Apple

What is Blackout Tuesday and how can you participate in a helpful way?

The fight for racial equality must be heard. Amplify is our series devoted to raising awareness, spotlighting issues, and taking action. If you’ve noticed your Instagram feed full of black squares, there’s a reason behind it. It might seem like a straightforward moment of solidarity, but it gets a little bit complicated when you consider…

The fight for racial equality must be heard. Amplify is our series devoted to raising awareness, spotlighting issues, and taking action.

If you’ve noticed your Instagram feed full of black squares, there’s a reason behind it.

It might seem like a straightforward moment of solidarity, but it gets a little bit complicated when you consider the whole picture. In a nutshell: It’s a music industry initiative that’s been picked up by the public (myself included) on Instagram as posts showing just a black square, which have been flagged as potentially unhelpful by some activists as they currently appear. But there are ways to post helpfully if you want to participate.

So, what is Blackout Tuesday?

Blackout Tuesday is day of action across the music industry, which sprang from an initiative created by Atlantic Records’ senior director of marketing Jamila Thomas and former senior director of marketing Brianna Agyemang, called #TheShowMustBePaused, “in observance of the long-standing racism and inequality that exists from the boardroom to the boulevard” in the industry.” 

The idea suggested by Thomas and Agyemang was that all music business halts for the day of June 2, and instead the day would be used as a day reflection for future action, “a day to take a beat for an honest, reflective and productive conversation about what actions we need to collectively take to support the Black community,” according to the website.

“The music industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. An industry that has profited predominantly from Black art. Our mission is to hold the industry at large, including major corporations and their partners who benefit from the efforts, struggles and successes of Black people accountable.”

The music industry responded, with major record labels including Universal Music Group, Atlantic Records, Capitol Music Group, Warner Records, Columbia Records, Def Jam, Elektra Music Group, Sony Music, Virgin EMI, and more declaring Tuesday a day when all business would be halted. 

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“This not a day off,” read Columbia Records’ Instagram post. “Instead, this is a day to reflect and figure out ways to move forward in solidarity. We continue to stand with the Black community, our staff, artists, and peers in the music industry. Perhaps with the music off, we can truly listen.”

Spotify is adding 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence to certain playlists and podcasts, the same amount of time that white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against 46-year-old black man George Floyd’s neck and killed him. Chauvin has been arrested and charged with murder. 

Other platforms have joined the blackout too. Amazon Music paused social media for the day but kept the platform live, YouTube tweeted in support but also kept the platform live (the platform said previously said it would donate $1 million to the Center for Policing Equity, in “solidarity against racism and violence,”), and Apple Music cancelled its Beats 1 radio schedule and encouraged people to listen to a stream celebrating black artists.

What is Blackout Tuesday and how can you participate in a helpful way?

Image: MASHABLE SCREENSHOT

In an example outside the music industry, comedian and late night host Conan O’Brien and his team went silent in solidarity on June 2 on social media and on air.

How does this relate to the Instagram posts?

Here’s where we get to Instagram and the black squares. 

The day was then adopted by the public, folks outside the music industry on Instagram, myself included, posting black squares in well-intentioned solidarity, with many using the hashtag #blacklivesmatter. But as some people pointed out, the simple act of posting wasn’t so simple, even if it was in solidarity with the black community.

Here’s how to post, if you’re going to post, or if you’ve already posted.

Don’t use the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter 

Although you might want to align your post with the movement itself in solidarity, using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter pushes all content posted with that hashtag to the bottom of a completely blacked out feed, meaning organisations posting information about protests and activism aren’t easily visible, and people ar

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Apple

5 of the best smartwatches for your kids

The percentage of kids who have a smartphone grows by the year, and this trend is seemingly only going in one direction. Kids start begging for their own phone as soon as they can talk (or at least it probably feels that way to parents who are always handing their phone over to keep a…

The percentage of kids who have a smartphone grows by the year, and this trend is seemingly only going in one direction. Kids start begging for their own phone as soon as they can talk (or at least it probably feels that way to parents who are always handing their phone over to keep a kid busy). 

