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Friday, August 29, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 46, Open Forum



This week's Q&A is just a little different, because I'm actually on a business trip and therefore was unable to shoot it on Thursday morning the day before it posts, like usual. However, I received so many good questions last week that I was able to double-up and shoot two in one week, allowing me to post this one today even though I'm not around! So forgive me if I'm a little behind on replying to comments, but know that I'll be back soon. Until then, enjoy this week's episode!

1) Jacob W.- Facebook (2:40):
I know you can increase flow of an ink by widening the channel on the feed, but is there a way to reduce ink flow in a feed?
  • there is, sometimes
  • it’s a little tricky
  • bending the tines closer together does it
  • can use a drier ink (Pelikan 4001) 

2) Derick S.- Facebook (5:04):
Hello Brian! I have a Noodler's Konrad pen in acrylic Mariana's blue. For some reason I dont feel the nib as flexy as some say it is. Do Noodler's make normal nail nibs or are they all semi flex? Also, do you know if the new music flex nib of the Naponset will be available to purchase separetely? Thank you for all the hard work and the videos!
  • All the Noodler’s Ahab and Konrad flex nibs are identical
  • they do make a non-flex nib, but they are only sold off the pens
  • highly highly doubt the music nib will be available separately!

3) Scott R.- Facebook (8:03):
Can you recommend a good "starter" vintage fountain pen to look for? Any tips for vintage newbies? Also, is there a vintage pen you'd bring back into production if you could?
  • Oh gosh, really not my wheelhouse
  • Esterbrooks are probably best, that or Parker 51/21
  • Would bring back some of the flex nibs from early 1900’s, or Parker 51
  • love the Sheaffer snorkel, but wouldn’t want to repair them! 

4) Allen V.- Facebook (11:08):
Did you see anything at the DC Pen Show that you don't carry and hadn't really thought about before that made you think "That would really be cool for us to carry?" I'll be at SF Pen Show this weekend but will carve out some time to watch Q&A. Thanks.
  • huge vintage showing at DC
  • not a lot of new products there we don’t carry
  • inkwells, pen cases, maybe 

5) Stephen K.- Facebook (13:55):
What do you think about carrying Conklin fountain pens? I bought a herringbone model with a 1.1 nib at the D C Show and it has become one of my favorite pens. The feel, balance and appearance are all top notch. And it writes beautifully too.
  • can order Conklin
  • Herringbone is nice, esp. new design
  • just haven’t had a lot of people asking us about it 

6) Peter M.- Facebook (15:31):
Do you guys sketch / doodle with fountain pens? Or do you use other types of pens.
  • We have a couple of artists on our team
  • I personally don’t doodle much
  • Doodlers here love flex nib pens, Ahab, Konrad, Falcon 

7) Gabriel F.- Facebook (17:01):
I have carried my Noodler's Ahab daily now for over a year. How can I clean and polish the outside so that it looks new.? It isn't treated rough by any means, but rides around in a pen case with others and like I said, is a daily carry. Thanks.
  • this resin is somewhat soft
  • tradeoff between glossy look and durability/crack resistance
  • can buff/polish with polishing compound, micro mesh, jeweler’s cloth
  • will scuff again, quickly 

8) PJ S.- Facebook (19:51):
Is there any way to prevent nib creep with Noodler's ink on a Lamy nib? I've had two different pens with two different inks and both be creeping'.
  • you can dilute the ink, the water will cut down the lube which is likely a culprit
  • otherwise, no, not really
  • embrace it :)  

9) Pavel V.- Facebook (22:41):
Hi Brian, Is it possible to fit a longer cartidge into J.Herbin rollerball? Or do you have some other tips to put some more ink in there?I mean more than small cartridge. 
  • too short to fit an SSL cartridge
  • won’t even fit a converter, except Monteverde Mini which has less ink capacity than the cartridge
  • Possibly eyedropper? 

10) Elaine M.- Facebook (25:13):
Which pen would you recommend for a newbie? I like thin lines.

