Category Archive for 'Google'

OBi Will Stop Working Tomorrow; VestaLink Prices Going Up Tonight

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Update: VestaLink prices are scheduled to go up tonight at 11:59pm PDT (2:59am EDT).

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As I reported back in November, Google is turning off support for the OBi tomorrow.

Today I took advantage of a free trial from VestaLink.

Thanks to very clear directions and OBi setup tool within a few minutes I had my OBi switched over to their service and got a new number.  I then had Google Voice forward calls made to Google Voice number to the new VestaLink number.  I verified the Google Voice number by answering the call in Gmail and entering the 2 digit verification code using the Gmail dialer pad.

Then I setup VestaLink to spoof my Google Voice number on outbound calls so that when I call people it will still show the Google Voice number.

You can also port your Google Voice number to VestaLink for free, though I just left mine with Google Voice.

Call quality seems very good and it can support fax and E911 as well.

Caller ID shows up just like on a regular landline!

Calls to the US and Canada are free with any plan, no long distance fees are charged. Here is a spreadsheet for rates to other countries.

There is also a free smartphone app you can use for calls over data or WiFi though I am having some audio issues getting it to work on my GS4, so try that out first if that’s a deal-breaker for you.

Other features include: Voicemail Transcription with SMS and email notifications, Ring up to 6 phone numbers and 10 VoIP devices simultaneously, Call Blocking, Call Forwarding, Call Waiting, Call Detail Records, Caller ID w/ Name, Ring Scheduling, Fax to Email, and Web Faxing.

Now here’s the rub, their rates are supposed to go up by 20% tomorrow.  The trial gives 60 free minutes, so try it now and see if you like it.  If you do, you’ll want to upgrade to a paid plan now before the rates go up.  Currently a plan with 500 minutes of monthly talk time is $29.99 for 1 year ($2.49/month) or $49.99 for 2 years ($2.08/month). A plan with 2,000 minutes of monthly talk time is $49.99 for 1 year ($4.17/month) or $74.99 for 2 years ($3.12/month). A plan with unlimited monthly talk time is $59.99 for 1 year ($4.99/month) or $89.99 for 2 years ($3.75/month).

All plans have a 30 day money-back guarantee.

Are you switching to VestaLink? Find another easy solution? Will you just give up your OBi completely? Hit the comments!

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Google’s Incredible Shopping Express Service Expands To LA And Manhattan; Get $10 Off Your First Delivery

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Google Shopping Express Linky

Google Shopping Express has been operating in Northern California but is now expanding to LA and Manhattan with more expansion to come.  Brooklyn and more LA zip codes will be added within a few months as well.

Google will deliver goods from your local stores to you on the same day that you order them, free of charge!  Just select the items you want and Google will buy them and deliver them to your doorstep!

You can signup for a free 6 month Google Shopping Express membership and get $10 off your first order.  They aren’t saying what it will cost after 6 months, but membership won’t auto-renew without your permission.

Participating stores include Costco (membership required), Target, Toys R Us, Walgreens, and many other local grocery and other stores.

Google will even return items for you if you ordered them via Shopping Express…how awesome is that!?!

HT: meshugener, via DDF

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OBi100 For Just $29.99 Shipped From Amazon

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Update: Dead, Now $39.21
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OBi100 For Just $29.99 Shipped

Use the following code to drop the price to just $29.99: TALK2DAD

-Must say “Sold by Obihai Technology, Inc. and Fulfilled by Amazon”

With the OBi you can have free landline phone service.  Read more in this previous post about how I’ve had free landline service for years.

If you used to be landline-free like me, don’t forget to also pick up a phone like this VTech Dect 6.0 cordless phone with caller ID for $19.95, or the 2 handset version for $29.96.

HT: askmoses, via DDF

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Save on all your Amazon purchases! You can buy Amazon gift cards (as well as gift cards for airlines, hotels, clothing stores, gas stations, and much much more) at any Office Supply store with your Ink Bold, Ink Plus, or Ink Cash card to earn 5 points per dollar (worth roughly 9.5% back)!

For Q2 You can also purchase Amazon gift cards at Lowe’s with your Freedom card to earn 5 points per dollar!

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Google Digs The Conga!

