Archive for the 'Time wasters' Category

Mar 20 2016

Ignoring the real crime

Published by under Navy,Time wasters

I, like many people, subscribe to Navy Times. And, if you have been a follower of this blog for some time, you that I very upset with some of the news about the Navy, my Navy, that it reports.

And in the latest edition to arrive in my mailbox, the news paper did not disappoint.

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There are two things on this cover I would draw your attention to. First,  is the sacking of RDML Williams for viewing porn on his computer and the  over  reaction to it.

Now of course, I am quite certain the admiral knew that you should not view porn on Navy computers. However if you dig through the story, you will find out that the story is not as clear cut as the headline makes out-and it begs an equally important question of why, on the network that blocks many sites that are not controversial at all, the IP's he went to were not already blocked. And so, during a time when an Admiral should be sitting on his hands-so as to allow  time for his staff to get work done-he surfed to someplace the Navy did not want him to go.

Two points before moving on, Nora Tyson. 1) All men look at porn. 

"Guys, including your boyfriend, like porn. So do a lot of women. Men just get off to visuals more easily, which is why it always seems to be guys watching all the porn. It doesn't mean men are constantly looking at porn and self-pleasuring like fiendish deviants. Your boyfriend (probably) doesn't have some insane stash of weird fetish porn and Fleshlights hidden somewhere in his walls. But most guys look at porn on a fairly regular basis. " 

Which is always why you use anonymous proxies and VPN's.

And 2), while  Navy Times was dragging up all the sordid details of this little incident, it and Nora Tyson along with much of the rest of Navy leadership was ignoring a much, much bigger crime.

Go back to the Navy Times cover again. Look at the main picture and lead. There in bold print you have the Navy bragging, through a PR outlet that it put a ship on cruise for 9 months when it did not have to.

One of the saddest consequences of the Navy's part of our blind stumble into a pointless war on Iraq was the way the Navy jumped with both feet into a course of action that made the Navy's OPTEMPO and deployment schedule a train wreck. By making a rather fool hardy decision to send 5 carrier battle battle groups to the Gulf. And then to aggravate the issue, technology increased the number of ships required for various  other types of commitments. Add to that the insatiable appetite of the combatant commands for more ships and "voila", here we are.

The greatest failure of Navy leadership in the 13 years since the foolhardy invasion of Iraq ( which, by the way,  ranks as the single biggest foreign policy disaster of the last 40 years), is the failure of the Navy and the country in general, is to get the Navy's OPTEMPO back to six months portal to portal.  Having people going through sea tours and getting three cruises in three years, all of them 7 months plus ( or more) is really criminal.

But hey, knock yourself out being upset about a rather experienced man getting a few looks at big tits.

 

 

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Jan 04 2016

The power of how one uses language.

Over at Balloon Juice, Annie Laurie has found this interesting video that analyzes the way Donald Trump uses language and how he organizes his thoughts. Bottom line: Because Trump is a salesman more than a politician, he is focused on closing the deal and creating a sense of urgency to buy his product. This differs from a typical politician in that Trump is less worried about having his words come back to bite him in the ass. It's worth the time to view:

 

As Annie points out, this was also examined in detail by the New York times:

The New York Times analyzed every public utterance by Mr. Trump over the past week from rallies, speeches, interviews and news conferences to explore the leading candidate’s hold on the Republican electorate for the past five months. The transcriptions yielded 95,000 words and several powerful patterns, demonstrating how Mr. Trump has built one of the most surprising political movements in decades and, historians say, echoing the appeals of some demagogues of the past century.

Mr. Trump’s breezy stage presence makes him all the more effective because he is not as off-putting as those raging men of the past, these experts say.

The most striking hallmark was Mr. Trump’s constant repetition of divisive phrases, harsh words and violent imagery that American presidents rarely use, based on a quantitative comparison of his remarks and the news conferences of recent presidents, Democratic and Republican. He has a particular habit of saying “you” and “we” as he inveighs against a dangerous “them” or unnamed other — usually outsiders like illegal immigrants (“they’re pouring in”), Syrian migrants (“young, strong men”) and Mexicans, but also leaders of both political parties…


I'm not sure is what is worse, that Trump is a big a huckster as he is, or that Americans are stupid enough not to be able to see through these techniques. I am leaning towards option 2. After all hucksters have been around since Eve first fucked over Adam. But Americans are supposed to be smarter than this.

