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June 8 2016 4 08 /06 /June /2016 22:45

Star-Trek celebrates 50th anniversary soon2016 is the year the first USS Enterprise-NCC and the entire Star-Trek-universe celebrate the ultimate anniversary: The probably most influential science-fiction-series ever gets 50 years old. And today it's exactly 3 months until anniversary-day.

 

And not enough the 50th anniversary:

With the 3rd movie of the current timeline, introduced by J.J.Abrams, and next year with an upcoming television-series on CBS really a lot is just happening in the trek-universe this years.

However, in 2016 I've posted not a single Blog entry yet.

 

But it's quite simple:

The 1st half of the year 2016 in terms of entertainment-issues I have focused on the "Life-on-Mars" and "Ashes to ashes" serial-universe.

In the 2nd half of the year however I will create 3-4 entries about Star-Trek:

  1. On 8th of September on the occasion of 50 years of Star-Trek, of course, an extensive appreciation of both, the original series wit Kirk & Spock as well as Star-Trek as a whole.

  2. Almost 2 weeks later, on 20th of September Trek series no. 5, Enterprise, celebrates its 15th anniversary.

  3. Then it is important to shed light on the different political aspects of Star Trek.

  4. And maybe I'll make another article, for example, about new series upcoming in 2017.

So, science-fiction-buddies and especially all Trekkies/Trekkers can look forward on some new content in my blog.

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Published by critical-constructive - in entertainment star-trek
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May 25 2016 4 25 /05 /May /2016 22:55

BBC-series Ashes to Ashes making it's debut in the German-speaking Free-TV4 ½ months ago my favorite series of the 2000s celebrated its 10th anniversary: "Life on Mars" from the UK, named the same as the title track song from the great and unfortunately already deceased David Bowie.

"Life on Mars" has got a successor: The BBC-series "Ashes to Ashes", produced from 2008 to 2010 – and also with an epononymous Bowie-song with the same name.
And after it had been aired in German pay-TV-station „FOX“ 2013, now it finally is also aired in German free-TV.

"Ashes to Ashes" is about the police psychologist Alex Drake, who has investigated the death of Sam Tyler, the main-protagonist in the predecessor-serie „Life on Mars“ and the events, that happened to him.
And very similar to Sam after a nearly fatal accident (rather attempted murder) also she falls into a coma and finds herself in the same (apparent-)universe in the year 1981 again with the same people as Tyler.
And also she obviously has to do something specific there, connected to her parents death, which occured at that time.

Concretely „Ashes to Ashes“ is aired since 24th of May 2016, every Tuesday and Saturday at 22.25h and 00.05h on the fledgling station eoTV.
„eo“ stands for „european originals“. And the Station isn't just being called so, it exclusively aires European movies and TV-series.
And anyone who isn't able or doesn't want to watch the episodes live, for example has the option to re-watch them in the media-library on demand for a couple of weeks.

True to the Motto "better late than never" to me it's a great thing that this – probably also great – European series is now also available here in the „German-speaking world“. And for certain I'm going to watch it with pleasure!

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April 30 2016 7 30 /04 /April /2016 22:55

Starsky & Hutch - 41 years after it's debut still a great seriesExactly 1 year ago, the two 70s cops Starsky & Hutch have celebrated the series 40th anniversary. And this "birthday" for me was the reason paying tribute to this ground-breaking television series with a big anniversary-article.

 

Interestingly, when it comes to reader's interest, my English anniversary-appreciation was a pretty big hit, while the German version unfortunately was performing only modestly. A clear indication, that these 2 unusual 1970s policemen are especially popular in anglo-saxon-countries.

 

The 41st anniversary however is a very good opportunity for me drawing attention on my last years blog entry as well as to the series itself once again - and of course to advertise for it.

David "Dave" Starsky and Kenneth "Ken" Hutchinson have written television history and were a prototype for the storytelling of more sophisticated and successful series of the recent past and present, above all of Navy CIS (NCIS).

