Tag Archives: Microsoft

Falling off the wagon

It all started with a success story, it then ‘evolved’ into the age of complacency as it was lying in a lazy floating chair in a swimming pool. America was lazy, complacent and greed driven.

Huawei overtook Ericsson in 2012 as the largest telecommunications-equipment manufacturer in the world, then casually overtook Apple in 2018 as the second-largest manufacturer of smartphones in the world, still behind Samsung Electronics, and rose to the 72nd rank on the Fortune Global 500 list. In December 2018, Huawei reported that its annual revenue had risen to US$108.5 billion in 2018 (a 21% increase over 2017).It is at this point that America was a mere 3rd position, Huawei is presently servicing 47 of the 50 largest telecom operators on the planet, for the first time in history America no longer really matters as a technology provider. Sources like the Economist, the Guardian, Fortune and TechRadar all give the same news. It is at this point that the USPTO has to give the goods (read: the bad message) that Asia has surpassed America with registered patents by a lot, and the US has to deal with more and more bad news as they get strangled by a debt that surpasses $22,000,000,000,000. 22 trillion and no end in sight to turn it around, now that 5G is off to the races more bad news is given as the American and Nokia 5G solutions are decently inferior to the ones that China (Huawei has). The American overreaction is astounding and it comes with additional levels of humour. When we see an article by cyber security expert Zak Doffman in Forbes ‘Huawei ‘Slams FedEx Vendetta’ After Courier Refuses To Deliver P30 Phone To U.S.‘ (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakdoffman/2019/06/23/huawei-slams-fedex-vendetta-after-courier-refuses-to-deliver-p30-phone-to-u-s) where we see: “Parcel returned by FedEx due to U.S. Government with Huawei and China Government—return to sender, the humour is here as we also saw a month ago: ‘Drug traffickers’ favourite way to move fentanyl is FedEx and USPS‘, so Fedex can stop a Chinese mobile phones, yet is incapable of stopping drug traffickers. It has become that bad and for the life of me, the idea that that stupidity has grown to this degree at the moment has made me realise that pretty much my only option left is to offer my IP at 10% value to China as America clearly can no longer be trusted to stop the stupidity in its own ranks.

And it gets to be worse. Now we see: ‘The U.S. blacklists five Chinese supercomputer firms, including AMD joint venture THATIC‘ (at https://www.pcworld.com/article/3404464/the-us-blacklists-five-chinese-supercomputer-firms-including-amd-joint-venture-thatic.html). So as we are now introduced to ‘U.S. firms will be forbidden to do business with the companies‘ we are shown more than stupidity. I have been an avid fan of the segregation, isolation, and assassination triangle in tactics, but this is pretty much the first time in history that a nation is doing it to itself, implying that American bankruptcy is so close to the collapse that they need whatever they can to delay the collapse of their economy. I can never trust any government in that position to be honest about any trade it holds. Handing my IP over to China is perhaps the only option to get any decent amount of funds out of them, and I have to pay the rent at some point.

Do I care about these Chinese companies? Not really! Apart from my trusty Huawei mobile, I do not know any of them and there is no real reason to know or care about them, but the actions of America to the degree that they are doing it, like they are the biggest whoring bully on the block also implies that they can do it to anyone else and as I see it, there are plenty of UK (BT), Swedish (Ericsson), Finnish (Nokia) and other firms they can do this to when things do not go their way. They will come up with some kind of National security scheme like Finland is next to Russia or something like that. It is nice to advocate open and fair trade when you are the only one dealing (IBM, Microsoft) but that is no longer the case and Microsoft has become too self-indulgent as they screw up market after market just to push their Azure solution. America can no longer be trusted, that is the short and sweet of it, they know it and Americans know it too, but they are too desperate and there is no stopping a desperate bully who is about to no longer matter.

And the world is not ready for a bully like that. Japan is too deep into its own problems, Europe is desperate to avoid whatever recession comes next and the others have no independent voice. In all this India is as isolated as it gets and that takes 12.5% of the global population out of the equation. As the risk of a 2020 recession in Europe is nearing an almost certainty there is panic, there is panic on Wall Street because the 2020 recession will hit the US squarely in the chest during the elections, ending whatever small edge the Republicans have and it changes everything for them. The 2020 recession will be worse than ever because the ECB squandered their reserves on incentives and stimulus as there are no reserves left. The ECB, IMF and Wall Street all knew that this could come and the 5G hype was all about avoiding it so that the new economy could restart what was lost, but their lag against Chinese Technology vendors (read: mainly Huawei) is so large that it will help the Chinese economy, but the others will only get a fraction of the IP they do not own and that fallback (or non optional fallover) is a lot larger than some are willing to admit to.

Now the short sighted American bias against Huawei and China is hitting new heights as they try to isolate China, yet in the end they are isolating themselves as Europe is seeking another option, they are seeing the value of Chinese IP and they want alternatives, especially if it could delay or even turnover their own impending recession, in that scenario America will lose more and more because their own technology is flawed, untested and lacks innovation. It will hit Europe, whilst benefitting the Middle East as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar have signed up with China, America lost more than just weapon deals there.

What Cisco achieved with UTS in Sydney a decade ago is now happening in Qatar, Qatar University College of Engineering now has a similar deal with Huawei, implying that Qatar might be the first place where Huawei trained 5G engineers and innovators are born pushing 5G innovation. For Qatar this is more than good news, there is a first stage where Al Jazeera could become technologically more advanced than CNN, another blow to American pride and Al Jazeera is eager to really get there. They have miles to go, yet with 5G fully deployed they can do it in less than half the time we expect. All elements that push America back further and further. When I stated that this was a stupid move by America in 2018, I actually had no idea that they would lose to this degree, but at present they are and their decisions are making things worse not better.

As we see the first Huawei Authorised Information and Network Academy (HAINA) programme launched in Qatar, we also recognise that this will enable Saudi Arabia and the UAE more and more, so there might be a diplomatic stance ending the unfriendly border issues between the three and they will profit stronger and stronger.

There is absolute truth in the statement: “Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education Dr Ibrahim Al Nuaimi, said developing the technology capabilities of Qatar’s youth will have a significant impact on the smart evolution of society and country, contributing to the growth of Qatari economy.  “Initiatives such as this one between Qatar University and Huawei demonstrate the power that cooperative action can have in shaping the future of a nation,” he remarked“, it still requires the foundation and the nurturing of how to grow innovation, yet I have seen again and again that the hungry will find alternatives to make food and Qatar is clearly famished at present.

And there is one more nightmare to face. You see if China gets any IP hands on anything that could replace x86 technologies, the US is truly done for. At present they will laugh, scream and make all the claims that an ego driven nation could make, but then there is the history. We have 1975 when Federico Faggin and 11 employees created the Z80, there was a small team led by Chuck Peddle who came up with the 6502, it hit Intel and Motorola hard, a chip at less than 15% of the cost of an Intel or a Motorola processor. It would fuel an industry that would sell well over 15 million computers in an age where computers were not popular. We recognise that America was the driver in all this, it drove RISC to be the factor for the creation of Summit, still the fastest Supercomputer in the world, yet now that China surpasses America in patents, they have the core to create a new age of computer technology. We see that from 2017 onwards the Huawei Mobile Phone is the personal server to have; the fact that it is a mobile is beside the point. My IP was a security pass on personal mobile servers and that is the foundation of the next decade. It is not the personal computer or desktop, there is still the laptop and Chromebooks (and likeminded devices) have the option to be the next power drivers, but Huawei has the hand with 4 aces, they have the foundation of mobile personal servers and it scares America. My idea for what would have been (optionally) the Google Tome was founded on that idea as I created a solution to stop the NHS collapsing. Now that most elements are with Huawei and Chinese operators, America actually matters less. Even as Microsoft is still screaming Azure (whenever they can), we see that there are other options that could do similar and could surpass Microsoft within 4 years, that realisation is scaring America to death. They have no options when that happens. Complacency got them there and the next generation of these so called ‘captains of industry‘ are holding a hand with a two and a seven and they are playing Texas hold’em. A proverbial Snake eyes for the craps dealer in the house, which is the setting and the stage they can no longer escape. It is where they are at and their overreaction merely shows their levels of desperation.

