Tag Archives: Business Insider

One thousand solutions

Yes, it has been 5 years in the making, or was that six? But the day is here, today is my 1000th article. So in light of some of the slamming that I have done against Microsoft (which they deserved and it was highly entertaining for me as well), it is also just to give recognition where it is due.

To see that in its proper light, we need to take a jump towards Sony, the very first PlayStation and a game called Gran Turismo. The first having the highest rating was one that stood out. You see, Kazunori Yamauchi gave us with Gran Turismo something that we had not seen before. Oh, we had seen racing games going all the way back to the CBM-64 with pole position. Yet Gran Turismo was something new, something unheard of and the screenshot that you see here might seem laughable to you now, but this was 4 console generations before now and then this was amazing. It was new it was fresh and it gave the players something that they had not had before and we all loved it!

These elements are important when we realise the article on Forza Horizons 4 for Xbox One (X) when we read “There’s almost been a sense of rediscovering what Britain is. I don’t think we’ll ever make a game quite like this again“, they were the words of Ralph Fulton. I personally believe he got it right, but he was not correct. I believe that this game added heart to Britain, which is a lot more then you bargained for. If there was one game that gives light to the consideration to buying a model X console then this game is it. The images are not merely about the cars, the views of wherever you drive, whenever and in what weather just jumps at you; it surpasses almost everything you will have played in racing games, and in this, even me, who is not a racing fan at all, I got blown away. They did not merely add some tracks to race, they gave us the UK to race in, and everyone, not merely those in the UK seems to be loving it.

I have written this before, so why repeat it?

Well, in my view Microsoft did something that Ubisoft should have done. You see, if you plan to make a game that is designed not to be a failure, you’ll never create a true winner. To do this, you need to jump out of the box and optionally burn it. This is seen on a much wider scale. We get part of this with ‘Instagram co-founders resign to explore ‘creativity again’‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/sep/25/instagram-co-founders-resign-to-explore-creativity-again). Here we see that “Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, have announced their resignation from the company, which is owned by Facebook Inc, saying that they are leaving to “explore our curiosity and creativity again”“. We can speculate on whether this is the full truth, or whether there is the setting that Mark Zuckerberg has made some colossal errors and these errors are not done yet, they are still to some degree escalating and as the wild wild west of the internet is now in a stage where governments are starting to ‘cooperate’ on setting rules and regulations in place. We see the Independent giving us last year: ‘Government outlines plans to ‘regulate the internet’ and get rid of problem content‘, which is hilarious for all the usual reasons.

So, as we see how government is introducing rephrased ways to set censorship, instigate discrimination and avoid issues of accountability, we are left to our own devices and there are more and more devices arriving, all remaining in some set league to avoid setting the stage where data is the most eagerly desired currency, because some people are not willing to go there just now. the one element avoided is that whilst we see in paces everywhere that porn is a problem, we see that it is so widely available that the internet is not the problem and that identification is at the heart of the matter, because America is not the solution, America has for the longest time been part of the problem. It has been for quite a while. It wants to police the internet, it wants to have freedom and set boundaries, but only as long as it does not hinder American business and that was the problem all along. Even as the numbers are not up to date, when you consider that “When faster internet led to a boom in video pornography in the mid-2000s, worldwide industry revenue skyrocketed to an estimated $40-$50 billion” is set on taxable dollars, do you think that America wants to do anything that is realistically achievable? I remember the short discussion that was going on somewhere around 1993-1996. I forgot the actual date, but there was a discussion that was started by the adult entertainment industry. They were the adults staging the setting that by having an .XXX domain (or something similar), there would be a place for adults and children could more easily be kept away. It did not go far and it was not successful as some religiously pushed people wanted all the porn from the internet. So tell me, after 20 years, how did that go? American bias, ego and greed stopped a whole range of solutions getting through and some could have made a decent impact. All stopped by ego and greed. It gets to be worse, because as the US is now trying to arm wrestle IP powers away from the people and making it government goods. To see this, we need to take a look at the IP Watchdog (at http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2018/03/01/u-s-patent-system-americas-decline-competitiveness/id=94249/), and we get treated to: “To find out who is responsible for the demise of American competitiveness you only reflect a mirror against U.S. innovation policy“. We see additional parts with: “China has established courts that specialize in intellectual property litigation so litigants have an experienced, fast and cost-effective forum to resolve patent disputes. These specialist courts take about 10 months to resolve patent infringement lawsuits with litigation costs running at approximately $200,000. In contrast, patent litigation in the U.S. often takes five or more years to resolve with litigation costs running in the many millions of dollars. A fairly ordinary dispute when litigated in the U.S. can easily surge past $3,000,000 when you factor in the inevitable post grant challenges (each of which will run $500,000 to defend, sometimes more) and the federal court litigation after that“, Yet another source (the Diplomat) gives us: “The United States government believes that IP protection is critical to both the physical and economic security of the country. IP protection ensures that American businesses, which produce a disproportionate percentage of their value in IP, will remain competitive on the international market. The U.S. government also believes that advanced technology is critical to U.S. military superiority, and that protecting this technology (through IP law and other means) will keep the United States ahead”, the setting of security and the stage of innovation have been opposing one another almost forever, so how does that help innovation? And when we consider ‘IP protection is critical to both the physical and economic security of the country’, how long until some level of ‘national security’ stops the IP from remaining with the actual owner that filed the IP?

It gets to be shown as worse off, when we consider both: “patents challenged in federal district court as claiming unpatentable subject matter were invalidated 67% of the time. The vast majority of these invalidated U.S. patents would have been deemed valid under current Chinese patent law, and some of these invalidated patents do actually remain valid and enforceable in China, Europe and elsewhere throughout the world“, as well as the economic setting which we got last March with “a whopping $215 billion in sales for medications could be lost from patent expirations between 2015-2020 and $31 billion are at risk in 2018 alone“. How do you think the US economy will get hit when certain nations start their generic solutions, lowering medication costs by optionally thousands or dollars per patient for both hospitals and patients?

As the patent holders are now also realising that there are added benefits to be part of the Chinese IP system and due to a lack of enforcement, the US market is no longer of decent value, we see that they are confronted with global benefits against much larger local setbacks and limitations.

How does one relate to the other?

There is a correlation between video games and patents (yes there really is). The correlation is seen in creativity and out of the box thinking. The conservative path of: ‘make sure it is not a failure‘ stops innovation. You see, we have been treated to so many resources that some people cannot fathom how some solutions were designed on a 2 MB RAM, 1 MB VRAM system, with a disc that had a maximum of 650MB (the original PlayStation). The makers avoided all kinds of traps and found new innovative solutions to make the game work. Gran Turismo is one of those jewels that show what a system when properly used to the max could achieve. As we went to iterative solution thinking, we lost the ability to become truly innovative and that is where we see that innovative patents no longer are, merely in the presentation are they optionally regarded as innovative, and that is where we see the next wave of technology.

Even as we are still confronted with the allegations against Huawei, we got shown 6 months ago: “Huawei filed 2,398 patent applications with the European Patent Office in 2017 out of a total of 166,000 for the year“, basically 1.44% of ALL files European patents were from that one company. And when it comes to innovation, we were treated to: “In our first [5G] smartphone we’re going to introduce a foldable screen“, and if you think towards the old flip phones think again, you merely have to consider the concept image to see that actual innovation in not merely a jump from iPhone 6, to iPhone 7. When we start seeing Huawei optional speculated settings, we see an actual jump and we can agree that to some extent 2398 patents do make for an interesting push towards the future.

This all takes another leap forward when we consider that if we want to be players, the iterative model no longer works. We need to be first and we need to be better than everyone else and iterative thinking is what merely gets them second place. It is not merely brand marketing, it is becoming a new level of marketing all together. We merely have to see the settings and changes we see towards Neom in Saudi Arabia to see the potential there. It is Ericsson that has already set the stage where the UAE has the potential to gain business benefits of $3.3B over the next 7 years, that is an additional $500 million, nothing to sneer at and when we consider the opportunities we see when we add the stages and places that Salini Impregilo is already working on, we see the growth of a long term stage with dozens of golden parachutes for those who have the financial backers to get it up and running. Take information to a new level, not merely showing up on a display, but for you to tune in with your phone or tablet and select what you want to see, with the optional setting of “Line 3, also known as the Orange line, is 41.5km long with an 11km underground section. It will have 22 stations“, two 5G stations on the line and repeaters at every station will suddenly give you thousands of users, getting informed by you, giving them choice of what they want to be informed about and with the smart dumb devices I mentioned a month ago, you get the setting of any train with up to 250 people getting informed. It is not merely marketing at this stage; it becomes entertainment facilitation with personalised advertisements. Creating branding and loyalty at the same time, because it is the first trip, that moment when you are going to work, or going home when consistency tends to be a need for so many travelers, that is where the next stage is and that is in Riyadh, expose that to the Neom stage where the city is 32 times the size of New York, it is no longer merely on how fast people get from one place to the other, it is the setting that people will want and need information at this moment, the one giving what they need is the one with the information required. It is no longer mass media; it becomes what I would call ‘Legion media‘, a facilitated one to one media solution for all. Not one stream all watch, but hundreds of media streams interacting seamlessly on the needs of the user giving them one seamless stream of information. A fluidic setting of interactions as configured/disseminated for the viewer, all personalised and automated; a situation that requires 5G to work and a solution that remains fluidic for the changing need of the user. We know the reality of Neom being years away (apart from the act that building will take quite a while), it will be now that we see the need to prototype and pilot those new projects to get the flaws out and stage the setting for large deployment, for the mere reason that new solutions are nice to have, but when your new idea fails on day one, that entire city will switch to the next solution on day two and never consider you again, because that too is the stage of 5G. It will be more and more about getting it right the first time. I wonder how many developers have realised this and most of them will trivialise that of course, and it makes sense that they do. Yet when the backers learn that the 5G community will be a lot more critical than ever before, will they still continue backing, or will they hide behind alternative wealth bringing solutions?

You see the apps that will be the most valued and priced ones are not the ones that look cool. In 5G it will more and more about enhanced pragmatism and managing of your personal infrastructure. Did you not figure that out? When we see the options that Saudi Arabia brings, we need to also see the limitations that it has. So the right ability to manage that through domotics and smart solutions will be close to everything, pre heating, pre cooling, adjusting, shopping and groceries, all done on the fly when you have time.

Even when we see the opposition (always important) giving us: “King Abdullah Financial District north of Riyadh, meant to rival Dubai as an economic hub, is still incomplete after more than a decade. As of last April, nary a financial institution had agreed to occupy any of the district’s 73 buildings“. I think that this is important too. Is it merely the language? You see, when we see: ‘Financial District‘, we think Wall Street and consider that area. Yet when we see: “Designed by architecture firm Henning Larsen, the 17.2 million-square-foot master plan calls for over 60 residential, office, and retail towers, several schools and parking garages, a medical clinic, civic buildings, and three hotels“, we see a lot more than merely a financial district, we see an almost self-contained city. You see when we see the larger scale I see an optional obstacle, not a negative one, but one none the less. To give comparison, I need to take you back to an original game. It was called ‘Sim City’ and it was a game, but gave the player an insight into designing his city of the future. Zoning was important at this point, so it required gradual growth. By going too large in one area, you would be broke and could not gain momentum in other ways. Even as it looks amazingly beautiful, how will you get people there fast? How can you vacate 2 million people (most likely from Riyadh and other larger cities) and set them in the new stage? There are two ways. You either create a need in the new place, or you create opportunity in that place. The first requires essential growth; the second requires a staging investment drive.

