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Category: #Engadget (Page 1 of 42)

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Xbox gains new features with updated Edge browser


With its September Xbox update, Microsoft has brought the new, Chromium-based Edge browser to Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One consoles. It supports a keyboard and mouse and will introduce new capabilities like access to Google Stadia, Discord, web apps and more.

Microsoft started testing the Edge update on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S earlier this year, but today it’s coming to everyone. Edge has been the default browser on Xbox One, but not the latest Chromium version that enables features like Google Stadia gameplay. 

It promises a “fast, secure and modern browsing experience right from your console,” Microsoft wrote. It’s nearly identical to the desktop version, with features like vertical tabs, collections and syncing of settings, favorites, history, tabs and more to other signed-in devices. As Reddit users have noted, though, it’s missing extensions — so you won’t be able to use an ad-blocker for now.

With mouse and keyboard support, gamers will find it far easier to use productivity apps. More importantly, you’ll be able to play Google Stadia or Steam PC games with either a mouse and/or the Xbox controller. For now, there’s no microphone support for live chats on Discord or other apps, according to The Verge.  

Microsoft also trumpeted the release of Play Later discovery, but it’s not clear how that differs from the current Play Later features. It also re-announced the arrival of game streaming to PC via Xbox Game Pass cloud or using Xbox Remote Play. The new features are now available to all Xbox consoles. 

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Steve Dent

Android’s accessibility updates include a way to control your phone using your face

Google has introduced quite a lengthy list of Android features, including new accessibility tools for the mobile OS that rely on eye and facial gestures. Starting this week, users will see a new addition to the Android Accessibility Suite that can turn a phone’s front-facing camera into a switch. Aptly called Camera Switch, the tool replaces keyboards, mice and touchscreen displays as a device’s input method. With the feature, users will be able to navigate their phones with eye movements or with facial features, such as smiling or opening and closing their mouths. The tech giant started beta testing it in August, but it’s now giving the feature a wider rollout.



The tech giant has also launched a new application called Project Activate specifically for those don’t speak or have neurological conditions. Its purpose is to make it easier for the users to communicate with other people. They can program the app to speak phrases like “Please, wait!” when they move their eyes a certain way or make a gesture with their face. The application can also be programmed to play audio, make phone calls or send texts, such as emergency messages seeking assistance. 

Finally, Google has updated its Lookout app with handwriting recognition. It can now read out handwritten and printed text for Latin-based languages while in Documents mode. Further, it can now recognize Euro and Indian Rupee in currency mode, with Google planning to add support for more currencies in the future. The tech giant first announced Lookout back in 2018 as a way to provide Blind individuals and people with visual impairments spoken notifications about their environment. Google added food and document scanning to its capabilities in 2020, along with support for languages other than English. 

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Mariella Moon

Snapchat’s new lenses and stickers can teach you basic sign language

Snapchat is rolling out new augmented reality lenses and stickers that can give you cursory lessons on sign language. The company has developed the new features as part of its efforts for the Weak of the Deaf with guidance from its Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing team members. Its new AR Lenses use AI and computer vision technology by SignAll, which can recognize and translate American Sign Language. 

One of the lenses will teach you how to fingerspell, in which you form individual letters with your fingers to spell a word. The other new lenses will teach you how to fingerspell your username, as well as some common words like “love” and “smile.” You can scan the Snapcodes below to access them and then share a clip of you signing on the app.



In addition to the new lenses, Snap has also launched new general, Bitmoji and Cameos selfie stickers with common signs. The hope is that these new elements can boost awareness and help more people learn a new way to communicate. Jennica Pounds, a deaf software engineer at Snap who was a key figure in the project said:

“A big motivation for me is my own oldest son, who absolutely loves to talk, but has had a hard time learning ASL. I’m passionate about this technology because I truly believe it’s going to break so many applications wide open. It’s tech like this that will help families like mine communicate and grow together.”



