Tag Archives: FX

We forgot the slogan

Yes, we forgot the slogan, the one I will tell you later and it was not mine, but it is a slogan I have admired for years. The view exploded as I saw ‘Toxic avengers: what Scorsese and Tarantino’s new films say about male violence‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/dec/16/scorsese-irishman-tarantino-once-upon-a-time-in-hollywood-toxic-male-violence), I need to be careful here as I do not wish to attack the views of another person, in this case David Alexander. Yet he almost forces me to do that when we see ‘are they doing anything to move the discussion forward?

I am not certain, you see “Outside the Tarantino dreamscape, in which men enact their fantasies of aggression in defence of quasi-fictional innocents, what is the implication of violence for male relationships – with families, women, indeed other men? It’s surely devastation, Scorsese tells us, as he presents male violence as a problem rather than a solution“, in the end a movie is like a book, it is entertainment. I could watch either movie and then still have fun to watch ‘Spies in Disguise‘ as well, Will Smith as a turned pidgeon might be nice and the movie made me slightly curious. Me wanting to see film number three as well does nothing to the value of movies number one and two.

Just like a good book, a movie can be entertaining, educational or even inspirational, yet the inspiration could be the drive in any discussion and moving something forward, yet am I an Irishman? De Niro (for the most is not, he is American (with descendancy from both Italian and Irish side), so does that make him an Irishman? Nope, but he is an Irishman in the movie, still we focus on the actor when it is a Scorcese movie. Scorcese is the director, the author of the movie, Scorcese controlled the artistic and dramatic aspects and he visualizes the screenplay by Steven Zaillian all whilst he guides the crew and actors in the fulfilment of that vision. We can state that we wanted to have a discussion, but it is in the end a discussion on a piece of fiction, we forgot the slogan that mattered ‘The story is everything‘, it was the slogan of FX and it is still the best slogan in entertainment I know of.

And this movie? It is a movie and we can see from actual events that this could optionally have happened, yet when we realise “Hoffa vanished in late July 1975; his body was never found. He was declared legally dead in 1982“, as well as “At 3:27 p.m., Hoffa called Linteau complaining that Giacalone was late. Hoffa said, “That dirty son of a bitch Tony Jocks set this meeting up, and he’s an hour and a half late.” Linteau told him to calm down and to stop by his office on the way home. Hoffa said he would and hung up; this is Hoffa’s last known communication” A lot of this can be found in FBI files, does this make the movie truthful? No, it makes it a story that seems believable and that is not the same thing. Yet the issue that it does show is that we all love movies that are dipped in reality, whilst we leave space for Will Smith as a pigeon. Yet to be honest, how does a movie like that ‘move the discussion forward‘? It is in that context that I do not see “Both present vibrant ecosystems of toxic masculinity. And both reveal much about the largely male environments they present and the shocking violence within them, through the way they think about their central female characters“, both are basically pieces of fiction and one has been dosed with the facts of events making the movie a massive dose of realism, realism that was out and about in the 70’s.

If my movie became a reality (optionally as a short movie), would ‘How to Kill a politician‘ be the stuff of fiction that drives a conversation, Yes, I would hope so, yet what conversation it would drive is another question. I thought through ‘How to Kill a politician‘ as a viewed version of my response towards anti-Islamic feelings in Europe and the anti-islamic feelings driven by politicians (in this case a Dutch one). It is a different setting, and it does not oppose the view of David Alexander, who in the end states “Scorsese tells us, as he presents male violence as a problem rather than a solution. In doing so, he ultimately creates the more meaningful film“, that is a fair enough view and we see that it is up to the director to validate or partially invalidate that view, perhaps it is not valid but it is what we take away from the story that is the beauty of the book and movie, they inspire us to have thoughts, they inspire us to dream and they inspire us to consider, three very meaningful and essential points that are in anyone’s self. And in all this we forgot one more point of inspiration, it is the story that David Alexander gives us his view on the matter, or on the matters at hand. 

It does not matter whether he is right or wrong, it is HIS point of view and it made us consider issues, so in this he became ‘the story is everything‘. That is also a point of view that we need to consider. There are points that come from within us, yet are they fictive or realistic? ‘How to Kill a politician‘ is a point of view that is all about fictivity, but the events around it were real, still it is fiction, can fiction become reality? It is the serious question behind it all, especially as the article is about the Irisman and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, it is in that that I see not the question can fictivity become reality (a side every Harry Potter fan yearns for), yet the view can fictivity drive reality is another matter. It can drive things (the movie JFK is evidence of that), yet the drive is specific and that part matters to me, it was a central consideration in the drive as I thought through ‘How to Kill a politician‘, I wanted there to be a drive for questions, yet I wanted to be clear in the fictivity and in this the optional view of children as they considered how to counter hate. I considered that the stronger the drive for questions, the larger the drive from people to see it and that part intersects with both Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorcese, I believe that they push a similar drive as this is one way to make people curious and keeping a curious person away from any movie is a non-option (my sense of humour is voicing that as it refers to curiosity and all those people who saw Deep Throat). 

It gets us to the one sentence that I oppose (partially) towars the view of David Alexander in “Both present vibrant ecosystems of toxic masculinity“, I have an issue with ‘toxic masculinity‘, we can go from the part where all violence is toxic, but it does not stop us from watching it, and we can see that it is about the story and in this violence sells, just like sex sells. Both make most men (and some women) curious, and that grips back to the curiosity setting in watching a movie, any movie maker wants to set the stage in a place where it leaves the people really curious and of course the movie needs to settle that curiosity, yet at this point that feeling need not be based on reality (Spies in Disguise anyone?) that is just my feeling in this and they all adhere to the one side I still admire ‘the story is everything‘. In the end we are all slaves to what we need, what we need satisfied and curiosity has been a number one for a long time, Hollywood figured that out long ago, if they had not record after record would not be broken in Hollywood, but it has. 

