Samantha Kelly – Empowering The Irish SME #IrishBizParty

#Irishbizparty is a weekly Twitter based networking event for Irish SMEs. It takes place from 9pm to 11pm every Wednesday night, when Irish start-ups and SME’s gather online from the comfort of their own homes to talk shop, help others and promote their own business in the process

Today we have a quick chat with Samantha Kelly founder of #IrishBizParty.

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How did the idea for #IrishBizParty come about?

It just happened really, it was born out of frustration. I could see there was a gap in networking, especially for those Mums who couldn’t get out to BNI breakfast meetings for example. I thought it was unfair that we would miss out just because we had no one to mind the kids etc. I also thought these networks were expensive for start-ups and they could sometimes be quite intimidating. There were also a lot of new entrepreneurs who had started a business out of necessity as one partner had lost a job due to the recession; some of us were lacking confidence and support as we didn’t know anyone else in the business world.

Then one evening when I was having a particularly demanding week and had got frustrated with all the red tape and paperwork clouding entrepreneurial vision in Ireland. I decided that I would try to create a bit of positivity and thought that surely I was not the only one coming across the same stuff. It was a Wednesday night so I asked the question on Twitter were there any business who needed help promoting themselves, I asked them to tweet what they did using the hashtag #irishbizparty and that I would retweet it for them.

I got a lot of replies and this continued for a while until it started to get really busy. The results were amazing and soon there were over thirty businesses all active and the great thing was they all followed each other and re-tweeted each other’s business.

So that is really how it started and I decided to do it every Wednesday night after that. It has since grown rapidly into hundreds of participents; #irishbizparty trends regularly on Wednesdays and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon!

Who takes part in #Irishbizparty and who should be taking part? 

Anyone who has started a business, is thinking of starting one or who is interested in supporting Irish business by buying from a small business owner rather than the multiples or large chains/

Have you any goals for #IrishBizParty for 2014?

Yes! My goal is to grow the network. We have over 1000 members on our very active and supportive Facebook group.  And over 700 SMEs take part on the hashtag every week. I select a #Starbiz every Wednesday night that get a feature on independent.ie thanks to Ailish O Hora in the small business section. This is a huge emotional boost for the business owner if anything!

Going from Twitter to offline would you like to tell us about the #Irishbizparty Inspires Conference?

I first decided to do a conference as I was always speaking at conferences where the tickets were sometimes costing  over €150 and I thought ‘This is wrong….the people who need to be here learning all these tips and being inspired are start-ups and SMEs yet they can’t afford to spend that amount of money.’  So I decided to do one myself with the aim of inspiring SME community by providing a place for them to network in a friendly environment.

I held the first one in the Green Isle hotel which was very successful, over 200 SMEs came along! So now I have organized one in Wexford to give SMEs a boost. I will have some really inspirational speakers including Jason O Reilly who was the ‘guy who cried on Dragons Den’ and Joanne Sweeney Burke who was a finalist in The Apprentice on TV3. I have made it really affordable at €30 per ticket with lunch included. Find more details on the #IrishBizParty Conference here.

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Appy Monday – Free Wi-Fi Finder

I have about 100 apps installed on my iPhone 5c but none as useful as the Free Wi-Fi Finder app that I downloaded over the weekend. 

The Free Wi-Fi Finder uses your current location to display where there is Wi-Fi available nearby. Results can then be filtered by location type such as Bar, Hotel, Library, Restaurant or School/University. When you select the hotspot you want to use, it displays the locations details and the option to get directions to that location. 

There is also the option to add location information for new Wi-Fi hotspots to the apps database. The app already features over 550,000 free and paid Wi-Fi locations in 144 countries worldwide

The Free Wi-Fi Finder app can be downloaded on Android from the Google Play Store and for iPhone from the App Store.

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5 Google Doodles That Slowed Down Employee Productivity

  

Every now and then the Google homepage brings the internet to a standstill with a great interactive Google Doodle. Today we look at a selection of 5 Google Doodles that kept employees from getting real work done.

