* Posts by blcollier

145 posts • joined 11 Jan 2011

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Improved Java support poured into Microsoft's Visual Studio Code – will it be enough to tempt developers?

blcollier

Re: I don't understand the attraction...

You are here, and the point of this article is way the hell over there. IIRC literally one line mentioned that VS Code has a browser-based offering through Visual Studio Online, and the chances are that people using VSO aren't doing heavyweight Java stuff.

FWIW, you don't need a massive hulking behemoth of a desktop to simply write code. Personally I would *prefer* a desktop, but for the most of the work I do the disk I/O speed (both random and continuous) is far more important than raw CPU horsepower. I *could* get more I/O speed out of a desktop if my company were willing to spend a *lot* of money on hardware (putting me out of sync with every other developer); however if I ever need enterprise-grade performance then instead of trying to get enterprise-grade performance out of consumer/business-grade hardware I simply move my workloads to enterprise-grade hardware.

Hate speech row: Fine or jail anyone who calls people boffins, geeks or eggheads, psychology nerd demands

blcollier

Re: You can pry my honorifics from my cold, dead brain cells

>But I would really have liked to be a boffin.

When you start getting called 'boffin' is when you know you've "made it".

High-resolution display output or Wi-Fi: It seems you can only choose one on Raspberry Pi 4

blcollier

They'll still remain the market leader, despite hardware niggles. Other SBCs might be more powerful or have more features, but very few support their products like the Raspberry Pi Foundation do.

FWIW people were saying that it would never succeed because of hardware "issues" right back at day 1, nearly 8 years ago. The original launch model was *very* touchy about USB power supplies and prone to brownouts on the USB bus. IIRC, the hardware was designed with the actual USB voltage spec in mind - 4.75v to 5.25v - but many USB phone chargers simply couldn't deliver that and their voltage dropped below 4.75v when under load. Cables were an issue back then also: even if a PSU could deliver in-spec voltages when under load, poor quality MicroUSB cables often caused a voltage drop meaning that the voltage at the power connector on the board was now out of spec. There was also a hardware design flaw that caused the USB/LAN controller to draw way more power than it should do. Yet here they are nearly 8 years later with over 25 million units sold.

UK political parties fall over themselves to win tech contractor vote by pledging to review IR35

blcollier

Re: More nonsense

Except in a lot of cases they don't actually receive the benefits such as sick pay, holiday pay, etc. They stay employed as a contractor and retain all the risks that entails...

All of the changes to IR35 so far are a pure political ploy so that the Tories can be seen to be "doing something" about tax avoidance without addressing the *real* problems with tax avoiders like Amazon, Google, Facebook, media companies, etc. Global megacorporations who do billions in revenue/profit in this country yet pay a disproportionately low amount of tax. The creative accounting might be perfectly legal but legal != fair.

'Horndog hackers' have a Wales of a time slinging smut from UK gov Twitter account

blcollier

Re: A Freudian Slip Typo?

Twitter also has likes...

You'e yping i wong: macOS Catalina stops Twitter desktop app from accepting B, L, M, R, and T in passwords

blcollier

I can go one better: the combination for my luggage is 12345.

Traffic lights worldwide set to change after Swedish engineer saw red over getting a ticket

blcollier

Re: Not quite

One of the roads on a previous commute used sensors in the road for a right turn. All the other lights were all on a rotating sequence, but the right-turn filter would only go green if the road sensor interrupted the sequence. My motorbike wasn't heavy enough to trigger the sensor either... Usually I'd get lucky and I'd be behind other cars that would trigger the sensor, but every now and then I'd be at the head of the (rapidly growing) queue. I'd have to roll forward over the line and let the car behind me drive forward on to the sensor.

I'll just clear down the database before break. What's the worst that could happen? It's a trial

blcollier

Re: BTDTGTTS

Unless of course you forget to commit or roll-back your transaction and leave an uncommitted transaction hanging open which eventually brings down the database...

blcollier

Re: BTDTGTTS

Oh yes, I experienced a particularly fun one last year which I plan to write up...

blcollier

Re: I'll be borrowing this!

Ditto - I like that one.

