Thursday, 21 December 2017

Chart: Follies With Tulips & Bitcoins

The current fever pitch exuberance and euphoria over cryptocurrencies, including the currently leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin, reminds me of the run up to the dotcom bust in 2000.

As of right now, 1.00am on 21 December 2017, there are 1,368 crypto currencies listed on CoinMarketCap.com

Is there enough money in the world to raise the value of these digital alternative fiat currencies vis-a-vis fiat establishment currencies such as the "almighty" fiat toilet paper U.S. dollar to the astronomical "value" of Bitcoin?

I think not and my gut feeling is that with more and more people jumping on the cryptocurrency bandwagon is a prelude to "dotcon crash 2.0".

It is more likely that speculators in Bitcoin, especially those who had bought earlier when its "value" in fiat U.S. dollars was much lower, will take their profit from Bitcoin and use it to speculate on currently cheaper fiat cryptocurrencies, whose "values" are rising and over time, the "values" of these growing number of fiat cryptocurrencies will level out across each respective fiat cryptocurrency.

Below professional statistics firm Statista compares the charts of the speculative "value" of tulips and the speculative "value" of Bitcoin.

All this exuberance over Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is just another example of IT scheiss.

• Chart: Follies With Tulips & Bitcoins

Dyfed Loesche, 4-5 minutes

Out of Bounds

Follies With Tulips & Bitcoins

During the so-called Tulip Mania contract prices for some bulbs of the recently introduced and very fashionable tulip reached extremely high levels and then dramatically collapsed in February 1637. It was the first reasonably well document asset bubble in history and until now is referred to as the prime example of a market folly.

What this chart indicates is that while technology has advanced greatly over the course of the past 400 years, human psychology has remained the same. Some observers think the rally around the crypto currency Bitcoin might replace Tulip Mania as a reference for a badly overinflated asset bubble prone to burst at any moment.

Then again, there already has been deflation from the peak of a little more than 19,900 to 17,600 dollars per Bitcoin. But nobody knows if the puncture will let the balloon slowly deflate or it will rip it apart, crash landing the Bitcoin.

Infographic: Follies With Tulips & Bitcoins | Statista

Description

This chart shows a comparison of price developments during the tulip mania in 1637 and the current bitcoin bonanza of 2017.
========================================================================================================================================================

Also, check out Matthias Chang's video:-
"2018 Countdown To 2nd Global Financial Tsunami-Malaysia Will Be Devastated. UMNO/Najib Sleeping"

He thinks all this will eventually lead to a major world war between geo-strategic powers. 

IT.Scheiss



Friday, 24 November 2017

SOCIAL MEDIA IS TURNING MILLENNIALS INTO SUPERFICIAL BEINGS

Many of you may not have heard of The Malaysian Digest.

http://www.malaysiandigest.com/

Well it is an online media publication which I check out fairly regularly and kudos to The Malaysian Digest for publishing this article below which provides the views of several people on the ground who have issues with having to deal with so called 'Millennials' in their workplace and in real-world social interaction.

I've heard similar complaints from employers about 'Millennials' a.k.a. 'Generation Y' employees, especially over their entitlement mentality, and I too have observed such traits, even in older adults; so the article below resonates with me.

Without further ado, The Malaysian Digest article.

Yours trully

IT.Scheiss
================

malaysiandigest.com

Social Media Is Turning More Millennials Into Superficial Beings

24 Nov 2017 12:04

Details
Published on Friday, 24 November 2017 09:03


Before I start, you may want take this with a pinch of salt as I am merely expressing my views.

Now, open up your social media accounts, and tell me what do you see?

If you answered endless selfies, ‘live updates’ of what I’m eating/drinking, what’s going on in my life and how my life and job is better than yours – and it annoys you, this article might pique your interest (as it has some answers to the thoughts that might’ve crossed your minds).

Nevertheless, if you are one of those guilty of doing all of the above, read it too, to understand yourselves better, I hope.

Moving on, have you come across the #FirstWorldProblem hashtag?







I personally feel it is an insult to actual problems like the Rohingya refugee crisis, kids in Africa suffering from starvation and malnutrition, Syrian families displaced in their worn-torn country.

Those are legitimate problems; not your dark circle or eye bags, not your chubby cheeks, not the fact that your iPhone 6s is out of trend, and certainly not the fact that your bank account doesn’t allow you to order your fourth Caramel Macchiato of the week from Starbucks.

We cannot deny that social media has deluded us – yes, you and I both – despite making our lives tremendously easier. It has tainted the way we look at life and made a huge percentage of society – mostly hailing from the Generation Y (Millennials) whom dominate the social media sphere – into becoming superficial beings.

Reality Check: How Our Superficial Lifestyle Is Affecting Our Jobs

“In my five years working as a manager, I noticed that the younger generation or fresh graduates who enter the workforce are difficult to manage as they think they know it all or know better,” Sylvia Poh revealed.

“While there are those who are humble and are sincerely willing to learn from their more experienced peers, most employees from the new generation are narcissistic, conceited, lazy, want everything to be laid out for them on a silver platter and prefer being spoon fed rather than sought knowledge or gain new skills for themselves.”

If the brutal truth bruised your ego, then be prepared to be burned because that’s not even the worst part as the media manager bewailed that these inexperienced employees, who are fresh out of universities, are bold about their spoilt neediness and transparently rude and upfront in making their dissatisfaction known.

“Once, I, being a concern manager had asked one of my staff if he understood my orders, and I was willing to explain myself again in any case. But the staff rudely replied, ‘I can just Google it!’,” Sylvia recalled.

“It caught me off guard as I was being nice enough to teach him. He was disinterested in what I was saying and made it as if my advice was useless as Google has all the answers to his questions.”

Sylvia’s next unfortunate encounter will strike a nerve amongst many of us because the woman with two decades of experience under her belt underlined that they are unreceptive to constructive criticism – a penalty that majority of us are guilty of.

“I get this almost on a daily basis from the young ones, when I tell them they didn’t do a good job, they tell me off ‘No, I did well’ or ‘I thought I did good already,’ when they in fact never achieved the high standards that I set.

“They would then submit to me sloppy work, which in the end demands me to clear up their mess and they proudly take credit for all my hard work at the end of the day,” she sighed.