I merely wonder when we see a historic movie based on the era that comes over the next 20 years, will we see the optional “what X and Y new films say about female violence“, we might not believe it, we might ignore it but it is there and there are facts all over the place that violence by women is on the rise, to be honest I wonder when people figure out that violence is an issue for all homo sapiens, not just men. It has been merely more visible in that group. That realisation makes me wonder how we see violence and do we see it correctly. Violence tends to be a tool to get from one point to another nothing more, it is hard to see it in that way, but it is a truth, and Yes, I do understand that violence is overwhelmingly a male tool, I am merely stating that it is not ignored by women. And it is important to realise that the movies were not about that, they were stories and for the most we all love stories, we were addicted to books for centuries (those who could read), over time we went to the cinema’s and both the cinema and TV replaced books for the longest time now, yet the need for a story remains.

A lot of us forgot the slogan (or were not aware), let us never do that again.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Media, movies

Branding

An Apple original, a Netflix original, Stan presents and so on. This is the view I started this morning when the trailer ‘For All Mankind‘ hit the screens. The game has changed and the value of IP has gone through the roof, finding quality IP is going to take on a new level of interest. Not merely finding the IP, getting there first means something now, it is a new form of Armistice and it is a game designed for all the creative Masters of Art out there. Yes there is the anticipation of new hits and movies we want to see. We look forward to people like Nicholas Cage (Primal), and Robert de Niro (The Irishman). Yet it goes further than that, the amount of movies that are popping up with references to ‘Basically, How to Write a Netflix Original‘, we see new cash cows coming into existence. Yet the basic need is not to write the story, it is to have the idea in the first place. I can, at any given moment drum up a new story; I have been writing my blog for several years now, creating over 1200 articles. All the articles have news references and have references to events, but creation was key! And that is not the stage, the stage is not the Wall Street journal (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/with-chips-down-saudi-arabia-finds-little-goodwill-in-the-u-s-11569495606) giving us: ‘With Chips Down, Saudi Arabia Finds Little Goodwill in the U.S.‘, this is a given and required little creativity, yet the creative eye will spot beyond the quote “Two-thirds of Americans now have an unfavorable impression of Saudi Arabia, according to a Gallup Poll earlier this year, the highest percentage the survey group has ever recorded for the kingdom. It is higher now than it was after Sept. 11 attacks, in which 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi“, it would be able to see that the anti-marketing machine that even included the United Nations (the essay by Agnès Callamard), where even with a lack of evidence the Saudi Arabian crown prince was painted as the guilty party, Eggy Calamari even gave us: “The killing of Mr Khashoggi thus constitutes an international crime over which other States should claim universal jurisdiction. I call on those States to take the necessary measures to establish their competence to exercise jurisdiction under international law over this crime of extrajudicial execution,” we cannot deny that the likelihood that the life of Jamal Khashoggi was ended in an unnatural way with a certainty approaching 100%, no one denies that, yet the who remains an issue and the reference “for which the State of Saudi Arabia is responsible” can only be made through circumstantial evidence (and it still remains dubious at that), whilst the use of that evidence leaves too many gaps, giving a clear failure as ‘beyond all reasonable doubt‘ is not met, yet in opposition these same state facilitating players have ignored actual evidence of Iranian actions of assaults and bombing of Saudi Arabian civilian targets. As such there is a creative engine in play and that engine is targeted at Saudi Arabia (the connections will make sense soon enough).

The actions by the UN to stop escalation with ‘US-Iran tensions escalate despite UN efforts‘, gives us the light that clearly produced evidence is ignored and shunned by the UN, giving us the stage that the discrimination of produced evidence is set aside, the western media to a larger extent has been accommodating to that, in the one case where the Washington Post could get a reprieve, even now when we see mere hours ago headlines like ‘Iranian president: US should end ‘maximum pressure’ policy‘ and ‘As tensions boil in the Persian Gulf, Iraq seeks to rein in Iran-aligned militias‘, we should notice that the Washington Post has gone to extremes to keep the mention of Saudi Arabia as a victim to an absolute minimum.

It is a new kind of branding, it is anti-branding. The western world is scared, too scared at present. First there was Huawei that has the hands on the largest bulk of 5G IP ever made, and it reduces several nations to an Intellectual property joke at best, the cream of all 5G patents is in the hands of Huawei (China), in this Reuters reported less than 12 hours ago ‘Huawei already producing 5G base stations without U.S. parts‘, more important, in 2020 that production line will be doubled, add to that that Norway is not siding with several EU nations not to block Huawei as a 5G solution has the US on the ropes, they are about to lose billions upon billions. It is the price of iterative complacency and it scares Wall Street. You might think that I switched topics, but I did not. There is a clear line.

As Saudi Arabia is more and more committed to build its Neom city, Huawei is now ready to implement their 5G solution and that pushes Saudi Arabia forward in ways never seen before. The academic consideration that Neom City will be on par with the latest Silicon Valley solutions has never been seen before and as that trail picks up speed, the IP consideration will be passed to other regions too, at that point IP firms registering their patents and Trademarks will rise in China and the Middle East even further, it is exactly the play I had in mind when I created my IP and even now I am looking at a golden parachute the size I never held possible ever before.

All this still reflects on the hindrance that pushes these technologies and there we see that Iran is becoming the larger problem in several fields. Even now, as we see projects grow, we also see the larger field that is fuelling this endeavour. The National gave us “Neom’s contribution to the kingdom’s GDP is projected to reach at least $100 billion by 2030” and that is a pessimistic view, as the 5G boundaries are met in Saudi Arabia, there will be a growing workforce trying to get their 5G apps on the ground as this could fuel millions in revenue for any app maker that makes it, and the most important part in this is the fact that being there first gives a lot more benefit for a longer amount of time. This path gained momentum as Huawei started to cater to 5G needs 6 months ago in both India and Pakistan, for Pakistan the middle East and in particular Saudi Arabia will give rise to more apps, better apps and stronger commerce; yet it is not merely in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates is also pushing for this boundary, as is Qatar. The experience in app making will spread form Pakistan further and further giving these entrepreneurs’ futures they themselves never thought possible under the stage of 4G and it makes them all hungry for success.