Is Google's new cloud gaming service scalable? Yes but it may not be affordable, warns edge-computing CEO

blcollier

Re: so, uh

I already practically rent access to my library of games, and that's bad enough. Many games these days require some form of back-end communication to a publisher's/developer's infrastructure simply to work; if not always-on requirements, then they're often backed by store-front DRM like Steam. Any one of those services could go offline at any time rendering what I've paid for completely useless. Someone decides that keeping the servers running for a beloved game is no longer profitable and suddenly I can't play the games I've paid for.

This halfway house idea is pointless. If I still need an expensive GPU to play games with this service then I will need a capable CPU which can deliver data to the GPU quick enough so that it doesn't bottleneck. If I have those two core components then I _already have_ a gaming PC, why do I need to let the game code run elsewhere and have my GPU render it locally? It's not like you're going to run out and get an RTX 2080 to install alongside your low-end i3. I get the argument about internet connection speeds but let's solve *that* problem instead, rather than create this weird solution that nobody needed or wanted. The GPU is by far and away the most expensive part of a gaming PC; if I've dropped £200-£300 alone on even a budget GPU then it's really not much more of a stretch to get some kind of i5 (or better) CPU, 8GB of RAM, and ~1TB disk space (you can live without an SSD for games storage)

Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ support to arrive in Linux 5.1

blcollier

Re: I would think ...

The SoC doesn't have the support for it IIRC. It still only supports USB2 too. Changing the SoC would be a massive massive undertaking and would break compatibility for a lot of stuff.

BOFH: State of a job, eh? Roll the Endless Requests for Further Information protocol

blcollier

Re: Sssshhhhhhh!

> Beer, 'cos it's Friday, and 5 o'clock somewhere.

You wait until 5pm...?

Bright spark dev irons out light interference

blcollier

Elastic band RAM retention

Your little hack from years ago is pretty much exactly how Apple keeps the SODIMMS in place in the 2018 Mac Mini. They are held in place with rubber "shoes" that fit over the end of the sockets... Little plastic or metal clips are obviously too much of a stretch on the BOM.

WLinux brings a custom Windows Subsystem for Linux experience to the Microsoft Store

blcollier

Re: The only use I can think of:

Wine is not an emulator - "Wine" is literally a backronym for "Wine is not an emulator". WSL is not an emulator either.

Nit-picking perhaps, but this is the comments section so... when in Rome...

Techie's test lab lands him in hot water with top tech news site

blcollier

Re: Top Boss

This. Punishing mistakes doesn't avoid mistakes in the future, it makes people better at covering them up.

Amazon and Netflix join Hollywood to lob sueball at 'Kodi' service SetTV

blcollier

@Anonymous Custard

I regret that I only have one upvote to give you.

I've been a big fan of Kodi since the days when it was called XBMP (yes, even before XBMC) so I truly appreciate the hard work of all of Team Kodi.

This wouldn't be the first time that El Reg has mentioned Kodi in the headlines of a story which actually has nothing to do with Kodi itself when you dig into it: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/07/25/kodi_boxes_fail_safety_standards/. Oh look, who was the author of that story, I wonder...

Multiple-guess quiz will make Brit fliers safer, hopes drone-maker DJI

blcollier

"Dear DJI, next time I ask for some GPL source code, maybe don't tell me no."

Well done that man. However I fear the message will fall on completely deaf ears: rather than comply with their legal obligations, I suspect DJIs reaction will be to tighten their restrictions/lockouts even further.

Thou shalt use our drone app, UK.gov to tell quadcopter pilots

blcollier

Re: Autonomous drones ?

Holy crap, that second link... Absolutely demolished the report...

blcollier

> Where are Mythbusters when you need them?

The Mythbusters might not be much help here. They have bad form with jet engines: they couldn't get a jet engine to flip a car over when Top Gear could. :D. IIRC they made up for it in a later episode though and did actually get a jet engine to flip a car (and Top Gear had an actual airliner at near-takeoff power instead of a smaller jet engine mounted to a truck).

True, you are talking about a relatively small amount of energy in a LiPo battery when compared to the size and strength of your average airliner jet engine.

blcollier

Re: All I see here is

Your analogy is flawed.

You can drive your car but you can't go more than 40mph, and if you want to drive your car to work then you have to pay for a licence which is equal to or greater than the cost of the car. These new regulations are saying that you now have to carry separate registration documents when you drive your car (in addition to your licence to use your car for work purposes), you have to take another proficiency test, and your car can be confiscated if you don't carry your registration documents or you stray very slightly from ill-defined rules.