Guess sometimes we forget that our superiors are merely doing their part in moulding us to be better employees, and the truth about ourselves is a bitter pill to swallow – I know because I hate criticisms too, but listening is not such a bad thing, instead of retaliating.

And Earth to Millennials, “life is not a bed of roses,” Sylvia precisely emphasises, and hit the nail on the head saying “humility” makes all the difference in the world.

“If you’re humble, always willing to learn and improve yourself, you can become a better version of yourself and one day the best, that even people will acknowledge that as a fact when you are.

“But you don’t become the best by self-declaring you’re the best or just believing you are the best because you look in the mirror and recite your daily mantra as there has to be a basis and proof – and social media likes and followers etc. will not suffice,” she advised.

“At the end of the day, people must remember this, only God is perfect, and if they acknowledge this fact (for those who have a religion), it can make all the difference to the way they view the world and live their lives.”

And Yet, We Continue To Whine And Demand

Admittedly slacking at work myself and thinking that it will go unnoticed, talking with a 63-year-old employer by the name, Mikhail Rayqal (pseudonym) later left me with a view that all employers have an “all-seeing eye”.

“Especially in smaller companies because the chain of communication is easier to monitor and control,” he shared.

“So if you think that no one is reporting to your boss about how often you’re on your phone, or how long you take your breaks, or how you behave towards your colleagues and superiors; then your year-end bonus may have seen a reduction,” Mikhail conveyed with a laugh.

While my superficial generation simply demand for a bonus because it is our right, here’s where we’re wrong because our rights and needs are two separate things, similar to how multitasking doesn’t equate to efficiency.

“A lot of these young employees proclaim that they’re masters of multitasking, when in actuality, they’re masters of none,” he bluntly opined.

“I see this during meetings, where my employees freely continue typing away, replying to text messages, answering calls, and worst of all, have private chit chats and laugh away while the meeting is in motion,” adding that it is a sign of disrespect for your superiors and colleagues.

“It still shocks me that most fresh graduates have the nerve to ask what we (the company) have to offer when it should be the other way around,” he slapped his forehead.

“Back during my time, we were eager to prove to our employers what we have to bring to the table and are actually able to stand proud by our work because we (humbly) know that it is of quality, yet at the same time we still ask how we can improve on it.

“Though today’s youth, they want to be the best out of the bunch, yet produce mediocre work, are more concerned with quantity rather than quality, and what baffles me so is the fact that they claim their work is indeed the best.”



I also released a laugh when the SME owner, who has been in the workforce for almost four decades, wittily asked if our existence will cease to exist if we’re absent from social media for a eight measly hours?

“I’ve come across employees taking photos of themselves whilst doing work, taking videos of bundles of papers and saying things like ‘hustling through the day’ and even snapshots of their morning cup of coffee at the pantry.

“Why do you do it? It’s bad enough that your employers are noticing these silly habits and to top it all off, it does NOT contribute to your career (and personal) growth,” he communicated and asked the youths to ask themselves what do their bosses and superiors think of them.

So, what should we (I) do?

“Wake up and realise that everything takes time. You are not the best version of yourself (yet), but you can be if you acknowledge your own shortcomings and work upon it.

“Don’t be afraid to admit you’re wrong. If you can acknowledge that life is a never-ending learning process, then why can’t you apply the same principle at work?.”

Are We Really Flawless Or Plain Oblivious?

This led me to ponder why some Millennials find it a challenging task to acknowledge our own incompetence – so much so it was dubbed as the generation of ‘Overconfident Airheads’.

Dr Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, Chair of the Board of Governance, Amnesty Malaysia, enlightened me about the Dunning-Kruger effect – which defines how incompetent people overestimate their ability and are unaware of their shortcomings as oppose to competent people who underestimate themselves.

Okay, let me break the scenario down for you with examples that have been provided by the international psychologist:

Scenario 1: Daily Life or Intrapersonal Relationship

An uber driver thinking they are good at reading maps, is engaging and excels at driving. Their rating by riders reflect a completely different story where they are clueless with GPRS, are an annoying talker and drive disruptively.

Scenario 2: Family

Mothers and daughters: a mother convinced of her superior mothering skills where she thinks she has always been there for her daughter and is her best friend when in fact the daughter has felt largely unheard and unseen and feels smothered.

Scenario 3: Friendships and Relationships

A single guy thinking they are quite charismatic with the opposite sex and that’s the number one thing they bring to the table when in fact, girls think he is off putting, slow and with zero charm.

Scenario 4: Workplace Environment

A boss thinking ‘I am good at investments and making sharp business decisions, my team loves me’ whereas reality is the boss was in the right place at the right time and got lucky, they actually overpay on acquiring deals, had to drop other deals because they chose bad and unethical investments and most of their team is seeking therapy because they are that abusive.

Scenario 5: Society

This is rife on social media. Assuming that one is the toast of town because of what they are wearing, who they are eating with and where they are travelling when truthfully, a majority of people find the clothes unbecoming/unfitting for the situation, feel they have a unhealthy and problematic diet and impulse control and that the travel photos are opportunistic without any real meaning, true connection, or authenticity. It is lacking what many people would call ‘the real deal’.

This, honestly explains why some people are just… well plain oblivious of their mistakes. It also got me reading up more about the effect, and this particularly piece I find interesting, might help you understand it better, or you can watch the video below.

But in a nutshell, if you’re wondering what’s the cause of the Dunning-Kruger effect and if this can be reversed or improved, here’s what Dr Anjhula has to say:

“Being developmentally stunted, the fear of missing out, narcissism, immaturity and the lack of opportunity and willingness to increase knowledge, exposure, training, and education,” are some of the reasons she shared.

“Once this is rectified, those with the Dunning-Kruger effect can make the leap and see the difference in their ineptitude before and their aptitude after.”

Note also that social media or the rapid advancement of technology has a positive relationship to the Dunning-Kruger effect due to the fact that social media is often based on a ‘mutual appreciation club.’

“This refers to, ‘If I like your post, then you like mine,’ yet the platitudes are empty and many people are weary of correcting others on social media, providing feedback or another point of view for fear of sitting on the ‘wrong’ side of the fence and mass cyber bullying,” Dr Anjhula explained.

