Tag Archives: Channel 7

The Australian Catastrophic Colliding Canine

I tend to keep my eyes on Europe, mainly because what impacts the UK today will have an impact on Australia a week later; in addition to that, what happens in Japan today when it comes to consumer electronics and mobile events will get to Australia 3-5 years later. In that respect having a larger view on matters is essential to keep an eye on what could become an impact tomorrow.

Yesterday was different, with ‘Regulation needed to save Australian journalism from Facebook and Google, watchdog says‘ we see the impact for Australia now and to be honest, I can’t stop laughing at present. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/feb/11/regulation-needed-to-curb-facebook-and-google-competition-watchdog-says)

When I read: “Rod Sims, said the digital platforms inquiry, which delivered its preliminary report in December, reveals that the market power enjoyed by the digital behemoths is weakening Australian media“, the giggles increase. Especially when we consider ‘the platforms are not creating any original, quality Australian news’, well we could consider that the Australian media is for the most not doing that either. For the most Australian media is weakening Australian media plain and simple. To name but a one issue, October 2012, I alerted the media to an issue impacting 30 million gamers within the commonwealth. I directly alerted Channel 7, Channel 9 and the Sydney Morning Herald; the all ignored it to the largest degree. There were clear screenshots on how the impact was given, yet the left it on the left of what was important. A change by Sony for their gaming community 3 weeks before the PS4 was released, they all (except for the Australian Guardian) ignored it for the most, and perhaps it was not news? What they (as I personally see it) intentionally ignored is that the Sony Terms of Service is a legally binding contract, the mention of a memo is merely a piece of paper that could be ignored the very next directors meeting. The press needed advertisement dollars and Sony is high on that list of needs, PlayStation 4 was big bucks, plain and simple. In addition there were debatable reviews of Microsoft for the period of two years and the least said about Apple the better, as I see it Australian Media is its own worst enemy. It is my personally view to size up global media as a collection of prostitutes with a priority towards the shareholders, the stake holders and the advertisers, the audience comes in 4th position at best. So when I see: “However, while taking the lion’s share of advertising revenue, the platforms are not creating any original, quality Australian news“, we need to wonder where Australian quality news is found. I will agree that this is found at SBS and ABC, but they are the two exceptions to all this.

When the British Daily Mail gives us on the 9th of February “Respected Channel 7 news reporter Emily Angwin (pictured) was said to be furious at a number of work emails questioning the integrity of the newsroom in Melbourne” is anyone actually surprised? Is it true? We cannot tell because in many ways most of the Australian media is no longer that reliable. And from my vantage point it becomes worse when we go to https://au.news.yahoo.com/. Here we see above the fold ‘Hero pitbull breaks out of home to find help for owner during gas leak‘, ‘Restaurant blames waitress for ‘incredibly racist’ receipt‘, and ‘‘Whoah!’ Man’s breath test returns ‘biologically impossible’ result‘. This is the kind of emotional reporting that gives news a bad name. Compare that to abc.net.au where we see: ‘Global drug trafficking operation run out of Villawood detention centre, phone taps reveal‘, ‘Missing persons expert slams investigation of young mother’s suspected homicide‘, as well as ‘Why the AWU wants to question Michaelia Cash in court over union raids‘. So one is clearly about news, the other is about creating emotional events. I let you decide which is which, and as we take notice of: “Given all this, it is also vital that media businesses are not disadvantaged through the exercise of market power or other mechanisms that make it difficult for them to compete on their merits” We see that the there is another case in dispute. The dispute is ‘media businesses‘ versus ‘journalism‘, so I hope that the ACCC realises that not only are they not the same, they are at present mere dimensions apart.

And questions need to be asked at the Channel 9 address as well. We can agree that the headlines are better than those of Channel 7 when we see: ‘Exclusive: Vampire Killer Tracey Wigginton’s disturbing new posts‘, ‘Man found with gunshot wound to his stomach in Melbourne’s north-west‘, as well as ‘Snorkeller found dead on sea floor off Mornington Peninsula‘, yet there too we have issues as every news item gives us headers and banners of advertisement. News is news and the main players have resorted to self-indulgence of advertising, reloading at every page. The journalism is merely second best at best.

