Tag Archives: Taylor Swift

Just like everyone else

For the longest of times, I have worshiped Google. I have always been pro Google, and having worked in their offices for a year, being exposed to the options within Google is just overwhelming (and the food is pretty much the best in the world). So what happens when you are shown that Google is basically just like all the other large corporations? What when you wake up to an early e-mail where google advises you on the new Google Home Hub and the Google Pixels 3 (which is appealing even if it is at the price of your soul), yet 150 minutes later, you are shown by the Wall Street Journal that Google is just like every other corporation at present, how would you feel?

I can tell you that an ice bucket of water over your head at that point would have seemed a soft caress in contrast to the rude awakening I was made privy to.

To get the better view, we need to go back to May 2108, where we were treated to: “Google Australia’s boss Jason Pellegrino, who spoke on a CEO panel at Sydney’s CeBIT tech conference today, told the audience there had to be a “utility exchange” for the data a business obtains, adding if there is no trust, it can prove detrimental“, as well as ““That was about a leaky bucket. That data was going to places that consumers didn’t expect, didn’t agree with and got not value out of themselves. “None of these data buckets should be leaky. However, it’s started a discussion about what’s in the bucket itself. The data that’s there has been used to deliver a great service – no one has been sitting there saying Netflix ‘I can’t believe the data that you’re sharing’ – because they are delivering a wonderful service.”“. So as we were given on Monday ‘Google Exposed User Data, Feared Repercussions of Disclosing to Public‘ with the two quotes: “Google exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users of the Google+ social network and then opted not to disclose the issue this past spring, in part because of fears that doing so would draw regulatory scrutiny and cause reputational damage, according to people briefed on the incident and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal“, as well as “A software glitch in the social site gave outside developers potential access to private Google+ profile data between 2015 and March 2018, when internal investigators discovered and fixed the issue, according to the documents and people briefed on the incident“, so basically Jason Pellegrino (not the exquisite Italian sparkling water) was basically calling the kettle black, whilst we can agree at this point that he had no business opening his mouth in the first place in light of 3 years of hidden software screw ups. It seems to me that both are in equal hot waters. Even if we water it down (not using sparking Pellegrino) into a setting that Cambridge Analytica was doing it on purpose and that the implied setting by Alphabet Inc. is that their software engineers basically did not know what they were doing (to some extent). We can call a fair dinkum, but something this hidden for three years. What optional issues can we expect from the Google Pixel 3, with Android version 3.14159265418 (Android Pie), as well as the Google Home Hub where the consumer is optionally revealing all their daily needs (including the speculatively implied and roughly estimated 54,233 daily attempts to watch Pornhub) with or without the optional keywords Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Ariana Grande, Shania Twain, Selena Gomez, Kirsten Dunst and Taylor Swift. Yes, that is the data those marketeers are willing to pay handsomely for, not to mention those unnamed parties speculatively involved in election persuasion consultancy projects.

It gets even more interesting that the Home Hub could potentially reveal when a person is at home or not (like on vacation), because there is no one who would want that data, right? Last week we would not have given it a second thought, yet with the revelations in the Wall Street Journal (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/google-exposed-user-data-feared-repercussions-of-disclosing-to-public-1539017194) we now have a much larger issue. It was fun to see the review on the Verge where we see this puppy in action (the Google Home Hub) where the operator asks for the overview of the Pixel 2, whilst pre-orders of the Pixel 3 are happening all over the world, another fallen blobby in all this.

So as we see the turmoil that one of the world’s biggest tech giants will face over the last quarter of the year, we need to realise that you should never meet your idol whilst he is still alive. I reckon that Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai will be able to hold his cool for the smallest amount when he meets me, but that is presently not a given.

So as well are treated to “The closure of Google+ is part of a broader review of privacy practices by Google that has determined the company needs tighter controls on several major products, the people said. In its announcement Monday, the company said it is curtailing the access it gives outside developers to user data on Android smartphones and Gmail” we need to wonder what is next for the social media people. I actually preferred Google+ as it was less junk driven then Facebook. And it also gave me the timeline as a first instead of the populist drive, which still annoys me in Facebook. So even as some at Google as trying to wane us to slumber, the cold reality is : ‘the company has no evidence that any outside developers misused the data but acknowledges it has no way of knowing for sure‘. That is the immediate setting in this, we no longer know who has our details and we might never know how we were optionally specifically phished and targeted as per 2015, is that not a nice new reality to face?

So as we need to realise “The company will stop letting most outside developers gain access to SMS messaging data, call log data and some forms of contact data on Android phones“, we might think it is no big deal, but this has the data potential to be a lot larger than any nightmare scenario that the UK ‘Hacked Off‘ ever envisioned in their nightmare settings that the press would have been up to, when people with less scruples (not by much though) have been given optional access to and let’s not forget, the criminals tend to be more creative then the law enforcers ever have been (or some of the intelligence services for that matter).

So even as we accept that the Google plus issue is a dwarf compared to the Facebook scandal, it still optionally victimised the setting through: “It found 496,951 users who had shared private profile data with a friend could have had that data accessed by an outside developer, the person said. Some of the individuals whose data was exposed to potential misuse included paying users of G Suite, a set of productivity tools including Google Docs and Drive, the person said. G Suite customers include businesses, schools and governments“.

