Firefox 66.0 Release Information

Firefox 66.0 will be released on March 19, 2019 to the Stable channel. The new Firefox version introduces new features such as sound autoplay blocking, a new storage format for extensions to improve performance, or support for the AV1 codec on Windows.
All versions of the web browser receive upgrades: Firefox Stable to version 66, Firefox Beta to version 67, Firefox Nightly to version 68, and Firefox ESR to 60.6.
Our release information guide offers detailed information. It covers major and minor changes, developer related changes, known issues, and security information.
Read up on the Firefox 65.0 release if you missed it.
Executive Summary

Firefox blocks autoplaying sound by default.
Support for AV1 codec on Windows and Windows Hello on Windows 10.
New extension storage format to improve performance and reduce memory usage.

Firefox 66.0 download and update

The distribution of Firefox 66 starts today. Firefox users should receive update notifications automatically when they run the web browser.
Those who don’t want to wait for the browser to pick up the update automatically, can run a manual update check or download the stable version from official sources to install it manually over the old version or anew.

Firefox Stable download
Firefox Beta download
Nightly download
Firefox ESR download
Firefox unbranded builds information

Firefox 66.0 Changes
Autoplaying audio is blocked by default

Mozilla Firefox 66 will block autoplaying (audible) sound on web pages that you visit. Mozilla plans to roll out the feature gradually starting with the release of Firefox 66.
Firefox users may whitelist sites to allow them to play autoplay media with sound.

You can enable or disable the feature, and manage exceptions in the following way:

Load about:preferences#privacy in the Firefox address bar.
Scroll down to the Permissions section.
Check or uncheck “Block websites from automatically playing sound” to enable or disable the feature.
A click on Exceptions gives you options to add sites to the list of exceptions to allow them to play sound automatically.

Extensions switched to a different storage type to improve performance

One of the major changes in Firefox 66 is a change in how extension’s store data in Firefox. The switch from JSON to IndexedDB should improve performance and reduce memory usage at the same time according to Mozilla.
Especially extensions that make “small changes to large structures”, e.g. content blockers, benefit from the change.
The migration happens automatically in the background, user interaction is not required.
Other changes

Support for AV1 codec is activated on Windows by default.
Windows Hello support on Windows 10.
Scroll anchoring support prevents content from jumping around while the page loads when the user scrolls during that time.
Certificate error pages have been redesigned to “be more useful” to users of the Firefox web browser.
New option to search all tabs from the tab overflow menu when too many tabs are open in Firefox to display all at once.
The number of content processes has been raised to 8 (from 4). The move should improve performance, reduce the crash rate, and increase memory.
Users may now override keyboard shortcuts that extensions support (and set) from about:addons. To do so, go to about:addons and select “Manage extension shortcuts” from the cogwheel menu on the page.
The Private Browsing window features a search field in Firefox 66.
Basic support for mac OS Touch Bar.
Pocket experiment to test different layouts and “more topical content”.
System title bar hidden by default under Gnome.

Firefox 66.0 known issues
None listed.
Developer Changes

Reduced memory usage when extensions load objects from storage into memory.
Scroll anchoring implemented.
DevTools Inspector may be used fully if the Debugger is paused.
Priority of setTimeout and setInterval lowered during page load to improve performance.

Firefox 66.0 for Android

Sound autoplay blocking functionality implemented in Firefox for Android.
Scroll anchoring support.
Files from external storage may be opened now.

Security updates / fixes
Security vulnerabilities and patches issues are revealed after the release. We will add a link once Mozilla publishes those.
The next stable release is Firefox 67, scheduled to be released May 14, 2019.
Additional information / sources

Firefox 66 release notes
Firefox 66 Android release notes
Add-on compatibility for Firefox 66
Firefox 66 for Developers
Site compatibility for Firefox 66
Firefox Security Advisories
Firefox Release Schedule

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Block Helpdesk and Chat popups in your browser

