Trump Worries Corporate America

He may have portrayed himself as the President who knows business during the election, yet the biggest companies in the US are starting to get a little nervous about his style.

An example came this week when the Chief Executive of Boeing was quoted in an interview that we was worried about Trump’s stance on international trade.    A few hours later along came a tweet concerning the rising costs that have hindered the building of the new Air Force One.

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That was just the morning incidents and in the afternoon, there was a Tweet claiming credit for a Japanese conglomerates decision to invest some $50 billion in the United States.   There was some surprise about this as the pledge had been previously announced many months ago.

All in one day we had this plus an announcement that Trump had sold all his stock, and many other comments, announcements and pledges.   It’s not a style that America is used to and it certainly is starting to make corporate network extremely jittery.  The style that is usually preferred is that of stability and caution from their leadership.  Many businessmen and economics experts are worried that they will not be able to voice opinions without becoming involved in a public spat with the President-elect.

The president obviously has a lot of power and threats even implied ones can have a myriad of effects.   Casual comments about issues have a different effect when they are coming from the President of the United States.  They can potentially inhibit free speech, perhaps cause stock market fluctuations or even contribute to international incidents in extreme circumstances.

Others however have defended Trump’s style of doing business stating that it is just a matter of time before he reigns back his style.  Also there is a learning curve on both sides and individual corporations and executives will begin to develop their own ways of reacting to the new President.

This causes another concern because it appears that President Trump is someone worth currying favor with.  If any politician is seen to be rewarding his friends and allies but punishing people who disagree with him it creates a sort of false, nepotistic capitalism.

The role of a President is to safeguard and promote the whole economy and not cherry pick or manipulate individual businesses.   Every company and individual is entitled to an ‘equal protection of the law’ – one of the bastions of the United State’s constitution us that the country should be a nation of laws and not of men.

Jim Williams

Author of proxy for Netflix

America Sees Decline in Maths

This week has seen the release of the latest educational scores from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) , these rate educational systems across the world and are largely regarded as one of the best educational assessments.

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This set of results covers an assessment of 15 year olds in 70 educational systems across the world.  The focus of the study is based on an exam which is taken by a representative sample from each of the countries taken part in the study.

So how did the US get on?  Well overall the results are less than inspiring in the 2015 exams which this report is publishing.  Scores in reading and science have remained largely the same since the last study, but there has been a significant drop in maths results.  In fact the maths results have dipped to a low not seen since 2006, remember the PISA exam is only taken every three years though.

The scores don’t make positive reading for the US educational system – reading and science although static are still only average at an international level.   These results are only compared with developed countries who are members of the OECD.

It is the maths scores which are of most concern particularly because they seem to demonstrate a declining trend.    To out into context in Science – 9% of US children received a top score, compared with 6% in maths.  The average of OECD countries was 11%, which is obviously quite a lot higher.

The US Education Secretary is expected to speak about the results this week which are obviously extremely disappointing.  There are though some reasons for being more positive because the results are actually quite different when regionalised.   There are several regions in the US which are performing much more strongly, such as the education sector across New England.

The problem is than in this digital, globalized world US students are  not just competing for jobs against American students but those from Germany, Italy and Singapore.   It is a simple task to employ and utilise skills from anywhere in the world.  Despite the various blocks and filters there are tools like VPN and anonymous tools which can bypass these blocks and allow people to work remotely.

The US has closed the gaps of socioeconomic disparity across the country though, there is less difference between different social and economic classes than previously.  However this seems to have been achieved at a cost of overall standards with most subjects either static or declining.  Much points to a drop in investment in education though, something that

Further Information:

BBC News Site

 

New Smart DNS Solution for Netflix

Smart DNS was one of the newest solutions for accessing  the big media sites when you were deemed to be in the wrong location.  So Hulu subscribers used it on holiday, BBC viewers used it when outside the UK and it opened up the Pandora’s box of Netflix regions.  It had some advantages over proxies and VPNs as well as some drawbacks.  The main plus point for Smart DNS was that it could be used on just about any device as long as you could access the network settings.