I am not alone in this, a few hours ago, the New York Times are giving us: ‘How Will Google Play Its New Product Announcements on the Back of a Data Scandal?‘ (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/09/business/dealbook/google-data-products.html). It is not merely that part, we need to consider that at present only Apple has a seemingly clean slate and they can use this to their advantage. It is in the end watered down by the NY Times through “They’re all part of Google’s strategy to highlight the company’s services via hardware (rather than necessarily become best-sellers in their own right)“, they are all still ruled by software and the cold setting here is that it is their software that was incompletely tested and prodded by those who should have done so. I refuse to merely blame a programmer here, it is a much larger problem!

The failing here can be seen in places like Ubisoft, EA Games, Bethesda, Microsoft and several other large developers. The non-stop trivialisation of proper testing and proper timelines to test settings is at the back of all this. It is not merely a lacking QA, it is a non believe in the power of testers and longer conversations in their insights that is here as well. Issues seen in FIFA 19, several shortcomings in NHL 19, AC Odyssey bugs reported mere hours ago and the less said regarding the Microsoft Surface Go the better and the list goes on. These issues shows that Google is part of the entire problem, the quality testing and scrutiny is seemingly not done (or not done to the extent needed), and with the Google Pixel 3 just around the corner, with a lessened confidence level at present, would you at that point trust the Google Pixel 3XL 128GB at $1500, or will you play it cautiously and select the less powerful, but still a large step forward when selecting the Huawei nova 3i 128GB Handset at $600, in this day and age, can we feel comfortable with spending an optional $900 too much? I will admit that there are a few alternatives at that price, not merely Huawei, but the list of quality choices is very small.

The revelation that the Wall Street Journal exposed us to on Monday is probably the most inconvenient that Google has faced in a long time. Even before we see whatever Google has to promote in the near future on 5G capabilities and enabling technologies, they now have a visible problem to address. It is not merely a dent in their armour, it now shows us a Google that was optionally never the knight in shining armour it has largely been seen as, which is a much larger problem for Google then they are willing to admit to any day soon.

Too many are hiding behind hype terms like AI and machine learning, yet the realisation that non repudiation and authentication was required on many more levels where data is involved in all this, is a failing on several levels, predominantly the developers one and it is there that Google will possibly face a very hard time to come.

#Halfwaytotheweekendnow

 

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Way of the Dodo

Tariffs are nothing new, these things have existed for the longest time. I grew up where that was a given, so in my youth, only the rich bought a Harley, a Chrysler or a Chevy. I still remember walking to the shop in Rotterdam and look at all those awesome vehicles through the windows (I was too young to drive in those days), many grew their passion that way. It seems odd that living next to the country that made Volkswagen and Mercedes, we wanted a Blazer, a Harley or another American car. Nowadays, the petrol guzzlers they used to be wouldn’t make it today in Europe. So when we see: ‘EU tariffs force Harley-Davidson to move some production out of US‘, I merely see a stage setting to the old ways. The Guardian gives us loads of information as the market slides, as the shift of production and the changing of the US stock market. That is the direct visible impact of the Trade wars. Australia had this setting a few years earlier as the car industry packed up and left Australia for more exploitative settings in Asia. In the booming market that is stated to exist, we see ‘Harley: EU tariffs will cost $100m/year in short term‘ (source: the Guardian). this is a war the US president started and he forgot that companies, especially US ones, have one focus, short term ROI and a trade war changes the hats of many corporations overnight. This is seen to some degree as Bloomberg treated us to ‘Bigger Booby Trap for U.S. Economy‘. We get introduced to “Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on June 20 that officials are beginning to hear that companies are postponing investment and hiring due to uncertainty about what comes next” (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-24/trump-s-trade-war-sets-bigger-booby-trap-for-strong-u-s-economy). It is what is sometimes referred to as the corporate mindset, the consideration that tomorrow is not going to be any better for now. In all this the US hides behind “tax cuts power both consumer and company spending. That would be the strongest in almost four years and twice as fast as the first quarter’s annualized advance of 2.2 percent“, yet the US seems to forget that tax cuts also means that infrastructures are falling apart, the US has a debt it cannot seem to pay and the debt keeps on rising. This in a nation where the national debt has surpassed $21 trillion (103% of GDP), whilst in addition the statistics show that the US faces a setting where the debt per taxpayers is $175K opposing a revenue per taxpayer is merely $27K, a $148K per taxpayer shortfall, that is not the moment when tax cuts have any clear momentum, because the moment the infrastructures start failing, at that point their momentum seizes. Even as Nariman Behravesh the IHS Markit’s Macroeconomic Adviser give us “If they keep down this path, all the positive effects of the tax cut will be gone“, it is worse than that. This gives the indirect implication that unemployment rates will go up giving additional ‘attack’ against the US infrastructure. All this seems to become a direct result of the tug of war between tariffs and protectionism. The BBC gives the best light (at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-43512098), when we consider ‘Five reasons why trade wars aren’t easy to win‘. In this we see (not all five added):

