* Posts by theOtherJT

542 posts • joined 6 Jun 2013


Can't afford a BMW or Roller? Just HACK its doors open!


Re: Was there something terribly wrong with using a key?

"Also recalcitrant floor traps and jammed RJ45 socket covers. Try that with a BMW fob..."

I use mine for the little twist-n-push fuse bar at the bottom of the PDUs. Turns out that a car key is an excellent alternative to an 8mm flathead screwdriver.

(Also to open the car from time to time...)


Was there something terribly wrong with using a key?

You remember them, right? Small, funny shaped bit of metal? You keep them in your pocket and use them to open doors and start the ignition? Kinda like a physical id_rsa.pub you keep on your person?


Turbocharged quad-core Raspberry Pi 2 unleashed, global geekgasm likely


Tis nice, but I was really hoping for a gigabit port and SATA. It was probably too much to hope for at this price point, but would have been so nice for this little NAS/Router thing I keep wanting to build.

'Look into my eyes: You are feeling very worried about the climate ... so worried'


Nope, exact same thing over here... Only difference being we can't write about public transport either any more, since they sold it all.


Leaving aside that this is about climate change for a moment...

Don't we think that this is actually a really nasty, manipulative and on the face of it quite frightening thing to attempt?

Emotion is an integral part of our thinking ... Emotion creates the abiding commitments needed to sustain action on difficult problems, such as climate change ... appropriately framed emotional appeals can motivate action, given the right supporting conditions (in particular a sense of personal vulnerability ... and [a sense of] the support of others).

So what you're saying is that in order to make people think in the way the government wants them to think it should deliberately frighten them? I don't know, by - say - screaming about "Terrorism" all the time and responding to your own hysteria by pumping up police powers that the public were opposed to in the first palce? Never mind if there's any real chance of getting eaten folks, it's waaaay easier to move the herd when they're frightened of the dogs.

Nothing good comes of this sort of behaviour.

ZX81 BEATEN at last as dev claims smallest Chess code crown


If it makes illegal moves, he's not really nailed it, has he?

Still, I've got to applaud the achievement here, even if it's not 100%. I've tried to write a chess program about half a dozen times at this point and - not being much better at programming than I am at actually playing chess - don't think I've ever managed a complete implementation in _any_ language in _any_ amount of code, so I still find this very impressive.

Boffin finds formula for four-year-five-nines disk arrays


Re: The concept of spares needs to go

I completely agree. Distributed scale-out storage across many nodes is clearly the way we're going. Let the software handle where any given data block is written / read from and just keep feeding it disks and CPU cycles as necessary.

Breaks down a bit if you need to really slam a _lot_ of data down on the disks very fast because you end up IO bound by the speed of the network interface(s), but come on - in that case you're probably using some sort of flash storage on the local box anyway.


Re: what about enclosure failure?

This is pretty much how CEPH works too.

You specify a set of nodes, tell it how much parity to data you want, and let it get on with it. Lose a disk? The data on that disk is re calculated from parity (or just redundant copies if you're doing what amounts to raid 10) and written to other disks across the set. Lose a node? Give the other nodes a moment to decide that it's actually gone and isn't coming back, rather than this being some sort of transient network issue, and the same happens but on a larger scale.

Half a dozen nodes with dozen disks each and this becomes really very robust and very VERY fast due to all those spindles being up and spinning all the time. You can also just throw more nodes at it when you want to increase capacity - which is just lovely.


Re: Theory and practice

Or the controller card lets go.

Or the power goes out to one of your racks and then the storage array's bios has a shit fit and refuses to come back up.

Or one of the ram banks in the array is acting up leading to constant re-writes as the checksums fail and now the controller thinks there's something wrong with the disks and starts removing them from service.

Or ONE of the network interfaces on the box goes down so the replication traffic to the other boxes in the cluster stops, but the outside world still thinks the disks are accessible for a while before STONITH kicks in and kills it, but it's too late by then and now you have a 14 hour rebuild on your hands when you bring the thing back up again.

Or the firmware on the controller card said "JBOD" but wasn't really jbod, and was still writing some sort of header to every disk, so when the drive fails and the spare fires up ZFS refuses to accept it as a replacement because there's some data on there already and you wouldn't want to risk over writing it would you?

