Monday, March 7, 2016

45 Our Favorite Phone Apps To Simplify Daily Tasks

I have been a pen and paper girl for my entire life.  In high-school, I realized my joy for note taking, list making, calendar planning, journaling and letter writing.  That continued on through my corporate career and into my days at home as a mom and shop owner/blogger.  And although I don't see that changing until the day my old frail hands can no longer hold a pen... I do know that I should be doing a better job taking advantage of the technology we have available to us, and find ways to simplify some of our day-to-day tasks/routines with the help of my phone.




I found it very interesting that when I reached out to my amazing team of contributing writers, so many of them stated the same thing.  These gals are pen and paper enthusiasts as well, but they still had a few great apps to share with all of us today.

I am thrilled to start some discussion here about how using smartphone apps can help us stay organized in a variety of ways; whether it be by saving time, money or even sanity.

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"Wunderlist is an app that my husband introduced to me. I am famous for texting him to not so subtly beg him to swing by the grocery store on his way home from work. He grew tired of the texts and me adding one more item along the way. He found this and it's pretty genius. We are able to sync our phones and have a running grocery list. All I do is add what we need to this list. We are both alerted when someone adds something. No longer need to wonder text each other or remind one another what we are missing. We also use it for annual travels. Each year we go to Big Bear and always need certain items, so we have a list created for that. You can check things off the list but then the following year you can pull up the unedited full list. This saves us so much time and headache. It's really the only organizing app we use."

- Courtney, A Thoughtful Place Blog


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"I'm not huge on organizing apps, as I tend to be more of a paper-planner gal. However, one app that I use regularly and find indispensable is Pocket. It's basically a way to save information found on the web, in one convenient location that you can access on any device.

Before using Pocket, I had web pages bookmarked on my desktop computer as well as my phone, or I'd email things to myself, and it became confusing trying to remember where I'd stored something. With Pocket, I can bookmark an item from either my phone or desktop, and it saves to the one centralized location. Pocket is very easy to use - you can install it as a button on your browser and an app on your phone. It also allows you to tag items as you save them, so they're sorted into categories.

I use Pocket to keep track of products I've sourced online for decorating clients, articles I want to share on my Facebook page, recipes, and anything else personal that I come across online and want to file away for future reference. And, it's free! So... wanna keep it? Put it in your Pocket!"

- Karen, A House Full of Sunshine Blog

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"My favourite app right now is MINDBODY. I've tried so many different apps over the years, but often I go back to good old fashioned lists and diaries on pen and paper. I don't know what it is but I'm definitely not one who embraces all the technology that's out there. But MINDBODY has been so helpful, it's scored a permanent position on my phone.

In a nutshell, MINDBODY allows you to search and book all your fitness, wellness and beauty appointments in one little app. You can search for pilates classes in your area, and a place to get your brows waxed after. You book right through the app and it adds it all into your schedule (no double booking - yay!)  Basically it's online booking for all your beauty and health needs but you only have to visit one app - not a bunch of google searches and individual websites.

As a new mum with a baby, I just didn't have time anymore to call around trying to book in hair appointments, wax bookings and all those things that make you feel good. This app literally allows me to scan in just a few seconds available appointments in my area and book straight away. It's a lifesaver if you have a last minute booking you want to make. Need a blow dry or wax before an event? Go to MINDBODY. Have a spare couple of hours and want to relax at a yoga class? I find and book it at MINDBODY. But more than that, it keeps all of those wellness and grooming appointments organized when they're otherwise overlooked when life gets busy.

It also has a handy 'Deals' section where you can explore special offers for fitness studios, salons and spas in your area if you want to try somewhere new (and yep, it includes reviews from other customers so you know which places are the best!)

MINDBODY has saved me so much time already and introduced me to some great new businesses as well - plus it's free. Love it!"

