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TV market looks to mimic Apple with cross-platform 'app store'

post #1 of 68
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TV manufacturers and software makers believe the next evolution of television will feature Internet-connected hardware with a selection of software available in a method like Apple's iPhone App Store.

Companies like Adobe, Roku and Yahoo, and TV manufacturers like LG, Samsung, Sony and Vizio all have a stake in the newly forming market, as profiled by SFGate. The Yahoo Widget Engine has led to around 20 applications that are now included with TV sets from a variety of major manufacturers, while Adobe Flash is coming to new connected TVs and Roku's set top box will soon offer third-party applications.

Some of Yahoo's Widget Channel Apps include Facebook, Flickr, USA Today Sports, and a fantasy football application. They work by providing content that can pop up on the side or bottom of the screen. Russ Schafer, senior director of marketing with Yahoo, said the widget applications make watching TV a more interactive experience, like using an iPhone.

Network executives hope that bringing connectivity to the television set will bring viewers back to the living room. Right now, networks must compete with users who spend as much time on their computer as they do on the couch.

Connected TVs are expected to grow in the next few years. While less than a million will be sold this year, the report noted that 13.8 million Internet-enabled TV sets will be in U.S. homes by 2013.

Apple has been rumored to enter the TV business for some time. Analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray still expects that the Cupertino, Calif., company will release its own Internet-connected television set by 2011.

Such a device, Munster believes, would have a DVR and home media center functionality built into the set. Such a device could allow recorded TV shows to automatically sync with other devices in the home, like Macs, iPhones and iPods, all wirelessly. It could even, Munster predicted, act as a game machine using an iPhone or iPod touch as a controller.

Illustrations from Apple's DVR patent filing reported by AppleInsider in 2008.

He noted earlier this year that although TV hardware is a competitive business, Apple could very well "change the rules of the game" by offering best-in-class hardware and software.

The Apple TV offers connectivity with Apple's own iTunes, as well as YouTube, but does not offer an App Store like the company provides on the iPhone. In October, Apple updated the Apple TV software to version 3.0, adding compatibility with iTunes LP and iTunes Extras bonus content, along with Genius Mixes and Internet radio.
post #2 of 68
No thanks....I will wait for Apple's version. It will be done right!
post #3 of 68
Quote:
Apple has been rumored to enter the TV business for some time. Analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray still expects that the Cupertino, Calif., company will release its own Internet-connected television set by 2011.

Such a device, Munster believes, would have a DVR and home media center functionality built into the set. Such a device could allow recorded TV shows to automatically sync with other devices in the home, like Macs, iPhones and iPods, all wirelessly. It could even, Munster predicted, act as a game machine using an iPhone or iPod touch as a controller.

Can't see them adding DVR, more likely a Hard Drive!
post #4 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

TV manufacturers and software makers believe the next evolution of television will feature Internet-connected hardware with a selection of software available in a method like Apple's iPhone App Store.


Hey, Hi there children, It's time to play follow the leader!!
post #5 of 68
Don't they already have those? I think they're called 'computers' or something.
post #6 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Banalltv View Post

Don't they already have those? I think they're called 'computers' or something.

A little obtuse, but I like it!
post #7 of 68
Would be nice in the Ad breaks to do a little surfing, that's if I can read it from the coach
post #8 of 68
I remember years ago, my father had dial-up WebTV. I used to watch him and affectionately think to myself, 'Great not only am I going to be bald, but stupid, too!'

WebTV was horrible, then MS bought it and a year or two later it was....er.....gone! So was my Dad!
post #9 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Banalltv View Post

Don't they already have those? I think they're called 'computers' or something.

You are 100% correct. I see a 42" iMac with an 8-core Mac Pro mobo in the future - maybe? One thing for sure, if that did happen it would be freaking expensive!
post #10 of 68
removed
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
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post #11 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

No thanks....I will wait for Apple's version. It will be done right!

You've had it - for 3 years now- the AppleTV.
post #12 of 68
Quote:
TV manufacturers and software makers believe the next evolution of television will feature Internet-connected hardware with a selection of software available in a method like Apple's iPhone App Store.

Except in this case- make it totally open.
post #13 of 68
Well Apple had better hurry up about it, because if they don't the market will be sewn up by the likes of Sony et al. Normally Apple can wait a bit and get into the market later by doing it better, but this time the consumer electronics behemoths may do the job well-enough and soon-enough to corner the opportunity. Certainly if there isn't any standards war one has to ask what Apple can add. And I say this a someone who expects Apple to produce a better product than anyone else and I will then preferentially buy it, but I really do fear they'll lose this one.

