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Poll
Question: Which Desktop Search Tool(s) do you use? (Choose up to 2)
Google Desktop Search - 15 (7.1%)
Copernic Desktop Search - 35 (16.7%)
MSN Windows Desktop Search - 14 (6.7%)
Yahoo Desktop Search - 3 (1.4%)
X1 Desktop Search - 18 (8.6%)
Locate - 39 (18.6%)
Archivarius - 13 (6.2%)
other... - 45 (21.4%)
none / no comment - 28 (13.3%)
Total Voters: 171

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Author Topic: What is the currently best Desktop Search software?  (Read 278740 times)
Ralf Maximus
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« Reply #175 on: October 28, 2007, 02:00:46 PM »

In terms of misleading the person downloading the software, there is no difference.  It's a lie, plain and simple.  Not the truth.  Trying to sucker someone into installing your software under false pretenses.  That's why I wouldn't use such software.

If Archivarius really is "more precise results and will be lighter on resources", surely the software authors would like me to check this on all my files?  The limitation seems to me just a way of avoiding a true comparison with other software - until you've parted with your cash, when it's too late.

Ouch. 

Having used Archivarious for a time now, I'm convinced it *is* lighter on resources and all that.  As I described above, I compared it to X1 and found X1 wanting.  So the product itself appears to be pretty solid.  I "parted with" $39 for Archivarius and am very pleased with it. 

In this case I'd prefer to think the author is basically honest, and simply chose a poor method for crippling the trial version.  Compounded by the lack of up-front information about HOW the trial is impaired, I can easily see how you'd get the impression he's a sneaky bastard.  But in this case, the product clearly works well and he has nothing to hide.

So how did this happen?

There's a war out there.  If you think it's hard being a software consumer, consider the developer: from their standpoint the WHOLE WORLD is out there trying to rip them off, either by sharing licenses or cracks.  I can easily imagine a bunker mentality setting in, the result being a collection of poor decisions about how to protect their baby from being pirated.

Ultimately you can't.  If you put copy protection on something, and somebody else wants it, people WILL find a way around it.  There's a sub-culture in crackers who focus on 0-day cracks, where the cracking tool is published before the commercial app is even shipped!  I recognize there is a big difference between TrialWare and stuff like SecuRom but the overall goals are the same: stop the software from being used unless it's paid for.

So everyone loses.  The author gets a bad reputation (because even honest users are annoyed) and potential customers are turned off before they can evaluate anything.  That almost happened to me with Archivarius, but I re-read all the positive reviews of it here, took a deep breath, and gambled my money.  I am VERY happy I did.

You are very right to be cautious, james, but in this case I believe Archivarius' author is one of the good guys -- he just made some crap decisions, and it'll keep hurting him until they are rectified.  And YOU lose because you'll never get to see Archivarius run free on your harddrive, happy clever puppy that it is.

BTW... This is a prime example of why I think DonationWare is one real solution to the problem.  Honest people who find value in software don't mind paying for it.  And developers don't WANT the other kinds of customer.  :-)
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Dormouse
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« Reply #176 on: October 28, 2007, 02:29:54 PM »

potential customers are turned off before they can evaluate anything. 

True. I've certainly been put off. I would not have downloaded it if I had known it would be limited to 10,000 files.

As suggested, I emailed the author about a week ago about the problem. No reply (yet); that doesn't impress me either.
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Darwin
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« Reply #177 on: October 28, 2007, 02:59:52 PM »

Yes - sadly, Archivarius' developer seems to be incommunicado at the moment. He's usually very quick to reply to e-mail but has not answered any of my messages over the past two or three weeks. Perhaps he's on holiday? I know that Archivarius is a one man show...
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Dormouse
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« Reply #178 on: October 28, 2007, 07:29:17 PM »

I do have sympathy with one man shows, and accept that they cannot be available all of the time. Of course, that is also a real-world disadvantage and means that future development is entirely dependent on that person's motivation and availability.
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« Reply #179 on: October 28, 2007, 07:40:37 PM »

I must say that I am a bit surprised at the lack of users of GDS in the survey.

I first started with Desktop search progs with Alta Vista (can't remember what they called it), tried an early version Blinkx (which started to cause problems after a while), Copernic (early, then moved away), then GDS & Yahoo. Moved away from GDS (I suspected it of disk-thrashing) and on to Copernic. I still have Copernic installed but don't use it much because it does not seem to find all my files. I keep it installed because so many people are positive about it and I think I may be missing a trick. I re-installed GDS (no disk thrashing now) which also has the advantage of searching Evernote and seems to work more effectively than Copernic.

