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Google Reader: One Year Later

Cico71 Re:It was nice (132 comments)

Surely the data harvesting would have been worth it, for a behemoth like Google to just keep it running.

I'm still convinced they want to kill RSS and that was part of the plan.
They did a good job accelerating the death of Usenet when they bought Dejanews and left the Newsgroups search unusable.

about 2 months ago

Google Reader: One Year Later

Cico71 Feedly and Nextgen Reader (132 comments)

Good combo on Windows Phone and Windows 8 on tablets (on desktops Feedly is enough, sometimes I use Nextgen Reader windowed with Modernmix).
Haven't missed anything specific from Google Reader and took the opportunity to reduce Google products usage just to search.

about 2 months ago

Commodore 64 turns 30

Cico71 Re:Game Nostalgia Thread (218 comments)

Mule, ,Fort Apocalypse!!, Bruce Lee!!, Seven Cities of Gold, Spelunker, Way of The Exploding Fist!!, International Karate (and +), Impossible Mission, Track & Fields and who knows how many more...

more than 2 years ago

The IT Certs That No Longer Pay Extra

Cico71 Re:Good, Because Certs Are Worthless (267 comments)

...if we were talking about a vendor other than Microsoft, you might have had a point. As it is, MCPs, like most certs, were (and still are?) massively oriented around making your product stand out at the expense of all competition (perceived or otherwise).

You may want to crack open one of the old official MSFT-blessed textbooks sometime: it's all about insuring that the 'students' never even think to consider any alternative. Also note that I didn't mention the folks "holding such exams", since those people are often third parties.

Dude, you don't have a clue don't you? Microsoft certifications are about Microsoft products, they are not about technology in general. It is clearly stated, you are taking the training and the exam on Microsoft technologies, typically it's even a single product. So it's not that the product stands out from others, there is just that product by definition. Take it, or move on and invest in another certification. WTF do you expect from a certification like "Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure, Configuring"? That they talk about Linux? What do you expect from "MCTS: SQL Server 2008, Implementation and Maintenance"? That they tell you about Oracle or one of the NoSQL nonsense du jour?

You kind of missed the point, and you inadvertently amplified why it is that experience trumps certification. ;)

Yeah, sure, I missed the point. Then again maybe there's just a problem with you completely missing why Microsoft certifications are useless. But what can I expect from someone with a nick like Penguinisto...

more than 2 years ago

The IT Certs That No Longer Pay Extra

Cico71 Re:Good, Because Certs Are Worthless (267 comments)

There are really own two certs I respect: Cisco's CCIE and Oracle's OCM. Both require hands-on lab demonstrations of skill. (Is RedHat doing that now, too?)

Add Microsoft MCM for SQL Server to that. Can't comment about other MCMs but the SQL one is a good one.

All other certs are undervalued by dumps. Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco - you name it, all you need to do is buy or torrent the questions online, memorize the answers, and go in and take the test. Literally, anyone with zero knowledge of the material can do this. It's laughable.

This is the main problem, questions never gets updated and you typically have a total of 300 different ones. Too simple to memorize them and pass the exam. Even changing the questions from time to time may not be a good solution as there are not many different, good, questions you can come up with. IMO the only serious solution is that you get examined by a human being that is a Subject Matter Expert or that you have to pass a long and hard laboratory explaining in writing why you choose certain solutions. Then again this is what already happens with better certifications as the one mentioned above.

When I've been involved in hiring, I've never really paid attention to someone's certs. I'd certainly hire someone with several years of hands-on experience in a technology who wasn't certified over someone with no experience who was.

Fully agree. Then again, there are some weakness also with this strategy. In the database industry there are myths and bad designs that are constantly passed through generations from "experienced" people that never really understood the problems.

more than 2 years ago

The IT Certs That No Longer Pay Extra

Cico71 Re:Good, Because Certs Are Worthless (267 comments)

The last time I bothered was for Windows 2000, and only then because the employer at the time demanded it. Not sure if it has changed, but back then you only needed to know that according to Microsoft, only a Microsoft-based solution to any given problem was considered sufficient. This was in spite of the fact that it often didn't make sense.

