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Just like everyone else

For the longest of times, I have worshiped Google. I have always been pro Google, and having worked in their offices for a year, being exposed to the options within Google is just overwhelming (and the food is pretty much the best in the world). So what happens when you are shown that Google is basically just like all the other large corporations? What when you wake up to an early e-mail where google advises you on the new Google Home Hub and the Google Pixels 3 (which is appealing even if it is at the price of your soul), yet 150 minutes later, you are shown by the Wall Street Journal that Google is just like every other corporation at present, how would you feel?

I can tell you that an ice bucket of water over your head at that point would have seemed a soft caress in contrast to the rude awakening I was made privy to.

To get the better view, we need to go back to May 2108, where we were treated to: “Google Australia’s boss Jason Pellegrino, who spoke on a CEO panel at Sydney’s CeBIT tech conference today, told the audience there had to be a “utility exchange” for the data a business obtains, adding if there is no trust, it can prove detrimental“, as well as ““That was about a leaky bucket. That data was going to places that consumers didn’t expect, didn’t agree with and got not value out of themselves. “None of these data buckets should be leaky. However, it’s started a discussion about what’s in the bucket itself. The data that’s there has been used to deliver a great service – no one has been sitting there saying Netflix ‘I can’t believe the data that you’re sharing’ – because they are delivering a wonderful service.”“. So as we were given on Monday ‘Google Exposed User Data, Feared Repercussions of Disclosing to Public‘ with the two quotes: “Google exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users of the Google+ social network and then opted not to disclose the issue this past spring, in part because of fears that doing so would draw regulatory scrutiny and cause reputational damage, according to people briefed on the incident and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal“, as well as “A software glitch in the social site gave outside developers potential access to private Google+ profile data between 2015 and March 2018, when internal investigators discovered and fixed the issue, according to the documents and people briefed on the incident“, so basically Jason Pellegrino (not the exquisite Italian sparkling water) was basically calling the kettle black, whilst we can agree at this point that he had no business opening his mouth in the first place in light of 3 years of hidden software screw ups. It seems to me that both are in equal hot waters. Even if we water it down (not using sparking Pellegrino) into a setting that Cambridge Analytica was doing it on purpose and that the implied setting by Alphabet Inc. is that their software engineers basically did not know what they were doing (to some extent). We can call a fair dinkum, but something this hidden for three years. What optional issues can we expect from the Google Pixel 3, with Android version 3.14159265418 (Android Pie), as well as the Google Home Hub where the consumer is optionally revealing all their daily needs (including the speculatively implied and roughly estimated 54,233 daily attempts to watch Pornhub) with or without the optional keywords Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Ariana Grande, Shania Twain, Selena Gomez, Kirsten Dunst and Taylor Swift. Yes, that is the data those marketeers are willing to pay handsomely for, not to mention those unnamed parties speculatively involved in election persuasion consultancy projects.

It gets even more interesting that the Home Hub could potentially reveal when a person is at home or not (like on vacation), because there is no one who would want that data, right? Last week we would not have given it a second thought, yet with the revelations in the Wall Street Journal (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/google-exposed-user-data-feared-repercussions-of-disclosing-to-public-1539017194) we now have a much larger issue. It was fun to see the review on the Verge where we see this puppy in action (the Google Home Hub) where the operator asks for the overview of the Pixel 2, whilst pre-orders of the Pixel 3 are happening all over the world, another fallen blobby in all this.

So as we see the turmoil that one of the world’s biggest tech giants will face over the last quarter of the year, we need to realise that you should never meet your idol whilst he is still alive. I reckon that Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai will be able to hold his cool for the smallest amount when he meets me, but that is presently not a given.

So as well are treated to “The closure of Google+ is part of a broader review of privacy practices by Google that has determined the company needs tighter controls on several major products, the people said. In its announcement Monday, the company said it is curtailing the access it gives outside developers to user data on Android smartphones and Gmail” we need to wonder what is next for the social media people. I actually preferred Google+ as it was less junk driven then Facebook. And it also gave me the timeline as a first instead of the populist drive, which still annoys me in Facebook. So even as some at Google as trying to wane us to slumber, the cold reality is : ‘the company has no evidence that any outside developers misused the data but acknowledges it has no way of knowing for sure‘. That is the immediate setting in this, we no longer know who has our details and we might never know how we were optionally specifically phished and targeted as per 2015, is that not a nice new reality to face?

