A screen made with real silver

Forbes gave us the news on Monday. Many expected it; many saw it coming and no one is really surprised. It’s ‘Netflix’s Worst Nightmare Is Coming True‘. Stephen McBride gives us: “If you’ve been reading RiskHedge, you know I’ve been warning to keep money out of stock market darling Netflix (NFLX)“, he was of course correct, yet I would not go there for different reasons, reasons he actually mentions in part. As we are treated to: “It comes down to the lifecycle of disruptive businesses. Netflix pioneered “streaming” video where you watch shows through the Internet rather than on cable TV. For years, it was the only streaming service in town. Early investors rode this first-mover advantage to 10,000% gains from 2008 to July of this year.” Many, for the most the investors rejoiced. I saw the loaded cannon in another direction. As Forbes gives us, we are treated to: “Netflix had planned to spend $8 billion on shows and series this year… now it’ll spend roughly $12 billion. It now invests more in content than any other American TV network” that is where the danger is. You see, the cold hearted calculation is: 137 million users worldwide. This gets us on average $24 billion a year, it looks good, but it is not great. You see, this only works if this goes on in the long run, whilst it requires growth, it also requires people to stay with Netflix for a long time. Now, both are an option, but they have muddied the waters in another way. First there are the loans and the interest is due, as well as the principle of the matter (aka, the loan). It is optionally not a big thing if things were great moving forward, yet they are not. I had an idea earlier this year and I thought that handing it to Netflix is a great way to gain momentum. You see, I have written 1100 articles within the last 6 years alone and as such I do have a few ideas running around in my head.

Yet Netflix has a no-unsolicited submissions policy, so until you have an agent and such, there is no option. They only accept submissions through a licensed literary agent or from a producer, attorney, manager or entertainment executive with the players that Netflix has a pre-existing relationship. This makes total sense, yet it also gives rise to a much more expensive track, and $12 billion shows part of that. From my point of view new ideas and optionally the most profitable ones are found in what some would call ‘the geek corner’, these people can often not relate, cannot present but they tell great stories, they are most often really cheap and original. It is a much harder sell, yet the entire expense track could be down by at least 10%, saving Netflix $1.2 billion on the spot. Then there is the international concept. Some TV series became great in their own way. Sweden had Pipi Longstocking and that become a much loved character on a very global stage. Another Swedish treasure was a 70’s series called the White Stone, based on the book by Gunnel Linde, Sweden had its own share of successes down the track and we realise that some might seem less interesting nowadays. The Netherlands had the legendary series ‘Kunt U mij de weg naar Hamelen vertellen meneer?‘ It was a song story by children based on the Grimm story of the ratcatcher of Hameln. The series apart from some a few episodes is lost forever, which is a shame as this was a cultural highlight for the Dutch. The French had Thierry la Fronde, La demoiselle d’Avignon and several more, all unseen by a global audience. It is an option, but is that the case?

No it is not.

Netflix has shown that their money is well spent; series like Sabrina, The Haunting of Hill House and Altered Carbon are amazing achievements. We can clearly see that billions were well spend, yet in this donuts for dollars world, the overall stage (non-advertising space mind you), the annual setting for their audience is set to a requirement of close to 365 to 700 hours of TV entertainment a year to keep them, which that adds up to Sabrina, Star Trek Discovery, Haunting of Hill house, the Good Witch, Marvel’s The Punisher, Lost In Space, The OA, Seven Seconds, The Rain, Requiem, 3%, The Innocents, Sense 8, Grace and Frankie, Godless, The Mechanism, Dark, The Crown, Marvel’s Daredevil, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Stranger Things, Lady Dynamite, Glow, Sabrina, Altered Carbon, Mindhunter and at least 20 movies. They need to pull this off each year, and that pressure with Disney+ also increases, as the chance of switching to someone else is more and more likely.

We get that there are series that will always take the cake (Game of Thrones), and in this we see that there is some space to manoeuvre, but it is not a lot. You see, if someone loses the interest for 3 days, they will wonder what Netflix is for and optionally cancel, especially in this economy. That is the clear math I saw at the very beginning. It is not the price; $15 (the medium option) is more often than not a really acceptable price to most people. Netflix got that right, they merely need to find another additional venue for materials, because the well of creation will soon dry up, not merely because there are other players on the field, it is that Free to air TV, and other medium are vying for that same pool of viewers. Netflix as the first one has an advantage, but for how long?

Stephen McBride, a professional fund manager and the chief analyst at RiskHedge makes his financial case and that adds up to the findings I have. I am not sure on what the share price needs to be, yet his financial case and my mere view of the low average viewer gives light to a Netflix in trouble, how much is a clear unknown. Netflix has shown that with Sabrina and The Haunting of Hill House a new level of creepiness can be reached. Sabrina is a new take on what was fluffy, whilst The Haunting of Hill House had most of my friends scared beyond belief, so that series hit the mark. I saw the interesting catch on Lost in Space that after the original series and a movie can capture hearts all over the place, so Netflix is bringing the good stuff, no doubt about it. However, the entire setting is still low on hours. Even if year one for the audience is great, they will want more, or at least no less in the stage of year two and that is where I see trouble for Netflix. This business model will not work pumping billion after billion in a stage that grows ever more, and the path gets worse as more and more is borrowed.

That is the business case that is lost from the very start. This is all before we all realise that the need for Internet and 4K grows, so their infrastructure will shift within the next two years as well and their cloud will need a serious amount of cash to deal with that. I speculatively reckon that by 2021 (if Netflix makes it that long) will equal the NSA data server site at Camp Williams (Utah), so please take a moment to reflect on this. Netflix will in three years require the systems to facilitate to an audience and its hardware will be bigger than the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI), with the ability to serve optionally a little over half a billion people. That is the path that Netflix is on and people wonder why I am overly negative. Well, overly negative is a stretch. It is the old fashioned sales pitch. A man sells his soul to the devil, the devil agrees and the deal is that he needs to grow his customer base by 20%. Those who know of the value of a chess set might know that one too. That man required as payment one grain the first tile, and double one the next one and so on, until all 64 tiles were paid for. 1,2,4,8,16,32,64,128 (totaling 255 grains) and that is merely the first row, after that it goes fast and by the last row it the tile payment equalled the total grain production of Russia. In customer base you require a customer base that surpasses the total population, or in this specific case the hardware of a former super power. Also consider that over time Netflix needs to open a similar base in Europe and Asia to maximise the streaming within the time zones. How much will that cost? Oh and before you think that this is it, how much power will it take to keep that running? It is set to be $50 million a year in energy cost and 1 million gallons of water a day (per base). That is if there are no power surges and other calamities giving hardship to all this. Now we see more and more providers handing out one year of free Netflix, they will have a deal with Netflix, yet year one is not the problem, year two is the bigger issue, content makes that a challenge and as is stated in Forbes: “Netflix has three bad choices: continue borrowing billions and bury itself deeper in debt… dramatically raise its subscription prices… or cut back on making new content“, if we see the three, we wonder what impact monthly increases does, I reckon that they could go for the option of one price (HD, 4K) at the same price of $16. Basically get rid of Normal and merely have basic and premium (for $5 more), it will give a boost and most people might not worry about the $5, knowing that they could always upgrade their hardware and get better viewing. Borrowing billions is a non-starter as I see it, it merely lowers the lifespan, yet the final option ‘cut back on making new content‘, is not set in stone. What if we go by ‘making different new content‘, are they exploring that? This is where the golden oldies might bring life to the amount of materials they get at a much lesser expense. Disney is all about the family and the younger viewers. Disney rules that land, yet in the 70’s we saw that Scandinavia had its share of series appreciated by kids all over Europe and that might lower the edge that Disney has (to a small extent).

In addition, making different new content might also increase the amount of content that can be made with $12 billion. I hope Netflix pulls through, when we are confronted with The Haunting of Hill House we see that they have amazing diamonds to offer any crown viewer and I am curious what else they can come up with, especially after Sabrina.

When we consider this, how many have taken a look for the best TV series from the 70’s? I did and I reckon that this is not where we find the answers, there will be too many people remembering those, yet the international field where a local TV series makes it into the global population will be for the most real new stuff to many, there will be a risk, you see, for every remake like Three man and a baby there is the risk of having at least two mediocre versions like ‘the Birdcage’, and with an audience of 135 million moving towards 200 million diversity will be key. I am not sure how it is to be solved and the makers will have their challenge cut out for them, but the takings for them will be huge if they pull it off. In the end, the search for originality goes on and as we go for books, movies and optional video games (Alicia Vikander or Michael Fassbender anyone?) we see options. Yet how does it go when we go dark, really dark and we take a night at the museum into a very different direction? What if we push the nightwatchman into the Night watch and he has to survive the events of The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch in 1640, where he has to survive the night, not get shot for optional accusation of theft of the 100 florins that each of the 16 members had brought as payment to Rembrandt van Rijn and get back out without leaving a mark. We might think it is fun to walk in on Hortense Mancini by Jacob Fredinand Voet, yet what happens when you end up in The Wayfarer by Hieronymus Bosch (1503) and you have to get back then?

We can add twists on nearly any TV series, but will it work? It is not for us to solve, it is for Netflix to find a solution and that is where the problem starts, I might phrase it wrong, the problem did not start there. We were informed last year that Netflix cancelled 21 series, it does not really matter why, number of viewers tends to be the most likely reason, it merely adds the pressure for new content to be created, remember that they need between 365 and 700 hours per viewer for them to remain decently content. And in that picture, creating new content is a lot harder than merely creating a new season, the ante is up for the creators and so is the pressure for Netflix.

At least that is how I see it, and in this, the cinema has a silver screen, Netflix will need gold to score and they have to do it 20 times over each year making the effort unfathomable and each year that they do pull it off will add to the legend that started as Netflix.

 

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The assumption of right

This happens, it happens almost every day and we all (including me) see that happen. My view was that oil prices would go up. It is a logic set to demand and supply, a basic principle. As OPEC cut production by 1.2 million barrels a day, we would have expected a rise, maybe not directly, but overall when you get less of a product, the prices rise. It is the basic foundation of commerce; shortage tends to drive prices up. Yet a Forbes article proves me wrong (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/gauravsharma/2018/12/10/opecs-output-cut-not-enough-to-provide-short-term-70-oil-price-floor/#668312a8d58d).

