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George Peppard

vAMSYS Platform Administrator
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Everything posted by George Peppard

  1. Lewis, You will need to contact the VA management directly and ask if they will reactivate your account.
  2. Marco, As you are VA staff please raise this via the appropriate internal channels so we can track it through to resolution. Thank you.
  3. Chris, Apologies for the inconvenience, this should now be resolved.
  4. On v4, continuous updates and infrastructure Continuing on from our recent end of year update, vAMSYS is pleased to provide this further announcement outlining our plans for the new vAMSYS version and the infrastructure changes which will be taking place over the next few months. Updates and semantic versioning Long term members of the platform will know that, for many years, we have been rolling updates into "versions". Versions 1 and 2 were legacy versions of the platform, version 3 is what you are using now and version 4 is what we have been working on. Each version is currently subdivided into further minor releases (for example version 3.8) and then subdivided further into patch releases (3.8.1, for example). This semantic system, whilst allowing the development team to mark changes against milestones, does not, in our use case, make sense. Often, changes are released before the version is bumped and the changelog published. This essentially defeats the point of a semantic versioning system at all. Starting with the next release, we will begin to move away from this system, and instead towards a continuous "release when ready" cycle. This means that as soon as functionality is ready for end users, it will become accessible. Users will no longer need to wait for the corresponding release to be published before they can use features they have been waiting for (which in some cases, have been waiting several weeks for their official release date). You will no longer see version numbers on the platform, for example in the footer. We will provide a method of determining the release you are currently viewing, but this is mainly for internal use, and should not need to be monitored by end users. Instead of changelogs, we will publish a monthly(-ish) update on what we are working on and what has changed since the last update. This also allows us to cover other topics where required (if you have suggestions for what to include in this "newsletter"-type update, please get in touch), and we hope that you will find the first update around the end of January 2022 to be an informative and interesting read. vAMSYS version 4 Now that the preamble for this section has been covered, we can say (with context) that there will be no v4 release. The reason for this is simple - there are no more numbered releases. As discussed in our end of year update, it has become clear that over the last few months the time available to the team to work on the new version is not as high as was originally hoped. It is for this reason that a stark change of tactic is required. We will no longer be "starting from scratch" with v4. Instead, we will take the existing v3 codebase, and begin to make several fundamental updates to it in order to stabilise and prepare the platform for easier addition of functionality. Our starting point will be PHP and Laravel upgrades, followed by code consolidation and implementation of some code we wrote for our internal development version of the former v4. Instead of vAMSYS v4, the version you use currently will be heavily updated. Instead of vAMSYS v3, you will just be using vAMSYS. Feature requests and suggestions We outlined that we would like to eventually move away from the vAMSYS Ideas system for feature requests. This is because internally, we do not consider upvotes as much as the ideas platform makes them out to be - so to continue to use a platform which places so much emphasis on upvotes is, in our opinion, counterintuitive. We are unsure as to what we will be replacing vAMSYS Ideas with at this stage (it will likely be something integrated into the systems we already use internally to track bug reports and confirmed feature additions), so for now, please continue to raise requests via the existing Ideas system. We will be sure to capture all requests in Ideas when moving to a new system to ensure that nothing is lost. If you have any meta-suggestions (suggestions for the suggestions system) then please contact George Peppard via Discord or email (george@vamsys.co.uk). Infrastructure and downtime vAMSYS is investing around £1600 over the next few months in new enterprise-level hardware and software to ensure the platform continues to operate with stability for many years to come. We are currently in early discussion with our server hosting provider to ascertain exactly when this upgrade will be possible (there are some billing complications, as well as some lead time for the hardware to be provisioned in a datacenter), and we will aim to keep downtime to as low a level as possible (this too depends on what can be worked out with the service provider). We are very excited about this and will be sure to provide you with more information regarding our new infrastructure solutions in the future. However, the key takeaway is this: in or before Q2 2022, there will be an unprecedented server and service overhaul, which will result in downtime. Please continue to monitor the vAMSYS Discord server for publicity so that you can inform your pilots, in good time, ahead of any planned outages which will affect them. Conclusion Thank you very much for reading this update. We hope you have found it's content to be useful and we are happy to answer any questions or comments you have either via the vAMSYS Discord server or the comments below. The vAMSYS team would like to congratulate Anna, one of our developers, on graduating with a BSc in Computer Science.
