Upon reflection..Moving to Android is like moving banks

A lot of work and in the end I have to ask wether it is worth it after all considering that to really get the best experience it would involve creating a Gmail address etc. or maybe reusing my domain name for the Google Apps or otherwise there is the ‘fun’ of trying to get iCloud to work with Android – third party plugins just to get some basic CalDAV and CardDAV functionality working. The big question is whether the inconvenience is with the money saved in the long run is something one has to consider.

Listening to ‘Windows Weekly’ regarding the speculation about the launch of a Surface Book without the detachable screen with a lower price point then dives into questions regarding the ‘secret sauce’ or ‘not wanting to go up against its OEM partners”. In all due respects it is time for Microsoft to stop ballsing around and just go for it because ultimately it is the half assed half baked work that OEM’s are doing which ultimately undermines the Windows brand – bad experience, blame Microsoft even though Microsoft had little to do with the half assed work that the OEM did. Keeping in mind that the rumour originated from Digitimes so it could be just Microsoft experimenting with an idea to see what is possible.

Oh well, off to sleep now and hopefully the roster/timetable will be up when I get to work.

Enjoying last day of the weekend

Going back to work on Thursday but on the good side I’ve organised taking my scooter in on Monday to give my scooter and overhaul – new tyres on the front and back, sorting out the mirrors that fail to properly tighten up, the front of the bike is a bit skew-wiff so I’ll get that all sorted out. So far it is going really smoothly even after sitting at 16,000km so far – not bad for a 2 stroke motor that is cruising around Wellington. I’m sure I’ll get a few more years out of it and eventually I’ll work towards a full motorcycle licence then in the long term I’ll replace my 50cc with either a new 50cc or upgrade to a 125cc depending on what the registration and insurance costs are.

I’m having a look through the various HTC U reviews and so far have been pretty negative and having had a look at the device first hand myself (went down the road this afternoon) I certainly don’t blame them. Once again it appears that HTC hasn’t grasped the concept of realising when you have a good idea and all there needs are a few tweaks rather than the whole thing to be burnt to the ground then rebuilt again. The M7 really set the standard but the M8 had a horrible camera for something that was supposed to be a flag ship then in the case of the M9 it was a great designed product but the software was buggy resulting in poor camera performance and battery life – even though such faults were fixed within the next 3-4 months the old saying goes, “you only have one chance to make a good impression”. This then goes onto the HTC 10 which, once again, is a great piece of hardware with the issues relating to the camera addressed bug once again, the software was buggy but most importantly there was nothing offered – HTC Sync Manager is a walking example of bad software, there is no integration between the computer and the phone where as an iPhone user I can make telephone calls and send texts directly from my desktop. So many squandered opportunities – fixing what didn’t need to be fixed and failing to address the short comings and adding features that end users would truly appreciate.

Apple has released the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus product (RED) range which will go on sale in New Zealand on 25th March (this Saturday):

Screen Shot 2017 03 22 at 8 51 53 PM

So I’ll have a think about it over the next few days to see what happens because although I was waiting for the iPhone 7s/8 the red colour is really super cool and it is giving money to a worth call (yes, I know, sad justification for blatant consumerism). That being said there is also a promotion being run by Samsung where one can get a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge ‘Limited Edition Black Pearl’ which has 128GB of built in storage but also has a complimentary 256GB sdcard for a total of $1399 and then throw on Hands Free 2.0 for macOS which is around $20 which provides text messaging and phone call answering integration. One of those things I have to considering when looking at the larger picture but I am still leaning towards the iPhone primarily because of the reliable long term software support where as the Android world is still very much a gamble as to whether you’ll be receiving updates (carriers in NZ approve updates within a matter of days to any delays are purely on the shoulders of OEM’s, not the carriers themselves).

There are rumours that we’ll be seeing watchOS 3.2, iOS 10.3, tvOS 10.2 and macOS 10.12.4 being released by the end of this week which will make for interesting discussions particularly when it comes to the move to the APFS file system on all the iOS derived devices and how well that translates into more space being made available, responsiveness, transfer speed etc. especially now that the inclusion in iOS as the default file system sounds like a confirmation by Apple that the file system is ready for prime time which gives me a lot of confidence about the future when macOS 10.13 makes its way into the market some time towards the  end of the year around September-October.

A different set of priorities?

Just enjoying my final day off before going back to work and I’m wondering whether I should move to a more comfortable four day week rather than a five day week where by the fifth day I am so had it which makes me wonder whether the marginally extra money is worth it. During that time I’m going to look for a better full time job during that time – what I am doing now pays the bills and keeps a roof over my head but long term it certainly isn’t a job I can see myself doing long term especially when I’ll eventually become an old fart. I’m going to have a look at earning some more qualifications but the LCQ I have already opens up more doors to a better job with better wages.

I have to take my hat off to Microsoft, they do a great job at marketing especially when it comes to giving the appearance that they’ve got their act together when it comes to Windows 10 but it isn’t until you go down the road and actually use it when you realise – “oh, it’s the same old Windows with all the disappointment that comes with the territory”. As tempting as it gets I always get reminded of the nightmares with previous flirtations with Windows 10 only to be let down by the horrible UI experience that never seems to be getting fixed at the speed one would expect for an organisation the size of Microsoft.