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There was no real need for direct authentication, no installation of a VPN client which meant it was perfect for the plethora of media devices we use today to stream our video and audio content.  For example, you can’t use a VPN with an Xbox one simply because there’s no way to install the software directly.  Plus you couldn’t set it up manually as there’s no way to enable the authentication that is used on a proper VPN.

However all that is irrelevant with Smart DNS, as you don’t need any software it’s all configured via a DNS server.   Normally your internet connection is unaffected, name resolution is performed as normal until the request is received for a ‘region locked’ website like Netflix.  See how it works here  in this demonstration – Smart DNS Netflix, which shows you how to configure it which takes about two minutes.

It’s simple to use however you should remember that it provides no security component at all, a VPN encrypts and  protects your data simply using a specially configured DNS server does not.  So if you’re using from abroad over public or insecure wifi connections then be careful, don’t access sites like banking, webmail or other important sites from these connections.

Unfortunately there is one other problem with Smart DNS and that is it’s relatively simple to block.   Which is why in the great Netflix purge that happened a few months ago it also took down every single DNS solution for Netflix.  That’s starting to change now and the link above does contain the first Smart DNS solution which has been fixed, I believe it took a lot of effort and expense though so who knows if Smart DNS has a long term future for bypassing region locking.  Of course the real solution is to stop blocking, filtering and locking the world wide web – let people access what they wish.  Especially with subscription services like Netflix which you actually have to pay for then find you can’t access simply because of your location!!

Getting the Best Digital Deal

The internet is by far the biggest marketplace on the planet. Increasingly it is the place that individuals turn to buy all sorts of goods and services. It seems like one big, global market so you would think that everyone would get the same deals and the same access, unfortunately that isn’t quite true. Even for the many global brands which sell online, they offer a variety of goods for sale at different prices depending primarily on your physical location. It seems crazy yet in the digital world your location does matter.

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The reasons are of course rooted in money, one of the particular ways in which companies maximise their profits is by selling at the highest possible margin. Yet this margin alters depending on your location because of a variety of reasons ranging from competition to living standards. You can sell something for more money in some markets than others which is why it’s important that firms build up these artificial boundaries in the digital world. Take for example the online games retailer – Steam, they sell games digitally, you pay and then download. It shouldn’t matter what location you are in, the product and delivery cost is identical. However they know that they can maximise their profits by selling at higher costs in some wealthier countries than others. You’ll pay more to download a game from the UK than you will from South America for example.

So how do the companies manage to charge different costs online? Well they do this by looking at your IP address when you connect to their web site. It will determine your location and then offer you a regionalised price list – it could even be a completely different website. Doesn’t sound fair? Digital Exploitation? Well perhaps but fortunately there is a way of bypassing this and treating the internet as the global marketplace it should be by simply switching the residential IP address that you are using.

It’s actually very easy to do and can be achieved without any technical knowledge using some sort of proxy or VPN service. This hides your real location and if you connect to a website you should receive the same offers and services as those in the country which the VPN server is based in.   So you can buy your online games in South America and save money, or stream to region locked digital service.

Further Reading:

BBC Block VPNs – http://www.iplayerabroad.com/2016/07/20/bbc-vpn-block-real/

 

Free the Web – Well Netflix

I travel a lot with my work, unfortunately not the sort of travelling that other’s seem to manage to exotic and interesting places across the globe. Nope my travel consists of mainly industrial estates and factory towns distributed mainly across Europe. The entertainment options particularly when I don’t speak a particular language are fairly limited, especially when you factor in the limited expense account that is normally available.

You see the places I visit, don’t have tourist attractions like museums, theaters and tourist friendly bars. They have factories and supermarkets and business hotels often on the edge of a major road or industrial estate – it can get very boring. However these places usually have one distinct advantage – super fast broadband or wireless is almost always available.