In the first example, we need ‘a pressing need’, when there is an infrastructure or a structural need, you create jobs and people will move there for the new job, which is fine, but requires vast amounts of money and large players getting there. The second one is great, but is initially also costly. For the second example I will use a solution that was in South Australia some time ago. To get people there, they gave away land. They still need to build the house, but in this setting he people had 50% additional money, or lessened costs, yet to break even the government stated that the land was given, but represented value X, and when they sold the house, they would have to pay the invoice for the land first. Now consider this in the setting of the King Abdullah Financial District. And there we set the stage of ‘selling’ houses/apartments at a mere 10% of the price, yet cannot be sold until the 100% price is satisfied first. So you now have a setting where the next 10,000 apartments only seem really cheap, yet in that setting you also create need, because these 10,000 households will need infrastructure like food, water, clothing, transportation, entertainment, schooling and so on; with that we see the investors come. build their shops and grow their business, as a result housing value rises fast and creates not merely a need, but also creates additional growth, so as these houses exchange hands and new occupation, the government gets the outstanding 90% back and a thriving place. It is not a short term, or a fast solution, but it is one that brings growth, and creating larger infrastructure solutions, because at that point with the additional 10,000 people or more we see the growing need in every direction. As these elements grow other needs can grow too, when there are 10,000 potential candidates in the financial industry and a clear path of growth exists, only then would there be interest into growing the stock exchange in a new place. Yet in that setting we need to realise that for many industries the capital remains alluring. So when we are confronted with “potential tenants and investors are less optimistic than the district’s planners about its future success“, as well as “The potential is amazing. The inside is impressive,’ one Dubai-based expat, who toured the site and preferred to remain anonymous, told Reuters. But he added, ‘It will not be finished. Decision-making is very slow (on the project, and) people don’t have cash“, we see the clarity of what I described. The ‘not having cash’ can be alleviated in one way, creating additional needs. It is the ‘decision making’ part that now requires to be decided on (yes I see the trap here) and there too is a solution. If we consider the statement that Business Insider mentioned: “Some of the kingdom’s strict social codes, including one requiring women to wear dark robes, will be relaxed“, we see the option of creating an opportunity for the foreign players in Qatar to become a larger mesmerising target for ‘poaching’. When we consider the Bloomberg message earlier in May this year giving us: ‘Qatar to Allow 100% Foreign Ownership of Firms in All Sectors‘, we see the setting that there is interest, especially in the financial sector to grow options on a global scale and there too Saudi Arabia would be able to set the stage for the future. More important, once these investors see the benefit in one place, there will be an added stage towards growth towards Neom for them too. This could have additional benefits as a much larger stage between Saudi Arabia and places like Egypt could become a much more interesting choice for the future. that part is not merely seen in one way, it becomes an entirely different stage when we consider yesterday’s news with ‘Award-winning Dubbo solar home uses Tesla Powerwall 2 battery‘, you might think that this is a ‘So What?‘ stage, but it is more than you think. That part is seen with: “A building company in Dubbo says the Tesla Powerwall 2 battery in its new display home means the Dubbo solar home could potentially go off-grid. Award-winning Greenmark Homes installed a Tesla Powerwall 2 battery to boost the display home’s energy efficiency“, it becomes even more impressive when you consider the added: “Tesla big battery wins awards, prevents blackouts“, you see, even as Saudi Arabia has plenty of sunshine, at some point the sun goes down and that is where the usage changes and whilst we know that air-conditioning takes the bulk of the energy, we see that the overall need could be filled in more efficient ways and that too needs time to evolve and refine. It is taking solutions out of the box where we see the beginning of true innovation and there are plenty of places that can benefit, but we need to open the door to creativity to make it thrive and set the next stage of innovation. We can make fun of some situations as we are offered (a very old joke): ‘a new powder for hydration, to make it, merely adds water‘. It is the innovative person that uses the solution and creates a powder to capture the moist in the air and end up with water. That same application is seen when we see applications on energy and hydro needs and creates another solution, the one we forgot about. That is the nice part about these stages and on why we need to keep our focus on Neom, you see it is not about the size of the city, it will be about how certain situations get solved and how innovative those solutions are. That is where we will be able to test our creativity and optionally become an actual innovative player ourselves, driving solutions and new technologies forward, not iterative over time, but by leaps, which is how you end up with one thousand new solutions not a thousand versions of one solution.

 

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2.5 Million seconds

That is the frame we are talking about. In 2.5 million seconds we will see what the people are missing out on. The News Minute gives us that we are about to witness a new phone. Were treated to “world’s first 5G-ready 7nm mobile chipset Kirin 980“, from there it is easy to become a 5G phone. This is seen with “Huawei Announces Mate 20 Phone with Upgraded Chipset“, the phone that is 5G ready, which is launching in London on October 16. This is merely the chicken feed stuff, the small fry in all this. So even as Australia became the collar of the US and banned Huawei from delivering 5G equipment, we are also treated to the setting that “Huawei P20 Pro and P20 were the world’s first devices to receive a triple-digit score by DxOMark — the industry standard for camera and lens image quality measurements and ratings“, which is nice, but as a phone not essential. Yes, it sounds like I am trivialising a little, but that is because the big part here is not the camera option, the big part is that since its release the P20 family has sold 10 million units globally and that is a n important distinction, that is the part that matters. People have embraced the Huawei as an excellent phone. For the larger part (is my personal understanding) that the undeniable fact is that the Huawei is in most cases 27% cheaper than the similar phones out there (Samsung & Apple), whilst not giving that much extra to begin with. Apart from the Huawei camera heralded as the very best (with a decent margin), it is also important to note that the Samsung has a battery delivering up to 13% less then Huawei. The Apple has even less, yet IOS is not the same as Android and comparing the two does not give what I regard to be a valid comparison, so I am not including that. Huawei seems to comprehend its customers and delivers a solution that works for them, which is shown in the speed that these 10 million units were sold. I expect that an even larger sale will be imminent by December in all this, as it might be a year to get a new phone and Huawei has their options nicely set in a row. In all this, Huawei is actually its own worst enemy. You see, for all those (like me) who needs a decent camera, good battery life and decent storage, the Huawei Nova 3i 128GB Handset fits that bill too, yet that model is new and 50% cheaper than the P20 family Oreo based and all. So for me personally, I can forego a P20 and merely use the 3i. After the P7 (which I still use, I see a massive leap forward and even as it is not the greatest Kirin processor for games, all my games will now see a 30%+ increase, so that settles it for me.

In an age where you have to turn over nearly every dollar, especially as we can expect to either freeze next winter, or stop wasting money on mobile phones at twice the price, we see that Huawei has an option for everyone. One for the mediocre users (like me) and a phone for the latest gadget lover, all addressed within a decent budget. So, even as we are confronted with faulty iPhones (which apple will replace at no cost), whilst we see that the Budget iPhone is delayed. Yet that is not merely the issue. When we are confronted with: “Owing to some instability of the production schedule, the lower priced iPhone will see the light of the day by October. On the other hand, the alleged iPhone X successor and the iPhone X Plus model should be launched by the end of September. One of these two devices and the budget variant are highly likely to offer even dual-SIM variants in a few selected countries” and we see ‘the budget variant are highly likely to offer‘, we need to step back. In this day and age, in the setting where Apple seemingly had leaked information in the past, and we have next to nothing on those models. We get phrases like ‘Apple is also rumoured to have been trying to reduce the cost of components by bargaining with its supply chain partners and Samsung as well‘, as well as ‘What we expect from the Apple line-up‘. It seems that this is a marketing ploy of ‘Let’s keep them waiting a little longer’, so in all this, whilst Huawei has been the more solid offering (as has Samsung to some degree), what on earth does Apple think it’s doing?

It is the Deccan Chronicle that gives us: ‘New budget iPhone X leak validate Apple’s serious problems‘. Yet here we need to accept that there are unknown issues, and even as we see references to Forbes, we much also recognise the use of ‘predicts‘, which implies they know nothing at all (or nothing confirmed). Here we see the one part that is a problem (a speculated one), and it is seen with ‘a low capacity battery certainly raises a few concerns‘. Yes that would be the case, if it was confirmed, but it is not. In addition we see: “the handset will feature just 3GB of RAM and a maximum of 256GB storage which is less than compared to the iPhone XS and XS Plus that are believed to have 4GB RAM and a maximum of 512GB of on-board storage“. That made me laugh, because I still have great traction with my Huawei P7 sporting 2GB Ram and 16GB storage, so this would be a step forward and a large one at that. Yes, we agree that it is way behind what Huawei offers, but in reality, the truth is that anyone requiring more than 64GB truly has a massive need for their phone and at that time, if it is so important, you basically have to shell out to the larger Apple’s and not go for any budget one. I am one who can deal with the Budget range option, so in my Case the Huawei Nova 3i 128GB Handset gets me what I need at close to 45% less, so that is actually a real budget phone, All the iPhone 8 and X models start well over a thousand dollars, so at least180% more than the Huawei offers. In light of that, what constitutes a budget phone?

This in comparison to the Samsung Note9, which in all honesty is the very latest in mobile technology, but at 300% of the price of the other phone, where do you have the cash lying about? In comparison, that new Samsung constitutes the Huawei Nova 3i 128GB, A PlayStation 4 Pro and a Nintendo Switch together. You tell me what has your preference. Now, for those eager with true technology needs, it might not be about the price. It might be what the Samsung offers with the Exynos 9810, versus the Kirin processor and that is fair enough. Some are very willing to pay for that difference. I am a more meagre user in mobile technology and I would go for the PS4pro and Switch offer if given the choice. Perhaps an idea that Huawei could float. Buy the Huawei P20 for $1400 and get a free PS4pro (first 5000 customers only). That might just sell like hotcakes, and I like it when those techno providers think outside of the product wrapping box.

