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Category Archives: Website

Behind The Screen

This blog is a little different to my usual because it is being written with the intention of adding a link elsewhere to try and explain/highlight what has happened ‘behind the screen’ to bring a web page together.

As some may know I administrate, edit and manage a web site about a particular musician and have done for many many years. It is an on-going, complex, multi-layered learning experience that gathers information into one place. I do it for my own satisfaction, to have a one-stop place that collates his work, for the fans and those interested to visit. Yes, it costs me money, but what hobby doesn’t.

Recently he was interviewed by Dom Familaro for The Sessions Artist Series published to YouTube. If you are interested in the workings of the music industry, the various musicians that back, support, perform with many A-list names, perhaps you play an instrument, these interviews are entertaining and interesting to hear so many peoples different life stories, how music became their profession and where that profession has taken them and things they’ve learnt and experienced on the way. But I digress…..

The website has a few interview transcripts and it occurred to me that even though YouTube has the ‘captions’ option (akin to on the go subtitles in language of your choice), there is still a section of the world wide audience who are missing out, so I decided to transcribe the thirty-eight minute interview and find a way it can be translated, thus broadening it’s reach. Sounds reasonably straightforward, doesn’t it. Ha!

Step 1. Using a mix of shorthand, speed writing and longhand I begin taking down the dialogue. Gone are the days when I could audio-type thanks to my depleted dexterity. So it’s listen intently, stop video, write, reread, rewind and listen again, correct script, add punctuation. Continue to listen, pause it, write it down, check it, relisten to the passage, make corrections and proceed ….. you get the idea. It took a few days, working an hour or two per day.

Step 2. Thanks to my muscle disease rendering my fingers/hands/wrists so weak the easiest way to transcribe the written word is to use dictation, no more confidently typing at between 70-75 wpm for me anymore. I create a fresh document, hit the microphone and speak clearly, deciphering my scrawl as I go. Stopping after a couple of paragraphs to read over the dictation, correct the errors, add the punctuation, capitalise names etc. Hit save and carry on. It takes a couple of days but at the end there are nine pages of crisp type, each paragraph a persons dialogue, all checked, proofed and corrected.

Step 3. Now it gets a little technical because I need to add the HTML tags that make it show on the eventual web page. Each paragraph needs a <p> at the beginning. It makes visual sense to have the interviewers dialogue in a different colour to the interviewees, so I add a font=“colornumber” to those lines. I also have to add the speakers name to each paragraph to make it easier to follow who is saying or asking what. So that’s added, all in capitals for emphasise.

Step 4. Using a specific software program I create the webpage, it’s basic style set to match the myriad of pages already there. I add the techie bit of code to embed the YouTube video, making sure it sits comfortably and is the correct size. I add the tab heading and explanation. Then in chunks I add the coded interview transcription. Crossing my fingers I hit the ‘test’ function to see what it looks like as a web page. I am reasonably pleased with the result except the colour is way way off, neon lime green, the hex code is a shade of red! Hmm……that needs investigating, it works on other pages already published.

Step 5. Thanks to an excellent web site that walks you through, teaches and shows how to grapple with HTML coding I can put together the five or six lines of instruction to add a button to bring up a menu of languages that Google will then translate the whole page. Wow! I add it at the top of the transcription coding and hit ‘test’. It’s there, and what’s more……it works! Victory! By chance it answers my query about the text colour coding, I think the issue is that versions of HTML change things, and that’s what has happened here, the code for changing the font colour is now a script command within the <p> notation, so I will need to put together the new bit of code, then copy and paste it at the beginning of each of the interviewers dialogue.

Step 6. I confidently upload the new page to the server, add the link to the main media page so viewers can get to it and voila….well no, not quite yet, actually. I forgot the special text snaffoo, you see when you type characters like & ( ‘ ) “ and then copy/paste them into a coding page, things go a little bit odd, it turns a ‘ into ’ . So I need to go through the entire transcript and remove the gobbledygook and replace the appropriate punctuation mark.