In some ways, your child having a phone on them at all times can alleviate some serious worries about location and communication, but worries about internet safety, cyberbullying, and screen time might outnumber the reasons for a young child to have a phone of their own (even though parental control software exists for this exact purpose).

Enter: smartwatches for kids. These connected wearables let parents stay in touch with kids while they’re away from home, and most are equipped with GPS to keep tabs on a kid’s whereabouts without having to send a panicked message. Unlike smartwatches for adults, kids’ smartwatches don’t promote social media sharing and usually don’t have the option to get on the internet at all.

For kids, the freedom that comes with having their very own connected device — and potentially more leniency when it comes to doing things unsupervised — is pretty priceless. The fact that they can flex their Apple Watch-like bling around their friends is an obvious bonus.

Some kid watches are also great tools for establishing a housework, homework, or bedtime routine. Parents can use the app to set daily reminders like “brush teeth for two minutes” or “read for 15 minutes before bedtime,” then sprinkle in some leverage by typing in a reward. Kids can cross stuff off the list with the help of a built-in stopwatch or by setting their own alarms. 

Activities that are typically mundane are suddenly a lot more fun when an animated celebration, badges, or sibling leaderboard competition are involved (and when a parent isn’t doing the nagging). When healthy habits are established early, they can carry over into adulthood (when deep-rooted bad habits are typically harder to kick).

What to look for in a smartwatch for a kid

GPS will be the biggest deciding factor for parents looking into smartwatches specifically to keep track of kids with busy schedules. True smartwatches act more like a phone in the sense that parents have a live tab of a kid’s location and the ability to text and call. Wearables focused more on fitness tracking (like the Fitbit Ace 2) may skip location services altogether, as well as the option for any two-way communication. Don’t feel like messing with an app at all? There are standalone smartwatches that are ready to go without any invested setup.

Watches focused on physical activity do have their advantages, though. Parents worried about screen time will appreciate the way that smart fitness trackers are not only a less web-based device than a smartphone, but that they actually encourage kids to get up and moving. Kids can check their step count for the day or get a reminder to stand up for a few minutes, but the most fun part is easily the on-screen celebration when a daily activity or sleep goal is met. Settings can be tweaked in the parent app, but having a kid set their own alarms or follow their own activity rules could be a great way to assume some responsibility.

A smartwatch might be replacing the need for a whole phone or tablet, but that doesn’t mean entertainment is completely off the table. Some watches geared towards younger children have games including number challenges and augmented reality mysteries. For such a small screen, the resolution is surprisingly clear and more than enough to keep kids busy in line at the shops, in the waiting room, or in the car.

Things will go a lot smoother when your kid is in on the plan. If you do end up opting for a watch with location tracking or GPS boundaries, letting them know that you can see their location can foster mutual respect — even if that respect is unspoken and initially met with opposition.

These are the best smartwatches for kids in 2020.

BEST FOR HEALTHY HABITS

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Image: amazon

The Good

Easy to add multiple kids (and parents) to the app • Can last a year without charging • Customizable coin reward system • Disney-themed bands

The Bad

Specific colours must to be paired with a character • No GPS tracking • No way to communicate with your kid

The Bottom Line

Garmin’s take on kid tech is simple enough for little ones and uses interactive adventures as incentives.

Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2

Kids will actually want to assume some responsibility with this coin-based, Disney-themed reward system.

  • GPS: No
  • Battery life: Non-rechargeable, but up to one year
  • Sleep tracking: Yes
  • Water resistance: Waterproof up to 164 feet
  • Communication features: None
£79.99 from Amazon

Most kid smartwatches have some kind of celebration for reaching goals, and it’s always more fun for a device to nag about a task than your parents. 
Garmin has partnered with Disney to add some extra motivation magic to its reward system: Frozen II, Star Wars, Spider-Man, and Mick

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Apple

13 mental health resources for black people trying to cope right now

The fight for racial equality must be heard. Amplify is our series devoted to raising awareness, spotlighting issues, and taking action. Life has been unforgiving for black people in America.  The trauma of personal and institutional racism that black people endure — and have endured for generations — makes such a statement true no matter…

The fight for racial equality must be heard. Amplify is our series devoted to raising awareness, spotlighting issues, and taking action.

