Tag Archives: Hewlett Packard

Warrior Women Librarians

Yup, it is about the Amazon tribe, the one that is managed by no one less than Jeff Bezos. They caught my eyes twice today (well once was at 01:34 roughly), so I decided to take another look. First the second story, it was an opinion piece in the New York Times called ‘Don’t Let Amazon Get Any Bigger’. The article (at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/08/opinion/amazon-antitrust.html) gives us “the evidence presented this week in a long report by the House Judiciary Committee, following a bipartisan investigation of the tech giants, tells a very different story. Amazon’s website forms a choke point through which other companies must pass to reach the market. It has exploited this commanding position to strong-arm other companies, control their means of distribution and drive them out of business”, I am on the fence here. In the first no one was interested in Amazon, now that they have traction everyone is crying foul. It’s like watching gangs cry like little bitches because they aren’t getting scraps, all whilst they forgot that in a library a 9mm is not of much use, a book on the Dewey Decimal Classification is. If I have a firm, I do not give wannabe’s access to my IP, if they do not have their own, they miss out, it is that simple, no matter what size I have. And for the longest time, we see certain firms getting called out, all whilst the grandfathers of this approach (Microsoft and IBM) are given leeways and passes on a non-stop foundation, or perhaps the whinging members of the House Judiciary Committee would like to have a deep conversation in the IBM dealing with NATO, its members and their system 36 (or was that their system 38) approach on ‘distribution’ in 1978-1980, I feel certain that former members of the Digital Equipment Corporation, as well as those of Hewlett Packard would like their day in Congress asking direct questions on certain non-outspoken choices. 

A small sidestep that has little (not nothing) bearing on Amazon. Amazon has grown, it has grown dramatically, but it was founded on the stage of an online bookshop. A dream the became a behemoth and Jeff Bezos does have some reason of pride. To be honest, I am not much of an Amazon fan, I have nothing against them and I see that there are places that benefit greatly of their presence, yet just like I prefer my local hooker, I am determined to support my local bookshop and local retail outlets, that is how I roll. It is the first article that I saved for last that has the larger frame of becoming an issue.

It is not the article I initially saw, yet ‘Yes, Amazon Luna dodges Apple’s cloud gaming rules — when will Nvidia and Google?’ (At https://www.theverge.com/2020/9/25/21455343/amazon-luna-apple-app-store-rules-cloud-gaming-streaming-google-nvidia) that is the larger issue. You see, it is not bout being naughty or about going rule dodging. It is seen in “Amazon Luna on iOS is not a traditional app. It’ll never appear in the App Store, and it doesn’t need to”, did you catch on yet? No? OK, let add “it’s a progressive web app (PWA), which is mostly a fancy name for a website that you can launch and run separately from the rest of your web browser. Engadget says it can even appear as an icon on your home screen, making it look like a normal app before you tap it”, I get it if you are still in the dark, so let continue the tory, The verge also had something I did not know before, they give us “Streaming games are permitted so long as they adhere to all guidelines — for example, each game update must be submitted for review, developers must provide appropriate metadata for search, games must use in-app purchase to unlock features or functionality, etc. Of course, there is always the open Internet and web browser apps to reach all users outside of the App Store”, so even as the Verge is wondering when Google and Microsoft will catch on, the larger danger remains. 

This for organised crime is a dream come true, and anyone denying or countering it is a blatant fool. A system the can reside in RAM and sets a stage of multiple systems is the holy grail. For the most as it was all system based, there was no real issue, if things did get wrong, one player is held accountable and it tends to end there, now there is a new stage where one system could open a gateway to basically rob you. Now, you are unlikely to lose a lot $1 at the most, so you might not wake up, but when this happens to well over a million players the amount tends to add up and organised crime (as well as entrepreneurial criminals) love that part, becoming wealthy as they sleep and when the system resets, the evidence is gone. No indications of long doing and the justice systems tend to not engage when the stolen amount is less than $5, so there is that, the interested parties could double their income overnight. But in the long term a person could lose $12-$50 over a year and they might not care or even realise this, but when this is done to 20-50 million people it all ends up being a serious amount of money.

A stage where we all watch things happen all whilst nothing will be done, the ego driven will Tate that it is under investigation, and deny wrongdoings, the secondary stage where some careful phrased denial in the some shape that gives us “We have seen no wrong by we are adding safeties just in case” and the jurisprudential parts that give us, it seemingly is a small crime and involved events of less than $5 the we do not investigate and the clever entrepreneur will walk away with millions upon millions of dollars, the is the stage and greed driven technologists thought they were allegedly clever by allowing a stage where a speculated stage of mis acquisition was an optional reality.

A stage the is increasingly dangerous because it is not merely Google, it I a sage where Epic Games, as well as any other set the stage of avoiding fees from whatever source they owe it to, only to set a much more dangerous stage, one the the cyber crime finals love and one the will all cost us, seemingly not a lot, but enough to make others wealthy beyond their dreams.

