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What If Gmail Had Been Designed by Microsoft? 279

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the thank-god-we-could-all-standardize-on-ie7 dept.
caluml writes "There is a humourous look at "What would happen if Microsoft had designed GMail". Gems include: "Another security measurement we'll add is that you won't be able to log-in with just username anymore but are required to enter the full username@gmail.com. Furthermore, we will change the browser URL from 'http://gmail.microsoft.com/' to the more professional looking 'http://by114w.bay114.gmail.live.com/mail/mail.aspx?rru=home'.""
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What If Gmail Had Been Designed by Microsoft?

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  • Yahoo (Score:5, Funny)

    by pieisgood (841871) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @11:20AM (#21471157) Journal
    I think they meant Yahoo.
  • Hotmail...? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LingNoi (1066278) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @11:22AM (#21471165)
    I RTFA a little and this sounds like a dumb question which has already been answered by just looking at hotmail. Sure they didn't design hotmail from the beginning but they have been maintaining it longer then Google has with GMail.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cheater512 (783349)
      As a original Hotmail user (before it was MS owned), I can tell you that there is nothing legacy left.
      Microsoft has designed the monster that Hotmail is today all by them selves.

      Naturally after MS bought Hotmail, I switched to real email - POP3 and the like.
  • Hm.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2007 @11:22AM (#21471167)
    Another one of these eh?

    Sort of like if Microsoft designed the iPod box?
  • ...it is called hotmail, and was (at least when I last was last there 4 years ago) a disaster zone, which included a page as part of the signup process where you were given the choice of what kind of junk mail you wanted emailed to you.
    • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @12:22PM (#21471589) Journal

      Correct me if I'm wrong (as if people wouldn't), but doesn't the Gmail system scan your emails so that it can send you targetted ads? Doesn't that make taking the piss out of Microsoft's security a lot hypocritical?
      • by ChrisMP1 (1130781) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @01:18PM (#21471955)
        They scan your emails and show non-obtrusive targeted ads off to the side, whereas Hotmail floods your inbox with crap mail, obscuring the mail that you actually want to see.
        • by Titoxd (1116095) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @03:14PM (#21472819) Homepage
          1998 called, and it wants its FUD back. Hotmail does ask you whether you would like to get newsletters; however, you can always click through that page, and you never get anything. I've used Hotmail for at least five years, and Gmail for a couple, and I've never had a problem with neither one sending me crap I don't like.

          FUD is bad, regardless of whether it is pro-Google FUD, or anti-Google FUD.
        • by Kalriath (849904) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @04:52PM (#21473435)
          Hotmail does no such thing. The newsletters are optional (and off by default, the "Continue" button can be reached by scrolling down).

          If you mean they "sell your email address to spammers", well, I have more evidence of GOOGLE doing that than Microsoft. My Hotmail account receives no spam at all (it's quite long, but still). My Gmail account receives about a few pieces a week. Here's the interesting bit: I don't USE my Gmail account. Ever. I don't post the email address anywhere, use it to sign up to anything, or even email real people with it. So how did the spammers guess it? (Note: it is also quite long, with fullstops in it).
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by ChrisMP1 (1130781)
            For this to constitute evidence, it would have to happen to more people than just you. I never get spam at my Gmail address.
            • by Kattspya (994189) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @09:15PM (#21474715)
              Are we talking getting spam in the inbox or getting spam in the spam folder?

              First address: 10 letters, not indexed by google. It has 348 mails in the spam folder I received about 4 spam mails in the inbox over the same time period (60 days)

              Second address: 8 letters, indexed by google. It has 459 mails in the spam folder and I received about 4 spam mails in the inbox over the same time period

              Third address: 8 letters with spam as a suffix, indexed by google. It has 0 mails in the spam folder and I received 0 spam mails in the inbox over the same time period.