 

5. Google’s 15th Birthday

On September 27th 2013, Google celebrated its 15th birthday in style with a Google Doodle dedicated to itself. The doodle displayed the Google letters at a birthday party, press play and a Piñata came into view. The Google “g” was now blindfolded and had ten chances to hit it. Pressing the space bar the “g” strikes the moving Piñata, and sweets fall out. The more sweets you knock out, the higher your score. We got 144 give it a go and see can you beat us, just make sure your boss isn’t looking.

You can play the Google’s 15th Birthday Doodle here.

4. Roswell’s 66th Anniversary

July 8th 2013 saw quite a strange event been celebrated in the form of a Google Doodle. The 66th Anniversary of the Roswell doodle depicts the story of an alien, who crash landed on earth and needs help putting the three sections of his ship back together by solving puzzles and interacting with farm animals.

The point and click alien adventure can be played here.

3. Les Paul’s 96th Birthday

 

I cannot play the guitar nor do I claim to but on June 9th 2011 that didn’t stop me as I attempted to string a few notes together to celebrate the 96th birthday of Les Paul, an American guitarist, songwriter and inventor. The iconic Google logo was transformed into an electric guitar that was playable by moving your mouse over the guitar strings. According to Google in 48 hours in the U.S alone, 5.1 years’ worth of music or 40 million songs were created and those songs were played back 870,000 times.

You can try your hand at making music on the Les Paul Google Doodle here.

2. 30th Anniversary of PAC-MAN

May 21st 2010 will always be remembered fondly as the date one of my favourite childhood games made history by becoming the first interactive doodle for Google. The game is just so easy but way to addictive. Simply use the arrow keys to get around the course collecting all the balls without running in to the ghosts. There was even a hidden Easter egg in the doodle press “insert coin” twice to make it a two player game with Ms. Pac-Man joining in the fun. 

If you have a few hours to kill, check out the Google doodle for Pac-Man’s 30th Anniversary here.

1. 40th Anniversary of Rubik’s Cube

Yesterday, May 19th 2014 saw probably the most time consuming of all Google Doodles hit our screen an interactive Rubik’s Cube. It was a lot more complex than the others with its six faces. Just like the real thing after multiple attempts I was forced to retire in the knowledge that without Photoshop I was not going to be sharing my completed Rubik’s Cube with you today.

If you think you can complete the online Rubik’s Cube give it a shot here.

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Appy Monday – Secret

Secret landed on Irish iPhones at the end of April, already a hit in the US; I had been dying to see what all the fuss was about after coming across it when a secret was posted on the app revealing that the former head of Google+, Vic Gundrota, was interviewing for other jobs proved to be true as he officially announced he was leaving Google days later.

The app is fun and easy to use. Simply type your secret, add a cute coloured background or add a picture from your gallery, making sure that your photo won’t give your identity away of course and hit send. If someone from your contacts taps the heart icon indicating they love your secret, that secret is then sent on to their contacts, and the more loving your post gets the more it spreads. You can only comment on secrets from your friends or friends of friends. 

To protect user anonymity, until you have three friends using the service they withhold secrets from your contacts showing in your secret feed. When I first downloaded the app this held me back from getting the true secret experience. Also users that don’t have enough friends on Secret won’t see posted by friends or friends of friends they will simply see “Your Circle” on posts.

Secret is available to download for free on IOS and is currently in beta on android so should be released in the near future in the Google Play Store. 

To see the big picture effect of Secret check out what happened when a made up secret wrote from the toilet went viral here. Appy Monday everyone! 

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Let’s B*Different: Lorna Sixsmith Talks Self-Publishing

Life on the farm can be hectic, Can you tell us how the book idea came about? 

It was inspired by a blog post entitled ‘Advice to those considering marrying a farmer’ which was written in a very tongue in cheek style in September 2012. The inspiration for the blog post came after a session of sorting cattle with my husband! It became really popular and I started thinking about writing a book in April 2013 and went on to write 10,000 words. I attended a talk on crowdfunding in Wales in early June and decided to run a crowdfunding campaign to determine if there was sufficient interest in the book (testing the market) and to raise some finance via pre-orders of the book.

