Category Archives: IT

A sucker is born every minute

It is a nice expression; it is one that those who live by the rules of ‘opportunity knocks‘ rely on. In slow times you need the occasional sucker to infuse the grounded capital with lose change and they are all for it. Then there is the expression of ‘there is a hustle Smurf nearby’, where the experienced player creates a new account to amass gear from inexperienced players and newbies.

It comes down to the status on how something is seen. Some Investopedia page passed in front of me this morning and woke me up instantly. It linked to Barron’s (at https://www.barrons.com/articles/microsoft-stock-videogame-streaming-cloud-xbox-xcloud-51560373000) where we see: ‘Buy Microsoft Stock Because of Its Videogame Opportunity, Analyst Says‘, the entire setting is like a rewrite of the Divine Comedy, as Inferno is all that Microsoft seemingly delivers on a whole (as I personally see it). They went from an innovative system (Xbox 360) to a flawed concept and in the three iterations we see basic shortcomings that have never been fixed over the space of 6 years.

The beginning is already fun to work with: “Microsoft stock will rally because of its strong position in the videogame industry, according to Evercore ISI” No! It does not have a strong position, Microsoft degraded from 2nd to third position, and they could end up fighting over 4th position. The strongest console of the world got surpassed by the weakest one; the Nintendo Switch system surpassed them as they truly comprehend gaming and gamers. They got there in 2 years; it took Microsoft almost 7 years to get to this stage and ending up decently below 50% of the share that Sony has with its PlayStation. Microsoft games survives through marketing and bad decisions, with the optional good decision every once in a while.

The Microsoft stage of pushing for online, whilst basic shortcomings are frustrating gamers more and more, so when we see: “Ultimately, we believe gaming can become the next major narrative as it relates to Microsoft’s long-term growth opportunity” my response is: ‘Not Really, whilst the exclusive range of games is not impressive, the shared stream (Xbox and PS4) are often shown to be PS4 gems, whilst Microsoft is merely nice (with Assassins Creed Origins being a clear exception). The PS exclusive range is still growing and whilst the larger part of Microsoft IP is done through buying software houses, it has been in history the first step towards a more complete level of failing. There are examples all over the world for over 20 years.

Then the final part: “Materne is also optimistic over Microsoft’s cloud gaming offerings, where gamers can stream gameplay over the internet. Its XCloud service is slated for release this fall“, this is not a given. Microsoft decided to stay very quiet on the entire xCloud during its E3 and in addition, it is a soon a more direct competitor to Google Stadia. With the basic failings that Microsoft has shown to have, the audience is willing to take a look at Google Stadia, new brands have that effect, and it will gnaw directly on the Microsoft slice of the gaming cake. Apple is another contender, but there are still questions on that front for now. In short Microsoft got surpassed by Nintendo Switch, it is at less than 50% of the Sony PlayStation stage and it has disappointed gamers too often in their need for online dependency, a side that gamers do not like to relate to at all. There are enough indication that the next project (Project Scarlett) is more likely than not to hold onto the flaws of Xbox One, Xbox One S and Xbox One X. Its mixed media on mentions given in E3 2018, whilst giving less or no clarity on E3 2019, loaded with one liners that are implied to be connected but are regarded to be seen as separate statements show the flaw of Microsoft to a much larger extent. So as we see that ‘Microsoft is the Netflix of gaming‘, whilst not realising that there is more to that, we might go with the quote: “Xbox Game Pass is described as the ‘“Netflix of video games” and lets Xbox and PC users play a range of Xbox One and Xbox 360 games for $9.99 per month. xCloud will essentially be an upgraded version of this pass, and will work on more platforms, so it will likely cost more than $10” (Source: Inverse)

This entire setting only works well if there is enough bandwidth, in this stage the chance of congestion grows close to exponential as there will be no solid large 5G in many places until 2022, This means that it will be select in the US, Europe and outside these two. So as such the market slice will collapse overnight, Google Stadia will have a similar issue. Yet whilst Microsoft is about the marketing Hype and WOW factor, Google has been playing a more cautious long term game; it will pay off for them. All whilst the solid information that is essential was not given at E3 merely hinted at. It implies that Microsoft has not figured out how to best maximise on the revenue (read: an implied stage to exploit gamers). That in itself is the recipe for disaster. It is like the silent ‘always online‘ push that was tried in 2012 and pushed an angry mob straight towards the Sony solution. I personally believe that Microsoft has not learned its lesson yet and will give more disappointment soon enough. that whilst the bulk of the frustration could have been avoided in more than one place and never was, that alone convinces me that Microsoft might be an option, but it will be a risky one, one that is flawed and dangerous to boot, but then some investors like the rough stuff.

Now we get to the part that Investopedia has (at https://www.investopedia.com/microsoft-s-strategy-to-become-the-netflix-for-games-4691138): “One of the things Microsoft has going for them, unlike say Amazon, Verizon and Google, is a popular gaming console and a host of already super popular games, such as the entire series of “Halo” games. At the recent E3 video-game conference in Los Angeles, the company unveiled 60 new blockbuster games for both its console and PC, including “Gears 5,” “Batman: Arkham Knight,” “Cyberpunk 2077,” and “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.”” Now consider that this list of 4 only has one exclusive and for the most 50% of that list has nearly everyone desiring it on PS4 and optionally PS5 as well. The fact that ‘Batman: Arkham Knight‘ is a 2015 game giving rise to some people not doing their homework #JustSaying.

It is true Gears and Halo are Microsoft exclusives and they do have a large following, no one denies this, yet two titles don’t make for a victory (they also have the Excellent Forza IP which was oddly missing in that list).

Yet overall the entire matter of being surpassed by the weakest console is a much larger issue. The matter of change is upon them and their play is to not do this implies that there is a larger online need and the people a shivering back from that stage. They feel a little more powerless. Even as xCloud is all online, the push to completely be there will backfire, if only to be able to game when the internet congests, a part that too many have not considered to the degree it needs to be considered.

Until 5G and 5G speeds are commonplace, the gamer will be confronted with ISP’s that will react towards congestion through bandwidth throttling, when that happens, you do not want to be in a multiplayer game like Fortnite losing your connection, any promise that this will not happen is bogus from the very start. It is still a tool used, even within the last 24 hours we see throttling in combination with ISP’s all over the world, because it is a tool they need to minimise congestion. The moment throttling hits, the game is quite literally over for these players. So how often does this need to happen for people to trade in their xCloud (and optional Google Stadia) solution?

When that crystalizes in front of you, what will the losses be? I believe that there is a clear future for this kind of gaming, no one denies that, yet until there is a much stronger 5G presence, I am not sure how it will actually properly work (outside of a staged test phase). And for now that stage is for the larger global gaming population 2-3 years away.

 

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Falling off the wagon

It all started with a success story, it then ‘evolved’ into the age of complacency as it was lying in a lazy floating chair in a swimming pool. America was lazy, complacent and greed driven.

Huawei overtook Ericsson in 2012 as the largest telecommunications-equipment manufacturer in the world, then casually overtook Apple in 2018 as the second-largest manufacturer of smartphones in the world, still behind Samsung Electronics, and rose to the 72nd rank on the Fortune Global 500 list. In December 2018, Huawei reported that its annual revenue had risen to US$108.5 billion in 2018 (a 21% increase over 2017).It is at this point that America was a mere 3rd position, Huawei is presently servicing 47 of the 50 largest telecom operators on the planet, for the first time in history America no longer really matters as a technology provider. Sources like the Economist, the Guardian, Fortune and TechRadar all give the same news. It is at this point that the USPTO has to give the goods (read: the bad message) that Asia has surpassed America with registered patents by a lot, and the US has to deal with more and more bad news as they get strangled by a debt that surpasses $22,000,000,000,000. 22 trillion and no end in sight to turn it around, now that 5G is off to the races more bad news is given as the American and Nokia 5G solutions are decently inferior to the ones that China (Huawei has). The American overreaction is astounding and it comes with additional levels of humour. When we see an article by cyber security expert Zak Doffman in Forbes ‘Huawei ‘Slams FedEx Vendetta’ After Courier Refuses To Deliver P30 Phone To U.S.‘ (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakdoffman/2019/06/23/huawei-slams-fedex-vendetta-after-courier-refuses-to-deliver-p30-phone-to-u-s) where we see: “Parcel returned by FedEx due to U.S. Government with Huawei and China Government—return to sender, the humour is here as we also saw a month ago: ‘Drug traffickers’ favourite way to move fentanyl is FedEx and USPS‘, so Fedex can stop a Chinese mobile phones, yet is incapable of stopping drug traffickers. It has become that bad and for the life of me, the idea that that stupidity has grown to this degree at the moment has made me realise that pretty much my only option left is to offer my IP at 10% value to China as America clearly can no longer be trusted to stop the stupidity in its own ranks.

