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Data Storage

Sony Develops 25 GB Paper Disc 473

jaaron writes "TOPPAN Printing and Sony today announce the successful development of a 25GB paper disc based on Blu-ray Disc technology. Yes, that's right, *paper*. Details will be announced at the Optical Data Storage 2004 conference to be held from April 18th to April 21st at Monterey, California."
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Sony Develops 25 GB Paper Disc

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  • by andy666 ( 666062 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:35PM (#8870757)
    I thought IBM had done this already.
  • Background... (Score:5, Informative)

    by thebra ( 707939 ) * on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:36PM (#8870771) Homepage Journal
    PDF [blu-raydisc-official.org] on Blu-Ray Disk.
    • Re:Background... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by donutz ( 195717 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:52PM (#8871089) Homepage Journal
      From the PDF:
      ...the recording lay in a Blu-ray Disc sits on the surface of a 1.1-mm thick plastic substrate, protected by a 0.1-mm thick cover layer. This only leaves the problem of surface scratching and fingerprints, which can be prevented by applying a specifically developed, innovative hard-coat on top of the cover layer. This protective coat is hard enough to prevent accidental abraisions and also allow fingerprints to be removed by wiping the disc with a tissue.


      So there's just a tenth of a millimeter protecting the recording layer. And I thought I had issues with CD's getting scratched...well, at least there's the "hard coat". But wait, there's more!
      Next section in the PDF says (emphasis mine):

      Despite the fact that Blu-ray Discs require the application of a cover layer and an optional hard coat, this should have little overal impact on disc manufacturing costs.


      The hard coat is optional. Wouldn't it be convenient for the manufacturers to release discs without the hard coat, that get easily scratched, that need to be re-purchased to be replaced? /conspiracy theory off
      • Re:Background... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Bishop923 ( 109840 )
        The specs are no different than current tungsten foil discs, and I don't see how a paper media layer is going to be any more prone to damage than the ultra-thin foil we currently use. Have you ever tried peeling off a CD label that is firmly affixed? good chance you can rip the media right off the plastic.

        It would be nice if they just sandwiched the media between two .6mm pieces of plastic, wouldn't change the thickness of the disc, but at least there would be a bit more protection for the media.
      • The present CDs are very close to 1.1 mm thick, although I do have one that is close to 1.5-mm thick. THe diameter of a thick black hair is about 0.11-mm and that of a blond (natural) is about 0.08-mm. When I pick up a (0.12 x 0.050)-mm particle (I work with those) I cannot tell which side of the tweezers if sticks to, and my tweezers are needle sharp.
  • Reliable? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by l810c ( 551591 ) * on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:36PM (#8870777)
    Since a paper disc can be cut by scissors easily, it is simple to preserve data security when disposing of the disc

    Seems like they would be very easy to damage.

    • Re:Reliable? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Phekko ( 619272 )
      Ever looked inside a hard drive? The stuff inside is not that hard to damage, either. This is why it's meant to be kept inside. I would imagine the same principle applies to paper drives.
      • Re:Reliable? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PretzelBat ( 770907 )
        Wrong. This is meant to be a replacement for plastic media (read DVDs and CD-ROMs). It will NOT be kept inside anything (except maybe a jewel case).
    • Re:Reliable? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:39PM (#8870839) Homepage
      It's a moot issue anyways... DVD's go through the office paper shredder just fine... the crosscut here that handles 10 sheets at a time destroys CD's and DVD's on a regular basis.
    • Re:Reliable? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lehk228 ( 705449 )
      pointless as well, since scratching the foil off a CD is so hard (not) just take a knife to it to remove foil then crack it in half
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:39PM (#8870849)
      Seems like they would be very easy to damage.


      Not by rocks though. Paper kicks rocks ass till both boots are shitty.
      • by tpengster ( 566422 ) <.slash. .at. .tpengster.com.> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @01:13PM (#8871417)
        One of the most popular variations [of Rock, Paper, Scissors] is called "Cat, Microwave, Tinfoil". Cat beats tinfoil by ripping it up, tinfoil beats microwave by starting a fire, and microwave beats cat by cooking it. This version was created because, to the creators of Cat Microwave Tinfoil, it doesn't make sense that paper beats rock by covering it (as it doesn't damage the rock, while on the other hand it can destroy the paper by tearing it). [from Wikipedia]
    • Yeah, but it would be so cool to use them as frisbees before you destroy them!!
    • by demonic-halo ( 652519 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:47PM (#8870999)
      If they can solve the problem of data loss from folding a disk. (I guess it can be done using massive redundancy).

      We can send share data by throwing paper air planes at each other.