  5. 2021 on vAMSYS ~ In memory of Graeme Wright, a long-term member of the platform, a well-respected virtual pilot, VA staff member and so much more ~ "Another tumultuous year here. I could not blame anyone, hey - this was me - tad too optimistic last year when I wrote the end of year message. I think we all thought along the same lines - we will vaccinate, we will adjust and life will come back to normal. It did - for a few months in the UK at least. If the lockdowns did anything - together with the re-release of Microsoft Flight Simulator - they have driven a lot of new users to Virtual Airlines. Based on numbers alone, we did better than ever before. This has been a particular high for us all - let's get real - not every day we get an influx of new people joining our very niche hobby. We are trying to do our best in helping our new members in finding their feet when they go the perilous road of staring a Virtual Airline and we want to thank you for pitching in Discord in helping out. vAMSYS in 2021 had to take a second violin for me a lot of the time, hence I could not be prouder to hand off the bulk of the end of year message you can see below to the people you interact with the most - the better half of Team vAMSYS. " - Lukas, vAMSYS LTD "It's over already?", we hear you say - so do we. I am not sure how I would describe the year 2021 - least of all in a concise format - but circumstances notwithstanding, it's been the biggest year yet for the platform - for which we mainly have you, the user, to thank. So brew a cup of tea (George recommends this one, Lukas would rather you opted for this instead) or grab your favourite beverage, have a seat, and let's discuss what 2021 has meant for the Virtual Airline Management System. Let's go back to 2020 We ended 2020 on a high - we finished v3, then migrated everyone over to v3; Anna developed Pegasus, then we moved to using Pegasus exclusively; we started the year with 10 VAs, ended with 30+ - last December we were high on lockdown induced accomplishment fever - we were bright eyed, thinking we can do anything and thus - on the wrong side of Dunning-Kruger curve when we set out our goals for 2021. Don't get us wrong - 2020 has been the best year for us... up until 2021 - we did a lot. With your help - we achieved a lot and hit new milestones in our history, but were a few things we could not do - and it's time to fess up. We ended our 2020 message on our DIscord with the following: Osprey is dead. Osprey was a project to allow VAs to implement their own frontend to the platform, interacting with vAMSYS via a RESTful API. The beauty of our platform, we believe, is that anyone can use it - even if they do not have the technical expertese that was previously required to run a VA (using self hosted software). Due to what we consider to be very little interest in this feature (leading to the feature likely not being used by many if not all VAs) and reprioritisation of projects in preparation for the v4 release, we have decided that Osprey will not be implemented. Discord Bot - towards the end of 2020 we were very happy to be approached by Aidas. He offered his hand and time in developing a universal vAMSYS discord bot for every VA using our services. We were thrilled with the idea - it has often been a requested addition to the vAMSYS repertoire of tricks. Due to the number of ongoing projects this feature is currently somewhat suspended. We know it's something that many of our customers would value, and we will aim to implement Discord integration in a future release. Pegasus Scorers have been delayed due to the continued support of legacy smartCARS integration. It is likely that due to the required changes to the platform that would need to be implemented in order to fully take advantage of the new Pegasus functionality (and the fact that a new version of Pegasus will shortly be in development, which will change how the software works anyway), major new scorers will be deferred until they can be implemented in v4. We will continue to enhance our existing scoring lineup, and where scorers are required to be implemented, will implement less "ground breaking" options in the current version, to be revisited at a later date. v4 - the elephant in the room, which we will touch more on towards the end of this post. Whilst we never made any dates official - we had some internal milestones to hit which we thought were reasonable when we posted the 2020 end of year message. As the phrase goes, "The devil smiles when we make plans. He laughs when we get too busy." Due to less-than-expected development time between the team, we have realigned our internal milestones to more accurately reflect the pressures of a development team consisting of time-limited members. We continue to work towards a release, which we now expect to be some time in 2022. We understand that some of this news is likely disappointing to readers, however we would rather offer more transparency (if at the expense of shattering some expectations). Statistics Our yearly holiday post wouldn't be complete without some mind-boggling statistics we share with you every year, so here we go. In 2021... 