And it gets to be worse. Now we see: ‘The U.S. blacklists five Chinese supercomputer firms, including AMD joint venture THATIC‘ (at https://www.pcworld.com/article/3404464/the-us-blacklists-five-chinese-supercomputer-firms-including-amd-joint-venture-thatic.html). So as we are now introduced to ‘U.S. firms will be forbidden to do business with the companies‘ we are shown more than stupidity. I have been an avid fan of the segregation, isolation, and assassination triangle in tactics, but this is pretty much the first time in history that a nation is doing it to itself, implying that American bankruptcy is so close to the collapse that they need whatever they can to delay the collapse of their economy. I can never trust any government in that position to be honest about any trade it holds. Handing my IP over to China is perhaps the only option to get any decent amount of funds out of them, and I have to pay the rent at some point.

Do I care about these Chinese companies? Not really! Apart from my trusty Huawei mobile, I do not know any of them and there is no real reason to know or care about them, but the actions of America to the degree that they are doing it, like they are the biggest whoring bully on the block also implies that they can do it to anyone else and as I see it, there are plenty of UK (BT), Swedish (Ericsson), Finnish (Nokia) and other firms they can do this to when things do not go their way. They will come up with some kind of National security scheme like Finland is next to Russia or something like that. It is nice to advocate open and fair trade when you are the only one dealing (IBM, Microsoft) but that is no longer the case and Microsoft has become too self-indulgent as they screw up market after market just to push their Azure solution. America can no longer be trusted, that is the short and sweet of it, they know it and Americans know it too, but they are too desperate and there is no stopping a desperate bully who is about to no longer matter.

And the world is not ready for a bully like that. Japan is too deep into its own problems, Europe is desperate to avoid whatever recession comes next and the others have no independent voice. In all this India is as isolated as it gets and that takes 12.5% of the global population out of the equation. As the risk of a 2020 recession in Europe is nearing an almost certainty there is panic, there is panic on Wall Street because the 2020 recession will hit the US squarely in the chest during the elections, ending whatever small edge the Republicans have and it changes everything for them. The 2020 recession will be worse than ever because the ECB squandered their reserves on incentives and stimulus as there are no reserves left. The ECB, IMF and Wall Street all knew that this could come and the 5G hype was all about avoiding it so that the new economy could restart what was lost, but their lag against Chinese Technology vendors (read: mainly Huawei) is so large that it will help the Chinese economy, but the others will only get a fraction of the IP they do not own and that fallback (or non optional fallover) is a lot larger than some are willing to admit to.

Now the short sighted American bias against Huawei and China is hitting new heights as they try to isolate China, yet in the end they are isolating themselves as Europe is seeking another option, they are seeing the value of Chinese IP and they want alternatives, especially if it could delay or even turnover their own impending recession, in that scenario America will lose more and more because their own technology is flawed, untested and lacks innovation. It will hit Europe, whilst benefitting the Middle East as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar have signed up with China, America lost more than just weapon deals there.

What Cisco achieved with UTS in Sydney a decade ago is now happening in Qatar, Qatar University College of Engineering now has a similar deal with Huawei, implying that Qatar might be the first place where Huawei trained 5G engineers and innovators are born pushing 5G innovation. For Qatar this is more than good news, there is a first stage where Al Jazeera could become technologically more advanced than CNN, another blow to American pride and Al Jazeera is eager to really get there. They have miles to go, yet with 5G fully deployed they can do it in less than half the time we expect. All elements that push America back further and further. When I stated that this was a stupid move by America in 2018, I actually had no idea that they would lose to this degree, but at present they are and their decisions are making things worse not better.

As we see the first Huawei Authorised Information and Network Academy (HAINA) programme launched in Qatar, we also recognise that this will enable Saudi Arabia and the UAE more and more, so there might be a diplomatic stance ending the unfriendly border issues between the three and they will profit stronger and stronger.

There is absolute truth in the statement: “Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education Dr Ibrahim Al Nuaimi, said developing the technology capabilities of Qatar’s youth will have a significant impact on the smart evolution of society and country, contributing to the growth of Qatari economy.  “Initiatives such as this one between Qatar University and Huawei demonstrate the power that cooperative action can have in shaping the future of a nation,” he remarked“, it still requires the foundation and the nurturing of how to grow innovation, yet I have seen again and again that the hungry will find alternatives to make food and Qatar is clearly famished at present.

And there is one more nightmare to face. You see if China gets any IP hands on anything that could replace x86 technologies, the US is truly done for. At present they will laugh, scream and make all the claims that an ego driven nation could make, but then there is the history. We have 1975 when Federico Faggin and 11 employees created the Z80, there was a small team led by Chuck Peddle who came up with the 6502, it hit Intel and Motorola hard, a chip at less than 15% of the cost of an Intel or a Motorola processor. It would fuel an industry that would sell well over 15 million computers in an age where computers were not popular. We recognise that America was the driver in all this, it drove RISC to be the factor for the creation of Summit, still the fastest Supercomputer in the world, yet now that China surpasses America in patents, they have the core to create a new age of computer technology. We see that from 2017 onwards the Huawei Mobile Phone is the personal server to have; the fact that it is a mobile is beside the point. My IP was a security pass on personal mobile servers and that is the foundation of the next decade. It is not the personal computer or desktop, there is still the laptop and Chromebooks (and likeminded devices) have the option to be the next power drivers, but Huawei has the hand with 4 aces, they have the foundation of mobile personal servers and it scares America. My idea for what would have been (optionally) the Google Tome was founded on that idea as I created a solution to stop the NHS collapsing. Now that most elements are with Huawei and Chinese operators, America actually matters less. Even as Microsoft is still screaming Azure (whenever they can), we see that there are other options that could do similar and could surpass Microsoft within 4 years, that realisation is scaring America to death. They have no options when that happens. Complacency got them there and the next generation of these so called ‘captains of industry‘ are holding a hand with a two and a seven and they are playing Texas hold’em. A proverbial Snake eyes for the craps dealer in the house, which is the setting and the stage they can no longer escape. It is where they are at and their overreaction merely shows their levels of desperation.

In 2021 we will see that not only will they have lost 5G to a crippling degree, the other players will fare even worse. If China gets a decent deal with Japan, America will have segregated itself, they isolated themselves as Europe and the Commonwealth will seek whatever keeps them afloat and at that point with the debt closer to $25 trillion, they will end up cutting their own wrists with all the uber wealthy Americans seeking sunny shores in their mega yachts. Suddenly places like the Riviera, Dubai, the Virgin Islands and Italy will be swamped with Americans who will be quiet as mice as they wait for America to reinvent itself in the span of 2-3 decades, and America needs to get lucky to do it that fast. As the world is set to the currency of IP and patents, it might take a whole lot longer than that.

When I decided to get my Master in IP in 2010 I knew that there was a change in the winds, it was the clearest in IT, but I saw how it would impact to a much larger degree, I saw the shift to mobile patents in 2012, and now I see the other shifts too. I feel certain of my view, I cannot tell how politicians will react because that too impacts the changing tides, but overall they seem to align to the need of greed too often as such, my predictions are more likely than not coming true. It’s a sad world, if only American firm had not been so lazy relying on iterative technology for a decade, things would be very different indeed.

To complete the change China really only needs three more innovative steps in 5G communication to make it certainty and turn these steps into nail to service the coffin that is America, with the Middle East in play, there is every chance that they will pull it off, the rest of us (the non-Americans) will need to decide on how that future serves us best, because that too is a choice we face, and we have to make it ourselves.

