Tag Archives: the Verge

The stagnant life

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

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

How does a phone set a stagnant life?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Leave a comment

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

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?


1 Comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Law, Media, Science

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.



Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Media, Science

Trusting Anti-trust cases?

Today will be about Jennifer Rankin and her article ‘Google fined £3.8bn by EU over Android antitrust violations’. First off, it is a good article, she did absolutely nothing wrong (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jul/18/google-faces-record-multibillion-fine-from-eu-over-android). We get the goods (not all mind you) but a clear picture and that is what I like, a clear picture to work with.

Right off the bat we start with “Google has been hit with a landmark €4.34bn (£3.8bn) fine by the European Union over “serious illegal behaviour” to secure the dominance of its search engine on mobile phones“. Interesting setting as there are Android based phones and IOS (Apple brand X phones). The android systems ALL have full access to Google. As for the search engine, there are two elements. The first the engine for searching itself, which is in android, giving us an open source setting and (at https://searchcode.com/), you can take a look yourself, now you will still need the skills to program, but that is a discussion for another day. The second part is to find stuff, which requires the PageRank. Now we have an issue, because (as the Americans say): ‘that shit is patented!‘ plain and simple. Whilst Microsoft and IBM were belittling Google in 1999 (heard it myself in the UK) Google was working and growing in what is now defined as ‘the development of the Android mobile operating system, the Google Chrome web browser, and Chrome OS, a lightweight operating system based on the Chrome browser‘, it took 5 years for them to get serious traction and whilst they grew, the other two were marketing their BS on every level whilst trusting in VP and players who actually did not know any of their shit, people relying on PowerPoint presentations, bullet points and hype expressions. Now we get the first part that matters: “The European commission imposed the record penalty after finding that the US tech firm required smartphone manufacturers to pre-install Google’s search and browser apps on devices using its Android operating system, which is used on 80% of all phones“. This is the first part. You see, there is a merely a partial truth and it is largely incomplete. Any mobile smartphone needs an OS. So we have Apple with IOS, there is or was) Blackberry, Microsoft and Google with Android. The rest was either not willing or eager to play on any serious level. They all had this: ‘it is much better going for larger systems‘. Even the larger players ignored the power of Mobile and Smartphones for too long. That evidence is seen with NBC where we see “In a farewell post on LinkedIn, Microsoft’s former head of Windows, Terry Myerson, explained why Microsoft failed in the smartphone business“, (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/29/why-microsoft-failed-in-phones.html). The quote: “It comes down to two problems: Underestimating Android’s business model, and building on an older technical platform that wasn’t quite ready for the job“. So in two mere dimensions we see the acknowledgment of large corporations set in a place of short sighted expectations whilst using a narrow minded business model. That is apart from the issues that Windows Mobile had, I wanted to add that list of issues, but I calculated that this section would be no less than 6000 words, with the additional issues on Windows 10 mobile adding a serious amount of words to the 6000 words required. Blackberry did not survive the times either. It had a good platform, but ultimately too expensive for most businesses. It is still going on, but not in the same way it was. Blackberry was not flawed, it focused on specific groups and those groups, those who choose Blackberry will love it forever, it merely could not hold up the settings there were, I reckon that the 2008 crash wiped well over 35% of their customer base instantly, a setting that many corporations tend to see as a fatal blow, Blackberry was no exception. So 50% of the ‘larger’ players are already gone, none of it had anything to do with Google, or with the patented parts. So I would love to scrutinise the Danish Margrethe Vestager (without resorting to Denmark and Hamlet). It starts with: “Google has used its Android mobile phone operating system “to cement its dominance as a search engine”, preventing rivals from innovating and competing “and this is illegal under EU antitrust rules”” No! They did not! We see the clear admission from Terry Myerson giving us ‘building on an older technical platform that wasn’t quite ready for the job‘, knowing that already sets one of the two outside of the consideration. I have given the audience evidence again and again on how stupidity rules at Microsoft. The Surface and Xbox platforms are two distinctive places where this is visible. Both have a narrow minded setting, both are short sighted and even the business approach to grow the customer base failed to do its job. Reuters gave us that last year with ‘Microsoft Surface devices fail on reliability: Consumer Reports‘, an overpriced system that cannot even get close to 80% of what Apple could do with its very first iPad in 2011. In addition Reuters gives us: “The non-profit publication surveyed 90,000 tablet and laptop owners and found that an estimated 25 percent of those with Microsoft Surface devices would be presented with “problems by the end of the second year of ownership,” according to a study published on Thursday“, how can any device with a 25% failure issue be in the market in the first place, and it is very connected, as this is the mobile industry, the mobile industry is more than merely a mobile phone, all connected devices that rely on mobile technology (Wi-Fi or cellular) are part of that failure. The Reuters article (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-microsoft-surface-idUSKBN1AQ1EP) we also get “According to the Consumer Reports survey responses, the Microsoft devices were found to freeze, unexpectedly shut down or have issues with their touchscreens, Beilinson said. Altogether, the reliability issues made Microsoft a statistical outlier compared with other brands. Apple Inc. had the most reliable devices, Beilinson said“, so how many corporations should be considered when they are the outlier in a negative way? #JustAsking

It is time to look at article 101 (antitrust) (at https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:12008E101&from=EN). Here we see:

  1. The following shall be prohibited as incompatible with the internal market: all agreements between undertakings, decisions by associations of undertakings and concerted practices which may affect trade between Member States and which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the internal market, and in particular those which:
    (a) directly or indirectly fix purchase or selling prices or any other trading conditions; (not charging for a service is a right anyone has)
    (b) limit or control production, markets, technical development, or investment; (impeding your own technical development, intentional or not is merely your own visionary stupidity)
    (c) share markets or sources of supply;
    (d) apply dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties, thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage; (nope, the non-patented part of android is open to anyone)
    (e) make the conclusion of contracts subject to acceptance by the other parties of supplementary obligations which, by their nature or according to commercial usage, have no connection with the subject of such contracts.

