Category Archives: IT

Egotistic Uselessness

Yup, the news has been out for a little while, apart from North Korean rockets flying over Japan and breaking up in three parts, we have another issue to worry the people in Europe. There are now two additional issues. The first one is shown in the Express (at http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/846776/Brexit-news-latest-EU-Michael-Barnier-UK-security-Brussels-talks-negotiations-Theresa-May), yet there it is hidden as a statement of reference. With “Many Eurosceptic have interpreted the proposals as a call to create an EU Army” we see a reference to “The Eurocrat also backed a proposal from the European Commission to gradually combine EU national defences by 2025“, so the largest expense in most national budgets now comes with an added iteration of logistics on a European level. So, how was that EVER going to be a good idea? Is it another snipe at those following Brexit that their defence would suffer if they jump this shark (or is that these sharks)? The Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/brexit-eu-military-planning-its-own-army-a7916371.html) gives us “the European Defence Action Plan has a goal of reversing around a decade of defence spending cuts by EU states“, so the EU is now setting a course to reverse defence spending cuts, and who is going to pay for all that? Where is THAT money coming from? Because I can tell you now that the nations are getting a hefty bill for whatever comes next, whilst we see a large increase in logistical needs, the overall efficiency of these defence ‘needs‘ will not be getting any better, they will get worse. With defence at present, they tend to be free of communication issues for the most. So, in this new setting, watching a conversation between Dutch General Middendorp, French Colonel Alexis de Roffignac and Italian Naval Admiral Valter Girardelli would become interesting to say the least. I could get rich selling popcorn at that event. It is not merely the language (we hope all three are fluent in one language and some of them will hope that the common language is not German). There is an issue with standards and setting of common ground, which has always existed to some degree between army and navy. No, the issue goes beyond soft skills, the diversity of the armed forces has hardware considerations as well, beyond the hardware (or lack thereof) we see that infrastructure is also a page never properly tackled within the armed forces in any one nation, so overhauling that will be costly on several fronts, which does not merely undo the cutbacks, it forces these defence structures to switch the ways the setting were, making the changes even more expensive. This means that we get a fake growth of economy from some providers, whilst removing provisions from exiting providers, skewing economy numbers and national costs even further, which would force nations in deeper debt. It is totally opposite of what nations should be achieving. So as we see the news from the express (at http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/840804/Brexit-news-ex-Macron-defence-advisor-EU-army-Britain), with the first mention of “‘Now the Brits are gone’ Ex-Macron defence advisor predicts Brexit to pave way for EU ARMY“, which makes Francois Heisbourg nothing short of a raving ‘loon’ in my personal view, the next quote gives us “The EDA, which is a tiny agency headquartered in Brussels, is headed up by EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and is tasked with fostering military cooperation within the bloc. It has a minuscule budget of just £28 million, which has been frozen at that level as a result of British opposition to any expansion of its operations which could lead to the creation of a euro force“, the sheer idiocy here with ‘minuscule budget‘ is at the core. So how long until (with the removal of the UK) that number would be forced towards £28 billion? The need to rise this a thousand fold, and that is merely the overhaul of European defence logistics and initial alignment of communication hardware, software, encryption and skill sets. Oh and that gives us almost immediately the need for billions more and the alignment and shortage of skills would make these defence players the direct target of cyber criminals from the ‘playful education‘ (read teenagers), the ‘academic probing‘ (read Tech-Uni students) and ‘technological entrepreneurs‘ (read organised crime). The option of keeping data and Intel safe at that point could go straight out of the window. You see, there are a few levels of issues and I reckon the moment this starts happening is about the same time when we can download and admire the new ELF encryption system which is (are rumoured) some kind of block chain encryption method (connected to the new Barracuda submarine). It is a clever way to use SmartTags as the setting for the message; making it pretty much uncrackable as well as almost uninterceptable. Because no matter how you slice it, the present settings on defence communication makes it only interesting to try and hack all of it by some governments with the funds to afford such an approach (Russia, USA, China, UK, France and India), when these European players start uniting their solutions, the entire playground becomes a much more appealing field for a lot more players and this is not about merely the intel, when the interception starts, they would start to get access of third party players and where jobs are awarded. Other players would be aware of the decision of billion dollar jobs almost before the market had a clue and that is where speculators would gain a larger advantage, the sale of that knowledge will be rewarded with high bonuses. It is an entrepreneurial heaven for those with a lower setting to the ethical button.

The weird part is that people like Francois Heisbourg should be aware of that as he is also the chairman of the foundation council of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. This now implies that he is very aware of the need for stability and security, two elements that would actually diminish to some degree. Keeping that up beyond a certain level would require a lot more than £28 billion. Consider the smaller European players, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Estonia and Latvia. They would be required to adhere to stringent communication rules and equipment, and that is only the communication part. When we go towards supply and the need to adhere to some European standard, the reshuffle becomes truly a nightmare. So as we are ‘lulled to sleep‘ with the fact that I am (according to some sources) overreacting, we will see politicians making new speeches (read: rewriting prognosis of requirement) around 2022-2024, stating that to grow the efficiency of European defence, new changes must be introduced and that is where the list will become a lot larger than I am showing you now. I am merely showing the small places that have had their settled way of dealing with their defence. When the list becomes complete a few players will rake in the billions, billions none of the governments have and none of these governments have certain levels of skills at present. At present they have nothing (read: very little) to fear as they are just a small fish in the data world, when the national defences align they all become a target for data acquisition, far beyond they have ever been before. It will be a game changer on several levels and at present no one has the ability to counter what attacks them. You only need to look at the Sony, who again merely a week ago got hacked again. A company where digital security is their essential bread and butter, we see: “On Sunday evening, hackers claimed to have breached PSN and stolen database information. The group, named “OurMine,” was able to overtake Sony’s official PlayStation-branded Twitter accounts to announce the alleged hack“, so in how much danger will less enabled players be? The entire system of ‘open to a certain degree‘ engineering is the spinal cord of cyber dangers, it becomes a spinal tap of information and there would be a decreasing chance of stopping it, with additional chances of merely endangering its own systems, making the concept of a ‘Spinal Tap Hack‘ a lot more realistic in describing the danger it represents.

There is one upside, when it all collapses, these governments might make a deal with Alphabet to arrange for Google Cyber Security on all European nations (speculative sense of humour in action). So not only could we all have the same security, it might for once, for a short time all remain secure. Did I oversimplify the problem here?

Consider that part. What data has been secure so far and why was it secure?

Now consider what supplies have ever been safe? When we consider that in Portugal merely two months ago we see “Defence officials in Portugal say they are compiling a list of weapons and ammunition stolen from the national armoury in a brazen daytime raid“, so consider that Portugal has its own procedures, which implies to some degree that the perpetrators would have gotten some inside information, now consider that the EU nations will comply with certain procedures. How long until this stops being an isolated case and becomes a little more common place? You see, when we see “Defense Minister Azeredo Lopes described the robbery Wednesday at Tancos Air Base, 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Lisbon, as a “very professional” job and a “serious” breach of security“, so when we consider the truth of it (and I accept it to be true), what information would these professionals have been given? There needed to have been some leak, because you usually cannot just enter an airbase and go snooping until you get lucky. The issue would escalate when certain security procedures become harder as there will be more compliance to certain standards. Of course there is still security, but as intelligence on certain matters become more ‘readily’ available, security becomes much harder and more essential, so any hole in any ‘fence’ would result in loss of goods. Now, when it is cabbages no one cares too much, yet when it becomes stingers, grenades, ammunition and weapons, will people stay indifferent?

There are the two largest issues and the fact that the ‘blasé‘ response from Francois Heisbourg with ‘Now the Brits are gone‘ is largely beyond short-sighted. A politician with Euro signs instead of pupils is the most dangerous greed driven threat to security that any nation could face. I hope that the EU-army players in this upcoming game wake up before it is too late and too much is spend on something that is as I personally see as largely counterproductive for any nations defence. That is merely my personal view and the current situation makes me regard the European Union as a collective of Egotistic Uselessness.