Quite apart from anything else, look at AppleTV. Well executed within its limits, but the trouble is that the limits are much too tightly drawn. If it had an App store and the ability to record OTA TV I would use it much more, but as it is it just sits on the shelf and I use it once a month or so.

The product that gets most use in my house is the HD satellite (Freesat) PVR which doesn't do anything that AppleTV does, but what it does do is what I want to do most of the time - watch great TV that is either being broadcast live or that I have recorded previously.

Why don't they get it?
The truth is behind you
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The truth is behind you
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post #14 of 68
I don't think they're correct. TVs will become Internet connected but it will be for downloading current style non-interactive TV shows, not "TV apps."

Human beings are not machines: we need to "veg out" at some point. Therefore a human will want at least one device in his house that is purely passive, even if all the others are interactive. And sorry TV manufacturers, that's you, by virtue of your device starting out as the endpoint of a broadcast medium.

What they need to think about is how to make a better passive device, instead of always trying to make their passive device interactive. The company that can do that will be successful, and the companies that keep trying to do the second will fail for the umpteenth time (based on past evidence).
post #15 of 68
Ya, I think the author has this all wrong. Apple will never release a TV, there are so many good TV's available and most people already own one.

No, Apple will make the AppleTV box more attractive, by offering TV on demand... but the real way. The same shows we all watch everyday, only you don't pay for cable, you pay for an iTunes Cable Subscription and download the 10 or 12 shows you watch anyway - without commercials, stream while you download, save to your iPod, etc.

I suspect that they will not tie this directly to the AppleTV, but just add it as an iTunes Store option, so those of us who choose not to buy an AppleTV will just need iTunes and way to play said media on your TV.

The TV "App Store" idea already exists in the form of the iTunes Store, the pricing is just not there yet. We'll see much better subscription service fee's offered once Apple announces the new financial deal they're coming to with the production studios.
post #16 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by macadam212 View Post

Can't see them adding DVR, more likely a Hard Drive!


I have to agree. a DVR would cut into the iTunes store. Seems more likely they would go the other way and include things that would increase sales.

Also, I can't see them doing a full on TV. Adding such things to the Apple TV box and letting you use any TV you want seems more likely. And more practical. If I have a 40" tv now and get a 52" next year, I can just unhook/hook my ATV and go. Also, by modifying the ATV they could probably have it out a lot sooner than 2011.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #17 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jingo View Post

Well Apple had better hurry up about it, because if they don't the market will be sewn up by the likes of Sony et al. Normally Apple can wait a bit and get into the market later by doing it better, but this time the consumer electronics behemoths may do the job well-enough and soon-enough to corner the opportunity. Certainly if there isn't any standards war one has to ask what Apple can add. And I say this a someone who expects Apple to produce a better product than anyone else and I will then preferentially buy it, but I really do fear they'll lose this one.

Quite apart from anything else, look at AppleTV. Well executed within its limits, but the trouble is that the limits are much too tightly drawn. If it had an App store and the ability to record OTA TV I would use it much more, but as it is it just sits on the shelf and I use it once a month or so.

The product that gets most use in my house is the HD satellite (Freesat) PVR which doesn't do anything that AppleTV does, but what it does do is what I want to do most of the time - watch great TV that is either being broadcast live or that I have recorded previously.

Why don't they get it?

Good comments. I don't think it's a matter of not getting it, I think it's more a matter of getting it right. If Apple can find a way to blow away the cable box (a device which I am sure Steve finds to be utterly offensive), then they've got something potentially very big. It has to be more than just applications running on the TV, it should change the way we interact with the TV, from the setup menus to the channel guides, the remote controls, and everything else that presently sucks. A new paradigm UI for the TV has to be the goal. I suspect they are working on this, somewhere deep in the labs at Apple.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #18 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jingo View Post

Well Apple had better hurry up about it, because if they don't the market will be sewn up by the likes of Sony et al. Normally Apple can wait a bit and get into the market later by doing it better, but this time the consumer electronics behemoths may do the job well-enough and soon-enough to corner the opportunity. Certainly if there isn't any standards war one has to ask what Apple can add. And I say this a someone who expects Apple to produce a better product than anyone else and I will then preferentially buy it, but I really do fear they'll lose this one.