And if you were in doubt until now, the Wall Street Journal reported only hours ago: “U.S. President Donald Trump is looking to require next-generation 5G cellular equipment used in the United States to be designed and manufactured outside China, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter.” So consider this quote really clearly: the entire China matter has been going on for weeks, yet yesterday we see that equipment is to be ‘designed and manufactured outside China’, a discriminatory tactic that shows that there was no clear tactic in play, and clearly the Americans are not up to scrap at present. What else was not anticipated on?

Someone fell of the wagon and others were unable to see the dangers clearly, The US still does not recognise that it has a real problem; the first stage of solving the problem is at present not met. Do you really need more convincing?

 

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There is a start

Yes, there is a start, yet it would be presumptuous that the race has started. The news (from CNBC) gives us: ‘Verizon’s new 5G network is ‘confusing’ and ‘difficult,’ according to early tests‘, in addition we are given: “Early tests by tech publications CNET and The Verge of Verizon’s new 5G network in Chicago suggest it’s not fully ready yet“, as well as “The network is brand new and rollouts take time. It took a few years for 4G LTE to become widely available, for example“, I have been warning people on this for months, going back to 2018, now we get to see how USA is no longer in the race for anything. The entire ‘National Security’ issue on Huawei was bogus from the start and now that the goose has come home to roost, we will see a political stage to roast the goose before it has roosted.

American 5G speed

It gets to be worse when we consider: ““Even carefully positioned a few feet away from the 5G node, the large on-screen icon exclaiming Verizon’s 5G network toggled back and forth from 4G to 5G,” CNET said. “After two hours, we had run maybe one clean Speedtest.net app side by side with the Galaxy S10 Plus.” Samsung’s phone is a 4G LTE device” and finally: “CNET found download speeds for a game took about the same on 5G and LTE networks, and downloading a movie on Netflix didn’t work. The site said the network felt like a “rush job” and called the experience “frustrating,” “confusing” and “absolutely insane,” even though it noticed download speeds coming in toward 600 megabits per second at times, on par with what Verizon is promising.” It is a system with proper infrastructure in place, and it gets to be worse, most infrastructures that are NOT Huawei are massively inferior (at present), so the long term issues remain and they will get worse. This level of setback, once congestion sets in because of a lacking infrastructure will drive potential customers away, the very first rules of commerce were ignored from the start by sales people with dollar signs instead of pupils and now that they entire matter is polarising, we will see more issues, and we will witness more frustration.

In opposition

The Saudi Gazette gives us (at http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/569469) ‘STC officially launches 5G service‘, as well as “In the first phase, the 5G network will now be available in the Kingdom in specific areas in a number of major cities using home routers that will be available at specific STC outlets in accordance with customer needs. Al-Nasser said the launch is an affirmation of Saudi Telecom’s pioneering role in delivering innovative technologies and services to customers across the Kingdom.” Yet let’s not get overly optimistic. There is also “By the end of February 2018, the telecom operator inked a deal with Huawei to collaborate in the field of 5G wireless networks and technology. In the beginning of March 2018, STC signed a memorandum of understanding with Cisco Systems to develop the 5G networks across the Kingdom. STC has subsequently completed the first global Multi-Vendor-Integration-Verification (MVIV) for its Huawei and Cisco core infrastructure with Ericsson and Nokia supplied 5G Radio Networks“, and that is just the beginning, yet how does it work? What has been achieved (speed, reliability)?

To see this we start in April when Arab News gave us: ‘Super-fast 5G mobile to launch in Saudi Arabia within months‘, as well as “Saudi Arabia has about 1,000 telecoms towers already supporting 5G and the super-fast mobile services will be available within months, a senior government official said. The next-generation networks will allow smartphone users to download a movie in seconds“, so far it is marketing, we all heard it before in several nations, it is the realisation we see with: “The STC launched the service after completion of its experiments for the first time in MENA region since launching the test drive in 2017 and this was in cooperation with the telecom giant’s strategic partners” and Huawei was at the centre of that. It is the two year head start that everyone ignores, even as we have no real numbers to work with, Saudi Arabia, like all other nations are stating they have 5G and it is commercially available, there are no tests showing just how fast and how reliable their network is, but they do have a two year head start and if what we see with Verizon will last at least two years, their start of 5G is not a great one. The sales need for getting their first, whilst ignoring the support and customer care issues is just baffling. STC reported: “the STC 5G services are available in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam (Eastern Province), Makkah, Taif, Madinah, Abha, Jubail, and Tabuk” Which is close to a complete urban 5G coverage, the US and many other nations are nowhere near that ready.

I keep a reserved distance in light of “STC did not share specific details but said that the service has been made available to customers“, so until benchmarks and speed tests have been shown, there is every chance that it possible that we see 4G+ instead of true full 5G, but until the facts are known, it is all speculation, what is a given is that the two year head start of Huawei is showing and in that regard, the short sighted American point of view regarding the unproven National Security allegations will remain allegations that slows US innovation down, and it will cost them, because the 5G pioneers that are not in the US are about to have a field day. My own IP is about to go through the roof (which is fine by me), the only consideration I am left with, is that I would have to consider an upgrade from a 55 meter yacht to an 85 meter yacht, the cumbersome burdens of an innovator with the ability to dream never ends. And there too I found new wisdom, a market that Huawei forgot about (or never considered in the first place), what a lovely Saturday it is and it is only 7 degrees at present.

Even when we consider the complications that the US is pressuring on other nations, when we consider another light towards “The complications referred to probably mean the ramping of political and intelligence pressure from the US and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the UK eventually do what it’s told with respect to Huawei“, as the UK becomes Americas bitch, if Huawei gets Oak OS right, the UK, Europe will have new problems to consider, in addition, if Google is placed out of bounds, those not strapped to Google will optionally lose a lot more than they bargained for. Let’s be clear, we do not need Facebook, most of us need LinkedIn and Indeed, yet we can access Gmail from our computers, we don’t need a smartphone for that. So at that point, when we consider the open shift that would optionally come in a different way. Google is brave to miscommunicate part of the issue they face. As several sources give us: ‘Google: Cutting Us off from Huawei Is a Security Risk‘, no it is not (not really)! You see, it is not a security risk, what is the clear danger to Google that their value is data and this situation allows Google to miss out on millions, if not hundreds of millions of phones, all lost data, data that goes nowhere (or somewhere else). The Trump administration did something really stupid here and we will see that impact within a year. Millions are questioning Google and their data, Facebook and their data and now Huawei offers an option that have neither. People might actually embrace Huawei and that danger scares Google. Its granularity is based on the data they collect and now, they will lose up to 35-95 million data points within 2 years alone and a lot more thereafter, a loss they never faced before. And as China diversifies ad as its non-Chinese customers get used to Baidu and Sogou, how much relevance would Google (and Bing) lose over time?

All elements that have an impact, all elements that Google will not voice and others are intentionally walking away from; these are questions that cost advertisement, a nightmare they all face now.

All issues that will impact in the 5G era, the fact that my IP gives power back to the shop owner and not their IT providers will make matters worse (and I do not care). The power needs to go where it needed to be, with the customer, the consumer and the factual user, all elements Google never wanted to touch, You cannot facilitate when the data is not there. It is the old premise of a system missing and a user missing and most people still do not comprehend the full impact of system missing information.

They will find out within the next 2 years, I look forward to the transformation and the long term impact that short sighted policies bring. So when you see the new Huawei phones, do not just wonder if you should get one, wonder how much better your life optionally becomes by having one. It is a loaded question, I get that and it pays to be a sheep in a really large group, but when you consider the hundreds of notifications that were useless, the massive amounts of Facebook notifications that kept you from work and promotion, consider that 5G amplifies that part by 300%, do you really want to remain a sheep , or jump the fence and see what Oak OS could bring? I am on the fence too, I have to choose, yet at present I see America pressuring everyone to become Huawei haters and there is no logic to their path, other than that I hate being a follower, I prefer to wander on the innovation line and that has risks, but it also has lucrative rewards, often resulting in a much better quality of life.

Sometimes choices are hard, and whichever path you choose, remember that it was YOUR choice, not the one others told you to go, you only get to blame yourself (or not) at this point. And I assure you when you blame yourself for making the good choice is also rewarding no matter which of the two (three if you consider IOS a choice) you make, make sure it is yours, not the needy direction of some marketeer or salesperson.

