Rants Text

Open Letter to Steve Jobs Regarding My Toxic Mac

Macintosh g5 leaks toxic fluid kills pets children

I emailed the following letter to Steve Jobs (the real one) a few days ago and received not so much as a reply. I sent the email twice from two different addresses. I now post it opening in the hopes that someone will help me out.

Dear Steve Jobs,

I have been a long time Apple fan. I remember when my mother showed me a wall street journal article in the early 1980’s with a sketch of the upcoming Lisa. It said that Lisa would be a quantum leap in computing. A few years later I got my own Mac, A Macintosh SE, which I still use to this day! (I use it for sound effects on my podcast because I like the old talking moose sound).

Today I own several Macs and use them all the time. In the past four years I have bought as many macs. I got a G4 in 2003, which I still use as my web server and file server. I’ve bought two laptops- a g4 ibook and a macbook pro, both of which I was and have been pleased with. However, I also purchased a Powermac G5 dual 2.5 Ghz in 2005, which is the (long awaited) reason for my writing this letter.

A few weeks ago I was using the G5 to watch a movie with my dog on my lap. Suddenly, I heard what sounded like fireworks- ‘POP POP POP’ and saw bright flashes of light through the grating in the g5’s case. IT scared me and even my dog ran away and hid, the noise was so loud. Then I smelled a noxious chemical smell and very carefully unplugged the machine, relieved to find it had not set anything nearby on fire.

So I took the Mac to the North Michigan Avenue genius bar, whom I have always received stellar service from. THey told me the problem was the power supply and since I don’t have apple care I’d have to pay $250.00 to fix it. Fair enough, I thought, and agreed to pay for the repair.

Yesterday, however they called me again , only this time with bad news: The cooling system of the processors had leaked fluid onto the CPU, logic board, and power supply and that is what caused the fireworks, smell and breakdown of the computer. The Genius people told me it would cost $2200.00 to fix.

The repair case # is R12260998 and the serial number is RM5105KGQPP.

For a number of reasons, I don’t feel that I should have to pay for this repair:
1) I am a long term and very loyal customer. I have purchased a computer at least every year, and many many iPods and accessories. If you check under my apple id, [email protected], you will find evidence of this.

2) While I did not purchase AppleCare on this Machine, I have on every other machine I have ever purchased from Apple, including the current applecare on my macbook pro, which I have only used once, to repair a burnt up power brick.

3) As a leader in the Gay/Lesbian podcaster community, I have recommended many many podcasters to quit their PC’s and join the Apple world, where life is easier for creative folk as well as those with a sense of style. I run a web site called qpodder which is the primary directory and community for GLBT podcasts.

4) MOST IMPORTANTLY, however, the cooling system failure is a design defect and is not simply a random part failure, such as a broken power supply or CPU, for example. I have done much research regarding this problem and have found many cases of the exact same problem occurring on macs with the liquid cooling system.

5) This design defect was, in fact, potentially very dangerous. I have read teh MSDS for the cooling liquid which leaked onto the chassis and my living room floor. It contains the same sweet tasting radiator type fluid which often kills dogs when it leaks from car radiators. So, my dog could have been killed by this toxic, and who knows what damage may have come from breathing those toxic-smelling fumes.

I feel it is an act of extreme Chutzpah for apple to ask ME to pay $2200.00 for the ‘privilege’ of having Apple allow me to bring a dangerous machine into my living room and having it almost kill my dog.

The least Apple can do is pay for the repair. I don’t think it’s too much to ask. Apple should have at least warned people that this machine could be hazardous to humans and pets. I would have at least kept it off the floor!

Please let me know if you can help me out!

Kind Regards,

Richard Bluestein
[email protected]
phone 773.XXX.XXXX

By Madge

Lesbian with food allergies.

16 replies on “Open Letter to Steve Jobs Regarding My Toxic Mac”

Nice work Madge and Richard (who ever Richard is). From what you are saying, this really does sound like a re-call type of situation. I hope your letter has some gravity and does some good for you and others with similar problems.

