Tag Archives: LA Times

The Scott Pilgrim of Technology

There is a moment when we have to take account of actions; we have to push into the direct limelight the ACTUAL dangers. I did some of it when the DJI issues hit the news. With ‘That’s the way the money flows‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2019/05/21/thats-the-way-the-money-flows/) we see certain actions, but have you considered the actual dangers?

In this case (for a few reasons I move towards the article in the Verge. Here (at https://www.theverge.com/2019/5/22/18634401/huawei-ban-trump-case-infrastructure-fears-google-microsoft-arm-security) we see what transpired half a day ago. With the ARM announcement people are getting worried. Yet they validly ask: “halting its access to current and future chip designs and coming on the heels of similar breaks from Google and Microsoft. Huawei is in deep, deep trouble, and we still don’t have a clear picture of why“.

Yes that is seemingly an issue, if there actually was an issue, in addition we are given “There’s never been a full accounting of why the US government believes Huawei is such a threat, in large part because of national security interests, which means much of the evidence remains secret” and that is where the issue is, it is hidden. There has not been one respectable cyber engineer giving a clear account of where the actual flaws are.

So when we see: “There was never any hard evidence of backdoors in Huawei’s cell towers — but, as hawks saw it, there didn’t need to be. As a hardware provider, Huawei needs to be able to deploy software the same way Apple deploys iOS updates. But as long as there was a pipeline from Huawei’s China headquarters to cell towers in the US, there would be a strong risk of Chinese surveillance agencies using it to sneak malware into the network“. We can accept that to some degree, yet the actual issue stated with: ‘there would be a strong risk of Chinese surveillance agencies using it to sneak malware into the network‘. If it is about risk then that risk is actually zero, you see Cisco solved that problem for Russian, Chinese and North Korean intelligence months ago. The fact that all over the US and now Europe, we see the dropping of Huawei as a consideration is not merely an act of discrimination, it could also be seen as an act of customer being betrayed by their governments.

What is the evidence?

As some experts give us something like: “The vulnerability could allow an authenticated, local attacker to write a modified firmware image to that component. A successful exploit could either cause the device to become unusable (and require a hardware replacement) or allow tampering with the Secure Boot verification process, according to Cisco’s advisory” and make no mistake, routers from Parks and recreation, to the Pentagon right up to the White House are optionally affected at present, the list (at https://tools.cisco.com/security/center/content/CiscoSecurityAdvisory/cisco-sa-20190513-secureboot#vp) shows a list that is impacting vulnerabilities to MILLIONS of devices and the media remains largely silent on it.

And when we also consider: “Other routing and switching gear patches won’t roll out until July and August, with some products slated for even later fixes, in October and November.” we should all realise that Chinese equipment does not make US hardware vulnerable, Cisco (an American company no less) did it for them. The Washington Post is not really covering it, are they? Perhaps because we see (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/brand-studio/wp/tag/cisco-webex) loads of space reserved for partner content, giving us the credo that I have mentioned a few times before. The media has become a whore (or perhaps better stated a person relying on questionable ethics). They cater to their shareholders, their stake holders and their advertisers; there is the real danger and the real vulnerability.

Keeping the people knowingly in the dark from actual dangerous situations, but that is not really what big business wants is it. The dangers that Huawei grew to twice its size was just too dangerous for those on the Wall Street gravy train, and whilst we see these dangers for almost a month, the value of Cisco goes up? Whilst millions of devices are vulnerable with many of them in that state to deep into November, optionally remaining a danger until well into January 2020, for the simple reason that delays are almost inevitable in these situations?

When we realise that we can Google on reported true and false weaknesses that hit Huawei and Cisco, it is shameful to see the following list:

News source

Huawei ‘danger’ given

Cisco vulnerability mentioned

Sydney Morning Herald

Yay

Nay

the Age

Yay

Nay

the Guardian

Yay

Nay

BBC

Yay

Nay

The Times

Yay

Nay

Australian Financial Review

Yay

Nay

Financial Times

Yay

Nay

Washington Post

Yay

Nay

LA Times

Yay

Nay

NOS (Dutch)

Yay

Nay

Dagens Nyheter (Swedish)

Yay

Nay

 

However, in case of the Sydney Morning Herald we do get to see sponsored content for Cisco and the Washington Post gave the readers Cisco Partner content.

As far as I have been able to tell, none of them gave any light to the vulnerabilities in Cisco Routers and Firewalls. Would you agree that a flaw impacting millions of devices is news? Many of them pulled a similar stunt in 2012 regarding Sony in the month before the release of the PS4. In regards to the list, these are supposed to be the more respectable choices for news; the list of absent news giving sources is a lot larger.

Whilst the IT news magazines gave the broader setting (as well as Cisco on their own site), we see that the media is seemingly playing a game of: ‘Let’s rent a hotel room on an hourly rate‘.

When we see Tara Seals in Threatpost giving us: “A critical vulnerability in Cisco’s software-defined networking (SDN) software could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to connect to a vulnerable data-center switch and take it over, with the privileges of the root user” (at https://threatpost.com/cisco-critical-nexus-9000-flaw/144290/), I suddenly realise that there is an inner demon with a pitchfork stabbing into my brain telling me that I am a pussy, I disagree! So here it is: “A message for the Pentagon IT department; Do you still have the password ‘Cisco123‘ on some of your routers? If so would it not be a great idea to change it before the Chinese Ministry of State Security and the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation (SVR RF) decides to download your servers at their earliest convenience?

I know it is an annoyance, but with Cisco flaws the way they were it is merely a small consideration, and let’s not forget that at this stage no Huawei device was required to acquire the information on your servers. I personally believe that it is time to reward those who do not apply common cyber sense to be rewarded with limelight. I have had to clean up the mess of others for well over a decade and now it is time to give those people the exposure they deserve (my findings regarding Credit Agricole will have to wait for a few more days). When you consider that the flaw also hits the Nexus 9000 Data Centre Switch, a device that is according to their own site ‘Built for scale, industry-leading automation, programmability, and real-time visibility‘, as well as “operate in Cisco NX-OS Software or Cisco ACI modes with ground-breaking Cloud Scale ASIC technology“, and lets be fair, there will always be an issue, a device on such scale cannot be flawless, yet when such a flaw is clearly reported on a level this big and the media merely looks at accusations against Huawei and leaves actual dangers unreported, the integrity of the media has become too large an issue on a global scale.

The issue is twofold for me, the first is that Huawei was never a risk and even as I disagree with the dumb headed approach that the US had, I am very much on the side of Alex Younger (the apparent fearless leader of MI-6), he is merely stating that non-British equipment (in this case Chinese) could be an optional threat in the future. His issue is that this level of infrastructure must be British and he is not wrong, no nation is wrong to have high level infrastructure equipment (whether it is 4G or 5G) in national hands. That is the application of common sense (yet realistically speaking not always pragmatic or achievable). so when he stated last February ‘It’s more complicated than in or out,‘ he is actually spot on, no one denies that. Yet the Americans had their big boots, brainless and started accusations that cannot be proven, that is an issue! For the US it was all about the money and American technology is losing more and more headway, they are literally falling further behind on a daily basis. As I personally see it the direct consequence on iteration versus innovation technology. When the best innovative step is Samsung giving the consumer the ability to share power wireless (which is awesome), even me as an anti-Samsung person will admit that they hit the jackpot with that one. How sad have players like Apple, Microsoft, IBM, INTEL et al really become?

