Tag Archives: ABC

And the case is?

ABC shows us an article, which I saw yesterday and even as it is fine, even as it is nothing new, it is brought to us like it is an exclusive look at what has been happening for a long time now. The article (at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-05-03/video-games-you-play-are-using-sneaky-tactics-four-corners/100098826) gives us “Persuading players to pay for advantages or extra features is a key part of the gaming business model”, yes that has been happening long before Candy Crush was a thing. And then we get the part where stupid takes over. With “Kat McDonald lost track of how much she was spending when paying with an in-game currency” we are given the taste of how she is an innocent victim, she is not. We also get “I wasn’t sure how to work out an itemised account, because on your bank account, it just says Apple”, from my point of view this is not a victim, this is an extremely stupid person. Even as the writers are trying to hide it all behind “Game developers will sometimes use multiple currencies to make it difficult for players to keep track of how much they’re spending”, we are being told a story for some reason that has not been revealed yet.

Whats up?
So to give you the lowdown, most games use two currencies, the normal one that everyone has and the premium one that only some get and needs to be paid for. For example Bethesda’s Fallout shelter has credits for all users, but you can buy Nuka Cola to get the advantage. They do give out Nuka Cola to all players in missions, you can find them and there is a chance Cappie and Bottle leave some when they visit you. I have at present 350 Nuka cola bottles, I have never spent a cent on the game. The game Gems of War has a few options in that regard, however like Fallout Shelter, I have never had to spend any money to get ahead, I merely had to play a lot. These two are for the most exceptions to the lot. Some games use gold bars, some use diamonds and so on. The important part is that ‘THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FREE GAME!’ The two exceptions I mentioned offer to sell you stuff and it is appealing, but it is up to you the player to either take the grind road or take the spend road, take some responsibility! So when I see “Kat became so immersed in the game she lost track of how much she spent on multiple small purchases” and “I sat down with a notepad and pen and wrote out every single transaction and added it up to $4,000”, at this point I wonder how stupid the journalist actually is. You see $4,000 amounts to 400 to 1000 purchases, and that is not merely ‘she lost track’, this is one of these (as I personally see it) stupid people who should not be allowed near a credit card, just like the person spending $12,000 on FIFA purchases. We need to accept that either you are responsible, or you need to be, never near a credit card ever again. This sounds harsh but that is how it is. Yes we see that gaming makers have a business model, some are revolving around your data and advertising, some are about selling items and some are all of the aforementioned. This is not new, this is no rocket science, this merely is.

So when we get to “Or you or me could just spend some money then and there and get all the advantages that come with having progressed”, which is true and in many cases that advantage can be gotten in the beginning by spending $3-$10, depending on the game. The important realisation is to do this only once, the initial grind is the longest one.

I had this once with a game called Castle Age, I spent in the early 10 hours about $5, it got me a character (and gear) that gave me a huge leg up in the beginning. I did not feel guilty, this was in the early days of Facebook and Castle Age was a cool game to play. I played the game for about 2-3 years about an hour a day, so it was $5 well spent. That against $4,000 is a larger setting. We all get the vibes to dole out money if we have it, but to spend about 40 times the funds for a PS5 game is just ridiculous. And the ‘getting hooked’ is only part of the setting, when someone spends that much money it is not (or at the very least debatable) addiction, it is stupidity and some excuse like “But I was still participating because it was still giving me that dopamine rush” it becomes my personal conviction that anyone relying on ‘dopamine rush’ should have stuck with comfort food (and chocolate is cheaper too).

There you have it
And that is when the article is showing its actuarial part, the McDonalds were as I see it merely used to bring the goods towards “In loot boxes … you don’t buy the game for the reward mechanism but the reward mechanism is there. You purchase access to this … and you get a random outcome, that might be very valuable or not at all valuable”, yes another go at the loot boxes, which in my point of view is not gambling. Some games hand out loot boxes on a daily basis, some give them out when ‘milestones’ are reached, or specific circumstances are met and some use them as well as those that can only be bought, but the ones you buy tend to have more valuable cards, items and options. And in all this, no one is responsible, it is the poor poor player and the evil maker of games. Please go cry me a river, when you spend $12,000 on loot boxes you are absolutely bonkers, more important, the main part of the game does not require these loot boxes. In some games (Ubisoft) they offer them, yet they also CLEARLY state that these items can be gained by normal play without spending cash, and such items are a mere few dollars. Then there is the view of game influencer Laura Gilbert, which I actually love (her point of view, not her, before you get the wrong idea)  “Gaming influencer Laura Gilbert refuses to buy any loot boxes”, I agree, to be more clear, if a game cannot be played without loot boxes, it should not be allowed to be released. And even in FIFA, the part that uses loot boxes is not the foundational part of the game, or it was never originally so, I do not know how it is now to be honest, because I loathe soccer, I am a hockey player (the real version on ice). 

Two more things
There is “Video gaming has grown into one of the most lucrative entertainment businesses in the world”, that is true, there is a hidden gem (for the game makers). In the first there is the need for short term satisfaction, we are all OURSELVES guilty of that, you, me we all are, I might be clever enough to avoid certain traps, but I see that they are there. The other side that there are games that have a pay to win foundation (candy crush like games, any game with a match three approach (Gems of War excepted), there is a pay to play setting, this is harder, we see the Idle games, where we can play the foundational games, but when there are competitions, the only way to reach the ranks is to pay for special items, special managers, more powerful miners, the list goes on, it is never a lot, but in the beginning be ready to pay $3-$7 to get the better people in the game. There is the option to watch ads to continue, yes you can avoid them, but it slows you down, so to get the leg up you will be watching 5-15 ads per hour, so how is that satisfying?  And they also offer options to get the really rare cards, but they tend to cost a few $$$. All this is out in the open, so the entire “They kept messaging me, telling me to come back and play” as well as “so immersed in the game she lost track of how much she spent on multiple small purchases” are as I personally see it, parts of the BS foundation, it is time to take responsibility, but the writers of the article are in part making statements, but to the larger extend it to bring loot boxes out to another round of finger pointing, all whilst the players need to take responsibility for their own actions. 