This is fine, I never proclaimed to have all the answers, yet it does seem odd that less oil still drops the price from $80 to $51 in one month, and the logic is gone at my end of the table, yet I also know that oil prices are a little more complex, so I took this moment to learn a little. Gaurav Sharma gives us: “oil price is not just a story of supply; it is also a story of demand“. That part makes sense, yet this part only gives rise to changes if demand dampens and dampens by a whole lot. We see that with: “It cannot be ignored that Eurozone growth continues to disappoint, global trade is decelerating and China’s slowdown is a visible fact, and not just a forecast. We haven’t even mentioned the words “trade wars” and a prospect of further U.S. interest rate hikes“. Yes, so far I am on board, yet does that dampen the need for oil to THAT degree? This is precisely the setting when we consider: “If anything OPEC’s move provides U.S. drillers with a further incentive to pump more, and they already are, having made America the world’s largest producer of crude oil.” This implies that the need is changing; America needs less as they become self-reliant more. This explains the setting in the short term, yet it also gives rise to other dilemmas. As the US is using its own stock to keep cheap oil, we also see the change in the dynamics. Less money in the treasury through cheap oil, more costs (and optionally more jobs mind you), yet the budget and shortages of America (like $21 trillion debt) now has another not so nice tail. The interest on 21 trillion can no longer be fuelled with fuel. With a downwards economy, the debt will rise a little faster and there will not be anything left for infrastructure. Now, in this case none of this is the fault of the US Administration, or the current administration to be a little more precise. There is a lot wrong as the Clinton administration left the nation with surplus. I am not ignoring that 9/11 changed the game, yet the Obama administration had a clear directive to do something and that was not done. We can argue whether they had the options or not, we know that the war on terror has had a long-lasting impact. And the downward fuel price does not help. Yet cheap fuel is good for all the non-petrochemical industries and the people requiring cheap oil for heating.

The writer also gives us: “As things stand, a sustainable $70 oil price doesn’t look certain at all for 2019“. OK, I can only support that for as long as the US can keep up with the reductions that OPEC and Russia implement, when that stops working prices will go up, just how fast is unknown. It depends on the current storage and demand and I am not certain that this will not bite in 2019. I cannot academically argue with Gaurav Sharma and his 20 years of experience. His point might be valid, yet the Economic Times gives us: “WTI is forming Doji candlestick pattern and also near its long term Fibonacci retracement. Both are positive signs for crude oil prices“, If this happens within the next two weeks, my predicted increase of 15% comes true. Yet how is that chance? Focussing on merely my point of view tends to be delusional, which is why I liked the view by Gaurav Sharma. He gave me something to think about. It is Mike Terwilliger, portfolio manager, at Resource Liquid Alternatives, in New York who gave us (last week): “It’s a stunning market backdrop where everything from the adjectives used by the Fed chairman to whom is appointed head of trade negotiations can roil the markets. While the macro backdrop remains firm, with strong earnings and historically low unemployment, sentiment is unquestionably vulnerable. That would, in my view, fit the definition of an opportunity – a disconnect between the underlying and perception.” (at https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/markets/stocks/news/us-wall-st-tumbles-growth-trade-unnerve-investors/articleshow/66946928.cms)

I have always considered and known about ‘the underlying‘ and or versus ‘perception‘, no mystery there, yet are there factors we see to forget about? Part we get from the Guardian (May 2018) when we were given: “Demand is expected to average 99.2mb/d this year.” I am adding the part where that demand is not going to diminish over at least part of 2019. Even as we see more and more drive towards sustainable energy, most players are still all about presenting and not completely in the realm of achieving, hence oil demand remains stable (as far as stable tends to be), in addition we need to look at the oil futures. S&P global (at https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/oil/121018-crude-oil-futures-stable-to-higher-on-opec-production-cuts) gives us: “risk sentiment remained heightened after US Trade Representative Robert Lighthize Sunday said that he considers March 1 to be a hard deadline for a trade deal to be reached with China and that tariffs will be imposed otherwise“. So basically the futures are rolling towards the up side making me correct, yet as long as the US can keep up with demand and as long as we see this continue, oil will remain stable and not push beyond $60 per barrel in the short term. MatketWatch is actually more optimistic towards the consumers of fuel. With: “Oil futures fell Monday to settle at their lowest in about a week on growing concerns surrounding a slowdown in energy demand“.

Why do we care?

We care because the drop in demand as projected and given by several sources is also the economic indicator that not all is well. This is seen in several sources. Goldman Sachs, via CNBC gives us: “We expect the U.S. to slow down to less than 2 percent by the end of next year and as a result of that you could see the market getting quite scared“, yet would be an overly optimistic view. We saw last week that the US Economy gained 43,000 jobs less than last year giving us a much less optimistic view on that part of the equation. Apple is falling down, tension on the Economy (specifically the US economy) is on the rise, some might say sharply on the rise. In addition, the Financial Post gives us: “Wall Street ignored trouble signs for months. Now it sees risks everywhere Markets face stomach-churning swings as economic uncertainty grows“. Even when we stick to the headlines, it was nothing really breathtaking. The US trade deal with China, the growth fears in the EU, they all link into a negative setting of the economy. Not recession, yet a negative impact due to no growth (too little growth is more accurate) and the events in France do not help either. In addition, there is now a realistic chance that Italy is entering recession territory. Even as it is possible to avert it, it will means that the Italian economy will end at a standstill (which is not a recession), yet in all this, with the Two large EU economies at 0 (France and Italy), it falls to Germany to bring home the bacon and sausages, implying that they are all eager and desperate to sink any notion of Brexit as soon as possible. As we see the jesters giving us that the UK can exit Brexit, that whilst they are seemingly unable to get a handle on the ECB and their everlasting lack of transparency, so whilst we see (at https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/news/ecb-chief-rejects-chance-to-adopt-eus-transparency-register/) the unsettling part “The European Central Bank’s President Mario Draghi has rejected calls from European lawmakers to have financiers who give advice and feedback to the ECB register as lobbyists, saying they merely provide “information”.” I merely see an extended reason to pursue Brexit stronger. I actually am in a state of mind to demand the right for targeted killing these so called ‘informers’, which is a massive overreaction, yet the need to get these information givers listed next to the lobbyists is becoming more and more essential. If any nepotism, or if any under the table deal is found within the EU, their exposure is essential. I believe that this will flush greed out into the open rather fast, but then I am merely one voice in all this.

It connects

You see, the QE is supposed to come to an end this Thursday, or at least the formal announcement to end it at the end of this month. However, when we consider Reuters: “the economy weakening, trade tensions darkening the outlook and headwinds still on the horizon in the shape of Italy and Brexit, financial markets are looking ahead to next year and just how the ECB will protect the bloc from a severe downturn“, not only does the rejection to officially end QE have an impact, it also means that suddenly demand for things like oil will suddenly spike, that means that reserves go down, oil prices go up and there the cost of living will impact harshly on Europe in winter and as such on American soil the need for a price hike will not really be one that people will cherish, and when we add to that the part that Germany also has a depressed economy to look forward to, we see the three great economic players all in a diminished form, implying that the economy will tank on the low side not merely in this year, it will have a depressed form of growth in 2019 as well. There will be all kinds of lessened good news, whilst the good news is not that great to begin with. It gives rise to the point that I might be wrong on the oil price as I expected it to grow by 15%, it might still go up yet not that much and it will come at a really high cost this time around.

Right or Wrong?

It does not matter in this case; the issues seen are openly visible and heralded throughout the net, magazines and newspapers. The issue of ‘the underlying‘ and or versus ‘perception‘ is at the heart of the matter. Even as energy and oil prices show certain paths in all of this, it does not make it a correct view (which is neither right not wrong), what we perceive in opposition to the underlying elements connected, that is the bigger picture of impact. It is also a new stage. As the politicians are fighting over the carcasses of opportunity and bonus structures, we see that Germany has a few other elements in play. It is not merely the manufacturing part of it all, it is infrastructure as well and that is where we get my earlier statement, a statement I gave 3 days ago in ‘Behind the facade‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/12/08/behind-the-facade/), if Huawei (minus one arrested exec) shows their value in Germany with the given quote, which came well over a day after my article (at https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/12/09/germany-is-soft-on-chinese-spying/), where we see: “In the terms of reference published last week by the German Federal Network Agency for its 5G auction, security was not even included in the conditions for awarding the contract. In October, the government announced: “A concrete legal basis for the complete or partial exclusion of particular suppliers of 5G infrastructure in Germany does not exist and is not planned.”“, as well as “For Deutsche Telekom and other network operators, the situation is clear: Huawei offers innovative and reliable products at highly competitive prices. Legally, Deutsche Telekom does not bear any liability for the security risks associated with Huawei technology. And the company does not care about the fact that Huawei’s price advantage is the result of a highly skewed playing field in China. In the world’s largest market, domestic providers control 75 percent of the market, giving them unbeatable economies of scale“, we see the hidden trap that some people related to Mr S. Tupid are now in hot waters (optionally with the exception of Alex Younger). Not only have they not given any evidence regarding the security risk that Huawei is supposed to be. Foreign Policy also gives us: “Given the massive cybersecurity and national security risks, the only responsible decision is for Berlin to follow the Australian, New Zealand, and U.S. lead and ban Chinese providers from the German 5G network“, yet there is no evidence, that was always the problem and so far there is more and more indicators (especially in Australia) that the claim “In none of these three countries will domestic suppliers be the primary beneficiaries“, which I regard to be false, on paper it does not impact ‘primary beneficiaries’, but it does harshly (in Australia at least) negatively impacts the competitors of Telstra, which amounts to the same thing (TPG, Vodafone, Vodafail et al). And when we go back to my writing in ‘Behind the facade‘, where I give the reader: “You see, Huawei can afford to wait to some degree, as we see the perpetuated non truths of devices being pushed forward, the replacements better do a whole lot better and they are unlikely to do so. When we see another failure in 5G start and we see transgressions and those screaming that ‘Huawei’ was a danger, the moment they cannot prove it and their ‘friends’ give us a device that is malicious, the blowback will be enormous. There is already cause for concern if we go by CNBC. They give us a few points that show the additional fear that America has on Huawei“, when the intrusions are not proven and Huawei shows to be a strength for consumers and businesses, heads will roll, there will be a demand for blood by the people, which means that politicians will suddenly hide and become ‘on the principle of the matter‘ and transform their perspectives into in all kinds of lethargic versions of denial.

That too is impacting the economy, because those on track to start pushing out new innovations on 5G will have a clear advantage over the other players and that pushes for success even more, will it come to pass? I cannot tell as there are too many elements in motion and the policies now in place are off course under optional revised in the future as Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer will replace Angela Merkel if her party is re-elected as the biggest one.

We are seeing a few versions in the assumption of right, and we need to realise that the assumption of right and speculative version of what will happen overlaps one another, but they are not the same thing. States of delusion tends to be an impacting factor. Am I delusional to think that big business gives away greed? Am I delusional to consider that Huawei is not a danger? If we go by ‘the underlying‘ and or versus ‘perception‘ I am correct. You see, would China endanger the true power of economy where Huawei would become the biggest brand on internet and 5G requirement, using it for espionage when there are dozens of other methods to get that data (including Facebook policies implemented by Mr S. Tupid and Mrs M. Oronic). As this sifting of data exists on many levels in several ways, not in the least that the overly abundance of TCP/IP layer 8 transgressions happening on a daily basis and at least twice on Sunday), when we realise that, why would any Chinese governmental (namely Chen Wenqing) endanger a Chinese technological powerhouse? The logic is absent in all this. This gives us the light of Alex Younger opposing the others. He gave a policy setting of national need, whilst the others merely voiced all this ‘national security‘ banter on risks that do not even exist yet. Especially when we saw the Australian version of: ”5G will carry communications we “rely on every day, from our health systems … to self-driving cars and through to the operation of our power and water supply.”” Perhaps anyone can tell me how many self-driving cars there are at present or within the next 10 years?

