* Posts by Mage

7618 posts • joined 23 Nov 2007

I used to be a dull John Doe. Thanks to Huawei, I'm now James Bond!

Mage Silver badge



I wonder who TCL spy for? They have quite a few badges, though seem to always have done Alcatel Handsets. The Alcatel Infrastructure and brand may belong to Nokia, who don't make phones.

Obviously Huawei didn't realise why Sony became Sony in the mid 1950s or why so many Asian companies and chain stores have bought defunct US and European brands.

Diplomat warns that tech industry has become a pawn as politicos fight dirty

Mage Silver badge

Re: National Champions

Thatcher didn't leave much in UK. Since 1970s UK Tech is too much dependant on Government/Military rather than retail. There are a few exceptions. Brexit might kill them off or they may move to EU.

Mage Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Re: Wrong way round?

There are always exceptions. The really powerful companies are not primarily selling products and services like Huawei, but selling lifestyle, "Cloud", "content" and more brands than purely tech companies. Huawei is more like what Ericsson and Nokia used to be, than what Apple, Google, Microsoft, Adobe or Facebook are. Nor are they like McDonald's, Levi, Nike, Heinz-Kraft, Starbucks, Coca-Cola.

They are not an American originated so called Tech Company.

Perhaps the problem is largely unregulated at home US originated Global companies, brands and franchises?

Trump is a symptom, not the cause.

Mage Silver badge

[social media firms] were better custodians

Whose view? Not anyone sane or knowledgeable. A bunch of parasites lying to advertisers to transfer ad budgets from traditional outlets, ignoring laws even before GDPR, stealing personal information from people who are not even signed up.

Some like Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube are parasites in more than one way.

Everything from Google Street View WiFi Slurp (not needed now) to clear pixels, 3rd party cookies to Social Media Icons with tracking scripts.

Be very suspicious of ANY free service. The cost is deceptive.

Mage Silver badge

Wrong way round?

Aren't Nations becoming pawns of rich global corporations that don't pay much tax anywhere, regard fines as a "cost of trading", make their own rules, use Patents, Trademarks etc to stifle startups and regard laws & regulators as mechanisms applying only to small national or local businesses?

Most munificent Apple killed itself with kindness. Oh. Really?

Mage Silver badge

Resale value and durable?

You can buy a couple of phones as good as Apple for difference from new to resale value. The higher resale value is because of Apple fans and the insane new price.

Durable? Why the huge number of shops in the city selling Apple bumpers & covers and offering screen repairs?

I've a phone as old as 4S. I've never fitted a rubber bumper. My current phone is 1st to have a cover mainly to keep the insane 6" screen clean and it was a bargain at €3.50. Later €25, so may have been a pricing error.

I've never bought a "contract" phone as you are paying far more if you mostly use WiFi for data and only a few voice & SMS. Even if I did use Mobile Data I worked out that a contract with a "free" iPhone or top of the range Samsung isn't a free phone at all.

Iran satellite fails: ICBM test drive or microsat test? Opinion is divided...

Mage Silver badge

different structurally from missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads

Not for first strike, i.e. not in response to an ICBM. That is if it isn't sitting pre-loaded with fuel.

Otherwise no different. Lots of satellite launches have used adapted ICBMs.

However are any of India, Pakistan, Israel etc likely to start a war with a Nuke launch? Not sure how far North Korea is from being able to launch a true ICBM and have the payload survive re-entry.

Iran, who isn't Arab, may be more worried by some Arab neighbours as Israel or USA.

What a cheep shot: Bird sorry after legal eagles fire DMCA takedown at scooter unlock blog

Mage Silver badge

if you leave a bunch of valuable devices lying around

Not helped by illegal deployment of devices in a public place. Though in Ireland there is theft by finding. If you find something you must hand it over the Garda (Irish Police). Eventually if not claimed you might get to keep it.

So, no you can't just put them on your cart and take them home.

It WASN'T the update, says Microsoft: Windows 7 suffers identity crisis as users hit by activation errors

Mage Silver badge

Web based

unfortunately using Silverlight.

Germany has a problem with the entire point of Amazon's daft Dash buttons – and bans them

Mage Silver badge

Re: A 'proper' use for the buttons

Or you can buy a cheap ultra low power 433MHz Wireless doorbell. Really easy to modify the base.