Archivarius would be good for searching The Bat, but I use a number of email progs (Courier, Thunderbird & Opera too) after experiencing database problems with one a long time ago. Makes me feel I have some insurance to have more than one; all bar one are set up to leave the email on the server and one is set to clear it as it downloads.
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« Reply #180 on: October 28, 2007, 10:27:09 PM »

I use to use GDS. But I stopped cause I hated the search results interface. And the software shells like GDS extreme weren't being updated anymore.
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justice
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« Reply #181 on: October 29, 2007, 04:54:04 AM »

I'm using copernic at the moment and I really enjoy their interface. It also is the second desktop search not to impact pc performance for me (archivarius is the other one). I was really wanting ti use Google Desktop but it freezes my browser: GDS monitors or takes copies of all websites visited for local searching, however when on an admin account the browser is run as normal user (or limited user) then the browser freezes. The same thing happens with Google Toolbar which means I cannot use it as running the browser (+ email + messenger) as non-admin is an important security precaution which stops me getting any spyware. Windows Desktop search I like because of the integration and support for filetypes but also impacts performance for me. I tried X1 in the past but the interface is too complex for my liking.
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rjbull
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« Reply #182 on: October 29, 2007, 06:32:30 AM »

I first started with Desktop search progs with Alta Vista (can't remember what they called it)

AltaVista Discovery?  Here's a blog post on it.

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jamesthebod
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« Reply #183 on: October 30, 2007, 04:39:58 AM »

I had been looking around at desktop searches since my copy of X1 seemed to be getting slow at waking up from the tray.  Then after installation of other software it refused to wake up at all.  I uninstalled it completely and re-installed it (X1 Enterprise Client Version 5.6.2) , and it's brilliant, back to the way it was before.  So I'm not going to bother looking elsewhere.

BTW re
... consider the developer: from their standpoint the WHOLE WORLD is out there trying to rip them off, either by sharing licenses or cracks
... how to protect their baby from being pirated.
... people WILL find a way around it.
... So everyone loses...
... The author gets a bad reputation (because even honest users are annoyed) and potential customers are turned off before they can evaluate anything.

I don't understand the author's point.  He says that preventing piracy is impossible, and then he seems to say that despite that, it's OK to annoy potential customers trying to prevent piracy, an attempt that he admits is futile.  Why doesn't he just accept that software developers are shooting themselves in the foot by annoying potential customers?
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Ralf Maximus
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« Reply #184 on: October 30, 2007, 07:20:49 AM »

What I meant was that it's not a good thing to annoy potential customers.  Firstly, it's bad business.  Secondly, it's just not a nice thing to do.

I *do* believe that developers shoot themselves in the feet by annoying potential customers.  That was the intent of my rant; should have written it more clearly.  Sorry.

Your X1 experience reminds me of mine, except that when I downloaded and installed the latest build the performance remained abysmal.  That and the fact that X1 wouldn't index my networked documents (while Archivarius did) sealed its fate.  I paid $79 for X1 back in the day they charged for it, and still trashed it.
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Armando
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« Reply #185 on: October 30, 2007, 09:56:53 AM »

I had been looking around at desktop searches since my copy of X1 seemed to be getting slow at waking up from the tray.  Then after installation of other software it refused to wake up at all.  I uninstalled it completely and re-installed it (X1 Enterprise Client Version 5.6.2) , and it's brilliant, back to the way it was before.  So I'm not going to bother looking elsewhere.

did you delete your index and reindex everything?


Those who still use X1 could try this :

- pick your biggest word document (or find and download one, or create one yourself by gluing 2-3 documents together : more than 500 pages and even longer if possible)

- Pick your biggest pdf file (or find and download one : more than 500 pages please, and even longer if possible, here's one : http://www.spinbitz.net/a...losophy_0.999...ebook.pdf ).

Pick a short group of words at the end of each document. Will X1 find them ? My X1 can't, not even the betas or the new version (Archivarius can, very fast). X1 won't find words at the end of very long documents, as I've said before. But I'm ready to change my mind about it and try to reindex my drive if others tell me their X1 performs differently…
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #186 on: October 30, 2007, 10:33:19 AM »

The more I read this thread the more convinced I am that there is still scope out there for the killer app - none of the existing solutions come close to ideal in my experience.

