Cell phone as Home phone

mochajoeJune 8, 2006


I just found this forum. I've been spending lots of time on the "home building" forum, as we are building our own home.

I'm wondering if any of you have eliminated the traditional home phone and are opting for just cellular phone service? I'm looking for pros and cons.

The most obvious advantage would be eliminating a $65 monthly phone bill, however, I would have to upgrade my current cell phone plan to account for the additional minutes.

The disadvantages might be inconvenience of only having one phone. I'm also wondering about 911 service.

Any thoughts on the subject?

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We dumped our land line about 3 or 4 years ago. It was a great move. Everyone we wanted to talk to had our cell number so the house phone only got telemarket and other calls we did not want.

We each have cell phones so not sure what you mean by only having one phone?

I haven't tried 911 from the cell my understanding is that all cell companies are supposed to have it working now.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 11:08AM
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I think it's going to be more and more common for people to ditch the land line (unless they choose a dial-up Internet connection, perhaps).

In this increasingly techno-driven world, it makes sense for people (even kids) to carry around their own "communicator" for instant access. Intrusive? No. You can always turn the thing off! They are getting smaller and more portable all the time and having them in watches and even eyeglass frames is no longer a novelty.

Many phone companies are responding with family plans and other systems of making this possible. 911 and operator assistance is commonly available. My long distance plan for the cell phone is better than the one I have on my "regular" line. I'm considering going cell-only, too.

Maybe, in the future, we'll remember running for the phone sitting on the side table as antiquated as a rotary dial is these days.

Now if I can only remember to keep that battery charged...

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 12:50PM
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I dumped my landline phone about four years ago and have never regretted it.

Pros: No more running to catch the ringing phone or finding the cordless-phone handset ... No more long-distance charges (it's part of my mobile-phone plan within at least the U.S.) ... More features (I would have to pay extra to get things like Caller ID and voicemail with a landline phone) ... You're paying for a mobile phone anyway, so why not make the most use of it? ... Your phone number is no longer in the directory or available from Directory Assistance.

Cons: You live by the battery, you die by the battery (you might want to get a second battery and keep it charged) ... Mobile phone voice quality and reception are not as rock-solid as landline phone service ... Unless you buy the optional insurance (an expense in itself), replacing a mobile phone before your contract is up can be quite expensive ... The hassle of changing phone numbers (unless you port your home-phone number to your mobile phone, which unfortunately invites all those telemarketer hooyocks to call you on your dime) ... Your phone number is no longer in the directory or available from Directory Assistance.

As for 911, almost any major carrier won't even activate a phone that does not provide GPS coverage for 911 calls. Granted, that only narrows your location down to the nearest tower, but, IMHO, even that could be somewhat more reliable than the accuracy of people calling 911 in Full Panic Mode.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 8:44AM
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We dropped our land line about 3 months ago. We have a teen-age daughter , needless to say she has gone over her minutes a few times. She relinquished her allowance till the overage was paid. We use no fax or dial-up so we are good. Phones charge every night. I hardly get any calls anymore. Only people I want get my number. I'm sure it will pick up eventually but hardly any annoyance calls. I left my new # with the phone company as a forward call #. I was scared at first. I've lived nearly half a centure with a home phone but I figured if it didn't work out there are many new choices besides Ma Bell.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 9:07PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

What do all 3 of you folks pay for a plan each month? I wonder how it compares to what I have with a land line and a separate AT+T plan for LD.
In this day of high gas prices, and being retired, it isn't uncommon for me to call a friend or 2 each am and visit over coffee...sometimes for an hour or better each. Everyone I know and am close to, and stay in touch with is long distance, and at least 1/2 hour away.
I live alone in the rural, and sometimes don't get off the farm for a week or 2 at a time. It's wonderful to reach out and touch someone.

Sue...a phone freak who worked for phone companies for 30 years

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 9:35AM
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I don't live in a rural area, but I live several hundred miles from my family and most friends, so communication is huge for me too.

My cell phone bill is a little under $60 a month. The good: I used to pay $40+ a month for a landline plus $15 for long distance in addition to my cell phone. I virtually never used my land line. Now that I have a better cell signal in my house, I do well with just the one phone.