And none of these клоуны (or is that Sarmenti scurrae) considered the step to start with Huawei 5G and replace them at the earliest convenience whilst you work out the bugs of your currently incomplete 5G solutions, the few that are out there for now, a simple business decision that is at the heart of any daily event, including military ones. A nice example there is the ugliest dinghy in US history (aka the Zumwalt class) where we see: “Zumwalt-class destroyers are armed with 80 missiles in vertical-launch tubes and two 155-caliber long-range guns“, which is an awesome replacement from the previous version that was regarded as a Ammo less Gun edition, in the face of continuing budget shortfalls, personnel problems and of course the fact that the previous edition was $1 million per shell, for its smart (GPS) capability. The mere elements that some sources gave out that shooting straight was an ability it naturally acquired as well as the fact that a $440 million ship was not given the budget to get its unique, 155-millimeter-diameter cannon that can shoot GPS-guided shells as far as 60 miles the 600 rounds of ammo at a total cost of $600,000,000. And that is apart from the $10 billion the Navy spent on research and development for the class. So perhaps people still have questions why I considered this monstrosity to be regarded as a ‘sink on the spot‘ project. The fact that The Drive gave us a year ago: “the Navy has steadily hacked away at various requirements, stripping planned systems from the design, in no small part to try and control any further cost overruns and delays. Close-in protection, ballistic and air defense capabilities, and various other associated systems are no longer part of the base design, something The War Zone’s own Tyler Rogoway explained in detail in a past feature, leaving it with limited utility despite its size and cost” (and apart from some minor issue regarding stability and stealthablity which we shall ignore for now) in that light the entire 5G redeployment after the fact and the ability are acquired, tested and evaluated, at that point re-engineering away the advantage that Huawei had built, did that not make sense within 10 seconds?

It is common business practice in IT, and has been for over 2 decades, that is why ASUS and not IBM rules the lay of the desktop land nowadays. so getting even would not have been the dumbest idea either, but no, we see all kinds of unfounded accusations and that is where those people are most likely to lose and out in the sunlight, when they cannot prove that claim, that is when we see on how some elements will soon be disregarded. In this Huawei has a nice advantage in Germany and Saudi Arabia. When they prove the elements there, we will see a large driven technology shift and those making the claims at recent days better have their stories straight.

Yet again, I might be wrong, my assumption of right might get sunk on false premise and nepotism, I do recognise that this has happened before and will happen again.

The assumption of right is at times hindered on delusional thoughts, as well as the need that the other players are straight shooter, and that definitely applies to all politicians, does it not?

 

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That Grrrrrrr moment

I have had my issues with the large corporations for the longest of times. I am not against their existence, I have nothing against corporations making wealth and having a great run of revenue, being against that is just lame and idiotic. Yet corporations should be held to account, properly taxed. So whilst politicians hide behind the coattails of economists like Thomas Piketty for all the most idiotic and self centrered reasons, how about we change a few other things first?

The article ‘Group led by Thomas Piketty presents plan for ‘a fairer Europe’‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/09/eu-brexit-piketty-tax-google-facebook-apple-manifesto), needs to get a clue, and fast. In addition buying a few vowels from Susie Dent is not the worst idea either. this is a personal joke towards Chrononhotonthologos (a Scrabble hit) and the mention of “As you both behave to Night, You shall be paid to Morrow“, a different stroke towards consultancy for shaping ones economy. As I see: “A group of progressive Europeans led by the economist and author Thomas Piketty has drawn up a bold new blueprint for a fairer Europe to address the division, disenchantment, inequality and right-wing populism sweeping the continent“, my blood goes slightly on the boil. How about properly taxing the members of the FAANG group? (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google), or How about stopping the EU gravy train by at least 85%?

Two elements optionally bringing in billions and you know this! These people are given leeway in ways most people cannot fathom. ‘The Rotten Apple: Tax Avoidance in Ireland‘ gives us: “The European Commission found that Ireland gave Apple preferential tax treatment which amounted to $14.5 billion in unpaid taxes between 2003 and 2014. Due to Apple’s tax havens in Ireland, they have taken advantage of U.S. and Irish tax regulations” and that is merely the top of the iceberg. When we see the angering part with: “In fact, this selective treatment allowed Apple to pay an effective corporate tax rate of 1 per cent on its European profits in 2003 down to 0.005 per cent in 2014” (source: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-2923_en.htm), we see that the EU has failed itself and now we see the unacceptable quote: ‘€800bn of levies‘, whilst we get it set into some ‘tax the rich’ status, we need to be weary of the delusional setting of these “more than 50 economists, historians and former politicians from half a dozen countries“. So when we see: “by taxing corporate profits more effectively, as well as income and wealth“. In the foundation that step is not wrong, I am all for properly taxing corporations, yet the EU is part of the problem, it has given away the keys to banks and corporations to so as they like. I do believe that ‘0.005 per cent of profit‘ is ample evidence of that. It is the ‘tax the wealth that is an issue’, because that is where the problem starts. The wealth tax is 5000 times higher than Apple apparently pays. the first sign where we see: “an extra 15% levy on corporate profits, tax increases on individuals earning more than €100,000, a wealth tax on personal fortunes above €1m, and a tax on carbon emissions“, is the problem. These high paid wankers (pardon my French) is not about getting to the corporations, it is the ‘personal fortune‘ that they seem to be after. Now, before you think that you are safe, think again. Your house is part of that making many people considered to be multimillionaires; they now all get a levy on what these gravy train wannabes call ‘fairness’. How about holding all the economic advisors of all governments to account, for any wrongful advice that impacted the government and European coffers negatively for over €250,000, we fine these advisors with €25,000 euro, all of them. This is likely to impact all those economists that hid behind ‘it was a complex situation‘, or ‘carefully phrased denial of corporate facilitation‘. This is the easiest to see with the Dutch fiasco called Fyra (a high speed train) that impacted tax payers by €11 billion. When we see “The Fyra-story also demonstrates that powerful corporate interests (in this case Dutch Railways’ desire to remain the sole rail service provider in The Netherlands) can abuse their position and waste an unbelievable amount of taxpayers’ money“, on a short sighted and narrow-minded view of what the ego wants, whilst the coffers cannot ever afford a scheme that will never be cost effective, we see: “Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad reported in January that the HSA never had the intention to operate a “true” high speed rail service; a strong piece of investigative journalism stated that a speed of 220 kilometers per hour had been deemed sufficient for the Dutch portion of the route from the git-go by the HSA executives (by comparison, high speed rail service in Germany and France exceeds 300 kilometers per hour)“, the setting of simple definitions where the different nations in the EU could not agree on that mere setting. So how about giving a fine to all decision makers costing the Dutch government 11 billion? How about making the bulk of tax deductibles no longer applicable? Any corporation can make a profit when corporate tax is one percent or less, it is time to set the proper stage of corporation tax and that part they imply to get right, but they cannot, so these individuals add ‘a wealth tax on personal fortunes above €1m‘. You see, they do not set it on personal fortunes over €15 million, and hit the truly wealthy, no they need a lot more, because properly taxing the FAANG group (and several others) is just too dangerous. I would in my least diplomatic setting offer that the entire economic fiasco could have been avoided. If their fathers had jerked off over the radiator, instead of impregnating their wives, the entire economic danger to all of us would have died with a sizzle, how wrong am I now? (OK, admitted I am totally lacking diplomacy here)

So when we see: “From a tax on personal wealth and assets: an additional 1% on estates valued at above €1m and 2% on those above €5m” accounting for over 25%, we see a dang3er to too many people all over the EU. Try to find ANY apartment or house for less than €700K in most European metropolitan area’s; it will hit too many people, whilst the truly rich will avoid disaster. This entire matter is as I personally see it a joke.

I suggest:

Any government not being able to hold its budget within 2% over budget, its elected politicians will have to return 25% of their income, those who are unable to do so are removed from office and in addition will have to be incarcerated for no less than the full term +2 years of that government. Regardless, of this, in addition, the entire Gravy train comes to a standstill (and right quick). For these people travel and housing expenses are reduced by 60%, they should be ab le to find a cheaper solution. The Guardian gave us in 2016: “According to a European Union financial transparency system, commission staff spent €22,193 (£17,610) staying at the five-star Shangri-La hotel in Singapore and €54,677 at the five-star Stamford hotel in Brisbane in 2014. Other expenses listed that year include €439,341 on Abelag/Luxaviation, a luxury private jet provider, and €23,696 on chauffeur taxi services“, that needs to stop as well. It is my personal view that Thomas Piketty and his 50 economists (an optional new version of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves) should have stayed in their cave, and not come out at all. Now we have the setting to go over these 50 economists and seek all the things that they helped hide from their senior peers and that is essential now. You see as we are introduced to “a bold new blueprint for a fairer Europe“, is also the optional setting to hold these people who cased all of this by facilitating to corporations and banks to account through prosecution. I find it tasteless and unacceptable that just like Greece, those who caused the mess get to walk away with a pretty penny in their pocket as well.

And this mess is not nearly over. When we look at a few parts, we get to start with: ‘The 1999 Santer Commission Scandal‘, you would think that in 1999, when we get “a devastating report on fraud and nepotism attacked the EU’s executive body for serious management failings. All 20 members of the Commission stepped down, in what was described at the time as the biggest crisis in the European Commission’s history” (source: Brussels Times), you would think that this is the end of it. No no, (at https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-eu-santer-idUKTRE80N1UG20120124) Reuters reported in 2012 ‘EU draws fire over Santer return to EU post‘ “Prompted to defend Santer at a late night press conference on Monday, Olli Rehn, the European commissioner in charge of economic and monetary affairs, tried to make light of it, saying journalists only became critical of Santer after Commission officials beat them in a football match in late 1998“, politicians making light of the situation in a farce involving nepotism, and as such we can make certain levels of claim towards corruption. Forms of corruption vary, yet they do include: bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, parochialism, patronage, influence peddling, graft, and embezzlement. So as such, the fact that we allow European politicians to re-enter the EU commission after being found guilty here is just too unacceptable. That by itself could also be a cost saving exercise, so does our Thomas Rickety Piketty warlock have a spell on all of us, by merely setting a facade to make thing better for all of us, or merely not worse for some of them? I think that the escalations in France are making people, people in power worried; they are facing the straw that is breaking the camel’s back. This is not something that they are making on the spot. This has been coming for the longest of times and even as I am not against taxing the rich a little more, we need to realise that the entire exercise is merely seen (by me) as a way to paste labels to mere traffic diversions for opening avenues of collecting others.

The primary objective of this survey is to understand the level of corruption perceived by businesses employing one or more persons‘ (at http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/flash/fl_374_sum_en.pdf), there we see that 38% does not regard nepotism a problem, 40% think that tax rates are a problem (in all fairness, that is a valid point of view to have for any business), and 45% considers corruption not to be a problem. In that setting, changes are not easy, correct changes are near impossible, as we see the setting where corporations and politicians can work together on a ‘compromise’ that will hit the lowly paid taxpayers a lot more than anyone else.

