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Further fueling the ongoing debate over the future of the news media and independent journalism, eBay founder and billionaire Pierre Omidyar last month committed $250 million to a news site co-founded by journalist and author Glenn Greenwald. Omidyar’s investment followed the announcement over the summer that Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos had purchased The Washington Post, also a $250 million investment. The late Steve Jobs’s wife, Lauren Powell, and 29-year-old Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes are also pouring money into old and new media ventures.

Could this new band of news media owners shape a technology-led business model that will be profitable and protect the integrity of impartial, ideology-free journalism? Ultimately, according to Wharton experts, the ball will rest with the consumer.

Any new business model that those in the technology world would bring to the media realm would have to address the major pain points currently facing the industry. News organizations have “suffered a lot financially in the past couple of years,” says Wharton marketing professor Pinar Yildirim. Circulation numbers and advertising revenue have shrunk as both readers and companies turned their focus to the Internet. The industry has tried to adjust to the new normal — some newspapers and magazines have cut back on issues or the number of days they produce a print product. Other news organizations have started charging for online access. Still more have tried to add content that mimics what tends to be most popular on the web, especially entertainment-related coverage, Yildirim notes.

Omidyar has indicated that he was motivated more by a desire to protect independent journalism than the prospect of getting a return on his investment, at least for now. In a blog post published on his website last month, Omidyar wrote that his investment in Greenwald’s venture (tentatively called “NewCo.”) stems from his “interest in journalism for some time now.” In 2010, Omidyar founded Honolulu Civil Beat, a news website with a stated focus on “investigative and watchdog journalism.” Earlier this summer, he explored buying The Washington Post newspaper before Bezos became the winning bidder. Around that time, Omidyar said he began thinking about the social impact he could help create with an investment in “something entirely new, built from the ground up.”

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coondoggie writes "From deep in the Department of Creepy today I give this item: The FBI this week put out a call for new research 'to advance the science and practice of intelligence interviewing and interrogation.' The part of the FBI that is requesting the new research isn't out in the public light very often: the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group, which according to the FBI was chartered in 2009 by the National Security Council and includes members of the CIA and Department of Defense, to 'deploy the nation's best available interrogation resources against detainees identified as having information regarding terrorist attacks against the United States and its allies.'"


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Christopher Brown Opscode

You never know how big something will be while you're working on it, says Christopher Brown, one of the guys that helped build Amazon's cloud. 

Brown is now the CTO of a hot startup he co-founded, Opscode. But along the way he worked at Microsoft three times and at Amazon once -- just long enough to help build EC2.

The time was 2004. Amazon already had cutting edge tech. "Amazon is a high tech company that just looks like it sells books," he laughs.

The powers that be wanted to somehow make money on their IT.

Rick Dalzell (CIO at the time) and Chris Pinkham (the vice president of IT Infrastructure) had been pondering a paper written by Amazon website engineer Ben Black that summarized the idea, says Brown.

CEO Jeff Bezos needed almost no convincing. He "was on board from the beginning," says Brown. The team "had a plan to build and sell it as a service sell from Day 1," he says.

There was a catch. Pinkham was moving back to his home country, South Africa. But Amazon convinced him to keep his job and build EC2 from there. 

So Pinkham invited Brown to come with him. Brown packed up his family and left the U.S.

They assembled a team in South Africa and for two years worked in Cape Town. Brown says. "From our corner, we had no idea EC2 was going to be this big."

Now that EC2 has become the 800-pound cloud gorilla, Brown says he still impressed with it. "It's part of Amazon's culture, the way they stay ahead of the competition."

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This week, Double Fine launched Double Fine Happy Action Theater, a Kinect-based game and the first in its second set of small projects -- a shift into little games the studio made after 2009's Brütal Legend. In this interview he reflects on those, and talks Kinect tech, too.

