Tag Archives: Adobe

Taking and making what it gives

Yes, we seem to think that this is the stage we need to be in, and at times you are correct, that is what there is. It dawned on me that at times innovation, or innovation alike can drive creativity. In the past there was an option to get into movies required a fortune, so you either tinkered by the side of the road, or you were some rich kid, that was the reality. Now consider that this is no longer the case, the stage is set to two elements (three actually).

1. GoPro Hero 10 ($600)
2. Mac Airbook (up to $4500)
3. Software (up to $500)

So for $6000 (max) you could have all you need to become a cinematographer. The laptop idea is expensive, there are cheaper solutions, to under $6000 there is a stage where you can make all kinds of movies and there is no cost for film or development. As we were in lockdown, the mind wanted to travel, so I started to watch the walking tours, a lot of them in 4K and most of them made with older GoPro devices. You might laugh, but some of these walking tours equal decent TV and in some cases cinema trips. I saw Portofino, Cannes, Monaco, Vancouver, Montreal, Buenos Aires, London (several), Riyadh, Jeddah and a few things stood out. The movies were well above average, the streets in Canada are amazingly clean, Portofino was worth the watch for a few personal reasons and so on. I believe that we are one step away from a ‘small’ company like GoPro to put a massive dent in Hollywood and that is before you realise that we will be drowning in amazing movies, the stage is already there that amateur film makers can make ‘their’ version of the Blair Witch Project. Another version of Cloverfield and we can go on in all kinds of directions. I myself was entertaining an idea in another direction (no matter what), but I am an idea man, not a movie maker (not yet anyway). 

And even as GoPro is making headway into setting the dynamic movies to a new height. I predict that they will corner the market in several ways within the next 2-3 years. I believe that the information given here is incorrect “The number of GoPro devices shipped worldwide has been decreasing since its peak of 6.58 million units in 2015, to around 2.8 million units in 2020”, there is not a decline, mainly because some people STILL use the GoPro 4, a lot are still using the GoPro 8, so there is a market of well over 15,000,000 film makers and I believe that with the additions on the GoPro Hero 10 that group will increase (a lot). And when you consider that this can directly be spread via YouTube channels, for GoPro the sky is the limit. Whether the film maker will decide to rely on GoPro tools, on Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro or iMovie, there are several solutions and as people tart to become more and more active there is a new market evolving. A market of services, critical evaluation and creation, all working in some form of symbiosis. And as the makers set out there options of short movies, I wonder when it will be a GoPro Hero user who in the near future will be the first to win a Academy Award for Best Short Film (Live Action) using a GoPro because the hardware is now definitely up for it, we now only need to wait for the creative soul to make that step (it will not be me), and I would not be surprised that thee will be more evolutions in this direction before the end of 2023, a stage that (as I personally see it) evolved and came to a much larger live during lockdowns and curfews. 

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The future doorstop

That is how we sometimes see a book, a doorstop, a missile towards our partners (and sometimes really annoying elderly teens), a weight for the papers we need, when a book is not really what we wanted, it gets a secondary function. So even as some saw this specific book as ‘A beautiful defense of the common man and woman against a technological elite’, I consider a book like ‘The Tyranny of Big Tech’ as one that is not stating the issues. 

Did I read it?
Nope, and I do not have to, the article clearly shows a republican (who looks like he recently stopped being a teenager) who is aiming for money from both the left and the right. When we see “According to Hawley, it’s not our politicians, our lawyers, our Ivy League graduates, or our Hollywood celebrities. It’s Big Tech – those big names like Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple, and Google that have embedded themselves in our lives to an almost irreversible degree”, I see the beginning of a BS string of texts that will most certainly become debatable and utterly rejectable. You see Zuckerberg attended Harvard whilst designing Facebook, Dorsey came up with the idea for Twitter at NYU, Jeff Bezos was already done with Princeton when Amazon became the idea, Apple was the child of Steve Jobs who attended part of Reed and dropped out, Sergey Brin and Larry Page came from Stanford, so what is left of “not our Ivy League graduates”? Oh and I with my 5G IP am from UTS (Sydney), so there! And when we get to “have embedded themselves in our lives to an almost irreversible degree” we get a lot more. Apple (Macintosh) offered what consumers wanted, Google did the same, Facebook did it even more and created a new digital era and they all OFFERED it to consumers, they planned long term and they won, the small minded people lost. The exception is the Amazon guy who doesn’t need to spend on Shampoo, he offered something to rural people all over the world which they never had access too. In the US this is 60,000,000 people and in the EU it is 125,000,000. One firm aimed for a little over 180 million consumers. The people shops forgot and now Amazon is the bad guy? So this is the setting from the start and the man with the teenager look (Josh Hawley) is already off to a bad start. So when we see “the robber barons reshaped the economy into a corporate monopoly to serve their own ends, in which an aristocratic elite govern above the labouring masses”, all whilst the US government stole from the native Americans whatever they could (99.655% roughly) is like the pot calling the kettle black. In this one pushed what they wanted, the other (current big tech) let the people decide on WHAT they desired and the consumers liked the free 1GB email (Google) whilst the internet providers offered 20MB for a fee. What would you do? That same grocery store (still Google) came up with additional ways to service the consumers (cookies anyone?), the offered shopping, information and choice, whilst those dabbling on the internet wee all about grabbing whatever coins they could get. When the consumers were happy players like Amazon created the Amazon Web Services offering a pay as you go approach, a cloud approach to small businesses. First web services in 2002 and cloud services in 2008, it would take IBM and Microsoft years to offer anything near that, the big tech of then were made basically redundant. And with the pay as you go there was a larger SaaS (Software as a Service) setting. The big 5 became big not because “Big Tech is a direct descendent of the Gilded Age robber barons”, but because they offered choice when the others were unwilling to do so. In this Apple stands alone. They were always the elite DTP solution (a lot more expensive than others) and in 1998 they recognised the needs of the consumer and the iMac was born, all whilst the consumer got the amazing phrase “There’s no step 3!”, an affordable solution in an age where PC’s were still running behind the facts. If you were not up to speed you were either lost or you became an Apple user. All this whilst the writer wants to push “descendent of the Gilded Age robber barons”, a stage none of them pushed for, it merely is in the statements of those who were asleep at the wheel between 1996-2006, they lost it all by not pushing the envelope and 5 companies got ahead. The fifth (Netflix) was like Facebook, it offered something never offered before and whilst we had to seek TV provider after TV provider, they offered what we wanted, movies and specifically movies not hindered by advertisements. They went from sales to rental to streaming and as the firm started in 1998, Hulu, Stan, HBO Max and Disney Plus, some well over a decade AFTER Netflix, so the statement from Josh Hawley is not just bogus, it is utter nonsense. So when we see “Washington, D.C. politicians routinely protect the interests of Big Tech over and against the freedom and well-being of the American people” we see the joke that this book seemingly is. These systems were offered to consumers, you can walk away! I kept my Yahoo account for years later, until the information offered was too outdated or too much adjusted for localisation (against my will), so when we see ‘well-being of the American people’ I wonder what data he can actually produce (raw data, not aggregated and weighted data) and in the grand scheme of things, the US has 320 million people, Europe has 750 million and India has 1.3 billion. All enjoying what the five players are offering. In all that, the US is a mere 15% and on the global scale they do not add up to much, and the US is actually part of that failing. In the era of 1990-2010 American firms remained largely absent on the international scale, relying on someone to pick up the ball and none of them did and the American needs were swallowed by the voice of the consumers, no barons, no lawyers and no politicians. The people wanted what Google offered and Youtube now has over 2,000,000,000 viewers (I am one of them), so far none of the offerers were able to meet this and more important by 2005 both IBM and Microsoft were merely relying on Adobe Flash, these two players had nothing to offer. In 15 years they never really woke up and here I get to use Microsoft against itself with “Microsoft Stream is a corporate video-sharing service which was released on June 20, 2017 that will gradually replace the existing Office 365 Video”, so 12 years of inactivity, in comparison, the Chinese (the makers of Won Ton soup) gave us TikTok one year earlier and now has 100,000,000 active users. Players like IBM and Microsoft have been that much asleep at the wheel. As I personally see it, American BigTech is the only player (all 5 of them) that stops the USA from becoming utterly irrelevant, if they were not there China would be superpower number one and they are close of becoming that anyway, any issues with BigTech and every BS article in every newspaper with  some ‘alleged’ and ‘watchdog’ is merely another delay and it will help China to become the greatest tech power, US politicians (EU politicians as well) are helping China meet that goal.

BigTech, the virgin
BigTech is not holy, it is not innocent and it is no virgin (they got screwed by global politicians again and again, so they are definitely not virgins), BigTech are merely the innovators we always needed and the rest is merely a wannabe player, even Microsoft and IBM have fallen that much from grace. Microsoft had the most powerful console in the world and within 2 years they were surpassed by the weakest console of all (Nintendo Switch), IBM has its own stream of non-successes, and they are all crying to their politicians as to the bad bad tech companies. Most of them had no idea what the digital era was until they were surpassed by a lot of other players (some of them Asian). So when we consider the stage, we need to see the whole stage, not some setting of “Ending Big Tech’s sovereignty is about taking back our own, and we can begin to do that in the lives we live together. Big Tech works relentlessly to force individuals into its ecosystem of addiction, exhibitionism, and fear of missing out. It seeks to create its own social universe and draw all of life into its orbit. But the real social world, the life of family and neighbourhood – the authentic communities that sustain authentic togetherness – can act as a counterweight to Big Tech’s ambitions”, in this phrases like ‘force individuals’ is massively wrong, people have choices. I do not have Facebook on my mobile, I have no need for it there, I do not order from Amazon (I am a support your local hooker kind of guy) and I have currently no Netflix or Disney Plus subscription. That is 3 out of 5, I have an Apple because Microsoft dropped the ball 4 times in the last 5 years and IBM is too expensive for what it offers. I chose! We can all choose and that is where we realise that ‘The Tyranny of Big Tech’ is like a Chicago politician, all hot air and not too much on substance (judging from the article (at https://mindmatters.ai/2021/06/a-book-review-the-tyranny-of-big-tech/). He might at some point present a few parts that are relevant, I am certain that he will, but as a former Missouri’s Attorney General he will tread on places where he knows the answers, so as I see “holding Big Tech accountable where others don’t dare tread. In investigations, in legislation, I merely wonder how much legislation against BigTech made it through? It matters because it is what you can prove that matters, not what you claim. I made no claims, it is all timeline stuff, including the Chinese parts. 

Consider the choices YOU have, and make choices, it is your right. You need not be on Google, you can select Microsoft Bing. You will lose out on a lot but that is the choice you make. For well over 20 years Google offered choices, YOU were the consumer that selected WHERE you wanted to go and you went there. All whilst Microsoft could not be bothered, it seems to me that the Netscape Victory made them lazy and now they are no longer the relevant company, they are merely the Column B (or C) company. And consider being in a place like Antigo Wisconsin. Now try to buy a game, a DVD, a bluray, a 4K movie, a CD and a book. How many of these items will require Amazon? It was the foundation of 4G (Wherever I am) and it will be the stage of 5G (wheneverI want it), so when will 5G be available in Antigo Wisconsin? Consider these points and consider whatever Josh Hawley is trying to imprint on you and consider what you can find out for yourself. BigTech is not evil, BigTech is because the others became lazy, BigTech merely is and governments do not like the self sufficient organisations, the ones that do not make large contributions to them. In the end if you look into the shareholders and stakeholders of some of these players you get a very different picture, one you need to be wary of.

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The stage of what is

Yes, we all have that and I am no exclusion, ‘what is’ is the first part of a question that is dangerous. The answer that follows tends to be subjective and personal, as such it is loaded with bias, not that all bias is bad, but it defers from what actually is. This was the first stage when I saw ‘Lina Khan: The 32-year-old taking on Big Tech’. Then we get “when it comes to unfair competition, there is one sector that has been singled out by Democrats and Republicans alike: Big Tech”, this is the beginning of a discriminatory setting. There are two sides in this and let me begin that Big Tech is not innocent, so what is this about? Lets add ““What became clear is there had been a systemic trend across the US… markets had come to be controlled by a very small number of companies,” she said”, now we need to realise that there are two parts here too, in the first she is not lying and for the most, she is correct. 

So why do I oppose?

The US, most of the Commonwealth and the EU all have a massive failing, they have no clue what they are doing. I have seen that side for over 30 years and it is the beginning of a larger stage. You see the big tech part needs to be split in two elements big tech and those who ‘use’ (or abuse) the elements of big tech. Big tech was more than the FAANG group (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google), in the beginning there was Microsoft, IBM and Sun as well (there were a few more players but they were gobbled up or ended up being forgotten. When we see charts of technology and market capitalisation we see Microsoft in second place, so why is Microsoft left outside of the targeting of these people? Microsoft is many things, but it was never innocent or some goody two shoes, the same can be argued for IBM, IBM have been gobbling up all kinds of corporations in the last 20 years, so why is IBM disregarded so often? It it nice to target the companies with visibility towards consumers, but that puts Microsoft with more than one issue in the crosshairs, but they are ignored, why is that?