      How cool is that?
  • Paper Eh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Your_Mom ( 94238 ) <slashdot@[ ]ismir.net ['inn' in gap]> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:36PM (#8870781) Homepage
    Wow, it must write in REALLLLY tiny letters.
  • I mean, that's the natural next step from their post-it notes after all.

    Paper, I guess that "erasing data" has a whole new meaning now.
  • NICE (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Now you can pass notes with BANDWIDTH!
  • Ah, hell (Score:5, Funny)

    by KevinKnSC ( 744603 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:37PM (#8870786)
    There go my plans for a paperless office.
  • Since a paper disc can be cut by scissors easily, it is simple to preserve data security when disposing of the disc".

    Since the disc is made out of paper, and the current number of optical discs is about 20 billion per year, it is easy to use even more trees.

    Since a paper disc can be cut by anything easily, it is simple to destroy data when handling the disc.
  • Punchcard (Score:3, Funny)

    by mgs1000 ( 583340 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:37PM (#8870791) Journal
    Man, that punchcard has gotta have teeny-tiny holes.
    • Wow, I guess things really do eventually come full circle! Do we have to maintain the paper disks in an ordered stack too? ;-)
      • by haystor ( 102186 )
        Bad memories. Bad, bad memories.

        Ordered stacks of punch cards are a major reason why Computer Science spends so much time on sorting algorithms.
  • Big Deal. (Score:5, Funny)

    by miskatonic alumnus ( 668722 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:37PM (#8870797)
    When I was in college, I could cram 50GB of information on a 3x5 crib sheet by writing really really small.
    • by lcsjk ( 143581 )
      Don't show this to your kid!

      Last year my 30 year old daughter informed me of how much data a 7th grade student could put on the six sides of a new yellow pencil. From a few feet away it looks like it has been chewed on so the teacher asks no questions. Use only three sides and it even stays hidden when you put the pencil down.

      If IBM had been able to use this technology, no telling how much data they could have put on paper disks! About 2 gigs along the edge even.

      • by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @04:11PM (#8874040) Homepage
        Last year my 30 year old daughter informed me of how much data a 7th grade student could put on the six sides of a new yellow pencil. From a few feet away it looks like it has been chewed on so the teacher asks no questions. Use only three sides and it even stays hidden when you put the pencil down.

        When I was in 5th grade, I used a similar trick for a test in which we had to name all the states and their capitals. Rather than spend 4 weeks memorizing those useless facts, I simply wrote them on my pencil in the format of "Sacramento, California" = "SAC-CA". My prototype pencil turned out to be too obvious, though, so I then created a modified alphabet that only I could read. I probably spent more time refining that alphabet than it would have taken me to memorize the stupid state capitals, but in the end the alphabet was a better investment. I was for years able to use it as a "plain sight" type cheat-sheet font, whereby I could write out names, dates, or other mnemonic reminders on (say) the paper cover of a history book and leave it in plain sight next to my desk. To anyone else it looked like meaningless scratchings. I managed to get through YEARS of school without having to learn anything! ;)

  • Paper? (Score:2, Funny)

    by nuclear305 ( 674185 ) *
    Well, I guess that's one way to ensure a bit more privacy...

    Your warez stash being raided? Eat the evidence!!

    I wonder how this new disc would deal with heat, though. Since most reading devices--and just being inside a closed space--produces heat. Heat and paper aren't necessarily a Good Thing.
  • darn (Score:2, Funny)

    by pvt_medic ( 715692 )
    i dont know if i can write small enough on the paper to beat the storage capacity. Can I at least use the backside?
  • by cexshun ( 770970 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:38PM (#8870808) Homepage

    A paper disk huh?

    Sounds like yet another Sony product to wipe our asses with...

  • by morcheeba ( 260908 ) * on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:38PM (#8870815) Journal
    Here's a picture of the 25GB disc. [lane.edu] It's a little big right now, but once they up the density, I'm sure you'll see it in more consumer products.
  • Archeologists ten thousand years from now will wonder why the march of civilization ended in the twenty-first century. They really should be working on a STONE disk, don't you think?
  • We can recycle our old disks, and the iminent AOL distributions, at bars!

    This would be very cool! The idea of dumps full of plastic disks is a bit disheartening.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:39PM (#8870835)
    Here's the full text, but you can see it by simply copying & pasting the URL into a new tab/browser window:

    TOPPAN and Sony Successfully Develop 25GB Paper Disc

    Tokyo, Japan, Apr 15, 2004 - (JCN Newswire) - TOPPAN PRINTING CO., LTD (TSE: 7911) and Sony Corporation (TSE: 6758) today announce the successful development of a 25GB paper disc based on Blu-ray Disc technology. Details will be announced at the Optical Data Storage 2004 conference to be held from April 18th to April 21st at Monterey, California.

