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.

Things are looking better all the time (can’t get no worse!)

Well, so far I’ve had some responses back from people who are interested in interviewing me or at least have an interest in having a look at my resume which is a great feeling – at least I’m in the running of being considered rather than being rejected before even getting a chance to sell myself to the organisation. Hopefully the interview will go well in Monday and in the afternoon I’ll stop by Motorad to get my scooter services – the mirrors sorted out, new tyres and a few other things such as replacing the fuel line so when eventually I start my job that my form of transportation is all up to scratch and won’t cause me any issues.

It appears that the source of the consumer report bad battery fiasco has come down to a bug in Safari which has been fixed in 10.12.3. so hopefully that’ll be out soon but not too soon along with the usual updates for iOS and tvOS not being too far behind. As much as Windows 10 appears to be ‘exciting’ with all the ‘improvements’ and ‘new things’ that are coming in new builds I am reminded that although ‘new’ I exciting it can be a double edged sword of dealing with the byproducts of immature technology that is still having the bugs beaten out of it.

When it comes to Twitter, if you’re given a platform by your employer, your name is well known and by virtue of that your name is associated with that company then it is important to think very long and hard before opening up and giving your five cents on a subject. There is a reason why when I am using a public persona I am very careful about what I say (along with never mentioning where I work or live) – your reputation is all that you have and the moment you open up and say something stupid there are repercussions whether you like it or not. If you want to write something controversial then go ahead but remember that the way you present your argument will have as much impact as what you’re saying. The way you present your argument will dictate whether you come off sounding like an emotionally driven prat whose opinions are lacking coherency resulting in the output sounding something akin to a Alex Jones/David Icke like mentally deranged rant or whether the writing is devoid of emotions and focuses on a coherent will reasoned argument with evidence from reliable sources to back up any claims made.

Chilling out after a long week

Cooked a delicious dinner for myself; crumbed chicken, brie and plum sauce burgers and for desert I had strawberries and blueberries. Oh, and they had a special down the road for cherry tomatoes and they are so sweet and ripe – perfect for snacking on whilst watching a movie or just watching some random YouTube video.

I’ve signed up for a years subscription for the podcast hosting service Podbean so I’ll be uploading audio podcasts going forward with the aim of doing 2 or 3 podcasts per week depending on how I feel although at first I’ll just start off on one. I’ve signed up to the iTunes podcast feed which will hopefully mean greater exposure. At $9 per month it is a whole lot cheaper than Soundcloud and it actually integrates in with iTunes podcasting feeder so soon enough I’ll hopefully be available worldwide.

Edit: The link to the podcasting channel is on the left hand side of the page which will take you to the Podbean page where you can play the podcast.

A simpler life

Damn it has been cold – I though summer was already here but it has been a horrible 9 decrees celsius outside which makes the current weather more akin to being winter or autumn than getting into summer time. I’m all warm in bed watching NCIS and might watch some news before going off to sleep along with updating updating my blog.

Reading through some of the posts on /r/apple can be rather nauseating hearing the same doom and gloom because Tim Cook didn’t personally pay each of the posters a visit and ask them what they want in the next Mac refresh. Personally I the days of large and powerful workstations is quickly coming to an end as mobility takes primacy over having that slight edge in performance so it’ll be interesting to see how things line up with the iMac and whether the iMac will be the Mac Pro replacement or whether Apple is waiting on the AMD Vega GPU range which will be a huge leap forward particularly if Apple makes a major investment into Metal/Metal Kit and convince more third parties to adopt I beyond just simply gaming.

Anyway, this year with 10.13 will be an interesting release with APFS finalised and whether the movement to that file system results in some changes further up – abstracted services that were built on top of HFS+ are now integrated into the file system itself points to making some big changes coming soon. What will be another interesting point will be with the merging of macOS, iOS and tvOS development teams will hopefully mean a harmonisation of frameworks and features – will be great to see what happens once WWDC arrives in the 1st week of June this year.