Tag Archives: Azure

Dark side of the Jedi

Yes, I guess that George Lucas really had no idea that this would hold for well over 45 years, but that happens when you become the real innovator. In this we recognise innovators, but the path of one is often dangerous, perilous and it only works when the competition is at your heels. Consider that Star Wars came out when we had The Omen, Taxi Driver, All the presidents men, Rocky, Saturday Night Fever, the Duellists. All excellent movies, all driving the others to do better, that is why it works, so when I see “reversing the Trump-era award to Microsoft Corp and announcing a new contract expected to include its rival Amazon.com and possibly other cloud players” I merely wonder how stupid Trump actually was. To give $10,000,000,000 to Microsoft when they screw up their console position and hand the number two place to Nintendo with the weakest of all consoles, only to likely lose again in the future to the Amazon Luna and possibly even to Netflix? How delusional can you become? Microsoft tried to attack the Apple tablet market and failed miserably again and again, they blew their mobile market and they are trying to create waves for their Azure market, that is the player we want for the U.S. Defense Department? This all whilst we get a day ago “Microsoft has “paused” SQL Server in its Windows Containers project. Microsoft advises anyone interested in running SQL Server in a container to use the Linux root instead”, so basically the two non entries (Google and Amazon) were a better solution off the bat?

So, this Jedi (aka the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) is off to a rocky start. I had never expected to be any commander in chief so delusional that they would hand the contract to one player, all whilst better solutions (in the worst case merely equal) would be considered without proper vetting? I am not stating to merely give it to Amazon or Google, that is why vetting is an important process, yet in all that, Reuters (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-microsoft-pentagon-jedi/pentagon-hits-reset-on-trumps-10-billion-cloud-deal-welcoming-new-players-idUSKCN2EC1YY) gives us “The company cited a 2019 book that reported Trump had directed the Defense Department to “screw Amazon” out of the JEDI contract”, is this how Americans see their national defence, as an ego driver? It would be one thing if Microsoft is the better party, but that hasn’t be the case for some time. 

So when I see “the plan would likely involve a direct award for “urgently needed” capabilities and then a “full and open” competition for multiple suppliers by early 2025”, which we get from John Sherman, acting chief information officer for the Defense Department. My issue here is that when I see ‘urgently needed’, I also remember the joke (not a funny one) that the Zumwalt class represents and the billions spend there, then there are a few more projects, all with pressing needs. And whilst we are getting towards it, the entire Kaseya and Solarwinds debacle shows the larger pressing matter. Security matters! And the matter of security can never be properly investigated if it is appointed to one player, one debatable player mind you. I am not stating that security at Google or Amazon is better, but the Exchange issues, which we get from ZDNet in April shows us “Four zero-day vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange Server are being actively exploited by state-sponsored threat groups and others to deploy backdoors and malware in widespread attacks”, this doesn’t mean that Google and/or Amazon is better. But the debate is on and Microsoft lost top dog and pole position years ago, they are merely in it to remain mediocre, all for the good of the board of directors. They lost to Apple (tablets), then they lost to Google (with Bing), then they lost to Amazon (web services and SaaS) and now surpassed by TikTok (video against China), that is an impressive fail rate. Consider that Bing has a market share of 2.71%, which against Google with 91.95% is slightly too funny for words. 

But this is not about Microsoft, it is about Jedi (all these funny acronyms). So when we consider the dark side of that forceless solution (by Microsoft) and we need to wonder about “the Defense Department also announced its plans for a new multi-cloud initiative known as the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability, or JWCC. It must provide capabilities at all three classification levels — Unclassified, Secret and Top Secret — and parity of services across all classification levels; integrated cross-domain solutions; global availability including at the tactical edge; and enhanced cybersecurity controls, according to the Pentagon”, not the intent, but the investigative presumption of ‘enhanced cybersecurity controls’, both Solarwinds and Kaseya showed us that and this field is still widely in development, and sources like business wire are setting the Marke that cloud security will double over the next 4 years, a stage of increased visibility will both increase security and criminal activities, the winner remains unknown at present, even if we acknowledge that REvil has the upper hand, we have no way of knowing what happens tomorrow,  if security comes from innovators there is every chance that Amazon or Google will get there before Microsoft will, even Apple has a better chance of showing innovation than Microsoft in the cloud atmosphere at present. The fact of what happens next will be out soon enough, yet my mind wonders why anyone would be stupid enough to award national defence to anyone without proper vetting.  So when we accept that it was meant as “part of a broader digital modernisation of the Pentagon aimed at making it more technologically agile”, wouldn’t you want to vet to broaden the application of data, the security of the system and the application of security towards data, users and access? There is a reason that SELinux had roots going back to the NSA, this they all wanted to throw away? And the media is merely reporting the news, not questioning that time line? Why is that?

Only the agile and versatile remain superpowers, and the former president was willing to hand over 50% of THAT equation? So consider that what was JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) could have become the Darth (Defence Application Reprehensive Technology Hype) defence system. 

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Baked Alaskan Marketing

Yup, it is about the desert, well in some form. To be honest, I never had it, I saw pictures, I saw people making it (YouTube), but I never ate it. And for today that is OK. You see, it is not really about food. It all started this morning when I saw ‘PS5 isn’t good value compared to Xbox Series X, and I’m sick of it, that is his view, I believe it to be a bit of a hatchet job, but that is usually the case with opinion pieces. There are also ‘anti-Xbox articles’ and that is fine by me. In the end the systems are closely matching, yet for me the actions by Microsoft over the last 8 years have been an indication that the Xbox console is lost to me. No matter what promises they make, as I personally see it, they betrayed the gamers, all in favour of more and more Azure pressure. It is a personal choice and you need to realise that, I personally demoted Microsoft, but it remains personal. Even as they are now starting the Xcloud and other services, I do not want any of them on my systems, but it is mostly personal (partly instinctive). I will not tell you to not do it, you must select what you think is best for you.

When it comes to Xcloud, I feel that I am leaning towards Amazon Luna if I get into that field. The Luna was close to the Google Stadia, almost there but not quite. Considering that Google should have won it as a tech giant implies that Amazon is more hungry and more willing to make the leap, it gives them an edge and in all this, I want something giving me games no other system will, exclusivity matters. I am not certain if the Luna can deliver, but their setting is looking good. 

The fact that we saw ‘Amazon Games opens new Montreal studio, developing a multiplayer game with Rainbow Six Siege veterans’ implies that Amazon has skin in the game, and as such, if my IP (as published earlier) is either PS5, and/or Luna, see it as public domain. The setting for good gaming is what we need and Microsoft (in my personal view) has betrayed that approach. It was their right to make choices, but they come with consequences. So why is there a baked Alaskan in play? Consider the method “The entire dessert is then placed in an extremely hot oven for a brief time, long enough to firm and caramelise the meringue but not long enough to begin melting the ice cream”, it is a way to use the crust to hide what is inside and it can only done once, yet via Microsoft we get ‘As Microsoft pushes partner transformation, a state of ‘channel inertia’ is emerging’, ‘Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4 Is Nearly Perfect’ and ‘Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2022 is moving to 64-bit’, all different titles, all different sources, but there is a link, lets see if you pick up on it. There is also “Microsoft officials also said they are planning to refresh Visual Studio for Mac by moving it to the native macOS UI”, perhaps you are already catching on. One more hint. It is ‘The FBI removed hacker backdoors from vulnerable Microsoft Exchange servers. Not everyone likes the idea’ there are two parts here.

