Tag Archives: IOS

Slippery slope

There are feelings of satisfaction to be heard, and you can hear them everywhere. The setting that ‘UK government sets out plans to rein in Big Tech’ but they are loud noises, having only negative impacts. The BBC reports (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-61342576) “The new Digital Markets Unit (DMU) will be given powers to clamp down on “predatory practices” of some firms. The regulator will also have the power to fine companies up to 10% of their global turnover if they fail to comply.” My problem is not the merely the statement, it is the clear definition of what constitutes ‘predatory practices’, you see it is nice to see “Google and Facebook”, but where is Microsoft in all this? Then we get the debatable setting of “Digital minister Chris Philp said the government wanted to “level the playing field” in the technology industry, in which a few American companies have been accused of abusing their market dominance.” I wonder how delusional Chris Philp really is. Levelling the playing field? How about the others learn a trade? How about the magpies of the tech industry grow a pair and actually set innovation in motion? Is that too much to ask for? And this short sightedness will cost the EU and the UK a lot more than they figure on. Whilst we see failure after failure by Microsoft. You remember them? The people who pushed Netscape out of business, where was the level playing field then? And in all this the setting of predatory practices is not explained, it is a mere emotional stage setting. I now have over half a dozen tech IP, you think I will share that with Microsoft morons? Do you think I will set it in the UK? Then we get “It added it wants news publishers to be paid fairly for their content – and will give the regulator power to resolve conflicts.” Did anyone consider that news agencies do not have to put their materials on Facebook? I have received all kinds of links. The Dutch Telegraaf, the Australian Courier Mail and when ever I open these messages that I never asked for I get (see image below). And they are not the only one. It is the news publishers way to advertise and who pays for that advertisement? 

It seems that we see a one sided story without too much investigations and explanations, so are we surprised that Apple, Google and Meta are not responding? 

Then we get the danger setting, we are given “It will also make it easier for people to switch between phone operating systems such as Apple iOS or Android and social media accounts, without losing data and messages.” Did anyone consider that it will be playing in the hands of organised crime? Did anyone investigate the claims of these so called critics? With complete disclosure of their identities and their educational skills? So when we are given “The UK government said its new rules could increase the “bargaining power” of national and regional newspapers.” I believe that these players are realising that they are no longer relevant and that some will vanish when Meta becomes a reality. And in that stage Chris Philp is reduced to a simple tool, a tool of the greedy who suddenly realise that before they get to the end of their lives, the well dried up. No one is setting the stage that Google Ads is the most fair and the most engaging form of advertising, it offered the advertiser value and choice, something they never had in the past. And Microsoft was nowhere to be seem and when they did come their product was just too mediocre. 

But that is not the big issue, the big issue is that it opens the stage for Chinese solutions that are nowhere in the UK and where the UK has no say over it and that stage is forgotten until it is too late. The internet is global and how long until the people go to a .cn location for their social interactions, their news and their ‘solutions’? How long until these same tech bitches start crying that the bulk of revenue is now going to China? The UK is embarking on one of the most slippery slopes and the news outlets no longer have credibility (with the exception of the Times and the Guardian), so how long until the people are smitten with Chinese glamour magazines? With Chinese news and with Chinese solutions? You think it is never going to happen? Think again, Tik Tok is a Chinese innovation, and they have a pipeline of innovations ready to deploy. So whilst the DMU and debatable ‘critics’ attack the practices of Google, Meta and Apple. Make sure you see the whole field. We do not want to switch between iOS and Android. I am an Android user and that is where I stay. I have nothing against Apple, I have their iPad Air and I am happy with it, after the 1st generation iPad this was a step up and I love it. But I have no intention to get the iPhone and I am not alone, just as there are iPhone users who have zero intentions to switch to Android, as such I see “It will also make it easier for people to switch between phone operating systems such as Apple iOS or Android” as a facilitation towards others, not users, as such the issues with this article stacks up and before I forget it, I can export my phone data to all kinds of solutions and Apple has the same, so who is Chris Philp catering to? In that stage I have a few additional questions for the writer James Clayton. We see a limited view on a stage that is kept partly in the dark, why is that? 

I will let you ponder that part of the equation.

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Relaunch or remaster?

It was 04:00 (local time) and I needed to seek out some address in London, the address did not matter, but the stage did. In the first there was Lancaster Gate station, it now holds a dearly departed sign, it is closed (apparently). For some reason seeing the map of the underground again made my mind wander. It went back to the days of the Commodore 64. I reviewed a rather fun game for the younger players. It was called ‘Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego’, it was fun because of two elements. Instead of dealing with copy protection, they merely wanted a word from a line in a page in a book, the book was however an Almanac with 900 pages.

I think I still have that book somewhere. It was fun because it had an educational side, it had an exploration side and it was fun to play. Now consider that a lot of this info is in apps, consider that the Switch could hold that info, so consider a game where the location you currently are (and offline containing the old mode) you can play a game that has at least two modes, it might not be that possible on the Switch, but both Android and iOS can contain all the elements needed. An enhanced stage with optional local added information that is added to the bookshelves of the app. We can look on any map in any location, so why not use that to a larger playing stage? Racing, wandering, sleuthing and a whole range more. The Almanac was essential in those days, but now we have equal options online and perhaps the makers have the rights to that almanac. Consider that in the old game we could go to 4 locations and from there to three buildings. Now we have the entire map, we can go anywhere, we can up the ante on several levels and even as we start with a number of locations, we can add and add as the game is released, making 200 locations, 5000 locations, making 3 buildings, 150 buildings. Making the dozen or so facts hundreds of facts. A playful app with educational sides and its educational sides could remain growing for a long time. We can add complexities with airlines, busses, ferries and subways. We can add photo’s as part of the investigation, we can do more with currencies and make credit cards a larger stage in the game (it was none in those days). All additional sides that give a much larger stage to the game and this game could resurface in a refurbished coat. In that case as it evolves into streaming systems we see a game that is for the younger players and when you count the games for younger gamers on a non-Nintendo system, how many do you find? 

