The second zero hour

On 11/11/11 Bethesda released a game, we know Bethesda is pretty good at what they do, so they knew they had something that the RPG niche market would enjoy. Yet, I wonder if they were even close to realising that they were clueless on just how well they had done their job? You see, I am a passionate RPG fan, so I was on board from day one. Yet, Skyrim was different in many ways. To illustrate that, consider that it’s your 18th birthday and your parents give you a new kind of Maserati, a real one, but this one has one extra option, this car allows you to drive without any speed limits, so not speeding tickets ever. How would you react?

This is what Skyrim achieved. In the first week a little over 7 million copies were sold, which is already a record in RPG land, what no one thought possible happened, Bethesda pushed RPG clear into the mainstream gaming area, they somehow got the magical formula right. So up to now there are well over 23 million copies sold making it one of the few billion dollar plus game revenue.

Now, 5 years later we get another zero hour, the same game is being released on PS4 and XB1, the people are about to go nuts again. Leaving us with the realistic prospect that this game could equal and possibly surpass Grand Theft Auto 5 sales. That would still be a very tall order as they sold 65 million copies, but it is possible and the rage and hype that is out there at present is definitely a decent indication that it could happen.

As I said: ‘they were clueless on how well they had done their job‘, which is perhaps one of the better compliments on the doorstep of Bethesda. Even with Fallout 4 surpassing all records, this one will push their records even further. I have stated again and again, if you aren’t willing to get to the edge you will never make a truly exceptional game. Bethesda went to the edge and stared into the void of the dread father Sithis. They are coming out on top!

So why is this game so amazing?

I believe that open world games are the long term trend of games and the true desire of gamers. In this game you start as being a convict on the way to execution (a wink to the previous Elder Scroll game). After a small introduction that helps you keep your character mobile and alert, you are about to get your head chopped off and that is where the world goes pear shaped on your executioners. From that moment on you have the ‘escape’ part teaching you the elemental things of the game, which takes about 20 minutes, fraught with action and after that, it will be whatever you want to do. Follow the path offered to you or seek your own destiny. That is how most RPG players like their game and this appeal has gone mainstream (meaning the non RPG population at large). A game that offers you value for money. For the same reason that I was ‘offended’ that a $90 game named Tombraider brought with 10 hours of game-play, and for the repetitiveness that some other games bring. The open sided part of Skyrim offers a long term fun that not many games offer. For that $90 on Skyrim I have had well over 1000 hours of gaming fun. That is value for money to say the least and this version will be a one price with complete game and all the DLC additions that the game had offered for Skyrim. So for the new players this will keep you busy until the New Year. For the returning players it is a different story. You see, in my case, it is the same thing, but now with upgraded graphics. In addition, the consoles will now get the option to play mods, which was until now only an option for PC players. It will be a brand new day for RPG players, and that brand new day starts at midnight as the remastered HD edition of Skyrim hits the shelves for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

In that regard, there is one additional bonus for those who went all out earlier this quarter and bought the Xbox One S, will, if they have the right TV enjoy this game in 4K, which is as far as I can tell a first (please correct me if I was wrong), which would be a nice additional feather in the Bethesda cap. Giving an additional edge to the Xbox One market. Even as some ‘gaming experts’ have stated that there is no market for it (too expensive, no games and so on), the fact that the Xbox One S at present has two clear advantages over the PS4 Pro, the setting that Skyrim now offers can (and might) drive Xbox One S sales as it is introducing Skyrim to an even wider audience. That last part is a given as pre orders are of the charts in some places. Yet all this is now pushing for another side of visibility that also needs to be said.

That other side is seen as we look at Forbes, we see that merely 15 hours ago (at the following was released ‘Bethesda’s Decision To Withhold Review Copies Is Bad For Gamers And Sets A Dangerous Precedent‘, and in that regard, I would initially be completely on his side, apart from the fact that Ubisoft has been doing that since Assassins Creed Unity. Yet when I look at as well as we see reviews of that new versions a week ago. Of course we agree that ‘new’ is a relative term for a game originally released on the 11th day of the 11th month in the year 11 (+2000). In addition, the second video also shows that the game has a few additional effects to the Skyrim experience. Yet the issues shown, does not diminish the words we see in Forbes. The article brings good points, yet with Cam Robinson and minion having reviewed this game a week ago, my issue is not with the article, but I am stuck with the question why that reviewer had no ‘advanced copy’. It could be for any reason, but is that a real problem? This game is a new format release, the game itself still has the same missions, quests and places to visit, what is new are the mods. So the review would not have needed that much time in the first place.

skyrim-646x372So, will you get the game on PS4 or XB1?

If you loved the game the first time around, the answer is very likely to be yes, if you are new to this game than it should be yes for several reasons and one additional reason if you are the lucky owner of the Xbox One S. Also, ‘new’ gamers should remember that this game has been played and loved for almost 5 years, which is quite the achievement for any single player game.

The one thing that is a definite, is that it will give rise to one question on a global level: ‘When will Bethesda release the 6th game in the Elder Scrolls series?’

As for me, I will enjoy playing this game again and I will try not to take an arrow to the knee this time around.

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The risk of androgynous automation

Today we see another message, another prediction and another approach to make people nervous. This time it is a combined effort from the fields of Oxford University and Deloitte, they find that ‘77% probability of ‘repetitive and predictable’ roles being automated‘ (at

So how true is this?

Actually, there is a lot of truth in it. The truth is not just a given, it is an essential need. Yet the headline ‘Study says 850,000 UK public sector jobs could be automated by 2030‘ is a problem, not one of disaster, but one of opportunity possibly missed. The article gives us a few things, including links to the full report (indirect), which is a good thing and let’s be honest, Deloitte is no PwC; they stand miles above that group of Excel users. My first issue is with page 2. Not because it is incorrect, but the difference from my view is as I see it more than semantics. You see, they state “eliminating the budget deficit – into an era of parallel challenges as it moves towards Brexit“. I believe that Brexit will enable over time a speedier recovery of the deficit, it will be no picnic, but it will happen. Which is why I in earlier writing opposed the view the independent had. They wrote “Britain’s largest banks are planning to move business overseas due to uncertainty over the Brexit process, the head of the British Bankers’ Association has warned“, where my response in a decently diplomatic tone was “So, let them fuck off! The moment they feel the initial 2018 collapse of the Euro and the US Dollar, which will be voiced as ‘our currency will face a temporary contraction of value’, then they will see the cost they face and the revenue they are now missing out of. So, feel free to consider to return after learning that mistake under conditions of massive administrative fees for consideration of inclusion into the UK economy“. This is not an empty view, when the UK returns to strength, those moved away will see contracting economies in Germany, where the Deutsche Bank will be desperate to retain business out of fear of the damage of ‘written off’ collapsing corporations. France will be in a similar state, but there Crédit Agricole and Natixis are the Powerbrokers and neither will consider some ‘grocery bank’ that is relocating to ‘new shores’, so these moving banks will not be too welcome there. And several other nations are in a similar setting. So what is left? Italy? Greece? Good luck with that idea!

So as the UK is facing new issues and new challenges, Deloitte is showing that it is not all roses. The report shows on page 12 “The OECD and IMF views are backed up by OBR analysis that suggests spending on investment, public services and benefits are the interventions most likely to provide rapid economic boosts while providing a platform for medium and longer term growth“, this illuminates an earlier issue that has been mentioned by yours truly (aka: me) more than once. It isn’t just the £11.2 NHS IT failure the UK Labour party gave its citizens. The bigger issue is that governments at large have had a failing grade in managing such projects. Over micro-managing made these projects too massive and in the end no longer feasible or realistic. If this is the path, than it needs to precede an altered adjustment in procedures on how to manage and set these projects. The issue we see that still is required for the NHS, also clearly shows that the political interference tends to be a hindrance rarely a solution. However, the political part cannot be removed, but the entire setup can be altered in another way. A clear definition of what is required, that would after this point be scrutinised by proper IT specialists working for the government (to keep that part of the costing down), only then when that part has been dealt with, can the project move into a new field. If this was the Law and Mental Health, it might be best phrased that the government needs an IT version of a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Such a manual would need a data requirement part, and application part, a data networking part and a security part. Until such an approach is made, the need that we see, will end up being a massive expenditure towards the Exchequers chest, with the risk of no result and no alternative. These paths make sense in two ways. In the first there will be a lot more clarity on what is requested, required and delivered. There will be less contractual mud and as such whomever took the project will be responsible for the delivered bad boy and it would show a clear path of adjustment and repairs (where needed).

