Monday, February 28, 2011


Weekly Update

Last Week at Wargaming Tradecraft


side note: did you know Guinness comes in yards?
airbrush, ork swag, Suicide Girls and of course good friends;
Tuesday was a quite the day
An Airbrush!

Continuing Blog-Fu, I show you how to add code to your website/blog that helps prevent spam.

Finally, the first batch are up in the new Blog Networking List, join in and submit your blog to the master list. I'm going to add terrain building to the list, so if you've already submitted your blog, let me know if you need that added.

Also, you may have read my computer died. So, seems the hard drive was bad and the video card required some square peg / round hole attention to get the drivers going again.. I've swapped in a spare and I'm in the process of reinstalling.. just one more delay, bah. (For those who've submitted to the Network, I've gotten your emails, just need to add your sites to the list - this'll be the first thing I do once I'm up and running again)


Last Week in the Community


Brent of Strictly Average has an interview with Ron of From the Warp up on Bell of Lost Souls.

This Wednesday, March 2nd has been declared Old Stuff Day - so lets all dig up some old articles and shine the light on them again.


Tutorials


Roll With It has a quick pinning tutorial: http://www.rollwithit.org.uk/?p=2823

TheLeadHead has a good tutorial on reposing models: http://theleadheadblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/tutorial-re-posing-terminator.html

Tips


Massive Voodoo looks at using old watches for bits http://massivevoodoo.blogspot.com/2011/02/tutorial-using-material-from-old.html

A nice looking nurgle dreadnought before priming: http://miniaturewargameconversions.blogspot.com/2011/02/possessed-nurgle-dreadnought-finished.html

Gallery


A nice looking Dark Angel rhino: http://forthelimey.blogspot.com/2011/02/damocles-rhino-completed.html

More incredible work from Massive Voodoo http://massivevoodoo.blogspot.com/2011/02/joy-of-painting-ii.html

Here's a nice looking Ulthwe army. Take a good look if you're interested in painting black armour since it's just a tricky thing to do: http://tentakelgames.com/2011/02/24/ulthwe-done-right/

Musing


Dethtron looks at spelling http://bloodofkittens.com/dickmove/2011/02/23/for-the-love-of-spelling/ and at swearing http://bloodofkittens.com/dickmove/2011/02/26/who-gives-a-sit-about-swearing/ .

Rob at Warhammer 39k also looks at reasons we chose our armies: http://www.warhammer39999.com/2011/02/poll-results-why-did-you-choose-your-army/

Friday, February 25, 2011


Uh-Oh

So this is where a really cool piece was going to go, and another one tomorrow as I've started my Massive Voodoo Postapocalyptibuggy.... unfortunately my computer seems to have died as I can't keep it running for more than 15 minutes at a time. (Looks like hardware, looks serious..) Sooooooo, stay tuned... I'll see about posting from my laptop between seeing how much Frankensteining it's going to take to get my very old and previously top-of-the-line system running again... I've needed a new computer for a while, and I'm hoping to last at least another month or two, and don't want to put any monies into this one; arg.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Displaying Your eMail Safely

We all want our readers to be able to contact us. What we don't want are robots that crawl websites harvesting email addresses to add to spam lists finding us. Most people just post their email address by breaking it up. Usually, it will look something like: myemailaddress [at] someserver [dot] com. But then, if someone wants to email you, they've got to type that in manually, there could be spelling mistakes, and it's a bit of a pain. If you have access to HTML on your blog, you can copy the following script and use it to make your email available at the click of the button!

Things to come... (shiny)


I have a most wonderful wife who decided to spoil me at Christmas this year by setting me up with everything I need to get started airbrushing. There was a great sale on a compressor with an 8 gallon tank before the holidays and it's been sitting boxed up waiting for an airbrush to compliment it. (Which was delayed greatly due to the move, new job, etc) While killing time before attending a show in another city on Tuesday, I used my phone (more on living in the future in a later Blog-Fu article) and Googled me up some art stores in the area and came into the possession of this beauty:

iwata Eclipse HP-BS
It's an iwata Eclipse HP-BS, 0.35mm nosel, dual action (can control both the flow of paint and air) with a small resevoir (which is all I need... did the below photo with it half full) and is supposed to be able to do hairline level work. It's going to take a fair amount of practice, but don't you worry, I will share my experiences of what works AND what doesn't work. You'll be able to see both successes and failures and learn at the same time I do. So far it seems like a quality and versatile product. Handles well and I'm getting the hang of adjusting the air and paint flow.. now I need to learn how to be consistent.

Also a thanks to the guys at Mercury Art & Craft Supershop who were very helpful and explained all that I needed to know. (confirming a bunch of what I'd already read, but also going over some of the airbrushes adjustment, care and upkeep) I'm big on appreciating customer service. (little known fact: Canadian politeness rarely extends to the service industry, since it's near-impossible to get fired here) I had tried emailing a couple online vendors/brands suggested by a few of the pro-art blogs around, (since their sites had an overwhelming selection) but nobody got back to me.

The compressor / tank is a Husky (Home Depot's brand) set that came with a whole bunch of attachments for filling all sorts of tires, painting walls, stapling and hammering. (It'll do anything up to 150 psi) The compressor is oil-less, which means cheaper and less maintenance, but louder. That's alright though, because it fills the tank pretty quickly and 8 gallons means it doesn't have to be on that often. Long hose means I can hide the unit away since it's got some size to it. Also, huge benefit of a tank over just buying a compressor means you get a constant stream of air, rather than all the noise and possible spurts as a compressor chugs away by itself.


I'll go into more detail on the compressor/tank and airbrush later and separately once I have a little more experience on them.

And yeah, I may be able to paint up a storm on minis, but I'm still not so good at the 2D artwork. I tell ya, I can't wait to start using this on models. I feel like Link, finding another one of his objects of power in one of his quests.


Also happened to wander into a GW while swag was being distributed, yay me.



Oh, and just because it fits my mood and feeling of creativity right now:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Wargaming Tradecraft Networking

The void left by From the Warp is not one easily filled and this post isn't going to suggest I'm going to try... I certainly don't have the time to attempt to recreate what Ron built over there. I know a few people seem interested in keeping the Tuesday Top 10 alive, House of Paincakes does their Weekly Top X and I too post links to all the articles that stand out to me each week in my Weekly Update.