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First time accepted submitter paysonwelch writes "I am a developer and entrepreneur and I am considering developing a very graphically rich and custom interface for my latest application which does charting and analysis of large data sets. The application would feature lots of gauges, knobs and levers. As I was thinking about this I said to myself, why not hook up physical knobs and levers to my computer to control my application instead of designing them in 2D bitmaps? This could potentially save screen space and provide tactile feedback, and a new way of interacting digitally with one's application and data. So my question is whether or not anyone out there has advice for building a custom solution, perhaps starting with a mixing board, or if there are any pre-fab kits / controllers for achieving this?"

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Today, over 500 teams from around the world have gathered on Utah's sun-baked Bonneville Salt Flats, bringing their high tech (and vintage) motor vehicles to the 63rd annual Bonneville SpeedWeek. The Southern California Timing Association hosts the annual event on the hard salt shell that covers the desert floor, setting up straight tracks that can reach as far as nine miles. Records are already being set this year, with speeds reaching over 350 miles per hour (560 kph). Reuters photographer Jim Urquhart traveled out to the scene near the Utah/Nevada border to capture some of the sights of Bonneville SpeedWeek 2011. [29 photos]

Jeannie Pflum makes a run on the Butler, Pflum & Wagner motorcycle during the second day of the 63rd annual Bonneville SpeedWeek on the Bonneville Salt Flats outside Wendover, Utah, on August 14, 2011. Hundreds of drag race cars will attempt to set land speed records during the course of the week. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart)

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Click here to read When Parents Let Their Kids Die

It's one of Japan's dirty secrets. Summer after summer, parents get their gaming fix at pachinko parlors, leaving small children in the car. Alone. To die. More »

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Forge your warrior in the ultimate 3D sculpting and painting challenge.  Stretch your imagination and show off your creativity.  Warriors can be fantastic, futuristic, historical, ethnic or anything else you can dream up.  Is your warrior organic or mechanical, male, female or creature, low or high tech, cute or fierce, cartoony or hyper realistic?  The options are endless, the choice is yours, let the battle begin.  Artists of all skill levels from around the world are invited to join in the fun.  This is a great opportunity to have your work reviewed by some of the most talented artists & judges in the world, and you never know who might be watching your entry or where it might take you!

war · ri · or –noun
1. engaged or experienced in warfare; soldier.
2. shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness.

After you have a concept for the warrior you would like to create, you will need to bring your creation into 3D.  Use Mudbox to sculpt and detail your warrior’s mesh, and use Mudbox’s painting features to texture your character.

This is a sculpting and painting challenge with a focus on character, so an ideal submission would be posed, painted and rendered, ready to spring into battle.  Please do not submit flat shaded models in t-poses.

To get started, create a WIP thread in the Warriors forum with your name and entry name ie. <my name> - <warrior entry name>.  Use this thread to post your progress and WIP shots with the community.  When you have finished your entry, post it to the finals thread in the Warriors forum with your final images and a link to your WIP thread.  Click Here to go to the Warriors Forum.

Don’t have Mudbox?  You can download a special FREE 3 month trial just for this event. Click here to download the trial.  For a list of serial numbers to activate your special 3 month trial version CLICK HERE.


 
3 months to see who will be the last artist standing. 
October 15 2010 - January 15 2011.
Final entries are due by January 15, 2011 12pm pst.


 
Model sheet - front, back, side and 3/4 view of your final modeled and painted warrior.
Beauty render - show off your model with some nice lighting and show off the best angles of your warrior.
Above the call of duty - (not required) a 3D turntable of your final model, and possibly a breakdown or making of.

 

 
1) You must use Mudbox for all 3D sculpting & painting of your warrior. 
This challenge is sponsored by Mudbox and we want you to discover the powerful tools it has to offer, so you are required to use Mudbox for your sculpting and painting tools. Other 3D sculpting software is not allowed for this challenge. You may render in any software you wish.  You may use other programs like Maya and 3ds Max to work on the base mesh, but all 3D sculpting and painting should be completed in Mudbox.  If you don’t own Mudbox, you can still participate by downloading the 3 month trial.  Additional painting and touch ups in Photoshop are acceptable.

2)  You must keep a wip (work in progress) thread documenting your journey to the final image.  Don’t post your first and last image only, we want to see the steps in between. Failure to post wips could lead to disqualification.