There is even a new side in this, it will shape the required need of technical universities. Because as they become involved, delivering the hours and manpower towards these projects, the costing will be reduced, the Universities will also gain an income and their students would end up with a partial career and years of work and subsequent income. You see, the need to move away from these ‘conceptual consultants’ and selling concepts not products is an essential need to make it all work. There is even an additional benefit that larger IT corporations will lose their grip on governmental budgets and it will serve a wider audience, a change that has been overdue for at least 10 years.

The report gives on page 20 the public’s attitude. My issue is number 2. “More people expect public services to get worse because of Brexit“, I am not sure if that is complete. It is not incorrect, but the point of focus would reset really quickly when we consider the Guardian where we read “Deloitte’s previous work has shown that all sectors will be affected by automation in the next two decades, with 74% of jobs in transportation and storage, 59% in wholesale and retail trades and 56% in manufacturing having a high chance of being automated“, any automation where we see the change from personal towards an automated androgynous system, tends to cause waves of rejection and stress. Even today, we still have an automated irritation when we hear ‘press 1 for sales‘. Until we can upgrade these systems into a much better evolved system, automation will fluctuate into people seeking other avenues in acquiring that what they need. In addition, there is still an aversion to automated sales in some areas as distribution misses the quality marks the recipient demands in some cases. Now, we can all agree that there is plenty of evolution in this field and the evolution is growing in many directions and in long before 2030 we will have systems that are vastly superior to the systems we have today, that is the way the beast tends to work. There is also a given that we cannot yet predict how that will be in 5 years, yet all this requires a solid foundation between sales, services and facilitation/distribution and that part is currently still missing.

Now we get to the part that is a little bit of an issue with the report. We see that the top issue is ‘Better public transport‘, but better how? We see it on page 21 of the full report, so when we see ‘What things would you say would most improve public services in your area?’ Here, I miss a part where we see what the audience now feels is missing or failing. Is it prices, the amounts of times the public transport comes in, how busy it is (no sitting options), you see, they all come with extra costs. More busses means more costs. The solution that seemingly addresses all three mentioned, but is that the failure, the flaw or is it something else? I think that this issue remains subserving to the public’s personal issues ‘Poverty, inequality and low pay‘ as well as ‘Housing‘, which is all about the quality of life for most people. How to address that part is also an issue and automation does not address these policies in any way. Which is respectively 20% and 18% of an asked population of 1099 adults, which in my view is a population way too small to set this ‘State of the State‘ to. For a decent level of reliability, especially as the UK is a mere 65 million people, having a response quota 5,000-10,000 on a national level would have been an essential first. If the results were weighted towards the UK demographics, than it is likely that this report will have additional ‘flaws’, making me wonder who signed off on the requested paper?

There is another side the Guardian gives “However, in contrast to the doomsayers who predict mass unemployment, the firm has argued that over the last 140 years automation has created more work than it destroyed“, I am on the side of Deloitte here. In addition to creating more work, from the issues I raised earlier when considering that 10%-20% is moving towards retirement, the new jobs that are brought will be largely long term jobs and as the setting from tertiary IT education focusses on the governmental automation needs it already has as well as those we will likely see over the next 5 years, the overall quality of the workers in this field could rise almost exponentially when set this against the prepared workforce in the last 10 years. The result of better and more focussed workers will also increase the curve of automation as well as the quality of it. Part of the new data world is discussed on page 34 of that report. the quote “A police and crime commissioner compared data security challenges in the public sector to those in banking, concluding that banks “have secure information and have got away with it”” reads a little weird, yet the foundation of it is a requirement factor that will grow immensely. That field will grow in two ways. The first is the growing field of non-repudiation, a clear register that a certain person accessed certain data and only that person could have done it. This field especially if a cause for concern because there is a gap in technology here and especially in the case of NHS data, that gap needs to be filled (as well as several other fields). Should you doubt that, or prefer to trivialise this, then look towards Ashley Madison, the Office of Personnel Management, Anthem, Hacking Team and Premera. In effect totalling the endangered personal details of up to 150 million people. And this is only the hacks of 2015. When we see the upcoming move towards domotics, the overall danger of personal data getting out has the option of growing the number of people exposed by 1000%, basically a lot more than the complete UK population, at that stage even the sheep, sheepdogs and pony’s on Shetland could find their personal details online. This industry will grow, with a large club of international career opportunities in IT and the growing niche of Data Security.

In the end, we can agree with the numbers, or we can disagree. No matter how the meat is sliced, the recommendation on page 49 are in the end what matters. That part reads a little too diplomatic, but in all fairness they are points that count. Yet, as I personally see this, especially when set against page 2, I am missing something. You see, in my view, there is an item 6. I would state “This state will need to grow into a different dynamic (Government, Non-Profit and Commercial), it requires to grow its government policies by actively engaging and hiring the final year students into its governmental workplace and make them part of the IT evolution“.

It is my view that corporate needs will always exist, yet by preparing these students, graduating them and for them to adhere to corporate policies as they sell their innovations to government is all good for those corporations and I am not against that, because they will get a massive dose of that throughout their careers. There is nothing wrong by having these places of education create part of the engines of solution for the UK government. It falls directly in line with the thoughts in recommendations 2, 3 and 4.

The paper is a lot more than just about IT, even though IT takes the forefront here. When we look at the Guardian quotes “Interactive roles, which require “a high degree of personal interaction, including jobs such as teachers, social workers and police officers”, face a 23% chance of automation“, “senior staff in “cognitive roles that mostly require strategic thinking and complex reasoning, including finance directors and chief executives”, 14% have a chance of being automated” as well as “but the number of health service staff in this “interactive” job is expected to fall to 266,000 by 2030“. This grows another side in the IT business. Over the next 10 years we will see evolution and change as we see CRM systems and the interpretation of ‘What is a CRM system?’

The interpretation of ‘manage and analyse customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle‘ has gone through massive change due to places like Google and systems like Facebook. This is an ongoing path and the inclusion of 5G and domotics over the next 5 years will create even more waves. It is starting to be almost essential that governments at large (not just the UK) are grabbing these changes by the proverbial balls before we see another iteration of lagging adapted technology. It is not the requirement to be ahead, but to be ‘inclusively ready’ will turn the tables on many issues. To be ready to include within the current technological iteration would give an additional decade of data and opportunities, whilst not adhering to these large changes could become increasingly costly over time. In an age where we move towards automation the need to be ahead is not the most essential one, it is staying behind where the danger lies. In that regard, you end up having to adhere towards whatever the commercial technologist brings, instead of shaping technology in ways where it is most useful for you.

A lesson most have learned the expensive way in this generation.

If there is one part I have to disagree with, than it is “Our wider research on automation also shows that while jobs are displaced by automation, new, higher-skilled and better paying jobs are created as a result“, the issue is not the need for these people, but as governments are no longer able to afford certain pricing plans (as those commercial managers hope they could price them at), it becomes a market where the cheapest provider is willing to offer it on, meaning that junior staff gets to be under higher scrutiny for less money, in a place where unemployment is relatively high, these hiring managers will get away with it. I reckon that the market will positively adjust by 2021, but that is still 5 years away. Unless you are a niche specialist, it will be your fate, but overall the quality of life would start to go up by 2019 (due to rising cost of living, aka rent), that is if you have the right degrees.

A slightly gloomy picture that is absent of doom and still a lot better than the issues the EU population overall is facing over the next 3 years.


