Tag Archives: Sony

Battle of the giants

The Guardian has released a list of the best games of the year. As a Sony lover, I expected to see god of War and it is there, we also see Microsoft’s Forza Horizon 4, which ought to be there too. I was never a racing fan and still that game blew me away, so there!

We also see games that never were my fancy; Monster Hunter World is not a game I tried as I was disappointed with the grinding that the 3DS version gave. I admit that the graphics on the new consoles looked amazing, yet i felt no need to try. Ni No Kuni 2 is not a surprise and the absence of Bethesda is no surprise. I am quite frankly amazed on how many times Bethesda dropped the ball in this quarter alone. I have no idea what got them hit with the stupid stick this many times. Red Dead Redemption 2 is there too and my only surprise is the remastered Shadow of the Colossus. I actually did not expect it to show up, as I saw Dark Souls Remastered. If we look at those two, they deserve to be there, and even as it hits the mark, they do have the benefit of having a long time to be the original, when we look today, it is much harder to find an original game, as such these two might be regarded as having an unfair advantage.

I also missed titles that should have been there. first there is Spiderman, it is not merely the best Spiderman ever made, it is graphically perfect, it has the clear feel of a Peter Parker adventure and it is true to a Marvel world, as such I expected it to be there, right next to God of war, two games that made Sony to be the Huge success it became in 2018. The Xbox One misses out due to exclusivity, and I am in conflict with myself over Assassin’s Creed Odyssey not being picked, there are reasons it should be there and optional reasons for it not making the cut, yet I feel the balance scale is still on the side of it being there. I believe that in this case the DLC is added reason for it making the grade this time around as well (the cultural DLC of life in Egypt last year was a stroke of genius, you walk through it seeing just how much as a gamer you missed out on, making the replay 150% more satisfying). As a PlayStation lover (an important distinction), I need to side with Keza MacDonald on this one. Her statement: “This game is a beautiful experience. As driving games go, it’s the best I’ve ever played“, in the end, God of War blew me away as well, it was such a rush to see a game propel to the size it did, yet in the end, there is every chance that Forza Horizon 4 might end up being the best game of the year, it will be a title well deserved. In all my opposition to what Microsoft calls ‘good business‘ and their view of gamers, this one they got right, well done Microsoft!

If gaming is perception and presentation, just to call the attention, we need to stop and take another look at Bethesda. Even as the media titles have been ‘protective’ like ‘Bethesda Accidentally Leaked Personal Data of ‘Fallout 76’ Customers Looking for Help‘, as well as ‘Bethesda’s attempt to fix a Fallout 76 blunder leaks angry shoppers’ PID‘, we need to be mindful, accidental or not. Personal data is out there, possible due to an overreaction by Bethesda. Many consider Fallout 76 to be a failure; I am slightly less pessimistic calling it ‘work in progress’. That is the nature of the beast, when you tackle the online gaming, things go pear shaped, not merely because of the dangers of online resources, the mere consideration that 4 eager gamers can ask more of a system than 23,665 programmers can correct for, it is a mere truth of the online stage. And it was my personal feeling that after Tamriel in an online stage, Bethesda would have learned enough to get it much better from day one, they did not!

So it is unlikely that Bethesda is going home with any prices and awards this year (however, there is still Legends, and optionally blades).

Why look at this?

Games are not merely games, when a person buys a game; he or she pays for both an experience, as well as a stage of engagement. It is hard (read: impossible) to merely see AC Odyssey, without going back all the way to Masyaf and the very first Assassins Creed (if you played it as early as then), this is why AC2 and AC brotherhood are still seen as the path of perfection that AC Unity devastated. I got this Ubisoft punishment device (see image), just so I could explain it to the skull of Yves Guillemot as graphically as possible (nyuk, nyuk, nyuk).

We have had plenty of reasons to get mad at Ubisoft for a whole range of reasons and now we see a growing group of people angered with Bethesda. I say one optional flop does not make a raging crowd, yet the views, visions and YouTube’s out there say different. As for perception, this game (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWwyhymcDxI) was one of the first 5 games I ever bought (3rd or 4th), I still think fondly of this game, even after 34 years. I got the Broderbund title as it got the IBM joystick award (in those days there was no proper game reviewing). It was an instant success. When you get emerged in a game, your world changes, and you tend to focus on fun and challenge. This is not unique for me; this is for anyone who loves games. Now we can hardly perceive this, yet I still remember the challenge that level 5 was initially. For many, their first console, the first game they truly got involved in, that title they will carry in their hearts for the longest of times, they will judge other games by that game. For many it will be on all systems, others will judge it per system (which is fairer anyway). So the new gamers will hold a light to any new game, comparing it to FHIV, AC Odyssey, Super Mario Odyssey, and Red Dead Redemption 2. That is the nature of the beast and when we find the developer lacking, they will get slapped around by these gamers (poor poor Yves Guillemot). Yet when a developer gets it right, when they deliver beyond the over marketed title (like AC Origin) they also get the benefit of powerful acknowledgement (as they are entitled to that too). For me (in the Mario universe) it started with Super Mario 64, and until we got Super Mario Sunshine, it had the crown, even later as we saw Wii and WiiU, Super Mario Sunshine still ruled and now we see the optional crown going to Super Mario Odyssey (I only played the demo so far).

So when we see this, when we realise that best game of the year is also smitten with what they made before, we see a difference, another measurement. So in that light, I do hope that the rumours of Samus Aran and her trilogy for Nintendo Switch will be true. So far in 14 years no one ever surpassed the fun and challenge value that Metroid Prime delivered and I loved Metroid Prime 2: Echoes to that same degree. So to get that on Switch will up the ante for any game developer. The fun, the challenge and getting to the conclusion of the challenge is everything to the gamer, Nintendo has forever understood that part of gaming to a much better degree than any other developer (Bethesda had a good grasp of comprehending people on the past).

So when we see that the reality is that we will optionally be able to replay those titles via the Nintendo Switch Virtual Console, we see that Nintendo has a long term future as well, as these titles can capture the older hearts, as well as new players giving them a lot more bang for the buck. Nintendo rules these waves, we see this with the latest addition Super Smash Bros (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWo9wfsnj7M). It is Super Smash Bros that gives the main dish as a desert. When we realise that the impression of fun is not merely looking good, it is about getting it right, it is in this view that looking perfect will always lose against getting it right.

It is that distinction is also important when you look towards the best game of 2018, even as a PlayStation fan (a bias that is forever important), we see that Spiderman PS4 got it right, Forza Horizon 4 merely got it right better. So Microsoft on a game type that I am not really a fan of; justly wins with a title by getting it right the best. Even as God of War was perfect, exceeded everything they made before, we might compare it to why Super Smash Bros got 94%, yet in the end, the game that blew us away more will take the cake and candles in all of this. FHIV might never be in my collection as the One versus One X is just to distinct here (for now), yet the fact that whenever I see FHIV, I get the desire to race, as a non-racer, that impression is extremely distinct; it is why my vote went that way. To capture the heart of a player that has another game style is an achievement that we all seem to forget. Just like Super Smash Bros has the ability to get all kinds of people to pick up the game and play against as many people as possible, we see the impact of excellence in gaming through fun and the joy of getting there. Nintendo mastered that ability a long time ago and whenever we see any other game getting there, we rejoice.

Far Cry Primal got close and then dropped the ball by being ‘predetermined’. Far Cry 5 never got there by offering everything and becoming nothing at all, the God of War got there through the people who knew the originals, giving us a new track, another path in almost perfect graphics and with a rating of 94% they did excel, set that against the 92% of Forza Horizon 4 and in my state of mind, there would be no contest, game over for Microsoft Studios, yet that was not the case, challenge and fun, they merely got it slightly better. Even as we see that they got Best Racing Game and Xbox Game of the Year (which was not really that much of a challenge this time around), they are still on track to get Ultimate Game of the Year, Best Sports/Racing Game and Best Audio Design, it is my personal opinion that they would optionally lose the third one and anyone who has heard the soundtrack of God of War is likely to agree with me. As I see it, Forza Horizon 4 gets to be the Ultimate Game of the Year; at least that is how I personally would vote.

The annual award is a battle of giants, some excelled for a long time, some excelled in every way and some merely competed to some extent. What is important in not merely who wins, and who gets nominated, we see that the winners will impact what we see in upcoming 2020 games and that is important to realise.

