Tag Archives: David Jones

A short sighted Senate?

This was always going to happen. Whenever there is a political setting, it will always be about the money. In this, I will be trying to have a field day. So, a paper will be drawn, demanding that the Australian psychiatrists and researchers will have to sign; they will not get a choice in the matter. They do not deserve a choice in the matter. It will be fun for them to openly condemn Telstra, Apple, Amazon, JB Hi-fi, David Jones and a few other places, because in the end they are all linked in this, even though they do not even realise that yet. It is as I see it, the consequence of a biased setting and we need to make sure that these people will not merely get the limelight, they will, in this setting be responsible for the economic fallout. That is as I personally see it the consequence of greed driven bias.

You see, it is clear that this is about money. The fact that we see the flock gather around a person, who is so stupid that I equally demand that this British person, who is clearly too stupid for his own thoughts must be barred from credit cards for life! If he cannot control himself to that degree, we must protect him from being that stupid ever again.

You see, you think that it is an emotional part, but it is not. Even as I accept “Video games have generally been considered games of skill rather than games of chance and thus are unregulated under most gambling laws, but researchers from New Zealand and Australia, writing in Nature Human Behaviour, concluded that “loot boxes are psychologically akin to gambling”“, a setting that I do not agree with (explanation to follow), the quote coming from Aaron Drummond and James D Sauer, which was published in ‘Nature human behaviour‘, I feel uncertain to comment on, or oppose that part as I lack the proper psychological education in this.

Why is it not gambling?

That is the important part. Yes, there is a setting of luck, but ever loot box has a similar setting. We see one rare element, 2-3 uncommon elements and the rest will be common elements. So how did this come to be? For that we need to look at the father of loot boxes, the game Magic the gathering. Consider that on a piece of paper (size A0) cards are printed. An A0 page (841 x 1189 mm) will fit 12 cards per row, and 12 rows. The cards (usually 63 x 88 mm) get 144 cards on one page. In this setting we work with 288 cards, and if printed on 4 pages, we get 576 cards. So here we see the initial setting where we see that on these pages, the rare cards would be printed once, for example, two columns of 12 per page, in total 96 cards, the uncommon would be there twice, which gets us 192 cards and the remaining cards three times getting us the 576 cards, a set of 288 cards. So we always know that we get a certain combination, but we merely cannot tell which one. So this Australian government that allegedly is ruled through law, sets the stage (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-02/crown-casino-pokies-maker-aristocrat-court-decision/9387168), where pokies are not deceptive, whilst loot boxes are?

Am I digressing?

No, you see, in the CCG we see that there is a physical part to all the cards, with the virtual loot box it is not entirely the same setting. So even when we consider the ABC Quote “It argued the Dolphin Treasure machine, which is manufactured by Aristocrat and available to players at Crown, had been deceptively designed to give players the impression they had won, when they had in fact lost money“, yet in that same light, we see that a loot box, always gives a price, yet is it the price the buyer wanted? In this case I revert to the previous setting, now we add what is called a booster box. In a box are 35 packs (can be 30-36 depending on the CCG game), so we could argue that when we buy 3 boxes, we should have the complete set, yet with the 105 packs, we do get 105 rare items, but in that same setting, over the 96 rare items needed, if only 10% is double, we no longer get the complete set and we will have to swap with others. With physical cards that is an option, with virtual items that is not always possible. This is indeed the trap, yet is that gambling? When we know that we get a rare item, yet we cannot guarantee that item is that gambling? That is the question, yet in the case of the Crown Casino, the judges stated that that there was no deceptive conduct, and neither is there in this case. With Loot boxes you are ALWAYS a winner, but is winning and winning the price you want enough difference to warrant it gambling?

The economic setting

That is also part of this, because some power players are all about facilitating towards casino’s (go to Barangaroo if you doubt me), and we are also treated to “This is a win for 140,000 Australians who have jobs because of poker machines,“, as well as “Every year Victorians lose more than $2.6 billion on the state’s 27,000 poker machines that operate outside of Crown Casino“. This hypocritical setting is about money, plain and simple. This is a setting where the loot boxes are funds that go directly to the makers of those games and they are not in Australia. Unlike the other setting where we see “The State Government receives more than $1 billion in tax revenue from pokies every year“, yes all things are definitely not equal!

Are there issues?