Uploads%252fvideo uploaders%252fdistribution thumb%252fimage%252f94998%252f6e7be12src e11a 4src9c a139 3a7d18f1e11a.png%252f93srcx52src.png?signature=p4mjrolisrctigbuy8q71zf85xfoo=&source=https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws

Life has been unforgiving for black people in America. 

The trauma of personal and institutional racism that black people endure — and have endured for generations — makes such a statement true no matter the day of the week. 

Yet, the coronavirus outbreak, which has disproportionately killed black Americans, along with the recent police killing of George Floyd and the protests that followed to demand justice for his death, have forced black people to experience extraordinary pain and anguish. 

Tending to one’s mental health at such a moment may seem like an overwhelming task for numerous reasons, including because black people routinely face barriers to seeking mental health treatment, like culturally incompetent therapists and discrimination in healthcare settings. 

“Healing for us looks different than most people,” Jameta Nicole Barlow, a community health psychologist who is black, wrote in an email. 

“While anger and its expression is an important emotion to grapple with, Black people are not given any space to express that anger or rage without experiencing a negative outcome. Black people need time and space to even accept that we need healing, as we’ve been forced to move on in spite of [what’s happened]…”

Barlow, who is also an assistant professor of writing at George Washington University, said that black people have a long history of resilience and creating “healing spaces,” including the “poetry, chants and prayers used during the protests and movements for Black lives” over the last century to “music genres we pioneered like gospel, jazz, R&B, hip hop.”

Barlow said she has spent the week urging people to create healthy boundaries in their life and engage in self-care. Barlow recognizes that will look different for everyone and can include dance, music, crafts, yoga, meditation, baking, gardening, sports, laughter, and spiritual and religious practice. Workplaces, she adds, can also offer opportunities for black employees to take care of themselves.

“Radical self-care is required to live and survive in this world as a Black person.”

Barlow recommends that black people be in “community” with one another, though acknowledges that stay-at-home policies meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 makes this nearly impossible beyond digital platforms. At the same time, the saturation of online images and commentary portraying injustice toward black people means spending time on the internet can be draining instead of restorative. Barlow suggests limiting social media a

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Apple

If your kid isn’t ready for a phone, a smartwatch might be a better fit

The percentage of kids who have a smartphone grows by the year: As of Oct. 2019, over half of kids have their own phones by age 11 (compared to ages 13 and 14 over the past few years). Kids seem to start begging for their own phone as soon as they can talk (or at…

The percentage of kids who have a smartphone grows by the year: As of Oct. 2019, over half of kids have their own phones by age 11 (compared to ages 13 and 14 over the past few years). Kids seem to start begging for their own phone as soon as they can talk (or at least it probably feels that way to parents who are always handing their phone over to keep a kid busy). In some ways, your child having a phone on them at all times can alleviate some serious worries about location and communication, and educational TV shows on a tablet are a handy distraction when parents need some peace and quiet.

But though parental control software exists for this exact purpose, a parent’s worries about internet safety, cyberbullying, and screen time might outnumber the reasons for a young child to have a cell phone.

Enter: smartwatches for kids. These connected wearables let parents stay in touch with kids while they’re away from home, and most are equipped with GPS to keep tabs on a kid’s whereabouts without having to send a “Where are you?” message. Unlike smartwatches for adults, kids’ smartwatches don’t promote social media sharing and usually don’t have the option to get on the internet at all.

For kids, the freedom that comes with having their very own connected device — and potentially more leniency when it comes to doing things unsupervised — is pretty priceless. The fact that they can flex their Apple Watch-like bling around their friends is an obvious bonus.