Hello Goodbye is a new browser extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox that blocks helpdesk and chat popups on websites that you visit.
Many sites, especially those that offer services or sell products online, implement helpdesk or chat functionality on their sites to interact with customers.
While that is useful at times, for instance when you want to interact with a company, it is quite annoying all the other times that these popups are displayed in the browser window. These popups may be distracting and they may block part of the content on a site. Additionally, they add to the loading time of the site and they may even be used for tracking if they originate from third-party domains.
Hello Goodbye

Hello Goodbye is available for Chrome and Firefox, and as a filter list. Since it is available for Chrome and Firefox, it will also work in compatible browsers such as Vivaldi or Opera. The filterlist is useful for users who use content blockers like uBlock Origin as they may simply add the list as custom filters to use it that way without installing yet another extension in the browser of choice.
The filterlist approach is also useful to users who don’t run a compatible browser but can use filter lists to block content.
The extension works automatically on all sites regardless of whether you use the extension or filter list. The filter list highlights the connections that get blocked by the extension.
The developer claims that it blocks every chat or helpdesk pop up in the browser; a bold claim that is probably not true. It does block major services effectively, however and it is easy enough to add more domains to the filter list manually for use.
Users who use the extension may want to suggest new domains to block on the project’s GitHub page. The extension does not indicate whether a live chat bubble or popup was blocked on the active page; that’s a problem as this would help you in case you need to contact support.
You may disable the extension with a click on the extension icon and the selection of disable. A whitelist would probably be a good idea to allow the loading on specific domains.
Closing Words
The filter list is useful, and so are the extensions. It is easy enough to add the filters to a content blocker or create your own filters using them. Regardless of whether you use the extension or the filter list directly, it is clear that the extension does away with a huge annoyance on today’s Internet.
Not all users are exposed to chat or helpdesk bubbles and popups regularly or frequently, and the extension is probably not for them. Those who encounter these regularly however, may want to give it a try.
Now You: Which annoyances would you like to block on the Web?
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Rufus 3.5 with Windows 10 and 8.1 download option

The next version of Rufus, a small portable tool to create bootable USB Flash drives, includes an option to download the Windows versions Windows 10 or Windows 8.1.
Rufus is a popular lightweight tool to create bootable Flash drives, e.g. to install Windows or Linux on another computer system.
The process is very simple and straightforward: start Rufus, select an ISO disk image that you want to use to create the bootable Flash drive, connect the Flash drive, and hit the start button to begin the process.
Rufus offers a selection of configuration options, e.g. to select the partition scheme GPT or MBR, or file system on the Flash drive.
Check out our review of Rufus 3.0, an updated review of the 2018 release.
Rufus 3.5

Rufus 3.5, available as a Beta right now, adds a download option to the program. You had to download the ISO image manually previously before you could make use of Rufus; this process changes with the release of Rufus 3.5, at least for Windows installations.
The Select button in the program interface features a small down arrow icon that you may activate to switch between “select” and “download” when “Disk or Iso image (Please select)” is selected under “Boot selection”.
Rufus downloads a PowerShell script when you select the download option (you have to click on the download button after selecting it to start the process) and starts it.

The script displays the available ISO images that you may download. Rufus supports official versions from Microsoft only, and displays the available operating system versions after you select Windows 8.1 or Windows 10.
Selections are quite good: you may download Windows 10 version 1809, 1803, 1707, and even earlier versions of Windows using the new download options.
You are then asked to select the edition that you want to download. For Windows 10, Windows 10 Home/Pro, or Windows 10 Education were offered. For Windows 8.1, regular and Professional were offered (plus special versions such as Windows 8.1 N).
You need to select the interface language in the last step.
Tip: The Fido script is available as a standalone PowerShell script as well. If you just want to grab that, you can do so here on GitHub.
The script downloads the selected ISO image from Microsoft. Make sure that you have enough free disk space to store it on the device.  Once downloaded, you may create a bootable USB drive using the downloaded ISO image.
Closing Words
The selection menu was displayed only on one device that I ran Rufus on while it was not displayed on another. Rufus 3.5 is available as a beta currently and bugs like this are to be expected. If you run into the same issue you may download the PowerShell script manually and run it to get a Windows ISO image that way.
The integration of download options for Windows ISO images is a welcome addition to Rufus. It should make the program more useful even though it is not too hard to visit the official Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 download pages on the Microsoft website to download the images manually.
All in all a welcome change. The developers should consider adding options to download certain Linux distribution ISOs as well in upcoming releases.
Now You: Do you use Rufus or similar programs? (via Deskmodder)
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A look at Windows Defender Application Guard extension for Firefox and Chrome