My cell plan includes 400 daytime minutes - and any call I make after 7pm or on the weekends is free. That may not work for you since you make your calls in the morning.

Spotty cell service in rural areas may make cell-only not a safe option for now. But as they are building more cell towers, it is getting to be a better option.

I probably wouldn't get another land line until I have kids.

Here is a link that might be useful: craftfetish blog

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 11:59AM
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Too many factors affect the quality of service you get from cell phones.

Coverage problems inside buildings, weather, etc. It's just the nature of RF.
Also, some cell phone carriers generally try to overload their networks, which makes most efficient use of their $$ invested in telecom systems. This results in dropped calls or availability problems to the consumer.

Anyway, I have a family cell plan for convenience, but I will keep my land line as well.

just another opinion from an ex-telecom employee.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 9:48AM
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I use my computer more for communicating these days, it really is faster, cheaper and on some cases better than telephone.

I email a lot, both friends/family and businesses. Waiting on a telephone is expensive and time consuming, so now I just email companies wherever possible. I find most respond fast and I get everything I want, plus a copy of our conversation to keep.

This also saves a lot of money and time on posting items.

I also use instant message programs to talk for free to people around the world. Some people I video conference with, which is again free and preferable to an ordinary telephone call as well.

I have no home phone, just one mobile and I spend very little on that as I have a package that works well for me. It's not my main form of communication either, I use it to organize my life - where I'm meeting people, when we're going to make a free video call on the computer, quick questions or things that need instant answers. I don't often have conversations on the telephone now.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 9:58AM
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My mobile plan is just under $40/month (including my employer's pass-along discount). I get 450 minutes a month and I never get close to the maximum. I also pay $55/month for a cable modem (4-5 Mbps) and public-access cable TV. Long distance comes with the mobile phone. I live within the limits of a good-sized city, so reception generally is not a problem. Compared to the $105/month I was paying for plain ol' telephone service, my mobile, and an Internet dialup provider, $85 for high-speed internet and mobile phone service seems like a good deal to me.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 10:26AM
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Have you considered VoIP (Voice over internet protocol) service such as Vonage? DH and I spend $80 each month with taxes on our joint cell plans. Vonage has two main plans:

$15/month for 500 minutes
$25/month for unlimited minutes

We have the first plan and pay about $16.50 per month, total.

PROS: Low, low taxes! Low, low rates! Very easy to forward your home calls to your cell when you're traveling. All features are included...voicemail, voicemail sent to your email, caller ID, etc., etc. 911 works just fine (contrary to what Time Warner Cable likes to tell me when they try to get me to switch!). You just have to register your physical address so that it is linked to your phone number. You can get any area code you want that Vonage serves (you just relocated to NYC, but your entire family is from Nebraska; you can choose a Nebraska home area code).

CONS: You must have cable modem service to use VoIP. If your internet goes down, so does your phone. But you have a cell, right? Also, all calls cost an equal number of minutes, so you pay 'airtime' for 800 number calls.

Vonage does a referral plan where both parties get a month or two free. If you're interested, PM me with your email address and I'll send you an invite. We are very happy with the service.


Here is a link that might be useful: Vonage

    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 1:52PM
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PROS: Low, low taxes!

Keep in mind that this is a loophole. Nothing against Vonage; it's the same situation with mobile (cellular) in the U.S. -- they are not taxed the way the traditional telephone companies are. This likely will change as more cable and mobile providers seek to offer home- and office-based services and the former Ma Bell companies look to offer additional communication services.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 9:13AM
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We dropped our land line and went with mobile only for a couple of years. It was fine. When we built our new house we priced out DSL vs. cable data and it was way cheaper, but we had to get a $12/mo phone service to go with it. It was still considerably cheaper. Mobile coverage in our house isn't that great, and occasionally I take business calls from home, and sitting on a speaker phone for a couple of hours is a lot easier than taking them on a mobile.

I had a heart attack about 6 months later and was pretty glad we had the landline at that point. My wife was in a panic and am not sure how that would have worked out on one of our mobiles.

The one downside we observed when mobile only was trying to find the things (never quite sure where we last left it).

