Tag Archives: TechRadar

Wrong way intersection?

We all look at times, we look in the direction that we are going we look at where we want to be, in this we are all alike and for the most, we stop to look where we were, what we passed and where we came from. These are natural moments. So what is natural on focussing on Huawei, especially the accusations by Finite State, a Matt Wyckhouse undertaking. I have a few issues here. You see, when a person hides behind statements like: “‘The Finite State report was highly critical of Huawei, claiming that the Chinese company’s “devices quantitatively pose a high risk to their users. In virtually all categories we examined, Huawei devices were found to be less secure than those from other vendors making similar devices.” According to Finite State, this included potential backdoors. “Out of all the firmware images analyzed, 55% had at least one potential backdoor,” Finite State reported. “These backdoor access vulnerabilities allow an attacker with knowledge of the firmware and/or with a corresponding cryptographic key to log into the device.”“, when the bla bla is surrounding “Out of all the firmware images analyzed, 55% had at least one potential backdoor“, a percentage with ‘potential backdoor‘, you should optionally be regarded as a hack giving a hatchet job, plain and simple. A real cyber security firm will give us: “These are the clear backdoors found“, there is no percentage, and it will be presented as evidence plain and simple. That is how this works; let’s face it, Columbus Ohio is not really Silicon Valley, is it? (there is a plot twist, read on please)

And when TechRadar gives us: ‘Huawei’s telecom equipment is more likely to have flaws than rivals’ claims report‘, my question becomes based on what evidence? When it is linked to: “when compared to similar equipment manufactured by its rivals Juniper and Arista“, why are they dependable? Or perhaps only the NSA has those backdoors? There is a disgusting amount of bias coming out of the mouths from those who should stay absolutely neutral, and it gets to be worse.

Twenty four

It is like a real time drama with Kiefer Sutherland, less than 24 hours ago, Cisco gave us: “Cisco issued three “critical” security warnings for its DNA Center users – two having a Common Vulnerability Scoring System rating of 9.8 out of 10“, which is really really bad and the rest of the media ignores it completely. So when we get: “In one advisory Cisco said a vulnerability in the web-based management interface of DCNM could let an attacker obtain a valid session cookie without knowing the administrative user password by sending a specially crafted HTTP request to a specific web servlet that is available on affected devices. The vulnerability is due to improper session management on affected DCNM software” there is a much larger story, especially as Cisco is working to remove a few severe failings in its own system, which are unlikely to be removed for a few more months, all leading to larger issues, but the media is seemingly more interested in spouting anti-Huawei materials and not interested in warning optional victims, how does that go over to you?

TechRadar also gives us: “Finite State makes big claims in its report but until it is publicly released, we won’t know for sure if its findings are accurate. However, now that the news is out, further investigation into its legitimacy will likely be carried out by the media, world governments and of course by Huawei itself“, a relatively unknown company in the middle of nowhere; that is how it reads to me and I will happily have my serve of humble pie when they are proven to be correct, yet that public release is likely to find delays to maximise on fear, all whilst Cisco is evading the limelight by media friends. This is not entirely correct from my side, Cisco has been warning all kinds of parties since they were found and that is a noble thing, yet the media does not hand out that reality to the larger media does it? (They had not responsibility to do so)

I have a second issue, this is supposed to be a ‘for profit‘ venture and that is fine, they have been around for 2 years, yet we now see: “the security report was done pro-bono as the company believed making this information public was the best way to inform policy makers of the security issues in Huawei’s equipment“, so this report requiring a massive amount of hours and testing if we go by: ‘all the firmware images analysed‘, the (initial) absence of numbers is also debatable here, so in all this time and resources required, this report was done pro-bono? Is (like it goes in deceptive conduct) merely a pro-bono report, or are they servicing Juniper and/or Arista? Is that not a valid question?