 

2015 and 2016 (in the German-speaking countries) it was shown again by RTL-Nitro and of course I watched it once again.The big anniversary perfectyl coincided with an extended period of me non-watching Starsky and Hutch.
An I really enjoyed re-watching!
 
 
Currently the series is not running in German-language television - but probably somewhere else. And when there is an opportunity to watch it, then I warmly recommend doing so - especially to all crime-series and 70s-fans.

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April 8 2016 6 08 /04 /April /2016 15:00

In the internet, April-Fool-Jokes can have negative side-effectsApril-Fool-Jokes have a centuries old tradition, the term as such already exists since the 19th century. And of course I know this tradition since my childhood – and in recent years I have also regularly fallen into it. But no more so around the last 20 years.

Also earlier on April-Fools have been made not only in personal contact but also in newspapers and magazines. But that was a completely different quality as if they are made in the online-sphere.

 

Why?
Because April-Fools in the print-area and even more of course personally are made in a timely manner and then disappear into the vastness of personal memories or in a media-archive.
In the online-space, however these articles mostly remain indefinitely available.
And worst of all, even available by search-engines.

 

This actually were still not really bad - if the joke-makers would do something, that they so far do almost never: Distinctly labelling the joke as such after 1st of April

This labelling would help, identifying these special articles as jokes, even if you don't watch the date of an article's publication like a hawk. That way also online-media could continue their April-Fool-Jokes and users would no more very unfunny mislead far after 1st of April with misinformation.

 

Dear online-media:
Get your act together and make it so! We need fun as well as we need serious information!

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Published by critical-constructive - in internet entertainment
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January 9 2016 7 09 /01 /January /2016 23:30

"Life on Mars" also after 10 years is a brilliant TV-seriesI have made several reminiscences to good television-series, but so far never for one newer than 15 years. "Life on Mars" however is something special, to me the best series of the 2000s in several ways:

  • It is not a series from the USA but from the UK.

  • It takes place in the not-too-long-ago past, in the year 1973.

  • Although it is predominantly a realistic series, at the same time it also offers science-fiction and mystery elements.

  • The British actors are – probably to almost all non-British people – unknown, but really good.

"Life on Mars" is just different than other series in a very special way - and that makes the fascination.

In the German-speaking countries, the series only celebrates its 9-year anniversary in 1 month, but nevertheless I think it is appropriate to celebrate the BBC's first broadcast.

Setting and plot

The professional policeman Sam Tyler from Manchester in the year 2006 together with his colleague and girl-friend Maya chase a serial-killer. Investigations get nowhere until Maya pursuer a hot lead when she gets kidnapped – obviously by the offender. Sam is desperate. But as this weren't bad enough, he got hit by a car, obviously badly injured and loses consciousness. When he wakes up he suddenly finds himself in the Manchester of 1973.

And there almost everything is different than in 2006:

  • Police in 1973 works, both technically and methodologically, still in a very unprofessional way. This is very hard for Sam and he feels like on a different planet - hence the title of the series.

  • Sam is not DCI (Detective Chief Inspector = team leader), but DI (Detective Inspector = Deputy team leader).

  • His boss there, Gene Hunt, is the anti-thesis to Tyler:
    Impulsive rather than prudent, aggressive instead of cautious, intuitive rather than analytical.
    And directives to him are no more than non-binding recommendations.

  • Also his other colleagues run in the same vein as Hunt.
    Big exception is the parking-warden Annie Cartwright, who is being transferred to the CID (criminal-investigation-department) briefly after Sam's arrival and is Sam's best friend and only confidant.

But just as problematic cooperation especially with his boss Hunt is on one hand, on the other hand it works really well: The two perfectly complement each other in terms of their skills and provide plenty of exciting and entertaining moments.

