Tag Archives: Christmas

The rest of our lives

Yes, we all look towards the rest of our lives, yet how much of it is left? There is every indication that is is a little less than we expect it to be. I was looking forward to write more on the TV series my mind created (Keno Diastima), I was adding a little more science to it all, science makes fiction easier to swallow for the sceptical among us and I like plenty of science with my fiction, so there.

Yet, as I was brooding on this, I saw the Coronavirus messages from all Directions. The Netherlands is banning all flights from the UK, a part of Sydney now has a larger problem and the news keeps on coming in, I especially ‘liked’ ‘Covid: WHO in ‘close contact’ with UK over new variant’ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-55382212), there we see “The new variant is spreading more rapidly than the original version, but is not believed to be more deadly”, it is the application of ‘is not believed’, which basically implies that they do not know and that is fine, we accept that not all answers are available at point zero. Yet, who considered the impact on these to approved vaccines? Is vaccine one good enough to fight off and prevent version 2? What will happen when there are more mutations? And the largest issue the media and most people ignore is the 1% speculation. In June (6 months ago) we could see a global increase of 1% over 3 million cases, which is 30,000. In September the number was 7 million, in three months, the number had doubled, as such we come to a stage of 70,000 new cases. Day (globally), now the total number number is 76,635,408, 10 times of what there was three months ago and it is time to button down the hatches, because the 1% rule gives us 766,000 cases a day (globally) and all whilst some sources make claim that in India there is a 60% setting of people with the Coronavirus, 60% of 1.35 billion, a number we do not see anywhere, making optionally the source unreliable, yet I have had my concerns with the Indian numbers for the longest time. You merely need to see actual footage on the population pressure in the Mumbai region alone to see that question mark. The reported figure are present is at 10,031,659, When w apply the 1% rule we see 13,500,000 a day, and so far that number has been exceeded on a global stage by nearly every country, so not in India? Consider the population:

If even one person in this crowd has the Coronavirus, how many will have it tomorrow? That is the ignored part, partially because most non-Indian people have no idea just how populated India is and that is the larger danger, we tend to ignore what we do not know and in this case it is a dangerous setting to have. And this is not some sought special picture, Google Search can give you well over 100 images like it, all from different areas of India. 

As such, when you contemplate the rest of your life, did you consider your life (if you have any left) after the coronavirus? The numbers are in my favour here. The 1% rule was surpassed by a lot over the last 6 months. We might lockdown everything, but it takes one stupid person to ignore this and quickly visit a friend, and the scared ones do it more quickly than any other. 

At present the BBC (at best) give us “There is no clear-cut evidence the new variant of coronavirus – which has been detected in south-east England – is able to transmit more easily, cause more serious symptoms or render the vaccine useless”, which is fair enough, more importantly, we also do not know what we do not know, this sounds complex, but variants are tricky bastards and there are no real answers until a laboratory have positively analysed the mutations, this is fair (at https://www.bbc.com/news/health-55312505), but the number one scare for governments is “or render the vaccine useless”, several players paid billions for the vaccine, so the term ‘useless’ is one they do not need to hear, but in the end, we simply do not know. Neither do we know whether the vaccine to strain one will also lower the power of strain 2, 3 and optionally 4. Anyone who believes that this ends today is paving the road to hell, all on their own.

In this the West Australian had the funniest setting for all this, they give us today “Coronavirus crisis: WA Premier Mark McGowan says hard border with NSW needed to ‘save our Christmas’”, yes because saving Christmas trumps the need to keep our lives safe, that made perfect sense and if you are forced to self-isolate celebrating Christmas is really topping your chart, isn’t it?

Well, whatever you do, you will have the rest of your life contemplating it, and should you die tomorrow, then I hope you resolved whatever you were brooding about. #Oversimplification

1 Comment

Filed under Media, Politics, Science

Dark Friday

There was an article last Friday. I knew it was bogus from my point of view, so I waited until the end of that event (actually this is the last day). It starts with the sub line, which gives us ‘Brands, activists and charities are questioning the annual consumer feeding frenzy‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/nov/23/has-the-backlash-to-black-friday-already-started), it was the undertone that made me wonder and even as I knew it was from my point of view a bogus article, I waited to see how it unfurled. And behold, hallelujah, someone states the stupid part and my case is won. It is seen with: “The whole Black Friday thing is fake and customers are getting wise to it,” said FatFace boss Anthony Thompson. “Bigger brands and retailers should look very hard at what they are doing. They are damaging the high streets and local independent traders who can’t compete with these fake promotions and customers are getting ripped off.”” I am certain that Anthony is a driven ideologist towards his own brand and we cannot fault him for that. You see clothing, shoes and other temporary items dread these sales moments as it undermines their bottom dollar, they need their margins and for them Black Friday is a problem, yet it is not something fake. It has become something real, it always was real, yet now it impacts people to a much larger degree. I remember last year, I got Assassins Creed Origin with statue for well over 55% off. What was $199 was offered at that point for a mere $85, so that was a real saving. There was more at that point, and I got one or two additional things. I believe it was Nioh, with season pass and all extra’s for $24, a bargain if ever there was one. this year my budget is strapped, so I have to forego Black Sunday this year around, which is a shame, because getting yourself a nice Christmas present 4 weeks early with 50% or more off is a huge deal. That is also the impact of Black Friday; it is close to Christmas for all those people doing their Christmas shopping early. A Xbox One S for $299 (+ games) is a real deal and those who have the old Xbox, it is also a nice step up and that is beside the point that the slimline Colgate white One S is actually really pretty to see, there is no denying that. Loads of places give 20% of TV’s, Camera’s and laptops, so at that point getting the device that is on its last legs a quick replacement is a good option to have.

