Archive for the ‘blogging traffic’ Category

Housekeeping: Thank you to those who have already taken the opportunity to self-define their blogs. Those responses are currently in the comments and will be added right underneath my reviews once I: get a few more and finish out the list. They will also be added to the website page once that is compiled.

Thank you also to those who have been understanding and those who have sent comments of encouragement and approval – I really appreciate them.

NO thank you to the folks who didn’t send in instructions to my wife to get naked.

and finally – my best wishes to all of you during the coming New Year.


There are some 28 review blogs beginning with the letter S; not surprising as we’re dealing with a double whammy with that letter. It is both one of the most popular consonants in the English language, and the initial letter in Science Fiction, Sci Fi, SyFy, SciPhi, SpecFic, SpecLit and SF (which does not stand for San Francisco).

I’ve entitled this post as part 1, anticipating that I will not make it through all 28 in one sitting – but I might depending on how the morning goes; today’s laundry list of tasks includes the laundry (we rent and must, therefore, endure foraging trips for quarters as well as establishing temporary encampments at the local lint factory), puffing up my courage and selecting a couple of short stories to send in to SFReader.com’s story contest (deadline is today), call the attorney (minor stuff – as well as wishing him and his a happy New Year) and draft a response to the response from my book distributor friends for the paintball book coming out in 2009. (That won’t take long, their changes/requests are very minor and well-within the confines of the deal I was hoping to make with them.)

And, as predicted, we have another winter storm gently floating to the ground and freezing all over everything. Which means I’m pretty much stuck indoors (or at least have an excuse to be stuck indoors).


Sandstorm Reviews: Wide ranging (crime, history, SF, fantasy) and infrequently updated. Appears as if this blogger is trying to make time to blog but just can’t find it. Probably not.

SciFiChick.com: She has a new puppy! (Cute too – the puppy I mean. Oh, what the heck, SciFi Chick is pretty cute too. So sue me for the sexist remark.) Mostly television and film, news and links, but book reviews, mostly of an SF and fantasy nature, as well. Without the puppy – not sure. With the puppy, it’s an add.

Sci Fi Wire: Already monitoring this one. Has an annoying tendency to launch videos that you can’t turn off. A creature of SkiffyTube. Commercial and obviously so. Sometimes has breaking news, but usually follows the better news sources like Locus, BoingBoing, Signal, etc.

SciFiGuy: Not Bill. Doug. From Canada. Good grounding in classic SF, but is conentrating on urban fantasy just now. Nice layout and concept – features and author, a work and provides lots of background, supplementary material. Add

Sci-Fi Fan Letter: Bookseller. Long interviews with selected authors. Currently on fantasy. Mmmm. Probably….

Sci-Fi Songs: Probably THE most unique review blog on the list and will be added for that reason alone. Reviews music and ties it in to science fiction; also covers his own singing/songwriting efforts. Interesting and fun.

The Sequential Rat: What is it with the rat thing? Oh, after reading the “About’ over here, I have my answer. You’ll have to visit to find out for yourselves. Graphic novels are the focus here, right now particularly crime and horror and crime/horror. Probable add as I need to learn more about graphic novels (beyond what Watchmen and Dark Knight taught me).

Severian’s Fantastic Worlds: Begins with Gene Wolfe’s contention that “all literature is fantasy”; true to its self-description of being eclectic, devoted to writing, other things of interest (to the blogger) and reviews of both the fantastical and the mundane. Maybe an add. My counter quote for Wolfe would be: “anything not science fiction (or fantasy) is mundane”.

SF Diplomat: A blog that “has run its course”; permanently mothballed according to the author, who has gone off to do more film-critiquing elsewhere. Won’t be adding the flying insect deterrent.