I’m investigating the idea of the $52 for 100GB from Skinny Wireless Broadband given that Spark appears to be rolling out 700MHz in my area which makes it possible to go for a cheaper broadband offer given that I’d be lucky to be even hitting over slightly half of the data allowance. Hopefully I’ll get a response back from Spark in the next couples of days so then it is a positive yes or no.

Updates-a-plenty: Windows 10 Creators Update plus test beta macOS 10.12.4, iOS 10.3 and tvOS 10.2

It appears that the Windows 10 Creators Update is now feature frozen and will be receiving no more features – all bug fixes and from then on out but so far it appears that part of the update has no only been about adding new features but making the whole ‘software as a service’ model work a whole lot smoother when compared to the anniversary update. The biggest problem, as I’ve noted in the past, is the fact that although the idea of ‘software as a service’ (aka ‘rolling release’) is a great idea because it allows features to be rolled out once they’re ready rather than meeting an arbitrary release date the downside is that Windows is a spaghetti code clusterfuck that is a kin to the family tree of the royal families of Europe.

If Windows was a clean layered design then it would be possible to upgrade things in a piecemeal fashion without being concerned that all hell was going to break loose but alas we’ve seen no attempt to fix the mess up before going down this road with the net resulting in an update followed by a flurry of updates in quick succession to address the numerous things that were broken along the way. What Microsoft really do need to do is basically do what they’re doing when it comes to Windows Nano Server and make it clear that things are going to be broken along the way and have a long term transition plan like how Apple did with the movement from ‘Mac OS Classic’ to ‘Mac OS X’ through the use of Classic, Carbon and Cocoa. What would the Window would be like: Virtualisation for exact backwards compatibility, a reformed/cleaned up Win32 for traditional applications that’ll require some tweaking and then UWP for modern applications going forward.

macOS 10.12.4 is at its sixth beta which is quite a record which makes many wonder whether the rumours of a hardware release, as noted on Mac Rumors, could be coming as early as next next week but keeping in mind that no invites have been sent out so I doubt they’ll spring on at the last minute. There has been a rumour that there will be an iPad even in April as reported on 9to5mac which sounds more plausible given that by that stage the new ‘space ship’ Apple headquarters would have been complete which might double as a big unveiling of a new vision for Apple going forward which includes a refreshed iPad and possible Mac product line.

iOS, tvOS and watchOS are all developing nicely with the transition to the APFS appearing to go smoothly with no evidence seen that they’ll be reversing course in terms of case sensitivity so don’t be surprised if we end up seeing as part of the 10.13 announcement a big declaration as to the importance of testing software on the new file system.

Oh Samsung you tempter

I’m firmly in the Mac camp but even I have to admit that Samsung has really lifted their game they are becoming very tempting especially now that they’ve replaced Kies with Switch which is a lot less buggy and troublesome on the Mac platform. The other part of the Google ecosystem has been the necessity (as far as I’m concerned) of running Chrome to get the full cloud experience of having bookmarks and passwords synchronised with all devices. There is the rumour that Samsung is going to announce it at a special event on 29/03/2017 with an expected release date being a month later so it’ll be interesting to see which countries get it first.

The other one to keep an eye out for is HTC which is making a slow and steady comeback as they slim down their product line rather than having dozens of variations and permutations of the same product because some special snowflake at random carrier wants a special phone just for them with a ‘tramp stamp’ on the back of the phone. The Pixel XL, if I ever was going to move to the Android platform, would be the go to phone primarily because it’ll have the same level of support in terms of software updates and upgrades that I would experience with iPhone.

At this point I’m really spoilt by how well Apple takes care of its customers especially when it comes to the integration between macOS, iOS, tvOS and iCloud although if I ever went the Android route I’d probably sign up for a domain and sign up for Google Apps but too bad it doesn’t support aliases as with the case of iCloud email. Basically it comes down to swings, roundabouts and what one wish to use ones computer for and whether the flexibility of Android is worth the extra leg work. I always keep my mind open to alternatives when I looking at upgrading – what the competition has to offer and whether it is sufficient enough to make me convert away from the iPhone.

Things aren’t going so bad after all

Well, so far things have actually been going well apart from some time off from work because of an upset tummy but that’ll be sorted out when I go to the doctors today to get an evaluation along with a doctors certificate that’ll say whether I can come back to work. One of those things with the food handling industry is that the usual things one could push through in an office environment with a little discomfort are things that cannot be ignored when handling food as the risk is too great. Not a good start to the job but it is one of those things that happen.