As I've said before Outlook is my biggest bug bear. None of the apps really handle Outlook PST files well - and surely finding a missing email is one of the most common uses for this sort of search.

I have reported problems with X1 corrupting PST files but I am slowly coming to the conclusion that the fault actually lies with the Microsoft API for accessing Outlook data via Outlook. A number of apps that I have tried consistently leave PST files with 'errors' or 'minor inconsistencies' when you run SCANPST.

I don't believe they all have bugs in this respect and anyway they should only be reading from the files - how can reading a file corrupt it? It's like saying you need a pen to read a novel!

Interestingly my recent experiments with PST files haven't lost data but the repaired files are actually larger than the files with errors (it is simple to compare the original PST which SCANPST simply retains with a .BAK extension). Each time stuff is added to the end of the damaged file to make it consistent. It is almost as if Outlook can't close the file properly when other applications have finished accessing the data.

My latest frustration with with Neo Pro - an addin for Outlook that allows you to use an alternative 'workflow' (I hate that word) to normal Outlook usage - it also indexes all of the PST files in catalogues so that it can search your data really quickly. I set Neo so that it doesn't open unless I click on the toolbar icon and bam as soon as I open Neo it updates its index and the PST files involved show inconsistencies and errors.

If I don't use any other apps with Outlook then all is fine.

Anyone else experience any of this?

I am using Windows XP SP2/Outlook 2003 SP2 and Neo 3 (there is a 30 day trieal of Neo Pro and also freebie version at http://www.caelo.com/products/download.php). Would some kind soul download and try this with Outlook 2003 and then check their PST files with SCANPST after each use?

Cheers
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« Reply #187 on: October 30, 2007, 04:57:07 PM »

Cf. the original topic, I never used any desktop search software, but have been considering it for a long time. Now I dl'd and installed both Locate32 and Copernic and while I can't say anything bad (yet) about either program's speed (or resource usage), I discovered a major problem:

Locate32 works nicely and finds results instantly (updating seems to take a long time, though, even without major changes in files in the meantime), but I can hardly see it as a "desktop search", because it doesn't index file contents (unless I'm mistaken, but I don't think so). I'd rather say that it's Windows' classic "Find" on steroids. It's nice and I'll keep it, but it's out of the "desktop search" race for me.

The problem I have is with Copernic (don't really like the interface, and inadvertedly launching a web search drives me nuts, but the core functions seem to work well); it's that it does not look for folder names. I often have the files for a topic in a folder where only the folder's name contains the keyword. The files usually have more specialized names, and the keyword is missing there. I can't (and don't want to) rename all my files to match the search engine's specifications, so I'm SOL.

From what I've read about other programs, I can't find any information about searching for folders.
Does anyone know if one of the other contenders works with folder names?

Edit - Oh, I forgot: IF I'm going to stay with Copernic for file contents (and Locate32 for file/folder names, and Lookout for complete indexing of Outlook contents, sigh), I'll probably have to pay for a license, because CDS is only "free for personal home use". Does anyone know how much they charge for a single machine, single user business license?
« Last Edit: October 30, 2007, 05:06:48 PM by alxwz » Logged
Armando
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« Reply #188 on: October 30, 2007, 08:59:59 PM »

From what I've read about other programs, I can't find any information about searching for folders.
Does anyone know if one of the other contenders works with folder names?

Amongst "shallow" Desktop Search software:

- Locate32 or Find an Run Robot will search folder names.

Amongst "deeper" Desktop Search software:

- X1 has a folder column which lets you directly enter folder related keywords. In terms of search customizability and features, X1 is certainly the most sophisticated.
- Exalead looks like it will allow some folder filtering too. Carol could maybe confirm.

I am using Windows XP SP2/Outlook 2003 SP2 and Neo 3 (there is a 30 day trieal of Neo Pro and also freebie version at http://www.caelo.com/products/download.php). Would some kind soul download and try this with Outlook 2003 and then check their PST files with SCANPST after each use?

Cheers

I don't have the time to check this tonight, but I might try in a few days...
I must say that when I use scanpst, it will show me errors half of the time. Outlook doesn't seem to have any problems with these errors though... For now, I've decided to accept these errors as an MS feature. These PST files always have errors. AS long as they show all my data...