It becomes a different puppy when we look at the mention “The financial viability of these businesses is also not assured as demonstrated by BuzzFeed and Vice recently announcing redundancies in Australia, as well as worldwide“, you see from my point of visibility, we see the Wikipage part (for mere illustration) where the visible information is: “Originally known for online quizzes, “listicles”, and pop culture articles, the company has grown into a global media and technology company, providing coverage on a variety of topics including politics, DIY, animals, and business.” Now, I have seen those buzzfeeds on my Facebook page and I decided not to give them any consideration (as a news source). Even as we now see (I was honestly not aware) “In late 2011, Buzzfeed hired Ben Smith of Politico as editor-in-chief, to expand the site into serious journalism, long-form journalism, and reportage.” We can accept and appreciate that Buzzfeed was taking a serious gander into journalism, yet when people are not aware (or another part of them has created more awareness), we get the impact of consideration versus awareness and non-awareness loses clicks, it is that simple, and the same applies for Australian sources. For the most, the only Australian sources I give consideration to are: ABC, SBS, the Guardian (Australian edition) and that is pretty much it; the rest is too often a waste of time. When we are serious about news, we go to the places where they offer it, not where they claim to offer it. That is how I personally see it and I use the Guardian as a source (as it is free) and I neglect the Times (most often) as I am not a paid subscriber and I feel it is money not greatly spend when I am, like most others on a budget, as such it is not money I have available to do that. It is an important factor as I am merely one of many that need to get by on a budget, that too impacts the news and the ACCC is a little ignorant on that part as well.

They might want to strike out at Google and Facebook. Yet Google News gives us ALL the headlines, from almost every source and that links to the local news articles. So when we see “The preliminary report recommended a powerful new authority to oversee the commercial activities of Google and Facebook” My question becomes ‘How is that going to make a difference?‘ In the end this is not about journalism, but about media and they are not the same, if the ACCC wants to make an actual impact, looking at the quality of journalism we will see that Australia will be left with the Guardian, ABC and SBS. When we were introduced to: “The Turnbull government has announced a funding freeze for the ABC but a boost for the Special Broadcasting Service“, whilst the boost is a mere $14.6 million over two years, when we realise that this all reads like a joke, how useless is the ACCC in all this and whilst we see the decimated pool of journalists, what are they doing (apart from wasting our time on something that the seemingly see as a waste of effort and budget), it is from my point of view a mere article on the foundation that reads: “Australian media is seen as irrelevant, we do not know what to do“, and it is shown against the likes of Facebook and Google, where we need to realise that they are also two different dimensions. Facebook is a mass advertisement channel, a channel that assumes that they know what their granular population wants through scripted likes and the scripted likes of the connections of that person, and Google shows the news in directions that the people searched in, or searched for. One is budget based, the other is user keywords based and the ACCC is seemingly in the dark on the fact that for the most people no longer see Australian media as relevant. That is shown a mere 34 seconds ago when I searched for “Channel 7 News” in the News tab, I was treated to: ‘Channel 7 presenter makes heartbreaking plea‘, ‘Ripped bodybuilder ends TV interview on a wild note‘, as well as ‘Caesarean birth to be broadcast live on Channel 7‘. As I see it, when it comes to visibility is seems to me that Channel 7 has a lot to learn as to the bidding on keywords as well as their methodology on how to properly position news, as well as their approach on how they want to present the ‘news’ (https://7plus.com.au/seven-news-sydney), for most people a 44 minute newscast is not the way to go (having one is still important for many though).

In the end, as I see it, the ACCC is up against the image of certain channels, their digital policies, as well as the approach they have towards news and advertisers. It is becoming less about journalism and merely about the positioning of media which is done tremendously below average. If you want to see how it should be done, watch The Guardian (UK) and BBC News (also UK), for those with language skills, the Dutch Volkskrant (at https://www.volkskrant.nl/), as well as The Swedish SVT (at https://www.svt.se/). As I personally see it Australian media has a lot to learn and that lacking part is not up to the ACCC, apart from them bashing the Australian media from drowning people in advertisements to a level that is just making them irrelevant. It is merely my point of view and I might be wrong, yet I personally do not think so. The foreign amount of visitors to the Guardian, the NY Times, the LA Times, the Washington Post, and the French Le Monde (at https://www.lemonde.fr/) are indicative of my views.

So in all that, how are regulations going to solve anything in any near future?

 

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Statistical defiance

There are mornings when you get the surprise of a lifetime. One version is when you are not actually awake; you look to your side seeing a smiling woman stating that she feels nice. Suddenly the phone rings and you wake up! In another version (where you are awake) you get of the subway, you see a ten dollar note. You see some worthy cause 20 feet down the road, easy come, easy go! You feel you did your civic duty and life goes on, the coffee you pay for after that with your own money still tastes a little better that morning. The power of Karma!

A third one is the one I saw this morning. It was on the Australian Channel 7 (Sunrise). The shining light was none other than Andrew O’Keefe. Whilst some dark haired woman from Melbourne was going on about vilifying the Muslim community, Andrew was not the voice of reason, but the voice of wisdom and insight. There is no denying that the Muslim extremists are getting a lot more attention, often through their violent doing but when we consider the acts of up to 50,000 people (the combined numbers of Al Qaeda, Islamic State, Hamas and a few others), it is almost less than a drop in the ocean of the 1.5 BILLION Muslims. How much vilification did we see for those bombing abortion clinics? Or how much light was shone on the ordeal that the Muslims in Burma face whilst getting prosecuted by Buddhists?  It seems that there is an unacceptable unbalance and Andrew O’Keefe made sure that this was stated!