One of the best things I took from From the Warp was connecting with all of you. It was a great place to find all sorts of interesting blogs through his weekly features and the constant updates in the blogrolls. You can always view my blogrolls on the blog itself, or view those I've Followed on my profile.


What I would like to do is create an index of all our hobby blogs out there, as well as advertise what aspect of the hobby they're focusing on.

So, I've created a "Network" page that you can find at the top right on my site's tab index. The instructions are there, but basically just send me an email with a little info on how your blog fits into the topics I've created. (Let me know if you think I'm missing something) I would also appreciate it if you'd place a link to the network page on your site, so that others can utilize it as well.

In theory, this will lead to a large list of blogs that anyone can quickly scan through, seeking blogs that contain content geared towards what part of our craft interests them. (Red boxes signifying the primary roles of the site)


Let me know what you think of all this.. hopefully I'll receive emails from quite a few of you soon.
(And please have patience if I don't get your sites up right away in case I get quite a few people responding)


Monday, February 21, 2011


New Eldar Units - Wasp Assault Walker

via Laubersheimer Industries

Forge World has released another new Eldar unit, the Wasp Assault Walker. Essentially, it looks very similar to standard War Walkers, but a little more stream-lined, and.. what are those? Jet Packs on a walker? Yes please.

The new Eldar Wasp Assault Walker can jump 24" instead of firing, has some melee stats, and did I mention it's a TROOP option? But wait, there's more - BS 4.... Seriously, Ballistic Skill 4 - I've gone back and reread that multiple times. BS 4 ! Uhm, yes please?

See the full (experimental) rules here.


Sooo, just to throw it out there, a 2000pt Eldar army can choose to field 18 Assault Walkers, 9 War Walkers and 6 Hornets, firing just shy of 200 shuriken cannon rounds a turn. You'd be broke, yes, but it puts us back in the mech game, right?
(obviously you wouldn't actually field that, but there's some scary potential here)

(Wait a sec, Wasps and Hornets? Are Eldar officially moving like butterflies and stinging like bees now? Nevermind, BS4, I'm shutting up now, thank you.)

Weekly Update

Last Week at Wargaming Tradecraft


Not a lot at the moment.. still getting settled in the new place and new job.

The Back to Basics contest wrapped up, and another post on Blog-Fu, focusing on communicating with your readers.

Last Week in the Community


Ron has announced that From the Warp will be going in to stasis for an indeterminate amount of time. We bloggers know the amount of work that goes into running our sites, never mind running a network like he's been doing. All this work has been affecting the amount of time he has for his own life, family and commissions and it's time for him to do something about it. I just want to say thanks to Ron for the network he created, which has connected many of us to each other. His blog rolls will still run, but it will certainly leave a void in the community.

Read his goodbye letter and a little on where he's placing his efforts next:
http://fromthewarp.blogspot.com/2011/02/ftw-being-placed-into-stasis.html

To fill that void, there is the House of Paincakes run by a great crew. It's not always a PG environment, but there's always a ton of amazing content going on over there and will always help us all to stay in contact and grow as a community.

Additionally, you can always feel free to send me an email and I'll answer it to the best of my ability. Haven't had any takers yet, but my Q&A Page is waiting.

There are also a lot of other great bloggers out there who I'm sure will be more than happy to help out and already do. Rather than single anyone out, I'll direct you to my blogroll on the right of my page or to my blogger profile page as well as From the Warp itself which still has great blogrolls and a large selection of useful links.


News


The Blood of Kittens network has a contest going on at the moment - take a look at it's details, there's a lot of fun potential with this one. I'll post my entries over here once they've announced their winners.
http://bloodofkittens.com/blog/2011/02/16/network-news-adepticon-art-projects-and-prizes/

Studio McVey has a new limited edition model done... looks incredible: http://studiomcvey.blogspot.com/2011/02/brute-bodyguard.html

Rob over at Warhammer 39k is suggesting March 2nd we all showcase some old articles from our blogs as a way to dust off our lesser viewed articles:
http://www.warhammer39999.com/2011/02/starting-a-blogging-movement-renewal-day/

Tutorials


Nyhil looks at creating cheap terrain: http://bloodofkittens.com/blog/2011/02/14/hobby-for-nothing-basic-functions/

Ron has another great tutorial on freehanding: http://fromthewarp.blogspot.com/2011/02/freehanding-when-to-do-it.html

EldarAddict has a nice little painting tutorial for his Dark Eldar: http://eldaraddict.blogspot.com/2011/02/how-i-paint-my-dark-eldar-part-i.html

Dethtron demonstrates that I need a meat grinder: http://www.houseofpaincakes.com/2011/02/gaming-on-budget-making-rubble.html
(Excellent rubble tutorial)

Old School over at Dark Future has an interesting Nid conversion going on.. http://darkfuturegaming.blogspot.com/2011/02/converting-arachnarok-into-tervigon.html


Tips


Here's some nice shots of a cool looking mod: http://fischers-design-shop.blogspot.com/2011/02/inquisitor-hellsryche-2.html

Gallery


Now this is shiny... fan 40k short CG film called Dark Angel Wrath:


Here's part 1, though it's not nearly a well done as the above clip. Also from the same author, a sneak peak at his current project... Ultramarines, eat your heart out:



Musing


Loq has a good article over at the HoP with ways to better interact with your fellow gamers: http://www.houseofpaincakes.com/2011/02/weekly-whimsy-how-to.html




Thursday, February 17, 2011


Communicating with your Readers

There are many ways that you can communicate with your readers and different styles are appropriate depending on the type of article that you are writing. Loquacious has a good post here that discusses not just the importance of being an expert at what you're talking about and having a niche, but also why it's fine to not have all the answers and instead be pretty good at a bunch of different things. (Jack of all, master of none) This led to a post from Thor where he looks at talking with both authority and knowledge. The following are tips you can pay attention to when you are writing and involves style, grammar, slang and tone.

Casual Format

Most of us are typing pretty casually at times and there's no thought put into HOW we're saying what we're saying. This is appropriate for most situations because we should create a friendly atmosphere with our readers. Really, the sky's the limit when talking casually - almost. (slang is just shiny, but there are certain things to watch for that I'll cover under Language and Tone) Some of the writing tips later under "Essay Format" can also be incorporated into casual discussion to add a certain amount of professionalism while still keeping things light.