Microsoft released the extension Windows Defender Application Guard for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox recently.
Windows Defender Application Guard is a security feature designed to load untrusted sites and services in a lightweight virtual machine. It requires Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise at the time of writing, and works in standalone and Enterprise-managed modes. It requires at least Windows 10 version 1803.
The new browser extension brings Application Guard functionality to the third-party browsers Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
Windows Defender Application Guard extension

Installation is slightly more complicated than installing another browser extension. The main reason for that is that you need to make sure that Application Guard is turned on as a feature on the device, and that you have installed the Microsoft Store companion app as well.
In other words: you may need to install three different applications before you can make use of it.
The following steps are required:

Enable Windows Defender Application Guard on the device if it is not turned on already. Make sure the system meets the hardware and software requirements.
Install the Windows Defender Application Guard companion application from the Microsoft Store.
Install the Google Chrome extension or the Mozilla Firefox add-on.
Enterprise-only: Define network isolation settings to define a list of trusted sites that you may access using Chrome or Firefox.
Restart the device.

Using the extension

The extension highlights if all requirements are met after installation. You should see three green lights indicating that the device is compatible, that the companion app is installed, and that Application Guard is turned on.
How the extension is used depends largely on the edition of Windows 10.
Note: You may want to turn off diagnostic data collecting that is enabled by default. Just click on the extension icon and toggle “Allow Microsoft to collect diagnostic data” to do so.
Standalone mode
Windows 10 Pro users and Enterprise users who choose standalone mode get very little out of the extension as it does not work automatically in that mode.
All you can do, really, is to click on the extension icon and there on the “New application guard window” button to start a new Application Guard instance of Microsoft Edge.
More comfortable than having to launch Application Guard instances from Microsoft Edge manually, but not by much and probably not worth the hassle of installing the extension and Microsoft Store application.
Enterprise-managed mode
Enterprise administrators have additional configuration options that automate the experience. All that is required for that is to set up network isolation settings; these define trusted sites, e.g. an IP address range, that users may access using the third-party browsers the extension is installed in.
Any site not on the trust list is automatically redirected to the Microsoft Edge Application Guard instance.
When users navigate to a site, the extension checks the URL against a list of trusted sites defined by enterprise administrators. If the site is determined to be untrusted, the user is redirected to an isolated Microsoft Edge session. In the isolated Microsoft Edge session, the user can freely navigate to any site that has not been explicitly defined as trusted by their organization without any risk to the rest of system.
Microsoft plans to extend the functionality by loading trusted sites opened in the Application Guard instance in the third-party browser.
With our upcoming dynamic switching capability, if the user tries to go to a trusted site while in an isolated Microsoft Edge session, the user is taken back to the default browser.
Closing Words
The Windows Defender Application Guard extension is a useful browser extension for Enterprise environments in which supported third-party browsers are permitted.  It seems less likely that it will see a lot of traction on Pro devices though due to the limitations.
Now You: Do you use Application Guard or other browsing virtualization services?
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Making Ctrl, Shift, and Cmd clicks on Link work all the time

Link Fixer is a browser extension for the Firefox and Chrome web browsers designed to fix sites that override the default link activation behavior in the browsers.
Firefox and Chrome users have plenty of options when it comes to opening links: left-clicking, right-clicking and using the context menu, middle-clicking, or holding down modifier keys such as Ctrl-key or Shift-key before activating links.
For those who need a refresher: Ctrl-clicking or Cmd-clicking (Mac) links opens the link targets in a New Tab in the same browser window, Shift-clicking opens link targets in a new browser window instead.
These options work well most of the time; some sites, however, use scripts to change the default link activation functionality of the browser. You may notice that modifier keys may not work properly when you activate these links.
The issue is not new; there is a support request from 2013 on the official Mozilla Firefox website and a support request on SuperUser by users who could not get modifier clicks to work on specific sites.
Link Fixer to the rescue