Well, the quote “Games with loot box mechanics have long proven controversial” is actually true. There are two settings. Loot boxes you can earn and those you can buy. We will forever hear the argument of the game Mass Effect 3, for all, the golden standard. They could be bought, or won, the same loot box. Earn enough points in the game in multiplayer mode and you had the option to buy a golden box with earned points, instead of purchased credits. That was the best of all settings. Now we have these boxes that can be bought only, yet the foundation is that the game can be played and completed WITHOUT EVER buying a loot box, so those people are merely buying the boxes to get the insane chance of getting an over the top powerful item, which is weird in some ways. In support of some we must also acknowledge that EA Games as one of the players in all this decided to cut themselves in the finger and that is all on them. End Gadget gives u that (at https://www.engadget.com/2018/06/13/electronic-arts-loot-box-mea-culpa-e3/), so when we see ‘How EA talks about loot boxes depends on who’s listening‘, which might be good business practice, but it is really really stupid. You see, with “EA wants you to know that it has changed; that it isn’t the same company that put pay-to-win progression systems and loot boxes in two of its biggest games last fall. “We are always trying to learn and listen, and are striving to be better,” CEO Andrew Wilson said before closing out the keynote address“, we see one side, and with: “He thanked the investor for his question, saying that EA was working with “all the industry associations globally” and talking with regulators in territories where loot boxes had been deemed gambling, without naming any specific regions. He said that his company and the regulatory bodies concluded that Ultimate Team wasn’t gambling. Since players know they’ll get a certain amount of cards in each pack, and that the distribution of each pack is the same (i.e. one rare footballer, three uncommon, two common in each) it doesn’t break any laws“, here we see the part that I partially agree with, but it also shows that EA Games is all about the money and the ‘FIFA Ultimate Team‘ part of all this represents billions, billions that they do not want to lose.

There are two big parts in all of this, that is aside for that one person who could optionally be the most stupid person in the United Kingdom, especially when he ‘discovers’ he’s spent £7,500+ on FUT Ultimate Team cards (source: Daily Star 29th July 2018). The first is that FIFA is a game played by non-adults, so they will desire to optionally spend on these cards. The fact that there is no limit set is optionally an issue, if EA Games has set the stage where per month no more than £25 would be spend, that is close to half the cost of the full game, so it might need to be lowered. The second is the chance to swap any double won, so the fact that you are missing a Beckham, but have two Pele’s, you can seek someone who had the opposite setting. That could have saved a lot of issues, possibly all issues and EA Games merely made it harder by (as I personally see it) being stupid. That evidence is seen (at https://www.fifauteam.com/best-packs-fifa-18-ultimate-team/), Yet is also gives us that EA Games has free packs and they also give us “FREE PACKS. Not available to purchase on the store. They are assigned to you in the beginning of the game, as daily gifts and as draft, SBC, FUT Champions, objectives and seasons rewards“, so if free packs can be won, why is the entire matter still an issue? We also are given “Jumbo Premium Gold pack and Silver Upgrade pack both cost 15,000 coins but the first one may be purchased with 300 FIFA Points while for the second we only need 50 FIFA Points. Players should also pay attention to this aspect“, Yet I am also given “You can earn FUT Coins by playing FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) and trading within the Transfer Market, but you can’t buy them. Buying coins from a third party, promoting coin buying, or coin distribution is against our rules“, so we can transfer? Then again, why is there an issue, when there are so many factors that are not funds driven?

There is an interesting video on this (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=25&v=Igs5Ca9Nw4M), the man talks too fast for his own good, but it is very informative, giving us a clear view that there is a clear way to get items and players making it weird on how someone would have paid £7,500+ on FUT Ultimate Team cards. I do not doubt that this was done, yet it asks a few additional serious questions on the mental status of some video gamers. In all this I see several issues on both sides, but for the most, the entire setting is gambling and with the options for free packs and transfers, there is less and less a setting of gambling, merely the oversized need of greed by a government wanting non-taxable parts to stop. Yet at the bottom of the FIFA team page is also a comments section and we see the most interesting part that was also on the video.

Q: You say that we can buy coins directly?

A (Admin): My main suggestion is to trade. Buying low and selling higher is easier than most of the people think.

All given actions based on common sense, a part that someone paying £7,500+ for these cards is the setting of a person lacking common sense in spades, diamond and in clubs, basically the buyer was seemingly without hearts and common sense. Reverting to overspending and hiding behind gambling statements when there are trades and free options is overly unbalanced.

Yet I agree that this is all mostly based on FIFA, so how does that fare in other parts? With Overwatch (at http://overwatch.wikia.com/wiki/Loot_Box), we see that they are bought, yet they are also awarded.

  • One Loot Box is earned every time a player levels up.
  • One seasonal Loot Box is earned for the first time accessing the game in a seasonal event.
  • One Loot Box is earned for the first time winning some game modes in the Arcade, for example 1v1 Mystery Duel or 3v3 Elimination.
  • One Loot Box is earned for the 3rd, 6th, and 9th winning by playing Arcade game modes within the time between 2 resets. This cycle resets every week whether or not you win 9 games.

So these are options that do not require funds (yet can also be bought). It merely requires you to be a decent player. A decent player will have the option to three boxes a week by winning enough times, in all this, we see skill based progression.

This is the setting that we are faced with, and in this I wonder how thoroughly is the issue investigated, or will this merely be a senate exercise on lost (read: non-taxable) revenue?