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The Article Was Written/Published By: Mariella Moon

HP’s latest Spectre x360 2-in-1 laptops feature 16-inch OLED displays

HP is again using OLED displays for its latest Spectre x360 2-in-1 laptops, but this time, you get a bit more screen for your money. The new HP Spectre x360 comes with an optional 16-inch, 16:10 4K OLED display — up from the 15.6-inch displays last year — delivering true VESA blacks with “100 percent color calibration,” the company announced. 

The new model has an extra 22mm of viewing space compared to the previous models, while still offering fairly slim bezels all around with a 91 percent screen-to-body ratio. It’s also available with a 3,072 x 1,920 IPS touchscreen, if budget is an issue. At the same time, you get a top-mounted 5-megapixel webcam with a physical shutter for privacy and Windows Hello support. It comes with HP’s AI controls and “beauty mode” that can improve lighting and “touch up skin, teeth and eyes.” 

HP's latest Spectre x360 2-in-1 laptops come with 16-inch OLED displays


It should have enough power to drive those features too, with an 11th-gen Intel Core i7 CPU and Intel Evo graphics, or an optional NDIVIDA GeForce RTX 3050 laptop GPU, along with 16GB of memory, 512GB PCIe NVMe storage and 32GB of Intel Optane memory. It also offers quad B&O speakers, up to WiFi 6E, a MicroSD card reader, two Thunderbolt 4 with 40Gbps speeds and USB Power Delivery USB4 Type-C ports, HDMI 2.0b, Bluetooth 5.2 and 17 hours of battery life. The HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 arrives in the fall at or Best Buy starting at $1,639, but expect to pay more for the OLED 4K model. 

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Steve Dent

How to pre-order the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro

It’s that time of year again when the latest iPhones hit shelves, prompting many to wonder if they should take the plunge into iOS for the first time, or upgrade to a new handset. Apple announced four new iPhones this week at its hardware event, mirroring the last year’s offerings. The new iPhone 13 and 13 mini feature smaller notches at the top of their touchscreens, the new A15 Bionic processor and longer battery lives. The higher-end iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max smartphones have fancy finishes, 120Hz Super Retina XDR displays, and improved cameras along with the A15 Bionic chipset and better battery lives. Here’s how to order the iPhone 13 series and the iPhone 13 Pro series.

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini

iPhone 13


The iPhone 13 and 13 mini will be available for pre-order starting at 5am PT (8am ET) on September 17 and will be widely available on September 24. The iPhone 13 starts at $799 while the iPhone 13 mini starts at $699.

Pre-order iPhone 13 at Apple starting at $799Pre-order iPhone 13 mini at Apple starting at $699Pre-order iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini at Best BuyPre-order iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini at Walmart

Apple focused on refining the iPhone 13 series this year, trickling down some advanced features from last year’s Pro line to the standard models. Both the iPhone 13 and 13 mini have a nearly identical design to last year’s iPhone 12s, but they have a 20-percent small notch at the top and screens that are 28-percent brighter. Screen sizes have remained the same, too, measuring 6.1-inches on the iPhone 13 and 5.4-inches on the 13 mini. Apple managed to pack larger batteries in both handsets, so iPhone 13 users will get about 2.5 hours of extra use when compared to the iPhone 12, while iPhone 13 mini users will get about 1.5 extra hours. 

Inside both smartphones is the new A15 Bionic chipset and neural engine and Apple promises 50-percent better performance than the competition. The cameras have been upgraded as well: the dual system has a new wide camera sensor and lens along with the sensor-shift optical image stabilization system that we saw on the iPhone 12 Pro Max last year. Both the iPhone 13 and the 13 mini support expanded 5G as well, which will be available on 200 carriers in 60 countries by the end of this year.

As far as configurations go, the iPhone 13 and 13 mini are both available in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB storage capacities. Apple has a new lineup of colors as well: pink, blue, midnight, starlight and Product Red.

iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 13 Pro


The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max will be available for pre-order starting at 5am PT (8am ET) on September 17 and will be widely available on September 24. The iPhone 13 Pro starts at $999 and the iPhone 13 Pro Max will start at $1,099.

