Planet of the Apes meets Terminator.

screen-shot-2013-02-21-at-12-16-40-pm
Cliffnotes version : Monkey gets rewarded for playing video game and hitting targets with controller. Switch to brain interface with robotic arm and he continues to be rewarded – interestingly the 3rd arm is like he really has a 3rd arm, he can now scratch with one arm, eat a banana with another, while using his 3rd arm to hit the target.

Fast forward almost 10 years and the monkey can now control a robot all the way across the planet in Japan. Most importantly the time it takes for the signal to travel from his brain to the robot is 20 milliseconds LESS than it takes to control his REAL body/legs.

Potential uses: The main goal of this project is to give arms and legs back spinal cord injury patients. Other uses though I’m sure will include military (think of an army of robotic avatars that cannot die!), gaming – imagine controlling the characters in Halo using your mind.

Personally, I see stuff like this, and I think I’ve somehow woken up on Star Trek, minus the warp-drive of course (sad, that this will probably not be realized in my life-time, if ever).

Here’s a video presentation that’s pretty awesome:

Source: VentureBeat

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How to: Change Swappiness or Adjust Swap File Use in Ubuntu 12.10

A few weeks ago, I made the switch to Ubuntu, and I’m enjoying it tremendously (Currently Ubuntu 12.10). Some drawbacks though have been performance related, it locks up a lot and I have to reboot using ubuntu ctrl + alt + printscreen, REISUB –which is apparently a safer way to reboot and a good way to stretch out your fingers.

One things I read up about regarding PC performance is that the swap file use in Ubuntu is setup for servers, not for home use out of the box. This tweakable setting provided by the Linux Kernal is call swappiness.

With swappiness at zero it will not use the hard disk at all for memory swaping unless emergency situations (e.g. you run out of memory), a swappiness of 100 means that programs will be swapped immediately.

The default setting on Ubuntu is a swappiness of 60, you can find your swappiness by typing in the terminal:
cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness

When I initally did this I got “60” returned to me. This means that the swap file will be used often if memory usage is about half of my Ram.

The first article I found this on said that the way to change this is to open a terminal and run:
sudo gedit /etc/sysctl.conf

Then modify the swappiness setting, except for one problem, my file didn’t have that particular setting for one reason or another… So I had to look for a different method, and luckily there is one, which is even easier.

sudo sysctl vm.swappiness=10

Then when I re-check my swappiness level, it shows 10, and I know I’m good to go!

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Don’t Get Screwed! 5 Tips for Choosing the Right Social Media Consultant

Social Media Landscape (redux)
Image by fredcavazza via Flickr

Jump in the Social Media Pool – The water is Perfect!

Everywhere you look your competitors are jumping in on the social media bandwagon. Even your plumber, and housekeeper have facebook fan pages for their business. You’ve decided it’s time to jump in and figure out what Social Media is all about.

Learning social media is a lot like swimming, jump in too soon, too fast, or just after eating and you might just drown. Better hope that there’s a social media cpr certified medical squad to bring you back.

One reason many companies fail to join the social media craze, is because many view it as some sort of fad.

Well a bit of news for you – SOCIAL MEDIA is a FAD! It’s the next big thing, everyone’s doing it and there’s loads of money to be had for all! I say this in that everyone is jumping on board, and many are drowning. Believe it or not there are drowning people out there in social media, who are trying to each others to swim, while they themselves are drowning. Self-professing your expertise in social media, does not make you a social media expert – just as sticking feathers up your rear does not make you a chicken.

MORAL: Buyer beware, but still be excited.

Social media is exciting. Everyday new technologies are forming around the social web. Applications like foursquare and gowalla that let your friends know what businesses you’re in. Right now many social networks and mobile developers are gearing up for what they’re calling the Location Wars. Mobile apps are currently in development that will use your actual location for a range of things from augmented reality role-playing games, to finding the closest bathroom, to finding and choosing a new restaurant, and even letting you know what stores nearby are having specials.

With that said I will show you some criteria you should look for when seeking out a Social Media Consultant.