All of us will take a little while to fall into our writing "groove" as we get more comfortable. Be positive, don't get too serious or too goofy but do entertain. Keep the atmosphere friendly and inviting.

I think grammar and spelling are still important at all times as you want your blog to be readable and understandable. If your grammar is worse than Google Translate, with terrible spelling, you're probably going to need some extra serious blog content to repair the damage to your credibility. If you've got a word processor like Microsoft Word, run some of your articles through it to see what it suggests. (If you need, Open Office is an excellent free alternative) I write all my posts in Google Chrome, which has a built in spell (not grammar) check for all form fields. (writing blog posts, posting to a forum, responding in a comment, etc)

Dialog

I can't emphasize this enough - get to know your readers. If all you do is write article after article and never respond to email or comments or share on blogs with similar topics then you are writing for yourself, not the community. If someone talks to you about what you're writing about, respond and communicate with them, at least thank them for their feedback. Find similar blogs and share your thoughts in their comments. Find out who your readers are - when a non-anonymous comment is posted, click their name and see if they have any blogs, twitters, etc.

It's actually nice to get to know the people you're communicating with and to hear other opinions - look at it as if you were hanging out with friends or at the local shop. If someone talks a bunch but doesn't get to know anyone, then they're considered to be self-involved. When you have conversations with friends, you know the audience, and are able to change the topic slightly, be more interesting, and all in all have a better discussion. Getting their input back is just as interesting.

Think of it this way: If you gave a lecture at a university, what's the better scenario? Being walked in, lecture, leave, or spending some time after the lecture to hear what people in the audience thought and responding to their opinions? If your answer is along the lines of "who cares what the audience thinks" then you need to adjust your attitude.

I'm about to get into the tone of your articles, but when you're dialogging with readers, actually consider their opinions when they're not exactly the same as yours, and remember that as a hobby, there are plenty of different ways things can be done. Rather than turn down someone else's ideas, either acknowledge them as valid options or tell them why you're dismissing them.

side note: This can be a tricky distinction for younger (and some older) people who are breaking away from school or group mentalities and trying to find their own individuality. We're told "It doesn't matter what bullies think" or "Don't conform to peer pressure" so insistently that it's sometimes difficult to get back to "I should consider the opinions of others when I make decisions for myself."

Language and Tone

When you're communicating with your readers, be aware of how you're treating them. Watch the language you're using and tone that you're writing with. The wrong type of writing can and will turn people away from your blog faster than lack of content. (Think of "words" as weapons and "tone" as the way we use them)

While Wargaming Tradecraft is PG, I won't swear, but some blogs will, and y'know what? That's fine - it's become part of our language, often to make a strong emphasis. What to watch for is when cursing surpasses emphasis and becomes part of regular speech. There are other words and terminology that should be avoided - those that are sexist, racist, stereotypical, etc. (no matter how much you insist you're "taking it back") For example, constantly referring to women as something like "burgers", (anyone else remember that episode from the Cosby show? Just me?) pulling a Kramer or telling certain jokes.

Tone also becomes important because you don't want to seem like you think you're better than others. There's no way this blog would have been received nearly as well if I thought that since I have all this knowledge to share, I'm better than all of you - which usually comes across in the writing. Even things like being able to take criticism, admitting you're wrong, or seeing other perspectives rather than brushing people off is important. Also very important is to stay positive - for example, don't belittle your readers with comments like "blah blah blah, and to help you guys that failed math, blah blah blah." Yes, you have information, yes it will help people to share it, but don't use that to put others down or prop you up.

Can you do these things if you want to? Absolutely - free internets. Just remember: People don't know you and sarcasm is very difficult to translate into text; everything you say paints a picture of the sort of person you are and online that's ALL anybody has to know you.

Never Post in Anger or Passion or drunk, etc

Generally speaking, it's a good idea to write posts ahead of time and schedule them to post later. This allows you a few re-reads to clear them up and self-edit making you a stronger blogger. More specifically, you should always sit on a post for a few days if you're anyway out of your normal frame of mind. Usually these will be times that you're upset about something, but could include anything from some amazing idea you've just had to being drunk.

Again, readers only know you for what you write, which means that a single pissed off post can ruin your image, a single too-passionate post can make you appear less credible and a single drunk post will make you appear like that friend we all have who shouldn't have access to their cell-phone while drinking.

Essay Format

When shifting gears from the typical style of a blog, to talk about an important topic, also shift how you are writing. Other times to write like this would be if you are discussing a highly debated topic. While this will distance you from whomever is reading your information, it has the benefit of appearing professional and raising you as a trusted source of data. No matter what you are writing about, a certain amount of credibility is immediately gained through the confidence that is apparent in how you are talking.
When I shift shifting gears from the typical style of a blog, to talk about a topic important to you an important topic, you should also shift how you're you are writing. Other times you could write to write like this would be if you're you are discussing a very highly highly debated topic. While this could this'll this will distance you a little from whomever is reading your information, it's got it has the added benefit of appearing like you're professional and raising you as a more trusted trusted source of data. No matter what you're you are writing about, a certain amount of credibility more credibility credibility is immediately gained gained through the added confidence confidence that's that is apparent in how you're you are talking.

The above two paragraphs say the same thing, but the first one commands more authority, which means you are taken more seriously.

  • Remove any suggestion that what you are talking about is just opinion. (When "I shift")
  • Avoid referencing yourself or the reader whenever possible. ("to you")
  • Remove any language that would imply you are simply suggesting the things you are talking about - be commanding. ("you should")
  • It is more professional to spell out contractions. ("you're" becomes "you are")
  • Remove any casual or unnecessary language that doesn't add anything besides making sentences longer. ("simply" suggesting)
  • Remove language that is redundant. ("added" benefit)
  • Stick to the dictionary and avoid slang.

Take note of how these paragraphs are telling you what to do. They are not making suggestions, they speak definitively, they are presenting facts. They do not imply that any of the information read is opinion and do not use casual language to connect with whomever is reading this. These paragraphs sound credible and are immediately easier to believe because of that. This is something to be aware of when reading to see if you are being tricked into believing something just because it sounds good. Compare the writing in this section of the post to that at the beginning as an example of professional vs casual writing.

When speaking with authority, cite your sources of information and link to other credible sources to back your ideas up. You should also remember that when speaking professionally like this, the tone can be blunt and offend people or make you appear high and mighty if you are too direct about things. Take extra time to edit and clear up your language.