SF Gospel: Author’s blog (author of The Gospel According to Science Fiction). Well, here we go with the mixing of genres once again. Although I must say that I didn’t feel drowned in biblical quotations, only that McKee (author) simply looks at everything through a theological lens. His view on Science Fiction, as quoted on Amazon is that “The main goal of SF is to show us how we can face the future and overcome the new challenges that our changing world may develop.” a contention that is arguable (but won’t be argued here). Well written and apparently well-researched, nevertheless the focus is one that I personally find – A: confusing and B: on a par with analyzing everything through a Freudian lens, Campbellian lens or any other affectation you might care to impose. But it is a well-presented argument for this point of view. On a slightly more picky note – the review of The Day The Earth Stood Still contains some inaccuracies that detract from the overall comparison of the two films (Klaatu was never allowed to speak to the UN in the original) and, if the director (Wise) says he was not deliberately engaging in re-writing christian parable with that movie, we’ve got to take him at his word. I will continue to point out the scene in which Klaatu reads the laundry tag with the name Carpenter on it, almost looks into the camera, smiles wrly and then throws it away as evidence that cast and crew were aware of the possible connection and deliberately denied it, in the film. But then that’s me. McKee’s point of view is intriguing enough that I’ll be adding this one, even if I’ll probably disagree with just about everything in there.

SFReviews: Ooodles of reviews, covering everything SF. Can’t fault a reviewer who gives 5 stars to Asimov’s Foundation trilogy – even if I think short shrift is given to Niven. Add

SF Revu: Blogazine. Covers – everything. Seems to be released as a monthly issue with archives. Add (but then, I’m adding all the free e-zines)

SF Signal: Oh Sf Signal. First – if they gig one of your entries, be prepared, since you’re gonna be seeing a lot of traffic. Next – their Mind Meld feature (asking a bunch of folks from the field to respond to a particular issue) is legendary, fun and informative. Reviews equally so and their TidBits (capsules of the day’s genre news) more often than not, scoop everyone else. If you had to pick one (free) genre news source/blog, this is the one. I just wish they’d pick on me every day, or at least once a week, instead of about once every month. Oh – already added.

SF Site: Home of the folks who maintain the F&SF website/forum, several author pages and hosts it’s own kinda-bi-monthly ‘magazine’ with reviews, interviews and articles. Lots of good stuff and already added.

SFF World’s Book Reviews: book review section of a lively forum that I regularly frequent. Wide selection of reviews by numerous reviewers (many of whom frequent the forum, where further discussion ensues). Already added.

Silver Reviews: A site hosted by the aforementioned SFSite. Hosts a book reviewer’s webring as well (probably worth checking out given the current subject) HUGE number of reviews archived, along with a nice little graphical index to such things as awards, nominations and etc. Covers other media in addition to literature (oops, I mean, ‘written science fiction’). Add.

OK for today! Tomorrow should see me wrapping everything up (once again, apologies to our foreign language friends; I’ll go through them and any I can understand I’ll review, but those I can’t…)

I will be fixing my rss feed link on the new version of the blog; traffic there is now achieving parity with the old blog, which means that at least some of you are going there (thank you!).

One more mention of sending in your own description of your blog – please, I think between my look-see and your own description, folks will be able to find everything they are looking for) and

even though I am guilty of this myself – think about adding a little more info to your “About” tabs…

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Be Safe and Be Well!


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EDIT: 1:37 PM 12/29/08

Jackie, from Literary Escapism, got in touch and, in a very friendly manner, pointed out that A: I had linked to a post rather than the blog itself (here is the correct link) and B: pointed out that I had hit the site during a slow period, one that is not truly reflective of the normal review content found on the site.

I was then asked (in the nicest way possible) why I had chosen to not add that blog to my blogroll.

Let me point out that an add to my blogroll is not like getting a Hugo or a WFA or Nebula – it won’t put anything up on your mantle and it certainly won’t put any dollars in the bank. On the other hand, I can understand why not getting the ‘nod’ might cause some a bit of concern, or generate a bad feeling (who the hell needs more negatives these days, right?) or cause someone to shout out ‘well then fuck you too!’.

I deserve the ‘hey, he added my blog – thanks!’ as well as the ‘fuck yous’ and I accept both as my due for the hubris of believing that I could take a look at everyone else’s blog and render a judgement – even though I’m not trying to be judgemental.

All I’m really saying in this coverage is ‘hey, I took a look at this blog and here’s what it’s all about’. This gal over here is covering things I’m interested in, that guy over there isn’t – but he might be talking about stuff you are interested in.

