Tag Archives: International Institute for Strategic Studies

Fruity tech sides ignored

We have seen plenty of events in the last few days, some we will side one way, and the next the other way. some of these issues are not black and white, they are grey at best and we can no longer decide which shade of grey we are looking at, even less decide if there are 50 shades of them. We see places like the Sydney Morning Herald give us: ‘Facebook is turning into an Apple lookalike‘, whilst CNBC gives us: “Facebook’s revenue miss means more ads could flood user timelines“. I believe that this goes beyond a mere notion of ‘Facebook growth slows as Zuckerberg says developed countries are saturated‘, which we get from the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/oct/30/facebook-quarterly-report-revenue-growth). Yes there definitely is saturation, but there is also a growing resentment from the users themselves. You see, Facebook is no longer about the users, it is no longer about what we want, Facebook is about telling us what we want and the resentment group is starting to grow, perhaps soon enough on an exponential scale. This is what I would call the precursor to collapse. Facebook did this to its self and that is not even considering the Cambridge Analytica element in the equation. When I start Facebook I want to see my timeline as a timeline, I need it chronologically as I have friends and family all over the world, so time zones are important here. Yet every time I start Facebook on desktop or mobile, it resorts to what gets the most visibility, it is about the most interactions hoping that it will lead to more engagement, but that is now more and more less likely to be the case as users have evolved. They know what to look for and when to look. Facebook is about traffic pressure and does not seem to care on what the users want and that saturated group is starting to look for other places where they can get what they need. It ends up not being good news for Facebook and they are hurting themselves more and more by not considering their users and placing them first, they place traffic pressures for the need of enhanced advertisement first and the people are now backing away.

So when the Guardian treats us to: “Zuckerberg cautioned that revenue could slow in the future“, I merely see the truth as it should be which is “Zuckerberg should be cautioning us that revenue will slow in the foreseeable future“, they are not the same.

And even as we are told: “Last week, the company announced that the war room team had detected and deleted 82 pages, groups, and accounts, all found to be part of an Iranian disinformation campaign targeting voters in the US and UK” it seems merely the top of the iceberg and even as I have no real notion of what they think is a war room, but there are doubts on what Facebook thinks it is and what it actually should be from a few directions.

To continue that it would seem important that I use the quotes from last May when Bloomberg gave us: “At the end of April, Al-Ahed’s website linked to an Arabic Facebook page with more than 33,000 followers. Content on the page included a video of masked snipers targeting Israeli soldiers. Another Al-Ahed Facebook page had more than 47,000 followers, and one in English had 5,000. Facebook’s policies prohibit material that supports or advances terrorism. The company’s definition of the term, published last month for the first time, includes a ban on nongovernmental organizations that use violence to achieve political, religious, or ideological aims. It specifies that such groups include religious extremists, white supremacists, and militant environmental groups. Facebook also says content that violates its policies is “not allowed” on the site.

Now consider this site (at https://www.memri.org/reports/hizbullah-reveals-drones-and-missile-museum-jihadi-tourism-south-lebanon), whilst we see: “In August 2018, for the first time, Hizbullah revealed drones and the short-range 75-kilometer Khaibar missile that it used during the July 2006 war with Israel. These are on display as part of a new exhibition held at the organization’s “Museum for Jihadi Tourism” (also known as the “Mleeta Tourist Landmark”) in Mleeta, South Lebanon, to mark 12 years since the war. Reports about these new exhibits and others were published in various Hizbullah media“, also consider “the head of Hizbullah’s media department, ‘Ali Daher, told the organization’s news website Al-‘Ahed that, until recently, the museum had displayed only old-generation drones, but now drones of several generations, which can carry out a variety of missions, are on display. The report stated that Hizbullah has a fleet of advanced drones stamped with the emblem of the organization’s “aerial force,” which first came into operational use during the July 2006 war“. That place also shows missiles used on targets last year (‘liberating’ Al-Juroud in 2017). So in this my short and direct message to Mark Zuckerberg is (as diplomatically as I could presently possibly muster): ‘Do you have a fucking clue what you and your war room are NOT achieving?‘ You see the Memri.org group has over one hundred and seventy eight thousand followers on Facebook mind you! As martyrs are ‘heralded’ and optionally ‘recruited’ via a non-profit organisation there is no issue? Who exactly are they effing kidding here?