In the end, when we move back to the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/games/2018/aug/17/video-game-loot-boxes-addictive-and-a-form-of-simulated-gambling-senate-inquiry-told) and we see no mention whatsoever that loot boxes could be earned, or are optional (under the right setting free), what other parts is the writer Patrick Lum not informing us on? In addition, when I see “Australian psychiatrists and researchers have called for greater regulation of video games that encourage players to purchase chance-based items“, whilst there is no mention on the earning option, or the initial free options that pretty much every game seems to have offered. When that part is equally missing, how fair will this inquiry be?

The article has two additional issues. the first is seen with: “The Office of the eSafety Commissioner estimated that 34% of young people made in-game purchases in the 12 months before June 2017, while the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia cited research finding that around 20% of simulated gambling players moved on to online commercial gambling and 5% of young Australians would develop gambling problems before they were 25 years old“. When we see ‘estimated‘, it should be made clear that this is not factual evidence, more important, what was the estimation based on? We are unlikely to get clearly informed on that part. In addition, the part ‘the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia cited research finding that around 20% of simulated gambling players moved on to online commercial gambling‘, is under scrutiny, because in that regard, I would want those so called ‘Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia‘ to produce the evidence and the raw data on how the ”around 20%” was obtained.

The second issue is seen with “Dr Marcus Carter, a former president of the Digital Games Research Association of Australia, argued that “predatory” practices were “pervasive”, citing potential variable odds manipulation, push notifications about limited-time offers and other player retention mechanics“, although I find his setting a much better one, there are still issues with the use of ‘potential’ in that, without evidence it is merely highly speculative and even as I would accept the danger of ‘variable odds manipulation‘, that part can be addressed clearly enough. The requirement is that there needs to be evidence that this is happening and a pre-emptive setting of making the optional issue of ‘variable odds manipulation‘ unacceptable in legislation is not wrong, yet requires proof. In addition, the entire setting of ‘push notifications about limited-time offers and other player retention mechanics‘ is equally valid, but can be stopped by an opt-in setting, in addition if that is addressed, we need to accept that all ‘limited-time offers’ in advertisement on media and TV are to be equally banned, because we could optionally get a ‘buy a new pair of shoes’ addiction (for a limited time that is). If that is to be accepted (cheating small time businesses out of advertising as well as taxable advertisement funds go right ahead, Or perhaps make it illegal to have ‘limited-time mobile offers‘, and we leave Dr Marcus Carter to explain that change to mobile providers, who will be crying over lost revenue. You see, when all players are equal there is no setting of fair play at all, merely the setting of expedited needs, in this case the government. All that when it was made aware of lines like “EA earns $1.68 billion in micro transactions in FY2017“, that whilst Australia’s biggest super villain (read: Taxman) never got a cent of any of that.

That is the actual setting and that got all those trying to set this all to gambling. Including the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and now Australia, they are all about getting a slice of that micro transaction pie, all that could have been prevented 15-20 years ago by them using their brains. Yet at that time ego and greed got the better of them and they were unwilling to kick Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and all other e-store players where it would have hurt, they were in my personal view mere cowards letting actual physical shops fend for themselves, as their business was pushed online and away from them. Now we see patch upon patch, all players trying to get as much of the cream as possible whilst trying to hide the fact that they had no backbone in the first place, all merely equipped with paper backs ready for recycling.

The mere setting of ‘All online items are GST set and paid for in the country of the purchasing consume by that nations legal setting‘ would have sorted 98% of all this, but the politicians in those global nations were, in the end merely as ‘solid’ and morally strong as wet tissue paper.

So in all this there is a huge issue with the loot box and gambling setting, merely from the point of view that I have that this is not about gambling, it is about non-taxable income, a very different issue to say the least.


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Google is fine, not fined

Yup, that’s me in denial. I know that there will be an appeal and it is time for the EU to actually get a grip on certain elements. In this matter I do speak with some expert authority as I have been part of the Google AdWords teams (not employed by Google though). The article ‘Google fined record €2.4bn by EU over search engine results‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jun/27/google-braces-for-record-breaking-1bn-fine-from-eu) is a clear article. Daniel Boffey gives us the facts of the case, which is what we were supposed to read and get. Yet there is another side to it all and I think the people forgot just how terribly bad the others are. So when I read: “By artificially and illegally promoting its own price comparison service in searches, Google denied both its consumers real choice and rival firms the ability to compete on a level playing field, European regulators said“, so let’s start with this one and compare it to the mother of all ….. (read: Bing). First of all, there is no ‘Shopping’ tab. So there is that! If I go into the accursed browser of them (read: Internet Explorer), I get loads of unwanted results. In light of the last few days I had to enter ‘Grenfell .co.uk‘ a few times and guess what, I get “Visit Grenfell, Heart of Weddin Shire” in my top results, a .org.au site. The place is in NSW. Did I ask for that? Google gives a perfectly fine result. Now, I am not including the top ads as the advertisers can bid for whatever solution they want to capture. So let’s have a look at Bing ads. First I can choose to be visible in Aussie or Kiwi land, I can be visible globally or I can look at specific locations. So how do you appeal to the Australian and Scandinavian markets? Oh, and when you see the Bing system, it is flawed, yet it uses all the Google AdWords terms and phrases, callout extensions, snippets. They didn’t even bother to give them ‘original’ Bing names. And I still can’t see a way to target nations. So when we see a copy to this extent, we see the first evidence that Google made a system that a small time grocery shop like Microsoft cannot replicate at present. We can argue that the user interface is a little friendlier for some, but it is lacking in several ways and soon, when they are forced to overhaul, you get a new system to learn. So when the racer (Micro$oft) is coming in an Edsel and is up against a Jaguar XJ220, is it dominance by manipulating the race, or should the crying contender considered coming in an actual car?

