Chilly outside but ok inside

One of the first things I remember doing when moving into the place I am now as to check the insulation – no use throwing good money after bad if the net result is a cold house because the heat is escaping to heat half the neighbourhood. I’ve got the dehumidifier going and to he honest the amount of electricity used is actually fairly small with the benefit of having a dryer house being a warmer house plus I dry my clothes inside so it avoids a build up of moisture in the air which leads to that yucky damp smell. Hopefully I can hold off from having to turn on the heater until maybe the first of July at the earliest because god knows I can’t afford to have high electricity bills at the moment although I might be able to get some assistance where possible.

Something interesting I came across is Samsung selling directly to the public so if you want to bypass having to sign up for an interest free deal with an open plan or a plan with a phone, you can order ( link ) and get it delivered by 28 April. I’ve had a look into it and I’d be lying to myself if I said that I wasn’t tempted but I’d sooner hold off and sleep on it. The other part of the equation will be setting up a new domain name that I’ll use strictly for email that will be detached from my WordPress webite. Once I have set up my new domain setup I’ll then set up Google Apps and for the aliases I am currently using I’ll use the aliases/mail redirect facility in WordPress. To recreate the same experience it’ll involve moving over to Chrome and buying a copy of HandsFree 2.6.1 so I can send SMS messages and answer the phone from my Mac. The big question after all that is whether I want to go through all that drama or whether I’m too lazy and at this stage although I’m sucked in by the new I am also rather lazy and can’t be bothered going through the drama to get there.

I’ve given the new WordPress 2.3 application a try and it is still a horrible train wreck – when I try to right click on words to bring up the spellcheck (after enabling it and then quitting/relaunching the application, the whole application freezes and I’m forced to force quit the application) not to mention how hugely inefficient it is when compared to a native solution like MarsEdit that can operate offline. Something I love about native applications is the fact that one isn’t dealing with the fickle nature of a Internet connection not to mention ‘web based technologies’ that start to become increasingly inefficient as the application becomes more complex – the WordPress application and Visual Studio for Mac being two examples of that general rule of thumb in action. 

Another day at home relaxing…remembering my childhood

Sitting at home watching the full MASH series – always great, even with a re-run, to have a good laugh and be reminded of when I was growing up as a kid where mum would put it on television to MASH at 6:00pm and we’d eat fish ’n chips on Friday like a picnic in front of the television. It is funny how I am reminded of when my old man told me not to get too hung up on the idea of wanting to grow up because I think he wanted me to real that once you get there you look back at your younger years having not cherished that freedom one has when one is young. I was a kid of the 1980’s and life was pretty simple and the most I had to contend with was deciding whether I would wear the brown or blue corduroys at school and whether mum had made up some fruit and custard to take to school for lunch. Oh what a much simpler time – I can see why many look back at the ‘good old days’ with nostalgia considering what the world has become and how life was so much simpler without the complexity, the familiarity of life not moving at a frantic pace and lack of disconnectedness that one can easily feel about the world today.

A lot of buzz since the pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ got started at 9:00am on 20th April (promised delivery being at 28th April) with a large number of reviewers showering praise on the device although there are concerns. One of the big concerns is the inclusion of Bixby but it is not only currently limited to US English and Korean it appears that Samsung has disabled the ability to remap the Bixby launch button. Yes, I understand that they want to get as many people using the Bixby service as possible given the amount they have invested into the technology but at the same time if it isn’t ready in a particular market, say New Zealand, then who is gaining by behaving like a douchbag in the mean time? It seems rather petty to punish a customer with reduced functionality all for the sake of preserving your brand but ultimately frustrating the customer resulting a bad taste being left in the customers mouth as a result.

I’m going to be waiting this one out – although there is the temptation there I am more interested in seeing what Apple has to offer especially if it means the rumours come true. The rumours so far have talked about something similar to what Samsung has released but the interesting part will be what will come in iOS 11 because iOS at this point is pretty feature complete and mature which leaves very few avenues to make massive leaps forward – maybe that is why there are rumours of AR are becoming more frequent? What ever the case maybe, I am so invested in the Apple ecosystem it would take something drastic to get me to leave the platform any time soon.