11) Mate F.- Facebook (26:00):
I love your Triomphe paper, but how do I get it into a notebook?
  • you can’t at least with anything I know!
  • closest thing would be regular Clairefontaine paper 

12) George A.- Facebook (27:09):
How does one take the nib off of a Jinhao 250? I know you dont carry them but I would like to replace the nib with a Goulet nib but have so far been unable to take it off.
  • no personal experience with the Jinhao 250, but appears to be a different nib than the Goulet nib
  • I can’t say if the nib does come out (I’m inclined to say it should), or what nib it takes, but appears to be something kind of unique unlike the x450/750/159 I carry

13) Sharjeel T.- Facebook (28:06):
What is Brians and Rachel's holy grail pens?
  • rachel’s is Nakaya, loves Raden/abalone
  • me, my grail pen is always the next one I’m looking to acquire :) 
  • I don’t have one holy grail pen, it’s more of an ongoing pursuit to learn and use just the next one I’m getting

14) Kathy B.- Facebook (30:40):
What I do – sketch in pencil, then add ink lines, erase pencil lines, add watercolor.

1. A nib that will give varied line widths.
2. Ink that dries fast, won’t smear later when painting over it, is lightfast, comes in a black-black and perhaps a sepia and dark blue.
3. Paper thick enough for no bleed through from any media, handles erasing without damage to the paper, handles ink well (minimal feathering, ink dries fast), and of course – works well with puddles of water for minimal buckling. THANK YOU - love love your website, blog and fabulous videos!


15) Kathy B.- Facebook (35:03):
An art class requires "india ink" - what could I buy a Goulet Pens that would meet that requirement?
  • true India ink isn’t suitable for use in fountain pens
  • Platinum Carbon Black is a dynamite alternative

Thank you once again to everyone who asked me questions this week. Be sure to check here for any old Q&A's you might have missed. Have a great week!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Breaking Down the Platinum Cool/Balance



When shooting my video on the Goulet Grip last week, I finally 'figured out' the best way to break down the Platinum Cool/Balance, all the way to the nib and feed. It's definitely not like most other pens! So I broke it out in a little more detail in this video.

I'd initially done a series of videos on the Platinum Cool when the pen first came out in 2013, but for whatever reason I hadn't really figured out how to break down the whole pen. But I figure it's better late than never, so here's how to do it if you're curious.

You'll notice that I threw the Platinum Balance in the title, as well. That's because the Balance and the Cool are designed identically, it's just the body and trim color that are different. The breakdown is still the same for both pens.


You can learn more details and specifications on the Platinum Cool and Balance at GouletPens.com.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Matchup #11: Monteverde Jewelria in Brown with stub nib and Stipula Sepia

Fall is just around the corner (and, we’re really excited here!) and today’s Monday Matchup is the perfect combo to start you off of the right foot for a new season. We’ve paired the brown Monteverde Jewelria with stub nib and Stipula Sepia ink. The golden browns that these two pour out are sure to get you excited for leaves changing and cooler weather. The Jewelria feels nice and light in the hand, plus, with the stub nib, you’ll get a smooth and diverse writing experience. Put the Stipula Sepia ink in there and you’ll be oohing and ahhing for days at the shading and luscious tones.

Joe O. created some lettering and fonts to show you what the ink is capable of. Alex R. used the combo to create writing samples so you can see how the two really work together.


What’s your fall matchup? What do you think of this week’s match? Tell us about it! Hope y’all have a fabulous Monday.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 45, Open Forum



This week is another Open Forum Q&A. I keep getting questions from you so I keep showing up :) Enjoy!


1) Luke B.- Facebook (2:11):
Dear Mr. Goulet My name is Luke and I have been engaged to my fiance Penny for nearly four years now. she has been going through some very hard times lately and is feeling really low about graduating college and not yet getting the job she has always wanted (Art Historian) she is an avid collector of fountain pens and a religious watcher of your Q and A and I was wondering if you would give her a shout-out in your show? 
  • Hi Penny, you are a very lucky lady because you have a man that cares for you enough to ask me to help you out
  • We all have our ups and downs sometimes, and you have a lifetime of opportunity ahead of you
  • when I graduated, I didn’t use my degree but washed houses with my dad, considered being an electrician, carpenter, and then started turning pens in a flopped business before discovering fountain pens
  • it’s okay you don’t have it all figured out yet
  • Luke here is going to marry you and be there in good times and bad, for richer or poorer, and he will be there to see you through