As we will anticipate on the coming of the Trilogy on Switch, some might wonder why. It is not merely the FPS part, it is open (to some extent), it is a challenge and it is an adventure, even in 2002 when it was released, even with the more ‘advanced’ graphics that the Xbox and the PlayStation 2 had, they could not touch Metroid Prime and its 97% rating. That small disc, holding a mere part of a DVD blew away all competition and with Metroid Prime 2: Echoes at 92% it did so again, and those who loved gaming want to get that feeling again. That is the impact that fun coated in challenge, or is that challenge coated in fun? Whichever way it is presented it creates gamers and it creates desire within a gamer. The ultimate game of the year can impact that future of where we will look next, what we will try next, even if it is not our cup of tea. When it hits the mark we will all order a pot of it, not merely a cup. That is one part that the game makers understand, and they are eager to get into the sweet spot of gamers there.

Should you think that gamers are selfish, think again! Digital trends reported less than 2 weeks ago: “Grandma Shirley — had left expressing her doubts at living to see The Elder Scrolls VI, a petition was created on Change.org to have her immortalized in the game“, gamers care to this extent, especially when they share a connection to a game, so I think that Bethesda needs to be truly stupid to not consider this, and to be honest Bethesda has been overly considerate in the past, not for personal gain or marketing, their actions regarding Erik West (Eric the Slayer), and there are more examples. Bethesda has forever been trying and aiming to get it right and to a larger extent, they have, so I was puzzled on how they got Fallout 76 so wrong. I merely cover it with ‘a work in progress‘, which in light of the approach is probably as correct as it gets (for now).

Gaming is for me not some state, or an escape. It is a world you become a part of, not replacing reality, but having it on the side. Making it part of the 24 hours a day you have, not replacing the 24 hours you should live in. Some choose sports, some choose a passion (or passion itself) and some hike, trail and be out in the open. Gamers do the gaming thing and when developers get that mindset right, the games will propel in excellence, it is a lesson Nintendo learned early on and they are still able to surprise us. In this Bethesda and Nintendo are optionally more alike. They both got it wrong (WiiU/Fallout76), yet as Nintendo Switch is now the golden mark of excellence, we might get the same from Bethesda (with whichever titles comes next) and that too is gaming, when the challenge is met and we get that satisfying feeling of a new challenge and we look forward to every second that comes next. That ‘Oh Yeah!‘ moment (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JB8BLMMVFLg) when you see that they are got it right. Gaming has had plenty of these, which is why developers are getting additional chances. Witcher 3, Mass Effect 2, Diablo 3, Skyrim, Metroid Prime, GTA5, the Last of Us, Golden Eye, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. The list goes on and will remain growing after tomorrow, because any developer that flops now (Far Cry) will optionally be able to hit it out of the park at a later stage (Far Cry 3) and that is gaming too, to be there and live through the successes, even after a massive failure (AC Unity anyone?)

Gamers can afford to wait as there are plenty of players offering the next golden egg, or is that the next golden eye? And with results like God of War, Forza Horizon 4, Ni no Kuni 2, and Subnautica I personally believe that the future of gaming is in good hands. No matter who gets to be called the ultimate game of 2018. There has been 45 years between Pong (1972) and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017), it was never about who had the best graphics (Minecraft 2011 is evidence of that), any category can win, any style can win (Rock Band 3 2010) and it opens us optionally to playful directions we might never have considered on day one of that game (Limbo 2010).

Personally I love the yearly gaming awards for reasons mentioned earlier, but for the most, for me it is about to consider a game that stood out in one way and merely missed out on that game initially having something to look forward to, which in my clearest case was Far Cry 3, the previous versions were not up to standard and therefor I never considered it, which gave me in the end more joy than I bargained for, exceeding expectations can end up being that rewarding.

It will be Monday morning in 60 hours, so try to take a moment and play a game this weekend, even if it is for merely an hour and it is something as simple (and highly addictive) as Minecraft.

 

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Condoning terrorism

When do we do that? When do we find ourselves in a place where some acts of terror will be allowed and when do we say it is not? You might think that we do not condone it at all. When you think that, you would be wrong. That part is shown in the last few weeks when we look at the news and the bringers of news. In this the first part of the chain is weirdly enough coming from Denmark. It is the one place where the worst acts of torture will be the slicing of the subject with a knife, gut him and cut him, then roast until there is nothing left. Yet the subject was a dead pig and the result if “Æbleflæsk” (or Apple Pork). Yes those Danes do get around with a knife. So when I got treated to ‘Three held in Denmark over interview praising terrorist attack in Iran‘ yesterday, I was a little surprised. The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/07/denmark-arrests-interview-praising-terrorist-attack-iran-asmla) gives us “Denmark has arrested three individuals on suspicion of having praised a terrorist attack in Iran two months ago that killed at least 24 people, including children“, which would be fine, yet when we are also treated to “Despite the fact that they are suspected of having committed crimes, they [the detainees] continue to be protected by extensive security measures because of the threat posed to them“. So it is not merely the fact that they spoke out. It is the underlying “stemmed from an alleged Iranian plot to kill an ASMLA activist. The person was not named“, is that not nice? For those not completely in the loop, the ASMLA (Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz) is about the aggressive consideration for a separate Arab state in Khuzestan Province from Iran. Let’s call it a partial independence of sorts. Iran has labelled Al-Ahvaziya a terrorist movement, which with more intelligence sources and data I cannot really comment on. Yet, does that not beat the clock by hours? In all this, Iranian murder Inc. or not, the EU reiterates commitment to the Iranian nuclear deal. Yes, because facilitating to nations that facilitates for terrorism is what Europe in their desperate economic situation really needs. This is all a month after “France had declared that Tehran was behind attempts by a number of Iranians – including a diplomat – to bomb a meeting of the Paris-based opposition group National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) – also known as Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK)“, I made some mention of this as well in an earlier blog, yet Europe will still want to continue the nuclear deal. Apparently enough is not enough. I get the Danish position. I get it that they cannot condone the situation. The mere ‘suspected of violating the Danish law … on condoning terrorism‘ should be addressed, even as one party is condoning certain acts, the other is acting certain acts and they are still in the clear, which gives the much larger stage where the EU is condoning terrorism. In addition, the Iranian proxy war where they are arming people to fire missiles into Saudi Arabia to hit Saudi civilian targets is for the most not looked at either. So as we see the absence of: “Saudi air defenses on Thursday intercepted a missile fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebel group into the kingdom’s southwestern Jizan region“, they are all eagerly reporting the other direction traffic with “Saudi-Led Coalition Bombs Air Base in Yemen Capital“. They do mention other elements, yet the part “Iran supplied the Houthi militias with missiles that targeted Saudi Arabia” is left out in many western news providers, giving the people an unbalanced view on what is actually happening in Yemen. In addition we see Miguel Miranda (RealClear Defense) giving us: “Since 2016 not a month has gone by without the Houthis in Yemen sending either large diameter rockets or ballistic missiles into the Kingdom, with successful intercepts by Saudi air defences up for debate.  Even with a defence budget considered the third largest in the world, Saudi Arabia’s collection of Patriot’s won’t be able to thwart multiple launches at its major cities and energy infrastructure. Worse, Riyadh’s orders for either the S-400 Triumf or the THAAD have yet to arrive.” It has been proven on several occasions that Yemen never had certain missiles and that production of some missiles would have been impossible, with the current status of its neighbours, the remaining party Iran as a Houthi supplier remains and the media seems to be clearly relying on not mentioning that part. The quality sources that both American and Israeli defence gives us, with added documentation from The Brookings Institution, all having high level data at their disposal, but for the European media it is of no matter, it is merely an inconvenient truth, is it not?

The question becomes twofold. In the first, why is Europe not a lot more outspoken on the Iranian actions in all this?

The second question is why certain parties remain pushing for a nuclear deal, whilst there are clear indications that Iran will break the agreements, optionally before the ink of the autograph has dried. There are indications that operations have been thwarted. Actions by Iranian players (too many question to precisely point a finger), yet the actions allegedly stopped included France and Denmark, as well as in Belgium, Austria, Germany and Sweden. So there is an increasing stage of events in place, but the nuclear deal is still being debated. Is it not time to actually do something about Iran? The Swedish part, which is seen with: “Officers from Sweden’s security police agency Säpo have arrested a suspected Iranian spy for planning an assassination on Danish soil”, would have remained invisible if I was not able to read Swedish. Now we do get that Säpo is not very outspoken on the best of days, yet the media remained largely silent, implying more and more that the media is actively downplaying Iranian events to a much larger degree, is that not a little weird?

