Tag Archives: SPSS

The danger of Colbert and the Press

When we see an interview with General Michael Hayden and Stephen Colbert, it is hard to imagine, but it is actually Stephen Colbert who is endangering the lives of many. Did you realise that? First, the interview (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buI8aO7nRDM) should be watched. It is a brilliant interview. Getting a former CIA and NSA director in view is always a little awesome and the man plays the audience brilliantly. Now, I say ‘play’ and I mean that in the best positive way. He is funny direct and answers the questions clearly. It is Hayden that gets the applause and it was an applause that was well deserved. He debunks conspiracy theorists and cuckoo cases all over America. Then something happens, suddenly Colbert does something dangerous and stupid. At 4:55 he plays the game regarding Smart TV’s spying on you, he plays us all as he is linking this to the CIA. What happened was that on February 6th the FTC fined Vizio $2.2 million for collecting viewing histories without users consent (at https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2017/02/vizio-pay-22-million-ftc-state-new-jersey-settle-charges-it), pretty much the same thing that Microsoft seems to be doing to its Xbox population at present and uploading their data into the Azure cloud (without consent).

This might seem like a nuisance, but it is a lot more than that. Large corporations have run out of spreadable funds and like any other corporations, they now need to optimise. It is almost the same situation that SPSS was selling when it offered companies a product called AnswerTree (back in 1997). Marketing firms had to get a certain quota, let’s say 4%, now to get there you could either throw more money on it, and going from 2% to 4% did not just mean a little over 100% more to get the growth. No, with their product AnswerTree, you could make an inventory of who you mailed and who responded and started to prune the tree of those who responded a lot below quota, so basically, the mailings became more efficient, a more clever path to the people buying and it is all perfectly legal and acceptable. That is what is happening now in new ways and Vizio got caught because it happened in an automated way without any level of consent. So who did not get caught? Because I can tell you right now that the bulk of the people with a smart TV have not considered where this data is being logged.

Now, I am going to ask you a question: ‘If marketing is harassment, is the marketing contact that you purchase from still a harasser?

If we have all the do not call registers, how long until these marketeers use other methods? Free games, free apps and free TV shows, all connected, you just have to agree to advertisements connected to them. It is a mere reward for exposure which is all perfectly valid. In all this the CIA was not a factor or a danger. It is the large corporations that are classifying you, more important, it is the links that they can resell that are a danger to your way of life, which is why at times smart TV’s are sold with 60% discount (speculation from my side).

In 2015 I would never have expected to be able to afford a 55 inch smart TV, it is huge (and I was happy with my 42 inch one) but it broke, I had a decent job, but the surprise that a brand new 100 Hz Sony 55 inch was priced down from $1900 to $800 (very lucky me), which was just ridiculous as the next TV (almost the same as my broken one) was a 40 inch at $699, which was perfectly decently priced for those days. Now, we can hang onto the idea that it was just a crazy sales, which does happen, but to flood the market with something almost twice the size, with much higher specifications at next to the same price as a small B-brand TV is too weird. It is almost like having a Canon 5D at the normal $2500 and offering next to it a Hasselblad X1D-50c at $3000, which would be awesome as these babies go for $13,000. It would be 20Mp versus 50Mp. As a photographer I can tell you that I would kill for a Hasselblad 50 Megapixel camera (and as I know the Evidence Act 1995, I might get away with it).

So, I hope you understand the weirdness of such good deals. And in all this, Sony has the ability to capture this data (I am not accusing them of doing this, I have no evidence of any kind that this is happening), but the threat to our privacy is real. Now you might not think that this is important. Yet consider that this data could be sold, how many hours are you not sporting, how many hours do you watch TV and what do you watch? How long until you suddenly get a 12% spike in health insurance? There is where the difference is! You see, these players are very very interested in that data, minimise their risk and charge extra to anyone that is a risk. In my case it does not matter, my smart TV is connected to my console and my Blu-ray player, so there is no ‘smart’ data to capture. What is important for these sales people that the 0.5% of the group that I represent is not the issue, their value is the 80%+ that does connect their TV for Netflix and other reasons, that is where their value is and it is potentially bringing in millions, so the 60% discount is a joke to them. That is the part Colbert smoothly walked over whilst he joked about the CIA and the press at large stayed away from that FTC ruling, so there is one of the dangers.

The other danger is organised crime. How long until people realise that being away from home means no TV? That means that the smart TV logs are not showing movement. How long until the criminals can connect smart TV usage and social media action into, which house is empty? Oh and as you advertise on Facebook that you are on Cuba, how long until you realise that you gave away the info that your house is unprotected? More important the quote “Oversharing on social media could not only leave you open to burglary but it could also invalidate your home insurance policy” is not a joke, this quote was given 2 years ago. Justice Gibson of the District Court of New South Wales raised the issue as early as 2014, the courts are not ready for this and for the most, they are only dealing with the fallout that Contract Law is giving them, more precisely the contracts that Insurance agencies have been working on. With currently well over 80% of Australians on social media (which is actually low compared to Scandinavian nations), the consideration of implementing certain risks is an essential need for any insurance agent. Yet, at what point can usage of social media be seen as evidence towards negligence? Mobile phones tells us where we are, smartphones tell everyone what we do (through our usage), and Smart TV’s give us what we watch, out interests and our activities, or lack thereof. At what point is any of this evidence to act, to surcharge to act as a penalty or as an option to nullify the security of insurance?

That is the part not considered and it gets even worse!

This is seen in the news that is hitting us now through what is marketed as Vault 7. CNN Money (at http://money.cnn.com/2017/03/09/technology/cia-smart-tv-wikileaks-public-hacks/) gives us the news on how the CIA is spying, although they do also mention “security researchers say the methods imitate exploits that were discovered — and made public years ago“, So when I see “Samsung warned users about exactly this type of susceptibility in 2015. The company told CNNTech this week that it is ‘urgently looking into the matter.’“, my question becomes: ‘How much data did you collect?‘, so as the warning is 2 years old, apart from making batteries explode, did you do anything to stop this threat? And as we see Dan Trentler, CEO of the Phobos Group security firm state: ‘That appears to be the same exploit he witnessed in action onstage at a security conference in 2013, he said‘, can we give accusation that there is nothing innocent going on and the level of negligence shown in one article spanning 3 years of events, that is enough to warrant a much larger investigation into privacy invasion by large corporations?

 

It is not about just consent, they are mining our choices and leaving us with less. You might not consider this or comprehend this, but it is an optimised way of American business. I have to explain this.

