* Posts by Warhelmet

153 posts • joined 13 Feb 2008


Google frees Android from code of secrecy


Yes, but, no, but...

And let's see the really cheap no-name chinese phones running Android. This is what we want.

As a laptot user, I would like to see Android stuff make it's way into Linux distros. I'd rather see telephony stuff on a tiny pc rather than pc features on a mobile. Skype and VOIP in general is ok. USB 3G modems ok, but... My eee pc has a home for a sim card. I see convergence the other way around from most. But I'm a bloke and I wear coats with big pockets. I carry a headset around with me - bangin' choons on my Sennheisers. I can see that there is a niche for a smaller pocket. I can see that people might want bluetooth headsets.


says my cat.

US Navy robot kill-choppers to drop auto-snort podules


I, for one...

welcome our new drug-sniffing overlords.


Crazy Frog won't croak again


Ring Tones

Are a tax on the stupid.

Swiss boffins sniff passwords from (wired) keyboards 65 feet away


Old Fashioned Over-Engineering

... is the solution to this problem.

I have ancient IBM kit, built out of 6" thick cast iron and connected by lead-pipes to my PC. In fact, keystrokes from the keyboard are carried by tiny gnomes up the pipes. And they are quantum entangled gnomes at that. Punch cards don't emit RF.

More seriously, I've seen keyboards encased in metal. Ah, you could get a detachable keyboard thing for the BBC Micro that was made of steel. And older keyboards employed metal springs and switches rather than rubber bobble things. Any one remember Tempest? And old keyboards tend to be the best. I do have an ancient IBM which is the bollocks for typing on, although I've become more keyboard agnostic over the years.

Aren't some Apples machined from blocks of aluminium? Paint the backs of the keys with that silver oaded conductive stuff you can buy and you should be laughing. Am I right in thinking that in ye olden days, some plastic cases had metalised coatings on the inside because the electronics emitted horribleness over the em spectrum?

Use a Dvorak, Maltron or a french AZERTY keyboard, that should confuse them.

Mines the one with the the Microwriter in the pocket.

Sprint execs named 'most overpaid' in 2007



Nice work if you can get it. Pay for fail. So you actually get more money if you funk up and leave than if you "perform"? Perverse incentive or what?

Maybe I should try that? No, it won't work, I'm not a captain of industry. Recent years have seen the gap between the lowest paid and the highest paid increase in many private sector companies in the anglo-saxon world. It is interesting to note that the gap between rich and poor seems to be linked to national happiness. It would not surprise me if the same were true for organisations. And it would not surprise if there were a link between productivity, efficiency and quality as well.

Pay has risen faster than inflation for many of these people whereas for the rest of us, the pressure is to accept less than inflationary pay increases, especially as it looks as if major recession is just around the corner. The belief that success can be bought by bringing a new CEO has lead to an inflationary spiral. Putting aside some industries, business has done well in the last few years, mainly due to a growing economy, rather than the fairy dust of magic CEOs.

It remains to be seen whether the current economical crisis will put an end to this or if the justification for CEO, etc, pay rises will change. I can well imagine a scenario where their is an inflationary spiral of pay for CEO who have "demonstrated" fail avoidance.

In fact, they are aliens trapped on this planet and need the money to fund a secret project to build a spaceship to return them to their home planet - ignoring the fact that they were kicked off by the other disgruntled inhabitant for excessive wage demands.

Wal-Mart pressured into tune keys life support

Gates Horns

The Evil Walmart

Not content with funking with their employees with regards to union membership, etc, they decide to funk their customers as well.

I'd like to see the t&cs for buying wma from Walmart. And yes, you should read the t&cs especially when you are buying something as potentially ephermal as drm-protected music. And of course, Microsoft, originators of wma have funked with customers already - with the MarketPlace vs PlaysForSure debacle. And Zune is such a tightly controlled platform, it makes the iPod look very open.

One more nail in the coffin.

New Google bugs empower phishermen


What would Jesus have said?

Give a man a fish, you feed him today.

Teach a man to phish...

Scotland Mountain Rescue turns on Ofcom



Of course, the RNLI and the various mountain rescue teams could move to a more commercial footing. They could be paid by results funded via insurance or in the case of no insurance, by card payment on the spot. No pay - no rescue.

And how acceptable is this? Blah, Ofcom.