Seeing that social media indeed has a hand in our own ignorance, maybe we should consider taking a hiatus? (Gasp!)



Hello, Is Social Media Detox Calling You?

Syazwani Dayana is off-the-grid, because let’s face it, social media is “A waste of time”, in her own words.

“It’s draining and rather exasperating because most of the posts or updates don’t add value and I’m particular about what and whom I invest my time and energy in,” the 24-year-old heaved a sigh of relief.

“I also discovered that the relationships I form with people through social media were neither deep nor meaningful and it irked me that some have the sense to call us ‘friends’ simply because we pressed the ‘Friend’ or ‘Follow’ button.”

Note to self: Friendship is not based on ‘likes’ or ‘observing’ the timely updates posted on social media but rather the connection shared between two souls and a group of like-minded friends.

This, dear readers, is a point I feel maybe some of you, can deeply relate to.



“It’s liberating – I’ve more time for more important things; I began to appreciate being present and the people who genuinely invest in me,” she quipped with a huge smile carved on her face.

“I’ve fewer friends now, but at least our friendships are much deeper and meaningful because we’re able to appreciate each other’s time and presence more,” – which I responded with an agreeing nod.

As an observer myself rather than a social media-holic, I do notice the superficiality rising on various platforms.

Yasmin Ridzuan notes that these people who eagerly share their life events, use the platform for emotional outpourings, and openly criticise and troll other people always has her feeling anxious.

The 22-year-old however shared, “I’m not saying that it’s wrong to share your two cents on social media, but please put a limit because the more we reveal, the more we allow people to scrutinise us.

“And that, my friends, is an ugly, ugly, feeling.”

The fresh graduate points out that these days, no one posts something on social media (especially Instagram) without having the slightest intention to project a certain image of themselves to the masses – something which she too admits being guilty of (I nod, here).

“I soon realised that I’ve become one of those who indulged herself in narcissism and I backed away as soon as it felt like a competition I never signed up for.

“Mild narcissism is good because it can help with our self-esteem; but the moment it starts to intoxicate us.

“Well, be prepared when it backfires, because it will damage your self-esteem and confidence, especially those who rely on your social media for validation.”

Why must we need validation from anyone on the way we look, dress, what we say, what we eat or where we travel to, first and foremost?

And in fact, I believe our obsession does go beyond some boundaries that it creates an imaginary character – one that people we love or close to us, might not even recognise in real life.

For example, the long captions we take time to craft or the quotes we take the trouble to Google search just to type it in conjunction with our beloved’s birthday celebration, during special occasions, or simply to tell them we love them.



“On Mother’s Day we strive to come up with the most heart-warming caption for the most aesthetically-pleasing photo of our mother that will be posted on Instagram, yet in reality, we fail greatly to attend to our mother’s need let alone be the daughter she had hoped for us to be once upon a time,” were Yasmin’s hard-hitting words.

This left me at one very good thought…

Are we really living the life or living a lie for the sake of earning heart emojis and thumb-up signals?

Now look into the mirror, tell yourself honestly, which resonates with you more?

*The writer of this piece is a recovered social media addict who hopes to knock some sense into the superficial generation.

 -mD

http://malaysiandigest.com/frontpage/282-main-tile/709553-social-media-is-turning-more-millennials-into-superficial-beings.html






Thursday, 23 November 2017

SURE YOU WANT TO ENTRUST YOUR PERSONAL DATA TO THIRD PARTIES IN CYBERSPACE?

Hot on the heels of the revelation that detailed personal data of the 46.2 million mobile phone accounts in Malaysia were stolen and is being sold online to crooks who call you and impersonate your bank, the police of other institutions and talk you into revealing your critical banking or credit card details or deceive you into parting with your hard earned money; now ride sharing facilitator Uber reveals that 57 million of its customers' personal data had been compromised.

Do you still trust all these online and digital apps and services after all this?

The Internet and Cyberspace is a very promiscuous domain where crooks can carry out their nefarious activities behind the veil of anonymity and beyond the jurisdiction of the laws of the countries where their victims reside, so I keep my access to such sites and services to the minimum, so as to have the lowest exposure to being hacked.

BTW. I have never used Uber

Yours trully

IT.Scheiss
 

Should Uber users be worried about data hack?

AFP




uberPARIS: The theft of the personal data of 57 million Uber riders and drivers highlights how vulnerable we make ourselves when we install apps on our mobile phones and tablet computers.

What happened?

Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said Tuesday that hackers had compromised personal data from some 57 million riders and drivers in a breach kept hidden for a year.

Monday, 20 November 2017

BAD ATTITUDE CONTRIBUTES TO GRADUATE UNEMPLOYMENT

Following on from my earlier post, Move up the Value Chain and be Less Employable  http://itsheiss.blogspot.my/2017/11/move-up-value-chain-and-be-less.html this The Malaysian Insight article provides deeper insights into a major aspect of the problems contributing to graduate unemployment.

At least in my earlier commentary on this issue referred to, there were some Malaysian graduates, including engineering graduates who to their credit were willing to take up cleaning jobs normally done by foreign workers (indentured wage slaves), which few Malaysians today are willing to do. Several years back I covered the online employment agency Jobstreet's media conference about the state of employment and  learned that some information technology (IT) graduates who were on Jobstreet were very choosy and refused to take jobs opportunities for which they were suited simply because it was not their "ideal" job.

So whilst these graduates waited for their 'ideal' job to come along, their indulgent parents were willing to support them and as a result, some of them had been unemployed for over a year.

I can relate to what Skim Latihan 1Malaysia organiser Norashikin Ismail who calls the current stock of young graduates the ‘strawberry generation’, who will up and quit when they are told off for doing their jobs badly.
Some will show up for three days, and then run off. If they get told off by their bosses, they will run off," she told The Malaysian Insight.

My friend and neighbour has a small company which packs and markets medical examination gloves under his own brand name and needed some additional workers to pack gloves.

Another neighbour, a taxi driver living nearby his workplace had asked him to employ his two boys, both unemployed school leavers, so he offered them jobs but they just did not turn up for work.

