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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Stranglehold PC Demo

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The Stranglehold PC demo is out and it weighs in at a hefty 2GB! Wow, I think it just broke the record for largest game demo. Here's a description:

Chow Yun–Fat reprises the role of Inspector Tequila from John Woo's influential action film, "Hard Boiled" in this hyperkinetic shooting game. Run into danger with both fists full of lead and take down the organized crime bosses who stepped over the line when they took your family. Stop at nothing as you destroy the entire world around you to get them back. You are a desperate man following your own rules; honor thy family; do what's right; fear no man. Stranglehold features much of the hyperkinetic, choreographed action and freeze framed sequences that Woo is known for.


Download it at (sholddemo_us.exe, 1.97GB):

 

Grow Your Own Island!

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Well, not exactly. Grow Island is the latest installment of the Grow series of flash games, that feature fantastic and amusing animations and loads of weird logic (at least to me).

As always, Grow Island is a fantastic time-waster. By just looking at the screenshot below, you can safely assume that time flew by while I was trying to solve the latest Grow game (Actually only about 15 min, though I did have help).

My advice to you is to try out the game a couple of times before searching for tips or walkthroughs since there are dozens of possible outcomes. With a different outcome, a different animation will played which is part of the appeal of the Grow games.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the Grow series!

Grow Island max levels

For a walkthrough of Grow Island including an alternate ending, visit the Jayisgames.com post on Grow Island.

[Link to creator's blog: Grow Island]
[Link to game: Grow Island]
[Pic courtesy of Digg user Hrl2k]

 

Wanna Mash?

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Yahoo Mash beta Just a couple of hours ago, Yahoo gave a selected few a peek at its new social networking site called Mash, though I'm not too sure why Yahoo bothered at all. Yup, at the moment, it's in beta (everything seems to be in beta).

Mash doesn't seem to include any special or attractive features that aren't already in other social networking sites except for some mashing capabilities. It seems your friends can add modules to your page, which is not something I'd be fond of, since on social networking sites, friends come and go like the unpredictable rain here.

The slightly more useful feature is the ability to "mash" different Yahoo apps together. TechCrunch didn't mention this in detail so I'm sure how this would work. But I'm thinking iGoogle but instead of being viewable by yourself, it'll be made public.

If you wanted a preview, don't bother clicking the link above or visiting Mash since you need an invite to Mash. You could however visit TechCrunch for a few screenshots of Mash.

And for those who really want one, invites are available at InviteShare (by TechCrunch).

[Source: TechCrunch]

 

Get Your Halo 3 Wallpapers Here!

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Microsoft has got a nifty interactive flash thingy out at which allows you to explore the entire diorama. You can manually navigate through the whole battle scene or just click the autoplay and sit back as it brings you from one place to another.

If you thought that's neat, it's just half the fun. The other half is the wallpapers you could create. You could explore to the scene you want and take a "screenshot" so to speak. But if you really wanted the whole diorama, just follow the simple instructions below.

  • The images are stored in this format - http://www.microsoft.com/games/967BF37A-255B-1611-6E3A/images/
    wallpaper/diorama/halo3_diorama_XXXX.jpg
  • The XXXX represent numbers from 0001 to 1666.

For example, here's the scene where . Of course, there are several images of this scene that are just slightly different.

And with this simple discovery, the coders among you probably are already thinking about setting up a simple script (iterating from 0001 to 1666) to download every single image from Microsoft's server. But for non-programmers, a download manager should do the trick. Off the top of my head, I know (Classic version recommended) has such a functionality. Certain Firefox extensions (I can't remember what they are) may also provide such batch downloading.

Aside from the diorama wallpapers, here are some Halo 3 character wallpapers.



Update: You can download these 11 wallpapers in the .

2 more videos, one called Hunted, another called Translator are also heading your way on 25 Sept 2007. Gravesite, another video, is slated to be released on Oct 1 2007. Additionally, there are several first person accounts, a scene description at the Master Chief site and places where you can enter 180 or 360 degree mode. I think that sums up what you can find at the site.

 

Halo 3: Believe in the Master Chief

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And the second Halo 3 ad is out! No dialogue this time, just some melodramatic music and who is that at the end? Why it's Master Chief himself, but who or what is beside him? Well, like it says you just have to "Believe".



So you've seen both ads, and wonder how it was made? Have a behind-the-scenes look in the making of Master Chief John 117 Monument. Almost makes you feel sad for the fella.



Edit: You may also want to check out Halo 3 wallpapers here.

 

What Did Google Do Today?