It's going to be a hell of a year.

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Aug 27 2014

One of my pet peeves……..

Published by under Time wasters

I am sorry it’s been a long time between posts. I was on travel to the US, partly for business and partly to see my son. The business days tended to be long and involved and when I got back to the room-between drinks, dinner, binging on Netflix and doing my courses-something had to go by the wayside. So that is not a good excuse-but it’s the truth.

Now I’m back in Germany-but only for a short while till I begin a trip I have been planning for some six months, a voyage back to the promised land of Japan. It’s been 4+ years since I have set foot in Japan, 2.5 years since I set foot anywhere in Northern or Southeast Asia. To say I am more than a little excited about it is an understatement.

So as I prepare to drop off the grid for a while ( about 2 weeks to be accurate) I wanted to do a quick post on one of my biggest pet peeves: e-mail. Or rather, people who complain they don’t have enough time to get through their e-mail. I had the misfortune of hearing two Lieutenant Colonels whine and complain about how they spend so much time dealing with e-mail, they don’t have enough time to get anything else done. Since one of those same LTC’s seems always to find 1.5 hours for a mind numbing staff meeting each week-and another 1.5 hours each day for a workout, ( and the other one is always dealing with child care issues-welcome to the modern world) I know for a fact that this is utter bullshit.

 E-mail is the curse of our generation and those that are yet to come. Yet, I think some of the complainers really don’t know how bad things were in the “good old days” of OCR printers and messages, message diary entries, and messages that had to go all the way to the CO for signature. You have amazing tools at your disposal to deal with e-mail these days-it disgusts me when you don’t know how to use them.

 It especially makes me angry when I hear a flag officer complain about his e-mail load. What that tells me, is that you don’t know how to delegate responsibility to subordinates-and more importantly, you don’t know how to :1) read for content and context and 2) scan and sort necessary e-mails from trash. As an O-7 in a modern military, you should be able to do better.

I get between 75-100 e-mails in an average workday on two different networks. I am almost always able to work my way through the pile in relatively short order in the morning and before I go home at night. I do long for the days of yesteryear, when I could use POP mail to drop into my e-mail accounts at night while drinking beer, but thanks to events of the last few years that is impossible to do. The key is understanding a few fundamental rules about e-mail, and for that matter, about work in general. So I provide these rules and suggestions for your consideration.

Rule #1: Not everything is worth doing to perfection. Some things are worth doing only good enough and others are not worth doing at all. The trick is to know which is which.

For e-mail the corollary would be-not every e-mail needs to be answered. And those that do, do not always have to be answered by you in writing. Phone calls are quicker.

 For my two LTC friends above, they have the double curse of being grammar and word Nazis-added to the idea that they subscribe to the notion that we have what I call, “Twitter flags”, e.g., Admirals only have a little time so you can only give them the bulletized version. I think that is total crap.

Rule #2: Outlook is a powerful tool, IF, you will learn how to use it.

Here is an example. I have a coworker who says he hates the “preview pane”. With all due respect, he’s an idiot. The sorting rules and preview pane of Outlook are your friends not your enemies. Especially the preview pane. I use it religiously and have my outlook set up with calendar on the right of the preview pane. I make it a point to scan through all my new e-mail using the preview pane first-then I go back and read in detail the ones I judge to be important. I scan paragraphs quickly-not necessarily to read for total comprehension, but to scan for warning flags of things that are dangerous and need to be responded to.

And here is an adjunct rule-if you have a secretary, or a chief of staff or exec, they better be trustworthy enough to read your official mail and you should have no qualms about sharing your inbox with them. Three sets of  eyes can spot warning flags better than one. ( Caution if you do this, have some checks and balances and fire the person that does not safeguard the contents.) Lots of times they can alert you to something you missed, or in many cases they can take actions on your behalf.