He managed to get a worker, a school leaver who had completed his SPM (Malaysian Certificate of Education) from a welfare home for teenage boys and this person worked for about three or so days and did not turn up for work after that.

From what I was told, this young man was frequently taking and receiving calls on his phone during working hours and when he was told not to use his phone during working hours, except during breaks, he started to visit the toilet very frequently during working hours, presumably to use his phone.

So it appears that unable to use his phone during working hours, he stopped turning up for work.

If this is the attitude of a young man from a welfare home, then what more the attitude of those young people with rich parents who let him stay at home for free, indulge them with the latest and 'greatest' smartphone every six months, give them all the pocket money to spend on expensive lattes whilst hanging out with friends in hip, hype, happening and cool chain cafes, who throw in a car as well and have a bevy of maids to do everything for them, including wipe and  wash their bums for them after they defaecate.

I've also heard complaints by public relations companies about the entitlement mentality amongst Gen Y and Millennial staff who have such a high opinion of themselves and their capabilities, even before they have proven themselves in their work.

Well, this is Malaysia's pampered and spoiled generation - the much touted "Generation Y" and "Millennials" generation - the Internet Generation - most of whom go around with faces buried in their and tablet devices, who know social media backwards but do not know how to write a proper job application.

Welcome to that much touted "Knowledge-based, Information and Services Society" and to the "Internet Generation" who are Malaysia's "future".

Remember. The Roman Empire declined and fell after the Roman elite grew too dependent on their slaves to do everything for them, whilst they (the Roman elite) indulged in several days long feasts where they ate and drank till they were full, induced themselves to vomit out the food and drink they had consumed right where they sat and had their slave crawl under the table wiping up the mess on the floor below them.

"That's not to say the Romans were unfamiliar with throwing up, or that they never did so on purpose. On the contrary, in ancient times vomiting seems to have been a standard part of the fine-dining experience. In his Moral Epistles the Roman philosopher Seneca writes, Cum ad cenandum discubuimus, alius sputa deterget, alius reliquias temulentorum [toro] subditus colligit, "When we recline at a banquet, one [slave] wipes up the spittle; another, situated beneath [the table], collects the leavings of the drunks." OK, it doesn't literally say puke, but come on. The orator Cicero, in Pro Rege Deiotaro, says matter-of-factly that Julius Caesar "expressed a desire to vomit after dinner"(vomere post cenam te velle dixisses), and elsewhere suggests that the dictator took emetics for this purpose."


Whilst many Malaysians do gluttonously gorge, we aren't quite as decadent as the ancient Roman elite - well at least not yet.

The Malaysian Insight article follows below.

Yours Trully

IT.Scheiss

======================= themalaysianinsight.com

Bad attitude, not lack of skill, is jobless graduates’ biggest hurdle

The Malaysian Insight




Yasmin Ramlan Updated 7 hours ago · Published on 20 Nov 2017 7:00AM ·


Bad attitude, not lack of skill, is jobless graduates’ biggest hurdle Skim Latihan 1Malaysia organiser Norashikin Ismail calls the current stock of young graduates the ‘strawberry generation’, who will up and quit when they are told off for doing their jobs badly. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Seth Akmal, November 20, 2017. FOR many out-of-work graduates, a spoilt attitude and unrealistic expectations are the main impediments to them getting employed, a training and job placement programme organiser said.

A high dropout rate of graduates who signed up for Skim Latihan 1Malaysia (SL1M) showed the problem with most of the jobless youth was not a lack of skill, but bad work ethics and attitudes, said programme organiser Norashikin Ismail.

“Some will show up for three days, and then run off. If they get told off by their bosses, they will run off," she told The Malaysian Insight.

“They are all from the ‘strawberry generation’... when they don’t do their jobs well and their bosses tell them off, they take offence. 

"They are very proud to be graduates, but they don’t want to do the work,” she said.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

THE CYBER ROUTE TO MENTAL ENSLAVEMENT

Some may say "What does Assistant Sabah Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Sairin Karno know about information and communications technology", whilst others may denigrate him as a "Luddite".

As one who has installed, services and maintained computers, including minicomputers, super microcomputers and PCs as well as data communications equipment, including modems and telex interface units for a major part of my early career and who later wrote about information and communications technology from September 1994 until now, I agree wholeheartedly with Assistant Minister Datuk Sairin Karno on this key point:-

“This generation no longer give priority to more important and beneficial activities. The future of youths will be affected if the trend is not monitored. The people will become complacent, until failing to realise that the trend is a new form of colonisation.” 

The term "neocolonialism" refers to a new, less obvious form of colonialism where the colonial master does not occupy and rule over colonies directly but through local proxies - a.k.a. puppets mostly drawn from amongst the local colonial elite who exploit their own land, resources, labour and capital for the benefit of the neo colonial master.

The growth of mass public availability of Internet access began in the early 1990s, around the time the World Trade Organisation was established at a GATT (General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade) conference in 1994 and since then, the drumbeat of globalisation, open borders, deregulation, free markets and so forth thundered through the expanding Internet, management consultants, through economists and the prostitute media, and that was the primary article of faith amongst the elite milieu I was unfortunate to have had to be immersed in until the economic crash of 2008 from which the world has not recovered, has resulted in many people waking up and seeing the light of the globalists' latter day imperialist agenda and how it has come up against its own internal contradictions.

Social media sites such as Google, You Tube, Facebook, Twitter and services such as WhatsApp are based in the imperialist heartlands and have global reach into the minds of many people, especially impressionable young people who are led to think that they are "so tech savvy" and "so well informed" but in reality are sorely lacking in the basic use of computers for productive and beneficial work.

From my more recent personal experience of helping people, including friends and small business people with their their basic computer use - i.e. checking e-mail, sending e-mail, replying to e-mail, writing letters, quotations and so forth using a word processor, scanning documents, organising documents into appropriately named folders on hard disk, searching the Web for information, keying in GST reports and so forth, I realise that whilst most of them, including their maids, staff and even three year old child are adept at accessing social media on their smartphones and tablets, but they have a lot of difficulty or don't have a clue about using a PC to perform such basic office administration and office automation and tasks on their PC.