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Update #2, 06/09:

You probably have realized by now that Google has clamped down and ended the free processing without limits.  I do wish that the $250 was a free monthly limit where consumers would be able to make micro-payments to their friends free of charge (similar to Amazon Payments though far more convenient as you don’t have to leave your inbox) but the $250 is just a one-time limit on an account. At any rate, via Google’s own Peter Hazlehurst who has continued to keep us in the loop:

Hi folks,

As you may have noticed, we’ve had to introduce the fees a bit sooner than we expected because it became a little crazy what some people were trying to do.

We are letting users send up to $250 *cumulatively* on the system with card fees, and you can always send from a bank account for free. This way we can let a lot of new users into the system, get a feel for things and then if they are happy with it, link a bank account…

Thanks all, and sorry we had to turn on the fees. We didn’t really have a choice.

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Update #1, 05/28: Peter has responded to everyone’s questions and has revealed his DDF username (phazlehurst) in case you need to contact him via private message (I sure hope he doesn’t get hundreds of requests for a penny like I got over the past week :D)
In short he says:
1. Please do use Google Wallet and send money to friends and family for legitimate reasons, but don’t do it to just generate miles or you will be warned and then you will have your Wallet capabilities deactivated.
2. Watching people line up conga style is so much more fun then just rolling out Google Wallet to everyone :)
3. He seems happy to entertain feedback and provide more answers, so go ahead and ask away in the comments!

As far as the naysayers go about this being a fake, Whois (among other factors including his DDF username info and his refreshingly honest answers) prove this that Peter is legit:

WhoIS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Originally posted on 05/27:

A week ago I wrote about Google Wallet and launched a temporary Conga board on the DansDeals Forums where people could get in line to receive a penny from another member and thus activate their ability to send money from their credit card to others via Gmail or Google Wallet for free.

Hundreds of new members signed up for the DansDeals Forums just to join the conga, which created some tension among longtime forum users who were also trying to get a penny.

A commenter even noted that he was able to pay off the $15K owed on his car with no fees after getting the green light to do so from both the Google Wallet team and from AMEX. Wow!

But it was this message that I was sent via DDF that really surprised me.

re: The Conga

Dan,

Was amazed to see this going. It is really cool to see users enjoying our products. Thanks for getting so many users of our Pay By Gmail product.

Love any feedback you and folks on DansDeals have on things we can do to improve it.

Best,

Peter Hazlehurst
Director of Product Management, Google Wallet

 

We caused a big enough blip to catch even Google’s attention!  If you have any feedback you can leave it as a comment and I’ll be happy to pass it along.

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Google Wallet Offering Free Credit Card Processing; Post In The DDF Conga Thread To Join!

Monday, May 20th, 2013

DDF user Emkay reported on DDF 4 days ago that Google was integrating the ability to send money into Gmail.  DDF user magnus then posted that Google is temporarily not charging any fees to send or receive credit card payments.

The payment are considered a regular purchase and will earn miles.  You should probably avoid using Citibank cards however as they are notorious for changing online purchases into costly cash advances.

They’re rolling out the ability slowly, but if you receive a payment from someone you’ll be able to send money to anyone else within a few minutes.

I still don’t have the ability to send directly from Gmail, but once someone sent me a penny, a red “Send Money” button appeared when I went to http://wallet.google.com/

wallet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have created a temporary board on the DansDeals forums with conga lines where forum members can get in line to receive a penny from the person before them in line and then they will pass on a penny to the next guy once their account is enabled to send payments.

Of course I used my grandfathered Chase Freedom Exclusives card so that I’ll earn 11 miles for sending that penny :D

There is a hard limit of $9,999.99 that you can send at once.  If you try entering more than that you’ll get this cute message:

wallet2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While there doesn’t appear to be any limit on how much you can send in total, Google is not going to like it if you send very large amounts or if you pass money back and forth between accounts and they will likely close your Wallet accounts if you do that.  So take it easy and don’t go sending $5,000 to meet a spend threshold in one shot unless you’re willing to risk testing the limits and possibly losing your ability to use Google Wallet.  Hopefully they’ll warn you before closing your Wallet account but they don’t have to.

It’s unknown when the free processing promotion will expire.  Hopefully it will last for years like the $1,000 in free processing that Amazon Payments lets you do every month :D

You just gotta’ love the plethora of manufactured spend methods we have today to meet those climbing spend thresholds.  Between this new development, Amazon Payments, Bluebird, Vanilla Reloads, Vanilla Debit cards, Visa/MC gift cards with pins (that can earn you quintuple points and) that can be cashed out via WalMart ATMs, Bill Pay, or even Money Orders this is truly a golden era.  Perhaps not as scalable as those gold dollar coins I used to get by the truckload, but cards are a whole lot lighter than coins!