Most have two codes in the button, one to select base and one to select melody. So we bought two. Put them on same address, one base in house, the other in shed. Front and back door play different, a tune vs bing bong.

Easy to interface base to Raspberry PI, Nintendo, Minestorms or PC.

There is no sensible use case for the Amazon buttons. You can also buy very cheap 433MHz (or USA equivalent) pairs of modules, WiFi modules, BT modules and GSM/3G modules very cheap from China.

Mage Silver badge

Re: Just dumping the stuff in a cart wouldn't be a terrible option.

No, that locks you into what a greedy monopolist supplies and takes advantage of human laziness.

It's important to see who sells, delivery, price and maybe vendor / product rating. Anything hiding this in the name of convenience is wrong.

Germany, in this case, is right.

Mage Silver badge

Look at List of mergers and acquisitions by <insert name> or some similar phrase.

mergers and acquisitions by Amazon

Jeff Bezos has only 16% even before divorce. So expect the board/Shareholders to ditch him if the Governments and Regulators decide Amazon is a problem. They are.

See also Google and Facebook.

MS would be no issue if developers of business software didn't give MS Windows a monopoly. Perhaps the time has come to say that if your sales of business critical SW are over X millions you have to support this list of OSes? Certainly not just Windows.

It's absolutely possible to write a real & complex application that runs on Linux, OS X and Windows. Adding Chrome OS harder. Also iOS and Android for Tablets really needs a different version unless the application is a trivial widget easily navigated by touch.

Reddit locks out users with poor password hygiene after spotting 'unusual activity'

Mage Silver badge

Re: Hygiene


Mage Silver badge
Paris Hilton


I use proper bar soap and water on my passwords. These new fangled liquid soaps, alcohol wipes and disinfectant sprays are not as good.

Also I always apply a fresh password, I never re-use old ones. That would be like reusing condoms.

Talk about beating heads against brick walls... Hard disk drive unit shipments slowly spinning down

Mage Silver badge

Or drop in system sales?

How many traditional HDD laptops and desktops selling compared with 5 years ago and compared to tablets, phones, ultralight etc that doesn't use spinning disk drives?

Many of the "SSD" sold in popular entry level kit are nothing like "enterprise" SSD either and can be slower sequential write and lower life than HDD.

Hubble 'scope camera breaks down amid US govt shutdown, forcing boffins to fix it for free

Mage Silver badge

Re: whatever color image you see is something processed

Most non-live colour is a simulation purely to suit the human eye. Both RGB displays and CYMK printing are tricks. Neither is "real" colour at all. They probably are very poor for guinea pigs (too low refresh rate and maybe different RGB peaks) and many birds (tetrachromatic). Likely a star-faring pan-galactic culture of many species would need horribly complicated cameras and displays.

Also research Colour Rendition vs Colour Temperature of LED vs Halogen vs CFL lamps. RGB leds are useless for room illumination. You need phosphors, though not the same ones as CFL/Fluorescents use as they give a small amount of blue and a lot of UVA and UVB, also broader spectrum.

False colour CAN be only artistic (hand coloured B&W movies from late Victorian era), but most scientific false colour is applied by an algorithm based on science & mathematics, not at all by an artist. It can be used to improve clarity of monochrome images and if you know the algorithm you can get back the original image,

Steamer closets, flying cars, robot boxers, smart-mock-cock ban hypocrisy – yes, it's the worst of CES this year

Mage Silver badge
Black Helicopters

CES relevance?

Seems less relevant each year. Hasn't CeBit or something in Europe closed?

Was Peak Tech show and Gadget web site about 2007 or 2008?

The roll up TV sounds interesting, but we don't need CES for that.

Meanwhile tech stuff gets less repairable, less reliable, shorter life and worse software often obviously barely tested.

Corporations outdoing NSA, CIA, China, Russia, GCHQ on spying.

Microsoft vows to destroy Office, er, offices: Campus to be demolished and rebuilt

Mage Silver badge

Re: Same problems of a company that doesn't listen to customers

But which version of Android? What sort of data are you read/writing? Which apps? Note installing an app on SD card is totally unrelated to saving your text, eBooks, database etc on it.

