So how AM I doing?

I'm doing well, for the most part.

After some coaxing, I thought I'd finally say the things here that I should have said on here for months now.

Before I get into the now, how, what and why, here's some backstory, and I'll take you step by step through the last few months, as I had planned to blog about it, but hadn't until now. I have Twittered on it a lot, but until now, no blog entry.

For those of you who have never met me, except for a few years in high school and at the start of university, I've been big most of my life. It's embarrassing to say how big I've really got. I hope by coming clean, my story can help others.

I had been considering weight loss surgery for the last two or three years. I was reluctant, and thought I should give it one last try the old fashioned way, like I did seven years ago. I'd say over the last two years, I started having issues I never had before. Over the last year, my health was just getting worse and worse, and I had enough. I realized it was time to take it off once and for all. Something needed to be done.

I came close to losing the weight seven years ago. I was 380 pounds then. I went on a low carb diet, got a gym membership and a trainer, and started working out like crazy. I had one point where I lost 29 pounds in 29 days. I thought I had it. I had lost over 100 pounds. However, that success was short lived. In November of that year, I switched jobs, and moved from Jacksonville, FL to Charleston, WV a few months into working out very hard. That move didn't go very smoothly. I started work 2 weeks later than I was supposed to, of no fault of my own. I was broke, and couldn't afford a gym membership, and had to use the crappy gym at the apartment building. The workouts slowed down and I eventually stopped working out. I lost my momentum. The weight loss slowed, then stopped, and then I gradually started putting it back on. After my mother passed away, and some other stress, the weight gain accelerated. By late 2004, I had gained all but about 25 pounds of it back. By 2006, I gained it all back. I fluctuated from that point on, but with my health worsening, it was time.

I had friends who had the surgery, my wife had it, and I knew it was the right thing and the right time to do it for me. Surgery is not a cop-out. You still have to do everything you'd do to lose the weight without surgery. It only makes it more difficult to overeat. It's an insurance policy, and if I do everything I am supposed to, I will lose the weight.

The weight loss process actually started months ago, June 25th to be exact. I weighed 378.5 pounds that day, the day I went to the surgery workshop.

What's worse? Two weeks later, at my family doctor, I gained and came in at 381, tied for my all-time high, which I set two years before.

On August 5th, I started six months of medically supervised weight loss, as per my insurance carrier. I weighed 375 that day, and was asked to lose 20 pounds in the next six months. It seemed attainable, though so far away.

A few weeks later, another trip to the family doctor, and tests were run, and for the first time in my life, I had type 2 diabetes. I had tested positive a few times, but this was the first time I had fasted before the test, so it was clear that I was diabetic. Though it wasn't high enough for insulin, I was put on metformin, a pill to help control blood sugar. That diabetes news made me more serious to lose than ever. It was quite a shock.

When you're told you need to lose 20 pounds in six months, you might do what I did at first, and not take it too seriously, even with the diabetes news. It seemed so far away that it was hard to take seriously even though it was more clear than ever I needed to lose the weight. The closer I got to the six month deadline, the more serious I got.

By MAX, I was down to 361 pounds, only six pounds from my goal, and that's the weight many of you saw me at last.

Somehow, a week away from home (vacation after MAX) and I gained ten back. I still can't figure out how because I didn't eat badly while I was away and got a lot of walking in. I had only about six weeks left in my six months, and I was at 371 - 16 pounds to lose! I was shocked, and still am about that weight gain, but that got me even more serious. Two weeks later, at my weigh-in, I got that 10 off and reached 360.4 pounds. A bad month, only .6 pounds lost, but my goal was still in reach and considering I got that 10 pounds I gained off, I was happy.

Thankfully, after six months, I reached my goal and a little more. I got down to 353 pounds, down 22 pounds over that six month period.

A month later, I got the call that I was approved for surgery, set for Feb. 27th.

Two weeks before the surgery, I was put on a strict 800-calorie liquid diet. Through that, I lost another 18 pounds. My weight the day before the surgery was 335.5 pounds.