The ‘add/no-add’ thing is nothing more than a window into the world of the things I’m interested in. The old fogey’s world of pre-1985 “pure” science fiction (in all its stripes).

Jackie did what anyone ought to do, and few actually get around to doing: Asking. A simple question. “Why?” You may not like or agree with the answer, but at least you’ve gotten one. To my mind, an answer of some kind is far better than the formless void of ‘?’

A long time ago I learned that well-intentioned criticism really is well-intentioned. I’m still working on learning (emotionally) to accept it as such and in that regard I suspect that I’m very much like most other people. But I have absolutely learned to accept the idea that if no one is criticizing – no one is paying attention, and that, my friends, is the worst circumstance of all.

I have taken Jackie’s word and have amended my ‘not likely to add’ to ‘add’, not only because I want to encourage the kind of communication, willing acceptance of criticism and the willingness to ask that has been displayed, but also to demonstrate that these ‘reviews’ are not hard and fast statements of fact, but are instead another form of the give-and-take, constant learning experience that blogging in particular, and the internet as a whole, ought to be.


Today I reach the half-way point – at least so far as the alphabet is concerned. But first:

A few people have pointed out to me that for some reason, the links to my blog default to the WordPress hosted version, rather than to the self-hosted version.

The ‘free’ (wordpress hosted) version is identical in content to the other version, but I am not able to do as much there as I am with the new one.

And, crassly commercial as it may be, I’ve been offered a few advertising gigs by aggregators if the traffic over at the self-hosted version was up to the level of the wordpress hosted version.

I’ve tried a few different ways to get people to switch their links and feeds over to the new version – begging and pleading, linking the follow-on of posts, more begging and pleading, to little or no effect.

So once again I will beg and plead and request that you call check the link to my blog in your feed-reader or on your own blogroll and make sure that the link is to www.rimworlds.com/thecrotchetyoldfan.

Thank you in advance for your indulgence.

And, kinda along those same lines, I’ve noticed that a lot of visitors are clicking through to the various blogs I’m reviewing and checking them out for themselves – which I appreciate and I’m sure those other authors appreciate as well. My objective here is not to critique the various blogs and sway people one way or another, it’s simply to put a little commentary on all the blogs featured in the meme in one place.


The Galaxy Express: Focused on the concision of romance and science fiction. Lot’s of folks linking here, and lots of links to other review sites, writer sites and etc. Nice list of authors compiled by decade (SF) and an apparent supporter of the ‘romance has lots of money, SF ought to cash in’ theory. Irregular posting as the author is doing a lot of guest blogging. I won’t mention tentacle manga again. This one is floating on the maybe bubble.

Galleycat: General news of a literary nature – particularly publishing, publishing debates, e-publishing and etc. Good insider info. Add

The GamerRat: RPGs of an SF and fantasy nature. Looks pretty new. Unprobable add (I’ve stopped playing RPGs, Will Wheaton hasn’t.)

Genre Reviews: Cats, romance, SF, horror and the personal. Some commentary and links to goings on in the publishing world as well. Short and fast. Probably won’t add.

Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review: Already on my roll. Mostly fantasy – and lots of the goings on on other blogs as well.

Grasping for the Wind: Add. This is the blog that started this whole meme mess. Lots-o-stuff and well-written. Add (with a ‘duh!)

The Green Man’s Reviews: blogazine? in-depth reviews with a literary bent. A bit hard to navigate – but nice graphics. Unlikely to be added.

Hasenpfeffer: (incorporated – thank you Laverne & Shirley) we hear from the Canadian Contingent. This is the blog of Canadian author Edward Willet. He is currently featuring the World War I memoirs of his grandfather – pretty cool. Also has coverage of the field – publishing, science etc. Add.

Highlander’s Book Reviews: Decent reviews of a lot of material, currently mostly on horror and fantasy, but some SF in evidence. Most likely not an add.

Horrorscope: Welcome back to the land down under. Australian site focused on dark fiction (flipside here – is that horror read by candlelight?). The official blogazine for Australian Horror authors. Add – more for the Australian connection than for any real interest in horror.

The Hub Magazine: “weekly genre short fiction” it self-proclaims. The issues on the front page are slight on reviews, but no doubt they are a regular feature of this free fiction mag. Add – to keep track of the market.