 

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Iranian puppets

Saudi Arabia has been under attack for a while, yet the latest one has been the hardest hit for now. 26 people were injured in a drone attack on Abha Airport. The fact that it is 107 Km away from the border gives rise that this is not the end. Even as we see: “a late-night cruise missile attack by Houthi rebel fighters”, I wonder if they were really Houthi or members of Hezbollah calling themselves Houthi. In addition, when we see: “the missile directed at the airport had been supplied by Iran, even claiming Iranian experts were present at the missile’s launch” as the Saudi government stated this, I am not 100% convinced. The supply yes, the presence is another matter. There is pretty hard evidence that Iran has been supplying drone technology to Lebanon and they have been training Hezbollah forces. I think this is a first of several operations where we see Hezbollah paying the invoice from Iran by being operationally active as a proxy for Iran. It does not make Iran innocence, it does change the picture. the claim by Washington “Iran is directing the increasingly sophisticated Houthi attacks deep into Saudi territory” is more accurate as I see it. It changes the premise as well as the actions required. From my point of view, we merely need to be able to strike at one team, if anyone is found to be Lebanese, Saudi Arabia can change the premise by using Hezbollah goods and strike Beirut – Rafic Hariri International Airport with alternative hardware. Lebanon stops being the least volatile country in the Middle East and it would stop commerce and a few other options at the same time. I wonder how much support they get from Iran at that point. I believe in the old operational premise to victory

Segregation, isolation, and assassination, the tactical premise in three parts that is nice and all solving; It can be directed at a person, a location, or even an infrastructure, the premise matters. It is time to stop Hezbollah, that part is essential as it does more than merely slow down Houthi rebels, it pushes for Iran to go all in whilst being the visible transgressor, or it forces them to back off completely; that is how I personally see it.

So as we see the Pentagon rally behind diplomatic forces, I cannot help but wonder how it is possible for 15 dicks to be pussies? For the non-insiders, it is comprised of the 7 joint chiefs of staff, the septet of intelligence (Army, Navy, Air force, Marine, FBI, CIA and NSA) and of course the National Security Advisor. It is time to change the premise, it really is. It is also a must to proclaim ourselves to either the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, or Iran and I will never proclaim myself towards Iran (a man must keep some principles).

We can be all angry find a solution to erase them. As I see it, my version is more productive in the end. They are targeting close to the border as much as possible, this implies that their hardware has limitations. Even so to merely rely on anti-drone and some version of an Aveillant system is economically not too viable, it will merely make some places (like airports more secure). When we look around we see that there are 6 ways to take care of drones.

  1. Guns, which requires precision and manpower
  2. Nets, same as the first, yet a net covers an area better chance of results and a chance to get the drone decently unharmed, or retrieve enough evidence to consider a counter offensive
  3. Jammer, a two pronged option, as the connection fails most drones go back to their point of origin giving the option of finding out who was behind it.
  4. Hacking, a drone can be used for hacking, but the other way is also an option if the drone lacks certain security measures, optionally getting access to logs and other information
  5. Birds of Prey (Eagle, Falcon), A Dutch solution to use a bird of prey to hunt a drone, an Eagle will be 10 times more deadly than a drone, Eagles are a lot more agile and remaining as fast all the time.
  6. Drones, Fighting drones with drones is not the most viable one, however these drones have paint guns which would hinder rotor function and speed, forcing gravity and drag to be the main issues for the drone.

The issue is not merely how to do it, but the specifics of the drone become a larger issue. An Eagle and most solutions will not work against the MQ-9 Reaper drone (to name but an example), yet Hezbollah and Iran rely on the Qods Mohajer (optionally the Raad 85), which when considering the range is the more likely suspect. What is important to know is that these devices requires a certain skill level, hence there is no way that a Houthi forces could have done this by themselves. It required Hezbollah/Iranian supervision. There the option of jamming and drones with a paint gun would work, if a jammer gets shot onto the drone, it will give them a way to follow, paint can have the same effect whilst at the same time limit its capabilities. If the drone is loaded with explosives and set for a one way trip there is a lot less to do, yet the paint could still impact its ability if there is enough space left, if the paint is loaded with metal it could light it up making it a much better target. All options that have been considered in the last few years in anti-drone activities, the question is how to proceed now.

I believe that inaction will no longer get us anywhere, especially when Hezbollah is involved. That is the one speculative part. There is no way that Houthi rebel forces have the skills; I believe that Iran is too focussed on having some level of deniability, hence the Hezbollah part. It is entirely probable that Iranian forces are involved, yet that would be the pilot and with the range, that pilot would have been really close to the Yemeni border making Abha airport a target, yet unlikely that more inland another target would be available to them.

Knowing that gives more options, but also makes it harder to proceed, the earlier five methods mentioned are direct, there is one other option, but I am not discussing it here at present as it optionally involves DoD classified materials (and involves DARPA’s project on Machine learning applied intelligence to the radio spectrum) and lets not put that part out in the open. It is actually a clever program conceived by Paul Tilghman, a graduate from RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology), an excellent school that is slightly below MIT and on par with UTS (my creative stomping grounds).

It is a roadmap that needs to be followed, I am all for bombing Hezbollah sites, unlike the earlier mentioned group of 15, I prefer my level of evidence to be a little higher as such the Tilghman solution is called for, after that, when we get that we can address the viability of Beirut and Tripoli with 2500 lbs hardware donations, depending on the evidence found mind you, we can make adjustments, as some materials would have needed to be shipped to Yemen either directly or via Lebanon and in all honesty, I am of the mind that Iran would not have done this directly. Proxy wars require a higher level of deniability to remain proxy wars; as such we need the hardware as evidence.

And even as we see: “Mohamed Abdel Salam, said the attack was in response to Saudi Arabia’s “continued aggression and blockade on Yemen”. Earlier in the week, he said attacks on Saudi airports were “the best way to break the blockade”” (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/12/yemen-houthi-rebel-missile-attack-injures-26-saudi-airport) we need to realise that this is growing and potentially a lot larger than before. Even as we acknowledge that the forces have withdrawn from the harbour, we have no insight on where they went, there is no indication that they have stopped fighting, merely that they are at the moment inactive, a status that can change at any given moment.

Add to that the threat (or is that the promise) by Tehran who decided to “threaten to resume enriching uranium towards weapons-grade level on 7 July if US sanctions are not lifted or its European allies fail to offer new terms for the nuclear deal“, here my answer is ‘What deal?‘, there is enough indication that enriching never stopped, but was merely scaled down to 95% of previous effort, as such there is no need to offer more incentives that will only be broken. As such my strategy to seek out Houthi (and optionally Hezbollah forces) to take away the proxy options of Iran, they must either commit 100% or back down, at present their fear is having to commit fully to this and change the stage of proxy war to actual war, and as such my strategy makes sense. They have no hope of winning as too many government would be willing to align with Saudi Arabia (that might make them surprised and happy as well), and a united front against Iran is what Iran fears, because Turkey would have no option but to cut ties out of fear what happens when we are done with the other Iranian puppets.

It is perhaps the only side where I disagree with James Jeffrey (US special representative for Syria engagement), I do not believe that it is a “hegemonic quest to dominate the Middle East“, I believe that Iran knows that this is no longer an option, yet bolstering foundations of a growing alliance is the best that they hope for and here Iran merely facilitates in the urge to state to Syria (the government and its current president) in the voice of ‘You owe us, we helped you‘, it is slightly pathetic and merely the voice of a used car salesman at present. As more of the proxy war becomes open and proven Iran is backed into a corner, it makes Iran more dangerous, but it also forces them to act, not through proxy and I am decently certain that Iran has too much to lose as present, especially as Russia denied them the S-400 solution.

Even as Gevorg Mirzayan (an expert in Middle East and a leading analyst at the agency Foreign Policy) is getting headlines with ‘‘Dumping’ Iran Would Be Mistaken, Since Russia Doesn’t Know What The US Will Offer In Return‘, we see that the stage is a valid question, but there we also see the answer. the direct (and somewhat less diplomatic) answer is “Never set a stage where a rabid dog can call the shots“, the more diplomatic answer (by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov) was “Russia has not received any requests from Iran for delivering its S-400 air defense systems” is nice, and it puts Iran in a space where they need to admit to needing this kind of hardware, yet on the other side, Russia realises that Iran is driven to flame the middle East and down the track if its alliance is too strong, takes Saudi Arabia out of consideration for several lucrative Russian ventures and they know it.