In 2021 we will see that not only will they have lost 5G to a crippling degree, the other players will fare even worse. If China gets a decent deal with Japan, America will have segregated itself, they isolated themselves as Europe and the Commonwealth will seek whatever keeps them afloat and at that point with the debt closer to $25 trillion, they will end up cutting their own wrists with all the uber wealthy Americans seeking sunny shores in their mega yachts. Suddenly places like the Riviera, Dubai, the Virgin Islands and Italy will be swamped with Americans who will be quiet as mice as they wait for America to reinvent itself in the span of 2-3 decades, and America needs to get lucky to do it that fast. As the world is set to the currency of IP and patents, it might take a whole lot longer than that.

When I decided to get my Master in IP in 2010 I knew that there was a change in the winds, it was the clearest in IT, but I saw how it would impact to a much larger degree, I saw the shift to mobile patents in 2012, and now I see the other shifts too. I feel certain of my view, I cannot tell how politicians will react because that too impacts the changing tides, but overall they seem to align to the need of greed too often as such, my predictions are more likely than not coming true. It’s a sad world, if only American firm had not been so lazy relying on iterative technology for a decade, things would be very different indeed.

To complete the change China really only needs three more innovative steps in 5G communication to make it certainty and turn these steps into nail to service the coffin that is America, with the Middle East in play, there is every chance that they will pull it off, the rest of us (the non-Americans) will need to decide on how that future serves us best, because that too is a choice we face, and we have to make it ourselves.

And if you were in doubt until now, the Wall Street Journal reported only hours ago: “U.S. President Donald Trump is looking to require next-generation 5G cellular equipment used in the United States to be designed and manufactured outside China, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter.” So consider this quote really clearly: the entire China matter has been going on for weeks, yet yesterday we see that equipment is to be ‘designed and manufactured outside China’, a discriminatory tactic that shows that there was no clear tactic in play, and clearly the Americans are not up to scrap at present. What else was not anticipated on?

Someone fell of the wagon and others were unable to see the dangers clearly, The US still does not recognise that it has a real problem; the first stage of solving the problem is at present not met. Do you really need more convincing?

 

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Games and more

Yes, the E3 is upon us, it is now mere hours away and anyone who is into gaming will be hyped to see what comes. It might be about their franchise, it might be about a maker, or it will be a little more generic. No matter how we slice it the next 4 days will be about that is likely to come, what will be hyped and let’s not forget the giveaways, free DLC codes and optionally the speculated hardware.

What makes the headline?

It is important to see the headline in this, and the headline is Google Stadia. We see several sources giving us information, yet the direct impact is there and it is less positive than one might gather. Let’s look at two quotes, first there is Techradar giving us: “A world in which all you ever have to do to start gaming is open up your browser, select a game and start playing – no lengthy download required. This could soon become a reality if Google’s cloud gaming service, Stadia, delivers on its promises – you’ll be able to go from opening a Chrome tab to playing a 4K, 60fps game, in five seconds, no installation required“, this seems awesome, yet I have been around long enough in this business to notice that when someone states ‘look left’ I also ‘look right’. So when I look to the right, I see PC Gamer giving us ‘Stadia 4K streaming will use up 1TB of data in 65 hours‘ and that is not a good thing. Now, we all accept that gaming takes power and resources, yet 4K gaming in a setting where in some countries that could set you back $1,000 per month is not something you want to consider. Here in Australia (no Google Stadia coming here for now), a person pays (when it is not unlimited) $10 per GB, so that adds up really fast in a non-unlimited contract stage, yet with unlimited there has been noise that above a certain usage the download speed gets throttled, so there could optionally be that risk to consider.

Before we start crying, there is the additional info given with “That works out to around 15.75GB per hour of 4K streaming, 9GB per hour of 1080p, or 4.5GB per hour at 720p“, when you have a 1TB contract, which is a lot, you get 65 hours, 110 hours, or 227 hours of gaming. So options 2 and three should be fine, it is a reality to face that 4K gaming is not immediately available for usage for all, and that is beside the setting whether you have a 4K TV or not.

Gizmodo

Gizmodo was a lot less positive (at https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2019/06/is-stadia-already-screwed/), and when we see: “We have an updated guidance here,” he said. “You actually need 10 Mbps to stream at least 720p, but actually, it could be higher depending on specific details of the kind of network situation or your game. And then to comfortably stream 4K—the best experience—we recommend 35Mbps.” It takes out all the wireless 4G players, they can pretty much forget about it and even in the lowest mode there will be issues, even if you are with a major Australian player like Optus, it is the direct impact of bandwidth and it is likely to remain an issue in the foreseeable future, yet only until you get 5G, at that point speed is no longer an issue, total usage might remain, but that is depending on the providers and no one has any clear information at present which makes sense for now.

The writer gives us: “as long as it’s streaming over a broken internet, it’s fucked” at the very end, which is only a truth for today, and even then it is still only a partial truth. Google has been playing the long game for enough time to know that anyone getting 5G will seriously consider Google Stadia, especially Online players in MMO games. It gets to be even better when you consider the Verge who has the list (at https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/6/18655380/google-stadia-games-list-cloud-streaming-service-e3-2019), It includes the newest games as well as other games like DOOM Eternal, Rage 2, The Elder Scrolls Online, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Final Fantasy XV, Tomb Raider Definitive Edition, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, NBA 2K, Borderlands 3, Mortal Kombat 11, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Just Dance, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Trials Rising, and The Crew 2. I believe that to be a decent start of any service. There is a little too much uncertainty on pricing; one source gave me $10 per month for a pro license, which is not outlandish when you consider the game list. In addition Google Stadia has started its own game development studio, headed by Jade Raymond. A well-known producer who has earned her marks at both EA and Ubisoft.

In this regard, I believe it might be seen as a rocky start, but not a fatal one, in the long run Google is now set up to remain a force to be reckoned with. I also disagree with the view that Forbes has. Paul Tassi gives us trivialisation like ‘this offers something like Microsoft’s Game Pass the ability to eat Stadia’s lunch‘, which is true, yet Microsoft never fixed their problems, did they? Not in 6 years, and as he gives us: “While Google is indeed starting to develop its own games in-house, it could take years for those to arrive, and there’s absolutely zero guarantee of their quality when they do“, this is true too, yet the failing of quality by Ubisoft has been noted for years, what has he done about it to illustrate that? And when we saw the lack of Microsoft exclusives last year, the mention of ‘their lengthy roster of must-have exclusives‘ should be regarded as work in progress. That few to none part is easily rectified, and even the PS4 had loads of long delays for some of their games and exclusives, with the Ubisoft Watchdogs the delay was long enough to get your wife pregnant and still not being able to play the game until the child was born, so pot and kettle are both utensils of a similar colour in this setting.

Then we get the last overstated statement with: “but with 200 million consoles sold every year and untold number of gaming PCs“, I wonder how he got those numbers, over 6 years Sony sold 93 million consoles, Microsoft is on that same stage at 41 million at best and Nintendo in 2 years got to 34 million, so his math is in the toilet as well, unless he includes the handhelds which is a skewed finding, still there the 200 milllion a year will not be reached, not even close.

I believe that Google is an early starter in a stage where Microsoft hoped to get their Scarlett (whatever they named it in 2018) system, I am not sure it has a real chance, but I have been wrong before, it might work, Google on the other hand still has a lot to learn and optional plenty of promises to break, time will tell where they go, but there is space to succeed, especially when 5G arrives at homes it is then that Google Stadia truly gets an option to earn its laurels, and it is likely to do so.

There is a part that matters, Paul rightfully asks the question: “it’s hard to know how this actually poses a threat to traditional industry staples like Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft“, it does not as such, but Google has the option to grow on the side, the fact that many consoles have online and multiplayer issues (mostly due to the software), we see the setting where this failing falls away (having to download massive patches again and again will not be an issue for the Google Stadia), MS Scarlett might have been the initial option, but Microsoft has issues and they have also been in denial of that to some degree (that is my personal view).