US Justice Dept builds microwave heat-ray 'rifle'



In addition to my tinfoil hat and chainmail, I shall be wearing Nomex overalls, underwear connected to Einstein refrigeration and...

Mine's the Mylar trenchcoat. Five layers of metallized boPET film should do the job.

Channel 4 in Heathrow Playmobil reconstruction shocker


The Adam and Joe Show

The use of Playmobil figures does not portray the true reality of being in terminal 5. I saw many people resembling Weebles - verily, they did wobble but fall down they did not.

And if you put a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle on it's back, would it be able to right itself.

Where's Action Man?

Verizon to charge for message termination

Thumb Up


SMS should cost a fortune. Like national/state lotteries they are effectively a tax on the stupid/tech non-savvy.

Get with the wave. VOIP over free wi-fo where you can. Email and IM where you can. Keep as much traffic as possible off the mobile phone network. Remember, a call will cost less than a text for the amount of information it contains. And calls can be kept transactional - start with the phrase "this is costing me money, so I'll keep it to the point". Sending an email via your mobile will cost less than a text. It works for me. I've a PAYG phone and an Asus laptot and between them, call charges of less than £25 per year. And I do go abroad, and I am on the move a lot.

Txting is for retards anyway. It's destroying the English language. And txters smell of wee.

Agile Development’s Secret Sauce


Agile vs Lean


Lean Engineering? No, it's Lean Manufacturing. It's the Toyota PRODUCTION System. Tachii Ohno would be turning in his grave.

I have a very jaundiced view of Agile Development because people so frequently q.v. Sick Sigma. Sick Sigma is the revenge of the toolheads and whilst it has had success in very narrow domains, in a broader context it has been a failure. And hey, don't you just need a whole bunch of new tools to do Agile Development? Not, but that's how it's sold.

When Agile Development toolheads q.v. Lean it's because they don't really understand some of the basic premises of Lean. Lean is NOT a toolset, it's a philosophy. But you see it sold as tools.

On top of this, there have been suggestions that what Toyota does is something that has grown up organically and is imprinted in the cultural DNA of Toyota. Whilst other organisation can learn lessons for Toyota, they can not duplicate what Toyota has done.

Toyota, on the project front, works very differently from many western organisations. My understanding (from people who have worked with them) is that they take an awful long time to make decisions, because they look at evidence and try to build consensus. When they make a decision, they act very quickly. This is very different from western styles of management - especially project management - where decisions are often made on a whim, without consultation and not implemented until ages after the decision was made.

Also, I will mention "genchi genbutsu" - literally "go see it for yourself". Having been on the sharp end of being a user of a project output - did the project manager come and see what I did? No. Did any of the developers come and see what I did? No. They just worked to some crappy spec knocked up by an external consultant, who only saw me for two minutes and wanted to talk to senior managers wherear muggins actually did the worm. And I work for an organisation that has, over time done i) Sick Sigma ii) Lean and iii) Agile Development. And BSI stands for "Bull Shit Institute" not "British Standard Institute".

One of the ways that Toyota has achieved it's famous levels of quality is by standardisation of tasks. I've seen arguments that this is not applicable in a service context. It may well be applicable to development if you wish to productionalise development. There are some strong arguments for this, but it rubs many developers up the wrong way.

The arrogance of some developers is frightening. Prima donnas with Aspergers.

Something else that Toyota does is develop it's own talent from within. And promotion takes time. Very different to western thinking that sometimes treat developers as guns-for-hire. Oh, formal methods over creavity as well.

Worse still, I've seen rogue project managers not being brought to book for their failures. They are not asked to "go to 'gemba'". Implement, end of story. It's some else's job to shovel up the sh!t they've left behind. When was the last time you went to a project wash-up meeting? When was the last time that you came across anyone who had a "lessons learnt" database and actually did anything with it.

Project managers with Teflon coating.

Oh, and it's worth pointing out that I have worked in engineering and project management of big engineering projects. I lived through the first wave of ISO 9000. I was there when Prince was rolled out. I'm married to a Prince 2 master practitioner who has done huge building projects. Etc, etc... It's not as if I don't know what I'm talking about.

Do your culture change first, otherwise whatever you think Agile Development is, will wither on the vine.