All these elements are in play and in place, so segregating and isolating Hezbollah limits the options of Iran, making it an essential step to pursue. Interesting is that these steps were firmly visible as early as last year August, and that group of 15 did little to bolster solutions towards truly isolating Iran, that Miaow division was optionally seeking milk and cream and finding not that much of either.

So the time is now essential moving to critical to take the options away from Iran, we let Lebanon decide whether they want to get caught in a room painted in a corner with no directions remaining, at that point they become a real easy target.

That was not hard was it?

Happy Friday and remember, it will be Monday morning in 60 hours, so make the most of it.

 

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Games and more

Yes, the E3 is upon us, it is now mere hours away and anyone who is into gaming will be hyped to see what comes. It might be about their franchise, it might be about a maker, or it will be a little more generic. No matter how we slice it the next 4 days will be about that is likely to come, what will be hyped and let’s not forget the giveaways, free DLC codes and optionally the speculated hardware.

What makes the headline?

It is important to see the headline in this, and the headline is Google Stadia. We see several sources giving us information, yet the direct impact is there and it is less positive than one might gather. Let’s look at two quotes, first there is Techradar giving us: “A world in which all you ever have to do to start gaming is open up your browser, select a game and start playing – no lengthy download required. This could soon become a reality if Google’s cloud gaming service, Stadia, delivers on its promises – you’ll be able to go from opening a Chrome tab to playing a 4K, 60fps game, in five seconds, no installation required“, this seems awesome, yet I have been around long enough in this business to notice that when someone states ‘look left’ I also ‘look right’. So when I look to the right, I see PC Gamer giving us ‘Stadia 4K streaming will use up 1TB of data in 65 hours‘ and that is not a good thing. Now, we all accept that gaming takes power and resources, yet 4K gaming in a setting where in some countries that could set you back $1,000 per month is not something you want to consider. Here in Australia (no Google Stadia coming here for now), a person pays (when it is not unlimited) $10 per GB, so that adds up really fast in a non-unlimited contract stage, yet with unlimited there has been noise that above a certain usage the download speed gets throttled, so there could optionally be that risk to consider.

Before we start crying, there is the additional info given with “That works out to around 15.75GB per hour of 4K streaming, 9GB per hour of 1080p, or 4.5GB per hour at 720p“, when you have a 1TB contract, which is a lot, you get 65 hours, 110 hours, or 227 hours of gaming. So options 2 and three should be fine, it is a reality to face that 4K gaming is not immediately available for usage for all, and that is beside the setting whether you have a 4K TV or not.

Gizmodo

Gizmodo was a lot less positive (at https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2019/06/is-stadia-already-screwed/), and when we see: “We have an updated guidance here,” he said. “You actually need 10 Mbps to stream at least 720p, but actually, it could be higher depending on specific details of the kind of network situation or your game. And then to comfortably stream 4K—the best experience—we recommend 35Mbps.” It takes out all the wireless 4G players, they can pretty much forget about it and even in the lowest mode there will be issues, even if you are with a major Australian player like Optus, it is the direct impact of bandwidth and it is likely to remain an issue in the foreseeable future, yet only until you get 5G, at that point speed is no longer an issue, total usage might remain, but that is depending on the providers and no one has any clear information at present which makes sense for now.

The writer gives us: “as long as it’s streaming over a broken internet, it’s fucked” at the very end, which is only a truth for today, and even then it is still only a partial truth. Google has been playing the long game for enough time to know that anyone getting 5G will seriously consider Google Stadia, especially Online players in MMO games. It gets to be even better when you consider the Verge who has the list (at https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/6/18655380/google-stadia-games-list-cloud-streaming-service-e3-2019), It includes the newest games as well as other games like DOOM Eternal, Rage 2, The Elder Scrolls Online, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Final Fantasy XV, Tomb Raider Definitive Edition, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, NBA 2K, Borderlands 3, Mortal Kombat 11, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Just Dance, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Trials Rising, and The Crew 2. I believe that to be a decent start of any service. There is a little too much uncertainty on pricing; one source gave me $10 per month for a pro license, which is not outlandish when you consider the game list. In addition Google Stadia has started its own game development studio, headed by Jade Raymond. A well-known producer who has earned her marks at both EA and Ubisoft.

In this regard, I believe it might be seen as a rocky start, but not a fatal one, in the long run Google is now set up to remain a force to be reckoned with. I also disagree with the view that Forbes has. Paul Tassi gives us trivialisation like ‘this offers something like Microsoft’s Game Pass the ability to eat Stadia’s lunch‘, which is true, yet Microsoft never fixed their problems, did they? Not in 6 years, and as he gives us: “While Google is indeed starting to develop its own games in-house, it could take years for those to arrive, and there’s absolutely zero guarantee of their quality when they do“, this is true too, yet the failing of quality by Ubisoft has been noted for years, what has he done about it to illustrate that? And when we saw the lack of Microsoft exclusives last year, the mention of ‘their lengthy roster of must-have exclusives‘ should be regarded as work in progress. That few to none part is easily rectified, and even the PS4 had loads of long delays for some of their games and exclusives, with the Ubisoft Watchdogs the delay was long enough to get your wife pregnant and still not being able to play the game until the child was born, so pot and kettle are both utensils of a similar colour in this setting.

Then we get the last overstated statement with: “but with 200 million consoles sold every year and untold number of gaming PCs“, I wonder how he got those numbers, over 6 years Sony sold 93 million consoles, Microsoft is on that same stage at 41 million at best and Nintendo in 2 years got to 34 million, so his math is in the toilet as well, unless he includes the handhelds which is a skewed finding, still there the 200 milllion a year will not be reached, not even close.

I believe that Google is an early starter in a stage where Microsoft hoped to get their Scarlett (whatever they named it in 2018) system, I am not sure it has a real chance, but I have been wrong before, it might work, Google on the other hand still has a lot to learn and optional plenty of promises to break, time will tell where they go, but there is space to succeed, especially when 5G arrives at homes it is then that Google Stadia truly gets an option to earn its laurels, and it is likely to do so.

There is a part that matters, Paul rightfully asks the question: “it’s hard to know how this actually poses a threat to traditional industry staples like Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft“, it does not as such, but Google has the option to grow on the side, the fact that many consoles have online and multiplayer issues (mostly due to the software), we see the setting where this failing falls away (having to download massive patches again and again will not be an issue for the Google Stadia), MS Scarlett might have been the initial option, but Microsoft has issues and they have also been in denial of that to some degree (that is my personal view).

As I stated it will be a rocky start, yet those with a good internet stage and a decent income will have this option there as early adopters. For these people they have no interest in walking into a game shop trying to find a game, Google Stadia, like Netflix lets you browse and try and try and try, until you find something you like. It is optionally the stage where gamers are born and is Google Stadia the worst place to start gaming? For years people started their gaming habit on Facebook and was that such a hi-res 4K solution?

Paul Tassi asks good questions and they are real questions that need answering, but he also overlooks (as a hard-core gamer) on something he forgets. When a person wants to do 4K gaming, he needs a console or a PC, when you see the cost of a good 4K system; you have the risk of cardiac pressure issues. With Console, will you go Sony, or Microsoft? The fact that Google is now option 3, but not set in hardware is a choice, an option, one that was not there before. So what is needed? An internet connection and a TV, yes when you look deeper it is a 2 choice system, now with option 3. He is right, there are issues (for now) and I believe that with the arrival of 5G many issues will resolve itself immediately, yet at that point, will Google be standing as a survivor? I believe that with the right games it will and that too is the setting for the E3, how much more support for Stadia will we see. It seems that Ubisoft is on board and so is Bethesda, yet how many more players will commit to Google Stadia? That is where Google Stadia could win making unique or remastered good games. There are dozens who could become Stadia hits, 3 generations of games that are still regarded by some as excellent games, some are even legendary.