Creativity

It is there where creativity and needs interact. Whilst the arts are claiming a larger group to write idea’s for streaming TV, the creative engineers are pushing new telecom boundaries in 5G, setting a stage for a new kind of facilitation, one that is not limited to the iterative community, as they were trying to cater to the needs of guided anticipation, the innovators are going where iterative makers did not consider to look, 5 of my IP trains are on that track going decent for now, I still have a little more than 2 years to set the final stage, whilst the stage is curving to my desired needs more and more. That we see when IT Wire gave us ‘US seeks funds to remove Huawei, ZTE gear from rural providers‘ only 2 days ago.

As we see the quote: “Legislation supported by both sides of politics in the US seeks a sum of US$1 billion to help small and rural wireless providers replace equipment made by Chinese vendors Huawei Technology and ZTE Corporation“, we see a growing failure in the US. Don’t get me wrong, the US is allowed to do what it is, but instead of fuelling innovation forward, it is wasting $1,000,000,000 to remove rural equipment, whilst the supporting quote “helping small and rural wireless providers root-out suspect network equipment and replace it with more secure equipment” cannot be met with evidence on any level. Even the term ‘more secure equipment‘ is a grey remark open to interpretation, all equipment form 2018 onward will be more secure than the equipment that was installed in 2012, even with the latest updates this statement remains true, as this is the nature of the technology beast. What is adamant in all this that the lack of security in Huawei equipment was never proven other than one specific 2011 example, an issue that was apparently addressed and settled in 2013.

Even now, no espionage evidence by China was ever given in any way, shape or form. As I personally see it, this is all about economic foundations and progress and the non-Chinese solutions lack technology, innovation and quality to compete with China, now that the Middle East and Europe (to a larger degree) has allowed Huawei to get there, they will reap the benefits of it all, consider that over the next 5 years Neom city, block by block will be 5G ready whilst the longest changes in most parts of the world will be still upgrading, it will create a clear need for to use what is available and now we get to the union of both.

As we see the testing grounds of Saudi Arabia being there, the makers of streaming services will have a place to test and create 5G IP (or was that create and test). We have seen Hollywood, Bollywood and now there is a case to be made for Neomwood as well. If Saudi Arabia plays its cards right, there would be the stage for implementing and creating 5G streaming services and the creation of originals (to some extent) of TV series, shows and movies. People seem to forget that there are around 2 billion Muslims in the world, and the ability to cater to 25% of a global population, whilst the other creators have neglected this group offers a larger opportunity than most people realise.

Even as we accept the story of the 60’s where in the new production called for all mankind we see the stage and setting of the first woman on the moon, there is nothing stopping the Middle East of creating Islamic series that are about furthering their goals on the big screen and the little screen. The lack of actual quality TV in that regard (as far as I can tell) becomes more and more visible. There has been great controversy regarding the TV series Omar, I understand that thousands are stating that the show must be stopped because they believe such depictions are forbidden by Islam. Yet there are other ways to give light to Islam, to educate the non-Islamic community, and I believe that a larger stage could become apparent there. Also, the entire stage of soap series is seemingly ruled by Bab Al-Hara, a Syrian show by Bassam Al-Mulla that has been going on for 10 seasons, as I see TV watching people, they are never content with just one series and to be able to stream globally on 5G will be the larger need soon enough, owning the studios, production, IP and delivery will give whomever gets there first a much larger cut of the winnings and they can be huge, especially with 2 billion Muslims looking for more. I am still smirking (on the inside) to seek a way to make my idea: ‘How to assassinate a politician‘ a reality and optionally get it selected for Emmy and Oscar’s consideration (that is how I roll, never stop dreaming). In this, as I stated several times in the past, the slogan of FX (a filmmaker) is the best ever: ‘The story is everything‘, it is the holy grail that Apple, Stan, Netflix and all other streamers, as well as all other forms of medium are pursuing, it comes from creativity and as creativity overlaps from creation to technology we see a much larger shift in innovation, Whomever doubts that look at Big Brother and consider why it was a success. The overlap of technology, innovation and creation is a direct result of that is something that John de Mol Jr. saw immediately, it took a little while for me to catch on and it was an eye opener (I personally never liked the series, but I admired the approach of innovation and technology towards creation), now creation drives innovation and technology (as it should), yet I also accept that this interaction tends to be symbiotic and the direction of these streams can go in either direction making it the closest to a perpetual system, in this iteration will be the death of it and that is why I have been frantically against iterative designers.

In this, branding has been too much about iteration, Google and Huawei being the obvious exceptions, yet they are at present still the exceptions to that rule. I see that branding can be about innovation, but not the marketed innovation that Apple claims it is. Innovation as Heineken marketing shows it to be is a much better example, even as their product has not changed for the a longest time, their marketing has been on the edge of what is possible for over a decade, if we can keep creativity on that scale we have the making of long term success, no matter what field we move in, that is what the US fears, as innovation grows through Huawei, they see a dip that turns into a revenue canyon, the lack of forward momentum. Even now we see how economic momentum in the US is lost, whilst their IP investments are at an all-time high. If IP becomes the currency of a nation the UIS is indeed in a dire position and their stalling and delays of 5G will not help them, it is exactly in that part where we see the anti-Huawei weaves becoming a disaster for those embracing a non-Huawei solution. The fact that the hardware is not on par with Huawei is one part, the implied accusation ‘But Can They Scale Operations Timely‘ is a much bigger danger, as the markets evolve, scalability will be key and in that (for now) Huawei is far ahead of the others, making any non-Huawei advantage short lived, in addition to that part we see the earlier mentioned solution that Huawei is on the road improving and upgrading the base stations without US parts, when that one hits the US economy will take a much bigger hit, and as latency and delays add to the 5G part, those who want to be at the head of streaming will need to consider where they will be running from, as I see it there is a case to be made (to some degree) for Neomwood, when that happens, the revenue streams will change even further giving the US to live with the realisation that the entire Huawei war was the worst of all idea’s, especially when there were alternatives and especially as the security risks have never ever been proven.