So even as the local Sweden reports: “Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen also promised “further actions against Iran”“, we have yet to see a much larger action against Iran in answer to the attacks within the national borders of their European ally, I mean, is the EU actually active in protecting its member states or is that all dependant on some nuclear deal? Denmark might be regarded as limited by merely a good cuisine and Bang and Olufsen, yet I am willing to bet that Denmark as well as the other nations has a lot more to offer. So the absence of actual actions against Iran is making less and less sense. If we compare all the western visibility on the actions of Iran versus all the articles that involve Jamal Khashoggi in the last month alone, it seems that the European media is willing to let Iran get away with murder, how weird is that?

When we are condoning acts of terrorism, we need to start looking at why this is happening and the media is becoming part of something rather distasteful. Not the true journalistic parts that keep newspapers afloat as much as they can, but those having a seemingly other agenda and calling themselves a member of non ‘fake news’ groups, those numbers are increasing and it is strange on how the media is not looking at itself in all this.

Now, let’s be fair, they are not their brother’s keepers, so it is debatable where they should stand in all this. Yet, when we are looking beyond a few curves, we get to see more, in this case a technology part. A side where we are notified of: “In testing, some third-party Windows 10 apps like Adobe Photoshop and Notepad++ no longer work as intended when users go to setting to choose either program as the default for .txt files. Windows 10 will instead absurdly ignore a consumer’s app default settings for both programs and open the file in NotePad on its own“, as well as “Microsoft does not document this bug on any list of known issues and also hasn’t yet issued a public response to related reports. The issue is instead believed to be linked to Cumulative Update KB4462919, initially released on October 9. Oddly enough, the Windows 10 October 2018 Update doesn’t appear to be impacted at the moment. It might be wise to temporarily pause updates or roll back and uninstall the problematic cumulative update if you’re in fear of this issue, or if you are already seeing that your file association settings aren’t holding

You might ask yourself how this relates.

That is a really good question, you see, from my point of view I believe that the filtering is not merely ‘terrorism’, it is economic. The media seems to have an intensified need to not go against the grain of economic needs (Iranian nuclear deal, Microsoft and Apple, you merely have search a little deeper to see the lack of reports in several parts. There is ‘Protesters are detained outside an Apple store in Beijing as they accuse the firm’s Chinese factory of ‘hiring student workers illegally’‘, which is only shown to people via the Daily Mail and the news is 11 hours old, it seems that no one else thought it was newsworthy, The Microsoft story is one that impacts millions of users and they only link I saw was from Digital Trends (at https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/new-windows-10-bug-messing-up-file-associations/), it did have a reference to Reddit who reported 88 upvotes and 47 comments two days ago, yet I see it nowhere else.

This is where I personally see the problem, when the economic footprint is above a certain level, we see that there is a chance that certain players will condone terrorism and blanket consumer impacted issues with large blankets of silence. When we accept a world that has these slipped values, I would be very critical of anyone willing to voice some half-baked story on how wrong it is to be a salesperson in the weapons industry. I reckon that that person is at least willing to take action; we merely hide behind the inactions of others and flag whatever we consider wrong emotionally, it is perhaps the largest failing in all of us. If you wonder whether you should agree or disagree there; this would be a valid consideration mind you. Merely ask yourself, how many actions by Iran you were unaware of and why were you not aware? You could have a very valid reason to not know. Now consider how many Microsoft driven devices you have and were you aware of the delete bug and the latest issue that popped up two days ago? If the answer is no and you have a PC, ask yourself why you were not aware of it, you see it impacts your daily life pretty directly does it not?

Just as the media kept largely silent on the actions of Sony in October 2012, we have been left in the dark too often, and it has everything to do with shareholders, stakeholders and advertisers. This is where you see the impact, it is the economic footprint liked to all this and it impacts us one way or another.

Yet when we start condoning acts that are not merely illegal, how far have we fallen from grace?

 

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Fruity tech sides ignored

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Naval Extremism

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

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

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

You tell me!

 

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The stagnant life

What do you do when your life stagnates? What do you do when the next step is a smaller iteration of the previous one and the one that is coming is even less than that? Have you considered this part? It all started in the Guardian, which was soon transplanted to the Verge. Vlad Savov gave the notion with ‘What was good is still good; what was missing is still missing‘, it is about the OnePlus 6T mobile phone. Yet for the same setting it could have been our life, it could have been our career and it could have been our future. It is more of the same, yet for us it is interesting as it is cheaper, and as the Verge gives us: “starts at $549 for a sizable 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM“, we see that it is affordable. Yet when we look deeper, what do we get?

The good gives us: ‘Strong battery life‘, which is actually important in this day and age. Yet the other side is: ‘Camera remains mediocre, lacks wireless charging, still not fully, waterproof, quiet loudspeaker‘. In this the two I care about is the camera and the quiet loudspeaker. The camera is handy to have and here we see the first part. We get a Rear camera: 16 MP + 20 MP, whilst the front camera is 16MP, which is a lot more than my three year old Huawei P7. In addition a few sources give us: “the OnePlus 6 starts at just £469 for the 64GB / 6GB model, which makes it significantly cheaper than the £869 starting price for the Pixel 3 XL“, is it about the money? For many it is. It is the loudspeaker that inhibits the phone when we see: “the loudspeaker, which sounds very nice on this phone, but is woefully inadequate in terms of volume. Even at max volume, it’s only really useful in a quiet environment“. It is an inhibitor as I have missed calls in the past because I did not hear it ring.

How does a phone set a stagnant life?

You see, the second part is seen when we see the new iPad pro and it has no ‘Home’ button. Is that what we have progressed to, a massive marketing target and the fact that we ‘wow’ the home buttons demise? So as the Guardian gave us: ‘The long-rumoured iPad Pro redesign will be the first significant change to Apple’s iOS-based tablet since the release of the 12.9in iPad Pro in 2015‘, we see the issue. That is the great progress since 2015? No home button? How stagnant are we, and how stagnant has our technology become?

For example, in 2003 I saw the first virtual keyboard. It was projection technology (see image). I saw the impact it could have, to instantly switch between Roman, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Hiragana, Katakana, perhaps even Kanji and Arabic, a true push forward for all notebooks, netbooks, laptops and even tablets. More important was the fact that it took away key logging as intrusion to a much larger extent and in addition to that, a person could start working in a truly international sphere, as well as the fact that pretty much any flat surface would do, so no keyboards to mess with. It was true innovation. So when the first iPad was launched and it had the ‘keyboard’ on screen, it was progress, as it came at the expense of the screen, which was not great, yet much better than we ever had before and now I had direct access to all the Scandinavian characters which was awesome. So in 15 years, we see Apple give us ‘no home button‘, how weird is that? And the virtual keyboard need is more of a reality; the batteries are a lot better than we had them in 2003, 15 years of battery development to work with. The laser would have been a lot better, but Apple has not gone that mile forward as an accessory (even as the smart keyboard for the iPad pro is sweet), you are restricted to ONE keyboard at that point. The union of the smart keyboard and virtual keyboard could have been so much more and in 15 years they never got there?

Is this iterative technology holding us back? Is this a lack of vision, or is it merely the need to exploit the people one keyboard per purchase? If this simple innovation is withheld, how much more are we not getting? I can state that question as the technology has been there for 15 years and I know that there are innovative people out there, brighter than me. So why is Apple trailing that curve and not heading it?

Even as I initially designed what would have been the iTome (or optionally the Google Tome) and we see no plans or patents in any stage where that solution (which could solve many NHS issues) is planned, will we need Huawei to solve it for us and when they do will the USA bitch like a little girl whilst not providing any level of evidence? So whilst we get exposed to another wave of anti-Huawei, in this case by Australian Signals’ Directorate chief Mike Burgess, and when we are given “a potential security threat anywhere in the network would threaten the entire system“, yet no evidence was added to this. So when I see: ‘Fairfax Media and the ABC reported on Tuesday‘, it personally merely reads along the lines of one working the shaft and the other one was it tickling the balls of Telstra (a slightly less diplomatic view on all this). The more irritating part is that we have seen this circus go on for months now and still no evidence was ever given, clear evidence of that risk. More important, the risk by some other players (Apple) was shown as they decreased the battery efficiency of the mobile phone. Apple got a €10 million fine and had an annual revenue of one hundred and twenty seven billion. How flaccid should we consider these governmental player fucks to be (pardon my French here)?