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My $0/Month and $0.00/Per Minute Landline Phone.

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Update #3, 01/25/13: The OBi100 is currently on sale for just $37.99 and the OBi110 is currently on sale for just $39.99 shipped from Amazon!
HT: arch, via DDF
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Update #2, 12/26/12: Google has once again announced that US and Canada calling will remain free throughout 2013!
I also use GrooveIP on my Android when abroad to make free calls back to the US via Google, so that will remain free for 2013 as well. Thanks Google for the gift that keeps on giving!
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Update #1, 12/20/11: Google has announced that US and Canada calling will remain free throughout 2012! My OBi110 continues to pay dividends, hopefully it stays free for years to come as well!

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Originally posted on 03/28/11:
OBi100 Linky

OBi110 Linky

If you used to be landline-free like me, don’t forget to also pick up a phone like this VTech Dect 6.0 cordless phone with caller ID for $19.95, or the 2 handset version for $29.96, or the 2 handset version with a digital answering machine for $39.99.

Quick FAQ’s about this device:
-It works with any regular phone.
-It makes regular outgoing and incoming calls with caller ID.
-Calls are free from anywhere in the world to US and Canada numbers.
-You can call international numbers for very little per minute. Israel is 2 cents per minute to landlines and 10 cents for cell phones. All rates are listed here: https://www.google.com/voice/rates
-You can only port a cell phone number to Google, so if you want another number you’ll have to first port it to a prepaid cell service (page plus, att, tmobile, etc) and then port it to google.
-It costs nothing per month after you buy the machine.
-You don’t need any other phone service, just broadband (DSL/FIOS/Cable) internet service.
-You do not need a computer.
-You do not need a phone jack.
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Thanks to the heads-up of David, a DansDeals Forum member, I purchased the Obihai OBi110 from Amazon back on March 7th.

The device is a conduit between your broadband connection and a landline phone for free phone calls with no monthly service fee and no cost for making calls!

It performs all kinds of tricks, but the main feature that I got it for was its very easy setup with Google Voice.  It works with any regular or cordless landline phone for free incoming calls, free outgoing calls to the US and Canada, and Google Voice’s dirt-cheap international dialing rates. Your computer does not need to be on for your phone to work.

You can also plug in a landline phone, or another VOIP service like Ooma or Magic Jack, into the device and you’ll be able to access multiple different lines of service from your landline phone.

Here’s what I did:

-I bought the OBi110 for $49.99 and a Vtech Dect 6.0 cordless phone with caller ID and speakerphone for $19.54 last week. Additional cordless phones are available for just $14.95

-I opened up a new Google Voice account (there’s a limit of 1 per email address) and got a vanity number. (Google Voice allows you to search their database of free phone numbers for any combination of numbers or letters)

-I charged the cordless phone for 24 hours and then set it up.  With the easy instructions I was able to set it up in less than 15 minutes and the call quality has been very good! It displays the caller ID number for incoming calls and Gmail will even notify you of and transcribe voicemails!

Google has already announced that the free calling will last through 12/31/11. After that nobody knows, but here’s hoping Google continues to allow the free calls forever!

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Samsung Galaxy Phones On Sale At Amazon Wireless

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

The Galaxy line of phones are awesome.  A removable battery plays no small part of that as you can always have a charged battery with an inexpensive separate battery charger and never have to plug your phone into the wall.  With the huge screens on Galaxy phones along with Google Maps you’ll also never need to buy another GPS.  And Android Jelly Bean’s incredible Google Now service kicks Siri to the curb.

Verizon:
Samsung Galaxy Nexus: New customer: $0.01, Add-a-line: $0.01, Upgrade: $29.00
Samsung Galaxy S III: New customer: $59.99, Add-a-line: $59.99, Upgrade: $74.99

Sprint:
Samsung Galaxy Nexus: New customer: $19.99, Add-a-line: $0.01, Upgrade: $0.01
Samsung Galaxy S III: New customer: $29.99, Add-a-line: $48, Upgrade: $48

AT&T:
Samsung Galaxy S III: New customer: $99.99, Add-a-line: $99.99, Upgrade: $99.99

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OBi110 For Just $36.99 Shipped From Amazon!

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Related: My $0/Month and $0.00/Per Minute Landline Phone…
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OBi110 Linky

This is the lowest price I’ve seen for the 110 model.

