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Upper bounds are derived on the probability of error that can be achieved by using block codes on general time-discrete memoryless channels. Both amplitude-discrete and amplitude-continuous channels are treated, both with and without input constraints. The major advantages of the present approach are the simplicity of the derivations and the relative simplicity of the results; on the other hand, the exponential behavior of the bounds with block length is the best known for all transmission rates between and capacity. The results are applied to a number of special channels, including the binary symmetric channel and the additive Gaussian noise channel.