*TheWife is actually the one who pointed out to me the importance of using professional language and helped me edit Bringing a New Style to the Hobby in order to do so.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Contest: The Winners!


Allllllrighty folks - Thanks everyone who participated in my way of sharing back .. I know the quality isn't so great compared to other paint jobs (woo, table-top quality, yeah!) but it's still my way of showing I appreciate everyone who visits, reads and shares here.

And now, I have my list of entries together, as well as a random number generator. (duplicates will be rerolled)

Before I plug those numbers in, I'll remind everyone how it's going to work - I've assigned everyone a number in the order I received their entries, two numbers if you followed on both Google and Facebook - I'm going to generate 6 numbers - the first will win the light primer model, then the dark, and so on from left to right in the above photo. (No winning twice though, don't be greedy)

Annnnd here we gooo....



Congrats to everyone who won, and better luck next time to all those who participated. I can see myself doing another one of these in the future..

If you're a winner, email me your shipping information so I can get your mini out to you!

Monday, February 14, 2011


Weekly Update

Last Week at Wargaming Tradecraft


100 Followers! Yay! Night Runner was number 100, and I'd plug his blog, but it appears he doesn't have one - thanks though!

The Back to Basics contest has wrapped up, and in a couple days I'll announce the winners!

Take a look at Object Oriented Hobbying to see tips on breaking down large projects and looking at finer detail. I also talked about citing your references in my blog-fu series.

Last Week in the Community



Tutorials


More from Ron on glow effects: http://fromthewarp.blogspot.com/2011/02/glowing-powerfist-part-3.html

Roman over at MassiveVoodoo shows using putty and weathering: http://massivevoodoo.blogspot.com/2011/02/tutorial-working-with-vallejo-putty.html
and preparing plastic models: http://massivevoodoo.blogspot.com/2011/02/tutorial-how-to-prepare-plastic-model.html
annd weathering with salt: http://massivevoodoo.blogspot.com/2011/02/tutorial-weathering-with-salt.html

The LeadHead creates a great deffrolla: http://theleadheadblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/scratchbuild-deffrolla-mk-iv.html

CVinton shows off vehicle wreck markers: http://darkfuturegaming.blogspot.com/2011/02/how-to-awesome-vehicle-wreck-markers.html

Magnetic army trays from Kennedy: http://kennedy40k.blogspot.com/2011/02/magnetic-army-tray-design-by-kennedy.html

A step by step of the Black and White, Red Riding Hood: http://volomir.blogspot.com/2011/02/babe-wore-red-step-by-step.html

Tips


Ways to avoid internet fights: http://www.warhammer39999.com/2011/02/safety-first-mind-your-tone/

A nicely modded Nid: http://awakeningynnead.blogspot.com/2011/02/tyranid-harpy-conversion.html

Gallery


Fear the Empire-ial Guard!
via World of Wonder
TastyTaste has a nice series on The Art of 40k: http://bloodofkittens.com/blog/tag/art-of-warhammer-40k/

An interesting Ork display: http://fischers-design-shop.blogspot.com/2011/02/ork-attack-3.html

Tzeentch Chariot: http://darkfuturegaming.blogspot.com/2011/02/dfg-comission-completion-pic-heavy.html

Gimnir has a beautiful marine in a style we rarely see: http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://gimnir.blogspot.com/2011/02/marine-finalizado.html

There's a couple nice minis from Drathmere: http://40khobbyblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/ba-terminator-librarian.html and http://40khobbyblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/finished-blood-angels-dread-wip.html

Musing


Brent continues looking at other brands of miniature creators: http://strictlyaverage.blogspot.com/2011/02/not-brent-presents-not-gw-and-not_10.html

While Porky ponders how we define ourselves as gamers: http://theporkster.blogspot.com/2011/02/who-are-we.html

Gaming


A beginners guide to Imperial Guard: http://defendinghumanity.blogspot.com/2011/02/beginners-guide-to-guard-why-go-guard.html



Thursday, February 10, 2011


Citing Your References

Ever come across a photo on a blog and think "Wow, that's awesome!" but have no idea who made it, or where to look for more of it's greatness? Do you assume the blog's author is the creator? Have you ever seen your own art displayed somewhere and think "Gee, I wish they at least linked to me." What about breaking news? How many sites do you see that say "I read this over at [insert current pop news site]." or simply "via [news site]"?

That's right, not many.

Citing references isn't just a common courtesy - it's how you avoid all sorts of ugly accusations like "plagiarist" or simply "thief". I know I've missed some here and there, but for the most part, I make a point of giving artists and websites credit for their work. It really takes no time at all to add a reference somewhere in your articles, and I'm going to look at a few ways to do so. These won't be "official" ways, which probably vary from country to country; just simple methods to make it clear you didn't create something that's not yours and ensure people get credit for their work as well as cover your own butt. Technically, often legally, you should be asking permission before posting anyone else's content. (which again is different from country to country, art vs news, etc, but still at a minimum a courtesy) This is especially true if you're profiting from the use of this other person's content, which in many cases will include simple banner ads. (If someone really wants to make a case against you - "simple banner ads" have been the downfall of many a torrent site because no matter what side of the P2P debate you're on, paid advertising allows the argument "They're profiting from our content.")

If I came across this photo on a website, (one I'm particularly proud of, no photoshopping besides a vertical inversion) I would expect to see someone giving me credit for it. If someone was making money by using my image without permission, I'd have more problems with it.


In Google Blogger, the image handle that appears when you cursor over an image has a link near the right side "Add caption".
This will throw your image in a table, with a line below it where you can write something about the image.

image from Nplusplus
That's what I consider the bare minimum for citation.
You should actually take it a step further and link back to the original place you found the content.

image from: http://nplusplus.deviantart.com/gallery/7470463#/d1qjs8p
or
image from Nplusplus
Obviously, to save space, it's cleaner to just create a link.

When referencing content that exists on a website, you're generally supposed to add the date you found the information, due to the ever changing nature of the internet. (This is usually just when citing a research source though, so those interested know how up to date your data is.)


If your blog platform doesn't have an "Add caption" option, you're not technically skilled enough to create the table and caption area yourself or it's just not reasonable due to formatting, you can still cite your content - maybe in bracket's ( ) [ ] or italics.