At the beginning it's totally unclear what's going on with Sam:

Is he in a coma or he is dreaming? Has he made a journey through time, or is he in some sort of parallel universe? Does he maybe live in the 1970s and only has formed life in 2006 only in his mind?

After 2-3 episodes it quite clearly emgerges, that he is in a coma - although that alone can't really explain this complex illusory world of the 1970s.

Anyway there is something specific in 1973 he has got to do – but until the end, it is unclear what.

What makes the series something special to me and why I like it so much

„Life on Mars“ to me is the best TV-series of the 2000s and together with „24“ also the most innovative one.

While the question of the specificity of "24" simply can be answered with "real-time series“, so it's more complex with this English masterpiece. Though it doesn't offer completely new elements, but offers a blend of existing high-quality and innovative elements like never before and also never again until now:

  • An exciting, technically well-made crime-series.

  • An appealing and authentic image of the 1970s. Especially great are the historic cars, starting at Sam's Rover 3500 to the Vanden Plas, 500 and of course, to Gene Hunt's Ford Cortina 2000E.

  • Social criticism, which reveals historic causes of problems of the present – from hooliganism over integration of foreigners, mental health-problems and corruption to unemployment.

  • A love-story in between Sam and Annie, that until the end seems to be doomed to fail.

  • A buddy-movie between Sam Tyler and Gene Hunt, just as conflictual as entertaining.

  • Still a big mystery-element, leaving the series' true reality in the dark until the very end. Something similar, I only know from "Twin Peaks".

  • "Britishness" – it's great not to face the typical „Hollywood-mash“, but to enjoy very different kind of production from Britain.
    Actors were unknown here at us, but all of their performances have fully convinced me.

  • And this consistent overall-package is topped of by a great soundtrack, ahead of course by David Bowie's title-giving song.

In addition German TV-station „Kabel 1“ did a really good job in drawing attention to the series: In 2007, immediately before its primary airing there a great tribute to the Ford Cortina Mk III at the stations car-show „Abenteuer Auto“ was made.

And also in a negative way „Kabel 1“ increased the excitement: After TV-ratings were disappointing, the 2nd and lasted season was broadcasted in 2009 after a long break with extensive considerations, wether the stations wants to go on with airing the series.
Thank God! Unfortunately mass and class almost never get along with each other, but "Life on Mars" for certain has a lot of class.

Personal, final words

„Life on Mars“ to me is an absolutely great series. After it's first broadcast in 2007 & 2009 I watched in then a 2nd time in 2014 on Austrian ServusTV and again enjoyed it.

Sadly it was and still is – at least at the German-speaking space – an underdog-series, though entirely unjustified!

It offers smart as well as uncommon and exiting entertainment and takes it up even with the best Hollywood-productions.

Unfortunately for over 1 year it worldwide hasn't been broadcasted, which I see as a shame considering the crap being aired again and again.

And unfortunately the successor series "Ashes to Ashes" until now only was aired by Pay-TV-station FOX, but so far never been offered in free television. This to me is big pity and I hope that's going to change in 2016.

However once more big respect to this great television product and happy anniversary to all involved people!

 

Update 07th of June 2016:

I have to add, that "Ashes to Ashes" is just making it's debut also in German free-TV: From 24th of May 2016 on every Tuesday at 22.15h and Saturday at 00.05h its aired by new TV-station eoTV. eoTV exclusively broadcasts european productions.
To me thats great news and I watch "Ashes to Ashes" with pleasure!

 

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December 30 2015 4 30 /12 /December /2015 23:50

Who doesn't know Star Wars? It will not be more than a few people, solely the currently ongoing almost unbelievable public campaign makes it almost impossible, to miss at least some information about it.

 

I'm more a Star-Trek and Babylon-5 fan, however completely undogmatic. I like watching almost everything, that is good.
And I have to mention, that the Star-Wars-series is really good and deserves praise. I however find the hysteria around it totally excessive.