MS: Xbox will not go Blu


Not as daft as it might first appear

The XBox 360 is a games console. How many people use it as anything else? Bugger all. OK, there might be some folks using it as a Media Extender in cahoots with Windows Media Centre but my understanding is that WMC doesn't currently support Blu-ray. Any sensible person would not want to lock themselves into WMC anyway.

And what type of display are most XBox 360s plumbed into? I don't know - which is why I ask the question. If they are bog-standard SD boxes - Blu-ray is pointless. If they are HD 720p, Blu-ray is pointless. If they are monitors - hope you've got a big one with the right resolution.

Some folks I know to have HD 1080p tellies and Blu-ray players (be they in PCs, dedicated players or PS3s). But I've not seen a HD 1080p telly that does a decent enough job of upscaling SD content to the point where I can stop shouting "Look at the artefacts! Look at the jaggies!".

Remember that the majority of XBox 360 games are rendered natively at 720p. If you bought a telly that supports that, well, you could watch HD-DVD with no probs. Although I might still shout "Look at the jaggies!" watching SD content. And isn't it the case that HDTV broadcasts that exist are 720p?

I watch more television that I watch bought films. There isn't enough HD content to bother with paying extra subscriptions from Sky/Virgin. Even if there was and it was free-to-view, what resolution would that content be in? 720p.

I don't want to get into a analogue vs digital type debate but it is the case that most TV content has been produced for viewing on a CRT rather than an LCD. And there are still plenty of them hanging around.

If DVD as a data format provides sufficient capacity for XBox 360 game purposes, why move to Blu-ray? Actually, I'm not sure that having an HD-DVD external drive was worth the effort - yes, fantastic for you early adopters of HD-DVD filum content but the rest of the world, no.

One of the things that works in the favour of consoles vs. PCs is the stability and longevity of the platform. Funking with the base platform spec ain't a good idea. Producing new add-ons with funking with the spec. Necessary new software is an issue. Oh sure, increase integration, reduce chip count, shrink the box and all of that, but don't funk with the spec.

Bring back b&w broadcast on 425 lines now!

Mines the one with the original Nintendo DS in the pocket.

Radiation warning for low-energy lightbulbs


Light Shade Anyone?

Those bulbs are ugly anyway. Do people have these bulbs bare in their homes? I think not.

Serial commentard bitchslaps Reg hack



I'm not frightened by databases but I am allergic to PowerPoint presentations. Just see a file with .ppt extension attached to an email is enough to make my brain swell up and cause me to pass out.

Spreadsheets are very dangerous too. Look at the havoc they caused in the financial sector. But I'm not frightened of them. It's very dangerous to show fear to a spreadsheet, they can smell it and may attack.

US woman shot by cast iron stove


And what are the chances of that happening?

I once had a bonfire fire a conker at me.

I, for one, welcome our new cast-iron pot-bellied overlords.

Asus Eee Box Atom-based desktop mini PC


Media PC

This would be just the job for a media pc. Just wish it was a bit cheaper and came with an optical drive. You could have a slot loader in the top. No different from some tellies that come with DVD built-in.

Taser rival offers cops 'Trade in your Taser' zapgun deal



I am going to start to wear chainmail over ptfe and make sure that I am properly earthed.

US military: Electropulse bombs now from next year

Black Helicopters

Old Fashioned Over-Engineering

I suspect that the old IBM server that I used to own might well survive an EMP attack. The case was made of very thick steel. And my old Diablo printer as well.

EMP weapons are of use against soft, un-hardened targets. Which means civilian targets. Not very sporting.

Time for me to buy a diesel generator, a ton of lead acid batteries and wear a tin foil hat.

NSA spied on US aid workers, officers, and journalists in Baghdad


A Mighty Wizard

Perhaps it should have been called Project Palantir?

ATK shows off 'palletised, plug-in' robot cannon system

Black Helicopters


I've worked in places that use pallets. There were always problems with them going missing. I've seen more than a couple of sheds buillt out of pallets. I've seen solid fuel central heating fed with pallets. I've seen furniture built out of pallets.

Also, I know of situations where enterprising theives have broken in somewhere and used a fork lift to load stuff onto it.

Yes, wait for the bloody thing to run out of ammunition or it's battery to go flat and make off with it in a transit van. It's not going to run away... And how much do they cost?