2) Peter C.- Facebook (4:44):
What are the functions of the comb-shaped thing behind the feed? Are they supposed to have ink drops in between those fins? That is what's happened with my newly acquired Pelikan M215. I have never seen anything like that with other pens that I have. Ink drops can be seen from the side, but otherwise the pen works normally and writes like a dream. Is my pen leaking or is that actually a normal behaviour? Thanks.
  • different feeds have different designs
  • but yes, that ink is there on purpose, to help regulate the ink flow
3) Kathy B.- Facebook (7:11):
How should I store my bottles of ink? Right now they're in individual zip lock bags, stored in the kitchen cupboard (too obsessive?). The bottles/colors are often so beautiful I'd love to store them on a window ledge and let the light shine through!
  • Out of direct sunlight!
  • you want to keep them away from air and sunlight 

4) Valerie L.- Facebook (9:40):
Will Rachel Goulet ever make a video instead of Brian? Will Goulet make an extra extra fine version of their #6 nib?
  • Rachel is really tied up running the daily operations of the business
  • she has done one solo video, I won’t tell you which (Goulet loyalists can comment as to which it is)
  • we’ve done a lot of videos together
  • I am more the ‘face man’, she doesn’t like being on camera as much as me
  • no Goulet EEF, Jowo doesn’t make it and we’d have to custom grind it to make it happen, which would cost a small fortune


5) @dpawson- Twitter (12:26):

What have you learned about fountain pens writing very upright, vs nearly laid flat?
  • upright most pens write drier, scratchier
  • laid flat, they write wetter/broader
  • ideal angle is 45 degrees 


6) @victstew- Twitter (14:10):

Exactly what is a "music" nib?
  • shoutout to George who I met in DC (shoutout to his sister Katherine who is apparently my biggest fan) 
  • started sometime before the 1920’s, that’s when it started to be publicly advertised by Waterman
  • similar to a stub nib, but ground to be smooth-edged all around the nib, specifically to be written with in a steeply upright position
  • think of writing on a music stand, vertically
  • line variation like a stub
  • originally meant to be very wet flow, and springy/flexy tines to give line variation
  • only Music nibs I personally have experience with is Sailor and Platinum
    • Sailor isn’t really anything but a stub
    • Platinum is more like a true music nib, but isn’t really flexible much
    • Noodler’s Neponset is closer to what the older music nibs originally were, but I still haven’t seen one yet for myself

7) Jacob W.- Facebook (20:32):
I found that American Fountain pens are often overlooked when talking about "quality" pens. Most collectors only talk about European pens such as the Pelikan Souveran series or Asian pens such as the Pilot Custom series. I was wondering what American made pen you thought could compete with these higher end pens, and why these companies often go unnoticed/less discussed. Thanks!
  • there really aren’t a lot of American made fountain pens, that’s why you don’t hear them talked about
  • Edison (German nibs)
  • Bexley (German nibs)
  • Franklin Christoph (German nibs)
  • Gate City (Binder’s brand)
  • smaller independent makers
  • Noodler’s, American parts but much is made in India 

8) Bianca N.- Facebook (23:49):
What is the recommended cleaning for pens that have had Iron Gall ink in them? I've heard vinegar...I have a lamy that I had document ink in and even thought I've flushed it the nib is now really fussy. The convertor has been dyed as well. Any advice would be awesome!
  • FPN helped me out here
  • vinegar solution is good to start, 1 part white vinegar to 10 parts water, flush with water after
  • go to an ammonia-based cleaner (like Goulet Pen Flush) if more aggressive cleaning is needed
  • most modern iron gall formulations don’t require much special care, like Rohrer and Klingner 
  • Diamine Registrar’s is probably the strongest of what I know, needs more maintenance 

9) Yan T.- Facebook (26:37):
After flushing the pen, is it ok to fill it up with ink immediately or do I have to wait for the nip and conventer to dry up first? And any good recommendation for ballpoint pen/ roller pen that can be refill using fountain pen ink?


