible format. [Scripting News]

Including me - should be up tomorrow (today).

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# Wednesday, 04 December 2002

Who Can Help When Searching

Who Can Help When Searching for Online Resources?. Here are a few thoughts about where to find local help when searching for online instructional resources--and how to be self-supporting. [EduResources--Higher Education Resources Online]

What are the two worst things that can happen when an instructor begins to search for online learning resources? The instructor may find nothing or the instructor may find thousands of resources. Finding too little is discouraging and will most likely turn the instructor away from attempting to use online resources in the future. Finding too much is overwhelming and can also turn an instructor away from using online resources just because it is inordinately time consuming to sift through hundreds or thousands of possibilities. The third worst happening is finding some learning resources but determining that they are all of poor quality and therefore of no real use. The fouth worst outcome is to locate some useful resources and then determine that they are too expensive or that they require specialized software unavailable to students.

Absolutely, but then:

... it's important for instructors to do two things: one, learn enough about general and discipline-specific online resource sites to do some searching on their own; two, having learned what questions to ask, investigate the institution and locate what departments do provide local assistance. A third desirable option would be for instructors at an institution that does not have a help center to set up their own support group, using a listserv, weblog, and occasional luncheon meetings. This local support group will fill a gap and might eventually influence the institution to establish a more formal unit for instructional support.

Education (worldwide) needs to do more than this, as I've said before, software that supports peer-review (it was one of the intentions behind Profundis search) is my preferred 'solution'.

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Dare On XML Schema Ive Finally Made Time To Read Dare

Dare on XML Schema.

I've finally made time to read Dare's  W3C XML Schema Design Patterns: Avoiding Complexity.

Dare wrote his article as a "counterpoint" (though maybe "derivation by extension" is more apt, to Kohsuke Kawaguchi's W3C XML Schema Made Simple.  Kohsuke sums up his view by saying

Consider W3C XML Schema as DTD + datatype + namespace

though you might add "- Notation", since he points out that Notation declarations shouldn't be used because they aren't compatible with DTD Notations.  This is probably decent, if conservative, advice.  Judging from the comment I noted the other day, and from the comments on Kohsuke's article, the most controversial statement in either article was

 Do not try to be a master of XML Schema. It would take months.

which is pretty much the point of both articles: learn what's useful and ignore all the nooks and crannies; they'll just get you into trouble.  This is essentially conceding the argument of the anti-Schema crowd that WXS is too complex and ambiguous, but regardless, people are using WXS by choice or compulsion, and these articles are an attempt to steer users towards the best practices.  And as far as I'm concerned, it's true.  I've tried to wade through Patricia Walmsley's Definitive XML Schema, but as a friend of mine said, it's "dry as day-old toast".  I feel better served by getting a more succinct guide and filling in the details later, if ever.

Dare loosen's Kohsuke's guidelines a bit.  To start, rather than eliminate the use of local declarations, Dare takes the time to explain the elementFormDefault behavior that put Kohsuke off.  It seems like Kohsuke's recommendation could be modified to say "use elementFormDefault='qualified'", which is one of Dare's recommendations, and more useful advice to boot.  I don't see a particular problem with unqualified, except that I prefer the way qualified looks, and it seems like that's Dare's justification too.  The other justification might be that unqualified interferes with default namespace declarations.

I don't quite get the recommendation on built in types.  The initial list of recommendations says "Do use restriction and extension of simple types.", but the actual recommendation is to use the builtin simple types.  Dare's recommendation is to use the simple types and consider avoiding the subtypes of string and integer.  I've seen (and written, truth be told) schemas that start building levels on top of the simple types, and really all this achieves is a less readable schema.  The OTA schemas are very much into subclassing simple types, and others I've talked to who've worked with OTA agree.  The OTA defines types like StringLength32, which may be a valid restriction, but probably not a great first class type - it's true that lots of elements are 32 character strings, but this seems to me to be a micro-optimization in the type system.  It makes sense to declare this type if all the StringLength32 data suddenly became StringLength64, but then you have to carefully consider whether the data's really related to another use of that type and likely to stay in sync.  This seems like a paralell to the Inheritance vs. Aggregation considerations in OO design, where you should consider whether a new type really IS-A instance of another type.  I'd say that it's not necessarily a good idea to declare named simple types, unless that type information is really going to be reused. 

One other point that Kohsuke made was that when restricting complex types, you have to repeat the entire definition of the base type, and that validators have a difficult time with restriction.  Dare gives some concrete examples of the validation problems, but doesn't really offer much besides "here's the rope, don't hang yourself".  Restriction has its appeal, maybe because it doesn't work like the type systems I'm used to, but given the problems, I'm not sure complex type restriction is worth even a qualified endorsement.

Overall, Dare did a better job of explaining his rationale that Kohsuke.  Kohsuke's guidelines are a bit too conservative, but my trouble with Dare's guidelines comes from features qualified with "use carefully".  It's good to get an explanation of the pitfalls, but I felt like the justification for situations when the feature should used were pretty weak.  Maybe this subject needs 2 articles, one for the "safe" parts, and another for the ones that need extra care.

[Gordon Weakliem's Radio Weblog]
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nbsp A Cool Piece Of Software Called SoftMac

...  a cool piece of software called SoftMac - which lets you run Mac applications under Windows XP! [IUnknown.com: John Lam's Weblog on Software Development]

You need a Mac ROM from a Mac you own and not yet to OS X.

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If One Were To Be Very Moderne CJ Should Look At Not Only NET Server Side But Also Use Of Web Services I Dunno What Thenbsp

If one were to be very moderne, CJ should look at not only .NET server side, but also use of web services. I dunno what the user profile is, but this is the sort of thing MS enable on Office XP: Office and Web Services
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# Tuesday, 03 December 2002

Multimodal User Interfaces

Multimodal user interfaces. ...

The bird song is a nice idea:

One participant described a system that translated server logs into birdsong. When the servers were healthy, there was a pleasant ambience of happy birds -- a baseline pattern that supplied information without requiring conscious attention. As the servers became stressed the birds became more agitated.

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# Monday, 02 December 2002

This Trend Toward An Industry Emphasis On Usability Criteria In The Selection Of Software Needs To Be Emulated In Education Spe

This trend toward an industry emphasis on usability criteria in the selection of software needs to be emulated in education. Specifically, the usability of learning resources should be a major consideration in the construction of learning repositories and course management systems (and, for learning repositories, findability must also be a major concern since instructors can't begin to evaluate for use what they can't find). ___ Consumers start to demand usability. Patrick Thibodeau writes about the growing role of Common Industry Format for Usability Test Reports when organisations make enterprise software purchasing decisions. To quote: The Boeing Co. is changing the way it buys software and is making a product's usability[~]the... [Column Two] [EduResources--Higher Education Resources Online]
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BlogGazer Is Phillip Pearsons Blog Browser For Windows A H

BlogGazer is Phillip Pearson's blog browser for Windows. [Scripting News]

Apparently a craze - why and for how long?

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WiFi Comes To Rescue Of GSM In Rural Broadband Test P

WiFi comes to rescue of GSM in rural broadband test

Sounds like a whizzy solution to me, who has neither broadband nor cellular coverage (accept upstairs with your arm in the air).

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