Some kid watches are also great tools for establishing a daily chore, homework, or bedtime routine. Parents can use the app to set daily reminders like “brush teeth for two minutes” or “read for 15 minutes before bedtime,” then sprinkle in some leverage by typing in a reward. Kids can cross stuff off the list with the help of a built-in stopwatch or by setting their own alarms. Activities that are typically mundane are suddenly a lot more fun when an animated celebration, badges, or sibling leaderboard competition are involved (and when a parent isn’t doing the nagging). When healthy habits are established early, they can carry over into adulthood (when deep-rooted bad habits are typically harder to kick).

What to look for in a smartwatch for a kid

GPS will be the biggest deciding factor for parents looking into smartwatches specifically to keep track of kids with busy schedules. True smartwatches (like the Verizon Gizmo) act more like a cell phone in the sense that parents have a live tab of a kid’s location and the ability to text and call. Wearables focused more on fitness tracking (like the Fitbit Ace 2) may skip location services altogether, as well as the option for any two-way communication. Don’t feel like messing with an app at all? There are standalone smartwatches that are ready to go without any invested setup.

Letting kids know that you can see their location can foster mutual respect and help with parental boundaries.

Watches focused on physical activity do have their advantages, though. Parents worried about screen time will appreciate the way that smart fitness trackers are not only a less web-based device than a smartphone, but that they actually encourage kids to get up and moving. Kids can check their step count for the day or get a reminder to stand up for a few minutes, but the most fun part is easily the on-screen celebration when a daily activity or sleep goal is met. Settings can be tweaked in the parent app, but having a kid set their own alarms or follow their own activity rules could be a great way to assume some responsibility.

A smartwatch might be replacing the need for a whole phone or tablet, but that doesn’t mean entertainment is completely off the table. Some watches geared toward younger children have games from math and numbers challenges to augmented reality mysteries, and a camera with funny face filters might pop up, too. For such a small screen, the resolution is surprisingly clear and more than enough to keep kids busy in line at the store, in the waiting room, or in the car.

Things will go a lot smoother when your kid is in on the plan. If you do end up opting for a watch with location tracking or GPS boundaries, letting them know that you can see their location can foster mutual respect — even if that respect is unspoken and initially met with opposition.

Here are the best smartwatches for kids in 2020:

Our pick

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Image: mashable photo composite

The Good

Real time GPS tracking and option to set location boundaries • Trusted contacts get a low battery notification • Parents’ GizmoHub app is clean and organized

The Bad

Two-year Verizon contract required • LTE costs extra

The Bottom Line

The most all-encompassing option on the list doesn’t have much kid content, but offers freedom with texting.

1. Verizon GizmoWatch 2

Verizon’s Apple Watch-like design offers the full smartwatch experience with GPS, fitness tracking, and task scheduling.

  • GPS tracking: Yes
  • Battery life: Up to 4 days
  • Sleep tracking: No
  • Water resistance: Waterproof up to 3.2 feet
  • Communication features: Calling and texting for designated contacts
$99.99 from Verizon

Kids want their smartwatch to feel grown-up. Parents want to be able to control those grown-up features without smothering the kid. The Verizon GizmoWatch 2 nails that tricky balance.
The second-generation GizmoWatch sees a nearly $100 price drop compared to the original, as we

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Apple

The absolute best workout apps for exercising at home

Working out in the gym just isn’t in the cards all the time. Whether you don’t have time, find gyms to be intimidating, simply don’t like going to a physical gym, or something else is preventing you from going, you can still exercise. Workout apps allow you to meet your fitness goals at home, and…

Working out in the gym just isn’t in the cards all the time. Whether you don’t have time, find gyms to be intimidating, simply don’t like going to a physical gym, or something else is preventing you from going, you can still exercise. Workout apps allow you to meet your fitness goals at home, and they may actually be the motivation you need to get moving.

Luckily, there are a ton of fitness apps out there. Unfortunately, that can be a bit overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

What fitness app is best for me?

First of all, decide what kind of exercises you want to do. Are you into strength training? Is yoga more your thing? Or do you want a fitness plan that focuses on cardio? You’ll also need to figure out what your goals are, whether it’s weight loss, muscle toning, or something else.