- Serena, Pretty Fluffy Blog

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"Before I dish about how much I LOVE the Google Calendar app, I first want to say that I have always been someone who loved having a paper planner and preferred writing down my meetings, appointments, and general to-do lists on something tangible. I still love writing to-do lists and reminders on paper, but I do find that my google calendar has CHANGED my life because it allows me to juggle multiple calendars at once while also allowing me to share my calendars with the important people in my life. Plus I always have my phone on me, which means I always have instant access to my work, blogging, family, and personal calendars without the overflow of paperwork. Inside this mini calendar app, I have a color coded system which helps me organize my work/blog/family calendars easily. My husband can add an event into our family calendar, and that event will instantly show up on my calendar too. Casey, my blogging partner, has access to our blogging calendar, so when she adds a conference call or meeting date, I can instantly see it and plan accordingly! Plus, I even sneak in notes under some of the events, which helps eliminate me having to look back at old emails or invitations to get the details on the upcoming event (i.e.a restaurant's address, directions, general reminders, etc.). Seriously... LIFE CHANGING."

- Bridget, DIY Playbook Blog


"I started using Google Calendar not too long ago on my desktop as well as on my phone. I wish someone told me about this fantastic app before.  I am the kind of person who always shows up 5 minutes late.  I know, it's horrible, but I can't help my short brain. I can't tell you what a life changer Google Calendar app has been for me. I love the versatility of the app; I love that I can set my personal, kids, business, blog events and to-dos with different colors. Every time I open my app on my phone, I am delighted to see a colorful screen with all my events, reminders and to-dos shown. I can set reminders with e-mail or pop-up notifications, or I can even schedule video calls right in my calendar. As a business owner, a blogger, a mother of two and a crazy creative work/life, it is always a balancing act.  Thanks to Google Calendar I can organize all my craziness in one single app.  I highly recommend this fabulous app to everyone."

- Aniko, Place Of My Taste Blog


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"One of my favorite apps is called Our Groceries. I love it because it acts as a virtual shopping list for everything I need to buy when I'm out and about. The best part about the app is that you can sync it with other people in your family. So my husband and I both have the same lists on our phone, and we can each add items we need right on there for the other to see. It keeps us on the same page and prevents us from buying the same thing twice! We're also able to create multiple categories in the app. So we have a list for the grocery store, hardware store, craft store, and even a running to-do list of things we need to get done. It's simple, but keeps our household running smoothly."

- Casey, DIY Playbook Blog


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"Dropbox is a must - I keep the lion share of my files there so it’s nice to have them accessible on mobile or desktop no matter where I am working."

- Jen, The House of Wood Blog



"As a blogger, the single app I rely on the most is Dropbox. I am constantly shuffling documents, contracts, pictures and more across devices. So I can always have access to whatever I need on whatever device I'm using, I have Dropbox installed on my desktop computer, laptop, tablet and phone... and I am constantly passing documents back and forth to exactly where I need them. The reason I love Dropbox more than any other cloud service is that first, people can access Dropbox files without having an account. I can upload articles/files/pictures and send the link to a recipient and they are able to download the files without any issue, creating a password, logging in, etc. The other thing I love? I'm restricted by space, so I am constantly having to visit it, delete items out, and file things away in the correct (more permanent place). My Dropbox has essentially become my Desktop that is available to me everywhere!"

- Megan, The Homes I Have Made Blog


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"Well, if we're talking favorites, the one I spend way too much time on and get totally lost in is the bHome app where I can easily follow tons of my favorite decorating & DIY bloggers plus their social channels all from one convenient location...granted, I may be biased since you can also follow me there. Haha!

However, the app that takes the win for getting me organizationally is called Productive. It helps me build the habits I want by tracking my progress. I create my desired routine, and each day I get a prompt to accomplish those tasks. As a checklist girl, this is right up my ally. The best part? It shows when I'm on a streak! I tend to compete with myself to see how long a streak I can get while keeping up with those important tasks. For me personally, this means I actually kept the house clean, spent quality time with the kids, cooked healthfully, organized one thing per day, and had quiet time for myself! Crazy amazing right?"

- Ursula, Home Made By Carmona Blog


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IHEART THEM ALL!



