Tag Archives: Android

Songs in the key of Technology

Yesterday saw an article in the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/oct/03/pixel-2-google-apple-iphone-htc-pixel-2-xl), with ‘what does Google need to do if it wants to beat Apple’s iPhone?‘ which is one way of looking away from what is actually happening. You see, with the opening part on how Google ‘could become big player in smartphone-making with acquisition of part of HTC and forthcoming Pixel 2 launch’ is merely the front for something a lot bigger. You see, for a year Huawei had an optional advantage towards Google whilst the one advantageous player (read: Apple) wasted their time on iteration and presentation, perhaps only partially on innovation and marketing the hell out of an event that will happen in December (read: the iMac pro). Now the gap is closing and with the HTC part Google has stepped into the space where it can compete with Huawei on an upcoming £30-45 billion market. A new market that is about to happen. Whilst everyone is playing with themselves on how some of these people are ‘rulers of the universe‘, or so they think, Google now is moving on the inside track to take that market and at least three niche markets, which will give them a long term advantage. You see, Apple might be number one, the largest and the richest, but the danger of the number one is that you need to make sure you comprehend what numbers 2, 3 and optionally the player in position 4 is doing and Apple seems to have lost track of that part. Now they are in a place where they lose one edge and as such they might remain number one, but the players in position 2 and optionally the one in the third position will be closing the advantage gap that Apple had and had been making them complacent in their actions. Now, we will wait, living on conjecture and gossip as we will get to live with 15 months of movement below the surface of the waters. For those on the sidelines, it will be like watching a submarine race, a real spectator sport (read: not really). Now we get to the accusation in regards to what Samuel Gibbs is writing about. With: “it can pull off the one thing other Android smartphone manufacturers have struggled with: differentiation” it is staging that Google is not differentiated, which might be true to some respect, but in another regard he fails to see what truly matters to the millions of users. It is actually very simple: “To give the people, the users what they desire”, so basically something pretty amazing at an affordable price. We see his claim of ‘homogenous sea of sameness‘ (it does sound cool though) whilst these same styled writers seemed to price Apple for consistency for the longest of times. What he fails to see is that this homogenous ocean creates users, users that know what they are getting and they know the value of Android (well many seem to do that). So after the age of VHS, MSDOS and MP3, where it was to get as many people as possible to adapt a standard, it suddenly becomes about ‘being different‘? No, that is not the way it is played! You see, the market Tata lost, the market Apple ignored and that same market that Huawei is waking up to, is the one that is now almost within the grasp of Google and it can potentially grow the value of Google not overnight mind you) up towards a growth of 40%-70%, that is almost unheard of and we have not seen such spectacular growth since Windows 95 was introduced. That is the key of technology that we are about to face and ballads will be composed to those creators when it hits us all.

In this I equally oppose Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight. With “The Achilles heel of Android at the moment is that software updates take forever. Unlike Apple where it controls everything, you’ve got to go through the device manufacturer, and be approved by the network operator, which means it takes ages to get services and experiences out there.” He knows that he is (as I personally see it) misinforming you. All the Android hardware makers have used Android and then tweaked it for their optimisation. So when the new versions came, we all had to wait, because these makers preferred to sell new phones, not update old ones. In addition the workforce needed to truly test new android versions and test and update all the elements were not in place either. As I see it, Samsung, Motorola, Huawei and other Android facilitators should all be regarded the same and as I see it, people like Ben Wood know that, they literally can’t ‘not know’ it. So as we see the hidden Apple tweet in their story, they are missing on the fact that Android, or perhaps we would soon call it Cyborg (or Android plus) will potentially crush Apple as it goes past the stratosphere. In this, how do I know it? Well, to be honest I cannot say that for certain, yet the lull in the patent registration department is a little less loud. So it might still come, but with the time lap we see under those conditions, I would speculate that Apple is already slow, too slow to that punch, which gives the larger players (Google and Huawei) now an edge they have not had before.

So as I see the end of the article with “In doing so the Pixel could also be Google’s stake in the ground. A demonstration of what the best of Google can really do that is as much a statement as a product”, it seem like a filtered version of what we might be seeing after the Pixel 2 comes. The grounds are already starting to shift, the question becomes who will attend the changed surface and which of these players are ready to show what the other players were too slow or even worse nowhere near to address. There will not be any ‘defection’ or people dropping there IOS device, yet the growth that comes is almost a certainty, which will vocally set another motion. That changed motion would be: “Every IOS user has an Android device, but not every Android user has an IOS device”. The moment that happens, and it is a realistic shift, it is at that point that the people in the higher echelons start realising that believing ones marketing and moving the borders of true innovation are not the same thing. Going for a market with a Pro device priced at 40% more whilst not giving the people that much more power is not innovation, it is iteration, an expensive lesson that Apple might end up learning the hard way. I wonder if I end up being proven wrong. We are less than 18 months away from that moment.

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Challenging fruit

There is an old saying: ‘An Apple a day, keeps the doctor away‘, which could be regarded as correct, or at least as something that is not wrong. These are essentially two statements that depending on your way of life is either more or less correct. Yet, in technology it is a lot less correct, mainly because our health does not have a chance to survive if it comes with the daily cost of $679 a day.

You see, the fruity side of mobile phones is not really an issue when we look at the IOS side of things (aka: the iPhone world), it is quite another when we look at the Android side of things. Even though this was last Wednesday’s news. There have been a few things that required digging and it has been a little bit of a chase. The article was not the first one I saw as I was watching the Google event at 04:00 (as stated in a previous blog). The article ‘Pixel is a direct challenge to Apple – and a referendum on Google‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/oct/05/google-pixel-phone-market-apple-iphone), was on my mind, but so were a few other items.

The article raises a few issues, some of them are not entirely agreeable from my point of view, so let’s deal with them.