The Firefox add-on and Chrome extension Link Fixer has been designed to restore the default behavior of Ctrl, Shift, and Cmd clicks on links in the browser
The default behaviour of ctrl+click, shift+click and cmd+click when clicking on links is to open the link in a new tab or new window. This behaviour is sometimes broken by careless developers. This add-on restores the default behaviour, ensuring the modifier keys are always respected.
All you need to do is install the extension to do so. The extension does not add an icon to the Firefox or Chrome toolbars nor does it come with any options. There is no need for that since it works well without any of that.
The extension is designed for users who visit websites regularly that block modifier keys from working correctly (either on purpose or by accident). Users who encounter the issue only sporadically or not at all may have no use for the extension though.
The extension is open source. You find its source code and bug tracker on GitHub. There you also find direct links to the extension repositories to install the extension in the browser of choice. Firefox or Chrome compatible browsers should install the extension fine as well.
Now You: How do you open links in your browser of choice?
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CCleaner Free update introduces Tools menu Popup annoyance

The most recent update for the temporary file cleaning and system maintenance software CCleaner, CCleaner 5.5.5, introduced a new Software Updater tool.
Software Updater scans installed programs on Windows PCs to make sure that they are up to date. The program checks for new versions and informs the user about these new versions.
CCleaner’s Software Update tool is available in free and professional versions of the desktop application but it is fully functional only in the Professional version of the application.
The free version of CCleaner features the Software Updater entry in the Tools menu but it is feature limited as it reports outdated versions only but gives users no option to update the programs using the tool’s functionality.
The selection of “update” or “update all” displays the “you’ll need to upgrade to use Software Updater” popup.

All of that would not be much of a problem; it is not uncommon for companies to highlight features of a paid version of a program in the free version. In this particular case, however, it is.
Piriform decided to bind a popup notification to the Software Updater tools menu. The popup is displayed if Software Updater is selected. Problem is, the company decided to make Software Updater the default tool in the Tools category.
Means: if you select Tools, you get the popup that advertises the upgrade to CCleaner Professional. There is no option to make another tool the default tool or to block the popup from being displayed.
The popup is displayed only once per session but it is displayed in every session, at least for now. If you use the Tools menu regularly, you will get the popup once in each session.
Closing Words
Piriform introduced advertising popups in CCleaner 5.44 and has been using them ever since to push CCleaner Professional versions. The company ran software bundling experiments previously as well to increase revenue.
I’m not a fan of nag screens. While I understand the need to sell professional licenses, I’d very much appreciate it if Piriform would display these popups less frequently or introduce an option to disable them entirely.
These popups may annoy some users enough to switch to a different program such as Bleachbit or use one of these methods to free up space which come without these annoyances.
Now You: Do you use CCleaner?
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How good is CCleaner Professional's new Software Updater?

The most recent version of CCleaner Professional comes with a new Software Updater tool designed to inform the user about outdated program installations.
Software updates are a complicated thing on Windows as there is no central repository available. Some programs come with custom build updating routines, others come without them.
Keeping software up to date is essential (most of the time) as updates may patch security vulnerabilities, incompatibilities, and other issues.
Programs that scan for outdated programs on Windows are anything but new. Programs like SUMO or UpdateStar have been around for over a decade. Developers of security solutions, for example Avira and Kaspersky, introduced options to check for software updates as well.
CCleaner Software Updater

Piriform, an Avast company, introduced the Software Updater in version 5.55 of the application released in March 2019. The tool is included in the Professional version of CCleaner only at this point in time.
You may access it with a click on Tools > Software Updater after you have made sure that you run at least CCleaner Professional 5.55.
The application lists outdated programs in its interface when you select the tool. It lists the program name, size, the installed version and the new version that is available.
The Software Updater detected fewer out of date programs than comparable software updaters such as Sumo. CCleaner Professional detected 18 programs with updates, Sumo 35.
Note: The tool may hang if you hit the “update all” button without selecting at least one program first.
What you can do currently

