CIO Perspective: How to Improve the ROI of Your Software

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IT departments spend a good time to justify the return of their investments. However, software investments, taking a significant portion of the investments, are often neglected. Considering that the Pareto rule is in place for software use as well – 20% of the users use 80% of the application, or 80% of the users use 20% of the application etc.- CIOs need to rethink about improving the return on software investment.

Let’s start the evaluation before we purchase the software. Why do we invest in making an investment on the software? Is it creating operational efficiencies, automating a manual process, solving a business problem, building opportunities? What is the value that it is adding? If we cannot answer the simple question of adding value, then the investment may not be justified at the first place.

Next comes the training. Many software vendors direct users to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sections or the support forums on their web sites. However, user manuals, product documentation, extensive help files, end user and IT support trainings are often not mentioned. If the vendor does not have solid training programs in place, we can be pretty sure that hard times will begin immediately after we invest in this software.

Following the training, we have to evaluate that we have service, support and development solutions the vendor provides. Our vendor should have clearly defined service and support terms, which should also be translated into Service Level Agreements (SLAs). The SLAs should be stated in the contract, not  just in the vendor’s website and nowhere else.

In the past, the tendency was to select enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, which are monolithic, expensive to maintain, lock-in systems that allowed “my way or the highway” type of integration with other systems. Today’s computing environment is exactly the opposite: the vendors compete on making their applications compatible with other applications. When choosing our software, we have to make sure that it easily integrates with our existing solutions. If in doubt, we need to ask the vendor what integration features it provides – native, APIs, export/import etc..

Continuing on the ERP systems, one of the benefits that they provided was scalability. The applications could scale up and scale out without any problems. The first thing that we have to look for in the software is the scalability. The numbers that the vendors could be high, but these can be deceptive. Imagine a vendor offering a 5000 page limit for your company knowledge website, which you are evaluating for 200 knowledge workers. It is obvious that 5000 looks big at the first sight, but making the small math it translates to 5000/200 = 25 pages per knowledge worker, which will definitely expire very soon.

We can also think about scalability in terms of accommodating further business requirements in today’s environment. Suppose  that we are evaluating a customer relationship management application for our enterprise. We have designed our workflows, the application can hold, process and report the data without any problems. However, if it does not take into account today’s mobility and portability requirements – if it does not support mobile communications, mobile workflows, does not have mobile security, is not optimized for mobile viewing -, and if the vendor still does not have those features in the roadmap then the application is definitely promising rough times.

To ensure that we will be able to use the application for some years to come, we need to ensure that the contract has [1] new features and enhancements [2] less than 5-year terms. These two items are closely tied together. A lot of changes happen in the business environment and they come out of nowhere. Our software has to roll out features that can answer such changes and it should have less than 5 year, preferably yearly renewing terms. If these options are not available, we have to negotiate a 3-year contract or an opt-out option. Failing to do any of these will most likely cause our company to get stuck in the application and result in painful update, maintenance, support processes in the future.

Next, we need to discuss with our IT team on the time they require to deploy the application. Given that we have some time, it will be a good idea to get the evaluation version and try to deploy to a couple of computers. That way we will be able to identify how long it will take for deployment and if the deployment will have any impact on the mission critical applications.

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Once we decided on the application and deployed it, we need to measure the use. To be frank, there are very few companies that measure the use of the software. But when they do, they cannot believe the results. One of my clients deployed an application that provides business writing templates to 2000-plus users; on Remote Desktop Servers, on laptops and desktops. During deployment, I asked them to carry out the necessary work to track the use on System Center Configuration Manager (although they did not believe it is necessary, they did not turn me down). After one month, when I asked them to check the telemetry, it was seen that the application was only run once, which was immediately after it is deployed!

Finally, we have to evaluate the application with our IT staff. Is the IT staff satisfied with the application? What is the state of the support requests from the end users? What is the vendor’s expertise? Is the vendor willing to give a hand or is the vendor “just doing its job and nothing more?” In case of any dissatisfaction, we need to arrange a meeting with the vendor and take actions to iron out any issues that we are having.