Now we must be careful, as MEMRI also gives us: “Speaking at the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ (IISS) 2018 Manama Dialogue, Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah said: “Israel is one of the countries in the region… Maybe it is time that Israel had the same privileges and duties as other countries.” Bin Abdullah said that the Torah and the Israelite prophets emerged in the Middle East and that there had even been Jews in Medina. He stated that improved relations between Israel and its neighbours can be accomplished“, which could be seen as a monumental step, yet there is still an issue. I will agree that the shades of grey become increasingly hazardous for everyone here, so painting with one brush will not bode well for everyone, yet Yesterday they also gave us: ‘Palestinian Columnist In Qatari Daily Calls For Armed Struggle Against Israel‘, which can be read (happily or not) on Facebook at this very moment (I did just so roughly 221 seconds ago). So there is a lot on Facebook that is out of whack. And with “He called on Fatah to take up arms, and on Hamas to expand its struggle against Israel to the West Bank and the Palestinian diaspora” we can see how roughly 178,633 followers were kept up to date (optionally picking up arms against the state of Israel) less than 24 hours ago. It seems to me that Facebook is mopping the floor and forgot to shut off the water tap before commencing the mopping, so we can see that this is going anywhere ever, and in that process they are going nowhere anytime soon. How is that for recognition? You Markie Mark Zuckerberg!

Oh and by the way Mark, feel free to reward me for bringing this to your attention with a 4.2 GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 27″ iMac 3TB and a new iPad Pro Cellular and Wi-Fi 1TB (12.9 Inch) with Keyboard and pen (preferably both with Apple Care). I mean let’s face it; you just had a sweet deal of 128 Million dollars by selling 5 million shares just in time. There is nothing like spreading the wealth (or at least recognise the fact that you have become a little lost for now).

You see, being fruity is all good and fine, yet when you neglect the need of your users the game changes. You will merely be feeling the pressures of less and less forward momentum as you neglected their direct desires and their indirect needs and this group is actually increasing so much faster than you can imagine. With every semester as students are connecting through international exchange programs, at that point their time line need changes as well, because not every exchange student goes to MIT, Stanford or Berkeley. Some will go to the Luleå University of Technology (the Swedish version of MIT) where we see only 75,000 in the entire city, or perhaps Örebro University, a place you might not know, it merely has 107,000 people living there, yet Örebro University has a Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences that is ahead of the curve by a comfortable space. In addition, Örebro University is in the lower part of the top 2% of all the universities on the planet. So whilst you, Mark Zuckerberg, you seem to be focussing on the 2 billion daily users. You are seemingly trying to build engagement pressure. You will of course fail as you are also (seemingly) forgetting that these 2 billion users all staged in segments to some degree and in that you seemingly forgot the (roughly) 5,324,883 niche groups that are a large chunk of Facebook as a whole. So whilst you focus on a net that captures all the people, the mazes of that net are getting too large and you will start to lose all the sardines, after which you will lose the herrings, then the eels, and so on. I hope that you get the idea of the danger you have put Facebook in. You have been so upset with a net that captures all the fish that you completely forgot on why the fish were there in the first place. It was not just a new deep blue sea, it was a comfortable place for fish and as you have been removing that part, you will see the shoals swim away. There is logic referring to fish. You see when we see “Any group of fish that stays together for social reasons is said to be shoaling, and if the shoal is swimming in the same direction together, it is schooling. About one quarter of fish shoal all their lives, and about one half of fish shoal for part of their lives.” In this TJ Pitcher gave us an article in 1992 on the behaviour of Teleost Fishes; it is on Page 363 if you are really curious. So whilst we concentrate on a net capturing them, your teams forgot to focus on the reason that they were there. Most for union, some for connection, some for protection and some just to swim and all these niche groups are the reasons for these fishes to remain together, yet some shoals unite and are what is seen as ‘about one half of fish shoal for part of their lives‘, yet they will move from shoal to shoal and that is where these niche markets become increasingly important. Google+ figured that part of the equation out within the first 30 days, so as you are placing pressure on your 2 billion users, you forgot all about the basics and you could be losing a lot more faster and sooner than you think and that is where my prediction “Zuckerberg should be cautioning us that revenue will slow in the foreseeable future” becomes more than a reality, it will be optional prophecy and it could have been avoided a long time ago. It almost feels like me and Mark Zuckerberg are opposites to some degree (and in some ways, especially financially) not the greatest place for me to be, but I believe in my path, that is how I roll.