You get 5 9's uptime by having a person on site who actually checks for shit like this. HA storage is _weird_

FIVE Things (NOT 10: these are REAL) from the WINDOWS 10 event


Re: Doing Something Stupid...

"You are forgetting the 2 stages before panic - ignore, followed by deride."

I like to imagine them as "We're too busy swimming in our HUGE VAT OF MONEY to listen to you!" and "Well, yes, ok, so it is a real thing but LOOK AT OUR HUGE VAT OF MONEY! It doesn't really matter that it's a thing."

I actually basically like a lot of Microsoft's products, but they really do need a lot of provoking before they finally get things right a lot of the time. Presumably because they keep getting distracted by how phenomenally much money they're making. I mean, if we're this rich, we've got to be doing everything right, no?


Doing Something Stupid...

"For three decades, Microsoft has responded to competitive pressure by panicking, and then Doing Something Stupid."

This... is about the most perfect explanation I have ever heard for the entire history of that company.

Windows 10, day ZERO ... Will Nadella be the HERO?


Re: Apps aren't the problem? Rubbish!

Am I the only one around here who thinks that Apps are A. Bad. Thing (tm) and get really annoyed every time I have to install one to do something?

I want my phone to handle the basics of being a phone flawlessly and silently without me having to think about it. These days that's

* Phone calls

* Email

* Text messaging / IM

* Calendar

* Address book

* Camera

* Music / video player

* Web browser

See that last one? Other than my SSH/RDP client (which most people would never want or use because most people don't work in IT and have no idea what either of those things are) I don't think I've ever come across a smart phone app that couldn't have been put in there. If I need an app, your browser / website doesn't work well enough.

I don't want a choice of email apps. I want the built in one to work properly. I don't want a choice of Camera apps. You wouldn't buy a digital camera and then head straight off to the app store so you could buy a different interface from someone who was more capable of writing software than the people who manufactured the thing. I shouldn't have to "Take my pick of over 5,000,000 high quality applications!" because whoever made the damn thing should have gotten the fundamentals right the first time and everything above and beyond that isn't going to harm sales because it is, by definition, niche.

When I got this new android phone at Christmas there were FOUR PAGES of applications on it, half of which were duplicates, and more than three quarters of which were things I didn't want, and I'm not allowed to uninstall any of them. Apps are an annoyance, not a sales point. A sales point is not needing the bloody things to start with.

Microsoft just saved Windows Phone... Now stop whining


Too Late.

They're going to cock it up, whatever they do, at this point. It's just too damn late. I loved windows phone, I really did, but as I've said before they're just FIDDLING with it now, they're not really improving it, just messing about. The reputation is tarnished beyond repair, and even people - like myself, like others in this thread - who really wanted to like it have given up.

They don't seem to have grasped something that the auto industry picked up some time in the 50s. People don't buy what they want, they buy what they can afford, but what they ultimately choose is based on what they want.

Very few people go into a BMW dealership because they've got huge amounts of money and intend to buy one of those shiny i8 things. But they go in to _look_ at the shiny i8 thing, and then end up buying a 1 series, because that's what they can actually afford. The "Halo" effect is real. It's been selling - basically everything - for about as long as there have been things to sell.

Microsoft seem to have grasped the need for cheap "landfill" devices to make up the bulk of the sales and keep the bottom line healthy, but no one is going to buy them because the impression of the brand as a whole is crap. The impression will STAY crap until they can put out a proper flagship quality device which doesn't act up all the time.

Polish chap builds computer into a mouse


I actually quite like that. Would be nice for giving presentations and the like... mostly because I despise track-pads / touch screens I suppose, but still.

SO. Which IS more important to humanity: Facebook, or Portugal?


Higher dollar value != more important.

Perfect example of the most damaging and stupid line of thought of our times.

Scientific consensus that 2014 was record hottest year? No


Re: consensus

This is a serious reflection of the actual problem. Science is not based on consensus, it's based on testable facts. It doesn't matter a damn if everyone agrees on something if that something it provably false, and no one seems to be listening to anything that might prove their particular dogma false on either side of the "debate", if one can even call it that.


Re: Hey, its still paused until the last polar bear melts!

The real problem with here is that it's hard to convince anyone to do anything off the back of nothing more than balance of probability.

