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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A new congregation

I was utterly surprise to see an article in the Guardian that slightly boggled my mind initially. The article comes from Dr Judith Hawley, professor of 18th century literature at Royal Holloway, University of London. There are a few sides to it and the title was more than just an eye catcher. With ‘I didn’t ‘ban’ Fanny Hill because of trigger warnings – I don’t teach it at all‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/aug/15/fanny-hill-ban-university-trigger-warnings-judith-hawley), I initially wondered if it was politically motivated (as I had never read the book in the first place), so I decided to take a look at it. Consider being a professor and making the headline in a magazine like Vogue because of ““Eyebrows were raised when the first erotic novel in the English language, Fanny Hill, was dropped from a 18th-century literature course ‘for fear of offending students’“, you see, that makes perfect sense in America, a nation where the state of Georgia will reward a blowjob with one year imprisonment, apparently being married to the woman who performs this on you is apparently no defence, so go figure. Nope, this issue (the Fanny Hill one) is happening in the Kingdom of the United. So the mail on Sunday, even the Times had the follow up after the Radio 4 message “In the 1980s I both protested against the opening of a sex shop in Cambridge and taught Fanny Hill. Nowadays I would be worried about causing offence to my students” was given by the professor. In addition, we see “I was accused in the papers, remove Fanny Hill from the university course reading list for The Age of Oppositions, 1660-1780 “following a consultation with students” as the Times reported. It was never on the course, therefore it could not have been withdrawn“, so the media got it wrong on more than one count. There is a reference in the Evening Standard that is was Banned, where the writer Lucy Cleland (who fails English comprehension at this point) with “University of London, has apparently banned the book from her reading list 54 years after it was legally allowed to be published and more than 270 years after it was first written” (at https://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/don-t-sanitise-books-such-as-fanny-hill-they-teach-us-so-much-a3611191.html). The professor moves onto the main event with “Yet this isn’t just a story about misrepresentation in the press. There are wider issues at stake, about what is being taught and talked about in universities“, this is actually a lot more important (as I personally see it) than the mere choice of a book being a ‘Yay’ or ‘Nae’ thing. With “The Times article implicitly linked my self-censorship to recent cases of students “no-platforming” public speakers they deemed offensive“. The issue as I see it is “I admit I have been frustrated by students requesting “trigger warnings”, usually about texts which include representations of violence against women. These requests imply that the texts or the teachers of them endorse the violence they represent and that students might be harmed by them. They can, however, provide an opportunity to analyse and respond sensitively to difficult issues“, consider the implication, ‘harm by academic consideration or investigation‘. How are these people even in University? We could consider the words of David Haig (as D.I Grim) with ‘How do such Fooly Woollie Hoiti Toiti academics exist?‘ Not the professor mind you! The professor is being kind by stating it like “But it would be wrong to represent all current students as refusing to listen to views they don’t want to hear. Rather, we could think about this in terms of an evolution in free speech. Students are raising questions about who has the right to speak, the right to determine the agenda, and calling for a diversity of writers to be taught“, the agenda is the education, the degree they signed on for and the teacher has the responsibility to educate them and prepare them for real life as best as possible. you see, when I see ‘Students are raising questions about who has the right to speak‘ as this is getting dangerously close to the judging event of Kristallnacht where Germans decided to burning Jewish goods, like books and paintings. It was not the first time; in 1497 Giralmo Savonarola did something similar in Florence. Here we saw ‘thousands of objects all going up in smoke in front of the Florentine public‘, art that would now be regarded as priceless, books, literary works, all on the whim of censorship by pointing out to the guilty as fornicators and deceivers of the devil, only to propel himself as a prophet and a messiah. So when did this ever go right? We see Ray Bradbury give us the dangers to some extent in Fahrenheit 451. The simplicity of it is within ourselves is by ignoring the side we find uncomfortable, we find it dangerous. There could be some wisdom in banning ‘Mein Kampf’, yet critically analysing it and showing the dangers and teaching the people how dangerous certain approaches are would have been much more powerful. In this it is like making Darrell Huff’s ‘How to lie with statistics‘ a mandatory secondary school subject. when the people at large realise how they are deceived (read misinformed) by the media more often than we realise, that is the first step in making sure that critical facts are displayed to all, giving less rise to innuendo and making all people ask: ‘What are the actual facts?‘ The professor is right that a situation like “they should attend to the power relations implicit in the pedagogic relationship and be aware that students can feel coerced” is a cautious issue to approach. Coercion is dangerous and there should be safety valves to prevent this from getting hold on anyone. In addition, we need to make certain that a critical analysis is available to empower the student with the ability to diffuse situations as they master the trade, the art and their environment. I believe that could in part revoke the issue from growing, which she touches on at the very end. With “A climate of suspicion may be growing on our campuses – but it is fostered in sensational headlines about banning books” If there is a climate of suspicion that it needs to be taken on head on as soon as possible, as visible and as loud as possible. You see, ‘a climate of suspicion‘ can only grow in the shadows, so setting the lights high and bright so that anyone can see everything is the only way to push suspicion in the sewers like the cockroach it is. Open, clear and precise is the only way for the critical mind to move forward and that is the only actual solution. So as the students learn (or would have if the book was on the reading list) is that “The problem with teaching Fanny Hill is not to do with sex, but power“, which in the cold light of day loses power over others as the students learn about the power it emphasises on (or apparently seems to do). It is the media that is the second part and as it implies that something was banned, whilst it was as the professor stated never on the list, is also a needed consideration to see. You see as we know that Mein Kampf is still banned in many places, as such, how can people protect themselves against the message it holds? And we do not need to go that extreme, how about ‘Love comes later‘ in 2014 banned in Qatar, or Lysistrata in Greece, written in 411BC and was banned in 1967 in Greece because it held anti-War message (something about a military junta and feeling anti-empowered by a pussy for peace option). In this where does Fanny Hill fit (perhaps it does not fit)? You see, it is not merely about the fact that books were presuming to be banned, or actually were banned. It was often the empowering reasoning that made them banned. When we see that a 411BC book gave fear to a Greek Junta of 1967, how powerful would the critical analyses be, to empower those opposing an ultra-right military Junta?

