Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Quote of the Day

"... It's not that i don't want to be engaged with meaningful conversations, but somehow, the popularity of blogging and the amount of content that people produce flips the all or nothing bit in my head. And then i started talking to some of my friends who maintain big blogs... I was startled at how few of them actually read blogs these days. They too had hit some wall; apparently, i'm not alone. They also rely on people to email things that are of particular interest. They also use things like Technorati to ego-surf not for validation, but to keep abreast of what conversations they're supposed to be engaging in."

--danah boyd, as honest and articulate as ever, describing her brand of bloggerati overload and info glut

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Quote of the Day

"...let me lay it out for you: where we're going, there are no products. There will be communities, just like there's always been -and no room for your AJAX-featuring, web2.0-compliant, tagrified monstrosity of an interface-being-passed-off-as-a-business-model.
Yes, there will be new communities that span across new amounts of geography and understanding that maintain immediate, uninterrupted connections, but those 're about the only differences from the communities of people that have ruled for ages. If you want to build a product for today and tomorrow's markets and somehow make money doing it (so you can keep on doing what you love), you either need to find a pre-existing community or cultivate a new one. Just like buying vines from an existing vineyard or creating your own. But it starts -- and ends --with community. Not some ego-stroking super-smaht business model."

--Winecamp and BarCamp organizer Chris Messina, ex-flock,writing on why community counts the most

Monday, May 29, 2006

Sunday night supper and then some

Couldn't make wine camp, but had a super-relaxing weekend that included seeing The DaVinci Code (fair), Mission Impossible III (loved it) and, via Netflix, Bread & Tulips (loved it). Also spent a lot of time listening to my new CDs (yep,I play them in the car)--a funky 70's Tom Moulton compliation and Mark Knopfler and EmmyLou Harris's new album All the Road Running (this is an instant classic and makes me want to buy everything Mark K has done...).

Also cooked the first Sunday night supper in a while:
Sauteed polenta and cremini mushrooms and garlic
NY Strip steak
Tomato, sweet onion, avocado salad with sherry vinegar
Ice cream (tried Dr. Bob's) with fresh berries
Ginger beer
Fresh bread with butter

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Blog News

Cyberjournalist: WashingtonPost says 1/3rd of referrals are from blogs. (Susan sez: Wonder what the numbers are for the NYTimes, WSJ, and SFgate?)
Online Journalism News UK) says that Guardian's Comment is Free news site is growing faster than Huffington Post--specifically, there have been more than 50,000 reader comments and two million monthly page impressions since the site went live in March.
Steve Rubel: I'll be writing a monthly column for Ad Age Digital. He says "I believe this is another sign that advertising, brand marketing, public relations are becoming one big mush."
Netsquared: Roland Tanglao is in the house this week, along with lots of other smart folk. This is going to be a very cool conference.
Boomer Venture Summit--June 20th, Santa Clara--sounds interesting--even if it's ALL VCs.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Goggle News: Doug Bowman's joining Jeff Veen at Google

So Blogger designer (and all around good designer) Doug Bowman is joining Google in a new role as Visual Design Lead. With Bowman and Jeff Veen in the house, how can a complete consumer-focused takeover (or would that be make-over?) be far off?
(Wait: Is he going to work for Veen? Seems like it--Jeff's bio says he is Design Manager at the Gosphere.. So, this hire will reunite two long-time collagues...hmmnn. No, wow.)

Quote of the Day

"...the Gillmor Gang is a floating offshore conference of its own, operating just outside the three-mile limit of paid vendor keynotes and nonconferences. What I liked about last year's Gnomedex and this year's Syndicate New York was that we were able to communicate without bending so far over to the entrenched business models of platform vendors or angel investors that our message was diluted beyond value. "
--Steve Gillmor, pedalling past the Web 2.0 O'Reilly firestorm and into Attention Deficit Theatre

Weekendalia: Saturday

Spending time with an ill--and close--friend; baby party at the Moonstar Buffet in Daly City (both baby and sashmi were awesome!), buying books and getting a pedicure in Palo Alto (post Bay to Breakers feet needed the R&R), going to cook, watch movies and hang with a neighbor tonight.
Ah, summertime.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Marshall Kirkpatrick: RSS to SMS

"The world today is clearly threatened by information overload, but that's far from the worst problem we face. The right tools for dealing with the barrage of information available can help us deal with the long list of other, more frightening problems facing humanity.

