QA Graphic
June 13, 2024

Macintosh 8600/200

Information about my old Power Macintosh computer

8600-200

In the late 1990s, I purchased a Power Macintosh 8600/200 as my first PowerPC computer. I remember buying it through my company and getting a slight price break. I placed the order shortly after I started working there, and the CIO had to approve the sale because I was still a new employee.

This was one of my favorite computers. It was fun doing all sorts of video and graphic work. I did some programming, but most of the time, I was decoding VHS tapes and playing around with Photoshop.

When I left California, I donated the computer to Oakland Schools because I wasn't using it much and it would have taken up valuable space in my car. Fun fact: this is the only Macintosh computer I have ever parted with.

Here are some interesting specs from my computer:

Computer Specifications

  • 200-MHz PowerPC 604e microprocessor
  • 32MB of RAM, expandable to 512MB via 8 DIMM sockets
  • 256K level 2 cache on DIMM socket
  • Internal 2GB SCSI hard disk
  • Integrated Iomega Zip drive
  • Three PCI expansion slots compatible with PCI 2.0-compliant cards
  • S-video input and output connectors
  • Mini jacks for stereo audio input and output
  • 24-bit video input and output

Apple's Technical Information Library

If your profession demands a high-performance, expandable computer that's optimized for complex work with media and other demanding tasks, choose the Power Macintosh 8600/200 system. This high-performance computer includes built-in video-in and video-out capabilities in an innovative new design. It includes features that make it an ideal choice for in-house publishing, media authoring, and technical applications. And because its processor is mounted on a removable card for easy and inexpensive upgrade to faster processor cards (as available), you can protect your investment for the future.

The new tower design of the Power Macintosh 8600/200 provides incredibly easy system access for upgrades and servicing, new security features, and a built-in Iomega Zip drive for fast, easy storage or backup. In addition, built-in near-broadcast-quality video-input/output capabilities, high-resolution graphics, an AV-capable hard disk drive, a 12x-speed CD-ROM drive, and CD-quality stereo sound add vitality to professional projects and--with Apple's QuickTime software--make media authoring easy.

The three industry-standard Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) high-performance expansion slots on these systems let you customize them easily to meet your needs more precisely. You can find PCI cards for a variety of uses, including graphics, storage, and high-speed networking. And if you want to use your Power Macintosh 8600/200 to run MS-DOS and Windows applications as well as software written for the Macintosh, you can install a PC Compatibility Card from Apple in one of the PCI slotsÐand switch instantly between computing environments. In addition, connecting your Power Macintosh 8600/200 computer to an Ethernet network is easy because it includes both AAUI and 10BASE-TO connectors.

Today, more and more computer users are discovering the wealth of information and communications resources and opportunities offered by the Internet. The Power Macintosh 8600/200 makes it easy to get involved in this rapidly expanding community, because it comes with all of the software you need for easy Internet access.

The Power Macintosh 8600/200: exceptional performance for media authoring or any work with video, audio, or graphics--to enhance your creativity.

Features

High performance

  • 200-MHz PowerPC 604e processor
  • Built-in Iomega Zip drive
  • Built-in floating-point processor and 64K cache
  • 256K level 2 cache on a DIMM
  • Built-in graphics acceleration

Communications and multimedia

  • 64-bit VRAM graphics subsystem
  • Two high-speed serial ports compatible with GeoPort and LocalTalk cables
  • 12x-speed CD-ROM drive
  • 16-bit stereo audio input and output
  • 24-bit composite and S-video input and output
  • Support for speech-recognition and text-to-speech capabilities
  • Optimized for QuickTime Conferencing software

Expandability

  • Removable processor card allows easy upgrades
  • Three industry-standard PCI expansion slots
  • SCSI connector for hard disks, CD-ROM drives, and other SCSI devices
  • Internal expansion bays for additional storage devices (3.5-inch and 5.25-inch)

Compatibility

  • Includes 10BASE-T and AAUI Ethernet connectors
  • Supports Open Transport networking software (TCP/IP and AppleTalk)
  • Runs 680x0 Macintosh applications as well as applications accelerated for Power Macintosh computers
  • Reads Mac OS, Windows, MS-DOS, OS/2, and ProDOS floppy disk formats
  • Runs MS-DOS and Windows applications via optional PC Compatibility Cards
  • Comes with all of the software required for Internet access