Just a small idea before I am having my first coffee (05:23 now).

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Apple cool, Google functional

I got in that stage again this morning, and for the silliest reasons. It started last week (I think) when Apple upgraded to a new system. My MacBook and iPad were both affected. Now, there is (mostly) nothing wrong with an upgrade, in the Windows era most became hateful of updates, with apple for the most a lot less so. And my home has been around since the Macintosh Performa 630CD (Mac 7.5), and I gave support to Mac users way before then. I have had hardship and joy with Apple and I was hurt more than once, but it is part of the show. So when my systems needed update, I went ahead and for the most there was no issue there was even something new for the iPad, Widgets (or perhaps I only started to use them now). You see, I tend to be pragmatic. I use it when I need it and even as weather is something I use on my android, I had no issues having it on my iPad, the same for the world clock. And herein lies the problem. The Android gives digital times, iOS does not. Yes you can buy it, but why? There was even one provider that (according to the review) charges for EACH clock added and one had a monthly fee, all because Apple decided to be ‘cool’ and not think things through? So I can delete the widgets and rely on my Android solution (which is better) or perhaps after years of shortsightedness Apple starts thinking things through and OFFER their CONSUMERS value. 

And it is that way of thinking why I went the path of Google’s Android. It started on day one when Steve Jobs made the massive mistake. You see Jobs gave us what the iPhone could do and it could be a phone too. Google gave us a phone that could also do……. The difference is not semantics, it is wider. Apple was selling a processor, Google was selling a phone and I needed a phone. It is that simple. 

Now do not think I am anti-Apple (well I do prefer tangerines), I have had an iPad since version one (64GB) which I ended using until it was replaced with my new iPad Air 256GB. It has been my sidekick for most of the days and I still play the game Blockheads today. Sometimes the old ways are good and iBooks is amazing. So is the Apple Office version nowadays. Apple has good sides, but lacks in plenty of ways as well. When it goes out looking cool, it tends to forger to be pragmatic and functional at times. The Clock widget is not the only side, but it is one of the mot visible sides. Especially people who dealt with international customer service. Having a widget that does not require to have the mind convert rimes, but to see a clear simple digital clocks (in my case 4 of them) is a great way to keep track of international times. Especially early in the morning and late afternoon I used to check Toronto time to see what the Toronto, San Francisco (morning only) and Chicago office needed. Late in the evening there was the Amsterdam office and for now, the Android clocks are the only way to go and I do not get it why pragmatism and functionality was cast aside to merely have a cool analogue clock?

And it is not merely me, in the new ages, in the upcoming changes to international offices, to international support and data centres having a clear time setting in front of us is too often important. There is more, but it is finicky stuff. I am not here to convert you, not here to say Android is better, there are plenty of cases where Apple rocks (iBook being an obvious one, for all those nasty RTFM moments). There is also the larger stage that one does not fit all, some people rely on iOS, some on Android and I get it, but in the functionality stage, would it have hurt to think things through at Apple (beside relying on third party solutions? 

You see, there is a larger case, there is a functional case to make the iPad the tool to go for anyone in technical support, and they are almost there (iAnnotate, PDF save and email it all), we need to be more flexible, need to be more mobile and be in more places and a laptop is not getting us there, our iPad will and Apple has a massive advantage here, if they only thought things a little deeper through.

Consider that the PC has had Access for the longest of times. And Access (with its limitations) is actually a decently good Database system, there are others, yet the Mac is largely depending on Filemaker Pro, over all this time Mac never offered a house product to sit next to Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Why not? There are too many bases when I cannot rely on the cloud, I need something local and Mac is handing us the ‘Out for business’ sign. Even the Commodore Amiga had at some point Superbase 64 (1984) as an optional solution, so why is Apple in 2021 still behind? Do you think that anyone in support can do anything decent without direct access to a knowledge base? 

And when we have no cloud connection, or a really bad one? There are dozens of nations relying on support in rural areas and sometimes we (alas) have to go there. That includes 60% of Canada, 35% of USA, well over half of France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, parts of Scandinavia and so we go on, it amounts to close to well over a billion people that cannot rely on the cloud and that is before you consider the cloud transgressions we all face now because someone was asleep at the helm. 

Google has options all over the place and they are not without flaws, but they have something and that matters. Consider the work from home setting and the considerations that are in place if there WAS a database option, perhaps with widgets implications? 

I reckon that if the home office stays active for close to another year Apple could have made a killing in that department, if only some things were thought through a little more. But it is easy to rely on something that that worked for 20 years (Log4J pun), you see as everyone does that, so will organised crime, as you all have the same flaw, that was clear was it not? A stage that all have to improve on (Google too), a stage that is set to a much larger desk, the desk of a person that is not merely in their office, but it is stacked with the virtual version that is in a similar room in San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, New York, London, Amsterdam, Munich, Tel Aviv, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo and Beijing, and all in THEIR office sees all the other ones in virtual mode too (actually, this is giving me an idea). And in international support we need 24 hour covering (since 1994) and most solved their setting in a partial way, but the iPad offers more and more mobile, so what gives? 