Nothing fake about this moment and we all need it, even as some people are in denial (especially Anthony Thompson), most of us have too small a budget, we cannot afford to get the nice things as the cost of living all over the world keeps on going up and there is less cash to go around for other things. At that point the Black Friday is a blessing. Especially for parents, most kids desire a console, or perhaps a new mobile. At that point 20% makes a dent in that bill and even as some parents give the present early stating no bog presents at Christmas, for these kids Christmas came early and they are all so happy. It also applies to adults, especially when we take a look at Applewear and Fitbit deals, there were plenty.

Yet there is nothing fake about other venues either. When I see: “The Charities Aid Foundation is backing the UK’s efforts for global charity event Giving Tuesday on 27 November, which encourages people to do something for – or give something to – a charity they care about. Celebrities including blogger and Strictly Come Dancing participant Joe Sugg, Ricky Gervais and Martin Lewis are supporting the day which last year raised £213m online alone around the world” I see that there is reason to look in other directions too. I am a little amazed that there was no union. How would it be if a store on the Black Friday announces that any sale under $109 adds 50 cents to that charity and over $109 the send $1 that way. It could effectively add millions to such causes and that would be a reason to embrace Black Friday even more. Knowing that I was looking forward to this black Friday hoping that there was some cash left, I would not have whinged at the extra $1, even with a purchase of $85, the saving was already awesome and the extra dollar would not have dented it. So when I see this article, is it really about a missed opportunity for charities, or were some of the people at Charities Aid Foundation negligent to see if a deal could have been made with the thousands of retailers for those few extra coins for every visitor? There was even the chance that some of them would have been willing to add it that little extra to every deal they had, even more money lost out on.

There is a similar issue with the opinion piece by Stuart Jeffries where we see: ‘I’ve discovered the Joy of Missing Out. Black Friday isn’t for me‘. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/23/black-friday-joy-of-missing-out) an be seen in more than one way. Apart from the sensation of ‘Missing Out’ which tends to be a negative one. Like many other men, I do not really warm up to 50% fashion sales, unless I am in dire need of Jeans, Cargo Pants, Polo shirts or something like that. He takes us to an advertisement with: “Take the ad starring Martin Freeman for a mobile phone company. His train carriage is filled with boneheads staring into their handsets; even in the loo he finds the guard furtively watching something on his phone when he should be checking tickets. “What is wrong with you!” Freeman yells. And then a beat, before he realises that what’s wrong is him. He doesn’t have a two-year data deal to get unmissable TV, music, movies and sport promised in the voiceover. Freeman winces – and there it is, Fomo in the face“. I personally believe that contracts are for the most not a spur of the moment thing. They are long lasting and even as I had a great deal 2 years ago where I got an additional 200GB for $50 (considering that any gig over quota gets rewarded with $10 to the bill, $50 is a steal any given day. We need to think long term when we sign up to those deals. It will impact long term, yet getting a console, a game, movies or perhaps even a TV is a short term impact and 30% of a 65” 4K TV is actual money for savings. These are things you do not normally buy, so getting them in January or February when all the sales are on is the time to get them, now Black Friday changed that by offering a similar deal just before Christmas and people are getting in line a year ahead to see what else is getting the large write-off. We have to as it is almost the only moment when we have the option to spend cash on something we normally cannot afford. It is at that point that we see that the article was stupid, hollow and misguided, especially when we realise the ‘customers are getting ripped off‘, how is 20%-30% discount ripping of customers?

As for the entire Charities Aid Foundation, we see another path, perhaps it was taken; I do not know that part. Yet the entire setting where I give the option of $1 (or £1) per sale and 50% of that if the amount was small would have made an extra mountain of cash for Charities Aid Foundation. Was that path taken? I guess not, but that would be speculation. From my point of view, even cash strapped when you gain (in my personal example) 114 coins of profit, handing one over to charity seems perfectly normal and it would be given when the savings were really nice, the impact would have been marginalised to zero. Not everyone can do this, but the bulk can and in that I do not see a ‘backlash to Black Friday‘, I merely see a ‘missed opportunity for the Charities Aid Foundation‘ and of course all other charities trying to get a few extra coins on November 27th. As I see it, giving Tuesday could have started early, optionally giving the premise for people to give one more coin on Tuesday too, so how much will be missed out on as we whinge in one direction whilst we all know that there are more and more people depending on this point in time to get something essential, something the budget does not allow for?

It is in that trend that I always look forward to Christmas dinner on December 27th when all the supermarkets are pricing their Turkeys and hams down by 60% or more, December 25th is merely 0.273% of a year. When you can do that (most atheists and agnostics can) does it really matter when you have an abundance of food as a meal? whether I do or do not does not matter, when our lives are set to strapping for a budget we look towards what the opportunities give us and it seems to me that for several players Black Friday ended up being a missed opportunity. I wonder if that book ‘The Joy of Missing Out: The Art of Self-Restraint in an Age of Excess‘ by professor Svend Brinkmann takes into consideration the timing of maximising one’s budget, and as it goes on sale in March 2019, at a time when there might still be book sales going on, so we can find out then.

I am curious, merely because the list of people getting to live a life of excess is actually dwindling down. Even as incomes are not the worst, some groceries (especially meat) went up by 12% last month, and when you consider that budgets are tight, 12% has an actual impact on people, especially in places like meat & milk, items most of us need on a daily basis.

Budgeting is becoming an art for many families and for them Black Friday is becoming an opportunity to put a dent in what is needed versus available funds, nothing to miss out on. So if we see the Charities Aid Foundation using next Black Friday to give a ramp towards Giving Tuesday, I would happily hand over those extra coins if I am able to participate in the Black Friday deal, we will see what happens on Black Friday 2019.