  1. A court order allowed the FBI to enter networks of businesses to remove web shells used by cyber attackers exploiting Exchange vulnerabilities. But what does this mean for the future of cybersecurity? It is one view, I am not against it, but I get that some are. This has nothing to do with the FBI, it has everything to do with Microsoft dropping the ball. 
  2. Microsoft is seemingly everywhere, with connections way past their computers, Xcloud gives them more and there is too much questions on what Microsoft is capturing, when I asked why they needed to upload 5GB their help-desk stated that this was with my ISP, how stupid is that? I will not allow them on any device, no matter what game will become unavailable to me.

You see, it is not today, or tomorrow, it is what happens a week after that, when we see the exchange issue, the idea of a DDOS version that can use Xcloud is not that farfetched, a DDOS setting using any console it can connect to is a nightmare that should keep several Cyber divisions awake for a long time to come and when we see how Exchange was ‘bitched’ that thought is not the weirdest one to have, with any connection through Xcloud and Azure, the data options are the wettest dreams of organised crime, whilst data facilitators will seek access in whatever way they can and it connects to your systems, your data and could optionally impact your consoles and games. If we get (as published earlier) the setting of ransomware, considering the millions of gamers who have built up a lifetime of achievements, gear and wealth in a dozen games. How long until someone gets a hold of that? Microsoft is spreading itself too thin on too many systems, channels and operating systems. I believe it to be the much larger danger down the track. Yes that is a personal feeling and it is riddled with speculation, but when we see the transgressions over the last 6 months, is the thought that far fetched? 

At the middle of this is their marketing. ‘Partners should ‘ride the wave’, ‘Nearly Perfect’ and a lot more, all to make sure that Microsoft is on the high rise and in the light of diminished negativity, which is the job of marketing, with over 285,000,000 hits on Microsoft (as per today), and 329,000 (Microsoft+scandal), 14,500,000 (Microsoft+problem) we see an overly positive view, which might not be wrong, but that imbalance is making me massively uncomfortable. Especially when we consider “Some Windows 10 users are encountering serious problems following the release of the recent “KB5001330” update, with some reports even coming in that the update itself can’t be installed on some machines”, now these things happen, anyone making other claims is flat-out lying, there is no way that things go perfect, things happen. However, in a stage where Microsoft is so widespread that one hitch could mean all kinds of transgressions, the setting becomes a problem. When we see that and consider “Socure to Provide Identity Verification for Microsoft Azure Active Directory Verifiable Credentials”, we see more and more third party solutions becoming part of the equation. Now, there is nothing wrong with that, but speculatively consider that any danger is double of the previous danger per party involved, as such we see 1%, 2%, 4%, 8%, 16%. The fifth (third party) connection sets the danger to almost one in five, and now consider that we see a stage of overlaps of PC, MAC (iOS), Surface, Azure, Xcloud, Android, we are now optionally in the 32% group, almost one in three where things can go wrong and organised crime wants in, I hope that you realise that a group like HAFNIUM will have no issues selling their solution to the highest bidder, as such, are you sure you want to connect all these systems? 

I accept the work that any marketing division does, but the setting of keeping the users for too long in the dark can have massive consequences down the line and that is where Microsoft has become (my personally speculation) a clear and present danger to gaming (among other parts), that is beside the fact that they are in it for the data, but that too is my personal assumption on the matter. Oh, and I remained conservative, when the error becomes exponential, the setting goes towards 1%+4%+9%+16%, there we see the 4th link making a lager negative impact then any before, I see that, but I personally do not believe that the situation will become quite that bad, but it could be.

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Real life in virtuality

The other night I was pondering the setting (as you might have read in the previous blog) on RPG’s and the setting of a dream within a dream. The idea took another turn as I was considering the interaction of reality with virtuality, and in this a game based on a 1 exabyte setting, an online multiplayer game based on virtuality. A game where players fight each other, they create alliances and they conquer. To get this done, we either create a world that is believable, or we turn it around and let the world create our reality. 

And as I was pondering this, I remember a game called ‘Virus’, in this shooter the game created the levels depending on your hard-drive, that was when the cogs clicked together. 

The new game an entire exabyte of challenges.

The world where we are thrown into is not unlike TRON, but in this setting we become citizens of a cloud environment, we are kidnapped and as we scape we end up getting left to our own devices. So as such we see a challenge, but consider a cloud environment, one that has a dozen Fortune 500 companies, thousands of mid sized companies and a lot more small companies. So will you take on a large player, or do you start small? A game with settings unlike we have ever seen and it is a game that develops further as more players sink into a company, a game without a timeline, but with time as either an ally or an enemy. A stage we have (as far as I know) never seen before and as the cloud evolves, so does the world and the enemies we face. So consider creating a cloud environment for that event and turning it into a game, we are always looking for a challenge, so why not become the infecting part and take over companies, corporations and grow in that way and this is the game with a difference, it is hard core only, one life! You can restart as often as you want, but one defeated you start at square one, until you have complete control of your first company, corporation or enterprise. So as we see and as we get into one cloud, it will be close to an all out war with anyone you face, that is unless you can strike an alliance, and alliances require all parties to see the benefit of one another. The nice part here is that this might (or might not) be the stage where we either love it or hate it. You see this will not appeal to all, there is no doubt it is, yet how can we create the challenge of such a game? We appeal to the player and we set the event that the player will embrace. An approach where the benefit of both sledgehammer and scalpel are seen, and the creation of an environment where both can thrive. And that is the challenge, creating the environment where everything piece of hardware is shown as something, where every router and its components are shown as challenges, I wonder if it can be done.

The question
Yes, I do ask myself the question if it is feasible, if it is even remotely possible. You see, we all have Monday morning quarterbacks in one end, but the other end is also taken. Usually by some manager that has a new plan every Monday morning, but it never pans out to be possible, achievable or even deeply contemplated. I see that, I always question my own thoughts, you see the person who does not question their own thoughts ends up drawing castles in the sky, and then expects a dot matrix printer to print a 1200 DPI photograph. We must question ourselves at all times, especially when we caress our creative side. 

So is my idea a castle in the sky? Perhaps it is, there is no doubt on that. Yet for every 8-10 failures, that one idea will push through and become a real winner. In 1997 I opted and idea to my bosses to use a marketing strategy that used websites as the central core for reaching out to others, my bosses laughed, stating that there was no business model for something that delusional, and stupid me, I listened, 4 years before Facebook, I had the idea for a digital marketing path and it was ignored, silly stupid me, as such I am putting ALL my ideas on the public domain, some will find ground, some will not, perhaps most will not, yet in this I am setting the stage for some to take the idea and push it into a direction that I am currently unable to pursue, for a few reasons, but I digress.