So as we need to realise “The company will stop letting most outside developers gain access to SMS messaging data, call log data and some forms of contact data on Android phones“, we might think it is no big deal, but this has the data potential to be a lot larger than any nightmare scenario that the UK ‘Hacked Off‘ ever envisioned in their nightmare settings that the press would have been up to, when people with less scruples (not by much though) have been given optional access to and let’s not forget, the criminals tend to be more creative then the law enforcers ever have been (or some of the intelligence services for that matter).

So even as we accept that the Google plus issue is a dwarf compared to the Facebook scandal, it still optionally victimised the setting through: “It found 496,951 users who had shared private profile data with a friend could have had that data accessed by an outside developer, the person said. Some of the individuals whose data was exposed to potential misuse included paying users of G Suite, a set of productivity tools including Google Docs and Drive, the person said. G Suite customers include businesses, schools and governments“.

I am not alone in this, a few hours ago, the New York Times are giving us: ‘How Will Google Play Its New Product Announcements on the Back of a Data Scandal?‘ (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/09/business/dealbook/google-data-products.html). It is not merely that part, we need to consider that at present only Apple has a seemingly clean slate and they can use this to their advantage. It is in the end watered down by the NY Times through “They’re all part of Google’s strategy to highlight the company’s services via hardware (rather than necessarily become best-sellers in their own right)“, they are all still ruled by software and the cold setting here is that it is their software that was incompletely tested and prodded by those who should have done so. I refuse to merely blame a programmer here, it is a much larger problem!

The failing here can be seen in places like Ubisoft, EA Games, Bethesda, Microsoft and several other large developers. The non-stop trivialisation of proper testing and proper timelines to test settings is at the back of all this. It is not merely a lacking QA, it is a non believe in the power of testers and longer conversations in their insights that is here as well. Issues seen in FIFA 19, several shortcomings in NHL 19, AC Odyssey bugs reported mere hours ago and the less said regarding the Microsoft Surface Go the better and the list goes on. These issues shows that Google is part of the entire problem, the quality testing and scrutiny is seemingly not done (or not done to the extent needed), and with the Google Pixel 3 just around the corner, with a lessened confidence level at present, would you at that point trust the Google Pixel 3XL 128GB at $1500, or will you play it cautiously and select the less powerful, but still a large step forward when selecting the Huawei nova 3i 128GB Handset at $600, in this day and age, can we feel comfortable with spending an optional $900 too much? I will admit that there are a few alternatives at that price, not merely Huawei, but the list of quality choices is very small.

The revelation that the Wall Street Journal exposed us to on Monday is probably the most inconvenient that Google has faced in a long time. Even before we see whatever Google has to promote in the near future on 5G capabilities and enabling technologies, they now have a visible problem to address. It is not merely a dent in their armour, it now shows us a Google that was optionally never the knight in shining armour it has largely been seen as, which is a much larger problem for Google then they are willing to admit to any day soon.

Too many are hiding behind hype terms like AI and machine learning, yet the realisation that non repudiation and authentication was required on many more levels where data is involved in all this, is a failing on several levels, predominantly the developers one and it is there that Google will possibly face a very hard time to come.

#Halfwaytotheweekendnow

 

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The cold light of logic

I have been jabbing my head whether I should write this. You see there is a witch-hunt going on and I honestly have an issue with witch-hunts. In my mind, a witch-hunt is never ever done under the light of reasoning. It is always done hiding behind and exploiting waves of emotions. All this started when a barrister called Charlotte Proudman decided to link to another barrister named Alexander Carter-Silk. The man accepted and wrote the quotes “Always interest to understant people’s skills and how we might work together“, he was delighted to connect, but the statement (given before the quote) that became the issue was “I appreciate that this is probably horrendously politically incorrect but that is a stunning picture”.

The wave of accusation that followed regarding ‘misogynistic behaviour’ regarding a Human Rights Barrister is now completely out of control. Anyone who has a chip to grind seems to go out on a free for all.

For my view? It is a stunning picture. I say that after have been a photographer for wel over 25 years. I started my photography passion in the late 70’s and seldom have I seen a photo of this level of quality. I’ll up the ante! I state here and now that you will not find 1000 photos of this quality in LinkedIn, a place with 300,000,000 registered members. I compared the photo of Charlotte Proudman to Kim Kardashian, Ariana Grande (Nickelodeon actress), Taylor Swift and Zac Efron. They are not even close to the photo result of Charlotte Proudman. Now, as a photographer the first person I blame for that is the photographer.