9700 of you joined vAMSYS for the first time, bringing the total number of users to just over 37,000 26,543 new VA memberships were created, which is around 2.7 per user more than 80 of our current VAs were created in 2021 - and long may they continue you filed over 195,000 PIREPs, which is around 15 per active user in those PIREPs, you flew for over 1.18 million hours, which is enough time to travel to Mars and back... 91 times, in a rocket (or in George's terms, enough time to make around 890,000 trips from end to end on the Central Line) you also used up just over 1.35 million metric tonnes of fuel - let's hope that electric planes "take flight" soon...? our most frequent pilot filed just over 800 PIREPs representing just over two months of continuous flying - the development team are really impressed, and we will be in touch! All of these statistics represent the reason why we continue to put hours of our free time into vAMSYS, why we are prepared to be woken up at (literally and forcibly, thanks to our alerting systems) every and any hour of the day to fix platform issues and why it's still worth it - because our platform provides a place for people to unwind and do something they enjoy for hours on end (in some cases, hundreds) - and any developer that tells you that's not humbling either isn't telling you the truth, or is not a very good developer. What has changed? Not only did we have some incredible statistics to show off, we're also going to talk about some of the biggest and best changes to vAMSYS this year (in mostly chronological order). We implemented the Network Connectivity Service, which allowed us to produce our first of many VATSIM- and IVAO-based PIREP scorers. We implemented proper management of pilot sharing agreements. We added the advanced fleet and stand override system. We completely replaced our pilot search system with one that's much quicker and more user friendly. We added Forum Management in Orwell, allowing staff to (finally) manage forums with autonomy. We rewrote alert management and maintenance from scratch, which to George's great dismay, made it better than notices. We added the Advanced Cargo System which allowed people to specify exactly what virtual oddities they are transporting around the world. Where does your money go? I am not a huge fan of prividing these numbers, and fear it detracts from our (my) purpose. vAMSYS (and it's very few partner VAs) do not exist to make thousands of pounds. vAMSYS Is a passion project - that's how the team and I came to work on it. We spent time with VAs, started some, managed them - we are all very much a part of the community we aim to support. However, we think it is only right that as paying customers, you see where your membership fees are spent. Here you go. - Lukas vAMSYS is a private limited company in England and Wales with one shareholder (Lukas). All payments are handled by Stripe, an industry standard payment processor. Their policies and compliance documentation are linked on the billing pages in Orwell. As a private limited company, we are required to submit our accounts to regulatory organisations in the UK. They have an address on them - please do not show up unannounced. If you want to meet with Lukas, please just ask him - he will be more than happy to arrange such a meetup. We file accounts every year, however as a small company, we don't need to have them audited by a third party, nor do they need to be particularly detailed. You can gleam from our filing in August 2021 covering 1st March 2020 to 28 Feb 2021 that vAMSYS LTD is not bankrolling the team or our customers - we do not hire Rolls Royce Phantoms and private Embraer jets for trips to our City of London offices. We reinvest almost all of the vAMSYS service fees (sometimes more) we collect from you to provide the services you and your pilots have come to enjoy. Monies (per year), as of 20th December 2022 has been allocated roughly as follows: ~£80 for various domains we use £164 for the alerting systems letting us know day and night if vAMSYS has issues (Opsgenie and New Relic) £760 for ticketing and support systems you use to get in touch (Zendesk) £462 for accounting and mandatory legal fees £655 for code storage, deployment and server management £8,520 for bare metal server costs Were we to hire (assuming it was affordable) the entirity of Team vAMSYS as salaried employees at £30,000 per year, our total cost would increase by another £168,160. Hence all our time, effort and software we use is wholly unpaid. In fact, vAMSYS owes nearly £11,000 in director loans to cover previously incurred expenses. We do have other expenses and overheads which we did not account for here, but these are our recurring costs which your monthly fees pay for. vAMSYS has not paid any dividend nor it will for many years to come. If you think you know how we can do a better job, then please do get in touch! What is going to change? 2022 will see the biggest migration of vAMSYS onto new hardware to date, and we're really excited to show off the results (well - actually, we hope you don't notice anything apart from maybe things getting quicker). Some key things are: Circa £1500 investment in the first few months in new enterprise-level software and hardware, with ongoing renewal and support costs after that. Moving off our current model where everything shares resources onto an enterprise-level virtualization platform. New networking equipment linking servers together, allowing us to sync databases between clones multiple times every second with no latency or impact to the user. 96 cores, 192 threads, 512 GB of RAM and over 4 TB disk space of brand new dedicated infrastructure, linked together at 6 Gbps, and to you at 1 Gbps (if you would like us to do some sort of technical blog, please get in touch). Oh, and apparently there's this thing called "v4" that people have been asking about... not sure about that one though. 