  1. Google them. Who needs to pay for background checks in the age of social media. If they are truly a good social media consultant, and marketer. Then they will be marketing themselves as well. If they own a business google their business. If there aren’t very many results in google for their name, or business name then they’re obviously not very popular, definitely not very successful, and certainly not worth the money.One tip when googling: Be sure to use parenthesis. Example type “Patrick Curl” in google and see what you find.
  2. Follow the tweets. Number of followers, and tweets is not a guarantee on the value of a person’s social media prowess, but it’s a good indicator. You’d be a bit naive to take social media advice from someone with less than 1,000 followers on twitter, and only 5-10 tweets total. You want a social media superstar, an evangelist. You want someone who is passionate about any and everything there is to offer in the world of social media.
  3. Ask them for references, and case studies. If they can really deliver for your business, then they must’ve done it for someone else before. The only exception here is if they’re admittedly striking out as a consultant for the first time, and are just building up their experience. If this is the case, most of the time you’ll probably get a better deal, they’re needing your business, and your testimonial to show that they can do what they say they can. If they don’t deliver, then getting more clients won’t be easy.It’s not always a bad choice to go with someone who is new to the industry if they show potential. Sure it could be a risk, but they could also undersell the competition because they’re more needing of the job, and the references. They are also more passionate about making you happy, so that you give them a good review, or testimonial. I’d rather hire someone who is 30% social media genius and 70% passionate social media evangelist, than the other way around.
  4. Get the stats: Real success stories have numbers to back them up. Every social media consultant has a blog, it’s very possible their website / blog is where you found out about them in the first place. If they don’t have a website run away and run fast!Building a successful blog is a lot of work, and getting to the top of the search engines is extremely daunting. However, it’s not impossible, and it’s not too much to ask to find someone who has at least some search engine optimization skills. You need to know where their blog / website ranks on sites like Alexa, and Google. One good tool to use is PopURI I’ve found it’s not always 100% accurate on backlinks, and some of the results, but it does a good job of pulling Alexa rank and Google pagerank. There’s also other tools out there that are probably better, I personally use some firefox and google chrome plugins that are amazing when it comes to viewing a site’s website statistics, and will write about them at a later time.Now you don’t need to be too harsh here, this is one area we all can improve on, and if their website is new then it may take some time to build up a web presence for it – if it is new ask if there’s any other sites that they’ve built or own. You just want to know that they have at least one site with at least a google pagrank of 2 and an alexa rank under 1 Million. This isn’t too hard, if you only get 4-500 hits per day then your website should be at an alexa rank of 200-300k give or take.
  5. Meet with them in person, or over the phone if they’re out of the area. Ask them some questions, find out what they might do in certain situations relating to social media. This is your chance to interview them to see if they will be a fit for the job. Remember also that just because someone is talented at social media doesn’t mean they can perfectly represent any brand. If you’re a democrat running for office, you might want to look for a social media consultant who shares the same political belief. If you’re business is oriented around sports, for instance if you’re business is a business relating to nascar collectibles, then you might want to try and find someone who at least knows a little about Nascar.Part of them building your social media presence may include them writing blog posts for you, and to write good posts they need to be able to familiarize themselves with the material.

One last tip when choosing a social media consultant – set yourself a budget. Set a budget on what you’re willing to pay them, you could do some research around to see what other consultants charge, a good going rate is $500 for initial consultation, and thorough social media profile overhaul. This should include: Updating all your online profiles, or setting up new ones; inter-linking all social profiles so that they talk to each other; building your blog, which should be the hub of all your social media efforts; training you on what you can personally do to help with the social media.

A good consultant is one who not only does the social media optimization but one who teaches the client how to fish. You may choose to use them one time to setup a strategy for your social media marketing, or you may choose to hire them full-time to be your company social media community manager. Either way is up to you, and depends on how much time and money you have to invest, if you have plenty of time, and not so much money then the first option may apply, if your time is your weakest asset, but money is not an issue then the second option may be what you’re looking for. Also note that there may be some costs associated with social media above the consultant fee, for instance if you’re going to buy ads on facebook, or twitter, you’ll need to add this into your final social media budget. You may also benefit from creating a social media app, in which case you may need to hire, or work with the consultant to find someone who can develop the application, this is just another cost that could go into your total social media tally.