The technical part that does matter is the part that Richard Yu, CEO of the Huawei Consumer Business Group gave us. With: “the Kirin 980 chip, Mali-G76 offers 46 per cent greater graphics processing power at 178 per cent improved power efficiency over the previous generation” he implies (to my limited thinking) that the processor, to limit heat and damage in that way, by making it less power consuming and there, that same battery will go heaps further, implying that a 4000 MaH battery will go close to 20% longer then before making it even more interesting to consider.

in addition the mention of “the Huawei Locator powered by Internet of Things (IoT) technology that can help people easily locate their belongings, be it their luggage or pets” implies that the phone will also have RFID tracking options, which is actually a 5G trademark. I know I am highly speculating here, but that would be an interesting first, to give the users first 5G options that can easily run on 4G, whilst demanding that the opponents to equal or better what is out there and the innovative advantage that Huawei currently has, implies that their gain will only increase and not by any small margin. The option for mothers to tag their adventurous toddler will greatly fuel the need of that function. Only yesterday was I a witness to a wandering 3 year old, when arrived at the concierge, only to see two highly panicked Asian mothers running around trying to find where the devil the little one had gone off to. Yes, the adventurous toddler was going from shop to shop trying to find mommy and adjusting course at every stand where blinking lights and noises were heard. Good luck with that one and the RFID option would be a gift from the heavenly clouds for every mom having to cope with a easily speedy distracted toddler..

They also launched the Huawei also launched at IFA 2018 AI Cube, its home speaker with 4G router and built-in Alexa that can perform several tasks such turning on the TV or playing music. Now, this is not a mobile part, but it is actually a mobile pressure release; the option not to rely on a hotspot and just get one of these puppies, as well as a second sim to not put additional pressure on your mobile. What is interesting that even as we see the frame of these speakers and the versatile options here, I am making the reference as Huawei, like Google and Apple all dropped the ball in the same way. You have all that space and you did not consider it to be a mobile charger on the side? It seems to me a first that the speaker would be awesome, especially when you rely on Spotify for music, so in that regard, making it a charger as well would have been my first thought and that is the final part in all this. When you realise that the USB-C is the weakest part in all this, giving it additional options by having some cradle charger that does not rely on that port would be a first thought for us and even as I accept that this would not have been an option for the $599 model, the bulk of all other phones are close to double that price, even the Google Pixel 3 (XL) was not on that page, so when it comes to innovation we still have plenty of places to visit, even before 5G opens the door and states that the bar is open. The charge bar that is!

Is there more?

Well yes, but that is slightly anti-Apple (unintentional). It was brought in the Business Insider by Antonio Villas-Boas and Clancy Morgan. Their article gives us “the other weird thing is, the USB cable doesn’t plug into the new MacBook Pros. I have an iPhone and out of the box, I cannot plug it into the new MacBook Pros. To me, this is absolutely nuts. It’s mind-boggling“. The issue I see here is that Apple always had the mindset that it always connected. That was a selling point and a good one. People relied on that. Here we see that Apple threw that part in the wind. Perhaps they thought that those with money will by anything, not realising that some do not buy a MacBook Pro by choice, it is by need and through the boss, so the phone does not connect, which is a larger issue over time and that does matter. Even as we complain on the USB-C, mine has worked for 3 years 24:7. It might be faltering now at times, but it does imply that I had plugged it into a cable almost 1500 times, so at some point one thing has got to give and the USB-C port is the most likely of candidates.

Whatever happens, in 2.5 Million seconds (or 28 days for those who failed calculus), we will see the actual official goods on the new P20 siblings and just in time for Christmas (and Saint Nicholas) too, which is awesome. no matter how that fares, I will have the Huawei Nova 3i 128GB to fall back on, which is also a huge step forward to me, so not matter which Huawei model comes to our mind to buy, we get to win in a life that is expensive nowadays, especially in the cold winters and that is always a good thing for everyone involved.

 

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She was not ready

As subtlety goes, I am happy to throw it out of the window this morning (a lack of coffee does this to me). You see, when we get the situation that the guy states that it did not matter whether she was ready or not, mainly because it only costs him $50, regardless what comes (or is that who). You might wonder where this is going, this is not going there, we are talking about banking. It does not matter who you screw and how you screw people over, when ‘she’ is not ready (or willing), it potentially constitutes a crime and you can throw ‘potentially’, as I personally see it straight out of the window. So why are we not getting angry? Why are we confronted with ‘TSB plunges to £107.4m loss as bill for IT chaos reaches £176m‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jul/27/tsb-plunges-to-107m-loss-as-bill-for-it-chaos-reaches-176m). When we see: “bank has resolved only a third of 135,403 complaints“, why is there not a front page leading with the CPS investigating issues at the TSB? When we are confronted with “The payouts that followed a botched IT transfer from its former parent Lloyds to the new owner, Sabadell, a Spanish bank, in April pushed TSB into a first-half loss of £107.4m, compared with a profit of £108.3m in the same period last year“, we see a dangerous setting and there is no investigation? When we see the Financial Times on June 22nd 2018 (at https://www.ft.com/content/32749936-7561-11e8-aa31-31da4279a601), giving us the “customer of Bank of Scotland last month asked to withdraw £5,000 at her local branch in Leven, north of Edinburgh, the cashier thought the amount was unusual and asked her to speak to the branch manager. The pensioner explained that she needed the cash to pay workmen who had asked if she would like some half-price work on her driveway. Spotting a potential scam, the branch manager called the police, invoking a scheme that came into effect last year dubbed the “banking protocol”. Officers responded immediately and arrested six men at the customers’ house“, so in that case we go all out on 6 men, but we now see a setting where ‘135,403 complaints‘ are a potential issue involving many millions, and we are not looking deeper and setting the limelight on a level of negligence close to unique in banking. So what gives?

This does not come lightly, you see, when you take a scalpel to the quote: “The bank admitted that while it’s mobile app, online and telephone banking services are “much improved”, problems remain. The chief executive, Paul Pester, who defied calls to resign over the handling of the meltdown, said: “We’re making progress in resolving the service problems customers experienced following our IT migration and we will continue to work tirelessly until we have put things right.”“, we get the following:

  • The bank admitted that with its mobile app, problems remain.
  • The bank admitted that with its online banking services, problems remain.
  • The bank admitted that with its telephone banking services, problems remain.
  • The chief executive, Paul Pester has been called to resign over the handling of the meltdown.
  • We have been currently unable to resolve the service problems customers experienced.

Reread the previous quote and you can see that it is all there.

This setting does not merely impact some parts of the IT setting; it involves failure on the levels of

  1. Documenting the changes required.
  2. Verifying the document is accurate and confirmed form the UK and Spanish side
  3. Presenting the required steps to the board members letting it be scrutinised
  4. Analysing the migration test run and testing it for the setting of trial version against the live databases
  5. Doing a small segment live run to test for optional missed failures
  6. The QA report on the path to see if any issues were missed.

These are merely 6 steps in the most shallow of tests required to see if the changes would hold, yet in all this, with the setting of ‘135,403 complaints‘, there is a clear indication that more than just a few issues were missed.

It gets to be a larger issue with “Savings balances fell by nearly £1bn, while 26,000 account holders switched to other banks. Breaking down the £176m bill, TSB has so far paid £115.8m in direct customer redress, £30.7m to fix “operating defects” and £29.9m in lost income after it waived fees and charges to customers“, when I am confronted with ‘£30.7m to fix “operating defects”‘, we are confronted with a much larger issue than the 6 points show, It implies that the preparation and QA was close to completely missed. Even as we also see the implied £0.02 from TSB Marketing towards the Guardian, the truth of the presented “TSB said it remains one of the most financially secure banks in the UK and despite the highly publicised problems it had attracted 20,000 new customers“, you see, an actual secure bank does not lose £1,000 million, and neither does it stage the setting where 26,000 account holders do the ‘Nintendo Switch’ towards another bank. In addition, there is no verification for the quality of the implied ‘20,000 new customers‘, yet the loss of optional 26,000 loyal account holders might prove to be a much larger loss down the track. That is not given and the Guardian is not giving us those goods here (because we can accept that this loss is for now unknown).

The setting intensifies with “TSB was heavily criticised for its initially slow response to the crisis but has since hired 1,800 people and redeployed 700 staff internally to help stabilise its services“, so not only are people redeployed, 1,800 staff members need to be trained (I have done that for years, so I can already see the additional dangers not shown yet), there will be a learning curve, in addition the added stresses might make the chance of introducing new flaws and errors larger.

Even as TSB is for all settings decently adapt in shifting blame, with “On 22 April 2018 TSB moved from an IT system rented from Lloyds Banking Group to a new IT system provided by Sabis. As TSB outlined to the Treasury select committee in June, from internal investigations it appears that the design of the platform itself is robust but that the deployment on to the technical infrastructure led to many of the problems. TSB and Sabis therefore shifted the focus of the internal investigation towards the testing regime in Sabis and its providers“, the mere fact that a shift like that requires a shadow run of no less than 1 quarter, even if that means hiring 60 people trailing 6,000-10,000 accounts, that would have revealed a lot of the issues. So the evidence we see with ‘the deployment on to the technical infrastructure led to many of the problems‘, the 6 points mentioned earlier, the test runs and the shadow phase would have shown this. Now we have a, what I would personally regard as a setting of corporate negligence. You see, TSB cannot shift the blame, they are part of this and the proper testing was required on both sides. I would never want a CTO who had not been in the depth of the transfer from beginning to end, and if TSB had no proper CTO, continuing should not have been an option.

It gets even worse, when we see the Independent (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/tsb-bank-losses-it-fiasco-cost-paul-pester-a8466856.html), who gives us “some reported being able to see other people’s financial details“, it’s a phishing hackers dream to get that far in any bank, for the bank to directly allow the viewing of this is just beyond normal comprehension. So as even the Independent is slightly soft on Paul Pester, they end with “The chief executive will not receive a £2m bonus he was due to collect for successful completion of the integration between TSB and its parent company Sabadell“, which would have been the straw that breaks the camel’s back. You see, the issue is larger than you think, when you consider the additional flaws that were revealed in publications going all the way back to February 2018. The Business Insider gave us the TSB goods on Crypto currency. So consider the IT failure and the setting of: “We don’t block payments for customers wishing to purchase crypto currencies when they use a TSB credit card or debit card, however we continue to monitor the use of crypto currencies and we will review our position on an ongoing basis“, which would have required additional testing on any system moving for one to the other, so additional tests were either not done, or not properly reported on. Now also consider the IBM report mention from June 2018. Here we see (at http://www.cityam.com/287976/ibm-report-suggests-tsb-testing-not-rigorous-enough-before), when we see: “Consultants from IBM told the embattled bank’s board that it had not seen evidence of the kind of testing it would expect of the risky migration process. The meltdown started on 22 April, when TSB had planned to complete a migration of its systems to a new system, away from a platform run by former owner Lloyds Banking Group“, as well as “IBM has not seen evidence of the application of a rigorous set of go-live criteria to prove production readiness,” according to the report, which was created as an update to the TSB board on 29 April, four days after IBM was hired and almost a week after the first signs of problems at the bank. IBM would expect “world class design rigour, test discipline, comprehensive operational proving” for a task of similar complexity and scale, the report said. However, the bank’s testing before the launch may have not given enough evidence to proceed, the report suggested. Previous examples have taken place over a longer time frame, with multiple trials, and did not attempt to migrate the entire customer base simultaneously“.