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For those doubting Brexit

There have been a few issues with the EU, some are petty and some only seem petty. You see, many are all in arms and all about the issue on how Canada is a good place, and it really really is. Yet, we have to understand that a trade agreement tends to be an agreement where one is better off than the other. That is a simple fact of life. A trade agreement, when completely balanced equally to all parties is a figment of the imagination of the visionary who wanted it, for the simple reason that it was in their interest. Now, that does not make the person evil or greedy, it is merely the reality of any trade agreement. Yet, when the trade agreement is done in secret, there will be additional issues. This is not such a case, but in the case of CETA (at, there is the image that French speaking Belgium (aka Wallonia) will miss out too much in this EU-Canada deal, so they are all about not letting it happen. The article gives us ‘Paul Magnette, the leader of the Wallonia region, says the deal is bad for Europe’s farmers and gives too much power to global corporate interests‘, which would give ample voice to the justification of Wallonia trying to scuttle this deal. It does not make Canada bad or evil, it only gives voice to the European side that Wallonian farmers lose out, from their point of view too much. This shows partially the justification of Brexit; yet in equal measure it shows how the Bremain group feels scared and scarred as well as their justification that together the UK would be stronger. On one side they have a point, on the other side, we see here that if Wallonia gives in, the EU basically sells their future short and away from them. The quote “One European diplomat said that the reassurances “responded to all of Mr Magnette’s concerns”” implies that Magnette is unreasonable as reassurances were given, yet we have all seen how politicians can roll on their backs when the wind turns, so is he wrong? In this case I very much doubt it, as does politico (at Here we see two mentions. The first is “Wallonia did its homework” as well as “In particular, he protested that CETA would leave European governments vulnerable to court action from unscrupulous multinational companies“, these are issues raised in both the TTIP and the TPP. In the TPP it was New Zealand that showed backbone, whilst Australia folded like a tissue in front of a hair dryer on high, it was not a pretty picture. We have had several issues with the US in the past, yet not with Canada. It is my personal believe that large corporations are dictating the trade agreement language to governments at large, which is cause for concern in two ways.

In the first it means that the governments are not enough about governing and a little too much regarding the status quo of the Fortune 500 they have connections to and in the second it implies that they overall quality of government legislators is dwindling too much and as such national interests are not being met, which now implies that proper taxation laws are about a decade away and nations at large cannot afford to work that way.

In that light the quote in Politico seems pretty decent: ““This treaty affects the lives of 500 million Europeans and 35 million Canadians for years and years,” Magnette told La Première channel Wednesday. “We can take a few weeks, a few months to analyse the problems and overcome them.”” Is that such a bad idea? The fact that a decision is demanded in less than 12 hours gives additional cause for concern. Why the speed?

Canadian Global Research had this quote “The CETA agreement –presented to public opinion as an innocuous “bilateral” EU-Canada trade deal– constitutes a TTIP in disguise, which would eventually evolve towards the integration of NAFTA and the EU, i.e into what might be described as a giant “North Atlantic Trade and Investment Area”. Those who are involved in the negotiations are fully aware that CETA is a back-door mechanism which would would create the underlying conditions for the formation of a North Atlantic Trading Block, i.e. a US “Imperial Project” controlled by Washington“.

This now implies that this is a new approach to TTIP, a backdoor. The part where we see “US “Imperial Project” controlled by Washington“, gives voice to the part that I have given for close to two years. The United States of America is broke and bankrupt. This is the only path that the US has left to remain in the game for a little while longer, whilst giving 98% of American power to large corporations, which n my humble opinion was never a working or acceptable solution. The fact that pressures are applied to get this done quicker and quicker only gives rise to the fact that this American Democratic administration could end up being the worst in American history and this administration needs a clear ‘win’ to be less regarded as less of a failure. What a legacy President Obama brings, no matter how this goes, it will make progression for the next US administration near impossible, so we can see why the Clinton campaign was against the TTIP to begin with. In addition, the Canadian Tyee (at, gives us “Leaving aside the odd reference to how nice Canada is, this is remarkable language that lays bare the obvious frustration and disappointment for the government, which prioritized the CETA agreement above all trade deals“, in that my personal response becomes: ‘drop the option to large corporations to sue governments‘, first they get tax breaks, now they get to sue for missed alleged profits? When did we get ourselves so retarded that this: “Currently, the US Lone Pine energy company is using ISDS provisions in NAFTA to sue the provincial government of Quebec for $250 million because it suspended shale gas mining pending an environmental study in response to community concerns“? How on earth was the mining of Shale Gas ever allowed before clear environmental studies were made?

Environmental regulations are there for a reason. When the environment is damaged, these companies tend to get really far and away when the invoice is due, trying all kinds of loopholes not to be held accountable. The Australian Newspaper The Age gives us “The high cost of ISDS makes the threat of arbitration a potent tool for the tobacco companies“, meaning that in not so wealthy countries, Tobacco, Soda drinks and alcohol companies can hold a nation over a barrel when they can find an option to apply the ISDS. Australia Spend $50 million to defend its plain packaging requirement in cigarettes. A system that allows for Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), where we see the issue of alleged discriminatory practices is too dangerous. In addition, the proven dangers of tobacco, how many people died and were not compensated? How discriminatory is that?

Yet the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade gives us “Is ISDS a threat to Australia’s sovereignty? No. ISDS does not prevent the Government from changing its policies or regulating in the public interest. It does not freeze existing policy settings. It is not enough that an investor does not agree with a new policy or that a policy adversely affects its profits”, yet this is the opposite of what we see when we the Australian case of Philip Morris. The fact that only 5 days ago, (at gives us “Nick Xenophon wants to know what it cost taxpayers to defend the case, but the department insists it needs to be kept secret“, it gives light to the danger that the ISDS poses, it shows that Paul Magnette, the leader of the Wallonia region seems to be a lot more clued in and a lot more on the ball than those trying to get this dangerous trade pact passed and in addition, the fact that court costs are kept secret means that the taxpayer is not getting properly informed. The ISDS is more than just investors feeling safe, it is a secondary tool to get revenue up when the forecast gets downgraded by (amongst others) environmental needs and governmental freedom to set policy, although some deny that this is happening now (like the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade), yet the fact that the cost is kept in secret gives indication that the sum is likely to be running towards the 9 digits, whilst it was about opposition on a health policy. Two cases like this could make most Eastern European EU nations bankrupt overnight, so there is cause for concern and in that Paul Magnette has a clear mindset in requiring more time.

In all this, the one part that is not making sense is that the ISDS could be seen that this is to protect non-visionary investors, investors that aren’t doing their homework, to give an additional option to get their money’s worth. Why on earth are we facilitating for corporate losers? If for example a UK company decides to cut corners and go for places where they learn that they are blocked, why would we give them any allowance for suing the UK government? If this example seems fair fetched, consider Philip Morris Asia Limited (Hong Kong) v. The Commonwealth of Australia. They might have lost, but the costs were really high. And this was whilst plain packaging was already in place. So getting rid of parts, or better the ISDS as a whole, would be a decent idea. Let’s not forget that if these companies were truly wronged, most common law nations have the option of proceeding through Torts.

Giving them additional options seems too far-fetched and in the end only counterproductive. No matter how many tears Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s trade minister brings to the table. In that part I wonder, why she had not considered removing the ISDS. Let’s face it, if investment is too dicey or dodgy, those companies should not go there to begin with, would that not be common sense? So why drive the ISDS? Perhaps I am oversimplifying the problem. I know that the ISDS makes sense, yet the Australian Philip Morris case shows the ISDS parts to be flawed and in light of how American and Chinese companies play the game, it is time to face the harsh reality that facilitation is becoming the lesser healthy alternative. In the end if there is profit, these companies will come.

So in the end, this was not about Brexit, but here we see in clarity, that this one market deal is not as great for the people at large as they think it is. For those only iterating that a one market deal is the only way, consider Wallonia, no matter how you slice it, people will lose out and if the court case is strong enough, you could lose a lot. A side that the Bremainers are not giving a clear view to, which is equally disturbing. There are elements on both sides, yet the disturbing one that Paul Magnette is bringing to light is one that too many have ignored. Brexit might end up giving the UK options and protections, that the EU trade agreements are currently trying to remove from the UK.



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Gimme some Sugar

In the week where we saw the disgraceful act by Sam Gyimah, a British Conservative, who made sure that the wrongs against gays in the past remain, he filibustered the meeting, so that the Gay population will be stigmatised a little longer. Hiding behind “We have developed a way to do this without giving any perception that the pardon covers perpetrators of sex with a minor or non-consensual sex“, whilst it has been known quite clearly that there is no pardon for acts that are still criminal. We could ask if he has had non-consensual sex lately, because that might give cause for confusion. As I see it, this seems to be nothing more than the shameful act by a homophobic government representative. Yet that is actually not the worst what is happening. You see, George Osborne has had a few decent ideas and one of them was the Sugar Tax. The information that we get to some extent (at, shows the information that “Research has found that drinking more than two sugary or artificially sweetened soft drinks per day greatly increases the risk of diabetes“, which would be worrying enough for most parents on the best of days. In this age of obesity, something needed to be done and the Sugar Tax would be one way of doing it. Is it the best path?