It is even more fun to contemplate when we take Business Insider a mere 3 hours ago (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/top-spy-explains-huawei-ban-2018-10) and we consider the following: ‘Australia’s super-secretive communications spy agency has explained why Huawei is seen as an infrastructure risk’ (actually the ASD is at Russell Dr, Russell ACT 2600. Source: Google search). So now we get the quote, and it is a good one: “One of Australia’s top spies said the electricity grid, water supplies and other critical infrastructure could not have been adequately protected if China’s Huawei or ZTE were allowed to build the country’s new 5G mobile networks“. This is a realistic setting and it is the job of the ASD to look at this. Yet the same risk would have been there with an American or even a Scandinavian system (Ericsson), even in 5G there would have been all kinds of layers and intrusion is a realistic fact in 4G and it should similarly be so in 5G. That is why you hire the proper experts to set a secure stage. So now we get to: “His warning coincided with a new report from The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which revealed Australian universities were collaborating with Chinese military scientists at unprecedented levels and failing to mitigate national security risks“, so where is the evidence of that? We see that the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) is ‘overly’ advertised as independent. From my personal point of view, as I have seen some networking events. People like Michael Shoebridge and Peter Jennings would have ties with Telstra that are way too strong (merely the impact of networking). So is there a chance that they are driving Telstra opportunities? I have NO evidence of that, and I am not stating that this is happening, yet in that same regard I have seen NO evidence that Huawei is an actual risk, which is what others are stating; is that not the driving part here? Now we need to also consider the second part of Mr Burgess. He was also quoted: “Mr Burgess did not specifically mention Huawei or ZTE, but said it was no longer sufficient to confine “high-risk vendors” to the edges of a telecommunications network“. OK that is fair enough, yet I have an issue with ‘high-risk vendors‘. Not because of the vendor part, but the ‘high-risk’ setting. When exactly is a risk a high risk and is that a systemic situation, or is the lack of knowledge, a knowledge that was not pursued in time, as the foundation of evolution from risk to become ‘high-risks’?

I started to evangelise the need for true non-repudiation 5 years ago, I was confronted with the need 7 years ago and we are nowhere near that today. As the designers and greed chasers were all about facilitating for greed and maximised revenue, we saw the fall of reliability and security on a global level. Windows 10, Sony, Facebook are all events that show this. I see a lack of proper testing; a lack of proper assessing; an insatiable need to quickly patch so that revenue remains up. None of it was done with the need of protecting the consumer, merely to facilitate corporate greed.

So whilst that article ends with: “Fairfax Media is investigating cyber hacking incidents in corporate Australia. Tip off our team confidentially via this secure online system“, we are confronted with two parts, the first is that Fairfax is not the greatest channel to get stuff looked at, whoever does this could be prosecuted as a whistle-blower and more importantly that a lot of these issues would not have existed with proper non-repudiation in the first place. So whilst there is no true evidence that China is the bad individual here and that Huawei is not the great technological evil, we must not remain absent from proper scrutiny and that would have been fine, if there was only true scrutiny brought to the media and that has not been done. When you consider that part you should also give another consideration to: “a potential threat anywhere in the network will be a threat to the whole network“, exactly how badly designed does a network need to be when we see: “a threat to the whole network“?  How have corporations failed us when they have not properly instigated protection layers? And in that trend how flawed is authentication technology at present that this could happen to a governmental debilitating degree?

And it is not just Australia, with the lack of evidence in any direction; the US has been pushing for this in the UK, Australia and Canada. Merely an hour ago TechAU is giving a similar view with ‘still provides no evidence‘. There will be a point when not only will we see the demand for evidence, we will demand harsh consequences who force the people in much higher expenditure impacting their quality of life. When that happens, the tidal wave of complaints will be enough to topple any government.

In our lives we need to take leaps forward, no longer relaying on iterative solutions. If we want true new innovation that is the only path that will make sense and in all that, the old farts in 4G trying to keep their fat income in a 5G environment better get with the program faster. There is enough indication that the people are getting fed up with certain settings and the numbers given merely a day ago: “Telstra had a 7.7 per cent increase in complaints” give rise to a lot more nagging by millions soon enough. Some might think that it no longer makes sense to complain. However there is always the option to switch providers and even as most are equally unworthy of our coins, some do stand out and as some are giving us: “With a three year total loss of 31%, Telstra Corporation Limited would certainly have some dissatisfied shareholders“. For me it is different, I actually do not give a hoot about the shareholders (never did, never will). Telstra can only head this up by advancing now through frog leaped technology, to get ahead of the curve, not to follow it when it is economically terrific. It is a path that is over and done with. Huawei and Google are showing that this path will not work in the long run and the consumer will merely be reflecting this as they have to pay for an outdated solution that merely has one less button and perhaps a jack taken out of the equation. We want to see true progress where we can do what we need to do anything I need to do.

You see in 5G it will not be ‘whenever we want it‘, it will be about ‘where ever we are, whenever we ask‘, it is not the same setting and the telecom providers are just not ready. It is exactly that setting that I saw in the Neom plans of Saudi Arabia where I saw the option of solution being addressed. The new stage where we see change; not one that becomes an option to one person but a change giving availability for all. A mere information stage that might seem to start with the information pylon, it goes beyond that, these things can be seen by buildings, in elevators and on the road, a mere place where we can immediately be updated or request to be updated, on the go and on the fly (literally so) and in all that governments are not ready, they left it to people who maximised on their profits with no intent of investing, a stage now coming to fruition as Google and Huawei leaped forward (OK, Samsung too). The rest is merely staging progress through marketing like ‘the most powerful console in the world‘ whilst one game (Red Dead Redemption II) requires close to 12% of the entire console storage, merely one game! That is merely one facet of the short-sightedness that we face today and 5G will bring these issues to the surface on a much larger scale. Not on the phone, but on the total infrastructure and it gets to be worse. You see, in 5G your mobile phone is not your phone anymore. It will be your personal data server whether you like it or not. So when we see ‘high-risk vendors‘, we forgot one element. That is the element we call ‘high-risk governments‘, the players behind the players who left other to do the preparations and now that they are learning the hard way (as I personally see it) that they are not ready, we see all these delays and other 11th hour grasps regarding the definition ‘high-risk‘. So as we contemplate the excuse “a threat to the whole network“, whilst we see nothing in the air of how such threats are even possible to exist. Whilst we were shown the Sony intrusion, the Facebook screw-up (Cambridge Analytica), we see nothing in the air of ‘we are prepared‘? We saw that excuse that people were prepared often enough for many years and when we look back we see articles (Financial Times) where the discussion was already on in 2012, six years ago and in all that time the danger of “a threat to the whole network” and ‘high-risk‘ did not make the headlines in all this? Is that not weird too? I personally see it as a clear example of facilitation towards greed instead of enabling safety to a much larger degree, security and reliability on a network that should have the non-repudiation ability that 4G never had, that was the foundation of the NHS solution, a safer setting, not a faster setting (which was actually a nice bonus). This is the first part in showing the players as those who propagate a stagnant life through iteration.

This has become a stage where the next generation is worse of then the two generations before us. On the upside, no, there is no upside to any of that, it is merely the recognition of facilitation of greed driven people and have we not facilitated to them enough?

 

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The price of identity

We all have needs, we all have identities. It is important to us, as it is for many others. No one debates or disagrees with it. Yet what to do when identity hinders us? When we see the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/former-nsa-deputy-is-mattiss-leading-choice-to-head-the-spy-service-if-it-splits-from-cyber-command/2018/10/05/1be8d7a8-c73d-11e8-b2b5-79270f9cce17_story.html) giving us ‘Former NSA deputy is Mattis’s leading choice to head the spy service if it splits from Cyber Command‘, we need to consider the impact of identity, corporate identity, governmental identity, military identity, projected and presented identity. They are not the same and can vary to a much larger degree. When someone is part of what used to be referred to ‘No Such Agency‘. We will get the impact of identity; we all know that and many faced it too. Look at any friend or co-worker you have ever known and ask him/her about the impact of a merger and they will tell you, there are changes. Some are subtly, some are not noticed, yet others are, usually in infrastructure and the way things were done. Now the change tends to be for the good in the long run but that is not a given.