Ink and Keys: Very infrequently updated blog of a ‘writer, reader and publisher.’ Other than ‘what I’m reading now’ mentions, no reviews in sight. Unlikely to be added.

IO9: No love lost here. Snide, snarky commentary, mostly directed at media SF/Fantasy and horror; IO9 comes across as if its mission is to act as the carnival barker at the sideshow that is the genre fiction community. Look at the freaks! Look at the freaks! Plays the game well – seems to be selective when including or not including links to source material based on – I guess – perception of how nicely or not-nicely the other site refers to them. I’ve been publicly critical of them – so you won’t be seeing links to COF over there, even if I’m the source. BoingBoing does this kind of thing much better – at least they don’t seem to hate the genre they cover. Sometimes inaccurate as well. On the other hand, if you feel a desperate need to laugh at what you love and get a taste for how non-genre types regard the genre, by all means, check it out. You can always slit your wrists later.

Jumpdrives and Cantrips: Please Note: if you are linked to this site, they have changed their location and you might want to update your links. In-depth musings on SF and fantasy. Currently featuring a review (one down) of Disch’s Camp Concentration. Add.

Lair of the Undead Rat: Mostly horror, but some whimsical television show reviews as well. Graphic novels and movies as well. Unlikely add due to horror concentration.

League of Reluctant Adults: Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Fantasy writers group blog. Totally insane – and I love the title. Add.

Literary Escapism: Tough to tell exactly what this one is; front post is the reviewers meme, and a host of pingback ‘comments’. Other pieces are short, sometimes reviews of mostly fantasy. Currently a slow time for this blog and it will be picking up again in the new year. Add.

Michele Lee’s Book Love : Writer Michele Lee’s book reviews – dark urban fantasy. Mmmm – not sure. Again, most recent post is the reviewer’s meme.

The Mistress of Ancient Revelry: Reviews by a library’s ‘reader’s advisor’ – covers a wide range and personal too. Most likely an add.

The MIT Science Fiction Society: Add, add, add. MITSFS is an institution. Lot’s of reviews by people who know what they’re talking about.

Monster Librarian: A guide to horror fiction FOR LIBRARIANS. Not into horror, but I will be adding this as it will be a good resource if and when I want to/need to get into than genre.

More Words, Deeper Hole: given the vocabulary – a scientists blog – short entries of things that interest the author and might be of interest to other SF fans who like to get things right. Probable Add

Mostly Harmless Books: Just about equal parts fantasy, SF and rambling; interesting commentary on re-reading books read as a child. Almost at the probable add level – almost.

My Favorite Books: Book-a-day-giveaway (for UKers only) and very, very short promos, more than reviews. YA, fantasy, horror, probably some SF further down. Unlikely, since I don’t live in the UK…

Wow, halfway done (alphabetically at least). Once again – two notes: please update your link to my site if you have linked to it and make sure that you’re linked to the rimworlds – more feature rich (and pine smelly too!) version and

if you’ve got a problem or issue with anything I’ve said about you (or a friend) – don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’m not doing this to be negative, I’m doing it to be informative – while, admittedly, not always watching my tongue. I don’t mind apologizing if I’ve been wrong – and I don’t mind learning something new that I might have missed, so don’t be shy!

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First – sorry for no posts yesterday. I seriously doubt that there’s anyone waiting breathlessly for me to pop up on their little screens, but apologies anyway. My fingers hurt from creating too many links (yes, yes, I’m still working on the literature page of the Classic Science Fiction Channel), and I got totally swept up in watching the political crapola on tv.

Now to meet Blogdesk.

I wanted my blog to be hosted on my own site so that I could more easily change the look, archive materials more easily, play around with things I ought to know more about (CSS, PHP, etc) and offer advertising. The original version of the site had acquired enough traffic, subscribers and a high enough page ranking to make some folks interested, so I wanted to take advantage of that.

Unfortunately, I botched the move (leaving subscribers wondering which version of the blog new posts would be appearing in) due to issues with my installation of wordpress and, despite having finally acquired a stable incarnation of the blog on my server, it doesn’t appear that most folks have changed over their feeds (is that my fault for not doing something I should have?): traffic on the wordpress hosted version of the blog remains high and the new, self-hosted version is getting maybe a fifth of that traffic.