So how is the misrepresentation of banning now the message?

It is not, it merely illustrates the dangers why it is important for the students of now, to ignore (to some degree), the elements of opposition. I personally believe that ‘students might be harmed by them‘ is nothing compared by the actual harm that the ignorance of any fact represents. This especially as the harm is speculative and in the end, the academic mind itself is lessened by not knowing. I am not ignorant of the part of “the student body is larger, more diverse, less privileged and more uncertain about the future, and the ubiquity of pornography has changed the terms of the debate“, yet the premise is within ourselves and the university to alter ‘less privileged‘ to some extent. We can tackle ‘uncertain about the future‘ by giving all the parts we can so that uncertainty is partially lessened, by knowing what was, we see that what might be, and prepare ourselves for the larger extent of the eventuality that will present in actuality. ‘Ubiquity of pornography‘ is a much harder issue. By learning that the common place part of sex and desire is at the core of exploitative profit, we can comprehend that inner drive in exploitation is one we can alter and channel (although most likely impossible in any teenager), the fact is that the true illustration on ‘How sex sells‘ is also a first drive towards your money and as such as it is about the price of what is sold, it merely makes the advertiser a pimp of products we ultimately do not need anyway and as such the consumer is more empowered to see how they are exploited, especially through glossy magazines. And these players are all about ‘trigger warnings‘ because the harassment through the message of incoming harm is one that works too often, too well.

In the end I loved the article as it made me contemplate a few things I never really sat for, I was aware of my actions towards ignoring the messages offered to me, yet the realisation that we can voice a certain reflex is also a way to guide it to act (read: react) better. I personally thought that students who undertook ‘The Age of Oppositions‘ would be eminently equipped to utterly ignore (read: counter, or deal with) ‘trigger warnings#JustSaying

The question becomes where to draw the line. Now, that is all up to the professor and the University, and I am not looking at that part, also I make absolutely no implication in any direction on the need for Fanny Hill to be part of that curriculum. The questions that are shaped in my mind are not merely the comprehension of the event, or how the media covered it, it is also the setting of the stage. Consider the 2011 work of ‘The Promise’. One might want to consider the sides, the acts of the British army and how Israel is depicted there, yet in all this, the work that is the dominating part in creating the drama was “Kosminsky says that his overriding aim was to present the experience of the 100,000 British soldiers who served in Palestine“, the view is very unsympathetic to Israel and the Jews, yet the one part not touched on (perhaps validly), is that one religious group got exterminated for 32% of its totality, in the years that would follow, for Europe the numbers were grim beyond comprehension, 63% of the Jewish population was exterminated, so in every Jewish family 2 out of 3 would be dead, the anger, the rage and disbelieve was only catching on in 1947/1948. That part was missed, or perhaps more accurately stated was not the aim of the story, and as such barely covered. It is however the fuel that underlies in the events we see dramatized in the story. We can argue that this is what the Allies wanted all along for the mere reason that 3.7 enrages Jews running free in Europe would not allow for any reparations to commence for decades to come (personal speculation). It does not lessen the TV series, it does not tell you a lie, it merely shows you a side of Palestine 1946-1948 and the experience of the British soldiers in Palestine remains very real. So should we run at the sight of any ‘trigger warnings‘, that is the question we need to look at as well, that is the underlying issue I see in the guardian article. The mere two words ‘trigger warning‘, we should never ignore them, yet are they dealt with correctly? I do not proclaim to have the answer; I am merely voicing the question. Perhaps there is an answer out there that shows me to be wrong. I cannot tell, yet if education and learnings are impeded with ‘trigger warnings’ what do we end up learning? That is as I see it the most dangerous part in what some call ‘the secular society‘. You see, I am not against secularism, I merely seem to see a larger move where it is not merely about separation of church and state any more. It is more and more about halting, censoring and diminishing religion as a whole, to some degree even countering levels of spirituality. The dangers as we might consider people like Charles Bradlaugh, seemingly grows clusters of anti-socialists, not those who are not social, a form of liberalism where there is an implied growth of working against economic self-management. I wonder if it can be proven, some of the works we see imply it, but do not state is as factual (it might not be the case). If ‘trigger warnings’ push the education into learning of ‘we must not cause offence‘ how far is the sheep catechism of our own inner morality to go? Merely follow any flock and let the loudest secular decide? Yet that is the extent of the dangers the next generation face. I have always believed that empowering any person through educating all the sides of the coin (all three sides) is the only way we can see that the coin that falls on the ledge is not magic, just merely a probability closest to zero. Yet is that true? Some sources state that the chance is 1 in 6000. So in a population of billions, how many radicals landed on their edge? Should we be blinded against them by the alerting message of a ‘trigger warning’?

That is not the merely the premise, in some vocations that becomes the name of the game. So the next congregation better be ready for what comes, because the more you know, the better you can solve whatever comes your way, in my personal view, ‘trigger warnings’ be damned.

 

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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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Original Greek food

In the Washington Post, the morning newspaper of choice for America (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/food/wp/2017/08/11/as-greek-yogurt-keeps-proliferating-greece-is-getting-protective/), we see an article on yogurt, Maura Judkis shows us the new way to exploit Parmesan, this is by making yogurt and calling it Greek! With “The Ministry of Agriculture has assembled a group that plans to apply to register “Greek yogurt” in the European Union Register as a term with a protected geographical indication (PGI) or protected designation of origin (PDO)“. In this my initial question would be, ‘Why was this not done before?

Greece needs all the value it can get and Greek yogurt is apparently a big one. I love the stuff, but even I was a bit surprised to see the result with “Chobani saw its sales go from just over $3 million to more than $1.1 billion in its first five years“. So the fact that Chobani is not Greek is not in Greece and owned by a Kurd named Hamdi Ulukaya did not raise flags? I reckon this is one smart cookie; he bought the dispensed building from Kraft and turned it into a goldmine. So is Hamdi in a tough spot? I reckon he is. In his defence he is applying the Greek method of making Greek yogurt, so he has validity in his product, unlike the Czech version, which was taken to court and got scolded. Now, he is the part that is in debate. With “Using the term ‘Greek yogurt’ for products produced outside Greece would deceive consumers and would create unfair competition in the E.U. market” we see a valid case. Even as Parmesan is clearly an Italian product and such should be protected, Chobani finds itself in a similar predicament, or do they?

You see, the origin of Greek yogurt is still at times an issue. Even as we accept ‘Yogurt is known from ancient times , since there are reports from the historian Herodotus in 5th century B.C. and the famous doctor Galen, 2nd century A.D. There are also references to Indo culture that present yogurt with honey as the food of the gods

As I look at some of the historic facts, we need to ask questions, because Herodotus was born in Halicarnassus, which was in fact Persian. Some of the historical parts are a little sketchy, yet of that given and from the fact that he had travelled the ‘then’ known world. Where exactly did it come from and was he calling it Greek Yogurt, because he was Greek? In addition, was the art of straining yogurt limited to Greece?

So although Greece clearly has a case trying to protect Greek Yogurt, is this the trap for the product? So when we look at Article 22 of trips, (at https://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/27-trips_04b_e.htm) we see:

Protection of Geographical Indications

  1. Geographical indications are, for the purposes of this Agreement, indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a Member, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.
  2. In respect of geographical indications, Members shall provide the legal means for interested parties to prevent:

(a) the use of any means in the designation or presentation of a good that indicates or suggests that the good in question originates in a geographical area other than the true place of origin in a manner which misleads the public as to the geographical origin of the good;

(b) any use which constitutes an act of unfair competition within the meaning of Article 10bis of the Paris Convention (1967).

So here we see the protection that Greek Yogurt has or should already have, and that is now the issue of Chobani. In addition, the Washington Post gives me something weird. With “But those rules won’t apply in the United States, where makers are free to label their yogurt as Greek (and where the distance from Greece makes consumer confusion less likely). There are dozens of “Greek” yogurts in grocery stores, from popular brands like Chobani, Yoplait, Dannon and Fage (a Greek company)“, which is an issue, because as a signatory of the WTO, the US should be at the top of enforcing parts of this. Yet with the opposing defence of ‘the distance from Greece makes consumer confusion less likely‘ we see another part of implied American exploitation. It is seen in a paper by Peter Drahos titled ‘Developing Countries and International Intellectual Property Standard-setting‘ (at http://www.anu.edu.au/fellows/pdrahos/reports/pdfs/UKCommIPRS.pdf)

On page 6 we see “For example, a number of corporations from the US, Europe and Japan claiming to represent the international business community released a document in 1989 that indicated strong support for a plurilateral agreement on intellectual property during the Uruguay Round (the mechanism of modeling). Australia supported the US position on TRIPS despite being a net intellectual property importer because it believed that by doing so it would achieve gains in the area of agriculture.

The US has been playing a powerful business game and they have seemingly won, yet as the sides that have been agreed on, the US is in a place where they would have to give in towards Europe, this is partially clear when we look at the information that the USPTO gives us. Yet in all this the Washington Post is equally giving a disturbing fact. From their view ‘But those rules won’t apply in the United States, where makers are free to label their yogurt as Greek‘, whilst at the same time the United States Patent and Trademark Office (at https://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/web/offices/dcom/olia/globalip/pdf/gi_system.pdf) gives us: ““Geographical indications” (“GIs”) are defined at Article 22(1) of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 1995 Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) as “indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a Member, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographic origin.”” as well as “Geographical indications serve the same functions as trademarks, because like trademarks they are:

1) source-identifiers,

2) guarantees of quality, and

3) valuable business interests.

The United States has found that by protecting geographical indications through the trademark system – usually as certification and collective marks — the United States can provide TRIPS-plus levels of protection to GIs, of either domestic or foreign origin.

So from that part, not only is the WP incorrect (to some degree), if Greece pushes forward (and they should), there is every chance that Chobani will soon be relabeling their product. They should consider going with ‘Original Strained Yogurt‘ and the faster they move, the quicker they get to push the envelope in the US (and Global) on the niche they are creating. Oh, and Chobani is not the only one in this situation, there are heaps more and as such Greece should have pushed for the changes a lot sooner, if only to give push and rise to Greek exports.

Even as the Washington Post is trivialising it with: “No, actually, we’re all about French yogurt now. What is French yogurt? It’s a yogurt that comes in a cute glass pot, with a cute brand name — “Oui” — made by Yoplait“, which is merely the waves of consumers, they will get back to the Greek solution and as such for players like Chobani to get the ‘Original Strained Yogurt‘ message out will matter sooner rather than later, because the moment the consumer wave is bored with the glass cup, they will look around again and at that point whoever plays the game better gets those consumers and with the increase of 400 times the original revenue in 5 years makes it a serious task to set the right message and address the right people. I took one look at their website (www.chobani.com) and noticing how ‘Greek Yogurt‘ is their forte, which is not bad, yet if Greece gets their way in this and the information as even the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) gives it, the Greek enforcement would not be totally impossible, adhering to change and educating the consuming readers now will make a truckload of difference down the track. In my view it is not whether the ‘Greek Yogurt‘ mention is valid or not, it is for the most the strongest message the website throws into our eyes and as such they need to consider their steps. The only other thing I noticed is that they had not taken the trouble to make a mobile app to keep people informed, with a $1 billion plus, that seems like a failure to me. If the product is all, than being seen everywhere matters, especially in this mobile environment. Even when we take the Denver Post (March 9th) at their word, where Chobani chief marketing officer Peter McGuinness said he’s not worried about imitation. “It hasn’t hurt our business because our food is better”, this might be true in his case, yet the rivals need to get creative, so Peter McGuinness needs to get (read: stay) ahead of them before they get a chance to catch up, the game is not just to get ahead of all, it is equally a case to make sure that they cannot catch up. It is the one lesson that Sony learned too late with Betamax, VHS was never anywhere near the quality that Sony offered, yes in 1983, 8 years after Betamax was released it was clear that VHS had won and it was downhill for Betamax from there. It seems to me that if Chobani is not assertively busy keeping the message on track others can start to catch up and as such Chobani should not give up ‘Greek yogurt‘, but informing the consumer what ‘Original Strained Yogurt‘ is could make the difference between a clear first position, or a shared top group. The need for that part is equally in the Denver Post as we see “Then there’s the food companies’ relentless drive to improve profit margins. Amid the industry’s sales decline, General Mills, Mondelez International Inc., Kellogg and Campbell have aggressively cut costs“, the question becomes how are they cutting costs? Are they resorting to additives or alternatives to straining as short cuts in manufacturing? Either way, at this point Chobani could have the edge on two terms (for now) and a clear ‘original’ message if Greece continues and secures protection on Geographical Indication. The Washington Post was not incorrect in their statement, even as it differed from the USPTO, yet the other side is that even as the TPP is dead, whatever follows will still have the parts in it and Europe is more and more protective of certain items. We saw in 2014 “As part of trade talks, the EU wants to ban the use of European names like Parmesan and Gruyere on cheeses made in the US“, with consumer value being more and more important, whatever trade agreement comes through at some point, the Europeans will push for this part and the US with much larger Pharmaceutical avenues will most likely give in on that point if they want to have any hope of stopping generic medication to get a freehold in the EU and UK. As such those who alter the course of their products now are in a much better position when they get overrun with some ‘sudden’ news on the matter. In this, I will not and cannot proclaim I am correct. Yet I can state that my view is indeed more likely than not the correct assessment. We will see soon enough if my view holds water. The fact that Pappas Post reported 22 hours ago “Greece’s Ministry of Agriculture has (finally) assembled a group of experts that are planning the application process to register “Greek yogurt” in the European Union Register as a term with a protected geographical indication (PGI) or protected designation of origin (PDO)” implies that the forming of the application is now underway, and whichever trade talks happens during the current US administration could give rise to changes that Chobani and others need to comply with soon thereafter.

 

 

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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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