3)  You may not re-use existing work.  You may start with a generic human base mesh, but it should be simple and not overly detailed so you don’t have an unfair advantage.  If you start with a finished model and just add a few details on to it your entry will most likely be disqualified.  You must disclose where your base mesh came from if you use one and show a screen shot of it before you begin modifying it.

4) You may have multiple characters in your submission, for example, a warrior on a mount.

5)  You may submit as many entries as you would like, however we suggest you focus on one idea and develop it as much as possible, focusing on quality over quantity.

6) You may not use an existing character from any source (film, comic, movie, game, etc.).  All warriors must be original designs to qualify for prizes. Historical and mythologically based characters are an exception as long as there is no existing copyright on the character.

Q&A (Updated Oct. 17, 2010)

Q: Where do you post the WIP for the Mudbox Warrior Challenge. Im new to CGHUB, so please bare with me.

A: Just go to the Warriors forum or click on the link below, then click "New Thread" and name it like: <username> - <entry name> ie. mstone20 - myWarriors name

http://cghub.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=110

After you've made your first post, you might want to subscribe to the thread so you get updates, and bookmark it, so you can quickly access it when you want to update your progress (just click "Post Reply" to add a new post to your thread.)

Good luck!

Q: Could we 2D artists design a warrior that a 3D artist could use?  You know, either collaborate or just post up for anyone to use?

A: Yes, you may team up with a 2D artist to do the concept if you wish, that's fine, as long as you have permission to use the concept and it's not copyrighted by anyone else. Please DO NOT use someone else's concept without their permission. If you win the challenge, we can only deliver prizes to the 3D artist, so it's up to you to divide them up amongst yourselves (we can't be responsible for 2D artists not getting prizes if the 3D artist wins.)

Q: I thought it was a 3 month trial all I got was 30 days Is that what the serial # is for.

There is an option after you install which gives you two options before you begin to use the program, a 30 day trial or verify the serial/registration. Make sure you pick the second option, not the 30 day trial. That should activate the 3 month trial. Please let us know if you have any problems!

Q: Can I use default Human Body in mudbox as my base mesh because I'm sorta just getting used to working in 3D?

A: Yes, the default human body mesh that ships with Mudbox 2011 is ok for everyone to use as a starting base mesh, along with their other base starting meshes. Thanks for asking!

Q: I really want to join this challenge but i have no idea about 3d ?!?!?

A: One of the points of this challenge is to give all artists an opportunity to try 3D sculpting, you could always watch a few of the tutorials posted here and then check it out? We would love to see what you could come up with  If the 2D guys would just give it a few hours to play around with, you might be surprsied how accessible 3D is, and it's becoming more and more a part of the 2D workflow as another tool in the artists belt.

Q: Any requirements for polycount or textures size?

A: There are no restrictions on polycounts or textures, so go for it!

Q: Are we allowed to use another program like Maya or 3ds Max to create our base mesh, or does it have to be mudbox right from the start of modeling?

A: You may create your base mesh in any package you wish. Please post a screenshot of your base mesh in your WIP thread and explain how you created it. The sculpting and painting should be completed in Mudbox.

Q: Hope it's ok if i forward people on other forums?

A: Feel free to spread the word about the challenge, just make sure to get permission before posting elsewhere (not from us, but from the places you will be posting so it's not perceived as spam).

Q: GIMP, Blender or other software ok?

A: Yes, for example if you don't own a license of Maya, 3ds Max, XSI, etc, you could use free open source software like Blender to create your base mesh and Gimp for your final touch ups and composting, and you wouldn't have to own any 3D software to participate in this challenge. Mudbox should be used for the sculpting and painting aspects.

Q: I have one question regarding the race of the characters, for example it can be of any fantasy race right? for example orcs, trolls, kobolds, gnomes, dwarves right?

A: Yes, fantasy races should be ok, just don't create a recognizable Dwarf, or Orc (say from Lord of the Rings, or Warcraft). Your character should be unique and original.