              It would appear that the safest way to not get spam is to have an address with the phrase spam contained in it. The spam suffix address is also the one I've been most promiscuous with yet no spam at all is received.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by freyyr890 (1019088)
            If google were selling email to spammers, it's kinda contradictory that they would include an excellent antispam feature. I've had my email address published in various places across the web, obscured. I get on average 20-30 spam messages a day as a result. They all go to the spam folder, and I've never had a false positive.
          • No comment regarding which is more likely to get spammed, but I would like to note that the full stops in the gmail address don't matter. Really. You can add and remove them to your heart's content and your email will still go to the same place.
      • by howdoesth (1132949) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @01:20PM (#21471973)
        I guess, but doesn't Microsoft's hotmail system also "scan your emails" to put them into TCP packets?
      • by Ash Vince (602485) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @01:22PM (#21471993) Journal

        Doesn't that make taking the piss out of Microsoft's security a lot hypocritical?
        Not for those of use with long memories. I remember that at one point someone worked out you could log in to any Hotmail acccount just by changing the querystring. It did not ask you for a password. This was a collosal fuckup that never should have happened. Here is a link for those who have forgotten:

        http://www.news.com/2100-1023-230411.html [news.com]

        Since I heard about this and followed Microsofts response I made a mental note to never get a Hotmail account.

        As for scanning my emails to show me targeted adverts I don't really mind this providing the information is not sold on to other companies.
        • by jlarocco (851450)

          Not for those of use with long memories.

          Apparently not that long. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/10/29/gmail_vuln/ [theregister.co.uk]

          • by Ash Vince (602485) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @06:41PM (#21473985) Journal
            Thanks for the info, but the vulnerability you linked to would require me to go to a website that contained the cross site scripting attack. Almost every complicated site is vulnerable to XSS in one form or another if the user can be fooled in this matter. In order for you to read my email I need to click on a specially crafted link that you create that will take me to gmail.

            The problem is that I already have link that takes me to gmail: http://www.google.com./ [www.google.com] As soon as you make it any more complicated I will probably smell a rat. Why would I trust a link to gmail from anyone apart from google? If you could get your link to the top of the google search results for "gmail" you might be in with a chance.

            If you know anything about web development and hacking you know that XSS is a nightmare to prevent if you have users that really are stupid enough to click on every random link to your site that they find.

            The Hotmail hack could be executed by anyone with very little technical knowledge and no action on the part of the user of the email box you were trying to snoop on (Apart from the obvious issue of going to hotmail in the first place).

            Please tell me you understand the difference between these two types of attack or you have no place taking place in a discussion of internet security.
      • by Blkdeath (530393) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @01:32PM (#21472065) Homepage


        Correct me if I'm wrong (as if people wouldn't), but doesn't the Gmail system scan your emails so that it can send you targetted ads? Doesn't that make taking the piss out of Microsoft's security a lot hypocritical?

        Yes, but Google are not evil. :)

        Seriously, yes, Gmail does scan your e-mails and send targeted ads to you. They also scan your search results and send targeted ads. They also scan web pages you visit and send you targeted ads based on the content therein (providing the web page belongs to Google Adsense).

        This is their business model. Ads on the Internet, much like ads on television are inevitable. The difference is in the degree. Just exactly how invasive are the ads - are they flashing banner ads that are totally irrelevant to you and your life, sponsored spam that makes it into your inbox (or just due to really lousy spam filters) or are they small relatively harmless textual ads that correspond to your general interests?

        Gmail is, IMHO, the least invasive alternative. Now, myself, I just have my Gmail account forwarded to my home server where it's parsed by my own local spam filters (second round) and sorted into its own folder on my IMAP server so I never see their ads (or, in point of fact their interface) so it's all moot to me. :)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by shimage (954282)
          Sure that's sort of important to the user experience, but to me that's a trivial thing. More important to me is whether or not they keep the information and for how long. If they scan the email, figure out what kind of ads to send me, and then throw that info away, then that's fine. If they store it and use for something other than advertising, or give it to other people (say, the government), then I have issues with it. Not because I think that something bad would happen to me as a result, but because some
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by SuperQ (431) *
            http://mail.google.com/mail/help/about_privacy.html [google.com]

            Unfortunately, this was the third link when I googled for "gmail retention policy", but it answers a lot of questions about gmail privacy. Hell, it's even written in English that I can understand.