How much of a Scott Pilgrim must we become fighting all the tech companies in the world before we get told the direct truth by the media? How much shaming must we do to make the media make us the number one directive, not the number four option? and as I have been considering more and more to put my IP vision valued at $2 billion public domain and let them fight it out among themselves, basically I am just too tired to engage in another round of bullshit with these so called executives and VP’s who (with the exception of Huawei and Google) do not have a clue on what they are doing in technology in the first place.

The larger problem is not Cisco; it is security and identity management. Most corporations are close to 5 years late into implementing an actual non-repudiation system and that is partially because there is no real good system or good way to ensure non-repudiation, an issue that should have been addressed almost 10 years ago, but never was, I personally tend to blame complacency there. I personally believe that a drive to iteration prevented innovation to get us there, but that is merely my view on the matter and I am perfectly happy to be proven wrong on this specific part.

Dozens of options (I actually had another idea towards a new solution to applied solar technology) all having larger impacts in larger cities and pilot places like Neom City, what does it take for some of these players to wake up and smell the dangers of corporate death through marketing set towards iterative release?

 

Advertisements

1 Comment

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

Will there be any Ivy League left?

I always understood that a decent education was essential in getting a good job, nowadays that is not a given, with several graduate degrees and a master, I am finding that at some point age discrimination is pretty overwhelmingly everything in the commonwealth. So when we get the juice on what makes for a good university, the LA Times article (at https://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-college-admissions-scandal-target-letters-20190503-story.html) are some universities actually as good as they are cracked up to be? When they admit students through bribery and other means, does that not give a clear case that the overall result of these students imply that they no longer have the best?

The accusation: “The 33 parents charged in the scandal so far are accused of paying $15,000 to $75,000 per child for rigged college entrance exams, and $100,000 to $400,000 per child for an athletics recruiting scam.” is a two edged blade. To what extent was the university part of the admittance? The second part is which deserving student was there for removed from consideration? There is a third, mainly how much additional funds will be shoved into some directions for these students to actually graduate?

The third one is a consideration that is set on very thin ice. Beyond the admittance part, there is actually no evidence of any kind that wrongdoing was done, and when we consider the amount of people trying to get into Stanford, Harvard, Yale, MIT and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the case could be made that beside a very small greed driven group within the universities, there is a mere showing at best that this merely involved a few rotten apples at best, but how can we be certain?

You see, there is more to “Federal prosecutors have sent a letter to Yusi Zhao, whose parents paid $6.5 million to the consultant at the heart of the college admissions scandal, informing the former Stanford student she is a possible target of their investigation, a person familiar with the matter said“, we can accept that there is a clear case of timing that is to be played, but it goes beyond that, the fact that “Neither Zhao nor her parents have been charged in the case that has ensnared 50 people, including Hollywood actresses and financiers“, I personally would argue (based on not having seen any evidence) that them either not being investigated, or having avoided the trap in the first place implies (emphases on implies) that they have had clear intent of not getting caught, the innocent always get trapped initially, only the aware avoid all set traps. Yusi Zhao is the daughter of Chinese billionaire Tao Zhao and the implied fatherly side was seen in the New York Post (at https://nypost.com/2019/05/03/meet-the-posh-billionaire-family-entangled-in-admissions-scam/) only two days ago. To be honest, I would be able to relate to “But Yusi “Molly” Zhao’s pharma tycoon dad once bragged that he has no time for rich kids who “don’t rely on their own abilities.”“. Yes, the amount of stupid rich kids that squandered the family fortune, there are plenty of examples and an exponential more examples in the Hollywood film script department. You want to give your kids a leg up by getting them a good education, yet there are more good educators beyond the Ivy league, There are excellent universities in Illinois, California (Berkeley to name one), Columbia, Indiana and Florida. Plenty have highly desired degrees, so why would someone spend $6.5 million when $125K does it; merely because Mark Zuckerberg attended Stanford? People can’t be that dim can they? Well, they can but they end up not being billionaires that is the short and sweet of it.

The problem is not merely the kids of the 33 parents; the issue is that the overall value of the universities involved would find an impact down the line. Will there be the impact when they graduate on the papers that they publish? Will academia go with the statement that as the position was fraudulently acquired, whatever they publish would be scrutinised as non-valued? You might laugh at that, but that is a much bigger issue than we think. Anyone who had to present and upload there papers for grading, having it checked for plagiarism, we all sweated when the number get above a certain point.

  • Did we make a mistake?
  • Are all our references correctly in place?
  • Did someone copy our work?

We get the weirdest fears, often all undeserving, but every university has forever been hammering down on plagiarism, so when one of their papers ends up being a tad too high on the checking software scale, will the thought be they got into the university fraudulently? So they might go with the old stage of having more likely than not copied other work. It sounds crazy, but is it?

It is that much of a leap? If a non-sailor can get into a sailing position with help of a fund supported coach (John Vandemoer), staged as a competitive sailor, what else could have happened? I was (to some degree) a sailor myself, yet I could not hold a candle to some real sailors and she gets in under the radar with full sails unfurled? I believe that this should be regarded as a signal that more was going on.

The news is spreading like wildfire and as we get most of the information we saw in the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2019/05/03/she-paid-college-consultant-million-get-her-daughter-into-stanford-she-said-she-was-tricked/)

Here too we see the emphasis on “No members of the Zhao family have been charged, and they are not mentioned in court papers. But when U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling announced the arrests in March, he said one family had paid $6.5 million. The Los Angeles Times first reported that it was the Zhao family that had paid the seven-figure sum — far more than anyone else charged in the scheme“, I personally still have the feeling that someone who has been able to avoid all mention has worked much more with intent than the others, now I could be wrong, but the old truth that to avoid a trap you need to know one is there seems to be central in all this, more important. Yet the reference that the LA Times had was missing, how it all started (at https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-morrie-tobin-college-admissions-scandal-20190331-story.html), how Morrie Tobin, regarded to be a crooked Finance exec, and when Andrew Lelling gave the media “Our first lead in this came during interviews with a target of an entirely separate investigation, who gave us a tip that this activity might be going on,” we get to see “The tip led investigators to a soccer coach at Yale University, who, in turn, pointed them to William “Rick” Singer, the college admissions consultant who would confess to being the mastermind of the admissions racket. With Singer’s cooperation, FBI agents set about building cases against dozens of the wealthy parents on his client list as well as people at universities across the country Singer allegedly paid to help students cheat their way into school.” within the short time that follows, we see 33 parents and 17 others to be the target of a court case that will impact several Ivy League Universities and even as this was from one tip, the rest will be squawking like goose to get away with as little damage as possible, as such we cannot tell how far this will go, but it will hit others, I have very little doubt on that front.