Way to go Andrew!

I have no issue hunting down extremists, not just for the dangers to Christians, but for the equal protection of Jews, Muslims and other religions alike. We should also clearly see that Christians have had their own groups of extremists and in several places including the US. We seem to forget that part. There is a lot wrong with all of us as we condemn a group because of the rotten apples in their basket, even though this amounts to a little less than 0.003% of that population. It is like sending 300,000 apples back to an orchard, because one had a worm.

Now you will state, where one has a worm, more worms will be found. Yes, that is not a wrongful assumption, but at what point will the purchased shipment be actually unworthy of purchasing? The fact that we condemn the apples for one bad one, is no reflection on the apples, it is a reflection on us! That part is at the core of the problem. Yes, we need to hunt down extremists and yes, we need not be nice about it. We do however have a sworn duty to make sure that the innocents are protected; no matter what faith they adhere too. Let us not forget that the shot policeman in the Charlie Hebdo case was a Muslim himself, a French policeman who died defending the freedoms he believed in. His name was Ahmed Merabet, let his name not be forgotten! So, extremists will not care! They care for the false image of self, a demonic view that does not even exists, because any view of self will always lack objectivity. We do not care if it is a person staring at their own reflection, but when that results in the hunt and killing of innocents, they cross lines and we need to accept that there will be a consequence to that. However, vilifying others will never be a good or acceptable point. Andrew O’Keefe gave good light to that part.

So it turned out that I was watching a nice morning unfold! An outspoken clarity of events, one that had gone missing on many fronts for too long.

Yet, there is more, I think that last week was the straw that broke the camel’s back in several places. For this I need to take a step back to September 11th 2001, you see, my personal interpretation of those events might not be the ones you have considered. You see, I think that the attack never succeeded. It is my personal believe that the intent of Osama Bin Laden was different. I expect that yes, the towers were to be hit, yet his intent was that the towers would burn all day and all night, like torches over New York, keeping everyone busy and the symbol become torches of fear in the hearts of Americans. When the towers collapsed his intent of fear became a consequence or rage, we know what happened after that and those who saw Zero Dark Thirty know how they got him anyway. Hiding in Pakistan, scared of the eagles circling ever closer until he was removed from life. The events last week in France might become the same point. I do not think that Islamic State ever considered that a ‘mere’ cartoonist would bring millions into the street in sadness, but thereafter in acceptance of the need to hunt these people down. Now it is not just the US, now it is the collected members of NATO, the EEC and the Commonwealth. In addition, Islamic State is now losing its hidden internal ‘friends’ in many of the Middle Eastern nations. This would always have happened, for the simple reason that history has proven that terrorism will never work and will for the bulk of events have a counteractive effect, yet as the Islamic State was still trying to grow, these events are now the cause that not unlike OBL, these members will now be forced to hide as they are hunted by too many players. Those with similar agenda’s had outgrown their welcome for some time, but now there is a resolute acceptance that people are willing to concede that reasoning is no longer an option with such groups. The benefit is that this could spell an actual increase of security for places like Israel, as the pressure will push for the hunt to continue in Jordan and Libya by its own local ‘population’ could spell a change of weather. Where they expected to bring fear failed, they achieved to anger a group of people who were up to the #JeSuiCharlie point hoping for a civil solution, that time has now passed. Even though these people are massively against violence, they are now to some extent conceding that action needs to be taken.

The Guardian had a piece in ‘comment is free’, where I saw the following quote regarding the polarisation of debate regarding Charlie Hebdo: “By framing events in Manichean terms – dark versus light; good versus evil – an imposed binary morality seeks to coral us into crude camps. There are no dilemmas, only declarations. What some lack in complexity they make up for in polemical clarity and the provision of a clear enemy“. I do not believe this to be correct. It is not untrue as a statement, depending on who this is regarded to, but I think the game is as per yesterday changing. As we see the move of #JeSuisCharlie for freedom and against violence, that move seems to be showing a below the surface change, the acceptance to some extent that simple talks are no longer an option, these people are now willing to accept that professionals need to do whatever they need to do to get these acts of violence stopped, in whatever way will stop the killing of innocents. It was not just the act, part of this equation is a person who filmed from likely a smartphone what was happening, the filmed part is less than a minute, but as thousands a people saw the cold headed execution of a French policeman, we now see a film, not unlike the film of the Kennedy assassination (the Zapruder film) that those who see it are no longer asleep, the presentation is like a bucket of ice water. Just like I woke up from the fake dream of a beautiful woman being happy in bed next to me, they too get a realistic vision and less optimistic view. The view that what they believed possible (civil talks) can never be. The evidence is too raw and too direct. Whatever notion they had of acting whilst a population remained half-awake is no longer, the people will allow such extremists to be hunted, the damage of the fake fears through Edward Snowden is now getting undone, the resolution of the people wanting this resolved allows for it.