You could place the reference in-line with your article's text, near where the image is.

For example, pretend that right now I'm talking about something in regards to that image - maybe about how this is the same lake from the first Canadian $20 bill, how I climbed some of those mountains, pointing out the glacier in the top or how I took that sitting in a canoe. [image on the left by Nplusplus] Then we just go on talking about other stuff. Blah, blah, blah, lantz, blah, blah.

If you don't want citations ruining the flow of your article, you could place all citations for all images/content at the end of your article. If you do this, you should probably include a description of each that you're sourcing.

[Art above from other sources: Reflection photo by Nplusplus]
or
[Art above from other sources: "Reflection_by_NPlusPlus.jpg" by Nplusplus]

Taking this a step further, if you use an image from someone that's a picture of someone else's work, you should cite both artists. In the following photo, if you simply said "from Nplusplus" and linked to the page you found it on, it would imply I was also the sculptor.

Foule Illuminée sculpted by Raymond Mason
photo by Nplusplus
Instead, place all relevant information with the citation. You might even have a case where you cite the photographer of a model wearing a costume made by someone(s) else... which sometimes isn't easy, especially if you're taking pictures at some sort of convention. If you decide to post content for which you don't have all the information, at least make it clear that it's not your own work - maybe "Photo by me, model unknown."


Text citations should be handled the same way, be it a quote or a reference to an existing webpage. Both should be encased in "quotations" and often formatting is used to make them stand out from your work, such as using italics, changing the font size, using another font type or

"giving them their own paragraph,"
"which is sometimes indented to stand out more."
At a minimum, the author, speaker, writer or website should be mentioned, with a link to the web page if applicable. Proper citation (for research, projects, assignments, or sounding like you actually know what you're talking about and want to be taken seriously) usually expects to have Author, Book Title, Publisher, Year and sometimes even a page number cited. (This extended information will usually be on a separate Works Cited page, while just author and possibly page number is left with where you use the quote)

You should also avoid editing quotes, though many editors will to add context, replacing words with descriptions in [square brackets] - for example, if a book was written about hobby websites, a chapter a site, the direct quote might be something like "That place is helpful for a lot of people." - but if that sentence was from a chapter on my site, it's missing the context and is a little confusing. It would probably get edited to read "[Wargaming Tradecraft] is helpful for a lot of people."

This also applies if you're regurgitating news that you've read somewhere - If you read on a website that Games Workshop's announced a hot new item, and want to let your own readers know about it, you should link to the website where you first read about it. (Not sourcing implies you found this out on your own)



[updateColonel Shofer and Kirby both point out that another way to reference images is to simply link the image to the original source. You can insert the image and point to where it sits on the other person's server "IMG SRC = "http://www.notyourserver.com/image.jpg" " or reupload the image to your site and then place an "A" tag around it and link to either the original image or page. The down side to just inserting the image as a link is if the person whose site it's hosted on removes or changes the image, your site is also changed; uploading the image to your server first has the benefit that your content remains the same.

Dethtron also has a valid point that depending on the laws where you're from, you can use publicly displayed images to certain extents. This includes modifying or displaying them without permission. Usually you still can't profit without permission though.

[Update] Asking Permission / Paying for References

Just adding this to give another perspective to people on the topic of going a step beyond just citing references. A journalist and photographer recently got some media coverage over some views they shared regarding citations without permission. Long story short, so you don't have to click the link:

The wife of the creator of Angry Birds wore a dress styled like the red Angry Bird.
Photographer takes pictures at a formal event.
Many prestigious media outlets then use his pictures, without permission, to write their own stories. Only one offered to pay, but backed out when they found the cost. Others asked permission after being caught, but still no offered of compensation. (Until lawyers got involved)
"From aggregates such as Huff Post / Mashable  etc. you sort of expect nothing...
...But for crying our loud: LA Times? Pulizer Prizes and all…"
"Matti has three kids and his images bring the bread and butter to the table. "
It's true... the big button topic these days being the downloading of music and movies... whether you dis/agree on them at a personal level, you have to at least realize that artists deserve something for their work. Why not treat photographers the same? Their equipment costs money, as does their travel, food, credentials, time, etc.

Now, I'm not actually this zealous about citing, and I'm not going to pay someone $200 to use a photo of a woman in an Angry Birds dress on my blog. But I'm not making a business on reporting up to the minute breaking news. I'm not even a business, nor am I profiting from this site. Images I grab have typically been around for a while, aren't in high demand and have been made available online. I cite my references and I don't edit out signatures and watermarks. Again, I just wanted to tag this on to this article to give another perspective on the whole using other peoples works thing.

Of course, y'know what I don't see? Anybody citing who made that dress. As long as we're going to nit-pick about giving credit where it's due, lets not leave anybody out.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


Object Oriented Hobbying

What exactly is "OOH" ?

Besides something for witnesses to express when they see your work, this is a term I'm coining that has it's roots in the programming word. (Though I suppose considering recent WoW roots to OO- could suggest that when you run out of supplies, shout "Out Of Hobbies!") The point is to look at a single object as a collection of smaller objects, properties, features, and so on - and those smaller objects, as a collection of even smaller objects - etc. The context is slightly different, but I'm applying this to hobbying because it's extremely easy for even the most advanced artist to look at a project and be completely overwhelmed - never to finish, or even begin.

I'm applying the term Object-Oriented-Hobbying to refer to a couple things:

  • First, it's a method to break projects down into smaller, manageable stages.
    • Creating a plan with lists.
    • Looking at large projects and seeing each section as a single task.
    • eg: Instead of staring at a whole model, plan to paint it's boots, pants, shirt, arms, head, gear, etc as different tasks.
    • This helps you by accepting a project for what it is - small, easily completed steps.. lots of them, but small and easy nonetheless.
  • Second, it's a way of looking at a single aspect of a project to determine just what exactly it's comprised of, and if you can break it down further.
    • Looking at a single item and determining what details make it what it is.
      • Determining if any of those smaller details can be split further into even smaller objects, details or features.
    • eg: When looking at "a bolter", notice that it's made up of a clip, muzzle, sight, side plates, stock, etc.
      • These break down into more objects and/or possible features - eg: Clips usually have visible bullets, muzzles have holes for flash (good for blackening), sights may be adjusted or drilled, plates often have symbols and could be scratched up.
    • This helps you because you're then able to separate details, rather than paint over large sections deserving of more detail.
As practice, take a look around you as you're going about your daily life - even as you're sitting here reading this - and try to picture how objects break down into the various collections of items and features they're composed of.
eg: That mouse isn't just an object with a wire coming out of it - it's a hand rest, (with a pattern?) 2 buttons, (unless your Mac isn't that evolved yet) scroll wheel, possible side buttons, logo, wire, connector for the computer.