(easy for me to say, though, as I type from a Dell)

I was going to buy some apple headphones at the weekend, but if this is how they treet their customers then I refuse. if I brought a car and the engine exploded causing petrol to leak and ruin the seats then I’d expect Ford to fix everything for free, especially if my dog was caught in the ensueing blast. but I don’t own a dog, or any petrol, or a Ford for that matter, and certainly not an Apple if this is what happens. madge has always influenced me into what to buy; although overpriced exploding tuppleware styled computers and overhyped phones which don’t activate are out of my budget, since listening to yeast radio more and more of my money has gone to companies like hargen daas as a result. dear mr-jobs-for-chinamen; if you are reading this open letter then please can you requote madges computer-say $2450 cheaper? can you also make ipods a cheaper, itunes work and stop sending me that stupid email every week from the apple music store? I hate snow patrol and avril latrine, no matter how many times I unsubscribe you still think I want to spend 99 pence on this dross that I can get free off limewire. thankyou in advance and keep up the great work! roger smalls-surrey,england.

You’d probably have mor luck if it were a Mac Pro (or whatever the current desktop models are called). Since G5’s are no longer in production, they’re less likely to care. Regardless, I hope they do the right thing in this case.

sorry to post al this here, but this is unacceptable, don’t part with any monies Richard, just a matter of a time before they (apple) address this and offer a free fix, hopefully sooner than later, also try talking to apple over the phone sometimes they’re a little more helpful than the stores, go to the applecare department, alternatively do you know anyone with a similar G5 and apple care ? if so maybe you could swap parts over and they get everything replaced with their apple care.