Now consider that the IBM report was given on April 29th, yet the making of the report suggests that part of this visibility was there as early as March. When you consider these events, how come that the SFO and the CPS is not all over this? It will not matter whether there is a case in the end, their absence is a setting that shows that there is a much larger issue at the banks and TSB might not be alone, but merely the most visible and stupid player.

So even as the TSB hides behind the spokesperson giving us: “The IBM document contained a preliminary work plan with very early hypotheses based on observations to date, that were produced after only three days of engagement with TSB. The content is therefore now very much out of date, really? My 6-point list took a mere 5 minutes, I am certain that IBM has a lot more than I have, and for the ‘out of date‘ part? 26,000 customers leaving and 135,403 complaints, shows that the issues is a lot larger than a trivialised IBM report.

So when I see: “nor were they a validated view of what went wrong or of the actions that have subsequently been taken. Without this context, this document could be misinterpreted to the detriment of TSB’s customers“, I would like to tell this spokesperson (who seems to not be named anywhere) that ‘actions that have subsequently been taken‘, are actions when it was already too late, they should have been prevented! In addition, with well over one hundred and thirty five thousand complaints, the detriment of TSB customers have been achieved by internal actions alone, the IBM report might merely show how stupid these yet to be presented documented actions have been.

There is one additional part in this, and even as we see it as a sign for some crucifixions on banking levels, yet the given Financial Times in May that gives us ‘TSB turned down help from Lloyds during IT failure‘, with the additional “Lloyds had made an open-ended offer to use its own expertise to help TSB, but TSB declined. TSB has since recruited a team from technology group IBM to help it identify and fix the problems“, we see a path that TSB could validly have taken, yet to not include the one provider with years of experience on the TSB account and system usage seems not too great a decision. In addition, we see this (at https://www.ft.com/content/7159ae84-5798-11e8-b8b2-d6ceb45fa9d0), yet what we equally need to consider is that with “TSB’s new system was unable to cope with the volume of customers when it went live“, we see another failure, something that comes with the preparation before things transfers, the entire data load and bandwidth requirement that the new systems require to have, In my personal view it needs to be the current load +50%, not merely because customers tend to get nervous when ‘a new system‘ comes into play, the fact that there are moments when peaks come play (like Christmas shopping), systems tend to get tested to the max, not in April when no one has anything special in mind. In addition, it seems that TSB is relying again and again on ‘Our teams have continued to work around the clock‘, so how long until those teams get a burnout? The same excuse is reused for months now, so either they have been paying triple rates to staff members, or TSB ends up not even being close to a legal setting where they can walk away from anything. That view is seen in the Guardian the April edition, where we saw “Sabadell was warned in 2015 that its ambitious plan was high risk and that it was likely to cost far more than the £450m Lloyds was contributing to the effort. “It is not overly generous as a budget for that scale of migration,” John Harvie, a director of the global consultancy firm Protiviti, told the Financial Times in July 2015. But the Proteo system was designed in 2000 specifically to handle mergers such as that of TSB into the Spanish group, and Sabadell pressed ahead” that part alone should have been the setting where the board of TSB would have required to be up in arms every step of the way. So who were the board members, and which of them have actual IT, Technology and data quality experience? Is that not the weirdest question to ask when we are confronted with crash issues that should have been clearly identified in the preparation and identification phase of a project like this?

So whilst you are lulled to sleep with: ‘we will continue to work tirelessly until we have put things right‘, continue to think what else a bank could lose, or publicly propagate that impacts your life. In the end, the damage is not over and when we see the imbalance not be resolved, IBM might actually end up advising that for now, the return move towards Lloyd’s will be the only remaining sane act in play. How much more is that going to cost both TSB and Sabadell?

A setting that took a mere 5 minutes to see and I haven’t even had my first cup of coffee yet.

In the end, how ready was the bank? It seems not very ready, not ready at all.

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In my house I decide

Do you have that situation where you are and you want a new sofa, so you decide to buy a new sofa? So far, so good. You go to the shop and you buy the sofa you want. Now this is the setting where the flavour changes. So now you are there and you almost have it, yet you need it in Cobalt blue and it has to be 35 cm wider. So you tell the furniture maker that you expect that model to be there as per next week.

This is where we are when we see ‘Trump Pressures Saudi Arabia to Increase Oil Production‘. With the quote “President Trump tweeted on Saturday that he had once again leaned on Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, to increase production by as much as 2 million barrels a day” the NY Times implies at (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/30/us/trump-oil-saudi-arabia.html) that the US is in charge of Saudi productions. So in light of the setting that Bloomberg gives through “President Donald Trump said he persuaded Saudi Arabia to effectively boost oil production to its maximum capacity to cool down prices“. In that directive, I think that we all deserve equality and that fair prices need to be set. So in that setting, it is my view to demand from the president that he call Bill Gates and demand that the pressure on the life of gamers need to be equalised and through that, he must demand that Microsoft on line stores prices should not be more than 20% of the physical copy of a Microsoft product, or a Microsoft Live, or a Microsoft game console product.

You get it Donald? It’s their house, their product, their choice. Your predecessors fucked up ‘your’ house by not properly taking care, now that the consequences are here, you have to pay, that is the deal in real life. 1300 children are killed each year through guns because the previous holders of the oval office refused to take proper care (an ATF reflection).

The people are in a state when we see that California has the 50th lowest quality of life for all states in the US, a consequence of not being able to set the proper stage against exploitation, yet that is not possible as we see through CNN (at https://edition.cnn.com/2018/01/13/opinions/sams-club-walmart-corporate-greed-tasini-opinion/index.html). We merely have to see: “as if by doling out money, Walmart should earn a medal. But, let’s look closely at the reality. If you worked 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year at $11 per hour, with not a shred of time off, you would earn $22,880. The federal poverty rate for a family of four is $24,600 — and the formula for the official poverty rate understates the difficulty of surviving at that income level“, now consider getting by anywhere in California on $22K, that whilst the bills pile up and when we consider the dozens of Sam’s club stores closing in California, the people will need to see where they can ends meet soon thereafter. It means more mileage and that is where cheap oil is essential, without cheap oil the American cogs stop. So as the US has already pissed off the larger player (Iran), it is desperate to get Saudi to give 2 million barrels a day more so that the price can be kept low. Yet, why should they? Were we given fair dealings in the 90’s? When oil makers could make a killing in upsizing price on petrol, were we protected? No, we were not, yet now, all have to give in for the needs of America. So what’s in it for Saudi Arabia, two F-35 squadrons on the house perhaps? So now we get to US News (at https://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2018-06-30/trump-claims-saudi-arabia-will-boost-oil-production), where we see: “”During the call, the two leaders stressed the need to make efforts to maintain the stability of oil markets and the growth of the global economy,” the statement said. It added that there also was an understanding that oil-producing countries would need “to compensate for any potential shortage of supplies.” It did not elaborate. In a statement issued Saturday night, the White House did not specify that Saudi Arabia would increase production but that “King Salman affirmed that the Kingdom maintains a two million barrel per day spare capacity, which it will prudently use if and when necessary to ensure market balance and stability, and in coordination with its producer partners, to respond to any eventuality.”“, yet in that how must we see ‘necessary to ensure market balance and stability‘, and in line towards the needs of others? How is that seen? You see the US is not the only place with an issue, even as the signals are clearest in the US, seeing southern Europe in a state where ends can barely be met, the need is actually seen in different ways. That is partially set when we go to Oilprice dot com. There we see Gail Tverberg give us: “Newspapers in the United States seem to emphasize the positive aspects of the drop in prices. I have written Ten Reasons Why High Oil Prices are a Problem. If our only problem was high oil prices, then low oil prices would seem to be a solution. Unfortunately, the problem we are encountering now is extremely low prices. If prices continue at this low level, or go even lower, we are in deep trouble with respect to future oil extraction“. When we look back we see that the oil prices have been above what it is now from 2004 onwards, with a small dip in 2009. So the issue of prices should not have been an issue, because all prices go up, even if the production prices go down (like downloading online games), the full price (sometimes even more is demanded, also when the shoe is on the other foot, does the US have any right to complain? In this Europe is in a similar track. This is clearest seen in the Independent (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/uk-petrol-pump-prices-latest-rise-crude-oil-diesel-cost-aa-a8382801.html), where we are treated to: “UK petrol prices near four-year high despite crude oil costs falling. Latest figures from AA show pump prices have not followed the slight decline in crude costs over recent weeks“, in addition we were given “Less than a month ago, the petrol retailers were falling over themselves to warn of pump prices at record levels. Now that the price of oil has fallen away and fuel costs have followed, in true form, they have kept quiet and carried on charging cash-strapped motorists the maximum for their fuel“, that was last month, and now there are indication that such a move might not be far behind in the US and for them the only remaining option is to artificially push prices down.

So who is in charge in the house of Saud? One would assume the King, yet the way the US is presenting the news, he is not and that is a really bad move to make. If there is a chance that barrels get back to $100 each, the setting from California becomes a nightmare, with summer and no air conditioning, the people are faced with air conditioning in their cars, so that they, oh no! They cannot afford the gas, because when a full working week still leaves you $2,000 below the poverty threshold, we will see that life in California will not be one for the better, but one for the lesser. So when we get back to the quality of life with Texas in 46th, Nevada 43rd, Alabama 35th, and Georgia 32nd, those living there and smothering to death because of the fuel prices might consider North Dakota in 1st, just be aware that they also get fuel prices, they get them in winter. Yet the list (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/us-news-best-states-quality-of-life-ranked-2018-2), in the end, the quality of life i not merely the heating and electricity, the fact that I push it does not make it correct, it is merely a factor in that larger setting of a nation where equilibrium has faltered for too much and the unbalance is not merely there, it is also all over Europe. The entire ‘everyone on the equal size‘ was never going to work, but those worse off were willing to sign on for the EU fairy tale. Now that the dream ended and the owners of resources have a clear option to push forward their own agenda’s, the other players start being cranky because they continued the unrealistic dream.

It does not stop there, in their house (the USA) the issues are now equally exploding as Axios reported that “21,000 companies in the United States have filed for tariff exclusions claiming Trump’s trade war has caused layoffs and makes them at risk of folding completely“, yes that was always a danger and it is now hitting the US full on, so whilst there was the given notice of benefit, the drawback is growing almost exponentially. That whilst CBC (the Canadian edition) reported “On Friday, the federal government unveiled an updated list of U.S. products that are about to be slapped with tariffs while promising to spend up to $2 billion to protect jobs in the steel and aluminium sectors on this side of the border in the wake of a burgeoning trade war with the U.S.“, so not only is the US down $2 billion (and a lot more than that), the inflicted damage of businesses folding (as Axios stated it), is the double whammy of the worst kind on the US economy. So not only are they facing ‘retaliatory’ issues from Mexico, China and Canada. The setting is now that in addition to the backlash on one side, the other side is buckling too. This is given to us by Jeremy Grantham (co-founder and chief investment strategist of Grantham, Mayo, & van Otterloo, a Boston-based asset management firm) gave us “Once you start thinking in certainties, you have real trouble. When the facts move against me, I moved down from 50 per cent probable to 35, which is my official forecast. If we keep on fighting trade wars with Canada and the EU, and so on, it will go to 30, and then eventually 25 and fade away“, so these are merely probabilities of making even or better. So how many will invest their fortune when the chance of merely breaking even is on a half way chance or worse? It seems to me that the option of short selling US commodities never looked better. Don’t take his word for it, I surely wouldn’t do that. What can a 79 year old Brit tell you? The fact that he is on the list of the 50 most influential voices in the market would not count, would it?