System 7.5.5 software

  • Makes working with different applications consistent, so they're easier to learn and use
  • Allows easy customization of your Macintosh to reflect the way you work
  • Provides active assistance in learning new features with Apple Guide
  • Includes MacLinkPlus file translation software from DataViz

Ordering Information

  • Power Macintosh 8600/200: Order No. M5453LL/A

Power Macintosh 8600/200 computer with 32 MB of RAM, a built-in 1.4 MB Apple SuperDrive floppy disk drive, an internal 2 GB hard disk drive, an internal 12x-speed CD-ROM drive, an internal Iomega Zip drive, and a PlainTalk microphone. Includes keyboard and mouse; system software version 7.5.5 or later; Internet access software; complete setup, learning, and reference documentation; and limited warranty.

Optional Enhancements

  • GeoPort Telecom Adapter Kit: Order No. M5438LL/A
  • PC Compatibility Card Solutions
    - PC Compatibility Card with Pentium 100-MHz processor: Order No. M4092LL/A
    - PC Compatibility Card with 100-MHz 586 processor: Order No. M4091LL/A
  • Apple QuickDraw 3D Accelerator Card - Order No. M4333LL/A

Product specifications are subject to change. Check with your Apple reseller for the most current information about product specifications and configurations.

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June 6, 2024

FontScan

System 9: Quick Font Identifier

Font Scan was a way to generate a reference page of all the fonts you had on your computer. This was a great way to easily pick the best font that works for your project.

I have multiple copies of the FontScan application, I guess I found the utility to be very useful for my needs.

Today FontDoc does the same thing, a bit quicker and has a lot more customizations.

Font Scan Dialog2
Dialog Box to select the fonts. (Remember the UI for System 9? )

Font Scan Font Display
Sample Output.

Font Scan Description

Check out the description by the developer. Also check out some of the terminology from 1994:

FontScan
by Peter J. Welch 1994

No more guessing what each of your fonts looks like when printed! FontScan is a program that will scan all of the fonts that you have installed in your System Folder and display an example of each. The display generated by FontScan can then be printed on any Macintosh or PostScript compatible printer or laser writer.

CAPABILITIES: FontScan can handle up to 500 bitmapped, TrueType or Type I PostScript font families and is completely compatible with the Adobe Type Manager (ATM). FontScan requires System 7.0 or higher and will work perfectly fine (albeit a little slower) when running in the bunds background.

RUNNING FontScan: When you run FontScan, you have the option of either displaying ALL of your installed fonts -OR- you can pick and choose from the list. More than one font can be chosen from this list by holding down the SHIFT key while making your selections. Shift-clicking on an already selected font will de-select it. You can also open font suitcases which are not currently installed in your system folder. Therefore, do not throw out FontScan after you've used it once because it will come in very handy when you obtain new fonts. You are also allowed to pick the point size of the font(s) to be displayed, which can be any value between 1 point and 72 point text. Finally, by selecting Options... in the Other menu, you can specify which string FontScan will use when displaying the fonts and whether music will be played when 39.11 the fonts are displayed.

OUTPUT: If you have the Adobe Type Manager (ATM) installed, make sure your font cache is set to at least 256K. If you are printing on a laser writer, select Page Setup... from the File menu, uncheck the "Font Substitution" box, click on the Options button and check the "Unlimited Downloadable Fonts" box. This will ensure proper display of your fonts. Please note that when you display or print a Type I font which is not installed in your system (i.e. by opening a particular suitcase), it cannot take advantage of ATM and therefore may appear a bit jagged. To remedy this problem, move the font and printer font files into your Fonts folder in your System folder. Finally, be aware that not all fonts (even the commercial ones) contain a complete character set. If no character is available for a particular key, FontScan will display tris either a blank space.