Let me give you a detailed example of each:

This Harlequin Wraithlord made for a very intimidating project. Looking over all that, you have to ask yourself, "Where to begin?" That's a question it's very easy to get stuck on, while the answer is quite simple. Rather than look at it as a single large project, break it down into steps.

  1. Remove everything from the sprues, clean them.
  2. Figure out the pose.
    1. How will you make things sturdy.
    2. Modify anything necessary.
  3. Make any other mods you wish to
  4. Prime
  5. Paint the Dreadnought
    1. Paint the blue, then metal, emblems, etc
  6. Create the base
    1. Gel and paint multiple layers.
  7. Paint the Wraithlord
    1. Paint the gold
    2. Paint the Green and White checks
    3. Paint the Red sections
    4. Paint the Purple sections
    5. etc
  8. Glue
    1. touch up paint
  9. Varnish
Each section actually breaks down further as you spread a highly detailed project out over a long period of time, creating yourself lots of mini projects:
  1. Paint the Dreadnought
    1. Paint the Blue
      1. Paint CC arm
        1. Hand
        2. Wrist
        3. Shoulder
      2. Paint gun arm
        1. Shoulder
        2. Ammo box
      3. Paint the backpack
        1. Left stack
        2. Right stack
        3. Center
      4. Paint the body
        1. Faceplate
        2. Top center
        3. Left shoulder face
        4. Left shoulder top
        5. Right shoulder face
        6. Right shoulder top
        7. Left shoulder joint
        8. Right shoulder joint
        9. Undercarriage
What I've done is treated every tiny section of the Dreadnought as if it were it's own model, deserving of the same time and effort. Yes, if you look at that entire to-do list, you're going to freak out a little - stop. Don't look at the entire list, look at step number 1, and do it. Part of all this is mindset, because a big list can still be a big scary list, so just keep telling yourself it's one step at a time.

It's worth noting that on large scale projects like this, I prefer to separate tasks by paint colour, not physical section. This means on the Dreadnought, I paint all the blue, then all the metal, then emblems, etc... rather than painting everything on one arm, then the other arm, then the backpack, etc. The reason for this is consistency - you want everything to appear uniform, and the more time between sections means you might not get a colour, highlight or shadow to match a previous area.

tire images from www.ghostwood.org
Another example is this: when I begin my PostApocalyptiBuggy, one of the things I'll work on are the tires. Some people would just paint the tire and move on to the next section... instead, I will:

  • Build Tire
    • Worn, therefor file corners
    • Aged, therefor add cracks to rubber.
    • Winter, therefor add chains
      • Aged, therefor some links will be broken / hanging
      • Worn, therefor file some links
    • Wheel Wells
      • Scavenging, therefor some bolts may be missing
      • Rusted, chip corners
  • Paint Tire
    • Prime
    • Paint Tire
      • Black
      • Worn rubber sections are lighter grey
    • Paint chains
      • Silver
      • Aged/Worn, dull and scuff driven on areas.
    • Paint Wheel Wells
      • Metallic
        • aged, paint chips
      • Rust
  • Weather
    • Snow would get caught in links and treads.
      • Older caught snow would be dirtier
    • Make snow on base appear driven on
      • treads
      • chain with the treadmarks
Look at all that - that's just for a tire, and this is just thinking ahead. Each section of this project is going to involve me sitting down at my desk and thinking "What can I do?" and then going to town modifying.


The Big Picture is Still Important

Just because you're approaching a task by treating every little section as it's own, doesn't mean you can ignore the big picture. No matter what, you need an idea of what the final project should be. You may be able to break a project into smaller objects, but without an idea of the final product, how are you to know what smaller details to add? That doesn't mean finalize all the details before you begin, because more ideas will come during the creative process as you work.

Continuing with the tire example:
  • If I didn't plan that the vehicle was for a post apocalyptic world, I wouldn't know to add features of age and wear
  • If I hadn't decided to set the vehicle in a snow environment, I wouldn't be planning the proper weathering or features. (chains)
  • This means that without some idea of the bigger picture, I'd have bought a model vehicle kit, and just built it stock - straight from the box, as if it had just come off the assembly line.


Feature Creep

via Maximum Heresy
This may or may not be an issue for you, and generally will only occur during the modding stage. If the creative process takes over while you're modding, you can quickly find that the picture is much larger than you originally intended. That's what we call "feature creep" or "scope creep". In the business world, this is a bad thing, because we have deadlines. In the hobby world, we sometimes have deadlines (such as a painting competition or a tournament) and usually have at least another project we'd like to work on after the current one.

Extra features can also detract from a project. An extreme example would be making a sleek sci-fi vehicle, then adding all sorts of sci-fi doo-dads - now instead of smooth and sleek, we have something covered in knick-knacks.

Compare your additions to your original picture of the project, because lots of tiny little extras can make something appear far too busy and actually destroy the image. If the sky's the limit, you're not ruining the project by adding too much and you don't care how long a project will take, then keep on working.

Monday, February 07, 2011


Weekly Update and Return from Hiatus

Last Week at Wargaming Tradecraft


I return! (hopefully)
Mostly settled in at the new apartment and the new job starts today. Looking forward to getting back to the hobbying! (Lets hope the on-call duties aren't too heavy and disrupt things.)

This is also the final week for the CONTEST.. it wraps up Friday, and by all means, tell your friends and shamelessly plug it!
I'm also looking for more content from people for the next leg of Back to Basics, where you provide photos of your first and newest minis, and optionally a blurb on hobbying. (And some advertising for your own site) Details are also on the contest link.

I missed posting these updates last week due to moving and no internet, so here's the last two weeks:

On the Blog-Fu front, some tips on Blog Stats and how to Index Your Blog, making it somewhat website-like. I posted for House of Paincakes with how to find Cheap Army Containers.

There's also some interesting commentary at Porky's on fate in roleplaying games.. read the update, then use the link in it to find the original article.