    Using the disc-structure of Blu-ray Disc technology, the new paper disc has a total weight that is 51% paper. The two companies jointly began this optical disc project approximately a year ago. Blu-ray Disc is commonly known for allowing more than 2 hours of high-definition program recording.

    Hideaki Kawai, Managing Director, Head of Corporate R&D Division, TOPPAN CO., LTD commented: "Using printing technology on paper allows a high level of artistic label printing on the optical disc. Since a paper disc can be cut by scissors easily, it is simple to preserve data security when disposing of the disc".

    Masanobu Yamamoto, Senior General Manager of Optical System Development Gp., Optical Disc Development Div., Sony Corporation said: "Since the Blu-ray Disc does not require laser light to travel through the substrate, we were able to develop this paper disc. By increasing the capacity of the disc we can decrease the amount of raw material used per unit of information."

    The worldwide production of optical discs is approximately 20 billion per year and optical discs are being adopted widely. The combination of paper material and printing technology is also expected to lead to a reduction in cost per disc and will expand usage.

    TOPPAN and Sony will continue development of the disc for practical use.

    About Sony Corporation

    Sony Corporation (TSE: 6758) is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, game, communications, key device and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. With its music, pictures, computer entertainment and on-line businesses, Sony is uniquely positioned to be the leading personal broadband entertainment company in the world. Sony recorded consolidated annual sales of approximately $62 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2003. For further information, please visit the Sony Corporation home page at: www.sony.net/

    About Toppan Printing Co Ltd.

    Toppan Printing Co., Ltd. (TSE: 7911), since its founding in 1900, has played key roles in worldwide leadership of the printing industry, generated global acclaim and US$10 billion in revenues. Today, the Company's operations extend beyond conventional lines of printing and show strong performances in each field, including securities and cards, commercial printing, publications printing, packaging, industrial materials,and electronics. Especially in the electronics field, Toppan boasts the largest share of the world market for liquid-crystal color filters. For further information, please visit the Toppan Printing Co Ltd. home page at: www.toppan.co.jp/english/

    Contact:

    Sony Corporation
    Gerald Cavanagh
    Gerald.Cavanagh@jp.sony.com
    Tel: +81-3-5448-2200; Fax: +81-3-5448-3061

  • by Dutchmaan ( 442553 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:39PM (#8870838) Homepage
    exactly how long will this paper last before it starts decomposing in some way?
    • by k98sven ( 324383 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:58PM (#8871194) Journal
      exactly how long will this paper last before it starts decomposing in some way?

      Paper doesn't really decompose unless it's subjected to bacteria, air, water, dirt and stuff.
      High quality paper, such as wood-free paper doesn't even yellow much in sunlight.
      (Wood-free? You say.. that's paper which is 100% cellulose, with no lignin in it.. lignin is the stuff that separates trees from plants.. without lignin, it's not wood, hence 'wood-free' paper.)

      In a good environment (as one could expect for this kind of purpose) paper should have a far greater life-span than any hard drive I've ever owned.
      (and I've held on to some of mine for quite some time)
  • by jea6 ( 117959 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:39PM (#8870842)
    How many paper discs would you need to fit the Library of Congress? Oh, nevermind.
  • Oh no (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anemomenous Cowherd ( 702822 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:40PM (#8870867)
    But what if there are hanging chads? Is that bit a one or a zero?
  • Interesting (Score:4, Funny)

    by somethinghollow ( 530478 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:40PM (#8870872) Homepage Journal
    I talked about this with a friend, though not Blu-Ray. I think we figured it using a 300 DPI printer with 8.5 X 11 sheets of paper. A dot of black ink would be a 1. No dot would be a 0. It turns out that the capacity is pretty low. I'd post the math, but I'm pretty sure I'd mess it up somewhere.

    I think we decided it would get interesting if full color was used and different colors meant different binary combos.

    Anyway, good on them if the discs can be made for cheaper than current DVDs.
    • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Mateito ( 746185 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:51PM (#8871076) Homepage
      Its not that hard.

      300 dpi is 300x300 dots per square inch.
      You have 8.5 x 11 square inches.
      That means you have 300x300x8.5x11 dots per page.

      What's your encoding mecanism?

      If you forget error detector and recovery, divide by 8 and you have byte. Divide by 1024 and you have real kilobytes, then by 1024 and you have real MB, (but given that we are trying to sell thing scheme, divide it by 1,000 and 1,000,000 respectively to give Marketing Bytes).