            To quote: "We will make reasonable efforts to remove deleted information from our systems as quickly as is practical."

            Sounds good enough to me.
        • by h4rm0ny (722443)

          My main concern is not the ads, but the spying. I don't like it. When you list Gmail as the least invasive alternative, you ignore that we can pay for our own email accounts. You can pay for an email service for less than £15.00 per year which most people can afford. I do not understand why people must have a free account when the cost of a professional service that you actually control is so low.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Blkdeath (530393)

            My main concern is not the ads, but the spying. I don't like it. When you list Gmail as the least invasive alternative, you ignore that we can pay for our own email accounts. You can pay for an email service for less than £15.00 per year which most people can afford. I do not understand why people must have a free account when the cost of a professional service that you actually control is so low.

            Every e-mail provider, to some degree, snoops atleast portions of your communications. Google are just more up front about it. If you don't like the way your free e-mail service gains funding stop using it and pay for a service. End of story. Meanwhile, stop complaining about it.

            Meanwhile GMail is a more desirable service than Hotmail (kind of the point of the article) because the ads are less invasive, more pointed and therefore more useful to its users.

            The whole thing really boils down to the fact t

      • You have made the mistake of thinking you had privacy on the Internet. You lost privacy years ago, Now it isn't that someone is watching you online, it's how much are they watching and what are they doing with the info. Google scanning your email is the least of your worries.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by lazy_playboy (236084)
        Huh?!

        Any third party email sevice provider has the capability of scanning your email, for what ever reason they want. Just because Gmail openly scans to serve targeted ads, doesn't mean Microsoft doesn't do it secretly to steal information from you.
        • by h4rm0ny (722443)

          The possibility that something I'm not aware of is happening has no bearing on whether I object to something that I am aware of. Might as well say not to object to someone telling me they stole my money because it's possible I've been robbed before and didn't know it.
  • by SirSmiley (845591) <siraraya@hotmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Sunday November 25, 2007 @11:25AM (#21471181)
    The reason you put the username@hotmail.com is because there is also msn.com msn.ca for the ISP subscribers... hotmail.com hotmail.co.uk etc etc...would be rather limiting if you could only use your nickname and not have different domains......it is probably the worlds biggest web mail service...

    why is this news? slllooww news day
    • But at least they could default it to @hotmail.com !!!!
    • by wikinerd (809585) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @12:16PM (#21471543) Journal

      The reason you put the username@hotmail.com is because there is also msn.com msn.ca for the ISP subscribers... hotmail.com hotmail.co.uk etc etc

      So perhaps they should make it aware of the URL the user types in the browser... if I visit by typing msn.com and I login with the @msn.com email, but if I type hotmail.co.uk then my mail login will be @hotmail.co.uk

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2007 @03:46PM (#21473047)
        Dear Consumer,

        We considered that, but then we'd have to add a set of radio buttons there that say "Use the same domain name as in the URL" and "Always use the domain name: ___", and then we'd have add a "Remember my answer (in a cookie)" checkbox, and then a *second* checkbox to ask if you want to remember the setting of the first checkbox. (I think most people do not realize how difficult it is to write good software.) It did get through testing but the marketing people complained it took too much space away from possible banner ads.

        In the end, forcing people to type "@hotmail.com" a lot isn't a bad thing: we're reminding them about our great brand. Whenever people spend time on Microsoft sites but thinking about cool brands we bought like "Hotmail" instead of losing brands we built like "Microsoft", that's a win for us.

        - Love,
        The Hotmail Team
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by vux984 (928602)
        So perhaps they should make it aware of the URL the user types in the browser... if I visit by typing msn.com and I login with the @msn.com email, but if I type hotmail.co.uk then my mail login will be @hotmail.co.uk

        Sure that would be awesome when it works. And then one day, you click a link somewhere that takes you to the hotmail page via the 'wrong' URL, and it rejects your username and password.