That is a fair enough question, and it could have been debated if the large corporations had actually done something, but they did not. They were in it to maximise profits. One could argue that the soft drinks companies are the new cigarette companies. The information that we get from all kinds of debatable sources is because the media at large refuses to properly inform the people. It is the old story of what I regard to be ‘whoring for advertisement‘ that is part of all that. The initial news (at, gave us the goods that when we see the Sugar Tax as “eventful by any standards”, you better realise that there will be plenty of opposition.

But that is not the biggest issue in this. The article that drew my attention gives us the following parts. “Health campaigners in favour of the proposed soft drinks industry levy said they are concerned that neither Theresa May nor Philip Hammond has personally spoken out in support of the tax since coming to office“, the fact that this gets delegated to junior ministers gives rise to the fear that things will get bungled and that implementation will be delayed or just blatantly rejected. This article also has a few issues. One of them is “At a drinks party at the Tory conference sponsored by the industry, a spokesman for the British Soft Drinks Association pleaded with Greg Clark, the business secretary, and MPs on the Conservative Reform Group to drop support for the levy, saying it would harm small businesses and cause job losses at a difficult time for the economy“. The first clear issue is who exactly was this spokesperson?

So, I decided to take another look and my first impression is that this BSDA reads like a joke (I have an evolved sense of humour, often intensely inappropriate). It starts with Health ‘Helping our consumers reduce their calorie and sugar intake‘. It comes with the picture of a woman you want to fuck six ways from Sunday on a daily basis. So we see nameless products with labels like Product Innovation Sugar Reduction and Smaller pack sizes. At this point you wonder what you are in for, in the ‘UK Economy section’ we see how £11 billion was added to the economy. This sounds so nice, but where was it added to the economy? Being THEIR revenue? That is aid to them, but is it truly aid to the UK economy? This site just reeks like corporate marketing in what they call a ‘non-profit coat’ and it is high time some changes are made.

From my point starting by adding to the sugar tax would be a great idea.

You see, the executive council of the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) includes Pepsi, Lucozade, Coca Cola, Red Bull, Tropicana and a few others. Many of them not paying heaps of taxation in the UK, Coca Cola avoided £102 million in the UK in 2012 (I have no clear numbers from the years following that) and was mentioned recently as one of the 50 stashing a total of 1.3 trillion off shore. It is time to stop enabling these large corporations, because this is one of the main reasons the NHS can no longer continue the way it did. If there was no large scale tax evasion, the sugar tax would never have come into existence.  In addition, stories on what Diet Coke apparently seems to do to the human body and the relentless support from the media through not illuminating it, because of the advertisement they represent. So for the most, many people, perhaps even better stated most people are unaware of certain cause and effect issues seen due to the usage of what we now laughingly refer to as the ‘diet fuzzy drinks’.

So now we get back to the lady on page one. You see, if the members of the BSDA are not doing their part other than hiding behind statistics, changes will be required. So if we need more physical exercise the BDSA can send their fitness/yoga outfitted lady to my address where I can lose 15,000 calories a day through consensual sex (when doing it 3 times a day that is).

Is this thought too inappropriate?

I think the BSDA is a hatchet job in this age of marketing to serve the interest of large corporations and their needs. Their needs being profit and only profit. The issues of the BSDA is just like the acts of Sam Gyimah. They are legal and part of the political life that needs to be frowned upon. The fact that the BSDA a non-profit organisation is bombarding advertisements with added twitter stories from a ‘Tunbridge Wells newsagent‘ whose business will be ruined by sugar tax. If that is truly so, perhaps they should try to sell newspapers. The fact that their business survives on sugary drinks is a bit of an issue, as they tend to be over 150% more expensive then the nearest supermarket. Just a thought!

These levels of marketing require a lot more scrutiny and no one is stepping to the plate to do so. A harsh reality of big business in charge. Yet, there is more, the BSDA reports on one of their pages “‘We are pleased that the latest NDNS data shows a decline of over 8% in teenagers’ sugar intake from soft drinks between 2012 – 2014“, which is a statement that might be true, but where is the data? The second statement is one I have a definite issue with. The quote “Soft drinks companies have taken significant action to help their consumers reduce their sugar intake since the NDNS data was collected over 2 years ago. Independent analysis confirms that sugar intake from soft drinks has been reduced by over 16% in the last four years“, I believe this to be incorrect. You see Coca Cola is as ‘sweet’ as it ever was, so were most other drinks. So here we see the switch from ‘sugar’ to these ‘diet’ drinks and the dangers there have been avoiding visible presentation and scrutiny from the media at large, because they are nowadays too much about circulation and advertisement. Then the page goes one step further and states “we understand there is more to do and only last year we set ourselves a 20% calorie reduction target by 2020“, now it is suddenly about calories? calories are mostly from sugar, meaning that this is about alternative ‘additives’, they might not show up on the calorie list, but there is enough worry to consider that it will show a long term effect on the human body. No one can know for sure, which is a truth in itself, but the fact that there are long term considerations and the fact that the almighty US FDA is suddenly way too quiet and we see certain aspects, we now also see that the FDA is now no more than a valve of corporate discrimination as to what is considered safe, set by who is bringing it to market. Is that not an interesting development? The fact that we see in this place that “A 2010 Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine review of the literature on artificial sweeteners concludes that, “research studies suggest that artificial sweeteners may contribute to weight gain”” (at, whilst the media is too quiet is equally disturbing. The fact that the BSDA is all about promoting the biggest ‘dealers’ in sugary substances (with the clear exception of the British Sugar at, seems to be pushed slowly into the background of the issue. The issue was the sugar tax!

So what economy is brought into danger? When we see Coca-Cola Coke 1.75L £1.71 and Any 2 for £2.00 (Source: Tesco), either the margins are astronomical, or Coca Cola is giving away their profits, what do you think is more likely to be the truth? So when we include taxation and Cola becomes 2 for £2.20-£2.40. Considering they are giving the second bottle for only £0.29, are they really in danger? Are any of those soft drink manufacturers in actual danger? No they are not, because in the end, there is a group that will stop getting the second bottle, yet in my pragmatic view, it is more likely that families will now only get this article twice a month instead of weekly. Which would reduce the sugar intake by a massive amount. Also, in light of the BSDA statement that teenagers were reducing intake by 8%, now consider that we see that Coca-Cola Coke 1.75L contains 29.0% sugar. How likely is that the 8% is just a weighted average and that the numbers are not that positive? I am using Coca Cola as an example, yet when we see that regular Pepsi contains 31.0% sugar, it seems clear that I have a case here. Now Pepsi might come with the response that their revenue comes from the Pepsi Max drinks, yet here we see ‘Low Calorie Cola Flavoured Soft Drink with Sweeteners‘ and ‘Contains a Sourced of Phenylalanine‘, with twice the sentence: ‘contains no sugar’. Yet the mention made me search and WebMD has this (at The warning is “Doses higher than 5,000 milligrams a day can cause nerve damage“, which sees like a really dangerous issue (and a massive dose is needed), yet there is no mention at all how much is in Pepsi Max, only that it has 0% sugar (on the website). In addition, the risk mention is “And use caution in taking phenylalanine if you have: High blood pressure, Trouble sleeping, Anxiety or other psychiatric problems, Also, it is unknown whether this supplement is safe in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

That is a lot of risk groups, knowing that high blood pressure is a risk group here and also considering that “Approximately 16 million people in the UK have high blood pressure” (source: NHS UK) gives us that 24% of the population is a risk factor, so in my view, at that at this Conservative Tea Party (where tea is unlikely to be served), it seems to be sound advice that representing Pepsi, Mr Mark Elwell – PepsiCo International, remains quiet as a mouse. It seems to me that his conscience is better served with the Sugar tax in place, but that is just me speculating.