I was confronted with a larger group of board members of a large firm. As an ‘upper’ grunt I had two distinct jobs. One give the best service to my clients and protect them as much as possible from any negative event, which is what any good Technical consultant does. And I had to be faithful and supportive to my bosses, which is what a loyal employee does. Now consider the meeting where we get the premise: ‘What if you cannot service your client 100%, but only 80%, would that be acceptable?

Now, the danger here is that my answer would be a solid ‘No!’ A danger from the corporation side when we consider the introduction of service level agreements, the introduction that the client was unwilling to pay for the service given. How do you take a stand (driven by wisdom) at that point?

This is where you the consumer are at, but it comes from another direction. Places like Samsung, Sony, Microsoft, HP, IBM and Apple are all in the optimisation phase, because the economy is still not great and most of us would only be able to afford one of these devices, perhaps a second one for Christmas if we are lucky. So as we can get 2 out of 5, so how do corporations go about getting the largest share you can? Now we get to the AnswerTree part, you become smarter in how you get to your audience to choose you, not merely marketing but marketing to the most likely buying population. The question then becomes what options you have at your disposal. Do you sacrifice one device so you get an option to see 2 more options for alternative sale and get the contribution needed? The reasons is that in this day and age, it is not about revenue, when you are a listed company, when you have stakeholders, it will be about contribution (revenue minus costs), if you fail that, no great bonus, no mistress, no fast car and in the end no job.

So here we see the rundown on how Stephen Colbert became a danger to you, he made it into a CIA joke, whilst the bitter and solemn truth is that the real danger is the invitation you readily give out to all manner of freebie givers, only to learn the hard way that they get back what they gave out in tenfold, just by collecting your inactions and sell it to whomever can transform that into personal profit. So whilst some people are falling asleep reading (at http://searchhealthit.techtarget.com/essentialguide/Providers-adjusting-to-greater-use-of-social-media-in-healthcare) how social media is interacting in health care, consider what an insurer would give to know that you visited a free clinic for the third time this quarter. It might not cost them anything, but it will set a flag to raise premiums the next year. Did you consider that? And as we shrug at seeing “Social media analysis done with natural language processing has given care facilities a more efficient way to get patient feedback“, many will ignore, just like the previous example on raising premiums. Even as you consider a visit for planned parenthood to be perfectly natural and normal (which it is), but when the insurer realises that you will be needing to visit an OBGYN in the near future, you better realise that you are lucky if your premium rises with only 5%. That is the way business is done and the initial ‘risk’ numbers to which you were held at premium are 10 years old and you fall in a much higher group. Only the super healthy teenager who does not get sick gets the low increase, that whilst he was actually a 0% risk. How fair is that and why is the media not all over that on a daily basis?

The CIA was never worthy to be mentioned in this regard, for 99% of the Americans they are nothing as these 99% of Americans were harmless so the CIA never cared to begin with and that is the group Colbert was aiming for which is odd in one way and on the other hand, we do get that he is a comedian who is trying to entertain 100% of his clients, those who tune in on his version of humour. He cannot be faulted for that, the press at large however can be faulted and they should but they stay away from it for other reasons. Mainly because they want a slice of the Samsung $700 million advertisement budget (that is for the USA alone), Microsoft and Sony are in similar predicaments, which is why certain events will not make the front cover any day soon. The reason of data collection being the most obvious one, but at times it can be trivialised as they are only gamers, or it is only a console and consent is overrated. I’ll let you be the judge of what matters and what not, just remember, when you are no longer within the 80% of the group they cater for and you already bought the device, where will your rights be, or your service provider? Perhaps you get the same answer Microsoft gave me: ‘we have no control over uploads, that is all with your internet provider!‘ Interesting how my consent was manoeuvred around in all of this.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

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

The Dangerous Zuckerberg Classification

Even as Microsoft seems to be quiet and in denial of what is uploaded without consent, we have a second issue that is floating to the surface of our life. Now, first of all, this link is not what we should consider a news site. What came from Forward.com is also known as The Jewish Daily Forward, published by Samuel Norich and has Jane Eisner as the editor. Its origins goes back to 1897, so it has been around for a while. They are not some new wannabe-on-the-block. It is an American newspaper published in New York City for a Jewish-American audience, and there are plenty of those around, so this is a valid niche publication. Yet no more than a day ago, it did something dangerous, perhaps unintentional and perhaps it is a sign of the times, but it remains a dangerous path to take.

This path all started when Mark Zuckerberg had an idea. He created this place called Facebook, you might have heard of it. Within there we get to ‘like’ things. Now, we can do this to complement the poster, we can do this because the subject interests us, or when we use the machine correctly, Facebook would send us more stuff from topics that we like. This already shows three different approaches to ‘like’ and when Forward starts the article with: “Canadian Mosque Shooter Suspect ‘Liked’ Israel Defense Forces, Marine LePen“, it basically shot itself in the foot.

This is part of the problems we are all facing, because the world is changing and it has shifted the values that we have given words over time and shifted them into concepts of what it might be. We see the same shift in the Business Intelligence industry as tools like SPSS (read: IBM Statistics) are no longer used to get the significant statistics needed and the ‘sellers’ of the story that the client wants told rely on tools like Q Software to tell the story that matches the need. The problem is that this story reflects what is offered and from that there is more than one identifier (weight being one) that the reflection is less accurate and often warped to fit the need of the receiver of these data files. Meaning that the actual meaning unlikely to be there, making a correct assessment not possible and any action based upon it, without scrutiny will come at a hefty price for the decision makers down the track.

So when we see “Canadian Mosque Shooter Suspect ‘Liked’ Israel Defense Forces, Marine LePen” we need to be cautious at best, at worst we are being told a fair bit of rubbish! Now we also get “Authorities claim that Alexander Bissonnette, a student at the city’s Laval University, perpetrated the attack, calling in from a bridge near the mosque to report himself“, which could be very true, but it also averts the first signs we see of ‘Lone Wolf‘, because a real lone wolf will go into the night if he or she is lucky without a trace and plans his/her next attack. This one attack person seems to be seeking the limelight as I personally see it. For what reason is at present unknown. Perhaps it is about fame, perhaps the evidence will find evidence of mental health issues. Time and the proper people will need to assess this. We see this in the picture of a tweet by @Rita_Katz when she states ‘making Jihadi ties unlikely‘, which could be true, however I got there via another route. What is interesting is that when we look at the Toronto Star we see “Rosalie Bussieres, 23, lives across the street. She told the Star her older brother was in school with Bissonnette. He was “very solitary” and “very antisocial,” said Bussieres. Bissonnette studied at the Université Laval, according to a statement released by the university late Monday. He was a student in the department of political science and anthropology, according to Jean-Claude Dufour, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences

This is interesting as those in political science tend to be decently social minded, so there is a lot more under the water than we think there is and the fact that Forward only gave us the likes, means that there is a part that they either ignored or overlooked. You see, what else did his Facebook account have to say?

