Windows 10, macOS and WWDC 2017

It’s that time of the year and Apple has announced that, as expected, WWDC which will be from the 5th to the 9th so there has been a lot of speculation but I think that some things are a given in such as the launch of APFS in macOS 10.13 although it’ll be interesting to see what happens when it comes to Metal, Metal Kit and the harmonisation of frameworks so that there is uniformity (or attempt at uniformity given that there are features in Metal which are only available on iOS because they’re hardware dependent such as Memoryless render targets) between iOS, tvOS and macOS so that all platforms share a common core and frameworks with the difference being what is presented to the end user – UIKIt on iOS and tvOS, and AppKit on macOS where the UI depends on the scenario in which the application is being used. Such an approach makes sense given that the each UI is designed for a particular scenario which is based on how one interacts with the device, what make sense on an iPhone which uses a touch screen won’’t make any sense on an AppleTV  nor would I take any sense with macOS – you develop a unique GUI which is dependent on how the application is going to be used.

Windows 10 appear to be developing however I am very much disappointed that long standing issues are either not addressed or at the very least some sort go guidance as to when one should expect these issues to be addressed. The best example of this is the lack of MTP integration into Music – yes, you can manually copy music using File Explorer but when you have a 200GB music collection which consists of thousands of songs then such manual management is impractical hence the desire to have MTP integrated with the Music application so then one can keep ones phone into sync and keep track of what is and isn’t on the phone. Then there is the lack of integration between what Windows synchronises with the cloud such a passwords, bookmarks etc. and Android/iOS devices especially if Microsoft long term have given up on Windows 10 Mobile as being a mass market mobile operating system then they need to bring Edge to Android to synchronise bookmarks and passwords, better integration between their Outlook application at Outlook.com plus the ability to send sms messages from ones computer along with answering phone calls too – something that can be done already using standard Bluetooth as Handsfree 2 does on macOS and Android phones without any additional software needing to be loaded onto the Android phone.

In good news Microsoft has released an Office 2016 for Office 365 users which includes support for the ‘touch bar’ that came with the new MacBook Pro’s that Apple released just recently. I’ve been rather sceptical about the whole ‘touch bar’ and how useful it is in the real world but so far the feedback I’ve seen online has been mixed but it seems to be mixed between those who don’t care about it and those who think it is is a great addition. One of the things I love about the new rolling release cycle is the fact that features are being held back but rather being released when they’re ready – getting features sooner while being able to hold back more complex changes to a later date when they’re ready to deploy rather than the usual arbitrary release dates would be normally associated with the traditional release model where all features have to be released at the same time.

The security woes of Flash keep on piling up which re-enforces the decision by Steve Jobs not to allow Flash on iOS along with pushing HTML5 technologies being the future direction of the internet. The infamous letter was penned it almost 7 years ago and with each passing day with the work that Google, Mozilla, Microsoft and Apple developers do the closer to the reality that we get towards what Steve Jobs had originally envisaged with their iPhone where web apps were originally seen as the primary way in which apps were going to be delivered to the end user. It’ll be interesting to see what new features are added to Safari when it comes to W3C standards but at the same time Apple is also moving what they can to being hardware accelerated through the use of Metal along with the launch of a new standard for 3D graphics on the the web ( link ) which is being geared as a replacement for WebGL which will be able to take greater advantage of modern GPU’s.

What happens when mainstream political parties fail

I look at the rise of the far right wing in Europe and around the world – particularly when one considers the rise of the ‘alt-right’ in the United States and how the media has decided to cover this along with how mainstream political parties have decided to response to an unorthodox rag tag group of conflicting alliances that are hell bent on ‘raging against the machine’. What has been frustrating is the mainstream media’s response particularly when the likes of CNN attempt to blame someone like Milo for ‘bringing it up on themselves’ when a group of mouth breathing morons go out to protest and riot – destroying public property all whilst claiming it is all done in the name of ‘freedom of speech’. Here is an interview with Milo after the riot at the UC Berkeley campus and sit there as you watch the video and reflect on how an ordinary person with little or no knowledge of political trends will interpret what took place:

What we see is the media, rather than reporting on the fact that there are violent rioters who consciously decided to violently riot, what ended up occurring is CNN playing the game of claiming that the rioters were ‘forced’ into behaving violently merely by virtue of Milo’s presence – that apparently these rioters have no self control over what they do, they’re just automatons that blindly react to stimuli and as a result they had no choice but to behave violently when Milo appeared. Really, is that the level of analysis that CNN is now engaging in where a speaker is now held responsible for the actions of some idiots who cannot exercise self control and protest peacefully? What is the term we call for such behaviour that CNN displayed? That’s right – victim blaming.

What makes the situation even worse is, as Milo notes, there were people who went along to the talk just to find out what all the hubbub was all about. Thanks to the violent protesters from the far left and the lack of any serious condemnation by the mainstream left for such behaviour by fellow travellers there is a high likelihood that those who were once on the fence are now a lot more open to what Milo has to say. The net result of the far left’s violent stupidity has been the pushing of people who would have otherwise been centrist to the right.

Back to the previous paragraph, what frustrates me about the reporting is the deliberate distortion because it reminds me of what I experienced down in Christchurch when I was interviewed by ‘The Press’ where, out of an hour conversation the author made the elaborate connection between me, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Chaney, Neo-Conservatism and the war in Iraq all on the basis that I have some criticism of Islam and I have read some Leo Strauss writings. Oh, and the best one was the claim that I supported polygamy because I believe marriage should be turned into a civil contract then I flippantly said if people wanted have multiple wives or multiple husband I wouldn’t care either way. Yeah, reminds me of what Hamza Yusuf said regarding the news – it isn’t until you hear about yourself in a newspaper when you realise how much of what is reported on is inaccurate or just flat out deliberate lies.

What angers me after all of what has happened with Trump and the rise of the alt- right that there has been no structured reply from the left or mainstream right in response to this other than to call people whom you disagree as being racist, xenophobic or that well quoted Clintonism ‘basket of deplorables’. The reason why the alt-right has risen is because of the chronic failure the mainstream right and the left to address their respective  sides failures. The left has turned into an autocratic movement hell bent on tarring and feathering anyone who dares say or do the wrong thing. Bill Maher on his own show encapsulated that wonderfully in a few of his more recent monologues:

White working class, and I’d say working class folks in general, look at the left and think, “why the fuck would I want to associate myself with them? They don’t see my issues as real, I’m mocked and ridiculed, and then I’m told to shut up when I want to voice an opinion that the coastal elite consider triggering and mansplaining”. They’ve moved the political discussion into the realm of ‘freaks and weirdos’ to the point that the important issues such as health, education, social welfare, infrastructure, national defence and so on are no longer discussed in any great detail but rather the political rallies revolve around feelings and vacuous statements that leave the audience knowing less than when they originally came in.

When Hillary Clinton said, “but we’re already great” – what is that telling the worker who just lost their job at the local coal mine or steel mill? A complete disconnection from the day to day reality that many Americans face was the message that she sent. When Hillary was harping on about how it was ‘her turn now’ sent the message that by virtue of being a women she should be given the job. Hillary also claimed not to be part of the establishment and yet had the WHOLE establishment apparatus behind her – from the head of the DNC through to pop culture icons and the media outlets willing to give her mountains of free coverage then how can one really claim to be anti-establishment?

The right on the other hand believe that they’ve got something that’ll keep them in power but they ignore the fact that most of what Trump talks about goes completely against Republican orthodoxy – he is against multilateral free-trade agreements but in the past Republicans were always for them, he has shown little or no concern regarding the size of the deficit and said in an interview that deficits don’t matter because we control our currency hence ‘we won’t end up like Greece’, and that doesn’t touch on the larger issue of Roe vs. Wade where the latest Supreme Court pick seems a lot more moderate than Antonin Scalia so at best if the religious right were looking for the ruling to be overturned then they’re going to be disappointed – expect nothing more than the status quo being upheld. So is the future of the Republican Party an ‘American first’ nationalist populist party with little regard for the kinds of conservative values that have sat at the heart of the establishment Republican world view? Are the Republican Party willing to throw ideology under the bus for the sake of holding onto power or will they quickly realise that power without the ability to actually change the country in the direction they want is ultimately just as bad as being in opposition.