Rule #3: Action and CC lines mean different things. If you are not an action addressee on a e-mail, give thanks, take note of an e-mail and move on. Come back to the e-mail if you need to later.

Rule #4: Start at the top of the pile and work your way down. That will help you resist the urge to respond immediately, which is usually never a good thing. You will also generally find out that a problem has worked itself out without you having to intervene at all save for reading about it.

Rule # 5. For writing replies-see rule #1. If it is really important, and you have the luxury to have subordinates “ghost” the reply, let them do it. Its good training for them.  But if you do this-be a man and ask them for the desired text only. Don’t be one of these flag officer pussies who insist on having the whole e-mail including addressees laid out for them. That wastes time. There  is a word for flag officers who make subordinates create an outlook shell and then put addresses and text in that shell: morons.

If it’s just a minor matter that needs acknowledgement-then respond quickly, and move on.

Rule #6. Learn to use Outlook rule sets-and learn how to archive. Generally if an e-mail is over a month old, you don’t need it and you can archive it. This makes your e-mail inbox smaller.

Rule #7. Go see rule # 1. If you are a leader, e-mail should be a small portion of your day. If you are spending too much time on e-mail, you are in over your head.

Trust me-these rules work. I am a big believer in managing by walking around, and I refuse to get chained to my desk all day. I also believe in things like Blackberries, and letting people work from home, or at least have access to e-mail at home to the max extent possible. I know some people hate these ideas-but I am the kind of person who works best in spurts. Having the BB with me, allows me to pace myself and do more productive things. I am not a slave to my Blackberry. It is a slave to me.

Thus endeth the rant for today. 

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Jun 03 2014

Sideshow Bowe

It is with sad and undisguised disgust that I watch the collective conservative freak out of the release of SGT Bowe Berghdahl, the only prisoner of war held by the Taliban. In the early morning of June 30, 2009, Berghdal went missing from his unit's small outpost in Mest, a restive area in Paktia province. Within several hours, radio chatter from the Taliban indicated that they'd captured the soldier.

He spent the next five years in captivity, growing gaunt in the numerous propaganda videos that the Taliban trickled out to the press. On numerous occasions, they publicly threatened him with execution. Many Afghans and some Westerners in similar positions had been tortured, decapitated, or shot to death.

This passed weekend he was released by his captors in exchange for 5 prisoners being held in the concentration camp prison in Guantanamo Bay. And then the hounds of hell came rushing loose from the caves of the Glibertarian Kingdom.

And who was leading the way? Princess Dumbass of the Northwoods and The Town Hall Harlot herself.  She is pretty much setting a record for hysterical posts screaming about the man, which is a lot considering that this little specimen of female self loathing is always hysterical about something. But in this case-she has her well oiled plagiarism machine working till all hours of the night.

Over on Facebook or any of the normal blogs its no better either. The ranting is especially virulent. It runs along a consistent set of themes:

1) Obama negotiated with terrorists.Which is an interesting whine considering it simply makes him well, President, and is doing the same thing that Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush did.

2) Second, he released some bad guys.  People say he should not have done that. However, as the Christian Science Monitor points out-they were going to have to be released soon anyway:

But dealing with people you find odious – your enemies – is how most wars end. And with the US set for full withdrawal from Afghanistan at the end of 2016, the prospect of a crushing defeat for the Taliban is pretty much nil. Getting POWs back, whatever the circumstances of their capture, a crucial goal.

Did Obama just swap five dangerous "terrorists" for Bergdahl, as Sen. Cruz alleges? It depends on your definition of "terrorism."

Four of the five men released into Qatar's custody, where they are supposed to remain for at least a year before being allowed to return home, were indeed senior members of the Taliban movement. The Taliban have been seeking the release of the five in exchange for Bergdahl since 2011, and there had been fitful progress in that regard, with Qatar acting as a mediator, since at least 2013.

Outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai has sought in recent years to find a reconciliation deal with the Taliban, and the release of the "Guantanamo Five" has been a part of those efforts.

 

Boo fucking who. The guy is home and that is the main thing.