 

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As we know it

The universe has changed, it changed some time ago, yet the powers that be, be it in business, administration (read: government) or retail where all for the most are in denial. They deceive themselves through stories. One uses Tableaux to use the data to present the picture, a picture often based on incomplete or overly weighted data. The next one relies on dashboards like SAP to use spreadsheets to bedazzle the people with slice and dice numbers, looking pretty as a pie chart, yet not giving us the goods, because nowadays, these companies hire people who can sell a story, not drill deep on the results. The story is whatever the paying customer is willing to hear. They are all adopting the political need that has been in play for many years: ‘If the data does not match, change the question‘. That is the first part in a sliding scale of representation, and those representing the stories are running out of options (read: point fingers) to turn to.

The first part is seen in ‘At the time of year when queues usually form for popcorn and the money pours in, box office revenues are plunging. Where are the blockbusters?‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/aug/26/even-superheroes-may-not-save-hollywood-desperate-summer), here we see: “The true scale of the potential problem facing the industry can be seen in the precipitous drop in movie attendance this summer, down 52% year-on-year to 385 million at the time of writing. It is the lowest level of attendance since the summer of 1992“, in addition we get “Hollywood is stuck in a rut and it needs a safety net – superhero flicks fit that bill right now“. Two statements that might be the bill of the story, but in reality, the people are adhering to mismatched data and not properly investigated results as I see it. You see, the data is evident and it is out there, the games industry is taking 100 billion plus a year now and some of the other elements of gaming are taking a slice of that. In addition, providers like Netflix are now in much better control of their audiences that is mainly because they figured out what was wrong in the first place. You see, the gaming part is the first part of the evidence. People are now spending it on something else and they are no longer relying on the box office as Netflix gives then options. the second part is seen in the Business Insider (at http://www.businessinsider.com/us-cities-where-cost-of-living-is-rising-the-fastest-2017-6) where we see that on number 10 (New Orleans) the cost of living went up by 18%, on number one we see Nashville with a cost of living raise of nearly 30%, as we have not seen any actual economy increase from the United States, or better stated, the working people of the United States have seen almost no increase in wages and quality of life, those representing certain numbers decided to just ignore issues and evidence. Now, that top 10 list is a little skewed too, yet when we realise that for 3% of Americans their cost of living went up by 18% or more, how worried do we need to be with certain represented numbers? So consider that Los Angeles was part of that top 10, yet New York is not, there we get ‘Cost of living index in New York is 21.37% higher than in Los Angeles‘, which with close to 9 million is 2% of the US population, so now we see that the hardship and quality of life is hitting 5% of the American population and the numbers do still go up, so when we see “drop in movie attendance this summer” how can anyone be surprised? In addition, we should also realise that this gives rise to the fact that apart from people not going to the cinema, many are now spending it on something else and a $20 spend on 90 minutes is not considered when $55 gets them hours, sometimes hundreds of hours of gameplay. We are all getting more and more weary on the bang for our buck and the cinema can no longer deliver that value. No one denies that movies are just better on the big screen, but for many it is a trip only affordable a few times a year so the people are getting really picky on what they see on the big screen. Richard Cooper gives us part of the news, but also ‘forgets‘ to give the full picture. With “It is mid-budget films and their fans that have tended to suffer“, here he only gives us part of the story. As the Hollywood engine of greed and reselling remains on a steady course, we see the need for maximising results and as such the movie makers are closing the gap between cinema and digital release. Why spend on the cinema whilst within 26 weeks the movie will be out on Blu-ray? Basically it is the same price, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is an excellent example in this case. People are becoming stingy because they have no other options. All the messages of a fake economy and how good it is might look nice on the news, but for the most, people in the US cannot afford any extras. Many in the USA need to work double jobs just to get by. The US census gives us that in 2015 13.5% of Americans were in poverty, I feel certain that this number has gone up in 2017, some sources give us that this has gone up to 14.5%, so one in seven is in poverty. Do you think that these people will be watching movies on the big screen? So the Hollywood moment of desperation is not to be resolved, not until the quality of life and cost of living for Americans is set to a much better status. Those who can might try to leech of the neighbour’s Netflix, those who cannot need to find affordable entertainment, if they get any at all.

In the second we see that this economy is also bolstering a new level of exploitation. Even as we all ignore certain elements, Uber has changed the game, with ‘Inside the gig economy: the ‘vulnerable human underbelly’ of UK’s labour market‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/aug/24/inside-gig-economy-vulnerable-human-underbelly-of-uk-labour-market) we see a new level where the people are sold a cheap story (read: Uber story) and as they are hiding behind what people should investigate, we see that desperation is exploited in other levels. It is not merely an American issue; it is becoming a global issue. With “Each passenger’s destination, however, will remain a mystery until they have been collected. And regardless of the considerable costs they might incur to fulfill that journey, the driver will have no say in the fare. Uber both sets the fare, then takes a hefty rate of commission from it“, we are shown that there is a dangerous precedent. As we see online needs explodes as people need cheaper solutions, Uber will weigh in on maximising its profit. As I see it: ‘the drivers having no other options to work to near death for scraps’. With “The driver knows that failure to accept these terms will result in an immediate loss of work: they will be blocked for a set period of time from accessing Uber’s online system that provides work” we see new levels of legalising slave labour. The ‘do it or else‘ approach is now strangling the freedom of people to death. We see evidence of my statements with “The companies themselves tend to talk about the freedom, independence, and flexibility with which self-employment is usually associated. But many of the couriers and drivers we have spoken with over the past year have had an alternative model of self-employment, and with it much financial insecurity, enforced upon them“, and the law is not offering any solution, not in the UK and not in the USA, being an entrepreneur tends to have long lasting benefits at times. They all voluntarily went into the contract and they can all walk away and starve. It is not an option for those with families to support and feed. Part of this crux is seen in “we have noted how companies are able to use the guise of self-employment to dump a whole series of obligations and liabilities onto their workforce, while depriving them of protections enjoyed by the rest of working Britain“, to be the entrepreneur comes with hidden dangers, especially when you work for other entrepreneurs. The age of exploitation is upon us and as we know it, we can no longer afford to go to the cinema, a side Mark Sweney seems to have ignored. Yes, he does give us the Netflix element and there was no way to avoid it. He does go in the wrong direction with “For film fans, theatres still have an allure for the launch of big movies, but in the new world, where all media is competing for eyeballs and time in the “leisure economy”, the Netflix threat is rising“, he is not incorrect, yet he is incomplete. He forgets that Netflix is all many can afford (and a fair amount cannot even afford that). So why go to the cinema for the next sequel? Box Office Mojo gives us part of the goods, in 2017 only 2 movies broke the 1 billion mark, Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson (I personally do not think she was a beast in that movie) and the Fate of the Furious, which makes sense as Vin Diesel is stark raving nuts on most given days (in the fast and furious series) and who doesn’t enjoy a chase movie whilst we know that the driver is Looney Tunes. A movie with a good grasp on the desired quality of life time! So if we accept that the bulk of the Americans had to choose two movies these would be it. Yet, that number is not correct. You see Vin Diesel is attracting an audience, but 81% is not domestic, in the case of Miss Watson it is a 60% non-domestic audience. If we focus on the American market the Beauty and the beast was best, but only good for half a billion, if we focus on the domestic market, it is merely the Force Awakens that brings the goods for Americans. It makes sense with the following it has, but it is also deeply sad that decent movies are no longer bringing in the bacon. We cannot merely be blaming Netflix on this, we can surmise that the people can no longer afford the large screens in America, it is the most likely scenario, when we consider that only 3 movies got the domestic top 100 of gross revenue in 2017 and 11 in 2016, we cannot disagree with the view we get offered, but in retrospect, there is enough evidence that the US job market was worse last year. So with still 3 upcoming box office smashes, the big screen performance remains down, to what extent is harder to state, because there is enough indications that there is a lack of quality numbers, which makes my predictions not wrong, merely speculations and I accept that, yet the makers of the article and the presenters of the story of ‘Even superheroes may not be able to save Hollywood’s desperate summer‘ know that they were blaming the DC and Marvel Universe for not saving an economy that does not presently exist. The economy only exists on the Dow Jones index and that one is skewed towards the 1% of Americans that can afford a large apartment in New York and other places. What a shame that reality requires the 99% of Americans they give no consideration to. Yet it could be worse and there is every chance of that happening. As we see Mario Draghi and Janet Yellen warn against regulatory cuts, as we see “European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said protectionist policies pose a “serious risk” for growth in the global economy“, we could deduce that Draghi is soon depending on exploitation tactics to grow the economy, not only has his Quantative Easing failed, he will soon depend on legalised slave labour to get the economy the boost no one wants in such a manner. So as Draghi states: “To foster a dynamic global economy we need to resist protectionist urges“, which will not just end the filling of any quality of life if it was up to certain Uber approaches, it is also signaling the end of places like Hollywood, because they only get to exist when people can afford to go to the cinema, an display of ‘ingoranus totalicus‘ shown by these same people as they bolster the story that ignores the needs and plight of those in the lover 60% of the total income bracket in most of the modern western world.