😉 We will also invest time into less "physical" - yet still as important - changes, as follows: Increased transparency, telling people what we are working on and why. Moving slowly away from only taking ideas from the vAMSYS Ideas platform, which will allow us to be more flexible and respond more rapidly to change. Moving away from "hard versioning" and towards continuous releases. The retirement of "changelogs" - we will instead publish a regular newsletter comprising of what has been worked on since the last publication, and what is being worked on at the time of publication. We hope these changes will help us engage better with our customers, and we would be delighted to hear any suggestions you have in order to help us do this even better. Please contact George if you would like to make a suggestion. We will obviously need to plan some extensive maintenance for the infrastructure move. If you are a VA owner, please continue to monitor the vAMSYS Discord server for publicity so that you can cascade this to your staff and pilots in good time ahead of any downtime. Closing remarks Whether you filed one PIREP, a hundred or a thousand, you (and your VA staff counterparts) make vAMSYS what it is today. I wouldn't go so far to describe us as "essential" over the last few years, nor are we "key workers" on vAMSYS (although coincidentally, some of the team are in the "real world", as well as some VA staff!), but VAs provide a place for people to go and spend a few hours with like minded individuals, free from judgement, and do something they enjoy - and I think the importance of this to many people over the last year and beyond cannot be understated. The whole team is eternally humbled by the contributions of our many users to the platform - and we hope that you, like us, look forward to what 2022 has to bring. - Anna, Chris, Steve, George and Lukas - collectively, Team vAMSYS
  6. Hi, You will need to contact vCLX directly as we do not manage their systems. Best regards George
  7. This evening we completed an upgrade to the vAMSYS Community Forums which was the last in a series of planned outages which allows us to deliver changes to how we provide release notes (changelogs) and our knowledgebase. Forum version upgrade Probably the least significant change of the evening, we have upgraded the software powering the forums to the latest version offered by the third party provider. There should be no material change in functionality as it's just a patch release. Changelog migration Currently, our changelogs are stored in one long forum post which becomes more and more painful to maintain as we release more functionality, and is not very user friendly (as the newest releases are at the very end of the thread). We have therefore taken the opportunity to use the functionality originally designed to support the knowledgebase to also provide a better platform for our changelogs - which we have now renamed to Release Notes. The Release Notes should be much easier to browse for end users (the latest releases are shown at the top of the page) and is also much easier for Team vAMSYS to maintain - a win win for all of us! If you currently have alerts set up for when we post new comments to the old changelogs thread, you'll need to follow the release notes using the link at the top of the release notes page. The old forum post will no longer be updated. Knowledgebase migration The most significant change we have delivered is the migration (and quite significant enhancement) of the vAMSYS knowledgebase from the old Atlassian Confluence platform, which is now out-of-support and in growing need of replacement. We are pleased to announce that the most of the vAMSYS knowledgebase from the old platform (and many more new articles describing Orwell features!) are now available to browse by clicking Knowledgebase in the menu at the top. We will continue adding articles covering functionality we have not touched upon yet. The new knowledgebase is a living project and will be continuously updated to remain the number one source for information vAMSYS v3 and upcoming v4 functions. Over the coming weeks we will remove references to the old knowledgebase from the platform and supporting resources and direct members still using the old knowledgebase to the new one on this platform, in preparation for the eventual discontinuation and subsequent removal of the old knowledgebase entirely. Only VA staff and owners can view the knowledgebase - if you have any comments on the content of an article please feel free to leave it a review and let us know how you think we could improve (or what you liked). --- Thank you for bearing with us during these planned outages and we hope you like the improvements we have made to the service we offer. If you have any queries, please follow your normal support routes (escalate to your VA if you are a pilot, or if you are VA staff please contact vAMSYS Customer Services). Many thanks for your support, George and all of Team vAMSYS
  8. Hi there, Please contact your VA who can forward your details to vAMSYS support. George
  9. We accept the following payment methods: Visa Mastercard American Express Discover (including Diners Club) China UnionPay JCB Cartes Bancaires Interac We do not accept PayPal.