Enjoying the holidays…lots of fun in the world of Apple

Television seems to be pretty dead these days so I’ve decided go to back to watching MASH from start to finish – sometimes the classics are the best when one is in dire need of some entertainment. I wish that these episodes were available to purchase online – it amazes me how these old episodes are made available given that I’m sure there are many out there who would be more than happy to pay to get access to these shows.

When it comes to how my day was – went down the road for a quick meal at the local sushi place and had a look around at the store where I had a look at the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge ‘Special Edition’ – each time I’m not convinced that the hassle of moving is worth it in the end which makes me wonder how many are in my position in terms of iPhone users and whether Samsung is aiming their products to win over iPhone users or are they hoping that a growing market and them getting more of that growth for themselves.

Side note though, with the Samsung S8 and DeX it’ll be interesting to see what happens to the whole Windows 10 vision – ok, they’ve scaled back Windows 10 Mobile to a niche where your phone is like a mini-computer and now that Samsung has done something similar with the bonus of a huge selection of software then where does Windows 10 fit in all of that? What does it say about the larger UWP vision that Microsoft has put forward especially now that it appears that the UWP of Microsoft Office is now on the back burner? Then there is the larger issue that if DeX ends up getting back ported back into Android then could you imagine the eventual creeping of Android into the laptop market then desktop then workstation? More frameworks being added to fill in the gaps such as a full on OpenGL stack combined with Vulkan which will make it a strong competitor to Windows when you consider the large software portfolio that is available to anyone interest in using Android as their main operating system of choice.

Then again this has always been my ‘conspiracy theory’ regarding the direction that Nadella would like to take the company where the focus is on the middleware, cloud and servers with Android/Chrome taking the low to middle and the Mac taking the middle to high end with enterprise pretty much by the short and curls until there is a move away from the legacy win32 applications that many rely on. On the issue of legacy, it is interesting to see how new businesses are more likely to be using Google Apps and other non-Microsoft technology than more established businesses which have to taken into account legacy capabilities meaning we might find Microsoft in the same sort of situation that SUN and then later Oracle find/found themselves in where they’re maintaining the status quo but little or no growth other than moving customers from one kind of service to another, from one kind of product to another kind of product.

I’m personally looking forward to WWDC 2017 with the announcement of macOS 10.13 and APFS coming to the Mac platform which signs off on the last part of MacOS 9 to finally be replaced with something better, modern and plain well ‘not sucking’ as many have complained about for years. So as one of the last pieces of the old operating system is replaced it’ll be interesting to see what is opened up in terms of improvements going forward particularly how Apple will deal with fusion drives which, I suspect, is going to be the more difficult aspect of dealing with when compared to the iOS world which is a base flat partition structure.

Bad weather, leaking house..and procrastination

Well, there has been nothing but bad weather for the two days I’ve had off so far but I’m hoping that tomorrow it’ll be fine enough that I can head down to Bunnings and grab some weed killer and give the cracks between the concrete a damn good soaking to kill anything that might exist between those cracks. Well, here we are on Wednesday and well, it is still raining thus I was unable to head down to Bunnings to do what I want but more joy has befallen me with the leaking on the lounge room which hasn’t been fixed which might call for a complete room replacement not to mention dealing with the ceiling inside which has been damaged by the water.

Apple invited some high profile journalists within the Apple ecosystem to a briefing at their headquarters with John Gruber giving a good run down in a couple of blog posts he has made on the subject ( link ) ( link ) where Apple is reassuring, via the popular media outlets, that Apple do care about the professional customer base along with the Mac customer base over all. I don’t want to sound negative but why did it take until 2017 for them to finally say/do something? For someone like me, I am not going to go anywhere because the alternative to the Mac platform is worse than the Mac platform where it is but I do hope that we’ll eventually see Tim accept that the iPad is going to keep declining until it hits rock bottom but until then the idea of screwing over your long standing base in a hope to move them to the iOS platform is ultimately going to annoy those ‘influencers’ who would have otherwise been the sort who would promote your products to friends and family as the ‘guy who is good with computers’ (check out how effective marketing is vs. receiving a recommendation from a friend or family member).

