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Earlier this afternoon I did something I rarely do: Post a comment on a youtube video. I'm a veteran of USENET flame wars, so not much phased by the knuckle-dragger insults a thoughtful comment often draws there. But BITD, my newsgroup comments were also likely to yield worthwhile replies. Youtube, not so much.

But comment I did. And then did something I do even more rarely: Shared the video on Facebook. And now I want to share it with you as well. Starting with my FB introduction:

I've read a lot of excellent essays about art — literature, film, theater, even music. I've read a lot more that was crap, of course (or at any rate, started a lot more that was crap, before giving up in disgust). The point being that I know what well-crafted criticism is. And this video essay on how JK Rowling's characters — especially Hermione — changed from book to film is one of the best pieces of criticism I've ever seen. Well worth watching.




And the comment I left on youtube:

Thank you for a tremendously well-observed and thought-provoking close-reading. The Devil's Snare episode was one of my favorite parts of _Philosopher's Stone_ from the first time I read it. And when the movie came out, I leaned forward in my seat and literally waited with bated breath for URupert Grint to say "Are you a witch or what?" And left the movie muttering something about "best line of dialog in the entire book, and _they left it out?!_"

But I entirely failed to see it as part of _any_ larger pattern, let alone the sevaral you bring out. Good criticism is rare. In producing a piece of excellent criticism that's also entertaining and perfectly true, you've hit the trifecta. Great work. Thank you.

Three sentences about 2017-09-14

Sep. 20th, 2017 07:00 am
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A sleepy day after the long one yesterday, but I made good progress at work nonetheless. I think that not eating during the day helps a lot; I've noticed that I'm often very tired, and also often somewhat more grouchy and impatient, right after dinner for an hour or two. The school's annual "ice cream social" was tonight, which basically involves Richardson's ice cream, some chocolate and caramel sauce, and lots of running around on the playground. :^) It started to rain partway through, but not for long, and stopped and started fitfully after that. Junie headed out with a friend who lived partway between school and home after one drizzle, though, and she then walked the rest of the way home by herself, because she is Big. :^) Q and I stayed basically until the very end, and had a good time.

Three sentences about 2017-09-13

Sep. 20th, 2017 06:31 am
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Up at 05:30 for some off-hours work; my only other note is that there was frisbee. :^) It was ok; we were playing against an "indie" team, of people who had signed up as individuals, and they were a pretty mixed bag of skill levels, and pretty uncoordinated as a team, which I suppose is how the indie team I played on last fall must have seemed to everyone, but there wasn't an indie team in the spring league, so I'd gotten used to playing against folks who'd been playing together a lot. Anyway, it was ok; we scored the first six or eight points, and then started to slack off somewhat, and offered to mix up the teams and play just for fun, but they wanted to practice playing together, which seems legit. I didn't play very well, but was pretty tired after the early start to the day, so didn't beat myself up about it too much. I stayed up a little too late, but more like midnight than like 02:00, so not disastrously bad on that front.

Three sentences about 2017-09-12

Sep. 18th, 2017 09:53 pm
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Heh, I guess the last time I posted was me saying "I feel reluctant to post things". I didn't mean that to apply to Three Sentences. :^p Time to catch up!

...but I have no recollection of Tuesday, and no notes. Probably there was work! Q had his first day of basketball at ABGC -- I'm never sure what to call this, it doesn't feel like a "class", it's not a "league", there's not a "season", he's not on a "team", he's not "practicing" for anything, who knows; anyway -- and seemed to like it. (I wasn't there, but based on his reports, and Amy's.) Junie's LEGO robotics class (see, that one feels like a class! shrug) is a week shorter, so it starts next week but ends the same week as Q's basketball. That's all I got.

What phone?

Sep. 20th, 2017 01:44 am
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Short Form

Six months ago, I was all set to replace my iPhone with a OnePlus 3T as soon as my iPhone's deterioration demanded. Then they announced the OnePlus 5. And I started seeing the first negative reviews of a new OnePlus phone I'd ever read. But they were still shipping the 3T, so I wasn't worried.