I find the setting debatable from the mere TechRadar point of view. From my point of view, well known cyber experts have looked at Huawei and none of them have given any clear indication that there was a clear and present danger with anything that Huawei has, they had shown previous issues and they had been dealt with, so unless Finite State gives the golden bullet with clear evidence, than the future of Finite State might not be that bright. Can we expect anything form a cyber-firm that facilitates for others? Well, yes but those are not known as Cyber Experts, they are merely digital marketing firms and the method used implies that they are not very good at what they do.

So I can jump in there and show them how to do it, as long as it comes with 300 W Spring St #1904 as a stating bonus (we all have our price), it is 2 blocks from the Ohio FBI office, as well as a nice view of the Scioto River (good for enjoying coffee in the morning). Would I compromise? Optionally, but do you want to have faith in someone who compromises, or someone telling you how it is at a price? I get it, at times there is a tactical reason to do things pro-bono, sometimes it brings in the larger fish, yet in this case, when the floor falls from under them, in the way it was presented, do you have faith in them looking towards keeping you safe? Is that really the security you want to bank on?

Cisco has issue, yet they came forward (almost) immediately telling us how it is, the fact that the media is treating them darling and keeping them out of the media to the largest degree is not a crime, it places merely question marks on the integrity of the media, and how much credibility do they really have?

There is a larger concern and it is a serious one, the media has set the stage that less and less information is trusted, especially in fields where trust is essential. It changes the game, but how is not to be told, we cannot tell, yet there is every concern that Europe, Asia and India are less and less likely willing to trust US equipment. There has been clear indicators that 5G evolution did not give rise to trust, the fact that so called pro-bono work is working out is also not a given, until there are clear trustworthy sources showing all that Finite State had indeed the silver bullet, things can only go worse for many over the long term and that has been proven in several ways offer the last decade. It is not that I want.

Let’s not start kidding around here, the report is damning, there is no doubt. When we look past the TechRadar hype created and take a serious look at the paper (at the end), we get 55 pages of tech heaven, all jetlagged turbo text, with all the hypes that any techie get off on.

When a firm gives us: “Across the firmware tested, there were 8,826 observations of vulnerabilities with a CVSS score of 10.0, the maximum severity level, indicating serious flaws in the systems“, it better come with backing, and the source of the data, as well as the firmware better be verifiable, from my point of view, any discrepancy shown and Finite State becomes liable. Even when we see: “Our automated system analyzed more than 1.5 million files embedded within 9,936 firmware images supporting 558 different products within Huawei’s enterprise networking product lines“, the sources are not given to us (as far as I saw). The appendix does give us the hardware list and it is a huge list, so now that the die is cast we will have to see what happens next, not merely to Huawei and Finite State, large names have stated on the record that no issues had been found, they will be in equal measure get judged if the scrutiny on the Final State paper holds up, no matter how this goes, there is a shit storm coming and it will impact at least one party, yet how large it will be cannot be stated at present, the claims are too loud and if the scrutiny breaks the paper it might be the end of Finite State and its board of directors before they got decently started, should they make it, the opposition is a lot larger and it gets to be a lot uglier for many players involved.

The paper also gives clear premises, for one there is: “It is common for embedded devices to ship with a default password enabled for the primary account, “root” in this case, as long as the password can be changed and is documented as part of the standard operating procedure of the device.” OK, that is fair enough, but there is a second part, how many consumer get told on how to change that? And how does that compare to issues found with Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon as documented parts that show users how to do that. Is that not equally important? In the end I can debate all the parts until I look like a failed auto asphyxiation attempt, yet the scrutiny from me has little to no value, it is the response of Huawei and the other players that now becomes the part, because these expert making 1000% or more of what I make will not be allowed the ‘Oops!’ or ‘That was not part of our investigation’ excuse, in that way whatever comes next will get ugly fast and in light of my initial exposure of anti-Huawei goons, I have an equal responsibility to take this to the next level, no matter how it goes, because that too is part of accountability. No matter how we slice it, Finite State has given us something serious to look at (one of the very first to do so), so now we look at the boffins at MiT and Stanford on what they make of it, and if the technical dudes at DARPA decide to wake up for this one, that would be nice too.