The failure of the right and the left to address the concerns of ‘ordinary people’ in a meaningful way has resulted in the rise of Trump, Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen and so on because neither side offered a compelling set of solutions other than the same reheated ideas that have failed in the past plus the lack of candidates who could actually speak to the genuine concerns of the average working class Joe and Jane Sixpack who simply want a good job, a home, good school for the kids to go to, infrastructure that is reliable, a safety net in case the worse case scenario occurs and a superannuation/pension to support when they retire. The problem is that the party that is supposed to be advocating on behalf of Joe and Jane Sixpack has been off in left field with the social justice warriors and other cranks instead of actually advocating for ordinary people which has left an opening for Trump. The result has been that Trump has has come in and firstly communicated to Joe and Jane Sixpack that he understands and empathises with them (as seen in the speech at the RNC and the swearing in ceremony) and then secondly picks at a few key issues which all ties together the narrative that America is weak because of weak leadership which has resulted in out of control immigration (both legal and illegal) as well as shonky trade deals that don’t benefit the American worker – whether it is right or wrong, to the average Joe and Jane Sixpack they see someone who is decisive in identifying the problems without the layers of political correctness drizzled on top.

In conclusion, the election of Donald Trump has been the result of both the right and the left failing to the concerns of ordinary people seriously and the rise of charismatic populist leaders to tap into that unhappiness. For someone like me, who looks into the US political arena, I don’t expect the right to come up with a solution but I do expect the Democratic Party to at the very least be able to answer the grievances of the working class with more than just re-heated politically correct rhetoric and demonising those who don’t happen to 100% line with with every single social issue right off the bat. Bernie Sanders realised the need to build alliances when he walked into the ‘belly of the beast’ when he gave the presentation at Liberty University where he appealed across the isle to at least work on those common ground issues such as healthcare reform to provide a sustainable and affordable healthcare system for all. So whilst Hillary was patting herself on the back you had Bernie Sanders building the bridges just as he is building them today – in other words doing the hard yards rather than just turning up and hoping some buzzwords will get the folks out to vote. The net result? He lost the primary because too many Democrats convinced themselves that ‘Hillary was more electable’ but when you look at the polling regarding her against Trump you’d see that she was neck for neck with Trump where as Bernie Sanders was comfortably beating Trump even once you take into account the margin of error.

On a good side there is a movement developing that is addressing the short comings of the Democratic Party but it appears that the establishment aka ‘Third Way Democrats’ are fighting tooth and nail through it’s media backers. The big question is whether, rather than resorting to identity politics, the resurgence social democrats within the Democratic Party bring back the party to its working class roots. On the right there are also forces at work but it is less public such as the displeasure being voiced by Lindsey Graham and John McCain but the rumour has it that many of those who are unhappy are buying their time. The reason for this buying their time is when Trump fails and fails hard there won’t be the ability for Trump and his backers to claim that his presidency was sabotaged. If the Trump presidency fails the last thing those on the right want his Trump claiming a conspiracy occurred against him and that his ideas were perfect if it weren’t for the rebellious senators/congressmen so instead many are standing back and allowing the train wreck to occur and then when it does occur that collective sanity is restored. It reminds me of Al Franken where he said that ‘impeachment is months and months and months away’, the fact that he didn’t outright reject the proposition tells me that for any sort of impeachment to occur it would require the co-operation of Republican members as well so it appears that Trump’s detractors are buying their time – a game of chess where one has to think 2-3 or 4 move ahead.

All in all I’m hoping for the best but I’m preparing for the worst because ultimately it requires American’s taking ownership of the problem and dealing with it because unfortunately if it isn’t dealt with then the rest of the world have to deal with the fall out.