Pre-order iPhone 13 Pro at Apple starting at $999Pre-order iPhone 13 Pro Max at Apple starting at $1,099Pre-order iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max at Best BuyPre-order iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max at Walmart

It’s all about the screens and the cameras for these smartphones. While screen sizes haven’t changed, both the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max have new Super Retina XDR displays with ProMotion, 1,000 nits of brightness and refresh rates up to 120Hz. We first saw this technology on the latest 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and now it’s been brought down to the higher-end iPhones.

The triple-rear camera system also got a big boost this year. It now features a new 77mm telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom, along with a new ultra wide camera that has a f/1.8 aperture and autofocus. The primary “wide” camera is the largest Apple has even put in an iPhone and it features a f/1.5 aperture and 1.9-micron pixels. Apple also made it possible to shoot at up to 6x optical zoom, enabling macro photography, and it added new features like Cinematic Mode for videos, which uses machine learning to get things like better focus, better low-light performance, Time-lapse and Slo-mo video and more.

Inside the Pros is the A15 Bionic chipset with a 16-core neural engine, which Apple says will help the iPhones run 50 percent faster than the competition. The company also touts the handsets’ enhanced durability and battery life. The iPhone 13 Pro series includes a surgical-grade stainless steel band and finishes that are resistant to abrasions and corrosions, and the lineup is IP68 water-resistant. As far as battery life goes, the iPhone 13 Pro should last 1.5 hours more than the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro Max will last up to 2.5 hours longer than its predecessor.

As for configurations, the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max come in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB storage capacities and both are available in four colors: sierra blue, silver, gold and graphite.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Valentina Palladino

Microsoft accounts no longer need a password


Microsoft says everyone can remove the password from their Microsoft account and use other methods to sign in starting today. The company rolled out the option to enterprise users earlier this year.

Rather than having to remember a password or using a password manager, you’ll be able to use the Microsoft Authenticator app, Windows Hello, a security key or SMS or emailed codes. You’ll be able to sign in to services such as Outlook, OneDrive, Microsoft Family Safety, and even Xbox Series X/S without a password. Microsoft is rolling out the option to everyone over the next few weeks as it gears up for the launch of Windows 11 on October 5th

Once you have installed the Authenticator app and linked it to your account, you can switch off your password. Go to your Microsoft account settings, then Advanced Security Options and Additional Security. From there, you can switch your account to a passwordless one. Then, follow the prompts and approve a notification on the Authenticator app to seal the deal.

You can re-activate your password at any time, but other login methods may be far more convenient and secure. Not only are passwords a cybersecurity minefield, they’re time-consuming to enter and, at best, annoying to deal with.

It’d be welcome to see other services ditch passwords if they can offer users alternative, secure methods of logging in. Until then, turn on two-factor authentication wherever possible, and get a password manager and use unique passwords for all of your accounts.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Kris Holt

Volkswagen’s ID.Buzz electric minivan appears as a self-driving prototype

Volkswagen has shown its closest look yet at the ID.Buzz minivan in the form of a self-driving prototype developed in collaboration with Argo AI, TechCrunch has reported. If you disregard the mild camouflage and lidar stack on top, you can finally get a good picture of how the production ID.Buzz, due to hit the US in 2023, will look. 

The electric minivan looks a bit more practical though less fun than the original concept. The rounded lines meant to evoke the classic ’70s VW van have been squared off, and the bulgy fenders are considerably less so. It also appears, though it’s hard to confirm with the camouflage, that VW has changed the concept’s funky rear window configuration. Still, it does bear a resemblance, especially from the front-side angle where it looks the best. Seen with a driver, one also gets a sense of the ID.Buzz’s relatively small size.

