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Really good hardware design.

GeneralMonoxideGeneralMonoxide Registered User regular
I'd like to know what hardware that the Penny Arcade forum-ers think has a very good design. There are many items that I think that has a really good design but for the first post I'm just going to pick one.

Mac Pro

To me the Mac Pro is the best of Apple's designs. I think the iMacs probably 'look better' but the the iMac does a no where near as good as a job as the Mac Pro does in terms of combining beautiful design and powerful hardware. The iMac is sleeker, but it not only lacks the power of the Mac Pro, but the Mac Pro not just has the form, it has the function. Not only is the outside of the Mac Pro beautiful, but the inside is too. The internals of the Mac Pro are easily the best designed out of any desktop computer.

productwwdcmacpro2.gif


Simply stunning to me. Thanks to the custom motherboard, the design is incredibly neat. Most things are hidden, but not inaccessible. In fact, in most cases parts easier to access than a traditional powerful desktop PC. To access the hard-drives, just slide the trays out. No cables in sight.

So, what are your favorite designs for technology hardware?

GeneralMonoxide on
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    DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    You know how if you move your 360 from horizontal to vertical while a disc is in it, you just destroyed one game disc?

    The Gamecube was designed to be rotated over any axis while the disc was spinning without damaging the disc. Go ahead, test it with a demo disc or something.

    Daedalus on
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    MKRMKR Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I'm a fan of Dell desktops. They might be uglier than any hideous costume you'd see in a Sci-Fi channel movie, but on the inside you have a system where every common failure point is easy to get to, and everything has perfect ventilation. My mom and dad both have Dell desktops, and I'll occasionally find myself in there. It's usually a new DVD-RW for my mom and a new fan for my dad.

    What always amazes me is the lack of dust. I don't know how Dell does it, but this is a very dusty household, and you'd never know it from looking inside their computers.

    MKR on
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    KalTorakKalTorak One way or another, they all end up in the Undercity.Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Daedalus wrote: »
    The Gamecube was designed to be rotated over any axis while the disc was spinning without damaging the disc. Go ahead, test it with a demo disc or something.

    Plus there's that old video of guys dragging a Gamecube behind a truck for a while and bouncing it off curbs, then bringing it back inside and playing a game on it.

    KalTorak on
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    ZiggymonZiggymon Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    The GBA SP or the GB micro. Wonderful hardware designs with durability in mind.


    And personally the iphone/ipod touch. Love them or hate them, the hardware designs of these machines are very beautiful, and so simple to use.

    Ziggymon on
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    GeneralMonoxideGeneralMonoxide Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Oh yeah I remember that vid! Yeah it played a game and everything even though the disc tray was either not present or didn't close as well lol

    GeneralMonoxide on
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    SmurphSmurph Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    MKR wrote: »
    I'm a fan of Dell desktops. They might be uglier than any hideous costume you'd see in a Sci-Fi channel movie, but on the inside you have a system where every common failure point is easy to get to, and everything has perfect ventilation. My mom and dad both have Dell desktops, and I'll occasionally find myself in there. It's usually a new DVD-RW for my mom and a new fan for my dad.

    What always amazes me is the lack of dust. I don't know how Dell does it, but this is a very dusty household, and you'd never know it from looking inside their computers.

    I'll give you the bit about them doing a decent job at keeping dust out but in my experience any home built desktop is easier to work inside of that any dell desktop.

    Smurph on
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    GeneralMonoxideGeneralMonoxide Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I think Dell desktop design has improved quite a bit over the years. Some of the desktops are quite cute, like the range of colorful inspirons.

    GeneralMonoxide on
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    MKRMKR Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Smurph wrote: »
    MKR wrote: »
    I'm a fan of Dell desktops. They might be uglier than any hideous costume you'd see in a Sci-Fi channel movie, but on the inside you have a system where every common failure point is easy to get to, and everything has perfect ventilation. My mom and dad both have Dell desktops, and I'll occasionally find myself in there. It's usually a new DVD-RW for my mom and a new fan for my dad.