We will see in the next 18 months what remains of the values we considered in the past. Life as we know it will change, that has always been the consideration of an evolving natural life. We merely forgot that those in charge are not in favour of change unless they could directly profit by it. I wonder if the people in Hollywood realise that part of the equation.

 

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Questioning Attainment

There has been a little devil in my mind. The simple reason is that in the past, Samsung had hurt me, hurt me bad and I never got over that, so whenever I get a chance to smack them around a little, I tend to take it. So first we have the Terrorist edition of the Samsung phone (aka Galaxy Note 7), and now (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/aug/24/Samsung-tv-buyers-furious-after-software-update-leaves-sets-unusable), we see (as I personally see it), a company that has outgrown its merits, outgrown the shear setting of quality and pushes out as fast as they can, whatever they can. With ‘Samsung TV owners furious after software update leaves sets unusable‘ we see the direct interaction of engineers and software engineers and forget about quality assessment and correctly testing implementations. Samsung is now approaching its ‘use by‘ date like a bad carton of milk. When we see “The Company has told customers it is working to fix the problem but so far, seven days on, nothing has been forthcoming. The problem appears to affect the latest models as owners of older Samsung TVs are not reporting the issue“, we see that the entire issue could have been resolved with the ‘rollback‘ solution. A solution that came into existence in the 80’s, so 30 years onward we see that a company so utterly set to the bottom line and profits that mere safety valves are now no longer considered, or considered and cast aside. What a lovely world we live in. The more important issue is not the TV, but the fact that corporations are almost extremist focused on replicating what the wrong people regard as ‘good idea’s’. So now we are not merely looking at the issue with the television, but the issue we see when the chances are there that a similar error will happen to the new Galaxy range of series 8. So when that happens and your apps will not work for the mere reason of not ‘having the correct licensing agreements in place’, what will you do then? When it hits your $3000 television and an optional $2000 mobile phone? That is $5000 is goods not functioning because the QA team was either asleep, or upper management at Samsung decided that certain steps were not necessary. So how do you feel about spending thousands on such items?

Even as we see the article give us “Samsung is aware of a small number of TVs in the UK (fewer than 200) affected by a firmware update to 2017 MU Series TVs on 17 August. Once this issue was identified the update was switched off and we are now working with each customer to resolve the issue. Any customers affected are encouraged to get in touch with Samsung directly by calling 0330 726 7864“, what it does not state is that the ‘rollback‘ functionality would have resolved it in minutes. In addition, the fact that less than 200 complained, does not mean that it merely affects less than 200. It also calls into question that televisions, now set with ‘licensing’ agreement imply that televisions and providers are making deals behind the curtains and the consumer is not made aware of them, which now implies that the functionality of the television is now skewed and limited to what the makers behind the screens decide they are. Did you sign up for that? How long until they make a deal with console owners? Any excuse that they give on how this is not done is moot and possibly intentionally misrepresented as per their own statement “without having the correct licensing agreements in place“, so how exactly is the licensing agreement cause for “their new TVs would not access the BBC iPlayer“, or in these cases morning TV? Perhaps Samsung is dealing in antonyms? Smart TV, Dumb vision! #JustSaying

So in all this, when we see “buyer to discover that the Korean firm sells TVs that do not have the relevant BBC licence to allow them to operate iPlayer, or other popular apps“, we must be equally aware that it is not just Samsung. It seems like the makers of the BBC iPlayer also have explanations to give to the consumers. And actually (at https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/help/tvlicence) they do. Yet how is this covered? How can we see with “It is a criminal offence to watch live TV on any channel or BBC programmes on iPlayer without a TV Licence. It’s also a criminal offence to possess or control a device which you know or reasonably believe will be used to watch live TV on any channel or BBC programmes on iPlayer without a TV Licence“, so how would that apply outside of the UK? Basically it is not their turf, so as we see the catch here, we need to see that the TV makers and exploiters are trying to hide to some degree in the fog of misrepresented litigation. So in the end it is all about the money and the Television makers are not informing their consumers. You see, when we consider that the BBC is actually informing the people, how many looked (at https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/nov/19/missing-iplayer-Samsung-smart-tv-licence-issue) and with ‘The televisions are supposed to offer access to the BBC’s and other channels’ catch-up services, but a licence issue is turning many customers off’, whilst not informing the readers on the given? When we see: “Unfortunately, Samsung was late in submitting the request for this device to be certified for BBC iPlayer. We work closely with all manufacturers to ensure BBC iPlayer is on as many of their devices as possible“, whilst not informing the readers regarding the entire TV Licensing part. Now, we can slash at Samsung for being late (which is also great fun to do), yet the issue is not merely the move of the not so smart TV, it is about setting the stage of apps in the long run. It seems that both makers of apps and makers of TV’s are facilitating each other, whilst at the same time leaving the consumer in the middle and often in the dark. Which in the finality of the article leaves the retailer in some lurch as neither side of the app and TV hardware provider is submitting (read: allegedly) the needed information to the retailer. So it seems that the Consumer has no real options, no one to blame and no recourse until it is settled. This issue will explode a lot more in 2019 when 5G comes on the market. If you think that licensing is an issue now, wait to see what death-traps we get when home automation comes into play. The market is not ready as Samsung clearly shows and it will disregard all levels of safety valves to merely sell what they can and to do the optional fixing afterwards, which is not what a consumer signs up for and there is the crux of the matter. The two larger issues shown at present shows that Samsung is not ready and it is very likely that they are not the only one. There are additional concerns with Microsoft at present, but not in the case of this article, so I will revisit this issue soon enough.

You see, there are a few issues with Samsung, when we consider the two elements. The BBC player and the TV licensing, how is it enforced and what data could Samsung capture for the assessment that the owner of the TV has a license? We are skating close to too much privacy driven data here and even as I do not claim to know what it is at present, there is nothing stopping the elements in all this (Samsung, BBC and App creator) to start capturing data (for legal compliance reasons) and start their own created databases of privacy driven data. There is no way to avoid that. Consider a console that has a Product license agreement and a Terms of Service, like Sony has. Now we can set that these two documents are linked to the PSN account and that makes perfect sense. So how will this impact Samsung users? This in light of whatever mobile agreement they have in place as well as their TV agreement and other devices? How is it captured and how is the enforcement on either side?

If we consider these elements in support of the consumer who owns the bought television, as well as the maker of the device Samsung for not providing the proper required consumer support? So as we see that the owners of the television which got them the ‘firmware update to 2017 MU Series TVs‘ and the fact that they got no TV to watch for over a week, what do you think will happen when this happens to the first firmware updated to all Galaxy series 8? What happens to Samsung when this issue hits a million plus mobile users? A solution that is three decades old could have prevented such hardship and a television will have plenty of space for a 16GB rollback memory chip, a mobile phone tends to not have that space, so what dangers are the upcoming Samsung consumers placed in?

The attainment we see is the one that could have been secure and Samsung dropped the ball (again) to its consumers. It seems to me that the issue goes beyond Samsung, so we should be seeing a lot more questions handed out to makers of Smart TV’s and how the consumers are protected from such enormous fiasco’s and in addition, when it comes to address the damages that the consumers were set with, how will the courts place the rights of the consumers? Because this issue is a class action in the making, which tends to set everything back for years. It seems that we are missing elements in what should not even be there in the first place.

Issues that could have been prevented in both the design and testing phase of the equation, a failure most visible with Samsung at present as they have become a team that struck out twice, or in my case thrice. We need to ask Samsung, when the consumer will come first, not their accountant and not their CEO, but their customer. I wonder if they will end up having a clear answer, especially as the heir of the Samsung Empire, Lee Jae-yong will be in prison for the next 5 years for bribery and embezzlement. So will this open up the Samsung market to other players? No matter how impressive the Galaxy Note 8 presentation was, it seems that without customer care and proper testing spending a large 4 figure number on a phone and possibly a 2 year chain to a telecom provider, how are we set at ease regarding the need for quality hardware? It seems that Samsung does not have the answer as it can’t even provide a decent functioning Boob Tube.