We can agree that the house of Trump is in all kinds of settings and dangers, but it is his house (to merely coin a phase). In that same place the house of Saud is the sandbox of King Salman of Saudi Arabia (with oil and all). The mention that: ‘he had once again leaned on Saudi Arabia‘, is not only a wrong setting, it is a disrespectful one and the NY Times should have known better. You see, the NY Times implied a quote, yet the actual quote was: “Just spoke to King Salman of Saudi Arabia and explained to him that, because of the turmoil & disfunction in Iran and Venezuela, I am asking that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels, to make up the difference…Prices to high! He has agreed!“, which is a very different setting. Now, we will never accuse President Trump that he has any correlation to a diplomatic mind, but the given issues ‘turmoil & disfunction in Iran‘ , as well as ‘am asking that Saudi Arabia increase oil production, maybe up to 2,000,000 barrels‘, the message is not the same and there the NY Times failed the readers in a disastrous way.

There we see that a dialogue is optionally created where lowering oil prices might get the US through the next summer and winter. In these two houses (US & Saudi Arabia), we see changes, we see technological progress in Saudi Arabia, yet in the US that is happening less and less because the house of US is as Americans say ‘not a house of us‘, it is the house of Wall Street and we are merely allowed to rent it for now. It is a dangerous setting and the changes that the Tariff war will push, as well as the exploitative nature of corporate America. You merely have to look at the track that it took for minimum wages to go up by $1 an hour and when you consider that the minimum wage was $7.50 in 2007, So when you consider the consumer price index and that it was 209.876 in 2007, and that it is now 261.696 implies a 24% shift, the income gives rise a 46% increase, one would state that this is good. Yet the one does not refer to the other and that is where the people are really hurt by people hiding behind consumer indexes. You see, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure that examines the weighted average of prices of a basket of consumer goods and services, such as transportation, food and medical care. It is calculated by taking price changes for each item in the predetermined basket of goods and averaging them. And that is where the issues start. Not merely the ‘average’, the fact of where they are offered and where the people are. Transportation has taken a much larger shift as has the price of medication, so the entire setting is out of balance. So when we see: “The cost of living in California is higher than the national average. State of California salaries average $62,964.00, indicating a pay rate that is higher than the U.S. average annual salary by $9,343.00. The consumer price index (CPI) of 270 in California is 10.20% higher than the U.S. city average CPI of 245. The sales tax is 7.25%“, all shifts that line up and now look back at the Wal-Mart person having to get by on $22K. Now, California is the most visible one, but by no feat the only one, or the largest one and similar issues are growing in Europe. That is the shift that matters. We need to make sure our houses are in order and we have rights to decide on how our house is set in order, the ones elected to be in charge decide, not the media or the players setting a stage of profiteering. The gap of rich and poor does not merely exist, the gap between the two is growing faster and faster on a daily basis. Did anyone ever signed up for that?

I have no issuer that the well-educated and the visionaries make more, because that is the game, yet the issues are growing where those who have neither are rigging the game in their favour and against everyone else. The mere indication that governments let them is also a larger issue and even as we see that it is the largest in Wall Street, that same issue is seen all over the world, even in Australia where parliament is all up in arms on issues that are not gifted with any evidence on stopping Huawei, whilst we see a larger push from places like CBRE and the Noble Investment Group on housing that no one seems to be able to afford. The leaflets look to good to be true, but when we see, it is all in Chinese, is that not peculiar in Sydney? Whilst we see in the Sydney Morning Herald (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/investors-snap-up-90m-in-city-fringe-offices-20180610-p4zknj.html), ‘Investors snap up $90m in City fringe offices‘ with the quote “Investors have snapped up more than $95 million in sales of city fringe office assets to get a foothold in the booming sector“, with in addition “CBRE and JLL recently co-sold the 7 City View Road property in Pennant Hills, Sydney to EG Funds Management for $32 million. It is leased to the National Broadband Network, which is moving to Dexus Property’s 100 Mount Street when its completed, and Government Property NSW“, that whilst social housing is at an all-time low. Is it not interesting how governments give millions away with a marketing ploy down the road that it feeds the coffers? Yet when you give away 90 million, how much do you snap up? That in contrast from Android Headlines, who gives us: “In a prepared statement, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull asserted the laws passed on Thursday aren’t meant to target any particular country but previously went on record to express concerns about China’s geopolitical ambitions in the region, having previously admitted the new legislation is bound to raise tensions between Canberra and Beijing. Previous reports suggested Australian lawmakers resolved to enact harsher punishments for foreign political interference attempts after the local intelligence community provided them with evidence suggesting China attempted to influence a broad range of its institutions, going to the very top of the administration“. So when we see ‘harsher punishments for foreign political interference‘ did the PM consider that they already opened the door to make housing unaffordable? So when you can no longer afford to live anywhere, does it matter what happens afterwards? It seems to me that the PM is playing a game of the parliamentary calling the landlord dubious, whilst giving a wide open field to those changing the settings towards Australian quality of life. It seems almost childish to look at the Huawei Mobile because it was not made in America.

So when we look at ‘In my house I decide’ was that merely the building, or does that include the commodities and the Feng Shui setting of what brand of mobile is allowed and who delivers the crude that pumps the ovens for the creation of electricity to recharge our mobiles?

How deep did the security services look into the fact of those (read: Chinese investors) who are the upcoming landlords of Sydney

 

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The non-knowing speak loudest

There is an old saying that goes back to the original circus, the days of Sir Alec Guiness, John Le Carre and the circus (MI6). Those who do not know speak and those who do will not. There is however a valid issue with that mindset. When it is merely intelligence and what some regard as spyshit, we tend to not care. It is their world and they tend to live by other rules even as they have the same lack of common cyber sense as some US generals, it is their choice to make. Yet when we see labour people like Michael Danby need to present evidence in regards to “an opposition Labor party MP, called on the Liberal-National coalition to block Huawei and fellow Chinese telecoms company ZTE from supplying equipment for the 5G network. “Both Huawei and ZTE must report to the Communist party cell at the top of their organisations,” he told parliament. “Let me issue a clarion call to this parliament: Australia’s 5G network must not be sold to these telcos.”” I am actually in the mindset that his seat should be put up for auction if he does not disclose a proper setting and give evidence as to the reasoning of all this. It becomes more pressing when we see “Mr Lord, a former rear admiral in the Royal Australian Navy, told Australia’s state broadcaster on Monday that these claims were “wrong”, adding that Huawei was not owned by any committee of government and posed no risk to Australia’s security“. It is not just because Mr Lord is a former rear admiral, more that the average naval midshipman tends to be more reliable than any politician. We get this from the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/1a2d19ba-67b1-11e8-8cf3-0c230fa67aec). In addition, when we get politicians start the scare tactics of ‘critical infrastructure pose a risk to national security’, there is a clear need for both Duncan Lewis and Paul Symon AO to get hauled in a chair in Canberra and ask them to openly answer the questions regarding any evidence that Huawei is a security threat. To blatantly accept the US on their ‘china fears’ is all well and good for Telstra, yet the setting is not a given and the fact that Telstra is nowhere near the technological levels of Huawei is not something that we blame them from, but they basically lost the 5G war before it started through their own actions and inactions.

Now if there is an actual national security concern, we should be open about that and when that happens, and evidence is presented, at that point we can all relax and state to Huawei that we feel sorry for the inconvenience caused, but such concerns are just too big to ignore. I think we have had quite enough of these presentations that reek of Colin Powell and his silver suitcase with evidence that no one ever saw in 2001. We cannot go in that direction ever again. We will not be the play toy of greedy telecom companies and their internal needs for stupidity and inactions; we can no longer afford such a nepotism environment.

That same issue can be said regarding Nationals MP George Christensen. Apart from him trying to undo a business deal of a 99 year lease, no matter how silly that deal was, Australia cannot be perceived as a nation that cannot be trusted at the business table. My second issue is why a maroon (Queenslander) is involving himself with NT politics. In that regard, why do we not see the responses form Vicki O’Halloran is she has any, is she not the appointed administrator? In this, the game is not over. The Australian Financial Review gives us: “Huawei faces the likelihood that Cabinet’s national security committee will veto it supplying equipment for the 5G network, based on the recommendations of security agencies, over concerns about the potential for cyber espionage at the behest of China’s leaders“. In this the question becomes, is there an actual security concern, or is it that the national concern is the devaluation of Telstra? In additional support we need to see the Sydney Morning Herald two weeks ago when they gave us (at https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/how-a-huawei-5g-ban-is-about-more-than-espionage-20180614-p4zlhf.html): “The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reported in March that there were serious concerns within the Turnbull government about Huawei’s potential role in 5G – a new wireless standard that could be up to 10 times as powerful as existing mobile services, and used to power internet connections for a range of consumer devices beyond phones“, as well as “the decision will have an impact on Australia’s $40 billion a year telecoms market – potentially hurting Telstra’s rivals“. the first part is something I wrote about for well over a year, the second one is important as we see ‘potentially hurting Telstra’s rivals‘, from my personal point of view it reads like the one lobotomised idiot in telecom country gets to decide through arm-twisting on how we need to remain backwards as they set the standard that they could not deliver for the longest of times (a little sarcasm regarding Telstra’s 2011 3.7G), I wrote about that recently.

ABC gave us yesterday: “it continues to be the target of criticism over its connections to the Chinese Government, including allegations it is involved in state-sponsored espionage“, yet the people have never been shown actual evidence, so where is that at? There might have been doubts to some degree for a while, but the Powell stunt is too clear in our minds and the USA does not have the credibility (or credit rating for that matter) it once had. The fact that the opposing former rear admiral of the Australian navy trumps two half bit politicians seeking the limelight any day of the week and some stay silent, the reason for that is only speculation, but we might not need to seek far and a few words ion Google Search might help find that answer (like ‘Telstra’ and ‘8000’). When we see some giving us: ‘Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX:TLS) is betting it all on 5G‘ and we see the Telstra strategy briefing (at https://www.telstra.com.au/content/dam/tcom/about-us/investors/pdf-e/2018-Strategy-Update.pdf), we see on page 6, Leading with 5G, that would never be an option with Huawei in play as they are ahead by a lot, so the presentation given a week ago, whilst we realise that the presentation was prepared way before that is giving the setting that Huawei is no longer considered to be competition, that is what we now face! What some might call a backward organisation proclaiming to be leading whilst 8000 men will be missing through inaction. That page is even more fun when you consider the quote ‘new technologies like IoT‘, which is funny when you consider that the Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices. It is not a technology; it is a network that enables technology. In addition, when you start nit-picking in that 34 page event, we see all the bells and whistles we need to see, yet when you consider consumers and small business (the millions of people that Telstra charges) starts at page 9 and gives us 5 slides. We see ‘cutting edge 5G capability’ (by whose standards?), we see location devices (with the image of a dog), Access to rewards an tickets, a fully-digital relationship with Telstra (an implied no more personal interaction after the sales, merely a chatbot) and value added services, yet the value of a service like customer service and customer care are absent in that part of the equation, so how does this push the people forward, because I doubt that it actually will achieve anything in the long run and one flaw will anger the actual consumers without limits.