  1. Tariffs may not actually boost steel and aluminium jobs much. The question becomes, how much of a boost would be possible, and is this proven or still merely speculation?
  2. Tariffs are likely to raise costs in the US, so the cost of the product will be increased as these CEO’s do not want to take it out of their margins, so it will be bookkept in another place, the consumer has to pay for all these charges in the end.
  3. Tariffs could hurt allies and prompt retaliation, which is already the case and when you consider that the two largest deliverers of steel are Canada and the EU, the move does not make that much sense. So we see a tariff war that will be about exemptions. In that regard, the tariff war is a bust where the companies hit will be facing a rock and a hard stand on tariffs, this is shown by a few clever people to move part of their operation to Europe, and Harley Davidson is merely the first of several to make that move.
  4. China has options, this is the big one. The US blames China for flooding the market with cheap steel and aluminium and has already stepped up protective measures against Chinese steel products. In opposition, US businesses, including those in the car, tech and agriculture industries, are eager to get into the Chinese market, giving leaders there some leverage. So in the end, the tariff war is not strangling US businesses to fan out to the Chinese market, as exemptions are gained here, the tariff war becomes close to pointless and it merely drove down the economy. This last part is not a given and cannot be proven until 2019, which could null and void any chance of President Trump getting a second term, in addition, if this is not going to be a slam dunk win for the Democrats, the Republicans better have a strong case, because 2020 is the one election where the chances for winning by Jeb Bush (Florida) and Ann Coulter (Florida) seems to be a better option than re-electing the current president. Who would have thought that in 2016? It becomes hilarious when you consider that 2020 is the year that Marco Rubio declined to run, only to give the presidency to Ann Coulter. My sense of humour needs to point that out, whether it becomes reality or not.

The previous part is important to consider, not for the matter of who becomes president, but the setting that the economy is in such a state where we all see the proclamation ““Anyone who thinks the economy is being wrecked doesn’t know what they’re talking about,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a June 21 Bloomberg Television interview“. We accept the fact that he states that, yet everyone seems to overlook that the debt also gives an annual interest that is close to $100 per taxpayer, now consider that 80% of the population is in the 15% or 10% bracket. So from their taxation we see a maximum of $755 where 13% goes straight to the paying of the interest, when you are in the higher bracket 3% is lost. So before anything else is done up to 16% is lost and that accounts for 80% of the population, merely because no budgets were properly kept, the US infrastructure lost up to 16% straight from the start, that is the undermining of an infrastructure that also fuels the economy which it can no longer do. You see behind this is the IP, or as the US calls it the IP theft by China. I am uncertain if we can agree. I am not stating that it does not happen, I merely look at the Dutch examples from Buma/Stemra in the 90’s and their numbers were flawed, perhaps even cooked. They never made sense and after that we have seen ‘political weighting‘ of numbers that were debatable from the start.

So when we look back to 2017, we see the NY Times giving us: “Intellectual-property theft covers a wide spectrum: counterfeiting American fashion designs, pirating movies and video games, patent infringement and stealing proprietary technology and software“, yet I have seen these accusations in Europe and the numbers never added up. So when we see: “Central to Chinese cybersecurity law is the “secure and controllable” standard, which, in the name of protecting software and data, forces companies operating in China to disclose critical intellectual property to the government and requires that they store data locally. Even before this Chinese legislation, some three-quarters of Chinese imported software was pirated. Now, despite the law, American companies may be even more vulnerable“. It will happen, yet to what degree does it happen? What evidence is there? Consider the setting when we think of students. Students tend to have one of the harshest budgets to live on. Let’s take 100 students and they all decided to duplicate (read: borrow) the latest album from Taylor Swift ‘Reputation’ (it is easier to imagine it when the victim is a beautiful blonde who only recently stopped being a teenager). Now, basically she lost $2390 in revenue, yet is that true? How many would have actually bought the album? Let’s say 10% of all students are real fans and they would have bought the album (when not confronted with the choice of food versus entertainment), so the actual loss is $239. Now, this is still a loss and she is entitled to take action here. Yet the people making a living in the facilitation industry will demand the loss be set to $2390 that is where the numbers do not add up! There is the setting of eagerness to hear an album versus the need to have the album. We are all driven with the need to hear the album and some will buy it. This opposes several views and whilst the implied copied work allegedly is done so in the hundreds of thousands, the evidence is not there to support it. That is where weighted forecasts are the setting and it is an inaccurate one. So in all this, from the IP point of view, do we have 23,675,129 C# programmers, or merely 24 million people who wanted to take a look at C# only to install it and never use it because they could not figure out what they were looking at?

Now we get to 2018, where we see (at http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/23/technology/china-us-trump-tariffs-ip-theft/index.html) the projected issues with “The United States Trade Representative, which led the seven-month investigation into China’s intellectual property theft and made recommendations to the Trump administration, found that “Chinese theft of American IP currently costs between $225 billion and $600 billion annually“, I wonder what numbers they are set on. Now we can agree that the likelihood of “”China has sought to acquire US technology by any means, licit or illicit,” James Andrew Lewis, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, wrote in a blog post Thursday” being true in regard to defence projects would be high. Yet in all this, where is the data supporting these views? Without proper data we are faced with US companies setting expected revenue that is many millions too high and that part remains unanswered on many fronts. Now in defence, we get it! That is the game, so as we consider the news last year from breaking defense with the news that: “compassion for the Army, which is trying to standardize its computer systems across more than 400 units in the next 28 months. The objective is a “single software baseline,” where every unit has the same set of information technologies. Such standardization should simplify everything from training, maintenance, operations and future upgrades“, this is fun to read as I had to set up something like that for a company much smaller. There we learned that Dell was kind enough to have within two shipments the same model computer yet both had different patches because one chip had been changed. Now consider that this ‘unsettling dream of standardisation‘ was for a company with hardware usage merely a rough 0.13% of what the US Army has. So, that is something that will bite them soon enough. This doesn’t make the setting smaller, but a lot larger, the wrong patches tend to open up networks for all kinds of flaws not correctly set. So the cyber intrusion setting would be an optional 300% larger, giving a much larger success rate, all people willing to sell data to the Chinese (or the Chinese merely enticing the American people to embrace marketing capitalism for their own gains).