Volkswagen's ID.Buzz electric minivan appears as a self-driving prototype


As far as the autonomous tech goes, VW plans to use it in cities first as autonomous shuttles or for deliveries. Argo’s AI system packs cameras, lidar modules, radar and an onboard computer to let it “see” up to 400 meters ahead for obstacles. 

Argo AI founder Bryan Salensky said that the system can navigate with or without GPS and can work without changes to roads and infrastructure. Its sensor array will allow it to “predict the actions of pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles, and direct the engine, braking and steering systems so that the vehicle moves safely and naturally,” Argo said. 

Volkswagen's ID.Buzz electric minivan appears as a self-driving prototype


We have heard this tune before, though, and there are still no real self-driving cars plying city streets and highways. Volkswagen and Argo plan to test and commercially scale the fully-electric self-driving van over the next four years at Argo’s development center near Munich, with plans to develop a fleet by 2025. Argo is also working with Ford and Lyft on a 1,000-vehicle self-driving network with tests planned for cities like Miami and Austin. 

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Steve Dent

Streamlabs’ new monthly tipping service doesn’t take a cut from streamers


Streamlabs’ new livestreaming tool offers streamers a new way to make money — and it won’t even be taking a commission. The Logitech-owned company has launched a monthly tipping service called Streamlabs Creator Subscription, which (as you can probably guess from its name) gives streamers a way to set up a subscription service for viewers. Streamlabs says creators will get 100 percent of the tips fans give them after PayPal takes its usual processing fees. 

As The Verge notes, that makes Streamlabs Creator Subscription a more appealing option than Twitch’s built-in service, which takes a 50 percent cut from the subscription fees streamers get. Especially since Streamlabs’ new tipping tool can be directly integrated into its popular OBS software suite anyway. The OBS software can be used to stream not just on Twitch, but also on YouTube, Facebook and TikTok

Streamlabs will let creators decide on what kind of subscription service they want to offer their fans, and they can also set specific price points. If they choose, however, they can allow viewers to choose how much to contribute every month. Fans will get “redeemable alerts” in exchange for their contributions, and they can use those if they want their favorite streamer to thank them on screen. Streamlabs will also be adding leaderboards and badges in the coming weeks to encourage fans to support their favorite creators.

Ashray Urs, Head of Product at Streamlabs, said in a statement: 

“As the live streaming industry has grown, so has the need for a sustainable revenue model. Currently, most major streaming platforms provide viewers with a way to subscribe to a channel; however, they usually split the revenue from the subscription in half between the creators and platform. In addition, platforms require a creator to meet certain qualifications before they can unlock the ability for viewers to subscribe. Streamlabs Creator Subscription is open for anyone with a Streamlabs tip page, regardless of size or how often they stream.”

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Mariella Moon

Saints Row gets a gritty reboot set in the ‘weird west’

Saints Row, the class-clown of GTA-esque open-world sandbox games, is no more. In its place is Saints Row, a reboot of the series with a back-to-basics focus on ground-level crime and violence. In the seven years since Gat out of Hell was released (we’re not counting Agents of Mayhem), the world has moved on, and so too must Saints Row.

Welcome to the Weird West

Image from Saints Row (2022)

Deep Silver / Volition

The new game is called Saints Row (which we’re told has no subtitle, despite the repeated use of the “Self Made” tagline even on the box art), and is set in Santo Ileso (Spanish speakers, does that pun work for you?), a stand in for America’s Four Corners region which the developers are calling the “weird west.” There are Route 66 signs scattered across the landscape and the desert that surrounds the city, with its patchy grass and tall mesas, looks a lot like Arizona. The neon-strewn casino district (El Dorado) seems to be inspired by those found in Albuquerque. And the financial area, at least from the trailers (and to my British eyes) seems to have been pulled from downtown Santa Fe.

Santo Ileso is made up of nine individual districts with each one designed to use a different traversal method. Running and driving will work best in some regions, while players are encouraged to fly a wingsuit off the top of the financial district’s skyscrapers to cover long distances. Or you can steal a VTOL-equipped craft and just make merry havoc all over the city as you go. The game was built in a brand new, as-yet unannounced engine and these new environments are designed to take advantage of the power that next-gen consoles — if we can still call them that — can offer.