You see, personally I believe in the IoT, I believe in 5G, they are tools to enhance experiences and interactions, not make them obsolete and that is what  feel when I saw the Telstra strategy update. These two elements can enhance customer care, customer service and customer support, not replace them with ‘AI’ enhanced chatbots. So the moment we get a 2.0 version of ‘Telstra’s new chatbot, Codi, is making so many mistakes customers are furious’ (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/telstra-codi-bot-backlash-2018-3), chatbots can be a great asset to get the information and channel the call to the right person, yet that again is merely enhancing and that can work fine. The presentation implies the loss of actual customer values and ignoring their need for interactions. That in an aging population might be the least intelligent stance to make ever.

Yet this does not give way to the issue on Telstra versus Huawei, as the Sydney Morning Herald states “Telstra has refused to exclude Huawei from its 5G tender, but that is seen more as a way of keeping its existing supplier Ericsson on its toes“, as well as “In other words, a ban could be bad news for TPG, Vodafone and Optus. Whether it is necessarily good news for Telstra – which has its own issues at the moment – is less clear“. In finality we get “Intelligence agencies tend to get their way on matters like these“, this beckons the question what are they actually after? The US seems to be in bed with Samsung and their 5G routers, so it makes sense that this will be the path that Telstra walks as well, time will tell how it ends.

So why is this such a big deal?

We are currently in danger of actually falling behind Saudi Arabia, yes, that place in a large sandbox is about to surpass us in 5G and other technologies. They had the audacity to reserve half a trillion dollars toward Vision 2030 and Neom. So when we got “Al-Khobar in the Eastern Province, of Saudi Arabia, has become the first city in the region to benefit from the fifth-generation wireless network or 5G network, according to a press statement issued by the Center of International Communication“, last month. There was not a surprise in my bone. You see, this will drive their Vision 2030 plans even further. So as Saudi Arabia is now the new pond to grow speciality in 5G, app designers can promote, test and deliver on knowledge that will be available whilst Telstra is trying to figure out how to get 5G installed. with “All the necessary national 5G policies and supporting administrative provisions are planned to be in place before the end of 2019, along with the award of initial batches of the spectrum to support the full commercial deployment of 5G technologies“, we see that Saudi Arabia had been taking this serious for a much longer time. This goes a little further when we see ‘the Middle East and Africa 5G Technology market (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Nigeria, and South Africa)‘, so at this point, Saudi Arabia has a head start to not just push Saudi Arabia forward, they have quite literally first dibs on gaining a chunk of the 98 million Egyptians. Not all can afford 5G, we get that, but those who do are confronted with only Saudi Arabia as a Muslim player, you did not actually believe that they would run to Vodafone, did you?

So back to the 5G local ‘market’! For this we need to take a look at the Australian Financial review 2 weeks ago. Here we see (at https://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/the-technical-reasons-why-huawei-too-great-a-5g-risk-20180614-h11e3o), with the title ‘The technical reasons why Huawei is too great a 5G risk‘, the start is good, this is what we wanted. Yet we are treated to paragraphs of emotion and alleged settings. So when we see: “Huawei presents unique additional risk beyond the “normal” risk of buying complex equipment. China has demonstrated a long-standing intent to conduct cyber-espionage“, so is ‘intent’ shown in evidence? How did the CIA and NSA acquire our data or Cambridge Analytica for that matter? ‘China is thought to be behind data breaches‘ is merely a statement ‘thought‘ is speculation, not evidence. Then we get: “The US Trade Representative’s Section 301 report from March this year details the very close cooperation between the Third Department of China’s People’s Liberation Army (3PLA is a military hacking unit, also known as Unit 61398) and Chinese enterprises“, I have to get back to this. We are treated to ‘At one extreme, Huawei could be asked‘, is a case of fear mongering and not evidence. In addition we get ‘it is certainly a possibility‘ which came after ‘Vulnerabilities may already exist. This may not be the most likely possibility‘ as well as ‘very likely‘ all emotional responses, none of them evidence in any way, so the article with included in the title ‘The technical reasons’, has pretty much zero technology and close to 90% ‘allegedly’, speculations and emotional twists, whilst we cannot deny the optional existence of vulnerabilities, yet these are found regularly in Cisco hardware and Microsoft software, so have those two been banned in Australia?

Now to get back to the Section 301 report (at https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/Section%20301%20FINAL.PDF). It is 215 pages and I did not read that complete political US marketing behemoth. There is one that actually carries weight. On page 153 we see: “evidence from U.S. law enforcement and private sources indicates that the Chinese government has used cyber intrusions to serve its strategic economic objectives. Documented incidents of China’s cyber intrusions against U.S. commercial entities align closely with China’s industrial policy objectives. As the global economy has increased its dependence on information systems in recent years, cyber theft became one of China’s preferred methods of collecting commercial information because of its logistical advantages and plausible deniability“, which is basically good application of intelligence gathering. Please do not take my word for it, feel free to call the NSA (at +1-301-6886311, all their calls are recorded for training and quality purposes). Oh, and before I forget, the text came with footnote 970, which gave us “A number of public submissions provided to USTR state that the Chinese government has no reason to conduct cyber intrusions or commit cyber theft for commercial purposes, see CHINA GENERAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE [hereinafter “CGCC”], Submission, Section 301 Hearing 16 (Sept. 28, 2017); that the US has not provided evidence of such actions by China, that China is also a target of cyber-attacks, and that the two countries should work together“, there is that to deal with and is that not a rare instance where we are treated to ‘the US has not provided evidence of such actions‘, how many times have we seen claims like that since 2001? Would that number be a 4 or 5 digit number?

The point is not whether it can or could happen, the question becomes did it happen here? let’s not forget that in most settings the section 301 report is about US interests and their technological advancement (which they lost by becoming iteratively stupid). Here we have a different setting. In the setting we face Huawei has a technological advance over all we have in Australia and most of Europe as well. Huawei was one of the first to realise the power of data and 5G and they are close to a market leader, the US is basically relying on Samsung to get them there. BT (British Telecom) is on the ball, but still not on par. They are in bed with Finland “BT has teamed with Nokia to collaborate on the creation of 5G proof of concept trials, the development of emerging technology standards and equipment, and potential 5G use cases“, so this sets the larger players in a field where Nokia and Huawei are now active. The SAMENA Telecom Leaders Summit 2018 and Saudi Telecom Company (STC) announced today that it is working with Nokia to launch a 5G network in 2018 within Saudi Arabia, yet the technology agreements show that it does include Huawei and Cisco, so they aren’t already active, the setting for the initial bumps in the road that Cisco, Nokia and Huawei will surely overcome is knowledge that we will not have in Australia long after someone was able to connect the 5G router to a power point (very presentable, yet the online green light seems to be broken).

So whilst politicians are considering who to be buddies with, Saudi Arabia joins the US and they will be the first 5G providers, which means that the UK and Australia are lagging behind and optionally not for the short term either.

So am I not knowing or am I all knowing? I actually prefer the first, because it is more relaxing; yet the need to speak out loud is becoming increasingly important even if it was only to place the loud mouth limelight seeking politicians like Michael Danby and George Christensen in their slightly too arrogant place. They are of course welcome to present ACTUAL evidence proving me wrong. #WishingForAMiracleHere

 

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The Tesla orator

The issue has been out for a little while, yet up to now it didn’t really interest me. Cars come and go, some cars have flaws, and others have merely a dent in its design. There are consumer laws and there are legal paths for those buying the wrong product, or better stated a flawed article. Like below, the T7 transporter, a space ship costing 17 million, its manoeuvrability is so bad that an opponent flying something at the cost of 5% of this ship can destroy it without too much hassle.

Worst buy ever (at 17,472,252 credits)

 

So why a game reference?

Does it matter what you bought, what it was for or why you bought it in the first place? Cars are like video games to most people; their marketing is about look, about sensation, about satisfaction and about joy. When was the last time that a car was actually marketed or sold to you with only a focus to get you from point A to point B?

So when I saw the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jun/21/tesla-whistleblower-sabotage-elon-musk-gigafactory-martin-tripp), with the title ‘Tesla whistleblower claims company is ‘doing everything it can to silence me’‘, I started to wonder what this was actually about. The subtitle gives us “The electric carmaker is suing a former technician for alleged hacking, but he says he’s being scapegoated for leaking concerns“.

So the two parties, is this one side about ‘leaking concerns (whistleblowing)‘ or is this about ‘alleged hacking (industrial espionage)‘. As the Guardian treats us to “By the end of the day, he had been sued by his former employer for alleged hacking and theft, engaged in a hostile email exchange with Elon Musk, come out as a whistleblower, and was being patted down by sheriff’s deputies over allegations that he was threatening to go to his former workplace and “shoot the place up”“, we need to wonder what this is actually about. You see, from my point of view, if there are concerns you take them up with the ‘right’ parties. Those who know me know that I did just that, straight to the CEO and I was not nice about it. I had customers to protect, I had their data to protect and I did just that. The real deal is not now, or was ever the issue to anyone outside the company. That is what a caring employee does. A caring employee does his job to the best ability and to the degree where he sets the proper stage to be able to do this. We see allegations left right and centre and when we see ““I’m a scapegoat because I provided information that is absolutely true,” Tripp told the Guardian on Wednesday evening. “This is obscene … It feels like I have no rights as a whistleblower.”” This is where we get the questions that matters:

  1. I provided information that is absolutely true‘ yet, who was this information provided to?
  2. I have no rights as a whistleblower‘, might be right or wrong depending on who you provided the information to.

At times the equation can be that simple. The Washington Post gives us “But Tripp, who says he became a whistleblower after seeing what he called dangerous conditions in the company’s car batteries, told The Washington Post“, gives less valid light to Martin Tripp, depending on the path he took. Any company has its own path to take. Are their emails that Martin Tripp took to the bosses, to his boss, to the legal department of the firm and to the QA division? Even if it was the subtle “Are you out of your effing mind to put such a battery in a car?” Did Martin do any of that?