To explain the previous part in its proper light we need to realise. It is not merely about IP theft and rights; it is also about common cyber sense. In both the military and corporate setting there is a need for levels of standardisation, whilst IP that tends to rely on standardisation to be more successful, the IP theft setting is actually opposite to that. The Conversation (at http://theconversation.com/three-reasons-why-pacemakers-are-vulnerable-to-hacking-83362) gives us when they look at the medical dangers. As they give us Power versus security as well as Convenience versus security we see the first dangers. So consider the following. First there is “according to Carnegie Mellon researchers, can increase the energy consumption of some mobile phones by up to 30% because of the loss of proxies“, then we get “Most embedded medical devices don’t currently have the memory, processing power or battery life to support proper cryptographic security, encryption or access control“, giving us that hacking into someone’s pacemaker is actually not as hard as one might think. Now consider that encryption, or a lack thereof can be found on a large variety of IoT devices, and any army has their own devices that need to be more accessible at all times. In the second consideration we get “The prospect of having to keep usernames, passwords and encryption keys handy and safe is contrary to how they plan to use them“, as well as “When your pacemaker fails and the ambulance arrives, however, will you really have the time (or ability) to find the device serial number and authentication details to give to the paramedics“, it is the age old setting of convenience for the safety of all. So as we realise this, how much IP theft was already available before anyone realised its need? It is almost like the gun laws in the US, everyone wants gun laws whilst there are millions available for unmonitored purchasing defeating the purpose altogether. In that same setting we ignore common Cyber Sense too often allowing for IP theft on a much larger scale. The issue is that it does not mean that this is actually happening, or that others have interest to steal that particular IP. So we can optionally agree that the Chinese government that they definitely want all the IP on that front, even as some sources state that there is still a problem. So when we consider to an example, we need to look at that part of the information came from a research report by LtCol B. L. Ream, USAF, which gives us “There are two types of guidance systems available, the AGM-65A/B is optical guided and the AGM-65D model Is Infrared guided“, as well as “Once launched, the missile maintains a lock on to the target and guides autonomously, providing a standoff launch and leave capability. The aircraft can then egress the target area or set up to fire again in a target rich environment“, yet the other undisclosed source gives us that a programming issue on the locking when it is set through a buddy system. The: “data link control of the weapon can be provided from two different sources. Either the launch aircraft can guide the weapon or a buddy aircraft can control the weapon after launch. In either case, data link line of sight must be maintained between the data link aircraft and the weapon. Thus, on a standoff control scenario, the further away from the target the control aircraft is the higher altitude it must maintain. Even though this may not appear to be tactically sound, the standoff range is impressive“, so the undisclosed source that gives that the Data Link has a match issue and there is a chance that the speculated offset of 35 metres is ‘accidently implemented on targeting‘, will there be an issue of IP theft? When materials are openly available on the internet, as I was able to read the report on the Defense Technical Information Center site. When is there a case of IP theft? In this I love the reference that WIPO uses. Here we see: “Copyright protection extends only to expressions, and not to ideas, procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such“, considering that ballistic software is 90% math (read: the application of mathematical concepts), copyright as an option goes straight out of the window, in addition, the data link adjustment makes it in theory a new product that was not covered in the first place. So standardisation makes it easier to get to the lollies, and by adjusting the wrapper it ends up not being IP theft, as long as no trademarks reside on the wrapper (a ‘it is more alike than not‘ issue in IP law).

And now for the main meal

This is seen in the CNN article I raised earlier. The headline ‘President Donald Trump has slapped tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, taking aim at China’s theft of US intellectual property‘. It was and has always been about IP protectionism. Business Insider gives us “Two former senior Defence Department officials said Chinese intellectual property theft cost the US as much as $US600 billion a year, calling it possibly the “greatest transfer of wealth in history.”“, the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/995063be-1e0a-11e8-956a-43db76e69936) gives us: “as Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign minister, suggests: “It is entirely inappropriate to view any trade with Canada as a national security threat to the United States.” Yet once this loophole is used so irresponsibly by the US, of all countries, where might it stop?” The Financial Times takes it a lot further giving raise to the question how did it in the end serve IP? Where we saw more than once the terms ‘as much as $US600 billion a year‘, yet no evidence is presented. There is no setting that ‘Two former senior Defence Department officials‘ can present a list adding the numbers up and with $600 billion in the balance (as opposed to the commercial industry) we see that if proper evidence was presented a better case could have been made. Where we see in opposition to China: a lucrative market in designer knockoff goods in places like Amsterdam and London. London getting its share of 17 million tourists, all happy to get the latest Gucci bag for a special discount price of £19.95 as well as in Amsterdam where the 14 million visitors can get them for a mere €25. So did Gucci report a €812 million in IP theft losses? What about the other brands? I was the proud owner of an Australian Polo for $12, I merely needed a polo shirt (many years ago) as some drunk blonde thought it was perfectly normal to dance in high heels in the middle of the road holding a glass of red wine, so as she jumped to get away from a car (who had an actual reason to be on the road), I ended up with her wine on my shirt. So I got to the first place that sold a polo shirt and got a new one so I would not arrive at a diner red stained before it even began. Did I initiate IP theft? I had no idea what ‘Australian’ was in those days. There is the setting, what we know, what was real damage and how it is presented by those needing inflated IP theft numbers?

