Around updates
Around updates
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Product Updates: Spooky 2021 Edition ๐ŸŽƒ ๐Ÿ‘ป


Whatโ€™s New ๐Ÿšจ

This latest release kicks off a new chapter for us at Around. In addition to improving our signature experience for video calls, we're also expanding our focus to include features that allow hybrid-remote teams to come together in different ways, whether it's co-working, happy hours, or recharge breaks. You can learn more about this in a note from our CEO.

Please give these new features a spin and let us know what you think. Your feedback is instrumental in helping us build a product that you'll continue to love far into the future. โค๏ธ


Happy Hour.jpg

  • Happy Hour
    Want to add some color to your next team hang or co-working session? Take the experience to new heights with our Happy Hour feature. Click New Happy Hour from the Lobby, choose your desired Vibe (Synthwave? Chillhop? Night Drive?) and get launched into an immersive Campfire Mode experience that includes a curated selection of musical playlists and gorgeous visuals. Throw a few GIFs and emojis into the mix and you're off to the races. ๐Ÿฅณ


Music & Vibes.jpg

  • You can also add Vibes to your existing meeting! Just click the Music & Vibes toggle ๐ŸŽต in the top-right of the Around meeting window and choose your Vibe. The user that starts the Vibe will see a dropdown toggle next to the active Music & Vibes icon which allows them to adjust the music volume, navigate between tracks, and pause the current track.


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  • Games
    Need a break? We've got just the thing for a recharge. Head to the Lobby and click Play to jump into a quick multiplayer game. Just share the game link to invite others to join you.

    The first game in our roster is Boom Party, where the objective is to use dynamite to eradicate other players until you're the last one standing. Dynamite can also blast through walls so you can clear a path to other players more quickly. There are power-ups you can collect, which may help or hurt your chances of winning. ๐Ÿงจ

    Use the arrow keys to navigate and press the space bar to drop dynamite on the tile youโ€™re standing on, but make sure to run away before it blows up and takes you out too. โ˜ 

    Note: More titles are coming in the future. Got a suggestion for a game you'd like to see? Let us know at community@around.co.


Icebreakers.jpg

  • Icebreakers
    Did that presentation deserve a round of applause? Or cheering from the stands?

    In addition to reacting with GIFs and emojis, you can now respond with Icebreakers, which are short audio reactions that can be heard by everyone in the meeting. Open the reactions panel by pressing T and then select an icebreaker from the right-hand menu.

    Tip: As with many things in life, Icebreakers are most effective and enjoyable when done in moderation. ๐Ÿ˜‰


Music & Vibes (1).jpg

  • Browser Floating Mode + Video Modes
    Two of our signature features are now available directly from your browser, so guests can also enjoy the Around experience without downloading the app. ๐ŸŽ‰

    Floating Mode hovers on your desktop and frees up your screen so you can easily get work done with others. Click the Floating Mode tab at the top of the window to pop your video out of your browser. Give it a try by switching tabs or using it on top of another application, like Google Docs or Figma.

    Video Modes (i.e. filters like Mai Tai or Gameboy) bathe you in liquid light and amp up the atmosphere to add energy to your sessions and get more done. Click in the center of your video circle to cycle through and find your favorite one.

  • Notes Available on Mobile
    Our latest mobile release (1.3) for Android and iOS comes with Notes! You can now collaborate on Notes with your team right from your device. And at the end of the meeting, those notes are sent directly to your inbox. ๐Ÿ’Œ


Quality and Performance Updates ๐ŸŒŸ

As Around matures from beta to 1.0, we are extremely focused on product quality, including battery usage, performance, CPU and memory usage, network stability and support for all popular devices and browsers. Please help us continue to improve Around by letting us know if youโ€™re experiencing any issues with quality and performance. You can email us at support@around.co.

Improvements

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  • EchoTerminator Updates
    As you may know, our EchoTerminator feature allows people in the same room with different devices to connect to the same meeting with all mics on and no echo. There's no need to keep yourself muted or any expensive A/V equipment required. It may not be magic, but it certainly feels like it.