You can see some support managers hiding behind their DISC assessment (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness), then we are given that the software does not comply with the settings of SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat), and they all move on with the small niche they have. Yet SWOT allowed me to see the option to create a market for 50,000,000 consoles (Amazon Luna or Google Stadia), and that now also translates (in another way to global support with an iPad and iOS setting. All fields ignored by Microsoft (with them singing blue, an Azure pun in the making). Yet what happens when we translate DISC to support and services needs by naming them Demands, Integrity, Sophistication and Clarity? When I was younger and less corrupted I saw a person design an entire services system in Paradox and it functioned better than solutions like SCOPUS and Siebel that was a decade more advanced, all because the Paradox solution was true Services and support minded (well more than the others) and the SCOPUS and Siebel solutions were for sales people and grudgingly adjusted for technical support, a setting that was not the same and massively lacking in clarity and all inferior to a system that Info Computer Systems has in 1988 which was purely designed for technical support (written in Clipper) as well as Helpdesk needs. A setting I learned early in life, which tended to be, not the same. 

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A short sighted wire

I was taken by surprise today, the BBC gave me ‘EU rules to force USB-C chargers for all phones’, the article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-58665809) gives us “Manufacturers will be forced to create a universal charging solution for phones and small electronic devices, under a new rule proposed by the European Commission (EC)” which is stupid on several levels. It remains a surprise on how we see the computation of IQ of a population being  AVERAGE(group), whilst the IQ of a collection of politicians seems to adhere to LOWEST(group). Now let’s be clear. I would love to see a stage where power supplies all adhere to the same settings, but the USB-C charger of my MacBook will not charge my Chromebook, my USB-Micro charger of my android phone actually does charge other devices and a generic charger will not work on my android phone, as such the entire setting of all using the same cable is a laughable stage. More important, generic power boards with USB points will not charge everything either (it would not charge my Chromebook), so where set the standard? Set the standard at what each battery has to accept? 

So when we see “EU politicians have been campaigning for a common standard for over a decade, with the Commission’s research estimating that disposed of and unused charging cables generate more than 11,000 tonnes of waste per year.” So how about a mobile phone that lasts well over 5 years? I reckon that this element will save a lot more waste space required. But under what conditions? So how about all chargers for anything battery operated like a wireless WiFi, photo camera’s, film camera’s, webcams, speakers (like Bose and JBL), bluetooth devices. The list goes on, they ALL have to adjust? How stupid is that train of thought? When any asian market decides to take a turn to the right, when they find a new innovative way, where will the EU be left? A setting that can be hammered straight out of gateway, set to ‘unused charging cables’, all whilst the charging cble is the one part that often needs replacing long before the charger is too broken to be used. And these charge cables are also used for consoles, printers, scanners and other devices. So who was the local yahoo that set for “All smartphones sold in the EU must have USB-C chargers”? Someone with a friend at Apple, or perhaps someone who hates non USB-C systems? Perhaps some yahoo who forgot his Android cable that still uses USB micro?

When we see the elements of that article, the numbers do not add up. Even Apple, the people who embraced USB-C give us: “Apple has warned such a move would harm innovation”. So when we see “In 2009, there were more than 30 different chargers, whereas now most models stick to three – the USB-C, Lightning and USB micro-B” we see a level of raw BS. You see my Apple USB-C charger will not charge my USB-C Chromebook, a simple test overseen in 10 second. Then there is “the Commission’s research estimating that disposed of and unused charging cables generate more than 11,000 tonnes of waste per year” I know that this is equally a setting of utter nonsense, because there is no division between unused and broken cables and they cannot, it is mere estimation work. The reason I know this is because I have three chargers that are still in my desk for backup. In case one of the other ones break, the cables are equally important. When at work I keep one cable there in case I forget to charge the night before. All reasons to have more than one cable. I have two additional cables for other reasons and some over time broke. All settings that are an issue, so when we are given that the cables changes are required for 

smartphones
tablets
cameras
headphones
portable speakers
handheld video game consoles

All whilst the console controllers are not part of that equation. This is an attack on the Asian market, it has nothing to do with landfill. That is how I personally see it and that is why I consider that compared to these politicians Homer Simpson is pretty much the Einstein of them all. Oh and then there is the stage that at times the same port is used in multiple ways, so what about portable speakers that cannot be connected to a laptop because the laptop does not have a USB-C port. Issue upon issue all whilst a group of people are now setting a technology limit? So consider one part not seen there (no blame to BBC) “The USB-C connector was developed by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the group of companies that has developed, certified, and shepherded the USB standard over the years”, so a filtering to less then 1200 companies? How is that not segregation and discrimination? And when we take that list of 1100-1200 companies, how is that drill down per nation? And when we take a close look at waste per nation we see “European plastics production almost reached 58 million tonnes” and we see an article on 11,000 tonnes? This adds up to 1% of 1% of an actual problem, I think the people in the EU needs to sack without any pay the people from that European Commission. To underline that part, consider that my Wifi Router and my Mobile phone use the same USB-Micro charger and when it is not charging it is disconnected, all whilst the Chromebook and the MacBook both need DIFFERENT USB-C charger, as such the line “encouraging consumers to re-use existing chargers when buying a new device” becomes equally debatable. 

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Gaming to get a degree

This is a state we should consider. We all have had our share of subjects that made us shiver in secondary school and college. Some ran away from these subjects, some cheated to pass these subjects and some dug in. I was the third group, but it was close. There was every chance I could have gotten into one of the other two teams.Yesterday as I was mulling things over I took a look at Law Empire Tycoon on my iPad. Things were happening in the back of my head but it was still a silent whisper. A second part was that I was rewatching the West Wing (I am now at season 3), and it took a little while for things to step into gear. The idea was forming in the back of my head, but it was a whisper, nothing more. Today the idea pretty much exploded in my mind. The game Law Empire Tycoon is an adjusted version of Bullfrogs Theme Hospital. It is not a copy, it is the same style, the same way (in many ways) but it is an original game. The graphics are new, the interface is similar but it has a few more sides to it and a few added complexities. It is an excellent game (as far as I can tell at present), like all games it does need some infusion of dollars, but not too much and even if you do not, you can still play the game, but a lot slower.

