Quality and Update Cycles Beyond Logos 6

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Posts 1993
Donnie Hale | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 22 2015 6:42 PM

Eli Evans:
But yes, we certainly hear you that the on-board help documentation doesn't live up to expectations.

Thank you very much for replying directly to this question. I think we're all looking forward to details on your plans and the results, slow (to us) as they may seem to be in coming. ;)

Thanks again,

Donnie

Posts 1111
Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 23 2015 1:11 AM

I don't like the idea of Subscriptions: I don't want to rent resources. I like to pick what i need and then get the best use out of it. 

Note: After the last upgrade to L6 Standard & Reformed Platinum which is on the payment plan. I am very happy with the new L6 added resources, and the new Features

I want to be careful about other items. 

L4 Bible Study, L5 Reformed Bronze, & L5 Gold, L6 Platinum & Reformed Platinum, L7 Platinum, L8 Baptist Platinum.
2015 rMBP 15" 2.2GHz 16GB 256GB SSD, running macOS Mojave   iPad Mini 4,   iPhone 6.

Posts 738
Kevin A Lewis | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 23 2015 1:50 AM

Lee:

I don't like the idea of Subscriptions: I don't want to rent resources.

I agree - I don't want to rent (at least normally)

But do bear in mind that "subscription" does not implicitly mean "renting" - the journal example is particularly apposite in this regard - an annual subscription allows for the "purchase" of the years issues. (at least in the physical publication world). I know this may often be different in the world of online electronic publications - the point I'm making is it doesn't have to mean that.

Shalom.

Posts 3771
Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 23 2015 3:46 AM

Bob Pritchett:

Faithlife teams secretly works on new product with previously un-imagined features and data sets we invented. We quietly test ideas on each other and some customers, and come up with a plan and release date. The release date is chosen long in advance and (now that we're big and complicated) becomes set in stone, because hundreds of people, data, licenses, contracts, vacation schedules, baby births, and big-budget expenses are all coordinated against it.

The team works super-hard, has to cut some favored features and content, and sometimes has to choose to ship something incomplete for future delivery (new Atlas maps) or to cut the feature, because the date is set. The team also has to build many features in an environment with limited user-feedback. Sometimes the data set is being shaped by the act of creating it (cultural concepts) -- some of these things are so new we don't know what they'll be like and how they'll work when we're done.

Since there has been a snowballing effect ever since Logos 4, could it be also that the "dream" gets over-ambitious and Faithlife takes on too much at a time? It certainly looks that way to me. Making promises that are not quite kept would seem to align well with this happening. Having a great vision is good but delivering on one's promises is what gives a party "a good name". 

Bob Pritchett:

2(b). We hear that "I never by point-zero releases -- they're always buggy" and "it's too soon -- I can't afford an upgrade yet" and others are just not paying attention / are in no hurry. (75% of regular users.)

[update with fixes and improvements ships]

3. Another 25% start upgrading while the first 25% send in 'bug reports'. Many of these are good, useful, and 'real bugs'. Some are clearly our fault (bad coding, rushed release, inattentive editing). Others are good, useful, 'real bugs', and the fault of the latest Microsoft / Apple OS release. (Too often our release coincides with one of theirs. Probably because we all like the same pre-Christmas release dates.) Others are good, useful feedback that isn't really a bug, it's a misunderstanding of scope or intention. This feedback helps us improve descriptions, documentation, or even change a feature or data set.

[update with fixes and improvements ships]

4. Strategic-disagreement ensues. :-)  "Why would you release something so buggy / unfinished / poorly-document / unexplained / not-what-I-expected-at-this-moment." [tiny fix ships] "You should have waited a year till it was right." [tiny fix ships] "I don't want an upgrade every two years, I want an upgrade every three / four / ten years." [tiny fix ships]

There may be a naturally occurring and across-the-board dynamic of this kind with all new products, but I am sure that this happens more with products that are not as well finished and less with those that are. And even if that were not the case, the real question is not whether this is an unavoidable occurrence but whether in the case of Logos, it is exacerbated by the sacrifice of quality control and the accepted standard of what is a market-ready product. 

