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Hello, I'm a Mac. And I'm a $248 Win8 PC. 642

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the boosting-sales-numbers dept.
theodp writes "A little birdie told me which Windows 8 machines would sell out fast. 'Cheep' ones! While no official sales figures have emerged, anecdotal evidence suggests that cheap Windows 8 laptops were a big hit with Black Friday shoppers, leaving some Walmart and Best Buy bargain hunters disappointed at missing out on the sub-$250 deals. So, was the Doctor-Desktop-and-Mister-Metro dual nature of Windows 8 and lack of a touchscreen no big deal to these bargain basement 'Laptop Hunters', or did they not realize what they were buying? Or, as a GeekWire commenter suggests, perhaps they were really just looking to score an ultra-cheap Linux laptop!"
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Hello, I'm a Mac. And I'm a $248 Win8 PC.

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:15AM (#42103633)

    They have no idea what they purchased, it was a cheap buy and they will be sorely disappointed when it runs like crap a year from now.

    • by deniable (76198) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:29AM (#42103699)
      At that price, toss it a year from now and buy another.
      • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@[ ]mail.com ['hot' in gap]> on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @09:51AM (#42104817) Journal

        At that price, toss it a year from now

        It'll be a race to the bottom for Win8 PC prices now. That's the only way they'll get them off the shelves.

        Windows 8 sales flounder as critics pan clumsy interface

        Windows 8 sales in Australia and overseas are below expectations, with one US expert describing its user interface as "a monster that terrorises poor office workers and strangles their productivity".

        http://www.theage.com.au/digital-life/computers/windows-8-sales-flounder-as-critics-pan-clumsy-interface-20121126-2a2d0.html [theage.com.au]

        • At that price, toss it a year from now

          It'll be a race to the bottom for Win8 PC prices now. That's the only way they'll get them off the shelves.

          Windows 8 sales flounder as critics pan clumsy interface

          Windows 8 sales in Australia and overseas are below expectations, with one US expert describing its user interface as "a monster that terrorises poor office workers and strangles their productivity".

          http://www.theage.com.au/digital-life/computers/windows-8-sales-flounder-as-critics-pan-clumsy-interface-20121126-2a2d0.html [theage.com.au]

          I recently upgraded from 7 and have to agree that the new UI is clunky. Fortunately there's a plethora of third party UI enhancements to make things work like win7. The biggest benefit to win8 as far as I can tell is that it runs much faster than win7 on lower end hardware (read: computers with 8GB or less RAM). The fact that it runs better on lower end hardware makes it a good choice for these cheap laptops.

    • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:30AM (#42103703) Journal

      it was a cheap buy and they will be sorely disappointed when it runs like crap a year from now.

      I know several people who bought very cheap netbooks and were very happy with them for a number of years. Heck, I still use my ageing eee 900 daily.

      Cheap doesn't mean bad or badly built. Not everyone needs a 64 processor monster to surf the web.

      • by wisty (1335733) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @07:07AM (#42103843)

        What Moore giveth, HTML5 taketh away.

        • by symbolset (646467) * on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @07:28AM (#42103925) Journal
          The phrase is: "What Intel giveth, Microsoft taketh away."
          • by mystikkman (1487801) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @07:38AM (#42103967)

            Not true since Vista. Slashdot is full of folks who've last used Windows more than 10 years ago and thus complain of things like bluescreens, bloat etc. which makes them look like idiots.

            Get with the times and at least update your hate machine.

            • by ByOhTek (1181381)

              s/vista/2000/

              Actually in the upgrade list from Windows 2000 to 7, Vista is the one I'd exclude (I'm tempted to exclude Windows 8 due to the added UI fuckups as well, but 3rd party apps seem to fix those).