Also, what that guy said: recorded deaths directly attributable to multirotors in the last year... Yeah, I'm sure you can read.

blcollier

>There is no evidence that a consumer drone could bring down an airliner.

There's no evidence but it's conceivable.

Almost everything on my 550mm-footprint hexacopter would likely be shredded by a commercial airliner's engine. Including the 3-cell 5.2Ah lithium polymer battery strapped to the belly... I don't even want to know what would happen if such volatile chemistry ignited in a jet engine...

blcollier

Re: OK, so which part do I register?

No, I'm not. The Drone Code isn't clear... And on a blog post on the CAA website it also states "400 feet above *you*", which is also totally different to "400 feet above sea level".

blcollier

Re: Death of the UK drone industry

... and a drone to fly such a camera, such as the DJI Matrice 600, will set you back around £4k-£5k. If you're flying ~10k worth of kit (excluding the lens or any other accessories) then no, a PfCO license at £1k won't be that much of a hindrance. A £1k Mavic Pro on the other hand can shoot 4K footage and is more than capable of professional aerial photography. That's where the problem starts to come in...

blcollier

Re: Common Sense or New Laws

Not sure I entirely agree with that. Most of the cheapies you'll find for ~£100 or less would probably struggle to reach the existing altitude/range limits. Of course you could still fly it like a total knob, but it would be easy to track you down; most craft in that price range probably won't have a large enough transmission range to make it hard to track you down, especially when so many of them use WiFi for control. The "big boy" stuff, capable of autonomous flights or very long ranges, like DJI phantoms and such are not cheap.

News reports are not a good indicator, since you only get to hear about the extreme ends of the bell curve and usually it's relayed in a sensationalist manner.

blcollier

Re: OK, so which part do I register?

The 400 foot ceiling refers to an "above sea level" limit (this is already in the Drone Code rules). Technically you're not allowed to fly a drone from your 800ft cliff because you're already above the limit. It's supposedly to avoid interfering with manned aircraft, but it's hard to see a manned aircraft wanting to get that close to an 800ft cliff...

blcollier

Re: Death of the UK drone industry

Don't see why you're getting downvoted for that. I looked into this and was instantly turned off when I saw the cost of a PfCO license and the fact that you're still subject to the same restrictions as an unlicensed pilot (500m range, 400ft above you, not within 150m of people or crowds, etc) even when you're operating with permission on private property. Literally all that PfCO does is let you legally sell your footage/photos and that's a steep entry price to pay (ignoring the cost of "professional"-grade equipment in the first place).

I still have my hexacopter and I'm still going to fly it, but getting into professional/paid aerial photography is still quite far out of reach.

blcollier

OK, so which part do I register?

I built my hexacopter from scratch; the "all-up" flying weight is ~1.8kg, so it definitely falls into the "must be registered" category. It crashed during its first flight and I had to completely replace the frame. Very soon I will be replacing the flight controller with a completely new unit. So far that's two fairly major components that will have been replaced; let's assume that at some point in the future I will replace these - or other - components again (that's a fairly safe assumption for a DIY hexacopter). This hexacopter is basically Trigger's Broom, so at what point do I need to re-register it? Replacing which component constitutes it being a "new" device?

Prosecute driverless car devs for software snafus, say Brit cyclists

blcollier

Re: While were at it....

Late to this party, but whatever...

>"Sure you will not. The cost of the damage to a bicycle in an average scrape with a car is significantly LESS than the excess on any insurance policy I know."

Know that for a fact, do you? I ride a frame worth £1000 (devaluation notwithstanding) and my insurance excess - yes, I am insured, my home insurance covers my bike in accidents - is £100. Damaging a carbon fibre frame will very easily make it unfit/unsafe to ride and will cost a lot more than £100 to fix. Even damaging just 1 wheel and the handlebars would cost more than £100 in parts, without even accounting for labour costs. So, yes, I would claim on my insurance, and if a third party was responsible for that accident then the insurance company would pursue that party. That latter point, as it happens, *is* a fact because in the past I have been the person at the insurance company that deals with cases where third-parties are liable for damages paid out on claims. That *includes* cases where motor insurance has had to reimburse costs paid out on a pedal cycle claim.