    We are always working on new improvements to EchoTerminator. If you've tried it in the past and experienced issues, we'd love for you to take it for another spin. Thanks to your feedback (and a dash of coding magic), EchoTerminator users should now see better sync, as well as reduced CPU usage, battery consumption, and audio artifacts (i.e. unwanted hums or buzzing).

    Note: In order to work properly, all users in an EchoTerminator group must be using the desktop app.

  • Want to quickly remove your video mode without the need to cycle to the beginning? Simply right-click on your video circle and press Remove Filter
  • The Around Lobby has undergone a refresh to highlight our new Vibe and Play modes
  • We've taken some our most popular features and made them available through Slash Commands. From the reactions panel (T), simply type / to see what commands are available. With these commands, you can instantly ignite a fire in Campfire Mode or shrink your Around window with Minimal Mode. And /party-parrot is a surefire way to get the party started. ๐ŸŒˆ


Fixes

  • Many creepy crawlies have been stomped in this latest release, including bugs relating to performance, battery life and memory usage.


Let us know what you think ๐Ÿ’Œ

New features galore (and lots more to come)! Try a Happy Hour and play a couple rounds of Boom Party with your team, then go to your Lobby and click the Send feedback icon โœ‰๏ธ to let us know what you think. Don't be afraid to creep it real with us (we had to add at least one Halloween pun, sorry).

And for inquiring minds, never fear, recording is still on the roadmap and on its way!


One more thing ๐ŸŽ‰

To celebrate this release, we're selecting 5 people to receive the latest AirPods (3rd generation). All you have to do is take a photo or video of your team trying out one of our new features (Happy Hour/Vibes or Games) and post it to Twitter or LinkedIn (don't forget to tag us!). The deadline to enter is Tuesday, Oct 26 at 9 am PT.

That's all for now! Ping us at support@around.co if you run into any issues or just want to say dia dhuit. ๐Ÿ‘‹

Product Updates: September 2021 Edition ๐Ÿ”ฎ


Whatโ€™s New ๐Ÿšจ

Video and filters on mobile [WIP].jpg

  • Mobile Version 1.2 for iOS ๐ŸŽ‰: Now with 100% more video! By popular demand, video is now available on our mobile app (๐Ÿ‘‰download here), complete with our signature friendly circles, background cropping, colorful video modes, and Center Stage support on the latest iPad Pro. (Tip: Tap on your video circle to change the mode.)

    P.S. Video support for our Android friends is coming soon! ๐Ÿค–

Improved Screen Share performance [WIP].jpg

  • Improved Screen Share Performance: We've heard from you that screen sharing can be particularly resource-intensive, spinning up computer fans and slowing down performance. So we've rewritten our screen sharing pipeline from scratch to bring you a higher quality, better performing screen share experience.

Improved Screen Share performance [WIP] (1).jpg

  • Need to further reduce CPU usage during screen sharing? We automatically hide your personal Around interface for participants during screen sharing, however, we've now added the option to turn that off, which should free up some additional resources. You can do this by going to Preferences > Video and enabling Show my Around interface to viewers while screen sharing.


Improvements ๐ŸŒŸ

  • Non-face emoji reactions now sit in the bottom right of the video circle so they don't hide the participant's face
  • We now prevent some animations from running when the window is blurred or hidden to reduce CPU usage
  • Better annotation performance on retina displays


Fixes ๐Ÿ›

Here are some of the highlights:

Windows

  • Fixed an issue that caused a black square to appear under the Floating Mode window for some users
  • Fixed an issue that could cause a shared screen to appear blank

macOS

  • Fixed an issue that prevented a user's device from sleeping after using Around


Whatโ€™s Coming ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™€๏ธ

As Around matures from beta to 1.0, we are now extremely focused on product quality, including battery usage, performance, CPU and memory usage, network stability and support for all popular devices and browsers.