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When the trust is gone

In an age where we see an abundance of political issues, an overgrowing need to sort things out, the news that was given visibility by the Guardian is the one that scared and scarred me the most. With ‘Lack of trust in health department could derail blood contamination inquiry‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jul/19/lack-of-trust-in-health-department-could-derail-blood-contamination-inquiry), we need to hold in the first stage a very different sitting in the House of Lords. You see, the issues (as I am about to explain them), did not start overnight. In this I am implying that a sitting with in the dock Jeremy Hunt, Andrew Lansley, Andy Burham and Alan Johnson is required. This is an issue that has grown from both sides of the Isle and as such there needs to be a grilling where certain people are likely to get burned for sure. How bad? That needs to be ascertained and it needs to be done as per immediate. When you see “The contamination took place in the 1970s and 80s, and the government started paying those affected more than 25 years ago” the UK is about to get a fallout of a very different nature. We agree that this is the term that was with Richard Crossman, Sir Keith Joseph, Barbara Castle, David Ennals, Patrick Jenkin, Norman Fowler, and John Moore. Yet in that instance we need to realise that this was in an age that was pre computers, pre certain data considerations and a whole league of other measures that are common place at this very instance. I remember how I aided departments with an automated document system, relying on 5.25″ floppy’s, with the capability that was less than Wordstar or PC-Write had ever offered. And none of those systems had any reliable data storage options.

The System/36 was flexible and powerful for its time:

  • It allowed 80 monitors (see below for IBM’s description of a monitor) and printers to be connected. All users could access the system’s hard drive or any printer.
  • It provided password security and resource security, allowing control over who was allowed to access any program or file.
  • Devices could be as far as a mile from the system unit.
  • Users could dial into a System/36 from anywhere in the world and get a 9600 baud connection (which was very fast in the 1980s) and very responsive for connections which used only screen text and no graphics.
  • It allowed the creation of databases of very large size. It supported up to about 8 million records, and the largest 5360 with four hard drives in its extended cabinet could hold 1.453 gigabytes.
  • The S/36 was regarded as “bulletproof” for its ability to run many months between reboots (IPLs).

Now, why am I going to this specific system, as the precise issues were not yet known? You see in those days, any serious level of data competency was pretty much limited to IBM, at that time Hewlett Packard was not yet to the level it became 4 years later and the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) who revolutionised systems with VAX/VMS and it became the foundation, or better stated true relational database foundations were added through Oracle Rdb (1984), which would actually revolutionise levels of data collection.

Now, we get two separate quotes (not from the article) “Dr Jeremy Bradshaw Smith at Ottery St Mary health centre, which, in 1975, became the first paperless computerised general practice“, as well as “It is not developed or intended for use in any inherently dangerous applications, including applications that may create a risk of personal injury. If you use this software or hardware in dangerous applications, then you shall be responsible to take all appropriate fail-safe, backup, redundancy, and other measures to ensure its safe use“, the second one comes from the Oracle Rdb SQL Reference manual. The second part seems a bit of a stretch; consider the original setting of this. When we see Oracle’s setting of data integrity, consider the elements given (over time) that are now commonplace.

System and object privileges control access to application tables and system commands, so that only authorized users can change data.

  • Referential integrity is the ability to maintain valid relationships between values in the database, according to rules that have been defined.
  • A database must be protected against viruses designed to corrupt the data.

I left one element out for the mere logical reasons.

now, in those days, the hierarchy of supervisors and system owners was nowhere near what it is now (and often nowhere to be seen), referential integrity was a mere concept and data viruses were mostly academic, that is until we get a small presentation by Ralf Burger in 1986. It was in the days of the Chaos Computer Club and my trusty CBM-64.

These elements are to show you that data integrity existed in academic purposes, yet the designers who were in their data infancy often enough had no real concept of rollback data events, some would only be designed too long later, and in all this, the application of databases to the extent that was needed. It would not be until 1982 when dBase II came to the PC market from the founding fathers of what would later be known as Ashton-Tate, George Tate and Hal Lashlee would create a wave that would get us dBase III and with the creation of Clipper by the Nantucket Corporation, which would give a massive rise to database creations as well as the growth of data products that had never been seen before, as well as being the player that in the end propelled data quality towards the state it is nowadays. In this product databases did not just grow with the network abilities within this product nearly any final year IT person could have its portfolio of clients all with custom based products all data based. Within 2-3 years (which gets us to 1989), a whole league of data quality, data cleaning and data integrity base issues would surface for millions of places, all requiring solutions. It is my personal conviction that this was the point where data became adult, where data cleaning, data rollback as well as data integrity checks became actual issues that were seriously dealt with. So, here in 1989 we are finally confronted with the adult data issues that for the longest of times were only correctly understood by more than a few niche people who were often enough disregarded (I know that for certain because I was one of them).

So the essential events that could have prevented only to some degree the events we see in the Guardian with “survivors initially welcomed the announcement, while expressing frustration that the decades-long wait for answers had been too long. The contamination took place in the 1970s and 80s“, certain elements would not come into existence until a decade later.

So when we see “Liz Carroll, chief executive of the Haemophilia Society, wrote to May on Wednesday saying the department must not be involved in setting the remit and powers of an inquiry investigating its ministers and officials. She also highlighted the fact that key campaigners and individuals affected by the scandal had not been invited to the meeting“, I am not debating or opposing her in what could be a valid approach, I am merely stating that to comprehend the issues, the House of Lords needs to take the pulse of events and the taken steps forward from the Ministers who have been involved in the last 10 years.