If you were involved in an accident with a cyclist and found to be at fault then you and your car insurance would pay the price for your negligence in exactly the same way as you would if you were responsible for an accident with a motor vehicle. Sure the costs are going to be lower but in pricing terms, a lower payout doesn't always mean lower risk.

You can't have it both ways. You can't require cyclists to have mandatory insurance in the same way that motor vehicles do and then *not* expect equal treatment when it comes to claims.

blcollier

Re: While were at it....

I'm riding my lightweight road bike, which has a carbon fibre frame, along a city street and crash into you when you cut across in front of me. I'm relatively OK, the bike is still rideable, but your car has a massive scratch across the bonnet. I get back on the bike and cycle off, after telling you what a muppet you've been.

It's like any other hit and run: how is insurance going to help in this case? To complicate matters, I've got no registration number so you can't report my reg number to the police. Do I need a registration number on my bike as well as insurance?

It might *sound* like a sensible idea to require cyclists to have insurance but it's not entirely practical. If that were to happen however I could almost guarantee you that the cost of car insurance overall would go up; more and more cyclists would be claiming on their insurance, and in many cases the car driver is going to be liable. If I was involved in a cycling accident that wasn't my fault and I have insurance, you can be damn sure that I would claim on the insurance for the damage - and you can be damn sure that my insurance would do everything they can to establish that someone else was at fault and recover costs from the other party. If there's one thing that insurance companies are good at it's finding ways to avoid spending money.

Why are we disappointed with the best streaming media box on the market?

blcollier

That's what I'd recommend to people looking for a 4K HDR streaming box.

blcollier

My Roku 3 *was* great, but...

I would struggle to recommend a Roku to anyone else ever again.

The "smart" WiFi-Direct remote for my model basically doesn't work any more; every now and then it loses connection and no amount of fixes/troubleshooting will get it to connect again. I either have to stick with the smartphone app remote or factory reset the box to get the remote back.

Apps (sorry, "channels") are looking very tired these days. Most app developers seem to implement the same SDK with little effort at customising it or providing a decent user experience (see Netflix for an example of how to do it right).

Spotify support is simply dire. The Spotify app is utterly horrendous: it doesn't even support playlists any more - you literally cannot browse or play your own playlists - let alone anything useful like Spotify Connect. Spotify themselves don't want to know because the Roku Spotify app is third-party; they have no plans to make their own or "in-house" the existing one.

Don't get me wrong, the boxes do what they do pretty well... if you ignore the ragged edges.

Brit bank fined £75k over 1.5 million text and email spamhammer

blcollier
FAIL

£75k is pocket change.

Seriously. Fines like this show just how toothless the ICO can be. Obvs I don't know the numbers, but if they can generate even £85k revenue as a result of this campaign then they've made a profit and that will prove to their money men/managers that ignoring the rules can make good business sense.

Fine them £1 per message/call, not £0.05 - then we'll see companies sit up and start taking compliance seriously.

EDIT: I had a maths fail...

VPN logs helped unmask alleged 'net stalker, say feds

blcollier

Re: So many posts about logs ...

So many posts about logs and yet not a single poop gag.

Monkey selfie case settles for a quarter of future royalties

blcollier

Re: I fscking loathe PETA

PETA are not an animal rights organisation, and El Reg should not be acknowledging them as such.

An organisation that kills over 90% of the animals it "rescues" cannot in anyone's mind be called an "animal rights" organisation.

An organisation that abducts and euthanises domestic pets cannot in anyone's mind be called an "animal rights" organisation.

This case does raise some interesting philosophical questions about animal rights (although what the hell use does the monkey have for royalties), but PETA are a hate group plain and simple.

blcollier

That campaign is actually nearly 10 years old. It first appeared in 2008; they were ordered by a court to take down billboards with the poster, but the article remains on their site to this day.

It's not new, but that doesn't detract from their overall lunacy.

Atari shoots sueball at KitKat maker over use of 'Breakout' in ad

blcollier

The shuffling corpse of Atari shambles onwards...

...infested and driven by a parasite that bears little resemblance to the Atari Of Old we fondly remember.