"If we don't do something, something bad _might_ happen, we're not really sure, but on balance it seems likely." Is not very convincing. It's much easier if the message is "It will be unequivocally the end of the world if you don't." ...which is unfortunate, because even if you're right big bold statements like that in a field that relies heavily on statistics makes you look like a liar.

'If you see a stylus, they BLEW it' – Steve Jobs. REMEMBER, Apple?


Best pointing device? Perhaps, but only if what you're pointing at is quite large.

Best writing device? Absolutely not. There's a reason we all stopped finger painting and moved on to using pens as soon as we were out of nursery.

Google unleashes build-it-yourself 'Ara' slablet phones (in Puerto Rico)


It's a cute project, I really don't see this working. What's the interconnect between all these parts? Let's assume the SOC lives on the backplane board - that's now the base of the phone, you're not going to change that. There's no way a phone uses a separate CPU / RAM / CPU all on discrete little boards, that would be nuts, so starting there you have the spec.

Then what can you change?

Storage: I already have a microSD card for that, and they're already dirt cheap.

Screen: Well, good for replacement in the case of damage I suppose, but if you're planning on upping the screen resolution that's going to tax the GPU, which is going to be a fixed component.

Camera: Is going to need a damn fast interconnect to the RAM if it's actually going to be any good... possible of course, but that's going to get costly pretty fast I would think.

Battery: Well, I do like a changeable battery, but most people do already seem to have been conditioned to live without one, so it might not be a strong selling point.

Speakers? Honestly, do we _really_ want people fitting their phone with bigger speakers? Really?

Then what... there's not much left. The sim card is already removable, and likely to go software defined in the not _too_ distant future. The wifi / bluetooth / gsm / whatever else wireless is going to be baked into the SOC again. By the time you actually want to change any of those parts that are changeable the age of the SOC will be showing and you might as well get a whole new one.

Just feels like a solution in search of a problem to me.

Toshiba tosses out uber-slim THREE TERABYTE HDD


I assume they're thinking 2U rack mount boxes in server rooms with these, because most laptops I've seen in the last few years won't take 15mm drives, they're too tall for the backing plate to go back on afterwards.

Windows 7 MARKED for DEATH by Microsoft as of NOW


I keep telling myself, in my more optimistic moments, that the shift to a shorter product life cycle can only be a good thing. If Windows N only lasts 2 years before the new one comes along, then perhaps people will stop writing awful software that can only be run on one specific version of one specific OS and start thinking about portability from the get go.

Of course, it won't, and even if it did it would seem that 5 years - and even if there's a new Windows in 2, the support will extend for 5, so there might as well not be - is just about long enough that people will tolerate the disruption, so we still get crap.

What an ACE-HOLE! This super-software will whip you at poker, hands down


Re: Numbers printed without challenge

It's been slashdotted. It'll probably come back in a few hours once everyone loses interest.

Get your special 'sound-optimising' storage here, hipsters


Re: I'll see your audiophile cat 5 and raise you

Replace the contents of said audiophiles living room with pure nitrogen. Solves 2 problems at once...

It's 2015 and ATMs don't know when a daughterboard is breaking them


Re: indeed WTF

But then you have a technician with some sort of secure login credentials for the machine who can turn the things back on again as needed.

I mean isn't basically the first step in secure systems "Disable / remove _everything_ you don't absolutely need" ?

No cellphones in cells, you slag! UK.gov moots prison mobe zap law


Frankly I'm just amazed that prisoners can get cell reception when 90% of the offices I've been in can't.

By the power of Xbox, WE HAVE THE POWER! - Leakers publish One's SDK


I guess I understand why games companies are so keen to force you to log into their servers all the time - it's annoying, but it does have genuine up sides. I mean, Steam requires basically the same thing, and that's done pretty well.

The bit I don't get is restricting access to the SDK and preventing people from loading arbitrary software. Surely that just broadens the appeal of the device and leads to better sales?

At the very outside surely it would be possible to have the thing boot into "developer mode" or similar where online services are restricted, but you can run whatever code you like with the proviso that this is unsupported and you're on your own if you break it. Hell, even then it wouldn't be so hard to keep a "restore to factory settings" partition hidden away somewhere so you can at least put it back the way it came out of the box if you _do_ balls it up somehow.

Microsoft kills its Euro pane in the a**: The 'would you prefer Chrome?' window


You never left. IE's still there, it's still default, you just get an annoying popup asking if you'd like to install something else as well. It's still not possible to actually get rid of the bloody thing, there's just a more prominent "Would you like to not use it?"

Little big phone: Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, a toothsome hand-fulla Android


If the tracking site is to be believed mine should be delivered on the 22nd, so I guess I'll hold off on digging in until it gets here, but I hold out hope.

Microsoft, rivals together fight US govt's cloud data snatch


Re: Scenario A

Of course, then you get Senario B, where Microsoft refuses, the _American_ court holds them in contempt, seizes assets, restricts their ability to do business, etc, etc.. if Microsoft are going to piss off a national legal system, it does seem likely they'll prefer to do it to one other than the country in which they're headquartered.


Re: Deferred to a higher authority

I really wish I could take this as a joke, but there's been a frightening tendency recently to do exactly this.

Government caught doing something against the law? Caught spying on your own people, Detaining without trial, torturing prisoners? Citizens and even finally - shock horror - businesses protesting? Redefine your activities as something more palatable and change all requisite laws to permit them!

Nothing to see here everyone, this is totally legal. Please go about your business.

Ofcom mulls selling UK govt's IPv4 cache amid IPv6 rollout flak


Like I said, it's not the technical migration that worries them. It's what follows. There are procedures in place for what to do when someone rocks up with a takedown notice, or a "We have an IP, now hand over this customer's address" notice. Procedures they didn't write but are now well used to following.

No one has any faith that once the technical bit of the migration is done the political bit will be ready, and no one wants to be the one that has to be standing between the lawyers and the servers when it's being worked out, because that person is going to have a pretty bad time.


I'm not really a networks person, but everyone I know that _is_ a networks person doesn't want to touch the IPv6 migration with a very long stick. I have a suspicion that no small part of this is that the people who are actually going to have to do the job are somewhat concerned what they're going to find themselves responsible for in the longer term once IPv6 rolls out and then things like copyright infringement notices start rolling in.

It's not the technical migration, it's the legal wrangling that will inevitably follow and a giant game of "Not my monkey"

At last! Something else for smartwatches to do as BMW promises park-by-wristjob demo


At what point did parking become so hard that we needed our cars to do it for us?

FLASH! Aaa-aaah. 3D NAND will save every one of us


I wonder what the performance impact of going 3D will be? I imagine it to be basically equivalent to just doubling (tripling, quadrupling... keep going until you get N layers) the number of 2D chips, and many chips managed in parallel could potentially _much_ faster, yes?

US Navy's LASER CANNON WARSHIP: USS Ponce sent to Gulf



Great, now I have this image of some naval gunner furiously hammering the escape key, overriding the thermal shut down and hoping to keep the pulse lasers firing for long enough to take down that madcat before the LRM batteries reload...

Ford dumps Windows for QNX in new in-car entertainment unit


Couldn't agree more. Touch screens in cars are a disease.

The Pirate Bay SUNK: It vanishes after Swedish data center raid


Didn't we already solve this problem?

Surely the way to handle such things is to have the index database broken into chunks and delivered a few meg at a time to every client on the network so that each client hosts a part of it. Isn't that what eMule / Kad / etc. used to do? You start a client, it fires off a few "hello, anyone else out there?" requests, hits a few other running clients, gets their parts of the index, plus a list of _their_ known clients, hits up _those_ clients, gets a few more chunks of index etc. etc. etc.

Brit smut slingers shafted by UK censors' stiff new stance


Surely to god they have more important things to do than legislate over something that basically no one cares about? Porn, seriously? No one cares. We're over it. It's out there we all know it's out there, it's basically ubiquitous at this point. Just ignore it, and move on already! I couldn't possibly care less what other people are watching for their own gratification, and I certainly don't want my government telling me what I'm allowed to watch for mine.

...which is all before we get to the "trying to stop the tide coming in" that is regulating the availability of something on the internet. I mean that _never_ works.

Huawei: 'Nobody made any money in Windows Phone'


Re: Warning: Rant incoming.-"They were the Triumph to Apple's Harley Davidson"

Probably a better analogy.

I started from the point that Apple - much like HD - is as much about the statement you make owning one as the product. Most HD riders wouldn't even consider anything else, and that seems to be the case with Apple too.

Triumph sprung to mind in comparison because they're European in contrast to the American Apple, and also have A Reputation (deservedly or not) If anyone was going to sell on a name, it was them.


Warning: Rant incoming.

I still can't get my head around how badly Microsoft have screwed this up.

WinPho is a GOOD mobile operating system. It's easy to use, it's pleasant to look at, it runs well on decidedly middling hardware... But even I've not bought one. I bought a Sony Z3 compact instead. I really _wanted_ to get a winpho device, but I can't find one. I can't find one that isn't either a piece of plasticy crap which doesn't have the level of hardware and finish that I want for my daily device, or isn't sized more closely to the monolith from 2001. (Which is also a criticism of most android phones these days, thank god for Sony)

But honestly, Microsoft, it's the feature set. Where's my integrated RDP client, Microsoft? Seriously, where is it? It's your protocol, is native support in your phones so much to ask? Why are there better exchange clients for Android than there are for WinPho? Come on, that's unforgivable. You have the kind of end to end there that elsewhere only Apple has achieved, and you've failed to capitalize on it.

Oh, and whilst I'm at it, why is the shot to shot time on the 1020 so long? There's enough ram in the thing, you could easily buffer half a dozen shots and then flush them to long term storage. And what's this crap with folders in the live tiles now? It's unnecessary and it's confusing. 3 years on and the interface not only hasn't gotten better, it's gotten WORSE.

I know I'm starting to pick holes and the last couple of things are a bit petty, but they're indicative of a real problem in the way WinPho is being developed. Do you know what that is, Microsoft? Let me tell you:


...and then we have the branding. Do you know who had a brand to rival Apple in the high quality fashion-conscious stakes Microsoft? Do you? It was Nokia. They were the Triumph to Apple's Harley Davidson. They were long established bran leaders. European. High quality. Sophisticated. So you bought them out, then pissed all the value the name had straight up the wall. If you'd buried the Windows brand as hard as possible - because it is not and NEVER WILL BE cool - and pushed the fact that you were selling Nokia devices, people might have run with that one. But you went the other way, didn't you? You went the other way and now we have "Microsoft Lumia with Windows"... What the hell kind of a name is that?

Ok, sorry. Rant over now.

High Court: You've made our SH*T list – corked pirate torrent sites double in a day


Can we all take a look at Steam for a moment?

I have no idea how many games I own on Steam, but it's a lot* I've not felt in the slightest way inclined to pirate a video game in years. Why, you ask? Am I just that nice? No, actually, it's just that it's actually more effort than it's worth and just paying a relatively small amount for a digital licence that I can transfer between as many machines as I happen to be sat in front of is totally worth it. I've ended up with a policy of actively not playing games that aren't on steam because their publishers are making it hard for me. I'm "voting with my wallet" if you like. I don't think there's a single game I've really wanted to play that this has stopped me from getting it's become such a defacto standard.

If a system like that existed for movies/TV I would use it, but it doesn't so I can't. I can live with waiting a few months for things to get over the "release day" pricing, I can wait for sales, but even at full price there really isn't a one-stop-shop out there for movies and TV. Now why is that? Because all the studios are busy fighting with one another over who should be in charge and desperately trying to ensure that they can enforce their already inflated pricing model. Well, guess what happened guys? None of you got to be in charge. Now stop bickering and give me Steam for Video where you all have to compete on a level playing field and I'll pay you for it.

*Yes, I'm sure it would tell me if i had it installed on this machine so I could look.

Tough Banana Pi: a Raspberry Pi for colour-blind diehards


Interesting little board. I really wanted to use a rpi for a tiny streaming NAS, but without a SATA port it's not doable, and since the pi keeps it's network socket on the USB bus, external USB disks aren't a great solution if you want to get decent speed.

I wonder when we'll see a Raspberry Pi 2... I vaguely recall them mentioning that they wanted to do one a while back.

Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?


Re: And the other way round

That's been making it's way around the Oxfordshire villages for some time now. I took the opportunity to test it a bit last time I was out that way, and for sure, I can netcat at a genuine 100mbit between 2 houses on the same street, but I sure as hell can't do it between there and my office - which does have a 1 gig link to the outside world, so should be able to handle it.

The problem is all the paths between A and B murky up the situation somewhat.


Perhaps we should all just stop pretending that it's still ok to push data down single core copper that was originally intended to carry analogue voice? ADSL has always been a halfassed solution to the problem, and it's not going to magically get better if we finally decide to all agree that we should call it the bodge that it is.

Wringing every last bps out of crappy copper doesn't cut it, and it's never going to. I had to download 16 gig of data just to install a video game yesterday, and that's not a number that's going to get smaller as time goes on. Frankly it doesn't matter that an ADSL line might only be providing 8mbit when it could be providing 24 because even 24 simply isn't good enough. Even if it could be considered "good enough" today it's pretty borderline, and it's certainly not going to be good enough in the near future.

That's before we get onto the matter of contention, and packing more and more customers onto the same uplink. Half the speed problems people see are because there's no spare capacity in the system to handle load spikes, or equipment failure or any "unforseen circumstance" (usually of the kind that would be totally easy to forsee if one were to have more imagination than a carton of orange juice.)

The way to not have shitty speeds is to have more capacity than you need so there's always something in reserve - but there's just no incentive for that to happen when something that should be considered a vital part of national infrastructure is run for profit, and investing in fibre and switching/routing hardware is expensive.

3D printed guns: This time it's for real! Oh, wait – no, still crap


Re: Has WiRED

This is why 3D printers were referred to as "Rapid Prototyping Machines" about 20 years ago when they were only really found in the R&D departments of various well funded and high tech companies. Sure, you couldn't make a useful part out of resin, but you could make a mold for the part, or a mock up of the part to fit to the rest of the machine just so you can get the spacing and tolerances right whilst waiting for the real thing to be ready.

Why Comrade Cameron went all Russell Brand on the UK’s mobile networks


Surely this doesn't address the problem. About 5 minutes down the road from CallMeDave you enter an even darker part of Oxfordshire where there's no signal at all. None. No amount of roaming is going to help, because there's nothing to roam to. Doesn't matter what network you're on, you drive out there and all mobile devices go dead. I don't see how this is going to deal with the actual problem of none of the networks filling in these dead zones because they won't get enough return from the handful of customers who live in them.

Doctors urged to adopt default opt-out approach to care.data scheme


Very kind, thank you :)


Funny world we live in.

We're gathering all this useful data about people that could potentially improve the quality of medical care, but our immediate response is "No, you can't have it it's mine!"

What's disturbing about that is how rational it is. For all that it makes perfect sense that this information could well be used to help people by tracking concentrations of particular conditions, or ensuring medical records flow seamlessly from one hospital to another as people move around, we just don't _trust_ our government not to abuse it.

I love the spirit behind the NHS, I really do. I'm going in to surgery tomorrow and they're going to cut bits out of my heart. This is the culmination of a process that has taken nearly a year and involved many doctors - all of whom have been caring, reassuring and professional. I'm pretty scared, but they've made me feel like I understand what's happening to an extent that I can make a rational choice about what's going to be done to me, and why it's the right thing to do.

In other words, I trust them. I trust them enough to sedate me and cut me open. That's some pretty serious trust right there.

Part of why I trust them - quite a large part - is that this hasn't cost me anything. There's no financial incentive behind it. I believe that they're recommending that I do this because it's good for me - not because they have something to gain from it. Once you take the money out of the equation it's much easier to have faith that people are doing the right thing for the right reasons.

Once there's money involved, the trust gets really hard. I do _not_ trust the people who are going to have the final say about how this data is used - namely politicians and bureaucrats. The assumption is that as soon as the data is there the overwhelming temptation is going to be to monetize it, not to use it for research into improving medical care, or to help people - because money is what politics runs on.

Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email


So... a mail client.

Pretty sure I already have one of those.

Drupal SQL injection nasty leaves sites 'wide open' to attack


As someone who just finished a major site migration onto Drupal 7 I'm not even slightly surprised. This was my favorite:


Files attached to nodes arbitrarily deleted if you have the "display" box unchecked and make the mistake of previewing edits before saving them.

It's not just core you need to worry about either, you need to think about all those modules you require to even do something as simple as manage attached media files. It's totally possible for some idiot module developer to completely bypass all the "security" that's built into core, and it seems like half of them did.


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