This is merely my view on the matter, feel free to oppose it.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Gaming, Media

Annual medical bill $864,685

Yes, that is the price for keeping the doctor away. An Apple a day keeps the doctor away, yet at $2,369 per iPhone it will be a hefty bill, let me tell you that. And the news gets to be worse after that. Apple has been in the news and not in a good way. We all remember the big news earlier this year, when Apple announced that they had become the first trillion dollar company. It was just as the new Apple models had come to town and the impact has been seen. First we get the Financial Times 2 days ago with: ‘Apple falls into bear market territory‘ (at https://www.ft.com/content/c9dd38f0-e839-11e8-8a85-04b8afea6ea3). I thought it was merely metaphorically, yet it is not. You see, bear territory is when a company got into the state of: “The drop takes the stock’s decline from its intraday high of $233.47 on October 3 to 20.3 per cent, meeting the definition of a bear market“, the first corporation to surpass 1 trillion and lose 20% value soon thereafter. Apple did this t themselves in a few ways. It takes me to my dark Apple moment. Now do not get me wrong, I do not hate Apple, I still have the very first iPad and I will get the iPad Pro if my budget would ever allow for it, hopefully before my iPad passes away.

I bought an Mac Book Pro in 2005, I loved it and it set me back $5099, it was all I had and it after 11 months I had one line in my screen, then 3 then I went to the Apple store and I realised that my warranty had past. Two weeks later the screen was no longer usable, $5099 and nothing to show for it. When it ran it ran great, so for 11 months I never regretted buying it, and then the onslaught came. I was not happy, the $5099 was all I had, so there was nothing left for the Apple care and after 6 months I had forgotten to get it, it is my own fault, yet the longevity of Apple (lack thereof) will never be forgotten. The opposite is also true, my G5 and first iPad as well as an iPod Classic are still doing their stuff. So overall there is more good than bad. The previous parts I mentioned matter, as you are about to find out. Forbes, who also on last Thursday gives us (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2018/11/15/apple-new-iphone-xs-max-xr-upgrade-price-cost-camera-sales-face-id/#78e1e0302932): ‘Apple’s new iPhones have a Serious Problem‘. Here we see: “AMS revised its Q4 2018 revenue estimates down from highs of $610M to new lows of $480 citing “recent demand changes from a major consumer customer.” AMS is the latest in a string of iPhone suppliers to announce revenue cutbacks“. The setting here is not merely the suppliers; we see ““Many suppliers have lowered numbers because of their unnamed ‘largest customer,’ which is Apple,” Elazar Capital analyst Chaim Siegel told Reuters“. This shows that the shareholders could optionally panic before the end of the year and it will be an additional downturn for Apple, who is currently worth a mere $US886 billion, in addition the second wave might lower it to somewhere between $794-$811 billion, making Q4 2018 one of the worst moments in Apple history, lowering its value by almost 30%. So if 20% is bear territory, will passing the 30% make it the Groundhog tree stump area? #JustAsking

Yet all is not lost, there is still last moment Black Friday, Thanksgiving, Saint Nicholas (Belgium and Netherlands), and Christmas. It will mean a massive level of facilitation (by Apple mind you), but there is space for a partial turnaround and it was their own doing, this economy is not ready for upper class latest techno prices. Consider the $2365, whilst their opponent is offering a decently close solution for $1499 (Google) and $1599 (Huawei) all top end phones and the next model is 33% cheaper, in an economy where most people are turning around pennies (just look at Debenhams). It was a really bad market moment; one could argue that Apple believed their marketing whilst it was nowhere near realistic. In addition we see (at https://www.macrumors.com/2018/11/16/new-ipad-pro-bend-test/) ‘New iPad Pro Models May Be Prone to Bending‘, the image is very expressive on the curve, which might be moving towards boomerang shape over time (just guessing here). The quote “both forum complaints and a new bend test video suggest the two devices have the potential to bend without a huge amount of force“, gives us that the news is already out there, which gets us the Achilles heel of any corporation that is ruled by marketing deadlines. It is the proper testing of last minute changes. You see, if that was not done it implies that proper testing was never done and that is a lot worse at present for Apple. As the new iPad Pro could set you back $2689 that issue is a lot more important than you think. MacRumors also gives us: “Despite the video and the forum complaint, this does not appear to be a widespread issue. There are a couple of other complaints from MacRumors readers who were seeing slight curves in their devices and received replacements or sent the tablet back, but there aren’t complaints that match the complaints we saw back in 2014 with the original iPhone 6 Plus bendgate“, which should be noted too, just be certain (as it counts for me too) to keep an eye on it, and even as a prospective Apple marketeer gives us: ‘Apple released their folding display before Samsung 😉‘, we need to be certain that any gospel truth involving Apple, just in case it is still partially owned by Microsoft.