I believe that due to data options there will be a larger change in trademarks in the next 5 years, also in that regard IP will decline in the US a lot more, as data is key, any delaying factor to 5G will have larger impacts over the next 24 months. Those who want to be ahead need to select what gets them there and not listen to fabricated fears and speculative events that have so far not been proven. As creativity shows, those who can dream the new stories, those who can consider the next idea will be catered to, because if the story is everything, the value of a poet and a writer outpaces the accountant by a lot. We can get all kinds of accountant a dime a dozen, yet how many poets are there? How many story writers and story tellers are out there who can spin a story that makes you sit down and relax? Consider what you watch on streaming services and what you are willing to pay for, now consider where the market is and you will see a large gap, a lag that was ignored for the longest of times. In 2020 alone we see a need to invest close to $50 billion, $6 billion by Apple alone for start-up; do you think that there is a higher need for a book keeper or someone who can create a story? As WarnerMedia buys back the old TV series Friends for $245 million, ready to spend $11 billion on content this year alone, how much are they willing to pay for an original idea?

Branding starts with a dream, or a thought that is actually original, how much originality could we find in the Islamic world that has ignored that path for decades? It is a path exploring, especially with 2 billion optional content customers. A path to a larger success that is currently written off through the fear mongering of governments and media needs, whilst there was not ever a need to do so; the facilitation of iteration pushed non solutions and whilst that happens, originality in content and technology will take a backseat to facilitate to the people who no longer should have any voice on the matter, their need to delay and slowdown innovation made it so.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Media, Politics, Science

The FX slogan in action

I always loved the FX slogan, it is true, and it is at the centre of entertainment. Yet is it at the centre of viable analytics? Is a result merely presented as an anecdote more acceptable? We seem to lack the ability to take a step back and look at it in a clinical setting, because it is not always about the mere setting.

A scientist will show you how expensive progress exactly is.
A diplomat makes you look forward to the invoice attached to it.

This is a setting that we seem to laugh at. Now take this in a very different direction: ‘A person who is 30% white is still 70% guilty‘. You are not laughing now are you? Take this to the next level with KTVU naming the crew of a plane crash (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpP2S6c74Ts), still having fun? The people connected to Asiana Flight 214 are not, I am certain of that. So when we see this, where do we go? Well we need to take a short pit stop when we address something that I have seen in my surrounding. The practice is not wrong, it can be loaded and it can blow up in your face if you do it wrong.

To get this we need to look at 2009, when Google’s Chief Economist Dr. Hal R. Varian told the audience: “The ability to take data—to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it—that’s going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades“, this is true, it has been true for decades. So as data becomes is found everywhere it becomes the setting of an almost opposition. To get data from almost common sense (where everyone seemingly gets it, to a stage that the presentation of numbers, with a story, almost any story that fits we get to see that companies are desperately searching for talent with data skills and they make it worse by trying to find people who can tell a story. Yet where is the story the value? Is that because it is more believable, or because it fits the moment? Yet that danger is now growing as well. You see each quarter the story needs to be amended and builds upon the previous story and investors have a much better memory than some realise. This is where Forbes gets us with “Interestingly, much of the current hiring emphasis has centered on the data preparation and analysis skills—not the “last mile” skills that help convert insights into actions. Many of the heavily-recruited individuals with advanced degrees in economics, mathematics, or statistics struggle with communicating their insights to others effectively—essentially, telling the story of their numbers.” I am not sure that this is a correct path. Instead of focussing on the communication skill, we are given data presentations by Mother Goose and Mr Grimm and in all that, will we get the story that is told correctly? I have prepared dashboards and data reports for decades. I have seen how some jumps were made on the assumption of one result, whilst the data was not supporting it, or it was, yet only after targeted weighting? In that we get the story that is a partial truth, yet it is in that same instant a partial lie too and that part will no longer get the proper scrutiny that is required.

So now we get to the good stuff. Now we get to the Guardian that treated us to: ‘China planted chips in Apple and Amazon servers, report claims‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/oct/04/china-planted-chips-on-apple-and-amazon-servers-report-claims). Is it possible? Yes it is, yet the numbers and the speculative sides in all this is a larger problem, or better stated it is a large issue in a much larger universe and we are merely shown the keyhole view with the audio of two moaning people. Yet whether they are having sex or are pushing the bed around cannot be stated as we merely see a wall and part of a piece of furniture and we go by the sounds we hear. So when we consider that the corn borer can make the identical sound of a bat, so much so that the female corn borer moths cannot distinguish between the sound of a real bat and the sound of a male moth imitating a bat. Which quite literally gets her screwed, it’s merely how he gets lucky.

This now relates to the article, where we see: “A Chinese military unit has been inserting tiny microchips into computer servers used by companies including Apple and Amazon that give China unprecedented backdoor access to computers and data, according to a new Bloomberg report“, yet when we are also told “The attack was reportedly discovered in 2015 by the US intelligence services, as well as by Apple and Amazon as the companies purchased servers made by Super Micro Computer“, yet companies stay in the dark on this? So first it is Russia, now it is China? Consider the next quote “Amazon, Apple and Super Micro have all denied Bloomberg’s report. Amazon said: “It’s untrue that AWS knew about a supply chain compromise, an issue with malicious chips, or hardware modifications when acquiring Elemental.

Furthermore, we see both “As we shared with Bloomberg BusinessWeek multiple times over the last couple months, at no time, past or present, have we ever found any issues relating to modified hardware or malicious chips in SuperMicro motherboards in any Elemental or Amazon systems“, as well as “Apple said: “On this we can be very clear: Apple has never found malicious chips, ‘hardware manipulations’ or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server.“. Is this an issue about what exactly?