The first issue is that the Page rank which is part of this is patented, so there is already a setting of exclusion. The fact that the others are 10 year late to the party is equally evidence that there is a wrongful conviction here. The setting that they are all scared with the coming of 5G, whilst Apple and Google are the ONLY ONES who will be decently ready, both ending up with a massive market share. We see at this point the third failure of Microsoft. You see, it was not merely the two that Terry Myerson stated at CNBC, the ‘Underestimating Android’s business model‘, as well as the ‘an older technical platform that wasn’t ready for the job‘, it is to some extent the ‘25 percent of those with Microsoft Surface devices‘ failing, they are all connected to overlapping user groups making the damage even larger. The Xbox debacle that showed a bullying setting of ‘always online’ as well as storage shortage issues (a killer in the mobile devices), their bullying setting of pushing people online is equally part of the failure. It was the fourth part that truly took Microsoft out of the race. Google (as I personally see it) looked at roughly 1.7 million university students and looked at where the future was pointing. They saw where the future was heading and they build on that long term view. Just look at the Gmail storage, the YouTube facilitation, and to openness of their business suite apps, just a few examples. Over 3 years I have only two parts where I missed Microsoft Office a little, over 3 years that is nothing. That in a setting where Microsoft went into the ‘greed’ setting it becomes a lot more funny, especially when we see students having to get by a few dollars a day, yet Microsoft has a $199 version for these students, yes it will be cloud, secure (so they say) and update cost free, a subscription service. Google merely states $0, on the cloud. You tell me what students want! The issues are linked, because Microsoft had been actively growing the anti-Microsoft feelings for almost a decade. I understand that Microsoft has a business model and ‘free software’ is an issue for them, they have a right to be like hat. Google understood that the poor students who hardly can keep a budget now, are going to be the executives of tomorrow, those people then are executives now and they all embrace Google (well, most of them anyway). There was no force, there was no (how did that Danish lady put it?) ‘Restriction or distortion of competition within the internal market‘, many went to iPhone and IOS and Google is fine with that. No, the issue is that the other players are confronted with the stupidity of the previous post holders and that is an issue now, it links together.

By not realising the future 15 years ago, the present is close to unobtainable for them. I watched how I saw again and again how some of them went by ‘We are now working on the new technology surpassing the others‘ again and again (and not delivering). You merely need to find the history of ‘SPSS Data entry for Windows‘ and realise that this was an excellent way to lose 6000 businesses, and close to 35,000 users (relabeling it ‘form design software’ was never a solution). Microsoft went in that same direction and now they are close to side lined from the next technology by their own stupidity. No resources, no ‘know-how’ and no vision, yet Google is the big bad wolf here!

This is the underlying story that links it all and some companies are merely indicative, but they overall went the same direction. So where we see ‘preventing rivals from innovating and competing‘, I see that this was not the case, they merely went a greed driven path (OK, I admit, I should say ‘revenue driven path’), whilst actual new technology is all about innovation and never about iteration. Microsoft, after IBM the larger player feeling left out has shown us on several fields that innovation is merely marketing, not actively pursuing issues and with a ‘25% failure issue’ setting in the Surface department, I believe that their flaws are clearly shown. It becomes more of a farce when we see “Vestager added: “The vast majority of users simply take what comes with their device and don’t download competing apps.”“, users want what works; we are not interesting in a $199 fee for apps that they we get for free, ask any student. There are apparently 207 million higher education students globally, ask them! In addition, that mere setting where we see the onus of the user, to not look for more is punishing a company because the users are lazy? Since when can we convict Google for not installing in the second degree, because the user was lazy?

In many situations there are no competing apps, not of any quality that is and when you look in the Google play, we see that the users are allowed to set the tone. I will be the first to agree, that there are issues and that there might have been a case to some extent. Microsoft faced that years ago when it was still in the delusional setting that they had the better browser. Now we see a different picture. Now we are faced with IBM that put everything on Watson (not sure if that was a good idea), but it can facilitate to the larger degree in every direction, including the third parties banking on 5G, IBM is eager to oblige. Microsoft has nowhere to go, they burned down their options and as they screwed up again and again, it has nothing left but to sulk like a little child. Just consider the upcoming Microsoft Surface Go, for people with budgets. Now consider the News we are given: “With a starting price of $469, the Apple iPad (with Wi-Fi connectivity only) is the winner on affordability”, “The consumer/education version is priced at $599 and will run Windows 10 Home in S mode – which only allows apps that are available in the Windows store”, all this, for a system not out yet, and the Australian Financial Review (at https://www.afr.com/technology/mobiles-and-tablets/will-the-surface-go-boldly-where-other-tablets-cannot-20180713-h12n71) gives us: “Why has Microsoft just released a tablet at a time when almost everyone is buying smartphones and almost no one is buying tablets? Sales of tablets such as Apple’s iPad have been in steep decline since 2015, a decline that shows no signs of reversing in the next four or five years, analysts say”, so in that setting another optional failure is introduced. That whilst I saw it coming, just as the short sighted failures that are part what now with giggles is called the ‘most powerful console on the market’ (The Xbox One X), that is the company that is connected to all this.

That part can be found in a few places. In this case I give you the New York Post where (at https://nypost.com/2015/04/15/microsoft-the-big-winner-in-google-antitrust-lawsuit/) we see “While Google CEO Larry Page took his lumps with the suit, Microsoft, very quietly, came out the big winner, sources said. “Microsoft complained a lot,” said a source with direct knowledge of the situation. “Microsoft definitely counselled the [EC], suggesting it made sense to send Google a statement of objections so Google would be forced to produce documents” showing its search-result recipe, another source said”, this was a joke 3 years in the making. I hope that I can turn that joke on these losers as they have diminished consumer trust in their narrow minded way (not to mention short sighted ways).

Even when we turn this in another direction through the Register two month ago (at https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/05/21/antitrust_google_us_government/), where we see ‘On 20th anniversary of Microsoft antitrust, US Treasury Sec calls for Google monopoly probe‘, I am not arguing how right or wrong it is. I am merely pointing out that Google went in a direction that was long term, whilst all the others went into the short term path that was demanded from their board of directors, who for the most could not read a spreadsheet properly because the bullet points were missing (their optional opposition to the NRA perhaps?). That was the setting and those with vision are dumbfounded and they got hurt through the inadequacy of stupid people.

So the Danish party was already active then. What is an issue is Jeremy Stoppelman, he had vision with Yelp, even as he did not understand certain markets (miscalculated is a better word), he had faith in his product, which I applaud. it worked for a while, yet I see that bad choices (unfortunate choices is a better setting) impacted it all, so even as Yelp failed to meet expectations, if it survives and gets 5G traction, it will be ahead of others a decent amount, it turned down Google who wanted them when the going was good and he would have had a strong place if he had taken that part, but it was his decision and I applaud him for it. Yelp and Turnstyle Analytics would have an optional strong 5G setting if it had kept international operations and grow the data the way they had, it will not be easy now for them, but I digress. With: “Mnuchin’s comments on Google came after a special 60 Minutes episode that focused in part on the company and its effective search monopoly. That segment was notable for the inclusion of two people: EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager and Yelp founder Jeremy Stoppelman“, yet all parties have their ‘its effective search monopoly‘, what they are not telling us is that they had a vision that everyone would come with a future need and they got Stanford University to create the algorithm that got patented. All the other players remained dumb to the future. And then we get the one gem I expected: “Also, the EU announced it was launching a probe of Google’s Android operating system to see if its agreements with cellular phone makers was hurting rivals. While Microsoft likely does not care much about search preference, “the investigation throws sand in the gears of Google’s innovation,” the former FTC official said“, so there it is ‘agreements with cellular phone makers was hurting rivals‘, phone makers had options, Apple had its own system and there are NO non-Apple IOS phones. Interesting that this does not make that cut is it? An open system was offered and the alternative Microsoft (rejected because it was not up to the job), Blackberry (is only after the collapse that it became an option to others), we see that Google has an open option, yet they are the boogeymen. So we get two elements, a partially failed entrepreneur (only in part) and a limelight seeking politician. The power of the google Appeal is found in a simple statement: “Her staff ran through over a billion Google searches and found that Google was knowingly manipulating its search algorithms to promote its own products and push competitors far down the ranking“, that evidence must be shown in court and get scrutinised! You see, the timeline for a billion searches can only partially be automated and those results can be used by Google as evidence against Margrethe Vestager as well. The evidence of ‘manipulating its search algorithms‘ will be equally a discussion point putting EVERY intern and assistant of Margrethe Vestager in the witness box, no exception. A setting that I personally see as the EC has close to no chance of winning. Even as I saw the algorithm in my University classes for an assignment, I am decently certain that I did not see the whole 100% of all elements of the algorithm, one element out of place and that is as I (again: personally) see it the crushing of the EC case, the appeal will be won by Google.