Microsoft leaks cloudy OS name



Sedimentary deposition anyone?

I've been on holiday to Wales and watched a cloud moving up the high street. Soggy wet things. Not sure that I'd want to compute with one. Swarm, now that's a better word.

Armed cops ice South London devil dog

Black Helicopters

Dog Borstal

There are no bad dogs, just bad owners.

Owners should not let their animals watch tv after 9pm or play violent video games. Or listen to death metal.

Nominative determinism works via sympathetic magic.

Witchfinders in helicopters? Nice idea, but you generally detect witches by their smell and check for a third nipple where sup their familiar. You need a big nose to be a witchfinder.

Mayor Boris serves Governator cold revenge

IT Angle

If the REAL Truth be known

Boris was elected by people in the suburbs who objected to what they saw as Red Ken's persecution of the Chelsea Tractor driver and those who hankered for the return of the red telephone box, the Routemaster bus, ration cards and rickets. And Old English Spangles.

Ryanair dial into mid-air mobile calls


Misery Wagon

Travelling on Ryanair is a grim enough experience as it is. I can't see that this would make the experience any better. Yes and encourage idiot kids all to get their mobiles out and play shit music through the tinny speakers.

While we're at it, perhaps they should stick internet appliances in the back of the seats and charge people to make innane entries on MySpace and Facebook.

And they should abolish queuing and make both check-in, boarding and disembarkment a free for all. They should sell vastly over priced snacks in packaging that self-destructs on open, showering other passengers with food. They should encourage people to drink their duty frees on the plane and get roaring drunk. They should employ staff with absolutely no customer service skills at all. They should fly to obscure airports with terminals that consist of little more than a tin shack, where local taxpayers subsidise them.

Oh, sorry, they do a lot of that already.

Mine's the one that I bought from a proper airline.

MS wields price cutlass at Chinese pirates


Yes, but, no, but...

Things like employee purchase programmes and educational/home discounts do bring MS Office within easy reach of Joe Bloggs. Oh, sure, most people in the UK who buy the home edition can probably afford the full price edition but it looks wank from the perspective of MS Office costing more than a machine that can run it. £179 for a brand new laptop. Damn sight less for a second XP capable machine.

With employee purchase schemes, Microsoft are essentially givng MS Office away. And it makes them money in that people using stuff at home means that they are learning the product outside of work, which leads to a higher level of proficiency. Which reduces training costs for the organisation. Which makes switching to a different office suite look more and more expensive. All that migration training and the time that it will take people to get up to speed, etc... Also, imagine the grumbles and ill-feeling from people if you do the change over.

By extension, Microsoft could give away MS Office for non-commercial use and probably still make lots of money, it not more. It would make MS Office even more of a de-facto standard than it now is. Free MS Office for schools and kids. When they hit the workplace - you either go with that or spend money on cross-training.

In the past, I've paid up for full versions of MS Office for home use. I've used it to upskill myself. I really hate to see that advantage I had eroded. But I've moved on terms of what I do. I don't do VBA for Excel anymore. I want to play with SQL Server, but the cost! Especially considering the necessary server license. And I can't make head nor tail of the licensing costs. It's enough to make me want to slink over to PirateBay. Which I won't.

Sod it. I'll make work cough up for a MSDN thing for me. "But you're not a developer" they'll say. Yes, but, I do a lot learning in my own time and actually I can and do code. And I look after my 2p x quad core Linux box with MySQL on it perfectly well.

Definitely a case of one tit bigger than the other if you view non-commercial usage driving commercial purchase. SQL Server Express? My arse. Ditto with Visual Studio.

Mine's the one with the gurning face of David Walliams on it.

Dell launches monster quad-core notebook

Thumb Down

Hang On

Erm, why not buy a 2p - quad core server and a big fat pipe, then buy a reasonably specced laptop, equip it with a 3G modem, pay for lots of different wi-fi access and then just run a grunty VM on the server and connect to that? I'm sure it would be cheaper.

I suppose you take it to LAN parties.

Mayor Boris wants 'WiFi London'


Manchester, so much to answer for...

Oh, the rain falls down on a hum-drum town...

And caues attenuation problems.

Mines the one with the glove and the hand in it.

And I'll probably never see you again

I'll probably never see you again

I'll probably never see you again

Oh ...


Portsmouth too...