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You probably heard about the launch of Google Lunar X Prize to accelerate space research. $30 million is yours if you can get something to fly to the moon (and back, I think Google got this idea from Savage Garden, just kidding). Obviously you have to do better than that to get the prize, but it doesn't really matter since most of us aren't rocket engineers.

Other than the highly publicized Google Lunar X Prize, Google also gave Google's Sitemaps a new look and added a new type of tracking statistic.

Google Sitemaps new subscriber tracking stat

As you can see, the navigation bar has been shifted to the left instead of appearing at the top in the older version. Not much difference in terms of usability as far as I can tell, although it does look better design wise.

Hmmm... do you see something extra? Let's see what Google says about Subscriber Stats.

If your site publishes feeds of its content, this page will display the number of users who have subscribed to these feeds using Google products such as iGoogle, Google Reader, or Orkut.


Ah, so it's like Feedburner's stats except it's limited to only Google products. Note that Feedburner has been bought by Google recently. So you're wondering what Google is doing? Why don't they simply track every subscriber?

Well Google Sitemaps already contains features of other Google products, although they aren't as detailed as the separate Google products. An example of this is Top search queries. It shows you popular queries for your site and is covered extensively by Google Analytics.

So I'm guessing it's easier to leave it to Feedburner to do the heavy work and implement just the basics in Google Sitemaps. And no, the lonely Google subscriber you see in the screenshot isn't me. :) Hello to whoever you are!

 

Guess Who's Back in Business?

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Can't guess? It's our spammer/phisher friends again. Yup, they're back again. Same MO, same inline popup. Never seen them before? Find out about them in my original post about them.

They were probably never out of the game, just laying low till they could make a comeback. And what a comeback.

Bestcoolgroup.com is their latest domain with an iframe served at bestunbeatableoffer.com. As usual, it's a newly registered domain which should ring some alarms.

Here are the whois for the websites to see for yourself.

bestcoolgroup.com
bestunbeatableoffer.com

Edit: Screenshot of sites in question.

Bestcoolgroup.com screenshot

bestunbeatableoffer.com screenshot

Edit: Looks like they forgot to prevent directory browsing! You can see how everything works here (Edit: They fixed it a few days later). The list of those who entered their emails and passwords are out in the open! Here's a reminder to change your password if you entered it at the site.

Edit: These sites are joined by officialbestgroup.com (whois link, not link to actual site) in the spam fiesta.

Edit: About crownguard.com, it didn't strike me at the time to do a whois, but if you did one, you'll see that crownguard.com was registered in 2002 and is about to expire soon. Hence unlike what this site says, it's unlikely that this site is related to the spam sites (unless it was compromised). The date and the name of the site don't even match the MO of the other spam sites.

Edit: bestcoolindividuals.com is another one of them.

Edit: Another one popped up at bestfreepeople.com and coolindividual.com and coolindividuals.com.

Edit: They have also changed their landing page to one that asks you to enter your handphone number for ringtones which are, by the way, not for free. Although entering a number doesn't seem to lead to anywhere but perfspot.com.

Something interesting to note is that you could almost always find perfspot.com somewhere in these pages. I noticed this in the previous sites as well. And the sudden surge in traffic to perfspot concides with the recent spamming activity. Could the two be related? Maybe, no one knows for sure (at least I don't).

Edit: Ok, here are a few links that give you a better idea of what perfspot has been doing behind the scenes - XomReviews, Mashable and Project Honeypot Spam Domains List (perfspot is inside the list).

Edit: A new one at friendrateronline.com.

Edit: And at friendstatus.com.

Edit: Another one at celebratedpic.com.

Edit: One more at weirdprofile.com.

 

Friday, September 14, 2007

iPhone Refund Now On!

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If you're one of those who plonked down the $200 early adopter tax, here's what Steve Jobs promised you - the iPhone refund or rebate or store credit or whatever fancy name you want.

It's a nice $100 voucher (especially if your credit card company sent some cash your way as well), but just don't try to grab $100 worth of songs or live outside the US. Still, props to Apple for a simple 3 step process. At least they make it easy for you to get back something you regretted letting go of.

[Link: Iphone store credit]

 

Chewing Gum That Sticks in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hair

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Well, it looks like scientists have solved yet another sticky problem. With the invention of a non-stick chewing gum, called Rev 7, chewing gum will no longer be a sticky menace. And citizens of Singapore will believe that God is looking out for them.

With the Rev 7 gum, you'll be praying for rain to come and stay instead of coming again another day. Water is Rev 7's worst enemy and tests have shown that rain is effective in washing it away.

Tasty and chewy, it comes in two flavors for now - mint or lemon, with more to come. Not that I'm complaining, since you can't find it on the streets till next year or later.