Some do get monthly security updates, but others get Android version updates sometimes years after Google releases new versions, creating so-called fragmentation that makes it harder to develop apps and services” is the first quote I have an issue with. For this I need to step back to one of my earlier smartphones. The Motorola Razr-V. Now, when I bought it I though it was an amazing phone. I still have it, it still works and it is in a drawer somewhere. When I bought it 4 years ago 1GB was ‘da bomb’. I had 4GB storage, so I was happy as can be. I had one update, which was from Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) to Jelly Bean (4.1) at some point and still, all was fine, just a little nagging need for RAM. What happened was what always happens, we need more storage and we need more RAM. Yet it was not the only thing that was an issue. You see, this model would not support Kit Kat (4.4) and now we had ourselves a horse race because we saw more and more news regarding security flaws and the essential need to have android as updated as possible. Now we get to the issue with the quote: “sometimes years after Google releases new versions“, which is not that correct. You see, the makers of phones did not consider upgrades to the OS, for the mere reason that they prefer to sell a new phone instead of upgrading your old phone, when the phone is deep within warranty it is one thing, however after that passes, the seller tends to not care and getting the new system vetted and fitted requires resources and a serious amount of them. So Motorola came with a notice that it would not be possible to update this model beyond KitKat. Now, because it was a cheap deal and I had actually not considered that updating the Android OS would be a biggie, I ignored it, and it was just one of those few lessons you tend to learn the hard way the first time around. You see, I am an Android user for a reason. As Apple advocated a device that can do a million things, and it can call people, the Android was the opposite. It was a phone that could do a lot of additional things. With Android the phone remained the centre, not the apps (as I personally saw it). The issue is more than semantics, I felt it was a state of mind, which is why I prefer Android (whilst not hating the iPhone).

Now with my feelings regarding safety and security, I believe that it is very important never to be more than 2 versions old, so as I am on Lollipop, it is essential for me to get a new phone capable of Nougat. Those on Marshmallow should decide for themselves if they want to wait another version before getting a new phone. In light that the average functional phone is over $600, that rule becomes a lot more important, also knowing that you are buying something that will need essential replacement after 2 years makes it even more important to find the right device and especially at the right price. This is why I have been hammering on systems with 64GB storage and at least 2GB RAM (3GB preferred). The fact that the makers are withholding these devices, whilst they are available, angers me. This is because the Telecom companies love a consumer forced to upgrade on an annual basis. What they fail to realise that our budgets are not as wide as their need for coke and hookers (if we believe the NY marketing needs, so the entire greed philosophy falls away. So when I go to the shops now, I expect a Nougat device, or a Marshmallow version at high discount. When a shop offers a Sony with a 2 year old operating system at $900 (Lollipop, aka Android v5), they have obviously lost their minds! Now this is the part that matters in the case of Sony. They call it ‘The pioneering 4K smartphone‘, as well as ‘Sony’s next-generation camera technologies in collaboration with Sony’s Alpha engineers‘ and then they promote it, whilst not updating the phone with an operating system that is less than a year old? And only this month, will they come with a previous version of Android (Marshmallow, aka Android v6). Now, this falls in line with the quote from the Guardian, the issue I have is that if they had their ducks in a row, the phone would have been in the shops with Marshmallow (v6), with the option to update to Nougat (v7).

It is my suspicion that the service oriented devices have not caught onto the need to have a more generic framework oriented approach. I touched on it in my article ‘Chicks for free‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/03/31/chicks-for-free/), where I touches on SaaS in March 2015, as well as the advantage Huawei gave to its customers by being competitive in price and hardware. They had cornered a nice chunk of market in just one year. Parts of all this were also discussed in January 2015 (https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/01/15/exploiting-mobile-users/). So the issue has been around long enough for the market to adjust, they just decided not to do that. So for Google to come with the Google Pixel (XL) makes perfect sense. Although, from my point of view, $1400 for a device that might initially not last beyond 2 years is still a hard pill to swallow. Apart from the retired groups who are out of cash and comprehension of the technology, we are now facing a growing group of people where the risk of malware exposure goes up tenfold. So the precedence to slam the mobile market is very appealing.

I do not believe that Google is the bad guy here, I believe that our comprehension of accepted support is changing. Let’s take the new Pixel. For one, the marketing was perfectly done and so far from cheap Telco page to Forbes, they are all wildly enthusiastic. A fair point of view, especially as I (from my needy point of view) found just one flaw. Now, there is a side that is not yet known, however, if Google delivers on the statement ‘Two years of OS upgrade from launch‘ as stated, meaning that your Google Pixel will support the installation of Android v9 (whatever that candy name will be, I vote for ‘Liquorice’), then the Pixel will be a steal at twice the price. Meaning that your $1400 should last you 3-4 years, twice the current expected lifespan, easily making it the only choice as an Android phone.

I have an even bigger issue with the quote “Francisco Jeronimo, market research firm IDC’s research director for European mobile devices, says: “Many people care about updates. They recognise that getting the latest update is about getting something better, unless they’ve got an old phone. But it’s about how easy it is to do. Going online and finding an update is something most will not do. If you present it as a notification, as Apple does, then most will jump on board.”“, in this I state that it is my personal believe that Francisco Jeronimo didn’t give the right ambiance to this spin. I have presented evidence that this issue has been known and was visible for the better part of 3 years. Old phone or not, the issue has been limitation of hardware and now that the players realise that the gig is up, they are likely to go into some form of blame mode, whilst their own approach should have changed years ago. The fact that brands like Oppo and Sony are selling what they call state of the art today with a 2 year old OS is just as big a joke, especially if it doesn’t come with the clear notice that an upgrade is available. If I need to give it a name, I would call it the annual update Telco requirement is pushing back and most people are willing to switch providers on a moment’s notice if needed. So Google went Fruity, looked at Apple (it has its own model of OS) and from that point of view, the power of a dedicated mobile became apparent. So now we see that for a mere $150 extra, we get a phone that is not 32GB, but 128GB. So only the dedicated silly would not get that, mainly because logic suggests that Android v8 and Android v9 will all be larger than the previous versions, as could logically be deduced. So not getting storage constraints over the next 3 years makes perfect sense, even if you have a minimal amount of apps. In this case it is not the 10 apps I have now, it is the notion that over the next 3 years I might get another 10-20 apps, as well as a few thousand pictures and knowing that storage will not be an issue, that peace of mind is very important, the moment you get hit by the limitation, it will make sense.