In opposition the Washington Post gives “The showdown has exposed deep rancor at a tech giant famous for its head-turning cars, high-pressure workloads — and Musk, its unyielding boss. It also marks a new depth of suspicions from Musk, who recently sent companywide emails urging workers to stay vigilant against shadowy “outside forces,” saying, “Only the paranoid survive.”” (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/06/21/saboteur-or-whistleblower-battle-between-elon-musk-and-former-tesla-employee-turns-ugly-exposing-internal-rancor), You see, we might be triggered by ‘high-pressure workloads‘, or ‘stay vigilant against shadowy “outside forces,”‘ in this we need to accept to some degree and realise that all the other brands are petrochemical driven, so any Tesla success will hurt them all. The Dow Jones Index is set by 30 companies, they include Chevron and Exxon, as well as a few financial institutions doing business with those two and as such a success on one site, is in the long term implies diminishment on the other side, so being paranoid is not the worst mindset to have, yet in all this, an unreceptive CEO (or should that be: unperceptive) is never a good thing. In all this it becomes a slight issue that neither side is bringing home the bacon on actual safety concerns or documented interaction other than the emotional one in the Washington Post. The other part we see is “He said he and his family have temporarily vacated their home after their address was posted online.” The question becomes, which person thought that doing that was a good idea ever? The Washington Post does give a link to the Business Insider (which had issues for me). It does give something else, which does not bode well for Martin Tripp. When we see: “Tripp said he tampered with no systems and shared information with the media only after seeing things that alarmed him within the company, including what he says were dangerously punctured batteries used in Tesla’s latest Model 3 sedans“. Here my question becomes, why the Media? Why not openly give this to the authorities? You see, a claim like ‘dangerously punctured batteries used in Tesla’s latest Model 3 sedans‘ implies that there is optionally a federal crime at the very least as production is national, in addition to allegedly endangering lives. So why not go to the FBI? Perhaps that was done, but the articles do not seem to give light to that part.

Yet another Business Insider article (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/tesla-model-3-production-in-2018-so-far-2018-6), gives us:

  • Tesla has completed about 30,000 of its Model 3 sedans in 2018, according to internal documents viewed by Business Insider and two Tesla employees.
  • The company is trying to ramp up its output of the car to 5,000 a week, but that effort has been beset by challenges.
  • Tesla has made about 6,000 Model 3 cars in June, so far, according to a person familiar with the matter.

There are clearly issues with production, yet is it about managing expectations? Keeping the hype up and adjusting delivery times? Is there a resource issue, which we see with “CEO Elon Musk has called it a “production hell” on more than one occasion! The effort has been beset by bottlenecks, and the company has gone as far as flying equipment from Germany to speed up the process“. There was a news article last week on a battery catching fire, yet this is merely one instance, one instance on thousands of cars made. It does not give light to anything serious, not when it is merely one. This whilst in opposition there are more and more articles given claims that do matter, you see the element is not the car, it is about something entirely different. We see that when we consider the following: “cobalt has been a key ingredient in building high-energy-density lithium-ion batteries, like those used in electric vehicles. In some batteries chemistry, cobalt makes up as much as a third of the chemistry in a lithium-ion battery. Around half of the world’s cobalt production goes into rechargeable batteries, and concerns about supply constraints and the environmental and human impacts of cobalt mining have made it a controversial component of electric vehicles“, then we get “But Tesla CEO Elon Musk dropped a bombshell on the industry earlier this spring when he revealed that the battery cells in the Model 3 use less than 3% cobalt, a fraction of the amount that other state-of-the-art battery chemistries are using” (source: thestreet.com). The issue is not merely the battery; it is the Cobalt in the equation. If that is true in any way shape or form than Tesla is sitting on the hottest tech in decades. Well over 30% of our daily need is dependent on batteries. Your smartphone, your iPad, iPod, torches, compact camera, movie camera’s, Car batteries in general, batteries for motor cycles, so when we see that Cobalt is $42 a pound, and there has been reported lack of supplies, the one solving that problem is sitting on hundreds of billions of IP, and now Martin Tripp does not look so holy, he does not seem to be this concerned citizen. It is like someone publishing the recipe of Coca Cola. Once it is out, it is gone to public domain and in that Elon Musk is very correct to go ‘slightly’ overboard. People have been assassinated for a hell of a lot less.

Yet in opposition of this, we do see from Ars Technica: “I then had to provide numbers to a group of engineers/production every morning and asked several times if anything was being done to rectify the issues. [I] even [had] a few meetings with my HR rep and brought the issues up.” At that point, he began leaking to the press, specifically to Business Insider, which wrote a June 4, 2018 story entitled: “Internal documents reveal Tesla is blowing through an insane amount of raw material and cash to make Model 3s, and production is still a nightmare”“. It is clear that errors were made in action and reaction on both sides, yet, for Martin Tripp the issues should have stopped to some degree after he went to HR, and even if it makes for good ‘publicity’ from a media point of view to report ‘production is still a nightmare‘, as well as ‘Tesla is blowing through an insane amount of raw material and cash‘, they are issues that fall well above the pay grade of a technician, especially whilst we see clarity that this entire matter is being evolved to more and larger plants. A company in motion, no one denied that. Even as we see that there are production issues, they are not for us to opt on (unless we want to sell Elon Musk a solution). In all that I see, I see two parts. The first is that Martin Tripp is not and should not receive whistle blower protection. The second is that if the given presentations are true, Elon Musk is not merely sitting on some electrical car, he is sitting on an optional battery solution that might be the biggest desire for every mobile implementer around the globe. You only need to talk to half a dozen camera men working around the globe for news organisations to realise that their lives revolve around a better battery. Elon Musk might be in a stage where he is on top of a new IP. Sony had the same option in the early 90’s and with their battery (which was loads better than anyone else had) they conquered several battery dependent markets overnight. In a little over 25 years that dependency has only grown and it implies that the better battery can own the market share of whatever opposes it.

So as we saw that the confirmation was for the current batteries to have less than 3% (it was tested to contain only 2.8% cobalt), the claim “Musk recently doubled down, saying on Twitter that Tesla’s next-generation battery will use none of the element” would have an astronomical impact. In this the science is twofold. if less cobalt is an option, yet costs size (not an issue for cars) we see the first, now consider the second setting that with cobalt, the battery is even smaller and more powerful, this in equal measure counts, because when you consider the current players (iPhone 7, Samsung Galaxy 9, Google Pixel 2 XL and Huawei P20), when one of them has that solution now offering the same phone with 5200 MAh, which one would you buy? All same sized, yet one has a battery span 40% longer? What would you do?

Consider the last time you needed a power bank or you were low on battery power, now consider some dumb individual makes that IP public knowledge and that was by right your property, what would you do?

I see no evidence that Martin Tripp is on some holy crusade. Him going to the Business Insider and not to the FBI, NY Times, LA Times or Washington Post gives me that conviction.

Feel free to disagree; this is merely my point of view on the matter.

Have a great weekend (to recharge your own internal battery) everyone!

 

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Telecom providers & swaggering vanity

Any business has issues; the one that states that they do not is lying to you. We understand that there is mostly smooth sailing, that there are bumps in the road and that things are not always on track. We have all seen them; we might have all seen them near our desks. It is a reality, if a lumberjack is working, there will be wood chips, such is life. So when we see the Telstra ‘purpose & values’, we see: “The telecommunications industry is experiencing enormous growth; network traffic is growing faster than any other period of time and digital technology is changing our world. Telstra is at the heart of this change—and we’re helping make it happen by connecting everything to everyone“. That might be true, yet when you price yourself out of a market, there tend to be consequences.

So when the Business Insider gives us merely 2 days ago: “It looked like there were national problems with the Telstra network again today, but the Telco says no” (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/telstra-is-down-nationally-2018-6), we see a troubling setting. So the quote “The Telstra network appeared to have another national meltdown, with services in most of the major capitals disrupted in the first half of Tuesday, but the company denies there were any problems with its mobile network.“, concessions on social media were made and the services were back up in the afternoon. Yet the damage was done. Not the fault, the disruption or the faulty service. The fact that Telstra was in denial is the issue. So when we also see: “Telstra said there was no issue for Telstra customers and the Telco’s 3G and 4G networks. “There was a vendor platform issue that impacted mobile virtual network operating services for a small number of wholesale customers,” a spokesperson said“, we see the issue that Telstra has moved on through carefully phrased denials. It is a tactic to use, it is however the wrong tactic, because it takes away trust and Telstra did not have that much left to begin with. One source gives another view entirely; it is the view that makes CEO Andy Penn too confused for his own good and the health of the company. In regards to the question that ABC host Leigh Sales asked, which was: “How can shedding 8000 jobs, not make your service worse?“, the response “Mr Penn deflected the question and talked about the complexity of a Telco network and the inevitability of network interruptions when dealing with such sprawling physical technology assets and software. After the host tried once more to ask the question, the Telstra boss steered clear of the jobs losses and moved the conversation back towards his message of increased simplicity for customers“, we merely see the fact that Telstra is playing a dangerous game of stupidity. Deflection is bad and shares will get slammed (and they did). You see, the proper answer (or better stated a proper answer) would be: “As we are moving to a flatter organisation, management is now directly in touch with the workforce, management will get the full scope of issues in their area of responsibility. There is no longer a delay of information trickling on the path of 2-3 managers deciding where what goes, the buck stops with the manager in charge. Basically the lower managers get more responsibility and as they resolve the issues also a much better reward. The direct exposure to issues and answering the questions of staff members and consumers will lead to a much better understanding and also decrees the timeline of issues and questions requiring a resolution“. You see?  I resolved that question, I gave an answer, I exceeded the expectation of the current customer base and I did not deflect. So perhaps I might be the better CEO Andy? Now, we can add that this is a work in progress and as any company needs to adjust settings; with a flat organisation structure it is much more direct and easier to adjust. So yesterday’s interview, published today, I merely required seconds to set the stage in a more positive way. Yet Telstra has more issues. Their mobile plans are still horrendously expensive; in some cases placed like Optus will offer 20 times the data at the same price and that was merely a month ago. So Telstra needs to realise that unless they truly become competitive with some of their competitors. In addition when we look at IT News, we see (at https://www.itnews.com.au/news/telstra-completely-changes-how-it-sells-enterprise-services-494853) the issues that some expect. Issues like ‘Confirms it took ‘too long’ to revamp enterprise core’, yet the revamping is not the issue, actually it is as there was no ‘real’ revamping, merely adjust the tailoring to fit other elements (as I personally see it). You see, the danger offered through: ““It is the ability to provide fixed voice, unified communications and messaging with add-ons for mobile and applications on a per seat pricing basis for our midmarket customers. “It will be all digital.” It will be ordered in minutes, provisioned in minutes to hours, and everything will be billed electronically with the ability for the customer to flex up and down in volume in real time. This is what I call the folly setting. It starts with ‘our midmarket customers‘, which translate to ‘corporations and those with money’, which is fair enough, yet the economy is still in a place where the cost of living is way too high. The rest is merely a statement of ‘buy on our website or through a phone app’; there will be no negotiating, no personal touch, not a warm touch to any of it. Merely a ‘buy this by clicking or go somewhere else’. You can rephrase it again and again, but that is where it is heading and the people have no real high regard for an automated Telstra, so that will hammer the share prices for at least an additional 2%-3% in a negative direction. So as more and more people go towards the ‘Yes’ oriented Optus stores, we see that in some places Telstra is setting up movable selling points (Westfield Burwood), yet in the direct cold light of day, it is not merely a transforming business, it is the setting where Telstra looks less appealing than before. That requires addressing and Andy Penn did not go the right way about it from the beginning, yet in the setting we now see it, it is even less appealing than ever before.