So here we see that those fueling the NHS customer base, are mostly all about not having to pay any bills in this matter. I think that the people forgot the 2004 movie Super-Size Me. Even as this was mostly about McDonalds, the fact that we are supersizing ourselves with that second bottle at a mere £0.29, we are doing the harm to ourselves. It is more than just taxation by rescuing us from ourselves. The Soft Drinks industry has the ability to throw millions in advertisement on a playful and sporty youth, yet they are not representative of this healthy life style, not to the degree it should be and that is the real danger. The fact that the BSDA spin machine is running at full power and that the image at present is that Prime Minister Theresa May is not taking this as serious as she should (by setting this agenda on the collar of a senior Conservative) is equally disturbing. You see, if the sugar tax is watered down or stricken off, she has absolutely no rights to deny the NHS the funds they need and she will have to order the current Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Right Honourable Philip Hammond to find those needed funds. In my view, good luck to that tall order, because there are almost no margins left to play with, the Sugar Tax was the first real step in creating some level of margins (to the smallest extent).

We have to admit that the BSDA has a right to do the things they are doing, they aren’t breaking any laws, yet the linked issues are there and the press overall for one isn’t doing its job to the extent they should be. When we see the end of the initial Guardian article, we see “The charity Action on Sugar has said the tax will have an impact on intake because people respond to price, but the government has said it wants the cost of the tax to be borne by the industry and not consumers“, there is truth in that and there is misleading parts in that. That is, when we widen the statement ‘the tax to be borne by the industry‘. You see, tax law overhaul is the only way to do this, the sugar tax will have an impact to the margin of profit making the industry increase the prices. That seems just mere logical. However, if we can make people reduce the purchase of these drinks, that too would be a positive effect. Any chance in lowering the intake of sugar and artificial sweeteners would be a massive win for the population of Britain. The fact that the government saw raising prices as a solution for the tobacco industry and not for the soft drinks industry is also worrying. You see, there is a direct health risk, so making these lemonades unaffordable would make sense, the fact that this isn’t treated as the dangers they represent, just like the denial we saw in the 80’s on tobacco is cause for distress and reason for debate. The only interesting ‘coincidence‘ is the quote in the Guardian, which is “The link between sugary drinks and obesity has been well documented with evidence suggesting they account for 29% of 11- to 18-year-olds’ daily sugar intake” and this is exactly the amounts of sugar that Coca Cola has in its bottles. Life is full of little coincidences, isn’t it?


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Non iudicium tuum

This telling is a little overdue. You see, when you are looking at one aspect, when the aspect is blended into the frame, it tends to be a larger puzzle to decipher where the colours have ended up. You see, when you start the painting, you work with blue, yellow and perhaps a little red. So before you know it, you have in addition purple, Green, Orange and at times brown appears. Yet, how much of yellow is in each of the blends? Do not think it is a black and white path, it is tainted in contrast and the one trying to decipher it all is in the largest of dangers by letting his or her ego speak in the extent that the amount of yellow that made green is used. It isn’t always science, it is at times art. This is the path of intelligence analyses and whomever is pointing its finger at a mere correlation table of SIGINT (or Business Intelligence) will for the most never have a clue what got themselves into that number and they end up painting themselves into a corner, the deadliest of actions in any given analytical equation.

So when I initially got to the fact that the foundation of the Huawei revenue was down 4.25%, I was looking at the base of it. You see, like the blending of colours, Huawei is also getting blended. Samsung would be the strongest indicator why their profits are up by a fair share. In addition as Apple disappointed to the smallest equation is an equal measure of the impact, yet Google is about to hit the revenue ball out of the park with the Pixel and Pixel XL, where it now seems that filling the initial US and UK orders is no longer feasible, the demand for this communication jewel is crushing all expectations raising the bar by a sizeable amount, something we have not seen since the early days of the Apple iPhone.

You see, in July the Financial Times reported on operating margins shrinking, even though revenue surged 40% (for Huawei), the quotes aren’t too ‘informative’, you see the answer isn’t always easy when a brand is global. Yet this quote will help “But while revenue surged, picking up from 30 per cent growth in the same period last year, Huawei’s operating margin shrank from 18 per cent to 12 per cent, the privately owned company said on Monday“, yes the revenue went up by a lot, mainly because over the previous year Huawei was very aggressive offering the P7 at such discounts that in its league it was almost the only choice to make. Other models were sold at very sharp prices, giving shoppers clear reasons to select something that seemed too good to be true. The rest at the Financial Times is pretty spot on, but incomplete. (at

It is the next quote I have an issue with “Sabrina Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer, predicted the strong sales would continue through the year: “We are confident that Huawei will maintain its current momentum, and round out the full year in a positive financial position backed by sound ongoing operations”“, as stated before, people are getting more and more clued in on what is required in a smartphone, as they went the way of Samsung and others in limiting what was available the market is slowing down for them, it will slow down faster and faster as they ignored to comprehend their mobile customers. The lesson Apple knew and Google comprehends at presale is the reason that the Huawei and other markets will slow down even further. Don’t get me wrong, they will still make a profit, but their mobile share will take a hit (when we exclude the Samsung shift). By listening to the wrong analysts and not realising that their production path could have been optimised by not giving in to fragments, the margin was kept low. This is a choice you can make, and it comes with consequences.

Huawei is following Microsoft, Motorola, Sony and a few others in this. And as we see the news in the corner on how others are following the P9 dual lens, they are all ignoring the main element in all this, it is storage plain and simple! That is, for the consumer users, in addition, when we see Ericsson dive deep down into a 94% drop, we need to consider the quote that IT News gave (at “Acting CEO Jan Frykhammar was confident Ericsson could fight back, noting it had faced a similar situation in 2007-2009 when it was waiting for demand for 4G technology to kick in“, you see, ‘waiting’ is the issue, you either take the lead and jump or let the revenue slide by, that was the consequence. They gave up the mobile smartphone a long time ago, as there was no way to compete with the market. In addition, Ericsson has been dropping the ball on a few telecom fronts.

I think it is relatively safe to state that there is a lull in the Telecommunication market (in general). The final quote “Our result is significantly lower than (what) we expected, with a particularly weak end of the quarter, and deviates from what we previously have communicated regarding market development,” said acting Ericsson CEO Jan Frykhammar” this sounds like an answer, yet it is not.

Is he showing that he had no way to forecast what the market was doing?
Is there no correct focus on ‘market development’?

The Ericsson case is showing us that there is more than one issue. In the same state we have to see that Huawei is a lot more than just mobile phones, as it is with Ericsson, yet as I personally believe it to be, some places aren’t thinking through, at l;east not to the extent that they should be thinking it through. They are trying to get back to the ’98 time when they were getting rich by selling concepts. I see it as backward thinking. Ericsson states on their website “Opportunities in 5G! We asked 650 executives from 8 industries how they use communications technology today, which use cases are likely to dominate their industry, and what business reasons are driving them to move to 5G“, which is not untrue, but as we see the PR machine waking up 4 years early on the biggest opportunities that are eligibly coming, whilst there are still 4 general meetings and as I see it no less than 8 shareholders meetings, so focussing on the now is extremely essential (don’t you agree?), this is why Ericsson got to drop 94%, the ‘now’ is not covered and we only have yesterday’s technology to compare it to. If you wonder about 5G, look here:

what-is-5g-euroWhat is important is “Huawei is planning to launch the first 5G pilot network with its partners in 2018. Interoperability testing is to be completed in 2019 ahead of a commercial launch in 2020. Ericsson is planning to demonstrate 5G at the Winter Olympics in South Korea (as is Samsung) and at the World Cup in Russia, both in 2018“, this sounds nice, and it actually is, but consider that the devices that need to be there are not created yet, so they are dealing with old tech that is soon no longer interesting, whilst todays needs that shows clear forward momentum thinking is not shown by either and relying on 32GB mobile devices is definitely not it. So the consumer at present is looking at buying at least 2 more mobiles in the next 5 years, so having one now that last 3 years is a massive requirement as I see it. In addition, lowering the upcoming threshold is an initial requirement. The image on that page, shown here, is the first step. The image shows two elements. In the first we see ‘smart mobility‘ and ‘smart wearables‘ in the second we see ‘domotics‘ and ‘Entertainment, apps beyond imagination‘. This gets us now back to ‘Viewpoint to a point of view‘ (at Google wasn’t just ‘on the ball‘ they are now leading the game and are the new game deciders in the field where everyone wants to play. In that presentation on Google Home they showed to be active in all four elements, and they are now leading in at least two of them. That is the part Huawei ignored. And as so called 2018 G5 partners they had the option to lead the field, they just decided not to do so. By using the initial Apple approach, the Pixel and Pixel XL offer the 128 GB solution for $150 more. Meaning that your phone could last you until 2020 and only when the 5G requirement is actually needed, the current Google solution will give you some of what 5G is supposed to offer, so you will only be upgrading the centre of the hub of your domotics, namely your mobile phone. The rest will most likely already be there, so that is why we see the shift.