When we see “We and our members universally reject meeting with the Department of Health as they are an implicated party. We do not believe that the DH should be allowed to direct or have any involvement into an investigation into themselves, other than giving evidence. The handling of this inquiry must be immediately transferred elsewhere“, we see a valid argument given, yet when we would receive testimonies from people, like the ministers in those days, how many would be aware and comprehend the data issues that were not even decently comprehended in those days? Because these data issues are clearly part of all of these events, they will become clear towards the end of the article.

Now, be aware, I am not giving some kind of a free pass, or give rise that those who got the bad blood should be trivialised or ignored or even set to a side track, I am merely calling for a good and clear path that allows for complete comprehension and for the subsequent need of actual prevention. You see, what happens today might be better, yet can we prevent this from ever happening again? In this I have to make a side step to a non-journalistic source, we see (at https://www.factor8scandal.uk/about-factor/), “It is often misreported that these treatments were “Blood Transfusions”. Not True. Factor was a processed pharmaceutical product (pictured)“, so when I see the Guardian making the same bloody mistake, as shown in the article, we see and should ask certain parties how they could remain in that same stance of utter criminal negligence (as I personally see it), but giving rise to intentional misrepresentation. When we see the quote (source: the Express) “Now, in the face of overwhelming evidence presented by Andy Burnham last month, Theresa May has still not ordered an inquiry into the culture, practice and ethics of the Department of Health in dealing with this human tragedy” with the added realisation that we have to face that the actual culprit was not merely data, yet the existence of the cause through Factor VIII is not even mentioned, the Guardian steered clear via the quote “A recent parliamentary report found around 7,500 patients were infected by imported blood products from commercial organisations in the US” and in addition the quote “The UK Public Health Minister, Caroline Flint, has said: “We are aware that during the 1970s and 80s blood products were sourced from US prisoners” and the UK Haemophilia Society has called for a Public Inquiry. The UK Government maintains that the Government of the day had acted in good faith and without the blood products many patients would have died. In a letter to Lord Jenkin of Roding the Chief Executive of the National Health Service (NHS) informed Lord Jenkin that most files on contaminated NHS blood products which infected people with HIV and hepatitis C had unfortunately been destroyed ‘in error’. Fortunately, copies that were taken by legal entities in the UK at the time of previous litigation may mean the documentation can be retrieved and consequently assessed“, the sources the Express and the New York Times, we see for example the quote “Cutter Biological, introduced its safer medicine in late February 1984 as evidence mounted that the earlier version was infecting hemophiliacs with H.I.V. Yet for over a year, the company continued to sell the old medicine overseas, prompting a United States regulator to accuse Cutter of breaking its promise to stop selling the product” with the additional “Cutter officials were trying to avoid being stuck with large stores of a product that was proving increasingly unmarketable in the United States and Europe“, so how often did we see the mention of ‘Cutter Biological‘ (or Bayer pharmaceuticals for that matter)?

In the entire Arkansas Prison part we see that there are connections to cases of criminal negligence in Canada 2006 (where Canadian Red Cross fell on their sword), Japan 2007 as well as the visibility of the entire issue at Slamdance 2005, so as we see the rise of inquiries, how many have truly investigated the links between these people and how the connection to Bayer pharmaceuticals kept them out of harm’s way for the longest of times? How many people at Cutter Biological have not merely been investigated, but also indicted for murder? When we get ‘trying to avoid being stuck with large stores of a non-sellable product‘ we get the proven issue of intent. Because there are no recall and destroy actions, were there?

Even as we see a batch of sources giving us parts in this year, the entire visibility from 2005-2017 shows that the media has given no, or at best dubious visibility in all this, even yesterday’s article at the Guardian shows the continuation of bad visibility with the blood packs. So when we look (at http://www.kpbs.org/news/2011/aug/04/bad-blood-cautionary-tale/), and see the August 2011 part with “This “miracle” product was considered so beneficial that it was approved by the FDA despite known risks of viral contamination, including the near-certainty of infection with hepatitis“, we wonder how the wonder drug got to be or remain on the market. Now, there is a fair defence that some issues would be unknown or even untested to some degree, yet the ‘the near-certainty of infection with hepatitis‘ should give rise to all kinds of questions and it is not the first time that the FDA is seen to approve bad medication, which gives rise to the question why they are allowed to be the cartel of approval as big bucks is the gateway through their door. When we consider the additional quote of “By the time the medication was pulled from the market in 1985, 10,000 hemophiliacs had been infected with HIV, and 15,000 with hepatitis C; causing the worst medical disaster in U.S. history“, how come that it took 6 years for this to get decent amounts of traction within the UK government.

What happened to all that data?

