’s contact email doesn’t work

At least, it doesn’t in Firefox on this computer. Here.

Fill out the form and it won’t send.

Is this me being an idiot or are they all sitting there in Menlo Park wondering why no one seems to be interested in their plans?

Hmm, works under chrome. How odd.

59 thoughts on “’s contact email doesn’t work”

  1. bloke (not) in spain

    It’s a problem I had, myself, this morning. Completed a login form, hit enter & the page cycled to another blank login form.
    Sometimes disabling Adblock on the page works. Othertimes I suppose the script’s not Firefox friendly or something.

  2. This is a bit like complaining that someone’s automatic phone menu system doesn’t recognise the pulses from your old rotary phone.

    Tim, it’s long past time to switch from Firefox.

  3. The standard of developers on the web is now so poor that many only test in Chrome, ironic considering the moral panic about one browser dominating the web (Internet Explorer) that led to the Firefox movement. Apparently the rule is that it’s unacceptable for the industry to be dominated by overt capitalists (Microsoft) but creepy weirdos who want every iota of data about you to sell to advertisers and dream of running your whole life (Google) are fine. Because, free stuff.

  4. Bilbaoboy>

    Do you mean why doesn’t it work on FF, or why to switch?

    The former, it’s because FF now has ~10% market share, so it’s normally not worth coding for the browser’s quirks anymore.

    The latter, because FF has been shit for a long, long time. It was struggling to hold its own against IE before Chrome came out, and has been third best (at most) ever since. Arguably the last time FF was a competitive browser was before IE7 was released – so nearly a decade ago.

  5. Ian>

    Actually, apart from the tiny minority of fanboys, the browser market is all about who has the best browser. And Chrome is leaps and bounds ahead of FF these days, and competitive with IE – IE and Chrome fill slightly different niches, and either can be better depending on circumstances.

  6. Personally I consider Chrome to be malware; it is installed on computers by devious means and enables Google to start harvesting data from naive users. It’s also a bloody awful browser, unless you like being treated like a three year old.

    Google is one of those rare corporate cases where I can see a good argument for regulators stepping in and ordering the management to be sent to a savage island where they must fight for their lives using only twigs as weapons until consumed by wild beasts.

    Any developer who is so shit that he can’t make his code work on anything other than webkit should have his kneecaps broken, or at least go work in that sector of the market characterised by the question, “you want fries with that?”.

    Microsoft have only ever wanted our money. Google want us to be driven around in a little clown car that tells us where we ought to go regardless of where we actually want to go. A curse on them.

  7. Cor, that’s a bit crap. There’s no need for this. For years, it’s been the case that you build a standards-compliant site then add some shims to fix Internet Explorer bugs. They’ve even disabled console logging on the page… maybe should have debugged it first – it’s a javascript problem.

    As for Chrome, it’s designed to run web apps, and it’s very good. Google’s a fabulous company, vastly innovative and they’ve proved the power of letting people free to invent.

    Microsoft’s strategy of monopoly, incompatibility and patent trolling combined with sluggishness was always going to explode. They’re the most anti-market firm of the past 25 years.

  8. Difficult!

    I always had great respect for Ian B’s comments and I can see his point re google and data harvesting… but I can also sympathise with Peter Risdon’s point.

    Any more considerations which option a tech-challenged generally libertarian individual might want to bear in mind?

    PS I abandoned FF ages ago and switched to Chrome and found it generally pretty good.

  9. bloke (not) in spain

    I run FF both as the Onion Browser & as a browser that runs directly on a key drive for when I’m using machines I don’t own.

    I haven’t the slightest intention of sharing my browsing habits with f***ng Google. As far as I’m concerned, you go FF compliant or you don’t exist.

  10. I use Firefox. I’ve tried Chrome but I found that it’s memory consumption becomes very high when using large number of tabs. Firefox is generally good and has many useful add-ons.

    In general web-authors should be careful about compatibility. Take a look at browser usage stats on wikipedia. Even the ones that report the % for Chrome only report ~50%. The rest is mostly made up of IE(~25%) & Firefox(~18%).

    Developers shouldn’t rely on features only offered by specific browsers or idiosyncratic interpretation of the specs. Not just because it blocks out a large percentage of potential users, but also because often those features are changed or deprecated at short notice.