In the short term, you can expect more improvements to Around's performance and quality. And later this year we'll be adding the ability to record your meetings!

That's all for now! Ping us at support@around.co if you run into any issues or just want to say ใ“ใ‚“ใซใกใฏ. ๐Ÿ˜

Product Updates: August 2021 Edition ๐Ÿ”ฎ


Whatโ€™s New ๐Ÿšจ


Vertical Floating Mode.jpg

  • Vertical Floating Mode: And there was much rejoicing! You can now arrange your video circles vertically in addition to horizontally. Click the Floating Mode icon [B] to choose the layout that makes sense for how you work. Alternatively, while in Floating Mode, you can simply drag the window to the edge of the screen to switch layouts automatically.

Drawing on Screen Share.jpg

  • Annotations: Draw on and React to Screen Sharing: Another one of your most requested features is here! Enable drawing and emojis for everyone by toggling the corresponding buttons in the screen share toolbar. Now your team can give feedback on a design file or highlight areas they have questions about without interrupting the speaker. (P.S. It's also really fun.)

Note: This feature is only available when sharing the entire screen, not a specific window.

Safari and Firefox Browser Support.jpg

  • Join Meetings in the browser now including Safari and Firefox: Guest Mode is now available on Safari and Firefox (in addition to Chrome and Edge). Once you share a meeting link with a guest, they'll have the option to join from the browser without needing to download the app.


Improvements ๐ŸŒŸ

  • You can now start a meeting in the browser directly from around.co by clicking Open Around in Browser

  • Screen Sharing now shows 6 participant video circles (increased from 4)

  • When a user shares another URL from the same domain, their thought bubble will now flash to indicate the url has changed. This prevents confusion when the url is truncated and only shows the site domain

  • Minimal Mode toggle has been relocated to the bottom right of the Floating Mode window


Fixes ๐Ÿ›

Here are some of the highlights:

Windows

  • Fixed an issue that caused a black square to appear under the Floating Mode window for some users


Whatโ€™s Coming ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™€๏ธ

Our string of greatest hits continues with more of your most requested features on the way. Later this year we'll be adding the ability to record your meetings and video for the mobile app!


That's all for now! Ping us at support@around.co if you run into any issues or just want to say dobrรฝ den. ๐Ÿ˜

Product Updates: July 2021 Edition ๐Ÿ”ฎ


We're kicking off July with a list of requested improvements and fixes in preparation for a larger release coming soon.

Improvements ๐ŸŒŸ

  • Campfire for All: By popular demand, teams of any size (including teams of 1) can now ignite a roaring fire in Campfire Mode by clicking in the middle of the circular empty space a few times. We've also made the clickable area a bit bigger so it's easier to get your fire going. ๐Ÿ”ฅ

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  • Join Meetings in Browser: We've updated the pre-meeting messaging, so joining an Around meeting is easier than ever for people outside of your team. Once you share a meeting link with a guest, they'll have an option to join from the browser without needing to download the app. We currently support Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, with Safari and Firefox coming soon.

Join in Browser v2.jpg


Fixes ๐Ÿ›

Here are some of the highlights:

General

  • The Report an Issue dialog now loads properly
  • Notifications now show on the active display instead of always on the right-most display
  • Fixed a bug that prevented Copy Meeting Link from working while in Minimal Mode

macOS

  • Re-ordered the Apple Touch Bar video filters

Android

  • Fixed an issue where in-app notifications appeared in the middle of the screen


Whatโ€™s Coming ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™€๏ธ

Later this year, weโ€™ll be adding more of your top requests, including the ability to record your meetings, draw directly on a screen share, and vertical floating mode.


That's all for now! Ping us at support@around.co if you run into any issues or just want to say hallo. ๐Ÿ˜

Product Updates: June 2021 Edition ๐Ÿ”ฎ


Whatโ€™s New ๐Ÿšจ

  • Mobile App (iOS and Android): The Around experience you know and love is now available on mobile! Take your brain for a walk and stay connected with your team on the go with our mobile app, an audio-only experience optimized for collaborative walking meetings. ๐Ÿšถโ€โ™€๏ธโ˜€๏ธ

    With the mobile app, you can join or start an Around call, instantly handoff from computer to phone (and back), react or respond to conversations with chat messages, GIFs and emojis, share images from your camera roll and view high-res screen shares.