We can try to literally translate a cloud, or we can set the inventory of any given cloud and create a converted one that boggles the mind. Consider that a company has a server, users, computers, routers, Cloud Connectors, Data Center Interconnect Platforms, Mobile Internet Routers and a few other devices, and the larger the company becomes, the larger the hardware and that is before the cloud, in the cloud we see all kind of other issues and to map these out we need a different set of rules, a different set of limits to add to the game, to give some version of ‘reality’ to the game, a set of spawning rules (I hate spawning in games) or to set a better stage, if a cloud is represented in elements (see image) now consider that each company has larger or smaller elements of all, how diverse will be the challenge a gamer has, even as the gamer goes from place to place, he is still in one cloud and there is the larger cloud security to content with. Perhaps the game is a fools errant, yet I believe that if gaming is the edge of technology, the only way we get beyond what we have now, is to push the stage of a new game towards and beyond the horizon of what we now can see. Sony gave us the console to do it, so let’s push into a realm we have never seen before, it is the only way to keep gaming at the height of any system, if we do not do that, we are hopelessly lost.

So where is your virtual gaming life? In a new version of an existing game, or in a stage of gaming we haven’t seen yet? I have nothing against the next iteration in gaming, I played Tombraider, 1, 2 and 3 and never regretted that, yet even there, we saw evolution of gaming. That part was less and less visible in some other franchises and that is a sad part, because only those who push gaming beyond the limits will show a game worthy of conquering. We have all kind of views on this, some hate them, some love them and that is OK. I was never a GTA fan, but a lot are, some hate Watchdogs 2, I loved it (3 as well). Some love Breakpoint, me not that much. That is fine, I always state that those claiming to create a game that appeals to all, will create a game that pleases none, so if I am not part of any equation, that is fine by me. Others, will serve the game I like. 

This is how it should be and in all this creativity will push limits and creativity will open up other doors, such is life and we need to push as many doors as we can if we are to make life better all around us, the iterators never will, they are part of the margin spreadsheet, sailing a safe course to last longer, it will never ever go their way. Nintendo is perhaps one of the shiniest examples. It pushed the Wii, which was a decent success, then the WiiU, an abysmal failure, yet it resulted in the Nintendo Switch, an absolute home run in gaming and there we see that failings will optionally turn to wins, an iterator will never see that, only the innovator will get there. Nintendo at present is close to 75,000,000 switch consoles sold, that implies 2 Nintendo’s for every Xbox, so where is their ‘most powerful system in the world’ now? Iterators always have a good story, but they do not yield results, we will get another ‘We’re not driven by how many consoles we sell, it is the same all over, the losers will say the numbers are shallow, but when they are in pole position, it is everything. A brand gone to the dogs, largely because they ignored the voice of the gamer, I saw that almost a decade ago. And now we see a new world rising, one run by Sone ind Nintendo, it is fine by me, although I needed Microsoft to keep Sony on their toes, this idea will soon be a bust. So the best I can do is to set a stage of creativity and hope that some will Create more and more Sony exclusive games, those who do will be able to use my gaming IP free of charge, I do have commercial needs (income) for my 5G IP, such is life and I do like to enjoy a good meal.

So is my cloud game a bust? Perhaps it is, but for now I will try to envision more and more of that approach, consider a complete created cloud, one where you travel and set the premise of ruling the cloud, yet not alone, it is too big making alliances more and more important, a stage that several have attempted, some a lot more successful then others, I merely want to add to the success rate, or at least attempt to do so. It is the price of creativity and its push to innovation, only the successful continue that battle stronger, the failures continue too, but on a smaller scale, and that is fine, every person will fail at some point, it is what they do next that matters, because Steve Jobs had its successes, but he also had the NeXT computer. We recognise success, but we fail to recognise the failures and where they lead to, it is the flaw in many of us. And this is a larger stage, so how can we set that stage, when people keep on pushing Microsoft and their Blue solution. So as ZDnet reported “Microsoft acknowledged it was a service update targeting an internal validation test ring that caused a crash in Azure AD backend services. “A latent code defect in the Azure AD backend service Safe Deployment Process (SDP) system caused this to deploy directly into our production environment, by passing our normal validation process,” officials said”, a lot of bla bla and yada yada, yet the flaw is not merely within Microsoft, it is the same approach that is replicated again and again. So as we see mentions of Active Directory, we also see ‘a validation ring that doesn’t include customer data’, as well as ‘the SDP didn’t correctly target the validation ring due to a defect and all rings were targeted concurrently causing service availability to degrade’, so how long until there are more and more failures and the rollback merely adds to the problem? This is what I saw when I considered the NSA approach towards Trust Zero, the idea is good, but larger players will screw up making any rollback a much larger issues over the whole field. This is part of the idea to make the cloud a game, we could optionally see something we never noticed before, because thousands of gamers will kick the one part everyone ignored. 

Whether we see the issue in reality, or merely virtual. We need to look with different kind of glasses, I see that because 20 years ago I listened to the wrong people, those relying on bullet points, memo’s and ego. There is no space for that in gaming, or in innovative design, I wonder when Microsoft will figure that part out, they are now in 3rd position, what happens when they become deal last (behind Amazon), will they blame metrics or will it be a Covid set of variables? No matter what they will rely on, they are in a stage where they are losing more and more slices of business cake, they are losing slices in a time where they should have had the entire pie, as I personally see it stupidity, greed driven short sightedness and ego driven conviction made them lose field after field, and now they are in a ratchet state, they have no ability to get close to Amazon and at the same time there is every chance that Google could catch up with them. When that happens, Microsoft will be holding a losing hand in the both the cloud and the gaming field and as their surface solution falls short, we see them handing over slices of that pie to Apple, a three sided losing streak, it is a rare but slightly satisfying field. Why do I think that Microsoft will fail? ZDnet stated it best with “There is still no publicly available data on Azure sales. Azure is the part of Microsoft’s cloud business that most rhymes with AWS, but is buried in the commercial cloud”. In a lifetime of working in IT, I have learned that when commercial driven players rely on ‘no publicly available data’, it tends to be because someone is too close, they are too far behind, or the results create questions, and as I personally see it, Microsoft does all three, Google is too close, they are too far behind with Amazon and the Exchange server issues call in question issues with the Microsoft cloud as a whole. As we saw (from 2019 onwards) more and more hacks towards clouds, there is every notion that together with one source claiming that 90% of clouds are in danger, Microsoft has a lot is problems coming their way, I do not know if this is completely fair on Microsoft, as all three have issues, but the replicated approach Microsoft has (Active Directory anyone?), we see a larger issue, if hacks can be transposed from one system to the other, Microsoft hacks might be seen as lucrative (from the organised crime point of view), it makes the NSA approach more and more essential, yet I personally feel that any rollback has hidden flaws and flaws are a problem, especially in a cloud where one flaw transfers to a whole number of corporations. I will be the first to agree that my view is speculative, because it is, but to see that part you need to grasp back to 2003 where the people got “Erroneous VeriSign-Issued Digital Certificates Pose Spoofing Hazard”, this needs to happen only once on the cloud and the mess is almost complete and I believe that a rollback will make it happen. So how do you feel about ‘due to a defect and all rings were targeted concurrently’ now?

So perhaps my idea for a cloud game has a few additional benefits, apart from it being an interesting approach to a new game. 

Have a great day

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SET trust = 0.