May. 4, 2006
Ed Sikorski
I don’t want to add another worry to the G5 community but here is one: leaking coolant. I prodded a repair tech if he has seen an increase in G5 repairs and failed powersupplies. His answer was that he hasn’t seen the powersupply failure issue. However, he jokes, “ask me about coolant leaks!”. I hadn’t thought of that one, as from reader reports, it sounded like bad capacitors (popping). But with cooling problem, that can require replacing the processor cover, the processor, the coolant leak pad, the powersupply (it leaks on), the case and the logicboard.
I wondered if the powersupply failures are actually related coolant leaks? As slick as the G5 looks, I’m starting to doubt that “Form over Function” is a good idea with computer design.
May. 6, 2006
Charles Cranney
Just thought it interesting that my G5 2.5 Dual tower sprung a leak with its liquid cooled thing, according to the authorized Apple repair shop. Zapped the processors and the power supply, which both need to be replaced. About a $1,000 repair (since I don’t have the extended warranty).
May. 8, 2006
MacInTouch Reader
If you purchased your G5 with a VISA they have a program that extends your apple warranty another year. Check out the VISA web site for the information. Have used this service before on apple products that were over Apple’s 1 year warranty. Just make sure you have the recept.
Some other credit cards have similar programs.
May. 9, 2006
MacInTouch Reader
My G5 sprung a leak and applecare replaced it with a g5 QUAD!!!!!!
May. 12, 2006
merry hodgkinson
well i guess this is going to be expensive…
was installing more RAM in my Dual 2.7 the other day and noticed a white dried up liquid deposit on the bottom inside the case,looks like someone poured milk in it..
thing is, it’s all still working..although running temperature monitor i can see that 1 processor is running about 8 degrees c hotter
whats going on is that temp difference normal?
time for shop i think
May. 15, 2006
MacInTouch Reader
My DP 2.5 PM has always run a few degrees hotter on CPU 1 than 2. Should it not?
May. 16, 2006
Robert Mohns
MacInTouch Reader writes: “My DP 2.5 PM has always run a few degrees hotter on CPU 1 than 2. Should it not?”
This is consistent with the liquid cooling design used in some Power Mac G5’s. The liquid runs in a closed loop, over first one CPU, then the other. The liquid will pick up heat from both, but since it’s already warm from the first CPU, it won’t cool the second to quite the same temperature. This is not a problem.
If the 2.5 GHz model isn’t liquid cooled — off hand I don’t recall which are and are not! — then it may simply be that heat from the lower CPU rising and warming the upper CPU. Again, not a problem.
May. 17, 2006
Don Fuller
CPU temps that are a few degrees different are not a cause for alarm. However, if you notice that the difference becomes substantial (10? or more) you may want to take your machine in and have it looked at. It may likely mean that the CPU with the higher temp will have to be replaced and the processors thermally calibrated.
May. 24, 2006
Mike Laman
Another link to a leaker:
Oct. 11, 2006
MacInTouch Reader
Yes, I can confirm that I too have a coolant leak on an 18 month old G5 dual proc. tower. The computer fans started whirring strongly. Rebooted but will not boot properly. All I can get at best is the spinning clock. On moving the machine to the dealer, I noticed bright green liquid oozing from the back. Ah well! That’s a load of money down the drain.
Nov. 2, 2006
MacInTouch Reader
I’m a web designer working from home. If my machine breaks down i can’t work. My 2×2.5 G5 started leaking about 2 weeks ago. It was 10 months out of warranty – I had never bought the extended warranty. However when i phoned Apple they informed me that it WAS under warranty. Turns out it was marked as ‘processing’, meaning it was covered but hadnt been paid for. So I quickly coughed up the £199 for the full 3 years warranty, and Apple picked it up the following day. Excellent.
4 days later they confirmed that it was uneconomical to fix – it needed both processors, a new motherboard and a new power supply. So instead they offered me a brand new 2×2.66 Mac Pro! 3 days later it arrived, I placed my old harddrives in it, booted up and was back in business.
To crown this remarkable series of lucky breaks, because I had a brand new warranty, they refunded the value of the unused cover. But for some reason they dated it from the day I actually made the payment ie 2 weeks ago, rather than 11 months ago, and have refunded the full £199. So I got a new Mac for nothing!
Thanks Apple – of course I’ll be taking out the exended warranty this time – I’ve got £199 spare anyway..
Nov. 14, 2006
MacInTouch Reader
My DP 2.5ghz G5 just had to have a power supply replaced due to coolant leaking on it.
Got it back home and two days later it wouldn’t boot. back to service and they say it’s booting now, though it’s clear to me there’s something seriously wrong. There was coolant all over the place inside the machine and there has to be a finite amount of this stuff right?
My guess is lack of coolant means the processors are overheating which is causing me random shutdowns / going to sleep and failure to boot. Only solution to replace the processor apparently…
Methinks this is a serious design flaw….
Jan. 20, 2007
MacInTouch Reader
So I’ve got a G5 dualie 2.5 as well.
I’ve read that some users noticed a loud clicking noise eminating from the G5 case, as an early indicator of the leaks. Can anyone else verify this sound? I hear a loud and distinct noise coming from the case from time to time. It sounds like someone whacked a pen on the side of the case. I thought it was my hard drive or something. Now I read about the leaks.
Apr. 17, 2007
Richard Allen
We recently experienced a coolant leak on a G5 purchased in June 2004. It is totally trashed now and the repair facility estimates $1800 to repair. Why isn’t Apple making this right, the same way they did with the Emac leaky capacitor problem? My experience with Macintosh computers versus Dell PC’s is that Dell makes solid hardware and stands behind their product. Mac makes junk and leaves you waving in the breeze when there hardware has inherent problems.
Apr. 26, 2007
I have a G5 with dual 2.7 processors, purchashed on June 2005. Two weeks ago I notice that the machines funs, start to work in full power and after 3 or 4 minutes my mac shutdown. I restart my mac and it boot normally but after 4 or 5 minutes it start all over again until it shut down again! I opened the case and look very carefully incide the machine. I notice then oxydosys under the processors box and because its a liquid cooling machine I realised that something is wrong with my mac. Liquid leak!

Now I know. I have to pay at least 900 euros (1100 dollars)
to solve the problem. I am using macs for 18 years. This is the first time I have problem.

But as the time passed day by day I realise that liquid leak is a COMMON PROBLEM for some Macs.