Next time I am at my desk, I will have to go through the coding, change the font colour code and correct the ‘ (oh I hope the find and replace will help me). That a rough idea of what is involved for just one page. I intend to add the translation script to every page of the site, a mere thirty or so. Like the Forth Bridge, there is always something that needs working on to improve.

Link to the interview ….. The Sessions Artist Interview

Link to the website http://www.stcgibb.com

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2020 in Music, people, Tech, Website

 

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Been doing the do

It’s been a while, so much has happened since I last listed jobs and progress, I had been dreading reappraising my jobs and projects lists. So let’s see if I’m nearer a B- Good Effort than the C- could do better…..

  • Update Management Company spreadsheets ✅
  • Email Agents for update on works pending ✅
  • Liaise with Director over estate business ✅
  • Order Great-Niece’s birthday present (4 already!) ✅
  • Collate care professionals names, addresses, phone numbers ❌
  • Begin DLA to PIP migration (scary) ✅ and blogged
  • Amass medical evidence ✅
  • Do own financial evaluation ✅
  • Source home demo powerchairs – ⚠️ shelved temporarily
  • Update website (1st Aug) – ❌
  • Cogitate Mac ‘big projects’ list ✅
  • Go through and weed 300+ saved read emails ✅
  • Finish cat blanket crochet ✅ and a couple more ✅✅

Blimey it looks like I’ve been super busy, and I am really surprised considering all the extra stress and business I’ve had cross my world these last three months. Now then, what shall we aim for over the next couple of months ……

  • Complete three cat blankets
  • Complete photo organising project
  • Mac back up
  • Add sailing blog to my website
  • Add photo album to website
  • Send letter and photos to Aunt
  • Finish current book and review
  • Sort, weed, tidy desk and draws

That should do for now.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2019 in General, Life, Projects, Website

 

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Fair Winds Following Seas – Farewell Friend

I’m saying good bye to another old friend, a tangible piece of my life’s adventure.

The Jubilee Sailing Trust operates two tall ships that are designed to accommodate many forms of disability, not only things like deafness and sight impaired, but also stroke victims, amputees, wheelchair users and mental health sufferers. We are all involved within the watch rota to sail the ships and keep them shipshape. Across her thirty year history STS Lord Nelson known as “Nellie”, has circumnavigated the globe, chased icebergs, clipped the Bermuda Triangle, tamed the China Seas, she has raced as part of the tall ship fleets and been the floating ambassador and has touched hundreds of thousands of mixed ability lives for the better.

A family friend passed a brochure to me in the eighties and I had toyed with the idea of running away to sea, so when Nellie visited my home port I secretly took myself off, explored her and spoke to a volunteer crew member, over a mug of hot tea and freshly baked cake we chatted, mused, discussed and laughed. After that I made up my mind to throw myself fully into this once-in-a-lifetime-never-to-repeat adventure and booked a four-week passage from Southampton to Gran Canaria via Lisbon.

The experience was nerve wracking, exhilarating, daunting, engaging, challenging, educational, but filled with hilarity, congeniality, and above all else, equality. We were just a bunch of people sailing together. I enjoyed myself so much that I repeated the experience another two times on Nellie before my last voyage on the sister ship Tenacious. The atmosphere and camaraderie onboard is indescribable and so special. It’s where I learnt to tie a bona fide hangman’s noose, take down the shipping forecast, complete obs for the Met Office. I’ve hauled ropes, peeled potatoes, polished brass, coiled ropes, swabbed decks, scrubbed toilets, pulled ropes, brewed tea, repaired flags, and messed about with ropes. I’ve been man handled, hauled, shoved, shifted, and tied down, I’ve laughed until I cried and cried until I laughed; I’ve helmed, watched, hauled, radioed, taught navigation rhymes, learnt a bewildering language of terms and created a few specific to Nellie and many other such useful/less life skills. I even have a qualification, the Department of Transport Steering Competency (sailing) Certificate from time at the helm before the mast. I’ve made friends I still keep in touch with. I’ve had conversations and shared experiences (like being at the helm when we were struck by lightning, playing with dolphins, counting shooting stars). There are anecdotes galore, not all repeatable in polite company.