Next, when I read ‘rival firms the ability to compete on a level playing field’, should the EU regulator consider that the other player does not have a shopping tab, the other players has a lacking advertisement management system that require massive overbidding to get there? Then we get the change history. I cannot see specifics like ‘pausing a campaign‘, this seems like a really important item to show, for the most ALL changes are important and the user is not shown several of them.

In the end, each provider will have its own system; it is just massively unsettling on how this system ‘mimics’ Google AdWords. Yet this is only the beginning.

The quote “The commission’s decision, following a seven-year probe into Google’s dominance in searches and smartphones, suggests the company may need to fundamentally rethink the way it operates. It is also now liable to face civil actions for damages by any person or business affected by its anti-competitive behaviour” really got me started. So, if we go back to 2010, we see the BBC (at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8174763.stm) give us “Microsoft’s Bing search engine will power the Yahoo website and Yahoo will in turn become the advertising sales team for Microsoft’s online offering. Yahoo has been struggling to make profits in recent years. But last year it rebuffed several takeover bids from Microsoft in an attempt to go it alone” in addition there is “Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer said the 10-year deal would provide Microsoft’s Bing search engine with the necessary scale to compete“. Now he might well be the 22nd richest person on the planet, yet I wonder how he got there. We have known that the Yahoo system has been flawed for a long time, I was for a long time a Yahoo fan, I kept my account for the longest of times and even when Google was winning the race, I remained a loyal Yahoo fan. It got me what I needed. Yet over time (2006-2009) Yahoo kept on lagging more and more and the Tim Weber, the Business editor of the BBC News website stated it the clearest: “Yahoo is bowing to the inevitable. It simply had neither the resources nor the focus to win the technological arms race for search supremacy“. There is no shame here, Yahoo was not number one. So as we now realise that the Bing Search engine is running on a flawed chassis, how will that impact the consumer? Having a generic chassis is fine, yet you lose against the chassis of a Bentley Continental. Why? Because the designer was more specific with the Bentley, it was specific! As Bentley states: “By bringing the Speed models 10mm closer to the ground, Bentley’s chassis engineering team laid the foundation for an even sportier driving experience. To do so they changed the springs, dampers, anti-roll bars and suspension bushes. The result is improved body control under hard cornering, together with greater agility“, one element influences the other, and the same applies to online shopping, which gets us back to Steve Ballmer. His quote to the BBC “Through this agreement with Yahoo, we will create more innovation in search, better value for advertisers, and real consumer choice in a market currently dominated by a single company“, is that so? You see, in 2009 we already knew that non-Google algorithms were flawed. It wasn’t bad, there was the clear indication that the Google algorithms were much better, these algorithms were studies at universities around the world (also at the one I attended), the PageRank as Stanford University developed it was almost a generation ahead of the rest and when the others realised that presentations and boasts didn’t get the consumer anywhere (I attended a few of those too), they lost the race. The other players were all about the corporations and getting them online, getting the ‘path build’ so that the people will buy. Yet Google did exactly the opposite they wondered what the consumer needed and tended to that part, which won them the race and it got transferred into the Advertisement dimension as such. Here too we see the failing and the BBC published it in 2009. So the second quote “Microsoft and Yahoo know there’s so much more that search could be. This agreement gives us the scale and resources to create the future of search“, well that sounds nice and all marketed, yet, the shown truth was that at this point, their formula was flawed, Yahoo was losing traction and market share on a daily basis and what future? The Bing system currently looks like a ripped of copy (a not so great one) of the Google AdWords system, so how is there any consideration of ‘the ability to compete on a level playing field‘? In my view the three large players all had their own system and the numbers two and three were not able to keep up. So is this the case (as the EU regulator calls it) of “by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors“, or is there a clear growing case that the EU regulator does not comprehend that the algorithm is everything and the others never quite comprehended the extend of the superiority of the Google ranks? Is Google demoting others, or are the others negating elements that impact the conclusion? In car terms, if the Google car is the only one using Nitro, whilst the use of Nitro is perfectly legal (in this case). In addition, we see in 2015 ‘Microsoft loses exclusivity in shaken up Yahoo search deal‘ as well as “Microsoft will continue to provide search results for Yahoo, but in a reduced capacity. The two have renegotiated the 2009 agreement that saw Redmond become the exclusive provider of search results for a company that was once known for its own search services. This came amid speculation that Yahoo would try to end the agreement entirely“, so not only are they on a flawed system, they cannot agree on how to proceed as friends. So why would anyone continue on a limited system that does not go everywhere? In addition in April 2015 we learn “The other major change is that Microsoft will now become the exclusive salesforce for ads delivered by Microsoft’s Bing Ads platform, while Yahoo will do the same for its Gemini ads platform“, So Yahoo is cutting its sales team whilst Microsoft has to grow a new one, meaning that the customers have to deal with two systems now. In addition, they are now dealing with companies having to cope with a brain drain. Still, how related are these factors?