Also, as you can see, new layout to the weekly updates. Hopefully this will make the mess of links a little more legible, and depending on the type of hobbyist you are, you can skip links in categories that don't interest you.

*Blog-Fu TIP - I've used text-based headings with backgrounds so that translate tools can pick them up.

Last Week in the Community


I came across a newish blog that seems to have some good tips: http://paintingmum.blogspot.com/

Charity


via MassiveVoodoo
Some master painters are painting up minis to be raffled off for charity. Full details here: http://frothersunite.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=27039

Contests




Miniature Wargame Conversion also has a contest, just be a follower! http://miniaturewargameconversions.blogspot.com/2011/02/another-raffle-prize-and-soh-army-list.html


Tutorials


And CVinton offers some tips on expanding your army by reusing models with magnets: http://darkfuturegaming.blogspot.com/2011/01/wargaming-on-budget-expanding-your-army.html

Building a tabletop for wargaming that fits on an existing table: http://bloodofkittens.com/blog/2011/02/03/hobby-for-nothing-roll-for-deployment/

Ron shows off modelling cables: http://fromthewarp.blogspot.com/2011/01/modeling-power-cables.html

Sandstone/Limestone cliff faces: http://thepaintingcorps.blogspot.com/2011/02/friday-quick-tip-sandstonelimestone.html

Roman at Massive Voodoo has a great base tutorial: http://massivevoodoo.blogspot.com/2011/02/base-of-arkvenger.html
and another on making moss: http://massivevoodoo.blogspot.com/2011/02/tutorial-how-to-create-dosh.html

Tips


Some tips on frugalnomics: http://yearoffrugalgaming.blogspot.com/2011/01/frugalnomics-lesson-1-false-economy.html

Porky has some brainstorming tips: http://theporkster.blogspot.com/2011/02/triffles-1-6.html

Gallery


I'm linking this because it makes me nostalgic enough that I might put "Epic Scale" on my to-do list, and pull out my first army ever. http://wargamingworkshop.wordpress.com/   (Here's an example of what epic scale is all about, from his blog: http://wargamingworkshop.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/epic-chaos-khorne-tray.jpg )

wow.. http://trueminiwargamer.blogspot.com/2011/01/feel-love-power.html

Old School shows off more beautiful minis he found on the forums: http://darkfuturegaming.blogspot.com/2011/02/it-came-from-forums-marco-schulzes-hive.html
Goes to show that stance and posing can have a great affect on how your minis look.

Great lookin Nurgle: http://www.rollwithit.org.uk/?p=2669

Musing


Loq is looking for feedback on what makes our roleplaying characters enjoyable: http://aychplace.blogspot.com/2011/02/rpg-characters.html

Saturday, February 05, 2011


Off-Topic: The D1

There's a lot of interesting talk over at Porky's Expanse regarding the topic of non-rollable dice.

It's turned into a great discussion and you're going to need to read through all the comments to get a greater understanding of what's going on and how we got to the conclusions we've reached, however this is about where we're at: (some of us word each slightly different, but mean the same things.. you really need to read through the comments)

D = character fate, which is the sum of all the following. It's a way to describe the events that happen in a roleplaying game.

D0 = no control or options / impossibility (narrative by the GM)
"You are paralyzed, this is what you see"
"You are in a cage, anything you do provokes a prod from a sharp stick, this is what happens..."
"You have no climbing gear and the wall is smooth obsidian and hard as steel, no you can't climb it."
"It is dark; you are eaten by a grue."

D0.# or D#/#<1 = free will (random vs GM/fate)
"I will turn in for the night, rather than talk to the stranger by the fireplace."
"I decide to not save the villagers."
"I'll take a right at this junction."
"I place the bag of holding in the other bag of holding."

D1 = certainty
"Here is the equipment I want to buy."
"My level 20 ranger doesn't buy provisions and lives off the forest as we travel." ("OK, you don't have to roll for that")
"You travel for two days before you see the castle on the horizon.
"As you approach the castle, this is what you see..."

D1+ = chance (random vs character/person) (D6, D10, D20, etc)
"Roll to see if you hit."
"The monsters rolled D6 damage on you."
"There's a chance this vendor doesn't carry that equipment."




To further things along, we're considering that the negative sign suggests entropy. That is, things nobody has planned for - situations that end up reactive, possibly due to mistakes or the subconscious. If the player makes a mistake, but the GM planned for many outcomes to handle the players, (or perhaps another player planned for)  that's a normal situation as described above. If the player makes a mistake that nobody planned for, it would be a -D0.# or -D1




To put it all together:


D =  D0 (GM says you come upon a village in distress) + D1/2 (Will players decide to help?) + D1 (purchase normal supplies) + D100 (purchase unusual supplies) -D0.5 (players accidentaly kill only person who knows the way to the dungeon while interrogating them)  + D3 (chance to find dungeon) + 3D10 ( chance to survive traps) + 10D6 (battles) + 1D20 (helpful lost adventurer) -2D10 (damage that inflicts player death)






We'd love some more input, so if you think this is something to could get into discussing, by all means, join in. I'd ask comments be left in the main thread at Porky's so we can have a greater discussion. Again, I strongly suggest reading through all the comments to see how we came to these decisions.

Friday, February 04, 2011


Contest: One Week Left

There's just one week left to enter the Back to Basics Contest and win yourself a free miniature!

This isn't limited to Canada, I'll ship to the US and overseas, so hurry up and enter!

If you've joined as a Follower or the Facebook page, but haven't emailed me (I'm pretty sure there's some and I've been watching my spam filters) then don't forget because I wouldn't want anyone to miss out because they forgot to shoot a quick email.

These may be table-top quality miniatures, but they make for great tutorial pieces.

Thursday, February 03, 2011


Blog Stats

There's a lot of different ways that you can track the readership of your blog. While I'm going to cover them here, I want to first briefly talk about both why stats are helpful and why you shouldn't get caught up over them.

There's a few different types of stats:

  • Passive Stats
    • Gathered by the act of someone viewing your website - they don't have to do anything besides show up.
  • Active Stats
    • Methods where people choose to participate in your blog, such as clicking Follow in Google Friend Connect or reading your RSS feed
    • They also have to go out of their way to unsubscribe.
  • Mixed
    • People leaving comments is kind of a mix of both active and passive because they have to actively get involved to post a comment, but they don't have to do anything to stop commenting. (Besides not showing up)

Note, while I'm including pictures from my blog stats, most specific numbers have been removed.