Recently the Trust has been forced to look hard at its future running. A promised significant donation from a business source failed to materialise resulting in the Trust nearly folding (we raised £1 million in a week to save it). Subsequently the decision has been sadly made to decommission Nellie.

I kept a detailed diary, my (dis)abled seapersons twig (as opposed to captains log) for two of my voyages are on my website www.amgroves.com It’s on my list to add the others.

It is unknown what her next adventure will be, but I wish her fair winds and following seas, as we salty dog types say; and another piece of my heart is broken and another tear will fall.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2019 in In The News, Life, people, Projects, Website

 

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February 


It began so positively, but best laid plans and best meant intentions so often do.  After waking up I usually lazy and cogitate my plans for the day – up & dress, make coffee & lunch, plant self at desk and tick things off the various to-do lists, shuffle to sofa, fiddle & rest before going to make dinner & cook freezer foods. Simples, right?

So, initially things went as intended, got to desk with coffee and lunch, began back up procedure for computer (not on to-do list but needed), began sorting through piled detritus stuffed through the door over the past few days (not on list).

Phone rings ….. It’s on the sofa, do I wheel across and grab it or leave it, best get it … BFF needed distracting while she walked home from the City (about 1.5miles) while carrying a 4ft6 stuffed swan resplendent in gold crown and punk tutu (the swan, not BFF).  Sandwiches munched and coffee drunk while chatting.

Right, back to it. Source a few photos for new FaceBook album on group I administrate. Hmm, need to crop, tweek and © mark them, but hey it’s a job on the list 👍🏼. Then wheeling self about to get recycling into waste paper basket (not on list). Started business banking log in (ahha, that is on the list) but it’s been so long it errored out on me so had to restart all over again which means waiting for authorisation codes to come in the post (add follow up to list).  Sort through post waiting to be dealt with, add two things to to-do list.

By now I’ve been at the desk just over two hours, which means hips need resting on sofa for a while before I can confidently get up stood ….. this ends today’s productivity time. Successfully ticked off one thing, postponed one thing and added two more. 

Oh and I’ve written a blog (not on the list)

*sigh*

 
12 Comments

Posted by on February 16, 2019 in General, Grumble, Life, Website

 

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Reporting Menacing Phish


Well, it’s not exactly what I had planned for my afternoon.  Firstly, I am fine, these things don’t bother me.

Today I was intending to do a spot of cyber housework (it’s easier than off screen house work). I logged into the server and headed to the emails, a mixed bunch of fan query, fan fawning and spam, but there was one that caught attention.  I knew it was phishing for personal details, financial fraud, general trickery but it was the manner and topic that was a little different.  It threatened to release to all my contacts a video of me that was sexually explicit, as well as pornographic images and spread rumour of deviancy with children unless I sent x-thousand via Bitcoin to a specified account.  The hacker generously explained how the deadline could be extended and even bragged about being able to hide his identity, seek sanctuary from all laws because they were not in my country, and that any ‘federal’ involvement would mean the stuff would be circulated immediately.

As this particular webmail client is tricky to manage, junk wise, I get regular emails from phishing fake accounts trying to get me to click a link, rearrange courier delivery, download court non-payment papers, etc.  Apart from being quite a savvy person, I know these are scams as the email address isn’t really used for anything other than web site business, so they get deleted and a new junk filter created to redirect others.

However, the particularly articulate, menacing, intimidating language of this email made me stop and think, hmmm I can fully see why the more nervy would fall for this, panic and stress over this, maybe send funds, even if they are completely innocent of all allegations (mud sticks and all that), so I decided to file a report with the Cyber Crimes people.  It was very straight forward, we shall see what occurs (if anything).