Maybe you should get a bit more realistic... it's not the case that when you study for the Oracle Certified Master exam, they tell you how simpler and more cost-effective would be to roll out Microsoft Analysis Services. If you take a certification with a vendor that provides multiple products, they will always teach you how to solve problems with their products. Duh.

I suspect things haven't changed much, and in my humble-but-professional opinion, someone with only the cert (and little-to-no experience) usually meant that they were superbly trained as marketing zombies, but were absolutely worthless as sysadmins.

You misspelled dumb. They are worthless as sysadmins because a low-level technical exams is worth only to assess whether at least you opened the product's manual. Yes, worthless exams, but pretending the people holding such exams were trained by marketing people is simply dumb.

(...example? Clicking "cancel" when Task Scheduler demands a password in Server 2k8 will lock out an AD account in a hurry. Neat little bug, but one of the zillions of subtle things a sysadmin would know, but an MCSA would not.)

So you are suggesting that people get trained also on bugs and that training material gets constantly updated? Really?

more than 2 years ago

The IT Certs That No Longer Pay Extra

Cico71 Re:Good, Because Certs Are Worthless (267 comments)

It seems you have wrong espectactions, those certifications are made to measure that you know the basics of how a product works, or more precisely how a product works according to the documentation, not your real life experience with it or what you know about bugs.

We may agree that there's little value in those certifications but at least they provide a first level (very coarse) of screeing for people that don't even have a clue.

To measure real life experience, you have to look at different certifications for example, talking about Microsoft, the Certified Master and Certified Architect. I can't comment on all of them, but for the SQL Server MCM I know the exam is both written and you have to solve real life scenarios in a lab (the exam takes 8 hours and most people don't have time to complete it 100%).

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Does Europe Have Better Magazines Than the US?

Cico71 I stopped buying (562 comments)

US magazines a long time ago: constantly getting thinner in content and full of advertisement. I mean, I'm not against ads but there's a limit :-\

more than 2 years ago

The (Mostly) Sad Fates of 32 First-Generation iPad Rivals

Cico71 Re:Asus Transformer TF101 (270 comments)

So the TF101 doesn't work or what?

more than 2 years ago

IBM Unseats Microsoft As Second Most Valued Tech Company

Cico71 Re:Apple is #1? (296 comments)

Marketing explains initial buy-in, but not repeat customers.

Care to back up this with some facts?

If Apple's success were only marketing, they would have to attract ridiculous amounts of new customers to replace the ones fleeing the platform. That's not the case.

Care to explain why you assume that a ridiculous amount of old customers would flee from a mediocre product with good marketing? Or you simply think this is how it works?

Last I read, the iPhone has something like an 80% retention rate.

So, by the same reasoning, Internet Explorer 6 was a great product (mind that there were already plenty of good, free, alternatives). Some times initial marketing (which may include borderline monopolistic tactics) gets the bulk of the people. After, people don't leave for more simple reasons. Resistance to changes, complete disinterest in technical specifications, etc. etc. The vast majority of people are not geeks, they invest time in learning the tool, they build repositories of personal information around it, it takes something they consider a big thing to convince them moving to something else and it's not necessarily something technical.

The iPhone 5 is the most-anticipated phone out there, and Apple has said nothing about it.

This kind of indirect marketing is so old you can smell dust from miles away.

Clearly, people must buy their products for more reasons than Apple's heavy marketing push.

So you make up some premises and then you, clearly, draw your own conclusions? Fair enough, you may as well pat on your back yourself because I'm not going to do it.

Status? The only Apple device anyone ever sees me with is an iPhone, and that's hardly a status symbol--almost everyone I know has one. The iPhone was a status symbol when it first came out, but not now. Apple may be a status thing for some people, but if so, that's ridiculous.

You know, this seems to make some sense at first sight. What is considered as a status symbol is completely in the eye of the beholder which in turn depends on his social class (ok, I know it's not fashionable to talk about social classes anymore, get over it). People from the middle class used to consider the iphone as a status symbol at the beginning. Now everyone has it, still lower class people that can only afford less-than 100$ phone are considering it a status symbol. Rich people and public personalities buy stupid phones with diamonds for thousands of dollars to be sure to be different.