    What always amazes me is the lack of dust. I don't know how Dell does it, but this is a very dusty household, and you'd never know it from looking inside their computers.

    I'll give you the bit about them doing a decent job at keeping dust out but in my experience any home built desktop is easier to work inside of that any dell desktop.

    These are about 6 years old. Maybe they got harder to work with over the years?

    MKR on
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    useless4useless4 Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I'd like to know what hardware that the Penny Arcade forum-ers think has a very good design. There are many items that I think that has a really good design but for the first post I'm just going to pick one.

    Mac Pro

    To me the Mac Pro is the best of Apple's designs. I think the iMacs probably 'look better' but the the iMac does a no where near as good as a job as the Mac Pro does in terms of combining beautiful design and powerful hardware. The iMac is sleeker, but it not only lacks the power of the Mac Pro, but the Mac Pro not just has the form, it has the function. Not only is the outside of the Mac Pro beautiful, but the inside is too. The internals of the Mac Pro are easily the best designed out of any desktop computer.


    Simply stunning to me. Thanks to the custom motherboard, the design is incredibly neat. Most things are hidden, but not inaccessible. In fact, in most cases parts easier to access than a traditional powerful desktop PC. To access the hard-drives, just slide the trays out. No cables in sight.

    So, what are your favorite designs for technology hardware?


    The Mac Pro has a stupid design changed from the G5s... the G5s didn't require screws for the hard drive, the mac pro does.

    Another design problem... there are two perfectly good sata ports that aren't being used. Just reading the instructions on how to get them accessible sounds like a nightmare! I bought a raid card for my "server" macpro partly because i didn't want to screw with trying to get those ports working as ESATA.

    They should have just added them from the start.

    Another SATA problem, I don't know on the current Mac Pros... but the first two gens (i have one of each) have IDE optical drives with no real way to route SATA up into the drive cave. I had to get a stick on sata to ide adaptor for my bluray drive.

    useless4 on
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    xzzyxzzy Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Dell servers are pretty impressive. Designed to swap out pretty much anything by pulling a couple tabs and dropping the new piece in. Lot of server manufacturers attempt this, but no one seems to do it quite as well as Dell. It's like they actually put some effort into it.


    And I think the ipod wheel is just about the neatest interface anyone's ever made for such a small device.

    xzzy on
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    GeneralMonoxideGeneralMonoxide Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Hmm I can see your problem to do with SATA but it wouldn't bother me as I wouldn't need to use them. I beg to defer about the design though, I think the design is better organized and accessing RAM is easier, but each to their own I suppose.

    GeneralMonoxide on
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    useless4useless4 Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    You're right getting to the ram isn't bad.

    Really the thing this has over something like an optiplex is that you have space to work in... the optiplex as alot of the same quick-access features it's just that they are layered on top of one another.

    useless4 on
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    nlawalkernlawalker Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Western Digital's 2.5" Passport drives aren't exactly a miracle of engineering, but I have one that's a couple years old and I just picked up a couple that use their new design, and it's cool to see how they took pretty much everything I (and probably everyone else) thought was wrong with the old one and literally 100% fixed it.

    The old one has a "hip but odd" shape like an extruded parallelogram, and one of the primary faces is super shiny and thus prone to scratches and fingerprints. The mini-USB port is covered by a rubber stopper thing that is firmly attached to the base unit, leading to me ripping it out because it's annoying and always gets in the way, so the connector always gets plugged with lint. It uses a super-bright blue LED that can light up my whole apartment at night. The cable it comes with is designed to be used with a laptop, so it's short, but it's just a touch too short. The soft case that comes with it has a little pocket on the outside for the cable, but it's just small enough that the cable likes to work its way out all the time.