I look forward to round two, because it will be a beauty to watch on hundreds of channels all over the planet, this would make for great TV (and optionally ten times better than anything the Kardashians can show) so I’ll get the popcorn for this one.

https://finitestate.io/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Finite-State-SCA1-Final.pdf

Finite-State-SCA1-Final

 

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Falling off the wagon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Games and more

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

What makes the headline?

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

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

Gizmodo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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At the end of a journey

Today is not for the faint of heart, or those who are hindered by emotional parts, today is not merely about gaming, it is about the game. We are currently confronted with a few issues, the first one is given by the Guardian, was for two weeks. My initial issues with ‘Apple Arcade v Google Stadia: which is the future for video games?‘ is a simple stage. Why can’t we have both? I was never anti one or pro the other ever. I was not about Atari ST versus Amiga, I was not about CBM-64 vs Atari 800, I was also not about N64 vs PS1. My issue with Microsoft was their stupidity, as well as their refusal to listen to their gamers, that is the mere reason why the Nintendo Switch is now on par with the total Xbox lifetime sold consoles, it took Nintendo less than 2 years to get there and they got there, the most powerful console is now actively being surpassed by the weakest of the three consoles, that is the impact of stupidity (optionally ignoring Karma was partially a reason too).

So I believe that there is space for both, a case can be made for either console and even as we are most likely to get one of them first, there is a decent case for getting them both down the track. We will have to wait what is in store for us, yet the Google controller clearly looks like something we have seen before. Yet wait; only two days ago we see Microsoft Stupidity strike again. This time in the shape of the Microsoft CFO giving us: ‘Xbox CFO on Google Stadia: “Cloud Won’t Match Local Experience”‘, so thank you Tim Stuart (apparently he is the Xbox CFO), thank you for confirming this, the entire push of Cloud and always online is proven to be a bad choice, as I stated for the last 6 years. Too bad that you never considered the stupidity of your console choices years ago, you might not have become the underdog, defeated by the weakest of all next gen consoles.

I particularly enjoyed the passage (at https://mspoweruser.com/xbox-cfo-on-google-stadia-cloud-wont-match-local-experience/) “Microsoft believes that it will struggle in providing gamers enough content as the company doesn’t have strong ties to Game developers and publishers.“, it is merely a temporary delay at best, you see, when it came to exclusive games, Microsoft was nowhere to be found for almost two years, and when we see on how the magnificent growth through indie developers is seen on the Nintendo Switch (which surprised me too), we see that new players giving free value like (Gems of War) on IOS, android, PS4, XB1 and Switch is showing to be an amazing journey and for those who have all the consoles 500% more joy than ever expected. By having micro transactions, but not pushing them, we see a much larger market that will also benefit Google Stadia, then there is Fallout Shelter and there is a whole range of games that will find a happy audience on the Google Stadia (and its Apple adversary). So when it comes to Microsoft, they gambled and lost, they have remained short sighted as I expected them to be and they (as I personally see it) openly forsake their gamers for illusionary short term goals end their loss against their competitors is not done yet, not by a long shot.

So when I see “In an interview with The Telegraph, Microsoft’s Chief Marketing Officer for Xbox, Mike Nichols said, “Emerging competitors like Google have a cloud infrastructure, a community with YouTube, but they don’t have the content.”” I see a new level of shortsightedness. I see the failing from Mike Nichols. I designed three ideas in gaming in under a week and I am not even the visionary that some are, content can be corrected for; indie developers can make up the difference much faster than the barricades that Microsoft erected long ago.