As I stated it will be a rocky start, yet those with a good internet stage and a decent income will have this option there as early adopters. For these people they have no interest in walking into a game shop trying to find a game, Google Stadia, like Netflix lets you browse and try and try and try, until you find something you like. It is optionally the stage where gamers are born and is Google Stadia the worst place to start gaming? For years people started their gaming habit on Facebook and was that such a hi-res 4K solution?

Paul Tassi asks good questions and they are real questions that need answering, but he also overlooks (as a hard-core gamer) on something he forgets. When a person wants to do 4K gaming, he needs a console or a PC, when you see the cost of a good 4K system; you have the risk of cardiac pressure issues. With Console, will you go Sony, or Microsoft? The fact that Google is now option 3, but not set in hardware is a choice, an option, one that was not there before. So what is needed? An internet connection and a TV, yes when you look deeper it is a 2 choice system, now with option 3. He is right, there are issues (for now) and I believe that with the arrival of 5G many issues will resolve itself immediately, yet at that point, will Google be standing as a survivor? I believe that with the right games it will and that too is the setting for the E3, how much more support for Stadia will we see. It seems that Ubisoft is on board and so is Bethesda, yet how many more players will commit to Google Stadia? That is where Google Stadia could win making unique or remastered good games. There are dozens who could become Stadia hits, 3 generations of games that are still regarded by some as excellent games, some are even legendary.

We will just have to see and wait how it all unfolds, there is plenty of space for a new player in this game and it also means that some of the other players will have to up the ante to remain a choice with consumers, which is equally a good idea.

Then there is another reason, for well over a year we have seen the stage: “a higher-end Xbox One X replacement as well as a less-expensive entry-level machine“, yet there is a host of issues especially with Microsoft, can the entry model update to high end? If that is not possible will we see any other impact on gaming? Will Microsoft keep their bully to ‘be online’ issues. Will Microsoft force advertisements on their consoles (like with the Xbox One)?

Microsoft has lost so much credibility (as I personally see it), the fact that the correlation between entry model and Google Stadia is so high that plenty might consider Google over Microsoft and I think that they know this. Another issue is how close Microsoft streaming service ProjectXCloud is next to Google Stadia, all issues that will optionally come head to head in the next 4 days. We can lose time reading on speculations or wait, I decide you need to wait and even better watch the live shows on YouTube.

The biggest issue will be on the last day, Nintendo have amazed nearly all with the Switch and all they have done in these two years, now that the larger games are due this year, it will be a sight to see, at the very end one or two little spoilers. It seems that Sony has gotten themselves in a little spot of hot water. Tom’s Hardware (at https://www.tomsguide.com/us/ps5-120hz-ps4-cross-save,news-30268.html) gives us: ‘120Hz Display Support‘, this is really good news if it was not for the fact that most 4K TV’s, even the ones from Sony do not support this speed yet, so yes the PS5 will be a sight to see, when you  get the TV that supports it. Then there is crossover play, so you can continue your ps4 games on ps5 forth and back (switching between consoles so you do not lose anything like friend lists and game saves, this is really good news, and a nice feature to have when you get the console in 2020. I have my mind set on that and do away my Xbox One completely, the one game I bought it for is on Sony as well now so there is no reason to keep it around any further, especially when it options me to remove Microsoft from all considerations, it is not like they have been considerate.

Even as it is about the games, I do hope to see some hardware as well.

See you all on the flip side, and don’t forget to seek the YouTube streams of the E3, missing out is such a drag.

 

 

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Bones and Boobs in gaming

Gaming has two sides, the hardware and the software side, or as some might call it the boobs and bones of gaming. We will look at the boobs later (desert always comes last), yet the bones are another matter. Forbes (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2019/06/04/there-are-tough-times-ahead-for-the-playstation-4-and-xbox-one/#3ca33e3562b4) gives us ‘There Are Tough Times Ahead For The PlayStation 4 And Xbox One‘, I do not really agree, and if so then mostly for the Xbox side, but the man makes a decent point and that is always a good reason to contemplate an article.

Bones

Even as he makes the case, I believe him to be wrong on certain matters. The numbers only partially support him. In case of Microsoft, they had a good run on the Xbox360 and they had decent sales even beyond the Xbox One launch. The reasons was that those with too small a budget decided to pick up a pre-owned console as those prices went down by a lot. Even today, people still buy Xbox 360 games, which is pretty astounding. The premise holds true for the PS3, from day one the PS4 was the child to have and for the next two years there will be plenty of people upgrading from PS4 to PS4 pro as Sony will be dumping the prices for that puppy. The market will slow down, but I believe that Sony has a good foundation to work with, Microsoft a little less so.

Nintendo remains the larger question in this. They are still ascending by leaps and bounds and even now we see in Forbes (three weeks ago actually) ‘The Nintendo Switch Just Topped The PS4’s Lifetime Sales In Japan‘, and that sounds overwhelming, yet the global numbers with PS4 on 97 million and Switch on 35 million gives the equal global sales towards the Xbox, but not the PlayStation. It has only been two years, whilst the other two have been around 7, the Nintendo Switch is still gaining momentum and it is doing so faster than last year. The fact that two of the most enticing (and addictive) games are free helps matters. With Fallout Shelter and Gems of war being great games to play on the Switch, we see a larger appreciation of the console. Nintendo upped the ante by handing all those with an online subscription (less than $40 a year), we see that they all get access to the old games from Donkey Kong, Metroid and Super Mario Bros, with dozens of additional games, all for free for those with the online account. It is one of the most enticing deals you will find in console land. As such the Switch goes on and on and on. That and the pre-owned market makes me oppose the view that Dave Thier has to some degree. the part that is also in debate is “I could even imagine PlayStation 4 sales recovering after the PlayStation 5 comes out and people realize they can still get good use of the old machine, which is likely to see a price-cut“, I believe that he setting is sound, yet I have seen Sony Marketing in action, as such they will cut prices on all options long before the sales recovery issue becomes a real issue for Sony. With exclusive titles like Last of Us 2 (2020), Death Stranding, Sekiro, Ghosts of Tsushima (2020), there is everything to look forward to and besides the fact that there are still plenty of people without a PS4 (or Xbox One for that matter), many of us (including me) still have not upgraded to the PS4pro (a budget issue), for many mainly because we have no 4K TV and that is the big factor (equally so for the Xbox One X), so as Sony starts bundling it’s console with a 4K TV, we might see another rush to upgrade. With several brands (including Sony) offering 55” or larger 4K TV’s for less than $1000 at present, the push for package deals will be very alive at the end of this year pushing the options of additional consoles right up to 2020 at that point the PS5 (and whatever Microsoft has) will become an optional issue. We have seen that many day one people held on to their previous console. I still have the PS3 and Xbox 360; I just never expected that the 360 would be higher regarded than the Xbox One (by me). These are all elements that play a part, as such I partially oppose the view Forbes gave us and I believe to be handing out the correct version (I have been proven correct often enough).

I agree with his slowing down part, but not to the degree he expects it, and the additional factor is not the slowing down, it might be: “New consoles pose question marks for the industry, and people are inclined to wait for answers before making large purchases“. I believe that to be the correct statement, but there was one other factor, it is 4K gaming and that is slow because the larger group of gamers does not have a 4K TV at present, as 4K will be the bees knees this Christmas, we will see a push to a much larger degree and Sony has an advantage over Sony here. It is how I got my PS3 and I never regretted that, especially as that TV was dirt cheap in those days, I expect Sony to do the same caper this year (and other brands as well), which is as I see it the larger stage for the difference between Dave Thier and me, as well as the large purchasing part, there is no ‘wait for answers‘ anymore on 4K TV, as such it optionally prevents a larger slowdown on the consoles and to be honest, you need to see Xbox One 4K with AC Origin to believe just how amazing 4K can be, it blew my socks off let me tell you that; and yes it was on a Xbox One X. Ubisoft & Microsoft actually got that part truly right.