    Just like our desktop app, we've baked in AI noise suppression, meaning others on the call should only be able to hear the crystal-clear sound of your lovely voice. Feel free to try it near planes, trains, and automobiles (and any other outside noises!), and let us know what you think.

    Visit around.co/download from your mobile device to download the app now.

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  • Linux App (Beta): Bring Around to your wonderful devs with our Linux app! A link to the public beta and all the information you need to get started can be found here ๐Ÿง.

Linux [READY].jpg

  • Handoff: This may sound familiar: you start a call on your laptop, but need to take the dog for a walk or run an errand. ๐Ÿฆฎ By opening Around on another device and tapping Handoff, you can seamlessly transition your current call without interrupting the meeting. In addition to mobile, Handoff also works if you need to transition between computers or our web app.

Handoff [READY].jpg

  • Voice Channels: Just like Around has different modes for different types of meetings, we also realize there are times when you don't need the added pressure of video on. That's why we built Voice Channels (formerly called Audio Rooms). These can be created directly from the lobby and have all the room features you loveโ€ฆ but with 100% less video.

  • Minimal Mode: For those moments when you need every inch โ€“ or pixel โ€“ of screen real estate. Click the Enter Minimal Mode icon in the top right corner of your app to instantly shrink Around to its smallest footprint yet.

Minimal Mode [READY].jpg

  • Native Menus: The Lobby and Room magic menus have been replaced with device-native menus that are no longer obscured by the height of the floating window. Bonus tip: The new menus are a great place to find all of Around's helpful shortcuts. ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿผ

  • Choose your filter from your Touch Bar (Mac): Looking for an easier way to change video filters? Quickly browse through and select your video filter right from the Apple Touch Bar by tapping the ๐ŸŒˆ emoji.

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  • Face Mask Mode: Be heard clearly even while wearing a mask! Click the audio dropdown and select Enable Face Mask Mode to immediately improve muffled speech, making it easier for others to understand what you're saying. โœจ

Mask Filter [READY].jpg

  • Add your team to multiple Rooms: Instead of having to add a team member to each room individually, you can now generate an invitation which will give them access to any rooms you choose. From the Lobby, click on your avatar and select Setup Your Team to get started.


Improvements ๐ŸŒŸ

  • Now everyone can see at least 10 people in Campfire Mode
  • Increased screen sharing FPS when remote controlling screen
  • Audio pipeline tweaks to enhance playback volume
  • EchoTerminator improvements to mix participants with less distortion
  • Reduced app launch time
  • Updated chat UI to make it easier to read and copy messages
  • Switch to Floating Mode when using other apps will now only transition to Floating Mode from Campfire Mode


Fixes ๐Ÿ›

Here are some of the highlights:

General

  • Fixed a bug where a user's video could "bleed" at different resolutions
  • Fixed an issue where a user's circle could be shown multiple times

macOS

  • Disconnecting a monitor while a new notification is present will no longer push it out of position
  • Floating windows will now correctly appear over a full screen workspace in Split View
  • Stopping screen sharing on Big Sur will no longer briefly flash a system notification


Whatโ€™s Coming ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™€๏ธ

  • Vertical floating mode (the ability to stack your video bubbles vertically instead of horizontally)
  • Annotations (the ability to draw on the screen while someone else is in screen sharing mode)


Ping us at support@around.co if you run into any issues or just want to say bonjour. ๐Ÿ˜


Public Service Announcement: Don't forget to take a break today, whether that's going for a walk, enjoying nature, or being present. You deserve it. ๐ŸŒ๐Ÿง˜

Product Updates: May 2021 Edition ๐Ÿ”ฎ


Whatโ€™s New ๐Ÿšจ

  • Floating mode on top of fullscreen apps (Mac): By popular request, you can now use Aroundโ€™s floating mode on top of fullscreen apps in Mac.