The only problem? People chucking their gums on the street rather than in a bin.

[Source: Daily Mail via digg]

 

What Day Is It?

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Today or yesterday (depending on where you are) just so happens to be programmers' day, international chocolate day and (the late) Roald Dahl's birthday! Yes, it turns out that Sept 13 2007 is quite an eventful day. Too bad it isn't a Friday else it'll be a Thank God It's Friday (TGIF) day and Friday the 13th day as well.

The story behind programmers' day is that Sept 13 is the 256th day. If you're a programmer, you'll probably understand the significance of 256. For non-programmers, 2 to the power of 8 or 2^8 is 256 which is the number of possible values a byte can take up.

How is this so? In order to explain this, I'll need to explain simple binary maths. To spare you and me the trouble of it all (since the decimal system is firmly etched into some people's mindset), 00000000 to 11111111 are all the possible values a byte can take up. In total 256 combinations are possible (0 to 255) if you restrict the available digits to only 0 and 1.

And why are bytes important? Well, your harddisk knows the answer to that one. But if your harddisk isn't cooperating, Wikipedia is your friend (well, so is Google).

By the way, an attempt was made this year to cash in on this day at the Programmers' Day site.

As for international chocolate day, I'm not too sure about the story behind this. Why September the 13th? Is it because programmers worldwide are celebrating by stuffing themselves with gobs of chocolate? Or is Sept 13 infamous for poor chocolate sales? I'm still wondering. In the meantime, you could take a look at all the chocolate days at Candy USA!. Turns out there are plenty of chocolate days.

If you visit Google right now, you shouldn't be surprised to see pictures from Roald Dahl's popular stories embedded into Google's logo. Avid readers of Roald Dahl should recognize illustrations of Matilda, James and the Giant Peach and Charlie's chocolate bar with the golden ticket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. For techies, Blogoscoped has more on Google's Universal Search. Non-techies could check out Wikipedia's page on Roald Dahl. And if you haven't read any of his stories before, now isn't too late to start.

 

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Halo 3 Museum Ad

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A marine recounts an epic battle he fought alongside Master Chief in this exclusive live-action Halo trailer.


The Halo 3 museum ad, just to get you warmed up for more videos and Halo 3. If you didn't know better, you would think that this was a documentary (maybe till he mentioned Master Chief).



[Source: Yahoo! Video]

 

You're Too Sexy To Fly! Part 2.

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Setara Qassim, Too Sexy to Fly Another sexy flyer, Setara Qassim, was asked to cover up with a blanket even though her outfit isn't very outrageous or skimpy. The first "too sexy flyer" was Kyla (Kayla) Ebbert.

On a hot hot day, a Southwest Airlines flight attendant approached Setara Qassim to ask her if she had a sweater. Naturally she didn't and ended up wrapped in a blanket instead.

NBC has a picture slideshow and video of Setara Qassim (I know that's what you're here for!).

Edit: Found another picture of Setara Qassim at WireImage.

[Pic, Source: NBC]

 

Father of All Bombs

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The Russians recently demonstrated a new bomb which is supposed to be 4 times more powerful than the US version known as Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB) or "Mother of All Bombs". Hence the Russians called theirs the "Father of All Bombs".

From the video, the Father (Dad) of All Bombs doesn't look all too impressive. Maybe I've been spoiled by the Masters of spectacular (but fairly harmless) explosions - Hollywood movies.

Father (Dad) of All Bombs


Mother (Mum) of All Bombs


[Source: Reuters]

 

Burning Water for Fuel?

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Who ever thought that water could burn? But it seems that water can actually burn, though you do need some salt in it and a funky generator for cancer treatment.

Sounds weird eh? However that is exactly what John Kanzius has discovered and patented. Using his radio frequency generator he developed for fighting cancer, an accidental discovery was made when someone suggested using salt water for his experiment.

So he put some salt water into a test tube and got his machine focused on it. A spark was produced and further experiments revealed that the flame was hot enough to melt the test tube!

Further tests showed that they were burning the hydrogen that was released when the radio frequency came into contact with the salt water.

Later, they did a measurement and it turns out the flame is more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit!

Not that I'm paranoid or anything but should this info be released to the public? Just imagine the (evil) possibilities. I mean someone could build a gigantic radio frequency generator and start setting the oceans on fire! Or worse, keep it light and portable and you have a sonic death ray in your hands. At that point, cancer will be the least of your worries.

[Source: Post Gazette via digg]

 

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

iPhone Free Software Unlock Achieved!