But now my iPhone's deterioration really is starting to demand that I replace it. And I appear to have been deceived about the OnePlus 3T still being available.

So I have a couple of questions for folks with Android clue.


Long Form

As I mentioned last week, my iPhone is on it's last legs and I've decided to switch to Android. I also decided, early in my current ride on the carrier-subsidized-phone-with-two-year-contract funhouse-ride, that the next time I bought a phone I was going to actually buy a phone. I've long thought that would be preferable in principle, and about when I was gritting my teeth and signing the contract my current iPhone came with, I started hearing buzz about OnePlus.

My memory (not confirmed by reading the Wikipedia article, FWIW) is that part of that buzz was about their US business plan being to sell directly to the consumer, forcing US carriers to get serious about supporting BYOD customers. Misunderstanding or not, it predisposed me to pay attention to OnePlus and to reviews of their phones, while none of the other Android phone manufacturers have garnered much attention from me.

And those reviews — as I remember them, at least — were consistently impressive. When my iPhone started giving me trouble earlier this year, the OnePlus 3T had just come out a few months earlier. And people were falling all over themselves to talk about how good it was. So it went to the top of my list of phones to look at when I could no longer nurse my iPhone along. An otherwise empty list.

Then in July they released the OnePlus 5. And the reviews were not entirely stellar. Certainly not the hosannas the 3T had garnered on its release. But I wasn't too concerned: given things like the Midnight Black Limited Edition page, with its conspicuous "Buy Now" button in the center of the page, it seemed clear that OnePlus was planning to continue shipping the 3T alongside the 5 at least into autumn.

I don't generally go for the leading edge unless I see a potential upside that well over-balances the potential downside. And for smartphones, I haven't seen that in 15 years — not since the Sony-Ericsson P800 was leading-edge. To my way of thinking, the OnePlus 3T is just about exactly in the trailing-edge sweet spot. And that limited edition Midnight Black: the cherry on top! So for the past six or eight weeks I thought I had a solid plan for when it came time to punt my iPhone.

But now that day's arrived. And it turns out that actually clicking that "Buy Now" button takes me to a page that — disappointment #1 — lists only the other two other colors. And — disappointment #2 — says, next to each,

Out of stock

And going back to that Limited Edition page and looking more closely, I find near the bottom:

Sold out
This limited edition release is no longer available in your region.
Disappointment #3.


Questions

  • Am I grossly over-reacting to the bad press the OnePlus 5 has gotten? (I'm certainly over-reacting. The emphasis here is on grossly.) Should I just buy a OnePlus 5 and stop gnashing my teeth?
  • Are there other Android phones readily available new, unlocked, and with full warranties, that are comparable to recent OnePlus models? Comparably priced? If so, which? Would you recommend any of them?
  • While no longer available directly from OnePlus, the 3T is still available from third parties. Some ostensibly new-in-box. None, that I've found, with any sort of warranty. At prices not much different, and sometimes more, than OnePlus' retail prices when they were available. Run screaming? Approach with caution? Does anyone know of a reliable vendor, perhaps in the tradition of small Japanese companies that help Americans get Japan-only products without having to personally fly to Japan?

Thank you!

Leaving Apple's warm embrace

Sep. 12th, 2017 10:03 pm
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My now nearly four-year-old iPhone has been flaking out on me with increasing frequency for several months, and for variety of reasons I've decided to replace it with an Android phone. One of those reasons is that Apple's warm embrace increasingly feels to me like that of a boa constrictor. And today That concern became less general and more specific when a friend posted about their difficulties sending SMS messages to a friend who recently punted their iPhone. Apparently it is a known problem that when you switch from an iPhone it becomes difficult or impossible for someone who is also using the Apple ecosystem to send you SMS messages: Apparently — I'm hypothesizing at least as much as remembering here — Messages.app takes over when two iPhones SMS one-another, and if one person switches to a non-Apple phone, that person has to jump through some hoops with the Apple infrastructure or their iPhone-using friends' messages will go only to that person's Messages.app instances (wherever they happen to have it running, or possibly nowhere) but not to their new phone as SMS messages.