Which of course means that instead of the hotel cable channel or some foreign satellite channels – potentially I have a world of up to date movies and TV shows at my fingertips all ready to stream to any device I happen to have with me. Best of all it should mean I can use my Netflix account, except for this slight problem

Netflix has always restricted access to it’s site based on a system of region locking. Meaning that you can only watch the version of Netflix that is available in the physical location you are in. Which means it doesn’t matter that I am a US Netflix subscriber, what matters is where I am actually located when I connect.

So if I’m stuck in a hotel next to a factory in Belgium, I cannot log on and watch the US version of Netflix – I have to watch the Belgian version! Now I have nothing against Belgium, but frankly their version of Netflix is nowhere near as good as the US version plus obviously not all of it is in English !!

There was a simple fix, and for many of us it was quite easy. Because I work for a US company on every laptop we have a VPN client in order to dial back into the companies servers. I generally used it for accessing invoice systems, checking my company email account and document shares – simple stuff like that. The bonus was that when this VPN was active I actually had an American IP address irrespective of my actual location. Which meant that when I connected to Netflix I got the US version not the version of the country I happened to be in that week.

Alas if you read this post you’ll find that Netflix wasn’t happy with this and blocked all access from proxies and VPNs which meant I couldn’t watch anymore – a bit annoying when I’m half a dozen episodes from the Person of Interest Finale !

So forget about using commercially based proxies or VPN services because they don’t work anymore with Netflix. You can relay through your home connection if you have the technical skills or there are some residential IP services available although they can be quite expensive.

Netflix Blocks Access to US Only Content

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At this time, wouldn’t  be concerned too much about Netflix’s plans to block access to anyone using a proxy or VPN service. For Netflix, it is a bold move basically anyone genuine US IP addresses, gets the blocked message. Netflix would like to make sure to watch TV its way. To repair this, Netflix decided to simply block everybody who’s using an increasing number of VPN services.

There’s also the fact that Netflix runs the actual danger that if it’s successful in blocking access to US content specifically, it may potentially begin losing subscribers in abundant numbers. I am able to utilize the native Netflix, Sanchez wrote within an email, I am able to also browse different versions of Netflix, but can’t stream anymore. This truly is advantageous in case you want to see different websites in several countries such as maybe some Canadian TV stations or the BBC.

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Whenever you get online through normal means, your anonymity and also the websites you’re able to access will ultimately be set by your Internet service provider or some local restrictions that may be set up. Even your administrator or ISP won’t be able to learn what it is you’re doing on the internet, as the whole online traffic is really in encrypted form. Most VPN companies are less than a very good meal out monthly. VPN Authority encrypts all of your data, and enables you to enjoy complete security whilst surfing the net.

VPNs typically aren’t blocked by content providers. These routers include different scales that range from router 200 to 5000. VPN providers have to be able enough to unblock streaming services such as these so as to attract and retain customers. To get around these two issues, they need to make a few changes.

Now, Netflix isn’t alone within this battle. According to Netflix, this really isn’t as simple as it sounds.

Nevertheless, an user can access these unrestricted sites employing the most effective VPN services which act as an online IP changer very simply indeed. The very best VPN providers have certain qualities. They will have all these characteristics. The optimal/optimally VPN services aren’t going to slow down the computer and certainly will offer unlimited bandwidth.

VPNs, though, can be far more difficult to detect and block. The ideal VPN for Hulu will be one that’s a streaming VPN service, since this can manage the enormous quantity of bandwidth you’ll need so as to watch the shows properly. VPN router is really a worldwide instance of booming technological era. This router offers outstanding service to your own network and you may easily access your company from anywhere.

Studios and producers have different distribution deals in position in every nation or territory, causing differing Netflix libraries throughout the world. Netflix in america is not the same as Netflix in the remainder of the planet.

It I strategy to access blocked sites on the job. In some nations, sites are blocked due to geo-political reasons. A fast web search will locate you some acceptable services, a lot of the ones which are popular are around exactly the same cost and offer access to tons of numerous nations included within the subscription. A speedy web search will locate you a few services which are suitable, most the ones which are most popular are around the same cost and provide access to lots of varied countries in the subscription.