So is my view tainted?
It is!

I look at a lot more elements than the consumer will, yet in all this, the consumer is already getting exposure to these elements and as such we see a level of contrasting within the consumers choice that we haven’t seen before, that elements needs to be taken into account as well. Whasun Jho who has published works regarding building Telecom markets. As he sees it and I agree we see a contrasting in the Telecom markets where we see the growth of facility based competition versus service based competition, I believe that the second is only a field of combat if your hardware isn’t up to specs to deal with the wave that will follow over the next 5 years, so in that Huawei, as I stated in the past had the option to grow the market to rule as they went with sharp competition in 2015, they now gave it away by seeking margins instead of overpowered ruling through superior options. In my view as we see where limitations were the only options, it was about competition between providers of the same or similar services (in Australia Telstra versus Optus) and by giving in, they are now losing market share that I stated is a base drop of 4.25% and could rise to 11% before Christmas, almost literally depending on the power of Google’s devices as accepted by the global consumers. In this situation, it is not a given that Google would switch to a Software As A Service path, but by offering the path on corporate whilst leaving the consumers with open and negligible costs, the image as shown implies that ‘smart’ elements and ‘domotics’ will give us Google at number one, with a massive advantage for the longest of times, that is, unless the players change their ways and right fast. Because when proven to work, customer loyalty will soon be the most important metric in this telecom shift. Samsung gambled and got hit hard, yet they are not out. One burning battery does not stop a company the size of Samsung and a lot of burning batteries makes for a fun roasting of Marshmellows (pun intended).

So here we see the use of colours. Which colour is what is not a given and does not matter, what matters is what the consumers and what the corporations need, in the next 3-4 years it will all be about what will last longer, not some hardware as a service that requires annual replacement. Ericsson shows us what happens when you are not proactive on the ball and there will be the licking of wounds for some time there, in addition, as we see the mobile iteration (Experia Z to Z5), actions that I call to be an iterative market that has no chance to survive. sweetening deals like a couple of movies has no place here as I see it, it seems like a quick fix and it is, yet in that Sony has made that mistake a few times too often and Huawei should have learned from those failures. They were all options that could have been avoided and it will hurt Huawei, yet in all this they too are not down or out. Just a little bruised as I see it. So we will see a market that will shift over the next 4-6 weeks. Yet in the end there is no certainty on how matters are impacted. What is clear is that the Telecom market will shift in a massive way, those who do not shift with that market are most likely the players that will not make it to 2019, an extreme prediction, yet will I be wrong?

Consider what the market is trying to imbue to us between 2017 and 2021/2022. As per 2018 you should only consider a device that will last that initial transition (software without the 5G speed), and the one after that will have the speed if you want to play on that level. So buying with clear common sense could save you $1000-$1800, that is for most people serious money, for those relying on a new plan with a new phone, you better remember that soon such a solution might not be that easy to get, or that cheap. The Telecom providers will remain facility based competition, yet the market we swim in is more and more becoming service based, so we need the right device that can deal with this and for telecom companies to keep on playing a ‘this will do for a year‘ isn’t thinking forward, or at least just limited short term. A game we cannot go along with and there are enough people to realise this danger, which is what is pressuring the Huawei market as I personally saw it.

There is more to all this, but a market that revolves on ‘We decide your choice‘ is not a choice, it is a limitation, something that Google is building awareness on by showing us what is possible and then offering the overkill device for a mere $150 extra, like Apple did, but Apple didn’t come with the shown benefits of actually showing us that part. As you realise that you already knew most of these elements as you YouTubed your way through the internet universe, consider the options your phone don’t allow for at present. There is no reason to suddenly update the phone at present, but you should realise that these limitations will hinder you in the future and realising what you need in three years is more and more important in today’s mobile market. It is something you only need to be aware of at present, when the shift comes you will be ready with the right phone and with the options to do it all (without getting pushed into spending $1000+ overnight), as well as the option to keep your movies, your photos, your Pokémon’s, as well as whatever the domotics apps universe brings to your mobile.


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A New Disney

There was an Italian, who has been famous for over 125 years, he is not the first or the only famous Italian. There was this guy who came up with Pizza, There was this other Italian who thought fast Ford cars were a joke and he created Ferrari, then there was this other Italian, who made tractors, disagreed with the previous Italian and created Lamborghini. It is actually none of those. It is Carlo Lorenzini who was born 190 years ago. You might not know the name, perhaps his alternative name? Carlo Collodi! If you are still in the dark, than remember the story of a wooden boy who wanted to become a real live boy. Steven Spielberg used the notion in AI, but the original remains the best, namely Pinocchio!

Yes, the story of a wooden boy going into the world, yet as a wooden boy he was not alone, there was a little Cricket accompanying him and he would be a lot more important than your average Cricket, Jiminy was his name. Today the story is even more relevant, you see, the name Yemini Cricket might be ringing bells, but the truth of the wooden boy is there. The question becomes, who is the wooden boy?

So when I read ‘US, Britain and UN demand Yemen ceasefire within days‘ (at,

Yet when I read “The United Nations envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, said: “We are here to call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, which will be declared in the next few hours.” Cheikh Ahmed said he had been in contact with the rebel Huthi militia’s lead negotiator and with Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s government“, my recollection does not go towards the classical story, it goes to a reference a little closer to the present (at, the laughter applies to both the sketch and reality. Aleppo is a great example, how 5 years and 400,000-450,000 fatalities later, no solution is there, but they are still flying to places like Switzerland to talk. I wonder when we add up all the costs, how much did the taxpayer pay for this play?

A number of civilian casualties that have now surpassed the total US Military casualties, of those who died during WW2. Doesn’t that look like a clear message that massive change was required a few years ago? I reckon all the players know that, yet, having long conversations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whose only concern is to stall so that the population can be made extinct before the resolution passes, reads a lot more like the Friends edition of Pinocchio, than the original by Carlo Collodi, where we see the conscience that is Jiminy Cricket.

So as we see the beginning of the same slow train in Yemen, I have to wonder if creating a new version of Pinocchio with Yemini Cricket is the way to go. It educates politicians as well as bring some hard needed cash towards Hollywood (or Bollywood).

So why is this different?

To one degree it is not, towards the other degree it is very much so. The problem is that both Syria and Yemen could be on the same page, no degrees of separation. In this case there are two at least. You see, Yemen has limited ties to Russia, making it less complicated, what is the issue is that the Houthi’s are actively shooting missiles at the US Navy complicating matters a lot more. It only takes one direct hit, and Yemen would technically be in a state of war with the US. Now, normally, a bankrupt nation is not that much a bother, but Yemen is not an economic or military superpower, so going against America sounds like a PR approach to get them ‘involved’. What is an issue is that Yemen, the neighbour of Saudi Arabia could get lucky at some point, what happens after the hit will be an issue, because Americans tend to get cranky when you successfully blow up something American. Interesting is that there are now multiple sources claiming that Iran is now moving towards the Red sea. An interesting story as the Red sea is on the other side of the Persian Gulf and Iranian war ships have no actual business there (which could also apply to the Americans). The question becomes how is Saudi placed into all this? Here there are issues too. There is no stating if there is even any link but the changes and the Attention that members of the Saudi government are drawing attention to themselves become a factor (speculation from my side).

One part is from the Australian Financial Review (at, where we see the title ‘Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s shatters decades of tradition‘, is not giving us the ‘goods’. The first quote is “He has slashed the state budget, frozen government contracts and reduced the pay of civil employees, all part of drastic austerity measures as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is buffeted by low oil prices“, which would be quite acceptable in one view, at least it appears that one government in this world is dealing with its budget issues, although not in the most ‘desirable’ way, when a nation is so dependent on oil, there might not be too many options. The second quote is “While vacationing in the south of France, Prince Mohammed spotted a 134-metre yacht. He dispatched an aide to buy the ship, the Serene, then owned by Russian vodka tycoon Yuri Shefler. The deal was done within hours, at a price of approximately €500 million (roughly $720 million today)“, which implies the opposite. The question is not the cut-backs or spending spree, the issue is neither quote, it is the quote I will give now “Many young Saudis admire him as an energetic representative of their generation who has addressed some of the country’s problems with uncommon bluntness. The kingdom’s media have built his image as a hardworking, businesslike leader less concerned than his predecessors with the trappings of royalty” as well as “Others see him as a power-hungry upstart who is risking instability by changing too much, too fast“. So is the prince a go-getter or power-hungry? I cannot tell as this is all based on third degree of information, what matters is how the view and the actions will reflect the counteractions of the US and Iran in regard to Yemen. The moment the conflict results in a direct attack on Saudi grounds, what then? Iranian warships in the Red Sea would only complicate that, making a harsh response from the Saudi Military even more destabilising.