  • Hide self-view 2.0: Based on your feedback regarding our recent hide self-view feature, weโ€™ve made some updates which will allow you to free up even more of your screen! With this new design for hiding self-view, weโ€™ve significantly reduced the size of your video circle and placed it off to the side, while still allowing you to see your own reactions and thoughts. Right-click on your video circle and select โ€œHide self viewโ€ or press โ€œVโ€ to try it out.

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  • CPU and battery life enhancements: Weโ€™ve made multiple improvements to our audio DSP, resulting in significant improvements to battery life and CPU utilization.

  • Alert sounds: You can now play a sound whenever someone joins a meeting. You can turn this on by going to your Lobby > Preferences > Audio > Play alert sounds.

  • Updated audio settings during a call: You can now choose your mic and speaker, disable audio output and see other audio settings in your current call. Just click the dropdown next to your mic icon.

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  • Updated camera settings during a call: By clicking on the dropdown next to the camera icon, you can choose a webcam, enable/disable camera framing/face zoom, hide your self-view or see more settings.

  • Redesigned preferences: Weโ€™ve completely updated our Preferences Menu in order to make all of our settings easier to find, which now includes:

    • Audio: Choose your mic and speaker input, as well as noise suppression level.

    • Video: You have the ability to choose your camera input, as well as disable camera framing/face zoom for all calls.

    • Account: Set your profile picture, personal information or add other sign-in methods.

prefs-2.png

  • Improved video capturing performance on macOS

  • Add fire to your Campfire Mode: Whatโ€™s Campfire Mode without a proper campfire? If you have 5+ participants in Campfire Mode, now you can just click in the middle of the circular empty space a few times to ignite a roaring fire. The more you click, the bigger it grows. But keep in mind: just like a real fire, you have to keep feeding it or else itโ€™ll burn out. (You may have to click around a few times, but you'll find it eventually!) ๐Ÿ”ฅ

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Fixes ๐Ÿ›

Here are some of the highlights:

General

  • Made some improvements to app loading time
  • Anyone will now be able to delete a shared image (instead of just the owner)
  • Fixed bug where you couldnโ€™t see someoneโ€™s cursor while they were screensharing
  • Fixed issue where clicking hyperlinks in Notes didnโ€™t work
  • Continued improvements to one-click links
  • Fixed bugs with sizing of GIFs and thoughts

macOS

  • Fixed bug on older Macbooks where video background was extending outside of the video circle itself

Windows

  • Fixed issue on older Windows devices where app was stuck on the loading screen and would not open


Whatโ€™s Coming ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™€๏ธ

  • Audio-only voice channels
  • Mobile app for Android and iOS
  • Linux app
  • Vertical floating mode (the ability to stack your video bubbles vertically instead of horizontally)


Give us a shout at support@around.co if you run into any issues or just want to say hola. ๐Ÿ˜

Product Updates: March 2021 Edition ๐Ÿ”ฎ


What's New ๐Ÿšจ

  • Google Calendar integration: We've made it easier to schedule meetings in Around! With our Google Calendar integration, you can now add your Around link to Google Calendar events with one click. Choose between a one-off meeting link or a specific room (e.g. "Manik's Party Planning Committee"). You can install the integration from your Around lobby or the Google Workspace Marketplace.

image.png

  • Hide self-view: We've added the ability to hide your own self-view, which can further reduce the fatigue associated with seeing yourself in video calls all the time. Turn this on by right-clicking on your own video > Hide self-view or by using the shortcut [V].

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  • Slack Team Room (beta): Instead of having to add members to your team room individually, we've auto-generated a room that anyone in your Slack workspace with the Around integration has access to (you'll recognize it by the little Slack icon). Great for daily stand-ups or all-hands!