So as Google is challenging that fruity named competitor Apple, it needs to adjust its own model a little bit too. You see, there is a reason why corporate clients still rely on Blackberry. It is the one market Apple has not been able to penetrate, once Android does that, if will be able to shift its interests to another field of data gathering (I mean client instigated data gathering) and data encryption interactions, fields that Apple was not able to surpass Blackberry in, Google has a fair chance at changing that field, with Google now entering layer 1, they have a complete layer coverage allowing to take on the industrial strength enterprise security that Blackberry is famous for, which would give Android the push into the areas where critical security issues are the number one need.

The reality is that this would take at least one additional android upgrade before they enter that field, which have giving Apple the time, but not the engineering skills or the architecture to compete with Blackberry on that level. With this I imply that Apple by keeping to its consumer market views, it ignored a corporate side, or so has create the potential to rule the market, whether it will depends on what they do next, but they have been off to a great start.

The final quote is one that the article has dealt with already “Jeronimo says: “With the Nexus, Google attempted to bring the best device running the latest version of Android, but couldn’t give priority to one of the tier two manufacturers that were interested in making it when you have companies like Samsung and Huawei leading the market. It meant Google struggled to differentiate with its own device when its partners were already making very good devices that were good value.”“, it still requires a little extra and the element that is kept silent is the one I dealt with in ‘The smokescreen of a Smartphone War‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/09/30/the-smokescreen-of-a-smartphone-war/), you see, making a version and then making it not an option in Australia reeks. It reeks of Telco managed collaboration, the article stipulates why I feel that way. Now that Google blows storage apart with 128GB for $150 should show those two brands and a few others too, the stupidity of their actions. Huawei had an advantage by offering the 64GB, now that is a no no, it seems that Google can make a massive change, what was once a 0.2% market has the potential to become a 10% market in the next 12 months, which would be a growth that is unheard of. A market Huawei decided not to engage and now Google has voiced it will offer options that I would have considered overkill and not essential. Google seems realise that it does not matter whether the person prefers 64GB or 128GB, by offering them 128GB at a 64GB price is a winner in everyone’s books and it shows the consumer that 32GB might be good for nana and grandpa, the rest should just go big at the additional requested fraction more. In that regard the entire model race with two price additions, one for size of screen and one for size of storage is in my view brilliant (I will give credit that Apple had this approach already).

Which leaves us with the last speculation, no matter how we see 2016, with the changes of 2017 we see that Google is entering a new innovative phase of connectivity. Android devices like Google Home, might seem like a party trick, but the reality of Android devices and the option to connect them is more than a fab, the world presentation blew me away and where it matters, your Pixel could become the hub in all this, music on that little boom box, whilst streaming the pics to your TV. For the mere giggles in me, the device (an entertainment unit), which Microsoft promised the Xbox One to be and not delivered. Google now presents and delivers an actual entertainment system whilst not promising it. It is just too funny for words.

So whatever path you take, whether IOS or Android, just make sure it delivers long term what you need, if you do that, you will remain happy with whatever choice you make and that is what truly matters in my humble opinion.

 

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Omphalos and its syndrome

This syndrome comes from the references of Delphi and the ‘navel of the world’, which is what Delphi was regarded as. Nowadays, we see Omphalos syndrome as the misguided belief that a place of geopolitical power and currency is the most important place in the world.

I believe that to be no longer correct, I believe that it has been ‘converted’ into something slightly more generic. I believe that it should be seen as ‘the misguided believe that its choice of management and achievement of profit are the most important in the world’. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

 

A is for Apple

‘Apple apologises over Error 53 and issues fix for bricked iPhones’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/19/error-53-apple-issues-fix-bricked-iphones) shows the first example. The entire error53 mess is a direct example. It goes on to the core that we now see “Apple has released a fix for users affected by “Error 53”, a software issue that rendered useless iPhones that had had their home buttons replaced by third parties“, The initial response “At the time Apple said that Error 53 was a security feature to protect customers” reads like a joke. The mere alternative that was open was that any non-Apple certified method meant the wiping of data would have been enough. It took me 5 minutes to come up with that solution. A mere auto wipe of all data. No we have to read quotes like “Apple has apologised for Error 53 and said customers who paid for an out-of-warranty replacement for their phone should contact AppleCare about reimbursement” as well as “Solving Error 53 does not re-enable Touch ID, as a third-party replacement of the home button could potentially allow unauthorised access to a locked phone by modifying the fingerprint sensor“. It would have been the simplest of solutions to go through the re-enabling system again. All these simple solutions, all because apple wanted to enforce the repairs of their phones to what they consider to be THEIR allowed service repair shops. An application of greed, to maximise profits, not the openness of what was once the Apple OS X through a Unix open source system, but the mere stranglehold of a greed driven corporation. It was brought to light by several articles in the Guardian and an initial customer service based solution comes “after widespread publicity and the Californian tech giant being served with a class action lawsuit over in the US and attention from a competition watchdog in Australia“, I wonder how many IOS people will start considering Android now.

 

E is for Eisai

This event is taking us back a fair bit, around 2000 Eisai came with its Alzheimer’s drug Aricept (donepezil). The fact that profits grow by 100% might not be the biggest thing on the planet. Yes when the LA Times (at http://articles.latimes.com/2012/mar/22/health/la-he-aricept-fda-20120323) reported “FDA officials should not have allowed it, the authors said, because the clinical studies Eisai offered in support of its application did not meet standards the agency itself had laid out“, in addition we see “it failed to yield the improvements that the FDA had set as a condition of approval“, in all this a clear investigation did not take place. It is still allowed, mainly because it is FDA approved. We see in other sources the claims like “Further, the higher dose was not superior on either of the pre-specified secondary outcome measures, which, as the FDA medical reviewer pointed out, argues that the cognitive difference was not meaningful“, which we get from the FDA Center for Drug Evauation and Research. Application number 022568: medical review. Aricept 23 mg tablets. (at www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/nda/2010/022568Orig1s000MedR.pdf), when we consider the source http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/10October/Pages/Cheap-Alzheimers-drug-may-help-keep-people-out-of-care-homes.aspx, where we get the quote “a year’s worth of donepezil costs around £21 a year, compared with a year’s worth of care home costs – estimated to be between £30,732 and £34,424 a year. If the results of the study were replicated at a population level, this could save the NHS a considerable sum of money“.