One new class of tools will do just that - by delivering new items in any RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed to your mobile device by SMS or to your IM client. (If RSS is new to you, there are intro links at the end of this post.)"
--Marshall Kirkpatrick

(Via emergic)

Quote of the Day

" The disruptive innovation that poses the biggest threat to local media companies isn't multiple platforms for content distribution; it's the triumph of personal technology over mass technology. In this light, betting the ranch on an on-demand strategy is a pure and insane form of denial.

A whole new world is growing up around us that doesn't give a hoot about us or our dilemmas. Energized by discontent with institutional media, very low barriers to entry, the simple joy of creating media, a profound sense of community, a deep weariness with hyperbole, and many other forces, people are taking matters into their own hands and having a ball doing it. The younger people are, the more they're involved in this."

--Terry Heaton, Pomo Blog, writing on media strategy and media/consumer shift (take a look--terrifically articulate essay.)

In search of: Off beat Yahoo sites

I just stumbled across Yahoo's Shoposphere, a shopping pick list community that looks like it is off the path of the main Shopping garden.
Anyone else care to post other similar, live Yahoo apps or sites that might not be readily visible from the Y! home page?


Phil Windley's got a good piece on a favorite topic: How to get Mashups, APIs right--from a WWW2006 panel Rohit Khare's moderating.
Ross Mayfield: Wikipedia ain't dead and Nick Carr is a new DW, so there
Redlight center: Create an avatar and have sex in a virtual Amsterdam. Yawn.
Charlene Li: How media business models are changing (report on SIAA conference panel)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sphere links on Time mag site

Mike Arrington just pointed out the blogosphere related links provided by SF start-up Sphere on selected Time Magazine articles. Very cool, but it makes me wonder why Sphere was successful in pulling this off when Technorati, Feedster, and probably every other start-up in blogosphere land has been pitching these guys (and every other big media outlet) since late 2004.
To me, Sphere's success in testing with Time seems like a combo of a good, fresh product and good timing. As Mike points out, for one thing, the Sphere widget provides more contextually relevant blog results than Technorati's Technorati This feature, which shows blog entries that link to the URL being searched--but not closely related posts (or articles). In this case, that means Technorati first pulled up a number of posts about the Sphere/Time relationship--nothing a reader of a piece on Michael Hayden would especially care about--while Sphere pulled related stories,
The second reason, though, is timing. Back in 2004, when blog search firm started trolling for clients, publishers were scared of the big bloggers who cursed, wrote about sex and would shock their readers. The reluctance of the *pure* blog search companies to build alternative safe universes of blog content (e.g., censored versions of the blogosphere) was a deal killer for most big media outlets interested in anything but Presidential elections. Now, in the world of youtube, citizen journalism, and social media, magazine-land web sites need to hustle to stay relevant, despite the big dollars they spend on heavily researched investigative journalism and flashy subheds.
Finally, the third, and most Web 2.0 reason is--widgets. Sphere CEO Tony Conrad describes the Time deal in the context of the Sphere bbookmarklet, which was one of the earliest products they launched (smart!). Over and over, proof comes in that one of the key acquisition--and retention--tools for users today are widgets that create distributed access to information--is it any surprise that the same functionality would appeal to the web folks at a weekly magazine?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Another quote of the day

"...If you look at the numbers, by far the biggest photo-sharing service out there is still email."
--Tabboo CEO Antonio Rodriquez on his blog, explaining how his about to be launched but embargoed was broken photo-sharing service is muy unique.