      Given the low quality of the media, I'd be inclined to use 10bit bytes to allow double bit error detection and single bit error recovery. This also makes the maths easier.

      So you end up with 300x300/10 = 9000 bytes = 9k per square inch, and 840k per page. Make a double sided version and yo have nearly 1.7MB.
      • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Informative)

        by bfree ( 113420 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @01:33PM (#8871696)
        And if you go for something a bit snazzier printer wise like the Epson Color Proofer 7600 you get:

        2880 dpi is 2880x2880 dots per sqaure inch
        You have 8.5 x 11 square inches (or pi * 2^2 for a cd sized area)
        You have 7 individual colors so lets count a dot for each, and lets go with no error correction (just to get a maximum conceivable).
        You end up with 14M / square inch, a big improvement over 9k!
        That would give you 1.3G / double sided page, or 182M / double sided cd size.

        So Sony's tech here is nearly as big a leap up again as from 300x300dpi@1bit to 2880x2880dpi@7bit! It's a long way from printing quality (forget the fact that you would need to be incredibly redundant to make it any use, forget 10 bit bytes, i'd be thinking 64 bit bytes if it's meant to be lossless storage on the scheme I outlined). Might be fun to try and print out and scan back in say a knoppix cd in as few pages as possible, "what you mean you don't have a cd drive ... you have a scanner?"
        • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Informative)

          by dasmegabyte ( 267018 )
          Eh -- problem here is that 7 colour != 7 bit, because if you add black to any of them you still have black. 7 colours is more like 3 bit, e.g. there are 8 distinct and detectable values: black, cyan, magenta, yellow, blue, red, green and white.

          This also discounts bleed, cueing and error correction.
  • by Dark Paladin ( 116525 ) * <jhummel@johnhu m m el.net> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:41PM (#8870876) Homepage
    Imagine what this could do for the rental business. Now, I'm not about to get rid of my DVDs, and I hope they don't stop selling them: I rather like "owning" a movie I can play whenever Iike.

    But getting on an airplane, and instead of "renting" a movie, I just but the cheap $2.00 one. This is what DiVX could have been without the annoying DRM and phone calling back method.

    If I want to try out a game, such as "Jak and Daxter 14: Goatees for Everybody", I could get the cheap $5 full version paper demo, try it out, and when the disk finally breaks down say "Well, I can either buy another $5 version and finish the game, or pay $30 for the full version".

    Either way, Sony doesn't come across looking evil, and I get what I want.
  • thx alot...now I can't use toilet paper....gotta find some leaves from now on.
  • by mykepredko ( 40154 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:41PM (#8870895) Homepage
    From the article:

    The worldwide production of optical discs is approximately 20 billion per year and optical discs are being adopted widely.

    What is it minus AOL?

    Extending this thread, it's too bad Sony didn't work on this with P The "Bounty" version of the AOL disk could pre-emptively clean up those annoying coffee drips and the "Charmin" version, well the AOL disks would finally actually be useful.

    myke

  • RPS! (Score:5, Funny)

    by bludstone ( 103539 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:41PM (#8870897)
    Awesome! One third of the way there.

    Now all we need is a Rock based disk and a Scissors based disk. Then have them fight it out for world dominance.

    "good old rock, nothing beats rock!"
  • by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:41PM (#8870898)
    I'm reminded of the old Commodore 1541 5.25" floppy disk drive, that could format a paper plate without errors.

  • 49% Not paper... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Lord Haha ( 753617 )
    "Using the disc-structure of Blu-ray Disc technology, the new paper disc has a total weight that is 51% paper"

    Its kinda like saying WinBlows is better then Linux, but after reading the fine print: "the systems were judged by 100 people, 51 being microsoft employees..."

    Yes its paper under the text books (congrats on pulling it off) but then again its also 49% not paper, probably good old plastics...
  • .. accessorize my Paper PC [cypak.com] (ZDNet announcment [com.com])
  • John gets to work, and first thing, verifies the data backup from last night.
    John inserts the paper disk into his 32x CDrom, waits for it to spin up, then promptly evacuates the building when his machine erupts in flames.
  • by Mateito ( 746185 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:43PM (#8870925) Homepage
    >since a paper disc can be cut by scissors easily,

    Yep. Scissors cut paper disc, paper disc cuts fingers, fingers bleed on scissors, causing them to rust.
  • How long is the data on these discs supposed to last? Data retention on writeable CDs and DVDs is a big issue.