 

I am politically active, anti-ideological and really sceptical about all kinds of things. And within the politically-sceptical scene there are several fundamentalists, who reject sports and all kinds of entertainment. In their eyes these kinds of activities keep people off dealing with the serious and important issues.
On the other hand, there are the hedonistic hardcore-fans, totally keen for all kinds of consumption - in this case then of course of the Star-Wars universe. They watch every screen-material shot and buy every product offered. Finally they – at least partially – escape from real-life into this fictional-universes fantasy-world.

 

I strictly reject both extremes - as I almost always do this with extremes. But before I tell you how exactly I personally deal with star wars, I would like to go a bit further back to the story's deeper meaning and it's links to our real world.

What characterises Star-Wars

As in almost all epics the fight of "Good vs. Evil" is in the centre of the action. And Star-Wars-creator George Lucas frankly said that he uses also items of great historical literature, as almost all great exponents of the fictional & fantasy-genre did: John R. R. Tolkien with "Lord of the Rings", Frank Herbert in "Dune" or whether in the recent past J. Michael Straczynski in "Babylon 5" and Joanne K. Rowling at "Harry Potter".

 

Characters in the medium-trilogy (episodes IV, V, and VI), created in the 1970s and 1980s, yet have been drawn quite bromidic: There "Good versus Evil" is largely black and white. However there are also laudable exceptions in the grey-area:
While the character Lando Calrissian has changed from dark-grey (rather evil) to white (good), especially the personality-profile of Darth Vader / Annakin Skywalker is excellent. The bright knight, that has fallen for the dark side of the force, helps it to rise, but finally destroys the evil, in the form of the Emperor.

 

Much more – because it's significantly more complex - I like the prequel-trilogy published from 1999 to 2005 (episodes I, II and III). The saga's 1st part is still less in my favour, in my opinion this is a typical introduction to the matter.
However in episode II and even more in part III a fascinating as well as a realistic-shocking image is drawn: The described transformation of a Democratic Republic into a dictatorial Empire has tremendous big similarities to the real world's development of today.

 

Already in the 2nd part, it comes to a national crisis, because the democratic Parliament is too divided to master a - artificially staged - crisis. For this reason dictatorial powers are transferred to the Chancellor. And as many people do in times of crisis, so also Annakin Skywalker sympathizes with the "strong man".

 

In the 3rd part the development to the dark side then continues in macrocosm as well as microcosm: The chancellors intelligent-vicious wire-pulling works out, he manages to destroy democracy and to make himself the ruler of a dictatorial Empire. By personal weaknesses and unfortunate circumstances the Jedi Knight Annakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader, the dictatorial Emperor right-hand-man.

 

The historical Inspiration of George Lucas for Star Wars was Germany's transition from the “Weimar Republic” to the Nazi-regime. But that falls far too short in my eyes:
For me, it only takes little imagination, drawing parallels to ISIS (Islamic State), that at least has been connived by the West, it's terrorist-attacks and the associated, more and more anti-democratic course of our countries governments. Not only by me, but by more and more people the suspension of human-rights in France after the Paris terrorist-attacks is seen as the 1st step to the same kind of dark Empire as in star wars.

How I deal with Star-Wars

In general I'm a pragmatist as well as a movie-friend. I like the Star-Wars epics. Although mass and class often do contradict each other, the big, productions for the mass-market are mostly good. This is also true for the Star-Wars-series.
Good vs. evil will always remain interesting to mankind. Moreover, if it is visually so well staged, such as in the works of George Lucas.

 

So how to deal with Star Wars?
People have to participate in democracy and have to fight for their participation-right – and even more than for their right to party (considering to the "Beastie Boys" :-).
But of course you also need breaks from this struggle – and spending the breaks with this is smart kind of entertainment to me is fundamentally positive. But of course it must not degenerate into a fan-fanaticism and to escape reality.