    Enter the new Passport. A matte-finished little block with rounded edges. The cover over the connector slides on a little track and locks on each side, and is permanently attached. On the slider are four tiny white lights that glow in sequence to indicate activity, replacing the blue light. The cord is a few inches longer, making it the perfect length. The cord pocked is now on the inside of the case, and the pocket flap is almost as wide as the case itself, so you'll never lose it and it will never poke out the side and scratch the unit.

    nlawalker on
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    GeneralMonoxideGeneralMonoxide Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Could you post a picture of the newer passport please? I'm getting an external drive to be used for Time Machine soon, which I want to be light, and the Western Digital external drives have always caught my eye because of the design.

    GeneralMonoxide on
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    nlawalkernlawalker Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Could you post a picture of the newer passport please? I'm getting an external drive to be used for Time Machine soon, which I want to be light, and the Western Digital external drives have always caught my eye because of the design.

    Ah, I see there are multiple editions. The one I'm referring to is the My Passport Elite. See here for multiple views and a 3d-interactive: http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=517. Looks like the Passport Essential comes in bigger capacities but is more expensive.

    The main reason I got an Elite was because I saw the 500GB at Costco for $120, so I picked up a pair at my local Costco with a $20 off per-unit coupon. $100 for a 500 GB self-powered 2.5" WD-branded disk with Costco's return policy? Not bad. http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11318289&search=passport&Mo=3&cm_re=1_en-_-Top_Left_Nav-_-Top_search&lang=en-US&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&Sp=S&N=5000043&whse=BC&Dx=mode+matchallpartial&Ntk=Text_Search&Dr=P_CatalogName:BC&Ne=4000000&D=passport&Ntt=passport&No=2&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Nty=1&topnav=&s=1

    I do consulting work so the portability is crucial for me. I'd rather have 500 GB in a self-powered 2.5" drive like this than a terabyte in a big clunker that needs wall power.

    nlawalker on
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    JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Unless Mac Pro physical design has changed substantially since the PPC era, ask any Apple Genius what it would take to swap out a PSU in a PPC Mac Pro.

    If they do anything short of laugh at you, then you got lucky.

    Good aesthetics, horrible functional design.

    Jasconius on
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    GeneralMonoxideGeneralMonoxide Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Yeah I need the portability as well. I also HATE having to use AC power. I don't care if you get more storage space, 1TB is far too big for me and I'd far rather take the portability. I know a guy who takes an AC powered 1TB external hard-drive to school...to carry around Microsoft word documents and stuff for coursework lol

    GeneralMonoxide on
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    saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Not really hardware in the traditional sense but I love the design of the Kitchenaid Mixer.

    41yxy5gpzkl_sl500_aa280_.jpg

    This thing is a fucking tank. I wish all electronics and appliances were built like this.

    saltiness on
    XBL: heavenkils
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    DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    saltiness wrote: »
    Not really hardware in the traditional sense but I love the design of the Kitchenaid Mixer.

    41yxy5gpzkl_sl500_aa280_.jpg

    This thing is a fucking tank. I wish all electronics and appliances were built like this.

    True, but I much preferred the "bowl lift" design over the newer "bendy neck" design in the picture.

    Daedalus on
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    KalTorakKalTorak One way or another, they all end up in the Undercity.Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Daedalus wrote: »
    saltiness wrote: »
    Not really hardware in the traditional sense but I love the design of the Kitchenaid Mixer.

    41yxy5gpzkl_sl500_aa280_.jpg

    This thing is a fucking tank. I wish all electronics and appliances were built like this.

    True, but I much preferred the "bowl lift" design over the newer "bendy neck" design in the picture.

    It depends on the model. The less expensive, slightly smaller versions have the bendy neck, while the pricier "professional" models have the bowl-lift crank dealie.

    KalTorak on
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    travathiantravathian Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I don't like most of Apples products, but the original iPod Shuffle was great. A lot of people didn't like the lack of a screen, but I think the unit worked perfectly for what it was designed to do.

    travathian on
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    ZackSchillingZackSchilling Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Jasconius wrote: »
    Unless Mac Pro physical design has changed substantially since the PPC era, ask any Apple Genius what it would take to swap out a PSU in a PPC Mac Pro.

    If they do anything short of laugh at you, then you got lucky.

    Good aesthetics, horrible functional design.

    Oh god, the power supply. I performed that operation on a G5. I needed to go on a hardware store scavenger hunt before I could even begin and I ended up welding together a custom long-handled hex key to unlock the processor and liquid cooling system. It took more than two hours start to finish and I was so nervous I'd break something or forget a screw or tighten one too much... Getting the proper cables wrapped and not pinched was a huge pain in the ass too.

    Like the white iBook G4 hard drive replacement, never again.

    ZackSchilling on
    ghost-robot.jpg
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    StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I loved the insides of the Dell desktops I got for my mother's company.

    And I marveled at how awesome the Gamecube's innards are. Such an intelligent desing. Air flows from right to left, going under the disk drive and through a huge heatsink. Works really well.

    Stormwatcher on
    Steam: Stormwatcher | PSN: Stormwatcher33 | Switch: 5961-4777-3491
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    DeathPrawnDeathPrawn Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    travathian wrote: »
    I don't like most of Apples products, but the original iPod Shuffle was great. A lot of people didn't like the lack of a screen, but I think the unit worked perfectly for what it was designed to do.

    I personally preferred the second gen postage-stamp shuffles. Built-in clip to attach to your clothes, the colors rocked, and the device was only as big as the controls.

    DeathPrawn on
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    Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited September 2009
    lg-env-2.jpg

    The env, it looked stupid but was actually a really good phone. It makes and receives calls is text capable and even have a keyboard! I got mine for free but it does everything I need a phone to do and more. The phone is a brick, I have abused it so much and I never actually got it to break. I have thrown it at the ground, walls, pounded large bolts out with it and it never stopped working.

    Fizban140 on
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    saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Phones with buttons on the outside will never work for me. I keep my phone in my pocket so the buttons get pressed which wears down the battery and destroys the buttons. A hold switch helps but I'll still take a flip phone any day.

    saltiness on
    XBL: heavenkils
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    Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited September 2009
    I have a pretty rough job and I always kept that phone in my pocket and never had a problem. I think it is because the buttons you have to press to really activate anything are depressed a little and require a nice push in the center of it to work.

    Fizban140 on
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    Mustachio JonesMustachio Jones jerseyRegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    The EnV1 was a tank. I'm actually somewhat upset with myself for letting it go while it still worked for the EnV3, which is a piece of garbage.

    There's a key lock on the front panel's keys that disable them from doing anything until the ok button is pressed. I never once had it unlock in my pocket.

    Mustachio Jones on
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    Count ZeroCount Zero Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    250px-HTC_Herald_PDA_Phone.JPG

    Mine actually died recently died but while it lasted it was absolutely brilliant, the keyboard is probably the best phone keyboard that has ever existed, the rubberish coating made it both comfortable to use and hard to drop. I know its ancient but the phones that followed it all have pretty much the same design.

    Count Zero on
    image.php?type=sigpic&userid=38624&dateline=1248802110
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    StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    DeathPrawn wrote: »
    travathian wrote: »
    I don't like most of Apples products, but the original iPod Shuffle was great. A lot of people didn't like the lack of a screen, but I think the unit worked perfectly for what it was designed to do.

    I personally preferred the second gen postage-stamp shuffles. Built-in clip to attach to your clothes, the colors rocked, and the device was only as big as the controls.

    100% agreed. The second Shuffle was just perfect for the job.

    Stormwatcher on
    Steam: Stormwatcher | PSN: Stormwatcher33 | Switch: 5961-4777-3491
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    TofystedethTofystedeth Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Daedalus wrote: »
    You know how if you move your 360 from horizontal to vertical while a disc is in it, you just destroyed one game disc?

    The Gamecube was designed to be rotated over any axis while the disc was spinning without damaging the disc. Go ahead, test it with a demo disc or something.

    I remember once when I tripped over a controller cable, yanking my friend's GC off the shelf while someone was playing Smash Bros. I caught it before it hit the floor, so it didn't have a sharp impact, but it continued playing just fine. The only problems I've ever seen with the Cubes was the open tray button on pretty much all of them got flaky. And on the one I mentioned above it had a weird graphical problem where certain effects would tear badly. Smash Bros Melee was the only game where it was frequently noticeable, and I've never seen it on any other system.

    Tofystedeth on
    steam_sig.png
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    MKRMKR Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    My launch gamecube is still in perfect working order, though the fan is a bit noisy when it hasn't been turned on in a few months.

    MKR on
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    SirUltimosSirUltimos Don't talk, Rusty. Just paint. Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    You can actually knock over a Wii while it's playing a game and everything continues just fine. No damage to the disc and the game keeps on playing.

    SirUltimos on
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    PeregrineFalconPeregrineFalcon Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    SirUltimos wrote: »
    You can actually knock over a Wii while it's playing a game and everything continues just fine. No damage to the disc and the game keeps on playing.

    Probably part of the design - make it able to withstand a direct hit from an errant Wiimote and keep going.

    PeregrineFalcon on
    Looking for a DX:HR OnLive code for my kid brother.
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    RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Anything made by Nintendo. The launch units (of anything, but thinking in particular about the Wii and the DS Lite - video chip rot and hinge cracks) may have an issue or two but it's quickly cleared up in subsequent production runs, and about as durable as a kump of metal.

    Rohan on
    ...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

    Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten
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    GeneralMonoxideGeneralMonoxide Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    It's a shame that Nintendo's console hardware isn't that great looking (except for the Wii maybe) because the SNES, N64, Gamecube, Wii etc. are all really good working hardware and my SNES still works, and probably will forever.

    GeneralMonoxide on
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    RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    I think the SNES looks quite lovely. The Euro/Japan SNES now, though, not the purple block that is the U.S.A console. And the silver GameCube looked great. And the N64 had those transparent case designs which looked nice.

    Rohan on
    ...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

    Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten
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    KalTorakKalTorak One way or another, they all end up in the Undercity.Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    Ahhh, the days when transparent purple plastic was the height of cool-looking electronics. My Game Boy Color was transparent purple, to contrast with my friend's solid purple. I regretted my choice after an inspection of the D-pad showed all the gross dust and skin cells and godknowswhat that had been caked under the inside of the casing by sweat. I blame all the Pokemon Pinball, mostly.

    KalTorak on
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    PracticalProblemSolverPracticalProblemSolver Registered User regular
    edited September 2009
    The consumer kitchenaid mixers have a plastic gear designed to fail before the undersized motor burns up, I heard from a repair shop this was at the request of the repair centers. Beats me if that's good design or bad, but there's plenty of conspiracy theories out there about it. We have a mixer from the 70s that's still going strong, with the all-metal gearing.

    The 2nd gen matchbook ipod shuffle is my most used piece of electronics, I rock it whenever I'm doing yard work or working in my shop, my only complaint is the ring buttons are too easy to press on accident and I listen to longer podcasts so it can be a bitch to scan back to the middle or end of a track. It's strong, stays clipped wherever I put it, works in semi-hazardous environments, the battery charges fast and lasts forever.

    PracticalProblemSolver on
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    colawarscolawars Pittsburgh, PARegistered User regular
    edited September 2009
    The 2nd gen matchbook ipod shuffle is my most used piece of electronics, I rock it whenever I'm doing yard work or working in my shop, my only complaint is the ring buttons are too easy to press on accident and I listen to longer podcasts so it can be a bitch to scan back to the middle or end of a track. It's strong, stays clipped wherever I put it, works in semi-hazardous environments, the battery charges fast and lasts forever.

    Hold down the play button for a couple of seconds to lock/unlock the buttons.

    colawars on
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