Taking these steps carefully will ensure that we are improving our return on our software investments. What steps do you take to maximize your investment? We’d love to hear your comments.

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Best WordPress plugins to Improve Website Speed

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WordPress is one of the most widely used open source applications available. Whilst officially touted as a blogging platform, WordPress is a flexible application that can be used for a number of purposes, including as a CMS for an ordinary … Continue reading

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Effective Web Design Tips to Improve Your Online Business

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When you are running an online business, you need to ensure that you present the best face to your clients, as an excellent website.
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Linux Server Administration – Some Simple Steps to Improve Server Security

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This article shares some simple tips for better Linux server administrator. As a server administrator, you should follow these tips as that will keep your crucial files and information more secured on your server.
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Tips On How To Improve Your Web Hosting

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If you are making your website, a web host is something you will have to consider eventually. You may have no idea what a good web host should provide. If that's the case for you, then you need to start doing your research.
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Excellent Ideas To Improve Your Website Creation

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The idea of taking care of your own website design can be both scary and fun at the same exact time, especially if you are someone who has very little experience in doing so. If you check out the advice below, you can both develop a better understanding of some web design basics and also get a good idea of how to put them to use with your own site.

Give some thought to the background of your website. While some websites utilize moving GIF backgrounds, opt for simple background since these moving backgrounds can make text hard to read. Use a light colored background which fits into your site’s color palette.

TIP! Always take outdated information and content off of your website. If there is content on your page highlighting an event that is already part of past history, your readers are going to abandon you quickly.

Preserve the personal information users submit on your site safely. Save users’ information like registration data, so it doesn’t have to be entered more than once on different forms. With this “sticky” information, you create a simpler, easier experience for your users, which will prompt them to stay on-site longer.

Regular newsletters attract repeat website visitors. You can keep your visitors informed about important events, updates, and changes when they sign up for a newsletter, and the flow of information will often tempt them to revisit your site. Have a signup form in one of your sidebars, and document everyone that signs up. Do not distribute the newsletter to people who have not specifically requested it; otherwise, recipients might become irritated.

Let site visitors give feedback. This makes it easier to identify problem areas and to create a more user-friendly site. If a visitor feel involved, he or she will want to see your website again.

TIP! Remember the background. Backgrounds with moving GIF views can be great, but can make text hard to read as well.

Try you best to write an informative and interesting “About Us” page. Some websites “About Us” pages are very dull and boring. Your site doesn’t have to be one of those sites, though! Provide some insight about your own story. How did you get inspiration? What are your goals? What led you to website creation?

Like so many skills, website design can be improved through patient, consistent practice. Test out your basic chops with C+ and HTML by building yourself a few simple web pages. It’s important to practice to make sure you know the ropes of website creation.

As you are designing your website, keep in mind that you are not required to utilize all of the space available. By insisting on utilizing all the available tips and tricks, you can make a site that is not friendly to your users. When you space things out in an appropriate way and have a sense of organization, this will make users feel like they are in control. You would be surprised how empty space can often be as valued as content.

TIP! Preserve the personal information users submit on your site safely. Save users’ information like registration data, so it doesn’t have to be entered more than once on different forms.

If you want to work on your website, you need to have an office space with a door. Eliminate distractions and maximize efficiency of the work space, so you are always ready to work. Put your office supplies where you can reach them easily, and set aside enough space to allow you to design your site.

The majority of people are familiar with Photoshop, and for those who want to succeed with website design, they understand they must learn as much as they can about it. Fewer people are familiar with the program Dreamweaver, which can be just as useful.

Get a professional mentor. Even if you want to tackle most of the site building yourself, having professional advice can greatly ease the process. When you consult with a pro, chances are that you’ll be one someday.

TIP! Refrain from the overuse of Javascript. While it can provide a large variety of ways to build a more responsive and transparent website, it can cause problems for some of your visitors.