So what gives?

It is my personal observation and a highly speculative one at that. Yet I believe that the Washington Post giving us: “The current head of both organizations, Gen. Paul Nakasone, has urged Mattis to keep the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command under one leader on the grounds that the nine-year-old military organization is not ready to stand on its own, these people said. In recent weeks, Mattis was close to a decision to separate the leadership arrangement, but Nakasone’s counsel has caused him to reconsider, according to two U.S. officials. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations“, is not entirely accurate. I believe that ‘military organization is not ready to stand on its own‘ is not the setting that matter. I believe that Stratfor who gives us ‘A New, More Aggressive U.S. Cybersecurity Policy Complements Traditional Methods‘ is very much at the heart of that. I believe that the general is not ready or perhaps unwilling to set the offensive and aggressive part in motion. Now, this is no bad reflection on the general, let that be a first. He is well decorated, he has seen the field in many ways and he has done a fair share of field events. He has earned his rank. I merely wonder that a man who has seemingly played a defence and protection game is the man for the offense. I think that this is a football moment, and as a non-football expert (and a 49ers fan) I would compare the General to DeMarcus Lawrence from the Dallas Cowboys against what the US seems to demand is a Derrick Henry (Tennessee Titans), or even a Tom Brady (New England Patriots), roles that are not really moveable. Even as a Quarterback might become a really good Derick Henry that Quarterback will never become a DeMarcus Lawrence. The defence and offense game is that far apart. This is where Chris Inglis comes in. He is an analyst (at heart), he is used to counter offensive strategies and introduce strategies of his own (effective one’s mind you). I believe that this is the game that is in the open at present and these two will need to find a way to make it work. Not merely because it is good for the needed strategy, but because the segregation of the two elements might hurt U.S. Cyber Command in a few ways, not merely funding, but the elements that U.S. Cyber Command currently have access to will partially fall away and getting two infrastructures like the NSA is unyielding, unaffordable and in the end will introduce flaws and dangers on both sides of the isle making the setting (as I personally see it) a non-option right of the bat. Stratfor gives us a few other items.

One of them is “A best-case scenario for a U.S. cyberattack would be disabling computer systems and networks being used against U.S. interests to prevent an attack from happening or to disrupt an attack that is in progress“. The problem there is that some of the opponents are getting to be really good at what they do and a few of them are not state driven, not by any state changing the dynamics of the solution. Even as I discussed the hop+1 strategy almost three years ago, settings like that require an expert layer one knowledge and the players cannot both have these experts changing the needs of the infrastructure overnight.

The second consideration is: “Perhaps the main challenge to U.S. engagement in tit-for-tat cyberattacks is that the United States is by far the biggest target for such attacks“. That might be true but that goes beyond mere true enemies, it includes a truckload of students wanting to finger the man (or is that giving them the bird)? Do they really want to waste resources to those people whilst the US has actual enemies in the world?

The larger issue is seen with: “Discussing the strategy, national security adviser John Bolton hinted that the administration had already taken steps to bolster offensive efforts in recent weeks, warning that the United States is no longer just playing defense when it comes to cybersecurity. But despite the Trump administration’s more hawkish tone regarding cybersecurity, it will continue mainly to rely on traditional measures such as the legal process, regulations and cooperation with the private sector when it comes to cybersecurity” It is here when we get the consideration of the resources required. The defence, offense and legal sides of it all becomes a real mess if the two split up giving the chance that targets and issues walk away on technicalities. How does that help?

The strategy s even more profound when we consider “Clandestine, discreet attacks are certainly already key elements of U.S. cyber tactics. There have likely been more examples of U.S.-launched attacks that have not come to light, perhaps because they were never recognized as cyberattacks. While the less known about U.S. cyber capabilities, the more effective they will be when deployed, this by definition limits the deterrence value of U.S. cyber capabilities“, at this point is the setting of ‘discreet’ that comes into play. With the two separated they will get into each other’s fare waters and more important give accidental light to the discreet part of the operation, there will be no avoiding it, only the most delusional person would think that it does not get out when more than one player is involved, because that will always introduce a third item being the intermediary, the cold war taught many players that part of the equation. And that is even before we get to the statement: “recent cases like the September indictment of North Korean cyber operatives, which displayed heavy FBI reliance on private security firms such as Mandiant and Alphabet to collect technical evidence and carry out investigations“, now we see the folly as Mandiant and Alphabet are mentioned, the entire matter grows further as soon as Constellis becomes part of the equation. That is beside the point of realising (highly speculative on my side) that neither three Mandiant, Alphabet and Constellis have the required safe servers in place to prevent names, places and facts from going out into the open. I might not be able to get in, but there are dozens who will get in and that voids the security of the matter to a much larger degree. For arguments sake I will leave Booz Allan Hamilton out of that equation, they have been snowed on long enough.

And even as we see the instance of legal preference, the US must realise that any attack from state or non-state parties in China or Russia has close to 0% of being successful (outside of the exposure part), the entire matter in case of the OPCW in the Netherlands is one. An attack was thwarted, yet was it THE attack? The guardian article (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/04/visual-guide-how-dutch-intelligence-thwarted-a-russian-hacking-operation) reads nice, and we see all these facts and from my point of view, things do not add up. You see, I would have used the car that we see mentioned “In the boot of their car was uncovered an arsenal of specialist electronic Wi-Fi hacking equipment” as a fire and forget consumable, use it as an access point, segregating the hacker from the accessing unit. When you have (as they stated) “cash: €20,000 and $20,000” getting a second car far enough to access yet not be directly linked is seemingly easy enough. Then there is the setting of the photo at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. I am not debating the issue of the photo, it seems genuine enough. In this operation they did not fly to Germany and took the train, or take a car and cross at Oldenzaal, Emerich, or even via Belgium and enter via Antwerp, or Eindhoven. It almost read like they wanted to get noticed. They know that Amsterdam Airport is high tech and nothing escapes their camera eyes. To me (a paranoid me) it comes across as ‘Where did they not want us to look‘. A mere sleight of hand deception, and again the entire GRU mention. A phone outside of that building and they had the taxi receipt? No one merely driving them to the airport in Russia or even them taking a bus from any hotel in Moscow. No a taxi receipt of all things, is anyone buying that? So in this it is not the Dutch, it is the Russian side that makes no sense at all.

How did I get there?

This is the initial setting of offense and defence. The proper application of strategy in all this matters, because we seem to undervalue and underestimate the need of either in all this. Because we get to push a button anywhere and anytime we seem to underestimate on what is recorded, what is collected and what can we verify. That entire mistake is how any offensive strategy can optionally become folly from the moment the instigation of ‘press any key‘ to start gets us. Proper offensive is not about doing what needs to be done, it is about being able to prove who did what. Perhaps Sony remembers that part as they were given that it was North Korea did something, whilst their computers were not even close to PC gaming ready, the mere processor, which was about 25% (at best) of a 1994 Silicon Graphics Indigo system is not the system that gives you what you need to hack the night away. The tools are equally as important as the access and ability to negate identity. When you see that part, the entire hop+1 intrusion path makes a lot more sense.

This now gets us to the end of the Washington Post, where we were treated to: ““As the build of the cyber mission force wraps up, we’re quickly shifting gears from force generation to sustainable readiness,” Nakasone said in a statement in May. “We must ensure we have the platforms, capabilities and authorities ready and available” to carry out successful cyber-offensives. Some former senior intelligence and defense officials oppose separating the “dual-hat” leadership arrangement, including former NSA Director Keith Alexander, former Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. This week, former CIA Director David Petraeus, a retired Army general, said during a Washington Post cyber summit that he’d keep the dual-hat arrangement “for the time being.”” It is not merely the ‘we have the platforms, capabilities and authorities ready and available‘, you see, when we get to capabilities we see the need of offensive players and even as Cyber command might be aces in their field, the offensive game differs to some degree and even as we see that they are way above the student levels, we get back to the Football equivalent you see the application of defence and offense. It is not DeMarcus Lawrence versus Derrick Henry, the question becomes can DeMarcus Lawrence be a Derrick Henry that is good enough, that is the battle within. The mere realisation that if you fail this when the offensive is broken into a train wreck that makes the limelight in every paper, that is the game that is the dilemma that Gen. Paul Nakasone faces as I personally see it.