My reasoning is this, this has been going on for a while, and the way that the amount of money has been moved around implies that the people involved are not on their first milk run. The ABC quote: “Prosecutors said Huffman, 56, made a $15,000 contribution to Singer’s foundation in exchange for having an associate of Singer’s in 2017 secretly correct her daughter’s answers on a college entrance exam at a test centre Singer controlled” gives rise to that. Not merely the fact that she did it, but somehow she was contacted or she contacted a party involved, the fact that the SAT scores were ‘corrected’ in the window available implies that the system is larger spread and available to a larger worried audience (read: parents in fear that their kids will not be good enough). The term ‘associate of Singer‘ also implies that this man had fingers in many American Pie’s and to keep it a secret to the degree it was requires cooperation on certain levels, secrets like these tend to get out in the civil world, the fact it did not is an implication by itself.

There is optionally the fact that this kid went to a test centre that Singer controlled is up for debate whether that was merely fortunate for Huffman. If there is one issue, than it is the issue that there is every change that the kids will now walk with a mark on their life, a mark they optionally did not want, require or ask for.

God help us from overprotective parents at times.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Law, Media

The Australian Catastrophic Colliding Canine

I tend to keep my eyes on Europe, mainly because what impacts the UK today will have an impact on Australia a week later; in addition to that, what happens in Japan today when it comes to consumer electronics and mobile events will get to Australia 3-5 years later. In that respect having a larger view on matters is essential to keep an eye on what could become an impact tomorrow.

Yesterday was different, with ‘Regulation needed to save Australian journalism from Facebook and Google, watchdog says‘ we see the impact for Australia now and to be honest, I can’t stop laughing at present. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/feb/11/regulation-needed-to-curb-facebook-and-google-competition-watchdog-says)

When I read: “Rod Sims, said the digital platforms inquiry, which delivered its preliminary report in December, reveals that the market power enjoyed by the digital behemoths is weakening Australian media“, the giggles increase. Especially when we consider ‘the platforms are not creating any original, quality Australian news’, well we could consider that the Australian media is for the most not doing that either. For the most Australian media is weakening Australian media plain and simple. To name but a one issue, October 2012, I alerted the media to an issue impacting 30 million gamers within the commonwealth. I directly alerted Channel 7, Channel 9 and the Sydney Morning Herald; the all ignored it to the largest degree. There were clear screenshots on how the impact was given, yet the left it on the left of what was important. A change by Sony for their gaming community 3 weeks before the PS4 was released, they all (except for the Australian Guardian) ignored it for the most, and perhaps it was not news? What they (as I personally see it) intentionally ignored is that the Sony Terms of Service is a legally binding contract, the mention of a memo is merely a piece of paper that could be ignored the very next directors meeting. The press needed advertisement dollars and Sony is high on that list of needs, PlayStation 4 was big bucks, plain and simple. In addition there were debatable reviews of Microsoft for the period of two years and the least said about Apple the better, as I see it Australian Media is its own worst enemy. It is my personally view to size up global media as a collection of prostitutes with a priority towards the shareholders, the stake holders and the advertisers, the audience comes in 4th position at best. So when I see: “However, while taking the lion’s share of advertising revenue, the platforms are not creating any original, quality Australian news“, we need to wonder where Australian quality news is found. I will agree that this is found at SBS and ABC, but they are the two exceptions to all this.

When the British Daily Mail gives us on the 9th of February “Respected Channel 7 news reporter Emily Angwin (pictured) was said to be furious at a number of work emails questioning the integrity of the newsroom in Melbourne” is anyone actually surprised? Is it true? We cannot tell because in many ways most of the Australian media is no longer that reliable. And from my vantage point it becomes worse when we go to https://au.news.yahoo.com/. Here we see above the fold ‘Hero pitbull breaks out of home to find help for owner during gas leak‘, ‘Restaurant blames waitress for ‘incredibly racist’ receipt‘, and ‘‘Whoah!’ Man’s breath test returns ‘biologically impossible’ result‘. This is the kind of emotional reporting that gives news a bad name. Compare that to abc.net.au where we see: ‘Global drug trafficking operation run out of Villawood detention centre, phone taps reveal‘, ‘Missing persons expert slams investigation of young mother’s suspected homicide‘, as well as ‘Why the AWU wants to question Michaelia Cash in court over union raids‘. So one is clearly about news, the other is about creating emotional events. I let you decide which is which, and as we take notice of: “Given all this, it is also vital that media businesses are not disadvantaged through the exercise of market power or other mechanisms that make it difficult for them to compete on their merits” We see that the there is another case in dispute. The dispute is ‘media businesses‘ versus ‘journalism‘, so I hope that the ACCC realises that not only are they not the same, they are at present mere dimensions apart.

And questions need to be asked at the Channel 9 address as well. We can agree that the headlines are better than those of Channel 7 when we see: ‘Exclusive: Vampire Killer Tracey Wigginton’s disturbing new posts‘, ‘Man found with gunshot wound to his stomach in Melbourne’s north-west‘, as well as ‘Snorkeller found dead on sea floor off Mornington Peninsula‘, yet there too we have issues as every news item gives us headers and banners of advertisement. News is news and the main players have resorted to self-indulgence of advertising, reloading at every page. The journalism is merely second best at best.

It becomes a different puppy when we look at the mention “The financial viability of these businesses is also not assured as demonstrated by BuzzFeed and Vice recently announcing redundancies in Australia, as well as worldwide“, you see from my point of visibility, we see the Wikipage part (for mere illustration) where the visible information is: “Originally known for online quizzes, “listicles”, and pop culture articles, the company has grown into a global media and technology company, providing coverage on a variety of topics including politics, DIY, animals, and business.” Now, I have seen those buzzfeeds on my Facebook page and I decided not to give them any consideration (as a news source). Even as we now see (I was honestly not aware) “In late 2011, Buzzfeed hired Ben Smith of Politico as editor-in-chief, to expand the site into serious journalism, long-form journalism, and reportage.” We can accept and appreciate that Buzzfeed was taking a serious gander into journalism, yet when people are not aware (or another part of them has created more awareness), we get the impact of consideration versus awareness and non-awareness loses clicks, it is that simple, and the same applies for Australian sources. For the most, the only Australian sources I give consideration to are: ABC, SBS, the Guardian (Australian edition) and that is pretty much it; the rest is too often a waste of time. When we are serious about news, we go to the places where they offer it, not where they claim to offer it. That is how I personally see it and I use the Guardian as a source (as it is free) and I neglect the Times (most often) as I am not a paid subscriber and I feel it is money not greatly spend when I am, like most others on a budget, as such it is not money I have available to do that. It is an important factor as I am merely one of many that need to get by on a budget, that too impacts the news and the ACCC is a little ignorant on that part as well.