Other companies don't understand Apple, and so they think they can charge as much as Apple without doing all the other things that make Apple products such a joy to use for the average person. They are slowly learning that this isn't the case.

They understand Apple very well. Windows Phone 7 is much more a joy to use for the average person, just try it for a week or so. Yet, it's too late and MS never had someone that was able to generate fanatism among their customers (thanks God)

Many posters on Slashdot don't understand Apple, and so they post ignorant messages about Apple only being successful because of marketing.

But we are lucky because we can read you profund and enlighted thoughts and explanations, strictly facts-based. Not.

Their marketing is good. It's what gets lots of people to try their products for the first time. But marketing isn't what makes people repeat customers.

You're simply ignoring that brand loyalty is made up of a lot of things and, in many cases, quality and consumer advantages are down at the bottom of the list. In general, people are like sheep, they don't think a lot and are are generally under-educated. It just takes repeating messages, showing shiny bells and whistels and "group thinking" (or should I say un-thinking?). This is well-known since decades. Go, figure, try to find some dusty books, err sorry an App, with Noam Chomsky writings.

more than 2 years ago

IBM Unseats Microsoft As Second Most Valued Tech Company

Cico71 Re:And apple's market cap is going to collapse (296 comments)

This work for people that still have enough money left. The stupid and useless unregulated market is pushing more and more middle-class people down the poverty line. The number of people that need to carefully budget to survive end-of-month is scarily increasing. Yet, most need a phone anyway. I guess the first company that manages to really break the smartphone/dumbphone barrier will change things quite a bit. By "really break" I mean something like invading the market with a really low-cost offering. I expected Nokia to do it. Even after announcing the death of Symbian. Unfortunately I see nothing happening from their side and Apple may not be so stupid to remained seated on a huge pile of cash only nitpicking about design and suing Samsung i.e. think at the cheap iPhone rumors.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Long-Term Video/Picture Storage?

Cico71 Key points (499 comments)

  1. Archive locally on a NAS or a big disk.
  2. Regularly make backups to disk(s) stored locally in a hidden place (prevent casual thieves).
  3. Regularly make backups to disk(s) stored at remote sites e.g. family members, friends, bank, whatever (mainly prevent disasters but also thieves).
  4. Rotate disk with newer ones every 3-4 years (prevent damages from wearing, they're faster and have more storage).
  5. Use parity files (PAR2, quickpar or RAR with Recovery Records. I amazed at sheer number of backup tools that don't have any kind of built-in parity option.
  6. Print the best photos

In general don't trust too much DVDs and the Cloud (what happens if they loose your data? we've seen some examples lately...)

As for versioning, sorry I can't give any good advice. I still have to find a good automated solution. Currently my photo workflow relies on directory structures and a naming convention.

more than 2 years ago

Ballmer Hints At 'Metro-ization' of Office

Cico71 Re:MS ahead of the game for once? (302 comments)

I will change a bit the order of quoting

As for the Zune, it's clearly a media player UI. That Metro has that style is unsurprising, but the original Zune in no way portends Metro.

How can say so it's beyond my comprehension. Have a look at this side-by-side picture of Zune V1 and V2: I'm pretty sure everyone can recognize traits of the same design language.

Metro and WP7 before it were a striking change from the Windows GUI and Windows Mobile. The changes that they made were similar to the ones Apple made of getting rid of much of what makes a PC OS a PC OS.

TBH, I think this is simply a common belief coming from Apple marketing department and channeled through Apple fan boys. If anything, I'd say that Microsoft GUIs are exactly what were already under change. Apple simply pushed the changes to happen (far) more quickly.

For example, have a look at these:

  1. Zen Portable Media Center (announced 2003, release 2004). This is probably the most stretched example. However, it's the first one I could trace back regarding the shift to typography based GUIs as Metro. Interface example here
  2. Windows Media Center (around 2006). This is the first clear example of where MS was hading to with GUIs for devices that were not regular PCs. Early interface examples here and here
  3. Zune device and software (around 2006-2007). The first generation already headed to typography based UI, later generations are clearly Metro styled. Examples of the device OS here and here example of the software here
  4. XBox 360 (around 2008). Again, first generations (of the Dashboard) were only seminal, the new one is clearly Metro. Examples are here and the new one here
  5. Windows Mobile 6.5 (around 2010). With 6.5 you can clearly see similarities with Metro. Then again, the real Metro was around the corner. Still, you can see there's a continuity from the Zune (2007). Examples here

Save all pictures somewhere, review the Metro design language article here and then tell me again that Microsoft started changing GUIs after Apple push.