Mage Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Re: Same problems of a company that doesn't listen to customers

Android may in a sense be better than Win3.11, but for file browser, copy & paste, using SD card storage, printing and visual GUI style (too flat & monochrome) etc it makes Win 3.1 look very good and functional. A lottery if an app can print, use SD card data, connect to a share, if a phone has a functional file manager included and if the app isn't wasting valuable screen space on adverts. Or if you can ever find the file it saved to copy to PC, or if you can ever figure where to put a file from PC so app can "import" it. Why do apps want to copy files from SD card to scarce internal Flash. Win 10 seems determined to copy all the most annoying bits of Android, Chrome OS and Apple OS X in that order.

Expect worst win 10 updates till the new facilities bedded in. Meanwhile I have two identical Win10 tablets with heavy keyboard docks. One accepts Win10 updates and the other silently fails with no error messages.

Google, Amazon, Facebook & MS etc *ARE* listening to you. But not about bugs. It's more personal than that.

Excuse me, sir. You can't store your things there. Those 7 gigabytes are reserved for Windows 10

Mage Silver badge

Re: SKY Recording

ANY PC with a £12 USB TV stick can record FTA DTT.

Any PC with a satellite card can record FTA Satellite.

DRM is OBSCENE. Why should Digital equipment give users LESS than an S-VHS, or HDD recorder or DVD Recorder with an Analogue tuner? Apart from the fact that current over compressed SD content is actually POORER quality than decent reception on Analogue PAL for 4:3 content and sometimes poorer than PAL for 16:9 (even assuming you didn't have PAL+ WS)?

There is no encryption of FTA DTT or FTA Satellite. The EPG is irrelevant. You do have to pay a royalty to have software that can do the new format text or button accessed streams, MHEG5. Though the streams can be manually tuned.

You don't need the Freesat or Freeview EPG for recording, you can use third party EPGs updated once a week off internet at worst. Or manually record.

You can't use the USB HDD on anything else if it's used for the Sony TV recording, an Android TV. (The whole 4K seems a bit fake too as only 24 fps at full 4K and 30fps at intermediate from laptop.)

Mage Silver badge
Black Helicopters

SKY Recording

1) Reserved 1/2 the disk (it would cache "popular" content from broadcast, a good idea badly done).

2) If you downgraded a package, prior recordings inaccessible.

3) If you cancelled completely, then though you can use EPG and watch FTA, you can't replay prior recordings of FTA or make any.

4) Disc is encrypted.

I've noticed that Android TV on Sony TV seems to want a dedicated USB storage device and encrypts volume and files, even for FTA.

MS has some distance to go to be as evil as Adobe, Google, Sky etc.

Attention all British .eu owners: Buy dotcom domains and prepare to sue, says UK govt

Mage Silver badge

Re: are referendums democratic?

Switzerland has LOTS of referendums, hence women only getting full vote and the Country joining the UN at the END of the twentieth century. Yet their government can ditch a referendum result without "going back to the people" if it's deemed to be inherently stupid or impossible. See recent backtracking on EU free movement.

Also the "Free Movement" is really only about EU citizens, a small percentage of those coming to UK. The UK also gave MORE rights to EU people coming to UK with no job than needed and most other EU Countries. Also has been unable to tackle non-EU immigration. Except "low hanging fruit" with the toxic Home Office procedures that even break UK laws that are nothing to do with the EU.

The whole "EU free movement" is a red herring. The real issue is Offshore banking and money laundering, greater banking controls & transparency. To stop so called "legal" tax evasion and criminal activities. Decided on in 2016 and now law since January 2019. Cayman Is. Bahamas, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Channel Is (e.g. Jersey) all are non-compliant. Norway, Switzerland, Ireland & Luxembourg are. Singapore, Panama and other territories not connected to UK are ion track to be compliant. It's also an OECD thing.

The City of London generates very little wealth. It, the UK Overseas/Crown Colonies/Dependencies are parasites siphoning off money out of the UK and other countries. That's why Apple and Eircom have moved from Dublin to Jersey.

Huawei's 5G security scrutiny pain could be Cisco's gain – analysts

Mage Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Re: Chinese Communist Party

It's not a Democracy. I doubt they are Communists either. Is China reverting to pre-1912?