Such is life, unwarranted attainment tends to not be worth the value of a 10 letter word, you merely have to consider what will be worth your trust and your money, because most of us do not get to spend $1400 twice, more often we don’t even get to spend it once, implying that Samsung is in a lot more problems than most realise and they are likely not alone in this.

 

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Merely a year ago

I just looked at an article that made me a little uneasy. You see, I was contemplating a few days ago, as Facebook reminded me that ‘No Man’s Sky‘ was released a year ago. I had shared a photo, that’s how I got remembered. So much has happened in that year. I still love the game; I do not play it that often, mainly because the makers introduced a few ‘deadly irritating‘ glitches and screw ups in the game. For the most I have been highly protective of the game and the makers. The game remains awesome and I still believe that they are sitting on multimillion IP value here. Like all others, I saw the initial E3 trailer, I was seeking like most on what the game had to offer and that is when the legendary night with Stephen Colbert came. Most of us were hooked instantly. From that moment on, and from the moment that IGN had the No Man’s Sky month, I took a step back. You see, SEO’s started to ride the NMS-Express. More and more outlandish claims got on the internet and scores of gullible gamers just took it at face value. Even the Catholic Church sites used NMS to propel their websites. But months after that, the truth came out; we got to see the ACTUAL game. There were two that stood out on YouTube. I think it was Johnny and Ian who made them, I think that Johnny gave us the play through whilst showing he was pretty bad at playing this game from the moment he started playing it. Now, I am willing to accept that playing and live commenting is not the best way to get any hold of a new game, which is fair; the other amazing thing they did was starting the game 50 times, and turning that into a video showing us the massive difference worlds could have. This was the trailer NMS should have made, but OK. In the end, it does not matter.

Now we get to the issues. The amount of people who brought back the game was a little out there. I heard mountains of complaints. I had none. You see, these people walked on a hype, not knowing what they were buying and even Sony was ‘pro consumer‘ whilst most of the people did this to themselves. They all (read: most people) believed the hyping media whilst there were too many mentions from Sean Murray that were distorted. Now, the game has a few small bugs, so did Assassins Creed Unity, the difference? The patch from NMS was 65Mb; the one from Unity was 12GB. The difference between a glitch and a mismanaged game! NMS was not mismanaged. Now, the makers of NMS are not without some due scolding, and I will get to them in a moment.

Now, we get to the article. The first issue I have is the one with their comparison. My addiction to the other game goes back to 1984. With “not to mention dozens of minor tweaks that bring No Man’s Sky closer in line with a space simulator like Elite: Dangerous“, these are worlds apart. Making any comparison is like stating that Apples and Kiwis are the same because they are both fruit. I love both (Elite a lot more than NMS after 32 years), I would state that NMS is the artsy approach to the universe, where Elite: Dangerous is the scientific view. In Elite trading is serious business and even as you can live by simple rules, getting the big bucks requires cunning insights and a willingness to be dealing in banned substances and goods. All this whilst a few billion planets have an economy based on what they are and as such what is rare on their planet and what is in abundance, a game with a market with dozens of goods and commodities. In Elite you need to learn how to dock, in NMS you merely press rectangle. They allow both to exist in the gaming universe; I feel that you can appreciate both. With “Progress is still slow and inventory management is still a complete slog, lessened somewhat by a couple of tweaks that allow for quicker recharging of weapons and tools, but still cumbersome and annoying” Sam White does touch on a truth, yet as the game progresses and the multi tool evolves, you get loads more done. As your ship gets bigger you get to haul a lot more. More important, as you evolve your suit you get to do things for much longer able to find loads more.

Now it is time for me to scold Sean Murray a little. He added to the game, with bases as all, yet he also flawed in a few ways too. This is best seen in the ‘hard-core’ and ‘permadeath’ parts. Sean, you nice guy you, you need to realise that the ship you just fixed, ordering annoyingly to fly into space is getting them killed instantly. Did you realise that? An empty ship should not be interesting to pirates and in hard-core, your first fixed ship, getting that person killed because a wave of 4 pirates can never be beaten by any ship just repaired. Did you not consider that? Setting a freedom from pirates until after the second jump would have been better. Getting them to deal with one ship instead of 2 waves of 4 is no way to appreciate the game. I can go on a little longer, but you get the idea Sean!

Yet in the original game (normal mode), where I have the punching power of a titan, all looks good. Most improvements are indeed that improvement. Yet the one part still a little off is the fact that a planer will for the most 2 of the minerals we need (apart from the red, the yellow and the green minerals). The fact that most planets need a lot more minerals (optionally not all near one another) is one that I never encountered, even by the long terms exploring on foot I did. The issues I mention might be small but they matter on the immediate players, who are actually missing out because you made the improvements for the people who have been there for a long time. Get one of them to go into permadeath mode, starting again and hear them scream in agony. Now, we all had that the first time and it forced us to be clever about things and that is a really good thing. Yet after hours, finding your ship, fixing it and then getting blown up one minute after take-off is a little too insulting.

The one thing me and Sam White will not see eye to eye on is “No Man’s Sky will likely never outrun the inevitable monotony that comes with procedural generation“. I saw this game as seeing what amazement the environment could behold. I accept that watching life evolved pineapples was a stretch, but still places that were fun to watch. There is a partial part that this game has levels of repetition if you are chasing to the centre of the galaxy, yet with ‘the inevitable monotony I tend to not agree. I accept that there is a truth in it, but the makers could evolve and add to the initial versions, oh and the fact that you need to play a minimum of 8 hours for one achievement, whilst the entire Tombraider game can be done in under 12 hours gives options to ponder what is actually inevitable. The monotony part does apply when you are merely chasing to the centre of the galaxy and getting your achievements (which for the larger extent is not that hard), yet when you see it what it hides, the arts and the views that so many combinations bring, we need to accept that the game it is not about the ‘prescribed monotony’ but the ignored art of getting the place to look the way it does when it runs. As monotony goes, take a look at Minecraft, monotonous or not it remains close to the most addictive game ever made. Still, NMS has options to evolve towards more options, more gameplay and more challenges. So even as I cannot deny that there is a level of monotony, the way it is stapled to the game is one I do not agree with. This was never going to be some fast game arcade game, which is pretty awesome, because Elite is not like that in more than equal ways, yet now both moving towards options and growth is what they both deliver, whilst no other game has been able to provide for is ignored. With Elite giving us now options in engineers and planetary landings, an option that the game never before offered. In the end, I still believe that No Mans Sky is still an awesome achievement. At times I see it as some version of Minecraft with actual awesome graphics. With the base building I can settle in one place and explore, yet the reality is that to grow I need to mine and acquire minerals, the fact that some are at times spread over planets is a little too unrealistic, but that is what the game gives us.

Still, as I see it, by many media No Man’s Sky is one of the worst clear covered games I have seen in a long time. From my personal view the game was too often reviewed in weird incomprehensible ways. In this Metro is one source that should be looked at. With: “The simplest description for No Man’s Sky is a space trader, in the style of the original Elite, with elements of survival games such as Rust or Don’t Starve. You start the game after crash-landing your spaceship, with no clue as to who (or what) you are and how you got there” (at http://metro.co.uk/2016/08/12/no-mans-sky-review-where-no-one-has-gone-before-6063429/). Is it a trading game? I do not think so! It has trade options, it has exploration options. They are true with ‘You start the game after crash-landing your spaceship, with no clue as to who (or what) you are and how you got there’ which can be seen as a blessing or a curse. You do get clear jobs to do, like fix your ship, find certain minerals, but yes, that part is fair. Yet, the issue that many of the media had was seen with “You’re then immediately given the choice to either explore the universe at random or to follow a story path at the behest of a mysterious alien intelligence named Atlas“. The fact that the reviews do not give the amazing differences per world is a little mystifying, the fact that life forms can be so outrageously different and that some see YOU as food is equally an issue, especially when you are out in the open and you are dinner. The upgrades brought good things and a few lesser items, yet overall NMS is still an excellent game for those who appreciate. It is very different from Elite: Dangerous and that is awesome, because that has a serious trading side and the exploring part is largely different and very little artsy in Elite: Dangerous. If it comes to fighting NMS compares to Elite like Need for Speed does to Gran Turismo. If you are a serious race freak, Need for Speed is not the game, merely a warm up entertainment and that is fair, it is not what NMS proclaimed to be, merely an option that it had (one that needs tweaking mind you).