Google has an optional trump card that none of the others used and as such has the open advantage much sooner than expected. The article has more laughable statements, but let’s move on for now. You see, Techradar had the right idea last week when it gave us ‘Google Stadia may be the first good use for 5G phones‘, the entire setting of 4G ‘Wherever I am’ and 5G ‘whenever I want it’ will find unification in Google Stadia and it will grow close to exponentially soon thereafter. Techradar also gives us: “Google executive Phil Harrison, meanwhile, confirmed that Stadia has already started gaining momentum and that Google received strong support from developers the game streaming platform which in theory solves one of the major concern regarding Stadia“, I do remain critical on the need to measure and keep in check those who are in it for the micro transactions and short term gain for themselves, they are not a joy, they are the Achilles heel of gaming soon enough, but the momentum counts and must not be ignored. Apple Arcade has a larger issue, Apple lost well over 450 billion in value and even as close to 50% of the loss has been regained, Apple cannot afford to be casual, there are 2 billion gamers in the world and if Apple does not play its cards right, they merely become another short term player in a game setting that they might not comprehend. Microsoft didn’t, that much is clear and they got hit and they got hit hard.

The other side

You see, the moment I ‘feared’ has come to town, there have been two games over the last year, two games that changed it all. The first is God of War 4; a game so amazing, so large and so perfect in almost every way that is boggles the mind. Even now, watching the total cut scenes on YouTube is a journey that is close to 6 hours. 6 hours that is a story supporting a game with graphic perfection that was unseen until that day. Now we see ‘Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice‘, a game with graphic and gaming perfection. Both games are PS4 exclusives, both are singular reasons to upgrade to the PS4 pro and both are challenges of the largest degree. It sounds morbid, but at the end of my life, I am finally seeing what should be regarded as the apogee of gaming. Finally I see something that equals and surpasses on what my imagination could perceive, after 40 years of gaming, we are finally getting the games that are the top in its field. Both for the Sony console. That is what Apple and Google are up against, yet they are not. With their solutions they are much more a trump solution for the 1 billion mobile gamers wanting a little more. Nintendo Switch with their docking station is proving the switch between on the road and the large TV screen, both regarded in equal measure on one system and with 5G google can do the same thing, Google Stadia could be a growth system (optionally much more than Apple) in the stage where systems are vying for a billion gamers. So even as Microsoft was (in my personal view) deceptive to hide behind “We’re developing Project xCloud not as a replacement for game consoles, but as a way to provide the same choice and versatility that lovers of music and video enjoy today,” they are eager to avoid the entire online only and pushing us towards their Azure desk. They opened that door and they are now learning that Google is much better in applying that very same portal, another battle lost for Microsoft (and they were never that ready to begin with). A game lost in one generation, what the Xbox360 build form the strong setting of the very first Xbox, the Xbox One pretty much lost and at present they have no options to regain that market any day soon, they wasted too much options on that road.

Google has an additional advantage, the bulk of all gamers have a modern TV, so form that part we see more than the Guardian gave us (at https://www.theguardian.com/games/2019/mar/27/apple-arcade-v-google-stadia-which-is-the-future-for-video-games) two weeks ago. With: “streaming would open games up to millions – if not billions – of people who don’t want or can’t afford to buy pricey equipment“, take that consideration with a $59 Chromecast to stream to your TV, at that point a person’s Mobile is going to be the centre for gaming, stream to TV with merely a mobile and a controller. That is the true growth for Google and even those who have a console; it will be enriching to take a turn to the options Google offers, any gamer would want to take that path. As I see the gaming solutions that the CBM-64, the Atari ST and the Amiga offered, a mere high resolution upgrade will make hundreds if not thousands of games, none of them IP protected, all offering the original designers a stream of additional wealth, all there for the taking and all there for the streaming. Some of the most original games, even now still regarded as awesome passing of time, all ready for the next few years. So there we see just how the statement “Microsoft believes that it will struggle in providing gamers enough content as the company doesn’t have strong ties to Game developers and publishers” is not just a weak one, it is one that can be overcome close to overnight, a mere state of denial by what was once great and is optionally now soon forgotten, the mere application of not listening to gamers and keeping the focal point of greed and dependency got them there and now soon to be surpassed not once, but optionally twice. How is that for a lack of vision. Even as I see more solutions that could set a wining stage on the Xbox 360, now it will be the stage that fuels optionally both the Google as well as the Apple solution to gaming.