I wonder what happened if we turn this system around and make it an educational tool. Consider the White House, congress, US house of representatives and these are three games where the people learn, really learn more about their government. It can be the foundation for similar games in Canada, the UK and Australia. A game all set to teach about government. It will have a few sides and it will have a few questions left, right and centre. Yet it could be an idea and the makers of Law Empire Tycoon have a larger setting ready, so are they the ones creating an educational game that teaches the people parts and sides of their government. It is merely an idea, yet will it work? I am not certain, but it is an option to consider, especially when the student (gamer) gets the lowdown and learns in a way books seemingly are not doing it to way too many people. 

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As questions rise

The BBC gave us the rundown late yesterday (at https://www.bbc.com/news/business-58540936) where we are given ‘Apple rushes to block ‘zero-click’ iPhone spyware’. A setting that comes at times and this is not against Apple, yet the article left me with questions. I get that there is initial finger pointing, as such pointing to the best in the field makes perfect sense to me and it is done with “it had high confidence that the Israeli hacker-for-hire firm, NSO Group, was behind that attack”, I do admit that the term ‘hacker-for-hire’ will be one that requires more precise explaining. Bill Marczak from the University of Toronto’s Citizen which first highlighted the issue gives us “we previously found evidence of zero-click spyware, but “this is the first one where the exploit has been captured so we can find out how it works,”” and this got me thinking. 

Where is the timeline? With what version of iOS does it start? Version 14, version 14.5, version 13? So how long was this in play? It is not the fault of the BBC and it is the first issue.

We then get “the security issue was exploited to plant spyware on a Saudi activist’s iPhone”, so how many activists are monitored? When was the transgression detected? How was the transgression detected? At least two of these questions require investigation and the BBC did not go there. We can argue whether they were required to do so. 

So whilst we are lulled to sleep with “Security experts have said that although the discovery is significant, most users of Apple devices should not be overly concerned as such attacks are usually highly targeted” which could be an absolute truth, we see the setting that Apple is protected. So why was the weakness there in the first place? The answer might be extremely valid, no system is truly secure, we have seen that for a long time. Yet in the moments where I saw this article I phrased a few questions that I have not seen anywhere else (as far as I could tell). And of all the people who could be infected, we get the mention of ‘Saudi activist’? The article was set to certain measures and without proper and a clear explanation there is every chance that additional questions will be asked from the University of Toronto as well. This is not against them and I have nothing against Bill Marczak (I do not know anything about him), but the stage was set in a few measures and that makes for a worrisome setting. A BBC article absent of a few facts and the insertion of a few innuendo’s. All whilst there optionally might be questions from the NSO Group. A stage where we see a setting where (in my personal opinion) someone was standing of the axial of a seesaw to keep the almost in balance. And as the NSO Group, Saudi Arabia and Apple where alternating on the seesaw, the man in the middle offset the balance by just enough to make is wonder, to make us lay blame. Yet all that happened with several facts missing and the smallest mention of “continue to provide intelligence and law enforcement agencies around the world with life-saving technologies to fight terror and crime”.

We all need to do what we need to do, yet I wonder if the BBC (and Reuters) did enough here.

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The Lawyer wins, the law loses

Yes, it is a stage that we will be seeing soon enough. As the lawyer wins, the law loses and tht is just the beginning. As we see ‘Apple loses appeal in Fortnite court battle’ (source: Australian Financial Review) there is a secondary stage that comes up. It is not immediately clear, but someone gave the reader by Jeff Dotzler in GC Consulting in 2019 ‘Will You Get Sued if Your Business is Hacked?’ There we see “Even though the company was able to restore the records, one of the affected clients, Surfside Non-Surgical Orthopedics in Boynton Beach, sued Allscripts in federal court. Surfside accused Allscripts of not doing enough to prevent the attack or lessen its impact and sued on behalf of all affected clients for “significant business interruption and disruption and lost revenues.”” Now consider that ‘significant business interruption’ can be replaced with ‘game score disruption’, a stage I saw coming a mile away. Epic Games did not  consider the stupidity of their actions and now, should they win they will soon face several, if not well over a dozen class cases. They cannot make some ‘we are not responsible draft’, the moment ANYONE at Google or Apple squeals the setting of the hack and it comes with the accompanied ‘We could have prevented that’ Epic Games is lost, it will cost them billions in settlements and lawyer costs. If you doubt that, consider ‘SolarWinds says unknown hackers exploited newly discovered software flaw’ (at https://www.reuters.com/technology/solarwinds-says-unknown-hackers-exploited-newly-discovered-software-flaw-2021-07-12/), so they just got out of one mess only to land in a new one and these people have a decently simple system, Epic Games will have to spend on protection that is several levels higher and I feel decently certain that it is not enough. The moment any profile is transgressed on whilst there was a purchase, that is the game, loss Epic Games and loose they will, a lot. 