The surgery itself went well. I was on my feet and walking the night of the surgery, and was out of the hospital in only two days. It was not that bad. I fought through the pain. My mother, may she rest in peace, told me that your only goal once you're in the hospital should be to get well enough as fast as you can to leave the hospital as soon as possible. I kept hearing her advice to me and she was right. She motivated me. Only two incisions caused any serious pain, but the major pain was something I wasn't prepared for: Gas. No, not that kind of gas!!! :) When they do laparoscopic surgery, they pump your cavity full of gas, and most of it stays in you. Once I realized that the pain medications they were giving me weren't doing anything for the majority of my pain, I realized it was gas pain, and although it was painful, I ignored it as best as I could. It took about a week to get rid of that gas, passing it as any other kind of gas, but I had to absorb it before I could release it! :)

The day after I got out of the hospital, I went to the gym. I started slow, on the treadmill only, and slowly increased my exercise routine over the next two months. Up until a few days ago, I have been working out 4-6 days per week.

Last Tuesday, April 28th, I officially broke the 300 pound milestone, weighing in at 295.1 lbs. That was a big milestone for me. To put that into perspective. I haven't been that low since before I was a user group manager, in early 2003. That means I've lost 83.4 pounds total, with 40.4 lost since the day before the surgery. Most of you reading this didn't even know who I was back then!

Unfortunately, the last few days have slowed me down a bit. I got rundown, had abdominal pains and became light-headed. I didn't drink enough, and I think my electrolytes or vitamin absorption is a little low. It could also be a flare up of diverticulosis. I am better now, but still not quite 100%, and I will probably see a doctor if I still don't feel quite right in a few days. I should be OK, I am better, but not 100% yet. I've still got occasional abdominal pain, but it's not like it was. At the time of writing, I haven't worked out since Tuesday, five days ago.

There are some things that it's difficult to get used to after surgery. You're not supposed to eat and drink at the same time. You are supposed to stop drinking 30 minutes before eating and not start drinking again until 30 minutes after eating. Sometimes, you have a hard time eating. You'll eat too fast, or too much, and it gets stuck. When that happens, it takes a while to get unstuck. Sometimes, you have the opposite: It takes you a long time between bites, and a meal lasts hours. When either of those happen, you can have a lot of trouble getting in enough fluids. You also have to make sure to get at least 60 grams of protein per day and it can be a challenge on those tough days. I get lots of protein some days, but the days you could dehydrate are also days when you might not get in enough protein.

It's late, and I really should go to bed, but before I do, it's been five days, and I haven't gotten in a workout. I vow to you that, despite the very late hour (and all of the edits I've made since posting this entry), I am about to go on our elliptical machine and get my first workout in since Tuesday. I've been busy today, and these two blog posts and one I made on the podcast blog didn't help me get down there any earlier, but I'm definitely well enough to workout, and I will after I stop editing this entry! As I said in my last blog entry, I can edit myself to death at times.

Update: Yes, despite the late hour, I did do an hour on the elliptical, which said I burned 833 calories. It was good to get that in, and get that workout in on the fifth day (though, technically, it was the sixth by then). So, I took four days off.

By cf.Objective(), in a week and a half, I will probably be under 290, which would mean I will have lost somewhere around 90 pounds total by then, assuming the last few days without working out haven't slowed down my weight loss too much.

What's my goal? Well, I'm keeping my goals small, and attainable. When I make that goal, it's time for the next goal.

My first goal was to get under 350, and I did that just before the surgery. Next was 320, which I made about one month after surgery. The 300 goal was next, and I passed that one on Tuesday (officially, but I unofficially passed it the Saturday before, when I weighed 298 at the gym). My next goal is 275, 20 pounds to go. That's another big milestone. During three previous weight loss attempts, including the attempt in 2002 and two earlier attempts where I started at a lower weight, I plateaued between 277-279 each time. Making it to 275 will mean that this attempt has been more successful than any other attempt to lose the weight in the last 15 years or so. Assuming I make the 275 goal, my next goal will be 250. Other goals I've thought about are 225, 200, 180, 160 and if I get that far, I'll try 145, which I weighed at 17 and I was the best shape of my life. Now, I doubt 145 is attainable, and 160 may not be. They are not goals. I only have one goal right now and that is 275. I don't care about any goals I might have down the road, even though I have what those goals might be in my head. Before I could get to 250, I have to reach 275, so that's the only goal that counts. Keeping my goals in reach is the right way to do it.