How can it be said that 1) having read the feedback about quality of data and code in recent threads, we are right (your words) and then go on to say 2) it's unavoidable and cyclical? 

Bob Pritchett:
Everything is getting more complicated. Sometimes a bug is a bug. Sometimes a bug is a financial or logistical constraint that forces a difficult choice.
 

Agreed and understandable to a certain degree. The boundary line is when complication is compounded by taking in more than can be reasonably and responsibly well handled. 

Bob Pritchett:
We couldn't make any thematic maps until the background was right, and that took a lot longer than anticipated (lots of reasons), and we realized we wouldn't have all the maps done by the release date. Question: Do we ship what we have, knowing we can ship new maps at a rate of several a week (roughly) until they're all delivered, or do we pull the feature and just not have a new Atlas feature in Logos 6? It would actually take more work to reverse the new Atlas, change the marketing, etc., but we probably would sell just as many upgrades / earn as much revenue without this one feature.... We decided to ship it and deliver more maps after release. (That's ongoing.) Is this a bug, or a feature we're delivering over time that you're glad to have when it's ready? Or should we have stopped the whole process and delayed launch by a few months to let Atlas catch up?

I feel presented with a false dichotomy. If this was a question that pertained to only one feature of Logos, it would be worth considering. But when the datasets are all given without adequate documentation, tags are unusable, visual copy is all over the map, atlas is not ready (to mention just a few) one starts to wonder when the question of poor planning comes into play. I question neither intentions nor hard work. I am persuaded that everybody worked very hard especially as the release date approached and are enthused about the potential of the features they work on. But this does not negate the possibility that the planning was poor and again, most likely that you took on too much at a time and found out that you could not deliver. I know you want to "wow" us. And there certainly is a "wow" factor in Logos, but flies have a way of taking away from the otherwise delightful fragrance of perfume. 

Bob Pritchett:
We have 45,000 books; LCV is on dozens, and Cultural Concepts is on about two dozen of four-dozen key books we have identified. (Though it could arguably be useful on even more.) Question: Is it a bug that Cultural Concepts aren't applied to Pliny's Letters yet?

Yes, it's a bug (irony alert). After all, this is what we really care about right, Cultural Concepts in Max Lucado! The better question is the fact that ever since the topic browser of Libronix 3 was taken out and the LCV approach was promised in L4, we have kept running after it. There have been good advances and certainly the topic guide, factbook and datasets have made great advances there well beyond what the topic browser could do. But it has taken that many years and 3 major upgrades to only get now to the point where we can see some of this promise delivered. In the meantime, we have had to make do.

Returning to Pliny's letters, it is clear that the ever-expanding Logos library constitutes a great challenge when it comes to tagging. The allusion to Max Lucado had a point: set from the start the parameters of application of a dataset and make it part of the advertisement. Don't say something that may make anyone think that all resources should be expected to be tagged with cultural concepts. Do say: cultural concepts in Bibles. In the future, we hope to expand to (a reasonable, reachable goal defined by a set family of resources, for instance those included in the ancient literature dataset). Instead of coming up with a new dataset, market the expansion of the dataset! (Logos 7 = cultural concepts in all ancient lit. dataset resources). Pliny would then find its place there, whether it has no place at all for the time being (nor Max Lucado, even if there may be customers who think he should). But more importantly, customers expectations are set right. We will be happy when we get promised cultural concepts for all Bibles and get exactly that. Why? Because we would not have had that before, would not have been promised more and therefore had NO EXPECTATION. We'd be free to just enjoy our gain. We may "suggest" expanding but would not complain that it is not elsewhere. On the other hand, grand and insufficiently qualified promises do lead to disappointment and complaining. And certainly "not working" or not documented does not work either.