Even as we are told “SolarWinds said the flaw was “completely unrelated” to last year’s hack of government networks”, it will not matter, another flaw is found and there is every chance that more than one will still be found. In this Forbes gives us ‘Why SolarWinds Is The Wakeup Call No One Heard’, it comes with “everyone talks a good game, but the very structure of American (and other businesses around the globe) makes it nearly impossible to, for example, deliberately and significantly reduce EBITDA to prepare for cyber warfare” and when you consider that EBITDA is Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortisation. You see the problem, it is not all, it is earnings before interest and depreciation that bites, earnings before interest is all earnings with cost diminishing this and too many corporate players tend to cut cost. In some cases they have no choice in the cloud a lot does not matter but it is transgressed on (according to some numbers) for almost 90%. And when you add that Amortisation is merely anther view of  depreciation the path is clear. Steve Andriole also gives us “The number of severity of cyberattacks will explode in 2020.  Cyberwarfare has now levelled the playing field in industry, in government, and in national defence:  why spend ten or fifteen billion dollars on an aircraft carrier when you can disable it digitally?” You think that this is about defence? Do you have any idea what 50 million whining gamers can do? EVERY ransomware player will target Epic Games and with an open Android and iOS setting they will succeed. I saw this when this all started in 2020 within 5 minutes, the short sightedness will hit Epic Games and others in a few ways. Think I am BS’ing you?  Consider that several sources gave you a month ago “Hackers Stole 780GB Data Including FIFA 21 Source Code in EA Hack” and EA has been in this game a lot longer than Epic Games has been. That is not evidence, but it is a setting that we need to consider and when Epic Games loses that data the class actions start, and it is not something that they can keep quiet (apart from that being a crime), the people will talk and the parties involved, including government parties will find a nice letter making claim to financial losses. The law source (see above) also gives us a link to the Ohio Data Protection Act. There we see “Under the law, damages cannot be imposed if a state court finds your company had a reasonable cybersecurity plan when a breach occurred and followed it to the best of your ability. Or, as the legislation puts it, the law is “an incentive to encourage businesses to achieve a higher level of cybersecurity through voluntary action.”” In this I offer ‘reasonable cybersecurity plan’, was it followed through? Was there a backup if it fails, was there consideration for cross platform transgressions? In this last part I offer to the older programmers 

IF(clipper)
  
ELSE

   …
ENDIF

Those who know will nod and consider what else Epic Games and others have forgotten, what happens when someone exploits a Sony flaw over the entire system, and at that point these companies have little to no protection. 

Which gets us to ‘when a breach occurred and followed it to the best of your ability’, but the suing side will argue that the breach could have been prevented on day zero, or even day -1, which will be their way of saying that they opened the system when they were not ready and that is another billion in class actions right there, and I agree with the stage that there will be enough cases that have no bering (just like the loot box cases in the media), yet Epic Games will have to hand to their lawyers to investigate them all, the hours alone will rake up millions and that is merely year one. The lawyer wins his bread and butter for a year (at the very least) and the law is up the creek without a clause. The law was never ready for this, so the going will be good towards the coffers of Epic Games, a looting box that requires time, not money. 

So when we go back to Forbes and consider “When I took the results to the CFO (to which technology weirdly reported), his only question was, “what’s all this going to cost me?,” which of course was the wrong question.” We see there setting, but I wonder who gave that same question to the Chief Legal Officer (CLO) with the question ‘What will this cost the firm?’, a question that he can decently predict when he considers 1-5 class actions and that result has to be scary and any consideration of future profit goes straight out of the window, not merely the legal costs, marketing will have to offer a whole range of products and services to stem the tide of people leaving for the next safer harbour, the most dangerous of all settings, and that is merely the beginning of year one as Android and iOS stores open. Forbes also gives a reference to Andy Greenberg (Wired Magazine, 2019) said about why governments have been unwilling to deal with cyberthreats: “More fundamentally, governments haven’t been willing to sign on to cyberwar limitation agreements because they don’t want to limit their own freedom to launch cyberattacks at their enemies.  America may be vulnerable to crippling cyberattacks carried out by its foes, but US leaders are still hesitant to hamstring America’s own NSA and Cyber Command, who are likely the most talented and well-resourced hackers in the world.” And this is not a government setting, Epic Games will be hit be greed driven and vengeance driven hackers as well as organised crime, a %5 billion company? With the state of cybercrime convictions? They are definitely on board. A stage Epic Games could have prevented from the start, but someone saw 30% of $5,000,000,000 and did the math, but whoever did the math was not ready for the tidal wave they would be inviting through that choice. In this, Forbes had one more gem, it comes from Nicole Penroth and ‘The hubris of American exceptionalism’, when we see “More hacking, more offence, not better defence, was our answer to an increasingly virtual world order, even as we made ourselves more vulnerable, hooking up water treatment facilities, railways, thermostats and insulin pumps to the web, at a rate of 127 new devices per second”, now consider that Fortnite is on Windows, MacOS, Switch, Sony, Microsoft, iOS and Android, they drew more than 125 million players in less than a year, do you think that there will be no flaws? And how many devices a second will that add to the equation? Do you have any clue what level of protection is required, even as Sony, Solarwinds, Nintendo and Microsoft have all been hacked even though they had nowhere near that level of complexity required. This was a dangerous situation from the start and gamers will soon have to seriously consider to remove any program that has an ‘open’ store, the cost will be too high for a lot of them. 

And that is not all, as Nicole spoke about ‘an increasingly virtual world’ the danger that open stores will mean that you either have a dedicated computer, or healthcare and safety products will not be considered to be insured in your house, when that happens we get a whole new level of nightmare, I can only imagine that setting, but I am clueless as to the impact, we cannot oversee that, not with an evolving IoT and 5G evolving before our very eyes.

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Thought for imagination

Consider the next setting, I am in the Harrods foodcourt, I feel the meat-pie as my right hand caresses the side pf the pie, I see two small basins of ketchup, I grab the knife in my left hand as I slowly use the sharp knife to cut a part of the left side of the pie. I cut through the pastry and the what I think is minced meat. It looks a little dry, but the overwhelming scent of fresh and warm meat enters my nostrils. I add a small bit of ketchup to the pie. The slice is cut in half and I slowly eat the part on my fork. My senses overwhelm with the spices in the meat, the pastry and it does not taste dry, it is an amazing experience and this is merely the first bite.