Mage Silver badge

Chinese market

Ironically Huawei complains that Chinese Government owned ZTE gets all the good Chinese contracts.

Mage Silver badge

Re: Summary

It's documented that backdoors were added to Cisco kit.

No-one has ever proved Huawei is doing backdoors.

It's political.

Crystal ball gazers declare that Windows 10 has finally overtaken Windows 7

Mage Silver badge

Re: This time next year

I completely switched two years ago for personal work on the newest laptop bought after win7 sales ended, I wasted money paying extra to have Win7 on it as I hardly used that after adding Linux. Not booted the dual boot into Win7 for nearly 2 years. Only issue was I had to reboot then and convert all my PSP7 native PSP files to photoshop .psd to import them to the Gimp, as the PSP file plug in doesn't work (maybe it's for the later brain damaged Corel version)

Mage Silver badge

Re: the problem the Linux world is also too stubborn

No, the problem is Adobe, Sage, Cloud CRM that needs Silverlight and other essential windows software for businesses.

The problem hasn't been "Linux" for maybe ten years.

I have XP (32bit), Win7 (64 bit) win10 (32bit & 64bit) and Linux Mint + Mate desktop (32 bit, 64bit, old PCs, newish laptop, server). XP and Linux are superior IMO to Win7 and Win 10. Win7 is superior to Win 10 for 64 bit, but Win10 32bit runs older 32bit Windows SW that won't run at all on Win7 64 (I think also anything with VB6 Serial port SW doesn't run on 64 bit windows). There is a penalty on using Win 64 on older PCs or with less than 4G RAM. There is no penalty at all in performance, compatibility or RAM using 64bit Linux, either for Linux appllications and 64 bit Linux will run 32 Bit Windows programs on WINE that either won't install or run on Win7 or Win10 64bit versions. I did have a 32 bit Windows on something, but it's got Linux now.

Debian runs better on the Linx 1010 tablet + keyboard dock except the touch doesn't support rotation. The old Lenovo X201 laptop/tablet has same issue with Mint and there is supposed to be a script to fix it.However it's only used landscape and only in laptop mode, it's combo touch & Wacom pen is better than the Linx 1010, except the X201 is too low resolution for photo work.

The Linx1010 has 32bit UEFI and 32 bit Win10, no doubt due to low RAM even though a "64bit" cpu. You need to copy 32bit Linux UEFI directories to a 64 bit Linux, which I didn't do yet, to install 64bit Linux on the crazy Linx1010 tablet. Terrible design as the keyboard has a heavy metal plate to stop it falling over instead of a hinge out flap.

It's 2019, the year Blade Runner takes place: I can has flying cars?

Mage Silver badge

Re: E.E. "Doc" Smith

Typo and edit time expiry. I have a shelf of them below the Ben Bovas. Sixth shelf up and not far from desk.

Indeed some of the 90 year old approx E.E. "Doc" Smith is still very readable (squint and ignore the poorly done women, though at least there are women). I find some 1990s to 2010 SF much less fun and too full of it's own importance. I'll make an exception for "The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer" (1995) which has a lot to say about AI and is mostly quite good. Been meaning to read my copy of "Snow Crash".

Mage Silver badge

Imagine a smart bomb that refuses to explode

Or refuses to launch after activation!

I don't need to imagine it. "Dark Star"

Mage Silver badge

Re: C'mon

As outlined here by an ex NASA mathematician.

"'Crowdsourced steering' doesn't sound quite as appealing as 'self driving' [AI]."

Mage Silver badge

30 years, perhaps more, to reach human-level AI

Wishful thinking. AI simply has bigger databases and more CPU performance and more illicitly obtained training data (in greater volume). It's still basically a fragile human written algorithm, with human curated training data using a dataflow architecture. It's updated mid 1980s techniques and can't ever deliver "real" AI.

Anything not primitively working in a lab today is usually simply a guess or wishful thinking.

Philip K Dick was a storyteller. Bladerunner is typical Hollywood. It's not researched futurology. It's Cinema entertainment loosely based on a written story.

The problem is rich greedy people (Sillycon Valley particularly) that either want to believe in Transhumanism fantasies, or think all SF is "blueprints" when most of it was warning of the environmental, social and human cost of stupidity and blindly applying technology or letting big companies have too much power.