You see, this is not merely about the events, I believe that if any old systems (a very unlikely reality) could be retrieved, how long would it take for digital forensics to find in the erased (not overwritten) records to show that certain matters could have been found in these very early records? Especially when we consider the infancy of data integrity and data cleaning, what other evidence could have surfaced? In all this, no matter how we dig in places like the BBC and other places, we see a massive lack of visibility on Bayer Pharmaceuticals. So when we look (at http://pharma.bayer.com/en/innovation-partnering/research-focus/hemophilia/), we might accept that the product has been corrected, yet their own site gives us “the missing clotting factor is replaced by a ‘recombinant factor’, which is manufactured using genetically modified mammalian cells. When administered intravenously, the recombinant factor helps to stop acute bleeding at an early stage or may prevent it altogether by regular prophylaxis. The recombinant factor VIII developed by Bayer for treating hemophilia A was one of the first products of its kind. It was launched in 1993“, so was this solution based on the evolution of getting thousands of people killed? the sideline “Since the mid-1970s Bayer has engaged in research in haematology focusing its efforts on developing new treatment options for the therapy of haemophilia A (factor VIII deficiency)“, so in all this, whether valid or not (depending on the link between Bayer Pharmaceuticals UK and Cutter Biological. the mere visibility on these two missing in all the mentions, is a matter of additional questions, especially as Bayer became the owner of it all between 1974 and 1978, which puts them clearly in the required crosshairs of certain activities like depleting bad medication stockpiles. Again, not too much being shown in the several news articles I was reading. When we see the Independent, we see ‘Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to meet victims’ families before form of inquiry is decided‘, in this case it seems a little far-fetched that the presentation by Andy Burham (as given in the Express) would not have been enough to give an immediate green light to all this. Even as the independent is hiding behind blood bags as well, they do give the caption of Factor VIII with it, yet we see no mention of Bayer or Cutter, yet there is a mention of ‘prisoners‘ and the fact that their blood was paid for, yet no mention of the events in Canada and Japan, two instances that gives rise to an immediate and essential need for an inquiry.

In all this, we need to realise that no matter how deep the inquiry goes, the amount of evidence that could have been wiped or set asunder from the eyes of the people by the administrative gods of Information Technology as it was between 1975 and 1989, there is a dangerous situation. One that came unwillingly through the evolution of data systems, one that seems to be the intent of the reporting media as we see the utter absence of Bayer Pharmaceuticals in all of this, whilst there is a growing pool of evidence through documentaries, ad other sources that seem to lose visibility as the media is growing a view of presentations that are skating on the subject, yet until the inquiry becomes an official part we see a lot less than the people are entitled to, so is that another instance of the ethical chapters of the Leveson inquiry? And when this inquiry becomes an actuality, what questions will we see absent or sidelined?

All this gets me back to the Guardian article as we see “The threat to the inquiry comes only a week after May ordered a full investigation into how contaminated blood transfusions infected thousands of people with hepatitis C and HIV“, so how about the events from 2005 onwards? Were they mere pharmaceutical chopped liver? In the linked ‘Theresa May orders contaminated blood scandal inquiry‘ article there was no mention of Factor VIII, Bayer (pharmaceuticals) or Cutter (biological). It seems that we need to give rise that ethical issues have been trampled on, so a mention of “a criminal cover-up on an industrial scale” is not a mere indication; it is an almost given certainty. In all that, as the inquiry will get traction, I wonder how both the current and past governments will be adamant to avoid skating into certain realms of the events (like naming the commercial players), and when we realise this, will there be any justice to the victims, especially when the data systems of those days have been out of time for some time and the legislation on legacy data is pretty much non-existent. When the end balance is given, in (as I personally see it) a requirement of considering to replace whatever Bayer Pharmaceuticals is supplying the UK NHS, I will wonder who will be required to fall on the virtual sword of non-accountability. The mere reason being that when we see (at http://www.annualreport2016.bayer.com/) that Bayer is approaching a revenue of 47 billion (€ 46,769M) in 2016, should there not be a consequence of the players ‘depleting unsellable stock‘ at the expense of thousands of lives? This is another matter that is interestingly absent from the entire UK press cycles. And this is not me just speculating, the sources give clear absence whilst the FDA reports show other levels of failing, it seems that some players forget that lots of data is now globally available which seems to fuel the mention of ‘criminal negligence‘.

So you have a nice day and when you see the next news cycle with bad blood, showing blood bags and making no mention of Factor VIII, or the pharmaceutical players clearly connected to all this, you just wonder who is doing the job for these journalists, because the data as it needed to be shown, was easily found in the most open of UK and US governmental places.

 

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Should governments provide?

This is the question I had after watching the Dutch newscast at the NOS. The issue is that the Dutch are lagging more and more behind the Germans (except for soccer). Now part of that statement is a joke as Germany is 850% the size of the Netherlands. In addition, Germany has large deposits of ores. They are regarded as one of the world’s foremost producers of iron, steel, coal, cement, chemicals, machinery, vehicles, machine tools, electronics, food and beverages, shipbuilding and textiles. So why is this comparison even an issue?

Ineke Dezentjé Hamming, president of the FME (an organisation for the Dutch technological industry) stated “Wij verliezen onze positie als exportland als we niet snel vernieuwen en mee-ontwikkelen met de Duitsers” (translated as) “We are losing our position as an export nation if we do not renew and develop our technologies with the Germans“. In addition there is the statement that Germany is now in its fourth cycle of industries, where factories and ICT are completely integrated (at http://nos.nl/artikel/632638-nl-raakt-achter-op-duitsland.html).