    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 5:54PM
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Add my name to the list. I now use my office phone more during the day so I don't burn cell minutes. Had to cancel the ADT system as no phone for it to call the police. I still set it, and the dogs will go crazy. I still feel safe.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 10:20AM
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I would really like to get rid of our land line - but during some of the storms and/or hurricanes the last couple of years, our cell phones didn't work at all - but the land line did. My daughter's room has a phone that is not cordless, so we were able to communicate with the outside world!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2006 at 12:08PM
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we were able to communicate with the outside world!

That's true. But I live on a city lot. If the power goes out or there's a bad storm (or both), I'm surrounded by people who likely have either working cell phones or landline phones or who can help. I might not have been in such a rush to dump my land line if I lived in some remote area with few neighbors.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2006 at 6:01PM
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We use cell phones and VOIP over cable. We are dropping the VOIP because we don't use it enough to justify the $20/month charge.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2006 at 7:24AM
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I think it's pretty regional and what the family needs at to it making sense. We have a land line, cell phones as well as business # and a dedicated line for a business fax. All make sense for us right now.

DH wears hearing aides and most cell phones are not compatible. We go to quite a bit of effort to find ones he can talk on as well as hear ringing. Same for the home phones. Another point for us keeping land lines. My mom is 88 and will never remember if I change to a cell. We also have our cells off at night as they charge, since we know people will contact us with the home #. With aging parents, we have received several emergency calls in the wee hours of the morning.

Even though we are a decent sized city, we are isolated. If we get away from town, we kick into roaming charges. All of our family is long distance and a call from them once a week on our cells would really up the charges. Our 911 system was needing major overhauling and we just got cell phones with GPS. I wouldn't count on our 911 system to be able to locate our home will the cells. Since we have a house full of kids, I want them to be able to make an emergency call and get a dependable response.

I use my cell # for business, but don't want to have to monitor it for all calls. I prefer personal calls go to the land line. I also just don't like the feel of these small cell phones for constant use. I get irritated with all of the little buttons, time to unlock the phone for the first call of the day, etc. I just want to grab the phone and talk.

Our plan is 300 minutes a month and two phones for $45 a month. It was a two year plan and we also pay for number portability. We checked all of the available plans in our area and find this is worth the expense for us. As technology continues to change, we may change in the future. I can imagine if I lived alone or my kids were grown, just having a cell would be fine.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 4:04PM
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My sister has used a cell phone for a home phone for the last 8 years. (her roommate ran up a $500. phone bill in her name and can't get phone service till she pays it off)

Although now that her children are getting older (9 and 12 yrs old) she cringes at the childish converstions about who was wearing what, as she's using up her minutes! ...lol.

More and more people are going with out landlines... my boyfriends friend and his 4 other roommates all use cell phones.

I do not have a land line OR cell phone!

I moved 7 months ago and went without any communications for three months. I figured if I needed/wanted to make calls I could do it at work.

I considered get a cell phone, but cingular lied about their plans starting at 7pm.

I've been using wifi to get free internet off the neighbors. I then discovered Skype (voice over internet), for cheap internet calls.

It has its pros and cons...
No 911, but dialing 911 is slower than calling your police station emergency line anyways.

Sounds like you are on a cell phone.

Can be a pro and a con: if your computer is off, so is the "phone"

Can call overseas for 2 cents a minute, $12 voicemail for a year, caller id, unlisted phone number, pick your own phone number...so people without skpe can call you($38 a year)

pay by the minute, per call, or $8 monthly fee. I was paying by the minute until a 3.5 hr converstion had me considering the monthly fee. But now they have a promo running that all calls are free!

My boyfriend is considering using for his business calls as they are long distance and were adding up to $70 a month on top of the regular phone charges.

Seven months with out a land or cell phone and I have no intentions of getting either.

Here is a link that might be useful: Skype, cheap internet calls less than 2cents a minute or monthly plans $8 a month

    Bookmark   July 8, 2006 at 6:09PM
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While we haven't yet cut the umbilical cord, I did want to say that cell phone 911 calls seem to work very well.

I have made 2 recent 911 calls on my cell. Neither call was in my home. In fact, both of them were on the road. In each case, I was immediately connected to the proper city's emergency department.

Seesm like my cell phone is smart enough to know where it is and to call the right peeps.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 4:40PM
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I guess we are the minority who cut the land line for cell phone only and didn't like it.

Every time I was upstairs, the phone was downstairs. Every time I was downstairs, the phone was upstairs.