3) And of course now we come to the real turd in the punchbowl-the guy is alleged to be a deserter. Soonergrunt over at Balloon Juice addresses this in a quite logical fashion:

I don’t know if SGT Bergdahl voluntarily walked off his camp and surrendered to the enemy or not. Just because a few fellow Soldiers in his unit say that doesn’t make it so. The most powerful communication system in an Infantry company is what we used to call “S-5–rumor control.” I’ve never been in a unit that wasn’t essentially a knitting circle with automatic weapons. Young Soldiers, for whom boredom is an almost constant companion (punctuated by moments of sheer terror) can give the most catty junior high school girls’ clique a run for their money. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily wrong, but I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in it without some corroboration. So I’ll hold off judgment on that. It’s also been brought up that he supposedly sent some emails to one or more people expressing doubts about US military actions. So did I. So have a lot of guys who then went out and did the very best they could do for their buddies and their country. It’s irrelevant anyway.

We’re getting out of Afghanistan, and the treaties to which this nation has repeatedly pledged itself require that we release Prisoners of War and repatriate them home. Taliban are distinct from Al Qaeda in this respect because Taliban could be considered the government forces of Afghanistan (whether legitimate, loved, respected, or not) while AQ isn’t anything but a bunch of thugs under international law. So this idea that we gave up valuable prisoners for one guy and that makes it a bad deal is bullshit on its face. We were going to release them. We were REQUIRED to release them under international law that we largely wrote. Whatever intelligence value they had was long since wrung out of them, in some cases literally. One of them had laid down his arms and pledged to work with the new government of Afghanistan prior to the Pakistani government taking him prisoner more as a propaganda tool and removing a potential political problem than anything else, I am given to understand. So we got something we wanted for doing something now that we would have done in a few months for nothing anyway. That’s not exactly brilliant poker, but it was pretty well played.

We don’t leave our people behind. That’s an Army value. The people ranting about this whole thing either don’t understand or don’t care about that simple concept. Whatever SGT Bergdahl may have done or not done, we don’t leave our people behind. If it hasn’t already, the Army will shortly start a 15-6 investigation, so called in reference to the Army Regulation that describes such things. You’ve probably heard the term “Board of Inquiry.” They are essentially the same thing. When the Army has concluded what the circumstances of SGT Bergdahl’s capture and captivity were, then they’ll make some decisions, but I’ll just note for the record that US POWs have rarely been punished for their actions or inactions while in enemy hands. Many, many of the POWs in Viet Nam, including John McCain signed documents created by their captors confessing to war crimes and indicting their fellow POWs and the US. Former CW4 Michael Durant, taken prisoner by a Somali warlord after being shot down in the battle of Mogadishu (Blackhawk Down) made problematic statements to a TV camera that were subsequently shown around the world. None of these men were ever subjected to disciplinary action upon repatriation to my knowledge.

So I’m glad that SGT Bergdahl will be reunited with his family, at long last.

David Graham over at the Atlantic points out much the same thing-pointing out too, that Obama made clear that he was not going to be bound by a stupid Congressional obstacle if it conflicted with his powers as Commander in Chief.  So much for the "he broke the law argument".

Obviously there is going to be an investigation. The Army will make a decision one way or another. And it will have to weight all the factors including what he suffered in captivity.  And somehow it will have to prove its case in court, if it has one. Personally,  I think all this public outrage is doing the defense attorney's job for him-it will make it impossible to prosecute, even if the Army did want to.

Clearly, however, the collective stupidity shown by all the usual suspects makes me wonder about how screwed up the land of my birth is becoming. Everyone needs to chill the f*ck out and remember this little tidbit of advice:

 

 

Nuff Said.

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Apr 30 2014

Vindication!!!!! In other words, today, I was proven right after all. The feeling is marvelous!

Yesterday and today were really good days for me-even though I had just gotten back from a long drive back from Berlin. ( Pictures and narrative to follow).