I then decided that since we live in the electronic era, there had to be a way to post to both versions of the blog simultaneously (seamlessly); two for the price of one.

I researched several different programs (shareware, freeware, opensource, etc) that supposedly offered this option and eventually settled on Blogdesk. It allows me to write the way I’ve become accustomed to, gives me WYSIWYG, the ability to add images (and apparently other formatting options which I’ve not bothered to check out yet) and was the easiest to install and get working.

But here’s the interesting part to me: I actually had to edit a php file in order to get it to work with both blogs – and I did so successfully.

It wasn’t a big deal; try to post, read the error log, edit the appropriate file with dreamweaver, upload, read the error log, edit the file…

That may sound worse than it was – I only had to do two edits, one recommended on the Blogdesk forums and the other one I figured out myself.

Had a couple of more edits been necessary, I’m sure I would have been out of my league and I would have gone searching for something or someone else to solve my problems.

But it does seem that a little new knowledge is managing to seep through and I’m feeling more confident about playing around with this new-fangled code stuff. Confidence remains high – as long as I remember to make a backup file of the original so I can un-do my ham-handed fixes that don’t work.

The addresses for the two versions of the blog are:

https://crotchetyoldfan.wordpress.com (original flavor)

http://rimworlds.com/thecrotchetyoldfan (new original flavor)


SF content of this post? None – lol. Well, actually, since this allows me to post SF stuff, that ought to be good enough.

I’ll have more posts later on today – there’s a bit of a resurgance of interest/PR for Classic SF out there today on the uber SF blogs that I’ll be talking about, and I want to get another look at Skiffy Tube’s SF Purity Rating, not to mention reminding you all that TDTESSTWTOMD Day is fast approaching!

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Traffic is creeping back up to pre-fubar levels (yay!) and several smaller targeted advertising companies have expressed ‘decent’ interest in having the blog participate in their ad programs.

Despite the slow down, I’m still on track this month for doubling monthly traffic two months in a row. I’m not at 10,000 unique visits per day, but things aren’t shabby either.  The google page rank is holding steady at 5 which, if you go by that measure, puts the blog at least one point over most others out there (not counting the monsters that are 7 and up in that).

I’m on the last stage of updating the pulp magazine image pages.  Check this out:

There are 378 individual titles listed in the checklist, ofwhich I have 349 images.  In putting this section together, I’ve assembled:

349 small images on a single page (the checklist page)

349 large images on 7 gallery pages

140 ‘history‘ pages that contain anywhere from 1 to 20+ small images each (of related magazine titles)

links amongst all of the various presentations.


You can spend quite a bit of time in there checking out the different mags and their history.

The paintball website is now solid, back up and humming.  Finally.

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Please note: I was late this week on calculating out Skiffy Tube’s SF Purity Rating for the week and discovered, much to my dismay, that their website program schedule entirely drops a previous month’s info once that month is over.  So I had to start fresh which means that the rating now runs weekly from Thursday to Thursday.

It is at its LOWEST point EVAH!


I’ve noticed that a lot of the blogs/sites that I follow have been posting things like ‘google page rank’ and ‘most popular posts this week’ kinds of things, so why the heck not?

My Google Page Rank is now a 5 (woo hoo!).  This is most likely due to the massive amount of attention that my Most Popular Post This Week has generated (nearly 1000 unique visits per day for the past 3 24 hour periods woo hoo! woo hoo!).

That entry would, of course, be: Harlan Ellison (obliquely) comments.

This level of traffic will of course not be sustained, but if the past is any indicator, some folks will stick (welcome!), increasing the overall readership over time.

Speaking of Page Rank – here’s a short list of SF oriented sites and their current rankings:

IO9 – 7; SFSignal – 5; File770 – 4; BoingBoing – 8; Scalzi’s Whatever – 5; SFCrowsnest – 5; SFSite – 6; Enter the Octopus – 5.  Several others either do not have a page rank listing or are not indexed.

I’m in pretty good company.