Then we get back to the BBC article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-57501579) where we see “Her general criticism is that Big Tech is simply too big – that a handful of large US tech firms dominate the sector, at the expense of competition”, she is not incorrect, but there are more sides to that story. In 1997 I gave an idea to bosses (in a software firm) on consumers messaging each other and for a firm to be in the middle of that. Being a gateway and a director of messages and giving visibility to people of other matters (I never used the word advertising). It was founded on a missing part when Warner Brothers created (in partnership with Angelfire) a website hub. So fans of Babylon 5, Gilmore Girls and a few other series could Create their own webpage, they got 20MB for free and an address, like in Babylon 5 I was something like Section Red number 23 (I forgot, it was 25 years ago), the bosses stated that there would never be a use for that, it was not their business and there was no business need for something like that and 4 years later someone else created Facebook. Now I am no Facebook creator, what I had was in no way anywhere near that, but that is a side a lot of people forget, the IT people had no clue on what the digital era was bringing and what it looked like, so as they were unaware, politicians had even less of a clue. So when Google had its day (search and email) no one knew what was going on, they merely saw a free email account with 1GB of storage and everyone got on the freebee train, that is all well and good, but nothing is for free, it never ever is. 

As such a lot of companies remained inactive for close to half a decade, Google had created something unique and they are one of the founding fathers of the Digital age. Consider that Microsoft was clueless for close to a decade and when they started they were behind by a lot and there inaccurate overreaction of Bing, is merely laughable. Microsoft makes all these claims yet it was the creators of Google who came up with the search system and they got Stanford to make this for them, just look it up, a patent that is the foundation of Google and Microsoft was in the wind and blind to what would be coming. By the time they figured it out they were merely second tier junkyard vendors. And (as I personally see it) the bigger players in that time (IBM and Microsoft) were all ready to get rich whilst sleeping, they were looking into the SaaS world (diminishing cost to the larger degree), outsourcing as a cost saving and so on, as I see it players like Microsoft and IBM were about reducing cost and pocketing that difference, so as Google grew these players were close to a no-show and do not take my word for that, look at the history line of what was out there. In retrospect Apple saw what would be possible and got on the digital channel as fast as possible. Yet IBM and Microsoft were Big Tech, yet they are ignored in a lot of cases, why is that? When you ignore 2 out of 6 (I am not making Netflix part of this) we get the 2 out of part and that comes down to more than 30%, this is discrimination, it grows as Adobe has its own (well deserved) niche market, yet are they not big tech too? One source gives us “As of June 2021 Adobe has a market cap of $263.55 B. This makes Adobe the world’s 32th most valuable company by market cap according to our data”, which in theory makes them larger than IBM, really? Consider that part, for some reason Adobe is according to some a lot larger than IBM (they are 112th), so when we consider that, can we optionally argue that the setting is tainted? In a stage where there are multiple issues with the numbers and the descriptions we are given, the entire setting of Big Tech is needing a massive amount of scrutiny, and when I see Lina Khan giving us “markets had come to be controlled by a very small number of companies” I start to get issues. Especially when we see “there is one sector that has been singled out by Democrats and Republicans alike: Big Tech”. You see singling out is a form of discrimination, it is bias and that is where we are, a setting of bias and to some extent, we are all to blame, most of us are to blame because of what we were told and what was presented to us, yet no one is looking to close to the presenters themselves and it is there that I see the problem, This is about large firms being too large and the people who do not like these large firms are the people who for the most do not understand the markets they are facing. Just like the stage of media crying like little bitches because they lose revenue to Google (whilst ignoring Bing as it has less than 3% marketshare). 

The who? The what? Why?

This part is a little more complex, to try to give my point, I need to go back to some Google page that gives me “What is Google’s position on this new law? We are not against being regulated by a Code and we are willing to pay to support journalism—we are doing that around the world through News Showcase. But several aspects of the current version of this law are just unworkable for the services you use and our business in Australia. The Code, as it’s written, would break the way Google Search works and the fundamental principle of the internet, by forcing us to pay to provide links to news businesses’ sites. There are two other serious problems remaining with the law, but at the heart of it, it comes down to this: the Code’s rules would undermine a free and open service that’s been built to serve everyone, and replace it with one where a law would give a handful of news businesses an advantage over everybody else.

This is about that News bargaining setting. Here we get ‘by forcing us to pay to provide links to news businesses’ sites’, and I go ‘Why?’ A lot of them do not give us news, they give us filtered information, on addition to this is that if I am unwilling to buy a newspaper, why should I pay for their information? If they want to put it online it is up to them, they can just decide not to put it online, that I their right. In addition some sources for years pretty much EVERY article by the Courier Mail get me a sales page (see below), this is their choice and they are entitled to do so.

Yet this sales pitch is brought to us in the form of a link to a news article. It still happens today and it is not merely the Courier Mail, there are who list of newspapers that use the digital highway to connect to optional new customers. So why should they get paid to be online? In the digital stage the media has become second best, the stage that the politicians are eager to ignore is that a lot of the ‘news bringers’ are degraded to filtered information bringers. In the first why should I ever pay for that and in the second, why would I care whether they live or die? Do not think this is a harsh position, Consider the Daily Mail giving us two days ago ‘Police station is branded the ‘most sexist in Britain’ after investigations find officers moonlighted as prostitutes, shared pornography with the public and conducted affairs with each other on duty’, so how did they get to ‘most sexist in Britain’? What data do they have and hw many police stations did they investigate? There is nothing of that anywhere in the article, then we get to ‘after a series of scandals’, how many is a series of scandals? Over what time frame? Then we get to ‘Whatsapp and Facebook groups used to exchange explicit sexual messages and images have been shut down’, as such were the identities of the people there confirmed? How many were there? What evidence was there? All issues that the Daily Mail seems to skate around and ‘In the latest scandal, PC Steve Lodge, 39’ completes the picture. Who else was hauled to court and is ‘hauled’  a procedural setting in an arrest? When one rites to emphasise to capture the interest of the audience it becomes filtered information, it becomes inaccurate and therefor a lot of it becomes debatable. Well over a dozen additional questions come to mind of a half baked article on the internet, and they get paid for that? And as we consider ‘He was alleged to have’ we get the ‘alleged’ part so that the newspaper cannot be held liable, but how accurate was the article? That same setting transfers to Lina Khan.

The article gives us ‘or rather a perceived lack of competition’ as well as ‘markets had come to be controlled by a very small number of companies’, they are generalising statements, statements lacking direct focal point and specifications. In the first ‘perceived’ is a form of perception, biased and personal, ones perception is not another ones view of the matter. It is not wrong to state it like that, but when you go after people it is all about the specifics and all about data and evidence, as I see it evidence has been lacking all over the board.
And when we consider ‘markets had come to be controlled by a very small number of companies’ I could add “PetSmart has 1650 shops in the US, they could set the price for tabby’s on a national level, is that not a cartel foundation?” Yet these politicians are not interested in a price agreement of pets are they, it is about limiting the stage of certain people, but by doing so they will hurt themselves a lot more than they think. On November 14th 2020 I wrote the article ‘Tik..Tik..Tik..’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2020/11/14/tik-tik-tik/), where I wrote “if HarmonyOS catches on, Google will have a much larger problem for a much longer time. If it is about data Google will lose a lot, if it is about branding Google will lose a little, yet Huawei will gain a lot on the global stage and Apple? Apple can only lose to some extent, there is no way that they break even”, and a lot ignored the premise, but now as HarmonyOS has launched (a little late), the stage is here. When it is accepted as a real solution, Google stands to lose the Asian market to a much larger degree and all because a few utterly stupid politicians did not know what they were doing, more important Huawei still has options in the Middle East and in Europe. So the damage will add and add and increase to a much larger degree, especially if India goes that way, for Google a market that could shrink up to 20%, close to 2,000,000,000 consumers are per July 1st ill have an alternative that is not Apple or Google, that is what stupidity gets them. My IP will connect to HarmonyOS, so I am not worried, yet as I see it the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) better start getting its ships properly aligned, because if HarmonyOS is indeed a decent version from version 2 onwards the US tech market could shrink by a little over 22.4%, the US economy is in no way ready for such a hit, all because politicians decided to shout without evidence and knowhow of what they were doing, a nice mess, isn’t it?

The stage of ‘What is’ depends on reflection and comprehension and both were lacking in the US, I wonder what they will lose next. 

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The inferring line

We all see the news, we see what is implied and we wonder on what it means, at least that is what some of us do and the news is always sided to the part they want to illuminate, there is no evil or bad intentions there, it is the way the writer thinks, or the view that the writer has. We might agree, we might disagree, but the writer is entitled to the view they have, at least that is what I think, so when I see ‘Technology of Business’ in the BBC, I wonder about the ‘Business of Technology’, it is not merely the reversal of a phrase, behind it lingers the fact that a formula and solution are reversible, or in Market Research there is the unwritten law (well, perhaps, seemingly unwritten), that it cannot be reversed, as such when the factorial analyses goes in one direction, the opposite would be a discriminant analyses, if the factor is proven, the discriminant analyses should always fail, no exclusions to that, if both make it there is a connecting factor in play, not really a covariant. When you realise this, there is a much larger truth to be seen. SO in this I do not oppose ‘Have we become too reliant on Big Tech firms?’,
I merely wonder about the elements behind this. When I was working in the 90’s in IT, on the edge of IT, there was an unwritten law to steer clear of one another in Big tech, so to not get in each others fairway and maximise profits, as such we see the advantage that players like Google and Amazon have. They researched their part and they went their own way. I am merely looking at these two because Microsoft, IBM, Sun and a few others were overlapping and they had their own way of setting the stage. So there might be truth in “Big Tech firms have been getting even bigger during the pandemic and their success means they have plenty of funds to snap up other businesses”, yet the involved stage is a little larger than projected. So I do not disagree with people like Sandeep Vaheesan when they give us “All of them will be in the M&A [mergers and acquisitions] game if they’re not already. Start-ups are more likely to sell out during the pandemic when they might struggle to meet their obligations and the buyout looks especially attractive – the pandemic is speeding up the buyout date in some cases”, I am merely seeing that this stage was in play for much longer and now we might focus on what the larger players are gobbling up, yet this is not any difference from what has been going on for 20 years.

It is the way business works, the larger fish eats the smaller one. Adobe ate Macromedia (I still believe it is the other way round), Novel got wordperfect, Microsoft ate entire shoals of software makers and so on. And yes, the pandemic has an impact that is much larger and that is not on the buyer, also not on the seller.  Some were surprised to see Microsoft acquire the game Minecraft for $2,500,000,000. The seller was mostly not unhappy, he went from mama basement software developer, to nerd to multi billionaire.   It is the game developers dream to get that done and his game was addictive as hell (I know, because I have it on every console). Microsoft grew it even further with the direct ear of over 200,000,000 ears of needy gamers. It is marketing heaven for Microsoft, and that is before you realise just how much money is linked to the optional micro transactions.

At some point these firms need to rely on merging and acquisition to grow, it is merely the way it is, and sometimes nature hands these players a windfall (like the pandemic). I believe that we are not too reliant on big tech, I believe that we are in a holding pattern due to a lack of innovation, the innovators are out there yet they are not getting the visibility they need to push it along and that is a larger stage than we realise. You merely need to search ‘innovation’ on Google to realise that it is marketed and it is labelled, yet true innovation is the one element that defies labels and marketing, because I saw and learned that what a firm does not understand (in 1997) cannot be marketed, it cannot be sold, because its leaders are drawn to memo’s with bullet points and that is when you see firsthand how true innovation defies labels. It is a conclusion we have seen too often and lately a lot more often than we considered it.

Even when we see some brands giving a platform to the real innovators, it relies on someone recognising it and I agree that it is not a bad idea, but I also realise that if I do not see everything, then someone else is likely not to see it either. It is not a good thing, not a bad thing, it merely is and there big tech has its first problem, how to recognise it soon enough. Not everyone is a Steve Jobs, who was able to recognise 9innovation when it walked through its doors, Jeff Bezos et al is a different stock, a different breed, they made THEIR innovation, it does not mean that they can recognise it when it hits and there the true innovators have the challenge, on how to set their IP in a safe space where it can be recognised without them needing to set the stage of losing a lot of money hoping others will see it. It is the inferring line that they face and all innovators must face it, for the most they will rely on big tech who can afford to squander a purse of coins and not worry on how it hits them, it makes the game harder for innovators, but not impossible, they have options and on a global stage it does imply that these players will seek the largest beneficiary. When we see Huawei against Nokia and Ericsson we see that the two Scandinavian players have to set a wager holding a dead man’s hand, When we see Amazon, who is seen against its competitors Google Play, Apple play and so on, yet is it not interesting on how Alibaba and Ozone are not mentioned in plenty of places? Ozone particularly is not as big, but it is still a contender and in the stage of IP, where that patent is more important than most think it is. In this Alibaba has a larger benefit as it also delivers into Russia. The inferred line is thinner than we realise and there are more players, even as some ‘market’ them away into obscurity, you see when these players get the IP, they grow on a global scale and that is what is feared in the west and also by a player like Amazon, you see, they are the largest player and will remain so, but what happens when the dollar collapses? The way that this US administration goes about it, that setting is a lot more realistic than some are willing to admit and when the dollar goes, the Euro and the Yen will take massive hits, losses of 35% would be a good day.