Bob Pritchett:
We can't make everyone happy

Again true enough, but not a catch-all excuse either. To the extent that you address specific niches in your marketing (e.g., Academics), you have to cater to their needs accordingly. In this precise case, it means tools of "professional" grade.

Bob Pritchett:
We're not going to retreat to three or four year release cycles.

I would not pretend to know what length of cycle is best. I am good with it if, as you say, it is priced accordingly. BUT each version should deliver on its promises, not be another step toward reaching goals that ever remain ahead of us. Make the goals reasonable and deliver them for each cycle in order to fulfill what was promised to those who purchased that version.

Bob Pritchett:
More communication. (It seems like that's the solution to most problems...)

Yes, with qualification. It helps, but it does not supply for unusable tags. Also, while I appreciate the conversations and communications, I believe that communication has become too complicated as a reflection of the problems discussed above (taking on too much, lack of delivery at release, too many bugs, incomplete data, etc). As a concrete example, release notes are a good piece of communication, but at the same time, there are so many bugs fixed in each release that it is a drag to keep track of where things are at. Too much going on results in information overload. And there is too much going on. And in the end, it would be a pity for employees to be spending all this time discussing problems instead of having them fixed in the first place or now. 

I would suggest also that the limits of the forums be taken into consideration as well. The forum is a mess. One can easily miss important pieces of communication. Perhaps blogs would be better for that or a newsletter? Also, as has been pointed out before, bug reports fall between the cracks on the forums.

Concerning subscriptions and rentals

This can serve the needs of some (for instance, students using textbooks). If I may venture to caution a bit there: what is becoming standard is not necessarily all good. The media explosion is out of control and its implications are rarely worked out before new formats, new ways of doing things, new gadgets pass into broad use. Don't be in a hurry to conform "to the industry" if your ultimate goals are not the same as and more discerning than that of "the industry" (which is profitability). 

I don't have anything against these proposals intrinsically as long as indeed, they don't displace good old straightforward ownership. Yet as I am reading of more proposals on your part, even bundled together with discussion of the rampant problems that are already here, I can't help but think SLOW DOWN. Same reaction when you asked what features we want in Logos 7.

I don't think I can summarize all of these concerns any better than this exhortation: slow down. That's my two cents, for what they're worth.

Posts 3771
Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 23 2015 4:02 AM

Eli Evans:
I'd say it's less inadequate and more B-A-D -- "broken as designed" -- right now, so fixing it is going to mean going back and re-checking some of the philosophical decisions that got us to where we are.

Eli Evans:
We've shared this thread around internally, and we're eliciting ideas from lots of different quarters for how to do better in order to serve you better.

YesYesYes

Posts 468
Charlene | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 23 2015 11:41 AM

Francis, what you said above in your response to Bob's post was excellent! I agree.

Charlene

Posts 2589
Lee | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 23 2015 11:51 AM

Yes Hear, hear!

Posts 1721
LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 23 2015 2:17 PM

Francis:
could it be also that the "dream" gets over-ambitious and Faithlife takes on too much at a time?

You are correct. We are over-ambitious, and I believe we deliver more value in each release than we really need to. I think Logos 6 would have been a great upgrade without several of the new features. But because we want to deliver more cool stuff, and are reluctant to pull things that are almost done and have great promise, it sometimes takes time for things to stabilize.

But maybe that balance of new stuff / stability is slightly off right now -- so we're adjusting it.

Francis:
set from the start the parameters of application of a dataset and make it part of the advertisement

That's a good idea, and we're going to work on doing just that.

'Tagging' seems to be a big complaint, which I understand to be missing links to other books, to bibliographic references, etc. (Let me know if I'm misunderstanding.)

This is probably the ultimate example of where our large library leads to issues: the books in our base packages sell in the many thousands of units. Most other books on pre-pub sell 100-800 units. You'd be amazed how many sell just a hundred or so.