For Apple things are escalating in a few ways. First there is ‘Apple admits iPhone X ‘ghost touch’ screen issue, offers free repair‘, which we got form the Sydney Morning Herald last week (at https://www.smh.com.au/technology/apple-admits-iphone-x-ghost-touch-screen-issue-offers-free-repair-20181112-p50ffl.html), yet Apple did respond with: “Apple has announced that it has found issues affecting some of its iPhone X and 13-inch MacBook Pro products, and said the company would fix them free of charge“, which is good, but it is water under the bridge, the damage is optionally already done. The question rotates around the core of properly testing issues before the audience gets them.The issue gets worse when we see: “For the 13-inch MacBook Pro, it said an issue may result in data loss and failure of the storage drive“, no matter how repairs go, the entire matter of data loss is a nightmare for many people, the idea that a days work is lost for whatever reason is a massive push to look elsewhere for a solution and that will hurt Apple down the track as well. The battery issue has put a dent in faith in Apple with many people and the keyboard issue in the Macbook and Macbook Pro models only make matters worse, so as the list is added to the media and as the media gives more and more light to it all, Apple might be in extremely rough seas this coming January. A setting that proper testing might have avoided to a greater extent. If this was not enough, CNBC adds fuel to the fire two days ago with ‘I tested the new iPad Pro and it still can’t replace my laptop like Apple says it can‘. The article (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/15/apple-ipad-pro-review.html) also gives us: “I’ve been testing the iPad for the past several days, and while it’s a very nice tablet, it’s still not capable of replacing my regular laptop. In fact, most people should probably just buy a Mac, or Apple’s cheaper $329 regular iPad“. I saw it in the store myself and the new Apple Smart Keyboard is a game changer, which is not available for the normal iPad. He might have a point to some degree, especially when we have to shell out a difference of $1200 at least. The only core issue is that the graphic part of the Pro is close to 300% faster than the not pro, so that is still a consideration to take in a graphic tablet life, but beyond that his view is harsh and optionally not wrong. I found the review of Todd Haselton extremely genuine, especially when he gives us: “The iPad Pro is great, but it isn’t for most people. Let me explain why“, he gives it the proper support, so it is a good part, yet it is also bad for Apple in another way, let’s go there together.

You see, the competition is never far behind and the device already available and several sources give it to us. In this case I selected ‘Huawei’s Matebook X Pro Is The MacBook Rival People Have Been Asking For‘ (at https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2018/11/huawei-matebook-x-pro-review/). Whilst we can look at Like Apple, Huawei starts with a solid aluminium body and then adds surprisingly powerful speakers to the sides, a big one-piece trackpad down below, and clever power button/fingerprint reader combo in the top left – and all of it is top notch. Then there’s Matebook X Pro’s backlit keyboard. While it is a bit on the shallow side, the keyboard’s relatively high actuation weight and deeper key travel feels vastly superior to the garbage you get on modern MacBooks” from more than one direction, it is the setting that gives is weight (as well as the keys I reckon). We also get two more interesting parts. The first is “the X Pro’s chin is equally thin too, resulting in a screen-to-body ratio of 91 per cent. That’s better than devices like the new XPS 13 (80.7 per cent) and the Galaxy S9 (83.6 per cent) by a fair margin“, as well as “Regardless of how shamelessly you think Huawei has copied Apple’s formula, it has absolutely improved on that template in a number of very important ways“. The second part is the most damning one. Apple had a good thing going and was willing to let marketing rule the ways, whilst improvements have been lacking (many users have made similar statements). When we see that the original has been improved upon and we see an equal in a field where they optionally did not belong, that is when the goose of Apple remains to be cooked (optionally for Christmas). With the final part “As of today we finally have Australian pricing and a release date for the Matebook X Pro, which is November 22, 2018. They start at $1,899 for the i5/8GB/256GB model and at $$2,599 for the i7/16GB/512GB model” we see the nightmare of Apple become a reality, not only is there an alternative available, as CNBC reflects on, we see that this alternative is out and it is with Huawei, which should upset Americans to no end. In addition that model comes with Windows 10 Pro Signature Edition, so you get the good stuff. Even as it is not a gaming PC, the optional Nvidia GeForce MX150 would enable you to truly enjoy places like Facebook in several ways and that is definitely an additional plus point all over the board. The battery was stated as good, not much beyond that, yet in light of the bank hey are bringing, we see that Huawei is optionally pushing into Apple territory and even as that is a really large field, the fact that Huawei moved into laptop space is something no one had really prepared for and that might be an issue over the next two months depending on how the Huawei Matebook X Pro is embraced by the audience, the fact that they are clearly on the radar should be regarded as an optional threat for Apple, they quite literally have a lot to lose at present.

There is also an IOS issue (and it goes way beyond IOS. hackers were able to exploit the JIT compiler flaw with a malicious access point, which Apple is expected to have patched in an upcoming iOS 12 update. This is always going to happen, we get that as an issue by itself it is not a biggie (or at least it is optionally not a biggie). When we see “An iOS 12 Security Flaw Allows Access to Deleted Photos on iPhone“, so OK, it is an issue and it will be fixed, in the worst case if you take photos of your wife/girlfriend you will just have to refrain from deleting them until the patch is out. It becomes a little more of an issue as the Mirror reported (at https://www.mirror.co.uk/tech/iphone-x-explodes-during-ios-13593046). The article ‘iPhone X EXPLODES during iOS 12.1 update – and Apple’s response is laughable‘. The article itself gives us: “@Apple iPhone X just got hot and exploded in the process of upgrading to 12.1 IOS. What’s going on here???“, yes it was done over twitter and the response: “That’s definitely not expected behaviour. DM us, so we can look into this with you” was indeed funny, yet not incorrect. Twitter is limited in the response usage, so it was an acceptable answer in all this. The article was not that great, but there is optionally another issue and whether this is a mere IOS 12.1 flaw, or a larger issue is unknown, leave it to the Mirror to not properly look into this and let emotions rise via responses on a mere Twitter setting and few words. The responses were exactly the ones we should expect to see and not worthy of repeating other than ‘And this deserved an article devoted to it?‘ This is acceptable and fair enough, yet the issue behind it is larger. You see if this is the update that is supposed to deal with the JIT compiler flaw; the update could optionally merely be making matters worse. The grand total is negative for Apple as a multitude of issues on devices and drop of value, as well as intensely lowered sales at present shows that Apple is in a not so good place. We cannot tell for certain because the end of year is 6 weeks away and a lot could optionally be repaired by then, yet the fact that there is a list of issues spanning the range of Apple models is not the greatest place to be in at present and proper testing could have prevented a lot of the issues involved before they happened, which leaves us to the setting: ‘Has Apple become too complacent in all this?