This we see in the consideration of: “There have been increased concerns about foreign intelligence agencies infiltrating US and other companies via so-called “supply chain attacks”“. This is not unique. The American nagging and the nagging by its bitches (aka Australian Intelligence) is becoming a much larger setting as to the stage on where economic prosperity goes to. This is as I personally see it, the setting of a stage on where outsourcing goes to. This seems to be much more realistic and much more believable. You see, if there was truth in the Bloomberg part, if there was the real setting of “Apple had reportedly bought around 7,000 Super Micro servers when its security teams discovered the chips“, in that setting 7,000 server boards would have been shown to the world, it would have changed everything, places like Stanford, Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford and UTS (which has Apple co-founder Steve “Woz” Wozniak as a professor). They would be showing you the high and low of it all, yet that did not happen did it? So when we are seeing “Technology shares in Hong Kong fell sharply on Friday led by Lenovo, which lost 23% in morning trade. The Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp lost more than 14%“, which is interesting as ZTE was a thorn in the 5G side of the US and a few other players (like Telstra for example) for a much longer time, so is that a mere coincidence? What story telling sides are we not exposed to?

However, this is not the end. It is important to look at Bloomberg, because Bloomberg is not really the ‘storyteller’ of the century. We get introduced (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-10-04/the-big-hack-how-china-used-a-tiny-chip-to-infiltrate-america-s-top-companies) to the quotes “In late spring of 2015, Elemental’s staff boxed up several servers and sent them to Ontario, Canada, for the third-party security company to test, the person says“, as well as “Nested on the servers’ motherboards, the testers found a tiny microchip, not much bigger than a grain of rice, that wasn’t part of the boards’ original design“, which also gets us: “During the ensuing top-secret probe, which remains open more than three years later, investigators determined that the chips allowed the attackers to create a stealth doorway into any network that included the altered machines“. This is a much more frightening setting, yet why was this kept in the dark for so long? Not because of any matter that can be attributed to common sense. You see, I find “Still, to actually accomplish a seeding attack would mean developing a deep understanding of a product’s design, manipulating components at the factory, and ensuring that the doctored devices made it through the global logistics chain to the desired location—a feat akin to throwing a stick in the Yangtze River upstream from Shanghai and ensuring that it washes ashore in Seattle” an acceptable tactic, yet it opens the door on multiple places, places that are implied but not shown into the limelight. The first and perhaps the most visible one is: ‘timeline to design a chip‘. If that is so small, how can we be certain that the CIA did not do this to every Apple and IBM device ahead of fabrication? So when we get to “But that’s just what U.S. investigators found: The chips had been inserted during the manufacturing process, two officials say, by operatives from a unit of the People’s Liberation Army“, why them? Why not the Ministry of State Security? When we look in those directions, I personally find Chen Wenqing has a much more deceptive look then Xi Jinping. For either, funding would never have been the issue. And in the end Bloomberg gives us: “Three senior insiders at Apple say that in the summer of 2015, it, too, found malicious chips on Supermicro motherboards. Apple severed ties with Supermicro the following year, for what it described as unrelated reasons“. So yes, Bloomberg is raising questions, questions on where we need to consider ourselves in regards to China, an issue not properly raised by the Guardian this time around. Yet in both cases we end up with questions. We know that 5G will be a multi trillion industry and the US is desperate to melt the cogs of Chinese industry here, they have a backlog that is too large, there is at present no chance that the US, or Europe could catch up with China. The Chinese focus had been on 5G for too long, production is nowhere near it needs to be to go up against China. Yet this story, this event 3 years old and never in the limelight until now, that is impacting Lenovo and ZTE, so one of the 5G drivers is now as they call it: ‘In the shits‘, a 14% loss is nothing to get sneered at. And this optionally links back to the accusations against China in 5G, yet they are all still stories. The evidence was never handed into the limelight, and it also squarely lands the entire matter into the pond of former President Barack Obama, who still wanted to get trade deals going at that stage, so the Democratic party is going to get pushed into this mud pool sooner rather than later, because corporations at a global scale will feel betrayed in this mess. It gets fuelled more when we go back to September 2015, after this mess started and the people (via Reuters) get treated to: “President Barack Obama announced on Friday that he had reached a “common understanding” with Chinese President Xi Jinping on curbing economic cyber espionage, but threatened to impose U.S. sanctions on Chinese hackers who persist with cybercrimes.” So, did it happen? Was the story on the servers a ruse? Seems interesting that when placed in the proper timeline, against other news, we see a different setting do we not?

That is the stage we see when we add an element, any linked element to the story, it changes the preface of it and it changes the conclusions of it all. Any story with incomplete data is not a story, it degrades into a fairy tale, and both Mother Goose and Jacob Grimm both had their end of the spectrum when we watched their stories unfold. So where do the Guardian and Bloomberg stand? They go with sources that gave them news, yet when those sources cooperate in getting a particular story told, where do we get to stand, being told a story?

The server boards are evidence, yet where are they? If it is in 7000 server boards, there should be plenty to go around and show the world what was going on, but that did not happen, did it? So even as we were made aware a mere 5 hours ago of: “Huawei is trying to convince the U.S. government that Trump’s trade wars with China might slow down 5G adoption on American soil“, we now see that this is exactly what the US needed, time to catch up, or at least get a bigger slice of the 5G pie chart. You see a nation that is to be regarded as bankrupt cannot rely on importing goods; it needs US based goods to use a circle of non-cycled currency to keep its government running. And the 5G wave will go on for some time, the more time they get, the longer they can negate their official moment of being bankrupt. I am not the only one with that view, the same view is given (with a better economic handling) by Economist Laurence Kotlikoff who gives us: “While the United States’ official debt is $20 trillion, the fiscal gap is really 10 times larger — $200 trillion. That comes from adding in off-the-book liabilities, including debt that’s in the Federal Reserve’s hands, Kotlikoff said“, who also gives us: ““The evidence is in front of our eyes that we’re bankrupt,” Kotlikoff said. “It’s not bankrupt in the future. It’s bankrupt right now.”” A stage that I had mentioned three years ago, it might have been 4 years ago. I mentioned the settings and the consequences and I only needed an abacus to get there, but according to all the newspapers, I was wrong. Now we see more storytelling games and more pushes by large corporations to keep the current machine switches on, because once it is switched off, it ends for them, they will have no options and the markets will collapse soon thereafter wiping ours (and partially their) retirements away. That is the realism of our day and age and it is a story that I am telling, just like the others. I merely believe that I have seen more data, more complete data and I see the interactions on a wider scale. From that assumption my story is (seemingly) better, truer and more believable, is that the case, is it that for you?