An example could be the New VDL Nedcar factory, which allows for 24 hours a day production. The NOS newscast implies in my view (they did not state) that the approach of the FME is that the government should be handing over the funds to allow for this. In opposition of my own words, I must state that her statement in the Hannover Messe does not imply that at all (at http://www.hannovermesse.de/en/exhibition/partner-country/ineke-dezentje-hammink-blue.xhtml). Yet, the changes in infrastructure will require massive funds and there is plenty of clarity that the industry corners do not seem to have it.

I am still in awe that the Dutch want to get on equal footing with the Germans on an industrial ground. It almost reads like David stating towards Goliath ‘where are the other eleven?‘ which make me wonder, why is this even an issue?

Yes, as the article stated, the Dutch have for too long relied on services, which was not the best choice, yet, what are the options? The Dutch have no mining options, they have an excellence in ship building, yet that market is not doing too well. Let us not forget that the Dutch did have an excellence in services too. They had the East India Company, which should be regarded as the first and largest multinational ever, starting in 1602 lasting almost 200 years, which is a much better track record then IBM can proud itself on.

But in this day and age, after a multiple joke echelon of services based organisations (from the late 90’s), relying on selling concepts, the age of services is dwindling down. Even now, when we see the Business Industry relying on services and selling them, we see a decline as many customers selected (sometimes forced) to find internal solutions. Many corporations had to wise up fast. This is at the heart of the issue I have with the thoughts of Ineke Dezentjé Hamming-Bluemink. She is correct in the thoughts she phrases, yet again, when compared to the Germans, the Dutch had let these options slide for too long. An integrated ICT means that ICT skills are essential to these companies. If not, then those services will explode in costing’s as the ICT will suddenly rise in value, in an unbalanced way, which created a news hype bubble and there is no way that this is a good thing. This is where the shoes become too tight for the dance of industry. To get this all in motion, training and adaptation should have started two years ago. If the entire track is started now, we will see a wildfire of services and needs, which will drown common sense and pragmatism, which in turn will only hurt industries further.

So, why am I writing this?

The issue is that Ineke Dezentjé Hamming-Bluemink brings up an issue that is at the centre for not just the Netherlands, but the situation also applies to the United Kingdom and Australia. This industry 4.0 as they call it might be needed, but that need goes far beyond just high tech industry. The NHS is just one of many service based organisations where the need for strong and correct integration is required (which seems to be a mess). The ICT integration has been a requirement since the late 90’s. Yet, greed got in the way and as these firms all hunkered down on selling concepts and ‘solutions’, the ICT developers got lazy and many decided to forsake on created products and they all walked down to the path of some 80% readied toolbox with additional training and consultancy.

It was extremely counterproductive.

The Dutch have seen in the last three years how ‘Deutche Grundligkeit’ has taken foothold and it gives way to additional growth in Germany. So, the Dutch want to get on this 4.0 horse as some might see it, but why and for whom? The Netherlands does have an industry, however when we get past the breweries and Nutricia, what is left? Unilever, Akzo-Nobel and perhaps Philips? So, in this smaller list, why is industry 4.0 such a story?

That is the puzzling part, which gets me to the (by me) implied need for government ‘subsidies’. This I see as another approach to overspending, by those who should be keeping their wallets closed (the unfortunate consequence of being in debt for almost 500 billion dollars).

Is industry 4.0 anymore then the latest hype?

This is a question that is a lot harder to answer. Yes, it is hype, but the issue with ‘hype’ that this word also implies that its need tends to be overstated to some degree. This is where I tend to side with the need for it. If all parties need to cut costs, then Industry 4.0 is a definite need, but getting there will require spending and is this truly an option for some?

Here we need to see the words of Journalist Frank Gersdorf from the ‘Financieele Dagblad’ (Financial Paper) “De toekomstvisie wordt in Duitsland met zoveel geweld gepusht, zoals met een overheidstoelage van € 200 mln en promotiefilmpjes, dat je bijna gelooft dat dit echt de toekomst is en dat wij in Nederland de boot missen“, translated it states “The futuristic vision is getting pushed in Germany with such ferocity, like with the subsidy of € 200 million and promotion films, that it is implied that this is the real future and that the Dutch are missing the opportunity” (at http://duitslandnieuws.nl/archief/2014/02/frank-gersdorf-industrie-4-0-misschien-een-hype-maar-heeft-wel-toekomst/)

These words give strength to my implied acts from Ineke Dezentjé Hamming-Bluemink seeing them as an attempt to shake the governmental money tree to see what might drop down. it makes perfect sense that she was doing this as it is her job to get what she can to work for and fight for her interest group. This is all fair enough and we cannot fault her for that. I just wonder if the Dutch and several other groups are even ready for this. Germany has always believed in unity (their version of it) and as such, they had set out a path, which has been in motion since 2004 (at http://www.din.de/sixcms_upload/media/2896/DNS_english%5B1%5D.pdf).