We will just have to see and wait how it all unfolds, there is plenty of space for a new player in this game and it also means that some of the other players will have to up the ante to remain a choice with consumers, which is equally a good idea.

Then there is another reason, for well over a year we have seen the stage: “a higher-end Xbox One X replacement as well as a less-expensive entry-level machine“, yet there is a host of issues especially with Microsoft, can the entry model update to high end? If that is not possible will we see any other impact on gaming? Will Microsoft keep their bully to ‘be online’ issues. Will Microsoft force advertisements on their consoles (like with the Xbox One)?

Microsoft has lost so much credibility (as I personally see it), the fact that the correlation between entry model and Google Stadia is so high that plenty might consider Google over Microsoft and I think that they know this. Another issue is how close Microsoft streaming service ProjectXCloud is next to Google Stadia, all issues that will optionally come head to head in the next 4 days. We can lose time reading on speculations or wait, I decide you need to wait and even better watch the live shows on YouTube.

The biggest issue will be on the last day, Nintendo have amazed nearly all with the Switch and all they have done in these two years, now that the larger games are due this year, it will be a sight to see, at the very end one or two little spoilers. It seems that Sony has gotten themselves in a little spot of hot water. Tom’s Hardware (at https://www.tomsguide.com/us/ps5-120hz-ps4-cross-save,news-30268.html) gives us: ‘120Hz Display Support‘, this is really good news if it was not for the fact that most 4K TV’s, even the ones from Sony do not support this speed yet, so yes the PS5 will be a sight to see, when you  get the TV that supports it. Then there is crossover play, so you can continue your ps4 games on ps5 forth and back (switching between consoles so you do not lose anything like friend lists and game saves, this is really good news, and a nice feature to have when you get the console in 2020. I have my mind set on that and do away my Xbox One completely, the one game I bought it for is on Sony as well now so there is no reason to keep it around any further, especially when it options me to remove Microsoft from all considerations, it is not like they have been considerate.

Even as it is about the games, I do hope to see some hardware as well.

See you all on the flip side, and don’t forget to seek the YouTube streams of the E3, missing out is such a drag.

 

 

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Call me

There is news, there is always news, yet now we have different news. The news that matters is not the direct given news, it is merely what we see here that becomes a consequence for a longer setting and it has happened before.

We start with Arab News who gives us: ‘Huawei’s US blacklisting row has little impact in Saudi Arabia‘ (at http://www.arabnews.com/node/1503431/saudi-arabia). Yes, there is little impact and that is not weird or amazing, it merely is. Yet the news is still important for other reasons. The quote “The US wants to remain a leading source of technology around the world, even though China is working hard to create a new leadership in (the sector)” by Majed Al-Hedayan is not that accurate, the intent to be a leading source is there, yet the patent applications from the last 5 year show that the US stopped being the leading entity in that regard in 2015, Asia (mainly China) surpassed them with a large and comfortable margin, a big chunk of the Asian patents are with Samsung, which is also important to note.

The issue is not seen here, merely the impact and the response from the consumers. What happens when we combine this with the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jun/06/chinas-huawei-signs-deal-to-develop-5g-network-in-russia) giving us: ‘China’s Huawei signs deal to develop 5G network in Russia‘, now it becomes a new stage. It is not easy to explain, however I will get you all there. The first instances of Russian pressures to gain new momentum in the Middle East were seen in March 2018 in ‘The Global Economic Switch‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/03/06/the-global-economic-switch/), we see the first elements of a failing Trump tactic. My quote, which uses some of the source CNBC information gets us: “we are treated to “The partnership with OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, allows Russia to strengthen its hand in the Middle East at the same time the U.S. role has been diminished“, the diminishing of the US as stated by other sources closes doors to the US on several shores, a dangerous change that comes at one of the least fortunate times” that shift grew as President Putin decided to rely on his favourite pit bull (Dmitry Utkin) to make waves in Syria, after which Russia stepped in and decided to ‘assist’ President Bashar Al-Assad. Russia has one advantage; the Syrian army is completely unable to properly wage war which was seen after rebels launched a surprise counter-attack on the village of Kafr Naboudeh. They were presented with well-equipped and troops that were dug in. Yet those were pushed into running like a jackrabbit, rearming the rebels with heavy weapons that they had left behind, weapons that found an eager target in more Syrian troops. Both the fact and the stage are important as it requires Syria to facilitate for Russia in more than one way. In addition I gave the readers initially: “Yevgeniy Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin allegedly have been preparing to grow an ICT/Mobile infrastructure in Syria, that whilst construction fortunes would be coming their way too, the entire growth with Saudi Arabia as an optional side allows those two to split a few billions between the two of them, whilst at the same time growing the other fields they have access to and get a seat at the Saudi Arabian table at the same time“, several analysts laughed and sneered at me with the topic mention that I had no clue what was happening and it would never happen. So now we move to February 2019 (a year later) and we see (at http://scbc.sy/en/2019/02/20/russian-companies-plan-to-build-construction-projects-in-syria/) where the headline ‘Russian Companies Plan to Build Construction Projects in Syria‘ graced us all. So when I read: “Russian construction companies are planning to build three- or four-storey buildings at low prices, all delivered in record time, 37 days for construction“, I must be imagining things. The fact that it was a not a  no-man show, but we see: “In the presence of the Vice-President of the Chamber for International Affairs and Chairman of the Chamber’s Building Committee, Dr. Luai Yousef, Director General of the Russian-Syrian Business Council, discussed with the heads of Russian contracting and reconstruction companies the necessary mechanisms to start the work“, we see ego and profit in place for the right facilitation, so far I am 2-0 on those paid to know this, And I was a year ahead of them.

The second stage

It is here that the Guardian takes its entrance to ‘China’s Huawei signs deal to develop 5G network in Russia‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jun/06/chinas-huawei-signs-deal-to-develop-5g-network-in-russia). Now we see: “the development of 5G technologies and the pilot launch of fifth-generation networks in 2019-2020”, MTS said in a statement on Wednesday“. Now the game changes, especially ‘as this has happened before‘. Most might not know this, but in the early 90’s America tried to keep IP progress away from Russia, and as such it was close to impossible to find a decent PC in Russia. That changes when Toshiba decided to do business in Russia. Within 3 years everyone on the planet knew about Toshiba. Rugged laptops that were stern were seen all over Europe and with Russia being an exclusive client the power of Toshiba grew; within 5 years they were in the top 5 of laptops and there they would remain for a while. This situation now repeats itself with Huawei being in Russia and the Middle East (Saudi Arabia & UAE) as well as still growing in Europe. And even as the US will make fun of the fact that there are at least twice as many Americans than Russians, the fact that American companies cannot go to Russia and Huawei is set now in a similar exclusive stage (like Toshiba was) gives rise that the revenues of Huawei will go through the roof this year. It becomes a larger issue as Trump’s ban on Huawei is countered by British officials seeking answers (no real ones will be coming). Huawei has an advantage through Russia giving rise to even more business. The non-tactical option for America to remain the leading technologist was never going to happen, not in the state the US is; with AT&T settling out of court their 5G deceptive conduct. Even as we are told: “we have amicably settled this matter” by an AT&T spokesperson, no one is asking questions on who has an actual full powered 5G in America. That stage is not improving when we see only two months ago: “Trump said the U.S. will cut regulations and free up spectrum for 5G technology amid tight competition with China and other nations to develop the next generation of telecommunications infrastructure“, the fact that this still had to happen 2 months ago shows the lag and the delays that the US faces. The headline ‘FCC Vows 5G Networks Will Be a Private Sector Project‘ does not make matters speed up (source: Forbes). The part everyone (most of them) ignored is that Huawei holds a little over 15% of all the 5G patents that are out there, so anyone who wants to get ahead is either facilitating to Huawei or pretending to be their best friend, obviously the US cannot apply for that position. As I personally see it, America is bogged down on second grade equipment for now and that setback will bite. That was always the setting and now that the push is becoming more and more visible we will see that Russia met with the winning team and thought it was a good deal, for them it is as it opens up all kinds of partnerships with the Middle east in construction and optionally 5G deployment, so Halliburton eat your heart out!

Is it still a surprise why I gave Huawei first option (2nd place went to Google) to my IP?

