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.

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.

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.

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.