You see, that is the danger with stories, it all hangs on the evidence that we are given and for the longest of times, the supporting evidence has been lacking, or basically completely absent on their side of the discussion. When we watch the Grimm in the TV Series Nick Burkhardt we accept it, because it is entertainment, and when the Grimm kills the Hundjägers, we know it is fabrication, entertaining fabrication mind you. Yet when we see the mention of Lenovo and ZTE, when we realise that 128,000 people are now in a state with an endangered job, families in danger of social security, as well as the impact on a larger scale, are we happy with the tale when it is the story and the non-shown evidence that is the matter. The fact that more parties are in denial is also an issue, but that could be for a whole host of reasons. It is the lack of evidence that is open for scrutiny that becomes the larger issue and that is an issue, it is an issue in every story, so whilst I embrace the FX slogan: ‘the story is everything‘ it is the lack of supported reality that makes it an issue in business intelligence and actual intelligence analyses. A setting that was 3 years in the open and we only get it partially served now, now that the need of America is becoming more and more dire.

The math does not add up and that has a much larger setting in all this than most are willing to admit to at present.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Media, Military, Politics, Science

Pushers of media value

We all heard of the name ‘pusher’, usually it is seen in the drugs community. People who prey on children and weak students with: ‘try this, makes you feel good‘. Knowing that as their customer base increases, he can continue his lifestyle of booze and bitches, because that is his only priority, to feel good and to live like a rock star at the expense of everyone and anyone else. So when I saw ‘Alarm for Netflix as shares plummet on worse-than-expected subscriber growth‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/jul/16/netflix-subscribers-numbers-forecasts-wall-street) and was confronted with both “But it also warned that subscriber growth in the current third quarter would likely be around 5 million, again below analysts’ expectations of 6.3 million“, as well as “spooked investors and suggested the company’s explosive subscriber growth may now be slowing. Netflix shares fell 14% to $346.05 in after-hours trading in New York. For the second quarter, Netflix reported a profit of $384.3m, or 85 cents a share, up from $65.6m, or 15 cents a share, a year earlier“, I wondered what the analyst had to offer that gave rise to the situation.

In a world where we see that the quality of life is down, where we are struggling to merely pay the rent in some places, in that world where we learn that “Netflix has almost reached the 100 million mark for streaming subscribers, thereby more than doubling its subscriber numbers from the start of 2014“, so the numbers are showing us an almost 25% year on year growth, that is pretty amazing in many settings.

In this day and age, getting over 10% growth is pretty well done. We all recognise that 100 million users might not be that much on one side, yet the entire business is set against a facade where there is more to the picture. Still, in this the entire setting a 14% drop seems a little extreme. It is set against what I regard to be the pushers of the world (also known as analysts). I have had issues with these analysts before; they are like the drug pushers of Wall Street. They might not see it in this way, but I do. In this setting when we see “that subscriber growth in the current third quarter would likely be around 5 million, again below analysts’ expectations of 6.3 million“, so explain to me where they got that 6.3 million new subscriber issue? Where is the evidence that expected 15 people from Hoboken New Jersey decided not to become a member? Sickness, getting laid off, hospital cost, daughter getting married, all optional reasons where 15 people decided on not becoming a member, now set that number in EVERY zip code in the United States. We can go on with the thousands of additional cases in the US alone, yet the wisdom of some person telling us that a mathematical model should have produced another 1.3 million uses cannot be vetted is merely the setting of a person giving a speculative result and that speculator is the cause of a 14% drop in value?

Now, we do understand that Netflix has responsibilities and with their expected growth is of course linked to the content they can afford to buy. So when I see “Netflix is expected to invest as much as $12bn on content this year, but could face growing competition in the streaming market. Apple is upping its spending on original content in video, music and publishing to $4.2bn by 2022 from $1bn this year. Amazon is expected to almost double its spending on original content from $4.5bn to $8.3bn“, there are two issues. The first is that if we quadruple the quarter and consider the 1.53 billion in profits (or expected profits) for 2018, how come that this year the acquired spending is $12 billion? We get that content is a long term pay off and all the movies acquired now will fuel the customer base for a long time, yet the fact that the profits merely represent 7.5% of the annual content spend is very unbalanced. It also gives us the additional setting that the 1.3 million additional members would not have made a dent there. The setting is fishy and it does not add up. Now, we can all agree that such services are perhaps a lot more complex, but the value long term is also setting the pace that something does not seem to add up. To see that picture we need to realise that Netflix realised well over $11.5 billion in revenue last year alone, so by giving you this, the $20 billion is not only no longer a stretch, it implies that Netflix still ends with $1.5 billion of pure profits, that is nothing to be sneered at, and in that light the spooking of the shareholders make less and less sense and in this, the entire analyst setting comes to the foreground once more, especially when we also add the one small fact that Netflix has $19 billion in assets. It is even more puzzling when we add the NY Times findings with “The company also saw its net income rise to $130 million, well over last year’s third quarter total of $52 million but short of the $143 million that Wall Street expected“, again the analysts now imploding, or is that setting back the market, whilst the records are still showing enormous growth, we see that dark cloud called Wall Street stating that it should have been better. There is nothing that shows evidence of the numbers that Wall Street holds others accountable to. In a system that is unrealistic, punishing realistic growth is not merely dangerous, it tends to be counterproductive in the end.