I'm writing this here not least as an aide de memoire because I don't have time to look into it in detail right now. If one of you happens to know of good guide to switching from an iPhone to an Android phone without getting entangled in this mess, please leave a pointer in a comment. Thank you.

Three sentences about 2017-09-11

Sep. 10th, 2017 10:37 pm
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A very good day at work today, lots of progress on Omni stuff, and some more this evening too. Shopped on the way home, and made tacos for dinner, yum. A bit of kids in the evening, including a difficult part of Hat Full Of Sky (upsettingly cruel bullying), but they kids didn't seem too upset by it, and we had some good conversation about it afterwards, so yay. Now it's gotten late and I gotta sleep.

Approximately weekly diet report )

Three sentences about 2017-09-10

Sep. 10th, 2017 01:29 am
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Day full of playdates today! In the morning, I picked up a friend of Junie's (Cl), and took the two of them plus Quentin over to Joey's Park. We'd also invited along Quentin's friend I, but he couldn't make it, alas. I spun the kids in various combinations on the tire swing, gave boosts on the zip line (although frankly the eight-year-olds are too big for me to be pulling them back and sideways for extra boosting power), threw frisbees around, and even flew a kite for a bit. That was a little harrowing, because Cl was doing the flying, and I was somewhat distracted with Q, and before I knew it, Cl had it probably fifty or a hundred feet in the air, without having a great sense of safety about it, e.g. when it came down, the line was running across a big field that wasn't super crowded, but did have other kids playing on it. Nothing bad happened, but next time I'm gonna make sure to give the kite safety lecture before letting kids fly it, especially if I might not be standing by while they're doing it. Anyway, we dropped Cl back off at her place, and then headed home for lunch, after which Junie had a second playdate planned with another friend (Ch) at Hardy -- and, Q's friend I was also planning to meet us there. Unfortunately, Q was feeling rebellious, and managed to piss both me and Amy off to the extent that finally Amy left with Junie, and without him. He was *really* sad about that, but I managed to comfort him some, and we had a long talk about feeling like everyone's always telling you what to do, and not having enough control over your own life, and how yes this is no fun but it's even more no-fun to throw things at people, even if that is a way you can exercise some control and make people react to you instead of the other way around, and even if it's very satisfying in the moment, it's not safe or respectful, and also won't get you what you want. We eventually texted Amy, he apologized for throwing a thing at her, and she apologized for calling him a mean name and said that it'd be ok for him to come join them, so I walked him over there, and then back home to nap. Got up in time for dinner (a big bowl of spinach, and then one of carrots, to start, and then Amy made pasta), showers and bedtimes, a somewhat late evening but a good end to a pretty good weekend.
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Ovenbirds are my favorite of the warblers, so I was heartbroken earlier today when I heard a 'THUNK' against the window behind me, and looked outside to see an ovenbird stretched out on the ground on its back, not moving.

I went outside to check it, and it was still breathing erratically. After about ten minutes of twitching, it finally righted itself and looked around briefly, but was still too stunned to do anything. It did not object to me being next to it, so I figured I'd sit and guard it until it either regained its senses or finally succumbed. After another fifteen minutes or so, it clumsily staggered into a bush, where it hunkered down and curled up. This was the longest recovery I'd witnessed for a stunned songbird, and I didn't expect it to make it.

In late afternoon, about eight hours later, I checked it again and it had not moved. Breathing, yes, but still apparently 'asleep'. Cam agreed this did not bode well.

I wandered off to shoot a few targets (setting up a new bow! yay!) and once the sun was well behind the trees, was wheeling the portable target block back to the garage. I passed the bush where the ovenbird was holed up, and it popped out, looked startled, and flew off. It was clumsy getting into the air, but it managed. Perhaps a recent fledge?

Good luck little birb.

Newborn Monarchs!