This shows that Germany has been on the industrial choices for a decade; the Dutch cannot just step in and ‘proclaim’ that we should get there too just overnight. This I can proclaim as I was there in the late 70’s and 80’s as the Rotterdam harbours were in a transitional need for upgrading. Take 3 large harbour barons and you got 7 opinions, 14 options and no solution. I reckon that Anthony Veder was the last of the true famous harbour barons. As I witnessed the sales fight between IBM, Hewlett Packard (mainframes) and Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), things were never standard in any way. For the record, my voice was always with DEC with VAX/VMS, which showed true paths of open standardisation. There is only so many times you can stomach the ‘answer‘ “we are IBM” as it was an actual answer to a question. This is however not about IBM, this is about the needs for industry 4.0 and as such a new form of true standard ‘plug and produce’ solutions. There is no commitment to a path, too many players want the door to remain open so that they might get a shot at this and at the same instance, nothing gets done and no one will decide. So it is not just about the advantage Germany is building, it is about the increased distance it is creating by actually going for any solution.

The Germans do have a massive advantage. When the need was there almost 5 years ago, Germany did tighten the belt, the rest (Netherlands, UK, France and Italy) played their ‘fair weather’ games and as such they are now in additional hardships, which is likely disabling that money tree to be shaken. At least, until there is a clear shown path for an ROI for the Dutch taxpayer. This is however not just about the Dutch; the Commonwealth is in a similar situation. In the magazine Industrial Technology of January 2014 (at http://www.gambica.org.uk/app/images/documents/articles/Industrial_Technology_Jan2014.pdf) where we see the following quote at the end: “Industry 4.0 could be the reason why the UK is ultimately successful in redefining itself as a manufacturing economy“. This I can agree with, just as I did not disagree with the statements given by Ineke Dezentjé Hamming-Bluemink. The issue of funds will remain, no matter how needed it might be and if this is good for business, why should the government fund it? Consider the statement “we could be profitable if the tax office foots the bill“. That is what this current Industry 4.0 situation amounts to. This does not mean that it should not happen, but what is the Return On Investment? If it takes longer than that, is it a good deal to put money in something whilst the main objective for the Netherlands and the UK should be to lower their debts.

The issue is already getting the consultants to crawl out of the woodwork (like Roland Berger), where we can read (at http://www.rolandberger.com/press_releases/Industry_4_0_opportunities_for_European_industry.html)

The Roland Berger experts explain what companies and politics should do to support the development of Industry 4.0 and leverage this opportunity for Europe“. It seems to me that this is another one sided step to get the cards shoved into the hands of politics to spend, spend, spend. They also illuminated a second side to this all. The second quote gives us the cake with toppings “This is where politics needs to support the process by initiating research and development programs at the European level“. Why? Why can this not be instigated by IBM, Oracle or by Hewlett Packard? If it makes business sense, then these three will hop on that horse right quick. Why must tax Euros be used one way or another? They made billions, which means that sponsoring should not really be a prerequisite.

In my view, I find that new technologies are usually a step forward, yet when we consider on how people jump on and off funding horses with the greatest of easy within their political terms, should we allow certain corporate evolutions at the expense of the government coffers?

 

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Year of the last Euro?

Wednesday’s news on ‘George Osborne lays down ultimatum‘ seems to have remained a little quiet. So, was it all hot air, or are there silent runners under the waterline? The situation reminds me of a poster I once saw. It was a photograph of water, with the by-line ‘Submarine racing, a spectator sport!‘ I thought it was quite funny. Whilst scanning for the latest on this event, I find several people mentioning it, but no real update for a day. The Guardian article was quite informative (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jan/15/george-osborne-reform-eu-quits-tory-dismantling ). However, I regard the BBC version of it a little better (at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25740462)

The BBC article does however have two items I do find interesting, but they are slightly debatable.

The first one is “I believe it is in no-one’s interests for Britain to come to face a choice between joining the euro or leaving the European Union.” Why is it one or the other? In my view, the only part keeping the EU from collapsing is because the United Kingdom DID NOT embrace the Euro coin. I will get back to this a little later.

The second part is “The 28-member group also had to do more to ensure economic competitiveness with rivals like India and China, he added.

I feel that the UK could become a lot stronger if the Commonwealth brethren embrace each other as family and as mutual protectors. This means that the UK should become the centre force in group that includes Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India.

In my view, the issue is that Chancellor Osborne is too adamant to sing-a-long with the American tune. I view this like a game of musical chairs. An iteration game of leave one out! The problem is that this game includes one chair that is only meant for the rear end of America, so it will always have a chair to sit on. They should not even be included in this game, but there you have it, for some reason they are part of the EU game.

So let us get back to the first part as promised. The EU (or EEC if you prefer), has 28 nations. In the GDP rankings the UK is at number three. The issue is that the top 7 has Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden (these 7 are 79% of the entire EU GDP). Only Germany is in a good position, The Netherlands is on the thinnest ice imaginable, whilst Sweden in its economic state seems to remain skating on the ice it has (for now). The rest has gone through the ice and are in a bad place. So, why should the UK risk it all and add themselves to a currency that is drowning itself because the local politicians refused to stop spending when they could, they kept on spending when they should have stopped and now they are in that bad place. Many should be thankful that the UK and Sweden are not part of the Eurozone at present.