Yup, we all have a stage when there is no trust, there is no confidence and we wonder the why part. In this, I had questions, so I asked the agency, but they did’t know, then I asked the FBI, I asked Langley and I asked Commander Andrew Richardson, they all gave the same story, there is No Such Agency, so I Googled them and Yes! There they were, complete with phone number (+1 301-677-2300) and all, yup, we got them, so now we get to their story (at https://breakingdefense-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/breakingdefense.com/2021/04/nsa-about-to-release-unclassified-5g-security-guidance/amp/).

Via the BBC, we get ‘NSA About To Release Unclassified 5G Security Guidance’ and I started to read, the article makes a lot of sense. Which gave me “Noble’s speech highlighted the importance of zero-trust architecture in 5G networks”, and it got me thinking, the approach makes a lot of sense, just like SE-LINUX, the setting of ‘no-trust’ makes sense, especially in a world where Microsoft keeps on fumbling the ball, not merely their exchange servers, but the (what I personally see as greed driven) push towards Azure, it comes with all kinds of triggers and dangers, especially as they are ready to cater to as many people as possible, the no-trust rule is pretty much the only one that makes sense at present. I have written about the dangers more than enough. So when we are given “it’s reasonable to expect that future NSA 5G security recommendations will emphasise zero trust as a key component”, I believe that the approach has a lot of benefits, especially when such a setting can be added to anti viral and Google apps, it could increase safety to well over 34% overnight, and option never achieved before and we should all applaud such a benefit. There are a few thoughts on “NSA has characterised zero trust as “a security model, a set of system design principles, and a coordinated cybersecurity and system management strategy.” It’s a “data-center centric” approach to security, which assumes the worst — that an organisation is already breached or will be breached.” A choice that is logical and sets the cleaning directly at servers and ISP’s, and they are the backbone in some cases to close to 75% of all connections, so to set a barricade on those places makes sense, there is no debating, the choice of calling themselves No Such Agency wasn’t their best idea, but this is a game changer. 

I have been critical of the US government in all kinds of ways for years and on a few topics, yet I have to admit that this is an excellent approach to prevent things going from bad to worse, moreover, there is every chance that it will make things better for a lot of us overnight as such a system deploys, it will have a trickle down effect, making more and more systems secure. 

That one thing
Yup there is always one thing and we see the dangers when we consider Solarwinds and Microsoft (their mail server), the one part is when we rely on rollbacks and we see rollback after rollback creating a hole and optionally a backdoor, the most dangerous system is the one deemed to be safe, ask Microsoft, or their exchange server. When you believe all is safe, that is when the most damage can be made. And as the article looks at 4 parts, we see ‘Improved network resiliency and redundancy’, yes it makes sense, but rollback efforts are possibly out of that equation and when we get some people tinkering there, there is a chance that the solarwinds paradox returns, yet this time with a dangerous seal of approval by the No Such Agency, it will be the one part all criminal minds are hoping for, in this I personally hope they fail, but these buggers can be resilient, tenacious and creative, the triangle that even the Bermuda Triangle fears and that is saying something.

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The wide net

We all have the idea to go phishing, we want trout, we want salmon and we use the biggest net possible to get at least one. So when AP gave us ‘Casting a wide intrusion net: Dozens burned with single hack’ (at https://apnews.com/article/donald-trump-politics-europe-eastern-europe-new-zealand-f318ba1ffc971eb17371456b015206a5), not only was I not surprised, I had been warning people about this for a few years, that setting is apparently upon us now (or at least some are admitting it now). There we see “Nimble, highly skilled criminal hackers believed to operate out of Eastern Europe hacked dozens of companies and government agencies on at least four continents by breaking into a single product they all used” this does not surprise me, this happened in the late 80’s as well when someone used Aston Tate’s DB3 to introduce a virus, it is simple find something they all use and hamper its function, a basic strategy that an Italian (Julius Caesar) introduced 2000 years ago, there he hampered the roads and not servers but you get the idea, the classics still work.

When we are given “The Accellion casualties have kept piling up, meanwhile, with many being extorted by the Russian-speaking Clop cybercriminal gang, which threat researchers believe may have bought pilfered data from the hackers. Their threat: Pay up or we leak your sensitive data online, be it proprietary documents from Canadian aircraft maker Bombardier or lawyer-client communications from Jones Day.” It might seem rash but the people relied on others to keep their data safe and whilst we see more and more that they cannot contain the bacon the clients are suffering, this is not a simple station and we get it, but package solutions tend to come with flaws and that has been a truth for 20 years, so why are you all crying now? It is the final part that has more bearing “Members of Congress are already dismayed by the supply-chain hack of the Texas network management software company SolarWinds that allowed suspected Russian state-backed hackers to tiptoe unnoticed — apparently intent solely on intelligence-gathering — for more than half a year through the networks of at least nine government agencies and more than 100 companies and think tanks. Only in December was the SolarWinds hacking campaign discovered by the cybersecurity firm FireEye. France suffered a similar hack, blamed by its cybersecurity agency on Russian military operatives, that also gamed the supply chain. They slipped malware into an update of network management software from a firm called Centreon, letting them quietly root around victim networks from 2017 to 2020.” This is important because of what happened in the last two years, remember how ‘stupid’ American people started to blame Huawei for all the bad whilst offering absolutely no supporting evidence? Huawei does not need to bother to aid whichever government there was, silly software developers are doing that for them, we see an abundance of intrusion problems that include SolarWinds, Accellion and Cisco. A stage where thousands of systems are at risk, but no, the ‘silly’ people kept on blaming Huawei. Even I knew better and as Sony gave me the idea for an intrusion method called ‘Plus One’ (a viable way to drive the Pentagon nuts) with an alternative direction that I call ‘Vee One’, but that one has a few hiccups I reckon. Then I got creative and saw a new parameter in play. One that is based on a little part I read in a Cisco manual, the text “When You Add A Hard Disk To A Virtual Machine(VM), you can create a new virtual disk, add an existing virtual disk, or add a mapped Storage Area Network (SAN) Logical UnitNumber (LUN). In most cases, you can accept the default device node. For a hard-disk, a non default device node is useful to control the boot order or have different Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) controller types. For example, you might want to boot from an LSI Logic controller and use a Bus-logic Controller With bus sharing turned onto share a data disk with another VM.” You see that small text indicates that there is a nice workaround in Cisco CMX and it opens up a lot more than they bargained for, that in conjunction with the share issues thy were already facing gives out a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘Copy me I want to travel’, n’est pas? (for the French victims)