10) Scott R.- Facebook (30:45):

Perhaps worthy of a Q&A comment: In this video of George W. Bush taking the ALS Challenge, we can plainly see the former president writing with a Pilot Varsity fountain pen in blue. I never voted for the guy, but I endorse his choice of writing instruments!
  • I just did ALS Ice Bucket challenge, it was fun
  • donated and did the ice bucket
  • saw GW’s challenge to Clinton, as of when I’m shooting this, hasn’t responded yet
  • it’s totally a bandwagon thing, and I’ve never been much for peer pressure
  • the cause is good (unlike a fad like Harlem Shake last year) and I thought it’d be motivational for my team/fans to see me get doused
  • pretty neat that GW is using a FP, but you’d think he’d have something fancier than a Varsity! 
  • honestly though, I included it in my FP’s for newbies video for a reason, it’s a solid writing pen
  • maybe GW is a FP newbie! ;) 

11) Flavio A.- Facebook (32:41):
Does the Rhodia Dotpad have the same kind of paper as other Rhodia pads, like the Premium (not considering the color and the dots, of course). I have both mentioned, and the Dotpad paper seems to be clearly inferior.
  • nope, should be the same
  • that’s interesting that you’re having a different experience
  • shoot me an email to follow up on that 

12) Alan L.- Facebook (34:05):
Any word on this years limited Vanishing Point?
  • it’s usually end of summer that it comes out or is at least announced, we should expect to hear something sometime relatively soon
  • don’t think it’ll launch until later in the year
  • I do know what it will be, but can’t say what it is! 

13) 林理谙- Facebook (35:25):
Common causes of inconsistent flow? Besides stuff between the tines.
  • the pen might need to be cleaned
  • tines too close together
  • scratches/damage in the nib slit
  • improperly aligned tines
  • paper fibers in the tines
  • ink has started to dry up in the pen 

14) 林理谙- Facebook (39:36):

Is it possible to remove the nib of a Platinum Preppy from the feed?
  • theoretically, sure
  • I haven’t been able to do it
  • seems to be like a Lamy nib, but is really on there good
  • I don’t see much need to do it

Thanks to everyone who asked me questions this week! Next week will be a little different, I will be out of town so I am actually doubling-up on shooting Q&A this week. So I don't need questions for next week, but if you'd like to post for the following week, knock yourself out! Be sure to check here for any old Q&A's you might have missed. Have a great week!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Goulet Grip Tutorial



The Goulet Grip is the handiest 1"x3" slip of rubber that you'll ever come across, perfect for removing those tough-to-grip pen parts such as nibs and feeds. This simple tool helps you get every part of your pen disassembled for cleaning or repair. It's also great for you tinkerers who want to know your pens inside and out!

****DISCLAIMER: any time you take apart your pens you are doing so at your own risk. Any damage you cause to your pens taking them apart or reassembling is outside of just about all manufacturers' warranty policies, so make sure you're careful and well-studied before attempting to do any pen repair or disassembly yourself!****

So why would you want to remove your nib/feed anyway? You certainly don’t have to, but there may be some reasons you want to:
  • Swapping nibs like on the Lamy, Edison, or Monteverde pens where nibs are sold apart from the pens
  • Cleaning/restoration, especially if you have old caked-up ink that acts like glue in your feed and want to really clean it thoroughly
  • Repair/replacement, heaven forbid you damage your nib and need to put in a new one

I made this video to be an instruction on using the Goulet Grip on a variety of pens, and I wanted to include some of the ones that I personally have found the most helpful using the assistance of the Goulet Grip. this should be a great resource for you to remove the nib from the following pens, Grip or no Grip:


  • Why you would want to remove your nib (0:19)
  • Lamy Safari (2:25)
  • Noodler’s Ahab (2:34)
  • Monteverde Invincia Deluxe (3:01)
  • Jinhao X750 (3:36)
  • Pilot Falcon (3:54)
  • Sheaffer 300 (4:33)
  • Edison Nouveau Premiere (5:34)
  • Platinum Cool (Balance) (5:49)
  • TWSBI 580 (6:29)
  • Pilot Vanishing Point nib unit (6:53)

At $1.95, the Goulet Grip is a pretty nifty little tool that should make it easier for you to tinker around with your fountain pens. Pick one up by itself or in the Goulet Nib Tuning set. If you have any questions about how to use it, just let me know in the comments below!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Brian Goulet Accepts the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge



If you haven’t heard about it yet, a new phenomenon has hit the social media circuit fondly known as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. This challenge involves people getting doused with buckets of ice water on video, sharing it on social media, and then nominating others to do the same. If you refuse to take the challenge, you’re asked to make a donation to the ALS charity of your choice (or, you can do both!). All of this was created in an effort to raise ALS awareness.