Naval Extremism

Let’s take a look at an extremely fictive setting that is based on the truth, so as the story begins, a story I wrote and thought up myself mind you: “There is always an upbeat path in looking at ‘new’ technology. In the age of now, as I got bored, the need for entertainment was nigh and highly needed. So as I got the details on the USS Pennsylvania (via a documentary), my mind went racing. I always had a soft spot for Submarines. Cary Grant and Tony Curtis in Operation Petticoat might have been the first starting that interest; they were in the end not the only inspiration. There was the Hunt for Red October on the CBM Amiga (as well as the silver screen with Sean Connery). It is especially interesting to see the development of submarines from WW2 onwards. So as I looked at my initial solution to remove the Iranian navy from every equation, I decided to think through on how a submarine could be used to deploy such solutions. It is not a hard task and it seems applicable to do so, so it was not really a challenge. Then I got the idea to apply my solution in another way. The technology of the fibre torpedo gave me the idea, not to blow up a submarine, but to incapacitate it. The only problem at present is that the solution will not work on a submarine at full speed, so it is basically not a solution (yet). Now my mind focusses on solving problems and I like that. It does not matter what kind of puzzle it is. The less I know, the more I can learn; it is applied engineering and design in one cool patent package. At this time my engineering knob is 99% active and likely merely 1% efficient; I look at the video and remember the Russian VA-111 Shkval, a torpedo that goes like a bat out of hell (200 knots) at whatever they need to hit. The fact that this puppy can be nuclear is not a good thing for any submarine to meet, so I look at this puzzle and wonder how to make it less efficient. It takes an hour to come up with the craziest idea and I do not expect it to work because someone in any navy would have had that idea as well, or so I would believe. Yet what if no one had ever looked at this solution? Now consider that the Russian VA-111 Shkval uses GOLIS autonomous inertial guidance, giving me the idea in the first place , as we are confronted with the stage of Go-Onto-Location-in-Space, we see that this has the flaw of requiring a stationary or near-stationary target, and in a war condition a submarine getting fired on is like a virgin shouting that she is in heat, if she stays stationary she is going to get screwed, so movement is pretty essential at this point. This is where I had the craziest idea of releasing a cylinder behind the submarine, roughly 500 KG with copper and liquid (preferably solid) Oxygen (or Nitrogen) and let pressure blow it apart (nothing heat related), the water around it would freeze and the copper would likely transfer it stronger as well as making the object more solid, solid enough for the lump to take the hit and not the submarine. OK, it is the craziest idea and it might not ever work, yet it took me less than 30 minutes to come up with the idea after watching one History channel episode on the USS Pennsylvania” Now we go back to Facebook and we see a whole range of iterations ignored by the makers themselves. They have been so growth oriented that they forgot all about quality orientation, a part that is my only conclusion as we see the failings in the app and desktop side of the matter. It goes further as we see the evolution of people now getting judged on their social media profile, a stage where Facebook is completely ignoring the two sides in every person (a fun and a work related side), yet the people are not tailored to, and that is seen as more and more young new worker bees are leaving Facebook unattended to a bigger degree (and for longer times) and they are focusing more on LinkedIn and optionally learning that Twitter has what they need to a much better degree. All niches falling away, all niches selling other waters that look, feel and sense like the other deep blue sea, the deep blue sea they once thought they were in. A staged exit for all the people looking for what they need, for what they desire whilst Facebook has been focussing on what they thought their subscribers wanted and desired for the benefit of the selling of ads that the bank account of Mark Zuckerberg (et al) required, all versions of perceived and proclaimed truths whilst the fish in the Facebook database no longer experience it to be.

For a better term, Facebook lost the Googlyness it once heralded and there are sharks around who desperately needs to trim Facebook, because the strength is had with 2 billion, the strength of having a true global opinion customer base was just too scary for some of the political players and the sharks are circling the Facebook net that is showing more and more weakness at present. It is a risk of catering to the goals that were outside of the perception of the fish in the net. Fruity and techie can remain yummy for all the players, yet it will require a massive adjustment. When you consider that both Sony and Microsoft made claims in 2011/2012 on what was to come and that never really happened to the degree that the people might have hoped for. Now also consider that Facebook has 2 billion users and that other sources give us that more than 1.2 billion people are playing games worldwide, part of them is a group of 700 million who play online games. When you realise that, and you see that Facebook only touched on that to the smallest of degrees, when you realise that gaming social media is as isolated as it gets, how many balls did Mark Zuckerberg drop? And to be clear I am not talking about the two he should have on a biological level. I have watched on a massive oversight, one of the biggest niches on the planet.