Is ther any way to make Apple fix my mac, for free?
Apr. 28, 2007
Todd Madson
Hi. In June of 2006 I bought a G5 2.5 dual from a local
dealer who was selling their display model at a good price
with three years of applecare included.
In February of 2007 the left shift key on the keyboard
died – no problem, Apple replaced the keyboard and that
was a quick turnaround. Great!
In March of 2007 I came home from my IT job to find the
machine was seemingly off and would not boot. Long story
short, the cooling system had leaked into the case and
both processors burned up due to heat, the power supply
had died due to the stress and the motherboard and cooling
unit (and the fascia in the front that says G5) was also
replaced. Applecare was well worth it I think. After
that, just in case, I upped my surge supression to a
heavy duty isobar type.
I am beginning to think this computer is a problem – I
came home from work to find the computer hung. I then
rebooted the machine and found that despite having
2.5 gigs installed (the original two 256 meg sticks
and four sticks of 512 mb Corsair Values Select)
that the machine reports 1 gigabyte only.
It took a while to get it to boot – the light on the
front panel kept flashing white off, white off, pause
and repeat – I reseated the ram at that point.
Checking system profiler, it claims that there is
four 256 meg sticks installed!
It says:
J11 empty
J11 empty
J13 256 megs of pc3200u-30330
J14 256 megs of pc3200u-30330
J41 256 megs of pc3200u-30330
J42 256 megs of pc3200u-30330
J43 empty
J44 empty
But this is how the ram is actually installed:
Bank A
slot 256
slot 512
slot 512
Bank B
slot 256
slot 512
slot 512
This is the configuration. So the bottom two slots
are apparently not even being read and the other slots
are only reading half of the available memory.
I moved ram around to make sure that the “dead”
sticks were actually still operating and they are.
This is definetely a conundrum – I’m going to be
calling Applecare again today but it appears it
might be memory controller related or maybe the
motherboard has issues, I’m not sure.
Any ideas would be appreciated.
May. 25, 2007
MacInTouch Reader
Yes, power mac G5 dual 2.5GHz sprang a leak yesterday and totally fried the processor and power supply. There is a queue for replacement processor units, which suggests to me that this is a widespread problem,
May. 29, 2007
Rich Cruse
I cannot find any info about if my G5 Quad is liquid cooled. I think it is and I am stumped about how to clean/inspect the processor assembly. It seems locked up like Fort Knox. I found info for other G5s as far as disassembly but nothing for the G5 Quad. I want to keep the insides free from dust, but I cannot find a way to safely access the processor compartment to inspect and clean- to keep temperatures down. Also, “if” I do have liquid cooling, what are the maintenance recommendations? I saw a photo of a unit that has rubber hoses attached. Anyone who has a car knows that radiator hoses degrade over time. They may leak and will need replacement. I would hate for my machine to be ruined because of a failure in a piece of rubber hose!
Yes, I have AppleCare! 🙂
Gordon Ice
My Dual 2.5 GHz Power Mac G5 quit the other day. Just shut off and wouldn’t restart. I checked the forums and noted that there have been some power supply issues. After cracking open the case tho, I found evidence of some kind of a leak (dried white residue which looks very much like corrosion). Took it into the Apple store and it lloks like the repair could be as high as $2000.
The machine is 24 months old (almost to the day!) and I did not have Apple Care. Still, a component failure that cascades into a catestrophic failure of the whole machine indicates a serious design flaw. Has anyone else sought and received any kind of consideration from Apple on this? I’d be very interested to see how many problems there have been with these machines.
May. 30, 2007
Rich Cruse
I figured out how to open and inspect the processor cooling system on my G5 Quad and once inside, I was impressed and bewildered. Impressed at the engineering that went into this machine and bewildered as to why they chose to use a liquid cooling solution. Liquid and electronics do not mix.
There was a small plastic pin that is like a rivet used as a locking device on the processor cover. There is a smaller expansion pin that is pushed into the center of the plastic pin to lock the cover in place. I was able to remove it with some finessing, then slide the cover to one side and off.
There is literally a radiator on one side and rubber hoses running into it. The good news is that there was no dust at all inside the processor compartment and no sign of leakage. Interestingly, there appears to be a drip pad at the bottom of the compartment. It is a black pad that could be for insulation or noise reduction, but it could also be used to catch any small leaks that may occur. It also appears that unless there was a catastrophic failure which caused coolant to spray, the processor cooling area is separate from the rest of the computer and because it is on the bottom, any liquid would drip down and away from the rest of the components.
So now I feel better knowing I can inspect the processor cooling area and that it does not seem to accumulate dust like other areas of the computer. The radiator grill does see a bit of dust build up- but on my computer, the dust stays out of the processor cooling area. I can see why Apple decided to move towards Intel. Chips that run so hot they need a radiator the size I found in my computer is not the ideal solution.