Things are beginning to look up

Things are starting to look good – I had a ‘trial’ or ‘induction’ shift tonight so it’ll be interesting to see how it all works out in the end but if it translates into a full time job then it’ll be a lot better than the current situation of surviving off some savings. I’ve also got another job that I’m going to apply for next week plus an interview on Saturday so we’ll see how it all goes.

Well, here I am almost a week after I started this post I’ve gotten a reply back for the first one, it appears that they job isn’t full time and due to the distance from home the expense vs. the hours just simply match up. It would have been a great job since it would allow me to enter into the hospitality sector but at the same time I really do need a full time job with stable hours or otherwise it’ll play havoc with the lack of stability when it comes to my pay packet. Regarding the second application, I haven’t heard back yet but I have a feeling that he has received a lot of applications so I’m pretty happy that I was at least given a chance to have an interview – end of the day there are a lot of talented people out there and sometimes it is just a numbers game.

On a good side after all that I do have a job which is working for a catering company in Wellington which supplies foods to multiple outlet including tertiary education cafeterias, hospitals, businesses etc.which will be great – I avoid having to serve the public, I’ll end up doing the shifts the go from midday to 8pm which men I don’t start to early and I don’t finish too late. All in all I’m happy with training starting on 22 February at 8:15 so I’ll be there will bells on.

Just a follow up to iOS 10.3 beta 2 that was released recently, I was wondering how much of an impact that the migration from HFS+ to APFS and so far there has been a lot of positive feedback. I have to wonder though to what degree it is down to just the usual optimisations that Apple is doing but given the improvements I’d be surprised if it were purely down to optimisations alone. When it comes to macOS there has been another beta release of 10.12.4 which includes a Safari upgrade as well to 10.1 and there has been a proposal by Apple to developers pa more sophisticated successor to WebGL where they’ve already been working on ‘Metal for the web’ but Apple would prefer to see it become a standard as to encourage the adoption on more platforms than just its own.There is also leaked specs from within the build which points to a MacBook refresh very soon so that’ll make for interesting reading.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens when it comes to macOS and APFS when it comes to performance but I’m looking forward to eventually seeing how 10.13 turns out and whether we see a leap in performance now that APFS aren’t stuck with the limitations that HFS+ had. Oh well, looking forward to seeing WWDC in June when all that is announced with much fanfare.

Inconsistent Republicans: One rule for Democrats but another set of rules for Republicans

I always find it funny how when Sean Spicer tells the public service to do their jobs:

They didn’t take the same position when Kim Davis threw a temper tantrum in the name of ‘taking a moral stance’ and the Republican Party couldn’t help but rally around her as if she was some sort of modern day martyr sticking up for ‘traditional values’ and ‘morality’.

Then there is the firing of acting US Attorney General Yates for following the constitution. Funny how the Trump supports were screaming about how Obama was an ‘imperial presidency’ and how he ‘trampled over the constitution’ yet as soon as Trump appears in the Whitehouse all that concern about the constitution suddenly disappears because ‘our guy is there’ is a lot more important than what he is actually going to do now that he is in the hot seat.

Building on from that there was the screaming and howling by the Trump supporters along with the ‘tea baggers’ whining about Obama’s overuse of executive action all whilst ignoring the fact that Obama has issued fewer executive orders than previous presidents! Just to drive the point home further – where is the protest over Trump and his ‘executive overreach’ and ‘bypassing congress’ and ‘imperial presidency’? Is it only of a great concern when the other guy does it but when your guy does it then the ends justify the means so therefore he can do what ever he likes because he is on your team?

Side Note: I’ve uploaded a podcast today so check it out on the left hand side of the page under the title “THE MATISYAHU SHOW” if you want an eclectic mixture of politics, philosophy and technology.