I actually presented a taxed solution in 2015, there I wrote in regards to the UK budget: “So, helping those on low pay is fine, but only if we change Basic rate to 21% and higher rate to 42%, which means that above the £10,600, the basic income goes up by a maximum of £318 and in addition, high income get an additional maximum of £836. This allows us a balanced budget, and if you wonder why not the highest toll bracket? Well, they also get the 1% of the base and the 2% of high anyway, that group is dwindling down and to seek even more to that smaller group seems a little unfair (the non-bankers that is). The second premise here is that this extra collected fee can ONLY be used to balance out the lost revenue from the basic rate group that had their annual income between £10,000 and £13,000 per annum“. The premise was to give the lowest incomes a little extra cash, so we raise the 0% tax maximum point a little; in that case these people will have a little more and we all profit there. As the non-taxable part goes up by a rough £100 a month, the second bracket gets an additional 1%, so they pay £318 more each year, and the second group (the much larger group) pays an additional £836 above that. It leaves the extra £100 without impact on the treasury, giving them extra and still having a stage to reduce debt (as long as Labour is kept out of the treasury coffers). In this case there was no additional impact of the wealthy, their houses not at risk and we would all be a little more social, no, not according to Thomas, the Rickety Piketty warlock. He wants an additional €800 billion, from what I can tell, because they cannot get their tax rules in order, getting the proper taxation in place and with the FAANG group paying as reported a mere 0.005 per cent of profit taxed, how can we ever get a staged setting of corporations in a fair playing field?

In ‘In fear of the future‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/03/16/in-fear-of-the-future/) I addressed the stage of the annual £43 billion interest bill, interest is cash lost and the economy that has to pay that much every years is running to keep in the same place, so adding the minimal hardship to reduce that amount, hopefully by reducing the debt to the degree that the interest goes down £1-£3 billion a year would be great, yet not entirely realistic. focussing on reducing the interest by £1 billion a year for the first 10 years is possible, yet it comes at a price and properly taxing corporations at a level that allows them continuance and growth (yet optionally not at opening a new super shop every year) is an option to seek. And even as we see ‘taxing the rich’ in the UK, the true rich is a group of no more than 6000 people, how are they coming up with these billions? So as I stated (in 2015): “If we can believe the 2014 article by the Guardian, this will hit 6000 people, which means that it only raise a few millions, so taxing the rich has always seemed like and always remains a hilarious act of pointlessness. It is the 1% from the basic rate that will truly make a difference. It will drive the debt down faster, it will lower the interest bill which will help lower the debt even more.” It is perfectly valid to disagree with me on this one. Yet Rickety Pickety hedges his bets by giving us: “a tax on personal wealth and assets“, this includes your house and car. Now consider the amount of houses and apartments close to €1 million, in addition, we cannot see if retirement funds are seen as ‘wealth’, in that case, of that happens, the entire calculation will change drastically. Whatever we are trying to create for a rainy day will be overly taxed because politicians and economists could not do their job properly in the first place. In that economists have been tools for politicians for the longest of times as I personally see it and they need to be taxed (read: fined) for all their failures between 2003 and 2017. Let’s make those losses part of the requirement to address, shall we?

I wonder how many of these 50 autographs will suddenly vanish (read: get retracted) when we see them held to account for certain projects in real estate, energy and transportation endeavours, I am merely speculating here.

A ‘hidden’ statement at the top!

In the current setting of budget and taxation, please explain to me how ‘Quadrupling the current EU budget to 4% of GDP would raise about €800bn‘, how does upping the budget 4 times over (including the gravy train I reckon) help raising cash? Is he hiding behind ‘spend a little to get a lot‘? Is the $3 trillion QE bond buying fiasco not enough of a train wreck at present?

In the article we are also given a gem. It is Guntram Wolff who questioned the need for a continent-wide project. “If the cross-border transfer element is only 0.1%, why do the whole thing at EU level?” he asked. That is indeed a very good question. I personally see this as some EU fuelled stage where we suddenly see the report being used as a QE prolongation project. We can see part of this point of view in the Economist where we see (at https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2018/12/08/quantitative-easing-draws-to-a-close-despite-a-faltering-economy): “an extension to its targeted long-term repo operations, which offer banks cheap funding in return for lending to households and firms. That would benefit Italian banks most. They are heavy users of the scheme and the stand-off with Brussels has pushed up their borrowing costs. But to help them would be to ease the market pressure on Italy that might otherwise encourage fiscal rectitude. The agony of setting monetary policy only gets worse when politics comes into play.” In addition there was Seeking Alpha, who gave us last week: “Forward Guidance and Reinvestment Policy will then take QE’s place“, you say potato, and I say tomato. From my point of view it is not merely the application to move coins from the trouser pocket to the vest pocket, it is (as I personally see it), to move coins on their suits, in whatever pocket the can to present some level of status quo, a status that has been non-realistic for the longest of times.

So my simple solution, to merely add 1% and 2% to the middle class (and thus the upper class getting both as well optionally with a mere 1% added, gives us the option on national levels to finally do something about these crushing debts. the entire Thomas Piketty and his 50 abacus users report is not merely over the top, it is (as I personally see it) some under the waterline agenda to make certain changes that will facilitate for corporations to a larger degree in the end, because if they pay 15% on one end, you better believe that they get 20% from somewhere else (it is the trouser and vest pocket strategy). In all this, the people having a decent house merely get an invoice with the ‘Pay within the next 30 days’ routine in the end which I find offensive here. In the same manner where I stated a decade ago (it could have been 15 years) that from the very beginning, making ecommerce businesses tax accountable at the place of delivery (the buying consumer) would have been fair to all shops and merchants, none of that happened and in the end shops can no longer compete and close down. Crushed between cheap online competition and ego tripping landlords (the second most of all), we see that continuance is not an option and this links to the EU, as it is trying to prolong a system that is not merely unfair, it cannot be maintained in its current form. More taxation is not the option, it never was, holding politicians accountable to the expenditure and unbalanced tax laws that they allow for is a much larger weight on one side of the seesaw and that is drowning the economic status of all.

And consider merely one side, a mere example from the recent past. Bloomberg gave us “Apple is leasing about 500,000 square feet (46,451 square meters) of office space at the new headquarters, and plans to move 1,400 employees there. Bloomberg News reported last year that the building’s developers were on course to achieve less than half of their original return target as costs rose and wider economic uncertainty damps demand for the most expensive homes.” I do not mind that Apple moves, that they look good and prestigious, it is their right. Yet now consider the part: “Apple’s new UK headquarters will be part of a £14 billion redevelopment at Battersea Power Station“, as well as “it will take up around 40% of the office space in the old power station“. So 40% of the office space of a £14 billion project? How much tax exemption will they get there? Looking good through non taxability is nice, but that is all it is, nice, it should not allow for tax exemption. And if that makes them decide to move somewhere else, that is fine too. Consider that social housing got cut in that building so in 2017 we went from: “Battersea Power Station is determined to deliver 15% affordable homes, equating to 636 homes“, to “they slashed the number of affordable flats to just 386, a 40% reduction from original plans“, by taxing these options, we will ensure in many places that these so called milking investors take a step back and consider what should be allowed. This example is in the UK, yet there are examples all over Europe, interesting how that part is not highlighted, even as it is optionally part of the ‘taxing corporations’ event, what they lose on one side, they gain in the other. It is seemingly in opposition with Germany where we see ‘Hamburg to seize commercial property to house migrants‘, I use the word seemingly as I have not seen enough data to see whether I merely saw one side of the coin, that part is important too, yet I have seen in Sweden that there are tensions as well as a much better situation than the UK had, so there is space for improvement all over the EU (and the UK mind you), this all adds to the tensions as housing is the number one requirement and keeping that cost down, as well as that value down gives rise to the decrease of hogging and hoarding rental apartments, giving a playing field that is much more level and gives a release of economic tension to the largest European population and as that tension goes down, it will decrease other tensions as well. It does not solve the entire non-budgeting ability to 27 EU nations and as such it is not really part of this, but it is a strong covariant towards economic living of the entire EU population, that is very much a factor here. It does take care of division, disenchantment, and inequality to some degree. That we consider right-wing populism is pushed though the vision of an unfair and unacceptable gravy train and can be addressed by taking that train out of commission (well at least 85% that is). In the end I think that the mention of ‘the EU’s so-called democratic deficit‘, we could consider making nepotism prosecutable with an added lifelong ban on ever returning to any political post, EU or national. Did I oversimplify the problem for Thomas Piketty?

You tell me, and when you think I am wrong, that is perfectly fine, consider Alain Juppé, and Jacques Santer. Consider how people have been made redundant and end up not having any options, yet these people have a shielding umbrella that allows for the return to high yielding governmental incomes.

There is a lot wrong in several ways in all this and it makes me growl (in a rabid way mind you), even as we realise when we try to tackle inequality, we need to take heed from the entire FIFA matter in more than one way and these failings have been ignored (as far as I can tell) by this so called ‘bold new blueprint‘, the stage of mismanagement issues, non-transparency (especially in the ECB) and a whole range of options not cleared before they all start looking for ways to tax more and keep one of the most inefficient logistic systems in the history of the world (as I personally see it) in place. You cannot win more by charging more, not until you fixed your internal accountancy department, should you doubt that, look at Tesco and the Danske Bank and Deutsche Bank, with the acclaimed €200bn dirty money scandal, especially as this is commented on with: “it remains to be seen if any individuals will face justice for the biggest money-laundering scandal in EU history” by the EU Observer (November 29th).

Taxing the rich? Rickety Pickety, you have much larger issues to address before you should be allowed to make a play for those who worked hard towards their homes and retirement, as in the end, that is wwhere this invoice ends up as I personally see it.

Have a great Monday!

 

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Behind the facade

There is a question, there are several questions and for the most we have been ignorant of these questions because we give more unruly validity to the populist masses. ABC questioned it yesterday evening with: ‘Why is Huawei so controversial and being targeted by foreign governments?‘,  the article (at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-07/why-is-chinese-tech-company-huawei-being-targeted/10593156) is an excellent piece by both Ian Burrows and Jack Kilbride, and it is brilliant that for the most we see questions, we see questions that are important. In equal measure we see answers and points made. Points that most of the media shunned from, it all starts with: “The dramatic arrest in Canada of a top Chinese technology executive for possible extradition to the United States has sent stock markets plummeting and cast doubt on a recent US-China trade truce“. We see the shot across the bow with: “Reports say Ms Meng is facing extradition to the US on suspicion she violated US sanctions against Iran“. So there we have that they are not giving us the fact that they have evidence, merely that they have suspicions and that is why the extradition had been started. A woman in high office and that is the one you arrest, right? The fact that Meng Wanzhou is the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei might merely be icing on the American cake. As I personally see it, it has nothing to do with any of that, it is not about any option that involves Iran, if so dozens of Indian nationals and Russians would have been in a similar state, yet they are not. America is not acting there are they? No, America is afraid, it has been for a long time and for the longest of times they were looking in the wrong direction. As the cowards they have shown themselves to be 4 times over, they got played and Huawei, especially Ren Zhengfei knows how to play this game and brokered deal after deal. Facilitating towards fintech, but not facilitating to fintech, two very different stages. And now we get: “It says it operates in more than 170 countries, has 180,000 employees and serves more than a third of the world’s population“, that is the fear, because if wealth is set to the currency of data, American businesses don’t really hold a candle anymore do they? I have the goods on $2 billion in value, yet I do not trust anyone, especially the American corporations that hide behind ‘misunderstanding’, ‘miscommunication’ and inflated or deflated values as their need for greed requires. That is why people go directly towards places like Google and Huawei as they tend to cater (more) correctly, as long as their corporate targets are met. The fear of no longer being regarded as an entity that matters is the new fear of America. And with 1/3 of the population catered by a Chinese conglomerate and well over 40% by others moves America from the number one players to a player in the top 6. And you know Americans, they only respect number one, and the idea that this is a Chinese company is just too offensive to them.