The campaign ended successfully on 20th August and I received delivery of a thousand copies of ‘Would You Marry A Farmer?’ on 29th November, selling 750 before Christmas. I have now printed a second print run and it is available in all good bookshops. 

Can you give some advice to people interested in self publishing a book? Workload, Important factors to consider?

Keep writing and write a little every day. Most self publishers will be working full time so it’s important to stay motivated and keep at it.

Be realistic about the costs involved. Even if you just self publish on kindle rather than print it out too, the costs will still include an editor and an illustrator for the front cover design as an absolute minimum. 

Set yourself a deadline and stick to it. It could be very easy to keep editing and tinkering with the manuscript – sometimes you just have to take that jump and publish. However, do leave sufficient time for a good edit.

Don’t underestimate the power of social media in terms of growing brand awareness about your book and helping you to get free press coverage. 

Getting the word out about your book will be more work that you might imagine, particularly if you have printed it and want to get it into bookshops but it will all pay off. 

You went the crowd funding route, what was the response like? and would you recommend it?

Crowdfunding is hard work, it certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted and I would argue that a strong online following is essential for success. However, it is so worthwhile. The benefits are so much more than financial – it generates brand awareness, publicity and pre-sales. It gives you increased confidence in your book and it allows you to test the market. 

You’re writing another book in 2014, will you change the way you do any of it? 

In some ways, I need to run another crowdfunding campaign if only to give myself a strict deadline!  Although I’m writing another book, I’m also working on marketing and selling the first one. I’m going to be selling it at the Sheep Shearing Festival in Gorey next weekend and I’m judging the Blue Jeans Country Queen festival in Athboy the weekend after. I’m delighted to have just heard that I’m being interviewed on TV3 Ireland AM next Monday morning. 

This book is a different genre so I’m still undecided as to whether I will print it out or not or just sell it as an ebook. 

What was the highlight of the process for you? 

Being interviewed by Ryan Tubridy (as he really knows his books) and hearing him describe it in such glowing terms. 

‘Would You Marry a Farmer’ is available in all good bookshops now. It can be purchased on Kindle and ordered online from irishfarmerette.com

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Google And The Right To Be Forgotten

In a landmark case in Luxembourg, The European Court of Justice (ECJ) today ruled that people have the right in certain circumstances to have information about them removed from search results. In the case involving a Spanish citizen, the court said individuals have the right “to be forgotten”,  where the information being linked to appeared “to be inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant or excessive … in the light of the time that had elapsed”. 

Mario Costeja González, had lodged a complaint against La Vanduardia, which is a Spanish daily newspaper, Google Spain and Google regarding the search results that appeared when his name was “Googled”.  The top results for his name included newspaper articles from the late 90’s in which La Vanduardia detailed the auction notice of his home after it had been repossessed in order to recover social security debts. Mr. Costeja González was arguing that these articles on the La Vanduardia website were no longer relevant as the proceedings against him had long been resolved.

His complaint against the newspaper was not upheld as the information was lawfully published at the time. However, the complaint against the search engine giant was upheld by the court. It ruled: “Thus, if, following a search made on the basis of a person’s name, the list of results displays a link to a web page which contains information on the person in question, that data subject may approach the operator directly and, where the operator does not grant his request, bring the matter before the competent authorities in order to obtain, under certain conditions, the removal of that link from the list of results.”

Google and other web publishers will now be required to consider all removal requests and if declined, the requester can take their request to the relevant data protection authority.

A Google spokesperson said: “This is a disappointing ruling for search engines and online publishers in general. We are very surprised that it differs so dramatically from the advocate general’s opinion and the warnings and consequences that he spelled out. We now need to take time to analyse the implications.”

There are currently over 200 cases waiting to be heard against Google that involve Spanish citizens who want personal information about them deleted from the search results.

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Appy Monday – 5 Apps For Entertainment On The Go


Away at a meeting but fancy some Game of Thrones action? or perhaps there is nothing on TV tonight that takes your fancy, fret not because we have put together 5 must have apps for entertainment on the go. All Apps picked are available on IOS from the App Store and Android from the Google Play Store. Enjoy! 