And when we see Stratfor with the one little gem we did not consider, the mere proposed fact that North Korea has a mere 9,000 IP Addresses, do you really think that they could have done this all, or are we in a setting where someone had the ability to act on BGP hijacking and was able to mask it to the level it needed to be masked at, because that was the offensive play that needed to be considered and there was no way that the evidence had been uncovered to that degree with a backdoor could be removed with a simple reset of routers.

#FourtyNinersRule

 

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Warring consoles

There are a few wars to look at, but the setting for the consoles is one that is shifty as hell. I have been outspoken against a certain brand whose name starts with ‘M‘ and ends with ‘icrosoft‘ for a few reasons, but that is not what it is about. It starts with the Sato. A writer for Siliconera giving us the sales of consoles for last week. The systems that matter for the week of 10th to the 16th of September in this are Nintendo Switch that sold 38,738 consoles, down from 43,513 last week. The PS4 12,057 down from 12,281 last week, the Xbox One 58, up from 19 last week, the PS4 pro 4,959 down from 7,442 and the Xbox One X 159 up from 30 last week (Japanese sales numbers). So we can go with the fact that Microsoft is the only one on the rise. We can go with the optional truth that Microsoft consoles (plural) merely represent 0.5% of the Nintendo Switch sales. I did not even consider News Nintendo DS systems in all this, the number would become laughingly small (and blow away whenever you open a window), if it has not done that already. Microsoft Xbox One systems are a mere 3% of the PlayStation 4 systems and that is not a good thing either (for Microsoft that is). Yet we must also acknowledge that Nintendo is a force of nature at present. You see, at present the Nintendo Switch might merely be at 45% of all the PS4 systems sold (normal and Pro), the fact that they did this in under 2 years is an amazing achievement and there is no stopping Nintendo. I expect that they will break additional records at both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year (as well as the Saint Nicholas festivities in one or two places).

It goes even further when we see the Nintendo games exploding on the screens when it comes to the revenue. This year alone, the revenue for Nintendo went up by a cool 100% to a net value of almost 10 billion dollars, that is a massive achievement in gaming and their growth is still enduring. With online play being free and Fortnite still on the rise and with 30 titles still arriving before the end of the year. It seems to me that Nintendo figured something out and Microsoft is paying a high price for the wisdom gained (Sony gets hurt too but much less).

So whilst Xbox UK is still hiding behind what I would clearly define as ‘deceptive conduct’, they might think that it is ‘innovative thinking’ we are merely confronted with a once growing game maker that is now becoming obsolete in its thinking.

So why deceptive conduct?

You see, the people were confronted with a tweet a mere three days ago. The tweet: “Play 500+ Classic Xbox & Xbox 360 titles on your Xbox One today… totally for free“, yet when we read down the tweets, we see the hitch. We see: “If you already own them – no need to buy again! Just download or put the disc in, and away you go“, news that is 2 years old and we are still confronted with a digital department that just does not get it. They did not tell us “We have upgraded our backwards compatibility program to 500+ games“, no that would be too honest. No we get: “Play 500+ Classic Xbox & Xbox 360 titles on your Xbox One today… totally for free“, it is not merely deceptive conduct, it is what I would personally call an open blatant lie. You see: “totally for free” would have been the setting if pre-owning the game was not a requirement, so some purchase was required, giving the setting one that is a an outright lie, as I personally see it.

Getting back to the sales I mentioned earlier, we need to realise that this is not global. The numbers come from merely a Japanese source, sales in Japan. Yet the setting is still clear (to some degree), Nintendo is here to stay and it is growing its influence on a global scale and when we see the mere achievement of 58 Xbox One systems over a week in a nation that is around 130 million people, whilst some sources give us that 50% of them are into gaming. We do not have a comprehensive data file that gives us a more complete picture. Yet we see that there are around 700 million online gamers, which is well over 40% of the online population, when you consider that, we see that the numbers and the setting is massively important. Venturebeat gave us in the past that spend per person is Japan (#1) with $120 per person, the US (#3) with $62 the UK and Australia in 4th and 5th, whilst they are on equal footing with $62 and $55 per person. So at that point do you still think that all this misrepresented loot box mess is merely about gambling? So when we were given: ‘Australian Senate inquiry extended after study calls loot boxes ‘psychologically akin to gambling’‘ merely three days ago as well as both “The Australian Senate inquiry into micro-transactions is taking into consideration a large-scale study that claims “loot boxes” are psychologically akin to gambling“, as well as “The paper is the result of a paid online survey among 7422 gamers. Curiously, over 6000 responses to the survey were discarded because the answers were either not serious or incomplete“, which is interesting because I never saw that link in any place and I have been a gamer since 1984, long before the word ‘gamer’ was cool. The article is actually good and gives us one part that I can stand behind: “recommends adjustments to the current game classification system advising “parental advisories for games that feature loot boxes” as well as “a descriptor outlining that the game itself features gambling content”“. I would be willing to take it one step further. I would demand that there are two additional parts. The first is that there needs to a clear path where we can earn loot boxes for free (not unlike the Mass Effect 3 setting), in addition we need to see a clear sticker on the front of the box stating that ‘no loot boxes are required to play or complete the game‘ Several games have clearly stated that in the past, yet adding this on the front of the cover is not the worst idea.

I still disagree that it is gambling, yet having a clear mention that loot boxes are set to chance and optionally the chances of getting a certain rarity is not the worst idea either. And in all this, the console war is now setting to a much larger stage, even as they all (partially correctly) point their finger at EA Games. Ubisoft has unlockable content (at a price as well, yet they ALWAYS clearly stated ‘this item can be unlocked through regular gameplay‘ as well. So it is not immoral that they offer it as an initial unlock for $5, it merely shows us that that person is not really a gamer, merely a player.

In this there is more to Ubisoft; it is clearly seen in their Assassins Creed games. Going back to Assassins Creed 2, they had the Ubiclub. You can buy things there. Unlocking premiums and extra’s (skins, backgrounds, outfits and weapons), to buy them you play the games and when you get to a stage, like completing a set of conditions, making it to a certain point in the game you get points, these points re kept in you profile and you can unlock them for any Ubisoft game you have, giving you more and more by merely playing. It opens up the need to complete, the drive to achieve and the option to get cool things. Here I clearly state: ‘Well done Ubisoft!‘ and this is still an ongoing stage with badges and cool stuff with every additional game that they release. So as I state that loot boxes are not gambling, I am for the most not against the setting: ‘Study urges games with Loot Boxes to be Restricted to Players old enough to Gamble‘, which is not the same. The question is not merely on how to check it; the issue will soon be that abuse is harder to check. Even if they cannot be merely bought online, even when the loot box cash needs to be bought in the store, we will see the irresponsible act of the parent giving in to ‘junior’ buying more and more loot boxes. It is important to raise the issue as more and more consoles are confronted with games that depend on loot boxes, and that is not nearly the beginning. We see part of this in Eurogamer (at https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2018-07-23-fifa-player-uses-gdpr-to-find-out-everything-ea-has-on-him-realises-hes-spent-over-usd10-000-in-two-years-on-ultimate-team), when we are given “Michael was sent a data dump by EA via two PDF files each over 100 pages long. This amounted to a huge number of files, which include engagement data, FIFA 18 stats, device information and more than 10 audio files (these are recordings of his calls to EA support). It also included details of every player Michael bought and sold over the past two years in FUT“, so beyond the setting of “EA also provided data relating to how much real world money (in dollars) Michael had spent on FIFA Points, and he told Eurogamer he was “gobsmacked” to discover he’d spent over $10,000 in just two years“. Apart from the fact that you are losing your screws, the mere fact that you are not aware wasting cash to such a degree is one part, yet in this, the part that everyone ignores is “30 days later, Michael was sent a data dump by EA via two PDF files each over 100 pages long. This amounted to a huge number of files, which include engagement data“. I never played FIFA, yet when Microsoft remained in denial that 5 GB in 10 days was uploaded without my consent or knowledge into the Azure cloud, they merely pointed at the internet provider and stated that this is their responsibility (whilst I had not played any multiplayer games), and now we see what EA collects, in all this, the collected data is not an issue in any of this?