The article has more. When we revisit “New Zealand’s international spy agency also followed Australia’s lead, banning the use of Huawei equipment in its planned 5G upgrade, saying it posed a “significant network security risk”“, we are introduced to more lies, lies propagated by America. It was an utter step of stupidity. At present no evidence has ever been submitted that Huawei was a risk and the idea that they serve a third of the population is a debilitating fear that America is unable to deal with, it is like anti-communism on steroids, a new cold war where America is optionally not in pole position. You see, this is in opposition to MI6 chief Alex Younger, he never claimed this. He stated that the British government (or any government for that matter) should never be at risk and should never hand out such levels of infrastructure risk to others. That is perfectly valid, it is a policy choice and the United Kingdom would be well off to take that step. Now we do get that it makes things harder for others, yet in an age of data to not have your own technology in place is ludicrous. That is a fair point to have, and that is valid, very valid. Yet the simpletons under us give us unwarranted and invalidated ‘significant network security risk‘, so please feel free to explain to me when stupidity was a good idea in any setting of data or security?

Concerns

There are concerns when ANY company growths to the size of Huawei, we cannot deny that, you merely have to look at the stupidity Facebook has shown in the last 61 weeks, three days and 6 hours to realise that part of the equation. And the article gets us to a statement that matters, so when we see: “There has long been concern that Huawei is not that separated from some of the Chinese security apparatus and there are suggestions its equipment could be used for spying“. OK, the concern is valid, yet is it happening? Is there a cause for concern, for genuine concern? Optionally there is and it merely gives empowerment to the statement that Alex Younger gave us, not the dozen of Punch and Judy characters claiming the unproven ‘significant network security risk‘. There is a difference you know.

We can argue that there is another part that matters. I remember reading a paper form Shanghai University (2010) who made the setting that there is a theoretical part in AES256 that makes it viable to unnerve the encryption (I did not say hack it). It requires quantum computing skills, but still there was an interesting part in the paper that reminded me of another stage (I will not go deeper into it now).

Going back to the concerns, we see a part by Fergus Hanson, that is valid, yet is it a real concern? He gave us: “The biggest concern is, whether they want to do it or not, they can be compelled by the Chinese Communist Party to spy and conduct espionage on the Chinese Communist Party’s behalf“, I am not sure whether it is valid. It should not be ignored, yet in this age of economy and revenue (and profit) would you want to endanger the goose with its golden eggs when a third of a population is using your products? When you get people by the billion handing data to Facebook and a league of other sources, when that data is already accessible, why push further at present? That is the stage Chinese intelligence is in, and even as we cannot ignore that danger, do you think anyone in the Chinese intelligence chair (namely Chen Wenqing) would be allowed to keep his seat if he directly endangered Chinese economy to that degree?

And how did China react? When the opportunity came up to bash President Trump and his personal iPhone, we see: “Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying dismissed the claims and suggested that “if they are really very worried about Apple phones being bugged, then they can change to using Huawei,” instead“, in one shot, brilliant!

When China is that proud of its devices, would they want to be proven wrong? Would they want to?  And whilst we consider how to hack the phone, we forget that there is another way: Kaspersky (at https://www.kaspersky.com/blog/hacking-cellular-networks/10633/) gave us all the way back in 2015: “It was last year when a new method of attack on cellular networks was discovered. It requires neither costly radio scanners nor PC powerhouses and is available to virtually anyone. Besides, carriers have no practical means of protecting against this type of attack“, everybody is crying over the milk being stolen whilst criminals are getting direct access to all the cows in the land, how did that make sense, like ever?

And the hacking gets to be worse. One source giving us: “Interestingly enough, the 3GPP, the organization in charge of setting mobile data network standards and enforcing them, also acknowledged the issue in 2006 but chose to do nothing about it. Researchers brought up this vulnerability to the world in 2015 in a paper titled: Practical attacks against privacy and availability in 4G/LTE mobile communication systems.  That same year, the ACLU managed to obtain documents that described the stingray surveillance device had identical functionalities. In the following year, Zhang Wanqiao of Qihoo 360 extended the practical attack described by the initial researchers and presented on it at DEFCON 24 in August of 2016. Now, at Ruxcon in October of 2016, the attack has been demonstrated and been proven to work on all LTE networks with readily available gear“, and in all this Huawei was never part of this, yet that is where the focus remains and whilst this push goes through, we see a short sighted approach. I am not worried on the risk via Huawei, there is enough evidence out there that the concern is not ‘Is Huawei the danger’, it is whether these so called politicians playing with their Punch puppets are setting the stage that hacking becomes increasingly easy for others to hack it.

So here we are, in a stage where America is already facing energy hikes, hikes that started at a mere 5% hours ago as they agreed ‘to cut global oil production by 1.2 million barrels a day‘, something I saw coming two weeks ago. Now we get a new stage, not merely a technological one, it will be a field of what I call ‘techno-facilitation‘, As the 5G pressure changes, places like Huawei are pushing not for the parts they are rejected from, but the consumer parts, the smart devices that are added to more and more non smart devices on a daily basis. Some might have seen the ‘Samsung Family Hub 2.0 Smart Fridge‘. To oversimplify it, it is a fridge with a tablet on the front door (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaKh5qJrTKQ), as we see more applications towards smart devices, these solutions all require interfaces and there Huawei has options and already an advantage. You see, the chance of a players like Gorenje, Hoover, Beko or AEG taking their own department into 5G technology of get a Huawei package is another matter. Soon enough we will see that Huawei will merely spread out, perhaps not allowed be part of the 5G infrastructure, yet as Huawei has shown to be economically terrific towards the consumer, they will get more and more options, and every delay and disappointment the others are making will quickly infuriate the consumers and tax payers to a larger extent.

The bigger worry is not the one; it is the other (nice and cryptic). You see, Huawei can afford to wait to some degree, as we see the perpetuated non truths of devices being pushed forward, the replacements better do a whole lot better and they are unlikely to do so. When we see another failure in 5G start and we see transgressions and those screaming that ‘Huawei’ was a danger, the moment they cannot prove it and their ‘friends’ give us a device that is malicious, the blowback will be enormous. There is already cause for concern if we go by CNBC. They give us a few points that show the additional fear that America has on Huawei.

We get: ‘T-Mobile says a nationwide network will launch in 2020‘, optional a year AFTER Huawei is ready to launch 5G, and then we get: “most people won’t be able to access them since they’ll only be available in a small number of markets next year. Plus, the way we use phones today won’t really require the faster data speeds 5G will offer. Today’s 4G LTE networks are more than fast enough for all the video and music streaming you want to do on your phone“, is it not interesting that something as fragile as 4G LTE is to hacking, which has been known for the longest of times is still the pushed solution? And I personally interpreted “won’t really require the faster data speeds 5G will offer“, is more like a way to state, ‘we cannot offer it’ versus ‘You do not need it’, you merely have to watch Netflix on a tablet in 4K to see that need prop up overnight. All these excuses and intentional phrased denials in a stage without Huawei is why there is such a large issue. I get where Alex Younger is coming from, the rest is merely trying to avoid panic of no longer being a person that matters in the mobile industry, the fact that Huawei grew so fast and so large is the biggest fear that they have because whatever they win, Wall Street optionally loses. Screens behind mirrors, facades behind facades and they are all in fear of being considered redundant in a technological age that is still not slowing down.

And I am not alone here. The New York Times (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/07/opinion/huawei-meng-wanzhou-china-arrest.html gives us: “This week, the White House released a five-year plan around STEM education — science, technology, engineering and math — that is not nearly robust enough to make the Chinese even slightly nervous that we can keep up with their decidedly more aggressive efforts to train their work force for the next era of computing“, the short and sweet part is that America is not ready to take any lead anywhere for the next 15 years. In addition we see: “I am perplexed about why the Trump administration has been such an embarrassment when it comes to the kind of actual leadership and vision needed to keep the United States at the forefront of the tech race“. This is where he is wrong, you see this is not on President Trump, this is a failing that goes back to the Bush era, the era before President Obama. What had to be done then was not done and now the impact is a lot larger than it could have been. So when we see the quote “everyone would feel a lot more confident if the government was also focused on investing more in American innovation and if the crackdown looked less chaotic“, we see the fear from the US, it is not ready, it has failed innovation and the mistakes made are optionally debilitating the next 15 years of innovation. Chine is primed and ready and that is where we see the fear. American is pushing itself towards becoming a third world nation, they did this all by themselves, and it goes further than merely technology. The US has shown a lack of insight for a much longer time. As we see US Defense giving us: “The Navy is asking Congress to fund a conversion of its 600-foot stealth destroyers from primarily a land attack ship to an anti-surface, offensive strike platform, according to budget documents released Feb. 12“. It was earlier this year. It matters as we see merely 2 weeks ago: “The destroyer Zumwalt’s big guns don’t have any ammo, and the Navy may ditch them entirely because they don’t even work right“, so we are confronted with ‘a request for $89.7 million’ to make it better, that thing costed billions in research, it took half a billion to make, it is useless (decently ugly) and in 4 hours I had a $3.5 million concept solution to sink it. In all honesty I have to admit that my idea was designed to sink the Iranian fleet, but this vessel is just slightly too insulting for comfort. The Digital Journal did some of the legwork form me with: ‘Can’t fire its guns due to massive $1 million per round cost‘, ‘May lose stealth due to redesign limitations‘ and ‘Cuts to stealth capacity add up to many more risks in combat‘. The article (at http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/technology/op-ed-accountancy-vs-usazumwalt-a-stupid-story/article/538102) has a lot more and my mere $3.5 million solution, which is a simple redesign from something made in the 70’s. I saw it as a way to turn Iranian cruisers into submarines (with air-conditioning). It is murder on the lungs, but good for non-Iranian morale and as such it was a great idea. It could be easily adjusted to park the USS Zumwalt at 18°38’18.9″S 147°10’15.3″E and help it grow coral for the Great Barrier Reef, all problems solved.

My issue links it as we see the problem, they are linked because we failed the STEM education path for well over a decade, so there is a massive shortage. There is a reason why the larger players like Salini Impregilo are looking at Universities all over the world seeking quality Engineers and they are not alone, the shortage is close to global and there we see the growing advantage that China is now showing to have. The fact that America is showing such levels of non-vision, even within their own navy results is exactly what they are shouting in fear.