(Via Jerry Michalski's sociate, writing on why email is a survivor)

Sunday, May 21, 2006 goes from start-up to role model for 2.0 biz

Could there be any better kick-off for the recognition that women bloggers--and women-blogger positive enterprise both good practice--and big business--than the detailed--and thoroughly researched article in this Sunday's Contra Costa Times?
Lisa, Jory and Elisa hit a vein when they started BlogHer last year and now are building our a market at the same time they empower a wider range of female voices via a conference, an ad network, a community forum, blogrolls, and more.
One of the pithy quotes of the moment from the Contra Costa article: "It's still early going, but BlogHer has taken off like Carrie Bradshaw in pursuit of a pair of Manolo Blahniks, kicking off with last year's sold-out conference attended by 300-plus women bloggers from around the country and supported by such major corporate heavyweights as Yahoo and Google. More than double that many women bloggers plan to attend BlogHer's second annual conference this July in San Jose."
It's a good article about a great group of people, doing important things--and building a powerful business franchise.

(Disclosure: I am on the conference committee for BlogHer, close with the founders, and rabidly enthused about the whole thing...)

Quote of the Day

"Let's see if I have this straight -- if you weren't part of a teeny-tiny social clique, which heavily skews well-off white men, in a small part of California, more than a decade ago, that's 'a major reason' you won't be on the A-list ('those early dinners back in 1992/93').

--Seth Finkelstein, commenting on Robert Scoble's post that A-list blogger lists were created via Silicon Valley, mostly male geek dinners in 992/93 and that's why there aren't so many women A-list bloggers (sez Robert)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Friday Noted

flickr is hiring
Amazon launches a media browser with all the stuff you've bought available--it's heavy on the Ajax and looking very cool. (Via Rubel)
Diggerati: eatmyhamster and NooZ make me smile (Dave W likes em too).
WWD: Rich Stengel to run Time (congrats, dude!); Deborah Schoeneman 's penned a Page Six-ish gossip book. (Via Jossip)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Quote of the Day

"...By solving a problem that you have, you, by default, have passion for the idea. And you need to have passion for the idea, because a startup will overwhelm you; it sucks your entire life away. Your friends will leave you; your dog will leave you; everybody will leave you. It's the hardest thing you can do. So if you don't have passion for it, I don't think you'll succeed."

--Bloglines founder Mark Fletcher, talking about the passion required to do a start-up, yes, any start-up, even the ones that don't get sold for $25MM or more.
(Via Niall Kennedy's weblog (thanks! Niall)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Yahoo! Analyst's' Day preso

Here's the 188 page preso from Wednesday's Yahoo ! Analysts' Day. Nothing like downloading a nice big fat deck to get the 50,000 foot view--it's all about talent, globalization, monetization and next generation product strategy (damn right on that one!)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

ISB: Social Networkings sites grow 47%

David Jackson's Internet Stock Blog reports that according to Nielson/NetRatings the top 10 social networking sites collectively grew 47% since last year ? a climb from 46.8 million uniques in April 2005 to 68.8 million in April 2006. The data includes blogs ? such as Google?s Blogger platform--but News Corp?s (NWS) MySpace tops the list.

Susan sez: Did you realize MySpace is close behind Yahoo in page views? Zowie.

Quote of the Day

"...I?m very proud that the new Yahoo! home page uses the open-source Yahoo! User Interface Library extensively. "
--Nate Koechley, Yahoo Interface User Blog

Susan sez: Open Source..way to go!

Yahoo: New home page up for viewing

So the long-anticipated Spirit project is live on the web today--Yep, the new Yahoo home page is available for public viewing--There's more content, a really fancy tour, and lotsa links to aspplications like mail.
Funny thing is, bright and spiffy as it looks, and as mch as the usability is 200% better, it does remind me of the home page--only a lot better looking of course and with cooler user generated content hooks.

Update: Richard MacManus talks to the Yahoo!s leading the charge--Tapan Bhat and CPO Ash Patel. Rchard says "There's plenty of Ajax magic to make the Yahoo homepage more interactive - and Yahoo has made a big effort to make the user the primary focus of the new homepage."

Yahoo! Havi Hoffman writes: "The new home page reflects Yahoo!'s unique position at the intersection of people, media, and knowledge. It presents better access to information and the stuff of our lives, and more individual choice about the appearance of the page, thanks to Ajax, DHTML, and personalization technology."