All what you saw before is true, all came from my imagination. You see I have had meat pie in the past and I envision what might be the perfect meat pie. I have been to harrods twice, but I never set foot in the food courts. Not for any particulate reason, I just never got around to it. I hope to do so in the future, but that will be part of the future that I see, or it might never happen. This is life. So what was this about?

The train of thoughts started a little while ago and that train entered the station again when I stumbled upon same article today ‘Netflix reportedly plans push into video games market’ by the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2021/jun/02/netflix-reportedly-plans-push-video-games-market). The thing that got to me was “Streaming company said to have approached game industry executives with project at early stage”, one could argue that they kill their own project by approaching Ubisoft, Ubisoft has another setting of needs and their product is what I personally would call ‘faulty at best’. Yet it is not all bad news “Netflix has been approaching senior game industry executives about joining it to lead the creation of a subscription games service, according to reports from the tech news site the Information and Reuters”, is the right sentiment, but as I see it, the safest route is to take the route Apple is seemingly taking. Games absent of in app purchases and absent of advertisements. These two elements will spell a much larger stage of doom on the industry than you know. Places like Android and iOS are now filled with phrases like “These ads are driving me insane, every level again”, and it will not be long until people have had enough. Then there is the stage of deceptive conduct in advertisements, a decently new approach to getting people to install your software. But these two elements will have a disastrous impact on gaming soon enough, and it will hit Apple as much as it will hit Google. Then there is the competition, Amazon did a lot better than I expected it would. I (personally minded) thought that it would be an easy win for Google, a tech maker if ever these was one. And it is ahead of Amazon, but I never expected Amazon to be this close to Google in the first place, as such the Amazon Luna remains in the race and there is an element that might not make Google the winner in the end. Google’s approach to exclusive games is not that impressive (as far as I can tell, they have none), Amazon Luna has acquired the knowledge it needs to make that difference. And the article repeats my thoughts towards gaming, with “However, the new offering is at a very early stage, with executives focusing on Apple Arcade as the potential competition. Users of that service, exclusive to Apple’s iPhones, iPads, Macs and AppleTV, pay a flat monthly fee of £4.99 for access to a library of downloadable games, spanning genres and target audiences. Apple sets strict rules on developers, banning them from monetising their games through in-app purchases or advertising, in order to try to keep Arcade a premium service” is the right move, but they made one mistake, a big one, there is no mention of the Amazon Luna and the Luna is in a primed spot to become the number three system behind Sony and Nintendo (yes, I have written off Microsoft to remain a competitor), so even as Netflix has the advantage of a subscription group that makes the head spin of all streaming gaming solutions, good games is where it is at, innovators and makers of original creators that is the winning combo and Netflix (might or might not) move into a field where it is not certain it will become the third position player, or what they classify in the Tour de France, the polka dot player. On the plus side (from my point of view) it will soon thereafter reduce Microsoft to the 6th position, behind Sony, Nintendo, Amazon, Netflix and Google. So as I see it, their investment $7,500,000,000 investment in Bethesda goes tits up and Bethesda is not to blame, the board of directors at Microsoft is. 

I remain a Sony person, hence my Playstation remains on its pedestal, I would say right next of the shrine of Panigale, a Ducati shrine where the executives of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati come to pray for inspiration, OK, there is no Panigale there, because I could never afford one and I am not a racer, but engineering perfection can be recognised by plenty of people, so there! Yet the stage is given, inspiration comes from excellence in creativity and that is what a good gaming provider offers. I wonder if Netflix is considering what they need to do to get there. Microsoft merely bought the IP out there hoping it would thrust them there, but they had too much against them, like the most powerful console in the world that has nothing to offer (at present). They might in the future, but with all the bad decisions haunting them, all whilst Amazon is already on the run towards an upcoming third position, they might not be in time to make a real difference anymore. All this whilst they are trying to bash xCloud streaming everywhere. They become their own worst enemy and when it happens, the people will not trust Microsoft, I see elements of that everywhere and they, what I personal regard as a push towards whatever influencer they can muster is more than a bad call. 

Microsoft (as I personally see it) forgot that good games come from the mix of imagination and creation, they used to know that, yet it seems that they forgot, I have no idea why, the wrong board member, the sentiment of revenue over substance, it could be a boatload of things, but there you have it. And Netflix? 

Well the article gives us the important stage “One key decision that has not yet been finalised is whether a game subscription service would also require Netflix to develop games itself. Apple Arcade is filled entirely by third-party developers, but other gaming subscriptions rely on first-party exclusives to drive signups.” They are hitting the nail on the head, it is the exclusives, Microsoft forgot, Google never embraced and that is the stage why Amazon Luna is in a good place, Netflix could be too. One of these two needs to get these 2-3 exclusives that no one thought about that they are locked into third position and in an industry that is about to have a relevance of 90.7 billion, with a stage that has an annual increase of 24%, it matters, the difference between third and fourth position implies the stage representing several billions, when you consider that good AAA games cost (according to some) $500,000,000 to make, but that result in a God of War with a 97% rating, it is the price of an original masterpiece and it sold over 10,000,000 copies, implying that the game close to a billion. In streaming land, that setting will be a nail driver, 2-3 games like that and people will jump on that bandwagon a lot faster than you think. So as Microsoft gave us (via sources) that they will build native games for the cloud, why would anyone buy one of those overly stated powerful Xbox’s? And in that stage, would you trust a provider who dropped the ball three times in a row to provide you with original games, all whilst they bought the talents and are trying to grow through that premise? So far Netflix might make it, but as far as I can tell, Amazon Luna is most likely primed to get there at present.