Sep. 10th, 2017 07:03 pm
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Given their long-distance migrations to southern climates, I always thought of monarch butterflies as exotic creatures that bred elsewhere and only visited when passing through. Of course, that's not true. Still, most of my formative exposure to monarchs led me to believe that, around here, they only thrived in elementary school classroom monarch hatchery kits.

We have a decent amount of milkweed growing around the house in NH. George and Cam spotted quite a few monarch caterpillars a few weeks back, and we'd been watching the perfect green chrysalises. When we got in Friday, George excitedly pointed out a 'newborn monarch" pumping its wings open!

Another hatched a little later, and a few more of the chrysalises are starting to darken. So perfect and shiny...

...and the autofocus on my Nikon seems to be off... But just look at that face!

Three sentences about 2017-09-09

Sep. 10th, 2017 01:19 am
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Happy 9/9! Today was cirus-alicious, with the kids' first day of this session of circus class at Esh -- they've done classes there before, but not since like early 2016 I think (and I'm too lazy to check). They remodeled the space somewhat, during the last session we were there, in ways that I imagine gave them more space to do actual circus stuff, but which have the side effect of not really having anywhere for grownups to hang out and watch the kids. There's a separate lobby area now, but there's only the glass door that people come in and out of, and one small window off in the corner, looking into the main room, so I didn't really get a chance o see what all they were doing. It's just general circus stuff, nothing particularly exotic or fancy, but still. I suppose they're getting to be an age (well, Junie is anyway) where they'll be off to do activities without a grownup hanging around the whole time, but we're not quite there yet, so. Anyway, we boogied out of there after their classes were over, and hustled downtown (eating a sandwich in the car) to meet Betsy & Sean, who were taking us out to Reversible, a circus arts performance by a Montreal group called 7 Fingers. It was pretty cool, not much in the way of story (which was fine), I especially liked the hoops and the teeter-totter bits, but there was a lot of other good stuff too. We then headed down the street to Fire+Ice for dinner, where we'd made a reservation this time, and that was pretty successful -- Q had only one plate and didn't eat much, but Junie had two plates that she enjoyed a lot, I had like four small ones (the better to enjoy a variety of sauces), and everyone seemed to have a good time. Home after that, where I made milkshakes for the kids -- they'd tried my salted caramel shake from Five Guys when we were in Portland, and really wanted more, and it occurred to me that I could probably make them in the cuisinart, so I tried it, and it was a resounding success. :^) Three generous scoops of ice cream plus 1/4 cup milk made two pretty full glasses (of the little bar glass glasses), for future reference. Bedtimes, including a particularly funny stretch of Hat Full Of Sky, and then a bunch of catching up after being offline all day, including all this catching up on journaling, which I am now caught up on! But up way too late, alas, so to bed now finally.

Three sentences about 2017-09-08

Sep. 10th, 2017 01:02 am
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Successfully wrapped up the notepasser POC phase of the Omni project, huzzah. Did some planning for the next phase at the end of the day, and I'm more optimistic again than I have been for a while. One non-work-related thing that was bothering me at work is that I was having the thing where I feel cold, and especially that I have cold hands, starting in the mid-afternoon; it's not particularly unpleasant per se, but it feels weird when I'm typing, just sort of a mild gitchy feeling. I'm pretty sure it has to do with the short eating window, so I tried something different diet-wise. ) I got stuck at work a little late while doing the next-phase Omni planning, and got home somewhat later than I'd intended, but Amy had made a delicious mushroom and smoked tempeh thing, plus fresh corn on the cob, and there was time to enjoy a plate of all that before heading off to the actual first night of Fall Grand Masters frisbee. It was fun; I was involved in a couple of very good plays early, and then felt like I sort of lost my way later, being out of position on offense and not keeping up with my receiver when on defense. I was feeling very energetic early, which led me to stay on for too many points, I think -- I should've been subbing more frequently early, and ended up pushing it a little too far and then being a little too winded for the whole rest of the night. Still, it was fun, the team seems more upbeat and positive than the spring version, and I'm looking forward to the season. I then stayed up way too late, as I am wont to do, and also ate too much, in the form of like three bowls of cereal, which I probably didn't need, but which felt very good at the time. Not a big deal, but it'd be nice to find a way to resist that urge; we'll see.