And folks--THAT's what Yahoo! does better than any of the big guys--cool tool, integrated services, user at the core. 2.0 , Babe, 2.0 (Okay, maybe even 3.0)

5/18 update: Scott Gatz on some neat features

Monday, May 15, 2006

Susan's weekend: Walking the hills--and getting ticks

So, Ms. Trying to Be Balanced here went walking in the Astradero Open Space Preserve yesterday morning, a good 5 miles or so on a couple of trail loops. The wildflowers were lovely, the hills were green and the high grass on the last 2 mile loop was pretty--and loaded with ticks.

There is no feeling in the world like getting off the trail and back to the car and having your companion urgently say "There are six ticks on the back of your shirt!" Forget high-tech when you're trying to tug your t-shirt over your head on the roadside without flipping the little buggers into your skin--anyone who's had to deal with a tick bite or an embedded tick KNOWS this is not what you want to let happen so it was home for a shower, tick inspection, and isolating and washing my walking clothes. Later that night, I got a call from my walking partner, who had four to six ticks who'd dug right in and had to be picked off with tweezers (ugh).

Lesson of the story: Walking, good. High grasses, very, very bad. Sitting at computer safer, but much less fun.

Rojo in WSJ story

WSJ's Jessica Mintz revisits news and personalization and focuses on Rojo, the socially-focused newsreader I helped start--She writes: "What really distinguishes Rojo from other RSS readers -- sites that organize and display RSS feeds -- is the way it uses data it collects from all of its users, currently about 100,000 unique visitors per month. The site looks at each individual user's feeds and interests, and figures out what's missing from his or her list that similar members are reading. In a box at the top of each page, the site recommends one new feed every time the user clicks onto a new page."
Steve Rubel says he likes Rojo, but wants a mobile version...
Findory is also in there and Greg Linden has a post on his blog...Barnako comments a bit as well.

Susan sez: Rojo is a cool newsreader with some intuitive tools, but I wonder how many of the mass market users will become sharp enough to manage truly customized/personalized newsreaders? My guess is it's the same percentage of users who figure out how to program their TIVO and DVR--in other words, a small poercentage. For the rest of the world, it's the approach to personalization--collaborative filtering, inferences based on related user behaviors, and cached matching--and most people wil say that is plenty good for them.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Quote of the Day

""The NSA would like to remind everyone to call their mothers this Sunday. They need to calibrate their system.""
--Bruce Schneier's blog
(Via Depraved Librarian)

Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Quote of the minute

"Over the last several weeks, I've been on several phone pitches from west-coast companies that are looking to be the 'flickr of XXXX' or 'like but YYYY?'or 'the Digg killer?. It got me thinking --how many people outside of the valley have ever heard of these companies? I asked a bunch of local (Philly-area) acquaintances and the answer came back loud and clear: none -- nada - zip. People here have barely heard of Myspace and Craigslist, let alone any of the 'hot' Web 2.0 companies....
...If we could get access to the usage logs of the top 10 Web 2.0 properties, I would bet that their 10,000 most active users would all be the same."
--Josh Kopelman, RedEye VC

Quote of the Day

"We build digital mirrors. And when you see a digital mirror, what do you do? Fix your hair, and straighten your tie."
--HP researcher Scott Golder, speaking at the Microsoft Social Computing Symposium.
(Via danah)

Playing around with Google Coop

Okay, so I created a profile and put in some subscriptions and signed up for some links at Google Coop--but where do I read what I've chosen?
Is this a Eurekster swicki rip off where I just click on the links to get to the page--shouldn't there be improved ease and convenience for reading the damn information?
Or a play on Yahoo Answers?
I do not get the value here yet--anyone care to enlighten me?

Update: Okay, you need to know all kinds of techie but simple things to post feed links (read the developer's guide)--But even for folks who did it right--like Kevin Rose--the results seem pretty underwhelming.