            • by Drakonblayde (871676) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @08:44AM (#42104271)
              I tried, but since my hate machine is running Windows ME, Windows Update tells me to frak myself.
            • by Chrisq (894406) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @08:52AM (#42104339)

              Not true since Vista. Slashdot is full of folks who've last used Windows more than 10 years ago and thus complain of things like bluescreens, bloat etc. which makes them look like idiots.

              Get with the times and at least update your hate machine.

              I've had the BSOD in Windows 7. Not often, but its still there

            • by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @09:23AM (#42104569)

              It is still bloated, and it does still bluescreen. It's just that the "bluescreen" now reboots automatically instead of giving you useless error information, so it's an "improvement" of sorts. I would have made the error messages a bit more user friendly, or even rebooted the computer and then alerted the user as to why their computer rebooted... but hey, that would have been harder I guess. Windows 8 is the definition of bloated. It adds a ton of new features that make tablet use more appealing, but most people aren't running it on a tablet. Thus, you are carrying around all of this tablet crap when all you want to do is use your desktop/laptop.

              Stability is far, far better than it was in the 9x series of Windows, but I can't say it really has improved tremendously over 2000, though it does seem a bit less susceptible to flaky hardware. I actually like 7 - it was a shame what they did to it in 8.

              • Windows 8 is the definition of bloated. It adds a ton of new features that make tablet use more appealing, but most people aren't running it on a tablet. Thus, you are carrying around all of this tablet crap when all you want to do is use your desktop/laptop.

                Can you quantify the effect of this so called bloat in Windows 8 in an objective or reproducible way compared to Windows 7?

                All the benchmarks and real life usage I have seen show Windows 8 to boot faster and be as fast as Windows 7 at worst. How is that more bloated?

                • by MightyYar (622222)

                  Did you miss the superfluous nipple that is Metro? It's like two whole user interfaces stapled together, and neither one has any idea what the other is up to. The boot time is nice, but I'll take a few extra seconds of boot time of 7 over the accumulated lost productivity of 8.

            • by teg (97890) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @09:50AM (#42104803) Homepage

              Not true since Vista. Slashdot is full of folks who've last used Windows more than 10 years ago and thus complain of things like bluescreens, bloat etc. which makes them look like idiots.

              Get with the times and at least update your hate machine.

              Bluescreens still happen... My work HP laptop running Windows 7 could be relied upon to provide a couple each hour it was running a skype conference. Sound driver, I believe.

              • by denobug (753200)

                Bluescreens still happen... My work HP laptop running Windows 7 could be relied upon to provide a couple each hour it was running a skype conference. Sound driver, I believe.

                I'm sorry to hear this. My latest HP laptop running Windows XP (corporate build, sorry) manage to be stable after daily stand-by (not shutting down like I suppose to do) for quite awhile (a few months). Every once awhile I shutdown and reboot, but then again, I think I am suppose to do shutdown, I just don't care to. Knock on wood this will be all right for a while. I think it has more to do with the quality of the hardware than the OS itself, unfortunately. So MS is really not to be blamed.

            • by ctime (755868)
              I've had more blue screens with Windows 7 then any other Windows OS. Finally started replacing hardware and ran memtest86 for a week and found 1, ONE, memory fault in millions and millions of operations. Replaced the memory (corsair brand to start with and bought another pair) and have had zero issues since. The reality of computing today is that any bluescreen/grey screen/kernel panic is largely irrespective of operating system, it's nearly always a subtle hardware issue. Which, much to the shagrin of micr
          • by PixetaledPikachu (1007305) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @07:47AM (#42104003)
            More like symantec/McAfee/Avira take away. Windows on it's own is fine. But combined with antivirus software, it's crap.Worse, you can't leave windows box without antivirus, so you're screwed
            • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @08:38AM (#42104235) Journal

              You are using the wrong AV then, just use what I use at the shop and give to my customers which is Comodo Internet Security Free. Its lightweight, only uses 60Mb-90Mb depending on what features you use, has by default sandboxing, and while the defaults are logical and sane you can tweak to your heart's content so you only have what you want. For example i don't IM or use download mail so those features are turned off. Its really nice and its the only one that i know of that is free for personal AND business use,they make their money on the server products and web services.