The fact that Microsoft was part of this in several ways from 2015 onwards and likely before that is more than enough for me to consider the premise that trusting antitrust is not always a good thing. I do agree that antitrust should exist, yet it should be clear that this is not a handle for the narrow minded, the short sighted, the greedy and the stupid to use because they could not get their shit together. They should reread Chapter 11 of their favourite pornographic work, whether that text comes in 50 shades of mixing several combinations of white and black. A colourless equation in a setting where colour was the only part that the global users demanded, listening to them would have been a first requirement. It is the setting, which gets me to the final image.

An interesting to set the stage, because if Microsoft was a marketing firm, they would be reduced to merely being a spammer, look at the first screen of your Xbox One (X optional) for that part, also all the parts people have to go through in Windows 10 (https://www.windowscentral.com/how-remove-advertising-windows-10), so in the end, the advisors have their own games to play (quite literally at some point). The Independent was kind enough to give us this with: “In the meantime, we probably ought to do our bit to help her by making a little more use of Google’s rivals, such as Microsoft’s Bing, which is a perfectly serviceable search engine“, it is seen at (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/google-eu-fine-margrethe-vestager-android-search-microsoft-bing-silicon-valley-mobile-phones-a8453486.html)

Just ‘Bing’ “UK Law firms”, to get a UK law firm and immediately I see 10 law firms (page top view), 50% Australian ones (3 of those advertised), so if Bing cannot give me what I am looking for, why should I even consider them? With the term “Dutch Lawyers” I get 25% fulfilling the search. I can go on for a while, but I think the case of the doubt regarding ‘a perfectly serviceable search engine’ and the case on how it isn’t one has been made. I did not need to go far. Oh, and if you do have a sense of humour, try “Microsoft guilty” (with brackets), to see Bing give you “We didn’t find any results for “Microsoft guilty””, whilst Chrome giving us an immediate 8 results, with the quotes on these links. So when it comes to censoring (or is that just their flawed algorithm), we can soon see that there is an optional setting where Margrethe Vestager could be seen as a tool for Microsoft (as they might have been ‘searching’ for optional solutions), it might not be a fair setting, yet the entirety of the Antitrust case is seen by me in that way. Microsoft and a few others need time to catch up, being stupid merely gets you at the back of the line (which is where all future opportunities are lost), they need time and they are using the EC to try to catch up. My sense of giggling will be found the moment the appeal is won by Google; we are likely to see a tsunami of ‘carefully phrased denials from European political players trying to avoid the limelight’.

Oh, and whilst we are at it, when we see ‘placing them at a competitive disadvantage‘, that in light of Huawei surpassing Apple (source: the Verge). With: “Huawei has surpassed Apple as the world’s second largest smartphone brand. Sales have overtaken Apple for the first time”, Margrethe Vestager will call it ‘proving her point’, yet the truth is that Huawei went for the affordable option, a side Apple has not considered in decades, whilst in addition, the decline of Samsung and the growth of Huawei reinforces that it was about affordability for the longest of times, those losing market shares are their own worst enemy, because the wrong people are setting the price, I added enough evidence of that for the longest of times. This all in a setting where we see that even as Huawei realises that Europe is the key, the others are isolating themselves even more. Soon enough it will no longer be about Google and Android, it will become on non-American mobile players gaining the upper hand  over all the others, I wonder what anti-trust case will be filed at that point.



Leave a comment

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

It is done!

There are a few issues today and the first one is not really an issue, unless you are a movie producer and you are up against Infinity war. I just learned that it smashed the Chinese box office on Friday with an additional $76 million, which makes it surpass both Black Panther and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows part 2. It is now the 8th most successful movie on the planet in the All Time Box Office and that is before the global Saturday revenues are known. I expect it to crush the first Avengers Movie and settle (during the week) on the 5th position. It is the fastest ascension of any movie ever. That is big news, so as per ‘today’ 40% of the top 10 movies ever worldwide are Marvel Productions. I think that the Legacy of Stan Lee is very safe for all time; in addition, I reckon that the Russo brothers will be walking around with that feeling of pride and accomplishment for some time to come. This will not be some DC Marvel comparing; this is a comic book victory that spans 3 generations, and perhaps the setting of an old truth that a dreamer with only $0.25 can conquer the world (small reference to Walt Disney there).

We watched for all kinds of reasons and none of us were disappointed, not even those who went to see it with the silent promise that they could see that Chris Hemsworth is merely slightly less than half the size of Peter Dinklage. We are not even at the halfway point yet! The pressure on part 2 will be overwhelming with every weekend we get towards that point of release, especially those who recognised the message in the teaser at the very end.

But our worlds do not merely revolve on Marvel Production (some need chocolates too), and if it was only so good, it is not, The independent gives us mere hours ago (updated) that in Iran the Clerics are shown to be as simple as one could expect. With the quote “Iranian senior cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said during Friday prayers that Western pressure will backfire, threatening that Israel will pay the price.” The holy system of Islamic Republic will step up its missile capabilities day by day so that Israel, this occupying regime, will become sleepless and the nightmare will constantly haunt it that if it does anything foolish, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground,” the hard-line cleric said. The warshippers chanted: “Death to America,” and “Death to Israel“.”, it is their invitation to War, they thought they were clever with their ‘Syrian‘ missile attack, but they now have the impeding wrath of the State of Israel, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who has had their fill of the Yemeni Issues, as well as Iran’s commitment to terrorism and Hezbollah and now that both parties know that the rest of the world is willing to united behind Saudi Arabia and Israel, now they need to cry and scream like little children. It is in that setting that I see the mention of “Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, asked for the halt to avoid “a new conflagration” in the region following the most extensive military exchange between Israel and Iran“, Iran did not listen for the longest of times, during the entire Syrian slaughter the UN was merely a lame duck, an expensive voice that was not listened to at all. So why should anyone listen now? So when we see “we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground,” the hard-line cleric said. The worshippers chanted: “Death to America,” and “Death to Israel”“, we see a part that they are still in denial of the Houthi situation. Yet now, after the years of their chants, many are sick of the Iranian debacle, option upon option were given, but the two players in charge of Iran, the clerics and the military are soon to be called to put their money where their mouths are and now, the game changes for them, because as far as I see it, they cannot deliver. The fact that I saw the flaw that ends their navy, they will be on an unbalanced setting, they still have plenty of air force and army, but that too falls against the naval settings of what non-Iranians remains in the Persian Gulf and in that setting they have a much larger disadvantage. Iran must rely on the puppets and tools they had and these players are no longer sure of Iran at all. Iran overplayed their hand!