Three sentences about 2017-09-07

Sep. 10th, 2017 12:54 am
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Hmm, no notes about Thursday either. I think I finally confirmed at work that my laptop worked fine on wireless *except* at my desk, like it's the access point near my desk for some reason that's losing my packets? That's just bizarre, though, there's no obvious explanation why that would be affecting me and not anyone else. It definitely seems to be fine from conference rooms, though -- and when I walk back to my desk, with the laptop open, running a ping, all of a sudden I'm losing packets when I get within range of my desk. Actually, I think I was suspecting this strongly by the end of the day yesterday, and confirmed it as I was heading out the door -- and then today, it stopped happening, and everything was fine. Or maybe that happens tomorrow, unstuck in time a bit. Anyway, more Omni and notepasser progress, I didn't take notes on the details but things are good, and it's time to close the book on this one and get on to the next big thing. After work, it turned out that Amy and the kids had gone to Junie's shotokan an hour early due to a mixup about the time, so I swung by there to pick up Quentin, who was getting antsy and bored. He and I went shopping at TJ's, and then came home and someone did something about dinner, but I don't remember what. And then presumably some bedtimes? Gotta post every day, or at least take better notes.

Three sentences about 2017-09-06

Sep. 10th, 2017 12:40 am
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Hmm, Wednesday, I forgot to write down notes. I think I was cranking along at work modulo ongoing firewall vs wireless stupidity. I came home early to wrangle the kids, so Amy could go to a DACA rally downtown, because Jeebus McFuck I have no words. Took Q to shotokan, ordered tasty Indian takeout because no one was home to make dinner. :^) Discovered that our usual Indian place Punjabi Tadka is now apparently Singh Saab, a fact we didn't actually find out unti the delivery driver told us. Things seemed generally fine, if slightly different in various non-essential ways. I've now found http://bostonrestaurants.blogspot.com/2017/06/santa-banta-in-waltham-reopening-as.html which claims that it's not a name or ownership change exactly, but a restaurant that was in Waltham, moving in to the Punjabi Tadka location. Who knows, they seemed fine, we'll keep ordering from them I imagine. :^) Oh, also, the first game of the Fall Grand Masters season was tonight, but was canceled due to rain, which was good because I didn't want to go anyway...

Three sentences about 2017-09-05

Sep. 10th, 2017 12:08 am
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Happy first day of school! For Junie, anyway; Q has some sort of hour-or-two-long visit thing today, and then half the kindergarten class has their first full day on Wednesday, half on Thursday, and then everyone on Friday. I walked Junie to school, she found her line just as they were getting ready to head in, and it was nice. :^) At work, spent much of the day getting back up to speed, and also fighting through some laptop firewall freakoutery, they made some configuration change that somehow led to massive packet loss when connected to the wireless network. Went to TJ's and Penzeys after work, where at the latter I picked up some jerk chicken seasoning, the latest in my attempts to come up with an additional thing the kids would enjoy... It didn't work out well: It was too spicy, which meant that when I put only a little on, it was too bland, but more of it was too hot for our tastes. This was further enweirdened by the ingredient list on the bottle being rather different from the ingredient list on the web site -- "ginger, brown sugar, sweet chili, garlic, paprika, allspice, lemon grass, thyme, nutmeg, black pepper, cumin, red pepper and jalapeno", says https://www.penzeys.com/online-catalog/jerk-chicken-and-fish-seasoning/c-24/p-195/pd-s, but the bottle actually has ancho pepper as the second ingredient, and no sugar, so my hope of a sweet-ish garlic sauce was not to be. I may just try to make a sweet garlic sauce from basic spices, rather than trying to find a blend, will see. (What I really want is the yu hsiang sauce from Dragon Garden, but recipes for things by that name seem to be complicated, and I haven't found it in a jar at TJ's or either of the local supermarkets.) Anyway, I thought the result was ok if boring, but the kids weren't into it, so cross that off the list. Finished the evening with a bunch of miscellaneous logistics, and a major breakthrough in Omni and notepasser stuff at work, giving me hope that we can actually get this thing wrapped up this week.