ERRORS: The most common errors associated with displaying a large number of fonts in one document is running out of memory, either your computer's RAM or the memory in the printer (if it has any). These often appear as "PostScript", "VM" or "Type 25" errors. If this occurs, make sure there are no other applications running at the same time and try quitting FontScan as soon as you've sent the output to the printer. If this isn't enough, and you can't afford to buy more RAM, try scanning just half of your installed fonts, print them, and then run the other half through FontScan.

SHAREWARE NOTICE: lam a starving graduate student and ask you to please support the Shareware policy by sending just $5.00 to me if you use this program. Please feel free to distribute FontScan as long as it is unaltered and this READ ME file is associated with it. Any comments, bugs or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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May 30, 2024

February 27, 1938

Default Computer Date is a Special Tribute

Recently when I booted up my "WallStreet" Powerbook G3, I noticed that the default date wasn't today, as the battery has long died on the computer. Instead the default date was set to February 27, 1938.

Wall Street Siegel Default

I thought the date was a bit weird.

I did some research and discovered that the date is a tribute to Herbert L. Siegel birthday. I am unsure if this is something that is built into the Powerbook G3 "WallStreet: or was it part of the original MacOS 10 code.

Herbert L. Siegel co-founded Action Computer Enterprise. He designed and built the very first multiprocessor computer.

Herbert L. Siegel Fact Sheet

  • Full Name: Herbert L. Siegel
  • Date of Birth: February 27, 1938
  • Place of Birth: Not publicly documented
  • Education: M.A. in Mathematics from UC Berkeley
  • Early Career: Programmer at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder, and Los Angeles County General
  • Significant Contribution: Co-founded Action Computer Enterprise (ACE) and built one of the first multiprocessors
  • Notable Achievement: The Discovery 1600, ACE's flagship product, was one of the market's first multi-user microcomputers
  • Legacy: Siegel's work on designing and building the first multiprocessor computer laid the groundwork for modern multi-core processors
  • Date of Passing: August 16, 2016

Herbert L. Siegel's contributions to the field of computing, particularly in the development of multiprocessing technology, have had a lasting impact on the industry. His innovative spirit and technical expertise have inspired many in the field of technology and engineering.

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May 23, 2024

System 9 Desk Accessories

Apps under the Apple

For those who grew up in the golden age of classic Mac OS, the Apple menu was a gateway to a world of functionality. Nestled amongst the familiar options like Control Panels and Favorites lay a hidden gem: Desk Accessories (DAs). These were lightweight mini-applications that offered a surprising amount of utility without the bulk of a full program.

DAs weren't exactly revolutionary ? they were essentially glorified pop-up windows. But in the resource-constrained world of early Macs, their compact size was a virtue. They loaded quickly, used minimal memory, and offered a convenient way to access essential tools without cluttering the desktop.

System9 Desk Accessories

What kind of Desk Accessories were there?

The Apple menu offered a curated selection of DAs, but the real treasure trove was the Desk Accessories folder within the System Folder. Here, you'd find a variety of tools, including:

  • Calculators: From basic arithmetic to scientific functions, DAs offered a quick way to crunch numbers.
  • Notepads: A simple but essential tool for jotting down ideas or reminders.
  • Alarms and Timers: Set reminders or schedule events with a quick click. Some DAs even offered a bit more pizazz with customizable alerts.
  • Rulers and Protractors: Graphic designers and artists rejoiced! These DAs provided on-screen tools for measuring and drawing.
  • Puzzle Games: Yes, even Mac users needed a break! Simple games like Tetris or Minesweeper were popular DAs for a quick mental break.
  • Third-Party DAs: Developers embraced the DA format, offering a wide range of utilities like language dictionaries, currency converters, or even address books.

The End of an Era

With the release of Mac OS X in 2001, DAs faded into obscurity. The new operating system introduced a more robust application model, making DAs feel clunky and outdated. However, their legacy lives on. The concept of lightweight, quick-access tools continues to inspire modern applications and applets.

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May 16, 2024

SoundApp

Awesome System 9 Sound Converter

For many of us who were Macintosh enthusiasts in the mid-1990s, the sounds of our System 7 computers hold a special nostalgia. From the iconic startup chime to the satisfying "whoosh" of the Trash can, these audio clips were a big part of the Macintosh experience.