Linux-loving lecturer 'lost' email, was actually confused by Outlook

blcollier

Re: Client support, we've heard about it

Aye, what @Lee D said. Respect & professionalism goes both ways.

blcollier

Re: Client support, we've heard about it

So you're supposed to be meek and simpering when someone has just publicly berated you and threatened your job? The lecturer was being a belligerent ass; the IT dept. could (and should) have handled the situation much better than they did, but that doesn't give you the right to give someone a public dressing down and threaten their livelihood - that's called unprofessional behaviour. Newt was right to be livid with the rest of his dept. for not even attempting to resolve this, and the lecturer was right to apologise for his behaviour. Having a little dig of your own after being unjustifiably bollocked in public doesn't mean you shouldn't be in support.

House fire, walk with me: Kodipocalypse now includes conflagration

blcollier

Re: "Making the pirate experience less fun is part of the strategy."

Wot he said.

Let's take GoT as an example. Want to watch that live on normal telly? OK, sign up for Sky TV because you can't get Sky Atlantic on Virgin Media. But wait, there's Now TV as well! OK fine, so now I'm paying for Virgin Media "normal" TV, Amazon Prime, Netflix, and also Now TV. Let's just swallow the extra cost of Now TV for a moment, and actually watch Game of Thrones on a PC using Now TV. Chrome isn't supported, because uses Silverlight to stream the video, so you're forced to use Edge/IE11. Don't want to use Edge/IE11? Fine, install the Now TV Windows app... after you've signed in to the Microsoft Store, of course. Oh, and don't you dare move window focus away from the app while you're watching - like trying to open an IMDB page in a second monitor, for example - because it'll terminate playback and won't resume from the point it terminated itself.

Or... or... I could download latest episode as a torrent and watch it how, where, and when I want using whatever software I want. Or, better yet, I can automate the whole process so that downloads as soon as it's available - that way it's ready and waiting for me when I get home from work. And then, of course, I'll buy the BluRays when they're available.

Piracy is a symptom of over-enthusiastic copyright enforcement. Let me watch what I want, when I want, on the device I want, in the highest quality available, and I'll stop using Usenet+Sonarr.

Stop resetting your passwords, says UK govt's spy network

blcollier

Best password advice I ever had?

Generate one extremely secure (and, preferably, long) passphrase and use that as your "master". Then use a password manager to generate and store random passwords for everything that you don't consider to be a high risk (someone posting crap on my facebook account is different to someone siphoning money from my bank account) and encrypt this database using your master passphrase. For anything high-risk use your master passphrase. And use two-factor authentication where possible.

I used DiceWare to generate a 7-word master passphrase. Ought to be good enough for a few years yet.

Review: Beagleboard Beaglebone Black

blcollier

Re: Cost @ km123

Au contraire yourself, mate. I've never read a bigger pile of crap or any other comment that's as poor as yours. I couldn't downvote you hard enough

FWIW, the Pi was designed in Britain and is now also manufactured in Britain.

Pirates scoff at games dev sim's in-game piracy lesson

blcollier
Gimp

@Pascal Monett Re: "an experiment in education of pirates"

You're almost there but there's an aspect to Minecraft you forgot to include: the near-constant release of extra content for it (which is free, I might add, and not paid for like most "DLC"). The model for Minecraft is essentially: "Sure, pirate our game all you like - you can even have this free version (which has a limited subset of the features from the main game) - but you won't get all the cool extra stuff we add if you pirate it". There *is* a protection/"DRM"-ish component to it as the game validates against your Mojang account whenever it launches, and multiplayer servers validate your account whenever you connect. No account, no Minecraft for you.

Of course you could pirate each new version that's released, but you still can't play multiplayer - a major component of the game if you ask me - unless you've bought the game or you use a hacked server.

To correct a few further factual errors... Minecraft was indeed originally built by one person (Markus Persson, since you asked), but he didn't sell his game to a company; he founded Mojang with the money he'd made from Minecraft, because he couldn't hope to keep up on his own. He might not work on Minecraft any more - others in Mojang do however - but he's still a developer.

Downvote me all you like for being a pedant, but I can't help myself - when you create your own mods & texture packs it's hard to avoid describing yourself as a massive Minecraft nerd.