I was recently emailed by a user who is upset that a set of books lack links to inline bibliographic references. e.g. "(Smith, 1984, p. 37) or -- worse -- (Jones, 1993)". These are indirect references to the bibliography that follows -- you have to find the next bibliography (at the end of the chapter, if there, or at the end of the book) and then find the reference to Smith's book from 1984, and then make that inline reference a link on the p. 37, or to the whole book.

This is more difficult to automatically tag than things like "John 3:16", and takes a lot of back-and-forth look-up even for human taggers. (And it's error-prone and a bit fragile.)

We have never intentionally supported this reference style. We only supported putting biblio identifiers on whole-book references back in 2009. (Previously we only linked to books we already had, with hard links, or to canonical reference schemes.) While we may have in some cases tagged these short references, they weren't planned or budgeted for -- they were on a list for 'future support' as our biblio data type resolution improved (depending, as it does, on a server-based dynamic lookup of bibliographic information).

The user emailing me has a collection of books that are very important to him, and which he's reading carefully. The lack of links on these short references is frustrating him, and 'failing to deliver on the promise of the Logos system.' But the books in question were produced in 2007 -- before we tagged any bibliographic links -- sold few units (in other words, he may likely be the ONLY user in the world reading them right now), and have a large number of never-tagged short-references. (Which means it's a huge amount of work, raising the cost, and which also means that even once we DO link them, most of them won't resolve to a book we have in the system.)

And that's a complaint about one resource in a library of 45,000, 20,000 of which (?) were produced more than 5 years ago -- in Libronix days, when we promised dramatically different functionality and supported fewer things.

I'm not trying to make an excuse; I apologized to the user for our deficiency, and asked the content production team to move this book (and the related volumes) higher in the re-cycle queue.

But I am trying to provide an explanation.

Maybe this will help: The default prioritization of resources comes from sales count. So every new tagging methodology is applied to (relevant) resources in Starter, then Bronze, then Silver, Gold, etc. Books in base packages are available to the most users, and we start almost every data project by doing the books in the base packages first.

Then we do the most expensive titles for which the new tagging would add real value. (You'll see Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary get attention before more obscure titles, for example.)

The 're-cycle' queue for maintenance is affected by number of requests, typo reports, and a combination of sales/price/subjective opinion on the value of the improvements.

We'll try to make these lists most explicit and public in the future.

Francis:
To the extent that you address specific niches in your marketing (e.g., Academics), you have to cater to their needs accordingly. In this precise case, it means tools of "professional" grade.

I have a professional grade hammer, and it is perfect. It is free of bugs and defects and performs its job flawlessly.

I have a professional grade laptop, and it is far from perfect. You can imagine the frequent issues, performance problems, and petty frustrations.

My laptop does a lot more than my hammer, though, and I use it much more often, and appreciate it a lot more. I am confident that if they started eliminating functions and scaling back their ambition to do too much that they could get a laptop to the same standard of professional quality as my hammer. 

In fact, I have a laptop computer that meets the same quality bar as my hammer. It's a smaller computer that does less, but does it quickly and reliably. It never drops a wifi connection, never fails to boot, never crashes, never needs to download or index... doesn't need to be charged each day and takes little space -- it's perfect! It's a calculator!

I just don't use it often...

Okay, so I got carried away with my example. :-)

It has always been a balancing act, and I agree that right now we need to scale back what we've been doing and give more attention to thoroughness, catch-up, and quality control. But I'm also explaining why we aren't going to swing all the way back the other way, pursuing perfection at the price of serving only a tiny (happy) audience. There are other calculator-like products that already serve that niche; we're the laptop. 

Posts 19307
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 23 2015 2:27 PM

Bob Pritchett:

Francis:
could it be also that the "dream" gets over-ambitious and Faithlife takes on too much at a time?

You are correct. We are over-ambitious, and I believe we deliver more value in each release than we really need to. I think Logos 6 would have been a great upgrade without several of the new features. But because we want to deliver more cool stuff, and are reluctant to pull things that are almost done and have great promise, it sometimes takes time for things to stabilize.

