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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Ageism row: WPP CEO Mark Read apologises on Twitter | More About Advertising – interesting to see how this debate about ageism in marketing services has gathered steam. I was at Paul Armstrong’s conference TBD where it was talked about as an ‘unspoken issue’ and now Mark Read seems to have elevated it inadvertently. The concept of digital natives is becoming less tenable in general.

Although it is unspoken in Read’s interview and apology I think this strikes down a number of fault lines that advertising is trying to address. Digital is an analogue for performance media marketing and television an analogue for brand building. I believe that the pendulum is swaying slightly more in favour of brand marketing than it had been in recent years. I also believe that digital advertising platforms haven’t done that good a job in setting out their case for roll in brand building activities; but have instead tried to put old ‘performance marketing’ wine in brand marketing bottles. I suspect that the evidence of ageism cited is as much about the relentless cost-cutting of marketing combines as anything else

About — Yahoo Creative Dept. – interesting that they’re touting their wares to all comers, rather than being purely focused on inhouse work. And no exclamation mark on Yahoo! in the meta data either. Yahoo! is the company a Yahoo is someone who works (or has worked) for Yahoo! More Yahoo!-related content here.

[outages] Level3 (globally?) impacted (IPv4 only) – fascinating to read, I wonder what caused it?

ByteDance’s Global Chief Security Officer Says That The Chinese Government Cannot Get Hold Of TikTok Users Data Since its Servers Are Based In The United States / Digital Information World – interesting but not completely truthful. Even Huawei admitted that

“Article 77 of the State Security Law sets out an obligation on organisations and individuals to provide assistance with work relating to State Security”.

Sophie Batas, director for cybersecurity and data privacy at Huawei Europe

And if you want an idea of what state security means, have a careful read of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region as an example. It is vague, expansive and extra-territorial in nature.

China Tightens Tech Export Rules Amid TikTok Talks – WSJ – interesting tech that China wants to keep at home….

Saudi Arabia’s women gamers want to be taken seriously – Rest of World – a young, rapidly growing population – it makes sense that Saudi Arabia could become an e-sports powerhouse

Google, Facebook Dump Hong Kong Cable After U.S. Security Alarm – Bloomberg – potentially huge given Hong Kong’s position in terms of international finance where high speed networks are key. Another thing to watch is the ratio is if the ratio of population to Cisco certified engineers starts to drop in Hong Kong which could be a real possibility with the departure of data centre occupants like Facebook, Amazon Web Services, Google etc… No cloud services again make international finance difficult.

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Why Epic isn’t an innocent victim in the Fortnite battle with Apple, and why it deserves a loss today – BGR – interesting argument that goes against the popular media narrative. I wonder why Epic haven’t gone after console makers as well? Not all gamers might get the fact that Epic has created this crisis fully knowing it would breach the contract, fully knowing what Apple’s responses could be, and full knowing that Apple will call its bluff. That’s why it had all those lawsuits on hand and the viral commercial. Whether it expected Apple to go for the nuclear option, that’s debatable, but the same email chain above proves that Apple’s response was swift. From the moment Epic released the update, Apple let the company know that it’s risking losing access to its developer tools, which can hinder app development for games based on the Unreal engine that Epic licenses to other game makers.  The same response also details another dishonest behavior from Epic that shouldn’t be ignored. Epic took advantage of Apple’s developer tools to quietly push an update to the App Store that turned on an IAP payment functionality that Apple would never approve. Epic has been cheating, and that’s a company that’s supposedly working for other developers. That’s a company that other developers should trust when dealing with a hypothetical Epic App Store inside the App Store that would be governed by Epic’s own rules

Vietnamese tech firm sues TikTok, alleging copyright infringement – Reuters – VNG are a highly creative outfit. They do great games, their messenger platform has done well despite Vietnam allowing access to WhatsApp and Facebook. They had some challenges over IP over five years ago and have since built up their own stable of recording artists

Chinese-Made Smartphones Are Secretly Stealing Money From People Around The Worldhow cheap Chinese smartphones take advantage of the world’s poorest people. Current security concerns about Chinese apps and hardware have largely focused on potential back doors in Huawei’s 5G equipment. More recently, people have focused on how user data collected by TikTok could be abused by the company and the Chinese government. But an overlooked and ongoing threat is the consistent presence of malware on cheap smartphones from Chinese manufacturers and how it exacts a digital tax on people with low incomes

Why are prices so damn high by Eric Hellend – health, education and the Baumol cost disease

Jack Ma’s Ant Group Produces $3.5 Billion Profit in Six Months as IPO Looms – WSJ – one thing to remember is how Ma unilaterally bilked Yahoo! shareholders out of Ant Financial when Carole Bartz was CEO. Probably not a good investment for a foreigner in China

‘The new definition of luxury’: Highsnobiety unpacks how the landscape of high-end fashion has tilted toward accessibility – DigidayCarvalho said that through the recent research Highsnobiety performed, his team has learned that younger shoppers don’t care about exclusivity in luxury like previous generations did. Instead, they want accessibility. And for the most part, the designer brands that have successfully attracted a younger audience no longer have closed shop doors that only allow in certain clientele.  “Accessibility doesn’t mean that every consumer will have the means to purchase a product, but the doors are open for them,” he said. “The hope is that down the line” this 16- or 17-year-old will become a paying customer of the brand.” More luxury segment content and analysis here

Frasers Group announces deal for DW Sports | RTE – buying into gyms and fitness studio business