Should you out that consider that the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/dbe16ce4-f154-4985-a210-279fa1f53e24, and them alone) gave almost 5 hour ago “Millions of digital banking customers unable to access their money after German group falls into insolvency”, consider that an impact like this should make the front page on pretty much EVERY paper in the west, yet the Guardian has NOTHING, and others are like that, something that hits millions is left unreported. So when we see a repetition of the Sony 2012 events (the Guardian was the reporter there), how much on innovation and how much innovation impact will not be reported on when it ends up in the hands of Alibaba and/or Ozone? How much marketing shielding will Amazon receive? The inferred line is something else as well, it shows where we are told not to look, when does true innovation actually do that? 

A line that is ignored by plenty of players is a line that might show actual danger, especially when its impacts our lives.

 

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Middle of the seesaw

To be honest, I am not sure where to stand, even now, as we see ‘Google starts appeal against £2bn shopping fine‘ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51462397), I am personally still in the mindset that there is something wrong here. 

We can give the critique that my view is too much towards Google, and that is fine, I would accept that. Yet the part where we see 

  • In 2017, €2.4bn over shopping results.
  • In 2018, €4.3bn fine over claims it used Android software to unfairly promote its own apps.
  • In 2019, €1.5bn fine for blocking adverts from rival search engines.

Feels like it is part of a much bigger problem. I believe that some people are trying to stage the setting that some things are forced upon companies and I do not mean in the view of sharing. I personally do not believe that it is as simple as Anti-Trust. It feels like a more ‘social mindset’ that some things must be shared, but why?

The BBC also gives us: “Margrethe Vestager, who has taken a tough stance on the Silicon Valley tech firms and what she sees as their monopolistic grip on the digital landscape” this might feel like the truth, yet I personally feel that this was in the making for a long time, Adobe was on that page from the start. I believe that as the digital landscape was slowly pushed into a behemoth by Macromedia, who also acquired Coldfusion a change came to exist, for reference, at that time Microsoft remained a bungling starter holding onto Frontpage, an optional solution for amateurs, but there was already a strong view that this was a professional field. that stage was clearly shown by Adobe as it grew its company by 400% in revenue over a decade, its share value rose by almost 1,000% and its workforce tripled. There was a clear digital landscape, and one where Google was able to axe a niche into, the others were flaccid and remained of the existing state of mind that others must provide. Yet in all this Social media was ignored for far too long and the value of social media was often ignored until it was a decade too late. 

For example, I offered the idea that it would be great to be in the middle of serviced websites where we had the marketing in hands, my bosses basically called me crazy, that it had no functioning foundation, that it was not part of the mission statement and that I had to get back to work, I still have the email somewhere. This was 4 years before Facebook!

I admit that my idea was nothing as grandiose as Facebook, it was considered on other foundations an I saw the missing parts, but no one bit and now that I know better on the level of bullet point managers I am confronted with and their lack of marketing I now know better and my 5G solutions are closed to all but Huawei and Google, innovation is what drives my value and only those two deliver.

But I digress, the Digital Landscape was coming to be, and as we realise that this includes “websites, email, social networks, mobile devices (tablets, iphones, smartphones), videos (YouTube), etc. These tools help businesses sell their products or services” we can clearly see that Microsoft, Amazon and others stayed asleep at the wheel.
some might have thought that it was a joke when Larry Page and Sergey Brin offered the email service on April 1st 2004, yet i believe that they were ahead of many (including me) on how far the digital landscape would go, I reckon that not even Apple saw the massive growth, perhaps that Jobs fellow did, but he was only around until 2011 when it really kicked off. IBM, Microsoft and others stayed asleep thinking that they could barge in at a later stage, as I see it, IBM chose AI and quantum computing thinking that they can have the other niche no one was ready for. 

When we consider that we saw ‘Google faces antitrust investigation by 50 US states and territories‘ 6 months ago and not 5 years ago we see part of the bigger picture, of course they could have left it all to China, was that the idea? When we get “Regulators are growing more concerned about company’s impact on smaller companies striving to compete in Google’s markets” we will see the ignoring stage, when it mattered smaller places would not act, as Google acted it became much larger than anyone thought, even merely two years ago we were al confronted with ‘companies’ letting Google technology do all the work and they get all the credit and coin, why should Google comply? Striving to compete with Google is no longer a real option and anyone thinking that is nuts beyond belief. The only places that can hold a candle are the ones with innovative ideas and in an US economy founded on the principle of iteration no one keeps alive, but they are all of the mind that franchising and iteration is the path to wealth, it is not, only the innovative survive and that is being seen in larger ways by both Google and Huawei. Those who come into the field without innovation is out of options, it is basically the vagrant going to the cook demanding part of the pie the cook made as they are hungry, yet the vagrant has no rights to demand anything. 

And as we are given (read: fed) the excuse of “Alphabet, has a market value of more than $820bn and controls so many facets of the internet that it’s fairly impossible to surf the web for long without running into at least one of its services. Google’s dominance in online search and advertising enables it to target millions of consumers for their personal data” we can give others the state where Microsoft did its acts to take out Netscape, how did that end? It ended in United States v. Microsoft Corp.. In all,  we see that in the end (no matter how they got there) that the DOJ announced on September 6, 2001 that it was no longer seeking to break up Microsoft and would instead seek a lesser antitrust penalty.

As such, in the end Microsoft did not have to break up hardware and software, they merely had to adopt non-Microsoft solutions, yet how did that end? How many data failures and zero day breaches did its consumer base face? According to R. Cringely (a group of journalists and writers with a column in InfoWorld) we get “the settlement gave Microsoft “a special antitrust immunity to license Windows and other ‘platform software’ under contractual terms that destroy freedom of competition.”” (source: Webcitation.org). 

Yet all this is merely a stage setting, it seems that as governments realised the importance of data and the eagerness of people giving it away to corporations started to sting, you see corporations can be anywhere, even in US hostile lands and China too. That is the larger stage and Google as it deals in data is free of all attachments, as governments cannot oversee this they buckle and the larger stage is set. 

From my point of view, Google stepped in places where no one was willing to go, it was for some too much effort and as that landscape shaped only google remains, so why should they hand over what they have built? 

It is Reuters that give is the first part of it all (at ) here we see: “EU regulators said this penalty was for Google’s favoring its own price comparison shopping service to the disadvantage of smaller European rivals“, yet what it does not give us is that its ‘smaller rivals’ are all using Google services in the first place, and Google has the patent for 30 years, so why share? This is a party for innovators, non-innovators are not welcome!

Then we get “Google’s search service acts as a de-facto kingmaker. If you are not found, the rest cannot follow“, which is optionally strange, because anyone can join Google, anyone can set up camp and anyone can advertise themselves. I am not stupid, I know whatthey mean, but whe it mattered they could not be bothered, no they lack the data, exaytes of data and they cannot compete, they limited their own actions and they all want to be head honcho right now, no actual investment required.

In addition when it comes to Browsers, Wired gives us “I spent the summer and beyond using Bing instead of Google for search. It’s a whole new world, but not always for the better“, I personally cannot stand Bing, I found it to have issues (not going into that at present), so as we are ‘not found’ we consider the Page rank that Stanford created for Google (or google bought it), when we consider when that happened, when was it reengineered and by whom? And when we got to the second part “Google began selling advertisements associated with search keywords“, that was TWO DECADES AGO! As such, who was innovative enough to try and improve it with their own system? As I see it no one, so as no one was interested, why does there need to be an antitrust case? As such we see the Google strategy of buying companies and acquiring knowledge, places like Microsoft and IBM no longer mattered, they went their own way, even (optionally) better, Microsoft decided to Surf-Ace to the finish, I merely think, let them be them.

We are so eager to finalise the needs for competition law and antitrust law, but has anyone considered the stupidity of the iteration impact? If not, consider why 5G is in hands of Huawei, they became the innovators and whilst we are given the stage of court case after court case on the acts of Huawei, consider why they are so advanced in 5G, is it because they were smarter, or because the others became flaccid and lazy? I believe that both are at play here and in this, all the anti-Google sentiment is merely stopping innovators whilst iterators merely want to be rich whilst not doing their part, why should we accommodate for that?

so when we see (source: Vox) “United States antitrust officials have ordered the country’s top tech companies to hand over a decade’s worth of information on their acquisitions of competitor firms, in a move aimed at determining how giants like Amazon and Facebook have used acquisitions to become so dominant” who does it actually serve? is it really about ‘how giants like Amazon and Facebook have used acquisitions to become so dominant‘, or is it about the denial of innovation? Is it about adding to the surface of a larger entity that governments do not even comprehend, let alone understand? They have figured out that IP and data are the currency of the future, they merely need to be included, the old nightmare where corporations are in charge and politicians are not is optionally coming to fruition and they are actually becoming scared of that, the nerd the minimised at school as they were nerds is setting the tone of the future, the Dominant Arrogant player beng it sales person or politician is being outwitted by the nerd and service minded person, times are changing and these people claim that they want to comprehend, but in earnest, I believe that they are merely considering that the gig is up, iteration always leads there, their seeming ignorance is evidence of that.

Yet in all that, this is basically still emotional and not evidence driven, so let’s get on with that. The foundation of all Common Law Competition Law is set to “The Competition and Consumer Act prohibits two persons, acting in concert, from hindering or preventing a third person trading with a fourth person, where the purpose or likely effect of the conduct is to cause a substantial lessening of competition in any market in which the fourth person is involved“, yet in this, I personally am stating that it hinders innovation, the situation never took into proper account of the state of innovators versus iterators, the iterator needs the innovator to slow down and the foundation of Competition Law allows for this, when we see ‘preventing a third person trading with a fourth person‘, in this the iterator merely brings his or her arrogance and (optional) lack of comprehension to the table and claims that they are being stopped from competing, whilst their evidence of equality is seemingly lacking (as I personally see it). 

In this the Columbia Law School is (at least partially) on my side as I found “Scholars and policymakers have long thought that concentrated market power and monopolies produce more innovation than competition. Consider that patent law—which is the primary body of law aimed at creating incentives for innovation—was traditionally thought to conflict with antitrust law. Known as the “the patent-antitrust paradox,” it was often said that antitrust is designed to prevent monopolies and other exclusionary practices while the patent system does the opposite, granting exclusionary rights and market power in the form of patents. Given this framework, it makes sense that scholars, courts, and government agencies have only recently considered antitrust and patent laws to be complementary policies for encouraging innovation.” it gives the foundation and when you consider that iterators are the foundation of hindrance to innovators, you see how competition law aids them. In the old days (my earlier example) Microsoft and Netscape that was a stage where both parties were on the same technology and comprehension level. Microsoft merely had the edge of bundling its browser with the OS and got the advantage there, Netscape did not have that edge, but was an equal in every other way. 

Another name is Gregory Day, who gives us: “a greater number of antitrust lawsuits filed by private parties—which are the most common type of antitrust action—impedes innovation. Second, the different types of antitrust actions initiated by the government tend to affect innovation in profoundly different ways. Merger challenges (under the Clayton Act) promote innovation while restraint of trade and monopolization claims (under sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act) suppress innovative markets. Even more interesting, these effects become stronger after the antitrust agencies explicitly made promoting innovation a part of their joint policies” yet I believe that iterators have a lot more to gain by driving that part and I see that there is actually a lack of people looking into that matter, who are the people behind the antitrust cases? Most people in government tend to remain unaware until much later in the process, so someone ‘alerts’ them to what I personally see as a  ‘a fictive danger’. In this I wonder who the needed partner in prosecution was and what their needs were. I believe that iterators are a larger problem than anyone ever considered.

In the case of Google, Amazon and Facebook, we see innovators driving technology and the others have absolutely nothing to offer, they are bound to try and slow these three down as they are trying to catch up. 

Ian Murray wrote in 2018 (CEI.ORG), “Yet there is no such thing as a dominant market position unless it is guaranteed by government. AOL, Borders, Blockbuster, Sears, Kodak, and many other firms once considered dominant in their markets have fallen as the result of competition, without any antitrust action” and that is a truth, yet it does not give that the iterators merely want innovators to slow down, so that they can catch up and the law allows for this, more importantly, as the lack of innovations were not driven over the last decade, South Korea became a PC behemoth, and China now rules in 5G Telecom land. All are clear stages of iterators being the problem and not a solution, even worse they are hindring actual innovation to take shape, real innovation, not what is marketed as such.

As such, governments are trying to get some social setting in place by balancing the seesaw whilst standing at the axial point, it is a first signal that this is a place where innovators are lost and in that are you even surprised that a lot of engineers will only take calls from Google or Huawei (Elon Musk being an optional third in the carbon neutral drive)? 

It gets to be even worse (soon enough), now that Google is taking the cookie out of the equation, we get to see ‘Move marks a watershed moment for the digital ad industry to reinvent itself‘, this is basically the other side of the privacy coin, even as google complied, others will complain and as Google innovates the internet to find another way to seek cookie technology, we will suddenly see every advertisement goof with no knowledge of systems cry ‘foul!’ and as we are given “Criteo, which built a retargeting empire around cookies, saw its stock tumble following Google’s announcement. Others such as LiveRamp and Oracle-owned businesses BlueKai and Datalogix, as well as nearly all data management platforms, now face the challenge of rethinking their business” (source: AdAge) we will see more players hurdling themselves over Competition Law and optionallytowards antitrust cases because these players used someones technology to get a few coins (which is not a bad thing, but to all good things come an end).

