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.

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.

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.

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.

Pay came through, bills paid and sat LCQ

I wasn’t expecting the final pay to come through all at once but it has so I will have to make it last as long as I can until I start my new job. I sat the LCQ exam however I need to resit a few question as I got them incorrect although I’m going to send back an email follow up as I need to get further clarification on what is required so that I don’t end up wasting my money by not doing the resubmission correctly.

One YouTuber I’ve been following for some time has been ‘Death Wears Bunny Slippers’ where a a family is bought an old Cold War era missile silo/fallout shelter and renovating it into a home/chill out pad so the transformation has been really fun to watch ( link ). I also like watching the micro-apartment and small homes series especially when people have taken a shipping container and turning it into a small house that is self sufficient and compact in size so that the experience is cosy.

Got the bills all sorted out which has made life easier so hopefully once I get my new jobs sorted out I can start getting back to reducing debt and getting everything under control. It was a good decision on my part to hold off on the iPhone upgrade to wait till for the iPhone 7s/8 especially if the rumour turned out to be true that there will be a shift to the 10nm process which should yield better performance, lower power usage and cooler operation which will be great along side some other improvements that Apple has in store regarding the much rumoured ’10th anniversary edition’.

Side note: One thing I notice is how Noel Leeming is so much better than what it used to be – before it was a painful experience by virtue of the compete lack of choice and when there was choice it was always out of date shit I would never want to buy in a million years. Just checking out the Noel Leeming online website – up to date computers being sold, mobile phones unavailable through carriers but available through them such as the HTC 10 as one example. Although their selection isn’t as big as say Ascent or Mighty Ape, it is pretty damn good for a mainstream store when compared to the horrific clusterfuck that exists in the form of many other local big retailers.

On reflection…oh, and the Surface Studio is rather nice

I’m sure everyone has done it – made a tweet, gone to sleep and then realised, “oh lord I look like a complete prat”, and I’ve done just that. One thing to remember which I forget so often is not to engage with trolls because ultimately the troll will drag you down to their level and soon enough you realise that you’re wallowing in the mud pit with them. A better way to put it was what Bill Maher noted in a monologue, “when they go low, we go high” and instead of going high I decided to go low – something I’m not particularly proud of. I’m always a person who believes in second chances and giving people the benefit of the doubt when they backing out (delete tweet, forum post entry etc) that they’re reflected upon what was made public and withdrawn it. I decided to delete some tweets because rather than simply making the one tweet and walking away I decided to engage with a fruitless argument that ultimately benefited no one in the end.

I’ve been looking through the Surface Studio videos lately and the more I look at the Surface Studio when combined with the work that Microsoft is doing to improve Windows 10 such as in the area of high DPI scalability through to adding support to a greater number of open standards in Edge such as RTC, Push API and Brotli Compressed Data Format to name a few along with de facto standards such as VP9, Opus, Vorbis and the upcoming AV1 will be supported soon as well. Where as in the past Microsoft has shunned open standards when it came to the web, we see Microsoft go all in to ensure that the experience delivered on Edge is at the forefront of embracing open standards rather than lagging behind as in the days of Internet Explorer.

For me the issue with the Mac platform isn’t so much the lack of revolutionary change but rather the lack of any sort of commitment to the platform. What I mean by ‘lack of commitment’ I prefer to how it has been neglected when it comes to OpenGL and OpenCL updates, bug fixes and optimisations not to mention lagging behind in such areas as open standards support to the point that Safari seems to be positively ancient when compared to how far ahead Edge, Chrome and Firefox are. Putting that aside though it certain isn’t enough to make me move and when we do hear the doom and gloom stories the one thing to keep in mind is that apart from a few who seem to persistently demand ‘teh dazzle’, most Mac users are pretty happy. Keeping that in mind, Apple needs to realise, just as I have noted in my recent podcast, that although the Mac community is small the user base does act as evangelists for the larger Apple ecosystem meaning the failure to address the linger concerns about the Mac platforms future will ultimately spill over into other products that Apple hopes will be the engine of growth into the future.

Some have asked my what my favourite applications and services on the Mac platform (not all of them are exclusives but I find they run better on the Mac platform) that I can’t do without, so here is the list:

    1. MarsEdit – Eding and uploading new posts to my blog without having to deal with a nightmare web based interface.
    2. iFFmpeg + ffmpeg – Transcode your videos to what ever format you want.
    3. XLD – Transcode your music from what ever format to what ever format that you could imagine.
    4. Pixelmator – Photoshop features without the Photoshop price tag.
    5. iTunes – yes, I am being serious, I like using iTunes on the Mac especially given the ability to manage my music and synchronise it to my iPhone without having to go through the laboured process of ‘dragging and dropping’ music in the case of Windows. Keep in mind that I have over 200gb of music so I don’t feel compelled to wade through directories finding what music I want when an application can take care of that – enter iTunes.
    6. Kid3 – For all your music tagging needs.
    7. Pages, Keynote and Numbers – Integrated with the operating system resulting in languages properly set rather than the mess that is Microsoft Office where I am forced to use either American or Australian dictionary even though I’ve made it quite clear in the system settings that I want to use British English.
    8. QuickTime – such a basic application but when I want to capture video or audio it is my goto application if for no other reason that it allows me to capture in an uncompressed format and so then I can feed it into iFFmpeg where as the configuration options on Windows 10 ‘Camera’ is pretty much non-existent.
    9. iCloud – I know it gets a lot of crap for having shot comings in some areas but everything just seems to work nicely – password sync, bookmarks, a IMAP mail server that doesn’t turn to crap by creating random directories like Gmail does because Google refuses to conform to the documented standard.

So given that situation I doubt I’ll be leaving soon but hopefully some pressure from Microsoft will give Apple a boot up the backside.