They might want to strike out at Google and Facebook. Yet Google News gives us ALL the headlines, from almost every source and that links to the local news articles. So when we see “The preliminary report recommended a powerful new authority to oversee the commercial activities of Google and Facebook” My question becomes ‘How is that going to make a difference?‘ In the end this is not about journalism, but about media and they are not the same, if the ACCC wants to make an actual impact, looking at the quality of journalism we will see that Australia will be left with the Guardian, ABC and SBS. When we were introduced to: “The Turnbull government has announced a funding freeze for the ABC but a boost for the Special Broadcasting Service“, whilst the boost is a mere $14.6 million over two years, when we realise that this all reads like a joke, how useless is the ACCC in all this and whilst we see the decimated pool of journalists, what are they doing (apart from wasting our time on something that the seemingly see as a waste of effort and budget), it is from my point of view a mere article on the foundation that reads: “Australian media is seen as irrelevant, we do not know what to do“, and it is shown against the likes of Facebook and Google, where we need to realise that they are also two different dimensions. Facebook is a mass advertisement channel, a channel that assumes that they know what their granular population wants through scripted likes and the scripted likes of the connections of that person, and Google shows the news in directions that the people searched in, or searched for. One is budget based, the other is user keywords based and the ACCC is seemingly in the dark on the fact that for the most people no longer see Australian media as relevant. That is shown a mere 34 seconds ago when I searched for “Channel 7 News” in the News tab, I was treated to: ‘Channel 7 presenter makes heartbreaking plea‘, ‘Ripped bodybuilder ends TV interview on a wild note‘, as well as ‘Caesarean birth to be broadcast live on Channel 7‘. As I see it, when it comes to visibility is seems to me that Channel 7 has a lot to learn as to the bidding on keywords as well as their methodology on how to properly position news, as well as their approach on how they want to present the ‘news’ (https://7plus.com.au/seven-news-sydney), for most people a 44 minute newscast is not the way to go (having one is still important for many though).

In the end, as I see it, the ACCC is up against the image of certain channels, their digital policies, as well as the approach they have towards news and advertisers. It is becoming less about journalism and merely about the positioning of media which is done tremendously below average. If you want to see how it should be done, watch The Guardian (UK) and BBC News (also UK), for those with language skills, the Dutch Volkskrant (at https://www.volkskrant.nl/), as well as The Swedish SVT (at https://www.svt.se/). As I personally see it Australian media has a lot to learn and that lacking part is not up to the ACCC, apart from them bashing the Australian media from drowning people in advertisements to a level that is just making them irrelevant. It is merely my point of view and I might be wrong, yet I personally do not think so. The foreign amount of visitors to the Guardian, the NY Times, the LA Times, the Washington Post, and the French Le Monde (at https://www.lemonde.fr/) are indicative of my views.

So in all that, how are regulations going to solve anything in any near future?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under IT, Media, Politics, Science

What possessed them?

The LA Times brought us the article ‘The Navy’s newest destroyer, the Michael Monsoor, is as much an experiment as a ship-killer‘ (at https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-michael-monsoor-zumwalt-20190126-story.html) a few days ago. My personal view is that it is the ugliest vessel I have so far ever seen. Now, for a functioning being pretty, pleasing or even appealing is not a requirement. It needs to be the killer that scares every other killer and even there it falls a little flat.

The initial consideration for laughter is seen when we consider the line “In the end, what was once intended to be a class of 32 destroyers will now be only three — making for a per-ship cost of about $4.4 billion, according to a December 2016 estimate by the Government Accountability Office, the most recent cost estimate available. Including development costs, that number balloons to $8.2 billion, the GAO said“, so basically the US gets three dinghies for a mere twenty four billion dollars (aka $24,000,000,000), or twenty four thousand million

Three mechanical driven rowboats that amounts to one third of the entire US national budget on education, how perverse is that? Well, it is their tight to choose of course. Yet when we learn that “Despite the higher price, the two advanced gun systems have no ammunition, cancelled because of cost“, a smart bullet system that costs $1,000,000 per round. With the added “The gun’s shells were to be rocket-propelled, guided by GPS and loaded by simply pressing a button“, we are treated to a system that congress will not fuel with ammunition. That is the foundation of a failed and sunk project whilst the vessel is for now still afloat. It was even more fun to learn that optionally the system I designed to sink the Iranian fleet could also be used here, giving us an optional $135,000 solution to drown a $8,300,000,000 mishap, how is that not return on investment? On my side that is!

Do not get me wrong, the US is our ally and I have no such inclinations, my focus was sinking the Iranian ego trippers, I merely found it interesting to know that for a stealth boat, any stealth boat has a similar weakness and mine was set to kick the Iranian dinghies a little, so I take no pleasure that my solution is likely to work there too and it shows the failing of a design and project to be much larger than anyone considered, giving us all a lot more to ponder, because some elements should have been clearly seen on the drawing table and it seemingly was overlooked to such a large extent.

The second part in the mishap is seen when we consider that the design was awarded in 2008, laid down in 2011, launched in 2013, christened in 2014 and repurposed in December 2017 with ‘New Requirements for DDG-1000 Focus on Surface Strike

When USNI News gives us (at https://news.usni.org/2017/12/04/navy-refocus-ddg-1000-surface-strike) “The Navy is revamping the Zumwalt-class destroyer’s requirements and will morph it into a focused surface strike platform, the director of surface warfare (OPNAV N96) told USNI News today” Are you kidding me? After 8 billion and change, a path that spans 10 years (with all the fiasco’s on the internet), we see the calling of ”revamping’ instead of loudly calling the entire Zumwalt class a failure? Did the $1,000,000 per shot not give a clear indication that something extremely weird was afoot? Was there no quality calculation showing us that some implementations were not realistic and that a system like this having a flaw that might be swallowed by a $135,000 could spell a lot of trouble in any direction?

I feel particularly concerned with Rear Adm. Ron Boxall when we see: “I was very pleased with where we came out because some of the decisions were much more about the concept of what we’re getting instead of the actual platform we’re getting“. To him I would go (off course in an informal way) with: “Robby, pal, when the betrothed concept is too far from the begotten actual, we need to consider, ‘product fraud’ (you did not get what you ordered), we can go with ‘failure’ (they did not deliver what was promised) and we certainly need to go with ‘fiasco’ (congress will not allow you to purchase the bullets that the dinghy fires)“, so overall there are three levels of non-success to consider on a whole range of issues that these three puppies have and lets not call them ‘ship-killers’ ever, OK?

And when we see “at the same time look at some of the challenges we’ve had. It’s no surprise, we have some very expensive bills still outstanding with the LRLAP (Long-Range Land-Attack Projectile)” so is that a way to state that invoices were unpaid, or that paid invoices have not met practical delivery? The question is out in the open, because we can go in a few directions. It becomes a larger issue when we see the NY Times Magazine (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/06/magazine/navy-gunfire-ammunition.html). Here we see: “All three of the failed projectile programs had similar design features and shared a fundamental conceptual problem. “When you try to make a rocket-boosted projectile that can steer itself to a target, you basically have built a guided missile,” said Tony DiGiulian, a retired engineer who has studied all these weapons“, with the added “So why not just build missiles in the first place?” he said. “That’s what you’ll end up with anyway” at the very end, yet leave it to an engineer to apply common sense to an optional working solution. What stopped you guys? Too much outstanding issues with Raytheon and Northrop Grumman? I could have told you that part and I am certain that the navy has scores of common sense people around, still the eight billion was spend and congress will not foot $600 million for a full armory of shells, is anyone surprised?

