What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

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jrf29's picture
jrf29
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What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

What has happened to the Crash Course videos?  I just found that the sharp-looking Shockwave videos which used to be here have been replaced by small, fuzzy YouTube clips.  They cannot be maximized to watch full screen.  Much of the text is fuzzy and cannot be read clearly.  Little annotations pop up on the videos which say "for high resolution, visit PeakProsperity.com/crashcourse"!

They are no longer a pleasure to watch, and if I were uninitiated, I probably would not sit through 3 1/2 hours of magnifying glass-worthy, fuzzy material!  In my mind (as a pre-cc convert) I would say if the author did not care enough about the material even to make it easily viewable, why should I care about it?

Not to mention that whenever a video appears as a YouTube link, there is often a natural presumption of the author being a novice in most
people's minds.  Simply another mental barrier to overcome.  But more
importantly, why the degraded size and quality of video clips?  It doesn't seem to make any sense.

 

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

I have to agree with jrf29, this is a step backward in my opinion.

Plenty of alternative information being trust at people these days, making the presentation of a lower quality is just one more turn-off in people's minds.

Whilst it will not stop me directing people to the website it does make me feel like I have to give a bit of a warning/apology first for the less than top notch video experience people will encounter,

I have a friend who's a minister and one of his gripes is over how churches used to be stuck in the mind-set of producing advertising on what often could be described as toilet paper! He often used to say that presenting something to at least a commercial standard added an air of authenticity and respect to things. Youtube is seen as a poor persons delivery media I think.

What is the rationale behind this? To save bandwidth and therefore costs?

What about giving people both options at least? High quality OR low quality so the user can make the choice?

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

This is driven by bandwidth considerations.  As more users come to the site, we are seeing an explosion in bandwidth consumption.  We need to manage this deftly and efficiently to ensure all visitors can continue to gain access to site content.

We plan on making the high resolution versions available to subscribers shortly.  Our expectation is subscribers will always have access to the higher resolution videos.

As a reminder, there are also versions of the Crash Course videos available through BitTorrent and DVD.

Ron

 

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

Oh, bad move!  I hadn't looked at the Crash Course videos recently, until reading this forum post.  And, I have to agree completely with jrf29 and maveri, this is a horrible step backward.  The Crash Course must be the principal draw to the site for new viewers, and to have these low-quality videos is simply not good advertising.  They are not much of a flag for regular users to rally around, either.  You get what you pay for, as the saying goes, and I would think this decision will result in net fewer paid subscriptions, even if costs are being saved.

Is this a sign of PeakProsperity.com being hit by the economic crisis?

Reconsider this decision, please! 

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??
Quote:

We plan on making the high resolution versions available to subscribers shortly.  Our expectation is subscribers will always have access to the higher resolution videos.

This is a bad idea. I recently directed my friend to watch the Crash Course, but he read the transcipts instead of watching the videos. Reading the transcripts is nowhere near as powerful when you see all the hockey stick graphs.

While I agree with Cat that a subscription is worth it, a first timer watching the Crash Course is not going to subscribe right away unless they are "shocked and awed" by the Crash Course. And right now, I can't see that happening with the videos set up the way they are. Just my .02

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??
admin wrote:

We plan on making the high resolution versions available to subscribers shortly.  Our expectation is subscribers will always have access to the higher resolution videos.

Perhaps, but there also might be fewer subscribers!  As cpetersj says, "The Crash Course must be the principal draw to the site for new viewers, and to have these low-quality videos is simply not good advertising." 

I don't know enough about computers to say that bandwidth isn't an overriding consideration, and perhaps it is, but I would imagine that cheapening the way the Crash Course looks to first time visitors (most importantly) should be avoided if at all possible.

If I were a first time viewer, and I must strain to read text in the Crash Course, I am going to associate that frustration and lack of quality with the website as a whole, even if higher quality videos are promised after subscription.  I believe it is a general rule of advertising that your samples should always represent the best quality of your products.

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

Bad call; I would not have lingered here with the difficulty I'm having accessing the "new" CC and certainly would not have signed up for Rowe. Trying to review will be a pain.

If you post amateurish stuff, you will attract amateurs.