The only options provided at the time are to select programs and to update the selection. There is no option to visit the developer website to find out more about an update, nor are there options to ignore updates or minor updates, include beta versions, or uninstall a program.
The updating happens in CCleaner; that is comfortable and probably preferred by the majority of users (Sumo redirects to its own website from where you may download the updates).
CCleaner Professional does not indicate from where the updates are downloaded, however. It would be great if the program would indicate that to the user.
CCleaner downloads the installer and runs it automatically. It is still necessary to complete the installation manually at this point; silent installations don’t seem to be supported.
The application displays a “completed” message in the end and buttons to restart the PC or ignore the restart option for the moment.
Closing Words
CCleaner Professional’s software updater is a useful but limited tool. The Software Updater makes it easy to update software that CCleaner has in its database. The database of supported applications could be larger though, and it would certainly benefit from improved functionality on top of that.
No false positives were detected during tests; this worked properly.
Now You: Do you use Software Updaters? If so which? If not, why not?
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Firefox Send file sharing service launches officially

Firefox Send, a file sharing service by Mozilla, maker of Firefox, is now available officially. Mozilla launched Firefox Send as a Test Pilot project in 2017; the first experiment that launched as a web service with accompanying browser extension.
Firefox Send allowed users to upload files to the service so that they could be shared with others. Files would be encrypted automatically by Firefox Send to protect the data from unauthorized access.
Mozilla retired Test Pilot in early 2019 but many of the projects lived on either as browser extensions or as standalone web services.
Firefox Send

Firefox Send is a free file sharing service that anyone may use; a copy of Firefox is not required to use it. Just point any modern web browser to to get started.
You may add files with a total size of up to 1 Gigabyte as an unregistered user for sharing. The file size limit increases to 2.5 Gigabytes for registered users. Firefox account owners may sign in using the account, and anyone else may sign up for a Firefox Account to share up to 2.5 Gigabytes and may also manage uploaded files from other devices and change expiration limits. Creation of an account is free; there is no paid version.
You may drag and drop files that you want to share with others on the Firefox Send site or use the upload button to use the file browser to pick files instead.

All selected files are displayed with their name and file size after selection. Firefox Send displays the total file size and options to add more files to the queue.
Uploaded files expire automatically after a set period or a set number of downloads. The default expires them after one download or after the first 24 hours. You may raise the limits to up to 100 downloads or 7 days. Downloads may expire as early as 5 minutes after a successful upload.
Password protection is the only other option provided. Firefox Send uses end-to-end encryption to protect files; adding a password improves the protection further.
Note that some configuration options require a Firefox Account. You need an account if you want to increase the allowed number of downloads or change the time the uploaded files are available. Password protection works without account, though.
Firefox Send displays a link after the upload that you may copy. Firefox Send users without account may terminate the link at any time if they use the same device and don’t leave the page that lets them do so.

You still need to share the link somehow if you want others to download the files.
Closing Words
Firefox Send is a useful service to share files. You may use it to share files with others, or upload files for personal use instead. The use of end-to-end encryption and password protection makes the service very useful for that, and the size limit should be fine for most file sharing purposes.
The service is ad-free and free to use for anyone at the time. Preventing unlimited downloads and downloads that don’t expire makes the service unattractive for large scale file sharing purposes.
Sören Hentzschel notes that the first beta version of the Firefox Send Android app may be released as early as next week.
Now You: Do you use online services to share files?
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Lite Page provided by Google in Google Chrome

Google revealed information about a new Chrome for Android feature called Chrome Lite Pages in a blog post on the Chromium website that extends the capabilities of the browser’s Data Saver feature.
Lite Pages are designed to make pages load faster in Chrome if the network conditions are unreliable or if the connection speed is very slow.
Google claims that Data Saver, a data saving feature of Chrome that users need to activate before it becomes available, saves up to 90% of data and makes pages load up to two times faster.
Real-world tests suggests that most users won’t see such impressive savings but that Data Saver may indeed speed up the loading of sites opened in Chrome for Android.
Data Saver worked only with HTTP pages up until now which made it less useful with every passing month as the Internet as a whole is moving from HTTP to HTTPS in rapid pace.
Starting with Google Chrome 73, Chrome’s Data Saver supports HTTPS sites but that is not the only change.
Tip: Install the Data Saver extension for desktop Chrome to use it there as well.