 

The great schizophrenia of the hardcore-Star-Wars-fans is that they have fallen prey to a compulsive desire to shop respectively escaping into an illusory-world. An illusory-world, which has been turned from a Republic into a dictatorship.
To me it's not only important, but decisive putting up a partitioning-wall between reality and fiction.

 

The only thing which personally bothers me about Star-Wars most of all is the massive commercialization. If we bring to our mind that the previous 6 movies have earned a combined gross of 4.38 billion $ and the entire franchise 30.7 billion $ then the rightsholders business-desire is – politely said – commercially understandable. But I do absolutely not want to take part in this.

 

Since the point of culmination in 2002, when in the same year one of each episodes of Star-Wars, "Lord of the Rings" and "Harry Potter" premiered, I have a "movie-hype-trauma". And that has led me to an unconditional, short-term denial of consumption.
Therefore, I am not going to watch the current Star-Wars-trilogy in cinema and instead wait until it's aired in TV. In the meantime next to the 6 older franchise's movies there are also many other interesting films and television-series.

 

But when Star-Wars episodes VII, VIII and IX are broadcasted in TV, then I will be delighted watching them!
And I am persistently going to continue taking a stand for a positive, democratic world, and especially for a cooperation of people from all different political directions.

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June 28 2015 1 28 /06 /June /2015 16:20

After AMD last week has presented the revised graphics cards of the R3x0-series and this week the all-new FuryX graphics-card, equipped with revolutionary components, the 2015 line-up is almost complete. And since the latest AMD graphics-cards have caused significant fuss in the hardware-scene, to which I briefly took position before the release, so I'm making a short assessment of the new products here after their release.

Let's get straight to the content:

Brief summary to the AMD Radeon R3x0 Line-up

  • In the presentations run-up there has been a fierce debate, whether the R300 Radeons should be considered a „rebrand“ (= pure renaming, in the specific case of the R200 chip) or a „refresh“ (with small changes on the chips).
    I am turning out more detail below, in my opinion it is something like the „smallest possible refresh“.

  • The chip design is basically identical to its predecessors, but the new cards are a tad faster and tend to be at bit more energy-efficient.

  • Furthermore, some third-party manufacturers have used the opportunity (of a new products) to improve the PCBs (printed circuit boards) and especially the cooling solutions.

  • The technical differences to its predecessors are little.
    The competitiveness towards Nvidia is slightly improved, but basically the same:

    • Nvidia scores with a somewhat higher computational-performance and especially with energy-efficiency.

    • AMD scores with better-value-for-money and the larger number of cards in various performance-segments.

All in all AMD makes a slightly better deal than before. The improvements are only little, so an upgrade from its R200 predecessors makes sense only in exceptional cases.

The new AMD Radeon-Fury family

An eagerly awaited highlight, particularly by AMD-fans, are the new graphics-cards top-models "Fury". These are intended to be the counterpart to NVIDIAs top-models "Titan" and Geforce-980(Ti).

 

After evaluating several reviews and user-ratings, I'd give the Fury-X school-mark 2 (in Austria 1 = very good, 5 = insufficient).

It's doing well in the tests, but is not able to reach outstanding scores so far. In terms of gaming-performance Fury’s benchmarks are in between Nvidia's „normal“ Geforce-980 and the Ti-version, mostly closer to the Ti-version.

 

Particularly noteworthy with the Furys is, that they are carriers of forward-looking technology:

They are the 1st graphics-cards with revolutionary, extremely fast HBM-memory. The top-model „Fury-X“ also has a water cooling system. Air-cooled versions, the "normal" „Fury“ and the particularly compact „Fury-Nano“, are going to follow.

AMDs changes for the Radeon-R300-series in detail

A heavily discussed question in recent weeks was, what exactly distinguishes the R3x0 GPUs from its predecessors. This issue still, even after the launch is controversial and it has cost me some research-work to clarify it. The best listing of the changes is provided by German site golem.de:

  • An improved manufacturing-process

  • micro-code updates

  • a revised power-management

  • support for newer, better memory chips.