I personally see them as linked. One will influence the other, whilst changing the car chassis to something much faster will impact suspension and wheels, we see a generalised article (at no fault to the Guardian or the writer), yet I want to see the evidence the EU regulator has, I have been searching for the case notes and so far no luck. Yet in my mind, as I see the issues that those involves on the EU regulator side d not really comprehend the technology. This can be gotten from “According to an analysis of around 1.7bn search queries, Google’s search algorithm systematically was consistently giving prominent placement to its own comparison shopping service to the detriment of rival services“, where is that evidence? Analyses are the results of the applied algorithm (when it is done correct) and in this the advertiser is still the element not begotten. I have seen clients willing to bid through the roof for one keyword, whilst today, I notice that some of the elements of the Bing Ads do not support certain parts, so that means that my results will be impacted for no less than 10%-20% on the same bidding, so is it ‘demoting results of competitors‘, or is the competitor system flawed and it requires bids that are 20% higher just to remain competitive? And if I can already state that there are dodgy findings based on the information shown, how valid is the EU regulation findings and more important, where else did they lack ‘wisdom’?

There are references to AdSense and more important the issue they have, yet when we consider that the EU is all about corporations, these places want facilitation and as they ignored AdSense, that solutions started to get traction via bloggers and information providers. So when we see: “In a second investigation into AdSense, a Google service that allows websites to run targeted ads, the commission is concerned that Google has reduced choice by preventing sites from sourcing search ads from competitors“. Is that so? The larger publishing houses like VNU (well over 50 magazines and their related sites), so in 2005, Google got new clients and as such grew a business. And that was just in the Netherlands. Now those just yanking in a corner, trying to present systems they did not have 4 years later, and they are now crying foul?

There are leagues of comparison sites. One quote I really liked was “Google is like the person that has it all together but is too conservative sometimes, and Bing is like the party friend who is open to anything but is a hot mess”. Another quote is from 2016: “With Bing Ads though, you can only show your ads on the Content Network if you’re targeting the entire US”. So an issue of targeting shown in 2016, an issue that Google AdWords did not have a year earlier. This is important because if you cannot target the right people, the right population, you cannot be competitive. This relates to the system and the EU-regulators, because a seven year ‘investigation’ shows that a year ago, the other players were still lagging against Google, in addition, when we read in the Guardian article: “the EU regulator is further investigating how else the company may have abused its position, specifically in its provision of maps, images and information on local services”, we need to realise that when we relate to cars, the other players are confined to technology of 1989 whilst Google has the Williams F1 FW40 – 2017. The difference is big and getting bigger. It is more than technology, whilst Microsoft is giving the people some PowerPoint driven speech on retention of staff, something that IBM might have given the year before, Google is boosting mental powers and pushing the envelope of technology. Whilst Bing maps exist, they merely show why we needed to look at the map in Google. This is the game, Microsoft is merely showing most people why we prefer to watch them on Google and it goes beyond maps, beyond shopping. As I personally see it, Microsoft is pushing whatever they can to boost Azure cloud. IBM is pushing in every direction to get traction on Watson. Google is pushing every solution on its own merit; that basic difference is why the others cannot keep up (that’s just a personal speculative view). I noticed a final piece of ‘evidence’ in a marketing style picture, which I am adding below. So consider the quote ’51 million unique searchers on the Yahoo! Bing Network do not use GOOGLE’, so consider the fact of those trying to address those 51 million, whilst they could be addressing 3.5 billion searchers.

The business sector wants results, not proclaimed concepts of things to come. Microsoft is still showing that flaw with their new Consoles and the upcoming Scorpio system (Xbox One X), users want storage, not streaming issues. They lost a gaming market that was almost on equal term with Sony (Xbox 360-PlayStation 3), to a situation where it now has a mere 16% market of the Sony market and that is about to drop further still as Nintendo is close to surpassing Microsoft too.

There is always a niche market (many people), who want to kick the biggest player in town, I get that. Yet at present the issues shown and as far as I get the technology, I feel that the EU regulators are failing in a bad way. I might be wrong here and If I get the entire commission papers and if issues are found, I will update this article as I am all about informing people as good and as correct as possible. Yet the one element that is most funny, is that when I open up Internet Explorer and I type in ‘Buy a Washing Machine‘ Bing gives me 8 options, 7 from David Jones and 1 from Snowys outdoors, which is a portable one and looks like a cement mixer. So when was the last time you went to David Jones to watch a washing machine? In Google Chrome I get 6 models on the right side, with 3 from Harvey Norman, 2 from the Good Guys and one from Betta, and that is before I press the shopping tab, so can we initially conclude that Micro$oft has a few issues running at present? Oh and the Google edition gives me models from $345 to $629, Bing prices were $70 for the portable one and the rest were $499-$1499.