You’ve made a big decision to get your feet wet in social media, being prepared and not rushing in is the best surefire way to make sure that you don’t get screwed. Having a bad social media consultant CAN not only slow your growth, but can actually give your business bad PR, which is the total opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish.  Don’t worry though, the water is warm, and there’s many people in this industry out here ready to lend a hand. Social media is a baby industry, we’re all still learning how to swim to some degree, even the best social media consultants are constantly learning more and more about the industry and finding new tools.

It’s safe to say a new social media app is developed probably every few minutes. Apps for facebook, twitter, myspace, linkedin, and more. They’re everywhere you look, and it is the future of the web, and the world. The way we communicate with others is changing forever. It’s an exciting time to be in marketing, but if you don’t get in now, your competition WILL!

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Improve Your Pay Per Click Management By “Estimated Top Page Bid”

Google always seem to do things that not only grab users’ attention, but also show outstanding results, quite often much more than originally anticipated. That is why Google stands out over other companies in the pay-per-click world.

Estimated Top Page Bid

Google AdWords, is already an established player of the online marketing arena, and gets further tweaked by Google, as they add a new metric into the Google AdWords interface right at keyword level. This new metric is referred as “Estimated Top Page Bid”, and this has got all the potentials to literally revolutionize the incoming traffic volumes for the keywords you want, further increasing the worth of Pay per click management.

Improve PPC with Estimated Top Page Bid

What’s the Purpose?

This newly introduced metric is designed to provide you with an estimate of what your bid might need to make sure it shows up consistently in the banner positions. For those of you, who do not know it very well, only advertisers meeting certain minimum quality criteria can enjoy the luxury of banner positions. The problem is that these requirements prove way more demanding than some of you might think.

Criteria For Top Banner Placement

To give you a hint, even during the trial stages, an ad needs to be having a minimum of 3 percent CTR (click-through rate) history for any particular search query intended to qualify. Now, if an ad surges up into top 3 that was not there earlier, as compared to an ad that could not fulfill this requirement in the same position, the lower placed ad simply jumps ahead of the ad placed higher to it. Though there are speculations of some sort of changes in this particular CTR criterion, but the extent of those changes is not clear as yet.

Similarly, there is a minimum  bid requirement as well, that is generally based on the quality score that your site has, also referred as “minimum ranking requirement”, failing to fulfill this requirement will stop your ad from reaching this banner. One might access it by reaching the keywords tab, clicking the “columns” button over there, and then clicking “Est. top page bid”.

What Should Advertisers Look For

Advertisers need to keep in mind that banner position counts a lot;  some marketing experts believe the banner is the most important spot to be in. This is not a mere speculation; there are plenty of statistics that reveal the fact that CTR increases significantly when you hold the banner spot in Adwords. In fact, you can find it yourself by going to the “Top vs. Side” segment present in your keyword tab. You can observe the difference by checking every single keyword in your account. Only then will you realize the difference banners can make for your campaign. It is like getting backlinks from high PR sites versus getting them from low PR sites for your website link building in organic search.

Conclusion

It’s hard to fathom that such a small change in your bid can send you so far down the page and result in a major dip in traffic. You need to keep an eye on your statistics to really see the difference between being on the sidebar, or in the banner spots. Only then will you see the power of making use of this Google Adwords utility to get the most from your campaigns.

Author Bio:

Alexandra Brian a professional content writer with expertise in writing on many different websites. She specializes in link Pay per click management, Social media optimization, website link building and all SEO and internet marketing tools. She is currentlyworking for a USA Based internet marketing firm providing different internet marketing services.

Disclaimer: This is a guest post, and we can not endorse or guarantee the quality or safety of external links.

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Review: SheerSEO SEO Tools and Software

Looking for a way to manage all of your SEO tracking tasks from one interface?

Part of being a good SEO, and getting top rankings for keywords is to know and find useful tools to make life easier.

SheerSEO is definitely one of these seo tools. SheerSEO has tons of great features and benefits that make managing your SEO a lot easier. It is definitely one of the best seo software packages available, and worth a look.