Until three months ago there was close to little option for Russia to make headway into Saudi Arabia, now with US Senators trying to block arms deals that is no longer a given. If they succeed, the entire collaboration of Huawei and Russia could give more options to Russia down the road. In this American policy has staggered in a stage of ‘Think Local Act Global‘, whilst the world is in a stage of ‘Think Global Act Local‘ and so far American politics has not evolved to the degree that where need to contemplate that there was a price for a decade of complacency, the consequences of these actions is like watching a train called America stuck in Nowhere Town, whilst the express trains called Huawei, China and Russia are now passing them by at high speed towards the destination of a place some call Opportunity city.

Whilst everyone shrugs their shoulders and wonders if it matters, consider that the US has a $22 trillion debt do you think that the US will not feel the pinch of losing billion after billion in trade with Saudi Arabia and the UAE watching their options go to China and Russia? The fact that with every quality delivery Russia gets more and more contracts regarding 5G embedded construction; as well as more Saudi Construction offers for Neom City? When that seriously starts to shift, Saudi Arabia ends up holding one nice Trump card (pun intended), when it comes to Russia, we a nations that driven to pragmatism, so as these offers go their way, there is every chance that Russia will drop Iran like a bad habit, in the end Russia already refused Iran the S-400 solution, which would have struck a positive note in Riyadh, I am certain of that part. Iran is not merely a bad player, they are clueless how to play the game to begin with; their actions involving Hezbollah was evidence of that, now with Russia pushing towards alternative directions Iran will lose more, as does the US, so it would be a win-win for both Russia and China.

A lot of this could have been seen in advance, some of the events were foretold by me a year ago (not the Huawei mess though), with these pieces on the table, why push? I never opposed the view Alex Younger had, because that is a national policy that makes perfect sense (but not the best stage for the UK at present), the American pressure was founded on no evidence and now it could cost them a lot more. There is even a third danger, even as everyone depends on Qualcomm, the stage is now set where Huawei has to design its own version. The problem is that through limitations people find creativity, we saw that in the old 8-bit computer age, the 16 bit added to that and not because of resources. It’s when we are pushed into a box of limitations at that point we will truly focus on innovation. For example Disk Doubler was a direct result of the limitations that a 20MB hard drive had. When you consider that a 10Mb drive on an original PC was $1500, the solution started to make sense really fast. It did not come that early, but in an age where the norm of a drive was 20MB and these drives were $10-$20 per megabyte. So when Huawei gets pushed into a corner, there might be a little lag, but the makers of 5G will find a solution, when that happens Qualcomm will suddenly have a much larger competitor and they aren’t the only player. What most failed to see is that the latest growth of Qualcomm was not them, it was buying others. Since 2011 Qualcomm took over 21 companies. Rapid Bridge, Ubicom, Orb Networks, Stonestreet and CSR pls to name a few for amounts up to $2.5 Billion, that kind of knowledge left them with spillage (unflattering term for lost knowledge), it is corporate brain drain that spillage will find another player and to some degree it will do just that. Now that someone shut the door on them implies that they will need to find alternatives and Huawei is more likely than not doing just that.

Even if their mobile markets does take a temporary dip, their 5G technology does not and in the end Huawei has an advantage, now with the growing partnerships with Russia and the Middle East that advantage might actually grow, and at that point the game changes. The implied evidence is already there, but the actual evidence will have to wait. We should also consider that Qualcomm derives most of its revenue from chip making, whilst the bulk of their profit comes from patent licensing businesses. The fact that patents are the profit is the issue, Huawei has the jump to some degree and should they resolve the patent issue, Qualcomm will see a fast growing drop in revenue, shortening their profits even more, so now they will need to address their cost of doing business and that will bite them hard. No matter how their $22.73 billion revenue continues. The fact that patents are profit and should Huawei find any solution, Qualcomm will face hard hits in an area where being nice was the only option, and it will not be a smooth one, it will hit hard with every patent that Huawei files. Blacklisting Huawei will have a much larger impact than anyone expected. Qualcomm had a -$5 billion in net income last year, so if the patents are their profit and Huawei gets even one patent validated in the field of Qualcomm, how much do you think that impact will be?

Another side is seen through CNBC, where we are confronted with: “They’re making some power moves right now and the ultimate power move would be to ban iPhones. Now if that happens, this thing goes down to $130“. This threat is actually more real than some think and the impact is also larger. We could be faced with an Apple Inc. in dire need as it loses 30% value and that is nothing to be laughing at. The ramifications of that act will be a global one. Samsung as a Korean player will laugh on the side as people will have to make a choice, but damage to Apple to this degree was never considered. And that is not all, there is one more play for China, Business Insider informed us last week (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/china-rare-earth-list-of-us-products-could-affected-2019-5) that ‘Here’s a list of American products that could be affected if China banned rare-earth metal exports to the US as a trade-war weapon’. The realisation that “Eighty per cent of US imports of rare-earth metals come from China, according to the US Geological Survey”, now consider the small fact that “Yttrium, europium, and terbium are used in LED screens, which you can find on most smartphones, tablets, laptops, and flat-screen TVs. Their red-green-blue phosphors help power the display screen, according to a 2014 US Geological Survey fact sheet. Those elements are also used in iPhone batteries and help make the phone vibrate when you get a text, Business Insider’s Jeremy Berke reported.” When you consider these parts and when you realise that Apple has no option to replace those parts at present, in Addition, consider all the other smart devices in circulation that rely on these materials, how infinitely stupid was this trade war to begin with? Oh and that is whilst we take Seagate out of the equation with their drives, which by the way relies heavily on the availability of Dysprosium, which according to Seagate’s CEO, Stephen Luczo gave them a margin issue of close to 20%, that much could be lost to Seagate, and when that material goes, what remains?

In the end, no matter how this plays out, when the Intelligence boffins figure out that they had several elements wrong for over a year, they should call me, they might learn something (which would be novel in its own right).

 

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Just like TV

There will be a discussion soon enough whether TV gave the idea to fund extremism and terrorism. I am referring to Blacklist, an episode from season 3 called “Arioch Cain“. In this episode someone decides to use crowdsourcing to get the main character Elizabeth Keen assassinated and soon enough, through crowdsourcing a price of over $700,000 is on her head. That amount tends to attract all kinds of enthusiasts, especially as hardware relying on ammunition in the US is dirt cheap.

This gets us to two articles in the independent ‘British far-right extremists being funded by international networks, report reveals‘ less than an hour ago (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/far-right-extremism-terrorism-tommy-robinson-funding-international-a8937116.html), as well as ‘How crowd funding helps far-right extremism spread round the world‘ also less than an hour ago, but the same writer no less (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/far-right-extremism-crowdfunding-tommy-robinson-a8937311.html). The entire setting is not unexpected. I foresaw this to some extent in 2013 when I reported a certain stage where Facebook games had their own chat rooms and some chat rooms started to change languages. Now, I have no idea what was discussed, or even that anything nefarious was discussed, but the fact that some of these chat groups were private and the fact that they were close to 99% certain not monitored would give certain kind of people options, the fact that one could fund another through pay pal was a second stage in all this. The consideration that the episode was aired almost 4 years ago is also a factor, in 4 years people try alternatives and both the extremist as well as the terrorist population are always willing to try something that cannot really be monitored, so there.

The first article gives us: “Analysts at the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) found that despite an increase in extreme right-wing attacks, efforts to disrupt terrorist financing were still focused on Islamists.

A report said a lack of work to find the source of money flows and stop them had allowed prolific extremists and groups to build huge platforms in the UK, US and Europe” as well as “the funds gathered allowed fringe groups to expand their reach with potentially deadly effect” cannot be ignored, and here we have the intersection. although let’s be clear I was looking at one source for very different reasons, I am now quoting: “I have had to clean up the mess of others for well over a decade and now it is time to give those people the exposure they deserve (my findings regarding Credit Agricole will have to wait for a few more days)“, Which I wrote in ‘The Scott Pilgrim of Technology‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/05/23/the-scott-pilgrim-of-technology/), it is indirectly linked as Rusi (at https://rusi.org/sites/default/files/201606_whr_3_16_countering_proliferation_finance_v2_0.pdf) gives us “Several other banks have faced smaller fines by US regulators for similar offences, ranging in the hundreds of millions of dollars; they include HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered, Barclays and Crédit Agricole.