              Of course anybody that got one of the BF laptops will have to clean off a Horton or mcCrappy infection, I call it an infection because frankly I've seen malware that uses less resources than those two, but once that crap is gone and a decent AV like Comodo or Avast Free (my former "go to" and still nice, just too chatty for my taste now) is put on? Well then even a netbook will purr like a kitten. Oh and i'm sure some will say "What about MSE? its super low resource!" yes it is but frankly it is really only good for geeks, as I've found that while it catches bugs in downloaded files just fine it sucks ass at drive bys. With something like Comodo or Avast you have MUCH better drive by protection as both do scan before load on web pages which MSE don't and this when combined with a low rights browser like any of the Chromium variants makes it pretty damned hard to infect Vista/7/8. In fact the last time I saw one of those pwned the user uninstalled his AV so he could install a "porn codec" which of course was just a trojan that filled the system with malware.

              Trust me, I have customers that can get more viruses than a Bangkok whore on coupon day and if Comodo can survive them without letting the machine get pwned? Then it'll work for anybody.

            • by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @09:53AM (#42104841) Homepage
              Windows 8 comes pre-loaded with a version of MSE rebranded as Windows Defender.
            • by westlake (615356)

              More like symantec/McAfee/Avira take away. Windows on it's own is fine. But combined with antivirus software, it's crap.Worse, you can't leave windows box without antivirus, so you're screwed

              Or maybe the geek sees only what he wants to see.

              Previous versions of Windows Defender have been strictly anti-spyware, while Microsoft offered a separate, standalone tool for broader antimalware protection called Security Essentials. In Windows 8, the two are merged together so Windows Defender is actually a more comprehensive antimalware tool.

              Windows Defender is part of Windows 8, and it's enabled by default so you get protection right out of the box.

              With Windows 8, Microsoft takes the SmartScreen protection --- which has been a very effective tool for guarding against malicious downloads when using Internet Explorer --- and extends it to the entire operating system. Now, SmartScreen will warn and protect you even if you're using an alternate browser, such as Firefox or Chrome, or just downloading a file across the network.

              Windows 8 raises the bar for PC security [pcworld.com]

              MSE has a reputation for being light weight and effective.

              It is also perfectly clear from even this brief overview that the security analyst looking at the mass market PC does not view UEFI, secure boot, and the app store through the same prism as the geek.

      • My nine year old P4 (Score:4, Interesting)

        by rvw (755107) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @07:19AM (#42103893)

        it was a cheap buy and they will be sorely disappointed when it runs like crap a year from now.

        I know several people who bought very cheap netbooks and were very happy with them for a number of years. Heck, I still use my ageing eee 900 daily.

        Cheap doesn't mean bad or badly built. Not everyone needs a 64 processor monster to surf the web.

        At home I have a nine year old Dell P4 that was average at the time. It runs Ubuntu 12.04 now, serves as backup host and for my scanning project, batch scanning my slide collection. Browsing the internet is not a problem. Yes it's a lot slower, but still acceptable. Converting a 500 MB DNG image to JPEG takes 5 minutes, but who cares if it's a batch job. I added 3GB RAM and a new videocard four years ago, and just added a 4TB drive. If necessary I can start Virtualbox with XP and run Photoshop and Illustrator CS4 inside. For not too extreme images, it's OK, although that can be sluggish.

        • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @08:56AM (#42104363) Journal

          Heck that"s nothing, here at the shop I'm typing this on a circa 2004 Sempron 1.8Ghz I use as a nettop, it has a dual boot XP/7 and both run just fine, it has 2Gb of RAM which maxes out the board but other than that its pretty much stock. I'm thinking about trying to slap a mobile Athlon in here next week (just to see if I can, supposedly a lot of these socket 754s could take the mobile chips) but it does everything you'd expect a nettop to do, surfs, downloads, hell it'll even play SD flash videos smooth.