MS was already undertaking changes in various GUIs and I can clearly see the Metro design behind those changes. They may have not spelt out a name for it, and/or formally defined design rules, but I can clearly see the common roots. They already had the grounds and simply came up with the concept of tiles that was new.

Prior to the iPhone, MS's answer to tablets and phones was to shoe-horn in Windows. Apple was the first to make a tablet OS designed specifically *for* the tablet, and not just a PC OS with alternate input methods.

and let me take also another quote from your original message:

This is MS rightfully working to fix their tablet OS after someone else showed them how it's done. It's not done by tacking touch into their desktop GUI.

MS already had several open fronts were they had to re-think GUIs before Apple even started hinting they would release a tablet: Xbox, Zune, Windows Media Center and Windows Phone. They were already working on GUIs for several different devices where the traditional Desktop GUI was not the way to go. It just takes time for a player that is already in the market and have an estabilished developer base (did you see the massive outcry with the new APIs? and the incredible amount of FUD going around? people seems to believe .NET will be dead in a couple of months when in reality even COM is still pretty much alive). Moreover, it sometimes take also technology to advance before you can make some changes (think touch screens of the past, could you really use it without a stylus?).

But with tablets the problem is different: MS simply didn't believe there was a big market except for niches (again, tablets used in production lines or hospitals). They didn't believe so many consumers were prepared to pay for a light-weight OS to do coach surfing, seeing videos etc. Especially at such a high prices. Quite honestly, who could predict it? I'm not even sure whether it was really a need or rather the proverbial "field distrortion" at work once again. But let's simply say it was a mistake from MS. They quickly started catching up on the ground of what was already being done in the UI space.

Don't make the mistake to think that MS is a million pound gorilla sitting on the market just trying to squeeze every single penny from obsolete technologies. MS constantly pushes in a lot of different directions. Just check Microsoft Research site.

For example, they did a lot of research in the field of image reconstruction in both still photography (based on other, similar, photos) and videos (based on other frames). They may not have anything really ready for prime-time, but they are constantly working on new things. Again, as an example, in Windows Live Photo Gallery there's the technology to merge photos in order to replace closed eyes from other photos (photo fuse). It's not as great as it sounds yet, but eventually it will become usefull in future.

GUIs, and mobile devices in general, are no exception. However, MS tend to push things slowly to the market. Partly because it's really a million pound gorilla; partly because they used to be very conservative with disruptive changes (backward compatibility used to be priority number one before Metro/Windows8/Sinofsky). Also, it may sound strange given the common perception as markeeters, but they are not always good at it. Especially with things that can change radically the market. Hell, even with the Kinect: it's a great concept, they sold millions of them, yet I feel as if they are not really pushing it as they could (e.g. few games exploiting it).

Anyway, MS is clearly following right now in the tablets market. However, saying it's copying from Apple it's simply not true. It's not true for GUIs and it's not true for the WinRT APIs (which is the *real* thing in Windows 8). Moreover, I believe that there's still a lot that can happen. There's a good post in another thread here that is quite interesting. Moving forward, we will see if keeping the option to run also desktop software on tablets will be an advantage or not (think docked tablets). It just take a bit more computing power at low energy consuption. Then running both Metro and Windows 7 GUIs will make perfect sense.

about 3 years ago

Ballmer Hints At 'Metro-ization' of Office

Cico71 Re:MS ahead of the game for once? (302 comments)

So what exactly are they copying?

Apple's tablet OS design ideas.

Which OS design ideas? Be specific because it can't be the GUI which is completely different and follows completely different principles (yes I'm just talking about Metro, of course the fact that it can still run a Windows 7 alike desktop is completely different).

So what is it? Lower level OS architecture? Can't be. E.g. Apple managed to barely fix ASLR only in Lion. Microsoft has it working since ages.