The gaming world needs both games because science without art is tedious; merely art is at times aimless. It is how you personally see it and that is great about both games. These two games are not what they tell you to be, they allow you to let the games grow to what you would like it to be, which is ultimately extremely rare in the world of Gaming. The fact that Hero Games still rolls out parts in this game is also awesome and shows commitment to a game that I refuse to see as a failure, merely a game that was largely misunderstood as I see it. Now, many gamers are not into these two games, just like they have no patience for games like Fallout or Elder Scrolls. That is fair enough! They hold life in their hands and they believe that a game like Forza or Fifa is the fulfilment of their gaming life and I believe that is fine too. Gaming is so personal, what you like, dislike or evade is all yours to decide and none of your reasons are invalid, it is merely what pleases you that matters and some will still decide on merely one title like Zelda, which is good too! Yet in the case of NMS, the largest blow was by the media to cover what they did not understand, that is the part I still find a bit offensive. In this The Guardian has not done this, Sam White has his own view and even as he do not agree with certain parts, he is not misinforming you, which must be pointed out as well. In this one element every player of the game should love is the part where we see “30 hours of new story content”, so a free addition, which amounts to 2.5 Tombraider games (valued ad $229), so as we see the push forward, getting No Man’s Sky is turning out to be one of the best buys for a long time.

If there is one mismanaged part on the media side, than it is the fact that the media at large basically did not understand the game, or is that comprehend the gameplay? To cut it short, the wrong people looked at the game and valued it wrongly, that is just what it is at times and there is no coming back from that. We could give the example that the media was saying that they ‘found inspiration in cooking their family and their dogs’, whilst it was about that they ‘found inspiration in cooking, their family, and their dogs’. It seems like a small difference but in one case (the wrong one) you’ll be eating alone for the larger part of your life.

It might be seen as a failing by Hello Games, which is not an unfair assessment to some degree, yet in that same light, something like NMS had never been made before, which is important because this game is unique, it will remain unique and I doubt if anyone can repeat something like this to the degree that had been achieved. This is merely my view and you need not agree with it, I am not trying to convert you, merely giving my view. So try the game, do not try the game, I merely hope that you remain true to gaming and embrace the games you actually love to play. The joy of gaming is pretty much that simple.

 

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Googling sanity

There are several issues in the world. There is a game of Chicken going on between North Korea and America and the bets are off on who will fire first, but the smart money is on North Korea forgetting sanity and firing a missile to some US destination. Qatar is in more difficulty than it is willing to admit to and with the latest news that a large chunk of the traditional money bringers towards Qatar have left the nation or cut its ties with them is a new game changer that will set the path to some resolution, but no one will predict how it will fall. When we consider the news options as Qatar has allowed a Taliban office for hosting peace talks might have been done with the consent (read: approval) of the US, but for some the Taliban is a sore in the eye of existence, of many people. I accept that talks are essential towards any progress, yet in the light of current affairs, was the timing great? I actually do not know and I do not proclaim to know. In all this, whilst there are more issues seen in Europe with contaminated eggs, yet for many it will not sit, hinder of be seen as relevant. No many are looking towards Google. An engineer published some manifesto (read memo) and mayhem & chaos seems to be the tidal waves of a place that was seen as the most internally open as I have ever seen any place could possible see. I have been in some of the buildings and I have marvelled at the food, the workspaces and the openness of it all. I miss it nearly every day. It is the one place that truly tries to foster creativity as I see it. If I had a dorm room there it would be the most desired place of learning on the planet. So, what gives?

For the most I stayed away from the issues, yet with the Washington Post now reporting “last-minute cancellation of its much-anticipated town hall meeting late Thursday because of concerns over employee safety“, it is like watching horror unfold and I hope that the Washington Post is wrong or better stated massively incorrect (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/google-employees-face-fear-uncertainty-in-aftermath-of-divisive-memo/2017/08/11/5edd7a00-7ee1-11e7-83c7-5bd5460f0d7e_story.html), yet this is not some Murdoch publication, the only paper on the planet more reliable than the Post is the Times in the UK. What is interesting to see is how divided the media is. Kate Conger at Gizmodo (at https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2017/08/exclusive-heres-the-full-10-page-anti-diversity-screed-circulating-internally-at-google/) gives the full 10 page memo. Gizmodo makes the reference we all heard. Yet what I found amazing was that the amount of media giving us “The post comes as Google battles a wage discrimination investigation by the US Department of Labour, which has found that Google routinely pays women less than men in comparable roles“, yet I have not seen any clear data proving this, the media gives us the quotes, yet not the evidence from any source. So, in that memo, when I read: “When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can’t have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem” we need to ask is he wrong? There is even more strength with “Considering that the overwhelming majority of the social sciences, media, and Google lean left, we should critically examine these prejudices“. We might at this point question whether it is up to him to comment, yet in all this, he is asking questions at this point, questions that are valid and questions that matter. The problem might be that the timing was off by a large chunk and was it up to him to make that announcement. Yet in equal measure we need to ask, can we, as individuals hinder the freedom of speech and the freedom of expressions, whilst in opposition, the memo was leaked to the world as a leaked Google memo, which in light of other events gives an unnatural weight to the events and the items discussed. The paper in itself becomes a source of weighted bias, at this very early point with much more to read.

Yet, then we get the brilliant part, which is also a first weakness.

 

Left Biases Right Biases
Compassion for the weak

Disparities are due to injustices

Humans are inherently cooperative

Change is good (unstable)

Open

Idealist

Respect for the strong/authority

Disparities are natural and just

Humans are inherently competitive

Change is dangerous (stable)

Closed

Pragmatic

 

 

There is no denying this, yet the balance of harmony is missing, as I have always seen Google to be and felt Google was is a place of creation, creation can only be optimised through harmony than in some measure we should consider that a union of both the levels of tolerance we offer when we are compassionate and optionally ethical levels as we abide to the authority of the set rules of conduct. We are driven to extremes at times (overly left or right), yet in that path we only inhibit forward momentum, as we embrace a balance, we see the dinghy we are on not tip over drowning the lot of us. I here embrace balance, not compromise! In that compromise might be seen as watering the result of what was to be achieved. When I look at the bias of ‘Humans are inherently competitive‘ (right sided) and ‘Humans are inherently cooperative‘ (left sided), I ask within me is it that simple? I am not debating the right or wrong, yet consider in the path of creation. A person starts something that could be the greatest sight of the next waves of technology. It starts with waves of enthusiasm as the creation comes, yet with the discipline of the tedious tasks, it will never be completed, and the project never becomes a reality. I created in my mind a sequel to Skyrim (called: Restoration) in mere hours. Apart from all connected legal parts, I can never complete, or actually create it, because I cannot code to the levels required. I can code (read: script) complete data manipulations and look into data as only a few on this planet can, I have been around since the early mainframes, So as I could do anything with the data they hold, I do not and never expect to have the skills to create the programs like Palantir Gotham, or Palantir Metropolis that hold the data. I do not believe that there are too many alive with such a container load of skills, hence companies makes teams of people, all having their own part in this, all having the solutions that together can get the project successfully concluded. In this balance is the only way that this works, and if it is valid for the ‘small’ players like Palantir, than it will be exceedingly essential for a behemoth like Google or Apple to keep levels of balance.