Q: Can I have multiple entries (judged separately?) cause I have loads of ideas.

A: Yes.  Take a moment to consider time restrictions and focus on quality over quantity.

Q: Can I use other software for things that Mudbox doesn't offer yet such as retopology and UV unwrap?

A: Yes, use Mudbox for the sculpting and painting processes, that is the focus of this challenge.

Q: A warrior is not always the winner. If I portrait a defeated warrior, will it be ok?

A: Yes, that's an interesting take on it, we encourage you to think outside the box to come up with an original warrior concept.

Q: Any restrictions regarding nudity or gore?

A: No restrictions, but keep in mind winners will probably be used for marketing purposes, so if it's too extreme you might be hurting your chances of mass exposure due to adult content. That said you could always submit 2 versions if you like, a more conservative one and your version.

Q: Any restrictions regarding a diorama? Let's say I want to portrait a battle with 2 to many fighters. Is it ok? Or should I model A warrior and that single warrior only?

A: You could do a diorama and multiple figures, but when it comes to the 3D print, you might have to select just one to be printed.

Q: There is no specification for what the figure should be, so it could be a bust as well as a full figure it seems?

A: Yes, you could do a bust, but it should be full painted and be "posed" for your final (ie. try to show some character).

Q: As the winner will have it's model printed, shouldn't the rules include specifications for that? What are the limitations for textures in models that are meant to be printed, for example? Is there a limit? Will the the textures be printed at all? What format should I use? What's the minimum thickness for objects? and so on and so forth. Printing has way too many rules that most people are not used to.

A: Offload Studios will be posting some guidelines for the 3D printing process shortly, please keep an eye out for those. Those are all good questions for them! Visit the Offload Studios Warriors Landing Page for more info http://offloadstudios.com/warriors

Q: Can I use Maya (or other program) for creating object kind of lowpoly mesh like armor, swords, guns and such? Are these objects counted as basemesh?

A: Yes, you can use any program you wish to create the base mesh. Make sure you post a shot of your base mesh before you begin sculpting. (If you are a student or a newbie to 3D and don't have any 3D software, check out Blender, a free 3D app where you could model your base mesh.)

3D sculpting and painting should be completed in Mudbox.

There are no software restrictions on base mesh creation, UV mapping, re-topologizing, or creating the final beauty shot render comp (ie. 2d software like photoshop, shake, etc.).

Q: If my model has hair , fire or smoke can I create it with other software?

A: Yes, you can use other software for your final renderings and beauty shots to add effects, like smoke, fire, fur and hair. Your final touches (hair, etc.) could be hyper real, or you could try to model a stylized version of these effects which could even translate into the 3d print possibly, it's up to you!

Q: Can I show my base model in my native software?

A: You can create your base mesh in any package you would like. The emphasis here should be on the high resolution sculpting and texture painting that happens beyond that point of fleshing out your base mesh. You need to show a screen shot of your base mesh at the beginning in Mudbox, and from there you should be working with Mudbox for sculpting and painting the final high res mesh.

Q: This challenge sounds very similar to Dominance War?

Maybe, but if you look at most DW entries, they tend to gear towards the darker side, hyper detailed and photo real, largely influenced by death, demons, etc. (not all, but many - this is nothing against DW, it's just what usually gets generated for that challenge). Feel free to go down that path if you'd like, there are no content restrictions.

For the CGHUB.com "Warriors" challenge, we are hoping to see a wide range of warriors in different styles, cute warriors, historical warriors (think of the possibilities...samurai's, ninjas, cowboys, indians, ww2 soldiers, just to name a few), sci-fi and fantasy warriors, your imagination is the limit. You could pick a specific person from history, your culture, religion, country, mythology, and develop that, or you could create something completely original.

Q: Can we render the beauty image outside mudbox?

A: Yes, you may render your final images in any renderer you wish, or you could submit a high res screen shot from within Mudbox if that is not an option for you. Judges will be focusing more on the quality of your sculpting and painting rather than your final image quality(remember it's a sculpting and painting challenge, not a rendering and compositing challenge) so if rendering and lighting are not your strong points don't worry too much.