The point is not to pull things out that are almost done because that would be "delivering too much"; the point is to not start on too many big new things at once. Even pulling things out that aren't done yet can introduce instability.

It sounds like you are getting the message. Ratchet up your emphasis on stability and take a longer time to do the new stuff right. Place a slightly higher emphasis on going back to add tagging in old resources to take advantage of all the new datasets (but no need to go overboard on that).

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 23 2015 2:59 PM

Rosie Perera:

The point is not to pull things out that are almost done because that would be "delivering too much"; the point is to not start on too many big new things at once. Even pulling things out that aren't done yet can introduce instability.

Part of the problem is that when a project is started that requires some kind of tagging, the scope of the problem can be very amorphous. I am sure when Logos began the versification mapping project, for example, no one would have correctly estimated the number of maps needed. And I am still finding mappings they handle poorly (see Esther 1 in the NJB) because they had neither the JB or NJB in hand when they designed the mapping. The trick is to deliver discreet portions with a reasonable timeline for completion (deuteron-canonicals to Bible Facts was not reasonable), the lack of Jewish/Catholic/Anglican terms in the LCV is not reasonable.

The other part of the problem is getting the right people in the room for initial design e.g. the sermon section was designed based on a very erroneous assumption that generally sermons are on one defined passage. This holds up only for churches not using a lectionary - for them the standard sermon covers multiple passages and is best described (in machine extraction terms) by liturgical date. My nagging on this point has finally paid off.

As customers we need to realize that the tools of our dreams BSL, Case Frames etc. need to be viewed as a dialogue of small steps where Faithlife proposes, users oppose (okay, point out design flaws and usability issues), Faithlife revises and adds a bit, users complain ... The basic issue is that seminaries, their professors and the general user has not rethought exegesis in light of modern technology. I've been thinking a lot about "revisioning" an interlinear recently ... if I'm found dead blame GeorgeWink ... and have been amazed at how little of modern translation tool thinking and formatting has been brought to the issue. Am I sounding like Denise here? Geeked

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 1359
Edwin Bowden | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 23 2015 3:34 PM

Bob Pritchett:

Maybe this will help: The default prioritization of resources comes from sales count. So every new tagging methodology is applied to (relevant) resources in Starter, then Bronze, then Silver, Gold, etc. Books in base packages are available to the most users, and we start almost every data project by doing the books in the base packages first.

Then we do the most expensive titles for which the new tagging would add real value. (You'll see Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary get attention before more obscure titles, for example.)

Bob,

I assume that is the explanation for why Hastings 5 vol. Dictionary of the Bible has not made any progress in CP since it was announced as a part of the Diamond/Portfolio/Collectors base pkgs.

That set has been sitting in CP for many years. When I saw that it would be included in the 3 largest (most expensive) pkgs users could purchase, I assumed those additional users would be added to the existing bids to move it from CP to pre-pub, Unlike regular CP titles, those customers have already PAID FOR the set that is still sitting in CP.

This is not the first time that Logos sold pkgs with products that were not delivered for a long time after they were paid for.  

I love Logos. As a large, fast growing organization, stumbles sometimes happen along the way.

Keep striving for excellence.

Posts 33433
Forum MVP
MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 23 2015 4:26 PM

Edwin Bowden:

I assume that is the explanation for why Hastings 5 vol. Dictionary of the Bible has not made any progress in CP since it was announced as a part of the Diamond/Portfolio/Collectors base pkgs.

In general when a package is sold with a product included which is also in CP, the product is released within a month or two of the package's release - released first to those who own the package causing great confusion on the forum for those who've bid on the CP. Then it is released to those who have CP or Pre-pub rights to it. The only cases I know that did not fit this pattern were non-English works that ran into unexpected production problems. This seems to be independent of the LCV coding Bob is speaking of as they have a history of releasing first without the LCV coding and rereleasing an updated version when the LCV coding is complete.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 11433
DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 23 2015 4:55 PM

Wow.  I better clear the credit card decks for all the CPs that are about to hit.  I checked mine earlier and noticed I've only a few that aren't in 'base packages'.  Let's see ... 1 or 2 months .... hmmm .... December, January.  Oh my.   Actually, I hope indeed the packages force the CPs to come up for air (especially Lightfoot's commentary).  I'm sure they'll be top quality.