Boobs

Yup, we got there, or as the Bloodhound Gang would state: ‘Hooray for Boobies‘ Yet the software is always a happy place for any gamer, whether it is Minecraft or Spiderman, seeing stuff in 4K is always reason to cheer. So when we look at value how angry do we need to get? When we are confronted with a AAA game (triple A game) we think it will be about quality, but it is not. It merely means that the game comes from a ‘mid-sized or major publisher, typically having higher development and marketing‘ and as I see it, it will be mostly about the marketing. So here comes Ubisoft who as far as I can tell is the only one who truly mangled and downgraded the IP of two franchises, namely Assassins Creed and optionally now Far Cry.

In comes a hard truth: ‘AAA game development has been identified as one environment where crunch time and other working pressures that negatively affect the employees are particularly evident‘, a given that is handed to us by Tweaktown and GamaSutra. In Tweaktown we see: ‘Ex-Ubisoft dev reveals the grim reality‘ with the quote: “it’s more like a mechanized assembly line than a dream job“, this might be a true stage, yet in all this it is not the creators, it is its board of directors as well as their marketing department. Like several software makers, setting a realistic goal is not something either department is any good at; the horrendous Far Cry 5 is clearly evidence of that. I completely disagree with the ratings that IGN (89%) and the 81% that Metacritic gave, I fall in line towards Digital Trends and their 60%. There should be a stage that games like that can no longer be called AAA games when its rating to become this below average. I even have some reservations on the games I traded in for this new version (at $23). Far Cry 5 infuriates me; they really had to do a better job. Not the graphics guys (gals included), graphically Montana is so overwhelmingly amazing that I would be willing to move to Hope County with the next available flight (if there is a decent job there). The story is something I leave in the middle. It is over the top, but there is a side that is actually enticing and you haven’t felt hatred until you are getting a tattoo on your chest by John Seed, the characters (even the over the top ones) are impressive. It is the game play itself that got to me in a massive way. To name just a few:

  1. Planes that touch a tree top dead in their track and in some cases end up on the ground in perfect working order without a scratch.
  2. Like the screaming eagles in Far Cry Primal (one every other minute) the stage comes when planes are there and they are there all the time, I have shot down enough to make a nation go bankrupt, but not for the Seed family, they merely seed more planes (or is that conceive?) And it is not merely me; I found hundreds of posts of gamers irritated by that, it seems that some people at Ubisoft are unwilling to learn.
  3. Spawn, not the Todd McFarlane hero, but the spawning of opponents. In a bunker scene (trying to avoid spoilers), the troops started spawning in front of me, which is a big no-no! This all indicates that the game was either never clearly tested, or the test results were ignored, either way that is an easy 20% degrading on any 89% score, so we are already on 69%. The fact that these issues were never addressed one year down the road implies additional failings on the Ubisoft front.
  4. Ballistics anyone? I love my sniper rifles, it gives me an edge and even in a bunker, the rifle can be a huge advantage, even if you only have 35 bullets to work with (unless you find more ammo). So when that rifle suddenly does not kill with a head shot, but only knock of the helmet, I am speechless. You see, anyone who knows their weapons would know that a helmet is protecting in nature, but the impact of a .50 that travels at 3,029 feet/second giving an impact of 13,350 ft-lbf (foot pound force) does not merely take off the helmet, it rips of the entire head. Now I get and accept that Ubisoft is not giving us that image, but to not see a headshot as an immediate kill is just stupid and silly. That should be 35 instant kills, even in the chest the power alone will crush the chest to death, and no Kevlar thickness in the world will stop that.
  5. The enemy avalanche. I get that throughout the game, it becomes more and more taxing, but the boss fights with wave after wave, where topless people keep running after 5-7 shots is just silly. And it is not 2-3 we get thrown into a stage of dozens and Ubisoft is unable to learn that wave after wave gets to be tedious and actually does not make a game better. Now there is an arcade more and I am not touching it, arcade is arcade and there the rules tend to be slightly different, which is fair enough. Yet in the normal game, Ubisoft makes the same mistakes we saw in Far Cry Primal and Far Cry 4. What was Far Cry 3 has become less and less (as I personally see it).

There is a lot Ubisoft got right too and the extra’s (like the Vaas outfit) and particularly the outfits you get when you have another Ubisoft game is cool, an immediate reward for those who have other Ubisoft games like the Rainbow six outfit is actually really cool to see (I did not have the game so it did not unlock for me), but the effort towards its gamers must be recognised. The bubbleheads (for in the car) if you have certain games is also cool and gives a little extra a fact that has always mattered to gamers.

Tweak town gives a lot more, but when I read: “When people realize they’re just one very replaceable person on a massive production chain, you can imagine it impacts their motivation“, I see it and it might impact, but that is an HR problem, not on my watch here, it is an element I care not for at present. There is also: “How do you get the right message to the right people? You can’t communicate everything to everyone, there’s just too much information. There are hundreds of decisions being taken every week. Inevitably, at some point, someone who should have been consulted before making a decision will be forgotten. This creates frustration over time” that is an issue, it is management that is either not there, not properly ready or even worse, it is ignorant. That also gives light to the connection of testing, an issue that Ubisoft has had for at least a decade. The experience that even now in Far cry 5, the event of looting a corpse and switching the weapon they dropped are nearly always overlapping, making a quick grab for ammo impossible and at times even disastrous. An issue not fixed since Far Cry 3. The article (at https://www.tweaktown.com/news/49863/ex-ubisoft-dev-reveals-grim-reality-aaa-games-development/index.html) had a few more items, but it was less important for me in this case. Gamasutra (at https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/282922/AAA_game_dev_lifestyle_is_unwinnable_says_veteran_game_designer_Amy_Hennig.php) gives a few more items, issues like: “There are people who never go home and see their families. They have children who are growing up without seeing them” get a different rating, it is either a lack of time management, or slave labour, one is a choice the other is criminal; you tell me which is which. Yes, I trivialise the issue here, but at some stage you need to recharge and if you decide not to do that, you burn out. It is the quote: “It’s pressure that rolls downhill and piles onto those behind the industry’s biggest releases, forcing them to go above and beyond to meet rapidly approaching deadlines” that hits pay dirt, they either haven’t learned to neuter their marketing department, or the board members have forgotten what realistic time frames are. Either way it tends to stop proper game testing and that is how we get a screwed up product and we have seen that from AC Unity onwards, Ubisoft has had way too many events like that. As such as we see the quote referring to ‘over-expectant publishers‘, the view we see matches mine pretty much flawless. If you cannot control your marketeers with their hype creation, you fall flat and you get the pressures that should have been avoided in the first place. The evidence is there too, for example Project red with Witcher 3 as well as Cyberpunk 2077. There no one is fussed about the 2020 release, we all know that they broke the mould with Witcher 3 and we want to see that again, we the gamers are willing to wait for excellence, mainly because it has become such a rare thing. A 93% rating comes at a price. It is the oldest stage of sales.

You can have something cheap, something fast and something good, but you can only chose two of the three elements, so the product ends up arriving slow, becoming a bad product or an expensive one, which of those three can you live with the best? Of those three the late arrival is the best (my personal view), but as far as Ubisoft goes, they got that choice wrong more than once, because they were unwilling to delay the release late, costing them points all over the place. It is me not liking Odyssey that requires me to quote Samuel Axon who wrote a massive story on ArsTechnica. He ends with: “Odyssey was not a perfect game. But it was the perfect game to win back this series superfan. It’s so good, I want to go back and replay older games in the series—even some of the bad ones—just to examine and appreciate the evolution“, I get his vision yet it is not my view on the game and that is fine. Ubisoft does not need to appease me, it needs to protect its IP and there we might not see eye to eye on the matter. This is fine, I am merely one view and that too needs to be taken into account, Samuel clearly had another view on the take and I accept it because the article (at https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2019/03/i-played-11-assassins-creed-games-in-11-years-and-odyssey-made-them-all-worth-it) is an absolute must for any Assassins Creed fan.