Sinem Cengiz the Turkish political analyst in Arab News gives us: “Turkey will not be taking sides in the crisis as it is already dealing with the effects of the turbulence affecting its other neighbors, Syria and Iraq. So a third neighbor under sanctions will not serve Turkish interests in the region. A nuclear-armed Iran is not in the interest of Turkey either as it would challenge Ankara’s own regional-power position in the Middle East“, she is not wrong, but I personally do not completely agree. You see, Turkey moved itself into a much higher echelon for its own reasons on Kurds and Kurdistan and the setting in Syria remains provocative. Russia wants the middle mediation spot and Iran thinks that they could still push some for certain agreements. Turkey’s actions could push itself into either directly opposing Iran as it wants to soften the setting with European players, or try approach, which was to make Europe more lenient. I do not think either will work, yet with the US in play, they could be pushed into denying certain settings with Iran. Turkey might not want to take sides and for the short term (4-8 weeks) that could be possible, yet both US and the EU want commitments from the Turkish government, but one that is set against Iran (or at least withdraw completely form that setting), it might be one of the few paths remaining to avoid a direct war and in all that, the others want commitments. The path could be delayed when open hostilities against Hezbollah are chosen, because at this point, such actions need to go without any Iranian support, and in that Turkey would be willing to sacrifice Hezbollah for their own needs. Iran will at some point use them as martyrs, which is fine for some as martyrs can no longer hold guns that is the reality of war!

In this we see support from the Courier Mail, who makes mention of ‘Russia reeling in Iran’, which might prevent worse, which is partially true. The issue is not any of the outside players; the issue is that the Iranian clergy and military have been prepping for the longest time. Now they want to move in and look good, yet the starting signal was not given at the right time, so now their entire strategy is falling upon the floor with no one wanting the visibility of picking that trash up. In this CNBC has its own view (at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/09/trump-iran-sanctions-give-saudi-arabia-and-russia-more-clout.html). With “Saudi Arabia said it will help meet world oil demand if President Donald Trump’s Iran sanctions create shortfalls, but analysts say it will do so only in conjunction with Russia, and the world may have to get used to higher prices as a result” they are correct, that is indeed the midterm play that we all face, increasing oil prices and the energy companies will try to cash in on this as soon as possible, even as they have been enjoying cheap oil for years. This strategy works for both Saudi Arabia and Russia on several fronts, there will be no opposing party ready or able to pick up that slack. Their only way to prevent worse is the action offered by Israel, If the Syrian president tells Iran to go home, it would relieve tensions. The question becomes if Syria willing to do just that? There are still scores of Russians there and perhaps Turkey has an option to show willingness to increase troops, which works for them on all but one front, Iran will see this as an act of desertion against the Iranian settings. Iran’s actions or responses cannot be predicted as present. Even a Syria has had issues with the Turkish ties towards the Muslim Brotherhood and as such, it might be the best option, but not one President Assad is willing to consider (personal speculation). It is a Gordian knot of complications at best, cutting it might be the best, but that too might not be seen as a solution for any of those players.

So where is the option to remove the pressures? I am not certain if there are any left, the issue is the pressures are coming from Iran and they are not willing to change for the time being.

For desert

The end of this should be something light and frothy, there is nothing lighter and frothy than a good game and in light of the upcoming war, is that such a bad deal? We have seen all kinds of allegations and leaks. Now that we see a few announcements, and now that we have seen a few things that Sony will be bringing, I am now at a loss how Microsoft will get anywhere with the uphill battle they face this year. It seems to me that the upcoming Book of the dead is doing to PS4 what the initial the Last of Us did to the PS3. It was overwhelming. In addition when we see the Last of Us 2, Ghost of Tsushima, Spiderman, Death Stranding and Book of the dead, realising that at least three of these titles will be released in 2018, one is extremely unlikely to come before 2019 (Death Stranding) and one remains an unknown at present, and that is merely the exclusives. Sony has remastered the Spyro trilogy which will entice a new generation and satisfy the ones who played it on the original PlayStation. There are loads more coming, but this is at present what Nintendo and Microsoft are up against, which in light of the results of God of War is not a good thing to be up against. Now that the Sony gamers have heard that the release of Subnautica on PS4 is more and more imminent; an unknown title (to many) that is merely one of the best survival adventures I ever played and original from beginning to end. So in that view, we see that the other brand has a diminishing level of unique games left and that was never a good thing for any console. In my personal view, there is now only one reason why I still have the Xbox One. It is the one game, the game that I revered ever since I got my fingers on the demo that was added to the PC Format disc, al little over 20 years ago. Take a look at the update of the remastered and remade System Shock (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKfnTnZuC5E) where you can see the game in progress and even as it is announced to come to PS4, it is for the time being a lot earlier on Xbox One and PC.

The advantage Microsoft once had is now pretty much gone.

Even as some are all about the gifting a game hype, from my personal experience most people have never given me anything correct when it comes to gaming. Now, in some cases it is indeed nice, but most people prefer to go to shop and get a physical copy of the game. We acknowledge that backward compatibility is a nice setting; there is no denying that, yet over the next year do you want to replay a few good games, or play amazing new games? Backward compatibility is nice to have and an asset, no one denies that, yet the setting of no amazing new games is not something you want to rely on. The Verge actually almost nails it with “The Xbox One is the best console if you don’t care about exclusive new games“, I do agree with the setting, but those exclusives that Sony has is just beyond amazing and Microsoft has nothing to counter that, that is the setting that does matter. Nintendo upped the setting even more with the leak of Pokémon Switch coming this year; this will get millions of 3DS players now update to Switch much faster than initially expected. It gets to be interesting when you consider that Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon sold in excess of 7 million copies. With Pokken on Switch (originally a WiiU title) already out and now the new Pokémon’s coming (I expect at least two), we see that Nintendo is upping the score and the pressure on both Microsoft and Sony.