So, as we will see, a weird twist of fate on how one act suddenly calls our attention to the craziness of what we allowed to continue for too long, we will soon see a change of venue, the hunters will become the hunted. It is not just Paris, even though this is event shows a visible support against extremists into millions, the view gets additional power through the alleged execution by ISIL of Journalists Sofiene Chourabi and Nadhir Ktari from Tunisia. The support here is showing that there is more than just a show against violence, we are slowly seeing a change where the shift is not where ISIL is, but the fact that there is no one left not willing to hunt ISIL down, a different perspective, one they had not bargained for. The second benefit here is that there is every chance that the people will now also wake up towards the issues involving Hamas. Even as Hamas thought it was relatively safe after the European voting events, it now must content with the fact that they are now very likely to be seen as unacceptable as ISIL is. I spoke before about the options for Palestine, providing its excluded 100% of Hamas that reality is now, due to the visibility of #JeSuiCharlie a lot more likely. Because as the House of Hamas is less seen as acceptable on a global scale, they will react in ‘fear of self’ and unite with the people who would not find them acceptable in the first place. It all might work out for peace in the end, how statistically weird is that for a change?

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Cancer for everyone?

Something set me off today. It was not Melissa Doyle, she looked lovely as ever. Perhaps it was her casual report on how red meat seemed to be linked to cancer. Actually, it was not her at all. It was another research with data linking red meat to cancer. There were two parts that seemed to be an issue. The first one is “People who eat a lot of these meats” the second one I will get to later.

From this I decided to take a trip into US data. The first place we get is Hereford, Texas, which is the beef capital of the world, or so they say. I am not stating that this is not true and it is true that Texas is one of the 5 states responsible for over 50% of all produced beef from cattle and calves. Yet, my mother was from Buenos Aires and you have not tasted true beef until you have tasted a steak from an Argentinian charcoal grill. I am not leaving the subject here, because we have two places were beef rules supremely.

So how is their health?

Dr Karen Humphries seems to know what she was doing and the approach sounded well enough, so what is the issue? Well, when I take an initial look at the statistics the CDC has for Colorectal (Colon) Cancer (at http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/statistics/), the data (as incomplete as it is), shows no spike for these 5 states, because there is a valid thought, that outside the metropolitan area’s the home state might be the cheapest place to get steaks, consider that these places are not in possession of a vegetarian explosion (or is it a population explosion of vegetarians?), the overall spike of cancer, should stand out there (read slightly spike).

So, what is the other option?

Perhaps these people do not eat loads of red meat? Are you kidding me? Have you seen the sizes of steaks in them states, they are huge! I can eat a lot but I need to bring my A-game of hunger to these places to finish my plate. So is Dr Humphries wrong?

No, I do not believe this to be the case. She is by the way not the only one on this meaty horse. A 2008 article form Harvard Medical School (at http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/Red-meat-and-colon-cancer.shtml) shows a similar conclusion on the data that they have. So why am I questioning this?

I am not questioning these issues perse. Perhaps there is another factor that is not being considered. So am I just on a windmill chase, like a Don Quixote seeking the next windmill? I am not arguing that those who think this are wrong, but consider the next piece of information, which was found at http://authoritynutrition.com/is-red-meat-bad-for-you-or-good/.

The title ‘Is Red Meat Bad For You, or Good? An Objective Look‘ seems appealing enough, however is it therefor true?

They are giving us the following thoughts which some had considered a long time ago. The thought is set in the following quote “However, the meat we eat today is vastly different from the meat our ancestors ate. Back in the day, animals roamed free and ate grass, insects or whatever was natural to them. Picture a wild cow on a field 10.000 years ago, roaming free and chewing on grass and various other edible plants. The meat from this animal is completely different from the meat derived from a cow that was born and raised in a factory, fed grain-based feed, then pumped full of antibiotics and hormones to make it grow faster“.

Here is the question that is raised within me: “Is this research the first evidence of antibiotics and hormones on consumption beef?

That is not really the question people seem to be looking at. So is this a windmill I am chasing, or are we asked to look away? This is not against Dr Karen Humphries, who was investigating the red meat on the people. To be honest, with the amount of red meat offered, I would have loved to have been a volunteer there (I could never refuse a good steak). The information and ‘evidence’ as well as my train of thought took less than 5 minutes to clear, then about 25 minutes to get through the readings and the CDC data tables.  If we look at the Guardian article (at http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/jan/24/worldwide-cancer-rates-uk-rate-drops). The issue here is that Cancer is seen in a generic term, which means all kinds of cancer and still Argentina, a massive beef consumer (and yummy it is too) is only on the 46th position, so have I made a case that it is not just about red beef, but are there other elements in play? Which is the second part to all this.