It is in this setting that we need to see the stage for reported IP theft. We agree that the smallest fraction is indeed set to the covert acquisition of military IP, yet the bulk (well over 95%) is all about a misrepresenting economy, the brands want their losses to seem as large as possible, the US is setting that stage to prospective economic health, yet that evidence cannot be validated and the tariff war is likely to become a much more detrimental factor in the US economy that is currently presented as a revenue bubble that will impact sooner rather than later. The independent gave us last December (at https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/economy-signs-interest-rates-donald-trump-market-bubble-burst-next-year-a8102356.html) that ‘Five economic signs that can tell us if the bubble will burst next year‘. Here we see “The good news is that the world is at last experiencing a coordinated expansion, with all major regions growing reasonably swiftly“, as well as “the policies that have led to this expansion, especially ultra-easy money conditions, have created a boom in asset prices that at some stage will come to an end“. There are a few views in all direction, yet the one that no one seems to focus on is the quality of life. Earlier this year USA Today reported that “California has the worst quality of life in America“, the sunny state is where people can no longer afford to live to any decent degree. That part is forgotten, the QoL in New York is in 25th position, not a great place to be. The Quality of Life in the US has decreased to the degree where it is the lowest in the developed world. That and the fact that the US is at minus 21 trillion does not help. It is shown in the US Social Progress Index where none of the five largest state economies (California, New York, Illinois, Florida and Texas) are in the top ten states on social progress. This is important and reflects back to the student example I gave earlier. So as these people will all ‘borrow’ the latest Taylor Swift album and none of those will buy it, because they cannot afford to do so. That part becomes even more visible when you consider the Wired setting on pre-owned games in 2016. At some point Microsoft made the terminal choice as given by Wired through “You may remember that Microsoft attempted to do away with “used games” with the launch of the Xbox One. (Yeah, they made some hand-wavy claims of players being able to trade games at “participating retailers,” but the DRM scheme meant you couldn’t borrow, lend, sell them on eBay“, that setting is merely exploding in an economy that is not moving forward. That with 80% of the people on merely a 15% tax bracket or lower and the cost of living there is still going up. Even as Microsoft is pushing to “buy at the Microsoft store“, a digital copy cannot be handed out to friends, so there is little push for that move when you can only afford 4 games a year. However, Microsoft is in equal measure pushing for the Game Pass which balances one for the other. EA is making a similar move and it is actually an intelligent move to make. The few that would buy the latest NHL version no matter what gives is nothing compared to the overwhelming group that will happily buy the previous year version when it is part of a package deal at $40 a year. So I might wield the latest NHL version, at $40 a year getting the previous season of FIFA, NBA and NFL is just smart thinking. Yet these people are equally part of the claimants of IP theft. The question becomes (even as we accept that it will happen), how large is the actual IP theft? So when the US adds a 10% tariff on video games, does that merely make the download 10% more expensive? I do not think that from $40 to $44 for EA games is an increase we lose sleep about, yet the ‘cost’ of downloading remains as well, and in the flawed Microsoft design, how does the tariff apply over time, on DLC and other elements in gaming? All these changes and increases, where the consumer sees no upside, all based on projected and presented numbers without its proper representation and scrutiny.

This is how an economy goes the way of the Dodo, so when you think (source: Sydney Morning Herald) that the start of ‘US plans to curb Chinese tech investments, citing security‘ is a good idea and it is waxed with “the White House would use one of the most significant legal measures available to declare China’s investment in US companies involved in technologies such as new-energy vehicles, robotics and aerospace a threat to economic and national security, according to eight people familiar with the plans“, we need to see in equal setting the fact that 750 million Europeans might find the escalation of events important and threatening enough to take a 180 degree position on tech operators like Huawei when we are treated to “Huawei, China’s biggest maker of handsets and networking equipment, which has been flagged numerous times by US lawmakers as a possible security threat to Americans. Upon the New York Times’ publication of a piece (paywall) highlighting Facebook’s data sharing with Huawei, as well as with three other Chinese companies, the social network told the paper it would wind down (paywall) its partnership with the Shenzhen-based phone brand“. One side tries to stop and filter, whilst the other side turned open the tap and let the room flood. Even now, after a congressional hearing and the Cambridge Analytica events, we see alleged transgressions and the sharing of data on a stage where we see only growth. With “Due to the importance of highlighting the natural and heritage landmarks in the Kingdom, “Huawei Saudi” joined together with Qumra’s community of photographers to organize a workshop around “photography through smartphones” by using the latest “Huawei P20 Pro” phone” and the setting that offers the latest in mobile technology far below the prices that Google, Apple and Samsung have. It does not matter on how the tariff war is to become a disaster, it is the mere realisation that it fails because those implementing changes do not seem to comprehend that the economy consists of well over a billion consumers and they cannot afford the 10% more or the 28% more expensive mobile phone alternatives. In all this the people confronted with the dilemma merely went directly to the consumers, as such Harley Davidson is moving to Europe to circumvent a few barricades, a tariff war that was short sighted to a lot of people more intelligent than me and the country that considers naked short selling to not be illegal seems to be doing just that to its own economy, how is that the setting of morality of capitalism?