Well, well, hmm, there ya go!

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2019 in General, In The News, Tech, Website

 

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January Jaggardness


I don’t like January, it is dark and grey, cold and dank. I don’t leave my dusty hovel, unless there is an absolute cannot be avoided need.  This year it feels like the morbid month began the day after boxing day and still hasn’t progressed past the first week and will drag interminably to its chilled bitter end.  Most January’s I feel like I’m waiting for the sn**, sn**, nope can’t say it, white rain, to fall, settle, freeze, melt, freeze, melt and bugger off.

Today is a typical day, I’ve not even opened the curtains.  Okay, part of that is being lazy, part is because it’s a Sunday and I didn’t begin my attempt at rising until after 12.30 (I was listening to the radio, mostly, but did doze through desert island discs).  By the time I got up-stood, been to the bathroom, then the kitchen to make lunch etc it was gone 1.30 and it would be dark by 3.30/4, hardly worth the muscle strain and ache.

That’s not to say stuff has not gotten done.  I’ve been working on my crochet, occasionally, I’ve grappled with the GDPR requirements on websites (thank you, piggin interfering EU), I’ve reconciled my finances and even remembered to pay the credit card bill.  I’ve got rather successful at playing cards and solved a few puzzles. 

There has been momentary respite, courtesy of my Great Niece and her rendition of ShotGun, Baby Shark, Twinkle Twinkle, Stick, and other pearls of wisdom.  She’s tall for her age and when she trots in wearing her nursery uniform she looks more like five than 3 years 5 months.

My erratic sleep pattern suffers too. I wake feeling more sleepy and weary than when I went to bed. I sit on the sofa feeling too alert to go to bed. If I manage a complete couple of hours unbroken sleep then it’s a rarity. 

Not sure what my next battle plan will be, it’s rather dependant on others and their availability.  Who knows I might even manage to conjure up a white blog or two (steady on).

Tis but the season, and shall pass…..

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2019 in Grumble, Life, Website

 

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User Interface Stuck


Back a few posts ago I had set a to-do list with a completion date of before BFF’s visit ….. Let’s evaluate…..

  1. Research and write the new article
  2. Upgrade video player (current one doesn’t handle mobile devices)
  3. Rework each video file/page
  4. Upload everything to the server and publish
  5. Update back-up drives 1 and 2 (I’m not loosing all that hard work)

1. The new article is written but it needs putting into an HTML format and a couple of things are needed from third parties before publishing – not done yet.

2. Website video – with the introduction of html5 a new coding method can be used, but it needs the videos to be in three different formats and uploaded to the server, time consuming – each video has been converted into the three types, I am currently still uploading, one set at a time.

3.  Video pages – in order not to get lost as not everything can be done at one go at the desk, I update the pages as the trio of files are uploaded. So the review pages additions are done, the YouTube embedded ones are done, a couple of short interview segments are done, just the longer interview videos needs to be done…… so almost but not quite.

4.  Uploading is done gradually as each page/video is completed…. so on-going.

5.  This plan was expanded as there was an operating system upgrade, so total system back up, download and install OS upgrade, then after satisfied everything is as it should be another total system back up.  Now just need to do the secondary specific files back up (hey better to have two back ups, just in case, mild paranoia is sometimes wise).

HOWEVER :: I did finish a cat blanket and am halfway through a second.

Harnessing and fanning motivation is still an incredibly difficult thing, I ‘need’ to spend more time at my desk, I ‘need’ to not be disheartened by the faff of shuffling on the chair from desk to sofa and focus more on the enjoyment/accomplishment/occupation of being at my desk.  When every single element of everything I try and do involves an ever growing degree of struggle, and having to juggle how much time spent on job ‘A’ before impacting on necessary job ‘B’, it’s so much easier just to roll over and snuggle under the duvet where I’m pain free, struggle free, discomfort free and toasty warm.

Could do better, my dear, procrastinating isn’t going to motivate the mentals or bring satisfaction.  