It must be gestures then. Who would have thought that once touchscreen technology advanced, things could be operated touching a screen. No, it can't be, concepts have been around for a decade and something real was already around: (besides all sort of other tablets, I refer to the surface because from a design concept standpoint has been by far the richest).

Uhm, maybe is the design concept of having a matrix of icons? Pretty looks like my Windows desktop since the last 15 years. Thanks, I'll stay with my Metro tiles that actively display something useful and don't look so Win3.1

No, but WP7's redesign is a direct result of Apple's 2007 entry into the market.

Yep, then they invented a time machine and went back to 2006 to release the Zune with an interface that looks like the genesis of Metro. But the point is another one, so, after all, they didn't copied, they were only forced to re-design? And the big part of that re-design of WP7 vs WP6.5 was the interface?

Like I said, the tablet design ideas. Those tablets that have been around since 2001 simply used the standard Windows GUI. That's why they were a market failure.

So now you switched from OS design to general tablet design. And the failure was the Windows GUI. Not that batteries lasted nothing. Not the weight (couldn't even be used to make a presentation, your arm would hurt if you had to keep it in hands for 1 hour). Not that they were slow as hell. Not that touchscreen technology was a joke. Nope. Nothing. Just the GUI. Everyone was waiting fur such an inspired GUI from Apple. Just swipes, pokes and tons of small apps.

I tell you what: iPads right now are good for coach surfing, watching some videos, reading books (although I prefer e-ink), playing a limited set of games, casually reading e-mails. That's pretty much it (ok, there are some niches like music composers and such, but I'm talking about the mass. If you want to write something seriously, you need an external keyboard. For some some other stuff, a pen would be very useful. We'll see what happens when MS tablet will be released on different form factors with the best of both worlds (Windows Desktop and Metro). I predict that once Excel and Outlook will ship on Metro, a lot of managers will throw their iPads out of the window.

As for the Newton, not sure why you seem to think it doesn't apply, since you seem to be talking about the form factors and not the designs behind them.

Because we are talking about who copied who and if we go back to PDAs then even there Apple was not the first one and the Newton was pretty much a failure. MS came later with CE devices and that was a lot more successful. Not even only in the consumer space, all over different devices (warehouses, hospitals etc.)

Matrix of icons in the GUI? ROTFL...


You struggle to keep focus? We are talking about MS copying Apple, so where is the matrix of icons in Metro? You know, Metro tiles are not just square/rectangular icons. They actively convey information. Yet, in the iOS world a matrix of icons seems to be such an innovation (Apple even put it in Lion). How could MS fail to copy such a fundamental innovation! FWIW the ROTFL was a huge laugh at all the innovation from Apple. Icons. Lots of them.

about 3 years ago

Ballmer Hints At 'Metro-ization' of Office

Cico71 Re:Stacks (302 comments)

Interesting post, wish I had mod points.

about 3 years ago

The Google+ API Is Released

Cico71 Re:Cool. Just in time for Google to EOL Google+ (154 comments)

I agree :(

I have only 155 people in my circles but it's already too much. There are too many of them that are simply using it as FB. For example: if I want to post something funny, or simply not technology related, I have a list of people called "Pub" with people inside that I know that don't mind reading all kind of stuff. When I post something technology related, I post it to some circle where I put people I know are following that technology.

However, if we don't all follow similar rules, if people simply post to either to public or all circles, trying to filter by your circles is useless as you simply get all sort of garbage everywhere :) pretty much like in FB where most people didn't even know about lists.

I hoped that with Goggle+ people would start fresh and start using circles in a proper way, also because it seems there are more geeks than in FB. I stopped hoping.

about 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Moving From *nix To Windows Automation?

Cico71 Re:Powershell is a Winner (427 comments)

That's true: the select can be skipped and the regular expression can be directly injected in the insert command. I didn't really wanted to fiddle also with the escapes :) Also, in the above code the named capturing group was stripped away by Slashdot, but it was not really needed as we can simply use a numbered capturing group. If we also drop filtering for only successful matches, it all boils to simply the following code:

Get-EventLog -LogName "Security" | ? { $_.InstanceID -eq 4648 } | % { Invoke-Sqlcmd -Query "INSERT INTO tempdb.dbo.FailedLogons VALUES ($($_.Index), '$($_.TimeGenerated)', '$($_.MachineName)', '$([regex]::match($_.Message, `"Account Name:\s*(.*)\x0d\x0a`").Groups[1].Value)');" }

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Moving From *nix To Windows Automation?

