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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2546 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Chip boffins demo 22-nanometer maskless wafer-baking

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Good point!

Small runs become much more interesting this way. Ultimately, one might envisage chip making to be commoditized like 3D printing is becoming a commodity. One off parts are becoming affordable (see LOHAN). Imagine designing your own ASIC chip from scratch rather than going the FPGA route. Design a schematic, send it off, have a wafer-full made, mounted and sent to you.

Far fetched now, but maybe some day.

What do you mean "a man can dream"? A man should dream!

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OCZ out-flashes EMC's Lightning

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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OMG I want one!!!

or two, or three!

Devices like these could SERIOUSLy boost the performance of some seriously big image processing chores (multi terapixel stuff). We require both massive storage and rapid access to LOTS of data.

Aren't we living in wonderful times, technology wise.

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Pope's PR says Vatican in grip of WikiLeaks-style scandal

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

"The steady stream of embarrassments are being seen as evidence of a power struggle within the church as one group of elderly men pits itself against another group of elderly men to replace an even more elderly man. Possibly with an elderly Italian."

Loved that bit to bits! It almost sounds like the bad old days at the Unseen University (dead men's shoes and all that).

On the plus side, if we wait just e bit longer, maybe nature will take its course and all these elderly men will start falling over from old age. Whether or not they will meet the maker they would expect (or would have us believe to expect) is another matter entirely

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Shuttleworth remixes Ubuntu... for biz users

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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It may have been the 11.x version that would not boot on various NVidia powered laptops (specifically), not just mine. I then got the older Kubuntu (maybe Gnome versions worked better) which on occasion froze, until that fateful evening when it froze 4 times in quite quick succession (whilst writing some LaTeX in emacs, not a graphics or CPU intensive load). Later a patch was made available for 11.X, but by then I had switched back. New version might be fine, and we work with some Kubuntu derivative at work on my desktop machine, which seems happy enough with the NVidia support. It just did not get along with my old Vaio SZ.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Seconded

Kubuntu 10.04 crashed on my NVidia-powered laptop 4 times in one evening (complete freeze of the desktop, lost quite some work that evening). The 10.10 version would not even boot on NVidia (beta testing apparently done by end users of the so-called stable version). Switched back to OpenSuse 11.2, no worries since.

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HP gives sysadmins a little mobility

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Simon will want one

You just know it. Better still, rig the Boss/head of IT's smartphone/fondleslab to remotely mess things up, with an easy trail leading to said Boss/head of IT. Just one more way of getting rid of a boss.

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Microsoft probes IE8 dll AWOL hell

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Alternatively,

it is Microsoft trying to persuade users not to use IE at all

Not likely, I must admit, but it is an alternative explanation.

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CERN boffins to lift LHC beam power

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

But the question we ask ourselves

How many femtobarns in a nano-wales?

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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"They couldn't hit the broadside of a barn at this dist ..."

Here we modified that to:

"They couldn't hit a barn if they were standing inside it."

With a femtobarn, this would create difficulties of course.

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Car crash model cushioned by 38KKK Bulgarian airbags

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Somehow

a whole new meaning of "bipolar" springs to mind watching that video.

Or is it just me thinking that

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Muscle pants give girls that skin-stripped look

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Nice looking girls, but why

do both front and rear of the dress show the front of the skeleton?

Mine is the one with the anatomical atlas in the pocket

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US Navy preps railgun for tests

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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My thoughts exactly

The 16" guns used shells in the order of a ton in weight, which left the barrel at supersonic speed (820 m/s) yielding some 688 MJ of kinetic energy.

Of course, this is just a prototype being tested.

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Ancient cave girl genome could crack Man's genetic puzzle

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Just splice in some frog DNA?

Why are you assuming the Denisovans were related to the French?

Monsieur, you offend me, we French are related to the tall, graceful Cro-Magnon!

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Not medieval

And anyway, as Pratchett and Gaiman (1990) have stated, bishop Ussher was off by at least 15 minutes

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Russians drill into buried 20 million-year-old Antarctic lake

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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The Thing

was on my mind more, but then I am that old

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Huawei's Ascend P1 headed to China in March

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Thinner != better

6mm might still be OK, but I would start to worry at some point that the thing would break, and given where I carry my phone, that would leave gorilla-glass shards in my groinal area.

The eyes water at the thought

Coat, for that is where I should keep an overly thin phone.

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Upgrade eliminates Atlantis from Google Earth

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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The surface of the moon is not covered in a couple of miles of water.