The article does however end with “Gamers are now starting to realise how they’ve been played”, I find little to oppose this, and the larger state was achieved by me in the beginning. There is no such game as a FREE GAME. There is ALWAYS a price to pay, in all the games I have seen two exceptions. Bethesda gave us Fallout shelter, even though it was initially done to give larger visibility to their Fallout line and they made a lot of money out of the other games, which had to be purchased. There is an optional truth that they hoped that the microtransactions would give them more money and it did, yet I have played it on 4 systems, and I never had a need to make any kind of purchase. The other part is Gems of war, there it was a new game with no link to anything else, and they offer options for purchase, but they never push for it and I never had to buy anything, there is no pay to win, or pay to play. Perhaps in higher stages, but on one system I made it to level 150 without spending a cent. They might be the two exceptions, and I am not new to gaming. I started testing and reviewing games in 1989, so I have been around for some time (I started with a VIC-20 in 1983). 

There is one part I stepped over (intentionally), it is the quote “Microtransactions started appearing in games in the mid-2000s, encouraging people to repeatedly make small purchases to keep them involved”, I do not oppose it, but I wonder which games had that first? I noticed it first with Candy Crush, they were not alone but the math gave me the speculated insight that it was designed to ‘almost make you succeed’, it was very clever and I deleted the game the same day. There is no way to beat an algorithm, that much was pretty clear to me. We can go on for a long time, but the larger setting is the irresponsible spending of people and that is left on the side of the road, it is equally irresponsible to do that. I believe that the ABC article fails to a much larger degree at that point, from my point of view it was about the push on loot boxes and to help out Senator Jordon Steele-John (Greens), but that is my take on the article.

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What did they not see?

You think it is simple, but if you have been in photography like me (1975), that question becomes easier to comprehend, but explaining that becomes harder, I get that. Distractions, obstructions, light and focus are 4 basic elements of missing a detail, optionally several details. Yet the professional photographer learned not to be hindered by obstructions and to adjust for focus and light, which leaves the focussed photographer and the photographer. So the focussed photographer can make the ‘snatch’ shot and the photographer merely looks for a tissue. Seems bland and crude but this example matters.

To see one application, we need to turn to ‘Telstra, NATO and the USA’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/06/20/telstra-nato-and-the-usa/), an article I wrote in 2018 “unless you work for the right part of Palantir inc, at which point your income could double between now and 2021”, the shares were at $9.69 and ended last night at $23.18, basically I saw that coming a mile away. And that is not all, there are several avenues where their value should at the very least double within the next 19 months. It is the flaws we set ourselves up for and when the stupid people (loud mouthed politicians) realise that their loud mouths will require data, Palantir is close to the only option they have.

That article has a few more connections to what is to come, the most important part if 5G and there is a lot going on (at https://www.gadgetguy.com.au/australian-5g-speeds-truth-revealed/) in Australia. Gadget Guy gave us last week one take (not the highest quality source), but they do give us  “There are two issues for Australian 5G speeds. The primary is that despite Telstra insistence that it covers 50% of Australians and 75% of the population by the end of June, it does not! nPerf (based on real 5G user’s) shows minimal reception. The second is real download and upload speed. While the average is 240.9/15.5Mbps Mbps, it is well short of Telstra’s hype – so fanciful we won’t embarrass it by mentioning it’s up to 20Gbps claim debacle when first introduced”, oh hold on, did I not give you “The problem is that even as some say that Telstra is beginning to roll out 5G now, we am afraid that those people are about to be less happy soon thereafter. You see, Telstra did this before with 4G, which was basically 3.5G” with a reference to ABC in 2011 on how Telstra was BS’ing the population on the 28th of September 2011. So thats two elements where we see that their ‘photographers’ ignored obstacles, blamed the lens makers for focal points, the sun for shining to brightly and they all went running for their tissues. They audience got distracted (as I personally see it) by all the baubles that they were offering. It worked in 1700, so why not in 2021? Yet CMO gives us 2 days ago (at https://www.cmo.com.au/article/688024/tourism-australia-7-eleven-telstra-balancing-data-driven-engagement-consumer-consent/) “Panel of digital executives share the role of first-party data and personalisation in their customer experience approaches against consumer consent and control of their privacy”, a setting where we might see that a panel of 5 are slicing the new currency (data) cake in a way that THEY are happy with, all whilst we are told “the key is to balance data sophistication as a business with consumer controls and transparency. He also noted the varying levels of control and regulation around using data across geographies such as Europe versus the US, which the tourism bureau is operating in”, yet the answer which was not really an answer is about ‘balance data sophistication’, all whilst ‘consumer controls’ (for the consumer) will be as nonexistent as possible. We might not get that when we see “invest in first-party identifiers as well as a unified ID for the tourism industry that can be leveraged”, yes but to what extend it is leveraged is never stated, merely implied, the additional ‘unified ID’ would have a much larger impact, but that too is never stated, they all want as large a slice of that data pie and Cambridge Analytica has made them very very cautious. 

These two elements are merely that, elements. Yet the underlying data there will require analyses and whilst some will claim that they can, Palantir is close to the only source that actually can analyse the whole lot and that is what I saw coming a mile away. 

A linked small digression
You see it takes a massively large level of stupid (and greed) to cater to this, but I believe that the EU (Margrethe Vestager) is trying and optionally succeeding in pulling this off. She is all about “European Commission anti-trust regulator Margrethe Vestager tweeted that “consumers are losing out”. It relates to charges brought two years ago by music streaming app Spotify which claimed that Apple was stifling innovation in that industry”, you might think that, but I do not. You see the article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-56941173) gives us “It relates to charges brought two years ago by music streaming app Spotify which claimed that Apple was stifling innovation in that industry”, no it had set a premise to all (which it does not), all 23,000,000 Apple developers. It set a premise where they could develop whatever they want whilst having zero deployment cost and they would be charged as they gained incomes, so not the $75,000 upfront to get started, but after the fact and with no time limit. As such wannabe innovators flourished. It never stifled innovation, it limited greed. So whilst we see the painting of bad bad evil Apple, no one is looking at the fact that Spotify is paying artists HALF of what Apple and Google pays them, it amounts to $0.0032 per stream, so to make 1 cent, the song needs to be requested 3 times. This is why I still buy music, at least the artists I care about will get a much better slice. 