And that too will set the indie developers off into a direction, where they end up I cannot tell (it will be their choice), but there are a few indicators that it will not be in a direction Microsoft will like. As I see it, outsourcing gets you a labour force, hiring creation and imagination grants you a universe of opportunity. I will let you work out the rest.

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When perception is the brand

Yes, this sounds confusing, but it actually is not. It started with a simple article on the BBC, the article ‘Chloe Khan and Jodie Marsh rapped by watchdog’ caught me by surprise. The idea was given to me “The Advertising Standards Authority has named and shamed four influencers it said repeatedly failed to disclose when their Instagram posts were actually advertisements”, now I do not are about influencers, I tend to stay away from them and I do not use instagram. But the people that do follow these influencer tend to do so for very specific reasons. It comes to blows (to coin a phrase) when we compare this to Twitter. So when we see these two tweets, we do see the ‘promoted’ mention at the VERY bottom and these pages go towards photo’s and text surrounded by massive amounts of advertisement, some of these providers will try to get one photo per page with a next mention and the next page will show you even more advertisements. So is this not deceptive? What is the setting of the Advertising Standards Authority at that point? Is the creation of what I call ‘click bitches’ not deceptive? This has been going on for years, the in game advertisements on Android, and iOS devices have all kinds of deceptions, what have they achieved there? 

And now we get to the first part, when is perception the brand. What is the perception? Are the tweets safe? Is the word ‘promoted’ enough? When we look at “Promoted Tweets are ideal when you want to increase your Twitter audience reach and engagement. When you have a big announcement, a new blog post, a marketing campaign, or an upcoming event you’d like to reach more people than you would organically, Promoted Tweets is the better strategy. This is because your Promoted Tweets will appear in users’ live feeds and search results” we see and accept that, yet when we see promotion emphasised by large breasts, is it advertisement, or deceptive conduct? Some people might not be able to tell the difference, and I believe that it becomes more and more about the ambiguity of perception. So, as such is the ‘shaming of people like Chloe Khan and Jodie Marsh warranted? As the Advertising Standards Authority is failing people, millions of people on Twitter, on iOS and Android games, is going after smaller players not merely hypocritical? As such, is the advertisement of 23 camping pictures deceptive? Perhaps the overload of advertisements is merely a side effect? As such, does the inability to act against Twitter, Facebook and Mobiles games not merely make the act against the influencers slightly overkill? And all this is before we take notice of “The ASA was responding to the #filterdrop campaign that called for it to be compulsory for influencers to state when they use a beauty filter to promote skincare or cosmetics”, this is what magazines have been doing for years, where was the Advertising Standards Authority then? 

It all takes another turn when we take a look at the freedom of speech, this is shown in the last tweet. 

First of all, the person gives the names and they are seemingly correct, but it is “Given that anti-rationality, anti civil rights (anti-woke) channel GB News is losing major advertisers already, due to the crap they are peddling, suggest some alternative advertisers” that makes me wonder. You see filtered information is handed to us by the bulk of the news channels. The evasion of news regarding Houthi missile and drone attacks against Saudi civilian targets is the most visible one, but not the only one. If the left filters to the left, is the right not allowed to filter to the right? And so far I saw three GB news articles on Youtube there was a view I might not agree with, but should they be attacked as such? So when we are given “I’m excited to tackle difficult subjects with voices you haven’t heard before”, so what is the problem here? And GB News matters, you see perception comes in two sizes, the perception we see and detect and the one that sneaks up unnoticed, but they are both filter forms that aid the perception that the transmitter wants to give us, so where these advertisers leaving through peer pressure, or is there a case of actual evidence? Consider that Andrew Neil has been working as a journalist since 1973, meaning he optionally has more experience than the sum of some news channel cast members. In addition, when we see “due to the crap they are peddling”, do you think that other breakfast TV shows are not peddling crap? Is one side better than the other? No, I do not think so, but there is a chance that if both exist I might get a decent balanced central view. In the end this is not merely about the news, you see if it was about the news, people would simply not watch it and if no one watches it the channel dies, but there is a larger need, the need for advertisers and there is the crux, saturation demands that advertisers choose where they are and they are wherever the masses are, the Express gives us “Despite the complaints from some viewers regarding the sound, the show pulled in thousands of viewers as according to BARB data, 164,500 people tuned in to watch between 7pm and 11pm on Sunday night”, which accompanies ‘Launch show beats BBC and Sky despite ‘technical difficulties’’ and that would scare any news channel, the fact that there might be a market for GB News and that is where these advertisers are soon to be, where do I get the best reach? It is a business decision and that decision is what other media fear, Fox grew to greatness and the news channels are scared of that, and whilst they TOO adhere to shareholders, stake holders and advertisers. The bulk of the advertisers can only afford one place, not all places and that is the fear of filtered information. The news is too much on shareholders and stake holders, all whilst the advertisers play (at times) a dubious role in this setup. Am I a fan of GB News? I do not know, I have not been able to make up my mind yet. I get it, a 24 hour channel needs it human interest stories, but when I see news of a cremated cat, I wonder who will cover the Yemen events. Consider that the BBC gave us on the 8th of March “The UN says the war has caused created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and caused an estimated 233,000 deaths”, yet the UN gave us on December 1st 2020 “UN humanitarian office puts Yemen war dead at 233,000”, so do you think that in 4 months in slaughterhouse Yemen ZERO deaths occurred over a period of 4 months, or is someone not doing their job? And when we realise the answer to that, do you really think I give a toss on the premise of a cremated cat from either GB News, Fox News, CNN, BBC, Channel 7, Channel 9, Sky News, ITV, CNN, Euronews, or CNBC? You have got to be joking. Does it make GB News bad, lousy or useless? No, but they are slightly to the right and the left does not tolerate any channel on that side of the aisle, they thought that Fox News was enough, but if Andrew Neil gets his way, the European channels will get nervous soon enough and no matter what the advertisers do, when someone bails ship others will try to get a slightly sweeter deal, when that comes out GB News will get its share of advertisers, I have no doubt, what remains is the perception created and it takes a little more time to see how GB News will fare and how the people will perceive it.