So even as Verge was almost correct, they missed it that the gamers love exclusive titles and the fact that the Sony players are getting the Switch on the side matters as well, apart from them not getting the XB1 on the side. With 26 titles announced by August 2018, the games list is also impacting the other two. Bethesda is giving Wolfenstein 2 a ‘switch’ over in 7 weeks, The Crash Bandicoot fans get to do it all over again on Switch as well and Capcom is breathing life to Streetfighter with a 30th anniversary edition this month on Switch, yes, my prediction that I made a mere two weeks ago is coming to pass, the worst nightmare for Microsoft is coming, Nintendo and Sony have upped their game and as it is less likely that Microsoft can equal that during the E3; by no more than late August will we see the setting whether the total Nintendo Switch sales will surpass Xbox One total sales by Christmas 2018, it is now becoming increasingly likely that Microsoft Xbox One will grace third position in the console race before December 31st 2018. Microsoft will have to produce a miracle by the end of the year and it better be a lot better than there marketing department hiding behind “All Xbox One games and Microsoft Store PC games are now eligible for digital gifting“, because when I look at AC Origin Gold (AU$145) and Shadow of War Gold (AU$158), I wonder if the people know that these games are around 40Gb to download and a 100% larger if you have 4K capabilities. So not only is it a massive download, the fact that these XB1 consoles have no more than 1TB is also a consideration. Nothing on any of this is a ‘pro’ gamer setting, merely a maximum exploitation setting from Microsoft. And that is even before you realise that a new Shadow of War Gold edition (with Steelbook) is a mere AU$99.95 at EB Games, so, do you still think I am kidding when it comes to Microsoft dropping the ball three times over? Are you kidding with downloading a game at a price that is 50% higher than a physical version in the shops?

Like Iran, Microsoft overplayed their hand way too soon and they are also in the venue of not being able to counter what comes. A setting that they should have avoided, in that light we can compare the Microsoft marketeers with the Iranian clerics, they shout from the highest peaks, but without the support of actual product you end up merely irritating people, which is how I personally see this all.

A desert that was a little less light on the bowels, but in all this we see that some games over the next month will be shown to be not up to the fight against reality and consumerism. Because both rely on smooth sailing and those who have never been hit by internet congestion have for the most never ever used the full setting of it. Until very recently, Sydney NBN users had 4 hours a week of congestion, now consider having to fetch your Sex in the city, the latest movie, download games, watch reality (kitchen) TV and focus on the big footy games. So how welcome was that digital download game to the internet welfare of the family in the end?


1 Comment

Filed under Gaming, Media, Military, movies, Politics

Overthinking the issue

There is a group of people that have had enough; they are ready to end their lives. Every culture has it and the amount of people contemplating it is a lot larger then you might think. Some statistics give us that 7 people per 100,000 have committed suicide. This implies to some extent that over 200 have contemplated it. If those who do compared to those who considered it is 1:30, then we have a much larger issue than we think.

So when I saw ‘Nitschke’s ‘suicide machine’ draws crowds at Amsterdam funeral fair‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/apr/15/nitschke-suicide-machine-amsterdam-euthanasia-funeral-fair), I wondered what the entire visibility setting was about. The impact is a lot larger than most considered. The machine given here is all about a ‘3d print solution‘, yet the machine that has a full body solution looks like a car for people who cannot drive (preventing suicide in traffic in the process). In the article we see “A controversial suicide pod that enables its occupant to kill themselves at the press of a button went on display at an Amsterdam funeral show on Saturday“, so how controversial is it? Even as we see: “the design will be put online as an open-source document for people to download. “That means that anybody who wants to build the machine can download the plans and 3D-print their own device,” Nitschke said“. My issue is not with the idea, the design or the option. It is the mere contemplation of the facts that in the first, a 3d printer is anywhere between $1500 and $6500.

After that we get the source materials to print the elements of that wheel less car (also costing you an additional fortune, that we get form “Regular PLA and ABS filament for 3D printing costs around $25 per kilogram on average. Specialty filaments can cost as much as four times this amount. Not all 3D printing materials are equal“, which now gets us close to an additional $5000 – $15000. So how is that not exploitation? Did anyone consider a $99 alternative?

So you would need three elements. The first is Temazepam (Restoril), a sleeping drug. Now I must tell you that it has addictive properties, yet in this light you might not need more than one usage and as such addiction is not really an issue. In addition you need a trash bag, a high quality one, which sets you back $4 for 10 of them and in addition you will need elastic band, which is $5. This makes the Temazepam (at $107/30) the most expensive part. What you do is to prepare the elastic band to fit your neck, but not tight. In this path, you basically lay back; fit the trash bag over your head and the plastic bag to hold it together. So after you take a large dose of Temazepam, you lie down and after 30 seconds you tighten the bag loosely around your neck with the elastic band. It need not be tight; you fall asleep and never wake up. The bag makes sure that you lose conscience as your brain is deprived of oxygen. The final sleep! Now, I am not in favour of any if this, yet I understand that some people are forced into this situation. When we see that come diseases are just too harsh on the body I get it. I might not like it or agree to it, but it is a place I understand. In all this, I do have an issue with someone like Philip Nitschke and Alexander Bannink making a ‘3d extravaganza’ that looks nice, but it could be seen by some as a Ponzi based IT exploitation. You see if these people do not buy the printer and the resources, they need someone else to do it and that person would have a legal issue on their trail, that whilst 2 out of three elements I mentioned are available in EVERY supermarket, leaving you with the need to get a fix of Temazepam (Restoril). Yet thanks to David McKinley (R), US reperesentative in West Virginia, we have been made aware that you can get that stuff on Canadian online pharmacies whilst he was trying to blame Facebook for it all. Oh, actually, that is not needed either. If can be found at http://drugs-order.net/Buy-Restoril-Online (thank you Mr Google), and only at $87, so that is still $20 cheaper than initially stated.

?? So why am I going here. Why mention David McKinley?

Actually, I am not. It must be said that overall McKinley is very much a republican, which includes pro-life. So even as we read that as an anti-abortion, I come to the larger personal conclusion that he is also against suicide or for the legal mind the ‘self-assisted death‘. Even as we see my last part as speculation, there is contributing evidence when in 2016 we see ‘House Passes Bipartisan Bill to Fix Mental Health System‘, the quote gives us “Congressman David B. McKinley, P.E., (WV-1) voted to help Americans who struggle with a mental health illness by increasing access to medical professionals and making existing programs more effective“, as well as ““People who suffer from a mental health illness deserve access to the highest quality care available and this legislation is a step towards achieving that goal,” McKinley said” this gives us a path, because in many cases the issues of suicide, no matter how triggered are still to some degree an issue of Mental Health. His setting opposes suicide as I see it. I have not found a clear stance where he gave a clear view on his position towards suicide, yet there are clear sights that most republicans with a strong pro-life view tend to be strongly opposing suicide.