Q: Can I use subsurface scattering and compositing to improve the final render in compositing/post?.

A: You can use any rendering techniques you would like for your final render. You may composite your layers in photoshop or using a compositor (like nuke or shake), that is ok as well. The sculpting and painting should be completed in Mudbox. You can touch up your textures in Photoshop or other 2D painting app, but the majority should be done in Mudbox.

Q: Where is the Australian 3 month trial serial?? it has a space for it in the text file but there's nothing there?

A: It's in the txt file, the first in the list: Australia - 356-99139039

If you guys have any difficulties with serials please let us know and we'll make sure we get an update for you.

Q: I am from Peru I can participate?

A: Yes, please try using the Americas serial: 356-85672271

Q: I just have an idea for a Jedi Hunter that I'd like to go with, is that ok?

A: That's the issue, "Jedi" and Star Wars universe items like light sabers, blasters, etc. are copyrighted material, so it would be a safer bet to push your character enough so that it isn't a recognizable part of the Star Wars universe. Hopefully that makes sense, if you have other questions regarding copyrights or if an idea is ok please let us know in this thread. Good luck!

Q: Are 2d model sheets or 3d model sheets required?

A: 2D model sheets are not required, the 3d model sheets will show off your sculpt from different angles.

Q: Should i give it a try? I'm pretty positive I won't stand a chance but hell, guess i'll do it for fun.

A: Go for it!  It's a great opportuinty to learn new things and get support from the participating artists.

Q: I'm in. But i have a question. Is ok if i want to export/import mesh from mudbox to any 3d software to render and compositing for the final image?

A: Yes, you may import/export for the final rendering and compsiting, as well as while building and working on your base mesh (example maya ->  mudbox -> maya or 3ds Max -> mudbox -> maya)

As long as you use Mudbox for your 3d sculpting and painting you are good. We don't expect you to create your base mesh in Mudbox, or do your final renderings in Mudbox.

Q: Does posing count as "sculpting" or can it be done in a different program?

A: You can pose your character (say with a rig, or deformers) in another program, that is fine. Mudbox has some nice posing capabilitles which you shoud investigate, but as long as you do your sculpting and painting in Mudbox you could do your final posing elsewhere for the finished renders.

Q:  I'm planning on completing my character in another program, then I'll just load it into Mudbox for a few screenshots, nobody will know the difference.

A:  Come on guys, please be professional and don't try to game the system.  If there is any question that you didn't use Mudbox for the 3D sculpting and painting you run the risk of being disqualified.  This is a Mudbox challenge, please respect that.

 

 
A special thanks to our sponsors, please support them by taking a moment to check out their products!  Autodesk, Offload Studios, Wacom.

1st Place
$5,000 USD in cash
Wacom Cintiq 12WX
12” Statuette from Offload Studios
Two Year Subscription to CGW Magazine
Space and Byline on the CGW Gallery Page (print and online)
Front page feature, article and interview on CGHUB.com

2nd place
$2,000 USD in cash
Two Year Subscription to CGW Magazine
Space and Byline on the CGW Gallery Page (print and online)
Article and interview on CGHUB.com

3rd Place
$1,000 USD in cash
Two Year Subscription to CGW Magazine
Space and Byline on the CGW Gallery Page (print and online)
Article and interview on CGHUB.com

Andrew Camenisch, Tibor Madjar, Dave Cardwell
Andrew, Tibor and Dave met in New Zealand while working as visual effects artists on "The Lord of the Rings".  Serving together as lead modelers through several productions at Weta Digital, they saw a need for sculpting software built with an intimate understanding of production and yet easy to learn and use.  While working on "King Kong", Andrew, Tibor and Dave teamed up with super-coders Imre Major and Csaba Kohegyi to develop artist software, Mudbox.  Now in its fourth major release, and proven in major film productions ranging from "King Kong" to "Avatar" and in AAA games like "Uncharted 2", Mudbox continues to build on a foundation forged in production and born out of Andrew, Tibor and Dave’s career experience in fine arts, film, games, automotive and character design.