But what happens when you want to revisit those sounds on your modern Mac? That's where SoundApp comes in.

SoundApp: Your Gateway to the Past

SoundApp is a nifty little application designed specifically for System 9 that converts old audio files into formats compatible with today's Macintosh computers. While System 9 itself might seem like a relic of the past, it's what makes SoundApp work its magic.

Here's the process:

  1. Fire Up System 9: You'll need a Mac running System 9, like the Powerbook G4 "Wallstreet".
  2. Copy the Audio File: Transfer the audio file you want to convert to your System 9 machine.
  3. Open it in SoundApp: Launch SoundApp and open the audio file.
  4. Convert and Transfer: SoundApp will convert the file into a playable format. You can then transfer the converted file to your modern Mac.

It's a bit of a process, but for those precious audio clips from the 90s, it's definitely worth it!

A Website Stuck in Time (But Still Works!)

Even more surprising is the fact that the original website for SoundApp, created by Norman Franke in 1999, is still up and running today! https://ccrma.stanford.edu/~jos/smac03maxjos/Sound_Examples.html This is a true testament to the enduring legacy of both SoundApp and the early Macintosh community.

So, if you're looking to revisit the auditory world of your classic Mac, dust off your old System 9 machine and give SoundApp a try. It might just bring back a wave of nostalgia along with those cherished sounds of the past.

Sound App Window

Here are some more technical information that I found about the application.

What Is It?

Ever download a sound file from the Internet and not know what to do with it? Want to create a sound file for your WWW site or to give to your PC friend? Sound App is the solution you have been looking for!

Sound App can play and convert sound files from a variety of computer platforms and in many different formats. It can be used with WWW browsers to play sounds as Sound App supports many more formats than any browser or other sound players

Sound App can play and convert from the following sound formats:

  • SoundCap (induding Huffman-compressed) and Studio Session Instruments
  • Sound Edit (inducing stereo, MACE-3 and MACE-6),
  • AIFF and AIFF-C (8-, 16-, 24- and 32-bit, MACE-3, MACE-6, IMA 4:1, p-law and QuickTime codecs).
  • System 7 sound and 'snd resource induding MACE-3, MACE-6, IMA 4:1 and p-law).
  • Quick Time MooV (soundtracks only, induding MIDI movies),
  • Sun Audio au and NeXT snd (inducing p-law, a-law, 8-, 16-, 24- and 32-bit linear, 32- and 64-bit foating point, G.721 ADPCM and G.723 ADPCM).
  • Windows WAVE (induding GSM-, IMA- and MS ADPCM-compressed, p-law and a-law, 8-, 16- and 32-bit linear),
  • MPEG audio (ayers 1, 1l and Ill, requires a PowerPC processor for playback).
  • Sound Blaster VOC,
  • Atari AVR induding stereo and 8- and 16-bit),
  • Many varieties of MODs, Scream Tracker 3 (SM), Multtracker (MTM), Impulse Tracker (IT).
  • MIDI (type 0, 1 and 2, inducing GS and XG; playback only).
  • Amiga IFFBSVX (induding stereo and compressed),
  • Sound Designer and Sound Designer II (induding split stereo),
  • Ensonia PARIS,
  • IRCAM (8- and 16-bit linear and 32-bit floating point), and
  • Psion Series 3 and EPOC 32 (Psion Series 5) sounds.

Don't know what those are? SoundApp does and will play them without you having to know!

What Does It Need?

Suick Time leagues secure c Time 2.0 Or greater, Maever, Ouck me 2 or to aer is come dedi ton, Playback of MIDI files using GS instruments with Quick Time requires Quick Time 3.0 or later. If you wish to play MIDI files using an extemal MIDI synthesizer, then Opcode Systems' Open Music System (OMS) MIDI driver version 2.1 or greater is required.

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May 9, 2024

Reminiscing About Scrapbook in OS 9

The Original Clipboard Manager

Scrapbook Logo
The Scrapbook "About" information.