Without more data, the case I am making would only be supposition, yet is this a start? Are there other factors that reduce the dangers in the USA and Argentina? Is there now a valid case against certain hormones and antibiotics? There is no way to tell without a lot more data and more (and better) in depth research. If that is indeed the track we must walk, how should this proceed? You see, in any research there is a goal and a counter goal. You can bet your bottom dollar that pharmaceuticals would not want quick results. If you doubt that, then remember the ‘investigation’ in Syria that we saw in early 2014. The question ‘were chemical weapons used’ (which seemed like a joke) and ‘who did it’ was completely set aside. So here we face a possible approach to it in the way of ‘Could antibiotics be a cause of an increased presence of colon cancer causing bacteria?‘ and ‘Could hormones be a cause of an increased presence of colon cancer causing bacteria?‘ getting the research set up, the data collected and then the actual reporting done might be taking an intense amount of time, but should we therefore not get this done?

I do not pretend to have the answer, yet I do have the questions that were casually not asked in the Channel-7 news. Questions, which are at a first glance seemingly assumed, to some extent by Authority Nutrition, a site that is the child of Kris Gunnars, a medical student. He is also not the man just claiming and assuming issues. His site had an entire tab on evidence, filled with charts that seemed to have been made with proper analytical tools (I did not dig into that data though).

There is another side to all this. Kris voiced it really nice in his article “the meat we eat today is vastly different from the meat our ancestors ate“. We all (including me) seemed to have forgotten about that. As we go forward, what other parts had not been properly looked at? For example, the article ‘History of diethylstilbestrol use in cattle‘ (at https://www.asas.org/docs/publications/raunhist.pdf) gives several answers, but also leaves us with questions. Did anyone look at the evolution of meat as the ‘victim’ (also known as Mr or Mrs soon to be steak) had been treated by these hormones? Let us not forget that this game has been pushed through generation upon generation of hormones. Is the idea so far-fetched that we have changed to context of the BBQ target? Does this amount to poisoning the well? I truly do not know, but it seems that the latest results, in conjunction with the data that Harvard and several other sources have collected, contribute to a new train of thought that we need to take a very serious look at the meat and the cattle as well as their DNA in regards to our beefy food supply. It is the earlier mentioned paper by A. P. Raun and R. L. Preston that leads to two quotes linked to all this. In the beginning “The removal of DES from the market led to the development of a number of other growth stimulation products for cattle” and at the end “If diethylstilbestrol had not been removed, these same resources could have been directed toward the discovery, development, and approval of other technologies for the cattle industry“.

Yet, are we losing sight to the long term effects of these growth stimulants and hormones? If these bowel cancer numbers are linked in any way to these developments, what links are we yet to discover and at what price had beef profit been maximised? The last one is not a blame game moment. At some point hard choices had to be made, consider that Gartners meat in Portland Oregon gets us a Rib Eye for just under $15 (16 oz.), with this the fact that at present beef is at an all-time high according to Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/25/usa-agriculture-inflation-idUSL1N0QV0J620140825). What happens when the beef rises above the option to buy as a food source? This is not just the drought or disease which is the latest reasons for the price hike. Consider that 318 million American residents need their dinner, current statistics place the vegetarian population (those who hate plants more than animals) at roughly 10%, which means just over 280 million of meat pieces are needed EVERY DAY! Now, many do not have steak on a daily basis, so the need for beef is not at a deadly level, but…..

What did I just say?

There is the crux, have we been so into the need to get more food that eagerness was too quickly satisfied, but we now see a long term consequence.

LET ME BE CLEAR!

This last part is all conjecture, but is it being looked at? If not, why not? There is a foundation of concern and evidence that the effects of beef on our health seems to have changed, the question becomes how much? Questions I do not have answers to, but I was surprised not to see anyone in the press ask the question and deliver the results, just as is!

That itself is worth a question or two too.

 

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No Press, No Facebook!

So, another day in the life of you, the reader, me the blogger and us, the victims of big business in a way that neither of us expected.

Why are we in a stage of No Press? Well, I cannot confirm this for the UK, Canada or Europe at large, yet in Australia it started last year, the second week of November.

Most did not ever bother to look at this, but one I found (at http://www.cinemablend.com/games/PS4-Doesn-t-Block-Used-Games-Game-Rentals-60480.html) wrote the following: “A new last minute reputation management troll-rumor has surfaced online in an attempt to curb Sony’s momentum leading up to their big launch later this week“.

This is a hilarious ‘sucking-up-to-Sony’ response! So what actually happened?

In the two weeks before the launch of the PS4, Sony decided to change the terms of service (at https://www.playstation.com/en-gb/legal/software-usage-terms). I gave the information to Channel 7, Channel 9, Channel 10 and the Sydney Morning Herald.

NONE!
I say again NONE of them did anything about it. There was a flaccid message (to follow shortly).

So what is so important?

Sony wanted to start putting in place several issues to enforce DRM and to end certain practices. As the PS4 had not launched yet, they could not be too vocal about it, which meant that those claiming to be journalists had a duty to look into it, especially as these changes affected well over 80 million consumers globally. So either journalists only care about the boobs of Rihanna and on how people prefer fake boobs (of course, the possible silicone in a chest is always more newsworthy then the silicon chip that holds an economy).