But I suppose that Pompeians are too fat and consume so many drugs that they don't get out much. They don't really need wi-fi given that they are totally wired.

Muncipal wi-fi in liverpool would have to only connect to websites that are mawkishly sentimental. But then, what do those who wallow in vicarious victimhood need with the interweb?

Just remember, ping-pong's coming home. But there could be orgies of chief-killing and cannibalism.

Mines the one nicked from Tariq Aziz.


I've stumbled into an elephant trap...

Tousle-haired mayor of london in shock foot-in-mouth non-shocker...

@ Matt - it was called Fon. It provides an interesting model. Doubtless most broadband providers have stuff in their t&c prohibiting sharing of the connection. However, Fon does prove that you can do it.

It could be done tomorrow via mesh networks. Just get providers to change their t&cs, get some open sauce software done and equip londoners with pringle tubes (the wifi antenna of choice). And foil balloons are useful too.

Of course, if you believe the woos, swamping london with even more electro-magnetic radiation will have terrible effects, increasing suicide, infertility and cancer. But I suppose it'll drive a lot of them out of Hampstead.

Mines the one with the tin foil hood.

NASA, USAF in $30m hypersonic boffinry push

Black Helicopters


Oh, but even before Skylon...

HOTOL and before that things like the Hawker Siddeley APD.1019/H1 - designed to be capable of Mach 10.

SiCortex cranks clocks on mega MIPS machines



But the question is how much to the individual chips cost?

Given that there are various chinese laptots that use mips "compatible" cpus, would it be too much of a stretch for someone to build a laptot around this technology? Especially if some power reducing technology was incorporate - e.g. switching off cores that were not needed.

10 watts isn't too bad. It's on a par with the slower Geode NX cpus. Arguably better than most Celeron Ms. I've no idea mflops an Intel Atom delivers. And MIPS is 64 bit, so comparisons with ARM processors is probably invalid.

Mind you, the chinese are developing the Godson-3 chip, which will have 4 cores and run at 1GHz at 10 Watts, so...

Turkish court bans Dawkins' website

Dead Vulture


But I find the mere existence of Noel Edmonds a personal affront. Can I have him banned?

Are today's developers more creative?



Define "creative" before asking the question.

"Creative" as in terms of turning out original ideas - probably not. It's the question of the killer app - and we've not seen one of those for a while. But you could argue that it's a field that has evolved very quickly - not so much scope for truly original stuff anymore.

"Creative" in the bodging sense? Not so sure. Back in ye olden dayes, had to write funny code to squeeze into memory limits and/or get decent performance, but these days do more data-transfer bodging.

"Creative" as in the sense of producing something "artistic"? This is a very difficult one. Ca we consider code to be a prose poem? etc. etc. I've seen very elegant code, well commented to the point where you could argue that there is a real narrative. I've also seen specs that are beautifully done.

I'm agnostic as far as the question goes. I think one of the real problems with judging this question is that the result of the development process is often not a thing in itself. It is merely a platform, a substrate, a medium for others to work with. For example, do you think that the development of something like Reason is comparable in terms of creativity to what end users do with it? Arguably, developers work to a specification. And this allows for very little creativity.

And I wonder about "creative" solutions to concrete problems. I've sat in "problem solving" workshops where people mention Edward De Bono. Lateral thinking and "outside the box" - my arse. I do formal methodologies - but it is interesting that the ignorant seem to think that I'm being "creative".

Mine's the one that says something along the lines of "there is no philosophy of science, science IS, philosophy merely pretends to be."

Fancy a shattering ORG45M for £150k?


Free Personalised Number Plates

i fink that p-pul that wont personalied numbr pl8 shud get them 4 3. As long as they are of form CNT nnnx. This way the police will kno who they r.

HMV keeps Warhammer-ers from goblins


Rip Off

I just had to respond to this...

The special collectors edition is a blatent rip off. And people who play warhammer smell of wee.

Mine's the cloak of invisibility.

Apple 4G iPod Nano

Jobs Horns

Talking Menus

My father-in-law is slowly losing his eyesight to glaucoma.

If Apple sort out iTunes handling of mp3 talking books, and if they make buttons/wheel a little more tactile, I could see it being a good bet for him.