Rebekah, Brian’s sister-in-law, nominated him to participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge just yesterday. She just knew the fountain pen community would love it. He accepted the challenge and now nominates: 1) Brian Gray of the Edison Pen Company, 2) Stephen Brown, the YouTube sensation, and 3) Brad Dowdy of The Pen Addict. You have 24 hours to get drenched or donate (or both)! Who will you challenge? Good luck!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Matchup #10: Sheaffer 300 Metallic Grey and Pilot Iroshizuku Kiri-same

It’s dull and grey here this morning, so today’s Monday Matchup fits the bill! We’ve coupled the classical Sheaffer 300 in Metallic Grey fountain pen with Pilot Iroshizuku Kiri-same fountain pen ink. These two were made for each other. This is a sturdy and reliable duo that is bound to dazzle and impress your peers.

Joe O., using the Kiri-same ink and some correction fluid, created the drawing below. He was inspired by a study done by his favorite portrait artist, Ann Gale.

You’ll also notice we’ve included some writing samples. We’ve decided to incorporate these with our Monday Matchups so you can get an idea of how the pen truly writes and operates with the ink. Alex used the Sheaffer 300 with Medium nib to create this written portion.


What do you think of this week’s matchup? What do you currently have matched? Let us know! Happy Monday, folks.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Goulet Q&A Episode 44, Open Forum



This week is another Open Forum Q&A, so just random questions about pens, ink, and paper. Enjoy!

1) Jenee L.- Facebook (5:36):
How does rose gold nib compare to a gold and a steel nib? Or is there no difference and it's all purely for aesthetics?

2) Mary B.- Facebook (6:48):
Head to head comparison between Platinum "Nice" and rose-gold TWSBI, same ink, same paper, same nib size...? Please?
  • I know you’ve been dying to see this!
  • unfortunately I won’t be able to ink both up for this video
  • TWSBI rose gold is nearly 1/4 of the price, that can’t be ignored
  • TWSBI has greater ink capacity, weighs a LOT more
  • Nibs feel somewhat similar, Platinum grinds their nibs finer, but they’re stiff and a bit toothy 
  • texture of the pens are very different
  • both are very attractive pens
  • Platinum will seal better over the long haul, less pen maintenance

3) Ravena J.- Facebook (12:28):
Just wondering if after the DC Fountain Pen show if GouletPens is any closer to carrying Write Notepads & Co.?
  • didn’t see them in DC
  • we’ve reached out to them, they told us their paper isn’t ideal for fountain pens, but they might be changing that
  • others have told us the paper is actually okay
  • we may reach back out to them
  • we’ll see 

4) Jeff A.- Facebook (13:48):
Brian, do you know of any way to prevent the Noodler's Nib Creaper Rollerball from burping ink on the page randomly?
  • make sure to dab the ink away after filling, it ‘hangs out’ in the filler hole
  • Keep the ink level high
  • expel extra air out of the ink chamber
  • air is heating up in your hand, causing it to expand and push the ink out 

5) Sean K.- Facebook (17:09):
What do you think of the very high-priced fountain pens? Are they worth the money, or are you really just paying for the name? What's the best way to approach significant purchases like that, and what should we look for, or avoid?
  • it depends!
  • law of diminishing returns
  • often it’s the name, but certain features like gold nibs and the use of certain materials justifiably increase price immediately
  • avoid marketing fluff, stick to the actual features of the pen
  • look for comparable pens in similar price ranges
  • read reviews of them, from blogs and on retailers’ sites where people talk about owning them 

6) Edgar H.- Facebook (23:21):
Can you suggest some nice fountain pens between $50-$100 with stub nib option?