And the console wars are not done, not by a close margin. This goes beyond which system is popular, with system has loot boxes. This is about data and with all these systems being online and optionally ending up collecting personal data, there is a larger for not merely gamers and players. It is about classifying people and the setting of how bankable have we become? We saw this a few months ago with ‘Esports streamers and gamers are among the most bankable influencers, pitching to a new generation of consumers that don’t track traditional‘, it is about finding money people, those who propel the brand and when we realise that we seem to have a few additional problems and the fact that no attention is given to that part in the equation is equally a problem.

 

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Upping the game

Today started with a nice revelation, Microsoft has taken the sales offensive. Even as we were treated to ”Bethesda’s online action role-playing game “Fallout 76” won’t be available on Valve’s Steam platform during beta or when it launches on November“, the story changes when we look at the PC games in the Microsoft store we see: “Pre-order to get access to the Fallout 76 B.E.T.A.“, so it seems that Microsoft is setting the bar really high, in addition for that part the game is equally available on launch day for those who have the Microsoft Game Pass. The Game Pass is $11 a month solution (in Australia); you get no option to buy the pass for a year (as far as I could tell), which is a drag, and you better have the download options (not to mention the storage) before you commit to it, but there is no denying that it is a deal that is way too good to be true. Microsoft even offers a 14 day free trial, which implies that the games are only available to play as long as you are a member (this is speculation!), not unlike the PS Plus setting. The pass has XB1 and Xb360 backward compatible games and it is a HUGE list. It includes a list of the upcoming top games to be released this year makes the Game Pass an essential choice. The Pass at roughly $130 for a year) will include well over $600 of AAA+ top games, yet to be released in 2018. So apart from the download hassle the pass represents hundreds of dollars of saving in this year alone. I personally believe that they messed up some of the visibility and marketing, but that was their choice. The smaller issue is the backward thinking cap of the US, for people outside of the US (Australia for example) games (when bought outright) are roughly 28% more expensive (and that is after I corrected for the exchange rate). There are also ‘shadows’ here. I do not believe it to be, but there are. For example one source gave me “These eleven Xbox Game Pass games are “leaving soon”“, I cannot tell whether they will also be removed if you have added them to your library (so check this when you decide), the second shadow needs to be mentioned as the quote was: “Personally, paying for the Xbox Game Pass program and Xbox Live Gold is quite a monthly cost“, which is ABSOLUTELY BOGUS! The Xbox Live is a service subscription to play multiplayer, so if the Game Pass title has that, then yes, you will need Xbox Live as you always would have needed it. For the simple player part it is not needed, just as the setting is today. In addition ‘quite a monthly cost‘, is silly to say the least, even on a budget, the setting is that you have Xbox live $80 and Game Pass $130, gives us full and complete access to $12,000 worth of games for $210 a year, anyone debating whether that is expensive needs to get their heads examined. Now, there is no way that you will like all games that would be silly. Yet the setting now allows for you to try games at $0 that you would never have bought in the first place, a setting where you can grow the games dimension that you are in. I believe that to be a really great setting. The part not mentioned is of course the downloading time and subscription fees of the internet, even as those prices have been going down, or better stated giving you more download at the same price, it is a cost you need to consider, yet at the setting where you get access to $12,000 in games, which represents more than I have ever bought in a lifetime across the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One together is an astounding part you must remember. If only Microsoft had thought that hard drive issue through in 2012, things would be even better for them. I still see that as the one Achilles heel in all this, yet with the rumoured new Console (Project Scarlett) announced for 2020, we do know that Game Pass is a long term setting of gaming for Microsoft and whatever sets the console will be optimised for the billions that Game Pass will bring in. In all this we might ramble too early on the storage issue, but it is an issue Microsoft knowingly and willingly ignored and in all this ‘the most powerful console in the world‘ is impacted through it. In addition, I have had the longest issue with Microsoft marketing (for various reasons, so as Microsoft states in Windows Central: “Xbox Scarlett hardware will ‘set the benchmark’“, I tend to get nervous, you see, they have no idea (well some idea) on how gaming evolves, yet in the end, we will not know what will be available by 2022, so at that point any console will be merely on par, 14 months after it is bought. I moved to console gaming as the update for a PC in 2002 went overboard. Processor and graphic card showed that you would need $2500-$3000 to be up to date for high end gaming and that got you roughly 24 months at best. So gaming with the additional $200 a month, as well as updating drivers, patching and whatever else needed made me move more and more towards consoles and the Xbox 360 delivered perfectly for almost 8 years (at $700), so the cost of living was set to the games bought not to the additional cost of upgrading the hardware to play games. An awesome setting, Yes there was the one off for the hard drive (from 20 to 120 gigabyte, at $119 at that time), but it was well spend. In the end I bought 2 Xbox 360’s, the second one was essential as I got another red rings of death 75 hours before the release of Fallout New Vegas, so I went: “Eff That!” and got the one with the 250 GB drive and it still works, so apart from a high blood pressure event once, the Xbox 360 was a golden choice for any gamer. I also had the PS3, which had the option to upgrade the drive as the PS4 had, so in all this the entire hard drive issue was out there for 12 years, ignoring that part (as well as always online bullying) angers me, because there was never any need, for none of it.

Why does it matter?

It is a level of orchestration, pushing people into a direction before they are ready (and perhaps they never will be). In this Cambridge Analytica is a larger hurdle then anyone imagined and the gamers are sketchy under the most stable conditions. Hackers, phishers, cheaters and trolls are always around the corner and it is best seen when you investigate ‘League of Legends’, I never played the game, but the amount of messages giving way that the victims of bullying and trolls are worse off than the perpetrators is why there should be an online ‘off’ switch. It is essential because the resources needed are allegedly not used correctly (debatable if that would have been possible), and the systems do not have the settings to protect players. The option to just play offline for a while is perhaps the only pressure valve that works (not on all games though), so when we look at MailGuard and we get it in regards to Office 365 (just one day old): “The cunning thing about this phishing scam is that once the victim has entered their username and password, the fake login page redirects them to a genuine Microsoft website, so they think that nothing is amiss. Meanwhile, the criminals have collected their login credentials and are able to steal their online identity for all kinds of nefarious purposes, like fraud, invoice falsification and malware spamming“, Microsoft needs to realise that they have a larger issue and they cannot fix it (basically no one can). Well it is possible, some of the kids involved have been identified, and by shooting them in the back of the head and leaving a message with the parents to start taking notice of what their kids are doing you get change, although some might find it a bit extreme (an issue that is probably a setting for the eyes of the beholder).

Why the extreme example?

The issue is not merely being online, the issue is that too much is online and even if we wanted to apply Common Cyber Sense all the time, there will be a hiatus and when it comes, it will be at the wrong moment in the wrong place. At present the actual success rate on finding and convicting cyber criminals is less than 2%, it is even less when we realise that not everything gets reported. It is in that atmosphere that game streaming is about to be set to a much larger extent. A setting that is based on mere authentication and not on non-repudiation (uncertain how achievable that is at present). You show me a company that guarantees you 100% safety and I will introduce you to someone who is lying to you. As the gaming industry is a $100 billion plus market, the issue was forever that gaming was low impact (for the most), people had more often than not a physical copy, there were more and more parts that one had to overcome, so for cyber criminals it was not an interesting market. Yet with the upcoming changes to the gaming environment it changes, all is online, all is set on central servers and that is when BlackMailWare and RansomWare will become a much more lucrative business for those targeting gamers. Even when you think it does not happen, what happens when your online account gets scrambled, your passwords changed from the outside and for a mere 0.01 bitcoin you can get it back. Systems like that are already used, some will consider that paying $88 is preferable to waiting and losing scores, statistics and access to files with the logs of hundreds of hours of playing a game. When you see the time some invested on games like Diablo 3, Skyrim, Fallout 4 and now upcoming Fallout 76 you get the optional setting where ransom might be successful. And the setting of ‘always online’ makes the threat to console gamers a lot more realistic. You merely have to google the issues on League of Legends and World of Warcraft to see the impact and it is much larger than some think it is. You think it is simple and an adult thing to live with, yet when Microsoft has to explain that danger 250,000 times to the non-technological mother and father of a 16 year old playing and suddenly losing all access, perhaps being permabanned in the process as well, at that point the game changes quickly.