Very many so called Tech companies are the very evil villains writers from 1890s to 1970s were warning us about. They totally miss the point of Harry Harrison, Ursula LeGuin, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, EE Doc Smyth and many others.

Cyborgism isn't the future either. The way forward is to persuade the body to regrow damaged parts. Not Six Million Dollar Man implants.

We don't even understand dog, cat, Corvid, ape or human intelligence. We don't understand why we can do language. Learning a vocabulary (signed or spoken) is not language, though proponents of teaching sign or speech to apes or parrots seem to often ignore this.

We've no AI as flexible in learning, face recognition, tool use, sound recognition, problem solving as either a common British Rook or a pre-school child. Computers can be programmed to do lots of things very difficult or impossible for a human. Programming a computer to do many apparently simple things a rook or small child can do seems to be impossible. This was known at least 40 years ago. Now marketing and exploitation wants to hide this fact!

Even the inventor of the IQ test said it didn't actually measure intelligence. It and Psychometrics are misused as simple pre-selection tools for HR (or even education).

Mage Silver badge

measure the subject's empathy response to questions

Basically the same idea as the "lie detector" or polygraph much loved by USA and rubbished as pseudo-science by real scientists doing proper testing.

Mage Silver badge
Black Helicopters

The real hangup isn't the technology

Yes it is. If you want it to really work on a road and without a runway and be quiet enough and have useful range and in average weather!

Could you speak up a bit? I didn't catch your password

Mage Silver badge

Evidently, they are politician detectors.


I wonder too about the UK Parliament Petition site. What is it intended to detect?

2018 ain't done yet... Amazon sent Alexa recordings of man and girlfriend to stranger

Mage Silver badge

Re: Non-Connected solutions

Over 20 years old, but not getting any love.

However companies see it as more advantageous to use their own server than embed it.

I've used perfectly good embedded voice control of PC, car radio, phone on things 10 to 20 years old. Corporate bosses are not interested in improving the local SW, or providing it at all. Hence your <whatever> controlled by an App, which can can be voice controlled is via TWO servers on the Internet, Google/Apple/MS/Amazon Voice to Text (and Machine Learning is just a (partially) human curated dataflow database, not real AI), then the App uses the IoT maker's Server.

So no privacy and it's subject to hijacking, exploitation and failure due to Internet connection and/or server failure. It will end badly see "No Silver Lining" "Ray McCarthy".

Mage Silver badge


Harry Harrison

Mage Silver badge

Re: More questions than answers...

Is the Dot and Echo spying equipment under German Law?

If anyone gave me stuff like that, I'd take it to the recycling centre, unless it's sufficiently functional without an Internet / Network connection. Like Android TV or other TVs with voice control.

Corel – yeah, as in CorelDraw – looks in its Xmas stocking and discovers... Parallels

Mage Silver badge

Re: Oh no!

They wrecked PaintShopPro. PSP7 was good. Now I use The Gimp!

I never liked Corel Draw or Wordperfect (DOS-Wordstar/NewWord better- or Windows-Word2.0a better - before Corel)

Mark Zuckerberg did everything in his power to avoid Facebook becoming the next MySpace – but forgot one crucial detail…

Mage Silver badge

Re: Arkel v Pressdram

Was that real or entirely made up by Private Eye?

Mage Silver badge

Re: Excellent article

I deleted my short lived FB account created to market my books (NOT to share personal info, I even use a pen name). So I posted the article on Twitter along with other ones about FB and other web parasites.

Twitter is bad, Seems like least bad of SM if you don't use real name or an app and no personal info.

Facebook Like, social sharing buttons on your website may land you in GDPR hot water if data goes a-wanderin'

Mage Silver badge

Re: ... do not click here

That's the problem with the FB (and others) supplied snippit. It tracks using scripts. If you have facebook scripts but not the facebook domains hosting the image etc blocked, then to an extent FB still senses the traffic and maybe even get your browser stats. I'm not sure how much a non-unique URL of an image exposes. Usually "clear" pixels as trackers have a unique per page URL. Also why ALL remote content, not just scripts, but remote images are blocked in my email client. Often email remote images have unique "fake" url suffixes after the / for the main domain to enable per destination delivery verification. Website image trackers are similar.