When I look back, no matter how much we like to stare at the boobies, when they are not the ones (or shape, or size) you hoped to see, the interest fades really fast (unless you are a hungry baby) and that is the core for Ubisoft, the absolute essential part was proper testing and fixing (optionally with a day one patch) is something they seemingly have not been steered towards for too long and it shows. As I see it, they efficiently massacred two IP’s at present; the question becomes what will happen with Watchdogs 3? When we accept (I do) that the second was way better than the first, I fear for the third, because they need to get it right. I only got Far Cry 5 well over a year later when it was sold at a mere 17% of the full price gives rise to what we are willing to pay. When you consider that this was a game with a budget close to $100 million and a rising amount of gamers will no longer consider it at full price, and even as it made $310 million, how much money did Ubisoft in the end miss out on? Going home with $200 more is still good, but what could they have gotten? I wonder if they learn this lesson too late, perhaps it is me and perhaps I expect too much from the gamers of today. I merely chase excellence in gaming, and a game that is created substandard will not ever give a feeling of excellence, which is sad on many levels, especially when someone forked out an 9 figure number.

Just consider that GTA5 made $6 billion so far, Red Dead Redemption had a $725 million opening weekend, and that list goes on, all games that have a 90% score of better. It shows when we see that (according to VGChartz) Far Cry 5 seemingly sold less than 4 million copies, God of war far beyond 11 million, and that is also set toUbisoft being on three systems, whilst God of War was on only one system. I see it as the main difference between a 70% game and a 95% game. A difference of 250% or better in sold copies. I reckon that Ubisoft needs to focus on quality a lot more than they are currently doing and that view is shared by global player on an increasing larger scale endangering Ubisoft initial revenue more and more.

 

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Want a cake? Buy a bakery!

There was a man (not me) who loved cakes so much (definitely me) that he decided to buy a bakery (not on my income), so he spend £1,475,000 and now he has a cake every day until he dies, and that was the happy ending, or was it?

Consider that at the Cake Store, an outlandishly super cake (birthdays) from £45 onwards (up to £850) which will give you colour choice for inscription, 4 levels of cake (the 4th being a Rubik cube cake), choice of filling and selections of candles and sparklers. So it does not get any better than that. Yet we all agree that the most expensive cake is not a daily choice, anything below that tends to be around £100, so a fair cake and there plenty of cakes are 16″ and a mere £69. So at that stage we see that the man paid upfront for 19,666 cakes, implying that he will have a daily cake for 53 years; and that is when we ignore the interest he could have gotten on the £1,475,000 which in an optimum stage is interest that pays for 983 daily cakes a year, we call that a bad choice when the goal is to have cake every day. Now when it is about government policy it is not that simple.

And this gets us to the actual story, the fact that the Guardian gives us: ‘Government spends almost £100m on Brexit consultants‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/may/29/government-spends-almost-100m-brexit-consultants), I get that consultant might be needed to some degree, but Brexit is something new, so how would they know? Yes, I very much understand that one of Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), or Ernst & Young was needed, but all three? Even if that was the case, for example manpower, the issue is not merely the £100 million; it is the stage of what knowledge did these civil servants not have?

Before we go bashing civil servants left, right and centre, we need to acknowledge that you want consultancy to some degree on international tax issues, on international legislation, yet is that knowledge not available within the government? We apparently have Law lords, we apparently have treasury and tax experts and the fact that they came up short by £100 million in knowledge is a much larger issue than I am happy about.

The fact that the end of this is not near, a premise we see with: “Marked “official sensitive”, the investigation warns Whitehall spending on Brexit consultancy work could hit £240m by 2020, as officials scramble to plan for departure from the EU” should be a larger concern. Then I notice a name which I have stumbled upon. With the mention of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), I go back to ‘The Repetitive Misrepresentation‘, A May 2016 story (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/05/28/the-repetitive-misrepresentation/) where I stated: “The quote in the Business Insider gives you “I got the analyst who wrote one of the reports on the phone and asked how he got his projections. He must have been about 24. He said, literally, I sh*t you not, “well, my report was due and I didn’t have much time. My boss told me to look at the growth rate average over the past 3 years an increase it by 2% because mobile penetration is increasing.” There you go. As scientific as that“, this was at the core of the issue I had with PwC earlier. The final Gem the Business Insider offered was “They took the data from the analysts. So did the super bright consultants at McKinsey, Bain and BCG. We all took that data as the basis for our reports. Then the data got amplified. The bankers and consultants weren’t paid to do too much primary research. So they took 3 reports, read them, put them into their own spreadsheet, made fancier graphs, had professional PowerPoint departments make killer pages and then at the bottom of the graph they typed, “Research Company Data and Consulting Company Analysis” (fill in brand names) or some derivative. But you couldn’t just publish exactly what Gartner Group had said so these reports ended up slightly amplified in message; even more so with journalists. I’m not picking on them. They were as hoodwinked as everybody was. They got the data feed either from the research company or from the investment bank“. This all from an article in The Business Insider from February 18th 2010! (Yes, more than 6 years ago).” I am not stating that BCG did anything wrong, illegal or immoral, I merely wonder how they got their numbers, Brexit is an unseen event and there are no scenarios that fit the bill, so how were their results gotten (or is that begotten?); these are questions that reside with Bain & Company, as well as the BCG. PwC is not out of that firing line, it is for the most only Deloitte who gets a pass (based on previous work), as well as some of the people I know (from) there.

If there is one part I get then it is the entire Defra mess (mess still an optional word). The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has to deal with all kinds of legal and policy issues that have never been transparent, I would be surprised if there is not a whole range of other issues floating up from there in regards to food matters from all over Europe (France being an obvious first). An example that was seen last year when those reading Wine magazines were introduced to: “It’s made from outlawed jacquez and herbemont grapes, he explains, and is produced by a coop of rebellious vignerons in the Ardéche region of southern France.” Wine that is banned by the EU, so that is one part that Defra might not have been prepared for at present and that is merely a top line result I looked at, when we start looking at the Romanian Equine Beef Burgers the matter becomes truly adventurous. None of it is the fault of Defra mind you, merely the stage in which they find themselves at.

That also raises the issue seen with: “Whitehall report criticises departments for lack of transparency“, at that point, what are the chances that the Border Delivery Group with £10.2m and Defra with £8m have been doubling up on data and reports? More important, if they are from different sources, the data will not match and cannot be compared, or better stated, until the questions and data are not rigorously inspected, there will never be a way to tall on a few levels how valid and optionally how replicated the issues are. There is clear overlap between the two, yet the lack of transparency implies that they are not aware of each other’s work until the final report was handed to all the players.

In addition when I see: the DHSC employed Deloitte for “management support … in ensuring the supply of medical devices in case the UK leaves the EU without a deal”“, questions are shaped in my mind. I get it; there are questions, very valid questions. Yet in all this, Philips Healthcare has 6 locations in the UK, the same for Siemens Healthineers UK. So suddenly they would not be able to provide? They had their tax breaks for decades; as such they are responsible for delivery. It is time to look at these places and see just what tax breaks they got and hold them accountable (to some degree). I am merely mentioning two elements, there are many more where they had the deductibles and now they would walk away? Did the Department of Health and Social Care ever look at that part of the equation? Because if these people ‘walk away’ we can undo these tax breaks immediately, for the next decade or two.

It could be my version of ‘the sun also rises’.

It all comes to blows when we see: “But the report says it has taken an average of 161 days for basic details of Brexit consultancy contracts to be published, compared with 83 days for all consultancy contracts“, the fact that details are withheld for almost 6 months, beckons the question, was that before or after the contract was signed? In addition to this, when we look at “In February, analysis found government and public sector bodies had awarded contracts worth £107m for “professional services” in relation to Brexit planning. Tussell, a private firm that analyses public contracts, said the figure included 28 consultancy contracts worth nearly £92m.” gives me the questions on how much Tussel costs to check all this and are these contracts checked for doubling up, or are the merely checked for validity, hours versus billed, as well as how the contract was set up and what was required to be delivered? Merely the basic stuff and as such, as these contracts are compared, will I find a doubling of data as similar questions are to be answered?