 

SG 

 

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??
jrf29 wrote:

What has happened to the Crash Course videos?  I just found that the sharp-looking Shockwave videos which used to be here have been replaced by small, fuzzy YouTube clips.  They cannot be maximized to watch full screen.  Much of the text is fuzzy and cannot be read clearly.  Little annotations pop up on the videos which say "for high resolution, visit PeakProsperity.com/crashcourse"!

They are no longer a pleasure to watch, and if I were uninitiated, I probably would not sit through 3 1/2 hours of magnifying glass-worthy, fuzzy material!  In my mind (as a pre-cc convert) I would say if the author did not care enough about the material even to make it easily viewable, why should I care about it?

Not to mention that whenever a video appears as a YouTube link, there is often a natural presumption of the author being a novice in most
people's minds.  Simply another mental barrier to overcome.  But more
importantly, why the degraded size and quality of video clips?  It doesn't seem to make any sense.

 

Please, please reconsider!

The high-quality videos are what attracted me to the site.  I've asked my friends to view them and some have and appreciate them.  This will deeply hurt your cause.  Don't succumb to the pressures of money and sacrifice the cause!

Chris -- Take back your site from those who are making these business decisions without considering the real purpose of your site -- To warn of the great dangers that we all are facing.

Making your high quality videos available to subscribers only is "preaching to the choir".  We already are believers.  The non-subscribers are the ones who need the videos.

Richard

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

One way of opening up high resolution videos is using torrents. The downloads will come from many places and many users sharing the download.

The costs for the site will plummet by doing this.

Here is a tutorial on how to do that.

after a search:

Actually torrents are already available as a dvd image.

http://thepiratebay.org/tag/chris+martenson 

I am not sure they are officialy from this site.

In my opinion a better way would be to make a collection of the chapters but as seperate files in one torrent. These would download easier and are directly playable on a computer. The iso files needs some knowledge to be able to view it.

Having the links on this website would also make it easier for visitors to get them.

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

Amen to "the bad idea comments".  Is there anyway to increase the band width available? The You Tube format is definitely schlocky.

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

If you are truly passionate about this site.  If it is currently necessary for more dollars to be spent to maintain the prior quality videos.... And since CM.com isn't on the list for TARP money, then that leaves the rest of us to donate and/or subscribe.

Cat

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

I'll add to the chorus that this was a bad move.

I don't know what the set up is and where all the bandwidth is being chewed but one option might be to separate the forums from the Crash Course onto dedicated servers and/or domains.

I would sooner see a few middle chapters removed and offer only the essential chapters as teasers. The nitty gritty details can be available to subscribers or by full video download.

Bandwidth is cheap. Shop around.

 

Brainless;

The torrents are a good idea but only as a secondary source. There is still a huge percentage of people who don't even know what a torrent is. Let's not alienate them.

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

Agreed.I'm not going to mess around with torrents. That involves my accessing other peoples' computers, correct? Exposing me to potential malware?

 

SG

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

This is the first time I have posted on any type of blog even though I try and read Martenson's daily, so be patient with my rambling! I'm responding to the concern on quality of the Crash Course as a small business owner. Often as a business owner you must make executive decisions on the priority of things. I admire and respect Chris Martenson for doing all this for us, we probably have no idea how much of his own money he has spent on trying to educate us and spread the word and I can't imagine the time involved. If people are unhappy with the quality, there are options.........subscribe to help offset cost, download the Crash Course and make dvd's or order the dvd's. Chris has made all this information available to us, we need to support his efforts in the most positive way possible, including financially.

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

Hello everyone.

For the record, I am not enamored with the Youtube videos either.

I have long-planned, but never gotten around to, providing a full accounting of the monetary flows and demands associated with this site.  Here's a down payment on that effort.

The reality is that the advertising could not pay for unlimited bandwidth, let alone the technical costs associate with running a site with this level of daily traffic, not even close.  What we have is 2.5 terabytes of flow for $279/month, but each additional Gb costs $2.  This means that the next Terabyte would cost $2000.00 which is just not an affordable option for us at this point.  The alternative is to get an unrestricted account but that would be $2,500/month.   There are a few tricks to managing against this ceiling and one is/was to move all the video files to Youtube (which absorbs the bandwidth on their end relieving us of that burden) once we got close to the monthly limit.  This is what we hit on January 26th.

Now that the site is growing, and we've got the podcasts developing coming along, the bandwidth has been creeping ever upwards.