TechCrunch Goes Engadget and it looks good

Mike Arrington and the growing TechCrunch team pushed a new site design live last night and it's as crisp, easy to read, and professional as one would want the leading daily covering Web 2.0 and start up land to be. In addition to the crisp design, the site's become 100% more advertiser-friendly, meaning that top blogger Mike now has slots online for all those eager sponsors.
I love seeing Mike turn what started out as a way to understand the Valley turn into it's very own Gawker-Weblogs Inc-Chris Shipley like enterprise--based on the sheer energy and intelligence Mike brings to the work and his keen understanding both of what readers hope for and companies need...
Mike, you've done anazming job in the past year, carving out a space you've helped define. Congrats!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Life at the office: First in, Last Out

So I'm into month 4 at Yahoo and totally emeshed in work. I now have a Treo, Y!-supplied, which allows me to bring my schedule and my work email home. In the past week, I've developed a new game, which I call First In, Last Out--the goal is to keep track of who sends email to me earliest in the morning, and then latest at night. (No, boss, it's not always you.)
I've just started playing, but my plan is to award points every time the same person is First In, Last Out, or is First In or Last Out two days or more in a row. Plan is to score the points and keep track of who are the most compulsive or obsessed folks..the ones who carry their laptop from room to room and read email through the night even when they're home--and then the others (like me) who hunch over their little handhelds, squint and the tiny screens and click away at the miniscule keyboard.
The real point of this game is to recognize how many people at Y! are so into their work they send email at all hours--and to remember to laugh at the legions of purple people who post to te for-sale list at strikingly late hours of the night (is there some correlation betwen 2:35 am and selling a stroller?--or Playstation games?)
Do you wonder how my scoring's gone? Sad to say, I haven't been able to have a winner--as compulsive as some of us are (me included) no one is so obsessed that they have yet won this game--which creates a nice incentive to continue to play.

GMail Pictures launched

So GMail pictures just launched and it's smart! Basically, it allows me to post a picture of myself and to display pictures of contacts in both my mailbox and my Gtalk. It looks like Google Pictures can be set to indicate presence just like the AIM icon does on AOL Mail--if you see the picture, the person is live. It also seems that I can upload pictures and assign them to my contacts.
Yep, this looks viral, fun, and like it will have lots of future hooks. It's very Google to build a social network through applications and tools, right?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

AIMPages is interesting

The new AOL AIM pages launched today at
It's a social network with an AIM platform that allows users to add all sorts of widgets to their pages--and it looks wonderfully cool--just the kind of disruptive product big companies should strive to build.
More later, after the deeper dive.


Mike Arrington: Why Squiddo ain't no purple cow
Silicon Beat: eHarmony's got a new CEO--#3 in a year--guess they didn't take the compatibility test.
NY Times: Research by Anders Ericsson, an expert in expert performance, suggests people are better off choosing work based on things they love to do, since " if you don't love it, you are unlikely to work hard enough to get very good."
BlogHer: ClubMom is going to hire and aggregate mommybloggers--One wonders why some of the magazine brands never managed to pull this off.
Umair: "LinkedIn is going sideways because it's making almost exactly the same mistakes Friendster made. "
Digg: Take a look at BlockRocker, a mashed up geo-local service (very cool.)
Jackson West at gigiaOm:Korean social network Cyworld lands in SF, will US domination follow?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Quote of the Day: Why Facebook Works

"We model people's real lives at their individual schools in a virtual space that enables them to exchange information about themselves. We are not focused on meeting new people, dating or anything like that. Instead, we want to manage information efficiently so that we can provide our users the information that matters most to them."

--Chris Hughes, spokesperson for Facebook, in an article on monetizing social networks

Persistent Search:

Bill Burnham has an interesting post on Persistent Search and why it matters (and what it takes to do it.) Burnham writes "Persistent Search presents search companies with the opportunity to build rich, persistent relationships with their users. The search engine that captures a user?s persistent searches will not only have regular, automatic exposure to that user, but they will be able to build a much better understanding of the unique needs and interests of that user which should theoretically enable them to sell more relevant ads and services at higher prices" and goes on to say that while PubSub, Technorati and others are in the game, the best persistent search company hasn't yet been built.

Burnham says persistent search is the next big thing, but I am not convincedthat anyone in the search space--except perhaps Google--is going to follow PubSub into this space.

AIM goes open--and widget-friendly

Paid Content's got detailed coverage of the new AIMPages and related applications, with a quote from CTO John McKinley that says "Nobody else in in the market with a product this disruptive."
I'll be checking it out later today.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Google Health blows Healthline away

The increased relevancy of the results at what is said to be the pre-beta URL for the new Google Health search is impressive, blowing both health search vertical Healthline and regular Google search away.
I did a test for throat cancer and while the Healthline results were excellent, the Google Health results were outstanding.
Is this the start of a Health vertical at Google? Will there be a medical-industry enterprise product? If I was a health care consultant, I'd sure be interested in how this search could be versioned for my needs.