I was looking deeper into Omani credit notes which were handed to Iran for goods, but at the current oil prices (the price then) the numbers were not adding up, it was like looking at 10 tankers being paid forward, or someone sold oil at $230 a barrel, which seems even less likely and at trade prices there is no tanker large enough to facilitate the oil. As I was aware and familiar with bills of lading, parts did not add up and I decided to dig deeper, only to find that I had forgotten to save the links and that virtual location was suddenly gone the next morning (that will teach ME being stupid). Somehow one of the links seemingly implied Credit Agricole (a non verifiable number) and that is where I was last week, now I see the Rusi paper and I wonder what their servers could teach me. It was by the way not a new issue for me, I looked into parts of this in June 2018 when I wrote: ‘The Iranian funds play‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/06/07/the-iranian-funds-play/).

The paper also gives us on page 13: “Financial institutions rely on governments to be explicit about their expectations and to provide guidance on how best to meet these expectations“, which is not really realistic when they rely on ambiguity, but the setting is fair and as such we also see the failed setting to deal with extreme right players. I personally believe that when we consider: “FIs are thus faced with a dilemma, in that many wish to meet US expectations in order to avoid penalties, but do not enjoy advice or assistance from their home governments to enable them to direct their efforts appropriately. Most are largely left to determine on their own how to address risks associated with CPF or related sanctions, other than simply screening against UN sanctions lists“, I believe that some of the players considered the benefit of using players like Oman to set the stage of both deniability and facilitation via a fourth person (as the bank was the third piggie in the middle), they get none of the heat and all of the bonus that way. I believed that some French players found an optional resolution to keep their vineyards safe and well-funded. It works for me; I would love to retire in the Cognac area making my own grape juice ambrosia (aka: Jus de raisin maison). The fact that this is all about billions in the other setting, my 1% slice would look super dandy. In case of the Lizzie Dearden articles, we see that the anonymity allows those who shun the limelight to make an ‘effort’ to keep imbalance through extremism, or what some call the Tommy Robinson political resolution, The article gives us: “white nationalists Generation Identity and neo-Nazi terrorist group National Action among the British actors profiting from “international connectivity”“, do you really think that it is limited to that group? All those white collar board members who cannot be seen with their fingers in the cookie jar have no qualms about buying a bakery, so that they can have the jar at any given moment. At that point yesterday’s article also gets another dimension, when big players need to rely on consultants with a given for fear mongering, how did the media ignore that? Examples are abound, for example articles that rely on ‘should’ 9 times and “The primary danger is the repeat of the fears that many investors had to face in 2018” and the entire paragraph is in the article twice. It is ways like that fear is brought and reinforced, when this is done, there is no trail, no conversation and in the end the crowdsourcing methods are the best to keep it all anonymous. It matters, because the intelligent extreme right player works not through shouting, but through reinforcement of the argument, they aren’t all stupid!

When Rusi looks at Tommy Robinson (Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) we get that: “he had profited from both significant support from foreign donors and crowdfunding from individual donors around the world” this does not come through shouting, it comes from enforcing fears and give examples that are current, does that sound familiar?

Do you think that a Philadelphia-based think tank spends £48,000 on silly shouters? Do you think that the quote: “Robinson was also a beneficiary of a “fellowship” from US tech billionaire Robert Shillman that bolstered his salary from Canadian website Rebel Media, where he worked from early 2017 until February last year” is unique? People like Robert Shillman are rich enough not to care, they are too rich and their view is often accepted because they are super wealthy, so they are regarded as successful, but there are dozens who still fear the limelight and crowdsourcing is a solution to fund many others (far right or far left) with an optional handle on extremism, Lizzie Dearden gives a good view on it. There is one part I do not agree with, even as nothing Keatinge writes is wrong. When I see: “crowdfunding allows extremists to build international platforms that spread hate to wider audiences“. I can tell that he is not wrong, but overlooks the optional larger issue. It is not spreading hate, it is illuminating through half-baked examples that the current solutions are not working. It is not the hate part, but the ‘your kid does not have a job, because an immigrant was overly happy to accept that job at minimum pay‘ that is what sells the larger imbalance. Ignoring the truth that every boss tries to cut costs any way they can, as they are misaligning the cost of doing business, we see that an entire generation is pushed to minimum income, even those with good degrees, add to that age discrimination and we suddenly see a shift that is much larger, it is not promoting hate, but caressing the frustrations of the working class that is much stronger and a larger growth concern. Most do not react to hate, but we will respond to the frustrations that they are hit with every day, that is the part Rusi missed (or so it seems).

There is also an issue with: “Crowdfunding is a vulnerability in the system, it’s a way the internet presents funding opportunities that have not previously been conceived” the issue is not that it is an option, it is that this ‘solution’ has been around for 20 years and no one took a hard look at the options that crowdfunding offered until it was too late. Even as we all seem to focus on Star Citizen (2015) that raised $77 million, the fact that the idea goes back to Auguste Comte (1850) gives rise to more issues. The internet might have made the idea global, but there was a larger issue for the longest of time and the fact that we see a project 4 years ago amass $77 million gives rise to larger concerns. Especially in light of lone wolf dangers that have been around a decade earlier. so even as we see the recognition through: “Senior law enforcement practitioners have suggested that non-violent extremism is often the first step in a process of radicalisation that ends in terrorism, which is why financial analysis into nonviolent extremism should not be overlooked“, the very notion of the text in the Rusi paper on page 17: “The only indicator that appears to be specific to proliferation financing risks relates to whether shipped goods are incompatible with the technical capabilities of the destination country. This highlights a third problem, which is that in order to be able to gain this understanding, an FI would need to: understand the precise technical nature of the item and its potential applications (information that may not be available with sufficient specificity); assess the industrial state of the destination country, including its possible nearterm expansion“, you might recognise two problems. The first is that ‘shipped goods‘ becomes a larger issue when they are spare parts. Consider that some caterpillar crane parts are strong and massive enough to create a stable multi scud launcher, more so when assembly and disassembly could be achieved in under an hour. What is Israel going to do? Bomb a crane? When you realise that the issue grows tenfold with electronics, some might see on how far crowdsourcing could finance a network in Europe and as this danger has been largely accepted since as early as 2012, the entire lack of activity in this realm of non-monitoring makes even less sense. The second part is ‘potential application‘, how many people look at a Caterpillar of Hitachi Crawler crane and considers the spare parts to be the foundation of an optional Scud launching solution? Let’s face it there is no flag that would be raised regarding a construction firm receiving spare parts for their crane.

Now we understand that Rusi made a paper that focusses on the issue, and there is nothing wrong with the paper, it is actually excellent. My issue remains and on page 20 we get the good stuff: “All FIs interviewed for this study said their institutions employed sanctions-screening software to check incoming and outgoing transactions against UN-designated entities, and all were doing so prior to the advent of FATF Recommendation 7.” when we get the ‘UN-designated entities‘ and not the check of facilitators, we see a large delay (in case issues are found), and we get a problem when the situation is not the designations, but the fact that both sides have a middleman and these people talk to the match makers, so we now have a party of five with a Chinese wall in place and the stage where more likely than not, the three in the middle are not on any list, especially the matchmaker, who uses a range of ‘middle man’ for each idea with each transaction, when the transactions become fragmented the chance of not revealed becomes a lot more likely than not and crowdsourcing enables this to a much larger degree, add to this the dark web and bitcoin and we get a mess we cannot decipher. If the facilitators go to the tax office and give them ‘I had a one off consultancy job for a year‘ and pay their taxation on time, it all goes into the IT revenue taxed and not one pig will be squealing, not even as it gets roasted whilst the ‘consultant’ brought home the bacon.

They merely need to consider the office location so that it aligns with: ‘due to the lack of legislation in some jurisdictions to allow an institution to support an asset freeze‘ and the solution is there. And that is when the amount is large enough, when it is smaller, almost never ever true action will be taken, the extremists, political or other can use that system any way it jingles to the beat they needed to hear.

It is a case of musical chairs where the rewards for some really stack up, just like on TV.

 

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