Cico71 Re:Powershell is a Winner (427 comments)

And yes, these are not failed, but attempted logons.

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Moving From *nix To Windows Automation?

Cico71 Re:Powershell is a Winner (427 comments)

There is pretty much nothing you can't do in Powershell. It has an innovative object pipeline system and excellent syntax. The learning curve is high but what powerful programming language doesn't have a high learning curve?


Probably the hardest thing to learn in the *nix scripting world is sed.

I wrote a menuing system for a Xenix minicomputer back in the early 1990s in straight sh, never having touched it or the Unix tool set before, in a couple of hours. And I can tell you I ain't no genius.

Try do anything vaguely useful in Powershell without prior knowledge in a couple of hours. It is a gawdawful horror story, a good example of the insane overkill that Microsoft applies to simple problems. It keeps the MCSE's employed with the bizarre range of esoteric and overly-complicated solutions, but when you're just trying to move some data around from tool to tool or piping some output through a regex evaluator on its way to a SQL RDBMS, you end up going "What the fuck is wrong with those people in Redmond?"

Just as a reality check, here's a single command line that:

- gets the Windows security Event Log
- filters for failed logon events (4648)
- extracts some fields from the events, in some cases these are exposed as simple properties of the streaming objects, in one other it's using RexEx, with a named capturing group, to find the user name in the message
- inserts the data in a SQL RDBMS

Get-EventLog -LogName "Security" | ? { $_.InstanceID -eq 4648 } | Select Index, TimeGenerated, MachineName, @{Name="AccountName"; Expression={(([regex]"Account Name:\s*(?.*)\x0d\x0a").Match($_.Message) | ? {$_.Success}).Groups['AccountName'].Value}} | % { Invoke-Sqlcmd -Query "INSERT INTO tempdb.dbo.FailedLogons VALUES ($($_.Index), '$($_.TimeGenerated)', '$($_.MachineName)', '$($_.AccountName)');" }

I'm no genius either, have no MCSE, been into Xenix last century, but oddly enough I ended up with a completely different opinion of the people in Redmond.

Just to be sure I'm not making up things, this is the database schema to test it with SQL Server:
CREATE TABLE tempdb.dbo.FailedLogons ( LogIndex int NOT NULL PRIMARY KEY , TimeGenerated datetime NOT NULL , MachineName nvarchar(16) NOT NULL , AccountName nvarchar(256) NOT NULL )
Oh, and you need to make sure SQL Server PowerShell provider is loaded in your environment for the Invoke-Sqlcmd commandlet to be available.

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Moving From *nix To Windows Automation?

Cico71 Re:Powershell is a Winner (427 comments)

Want to read a binary file? Get-Content -Path C:\binary.file -Encoding Byte

Wow, that is powerful! Contrast with the same thing, much more difficult to express in Unix:

cat [filename]


Don't worry, we are also lazy:
Get-Alias -Definition Get-Content

Alias cat Get-Content
Alias gc Get-Content
Alias type Get-Content


more than 3 years ago



Goggle is not happy to have MVPs around

Cico71 Cico71 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Cico71 (603080) writes "In a blog post, Skeet writes that he checked with his Google bosses to make sure it would be OK if Microsoft "renewed" his "Microsoft MVP" award for yet another year, an honor that is far from automatic and akin to a new award. But Skeet wrote he "was advised not to do so."
Link to Original Source

Cico71 Cico71 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Cico71 (603080) writes "vnunet published a whitepaper from David Litchfield, a security researcher with NGS Software, comparing the number of software vulnerabilities patched by both vendors in their respective products in the past six years.

From the results it seems that the Security Development Lifecycle adopted by Microsoft works pretty well.




SDL pays back: SQL Server more secure than Oracle

Cico71 Cico71 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

vnunet published a whitepaper from David Litchfield, a security researcher with NGS Software, comparing the number of software vulnerabilities patched by both vendors in their respective products in the past six years.

From the results it seems that the Security Development Lifecycle adopted by Microsoft works pretty well.

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