After that I wonder whether Charlotte Proudman (in this specific case) is overreacting. Consider the emotion you feel when I state this! I am not claiming she is, I am wondering whether she is. That remains a valid question and if you cannot consider that, then you should not judge because whatever you think you are weighing, you are definitely weighing elements you are not honestly considering, which implies the act of misjudgment

The writer stated from the beginning “this is probably horrendously politically incorrect“, in all this he mentioned the picture, not the person.

And let’s be clear, When I digged a little and found the same picture in high resolution (from her website), which it is the same pic we saw in both LinkedIn and on her Twitter account. The photo is what I regard as pristine quality, now the question the follow are mere questions. I do not know the person, I never met her and I have no idea what she is like. Yet the image shows her skin to be perfect (was it photo shopped?), her eyes have a colouring and clarity I have seldom witnessed in person. I compared them to the close ups of the eyes of Ali Larter, Mila Jovovich and Claudia Schiffer. Not the colour of the eyes, but the super sharp colouring of the eyes. All these facts do not make for the mind of Charlotte Proudman, but take these elements and now consider a very professional photo of Charlotte Proudman. Her photo stands miles above the photos of women (men too) that make a living from their looks. In all the witch-hunting waves, no seemed to have taken a rational look at what was stated by a Human Rights Barrister.

Not some lawyer or Judge in the commercial field, nope a Human Rights Barrister!

Now, we can agree that the statement was unfortunate and it was most definitely not the best statement to make, but this barrister must have been blown away by the image that was linked to the connection, I was blown away and I have been a photographer for a long time.

There is another quote (at http://www.theguardian.com/law/2015/sep/08/charlotte-proudman-alexander-carter-silk-linkedin-photo-comment-law-firms), it is “Most people post pretty unprofessional pictures on LinkedIn, my comment was aimed at the professional quality of the presentation on LinkedIn, which was unfortunately misinterpreted“. I personally agree with that part.

In her own statement “The eroticisation of women’s physical appearance“, so in that light how should we see the LinkedIn photo from a Caroline Pemberton? She is a TV presenter, a producer and her photo shows the image of an experienced model. We could go on with models like Nikki Prat and Sue Di Chio, The quality of the photo of Charlotte Proudman beats them all with miles to spare. No one took a good look at the picture and they all hid behind the emotions of text. By the way, the pictures of men (even those dependent on looks) are massively worse. Russel Crowe, Zac Efron, Richard Branson even Barack Obama. Now, I cannot vouch whether those profiles are real, yet with 8 million followers at least one real profile will be amongst them.

In all this there is a reality. “‘I am on Linked-in for business purposes, not to be approached about my physical appearance or to be objectified by sexist men“, as she herself states. There is 0% doubt that this does not happen, yet in all this, I have some serious doubts whether Mr Carter-Silk had any intention of being that kind of a person (I never met him, so I cannot vouch for that part), yet in all my years on LinkedIn those in heavy professional walks of life, most of them rely on LinkedIn and pardon the ‘unacademic’ phrase, those who rely on that part of life: “we tend to not shit where we eat”.

Meaning that people like both Alexander Carter-Silk and Charlotte Proudman both see LinkedIn as the professional portal it is. The massive witch-hunt wave I am watching unfold now seems to be about people and their own political agendas. When we see quotes like “Feminist barrister Charlotte Proudman explains why she is NOT for ‘equality’ & how Feminism is NOT about ‘equality’” (from @FeminismIsLies), we must acknowledge that the spinning is starting. In final thoughts, I must give mention to Sam Thomas (@iamsamthomas) with “Spot of advice, gents: “I appreciate this is probably horrendously politically incorrect” is never a promising opener“, he is absolutely correct! In equal measure mention must be given to Sarah Butcher (@MadameButcher) who stated “What to do when someone tells you your LinkedIn photo is ‘the most stunning they’ve ever seen“.

Both sides made mistakes one side for stating amazement the other, not for speaking up (which one should always do), but by speaking up against the one person who more likely than not had no misogynistic or sexist objective in mind. I have been wrong in the past, I will be wrong in the future, but here, I get to rely on 35 years of experience in photography and it is unlikely that I could have made that shot (but then, I was never graduated with a degree in photography.

Delta Python Lobster

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