And I am not against these changes, the issue is not how it will be reinvented, it is how some will seek the option to slow the actual innovators down because they had no original idea (as I personally see it). Yet we must also establish that Google did not make it any easier and they have their own case ORACLE AMERICA, INC. v. GOOGLE INC. to thank for.

That verdict was set to “With respect to Google’s cross-appeal, we affirm the district court’s decisions: (1) granting Oracle’s motion for JMOL as to the eight decompiled Java files that Google copied into Android; and (2) denying Google’s motion for JMOL with respect to the rangeCheck function. Accordingly, we affirm-in-part, reverse-in-part, and remand for further proceedings.” in this situation, for me “The jury found that Google infringed Oracle’s  copyrights in the 37 Java packages and a specific computer routine called “rangeCheck,” but returned a noninfringement verdict as to eight decompiled security files. The jury  deadlocked on Google’s fair use defense.“, as I see it in that situation Oracle had been the innovator and for its use Google was merely an iterator (if it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it).

Basically one man’s innovator is another man’s iterator, which tends to hold up in almost any technology field. Yet this time around, the price is a hell of a lot higher, close to half a dozen iterators ended up giving an almost complete technology surge to China (5G), which is as I personally see it. They were asleep at the wheel and now the US administration is trying to find a way around it, like they will just like ORACLE AMERICA, INC. v. GOOGLE INC.  more likely than not come up short.

And one of these days, governments will figure out that the middle of the seesaw is not the safe place to be, it might be the least safe place to be. As the population on each end changes, the slow reaction in the middle merely ends up having the opposite and accelerating effect, a few governments will learn that lesson the hard way. I believe that picking two players on one (or either side) side is the safest course of action, the question for me remains will they bite?

 

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In case of your death

I was surprised to see a Eurogamer article on the steam account of dead people (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHLFUbU5ceI). The article is interesting and puzzling all at the same time. You see a view that is interesting, mainly because Eurogamer is merely voicing issues that the audience bring to their attention. Now, let’s be fair, the maker Chris Bratt also mentions the bulk of other users of this approach.

It is puzzling because I reckoned that people should have known better. You can leave your physical products behind, but digital products will not transfer. That part has been a clear issue for decades (yes, not years, but decades) it comes with clarity that certain services, especially digital services are services, not goods with a clear setting of ownership. Digital ownership tends to remain with the maker of the product and you the gamer, or user are merely ‘leasing’ that product for the length of your life and in plenty of cases not even that long (read: annual fee).

That is a clear situation in the sight of the worrying owner (the maker) of the product. So in case of software products like Adobe, Microsoft and other players, the digital arena is granting access to, to the person that paid for these services. So when that person dies, the service will be gone, because the service is no longer required for the person who bought it. In my view it is simple and clear, because this is how it has always been. Now that people are actually thinking for the first time on what happens ‘afterwards’, only now are they considering the consequences of their initial forward thinking part to embrace Steam (as a first example). So, even as their might have seemed to be an advantage, having the physical copy will always be better. So now we see that people are catching on. Yet in light of a growing nagging population, do they have a case? You see they purchased a service, not a product, the difference is not what they do, but it is the stage of physicality, the lack of a media carrier. Even then it is not a given that you have any options. The history of software products has had the setting for the longest of time that the purchased products were not transferable. Ashton Tate with dBase 3 and 3 plus (1979) is one of the earlier examples in Software, the bulk of all Microsoft products, although Windows was usually not linked to a person, but a computer. So the phenomenon is not new or unique. So why is it now getting more and more limelight? Well, people are now starting to catch on that their thousands of dollars of games are linked to their identity, to their account and when that is gone, what has been bought is gone too. We can argue on it and also argue on how valid any discussion is on the products that do come with a physical element. What is a given is that as time progresses, the option to own for life a product will fail too. You see, there is a valid case that a product bought is set to the original buyer and no further. The greedy players like Electronic Arts, Microsoft and Ubisoft have been playing with that setting for the longest time. And let’s face it; they do have a point (to some degree). They promised to service your gaming needs, not those of your children and grandchildren. Now, when this is a single player game, a case could be made to transfer the disc to whomever it ends up with, yet there is also a clear case that the services and support are set to the original buyer and without it the game cannot continue. It might be regarded as an open and shut case, but is that truly the case?

We have seen it be done for decades, but was that a legally acceptable reason? I am merely leaving the point of view open to debate. Should a game be allowed to be transferred? Is it fair on the makers of the software products for this to happen? Nowadays we are waiting for the maximised utilisation, the greed driven makers on the minimum option and to some extent the truth tends to be in the middle. This is not because it is fair, but because it is expected. We grew into the expectation of ownership from books and gramophones. Only when the time of digital installation began, only at that point did we see the change towards the expectations that the makers had on ownership and with the age of parchment and gramophones behind us, the consideration of set service terms were not truly on the scale it needed to be. Yet now, with the cloud, with digital ownerships and with downloadable content we are seeing the shift where we are no longer the owner, but the authorised user of the digital product. Now we have the shift that the industry wanted and perhaps in the view of some was entitled to.

In all this we need to realise that the power of creation is not merely remastering of older versions it is the need of revenue for the makers to continue their development and is it fair or unfair to allow for this path? It is at times depending on the point of view that the person has, and n that setting the software industry and the user are unlikely to see thins eye to eye. Some like Sony have the option to link one account to all the devices, so three people could be playing at the same time (each on a different system), some give options for multiple users for a few dollars more and some will try to fetch cash from every user. It is as I personally see it linked to where our expectations are and through history they have been set in favour of the user, now with the cloud and with digital versions that ‘advantage’ is lost to the users and it is largely depending on the others on how they allow us to set this in motion.

Eurogamer is all set towards the need of a champion with references towards Bruce Willis, but is that fair? The best setting is one that Microsoft tried (best for them that is). They wanted to disable the option of pre-owned players and that got buried real fast. Now, I am on the gamer’s side when it comes to a physical product. But in case of Mass Effect, can we truly expect that multiplayer accounts are transferred? Is it fair to continue digital server service ‘ad infinitum’? I personally do not believe that to be fair. Yet in that same push, I think that a physical copy should not be linked to one person, to one owner, but in that as the future comes pushing us, the wrong stance to have. I believe that the intertwining of services, physical and non-physical will stop or enhance the push for limited authorised access.

It is merely my view and perhaps a wrong one, but I am willing to consider that we as users must accept this shift. In this it will become more and more important to have a full physical game. We see the setting of patents in the requirement of manufacturing and physicality, yet now with the cloud and distributed usage (including cloud gaming) we see that every unit is part of the whole, so as such person X with license Y will become part of the whole implying that person X2 with license Y is another entity altogether, I will go one step further that as each player becomes a mere key of the machine, we see that physicality is set in hardware and software and as such, the combination becomes its own dimension, meaning that transfer of ownership becomes a thing of the past. Yet this also spells dangers in other ways, because as non-repudiation becomes a larger issue, any element (like email address) becomes an absolute setting, so that we are in danger of stopping ourselves to move forward with a second email address, a thing we saw with Ubisoft in the past. So once we lose our e-mail address through hackers we could in theory lose whatever we purchased through that medium. Now, most have their own registration system, yet what happens when that depository is lost, damages or altered? That is the part that is not fixed and is unlikely to be properly addressed for some time. It is even more conceivable that our children will in their lifetime see the need and growth of identity implants. Perhaps even more than one and it is at that point that the digital age of ownership takes another leap, perhaps a much larger leap than we have seen in the last 25 years. It opens up whole new ranges of opportunities and dangers. The question will sooner become, which one tips the scales of balance and how will it affect all?

So in case of your death you might be confronted with the implants of your parents, the implants of peers and siblings. In this the law is actually not ready and it is not as simple as what will happen with your games. Because as the setting is fixed it will be about bank accounts, available funds and set funding of growth and wealth. In all this we will see shifts and we will ponder where the rights of services will be set. In this it will go beyond commercial versus NGO, it will be about the shift that identity enables us to hold and that will shift the movements that we are able to do. It will be a new level of hindrance and perhaps even a step towards global discrimination, because when you realise that the age of implants is already here, consider the impairment that some people will have by allowing these changes to the body and to the external extremities.

For those in IP it is a great time to get involved with block chains and non-repudiation, because the game of games, gaming and software will be changed to much larger degrees than people realise and the initial changes as some realise them to be at present are only the tip of the iceberg.

Enjoy the weekend.

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What we waste away

This is an issue that bugged me for a little while. Even though it started small, the near exponential growth of waste is now looking towards me, looking at me as I look into an abyss of squandered opportunity. You see, this is in part the Monday morning quarterback speaking, whilst in that same view I should hold a mirror to my own choices. Just like you should do.

The idea for this article started small, it started when I realised that Huawei was willing to sacrifice its Australian market share by tweaking the skewing profits they have. They are now making short-sighted decisions and as they do that, they stand to lose close to 10% of the Australian market share. So why waste that? Let’s not forget that before the P7 Huawei was almost synonymous with ‘whazzat?’ and now after the P7, which was and still is awesome, after a less appreciated P8, Huawei is close to being a global household name. Now with the Nexus being a little outdated (Nexus 6P), the 9P could have been ready to gain a decent market share, hurting both the iPhone to a lesser degree and the Samsung phones to a larger degrees. So what does Huawei do? They decide to not release the 64 GB in Australia. Now until recently, we could have expected that, yet when you consider the exponential demand for mobile games that Pokémon GO is pushing, the fact that we now see ‘Apple plans to invest in augmented reality following success of Pokémon Go‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jul/26/apple-earnings-pokemon-go-augmented-reality-steve-cook), whilst the players are not thinking their decisions through could be regarded as a larger (read: massive) act of wasting away opportunity.

So why is this a waste?

Until Pokémon GO, the need for storage had not been visible to the degree we thought we needed. Even I did not see this coming and I have been connected to games and gaming in excess of 30 years. Forbes (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/bensin/2016/07/25/these-photos-show-how-crazy-the-pokemon-go-craze-is-in-hong-kong) gives us a clear view with the quote “special phone plans from local companies offering unlimited data usage just for the game“, which shows the amount of users, but not the need for storage. The fact that millions of people are now getting dozens of screenshots every day (more than before) of every Pokémon they caught and even more interesting where it was caught. Of course the average teenager is also feeding the image streams on how they caught a Diglett on their boxer short, so the wildfire of images is growing. All these images require storage and this is only the first game, within a year I expect close to a dozen games with features requiring storage, because there will always be copycats. So do you really think your 32 GB phone will suffice? I think not, with all the other needs your mobile life has, buying any phone less than 64 GB from this point onwards is a massive flaw. It is short-sighted, even if you are not a gamer, this market is erupting into new fields and the chance that this will not affect you is near impossible. So as the difference should be no more than $100, sticking with the 32 GB is in my view for the nuts and fruits, the fibre based mobile user needs 64 GB, yes there is in some cases a 128 GB, yet this is except for the very few really overkill, you need to be a seriously intense user of large files to really need something this big, but by 2019, who can tell?

In my view, you need to consider a mobile phone for the next 2 years. 32 GB will not cut it, especially as Android OS is also growing and will require more space.

Now it is time to take a look at the Apple side, the Guardian gives us “The comments came during an earnings call to discuss the results of the company’s third financial quarter, the three months ending 30th June, in which the company earned $42.4bn in revenue, a 15% decline from the same period last year“, so as Tim Cook is making claims towards Augmented Reality (AR) he seems to have forgotten that Nintendo, with their 3DS got to that point 5 years ago. So, not only did he miss that entire cycle, we can conclude that 3 iterations of new Apple products were not near ready either, so he is running behind the ball, whilst someone saw the AR on the 3DS and game it a little more thought. As we see how Microsoft has been bungling some of their projects, in all of those steps Apple wasn’t just absent, they had no clue where the gaming world was, so as they are trying to pick up the pass, we see the lack of innovation and shear absence regarding the creativity of options that Apple happily avoided. Now as some ask questions we see a sudden mention of AR whilst none of the hardware is ready to facilitate innovation for this track.

As I stated that all (including me) missed the hype this caused and yes, it is a hype but one that is creating a beachhead, not one that is fading away. So Nintendo has options and opportunity here. Beyond the IP needs that are now rearing its ugly head, we need to realise that Apple is now moving to the shallow end of the pool. They moved from innovator to facilitator and until they change the mindset on what a gamer wants and what a game needs to be Apple is now the one barking up the wrong tree. In that regard evidence of their hardware is simple enough. Only the iPhone 6 started to have 2GB or RAM. The issue is that games tend to be memory hungry and no matter how good the swap architecture, the fact that you need it will drag gaming speed and swapping speed down, which makes for a bad solution. The fact that Huawei is skewing profitability by limiting storage is less on an impact, but knowing full well the impact on mobile gamers, the fact that Huawei has not adjusted it view means that they will not be able to keep up. That last one is a little incomplete for Australia, because it is one of the few places where the mobile phone providers do not offer a 64 GB edition, whilst the models do exist. Here we get that Kogan.com is the only open provider offering 64 GB phones, in the non-open field it is only Telstra that offered it (their iPhone 6S), the rest is now trailing storage land with a dangerous backlash that could come their way.