        Maybe it would give a helpful message like. Please verify you are entering it in the correct case, oh, and chec
  • While funny ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DerWulf (782458) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @11:26AM (#21471189)
    I actually like the previewing pane in outlook XP. Emails are usually around three to five lines. Why should I have to open a new window or navigate to a new page for reading them?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GrBear (63712)
      There's plenty of reasons why a preview pane is a 'bad idea'. Ever remember a certain OS, with a certain bundled graphics library that would allow someone to infect your computer with a carefully crafted embedded image file? Now display that image immediately before the user can delete the email, oh shi...

      How long will it take for hackers to find out other ways into your system via instantly displayed non-text elements?

      Thank you very much, but I'll keep auto-preview turned off.

      Gmail does it right imho.. i
      • by freeweed (309734)
        There's plenty of reasons why a preview pane is a 'bad idea'. Ever remember a certain OS, with a certain bundled graphics library that would allow someone to infect your computer with a carefully crafted embedded image file?

        No, the problem there is not with the preview pane. The problem is with your software executing image content as code.

        Gmail does it right imho.. it displays a snippet of the first sentence, more than enough for me to tell if it's worth opening when the subject/sender is questionable.

        Well
        • You have the opportunity to read the body of the email before deciding to load them.

          Thunderbird does that too, and I find that I rarely need to see embedded graphics. Sometimes when I get an emailed receipt from an online order I'll click the "Load Images" button, so I can print it properly. Usually though, the graphics are superfluous and I just want to read the text.
    • by jkerman (74317)
      The answer is... gmail! gmail summarizes the first line or two right in the "subject" field, making the preview pane useless once again!

    • by hxnwix (652290)
      I actually like being able to read the entire subject in gmail. Subjects are often 25 words. Why should I have to open a new window just to read the subject?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by moosesocks (264553)

      Emails are usually around three to five lines. Why should I have to open a new window or navigate to a new page for reading them?

      Does the preview pane exist because e-mails are typically 3-5 lines? Or are corporate e-mails only 3-5 lines, because we know that nobody will ever read beyond what's in the Outlook preview pane?

      If the first is true, then Microsoft did a good job of assessing hte situation, and implementing a solution.

      If the second is true, we've got a rather bad situation on our hands for all the

  • Slashdot (Score:5, Funny)

    by the_Bionic_lemming (446569) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @11:29AM (#21471203)
    Hey, now that we had this, Can we have a "What would Slashdot look like if someone artistic designed it" Page?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Devv (992734)
      I would like someone to make a website with gravitation so that everything will be sucked down to the bottom of the browser. Then you have to drag one item up at the time to look at it. Articles with the most comments would be the heaviest and be at the bottom of the pile.
    • Re:Slashdot (Score:5, Funny)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @11:59AM (#21471411) Journal
      Forget artistic, how about a 'What would Slashdot look like if someone designed it' page?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2007 @12:01PM (#21471427)
      More like: what if gmail were designed by slashdot?
      1) Strange, fixed "color" scheme;
      2) Cluttered, but oddly comforting and hyperconfigurable, user interface (except the colors);
      3) Random in-joke-based poll every 18 months;
      4) Almost usable search engine;
      5) People who want to contact you first email editors who then "approve" or "reject" incoming emails based on their personal taste;
      6) Arbitrarily assign other users to read your email and act as moderators;
      7) AC option gives spammers a fair shot (albeit at a lower mod base) -- don't forget to check AC before emailing something really stupid like this post;

      You know, it just might work!

    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      Can we have a "What would Slashdot look like if someone artistic designed it" Page?