  11. bloke (not) in spain

    Out of interest, if anyone knows of a secure browser, please share. I’ll give it a try. And if it works, maybe the developer’ll sell me a copy.
    Like I don’t use freemail for anything important, I don’t trust things I don’t pay for with real money.

  12. As for Chrome, it’s designed to run web apps, and it’s very good.

    It’s designed to lock people into the Google ecosystem, and it’s very good at that.

    Microsoft opened up computing by selling products people actually were prepared to pay for. At the risk of sounding like Ironman, if I see a shopkeeper selling sweets to children, it doesn’t bother me. If somebody’s hanging around the school gates giving them away, then I get concerned.

    Twenty years from now, when you missed that appointment because you were stuck in a clown car with no steering wheel that decided you ought to drive slowly past Google advertising clients along the way, you’ll realise the problem.

  13. bloke (not) in spain

    To riff off of Ian there, I use Google Translate a fair bit. But I’m well aware the translation’s happening on Google’s servers, not here. I own very professional, comprehensive bloody expensive translation software that’ll perform without a net connection in sight. I know its limitations. Of its own & in relation to the hardware it’s running on.
    I’d be very suspicious of things like Chrome & lot of Apple stuff because exactly where is it running? Who are you sharing your stuff with? It’s like the story of the smart TVs going around. Capturing audio via the voice recognition software. WTF do you expect?

  14. Bloke in Costa Rica

    All browsers suck. Chrome just sucks in different ways that many people find less disagreeable. I like Firefox, although to great extent it’s just muscle memory that I’ve built up over many years of using it. In terms of implementing emerging standards Firefox and Chrome are neck-and-neck. IE has caught up to a degree, but there are still non-trivial numbers of people using pre IE-10 versions which do not implement a lot of very important HTML5 and CSS3 features. Opera and Safari are good at keeping abreast of things too.

    There is a reason so many people use jQuery, even though it’s quite a heavyweight library: it abstracts away a lot of the cross-browser stuff which is normally such a headache. Ideally every web developer in the world would simultaneously go on strike and refuse to support IE and it could die quickly. But failing that, you simply cannot ignore a segment of your potential user base bigger than 1% or so. I have abandoned support for IE 7 and lower but sadly IE 8/9 still represent a fraction of users that is too big to reject. So I don’t get universal support for cool things like the FileReader API and have to fall back for IE. Now apparently Microsoft are abandoning it altogether and replacing it with ‘Spartan’, which no doubt will come with a fresh crop of ulcerative incompatibilities.

  15. Microsoft did not ‘open up computing’. They loaded bogus error messages into W3.11 that knocked out, fraudulently, some of the best technologies of the day, DRDOS, the GEM windowing environment and others. By the time they settled out of court, it cost them less than a billion dollars.

    They locked people into IE6 and just stopped developing it. Their OS was so piss poor people actually wrote their own, collaboratively, for free so they could have something reasonable to use.

    This is a very clear situation.

    As for Google, don’t use their stuff if you don’t want to. The idea that other firms harvest less data is risible.

  16. We went from a pluralistic environment to one where most people were forced to use something so deeply vulnerable and insecure that botnets became big business. We’re only now starting to emerge from that swamp.

  17. We went, broadly speaking, from Netscape to IE (remember the old “works best in Netscape 4.7, 800×600, 256 or more colors” notes on websites?) Now we seem to be entering a much more serious monoculture, and the curious thing is that the people who complained last time are all clapping like seals. How queer.

  18. I do remember ‘Works best in’ labels on sites. The resolution and colour depth were functions of the client computer, of course.

    The ‘works best in…’ really took off when MS made IE incompatible with other browsers and people developed sites just for it which really didn’t work well or at all in anything else. It gained 95% market share at its peak. You could almost call it a monoculture, unlike today where we have a plurality of browsers and platforms with the dominant browser (across all platforms including mobile) having about 50%.

    Which is not a monoculture. That was a very strange comment indeed.

  19. BICR has it right. Pete and Ian seem to be irrational fanboys, stuck in the nineties. B(n)iS seems rational, but to have heard a bit of the fanboyism and not realised it’s rubbish.

    “I haven’t the slightest intention of sharing my browsing habits with f***ng Google. As far as I’m concerned, you go FF compliant or you don’t exist.”