"I am probably the opposite consumer Steve Jobs had in mind when inventing a smart phone, because I just don't use it to it's full capacity! But that doesn't mean I'm not completely reliant on my phone! I don't rely solely on a single app, but rather, it's an accumulation of all of them that makes my life so much easier. I pay bills directly through my bank, PayPal, and company apps, use the calendar to juggle our family schedule, access all my email accounts in one place, write myself lists and reminders in the Notes, stay connected with friends via Social Media, document our family life with photos and have books printed, check on travel status, buy movie tickets... All directly from my phone. Heck, I even track my monthly cycle on it! #tmi?"

- Cassie, Hi Sugarplum Blog


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"I don't use a lot of apps to organize yet, but I have shared my love for Artkive and Stylebook here on the blog a time or two.  I can also testify that Dropbox is amazing; I use it for blogging and family sharing every single day.  I also love it for traveling (as I shared here).

Another app that really helps me stay organized as a business is Expensify.  I love that I can use it to track all of my mileage as well as business expenses.  As I create a new expense entry, I can label it with specific categories to make report running easy.  I can also attach a correlating receipt or document (by taking a photo with my phone).  Although I use the app almost daily, I find it most beneficial while traveling for business.  I am able to key in all of my expenses as they happen; so if I have to grab a cab or eat a meal, I can input the details on the spot vs. when I return home from the trip.  Each quarter I can run reports by category to easily hand over the information to my accountant for tax purposes, which has made both of our lives much simpler.  The best part is that it syncs between my PC and my phone, so I always have my business details at my fingertips."

- Jen, IHeart Organizing Blog


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So there you have it!  One app that I have always been told I would love is Evernote.  I just recently downloaded it to my phone and computer, so I will try to do a follow up review on that app specifically.  I have a feeling it's going to be a good one.

Now, I am excited to hear about what apps YOU are currently crushing on.  These days phone capabilities seem quite endless and I know I should be taking more advantage of the little technology tool that I use to make calls and take pictures.  Being that there are hundreds of apps out there to choose from, I would love for you to chime in and share your favorite time, money and sanity saving apps.  Are there certain apps that have changed the way you live and simplified your life for the better?

45 comments:

  1. My colleague recommended also wunderlist to me, I really should try it, too :)
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    www.dressedwithsoul.com

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    Replies
    1. I think you'll love it! I hope you try it out. My hubby had to convince me to give it a try. xo

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    2. We love Wunderlist too! My husband and I share some lists like Target, Costco, Trader Joes, and I have some private lists for myself like Books to Read, Movies to watch. I can see it being a benefit with my high schooler soon, as he's always needing/wanting something. Or maybe that's opening a can of worms! ;)

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  2. I love love love Momentum. it's been helping me keep my daily habits in check and I've been changing my lifestyle because of it!

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    1. There are a few 'Momentums' when I search for it. Is there a specific one to look for? Thanks!!

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  3. I cant live without Feedly. I read about 300-500 different blogs post daily in one place. Another essential app is pinterest where i pin webpage in various boards ie food recipe, scrapbooking, paper craft and can access to it via desktop pc or mobile.

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  4. I haven't tried any of these apps. I used to use dropbox but now i use Photobucket it is so much easier :)
    Emmy | Emmys Beauty Cave | Bloglovin

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  5. That grocery app looks identical to one I use called ShoppingList. I love that I can organize by store section, and automatically sync to my husbands phone, so I can make the list but send him to the store.

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  6. I like 'Mint' for organizing my personal finances. All my cards/accounts sync with it, and it's my best budget tracking tool. I also like 'My Fitness Pal' to track my food log.

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  7. The apps I use most on a daily basis are OurGroceries, our credit card and credit union apps, and YNAB--the most amazing budgeting program ever. YNAB especially is the single best thing we've ever done for our finances AND our marriage!

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    Replies
    1. I agree! YNAB rocks our world. We always know how much money we have in each category and make sure that money is going to our priorities, not just disappearing.