RTÉ Player: 

RTÉ player allows users to stream programmes shown on RTÉ for up to 21 days after transmission, as well as watch selected shows live. This app was a god send when I was visiting family in the UK last year and was set to miss the Toy Show #LifeSaver You can search for shows by a-z, most recent, most popular, and category. The App is free and there are no subscription fees, download today and you will never have an excuse not to catch up with Tommy & Co in Fair City again.

4OD:

The 4OD App is full of great content from across the companies network including Channel4, E4 and More4. The app is free and there are no subscription fees. From a usability point of view the content is well laid out, the search features are impressive, and some content is grouped into categories which is handy if you have specific interests. The ads can sometimes be choppy when loading but the content generally streams well. Another point to note before downloading is that because of the ability to download some shows, the app will not work on rooted devices. 

Sky Go:

I only recently discovered the gem that is the Sky Go app. This app requires access to an active Sky login and subscription to work but is well worth downloading if you have Sky at home. The available content on the App varies depending on your sky subscription. With the most basic Sky package, I have access to box sets including Game of Thrones, 24, and Sherlock on the go. Shows can be streamed over WIFI or downloaded to watch on the device for up to 7 days. Again, because of the ability to download shows, the Sky Go app will not work on rooted devices

Netflix:

The Netflix app is great, I love it, it’s easy to use, and so addictive. Every time I decide to cancel my subscription I get addicted to another show. While the app is free, Netflix comes with a price tag of €7.99 per month. Sign up online for a free one month trial, and you won’t regret it. The Netflix app is loaded with a host of original series including House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black and Lily Hammer. It also has classics such as 24, Breaking Bad and for the geaks amongst us Battlestar Galactica. 

Youtube:

Having the YouTube app gives you access to all the entertainment you will ever need and then some. Catch up on the latest viral videos, music videos, and vloggers, Watch unboxing, the boxing, or learn how to draw a box. Youtube has it all and for free. 

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Managing Multiple Google+ Pages For One Brand

In the last couple of weeks with the announcement of the departure of Vic Gundotra from Google there was a lot of talk online that his legacy at the company, Google+ was on life support and waiting to be killed off. This speculation was all well and good except for one thing, at the same time that half the internet was planning a funeral for Google+, business owners were noticing that their Google places accounts had been automatically merged into Google+ pages and things were looking very messy.

Some businesses had their main brand page on Google+ where they were posting content regularly. They also had a Google Places For Business account where they managed all the location details for their bricks and mortar locations around the country. Many large businesses with multiple locations like supermarkets, fast-food chains, or retail stores now had hundreds of Google+ pages to manage. These local listings which are very important to brands in terms of driving local traffic and sales to a website were now looking like empty unbranded Google+ pages.

Google+ pages cannot be merged and Google+ also doesn’t support a parent child relationship between pages. So deciding what to do with multiple Google+ pages can be tricky. Firstly we suggest you add a logo and a cover photo to all of the new pages and ensure that the correct information for your locations is being displayed. This information can be edited easily by logging in to Google Places for Business

Options for managing multiple Google+ pages for the one brand: 

  1. Keep the old Google+ brand page and the new Google+ pages for your locations active by posting all content to both. If your business has a national and local presence this makes sense, but it is a lot of work if you have 30 shops located around the country.

  2. Delete the original Google+ Page that you were running for your brand, reposting all the old content to the new local Google+ page. This option is also not very practical if you have 30 locations nationwide that now need individual Google+ pages managed.

  3. Our recommended solution is to keep the original brand Google+ page and all the new local pages. Post all new content to the original brand page as normal and place a once off post on the new Google+ pages for each location directing users to the main brand Google+ page. 

If you find all this a bit too daunting B*Different offer both social media training and account management services, get in touch with us today.