It is a stage where 16% of the entire planet plays games, optionally up to 60% of all Facebook users. When we realise that, what other avenues is Facebook not investigating? Like the shoals of fish, gamers are part of several flocks, moving from flock to flock, yet staying in that same part of the ocean, how long until Facebook realises that the fish they had moved to another ocean? If gaming brings comfort to so many people, is it not weird that Facebook is not trying to appease such a large title dedicated group? Once we realise that we are all seeking a place of comfort where we can be ourselves, where we can unwind, does the failure of the current version of Facebook still makes sense to too many? Have we become complacent or are we merely too lazy to look around for the players that actually are customer engagement oriented?

You tell me!

 

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The Commanding Conquest

The NY Times gave us a view, some are laughing, some are looking forward, some are grasping at the past, but you and me? What will we do? What are our thoughts?

That is the view I am having when I see ‘A Glimpse of a Crown Prince’s Dream? Saudi Arabia Invades Iran in CGI‘ (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/20/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-iran-invasion-video.html). The video shown is not new, the article revealed that the movie was uploaded last December and has had 1.2 million views. That’s around 400,000 a month. We see the application of CGI and Command & Conquer intro movie style towards the games that Iran has been playing. So as we see “In scene after scene, he orders a succession of superior weapons systems to pulverize the enemy“, we see a setting, one that is changing. It is what I would optionally call the sabre rattling by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who according some of the sources is stated to be behind this all. I cannot tell, I do not know. But it is clear that Iran is also realising that everyone is looking at them now and none of the voices are telling Saudi Arabia to stop. Those voices will come too late and at that point, with the EU not willing to give an inch towards Iran, Iran will stand alone. Even Russia who has been their trade buddy for the longest of times is backing off a little, as they would endanger the foothold that they are growing in the Middle East via Syria. In addition, if there is a side, than Israel will never choose it will be the side of Iran, that ship has sailed and was burned down the moment it left the harbour of Jaffa.

One view given was “a Princeton professor who recently published a column explaining the challenges Prince Mohammed faces in the kingdom, suggested in an email that the Iranians themselves might have made the cartoon “to make the Saudis look silly”“, it is certainly one view, but when we consider Command & Conquer, is it as simple as Saudi Arabia v Iran, or is there a third player in town? The view that former CIA employee Bruce Riedel has differs as well. He of course has just published a new book based on 3 decades of experience and his view is “This represents how he sees himself, or what he would like to be, It suggests that at least some part of Mohammed bin Salman lives in a fantasy world, and if he really believes these things then we are on a course that could be extremely destructive“. It is not a view that I could state was incorrect due to lack of data, but if the Crown Prince has set this all in motion, is it in the end anything else than a creative presentation? Lets not forget, if we plough through the presentations of historical CIA, most of their directors would have ended up in prison, as would some members of congress and at least two former Presidents of the United States. So the view given here is not one that seems to be the pressure here. I actually like a later view in the article in the NY Times where we see “Other scholars suggested that one of the prince’s courtiers might have commissioned the video to flatter him“, that is one part that appeals, it would even be better if it was made by the courtiers son who has the dream of becoming the coolest game designer in Saudi Arabia, which is not a bad dream to pursue to begin with.

No matter who or what it is regarded to be. When we consider it from the distance, it is merely a presentation, one that took effort. My view on the third player is shown (in my humble opinion) by “The video was released almost simultaneously in Arabic and English, with subtitles in Farsi, Hebrew, Mandarin, Russian, Turkish and other languages, so its animators probably also had the help of a team of linguists“, you see no matter how they feel about Israel, Saudi Arabia would have been unlikely to have taken the effort, even when relying on Google Translate and even as we know that Israel will never be a friend of Iran, it is my personal view that Saudi Arabia would not have taken the effort to get the ‘Hebrew’ edition out there, giving rise to the third party. I would need to see the full list of subtitle editions, to learn how precise my prediction is, but I think that the players adding the Hebrew edition shot themselves in the foot.