The issue is not merely what his view was or the fact that he wrongfully blamed Facebook for an issue that was not the deciding part in a larger frame of illegal opioid sale. It was the issue that the overall availability reaches far beyond Facebook and many places deliver it with additional ‘customer support‘, so there is that issue. It reflects back to the entire Saturday article on losing one’s life as we see “Nitschke said: “In many countries suicide is not against the law, only assisting a person to commit suicide is. This is a situation where one person chooses to press a button … rather than for instance standing in front of a train”“, which might be true, but the entire setting of printing ones coffin to assisted loss of life whilst the entire contraption looks like a comfortable version of a Suzuki Swift is a bit over the top, especially as my setting for the $99 solution that requires no 3d printer or all the other parts that are required to operate the 3d printer in the first place.

I liked the final quote at the very end the best. With “Rob Bruntink, 52, said: “Well, I think it’s quite silly. It’s stupid. I don’t get it. I’m not interested in a real ‘Sarco’. No.”” we hear all the issues in this that matter.

I am in part on the fence, you see, I saw my mother as she went through the final stages of lung cancer, in the end she was offered more morphine than the average dealer can illegally import in a 20’ft container, so there is that need, when people are confronted with that part, we can offer all kinds of solutions to end their suffering. We can tell them to have faith, take one sleeping pill and fall asleep in the sun, you merely need to find the one person willing to treat that person to the .338 round from a 400-800 metres distance at the mere cost of $3.61 and that person will not wake up (there will be an issue of evidence as well as the legislated criminal local laws to avoid) however on the plus there is the entire 3d printing of the suicide machine gets to be avoided as well and that might be the bigger gain here.

This is not me making fun of the suicide issue, not at all. It is the setting on how willing someone would be to be privy to assisted suicide. Perhaps the machine was not at all about any suicide. Perhaps it was merely to get the conversation on suicide started in a more serious setting.

I remain on the fence. I am not in the mind of people being ‘unique snowflakes‘. Nearly every person on the planet is expendable. When we consider that there were 7.6 billion people in April this year (uncorrected of Syrian and Yemeni deaths at present), I feel certain that most of us all (me included) might be regarded as expandable. So in all this, the entire setting of suicide and assisted suicide is vastly over the top. Now, I understand that the pro-life population (like Congressman David McKinley) will forever be against that and that is fine. No matter what their reasoning is, it is their right to oppose it, yet should they be allowed to prevent others? Should the law be allowed to oppose death and ensure intentional extended suffering? That is perhaps the larger issue in play and as the population grows and resources become increasingly scarce is that in any way a position that we can maintain?

This now gets us to the NY Times, where we saw in 2016 ‘34 Countries Need Food Aid, Report Says‘. So here we see “Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, the Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Guinea, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Nepal and North Korea” having food shortages. Now there is the one case that North Korea vastly did this to themselves, but the other players how did they get into that mess? It is important to recognise that even as there is a clear difference in issues, there is absolutely no guarantee that the absence of war and strife would fix any of it. This now links to an article called ‘Good News, You Will Soon Be Able to Disrupt Eating Actual Food By Buying Soylent At Walmart‘ (at https://gizmodo.com/good-news-you-will-soon-be-able-to-disrupt-eating-actu-1825195058). For those who passed their teenage years by a few decades might remember ‘Soylent Green‘ a gem of a movie with Charleston Heston. It is based on the 1966 book ‘Make Room! Make Room!‘ In the end we learn that Soylent Green is people, to feed the massively overpopulated planet we had to resort to use the dead as a food replacement.

This now all circles back, you see there has forever been a clear link between suicide and food. Some state: “Let’s start a conversation to reduce depression and consequently, suicide. Food and drink choices can lead to suicide, remember it’s the 10th leading cause of death worldwide. Eat better, feel better, live happier.” These were the words of April Chandler. When we accept that suicide was the 10th leading cause of death worldwide a mere 5 years ago, you might start to see the connection. Even as I was on the fence for the larger extent as some have a genuine issue, we need to remember that the bulk of those people do not and at that point it becomes a mental health issue that cannot be solved with a 3d printer. I think that we are getting closer to the verge of a massive breakthrough. A heralded writer and fellow university Student who treated Australia and the world to ‘The Wellness Doctrines for Law Students and Young Lawyers‘ in 2015 and this year to ‘The Wellness Doctrines for high school students‘ is on the ball, I think that the matter is well beyond those boundaries and the setting that good food (an option not always there) for students in the first place is playing a much larger role in all this. If we accept that having certain foods reduced anxiety, can we agree that a good meal is central in mental health as well? If that can be proven is the need of a decent meal not the focal point is setting the right pace for dealing with mental health? If we oppose the entire ‘sarco’ issue, the issue of a suicide machine in a funeral fair, is the need to properly set the dimension of those who have a genuine suicide claim (terminal patients with only pain as a prospect) against those who are considered to have been exhausted to the degree that they are no longer willing to live, if that is a 1% versus 99% sitting, how can we give any kind of value to the wheelless Suzuki Swift with a red nitrogen button, whilst we see that other news gives us “Soylent may have been a polarizing powdered drink when it first went on sale four years ago, but it’s clearly developed a following outside of the startup world as a drink that’s said to be a substitute for a meal. And it may have truly hit the mainstream market now that it’s available at Walmart” (source: the Verge), whilst the linked article gave us: “Rosa Foods announced on Wednesday that it is bringing the signature brand of packaged, flavored sludge—which takes its name from the disheartening 1973 dystopian film Soylent Green, where it’s eventually revealed the product’s key ingredient is uh, “long pig”—to 450 Walmart stores across the country. Soylent CEO Bryan Crowley added in a statement that the move is “a significant step in providing more ways for consumers to get access to our brand,” expanding beyond its current placement in 7-Eleven stores“, if there is clear evidence that gives April Chandler her view and I have personally seen the validity of the views of Jerome Doraisamy. United they give us the missed setting where governments and other places have failed us. The additional ‘evidence’ is seen in the Mercury News, there we see “Palo Alto and Morgan Hill have the highest suicide rates in Santa Clara County among youths 10 to 24 years old“, so what happens when the evidence gives a much larger support to food being the contributing factor in all this? There has been evidence on a global scale from various sources, some better than others, but when we see that the poorly chosen name ‘Soylent‘ is now an actual optional factor, should we consider other issues as well? I am not stating that Soylent is dangerous or toxic or anything bad, but that as a food, or even food replacement stops (read: prevents) people form eating what they actually need for a healthy life, the entire push changes what we should find acceptable. The question becomes how to prove this. We could combine the dream team Jerome Doraisamy, April Chandler and Jamie Oliver as a team to see if there is a clear case and how to raise the health bar through food for students that they can afford whilst not unintentionally endangering their lives is going to be a much larger issue than anyone ever predicted. Part of the ‘sarco’ issue in the Guardian is also seen in the linked article by Polly Toynbee in ‘The ban on assisted death ignores the reality of illnesses like dementia‘. So when I read “Attempts to change the law at Westminster have been thwarted despite overwhelming public support, 82% in the latest poll. But religious objectors have blocked it time and again, with both Houses curiously packed with a disproportionate number of believers in this mostly atheistic country“, I see the flicker of elected dementia, yet in support of their view when we consider that food could be a contributing factor to a decreased mental health, there is the danger that whichever equine burger we got at Tesco, the danger of bad food is actually a lot larger in lowering the health of people in a global setting and that ignored part can no longer be ignored.