I would go one step further in the proclamation that America is not afraid of what China can do, they have no one left to show them and explain to them what the Chinese capabilities are and that is a lot more fearful than anything else. That is how I see it (and I might per 100% wrong), yet consider the failings we have seen in the last year alone, the emotional push in places where logic require to prevail, the inability to counter what should not have been a threat. The Mabna Institute in March: “The DOJ says the hackers stole 31 terabytes of data, estimated to be worth $3 billion in intellectual property. The attacks used carefully crafted spearphishing emails to trick professors and other university affiliates into clicking on malicious links and entering their network login credentials” (source: Wired). Not the fact that it happened, the stage that it took forever to find and do something is equally part in all this. June gave us: “marketing and data aggregation firm Exactis, which left about 340 million records exposed on a publicly accessible server. The trove didn’t include Social Security numbers or credit card numbers, but it did comprise 2 terabytes of very personal information about hundreds of millions of US adults” and important here is that these are the so called clever people. Those with fat incomes and nice additional perks, if they cannot contain the issue, the underpaid, undervalued and overworked IT people at the US government truly have no chance at all, do they?

The facades behind the facades are shining through 10 windows all without curtains or coding (at https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/12/06/windows_10_security_questions_remotely_defined_answers/) and it gets to be a lot worse in 2021 when 5G hits full force everywhere, it is a cyber criminals dream coming true. Huawei is in all this merely the smallest blip on the radar and that realisation should hit us fast and quick, because at present, the only way to keep your data safe is to educate yourself, no one else will, they do not know how.

 

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Battle of the giants

The Guardian has released a list of the best games of the year. As a Sony lover, I expected to see god of War and it is there, we also see Microsoft’s Forza Horizon 4, which ought to be there too. I was never a racing fan and still that game blew me away, so there!

We also see games that never were my fancy; Monster Hunter World is not a game I tried as I was disappointed with the grinding that the 3DS version gave. I admit that the graphics on the new consoles looked amazing, yet i felt no need to try. Ni No Kuni 2 is not a surprise and the absence of Bethesda is no surprise. I am quite frankly amazed on how many times Bethesda dropped the ball in this quarter alone. I have no idea what got them hit with the stupid stick this many times. Red Dead Redemption 2 is there too and my only surprise is the remastered Shadow of the Colossus. I actually did not expect it to show up, as I saw Dark Souls Remastered. If we look at those two, they deserve to be there, and even as it hits the mark, they do have the benefit of having a long time to be the original, when we look today, it is much harder to find an original game, as such these two might be regarded as having an unfair advantage.

I also missed titles that should have been there. first there is Spiderman, it is not merely the best Spiderman ever made, it is graphically perfect, it has the clear feel of a Peter Parker adventure and it is true to a Marvel world, as such I expected it to be there, right next to God of war, two games that made Sony to be the Huge success it became in 2018. The Xbox One misses out due to exclusivity, and I am in conflict with myself over Assassin’s Creed Odyssey not being picked, there are reasons it should be there and optional reasons for it not making the cut, yet I feel the balance scale is still on the side of it being there. I believe that in this case the DLC is added reason for it making the grade this time around as well (the cultural DLC of life in Egypt last year was a stroke of genius, you walk through it seeing just how much as a gamer you missed out on, making the replay 150% more satisfying). As a PlayStation lover (an important distinction), I need to side with Keza MacDonald on this one. Her statement: “This game is a beautiful experience. As driving games go, it’s the best I’ve ever played“, in the end, God of War blew me away as well, it was such a rush to see a game propel to the size it did, yet in the end, there is every chance that Forza Horizon 4 might end up being the best game of the year, it will be a title well deserved. In all my opposition to what Microsoft calls ‘good business‘ and their view of gamers, this one they got right, well done Microsoft!

If gaming is perception and presentation, just to call the attention, we need to stop and take another look at Bethesda. Even as the media titles have been ‘protective’ like ‘Bethesda Accidentally Leaked Personal Data of ‘Fallout 76’ Customers Looking for Help‘, as well as ‘Bethesda’s attempt to fix a Fallout 76 blunder leaks angry shoppers’ PID‘, we need to be mindful, accidental or not. Personal data is out there, possible due to an overreaction by Bethesda. Many consider Fallout 76 to be a failure; I am slightly less pessimistic calling it ‘work in progress’. That is the nature of the beast, when you tackle the online gaming, things go pear shaped, not merely because of the dangers of online resources, the mere consideration that 4 eager gamers can ask more of a system than 23,665 programmers can correct for, it is a mere truth of the online stage. And it was my personal feeling that after Tamriel in an online stage, Bethesda would have learned enough to get it much better from day one, they did not!

So it is unlikely that Bethesda is going home with any prices and awards this year (however, there is still Legends, and optionally blades).

Why look at this?

Games are not merely games, when a person buys a game; he or she pays for both an experience, as well as a stage of engagement. It is hard (read: impossible) to merely see AC Odyssey, without going back all the way to Masyaf and the very first Assassins Creed (if you played it as early as then), this is why AC2 and AC brotherhood are still seen as the path of perfection that AC Unity devastated. I got this Ubisoft punishment device (see image), just so I could explain it to the skull of Yves Guillemot as graphically as possible (nyuk, nyuk, nyuk).

We have had plenty of reasons to get mad at Ubisoft for a whole range of reasons and now we see a growing group of people angered with Bethesda. I say one optional flop does not make a raging crowd, yet the views, visions and YouTube’s out there say different. As for perception, this game (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWwyhymcDxI) was one of the first 5 games I ever bought (3rd or 4th), I still think fondly of this game, even after 34 years. I got the Broderbund title as it got the IBM joystick award (in those days there was no proper game reviewing). It was an instant success. When you get emerged in a game, your world changes, and you tend to focus on fun and challenge. This is not unique for me; this is for anyone who loves games. Now we can hardly perceive this, yet I still remember the challenge that level 5 was initially. For many, their first console, the first game they truly got involved in, that title they will carry in their hearts for the longest of times, they will judge other games by that game. For many it will be on all systems, others will judge it per system (which is fairer anyway). So the new gamers will hold a light to any new game, comparing it to FHIV, AC Odyssey, Super Mario Odyssey, and Red Dead Redemption 2. That is the nature of the beast and when we find the developer lacking, they will get slapped around by these gamers (poor poor Yves Guillemot). Yet when a developer gets it right, when they deliver beyond the over marketed title (like AC Origin) they also get the benefit of powerful acknowledgement (as they are entitled to that too). For me (in the Mario universe) it started with Super Mario 64, and until we got Super Mario Sunshine, it had the crown, even later as we saw Wii and WiiU, Super Mario Sunshine still ruled and now we see the optional crown going to Super Mario Odyssey (I only played the demo so far).

So when we see this, when we realise that best game of the year is also smitten with what they made before, we see a difference, another measurement. So in that light, I do hope that the rumours of Samus Aran and her trilogy for Nintendo Switch will be true. So far in 14 years no one ever surpassed the fun and challenge value that Metroid Prime delivered and I loved Metroid Prime 2: Echoes to that same degree. So to get that on Switch will up the ante for any game developer. The fun, the challenge and getting to the conclusion of the challenge is everything to the gamer, Nintendo has forever understood that part of gaming to a much better degree than any other developer (Bethesda had a good grasp of comprehending people on the past).

So when we see that the reality is that we will optionally be able to replay those titles via the Nintendo Switch Virtual Console, we see that Nintendo has a long term future as well, as these titles can capture the older hearts, as well as new players giving them a lot more bang for the buck. Nintendo rules these waves, we see this with the latest addition Super Smash Bros (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWo9wfsnj7M). It is Super Smash Bros that gives the main dish as a desert. When we realise that the impression of fun is not merely looking good, it is about getting it right, it is in this view that looking perfect will always lose against getting it right.

It is that distinction is also important when you look towards the best game of 2018, even as a PlayStation fan (a bias that is forever important), we see that Spiderman PS4 got it right, Forza Horizon 4 merely got it right better. So Microsoft on a game type that I am not really a fan of; justly wins with a title by getting it right the best. Even as God of War was perfect, exceeded everything they made before, we might compare it to why Super Smash Bros got 94%, yet in the end, the game that blew us away more will take the cake and candles in all of this. FHIV might never be in my collection as the One versus One X is just to distinct here (for now), yet the fact that whenever I see FHIV, I get the desire to race, as a non-racer, that impression is extremely distinct; it is why my vote went that way. To capture the heart of a player that has another game style is an achievement that we all seem to forget. Just like Super Smash Bros has the ability to get all kinds of people to pick up the game and play against as many people as possible, we see the impact of excellence in gaming through fun and the joy of getting there. Nintendo mastered that ability a long time ago and whenever we see any other game getting there, we rejoice.

Far Cry Primal got close and then dropped the ball by being ‘predetermined’. Far Cry 5 never got there by offering everything and becoming nothing at all, the God of War got there through the people who knew the originals, giving us a new track, another path in almost perfect graphics and with a rating of 94% they did excel, set that against the 92% of Forza Horizon 4 and in my state of mind, there would be no contest, game over for Microsoft Studios, yet that was not the case, challenge and fun, they merely got it slightly better. Even as we see that they got Best Racing Game and Xbox Game of the Year (which was not really that much of a challenge this time around), they are still on track to get Ultimate Game of the Year, Best Sports/Racing Game and Best Audio Design, it is my personal opinion that they would optionally lose the third one and anyone who has heard the soundtrack of God of War is likely to agree with me. As I see it, Forza Horizon 4 gets to be the Ultimate Game of the Year; at least that is how I personally would vote.

The annual award is a battle of giants, some excelled for a long time, some excelled in every way and some merely competed to some extent. What is important in not merely who wins, and who gets nominated, we see that the winners will impact what we see in upcoming 2020 games and that is important to realise.

As we will anticipate on the coming of the Trilogy on Switch, some might wonder why. It is not merely the FPS part, it is open (to some extent), it is a challenge and it is an adventure, even in 2002 when it was released, even with the more ‘advanced’ graphics that the Xbox and the PlayStation 2 had, they could not touch Metroid Prime and its 97% rating. That small disc, holding a mere part of a DVD blew away all competition and with Metroid Prime 2: Echoes at 92% it did so again, and those who loved gaming want to get that feeling again. That is the impact that fun coated in challenge, or is that challenge coated in fun? Whichever way it is presented it creates gamers and it creates desire within a gamer. The ultimate game of the year can impact that future of where we will look next, what we will try next, even if it is not our cup of tea. When it hits the mark we will all order a pot of it, not merely a cup. That is one part that the game makers understand, and they are eager to get into the sweet spot of gamers there.

Should you think that gamers are selfish, think again! Digital trends reported less than 2 weeks ago: “Grandma Shirley — had left expressing her doubts at living to see The Elder Scrolls VI, a petition was created on Change.org to have her immortalized in the game“, gamers care to this extent, especially when they share a connection to a game, so I think that Bethesda needs to be truly stupid to not consider this, and to be honest Bethesda has been overly considerate in the past, not for personal gain or marketing, their actions regarding Erik West (Eric the Slayer), and there are more examples. Bethesda has forever been trying and aiming to get it right and to a larger extent, they have, so I was puzzled on how they got Fallout 76 so wrong. I merely cover it with ‘a work in progress‘, which in light of the approach is probably as correct as it gets (for now).