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  8. I got real excited about the Productive App, but it's only available for Apple. Does anyone have a recommendation for Android users?
    Dropbox, BlogLovin, Pinterest, Etsy... those are my go-to apps, but I guess they're not all there to simplify my life! :-)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Michelle,
      I've heard Rewire and HabitBull (both habit tracker apps) are much like Productive, but for Android. I have no experience with them, but I've heard good things... ;)

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    2. I downloaded HabitBull two days ago and love it. It allows you to track 5 habits and decide if you have met your goal for the day by a simple yes/no or a number (e.g. 8 glasses of water). You can also adjust reminders for each habit (every hour for water, at 7pm to take a walk, etc.). The notifications are also fun--it might say "Howdy! Time to exercise!"

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  9. I use Cozi to keep both the family calendar and grocery list and (on PC) our meal plan. I can drop items right from the meal plan into the grocery list. My husband and kids can all access/update the calendar and the grocery list which is nice.

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  10. I absolutely love Evernote!! I use it for so much. Here's an example of some of the notebooks on my Evernote: Recipes, Price book, Shopping recommendations (from magazines), List of weekly sales from grocery stores, our movie list, recipes, Attic tote list, Craft supply list, Medicine cabinet, Websites to check out, Shopping list. My favorite notebook is my recipe one, I have all my regular recipes in a notebook so when I am at the grocery store I can look up what I need. For my price book, I just take pictures of the labels at the stores, easy peasy.

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  11. Cool! Installing Wunderlist and Expensify right now!
    -Kristen
    www.pugsandpearls.com

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    Replies
    1. Yay! Hope you love Wunderlist as much as we do!!!

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  12. Evernote! You're going to love it. Say goodbye to those favorite magazine pages just laying around ;)

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  13. I just downloaded bHome and love it! Lots of fabulous home sites to browse! I followed you Carmona. Thanks for the recommendation! I was excited about Productive too, but it's not available for Android yet.

    My favorite app for lists is ColorNote. Simple listmaking synced across multiple devices. It's great!

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    Replies
    1. So glad you love bHome! Thanks so much for following!
      I've heard good things about Rewire and HabitBull for Android as an alternative to Productive. Never used those two, but maybe it's worth looking into. ;)

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  14. - evernote for my recipes
    - sunrise calendar
    - todoist (liked this one better than wunderlist)
    - pinterest

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  15. I love organizing apps! It was fun to read through this list and see what everyone uses. I am an obsessive Evernote user. I use it to store all kinds of lists, primarily my grocery list (synced with my hubby) plus I use it to store master to-do lists divided by area of my life. I still love a paper daily to-do list, but keeping an ongoing master to-do list electronically is awesome for storing everything in one place. I'm a big fan of all things Google and use Google calendar and Google Drive all the time. I could go on and on, but these are definitely my favorites!

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  16. Such an awesome list! I definitely need to check out a few of these. I really like Evernote - it's a great place to store random ideas, lists etc. I also love Pinterest for recipes and decor ideas.

    Nicole @ The Professional Mom Project

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  17. Great ideas. I'm now going to try out Wunderlist and Productive. I think they will both be really helpful to me. Thanks everyone for sharing these apps.

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    Replies
    1. I hope you love it as much as we do! Wunderlist has become our go-to for sure!

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  18. My fave app for organizing travel is Trip It. It's fantastic! All you do is forward your flight/hotel/ticket email confirmations to the Trip It email address and it creates an itinerary for you. You don't even have to do anything!
    It is especially great if you are organizing long trips with several stops and different plane/train/bus legs.
    Not only does it put everything in order, it saves the address and contact details (of say, your hotel) and puts everything into a map.
    You can share your itinerary with others and they can either add to it, or just view it.
    It was invaluable when my husband and I spent 3 months traveling across South America, and our parents could follow along at home.

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  19. Gathered table is the best for meal planning, grocery shopping, pantry inventory & recipes! You can import recipes from anywhere, tweak them however you like, and put them into your meal plan. They give you nutrition info, you can set the frequency or season you want this to show up in and it can automatically plan meals for you (if you want).. it's a lifesaver!

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  20. bHome is the app for me. I enjoy it for the ease of use, the BEAUTY & inspiration and convenience of having my favorite blogs & magazines in one place in my hand. As a blogger I use it to share across all social media with one TAP. TAP the arrow under any image to share. And the app regularly messages me with fantastic give aways - like the one for an original painting just last week!