(Here's what I actually ended up using: 1 tsp jerk chicken seasoning, add 2 tsp water, let it sit for 5 minutes, add the juice from half a lime, add that to 12 oz of cooked chicken in a frying pan, realize there's nowhere near enough liquid there, add another probably 2/3 cup of water. Cook for a minute or two, reduce heat and let simmer for 5 mins or so, add to previously-cooked 10 oz shredded carrots and 8 oz peas. Meh.)

Three sentences about 2017-09-04

Sep. 9th, 2017 11:50 pm
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Happy Labor Day! A pretty laid back day, I started by catching up on a bunch of finances type stuff, and then took the kids to Hardy, where a friend (I) of Q's joined us to play. Junie ended up sitting and takling to I's mom for like an hour, which they seemed to enjoy, and which I was alternately amused and annoyed by -- I was hoping she'd run around a bit and get some exercise, but she just wasn't feeling particularly energetic, and they did seem to be enjoying talking to each other, so. :^) Amy took the kids for the afternoon, and I've forgotten what they did, but I took a nap, and then spent the afternoon reading outside on the deck. :^) Not in the hammock, which I haven't enjoyed as much hung tight and low on the deck since getting a chance to use it after hanging it more properly; I'm now thinking that I would like to get a stand after all, maybe the next time we get a 20% off REI coupon, we'll see. Still, a nice relaxing day which I don't seem to have any other notes about. :^)

Except my usual approximately weekly diet report )

Three sentences about 2017-09-03

Sep. 9th, 2017 11:44 pm
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More catching up at home on Sunday, including a TJ's run that was interesting enough that I wrote down "TJ's", but not so interesting that I remember why it was interesting. The kids watched How To Train Your Dragon 2, and I caught most of it too; I'd seen it before (as had they), and I was reminded again how annoyed I am by the ending, but it has a lot of other good things going on, so is perhaps forgivable. We then headed down to Providence to go to WaterFire, which I'd never heard of, but which sounded cool when Amy pitched it. :^) We first spent the afternoon at the Providence Children's Museum, which was perhaps less glossy than the Boston Children's Museum, but had a lot of cool stuff that the kids really enjoyed. We had planned to have dinner at the nearby Providence Place mall, but had sort of not realized that the food court might close at like 18:00, so we made it barely in time to throw together a hasty dinner, but it worked out all right. Then down to the river to watch them light eighty or so bonfires on metal dishes, and walk up and down the river while music played. (https://waterfire.org/ for pics and more descriptions) Headed home, the kids fell asleep in the car, and I imagine I did too shortly thereafter.

Three sentences about 2017-09-02

Sep. 6th, 2017 07:26 am
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Oof, I really fell off the wagon here. I jotted down some notes, and will try to catch up.

It was cold overnight in the hammock, even in my sleeping bag, probably because the insulation below me gets very compressed between my body and the hammock. I put my sweatshirt and jeans back on and slept better after that. Doug lit a fire in their portable fire pit thing in the morning, and there was a nice campfire vibe to the whole thing, if somewhat jarring because we were in a backyard in suburban Portland. :^) D&S made pancakes for breakfast, we hung around and chatted, and the kids swung on the tire swing and jumped on the trampoline while we packed up the camping gear. We drove home, unpacked, took showers, read some Hat Full Of Sky, and put the kids to bed. I then stayed up way too late catching up on stuff, overate a ton of cookies, for no obvious reason that I can remember now, and watched the first two episodes of Steven Universe, to see if it was something I'd enjoy watching with the kids -- I think so, and maybe we'll pick it up this winter, when we'll have some weekend free time that we don't want to spend running around outside.
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