In my view there are two sides within Saudi Arabia, yet how they should be seen is another matter. I do not claim to have a proper view. I have questions. You see Mecca is an Islamic Holy city (the most important one) and it is part of Saudi Arabia, so as Saudi Arabia is the caretaker of this holy site, the involvement if Iran is more than just a small issue. Whatever they decide to escalate could have large repercussions all over the Middle East. The Sovereign State of Saudi Arabia has every right to defend it in every way possible, so Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman is also Minister of Defence and the youngest one in the world, which as a stat sounds nice, yet it also means that in light of other decisions, he is ready to do that what the US has been unable to do, declare war on its enemy by actually acting against them! Not that the US needed to declare war, but in light of Syria, doing anything actively would have been nice, an absence of resolution that His Royal Highness Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud is less likely to show.

What is a problem is the fact that the complications are more and more likely as days go by and that is the one spark that this powder keg does not need. Iran cannot be denied access to international waters, which will not lessen the impact. One of the elements in all this is seen in the second quote regarding the ‘power hungry’ side of it. You see, the AFR article is also mentioning “Mohammed bin Nayef, the interior minister and longtime counter-terrorism czar“, which is now an element in all this. You see, whatever happens next is all surrounding the need for intelligence. So whatever issues there are between His Royal Highness Muhammad bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and His Royal Highness Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud gives wake to the Disney sequel, a tale of two princes. A new approach to the classic Dickens story where the plight of two members of the Royal family of Al Saud are protecting the Sovereign state of Saudi Arabia as well as the safety and security of all Muslims that are in and nearby Mecca. Even as the papers are expecting a ceasefire, the issue is that stalling is equally a tactic here. There is no way of telling why Iran is involving its warships in that region, other than trying to complicate matters and demanding a seat at the table of decision, which would only change the time table in the worst of ways. What the Deutsche Welle did give was the quote “the Saudi-led coalition has blamed an airstrike that killed over 140 people at a funeral ceremony in Yemen on “erroneous information” received from a “party” affiliated with the country’s embattled government“, it matters, because it gives light to the essential issue that the two princes need to rely on quality intelligence, sources that can be scrutinised. And in this matter, mentioning the yacht was to iterate that spending that money on a satellite over the area might not have been the worst personal idea I am having. And let’s face it, any prince that can claim that he has his own satellite wins the discussion with any other prince relying on yacht and status. So many have a yacht, but how many of these rich individuals (very wealthy people in general) would own their own satellite? Especially if it becomes a source of intelligence.

Of course there is a lot more to owning one’s own satellite, but I hope we can all agree that intelligence will be key in whatever escalates over the next week. My issue is that too many players have their own agenda, yet would those agenda’s be truly 100% be focussed on whatever is best for Yemen and/or Saudi Arabia? You see, oil prices are down now, but why and for how long? What happens when prices go through the roof again? What happens then? Suddenly all these political issues are all linked to the price of Oil and the profit it brings?

I do not claim to have these answers, but the fact that too many sources are not asking the questions that require asking is troubling, yet the AFR article gives us a lot more, even more than I bargained for, which is comforting to say the least. What becomes a matter of discussion is the one quote that shows the elements “People who have met Mohammed bin Salman said he insisted that Saudi Arabia must be more assertive in shaping events in the Middle East and confronting Iran’s influence in the region – whether in Yemen, Syria, Iraq or Lebanon“, giving the links that require addressing and the prince is not afraid to do just that, however it take two to dance rings around Iran and taking away its influence in the Middle East. As I see it, Riyadh will have to make changes to some degree. Counter-Intelligence will be key in dealing with Iran and the impression I get when I see a quote like “has deep ties to Washington and the support of many of the older royals” shows the speculative possibility of the older ‘let us see how this plays out‘ against the younger ‘let us get this party started through action‘. It is not about the balance, but about what works best. In that regard both princes might have to make changes a lot faster than they are comfortable with, because if the news is correct, the Iranian ships and submarines will soon be active in the Red Sea, but active to what extent is something that remains speculative, whatever they do, the fact that it includes Iranian submarine presence (as reported but not confirmed), will also raise tensions with Israel.

As I see it, the biggest issue is Iran and what they are trying to get out of it. Putting themselves in the middle of a conflict where they are now trying to imply that it is all about them (especially as they are in the Red Sea), yet is their presence less valid than that of the US? It seems to me that we are creating a new Vietnam, just not with the Russians involved (like Syria). So there are two solutions to consider. One is that the US is replaced by for example the Commonwealth, or France, which takes away the Iranian-US issues. That is, if Saudi Arabia would be willing to consider that move. No matter what, the navy that does that, could find themselves in an armed conflict with Iran, so it better be a competent and modern Navy which leaves not that many options. The Netherlands, the UK, France, South Korea and India. Giving the option to either South Korea or India would benefit, as Iran cannot spin some NATO link story. In addition Iran cannot afford to piss of too many additional nations as either could make short work of the ego of Iran as these navies decide to sink Iranian war vessels like rubber dinghies, because they pushed one button too many.

No matter what happens, Saudi Arabia must do what it can to keep safe and the Yemeni issue is one that tests many sides of those who see and witness it, because there is a dilemma in conscience. A revolution that got out of hand, a set government overthrown with its own agenda. When we see the Houthi’s slogan “God is great, death to the US, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam“, can we really show any kind of support or sympathy?

The most important part to realise is that we need to set aside our version of what is acceptable, we have seen the US and Europe at large impose their version of ‘civility’, whilst bending over, grabbing their ankles and let the financial industry quite literally get away with murder in many ways. We impose rules and expectations, whilst having no clue how to manage a budget or how to stem greed to the point of strangulation. In all this, we have given up the high ground in several fronts, so we are no lecturer with any level of confidence. It is my opinion, that the Middle East can only be decently governed by someone in the Middle East. I personally believe that Saudi Arabia should be at the centre of it, there is no doubt that it would beneficial that a coalition that would include Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, but I am not knowledgeable enough to see whether it is just them, or that other players should be seriously considered. What does matter is that both General Intelligence Directorate (GID, aka Mukhabarat) and Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate would be important in ascertaining Iran’s hostile actions and if need be counter them. From my academic point of view is the challenge that the SIGNT of the three would pose to get one coherent reporting and analytical solution on Iranian intelligence. One that would definitely benefit all three nations. Yet perhaps that will evolve into a third Disney project, which could be the next big thing. It’s all just a thought, but think it over for yourself and ask yourself the question you did not hear voiced, this is important, because this stage could get ugly in a hurry and possibly before Christmas this year.


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When game makers don’t get it

This is another day where we get to bash the game maker. This is not done out of malice or spite, this is done because certain ‘players’ in this industry need to wake up and consider hard and clear that they are running out of rope, out of options and out of any future. For the same reason why the malicious bashers of No Man’s Sky don’t get why it is a good game, the same reasoning why many of the triple-A game makers are now no longer producing 90%+ games.

So, this all started this morning when I saw ‘Mafia III review: how can a super stylish 1960s shooter be this boring?‘ (at First of all, I haven’t played it. Yet, to offset this, I looked at several sources. The issue is seen in the quote: “To say Mafia III is a disappointment is an understatement. It has all of the surface components to form a great game: the writing and acting are superb, its direction and style are great, but its mechanical underpinnings are archaic and desperately unimaginative. It’s ironic that Mafia III’s predecessor had a similarly stylish open world, but wasted it by giving players nothing to do besides its main story missions. Mafia III has the opposite problem – tons that you have to do, you just don’t want to do any of it“, which gives us the main goods in all this. I played the first game on PC, a game that had more than a few issues, but overall it was original and showed a game style that was novel in those days. So when I see this, I see another issue, which I will address later. The second review is one you cannot miss if it is your intent to buy the game. It is the video review on IGN (at This is actually an excellent view on the game. It also supports the reasoning I had (I will get to that, I promise). There are a few issues that also popped up, which are not negative sides, but they are linked to this all.