So not only are we confronted with “the Navy then spent $700 million to have BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin develop the Long Range Land Attack Projectile for the Zumwalt deck gun. It also came to nothing” with an added “rivaling the cost of the Tomahawk cruise missile, which has a 1,000-mile range“. And now we are treated to: “they are evaluating a new shell, called the “hypervelocity projectile,” that is lighter and narrower and could potentially be fired from the upgraded five-inch guns at targets 40 miles away. The program is experimental and in its early stages, and it is unlikely to produce a viable weapon soon“. So not only is the US Navy in a phase where they have nothing, they have been in an 11 year phase of denial and unsupported science fiction ideas that went nowhere with an optional total bill of $256 billion, averted to a mere twenty four billion by scrapping 29 (ugly) vessels.

The fun part is that there was an option to consider, weirdly enough it was not DARPA or the US Navy who came up with the idea; it was film director Jon Favreau who had the brainwave in 2009. Yes, it was a drone used in the movie Iron Man 2. Yet the idea is far less weird and less science fiction then you might think. The air force has its drones, yet the navy could have deployed its own drones, vessel drones are not a myth and even as they are not stealth, they are small enough to get in quick, fire and get out, with a Zumwalt cruiser as a home base. So when we see: “We just doubled the range of our artillery at Yuma Proving Ground,” Gen. John Murray, Commanding General of Army Futures Command, told reporters at the Association of the United States Army Annual Symposium“, we see that the Army has one part of the equation and that droning that solution might have saved the US treasury a few billions. The drones will not endanger manpower, the drones do not required oxygen and can approach submerged and all that at a fraction of the cost, was that so hard to figure out?

Now we get that the brief was never about drones, yet when you try to find a 2010 solution for a 1988 version of smart bullets (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfGnUzGRIuY) we need to consider that someone spending billion to not get there was a terrible idea from the moment the first invoice was paid.

Did I oversimplify the issue?

Let’s also realise that the road to triumph is paved with failures, that makes sense, as not every solution is the breakthrough we aim for, more precisely the failures tend to contribute to future success, yet in this case there seems to have been a lack of common sense on a whole spectrum of issues (or so it seems). And it is there where we see the issue in the larger field, especially with all the failures that seem to define the Zumwalt class, especially as the bulk will be shoved under the carpet through ‘revamping’.

In addition, when we revisit General Murray and consider the quote: “A 70-kilometer target range is, by any estimation, a substantial leap forward for artillery; when GPS guided precision 155mm artillery rounds, such as Excalibur, burst into land combat about ten years ago – its strike range was reported at roughly 30 kilometers. A self-propelled Howitzer able to hit 70-kilometers puts the weapon on par with some of the Army’s advanced land-based rockets – such as its precision-enabled Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System which also reaches 70-kilometers“, what would stop us from adding a drone part in there? Not in the launch, but in the shell itself. Consider the simplicity, when there is one shot, there is a lot less cyber security needed, that whilst the vision for the drone operator is merely the need to adjust the trajectory and there are accurate low expense solutions there. The initial cyber part is not too expensive and merely requires a 240-300 second fail-safe on hacking, there are plenty of solutions there. When we consider that an artillery round could be adjusted, the enemy needs to know the frequency, the codes and the option to interfere, the drone operator might not have to do anything and merely need to lock out changes at some point. An optional 12% increase on a 89% certain hit, making every shot a hit, a better result could not be asked for, so when you consider my ad-hoc idea (open to loads of scrutiny at present), we are still left with the ‘what on earth possessed them in the first place‘, we get it, the defense gravy train is very lucrative, but to revamp the brief on a 24 billion fiasco that was 10 years in the running is taking the mickey out of the entire train ride (staff, fellow travelers and equipment).

War never changes, the technology does but at some point we are confronted with the simplicity of common sense and adjusting the view towards another direction would not have been considered and preferably before the ship was launched might not have been the worst idea. If an optional solution to force a reactor meltdown is seen in a snow globe, what other ideas have not been looked at? Even when we look at it from a complete non-military way, what other options have we never investigated?

It is the same for 5G, when we consider that not the telecom operator but the consumer is at the heart of it all, we see a whole new range of solutions that brings new technologies, and new innovation and they can lead to new services and new foundations of income and profit of course.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Military, Politics, Science

When wrong is right

There is now too little doubt, I got it wrong, and I will happily and freely admit to it. You see, the entire Salisbury and Novichok was a shamble from the beginning. There was little doubt in my view, as I have been around the world twice, as I saw things on several levels, there was a massive issue with the entire Skripal case, as such I had a massive lack of faith in the reports all over the news. Not merely the setting where we see from the early setting that GRU players were mentioned, the fact that the hit was unsuccessful and the setting that I still see as an event framed in stupidity. A setting with a whole host of issues that could go wrong from the very beginning, how could anyone support it?

And I decided not to do it without clear evidence.

So I was in a stage of impressing denial, plain and simple. Apart from the setting that was brought by the media, there were issue with the evidence as Vil Mirzayanov gave clear evidence that was countered from day one with publications in all kinds of magazines, even the documents in the OPCW gave rise to doubt, but the media all ate it like flame baked chocolate chip cookies. The Guardian brought its version of doubt and also gave us valid questions and in all this the media machines continued with a mix of facts and speculations (as media would have done).

Yet we have seen that and in the stage of all this, the LA Times now gives us ‘Spate of fumbled spycraft may be laughing matter for ordinary Russians, but not for President Putin‘, now that we see that there is a chance that the FSB has messed up to this degree cannot be ignored. So as we are treated to both “Like Russian President Vladimir Putin, the GRU — the country’s military intelligence agency — is more accustomed to being feared than being mocked. But a recently exposed run of bumbling spycraft — think Austin Powers, not James Bond — has made the spy agency the subject of biting humor, at which Russians happen to excel“, as well as “the Kremlin is worried about its “brand, image and reputation as a great power.” And Putin, a former KGB officer whose approval ratings have been slipping, is doubtless “unhappy with the image of Russia as being incompetent, and the potential public perception of themselves as fools,”” Finally we get “Putin-watchers saw peril for the head of the GRU, Igor Korobov. Unconfirmed reports in the Russian press said that after the U.S. indictments of seven military intelligence officers, the Russian president summoned Korobov for an official dressing-down” It is the final part that makes for the entertainment as I wrote yesterday: “How badly are these ladies trained (me stating the need for a well-paid job and replacing Colonel general Igor Valentinovich Korobov), I mean, I could hardly do any worse, could I? Let’s face it, in Australia a general’s pay starts at $235,595 with 0 years of experience in that rank. I’d accept that as a starting wage (LOL), even if it turns out to be merely for a year“. I wrote it in ‘Consideration for dinner‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/10/15/consideration-for-dinner/). So now we see that in the end, I would have been a better director of Russian Military Intelligence than Russian General Igor Valentinovich Korobov, who would have thunk it? Yes, I stated that expression and in light of history it would be quite apt.