      It's already been done [slashdot.org] and implemented, and [slashdot.org] if [slashdot.org] I [slashdot.org] was [slashdot.org] one [slashdot.org] of [slashdot.org] the [slashdot.org] guys [slashdot.org] who [slashdot.org] participated [slashdot.org] I'd be pretty pissed at your comment.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by houghi (78078)
      Well, you can do it with http://userstyles.org/stylish/ [userstyles.org]

      Just redesign it and then put it up for other people to use, like http://userstyles.org/styles/search/slashdot [userstyles.org]
  • by 3seas (184403) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @11:32AM (#21471223) Journal
    ... there were no more what if stories?
  • by defile (1059) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @11:32AM (#21471225) Homepage Journal

    The mass market instead of early adopters?

  • so, the new gmail looks an awful lot like the new hotmail. its a hell of a lot slower too.
  • Moogle? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Taagehornet (984739) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @11:35AM (#21471249)

    Another modern classic: What if Google search had been designed by the guys behind Windows Search

    "Award for the Silliest User Interface: Windows Search" [secretgeek.net]

  • Okay... It was funny when they did the iPod one. But GMail? It's an adequate web page. Not fundamentally different from any other webmail provider out there. A bit like Hotmail really except uglier.
    • by Tim Browse (9263)
      Ha, good one. I use GMail, and every so often I have to go and look at my Hotmail account (it's my login for MSN Messenger), and every time I do it irritates the living fuck out of me. That's not what I look for in a webmail system.
    • Yeah, the iPod video was brilliant, and very well done. But that's because it was done by Microsoft themselves, as it served as a humorous self-deprecating tool to get certain product divisions to use cleaner packaging. This Gmail article, on the other hand, is just the typical Microsoft-bash, and pretty lame too.
  • by apankrat (314147) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @12:08PM (#21471475) Homepage
    Microsoft iPod [youtube.com]
    • by jeremyp (130771)
      That link gives me "HTTP/1.1 service unavailable" as does the main youtube web site. Is it possible for YouTube to be Slashdotted?
    • The thing that really makes the video shine is the choice of music. I agree, classic.
  • You wouldn't write an email without being subjected to Clippy's continued demands for attention by jumping all over your screen screaming "click on me! click on me!!"
  • by owlnation (858981) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @12:29PM (#21471647)
    To be fair to MS, they are only doing what most large Corporation do -- listen to their Marketing Department. Yahoo, eBay, many others, are much worse.

    This is a primary failing. One that Google, miraculously, seems to have so far avoided. Full credit is due.

    Marketing depts make two mistakes.
    1. (and foremost) They ask people what they want. They convene a focus group of a cross section of people, brainstorm and come up with a list of priorities. The issues with this being that most people don't know what they want, no committee ever came up with anything minimalist, functional or streamlined, and most people in a focus group are only statistically representative -- but not representative in reality.
    2. They have no understanding of pure Economics. They attempt to maximize revenue from everything up to the point that function is destroyed and satisfaction is lost. Thereby devaluing the product.
    Apple and Google are far more successful than many other similar brands. They value function and form. This is why they are successful. This why they have fanboys. It's not rocket science, all you need to do is fire the marketing droids out of the nearest airlock.
    • by tknd (979052)
      Nowhere have you made a good argument for firing marketing. Rather, your argument supports the fact that marketing should not design the product. Instead they should only provide feedback and research to how well the product will be accepted.
    • by Oswald (235719)
      And yet, ironically, the fanboys create friction for the company too. No doubt it's less friction than forcing the developers to submerge all functionality in a sea of blinking, talking, bandwidth-sucking crap, but it's still a negative [thebestpag...iverse.net] for the company.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by stewbacca (1033764)
        Gee, what would you rather face, me (a blatant Apple fanboy) telling you how great Macs are year after year, or a bunch of advertising crap in your software that bogs you down and makes you prone to malware? Personally, I'd rather have the rabid Mac guy letting me know how bad my Microsoft product is, because, a) it's true, and b) I can avoid the fanboy easier than I can avoid being spammed to death by advertising.
  • What if.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by onosson (1107107) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @12:29PM (#21471657) Homepage
    there were no interesting stories, so someone posted some tired microsoft-bashing article instead?
    Oh...
  • These guys SHOULD be paid microsoft consultants.>br>
    Well really come on, the whole type the whole address thing? It's absurd!
  • Missed a few points (Score:3, Informative)