Visit SheerSEO now, and get a Free Trial to see if it can help you get higher seo rankings.

Some of the great features include:

Check your Pagerank, and Referrers, Check Number of Backlinks, Check your On-Page SEO factors, Directory Submissions, and a lot more!

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10 Traffic-Building Tips for a Successful Backlinking Campaign

Whether you wish to achieve high rankings in Google for topics like RC racing or dog training, backlinking is absolutely essential. In today’s world, simply putting content on a website doesn’t work anymore. Backlinking must enter the picture if you wish to increase your visitors and advertising revenue.

Over 10 years in the online marketing business has taught me that traffic equals money. If you can regularly pull in targeted traffic, you can easily make significant amounts of money. But is it really possible to get a steady stream of traffic without spamming Google or spending hours publicizing your website online?

The answer is yes, and backlinking can do the trick.

The PAD Technique

Without a doubt, the PAD (Professional Article Distribution) technique is the best way to craft a successful backlinking campaign. I developed this system near the end of the link sharing boom when it became clear that new techniques would have to be used to rank highly in search engines.

It should be noted that this is not the same thing as article marketing, which makes use of duplicate content. Search engines will penalize you for this. Instead, the focus is on constructing high-quality content that can bring you new visitors and quality backlinks.

There are four main steps to the PAD technique, and they are as follows:

  • Selecting quality websites to host your articles on
  • Crafting interesting, informative articles
  • Selecting appropriate anchor text
  • Being “picky” about where to host your articles

A good PAD campaign can take some time and energy to set up, but the rewards can make it completely worth it.

Step 1: Find appropriate websites

The PAD technique is all about targeted article distribution, meaning that you’ll have to find the best sites on which to host your articles. However, this does not necessarily mean websites that are the same topic as your article.

Instead of asking competitors to host your articles, ask related and relevant websites that might feature similar topics.

Some examples of this might be:

  1. Asking a website that markets cell phones to host an article for their audience about how they get savings on roaming charges for long distance calls
  2. Asking a website that talks about family to host an article for their audience that offers tips on how they can use Skype to connect with their loved ones
  3. Asking a website that discusses saving money to host an article for their audience that offers advice on how to reduce long distance expenses.

Step 2: Craft an article

Although writing articles for yourself can be a good solution if you are knowledgeable about the subject, I personally prefer outsourcing for this. Paying others to write your articles can save time and effort, and it allows you to multitask much more easily.

Websites such as Elance can allow you to find freelance writers who can write high-quality articles for an inexpensive price in a short amount of time.

Step 3: Select two landing pages for your website

In your articles, you will link to certain pages on your website with quality anchor text (more on that later). It is important to select appropriate landing pages that push your visitors to do what you wish them to do on your website.

  • If you want visitors to subscribe, place a sign-up form “above the fold.”
  • If you are looking to sell something, send them to a review page
  • If you wish to develop returning visitors, direct them to interesting content

Step 4: Construct a list of anchor text keywords

Search engines such as Google rely on anchor text when they build their search engine rankings, whether they are for car insurance quotes, to lift chair reviews, inflatable boats, wood routers, doll houses, or even arc welders. With the PAD technique, it is important to select quality anchor text so that Google will rank your websites high in their search engine listings.

Think about the types of people that might visit your website and consider what they would type into Google when searching for your website. For example, a specific group of people might type “long distance services” rather than “long distance plans.”

I use a fantastic tool called Google AdWords’ Keyword Tool to help me with this. It doesn’t cost anything, and it gives you a handy list of keywords that you can rely on for building your list of anchor text keywords.

(Tip: Place at least two links to your website in each article)

Step 5: Check the quality of your articles

Although it sounds somewhat cliché, content is still king. Ensure that your articles are high quality, informative, and easy to read.

  • If you can`t think of an article topic, ask the webmaster whose website you wish to place the article on.
  • Consider the website you are writing for when you write your article.
  • Utilize short paragraphs, bullets, subheadings, and a significant amount of white space.