I couldn't remember to charge it every night.

There were people I'd prefer not have my cell number (reaching me any time) and I had to give it to them.

We got our land line back and dropped the cell phone. I'm very happy this way except in the 2 or so times a year when there is a real emergency (like getting a flat tire).

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 7:05PM
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Why hasn't everyone switched to Vonage?
I mean really. Cell phones and land line companies are the worst. They lie. They add so many fees and charges.
I have been with Vonage for about 2-3 years. I have never had any problems with it. I connected it to my home wiring. Easy. Works like a normal phone but it's a lot cheaper and includes long distance and all the features. Plus the number you have can be switched to them but if you get a new number, they are unpublished numbers and thus you won't get telemarketers.

My cell phone sits in a drawer. The only reason I have it is because I don't pay for it. The voice quality is not as good as a regular phone.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2006 at 10:25PM
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There were people I'd prefer not have my cell number (reaching me any time) and I had to give it to them.

Since my mobile phone is my home phone, there are many people with that number. My response? I have pretty much "whitelisted" the phone. When someone calls me, if their number is in my phone's address book, their name is displayed. If a name is not displayed, I either answer the phone (if I have an idea who it may be and it's convenient for me to do so) or I let it roll to voicemail. My phone exists for my convenience, and I refuse to "hop to" just because someone else decided to call me.

Why hasn't everyone switched to Vonage?

Because I'm not always home to use it. I don't make a lot of long-distance calls (they're essentially free with my mobile plan anyway) and I don't want to be tied to my home just to make or receive a phone call. Vonage will not let me do that. It really doesn't do more for me than provide an extra cost.

My cell phone sits in a drawer. The only reason I have it is because I don't pay for it. The voice quality is not as good as a regular phone. You should get a different phone. Many people told me my older mobile phone sounded like a mobile phone, but people don't say that about my new one. I'd say the voice quality is on par with a cordless phone. So many people have them that it seems to be no big deal anymore.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 9:21AM
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Posted by steve-o: "Cons - Your phone number is no longer in the directory or available from Directory Assistance."

You see that as a con?? I see that one as a pro.

I don't want just anyone to be able to "look me up". I only want people calling me, who I WANT to call me.

I too, also have my phone 'whitelisted'. When I give someone my # I also get THEIRS at the same time. Why would you give someone your # who is not willing to give you theirs anyway? When someone I have listed in my address book calls it gives their name and I know who it is. Otherwise I have the call go to VM. If they don't leave a VM message then I guess it couldn't have been all that important of a call then. :)

The only thing I miss about not having a land line is that *occasionally* I put my cell phone somewhere and can't remember where I left it. With a land line I would use the quick way to locate it by calling my cell phone and having it ring. Now I have to go looking for it in the 'usual' spots.

If you use your cell phone for business you can set it to handle your business call and personal call differently. For instance, while you are working you can let all your business calls ring through and your personal calls go to VM.Then when you are "off" reverse this proceedure. Or allow both.

To the person who was always running up and down stairs to answer their cell phone why don't you just get two phones and leave one on each floor?

I suggest with a cell phone getting the most minutes they offer. The more minutes on your plan the cheaper they are. I have a plan that has 3000 ANYTIME minutes for $49.95/mo. That $49 plan includes text messaging too. That's a lot of talking.And a lot of text messages. No waiting for after 9:00PM or waiting for the weekend. Never had any overages charges ever.

I use DSL for internet access.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 4:11PM
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Cell phone companies refuse to clone phones nowadays.
See now if you have Vonage you can use one number and set up simulring so that if you have say 3 cell phones and a work number, you can have your calls ring all those lines at the same time. That feature alone makes it worthwhile IMO.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 10:50AM
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We switched to cell phones last Spring and haven't regretted it. We have Cingular. I do not let others determine my time, though...if I don't want to answer, I don't. It's that simple. They can leave a voicemail or call later. If they don't leave a voicemail, I don't call back. It must have not been very important.