7) Carlos Q.- Facebook (26:12):
Hello Brian!! Do you have a top three mini/portable pens? I have the Pilot Prera, the TWSBI Mini and the Kaweco Sport (eyedropper) I love them all... So I was wondering if you (or somebody in your workshop) have a top 3 mini/portable fountain pens.


8) Flavio A.- Facebook (27:56):
Can you recommend nice looking clear demonstrators that can be converted to eyedropper filling? I don't understand why manufacturers make beautiful demonstrators (such as the Monteverde Artista Crystal and the Platinum Cool, both of which have even translucid feeds) that are not meant to be converted.

9) Rick B.- Facebook (29:48):
What's the darkest, as in monolithic, non reflective, light canceling black ink you've seen? I like Noodler's X-Feather but was wondering if you've discovered anything even better.

10) Richard B.- Facebook (30:44):
Does the reformulated J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite really have the gold flakes removed? Speaking of which, do you have an idea of when you'll get the new 1670 stormy grey?
  • no, the reformulation actually has more gold in it
  • there have been 3 formulations (that I know) so far
    • first was REALLY gold
    • second was much weaker, little gold at all
    • latest (current) has more gold, but is different than the first two so it should still work well, but sheen
  • paper really changes the properties a lot 


11) Angus D- email (34:42):
Why don't Goulet Pens and the other U.S.-based retailers from whom I've purchased pens fill out the warranty card that some manufacturers (Pilot, Platinum etc) include with the pen?  Obviously you are an authorized retailer and I understand that the pen doesn't have any less of a warranty simply because the card is empty, I was just wondering why they even include the cards if it isn't required for after-sales service.  Contrast this with my experience shopping at a pen shop in Seoul, Korea over the summer where they diligently filled out the card for each pen I bought.  Are the cards used in other markets but not the U.S. for some reason?  And would it be too time-consuming for the cards to be filled out?
  • more an issue for B&M than online retailers
  • online there is a record of every purchase already
  • B&M you could walk up off the street, pay cash, and be anonymous
  • we’ve never been instructed by any of our manufacturers on strict guidelines for filling out any sort of warranty cards
  • many manufacturers don’t even have warranty cards
  • could be a cultural thing, too, different distributors in different parts of the world may have their own rules
12) Chad C.- Facebook (39:20):
I recently purchased a new nib from Goulet for my TWSBI 580. I noticed that it was writing very scratchy and upon inspecting the tines, discovered that tines were misaligned. Instead of contacting Team Goulet or TWSBI about the issue like I should have, I grabbed a pair of needle nose pliers and "very very gently" was able to realign the tines and now the nib works like a dream. Even though my repair issue was minor, I found that I enjoyed tweaking my own nibs (not like it sounds.) Can you recommend or know where I might be able to find basic, but proper tools for adjusting nibs. Thank You.
  • no pliers!!!!
  • all you need is your fingernails
  • Drew and I actually attended Binder’s nib smoothing workshop at the DC pen show
  • some different approaches than what Drew and I have done, but nothing fundamentally changed
  • tine alignment you just use fingernails
  • smoothing is different, then you need micro mesh/mylar
  • Check out Goulet Loupe Tutorial video for tine alignment
  • Check out Goulet Micromesh video
  • Check out Goulet Mylar video

13) Jennifer B.- Facebook (41:42):
I'm thinking of buying my son a pelikano jr for his 8th birthday. Is he younger than the target age? He's a lefty, so I'd also love to know about quick-drying inks that are ideal for southpaws.
  • Not too young, he’s right around the right age
  • I wouldn’t worry too much about the ink at first, that’s a honing/toning thing
  • stick with slightly more absorbent paper at first, use whatever ink you have
  • Noodler’s Bernanke inks, PR Fast-Dry
  • Try just conventional non-permanent ink first before buying something special 

14) Andre A.- Facebook (43:48):
I caught a (tiny) glimpse of your pen collection in the video about pen storage. Any chance you can show us your full blown collection? I'll send you a cheeseburger. I promise.
  • there’s a lot! 
  • prepare to have your mind blown 

Next week's Q&A will be another Open Forum, so ask whatever you want down in the comments below. Be sure to check out any old Q&A's you've missed here, and have a wonderful rest of the week!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

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