This is where we see another version of Omphalos syndrome, “the misguided believe that my version of cost cutting is the best in the world“, at this point, we should investigate the players and consider whether a case for criminal endangerment exists. The fact that sources have shown ‘evidence’ as per 2007 gives rise to a failed system, not just the NHS, but the leeway for pharmaceuticals as, from the given reports failed to yield the improvements that the FDA had set as a condition of approval, making the question why on earth was it approved at all and why are certain diseases used for marketing a cash cow, more important why is the NHS not loudly and outspoken dealing with this? Especially as www.NHS.UK is involved in promoting articles in favour of Aricept (donepezil).

 

I is for Insight Enterprises

This is a side that rests with Omphalos, yet in all this it is in equal measure a situation we must accept. Insight Enterprises did nothing wrong, it made a choice, it’s governing body stated ‘this is the best path, this is the golden solution’, we must accept that any governing body, being it corporate or governmental will be ‘smitten’ with Omphalos Syndrome. So as Microsoft changed the partner program in 2014, Insight Enterprises saw the filling of its corporate coffers trickle down to zero. (at http://www.crn.com/news/channel-programs/300079674/insight-enterprises-absorbs-another-hit-after-microsoft-partner-program-changes.htm). We can debate the mess Insight Enterprises received, the near simple answer is that Microsoft had to change programs, any large corporations will do that. Any program they offer and device tends to be ‘fluidic’ over time. Yet when we see the quote “The changes also affected Microsoft’s Licensing Solution Providers, like Tempe, Ariz.-based Insight, which are the only partners Microsoft allows to sell licensing agreements to large corporations“, which is now showing another side. Does this make Microsoft narcissistically selfish or just plain sociopathic? You see all narcissists are selfish, but not all selfish corporations are narcissistically in nature (which is proven as greed we put the greedy in front of a mirrors), yet in all this, is this a sociopathic side in Microsoft? Well, that is a debate for another day as the entire Omphalos topic would soon get too murky.

 

O is for Omphalos

As shown in the last example, we tend to see Omphalos in a bad light. Which is not all correct either. On the other side we can take Bill Gates and his Omphalosian approach to IT. This got us DOS and later Windows. On the far side of the scale of limiting, there is the view of the truly visionary, but that view needs a start. Here the Omphalos syndrome works in another way. As I see it, we can accuse Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison on that list. Yet, we only did that AFTER they became successful, the not so successful are usually never heard of again.

In this world today, the foundation of ‘the most important place in the world’ is less and less applicable, it becomes a world of solutions, an amalgamation of aggregated values (the European Economic Community being a nice example). Yet the foundation of how to go about it was done in a very Omphalosian way. Especially when we consider the past blogs on how only self-proclaimed departures were the option. Which is exactly where Brexit is now. As Brexit gains momentum we see that the Omphalosian solution was the most dangerous here, it took one of the smallest nations (Greece) to push their non-accountability for the entire EEC to be in turmoil, with now a decent chance of collapsing the EEC as well as the Euro as a coin. Even as the United Kingdom is not on the Euro, France is and a Brexit will soon push for an additional Frexit. In that regard, the Financial Times quoted Florian Philippot who stated “the idea of challenging greater EU integration had become “taboo” in Europe. “The more we talk about it, the more people will vote against it,” he said” (at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/58f9cc98-ce51-11e5-92a1-c5e23ef99c77.html#axzz40fDAW3BL). This is yet another side of Omphalos, actually two sides. The foundation of Omphalos is based on one view, if that view does not evolve or alters as time goes by, that view becomes less and less actual. The view becomes an act of obstruction at best and debilitating at worst.

In the second part, we have forever seen the Omphalos syndrome in its power core on the scope of government (read: Communistic), in that view we forgot that it is corporations with their view on the ‘only’ solution that is now impacting the lives of people in several (read: many) nations. In that same view we see that the old approach to currency is no longer the same. Most values are too dependent on independent views of static organisations and their push for changed industrialisations. How come that the value of a coin is now directly impacted by places like Dow Jones index, Nasdaq, Standards and Poor, the IMF, the ECB and so on? Governments allowed themselves to be directly be valued from what is perceived to be an ‘independent’ side. This is the other part that drives Brexit and other plans to no longer be part of anything. There is a near global consensus that these sources can no longer be trusted. That their view is to some extent ‘Greed Incarnate’.

As I see it, there is no true independence anymore. When we read that Eagle Capital Management Invests $293000 and that J. W. Burns & Company Has $533000 invested in in SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA). When the index itself is invested on, the expectations of improved value must be met, where does that leave us?

 

U is for You!

Even when we see the old and the new versions of the Omphalos syndrome, we need to realise that what once seen as short-sighted and limited is now not so limiting. It remains (as I personally see it) as short-sighted as it ever was (only in the rarest of occasions is it visionary), but now, the impact is no longer limited to one government, now its short-sighted impact is nearly global. It hits parties in many nations and it does not stop there. You see in a governmental approach it is ‘set’ to be what is best for its citizens and in case of the EEC it is what a group of nations see. Now consider the application from corporations that impacts governments on a global scale, offices of standards that impact the dangers to lives on a global scale as it does not enforce its own given values. How can we be aligned to a limiting view that could cost us our lives and our choice of living?

So as you consider ‘the misguided believe that its choice of management and achievement of profit are the most important in the world’ also strongly consider what it will cost you, not now, but down the track.