My decision:

We will be putting the videos back up BUT only if you are a subscriber OR registered.   For folks that wish to remain anonymous, the Youtube videos will have to suffice.

Along with this, I will be announcing a change in policy regarding communications from this site back out to registered users.  In short, I will be sending out occasional communications that could result in additional revenue to support this site.  For example, when the new 3-DVD set for the Crash Course is available, I will send that out.  Or I might send out a communication extolling the virtues of being a site subscriber, or announce a membership special or something.

The bottom line is that I have heavily subsidized this site up to this point and while I wish I was independently wealthy and could simply offer my best work to everyone for free forever, that's just not the case.

So there will be more affiliate relationships, products developed, and other revenue generating materials offered so that I can continue to keep this site running, answer your emails promptly, develop new materials and keep the message moving.

As of right now, there is myself, a few dedicated volunteers and 5 part time staff.  To date, not a single dollar has flowed from this site's business account to myself for salary or repayment of past investment.  Everything - all revenues and donations - continue to be plowed back into making the site better, more robust, and meeting the needs of an ever growing chorus of emails and site-driven communication.

Since I don't want to cut back on keeping the site up and running and providing the very best customer-response we can afford, I will need to bring in additional revenue in order for this to be sustainable for me and my family.
I am now  4 years into this project without any sort of monetary reward and I've gone a bit further than I probably should have

The good news is that without me drawing a salary, the site is running just in the black.   That's a great first step.  Now I need to get my basic living costs covered.  That's the next step.  And a repayment for past investment would be the next goal.  Getting to a legitimate profit for my efforts would be the final step..  

As I negotiate the delicate territory between moving this from a mission-oriented affair into something approximating a monetarily sustainable effort I ask for your patience, input and advice.

And thank you for your support to date.

Best,
Chris 

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

That is a phenominal contribution and sacrifice.  There is not much that can be said in response to such dedication, except "thank you," on behalf of all those who have not yet been exposed to this kind of information, but who will in the future.

I also think that restoring high quality videos to registered accounts is a good idea, since this is the site's best advertising vehicle.  People first come to this site to watch the Crash Course, and are convinced to subscribe on the basis of the high quality they see there.

I say advertisements, spam, unsolicited emailings, even door-to-door salesmen sent out to people's homes are better than reducing the quality of the Crash Course, which is the crown jewel of the website and the beacon which draws both registered users and subcribers here. 

I was concerned with people seeing the Crash Course "with it's pants down," since it should represent the very high quality that people should associate with the website.  Perhaps a good idea would be to post the first several chapters of the Crash Course (in high quality) for all to see, but require registration in order to view the rest of the chapters.  That way, viewing of the entire course is still restricted to registered users and subscribers (who have presumably already seen the CC), and still no Crash Course chapter is seen except at its best.

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

I appreciate all the work you have done, Chris!  You and others (to include other forum members) have really opened my eyes to a number of things.  

I became a subscriber several months ago, not long after first viewing the Crash Course, both to support the site, and to have access to other materials your site offers.  I am not certain that I wouldn't have joined if I the Crash Course videos I first watched had been these lower-quality offerings, but I am certain that I would have been much less impressed.

What I am getting at are two important points.  First, the Crash Course is your primary draw to this site, and it is worth it to your cause, and the business, to put your best foot forward.  Second, I suspect many of your current subscribers might be willing to help cover the cost of an unlimited bandwidth account (or whatever option is best to ensure the higher quality videos are still made available to the masses).  The information you developed, and the ongoing contributions to this site, are simply that important.  I think all of the registered forum users and subscribers have benefited from this site, and many would be willing to help, right?

Perhaps a note to your current paid subscribers, asking for additional donations, or an increase in the subscription price, to cover the cost of continuing to make the higher quality videos available for all?

I'll make a good faith contribution now, and see where we go from here.

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

Chris, I second what jrtf29 said; thanks so much for all that you have put into this for everyone!  I also agree with both jrtf29 and Christopher that the Crash Course is the main draw of your website, and is invaluable in attracting new people.  I know the professionalism and quality of your videos amplified your message and enhanced your credibility for me!  (Ok, that and the fact that you did an amazing job of distilling all those incredibly complex concepts, and communicating them with such clarity!)