On a good side I have received confirmation back that I have passed my LCQ (Liquor Control Qualification) which gives me unit standards 4646 and 16705 which covers the following:

4646: Demonstrate knowledge of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 and its implications for licensed premises (L4, C2, v9)

16705: Demonstrate knowledge of host responsibility requirements as a duty manager of licensed premises. (L4, C3, v6)

Which will enable me to apply for a duty managers licence at the local city council which will enable me to run a shift at a licence restaurant or bar which opens up a lot more opportunities for me going forward so eventually I’d like to move out of the job I have today in favour of something more fulfilling. What I’m going to be doing now is update my resume and cover letter then start applying for jobs now that I have that much required qualification with the only thing I need to do in future is just keep it up to date as the government makes changes to the legislation but given that the last time they upgraded it was 4 years ago I don’t think there will be any major changes any time soon other than maybe around the edge which will simply require a refresher course.

It appears that I made a good decision not to go for the iPhone 7 since it appears that the replacement to the iPhone 7, rumoured to be either the iPhone 8 or as some have dubbed the ‘iPhone Anniversary Edition’, will provide a big leap forward in terms of performance, battery life as well as supporting the next generation of the LTE standard. There is a rumour that they might standardise on USB-C but there has been no evidence so far other than rumours but it is highly unlikely that they would throw away all the investment made into the lightening connector particularly with the MFI programme and how dependent the ecosystem is. There was also an interesting point about how the lightening connector is thinner and more flexible so it’ll be interesting to see whether future refinements of the USB-C standard will eventually make the lightening connector obsolete or whether it’ll be something kept around indefinitely.

There is a lot of excitement building with the gradual adoption of APFS although there has been one report of someone being able to get macOS installed on an APFS volume using 10.12.4 where on the screenshot it showed that it was formatted and case insensitive. When I saw the ‘case insensitive’ it made me wonder whether firstly whether it is the byproduct of it being that it was convert rather than a fresh new setup and secondly whether Apple will in the future make all new installs of macOS default to case sensitivity but conversions will remain case insensitive as to avoid any possible compatibility issues that might appear once macOS has been upgraded and the user starts using applications that were already installed on the drive. Putting that aside I do think that in the future that the eventual aim is to harmonise between all at the platforms particularly when it comes to developers who pull down code from a source trees (git, cvs etc) whose file and directory structure assumes the host platform to which it s being downloaded onto is case sensitive in nature but on other side there are plenty of applications that break on a case sensitive formatted partition.

They hated Obama more than they cared about their own health

I was watching this Vox Media video regarding ObamaCare/Affordable Care Act in Whitley County (Kentucky) which heavily voted for Trump but keeping in mind that historically the county was a strong hold for Republican support even when it is against their own self interest as seen in the video below: 

Reading through the comment section there as a to and fro debate between multiple parties over the fact that this county had overwhelmingly supported Trump and that Trump was going to take away their healthcare yet people still voted for Trump anyway:

Feel sympathy for them. I do. Not all of us had the money or opportunity to go to college. You want to say they are just stupid? Then by the same lodgic you must say that those born handicapped are just born that way and shouldn’t be helped. We can’t exclude people because they lack education or smarts. Are their lives not as valuable as anyone else’s. Of course they are. Do they not deserve food and shelter and a decent standard of living? How can anyone demand equality for minority races, the handicapped, for different religions and leave out people because they weren’t born smart enough? They might have been misguided in voting for Trump but no one else was listening, no one else seemed to care. These people felt so forgotten that they took a chance, a long shot, but that’s the only odds they were given. Obama could have fixed a lot by not throwing it back to congress to improve Obamacare but to just sign one more executive order to help these desperately poor people that everyone seems to have forgotten.

The first thing that needs to be noted is the fact the county was heavily leaning Republican so in reality it is the age old joke of it being a place that you could put a wheel barrow up with a red rosette affixed to the aforementioned gardening utensil and the locals would still vote for them no matter how much they’re getting fucked over by the Republican Party. This isn’t solely and America phenomenon given that there are parts of New Zealand that are politically tribal – farmers who will keep voting National Party through thick and thin and parts of the urban centres that’ll keep voting Labour even when the fail to deliver over and over again. So at the end of the day I don’t think there was a dogs balls chance in hell of that county ever flipping the county from Republican to Democratic given how ingrained the idea of being Republican is to that particular area 

I’m sure someone will claim that “You want to say they are just stupid?” But the reality is that they are stupid because they never asked the follow question, “what do you mean, something great?” and as we’ve seen today it appears that Trump has admitted that maybe healthcare is a lot more complicated than getting up and making a blustering speech at the podium during one of his rallies. By the way, these people aren’t idiots – if I said to them, “buy this truck, it is great” do you really think they would turn around and just go and buy it? of course not! they would ask, “why do you say it is great” and then demand the specifications, whether it has any endorsements from professional organisations, along with other information relevant to the decision to buy or not to buy. So yes, these people do have the nous to make a big purchasing decision that they’ll have to live with for years but they weren’t smart enough to see through the slick sales tricks by Trump? Maybe the answer is simpler than may in the media try to make it out to be – that those who voted for Trump hated Obama (Hillary seen as the ‘heir’ to Obama’s legacy) more than they care about their own health. Then again, it isn’t the first time that hate has blinded people into making a stupid decision in life.