Gaming is for me not some state, or an escape. It is a world you become a part of, not replacing reality, but having it on the side. Making it part of the 24 hours a day you have, not replacing the 24 hours you should live in. Some choose sports, some choose a passion (or passion itself) and some hike, trail and be out in the open. Gamers do the gaming thing and when developers get that mindset right, the games will propel in excellence, it is a lesson Nintendo learned early on and they are still able to surprise us. In this Bethesda and Nintendo are optionally more alike. They both got it wrong (WiiU/Fallout76), yet as Nintendo Switch is now the golden mark of excellence, we might get the same from Bethesda (with whichever titles comes next) and that too is gaming, when the challenge is met and we get that satisfying feeling of a new challenge and we look forward to every second that comes next. That ‘Oh Yeah!‘ moment (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JB8BLMMVFLg) when you see that they are got it right. Gaming has had plenty of these, which is why developers are getting additional chances. Witcher 3, Mass Effect 2, Diablo 3, Skyrim, Metroid Prime, GTA5, the Last of Us, Golden Eye, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. The list goes on and will remain growing after tomorrow, because any developer that flops now (Far Cry) will optionally be able to hit it out of the park at a later stage (Far Cry 3) and that is gaming too, to be there and live through the successes, even after a massive failure (AC Unity anyone?)

Gamers can afford to wait as there are plenty of players offering the next golden egg, or is that the next golden eye? And with results like God of War, Forza Horizon 4, Ni no Kuni 2, and Subnautica I personally believe that the future of gaming is in good hands. No matter who gets to be called the ultimate game of 2018. There has been 45 years between Pong (1972) and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017), it was never about who had the best graphics (Minecraft 2011 is evidence of that), any category can win, any style can win (Rock Band 3 2010) and it opens us optionally to playful directions we might never have considered on day one of that game (Limbo 2010).

Personally I love the yearly gaming awards for reasons mentioned earlier, but for the most, for me it is about to consider a game that stood out in one way and merely missed out on that game initially having something to look forward to, which in my clearest case was Far Cry 3, the previous versions were not up to standard and therefor I never considered it, which gave me in the end more joy than I bargained for, exceeding expectations can end up being that rewarding.

It will be Monday morning in 60 hours, so try to take a moment and play a game this weekend, even if it is for merely an hour and it is something as simple (and highly addictive) as Minecraft.

 

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Tic Toc Ruination

There is always a next deadline, a next target and a next threshold. When we see that point, some see obstacles, some see challenges and others await opportunities. It has always been this way. In the past we had 3G, Telstra could not keep up and gave us 3.5G and called it something else. The audience was deceived and has been deceived for a while in many ways. In Australia, as I personally see it, too many politicians dance to the needs of Telstra and as such, in the long run nothing was done. As 4G matured on a global level we saw the eCommerce run and we saw growth everywhere. And as the 5G moment grew near too many were sitting on the sidelines, all talk and no hard work. Huawei, Ericsson and a few more worked hard because he fin-tech term ‘be there first‘ applied a hundred times more to mobile technologies and we saw the escalation as China went ahead of the curve. Suddenly Huawei 5G technology got banned, a bankrupt America started and soon most nations followed, now, or at least 5 hours ago, the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/dec/05/bt-removing-huawei-equipment-from-parts-of-4g-network) reported one additional move ‘BT removing Huawei equipment from parts of 4G network‘, we see “In a statement, the UK telecoms group has confirmed it is in the process of removing Huawei equipment from the key parts of its 3G and 4G networks to meet an existing internal policy not to have the Chinese firm at the centre of its infrastructure“, all at the behest of spymaster incredibili Alex Younger. Yet actual evidence of Chinese activities was never given in evidence. Alex does something else and in retrospect to his French, American and Canadian peers something that is actually intelligent. He gives us: “the UK needed to decide if it was “comfortable” with Chinese ownership of the technology being used.” OK, in opposition of American stupidity making claims they cannot support, Alex is giving us the national need and the premise that another government should not have ownership of infrastructure this important. I can accept that, yet in that same light, that equipment should not be American or Russian either. He also gives us: “We have to keep adapting … we are evolving again to meet the threats of the hybrid age … our task now is to master the covert action of the data age“, and he is correct. It does not state that Huawei is a danger, a risk or actively undermining the UK. I get the setting of national security first and in this Huawei might optionally in the future be that risk, it is not the same setting the yanks gave us.

Yet there is the opposition as well. At present not only is Huawei ahead by a fair bit, Engineering and Technology (at https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2018/12/china-continues-to-dominate-worldwide-patent-applications/) give us: ‘China continues to dominate worldwide patent applications‘, it is a lot larger than Huawei, yet the stage we need to comprehend is “China submitted 1.38 million of the total 3.17 million patent applications submitted“, and a chunk of that 43.5% is mobile and 5G technology. China is ahead in the race and as some people start living in denial, the stage we will see in 2020 is not that America will start its 5G part, there will be a moment when China lodges IP cases that oppose patents, and the optional proven stage of patent violations. At that point the nations moving in silly ways will learn the hard way that whatever they tried to overcome will cost them 200%-550% more that they thought it would. The entire patent system will be upside down as technology makers will be found to be technology breakers and that is one side why the US is so opposed to certain levels of protectionism (apart from their pharmaceutical patents). To give you a perspective, China applied for more patents than the US, Japan, South Korea and the European Patent Office combined, the difference is that big, there is a second benefit to a worldwide growth in IP filings and some technology offices will soon encounter the receiving side of a desist to move forward lawsuit. The Apple Samsung war in patents has shown that impact for years and when any firm is stopped in their tracks, for any 5G violation, you can flush that 5G implementation timeline down the toilet.

ZDNet gives us: “Sprint announced that it is now the fastest mobile carrier across New York City, providing customers with access to its gigabit-speed LTE services after upgrading its network in preparation for 5G services going live next year“, which sounds nice, yet when we see: “launching a 5G mobile service there in the first half of 2019“, the way the dates were given last week personally implies to me that any setback gives reason that there will be no 5G before Q3 2019. Now, I might be wrong here, yet in the past we have seen again and again that these timelines were never met and the pressure is really on this time around, making setbacks and delays even more likely. So a we see New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Washington DC, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Detroit, Miami, Indianapolis, and Phoenix moving into the 5G realm, we now see the absence of an earlier mentioned Boston, Sacramento, Dallas, Houston, So as we see San Francisco, I see no Mountain view, no Palo Alto and no San Jose (consider https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnzTgUc5ycc, just a little Helix for the fans). So will San Francisco get 5G, or will Google and Facebook infested Mountain View get the5G? The problem is not whether it comes now or later, the fact remains that implementation and deployment had to be done and be past the 100% deployment preparations 6 months ago and the players left it to the final moment, whilst some of the infrastructure should have been available a long while ago.

The setting is not merely 5G, it is the availability that is connected to all this that follows. Part of this situation is given weight to issues when we consider Telecom Lead giving us (at https://www.telecomlead.com/5g/192-operators-start-5g-network-investment-gsa-87745). The quote: “192 mobile operators in 81 countries are investing in 5G network as compared with 154 operators in 66 countries in July 2018, according to the latest GSA report released in November 2018” shows us that 15 countries are already late to the start and it involves 38 operators. Now, that might be valid as some are not in the size to be the initial adopters, yet it is merely the top of the iceberg. This Titanic is showing a leak when we get to “GSA also said 80 telecom operators in 46 countries have announced their plan to launch 5G to their customers between 2018 and 2022. 37 networks will launch 5G services in 2020 alone“. If this is the stage knowing that you are in one of the 37 countries. The 9 countries that are optionally launching between 2018 and 2020 might have a local advantage, yet which of these 9 are starting fist, or get to start between 2021 and 2022 is equally an issue to explore. We see: “Telstra, TeliaSonera Finland, Ooredoo Kuwait and Qatar, Zain Kuwait, and STC Saudi Arabia have done 5G deployments using commercial 5G base stations but are waiting for devices to enable service introduction“, here we see Australia to be ahead of the curve, yet waiting for devices implies that it goes beyond the mobile phones, I reckon that there is something else missing, yet what it is and when it comes is not given. The article also gives us the entire 5G trap and the Verizon steps that are in question. It is the reason why I mentioned Telstra 3.5G in the first place. We are given “Verizon’s network is not yet 3GPP compliant. It uses Verizon’s own 5G specification, but will be upgraded to be 3GPP compliant in the future“, so does that mean that it is merely a Verizon issue opening the market for Sprint, or are they both involved in that same pool of marketed pool to some form of ‘5G’ branding, and not the standard?

If that is truly the case, if this is truly verified, will the day that the 5G switch is turned on in the US, Japan and Saudi Arabia show that Saudi Arabia and Japan gives the people true 5G and America does not, does that make them the loser in the 5G race on day one? The question now becomes is Sprint 3GPP compliant, and more important what is the failing of 3GPP compliant bringing to the table?

When I look at the data opportunities that 5G brings, the opportunities that blockchain technology can revolutionise (especially in America) in retail with 5G are unheard of. There is a true growth of investment options available, yet are these opportunities seen as such?

So where is the ruination?

You see, this is the first time in history where high-tech is running ahead in China. In the past, America had the radio, they had the TV, they had video, DVD, Japan brought the Blu-Ray, and the US had 4G first; yet it all falters when we realise that this time around China is not merely on par, they are optionally ahead in the next technology wave, we have never seen this advantage from China before, and at the speed at how they caught up in the past, is worrying many nations as they are now ahead and optionally they can create more headway as they start giving the US less and less advantages, optionally resulting in greater economic advantages for China as America ends up having to catch up now, an advantage of being first which is now optionally no longer with the US.

The question becomes, will the consumers have to pay for that lack of headway? Even as we push for the comparison in the past app stage of 4G, we see that the IP war can become a much larger headache when you are not China, it might be good, it will most likely be bad and in the end we might benefit yet the reality is that massive amount of money will start going to the far east (China) and it will impact all manners of ecommerce soon enough. Yet will that happen? We might know tomorrow as the techboys (and one techgirl), AKA Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella, Ginni Rometty, Safra Katz and Steve Mollenkopf meet with White House officials later today. So as Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and Qualcomm decide on what happens (or needs to happen) in the next 24 hours, I wonder what concessions they will get from the White House as long as they all finish second to none and give America the 5G pole position result. Ego comes at a price and I reckon that we get to know the cost of White House ego tripping before the end of the year.

In all this, I wonder, can I make matters worse when I ‘give’ 2 billion in IP value to Huawei? When we are pushed, should we not push back? When the others face too late the element of delay by not adhering to logic, and by ignoring common sense, should I give them consideration? That is actually a main point here, as technology becomes the main political pawn, how should we react? We can agree with Alex Younger that any nation needs to negate technological risk, we could consider that he seemingly had the only valid opposition against Huawei, as it was not directed at Huawei, but at the fact that the tech is not British, the others did not work that path, and as we see that technology is cornered by the big 7, those in the White House with an absent person from both Apple and Huawei. We have accepted the changed stage of technology and that might not have been a good thing (especially in light of all the cyber-crimes out there), also a larger diverse supplier group might have addressed other weak spot via their own internal policies, another path optionally not averted. So as we focus on national needs (which is always a valid path), should I hand that 2 billion dollar patent to Australia, who is too often in the pocket of Telstra (as I personally see it), or put it on the market for any to buy it, when that happens, do I create opportunity or limitations?