My first issue comes with ‘Possible non-bias causes of the gender gap in tech‘. You see when I see “I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership” I personally believe this setting to be wrong and incorrect. I heard a similar part in the legal environment. You see, one source (not the most reliable gave me that in 1970 10% of the first year law students were female. Now, a much better source also gives us “Women also were excluded from membership in the ABA until 1918 (Abel, 1989) and from the prestigious Association of the Bar of the City of New York until 1937 (Epstein, 1993). Consequently, they were kept from the networks through which lawyers gain contacts, referrals, and power“, so I am not trying to hide anything, yet that atmosphere had altered later on, the premise however is important to know. In addition we need to see “Women remained less than 5 percent of the enrolment at ABA-approved law schools until the 1970s (Abel, 1989). Both faculty and men students made the educational environment inhospitable to women“. This comes from ‘Women Entering the Legal Profession‘, you see that premise applies but is incorrect in IT as I see it. In 1979 when I entered the IT field, whenever I mentioned IT, close to 100% of the women (most men too) would response in negativity on IT as a profession, and on the subject video games that % only went up in negativity. You see in 1979-1983 IT was a nerd thing, nearly all women and many man steered clear. Now, I do not mind that they steered clear and it was always great to meet a woman in that field, especially when she had IT capabilities, yet until the early 90’s they were rare. When women became more commonplace in the early 90’s it was usually marketing or IT HR and then there were scores of them being handed the job because at times none of the man there wanted the job. So there was a huge imbalance in the workplace at that time, I did not see a clear levelling of IT knowledge to deeper part the mid 90’s, now this is what I personally witnessed. Yet in all this, the market place has (again as I personally saw it) not seen more decent levels of equilibrium until 10-15 years ago. So as I do not agree with the viewpoint given, I do see and understand that we will see ‘equal representation of women in tech and IT leadership‘ in the next 5 years, moreover, I expect that women in IT leadership will become dominant (read: surpassing the 50% mark) before 2025. The one clearly unacceptable part (without more evidence) is “Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance).This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high stress jobs“, you see for the most, stress is caused in IT as people are confronted and forced to work with less realistic time lines. People who have to work 16 hours a day to get a project completed. Now, if they slacked the first two weeks it is one thing, yet when we see so called projects like a AAA game with the expected ‘annual new game‘ whilst remaining a AAA game, how realistic is that? The fact that the people around the projects can clearly see that it was the pretence of a highly likely neurotic male marketeer and his CEO to start that sliding slope, how will that affect the workplace and the senior managers on the job, whilst their income is partially set to expectations that could not be met under the least humane conditions? How are we to move forward from that?

Now, with the thousands of projects that places like Google runs, there is no way to give judgement on how it is set, but the paper does not give us those goods, so there is an issue on a few levels, not merely with Google, but with the paper. The view of James Damore, the question becomes debatable, yet is it an invalid one? You see, I have another issue, which I will address shortly, yet the paper overall asks questions, it asks good questions, and even if we do not agree with his views to a certain degree, the questions do not become less, or are lessened by the one asking them. We can state that as he is not part of the higher Google hierarchy, he might have been and should have been enabled to ask the questions, but on an internal level. I would go to the extent that someone like Pichai Sundararajan or Larry Page received the confidential memo, and they ended up having a discussion with the writer for the longest part of a day, perhaps even more time. Because it is statistically near impossible that this is the view of merely one person. The nice thing about Google is that it is a technological environment of creation, that means that a lot of minds are in a level of cohesion, Google could not function without any level of cohesion, no matter how diverse they are (read: become).

In this, my larger issue is with ‘The Harm of Google’s biases‘, you see, bias is not a differential of negativity, it is a method of course adjusting, if the harmony is a rational we would have the technological need for logic, which according to Mr Spock on the NCC-1701 USS Enterprise is ‘fascinating and not illogical‘, yet this rational can at that point only be driven by some form of passion, passion for the math, passion for the art or passion for the engineering principles, without that Google Home, the Google Pixel XL, or the Google Tome (UK NHS solution 2018/2019) would never become a reality, they would remain on the planning board, no patents filed, no code written. As it is in nature, so it must be in natural environments, only balance will get us there. So as I see ‘Programs, mentoring, and classes only for people with a certain gender or race‘, I do not oppose the existence, but I wonder why they were created. Consider that A Boston Southie, an African American growing up not having access to internet languages and other options. What is to be gotten from enabling him/her? Consider that as Google has united technology and art in their products, can you even consider what is to be gained if such a program brought even one new age Pauline Hopkins or Waring Cuney to Google? If it is art that started the coming of Apple Inc. finding the person to replace that piece of fruit would be worth funding entire universities for. Yet the realisation is that an exceedingly small part of the population gets to go to University (or College) and art is within a person, these tertiary places might spark art to evolve, but it is less likely to create the power than grow it within that person. His next statement continues this. With ‘A high priority queue and special treatment for “diversity” candidates‘ we forget that these people have missed out on options for the longest time, they are at a disadvantage. Is it special treatment for ‘diversity’ or finding a solution for deaf and blind people to contribute? Even if it is not that black and white, getting the most complete view of all matters is what is at times essentials, so even as it sounds like an issue, putting all the diversity programs on one pyre seems disproportionate in other ways and as it burns we lose insight by the second. The other points require a lot more data than I have and as such I will pass them over, yet the afterword is a given reason to oppose. With “These practices are based on false assumptions generated by our biases and can actually increase race and gender tensions. We’re told by senior leadership that what we’re doing is both the morally and economically correct thing to do, but without evidence this is just veiled left ideology that can irreparably harm Google“. My issue here is that he might ask questions on issues of ‘morally and economically correct‘, yet I still see that as an internal thing and bringing that out into the open was not an issue of ‘freedom of speech‘, it is on certain matters of choice. You see the laundry gets done in the building (for more than one reason) and if there is a moral compass that is broken (if that was the case) than it needs to be addressed within the company, wherever it is, and until he has an economic degree and full knowledge on how billions are directed he started to be the person acting out of his league the moment he wrote those words on Google Docs (assumption of application use).

As I see it, we are not blind and it is up to some to others to see for us, sometimes even better if they are actually blind. So perhaps Google has other programs? If Google is all about showing us what there is to see, is it not equally important to have a group of people that can say ‘We hear something that does not belong‘, because the strobe that blinds us, often enough stops us in equal measure from hearing the issue. That is not some ‘word game’, at times, the corruption (read: actual damaged data) cannot be seen, it can be heard. Ask anyone who has been working in a server room; take a room with 15 racks, 15 servers and each server having 5 drives. Often enough you might not initially see the one that is an issue, but you will more often than not hear it, it will be the one that sounds different.

I have nothing against James Damore, I do not know him. I am not touching on his dismissal that is a Google issue. What I saw was a clever piece of paper and it is a piece of paper that matters, it has valid questions, yet I believe that James got hindered by his own vision, his view towards history, his view towards the scope of what he saw and the scope of what the firm he worked for is in size, scope and ability. Perhaps that is the one bias that works against Google. I loved that I literally has access to pretty much EVERYTHING in Google. It is more that you can comprehend unless you worked there; the amount of access is intoxicating. To see today what the world gets to see next year. At most time in any building hundreds are creating something in a scope where groups interact in technology and art. I have been in 3 buildings and I have seen photos from other places, whilst I am in the dark on how it is in at least 100 buildings. Could James see that scope or comprehend the issues that play? There is no doubt that there are issues at Google, the Post gave us that with “fears expressed by employees for their personal safety. Some of the town hall questions, as well as names of employees who criticized Damore’s memo, had been leaked to conservative websites and commentators, leading to apparent online harassment“, the fact that the media would push internal controversy to that extent is not realistic, so there are pressures, pressures that go way beyond the competition we saw in the Internship between the team and Max Minghella’s character (Graham Hawtrey). I personally wonder that as Google embraced diversity to the extent it did how has Google set the clocks on gaining balance and equilibrium of the mind and spirit? I have no idea and do not pretend to know. You see the games, the flippers, the bars, the exquisite kitchens are driving forces to push people forward, yet the issue of drive requires in equal measure a need for a stability factor, one that is not merely on top of people, but the stabiliser that can be grown within people. You see, in a world of consumer products and technology its importance is way higher than most realise. Consider being an athlete, a gamer, a barrister or a taxi driver. The morning you wake up not being able to stand your track, your console, your writ or your car. We can take a sickie, because we all have those moments, but what happens on day 2? The one elements we forgot about, we lived outside of the scope of balance and we waited for too long to straighten ourselves. That is what we get slugged with and with a driving place like Google or Apple for that matter, this balance is essential to survive the long haul, I wonder if that is what hit James? If so and he still was able to get that memo out after that, than Google might be best of to get him back into the fold, because whoever hires James might be well on the inside track of something else.