    You can use Chrome without sharing any data. If you do share a bit of data, though, you’ll rapidly realise it’s an excellent trade. The search autocompletes alone are worth sharing your searches for.

    And as far as web developers are concerned, you’re part of an insignificant minority whose business isn’t worth catering for until you’re talking about really large-scale sites. That’s just the way of things with a minority browser.

  20. Current>

    “I’ve tried Chrome but I found that it’s memory consumption becomes very high when using large number of tabs.”

    That’s undoubtedly true. It’s Chrome’s one major downside, from a technical point of view. Firefox is hardly any better, though.

    Oddly enough, IE is by far the best browser if you’re memory limited. I have an old box sitting in the corner as NAS, and it only has a gig of ram in it, though quite a decent processor for a 10-15yo PC. It barfs when you ask it to run Chrome, it won’t even open FF, but it’ll run IE9 quite happily, dealing with modern, complex websites without a hitch.

    I still use Chrome elsewhere, but I’m quite impressed with modern IE.

  21. Google is an interesting business, if you look at them seriously. They’ve developed the best index of human knowledge so far, which is a remarkable achievement. They’re starting to put Wolfram Alpha style knowledge-searching algorithms into search, which is useful. They’ve digitised a huge number of books, which is enormously significant.

    But more than this, they’ve found a way for large businesses to free people up to innovate internally, with Google Time, flat hierarchies and a very open internal culture. The consequent rate of innovation is breathtaking and quite unlike any other large firm ever. The closest you’d get might be some of the baby Bell labs, but these followed a break-up of a large business.

    In contrast, Microsoft were very innovative legally, with contractual tie-ins, lawfare, patent trolling and FUD. Technically, not so much. XMLHttpRequest as important, but most of their other stuff came from acquisition, adoption (especially from Novell) and imitation. They’ve been clueless about the way the industry has developed, not even building a TCP/IP stack into W95A, and having to quickly grab FreeBSD’s and retro-fit it.

    Now they’ve almost completely copied UNIX, with GUI-less ‘core’ installs recommended for Server 2012 and Powershell scripting to manage everything. They’ve done this because they got it wrong, and UNIX got it right.

  22. So, we have the two Google fanboys Dave and Peter, one saying it isn’t a monoculture and the other saying it is- apparently anything other than Chrome is a “minority browser” that is “not worth catering to”, which funnily enough was precisely the problem complained about with IE.

    Why did IE dominate for a while? They gave it away free with the OS, and it was better than Netscape, which ran into a wall (anyone remember the ludicrously bad “layers” for DHTML?).

    The funny thing about Google is that they’re very bad at ideas; numerous big ideas have been dropped- Wave, Gears, the ridiculous Glass, they’ve cancelled their giant barges, not to forget hoping that giving away Sketchup would marshal millions of people into providing them with 3D content. Nice try, heh. They are very poor at ideas. They’re good at giving away basic stuff in return for advertising (search, email, youtube) and that’s it; but then they didn’t invent search, webmail or YouTube, which is probably why they’re not crap like Arse and Google Clown Car.

    They were lucky; Brin’s single obsession (data mining) led them into search at just the right time, though I’ve always strongly suspected that their success was more due to (a) a simple interface when the rest of the industry thought the future was overstuffed “portals” and (b) the image search, for porn. The PageRank algorithm initially gave them more meaningful results over Altavista, but that hasn’t been any kind of edge for many years.

    Microsoft on the other hand built a bunch of really useful software, and the right operating systems for the market, and actually sold them to people. Without Microsoft, we wouldn’t be where we are with computing; there’d probably still be just a minority paying top dollar to be in Apple’s walled garden, and boffins using Unix. But everyone hates Bill Gates because he wrote a letter asking a bunch of leftie hippies not to steal his software, and for that he has never been forgiven because capitalism is evil, etc etc.

    And Digital Research were dead in the water the day they turned down IBM. I remember DRDOS. It was pretty good. But for most people, PC/MSDOS was fine. It ran WordPerfect and Lotus 123 and that was all that mattered, then.

  23. My brother in law is something seriously fucking massive in computers, like he makes millions out of it, and is always flying off to Silicon Valley or India or somewhere, and is out-earned by his missus who makes even more millions.

    They both swear by Firefox.