Quite apart from anything else, look at AppleTV. Well executed within its limits, but the trouble is that the limits are much too tightly drawn. If it had an App store and the ability to record OTA TV I would use it much more, but as it is it just sits on the shelf and I use it once a month or so.

The product that gets most use in my house is the HD satellite (Freesat) PVR which doesn't do anything that AppleTV does, but what it does do is what I want to do most of the time - watch great TV that is either being broadcast live or that I have recorded previously.

Why don't they get it?

Because Steve Jobs is obsessed with Apple control. Read this months Fortune magazine as it explains how it worked for the iPhone and failed on the AppleTV.
post #19 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

You've had it - for 3 years now- the AppleTV.

Yep. But I was thinking of something like the app store that's on the iPhone. With a BT keyboard. Sort of an interim step before making the tv a 'computer'

besides I hope they keep the 'hot plate' feature on the ATv.
post #20 of 68
I've got an Apple TV in my home theater for renting HD movies a la carte. I've also got a Mac Mini in my family room attached to my FPTV which I use for streaming video content from Hulu, You Tube and other sites. And I just purchased a new Panasonic FPTV that supports streaming widgets (Viera CAST) as well such as Weather and Bloomberg. Apple would have gotten my hard-earned dollars if they offered a networked TV that supported not only iTunes but Hulu as well as I'd like to get rid of the Mac Mini in the family room and have most of the features I want supported via the TV. It's the way of the future and the TV manufacturers have a lot to lose if they don't get it right. LG, Panasonic, Pioneer, Sony and now Vizio are all on 1st/2nd gen networked TV's. They have the lead but will not necessarily hold it. Not sure Apple wants to get into a very low margin business like Networked TV's.
post #21 of 68
Apple is never going to make its own TV's. AI should pay attention to what is happening in the TV marketplace. HDTV prices are dropping fast - just like PC prices. HDTV's have become a commodity, just like PC's. profit margins are getting less and less. the competition is cut throat. because even low-end HDTV's now have really good pictures. this has hurt Sony in particular because for 20+ years until about 2007 it had the best picture quality models when that really made a viewing difference. now it does not. Sony has been forced this year to release a new line of much lower priced models just to stay alive. its top of the line models with super specs and all the bells and whistles just aren't selling much anymore.

and when you can buy an AppleTV for $229, who is going to pay a bigger premium extra price for an Apple HDTV instead? makes no business sense. if you have extra bucks to spend, instead you buy a bigger screen, which does make a real viewing difference.
post #22 of 68
This story reminds me of the title of someone's autobiography: "Too little, too late, blurt out first and think later, FAIL... (or something along those lines).
post #23 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

This story reminds me of the title of someone's autobiography: "Too little, too late, blurt out first and think later, FAIL... (or something along those lines).

"And think later? I think you are giving him too much credit.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #24 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Also, I can't see them doing a full on TV. Adding such things to the Apple TV box and letting you use any TV you want seems more likely...

Yeah, Apple would NEVER force customers to buy a computing device with an integrated monitor just to increase their profit margin...
post #25 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

Apple is never going to make its own TV's.

and when you can buy an AppleTV for $229, who is going to pay a bigger premium extra price for an Apple HDTV instead? makes no business sense. if you have extra bucks to spend, instead you buy a bigger screen, which does make a real viewing difference.

I agree with your very valid points. I love my Apple TV but I don't necessarily want to "purchase" iTunes video content that I can get for free and streamed from Hulu. If Apple keeps morphing the Apple TV and adding more and more streaming features, then it's the way to go and let consumers continue buying the latest TV's from the current crop beating itself to stay in the market with little margins. Unless Apple has some unknown killer streaming widget that no one else has access to that can only be found on a Networked TV from Apple.......then it's a game changer. The market said the same thing about the 1st gen $499/$599 iPhone and look how many they sold.
post #26 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by FredAppleHead View Post

...Not sure Apple wants to get into a very low margin business like Networked TV's.

The personal computer market has just as low margins, yet Apple has managed to make a niche for themselves at the consumer high end.

It's all about doing it right, and I don't see a bunch of TV manufacturers, led by yet another web search company, breaking into the applications realm with a flawless concept.

According to this paradigm, the Apple TV-set may already be in full production in the form of the new round of iMacs -TV screen sized, HD resolution, wireless KB and mouse standard, game-console class processing power, wall mounted, 21" and 27" but no desktop sweet-spot 24".