Avoid the use of CAPTCHAs whenever you can. Captchas make viewers feel that they must jump through a hoop just to see a simple webpage. Except for devoted members, most people will likely leave your site and look elsewhere.

Web page design makes for a great way to promote and reach your niche market. It is an excellent skill to add to your resume. Begin utilizing the advice in this piece immediately in order to maximize your results.

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Good Advice On How To Improve At Web Design

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Are you someone who wants to become a great web designer? Do you have goals set up for yourself, but are not sure how to design a website, and that is preventing your from meeting them? If you answered “yes,” then this article is for you. It will help you learn the fundamentals of website creation.

Be very careful to remove outdated content from your site. If there is content on your page highlighting an event that is already part of past history, your readers are going to abandon you quickly. Users are going to want to spend time on websites that have been cared for, and when old information is kept up it shows that the site is not being paid attention to. Make sure you regularly schedule time to add new content, and to remove old.

TIP! Make sure the combination of colors your site uses is attractive and makes the site easy to read. Be sure that your written content is clearly visible and easy to read against the background you choose.

Be considerate when it comes to your site background. There are sites out there that use animated GIF images for their backgrounds. This might be OK for a personal site, but it can also be a serious distraction that makes it hard for readers to focus on the text. Choose a background which coordinates well with the message that you are trying to impart, it must blend in well with the balance of your website design.

Excellent Free Tools

When designing a site, use free software. Many people falsely believe that they need to purchase expensive software in order to create a good website, however, there are currently numerous excellent free tools on the market that help you to develop a very professional looking website. Do some searching and you’ll find some excellent free tools to use.

TIP! If your website is going to attract visitors, it needs to be easy to navigate. Visitors should be able to locate clear, unambiguous links quickly and easily.

Elicit feedback from your visitors. By doing this, if you discover a missing item or if you don’t know how to properly utilize your page, it’s possible for you to fix it. You can encourage your visitors to come back to your site over and over by giving them the opportunity to contribute to the quality of it.

Throughout the design process, it is essential to make sure your site’s designs looks and works the way you want it to on every web browser, so always check it across all common web browsers. Each web browser interprets websites slightly differently, and in some cases these differences can have drastic effects on the user experience. Using available resources, determine which browsers are the most popular among your target demographic. View your website in each of these browsers to ensure that the page will be viewed correctly.

When you design your website, remember that you do have have to fill up every bit of space. When the entire screen is full of content, the brain becomes overwhelmed. Dividing up your site’s elements with blank space, can make it easier for visitors to distinguish what elements perform what function. There are many situations in which empty space makes a major impact.

TIP! Allow your users the ability to cancel something if they are not happy with what they typed in. These actions involve signing up for newsletters or email notifications, filling out forms, or searching the site for different topics or archives.

Development platforms can make your own code, but certain ones aren’t as dependable as a text editor. Platforms allow you to design the way your site looks, and you can then simply paste the code that it generates for you. But if you desire a true creator experience and want to reduce errors, stick with classic text editors.

Begin by creating tiny websites in order to determine areas that you’ve worked on which were solid, and the areas that you’ve worked on which were bad. Launch with a few basic pages and then gauge what works, and how you could expand from there.

Go ahead and invest into some books, that can assist you with learning how to become a successful web designer. Start with books around your skill level, so that you don’t skip any necessary information.

TIP! Do your best to store any personal information of your users so that they don’t have to enter it over and over again on your site. For instance, if a user registers at your site and another form requires the same information again, be certain your website preserves this data to prevent them the useless and annoying hassle of filling it in again.

Stay creative and forward-thinking when you design your site! While it’s acceptable to modify and expand upon design elements that have appealed to you on other websites, you should strive to create your own unique and innovative techniques. Implementing this technique will help you to create a quality website.

Ask your friends who know web design if your knowledge about graphic design and server-side coding are relatively complete. You will want to be sure that all the information you learned has truly been retained, the last thing you want to deal with is being in between the making of a site and then becoming lost or confused.