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What was the right question?

There is an article in the Guardian called ‘Which laptop should we buy for our child?‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/askjack/2015/nov/05/which-laptop-should-we-buy-for-our-child), you might think that I have an issue with the article, and I do, but not perse with the article. The article is quite decent, however the article is about a ‘solution’. I learned recently that solutions are vague, they are transient and they fade the moment you give them. You see, as a great teacher not too long ago taught me, it is about trust and about answering needs.

I understand what Jack writes, he gives good advice and I would have given a similar advice, yet at some point I learned something new (we all do, trust me). What are the needs of the child? Now, the child might not understand it has needs here (other than cool games, and we can see that in schools laptops, or better stated ‘fat’ mobile devices are going to be the trend. Whether this is an Airbook like the Mac has, a Chromebook like ASUS has or another device in a similar capacity, the child will need to move forward.

Yet, am I not in a mode where the answer is given? No, let me explain. Jack mentions the Windows 2-in-1 “detachables”, which sounds nice Mr. Schofield, but that trend is now, it is 2015, what about 2016 or 2017? What happens when those trends shift? By the way the sentence “we can’t afford to spend lots of money“, so as such Apple will not become a solution any day soon. Interesting the Chromebook solution that many carry are on average of $250 cheaper (Australian comparison), a part not mentioned anywhere, that optional solution did not make it to the table.

For me, do I think it is a solution? I am not at all certain, you see, the needs of the child are unknown. So why spend money? To give the kid some skills? Well that is all good and fine, so why is the possible solution for a tablet; a mere Android based tablet at one third of the cost of a Chromebook not decently investigated? The mention of the tablets (all 6 mentions was regarding the push to the 2015 trend of a ‘detachable’. You see, the object of usage is a small person about to celebrate the moment of his ninth birthday. Kids have accidents, they break things (unintentional), your youngling drinks lemonade and other liquids. So you want to put a laptop there? With his excited friends that is an accident waiting to happen. So, how will you afford the second laptop?

The simplest tablet with a decent casing costs less than a hundred quid. For £49.99 you get a very basic one. The best thing is that the skills will transfer to a laptop or a larger tablet when your child is ready, more important, there is no way of knowing what the needs will be when he gets to a decent school level, when he gets to year 10, what will he need? Perhaps the school provides? Also, the pricing would have gone down to such an extent, that the one device you cannot afford now, could be really affordable in 2016.

So many people so many options, why answer them at all? Why not give the device that at least lets your little one to grow skills and answer the call to the device your young one needs when the moment is there?

So yes, Jack Schofield gives advice, it is sound advice but in all this, he failed to mention that some devices are limited and to get a better return, a much higher cost comes into view. You see a mere simple version from Asus might be £195.64, yet when you consider how fast 32GB is gone you will need something bigger, that will take you to £289.99 very fast. In my situation, I do not offer a solution, for £49.99 you get a very simple device that allows the little one to grow skills, and in 2-3 years when his skills have really outgrown the 8GB device, he might get that same device not for £289.99, but for £179.99, perhaps even less, so the little tablet paid for itself.

Part of me understands that the next generations needs to be clued in, logged in and online earlier in life, I will not stop it, oppose it or question it. Yet in all this we must also answer what is the best to make your child grow. Perhaps it is the 2 in one that Jack Schofield mentioned, but I am not convinced. You see with the quote: “there are several ways to run Android apps on Windows PCs, such as BlueStacks and AmiDuOS” is all about getting someone to windows. Why? I do not oppose Windows as I use it myself. After the blunders Windows 8 had, I am not willing to trust Windows 10 at this point, yet Microsoft is willing to mandatory push it to its user base regardless of what the consumer thinks. A methodology I do not support. This was shown in another Guardian article by Samuel Gibbs where we see: “Consumer users of Windows 10 will have no choice but to accept the installation of automatic updates, even if they break software for them” (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/17/windows-10-updates-mandatory-home-users), what happens when our choice of software breaks? Are we forced to a Microsoft solution? How is that not an instilled dictatorship? The final quote from that article was “Automatic updates may also create a situation where an update breaks something on a computer system, perhaps a legacy program“, which is what many will face over the next decade. Microsoft is starting a cleaning operation and the user is losing their rights. I might have had to pay $199 for my Windows 7, but at present trusting my system on the net is not an option, that trust was destroyed by Microsoft in a way 10,000 viruses could not. Regardless of that choice, Jack should have remained a lot more neutral than he did. I believe for the bulk of all needs Android fills the requirement of a user, this does not take away to prospect of Microsoft, but last time you looked, which software was free? Weirdly enough, for the normal student, the software like writing, calculating and presenting is free on android and Linux. Apple and Microsoft charges for that.

Yet in all this, where are the needs of the user? When he gets to the setting up of things he is addressing fear in my humble opinion. Now let me add one too. The text: “Windows 8.1 and 10 will email you a weekly record of your son’s activities: how many hours he’s used his PC, the websites he’s visited, and how long he spent in his favourite apps“, so are you the only one who gets this, or will Microsoft have this data too? There is validity in keeping your child safe, but that starts with the need for strong passwords and knowing what to do and what not to do. Your child will make mistakes and even today many adults still make these blunders and larger ones too!

So in my view, spending little is not a shame and your child should be safe, but consider the options hackers and malware have nowadays, it is close to impossible to stop, in that case let it be a device that when it happens will not infer heavy losses. In that part, let me end with another quote the article has “I don’t think it’s worth buying or installing the full desktop programs for a 9-year-old“, which is true, so how large are the hands of a nine year old. Can they not hold onto a 7” tablet easier? More important, when he gets soaked in the rain and his backpack got drenched, my money will be on a skinned tablet not any laptop or ‘2 in one’ solution to survive that ordeal.