Infos in English about the changes can be found at Anandtech and Hexus.

So now new, very efficient GDDR5 chips by Hynix are supported, which allow 6 GBs transfer-rates even at low 1,35V supply-voltage.

In addition, some third-party manufacturers have improved even their PCBs (circuit/printing-boards) and cooling-solutions.

 

Just given the controversies, it is however incomprehensible why AMD itself doesn't communicate comprehensive and clear information on the 300-series improvements.

 

3DCenter.org, another great German hardware-site, estimates that AMD's improvements beyond higher chip- and memory-clocks offer a 1-3% performance increase. So really a very small surplus, but nevertheless a surplus.

My conclusion to AMDs R3x0-Radeons

Usually I am only dealing with certain products that detailed, if I'm going to buy them for myself – what I'm not doing in this case. After having extensively dealt with AMD anyway for my marketing-case-study, of which I just published an English summary recently, so this "launch assessment" of the new Radeons is almost a „by-product“.

And just from the overall-view I can understand AMD's strategy spending it's GPU-lineup only a small-update – Fury nominally does not belong to the 300-series.

 

Sure, many users are disappointed by the little progress. However, even all-new chips based on the current GCN-1.2/1.3 architecture would not have performed much better. Thus the small and cheap solution for now makes sense.

 

Finally the user gets a minor update of the products, which are definitely more tempting than their predecessors at the same price-points. NVIDIA however also makes really good graphics card and so I'm already sure that there are going to be GPUs of both manufacturers in my next purchase-advice.

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June 22 2015 2 22 /06 /June /2015 23:00

7 months ago on 23rd November 2014 I published my big marketing-study in German. As both a fan of AMD as well as a PC-freak I wanted to publish my comprehensive knowledge about computers and about AMDs current situation. And AMDs situation currently is definitely a difficult one.

 

As AMD is an American company and most of the audience is outside the German-speaking countries, it's really important to present my thoughts also in English. Well, several months later than originally intended by me: Here it is, my “AMD-Marketing-Summary-2014.pdf”.

What does my paper deal with

  1. First with a comprehensive analysis for each of the 4Ps in marketing & about economic and strategic aspects of the company’s policy in the last couple of years.

  2. With strategic as well as with operational solution-approaches, what & how AMD could do better.

  3. A closer look on AMDs corporate responsibility – something very important to me as a “Greenie” as well as for companys in the long term.

  4. New and not contained in my German paper is a wrap-up of new developments at AMD from December 2014 until today. And there have been made several remarkable changes since then.

What are the most important insights of my study:

  • AMDs basic-strategy, breaking out the 2-front-long-time-static-warfare with Intel & Nvidia by seeking for new product-fields basically is a 100% right decision, but AMD has overshot this target.
    As a result the company has neglected traditional product-fields, most of all the Opteron & FX-CPU-families too much, which resulted in big economic losses.
     

  • This has to be changed and AMD has set the course for an Opteron & FX rebirth in 2016.
     

  • AMDs products have weaknesses, especially against some Intel CPUs. But they have also their strengths and are still in the 1st half of 2015 rather competitive.
    Nevertheless many of them they need to be improved or replaced by successors.

     

  • AMD has significant weaknesses especially in distribution, but also on communication.
    Their products quite seldom make it into third-party-manufacturers devices and so didn't sell well – even when they were better suitable for some devices, than competitors products.
    Also in communication with stakeholders there have been shortcomings, which in the meantime seem to have been addressed quite well.

     

  • AMDs just introduced R300 graphics-cards offer little improvement over their R200-predecessor an perform reasonable against Nvidia Geforce GTX-900-series as well.
     

  • All we know from the revolutionary ZEN-CPU-architecture looks very promising. If AMD is able to keep their promises, they should do well also against Intel’s Core-i7 & Xeons in late 2016.
     