  • by bizpile ( 758055 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:44PM (#8870946) Homepage
    So Dilbert was right, smaller fonts can save on disk space.
  • This will certainly make partitioning much easier being able to use scissors instead of software. Partitioning on the hardware level. Imagine that. ;-)
  • I'm saving that because it's my backups!
  • This gives new meaning to getting the pages of your porno stuck together.

  • by athakur999 ( 44340 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:45PM (#8870977) Journal
    So will we still call them CD burners? It'll be like Farenheit 451. CD burners will be used to destroy data and some of us will remember when CD burners actually wrote data.

  • a way to gzip the entire forest lying in the Library of Congress building.

  • Finally (Score:5, Funny)

    by lobsterGun ( 415085 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:50PM (#8871058)

    Now my new set of AOL coasters will be absorbant!

  • by Radical Rad ( 138892 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:51PM (#8871074) Homepage
    after Sony releases the new College-ruled version.
  • by machead526 ( 755684 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:52PM (#8871084)
    So is this good or bad for the environment? Can these disks be recycled? Can they be made from recycled paper? Do they contribute less to landfills, or do they result in more trees getting chopped?
  • Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bshroyer ( 21524 ) <bret@NOsPAm.bretshroyer.org> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @12:52PM (#8871098)
    I'm honestly having trouble coming up with a practical application for this. I RTFA and learned (I think) that they're using "DVD-like" technology, but that the substrate is (51% by weight) paper, not acrylic and aluminum. The advantage? "It's easier to cut with scissors," states the article.

    What possible benefit does this present. Someone help me out.
  • by glsunder ( 241984 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @01:03PM (#8871273)
    Now movie rental stores will be asking...
    "paper or plastic"
  • by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @01:05PM (#8871298)
    Sony may be on to something here. Imagine encoding information onto the paper using some sort of symbol system that humans could be taught to interpret just by looking at the sheets? No computer necessary?

    Sheets of paper encoded like this could be cut square (most efficient use of space) and then bound by the edge so datasets larger than one-sheet's-worth could be looked at in a sequential fashion.

    These things are likely to be kind of bulky; if it ever takes off, there might be public buildings where people could borrow from a large repository of these paper-encoded datasets.

    This is kind of mind-boggling; it is likely to be years before Sony or anyone else takes it to this next step.
  • by william_lorenz ( 703263 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @01:09PM (#8871352) Homepage
    Apparently, there's an official industry consortium [blu-raydisc-official.org] for the technology, with the list of on-board companies including Dell, HP, Hitachi, Pioneer, Sony, and many more. I also found this short intro [burningbits.com] on the underlying technology, which explains:

    Large recording capacity up to 27GB:

    By adopting a 405nm blue-violet semiconductor laser, with a 0.85NA field lens and a 0.1mm optical transmittance protection disc layer structure, it can record up to 27GB video data on a single sided 12cm phase change disc. It can record over 2 hours of digital high definition video and more than 13 hours of standard TV broadcasting (VHS/standard definition picture quality, 3.8Mbps)
  • by Ctrl-Z ( 28806 ) <tim.timcoleman@com> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @01:12PM (#8871398) Homepage Journal
    Look how far we've come from paper tape to paper disc!
  • by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @01:14PM (#8871437)
    Hey won't it be nice to roll a fat one with a longhorn logo on it.
  • by SWroclawski ( 95770 ) <serge@[ ]clawski.org ['wro' in gap]> on Thursday April 15, 2004 @01:23PM (#8871563) Homepage
    How about a mobius strip
  • LoC (Score:3, Funny)

    by pr0nbot ( 313417 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @01:42PM (#8871813)
    Ok... so if you made discs out of all the books in the Library of Congress... how many Libraries of Congress could you store?

  • by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @01:42PM (#8871821)
    Has anyone posted an item recently on the latest audio encoding advances which make it difficult to make digital copies?

    The music industry is working on a new type of CD. It is not that compact, actually: I am guessing that the "medium pizza" size is to make it difficult to actually steal from music stores.

    The discs are black, and instead of being encoded with laser-readable bits, the surface is covered with one very long spiralled indentation (or groove). Information engraved in this indentation can be read through a tiny stylus and converted into sound.

    To further thwart the digital p2p "rip and post it on Kazaa" world, the audio technology is actually analog instead of digital.

    The technology required to burn these things is rather bulky and expensive. Prototypes have been produced by a new audio company called "Decca" (Digital Encoding Concern Company - Advanced), some of the prototypes have turned up at garage sales. These are typically stamped with very old dates (1938? 1941?) to confuse people.
  • by johnthorensen ( 539527 ) on Thursday April 15, 2004 @02:15PM (#8872310)
    ...The Photocopier.

    -JT

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