Many of us with fond memories of the classic Mac OS might remember a handy little utility called Scrapbook. It was a digital treasure trove, letting you store text snippets, graphics, and even sounds for easy pasting into documents. But there's a common misconception floating around the internet: Scrapbook wasn't made by Light Software, it was actually a brainchild of Apple itself!

Debunking that myth is half the fun of diving into Scrapbook's history. Pre-dating the era of fancy desktops and overflowing clipboards, Scrapbook emerged in the early days of the Macintosh, way back in 1984. It belonged to a category of programs called Desk Accessories, or DAs for short. These were mini-applications that resided on the desktop, offering quick access to essential tools.

Think of Scrapbook as the original clipboard on steroids. It wasn't limited to plain text - you could store formatted text passages, colorful graphics, and even little sound effects or short audio clips. Need to insert your company logo into every document? No problem, just toss it in Scrapbook. Working on a report and need to reference a specific quote? Scrapbook had you covered.

Scrapbook Image
Sample Image that I had in my Scrapbook

Here's a quick rundown of Scrapbook's functionality in OS 9:

  • Store Anything and Everything: Text, graphics, sounds - Scrapbook handled it all, making it a versatile companion for various tasks.
  • Unlimited Capacity: Unlike a physical scrapbook, this digital one never ran out of space. You could stockpile clippings to your heart's content.
  • Drag-and-Drop Convenience: Need to insert a clip into your document? Simply drag and drop it from Scrapbook - a breeze for any Mac user.

Light Software: The Innovators Behind Scrapbook

The history of Light Software is as rich and varied as the features of Scrapbook itself. Founded in 1984, the company initially developed software for animation and rendering before the days of SGI workstations and graphics boards. Their innovative spirit led them to create Scrapbook, a tool that would become synonymous with digital scrapbooking for Mac users worldwide.

Mac OS X Changed Things

While Scrapbook served us well for many years, the tides eventually turned. As Mac OS evolved and multitasking became the norm, the need for a dedicated clipboard substitute diminished. Newer applications offered more robust features for managing clips, and Scrapbook faded into obscurity with the release of OS X.

Despite its departure, Scrapbook holds a special place in the hearts of many long-time Mac users. It was a testament to Apple's dedication to user experience in the early days, offering a simple yet effective solution for managing snippets and keeping our documents well-adorned.

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May 2, 2024

Macintosh 9: Finder: View as Button

Feature removed in MacOS X

mac O S9 About

Macintosh OS 9 stands as a testament to Apple's innovative spirit during the turn of the millennium. Among its many features, the "View as Buttons" option in the Finder was a unique and efficient way to navigate the Mac's file system. Let's take a stroll down memory lane and explore this legacy feature that made the Mac experience special.

Understanding "View as Buttons"

The "View as Buttons" option was a distinctive feature of the Macintosh OS 9 Finder. It allowed users to view the contents of a folder as clickable buttons, each representing a file or application. This view was particularly useful for quickly accessing frequently used programs and documents.

View As Buttons
Example of View as Buttons in the Finder.

The Aesthetics and Functionality

With "View as Buttons," each item in a Finder window was presented as a large, easy-to-click button, complete with the file's icon and name displayed underneath. This not only added a visual appeal to the interface but also made it incredibly user-friendly, especially for those who preferred a more graphical approach to navigation.

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April 25, 2024

Dual-1.42GHz Power Mac G4

My Powerful Computer from 2003

mac O S Leopard Header

In the realm of technology, where the new often eclipses the old at a breakneck pace, the Dual-1.42GHz Power Mac G4 stands as a testament to enduring value. This iconic desktop computer, which once sat at the pinnacle of Apple?s Power Mac line, continues to hold a special place in the hearts of tech enthusiasts and professionals alike.

A Powerhouse of Its Time

When it was released, the Dual-1.42GHz Power Mac G4 was a marvel of engineering. It boasted two 1.42GHz PowerPC 7455 processors, each equipped with the AltiVec ?Velocity Engine? vector processing unit and 2 MB of DDR SRAM level 3 backside cache. This powerhouse was capable of processing data at up to 21 gigaflops, making it a favorite among creative professionals for tasks that demanded heavy computational power.