Step 6: Write a killer headline

Try to hook your readers with a quality headline to get them to read the rest of the article. Having a funny headline can be good, but you’ll want to keep it short – less than 10 words is generally considered good.

Tip: Consider the webmasters as well when you write the headlines.

Step 7: Place anchor text throughout the article

Although content is the most important thing in the PAD technique, anchor text is also crucial. Include relevant anchor text throughout your article, and ensure that the webmaster doesn’t remove or change the anchor text when they publish your article.

Step 8: Create connections with webmasters

The nice thing about the PAD technique is that it can be repeated over and over again. For this reason, it is a good idea to build quality relationships with the webmasters that publish your articles. If your goal is to rank highly in search engines such as Google for keywords like Golden technologies lift chairs, inflatable boats, Bowflex dumbbells, or long distance, try to build a quality relationship with webmasters so that they will publish more of your articles.

Step 9: Follow up with the webmasters

It’s easy for webmasters to get busy and forget about publishing your articles.
If they haven’t posted your article in about a week, feel free to send them a friendly reminder via email – they have probably just forgotten.

Step 10: Repeat the technique

Repetition is the best way to be successful with the PAD technique. Concentrate on getting a high volume of articles out before you take a break.

You should also analyze the good parts and bad parts of the current articles in your campaign. If you can tell what went wrong and what went right with your past articles, you will have greater success when you send out your next articles.

How the PAD technique has worked for me

Ever since 2004, I have made use of as well as taught this technique. For myself and many of my students, it has led to great success in the online marketing world.

About James

James Martell is a successful author, podcaster, and speaker. He’s a leading expert in affiliate marketing and outsourcing as well as a specialist in SEO. James is host of the Affiliate Buzz podcast on WebmasterRadio.FM (the first ever and longest running podcast about the affiliate industry), and creator of the Affiliate Marketers SUPER BootCamp where he teaches others how to make money with affiliate marketing. He lives in White Rock BC, a seaside suburb of Vancouver on west coast of Canada with his wife, Arlene.

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5 Tips for Higher SEO Rankings

higher seo rankings
Image by warrantedarrest via Flickr

When writing a blog post, or a static web page getting higher seo rankings should always be a part of your thought process. To rank well for a specific keyword your post must be dedicated to that keyword, but in order to be worth anything it also must be readable.

Far too often do I see web pages that rank well for the respective keywords but are obviously written by someone who is not a native English speaker. No offense, to those from other countries but sometimes its really hard to read some of these pages, and what is the point of high seo rankings when each person clicking on the page leaves almost as fast as they arrive.

To be successful at seo copywriting you must write for human eyes and computer algorithms. You must meet somewhere in the middle to be a true master at this art.

Read the full article: “5 Essential Tips for Higher SEO Rankings

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Making the Most of Social Media Marketing

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crunchbase

Social media has gone from a fun way to stay in touch with friends and family, to an essential tool to be used in any successful marketing campaign. There are now more social media platforms to choose from, and they’re accessible to more people than ever before.

This is partly due to the fact that most social media sites can be tapped into from more than once device. Just by visiting the website of one communications provider, such as www.o2.co.uk, you will find a number of devices that allow internet access. From smartphones to tablet devices, there are a huge number of ways to access social media sites – which means that this is one of the most important means of customer communication of businesses worldwide.

There are two main reasons why social media offers marketing opportunities that can be essential to any business or product. The first is the ability to reach a huge number of potential customers and clients all around the world. No other platform has such far-reaching capabilities. Secondly, these sites are usually free to use. Therefore, you can create a marketing campaign for little to no cost to the business as a whole.

Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, are great for spreading the word about a particular product, event, organisation, or cause. These sites often offer a good means of encouraging users to visit your main websites. Most importantly, they are a two-way means of communication. Not only will you be able to speak directly to the targets of your marketing campaign, but you will be able to receive their feedback, in order to improve on your project. This is why social media can provide a key role within marketing, and can be key in helping your campaign have a significant promotional impact.