Just over half of the moon's surface is visible from my back garden with my telescope (given enough time, and the various wobbles that allow us to see a bit more than half). Using bigger kit, and the odd lunar orbiter, you can see a lot more. It is also a lot easier to walk on the moon's surface (ask Neil), than on the bottom of the oceans, thousands of meters below (ask any scuba diver). Getting to the bottom of the ocean is relatively simple, of course. Getting there alive is quite a different matter.

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Printed jaw lets woman swallow again

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

I hope they did not bite of more than they could chew

runs for cover

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Scientists weave battery into clothing

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Don't you just

plug the iron into the shirt

Mine is the one with "Danger, High Voltage" on the back

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Boffins find prehistoric croc species with 'mate-attracting' skin helmet

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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But,

did it taste like chicken?

Mine is the one with the "cooking with crocodiles" book in the pocket

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Opinion poll: Anti-regulatory 'hype' unwarranted

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Regulation of banks...

Really amusing. Brilliant touches of surrealism. Hysterically funny, and sad at the same time. A sort of accidental literary genius.

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SpaceX successfully tests SuperDraco rescue rockets

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Absolutely!!

I aten't dead!!.

I will be happy if they first go to the moon. That will supply plenty of cool things to look forward to, and no, I wont be saying things like:

<Yorkshire accent>

"Call that a moon rocket? When I was a kid they made proper moon rocket, none of this luxury stuff with 64 bit computers and touch screens, why when I was small we had 8 bits, and we were happy with that!

Grumble, mutter, ....

</Yorkshire accent>

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

A round of applause for SpaceX, please!

Brilliant stuff. These guys are putting the excitement back in space research and space travel. It really reminds me of the heady Apollo days, when I sat glued to the (black and white) TV for every launch. At age seven I badgered my parents to let me see the first lunar landing (they allowed it, bless them!, and yes, I am that old).

Now let's go to Mars. SpaceX is the odds-on favourite in my books.

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Jackpot: astronomers tag Goldilocks planet

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Not if you have ever memorized

"O, Be A Fine Girl Kiss Me Right Now Sweety"

for a stellar evolution exam.

Mine is the one with the sky atlas in the pocket.

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AMD doubles down on existing Opteron server sockets

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Nice

I am about to get a 64 core Opteron-based machine (4x 16 Bulldozer cores and 512 GB RAM (memory hungry, our applications?) ), and have funding for another machine somewhere down the line. Might well have a good look at the Piledrivers at that time.

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JEDI alliance: Jellyfish overlords won't rule Earth after all

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Ah, so the blancmanges were really jellyfish in disguise?

Mine is the one with "Angus Podgorny Fan Club" on the back

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ENORMOUS BACKSIDE FILMED FROM SPACE in moon flypast

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Not yet.

But I am building them a mini-Dobsonian telescope (and they are helping me build it). I somehow do not think keeping them interested is going to be that hard, because they are showing promising signs of nerdiness already. Nerds are interested in things for their own sake, not just because other people think it is cool.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Why did my old school not have such cool projects? Really nice way to get kids into science, or rather keep kids in science, as from a young age they seem interested in anything, and only later, when the "snobbery of indifference" sets in in puberty, do many seem to lose interest.

Nice one, NASA!

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Robot rabbits take on Facebook, female orgasms

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

So does Karotz say

"What's up doc?"

at all?

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Airbrushed Rachel Weisz gets watchdog hot under the collar

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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IT Angle

multi-tasking anti-ageing moisturiser?

But was it preemptive multi-tasking, cooperative multitasking, or did tasks genuinely run in parallel on 10 cores?

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Russia and NASA plan to COLONISE the Moon

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Making CMOS and CCD chips for digital cameras still does

Chemical magic is still needed, but not the way Arthur C. Clarke knew it.

I will still raise a pint to him. He has more imagination than most of us.

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NASA: Solar system may have alien origin

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Wind?

Wasn't that the sneeze of the Great Green Arkleseizure?

Mine is the one with the H2G2 radio plays in the pocket

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Surprise: Neil Young still hates digital music

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Precisely. I have no problems with people playing proper R&B (Ray Charles and the like)

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Steerable bullet aims for mass army deployment

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

I remember several cartoons containing bullets, which skidded round corners (maybe in a roadrunner cartoon). Should Warner Bros. or MGM claim prior art?

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Man recreates ZX81... in Lego

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

But

will it run Crysis?

I'll get my coat

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Dim-but-rich buyers targeted with million pound laptop

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Did they mean Italian Lira?

Bit behind the times or shape of things to come?

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SpaceShipOne man, Nobel boffins: DON'T PANIC on global warming

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Don't Panic!

They should have used large, friendly letters in the headline.

