Microsoft vs. Google: Observations

Google has announced the bringing together of Android Pay and Google Wallet into a single offering called ‘Google Pay’ ( link ) which kind of makes me wonder whether this is part of a larger over all strategy that Google has been slowly leaking out over the last year or so. One of the earliest ones I saw was the creation of Allo and Duo with me thinking, “why, they’ve already got Hangouts’ but gradually what has happened is Hangouts is now being re-imagined now as a casual chatting application but as a collaboration tool perfect for enterprise customers with its UI revamp so it takes on an appearance/behaviour that one observes with Slack, Teams and so on.

When it comes to Microsoft, although I hear a consistent ‘doom and gloom’ message from the Microsoft enthusiast community but the reality is that Nadella is making some some tough but much needed decisions. Microsoft selling off of their music devision – who benefits with a division that is losing money hand over fist and there being no evidence that music is a loss leader which has an halo effect in terms of introducing customers to other Microsoft products? same can be said for movies, television shows etc. eventually you’re going to see the offerings stripped back to a store that has applications, games, extensions, software updates rather than trying to be everything to everyone. Microsoft really do need to focus on what is their core business; Windows, Office, Surface, XBox, and services that bring all that software and hardware together – let the grudge match between streaming platform providers keep losing money and remain focused on the big prize at the end.

There are big changes in store in my life – along side my weight loss I’m also making changes in the technology I use which I’ll talk about in later posts.

New Years resolutions: Health and Wealth

So I’ve finally got my New Years resolutions sorted out and they’re realistic rather than ‘pie in the sky’ fantasies that have zero chance of actually happening. Without further a-do here they are:

1) Get my weight down to 85-90kg by the end of the year which is averaging 1.5kg per week – exercise plus a good diet will achieve that without too much stress so the big thing is sticking to that programme rather than it requiring something radical occurring. Currently I’m at 158kg which is down from the original weight of 193 so 35kg lost in 90 days or 2.7kg per week. Hopefully by the time my man comes back from his overseas trip and I’m back at my normal job that I’ll be below 150kg (preferably below 145kg).

2) No more accumulating debt and by that, I mean I am living within my means and learning to say no (important to differentiate between debt that is carried over the months vs. putting my bills through my credit card and paying it off at the end of the month in full to acquire the points for Fly Buys thus no debt is transferred forward). Part of that involves putting a small amount of money aside each week rather than chucking it on the card and dealing with the fall out at a later date.

Part of the move to BNZ also meant being able to keep track of money a whole lot easier using their online tools that they provide to customers. Will I be good with money? With some self discipline and focus – yes I will. Eventually I want to get the debt down and then moved over to BNZ with their 12 months interest free on the low interest card thus finish consolidating everything to a single institution. Long term – I want to be able to save up to buy what I want without the use of debt – yes, an old fashioned concept but something I need to get back into because I used to be a good little saver but I guess earning a decent wage (at least for me) kind of encouraged a more ‘do what ever you want’ ethos rather than long term planning.

Progressing well, hopefully get things back on track

So I separated the clothes that are sellable from the clothes that are still good but aren’t worth selling – got that up on Facebook’s marketplace and so far I’ve sold the unworn pair of Chuck Taylor high tops. I’ve got my ‘box of crap’ up on Geekzone but I think I’ll also put it up on TradeMe because I’d prefer to sell the whole lot for $150 and simply call it a day. Put that into my bank account and use that to pay bills whilst I throw what I earn to pay for rent and the rest to pay down debt so I can get closer to my objective of being in a better financial position by the end of next year (along with hitting my weight goal of 85-90kg).

Regarding the information technology side, it appears that things are pretty quiet over at Apple over the Christmas and new year but I wouldn’t be surprised if part of that has to do with the firestorm in the blogosphere regarding the declining quality of Apple software as covered by many pundits. It makes me wonder whether macOS 10.13.3 beta releases are going to really hone in on nailing down those much complained about short comings as well as delivering a more reliable experience. That being said, the other side isn’t so great and there is a tendency to also romanticise the past when Steve Jobs was in charge – keeping in mind that Steve Jobs did have the RDF which manipulated the media and fanbase into ignoring the failures in favour of only focusing on the positive.

Work was good today – on my 15 minute breaks I go for a quick walk up to level 5 taking the stairs then back down to the ground then back up to level 2 again. I found that if I just sit down the whole day I gradually start to fall asleep plus it is an easy way to get some calorie burning in during the day. I’ve also focused on sticking to my diet which I’m proud about today and then I’ve got tomorrow then on Tuesday I’ll have dinner with mum and nana because mum is going to drive nana back up to Auckland – I’ll ensure I won’t go crazy like Id did on Christmas, Boxing Day and the dinner with my brother/sister and their respective partners – although I have to admit looking back on the dinner with my siblings the foot was pretty damn healthy. That being said, getting back on tracking and focusing on the big prize which is 85-90kg by the end of 2018 is an achievable goal because it assumes an average weightless of around 1-1.5kg per week which, if I stick to my diet and go some regular power walking, should be pretty achievable without being being absolutely hardcore and making life miserable.