So how important is storage? It might not be that big on one side, until you run out. Ask yourself, when was the last time you deleted pictures, removed MP3 tracks and removed APPS you never use? The moment you run out of memory and as you suddenly see that you do not have enough storage you will freak out like the short-sighted PC users who used to think that 20 GB was enough for their PC. Most of those people ran out of resources less than a year after getting their PC, when they did not know how to clean up their PC they started everyone except themselves. That is what you now face with your upcoming needed Mobile, because that moment with your kids, or your partner who just made that one gesture just as a bus passes by and the water pool near her feet became the inverted waterfall covering her, that moment when you miss it will introduce you to the term ‘frustration’, which is the moment as you realise that storage was everything at some points.

Yet these were not the only parts, just the directly visible ones.

There are more options and several are being missed out on. I am currently sitting on a billion in revenue, yet until the right person comes along. I can’t afford to move towards it without leaving it open for others to pick it up. I just need to get lucky. In that same way, some game developers are sitting on optional IP, some are now finding its way towards us in other ways, some through redesign, some through the mini console gadgets, yet they are coming. Is it enough? That depends on your point of view. For those coming with the mini console, it is a way to cash in on old IP in an easy way, a way where the seasoned gamer will get joy from. Just remember that this $99 solution, with the original games which would have come at a price of almost $1900 when the games were initially released, yet I digress.

You see, the need for gaming is still growing and it is moving away from consoles and moving towards the mobile realm of gaming needs. AR is only one field and it is not the only field. Ubisoft had initially created a small wave with a brotherhood app, one that interacted with the console/PC games and soon thereafter stuffed it up with the AC Unity versions by not proper testing and considering options. Yes, that Ubisoft! Still, they are not done! Consider the options they still have. For one, they have the IP of Just Dance. How long until they get the idea to push songs to the mobile and kids in schools and colleges start holding a little Just dance marathon? Sydney of all places is one place where a dance app could make it big not just in the parks, but on the streets too and summer is coming!

How long until that Just Dance would evolve to work in selfie video mode, so that you can get a rating? This would require storage and some of these speculated options could be just around the corner. Even though Ubisoft dropped the ball initially, they are leading the way of combining gaming with mobile gaming. So there are more options that AR games, even if everyone is running that direction (which is not a bad idea), it will require an open mind to find something that could create the interest that the tsunami of Pokémon GO gamers crave. I will let the developers work that out.

The final part can be seen outside of the economic requirements of technology. It is found in the overly eager acceptance of ‘speculative estimation’. It is not based upon what could be, it is not set on the prediction of what already exists, it is seen in the quote “Shares plunge 10% as revenue falls short of analysts’ estimates amid modest gain of 3 million users“. In this case it is Twitter, you know that great tool. A connectivity tool that link you to existing interests, both professional, personal as recreational. No matter that it is limited to 144 characters, it enables you to get the information you care about. An invention that is profound and its value drops as revenue falls short of what a limited group of people expects it to make. So as we see a solution that is making “Twitter forecast current quarter revenue of $590-$610m“, we get the cold shower because some people claim that it is “well below the average analyst estimate of $678.18m“, so we have half a billion profit and someone says it is not enough. This is the waste, reduction in value, reduction of what those who do not create anything is just not good enough. Yet, this picture that the Guardian initially paints is not accurate either. We see should consider this when we take into account Revenue and Profit, no matter what the profit was, it did beat the expectations of some, making me wonder why analysts cannot get their act together.

Some of those are pretty much the same types who would increase the value of Nintendo by 10 billion, even as Nintendo themselves did not make Pokémon GO. Those same category of people who seem to expertly know that Twitter is supposed to have up to $70M more in revenue, did not realise that “Tokyo Stock Exchange has plummeted 17% in one day, apparently due to investors belatedly discovering that the company doesn’t actually make Pokémon Go, the latest mobile gaming phenomenon“, even as we all knew from day one that Niantec is an American development company in San Francisco, they were not making any mention when Nintendo stock went through the roof. So is this just plain playing the field or just short-sightedness? Even as shares went up 13 cents per share (up 3 cents), they had no good news on Twitter. It seems to me that there is a massive waste coming from analysts predicting values, setting targets that are a little too weird even as Twitter had achieved 20% revenue gain, it still missed targets (according to analysts). The pressure on false targets and fake values is dragging down people and it is dragging down quality of life for those who still made well over half a billion dollars. How is that not a waste?

It seems to me that we need to make large changes, not just on the way we think, but on the way we accept certain values. How is pushing by externals in any way acceptable? Let’s consider the following parts. These analysts we all about predicting the ‘opportunities’ for Greece in the era 2009-2012, even as we saw misrepresentation in more than one way. How did that work out for the Greeks? Brexit was never going to happen, they did not catch on to that part until the day of the election, how again did Wall Street overreact? Now consider the following definitions: ‘Slavery existed before written history, it continues through such practices as debt bondage & serfdom‘. Now consider debt bondage, where we see ‘a person’s pledge of their labour or services as security for the repayment for a debt or other obligation‘, our debts, our essential need to work, the pledge of labour as analysts seem to chasten Twitter (and many other companies). Serfdom is another issue. It is not the same as it was. As the description might be seen as: ‘Serfs who occupied a plot of land were required to work for the lord of the manor who owned that land, and in return were entitled to protection, justice and the right to exploit certain fields within the manor to maintain their own subsistence‘, many might deny that this still exists, yet in an age with high levels of unemployment we seem to push out own boundaries to do whatever it takes to keep levels of ‘protection‘ (read: not being unemployed) and ‘rights to exploit your position‘ (read: additional work requirements), even as we might disagree with parts of this (which is fair enough) the similarities are close to undeniable. In all this we see an iteration of analysts changing predicted needs, raising expectations, after which their errors are released through waves of managed ‘bad news’. Now, this might be just my speculative error of insight. Yet the evidence is all around you. In that regard, many analysts also get it wrong the other way. When we see Facebook exceeding ‘expectations’ by 59%, can we at that point agree that the analysts making the predictions have no real clue? In this age where we can all miss a trend, the fact that we see a 60% miss is not as much as a miss, as it is a massive inability to read your market, which is how I would see it (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jul/27/facebook-ad-sales-growth-quarterly-results).

You are now wondering how the latter part connects to the initial part. As I personally see it, we are receiving more and more hindrance from places that make one claim, yet in reality they are mere facilitators towards profitability to ‘satisfy’ the greed of ‘investors’ on the terms of analysts. I have nothing against profit and profitability. No company forsaking its ROI will live for long, yet when we see a company surpassing the 600 million revenue and they are turning a profit, everyone seems to have this surrealistic love affair with ‘Number of Users’. This gets us to what is behind the screens, you see, when we see the blind focus on number of users, is it about the product you have, or the data you collect? Those who are still about mere virtual profit through acquisition of personal data, those who proclaim comprehension, those are the same people who were unable to comprehend the value that products like Minecraft and Pokémon GO. Even if I got one wrong, I did not get both wrong, in that same light I can see that No Mans Sky will raise the bar for gaming and even as some proclaim the word ‘disappointment’ with the initial Alpha release of ‘We Happy Few’, I believe that this game can be a lot of fun and can end up being a decent game with a 90% score. Now, it is important to mention that this view was from a reviewer with a good reputation, it is a good review and as such it should not be ignored, yet in all this, it is still an Alpha version and as such there is plenty of space for improvement. This is possible, because the initial engine does look good.

These elements are all linked, the link is imagination and creativity. Not the imagination of hope in the view of ‘I have the winning ticket‘, no it is in the path of ‘What can we do to make a change‘. It is about the imagination to employ creativity to achieve a result. In the first case it is for Huawei to adjust its incorrect (as I see it) stance of that what they make available and for which nation at the bequest of whatever Telco. This is a mere adjustment of policy, it comes with the smallest requirement of creativity and a decent comprehension of data.

The second case with Tim Cook, which requires both immense creativity and imagination (and a good development team). We can make whatever claim we want, but the reality is, is that too much value is given to reengineering, and way too little towards actual true innovation. Where is the creativity and insight that brought us the iPod, iPhone and iPad? Oh, right, I forgot, he died! Yet, should Tim Cook be any less than his predecessor? So why are they not looking at raising the bar and instigating a different mode of gaming? Perhaps the next hype is not gaming at all. I might not have the answer here, but the bringer of the next challenge that will create a real hype might know, for Apple the need of finding that person makes all the difference.

Pablo Picasso once said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”. I wonder if that is still just the case. So far I have learned that “Any innovator will soon after their first big success become the pawn of the needs of Wall Street”. If you doubt that, then consider Adobe, Apple, Coca Cola, IBM, Microsoft, Nintendo and Twitter and let’s not forget that they all started through true innovation.

 

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Dark side of the moon

The Guardian ended up with an interesting article on Friday. The title ‘Malware is not only about viruses – companies preinstall it all the time‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/22/malware-viruses-companies-preinstall), it is a good article and Richard Stallman is a great man, but there are parts in this article that I have an issue with. Mind you, the man is not telling stories or lying, but he is showing one side of the coin. He is also reinforcing other sides to the software industry that are a definite issue.

The first part is a part I am completely in agreement with “In 1983, the software field had become dominated by proprietary (i.e. non-free) programs, and users were forbidden to change or redistribute them“, a side which I do not oppose. In addition there is “But proprietary developers in the 1980s still had some ethical standards: they sincerely tried to make programs serve their users, even while denying users control over how they would be served“, I have a partial issue with the last bit ‘denying users control over how they would be served‘. I disagree for two reasons.

The first is based on resources. In those days, an IBM PC was a massive behemoth, it had 256Kb memory and if you were really really rich, you also had a 10Mb hard drive. So, yes, the expensive personal computer had less resources then the cheapest $39 Non-smart Nokia phone. Go figure! By the way, that 10Mb hard drive was priced at $1499 in those days. So, user control was an issue, because resources did not allow for them, but soon thereafter, the 512Kb PC was released and there was so much we could do then! No sarcasm here, it was true! In those days I learned and mastered Lotus Symphony an excellent program! This was also a time when we started to get some choices in control, control remained limited, but some control was gained.

Next we see the first part that is an issue, even though he makes a nice point on End User License Agreements. I would like to add the Terms of service as a clear point here, but overall there is a part that is too coloured. The quote “So many cases of proprietary malware have been reported, that we must consider any proprietary program suspect and dangerous. In the 21st century, proprietary software is computing for suckers“.

I cannot completely disagree that Microsoft soured the market by a lot, it has done so in several directions, yet Corporate Earth is at times too stupid to consider growing a brain, which is also part of the problem. It is an element that is shown all over the place. The Netherlands, Sweden, UK, France, Germany, Denmark and even Australia (I worked in all those countries). Instead of sitting down and considering a switch to LINUX with open office, the IT and other elements are just too lazy and too under resourced to push for a change, so the users are no longer people, they are for the most mere meek sheep following the ‘corporate standard‘, which means that they too use windows and Office.

Another direction is the hardware world. Windows comes preinstalled, more important, Windows and Microsoft have been a driving force, forcing people to buy stronger and more expensive computers. Even though many users have not needed any need for more powerful and stronger hardware, Windows forced them to upgrade again and again. Anyone not into gaming and using their computer merely for office activities and browsing mail on the internet should not have needed to upgrade their computer for the better part of 10 years, but that is not the reality, go to any computer shop for windows hardware and we see how the ‘old’ ASUS, ACER, Lenovo, HP or Toshiba no longer hacks it. Which is actually weird, because if you reinstall your old laptop with LINUX and Apache Open Office there is a high chance that you will work in 90% of the time just as fast as with that new $2000 laptop on Windows 7. Setback? You have to install and configure it yourself. Upside? LINUX and Open Office are both free software, no costs and no fees!

Is it not interesting how companies are not jumping on that free horse? Why is that you think? In addition, with all the needs for government costs to go down, why are they not more pro-active to push for a shift towards LINUX? Is it security? This is also odd, because with the massive amount of non-stop security patches, Windows is not that secure to begin with.

So where do I disagree? Well the first clear quote is “Some are designed to shackle users, such as Digital Rights Management (DRM)“, I believe that if a firm makes software, it has every right to prevent illegal use, for a long time, how many people do you know that have a LEGAL version of Adobe? Even when the stars are in your favour. In many Universities, Adobe offers the entire master collection (all their software) for $400, which is an amazing deal! I got my legal versions of both Windows 7 and Microsoft Office Ultimate for an additional $199. Why not buy it? No many just find a download place and get the software for free, in addition you can get the codes. It goes even further that I stumbled on a place in Germany some years ago where they were offering the OEM stickers for PC complete with license key for 20 Mark. I could not tell the difference from the original sticker in the software box I had bought. Do you think that DRM would have been such a push if people just bought their software? I will take it one step further, I feel certain that if every person was charged $275 a year, we all would have the complete Adobe, Windows and Office programs free to download, with no need to illegally copy anything.