So as we have been treated to all kinds of sources far, wide and speculative, I have tried to maintain to the facts as much as possible. A few years ago, the open setting of who were GRU officers, who would rely on an operation using unstable elements, the lack of investigating a certain laboratory. Yet, now looking back, there is additional implied evidence that there was a much larger issue and it is not with the UK, it is with Russia. We see this in the writing of Mark Galeotti. We see: “If Putin is showing his anger, it is not because they are spying and hacking and killing, but because they are not doing it well enough“, a statement from a senior fellow at the Institute of International Relations Prague. He is correct. It is nice to see that there is an implied failure on the Russian side and it sets the GRU back to the age of the early cold war where they would walk in the US wearing a weird trench coat, thinking that everyone in the US looked and dressed like Humphrey Bogart. It makes counter intelligence exceedingly easy for the FBI and MI-5, so they should be relieved, but they are unlikely to be that. All these issues are pointing towards a larger game and falling asleep now is perhaps the largest of all failings to embrace. Part of this was tipped on in February by the BBC (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42636245). Here we see the mention ‘Just weeks before Litvinenko died, Russia passed a law giving the FSB authority to act against “extremists” and “terrorists” abroad‘, yet the issue is not the statement, it is the Russian definition of what THEY consider to be a terrorist and an extremist. You see an extremist is someone who holds extreme political or religious views, yet in case or Russia is that a political view that is not their political view? Then we get the part of terrorist. Here we see that this is a person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims. Yet is the word ‘violence’ mandatory? We have e-terrorism, which is still terrorism, is it not?

So as we were going into the entire Salisbury debacle, we were treated to two people allegedly called Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov and they were giving us: “insisting they were sports nutritionists on a holiday jaunt to Britain — and that with all the iconic tourist sites available to them in London, what they really, really wanted to see was the cathedral in a provincial city“. I was in disbelief! Someone was going to be this stupid about it? Now, I have heard and seen the folly of underestimating an opponent, yet until this week I had never considered that overestimating an opponent could be so equally deadly. It is like watching that old series The Top Secret Life of Edgar Briggs, where I am thwarted by Briggs, in this case played by Igor Valentinovich Korobov, it feels that unsettling, to face an opponent you rigorously overestimate.

It got to be even worse when they were caught ‘red’ handed, trying to hack into the computers of the OPCW, which in light of the fact that I got most their memo’s merely Google searching them. OK, they wanted the Skripal case documents, which were likely slightly more secure, yet in all that, when we are faced with such bungling, how can we lose sleep over any operation the GRU does when we can read it on page two of The Sun staring at the ‘lung’ section of a page three girl. It seems that the job (for now) for MI-5 is exceedingly simple. So as we are treated to the operandis modi of the Kremlin (according to the LA Times, where we see: ““Step No. 1 is deny; Step No. 2 is to undermine whoever made the allegations,” said Polyakova. “And usually Step No. 3 is to spin multiple versions of the story, to try to confuse the public narrative about what is the truth, and what is not.”” so, if we give a view to Alina Polyakova and her view in this, we need to compare that to the political field, the US political field might be the most apt one. So, the deny part, how did that work out for former president Bill Clinton? Then we see the undermining part, how did that work out for former (being the operative word) FBI Agent Peter Strzok, and the third and final part, the spin part? Well, the spin part is actually decently effective (usually it is), partially as most people can no longer tell the difference between journalistic news sources and morning TV shows that cast some version of the news on a malleable turntable. So that one the Kremlin is seemingly getting right (at least partially), although having a much better trained GRU might not be the worst idea in all this.

If we can keep a sense of humour in all this, we should take notice of Grigorii Golosov, a political scientist who stated: “thanks to the efforts of the two (Russian agents), the word “Novichok” was now better known to non-Russian speakers than “Sputnik.”” Yes, that is certainly true. The LA Times also re-staged the setting of: “the Kremlin not only vehemently denied involvement, but demanded definitive proof of the suspects’ guilt, which seemed at the time like a tall order“. That is where several insiders were, as well as myself, as we saw the train and CCTV footage and saw such a large lack of tradecraft that is seemed a joke to consider it at all, yet the egg is on out faces, I admit that! The fact that my skills surpass these so called Special Forces people at the GRU is just blowing my mind (quite literally). It gets to be even worse (or more hilarious depending on your placing on the table of intelligence) when we consider “seeing the cathedral in a provincial city“. So with the options ranging from Aldershot to Wrexham, they went to Salisbury? How could this be sold in any believable way?

There is one additional consideration and yet it is also a danger. As we are laughing at what the GRU is unable to do, we need to be weary that the SVR has not made these levels of blunders (a speculative statement, I know). In this, we need to recollect the words of Foreign Intelligence Service chief Sergei Naryshkin: “Russia couldn’t have been behind the operation because it was done so unprofessionally“, me and several others agree on that, so if that is the setting of the stage then we need to consider that the SVR might be poised to take over that part and properly train those people, giving us optionally new waves to deal with. Now, in all honesty, one would think that this is never going to happen, yet Vladimir Putin is an SVR alumni, so the thought is not that crazy and being placed in a setting of such embarrassment might make him jump and demand success stories, just as Saudi Arabia has its own optional folly to deal with, getting on board selling non ethical solutions is not beyond any opponent of those relying on overly ethically accepting solutions.

You see as several sources are now all heralding “Saudi Arabia is preparing to acknowledge the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi happened as the result of a botched interrogation” into the media (CNN et al), I need to accept that I was wrong twice, considering that generals have a much better handle on things, so me getting proven wrong twice (so close together) is not the craziest theory to embrace at present. The fact that there is no reliability on the sources at present makes me a little cautious. As CNN gives us: “The Saudis are preparing a report that will conclude Jamal Khashoggi’s death was the result of an interrogation that went wrong, one that was intended to lead to his abduction from Turkey, according to two sources“, there is not just the lack of who the two sources are, there is a larger setting that is still weird, so after we were informed on “Turkish authorities have an audio recording which indicates that missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed“, we see Reuters give us: “A team of around 10 Turkish police investigators had already left after a nine-hour search“, so why not just publicly play the audio? It would have given Turkey huge bonus points with Iran, yet that part we do not see (or hear) do we? We get to hear no evidence for now, which is another matter of concern. As Turkey will not play the audio, they would if the audio is not openly played that they are merely showing that their claims cannot be trusted (here is me hoping that I am not played a fool a third time in a row).

And all the sources, the Sun being the weirdest one give us: Audio and video recordings which emerged yesterday proved Khashoggi, 59, was tortured and murdered inside a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, by a 15-strong hit team yesterday“, so where is that evidence? And a hit team of 15? This is part of the entire fake news matter and the UK newspapers (if you call the Sun a newspaper) is part of the problem, is it not?

So I might have been wrong, but in the setting where even the news is optionally fake news, I still think that I walked the right path in the end, even as I overestimated the abilities of the GRU to an almost unfathomable distance, I feel that I was bringing the news better, more complete and with the right questions, questions that some parties have never and will optionally never ever be able to answer. So, London School of Economics, I will happily and with a slight case of humility accept my master in Business Intelligence and Master of Journalism.

Thank you very much!

Elvis has left the building, until tomorrow that is!