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A repetitive bashing

Yup, I will admit this upfront, that what I am writing is a little repetitive, yet when I stated it initially we were before the Bafta nominations and we were before the actual winners, now that they are out, the repetition sets in. 

So as we took notice of those who made it and those who did not, let’s be sure that being nominated is already a huge step forward, yet there can only be one winner, or in this case two. 

So when we see Nintendo with its switch and we see the wins that Hades and Animal Crossing New Horizons, we see groundbreaking moments in more than one way, Hades where dying is part of life and part of the game, which is a first, then there is the addictive Animal Crossing (I know, as I am as hooked to this just like the other 19,999,999 players), two games taking home multiple awards, yet that was not enough, Sony was there too, taking trophies for the Last of Us part 2, Ghost of Tsushima, Sackboy and Spiderman: Miles Morales. All great games, all getting awarded and in some cases Nintendo and Sony were vying for the same title, the moral of this story, Microsoft might buy all the talent (that $8.5B invoice) but in the end the story and originality are everything and the games that the two houses brought did just that. Microsoft (Rare Studios actually) had one win with Sea of Thieves and Ubisoft was absent, my predictions are in part seen in the Bafta’s as they are massively absent, it is the consequences of not comprehending your audience. My advice to Ubisoft? If you try to make a game that should appeal to all, you end up with a game that pleases none. It is a flaw they have shown again and again, yet I must also allow for a part that is not of my liking, it is Rainbow Six, it is not my cup of tea, but for those who do like it, they are raving, as such I was expecting to see them show up, because fair is fair, they have poured a lot of talent into a game that is showing appeal to millions, as such I was a little surprised. 

Another prediction I made was the fact that indie developers would become more and more important and Supergiant Games showed that, it took home 4 bafta’s, a company with 20 people took the limelight away from a multi billion company named Ubisoft, that has got to hurt. And as the media is all about the impact of lockdowns, they better realise that these games were there, lockdown or not, the games were about fun and in that regards both delivered, it seems essential that some of the players start to realise that small lesson, the fact that I (over a few articles) set the stage of a unique RPG game should tell these people that their time is up, they tried and failed (and now these software houses are dying), it matters because I never wanted Ubisoft to go under, I needed them to make gams better, because good games is what we all want, yet last week we were given ‘Ubisoft removes some new Assassin’s Creed Valhalla quests and decorations to address crashing issues’, we are till seeing these things all whilst the game was released on 10 November 2020, a week early because they were ready, well we know how that is ending, do we not? And as we contemplate “Based on the latest financial disclosure, UBISOFT ENTERTAIN has a Probability Of Bankruptcy of 36.0%, significantly higher than that of the Electronic Gaming & Multimedia industry” (source: microaxis.com), as such a software house that was nowhere near collapse is now regarded as a lace where their downfall is almost one in three, a stage that they did themselves, but I am not happy, like any other junk I hope for another AC Origins, another Far Cry 3 and I loved Watchdogs: Legion. But I also warned all last year that their next two products better be beyond good and Watchdogs: Legion was, the other (AC game) was not, so as we are treated to ‘Try Ubisoft+ for a week for free’ might be the last attempt by their marketing to stop the flow going somewhere else, but I think it might be too late, if they had a massive great announcement during the Bafta’s, there was a small chance, but when we see special forces comment on Breakpoint on Youtube to the degree I saw, they better realise that the gig is up. They had good game and then they got lazy (optionally Rainbow Six and For Honor excluding), not my kind of games, but I want to make sure that the truth as I see it is given to you as complete as possible. And as we see that subscription services are getting more and more sides, we might realise that Ubisoft is one of many and they are not in a good place at present. 

A stage they could have prevented years ago, if only they had listened to their gamers, things would be different, very very different. Together with Microsoft they are pushing gamers somewhere else and that I still important, You see, Sony is now great, but they became great because the competition was fierce and Microsoft forced them to become good, the gap between Sony and Nintendo is too large making me worry about the PS6 (a extreme future view), in addition, Ubisoft forced both to keep their game high and indie developers are less likely to do this as they often are set to a specific system (example Naughty Dog, Sucker Punch Productions, Guerrilla games, Santa Monica Studio), and I do not mind, but when there is no competition, the high enders tend to get lazy as well, not the software houses, they are competing with each other. 

I still fear a lull in Sony because Microsoft consoles might fall away in 2022/2023, that part is seen as they are more and more promoting streaming gaming on your mobile, it seems that they are trying to get their streaming solution on PC, Android, iOS and other places (not on my system they will), and in all this other sources give me an implied state that sales of Xbox to PS5 is 1:2 moving towards 1:2.5, so I have reasons to doubt the existence of a Microsoft console in 2023, all because (my personal speculation) because the makers were asleep at the wheel from 2012 onwards, all the pushy games they played with their always online whilst that adjustment should have been fixed no later than 2014, that is now 7 years ago. They lost the field and I am actually not that happy, because it optionally takes the fire away from Sony in the longer run. Yet for now, all we can do is be happy for the Bafta Winners and enjoy the games they made, I am still missing Sackboy, but I have all the rest, so I am good for now and as I am replaying God of War in easy mode, so I can focus on exploration and the story this time around, that is besides the amazing views the game gives and lets not forget that this game is almost 3 years old. As such, I end this article hoping you all have a great day and I hope you will enjoy a game or two on whatever system you prefer. 

Have a great weekend!

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