  • But that’s exactly my main point of criticism:
    Letting the Vishera-FX-CPUs silicon unchanged in the markets for 4 years absolutely is a no-go for some reasons:

    • Communication-wise: The FX-series is AMDs “top-dog” in the product-range. All products & the whole brand is very much measured by the FXs performance.

    • Product-wise: AMD's FX-CPUs top-models in terms of application-performance (but not at games) are competitive with Intel's current Haswell-Core-i5 CPUs.
      But with the introduction of the Skylake-generation in autumn 2015 this is going to change.

    • Price-wise: After Skylakes launch AMD either will have to accept sales-declines when maintaining the current prices or to accept margin-declines when bringing down prices for maintaining sales-numbers.

    • And there are also other reasons like long-term effect for affordable prices with future products or less trust by customers.

As ZEN-based CPUs are said to arrive in Q4 2016 this is too long for not being competitive against Intel's upcoming Core-i5s. So in my eyes it's an absolute key-products for AMD introducing deeply revised Vishera-FX-CPUs, that I call “Vishera-2.0” and for which I have presented specific measures to stay competitive.

But I will make a separate blog-entry about Vishera-2.0 in the next weeks telling you details.

Final words

AMD is in a really difficult situation right now. But there are also several very promising opportunities. And many products i.e. it's new graphic-cards or it's new notebook APUs (codename “Carrizo”) are competitive.

If AMD sets the right measures I see good opportunities returning to the road of success.

 

But read all the details in my paper. And I hope, you enjoy my thoughts in this copious summary of my big marketing-study!

 

P.S.: For everybody interested in more details & understanding German, please see my original documents "AMD-Marketing-Analyse-2014.pdf" and "AMD-Vishera-2.0.pdf"

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June 13 2015 7 13 /06 /June /2015 14:40

The introduction of the new AMD R300-series graphics-cards is imminent. Telling it exactly this should happen on 16th June 2015.

 

After it had seemed to be clear, that there will be no all-new graphics-chips, with the exception of the new and revolutionary HBM-memory-equipped „Fury“ top-models, a little „shitstorm“ brake upon the R300 product-line: Many Users are disappointed because in their eyes the new graphics cards seem to use just "old" chips, that have simply been renamed.

 

So folks, I am also a hardware-fan and I am also interested what's happening there. But quite apart from the fact that there are more important things in life – for example the 2nd anniversary of the incredible revelations of Edward Snowden, for my part there are following things to say:

I believe that it's highly premature, when users and in particular also the specialised press assess the new cards, although these have not been introduced yet.

How useful is it, to form an opinion on the base of rumours or at the best on information-snippets? Shouldn't you wait until there is comprehensive information available and only evaluate then?

 

But I also think, that some of the media is to blame here as well: Some of them deal really messy with the terms "rebrand(ing)" and "refresh" and use both as interchangeable.

But the fact is, that only a "rebrand" applies the same chips unchanged, just given a new name.

While a "refresh" on the other hand uses the same technical-basis, which however has undergone improvement.

 

And there is indication that the existing chips for use in the R300-series have been slightly revised.

And there are some „screws“ AMD could tighten up:

  • A new chip-stepping, in which the chips are slightly higher clocked and more energy-efficient.

  • The use of new, more energy-efficient GDDR5 memory.

  • Possible further changes not on the graphics-chip, but at the cards underpinning.

 

However, I am also very curious to see what AMD actually delivers in „real world“.

A pure re-branding, I of course would also see very negative.

But if there is a slightly increased computational performance and/or a somewhat lower energy-consumption were realized, then I would consider the upcoming GPU-generation as positive.

 

Ah, yes, not to forget another note from me as a marketing-guy:

AMD absolutely should defuse the users-debate, because they are afraid the R300-series will be only a pure rebrand, by officially clarifying, whether this series is a „rebranding“ or a „refresh“.