The Toronto Star gives us a lot more “He was on both the Sainte-Foy and Université Laval chess club“, with Forward we got more on Rita Katz. “Rita Katz is the Executive Director and founder of the SITE Intelligence Group” is one, and the next part is the one we should consider: “the world’s leading non-governmental counterterrorism organization“, as well as “Ms. Katz has tracked and analyzed global terrorism and jihadi networks for nearly two decades, and is well-recognized as one of the most knowledgeable and reliable experts in the field“. Which makes me wonder why it is the Toronto Star who gives us the part I did not initially showed “with his twin brother, said Université Laval professor Jean Sévigny, who said he knew Bissonnette and his brother through the club“. So how come The Forward didn’t have the goods on that?

Yet they did give us “François Deschamps, member of Quebec’s Refugee Welcome Committee, told the La Presse newspaper that he recognized Bissonette because the man had often left hateful comments on the group’s page. “I flipped when I saw him,” he said. “We observe much of what the extreme right says and does. He’s made statements of that sort on our Facebook page. He also attacked women’s rights,” Deschamps recalled“. The full story is at http://forward.com/news/361614/canadian-mosque-shooter-suspect-liked-israel-defense-forces-marine-lepen/

So as we are invited to judge on likes, I see a hole of intelligence. How many friends? How many clubs? Was he linked to Chess groups? Was he linked to his Twin Brother, and was his twin brother on Facebook? There is no one mentioning whether the twin brother was reached and what he had to say (if he had been willing to talk), which he might not be willing to do and that is perfectly understandable. It is just such a weird experience to see a total lack of effort in that regard (especially by the press).

Forward is telling its readers a story, yet the Toronto Star (at https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/01/30/six-dead-two-arrested-after-shooting-at-quebec-city-mosque.html) seems to offer a lot more. In that view ABC news in Australia blunders (as I personally see it) even more when we see (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-31/quebec-city-mosque-shooting-lone-wolf-attack-student-charged/8225294), ‘Police charge ‘lone wolf’ student suspected of terrorist attack‘, so what evidence is there? What is the definition of a Lone Wolf? Perhaps we need to agree on the shifting sands and make sure it is sand and not quicksand. They both might contain the same 4 letters, but the experience will be mind-bogglingly different.

So as we now see that the US is using this attack to justify its actions, we need to take heed on the dangers we invite. The first is like the attack in Sydney, Australia at Martin Place, on December 15-16 2014. We again see a link to extremism that is incorrect and misleading. Yes, the act was extreme, but we have seen for decades on how mental health patients are very able to act in extreme ways. You only need to see the footage from Paris attacks to see how actions in places like Nairobi and Paris to clearly see that they are different from events in places like Martin Place and perhaps the Quebec Mosque.

We can argue on how correct the FBI setting is, yet it is an important one! “Terrorism is the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives“. So what were the social and political objectives of Alexander Bissonnette?

There is a lot we don’t know and won’t know. Yet at present Forward is presenting the dangers that social media rely on, they rely on quick and classifiable actions and label them in the most general way possible. The dangers that we see in the Zuckerberg classification is that it relies on the quick acceptance of the ‘audience’ yet in the same way the danger is that the ‘like’ itself becomes a problem. You see, too many elements are about specifics and as we see less and less, we see that people in general will start to rely on an aggregation of ‘reportable elements’, not even on an aggregation of facts.

Heavy.com, another place that is not really a news site gives us a whole range of additional ‘facts’. They refer to Reuters, who reported (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-canada-mosque-shooting-idUSKBN15E04S), where we get “Initially, the mosque president said five people were killed and a witness said up to three gunmen had fired on about 40 people inside the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre. Police said only two people were involved in the attack“, in that part the Lone Wolf no longer applies and it is either ‘lone Wolves’ or something else. Forward however gave us “Police investigating the shooting at a Quebec mosque that killed six have narrowed down their list of suspects to one man” Yet 5 hours after the initial message Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-canada-mosque-shooting-toll-idUSKBN15E0F6) gives us “Police declined to discuss possible motives for the shooting at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec. They consider this a lone wolf situation,” a Canadian source familiar with the situation said“, which is a statement that should be under some scrutiny to say the least.

All this links to an event one year ago, which was covered in the Tech Times, where we see ‘Sheryl Sandberg Sees Facebook Likes As Powerful Weapon Against ISIS, Other Extremists‘ with the quote “Rather than scream and protest, they got 100,000 people to Like the page, who did not Like the page and put messages of tolerance on the page, so when you got to the page, it changed the content and what was a page filled with hatred and intolerance was then tolerance and messages of hope“. This is now a linked issue. You see the part ‘they got 100,000 people to Like the page, who did not Like the page‘, this implies that data was intervened with, so if that is happening, how reliable was the ‘like’ part in Forward.com?

The fact that papers all over the place are trying to ‘cash’ in on this by adding a page with ‘the latest facts‘ or ‘what we know at present‘, like The Globe and Mail, whilst showing an avalanche of news on the matter. Actually, the page The Globe and Mail brought was pretty good. It is Heavy.com who does something similar, yet at that point they move into the ‘5 things you need to know‘ mode and give us a stream of links. Links to classmates and how they thought. Yet, are these facts correct and complete? Heavy links to the Globe and Mail, and in addition gives us the part we needed to hear: “He also likes U.S. Senator John McCain, a moderate Republican who has opposed Trump on some issues, President George W. Bush, the Canadian New Democratic Party and late Canadian politician Jack Layton, who was a leader of the left-wing NDP, so the likes do not shed much light on Bissonnette’s beliefs“, Forward.com, and as such linked SITE Intelligence Group had nothing on any of that in the article. So anyone relying on Forward is now missing out of essential facts. In equal measure, the fact that many of these items are not voiced by other papers make the statements of Heavy.com equally an issue until confirmed.

And finally there is the impact of how the like was obtained. Plenty of sources started with a few ‘like to win’ campaigns. How many people have clicked on a like and forgot about doing so? Yet in this light, the ‘like’ is implied to have a much larger impact, much larger than the user considers or even comprehends. The places using those likes for telling a story have left that concept behind, giving us unclean and incorrect data, which now implies that any conclusion based on it is pretty much useless.

Be aware, I am not stating, or accusing these posters of fake news, yet there is the option that some will see it as such. As I stated at the beginning regarding Forward.com, their origin goes back to 1897, which means that they have been around for some time. So why were so many facts missed and why did Forward link this suspect to both the Israel Defense Forces and Marine LePen, especially in light of what others reported?