And when we see the image where they are now CHARGING for algorithms, all whilst they made a brute gross profit of $575,000,000 in Q4 2020, I think that the EU commissioner is massively loopy. You see, this is about consolidating greed plain and simple and in the process it will endanger consumers (the ones she claimed to protect). 

The image is merely one element of greed, it goes further. That part is not directly seen, but the BBC does give the goods with ‘The ransomware surge ruining lives’ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-56933733), there we see “Ransomware gangs are now routinely targeting schools and hospitals. Hackers use malicious software to scramble and steal an organisation’s computer data”, in this the larger stage is not merely the theft, it is how they use larger systems to spread across all the internet and with 5G that danger becomes 5,000%. You see people like Spotify, Epic Games et all want to be outside the Google and Apple store, but they will limit protection (they will call it something else) and when the consumer ends up paying for that, we will get to see all kinds of apologies, but it was not entirely THEIR fault. As such I say, when you get hit (and you will) make sure that as you sue Spotify for damages, you add Daniel Ek and Margrethe Vestager to the culprits of your damages. Organised crime is getting better and better in walking away and as such their greed must be addressed in courts and their approach towards a ‘too big to fail’ setting must be answered, the data will be out there and s such players like Palantir will make even more money, it will be all about the data from 2022 onwards, in this the OCCRP their 2021 serious organised crime threat assessment where we see “The threat from cyber-dependent crimes is set to further increase in volume and sophistication over the coming years”, and in this stage Margrethe Vestager is willing to open the floodgates towards greed driven idiots setting the stage for organised crime getting more? You think that will ever be a great idea? I think not. 

And it does not stop there. The fact that the exchange hack was hard to detect for a long time, some hacks were out in the field for years and now we see greed driven idiots scale away the two decent bastions of protection that consumers have (Apple and Google) and let others skate around them? How long until we see some corrupted Amazon like app via a phishing spree be offered to millions. By the time some will have a clue billions will have been shifted and who pays for that? Insurers?  I very much doubt that. As such these two will be required to sit in the dock explaining their catering to greed. You see if Margrethe Vestager was really about the consumers, she would also be about protecting the artists and where is it acceptable that they get one third of a cent for a song? Is there more? Yes, but I will admit that this is part speculation. The BBC article gives us “The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, also a member of the Ransomware Task Force says it handled more than three times as many ransomware incidents in 2020 than in the previous year”, you see paying a bitcoin is only one part, the data can still be shared with others and as data become currency the damage setting goes up by a lot. The dangerous part is that commissioner Vestager knows that the law and policing are not up to the task and she is catering to someone with dubious greed needs? One that underpays artists by what I consider to be as close as criminal levels of renumeration? And in my mind, some excuse ‘If we get this they get more’ does not float, in that setting their business model was wrong from day one, in addition, the entire algorithm setting shows a larger exploitation to kindle greed and leave an artist with less. So how accomodating to EU consumers do you think Margrethe Vestager actually is, that in opposition to catering to greed driven players? Apple and Google might not be god, not great but they agreed on a format to keep their consumers safe all whilst giving an option for starting developers to score big, the fact that these players were not as good as they hoped they would be and as they relied on advertisement to push the players is a mere side effect, but without these store protection, the mess will be close to unimaginable and players like Palantir will have the data  and the greed driven players (as well as some not too bright politicians) get to defend themselves in the dock against lawyers with massive class actions. When that happens, be sure that you have  stocked up on popcorn, because it will be worth watching. It will be reality TV with lots of fake tears and CEO’s claiming that they did not know certain things and watch their fortunes dwindle. It will be a much better class of reality TV for some time to watch.

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Saved by the Ding Dong

Yup, we all have these moments, you are about to take a dive into one direction, hen just in time, you see the shark swim by and as it goes, you end up jumping the shark by jumping away. I was about to go into a stage of my opposition to existential philosophy, it does not matter why, but the stage is seen as the shark (scammers) give me a reason to jump the other way. So as ABC gives us ‘Scammers target desperate renters on Sunshine Coast as housing crisis continues, the article (at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-12/scammers-taking-advantage-of-desperate-sunshine-coast-renters/100032390), where we see “Late last year Morgan Smith, a single mother of two, found “a gorgeous house” in Peregian Springs at a reasonable price, listed on Facebook”, it is a state of as close as pointless and useless as a situation gets. This is not about the almost victim Morgan Smith, she did as much as she could have, the idea that in a stage of 0.4% availability. Do you seriously think that anyone would would offer a ‘reasonable price’ location via Facebook to complete strangers? A person with available rental property will soon have more fake friends than Kim Kardassian ever had. 

The stage of Facebook is overrated and to some degree outright dangerous and the federal government there (QLD) is clueless, outmatched and overwhelmed to the largest degree. I will bet you that there is not a viable trace to work on with these scammers, is there? 

So when we take notice of “Since the start of the year the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has received 32 reports of rental or accommodation scams from Queenslanders, totalling $8,000 in losses”, we see the larger failing of places like Facebook, a stage not for the openminded and openly communicating people, but the ones seeking scams and phishing opportunity against unknown people and the stage is set by not INFORMING the people on the dangers of Facebook, because like that shark in the deep blue sea, Facebook has it own level of vermin and they hide better online than the roaches in your living room. So, as we start to take notice of ““The second one is that Australia has really lax laws around cybersecurity.” Mr Connory estimated there were about two million cyber crimes committed last year”, some might take notice of just how clueless the federal government is. A stage that has been there for several years and a stage that has according to some ‘two million cyber crimes committed’, and still we see the federal government fighting for advertisement money and a lot less for increased protection for it citizens and increased options for hunting down cybercriminals? Aren’t you wondering why that is? Is it because the bill is only $8,000? I wonder what ill be found when we consider “1.93 million of those cybercrimes were never investigated, never looked at”, as such when we see ““If somebody has your date of birth, your tax file number and your driver’s licence  they can act as if they were you. “They can go and create companies, they can try to set up phone bills.” Mr Connory said that a driver’s licence and tax file number could not be changed in several states. “Once they’ve been compromised, you’re always going to have issues, pretty much for the rest of your life,” he said.” In this I take offence to: ‘Once they’ve been compromised, you’re always going to have issues, pretty much for the rest of your life’, if the Federal Government has that much problems fixing the matter, give me the name and address of the roach, I will personally cap their fucking brains, it needs to end and there needs to be a clear consequence there too. If if cannot be fixed we need to find another solution and if the only good scammer is a dead scammer, then so mote it be. We see the government coming up short, we see tech firms coming up short and we merely see victims, so who is with me on this?