It is important because it only means that whatever comes out in the next 6 months could be as messy as anything they have released in the last year and it has not been a great year for Apple technologically speaking, and now that they have both Google and Huawei nipping at their heels on several fields could be a decent sign that there are more issues on the horizon making their shareholders even more nervous than in the previous 4 years altogether, so that too is likely to impact the total value of Apple over the coming quarter, they will survive, no doubt about that, yet it might be a while until they get to that 1 trillion mark again.

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Media, Science

What’s in the room?

It is merely a reference to a modernised joke by the Groucho brothers. ‘Wow, is that a really large penis, or is there an elephant in the room?‘ This is the situation we face (and yes it was an elephant). The stage we see when we are confronted with: “The 240-year-old department store chain was valued at just £65m by the end of the day, after its shares fell by 21% amid reports that it was now being shunned by suppliers. It was the biggest one-day fall recorded by the retailer for more than a decade” (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/nov/14/debenhams-shares-fall-by-21). There is a question forming in my mind, but I will refrain from voicing it for now. You see, we also see: “The sharp decline also came after very poor weekly sales figures released by John Lewis on Tuesday. The rival department store chain said fashion and home sales collapsed by more than 11% on 2017 levels last week“. This now leads us to the question ‘Hold on, Debenhams is impacted by the bad sales of a competitor?‘ and that is not the worst. John Lewis is doing the British thing and blaming the weather though ‘John Lewis blames weather for clothing and homeware slump‘ they are all in an ‘I am so upset mode‘ due to: “The poor clothing figures came despite the employee-owned chain’s recent investment in its womenswear ranges, including the 300-piece John Lewis & Partners collection“. Debenhams reported more bad news in the recent past and they are all signals and symptoms of another problem. Yet the issue of that problem is not the actual problem, it is actually seen through “The move comes just weeks after credit ratings agency Moody’s downgraded its long-term outlook for Debenhams and increased its “probability of default” rating, which assesses how likely it is that the company will be unable to pay some or all of its debts“. It is not Debenhams, it is Moody’s that is part of the problem and there should be some consideration whether we should look at orchestration here. From my personal view there are two elements. One is actually Debenhams; the other is Moody’s as well as the analysts that they have.

Painting the frame of an empty picture

To get that, we need to look at the larger picture and therefor look at the frame of it all. There are plenty of people who have a job, yet their living expenses are high, and in winter even higher. Now we get the more important part in all this, which is: ‘This is not news!’ And that revelation puts Moody’s in part of the frame. In this day and age, laces like Sydney and London, the cost of living is through the roof and people can only barely get by. In Sydney we also have Christmas coming and it is going to be summer here soon, so the Australian population is going with the Australian bikini (hat and panties), so women look even more amazing than ever before and the weather ensues that they are not cold, so no heating bill (optionally some air-conditioning expenses). In the UK it is the reversed and under these conditions KMart, Target and places alike are doing really nice, whilst places like John Lewis with their “300-piece John Lewis & Partners collection” will not get much traction until the boxing day sales when prices go down 30% or more, so any increased revenue expectations is close to insane in November (besides black Friday that is). Optionally December will be on par (at best), so there we see my reason for the suspicion of orchestration. More so when we see information like “Debenhams did not deny the reports, but a spokesman said: “Many suppliers don’t use credit insurance. Those that have used it historically are well aware of the current situation and work with retailers to manage things accordingly“. This now gives us two parts. The first is seen with: ‘Those that have used it historically are well aware of the current situation‘, so not only is it a known situation, it is known historically so making the 21% down an even larger no-no, because a predicted event is either calculated in, or it is a stage of orchestration as I personally see it. This implies that some players are overly confident in the previous cycle, whilst the known elements were already in place that this was highly unlikely to ever happen. This is an additional part in my personal suspicion of orchestration of the numbers and optionally by the numbers.

The other article on John Lewis (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/nov/13/john-lewis-says-mild-weather-to-blame-for-clothing-sales-slump) gives us: “It was also a challenging week for homeware, which fell 11.2.% after a sluggish housing market hit demand for curtains and cushions. Technology fared better and, though sales were down by 2.8%, the department was bolstered by gadget launches such as the iPhone XR“, and at this point we see even more.

You see, when we see the household spend being down, why would anyone get curtains and cushions at their homeware, whilst they get a decent and much better deal at places like IKEA? That would have been my forecast and knowing that is also adamant to the stage where the previous estimation of certain vendors would have been too positive in advance, in addition, technology sales would have been overestimated if it was down, yet not as much by the iPhone XR, so that implies (from my point of view) that there was a clear overestimation in the first place, as well as an optional overestimation of the new iPhone which by the way is at least 17% too expensive from the get go. Knowing these elements and you can see them in your own personal environment the best, you know that most of you are a little more cautious because of upcoming Christmas, all that implies that the organisations like Moody’s have been loading their cannons for another reason, because the entire cost of living is out of whack and it seems that it can now be used for optional economic orchestration, which is a huge no-no in my books. In addition, we see this downfall whilst the Black Friday has not started yet, a black Friday that could impact sales extremely positive as some see Debenhams (optionally John Lewis too) as the place to be on such a day. Consider that last year (according to the Express) ‘Debenhams offered up to 70 percent off on certain goods. Calvin Klein clothes were discounted by 50 percent‘, so when we see that, can we expect that these places were shunned last month so that the people could buy a lot more bargains? When you know that there is a chance that articles will be priced sown by 70%, would you shop now, or wait for an optional 70% cheaper pair of jeans (and if the man is lucky, his girlfriend will stock up on lingerie on that day too). All elements that are close to given, so when we see a 21% downfall on given expectations, whilst we see that certain elements are not considered in the first place, it is my believe that there is a setting of orchestration, which can have far reaching effects, especially as certain players with openly pressuring anti-Brexit feelings should no longer be ever trusted, not as they are trying to sway people through fear mongering. That is a personal believe of mine and so far I have been proven correct in more than one way ad on more than one occasion.