But there is still that other side. You see, I still believe that Microsoft and hardware providers have been forcing a technological armistice race upon the consumers, which now adds up to us all wasting resources on iterative junk we should not need. So even though I do not completely agree with Richard Stallman here, he does have a point.

Now we get to an issue that I actually faced without knowing it “Even Android contains malware in a non-free component: a back door for remote forcible installation or deinstallation of any app“, you see, I thought I was bonkers (which I actually are) but for some reason one of my apps had suddenly be removed and not by me. It was not something I needed. I had just downloaded it from Google play out of curiosity, but suddenly it was gone! In addition, on more than one occasion it just decided to update my apps, without my permission. When you have bandwidth issues, seeing a force upgrade which could cost you is not that nice a moment.

Yet, for the most, I remain a loyal fan towards Android, even though at times programs use background resources for reasons unknown, or are they unknown?

We get the next part from the quote “Even humble flashlight apps for phones were found to be reporting data to companies. A recent study found that QR code scanner apps also snoop“, there is a lot more at http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/ejsmith/scan.this.or.scan.me.2015.pdf; now we have ourselves a massive issue, although the paper shows that there is a prompt for GPS and the sending of GPS, none of them has the situation where they do not prompt for GPS and still send it. Eric Smith and Dr Nina A. Kollars who wrote the paper give us another consideration on page 8. There we see “Moreover, contemporary privacy norms are increasingly threatened as what initially appears to be signals of consumer preference slide further into determining bigger-picture life patterns and behavior. The term most commonly used to address this creeping phenomenon is the literature on consumer panopticism“, which now refers to ‘Gandy, Oscar H. The Panoptic Sort: A Political Economy of Personal Information‘. Before getting the book (which is worth the purchase), you might want to take a look at a paper by Adam Arvidsson, from the Department of Film and Media Studies, University of Copenhagen, Denmark (at http://www.surveillance-and-society.org/articles1(4)/prehistory.pdf), you see, my partial issue with the article by Richard Stallman becomes slowly visible now. He is right in his view and his vision as he sees this, but you the user did this to yourself! You think that Facebook is ‘free’, that these apps are there merely for amusement (some actually are), their goal is income! Some work the Freemium game market, where games like ‘Book of Heroes‘ gives you a free game, but if you want to grow faster and better in the game, you will have to invest. For the most, these games will rely on the investment from $10-$25 to truly open up, which is, if you consider the amount of hours played still great value. Freemium games also come with that ‘try before you buy’ approach, as you can play the game, but to enjoy it, to get more moves and more joy a few dollars will be essential. The other part that relies on ‘captured data’ did they inform you? If not, there is an issue, but the app programmer will get his pound of flesh, either by cash of by data!

Yet the other side is also true, you see, as Richard mentions and as Adam Arvidsson report on, there are places like Red Sheriff, that rely on hidden script, which is more advanced/intrusive as it keeps track of ALL your online movements. You get this script as a ‘present’ when you visit one of its affiliated sites. Did you the internet user sign up for that? When we see the reference on who pushes this. We see “since most major commercial sites use Redsheriff“, which means that nearly all will somehow be tracked. I for one do not really care that much, but I never signed up for any of it, so should we see this as an invasion to our privacy?

This is where we see that freeware is almost never free.

Yet Richard also alerts us to another state of freedom, or lack thereof! In the quote “If the car itself does not report everywhere you drive, an insurance company may charge you extra to go without a separate tracker“. Can anyone explain to me why it is ANY business of the insurer where we are?

In the end, Richard states three parts, which are fair enough, but overall the issue is missed. The issues reported are:

Individually, by rejecting proprietary software and web services that snoop or track“, here I do not completely agree! I used Adobe as an example for a reason, there is simply no viable alternative, it only became worse when Macromedia bought Adobe (I know it is the other way round, but I will remain a faithful Macromedia fan until the day I die!), there is in addition, no tracking done by Adobe, other than keeping track whether you have a valid license, which I never opposed.

Collectively, by organising to develop free/libre replacement systems and web services that don’t track who uses them“, which I whole heartedly agree with, I am even willing to devote time to this worthy cause (not sure how I could ever size up to the hundreds of Richard Stallman’s, but I am willing to give it a go!

And last there is “Democratically, by legislation to criminalise various sorts of malware practices. This presupposes democracy, and democracy requires defeating treaties such as the TPP and TTIP that give companies the power to suppress democracy“, this is the big one. The political branches all over Europe and the Commonwealth have sold us short and have not done anything to properly enforce the rights to privacy. In addition, Google and Apple remains in a state of non-clarity on what data these apps capture and what they convey. In that regard Facebook is equally guilty. Facebook goes further that it does not even proper police those who claim to give a free app, only to no longer work, but when you went to the install the data is as I see it already captured by the app provider, which gives wonder to where that data went.

In regards to suppressing democracy, which is perhaps partially overstated, there is an issue with the TPP that seems to empower large corporations and nullify the protection to smaller innovators and even governments as the TTP wants to enforce “where foreign firms can ‘sue’ states and obtain taxpayer compensation for ‘expected future profits’”, how long until we get an invoice for overinflated ego’s? Especially from those people in the entertainment industry claiming the loss of so many billions in an era when the bulk of the population can hardly pay their rent!

I regard Graham Burke of Village Roadshow to be one of the greater jokes this era has brought forth. Consider who he is supposed to ‘protect’, he goes on regarding “‘crazies’ whose hidden agenda is the ‘theft of movies’“, which is not that far-fetched a statement, because movies will be downloaded and not bought, it happens, yet not to the degree Graham Burke claims it is! So we get him soon enough to claim billions from losses due to the massive download of ‘the LEGO movie’ perhaps? Yet in the public forum on copyright infringement, we did not hear him utter a word on bandwidth, perhaps the response from Telstra’s Jane Van Beelen would likely have been a little too uncomfortable Mr Burke?

You see, in my view it is less about the democracy as Richard Stallman sees it. The legal protection seems to be massively delayed as bandwidth is income, and when piracy is truly stopped bandwidth will simmer down. If we accept the word of Village Roadshow with global revenue of 13 billion since 1997. Yet, I wrote about movie piracy in ‘The real issue here!‘ on June 17th 2014 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/06/17/the-real-issue-here/), in the calculation, which I kept very conservative, Telstra could lose up to 320 million a month in revenue, due to diminished bandwidth, which gets us 4 billion a year. Consider that Village Roadshow is global, which means that Australian revenue is a mere fraction of that, how soon until they see that Village roadshow might only get 5-10 million a year more, against the 320 million a month loss for Telstra? So Mr. Burke is not regarded as a serious party as I see it (yet he is not an invalid party), Telstra would have too much to lose, not to mention the loss Optus and iiNet could face. However, if the TPP changes that with ‘expected future profits’, whilst there is absolutely no quality data to prove that the loss is nothing more than there ego’s talking.

There is the crunch that politicians are too afraid to touch!

Yet, in light of many factors, legal protection (including protection for Village Roadshow) is essential, yet the large corporations seem to hold the game to the need of their bottom dollar, which is the dollar, not democracy or decent rights. If it were decent rights than telecom companies would properly monitor abuse of digital rights, because the movie is for Village Roadshow to sell, or to stream for a fee via Netflix. I do not deny this at all, I just oppose the outlandish income some of them claim that they ‘lost’!

So on the dark side of the moon we see that (actually we do not see any of that) things are not right. I do not completely adhere to the idealist view that Richard Stallman validly has (we are all entitled to our views), but he touches on several parts that definitely need change and until we see a governmental push away from Microsoft solutions, we will see that the government will spend loads of money on never-ending updates to hardware and software. We all agree that such a change is not easily made, but in light of the cost of living, the fact that nearly no one makes that change is equally worrisome.

When we stare up to the sky we always see the same side of the moon, the dark side is wild, and is covered with impact craters, impacts we never see. It is a lot more reminiscent of the chaotic wild life of malware, a side that is constantly lacking the exposure it should have, mainly because it affects the bottom dollar.

 

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Another online danger

It seems that we the consumers are soon in danger of being left out in the offline cold. You might not realise it, you might not even worry, but your money, your payments online are finite!

You see, not only are the events of last week troubling (not the UK election mind you), the consequence of allowing this to move forward unanswered could be a costly one.

With online presence there is the additional danger of non-online absence.

For this I will emphasize it with one example. The game is from Enix and the title is ‘Order of War: Challenge‘, if you had bought it from Steam, then you have a possible issue, because the game has been wiped of your account. Now, this is not a massive issue of today, this is an issue from the sheer point of view called ‘You paid for it!’ and now it is no more and you can never play it again. An important fact is that this issue played in 2013, so you might wonder what gives!

That is an excellent question. I for one would not care too much for Steam, I never did. Yet the issue of yesterday is now quickly progressing towards issues out today and even more important those who are out tomorrow and after that. This goes far beyond the wiping of a ‘Silent Hill Playable Demo’. Some changes are made because the circumstances changes, which is fair enough. That is not the true issue (even though the Silent Hill fans who missed out would be miffed).

The issue is found in the mobile and console games out now and more important those released after tomorrow.

Let me give you an example.

The mobile/Tables environment has a game called ‘Dungeon Keeper’. Many of those who loved that game when it was originally released on the PC went nuts the moment that game reappeared. Yet, in hindsight this new game was a massive failure on many levels. The game had actually destroyed the image the masterful game maker Peter Molyneux had built. The game is now all about delaying events and forcing people to make very expensive purchases online in the form of Gems. As micro transactions go, this game is the one example why micro transactions should be illegal. A nice view is given at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpdoBwezFVA. Yet compared to the pc edition of the second game (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DJmS7prcmE), the mobile game is horrendous.

Now we have an additional side, I cannot tell when this happened, but several people (including me) have only had access to the game once in the last two weeks, there have been ongoing server connection issues. In light of the issues that have been mentioned in the past there is now a matter for other cause. You see, if there is an issue with a game, if you had purchased enough gems, the issue at hand is not just that you are forced to a server, the fact that the server is no longer there and the player can no longer play gives weight to the question whether there should be legal consequences for those eager to sell a micro transaction relying game. Can something offered as ‘freemium’ but will only work smoothly when purchases be made, should that game be allowed to be non-functional?  Should the makers not offer an offline side to the game? That is at the foundation of what is wrong. The danger of consumers paying for something that can be removed as soon as the exploiters no longer consider the product to be viable and it stops working for various reasons.

What are those reasons?

Well Dungeon Keeper is a first example. The fact that a server is down is one thing, the fact that the server cannot be reached for two weeks is an entirely other matter. Which leads us to the question, should games that only have online server options be allowed? Beyond that, when gameplay is removed, are those who paid for additional gaming experience be entitled to credit vouchers?

This is the loaded question because basically it is payment for a service, which should be regarded as temporary, however, was that clearly communicated to those buying the service? Now we have ourselves a different video game altogether!

You see, this part will be a growing issue as people are dependent on downloads and could storage of games that are not played on a daily basis. There is the added consideration that these providers never did anything wrong as they might have specified that in the terms of service, yet who reads them? This is not a business agreement, or isn’t it?

Let me move on (for now to another example).

Now we have (or better states we used to have) the PlayStation 3. It has the option of PSN and PlayStation Home. PlayStation Home was discontinued, but what about those people who have spent money for years on the locations there? There had always been an implied assumption that there would be PlayStation Home in PS4. Clearly implied is not correct, too many sources stated most options in silence. Then when the PS4 came it was initially incomplete and in 2014 the verdict was final, no PlayStation Home on the PS4. And recently PlayStation Home was also removed from the PlayStation 3. There was no fault here, there was never any clear agreement that PlayStation Home was to be ported to the PS4, but to lose it on PS3 would never be an acceptable option to those who like it.

I thought it was a cool place, it was partially useless, yet it had the option of being a playful marketing tool. Trailers, unlockable extra’s for games and so on, there were even a few decent games in that environment. Because it had channels so that people could chat, it was something that is out there that would forever be an option. Now it seems that Sony is mostly rejecting the social media, or it is partially doing that. PlayStation home is not the only place, the profiles are a second part, but here we are forced online and in an almost ‘anti-social network’ situation.

This is where the wheels come off the wagon, you see there is another side to all this!

This all links to the previous as there is a real danger that someone at some point will deactivate a service, then what? There is currently an uneven, unequal and a dangerous push to force people online. There is now a second part that has massive consequences for gamers on a global scale. I have made references with the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) before, and it seems that several other sources are now on the bandwagon regarding the dangers here, gaming is only one aspect (and not even close to the biggest one, but because of the global setting of gamers a lot easier to spot). It is not just the ‘profile’ issue, that is the least of it all, but it is a driving force around it. More important, the cost of being ‘online’ could soon be another matter altogether.

It would be too simple to state that the TPP is just a bad consequence of a group of utterly incompetent politicians, mostly staying presently at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but that would be not entirely correct either. You see, their inadequacies resulted in a group of industrials to change the premise on Digital Rights Management (DRM) on a massive scale. For the most, I have mixed feelings. I believe that it is perfectly legit for a corporation to protect their product from being illegally copied. Now, the internet providers (ISP’s) are all about bandwidth, so as such, they like people who copy movies, they love it even better when people copy Blu-rays, because 100,000,000 people going for 2-3 blu-rays every night is a massive amount of bandwidth. There is to the smaller extent that a DRM is all about setting up who can legally use something and who cannot, but that seems to be the smallest tip of the iceberg.