          So while i agree one can do just fine on an older machine i just have to ask...a P4? Really? You DO know those were power hogs, right? Maybe you should look into swapping that board for one of those cheap AMD E350 boards, it idles at around 6w, maxes out less than 20w and with a dual core APU you'd get better performance and not be wasting power and cooling on the piggie P4. I'm all for saving old gear from the scrapheap but there is a reason why i sell all the P4 and Pentium D systems that comes through my door while keeping the AMD, the difference in power and heat really isn't funny.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They have no idea what they purchased, it was a cheap buy and they will be sorely disappointed when it runs like crap a year from now.

      Well, Win8 is more effective than Win7 on low-end hardware (lower memory and process footprint, optimized performance), and supposedly much better at keeping system fresh, not degrading (but let's wait and see on that one). But regardless, some of these "cheap" PCs are actually impressingly powerful, compared to what a more mid-priced PC would be just a year ago. Just look at the specs linked. To get that much for that low price is impressive. It seems that the main drawback going this low on price isn't as

    • by slim (1652) <{john} {at} {hartnup.net}> on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @07:40AM (#42103975) Homepage

      Every couple of years, my parents ask for help buying a laptop. I tell them to just go to a PC World-type shop and pick out one with a screen size they're comfortable with, that feels solid enough from a build quality perspective. They don't want to compile kernels or play Crysis; they want to run Word and a browser. So I know anything in the shop will do what they need for a couple of years at least.

    • WTF? Slashdot is referencing a comment on Geekwire as a basis for people installing Linux? How low can it go? Idiot submitters like theodp and symbolset are turning Slashdot into a anti-Microsoft tabloid rather than any place for serious discussion. Not surprising that people with half a brain are ditching Slashdot in droves in disgust.

    • by gl4ss (559668) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @09:15AM (#42104501) Homepage Journal

      "Best Buy offered a 15.6-inch Lenovo with 2GB of RAM and a 320GB hard drive for $187.99,"

      lemme tell you, those chromebooks have a lot of work ahead of them.. pc isn't dead at that pricing, far from it.

    • by DoraLives (622001) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @10:41AM (#42105281)
      I beg to differ.

      I've been doing home computer repair for the general public for literal decades. I used to do it as a side job or for charity, but it's been my sole income for many years now. Bottom line: I've got a fair amount of experience working with equipment that's on the failing end of its life cycle, all of which has been entrusted to the tender mercies of your typical non-savvy user.

      And I'm a pattern recognizer, too.

      And nowadays the pattern is one of complete random events, for all classes of home computers.

      I've got people with ten year old eMachines running XP who's hardware continues to run without the slightest issue, and I've got people with brand-new three-thousand dollar specialty machines who can't catch a break, with bad motherboards, PSU's dying and taking other components out with them when they go, hard drive failures of every stripe and color, and on and on and on.

      I've decided that there's really no sensible difference in equipment anymore, so far as reliability goes.

      It all comes out of the same factory in China somewhere, and none of us really know what the hell is going on over on that end of the production cycle.

      It has become a crapshoot, plain and simple.

      Used to be, more expensive, "quality" computers could be expected to last longer, but no more.

      They're all using the same components from the same vendors, and if that's not enough, the batch-to-batch variabilities and imponderables are now completely impossible to keep effective or meaningful track of anymore.

      And what once was a clear pattern of "quality" goods giving a nice return on investment, has now become random noise.

      Nowadays any of it can fail for any reason at any time. May as well get the cheap stuff and try to cut your losses up front.
  • by metalmaster (1005171) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:18AM (#42103645)
    I haven't played with Windows 8 out of the box, but I really hope there aren't first boot tutorials that showcase touch capabilities
    • Re:I really hope.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by mdsharpe (1051460) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:39AM (#42103739)
      The first boot tutorial shows mouse gestures or touch gestures or both, depending on the machine's capabilities.
    • by rikkards (98006) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:43AM (#42103753) Journal

      There isn't (well not a normal desktop). There is a tutorial about Metro when you first log in.