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2018 in General, Projects, Tech, Website

 

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Burnsy Woz Right

With Big Sis away for a weeks break, I decided to allocate this week to getting to grips with the video issues on the website. I had already googled and bookmarked a few how to pages and had mentally mapped out my productive days.

That’s where I went wrong, having a determined plan.

As some may know I’m pseudo consultant to the Resident Management Company that I used to run before handing it over to an agent when it got too much.  To say that the Agent have had ‘issues’ is a bit like calling pneumonia man flu.  Staff changes, lack of communication, confusing cross communication, time delays, etc have been adding to the general rumblings of dissension around here.  Consequently for every email sent, it generated two more, needing immediate attention. The Director and I decided to get to grips with everything and lick em into shape, we were going to go through the invoices of the past two years noting anomalies, we listed general running issues and we’re trying to get the next (already over-due) residents meeting organised.  

I did manage to list all the videos that need converting into three different file types (devices use different formats, desktop v tablets and phones, Apple v Microsoft v Android).  Apart from a couple of snaffoos that skipped along nicely, even managed to save the relevant back-ups.  This brought a recurrent issue, getting FileZilla to transfer the large files to the server. I’m three desk sessions into trying and I just cannot get it configured, nor find the instructions and answers online, it’s just something further than my limited knowledge and ability can handle.  So I’ll have to hope the web hosts ftp can cope with the file sizes.  It’s a time consuming process.

Each video page needs the HTML re-writing, all eighteen of them.  Some are videos I’m hosting, others are on YouTube, but I cannot start these until the video files are uploaded.  It’s already Saturday, that leaves a heck of a lot to go wrong right before Big Sis gets here at 9am Tuesday (her hubby’s car has a garage appointment first thing, so he’s using her car for work).  I’m polishing a draft for a new web article before coding that into a fresh HTML page as well.  BFF’s visit is coming up and I so want it all done by then.

Who was it who said, if you want something done, give to a busy woman, well if you find him, shoot him! 

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2018 in General, Projects, Tech, Website

 

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Startember 


My lists have broken, historically they helped me get organised, sorted and done, but the ‘meh’ apathy has set-in.  Is it because the list is on the iPad and a mere swipe deletes them as if they were never there, whereas writing them in longhand on a note pad and crossing it out doesn’t remove it from view, just reminds you of a failure?  It’s deeper than that, it’s a personality trait, accountability thing.

Sometimes success of getting stuff done is dependant upon the sense of satisfaction (personal and third-party) that comes along after the effort and struggle, it has to have a worth.  Sometimes it might be because someone else is relying on what you do.  Sometimes it’s something that is time sensitive.  I am fortunate that I don’t have things pulling at my time, I don’t work thus reducing the free hours for chores, projects and such, but because my days have no structure it’s neither here nor there what time I get up, go to bed, today is like yesterday and will be the same tomorrow.  Granted initially after ceasing work, having the comfort of so little pressure was so relaxing and reviving, and so needed after the stress and pressure of grief, work and deteriorating health, but now it has become a hindrance. Even enjoyable pastimes become things to merely fill empty hours, which takes the shine off the brightest activities.

But occasionally a spark of possibility needs seizing to try and wrangle the waining spirit, and ignite the motivation to get on and ‘do’, because it will bring satisfaction in a project successfully completed that others might just enjoy.  Give a sense of purpose and instead of time filling I’m being ‘productive’.

So, September is the month, BFF’s visit is the deadline.

  1. Research and write the new article
  2. Upgrade video player (current one doesn’t handle mobile devices)
  3. Rework each video file/page
  4. Upload everything to the server and publish
  5. Update back-up drives 1 and 2 (I’m not loosing all that hard work)
  6. Possibly pick up cat blanket crochet

I know, I know, I might be over reaching with the crochet, lol, but goals be goals.