    Always works well for me too.

    My wife is more techy than me, I’m a punch it if it doesn’t work sort of chap. She’s on Chrome – I think, though she denies it, mostly because her brother says she should be on Firefox – and is always complaining about it.

  24. Ian, Gears was used to bring some features of HTML5 into play before they were properly available, especially local storage but not just that. Now they are part of the standard and widely supported it’s been dropped. It was only meant as a temporary measure. They did this in a way that wasn’t limited to their own browser.

    Wave was part of their continuing attempt to replace email, which goes back more than 35 years and is an incredibly ancient technology. This will take a few goes to get right – Inbox is the latest foray, though it looks quite like an ordinary email client they’re again merging various types of messaging, as they have with Gmail and Hangouts.

    Ditto wearable computers, which will come. This is why they release stuff through ‘labs’. It’s ideas that they’re trying. Only with market acceptance do products graduate to full release. Gmail went through the same cycle, being launched as a Lab ‘beta’ after being developed in Google Time for internal use. Ditto Earth, Maps, StreetView and other things we just take for granted now. All this from a company barely 15 years old.

    Their strategy is to throw loads of ideas out, which they’re able to do with their unusual internal structures and working patterns, and see what’s adopted. As our host reminds people from time to time, you can’t second-guess the market. This is as true for companies as it is for politicians.

    Your comments just show a lack of understanding, I’m afraid. They’re not meaningful criticism of Google, because the company works like this deliberately and it’s been hugely successful. As for search, Brin wasn’t lucky. He tackled the problem everyone was tackling at the time (Alta Vista, Ask Jeeves, InfoSeek, Excite, WebCrawler, Yahoo, Lycos, LookSmart, Hotbot, Overture, AllTheWeb). And he got it more right than anyone else, which is a great achievement.

    Without MS we’d have always had a choice of OS for PC architecture. It’s as simple as that. We did in the 1980s and for a time MS had to keep adding features to their DOS to equal CDOS and then DRDOS. Then they more or less stopped, while DR added readline, history and DOS web and email clients.

    Now we do again, which means we have better computing options. Most serious computing now uses OSs other than MS.

    It’s not just Google, though. Amazon is an amazingly innovative business and their aws stuff is far superior to anyone else’s ‘cloud’ services. Both companies make really open technology with scripting hosts or libraries and well-featured APIs. Apple makes terrific consumer electronics which has made it the world’s largest company – people who talk about it as though it’s still a niche business for hipsters and designers making the equivalent of Bentleys (as in the 1990s) just isn’t keeping up.

    MS bought DOS, copied Windows, bought Office, copied Active Directory from NDS, and so on. Get real here.

  25. Oh, and I use FF for browsing and development, because I prefer the tools, and Chrome for web apps, which it is designed for and runs better than anything else. Both sync beautifully across all my platforms.

  26. Google didn’t invent search, but they did it better than anyone else at the time (and arguably, still do.) Anyone else remember With the horribly cluttered results page. Google by contrast rendered in a fraction of the time and gave better results too.

    Netscape shot themselves in the head with the Netscape 4 rewrite. Jamie Zawinski summarises some of the problems with it here: (BTW, don’t look at if you need to do any work for the rest of the day!)

    Microsoft basically churned out buggy, bloated, slow, insecure shit. As has been mentioned above, all their innovations came from the legal department. I’m surprised programmers haven’t launched a class-action libel suit, for making us all look like numpties.

  27. And compare the ‘release lots and see what people like’ approach with the strategy of releasing one thing, and trying to force it down people’s throats if it’s a turkey (Millennium, Vista, 8).

    NT4 was good (bought in, VMS kernel), SBS2003 was a real winner. XP was good, 7 was good. But instead of building on what people want to use, the Global Domination strategy requires you to have a fucking mobile-first interface on a server if you want a GUI on 2012.

  28. Excellent links BiW. “If you want to do something that’s going to change the world, build software that people want to use instead of software that managers want to buy.”

  29. So Much for Subtlety

    Ian B – “Apparently the rule is that it’s unacceptable for the industry to be dominated by overt capitalists (Microsoft) but creepy weirdos who want every iota of data about you to sell to advertisers and dream of running your whole life (Google) are fine. Because, free stuff.”