Leave a comment

Filed under Media, Military, Politics

Rocking the bullshit

There has been a massive issue with Huawei, the accusations by the US is the largest one, one of its sheep (aka Australia) has been on the same post on how Huawei is such a large danger to the safety and security of a nation. It gets ‘worse’ when we see ‘The DNC tells Democrats not to buy Huawei or ZTE devices ever’, (at https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/3/17649920/dnc-democrats-huawei-zte-devices-ban-china-hacking-threat). Here we see the quote “people shouldn’t be using devices from either Chinese company for work or personal use. The words echo what federal officials have already said about Huawei and ZTE posing possible security threats to the US. In February, CIA, NSA, and FBI chiefs testified in front of a Senate committee that the two companies were beholden to the Chinese government and the devices could become tools for undetected espionage“, my issue has always been: ‘show me the evidence!’ Basically EVERY phone can be used as a spying device, that is one clear thing we got out of the Cambridge Analytica part, in addition, the Fitness tracking app Strava was a great way to find CIA black ops bases, so even as Strava merely mapped ‘a regular jogging route’, using Google or Apple maps, you would be able to map out the base, the supply routes and so on, the Apple Fitbit would be there for the Russian government knowing where these specialists were and when the were there. So in all that, and all the security transgressions seen here, not of the were Huawei or ZTE, yet, how much noise have you heard from the CIA, NSA, or FBI on Apple? Even now, they are that one Trillion dollar company, are they too big to mention?

I wonder why?

Yet, Huawei is not out of the hot water yet, they are actually in deeper hot waters now but this time it is allegedly by their own actions. Reuters is giving u mere hours ago: ‘Huawei in British spotlight over use of U.S. firm’s software’, the news (at https://www.reuters.com/article/huawei-security-britain-usa/huawei-in-british-spotlight-over-use-of-us-firms-software-idUSL5N1US343) gives us: “One of those is due to Huawei’s use of the VxWorks operating system, which is made by California-based Wind River Systems, said three people with knowledge of the matter, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity when discussing details which were not made public in the report“, which now leads me to the setting that the American accusations are set on the premise of American Software used? How dopey is that?

Then we get: “the version of VxWorks being used by Huawei will stop receiving security patches and updates from Wind River in 2020, even though some of the products it is embedded in will still be in service“. In all this, the fact that it is still serviced for another 2 years, how are we now in the stage of: “potentially leaving British telecoms networks vulnerable to attack“? Is that not equally a questioning setting? Do we not have enough issues out there with Microsoft which has been nearly forever a security concerns, at this point, 2 years early we get the security warning on Huawei, yet not on Microsoft or Apple for that matter, in all this Google is equally a place of patches, and in all this, Huawei is the one getting unbalanced and unfairly burned at the stake like a Catholic at an Elisabeth I barbecue gathering.

Yet the good stuff is “All three sources said there was no indication that the VxWorks mismatch was deliberate. There is also no suggestion that the software itself represents a security risk“, this now leads us to two parts. The first is if it is true that ‘no suggestion that the software itself represents a security risk‘, does this mean that Huawei never had a security risk and if that is incorrect, why not present that evidence so that every Huawei Owner can test for this transgressions ending whatever future Huawei had in the first place.

In the second part, if there is no proven security flaw in the Huawei on hardware, is the security flaw a software one, or better stated an American software one, and if so, why are these people only going after Huawei and not after a dozen American firms?

The one part that we see in Channel News Asia is “Consultant Edward Amoroso, a former chief security officer at AT&T, said Huawei’s experience in Britain showed the challenges of securing international supply chains. Although no one should dismiss Huawei as a supplier solely because of its geographical location, reliance on software that is going out of support is a legitimate concern, Amoroso said“, the news (at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/huawei-in-british-spotlight-over-use-of-us-firm-s-software-10590268) gives the part that does matter, in this Edward Amoroso is right, software at the end of its reign is often the true safety concern, not merely because of the time frame, but in extent the time required to properly update the software on all the devices, which is not always a smooth path and tends to open up additional security gaps. In that part of the equation Huawei does have a legitimate problem to address. The second part to all that is “In addition to the issue with VxWorks, this year’s report also cited technical issues which limited security researchers’ ability to check internal product code“, I believe it to be a minor part and the proper investigators could seek or test for the issues, not merely that, the limitations also remove whatever options there are for zero day breaches, which has a much larger legal frame to address. So even as we agree that the US setting of accusation without evidence (proper presented evidence is merely the stuff that makes the grass grow in Texas). We also get that the US is giving us: “In the United States, the Pentagon is working on a “do not buy” list to block vendors who use software code originating from Russia and China“, there is an actual thing called national security and as such, it is their right to implement that part, I do believe that in the end it might be somewhat counterproductive, but it is still within their rights to be in such a setting nor no other reasons.

In the end there are a few issues in the field and some are out there, but with a lack of technical details, some cannot be proven, yet the fact of what some have done in the past might give the setting of ‘is it more likely than not that some do not really have 5G‘ is a true setting, yet I prefer to have the actual evidence, that some are trying to keep buried, and the media is part of that chase, which is odd to say the least. Huawei is bouncing back and forth and their hold to grow fast via the UK will be there, but from my point of view, they will need to fix the VxWorks part a lot faster than they think they need. From my estimation a new software solution should be well beyond the Beta stage in Q1 2019 if they want to have any chance of keeping their lucrative growth contracts in place. In equal measure we need to look at Canada and Australia, as they are currently set to be nothing more than US tools in all this. In all respects no actual and factual evidence was thrown out in the open. If that was done Huawei would have lost pretty much every non-Chinese contract, the fact that the BS is spread even larger with absence of evidence gives more reliability that there is no real security danger and it is more a tool for some to get the slice of 5G pie, probably at the expense of a monthly data dump, nicely mailed via UPS to: N 11600 W, Saratoga Springs, UT 84045, USA. That alone should give us the goods on who to trust and who to be cautious of. In all this, no evidence has been presented to the public (and their right to know) on how Huawei is a threat to our security. The fact that I believe that this is all bogus in one thing, the issues seems to be blown up as everyone takes a queue from John Bolton, that whilst the setting “Five Eyes is an alliance between Canada, New Zealand, the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom that facilitates collaboration in intelligence activities” gives us that there are three in the dark, the UK might be around with the knowledge and the rest merely takes a queue form the US, which has seemingly been whispering like they did in the WMD in Iraq phase, you do remember that in the end, they were never found and it was merely bad intel. So in that setting whilst Corporate America, Canada and Australia are all in fear of their gap against leading Huawei, in that setting we are supposed to have faith on the American gospel on what constitutes a danger from Huawei? And now that we are made aware that the software solution used is an American one?

Yup, we have all kinds of problems and some are valid issues of concern as Edward Amoroso phrases it. Yet between a setting of concern and an actual concern is a mile long gap and whilst we acknowledge that Huawei has some fixing to do, until actual evidence is shown that there is a security breach, the only thing that the US can do is to offer a $229 instant price match for the Apple, or an $100 instant price match for the Google Pixel 2, or a $400 instant price match for the Samsung 9, why would anyone in this day and age pay more for the same, actually, with the enhanced batteries of Huawei you will still miss out, but that might be the smallest cross to bear. All this because some players just didn’t get the pricing right, too many fingers on the margin pie, that alone seems to unbalance the entire equation, because all these players will miss out when Huawei is given free reign there. In this the equation is no longer about security, it will be merely about greed and those enabling for it. Is that not equally important an element to consider?