If losing weight is a top priority, look for the online fitness programs that have strict routines and meal plans to follow.

Traditional gym exercises don’t work for everybody, and that’s where many of these fitness classes come in. There are some apps that do focus on workouts you’d do at a gym, but quite a few apps offer more than that. The beauty of virtual fitness programs is that you can take classes from top-rated professional trainers from the comfort of your living room, and you can try out things like HIIT (high-intensity interval training), dance cardio, and other fun exercises your local gym or studio might not offer.

Benefits of online fitness programs

The obvious benefit of workout apps is that you don’t have to leave your house. Additionally, you usually don’t need much equipment, you can learn at your own pace, and you can still get access to personal trainers (often without paying pricey trainer fees).

You’re also able to start out at whatever fitness level feels comfortable, and with many workout apps offering free trials, you can try out a few before fully committing. As with most things in the age of the internet, you can find super niche fitness programs that give you exactly what you’re looking for in a home workout.

Best for real-time feedback

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Image: openfit / apple

The Good

Feedback from real trainers • Personalized meal plans

The Bad

Workouts done on the TV might not record in the app

The Bottom Line

Openfit gives you access to personal trainers without having to pay a personal trainer fee.

Openfit

Work out in your home while still getting live feedback and advice from trainers.

  • Free trial: 14 days
  • 3-month plan: $13/month
  • 6-month plan: $10/month
  • Annual plan: $8/month
See Details

If you like the idea of getting feedback from a trainer while you’re working out, you’ll like Openfit. In addition to on-demand recorded classes, Openfit offers live, interactive classes led by personal trainers who get to know you and your goals.
Through the app you’ll get personalized fitness and nutrition advice to help you along on a customized health journey. You get daily meal plans and can track them in the app. Openfit isn’t just on mobile — you can also access it on your tablet, computer, or smart TV.
In addition to personal trainers, you also gain an online community through social media. You’re encouraged to motivate one another and share your experiences. Head’s up: You’ll need a set of dumbbells for some of Openfit’s programs.

Best for losing weight

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Image: beachbody / apple

The Good

Specialized fitness programs • Meal plans • Personal coaches

The Bad

Some users experienced issues canceling their subscriptions

The Bottom Line

With Beachbody, you get a well-rounded fitness plan including workouts and meal planning.

Beachbody

Beachbody offers exercise and nutrition plans to help you get fit and lose weight.

  • Free trial: 14 days
  • 3-month plan: $39 every 3 months
  • 6-month plan: $59 every 6 months
  • 12-month plan: $99 every 12 months
See Details

Beachbody on Demand includes more than 40 workout programs that include meal plans, so you get a rounded health plan to follow. Track your progress on workout calendars and access personal coaches, plus fitness and nutrition experts.
Within those 40 workout programs, there are more than 1,000 individual workouts, so there’s plenty for you to try out and find the ones that work for you. Beachbody is accessible from your phone, laptop, tablet, and smart TV.

Best for audio workouts

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Image: aaptiv / apple

The Good

New classes every week • Good music selections

The Bad

Not for visual learners

The Bottom Line

Focus on your body with audio-based guided workouts from Aaptiv.

Aaptiv

Aaptiv cuts out visual distractions from virtual workouts.

  • Free trial: 7 days
  • Monthly plan: $14.99/month
  • Annual plan: $99.99/year
See Details

With Aaptiv, you’re able to really focus on your body and its movements. The platform is audio based, so there’s no video for you to follow along. That means you don’t have to crane your neck to pay attention to a screen while also trying to make sure you’re doing the workout correctly.
You can do Aaptiv workouts at home, at the gym, or outside because all you need is your phone and some headphones. With a membership you get access to more than 2,500 guided workouts, with more than 40 new classes added each week. There’s also curated music to go along with the exercises.