Even as I partially agree with the government spokesperson giving us: “It is often more cost-efficient to draw upon the advice of external specialists for short-term projects requiring specialist skills. These include EU exit priorities such as ensuring the uninterrupted supply of medical products and food to the UK.” I do end up with questions on the arrangement of short term contracts and the fact that the treasury coffer is now out of £100 million. The fact that we see ‘such as’ is also a problem, the people were so over the moon on being a member of the EU, the fact that the government never looked at contingency issues within any government since the UK became a member of the EU is also a failure on several levels, especially when we consider the fact that this looks like an impairment of national security (or is that on levels of national security) whilst we see unproven Huawei accusation left, right and centre, an issue that does matter as you are about to find out.

The Washington Post gave us two days ago (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/05/28/its-middle-night-do-you-know-who-your-iphone-is-talking) ‘It’s the middle of the night. Do you know who your iPhone is talking to?‘ with the added: “Our privacy experiment showed 5,400 hidden app trackers guzzled our data — in a single week“. It relates in a simple way, we accuse Huawei whilst apps are according to the Washington Post: “On a recent Monday night, a dozen marketing companies, research firms and other personal data guzzlers got reports from my iPhone. At 11:43 p.m., a company called Amplitude learned my phone number, email and exact location. At 3:58 a.m., another called Appboy got a digital fingerprint of my phone. At 6:25 a.m., a tracker called Demdex received a way to identify my phone and sent back a list of other trackers to pair up with. And all night long, there was some startling behavior by a household name: Yelp. It was receiving a message that included my IP address -— once every five minutes.

It seems that there is a flaw, not merely in transparency and regarding the consultancy groups, there is a flaw in the way we think, the government is set to a stage, what would we have to do, whilst the tax breaks have been ignored to the stage where companies have a responsibility to deliver, which of these reports takes a look at that part and when we see that Apple did not do enough, when we are told that the user should not have installed a certain app, the fact that the app should not have been allowed in the apple store (or android store) is equally a setting to look at, the lack of transparency implies that this was not done, not once.

So when we divert (for a moment) to: “According to privacy firm Disconnect, which helped test my iPhone, those unwanted trackers would have spewed out 1.5 gigabytes of data over the span of a month. That’s half of an entire basic wireless service plan from AT&T.” I made a similar mention in January 2017 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/01/30/taking-xbox-to-court/) where in ‘Taking Xbox to Court?‘ where Microsoft uploaded almost 6 GB in a fortnight whilst playing single players games. The fact that Microsoft hid behind: “we have no influence on uploads, that is the responsibility of your ISP!“, as response the Xbox helpdesk (read: party line) that their support gave me when I called still makes me angry. But now it is not merely consoles, it is happening all over the place and the government either does not care, or has no clue, so when we see ‘privacy’ driven issues, I wonder who they are trying to fool. Especially when I was confronted with ‘possible civil contingency need‘, there are optionally so many contingency needs transgressed upon (as I personally see it), how about recognising that in all the elements clear transparency was an essential first, the fact that the large players are not willing to be transparent, we see a much larger issue all over the place.

Even as part of one of the DHSC reports gives us: “It is difficult to prepare detailed predictions or plans for such unpredictable concerns“, so if we see the impact of ‘unpredictable concerns‘, at what point do we ask more serious question on where the foundation of £100 million came from? And it is not merely the spending, those who asked the questions and the exact questions themselves would also need to be scrutinised, because the private firms merely facilitated and they did nothing wrong, the other side needs to be looked at, to a much higher degree than ever before.

Now consider a paper by DLA Piper (at https://www.dlapiper.com/en/uk/insights/publications/2019/04/no-deal-brexit/data-protection/) only a month ago where we see: “UK data protection law is governed by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into effect across all EU member states (including the UK) on 25 May 2018, and creates a harmonised legal framework regulating the way in which personal data is collected, used and shared throughout the EU. Should the UK leave the EU, the GDPR will cease to have direct effect in the UK. However, as the UK is committed to maintaining an equivalent data protection regime, a UK version of the GDPR will effectively apply following the departure date (exit-day)“. This is fair enough, yet as the Washington Post two days ago and I was able to show (850 days ago) that the collection of personal data is already off the wall, so at what point will we see recognition that the point of no return was passed a few hundred days ago?

So at what point are there questions on DLA Piper (who did nothing wrong) regarding; “The GDPR imposes restrictions on the transfer of personal data to a ‘third country’” and as the Washington Post gives us an iPhone example, we see that Huawei is clearly 0% guilty in that part, so how is the entire: ‘President Trump is clueless on true national security in the first place‘ not directly on the mind of all, especially when the transgressions are seemingly global. Perhaps when we realise that these are American Apps there is optional no national security infringement and privacy is merely a concept for all the players of that issue in town. At what point will the UK realise that they have much larger issues?

Even as there is complete acceptance of: “It is important to be aware that SCCs cannot be used to safeguard all transfers – for example SCCs do not exist for transfers between an EU-based processor and a UK-based controller (ie where a UK controller hosts personal data with an EU processor). This is a known area of risk to regulators, which impacted organisations may decide to ‘risk manage’ where data repatriation is not a realistic options“, I am willing to state that not only is ‘data repatriation is not realistic‘, it was not an option well over two years ago and the loss of data  (read: data copy transfer) under 5G will merely increase by a speculated 500%.

It is the realisation of these elements where we need to revisit: ‘those who asked the questions and the exact questions themselves would also need to be scrutinised‘.

I wonder if that was done and more important to what degree. We can agree that investigation on what might happen might have a steep price, I get that, yet overall there are larger issues regarding the exact question what was asked, the model, the data, the collection and the integrity of data regarding the question that needed to get answered. I wonder (because I actually do not know), how far did Tussel go regarding that part of the equation?

So how did this get from a bakery cake to 4G and 5G privacy?

It is about the cost of doing business, not merely the stage of prepared for what comes next and I feel that in light of what we are shown by the Guardian, the ‘cost of doing business’ and the ‘next stage of enterprising’ is not aligned, when we realise that there is a large non-alignment of issues, how large is the gap in these reports, not merely on legislation and policy, but on operational levels that will get hit first. The DLA Piper part makes perfect sense, yet when you realise that the mobile application status is already nowhere near it needs to be, how useful is the DLA Piper part, which is technically speaking flawless? When we see that part of non-alignment, how many reports costing £100 million have an operational discrepancy when tested to the actuality of the events?

In equal measure we get the additional question, would transparency have solved that, which is likely to give the answer that require us to take a hard look at those phrasing the questions. One led to the other, and I merely looked at the digital part, when we look at actual shipping (and ships), we see the realisation that the UK is still an island, one tunnel does not solve that, how do we see the filling of the prospect of the danger that a lot more contingency plans are missing, not because of Brexit, but because they already should have been there, the IOS data tracking part is evidence of that.

 

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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?

 

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That’s the way the money flows