 

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ULE can kill any e-firm

Yes, there is an issue, yet is it a real one? The LA Times (at http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-snap-earns-20170810-htmlstory.html) gives us ‘Snap shares plummet after Los Angeles tech company misses expectations‘. Now, there has in my view always been an issue with “frustrated financial analysts and investors by adding new features for advertisers too slowly“. You see, there are two issues right there. In my personal view, I have always sided with the ‘premium‘ edition of pretty much any app when the price is right, to avoid advertisements and I will dump any app the moment that there is a replacement app offering such an option. So with ‘new features for advertisersI will instantly snap to another app at the drop of a hat, any hat. You only need to Google: ‘Snapchat’ to see the impact, anger and frustration the users offer (loudly). So when I see “Snap hasn’t delivered promising results in its first two earnings reports” I am not at all surprised. In my view what was a great idea was suddenly bombastic and radioactive. So when the option “and Snap [at 173 million daily active users] can’t add 8 to 10 million” it is not a surprise, it is not even a mystery. With the response “That is why the shares are down — and they should be!” from Laura Martin, managing director of equity research at Needham & Co, I merely have the thought that this lady does not comprehend user base needs and desires. In this for Snap to offer a +$5 option and not have any kind of pop up, ideas and advertisements, any of them disabled separately would have been a much better option. For the record, the app by Jack Underwood named ‘Today Calender Pro‘ at $5.99 took 8 minutes to contemplate. So as hatred of advertisement goes, I am surprised that the equity research firms are not more up to date as to the needs and desires of the users. In addition, we can argue all kinds of directions, yet when we consider the Wiki statement “the idea was to create a selfie app (application) which allowed users to share images that were explicitly short-lived and self-deleting“, in an age where trust of stored images is at an all-time low, there will be debates and there is more than one user with the thought ‘what if’. In addition, there is the consideration on the need (read: reasoning) to short term viewing and deletion of images to some degree. So as we see Snapchat as a possible opponent to Instagram, where would you put your money? Now that Instagram is linked to Facebook, we need to reconsider where we put our efforts as a user. We might want to go with: ‘there is an app need for everyone‘, yet when the novelty warez off (pun intended), we need to consider the users that go with ‘One size fits all‘, that is where the first issue of Snap now lies, as the people are reconsidering their place in photo sharing. Some people who go with short term deleted options are optionally not part of a social sharing media type. They will also need ‘their’ solution, there is no denying it, but overall that need will diminish faster soon enough. In addition there is the need for the user to be ‘entertained‘, which means other options, more options and diversity. In this Snap might be seen as too much of a niche.

Does that inhibit the drop in value?

Partially yes, but in this the response “surprised that Snap added only 7 million users during the second quarter” is actually a lot less surprising. As we now see places that are setting the stage for increasing ‘engagement’ (at https://thenextweb.com/contributors/2017/08/10/7-tips-increase-engagement-instagram/#.tnw_DmOvDLuY), we see the evolving side of Instagram, whilst Snap strays and is getting left behind. In this, 3 of those engagement ideas are actually right up the alley of Snapchat and as such the evolving need of Snap and their app needs to be reckoned with. In addition, the numbers in the LA Times article shows that there are other situations, in all the loss of expected gains, which is actually not the largest issue, it is the actual loss and that it is off by $76 million which is a much larger issue. So as I personally see it, the need to adhere to ‘new features for advertisers‘ dwarves to the need to ‘switch off advertisement features for users‘ If that opts the setting of $5 for a potential 150 million users getting to a ‘plus’ or ‘pro’ edition would be an awesome alternative, because every day that this is not considered implies that Snap Inc. Is giving the market to whoever is giving the users some Snapchat++ option. The market is there for the person stepping in and as far as the news goes, Snap is doing something, but not stepping in and as such is losing the market and whatever market share they had, in addition, the aggressive growth of Instagram does not help Snap that much either.

There is additional information in the LA Times, when we consider “Of the daily users Snap gained during the April-through-June period, 4 million came from North America, 2 million from Europe and the rest from elsewhere in the world. Snapchat had 148 million users this time last year“, It is when we start looking at Omnicore, is when we get some interesting results (at https://www.omnicoreagency.com/snapchat-statistics/), the two that caught my attention are ‘71% of Snapchat users are under 34 years old‘ and ‘Roughly 70% of Snapchat users are female‘ that is an impressive part, so when you toss away the advertisements, how can you cater to these two groups? The mere fact that you have 100 million users in either part is a lot more interesting; it is the market share worth enabling and growing upon. With ‘More than 25% of UK Smartphone users are on Snapchat, in Norway the number goes up to 50%‘ we see an even more interesting part. A part that could (if investigated properly), could see the need of the reference to the three engagement parts I hinted at earlier. So when you consider the options, is Snap even aware to the better part of their numbers of the needs of their users? That is seen even in more optional ways when you consider two of the fun facts given in this article, which was from January 2017. the first being ‘More than 400 million Snapchat stories are created per day‘ which means that there is a huge following and in equal measure more than one story a day per user is created. The second is ‘It would take you 10 years to view all the photos shared on Snapchat in the last hour‘, so there is a given one sided engagement, the question is can this be evolved to a much stronger engagement number that is two sided or more? The answer to that is basically a lot more appealing that the ‘optional’ requested growth of those 2 million users. It is the answer to making Snap the stellar grower Snap would like it to be. In all this the fact that close to 50% of the users is younger than 35 should be a clear path into engagement and facilitation. It is merely up to Snap to pick up the pieces and see where growth can be found, once they are there the ‘anticipation‘ of these analysts might get crushed in favour of Snap in more ways than one.

So where should Snap begin?

I always go with comprehension, know your user base and see what they need, no matter how that impacts other predictions or needs. If growth is the key need, than adhering to the users is the only way to exceed expectations of whoever seems to be wielding the stick of the analysts’ predictions. As I see it, they need to get there before Instagram and Snapchat++ give light to make Snapchat a mere memory, because there is no coming back from that, no matter how stellar the improvement becomes, for that places the User Level Expectations where it is not desired, with the other application that listened or offered the gimmick of the week.

 

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Automated Fraud Dangers

What a world we live in, not only is there the crime of fraud, there is now the option to automate it. Yes, the Guardian is giving us (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/aug/08/fake-news-full-fact-software-immune-system-journalism-soros-omidyar), the automation against ‘fake news’. It is the subtitle that gets the blackberry pie in this. With ‘Full Fact software backed by George Soros and Pierre Omidyar fact-checks statements in parliament and news media in real time‘ we see the start of a series of events, and I am honestly not sure where they are trying to take it at present. The bias is intentional, because we all have this feeling, when a billionaire (or plural) support something, it will put them in a better position. It could be seen as unfair bias, yet bias is in the human core, which in light of what the media does more and more not the worst position to place yourself in.

To get there, we need to take a few steps. With fraud we need to see where that is at. We get “wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain“, so let’s take a gander into The Fraud Act 2006. This gives us three options.

The first being that with fraud by false representation we can go hilariously with ‘I really have an 11 inch dick‘, or better stated, in section 2 paragraph 2 it is all about:

A representation is false if: (a)it is untrue or misleading, and (b)the person making it knows that it is, or might be, untrue or misleading.

This issue as seen in the first part as it could be measured and acted on by the rulering (pun, innuendo and Full Fact challenge intended), yet the statement ‘I am the greatest lover in the world‘ is that fraud, being delusional of conviction of a personal ability through (or enabled by) the deceit of your own ego, so how to prove such subjectivity, against fraud? Now the important part here, which is not covered in lust (or perhaps it is) is seen in paragraph 3 with

(3) “Representation” means any representation as to fact or law, including a representation as to the state of mind of (a) the person making the representation, or (b) any other person.

and the important part that matters in his case is paragraph 5 which gives us (5) For the purposes of this section a representation may be regarded as made if it (or anything implying it) is submitted in any form to any system or device designed to receive, convey or respond to communications (with or without human intervention)“, this puts tweets, social media and optionally this software solution in a similar weird new position.

Now this is part one and you can see where this is going, and there is no twist to this part of the tale, yet the other two are still important.

The second is fraud by failing to disclose information. Now in this case journalists get a free pass, because it is about the legal duty and that person is in breach of this section if he (or she)

(a)dishonestly fails to disclose to another person information which he is under a legal duty to disclose, and (b)intends, by failing to disclose the information

  • (i)to make a gain for himself or another, or
  • (ii)to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.

so this tends to be professionally set to the makers of laws, accountants, those people with red or purple robes and wigs, you know the types, in this case doctors, and not to forget certain contractors working for governments, in this the military and intelligence community cannot be convicted or prosecuted as they have other sets of rules, like national security, military law and in some cases maritime law could leave a person not in breach of this, yet they would have their own set of rules that still sets clearly their responsibilities.