I do not fault the ACCC, I get it when they give us “A spokesperson for the ACCC said to be wary of “any property you are told you will be unable to view in person before handing over any bond or rent money”.” And it makes sense to do the research, it really does, yet the stage we see now is a stage with two players (government and Facebook) letting the scam ride and none of them have a clue to stop it, especially when they rely on AI, and when we consider that AI is still a decade away, they are basically telling the scammers that they have a decade left to make a killing, so why do we not invoke our own killing? 

Emotions?
This is indeed overemotional, yet the stage of people in pain (shortage of budgets), people hurting (impact of budget) and we see some scammers having a field day. We need to make sure that they understand that they must be willing to put their lives on the line, if they are relying on the minor defence, too bad, their parents should have been there to teach them the lessons that matter, if they are adult they should accept that there is a price for everything. We played the nanny state to these clowns for too long and now when we realise that there are well over a million optional victims, it is time to make the tally. It is the cost of doing business and if so, business will be good. When you consider that we can buy a 9mm bullet for $0.61, we can conclude that business will be good for us and perhaps a little less good for the scammers. We can twist and turn all we can and come up with some kind of ‘compromise’, yet I feel that it is way too late for that, especially as the law and Facebook seem more protective of the scammers, than the victims, so why do we not turn that around?

I am all for the law, yet I believe that the law has failed its victims too often and it is time to give the scammers less protection, also less life, but that might merely be me. 

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The better news

Ships run amok, churches are under attack and a funeral in Myanmar is more dangerous than the streets of Detroit, all events that people take notice of, I am not one of them, I saw more, I notice what was actually an important step. Arab News (at https://www.arabnews.com/node/1832566/saudi-arabia) gives us ‘Houthi rejection of Saudi peace plan is based on ‘flawed notion’’, it is one view to have, I am not sure if I completely agree, but their view can be seen as such. So when we see ““But the Houthis must realise that the world is completely united (in its desire to) achieve peace in Yemen, and it is united behind the Saudi initiative,” said political analyst Mubarak Al-Ati.” We need to add the quote “The Houthi militias in Yemen and their Iranian sponsors have rejected the latest Saudi peace initiative designed to end the crisis in the country because they believe the international community is divided on the issue”, you see the setting can now be seen in a few ways, the first one comes from ‘Houthi militias in Yemen and their Iranian sponsors’, this is a first side, you see Iran is in a proxy war with Saudi Arabia and when peace talks start their campaign ends and they need to add another failure to their historical books and that is what they are unable to do, they are willing to sacrifice the ENTIRE Yemeni nation before that happens, and that is only one side and one part of the equation. There is another side in this (highly speculative) and that I seen on the American side who has been cancelling arms deals and are willing to see this war go on risking more and more Yemeni lives, they made what I would call a non written agreement with the UK, Germany and France to stop weapons to Saudi Arabia for now. That act alone is the direct cause for 3 years of prolongation in the Yemeni war, so when does it end? That is a stage that is in the hands of the media as it fans the flames of emotion, you see ABC gave is two weeks ago ‘Yemen conflict escalates as country speeds toward famine’, you see it is not the headline that matters, it is the fact that we have been seeing these headlines for well over 5 months, so were they misinforming us then, or are they misinforming us now? You tell me.

As we take notice of “the world is completely united to achieve peace in Yemen, and it is united behind the Saudi initiative”, we would agree, but it would be nice if the media picks this up more loudly and a lot more front page covering on the attempt, the Sydney Morning Herald has all kinds of news on Saudi Arabia, but not the peace attempt, just like they avoided reporting on more than one Houthi missile attack on Saudi civilians. Several media players have also been downplaying the Iranian involvement in all this, so as I see it no one really cares that much about Yemeni lives, least of all Save the Children Australia, who is eager to mention “A number of Australian companies are involved in exporting goods to countries waging war in Yemen”, yet in their setting, there is not one mention of Iran or the Houthi atrocities against the children, why is that?

So for the most I tend to agree with Mubarak Al-Ati, but in all this the media, the western media has another game play in mind and the death of all the children in Yemen is not a concern for them, if it was than there would have been a lot more camera’s on that place, but there is no value, there is nothing to get for them there, their digital needs and their needs from Google takes precedence, even as it makes little difference, the need for the media is becoming obsolete, not real investigative journalism, but they too will become a casualty of war, I wonder what the media endgame is.

So even as I like the setting of “Martin Griffiths, the UN’s envoy to Yemen, and Tim Lenderking, the US special envoy to the country, will probably travel to Muscat for talks with the Houthis to emphasise that “the time has come to end the suffering of the Yemeni people” and persuade them to support the peace process”, I wonder how much impact it will have. As I personally see it the Houthi’s connected themselves to Iran and they are now Iranian tools and a tool has no voice, Iran has more need of them, Saudi Arabia is still there and that vexes Iran. In this Tariq Al-Zahrani  sees it my way, it is seen in “The Houthis are following the instructions of Iran and are working on preserving Iranian interests in the region”, and where does that leave Martin Griffith and Tim Lenderking? Yup, you got it, out in the cold, a place where Richard Burton found more than these two people will. 

Yet is that all? No it is not!