I’ll be honest, I am still happy with my Huawei P7, it was really affordable against anyone offering anything and after 3 years working 24:7, where would you think I would look first? The one who had proven himself, or the one overpricing its brand (OK, with the Pixel at a mere $100 more, that is still an awesome deal).

When we decide on pricing it is one, when unreliable players in the game force us away from the affordable option it becomes a different stage and so far, the US has proven to lose reliability again and again when it comes to their version of security. To emphasize on that, check on all the printing regarding the Landmines in Yemen placed by the Houthi and the amount of articles that we see in the NY Times, the LA Times and the Washington Post. Now consider the impact of mines and why Americans seem to be eager not to inform you. By the way, that setting was almost certain a setting that Iran enabled, if you questions that (which is fair) then answer the simple question, where did the Houthi forces get 1,000,000 mines from?

We are kept in the dark on the wrong topics and it is time to set the limelight on those people keeping us knowingly in the dark.

 

Leave a comment

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

ULE can kill any e-firm

Yes, there is an issue, yet is it a real one? The LA Times (at http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-snap-earns-20170810-htmlstory.html) gives us ‘Snap shares plummet after Los Angeles tech company misses expectations‘. Now, there has in my view always been an issue with “frustrated financial analysts and investors by adding new features for advertisers too slowly“. You see, there are two issues right there. In my personal view, I have always sided with the ‘premium‘ edition of pretty much any app when the price is right, to avoid advertisements and I will dump any app the moment that there is a replacement app offering such an option. So with ‘new features for advertisersI will instantly snap to another app at the drop of a hat, any hat. You only need to Google: ‘Snapchat’ to see the impact, anger and frustration the users offer (loudly). So when I see “Snap hasn’t delivered promising results in its first two earnings reports” I am not at all surprised. In my view what was a great idea was suddenly bombastic and radioactive. So when the option “and Snap [at 173 million daily active users] can’t add 8 to 10 million” it is not a surprise, it is not even a mystery. With the response “That is why the shares are down — and they should be!” from Laura Martin, managing director of equity research at Needham & Co, I merely have the thought that this lady does not comprehend user base needs and desires. In this for Snap to offer a +$5 option and not have any kind of pop up, ideas and advertisements, any of them disabled separately would have been a much better option. For the record, the app by Jack Underwood named ‘Today Calender Pro‘ at $5.99 took 8 minutes to contemplate. So as hatred of advertisement goes, I am surprised that the equity research firms are not more up to date as to the needs and desires of the users. In addition, we can argue all kinds of directions, yet when we consider the Wiki statement “the idea was to create a selfie app (application) which allowed users to share images that were explicitly short-lived and self-deleting“, in an age where trust of stored images is at an all-time low, there will be debates and there is more than one user with the thought ‘what if’. In addition, there is the consideration on the need (read: reasoning) to short term viewing and deletion of images to some degree. So as we see Snapchat as a possible opponent to Instagram, where would you put your money? Now that Instagram is linked to Facebook, we need to reconsider where we put our efforts as a user. We might want to go with: ‘there is an app need for everyone‘, yet when the novelty warez off (pun intended), we need to consider the users that go with ‘One size fits all‘, that is where the first issue of Snap now lies, as the people are reconsidering their place in photo sharing. Some people who go with short term deleted options are optionally not part of a social sharing media type. They will also need ‘their’ solution, there is no denying it, but overall that need will diminish faster soon enough. In addition there is the need for the user to be ‘entertained‘, which means other options, more options and diversity. In this Snap might be seen as too much of a niche.

Does that inhibit the drop in value?

Partially yes, but in this the response “surprised that Snap added only 7 million users during the second quarter” is actually a lot less surprising. As we now see places that are setting the stage for increasing ‘engagement’ (at https://thenextweb.com/contributors/2017/08/10/7-tips-increase-engagement-instagram/#.tnw_DmOvDLuY), we see the evolving side of Instagram, whilst Snap strays and is getting left behind. In this, 3 of those engagement ideas are actually right up the alley of Snapchat and as such the evolving need of Snap and their app needs to be reckoned with. In addition, the numbers in the LA Times article shows that there are other situations, in all the loss of expected gains, which is actually not the largest issue, it is the actual loss and that it is off by $76 million which is a much larger issue. So as I personally see it, the need to adhere to ‘new features for advertisers‘ dwarves to the need to ‘switch off advertisement features for users‘ If that opts the setting of $5 for a potential 150 million users getting to a ‘plus’ or ‘pro’ edition would be an awesome alternative, because every day that this is not considered implies that Snap Inc. Is giving the market to whoever is giving the users some Snapchat++ option. The market is there for the person stepping in and as far as the news goes, Snap is doing something, but not stepping in and as such is losing the market and whatever market share they had, in addition, the aggressive growth of Instagram does not help Snap that much either.

There is additional information in the LA Times, when we consider “Of the daily users Snap gained during the April-through-June period, 4 million came from North America, 2 million from Europe and the rest from elsewhere in the world. Snapchat had 148 million users this time last year“, It is when we start looking at Omnicore, is when we get some interesting results (at https://www.omnicoreagency.com/snapchat-statistics/), the two that caught my attention are ‘71% of Snapchat users are under 34 years old‘ and ‘Roughly 70% of Snapchat users are female‘ that is an impressive part, so when you toss away the advertisements, how can you cater to these two groups? The mere fact that you have 100 million users in either part is a lot more interesting; it is the market share worth enabling and growing upon. With ‘More than 25% of UK Smartphone users are on Snapchat, in Norway the number goes up to 50%‘ we see an even more interesting part. A part that could (if investigated properly), could see the need of the reference to the three engagement parts I hinted at earlier. So when you consider the options, is Snap even aware to the better part of their numbers of the needs of their users? That is seen even in more optional ways when you consider two of the fun facts given in this article, which was from January 2017. the first being ‘More than 400 million Snapchat stories are created per day‘ which means that there is a huge following and in equal measure more than one story a day per user is created. The second is ‘It would take you 10 years to view all the photos shared on Snapchat in the last hour‘, so there is a given one sided engagement, the question is can this be evolved to a much stronger engagement number that is two sided or more? The answer to that is basically a lot more appealing that the ‘optional’ requested growth of those 2 million users. It is the answer to making Snap the stellar grower Snap would like it to be. In all this the fact that close to 50% of the users is younger than 35 should be a clear path into engagement and facilitation. It is merely up to Snap to pick up the pieces and see where growth can be found, once they are there the ‘anticipation‘ of these analysts might get crushed in favour of Snap in more ways than one.

So where should Snap begin?

I always go with comprehension, know your user base and see what they need, no matter how that impacts other predictions or needs. If growth is the key need, than adhering to the users is the only way to exceed expectations of whoever seems to be wielding the stick of the analysts’ predictions. As I see it, they need to get there before Instagram and Snapchat++ give light to make Snapchat a mere memory, because there is no coming back from that, no matter how stellar the improvement becomes, for that places the User Level Expectations where it is not desired, with the other application that listened or offered the gimmick of the week.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Media, Science