UK.Gov passes Instagram Act: All your pics belong to everyone now

blcollier

Bigger watermarks it is then

I've used watermarks on all my "proper" photos (i.e. not the drunken mobile phone snaps) for a long time now, but they can easily be cropped out. EXIF data can easily be stripped, and steganography seems to be a bit of a dead-end in this case - if $random_person/$random_company on the other side of the globe starts using your images without your permission, how the hell are you going to know about it let alone run their copy of the image through your software...?

I guess the only realistic answer might be a watermark that covers the entire image...

Ten ancestors of the netbook

blcollier

Dell Mini 9

Not specifically the focus of this article, but I owned one of these machines and utterly loved it. The only flaw with it really was the SSD writes were quite laggy now and then, and replacements were quite expensive... Brilliant little machine.

Ended up getting rid of it because I wanted a bigger screen and a less cramped keyboard.

German watchdog whacks Google with PIDDLING FINE over Street View slurp

blcollier

Re: Moral of the story...

Agreed 100%; I'd agree 200%, if that wasn't such bad mathematics... Even routers supplied by ISPs are usually supplied with encryption already applied these days. That might not stop someone trying to defeat that encryption (they won't have to do much work - can you spell "database of default passwords"?) but it certainly would have stopped Google's accidental drive-by slurping. And if you're using a public or unencrypted WiFi hotspot then you should be well aware of the security risks involved - even *Windows* warns you about unencrypted networks, ffs...

The fine is somewhat toothless, but I have utterly no sympathy for anyone who had sensitive data collected.

@James 51

Your provider gives you a WiFi router that doesn't let you add encryption? Man, I'd hate to sign up with those guys... Even Virgin's SuperSh*teHub - the biggest pile of dog turd masquerading as a router I've ever seen - lets you add WPA2 encryption.

@AC

You're comparing accidental data collection to rape? Really? That's the stupidest thing I've ever read, and I read YouTube comments.

I urge you all to downvote this retard as hard as you can.

Logitech launches MEGA-PRICEY 15-in-1 remote

blcollier

Re: Wii

This is actually remarkably easy. It's a little fiddly to pair the WiiMote with the PC, depending on the manufacturer of your bluetooth chip and your OS, but it does work. I forget the name of the software involved, but it's perfectly possible to make the WiiMote emulate a mouse and remap the buttons to various keys/functions; pairing it to the PC doesn't involve any extra software at all, though it is pretty useless unless you can map it to functions...

Though you do need to use the "sensor" bar in order to achieve this. This is all from several-year-old memory, but the info is quite easy to find with everyone's favourite data-snaffling search engine. IIRC, the "sensor" bar doesn't actually have sensors but has IR sources for receivers in the WiiMote. The cables only have two pins - ground and +5v - so pickup a sacrificial one on the cheap, find the pinout on the web somewhere and hack a suitable power source together (if you're using it with an HTPC, don't forget about those handy-dandy Molex plugs with both +12v and +5v...). I've read reports of people using lit candles to simulate these IR sources, but YMMV - I'm not about to stick lit candles anywhere near my PC or TV to test that...

Alternatively just leave your sensor bar plugged into the Wii and have it on standby all the time - IIRC the sensor bar still gets power when the console is in standby.

blcollier
Headmaster

@mdava Re: Who are they kidding?

Have a downvote, purely for the use of "Xbox" as a verb. "for the kids to Xbox on"...?! Seriously? Do people speak like that or are such abominations constrained to text-based exchanges? Ye gods...

Maggie Thatcher: The Iron Lady who saved us from drab Post Office mobes

blcollier

Prime time viewing

Comfy chair? Check. F5 on standby? Check. This comment thread is sure to be interesting to watch; all I need now is some popcorn...

Just do me a favour and try not to celebrate and rejoice in the fact that another human being has died, regardless of what you think of that person...

Whatever happened to self-service computing?

blcollier

SaaS, IaaS and ... PaaS?

Do people really use acronyms like this daily? I look at this stuff - including any mention of "cloud" - and all I see is "BUZZWORD! BUZZWORD! BUZZWORD! BUZZWORD!". Yawn.

And if the people I work with (and have worked with over the years) are anything to go by, I agree with the posters above me: truly self-service IT is a dream that will probably never be realised. If there's one thing I've learned it's that idiot-proofing something is just asking society/Darwin/$deity to produce a better idiot.

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