How important your stats are is up to you and depends on the reason you write. The more personal your blog is, the less it matters who's following you - I'm not saying your readers and their feedback are unimportant, I'm just saying don't freak out if your numbers drop or they're not raising high enough for your liking.

If you're trying to write and help the community, then low numbers are something to be concerned about, but they can be interpreted different ways. Again, don't freak out, because there are a number of things that can impact your stats and there are ways to handle it - but it's at least worth looking into if any of the following items could be a factor to why people are losing interest:
  • What you're talking about simply doesn't interest your followers.
    • Change your topics or seek a different audience... eg: gaming vs painting.
  • The way you write could need tweaking.
    • Strong language, poor grammar, intense tone, stereotyping, etc
  • Perhaps you've been on the same topic for too many weeks
  • How much do you interact with your readers?
    • If you ignore your readers, they'll pick up on it.
  • It could be something as simple as needing pictures or better pics.
  • It might not even be related to something you're doing:
    • Numbers will drop (average back down) if you had a sudden surge from a very popular article
      (Ask any Jedi how "bringing balance to the force" worked out for them)
    • Holidays often see drops as people are busy...
    • while vacation periods can see raises and/or drops in activity.
      • Some people go away on vacation, some stay home, which could balance out.
    • People go on hiatus from topics sometimes, not following a particular theme for months.
Something to really watch for is if your active stats start to drop - if people stop commenting or go out of their way to unFollow you, it's time to look at what you're doing. (again, only if you're writing for others and not yourself)

Something else to be aware of, is that the ratio of readers/views to comments is usually large. That is to say you won't get many comments until your readership grows significantly, and even then, maybe only now and then.

Note, I'm not commenting here on Google Analytics or Microsoft Webmaster Tools as I've had a lot of varying results using them, and they seem wayyyyyyyyyyy off from what all my other stat tools report. Therefor, I don't use them. If in the future I do, I'll talk about them then.

Blogger Stats (built in)

If you visit http://draft.blogger.com and click the "Stats" link (unless Google's already rolled Stats into their normal platform) you can see a lot of information on how well your blog is doing. All sections can be sorted by Now, Day, Week, Month or All Time. Monthly is a good view for your overall stats and trends, while daily is a good view when trying to find out specifically how certain posts are doing and where they're being referenced from. This doesn't include your RSS traffic. (scroll down)

You can see your daily readership stats graphed, but keep in mind the things that can affect your stats. Also a spike at a particular point will make the rest of your stats appear smaller - don't be concerned with all the little dips and spikes, the average should be what you're interested in.

The Posts section will show you which posts are the most popular. This should give you an indication of what your readers enjoy and what gets linked to other people more.

Keep in mind, these are people who've directly linked to a particular post. For example:

My number 1 post is: http://nplusplus.blogspot.com/2010/11/bringing-new-style-to-hobby.html (the direct link to the post if you click on the post's title) but during that time I also had a ton of hits to just my website at http://nplusplus.blogspot.com which doesn't get counted toward any post in particular.

There's an Audience tab which is kind of informative as it's neat to see what operating system and web browser people are using. (No, it doesn't actually connect this to anyone in particular, just overall stats)

There is a section that shows the stats by country, but after using RevolverMaps, it doesn't seem too accurate.
The stat I'm a big fan of is Traffic Sources, which displays who is linking to your blog and from where. It doesn't display all of them, just the top ones.

Referring URLs shows what articles and sites are linking your content either in posts or from their public blog list. (Post often to be at the top of those rolls)

Referring Sites shows just the top sites linking to you, ignoring specific articles.

Check this in Day view to see how new posts are received. This was how I was able to follow conversations on forums about my Bringing a New Style to the Hobby post.

The reason I ended up deciding to display my blogroll publicly, was because I saw I was getting lots of traffic from other people's sites. Seeing blog lists are actually useful made me want to give back to the people I read.

These also break down even more. You might have a link from "http://sonsoftaurus.blogspot.com/2011/01/seriously-you-arent-following-these-yet.html" and also see it listed as "http://sonsoftaurus.blogspot.com/2011/01/seriously-you-arent-following-these-yet.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+SonsOfTaurus+(Sons+of+Taurus)". The reason you're seeing two is because that second one with all that extra junk is an RSS referral - so, someone who follows (in this case) Sons of Taurus' RSS feed, clicked through to read his post in their web browser, THEN clicked on the link to your blog.

RSS and Feedburner

If you decide to redirect your RSS feed to a service like Google Feedburner, then you can also track those who follow RSS feeds. (clicky for a tutorial) The nice thing about this, is that RSS traffic is a number of guaranteed readers (almost) every day, rather than people who have your site bookmarked and view it when they feel like it.

You'll notice that there are two things being graphed. The first is the larger green stat called "Subscribers" which isn't exact and is sometimes averaged.

Next is the "Reach" stat which will be smaller and is directly tied to when you post new articles. Reach is a measure of people interacting with your posts. (clicking pictures, links, etc) This is another way to tell how your articles are received; do they want to see larger detailed photos, are they interested in what you're linking to, etc?

People whose RSS feeds only show the introduction to a post, forcing readers to click through to their blogs will have a higher reach as people interested in the article have to visit their website to read the whole thing. (However I find these a pain - I use RSS to move away from websites, not to add one more step to reading news)

Google Friend Connect

You've seen it on most sites, and nobody actually has to click "Follow" to read someone's blog. It doesn't send messages between users or show when somebody's online. So, why / what is it?

Other people might use this differently, but I look at it this way:

If there's a blog that's particularly caught my eye and stood out somehow from all the others I read, I'll hit "Follow" to add my stamp of approval. Then when someone views my profile, they can see every blog that I've gone out of my way to say "You're alright in my book." (It is possible to Follow invisibly, so they won't show up, but what's the point in that?)

Any blogs you follow also show up in your blog list when you first login to Blogger. (I use Google Reader to follow RSS though)

Revolver Maps

If you want to see where your readers are geographically, this is a site that lets you customize a little plugin that can be added to your site as HTML. It tracks locations of people and saves them under your blog's address. You can have just a static image, a rotating earth or even a sphere users can interact with.

This will display all the viewers of your site on the globe, and you can visit the RevolverMaps site to see it in more detail.

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