Let’s be clear, we need places like Fitch and Moody’s, yet when we see that certain known factors are downplayed by  analysts and when we see that they are not held accountable in any way, we see a power vacuum, where people unelected and optionally non-qualified are setting a dangerous stage for corporations to be scrutinised on a few counts where there was a seemingly level of neglect on applied business intelligence, at what point will we see the open questions on how the curve was overly downgraded at a prearranged point? If Debenhams and John Lewis get to hit the ball out of the part on the coming weekend and we see overly good news on the week after, will we start asking the questions on how analysts are optionally intentionally fear mongering companies into some level of administration? My views are supported by Springboard. The Guardian gives us: “The most recent data from Springboard, which counts shopper numbers, showed high street footfall down 2% in October – the 11th consecutive month of decline. Its analysts suggested shoppers were waiting for Black Friday and other seasonal promotions“. When we see that view and we do see that there has been a drop and the drop can be explained in simple and logical ways, at that point we see that there is an urgent need for Moody’s to explain their actions and give us jerk-knee actions like lowering the forecast for well over a fifth of the value, whilst the known status for the UK has been that Christmas tends to be a decent time, especially as there is no Thanksgiving outside of the US (for the most).

It seems to me that analysts and credit agencies like Fitch and Moody’s are becoming the elephant in the room and their actions should be the beginning of a lot of questions, especially as there are still too much questions on how they were in denial for too long in the 2008 bank and housing issues. It seems that they have been given a pass for too long and it is time to address that, especially as the US has been deploying whatever they can to avert Brexit into a remain status, they do not like to lose their upgraded revenue at the exploitation of Europe any day soon and that has come under fire to a much larger degree, and it should be receiving a lot more scrutiny by all levels of media soon enough (actually,  they are already a year late on that too).

At some point serious people should address the elephant in the room. I am hereby voicing clearly that I might be completely wrong, yet I am asking questions, ready to be corrected. The facts are clearly shown that some actions are overly excessive, especially in light of certain parts shown out there, the Debenhams situation is not new, there are pressures and no one denies that, yet they are not new. There are clear indicators that this has been a longstanding issue, a longstanding status of consumers not having enough available to splurge in any real sense of the way, making the entire 21% drop questionable on many levels and we do not see the questions asked, more so the drop is just accepted as is, which is another issue as well. We can clearly ask John Lewis a certain amount of questions that link the words ‘sanity’ and ‘reasoning’ on their ‘300-piece John Lewis & Partners collection‘. When was that done? Was it ever done? When we see the mention of ‘The line, which will be available in sizes 8-20 and available at prices ranging from £10 for a cotton jersey tank to £250 for a cashmere coat‘, yet I see no information on where the mean, the median is and how many pieces are at the outliers of that 300 piece range, is that not an important part as well? You see if 45%-65% is between the lowest and the -1 median John Lewis really arranged for a good time for themselves, if more than 40% is higher than the mean, we see that their insight was poor, with the optional ‘utterly stupid’ label if 30% is between Median +1 and highest priced articles, especially in this economic climate. Did anyone look at that? I am asking, because I searched, but I did not find that information. I am willing to accept that I did not look everywhere and in the wrong places, but Google search is pretty good that way. So as that part is optionally missing, the question I had on analysts, forecasters and prognosticators is setting them in a not so good light, especially as this data would have been available pre-launch (consider that these catalogues needed months to be created and printed).

These are all elements that were available way ahead of a sudden drop in values. Now, in the case of John Lewis, there is a chance that the fashion was initially rejected (until Black Friday) but that too could have been accounted for ahead of time. This all gives additional value to the question: ‘What is in the room?‘ So what if it was not an elephant, but merely an overextended ego? How would we see the status that Moody’s, Fitch and others are giving certain UK retail downgrades ahead of the curve?

I wonder if we will see the questions come after Black Friday and in January 2019, but I am not getting my hopes up, not any day soon at present.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Media, Politics, Science

E3, a first view

The E3 is in full swing for a few more days, yet let’s take an early look at it all. The first interest was of course the Bethesda show. Now, some have video blogged that it was ‘disgusting’. I do not agree! Mind you Bethesda was not strong with actual NEW stuff, but the VR edition of Fallout 4 and Doom is certainly a nice call. We saw more Skyrim, (Switch), we got to see Legend (the card game) and we got to see ‘Wolfenstein 2’ and ‘the Evil Within 2’ and more. That was not all but it was good to see all this. I agree that the show did not blow our minds to the degree it did last year, but Bethesda is delivering, I even saw some great stuff when we consider going to Morrowind online. Most of these trailers seem to be intro movies and not a lot of actual play time, but we will see more as we go to the actual Bethesdaland part of E3. Next is one that did rock da house. Yes, am talking about Ubisoft. I remain sceptic and distant when it comes to Assassins Creed, but we will get more on that later. What was stunning is the part I pounded on in 2015, yes two years ago (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/09/11/wakey-wakey/), I wrote in my article titled ‘Wakey, Wakey‘ “The weird part is that Ubisoft sat on a treasure, Black Flag could have been the pirate RPG Sid Meier could not make because technology stopped him and marketing relied on the AC brand to propel something that was close to utterly perfect“, now we see the announcement of ‘Skull and Bones‘ which is pretty much what I wrote about 2 years ago. However, this is not set near the founding beaches of Spicy Rum, it is in the heart of the Dutch West Indian Company, the ‘VOC’ The Indian Ocean and the beaches of Indonesia. An area where the ‘trade in spices’ was regarded as dealing in green gold; the seas that the Japanese Silk ships required to pass towards the ‘civilisation’ of Europe. As treacherous as the Caribbean’s and just as lucrative. The graphics and intro looked awesome and the game itself, for what we saw was impressive. The game offers 5v5 options as well as solo play and could be the Pirates game that Sid Meier fans have been waiting decades for. Yet that was merely small fry. Yes, small fry is literally the word. The stage started with what could be a new beginning for tactical games. The Switch game Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle will be bringing down the house. This is one of these titles that is the reason why people by a certain console. Ubisoft is delivering this time around and it could make the Switch the most popular console this upcoming Thanksgiving, St. Nicholas Day and Christmas. Even as some titles are not showing until early 2018, Ubisoft did set a quality stake of mind this year and it might be the hard needed boost they desperately required. In this Microsoft decided not to disappoint us by disappointing us almost completely. Their proclaimed ‘world’s most powerful console’ is anything except professional. The fact that they still have not learned that a 1TB drive does not bring home the bacon, and therefor pushing people to get additional EXTERNAL drives is just a near laughable bump in the world of storage. It sets the stage for the name Microsoft, which is now in danger of being a brand for micro (read: small) and soft (read: weak) gamers. So as we see the quote “Under the hood, Microsoft One X has 6 teraflops of graphical processing performance, which is 1.8 teraflops more than that of Sony’s PS4 Pro. The console uses a custom GPU that’s claimed to be more powerful than that of the Xbox One and PS4 Pro” from various sources, we see basically a lack to save what you need, so you are shifting software back and forth soon thereafter. Consider a console that is proclaimed more powerful than all others, which runs out of storage within 15 games. Is that worth the $500+ price tag? This leads me to the question on my consideration ‘what a waste of space their stand was’, it is harsh, but when you decide to not do your job in regards to the gamer in us, being soft is no longer an option. From that, the good news is that the iconic games (as I personally call them) that are out on Xbox One, and also were on the early access title list are coming to PS4 before the end of this year, so there is all manner of happy thoughts of dumping my eggbox console which could soon be regarded as a ‘has been’ before it got some actual strength, So yes, the Xbox one is less a failure than the WiiU, but not by much. Should you doubt this (always valid), consider that the Xbox One X is launched with 42 4K games, so consider that 50% of that should be maxing out the hard drive, do you still think you got a good deal? In comparison my 2TB PS4 is currently at 67% filled, none of it 4K, none of it the super high res that 4K could offer I do have a fair amount of games on it. Still, consider the games of the last year NBA (41GB), Forza5 (32GB) and Battlefield4 (33GB), 3 games using well over 10% of your total drive. Consider the AC-Unit patch (yes, patch), which was a 38GB, still feel good? Now consider that Microsoft seems to reserve 138GB on the Xbox One, I am assuming that it will be even more on the One X, but that is not a given, so the system and 3 games, that makes up for 25% of the entire storage system. Now, do you get the idea on how stupid Microsoft is regarding storage? There are games that do not require that much space, but with 4K gaming, storage will go fast, much faster than you think and that is something PC gamers have seen in the past, yet they can add drives and upgrade drives easily. An additional $110 gets you 2TB more, something consoles do not allow for. Oh, and if you like high end shooting games, space will go pretty fast.

So as we are deciding where to go, the E3 is showing us that gaming happiness is a PS4 with the Nintendo Switch next to it. Yes, this is n consoles, not PC! There is one clarity, which is me, as a deadly critic of Ubisoft is claiming now, from what ‘For Honor’ last year and ‘Skull and Bones’ showed this year, there is a need for high end PC gaming, yet the price tag is not small, but if you got the $$$, ‘Skull and Bones’ will show you why a high end PC was worth the trip. When it comes to Electronic Arts, my view is mixed. If you love Battlefield and Battlefront, you are in for a good time. Those who are not into that game category are losing out somewhat. We can churn this in a variety of spins, especially when we consider the not achieved hype that Mass Effect Andromeda got. I reckon it is a year where EA needs to figure out where it could fit and fix what was not right. Apart from that EA will launch its collection of sport games, so I reckon that the large run on the shops to get FIFA18 is not far off.

One would think that Sony rocked us all with what they had to offer, yet that is not really the case. Those who love ‘Shadow of the Colossus’ will be happy to see that a Next generation remake is on the horizon and here to we got a chunk full of VR and DLC. Last year’s new IP was shown again and no release date in sight, more spectacular God of War, now showing early 2018, so there is that to look forward to. Some other titles from last year were not shown and no release date, so will see that when it is ready.

At present the only part missing is the Nintendo presentation, yet they showed part during the Ubishow and what they showed looked amazing. I reckon that they have a few more gems, which just ups the need for the 3DS and the Switch, which is already a growing factor for all those loving a game or two.