In addition, Greece, according to Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras does not need any more austerity (Nov, 2013). Spain stated “The budget is based on a forecast that the Spanish economy will grow 0.7 percent next year, up from the government’s previous forecast of 0.5 percent.” (at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/28/business/international/spanish-budget-avoids-austerity-measures.html). Yet Bloomberg noted on September 5th “Spain’s bid to meet its budget-deficit target for the first time in five years is running into trouble, fuelling concerns that increased financial stability is masking deeper economic problems.” So, what is actually happening here? Are we witnessing new waves of creative accounting?

In light of all the bad news, it must also be noted that France is at least still fighting to keep the austerity in place, even though President Hollande is slowly becoming the least popular president in French history. I applaud him for standing firm and I do hope he will not share the fate of Louis XVI (a one-time treatment at ‘La Guillotine’). Italy is for now also on the Austerity track, but internal developments are not good and there are signs that Italy cannot continue the course it currently is going. So out of the 6 (not including UK) one is doing decently well, two are on the edge and the rest is for now in a bad place. This is not the time to switch currency, especially as the UK is slowly recovering, to add their heads to a block whilst the Axeman is spending the night away. It is more than just bad politics to do so.

So, we see percentages all over the place, but in the end, what does it mean? Well, let’s take a look at the numbers (as far as I found them, and a stern warning, the numbers are unverified and not from the best sources). In my defence, the numbers do not seem to be clearly presented anywhere.

Sweden, the smallest and not in the worst state is a little over 1 trillion debt at over 180% of GDP, Spain at 2.3 trillion, which is over 150% of GDP, Italy at 2.4 trillion, but interestingly seems to be at almost 100% of GDP, the Netherlands at 2.6 trillion, however the numbers I found place them at almost 350% of GDP, France is at a whopping 5.1 trillion and like Sweden around 180% of GDP, lastly Germany owns over 5.5 trillion at a ‘mere’ 140% of GDP.

Whatever some of these so called economists are trying to tell you (they are hoping you do not revolt against additional borrowing), the current nightmare is far beyond the issues you can imagine. the populations of Sweden is almost 10 million, the Netherlands is at almost 17 million, Spain 47 million, Italy 60 million, France 66 million and Germany at well over 80 million. You see, in the end, the taxpayer gets to deal with these trillions. So, a large nation might seem safe, but consider France, where austerity seems unbearable and with that sizeable population, the debt comes to over 74,000 euro per person. The average income for a Frenchmen is almost 32,000 euro a year (before taxation), which makes the debt more than 2 annual incomes from every implied French resident. So, when people get angry, they need to get angry at previous government administrations that had spent to such a degree that the current debt is unbearable! (Something I have mentioned in several previous blogs.)

This is also the danger of UKIP! I am against the UK moving out of the EU for several reasons, yet the changes could be forcing the current British government to consider the one step that UKIP desires most, what a mess that will make!

Part of the issue I am struggling with is actually in another article in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/15/europe-welfare-spending-george-osborne). I do not agree with parts of it, but the article is well written and the writer Alex Andreou does set out his position very well. So, please do read it for yourself. My issues is with “The fact that as a continent we have embraced values of social security and solidarity, a high standard of education and health for all, and dignity in old age, should be celebrated.” I am all for that and I am in favour of that too, yet governments all over Europe (including the UK) have overspend by such a massive amount that cutbacks in these times are extremely painful. I get it, but previous administrations lived under some umbrella with the picture of a sun, which they took as an eternal summer! Instead of caution, they ignored basic rules and just went all out on a spending spree. Now that all the money is gone, the coffers are instead filled with ‘I OWE U’ notes. When every nation spends more than they are receiving, no one will have any money left, yet governments started to borrow to one another. So, those in debt were borrowing massive amounts to one another, even though no one had any money, is no one catching on? This is my issue! I am all for social security, but if we do not have the money, how can we get it done? In addition, Latvia, the newest member of the Euro states (at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25567096 ) “The former Soviet republic on the Baltic Sea recently emerged from the financial crisis to become the EU’s fastest-growing economy.” Is that so, in that regard we can read the following at http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/finances/?doc=83279The state budget is projected to have a deficit in 2014, 2015 and 2016, according to the medium-term budget framework that Saeima approved in the final reading yesterday, informs LETA.” so the newest member already goes into deficit from day 1? This is quoted in the following way in the article “The medium-term budget framework is based on the following GDP growth forecasts: 3.7% in 2014, 4% in 2015, 4.1% in 2016, 4.1% in 2017 and 3.9% in 2018.” so already above the limits as stated by Brussels. Compared to the top 7, the amounts they refer to seem peanuts in comparison (al 35 billion of them), the issue is moving forward and gaining economic strength, not add to the massive debt. As I see it, the Latvians have plenty to worry about and in my view; the UK and Sweden would remain well warned and not join the Euro.

Time to get back to issue 2!