This is not on how good one or the other is, this is how valid the EU regulator findings were and so far, I have several questions in that regard. Now, I will be the last one keeping governments from getting large corporations to pay taxation, yet that part is set in the tax laws, not in EU-antitrust. As mentioned the searchers before, I wonder whether the EU regulators are facilitating for players who seem more and more clueless in a field of technology that is passing them by on the left and the right side of the highway called, the ‘Internet Of Things’.

From my point of view Google is doing just fine!

The EU regulator? Well we have several questions for that EU department.

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Relying on the margins

This is an issue that has been on my mind for some time, you see, I am not the smallest person (not just in length). I never looked like I have been hungry for a decade. I try to eat healthy, I have my regular salads and I walk a lot. I walk every day on principle, to the extent that I never bothered with a car (apart from the parking fees all over the city). So, as I go into the city to buy clothes, I am always confronted that 2XL does not cut it. Now, this is all good and proper, so I am slightly larger than the norm. But is that the case? Several sources including The Medical Journal of Australia has stated that obesity in Australia is set at 67%. Third place after New Zealand set at 68.4% (a world’s first where Australians are delighted that Kiwis have beaten them at something) and The Americans at 74.1%. We are trailed by the Barmy Army (aka the Britons) by 63.8%.

So we can state that on one side we have an issue, on the other side, it would make perfect sense that the fashion industry would cater to a need. So, explain to me why those places calling themselves fashion stores would avoid anything beyond 2XL? In some cases I get the ‘excuse’ “Oh, we ran out of stock“, or: “Let me check in the back” (whilst we all know they knew they never had any). Some just state ‘2XL is the biggest we have’. The Levi’s store has one model in 3XL (actually, more like 2XL+), yet as I went through Pitt Street, Myers, David Jones, the QVB building and the World Square Shopping Centre. When looking for decent brand clothing, only Sportscraft and Rodd and Gunn were able to satisfy my need (3XL was in some cases the biggest they had). So, why would anyone in their right mind ignore a customer base of over 50%? (I am ignoring the 3-4 shops that specifically cater to larger sizes).

Can anyone explain it to me, because it makes no business sense at all! Ibisworld states that 122,266, comprise 12,785 clothing businesses. This is of course over Australia, not just Sydney. So how many are catering to the larger sized population? The question has international impact for two reasons. First there is the economic impact. When we see ‘Popular Fashion Retailer Files for Bankruptcy. We didn’t see this coming!‘ we have to ask how stupid the quoting party is. The company has around 9000 staff in 19 countries and is known for its hyper-sexual advertising, which is all fine (to some extent), yet when we look at http://store.americanapparel.net/ and we seek and realise that you will not find anything over 2xl (in some cases no larger than XL), than this implies that American Apparel, as well as the bulk of the fashion store is ‘intentionally’ barring 74% of its possible clientele. Why should such stupidity be ‘rewarded’ with a Chapter 11? It is not like the people in charge considered the first 10 chapters, did they?

This now relates back to an article in the Guardian titled ‘Model who criticised agency: I spoke out about body shape to protect girls‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/oct/16/model-criticise-agency-spoke-out-body-shape-protect-girls), here we see the quote: “The model who used an open letter to criticise her former agency for allegedly sacking her because she was “too big” has said she spoke out so that youngsters were aware of the pressures in the industry to maintain unrealistic body shapes“, the subsequent quote “Caroline Nokes, who heads the all-party parliamentary group on body image, will lead the inquiry into whether the fashion industry is promoting unhealthy standards of beauty. It begins in November” is also cause for concern, but not for the reason you might think. I think that Caroline Nokes, Conservative for Romsey and Southampton North in Hampshire needs to take a seriously different look. You see, the ‘unhealthy standards of beauty‘ norm is a joke (in my humble opinion), what does it solve? By the time this all takes a gander towards anything serious we will be at least two administrations later. If there is truly a want and a need to make a change, than turn the transformation into a hammer people will not ignore.

Add to the restrictions of Bankruptcy, make the end date of an entry into the insolvency register 60 months, not 12. In addition, we add ‘unethical behaviour’ as a directive, so that debts caused through ‘unethical behaviour’ cannot be written off. Of course making a case for deciding to cater to 26% is unethical, which is a different issue and is still part of it all. Yet, consider that the need to cater changes, how can the fashion industry continue in its present firm when the catering part changes?