What's more, I may say those will become goals, but that may change. Like many who have been overweight for years that manage to lose it, I have no idea whether I will have a lot of loose skin, or if I will be one of the lucky ones. That will have a bearing on how much weight I will be able to lose. That loose skin can weigh a lot, too, or so I am told. I may decide it's better to beef up, and go muscular and that may keep the weight up but have less loose skin. My point is that having loose skin will be a problem, but it's a problem I'd like to have, and that's some months from now if at all. As I say, the next goal only becomes one when the previous goal is reached. Those weights mentioned above and proposed goals may and probably will change.

So far, despite the little setback in the last few days, I do highly recommend getting the surgery if you're morbidly obese and decide, like I did, it's time. For one thing, my diabetes is gone. In fact, it was gone within a few days of the surgery, and I no longer take any medication for it.

Pictures? No, I don't have any yet to show. When I do, I'll post them. I know I need a few, and I'll probably have some by next week.

So that's how I am doing. Any questions?

I suck at blogging! I'm better at Twittering!

Look at me... it's been almost three months since my last blog entry, and there have been no CFConversations since 2/24. What gives?

People might know I've had surgery recently, and are wondering how I'm doing, and still nothing on the blog until now. I'll talk more about the surgery in my next post.

On this blog, I tried to complete a new blog design before my surgery, but just didn't quite finish it, and haven't gotten back to it. I think that failure turned me off a bit from the blog. Who knows? Maybe I'll work on it when I'm at the airport or on the plane coming or going from cf.Objective() and get it done. It's a really nice design. I took two Wordpress designs, made a few custom changes, and came out with something nice. I just have to fix up a few pieces, like comments. My favicon is a bit of a sneak peek of the design, though I changed the colors slightly since then.

I am one of those people who just can't get a blog entry written. To be honest, I used to ATTEMPT to blog a lot, 90% of what I would write would either get lost (a browser crash, an incomplete thought), goes stale (a nearly finished post that sits, and is no longer relevant) or otherwise never sees the light of day.

My other tendancy is that I edit myself to death and edit so much that I just don't feel like sending it out. I do that in emails, too.

If you are clamoring to hear from me, rather than checking the blog, check me out on Twitter,, as I do post a lot there:

It's probably ADD-like symptoms, but I tend to get out entries easier if I am limited to 140 characters. :) I've said quite a lot on there. You can go back and look at what I've tweeted to get a sense of things. I'm on Facebook, too, and most of what I tweeted went to Facebook also.

Another reason why I haven't blogged... the podcasts. I've had two episodes to finish up since before the surgery, and I just got another long interview done tonight, and probably a bunch more at cf.Objective(). I thought I would have had at least another five published after the surgery by now, but it's been difficult getting time to do the editing, first while recovering, then getting back to work, and now working and working out. I haven't want to blog until I could get podcasts out.

Nevertheless, and a friend suggested I REALLY should blog something.

I am doing well, and recovering well from my surgery. In my next post, I'll tell you how well.

My Blog has moved to HostMySite...

Yeah, I know I don't update my blog as often as I produce CFConversations, my ColdFusion podcast. Part of the reason for that was a long standing change I had to make that I just never got around to. This weekend, in preparation for some personal things coming up, I decided I had better get this done now, and I wanted to get it done before I had to pay another hosting bill.

My blog has been moved over to Host My Site, hosted where CFConversations is also hosted. The old and dated look and feel is on the site for now, but I plan to give it a really nice change in the next few weeks. Thanks to Host My Site for getting me setup, particularly Rory, one of the tech support guys who was very helpful in getting a few remaining things finished in the changeover.

If you are a subscriber, you will notice the emails are now coming from a brianmeloche dot com domain. That was also changed in the process.

Server Side ActionScript in ColdFusion: The VIDEO

After MAX 2008 in San Francisco, I went on vacation, so I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get this uploaded.

However, I've finally uploaded a video of the ColdFusion sneak peek from MAX 2008, showing the server side ActionScript functionality in ColdFusion:

CFConversations 20 - Controller Frameworks Roundtable - Part 2

CFConversations 20 is part 2 of a two part series on controller frameworks.

Both episode 19 (part 1) and 20 were well received by those that have listened to them so far. The plan is to do more framework roundtables over the next few months, focusing over ORM/data, dependency injection and testing frameworks.