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PZ Meyers at Pharyngula linked to Charlie Stross’ blog (he’s friends with John Scalzi who mentions him a lot in HIS blog, lol) and Charlie linked to my rant that included Harlan Ellison’s rant about UCLA students not knowing the story of the Emporer’s New Clothes and

comments are up and traffic is WAAAAY up.

Naturally I’m in the middle of the longest streak of inactivity that this blog has ever experienced.

There are a host of interesting tangents here and I’ll take just a couple of seconds to lay a few of them out:

the above is illustrative of the ‘long tail economic theory’.  My original post on the subject was written more than a month and a half ago.  Now it finds a new market after having just sat there for a while doing nothing.  “Throw it out there, stuff will stick”

Charlie ranted about Constitutional bankruptcy here in the USA, a and others in commentary raised the spectre of the coming coup – pointing out the training of US combat troops for domestic duty (contravening posse comitatus) and legal provisions put in place by the Bush Admin for the declaration of martial law.   I’ve been speculating about that for at least 4 years now.  It’s quite interesting to see a wild-ass ‘feeling’ you guardedly expressed to a few close friends reach out and gain at least some degree of legitimacy on the blogosphere.  Someone looking closely might want to study military appointments/firings/resignations over the past three or so years.

Of course if something nasty does happen, I’ve probaly just written my arrest warrant.  Fortunately, people like Charlie Stross don’t let fear of future consequences keep them from speaking truth as they see it.  Way too many old saws about failing to speak up for me to use one of them now, but remember that they have become cliche BECAUSE they are so apt.

I’m enjoying the pro ‘old generation’ comments immensely, and particularly pleased that there seem to be quite a few from people who at first glance would appear to be whipper-snappers.  Intelligent views are not generationally derived.

Quite a bit of ranting about Sarah Palin as ‘yet another sign of the impending collapse of western civilization’.  Best comment I heard so far was from a blogger interviewed on tv (no name, sorry) who said that the really scary thing about her was not that she doesn’t have coherent answers to questions, it’s that she doesn’t understand the question!

Alaska ought to be ashamed of itself.  (Maybe that’s why it wants of secede?)

and now I’ll go back to the really busy stuff I’ve been working on for the past week and hope that another sleeping blog decides to wake…

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I recently signed up for the new beta of 42blips, a technorati-like ‘vote for your faves’ type community specifically for SF related blogs.

So go on over there and vote for me.

I’m now in the process of “claiming my blog” by pasting some invisible code into this post, per their instructions. 

If you can see the invisible code, then it’s not working.

This is all in support of the quest for more traffic and attracting advertisers.  Unlike my past successful efforts in this regard (a web site that sold ads directly to customers), I’m trying to learn all about the Google Adsense, Ebay & Amazon affiliate and other related programs.

I’m operating under a ‘specific niche’ model in that regard and trying to follow all of the rules and suggestions from people who claim success with that kind of thing.  Time will tell. 

I have earned some money already from Google – not enough to crow about, but it does indicate that at least a few people came to my site, read some content, clicked on an ad and actually purchased something. 

As I’ve pointed out to others when it comes to internet advertising, most of the metrics used for evaluation are pretty meaningless.  Number of impressions? Could be billions and matters not if no one buys.  Click thrus? Matters not unless someone buys.  Conversions? They only matter if the revenue compensates for all the previous expenses.  ROI is the only number that really counts.

Here’s what I mean.  You have two sites, each advertising for the same client.  One site has massive amounts of click thrus, and lots of purchases for low-cost, low margin items.  (The ad is attractive, the product not so much.)  The other site has far fewer click thrus and only a single purchase – for say, $100,000 worth of product. 

If you owned a car dealership, which salesperson are you going to keep?  The one who sold two thousand pine scented air fresheners last month, or the one who sold, for cash, two Hummers?  The first sales person could justifiably point to ‘thousands of sales’, could make a good case for future business, could point to steady sales and could easily denigrate the other’s ‘low sales volume’.  The second sales person could point to profit, total dollars and the lack of ‘stickiness’ on the part of the other’s customers.

If all you’re doing is looking at traffic and sales totals, you may be missing out on that opportunity to get that 100,000 sale.

SF Content of this post?  Ummm – 42Blips, duh.

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