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Appy Monday – Tinder

“The application is clearly addictive.” – The New York Times “Everyone I know is suddenly talking about it.” – New York Magazine

Tinder is the must have app for all singletons in 2014, it is a social discovery app that allows users to view other Tinder users nearby and decide if they like them based on basic information such as a photos, interests and mutual friends. The information used within the app is pulled from Facebook which is needed to log into the application. Tinder users also get to add a brief intro to make their profile more appealing.

“‘Tinder’ is a verb. It has become so popular that the name of the application is an action.” – The Huffington Post

Setup of the app is easy, users log in with Facebook, select what sex they are interested in, add an age range and radius to search. Users are then presented with their matches which they can “like” or “pass”. If you both mutually like each others profiles you are then allowed to private chat in the app. If you pass on someone, you’ll never see their profile again, and they can’t see yours.

As I’m in a relationship my use of the app was limited to watching a friend scroll through the women of Dublin, swiping right for a like and swiping left for a pass and cursing profoundly when he made a mistake or doubted his judgement on the last left swipe knowing his mystery women was now off his Tinder radar forever. 

Tinder is available on Android and iPhone get it whilst it’s hot! 

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Marketing To Generation Snapchat

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a popular photo messaging app that allows users to take photos or record videos known as snaps, and then add text and doodle drawings to them, before sending to a friend or controlled list of recipients. After taking the snap users set a time limit of between 1 and 10 seconds for how long recipients can view their Snaps. Snapchat Stories are a great option for brands, allowing them to add snaps together creating a story. Snap Stories live for 24 hours before disappearing. After this time the snaps are hidden from the recipient’s phone and also erased from Snapchat servers. Snapchat has an estimated 30 million users who send on average of 350 million snaps a day and is very popular with users between 13-25.

Should my brand be using Snapchat?

  • Is your target market aged between 13 and 25?

  • Are you looking for a fun way to interact with your audience?

  • Have you built a strong community on more main stream social media?

If you answered Yes to the above then Snapchat is the next step in your brands social media strategy.

What are brands doing on Snapchat?

Encouraging repeat customers 16 Handles, A New York City based frozen yoghurt shop ran a new years Snapchat promotion. It worked in three stages. First, existing customers would send a selfie of themselves eating some fro-yo in a 16 Handles shop to the company’s Snapchat account. The 16 Handles marketing team then automatically sent the customer a Snapchat message containing a coupon. The customer then waited until they were next in store and at the till ready to pay and opened the snap. The snaps from 16 handles contained money off coupons ranging from a percentage off the full price to a free purchase. Within days of launching their Snapchat campaign, the popular frozen yoghurt shop had sent more than 1,400 Snapchat messages and built up an active following to which they could send future promotional material. 

Creating Teasers, In the UK market MTV used Snapchat to promote its hit reality show Geordie Shore before launching the sixth series in the summer of 2013. Fans were encouraged to add the show’s official Snapchat account by seductive messaging, in exchange for exclusive content including videos and photographs of the cast, The demographics of Snapchat users and the viewers of Geordie Shore are a perfect match allowing MTV to tease viewers with spoilers direct to their smartphones.

Creating a buzz, Tennent’s Vital is Northern Ireland’s most popular music festival held annually in Belfast. The 2014 concerts were confirmed in March announcing The Killers as headliners through social media including Snapchat. To see Snapchat for business live in action add them on Snapchat, username: tennentsvital

5 smart tips for success with Snapchat for business:

  1. Choose a simple brand name.

  2. Keep it casual.

  3. Know and engage your audience.

  4. Don’t spam.

  5. Most importantly have fun!

For any help with creating the perfect social media strategy for your business contact B*Different today for a free 1 hour consultation

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Appy Monday – Eight apps for a stress free Summer holiday

 

BarcelonaPhoto by Moyan Brenn on Flickr

Just a little word of warning, Always make sure to check out the cost of data roaming from your network provider before using your smartphone outside of Ireland. See Vodafone, O2, Three, Meteor or Tesco Mobile for more details. All Apps featured are available on both the App Store and Google Play Store. Appy holidays everyone!