I nipped over to the RNIB website and the cost of some of the products is scary. A mass market device could easily do the job... And it removes some of the stigma associated with buying "special" products.

And done right, it would enable navigation of menus without taking the iPod out of your pocket. There are places and times when I don't want to show off my kit. Also, if I'm exercising, I don't neccesarily want to stop and look at the iPod to adjust it. I can generally slow down and spare a hand. Jogging, I need to keep my eyes open for dogshit, uneven pavements and inconsiderate cyclists on the pavement.

Similarly, if you could get the Touch to show big text instead of album flow, that might be good too.

This sort of stuff costs manufacters nothing. But do they do it? No.

Jobs hate because could do better.

Sapphire 4850 Toxic graphics card



Erm, do I really want to buy a product that describes itself as toxic? No.

Farnborough Airshow goes public this weekend



My parents' house seems to sit under the flight path of various Farnborough stuff. I saw the huge Antonov - very impressive. Also, one year, I sat on top of a block of flats in Farborough and watched from there.

Ah, but it's changed over the years. In the old days, there would always be more than a few new aircraft. These days... no, not really.

And the BBC would have a programme hosted by Raymond Baxter showing highlights.

Geldof backs Davis 'For Freedom' by-election

Black Helicopters

Wish I could be like...

David Icke.

Boozers rejoice - it's the USB wine tap!


I don't know...

I've seen battery powered corkscrews. A USB powered corkscrew/pump thing would be a pointless gadget but would probably do as well as other pointless USB powered gadgets.

Hmm, how about the re-invention of the SodaStream as a USB controlled alcopop maker?

Mine's the one with the bottle of Bulgarian red in it.

Knight Rider satnav spied in the wild



I was trying to remember other talking cars, seeing if I could spot a gap in the market.

Speedbuggy, I remember that, but that's about all. And I'm not sure he said that much. Herbie didn't say anything at all. But there was always something very disturbing about Herbie. Cars DO NOT have sex. They CAN NOT reproduce. So perhapss it's good that he did not talk. Imagine the indignity of having people in your vehicle and your sat nav gets the horn over a Micra.

Yes! It's the Knight Rider satnav!

Paris Hilton


Oh dear.

I just hope this isn't the start of something. Paris Hilton satnav anyone?

Apple under the gun to master the iPhone's 'second album'


Not Needed

I don't need one and I don't want one.

I'm headed the other way. I'd rather have a small, crappy, no-features, almost disposable phone and not get funked in the arse with extortionate contracts - for instant response stuff - when the wife rings me to ask me if I'm still at the pub, etc, and a laptot for everything else including Skype.

Actually, what I want is a wristwatch Dick Tracey phone... "Joe Jitsu calling Dick Tracey".

HP's VoodooPC challenges MacBook Air on thinness

Paris Hilton

Love Handles

Size 0 is good for no-one. You need something to get hold of.

Or the satisfying meaty door clunk of a qualidy motah as opposed to the rattle of bargain basement mobile.

AMD launches external graphics card box


ExpressCard grahics adaptors

I went and had a look at the ExpressCard.org website.

ExpressCard spec can't deliver enough power itself for a modern graphics card. Cooling would be an issue as well. However, a low power, cool running graphics card must be possible.

Magma do PCI and PCI Express expansion doobries but they are not cheap.

I don't really need (a lot of) acceleration because I don't play graphically demanding games. While my laptop has ExpressCard, it's only got a VGA out. I keep looking at the Belkin High Speed Hub and wondering if it'll do the business.

But longer term, surely the next iterations of both USB and/or Firewire will deliver the necessary band width?

US nuke boffins smash petaflop barrier with 'Roadrunner'


Pigeon Guided Missiles

It's a lot of money to prove that something theoretically still works or doesn't. I mean, it's not as if you can get the parts anymore...

Still, I suppose it's better that boys play with toy cars rather than try to play with the traffic on the M1.

Nvidia targets Intel Atom with ARM-based system-on-a-chip


Mobile Devices???

But are we going to see devices like the EEE pc and the Jisus based on this technology? The story on the BBC website seems to imply this.

Daily Mail cites video game as proof of terrorist doomsday plot


Laughable but...


Sikorsky X2 superwhirlybird enters ground spin-up phase


Fairey Rotodyne

The Sikorsky is very interesting but... Take a look at the Fairey Rotodyne.



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