What is not related to the Facebook side is the news that the initial news of two shooters (up to three) is now reduced to just the one. When a witness states up to three, there is a clarity to assume (to some degree) that there was more than one shooter (which is a speculation from my side). So what happened to the second one? Just be aware that there might just have been one shooter, yet the documentation we are seeing implies more than one.

So how is this a Zuckerberg thing?

Well, apart from him inventing Facebook and bringing about the evolution of Social media, his ‘like’ is almost like his ‘poke’, they are Social media tools, yet the value the users tend to give it is different, it is even debatable whether the users at large could ever agree on the usage of it, making it a transient value. A shifted number whilst the contemplators cannot agree how the value is to be used, so the usage of ‘like’ in the way it was used in by the press becomes a debate as well. Because what we like implies where we are. That is not a given, even better it is incomplete. You see, you can state your like, but as you cannot state a dislike, we end up having no real comparison. It is the old debate of Yes and No dichotomies, if you did not say ‘yes’, there is no validity that you stated ‘no’, because it might have been overlooked, or it was the fourth option in a list of three. There is a decent abundance of reasons to take that point of view.

fox_poll

Let me show this in another way. The Fox poll of the Refugee Ban (see image). We see the full story at http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/01/29/poll-nearly-half-america-voters-support-trumps-immigration-order, but what we do not see are the specifics on what would have given this value. You see, we do not know the number of responses, where it was done and when it was done. It is at https://poll.qu.edu/ that we learn parts of the facts, “From January 5 – 9, Quinnipiac University surveyed 899 voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percentage points“, can anyone explain to me how Fox was so stupid to use a base of 899 to set a national value? Doesn’t the United States have around 320 million people? And as we realise that there 50 states, how can 18 people be significant on a view in state, and this is before we consider whether the use of gender was normalised, because men and women tend to feel different on emotional issues and is there is one element in abundance on issues concerning refugees it will be emotion.

 

So in all this, we see recurring waves of generalisation and trivialisation. Mark Zuckerberg is not to blame, but he is a factor. In addition there is an overwhelming lack in educating its customer base (by both Fox and Facebook), so we need to consider the dangers and well as the irrelevance of these ‘revelations‘. It is in this scope and in the application as seen used where classification becomes dangerous and a danger, because how will the people around a person react when they see that this person likes something people find offensive (and that is when we keep it to simple things like actors, actresses and politicians)? This will impact on the like as there will be peer pressure, so how can this Zuckerberg element be undermined? That is the actual question!

Is it as simple as condemning the press for using the fact? Is it as simple as giving out complete information? The Zuckerberg Classifications are here to stay, there is nothing against it and the fact that they are is in no way negative, but the usage of it leaves a lot to be desired and as such it is a misleading one, other than ‘this person clicked on the like button of this page, for reasons unknown’, giving it any more value is as meaningless as setting the national acceptance of a refugee ban based on 899 unquantifiable votes which represents at best 0.00028% of the United States population. If any vote was incorrectly vetted, the number will go down fast making the poll even more useless.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Media, Politics, Science

The Right Tone

Today we do not look at Ahmad Khan Rahami, we look at the engine behind it. First of all, let’s get ugly for a second. If you are an American, if you think that Edward Snowden was a ‘righteous dude’, than you are just as guilty as Ahmad Khan Rahami injuring 29 people. Let’s explain that to those who did not get through life through logic. You see, the US (read: NSA) needed to find ways to find extremists. This is because 9/11 taught them the hard way that certain support mechanisms were already in place for these people in the United States. The US government needed a much better warning system. PRISM might have been one of these systems. You see, that part is seen in the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/20/ahmad-khan-rahami-father-fbi-terrorism-bombing), the quote that is important here is “Some investigators believe the bombs resemble designs released on to the internet by al-Qaida’s Yemeni affiliate through its Inspire publication“, PRISM would be the expert tool to scan for anyone opening or accessing those files. Those who get certain messages and attachments from the uploading locations. To state it differently “the NSA can use these PRISM requests to target communications that were encrypted when they travelled across the internet backbone, to focus on stored data that telecommunication filtering systems discarded earlier“, so when a package is send through the internet and delivered, it gets ‘dropped’, meaning the file is no longer required. The important part is that it is not deleted, it is, if we use the old terms ‘erased’, this is not the same! When it is deleted it is removed, when it is erased, that space is set as ‘available’ and until something else gets placed there it is still there. An example you will understand is: ‘temporary internet files’. When you use your browser things get saved on your computer, smartphone, you name it. Until this is cleaned out, the system has that history and it can be recalled with the right tool at any given moment. PRISM allows to find the paths and the access, so this now relates to the bomber, because if correct, PRISM could see if he had actually gotten the information from Inspire magazine. If so, a possible lone wolf would have been found. Now, the system is more complex than that, so there are other path, but with PRISM in the open, criminals (especially terrorists) have gotten smarter and because PRISM is less effective, other means need to be found to find these people, which is a problem all by itself! This is why Edward Snowden is a traitor plain and simple! And every casualty is blood on his hands and on the hands of his supporters!

The right tone is about more than this, it is also about Ahmad Khan Rahami. You see, he would be a likely recruit for Islamic State and Al-Qaida, but the issue is that his profile is not clean, it is not the target recruit. You see, apart from his dad dobbing him in in 2014, he stands out too much. Lone wolves are like cutthroats. Until the deed is done, they tend to remain invisible (often remain invisible after the deed too). There is still a chance he allowed himself to be used as a tool, but the man could be in effect a slightly radicalised mental health case. You see, this person resembles the Australian Martin Place extremist more than the actual terrorists like we saw in Paris. I reckon that this is why he was not charged at present. For now he is charges with attempted murder (3 hours ago), yet not all answers have been found. You see, the quote “they had linked Rahami to Saturday’s bombing in Chelsea, another unexploded device found nearby, both constructed in pressure cookers packed with metallic fragmentation material. They also said he was believed to be linked to a pipe bomb that blew up in Seaside Park, New Jersey, on Saturday and explosive devices found in the town of Elizabeth on Sunday“, the proper people need to ascertain whether he is just the set-up, or a loser with two left hands. The FBI cannot work from the premise that they got lucky with a possible radicalised person with a 60% fail rate. If he is the start of actual lone wolves, PRISM should have been at the centre of finding these people that is if Snowden had not betrayed his nation. Now there is the real danger of additional casualties. I have always and still belief that a lot of Snowden did not add up, in many ways, most people with actual SE-LINUX knowledge would know that the amount of data did not make sense, unless the NSA totally screwed up its own security (on multiple levels), and that is just the server and monitoring architecture, yet I digress (again).

The big picture is not just the US, it is a global problem as France found out the hard way and new methods are needed to find people like that. The right tone is about keeping the innocent safe and optional victims protected from harm. The truth here is that eggs will be broken, because an omelette like this needs a multitude of ingredients and not to mention a fair amount of eggs. The right tone is however a lot harder than many would guess. You see, even if Man Haron Monis (Martin Place Sydney) and Ahmad Khan Rahami both could be regarded as mental health cases (Man more than Ahmad), the issue of lone wolf support does not go away. Ahmad got to Inspire magazine in some way. Can that be tracked by the FBI cyber division? It might be a little easier after the fact, so it becomes about backtracking, but wouldn’t it have been great to do this proactively? It will be a while until this is resolved to the satisfaction of law enforcement and then still the question becomes, was he alone? Did he have support? You see a lone wolf, a radicalised person does not grow from within. Such a person requires coaching and ‘guidance’. Answers need to be found and a multitude of people will need to play the right tune, to the right rhythm. The right tone is not just a mere consideration, in matters like these it is like a red wire through it all. It is about interconnectivity and it is always messy. There is no clear package of events, with cash receipts and fingerprints. It is not even a legal question regarding what was more likely than not. The right tone is also in growing concern an issue of resources. It isn’t just prioritisation, it is the danger that mental health cases drain the resources required to go after the actual direct threats. With the pressures of Russia and the US growing, the stalemate of a new cold war front works in favour of Islamic state and the lone wolves who are linked to someone, but not usually know who. The workload on this surpasses the power of a google centre and those peanut places tend to be really expensive, so resource requirements cannot be meet, so it becomes for us about a commonwealth partnership of availability which now brings local culture in play. The intelligence community needs a new kind of technological solution that is set on a different premise. Not just who is possibly guilty, but the ability of aggregation of data flags, where not to waste resources. For example, I have seen a copy of Inspire in the past, I have seen radicalised video (for the articles). I don’t mind being looked at, yet I hope they do not waste their time on me. I am not alone. There are thousands who through no intentional act become a person of investigative interest. You see, that is where pro-activity always had to be, who is possibly a threat to the lives of others? The technical ability to scrap possible threats at the earliest opportunity. Consider something like Missing Value Analyses. It is a technique to consider patterns. SPSS (now IBM Statistics) wrote this in its manual “The Missing Value Analysis option extends this power by giving you tools for discovering patterns of missing data that occur frequently in survey and other types of data and for dealing with data that contain missing values. Often in survey data, patterns become evident that will affect analysis. For example, you might find that people living in certain areas are reluctant to give their annual incomes, thus creating missing values in your data. If you leave these values out, are your statistical conclusions valid?” (Source: M.A. Hill, ‘SPSS Missing Value Analysis 7.5’, 1997). This is more to the point then you think. consider that premise, that we replace ‘people living in certain areas are reluctant to give their annual incomes’ with ‘people reading certain magazines are reluctant to admit they read it’. It sounds innocent enough when it is Playboy or penthouse (denied to have been read by roughly 87.4% of the male teenage population), but what happens when it is a magazine like Inspire, or Stormfront? It is not just about the radicalised, long term it must be about the facilitators and the guides to that. Because the flock is in the long term not the problem, the herder is and data and intelligence will get us to that person. The method of getting us there is however a lot less clear and due to a few people not comprehending what they were doing with their short sightedness, the image only became more complex. You see, the complexity is not just the ‘missing data’, it is that this is data that is set in a path, this entire equation becomes a lot more unclear (not complex) when the data is the result of omission and evasion. How the data became missing is a core attribute here. Statisticians like Hackman and Allison might have looked at it for the method of Business Intelligence, yet consider the following: “What if our data is missing but not at random? We must specify a model for the probability of missing data, which can be pretty challenging as it requires a good understanding of the data generating process. The Sample Selection Bias Model, by James Heckman, is a widely used method that you can apply in SAS using PROC QLIM (Heckman et al., 1998)“, this is not a regression where we look at missing income. We need to find the people who are tiptoeing on the net in ways to not get logged, or to get logged as someone else. That is the tough cookie that requires solutions that are currently incomplete or no longer working. And yes, all these issues would require to be addressed for lone wolves and mental cases alike. A massive task that is growing at a speculated 500 work years each day, so as you can imagine, a guaranteed billion dollar future for whomever gets to solve it, I reckon massive wealth would be there for the person who could design the solution that shrinks the resource requirements by a mere 20%, so the market is still lucrative to say the least.

The right tone is an issue that can be achieved when the right people are handed the right tools for the job.

1 Comment

Filed under IT, Media, Military, Politics, Science

The Repetitive Misrepresentation

This was the first though in my mind, when I was confronted with ‘Leaving EU ‘could cause catastrophic worker shortages’‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/may/27/leaving-eu-could-cause-catastrophic-worker-shortages). As I see it, the first issue I would like to address is ‘Which Think-tank?‘ That issue is seen not just there. We see this overwhelming reports of what I regard to be blatant misrepresentation in many places. I personally just tend to read the Online Guardian first because in many regards they are really good.

My issue is with Social Market Foundation think-tank. You see, how on earth did they get to that number? What constitutes their evidence for the quote “the 1.6 million EU workers in the UK“, perhaps it is the 1.5 million illegal immigrants and out of millions perhaps 100,000 actual issues? You see, we do not get the actual facts, because other data (incorrect data) is thrown in-between. It gets even worse when the Guardian starts quoting Pricewaterhouse Coopers with “According to analysis, by accountancy firm PwC, 950,000 jobs could be lost as a result of leaving the EU“.

It gets even worse when Seema Malhotra stops being quiet. Now, let’s be clear, I have no issue with politicians who talk, even if they are in the opposition. I would just prefer them to be distinct, correct and precise. The quote “Seema Malhotra, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, highlighted the 240,000 EU workers in the UK public sector and argued Brexit could be “catastrophic” for the NHS and other public services“, is an issue on many levels, most of them equally disastrous to say the least.

Almost lastly there is Sir Richard Leese, who treats us to: “pulling out of the EU would be a “hammer blow for the public sector” and cause “chronic staff shortages, damaging the services that British people depend on” Really? Which public sectors? Which services?

Now lastly we have Adam Hawkins, director at Adecco. He co-authored the Social Market Foundation report and gives us: “Under a scenario where free movement of labour no longer applies and EU workers were subjected to the same visa requirements that are currently in place for non-EEA workers, 88% of EU workers currently working in the UK would fail to qualify”. To Adam I would prefer to quote: “73.6% Of All Statistics Are Made Up“, which we get from (http://www.businessinsider.com.au/736-of-all-statistics-are-made-up-2010-2), an article by Mark Suster. I personally thought it was only 32.544%, but I know I could have been wrong in this instance. In the article we get “the quote most attributed to the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Benjamin Disraeli, “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics.” The quote is meant to highlight the deceiving but persuasive power of numbers“, which is at the core of the matter, which is of course beside the fact that 10+ years at SPSS showed me a thing or two regarding papers that have been broomed under the closest rug as soon as possible. The quote in the Business Insider gives you “I got the analyst who wrote one of the reports on the phone and asked how he got his projections.  He must have been about 24.  He said, literally, I sh*t you not, “well, my report was due and I didn’t have much time.  My boss told me to look at the growth rate average over the past 3 years an increase it by 2% because mobile penetration is increasing.”  There you go.  As scientific as that“, this was at the core of the issue I had with PwC earlier. The final Gem the Business Insider offered was “They took the data from the analysts.  So did the super bright consultants at McKinsey, Bain and BCG.  We all took that data as the basis for our reports. Then the data got amplified. The bankers and consultants weren’t paid to do too much primary research.  So they took 3 reports, read them, put them into their own spreadsheet, made fancier graphs, had professional PowerPoint departments make killer pages and then at the bottom of the graph they typed, “Research Company Data and Consulting Company Analysis” (fill in brand names) or some derivative. But you couldn’t just publish exactly what Gartner Group had said so these reports ended up slightly amplified in message. Even more so with journalists.  I’m not picking on them.  They were as hoodwinked as everybody was.  They got the data feed either from the research company or from the investment bank“. This all from an article in The Business Insider from February 18th 2010! (Yes, more than 6 years ago).

There we have the initial goods, now we need to take a step back.

You see, in my article ‘Is the truth out there?‘ (At https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/03/21/is-the-truth-out-there/), I respond to the initial CBI report, where I saw a decent amount of gaps. Gaps that require the raw data to confirm or deny. Yet, as we all know, that is a part we do not get access to. Still, there was enough ammunition to counter certain statements, which I did. So when we get the little blue snippet on the left by the Guardian in so called ‘support’ we see that one part is the juicy bone that is a figment of illusionary support, yes it was not a helpful snippet at all.

The next part is the article as a whole by Rowena Mason. As she surfs from emotional statement to emotional statement, we see an article that is pretty much devoid from quality data, as such the quotes become nothing more than hollow phrases, no matter how distinguished the people are (or in this case, the one person Sir Richard Leese is). In this case in view of his deeds he should be offered another view, yet in opposition as a former Math teacher he should know better. His statement might not be wrong (might being the operative word), without clear data and clear supporting evidence the statement is like most hollow. This part intersects with the voiced quote Seema Malhotra made (the one person who was better off remaining silent). So why am I stating this?

Where is my justification?

Let me show that part right now. You see, in her quote she linked 240,000 EU workers and the NHS. A blatant misrepresentation to say the least. When we look back to the article I wrote titled ‘The News shows its limit of English‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/06/22/the-news-shows-its-limit-of-english/), almost a year ago. I looked at a similar statement. In there, based on CLEAR immigration documentation as stated in Appendix I and J (both documents are in my article at the end). Documents on the GOV.UK site. We see that “Pay requirements which the Secretary of State intends to apply to applications for indefinite leave to remain from Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Sportspersons) migrants made on or after 6 April 2016” has clear parameters and as such, no NHS worker (Nurse or Doctor) would be at risk. We acknowledge that the NHS is more than that and in that case we see that section 245HF of that document shows that the bulk of tier 2 workers are all covered in that case. So we see the intentional creation of chaos, whilst there is none at all. It is of course very possible that the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury might be non-competent, and as such the question becomes whether she should have accepted her present position or would have been better of working in a hair salon (OK, that’s me just being generically mean).

All this feeds back to the article of Rowena. The collection of emotional responses in perhaps ‘feigned support’ of the Bremain team has only shown that the stated support elements are non-issues, or too generic to have any actual value. In addition, as we consider the immigration documentation, especially in light of appendix J, which has over 125 pages of definitions of these jobs, with on page 4 an essential element: “In all cases, the pay must be compliant with National Minimum Wage regulations“, which should not be an element at all. So when we consider the massive list of options and people that have options to get work permits, can we agree that the statement by Adam Hawkins, director at Adecco, with his “88% of EU workers currently working in the UK would fail to qualify” has been blown out of the water with clarity and conviction?

All elements that have been clearly known from before June 2015, all that information easily available. This leaves us with an article that has lost most of its value by trying to appeal to mere emotion and give false paths to the people who are uninformed. Where is the value in that?

I have been in the Brexit field for a long time, my sway to the neutral field was not easy, it was not done by misinformation. It was done by clear information through Mark Carney, governor of the bank of England. I have not landed in the Bremain field however, he did achieve that I am not as convinced of Brexit as I was. The remaining elements are not within the UK, they are with the elements outside of the UK, mainly the irresponsible spending of the other treasurers as well as the action of ECB Chief Mario Draghi, actions that I personally (as a non-economist) regard to be short-sighted. That part is equally important, you see what I consider to be a bad idea might not be a bad idea in the eyes of an established economist. I do not believe that I have all the knowledge, all the values and insights, I always question mine. You should question yours if you will ever make an informed decision regarding Brexit.

This gets us to the last part in all this.

The article that involves Marky Mark of the British coin. The article ‘Mark Carney denies Brexit bias and Goldman Sachs influence in heated exchanges with MPs‘ (at http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/newswire/mark-carney-denies-brexit-bias-goldman-influence-heated-exchanges-mps/), his response was ‘Wow’ and so is mine. I went over the Lords statement and there was nothing out of place here. I might even commend him on remaining slightly conservative in the risk as he mentioned them. The quote in this article is ““Can I just give you the opportunity to refute any suggestion that Goldman Sachs may have put pressure on you?” Baker asked during the testimony, which lasted more than two hours and was dominated by Brexit“. Here we see Steve Baker, co-chairman of the Conservatives for Britain group. A man with a personal agenda, which is not the most reliable accusing voice in all this. From what I have seen and read over the last year, I have a lot more faith in the information that the Governor of the Bank of England brings us, than the opposing voice of Steve Baker. In this I stand with BT Group Plc Chairman Michael Rake who stated in a Bloomberg article (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-26/-no-doubt-leaving-eu-would-hurt-u-k-economy-bt-chairman-says) “it was “deeply depressing” that a Conservative lawmaker, Steve Baker, asked Bank of England Governor Mark Carney this week in Parliament whether his former employer, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., had put pressure on him to warn of the risks of leaving the EU. “Trying to undermine reputable individuals, reputable institutions, that are simply trying to get the facts about the economy across to the British people in a critical referendum, a critical moment in time, is disappointing””. I personally believe to be worse, in this Steve Baker moved from being a possible political player on the conservative field into a place where he can be ridiculed and soon to be regarded as a mere memory in the political arena. I have opposed the view of Mark Carney more than once, but always as a question, always in regards to choices, never as any indication that the former Governor of the Bank of Canada and the current Governor of the Bank of England was in the pocket of Goldman Sachs. His statement and the cautiousness of the statement in the House of Lords is clear indication that he is not in the Goldman Sachs pocket.

Repetitive misrepresentation by too many players is muddying the water of those trying to make an informed decision and as such the voters are likely to get less and less information over the next three weeks. In this regard the press isn’t helping too much either.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, Media, Politics

Questioning Assurance

A positive approach intended to question confidence. That is at the heart of the matter today. I have been involved in such tracks before, but in a slipping age of technology, where we see greed driven (or bonus driven) changes where some executives hide behind the excuse of giving new young Turks a start in the business, we need to wonder whether they were looking at the world through chartreuse glasses.

I have seen the stupidity (for the lack of a better word) of software firms pushing out software, some to make sure they kept some deadline, whilst the product was nowhere near ready. In a few cases they thought the product was truly ready and the QA department messed up in a royal kind of way. There is of course the third option, where a product was tested, was deemed good and things pop up. These are the three parts of QA the user faces, I have seen them all!

The third one is the clearest one. Development does its work, the QA department did all the test and then some and when released things go a little awry. Weirdly enough, this tends to happen to parts of the program that people seldom use, like that weird, off the wall setting that only 0.000001% of all Microsoft Word users tend to use. Microsoft had no idea, and at some point it gets fixed. This is just a flaw. You name a product, like anything in the range of Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, Oracle, SPSS, Sybase or SAS Miner, they all have them. These programs are just too large to get 100% tested, and even when that happens, there is the interaction with another program, or with an operating system update that will then throw a spanner in the cogs. You only need to search for issues with Windows 8.2 or IOS 8.2 to see that things just happen. In the zero layer, we see the hardware, in layer one we get the operating software, in layer two we see the application, in layer three we get the peripherals (printer, keyboard, mouse and joystick), one massive sandwich to check! In any of these interactions things can go wrong and a QA department needs to sift through it all. Of course even if all of that did work correctly we see the fourth layer which is the user him/herself, who then decides to dunk that layered sandwich in tea. Boy oh boy can they mess up their own system! No software can truly prepare for that!

Yet in all this QA needs to have high standards, which are proven when we see the third option in all this. Options one and two are an entirely different mess! It is for the outsider often impossible to tell what on earth happened. I had the inside scoop on an event where something was marketed ready, yet the program was nowhere near that. Deadlines for stakeholders had to be met and some figured that a patch afterwards via the BBS systems would do the trick. So basically a flawed product went to the shops. I remember those days, that was long before any level of fast internet, I was a trendsetter in those days by owning a 64Kb modem, yes I was a speed demon in those days! LOL!

You see, legally the consumer is in a messy situation, product liability laws are not that strong, unless health and lives are placed in peril, beyond that, you would think that these consumers are protected when it involved fraud, yet, when we consider that part of fraud is ‘deception intended to result in financial or personal gain’, we see any case go south really fast when the defence becomes, ‘the consumer was offered a refund’ and ‘Your honour, our costs are massive! We are doing everything to aid the consumers, offering them a refund immediately’ and we see any fraud case go south. Consider part of this with the ruling ‘intentional perversion of truth’, the keyword ‘intentional’ can usually be swayed too easily, faltering the case of fraud. But in the core, getting people to sign on in the first weeks, getting that revenue on their boards can mean the survival of such a company, so some accept the costs for what happens to remain on the game board.

The other situation is where the Quality Assurance (QA) department messed up. Here is the kicker, for the outsider to tell which scenario played is impossible, without working at a place, it is an impossible task to tell, one can make estimated guesses, but that is as good as it goes. For example, Ubisoft had a net profit on -66 million in 2013, they fell from grace in 2008 from $32 to $3.80 per share, that’s a not too healthy drop of 90%. The interesting part here is that when we look at their games, we see over those terms Prince of Persia, the language coaches on DS, which was novel (especially Japanese), Assassin’s Creed II, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction and a few more. This is the interesting part, here we see a few excellent games, a Prince of Persia that would bring back to life a forgotten franchise, Assassin’s Creed II, which was so far above the original that it mesmerised a massive player population, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, which upped the ante of Prince of Persia by a lot and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, which gave us even more challenges. Yet, these good games could not hinder the fact that Ubisoft had produced so many games over that time, many of them far below great that it impacted their stock. Is their value back to $16 because of their games? So what about Assassins Creed: Unity? Is stock the reason for the lacking game. I personally would state no! I think lacking games drop the stock. Yet, this is an emotional response, because stock is driven by demands and rejections, as great games are made, people want a shae of that rabid bunny, if the games are nowhere near, the stock gets rejected. In this case it is about the games, because Ubisoft is gaming! This is also why the E3 is such a big deal and even though I was not impressed with their E3, ‘For Honor’ clearly shows that Ubisoft has some gems in their arsenal, or should that be ‘had’? For Honor is a new and likely high in demand game, the presentation was extremely well received. I am not much for those types of games, but I also looked with anticipation of a lovely challenge. The issue here remains, it is online, so timing and decent players are required to make this a good experience. Yet beyond that new title, I would see it as a collection of predictable that have become indistinguishable from their other titles. Sequels sharing bits from other sequels with an interchangeable codebase. With too many triggered scripts. We remain with a blurred sense of gaming. I stated it a few years ago, by adding too many prince of Persia moments into Assassins Creed, we end up not playing Assassins Creed, if I wanted that, I would have bought Prince of Persia! So why these games?

Well, there is of course method to my madness (and my madness is purely methodical). You see, Assassins Creed 2 and Splinter Cell: Conviction were amazing achievements. I can still play these two today and have loads of fun. They had set a standard, even though Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood was a step up, certain flaws were never dealt with, flaws that became part of the engine for 5 iterations of the game. You see that in the second premise, I went from new game to iteration? That part matters too! With the Splinter Cell series we went from Conviction to Blacklist. Again, it was a step forwards, but now we get the issue that QA messed up buy not properly testing the re-playability part of the game, leaving players in a lurch, making the game a mess if I wanted to play a ‘NewGame+’, it is a little thing, with a far reaching consequences. What was great became good, a step forward, hindered by one and a half steps back., which is the faltering part. Ubisoft needed a QA department with teeth, as I see it, they did not have one, or Marketing got involved. There is in all honesty no way to tell how that came to pass.