The developers say that Saints Row’s focus is, at least early in the game, going to focus on the material concerns of its young crew. These disaffected millennials turn to crime to, for instance, put food on their table, feel part of a community and pay off their student loans. Chief creative officer Jim Boone says that it’s, broadly, a “contemporary” millennial “power fantasy.” It’s only later that the game’s focus switches to the sort of empire-building that, in the previous series, eventually saw your character becoming president.

Cover art for Saints Row (2022)

Deep Silver / Volition

As the game progresses, players can buy property and businesses which opens up new game modes and levels. You can choose where to put those businesses, too, like putting a garbage collection site in the middle of the financial district. The choices you make here will, for instance, engender resistance if you start putting toxic waste next to wherever the one percenters live and work. And, as you take over more of the city, the bigger your power base will grow.

The storyline sees your ragtag quartet encounter three distinct gangs, each of which owns a chunk of Santo Ileso. The Panteros, for instance, are a bunch of muscle-car enthusiasts who try to use their superior strength to defeat you in combat. Marshall Defense Industries, meanwhile, is a local weapons developer with its own mercenary army equipped with a range of sci-fi weapons and superior marksmanship. Then there are the Idols, a group of Kawaii Cyberpunk Anarchists wearing light-up cat ear helmets who overwhelm you with numbers in a fight.

Meet the new boss

Images of the Saints Row cast

Deep Silver / Volition

As far as we know, references to Steelport, the 3rd Street Saints, Johnny Gat, Kenzie and anything else from the prior series are gone. Or, at least, will be relegated to the odd, deeply buried easter egg for die-hard fans to root out while they’re immersed in this new world. In their place is a trio of characters that work to support your player’s unnamed and customizable protagonist.

There’s Eli (pictured, 2nd from right), an MBA student who works as the team’s planner, speaking in the language of startups, investment and business. Then there’s Neenah (pictured, right), the team’s driver, who had aspirations of becoming an anthropologist but got sucked into working as a mechanic for Los Panteros. Rounding out the quartet (of which you are the fourth member) is Kevin (pictured, left), a topless thrill-seeking DJ who, like his fellow Idols, loves wearing a Kawaii Cyberpunk helmet and wreaking havoc.

The player character is, as before, infinitely customizable — although it’s not clear how broad those options are. Deep Silver says that you’ll have access to the “most advanced suite” of customization tools ever seen in an open-world game.

One of the questions raised in the roundtable with the game’s developers was that of cultural appropriation. The six people made available for interview were all middle-aged white men, creating a game set in a region where a significant proportion of the population is Latinx or Hispanic. Creative director Jim Boone said that diversity was important, and there was an explicit focus on making the team producing the game as diverse as the characters in it.


Images taken from promotional material for 'Saints Row' (2022)

Deep Silver / Volition

In terms of what we can expect from the new title, Boone said that some of the major inspirations for this film came from the cinema. He cited three titles: John Wick, Baby Driver and Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbes and Shaw as key influences. From the first, you will be able to spot some of the brutality in the combat and some of the melee takedown moves are cribbed from the film’s action sequences. The experience of driving has been pulled from the second, while the third’s penchant for over-the-top action helped provide a baseline for how stunts would work in the new game.

There will also be a broad degree of Fast and Furious-inspired vehicle customization in which every playable ride can be fixed up. The desert that surrounds Santo Ileso, for instance, has plenty of rough terrain that can be used to crest dunes and chase or evade your enemies. Consequently, players can even jury-rig the game’s garbage truck as a heavy-duty off-road vehicle.

Playing together

Images taken from promotional material for 'Saints Row' (2022)

Deep Silver / Volition

Saints Row is coming to the PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox One and, for PC gamers, the Epic Games Store. The developers said that cross-platform co-op will be available from the start, and you can play the entire campaign through “untethered co-op play.” One thing that was mentioned was the ability to “prank” your co-op partner, stymying their progress in order to advance your own.