Having a decent non-repudiation solution in place might limit the damage to a larger extent, but that system does not exist for gamers, mere authentication and even when upgrading the issue is not the 100 that do, it is the 15,000,000 who haven’t. this is part of the setting that Microsoft faces and it is facing it on a daily basis with Microsoft 365, where the users are (for the most) adults, so when we get to the console it becomes a different setting. This is why the console evolution is a little more treacherous. When the gamer has the option to remain offline (when needed) he/she has options, when forced online they fall away. Sony got hacked a few times (at least twice), with millions of accounts and the details in the open, the damage was larger than some expected and I reckon that most avoided damage was because the overwhelming amount of gamers had physical copies of the game. So offline gaming was never impacted, merely the multiplayers losing a few days of access.

Now, with Game Pass that would not be an issue and the optional overall damage of $210 (two subscriptions) are easily tended to, in the worst case scenario you pay for it twice and a few weeks later it is either refunded, or you are all paid up for +1 year.

Now, let’s change the setting that the Business insider gave us one month ago. With ‘A desperate hacker tried selling US military files for $150 — only to find no one wanted them‘ (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/hacker-us-military-drone-files-for-sale-2018-7), this seems hilarious, until you consider the following facts, the first one is “The hacker, who is believed to reside in a poverty-stricken country in South America, said his internet connection was slow and that because his bandwidth was limited, he did not download all the files prior to finding a willing buyer“, so it is in a low yield place, the second one is “The hacker also tapped into live footage of surveillance cameras at the US-Mexico border and NASA bases, and an MQ-1 Predator flying over the Gulf of Mexico“, we still have a sense of humour, live camera watching! Yay! Now we add “the vulnerable computers were taken offline, which inadvertently cut off the hacker’s access to the files“, OK, it happens, sometimes a computer has a missed security patch. Now we add ‘a maintenance manual for the MQ-9A Reaper drone, a list of airmen assigned to a Reaper drone unit, manuals on how to suppress improvised explosive devices‘, is seems harmless, right? Yet when you consider that this was a professional setting where the person had access to “documents belonging to a US Air Force service member stationed at the Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, and documents belonging to another service member believed to be in the US Army“, we see the setting where Military security was circumvented, from a close to powerless place into Military hardware. so when we are confronted with “enough knowledge to realise the potential of a very simple vulnerability and use it consistently“, we see the first part, the second part was given with “The Netgear router vulnerability, which dates back to 2016, allowed hackers to access private files remotely if a user’s password is outdated. Despite several firmware updates and countless news articles on the subject, thousands of routers remain vulnerable“, this is a setting involving adults (one would hope), they cannot get their heads right and you are submitting teenagers and gamers (in a non-professional setting) to those exploitations. Microsoft can market all it can, and to some extent they can fix some parts, but the ‘always online‘ will still be out there and that is where the damage gets to the people.

The prosecution fail rate makes it cool and interesting to go after gamers and the many hours of having to download games will at some point present an opening for hackers, that market is growing and it will hit gamers, there is close to 0% avoiding that.

The question becomes, how ready will Microsoft be? How much resources will be impacted on their customer care and customer service when it hits? The Xbox 360 gave them the red rings of death issue (which went it happened to me was fixed awesomely, it merely took 3-4 weeks), which is acceptable as a new console was shipped to me. The setting when it is in cyberspace, the game changes as a million accounts could be affected. Some hackers will be creative and resort to a low corruption setting (like the dBase virus), some will merely download and wipe, the fact is that even if it is resolved, it will take time to resolve and that is where gamers lose patience really really fast. My setting to buy another console to fix it is one example (I had the funds when it happened), yet what happens when you are in the middle of a Diablo 3 season, which is time restrained and someone ransoms your access? In current setting the damage is partially avoidable; the new Scarlett setting leaves the partial part up for debate. In addition, as the number of people resorting to that path increases, the interest to mess with that part becomes a lot more interesting to Cyber criminals.

In this we need to look at the other side too, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) gives us “cybercrime is costing the Australian economy up to $1 billion annually in direct costs alone“, when we look global, we see Experian with the quote: “Ransomware attacks, data breaches, theft of intellectual property, sales of counterfeit goods and other illicit activities are generating at least $1.5 trillion in annual revenue“, so globally, when gamers are added to that list of victims, how high will that priority be? Do you think that they get prime time consideration, or will the party line become ‘the best and easiest thing to do is to just start again‘, I was told that by Microsoft when my Xbox one profile got somehow damaged in the first year. Now try the setting with access, invested cash and time and tenfold the amount of open targets. From my personal point of view, when there is an Office 365 impacting against the Xbox Red accounts wiped, how many resources will Microsoft have? I am certain that the business customers get first dibs on whatever they need. Now this last part does not count against Microsoft, it is merely the lesser of two high cost evils, it is reality.

Even as Microsoft is showing that it is upping the game on gaming and consoles, it is also upping to optional damage and hardship to gamers. I say optional, because in the first, we have no idea what that red box will be doing, we have no idea what the settings are for near future gaming (in 16 months) and we do not know how certain changes will actually impact the gaming sphere, but Sony has shown us that the dangers are real.

In the end, we see that Microsoft is upping the game when it comes to gaming, there is no denying it, yet how the future will pan out and whether Microsoft has truly upped the game for gamers is still to be determined. That is not a negative thing, because any expectation for the future is merely speculation, yet the dangers to their gamers will increase by a lot and that part remains the question mark in all this. Some could have been prevented by a lot, but Microsoft is clearly steering into a settings where adherence to ‘always online‘ is the setting they demand, one way or the other. Even if the prison has golden bars, it remains a prison and that part needs to be clear. The fact that gamers do not get the choice in the matter is what matters, not only from the cyber threat side. Congestion is a growing concern on a global scale. Even as Bill Morrow, Chief Executive of NBN Co. was idiotic enough to initially blame gamers for the congestion, the truth is that against 4K Netflix and YouTube, gamers are not even a blip on that radar, yet congestion is a present and growing issue, so there is a problem there too. The system is already under pressure and globally 200 million gamers when a large slice of that pie is set to the streaming and virtual copies of games only come into play, congestion will rear its ugly head and those gamers become more than a mere blip. Consider that Bethesda shipped 12 million units to retailers within the first 24 hours of Fallout 4, and consider that a large chunk of these people will immediately download the game on launch day of Fallout 76. so optionally up to 12 million people all downloading a game that is also stated to be 4K, so we are looking to around 100 GB download, that is merely one game title, it will be in a time when there is plenty to download and even now, as we accept that most are physical copies, the truth is that gaming in that way will add to the congestion in a really big way. Most providers are not ready and it will impact the gamers, Netflix users and Stan (the list goes on for a long time) are merely part of all this traffic. I named Bethesda and they are merely one of many players in all this. Microsoft, Ubisoft, Bethesda, and Electronic Arts; all people pushing (or getting pushed) towards the virtual release only side of things down the track.

Why does this matter now?

One of the big events QuakeCon 2018 starts tomorrow and that will also be the place where more specific information will be given by the actual makers on more than one title by the way. It will be important on how games are moving forward. It is not merely Fallout 76 (one of the biggest titles anticipated) that is in the upper limits of gaming on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation; it would potentially give the direction of where they are going with the Elder Scrolls VI. Merely two Bethesda games that literally has millions of followers, so there is an essential need to take notice of Bethesda for several reasons. This reverts back to Microsoft, because Bethesda games have a huge following on all platforms. It also means that in that setting (set against the rumour that Fallout 76 is online multiplayer only, yet you can play the game alone) any congestion will topple game joy completely. We know that there is enough experience with Elder Scrolls Online, so it is not the setting that Bethesda is going in blind in any of this, but at the same time the gaming dimension is changing at the same time, so that change is impacting in more than one way; that is the push that Microsoft is going for, which is all fine, yet at that that point we will be faced with more outside interference factors and congestion is a real factor, one that players will be confronted with to a much larger degree in the near future.

If Microsoft gets that all right, then it will be picking up momentum in a scary way and at that point the question will be, can Sony match this? I personally love that part, if we see a setting where Sony and Microsoft push each other to new heights is great because in all this, the gamer ALWAYS wins! And over time this push is a realistic one, yet in some places we will optionally see a time where the providers cannot match what the consumers need and that is a new setting for many gamers. In the past we merely accepted what was available, in the new setting you get to play based on what you pay for and that is something we have not been confronted with. Anyone thinking that this will not happen; think again! It might be the selling point for people to switch providers, but there will be a clear setting of borders, borders that set what you can do and that is where we see the overall cost go up, yet to what extent is a clear unknown for now.

 

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