It is a much larger stage, most laws aren’t ready for this, prosecuting the guilty parties is close to impossible and any quick fix they make will only make things harder, the setting was and has for always been the makers of software, time constraints and lack of deep testing makes for a lousy solution and in most cases these players have a pushy marketing department (example: Ubisoft), and yes ‘You be soft!’ because the small tidbit that AP gives us with “Attackers are finding it harder and harder to gain access via traditional methods, as vendors like Microsoft and Apple have hardened the security of the operating systems considerably over the last years” yet it is a small stage and not a correct one. Weaknesses in Azure, issues with advertising in apps and a larger stage of programming, we see it clearest in .NET, but it goes way beyond that, for example “The problem of memory leaks is not uncommon in any technology. Simply put, the framework doesn’t release the memory that it no longer needs. .NET is frequently criticised for memory leaks and memory-related issues. Although .NET has a garbage collector for this sort of problem, engineers still have to invest additional efforts into proper resource management. And the leaks keep on growing as the application scales.” (source: Altexsoft) and it shows the smallest part, if there is a leak in one place, there will be in other places too and the leaks are not the real problem, getting it to semi-crash and taking over its right on a network are a quick way into any system, I saw the example with an accounting program (censored name), I got the program to crash (took about 20 seconds) and I ended up with the administrator rights to the entire mainframe from ANY location running that software. I get it, there will always be a bug in any place and the makers were quick to fix it, but for a few weeks there was an entrance point that took minimum efforts and that setting is only increasing with routers and cloud systems, these companies rely on marketeers that are ready to push for the investors sake and leave the client swimming in a swamp, I have seen it more than once and it will happen again, and this setting has been going on since 1989 and over the next 3-4 years it will grow to 150%, the push to billions and to quickly get to billions will be overwhelming for too many players all whilst the law will not be able to protect the victims, they will merely point at torts law, even though that you are the victim, most contracts are offered as an ‘as is’ solution and for the most software makers can avoid prosecution for the longest time, long enough for the hackers to get away with your data and sell it, what a lovely system you bought. Oh and before I forget, organised crime is way ahead of me, so for some it will already be too late.

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Stage light or lime light?

This morning I had to mull things over. I saw ‘Suspected Russian hackers spied on U.S. Treasury emails – sources’ (at https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-usa-cyber-treasury-exclsuive/suspected-russian-hackers-spied-on-u-s-treasury-emails-sources-idUKKBN28N0PG), I saw the news early this morning, but the stage was not clear. You would think that when you see a title like this, the stage is pretty clear, is it not? But in all this, two sentences were out, or perhaps they were off was more apt in this line of consideration. 

The first sentence that waved like a hammer and sickle flag was “according to people familiar with the matter”, this was not some official brief by the FBI or the DHS, it was some anonymous setting and as that nations current president is mad as a hatter (or in possession of less common sense then the Court Jester entertaining Reniero Zeno) gives rise to worry. Now, let be clear, I am not stating that this isn’t happening. Consider “but three of the people familiar with the investigation said Russia is currently believed to be responsible for the attack. Two of the people said that the breaches are connected to a broad campaign that also involved the recently disclosed hack on FireEye, a major U.S. cybersecurity company with government and commercial contracts”, so now it is not from one source, but one journo has access to ALL THREE? Then there is (the secnd one) “cyber spies are believed to have gotten in by surreptitiously tampering with updates released by IT company SolarWinds”, which also affects the military, and in this, we grb back to the earlier statement “they asked the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the FBI to investigate”, really? Military integrity is in play and you think that none of the Defence intelligence groups, or cyber command is invited? Then we get the end which gives us “The hackers are “highly sophisticated” and have been able to trick the Microsoft platform’s authentication controls, according to a person familiar with the incident, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak to the press”, that and the consideration (not fact) that “Hackers broke into the NTIA’s office software, Microsoft’s Office 365. Staff emails at the agency were monitored by the hackers for months”, consider that and set the light towards a transgression on the Microsoft Azure cloud that makes their cloud useless, or turns it into a public domain Bulletin board, something EVERY industrial wants to hear. You think that this was not out in force and Microsoft was on every channel on the PLANET explaining to the people that there was no cause for alarm? All this and some Christopher Bing has three sources? Anyone else concerned with the quality of news? And the last line giving us ‘because they were not allowed to speak to the press’ did it for me. 

Is this a ploy to avoid the limelight, or make sure that the stage lights are pointing somewhere else? Now, I reckon that the Russian government is forever trying to get its fingers on all kinds of hush hush details, the CIA does pretty much the same thing, yet in this we see “highly-sophisticated, targeted and manual supply chain attack by a nation state”, what evidence is there? This is important, because it could well be organised crime or a super rich singular player who wants the low-down on deals that syphon his or her money more efficiently and that has been done before as well. In this the entire approach is one of chaos, even if the chaos seems organised. The fact that it was allegedly possible to “Staff emails at the agency were monitored by the hackers for months” with the mention of Microsoft 365 and the news was limited to one person at Reuters? That and the fact that it as seemingly ‘months’ is a larger cause for concern, the fact that this was going on for well over a week and not every Christmas light would shine brightly red at 2624 NE University Village St, Seattle, WA 98105, United States is a first, the fact that not every siren is blasting on EVERY Microsoft 365 and Azure data centre is a second. But no, we get “there was a breach at one of its agencies and that they asked the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the FBI to investigate”, yes because dimensionality in alarms and corporate dangers are passed on forever to the FBI in such a blasé way.

So I have several issues on the matter and in all this I can in all honesty not determine whether the light shining is a limelight to give visibility to someone else, or a stage light to make the people look to the left all whilst the people on the right are running off the stage, hoping no one will notice. It can be either or both, but the picture they are painting for us does not make sense and lust like that Italian dude (read: doge), the 45th no less, had his own battles to fight (mostly with Genoa), it was set in one quarter, but had underlying conditions (like Michael VIII Palaiologos) and in this certain nobility members profited greatly, I wonder why that never got properly investigated. And as such I do not oppose the pointing fingers at the Kremlin, but doing so before we see “the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the FBI to investigate” deliver a finished report is a little fast, so fast even McDonalds cannot compete. All whilst cybercrime has a much larger reach to a great deal many more people and still Microsoft remains silent. 

There is a bright light over yonder, yet what it is used for, I cannot tell.

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A cloud-less future

Yup, it happens, it is not intentional and it will happen to us all. This started for me as I was listening to my iPod, I am enjoying a band called The Sweet, a British band I really liked in the 70’s. So listening to their greatest hits was something I had not done for a long time, yet for some reasons somewhere between Ballroom Blitz and Blockbuster cogs started to turn, it was that time of the day again as I was setting my creative cap on, you see, I had the idea for the MD net drive in the early 90’s when I saw one of the first Mini Disc drives. Consider that this small disk had the option to store an entire CD, in a time that a Bernoulli drive with a disc 20 times that size could only story up to 90 MB. I talked to Sony about it, but they waved the idea away, it would never catch on. Little did they realise just how long they ended up to be. Yet these idea’s are giving me the thought of a new generation of devices. 

Consider the iPad, iPod, Mobile phone, they all have items that you use all over, they all have a setting that is almost transparent, perhaps even trans parent. Now consider that we might rely on the cloud in some cases, but that cloud will soon become less and less reliable. Even now, the last week I have had all kinds of congestion issues with YouTube, friends in the UK have had other data related items, nothing major, there was no loss, but there was also no clear connection, things went bump into the night (and next morning).

Now consider how small an NVME SSD drive is now, a 1 TB drive fit into my hand, so what happens when we look at the KingstonSSD drive that is a mere 42 mm large? They will get smaller, but for now it is small enough, and 240GB is small enough to be an ejectable drive tht can go from device to device. Your music inserted in whatever device you need it to be. Yes, the cloud does this too, but how long until the cloud costs more than you bargained for? What happens when the congestion increases, net neutrality is off the beaten track through Service Level Agreements that you either sign up for (for a fee) or lose? 