IGN mentions it in the video. There are references and similarities to the generic play of Assassins Creed and for what I saw, partially to Watchdogs 1 too. In these semi-open world games, there is a need to explore the world and find things, but what is the issue when you have to get items again and again, for no other reason than to find them? I reckon there is a plus to find album covers and playboy covers, if they are the actual covers and issue covers. A little historic on one side, a little sultry on the other. Yet, if it leads to nothing, why run through the city of London, finding all the ales? In Mafia 3 and as I am from the era, finding a Jimmy Hendrix album cover would be cool and could bring a tear to my eye, remembering this great guitar player, yet, what is the point? Same for AC and finding all the chests filed with cash all over the city where everyone is in states of poverty? Apart from the ridiculousness of it all, it stopped fulfilling a purpose long ago. The same in Watchdogs. Getting all those jackets without some bonus is just emptiness of cash spent.

This is where we see the emerging issues of these games nowadays. There is no longer proper play testing and the fact that the game is only given to reviewers on release day is only in support that the game makers know this. In my view when properly addressed it could make a 75% Mafia game a 92% mafia game, with the clear option to double revenue, because gamers will jump at a 90%+ game and there have been a lack of it.

In opposition we see Ubisoft, not their generic games. No! When we see the effort that For Honor has been showing with closed alpha’s additional rounds and now the closed alpha game on PS4 with releases on YouTube. This is exactly why I foresaw that For Honor would be a high scoring game, I want it and I am not even a true fan of this game type, but what is shown is what I see, gaming on a new level, a different level. That is what makes a top game. Even as Ubisoft has been dropping the ball in several games, they have shown a multitude of evidence that they got this right! Proper play testing is all the difference and taking time to get that right is all the reason why Mafia 3 is as I can see it the non-success at present it could end up being.


When you lack the open world that Bethesda has, play testing is the only way to get the semi-open world and mission based games correctly. This is why the original game released on 11/11/11 was the long term success and now it is about to be rereleased on HD for consoles. After 5 years it still have the appeal it originally had. I am of course speaking of Skyrim, and now that people have had a taste of Fallout 4, the Skyrim fan base could grow even further, Bethesda achieved that chance and in likelihood, it will be one of these games that will be found gift wrapped at thousands of thanksgiving parties, especially when some November releases decide not to deliver. Even though my version of Elder Scrolls 6 will not make it to the systems, Bethesda is already looking at new projects and as we are unlikely to see them before 2018, whatever makes it will be a new game changer, just as Fallout 4 was the game changer for players on all systems.

The others (Ubisoft, 2K, Square Enix) have issues to some extent, in some cases the issues are not big of massive, but they are still the reason that a game makes 80% instead of 91% and in this business 11% is not a margin, it is the reason that people wait for the game to drop 50% or more in price. In my view Far Cry4, Assassins Creed Syndicate, Assassins Creed Unity, Far Cry Primal, and this list goes on are all games that suffered such blows. I think for me Infamous Second Son remains one of the best examples. The game that started great became bland, repetitive and too linear. It is hard to point the finger at a single reason yet the elements tend to be their marketing department, the timeline pressed upon them and the vision of the people behind the game. That last elements is shown when we think back to Jason VandenBerghe when he gave a glimpse at E3 2015. This is not whether he should or should not have done it, he gave a glimpse and at E3 2016 he showed stuff, I think what he showed wetted the apatite and in 2016 we became thirsty for the real deal, which is now a mere 15 weeks away. More important 15 weeks with increased game play testing and movies that showed more and more final quality in a near flawless gaming interface. He showed vision, he did not just show a game, which set him apart from a lot of game producers. He also looks like he is the adviser for the Baltimore Stegmer Brothers on how to make a Skull Cleaver (just kidding, the Stegmer Brothers are experts in their own right with any kind of forged weapon). Here we see the issue, as explained in ‘When they get it right‘ (at, so when you consider these elements and take into consideration the multiplayer movie (at, we see how a multiplayer game is not that ‘simple’, not because of game play, but because of the required tactics. So multiplayer will require people to team up, because for single players in a team match will have no chance to survive an actual team. Giving this game more than just a little edge. As I personally see it a quality play test crew is what made the difference (beyond vision and good coders). Yet the latter two were not the most important players. In my view, those two elements were present with Infamous Second son, well at least the good coders. Proper play testing and evaluating the game and post adjustments could have resulted in at least 11% more. When such a margin impacts the revenue to the degree we have seen in several games, the need for proper overhauling a game studio becomes apparent and the fact that this is either not happening or not having the desired effect, is now cause for concern (it should be for the game developer). You see, that part is shown in Mafia 3 (especially in the IGN video), because apart from all the nice little Easter eggs and other little titbits, the fact that we see “tons that you have to do, you just don’t want to do any of it“, is likely to limit sales and it will push people towards other games. In light of all the clips and advertisement we have seen in the big cities, that seems to be a massive impact on a game that would have had an 8 figure development cost. The weird issue in addition is that these game makers want a success, they want to be known for the 90%+ game they made, so partially, the road not taken is not making sense at all.

So we see that there are more games coming this year, the question becomes how good will they be? I am holding my breath for a few of them, including one that even as extreme snow sports was never my thing, this game has piqued my interest. Ubisoft is releasing the game Steep in December, so far it is the most ambitious and the most appealing snow based game I have ever seen in my life. The in game quote “Challenge cancelled, no death allowed in this challenge” is just hilarious (and you better realise that elbowing with a rock tends to be a terminal choice). One video titled ‘How an Open World Changes Action Sports‘ is exactly the issue. As written before, I have never been this excited over this type of game before, even when I was excited on playing SSX, when it got released with the PS2, it never came close to what I thought a snow game should be about. This game is it, yet, when we see the movies, which do look great, how much play testing did the game go through? We see the Ubisoft version of how smooth things play, and that might be so, but individual or independent are lacking. How many play testers went to the top of one mountain, just skiing to the very bottom? Ignoring all the tracks and challenges, just an open world ski trip, seeing if the game rears its ugly heads with a glitch?

The few I saw were all the same track and that is not what is supposed to make the game great. So, when we see the actual open area, what will it be then? (Not attacking, just actually asking). Like me, many others acted really positively on the initial parts we saw. The map implies that there is a massive amount of area’s to see and to explore. The game shows 4 ‘play modes’, which is not a given. From my point of view, there is a lot more that they could add, especially when the dynamics are already in play. In the lower area’s cross country skiing (not exciting, but a completionist option) and the way that reaching points could open up markers, I would have considered sleigh and bobsled tracks. Again, it is a completionist idea and adding this might give the game a feeling of completeness, especially when you are not multi-playing (which would be the driving force in a game like this). My idea’s will not make it a better game, it might make the game a lot worse, the question is what was considered, what was done and how was the game play tested? What is the impression a professional boarder has when looking and playing this game? Parts that I have not seen published or I missed it). The reason to ask these questions is because until December there is still time, for Mafia 3 it is too late to make a good first impression, for Steep there is time to get the upgrades done if required, depending on the time needed this game might miss thanksgiving and would need to globally rely on Christmas, which is not a bad thing. What is important is that the not extreme snow sport lovers are considering this game, implying that Steep could make a massive splash (revenue wise too). As to the verdicts of certain games, we will need to see the release of quality reviews, what is a given is that no early reviews is no longer a tool to get a better revenue, too many gamers have felt the impact of that flaw. Ubisoft lost a lot of cloud and 2K is getting hit as well soon enough, the question is what these players will do to up the game and get the gamers back to their fold. Time will tell, however in this year, there are a few too many games being released, so those hoping to see this level of revenue, would face the risk of losing their revenue being used to pay for games like Dishonored 2, games that have already proven themselves and are already showing to be equal or better. Some will even be holding on to their cash for the coming quarter, because Q1 2017 shows at least 3 games that are setting new levels of game play, and buying a wannabe for $49 is a lot better than the same anticipated title for $99. So make sure you get to the actual quality review goods BEFORE you buy the game you thought was going to be great.


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