In the end it is as I expect growing skills with your child. I get that, and I applaud that approach, yet let it be skills, playful skills and artistic skills. Let the child enjoy their life until year 6 when the skills will be tested, let them grow into the savvy programmer they can be and get them the system they can handle and let them grow into a stronger system, the needs of any child will grow stronger when ingenuity is required, factual evidence that has been known for decades. Yet how they grow will usually be up to them, not you or me, or their teachers for that matter, we can only hope to guide them in a decent direction, let’s not forget if you as a parent do not have the skills to guide them, where will they get their example? What happens when they follow the wrong example?

In the end, what was the right question? Which device allows your child to grow in all directions a device offers growth? On which device are their drawing skills challenged? Anyone can type a text, anyone can do ‘math’ with a spreadsheet, yet the art of drawing (a skill I never mastered) is getting lost more and more in this world of laptops, is that not a shame too?

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Dangers of Android?

Today I got confronted with a danger that Android poses. Yet, is this truly an Android issue? An Apple user will of course nod yes in a very rapid way. My Huawei is not the only one hindered by this. At Android central the following was found: “Are the apps definitely being removed from the App Drawer, or is it just that the shortcut is disappearing from your home screen?

This is of course a fair question, it still is not OK, but the difference between an app and a shortcut is quite the difference.

It turns out that the apps are on my phone, but they no longer run, they are now called ‘com.spyfox.tripletown‘. The apps seem to have gotten themselves damaged. The question no becomes why. At this point I also notice a program called ‘Li emotion’. The kanji next to it gives it away. My question now becomes ‘what is this and what does it do? This is because it is a separate app, I never installed it (as far as I can tell) and the rights it does have are massive. Yet there is no indication what it is, why it is on my phone and why it is allowed to do many things without my permission. It does not take too long that this is part of the Huawei Emui, so there is no real issue as the operating system needs to be able to do all this. Comprehension was the mere element that resolved everything.

This does not solve my app issue (which actually fixed itself) and gets us to the Guardian video (at http://www.theguardian.com/silent-circle-partner-zone/video/2015/aug/17/smartphone-users-read-their-app-permissions-out-loud-video). So yes, when we see the rights and speak them out loud, they sound very disconcerting. But why is it such an issue? ‘Modify calendar events and send e-mails without my knowledge‘ sounds extremely offensive, but now realise that you set up a meeting, you change the meeting and all parties are automatically updated through messages. Did you know that they got another mail stating that the meeting had changed? There you go, mystery solved. Apps ‘reading your text message‘ sounds like a worry, but is that program actually comprehending the information, or does ‘reading’ mean ‘parsing’, processing the text in all this? Computer lingo for the layman is not the easiest task.

In all this the one that stood out for me was ‘I give this app permission to automatically turn of airplane mode‘ if airplane mode was there for safety reasons (the airplane message no one ever believed that mobile phones interfered with airplane instruments), than the option to turn that off should not be allowed, but in all that, this could be as simple as the dialogue box ‘Would you like to deactivate airplane mode?‘ The video ends with ‘the biggest risk to you and your privacy is your smartphone‘, this is a decent claim to make. In all this, it is actually about users and consumers who do not understand (read comprehend) what they are agreeing to. They do not understand what they have consented to. That is always dangerous, because the things you do not realise are the issues that turn you into the greater fool. Here we can paraphrase the greater fool theory which states that “the price of an object is determined not by its intrinsic value, but rather by irrational beliefs and expectations of market participants” into “the security of your environment is determined not by the borders you mentally erect, but rather by naive believe that the applications on your smartphone will respect them“.

You see, I believe that people should be worried about privacy, and #Privacynow is a valid need, but what is your actual privacy? The way that they are getting there is a little bit of a worry, yet the path is not without valid reason. Consider the quote “It’s common for users to employ the same username and password across systems, so if someone compromises that particular password, the potential also exists for them to compromise additional user accounts“, this is a worry in one way, because is this about the safety of the phone and its apps or is this about Common Cyber Sense? Something I have been advocating for about 2 decades. So how is this a danger for Android? That is part of the issue. In my view the danger to IOS is not smaller and the danger is nor subsiding any day soon. One of the earliest sources is around 2008, in 2010 Computer world, CNet and other sources stated “About 20 percent of the 48,000 apps in the Android marketplace allow a third-party application access to sensitive or private information, according to a report released on Tuesday“, there are two sides here. In the first, is this like the earlier issues in the video and stated, ‘a form of feigned transgression?’ Or is this in the second ‘leaky security that leads to open access of information?’ There is however a third option, apps that were created that are intent on creating a backdoor that allows access to all data. It is the third that is a true danger, yet how realistic is this danger?

Computerworld stated this from a Google representative: “This report falsely suggests that Android users don’t have control over which apps access their data.  Not only must each Android app gets users’ Permission to access sensitive information, but developers must also go through billing background checks to confirm their real identities, and we will disable any apps that are found to be malicious“, this is not just clearly the case, there is supporting evidence on several levels that this is true. In addition, these parts are quotes from 2010 and since then both Apple and Google have upped the security game by a lot. Still, it is the news from last week (at http://www.wired.com/2015/10/iphone-malware-hitting-china-lets-not-next/) ‘iPhone Malware Is Hitting China. Let’s Not Be Next‘ is the issue today. The quote “Unlike previous spates of iOS-targeted malware, many of those victims hadn’t jailbroken their phones to install unauthorized apps. The two back-to-back attacks—one far more sophisticated than the other but both unprecedented in iOS’s history—suggest that complacent iPhone users around the world could be in for the same nasty shock“, the issue has now become the fact regarding ‘non jailbroken systems’, which implies that either a flaw has popped up in the Apple device, or overall a new level of access has become a worry. It is the quote that follows which now is centre in all this “Apple has said that only iOS 8.3 and earlier were left open to the attack. Later versions limited access to the APIs it exploited to plant its ads“, so we can accept that we all install the latest versions, yet what happens to those who have an older device (like the iPhone 4)? There are plenty of things people can do that prevent these issues, and in all this ‘Common Cyber Sense’ remains the big issue. So is China hindered by a massive lack of Common Cyber Sense?