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald gives us ‘http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/politicalnews/trans-pacific-partnership-will-push-medicine-prices-up-review-finds-20150303-13sxty.html‘. This is not entirely correct, but not wrong either. If we take this quote “The leaked treaty text also reveals new American and Japanese proposals designed to enhance the ability of pharmaceutical manufacturers to extend and widen their patents on drugs and medicines“, it is the word ‘extend’ that is the issue. Because some pharmaceuticals are all about prolonging, we see more and more new patent additions to give any drug a longer exclusivity, which means that generic medication will be less and less of an option. There is in addition the quote “Jeffrey Bleich, accused Australian consumers of habitually stealing copyrighted content and of being some of the worst offenders with amongst the highest piracy rates … in the world“, that statement makes Jeffrey Bleich an idiot to some degree (not the worst he’s ever been called), because his peers in the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden say exactly the same and he should properly investigate these matters before making those statements.

Now, he was not being too bright (or massively misinformed) and a mere voicer for large corporations, which is to some degree his job I reckon, but he could have been a smudge more thoughtful in that regard. You see, the American side has been utterly stupid for a long time. Because it was always American first, then ‘whomever is left’! We have seen that in Movies, Music and games. Although music not as much. It started in the mid 80’s when Greed took over and American corporations were utterly clueless on global corporate actions from day one. I am not just talking about Games, or movies (even though they are the most visible ones). No the utter consumer disrespect shown by Ashton-Tate, IBM, Lotus Development Corporation, Oracle, Novell and Adobe was beyond belief in those days. You would actually look forward to meeting with Macromedia, WordPerfect and Corel to see that humanity in IT was an option. Now many of them changed tunes over time, the movie and games industry stayed behind for a long time, it is only recently that the US is seeing that the money of their blockbusters are coming from outside the US in some cases in excess of 75%. Now we have ourselves a ballgame! Now we see the shift some are making, but in other ways.

You see, there is a reason why some people have an aversion to buying a game at 40%-70% more. In my early days, I had no options, a game advertised in the American magazines at $19.95 would cost me $69, that’s a not so nice 300%, so America changed the environment from the very beginning. Even today, Australian gamers will pay 40%-70% more for a new game. Now, we will see casual mention on how it is all about shipping. Well guess again. PSN (PS4) was offering games on day one in a shop for $89, On Amazon it was $59 and guess what, the download in Australia was priced at $99.

How do these elements link?

There are two parts. First the quote by Julian Assange “The TPP has developed in secret an unaccountable supranational court for multinationals to sue states. This system is a challenge to parliamentary and judicial sovereignty. Similar tribunals have already been shown to chill the adoption of sane environmental protection, public health and public transport policies“. It is actually not that far a stretch, you only need to consider the legal disagreements between Apple and Samsung to see the dangers here.

After which the following claim is made “The leaked text shows that this agreement is more about corporate power than “free trade”. Investor-state dispute settlement is really a form of corporate sovereignty“. That part can be found here (at https://wikileaks.org/tpp-investment/WikiLeaks-TPP-Investment-Chapter/page-1.html).

Basically, in there you can find the issue “where foreign firms can ‘sue’ states and obtain taxpayer compensation for ‘expected future profits’“, this now reverts back to the earlier mention of games, movies and especially music. A false dimension of revenue has been maintained by corporate ‘baboons’, claiming ‘loss of revenue’. Relying on incomplete information from Napster, Kazaa and a few others players in the peer to peer networking solution. They basically went on the premise, one download means one sale lost. I believe that this was never a reality. People might download and listed, but would never have bought the bulk of it in the first case. That same premise of certain lacks is seen when we see the quote “Attorney-General George Brandis has signalled his intention to introduce more stringent copyright laws to crack down on online piracy“. In that regard the attorney general does not seem to strike too high on the academic scale of logic (on any given day for that matter). I posted an article on September 10th 2014 called ‘Changing topics?‘, in there the issue is better shown, you see it is not just about copyright, because that could have been dealt with quite easily. It was about Malcolm Turnbull’s anti-piracy forum. You see, if copyright was truly the issue, which would have been easy. But in that event the words ‘revenue‘ and ‘bandwidth‘ were very much skated around. Telstra was extremely cautious (and eager) to steer clear of that because in the case of Telstra, monitoring bandwidth, people actually stopping copying movies will cost Telstra billions! Now we see the consequence!

You see, America is figuring out that it cannot deal with its own ISP’s and they definitely cannot deal with the others like Telstra, Tele 2, Com Hem, KPN, TDC and a few others. They are doing it stepwise and the TPP will give them some options. Now back to that term that is laughingly referred to as ‘expected future profits‘.

One source states: “Losses to Video Game Makers Due to Piracy: $8.1 Billion“, based on what numbers? ISP’s state they cannot monitor. Then we get “Pirated Software Impact to Businesses: $63 Billion“. Again on what premise and how?

Well the first one gives us: “Video game piracy of hand-held games leads to the loss of about $8.1 Billion a year, as losses due to pirating of Sony PSP and Nintendo DS games between 2004 and 2009 lead to worldwide losses of nearly $42 Billion“. Here we see an interesting side. These are only two consoles. More important, these consoles have again and again limited legitimate access to games released in US and Japan again and again. So is this truly about piracy, or is the decision as seen here “Monster Hunter 3rd is the best-selling PSP game ever in Japan with 4,780,000 copies sold. Its PS3 HD remaster sold an excellent 500,000 copies as well, yet neither version is scheduled for an international release“. By the way, is the maker not guilty of discrimination? Let me be frank, I will not and have never condoned pirated games. I believe in getting a game and playing the original (I rarely buy games, so when I do, I will go for the VIP options that an original game brings). So, is this about piracy, or about segregation?

That part is harder to prove in the business case. The source “Business Software Alliance, “2011 BSA Global Software Piracy Study,” May 2012” is an issue. I cannot be certain how they got to $63 billion, but with so many illegal versions of Office, that number seems a lot more plausible. It is funny that there, US and China are the biggest transgressors representing a little less than one third of the entire lost stack. The UK is set at 1.9 billion and Australia less than a billion, yet how were these numbers achieved, through ‘rough’ estimation perhaps?

Now we get to the monkey’s banana moment “Losses due to Music Piracy: $12.5 Billion“, which is stated “According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)“, yes, they wanted the number to be as high as possible, because it made bad productions and louse representatives look a little better. In addition, some of these numbers cannot be decently vouched for in any way, shape or form. It boils down to well over 500 million CD’s, in a numbers game that number on a population of 7 billion seems small, but here is the kicker, that same source had the following, which I found illuminating: “In a survey of over 6,000 people in Finland between the ages of 7 to 84, researchers found that on average each person who downloaded pirated content online had about 2,900 pirated music files and 90 pirated movie files. The researchers who conducted the study believes that downloaders have more music files is due to the ease of downloading pirated music. According to the study, downloading movie files require faster internet speeds, more digital storage space, as well as a higher technological ability to playback movies“.

The term ‘each person’ now becomes really interesting, because 90 movies boils down to 360 Gb, and 2900 songs come to an rough (very rough) estimation of 14.5 Gb. A person downloading that much would be visible on the ISP counter. You see, you buy bandwidth monthly and downloading this much, as well as watching online and perhaps stuff they no longer have, you are looking at $80 a month, however, only 6 years ago, I paid $70 for 25Gb. you see how the picture changes? That is centre here. By the way, if you think that 25 Gb is little, consider that I have only hit that maximum once during my entire contract with my ISP and that was because on a Friday my system decided to update Windows 7, Office 2013 and my Adobe Master collection, which was quite the resource drain that evening.

Your online presence is now a danger in more than one way. In the first more and more ‘providers’ are forcing us to save on the cloud, forcing us using bandwidth. Now, I understand the first download, but many systems are now gearing towards less memory and more reliant on cloud drives. Which was my issue with the Microsoft Xbox One even before that system was launched.  Are those not streamed services? More important, my issue there was that once a service is disconnected, would we just lose it all overnight? Consider your movie and TV series collection. What happens when your old versions of Star Trek, Dexter and Game of Thrones are discontinued?

In addition, if online presence is essential for our services to run, how will that be monitored? I only need to refer to the Sony hack, to give you a first fright that certain owned items could be lost by a mere scripted command. Again, a situation the consumer is not ready and not prepared for. Now, in the case of PlayStation Home, there is some understanding that certain services will be lost, could a local copy have solved it? (I am asking, not telling). There are unresolved issues, mainly because the new technologies move so fast and to be quite honest, some considerations are new, we never had to make them before. We the consumer must accept that some parts are lost to us at some point. Yes, I loved HERO on the Atari 2600, but to expect that game to function 30 years later is not that realistic either. In that regard, we have attached to software (especially games) to the same extent we hold onto a book. They are not the same, which is a simple reality.

But the dangers of online remain, or do they? In that regard, the issues I raise are mostly about time. We see the failing of a game and losing out on what we spend within a year totally unacceptable, yet in that same notion, we should find peace in the notion that nothing lasts, it is all a mere matter of time. Yet, there we see a partial solution, we cannot realistically expect the provider to give ‘eternal’ support, but is a local version (no servers) after a while, or before the service is pulled a possible solution? That I have yet to see and it is not that far-fetched, because in the end, with the amounts of products and the change of IP, that part is slowly but certainly becoming an essential step to consider, especially in light for the business model of any software corporation. Consider you the player with your game of Halo, or Gears of War. I reckon that at some point, you will accept that online mode falls away, but how would you feel is the single player option falls away too, especially if you still have the console or PC to run it on?

A gaming dimension that will fall away at some point, but are we ready to let go of those moments? Now consider that your console/PC can no longer link to the service, even though you have the original disc. In the new DRM, it is entirely possible that no online verification means no playing the game. This is the certainty that we face and the TPP will push us there a lot faster than you realise. Should you doubt any of the last part, then consider the site gog.com. It holds some of the most brilliant games ever created (sold at very low prices), people still revere these games and many of them (especially the original dungeon keeper) will find a place in the heart of gamers. Moreover, several of these would make fine console games when adapted (higher graphics in most cases). I believe that the MSDOS Dungeon Keeper could be a hit 3DS game (like many other games on that site), even today.

Gaming is not about the latest game (decent graphics and sound aside) it is about joy and the games on that site are most pure joy to play.

Now you might all think that this is about games and many of you readers do not care about games, but now consider that same step when you look at your Office 365 account and the fact that you are pushed away from a version that works perfect for you (like the nightmare Office 2007 users faced in the past). There is an abundance of programs that offer a similar scary outlook.

Now translate this to collections you do care about. Your music, your TV shows, perhaps even your digital books. Do not take the word of those stating that it will not happen, because it will, it has happened in the past, it is happening now and it will happen in the future. The DVD and book on your shelf are a touchable item, that part is (if you treat them properly) secure, something online can be lost by merely removing a server or damaging its data. If someone states that this can never happen, then look at Sony, they experienced that event first hand.

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The Toothless tiger

It is roughly 1,544,400 minutes since we saw this message “The newspaper and magazine industry today takes the first steps towards setting up the Independent Press Standards Organisation, the new regulator for the press called for by Lord Justice Leveson” (at http://www.newspapersoc.org.uk/08/jul/13/independent-press-standards-organisation, in July 2013).

So when I saw the words ‘press’, ‘regulator’ and ‘sham’ together in one sentence (at http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/sep/07/victims-press-regulator-ipso-leveson ) I was not that overly surprised. Let’s not forget that the implied innuendo in regards to the press cleaning up its act was never a reality.

You see, after all that visibility, on March 25th we see the report from the Daily Telegraph with the headline “Flight MHG370 ‘suicide mission’“, was anyone even surprised that the press regards themselves ‘beyond the law’?

Yet, if we are to properly assess the situation, we must therefore also allow matters of defence. So what is the issue that bites us so much? The letters from the 30 victims of press intrusion stated to Sir Alan Moses the following (as stated in the article of the Guardian):

By rejecting the majority of Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations, the paymasters and controllers of Ipso are rejecting due process

In its current form, Ipso retains no credibility with us or with the wider British public.

It furthermore states: “it was not truly independent, breaches of the industry code of practice would go unreported and unpunished, and there would be no effective and transparent investigation of serious or systematic wrongdoing“.

Now, after what happened in the hacking scandal, I am all for bashing the press, but let us all be honest, if we are to convict a group, let us do it for valid and preferably legal reasons.

About these pictures!