Arab News makes a jump to the left with ““The Houthis are a political card the Democrats are using to put pressure on the Republicans,” he said. “They are trying to prove that the war in Yemen and (the decision by former President) Donald Trump’s administration to withdraw from the nuclear agreement with Iran are both mistakes committed by the Republicans.”” It is a part I can agree with, but that would also imply that the media has a much larger role to play and misinformation is merely one side, the foundational flaw of catering to the need to Iran is a much larger flaw and it comes with disastrous consequences, a side where the democrats are willing to sacrifice Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Israel to make it happen and the best these three can hope for when it does go wrong is a mere ‘Oops!’ From the oval office, like that will be accepted at that point, and when any of it impacts the northern side of the Mediterranean, the US will have pissed off the Christian, Islamic and Jewish populations all at once, quite the achievement.

Oh, and when that happens, the media will not have to wait for some new Leveson inquiry, there is every chance that members from the media will be strung up to the nearest tree in a whole range of nations, it is a risk that comes with catering to ones stakeholders, stakeholders who will be in hiding and in denial all over the US at that point, all claiming miscommunication, what a world we live in. Yet, do not take my word on this, just watch the event unfold as Iran is catered to again and again, that is the play I personally see and perhaps I am all wrong, I will let you see the lack of covering on one side and the downplaying of events on the other. The better news is that it would solve the media issue quite nicely.

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The black door of death

Yup there is a door, a black door, some say it is the door of death. Hades assures me it is a door of change and opportunity, but then that man is not happy until the news given to all is gloomy beyond belief. I am a republican, I never made a secret of that and in some cases I gave that news up front. Today we see why! Al Jazeera gives us (among others) “Trump lawyers and House impeachment managers have decided to avoid calling witnesses in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, beginning four hours of closing statements”, then we get ABC giving us “Mr Evans, 35, appeared before a federal judge in Huntington West Virginia on Friday afternoon after being arrested. If convicted, he faces up to a year and a half in federal prison for two misdemeanours: entering a restricted area and disorderly conduct. A growing number of Republicans and Democrats have said they want to expel Mr Evans from the legislature if he does not resign. His lawyer, John Bryan, said Mr Evans was acting as an amateur journalist recording the day’s events and he was not involved in violence. He said Evans did not commit a crime and did not plan to step down”, a setting when we consider “two black men were arrested last week when a store employee called police to say the men were trespassing. The protests followed the release of a video that showed the two men being arrested after a store manager called the police because they were sitting in the store without placing an order” (source: the Guardian), as such, they could have avoided arrest and cuffing if they called themselves ‘amateur journalists’?

We see the defence give us “It was a report from a reporter from a friend of somebody who had some hearsay they heard the night before at a bar somewhere”, we see hundreds of hours of footage, we see a loud mouthed petulant bullish childish NYC realtor gave us on January 6th “Today I will lay out just some of the evidence proving that we won this election and we won it by a landslide. This was not a close election”, we are also given “Trump defence dodges question on what he did to stop Capitol attack, says there was no insurrection”, yet the democrats miss the ball again and again. So what was this media circus, a show? A let this all be good for the grace of death?

And now we see “Former President Donald Trump acquitted again” (source: ABC news). The democrats foil the ball yet again, OK, I will admit that there are a few dubious characters on my side of the isle, yet proper investigation and interrogation might have gone a long way in this. 

So why do I care? I think something despicable happened, and a knowingly lying former president of the USA is not a good way to stage the setting. But that also opens the door of opportunity. And that door is not a nice one. I hereby call upon the specialist (read: CIA Wet Teams) to set a new standard. In an age of “Ransomware attacks are proving more lucrative for cyber criminals as even organisations that can restore from backups are paying ransom demands to prevent further damage”, as well as “As 2020 started, only the Maze ransomware gang was using this tactic. But as it ended, an additional 17 ransomware crews had taken to publishing stolen data of victims if they didn’t receive payment”. As such I am asking (read: demanding) that the CIA Wet teams are activated to secure American business safety. The victims are wide spread “They included 1,681 schools, colleges and universities, 560 healthcare facilities and 113 federal, state and municipal governments and agencies. Meanwhile, over 1,300 private companies were also hit by ransomware attacks”, as such we set the C.W.T. (CIA Wet Teams) in the field and we kill these people, no long wasted court-time, just a bullet through the back of the head. I don’t care it comes from a 16 year old with a crying excuse “I wanted to be cool”, that person will be pretty cool (ground temperature) in a casket, unless he is cremated, that person will be room temperature (still cool). Is that too much? I think it is time to set a different premise, it is time to set the premise of ‘enough is enough’, the law has not worked , not for 2-3 decades, scare tactics did not and as such, after the first half dozen are found and put to death, the rest will dump their computers faster than anything else they ever had and as such they are dealt with. It is a bit over the top, but Hades told me that there would be opportunity, so I sought one, I found one and now I am casing one. 

The setting stage of such failing blunders on the democratic side is just the start of the larger stage, the attacks on Saudi Arabia, whilst the actions by Iran on this are are almost 100% ignored, there is more one sided actions, as such setting a larger footprint on the other side of the fence is not the worst tactic to use, and lets face it, apart from the ransomware attackers (and their mummies and daddies) how much real opposition will there be? The second acquittal opened a new door, a door of all those thinking there would be no accountability for electing a stupid person, lets make sure that the new signals are a clear given sign that this was not the case and that we are all in a stage of having had enough. That is how I see it, yet I could be wrong.

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When is news not news?

Yup, the news is overwhelmingly misdirecting. Now, I have no issue with stupid people, these politicians are to the larger extend greed driven and not the greatest source of reliable information. This has always been the case, you see politicians are all about constituents, yet an industrial constituent beats ten unemployed constituent, that is because the unemployed version does not prolong his or her career, the industrial could be a donor and set the politician up for life, that has always been the largest setting, it was for the longest time most visible in the US, but now it seems, Australia is about to follow suit. This is seen in a few ways, but let’s take a look at the first.