Ryanair

The Ryanair app allows users to make bookings on all of the budget airlines routes, check flight timetables, review current bookings, and add optional services such as priority boarding and checked-in bags to existing bookings. The reason I will be using the Ryanair App over a price comparison app such as Skyscanner or Expedia is I know that Ryanair will have the cheapest prices on my chosen route. I will use the App to keep an eye on prices and book through their new easy to use website.

Accuweather

Crowded House said it best with “Everywhere you go, always take the weather with you” this App will allow you to do just that. Accuweather is an easy to use weather app. Open the app see clear visual weather predictions for your destination broke down by hour and off you go about your day.  It is also pretty useful for posting pesky screen shots to social media so everyone knows you’re lapping up 27 degrees heat when they are sitting at home enjoying an Irish rain shower.

Booking.com

Booking.com is one of the handiest apps I have installed on my phone. It allows users to book hotels all over the world in just a few steps with no deposit and the added bonus of free cancellation on most reservations up to 48 hours before arrival. Another great feature on the booking.com app is your reservation can be added to Passbook on IOS devices. I use booking.com at least once a month for weekend breaks in Ireland so it is definitely my go to accommodation app for any trips abroad I have coming up this year.  

Hailo

I am obsessed with Hailo, I have long thought it was possibly the best app to have on your phone when visiting Dublin and I was delighted when they rolled it out all over Ireland earlier this year. It is my go to app for a convenient quick taxi ride. I love the efficiency of it, I love the cash free nature of the transaction and most of all I love that I will be able to use it in Barcelona and know that I will be in safe hands on any taxi journeys I take.

Google Maps

Never get lost on holiday again! I once went astray in Glasgow and ended up 11 miles away from my destination after missing my bus stop, there was no such thing as the Google Maps App back then when I was rocking around with my Nokia brick in my pocket.  Google Maps has been my saviour on more times than I care to admit from finding toll free routes when cash is a bit tight to helping me navigate my way around public transport in San Francisco. For me this is a must have app whether you are holidaying at home or away this year.

TripAdvisor

A hotel managers worst nightmare and a savvy travellers go to app. TripAdvisor is a community based review forum covering everything from hotels to excursions with real honest reviews from people who have been there done that and bought the t-shirt. I usually wouldn’t base my restaurant choice on what users have to say but for accommodation and day tours this is always my last port of call before booking. I always go back and leave a truthful review in the hope that I am helping others to make an informed decision on their travels.

Whatsapp Messenger

Always handy at home or away to keep in touch and let the mammy know that you are safe, not sunburned and drinking plenty of water. Whatsapp messenger is an alternative to texting that works over data or wifi. It is free for the first year with an annual 99 cent subscription free thereafter.

Snapchat

How else could you get your super snaps showing off just what an amazing time you are having directly onto your friends phone and be happy in the knowledge that they have looked at them! Snapchat is a must have holiday app for some silly fun! Check out our Appy Monday on Snapchat here.

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Twitter’s Redesigned Profile Page

Twitter Header

 

Twitter today rolled out their new redesigned profile page to all users of the social media platform. To activate the new look, simply sign into Twitter on a desktop and click the “Take a Look” button in the banner at the top of your screen.

Some changes you will notice with the redesign, which Twitter have been rolling out to selected users for over a month include a larger header area – great for displaying a branded message. The recommend file size for the new header is 1500px × 500px. The profile photo has also gotten bigger, great for adding your larger sharper logo; the recommended size for this is 400px x 400px.

Some other cool new features include: 

Pinned Tweets:

Pinned Tweet

Pinned Tweet From @poloconghaile 

You can choose to pin a tweet to the top of your profile so everyone will see that tweet first on your feed. To do this you click on the three dots and select “Pin to your profile page”

Best Tweets:  

 Best Tweet From @TwitterDublin

Tweets that get the most engagement will appear larger on your homepage, so your best content is easy to find. The image above shows the difference between the two sizes.

 Filtered Tweets:

The new filtered tweets option lets you select what to view when checking out the timelines of others. Choose from these options: Tweets, Tweets and replies, Or photos/videos.

There seems to be a lot of debate going around about the new layout but we would predict it is here to stay for the foreseeable future so what do you think? Leave a comment below with your opinions.

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