This all links to several issues that I wrote about in the past few days, Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton might be the most famous ones, but they are by no means to most important ones (I feel for these victims, but reality shows us bigger problems). Yes, there is an issue that links to Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian. If we go by the words of Reddit, we should use the quote “The site, which had an online forum named ‘The Fappening’, was one of the main places the hacked nudes were being posted and the website has now banned the page, six days after the photographs of the Hunger Games star first surfaced. It is thought the main reason bosses have finally pulled down the forum is NOT because of the J-Law snaps, but because photographs of Olympian McKayla Maroney which were also posted on the site are believed to show her underage.” which came from the Mirror. These places have been hiding behind the ‘innocent disseminator‘ flag for far too long. Their income is real and based upon bandwidth. If we want change, then perhaps forcing a tax bracket on bandwidth, especially with a bankrupt America, might be a novel way for debtors to get their coin back. Yet this is not about that. The fact that Jennifer Lawrence is now partially safe is only because another victim was a minor when the pictures were taken. This makes for a massively inhumane disaster and one that also affects the press. It is interesting that when we look at the name McKayla Maroney we see two events, both the hacked ‘under-dressed’ images as well as the Gamergate reference to Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian.

Vox Media stood alone

It is Vox (at http://www.vox.com) who seems to be on top of it, so we see one place, which might be regarded as ‘trivial’ by some covers the real issues that many ‘major’ papers have been ignoring all over the US and in places far beyond the US. You can read their words in depth at http://www.vox.com/2014/9/6/6111065/gamergate-explained-everybody-fighting. It is well worth reading; however, there are a few parts I do not agree with. Let’s go over those, for they are all linked.

Here is the first part: “If it was just to bring attention to Quinn’s personal life, that’s, as stated, already happened. And if it was to create better ethical disclosures in online journalism, that’s happening, too. The Escapist is drafting new guidelines, while Kotaku is now forbidding its writers from financially supporting independent designers on Patreon, a popular method for backing independent artists, unless the site’s writers need to donate to Patreon for coverage purposes (since many developers release material first to their Patreon backers). And Vox sister site Polygon requires disclosures of this sort of support“.

I do not agree for the following reasons:

  1. If we look at the press at large, Quinn’s plight is less than a hot drop on a plate. “Jennifer Lawrence”, “Nude” and “shoot” gives us 41 MILLION hits when we use all the keywords. “Zoe Quinn” gives us 70,000 hits with less than a dozen reputable sources (including Vox Media). So, I think we can safely say that visibility is not even close to being a factor there.
  2. Better ethical disclosures in online journalism? Sorry, but are they for real? Most of these writers have never seen a class in ethics, it is also likely that some of them cannot ever write ‘ethics’ correctly. That being said, many of them write for mere passion on games, their transgression of alleged ‘corruption’ usually goes no further then receiving the free game. How corrupt is that? In all this, my issue with Gamespot has almost forever been with the open sponsor Ubi-Soft. They are not hiding it, so that is good, but I seem to colour my faith to any Ubi-soft review. Overall the writers and makers like Carolyn Petit, Jess McDonell, Danny O’Dwyer, Justin Haywald, Chris Watters, Cam Robinson and Kevin VanOrd do an interesting job. Depending on their ‘preference’ of gaming we tend to favour a certain person, whilst not ‘liking’ another one. The sad news that some of these writers are leaving as Gamespot is changing should be sad news to all gamers.

Scoops

This all goes towards “forbidding its writers from financially supporting independent designers on Patreon“, why? Is the likely fact that reviewers would have the inside track on a game and by personally backing a developer they will have a scoop? Is that not what pretty much every newspaper does? If not, how about cancelling ALL advertisements from Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and Adobe? How long until they are missing out on scoops? I think support should not hidden, but if I was still in the business I would be funding No Man’s Sky or Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar (I have been a lifelong Ultima fan), if it gives me a scoop days in advance of others, than so much the better. The question becomes is this truly about implied corruption or about mainstreaming a 100 billion dollar plus business? You see, the gaming groups was for a long time ignored (especially in the time I was involved)

True Scenario: “I went to the ‘Efficiency Beurs’ (a Dutch IT/Technology trade show) in the RAI in Amsterdam in the early 90’s (1991/1994), I forgot the exact time. Anyway, I was already deep into the gaming world and sound would be the next big issue. PS speakers were no good, Adlib was an option, SoundBlaster was the new kid and those with real money (read wealthy parents) there was the Roland card, which costed a fortune. This is the age when the PC was a wild market, CBM-64 and Atari were on a high and the PC was relying on blips and bleeps. So, I walk to the IBM representative and asked him on the new PS/2 PC’s and whether the soundcards in the growing gaming market was a field that IBM was looking at, as well as, whether IBM had considered adding a sound card to the PC-Private projects (which was a tax deductable PC scheme in the Netherlands). I was ‘walked off’ the stand with the response that IBM was for ‘professional’ use only. This same IBM is now advertising ‘Smarter Serious Games’ (at http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/gaming/)“.

So, these ‘losers’ (just to coin a phrase), who would not consider this industry for a long time are now trying to leech of a 100 billion dollar industry by ‘Simming’ (Sims joke) it on, so nice of IBM to join the party almost two decades late (they did however join the party decently before 2013). So now we get this escalation on several fields and interestingly enough all at the same time. Several approaches of wild growth is seen, personally I reckon this all truly took off in high gear in September 2013 when one game made one billion in only three days and passed the 2 billion mark this June making a videogame more successful then the most successful Hollywood production in history. Now nearly everyone wants to jump on board and it also seems to allow for a ‘wild growth’ of certain ‘elements’. IBM is not a party to this (they move in different circles), yet, those growing wildly on our shores hoping for their billion are learning hard and fast that gamers can easily spot the quality from the chaff and as such we see escalations. Whether we take Forbes article (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/03/21/gaming-the-system-how-a-gaming-journalist-lost-his-job-over-a-negative-review/) for granted or not, it seems that the name Sony and the possibility of pulling away advertisements apply in several corners (like the PS4 release and Terms of Service issues). So, to avoid ‘ethical’ issues, it seems to me that newspapers at large just ignored the plight of over 60 million customers and any link to ‘changes to the terms of service’. So how does this all link to ‘corruption’?

That is the part that seems to elude many, it is not ‘just’ about corruption, it is about alleged corruption with the writers (emphasis on alleged), implied corruption with their bosses in what they publish but more importantly what they DO NOT publish. The last part is on streamlining it all. If anything, GTA-V shows us that a billion plus revenue takes more than just a good game, it is about marketing and advertising, which shows now exactly the issue on visibility.

I am not alone with these views; some of them were discussed by Ashton Liu in her blog at http://rpgfanashton.tumblr.com/. She has an interesting view I had not considered. She writers “It has been no secret to the gaming community that many video game news sites have been employing increasingly extremist and reprehensible tactics to gain site hits and forward their ideology“. In that regard she seems on top of it all, I saw the harassment of Quinn and Sarkeesian as idiots who should go the way of the Dodo yesterday, if at all possible. Yet in her view, we are dealing with more than just blatant ‘ranters’, it is entirely possible that there is a corporate push behind it all. If we consider the actions by Sony and the market they need to ‘rule’ is that such a far-fetched statement? If people are willing to sell their souls for a niche market, what is Sony willing to do to remain the number one on the market, especially if you can motivate non-journalists (read non-accountable people) to speak out loudly?

What makes a Journalist?

It is a side, that until the article of Ashton Liu I had ignored. Ashton is like me, an ideologist, we seem to share a passion for RPG games and we are willing to put some time into sending the message of the Role Playing Game, hoping to introduce it to others. Yet, part of the view she offers seems incorrect, is this all about true gaming journalists? Many of them are not journalists at all, they do not have a degree in journalism, so let’s all agree that unless the person has a degree in Journalism that this person is just a games reviewer (I myself am a games reviewer), I have degrees in Law and IT, but not in Journalism, which makes me a non-journalist!

This is where the issues become (slightly) clear. Many are not journalists at all, so journalists are compared to ranters and outspoken ideologists, whilst not getting painted on grounds of evidence, which is almost slander (I said almost). We are all in need of more clarity, clarity I am asking for, whilst trying to remain clear, clarity Ashton is trying to give the readers and there are the additional thousands online, ranting all over the place. So what is a reader to believe?

Corporations

Perhaps that is the part we all forgot about? We seem to ignore the corporate site. Is that the background of those who remained with Gamespot? Is CBS changing the gaming area by starting to cut away the ‘non-professional’ staff? I do not know, I am asking this. I have no issue with any writer at Gamespot (even if they cater to games I never play), their passion has for a long time been without question, yet, if this streamlining requires the presence of education, not just knowledge, then those without Journalistic skills to be ‘relocated’ and not all end up within the CBS structure.

So as Ashton made the statement I disagreed with “These journalists behave terribly and browbeat anyone whose opinions don’t fall lock step with their own“, the question “which are the real journalists” come to mind. This is where we return to Leveson, the issues that IPSO is accused of and how this relates to Journalism.

IPSO is regarded as a toothless tiger (perhaps correctly so), yet as papers are more and more online and as we see more and more ‘contributions’ from critics and reviewers, we will see that their painting of a group ‘as ignored’ as stated by the phone hacking scandal victims, we see a corporate move by many newspapers that employ reviewers and critics who are likely non-members of the official Journalistic core, but in the online mash no one can really tell anymore. This is at the heart of several issues, next to the editors relying on people whose family name tends to be “well-placed sources within”; I wish I had a relative like that.

This all gets me to the only part of the Vox article that I have an issue with. It is not really an issue, it is more a disagreement. They stated “Because what #GamerGate is all about isn’t who is or isn’t a gamer, or what role the press should play. It’s about what games should be and who they should be for. And that’s worth a real discussion, not just a hash tag“. I think that anyone enjoying a game is in the smallest extent a gamer, and as his or her passion grows, so will the Gamer part of that person. I think it is MASSIVELY important the part the press plays and to some extent they need to be judged on what they publish and to some extent even more on what they ignore, not unlikely for favours from the advertisers. You see, what happens when it is no longer them, but also the stakeholders? Consider the stakeholders for projects of Ubi-Soft and Electronic Arts. The moment they start ruffling feathers on ‘their’ dividend and the press ‘obliges’ that is the true moment when we will no longer see whatever ails a gaming community. When it goes through a journalist we do end up with the smallest protection, but ‘small’ beats ‘none’ every time.

It is ‘what games are and who they are for‘ is as I agree an important discussion, yet the implied evidence at present gives little support that that true vision will come from #Gamergate, because anyone willing to develop a game, no matter what gender, what topic and what ethnicity of graphics we are presented with should be a reason for bias and/or discrimination. These are parts #Gamersgate seems to be ignoring.

Streamlining is also all about who owns the IP, that is the one part they all seem to ignore, if the future is about IP (Intellectual Property), then it is the novel idea that has the future of gaming fortune, which is all about streamlining in the eyes of EA, Ubi-soft and Sony (to name a few big companies in this field), you see, who owns the IP will continue and not unlike the flaccid economists of Wall Street, larger companies have been all about continuing a brand and less about the new idea, which makes indie developers the future (consider the massive success of Mojang with Minecraft), that is the streamline part all ignored. This is why I think it is important to protect them! This is seen in the slightly dangerous statement by Vox Media in the article as they state “Some argue that the focus on harassment distracts from the real issue, which is that indie game developers and the online gaming press have gotten too cozy“, is that true, or are the larger players realising that they passed the buck for too long and driving a wedge between the press and the Indie developer is essential to their survival as they try to ‘rekindle’ the press and push indie developers towards the ‘cheap’ deals where they can take over the IP. That part is at large ignored by most. If we look at 2014 we see a massive host of new versions of the same brand, whilst none of the truly new games are coming out in 2014. Splatoon, ignored by many is the new kid and so far it seems that it might largely drive sales for Nintendo. You see these larger houses have forgotten to cater to THEIR audience (not just bring a cool presentation about something not due for 15 months) and as such are under scrutiny facing an endangered future. When we see a headline like this ‘Battlefield 4 – It’s so bad, its actually funny!‘, they know that they are in trouble, no matter how much you pay marketing to focus on the small stuff and micro transactions, which some call ‘Blood Money‘. In my view this is partially the result of letting ‘Excel users’ anywhere near the gaming market and when these investments do not pan out panic will be the natural consequence.

Back to IPSO

Yet, this also reflects on IPSO, because is the story ignored not as irresponsible as calling a tragedy a suicide mission? I wonder if the two elements would have been anywhere near as extreme if IPSO had not been toothless. I cannot state this for America, but I am certain that many gaming issues would have been a lot more visible, which might have reduced the risk and abuse of both Quinn and Sarkeesian. If you do not believe the press to have any influence, then consider the Art ‘expose’ called “Fear Google“, which is exactly the method of News the Sun used to rely on for at least one page (a page 3 joke only the British understand), or as we could call it, how Rupert Murdoch got through his early years. So here we see the beginning of the future, as Jennifer will end up getting shown to the world in states of non-dressing, her stolen pictures are less likely to be stopped as they are not getting sold, even if sold, the chance of enough people getting convicted becomes a serious question.

We can safely say that there is a group of toothless tigers, law partially became toothless as it catered to business enterprise and as we see more and more ‘free’ services we see an abundance of innocent dissemination that no one seems to be able to stop, ‘oh yes’, for some reason many were ‘suddenly’, within hours, able to stop the film where a Journalist ‘suddenly’ lost his head. It seems that ‘sudden’ acts are at times possible, so why this entire system is not better regulated is to be perfectly honest beyond me, but you better realise that someone is making loads of money, not just the hacker (read: thief) that got a hold of the pictures.

 

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