As mentioned before, dust is a major enemy of these machines. I highly recommend keeping the machine on the desk and off the floor- especially if you have pets. One of my friends has two dogs and his G4 Tower was covered with dog hair inside when we opened it up- it was kept on the floor, inspect and clean every 3 months. A clean machine is a smooth running machine- dust acts as an insulator and can wreak havoc with your cooling system and temperature gauges.
I must say, it is an engineering marvel and works great! Knock on wood! Yes, I too have AppleCare, but only a year and a half left!
As a side-note, I have noticed memory prices have come down almost 33%! Scoop it up before they run out!
Scott Travis
If [Gordon Ice] purchased his machine with a credit card that doubles the Apple warranty then he would be covered. Contact the credit card company immediately.
MacInTouch Reader
Two tips:
1) If you bought the computer with a credit card, the card company might have a program that doubles the manufacturers warranty. Check this out. This saved me once on a Visa purchase.
2) Apple might fix the computer even though it’s out of warranty because the coolant leaks are a “known issue”. I was given this advice by an Apple tech and called Apple about it. The person I talked to sounded doubtful but eventually asked me to send in photos of the coolant leak damage (it had gotten all over the motherboard and various components). Three weeks later I got a message to take the computer in for warranty repair (computer was 1.5 yrs. old).
May. 31, 2007
MacInTouch Reader
Regarding the doubling of Apple’s warranty coverage if the computer is purchased on a credit card: what about the case of the iMac G5 revA models, whose manufacturer warranty was doubled by Apple after so many machines had blown capacitors and faulty power supplies? Does this mean that the credit card company will honor the extended warranty and cover the machine for 4 years?
Jun. 1, 2007
Pat Ward
Double the warranty to four years? You ought to know better! “Doubling” in this case means doubling the original manufacturers warranty (one year) to two years. Other restrictions apply, too. You can’t double anything over one year. But there’s no additional cost to you for the extra year and the service (for me) is excellent. It saved me over $3000. You need to read your individual card’s policy.
Jun. 4, 2007
Peter Marshall
“It is a black pad that could be for insulation or noise reduction, but it could also be used to catch any small leaks that may occur. It also appears that unless there was a catastrophic failure which caused coolant to spray, the processor cooling area is separate from the rest of the computer and because it is on the bottom, any liquid would drip down and away from the rest of the components.”
It is indeed an “absorbant pad”, part number 922-6551 Pad, Absorbent, Power Supply Cover. However it doesn’t work, the two I’ve had leak have both blown the PSU and one took out the logic board too. So that’s an £800 and a £400 repair (at AASP prices!).
Crap design….
Jun. 5, 2007
Rich Cruse
Regarding the small absorbent pad in the processor compartment and possible coolant leaks: I am wondering if placing a larger, thicker pad, household sponge or even a plastic drip tray would help. The key to avoid excessive damage appears to be a combination of early detection and effective isolation of any leaking coolant. I am most curious to hear from any of those affected what the symptoms were and if they had any odd behaviors in the machine leading up to the failure. This knowledge would be helpful to other G5 tower owners and if caught early, could help them avoid a costly melt down.
Other than that, I would hope Apple would post info on an approved way to inspect and maintain liquid cooled G5 towers. A maintainence schedule would be perfect. One would think there should be visual inspection every six months and a thorough examination by an Apple Service Tech every year for the life of the computer.
My AppleCare has a year and half to go. I wish I could purchase extended care for this machine. It works so well! I could not be happier, well I would have liked more room for extra drives and an extra DVD burner, but the cooling system took up all the space! I guess that is a good reason to buy a Mac Pro. I have some Classic apps I still need to run, so for now I am happy.
Jun. 10, 2007
Sheri N
We just had one die Tuesday (dual 2.3 GHz, May 2005). Coolant is leaking out the rear right, by the power plug. Powers on, but no video and full fans. We’re certain the board+proccessors are fried.
You can see the crusted coolant inside with a flashlight. It’s been leaking a while, but since it’s in a comm closet, we didn’t know. The closet is temperature controlled, so no burden on any equipment in there.
Of course, it was the one out of 10 G5s we ordered that got missed on AppleCare. Apple basically said “sorry for your loss.”
Maybe I’ll call Apple customer relations on Monday to see if I can press the issue further. This looks more like a known defect that they’re trying to sweep under the rug, than an occasional problem!
Jun. 15, 2007
Sheri N
Lightning does strike twice. We had another G5 (dual 2.3 GHz, May 2005) acting strange yesterday (Quicktime movie freezing up, cannot shut down/restart via Apple Remote Desktop), so we went to the comm closet to check it (another pampered G5 in a cooled, dust free environment).
This one’s leak is a bit different ” slow enough that the coolant has been crystallizing and drying very quickly, over a longer period of time.
Think we’ve caught it before anything has fried…just heating up enough to cause a “kernel[0]: Graphics chip error! Restarted” in the system.log. The processors are probably overheating, sending up more heat than usual by the video card.
Apple should have issued an official recall on these. This is crazy. =\
Jun. 16, 2007
MacInTouch Reader
My G5 wasn’t starting up this morning so I opened the case to reset the SMU. When I closed the case, I found liquid in the rear left.