      I was hugely skeptical about 8 and installed it on a spare machine the wife will be using. I have probably put about 5 hours in of just playing around and to be honest it is surprisingly easy to get used to and not bad to work with. The Windows key is definitely your friend. I was thinking you would need touch as well before but it works fine without. There is still a couple areas where I question but I wouldn't necessarily reimage a machine back to 7 if it had 8 at this point.

    • by Balthisar (649688)

      In installed Windows 8 on three machines this past weekend. There's no tutorial, but while it's finishing its install there are instructions that tell you to move the mouse to any of the four corners of the screen. In all three cases, it seemed to know it was running on a non-touch device.

  • Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:20AM (#42103657)

    People aren't buying "Windows 8" PCs, they are buying "cheap" PCs that, as an amazing coincidence, come preinstalled with the latest version of Windows (which is... Windows 8)

    What's the point of this article, and why the comparison with Apple?

    • Re:Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:26AM (#42103687)

      What's the point of 99% of the complete shit that theodp submits?

    • Sarcasm in the title?

    • Re:Maybe (Score:4, Interesting)

      by captainpanic (1173915) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:49AM (#42103781)

      I did just that: bought a cheap laptop which had windows. Then I created a bootable linux mint usb, and installed it. It runs like a charm. :)
      So, my purchase was just the PC, and definitely not windows 8.

      I have to say that Microsoft have a pretty sweet deal that they get paid for that. I would have bought the laptop if it came pre-installed with DOS 5.0 too - as I would have installed Linux anyway. It seems that the only way not to pay for windows is when you build your own desktop computer.

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        Offtopic, but having only just switched from Vista to Ubuntu 12.04 for the simple reason that MS seems to be abandoning professional users and I'd rather switch now than be forced to in a few years. What are the major differences between Mint over Ubuntu other than the obvious benefit of having a classic desktop GUI. Changes in the directory structure? Driver support? Packages available? etc? And would it be easy to switch to Mint (and possibly back) without having to reinstall anything? I just can't seem t

  • Boot from usb. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ipquickly (1562169) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @06:26AM (#42103683) Homepage

    They work fine, once you put an operating system on them.

  • Windows 8 is a fail (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShakaUVM (157947) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @07:03AM (#42103829) Homepage Journal

    Earlier today, the entire chess club surrounded one of these new $250 Windows 8 machines. They were all poking at the screen, but while it was changing colors on them, it wasn't responding. (Guess what guys? That's not a touchscreen. Those colors are what you get when you poke a normal LCD display.) They were convinced that all Windows 8 machines had touchscreens, though, and so they never used the touchpad.

    And then they tried shutting it down. I was mocking them for a while, as an entire chess club couldn't figure it out, so then they passed it to me and I couldn't figure it out either. Turns out the option to shut it down is hidden behind an invisible menu, hidden behind two other submenus unrelated to shutting things down.

    We eventually had to look it up online, as I expect many people will have to do.

    It was an interesting case study though, in how fucked up Microsoft made the Metro UI.

    • by wisty (1335733) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @07:11AM (#42103867)

      It's alike an OSX 10.3 (or later) Mac - you don't have to shut it down. Just let it sleep. It'll run rock solid for months. A restart is an advanced trouble-shooting technique.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's alike an OSX 10.3 (or later) Mac - you don't have to shut it down. Just let it sleep. It'll run rock solid for months. A restart is an advanced trouble-shooting technique.

        That's nice but it sounds as if he wanted to shut it down. That doesn't seem like an extravagant desire, even if he doesn't "have to".

      • by jbeaupre (752124)

        Ok, this is going to be even more off topic, but here goes: Is sleep mode acceptable on an airplane during take offs and landings? Searching the internet, I can't find any answers. I really don't care one way or another, but travel quite a bit and am curious.