In one instance a friend had over 100 documents scanned by a third party, probably a photo copy shop, and the operator stored the scanned documents in a USB drive and when I opened the US drive, I was horrified to see that the scanned documents were named "scan0001", "scan0002", "scan0003", ......... "scan0130", which told me nothing about what each of the so named documents were about and I had to open each of them in turn to find out what they were about. So much wasted time in unproductive donkey work.

The person who scanned the documents obviously knew the technicalities of using a scanner but did not bother about the difficulties which such a thoughtless naming convention would impose upon the customer or end user.

Basically, the person who scanned those documents either either had no common sense, no experience of office computer use, was not trained properly, was downright lazy or a combination of two or more of the reasons stated.

I once used to joke about smartschools creating a generation of idiots by the year 2020 but it now looks like social media sites are doing a better job at creating a dysfunctional generation.

Also, most of you may already have read about the subscriber data of 46.2 million cellular phone numbers leaked online which were sold to scammers who have been making cold calls to unsuspecting people, several of whom have been conned into parting with their hard earned money.

The data leaked contains details of mobile subscribers' Identity Card (MyKAD), mobile number and even right down to details of their phone's IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identification) number, SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) number (a.k.a. an Integrated Circuit Card Identifier number) and their IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) number and given the depth of detail related to each of the subcribers' accounts which were leaked; this suggests that these could only have been leaked by insiders within the cellular telecommunications operators.   

Welcome to the knowledge-base, information and services economy where people abuse their trust and knowledge to do evil.

If you get such cold calls, do not entertain them but check with your relevant bank, credit card company, the police or other party mentioned by the caller, preferably IN PERSON and if they mention a bank or credit card company which you do have an account with, check IN PERSON with that bank, credit card company or whatever irrespective, to ensure that your MyKAD number was not abused to create an account in your name in that bank, credit card company or whatever.

So much for the knowledge-based, information and services economy. It's all a load of IT scheiss.

Article in Malaysian Digest  follow below.

Yours trully.

IT.Scheiss


Uncontrolled Cyber Progress A Destructive Neocolonialism

18 Nov 2017 10:50

Details - Published on Saturday, 18 November 2017 09:23


KENINGAU: The world of cyber technology is a new form of colonialism that can destroy the future generation if left uncontrolled, said Assistant Sabah Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Sairin Karno.

He said communicating via the social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Friendster and WhatsApp, among others, was the current teenage craze which created an inattentive generation.

“This generation no longer give priority to more important and beneficial activities.

“The future of youths will be affected if the trend is not monitored. The people will become complacent, until failing to realise that the trend is a new form of colonialisation,” he told Bernama after launching  Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Gaulan Excellence Award ceremony here today.

Monday, 13 November 2017

MOVE UP THE VALUE CHAIN AND BE LESS EMPLOYABLE

In all my years of writing about the computing and information technology services industry, I have heard no end about Malaysian workers having to 'reskill themselves and move up the value chain' to remain relevant (i.e. employable) in the knowledge-based information and services economy - a 'sunrise' industry, as 'sunset' industries such as manufacturing and assembly leave Malaysia's shores to our neighbouring lower wage countries, bringing along with them a sun rise.

So more students have gone to the burgeoning number of public and private universities, including many which I dub as graduate factories, in order to get that much coveted degree, so as to 'move up the value chain'.

However, the interesting thing about this Free Malaysia Today article about what the Chief Economist at Malaysian Rating Corp said about employers' actual requirements of graduates they are looking for is proficiency in the English language, rather than straight As only.

Also:  "It said in terms of employability, those with tertiary education made up the highest percentage of unemployed youths at 15.3%"

So it looks like the higher up the value chain one goes, the more unemployable one becomes in the much touted knowledge-based, information and services economy, well at least within Malaysia.

I landed my first job as a Process Engineer with the now defunct National Semiconductor integrated circuit assembly plant in Senawang, Negeri Sembilan in March 1980 or about 37 years ago and within three months of my return to Malaysia from the U.K. with an electronics engineering degree.

Most of the line supervisors and technicians had a Higher School Certificate (A Levels or "STPM" in Malay), whilst most of the production operators, most of whom were young women, had a Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) which is equivalent to O Levels and some even had Lower Certificate of Education (SRP).

Many of the production operators were not very proficient in English but that did not matter, since we all could communicate with them in Malay and we all got the work done.

On the 7th of November 2017, I covered the Hong Kong Trade Development Council's In Style Hong Kong symposium and exposition in Kuala Lumpur and had a bit of a hard time understanding the Hong Kong and China English spoken by the speakers at the event, many of whom are architects, advertising professionals, public relations professionals, engineers, computer scientists, entrepreneurs, corporate chiefs, top civil servants and so forth, which raises questions as to whether the ability to speak the Queen's English is all that important to one's employability and success in business.

Like one of the speakers from LAAB Architects in Hong Kong had the imagination, creativity and ability to think outside the box to optimise the space in a 309 sq ft (28.7 sq metres) but their English isn't all that great.

Another speaker, a storyteller who also is a creative lead at Sun Mobile Communications Ltd spoke about transmedia and how they created an animated video with a catchy tune which was posted on You Tube and other platforms to remind viewers about the deadly dangers they should avoid. This project was commissioned by a metro train operator in Australia which wanted to cut down on train accidents and it worked.

These professionals have bachelors or masters degrees, though their English was not all that great but understandable enough for me to write an article about the event.

So why is being proficient in English such a big deal amongst Malaysian employers, unless the jobs available are relatively low-skilled information and services jobs.

Or are we churning out too many degree holders that a bachelors degree today is worth an SPM (Senior Cambridge, O Levels, MCE) back in the 1970s, a masters degree today is worth an STPM (A Levels, HSC, high school diploma) back then and a PhD today is worth a bachelors degree back then.

Heck!  In their desperation, even engineering degree holders have taken up jobs for which they are way over qualified for, though one has to admire their willingness to do so until they can find work more suited to their qualifications.

"As unemployment grows, so does the number of qualified people who are resorting to doing any job that pays."
"One such person is Siti Nursyazalina Zailani, who graduated as a materials engineer but now works as a domestic cleaner."


Engineering graduates like Siti Nursyazalina would have easily got a job at executive level in one of the semiconductor plants back in the 1980s.