It goes further than all this, a mere 3 hours ago, ABC gives us ‘Is this really the end of Telstra’s ‘confusopoly’?‘ (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-21/telstra-what-is-in-it-for-customers/9891076), there we see: “Andy Penn says the job losses will largely come from management so presumably consumer-facing staff will remain”, so why is Andy Capp hiding behind ‘presumably‘?

 

 

 

 

The AFR takes it in another direction. There we see ‘Telstra’s strategy is all about killing Optus, Vodafone and TPG‘. So (at https://www.afr.com/brand/chanticleer/telstras-strategy-is-all-about-killing-optus-vodafone-and-tpg-20180620-h11mtt), we see ” competitors are clearly going to be most obvious victims of his 2022 strategy, which prioritises mobile above everything else in Telstra’s sprawling portfolio of businesses”, yet with the website as it is and the announced 5G rumours that are nowhere near 5G we wonder how much trouble they are in. so even as we see the boastful “Telstra’s mobile business currently earns about $4 billion a year on revenue of $10 billion“, it will have little effect until the data offered is a hell of a lot higher than they currently offer. It might have been a good moment of timing for me, I ended up with twice the data ant half the price. The largest population really cares about a deal that is 75% better and that is not merely me, it includes well over 60% of all households and pretty much 99.43% of all students. Even if Telstra proclaims that they only care about midmarkets, the shareholders will not understand how they lost out on millions of customers and that change is not reflected in anything we heard. It does not stop there. With the setting of the quote “Telstra said on Wednesday that the number of Australian households with no fixed broadband service is between 10 and 15 per cent. It expects this to rise to 25 to 30 per cent as 5G is rolled out around the country“, we see that Telstra is to lose out on more markets. The shear fact that Vodafone figured out in the EU is an optional gain of momentum for Vodafone, yet the hybrid options that Telstra failed to see could cost them even more in the 2020-2024 period. In addition, when we see “Penn’s decision to adopt an aggressive roll out strategy for 5G plays into the established trend of greater use of mobile networks relative to fixed line, much of which is driven by the widespread frustration caused by the poor performance of the NBN Co”, considering the part I discussed yesterday in ‘Telstra, NATO and the USA’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/06/20/telstra-nato-and-the-usa/) alerted us to a previous stunt played with 3.7G, yet the setting is reflective here. In part it is expected to be merely temporary. So when we see on the Telstra site “Verizon and Ericsson recently decided to test the 5G network on a moving target — a car being driven around a racetrack — and were able to record a 6.4gb/s connection”, now I get it. It is a test setting yet the speed is still off by almost 40%, which is not good. It is better than what we have now, but getting out in front before the technology is truly ready is very dangerous. In addition CNet had another issue that also reflects in Australia, as well as a league of other nations. With “Cybersecurity for 5G networks had been a top priority for the previous FCC under Tom Wheeler, a Democrat appointed by President Barack Obama. But the current Republican-led agency believes the FCC should not have authority to ensure wireless providers are building secure networks. “This correctly diagnoses a real problem. There is a worldwide race to lead in 5G and other nations are poised to win,” FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, noted in her statement. “But the remedy proposed here really misses the mark.”

You see, I have been writing for the longest time on the benefits and powers that 5G will give on a whole new range of options, yet the overly non-repudiation ignorance in Telecom town is staggering. Their view is almost on par where the NSA decides to set the admin rights to the guest account and leave the password blank. The dangers that people will face on that level cannot be comprehended. The moment the ball is dropped, the damage to people will be beyond comprehension. It boils down to Cambridge Analytica times 50, with all privacy set to public reading. The business will love the amount the amount of data; the people will be less enthusiastic as their consumer rights and needs are no longer in stock with any shop using the internet for sales. I raised issues on that field in March 2017 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/03/13/the-spotlight-on-exploiters/), yet that was merely the lowest setting. At that point, the Guardian (the writer that is) raised: “The mass connectivity it allows for will also help expand the so-called internet of things (IoT), in which everyday appliances and devices wirelessly connect to the internet and each other“. Yet, this is in equal measure the danger. You see as Telstra gave visibility to ‘Lessons from CES 2018: everything is connected‘ (at https://exchange.telstra.com.au/after-ces-2018-everything-in-tech-is-connected/) and Huawei is giving us ‘Huawei Connect 2018: Activate Intelligence’ (at http://www.huawei.com/en/press-events/events/huaweiconnect2018), they will likely all miss out on giving proper light to non-repudiation. It needs to be the cornerstone, yet for now there seems to be the global ‘understanding’ that someone is working on it, or that ‘block chain solves it’ and a few other hype responses that merely are deflections of a situation not understood and even less properly attended to. To better understand it, I found a promising paper (at https://arxiv.org/pdf/1708.04027.pdf) from Mohamed Amine Ferrag, Leandros Maglaras, Antonios Argyriou, Dimitrios Kosmanos, and Helge Janicke. In the conclusion we see: “Based on the vision for the next generation of connectivity, we proposed six open directions for future research about authentication and privacy-preserving schemes, namely, Fog paradigm-based 5G radio access network, 5G small cell-based smart grids, SDN/NFV-based architecture in 5G scenarios, dataset for intrusion detection in 5G scenarios, UAV systems in 5G environment, and 5G small cell-based vehicular crowd sensing“, which gets us to the real setting that this part is still some time ahead and even as telecoms are rushing to get 5G first to get the better market share, it appears that the players have no clue on the time they will lose by not properly investigating and setting the steps to get non-repudiation on the proper path, it will be seen the moment some CEO decided to listen to marketing and give a first roll out of 5G, whilst not listening to support as they are a cost and not an asset. At that point the situation will unfold where the clever hacker ends up having an optional access to 100% of the available data on several floors and at that point the people attached to any of that will have lost whatever choice they had in the first place regarding their privacy, their accounts and their data. It had all been denied to them.

This was seen in the Economist last year where we saw: “The flaw lies largely with the weakest link: the phone system and the humans who run it. Mr Mckesson and the bitcoin victim, for example, suffered at the hands of attackers who fooled phone-company employees into re-routing the victim’s phone number to a device in the attacker’s possession“. You see this is not about non-repudiation, it is about authentication and that is not the same. There is a whole league of issues and in part because the solution is still not a true given, it is in its initial stage and even as we accept that non-repudiation is sometimes essential, it is not always essential, there is a larger issue on where and when it is needed and it cannot be when the user decides because roughly 92.556% is too ignorant on the subject. The impact on a personal life can be too far stretched and that is where the problem starts. Telstra fails here, in their Cyber security White paper 2017 it comes up once and there we see: “Transaction approval should satisfy certain characteristics – including but not limited to integrity, non-repudiation and separation of duties“, that is it! In a ‘Cyber Security White Paper‘ that give s on the front page ‘Managing risk in a digital world‘, non-repudiation needs to have a much higher priority and in a 52 page paper that gives ‘acknowledgements’ all kinds of high priced firms mentioned in the end, with the ending of “We can assist your organisation to manage risk and meet your security requirements“, so what happens when customers want clear answers on non-repudiation? What is currently in play and available?

The non-acknowledgment that even, if not practised in 2017, or 2016, might be fine, this is about what comes next? That part we see on page 45 with ‘The increased adoption of incident response drives the growth of the after breach market‘ and “In Australia, the highest usage for emerging security solutions is in ‘incident response’, and Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB) are used the most in Asia. 47 per cent of organisations surveyed in Australia and 55 per cent in Asia have adopted ‘incident response’ toolsets or services“, as well as “announcement of legislation around mandatory data breach notification by the Australian Government“, so how long until non-repudiation makes it to the main focal area? I reckon one incident too late, at that time Telstra becomes a ‘responsive telecom‘ nothing pro-active about it. When the first victim comes and the 99% realises that there is no actual non-repudiation properly in place, how many will remain with Telstra? And it is not merely them, a much larger global Telecom provider pool has that same flaw, the one who did think ahead will be gaining exponential growth the day after someone got hit and we have seen the growth of non-repudiation need for almost 4-5 years, so it is not coming out of the blue.

So, when we see the sales pitch called executive summary in the beginning, the mention of “That organisations are prepared to take such acknowledged risks speaks to the urgency of their move to cloud services“. So is non-repudiation addressed there? and the start of that page with “Organisations and individuals are dealing with new security and business opportunities, many of which are fuelled by mobility,” which of these sides are giving in that you and only you bought the 50,000,000 shares at $29.04 and the loss of 63.223% (roughly) we saw in the 45 seconds after that. At that point, or a boss that you and only you bought them, would that perhaps be good, bad, or perhaps was blaming a hacker the solution?

so in that report, where we saw ‘Mobile malware‘, ‘Advanced Persistent Threats‘ and ‘Web and application vulnerabilities‘; When we realise that the report gives us ‘Number of days compromise went undiscovered (median)‘ with the average value of 520 days (almost 18 months), would the flag that ‘not an employee’ had access helped perhaps in finding it sooner than 18 months?

It all read like a cloud sales paper as security is less complex. It does not solve the non-repudiation issue which would soon be at the footsteps of telecom companies and as they are in denial (for too long that something needs to be done, whomever solves it, that will be the winner of the 5G race and they will gain the 5G business from those claiming to have any non-repudiation and those who did not bother. It is not sexy, it is not limelight, but it will be the cornerstone of personal and corporate safety lot sooner than most people realise.

It all matters because flattening the organisation means that there is either space provision for that branch of security or it falls in the gaps and is forgotten until too late. Andy Penn can deflect all he can at that point (or his successor), but at that point the impact of such an event will be too devastating to respond to or correct for.

The issue remains complex, and if people remember the issues I have with Microsoft, will also accept the part I now give them, because one quote on this from Microsoft is bang on: “Can we say we have non-repudiation by putting a check in a box on a certificate template? Absolutely not, we must first jump through many hoops to be sure that only the owner of a private key associated with the certificate ever has access to it. This involves many controls, policies, procedures and security practices, some of which are listed above“, it is a much harder field, but an essential one and even as financial services are eager to embrace it, data handlers need to start doing this too.

We need to acknowledge that: ‘authentication is easy, non-repudiation is hard‘, and as 5G, automation and cloud systems evolve, the legal need for non-repudiation grows almost exponentially for every day that the three are active in a corporate and personal environment. Those who ignored that essential need end up having no legal foothold on any claim whatsoever. In my mind companies who ignored it will lose their IP and most legal options to get it back the moment it gets downloaded to another place. That IP will soon thereafter be owned by someone else, or it ends up in public domain where anyone can use it free of charge, both are nightmare scenarios for any firm relying on IP.

 

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