Best for women

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Image: sweat / apple

The Good

Meal plans • Focused on female empowerment • Workouts will actually have you sweating and working

The Bad

Workouts are not super customizable

The Bottom Line

Sweat offers fitness and meal plans designed specifically for women.

Sweat

The Sweat app provides challenging workouts while encouraging female empowerment.

  • Free trial: No
  • Monthly plan: $19.99/month
  • 3-month plan: $54.99 every 3 months
  • Annual plan: $119.94/year
See Details

The Sweat app combines intense workouts with female empowerment. There are five trainers who focus on exercises like low-intensity cardio, HIIT, weight training, bodybuilding, vinyasa yoga, and more.
Workouts are designed as a program and the intensity level increases with each week, encouraging you to get stronger. The app also features weekly meal plans and grocery shopping lists. Plus, Sweat has a forum where you can connect with other women using the platform.

Best for non-traditional workouts

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Image: obé fitness / apple

The Good

Different skill level options • Live classes • Private Facebook group

The Bad

Live schedule does not offer evening classes

The Bottom Line

This program is great for people who want to focus on cardio and defining their bodies.

Obé Fitness

Obé Fitness focuses on cardio, strength training, and yoga.

  • Free trial: 7 days
  • Monthly plan: $27/month
  • Annual plan: $199/year
See Details

Obé Fitness is designed for beginners, pros, and anyone in between. Its classes are meant to be taken cohesively as a whole program, and they’re best for people who tend to stray from the typical exercises you’d do in a gym.
Obé offers classes like dance HIIT, cardio boxing, pilates, and barre. These engaging classes are typically 28 minutes long, but there are also 10-minute express classes for when you want to squeeze in a quick workout in the middle of the day.
You can choose to take a live class or follow along with one of the pre-recorded on-demand options. You don’t need any equipment for most classes, but if you want to push it to the next level, Obé recommends grabbing some resistance bands, ankle weights, or sliders.

Best for one-on-one training

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Image: find your trainer

The Good

Quiz matches you to best trainers • Virtual and in-person sessions offered

The Bad

Pricey

The Bottom Line

Find your own personal trainer and get exercise plans specifically built for you.

Find Your Trainer

FYT allows you to train one-on-one with a professional wither in person or virtually.

  • 4 session plan: Standard session rate (starting at $29)
  • 12 session plan: 5% discount
  • 24 session plan: 10% discount
See Details

If you want a combination of virtual and in-person training, Find Your Trainer is great. To start, you take a short quiz and FYT matches you with the best trainer for your goals. Then you book your training session virtually or in person and build a plan with them. 
In-person sessions happen at your home, so you get the one-on-one attention and help you need without the intimidation of a gym. This service is ideal for people who want more than just workout videos to follow along with.
Pricing is by session rather than by month, so you only pay when you use the service. Sessions never expire, so you can use them whenever you want. Pricing starts at $29 per session — though some trainers cost more than $100 per session — so this is a pricier option than typical online workout programs.

Best for dance workouts

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Image: dancebody / apple

The Good

Fun dance routines • Live and on-demand classes

The Bad

Pricey for virtual workouts

The Bottom Line

Dance workouts are a great option if traditional exercise is not your jam, and DanceBody features fun classes that will have you sweating.

DanceBody

Dance with some of New York’s top instructors in the comfort of your home.

  • Free trial: 7 days
  • Monthly plan: $34.99/month
  • Annual plan: $349.99/year
See Details

Traditional workouts don’t suit everybody and sometimes you have to kind of trick yourself into exercising. Dance workouts are a perfect combination of fun and physical to distract you from the fact that you’re doing cardio while also burning calories and toning your muscles. DanceBody is a popular dance fitness studio in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami, but you can take the classes wherever you are with DanceBody Live.
DanceBody Live has videos to break down each routine as well as videos of the routines full out for you to follow along once you’ve mastered the moves. It offers options for different styles and you’ll be doing dances that give you a solid workout and a nice arsenal of moves to bust out at the bar. Follow along with live and on-demand classes.

Best for yoga

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Image: bulldog yoga / apple

The Good

Long fre

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