I guess there are not that many jobs for engineers today, as we move towards becoming a 'high-income, knowledge-based, information and services economy'.

Or should fresh graduates go further and pursue an MBA (Masters of Nothing Better) in order to be employable.
The problem is that there are not all that many jobs higher up the value chain.

Also, the sun rises where 'sunset' industries move into, whilst the sun sets where 'sunset' industries move away from, leaving more and more 'sunrise' industries behind.

Anyway, the sun never sets on planet earth.Whilst the sun is setting somewhere on earth, it is rising somewhere else.

Free Malaysia Today article referred to follows.

Yours truly

IT.Scheiss

Economist: Poor English, lack of experience costing grads jobs

FMT Reporters

Chief economist at Malaysian Rating Corp Nor Zahidi Alias says employers are not looking for graduates with straight As only.

Nor-Zahidi-Alias

PETALING JAYA: Low proficiency in English and lack of exposure to real-world situations are two main factors hindering Malaysian graduates from finding employment, an economist says.

Nor Zahidi Alias, who is chief economist at Malaysian Rating Corp Bhd, said the number of unemployed graduates in the country had risen over the years despite labour market fundamentals remaining respectable.

In a column carried by The Edge, he said part of the issue could be chalked up to the inability of graduates to communicate fluently in English.

“All along the supply chain, proficiency in the language is a highly desirable skill, as attested to by the majority of employers,” he said.

“In fact, in my experience, employers normally take no more than five minutes to judge the communication skills of interviewees before deciding whether or not to employ them. The better they speak, the more attractive they are to potential employers.”

Nor Zahidi regretted that many Malaysian graduates could not adequately express themselves at job interviews, adding that their struggles with language also had a negative impact on their confidence level.

“These clearly present issues for those seeking employment in the services sector, where effective communication is a key skill.”

Similarly, graduates’ lack of real-world experience was a problem as many companies wanted employees who had work experience prior to their graduation, he said.

“Unfortunately, in Malaysia, students do not seem to focus on getting real-world experience. Instead, they concentrate on scoring good grades.

“It is not really graduates with straight As that employers are looking for.”

Friday, 10 November 2017

FACEBOOK FOUNDING PRESIDENT ON HOW IT EXPLOITS HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY

When I look around at how people go around faces glued to their phone screens engaged in social media chatting with someone, somewhere but not those around them, I  can only see a bleak future for a generation and a society which has succumbed to the psychological manipulation of advertisers, telephone companies and device manufacturers who are all contributing to the dumbing down of society for their financial gain.

Now we have Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook, expressing his concerns over what he and his partners hath wrought.

I terminated my Facebook and Twitter accounts several years back and now rarely access WhatsApp, except to check up on messages from my remisier.

Axios article follows below.

IT.Scheiss =========================

Sean Parker unloads on Facebook "exploiting" human psychology
Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook, gave me a candid insider's look at how social networks purposely hook and potentially hurt our brains.


Be smart: Parker's I-was-there account provides priceless perspective in the rising debate about the power and effects of the social networks, which now have scale and reach unknown in human history. He's worried enough that he's sounding the alarm.

Parker, 38, now founder and chair of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, spoke yesterday at an Axios event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, about accelerating cancer innovation. In the green room, Parker mentioned that he has become "something of a conscientious objector" on social media.

By the time he left the stage, he jokingly said Mark Zuckerberg will probably block his account after reading this:

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

MEDIA CONTENT EVERYWHERE BUT WHERE'S THE REVENUE?

In my mail shot yesterday, I had referred to Free Malaysia Today's article "Why job cuts at Singapore media giant are a good sign"

In its article, Free Malaysia Today had referred to an the publication ASEAN Today as one of its sources, so I took a look at ASEAN Today which I found to provide very much more comprehensive information with graphs and charts as to why Singapore Press Holdings is retrenching its journalists despite recording 'surging' profits.

Basically, its media unit is the only unit to experience declining revenue, whilst revenue of its property unit increased.

ASEAN Today posed a rather ironic question for the future of media in its sub-heading - "SPH – Singapore Press Holdings or Singapore Property Holdings?"

On 14 September 2014, ASEAN Today wrote:-

(Please enable view images if you cannot see the embedded graphs below)

Singapore Press Holdings losing its shine




With the onslaught of new media, Singapore Press Holdings is losing its relevance, and it may be time for them to consider privatisation.

By Joelyn Chan

Along with other media companies, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) struggles to stay relevant and maintain its profitability.

Alan Chan, CEO of SPH, said: “We have done a comprehensive business review to strengthen our position in a tough economic and media environment. Market conditions will remain difficult with the continuing disruption of the media industry.”

“We will continue to innovate and invest in our media products to stay ahead and relevant. At the same time, we will grow our business adjacencies to diversify revenue streams and maximise stakeholder value,” he added.

SPH’s lacklustre performance

Compared to 2015, SPH’s operating revenue shrank by 4.5% to SG$1,124.3 million. In the last four years, the media business’ contribution to total revenue has fallen by 8%. The fall in revenue can be explained by a 7.6% decline in the media business. Revenue from property increased by 4.6%. The declining composition of its core media business is likely to persist, and SPH is falling back on real estate to sustain their shrinking business operations. This trend also reflects on the sustainability of the traditional media industry in Singapore and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Competition is now global and digital.



SPH’s lacklustre performance has warranted cost reduction measures and improvements in operational efficiency amidst continuing uncertainty. In 2001, SPH AsiaOne had downsized, retrenched 23 employees, and restructured its businesses to focus on online news, careers and database services. SPH’s broadcasting arm, SPH MediaWorks trimmed away 19% of workforce and announced an across-the-board salary cut of 12.7%. In 2003, SPH once again retrenched about 3% of its total headcount.

Since 2014, its biggest expense – staff cost, has achieved the desired year on year decrease. However, mere cost reduction of SG$12 million over two years cannot save SPH, which needs greater revenue and profits.

SPH’s service offerings lack competitiveness

The Straits Times(ST) may have held its position as the best-read publication in Singapore, with a total readership of 1.26 million. But SPH’s newspaper readership remains on an accelerating downtrend, faring worse today than ten years ago.