We consider the way of the Dodo and realise that in the end it merely tasted like chicken.

#HowSmartWereWe or is that #HowSmartHuawei

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The cold light of logic

I have been jabbing my head whether I should write this. You see there is a witch-hunt going on and I honestly have an issue with witch-hunts. In my mind, a witch-hunt is never ever done under the light of reasoning. It is always done hiding behind and exploiting waves of emotions. All this started when a barrister called Charlotte Proudman decided to link to another barrister named Alexander Carter-Silk. The man accepted and wrote the quotes “Always interest to understant people’s skills and how we might work together“, he was delighted to connect, but the statement (given before the quote) that became the issue was “I appreciate that this is probably horrendously politically incorrect but that is a stunning picture”.

The wave of accusation that followed regarding ‘misogynistic behaviour’ regarding a Human Rights Barrister is now completely out of control. Anyone who has a chip to grind seems to go out on a free for all.

For my view? It is a stunning picture. I say that after have been a photographer for wel over 25 years. I started my photography passion in the late 70’s and seldom have I seen a photo of this level of quality. I’ll up the ante! I state here and now that you will not find 1000 photos of this quality in LinkedIn, a place with 300,000,000 registered members. I compared the photo of Charlotte Proudman to Kim Kardashian, Ariana Grande (Nickelodeon actress), Taylor Swift and Zac Efron. They are not even close to the photo result of Charlotte Proudman. Now, as a photographer the first person I blame for that is the photographer.

After that I wonder whether Charlotte Proudman (in this specific case) is overreacting. Consider the emotion you feel when I state this! I am not claiming she is, I am wondering whether she is. That remains a valid question and if you cannot consider that, then you should not judge because whatever you think you are weighing, you are definitely weighing elements you are not honestly considering, which implies the act of misjudgment

The writer stated from the beginning “this is probably horrendously politically incorrect“, in all this he mentioned the picture, not the person.

And let’s be clear, When I digged a little and found the same picture in high resolution (from her website), which it is the same pic we saw in both LinkedIn and on her Twitter account. The photo is what I regard as pristine quality, now the question the follow are mere questions. I do not know the person, I never met her and I have no idea what she is like. Yet the image shows her skin to be perfect (was it photo shopped?), her eyes have a colouring and clarity I have seldom witnessed in person. I compared them to the close ups of the eyes of Ali Larter, Mila Jovovich and Claudia Schiffer. Not the colour of the eyes, but the super sharp colouring of the eyes. All these facts do not make for the mind of Charlotte Proudman, but take these elements and now consider a very professional photo of Charlotte Proudman. Her photo stands miles above the photos of women (men too) that make a living from their looks. In all the witch-hunting waves, no seemed to have taken a rational look at what was stated by a Human Rights Barrister.

Not some lawyer or Judge in the commercial field, nope a Human Rights Barrister!

Now, we can agree that the statement was unfortunate and it was most definitely not the best statement to make, but this barrister must have been blown away by the image that was linked to the connection, I was blown away and I have been a photographer for a long time.

There is another quote (at http://www.theguardian.com/law/2015/sep/08/charlotte-proudman-alexander-carter-silk-linkedin-photo-comment-law-firms), it is “Most people post pretty unprofessional pictures on LinkedIn, my comment was aimed at the professional quality of the presentation on LinkedIn, which was unfortunately misinterpreted“. I personally agree with that part.

In her own statement “The eroticisation of women’s physical appearance“, so in that light how should we see the LinkedIn photo from a Caroline Pemberton? She is a TV presenter, a producer and her photo shows the image of an experienced model. We could go on with models like Nikki Prat and Sue Di Chio, The quality of the photo of Charlotte Proudman beats them all with miles to spare. No one took a good look at the picture and they all hid behind the emotions of text. By the way, the pictures of men (even those dependent on looks) are massively worse. Russel Crowe, Zac Efron, Richard Branson even Barack Obama. Now, I cannot vouch whether those profiles are real, yet with 8 million followers at least one real profile will be amongst them.

In all this there is a reality. “‘I am on Linked-in for business purposes, not to be approached about my physical appearance or to be objectified by sexist men“, as she herself states. There is 0% doubt that this does not happen, yet in all this, I have some serious doubts whether Mr Carter-Silk had any intention of being that kind of a person (I never met him, so I cannot vouch for that part), yet in all my years on LinkedIn those in heavy professional walks of life, most of them rely on LinkedIn and pardon the ‘unacademic’ phrase, those who rely on that part of life: “we tend to not shit where we eat”.

Meaning that people like both Alexander Carter-Silk and Charlotte Proudman both see LinkedIn as the professional portal it is. The massive witch-hunt wave I am watching unfold now seems to be about people and their own political agendas. When we see quotes like “Feminist barrister Charlotte Proudman explains why she is NOT for ‘equality’ & how Feminism is NOT about ‘equality’” (from @FeminismIsLies), we must acknowledge that the spinning is starting. In final thoughts, I must give mention to Sam Thomas (@iamsamthomas) with “Spot of advice, gents: “I appreciate this is probably horrendously politically incorrect” is never a promising opener“, he is absolutely correct! In equal measure mention must be given to Sarah Butcher (@MadameButcher) who stated “What to do when someone tells you your LinkedIn photo is ‘the most stunning they’ve ever seen“.