As you get more seasoned in a profession ( read older), there comes a time when you know you are right about something. Its not a case of having a difference of opinion-and they took another guy's opinion over yours. Not at all. Its that frustrating feeling of knowing you are right, being able to prove you are right, and having to endure the sheer frustration of not being able to convince the people you need to-because of one's position, (or lack of position), lies told by the other side, or just a simple unwillingness to believe-because empire building is too much of a priority to do the right thing.

Usually, you just have to come to terms with it and move on-and bide your time to hopefully wait out the change agent. However, sometimes events come together in such a way, that you get to see your arguments proven right beyond a shadow of a doubt.

And you get to utter those most satisfying of words: " I told you this was a screwed up thing to do. I warned you it would not work and would cause problems-but you refused to listen to me. And now , as I predicted, you have failed."

Because contrary to popular belief-I know how to run organizations, and I know how to lead people. I also know how to do things the right way and can recognize when important administrative things are being blown off or simply ignored. You do you your best, you bide your time, look for an escape route-or pray for divine intervention.

And yesterday, in a completely unforeseen turn of events-the miracle happened.

The big bosses met and decided that we were right, the "efficient merger" was neither a success or very efficient. In fact one big boss finally stated publicly what we already knew privately-the train had gone off the tracks several months ago. We needed to stop before someone got really hurt. Today the big boss said it to the assembled group-making it more than official.

So tomorrow-the stupid merger will be officially "un-merged". The shotgun marriage from hell has been annulled. Seeing as how it was never consummated, and /or, never based on first principles-it was not a hard thing to justify.

"Yes it appears as if you were right, all along."

Yes I was. This is not my first time to the rodeo,  cowboy.

cheeky

yes

Tomorrow will probably be a return to the routine mendacity of work, but last night, as I sipped my Scotch on the porch, I felt a very contented glow.

These moments don't come often in life-and of course- I truly expect payback to be a bitch. But as Scarlett said, that is for another day.

Today its all about those wonderful words: "I told you so!"

Because I did.

Thanks be to God.

 

 

 

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Dec 31 2013

New Years Eve

Published by under Time wasters

Well that's a trip that can be wiped off the books. We arrived in Lisbon nicely, got our car and arrived at our hotel: The Palace Hotel in Estoril. Where I have always wanted to stay, given that it is in "The Winds of War" by Herman Wouk. Its the place where Bryon and Natalie spent their wedding night, Leslie Slote got to watch the only woman he ever really loved-get married to someone else. And the chain of events began that catapulted Natalie into the hands of the Nazi's.

As and aside, it was also the inspiration for a few of Ian Flemings Bond adventures-evidently there was a lot of Cold War Intrigue at the Hotel.

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And I have lots more to tell. But unfortunately, the night we arrived-I felt fine when I went to bed. At 3:AM I woke up violently sick, barely making it to the bathroom in time. This continued for the next 6 hours off an on-and by 9AM rolled around I was considering going up to the roof and throwing myself off it and not caring whether I missed the pool or not. I spent the ensuing day in bed and a part of the next one. Only started feeling better on Monday on the way home.

Today I have been on the couch, nursing my strength-which is a lousy way to spend New Years,

So I will have a more thoughtful missive later when I can stand it.

As an aside-the hotel is REALLY nice. I just saw too much of my bed and not enough of Lisbon.

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Dec 22 2013

Feeling some deja vu

Yesterday the S.O. had to work. So of course, I got tasked with filling a shopping list from hell. Which was really OK, I needed to restock on beer for the Holiday anyway-and I am still not to the point that I have tried every beer in the getranke markt. So into the car I jumped.

The morning had started as many German mornings in winter do-with thick fog. But once it burned off, the day was glorious. As I spun the VW out onto the B-464 road with its great diesel acceleration, I marveled at the view before me. The ever so typical rolling farmland here, and the ever so GERMAN view of the buildings.

In many ways, Stuttgart is just like shopping mall. Same issues-shopping malls are the same pretty much, but the architecture of the houses here is drastically different. And thus, it just looks and feels different to my American senses. There is of course the fact that the signs are in a different language, which after two years I can read well. ( I also have become reasonably proficient again in the German language, as I proved to myself when I made our restaurant reservations all in German yesterday. Its the small victories that count).