For example, this is what it might look like for our friends at basement.studio ๐Ÿ‘‡

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Note: for existing teams, someone will have to reinstall the Slack extension and then the Slack team room will show up in everyone's lobby.

  • CPU performance improvements: We've made significant performance improvements, reducing CPU by as much as 20%. ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™€๏ธ

  • Pin specific people: Interested in keeping an eye on specific people's reactions while screensharing? You can do this by right-clicking on their bubble > Pin for me.

  • Mute for everyone: You can mute anyone on the call for everyone else by right-clicking on their bubble > Mute. ๐Ÿ”‡

  • Remove people: You can remove anyone from the call for everyone else by right-clicking on their bubble > Remove from meeting.


UX Improvements โœจ

  • Made icons for different statuses (e.g. microphone, EchoTerminator) less obtrusive
  • Easily show or hide the emoji/GIF panel when clicking on the text field
  • In-app notifications whenever someone joins/leaves a call or changes their mic/camera
  • End an ongoing meeting from the lobby as a room admin
  • Screensharing on Windows: We've added a yellow border so you know exactly what's being shared, in addition to removing the infamous black box that previously showed up as the Around overlay โ—ผ๏ธ๐Ÿ™…
  • Using Around with our Slack integration? Be the envy of all your teammates with a crystal ball as your call icon ๐Ÿ“žโ†’ ๐Ÿ”ฎ


Fixes ๐Ÿ›

So much bug stomping, so little space. Some highlights:

macOS

  • Admins and pro users can now download .dmg macOS builds for M1 and Intel chips for custom intracompany distribution
  • Fixed issue where rooms were not showing up in the lobby for some members
  • Fixed bug with requesting remote control twice in the same meeting
  • Native screensharing permissions dialogue is now properly shown over the information window
  • Fixed issue where 1-click universal links didn't show confirmation that they were activated

macOS and Windows

  • Fixed issue where users could not unmute in specific cases
  • Fixed issue where revoking Slack access affected the account
  • Major infrastructure improvements to permanently fix the root cause of two 30-min downtime periods


Drop us a line at support@around.co if you run into any issues or just want to say hi. ๐Ÿ˜

Now optimized for M1 Apple Silicon Macs!

 

New

 

 

Apple Silicon M1.jpg

We're excited to share that Around for macOS now supports the M1 chip natively. We have observed a much smoother frame rate for video and animations, as well as about 30% less CPU usage in various situations.

All users on M1 devices should have received the update automatically. You can confirm you are running Around on the Apple architecture by opening the Activity Monitor and checking the "Architecture" column.

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Need to download the app manually? Click here. Note: Our installer automatically chooses the best architecture for you (Intel or Apple).

As always, keep us posted if you run into any issues! Drop us a line: support@around.co.

Shared Rooms: Add people as room members

 

New

 

 

The more the merrier! ๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€โ™€๏ธWith our newest feature, you can now add people as members of specific rooms. What does this mean?

  • All members will see the room in their lobby, as well as see who else is in the room at a glance
  • As a member, you automatically skip the waiting room and can add more members
  • If there's an ongoing meeting in any of the rooms, the dock icon badge on macOS will display how many people are in the meetings

As you can see below, this is useful in the case of recurring meetings (e.g. daily stand-ups) or encouraging more casual, spontaneous interactions (i.e. see who's in the "The Creative Lounge," or "The Design Studio," and say hello!).

As you can see below, the Around team only uses these rooms for the most productive of meetings. ๐ŸŽฎ๐Ÿ˜…

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How to add members to a room:

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  • From the list of users, you can either add someone you've chatted with in Around recently, or you can send them a special invite link to become a member. (Note: the room link and the invite link are two different links with different purposes.)
  • From a security standpoint, you also have the ability to revoke and refresh the invite link, which invalidates the previous one.

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Excited for you to give this a spin! Please send any feedback to feedback@around.co - we can't wait to hear it.

Choose your emoji skin tone

 

New

 

 

You can now adjust the skin tone for your hand emojis! Go to your Lobby > Preferences.

๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฟ

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