The AppStore isn’t a monopoly: Your analysis is bad and you should feel bad

Reading this article it appears that we’re now in the midst of yet another ‘only in America’ moment when god help us we have some oxygen thief taking it upon themselves to launch a frivolous law suit ( link ). I’ll lay down a few points:

    1. There is already choice in the form of competing platforms – if you’re not happy with the limitation/restriction or what ever other aspect of the iOS platform then you’re more than welcome to buy an Android, Blackberry or Windows 10 Mobile device. There might be some validity if there was no choice – but there is choice.
    2. If side loading was such an import feature that people were clambering for then there is nothing stopping people from buying an Android device (or derivative device such as the Amazon Fire) to do just that.
    3. You can already side load applications as long as you’ve got the source code or the code in some sort of intermediate state (aka someone compiled it into bitcode) given that you can side load without needing to have a developers subscription.

The way I see it, imagine going to a restaurant but you want to use your own sauce at the restaurant but the restaurant owner says that you can only use the sauce the is available at the restaurant itself. Is that restaurant behaving in a monopolistic way when there are numerous other restaurants out there that may allow you to bring your own sauce? Heck, they might even allow you to bring your own alcohol too! It seems that there is a cottage industry in the United States of people who go around suing whilst masquerading as ‘sticking up for consumer rights’ when in reality it is about a few lawyers trying to make their name known.

tvOS 10.1.1, iOS 10.2.1, macOS 10.12.3 and iTunes 12.5.5 Released plus betas released

Well, woke up this morning for an interview and as usual I check my email along with reading some news and with that I saw that Apple had released a bevy of updates which I quickly applied to all my devices. Regarding my iMac and MacBook Pro, both devices had their Boot ROM firmware updated but I don’t see anything written in the change log so maybe it is just general bug fixes. Everything is going well so far and Safari seems snappy and reliable a usual but then again I don’t use Flash (I’m completely Flash free) plus I also use the ad blocker plus as my only extension. iTunes was also updated but I haven’t noticed any visible changes but then again I’ve never had any issues with iTunes on macOS.

Things are rocking along at top speed with the beta release of 10.3 ( link ) which includes the all important APFS that was announced back in WWDC 2016 and slated for release his year which makes me wonder whether its inclusion in 10.3 signals its maturity or whether Apple has decided that since it is one of the most widely installed operating systems that it is the best way to knock out any issues. Then there is the beta release of macOS 10.12.4 ( link ) which has introduced ‘Night Shift Mode’ but it appears at least based on 10.12.3 that APFS is still stuck at version 0.3 so if that I anything to do by I’d be surprised if Apple merged the APFS build that is in iOS 10.3 will appear in 10.2.4.

The big question is whether Apple will make APFS case sensitive as it is in its current form or whether Apple is going to add back case insensitivity especially given that it’ll end up breaking some applications in the process. There are benefits with case sensitivity which is, developers will be happy especially when dealing with open source *NIX code pulled from a CVS which whose structure automatically assumes a case sensitive file system and all the goodness that comes with the territory.

Oh, and side note: I’ve downloaded a few movies off iTunes that were good value: Blues Brothers, Airplane!, Blazing Saddles, Trains, Planes and Automobiles. Once I get back into work again I’ll hopefully get some lose ends tied up and everything back on track again – hopefully in the next few weeks and then I’ll put the savings left over to the side in my rainy day fund for the future.

Another week, another podcast

I’ve uploaded a new podcast outlining what I think will occur under Trump and the relationship he’ll have with Russia/Putin going forward. I’m under no illusion regarding Russia/Putin or Trump but what I do cover is what could happen based on the assumption that each party is guided by some sort of rational self interest aka ‘whats in it for me’ to explain their behaviour.

I’m currently working on an article that debunks the claims regarding the iPhone and AppStore – specifically the fact that to get applications on your phone you need to use the AppStore.

There has been another build for the 10.12.3 update which seems to be taking a good amount of time to get done so it makes me wonder whether we’ve got developers jumping between macOS 10.12 and 10.13 so that it is all ready by the time WWDC rolls around in June for the unveiling. When it comes to 10.13 it’ll be interesting to see what is announced now that the iOS and macOS teams have now merged – hopefully it’ll mean a harmonisation of frameworks so when one platform moves forward that all platforms end up benefiting from the improvements rather than having to wait for it to be ported across.