CFConversations 19 - Controller Frameworks Roundtable - Part 1

I'm sorry that I haven't been blogging much on here lately. CFConversations has been taking a considerable amount of time lately, and some issues on this blog caused me not to blog here for a while. I'm also planning to make some major changes with my blog. I had hoped to do them before MAX, but it looks like they'll take place Thanksgiving week instead.

I thought I'd give a brief recap of the last several CFConversations episodes prior to MAX, since I hadn't blogged about them here.

Episode 19 was the first of a two-part series on controller frameworks, with:

CFConversations 18 - bFusion/bFlex

CFConversations Episode 18 was a little different than what we've had in the past.

This episode featured "Man on the Street" interviews from bFusion & bFlex, two day event held in September at Indiana University, organized by Bob Flynn and the Indiana Multimedia User Group.

Thanks to Bob, this episode featured selected "Man on the Street" interviews from the event. I also want to give thanks to Heather Warnsman, a member of Bob's user group, and Keith Danielson, manager of the Indiana University Flash User Group, who conducted these interviews.

Listen Here!

Run time: 20:25

CFConversations 17 with Joshua Cyr

CFConversations Episode 17 features the last of our interviews from CFUnited.

On day three, Brian Swartzfager sat down with Joshua Cyr, Principal Developer at Savvy Software, the makers of Savvy CMS, and manager of the Seacoast ColdFusion and Flex Group. In this interview, Joshua talks about Savvy, selling a CMS and ColdFusion at the same time, Adobe's direction with ColdFusion, conferences, and frameworks.

Listen here!

Run Time: 20:33

CFConversations 16 with Josh Adams

CFConversations Episode 16 was our first with an Adobe person in the hot seat! On day four of CFUnited, I sat down with Josh Adams. Josh is a Systems Engineer with Adobe, specializing in ColdFusion. Before that, Josh worked in a similar position at New Atlanta and, before that, was the Atlanta CFUG manager. During this interview, we talk about working for Adobe, his time at New Atlanta, user groups (a passion Josh and I both share), open source CFML and the initiatives surrounding CF9.

Listen here!

Run time: 30:12

CFConversations 15 with Mark Mandel

I've not been blogging about CFConversations here lately, so I thought I'd get back to it.

Episode 15 has Dan Wilson interviewing Mark Mandel, best known for the Transfer ORM framework.

We're now up to episode 20, so expect more blog posts in the next couple of days.

Listen here!

Run time: 39:56

A new Cleveland CFUG and AUG site is underway...

I'm finally taking some time to work on the Cleveland CFUG website, so we can finally make some needed changes.

I'm working on an all new site... and I'll blog more about that in upcoming posts, but I'm also doing something I haven't done much of in the last two years: Design work. It turns out, I can STILL design! I was a developer, back in the day, but I went back to school in the mid nineties to learn design, and started my web career as a designer, before I eventually gravitated to my developer tendancies. Back then, when I had a little one-man shop, I'd subcontract development to other guys, and it turned out I was a lot better at it than they were.

Anyway, showing some of my design skills, here is the header for the site...

I am working on a design that's going to be a significantly modified version of the Vertigo Wordpress theme, with several changes I've thrown in.

More on the new site to come.

In case you missed it... The Presidential Debate... watch it here!

As a service to my designer and developer friends, here is a video of the presidential debate.

If you appreciated this post, I'd ask if you could purchase a gift card on my Amazon Wish List, and help me replace this six-year old computer I that I now have no choice to use to produce the CFConversations Podcast. My Wish List

CFConversations 13 AND 14 - Hal Helms and Mark Drew!

I never blogged about it, but episode 13 of CFConversations was a good one! And, with episode 14, we have another good one, so I guess I'll blog about both of them now.

For episode 13, Brian Swartzfager was able to interview one of the legends in the ColdFusion community, Hal Helms.

On Sunday night, episode 14 came out. Adam Haskell interviewed Mark Drew. Of course, most of you know of Mark as the lead developer of the CFEclipse project, and, of course, CFEclipse is discussed, but Mark and Adam talk about a lot more during this interview, including Railo, ColdSpring, conferences, tattoos, cooking, a little about bendy buses, and a couple of things you might not know about Mark.

Listen to them both!