An additional part seen in the NY Times is now giving another light. They gave “Netflix already outspends its rivals, including HBO, FX and CBS, while Apple has recently signalled to Hollywood it would spend more than $1 billion on original content“, whilst the Guardian treats us to “Apple is upping its spending on original content in video, music and publishing to $4.2bn by 2022 from $1bn this year. Amazon is expected to almost double its spending on original content from $4.5bn to $8.3bn“, so the other two players are also spending billions in a market that is short of resources creating a bubble and bubbles are never good, so then the question becomes, is Wall Street intentionally creating bubbles to overinflate the mess and then short sell the cycle to make it implode in the future?

The fact that three players will represent close to $4 billion a year, each year is already a signal that the big screen, through internet or big screen itself is still flourishing, as the IP is brought through different ways, the only way will be up. So when we consider Australia who gives us “Netflix Australia starts from $9.99 per month for the entry-level, single-stream standard definition package, all the way up to $17.99 for the deluxe, 4K quality, four-stream package“, we see the simple selling point that a month of maximised streaming is close to a mere cinema ticket. That is the simplest of selling points and when we consider that, when we consider that this is not merely on that level, but that the setting also needs to fit the bandwidth that people sign on for, some will not charge Netflix, some do. That is also an influence. So there is more than one player that impacts the Netflix subscriber, all elements in that equation and some we can predict to some extent, but we remains in a setting where the analysts all claim that predictions were outclassing achievement in a place where growth is pretty sweet, it does not add up and that might just be me.

Yet this is where we get the Washington Post with ‘Netflix’s subscriber growth slows, panicking Wall Street‘, this is where we get to the golden egg, the part that Americans never understood, not in 1994 when some made claims on ‘saturation is a myth’, giving us an example with an elastic band, showing that 20% stretch again and again is possible and not today when we see that especially in Australia where housing prices in the big cities are through the roof, where we see that making a budget work is to cut out all extra excesses. In that setting many people can’t merely afford the $18 a month extra. That is supported with: “Professor Muir said it was important to realise that not all of those who live in poverty were unemployed. “One in three people who are living in poverty actually have wages, so we have challenges not just about how we make sure people have jobs, but we also want people to have stable jobs,” she said“. So we have an Australian setting where 1/3 is in poverty and a chunk of that has an actual income. So at that point, who of those people will have Netflix? Will they be willing to sacrifice two meals just to have Netflix? This is not a setting that is only seen in Australia. In America the UC Davis center for Poverty treats us to the setting of a few important characteristics of the 50% percent of minimum-wage earners with an age that is 25 or higher, 50% has a part time job. They have an average family income of $42,500 per year. At this stage it comes down to 20%-25% that live in poverty, when you consider that in 2016  around 43 million Americans were living in poverty, how much of an influence does that stop others from spending sprees outside of the Christmas season? When you see the hardship of anyone in your street, a person who works, fights and does whatever he can to feed his family, often both working, still not making the bills go away. How long until others start to save for the rainy day? I believe that these people are set to the economy as missing values. They do not matter, but they are still part of the total count. I personally believe that there is intent.

When we look at Wiki for a quick explanation, we get the optional view of an economic bubble with the text: “One possible cause of bubbles is excessive monetary liquidity in the financial system, inducing lax or inappropriate lending standards by the banks, which make markets vulnerable to volatile asset price inflation caused by short-term, leveraged speculation“. Yet what happens when it is not the ‘financial system‘? What happens when a bubble is pushed through analysts on the places like Netflix, creating friction with investors that apparently get spooked when a company still reports an optional 1.5 billion annual profit? So what happens when we see ‘volatile asset price inflation caused by short-term, leveraged speculation‘? Now take the leveraged speculation, asset price inflation (due to Apple and Amazon in the market) and it all suddenly implodes as all the analysts stated that Netflix could have easily gotten a million more subscribers that quarter. I hope that you get the drift now!

I am no Netflix fan (I have nothing against Netflix either). I always preferred to watch the big screen whenever I could afford it. I prefer to buy the season DVD/Blu-ray of a TV series I enjoy, that’s how I roll. Some prefer Netflix and that is fine by me too, whatever loads their canon, I say.

So when we see the Washington Post treating us to “they could validate investors’ fears of a company in slowdown mode for the first time in years. Wall Street has already been watching closely as Disney ramps up its subscription-content efforts and HBO, under incoming owner AT&T, is adopting a new strategy to compete“, we are treated to the setting of Pluto and two other dogs competing for the same bone, it is called market saturation and I have had the impression for the longest of times (around two and a half decades) that Americans either do not comprehend that part of business, or they merely do not care and ignore it. Now, we understand that at such points, the stock value of Netflix slows or even halts, yet to see a 14% drop is equally weird, which leaves me to think that Wall Street and all their analysts are in a bubble creating setting, which I believe has been going on for the longest of times. Do I need to remind you of Moody’s and S&P regarding the 2008 events? In the end they paid a fine, but compared to the damage done, it was miniscule. So when we take a step towards FLETC and the ‘Economic Crimes Investigation and Analysis‘ parts. They seem to be all up in arms for investigators, auditors, analysts and individuals serving as direct law enforcement support personnel who provide a foundation for fraud and financial investigations. Yet, when we look closely, how much effort has been done to investigate the Wall Street Analysts and other analysts who seem to be tweaking the expectations?

So when we look at the FLETC syllabus and see: “Successful completion of the ECIA will enable students to:
(1) identify various investigative techniques that may be used to investigate economic crimes;
(2) identify evidentiary documents that may be used to prove the source and disposition of monies;
(3) demonstrate how computer software may be used to organize, analyze, and present information;
(4) identify various ways that an accounting system may be used to conceal the true nature of fraudulent transactions;
(5) demonstrate how indirect methods may be used to identify illegal income; and
(6) demonstrate how effectively present investigative findings

Yet as I see it, in all this the global analysts who are spiking the expectations are all considered not a factor and have the privilege of remaining outside of the scope of all this. That also gives us that unless a 2008 version disaster happens; they and their overpaid asses quite literally get to walk away.

So how does that make sense in any universe, especially when we see the damage others faced over a decade?