Monday, 30 October 2017

FREE MALAYSIA TODAY SEEMS TO THINK THAT JOB CUTS AT SINGAPORE PRESS HOLDINGS ARE GOOD

Saw this article in Free Malaysia Today of 30 October 2017.

I wonder whether Singapore Press Holdings' online and digital advertising will be enough to cover costs, if the print edition eventually goes down.

Free Malaysia today is a small online-only publication which publishes politically-oriented, generally pro-opposition news articles.

Dunno if it is profitable.

What the article below basically says is that human journalists are becoming redundant.

========

Why job cuts at Singapore media giant are a good sign

PETALING JAYA: Odds are that many journalists at a Singapore company will soon lose their jobs, but a report says the job cuts are a good sign that Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) is “modernising” in its efforts to remain competitive.

Asean Today said SPH’s decision to trim down its journalists was “a leap towards the new era of journalism”.

“In the hyper-competitive world of news reporting, a failure to innovate is a death sentence.

“The SPH message is clear: it wants to keep Singapore at the forefront of modern journalism, and that means reducing jobs and embracing technology,” it said today.

SPH, which began retrenching staff earlier this month, is Southeast Asia’s biggest newspaper publisher and owner of the 172-year-old Straits Times daily.

According to reports, the company intends to axe 230 staff members which will reduce employees in core media divisions by 15%.

However, Asean Today also noted that SPH was not in financial distress, as the company had recorded a surge in profits for 2017 of S$350.1 million.

“To stay relevant and profitable, SPH needs to keep up with consumer trends and create stimulating content for the new generation. To do this, it needs to embrace AI solutions,” it said.

Pointing out that 85% of the population now refer to online sources for their news, the report added that such platforms were not conducive to long articles.

“Visual journalism is becoming the new norm,” it said, adding that this means there is less need for actual journalists.

Today, AI bots can even write news articles for companies, a technique already being used by the Associated Press for its stories on corporate financial quarterly earnings, the report said.

The use of natural language generation (NLG) technology means that human input is only required to select relevant data sets, while other types of software can select images to accompany the article.

“The future of journalism is quickly advancing,” the report said, quoting co-founder of Narrative Science Kris Hammond who estimated that computers would be responsible for 90% of news content by the mid-2020s.

According to the report, last year SPH invested S$6.8 million in Brand New Media Singapore (BNMS), a leading video content company.

This is in line with the steady rise in the consumption of online videos, the company was reported as saying.

“Other companies are looking to transition to stay ahead of the industry and increase revenues,” the report added.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/highlight/2017/10/30/why-job-cuts-at-singapore-media-giant-are-a-good-sign/


END

Doesn't all that management-ese sound oh so 'sophisticated'?

So even information workers can be rendered obsolete by the inevitable onward march of information and communications technology. 

Welcome to the much-touted Information and Services Society.

Earlier Bloomberg Technology of 21 September 2017 reported of impending job cuts at Singapore Press Holdings.

"Singapore Press Considering Job Cuts in Reorganization Plan"
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-21/singapore-press-said-to-consider-job-cuts-in-reorganization-plan

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

MY COMMENT TO 'DAILY RANT AUSTRALIA' ON HIS YOU TUBE VIDEO - 'Bitcoin is Still Just Money'

You Tube video blogger 'Daily Rant Australia" posted a good video pointing out the realities of the much hyped and touted, block chain-based crypto currency - Bitcoin.


I commented on it and Daily Rant Australia replied:-

"Thanks for the detailed response. You should make your own rant! :)"

Well, IT.Scheiss has been my text rant site since 2012, so below I share my comment to Daily Rant Australia's video blog post here (with minor edits of typos and grammar).

Anarcho-capitalists have touted Bitcoin as the alternative 'solution' to problems of the current establishment monetary system and if it exists as an independent, alternative currency within a parallel financial universe from the establishment currency system then it may serve its function as an alternative currency.

I personally have no issue with people creating and using any kind of alternative currency, even if it be Linden Dollars, marbles, pebbles or whatever.

However, once people place importance of the exchange rate of Bitcoin versus establishment currencies and speculate on it, then it no longer is an independent parallel currency but just another currency within the establishment system, just like a stock in the establishment stock market or a currency in the establishment foreign exchange market.

The anarcho-capitalists also touted Bitcoin as a means of 'salvation' of mankind which will 'free' mankind from the 'tyranny' of establishment currencies and governments. As you rightly pointed out, the current cost of owning and operating Bitcoin mining farms to mine enough Bitcoin to be profitable for the owner makes Bitcoin mining or ownership a preserve of the elite, which only helps to further widen the gap between the haves and have-nots and it does nothing to end the dominance and aggression of imperialist power such as the US and some Western European imperialist countries upon the peoples and nations of Afghanistan, the Middle-East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

All this nonsense being touted is similar the cyber-utopian fantasies and claims back in the 1990s that the Internet would 'level the playing field' by allowing a small business operating from a bedroom to compete on par with a giant corporation online, thus leading to some idealistic Utopia in which monopolies are brought down low.

Look around today at cyberspace and we see how much it has become dominated by new giant corporations - Internet giants which began as 'cute and cuddly' startups in what initially was a free market environment in which there was much competition and consumer choice but has through those very free market forces, thus resulted in the weaker players being driven out by the stronger and more successful ones until only a handful of dominant players are left standing.

These right-anarchist, libertarian, neo-liberal, cyber-utopian idiots do not know or realise the dialectical-materialist reality that free market environments by their very own laws of operation, will eventually gravitate towards monopoly, just as water left to its own devices, tends to find its way to the common denominator in the sea; unless prevented to by regulations, which these cyber-utopians so abhor and which is so anathema to their ideals.

Going back even further to the 1960s and early 1970s, countercutural utopians used to say, that if everyone smoked pot and dropped LSD, there would be 'world peace' and the 'brotherhood of mankind'. Recall the claims of societal change made by Charles Reich's in his book, The Greening of America, where when "Consciousness 3" people who were youths at the time would 'create an better and more peaceful world' when they grew older? Well much pot has been smoked and much LSD dropped since then and we are no closer to world peace and the brotherhood of mankind today. Instead wars and hatreds have intensified since then.