And last we get fraud by abuse of position. I am merely mentioning this almost for the completeness of the fraud as it is in common law. Yet with

(1) A person is in breach of this section if he (or she), (a) occupies a position in which he is expected to safeguard, or not to act against, the financial interests of another person,(b) dishonestly abuses that position, and (c)intends, by means of the abuse of that position

  • (i)to make a gain for himself or another, or
  • (ii)to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.

(2) A person may be regarded as having abused his position even though his conduct consisted of an omission rather than an act.

Actually, now that I think of it, the makers of the software program once called the “bullshit detector” in an early version of the system by its creators, is now set to be a virtual truth vaccine. I am in two set mind here, on one side I love the idea and on the other side there are a few hitches that would make it fall over for possibly a lot longer than anyone could consider. You see, when I think of fake news, I do not think merely of the actual fact misusers. The joke that Channel Nine became in the evening as they got the first lead on a shooting (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjkQSREjxH0), the lady now nationally known as the ‘chick chick boom girl’, gave an eye witness report and the journo just ate it all up. A sexy looking girl giving the news all the ‘facts‘ as she was allowed to report this in the limelight offered. The reporter felt so good and six days later the Age gives us “Within 24 hours of the footage first airing on Channel Nine, T-shirts emblazoned with “chk chk boom“, the phrase which Ms Werbeloff used to describe the gunshot, were being sold on a US website. There were also drink bottles with the slogan and a rap-music remix of her video, and in addition, the fact that the news was bogus, fake, not real and pretty well made up“, we now have two issues, she is not merely guilty of fraud, she possibly impeded an investigation into a shooting.

This is more than a funny story, even as we can admit that one comment in the YouTube states that it is still funny and to some extent I agree, merely because the gullible reporter basically got played. We can set in equal measure giggle to the smallest extent as KVTU reported that the names of the MH370 crew members were Captain Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk and Bang Ding Ow. The fact that the newsreader and the editor did not ‘seemingly realise‘ that this was fake is a failure on an entirely different level and no software on the planet will protect us from stupid people (or gullible politicians for that matter). So that in the back of my mind within a minute of the article in the Guardian had me pondering this ‘software solution‘. Now, I do believe that the software could be used to flag thousands of messages almost instantly, yet the claim we get from “The early version of the software scans the subtitles of live news programmes, broadcasts of parliament, the Hansard parliamentary record, and articles published by newspapers. It tracks millions of words sentence by sentence until it identifies a claim that appears to match a fact-check already in its database” is dangerous on a few levels, yet as the makers interestingly and validly point out: “Babakar is keen to stress the limitations of the system so far and believes the tool should only be used by journalists in the first instance rather than the general public“, I like that part, they admit that the software is nowhere near ready even when it initially launches.

So where is my issue?

There are a few sides, with ‘claim that appears to match a fact-check already in its databasewe have to realise that the vetting process is a critical part in this, so how soon will we see clearances and cleared checks of miscommunications, the previous news cast from KVTU being a first example. This process would require internal political hands from whoever uses it and there is where the bias sets in. We might go biased and auto accept the facts from sources like the Washington Post, the Times, the Dutch NRC Handelsblad and the Swedish Dagens Nyheter, yet now we get the second part, we have all seen and under the best of conditions there is the danger of getting ‘lost in translation‘ (not the movie which was brilliant). So when we apply the lost in translation, we have the local versions (UK version of English) with the Sun giving us today: ‘1,200 killed by mental patients‘, so is this fake news? I would state so, but knowing the people behind the Sun, they will have some numbers that add up to 1200. Yet ‘today’ was October 2013, when it actually was ‘today’. So here we see the first application of lost in translation, the second side in that headline was seen when we go to the ‘actual’ news, were we see “It discovered 1,216 people were killed by patients with mental illness from 2001-2010 — an average of 122 deaths a year” (at https://www.thesun.co.uk/archives/news/1052064/1200-killed-by-mental-patients/), so is this still fake news? That same article gives us “The study — the first of its kind in the UK — found 45 per cent of those with severe psychiatric problems were victims of crime in the previous year“, now giving weight to anything the Sun states is one thing, accepting the good looks of the lady on page three is another, yet in the end, were these stated ‘facts’ lies? I have had loads of issues with tabloids for the longest of times. Still, when we now look at fraud, where ‘A representation is false ifit is untrue or misleading, and the person making it knows that it is, or might be, untrue or misleading.‘ The additional ‘a representation may be regarded as made if it is submitted in any form to any system or device designed to receive, convey or respond to communications (with or without human intervention)‘. Here is the initial ballgame, you see, it is not merely about fake news, it now becomes about the interpretation of language. In its most basic terms, a grammar system designed to comprehend innuendo. When we know that loads of Journalists are incapable of comprehending sarcasm under even the most optimal conditions and in addition, when I state that sarcasm that backfires is merely irony, they are likely to become even more confused. So the heavens might love the simple minded, but here it becomes an issue on a much larger scale.

The article gives us “The fledgling system is not without its problems; sometimes it flags up a fact-check that isn’t relevant, for example. The challenge for the programmers is to get the software to understand the fuzzy logic and idiom used so often in speech” This actually barely scratches the surface. You see, there are a few other parts, how would the Metro front page ‘Brexit begins‘ be seen? Officially, the letter was delivered, yet the overwhelming ‘news’ is that Brexit has not started yet, could flag this news article. The truth is the interpretation of what constitutes the start of Brexit is also the issue. It’s not like having sex (yes the example matters, so do read on), that is the act and point in time, it is what happens after. So when is the baby seen as alive? When the conception has happened? When the child is capable of being born alive? In Australia it is seen after 28 weeks of pregnancy. Yet in separate Australian states, in this case Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia, the terminal points for abortions are 16, 24 and 20 weeks, so there is an issue on a few levels. In cases there is the Crimes Act 1900 (sections 82-84), whilst the ACT had abortions repealed as a criminal offense from the Crimes (Abolition of Offence of Abortion) Act 2002. So, one moment in time that on a national level already has 4 different assessment dates on one national calendar. In that mess on one ‘simple’ issue, we see a mess that becomes even messier when theology gets in the way of the subject of conversation and that is more than just a reference to separation of church and state. This shows part of the problem, also for the us where federal law can be a real mess for the non-legal people and that also has implications for the ‘fake news’ vetting system. So how could any article on illegal abortion be weighed correctly, especially when a politically or religiously tainted tabloid becomes the provider of that news?

Now, if they pull it off would be quite a feat, yet when we go back to the initial fraud part, if the system flags an article as possible fake, what happens when the news agency in light of thousands of items a day scraps that one item? Would the non-reported article by the journalist be seen as a matter for an aggrieved status? That is part of the problem these makers face, because in some nations the torts law is pretty strong and if there is a case of ‘redress of damage‘ the roll of the dice would be well worth it. There would be a direct and instant case of insurance companies, especially in any editorial status to not warrant any level of insurance when such software is used. Not now, possibly even not ever, although the latter part would be highly speculative by me and I hope to some extent that I am wrong, because pulling it off, getting software to be this able would be quite the achievement and the essential requirement for any evolving AI. This is because intelligence artificial or not would be about the ability to weigh information and facts to the proper value of innuendo and ascertainment of paraphrased facts. Weighing information is a skill that is almost never done correctly on the present day internet. A nice example is to compare the search engines Bing and Google, when you seek ‘UK torts‘ the search engine Bing gave me as a 4th and several subsequent mentions ‘Tort law in Australia – Wikipedia‘ as well as a few other Australian references to Australian law. Was that what I had asked for? No, it was not (which is why Bing is my preferred source for not finding facts, yay Google).

All issues given that could be seen as fake news, or is that fake information, so when we see the flags, how long until the bias sets in? You see that is my largest issue with what could come, with bias I get what they want me to see, which I touched on in the very beginning, because automated or not, censoring is a dangerous principle under the most ideal situations. With software, no matter how good the intention we could see a dangerous curve towards what is automated assumed we wanted to see. You see, there are too many parts of the dimension of ‘fake news’. This has been the larger issue with media for a much longer time. In this, Mevan Babakar the project manager at Full Fact in London has his work cut out for him, I do not envy him, yet if this gets solved and if it works, the value of this software would be a lot larger than most people could realise, and it would be a technological software marvel to behold.

 

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