Both sides made mistakes one side for stating amazement the other, not for speaking up (which one should always do), but by speaking up against the one person who more likely than not had no misogynistic or sexist objective in mind. I have been wrong in the past, I will be wrong in the future, but here, I get to rely on 35 years of experience in photography and it is unlikely that I could have made that shot (but then, I was never graduated with a degree in photography.

Delta Python Lobster

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Dumping costs

I saw the news two days ago, but I left it on the side as I was looking at other issues (like Euro leaders enabling Greece and so on). Yet, the article ‘Taylor Swift criticises ‘shocking, disappointing’ Apple Music‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jun/21/taylor-swift-criticises-shocking-disappointing-apple-music) is a lot more important than you think. I was unaware for two reasons. One, I do not use streaming services. I go to the shop and buy those silver coloured circular contraptions. I think that they are called CD’s. For all the ‘security’ claimed to be, I do not trust online providers. If someone ever wipes their records, whatever I owned will be gone. There are other reasons, but they do not matter at this moment. What is the real price now is the light that Taylor Swift throws on big business.

You see the quote “Swift has joined independent labels in attacking Apple’s plans not to pay royalties during the three-month free trial of its new Apple Music streaming service” is pretty important. The richest corporation in the world decided to attempt a new business model. So this corporation, the wealthiest one in the world basically will not pay royalties to new and starving artists (the 99.9999943% who are not Taylor Swift or successful).

How come, it takes one artist to open her mouth whilst the media and so many others remain quiet? One artist speaks up and suddenly we become aware. Can anyone explain to me how it is possible that Rolling Stone Magazine (at http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/apple-introduces-apple-music-streaming-service-24-7-radio-20150608) did not lead with this fact when the article was published on June 8th 2015?

It is also very interesting how Taylor Swift opened the door for everyone to suddenly give voice, where none were saying anything at all (in this I am referring to the larger news outlets, not the smaller and small digital reviewers who seem to have been asking questions as early as the first week of June, perhaps even longer.

The sheer audacity that a third party seems to have to pay for the cost of a trial business model is plenty of reasons to ask Apple some questions, especially as they are already using tax havens to a planetary maximum. In all this we also see the Wall Street Journal where they (at http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2015/06/15/apple-to-pay-common-royalty-rates-for-music-service/) that initially the quote “Apple is offering a three-month free trial from June 30. During that period, Apple won’t pay music owners anything for songs that are streamed” (on June 15th), whilst the people at the Wall Street Journal seem to be devoid of opinion in that article. Consider that this is the Wall Street Journal, and the used business model, a clear model of exploitation is not raising any clear questions on an editorial level is even more astounding.

I am on the fence for two reasons, as I will concede that I might have missed it until it came to the Guardian or BBC, the fact that pages of newspapers in online searches are only now catching on is equally disturbing to me. Why did this issue remain below the radar for so long? I have mentioned before that too many newspapers seem to ‘appease’ (read cater to) their advertising base (read large corporations), this event only seems to enforce the unacceptable trend.

The WWDC2015 did not seem to have any information at all (June 8th). I understand that Apple might have steered clear from mentioning it, yet that others had not considered these events is equally questionable. The last part is visible in the Guardian article at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/08/apple-streaming-music-regulators-beats-music-spotify. This was on May 8th, where we see that several questions are being asked, yet not the royalties part, moreover, when we consider those involved, we must take a look at the quote ““Apple has been using its considerable power in the music industry to stop the music labels from renewing Spotify’s license to stream music through its free tier,” claimed its report, which also alleged that Apple had offered to pay major label Universal Music a fee “if the label stopped allowing its songs on YouTube”“, whilst the royalties part was overlooked. Now, it is very valid that royalties issue is initially overlooked, yet consider that Dr Dre (Beats Music) is gunning for Spotify, was he also unaware, if so, keeping many in the dark from that date onwards, does that not point towards another set of questions? Even though the competition Commission was taking a look (at http://nypost.com/2015/04/01/competition-commission-probing-music-streaming-services/), where we see “a probe of Apple and other premium music-streaming services to see if they are working with music labels to unfairly squash no-fee streaming services” yet the fact that Apple in addition would not pay royalties for the first three months is an additional worry, was it not?

So in light of all this, The Wall Street Journal article does not ask questions regarding that business mode and Rolling Stone Magazine, seen as the one place for performers and music lovers refrained from illuminating that issue, so why are questions not asked, more important, why are the bulk of reporters only now shouting their articles regarding all of this? At least as a non-journalist (that be me), who focusses on non-musical issues has a decent excuse, what about all the others? All this illuminates a silent acceptance of events, just like the people seem to respond to FIFA. In that light it seems that the legal field who should be all about justice and social legality should have been a lot more protective against these large corporations a lot sooner, where were they?

 

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About them copyrights

It’s all good and fine to get through the day, to read on how it is all ‘sooo’ virtual, so available. Yet, in the end, is this ‘the truth’? Consider when we see the article, again the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/oct/15/taylor-swift-uk-itunes-out-of-the-woods), so we could say how it sucks to be Taylor Swift at this point. You see, when you use the ‘excuse’ “due to a new strategy my record label is working on in the UK“, we can safely assume that this is about something else. Likely commission, possibly ‘better’ kickbacks, or better margins, yet overall the fans will suffer and they are now looking at other means like uploaded records to get their music.