There is also an opposition from me towards this, you see, over-legislation is an equal evil. We believe in freedom of choice and as long as those persons accept the consequences and remain liable for the costs of what they did, they can do whatever they can. If someone wants to open a coffee shop just to cater to women, than they can. Oh no! They cannot, it is called discrimination. So how does this all fit? Well actually it does not! Shops can basically cater to the non-obese. They just ran out of stock, or they made ‘choices’ in their catalogue. Yet, in all this Caroline Nokes has a separate problem, until the view of what is ‘required’ utterly changes, she would end up talking up a storm to a collection of mugs without ears. Each holding a cup full of opinions and none replying to the actual situation. In all this a change is essential, but how to best go about it? As I see it, we can all have a business, we all make choices on what is the best course of business. Yet, when we go wrong, when our way was flawed, why should anyone else but us pay for our own mistake? Non-accountability has been at the axis of the law and legislation, especially corporate ones for too long. So we change that bit. If a business wants to exclude 74%, than that could be valid, it could be equally valid that some areas can never be supported, I understand that completely. Yet in all this, when we can state that it is more likely than not that a business could remain active if it had catered better to its possible customer base, than it should be regarded as an unethical business practice, as such the caterer should pay the price of unethicality. In all this a problem remains, how is catering to a specific group unethical?

If it is not, than can this person be labelled as unethical when the plan goes wrong? This remains an issue, as such there is little option for Caroline Nokes in this direction. In the end, segmentation is likely to safe businesses more often than not. So as such, what can we do to change this? There are as I stated two avenues. The first one is to stop enabling bad business sense. Of course you can engage in it, but if it falls on your face, the cost of that bad track will also fall in your lap and your lap only.

In the second (I still shiver for considering this) is to make a change to authorities like the financial services compensation scheme. That is a bit dodgier to address. As I see it, it is also not really a realistic path. In the end, is this just about me being unable to get a nice 3XL polo shirt?

The Guardian quote “Nokes said the industry is in a vicious circle, where agencies brought in young women to satisfy the designers, and designers made clothes “to fit the frame of a teenage boy” because those were the kinds of models that were available to them. “These are not clothes for women with busts and hips,” she added” only gets is a little bit into that direction, Another Guardian article, from August 27th (at http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2015/aug/27/where-are-all-the-plus-size-male-models), shows the addition we need. Now, we must agree that any business has rights to do as it pleases (as long as no laws are broken). So when we see “I asked three major agencies in the UK, all of whom have plus-size female models on their books, and they all said they have no plans to sign plus-size male models“. There does not seem to be any wrongdoing here. You see, they cater to the need of their clients, so the brands have no need for people in the plus-size range. Yet, should we not wonder why these brands are not catering to the missed population of over 300 million in the western world alone? Perhaps the better question becomes in this day and age of commerce, profit and revenue, why is nobody going there? (Apart from the 2-3 that are).

The additional quote “One of the biggest plus-size retailers in the UK, Bigdudeclothing.co.uk, started three years ago. It recently received funding from William Currie Group which invested in Asos and has seen 100% growth in each year it’s been in business. Its clothes go up to 10XL but it struggles to find models who best represent the brand“. So it seems that some are looking at the table that seems to be just set for them, completely with a 7 course meal. I stumbled upon a part that could grow their business even more. Yet is all this, is the truth truly exposed? You see, when we go to a store, we see that sizes M up to 2XL are all priced the same, yet should we not recognise that a ‘2XL’ requires 40% more material than a size ‘S’, should we not recognise that the costs would be a factor and prices and budgets are a factor. I am not certain that the argument is completely valid, but the facts are important here, as should the deeper search in this matter be.

So is Caroline Nokes correct that the inquiry on ‘the fashion industry is promoting unhealthy standards of beauty‘? I find for a partial no, because there is a factor that is actually worse and going for the least incriminating fact is just wrong! There might be a case that the industry is pushing for unhealthy work environment and unhealthy living requirements, which is another slice of cake altogether. Here we make the final step. I am referring to a 2010 paper called ‘Employment arrangements, work conditions and health inequalities‘ by Johannes Siegrist, Joan Benach, Abigail McKnight and Peter Goldblatt in collaboration with Carles Muntaner. (at https://www.instituteofhealthequity.org/projects/employment-and-work-task-group-report/employment-and-work-task-group-full-report.pdf), so what happened to that paper, more important, why is it not getting a lot more exposure? The quote “First, specific employment and working conditions are associated with elevated risks of reduced physical and mental health, elevated sickness absence and disability pension risk. These conditions are found in the English workforce. Importantly, these associations are not confined to traditional occupational hazards and related occupational diseases and injuries, but include increased health risks attributable to insecure employment and an adverse psychosocial work environment” (page 41), I say that modelling is gets to move high up that list here.