On a more serious note, climate debate is fine, it is what science is about. If proof is incontrovertible, then the global warming advocates need not resort to strong-arm tactics. If it is not, the skeptics have every right (if not duty) to challenge it.

Saving fuel seems a good idea whichever way you look at it. Oil has uses beyond keeping hummers on the road.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Trollface

It's "one, two, many, lots"

Sgt. Detritus

Troll, because, well, this is Sgt. Detritus

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Boffins make graphene micro-distillery

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Love thissh kind of reshearsh. Love it. Bessht kind of shtuff. Really nishe. Really.

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webOS daddy Jon Rubinstein exits HP

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

The term is "injellititis" (C. Northcote parkinson)

A dangerous combination of a high degree of incompetence and a high degree of jealousy, which react to form injellitance. Injellitant individuals in an organization prefer "sound" character over true ability. Creativity is anathema to such people. An organization infected with such people in management has contracted injellititis. A reverse competition results, in which everybody in management tries to hide his or her ability in order to secure promotion. Third rate people are promoted because they are no threat to the second rate management.

See "Parkinson's Law" byt C. Northcote Parkinson. He said it all.

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Tilera preps many-cored Gx chips for March launch

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Interesting system

The addition of 64bit and floating point is key. I would like to see how these perform on our gigapixel image processing workloads.

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Boffin's blog blast births boycott of publisher Elsevier

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Simple

If you want to publish in practically any traditional journal, you have to sign a copyright transfer. The main concern for the publisher is that they cover their backsides by having you sign a declaration that you own the copyright initially, and that you transfer it to them. This means that they can show that they acted in good faith should you have committed plagiary.

The conditions vary, but many publishers do allow you to reproduce part or the whole of your work for non-commercial purposes. If you want to reproduce your own or other peoples' graphs in a scientific work (with due reference) it is unheard of that this is refused. IEEE allows you to put entire preprints online, provided it is accompanied by a copyright statement. Springer allows the same for their Lecture Notes in Computer Science, but ask (not demand) that you wait for a year after publication. As they ask nicely, I tend to comply.

What is most peculiar is not copyright transfer, but the pricing. At one stage Elseviers raised subscription prices by 33% in a single year, to compensate for higher printing and e-publishing costs. This is patently nonsense, as the printing costs have been going down, year by year (we know this from the printing costs of PhD theses), and e-publishing is way cheaper than hardcopy publishing.

The journal publishers get all the content for free: authors, reviewers, and editors get nothing (either that or I am editor in the wrong journal). By raising prices they are driving scientists to an alternative publishing model (like PLoS), where the author pays to publish, and subscription is free.

The problem is that as a scientist you do want to publish in good journals, and not just for reasons of prestige. Good journals are read by more people. This means my ideas get a bigger audience. Just like many performer would like to play for a big crowd at some time, I would like my ideas to be read by people. Otherwise articles become my write-only memory.

Good journals generally (not always) give me a better (stricter) class of review. When reviewing, I myself tend to be stricter about a submission to a lower ranking journal than to say IEEE Trans. Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, in particular in terms of novelty (real errors get flagged anyway!). Stricter reviews are a sterner test of my ideas. If they pass that kind of scrutiny, they may be worthwhile. PLoS and similar journals will take time to gain acceptance. A quicker change would be for existing journals to adopt the new publishing format. IEEE is looking at that.

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Canadians take page out of PARIS book?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Canadians take page out of PARIS book?

I could not help noticing the similarities between this Canadian space effort and PARIS. Note the replacement of Playmobil by LEGO http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16759220
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Update Facebook by thrusting your hips to, er ... 'Like' things

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Should one submit this

For an Ig Nobel prize in engineering?

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NAO: British bobbies wasting £80m BlackBerry stash

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

I thought they stored comms gear in their helmets

OK, it's Friday, innit?

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Eurocom Panther 2.0 Core i7, SLI notebook

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Oh dear

Finally a note book which can just about handle one of our smaller satellite images (1.0 GIGApixel). Now I want one.

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Newt Gingrich wants Moon to be 51st US state

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Not at all!

Lord Sutch made good sense (occasionally). And he had a better dress sense

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Boffins one step closer to invisible shed

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

I made an invisible shed once

I sent MIT some photographs but they wouldn't believe me.

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The Pirate Bay torrents printable 3D objects

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Think bigger

What about the Bismarck, HMS Hood, or Yamato.

Full scale might mean refilling printer cartridges from time to time, of course.

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Scientists shift electron orbits for atomic storage and quantum computing

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

I thought that involved chaotic computing involved students making arbitrary changes to code to see if it works now,

or is that chaotic programming?

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