HT: yosseld, via DDF

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Forcing Your Verizon Galaxy Nexus To Download Android Jelly Bean.

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Not my typical post here, but if you are a Verizon Galaxy Nexus user like I am this update will make you fall in love with your smartphone all over again. After playing with it for the past few hours it’s obvious that Jelly Bean is bar none the best mobile operating system out there, but feel free to talk about that and more in the tech forum on DDF.

The “hack” goes like this.
1. Connect to a Wi-Fi network.
2. Go into Settings>Apps>All.
3. Scroll down to and click “Google Services Framework”
4. Click on “Force stop” and press OK.
5. Click on “Clear data” and press OK.
6. Go into Settings>About phone>System updates and you will be able to download Jelly Bean to your phone.

Post a comment if that works for you.  And Galaxy S III owners don’t fret, you’ll have Jelly Bean goodness very soon as well!

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Google Flights Is Now Live!

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

www.google.com/flights

Google Flights Help

Plenty of great flight research features (search for lowest cost desired length of trip over many months, search for flights to any city, search for a specific airline alliance, search for specific connection cities, length of flight/cost graph, etc) in a package that may be easier for many people to use then my personal favorite airfare search engine, the ITA software tool that it draws its functionality from.

When you find a flight you want you can buy it directly from the airline.

Think it will be useful for you?

HT: smirk, via the DansDeals Forums

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Get An OBi100 For Just $43.99 Shipped Or An OBi110 For Just $49.99 Shipped From Amazon!

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Update 2: You can now get the OBi100 model for just $39.99 shipped by using the following code on the final checkout page: OBIDEAL4

Update: DansDeals Forum users are reporting that this device works as a free US phone line with free phone calls even while in other countries, like while in Israel!

Originally posted on 04/28:

Related: My $0/Month and $0.00/Per Minute Landline Phone…

OBi100: $43.99 Shipped

OBi110: $49.99 Shipped

In case you don’t have a landline, you may want to pick up a cordless phones like the Vtech Dect 6.0 cordless phone with caller ID and speakerphone for $24.26. You can also buy the base and an additional cordless phone for $34.24 if you want more than just the 1 Vtech phone or just an additional Vtech cordless phone for $14.95.

The OBi100 and OBi110 will work perfectly as a free phone line with Google Voice.  The only difference between the OBi100 and the OBi110 is that the 100 model does not have a line option that allows you to plug in a landline phone, or another VOIP service like Ooma or Magic Jack, into the device that lets you access multiple different lines of service from your landline phone.

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HURRY! Get An OBi100 For Just $43.99 Shipped From Amazon!

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Related: My $0/Month and $0.00/Per Minute Landline Phone…

OBi100 Linky
Use the following code at checkout to drop the price of the OBi110 from $59.99 down to $43.99: HELLOOBI
This code will only work if the price you see is $59.99.

In case you don’t have a landline, you may want to pick up a cordless phones like the Vtech Dect 6.0 cordless phone with caller ID and speakerphone for $19.54. You can also use the OBi110/Google Voice system with additional cordless phones for just $14.95 if you want more than just the 1 Vtech phone.

The OBi100 will work just fine as a free phone line with Google Voice.  The only difference between the OBi100 and the OBi110 is that the 100 model does not have a line option that allows you to plug in a landline phone, or another VOIP service like Ooma or Magic Jack, into the device that lets you access multiple different lines of service from your landline phone.

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Gotta Love Google!

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Gmail is rolling out free phone calls for all US based gmail accounts!

When logged into Gmail just click on “Call Phone” from the Gmail chat menu.  After downloading a voice plugin you’ll be able to make phone calls right from your inbox! Calls to US and Canadian phone numbers are currently free, and international rates are extremely cheap as well!

You will need to have a microphone and speakers on your computer for it to work.

If you go to google.com/voice you’ll also be able to get a free phone number that will ring in your inbox when someone calls you.

If your account has been configured to make phone calls, you’ll be able to call phones in the US and Canada for free even if you’re in another country.

A Dansdeals forum user confirmed that someone in Israel for example, was able to use the service to make a call from Israel to the US for free.  If 2 people in Israel, or anywhere else in the world, both have free phone calls from their inboxes they’ll be able to call each other for free!

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Buy 200 GB Of Online Storage From Google For $50 And Get A Free 4GB Eye-Fi WiFi SD Card!