Image Credit: Crunchbase

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How to Make a Blog Book – Inside Information on Blogging Successfully

Having a successful online blog means that not only do you have a way to get your opinions across about various matters, but also that you have a way to get more target traffic towards your business. Blogging isn’t just about conversing with random people – it can also be a place where people of similar interests come together. This is why a lot of people use their blogs as a resource to bring in more potential customers for their business. And that is not all – with the right kind of blogs you can also keep your previous customers satisfied. But how can you do all that with a blog? That is the troubling question.

The answer to all this is explained in the wonderful eBook by Murray Newlands titled “How to Make a Blog Book”. Newlands is a well known internet marketing expert who teaches you how your simple blog can begin generating revenue for your business and how you can turn it into a successful and high ranking portal. With the practices provided to you in that book, you can get a lot more traffic directed to your blog. All you need are some basic tools and techniques. This book is like a guide to publishing a blog that brings in more potential clients and keeps the existing visitors content. Since the eBook is free to download, you know that there is no catch – Newlands just wants you to experience the same triumph that he has helped achieve for thousands of other people out there.

Within days, your blog can become the highest ranked blog which will show up in search engines and not only will it rank high for a while but you will also learn how to keep that ranking up so the blog is never out of sight of search engines. Blogs can be a great way to interact with potential customers as well as existing customers and this is exactly what you need to do. By addressing your target audience and offering them reliable advice or information, you are going to invoke their trust in your name or brand. That is the stepping stone to further success in business because the more people associate your brand with trust, the more they are likely to spend money to buy services or products.

The How to Make a Blog Book isn’t just a book with great concepts but it is also an interesting read. The language is very flowing and the information incredibly precise. This book is exactly what you needed all along – the book that will turn your average blog into a raging success.

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10 Traits of the Best Bloggers

There are many blogs that are phenomenally successful, providing a fun and fulfilling way for their owners to make a living. However, the vast majority of blogs are completely unprofitable. So, what separates the victors from those eager bloggers who never quite make it? Here are ten traits possessed by the best bloggers in the industry.

A great blogger…

1. Writes consistently.

The exactly amount of updates seen in popular blogs varies from several posts per day to one or two per week. The key here is that they update consistently, prompting visitors to check back in on a regular basis.

2. Demands quality content.

Quality writing isn’t something that happens spontaneously or instantly, even for the best of us. Rather, it comes through vigilant effort, an insistence of proofing and revision, and lots of practice. The top bloggers create excellent content because they demand the best out of themselves with each entry.

3. Has a personality.

Dry business blogs written in an academic tone rarely succeed, while personal or professional blogs written with a fun, humorous style will hook readers. Hyperbole and a Half, the Google Blog, and the Oatmeal are just a few great examples.

4. Stirs conversation.

The most successful blogs aren’t the ones that remain safely on the sidelines, evading controversial topics. Rather, they’re the ones who leap on — contributing ideas and getting people talking.

5. Puts the user first.

Many would-be pro bloggers create a site overflowing with advertisement in the hope of generating some fast cash. This counter-productive method is one of the fastest ways to scare users away. The successful blogger uses ads with subtlety, and never lets them interfere with the user experience.

6. Fills a niche.

There are countless blogs that cover “anything that’s on my mind.” Rather than having a limitless topic, however, the really successful blogs tend to fill a precise niche — and whether that’s digital scrapbooking or news on the finance industry doesn’t seem to matter so much.

7. Makes a visually interesting site.

There are some great writers who’s blogs aren’t successful, despite being filled with well-crafted sentences. It seems that interesting images, visual displays, and other media are key ingredients to blogger success.

8. Networks constantly.

Rather than viewing fellow sites, blogs, or resources in the industry as opponents, the successful blogger reaches out to network with anyone in the field that they can.

9. Constantly seeks to improve.

The professional bloggers don’t remain stagnant. Rather, they use everything from analytics programs to online survey software to see what’s working and what isn’t, and they constantly fine-tune their site.

10. Loves what they do.

If there’s one thing that hooks readers fully, it’s passion for the subject of the blog. Beyond that, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with this demanding world without a real love for what you’re doing.

While each pro blogger takes a different approach, the items above make a foundation for success. For most, these traits won’t come naturally or instantly, but must be cultivated as habits for success over time — a pursuit which, while difficult, is entirely possible.

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