The elephant in the room

Images taken from promotional material for 'Saints Row' (2022)

Deep Silver / Volition

There are more than a few reasons why Volition chose to make Saints Row, rather than Saints Row V. Boone said that the classic series of games were very much “of [their] time,” with tastes and attitudes having moved on. And it can’t have helped that the company’s last attempt at a reboot, Agents of Mayhem, received lukewarm reviews and poor sales, forcing Volition to make layoffs in its wake.

Lead mission designer Jeremy Bernstein added that the original story, by the end of Gat out of Hell, had burned through all of its narrative runway. When your player protagonist has conquered Earth, ascended to Godhood and escaped hell, there’s not much you can do to top it. Bernstein compared the problem to the James Bond movies circa Moonraker, saying that once you’ve done James Bond In Space, the gritty realism of For Your Eyes Only is one hell of a tonal shift.

But is it still fun?

Images taken from promotional material for 'Saints Row' (2022)

Deep Silver / Volition

The team wanted to assure us that while the juvenilia that marked the previous series was gone, the irreverence would remain. Bernstein said that it would be pretty much impossible to make a “grimdark Saints Row game” for obvious reasons. And while the developers didn’t elaborate much on silly weapons, like the Penetrator (Saints Row The Third’s infamous Dildo Lance) and the Dubstep Gun (from Saints Row IV), they said one or two had made their way into the title. You’ll also, once again, be able to ragdoll yourself into traffic under the auspices of committing insurance fraud.

If I have a concern, it’s that I always found Saints Row a more enjoyable franchise than GTA because of the emphasis on fun. The challenges soon became repetitive, but the breadth of ways in which you could complete a mission (and the fun weapons) helped smooth the edges. The emphasis here, so far, has been on the difference between the new game and its predecessors, with less discussion on how fun it all is. Maybe that’s just savvy marketing, and the new title will be just as fun and silly as franchise diehards are hoping. But it’s something that I’d like to see more of, or else I’d get the feeling that the title may lose the one thing people are so desperate for it to have.

Saints Row is scheduled to launch on February 25th, 2022 for current and next-generation consoles.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Daniel Cooper

T-Mobile confirms data breach affects over 47 million people


As part of its ongoing data breach investigation, T-Mobile has confirmed the enormity of the stolen information. Roughly 47.8 million current and former or prospective customers have been affected by the cyberattack on its systems, the carrier confirmed on Wednesday. Of that number, about 7.8 million are current T-Mobile postpaid accounts and the rest are prior or potential users who had applied for credit, the company added in a press release

Worryingly, the data includes some personal information including the first and last names, date of birth, SSN, and driver’s license/ID information for a “subset of customers.” So far, T-Mobile said it does not have any indication that the stolen files contain phone numbers, account numbers, passwords or financial information.

What’s more, the company said about 850,000 active T-Mobile prepaid customers also had their names, phone numbers and account PINs exposed. The affected users do not include Metro by T-Mobile, former Sprint prepaid, or Boost users and T-Mobile said it has reset the PINs on these accounts. In addition, it claimed that “some additional information” from inactive prepaid accounts was accessed through prepaid billing files.

The findings from the carrier’s preliminary analysis come just days after it was notified of a data breach. Initially, it was reported that a member of an underground forum claimed to have obtained the data for over 100 million T-Mobile customers. The culprit was reportedly selling information of about 30 million T-Mobile customers for about $270,000 in Bitcoin. 

As part of its compensation and mitigation efforts, T-Mobile is offering affected customers two years of McAfee’s ID Theft Protection Service; recommending all postpaid users change their PIN; and setting up an online resource page. T-Mobile said that it began coordination with law enforcement on Tuesday as its investigation into the data breach — the third such attack it has suffered in the past two years — continues.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Saqib Shah

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