Practice with a very basic layout to understand the basics of web page design. Begin with the basics and evolve your site as time goes on and you become more advanced in your capabilities and understanding of website design.

TIP! Prevent utilizing pop-ups on your site. There is nothing worse than confronting a cascade of pop-up ads when visiting a website.

Take care to differentiate your website design from others in the same genre as you. Just check your competitor’s websites before you start designing your own. Being similar to other websites won’t set you apart. You will be just another generic version of any competitors that had their sites up before you.

You should feel more confident about designing your website by now. You should have a much better idea. If you don’t, continue rereading this article until you can understand website development better, in order to increase your confidence in the subject.

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What You Can Do To Improve Your Web Hosting

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A web host will put your website on the web for all to access. Before you spend your valuable money on any web hosting service, make sure to familiarize yourself with the basics. The following article contains tips that you should heed when choosing a web page hosting service.

Which do you need, shared or dedicated hosting? If your site is very complicated, with a high volume of traffic, shared hosting may not be a good option. It is probably a good idea to look for a dedicated host.

TIP! Start researching alternative hosting companies at the first sign of trouble with your own; don’t wait until a change is absolutely necessary. In case you decide you need a new service, you will be able to change to a new host quickly, because you know to which one you want to subscribe.

Choose a host that doesn’t have many outages. If a company faces frequent outages and is constantly making excuses, it is a red flag that they are unreliable, or they would have made plans to remedy the situation. A lot of downtime shows that they are not reliable and professional; therefore, you should steer clear of them.

Web Host

Before you go out looking for a new web host, make a list of the attributes that you are seeking. List the things you desire and the things you absolutely must have. Determine which web host matches most of these traits. By doing this, you will be more likely to make a sound decision, rather than one based solely on the price of the host.

TIP! R

To get a safe site, buy a certificate to get secure server status. A secure server is a sign of trust to a potential customer. You will want to use this option if you are asking your site visitors to provide you any sensitive information, like their address or financial details.

When thinking about purchasing a hosting package that provides infinite services, you should be cautious. For instance, you may indeed have unlimited storage, but the company may limit the type of files that can be stored. Also, unlimited bandwidth may be seen like a type of tiered payment plan. By knowing what these plans are really giving you, you can determine if they’re worth the money or if you even need them at all.

When doing your research, look beyond the website of a web host and their advertising materials to find the real scoop on their reputation. Look for reviews written by clients of this host on independent websites to learn more about this service. Reviews by customers will be the best reviews, as they will truly describe the quality of the web host.

TIP! When choosing a web host, pick a company that is located within your niche’s country. If your target audience is Americans, stick with a hosting provider that’s located in America.

Free is good, but a free web hosting provider isn’t always the best choice. If you choose a free service, your website may be plastered with advertisements. The hosting company, not you, chooses the ads and ad categories to display. Random ads on a site can make it appear unprofessional.

Many hosting companies are actually just affiliate accounts linked to the major players in the field. These companies are in the business of buying bulk server space from a large host, and making money by leasing it to end-users. Check out where your website will actually be hosted, and verify that you have gotten the lowest cost and are not paying a middle-man markup.

Consider companies that use a cPanel. A cPanel allows you to add common applications to your site easily. These applications are usually user friendly and typically easy to install. It is Linux based and makes running your website more efficient.

TIP! When considering a particular web host, ask them about the security measures and protections they have set up. Today, no website is safe from hacking and other security risks.

Can you talk directly with current and former customers of web host companies that you are considering? Asking customers questions about the your most pressing concerns can help you pare down your list of potential hosts. Finding the right hosting provider will be easier when you affirmed by good reviews. Current customers are the best way to gauge the quality of a host’s services.

When considering different hosting providers, look to each one’s website for clues. An unprofessional or poorly designed site should definitely be a red flag. This could be a hint of many problems, perhaps just inexperience, or maybe a company that is here today but gone tomorrow. On the other hand, a user-friendly, professional website indicates experience, competence and more reliable service.