It's time that the ONLY 3rd part content on a website is a non-unique URL that is only an HTML link, no image loading, script or tracking suffix. It may even be a legal requirement already, even before GDPR in Europe, it's just people like Irish Data Commissioner are "lazy" (Google moves ALL EU T&C to Google Ireland from Google LLC in Jan, yet STILL has no clear opt out and by defaults tracks).

Time to ditch Google API, Google Fonts and Google Analytics etc. All the equivalents can be hosted free on your own server. Stop giving Google a free ride. No Google service is free. Ordinary users pay via their usage.

Mage Silver badge

The Register SM icons

"care to hit the Facebook like button"

It's just an image with an HTML link, not the snippet that FB offers. Unless I'm missing something due to uMatrix. AFAIK El Reg has used "polite" legal SM icons for some time. Right click and "inspect element" if using Waterfox or Firefox.

Mage Silver badge

This has ALWAYS been abusive

The problem is that Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter etc offer little code snippets for a site builder. People thoughtlessly include them.

If you MUST promote these toxic parasites, (Pinterest and Youtube are not just personal info thieves but serial copyright infringers), then put an icon/image and an HTML link. NO script. The scripts are tracking* people that load the page, not just those clicking. Surely that's been illegal even before GDPR?

(* i.e. ALL the browser info that the host page gets, which is still too much due to idiotic deliberate design. Browsers share too much).

Microsoft flings untested Windows 10 updates to users! (Oh no it doesn't!)

Mage Silver badge

Re: Firefox

52 ESR was recently replaced automatically by some new horrible ESR, hence my move to Waterfox.

Mage Silver badge

Re: gained the tools necessary for hosting a static website back in 2011.

Websites have ALWAYS been "the Cloud" unless you were barking mad and tried to host via DSL in your own small office or bedroom. It's practically the only Cloud application I agree with (Web commerce front end included, but not back end, though co-lo might be fine).

Mage Silver badge

Re: Firefox

There is still Waterfox. A little more sane. I don't understand Mozilla's obsessions with GUI, it should just be the same as the host OS. Or why the desktop version is mutating to be like the version for a pocket screen. Or why 3rd party cookies not blocked by default, no scripting black & white lists etc.

Mage Silver badge

gained the tools necessary for hosting a static website back in 2011.

Like my 2nd ISP offered for free back in 1998 and is still there today unlike Geocities. My earlier ISP (1994) is long gone. Explain to me why Geocities was scrapped?

Or like every hosting company ever has offered as well as the usual LAMP stack or Windows Equivalent (about $100 p.a. for so called "unlimited".)

Exactly what are these tools? I used to use a text editor and FTP, then I had a WYSIWYG HTML + CSS + Templates with built in FTP sync about 17 years ago.

What am I misunderstanding?

You better watch out, you better not cry. Better not pout, I'm telling you why: SQLite vuln fixes are coming to town

Mage Silver badge

danger also in that SQLite is the default backing store for Android apps


That danger is a separate problem to the vulnerability if you are talking about lack of sanitised input, any user or remote input needs to be properly sanitised. AFTER making sure you can't have buffer overflow.

Mage Silver badge

Re: I think you are underestimating the potential security problems

Not at all. That's why I leave maintaining web facing servers to experts.

The point is not that the multiuser server based databases don't have vulnerabilities, but there is a big incentive to patch & secure them. Little Bobby Tables illustrates the more basic issues with inept deployment.

I use SQLite databases on my laptop (and I'd never have deployed Access, I used MSDE in my Windows days for a local database) but I struggle to understand why I'd not use MariaDB or whatever for a server.

Mage Silver badge

IF you allow random internet users to run arbitrary SQL on your system, you should upgrade.

Only hardened servers with security maintained by experts should be allowing inward connections from internet and surely they should use MariaDB, MySQL, Oracle, MS-SQL, not SQLite which is really more a single user convenience?

Web Browsers are a problem. When are they going to have proper white & blacklisting of scripts built in instead of user having to install NoScript, Umatrix etc? When are they going to have proper sandboxing?

Why on earth does Chrome Web Browser need SQLite and have it accessible via the web page? I presume Chromium or anything else based on Chrome is vulnerable.

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