Now is the time to have alternatives, if only to avoid the lack of 5G in France and Germany or perhaps the fact that 5G in the US is only 13% of the speed of 5G in Saudi Arabia, you think it will not hit you at some point? You’re dreaming, the question is will it affect you, for the most there is little doubt, it will not hinder you, but there is every chance that it will aggravate you, when the 3rd or 4th song stagnates, freezes or just stops, your mood is gone. This is what happened to you with CD’s and it will hit you again. Yet the setting is not so bad, we can void it all at the beginning of the station. What if these factors would never hit you? 

There is no doubt that there will be an option to have a NVME port. Perhaps a MNVME (Mobile NVME) port, even now we see the Orico GV100 512GB NVMe Portable External SSD, which is the size of a USB stick, it is 3.78 inch long, but almost 1/3 is for the key holder, so that thing can already be smaller, and it is $179, in consideration a 2TB drive for the PS4 is $97, so there is room to manoeuvre and when these drives become popular, prices go down. 

Yet the foundation is that we need all kinds of devices, that all link to one drive, a drive we have on us. Soon it will have crypto parts, biometrics data and we keep it on us, a validation for all kinds of matters. We have no option but to move in this direction, several factors will push us, some good, some required and some because it is just a form of laziness. Consider that the drive has the 2 Netflix movies you downloaded last night, so you can enjoy whatever you binge on the train to work? It is destined to happen, and some of the companies are most likely already looking into this, I predict ted in 2012 (after seeing a stack of patents by Samsung and Apple) that the stage of mobile devices was changing. The hardwire became more transparent and nondescript (fitting multiple directions), it was the software that was pushing a direction, yet in all this the data (your music, your movies, your games) remains open to direction and I reckon that the setting of mobile name will deal with that direction, some will be generic, some will be branded. It is the generic part that has the highest stage of usage, because people do not believe in one direction, they embrace the freedom of choice, there are plenty who all really on Apple, but Apple will take care of that part, it is portable and mobile data that will set in the third wave. Why?

Because the people think that others will take care of it, just like they did when Google created search (and they latched on for a free ride) and now they are all crying like little bitches: “boo hoo hoo, Google is so nasty”, to them I tell, go cry me a river, you get ahead of the curve or you stop being part of the process and when the data part is very soon coming up for debate, it is those who allow for larger portability that will get the podium, not some Azure service agent, giving you some version of “Get Started With Free Credit To Try Any Combination Of Azure Services. Build Your Next Idea”, yes but it is still set to the Azure Frame (Apple and Amazon having their standards), it is those who allow for a larger frame of open choice, they will win, because data requires open stages (a copy me, I want to travel) idea, whilst others have one system, one cloud and when you get conflicts these salespeople stop talking when you get to the part that is not inherently theirs, it makes them no money. 

It is there where we see a the stage where a billion people will want to move and as some business types will sell their children for a slice of that cake, what do you think your value will be when you are the one holding that cake? And all that I even before governments get clued in on what data they are missing out of. 

There will always be need of a cloud, there are however more and more moments when the cloud is overrated and more of a hindrance, that is where mobile data will become a key player in the hardware that people will buy. It will be a consumers market where the buyer decide where they want to go, not the seller telling the buyer where they need to go, that is the frame in 3-5 years.

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Institutionalised Positioning

Yes, we can take IP in several directions. For me it started yesterday at 17:15 when I got home with my new iPad, after 6 months, minus one week, my iPad finally arrived. So happy happy joy joy. Yet the story is not that simple. I was able to get mot of the apps from my iPad 1st generation onto my iPad Air 4th generation, in a few cases I bought the program again (the $5 will not kill me I assume). And for the most, these programs held up for a long time, so I am happy. 

Yet there the issue started. You see, there was a problem with one program, the program no longer existed. It was a data vault, this data vault kept projects in directories, and they were all hidden. When I needed it I could open one of the folders and I was ready for the presentation. This was the first hurdle. There were all kinds of programs, I must have liked at a few dozen of them, all with cloud backup, all with options to hide all these secret pictures, WTF do I care? I needed a specific application and the 2-3 dozen are all copies of one another, all copies of an idea they all had at the same time. With the exception of two, a massive waste (in my specific case). I got one of them working first with two projects, that was the one I got. Some will think that I am all about the fuss, all about paranoia. So consider January 2020, Forbes gives us ‘Microsoft Security Shocker As 250 Million Customer Records Exposed Online’, with the two additional quotes “Paul Bischoff, a privacy advocate and editor at Comparitech, has revealed how an investigation by the Comparitech security research team uncovered no less than five servers containing the same set of 250 million records”, as well as “the researchers say that many contained plain text data including customer email addresses, IP addresses, geographical locations, descriptions of the customer service and support claims and cases, Microsoft support agent emails, case numbers and resolutions”, as this point, do you think that I am trueing any cloud with my IP? Do you think that I will give any reliability to any firm handing control of their cloud to the NSA? The IP wi worth a pretty penny and there is no way in hell that I trust anyone with that. Especially when you consider “A new report from the National Security Agency (NSA) titled “Mitigating Cloud Vulnerabilities” identifies what the agency considers the top cloud security issue plaguing organisations: misconfigured privacy settings” (source: unconfirmed), so according to the source, not only is it a cloud solution, but the makers cannot properly administer this, so the NSA is needed? I have question marks, but more so in the direction of Microsoft who had been shoving this solution down our throats like it was the second coming. It reminds me, there was a comedian who had this story: “I apparently had a rare disease, but my older brother knew the cure, just eat a handful of sand, thank god for older brothers”, I think you can relate this to both Azure and Microsoft, can you? So as my trust is close to zero Kelvin, I have my IP in a secure location, and I have an encrypted version that I can access via Webmail and then into the Vault. It takes a few steps, but the chance it gets hacked is less than 2%, this in light of Business Insider giving us “Seventy percent of companies using cloud computing vendors get hacked or leak data, Sophos found”, so I am rather picky on how and where my data goes. The fact that almost NONE of the data vaults took that precaution, r allows for it is the larger stage that needs addressing. Apple gave me 4 confrontations in that regard, and let’s be clear, this is not the fault of Apple. Their app store has limits and abilities and as such we are confronted with the larger evil, and evil Apple did not create, the developers are optionally also unaware of the stage that they are on, but the stage we do see is that things need to change, a new IP, one that has the foundations of a 30 year old program called DBMS/Copy, with the foundations of something that resembles ODBC. A setting where WE decide what the source is, where the source is and how we get it to the point of destination, if the cloud can no longer be trusted, we need that solution fast and we need it to be clearly controlled and set in a station where the user is allowed to make the decisions. Now, let be clear, this is not for all, this is not a solution we all need to consider, but enough need to consider it, for one, all those with bankable IP. 

So when we are in a stage where we have 25-50 passwords, and the setting is now that we can’t rely on these passwords because the rainbow tables of today are more and more efficient, in some cases we added simplicity to the working of these tables, as such, in a stage where we enter 5G, where dat travels 10-25 times faster, a rainbow table becomes a lot more dangerous to a much larger group of people and when you see the alleged Microsoft Blunders, we have a lot more to fear. And let be clear, Microsoft might be the clearest example, I for one am unwilling to believe that they are the only one, especially when you see the Sophos numbers. 