So what is the exact issue?

Two points from the terms of agreement

  1. 3. You must not lease, rent, sublicense, publish, modify, adapt, or translate any portion of the Software.
  2. 1. You must not resell either Disc-based Software or Software Downloads, unless expressly authorised by us and, if the publisher is another company, additionally by the publisher.

I will admit that 6.3 is badly phrased (a big no-no in any term of service agreement), but in this form it specifically targets one area of usage, which where at blockbusters one could rent a game for a week. An interesting try before you buy approach (not debating the validity or invalidity of this).

It is 7.1 that is the big issue, by agreeing to this (if you do not you lose your PSN account and online abilities) you confirm that you will not resell your games or buy second hand games. This was the big killer for Microsoft in the beginning in addition to the fact that this issue hits 80 million consumers. How is this not in EVERY newspaper? Perhaps their bosses where in the act of ‘hustle for advertisement coin’ (whoring seems like such a harsh word here).

When we look at Eurogamer (at http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-11-12-sony-reiterates-you-can-sell-and-share-your-ps4-games), we see the following: “Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida added on Twitter: ‘If you are concerned about our new European TOS, we confirm that you are able to sell or share your disc PS4 products, including in EU.’” This is the flaccid response I referred to. If this is the case, then WHY make it part of the terms of agreement? Because Sony lawyers are perhaps cheap? (They really are not!)

We do not doubt the words of the Sony CEO, yet his word can be changed in a simple board meeting, the terms of service is a legally binding document between the consumer and the corporation offering the device and the service. Why am I the one person explaining this ‘oversight’ to the press?

This is a massive issue! The impact on the software industry would be felt in several countries. The fact is that many shops are in business only because they make a few extra dollars of second hand games. If not, new games would have to rise in price. Also, there is, especially in these economic times a large group depending on cheaper game solutions. A pre-owned game, which is at times at least 50% cheaper than the new alternative is one way for some to play a few games. The simple truth is that many cannot afford a $120 game, more often; their parents also are not in possession of such spending sprees, which makes the pre-owned game market an essential part to cater for a sizeable chunk of these consumers.

The second issue is the one that we see evolving now.

I was confronted with this almost two weeks ago, but something about the list of changes seemed so horrifying that I decided not to upgrade. This is still evolving and there are genuine concerns. Yet, what is the actual truth?

If we look at the Bull (at http://thebull.cbslocal.com/2014/08/07/facebook-crosses-the-line-with-new-facebook-messenger-app/) we see the following:

  • Facebook can change or alter your connection to the Internet or cell service without telling you.
  • Facebook can send text messages to your contacts on your behalf.
  • Facebook can record audio, and take pictures and videos, at any time
  • Facebook can read your phone’s call log, including info about incoming and outgoing calls
  • Facebook can read your contact data, including who you call and email and how often
  • Facebook can read personal profile information stored on your device
  • Facebook can get a list of accounts known by the phone, or other apps you use, it can connect all your accounts and Intel together.

It is in part the worry I had when I was looking through the rights I had to agree to when installing the Facebook Messenger app, which I decided against. If I lose my messenger history, so be it!

If we consider the Sydney Morning Herald (at http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/smartphone-apps/facebook-is-forcing-messenger-app-on-users-and-they-arent-happy-about-it-20140729-zycfb.html), we see the following quote “CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed during last week’s earnings call that the company eventually wants to monetise Messenger and the app will eventually ‘overlap’ with payments, though, as TechCrunch notes, he acknowledged the company still has a lot of work to do before users will see payments cropping up in the app“. It is fair enough that people will get to pay at some point. At that point people can return to the old Yahoo Messenger, which has forever been free!

My issue here is that there is a lot more visibility here, yet why this is not the lead with every news channel as this affects BILLIONS of people is also a little beyond me.

There is of course the other side. Is what ‘the Bull’ stated true? I am not stating that they were lying, but the android permissions are at times a little out there. This view is actually reinforced by CNBC (at http://www.cnbc.com/id/101911170).

The confusion seems to have stemmed from Android. “The app when you install it, it explains in a list what it needs permission to do, and this is the list that frightened a lot people initially,’ Simons said. ‘That doesn’t mean it sort of willy nilly goes about contacting friends or recording you as you go about your day using your phone camera,’ he added.

I cannot disagree with this view, yet the truth is that just like with Sony, we agreed on something, we made a binding pact and that what is and that what could be are now intertwined and as such it is not about handholding, it is about clarity! When Big Business forces you the consumer, they will be precise (example: ‘we hereby charge you $11,732.34 to be deposited within the next 10 days‘). Yet when they would like something from you, they hide in ambiguity (example: ‘we can change all your savings into a fortune, deposit all today and the larger returns could be yours quite soon’). So, how large a deposit, how much larger, how soon? These answers would not be forthcoming until AFTER the deposit I reckon.