The games they provide will not equal the two games mentioned or what the PS3 pro offers for now, but as we clearly knew and what Nintendo Switch has proven to us, the most powerful console does not win, the best game does and when we see that, when we see that great gaming has existed for decades, yet some of these titles were forgotten, or better stated not played on current systems, they are not dead, they can be revived in the new gaming world that is introduced by Apple and Google.

So what was three is now set to the stage of 5 and in that stage we know the top  two, yet in the end Microsoft could fall back to 4th position soon enough, when that happens will they finally wake up in Microsoft land, or will we get more marketing and statements that can be laughed at soon thereafter. Gaming is a much more serious business than most realise and those who do not will not last long in that place, so the need to listen to the gamers was always a first, the one part that Microsoft never considered for the longest of times, that is why they are sliding from 2nd to 3rd and soon enough optionally 4th. If I am still around in 2022, I wonder if my words will be shown and proven to be correct. For Microsoft to gain momentum they will require to make massive changes to their way of thinking and with both Google and Apple entering that field, will they change fast enough, and more important, will they finally truly listen to their gaming population?

Time will tell.

 

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Crime as a business model

Have you considered that yet? Have you considered that turning towards the criminal side of revenue (and additional spiking profits) you could gain a bundle? That question came to mind when I saw ‘Apple and Samsung fined for deliberately slowing down phones‘. The guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/oct/24/apple-samsung-fined-for-slowing-down-phones) gives us: “Apple and Samsung are being fined €10m and €5m respectively in Italy for the “planned obsolescence” of their smartphones“, So when we see that Apple got a €10m for their application of creative endeavours. Now consider that Apple makes about €450 per iPhone, or €625 after all the tax write-offs and other offsets that they can legally employ. So in all, to break even Apple required the sale of 16,000 phones just to break even on that fine. Now look at the numbers from Statista (at https://www.statista.com/statistics/804398/us-iphone-sales-by-model/). There we see that the latest three models model 8, model 8 plus and model X represented over 60% of their sales share up to December 2017 and 54% up to June 2018. Now consider that this represents 41.03, 46.68, 77.32 and 52.22 million units. So the stage is close to 60% of 88 million units (almost 53 million units), as well as 54% of 129.5 million units giving us almost 70 million units. So there we have it. The stage where the means to sell 123 million iPhones through what the court is seen as deceptive conduct gets a fine that amounts to 16,000 units. A fine received that represents a mere 0.013% of their cost of doing business. How much of a joke does it need to be before we see proper legal reprimanding large corporations? The governments will not properly tax them; the legal institutions will not properly fine them. The fact that the people do not to a much larger degree realise that crime is the only way to pay your bills is basically beyond me. And this is not even including the latest model iPhone which is a lot more expensive (the cost of making one is likely to be equally expensive though). That whilst Samsung and Apple are seen as the only two bad guys seems not entirely correct. Because if Samsung (an Android phone) has it, I feel certain that other Android phones might have a similar setting in play (speculated, not proven or documented), so it is not merely Apple with its IOS. Yet the stage of Apple is now not how they got rich, we see that their unscrupulous practices is an optional the reason why they are the richest company on the planet, and governments are letting them get away with it. When a criminal is allowed to keep 99.987% of their ill-gotten gains, why not merely become a criminal? I myself send my resume to the GRU (a Russian punitive monitoring government corporation relying on creative solutions), for the mere reason that if I can do a better job than Igor Valentinovich Korobov, why not? Not sure if they are allowing an Australian to run their military intelligence operations, but hey! If Apple can think outside of the ethical box, than so can I.

