Predictions for 2015

So with about 0.20% of the year gone, here are some of my predictions [some incorporating rumors that started in 2014, some of them less likely, some are probable]:

In technology:

  • Apple will release a new iPhone in the spring – probably a slightly remade iPhone 5S. They did the same thing with the iPhone 5C which as a rebranded and slightly upgraded iPhone 4S [I think].
  • Apple will also have a major issue come to one of their products causing major problems. This would be as surprising as since Tim Cook took over from Steve Jobs, quality control has been less than stellar.
  • While Windows 10 does come out with plenty of fan fare, it still ends up being only a partial success as it still forces many desktop users to go though the tiles/modern interface too often.
  • Meanwhile, Microsoft decides to give a slight discount for some Windows 8.x users but not enough to satisfy them.
  • The Windows Server 2003 comes to a close in July but nasty bit of security attacks force Microsoft to further release some security updates after the end of support for the OS.
  • Google decides that it has had enough and begins to back away from both Google+ and the Chrome OS development. Both are bleeding the company dry even with Google’s advertising arm firmly entrenched in Google+.
  • Not really a surprise but there will be another major cloud breach similar to the one that hit Apple this past year [remember the celebrity nude pictures?]. One still wonders why people put nude pictures of themselves in the cloud.

In entertainment:

  • Yet another breach in an entertainment company, not as serious as Sony, but still high profile.
  • This will also be the year where movie distributors stop gauging the buying public and release Blu-ray movies at very similar pricing as a DVD.
  • The music shoppers will begin to get tired of the boy bands and scantly clad female singers that seem to come and go quite fast.
  • Justin Bieber will finally get arrested [he hasn’t already]?
  • Miley Cyrus will do something so wrong/disgusting that fans will turn their back on him.

In politics:

  • Vladimir Poutine [Putin] will finally cave in and force the Russian “separatists” in eastern Ukraine to come back to mother Russia or be left on their own. Still nothing resolved for Crimea. All this as the oil pricing by OPEC and the financial punishment still cripples Russia coupled by growing unrest by Russian citizens as price of goods continue to rise.
  • Putin gets tired of having OPEC dictating oil prices by trying to start “his” own oil council but fails.
  • In US politics, the early stages of preparations for the primaries in both Democratic and Republican parties fizzle as Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are almost crowned before they start. Meanwhile the Republicans get hit with a few scandals along the way as the Tea Part branch causes further strains within the party.
  • In Canadian politics, an early fall elections has current Prime Minister Stephen Harper ousted with Liberal leader Justin Trudeau taking over with either a slight majority government or a near majority minority government. The NDP party, getting blown back to smaller party status will prop up the Liberals [if a minority government] – this after the Conservative party saying throughout the election that the Liberals and NDP would form a coalition government after they see the writing on the wall and see no chance in forming a government.
  • Devastated by the loss, Harper would end up resigning his leadership with eventually leaving politics in late 2015 or early 2016. As well, NDP leader will decide to leave as leader of party but will stay around.

The Interview or not The Interview

[The title is a take on To Be or Not To Be.]

Well, Sony surprised a few after the backlash first by announcing a couple of small chains [last I checked] would show the movie The Interview. Then it was announced that the movie would be available to watch [but pay for] on various outlets in the US including YouTube, PlayStation, XBox and others.

So now, it has been released. What are people thinking.

The popular IMDB web site started with 9.8/10 for reviews and has since dropped to 8.8/10 which is still very good. I’m wondering if some Americans are doing their “patriotic duty” and giving the movie a 10/10.

Those who had a hand in the movie such as James Franco and Seth Rogen, of course, are giving it thumbs up, hyping it, etc. Sony has three PR firms helping them as well.

But I’m not sure if they can help the film. Most have given it an average rating. Some gave it above average. Some tanked it [no one stars though].

So I started to watch it. Unsure about you, but I could never get into any comedy that had Seth Rogen – even if he is Canadian.

Yes it is a comedy. It is supposed to be funny, but I don’t. I’ve seen some of the best comedies out there [just about any Monty Python movie, Blazing Saddles, MASH, Animal House, …] and this isn’t comedy. More like a movie infested with dumb jokes – usually half to do with someones anatomy parts.

I do have to admit that I stopped watching at about 45 minutes [almost half way] and it was 45 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back.

And stressing while it is a comedy [or supposed to be one], I stopped watching right after we have Seth Rogen’s character in the middle of a field trying to retrieve an object that was sent in by the CIA meanwhile have to fend off a tiger. What is a tiger doing there? No fences? Nobody noticed this object falling? The North Korean military couldn’t detect some type of rocket propelled object over their land? Where is the security – especially after Rogen’s character screeches in the middle of the field.

Why does he screech? Well, to hide the object that he retrieved [thicker than a corn dog] in a place where he wouldn’t be searched. You guessed it and I won’t say where.

The object bonked and killed the tiger in the head. Aside from a PETA issue [I’m sure they’ll complain], would security investigate how the tiger’s head has this huge hole in it?

Yes I know it’s a comedy.

I missed the parts where the Kim Jong Un character does whatever he does in the movie that caused the real one to p?ss him off.

President Obama was one of the many who were roasting Sony for refusing to show the movie. So I am wondering if Sony sent him the movie and whether he watched it. Or more like me, he saw the first part of the movie and then turned it off thinking how he just wasted part of his life.

More on the Sony hack and North Korea’s Internet going out

Seems the Sony hack front has turned a bit in different directions.

First, Sony announced that two small independent chains in the US will be showing The Interview, that movie that has driven North Korean to go ballistics. The chains aren’t huge but it shows that Sony has decided to give in after banning the movie. The movie still [at last check] has no openings in various other countries.

Both US President Barack Obama and a number of high profile celebrities [most of them who vote for the Democrats] have come out saying that Sony made a mistake.

At one point there was though of a straight to video release [but I’m wondering what the North Koreans would think about that].

Interesting to note that Sony’s world headquarters is in Tokyo but they didn’t seem to be threatened. I guess the US is the worse of two evils.

Flipping the coin, it was reported that North Korea got hit with a 9.5 hour blackout. According to a report, North Korea has for cable links for the Internet all going through China – a friend of theirs. But President Obama asked China if they could investigate to see if the Sony hack originated on their soil. I guess China is caught between two upset “friends”.

Unsure what North Korea would do as they threatened to do to the US a thousand times what any retaliation on them.  Problem is that the links go through China. So unless China cut them….

Also wondering what kind of redundancy they have as all four lines dropped.

Interesting to note that in a CNN report, as little as 4-5 years ago, North Koreans connected to the Internet by using dial-up modem into a Chines network. Wow.

Even now, the Internet is restricted to senior government officials and their cronies, those paid bribes, etc. North Korea has a country wide Intranet with a reported 5000 sites but they are strictly controlled.

Sony breach will end messy

I’m wondering if we will ever find out who actually got into Sony’s network.

A group called the Guardians of Peace [GOP] claimed that they were responsible. Prior to this huge hack, nobody heard of them [at least not publically].

A bit of a strange name for a group – an oxymoron – considering this same group hacked into the network to cause so much damage – not only to Sony but current and past employees – but then to threaten the New York premier of the movie The Interview that some claimed started this because the North Koreans were offended by the movie.

In the movie, Seth Rogen and James Franco star as television journalists involved in a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Speculation about a North Korean link to the Sony hacking has centered on that country’s angry denunciation of the film. Over the summer, North Korea warned that the film’s release would be an “act of war that we will never tolerate.” It said the U.S. will face “merciless” retaliation.

Lawsuits against Sony are starting to pile up. Two former employees are claiming that Sony took too long to notify ex-employees that data such as medical records, salaries and personal information was leaked. The two are claiming that they have already been contacted by individuals trying to scam them. Others are complaining about the network security.

Already leaked as something like 5 finished movies, thousands of Emails [some making unflattering remarks about various people in the business, release schedules, movie costs, casting decisions, royalties, unreleased new products, etc.], scripts [like the next James Bond movie SPECTRE which just went into filming].

The name GOP itself is a bit odd. It’s like North Korea’s actual name: People’s Democratic Republic of Korea. There isn’t anything democratic there.

As for whether North Korea was involved, who knows. Except at the government level, few North Koreans have the technology or bandwidth or even access to the Internet outside of North Korea. If not them, it could be some North Korean sympathizers or maybe just some group taking this movie issue to their advantage.

The movie itself is losing premiers and already one US chain has pulled it. It was supposed to open Christmas Day but the way it look, it may not even open up in many cinemas in the US [or elsewhere] and could end up in a direct to video option. Even that could cause problems as these GOP crackpots may disrupt sales there as well.