ABC gives us (at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-01-22/google-stop-search-engine-australia-news-media-code/13079912) “Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pushed back against a threat by Google to stop making its search engine available in Australia if it is forced to pay news outlets for showing links to their websites and stories under a new media code”, you think that this is a simple thing, but the less intelligent person (currently prime minister), is not looking through his glasses, they are merely spectacles. In all this, it is about paying for news, yet the silly people (read: politicians) are being played a fool. This is seen when we Google ‘Google Australia’ looking for this news.

We are given the link, which gives us a subscription image and this paper is not the only one doing that, they are using news items for advertisement, so why exactly does goole have to pay for THAT privilege?

You might be Prime Minister Scott, but you do not have a fucking clue what you are tainting with adjusted media laws, perhaps you need to cater less to Murdoch wannabe’s and consider the larger frame (which you do not fathom). And in all this, your team (as well as the Labor team) to overhaul tax laws in a just way, your greed driven friends did not allow for that, did they? So you created a digital ship that is not is not waterproof, not sea worthy and optionally is unaware of the setting called liquid. So when the impact of no Google hits Australian businesses they will all scream and then you are shown to be the loser you really are.

And this is not new, I mentioned this before and over that time no true investigation was done. And when we consider “The two companies are fighting against legislation currently before the parliament which would force the digital platforms to enter into negotiations with news media companies for payment for content”, I wonder why, consider that the news media has the option not to be digital, not to be online, not to show content, but that is just too much for them and Scott Morrison knows this, so like a Dick (Turpin) he goes from digital firm to digital firm like a highway robber, all whilst the setting of the news outlets are debatable at best and they have been for several years (ABC and SBS excluded), and as such why should Google pay? These links are offered, so tell the news media to stop offering these links, I reckon that when the Courier Mail and the Australian can no longer advertise in that way, they too will cry like little girls. 

Did I oversimplify the issue here?

So when we consider “forced to pay news outlets for showing links to their websites and stories under a new media code”, Google can just block all the Australian news sources and offer BBC, Al Jazeera, Fox News, Guardian UK and CNN links. Let not forget that the bulk of Australian news is shoddy at best and most of them all copy and paste from an American source (Reuters), when you make a tally, we see a setting (as I personally see it) where the news in Australia is not news, it is filtered content to appease shareholders, stake holders and advertisers in Australia, as such, when they lose their Google links the game will get rather interesting soon enough, but that is merely my $0.02 on the matter.

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What is a weasel?

Well, a ‘weasel’ that imply deception and irresponsibility include: the noun form, referring to a sneaky, untrustworthy, or insincere person. Yet this is not complete, the words person and company are interchangeable. That is the feeling I see at present (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-55597840), they label themselves with “It comes amid a Big Tech purge of the online platforms used by Mr Trump and his supporters”, and it comes now AFTER congress ratified the win of president elect Biden, AFTER the stage and settings that American endured for years. The BBC is fair enough to give us “Some lawmakers and celebrities have been calling for years on Twitter to ban Mr Trump altogether. Former First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted on Thursday that the Silicon Valley giants should stop enabling Mr Trump’s “monstrous behaviour” and permanently expel him” we are seeing the price of enabling and facilitation and the people are catching on, it is a bad day for Facebook and Twitter altogether. For years they facilitate and there will be a price down the lane, they will pay it because they see it as an essential price for doing business. Yet is that enough?

The BBC gives a quote that is out there is it is debatable with “as mere mortal, repeatedly spreading disinformation, fake news and inciting violence will get you thrown off mainstream social media platforms”, you see what constitutes ‘repeatedly spreading disinformation’ and when exactly does it become disinformation? It is a serious question because it optionally shows the initial inactions of big-tech, the message that President Trump gave on ‘landslide victory’ is one, his views and his statements on ‘black lives matter’ is another. To see this we need to take you back to July 2020, there we see “The US president tweeted on Wednesday about New York City’s decision to paint “Black Lives Matter” on Fifth Avenue, calling it “a symbol of hate””, what clear evidence is there to call ‘black lives matter’ a symbol of hate? All whilst the people behind it state clearly “builds power to bring justice, healing, and freedom to Black people across the globe”, we might agree, we might disagree, we might not care, but it clearly is not set as a symbol of hate, and that is merely one of many examples and big-tech did not act, only after the next guy is ratified  do we see “after close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account”, as such I ask you, what is a weasel?

Those who follow my blog know I am not anti big-tech, I am not against Google, Apple, Amazon or Facebook, but that does not mean I will not hold them to account when the time is there. And in this case, after close to 4 years of facilitating it is time to hold them to account. In this, I do have a sense of humour and state that I am against discrimination and Microsoft devices, so there! 

In this I wonder if these weasels will act on a global scale as ABC gives us ‘Victorian Liberal MP Bernie Finn posts Trump election conspiracy theories to Facebook’, we need to accept the freedom of expression, but I wonder how much freedom is in jeopardy when elected officials are spouting conspiracy theories, especially on elections that they seemingly have a lack of knowledge of. 

And locally ABC covered their ass by also giving us “The ABC is not suggesting Mr Finn supported the violence or rioting at the Capitol”, consider that when the power players in this world start to wield actions based on facilitation and return on that investment, in that premise consider personally how much facilitation would happen towards you personally and when you realise that you do not matter, what will facilitation cost you?

I wonder if you tallied that part of the equation yet, if not you have some work to do.

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Greed v Agony: 1-6

We see the set, we see the result, yet we do not understand the equation. The media is mulling it over, it is in despair on what to do. They have so many voices to listen too, producers, executives, stake holders and share holders, none can agree on the story and more precise, most of them are clueless on what the story is. Reuters gives us ‘SolarWinds hackers accessed Microsoft source code, the company says’, the story (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-cyber-microsoft/solarwinds-hackers-accessed-microsoft-source-code-the-company-says-idUSKBN2951M9), gives us plenty, but are they giving us what we need to know? Even as we are told “It is not clear how much or what parts of Microsoft’s source code repositories the hackers were able to access, but the disclosure suggests that the hackers who used software company SolarWinds as a springboard to break into sensitive U.S. government networks also had an interest in discovering the inner workings of Microsoft products as well”, a stage that is a lot bigger than anyone knows, some cyber experts have an inkling of thought on just how bad things got, but they do not know just how bad, because we do not know what was accessed.