Which gets us to the last quote in the Post with “Hastings did acknowledge the second quarter has historically been rough for Netflix, noting another under performance in 2016. “We never did find the explanation [for that],” he said“. In this we need to ask, was this merely a real under performance, or was it all based on a flawed algorithm, one that all the analysts using them will happily silence away?

A group of people never scrutinised, whilst a company making a clean billion plus a year is axed by 14%. Some will say it is all logical and that my lack of an economic degree makes it all my ignorance issue. Yet the Margin Call quote “2 and 2 no longer makes 4” gives the indication that it was not math and according to the math involved the 14% cut is optionally wrong, yet the reality of bubbles and the intentional creation of them is set on greed and that is the one thing that Wall Street thrives on and I wonder how closely some of its players are actually watched, more importantly, once proven, will the events actually be acted on, or will they merely receive a $401K fine in the mail?

 

1 Comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Media, Politics, Science

Beyond Two Souls

Beyond Two SoulsIt is hard not to be trivial about a new game. It is always a new version of…. or a sequel of…or in this case, an evolution of…

If you want the short and sweet of this game then think Dragons Lair mixed with Half Life/Resident Evil. Beyond Two Souls is from the makers of Heavy Rain, and many would like to compare that, but I never played it, so that part we (me and my keyboard) will skip that comparison in its entirety.

For those under 30+, when Dragons Lair was first released it was like nothing you had ever seen. Consider the early 80’s, console games were in 8-bits. In that same year, EA releases the pinball construction kit and Origin Systems released Ultima 3. 8-bit graphics were not really that great, and in that same year Disney’s Famous Don Bluth is centre to a game that has Disney quality graphics using a laser disc. To give you an idea, consider Xbox graphics in the time of the CBM-64. All our minds were blown. The game was simple, you see segments of a cartoon, and by pressing the right direction on your joystick, you continue, or you die. The system was simple, but the result would not be equalled for at least 15 years (without a laser disc).

Now take that concept and take it in a more modern and more interactive setting and you get Beyond Two Souls.

Wait!

Do not think of this as a simple game, as I said, it was trivialised!

The reality is that this is more than a mere evolution! This game is the first one I witness that uses the 6-axis controller to the maximum degree it can. I want to add to that, that the interactivity between the player and the game is the most complete I have ever seen. It is almost the game Nintendo could imagine, but could never make into a reality!

This game is something else. The story is given to you in a shuffled way! Frank Miller thinks more linear then that, but that does not matter, the story holds on to you like a jigsaw and the picture it paints slowly evolves into a masterpiece, a chronological approach would never have worked this well. Ellen Page IS the real star, as both actress and as character. Willem Dafoe is the supporting character, and as such he is the support, however he is also the glue that holds many of the pieces together. The voices and the looks give you a view into this story like you never seen it before. You control Ellen/Jodie in an amazing way. Like my favourite slogan from FX, ‘The story is everything’ and this story does not fail to deliver.

So, you control Jodie through events with an ‘assistant’ and as such you control where she walks, how she drives and how she interacts. In action scenes your controller becomes control, and as such you interfere with what she does, do it wrong and she does get hurt. This is actually most awesome during fight training. Get it wrong and she gets dropped to the floor, hard! That sequence is actually one of the cooler moments. You get to do it again and again, until you get it 100% right. It actually felt like you were experiencing a martial workout. Very cool!

There are other moments where it is a little unsettling as you might achieve the control over it. The directions for a new player seem a little ‘off’ in the beginning. As I said, the 6-axis controller had never been used to THIS degree before. Tilting it to the left or right (the entire controller), to empty a bucket. To sharply lower the controller as you jump of a wall. Shake when you are being held. It was an awesome experience.

As stated, you get a disjointed story, chapter by chapter and as you start at the end, you jump forward and backwards into the story, it really works! Without linearity you see parts and not know what does and does not connect. As you take control of Jodie or the ‘assistant’ the story unfolds. Uniquely, this game can be played by two, so if you do that, then one controls Jodie, the other the ‘assistant’, a pretty unique experience for this type of game.

Then the graphics, they are high in standard; however there are moments that will do more than blow you away. In a few close-up cut scenes, you control Jodie, and in those moments Ellen Page looks better and clearer than she does on Blu-ray. These are uncanny moments.

I am not giving anything away at this point, so you’ll need to get through it yourself. However, there are ‘hidden’ or hard to spot interacting points. If you get to them you can unlock a bonus. Not sure yet what they are and I only found one so far, but that means that this game has more to offer then you think. I am also predicting that when I was offered a certain choice, I unlocked an achievement. I feel a certainty that going another way will give a different achievement, so replay and experimenting is a part of all this.

So, what about the verdict?

It is a top notch game with a 90% rating. It is no ‘Last of us’, it is no ‘GTA’, it is an evolved game and this game is nothing less than a master evolution of whatever it used to be and the game is better for it. This leaves me with certainty that we will see more versions of this game, especially considering the optional additional interactions on a PlayStation 4 controller, which means that Beyond 2 Souls is only the tip of the iceberg and that already blew me away on the PlayStation 3. So the future of the PlayStation 4 seems to be a solid one. The music which involved Hans Zimmer, a legend in soundtracks, gives this game the atmosphere it deserves. So was this an interactive movie?

No, it is a game where you move, walk around and interact/search for clues and events. In addition it must be said that it has a few really small flaws. At times her movement seems a little less liquid, but not as irritating as we saw with Resident Evil. In addition, the move you make is depending on what you see that means if you are ready to punch and the camera shifts to the other side, that you move you had in mind would be the wrong one. That is part of the gameplay challenge and this game plays that part without a flaw. Whatever flaw it had, was purely the user of the controller. In the end, you will have taken Jodie, from being a small girl of 6-8, to a battle hardened, beat the crap out of anything goddess though places from Urban, to Military complex, to the middle of the desert. The story remains an awesome experience.

There is one other side to all this, it is one that is futuristic. As we see more and more of these games evolve with the use of professional actors, it will not an unrealistic thought that the Videogame industry will actually get its own Oscar category. If so, then Ellen Page might become its first recipient.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming