Tag Archives: Stanford

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 FX slogan in action

I always loved the FX slogan, it is true, and it is at the centre of entertainment. Yet is it at the centre of viable analytics? Is a result merely presented as an anecdote more acceptable? We seem to lack the ability to take a step back and look at it in a clinical setting, because it is not always about the mere setting.

A scientist will show you how expensive progress exactly is.
A diplomat makes you look forward to the invoice attached to it.

This is a setting that we seem to laugh at. Now take this in a very different direction: ‘A person who is 30% white is still 70% guilty‘. You are not laughing now are you? Take this to the next level with KTVU naming the crew of a plane crash (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpP2S6c74Ts), still having fun? The people connected to Asiana Flight 214 are not, I am certain of that. So when we see this, where do we go? Well we need to take a short pit stop when we address something that I have seen in my surrounding. The practice is not wrong, it can be loaded and it can blow up in your face if you do it wrong.

To get this we need to look at 2009, when Google’s Chief Economist Dr. Hal R. Varian told the audience: “The ability to take data—to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it—that’s going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades“, this is true, it has been true for decades. So as data becomes is found everywhere it becomes the setting of an almost opposition. To get data from almost common sense (where everyone seemingly gets it, to a stage that the presentation of numbers, with a story, almost any story that fits we get to see that companies are desperately searching for talent with data skills and they make it worse by trying to find people who can tell a story. Yet where is the story the value? Is that because it is more believable, or because it fits the moment? Yet that danger is now growing as well. You see each quarter the story needs to be amended and builds upon the previous story and investors have a much better memory than some realise. This is where Forbes gets us with “Interestingly, much of the current hiring emphasis has centered on the data preparation and analysis skills—not the “last mile” skills that help convert insights into actions. Many of the heavily-recruited individuals with advanced degrees in economics, mathematics, or statistics struggle with communicating their insights to others effectively—essentially, telling the story of their numbers.” I am not sure that this is a correct path. Instead of focussing on the communication skill, we are given data presentations by Mother Goose and Mr Grimm and in all that, will we get the story that is told correctly? I have prepared dashboards and data reports for decades. I have seen how some jumps were made on the assumption of one result, whilst the data was not supporting it, or it was, yet only after targeted weighting? In that we get the story that is a partial truth, yet it is in that same instant a partial lie too and that part will no longer get the proper scrutiny that is required.

So now we get to the good stuff. Now we get to the Guardian that treated us to: ‘China planted chips in Apple and Amazon servers, report claims‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/oct/04/china-planted-chips-on-apple-and-amazon-servers-report-claims). Is it possible? Yes it is, yet the numbers and the speculative sides in all this is a larger problem, or better stated it is a large issue in a much larger universe and we are merely shown the keyhole view with the audio of two moaning people. Yet whether they are having sex or are pushing the bed around cannot be stated as we merely see a wall and part of a piece of furniture and we go by the sounds we hear. So when we consider that the corn borer can make the identical sound of a bat, so much so that the female corn borer moths cannot distinguish between the sound of a real bat and the sound of a male moth imitating a bat. Which quite literally gets her screwed, it’s merely how he gets lucky.

This now relates to the article, where we see: “A Chinese military unit has been inserting tiny microchips into computer servers used by companies including Apple and Amazon that give China unprecedented backdoor access to computers and data, according to a new Bloomberg report“, yet when we are also told “The attack was reportedly discovered in 2015 by the US intelligence services, as well as by Apple and Amazon as the companies purchased servers made by Super Micro Computer“, yet companies stay in the dark on this? So first it is Russia, now it is China? Consider the next quote “Amazon, Apple and Super Micro have all denied Bloomberg’s report. Amazon said: “It’s untrue that AWS knew about a supply chain compromise, an issue with malicious chips, or hardware modifications when acquiring Elemental.

Furthermore, we see both “As we shared with Bloomberg BusinessWeek multiple times over the last couple months, at no time, past or present, have we ever found any issues relating to modified hardware or malicious chips in SuperMicro motherboards in any Elemental or Amazon systems“, as well as “Apple said: “On this we can be very clear: Apple has never found malicious chips, ‘hardware manipulations’ or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server.“. Is this an issue about what exactly?

This we see in the consideration of: “There have been increased concerns about foreign intelligence agencies infiltrating US and other companies via so-called “supply chain attacks”“. This is not unique. The American nagging and the nagging by its bitches (aka Australian Intelligence) is becoming a much larger setting as to the stage on where economic prosperity goes to. This is as I personally see it, the setting of a stage on where outsourcing goes to. This seems to be much more realistic and much more believable. You see, if there was truth in the Bloomberg part, if there was the real setting of “Apple had reportedly bought around 7,000 Super Micro servers when its security teams discovered the chips“, in that setting 7,000 server boards would have been shown to the world, it would have changed everything, places like Stanford, Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford and UTS (which has Apple co-founder Steve “Woz” Wozniak as a professor). They would be showing you the high and low of it all, yet that did not happen did it? So when we are seeing “Technology shares in Hong Kong fell sharply on Friday led by Lenovo, which lost 23% in morning trade. The Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp lost more than 14%“, which is interesting as ZTE was a thorn in the 5G side of the US and a few other players (like Telstra for example) for a much longer time, so is that a mere coincidence? What story telling sides are we not exposed to?

However, this is not the end. It is important to look at Bloomberg, because Bloomberg is not really the ‘storyteller’ of the century. We get introduced (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-10-04/the-big-hack-how-china-used-a-tiny-chip-to-infiltrate-america-s-top-companies) to the quotes “In late spring of 2015, Elemental’s staff boxed up several servers and sent them to Ontario, Canada, for the third-party security company to test, the person says“, as well as “Nested on the servers’ motherboards, the testers found a tiny microchip, not much bigger than a grain of rice, that wasn’t part of the boards’ original design“, which also gets us: “During the ensuing top-secret probe, which remains open more than three years later, investigators determined that the chips allowed the attackers to create a stealth doorway into any network that included the altered machines“. This is a much more frightening setting, yet why was this kept in the dark for so long? Not because of any matter that can be attributed to common sense. You see, I find “Still, to actually accomplish a seeding attack would mean developing a deep understanding of a product’s design, manipulating components at the factory, and ensuring that the doctored devices made it through the global logistics chain to the desired location—a feat akin to throwing a stick in the Yangtze River upstream from Shanghai and ensuring that it washes ashore in Seattle” an acceptable tactic, yet it opens the door on multiple places, places that are implied but not shown into the limelight. The first and perhaps the most visible one is: ‘timeline to design a chip‘. If that is so small, how can we be certain that the CIA did not do this to every Apple and IBM device ahead of fabrication? So when we get to “But that’s just what U.S. investigators found: The chips had been inserted during the manufacturing process, two officials say, by operatives from a unit of the People’s Liberation Army“, why them? Why not the Ministry of State Security? When we look in those directions, I personally find Chen Wenqing has a much more deceptive look then Xi Jinping. For either, funding would never have been the issue. And in the end Bloomberg gives us: “Three senior insiders at Apple say that in the summer of 2015, it, too, found malicious chips on Supermicro motherboards. Apple severed ties with Supermicro the following year, for what it described as unrelated reasons“. So yes, Bloomberg is raising questions, questions on where we need to consider ourselves in regards to China, an issue not properly raised by the Guardian this time around. Yet in both cases we end up with questions. We know that 5G will be a multi trillion industry and the US is desperate to melt the cogs of Chinese industry here, they have a backlog that is too large, there is at present no chance that the US, or Europe could catch up with China. The Chinese focus had been on 5G for too long, production is nowhere near it needs to be to go up against China. Yet this story, this event 3 years old and never in the limelight until now, that is impacting Lenovo and ZTE, so one of the 5G drivers is now as they call it: ‘In the shits‘, a 14% loss is nothing to get sneered at. And this optionally links back to the accusations against China in 5G, yet they are all still stories. The evidence was never handed into the limelight, and it also squarely lands the entire matter into the pond of former President Barack Obama, who still wanted to get trade deals going at that stage, so the Democratic party is going to get pushed into this mud pool sooner rather than later, because corporations at a global scale will feel betrayed in this mess. It gets fuelled more when we go back to September 2015, after this mess started and the people (via Reuters) get treated to: “President Barack Obama announced on Friday that he had reached a “common understanding” with Chinese President Xi Jinping on curbing economic cyber espionage, but threatened to impose U.S. sanctions on Chinese hackers who persist with cybercrimes.” So, did it happen? Was the story on the servers a ruse? Seems interesting that when placed in the proper timeline, against other news, we see a different setting do we not?

That is the stage we see when we add an element, any linked element to the story, it changes the preface of it and it changes the conclusions of it all. Any story with incomplete data is not a story, it degrades into a fairy tale, and both Mother Goose and Jacob Grimm both had their end of the spectrum when we watched their stories unfold. So where do the Guardian and Bloomberg stand? They go with sources that gave them news, yet when those sources cooperate in getting a particular story told, where do we get to stand, being told a story?

The server boards are evidence, yet where are they? If it is in 7000 server boards, there should be plenty to go around and show the world what was going on, but that did not happen, did it? So even as we were made aware a mere 5 hours ago of: “Huawei is trying to convince the U.S. government that Trump’s trade wars with China might slow down 5G adoption on American soil“, we now see that this is exactly what the US needed, time to catch up, or at least get a bigger slice of the 5G pie chart. You see a nation that is to be regarded as bankrupt cannot rely on importing goods; it needs US based goods to use a circle of non-cycled currency to keep its government running. And the 5G wave will go on for some time, the more time they get, the longer they can negate their official moment of being bankrupt. I am not the only one with that view, the same view is given (with a better economic handling) by Economist Laurence Kotlikoff who gives us: “While the United States’ official debt is $20 trillion, the fiscal gap is really 10 times larger — $200 trillion. That comes from adding in off-the-book liabilities, including debt that’s in the Federal Reserve’s hands, Kotlikoff said“, who also gives us: ““The evidence is in front of our eyes that we’re bankrupt,” Kotlikoff said. “It’s not bankrupt in the future. It’s bankrupt right now.”” A stage that I had mentioned three years ago, it might have been 4 years ago. I mentioned the settings and the consequences and I only needed an abacus to get there, but according to all the newspapers, I was wrong. Now we see more storytelling games and more pushes by large corporations to keep the current machine switches on, because once it is switched off, it ends for them, they will have no options and the markets will collapse soon thereafter wiping ours (and partially their) retirements away. That is the realism of our day and age and it is a story that I am telling, just like the others. I merely believe that I have seen more data, more complete data and I see the interactions on a wider scale. From that assumption my story is (seemingly) better, truer and more believable, is that the case, is it that for you?

You see, that is the danger with stories, it all hangs on the evidence that we are given and for the longest of times, the supporting evidence has been lacking, or basically completely absent on their side of the discussion. When we watch the Grimm in the TV Series Nick Burkhardt we accept it, because it is entertainment, and when the Grimm kills the Hundjägers, we know it is fabrication, entertaining fabrication mind you. Yet when we see the mention of Lenovo and ZTE, when we realise that 128,000 people are now in a state with an endangered job, families in danger of social security, as well as the impact on a larger scale, are we happy with the tale when it is the story and the non-shown evidence that is the matter. The fact that more parties are in denial is also an issue, but that could be for a whole host of reasons. It is the lack of evidence that is open for scrutiny that becomes the larger issue and that is an issue, it is an issue in every story, so whilst I embrace the FX slogan: ‘the story is everything‘ it is the lack of supported reality that makes it an issue in business intelligence and actual intelligence analyses. A setting that was 3 years in the open and we only get it partially served now, now that the need of America is becoming more and more dire.

The math does not add up and that has a much larger setting in all this than most are willing to admit to at present.

 

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The Digital Dilemma

Just a few hours ago, the guardian makes us aware of an interesting case. The article by Rob Davies is interesting for a few reasons, apart from the fact that it was nicely written and reads really well. We see the title ‘Google under pressure to refuse Viagogo advertising‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/sep/10/google-under-pressure-to-refuse-viagogo-advertising). I cannot completely agree with the premise, but I understand the setting.

When we are confronted with: ‘FA, UK Music and MPs urge Google to stop accepting payments from ticket firm‘ we are confronted with a few things, all apart from the fact on the path taken and that awareness is a good thing. You see, when the quote “The letter, sent to senior Google executives on Friday and seen by the Guardian, says that Viagogo’s prominence in search rankings is leading to consumers buying sports, music and theatre tickets that may be invalid” we are confronted with two distinct parts, the first is ‘may be invalid‘, the more interesting part is not on Google, but on why there is no criminal investigation and prosecution of Viagogo. Is it not interesting that we see ‘pressure Google‘ and not ‘prosecute Viagogo‘? That part makes little sense. If the law is clear on selling and tickets at vast mark-ups, why is that not clearly in place?

When I enter ‘Viagogo’ in my google search, I am treated to at the very top of the screen. On the Right side I see image below that, which leaves us with even more questions, if you look at that image properly. So we can see that Viagogo is setting the right stage for Digital Marketing, there is no denying this. So as we are introduced to the workings of Eric H. Baker, the American businessman (read entrepreneur), aka founder and CEO of Viagogo, and co-founder of StubHub, a Harvard and Stanford graduate, we need to consider the parts where it counts. Is he breaking the law, and moreover if he is not breaking the law, is the setting of “Labour MP Sharon Hodgson, one of the letter’s signatories, said: “I have heard too many times from distressed customers of Viagogo that they were led to the website because it was at the top of their Google search” a valid one?

You see, whenever I want to go to a concert, I go to the actual site of where the performance is and I see THERE where I can get the tickets. So the fact that some consumers are lazy is one thing, that they do not properly do their homework is another one. That aside, when the law is broken actions need to be taken, that is clear, but was it? In additional, how often did MP Sharon Hodgson look into the matter? With ‘I have heard too many times from distressed customers’ she now becomes a valid target as well, so can we get specifics please? We see her visibility again in the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/2eefe9e0-b04f-11e8-99ca-68cf89602132). Now it is the other way around. Here we see ‘Viagogo sues Ed Sheeran’s promoter for ‘fraud’‘, that different candy, is it not? We setting given here is: “Viagogo claims that Stuart Galbraith, the founder of Kilimanjaro Live, “duped” fans during Ed Sheeran’s 2017 tour by setting up fake “Viagogo booths” outside venues to attract people who had bought their tickets from the site. These tickets, which Viagogo argues were valid, were then confiscated and fans were forced to buy new ones“, an interesting ploy, the question becomes was the law broken by Viagogo? We are also informed by the Financial Times on the action with “Viagogo said that it has refunded the fans who bought from them and has sued Mr Galbraith in a court in Hamburg with further legal action likely elsewhere“, so basically Viagogo refunded the customers, which is the decent act and will seek reparations elsewhere, which is (as far as I can tell) the decent business oriented act to follow. We are also given “senior executives from Viagogo are due to be questioned by British MPs about the site’s resale practices. Mr Galbraith is also scheduled to appear before the MPs“, this implies that the resale practice is looked into, yet it also quite clearly implies that no law is broken. Here is where we see the Labour MP mentioned as ‘Sharon Hodgson, the Labour MP who co-chaired the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse‘. The question is not on merely ‘Ticket Abuse‘, the question is how the seemingly given title of abuse applies. This is a market of selling and reselling, until the law clearly makes reselling illegal, we see a setting that someone found a niche for margins and applied its options here.

So basically we could go to the setting that like most Labour minded ‘officials’ she too is full of (the ess and tea word) and goes with “Google needs to take action in order to protect consumers, and I look forward to working with them on this in the very near future“, to which my slightly too emotional response is: ‘No you stupid fishmonger, you either set the law correctly, or get out of the bloody way!‘ I agree it is not really diplomatic, but the entire setting is just a joke, the way I see it (at present).

You see, Viagogo (on their website) give us: “About Viagogo. Buyers are guaranteed to receive valid tickets in time for the event. If a problem arises, Viagogo will step in to provide comparable replacement tickets or a refund. Sellers are guaranteed to get paid for the tickets they sell and fulfil on time“, to me that is clear valid and acceptable. Yet in all this, I cannot find any setting where the CPS or the DPP is in a setting to investigate Viagogo or prosecute them, so were there laws broken? Now consider the commercial other path. If it was clearly illegal, or shunned Viagogo would have let’s say 200 tickets to any event and that would per gig be 20,000 in revenue lost if no one buys them, the question then becomes why not, and how can you continue this business? It would go into administration quick enough.

Is it illegal? That is not stated anywhere, and we need to acknowledge that it is either illegal, or it is not. So instead of working with this optional digital market provider, we see mere brazen outrage, whilst there is no clear legal definition. I also acknowledge that when we look at Product review, it got 1.3 out of 5, which is actually really bad and normally in eBay terms that score is close to a death sentence, yet they are still around why? I also acknowledge that we see reviews like ‘I could go online right now to Ticketmaster and purchase better seats for a much lower price‘, added only yesterday (what a coincidence), there are also the reviews that should lead the police towards the investigation of defamation against people like ‘Annie’ giving us: “People beware: do not bug from these people as the are comming a criminal offence called FRAUD. You buy tickets off them to get falsified tickets and are useless, get to the event an cannot get it. They send then to you a few days before the event“, so if Annie (optionally a fake FB account) cannot validate that opinion with facts, her opinion becomes defamation, if it is true and validated it becomes a path for prosecution (that was simple, was it not?). There was also a very positive review there, as well as ‘Delivered what they promised and got me out of a jam‘ from a Verified Customer. Now, I get it, there will be happy and unhappy customers in every field. My initial feeling is that a 1.3 of 5 does not instil me with any level of trust, yet their own site gives clear settings, clear business settings and the people acting against Viagogo do not go to the law, do not adjust the law, no, they come crying at the Google office front desk. Pardon my French, but how fucked up is that?

We cannot disagree with the Guardian quote: “The letter has 24 signatories, including a host of MPs, trade bodies and associations from the worlds of sports, theatre and music. Sporting bodies that have signed include the Football Association, England and Wales Cricket Board, Rugby Football Union and Lawn Tennis Association“, yet there is no mention that the law is getting broken and that had to be the first action. So why is there exactly this anti Viagogo activity? Margins? Mere legal profits? The fact that someone with Harvard and Stanford goes to scam options is just too weird at times (it does on a rare occurrence happen), or is Eric Baker merely an intelligent person who found an option, an opportunity and took that to make nice coins on the side? Is that not the setting that matters?

You see, I still see idiots all over the field having no clear idea on how to properly use digital marketing, the fact that there are those who do know what to do and they can turn opportunity into profit, which is a valid choice, it is in that setting we see the valid response from google with: “The CMA has been looking at the business practices of ticket resellers. We await the conclusion of these inquiries and we hope that they will clarify the rules in the interests of consumers. We will abide by the rulings of these inquiries and local law“, that is the actual setting and it took me 35 seconds to get there from the moment I read the title (before even finishing reading the Guardian article). It is about local law. It might not even be about the inquiry. The inquiry has no legal bearing until set in law. I is that same setting that the Daily Mail needs to be investigated, as we were treated only moments ago to: “‘Worse than a street tout’: Viagogo charges woman £3,000 for two £87 tickets to take dying father on a bucket list trip to the Last Night of the Proms“. The question becomes, why are the DPP and the CPS not all over this? We now DEMAND to see the evidence. If Viagogo was part of that, then against their own settings we might have a clear setting of law breaking, if not, then the public are entitled to see the Daily Mail to be prosecuted on all fronts. there is no ‘press protection‘ here, not in this current setting, but at that point it is more likely than not that people like Labour MP Sharon Hodgson will suddenly be too busy to look at issues around anything involving ‘the freedom of the press’ and holding the press accountable for their actions, that is how is tend to pan out.

You see, this scenario is out of what, all these accusations at almost the same time, with the Daily Mail ‘hiding’ (or is that using) a kidney cancer case, with tickets merely 2 days old, it is all happening at the same time. If that is the case and the DPP and CPS are not all over this in 5-10 hours, the UK has a much bigger issue, a systemic failure of the law on several fronts and that needs to be addressed now, whilst the first question is not merely: ‘was the law broken?‘ The issue then instantly becomes ‘How many parties have been negligent in all this, and what are their names?

At that point, when that is proven then Labour MP Sharon Hodgson has a case that demands here to be in the limelight, not before and we better get to see some real answers, not some lame ‘we will look into the matter and make proper changes‘, because at that point, I will seek out Eric H. Baker myself, seeking some funding to set up digital campaigns of my own, demanding the removal from office of Labour MP Sharon Hodgson as she is seemingly too unfit for public office. I can get such a campaign started for a mere £35 a day, giving that campaign optionally 20-30 thousand views a day. With all the profits he is making, he might be up for that, did you consider that path Sharon? And in hindsight, in this inquiry, how much time and effort are you taking in regards to StubHub, Ticketmaster, Seatwave, CTs Eventim and Ticketbis? Did any of those raise flags?

You see, I do not oppose such an inquiry, I do not oppose that he law is adjusted making reselling of tickets to be illegal, and that is a valid step to take. Is it not weird that those steps cannot be found? Oh, there is that. You see the setting we get with: “UK law stipulates that the re-sale of concert tickets is not in itself illegal. But it is an offence to sell tickets in the street without a trading licence“. So there we see the first part and if Viagogo has that, we also see the flaw in the entire setting from the start. So when we consider that setting the law was a first requirement, we see the absence of the DPP and CPS and also a first indicator that Labour MP Sharon Hodgson is unfit for public office. That did not take long, did it?

I loved the article by Rob Davies. It made me question parts and that is always a good thing. Yet, when we see all this, we need to ask the Football Association, England and Wales Cricket Board, Rugby Football Union, Lawn Tennis Association, UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher and Music Managers Forum chief Annabella Coldrick, the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre a simple question: ‘Have you sponsored a bill to make reselling of tickets illegal?‘ If not: ‘Why not?‘ Those are the questions that matter, but are we seeing those questions asked and answered?

It was that simple and crying at the front desk of Google was merely a waste of everyone’s time, plain and simple. I am not friend of Viagogo, I would have personally never gone there, not for one or the other, just because I would have taken the path of the actual venue location and the official venue website, and in all this is it not interesting that when we are confronted with the Daily Mail part: ‘Hannah Maturin, 30, wanted to take her frail father John to see the Last Night of the Proms‘, that she decided to allegedly pay £2959 over £174 and decided not to call the Royal Albert Hall first with her dad being in such a state? It is what I would have done. And we see all this news at the SAME TIME? How is this level of orchestration going for you? So much common sense absent from so many players and no one is asking the question: ‘Why is that?

#ItMustBeMe

 

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Targeting the FBI

Do not worry, the FBI is not under attack from any hostile force, in this particular case it is me who will be on the offensive regarding statements made in 2014. Let me explain why. To get to the start of this event, we need to take a step back, to be a little more precise we need to turn to the moment 645 days ago when we read that Sony got hacked, it got hacked by none other than North Korea. It took me around an hour to stop laughing, the stomach cramps from laughter are still on my mind when I think back to that day. By the way, apart from me having degrees in this field. People a lot more trustworthy in this field, like Kim Zetter for Wired Magazine and Kurt Stammberger from cyber security firm Norse. The list of sceptics as well as prominent names from the actual hacking world, they all had issues with the statements.

We had quotes from FBI Director James Comey on how tightly internet access is controlled there (which is actually true), and (at https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/update-on-sony-investigation) we see “the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions“. I am pretty sure that the FBI did not expect that this would bite them down the track. This all whilst they rejected the alternate hack theory that Cyber Intelligence firm Norse gave (at http://www.politico.com/story/2014/12/fbi-rejects-alternate-sony-hack-theory-113893). Weirdly enough, the alternative option was no less than ten times more possible then the claim that some made. Another claim to have a giggle at came from Homeland Security, the quote was “The cyber-attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment was not just an attack against a company and its employees. It was also an attack on our freedom of expression and way of life“, which is a political statement that actually does not say much. The person making it at the time was Jeh Johnson.

You see, this is all coming to light now for the weirdest of reasons. The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/21/north-korea-only-28-websites-leak-official-data). The subtitle gives us “Apparent error by a regime tech worker gave the world a rare glimpse into the few online sources of information available“, so one of these high profile worldly infamous hackers got a setting wrong and we get “But its own contribution to the world wide web is tiny, according to a leak that revealed the country has just 28 registered domains. The revelation came after one of North Korea’s top-level name servers was incorrectly configured to reveal a list of all the domain names under the domain .kp“, you see, here we see part of the fun that will now escalate.