Back in Time
So as we consider that on December 13, 2020, The Washington Post reported that multiple government agencies were breached through SolarWinds’s Orion software. So this is when the worm got out, yet I believe that the first instances were early August, I cannot prove this, but that is when the first event took place, they were merely not seen or identified as such. As far as I can tell (through unconfirmed and slightly dubious sources), there was a mapping phase in play and it was in play for weeks. This mapping phase was not contained or limited to the US, or to governmental players. It was also not the first time it happened, but it seems it was the most complete and most successful attempt, and it is about to get a lot worse. You see, people didn’t learn from 9/11, from all these people who went to flight school just to take off and learn how to fly into buildings, they didn’t learn the first time, and they are not learning now (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZAoFs75_cs), it gets to be funnier, the ethical hacker is topped by another advertisers, offering the same with 75% discount, and would you know it, all these ‘new’ ethical hackers, what are the chances that a few have their own agenda? Now these people are not ready to take over Solarwinds yet, but they are en-route.

A lot of hackers started as ethical hackers and then didn’t end up with a decent job, they had to make ends meet, and would you know it, they had just the education to make that happen. So as they didn’t get high paying positions at Google, Apple or Sun systems, they decided to take the reins themselves. They do have their competitors, people who graduated from London Poly, or Moskovski politekhnicheski universitet an a few others, all having graduates and the world had no positions for them, so they became the new managers of another version of Ransomware, or some other solution. It was only 5 years ago that we saw “Trend Micro released a research paper about sextortion: the means through which cybercriminals obtain compromising personal images or videos of Internet users – which they then hold hostage until their demands have been met” and that was if you were lucky, the idiots that most governments have include idiots that put the national security and defence issues on a USB stick. 

Time flies when greed is in charge
Over the last 5 years we saw an abundance of issues, yet the greed driven idiots all had a bottom line and cost is not part of that bottom line, it is actually against it, that was what some of these executives were screaming. And as things were pushed back quarter after quarter, the setting became that nothing was done, so when SolarWinds was transgressed upon the bulk of all corporations had no issue to see just how screwed they were, the sales people needed their bonus structure and so do the board members, as such there was for the most no defence. And it gets to be worse, even as we all want to blame SolarWinds, we need to realise that anyone with a lack of defence only has itself to blame. This is why I took certain defence matters into my own hands and even as they are not perfect, it beats no defence at all. When the Telecom Companies start to scream murder because usage is out of control and the numbers start showing that 100,000 people used 200 GB, all whilst the numbers showed that for the most the average of 50 GB, we will see another issue, the loss of telecom data and more important, our financial records will not match up, and at that point you will see a stage where our data is up for sale and there are plenty of interested parties who want that data. A setting of 5 servers that can be used multiple times and 25 customers all willing to pay $10,000 for the usage records of 100,000-350,000 people, and after the financial data is aggregated, they can collect a lot more from another 40 customers. It boils down to $250,000 for a month of work, and that is merely one segment, once these people hit companies (especially those with underfunded IT departments), The numbers will add up larger and faster, especially when IP data is made available, by the time the companies learn just how intense the pull of data was it will be too late and for the most the global police settings will not be able to cover it, the US has an FBI who can get to the matter to some degree, but they still think that North Korea did the Sony gig, so I am not holding my breath on that one. And that is before they realise that I devised another setting that explains the inside job part and I found a new way of exporting that data, which took less than an hour, the shareholders who needed a patsy in North Korea are that much in the dark at present and for the last 7-9 years actually.

So whilst the sales people are in the push for revenue, I reckon that only the companies that have a CTO on their board of directors will have a decent chance, the rest is cannon fodder, it is basically that simple.

The greed drive looks that good, but in reality they are losing 6:1 at present, SolarWinds is merely showing the agony that is out there, it is ABC News that gives a much larger timeline, with ‘Malware may have been installed in June’, which does give voice to my timeline, but it is not enough, we see the larger stage with “the hackers piggy-backed on the company that made software running on hundreds of thousands of corporate and government networks” and in all this, where was the security of SolarWinds? I believe that the damage is much larger and the players just do not know what to trust and who to trust, and that will stay with them for the larger extent of 2021, implying that their systems will not be properly cleaned for a much larger time, because they look at the larger setting, but this pass over will hit EVERY system, and it will hit a few systems in different ways, because they will get found out in a few ways, but not in all ways and that is why the agony score is so high and all this before someone realises that their cloud system could be just as infected and that is another piece of cake entirely, one that does not clean up so easily. 

So whilst we see the trivialisation of “it says patient information was not stolen” or “there was nothing to suggest customer data had been accessed”, it is the basic defence of any company or government organisation, but in reality they are decently clueless on what data was accessed and how it was copied or positioned in a place they can get to. For example it might not show, but when you realise that a person was using 12-17 GB of data during the day, so why is that person’s account using this data on his sick day? Odd is it not? There are a few more examples, but I let you simmer on this, because 2021 has a few more surprises for all of you, perhaps for me too.

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The academic freezer

It is a harsh stage, at times we tend to, according to our own nature, be cold, ice cold. In some cases (like mine) inhumane cold. I am not doing it intentionally, but I do get that some see me as  cold insensitive bastard, and I like ice cream too. So here I am in a setting that does not appeal to many, but outspoken so that you know what is in play. You see, we see and some feel the hrh reality of the Coronavirus, and the BBC gives us ‘Coronavirus: Germany to go into lockdown over Christmas’, I get it, we need to be careful, but the cold numbers (as reliable as they can be) give us 72,221,006 corona cases, 50,607,364 recovered and 1,613,868 cases ended with a heart rate of ZERO. So basically we see 69% made a recovery, 3.18% did not make it, the rest is still in a stage of healing. Consider all the actions, all the ruckus and all the settings for these numbers. Now, I am all for stopping the disease. 1.6 million is not nothing, and as we see all the presented decks on more people dies in the US than in WW2, we are all overreacting. Whilst we see that WW2 ended the lives of 405K Americans, another source gives us 291K deaths, so who can we trust? The numbers are less than a month old, all whilst WW2 ended in 1945. As such when we consider that several of the sources tend to be seen as reliable, who fed them these numbers? 