In all this, the institutionalised positioning is that there is no issue, there are no glitches and there is no lack of safety. I will let you decide whether I am right, or whether I am wrong, type is enough out there to form your own opinion, yet when you do and you get it wrong, do not come crying. Consider that IP can only be sold once (if it is done right), do you really want to take a chance on something that could be your life’s work and sets you up for retirement? I will let you decide, because that is your right.

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Multiple rulers

We have a ruler at times. A ruler so we can see whether the size measures up to the setting we held ourselves to, and a size to what we hold others. We are all like that, and sometimes we use more than one, it is almost like we set a standard metrical and then another one to get the inch setting. There is one stage we avoid; not on purpose, but the stage we set because we did not think of it. That is the stage that I found myself in this weekend. Anyone who has a Playstation 4 (or better) has either been playing the Last of us part 2, or has been contemplating playing it. There might be the smallest group that did not (and that is fair) but that group is really really small. It started in 2013, a (small) player named naughty dog, famous for Crash Bandicoot and a few other titles, had an idea and made that game, that game was titled The last of us, we might not have realised it at the time but gaming history was written that very moment. They made the game that heralded the end of the Playstation 3 on a high. The game was graphically, musically and technically at the very top of gaming, do not take my word for it, the game got over 200 game of the year awards, which is a record by itself, so when it was remastered for the Playstation 4, I did not hesitate to get it, now there is the second part and what I have seen so far is blowing my mind (again). It als gave me the idea to come up with the two ruler rule. So far the only three passing that standard are Naughty Dog, CD Project Red and Bethesda. This does not mean that others are not good, some are great. Yet to fit this measurement you need to be better than the best. I believe that those makers could have turned their game into a movie and it would be as groundbreaking and as appreciated as the game. As I see it CD Project Red did that by getting the Netflix the Witcher made. OK, they cheated by getting Superman to play the lead, but still they got it done and it is every bit as amazing as the game was. Excellence is transcendental (or so I believe) and I feel certain that the Last of US (both 1 and 2) would make amazing movies/mini series. I played part 2 to some extent and then I remembered (I thought back to the first one) and I decided to play it again. Even now, 7 years later, the first game is as overwhelming as any new game is, yes, the second one surpasseds the first one by a fair bit, but both of them leave most others in their wake, the games are that good. This is not bad for the others, there will always be rocksteady, there will always be rockstar and they will endear the gamers in their own way, there is no doubt about it, yet when we see the bullet point memo people at EA and Ubisoft, they are done for. The few franchises they hide behind will not help them, even now, their games at 70%-80% reduced rate are a debatable buy and that is not a good place to be in. When a two billion company like Ubisoft gets passed over by what some regards as small studios, we need to realise that gaming has been on the fringe of technology since the 80’s. Some people decided to give the thought that gaming too is iteration (like every year an Assassins Creed game), some exploited other means, some good and some bad, and before some think that Ubisoft is all bad, they did bring us Assassins Creed 2 (and brotherhood), Far Cry 3, AC Origins, Watchdog 2, The Division and a few others, when we look past the iteration, we see that they make good games, if only they were properly tested and vetted before release, it is the largest flaw that Ubisoft brings us today. And it is getting noticed more and more as we take notice of games like The Witcher and The Last of Us. Wecan add games like Elite Dangerous and Subnautica and the remastered edition of System Shock (hopefully 2020), we see that the original ideas are still there and they are wiping the floor with the iterative wannabe’s. You see the stage is changing and gamers are not completely aware.

We see the created hypes and we see how Microsoft is hiding behind the marketing cry ‘the most powerful system in the world’, yet they got defeated by the weakest system of them all (Nintendo Switch) and as Microsoft hides behind the hype screen we are all missing the larger point. As 4K gaming hits the front yard of many gamers this holiday season, they tend to forget that the games will be twice the size and so will the patches. In this situation consider that in places like Greece and Turkey a Ubisoft patch will take up to a day (estimated), a day per game downloading a patch. The UK, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Italy and a few others have better connections, yet in these places in Rural areas their internet is not great, so the long term view of the approach that they are currently holding is that they will not be in a great place. Yes, France, Spain and Scandinavia the connection is well above decent, yet is that the same in rural areas? In France it is not and I just set the pulse point on millions of gamers who will be in an extremely agitated state soon enough, yet not if Ubisoft continues as it currently is. And we need to review that too. A game might seem amazing, yet in the 4K life, patches will be increasingly larger and larger. So what do you think will happen when a patch is not 38 GB, but 70 GB? How long until gamers lose their shit over this, because the second time it happens might already be enough for the gamer to demand a refund, and with some places having the 7 day purchase option in place, that cooldown will be enough to end the lifespan of places like Ubisoft, Electronic Arts and Activision. Yes, I get it, others will be in a similar place, but consider keeping a list of all your games and all the patches that come through, who will win the patch race agitation list? 

Yes, we get it Bethesda will also be in a bad place, yet RPG games like Skyrim are too great and will always have patches coming their way, yet overall when I look back at the games like Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3, Fallout 4 the amount of patches have not been overwhelming. As I see it one breakpoint patch has had more to download then the sum of nearly all Bethesda games, that is the station we see, yet we forget that the station we face is nothing more than a small way station, the stations we are about to hit are proper terminals with larger needs. We need to measure what was and what will be to a much larger extent and use two rulers, the size of the game and the size of the patches, whilst we tally the number of patches. Breakpoint was regarded by gamers as the most disappointing game of 2019, 38GB of patches later and it is still up for debate, as I see it, they no longer have any freedom of movement, gaming will change but not in their direction, the games will need to be better and their infrastructure is not ready, the patch notes give a clear indication of that. So yes, we will see a console war, but we will see a lot more than that. Santa Monica Studios, Naughty Dog and a few others are ready and they make Playstation games. The people at Microsoft are not ready for the issues that sme games bring and their Azure cloud is useless at this stage, it is about innovative gaming, the iterative clowns have no place being here. We are about to see a console war and Microsoft could soon end up in 4th position, so when we consider the big three, who else will surpass them? Their marketing hype of the most powerful console for sale, and they forgot that they still needed good games to stay in that place, with less than half a dozen exclusive games, the pickings are slim for Microsoft, to see that you needed an additional ruler, a different stage of measuring. Just like the measurement of power, there are two ways of measuring it, all whilst the elements for both formulas were readily available, too many players were looking at one formula and forgot about the other one, and that is what the limelight will show at the end of the year and when that limelight shows bright, we will see that some players are done for, one ruler would not have shown it, they all focussed on the revenue and they forgot that revenue is hindered by the resistance that patches bring, these players forgot or basically ignored the danger of large patches and now that they are 26 weeks away from a new standard these players will panic, they will panic more and more and let marketing do the fight of the public arena all whilst it will merely stop activities for a few days and some patches required months. Now, we accept that both Sony and Microsoft have that house of Pox looming, but as I see it, Sony has more alternatives and in this fight, the one with alternatives is the most likely to win. In all this there is strength to any marketing endeavour, but its flaws are there too and once your board of directors start to earnestly believe the stories they tell, they have already painted themselves into a corner. 