We're going to be starting a new round of interviews in the next couple of weeks, so if you would like to be interviewed and we haven't spoken about it yet, please email me at podcast at cfconversations dot com, and we'll try to get you on the schedule.

CFConversations 12 is out! Ray Camden!

I neglected to mention a few days ago that CFConversations Episode 12 came out on Thursday, with Ray Camden.

This interview was recorded at Day 2 of CFUnited. Ray was a great interview!

Listen here.

CFConversations 11, Roundtable 5 is out!

With CFUnited quite a few weeks in the past and 10 episodes under our belt, it was time for another roundtable! We brought it back in style we've gathered 8 stellar participants including:

We had a lively podcast this time, with some great content that covers a wide range of topics.

Bob Flynn announced bFusion and bFlex, where you can get two days of free hands-on training in Flex and ColdFusion at Indiana University. We also discussed the educational licensing and whether or not Bob and Richard (from Gallaudet University) thought it would make a difference at their schools.

From education, we moved onto the hiring space. As you probably know, Sean's company, Broadchoice has been hiring several top developers recently, including Ray Camden, Joe Reinhart, Nicholas Lierman and Brian Kotek, and Sean shared his technique for hiring top talent that appears to be working. Note: This was recorded before it was announced that Brian Kotek also joined Broadchoice).

Next, Sean talked a bit about the CFML Advisory Board. I announced that a new vendor-neutral site to promote the CFML language is in development. I pulled the domain name from the podcast because, well, we're not quite ready to completely open it up to the general public yet (the basics are up). If you are really interested in helping out, use the contact form and I'll tell you more.

We asked Mark Mandel how he felt about ColdFusion 9's Hibernate functionality vs. his Transfer ORM. We all chimed in about other ColdFusion 9 functionality, and talked a bit about alternative editors and search tools.

We also covered the hot topic of SQL injection, including a free tool from HP called scrawlr and a project called Query Param Scanner.

We did a "final thoughts on CFUnited. Some of the things we had covered on previous roundtables, but there were a few new things.

We also talked about the Railo 3 beta (now in Release Candidate) and progress on Open BlueDragon releases.

Sean and Adam closed out the episode with a fairly big announcement that should have been made by now, so we sneaked it in! You'll have to listen to the podcast to know what it is.

Find the episode here.

Run time: 1:36:37

CFConversations 10, Interview 6 - Gert Franz of Railo

In case you missed it, CFConversations Episode 10 was released yesterday.

On Day one of the CFUnited conference, several of us sat down with Gert Franz of Railo, correctly pronounced "Rhy-low" (not "Ray-low"). Railo, a Swiss company, sells an alternative CFML engine, also called Railo, which has been getting a lot of attention in the CF developer community in recent months. During Gert's keynote at the Scotch on the Rocks conference in early June, it was announced that version 3.0 would have support for CFVIDEO and Hibernate, which had been getting a lot of attention in the CF blogosphere, especially since the cf.Objective() conference in early May. Furthermore, Gert announced that Railo version 3.1 would be released as open source under the LGPL license, with support from JBoss and hosting from

The Railo open source announcement was enthusiastically welcomed throughout the CFML community, as has been documented on several previous episodes of CFConversations. Even key Adobe personnel such as Ben Forta and Adam Lehman were enthusiastic about the announcement.

Also, during Adobe's keynote at CFUnited, it was announced that Gert was one of the members of the CFML Language Advisory Committee.

In this episode, we talk about all of these things, some of Railo's history, and a little about Gert himself, who's a warm and very approachable person, with an interesting history that I think you'll enjoy hearing about.

This was an interview that a lot of people wanted to be a part of, or just listen to in person. Also in the room were: Peter Bell, Sean Corfield, Mark Drew, Adam Haskell, Jeff Coughlin, Joe Reinhart and Rick Mason, and most of them get involved in the interview at one point or another. This interview was one of my highlights of CFUnited, so I hope you enjoy it.

This was the first podcast recorded at CFUnited, and we didn't have access to the Blue Snowball microphone we used for most of the interviews and round tables. This interview was recorded from three Macbook Pro built-in microphones, although one of them produced a recording that was unusable. The interview itself required substantial post production editing to make it listenable, so the quality may not be as good as episodes six through nine. However, I think, it's now in a listenable form.