For work I needed a new pair of suitable shoes so I went into Southern Hospitality, a large hospitality focused supplier, to purchase a good sturdy pair of shoes and I found the perfect pair. They’re not much to look at in terms of the fashion department but but they’re oh so damn comfortable when it comes to arch support (I have a high arch and it is one of the parts of my foot that really hurts after a long day at work). I’ve also got a couple of pairs of those ‘SKINS’ which also help when standing for long periods of time – make life a little easier at work. The biggest benefit with the shoes is the fact that they’re completely water proof so I won’t even up with soaking feet plus the internal sole can be replaced and unlike the skatey shoes I bought not too long ago which had hollow soles that end up being really painful when one puts ones full body weight on it. Oh, and on the subject of shoes, I bought myself a pair of comfortable Birkenstock shoes that I can wear – yes, they sell shoes. They’ll be nice and comfortable.

Regarding my iPhone vs. Samsung journey – it is funny how, when you think about something for a couple of hours you quickly realise that what you were going to do was rather stupid and that holding off till the iPhone 8 is actually the smartest course of action. When that eventually ships I’ll grab the 256GB version that’ll be the one I’ll go for one in ‘matte black’ option in a Twelve South Bookbook wallet format nut that’ll have to wait till November/December towards the end of this year. I’m excited about WWDC 2017 especially with 10.13 and hopefully with the launch of APFS will mean the shedding of the numerous layers of work arounds to achieve things like time machine that can now be done natively at the file system level such as snapshots.

Cleaning around the house, relaxing after a long day…and software updates

I’m happy that I’ve got some stuff sorted out in my personal life – organised a meeting with WINZ where it appears I might be able to get some help with the rent so nothing lost nothing gained so I might as well give it a go. It’ll make life a bit easier to get some extra cash but at the same time I’m happy with my current arrangement of the number of days as I’d sooner have a more balanced life/work where I can focus on getting my personal life back on track and looking into making use of my LCQ certificate.

With that being said I’m watching Quantico and relaxing with the Baileys Irish Cream I purchased the Flybuys points I had acquired over the years. The only thing worth using the points for these days is booze and food – the rest of the products are pretty shittastic because they’re things that I could easily buy rather than something I wouldn’t normally buy but I’d like to have. I also bought a six pack of Monteiths Radler which was a great after a long day of getting into Wellington but before then having to deal with two leaking fuel lines which was later added to the ‘list of stuff that needs fixing up’ when I dropped it off at the motorcycle shop.

Noel Leeming has advertised the iPhone 7 Plus (PRODUCT)Red on their website that they’re selling it but they haven’t got anything noted on their website that the store closest to me has stock. Although I could go through the online Apple Store I would prefer to buy it from Noel Leeming as I can get Flybuy points on the purchase which I can put towards buying life’s essentials.

Funny enough, on the subject of Mac’s and iPhones – I woke up with an unexpected surprise and that was the release of iOS 10.3, tvOS 10.2 and macOS 10.12.4 to the internet along with updates for Pages, Keynote and Numbers. 10.3 and tvOS 10.2 include the conversion from HFS+ to APFS but also it includes features and bug fixes but truth be told iOS and tvOS already satisfies me so an extra goodies are always nice. When it comes to macOS 10.12.4 though the big improvement has been the upgrading of Safari to 10.1 plus many frameworks were touched in some way along with extensions too. Long term it makes me wonder whether Apple is working towards retiring more hardware with the next release of macOS especially if Apple are continuing to push forward with Metal which may mean that some hardware incapable of providing what Metal needs, in the form of hardware features, to be able to continue advancing forward. Assuming that the same sort of hardware that is require for Vulkan is also required for Metal then it might mean killing off the 2011 or older range of hardware.

Oh well, off to sleep so I can wake up tomorrow and hopefully my scooter will be all ready as well for pick up.

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.