Gino Acevedo - Weta Digital
Gino Acevedo, Senior Prosthetics Supervisor and Visual Creature Effects Art Director at Weta Workshop, began his special make-up effects career at a Halloween company, and has worked with Amalgamated Dynamics, KNB EFX, Rick Baker’s Cinovation Studios and Patrick Tatopolous Studios.  He supervised make-up effects for the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and oversaw the paint designs of all the films’ creatures, including Gollum; he also served as a liaison between Weta Workshop and Weta Digital for the trilogy and "King Kong".  Acevedo worked at Weta Digital as visual creature art director for "Avatar".  Additional film credits include "Point Break", "Alien 3", "Death Becomes Her", "Demolition Man", "Wolf", "Men in Black", "The Nutty Professor", "Species", "Independence Day" and "Godzilla."

 
Jordu Schell
Jordu Schell has been in the film and television industry since 1987. His talent as a designer and sculptor is world renowned, and his credits include: “Avatar”, “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian”, “300”, “Hellboy”, “Aliens vs. Predator – Requiem”, “Men in Black”, “The Mist”, “Batman Returns”, “Edward Scissorhands”, “Alien: Resurrection”, “The X-Files Movie”, “Predator II”, “Galaxy Quest”, “Evolution”, “Babylon 5-The Series” (on which he designed an emmy award-winning creature make-up and the first fully digital creature for a television series), and many more.  Jordu has taught around the world, and at some of the most prestigious companies in the industry, including Dreamworks, Industrial Light and Magic, Tippett Studio, Blizzard Entertainment, Blur Studio, and Millennium Effects.

Ryan Church
Educated at UCLA and Art Center College of Design, Ryan Church is an acclaimed artist for his work as Concept Design Supervisor at Skywalker Ranch for "Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones" (2002) and for "Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith" (2005). Ryan was also Senior Art Director at ILM during post-production of the Star Wars films and for "War of the Worlds" (2005). Ryan maintains strong ties to Lucasfilm and Lucasfilm, and his client list keeps growing – now including Paramount Studios, Universal Pictures, Mattel, Sony Pictures, Blue Sky Studios, Bay Films, Lightstorm Entertainment, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Dino de Laurentiis Company, Digital Domain, and Electronic Arts. Ryan has been lending his skills on many bid projects as well as high profile film projects such as "Star Trek" (2009), "Transformers 2" (2009), and James Cameron's "Avatar" (2009). Ryan has also been active training the next generation of artists by collaborating with the Gnomon School of Visual Effects on several instructional DVDs, as well as teaching Advanced Entertainment Design at Art Center in Pasadena, California. Ryan is currently working on Disney's "John Carter of Mars" (2012).

Steve Preeg, Animation Director - Digital Domain
Steve Preeg is an Academy Award®-winning Animation Director who is currently working on the upcoming film "TRON: Legacy" from Walt Disney Pictures. He recently received an Oscar® for achievement in visual effects on "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," and his previous credits include "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," "Flags of Our Fathers" and "I, Robot," among other films.  Prior to Digital Domain, Steve created digital characters for movies including "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within," "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" and "King Kong."  Steve is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Entries will be judged for originality, creativity, and technical skill and execution in sculpting and painting.

  

 
Rules & Restrictions apply, sponsors are responsible for delivering the prizes to the winners.  GCHUB.com cannot be held responsible, nor can we provide a substitute in the event that prizes are no longer available, or if the sponsors have retracted their sponsorship at any time during the contest. In order to receive cash prizes, you must be able to receive payment via Paypal or wire transfer.  Prize winners are responsible for reporting cash and material prizes according to their regional tax laws.  CGHUB.com reserves the right to cancel, extend or amend any part of the Warriors challenge rules, prizes, or deadlines at any time.

By entering the competition and creating a WIP thread on CGHUB.com, all entrants give CGHUB.com and Autodesk unlimited permission to display, reproduce, and modify your warrior images and submission & wip images in any format.  Artists will maintain ownership of the copyright of your character and images.

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