Cleaning the computer, sorting out software

So I’ve done a clean install of macOS 10.13.2 now that the slipstream version has appeared on the App Store and with that I noticed that MarsEdit 4 has been related (unfortunately there isn’t a free update for holders of MarsEdit 3 – not that I am complaining given that the number of times I’ve used MarsEdit I have gotten my money’s worth out of it). One thing to remember that if you have two-step authentication on WordPress that you’ll need to setup an application specific password for MarsEdit so then you can login – an extra step but given the rise in the number of blogging accounts that get attacked, one can never been too careful these days.

I mentioned a while ago in a review of banks that I was going to move back to ASB but I decided to stick with BNZ given that it was such a nightmare to get my main employer to change the account details on payroll that it would be an even bigger nightmare trying to repeat that process again. I’m going to stick with BNZ and next year when there is a gap between finishing my current project and the return to my standard job I am going to head down and close up all those lose ends so I’m just dealing with the two banks and once ASB is all sorted out then I’ll close that off and just have one bank that I’ll deal with.

Ubiquiti decided to deliver a Christmas present with a firmware upgrade for my UAP-HD which boosts it from 3.9.15 to 3.9.18 which includes not only software update inside the router itself but also, as I understand it, firmware for the embedded hardware so hopefully that’ll result in a more reliable connection, greater coverage and better performance but with that being said the existing setup has been awesome so far in terms of ticking all those boxes one wishes to get ticked. One of those situations where you pay a little bit extra for a good setup but it is well worth the reduction in stress and drama especially after coming back from work and all you really want to do is stream some Netflix, Lightbox or Amazon without dealing with networking issues.

Got everything sorted out for the family; presents all lined up, bought three packs of Hellers sausages (venison, beef and pork), a carrot cake, some apple cider plus some alcohol free beer since I can’t drink alcohol with the medication I am on. It’ll be a great day – got presents for everyone along with finally getting mum sorted out in terms of her computer equipment – upgrading her desktop that is 10 years old to something that’ll stand the test of time long with replacing her laptop with a Chromebook along with maybe weening her off Microsoft Office since neither I, my sister or me use it and quite frankly it is an expensive purchase when compared to going with Google and just paying $3 per month for 100GB of storage per year.

At home now I’m organising what I have around the home and getting rid of large amounts of stuff I no longer want or need – clothes that are way too big, old electronics. If I can grab around $200 for the clothes and computers tuff then I’d be a happy lad at the end of it. Long story short – by the end of next year I want to be in a strong financial position as well as at my target weight of 85-90kg so that’ll involve getting rid of stuff that is holding me back psychologically. A quest for a new health body starts with purging out the old and starting with a clean slate – without any of the hand breaks that have held me back.

Apple Watch 3rd Generation has arrived

Ok, as noted before, I caved in and bought one, and it finally arrived today so here are the photos ( link ) which links to my iCloud shared photos. Although the large sized black band does fit me it doesn’t provide much room to manoeuvre so I got a white XL one (they only have one colour in the XL) but hopefully with time I’ll find that the standard large band will fit me better. Anyway, I’m going to see how this all turns out over the next few weeks but I love being ale to check my account balance without having to take out my mobile phone; seeing the tip, scroll through a email to see whether it is something I need to respond to etc. Oh well, got dinner soon – hot wings and a ciabatta roll.

Ok, I caved in, I bought an Apple Watch (plus other things)

So I had to order a replacement space bar for my MacBook and in that time I decided to go, “fuck it, I’m going to get an Apple Watch” – yes, I’ll use it, a great way to keep track of my exercise, stop me from having to get out my phone when I want to see the time etc.

Screen Shot 2017 12 14 at 10 43 16 PM

Got the larger band because my wrist is a bit on the big side just in case but I’m happy with the choice. On a side note, I’m still trying to decide what to get my brother, sister and mum for Christmas this year so but knowing my usual plan I’ll probably get my sister and partner a Countdown voucher, an iTunes voucher for the niece, and for my brother and his partner I’ll probably get something from down the road that happens to tickle my fancy.

So far, so good

Training is going well with the new job over summer  but on the down side my space bar on my laptop has gone on the blink so I’m having to order a new one – hopefully will arrive in 3-5 days time. The diet is going well, things that I would have to consciously think about are becoming automatic so eventually once I come off the medication my body will be used to the routine. It has been raining but I went for a quick power walk although I want to avoid getting wet or otherwise I’ll get sick which will translate in time off work and missing my exercise routine. I’d say that as long as I stick ti my diet that exercising 3-4 times a week will be sufficient to keep things rolling along.