Here we now see the evolution that is the danger. It is the assumption of the user. The laziness of their usage and the ignorance of the effects that they easily embrace. The quote “Don’t install strange apps that appear in pop-ups online and aren’t found in Apple’s App Store” is the big part we must adhere too (well Apple users anyway), for most people like you and me, we use the Google Play Store sources only! Both Google and Apple have their methods in place. Would a three pronged app remain the issue as implied in the article? That is hard to state, but what is clear is that 99% of the dangers can be averted by using the reliable source and that reliable source only. The application of ‘Common Cyber Sense’ can aid you in averting another 0.9999%, which means that if you install 10,000 apps, there is a one in 10,000 chance of you ending up having a chance of being in danger.

Yet in all this, we should never relax about the technology we use and the danger it could bring. It is that fear that is driving people in all kinds of corners they never need to be in. When you have sex, not the committed relationship one, but the quickie with that girl next door for some slap and tickle. In that case do you practice safe sex? When you live in the city, do you go to work leaving the front door to your apartment wide open? In that same sense, when you use any technology that has your personal information, you use more than the minimum safety. That last part requires Common Cyber Sense. To the previous generation it is a harder thing to do, but it can still be done, to my generation it is an additional side to my workflow. It is the next generation that is now the part that matters. Many are taking the casual approach their parents (or bigger siblings) have, whilst not realising that Common Cyber Sense will be at the foundation of their lives. So, any OS will come with its own perils. Be it Windows, LINUX, Android, IOS or any other OS. They will face a new area that is on the move with such high speed that there is no way to predict where they will be in 7 years’ time. The dangers of a complete rewrite in an iterative world. You see until 2000, both hardware and software remained highly innovative, it was after 2003 that the iterative world was set in high gear. First Hardware and now to a larger extent Software has been in iterative mode. Yet the world behind all this, the security part has made leaps and bounds and to some extent not in a good way. Here we can make a connection to an article by Tarleton Gillespie from 2014 called ‘Facebook’s algorithm — why our assumptions are wrong, and our concerns are right‘. The quote “I will say that social science has moved into uncharted waters in the last decade, from the embrace of computational social scientific techniques, to the use of social media as experimental data stations, to new kinds of collaborations between university researchers and the information technology industry“. In addition there is “Those who are upset about this research are, according to its defenders, just ignorant of the realities of Facebook and its algorithm. More and more of our culture is curated algorithmically“. This is not upsetting or ground breaking, but it is the next part that links to all this. It is a blog article called ‘Analytic Suspicions‘ (at https://analyticsuspicions.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/metric-failures-and-data-assumptions-4-myths-of-social-analytics/), he is looking at a few myths in social media, in all this (it is a nice read and well written), I personally see one point that is not a myth, it is a worry and it seems to me that many remain ignorant on that danger. You see, the myths whether all Social Media is analysed, that Social Media data is clean enough to Analyse, Influencers should be targeted and sentiments analyses works. In all this we forget the 5th issue (this being the non-myth). The interaction of apps and data. The dangers that we interact our apps and the data that is linked to all this that is now becoming the true issue. You see, even with all the common cyber sense no matter how safe our mobile is, the data is still somewhere and that data becomes available, more data than we agreed on. Yet in all this is the mobile OS Android/IOS the weak link?

That is the part that is not addressed by many speakers in this realm. Some get scared by places like ‘life hacker’ and some are ignoring the woeful text that passes us by, yet when places like Forbes report that ‘Report: 97% Of Mobile Malware Is On Android‘ (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2014/03/24/report-97-of-mobile-malware-is-on-android-this-is-the-easy-way-you-stay-safe/) people get worried (even though the article is more than a year old). Yet the article enlightens us in many ways. The most important quote here is “here’s the part Google’s rivals don’t want you to know: the figures are misleading“, which is one side of the foundation. The second on is the part I already discussed “stick to buying apps on the Play Store and every one in 1000 apps you buy may have had malware for a brief period“, the word ‘may’ is essential and ‘brief period’ is also essential, in the end, the chance of you getting the winning lottery ticket could be slightly higher, odds I’ll take any day.

Yet in all this, with all the protection these providers offer, the number one danger is you!

Common Cyber Sense is the essential step of reducing that danger to almost zero (like 0.0001% chance).

In the end the danger of Android is almost the same as the danger to IOS, both large players presenting into the margins, which is where the mobile phone user (you know that pesky consumer) does not tend to be. Which takes us to the final part in all this. It was my blog article from the 4th of October (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/10/04/cisa-and-privacy-are-not-opposites/) ‘CISA and Privacy are not opposites‘, we get confronted with Silent Circle and their Blackphone 2. I have no doubt that Phil Zimmermann and Mike Janke are men of knowledge, determination and possibly even innovation. Yet, these skills do in my humble opinion not match up to the killer skills of the Google engineers with their keyboards. So when we see the quote in the Guardian (see previous blog link) “Google didn’t support the initial software build, something that probably helped make the phone more popular, rather than less“, do you think that this was done in envy by Google, or because their build did not hold up to scrutiny? That last part is speculation because I have no data or any evidence going one way or another. The Blackphone is marketed by intelligent people with skills, no one will doubt that, and it is also clear that Silent Circle is now tapping into a direction that is gaining traction, which means the market will most definitely grow in this direction. Yet in all this, considering all the facts, in how much danger is your data?

Sit in a quiet corner and let that questions sink in for a minute. I have been in the data field since 1989, in all that time the biggest threat was ‘data at rest’ (data saved on a device), meaning that this implies that you have strong passwords on your hotspot and Bluetooth capabilities, or just switch these options to ‘off’, not data that is moving from point A to Point B. Today both areas are a ‘threat’ and the second one only since very recent.

Since November 2012 I have had 2 phones, the second one I got this year because only now, my Android needs had grown beyond a 1 GB RAM phone. As far as I can tell I have only faced one issue and that was due to an ignorant third party developer and their dim witted approach to synchronisation. The simple use of Common Cyber Sense is all I needed. Basic steps that nearly anyone can adhere to. The threat of criminals and organised crime will not go away. Common Cyber Sense will keep them at bay and common sense should do the rest.