That is a question that most of us did not consider as the tech market had been global for the longest of times, yet as 5G comes into play, that might soon change and with that we will get new answers, new challenges and a lot more diversity (whilst having to entertain a whole range of new limitations as well). In my view there is an unseen balance between ruination and opportunity, yet this is where time is not a factor, it will be about the connectivity that one offers another and that is when we see that time influences it, but it is not the larger factor of influence. It is a market where diversity becomes an enabler against time (partially in opposition of time). I stated this before. As 4G gave us the golden path towards ‘wherever we are‘, 5G will be largely about ‘whenever we want it‘. It affects ‘on demand’, it enables ‘I need it now’ and it gives rise to security, automation and non-repudiation to a much larger extent. We have clearly seen that Huawei and China are in pole position of that race, and we must wonder who of the other players can catch up in time offering the full 5G with all elements validly in place (not using Verizon’s own 5G specification, or a version thereof).

I look forward to 2019 as I have already found 2 optional gaps; I wonder how many more I will find.

 

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The Saint’s parcel

Today it is December 5th, in the Netherlands that means it is St Nicholas day. It is the Dutch version of Santa Claus, but with a difference. The story goes back to the Greek bishop of Myra, what is now known as Turkey (270-340 AD). Saint Nicholas is the patron Saint of children and the day preceding his birthday (6th December) it is the evening of presents and all the kids (until a certain age) will receive a present.

As you might imagine the week before all this, things can get really hectic, especially in the toy stores, on a global scale when we see Thanksgiving, St. Nicholas and Christmas, the numbers given to us by power retail ‘Cyber Monday Breaks Record, Becomes “Biggest Sales Day Ever”‘, these numbers makes sense as moments like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other deal moments with discount sales is what people look for globally so that they can show their kids that there are happy times, even if it is just for a day or two. Variety gives us (at https://variety.com/2018/gaming/news/nintendo-switch-sales-holiday-sales-figures-1203038569/) even more. With their headline ‘Nintendo Sold $250 Million in Products from Black Friday to Cyber Monday in U.S.‘, they are showing a setting that is awesome.

More important it is their e-commerce sales of games that is partially taking the cake with the statement: “The Nintendo Switch is now the best-selling Nintendo console in U.S. history for that five-day period, surpassing even Wii system sales, the company announced Wednesday.” Even as we see “Nintendo’s overall goal for the financial year of 38 million units sold, though analysts are still predicting it will fall just short, hitting about 35 million“, yet in all that the analysts are eager to avoid the one setting that matters, in under two years the Nintendo Switch is about to equal the lifetime sales of the Xbox One, a number that is very impressive as the Xbox One had 300% of the time frame to get to this point. And overall the entire Microsoft issue is expected to hit a few more bumps in the road. Software was the key in all this and Nintendo does comprehend quality software. The curve is changing for the better for Nintendo as their demo stations are all over game shops like EB Games. Parents can see how amazing it looks and as the kids are having a go at playing kart and playing Mario Odyssey, we see (as I saw) that the parents are getting a smile on their faces. It is a family friendly system, where violence is limited to a paint gun with a colour. And as we see the greats (Diablo 3) added to the Switch, we see an amazing list of games titles we see a system that is more and more overwhelming when it comes to quality gaming. A game setting where quality is not the silly notion of high level graphics, no! Quality gaming is the level of fun you get out of it and Nintendo is turning heads around and for the first time in history Sony is starting to get worried as the setting now is that this year Switch surpassed the Sony PlayStation. Now that does not means that Sony is number two, they have well over 250% in number of consoles in the field, yet the fact that Nintendo is closing the gap slightly and surpassing Microsoft has never been seen before in the age of gaming. I loved my GameCube (I still miss Mario Sunshine even today), I loved the games I had and when I saw that the Wii was backward compatible I did not hesitate, yet the Switch is showing to be up to the challenge of equalling this in quality gaming. In this we see that Nintendo is getting it right and even as I questioned the stupidity of analysts with their ‘predicting it will fall just short‘, I believe that their entire setting is bogus. Nintendo has the goods and is showing it has equaled the challenge gaining on the larger advantage that Sony has and surpassing what was once the great Microsoft console and the most powerful console? It might be, yet when it offers a mere 25% of the family fun, I wonder what some people choose.

Now, we do not state that the Xbox cannot deliver the goods, yet we have always known that Nintendo was a family and younger player system. Now that we can be on the road, play on TV (via dock) and have access to some of the most addictive games (Diablo 3, Mario Kart, Skyrim, Minecraft, Rocket league) and so many more titles we need to wonder what the others did wrong.

Well they didn’t!

They made a choice and they continued on that path, Microsoft thought what it had to compete with Sony and they did not end up doing that, they soured their own milk from the very beginning in policy and hardware, they refused to listen to their gamers and they are still losing traction in the process. Even as some corrections and some really good ideas have been launched (Game Pass), they have too much to catch on. Nintendo remained on the family fun and family friendly path and they merely gained speed, and within a year they pushed for a speed that would surpass Sony annual sales and they seemed to have done it in 2018 (the official numbers are not out yet). However the consoles and the quarter of a billion in online store sales in under a month is now showing to become the monster truck of revenue. So as I personally sneer at “Nintendo stock hit a five year high of $58.45 a share this year, only to shed more than 40 percent of its value this month, with a year-low of $33.90“, I see clear numbers that do not support the actions and recommendations of these analysts. The titles Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Splatoon 2 represent 40 million copies sold. This implies that every Nintendo Switch has at least one of these games and that is an amazing result. Now set this against a company like Ubisoft (as a mere example) with Assassin’s Creed, 100 million copies over 11 titles on 3+ systems, Far Cry, 25 million copies over 6 titles on 3+ systems and Watch Dogs with 2 titles on 3 systems, 10 million copies sold. These are all decent games and when compared to four titles on one system, we start seeing the first part where the others seem to be getting it wrong. That is the comparison that some analysts do not seem to grasp. In addition, the close to flawless results against other titles on other consoles show and we have not even started with the millions of players playing Pokemon on Nintendo handheld systems.

On the day of Saint Nicholas we look at these kids and we see the overwhelming need and desire for gaming, consoles and handhelds. For the next 4 weeks it will be about that group and I predict that Nintendo will be looking at another half a billion if the previous record is anything to go by. It is likely that Boxing Day sales will add to that revenue surpassing my prediction. Clever grandparents adding an optional $30 gift card for their grand-kids to get several games cheap on boxing day sales, adding even more to the Nintendo profit coffer.

Even Forbes gave me the thumbs up (virtually that is). They had the top purchase mention with Nintendo as one of the titles and the PS4 as the most talked about, no mention on Microsoft. Even as Apple got a few mentions, the words ‘Microsoft’, ‘Surface’ and ‘Xbox’ were absent in that view (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbes-finds/2018/11/12/5-best-headphones-under-100/#47cb25aa5239), in addition the aggressive discount that the Nintendo gives with their Switch plus Mario Kart in the Netherlands is seeing its own fair share of mentions. If the feast of Saint Nicholas has one drawback then I would think it is the longer absence of board games. Playing a game like monopoly whilst unwrapping a present whenever one player passes go was heaps fun. There was the tension which name was drawn and as present by present was opened; whilst we played monopoly and had hot chocolate milk (it is cold in the Netherlands in December) was a level of fun I still miss.

Yet, we must not forget the hardship either, and there is a lot of that and a lot more coming; in the last year over 50,000 children died in Yemen from hardship, disease and famine. I expect that in 2019 we will see that the 2018 numbers will surpass the passing of 100,000 children. The children are too young to face what other children have to go through in other places, yet we adults cannot afford to do that. If I had to forego my optional Nintendo Switch for one child in Yemen to have a decent meal, I will end up not playing a Nintendo Switch for some time to come, even as the child still dies and I merely prevented it from dying on an empty stomach, I would do so. Even as the peace talks are being held, I fear for the lack of progress, as this is not in the interest of Iran. It is still progressing on arming Houthi; it is still facilitating via Hezbollah and the children are merely in the way there. From my point of view Europe is enabling it as they want their nuclear accord, an accord that is not likely to be the value of printed paper, the Iranian missile tests can be considered proof in this. In this part Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is actually in a very dangerous place. Even as he is with an ally, as the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, we see that the danger is twofold. As more and more US politicians are seemingly ‘bashing’ Saudi Arabia, yet they seem to ignore the danger that Hezbollah is there, we see the start of imbalance, and as this imbalance continues, so do the events in Yemen killing even more children. The hollow words like ‘Iran has praised Yemeni peace talks scheduled to take place soon‘, they want their version in charge in Yemen, not the elected one and they are willing to let millions of kids die to get that done. So whilst the US gives us “The United States has displayed pieces of what it says were Iranian weapons deployed to militants in Yemen and Afghanistan“, whilst at the same time US politicians are unbalancing their allied commitment to Saudi Arabia, we see that in the end it is a political stalemate with the lives of all the Yemeni children in the balance and there is no reasonable chance that the children there will get a better deal out of it.

So as we see the independent giving us the goods and the stage of truth last week with: ‘US struggles to find footing on Yemen, as Iran increases influence‘, we see (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/us-yemen-civil-war-iran-influence-saudi-arabia-bombing-trump-weapons-houthis-rebels-a8661546.html) that the US and mostly its politicians seem to have lost their perception on the larger game. the quote “The US Senate, angered in part by the White House response to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, on Wednesday voted in a surprise move to advance a bill that would cut American participation in the Yemen conflict“, the emotions towards a previously unknown journalist (and ignoring all those imprisoned and dead journalists in Turkey) is setting the stage of enabling the Iran agenda. Vetoed or not, it will up the pressure on Saudi Arabia and in all this, the populist pressure is one that historically has turned anti Saudi more often than not, increasing the larger issues towards Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in other directions as well.

In all this does America even know who their allies and enemies are? The question is more important than you think, as we see on the feast of Saint Nicholas that millions of children in Yemen are abandoned. So what did this have to do with games?

When you watch your child play some Call of Duty game and you realise that it is not Battleground 5, it is not Call of Duty, or Fortnite, but it is the game ‘Holy Defense’, created by Hezbollah to let gamers and players kill ISIS members. When we are treated to: “Hezbollah has developed a 3-D computer game to capture the minds of its youth, while showing them a good time.” When you see your children play this free downloaded game in Europe and America, how much safer was the Nintendo Switch with their family values to begin with?

I agree that this is not a fair remark for Sony and Microsoft and they are not part of this in any way, but when it comes to First Person Shooters, can parents even tell the difference anymore? And when it is getting to close to the factual truth, can they even perceive how many children are getting killed in the process whilst Yemen is facing delay after delay? Should that not be the central issue on the day of the patron saint of children?

 

 

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