Anyway, here's an idea that I got reading Christopher's post, that might be a way to get enough money for an unlimited bandwidth account.  He suggested that maybe existing subscribers would be willing to help cover the cost.  One thing that I have seen a number of charities and non-profit organizations do is offer a type of membership where you commit to donating a certain amount of money every month.  The idea is that this gives the organization more stability in their operations by defining a certain amount of funding that they can count on to meet expenses from month to month. 

That sounds like the kind of thing that might work for you, as you would need to get a certain number of users signed up at a certain monetary level (or a variety of levels) to be fairly comfortable that you'd be able to pay that bill every month.  I imagine you could even test-drive the idea, by telling people you need the commitment of however many people at some given level before you actually implement the idea. Just a thought!

As if you and your team don't have enough to do!

Good luck at Rowe!

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

Folks - this is only my opinion, but it's pretty bad form to complain about something you are receving for free - especially when your "free" comes at someone else's expense of $$, time, talent and effort.

For those of you who are complaining, but offering solutions and well reasoned arguments on why this is/was a bad move, thank you.

For those of you who are complaining without offering any solution or mitigation, let's not lose sight of the message Chris is trying to get out.  Some of the posters sound like people who would complain if they got hung with a new rope because it scratched their necks.

Here's and easy and inexpensive work around.  Buy the DVDs.  100 DVDs cost us $85.  Go in with three other people and you are looking at 20 bucks and change for 25 DVDs.  Keep one and give the rest away.

CC is a message that needs to get out far and wide.  I wouldn't worry about the folks we lose because they are attracted to whistles and bells and bright, shiny glossy images.  My guess is anyone who visits the site is likely to stay and poke around - just because they had enough interest to show up in the first place.  Anyone who dismisses the info because the presentation wasn't an High Def, 3D holographic, first person interactive RPG is wasted effort even though they are the person who needs to get the message the most.

Sorry for the mini-rant.  I get a little testy when people start complaining about "free" stuff.  That seems to me to be a display of too much unjustified, self-entitlement that is all too prevalent in society today.

For Chris M -

It may be helpful if you laid out your 6 month, 1 year, 2 year, etc. expectations for growth and membership.  That might be better fleshed out in one of the Martenson Brigade forums.  As soon as Lucas finishes up with my survey and shifts me over to Brigade Member I would be more than happy to help out in a group with site forecasting and infrastructure planning or any other brainstorming to help resolve this issue going forward.

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

Not to be too contrary here, Dogs, but people CHOOSE to post free stuff.

I have no qualms about being asked to pay for it but saying nonpayers feel entitled is  ridiculous.

 

SG

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

SG - I hear you.  On the lighter side though - what do you expect for free?

And please understand, the entitlement comment was in no way directed at you.  I apologize if you took it that way.  To me, some of the posts had undertones of "whining" and complaining without offering solutions and that just grates my nerves.

Keep me honest - Cool

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

I'd gladly pay to become a subscribing member - and likely will - but times are tough...
I suppose I don't need to say that here.

I know it doesn't pay the bills, but Chris you have my deepest thanks and gratitude for what you've done here.

capesurvivor's picture
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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

Hey,

I'm not going to take responsbility for YOUR behavior, LOL .

A good point about criticizing but not offering solutions.

I hope to subscribe after Rowe, will cancel some other financial monthly commitments.

 

SG

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Ready
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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

Chris,

Could you put 1/2 the videos on a second site at an additional $279 and link to them from the main site? That would take your bandwidth from 2.5 to 5 TB.

I agree that the better quality videos would ultimately lead to better subscription rates, and I'd be willing to donate the 1st month of the second site as a thank you for what I have already received.

Is there any real money for you in the DVDs that Dogs suggests? Seems like a break even deal for you at $.85 each...

Thanks,

Roger

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

Wow, Dogs, that was a rather vicious post.  I read all the previous posts, and the ones that followed, and I didn't get a sense of whining.  It seemed to me most everyone was concerned about the quality of the site, the importance of getting the Crash Course message out in the most effective manner, and many offered suggestions.  It didn't seem like people wanting to get something for free, to me, anyway.

mainecooncat's picture
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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

Hey guys,

What am I missing here?

The videos I'm looking at look like the ones I've always seen.

I can expand the videos to full-screen size and have no problem reading the print in any scale.