I have to say that E3 2017 had more than one awesome surprise and those who had to really score decided to stay their hand and keep others in the uncertain dark. From that I have to admit that at present Ubisoft seems to be the winner of the 2017 show.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming, Media

The marks of trade

Even as we look into an abyss of unsettling economic prospects, we notice that many of the gadgets providing entities are still playing the high game for now. The fact of the matter is that even though many places are in recession, some places seem to be getting through and only a few are on the path of former comfort, all of the people are looking at some light point in their life, whether it is for them personally, or for the entire family. However, in the US there are the upcoming Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. A large portion of the world relies on Christmas day with a few places having an added feast of Saint Nicholas. Basically three moments the retail industry relies on these days to stop them from turning into Lemmings and run of the nearest cliff (could be an excellent game).

The following players (some of them) are:

  • Sony is going for the Playstation 4
  • Microsoft is going for the Xbox One
  • Nokia (a Microsoft company) is aiming at the Lumia 1020
  • Apple has a league of ‘new’ options, with all kinds of letters (and/or numbers).

So if these places have trademarks, then are they about protecting their recognisable design or expression. Yet, is that true, or is that what they proclaim they do?

What if their recognisable design becomes:

  • Playstation 4 – An average renewed system where they forgot about harddrive space?
  • XBox One – The place where your privacy truly went lost forever
  • Lumia 1020 – Another model, now with 41Mp camera, but where to store all those pics?
  • iPhone – more of the same and additional ways to run out of battery power before lunch.

So whist the brand (Apple, Microsoft, Nokia, Sony) have the one story, their products are getting different labels, and it is likely that the junior marketeers as stated ‘Junior’ seem to be not on par with HQ as it goes for the mission of the brand, and drop the ball all over as it comes to the product. When I see the trade shows, as I saw the stories and the way they try to hype the concept, I do wonder whether some of these ‘soldiers’ are on proper par with the concepts of trademark and long term damage that they seem to invoke.

So let us go over these ‘Trademarks’ in that order.

Playstation 4 – This is the one system I have decent levels of faith in. It’s initially weaknesses has been dealt with. The too small hard drive can now be upgraded. Mind you the 500 Gb should last a while, however, as 500Gb to 1 Tb is a mere $25 extra, so I wonder why 500Gb was chosen. If you spend an additional $100, you can upgrade immediately to 2Tb. I agree it is overkill, however upgrading once at start could prevent a 1-2 day loss down the line. I did it with my PS3 and never regretted it. ‘Sony, where storage was left at Kennard’s!’

XBox One – There have been loads of messages about online all the time, or even once a day. This has now been ‘removed’ as an issue as Microsoft no longer requires it. You see, it is so much better to get these people connected with a carrot then with a shotgun, so now the console comes with a free digital copy of FIFA 14. Which still needs to be downloaded! Whether this is only once, or the start to get people online in a sneakier way is yours to debate or conclude. Gamers for the most (the multi-player group) need to be online; the rest could be if the game is good. Many of the issues are about digital privacy fears. Some are realistic, some are speculated rumours, but a large portion is just absurd conspiracy theory. There was a rumour that deliveries were down, but this was denied by two sources. So in case you heard the 1 million less consoles on launch day, be sure to check your sources. I personally believe that the invasion of privacy was the biggest blast this trademark took. The additional issue of online once a day did not help, especially knowing how irritating broadband has been in plenty of places outside of the US. It would be nice to just dump this on Don Mattrick, yet I feel that this was not just his call and those above him should start taking a long hard look at the population of gamers. Calling this an ‘entertainment system’ instead of a ‘gaming console’ might seem nice and claiming that it will make you win the war is also nice, but the reality is that this multi-billion dollar market is all about gamers, not knowing that population will turn out to be ultimately fatal to the Microsoft XB-1 brand, no matter what else it can do.

Lumia 1020 – This is a new contraption. It has two sides. One, it is really fun to use (I tried it) and the camera abilities blew me away. Yet, the other side is that it is linked to Microsoft and they will have a few issues to deal with down the line (not just that weird OS). The device itself is no longer a Nokia device, or not in the traditional sense. Nokia was always the number one brand for me and it lost appeal as it was too slow moving into the smart phone world. They are coming back strong, but a 2 Gb ram when you have a 41Mp camera? Seems a little short sighted. So, they added a free 7 Gb SkyDrive option. Oh, wait? Is that not the place from Microsoft who gave their access to the NSA? So what about your privacy, not to mention the data usage price?

As you see, we are getting more and more towards the new Microsoft Trademark ‘Microsoft, because privacy is just an illusion!’ Is that fair? Not sure! You see, in the end I do not care whether the NSA gets access to my data. My worry is that overall, cyber criminals have more resources and abilities then we see at federal places. You know those small, massively underfunded places where they try to stop cybercrime (read FBI). The fact that the NSA gets access means that there is external access, which means that criminals get to have a go too. To that part I do object.

iPhone – the device that truly revolutionised smartphone and mobile usage is now going towards mobile phones in the same way Russia showed diversity for the S-300 (22 letters added over 30 years). Apple seems to forget to truly move their battery forward and in other fields of smartphones the iPhone is no longer regarded as the heralded winner. The device wants to be too much of everything and ends up coming up short in many of the fields they are in. So will the new Apple Trademark read ‘Apple – Master of none, drowning in some?’

There are plenty more devices out and about for the expensive festive season, yet it seems to me that some of the players entered that field by using spokespeople with a golf handicap equalling their IQ, or is that the other way round? When the digital world is entering the field where more and more possible ‘new’ consumers are updated through the net, it seems that their marketing and party lines need to get a massive overhaul and it should all get a much better mentor system then it currently seems to have.

Trademarks!

They might be seen as great assets, yet when those trademarks get assigned by the audience (example: Vodafail, because Vodafone just doesn’t connect) and it gives your brand itself a twist moving its customers towards to competition, you know you have problems coming (and many of these from your own board of directors).

 

Leave a comment

Filed under IT, Media