In this I invite NSA director Admiral Michael Rogers and FBI Director James Comey to read this, take note, because it is a free lesson in IT (to some extent). It is also a note for these two to investigate what talents their agencies actually have and to get rid of those who are kissing your sitting area for political reasons (which is always good policy). When  the accused nation has 28 websites, it is, I agree not an indication of other internet elements, but let me add to this.

The need to prototype and test any kind of malware and the infrastructure that could actually be used against the likes of Sony might be routed via North-Korea, but could never originate there. The fact that your boffins can’t tell the difference is a clear given that the cyber branch of your organisations are not up to scrap. In that case it is now imperative that you both contact Major General Christopher P. Weggeman, who is the Commander, 24th Air Force and Commander, Air Forces Cyber (AFCYBER). He should most likely be at Lackland Air Force Base, and the phone number of the base is (210) 671-1110. I reckon setting up a lunch meeting and learn a thing or two is not entirely unneeded. This is not me being sarcastic, this is me telling you two that the case was mishandled, got botched and now that due to North Korean ‘expertise’, plenty of people will be asking questions. The time requirement to get the data that got taken was not something that happened overnight. For the simple reason that that much data would have lit up an internet backbone and ever log alarm would have been ringing. The statement that the FBI made “it was unlikely that a third party had hijacked these addresses without allowance from the North Korean government” was laughable because of those pictures where we saw the Korean high-command behind a desktop system with a North Korean President sitting behind what is a mere desktop that has the computation equivalent of a Cuisena Egg Beater ($19.95 at Kitchen Warehouse).

Now, in opposition, I sit myself against me. You see, this might just be a rant, especially without clarification. All those North Korean images could just be misdirection. You see, to pull of the Sony caper you need stimulation, like a student would get at places like MIT, Stanford, or UTS. Peers challenging his solutions and blocking success, making that person come up with smarter solutions. Plenty of nations have hardware and challenging people and equipment that could offer it, but North Korea does not have any of that. The entire visibility as you would see from those 28 domains would have required to be of much higher sophistication. You see, for a hacker, there needs to be a level of sophistication that is begotten from challenge and experience. North Korea has none of that. Evidence of that was seen a few years ago when in 2012 in Pyongyang I believe, a press bus took a wrong turn. When some reporters mentioned on how a North Korean (military I believe) had no clue on smartphones. I remember seeing it on the Dutch NOS News program. The level of interaction and ignorance within a military structure could not be maintained as such the military would have had a clue to a better extent. The ignorance shown was not feigned or played, meaning that a technological level was missing, the fact that a domain setting was missed also means that certain monitoring solutions were not in place, alerting those who needed to on the wrongful domain settings, which is essential in regards to the entire hacking side. The fact that Reddit and several others have screenshots to the degree they have is another question mark in all this last but not least to those who prototype hacking solutions, as they need serious bandwidth to test how invisible they are (especially regarding streaming of Terabytes of Sony data), all these issues are surfacing from this mere article that the Guardian might have placed for entertainment value to news, but it shows that December 2014 is a very different story. Not only does it have the ability to exonerate the

We see a final quote from Martyn Williams, who runs the North Korea Tech blog ““It’s important to note this isn’t the domain name system for the internal intranet,” Williams wrote. “That isn’t accessible from the internet in any way.”” which is true to some extent. In that case take a look to the PDF (at https://www.blackhat.com/presentations/bh-usa-07/Grossman/Whitepaper/bh-usa-07-grossman-WP.pdf) from WhiteHat security. On page 4 we get “By simply selecting common net-block, scans of an entire Class-C range can be completed in less than 60 seconds“, yes, I agree you do not get that much info from that, but it gives us to some extent usage, you see, if something as simple as a domain setting is wrong, there is a massive chance that more obscure essential settings on intranet level have been missed, giving the ‘visitor’ options to a lot more information than most would expect. Another matter that the press missed (a few times), no matter how Time stated that the world was watching (at http://time.com/3660757/nsa-michael-rogers-sony-hack/), data needs to get from point to point, usually via a router, so the routers before it gets to North Korea, what were those addresses, how much data got ported through?