But this is not about me; this is about a growing amount of corporations looking to stage retail growth. Even as we see that this is going on in many retail segments, The path pushed onto people in places like gaming where at the mere saving of $15 Microsoft gave its players an Xbox One (and Xbox One X) with merely 50% of its capacity. Yes as I calculated it for consumers the difference was $15 to get twice the storage, it was that bad and the media trivialised it for the longest of times. So it is not a surprise that 70% of the life sales cycle of the Microsoft consoles was surpassed by Nintendo with its Switch in 15 months, the most powerful console in the world (and initially its less powerful brother) has been around since June 2014, and in 15 months the bulk of all sales is close to being equalled by the weakest console of the three large players. Yet the issue is not that Microsoft had a bad idea, they have had plenty of those. When a console maker knowingly and willingly undercharges a system, is that not deceptive conduct too? The problem is to prove it. Yet when we realise that a 1TB drive gives you less than 1,000 GB, merely because of the operating system (which makes perfect sense). Some give that reserved space to approximately 140GB leaving you with 860GB. Now consider that games like HALO5 and Gears of War 4 are each 100GB, Forza Horizons 4 is said to be 95GB, that gives us 34% for these three games alone and we are already getting the news that Fallout 76 and Red Dead Redemption 2 will be massive too, as are AC Origin and AC Odyssey. So we are looking at an optional 76% filled hard drive with these 7 games. Seven games to fill the drive. OK, I am the first one to admit that not all games are this big. The Lego games are Tiny in comparison, many other games like the EA sports games are between 38-45GB (normal edition) I did not find reliable information on how much extra the 4K part is, but usually the size doubles. So at this point, when that hits you, can we consider (not agree, merely consider) that Microsoft could optionally have been engaging in deceptive conduct as well? It is all around us and there is too much of it. Also, I am not ignoring Sony in this, they solved it by allowing people to change the hard drive from a 1TB to a 2TB (at their own expense), which is currently $119, so 100% more storage, which initially putting it in would have been a mere $15 difference on consumer levels. Yet the question there is did Microsoft do anything illegal or merely something really stupid? If they had allowed for personal upgrades there would have been a much larger Xbox One wave, I am certain of it. The Sony tray solution could have been equalled by the Xbox One X from Day one, giving the gamers actual value for money. That part will of course be looked at when Xbox One Scarlett comes out, which is still set (according to some sources) to 2020, yet this is not about gaming, or merely the Xbox. There is a group of people that is finally becoming savvy enough to look at what they require to have something worth their time and money. We see a growing group of people knowing what to ask on their new mobile, their new console, their new tablet and their new notebook/netbook.