I did have to train my family a bit...if I didn't pick up, they'd keep calling and when I did answer, they'd ask where I was, was something wrong, why didn't I answer, etc. I had to train them that I answer the phone on MY schedule, not theirs. They eventually learned. ; )

I *really* like it that not everyone has my phone number. People have called my mom to get my number and she'll tell them that I have a cell # and she's not allowed to give it out, UNLESS she knows it's important or something. There are certain people I'd prefer NOT to have my number and she's aware of that. Saves me a lot of hassle.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 12:57PM
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You can set different rings for different people. If someone is not listed in my contact list the ring is 'no sound'.

I don't even know anyone has called till I check my phone for missed calls.

The house phone was a place for telemarketers, surveyiers, etc. The cell only recieves calls from people I know. It is much nicer.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 7:54PM
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I guess it all depends on how much you call from home versus away from home or on the road.

We use pre-paid cellular. The new phones were free after rebate and my wife and I each spend about $5-$7/month for the STI Mobile/Sprint service. We only make quick 1-2 minute calls for necessary reasons and it works fine anywhere in the country that Sprint covers. Voice mail and text messaging are turned off on both cellular phones. Other cellular providers are now joining the pre-paid game with good deals.

We are still stuck with the old telephone company for home and home office lines. I must have the reliability and quality of a landline for my business. I do pay too much for long distance, toll-free, and local service for my business compared to the low rates available today. Bills are typically $35-$50/month for relatively low volume usage.
The last time I switched was from MCI to Ameritech(i.e. SBC/AT&T/who knows?) It was a pain to switch, but the new lower rates were good for a year before they went up again.

Our home phone line just went up to $22/month for local phone service. It started at $18 several years ago. Pre-paid long distance service is $.025/minute using cards from companies like Cheap Phonecards. The latest cards don't require you to enter the pin every time from home and you can program the 800 access number into speed dial. The long distance cards are great from hotels too.

We are seriously considering the switch to broadband phone service, but our local numbers are not yet portable for Vonage or the others. We are just outside of their large markets.

Broadband cable internet is $30/month and speed is around 300K or 10 times faster than dial-up. It is fast enough for our needs.

The total bill (excluding my business) is around $67/month for all phones and broadband for my wife and I.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cheap Phone Cards

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 1:01PM
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    Bookmark   October 28, 2008 at 11:58PM
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We requested a port change and had our landline number switched to one cell phone. I liked having it listed and we had it for so long. We have not missed the landline. Everybody has his or her own phone, so nobody is annoyed because someone has the phone tied up. I feel safer with the cell because I can carry it in my pocket and it is right there for emergencies. The landline could have been cut from outside if someone wanted to break-in.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2008 at 2:35PM
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Let me see if I can explain the above post better. We had our landline disconnected and had the landline number put on a new cell phone. That way we do not miss important calls from the landline number. Hope that makes better sense.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 10:25AM
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I switched to Vonage about year ago to save money but don't really using it. All house phones are unpluged. Actually I'm thinking about getting rid of them. We use cell phones only and we have SKYPE.
I still have to use my landline for my DSL b/c I don't have cable-I'm too cheap to pay for programs we never watch, we watch all our shows and programs on computers. I even unpluged our two dishes.
If I'd build house, I would have couple phone jacks put in , just in case. You just never know.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2008 at 1:48AM
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AFAIK, around here cell phone 911 calls are still routed to the Highway Patrol. So if you have a true fire/police emergency/panic situation that may or may not be an issue. Depends on how you deal with stress I guess.

I've never understood why people insist they must contract their cell service. I maintain most people would do far better with prepaid cell service, and have far better control over their kids' use to boot. My landline, cell, TV, long distance and dialup internet service together cost me less than $35/month. For a while I used 2-3 prepaids but that only added a few dollars per month each. People want to pay more than that for just cell service? I guess I don't value telephones as much as others do.

I would consider a prepaid cell as my only phone, but need it for internet and need it for syncing the company PDA. So for that, I need the landline at least for now.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2008 at 10:37PM
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I am up in the Santa Cruz mountains and there is no cell service up here, so won't be getting rid of our landline anytime soon. Also from what I understand, when the power goes out from storms so does your cell phone. In case of an emergency I would want to have a landline. In the 1989 earthquake, it was the only thing that worked.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 1:00AM
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After a hurricane, the landline is always the first service to be cut. They also cutoff the cell phone towers, but if we leave the area, we still have cell phone service and can still contact our people and they can contact us.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 12:42PM
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