The Independent had an interesting article 2 hours ago. The article (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/china-drones-spy-us-dhs-security-data-alert-a8922706.html). The title leaves little to the imagination with: ‘Chinese drones may be stealing sensitive information, DHS warns‘, after the Trump google play, after his refusal to submit to subpoena’s, after the anti Huawei activities that so far has never yielded any active evidence (the 8 year old case was settled within months are done with). Now we see: “Chinese-made drones in America may be sending sensitive data to their manufacturers back home where it can be accessed by the government, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has warned“, which might be a nightmare if it was not so hilarious. You see the next quote: “CNN, which obtained the internal alert, reported that the DHS fears drones will offer Chinese intelligence unfettered access to American data“, it comes across like we have a case where a CNN reporter has been hit by a silly stick and never recovered. Consider the drones we see, there is no space to have a dedicated hack system on board. Yes some can be done with a mobile, and there is plenty of space in that device, now consider the ‘sensitive’ data that needs to be found, the data needs to be connected to (and with all these faulty Cisco routers that is relatively easy at present), then a selection needs to be downloaded and that is merely for one place, one device. All this stops when any person uses common cyber sense. It is the revelation that we see next, that is the one that matters. With: “Though the alert didn’t name specific companies, the vast majority of drones used in the US and Canada are made by the Shenzen based Company, DJI, CNN reported” we see the part that matters. As drone services are up on an almost exponential growth as we see the push that got there. The news from November 2016 gave us: “Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited (Domino’s) and drone delivery partner Flirtey delivered the first order, a Peri-Peri Chicken Pizza, and a Chicken and Cranberry Pizza“. Consider the option to avoid traffic in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Pittsburgh, all places with massive congestion. Drones are the optionally the newest quick way to deliver food, Amazon needs, Walmart needs, all in growing need due to the events where retailers and shippers combine forces to avoid a few items, and with congestion set to zero, people will flock to that consideration. Now the operational part, it seems that DJI is ahead of the curve, another Chinese company decided to truly innovate and now that the push is there and America is bankrupt (as I personally see it) anything possible to avoid money going to China, America is taking a pot shot at that. So when we are also treated to: “A spokesman for DJI denied that any information was being transmitted to it from its drones, adding that the security of its technology has been independently verified by the US government.” I start wondering if DHS was able to do its job properly. Now let’s be clear, there is no doubt that ANY drone can be used for espionage, especially if it is quiet enough. Yet is that the issue for DJI, or is that an issue with the spy that utilises drone technology? Yet that is actually not the only side, on the other side we see mentioned: “Those concerns apply with equal force to certain Chinese-made (unmanned aircraft systems)-connected devices capable of collecting and transferring potentially revealing data about their operations and the individuals and entities operating them, as China imposes unusually stringent obligations on its citizens to support national intelligence activities,” Now, this part does make sense. It is the same as the Apple Fitbit, that due to its global nature started to hand out the jogging patterns of Special forces in the Middle East, so within 3 days several members of the two dozen operatives had a check on their calorie burning and health, whilst the mapping data showed the world where the CIA black site was (oh apologies, I meant to say a military specialist endeavouring location of an undetermined nature). The question becomes how was the ‘the security of its technology has been independently verified by the US government‘ achieved? Was that verification process competent, or perhaps slightly less so?

I am not stating my verdict in either direction; yet the entire Huawei mess, as well as the DJI setting implies that the growth industries are shunned from America, mainly because it is not an American industry. Yet in all this, the forget that places like the EU and India are large enough to go forward with both players and truly grow further, whilst the downturn and the economic lag that the US is creating will merely grow the loss of momentum and the recession it will fuel in other ways. I would consider that the setback that Google is trying to create will have larger repercussions down the road. As larger Data vendors will now optionally choose the Chinese side, they will grow market share. You see no matter how it is sliced, all this is data based and data can only grow if there is usage. So when people remain with Huawei as their phone keeps on working, we see that there is a larger concern soon enough. At some point people will stop trusting Samsung, Google and Apple phones, which works out nicely for several players (Microsoft actually more than most), what do you think happens when the larger share of 14.7% of a global market changes to player three and not use Google apps to some degree? Google momentum relies on non-stop data and usage, when a third of the 60% that these three cover stops, do you think that this has no impact for Google?

The same applies to drones. You see intelligence makes the drone and as it grows its market share and the collected data of drone usage is set, the innovation of DJI grows faster. It is the difference between generation now and generation 2022, DJI will grow and can grow in several directions, yet the entire the setting of ‘data theft’ we see that there is a lack of ‘what’ data. What data is collected, the flight path? Well, I think we all need to know in 2023 what flight path was taken for the delivery of 342,450 pizza’s delivered per hour, is it not? It is not that Google Map has that data, and within a building in New York, is there truly a clear sign in the drone itself who exactly the merchandise was for, or was that on the box (instead of the drone). Now, there is no denying that some of that data would optionally be accessible to the Chinese government? Yet what data, what level of data? Do you think that they have time for the hundreds of drones and the data whilst they can monitor 20,000 times that data with a spy satellite (and an additional truckload of data that the drone never had in the first place?

It is when I see ‘unfettered access to American data‘ where the questions become pressing. It is like watching Colin Powell coming into a non-disclosed location with his silver briefcase and in the end the lack of WMD’s, are we going in that direction again? when I see ‘unfettered access to American data‘, it is at that moment I see the optional comparison (an extreme lose comparison mind you) with the innocent preachers daughter who did the naughty thing to 30% of the boys coming to Sunday sermon, having attempted things I cannot even rent on adult video. It is the CNN article (at https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/20/politics/dhs-chinese-drone-warning/index.html) that gives additional rise to concerns. When you see: “Users are warned to “be cautious when purchasing” drones from China, and to take precautionary steps like turning off the device’s internet connection and removing secure digital cards. The alert also warns users to “understand how to properly operate and limit your device’s access to networks” to avoid “theft of information.”” It seems to me that there are dozens of ways to get this data, a drone seems like an expensive long way round-trip to get to that data, whilst more can be accessed in several other ways and it is the speculation through ‘device’s internet connection‘, so when we see one of these devices (at https://www.dji.com/au/phantom-4-pro-v2/info#specs), we are treated to: “The new Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 features an OcuSync HD transmission system, which supports automatic dual-frequency band switching and connects to DJI Goggles wirelessly“, where did the internet come in? Yes there is an app, to get a live view from the drone, so what ‘unfettered access to American data‘ could there be that Google Maps at present does not have in more detail?

It is the next part that is the actual ace. When we see: “DJI, which reported $2.7 billion in revenue in 2017, is best known for its popular Phantom drone. Introduced in 2013, the drone is the top-selling commercial drone on the market“, information the Independent did not give us, that is the actual stage as I personally see it. It was $2.7 billion in 2017, there is no doubt that when drone delivery truly takes off, at that point revenue that sits between $15 and $27 billion is not unrealistic, the dire need to avoid congestion on a global scale will drive it and that is before you realise the non-US benefits in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Munich, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Athens, Moscow. At that point you will see stronger growth and I haven’t even looked at the opportunities in a place like Mumbai, Tokyo, Delhi, Bangkok, Rio, Buenos Aires and Sydney yet. Everything leaves me with the impression that this is not about security, it is about money. That fact can be proven when you realise that everyone remains silent on the 29 new vulnerabilities that Cisco reported merely a month ago. How many Cisco router stories have come from that non-technologically refined White House, where they are currently optionally limited by “Cisco routers, including ones that can be found in malls, large companies or government institutions, are flawed in a way that allows hackers to steal all of the data flowing through them“, the cybersecurity company Red Baron handed out that issue to the media last week, so who picked up on that danger to ‘unfettered access to American data‘? And when you consider ‘it allows potential malicious actors to bypass the router’s security feature, Trust Anchor. This feature has been standard in Cisco’s routers since 2013‘, when we realise that Cisco is a household name on a global scale (especially when connected to the internet), the entire Cisco matter seems to be at least 15,000 times worse than any DJI drone ever could be, and the fact that DHS remains silent on that gives (again, as I personally see it) is added proof that this is merely about the money and the fact that US companies are losing markets on a global scale.

I could set the stage by singing ‘All ‘Bout the money‘ by Meja and ‘That’s the way the money goes‘ by M, but then, I realise that people would most likely pay me serious money not to sing (my voice is actually that bad).

That’s the way the money flows, specifically at present in a direction that the US is for the foreseeable future most displeased about.

 

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The political winds

It all started nice and slow this morning. I had one task that is due in 4 hours and 34.3 minutes (roughly), so the unnatural act (for me) of sleeping in commenced and it was nice. So there I was morning ritual all shot to smithereens and it was 2 hours until zero hour. My ritual of checking breaking news gives me the BBC and the Saudi Tankers, an interesting part, but the intelligence on the events are missing, even in open source intelligence it is too much on ‘decent confidence’ and ‘statistical probability of certain parties’. One source gives an implied presence of Hezbollah in Shinas (Oman), yet there is zero reliability as well as the fact that any attack would have required different tools as well as location does not add up, as it is at that point that Israel Hayom gives me ‘Saudi Arabia retaliates hours after Houthis attack oil facilities‘, the fact that we see “Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are backed by Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival Iran, claim attack on Saudi oil pipelines“, this is indeed a different status and I will dig into this when i get more data, this event could escalate matters fast. As such the defence needs of Saudi Arabia will explode (pardon the pun) soon enough.