So as I tried to lighten the air with a reference to Soylent Green the Medical Daily (not the greatest source of reliable information) gives us “Eating human meat becomes risky due to the presence of prions — versions of normal protein that had their shape altered, losing their function, and becoming infectious. These distorted proteins can influence other similar healthy proteins, and change them, causing a chain reaction, and creating disease. Specifically, prion disease creates holes in the brain, giving it a spongiform appearance, and ultimately causes death. Unlike viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasitic infections, which contain DNA or RNA, prions don’t, which means they can’t be eradicated with radiation or heat. They could be present in any nervous tissue, including our organs and muscles. However, they are most common in the brain and spinal nerve tissues“, this brought me back to the episode of ‘Our Town‘ from season 2 of the X-Files, where we hear “Scully, I think the good people of Dudley have been eating more than just chicken“, and that is an actual issue. There is an abundance of foods available in nearly every store where we get to eat a lot more elements than we bargained for and not all are healthy. That evidence remains absent as certain foods take a very long time to take a hold on us. This is seen (at https://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20170505/diet-soda-health-risks) in “Numerous studies over the past several years have reported links between diet soda and weight gain, diabetes, heart problems, and other health issues. Most recently, headlines sounded alarms about a higher chance of dementia and stroke among diet soda drinkers” the fact that diet soda drinks are largely available in nearly every store on the planet makes it a much larger issue than most could conceive. Yet in many of these studies it is limited to physical side effects, yet I personally believe that it is impossible for these elements not to have a non-adverse effect to the mental health of a person, the problem is how to show it.

I think that this is the pro-life wet dream, yet no matter how we feel about it, we need to be very careful of the ramification and the acceptance of any reduction of protection to anyone’s life when there is a proven mental health element. The absence of this part and the visibility of both Philip Nitschke and Alexander Bannink, no matter how ideological their view is, especially when the implied evidence all show that there is a mental health issue in place and as such there is now an almost direct link between vulnerable people and the sale of 3d printing goods and resources. I personally believe that the Funeral Fair might have done this as the setting of additional visibility whilst all the players involved forgot or were unaware that what they actually end up doing was to place a minefield around them. A much less humane way to ends one’s life.

So even as I knowingly set the entire Soylent Green matter in different light, the product ‘Soylent’ is a much larger issue to look at. You see I do not think that the food is dangerous; it is what happens when you rely on it to a much larger extent is when we need to look at the impact. Chocolate is not dangerous either, but what happens when you rely on it 5 times a day to still your hunger? How healthy a solution should it be seen as?

Perhaps I am overthinking the entire matter, but the fact that others have been overly avoiding to think of the connected issues to this might be a much larger failure, so I am happy to try and compensate for their avoidance in all this.


Leave a comment

Filed under Law, Media, Politics, Religion, Science

The hungry Journalist games

Another day and another article on Sky News!

This all started a long time ago, but it seems that this article (at http://news.sky.com/story/1293651/internet-firms-take-legal-action-against-gchq), opens up new avenues to explore, aqs it already had taken the cake as one might say. There are issues for certain, they are on both sides, but what is this about?

The seven countries involved are the UK, the US, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea and Zimbabwe. Let’s start by stating that this is an interesting group of nations to begin with. It was an article in Der Spiegel that set them off. Most sources seem to have copied and pasted the same message (Reuters Journalism as I tend to call it), one source also had this: “Their complaint follows in the wake of articles about mass surveillance published in the Guardian based on material released by Snowden“.

So again this could be a ‘Snowden’ story, but I want to take a look at another side and the quote by Eric King spokesperson (deputy director) of Privacy International who stated “It completely cripples our confidence in the internet economy and threatens the rights of all those who use it. These unlawful activities, run jointly by GCHQ and the NSA, must come to an end immediately

Is that the truth, or should the correct quote be “It completely undermines our support of optional criminal activities and threatens the opportunity of economic abuse for all who desire it. Their unlawful activities, run jointly by GCHQ and the NSA, must come to an end immediately, so that we may again focus on possibly deniable illicit profit

That is quite the change, isn’t it? Consider the following two issues. First the prices, for example ‘Greenhost’ offers the following:

Webhosting 120 GB storage and 1.2 TB data traffic for 132.75 euro’s a month and virtual data servers containing 50 GB storage and 1 TB bandwidth a month for 215 euro’s a month. Basically, just one account would fit the web space for most the ENTIRE Forbes top 50, not just one or two.

So, in light of recent events, I thought I had something here, the Dutch provider fits the bill, but then I got to Riseup, which no longer seemed to be active and the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) which seemed highly ideologically to me. More important, it did not fit the bill either. So am I barking up the wrong tree? (I have been wrong before you know!)

I still believe that the ISP’s are all about not complying as it is not about freedom, but about bandwidth (which directly translates into revenue), which seemed to fit the first part, but the others are not about that, which makes me wonder what is in play. Do you actually think that the NSA and GCHQ are about wasting time? So, is the Chaos Computer Club a waste of time? No, as far as I can tell, they are not. Are they a threat? Well, that remains the issue. They are hackers after all. Is it that farfetched that some people would want to keep track of some of these members? Let’s not forget that someone is feeding organised crime the knowledge that they need to avoid prosecution, when considering the power that both the Triades and the Russian Mafia have in the digital age area, looking into the CCC to some extent seems to be a given. However, knowing their skills, doing it in the way it is implied to have been done seems a little over the top as most of these hackers are pretty proud of themselves and they are for the most not in hiding. Let us not forget, they voice themselves to be about the freedom of the German people and the utter privilege of their data remaining private.

The fact is that this is an implied mess involving 7 countries, the next valid question becomes: ‘are they linked (beyond the accusation), or are they just a collection of elements?’

That question bares scrutiny, but should also indicate the view I have had of Snowden from the very beginning. I believe him to be a joke (and a bad one at that). Now, most of you will not believe this, but let us take a look at the EVIDENCE. I am not talking about some claim, but actual evidence partially on the common sense you and me hopefully tend to have.