Have your PST files shown any signs of data corruption? Or is it just scanpst showing errors?
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« Reply #189 on: October 31, 2007, 01:50:15 AM »

Programs like Directory Opus and Xplorer2 have sophisticated search facilities which certainly include searching for folders.

For me desktop search is all about the deeper searching.
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Dormouse
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« Reply #190 on: October 31, 2007, 01:57:38 AM »

I first started with Desktop search progs with Alta Vista (can't remember what they called it)

AltaVista Discovery?  Here's a blog post on it.

That's the one. Must be about nine or ten years ago now.
Have also tried the Windows Search Prog, but stopped that fairly quickly because it slowed my system.

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« Reply #191 on: October 31, 2007, 02:00:17 AM »

Exalead allows selecting or excluding folders found after the search was performed, like this:



Regarding PST--mine almost always contains "errors", but so far I've never lost any data.

(Oops--where's the shadow I put to the picture in Screenshot Captor?)
« Last Edit: October 31, 2007, 02:04:13 AM by yksyks » Logged
Carol Haynes
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« Reply #192 on: October 31, 2007, 04:01:20 AM »

I am using Windows XP SP2/Outlook 2003 SP2 and Neo 3 (there is a 30 day trieal of Neo Pro and also freebie version at http://www.caelo.com/products/download.php). Would some kind soul download and try this with Outlook 2003 and then check their PST files with SCANPST after each use?

I don't have the time to check this tonight, but I might try in a few days...
I must say that when I use scanpst, it will show me errors half of the time. Outlook doesn't seem to have any problems with these errors though... For now, I've decided to accept these errors as an MS feature. These PST files always have errors. AS long as they show all my data...

Have your PST files shown any signs of data corruption? Or is it just scanpst showing errors?

It just seems to be when I run ScanPST. However I don't know if any data has been lost because some of the files I am using have so much content that without keeping a catalogue there is no way I can tell.

The problem is that Outlook doesn't seem to do any sort of consistency check at all on opening the file or on closing it. It strikes me that the design of the file structure is the cause for the problems as it is so slow to check validity and a major worry about data security and integrity. Email archives are some of the most important data files on my system and I worry that one day I will try to open an archive only for me to experience the problems frequently described on the MS usenet groups.

ScanPST is the only mechanism to check file integrity and its fixing methods are notoriously brutal to data - if there is a problem it just chops out the problem region of the file. The reporting of ScanPST is so cryptic it is almost impossible to know what it has actually done.

OK I know I can keep backups but I like to feel that using an application on a day to day basis isn't going to trash my data!

Out of curiosity how do you have Outlook set up (version, service pack version and extra plugins or apps that interact with Outlook, desktop search utility and how it is set up WRT Outlook).

If you do get a chance to try out Neo it would be really useful as if you experience the same problem as me I have some evidence to support a bug/issue report.
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« Reply #193 on: October 31, 2007, 04:52:25 AM »

The problem is that Outlook doesn't seem to do any sort of consistency check at all on opening the file or on closing it. It strikes me that the design of the file structure is the cause for the problems as it is so slow to check validity and a major worry about data security and integrity. Email archives are some of the most important data files on my system and I worry that one day I will try to open an archive only for me to experience the problems frequently described on the MS usenet groups.

I know you went through the excercise of looking at other e-mail clients, only to come back to Outlook.  But if you're ultimately worried about Outlook's long-term integrity, is is worth reconsidering?

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« Reply #194 on: October 31, 2007, 06:20:08 AM »

Is ScanPST a Microsoft or a 3rd-party tool, Carol?
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« Reply #195 on: October 31, 2007, 06:48:33 AM »

SCANPST.EXE is a part of MS Office installation and it's called Inbox Repair Tool. More info at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/272227.

On Office 2003 it's located at C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MSMAPI\1033\SCANPST.EXE.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #196 on: October 31, 2007, 06:52:17 AM »

Is ScanPST a Microsoft or a 3rd-party tool, Carol?

ScanPST is installed as part of all versions of Outlook (though until v. 2003 it wasn't at all obvious as it was in a hidden folder and the help files simply referred to the "Inbox Repair Tool" without telling you how to find it!).

Strangely Outlook 2003 has two PST file formats - the old version (compatible with Outlook 2000/XP) and a new version. The new version is designed to overcome the problems of file size (the old version was unofficially limited to 2Gb - bigger than that and you started to get real problems). The trouble is that even Microsoft state that the new format is more prone to corruption (WTF!!!)