So how does this relate back to the optionally ‘criminally implied through innuendo‘ business model? This is actually more important than you think. There was an additional reason for all this. You see a shop named JB Hifi (the most visible one in Australia) gives the consumer: “Across town or around the world, the new Surface Pro 6 is your perfectly light, incredibly powerful travel partner — now with the latest 8th Generation Intel® Core™ processor and up to 13.5 hours of all-day battery life.“, they even added the footnote: “Surface Pro 6battery life: Up to 13.5 hours of video playback. Testing conducted by Microsoft in August 2018 using preproduction Intel® Core™ i5, 256GB, 8 GB RAM device. Testing consisted of full battery discharge during video playback. All settings were default except: Wi-Fi was associated with a network and Auto-Brightness disabled. Battery life varies significantly with settings, usage, and other factors“, you see, TechRadar gives us another story: “Microsoft promises up to 13 hours and 30 minutes of local video playback from the new Surface Pro. That’s a lofty claim and one that our test unit failed to live up to. That being said, based on our tests of the previous model’s battery, we no doubt see a noticeable improvement. Test results came in 24% and 32% longer than the previous model at 4 hours and 3 minutes, and 6 hours and 58 minutes, respectively, this is a long way off from the “up to 13.5 hours of all-day battery life“, which is also deceptive (to some degree); you see when we look for ‘all-day battery life‘ ZDNet gives us (relating to the Samsung Note 9: “it seems that what ‘all-day battery’ means is that if you are an average or typical user, then the Note 9 should last you all day without needing a recharge, but a whole bunch of real-world factors can get in the way of that.“, this translates to the Surface Pro that you need to be able to get through the day without needing a recharge when you are an average user, when we see an initial 13.5 hours, we all would agree, yet TechRadar gives us a mere ‘6 hours and 58 minutes‘ (the longest version) which is less than a working day, especially when you are using it on your trip from and to the office (or was that the other way around). Now we get to see the other side of it all and even as the iPads are better, but not by much, it is the marketing usage of ‘all-day battery life‘ that is becoming a much greater issue, in this case (even as I concede that there are several models of the Surface Pro, also there are issues with different models and usage, places like JB Hifi uses that same setting for the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 i7 512GB, and as we acknowledge that the i7 needs more power than the i5, we see that that battery life is optionally misrepresented and it is odd that at this point Microsoft conveniently does not seem to check on how their devices are sold. When we look at The Verge, which gives us: “Thurrott reports that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella met with Lenovo last year and quizzed the company over how it was responding to Skylake problems. “Lenovo was confused,” claims Thurrott. “No one was having any issues.” It appears Microsoft’s own problems were the result of the company’s unique approach to the Surface Book, with custom firmware and drivers. While other, more experienced, hardware makers were able to respond quickly, Microsoft’s delay impacted reliability“, this is not the end, especially when you consider that the article is a year ago and is a reflection on the ‘Leaked Microsoft memo reveals high Surface Book return rates‘, and whilst this was the Surface Pro 4, a system two generations old, we see that basic stages have not been met with better quality control and a much better information control setting. In addition, the ‘party line‘ response on battery life is as I personally see it a much larger issue that seems to be determined to sell more and hope that the consumers will not bring it back. I believe that there is a failing in the UK and Australia, a fact that is shown in the Daily Mail (at https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6233259/Microsoft-unveils-899-Surface-Pro-6-iPad-killer-alongside-new-999-Surface-Laptop-2.html), where we were treated to “The Surface Laptop 2 now gets 14.5 hours of battery life, while the Surface Pro 6 still gets a solid 13.5 hours on a single charge“, a quote that should be enough to get the Daily Mail in hot waters with a whole league of unsatisfied users and if the Daily Mail concedes that they were merely going by Microsoft numbers, it will be Microsoft taking a hot bath of people demanding that level of battery performance. Or it is entirely possible that Microsoft will claim that there was an unfortunate miscommunication between their marketing department and Annie Palmer, the Daily Mail article writer. In the end the setting should be regarded as sales through deceptive conduct and even as these two players are the most visible ones, they are not the only ones. There has been the Apple Error 53 issue, Telstra with their interpretation of ‘unlimited’ and Optus with their interpretation of DCB (Direct Carrier Billing) and the less said about my interactions with Vodaphone (aka Vodafail) the better, all whilst that list of corporations that are graduating summa cum laude on the art of miscommunications keeps on growing too.

A lot of it is only visible after a long time and after the damage is done. We all agree something needs to be done, yet when we realise that the fine is merely 0.013% of what some end up gaining, there is absolutely zero chance that this situation will be rectified within the lifespan of us, or our children, the profit margins are just too large.

for me, my interactions with Apple costed me $5599 in the end, money I did not have to spare and even as I still love my G5 PowerMac and my iPad one, I remain sceptical and cautious of anything new that Apple released after 2006, the price has been too high and I am merely 1 of one billion active Apple users, they have that much to gain by continuing on the path they currently are.

The law is seemingly slightly too flaccid to resolve the situation at present, how sad is that?

 

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