I’ve been using Mac since IIci and never had any hardware failure like this so I didn’t get Apple Care. It’s been only 2 years since I got this G5 and a $2000+ computer is fried? This is not acceptable.

Apple should definitely issue a recall, as more and more people are going to have their G5 fried.
Jun. 18, 2007
MacInTouch Reader
My Dual G5 (dating from early 2005) started behaving very oddly 8 weeks ago (froze up, would stop in the middle of booting). Since it was under Applecare, they picked it up. However, the repair was very slow: they said they were replacing components continuously and still waiting for new ones. When I finally got through to the manager, he said the machine had been leaking and it probably couldn’t be fixed. Now I’ve got an offer to replace it.
Jun. 19, 2007
Rich Cruse
I Googled G5 Coolant leaks and this was the second page to show up- on Apple’s web site. Here they clearly acknowledge that coolant “may” leak.
Jun. 20, 2007
Dave R
I don’t think the 2.3 G5s are liquid cooled – I believe only the 2.5 and 2.7 versions were liquid cooled.
Charles Whalley
Mine went in for repair a week ago, green liquid leaking out and a fried PSU.
The Apple Service Centre swear blind it does not have liquid cooling – It’s a dual 2.5Ghz G5.
Does anyone know where I can find out.
The good news is they quoted me £167 to repair it – but am worried that it will be retunred and have even bigger problems.
Will Loving
I had an issue with my 2-1/2 year old G5 DP 2.5Ghz tower that was originally suspected to be a problem with the cooling system even though there was no evidence of leakage. The machine would occasionally freeze up and refuse to boot after a forced restart. The first few times this happened Apple TS recommended resetting the PMMU, which did in fact allow it to restart again. After three or four incidents like this spaced weeks apart, the day finally came when it refused to reboot no matter what was done.
Apple hardware test disk DID boot (with fans blowing hard) but immediately reported a processor failure. Further tests at my local Apple dealer (Yes Computers in Northampton, MA) confirmed that one of the two processors was running hot. No apparent leak, just a hot processor. The recommended fix was a replacement of the processor and cooling assembly, which would have been $800+ had I not had AppleCare.
For those who may be facing a replacement of this part, be aware that the processor assembly took over two weeks to arrive. Apple kept listing an expected ship date and then it wouldn’t ship. Then, when we called, a new ship date would be listed which would again be missed. Finally, I made it clear to Apple’s Customer Service that I wanted the part or a new machine within three days because I had to get back to work. Amazingly the new assembly finally arrived on the third day and my machine is working fine right now.
I’ve been told that my experience is par for the course in terms of getting parts on any machine that is older than a year or so. The older the machine, the harder the parts are to get and delays like I experienced are fairly common.
Comment on Coolant Leaks
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Copyright 2007 by MacInTouch, Inc. All rights reserved.

You aren’t the first to have this problem: coolant leak taking out the CPU, logic board, and power supply. You have to question whether this is a design fault?

Mac Coolant Leak (video)

If you can’t get Apple to fix it, at a cost of $2200 it would seem to me better to spend the $2200 on a new computer, $2200 is the cost of the cheapest Mac Pro.

That sucks and should never have happened. $2200 is 200 bucks short of what it would take to get a new one, so that’s insane.

You gotta admit though, they made the colour of the toxic goo just right.

All I got was “didn’t you back anything up.”

The .mac site is full of corporate blurb with unnecessary jargon and no clear explanations although it looks clean and clinical with lots of smiling faces which PISSES ME OFF!

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