So where do we stand?

When we consider the issues that have plagued the tech savvy population, like the TPP, Sony, even government spending seems to be missing on the glasses of those ‘considering’ themselves to be Journalists. Another bash of that seems to have missed the larger view in news (at http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/08/05/federal-spending-transparency-money-missing/13485581/).

The first quote is “the data that does exist is wildly inaccurate, according to the Government Accountability Office, which looked at 2012 spending data. Only 2% to 7% of spending data on USASpending.gov is ‘fully consistent with agencies records,’ according to the report“, which makes me wonder who is keeping track of the deficit and how much larger could it be?

The second one is “The Department of Health and Human Services failed to report nearly $544 billion, mostly in direct assistance programs like Medicare. The department admitted that it should have reported aggregate numbers of spending on those programs“, which reads like, if we aggregate numbers, you are less likely to find anything and we can hide it under a total header. Failing to report on half a trillion is a big thing, it is well over $1000 for every resident in America.

So, does that mean that the deficit of the US is a lot larger? That would indeed be news as it would put the US in a peculiar financial position, or better a position they no longer hold. I am not stating that I am right or that I am wrong (both are an option). It seems that the papers and newscasts we get bombarded with every day seem to become more and more selective on what they consider important. One article affecting 80 million (the combined population of Australia and the UK) as well as the new issue which hits over a billion people does not seems to be important. The last news of last week is one that does bear scrutiny, yet to get something from USA Today and not the Guardian or any of the Australian news bringers does pose questions.

The Facebook issue will hit us for some time and it might result in something different. The issue linked to this is whether Android has a registration system that bears scrutiny. Android has its own faults (also not too overly reported on by journalists) and just pointing the finger at Facebook is also not entirely the right thing to do.

There is also the difference on what some will do and what some could do. It is the ambiguity that is slowly getting to more and more people.

So what should the journalists be doing and what should Facebook not be doing?

 

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Are drivers mentally impaired?

Something got to me last night. It was just after dinner and alas, I was silly enough to look at Channel 7 (just after a meal never a good idea). It was loaded with issues I do not care about, or at times those who get lighted from whatever side is improper. The issue of the traffic cameras pissed me off, just a little too much (at https://au.news.yahoo.com/nsw/video/watch/24523002/most-profitable-sydney-speed-traps/ ).
We get to see a list of a few cameras’ and how they cash in for millions. Even then, in my opinion, president of the NRMA, Mr Kyle Loades on whether these cameras were solving crashes, accidents and deaths does not seem to be all there. What is wrong with these people? Were they all lobotomised?

You see, in the old days, we got traffic school (in primary school), where we got to learn the rules of the road. For example, when a light is red, we do not cross it. Speeding was not a topic for pedestrians, or those on bicycles. Yet, we knew that there was a sign that clearly stated what the maximum speed was and there were generic rules in regards to speed when you are within the city limits.

Does anyone remember these rules?

So, when we see that 4,000 ran a red light, than we should consider making these people mandatory lose their license for 6 months, next to the steep fine as well! I have only once (I REPEAT ONCE!) seen the exception to that rule, where a man was racing a pedestrian to a hospital as the man he found on the road was having heart problems in the middle of nowhere, for the most, the rest are all idiots and in my book and criminals too!
My reason for outrage is that in 2014, in NSW alone, we have 174 fatalities in NSW alone. Six of them were only 19 years old, including one pedestrian. That is for 6 months, so perhaps Seven Tonight is not thinking too clearly on what actually matters! Perhaps Chris Maher should be reading out the names of these 174 traffic fatalities in an upcoming segment.

You see, those people ‘who think they know so much better’ will cry plead medication imbalance and other ‘excuses’ when they get into the dock of court because someone got hit in the process! I think that the case of R v DPP Tim Ellis should anger us all beyond belief. The fact that Negligent driving causing death, and the linked quote “Mr Ellis faces a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $1300 fine” is more than just a small issue in regards to road safety, the part that throws me here is that when we consider s318 of the Victorian Crimes Act, we see: ‘318 Culpable driving causing death‘, which gives us “Any person who by the culpable driving of a motor vehicle causes the death of another person shall be guilty of an indictable offence and shall be liable to level 3 imprisonment (20 years maximum) or a level 3 fine or both“, how does 1 year and $1300 fit any level of justice?

This is not about the former DPP Tim Ellis. This is about a generic feel of ‘utter casual’ in regards to traffic violation within Australia in general. The News trivialises it, the law who seems to be slightly coloured and is regarded to only see it as a financial based remedy. When we consider that NSW alone will face well over 300 deaths in 2014 all due to traffic events, it is clear that some parts will have to change if we want to lower the death rate from traffic accidents. The even more distressing part in these transgressions is that these ‘violators’ tend to get other people killed, whilst they themselves end up not to having a scratch. I have seen my share of ‘consequences’, in one instance, a girl got rammed through the wall by a car into a bar, the smash into the wall and the pedestrian was THAT hard. She died within a minute on the spot.