You see, the overreaction from the FBI, Homeland Security, NSA et al was overly visible. The political statements were so out in the open, so strong, that I always wondered: what else? You see, as I see it, Sony was either not the only one who got hacked, or Sony lost something else. The fact that in January 2015 Sony gave the following statement “Sony Entertainment is unable to confirm that hackers have been eradicated from its computer systems more than a month after the film studio was hit by a debilitating cyber-attack, a report says“, I mentioned it in my article ‘Slander versus Speculation‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/01/03/slander-versus-speculation/). I thought it was the weirdest of statements. Basically, they had almost 3 weeks to set up a new server, to monitor all data traffic, giving indication that not only a weird way was used to get to the data (I speculated on an option that required it to be an inside job), yet more important, the fact that access had not been identified, meaning it was secured gave way to the issue that the hackers could have had access to more than just what was published. That requires a little bit more explanation. You see, as I personally see it, to know a transgressor we need to look at an oversimplified equation: ‘access = valid people + valid systems + threats‘ if threats cannot be identified, the issue could be that more than one element is missing, so either you know all the access, you know all the people and you know the identity of valid systems. Now at a place like Sony it is not that simple, but the elements remain the same. Only when more than one element cannot be measured do you get the threats to be a true unknown. That is at play then and it is still now. So if servers were compromised, Sony would need a better monitoring system. It’s my personal belief (and highly speculative) that Sony, like many other large companies have been cutting corners so certain checks and balances are not there, which makes a little sense in case of Sony with all those new expansions corners were possibly cut and at that point it had an IT department missing a roadmap, meaning the issue is really more complex (especially for Sony) because systems are not aligned. Perhaps that is the issue Sony had (again this is me speculating on it)?

What is now an issue is that North Korea is showing exactly as incapable as I thought it was and there is a score of Cyber specialists, many of them a lot bigger then I will ever become stating the same. I am not convinced it was that simple to begin with, for one, the amount of questions the press and others should have been asking regarding cloud security is one that I missed reading about and certain governmental parts in the US and other nations have been pushing for this cheaper solution, the issue being that it was not as secure as it needed to be, yet the expert levels were not on par so plenty of data would have been in danger of breaching. The question I had then and have now a lot louder is: “Perhaps Sony showed that cloud server data is even less secure than imagined and the level required to get to it is not as high as important stakeholders would need it to be“. That is now truly a question that matters! Because if there is any truth to that speculation, than the question becomes how secure is your personal data an how unaware are the system controllers of those cloud servers? The question not asked and it might have been resolved over the last 645 days, yet if data was in danger, who has had access and should the people have been allowed to remain unaware, especially if it is not the government who gained access?

Questions all worthy of answers, but in light of ‘statements made’ who can be trusted to get the people properly informed? Over the next days as we see how one element (the 28 sites) give more and more credible views on how North Korea was never the culprit, the question then becomes: who was? I reckon that if the likely candidates (China, Russia, UK and France) are considered there might not be an issue at all, apart from the fact that Sony needs to up their Cyber game, but if organised crime got access, what else have they gotten access to?

It is a speculative question and a valid one, for the mere reason that there is at present no valid indication that the FBI cyber unit had a decent idea, especially in light of the official response towards cyber security firm Norse what was going on.

Could I be wrong?

That remains a valid question. Even when we accept that the number of websites are no indication of Intranet or cybersecurity skills, they are indicative, when a nation has less websites than some third world villages, or their schools have. It is time to ask a few very serious questions, because skills only remain so through training and the infrastructure to test and to train incursions on a WAN of a Fortune 500 company is not an option, even if that person has his or her own Cray system to crunch codes. It didn’t make sense then and with yesterday’s revelation, it makes even less sense.

Finally one more speculation for the giggle within us all. This entire exercise could have been done to prevent ‘the Interview’ to become a complete flop. You know that movie that ran in the US in 581 theatres and made globally $11,305,175 (source: Box Office Mojo), basically about 10% of what Wolf of Wall Street made domestically.

What do you think?

 

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