I wrote about such events in ‘The real issue here!‘ where I stated “So, almost 20% end up buying the discs (implying 80% will not)“, I had written about such issues in gaming, in movies and as Taylor Swift will soon learn in music too.

By playing for tougher deals, you end up losing a lot. And in this case, as I see it Team Swift only have themselves to blame. Just like the gamers of day old were ignored by the US at large, music fans will not tolerate delays on such events. That is the drawback of the digital age. When you offer it NOW, you better offer it to all. So when we see the quote “Out of the Woods is likely to be available for at least some of Swift’s fans in the UK soon, then. But many will have turned to other means to hear the track: for example, there are already a number of uploads of its audio to YouTube“, you better believe that fans will find another avenue. In the end, her real fans will buy it one way or the other, yet Taylor lost out on a vibe that could have gotten her a few hundred thousand, perhaps even a million additional downloads. She will miss out on that one this time.

So is this fair to Taylor? Does that matter? When you decide on a strategy that leaves one out, that one will either find an alternative or will move on to something else. Such is life. In gaming, when this happened in the 80’s, people had no choice but to copy or wait for outrageous prices. So, those with copied games got to play it, those who had no contacts ended up waiting in excess of one year. The digital age now has given us the option to get it ANYWHERE fast, usually at a base price and often as fast as day one. In the age where product outstrips demand by a lot, the digital age becomes a different field. An opportunity missed is a chance lost, not delayed. Music is exactly that to a massive group (the Taylor Swift fans will always buy), but that leaves a large group missed and it loses out to potential new fans, but is that a given?

No it is not, yet we see that the digital wave tends to attract the curious, those who get one song and then learn that the music is interesting to seek out more. Through Audio Galaxy in 2000-2001, I got to know the Corrs, Bond, and a few others. Now, I have almost all their albums, which I bought in the record store, it started with one simple song. That market relies on the new waves of songs, not anticipated waiting.

So, is this me changing my view on copyright? Not entirely, when a movie comes out, one should buy it. I have no issues with buying a movie or watching it in the cinema, so when I decide to buy a game, movie or album, when it is released, I expect it to be released. When we get an alleged form of discrimination where the consumer is discriminated against, should such injustice not be fought? I am not talking about a simple delay like we tend to see it in games, where movies tend to be out in the US one moment, and a few weeks later the rest sees it. That part I have no real issue with. Yet, in the case of Star Wars Episode 1, where the movie was released in May in many places, it would take 5 months until it was released in the Netherlands, for a movie like that, such a delay was just unheard of and as such an illegal download of the movie was circulating within a few days. Many would still see it on the big screen, but not all. Evidence of such events have been seen for decades, so why would the team of Taylor Swift be this ‘uninformed’ (ignorant might be a better word) in thinking that the fans would accept it, and beyond that the rest would just ‘wait’ for a girl named Taylor Swift?

Some might, most will not.

And if you want to consider alternatives, then think of the time, the line and the timeline. Our world is changing, it is less about the product that is convenient for us, it is more and more when it becomes convenient for them, not us (cinema and TV marketing has been all about that for far too long). We could read it as a form of maximised profit, yet overall it is about marketable momentum. That is seen as we see at present that ‘analysts’ already are stating that they predict ‘Star Wars: Episode 7’ will make $1.2 Billion at the Global Box Office. The movie is nowhere near release and these predictions are already made. As we see that this movie is coming out in 2015 as a summer release, so much can go wrong! And we are already been ‘tailored’ to fit a 6 week gap.

People are still in a financial depressed era. Even though it is now starting to pick up, the longevity of our economy is currently not a given, with the Tesco issues still  in play in a hardy way, there is a real issue in the UK, even though there unemployment is now down to 6%, yet overall the cost of living is still rising faster than most of the incomes correct for, so as such, income is still not in the level that we see where people en mass (especially those with family) can just go to the cinema. The last movie to really make it was Avatar in 2009; it was a unique wave not unlike Titanic, they are still the first two movies in the all-time box office records. So, at present SW7 is already ‘anticipated’ as one of the top 6 movies of all time. That, whilst the first Avengers movie, making 1.5 billion, took the cake in 2012 and the anticipation of the second movie is extremely high on many minds. Beyond that there will be Fantastic Four, Pan (with Hugh Jackman) and at least three additional movies are on the list for the summer of 2015. Now consider that until the economy is truly repaired families might have the option to see two of these movies. What are the chances that they choose Star Wars? There is no denying that Star Wars will be very high on the list of many, but then so are the Avengers. That is if nothing else happens, like new games, new records and shifting time lines.

So as we see the escalations of ‘needs’ and ‘options’, we will see a change on how people perceive copyright and translate this into the ‘right to copy’, welcome to the new economy of those who cannot afford it!

So as we see what team Swift thought would be and what Team analyst expects it to be. I would state that the truth is nowhere in the middle, and that the truth is revolving around two points of flexible perception, whilst a placement of either is not a given either positive or negative, but what will be, is not linearly in the middle of what would be and that what is expected to be, that what is, is not a given ever in marketable approaches!

But what ‘might be’, requires us to take another look at what we see that is currently done to us. As we are all reduced to ‘product to purchase’ and no longer regarded as ‘consumers to buy’, we see a changing market of expected anticipation.

Is this a negative evolution of marketable industries?

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