Beware of scam offers and costs that are hidden from view. Website hosting advertising often relies on positioning low prices, but these prices often just cover the basics, and any additional features are tacked on with fees. Always be sure exactly what your plan includes and if the features you need involve any extra costs. Select a hosting plan that contains all the features you need and is within your budget.

TIP! Invest in an SSL certificate for both your and your customers’ peace of mind. You can add an icon to your website which informs users that your site is secure, and this can make them more trusting of the transaction security on your site.

Be really leery of very inexpensive web hosts. Budget web hosting services are serious temptations, but be mindful of why they might be so affordable. They might be cutting corners in undesirable ways.

As mentioned, hosting is a necessary part of having your website on the Internet. Be cautious and prudent when choosing a web host, so that you can avoid problems in the future. Take the hosting tips from this article and use them wisely.

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Improve Your Site With These Web Design Secrets

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If you are a newcomer to the topic, website development can appear to be an elusive, alien art form. However, if you take the time to learn more about it, you may realize it’s not so bad after all. Using these tips, you can make attractive and effective website for every purpose.

In order for your website to be successful, it must work properly regardless of the browser that is used. You should therefore make certain that all of your web pages are thoroughly tested on a variety of browsers. A site that works on Internet Explorer might not display right in Firefox, Google Chrome, or Safari. Test every page in each browser before you let your site go live.

TIP! If you want your website to cater to the needs of visitors, it must be user-friendly and simple to navigate. Links should be highly visible and easy to locate.

Offer to store personal information for returning users. For instance, people may already register with your site, and you should have it set up to preserve their information if they choose so they don’t have to register again. Saving the user’s information in this way simplifies work for them, and is much appreciated by your website visitors.

Do not use JavaScript more than you have to. JavaScript does open many doors when it comes to website design, but it can also close the door to your website for some visitors. Each web browser is different, and each has a new version on a regular basis. It is often the case that people don’t rush to get the latest version. Also, everyone doesn’t enable JavaScript on their browsers. This means they’ll have difficulty viewing your site because of this.

Publish a newsletter, to increase your likelihood of having repeat visitors. If you have your clients subscribe to updates, they will have a reason to come back again and again. Place the signup form in a sidebar on your site, and keep track of the people that sign up. You should then only send your newsletter to people who have requested it, or individuals could sue you for unsolicited emails.

TIP! Be very careful to remove outdated content from your site. If a reader lands on your page and sees an expired offer, it will definitely be a deal-breaker.

You should always make sure to implement a way that users can submit feedback to you about your website. If you have forgotten something or have made an element of your site confusing to use, they will be able to tell you. If you actively seek your visitors’ feedback and make changes as a result, your visitors will feel like active participants in your site. This will encourage them to keep visiting the site.

Avoid having pop-up windows on your website. Even though you may find a reason to have them, your visitors will find them annoying. When these windows pop up on the screen, you are likely to frustrate your visitors to the point that they are determined never to return.

Make sure to check whether your site works on all Internet browsers. Different browsers will read and display a site in different ways, which can have some unintended results for site visitors. You should find out the top five to ten browsers. Test your website on all of these browsers, including the popular mobile web browsers.

TIP! Make it possible for users to cancel action if they want to do so. Actions include registering for any e-mail notifications, browsing the site, or filling out forms.

Visitors enjoy knowing more about the webmasters of their favorite sites. Web designers often forget to be creative when they create the company bio area of the site. Try spicing things up! Let people see who you are by sharing your educational background, career moves and future goals.

Try using readable and professional-appearing fonts. The font is one of the first items people notice when coming to a site. Don’t use fancy or non-standard fonts. Some people may not have these fonts installed on their computers. Fonts on your website can be set to match the default font used by the computer of your visitors. Try to use common browser fonts so your users don’t see unexpected type layouts.

Hosting your site yourself is not really a great idea, no matter what amount of money you’ve decided to invest in it. Design as much as you can yourself, but letting someone else host it will free up some of your time, allowing you to work on other things.