Yet, this is not about Ubisoft, because Rocksteady Studios outdid it all with Batman: Arkham Knight, making Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment extremely unhappy as I see it. A game that should be heralded as a new legendary release got a 50% rating by Steam and 70% by Gamespot, these are not good numbers, they are ratings that resemble coffin nails. Not a good thing at all. In my view, this is a massive fail by their QA department. However, when we accept the statement from Kotaku.com, we get “The moment I’m inside the batmobile, it’s not surprising to see it dip to 15 frames-per-second“, did QA really not see that? So is it Marketing or is it QA? No matter what answer I give here, it is pure speculation, I have no facts, just personal insight from 30 years of gaming. No matter where it lies, QA should not have signed off on it, not at such drops of quality. Which gets us back to the non-liability of these firms. ‘Res Ipsa Loquitur’, or in slightly more English “the thing speaks for itself“, The plaintiff can create a presumption of negligence by the defendant by proving that the harm would not ordinarily have occurred without negligence. Yet, what harm? The only harm the game has is spending funds which are refundable, the only harm there is for the maker of the game. So, there is no case, what is the case is that until these firms properly invest into QA, we get to go through buying and returning a lot more. Yet, these companies realise and they take a chance that the gamers (which tends to be a loyal lot) in that they hold on to the game and just download the patch. So basically, the first hour gamers become the sponsors for the development of an unfinished game. That is how I personally see it.

In my view, the game suffered, what could have been great will soon be forgotten. Yet, what happens when it is not a videogame? What happens when it is not a game, what happens when it is business software? you see the Donoghue v Stevenson case gives us that a maker can be held responsible for personal injury or damage to property, yet, what happens when neither is the case?

It is a very old UK case in Torts, where a Mrs Donoghue was drinking a bottle of ginger beer in a café in Paisley. A dead snail was in the bottle and because of that she fell ill, and she sued the ginger beer manufacturer, Mr Stevenson. The House of Lords held that the manufacturer owed a duty of care to her, which was breached, because it was reasonably foreseeable that failure to ensure the product’s safety would lead to harm of consumers. This is a 1932 case that is still the key case of torts and personal harm involving negligence. Yet, with video games there is no visible harm, there is only indirect harm, but the victims there have little say in this as the direct victim is offered a refund, the competitor missing out on revenue has no case. So as revenue is neither injury nor damage to property. Now we get the issue that if the buyer buys goods which are defective, he or she can only have a claim under contract of sale against the retailer. If the retailer is insolvent, no further claims will be possible. So, with Arkham Knight, when 2500 copies are returned, a large shop will not go insolvent, you get the idea, when the shop needs to close the doors, you are left out of money.

Here we get the crux, a maker of a game/program has pushed an inferior product to market. It will offer compensation, yet if the shop closes (that is a massively big if), the buyer is out in the cold. Now, the chance of this ever happening is too unrealistically small, but the need to set rules of quality, setting the need of standards is now becoming increasingly important. With games they are the most visible, but consider a corporation now pushing a day one product to get enough revenue to tailor a patch which the customer needs to download. An intentional path to stay afloat, to buy time. Where do you stand, when you got pushed to solution 2 as solution 1 is a month away, only to discover the flaw in the program, which gets freely adjusted in Week 23, so 22 weeks without a solution, this situation also hindering the sale of solution 1, which was fine from day one onwards.

Not only is a much better QA required, the consumer should be receiving much stronger protection against these events. That could just be me.

Now to the real issue connected to this. Assassins Creed: Unity became a really bad joke last year,

It went so far as Ubisoft offering a free game because (source: Express) “UBISOFT have confirmed some Xbox One fans who have previously applied patch 3 for Assassin’s Creed: Unity are now being hit by a 40GB download when trying to use the latest title update”. 40GB is massive, that comes down to 10 DVD Movies, it is well over 10% of the entire hard drive space, this gives us the image that one game has clear impact on the total space of the console. Also be mindful of the term ‘patch 3’, which implies that patch one and two had been applied, so is there clarity on the reasonable assumption that there is an issue with both release and QA here? In my view, delayed in addition or not, the game should never have been released to begin with.

Don’t get me wrong, with the new AAA games, the chance of a patch becomes larger and larger. You see QA can only get us to a certain distance and an issue on a console is a lot less likely than an issue on your PC (with all kinds of hardware combinations), yet the amount of fixes as shown here is way off the wall. Now we see a similar thing happening to the PC edition of Arkham knight. Warner Brothers have decided to call back the game, all sales have stopped at present. However, the issues we see on gottabemobile.com are “Warner Brothers’ forums are filled with complaints about the game including Error CE-34878-0 issues on the PS4, various issues with the Batmobile including this one on Xbox One, issues with cut scenes, Harley Quinn DLC problems on the PS4, Batman season pass problems, problems launching the game, problems with the game’s well-known Detective Mode, missing Flashpoint skin, problems with missions, problems saving the game, and more”.

Now we get the question, was this properly QA-ed? Was a proper quality test made, because the size and nature of the issues, as reported give out a negative testing vibe, which I consider to be extremely negligent! As such we must wonder, should such levels of non-functionality be allowed. Can the law allow the release of a product that causes, as alleged ‘no harm has been caused’, an industry, hoping on the users to wait quietly as a game gets finished on the consumers costs.

Now that the Nextgen consoles are all set out to be downloaded in the night, how long until games start tasking the game of ‘customer expectations’ and release a 90% game? How long until corporations will work on a business model that relies on consumer sponsoring whilst they contract even better profits. We also need to be careful, patches will always be a factor, I have no issue with that, and the list of games that needing massive patches keeps on growing, AC: Unity, GTA-V, Arkham Knight, Destiny, and the list goes on a little longer. I am only mentioning the patches over 3GB (one is well over 6Gb) and in this light Destiny gets a small pass as that game is all about multiplayer, which is a dimension of errors all on its own.  The Elder Scrolls Online wins this year with a 16Gb patch, again, all about online play, but overall the gaming industry seems to adapt the bad traits of Microsoft, which is definitely not a good idea.

For now we seem to accept it, especially as the Nextgen systems are relatively new, but that feeling will change sooner rather than later and at that point someone official needs to step in, which might end up being a lot more official that the game makers bargained for, especially as games outside of the US can be up to 70% more expensive, at that point we are entitled to some proper consumer protection, against these levels of negligence, levels that currently only exist on a limited scope.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming, Law