The problem is that Outlook doesn't seem to do any sort of consistency check at all on opening the file or on closing it. It strikes me that the design of the file structure is the cause for the problems as it is so slow to check validity and a major worry about data security and integrity. Email archives are some of the most important data files on my system and I worry that one day I will try to open an archive only for me to experience the problems frequently described on the MS usenet groups.

I know you went through the excercise of looking at other e-mail clients, only to come back to Outlook.  But if you're ultimately worried about Outlook's long-term integrity, is is worth reconsidering?

Trouble is that Outlook is more than just an email client and I use it a lot. Also if Outlook has file problems that go unnoticed how do we know that other apps don't too? At least if my PST file gets corrupted there are hundreds of companies out there that will help to solve the problem - most of the other apps you are stuck with support from one company (and the hope that it stays in business).

I suspect the best solution is to use automated backups very regularly - but it would be much simpler if Outlook simply worked properly!
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« Reply #197 on: October 31, 2007, 07:37:26 AM »

Quote
Trouble is that Outlook is more than just an email client and I use it a lot. Also if Outlook has file problems that go unnoticed how do we know that other apps don't too?

Computing Rule #488 clearly states "all data is suspect at all times". 

No, seriously -- and no disrespect intended -- that's kind of a losing argument, in that if you're wrong you're missing out on a more stable solution, and if you're RIGHT then we're all very deeply, thouroughly hosed.

Quote
At least if my PST file gets corrupted there are hundreds of companies out there that will help to solve the problem - most of the other apps you are stuck with support from one company (and the hope that it stays in business).

The ONLY reason I migrated from Outlook to Thunderbird + Lightning is this: there is no proprietary format; everything is stored in plain text files, exactly as the email was received.  Just like the good old unix days.

And I've never seen them get corrupted, in 2.5+ years of daily (obsessive) use.  I know you've done the comparisons and understand the limitations of Thunderbird + A Slew Of Add-Ins, but maybe it's time to take another look?
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #198 on: October 31, 2007, 07:58:00 AM »

Quote
The ONLY reason I migrated from Outlook to Thunderbird + Lightning is this: there is no proprietary format; everything is stored in plain text files, exactly as the email was received.  Just like the good old unix days.

How are HTML emails and attachments stored in Thunderbird? How can you archive off older email to stop folders becoming unmanageable - are there tools built in to do it?
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« Reply #199 on: October 31, 2007, 08:23:29 AM »

Quote
The ONLY reason I migrated from Outlook to Thunderbird + Lightning is this: there is no proprietary format; everything is stored in plain text files, exactly as the email was received.  Just like the good old unix days.

How are HTML emails and attachments stored in Thunderbird? How can you archive off older email to stop folders becoming unmanageable - are there tools built in to do it?

HTML is stored as HTML; plain text.

All attachments are stored using MIME encoding, or UUE, or whatever encoding was specified in the original email.  All email -- no matter how complicated -- is a standard ASCII text file.

There are lots of built-in tools for managing folders, but my favorite is the rules system.  I have mine set up as an auto-sorter ("move email older than 30 days in this folder").  It's very similar to the Outlook filters, but *much* easier to use.

And honestly, aside from a few rules I don't do much organization.  I let everything accumulate in my in-box and "older" stuff gets shoved into an archive folder.  I just checked and I've got 3.89 GB of stuff in my TB "email" folder, which represents history back to 1995. 

Oh, and I get between 300 and 3000 spams a day, which PopFile tags and TB then filters into the Junk folder.

And with all that, TB is *fast* and never crashes or corrupts anything.  Of course, by telling you this I have probably damned myself, but I will take the risk.  *wood knocking*

Here's a screenshot of TB's front page with its folder view open.  Below that is the Lightning add-in which does scheduling:


The "112" Junk items are since 8:30; about an hour ago. :-)

All the "Archive Folders" you see were imported from Outlook when I did the big switchover.  It took TB many hours to grind through my multiple .PST files but it did, and once imported I moved each one into its own Archive folder.  And now if I ever have to delve into the dark past, I can use TB's moderately okay search capabilities or fire up Archivarius.

UPDATE: Resized image.  Holy smokes, it was actual-size!
« Last Edit: October 31, 2007, 08:26:41 AM by Ralf Maximus » Logged
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