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Gizmodo has just confirmed that a free software unlock solution is available for the iPhone by the iPhone Dev Team. This comes just a day or two after iPhoneSIMfree.com unveiled it's paid software unlock (Edit: I mean to end users and not just proof of concept). Of course, the free solution uses some of the techniques from the paid solution, but no one had expected it to be done so quickly.

In case you had no idea, the iPhone is locked to AT&T for 2 years when you buy it. This software will allow you to break free from AT&T and use another (possibly cheaper and better) mobile carrier. Additionally, you can use the iPhone overseas, or from the perspective of those outside the US, they can finally get one and actually use it fully.

I've seen the guide for the software unlock and AT&T can sleep a bit easier since it's not for the faint hearted. However if you're one of those who pulled off OSX on a PC aka OSX86, this should be a piece of cake. Here are the mirrors for the guide:


From the guides, you'll notice that iUnlock.zip is a critical component (Edit: See below for GUI version). Here's a list of mirrors for iUnlock.zip from the wiki (they don't want links to the wiki):
You wanted it, we have it. Enjoy your free iPhone.
Download: http://www.deadbeef.cn/files/iUnlock.zip
Mirror: http://mirror1.deadbeef.cn/iUnlock.zip

Mirror because of too much requests, thanks to the sponsors: http://www.tr0gd0r.com/iUnlock.zip
http://iphonedev.km20825.keymachine.de/iUnlock.zip

public download services: http://rapidshare.com/files/55044435/iUnlock.zip.html
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=FMI6OEE9

Source http://mirror1.deadbeef.cn/iUnlock_src.zip
http://iphonedev.km20825.keymachine.de/iUnlock_src.zip
http://gizmodo.com/assets/resources/2007/09/iunlock_src.zip

- dev team


Looks confusing? Don't worry, if you are patient, a simpler and easier method will probably be developed (at least that was how the OSX86 project progressed). Edit: Better GUI version below.

Edit: For more links, head over to the iUnlock thread at the Mac Rumors forum. Also, Engadget has some useful info and links in its iUnlock post.

Edit: A GUI version (ie easy to use, point and click program) has been released. Get it at


Visit the iUnlock thread at the Mac Rumors forum for more links.

And you should take a look at an article about the person behind www.freeiphoneunlock.com at The Unofficial Apple Weblog aka TUAW. Essentially the person, haRRo, isn't part of the iPhone Dev Team and nearly got away with USD42,000.

Edit: New guide at IHacks. By the way, new GUI by iPhone Dev Team + GUI guide are expected soon, so if you can wait a while, it's probably worth it.

Edit: A new automatic version is available - iUnlock Reloaded. But still not out yet is the easy GUI solution. That is still in progress.

Update: Finally the free unlock GUI version (anySIM) is out! Read more about anySIM (where to download, etc) in the anySIM thread at the official forums.

[Source: Gizmodo: iPhone Free Software Unlock Confirmed (Death Star Explodes)]

 

Looking For Something?

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Most people visiting this blog should be able to find what they were actually looking for (ain't that interesting!). In the (absurdly rare) event that you can't find what you were looking for (are you sure? try looking harder!), I've created 2 custom Google search engines for the most popular type of requests.



Their names should be fairly self explanatory but I'll explain what they are supposed to do anyway. Remember to bookmark them if they were useful in your search!

tk Social Bookmarking Search looks around sites like digg, reddit, etc. So if you're looking for users' opinions/posts on current hot topics like 9/11, Vanessa Hudgens then using this search should hopefully bring you the good stuff.

tk Video Search has its focus on video sites such as Youtube, MetaCafe, etc. Looking for the Beowulf trailer? Or maybe you want to watch the IT crowd online. This search should find the video you want.

If your favorite sites are not included inside the search engines, just signup to be a contributor at their homepage links above. It'll definitely help to increase the accuracy of the results.

And finally, I'll probably be working on some other search engines (music, etc) as well. This post will be updated with their links when I start on them.

 

Monday, September 10, 2007

Quake Wars Demo

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Quake Wars Demo

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is an online, tactical shooter in which the armies of Earth are fighting an alien race known as the Strogg.

The Quake Wars PC demo will be out pretty soon is out now., so remember to check back for mirrors (hopefully both http and torrent). For now, watch the Quake Wars Demo trailer at Yahoo Games.

It's finally here! The Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars demo has been released and is available via the mirrors listed below. If you haven't been keeping up, you can find out all about the demo in the developer blogs. You can also check out our Valley map guide for details on the demo map along with a few tips and tricks.

Important note for ATI users: You must download and install this hotfix in order to be able to run the Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars demo. The next revision of the ATI drivers is going to include the hotfix.