Yet it does also give light to “Prince Mohammed is a long-time fan of animation and video games. His personal foundation set up a venture, Manga Productions, to produce Japanese-style animation about Saudi Arabia and its culture“. Did you know this? Many have been curious about Saudi Culture; many wonder just how warped the press had made certain settings of Saudi Culture. Now I know that it is not the culture, with all the options that Western Europe had, but that is their history, learning more about it will only make things better for both sides. So when we see “Japanese animation productions major Toei Animation is teaming up with Saudi Arabia’s Manga Productions to produce animation titles and films to be released in both countries. The new tie-up was unveiled Nov. 16. Manga Productions, which is affiliated with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s MiSK Foundation, focuses on producing animations and developing video games with creative and positive content targeting different local and international social groups. Bukhari Isam, CEO of Manga Productions, said that his company will do pre-production or prepare designing content to be produced in Japan. The productions will be internationally targeted”. Most forms of information that is linked to Japanese excellence tend to be very well received on a global scale. So in all this we would need to realise that the media has been keeping information from us all. Now, there is no way that everyone will suddenly become a ‘Saudi’s best buddy’, but the setting that we see almost no exposure to this and that in the age of learning and comprehension that is one view that we are filtered from is equally dangerous. There is no other way to see it other than that the Muslim way of life has a global impact on nearly all, even if it is often not visible. Is it so bad to learn more on something that has no Christian foundation? Are we so afraid for the switching of atheists and agnostics to state: “This sounds like a much better way“, is the often hidden setting that Christians filter what must not be seen that has been a hindrance for decades! Should you oppose that (which is perfectly fine), than take a look at Spotlight, a 2015 movie on an unfrocked priest accused of molesting more than 80 boys. This was based on the 2001 event where editor Marty Baron of The Boston Globe assigns a team of journalists to investigate allegations against John Geoghan, the fore mentioned unfrocked priest. The article became proof of the cover-up of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church. An issue that still impacts people today. Less than a day ago we see ‘Cardinal George Pell could face fresh charges after new witness statement emerges‘. This is merely one of many issues that had been pushed to the hidden shadows of society. These events are still being shown to be an issue 15 years after the initial article got out, so we can state that there has never ever been an events where filtering based on religion gave us wisdom, the media is only finding this out because it ups the circulation of their papers. There is a hard lesson to be learned there.

So, as we take a look at the Crown Prince, and the video game intro movie? Perhaps we will learn the truth of whoever was really behind it and what the purpose was. Perhaps it will be as simple as a member of the Saudi royal family telling Iran that they need to stop playing their games, because some mind games tend to become realities with fatalities and in this a video game is merely the presentation of artistic design. We all need to realise that only in a videogame foundation can a 1.68m tall model wearing nothing but cargo pants and a tank top take out dozens properly clothed mercenaries armed to the teeth with a bow, a knife and an ice axe, because that is where our minds in video games tend to end. So will the intro movie become a reason for war? I very much doubt it, whilst we are looking at these events, most are now forgetting that both Iran and Turkey are isolating themselves more and more, Iran for fuelling the events in Yemen and Turkey for the actions in pretty much all the Kurdish regions. In the end they can merely depend on one another, which would be a clear ending to whatever economy they thought they had. As Iran is dealing with 25% youth unemployment and Turkey with 24.1%, they both have other immediate needs. So in the end, even as the Command and Conquer, Saudi edition looked cool, a mere presentation of how opening trade and growing other economic options is a solution to youth unemployment, it seems that both Iran and Turkey are far far away from learning that lesson for now.

So as we end with two more parts from the NY Times. The first being: “The video appears to show an accurate reflection of the vast Saudi arsenal, with two exceptions. The tanks labelled in the video as Abrams M1s, the most advanced American model, look more like the outdated Patton M60s. And Saudi Arabia does not have the ships needed to transport them to Iran, said Douglas Barrie, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London“, which might be perfectly fine, so when we see the second part we see: ““The Saudis have a very limited amphibious capability,” Mr. Barrie said. “They do not have the platforms for a large-scale amphibious operation.”“, we might all agree, but these high paid people have taken the time to analyse a video game intro, so as the optional third player makes another movie, will they look at it again? When it comes in a box with image below, will we hear from these people about the substandard weapons that the French are using? #JustSaying

 

 

 

 

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