  10. What payment methods are accepted by vAMSYS? Do you accept PayPal?
  11. Hi Alexander, I will raise a ticket in our system for this so we can get some information off you and keep it tracked through to resolution. Please look out for an email from us. Best George
  12. vAMSYS 3.8.0 introduces no radical new features - instead, this release cycle, we have given a bit of TLC to some old functionality that could be improved (or in some cases, didn't work properly). The biggest change in this release is that we have completely rewritten Alert Management in Orwell - from the ground up. This change brings it in line with other modern components of the vAMSYS system - it's now a Vue component, which in simple terms means it is much easier to navigate and use, and removes the need for lengthy page refreshes when information is modified. We have also removed support for raw HTML input in Alert Management. This is part of our "Secure-By-Design" project - part of which will, over the next few months, completely remove support for raw HTML inputs across the entire platform. If you are a VA owner, please see upcoming publicity in the vAMSYS Discord server regarding this change. We've also added support for the force airline parameter which allows you to link to your VA specific pages without having to add disclaimers about which VA pilots must have selected. As with all our releases, vAMSYS 3.8.0 also contains several bugfixes, performance improvements, cosmetic improvements and various quality of life improvements for existing functionality. There's much more to see - including some more features, so as always, for information on the entire list of things included in this update please see the detailed changelog here: Please continue to report bugs via the usual channels. If you are a VA pilot, please escalate bugs via your VA. If you are VA staff, please report any issues to vAMSYS Customer Services. vAMSYS would like to thank @Stephan Oschmann, @Jan Podlipský and @Kian for reporting bugs that were fixed in this release, or suggesting new ideas that were implemented. Thanks for flying vAMSYS!
  13. vAMSYS 3.8.0 added the functionality to allow the "force airline" parameter. This allows any request to vAMSYS to have an optional parameter appended to the URL which will force the session to fall under your VA before further page logic is processed. How do I add this to my links? Take a simple link - for example, https://vamsys.io/resources/mycustompage. Ordinarily, this would result in a 404 if a user accessed it via any airline other than yours, which could cause confusion among your pilots, especially if they are a member of multiple VAs. Not to worry though - we just need to add the force airline parameter to the URL: https://vamsys.io/resources/mycustompage?select=ABC. This will force the user, when navigating to this page, to have my airline (in this case, the airline with the prefix ABC) selected - and they will be able to access the page. How does this work? For information on how this process works, see the following flow chart:
  14. I want to link to pages on vAMSYS under my airline (for example, the notices page, or a resource I have created in the Page Editor) however it causes errors or does not work if my pilots do not have my airline selected before they navigate to the link! What is the correct way for me to link to pages on vAMSYS so that it works reliably?
  15. Hi there! smartCARS isn't supported any more 🙂 Instead, you should download Pegasus. It can be downloaded from https://vamsys.io/resources/pegasus and allows you to fly for all of your vAMSYS VAs.
  16. At the time of writing, the files provided by VASchedules are not in a compatible format, so they do not work with our importers. The latest details on formats can always be found in the manual: https://documents.vamsys.co.uk/display/DOCS/New+VA+Setup+-+Welcome If you're a new VA to the platform, we strongly recommend you read this before you import anything! vAMSYS cannot accept liability for the contents of these external websites, and we cannot provide support for their products. We encourage you to contact their support teams and inform them that the files are not natively compatible with v3 importers.
  17. I have files from VASchedules or another service that claim to be vAMSYS-compatible - why do they not work?
  18. If you read the announcements on the previous forum, you would remember the big deal we made about this website becoming available. Well, with the changes made in vAMSYS 3.7.0, it's back and even better than before. vAMSYS 3.7.0 makes fundamental changes to the way forum/downloads sections are provisioned and managed. Many aspects of the running of the forum are now in the hands of the VA staff - this reduces the level of intervention needed from vAMSYS Customer Services in order to modify certain aspects of the forum. VA owners (or staff with access to the Management area of Orwell) can now access Invision Management. Invision Management (or Forum Management in the menu) is the all new way for VAs to manage their forums and downloads sections. It allows you to create and rename both subforums and downloads categories. It also allows you to toggle whether the parent downloads section is writeable (by VA pilots, not just moderators) or not. This release also adds the Forum Moderator permission to Orwell. Members of VA staff that have this permission flag will automatically be synced as forum moderators for your VA by the Invision Service. This means that in addition to being able to set up your forum by yourself, you will not be required to submit a ticket to vAMSYS Customer Services to modify these permissions. Finally, vAMSYS 3.7.0 includes several other changes, such as fixes for some VDS issues and issues where some pilots could not submit claims. In addition, we have completely removed the legacy pilot search functionality - Pilot Search v3 (now referred to as simply Pilot Search) is now the only way to query the pilots database for your VA. This release also includes general performance enhancements, bugfixes, and quality of life improvements to other functionality. As always, you can view the detailed changelog at the following link: Thank you for flying vAMSYS!
  19. What is vAMSYS? vAMSYS is the Virtual Airline Management System. We're the leading VA management solution by users and featurebase in the industry and we provide hosting and second line support services for over 60 virtual airlines (and counting) - which your VA might be one of. vAMSYS is a service provider that provides support to paying customers (i.e. the VAs that are hosted on our platform). We're also responsible for the maintenance of common account details (such as name or email address) and other details that is related to you as a user, and not as a VA pilot. For pilots, we provide a convenient way to join multiple VAs with the same credentials. vAMSYS is not in itself a virtual airline or an alliance of airlines. We do not provide first-line support to VA pilots. We are not responsible for rejected flights or PIREPs, the route network on the VAs we host, VA policies or the appointment and management of the staff of each VA. We also can't intervene on most data held regarding a VA without permission from VA management (even if we did want to accept your PIREP - we can't!). We also cannot reinstate your pilot account if it has been removed. For the purposes of data protection legislation, when you provide your information on the vAMSYS website, vAMSYS LTD is the data controller. We share your data with VAs you are a member of for the purposes of them providing a service to you. You can find more details in the vAMSYS Terms and Conditions and the Privacy Policy, at https://vamsys.io/legal Why we don't have a list of all VAs Many users misinterpret vAMSYS as a platform for advertising VAs, or think that vAMSYS operates or has a say in the management of the VAs that use our platform. This is simply not the case. By us choosing to show you VAs you are not a member of, we would cross a very distinct line between being a service provider and an advertiser. The former we are, the latter we are not. But why do you show me VAs on the select page I am not a member of? - we hear you ask. It's very important to note that the VAs shown to you are not because vAMSYS has chosen to do so, or because we "favour" certain VAs. VAs shown to you on the select page are shown as one or more of the VAs you are a member of has a "pilot sharing agreement" with the VA being offered to you. VAs choose what other VAs to advertise - not vAMSYS.
  20. What is vAMSYS? Why can't I see a list of all VAs that use the vAMSYS platform?
  21. vAMSYS Community Forums Global Forum Rules The global forum rules set out the rules and regulations all users of the vAMSYS Community Forums must follow. It also provides rules that apply in VA-managed sub forums that do not speculate their own set of rules. The global forum rules are upheld by the platform administration team, and the team of community moderators, which may be viewed on the staff page. In this document, the following terms may be used. admins, global admins, platform admins or developers may be used to refer to the vAMSYS Platform Administrators mods, moderators, global mods, global moderators, support team, community team, community moderators, community support team may be used to refer to the vAMSYS Community Support Team VA moderators, VA mods, VA-appointed mods, VA forum managers may be used to refer to members of staff that VAs have appointed to manage their own sub forums ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Global Forum Rules The global forum rules apply equally across all parts of this site, including VA managed subforums. Membership of this site is also bound by the vAMSYS Terms and Conditions, available at https://vamsys.io/legal/tc. It is forbidden to reference, provide, or link to, malware (including adware) or software that is designed to or may cause harm to a users' computer. It is forbidden to reference, provide, or link to pirated software or other items. We do not allow advertising of other VA management solutions - whether or not they directly compete with vAMSYS. We reserve the right to, in our sole discretion and without notice or liability, deny access to and use of the site (including blocking certain IP addresses), to any person for any reason including without limitation for breach of these rules, or any condition laid out in the vAMSYS Terms and Conditions.
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