Not being able to just get stood up from the desk is a major faulting factor, I could and should spend a couple of hours most days at the desk but the thought of shuffling on the chair to get to the sofa is a chore even though when I do do it, it’s not so bad, only some degree of hip discomfort.  It’s a mental tug of war. It is necessary to put myself in an outright absolute ‘have-to’ situation to give my mentals that extra decisive tug.

Right then ….. 2–6–heave!

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2018 in General, Projects, Website

 

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Testing technology (and my patient resolve)


*disclaimer* The following blog may sound a touch technical, it may also sound like I know what I’m talking about, however it isn’t and I don’t.

As some of you may know, I administrate a website about a musician and the work he has undertaken over the past years. I try and be diligent in my duties and keep things up-to-date for the fans and those who google interest. Over the past couple of years with a deterioration of my muscle strength and the complications surrounding using my desk for any extended periods of time, I have been lax in updating the photo section of the website. This has been weighing heavily on my mind and conscience, so I took the arrival of my new chair as impetus to get cracking and just do it. 

In order to put a photo gallery together I use an application on my Mac called iWeb, very much a user friendly drag and drop style of templates to create each album and contents, creating a cover, thumbnails, slideshows, and enlarged images. There are now some 18 to 21 albums each containing a couple of pages or more of images from various events, gigs, tours and with fans. Although I haven’t counted them individually there must be several hundred photos.  Now before any image can be dragged and dropped into the photo album it requires a little editing, usually it needs copying or resizing and all of them require the necessary copyright marking. Once added to a particular album I then add a caption detailing the event and that event date. Back up images and details are stored separately ‘just in case’ catastrophe occurs.  All very time consuming.  So for the last couple of months I have been slowly adding more photos to existing albums, amalgamating some albums, as well as adding new ones. Once I was satisfied everything was up to date I hit the ‘publish’ icon to save all the necessary files and folders to make this straightforward piece of the website work.

There was just one thing left to do, transfer all the files folders and contents onto the server for the website.

Historically I have used an FTP program called FileZila to act as intermediary between my computer and the host server so that the files and folders could be transferred over in the right order so everything was in its right place. When you are dealing with something that is so pedantic that a , instead of a . can send the web site into meltdown it is mentally exhausting on a good day. But FileZila is a very competent piece of kit, that when you have a folder containing files and folders, that contain files and folders, that contain files, it can’t be trusted to put the right thing in the right place in the right order.  There was just one slight, tincy, little, problem, the darn thing wouldn’t connect to the server and authenticate it self!  I could have cried.

Unfortunately the host server will only let me use FileZila as I use a Mac computer, however the host site has its own FTP client but it is notoriously slow, frequently crashes and cannot cope with transferring folders from the files and folders it needs it doing individually.  So for a number of hours I sat at my desk and diligently, slowly, transferred each file and folder double checking that they were in the correct order up to the host server.  Once all the files and folders were transferred, and I was satisfied everything was where it should be, I then opened my web browser and collect the link to view the photo gallery. Always a tense moment. Of course, it goes without saying, and is to be expected, but half of what I wanted to be there, wasn’t. Back to the individual files and folders checking the latest update date to make sure I hadn’t missed one (I had, just one) to then try again, and again, clear the cachet and web data, and try again again.

SUCCESS!!!

After the photo gallery was successfully updated, I then set about uploading the pages that have been updated to the main section of the website. These are created by handwritten HTML and not a template or wizard, and are far better behaved and easier to maintain, but photo albums are very technical to create from scratch.

The web to do list had been cut down to just a couple of items, and all the weighted updates were on screen for friends and search engine Google is defined which was a satisfactory failing.  But I’m not quite ready to tackle upgrading the video pages as if that is going to take some hours of diligent patience to make sure the videos comply on multi platforms.

In other news, I have finished two cat blankets and I am working on a third and have the pattern for the fourth one all mapped out. Spring has sprung, a new fresh dose of gumption has been grasped. 

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2018 in General, Projects, Tech, Website

 

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