First, private equity holds us to ransom. Now it wants us to bail out its losses | Private equity | The GuardianIts excessive debts, once the route to fortunes and, it would say, “business discipline”, are crushing it. On top, the commercial property market no longer looks a one-way bet. It wants its vast mortgage debt guaranteed by the government, even though the interest charges drive the underlying companies into operating losses – but this has been apparent way before COVID. Private equity in these sectors has been like an unpleasant game of pass the parcel

Chick-Fil-A Fires Employee for a Menu Hack Video That Went Viral on TikTok | – the article points out the various different reasons why Chck-Fil-A is wrong. I get it, the challenge for businesses like this are:

  • The businesses provide a consistent experience – like McDonalds that’s their thing. This means very hierarchical structures.
  • Finally restaurants tend to make money on controlling the margins tightly, doing the right thing here would be going against pretty much every trait that makes them successful all of the time

Imagination in China lab RISC-V deal | EETimes Europe – RISC-V is often overlooked as a platform but is has great potential

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1999 eclipse

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The 1999 eclipse, also called millennium eclipse as it would be the last total solar eclipse of the 2oth century popped up recently on the BBC.

Solar eclipse

For me it was a big online event. Eclipses don’t happen often. The last one in the UK had been some 72 years earlier. I was working in an agency in Covent Garden. It was the middle of the dot com boom. I had a mix of telecoms clients, the usual dot com projects and Palm PDAs as my clients.

I had managed to hand off most techie client; custom chipmaker LSI Logic on to other colleagues.

Delivering results wasn’t a problem for LSI Logic at the time. They were on the cutting edge of games console technology, computer storage and embedded electronics. Digital television was about to take off and LSI Logic had a chipset back then that even supported 8K transmissions. The corresponding displays to support 8K wouldn’t be along for another decade and a half. Its CoreWare library of chip functions based on a MIPS processor was the ARM of its day. But LSI Logic could fabricate the chips as well. The CEO was old school Silicon Valley, having been at Motorola Semiconductor and Fairchild Semiconductor.

The problem was the European operation communications team were very process-orientated, rather than outcome-orientated.

With a few of my clients (RSL COM and Bell Atlantic’s international wireless business); I was allowed to run with remarkable leeway. I got on well with my clients. For the most part, I managed to avoid screwing things up.

Life was hectic, I was constantly tired from a lack of sleep. But overall it was good. I had gained a promotion and was saving for the deposit on my first house. I was sat on the end of a (massive for the time 1Mbit/sec T1 internet connection). Ok, I shared it with other colleagues. But it mean’t pretty reasonable for the time internet connectivity. The IT department allowed me to use FTP overnight and during the weekends to download vintage house mixes. At the time the legendary site was run by a technician on a university web server, allowing downloads of mixes encoded using Real Media audio format. This was just before MP3 went mainstream.

The 1999 eclipse came along and was to be the first ‘internet’ event that I would experience.

The BBC along with Sky News and ITV devoted their entire morning’s broadcasting to it. As an agency; we didn’t have a TV that I could remember. There was a problem with getting access to an aerial socket given we were on the ground floor of a tower block. Also the landlord wasn’t accommodating as they wanted a higher paying tenant in the office.

Dot com businesses were driving up office rents in a similar way to Chinese hot money driving up central London residential property prices a decade later.

The day of the 1999 eclipse, London was overcast. Just before lunch, colleagues dipped out to watch whatever they could see. I jumped on my work computer and fired up the BBC website to watch the eclipse experience live. It didn’t work that well; I presume every design agency with an ISDN line had a similar idea that morning.

I typed in the website address for Sky News and went there instead. It was slightly better. I then used the backwards and forwards buttons to switch between the BBC and Sky News. (It would be another few years before mainstream browsers like Mozilla and Opera had tabs). Both pages carried what was supposed to be live video of the 1999 eclipse.

Just six months previously, our agency had done Victoria’s Secret annual fashion show as a web stream for the first time. Back in 1999, this was a major technical feat and for the most part it turned out alright. The picture was so small you couldn’t really make it out. I couldn’t tell you if it was Tyra Banks on the cat walk. But that didn’t matter, it captured the imagination. It was done as much for the buzz it would create, as for how many people would view it.

I had high hopes for the eclipse. It was happening before the US came online. Back in 1999, as soon as the US woke up, our office internet speed would grind to a halt.

The reality of the 1999 eclipse was more prosiac. The video was displayed on screen about the size of a large rectangular postage stamp. Like a special edition one that you might get for Christmas. The image changed in a very jerky manner, like a bad slide show rather than full motion. And there was no sound.

But at least I got to see a full eclipse, which was more than my colleagues could say. The overcast day and only a partial eclipse over London wasn’t that thrilling. It would be at least another ten years before the internet was ready for mass live events.

Two years later, the dot com bubble had turned into a bust. I was working at another agency, that thankfully had TVs and I remember leaning against a filing cabinet watching a plane hit the world trade centre in New York. It didn’t occur to me to go online. I knew that the web wouldn’t work that well.

Four years after that, I was working at Yahoo! Europe, when our web pages ground to a halt as the UK scrambled to get the latest news on the July 7th – London bombings. This was the first social media event as the engineers saw a flood of pictures into flickr. This gave the team a 15 minute head start to strip the Yahoo! UK home page of adverts and scripts. Instead they rebuilt the home page manually (in Dreamweaver) and republished updates as they happened through the day and into the evening.

Now, most events would be produced and streamed via a smartphone on to a service like Twitch, YouTube or Instagram with video good enough for broadcast news.