As the car unwound, I savored the real beauty of the day. The sun was out, it was not too cold, and the traffic was unusually light. The music playing on the I-Pod was Rod Stewart. :Maggie May.

 

 

For some reason that song always makes me nostalgic-makes me think back to the world of my time in High School when the song was relatively new. The bulk of my life was ahead then-and what a glorious life I imagined it would be! I knew I wanted to go into the Navy. I knew pretty much by then I would attend a military college. I was going to fly! Those were things that mattered. I was going to be a pilot!

Now as it turned out, more than a few detours ensued subsequent to those days-and perhaps that is why the song strikes a chord with me. The line "I wish I had never seen your face" applies to the ex wife and others. The tone of missed opportunity in the song is interesting to me. I can always listen to it with a combination of melancholy and resigned acceptance.

And as came up to the exit to head to the Westerhof ( the recycling center, a weekly chore the S.O. and I fight over who will do), I reveled in the fact that despite the best efforts of the evil man, to subjugate me to his program, and his stupid vision for my life-I had prevailed. "I'm still here you greasy bastard!"

And that, guaranteed it was going to be a good day. Living on my terms is indeed the best revenge.

Happy Sunday!

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Aug 27 2013

Buzzword Bingo

I came across this article the other day about the slide into jargon that the military and so many Amercian businesses have gotten into. I think Mr. Marr has a point. In the article below-he mentions the worst offenders. Several drinking games come to mind seeing this list.

By Bernard Marr

 

 

I reckon every office or workplace has one of those people that are just

full of jargon-ridden management drivel. Does this kind of 'management

speak' remind you of someone at your work place: "Before going forward we

have to touch base and reach out to our key stakeholders so that we can

drill down into the key issues that are not yet on our radar and catch the

low-hanging fruits…"

 

Are you surrounded by people who annoyingly can't get enough of the

management gobbledygook and who utter one jargon buzzword after another? Are

your meetings buzzing with so much management lingo that you find it hard to

get to the real meaning of what is being said? The problem I have with these

phrases is that they sound so pretentious and often are counter-productive

because they irritate people so much and deflect from the real meaning.

 

Below are my top 30 most irritating and overused phrases we hear at work. I

am sure you have others that you can add to this list. Let's make it the

most comprehensive list of unnecessary management drivel ever – Please add

your ones using the comment field!

 

For me, these are my top 30 most irritating jargon phrases and words used at

work:

 1.Going forward

 2.Drill-down

 3.End of play

 4.Touch base

 5.It's on my radar

 6.No brainer

 7.Best of breed

 8.Low hanging fruit

 9.Reach out

 10.Dive deeper

 11.Think outside the box

 12.Positive momentum

 13.Execute

 14.Milestones

 15.Run the numbers

 16.Touch points

 17.Keep your eye on the ball

 18.Back to the drawing board

 19.Get the ball rolling

 20.Bang for your buck

 21.Close the deal

 22.Leverage

 23.Shift paradigm

 24.Move the needle

 25.Game-changing

 26.Move the goal post

 27.Value added

 28.Win-win

 29.Across the piece

 30.All hands on deck

 

What do you think? Do you agree? Are these the most irritating phrases?

Please let me know which ones you would add to this list!

 

——————-

 

Bernard Marr is a best-selling business author and enterprise performance

expert. Make sure you click 'Follow' if you would like to hear more from

Bernard Marr in the future and feel free to also connect via Twitter,

Facebook and The Advanced Performance Institute

 

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Dec 14 2012

So how was my day at work?

Published by under Time wasters

Oh you know, the usual delights. What was the number of that truck driving school again? There are some days I really envy truck drivers.

When I was back in the US in DC-I met a lot of people who have jobs just like mine. They have the extra down side of having to live in DC. I at least have decent train service and better beer.

So I've got that going for me.

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Oct 16 2011

Meanwhile, up on the sixth floor……

Published by under Time wasters

The program managers have their weekly conference with the Director of the 223rd worst place to work in the Federal government:

Dilbert.com

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