Yet this is about UK politics and the issues will relate soon enough. The Independent (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-hunt-conservative-party-wall-street-journal-london-a8914171.html) gives us ‘Jeremy Hunt appears to struggle for an answer when asked why people should vote Tory‘, you see as a conservative (yes, I am a Tory) I struggle too. There is no shame in this, we need to walk a tightrope and keeping balance is actually a lot harder than you might imagine. So when we see Jeremy Hunt give us: “Because we are not going to solve this problem by retreating to populist extremes” he has a point, it is clear and he is correct, yet the problem is that we are looking at the wrong extreme. Nigel Farage is not the populist extreme, the European Central Bank is the populist extreme, just not a populist extreme for the people, they are the populist solution for the IMF, Wall Street and American commerce, three that they were never supposed to cater for and the European ignorance is just amazing. Also, the view that the media remains silent on many issues involving the ECB, Mario Draghi and their acts of non-accountability have become too staggering. And as the media is in denial in one side and then bashes Nigel Farage at every opportunity gives additional light to the fact that the media botched plenty of issues.

The people have been misled to a much larger degree and now they are willing to try Farage and the Brexit party, not because they like him, but because they largely mistrust all other parties including my own conservative party. That is the realistic stage, so why vote Tory?

The problem is not easy but the biggest issue is the debt, both sides (mainly the Labor party) have pushed again and again and left the British nation with 2 trillion pounds of debt. Even in the most optimal stage it will take well over a generation, it is passed in two parts. The first is no less than £20 billion in interest payment and an optimal £20-£50 billion in annual debt decline; if this is not done soon it will be too late for everyone. The benefit is that the UK without the Euro can steer shallow and deep waters, all having their own risk (and rewards), all having options, but the drag of the Euro 27 nations and their bad choices as well as the ECB and their unacceptable acts will no longer be part of it. It will be the first clear stage of resolving the issues that politicians are too hard to solve. Still, it will take a generation, perhaps two to resolve it and when there is momentum in the first 5 years that will signal economic improvements as well as economic opportunities.

Immigration

If that was not the case, do you think that the refugees would be racing and running to make it to the UK as fast as they possibly can? No, the people in the lower tier are actually seeing the lack of progress for the people all over Europe, and for now the UK is in a similar stage, but it could improve, the UK is in a stage where it could improve faster and better than anywhere else in Europe. Do you think I would sit on billions of IP if any official in the EU27 could be trusted? The EU27 and America are all in the stage to fill their pockets as much as possible before it is too late, I would rather make all my IP public domain and watch them all fight each other on claims that they were first and not giving actual evidence. That is why Google, Huawei and optional Saudi Arabia are seemingly the few parties worth talking to at present.

Google and Huawei have shown to be pushing innovation, not iteration. In addition, the acts we see in Saudi Arabia on renewal and Neom City are showing a push for larger changes, changes that the US and the European Economic Union is no longer able to make, they are stuck with a mountain of debt making everything a discussion, and no resolutions. The fact that for the most tax laws have NEVER been properly been adjusted so that the large corporations (FAANG group) make proper payment has never been addressed, it is a failing on both sides of the Isle, both Tories and Labour have fault at that. the BBC news in March 2018 gave us ‘Google’s tax bill rises to £50m‘, and we get two parts in addition: “The technology giant’s annual accounts show that the company will pay corporation taxes of £49.3m on UK profits of £202.4m” and “The total value of Google’s sales in the UK is about £5.7bn a year“, now I have nothing against google, as a matter of fact, I love Google (platonically mind you). Yet the numbers do not add up. When we consider that google is making 202 million out of 5,700 million, it amounts to a profit margin of 3.54%, considering that the Google Pixel 3 is well over £700 makes me wonder. Yet let’s not forget that Google is not alone here, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, SAP, Facebook, Amazon all have profits that go into the billions (well the FAANG group players at least). So the tax image is wrong and the people get to pay for the cost of commerce, not exactly fair, is it?

This is the realisation that has been sweeping through the lower tiers of the population and they have had enough, and I get it. We see all these utter BS approaches on what we can sell to the government of Saudi Arabia and we cannot even sort out proper taxation to big business? Small businesses have been driven out of shops through large corporations working from abroad, the Britons have been dealt a raw deal and it bites, the Tories did way too little to deal with it (opposing the Labour party who did nothing at all when they were in charge). So the people have gotten to the point where they will try anything, especially give Nigel Farage and his Brexit party a chance.

Yes, how would I vote? Well, I am all for Brexit, yet I remain a Conservative. The issue is not Brexit, it will happen (read: it should), the issue will be about what happens after that, it will be a mess for close to two years and issues need to be resolved and it will take time and it will take serious discussions, Nigel Farage has charisma, he has knowledge yet what about his team? The players like David Coburn, Julia Reid, Nathan Gill, or Raymond Finch? I am not sure any of those people can hold proper seats like Home office, Foreign office, Defence, or Treasury. That is the problem the UK faces. Getting a proper government in place, Labor was never trustworthy and even as Tony Blair did a lot of good, he bungled plenty too. In that regard whatever came after Harold Wilson (1976) was pretty bollocks by the view of some (a view I only partially support).

These parts matter, the failings form the past are now part of the current battlefield and the failings are important to consider with a debt of 2 trillion, that is why the Brexit party is likely to be the biggest player, yet I remain a conservative, the mess needs to be cleaned up and whilst labour will indiscriminately spend money that they do not have, the Nigel Farage side lacks the true experience that the people need to clean the overall mess up, Brexit is an essential first, but the Brexit party is in my humble opinion not ready to properly deal with the 20 steps that follow.

Was there not a Saudi side?

Yup and we are getting to that now. You see the economy is only one side. Military hardware is only one part of optional commerce, the national growth of 5G will benefit the UK, yet these parts can also be sold to Saudi Arabia, there is more than Huawei and even as the UK needs to catch up, and catch up fast, the sorted problem is not merely military hardware, that part needs services and whilst the UK can be a push forward there, they are up against American Giants and it is a fight worth fighting. The infrastructure for Neom City and even beyond that all the way to Riyadh represents an initial £350 billion, with more on the horizon. When I set the stage for my £2,000,000,000 IP, one part was that I did look beyond one side and since then found four more avenues where people merely accepted certain solutions and never looked at what else was possible. From Marketing, Awareness creation, communication, applied applications on the setting of streaming (yes, that was a pun and a puzzle all at once). And the biggest parts are not big business, it is a small business approach with global ramifications, and the nice part is that Huawei was nice enough to implement part of it in their 5G prospective and not look further, so happy, happy me (for now that is).

This is not merely one part, all the players (and the FAANG group) all want access to Saudi Arabia, so who do you think they will hand options too? These hypocrites who decided to suddenly revoke export to Saudi Arabia whilst ignoring the activities of Hezbollah and Iran, or those who stood by Saudi Arabia and their right for defence? Let’s not forget that the aid of Saudi Arabia was called on by the legitimate government of Yemen, a part most seem to ignore again and again.

Saudi Arabia is trailing in technology on several ides and they are trying to address this and those who facilitate for the progress of that will find themselves with the sweetest deals. More importantly, the UK will need proper trade partners to a larger degree. The US is all about export and the fact that export needs to exceed import, several nations are in that stage. The list that place true value to import to goods and services is small, so having the proper foreign office in place is going to be essential in the next 5 years, the Brexit party cannot deliver on that and that will make matters much worse down the Brexit trail. The Conservative need is easily shown when you look a few degrees beyond the current point of exposure. It is when you look towards the applied stage of the long game, that is where you see that the bulk of all politicians fall short. They will merely tell you: ‘We will solve it when we get there‘, or ‘We have a plan and we will present it at the proper time‘ and it is way too late to take that approach, it is well over a decade too late for that.

If they cannot clearly show you a plan, they are extremely unlikely to have one, which is not a stage the UK (and many other nations) can survive on at present. As such the political winds are blowing, top some degree those who we are willing to trust lack the power and know-how to make it work long term, most of the others are no longer trusted to the degree that they need to. I remain conservative inclined, yet they too need to realise that not only is the party over, facilitating in that direction is no longer an option, making that heard loud and clear is essential.

 

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