TIP! When designing a large website, include the ability to search throughout the site. At the top right of every page in your site, incorporate a search box which will let visitors search for a term that appears on your site.

Invest in a library of books which will aid you in learning the field of web design. Look for books that are aimed at your level of expertise, so that you do not miss out on any important information.

Most people have heard of Photoshop and know that it’s a useful tool in website design. Fewer people are familiar with the program Dreamweaver, which can be just as useful.

It’s fine to have a new user fill out a CAPTCHA when he registers for you site, but after that, he shouldn’t see another CAPTCHA. As soon as a viewer sees a captcha, they will automatically think that they will have to do to much work just too see your webpage. Unless visitors are already addicted to your site, they will probably leave your site in search of simpler pastures.

TIP! Photoshop is a good program for creating great content for your new web site. It is also novice friendly.

FileZilla is an excellent file server, and it gives you the opportunity to program your domain, username, and port settings right into its quick menu. Your settings can be personalized, saved and quickly selected when you log onto your server. That saves a great deal of time.

It should be clear that web design isn’t as hard as it seems, once you know a bit about it. If you know enough about website development, you can easily design a website to meet almost any need. Use the tips you’ve read here to get your site ready to go.

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Tips On How To Improve Your Web Hosting

Posted by: Admin  :  Category: Web Hosting

What if you were able to find a host that gave you flexibility, saved you money, and provided great service? Many people rely on their websites to make them money. For these people, it is critical to choose website hosting that is both affordable and packed with features. Read on to learn more about hosting so that you can evaluate hosting packages and find the cheapest package that meets your needs.

Find out what kinds of sites your web host supports. You need to be concerned with the ability to create dynamic pages. Some free sites don’t allow you to do this. If you can only create static pages, you won’t be able to add scripts you coded yourself, and you will therefore be severely limited in what you can do. This will limit the scope of your site, so you may want to upgrade to a paying host.

Free Hosting

Are you considering putting your new website onto a free hosting service? You will want to keep your own backups of all your important data, since free hosting services often have minimal backup services, if any. As a result, if anything disappears, you’re out of luck.

You should select a web host service that offers enough space for your site to grow. While a single HTML page takes up almost no space at all, adding media like photos and videos will quickly eat up your available space. Gaining access to 100 MB of disk space should be sufficient for developing your site.

TIP! If you’re concerned about some elements of your current web-hosting service, look into backup hosting services. By doing this, if you end up with issues that aren’t solvable, you have a place to turn quickly without having interruptions in your service.

While most hosting sites suggest you back up your data; you should make a practice of doing so, regardless. You want your data safe. Can you imagine re-creating all of your site’s content? When you have your backup, you always have your site code, no matter what happens to your hosting service.

Closely comparing the hosting companies on your short list will help you choose the one that is best for your business’s bottom line. There is a wide variety of rates, with monthly fees from $ 2 up to $ 60. The less expensive providers can, in fact, be the more reliable option. Many expensive ones allow more bandwidth, but you may not have less downtime.

Web Host

TIP! Web hosting facilities can be anywhere, but you should choose one that is located in the same country as your site’s audience. If you’re targeting folks in the UK, your hosting plan’s data center should also be there.

If you don’t have much experience when it comes to web design, you should search for a host who provides excellent customer service above all else. If you don’t have much experience, you’ll discover that you have lots of questions about using features on your hosting package. It’s better to have a simple web host with competent technical support than a web host with flashy applications and poor technical support.

The company you choose should support all programming languages that your business uses, or plans to use. Without the proper support for currently used languages, you will not be able to successfully launch your website. Furthermore, any web host with such constraints will likely be unable to accommodate any changes in future programming languages. Changing hosts can be a bothersome task.

Now you have a better idea of how to review web page hosting companies, and see what features they can offer you. Take the time to compare different options and learn more about each host and you will find the best providers. Implement the tips you’ve just read to help you find the perfect hosting service for you and your site.

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