Which now takes us back to the title, you see, the dangers of Android are largely between your ears. The only dangers you face are the ones you open yourself up to! You should never stop asking questions on where things are and what you sign up to, that is common sense, but also feel free to question what certain things mean, it is in the comprehension that you find the answer. If there is one conundrum to leave you with then it is not android or IOS, consider the idea that a Facebook game wants you to give them access to your religious views, whatever for?

To pray for ammunition?

Well, so be it: ‘halleluiah’, now die you zombie master and give me my 10 points towards a high score!

 

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In continuation

Perhaps you noticed it, perhaps not. The last article was left a little unfinished. I had to do this because we are faced with two separate parts and I needed to isolate a few things, leaving you with the idea that this was it, alas (or fortunately) it is not!

In the past we saw that software required to pass “a manner of manufacture”, the linked issue of physicality, which is one I do believe in. It is for that reason I still consider the article by Ben McIniery ‘Physicality in Australian Patent Law‘ (at Deakin law review) to be the article that everyone in IP should read. It is an absolute must in the field. The article opened my eyes to a few parts of IP. On page 465 He goes into National Research Development Corporation v Commissioner of Patents (1959) 102 CLR 252, where we see “the High Court explained that the patentable subject matter inquiry is a broad test that recognises all new and useful innovation as patent eligible, irrespective of whether it involves a physical embodiment or a transformation of physical matter“.

This is where we are now. The gaming industry is only one side of it, the mobile data and mobile device market is the big one. No matter how much you see how mobile markets are worth hundred, two, three or even four hundred billion. As I see it, the mobile device market has now passed the 1 trillion dollar mark. As the people involved are looking at ‘their’ corners, the overall interaction market, including apps, data and hardware has exceeded a trillion dollars. So why does this now matter?

This is at the core of it all. The new games are only one side, the other side connected to all this is the value of data. There was a reason that Microsoft paid 2.2 billion for a videogame. The massive connection here is not just the data, it is the collection technology that you can link to it that matters.

Software was taken to satisfy the requirement for patentable subject matter; that is, it was “a manner of manufacture”. As articulated in the watershed NRDC decision, it is a mistake to ask if an invention (in the present context, software) is a kind of manufacture because it tends to limit one’s thinking by reference to the idea of making tangible goods by hand or by machine. Rather, the correct emphasis is that the application of a manner of manufacture results in an artificially created state of affairs, and that a manner of manufacture has an industrial, commercial or trading character in that it belongs to a useful art, as distinct from a fine art, and consequently its value to the country is in a field of economic endeavour. Software would appear to satisfy that requirement. Apple found that out the hard way, when it ‘learned’ that Smartflash owned the patent (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/25/us-ip-apple-verdict-idUSKBN0LT0E720150225), the bandage for that pain has been set at half a billion dollars. Here we see the link to both gaming and mobile devices.

The hottest ticket in the gaming industry is not just the game, it is the one who gets the race horse right on cross platform workings. So, a person on an Xbox One meets a person on a PlayStation 4 and they both fight it out ‘Doom’ style, who is the baddest, deadliest and most determined player on his console? That is currently not an option to the extent it should be. If you think it is easy, than think again, Bethesda with its Elder Scrolls online has not been able to bring that baby to life (Neither has Diablo 3 for that matter, who has a lot more experience in this field).

The jackpot value goes up even more when we consider the Android and IOS devices. Cross platform is the one ticket (read: patent) that once solved will hold the trump card to instant super wealth. Leave it to greed to properly motivate innovation, but that is usually the case.

So as we see the E3 to the largest extent about gaming. I am looking at it from the additional view of Intellectual property. If you have read yesterday’s article called ‘As the heart thumps‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/06/15/as-the-heart-thumps/), you might wonder if there is a reason behind my focus on the navigational view of Elite: Dangerous. Now consider the design patents that Microsoft holds and consider the Elite HUD in a car window as a heads up display. It is the next step. You see, several players (read: car manufacturers) have been looking at implementing something like this, but the costs were scary. Now consider Corning’s Gorilla Glass technology solutions, not just to be a stronger screen, but a screen ‘film’ solution on the inside of the glass linked to a device that feeds the screen, whoever holds the quality design patent here will make a killing. The ‘technology’ that we saw in games for HUD, is technically already possible, now it only needs one clear implementation with the right patent and that person is sitting on the platinum patent. That same train is linked to interactive data transfer and consolidation cross platforms. Not what you think already exists (like feeds to every device), no, I am talking about true bi-directional interaction of the mobile world. We are getting closer, but we are not there yet.

In gaming terms, we are talking interactive intelligence versus scripted moments. The bulk of all games still rely on scripted moments. When you walk into a door, a new house, or meeting that ‘special’ character in the game. Games are full of that, no it is the intelligent design, regardless of moment, character or location that decides the interaction. That will be the upcoming frontier. Yes, you might think that this is about gaming, which is partially true. Yet that part is one step away from intuitive marketing; to reach any person regardless of device, location or state of travel, the holy grails of Direct Marketing and the Business Intelligence field is pursuing. You see, when we travel we tend to be decently idle. That is the moment marketing could hit us square in the face, possible resulting in us pressing the ‘buy’ button. That is as I say the platinum patent that allows for almost instant wealth beyond measure. Most of the technologies exist in generic form, whoever delivers the focus narrow enough to get set into patent will be holding onto the Chalice of Avarice.

In all this, the IP market remains in development, in addition, these events with added complication of what the TPP will offer large corporations is centre as to why I had an issue with the TPP. It gives unbalanced strength to large corporations, whilst diminishing the efforts of small innovators and it is the latter part that is most likely to come up with the golden idea, which was always my issue against the TPP.

So, when you take another look at what the E3 offers in gaming, consider how much bigger the net is that could catch options in other parts and other business segments.

 

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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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