    It is not so much that Microsoft are capitalists, it is that they are such bad capitalists. Virtually everyone’s software is better and always has been. When even Apple can write a vastly better operating system for Windows than Microsoft can, you realise they have a problem.

    I liked Firefox. I remember the glory days when it first came out because Microsoft was destroying competition in not-very-nice ways. But on the other hand, they fired Brendan Eich because he donated a trivial sum of money to a political cause supported by President Obama. It was either spineless or totalitarian. Boycott the f*ckers. Either Chrome or IE is less objectionable.

  30. I’m still on XP and am putting off starting up the learning curve of learning something else until I absolutely have to.

    I like Explorer, but I was increasingly finding that websites just didn’t work on Explorer 7 or 8, especially bloggy type things, and they won’t let me have the new versions of Explorer on XP.

    Firefox was nice but crashed a lot, especially when I had lots of tabs open at once, and when it crashed it wouldn’t find the pages I had been working on.

    Chrome would freeze up when I had several (not even lots of) tabs open, but adding a flash blocker to it now seems to have solved that. It still crashes from time to time, but at least I can get back to where I was fairly easily.

    However Chrome doesn’t seem to download things properly (particularly programmes or pdfs), so I have to use Explorer for those.

    Anyway, that’s where I am. Can any of you more knowledgeable people suggest anything better, or are you still sniggering because I’m still using XP?

  31. SMFS, don’t you mean Eich donated money to a cause by Obama? Didn’t he do a fence-sitting where he said he opposed gay marriage but also opposed constitutional attempts to ban it?

  32. SMFS, don’t you mean Eich donated money to a cause “opposed” by Obama? Didn’t Obama do a fence-sitting where he said he opposed gay marriage but also opposed constitutional attempts to ban it?

  33. That’s got to be your setup or the shit software (firefox/chrome) you’re dealing with. if the underlying stuff works, then it’;s not their fault. Your setup

  34. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Richard, it’s time to upgrade. XP is 14 years old. Tht’s the same vintage as OS X Puma or the 2.4 Linux kernel. If you don’t want to a) switch platforms or b) go to the latest and greatest release then Windows Server 2008 R2 is a good compromise. It’ll run quite acceptably on a £200 second-hand machine with 4GB of RAM.

  35. So Much for Subtlety

    Richard – “don’t you mean Eich donated money to a cause “opposed” by Obama? Didn’t Obama do a fence-sitting where he said he opposed gay marriage but also opposed constitutional attempts to ban it?”

    Well Obama lied. One of his minions has just admitted as much. As we all knew. But Obama *said* he was opposed to Gay marriage. Eich donated to the “no” cause – for a referendum in California. I don’t know if Obama opposed that specific referendum or referenda in general, but he claimed to be on the same side as Eich.

    No one should ever use Firefox.

  36. bloke (not) in spain

    If you don’t want to have to learn a new system,don’t. I’ve a machine running W7 & another XP. But they’re both running in W2000 mode, so they’re indistinguishable.
    Presumably you can do the same with later releases.(?)

    XP does present a problem, though. I use it on the little netbook, goes everywhere with me. It’s dropped out of updating but the device hasn’t got the grunt to meet the minimum requirements for W8 or above. Looks like it’ll have to be Linux.
    And no, I don’t want a tablet. Horrible things.

  37. Thank you both; I didn’t realise W7 could be made to run like its predecessors.

    BiCR, why the server version rather than normal W7? Does it need less grunt?

    The other potential problem is that I’ve been told Office 2000 doesn’t work properly on anything after XP; don’t know if that’s true but from the odd times I’ve tried to use the newer versions that would be an even steeper learning curve than an upgraded windows.

  38. Every few years I read a thread like this and discover the browser I’ve been using without any problems (and assumed, based on what I was told 3-4 years ago, was the best out there) is actually totally shit and others are much better.

    Other than the “right-click translate” option with Chrome, I haven’t seen any discernible difference between it and FF in the past 3 years (I used FF at home and Chrome at work).

  39. Ideally every web developer in the world would simultaneously go on strike and refuse to support IE and it could die quickly. But failing that, you simply cannot ignore a segment of your potential user base bigger than 1% or so. I have abandoned support for IE 7 and lower but sadly IE 8/9 still represent a fraction of users that is too big to reject.