ETQW Demo Servers:
[id] Public Demo Server - 192.246.40.231:27733 (Campaign)
[id] Xian's Stopwatch Happy Funhouse - 192.246.40.230:27733 (Stopwatch)

Alternative download links:

[Pic from Yahoo Games.]

 

Iron Man Trailer

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The Iron Man trailer/teaser was leaked by Apple! It wasn't supposed to be available till later today but I guess it doesn't matter now. At least the trailer is more interesting than the Dark Knight trailer/teaser.

When Tony Stark is forced to create a life support suit to keep him alive after an accident he decides to use the technology in his suit to fight crime.



If you want to watch the trailer in higher quality, visit Apple's website.

[Link: Iron Man at IMDB]

 

A Bunch of Great Videos

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First, starting off with Free Hugs Day. September 10 2007 has been declared to be Free Hugs Day! Obviously actual hugs are out of the question, so here are my virtual hugs out to you.

Free Hugs Campaign


And music featured in Free Hugs video -
Artiste/Singer/Band: Sick Puppies
Song: All The Same


iPod Nano commercial


And music featured in iPod commercial -
Artiste/Singer/Band: Feist
Song: 1, 2, 3, 4


Nike football Leave Nothing commercial


And the music featured in the Nike ad - Last of the Mohicans soundtrack


Lastly, a funny parody of a piracy campaign ad from the IT crowd season 2 episode 3, the latest episode to have aired. Incidentally, you can watch the full episodes of the IT crowd from Youtube.

 

Sunday, September 09, 2007

What Really Happened to DownloadConnection?

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Today, I was surfing around and I came across some site that claimed the owner of DownloadConnection.net had control of his domain taken away by GoDaddy (Edit: The blog owner deleted the post, it now redirects to some Britney post. Click on the screenshot below for full post that was captured before it was removed). That site stated that the reason was due to spamming Myspace. It seemed logical enough, considering that Myspace does attract quite a bit of attention.

Erroneous posting about DownloadConnection.net

However as I read on, I thought something was weird. Really weird. Like for instance how he knew that GoDaddy had taken over control of the domain.

Looking at the screenshots of the registry data posted there, I realized that he had no idea what he had just posted. Judging from the second screenshot posted (where it highlights the registry data), I concluded that he got the idea of DownloadConnection.net from the 4 status codes listed at the end - clientTransferProhibited, clientUpdateProhibited, clientDeleteProhibited and clientRenewProhibited.

He seemed to think that the following 4 status codes meant control had been taken away or something similar (or in his words, "had their chain jerked bigtime!").

You could read what they actually mean at CentralNic or you could read my version in plain english below. Note that they are also a part of RFC2832B (simply guidelines on how domain stuff should be handled), so they could be found on google easily.

If you read the version at CentralNic but you're still clueless about the meaning, here it is in plain english. These 4 status codes are set by the person who registered the domain, ie the registrar. Basically if you (the registrar) don't want the registry (people in charge of maintaining the domain data) to transfer, delete, update or renew your domain, you (the registrar) would use one of these codes. As you can see, you (the registrar) are still very much in charge.

Don't believe me? Try visiting www.DownloadConnection.net. It simply redirects to a forum. If Godaddy had taken over, shouldn't the page be parked or have a holding page? Or try the whois of imageshack.us and you'll see the same status codes in effect. Need more convincing? How about Microsoft or Apple?

As for the rest of his claims like DownloadConnection spamming Myspace, I can't confirm or deny it (Edit: See below for updates). And maybe I'm wrong about the status codes above. But asking people to email bomb someone else's email and posting the email address for spam harvesters are not very nice things to do. Also, this isn't the first time he has made erroneous claims.

I guess now you really know what happened to DownloadConnection.

Edit: Looks like they (downloadconnection.net) are down now (not sure why though), although some DNS servers have not been updated yet. However, it still has nothing to do with the 4 status codes above, since other sites have these in effect.

Edit: I think I got it figured out. Downloadconnection.net posted a Youtube video (Not work safe) that invited users to visit its site for the wildly popular Vanessa Hudgens pictures. I guess it worked a bit too well and the site was down due to the traffic (it's back up now). In case you're wondering, yup, the site making the claims is also down now (traffic related I suppose).

Edit: Downloadconnection.net's owner, Tom, emailed me yesterday to inform me that he didn't spam Myspace nor does he use Myspace. Obviously, I won't be able to verify that (not that it matters now). And now both sites are back up.

 

Meow! This is Sparta!

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Cory Williams aka Mr. Safety sings about his cat, Sparta! Already has over 1,000,000 views in just 3 days. Definitely an internet meme in the making.

Mean kitty, Sparta!


And the story behind the song.

Sparta's story

 
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