    by tcoady (22541) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @01:37PM (#21472103)
    Just had a look in my hotmail as I've been using httpmail until it was broken by Leopard and have not had the "pleasure" to discover what I've been missing. It's true the first page you see is full of flashing ads, but when you actually get past that you find your inbox full of spam, some even from various Microsoft departments. Then you look in your spam and find a bunch of mail that's legitimate. When you mark stuff as spam it goes in to "Deleted items" - no wonder hotmail never seems to learn what's spam and what's not!

    When you finally get to read a message it starts warning that the mere act of opening it is dangerous, and offers links to self congratulatory advertising disguised as help saying stuff like "Sender ID is a technical solution started by Microsoft" and goes on to boast that "Windows Live Hotmail treats all messages that fail Sender ID and phishing tests as fraudulent" which is a bit excessive considering the world has yet to be convinced Sender ID is some kind of panacea for phishing.

    It used to be that if the mail contained links it would open with an iframe displaying sponsorshop messages, but today I see that there are no hyper-links for something that clearly is that, not only with dots but preceded with http, but no, I have have to copy and paste this in to a new tab. I really can't think of any mail client that would deny a hyper-link when it saw one.

    Next: at the top of the message there is a message saying "Attachments, pictures, and links in this message have been blocked for your safety. Show content" - when I click show content nothing changes except I don't see this warning. So I guess this warning is there just because it does not comply with MS Sender ID, hardly an intelligent algorithm for warning people about something that may or may not exist.

    I expect I could go on and on, but I think you get the drift..
  • If Gmail was designed by Microsoft, it might have included (from Day One) a UI with actual functional features - like a delete button. (It took Google months to move theirs from behind a drop down menu.) Or the ability to sort your mail. Etc... Etc..
    • Microsoft? You mean the same company that makes you go to "Start" so you can shut down your computer?
  • ... this is going to get modded down, but seriously this is really scraping the bottom. Will Slashdot post an anti-Microsoft article even if it's a speculative pile of crap? Articles like this are not funny, informative, or insightful in any way. Please if you want humour around here post something that is actually funny.
    • Well it's funny because it is based in truth, based on Microsoft's long proven track record of such tactics. That's kinda the staple of all good parodies.
  • .. almost like the new yahoo mail, lots of adds, an annoying chat box and takes forever to load.
  • by gatkinso (15975) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @02:40PM (#21472587)
    is too complicated for the author.
  • Windows Live Mail has a very clean interface. After you log in it shows you the news highlights for the day and how much of you 5GB of storage that you are using. Once you click on Inbox the only ad that you see, note I said ad, is the banner ad at the top of the page. Unlike Gmail where there are ads down the side and the top of my messages. AS for the address you can get to Hotmail by typing http://www.hotmail.com/ [hotmail.com] or http://mail.live.com/ [live.com]. While it may redirect to http://by108w.bay108.mail.live.com/mail/ [live.com]
  • The Gmail interface sucks. When I first started using it I didn't mind as I assumed it would be cleaned up, but it's hardly changed. It still looks like someone dropped a purely functional UI on a back end with a view to replacing it later when they had time. Props to Google for the service, good spam filtering, pushing the boundaries on quotas etc, but please now spend a bit of time redoing the UI!
  • by dinther (738910) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @04:31PM (#21473331) Homepage
    ...They would block you from sending exe files and even zip files containing exe files forcing users to rename the file and instruct the receiver to rename them back. Very user friendly.

    Oh wait, GMail blocks those already. Glad to know .z files go through. Damn, I gave it away. Soon they will be blocked too.
  • This [sbdiocese.org] ?

In these matters the only certainty is that there is nothing certain. -- Pliny the Elder

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