MJ ... would be interested in your visioning on interlinears when you get far enough along.  Mine, which admitedly would benefit few, is a popover on maybe 'sense' or the gloss, which would use either Rick's analytical (where he breaks out usage), some type of semantic break out, or even a quick translational distribution. I think you did that on your notes idea.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 23 2015 5:40 PM

Will do.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 1110
EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 23 2015 5:59 PM

Bob Pritchett:

'Tagging' seems to be a big complaint, which I understand to be missing links to other books, to bibliographic references, etc. (Let me know if I'm misunderstanding.)

This is probably the ultimate example of where our large library leads to issues: the books in our base packages sell in the many thousands of units. Most other books on pre-pub sell 100-800 units. You'd be amazed how many sell just a hundred or so.

I was recently emailed by a user who is upset that a set of books lack links to inline bibliographic references. e.g. "(Smith, 1984, p. 37) or -- worse -- (Jones, 1993)". These are indirect references to the bibliography that follows -- you have to find the next bibliography (at the end of the chapter, if there, or at the end of the book) and then find the reference to Smith's book from 1984, and then make that inline reference a link on the p. 37, or to the whole book.

This is more difficult to automatically tag than things like "John 3:16", and takes a lot of back-and-forth look-up even for human taggers. (And it's error-prone and a bit fragile.)

I totally get the problem with adding links to older resources that have a relatively limited customer base. I wonder, though, if there might be a way to support user-submitted links for resources like that. They might not be as reliable as curated links, but by tapping the community it could improve those resources for everyone while at the same time giving users an outlet for their frustration.

Posts 19307
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 23 2015 6:24 PM

EastTN:
I totally get the problem with adding links to older resources that have a relatively limited customer base. I wonder, though, if there might be a way to support user-submitted links for resources like that. They might not be as reliable as curated links, but by tapping the community it could improve those resources for everyone while at the same time giving users an outlet for their frustration.

I have long thought this could be a partial solution to the problem of missing links.

Yes

Posts 1993
Donnie Hale | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 23 2015 6:36 PM

Rosie Perera:
I have long thought this could be a partial solution to the problem of missing links.

A variation on this, or at least explaining it as I would think of it, is "community links." Rather than crowd-sourcing the links by submission to Logos and awaiting resource updates, follow the pattern of community tags and community notes. Directly apply the crowd-sourced community links to open resources (assuming they're enabled, etc.).

I have all "community" features disabled everywhere right now. I would enable this and be a source of submissions if this feature existed.

Donnie

Posts 33433
Forum MVP
MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 23 2015 6:42 PM

I would be surprised if we don't see community tags used in this way.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 1110
EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 23 2015 6:59 PM

Donnie Hale:

A variation on this, or at least explaining it as I would think of it, is "community links." Rather than crowd-sourcing the links by submission to Logos and awaiting resource updates, follow the pattern of community tags and community notes. Directly apply the crowd-sourced community links to open resources (assuming they're enabled, etc.).

I think that's a great idea.

Posts 19307
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 23 2015 7:22 PM

Donnie Hale:
A variation on this, or at least explaining it as I would think of it, is "community links." Rather than crowd-sourcing the links by submission to Logos and awaiting resource updates, follow the pattern of community tags and community notes. Directly apply the crowd-sourced community links to open resources (assuming they're enabled, etc.).

Yes, I agree with EastTN. Great idea! Yes

MJ, I wouldn't like to see community tags overloaded with this (though they could be used this way), but rather as Donnie suggested have it be a separate feature (community links) which could be turned on/off independently of community tags. I too would be very likely to use and contribute to this, though I haven't found community tags to be all that helpful yet.

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