Why It Remains Valuable

Fast forward to today, and the Dual-1.42GHz Power Mac G4 still has a lot to offer. Its ability to read PowerPC files is unmatched, providing a bridge to a wealth of legacy software and data that many modern machines simply cannot access. Moreover, the inclusion of FireWire ports makes it an excellent tool for interfacing with a range of audio and video equipment, a feature that is becoming increasingly rare in newer computers.

Dual Information

Five Things I Learned

That old Power Mac G4 with the dual 1.42 GHz processors? Believe it or not, that thing's still kicking after 20 years! Running Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) too. No powerhouse, but for some web browsing or older programs, it might just be the perfect little vintage machine. I have Photoshop CS2, Apple Sountrack2 and LiveType.

My computer has an unusual startup process. I need to unplug it from the power source, wait a moment, and then plug it back in before pressing the power button.

The computer's internal battery is likely dead. This is because the clock resets to January 1, 2000 whenever the computer is restarted.

I'm running into an issue where I can't access folders on my iMac despite it being updated to macOS 14.4. Interestingly, I can access files on my older Dual G4 from the iMac itself. This means for now, if I need to move files around, I have to do it on the iMac. It would be helpful to figure out how to fix the folder access issue on the main machine.

The only hardware issue I'm facing is with the DVD drive. Unfortunately, this is a bit of a problem because some of my discs are in HFS format, which newer operating systems can't read directly.

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April 18, 2024

Can Combine Icons

Remembering the Classic App

In the world of computing, customization is a form of personal expression. For Macintosh users, the classic application "Can Combine Icons" was a delightful tool that allows for a unique level of personalization on their desktops.

Can Combine Icons

What was "Can Combine Icons"?

"Can Combine Icons" was a Macintosh application that does exactly what its name suggests?it combines icons. This intuitive program provides users with a simple yet powerful way to customize their icons, giving them the ability to merge different images and designs to create something truly unique.

It was great way to personalize folders and Hardware icons.

How Does It Work?

The application presents a straightforward interface with three wells. The first well is designated for the 'folder' icon, which serves as the base or background for the new icon. The second well is for the 'symbol' icon, which is the image or emblem you want to overlay on the folder. The final well displays the resulting combined icon.

The Art of Icon Customization

With "Can Combine Icons," the possibilities are endless. You can take a standard folder icon and add your company logo, a personal photo, or any other symbol that represents the contents of the folder. This not only makes your folders stand out but also helps in quickly identifying them at a glance.

Why Use "Can Combine Icons"?

  1. Personalization: Tailor your Mac's appearance to your taste.
  2. Organization: Visually differentiate between folders and files.
  3. Efficiency: Save time by recognizing folders by their customized icons.
  4. Creativity: Unleash your artistic side by creating unique icon designs.

Things I Learned

You Can Browse Application Icons

You can open up any Application and use any icon from that application. This is pretty similar to the ResEdit days - when you can view all the icons in an Application.

Icon Patterns

You can create patterns with icons. For example, an application icon can appear on the bottom right of a folder. There's an option where you can have an application circle around a folder or DVD. (I never used these pattern layouts.)

Good Deal!

I purchased "Can Combine Icons" on February 1, 2002 for only $5! I used it a lot in the mid-2000s to create icons for folders and projects.

Conclusion

"Can Combine Icons" was more than just an application; it's a creative outlet for Macintosh users. It empowers you to make your digital workspace your own. Whether you're a professional looking to organize your projects or someone who loves to add a personal touch to your desktop, "Can Combine Icons" is a tool that can transform your Macintosh experience.

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April 11, 2024

Stylish Hard Drives

FireWire Drives were very cool

Fire Wire Drives

They don't make hard drives like they used to. Back in the day, we could back things up on stylish external hard drives. Now, everything's about thumb drives, which are convenient but lack the same visual appeal.

The picture above shows a travel-sized hard drive I used years ago. It held a whopping 40GB! Today, you can get a terabyte drive that's a fraction of the size.

While I miss the look of those old hard drives on my desk, thumb drives are undeniably portable. Still, there's a certain charm to the external hard drives of yesteryear.

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