So, when I hear about ‘that camera’, ‘there was no traffic’, or ‘I was really in a hurry’ my blood starts boiling ever so slightly and I just want their license to be revoked as well as their car impounded. Now, I will admit that there are dubious sides to all matters, so that should apply to this one as well, yet traffic is no conundrum. If a light is red, we stop! If there is a speed limit, we stay below it. If you do not do this, then you just have to pay up!
I personally remain in favour of adding a mandatory suspension of no less than 6 months. All things being equal, this all could imply that Lara Bingle will just have to get used to public transportation!
With the second transgression we make the license go away for a year and the third one they lose it for let’s say 2 years. Would that not be a great idea to get safety back to the roads? It might even become a hospitable place for bikers and bicycle riders (one can only hope), mainly because I have seen my share of utter acts of stupidity against bikers in traffic.

 

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Protecting Consumers!

I am still on the Sony horse! It is interesting to see how consumers are do not seem to be protected and how little visibility some cases seem to get. I seem to have found what I consider to be severe consumer injustice!

This injustice is on two levels. The first level is on the side of ‘the small print approach’, the second side is on the consumer side through the shops. So as discussed in my previous blog (pricing a Sony game), where they changed the user agreement to make illegal the reselling of games and on the other side the TPP will allow them big companies to charge us more.

At the DPP, no one was willing to take any calls (they apparently do not take any calls ever). They referred me to the ASIC and the Law society of NSW. They were little help, however the Law Society did what it service minded does, and they would be able to refer me to private solicitors. This is what they do (and what they are supposed to do), so there is no case here, other that they were willing to give all the assistance they could. From there I ended up with the fair trades commission who listened and explained on how I had to go to the ACCC.

The ACCC logged the issue and it is now investigated internally.

I also talked to Channel 7, Channel 9 as well as the Sydney Morning Herald. They were all interested, but seemingly unaware to the issues that are going on at present. In my view I have always be loudly outspoken against this and I did so against the acts of Don Mattrick when he was with Microsoft. It seems hypocrite not to speak out against Sony when they try to hide in the weeds not quaking!

I am all for protecting gamers, if the little time I have left on this earth is to get some protection for them against injustice and greed, then this is a fight worth fighting. The gamers are now swiftly placed between the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact), raising the price of entertainment even further and the forces crushing the options of pre-owned games for those not being able to afford full priced games, something must clearly be done.

It is also interesting how the government and the Fair Trade commission remain silent on these matters. Shops rely on pre-owned games to survive after the margins of new games are reduced to an absolute minimum. The pre-owned games keep them into business. As large companies are paying less and less corporate tax as their offers go to downloaded revenue (which often goes via non-commonwealth tax shelters). We see that they are paying less and they are the cause of shutting down local shops with these new arrangements. I believe in fairness and at present there is no fairness in any of this.

Too squeeze a population already in hardship, to hurt them even further with these events is beyond acceptable!

In case you see some response on ‘generic’ or some party line response how this is not the intent of the Sony User agreement, then consider one other piece of information. PlayStation Home offered an amazing private space for sale. It was by loot and it is a graphic and technological highlight. You buy the private space where you can walk around. It is so amazing as this is a new form of private space. Not only is it graphically superior on many levels, it has a new level of interactivity. The private space allows you to monitor twitter via a light bar in your apartment. It offers LOOT™ Radios (music) and EOD TV (movies, TV shows). This is a new era in entertainment, yet not everywhere available. They were very clear in communicating that part. I get that part! Yet, consider that Loot is part of Sony, and that the TPP is about to limit retransmissions of broadcasts even further, how long until consumers ‘lose’ those options? In addition some places cost US$2.99, whilst in Australia the same places cost AU$4.99 and in the UK GBP 2.39. So, when we set this all to the same (US) currency we see:

United States $2.99, Australia $4.61 (+54%), United Kingdom $4.19 (+40%). So not only do we pay on average a lot more, we get less for the overall package. Interesting how this lacks the visibility it deserves!

I wonder how much visibility the press and the news casts will give all this in the coming days. In my eyes it might be an interesting stretch to see how much power they have over the press, in case of the UK we should look at how much visibility they give all this. They claim that they could regulate themselves? Well, if this is true, how come that NO ONE (of the big newspapers in the UK) has had any visibly outspoken view on these matters by Sony? I saw a few sources like ‘reddit’ and other bloggers pick this up, but that is about it. If you are wondering on the size of these matters, I am not a journalist, I am not some high powered media mogul, I am just a blogger who knows games. The gaming industry encompasses a market in extent of 20 billion dollars a year. That is a market big enough for ALL newspapers to keep one eagle eye on any news that impacts it. No visibility seems to have been given at present. A questionable turn of events!

Who is looking out for the consumers, especially those who do not have that much to spend?

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