And for the chip-specifications in detail, the user can easily wait a few days!

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June 7 2015 1 07 /06 /June /2015 23:30

Graphics von Ulrich Lintl, based template from Wikimedia / The Wikileaks ChannelOn 6th June 2013 Edward Snowdens revelations about electronic mass-surveillance have been published – and have changed the world. Both the person Snowden as well as his revelations were already in 2013 highly controversial and are still today.

Why Edward Snowden is a hero for me

To me personally Snowden, as well as other important "whistleblowers" (informants), as Bradley (or Chelsea) Manning and Julian Assange (Wikileaks), is a hero. With his absolute willingness advocating for civil-rights and for freedom he has changed the world for the better.
But for that he has to pay a high price, can currently not return to his home-country USA because he has to assume a high sentence there and therefore he has to live in the Russian asylum. There however her seems to be quite fine.

That the US-American NSA with "PRISM" and its British counterpart GCHQ with "Tempora" – in conjunction primarily with US IT-companies and many Western States – monitor the global (!) data-traffic before Snowdens revelations has been deemed as conspiracy-theory. And mostly as "crude, right-wing" conspiracy-theory.

Important consequences of Snowden's revelations

Since then a lot has changed and most of it for the better:

  • After anonymous search-engine such as Ixquick or Duckduckgo already in 2012 (according to Google's aggravation of it's data policy) had seen a little "boom", as from mid-2013 their user-figures further spiralled up.
  • Countries outside the Western-block have waken up about the risks being surveilled by USA & Co and undertake great efforts to become as independent of Western hardware and software as possible.
    Especially Russia pursues ambitious, own projects in almost all areas of IT: Linux-distribution of its own, processor of its own, smartphone operating-system of its own (including suitable apps).
  • Authorities and politicians have come under enormous pressure, because they are suspected having conducted or at the very least tolerated mass-surveillance. Most of all cornered by surveillance-revelations has been the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her political appendix. She is not only blamed for having promised a no-spy-agreement with the USA against her better judgement, she is also suspected of connivance for German BNDs (German federal intelligence) transmission of data to the USA.
  • The most recent, very positive development is the replacement of the very restrictive surveillance-law "Patriot Act" by the – at least for US citizens – significantly alleviated "Freedom Act".
    Despite persistent efforts of hard-liners to continue the monitoring of the mass – not least because of Edward Snowdens commitment – responsible forces have achieved a victory and have made at least 1 step into the right direction.
  • Also the film "Citizenfour", that primarily shows the crucial interviews from Edward Snowden in a Hong Kong hotel-room with Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and other about the US surveillance-activities, has found broad appreciation.
    Citizenfour has been awarded an Oscar as best documentary movie 2015.

Further opportunities & risks for freedom

Despite all the positive developments, there are still big threats and strong establishment-forces, who want to continue the curtailing of freedom – in terms of information-technology and beyond.

The failure of Patriot-Acts extension was scarce. And the establishment's propagandists see coming the "end of civilization" without mass-surveillance.
And they will reach some people, but more and more people see their personal freedom more and more restricted as the mainstream-media's credibility. A lot of credit they have already lost with their highly unilateral, Russia-hostile media-coverage of Ukraine.

But exactly this is an opportunity for alternative-media, that are persistently increasing their popularity.
And that among other things with Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul two outspoken objectors of surveillance are seeking candidacy for US-Presidency, is pleasing anyway, too.

Unfortunately there are also people, especially from the political left spectrum (at least in Europe), that undermine the united front of all, forces fighting against mass-surveillance and for civil-rights.

Final words

Thank you Edward Snowden!
We can only do justice to his sacrifice when we actively participate on the political-level, as well as we change our personal habits.
So, we should elect only such parties and candidates, that are advocating civil-rights.
And instead of using commercial IT-services we should use privacy-search-engines and in general open-source systems.

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