Or am I just crazy?

Ready's picture
Ready
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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

mainecooncat,

Nope, they are back to the same as before. A while ago they were a link to youtube and the quality was significanlty lowered by youtube's filters.

I'm hoping that Chris is in a new billing cycle so we have another 20 days or so to work this out before the site runs into bandwidth charges.

Rog

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

Rog, thanks for clearing that up.

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

Christopher Peters,

I just saw your recent contribution ot the site and I want to thank you here for your generosity.  That was "good faith" indeed.

You have my thanks!

Best,

Chris Martenson

 

 

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Re: What Happened to the Crash Course Videos??

Perhaps there is another option as far as YouTube is concerned?


There is a website, UNSW that put up a whole lot of lectures on YouTube.


However, what they did was make two versions available, the lower quality video which is viewed by default but a link to a higher quality video was also provided - thus most people just watched the default but those requiring more, had an option.

Unfortunately, I am blocked from accessing YouTube due to my employer, so the link I provide may not be correct. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA_G8XbVYugÿ but it should play a video plus give a link to a higher quality video if wanted.


The harsh reality is that bandwidth cost money so I understand why the video quality was cut back hence why I asked rather than just put a 'virtual' boot in.


On the use of bittorrent, the main problem that I see with the current DVD release is that it's one HUGE file.


For some of us in countries with governments with backwards broadband policies, to download such files can take a long time and last time I checked (i.e. two days ago) there were still only 12 bittorent seeders on one of the trackers.


It would be helpful if the individual lectures making up the Crash Course could be listed separately thus giving people the option of downloading it in smaller chunks and also allowing content update to be made also in small chunks. (I am referring to the bittorent releases here).
I know the drawback is that people may be tempted to download just what they perceive to be important and ignore other stuff that assists or under-pins the course (i.e. exponential growth may get sidestepped yet it's fundamental for understanding the urgency etc).


I've subscribed to this site because through this site and the information it relays, I have had the wakeup call that I seriously needed. Comments from people who are obviously way more informed than I am and who are further down the change path than I am has been invaluable.


I don't live in the US and therefore don't consider some of the stuff as impacting as what it may be to those living there in terms of what gets discussed in the forums - not so much the Crash Course content (maybe this is my ignorance talking) but even so, I felt a subscription was my way of sending money towards a great cause and to support people who are doing real things for others in this world.


When-ever possible, I open up my full bandwidth to seed the bittorent DVD version of the Crash Course as it's another small way in which I can contribute. I am listing these things not because I want recognition but because perhaps others may recognise it as a way in which they can contribute/help if not already doing so. The bandwidth one for me is a real concern - only 12 seeders isn't much and the torrent file should be re-released every so often otherwise it falls off the radar.

What about a target running cost type of display being made available? Like what wikipedia recently did to get to their required $6m donation target?ÿ Seeing something visual makes it easy to realise?The only thing to watch out for is that if the visual constantly shows being behind the eight ball all the time on costs, then this can act as a negative motivator because quite frankly, people don't like to back what they think could be a loosing cause.

I'm trying here to throw out ideas as my simple way of contributing/helping/tweaking things since helping on a substantial financial basis for me is not possible at this stage.
Between all the smart people we must be able to come up with ways to generate income to cover the costs? I'm no marketing person by any means but perhaps looking at what other sites do may provide some ideas (and dismissing the one's that cheapen it too).


Crash Course T-Shirts / Coffee Mugs anyone?
Sadly we missed Christmas - I wouldn't have thought it too cheap to send out Crash Course key rings along with Christmas gifts.


How much does it cost to put together a Crash Course calendar (again, a little late as the new year is well underway) but it could be populated with Crash Course / financial checkpoints and double up as a 'preparation planner'.


This next idea may be frowned upon but even a refer a friend scheme where you get maybe an additional months access to the reports for free if you get someone to sign up - I know, I know, this borders on blurring the boundaries of the integrity of what this site stands for but I'm just throwing out ideas here so if the idea is crap, then don't shoot the messenger!

If anything I say is stupid, then please correct me, I'm open for learning all I ask is that you do so in a polite manor

Anyhow - I've raved on enough - lets here some other people's ideas as to what we can do collectively to help cover the costs of keeping this site/video's available to all in the best possible way.


:-)

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