What if they just released ATV 4.0 firmware/software for both AppleTV and iMacs? Then turn the iPod touch into a next gen controller.

They could do it tomorrow.

(Next introduce larger screen sizes >40" and a more powerful AppleTV)
post #27 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by FredAppleHead View Post

I've got an Apple TV in my home theater for renting HD movies a la carte. I've also got a Mac Mini in my family room attached to my FPTV which I use for streaming video content from Hulu, You Tube and other sites. And I just purchased a new Panasonic FPTV that supports streaming widgets (Viera CAST) as well such as Weather and Bloomberg. Apple would have gotten my hard-earned dollars if they offered a networked TV that supported not only iTunes but Hulu as well as I'd like to get rid of the Mac Mini in the family room and have most of the features I want supported via the TV. It's the way of the future and the TV manufacturers have a lot to lose if they don't get it right. LG, Panasonic, Pioneer, Sony and now Vizio are all on 1st/2nd gen networked TV's. They have the lead but will not necessarily hold it. Not sure Apple wants to get into a very low margin business like Networked TV's.

When Comcast "Buys" NBC, Hulu will be a paid service and any others will have to quickly find ways of monetizing their business model. To date, the free with web advertising model is losing money, web advertising is not enough (as the publishing industry is discovering, hence Rupert Murdoch's anti Google tirade)

Broadcasters, Networks and Cable providers are positioning themselves as we speak to pull the rug out from under any "free" service. Believe me if we all move to "streaming" and try bypassing cable they'll find a way of owning the options as well. Cable providers in particular will never be happy with you just paying for their ISP. They need content and they need advertising/ an audience to advertise to. The latest advertising tech is perfect for this sort of distribution, but like everything else the tech is still evolving, even if everyone is clamoring to get it to market and make the money.

Point is, the market is a "mess", Apple has "plenty" of time to figure it out especially when you consider they were the first to even bring a paid download/ subscription model to the industry and back then everyone laughed. There was no ROKU before ATV, there wasn't a slingbox, hell there wasn't even an ATV when Apple first introduced TV downloads. There was satellite TV and Tivo. Game changers in their day but their day appears to be fading.
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post #28 of 68
Apple has to be working on a major overhaul of AppleTV. the current hardware still runs a Tiger OS and its chips can't handle 1080p. with only 256M of RAM it can't do much on-board, which is why all the interesting hacks like ATVFlash don't work good consistently. it's out of date, really old hardware.

Rather than mimic other set top boxes with DVR and other stock functions, Apple could make it possible for a Leopard-based ATV to run iPhone apps, using your iPhone/touch (or iTablet) as the remote control. that would suddenly leap it far, far over the capabilities of all the other widget-offering HDTV's, light years ahead. it would also solve the crucial problem of the TV on-screen UI that is what really limits popular use of new features. the current cursor controls are just too much trouble to use for anything complicated - once you have to enter text, forget it. and attempts to link TV's with wireless keyboards/pads just have not been popular.

maybe in January?
post #29 of 68
We have a couple of the Samsung sets in our office with this feature. Underwhelming at best. Designed to compliment TV content rather than supplant it. Had hoped to use it to basically run a video sign driven by a web page, or as a centralized system to display PowerPoint presentations in the conference room without a computer.

It is possible to do the latter but not easy.
post #30 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

I remember years ago, my father had dial-up WebTV. I used to watch him and affectionately think to myself, 'Great not only am I going to be bald, but stupid, too!'

WebTV was horrible, then MS bought it and a year or two later it was....er.....gone! So was my Dad!

Very funny... but are you certain your thoughts were affectionate? Be honest George Costanza.
post #31 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Because Steve Jobs is obsessed with Apple control. Read this months Fortune magazine as it explains how it worked for the iPhone and failed on the AppleTV.

Steve Jobs may be obsessed with control but I think what what most people fail to understand is that SJ (Apple) is never interested in joining a party just for the sake of it. Call it a need to control if you like but I think the issue has much more to do with wanting to make a difference. It is just too boring to make a product or service unless it will be better than what is there already. Better also means more interesting and different. Ask a top designer or artist to create something run of the mill and ordinary and they will probably yawn and glaze over. Its just not what makes them tick. I am sure Apple always can and often I wish they would but from their pov, if it ain't interesting, what's the point?
post #32 of 68
I bet their real intent is to make it possible for people to get information on the product placement items in the tv programmes and impulse-buy through the tv before the rush of enthusiasm wears off, even as the programme is still running.
post #33 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by spliff monkey View Post

There was no ROKU before ATV, there wasn't a slingbox, hell there wasn't even an ATV when Apple first introduced TV downloads. There was satellite TV and Tivo. Game changers in their day but their day appears to be fading.