    I don’t know about others, but most corporations I have worked for use Microsoft OS and IE as the default browser, and don’t allow employees to install their own stuff (although somehow I managed to install Chrome on my current work laptop). Also, most corporations update their OS more slowly than individuals (Shell ran Win-98 up until 2009 IIRC). So unless people aren’t surfing the internet at work much, I don’t see how IE use is so low.

  40. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Richard, Server 2008 is basically Windows 7 with a few enterprise enhancements, the most important of which is Active Directories. This is pretty handy in an office environment. It boots a bit faster than Windows 7 and if you upgrade your machine it will handle up to 32 GB of RAM (in the standard edition, and even more in the enterprise edition) and 8 processor cores. For me, it’s the least objectionable version of Windows I’ve used (although I’m still firmly in the Unix camp for my primary development work i.e. Mac OS X and Linux).

  41. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Tim N.: all flavours of IE from 6 to 11 represent roughly 50% of user share at the moment, but 6 and 7 have dropped to sub-1% and can reasonably be ignored in new applications. This is good, because they were absolutely diabolical pieces of crap.

  42. bloke (not) in spain

    “it will handle up to 32 GB of RAM (in the standard edition, and even more in the enterprise edition)”

    This sort of thing always gets me. WTF uses 32GB of RAM? Why would one need 32GB of RAM to do e-mail & browse a few web pages, write the odd letter? I’ve an early Tosh running W95 does all that with about 25MB.
    This is one of the big problems with computers. The game-onanists drag everyone along with faster/more & we’re all obliged to spend fortunes we don’t need to.

  43. @TomJ (and Peter Risdon):

    I still use Opera 12, which was the final decent version before it turned into Chrome with a crap interface (v15). We’re now at v26 and they have restored a few of the things they got rid of (bookmarks (!!!), mouse gestures, some customisability) but you might as well be using the actual Chrome.

    I also use FF and PortableIron (which is Chrome) when O12 doesn’t work – which surprisingly isn’t too often, and is usually because I’ve blocked some ad Javascript anyway.

    My use of Opera 12 further supports Peter Risdon’s point about older browsers. However, the original developers of Opera have developed a new browser, Vivaldi, which seems to have brought back everything that was good about the old Opera yet also updated the rendering engine (I’ve downloaded it but not used it extensively yet as it takes some time to set up the way I like it – like most ex-Opera users).

    I use Win 2008 R2 because it is free from MS Dreamspark. I also use a Macbook Air when I travel. The only reason is because of the low weight.

    I would use Linux if I was rich. All my hardware comes with downloadable Win7 drivers. I bought an SSD and Win 2008 took 15 minutes to set up. I installed Linux (I won’t say which distro) on a spare drive and none of my hardware worked properly after 2 hours, at which point I went back to my money-making pursuits.

  44. JQ says:

    “I still use Opera 12”

    Opera 11 – I think that was because when I upgraded from 9, 12 still wasn’t doing bookmarks (or something like that, perhaps I need to look again?).

    Opera I regard as a Rottweiller (lots of toys like JS are easy to switch off by default, and just flick back on as needed) for the big bad world (especially research when you have no idea where you mind end up).

    IE is the Chihuahua – I use for a few regular, safe, logins etc, simply for the guaranteed functionality.

    Both sandboxed in any case…

  45. And thanks for that Vivaldi link. I’ve not come across it, I’ll take a good look at that.

    Linux – that’s what I want to do next. Mint should be an easy enough conversion? But buy it installed the first time, to avoid the issue you describe, and which gets one over the start line?

  46. I also use Opera – famous for inventing ‘porn mode’ browsing as well as mouse gestures, which I love.

    I don’t know why you’ve had problems installing Linux, though. Ubuntu and (Ubuntu-derived) Mint install easily on most hardware. The EFI BIOS safe boot stuff was a pain a year ago, but that’s more or less sorted now. I’ve done 20 or so Linux installs on various hardware this year and had few issues. One iffy wifi driver, and a problematic netbook I was sold at cost by a local dealer because Windows 7 won’t install on it either (safe boot).

  47. I notice there’s a psychological thing about Windows incumbency. If someone has a problem with Linux, they give it up; if they have a problem with Windows they persevere, forever sometimes, because it has incumbency, if you see what I mean.

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