1. The claims that he has made involves massive levels of access. Not the access a hacker will ever have, but the information from top level sources in the CIA, NSA and GCHQ. So were talking hacking into over dozens of top level secured servers, servers which are monitored 24/7. He, some hacker no one had ever heard from, did all that. These people behind the screens do NOT EVER give out passwords, do not give access, yet he had all the information and walked out of one of the most secure buildings in the world with all THAT data? This is a quote found in sources like ‘the Verge’ and ‘Wired’. I think we can agree that wired is a reputable source in regards to technology (at http://www.wired.com/2013/06/snowden-thumb-drive/) “‘There are people who need to use a thumb drive and they have special permission,’ an unnamed, ex-NSA official told the LA Times. ‘But when you use one, people always look at you funny.’” This is not unlike the view I have had for a year now. Let’s not forget, the NSA is the place where SELinux was developed, it was designed to keep close tabs on access control, specifically, who, where, how and with what. So ‘some’ technician, with the USB drive in the most secure server space on the planet is just not going to fly. The question I had from the very beginning is not how he did it, but what was actually at play here? The next part is assumption! Was it to give Booz Allan Hamilton more profit? That was my alleged first thought. If data was going to get ported to non-government institutions, this small caper could give BAH and whoever was getting oversight an easy and clean billion a year in revenue. That tactic, still ethically wrong, would have made perfect sense to me.

Here is how I see it and this is PURE assumption (I will get back to evidence in a minute for my next issue), consider the Microsoft disappointment with data collection plans for the Xbox One. We see some of the changes (at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/23/us/politics/house-votes-to-limit-nsas-collection-of-phone-data.html). The following quotes are essential here. The first one was from Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin, “The N.S.A. might still be watching us, he added, but now we can be watching them“. It is a bold statement, but is it true; moreover, should they be watched? Yes, any intelligence operation needs oversight, which is fair enough in a democratic way of life, but how many should overlook this? Are the people in oversight not granted well above average powers and is it fair to any opposition party that they should have it?

2. What lies beneath this access is the amount of involvement. Prism is one of the named projects with supported links to Australia, the UK and the Netherlands, with Microsoft as a commercial partner. Really? One nation, known for clogs, cheeses, Hans Brinker and soccer is placed next to the NSA and the Commonwealth? It is a technological hub, no doubt about that, but it is the size of Maryland. So, this is just the first of several projects, involving secrecies that would be limited to the very top, most of it would not be written down and Snowden had it (as in having in past tense, details follow). The mention of projects like XKeyscore, Tempora, Project 6, Stateroom, Lustre and Muscular. They are not only different projects, but they are a scope of projects that would not ever be in one location to begin with. So, what is implied as ‘the top’ of data gathering and one IT person has it all? Is no one asking the questions the PRESS should have asked and openly doubted from the very beginning to begin with (a part that is not voiced in any way).

The funny part is that stateroom seems to be no more than the legal collection of information as EVERY government tends to collect diplomatic data and in his claim he made them ALL bitches to the NSA, they just do not know it. There is also a reference to Echelon, there are several references, but the one that matters is not named. A covert niche within the NSA and the name of the source is: Tom Clancy!

Is anyone starting to wake up now?

This is not about anything but the warped imagination that is not even close to a reality. Consider that every government has embassies and consulates, the Dutch have them, the Australians have them, so do the Brits and the Germans, not to mention the French and they have them too. Consulates and Embassies represent their governments. Consulates tend to be specific for people and companies, so that they have backups. Like getting home when your passport is stolen, or to help a company with a list of people they should talk to for starting to do business. Trade will always remain important anywhere. Embassies are more about ‘governing’ opportunities as I see them. The Dutch want to get first dibs on building a reliable bridge, so their ambassador talks the great talk. People skills is what it is all about and talking to the right people. There are other sides too, they try to resolve issues, like a Dutchman committing a crime in Melbourne (for example) and the Embassy tries to ‘help’ the Dutch person to get home again, or to assist local government with their investigation if need be. These people do work that they sometimes like and sometimes hate, it is a job that needs to be done. To get the best results some things need to remain confidential and secret and as such whether through encrypted ways or through other ways messages go back and front between a government and its local representatives and that needs a little more security. Some is as simple as a message of a first insight as to build a bridge; to keep the advantage this goes encrypted. It is the cost of business, plain and simple. There is no hidden agenda (other than national pride in trying to score the job). So, they do they do their job and they are not the NSA bitch in the process.

It is simple approach and the lie hidden within a truth was stated as “They are covert, and their true mission is not known by the majority of the diplomatic staff at the facility where they are assigned” Part of the truth is that the encryption specialist is usually not known, it is not a secret either, he used to be the person, who had one extra book with cyphers, he opened each page and set the encryption box and transmitted the information, often a NCO of communication (often has NATO duty reference A00x0). That person had two extra tasks and most in the diplomatic staff might not know, or better stated, they absolutely do not care.

When we saw the statements by certain key people in Australia or the UK they spoke the absolute truth. The small explanation I gave is done by all, the DSD (AUS), GCHQ (UK) and as I said it the Dutch have it too. It is a simple legally valid and required job that needs to be done, nothing secret about it, it is the cost of doing business and sometimes, to keep a lead profitable it sometimes gets handed over more secured, just like they do it at Microsoft (they just get heaps better equipment).

Another issue is the XKeyscore reference. Does such a thing exist, most likely! Now consider the implications of the following, there are mentions of 700 servers in 150 locations. The fact that it needs to intercept without visibility and analyse at the same time as a person does many things at the same time. Even if the best of the best was used (which likely is the case), then we are looking at a very select group trying to get a handle on perhaps no more than the most dangerous 2000 people on the planet. Does anyone believe that a system like this remains a secret if 4 Australian bases are involved? The next part can also be taken as a fact. Can anyone even guess the amount of bandwidth this takes? Most routers nearby the monitored person will truly get a beating, so whatever this is, it will show up. It is the scope that is claimed that makes no sense. Some in the NSA might find it nice if it was true, but the weak link in all this is the actual internet.

The last part of this is the kicker in this joke. If his life depends on it all, do you actually think he would ever part with the information? This came from the NY Times from October 2013 (at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/world/snowden-says-he-took-no-secret-files-to-russia.html) “Mr Snowden said he gave all of the classified documents he had obtained to journalists he met in Hong Kong, before flying to Moscow, and did not keep any copies for himself“, so his life depends on a journalist, who now has the thousands of documents?

Perhaps we should look at a much more likely explanation, the man has no value, the press is stretching the value of events, as they would and Snowden has played his part, I still think that the Chinese saw in him what I saw from the very beginning, a simple joke! They walked away and he had to flee to Russia who is keeping him around for entertainment and to piss of the Yanks (which they also regard as good entertainment). My issue is not him, but the fact that I see more wasted time and energy on laughable cases that keep us all away from actually moving forward. In this economy, as we are so stretched thin, rebuilding an economy is a first need, not waste time on some feigned attack on the ‘confidence in the internet economy‘ as Eric King puts it.

And for the love of whomever, let’s not compare Snowden and Assange, I completely oppose Assange and his view, but at least he seemed to believe in that what he did was a just cause and acted accordingly.

In the end this is just my view, but no one seems to be asking the questions the press are supposed to be asking. The Guardian and Der Spiegel seem to get a ‘free’ hand in boasting tons of data and a simple stamp ‘Snowden said it was so’ seems enough for people to just accept it.


Filed under IT, Law, Military, Politics