Wow--Pim and Gary are in the NYTimes!

So The NYTimes Magazine has a spread on wonderful Bay area foodie and blogger Pim Techamuanvivit that's shot in designer Gary Chai's house where Pim's dishing out home-cooked eats to an elegant crowd that has fellow dsigner Nate Kendrick in the photo shoot.

Way to go, folks--there's nothing like cooking Thai food while dressed in Etro and Missoni and getting your party staged for the Times.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Quote of the Day

"We try to amass everything--men looking for women, men looking for men, spiritual people looking for spiritual people--and apply powerful search algorithms. There are hundreds of people across Yahoo! working on this."

--Anna Zornosa, Y! Personals GM, in a Forbes interview

dana explains the mobile youth market (and throws down on helio)

danah talks about mobile phones as platforms for innovation and social networking, with pricing as a driver:
"The youth market is 14-28. The 14-21s get their phones from their parents and are on their plans. The 21-28s get their own plans. The 14-21s are stuck with whatever free phone they get unless they can beg and plead for a cooler phone for their birthday. They also get shit plans, although many have been able to convince their parents to support SMS these days.
This segment of the youth population is *key* because they are hyper active and this is when they are setting their norms for phone use these days. The way to get to them is to either make a phone that is so cool that they beg and beg for their birthday (and it fits into their parents' plan) or to make a package so cheap that they can convince their parents to get them a separate plan because it's economically viable.
The 21-28s have more flexibility but they are still strapped for cash and are quite cautious with their plans, but if they've gotten used to SMS they don't give it up. They are also more likely to take the free phone unless they are the trendsetters (because they now have to pay and begging doesn't work). The exception to this is actually working class teens who tend to buy their own phone starting at 15/16 - they buy cooler phones but still have shit mobile plans."

Read more here, including why helio's pricing is nuts for these targets.

Friday : Noted

Thursday, May 04, 2006

We Media in London: Global call to action

We Media is kicking off in London and the blog is humming. Andrew Nachison of The Media Center has a powerful mission post for their Global Forum, which says, in part:
"To harness the power of information technologies and human ingenuity for the common good, we propose a worldwide We Media Global Initiative to invest in bottom-up media. The initiative will connect and inspire individuals and organizations to take action - to materially do something - to give voice to marginalised groups, to encourage government accountability in all countries and to help people not only access but productively apply and derive knowledge from the extraordinary volumes of information distributed throughout the connected society. It is also designed to create and incubate business and donor networks to sustain the initiative into the future."
There are numerous contributors to the Media Center conference blog, and other bloggers and video at Reuters and BBC, two of the sponsors.
I'm sad that I'm not there, but I will be watching..and hoping for new ideas.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Quote of the Day

"Increasingly, people want to blog about things that are personal to them. They don't want to be 'authoritative'. They might care about the War and about the world, but they don't write about it. The blog for fun and friends, not to build a rep or share their opinions with the whole world.
Here's a simple exercise to prove my point: Search for republican on technorati, and for dubya. Then search for intel. Finally, search for boyfriend and prom.
Now, this is obviously a very limited sample - rigorous qualitative analysis it is not and we could come up with counterexamples. But it tells me that the blogosphere these days is as much to do with boyfriends and dancing as it is about discussing serious stuff."

--antoin, writing on how the blogosphere has changed

Monday, May 01, 2006

Quote of the Day

"Technology is a form of self-expression. You are what gadgets you carry."

--Patrick Houston, GM of the newly launched Yahoo Tech Portal, quoted in the NYTimes.
(Congrats on the launch, Pat!)

Quote of the Day

"Technology is a form of self-expression. You are what gadgets you carry."

--Patrick Houston, GM of the newly launched Yahoo Tech Portal, quoted in the NYTimes.
(Congrats on the launch, Pat!)

Update: Want to be a "Hook Me Up?" makeover candidate? Answer cheesey call to action right here and send in a video pitch.

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