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  21. Heather AivalotisMarch 8, 2016 at 10:58 AM

    I have downloaded and tried many apps to find a calendar app that also included a task list, synced to an online version and also was able to be shared. I finally settled on Google calendar and Gtasks. They are separate apps, but sync together online. We own a business and have 3 little kiddos to keep on schedule. These apps are lifesavers for us!

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  22. One app I use ALL the time is Keep. It's easy to make lists, change titles and colors, have them be checklists or notes. It's a super simple and streamlined way to keep all my shopping and to-do's organized and handy. I also love that I can use it on my phone, or my tablet, or my computer, and everything synchronizes.

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  23. My favourite app is Google photo. It syncs all my photos from my computer, laptop and phone all in one place. My favourite thing about it is the app is free and unlimited storage. I can also organize all my photos in different categories.

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  24. I love using Swipes. As a list-maker, it helps me to organize things into what needs to be done now and what can wait until later. I also love that you can "snooze" things to a specific time- that helps me remember to bring things to work, pick up prescriptions, call people back... it's great!

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    Replies
    1. I love swipes too. I recently started using any.do though. A lot like swipes but more organized.

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  25. I love Evernote! I also have a price book notebook. I also keep a running list on here making note of bills payed (I use a template that I copy and paste to a new notebook each month) and also any big expenses for the month. I also use it for my fitness: I keep track of all my weight lifting PR's and running/rowing times, etc.

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  26. Apps I love:
    Evernote, it has so many capabilities.
    Swipes
    Any.do (best list/to do app I've used so far)
    Upkeep (it helps you keep track of when you did things last, such as changing the air filter, and reminds you when it's time to do it again, brilliant! And totally customizable)
    Mint

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  27. Thank you so much for writing this post! I always feel a little overwhelmed when choosing apps. It helps to hear from actual people and how the app has changed and improved the way they do things. I am still much more of a paper person, but I look forward to giving a few of these a try!

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  28. There are a few select apps that I use all the time: Cozi, TeamSnap, my banking app, and Calm.com for meditation. I do appreciate learning about the tried and true, because I like making my life easier. Still, there's nothing quite as clarifying as getting it all out on paper, is there?

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  29. Some folks already mentioned Mint but I have to say that organizing friends like you all NEED to use card star. It has simplified my purse and wallet. Basically, all rewards cards numbers and bar codes are stored in your card star account on your phone. So all you have to do is open it at the register I stop dealing with a packed wallet. It will even alert you to what stores in the vicinity you have a rewards card too. It's great!

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  30. I have been using Evernote for about 3 months - got it after reading glowing reviewed of it EVERYWHERE! And I definitely see why. Although I use Google Calendar on my laptop, I have the Week Cal app on my phone which syncs with all sorts of other calendars. I love though that it has 7 different option for viewing your calendars!! (year, month, mini month, week, agenda, day and list & search). I have had it for years and wouldn't know what to do without it! And even though I use Evernote a ton, I use Paperless as my list app - so many options, cute icons to add to lists, etc. I think that was one of the first apps I got when I switched to iPhone so many years ago, and it's one of my favorites. :-)

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  31. My husband and I started using Wunderlist right after we read your post, and love it already. No more texting back and forth at the food store. I downloaded Google calendar, and am still trying to get the hang of it. Thank you!

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  32. My husband and I use Anylist, which sounds a lot like Wunderlist. We LOVE it. Have a grocery list, spring clean up list, fall clean up list, and then more specialized lists like "things to be done before hosting Mothers Day Brunch". It's a game changer.

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  33. I'm so excited to look at all of these! Thanks for sharing!!

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  34. What great apps! Going to try a few new ones. I love Evernote and bHome. Waiting in a grocery store line is not time wasted with bHome!

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  35. I love Paprika! Stores recipes, allows me to plan menus, creates grocery lists & syncs reliably to iPad, iPhone, Macbook Pro. I travel between 2 homes each week and it's so great to have all my recipes with me no matter where I am!

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