        • by phayes (202222)

          Yes, sleeping a laptop/tablet is normally sufficient.

          They have pretty much stopped trying to perpetuate the lame excuse that things without an active radio are dangerous to the airplane's electronics. after all, pilots are now using iPads in the cockpit to access technical documentation during all regimes of flight.

          The truly justifiable reasons for putting away these devices & unplugging ipods & whatnot is so that:
          A: You are not distracted from any orders given by cabin personnel during the most pot

      • The difference is, on a Mac, you can still easily find the "Shutdown" menu option, should you want to. You don't need it all that often, but it's easy to find.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      The power button on the device itself didn't do the job?

  • Cheap? (Score:5, Informative)

    by symbolset (646467) * on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @07:15AM (#42103875) Journal
    If they wanted a cheap netbook to put Linux on, Google is selling Acer's Intel-based dual-core 64bit VT-enabled chromebook with 2GB RAM and a 320GB HDD for $200.
    • Great Value (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tuppe666 (904118) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @07:39AM (#42103969)

      If they wanted a cheap netbook to put Linux on, Google is selling Acer's Intel-based dual-core 64bit VT-enabled chromebook with 2GB RAM and a 320GB HDD for $200.

      I noticed this too. They do seem incredibly good value. I have no idea why Google are not pushing them more. The deal is also unfortunately US centric. I did notice that Google is planning on launching a touchscreen version, which hopefully would bring me Ubuntu with Androids in a virtual machine.

      • by symbolset (646467) *
        This late in the season for a launch it's likely there is not a lot of this product in the pipeline. Advertising products you can't deliver is stupid - a waste of effort.
  • I bought a $298 Gateway nV series with Windows 8 preinstalled. I played with it painfully for 15 minutes then put Ubuntu 12.10 (KDE) on it. I was amazed to see all of the bloatware still there in tile form. The charm interface is incredibly painful with a touchpad and even more so cause it was a Gateway touchpad which is painful to use in any regular desktop OS.
  • by Flipao (903929) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @07:40AM (#42103973)
    The Laptop Hunters campaign is almost 4 years old, and completely irrelevant in this day and age when we're talking about perception of value, it costs just over $300 to buy into Apple's ecosystem and even less to buy into Google's..

    I find it interesting that this tidbit was glossed over.

    However, the scene wasn’t so rosy for Microsoft at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, where analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray and team observed and tabulated traffic and sales at Microsoft and Apple stores. Microsoft saw 47 percent less foot traffic than the Apple Store did, and far fewer sales — 3.5 items per hour, compared with 17.2 items per hour at the Apple Store, as reported by Fortune’s Philip Elmer-Dewitt. Most of the items purchased from the Microsoft Store were Xbox 360 games. During the two hours that the Piper Jaffray team observed the Microsoft Store, they didn’t see any Microsoft Surface tablets being purchased.

  • by mattr (78516) <mattr AT telebody DOT com> on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @08:19AM (#42104119) Homepage Journal

    SImple. They were buying what they thought was a great deal and the cheapest computer around, as this is the only computer christmas present they could buy while thinking it is a real computer.

  • by jon3k (691256) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @12:28PM (#42106303)
    I cannot even fathom how shitty a $250 Windows 8 PC must be.
  • by Richy_T (111409) on Tuesday November 27, 2012 @03:31PM (#42108071) Homepage

    I spent 3-4 hours and about $20 in parts this weekend getting a "cheap" Win7 laptop back into decent condition and it's still not quite right. Not worth the money. The worst issue seems to be the hinges but this one also had crappy heatsink design (requiring a full teardown and a shim). Keyboards and screen connectors also seem to be weak spots. These days I spend the extra money and buy something that will last. I'm liking the Thinkpads but there's other brands too (Dells Latitudes seemed to be pretty decent).

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