So we have a need that is partially addressed, we have a group that is under protected and over exploited, in addition we see an ego based business continuing in its track. There is no real injustice from a legal point of view, but there is a growing inequality. We can think whatever we want regarding Charli Howard, yet there is a line under all this that is ignored. We (me inclusive) seem to mix emotion and cold facts. Toby Wiseman, editor of Men’s Health magazine phrases it perhaps best: “When discussing anorexia in fashion, the health argument sensibly prevails; when obesity comes into play, emotive arguments tend to take over”, this is part of the problem Caroline Nokes faces. This is not about my need for a 3XL polo and a nice pair of pants, there is an ego driven society that is starting to be more and more disabling towards the market they are not interested in.

Again, is this about me and my 3XL shirt? Perhaps it is just me and opening a ‘bigdude’ shop in Sydney is the beginning of my fortune. Apart from having a decent business sense, I have absolutely zero fashion sense (my work and university brothers can attest to that). In the end, it is the observation of a shortage and the fact that no one is acting on it. From the previous part we can see that apart from a bad sense of business, these fashion stores are catering to ego, which is not a crime, or wrong and as such, they should not be legislated against, no wrong is done.

This gets us to the last part in all this. Again, the outrage given is all emotional, when Katie Hopkins decided in her act of ‘fatshaming’, she did one thing the other ‘fatshamers’ never did. She gained 4 stones (28 Kg), only to prove she could lose it again. Of all places, this comes from the daily mail (I am now ignoring the foul taste in my mouth for mentioning them). The quote “Meanwhile, weight loss expert Steve Miller, who fronts TV show Fat Families, said Katie’s latest project shows a ‘shallow’ approach to weight loss and does not take into account the emotional mindset of those who struggle to lose weight“. I am not sure if I can agree with Steve Miller. At least Katie Hopkins is going that distance. Now, I will also consider that certain elements are ignored, but I will get to that. One quote that touches on this is “To try to define all those who are overweight as somehow lazy or lacking in will power does a huge disservice to the experts who have made tackling obesity their focus” (at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2740537/People-say-Youre-lucky-youre-skinny-Katie-Hopkins-piles-four-stone-overweight-people-fat-fault.html). Yet, there is something in the approach that Katie Hopkins takes. If she pulls it off, it means that sometimes we all need a harsh kick to our sizeable arses. I do believe her view is slightly too simplistic, yet in all this, there is also the issue with Steve Miller, some will see his view as exploitative. A long term ‘sandwich’ so to speak. I cannot vouch for his success of lack there off, but the less than 1% of the successes show a certain type. This does not make for his failure, but in equal measure it would not stop the success of Katie Hopkins. Perhaps they are two different sides of the same coin.

What started on a mere margin of fashion is now something larger, a mere supersized trip on a massive group of people (pun intended) where we see the shifting sands of enabling, the absence of enabling and the dangers if legislation gets too involved. The models might be on the other side of that equation. Yet when we try to visualise this (with http://www.bmivisualizer.com/), when we look at the BMI tool, set it to female and add the details of Charli Howard (173/50), we get a dangerous underweight. Now we get into the field that ‘Employment arrangements, work conditions and health inequalities‘ brings. People in this field are increasingly in danger of: Inhibited growth and development, fragile bones, a weakened immune system, anaemia and fertility issues. So, tell me, which model contract has been mentioning these dangers to the teenage working population? In addition, when we get her to the earliest healthy point, we see that 5Kg was all it takes, the other opposite of the scale tends to be well over 15Kg too much. The scales are more than unbalanced. Yet in all this, the official words of Caroline Nokes are not here. They were: “Legislation should be a last resort, but I’m conscious the fashion industry isn’t responding to calls for change, we would prefer a code of conduct, if we could feel confident it would be adhered to”, it is exactly the issues that I raised. On her site (http://carolinenokes.com/), additional information is found, the French position where models with an BMI under 18 are not allowed to work, the solution seems to work (check it with the BMI tool), even though the measure can be just under the bar, it is at all times minimal. If our lives are measured on health, perhaps starting with the limitation that only healthy models can participate, a change can begin that others will see a shift towards the leaner side of life. Whether the approach of Katie Hopkins holds any water remains to be seen. If we believe her words, than she is now the new Jesus. Well, that works nicely for me, because Father Clayton and Bishop Terry know that I work for ‘the’ other side, so as I serve Morax, I would enjoy nailing her to the nearest cross I can find (any of the wooden support beams of St. Pauls will do). Our heavenly father will forgive me, because that is what he does. How did religion get into this? Simple, you and me we must live through faith, in most cases merely the faith in ourselves (as my exams are showing me harshly) is the number one act that makes for change, in addition, we need to have a sense of humour, if you doubt that, than ask the guards at the Vatican whom I told I was ordered by the Bishop of Rome to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel White. As a true follower of the Cheshire cat, it seemed, in contrast to the queen of hearts that something needed to be painted, I decided a ceiling to be white. Let’s face it, after 510 years the IP of Michelangelo has lapsed, time for something new!

If you wonder now, why this step? Consider that the figure of absolutely not skinny was all the rage in 1500, so as we now find that part to be too offensive, let’s do away with all positive images that the Rubenesque age gave us. I will let you figure out the final puzzle that I left intertwined within the religious references.

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