 

 

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The time is now

Yesterday, an article in the BBC made me aware of a few items. Now, I was aware to a larger degree of most items, yet I kept it in the second drawer of the third desk of my brain, it was something I took for accepted and then shrug it off, so what changed? Nothing actually changed, but the article seems good enough to take a few items on view.

The article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51115315) gives us “Google has announced a timeline for implementing new privacy standards that will limit third-party use of a digital tool known as cookies“, now this is nothing new, it was always going to happen, yet we also see: “analysts say the move gives Google more control over the digital ad market where it is already a major player.  To make advertising more personal web browsers collect small bits of information that allow them to create a profile of the users likes and online habits“, the question becomes, is that actually true? And when we see “This presents a core problem from a competition perspective. It is yet another example of Google diminishing ad rivals’ access to data for the stated purpose of protecting users’ privacy“, a quote from Dina Srinivasan, a lawyer focused on competition issues is not really that truthful, is it? Apple made a similar move in 2017 and when we go back in time, we see Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Opera. Most will have forgotten Netscape who became defunct in 2003, and basically stopped making a blip 2 years before that. We seemingly forgot about the exploitative market that Microsoft had in those days with Internet Explorer and all the crap it added to our HTML files (as did Word when we saved as an HTML file), in those days data in files was still an issue because there was a limit to what we could safe when we were not rich. Chrome was the first to keep our files clean, or at least lacking a lot of rubbish. Netscape was however on a different route, an employee of Netscape Communications, which was developing an e-commerce application for MCI. MCI did not want its servers to have to retain partial transaction states which was a killer for storage, as such they asked the people at Netscape to find a way to store partial options and methods of transactions where it mattered the most, at the side of the buyer, Cookies provided a solution to the problem of reliably implementing a virtual shopping cart, Google found a new way of using that idea and used cookies in the far reaching solution it currently has, they innovated, others merely took on board someone else’s solution and not they are all crying foul. Perhaps when these people had taken the time to innovate, they would have the choice, and the option of two years seems decent, so when I read “advertisers had hoped to have more time before it was implemented” is as I personally see a larger BS issue on timeframes and exploitation, if advertisers are in the now, they would be all about advanced implementation, yet they like their bonus and they seemingly do not like to spend money on investments to counter the timeline (an assumption from my side). 

Google’s director of Chrome engineering, Justin Schuh gives us “Users are demanding greater privacy – including transparency, choice and control over how their data is used – and it’s clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet these increasing demands“, which seems slightly too political to my liking, but there we have it. Business Day gives us “But GDPR also made life harder for a cohort of second-tier adtech players trying to compete with the likes of Google and Facebook. The regulation’s provision to prevent data being shared wantonly with third parties seemed to give the tech giants an opportunity to tighten their control over user data” where we see that this was one of the foundations that led to the end of SizMek, some state that it was DSP Rocket Fuel that ended the heartbeat of SizMek, yet everyone ignores a simple truth, ‘an overcrowded ad tech market with independent vendors with an inability to face serious cost pressures to their pricing structures‘, they all arrogantly believed that THEIR solution was the real one and they all basically read cookies like the ones Google had distributed. You can all claim to have the magic potion that Asterix drinks, but when the truth comes out that he drinks Darjeeling tea from India, the playing field gets overcrowded and when the customer figures out what they get priced for the end is pretty much around the corner of the next door you face.

So as we are told “third-party ad sellers will need to go through Google to get information about internet users. But critics say that is an advantage that makes the market less fair and safe“, in my view my question becomes: ‘Which critics, names please!‘, the problem is that third party ad sellers have no rights, none at all, the rights should be with the owner of the computer, Google (Apple also) are setting (not by their own accord) that stage, Microsoft is using their Azure Cloud to counter the Cookie option on PC and Microsoft Console, but the hard sight is already there, the people who are unable, unwilling and cannot afford to set the stage still want their freebee and they are now starting to complain as they are made aware that their time has ended, even though this was the direction we saw in US politics and EU politics well over three years ago. The EU had their General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and everyone shrugged their shoulders stating that it would not happen that fast, yet that was three years ago and now the time has been set back to merely two years to go and the ad sellers are feeling the pinch of the cost they will actually face. Moreover, they are seeing the red lights of career ends. The Verge gave us “an industry that’s used to collecting and sharing data with little to no restriction, that means rewriting the rules of how ads are targeted online“, they gave us that on May 25th 2018, so 1.5 years ago, why is this now a problem? The people wanted this, ad soon it will be here, Google has not been sitting still updating their systems accordingly, and as such we see that the flaccid and non-concerned rest is now looking at a deadline a mere two years away. When we look to the larger field we see Criteo, LiveRamp, Trade Desk, Rubicon, and Telaria, all losing value as ad-tech providers, yet the opposite could also be true when they offer to the customer a value, a value where most ad-tech companies never bothered going. Yet the power of any ad-tech was never the cookie, that was for the most merely the revenue. They had 5 years to consider the power of ad-tech and they didn’t. The power of this is basically engagement. Facebook showed this year after year and now it is out on the larger field, those who engage will survive, the rest will end up on a dog eat dog football field and a few will survive but only as long as they push to the next hurdle and make it, if not they will end up on the obituary page (just like Netscape, however Netscape ended there for other reasons). 

I wonder if that is why Google is so adamant about its stadia? It would get a massive tier of small time developers creating engagement content to be released on mobiles. That i me merely speculating. 

Still the words of Dina Srinivasan are not entirely without merit, she gives the Facebook issue (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/yale-law-grads-hipster-antitrust-argument-against-facebook-findsmainstream-support-11575987274), and she makes a good case, yet the history of certain players need to be taken into account. Even as she was her own misgivings about the evolution of the digital advertising market, history had been clear, some of them basically did not bother, they wanted it handed to them for free and in the beginning they got away with it. And she made a point with “How could a company with Facebook Inc.’s checkered privacy record have obtained so much of its users’ personal data?“, yet equally we need to weigh this with the words of U.S. Attorney General William Barr. He gives us “he is “open to that argument” that consumer harm can exist through the use of personal data, even if a service is free. “I am inclined to think there is no free lunch. Something that is free is actually getting paid for one way or the other”“, which is what I have been saying on my blog for around 4 years, so happy to see people wake up in January 2020. So when I see “Ms. Srinivasan would prefer that Facebook be forced to change certain business practices, including how it tracks users when they are off the company’s platforms“, I wonder when they give account to the small truth that Facebook is a free service for a reason and they are no longer alone in this, you are going after the large players when they are in the largest danger by losing slices of that revenue pie to contenders elsewhere in the world (EU and China). 

Whatever you want to do is fine, but realise that it will put a large group of people in the streets without a job, I am not against them losing their job, but that revenue and that data will also flow in other directions and that is the one part that all players (with political support) are trying to counter as much as possible. I wonder if they will succeed. The weird part is that if this group had been properly taxed 3 out of the 5 major issues would also fall away and in that view a workable solution could be pivoted to.

 

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