The problems and wrongs of our world which are the result of capitalism and imperialism cannot be ended by the establishment of alternatives within the capitalist and imperialist framework but rather the capitalist and imperialist framework must be overthrown and a new socio-political-economic system - i.e. socialism established. Anything else is just a pipe dream, very likely fostered or encourage by the capitalist/imperialist state to undermine any real solutions to the problems of capitalism and imperialism.

Thus I am suspicious of the likes of Peter Joseph and his Zeitgeist Movement which whilst he is spot on with regards the problems of capitalism, however promotes the Utopian notion that technological developments will somehow pull the proverbial rug from under the feet of the very capitalist who have financed the development of such technology and who own it, thus resulting in society somehow transitioning to a communist society without any resistance, often violent from those currently in power.

This Zeitgeist Movement looks like it is just another controlled opposition created by the capitalist and imperialists to lead albeit sincere and genuinely concerned individuals who want change into an ineffective dead end.

END

At the core of Bitcoin is a blockchain - i.e. just a digital ledger or a database of transactions maintained online by multiple parties and accessible to all authorised parties. Bitcoin has implemented its blockchain in a certain way, whilst other crypto currencies have their own implementations of blockchain technology.

However, no bank, financial institution, business enterprise of government body with any sense will want to maintain their critical data on a public blockchain, so they are looking into creating their respective private enterprise blockchains, just as many have opted to operate their own respective private cloud computing sites, rather than use a public cloud site - for reasons of security and privacy of course.


The main reason I see for organisations to maintain their own blockchain in a distributed manner is that that if the primary site goes down or closes shop, the participants still have access to a copy of a record of their transactions. This is called 'redundancy' In computing, data storage and networking terms. However, if these data centres are taken out by conventional missile strikes in times of war, electricity supply and communications infrastructure are wrecked by a massive electromagnetic pulse from massive sunspot activity or a massive earthquake breaks the submarine cables through which international Internet traffic transverses, well the whole kaboodle will come crashing down.

As for bypassing legal and financial intermediaries, that may be so in the early days but just as has happened before with websites, blogs, social media, e-commerce and so forth, but the regulatory and enforcement authorities will soon catch up and try to regulate and make illegal such attempts to bypass them.

Google's recent measures to demonetise (deny advertisements) on You Tube videos deemed to be offensive or too radical for advertisers is just one example of attempts at such control by the site owner itself and some creators of content deemed too controversial who have found themselves unable to make a living from advertisements on You Tube after demonetisation have thought that they could instead rely on crowd-funding sites such as Patreon, only to find themselves kicked off Patreon as Laura Southern did. At least Google did not kick her off You Tube but only demonetised some of her videos but Patreon went the whole hog and booted her off altogether.


Some of those content creators who complain about You Tube demonetising their videos also predict that You Tube will 'collapse' as content creators 'flee' to these other sites but this is unlikely to happen.
 
Some of them may think that they can carry on on other less known video sites such as VidMe https://vid.me/ and DTube https://dtube.video/ however do that advertisers who did not want their advertisements to be associated with their videos on You Tube will somehow be willing to have their advertisements associated with the same videos on VidMe or DTube?

Highly likely not, so these content creators will still not get enough advertising revenue from their videos on these other sites.

Moreover, these video sites were not set up by some philantropist just to enable unfettered free expression online, but by startups intent on eventually making money and lots of it from their sites.

They may may be ultra liberal with regards the nature of the messages conveyed via the content hosted on their respective sites in order to build up traffic to attract advertisers but once they have attracted enough traffic and are earning enough advertising revenue, they can then dump those content creators who are a liability to their advertising revenue, just as Google, whose worldwide advertising revenue surpassed all print newspaper advertising revenue in the U.S. in 2012 and can now quite literally fart in the faces of creators of You Tube videos deemed to be too controversial in the eyes of their advertisers - who at the end of the day call the shots.


Hosting bulky content such as videos on servers in data centres and the capacity (bandwidth) of Internet connections to these sites to enable smooth streaming of the videos to multiple viewers simultaneously costs these content site owners money and like any business, they will be more interested in maintaining those content creators who are being in sufficient advertising revenue for them and whilst video hosting and streaming sites have not gone so far as to remove the accounts of creators whose content is not earning them enough advertising revenue.

So I wouldn't be surprised if they eventually get rid of creators whom they deem to be 'deadwood' from their sites to save costs and free up more storage space and Internet connectivity capacity for the more 'productive' content creators.

These cyber-utopians have recently learned the realities of capitalism in Cyberspace the hard way, when it has turned around and bitten them, yet many continue to entertain their cyber-utopian delusions.

Perhaps they should band together to pay for a site to host their videos in a co-operative fashion, similar to what the wholly membership supported Vancouver Co-op Radio has done for the past 44 years, initially with radio broadcasts in 1974 and later also with on a website, audio & video streaming and mobile applets.



Vancouver Co-op Radio eschews advertisements and prides its independence wholly enabled by membership dues and donations.

However, it appears that such formerly organised, co-operative initiatives amongst like-minded persons, with annual general meetings and democratic election of committee members by the membership; are anathema to the atomised milieu of content creators in cyberspace, whether on the right or on the left who have this entrenched entitlement mentality of wanting to have everything handed out to them free-of-charge in cyberspace.

Most of these very same content creators condemn low income recipients of much-needed social welfare payments and affordable healthcare for having an 'entitlement mentality' for needing government aid to survive when meaningful jobs have been outsourced to low-wage countries, yet these cyber-parasites feel entitled to get, take and have everything for free online, even if it denies talented content creators, such as composers, musicians, artists, journalists and so forth their legitimate royalties or income which can sustain their livelihoods.

This is why I look down with such contempt on the Internet culture.  I have no issue with Internet technology as such but with the Internet culture.

I have worked as a journalist writing about the information and communications technology industry since September 1994 until now.

One of my uncles was a journalist and so was my grandfather but looking at how media today, whether print, on the Web or digital media are struggling to survive and are grasping for increasingly scarce and elusive advertising revenue.

So I would not advise any school leaver to pursue a career in journalism, since they could be out of work in their 40s, burdened with family, children, a mortgage on their homes, a car loan to pay off and perhaps part of their student loan as well.


IT.Scheiss
http://itsheiss.blogspot.my/