Google Chrome for Android indicates to the user if a Lite version of a page has been loaded while Data Saver is active. Users should see “Lite” next to the address of the page, and they may tap on it to display additional information and get an option to load the original page from the website.
Google notes that its Chrome browser will disable Lite page functionality on select pages if a user opts-out of Lite pages frequently.
The optimizations are applied only under severe network conditions. Connections that use 2G or slow-2G may cause Chrome to display Lite pages frequently, as do pages that will take more than 5 seconds to reach “first contentful paint” according to Google.
Google expects this to affect only a small percentage of page loads.
Google states that it uses optimization techniques that depend “on what region the user is in” and the page itself. The company notes that only the page URL is shared with Google and that other information such as cookies, login information, or personalized page content, is not.
Testing Lite Pages

Website owners and developers may simulate slow connection types in the following way to test Chrome Lite functionality (or how their pages load under slow network conditions):

Load chrome://flags/#force-effective-connection-type in the browser’s address bar. Make sure that the Chrome version is at least 73 as the flag is not available in previous versions. See chrome://settings/help for version information (note that this will trigger a check for updates).
Click on the menu (Default) next to it and select one of the available connection types, e.g. Slow 2G.
Optional: Set Ignore Previews Blacklist, chrome://flags/#ignore-previews-blocklist, to True to avoid Chrome disabling Lite Pages entirely if too many opt-outs are detected.
Restart Google Chrome to apply the change.

Note that you need to enable Data Saver as well on Chrome for Android by selecting Menu > Settings > Data Saver, and toggling the feature on the page that opens.
Webmasters may add a “no-transform” directive in the cache-control header to block Chrome from showing Lite pages of a site.
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Chrome Portable Updater for Windows

Google does not really offer portable versions of the company’s Google Chrome web browser for download. Chromium, the browser that Chrome is based on, is available as a portable version.
It is possible to run Google Chrome as a portable version but updating is not straightforward as there are not many solutions out there that automate the updating somewhat.
Chromium users on the other hand have a wide range of programs at their disposal to update the Chromium browser automatically.
Tip: it is possible to block automatic updates of Chrome.
Chrome Portable Updater

Chrome Portable Updater is a portable program for Microsoft Windows systems that downloads portable versions of Google Chrome and updates existing portable versions of Chrome.
The Windows interface language determines which portable version of Google Chrome is downloaded by the application.
All you need to do is the following:

Download Chrome Portable Updater from the Deskmodder website.
Extract the downloaded archive to your system.
The program extracts the portable versions of Chrome into folders under the root structure. You may want to move the folder to the desired location.
There are two executable files in root (unfortunately with German filenames).

Chrome Updater x86-x64 Lang_EN Einzel Ordner.exe extracts the selected Chrome channel version to its own folder, e.g. Chrome Dev x64. You may use it to create up to 8 different Chrome portable folders to run them individually (great for testing).
Chrome Updater x86-x64 Lang_EN Nur Chrome Ordner.exe extracts the selected channel version into the Chrome folder (thus replacing any version that exists in that folder already).

In other words: if you plan to use different Chrome editions, run the executable mentioned under 4.1, if you just want one Chrome edition, run the exe in 4.2 instead.
The application displays download buttons for all Chrome channels and supported Windows architectures.
Select the one you want, and wait for the download to complete.

All files are downloaded to a folder in the directory you executed Chrome Portable Updater from.
Windows users who prefer to use the command line can do so as well: just append the following parameters to the application name to run the download from the command line or batch files:

canary86 == Chrome x86 Canary
canary64 == Chrome x64 Canary
dev86 == Chrome x86 Developer
dev64 == Chrome x64 Developer
beta86 == Chrome x86 Beta
beta64 == Chrome x64 Beta
stable86 == Chrome x86 Stable
stable64 == Chrome x64 Stable

Example: C:”Chrome Updater x86-x64 Lang_EN Einzel Ordner.exe” canary64 to download the 64-bit Canary version to its own folder.
Now You: Do you run portable browser versions?
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