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Offer Linky

You can backup tons of files online with Google and never worry about losing data!

Plus if you get 200GB of storage for $50/year you’ll get a 4GB Eye-Fi WiFi SD Card that normally costs $70.  The card lets you upload pictures directly from your camera to your computer or online.

You can choose not to continue with the service at any time and it will end after the year is up.

HT: mancunian, via dansdeals.com/forums

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SIZZLING! Get Free VOIP With Free Nationwide Long Distance With Google Voice And Gizmo5!

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Update: Since the time of this posting when unlimited calling was allowed, Gizmo5 has instituted a 3 minute call limit while the service is in beta testing mode.

If you already have a Google Voice account than this procedure is quite simple.

Yes there are tons of other great uses for Google Voice, but this one is pretty neat…I’ll definitely be trying it out when I go to Israel next month!

If you don’t have one yet, just request an invite and within a couple weeks you should get one.

Once you have set up your Google Voice account,

-Go to gizmo5.com

-Sign up for a gizmo account and download their VOIP app.

-On the Gizmo site is a “My” tab. In that section is a place to enter your Google Voice login information, enter it and save it.

-On your Google Voice Settings page add your Gizmo phone number (1+10 digit phone number found in your Gizmo account page) and verify the number.

-Use the Gizmo5 VOIP to make phone calls to anywhere in the US and receive phone calls with your Google Voice number for free!

You can also use Google Voice and Gizmo5 to work with any other VOIP device for free nationwide calls.  You can use a device like this $53 Internet Phone Adapter to make VOIP phone calls from a real phone for free.

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Tip: How To Revert Back To The Old iGoogle!

Friday, October 17th, 2008

I’ve been an avid iGoogle fan since day 1. It allows me to have the RSS feeds from all of the sites that I visit on 1 clean home page. Yesterday Google decided to mess around with what was a perfect interface and make it very cluttered and anti-user friendly.

Wanna go back to the old interface?

Here ya’ go!

Noe if only I could revert back to the old facebook interface…

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501(c)3’s: Accept Credit Cards With No Processing Fees Until 2009 With Google Checkout!!!

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Your donors don’t want to support Feebay/Paypal, so stop giving them 3% of your donations and start taking payments with Google Checkout!

Google charges no monthly or setup fees, and until 2009 they won’t charge a penny to process any credit card transaction for non-profits!

Free 501(c)3 Credit Card Processing Offer Linky

Not a non-profit? Google charges just .20 + 2% to process credit card transactions, and is far safer and more protective than Paypal is…Now if only they would start their own auction site already!

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Gmail Now Has Built-In AIM Chat!

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

Sorry if this is old news, but I just found out (totally by accident) that Gmail Chat is now interoperable with AIM!

To sign into your AIM account up while in Gmail Chat just click on the “options” button under the Gmail chat box and then login to your AIM account.  You will now be able to chat with your Gmail Chat or AIM buddies.  Your AIM buddies are distinguishable from your Gmail buddies by the little AIM icon next to each AIM buddy!

Yay, No more having to deal with that over-bloated AIM adware application ever again!

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Google Maps Adds A Really Neat New Feature-"Draggable Driving Directions!"

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

Google Maps now lets you choose your route and add destinations!

Now try it yourself!

Check out this route from LGA to 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn.

Google maps by default takes you on the Grand Central West to the congested BQE.

Let’s say you want to go on the Jackie Robinson instead. Just put your mouse at the beginning of the route and a white square will show up saying “Drag to change route.” Drag the box to the right about an inch to force the route onto the Grand Central West. Google will now automatically reroute you over the Jackie Robinson.

You can right click on the Start/pause/end points to remove them. Additionally you can right click anywhere on the map to add a new destination, or to add an origin if you have removed all start/stop points.

Pretty cool, no?

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Free Google 411 Service!

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

Related Posts:
Free 411 Service (Posted 09/25/05)
Google SMS (Posted 03/13/06)
More 411 Numbers (Posted 03/13/06)

I thought I wrote about this a while ago, but a quick search didn’t reveal anything, so here it is.
Google offers free 411 service to look up business phone numbers.
The neat thing about it is that Google will connect you directly to the business, so you don’t have to deal with writing down the number like with other free 411 services.
Another neat feature is that Google will send you an SMS with all of the business details including their address!

Both of these access numbers are free from any phone:
1-800-GOOG-411
1-877-GOOG-411

Learn more:
Goog 411 Linky

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