Due to the difficulty in editing this episode and the timeliness of other episodes, this episode got pushed back a couple of times. Ironically, this worked out, as Gert is doing a U.S. user group tour that starts on Monday, July 28th, which coincides with the release of this episode.

This is the first episode where my inserts are recorded via the new headset, courtesy of Marc Esher. If you liked the new music track, it's from a band called spineCar, from the Album Up From the Mud, and the track is called "Smoke". I'm thinking it's going to be the podcast's theme song. What do you think?

Run time: 56:47

CFConversations 9, Interview 5 - Nick Kwiatkowski - 07/23/08

In this... controversial... special mid-week episode of CFConversations, Rick Mason interviews Nick Kwiatkowski, manager of the Michigan Flex User Group, and the organizer of the Michigan Flex Camp, which will be held in East Lansing on July 30 & 31. It's a two day Flex camp that only costs $40... and that's a heck of a deal.

This episode, like the last one, has a lot of Flex content, but there is a lot of ColdFusion content, too. Nick talks about what he thinks about ColdFusion frameworks, the ColdFusion "elite", Flex and "the cloud".

We're using a different theme from the last episode. This track is courtesy of, and it's called MEGARAT30. Tell us what you think of the music intros. We're experimenting, and will try a few more in upcoming episodes.

Run time: 38:02

Listen here!

CFConversations 8, Interview 4 - John Wilker of 360 Conferences

CFConversations Episode 8 is out!

This is our fourth interview, and this is also the first podcast not produced by me. Dan Wilson did both the interview and the producing this time around. Dan's a big part of the team, and although this is his first appearance on the podcast, he's been involved from the beginning. You may remember Dan from the same ColdFusion Weekly round tables I participated in.

In this episode, Dan interviews John Wilker of 360 Conferences, the company that brings you the 360 Flex conferences.

John and Dan talk about the 360 Flex conferences, the upcoming conference in San Jose on August 18-20, ColdFusion and Flex. A summary of the conversation can be found here:

Note: By popular demand, this episode features our first experimentation with theme music. Let us know what you think. We'll experiment with other tracks and how they are presented in the next upcoming episodes. Also, since Dan was the producer on this episode, let us know what you thought of the audio quality, and how it compares to our most recent interviews.

Run time: 43:06

CFConversations 7, Interview 3 - John Farrar, author of ColdFusion 8 Developer Tutorial

Our third CFConversations interview episode is out, with John Farrar of SoSensible.

On July 2nd, Packt Publishing released John Farrar's ColdFusion 8 Developer Tutorial, their first ColdFusion title, and the first non-CFWACK title since Rob Brooks Bilson's Programming ColdFusion back in the MX 6.1 days.

John's a fellow user group manager, and a friend of mine. On Day 2 of CFUnited, I interview John, along with Adam Haskell (who's listening). We talk about the new book, John's CO-OP and SOS frameworks, JQuery, CF9, open source, and the Adobe education licensing of ColdFusion announcement. We also talk about his family. John's got a big family, and I try to get down to how he can get anything done working from home with twelve kids.

This was recording via Jeff Coughlin's Blue Snowball microphone, which was also used for the CFUnited Round tables. The sound had to be boosted in post production, but it seems to be good under the circumstances. There is some echo in the room.

Some people have noticed a quality improvement in the last few episodes. I hope this episode's quality doesn't suffer too much from the last two. It was recorded a different way, so it may sound different. As previously mentioned in other podcasts, we're still learning how to produce these, and although we're learning more as we go, we don't have all the equipment we need to do episodes of the quality Matt and Peter of Dan Wilson and Rick Mason who purchased the first few items off of the wish list to help make the podcast a better one.

Links to the book:
Packt Publishing

Run time: 50:19

The episode can be found here.

CFConversations 6, Interview 2 - Michael Smith of Teratech - 07/05/08

Our second interview episode is with Michael Smith of Teratech. We discuss putting on CFUnited, Fusebox, Teratech, the recent Adobe announcements made at CFUnited and open source CFML.

I have mentioned previously that I have help with these episodes. The interviewer this time is another Brian, Brian Swartzfager, who you may recognize from the ColdFusion Weekly roundtable episodes, as well as CFConversations Episode 3.

This was recorded using a handheld recorder. The quality is quite good, but it might sound a tad more "AM radio" like than some of our other episodes.


Run time: 16:54

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