You see, the reactions we are seeing is on a stage of 3.18%, all whilst we also see “11% of all deaths and 42% of CVD deaths” (CVD=Cardio Vascular Deaths), this was in 2018, so how much fuss was made over heart issues? When we see the numbers next to others, Corona does not amount to too much. I am not stating that we ignore the event, I am showing you that the over reaction is a little much. Especially as we entered a recession in the end of 2018, an economic setting that nearly all governments are trying to avoid, especially in light of the debts that all these governments have. Another ploy that Wall Street is happy about, they got to blame a disease and optionally the CDC as well. 

Am I overreacting?
That remains to be seen and it is a fair question to ask, yet I am showing you the numbers, the charts and the percentages, those you can calculate yourself (you might find a rounding adjustment at best). 

The sight that we see is a scary one, governments have ordered billions in vaccines, a vaccine that we do need to have, but the bombastic fanfare is one we could have done without and no one is looking hard at the recession, are they? ABC gave us last week “The recession is technically over but for wages and jobs, the recovery is a long way away”, is the recession really over? Is the overreaction and shifting of the blame towards Corona justified? Ask yourself that question when you see the extended amount of unemployed people, when you see the lack of controls on corporations when we consider the impact of what should have happened. I said it from the very beginning, the numbers never added up. I was merely unsure what they were supposed to be and when you see numbers not matching on a whole level of fronts, perhaps you will wonder where the numbers came from as well, there is a level of facilitation in play that is happening on a number of levels and it seems that the left hand has no idea what the right hand is doing, in all honesty I wonder if you can figure out what the right hand and what the other one was all along.

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Yay discrimination!

Yup, that has to go down like a kick in the head, does it not? But that was the thought I had when I was confronted with the BBC article ‘Mastercard severs links with pornography site’ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-55267311), now personally I do not care about Pornhub. I don’t think I have ever been there, honestly. I am not anti or against porn, in Europe it was available on nearly every corner and a lot of it for free, as such I got over that need decades ago. So, whatever, I (for the most) do not care, but I hate hypocrisy, I hate it with a passion. So when I see “Mastercard says it is ending the use of its cards on the pornography platform Pornhub after a review confirmed the presence of unlawful content”, yup, it is an option they can take, but at the same time they are setting themselves up for a court case regarding discrimination by Pornhub. You see, when we consider “Members of China’s Uyghur ethnic minority are being used as forced labor in factories far from the so-called reeducation camps that have held them for years in Xinjiang, according to an extensive new report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), a think-tank founded by Australia’s government” (source: Quartz), if I remember my law lessons, slave labour is illegal, is it not? 

As such, how many Nike shops were banned by Mastercard as well? How many Apple Stores are not able to process Mastercard? The New York Post (25th July) gave us ‘Nike should quit lecturing on social justice — and atone for using slave labor in China’, where was Mastercard at that point? Oh and according to ABC VISA is doing the same thing and for both I see no actions on Nike, Apple and a few others, like fashion stores that have been involved in ‘Aussie fashion retailers accused of driving poverty in Bangladesh with cut-throat pricing in new Oxfam report’, this came from Nine News 3 weeks ago regarding an Oxfam report, so where were VISA and Mastercard barring “Some of the biggest Australian fast fashion brands” in this? Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander, I say. But it seems that hypocrisy is high with the financial institutions. Now, I am not stating that Pornhub is innocent, even as we are told “A New York Times investigation accused the site of being “infested” with child-abuse and rape-related videos”, it calls for investigation and pressure, but the voice of Mastercard and VISA stating some holier than though barring, all whilst they have no issue processing slave labour goods is a bit much, even for me.

So when we get “Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof named it in his New York Times article, saying he “didn’t see why search engines, banks or credit-card companies” should “bolster” Pornhub”, I am willing to initially side against Pornhub on matters and when we see a name like Nicholas Kristof, we all want to see where and how he got the data he used, fair is fair, yet in this, I see the actions by VISA and Mastercard as a BS approach towards the limelight. Especially when we see reports of Oxfam and several others on the other issues. But I reckon that these two card companies will hide behind the ‘too complicated an issue’ and will continue as usual, but as I see it, they are discriminating foundations and if Pornhub wants to extract a billion in losses from these two, I would be able to live with it, but it does not take them off the hook. Even if we are told “Pornhub, which has denied the claims”, I would want to look into the evidence of Nicholas Kristof, I have had my doubts on journalists several times, but this is a Pulitzer Prize winner, they tend to remain well above board, in this Pornhub is the lesser trustworthy of the two on a mere glance, and I state that speculatively, I have not seen the evidence and I hope that Nicholas Kristof will hand over that evidence to the press on a much larger stage. Yet, we need to see Pornhub like a much less puritan version of YouTube, or Facebook (me thinks), as such they facilitate automated distribution, just like social media, but they too need to look into matters to a much deeper degree, if I believe that social media must do this, then players like Pornhub must too, and if there are criminal issues, they need to be dealt with and fast. We cannot say for sure what is criminal and what is fake criminal and the track is not an easy one, a source (Tweaktown) gave us in December 2018 “Pornhub saw 4.79 million videos uploaded in 2018, with 147GB per second”, this might not be as much as YouTube, but it cannot be too far off and a place like Pornhub does not have the infrastructure that Google has (my speculated view), as such there is every chance that criminal activities will pass the filters and not be seen until it is much too late, and yes, something needs to be done, but we can do without the hypocritical BS that VISA and Mastercard are giving us, if anything Pornhub needs the funds to upgrade their hardware on detection, investigation and reporting, that’s how I see it.

You know, this article might have the most use of the letters pee, ohh, arr, enn ever. Oh Joy! Well, time to enjoy Saturday with a strong cup of coffee and a sandwich.

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