I stated earlier “the UK could become a lot stronger if the Commonwealth brethren embrace each other“. As the issues evolve, the Commonwealth should revert to a new British Empire, but only in an economic way (undoing the work of Ghandi looks wrong on way too many levels). One of the big dangers is the Trans Pacific Partnership. Australia and New Zealand are in my view to eager to add their names to an approach that is all about keeping America in ‘power’! Why do I have this view?

There are several articles, but at http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/1/14/technology/tpp-trades-us-clout-expense-innovation we see some of the issues that will bug many in the Commonwealth.

The quote that starts to scratch the surface is “in 2009, total patent applications made through the patent co-operation treaty process from applicants in these nations also exceeded those from North American applicants for the first time.

This is the fear America has, which is why they are so eager to get all the autographs. You see, as I see it, Americans became (or were in the eyes of some) complacent, lazy and greedy (the American industry, not the people). For example, as I see it, the IT industry took a page from the arms industry and stopped true innovation and replaced it with iteration. A disastrous step as you will soon see. The powers at IBM and Hewlett Packard, as I see it, decided to listen to military giants like Raytheon and Northrop Grumman. So, America went from the innovation based, which brought the leaps from the 386 through to the Pentium II, and we ended with iterations like I3, I5 and I7. Newly coated computers, which now move forward in stepwise motion. The issue is that Asia had a huge delay keeping up and this all changed as their comprehension improved, in addition, it is for technology insiders relatively easy to learn the path of an iterative technology. This is the first step of fear as America is now facing it. Asia has its own group of innovators and in my personal view the passing of Steve Jobs took away one clear path of innovation. When Apple moves in that same iterative path, the last true American innovator will be lost! Now Asia has a massive advantage and as such America needs to clamp down on whatever they can, with the massive debt and no clear future path their world will all be about Intellectual Property! The article touches on it with the following quote “But what if the real motive of one or more parties was to isolate, control, enrich, deprive, penalise and stifle? In effect, to put a toll on the drawbridge.

This is at the centre, but not at the core of all this. That is why we see the mention that India is seen as a competitor, because for America, they truly are the new competitor. That deadly error was made by the American administration in 2011. Forbes tells us about it in http://www.forbes.com/sites/henrychesbrough/2011/04/25/pharmaceutical-innovation-hits-the-wall-how-open-innovation-can-help/. They published it in April 2011. That story shows only part of it. The quote “The patents granted to these drugs last for 20 years from the date of filing, and since most drugs take 7-10 years to get to market, the pharma companies have known that this moment was coming for the last 10-13 years. It is the logical outcome of a deeper problem, which is that pharma R&D spending has been less and less productive for many years.” gives us two parts. One is that there are clear indicators that the pharmaceutical industry has been working on borrowed time. The second is that the ROI has been dwindling down and that these corporations will face the horror of generic medication as several patents hit the end date in 2015. That means in just over a year, the largest maker of generic medication (India, in case you were wondering) will get to have a go at several extremely lucrative prescriptions. Perhaps you remember news messages on how the FDA was so against Canadian medications. I personally considered that entire issue to be a joke, but the underlying horror for America was already there. I mentioned in other blog articles on the issues I have had with the Dow Jones index (‘Start making sense’, 11th march 2013). Now consider that the three large pharmaceuticals Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer represent 10% (3 out of 30) of this index, so America is plenty nervous here. Now take into account that these three will have several expiring patents by December 2015 and that means that within months India could have a quality generic alternative, which is likely to be more than 70% cheaper. Now, be aware that a generic medicine is often less effective than the original. Still, the price difference is huge. It is not just the US; the UK has its own share of pharmaceutical makers, so the knife does cut in two ways in this case. Still, when we need to cut back again and again, India could be a good thing for the Commonwealth at large. So, even though some see the TPP as an option, there is implied evidence that the TPP could strongly block innovation.

How does this link to the Euro? No matter how we twist or turn it, the hard times America will face as it has been facing them for the last few years will intensify as innovation remains absent. That will hit Europe in several ways. The Netherlands already saw that as Merck shut down activities like Aspen Pharmacare. The intertwining of corporations on that level are all over Europe, and as such as American Pharmacies are hit, their European links will suffer a lot more because of it. So, yes, India is a competitor there, but the UK together with Canada and Australia could look for a cooperative solution with India and not see them as the competitor (as America currently does).

So is this all linked to the end of the Euro? Yes! It does however depend on the actions of the UK. If is stops membership, the run on the markets and the panic Germany faces could be catastrophic for the Euro, especially as Germany cannot rely on the pillars named France, Spain and Italy. The other nations are either too weak or too small.

Could George Osborne be wrong?

That depends on your point of view and your allegiance. The latter is implied as I noted the reference to the musical chairs with the one reserved seat. News messages like “the call to end austerity by ‘insiders’ from Brussels”. Yet, in the other light governments must reduce their spending and they need to get clever about it fast. The UK non-working military recruitment solution at 1.3 billion is just one clear example. Pretty much every EU country has its own skeletons. I see that the UK could be stronger as the Commonwealth nations take a route of preference to strengthen their economies, it is clear that such a path in Europe would remain stagnate until late 2015. That does not make George Osborne right, it only means that a European route might work, however it will be a long term path and switching to the Euro (at present) does not seem to be a stable solution for the UK to implement.

 

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