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Annotated Digital Culture Links: June 12th 2009

Links for June 10th 2009 through June 12th 2009:

  • Find Creative Commons Images in Google Image Search [Google OS] – "Google Image Search added the option to restrict the results to images that are licensed using Creative Commons, a list of flexible licenses that allow content creators to share their works with the world. The options aren't yet available in the interface, but you can use the search box below to find images that are licensed using some of the most popular Creative Commons licenses…" (I'm looking forward to this being implemented in the advanced search options, it'll make finding CC images even easier!)
  • UK CVN Killer Flu – Killer Flu game; not bad at breaking past the pandemic hype and seeing how different types of flu can and can't spread and mutate: "Killer Flu!! Or, maybe, “non-killer flu” to describe the current outbreak of swine flu! Here is a game that allows you to learn more about how the influenza virus is transmitted and how it changes every year – which explains why you can get more than one dose of the flu over your lifetime and why vaccines need changing every year. We also hope it will be a bit of fun."
  • Facebook racial taunts [WA Today] – "A rapidly expanding social networking site has been slammed for its racist taunts against immigrants to Australia. The Facebook Group, F*** Off, We’re Full, has nearly 65,000 members and believes any immigrants coming to Australia must adapt to what it calls the ‘Aussie lifestyle.’ “This idea of Australia being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity,” the site states. “As Australians, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle.” The website is full of debate on its discussion board. The latest topics put up for comment include: Will Indian race-rioters be hunted down? and All foreigners need to be euthanised." (Another disheartening reminder that racism is all too alive in this day and age.)
  • Twitterers defy China's firewall [BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific] – "On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen killings, social networking sites such as Twitter and the photo-sharing site Flickr were blocked in China in an attempt by the government to prevent online discussion on the subject. But Chinese twitterers proved that there are ways to get round the great firewall of China. … Besides the Tiananmen anniversary itself, what seemed to be most important to Chinese twitterers was the blocking of sites. Advice on how to access Twitter – by using a proxy, VPN (virtual private network) or Hotspot shield – spread around quickly. While some were clearly annoyed at this interference, others did not lose their sense of humour. One user congratulated his fellow twitterers with "Happy Chinese Internet Maintenance Day!"."

Annotated Digital Culture Links: March 30th 2009

Links for March 25th 2009 through March 30th 2009:

  • Vintage DHARMA ads.[Flickr] – An outstanding set of fan-made ads for the more banal side of Lost‘s Dharma Initiative! By Adam Campbell [Via io9]
  • Shooter video games ‘sharpen vision’ [News.com.au] – “Slaying hordes of bad guys in fast-paced video games improves vision, a study has shown for the first time. Far from being harmful to eyesight, as some had feared, action games provide excellent training for what eye doctors call contrast sensitivity, the study found. Contrast sensitivity is the ability to notice tiny changes in shades of grey against a uniform background, and is critical to everyday activities such as night driving and reading. It often degrades with age. The findings, published in Nature Neuroscience, reveal a previously unsuspected adaptability in the brain, and could open the way to new therapies, the researchers said.” (This week, video games are good! 🙂
  • When Stars Twitter, a Ghost May Be Lurking – NYTimes.com – “The rapper 50 Cent is among the legion of stars who have recently embraced Twitter to reach fans who crave near-continuous access to their lives and thoughts. On March 1, he shared this insight with the more than 200,000 people who follow him: “My ambition leads me through a tunnel that never ends.” Those were 50 Cent’s words, but it was not exactly him tweeting. Rather, it was Chris Romero, known as Broadway, the director of the rapper’s Web empire, who typed in those words after reading them in an interview. “He doesn’t actually use Twitter,” Mr. Romero said of 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson III, “but the energy of it is all him.” … someone has to do all that writing, even if each entry is barely a sentence long. In many cases, celebrities and their handlers have turned to outside writers — ghost Twitterers, if you will — who keep fans updated on the latest twists and turns, often in the star’s own voice.” (If you need a ghostwriter for 140chars, you’re not trying!)
  • Conroy admits blacklist error, blames ‘Russian mob’ [SMH] – “The Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, has admitted that Bill Henson images were added to the communications regulator’s list of prohibited websites in error, while blaming the addition of a dentist’s site to the blacklist on the “Russian mob”. Meanwhile, the website of the Federal Government’s censorship body, the Classification Board, was hacked last night and defaced with an anti-censorship screed. The admission by Senator Conroy on ABC television’s Q&A program last night casts significant doubt on the Government’s ability to filter the internet without inadvertently blocking legitimate websites. Q&A was inundated with 2000 questions from the public about the Government’s hugely unpopular policy, and the audience last night ridiculed Senator Conroy by laughing at a number of his responses.”
  • YouTube Being Blocked in China, Google Says [NYTimes.com] – “Google said Tuesday that its YouTube video-sharing Web site had been blocked in China. Google said it did not know why the site had been blocked, but a report by the official Xinhua news agency of China on Tuesday said that supporters of the Dalai Lama had fabricated a video that appeared to show Chinese police officers brutally beating Tibetans after riots last year in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital. Xinhua did not identify the video, but based on the description it appears to match a video available on YouTube that was recently released by the Tibetan government in exile. It purports to show police officers storming a monastery after riots in Lhasa last March, kicking and beating protesters. It includes other instances of brutality and graphic images of a protester’s wounds. According to the video, the protester later died.”

Annotated Links of Interest: November 13th 2008

Links of interest for November 11th 2008 through November 13th 2008:

  • New York Times: Fake New York Times Declares Iraq War Over! Here’s Who Did It [Gawker] – “The Iraq War is over, according to the fake New York Times! This morning a cadre of volunteers has fanned out across New York City to pass out a remarkably good, faux-copy of the Times dated July 4, 2009. They’ve even set up an entire website with all of the liberal fantasy headlines. Universities to be free! Bike paths to be expanded! Thomas Friedman to resign, praise the Unitarian Jesus! It’s not funny like The Onion, but obviously a lot of work went into this. Now we play “Who did it?”” The Yes Men. Clever parody; very clever indeed …  the cover.
  • Big fuss brews over LittleBigPlanet [The Age] – “LittleBigPlanet is fast firming as one of the biggest game launches this year because players can create and share their own worlds, but Sony’s heavy-handed moderation has many gamers crying foul. A key selling point of the PlayStation 3 game, which was launched in Australia just days ago and has received an average rating of 95 per cent from reviewers, is that people can share their own levels over the PlayStation Network. Some have spent days crafting their ideal custom worlds, including tributes to classic games and characters such as Final Fantasy, Pac-Man, Batman, Sonic The Hedgehog, God Of War, Super Mario Bros and Indiana Jones. Over the past few days, many have found their levels summarily blocked by Sony and LittleBigPlanet’s developers, Media Molecule, because they allegedly breach someone else’s intellectual property.” (Copyright vs creativity in an entirely corporately-owned toy world with brilliant design tools … what could go wrong? :P)
  • Interview @MarsPhoenix – Universe – “For over a year, Veronica McGregor has been Twittering from Mars. Of course, she’s not living among the wind storms and dirt of the red planet herself, but she is the voice of MarsPhoenix, the strangely compelling, first-person, lonely robot Twitter feed that somehow became the official mouthpiece of NASA’s Phoenix mission and has catalyzed an entirely new kind of public involvement in science.”
  • Cloverfield: Mapped [Google Maps] – Blow by blow map of the action in Cloverfield. As you might suspect, the action doesn’t quite make sense if you look at it on a New York map!
  • China issues first definition of Internet addiction [China Daily] – Chinese doctors define what they call “internet addiction”: “Symptoms of addiction included yearning to get back online, mental or physical distress, irritation and difficulty concentrating or sleeping. The definition, based on a study of more than 1,300 problematic computer users, classifies as addicts those who spend at least six hours online a day and have shown at least one symptom in the past three months.”

Annotated Links of Interest: October 23rd 2008

Links of interest for October 22nd 2008 through October 23rd 2008:

  • Playing Columbine: An Interview with Game Designer and Filmmaker Danny Ledonne (Part One) [Confessions of an Aca/Fan] – A fascinating interview with the man behind the very controversial ‘serious game’ Super Columbine Massacre RPG! which sought to deconstruct the tragedy and the way it was reported by simulating the experience. (See also Part II of this interview, Part III, and the game at the centre of the discussion, Super Columbine Massacre RPG!)
  • Online Streaming Adds Millions of Viewers for ‘Heroes,’ ‘The Office’ [TV Decoder Blog – NYTimes.com] – “How many consumers stream TV episodes on the Internet? How many download the episodes on iTunes? How many watch the episodes using video on demand? How many view the episodes on mobile phones? NBC is trying to tell by adding together all the exposure of its episodes on five platforms in a rubric they call the TAMi, short for “Total Audience Measure index.” The TAMi was first used for the Olympics and is now being released on a weekly basis for NBC’s prime time shows.” (the TAMi seems like a very clear admission that Neilsen ratings and similar eyeballs on tv screen measures are simply out of date!)
  • Sickie faker busted by Facebook [The Age] – “A Sydney telco employee has learned the hard way the perils of sharing too much information on Facebook after he was caught by his boss faking a sickie after a big night out. The manager then sent Doyle a screen grab of Doyle’s Facebook profile, highlighting a status update written on the leave day in question. […] “Kyle Doyle is not going to work, f— it i’m still trashed. SICKIE WOO!,” it read. Sprung and with no room left to move, Doyle replied to the boss: “HAHAHA LMAO [laughing my ass off] epic fail. No worries man.” In an email exchange doing the rounds of office blocks, Kyle Doyle was asked by his employer, AAPT, to provide a medical certificate verifying a day of sick leave in August.”
  • Backlash over Microsoft’s anti-piracy tactics [The Age] – “Chinese internet users have expressed fury at Microsoft’s launch of an anti-piracy tool targeting Chinese computer users to ensure they buy genuine software. The “Windows Genuine Advantage” program, which turns the user’s screen black if the installed software fails a validation test, is Microsoft’s latest weapon in its war on piracy in China, where the vast majority of 200 million computer users are believed to be using counterfeit software, unwittingly or not. “Why is Microsoft automatically connected with my computer? The computer is mine!” one angry blogger wrote on popular Chinese web portal Sina.com. “Microsoft has no right to control my hardware without my agreement.” Another blogger railed over the cost of authorised versions. “If the price of genuine software was lower than the fake one, who would buy the fake one?” he wrote.”
  • Dutch teens convicted of virtual theft [The Age] – “A Dutch court has convicted two teenagers of theft for stealing virtual items in a computer game and sentenced them to community service. Radio Netherlands reports that the two teenagers – a 15 and a 14-year-old – were found guilty of using violence to rob a 13-year-old classmate of virtual property in the multiplayer online game RuneScape.”
  • Hell hath no fury like the ‘ex’ files [The Age] – “It was the wedding present from hell. In the middle of his Pacific island honeymoon, a Melbourne finance executive discovered that a woman claiming to be his ex had branded him in cyberspace as a dud lover and serial cheat. Along with his name and picture, the anonymous “ex” posted his mobile phone number, address and car registration on the “love rat” site dontdatehimgirl.com. … The executive is one of more than 200 Australian men whose profiles have been posted on dontdatehimgirl.com or datingpsychos.com — US sites now being used by Australian women to post anonymous rants against men who have supposedly done them wrong, and to warn other prospective partners. Other women — also anonymous — then add “comments” which may include their own experiences of the same man. Men named — and often also pictured — in the profiles may deny the accusations.” (What happens when citizen justice decends into the digital lynchmob!)
  • Obama in-game advertising [The LAMP Watercooler] – “The Obama campaign has made strong use of the internet for fundraising, organising and spreading the message. The campaign has gone to a new level with the release of in-game advertising as illustrated in this screen-shot published on Gigaom recently.”
  • Digital switch timetable [TV Tonight] – “[Australian] Senator Conroy has mapped out the switch from analog to digital television …” Perth will have to switch to entirely digital television broadcast by January – June 2013; regional WA by the end of 2013. Follow the link for the timeline for the rest of Australia.
  • Giant database plan ‘Orwellian’ [BBC NEWS | Politics] – “Proposals for a central database of all mobile phone and internet traffic have been condemned as “Orwellian”. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the police and security services needed new powers to keep up with technology. Details of the times, dates, duration and locations of mobile phone calls, numbers called, website visited and addresses e-mailed are already stored by telecoms companies for 12 months under a voluntary agreement. The data can be accessed by the police and security services on request – but the government plans to take control of the process in order to comply with an EU directive and make it easier for investigators to do their job.” (Apparently you’ll need a passport to buy a mobile phone in the UK, too.)

Links for August 22nd 2008

Interesting links for August 21st 2008 through August 22nd 2008:

  • Monkey Magic – Karen Lury / University of Glasgow [Flow TV, 8.06] – Playful and engaging reading of the BBC Monkey-style BBC Opening for the Olympic Games: “A playful, irreverent choice then: a trailer that reverses a mythic journey (from West to East) and which pays overt homage to a cult TV series that was never – in any coherent sense – an ‘authentic’ reflection or interpretation of Chinese culture or mythology. … The animation itself reproduces certain static poses and a colour scheme that may have been inspired by Chinese illustration and Japanese Manga; but for Hewlett fans, this is recognisably a Hewlett world – a world that is both menacing and cute (and where ‘cute’ is revealingly close to its roots in the freakish world of the side-show). It is funny and slightly unsettling as Pigsy smirks provocatively or when Monkey opens his mouth to reveal his dirty and surprisingly sharp teeth.”
  • Tiger Woods Responds to Fan’s YouTube Video [Micro Persuasion] – “This video response is brilliant marketing on the part of Electronic Arts and Tiger Woods. A fan posted on YouTube that it’s possible for Woods to hit a golf ball in Tiger Woods 08 while walking on water. How does Tiger react? By showing how it’s done and promoting Tiger Woods 09 in the process. It shows they listen and bring in the big guns to engage.”
  • Digital futures report: the internet in Australia [CCI] – “This report provides an overview of our work, presenting results for each of the questions asked. We will also be publishing work that examines relationships between our key variables exploring, for example, differences between users with broadband access at home and those on dial-up connections and the differences that age, gender and education levels make to people’s use and experience of the internet. Analysis we have already conducted shows that broadband does make a substantial difference to peoples’ use of the internet. The internet is more highly valued by those with broadband connections and they use the internet for longer and for a greater variety of purposes. Younger people have been quick to integrate the internet into their lives, they use the internet more and particularly for entertainment.” [Full Report PDF]
  • Few lives left for Second Life [The Age] – “Separately, figures released by the virtual world’s creator Linden Lab in April show there are only 12,245 active Australian Second Life users, down from highs of 16,000 towards the end of last year. … Australians appear to have lost interest in Second Life and the users still there appear to be shying away from the big corporate brands. Kim MacKenzie, a PhD student at the Queensland University of Technology, centred her honours year thesis around the business applications of Second Life. She studied the Second Life bases of 20 international brands over three months last year, including Dell, Toyota, Coca-Cola, BMW, AOL and Vodafone. “They were like ghost towns,” said MacKenzie, adding that many of the users she saw on the company islands appeared to be staff members.” (A significant rebuttal of the information and argument in this article can be found at Personalize Media.
  • For YouTube videos, a ‘fair use’ boost [News.com] – “Copyright owners, such as NBC Universal, Warner Bros., and Viacom, were put on notice Wednesday when U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel ruled that they must not order video be removed from Web sites indiscriminately. Before taking action against a clip, copyright owners, must form a “good-faith belief ” that a video is infringing, according to Corynne McSherry, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “
  • Poor earning virtual gaming gold [BBC NEWS | Technology] – “Nearly half a million people are employed in developing countries earning virtual goods in online games to sell to players, a study has found. Research by Manchester University shows that the practice, known as gold-farming, is growing rapidly. Researchers say the industry, which is largely based in China, currently employs about 400,000 young people who earn £80 per month on average.” (Good article, but really, “playbourers”?)
  • Up, Up, and Away? Separating Fact from Fiction in the Comic Book Business [Alisa Perren / Georgia State University – Flow TV 8.06] – A timely look at the relationship between comic book sales and the blockbuster movies they’ve been driving so successfully this year: “Myth #1: Comic-Con is all about comics. From its inception in 1970 well into the 1990s, this was largely the case. However, in recent years, the Hollywood studios increasingly have focused their energies on using the annual event as a means of promoting upcoming films and television programs. … Myth #2: Since movies based on comics are all the rage, comic books must be selling like crazy.”
  • iTunes blocked in China after protest stunt [WA Today] – “Access to Apple’s online iTunes Store has been blocked in China after it emerged that Olympic athletes have been downloading and possibly listening to a pro-Tibetan music album in a subtle act of protest against China’s rule over the province. The album, called Songs for Tibet, was produced by an a group called The Art of Peace Foundation, and features 20 tracks from well-known singers and songwriters including Sting, Moby, Suzanne Vega and Alanis Morissette. It was released as a download on the iTunes Store on August 5 – three days before the start of the Olympics – with the physical CD launched on Tuesday this week. The Foundation provided free downloads of the album to Olympic athletes, urging them to play the songs on their iPods during the Games as a show of support.”

Links for August 8th 2008

Interesting links for August 7th 2008 through August 8th 2008:

  • Steal This Hook? Girl Talk Flouts Copyright Law [NYTimes.com] – “Girl Talk, whose real name is Gregg Gillis, makes danceable musical collages out of short clips from other people’s songs; there are more than 300 samples on “Feed the Animals,” the album he released online at illegalart.net in June. He doesn’t get the permission of the composers to use these samples, as United States copyright law mostly requires, because he maintains that the brief snippets he works with are covered by copyright law’s “fair use” principle …Girl Talk’s rising profile has put him at the forefront of a group of musicians who are challenging the traditional restrictions of copyright law along with the usual role of samples in pop music.” Girl Talk’s latest album Feed the Animals can be downloaded for whatever price users choose to pay (including choosing to pay nothing).
  • MisUnderstanding YouTube by Joshua Green [Flow TV 8.05] – “… popularity on [YouTube] revolves as much around what is “Most Discussed” or “Most Responded” as it does what is “Most Viewed.” … Understanding this is crucial to effectively accounting for YouTube as a diverse media space. This is not to suggest everyone comes to the site to post a video blog, but rather to come to terms with the fact that YouTube is built as much through practices of audience-ing as it is practices of publishing, and to realize the two as intimately linked. As much as the video blog, YouTube is ruled by the clip and the quote — the short grab or edited selection; these videos are evidence or demonstration of active audience-hood.”
  • Human rights group broadcast ‘pirate’ radio show in Beijing [Radio Australia] – “A human rights group has broken China’s tight control of the media by broadcasting a radio show calling for freedom of expression in Beijing. At 8.08am local time, the Paris based group Reporters Without Borders began a twenty minute pirate broadcast on Beijing’s airwaves.” [Via @mpesce]
  • It’s public so what’s the privacy issue with Google’s Street View? [The Courier-Mail] – Peter Black tells it like it (legally) is regarding Google Streetview in Australia: “What Google did was perfectly legal. They took photographs of houses, buildings and streets from a public place. If anyone can legally walk up and down your street taking photographs of houses, why can’t Google? They can. Once this is accepted, the argument then becomes one about people randomly caught in the lens of the camera. “Surely they don’t have a right to take a photo of me?” Yes they do. You can have no reasonable expectation of privacy, let alone a right to privacy, when you are in a public area, such as your street.”

Links for August 4th 2008

Interesting links for August 3rd through August 4th 2008:

  • Chinese netizens rail against Great Firewall [watoday.com.au] – A look at the heavy hand of internet censorship in China and the lengths China’s netizens have to go to to avoid being blocked. A recent example shows a meme that the phrase “I’m just doing push-ups” after the line was used by allegedly corrupt communist officials. The meme is going strong, one example being these photoshopped images of a popular Chinese TV host doing push-ups in various locations across China.
  • Kind Strangers, Comicons, and the People that Need a Hug. [Nathan Fillion MySpace Blog] – Nathan Fillion, sees the future in Dr Horrible (despite being Capt Hammer!): “I think it can be said that Dr Horrible was a tremendous success. More than just an incredible project to enjoy, but a more than important view of entertainment to come. This is the future, everybody. This is a window into how things will be when the control is finally wrested from the moneyed claws of big business and placed, nay, returned to the caring hands of the creators.”
  • Postmodern path to student failure By Justine Ferrari [The Australian] – In a new anti-postmodernism book, The Trouble With Theory, by Gavin Kitching, “insight” such as this appears: ‘Students equate the way language is used with the meaning of words, so that the word “terrorist” always means a person using extreme violence for political ends, and anyone called a terrorist is actually a terrorist. But he said such thinking excluded sentences such as: “Calling these people terrorists distracts attention from the justice of their cause. “They have a very narrow idea of how we use words. (They believe) words have given meanings, and these meanings have certain biases or prejudices. If you use words, you have to accept the biases or prejudices – you’re stuck with them. That you can use words ironically is not something they can take seriously. Clearly that’s not true. We use words to refer to things, but we can refer to them ironically, we can refer to them sarcastically, doubtingly, aggressively.”
  • Britney and McCain in 2008 – Barely Political [YouTube] – New running mates: John McCain and Britney Spears. Not the most technically exciting YouTube political mashup, but the rhetoric matches perfectly!
  • Notes on Cult Films and New Media Technology [zigzigger] – Interesting thoughts: “My basic point is that the availability of films to own on videotape, disc, or computer file marks a transformation in the way audiences engage with the film text, and that this transformation makes the cult mode of film experience much more typical, more available to more viewers and to more movies.”

Links for August 1st 2008

Interesting links for August 1st 2008:

  • Malwebolence – The World of Web Trolling [NYTimes.com] – A really fascinating article from Mattathias Schwartz trying to take a serious look at the more extreme edge of trolling culture, searching for meaning behind what at first glance are random acts of online cruelty. Schwartz paints the biggest trolls as quite complicated people, who have their own rationale for what they do, albeit often quite a hard to comprehend one. [Via Christy Dena]
  • Rebooting America (Book) [Personal Democracy Forum] – The blurb: “The Personal Democracy Forum presents an anthology of forty-four essays brimming with the hopes of reenergizing, reorganizing, and reorienting our government for the Internet Age. How would completely reorganizing our system of representation work? Is it possible to redesign our government with open doors and see-through walls? How can we leverage the exponential power of many-to-many deliberation for the common good?” The entire collection is available online, for free, as pdfs and features lots of people you know, or should know, like Yochai Benkler, danah boyd, Howard Rheingold and Clay Shirky. The whole thing is released under a Creative Commons license, too! [Via danah]
  • Beijing lifts some internet restrictions: IOC [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Chinese organisers have agreed to lift all internet restrictions for the Beijing Games, IOC vice-president Gunilla Lindberg says. “The issue has been solved,” Ms Lindberg said. “The IOC Coordination Commission and the Beijing Olympics Organising Committee (BOCOG) met last night and agreed. “Internet use will be just like in any Olympics.” ABC journalists in Beijing said they could access internet content about Tiananmen Square and other previously banned websites. But it was not immediately clear if the restrictions had been lifted outside hubs for foreign media.”
  • Oh happy day — the new Delicious is here [delicious blog] – No longer del.icio,us, Delicious had an overhaul, a facelift, and now resides at delicious.com. To see what’s different, check out the video or read What’s New.For readers of this blog, the biggest difference will be that I can now use 1000 characters in teh notes section, so my annotated links posts will often have considerably more annotation! 🙂
  • Scrabulous Returns As Wordscraper [All Facebook] – “One of the big news stories this morning is that the Argarwalla brothers who founded Scrabulous have launched a similar application called “Wordscraper”. The application, which is similar in style to Scrabulous, has attracted over 8,000 people so far. It also appears that the brother no longer have an announcement message on Scrabulous and have instead completely pulled down the application.” (That said, using Facebook in Australia I still have perfect access to Scrabulous today!)
  • Blocked websites ‘not Olympics related’ [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “Internet censorship in China is now being allowed during the Olympic period on the basis that the blocked websites are not related to the Games. The stance is a backdown on earlier promises made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC)…”

Links for July 30th 2008

Interesting links for July 28th 2008 through July 30th 2008:

Links for May 14th 2008

Interesting links for May 12th 2008 through May 14th 2008:

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