Roku ACTUALLY built some of the first internet radio adapters to stream music BEFORE Apple TV box was introduced. They were the only iTunes (DAAP/RAOP) capable streaming devices before Apple kept upgrading iTunes to newer versions (and protocol security keys) and Roku just couldn't keep up with releases so they went underground, little revenue from audio streaming only devices, and re-surfaced a couple of years back with the Netflix streaming box. Roku has probably sold 1/2 million of these single app devices but with networked TV's from Samsung and others supporting the Netflix app directly, I see this device becoming extinct.

I agree with a lot of your comments about the industry in turmoil and how to monetize "free" streaming. Hulu will become a paid subscription app like everything else but it's clear that the broadcasters are all eager to keep consumers on their internet sites and will continue to offer "free" streaming of popular shows so I can continue to get my content directly from them. And only watch what I want to watch whenever I want. The Cable and Sat TV services need to re-think their strategies. Paying $60/month for basic cable just to get HD stations that are already free OTA is outrageous.

In any case, I'll keep my Mac Mini connected to my FPTV until a viable option becomes available whether it's from Apple or other (Sony?).
post #34 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

Apple has to be working on a major overhaul of AppleTV. the current hardware still runs a Tiger OS and its chips can't handle 1080p. with only 256M of RAM it can't do much on-board, which is why all the interesting hacks like ATVFlash don't work good consistently. it's out of date, really old hardware.

Rather than mimic other set top boxes with DVR and other stock functions, Apple could make it possible for a Leopard-based ATV to run iPhone apps, using your iPhone/touch (or iTablet) as the remote control. that would suddenly leap it far, far over the capabilities of all the other widget-offering HDTV's, light years ahead. it would also solve the crucial problem of the TV on-screen UI that is what really limits popular use of new features. the current cursor controls are just too much trouble to use for anything complicated - once you have to enter text, forget it. and attempts to link TV's with wireless keyboards/pads just have not been popular.

maybe in January?

I could certainly see an iTablet (much rumored) for control at your fingertips. Going even further, include one of the better Wireless HD (WirelessHD or WHDI) interfaces to send signals wireless to a Apple monitor supporting such an interface. Now that would be cool.
post #35 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

Steve Jobs may be obsessed with control but I think what what most people fail to understand is that SJ (Apple) is never interested in joining a party just for the sake of it. Call it a need to control if you like but I think the issue has much more to do with wanting to make a difference. It is just too boring to make a product or service unless it will be better than what is there already. Better also means more interesting and different. Ask a top designer or artist to create something run of the mill and ordinary and they will probably yawn and glaze over. Its just not what makes them tick. I am sure Apple always can and often I wish they would but from their pov, if it ain't interesting, what's the point?

You misunderstood me - I said Apple control- the closed ecosytem of Apple products.
post #36 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

No thanks....I will wait for Apple's version. It will be done right!

Just wait until people start getting "blue screens of death" during the Superbowl or the season finale of 'Lost'... pandemonium and Congressional inquiries!

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #37 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Banalltv View Post

I bet their real intent is to make it possible for people to get information on the product placement items in the tv programmes and impulse-buy through the tv before the rush of enthusiasm wears off, even as the programme is still running.

Sure! This is coming as well. As you are watching a show streamed from iTunes, a user can use his controller (iPhone/Touch/iTablet) to point-n-click on an item in view which is then accessible in a folder for viewing later. Call is iGear tagging. Apple gets into another revenue stream the retailers are more than happy to pay.....
post #38 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

Very funny... but are you certain your thoughts were affectionate? Be honest George Costanza.

post #39 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cranky View Post

Hey, Hi there children, It's time to play follow the leader!!

Handango.com was a cross-platform app store before Apple had an ipod.
post #40 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by phalanx View Post

Handango.com was a cross-platform app store before Apple had an ipod.

Yes, and the entire industry certainly fell in line behind that, didn't they?

Why is so hard to tell the difference between "did something in some form" and "actually changed the industry in a way that caused the other players to follow suit"?
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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