Frequently Asked Questions

What is your computer setup?

I have two computers: MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2016) BTO and iMac 5K (27-Inch, Late 2015), both with 16GB RAM, both with 512GB SSD, the CPU of both are maxed out to the top available option. I tend to have a general rule of thumb that I have a laptop for maximum portability and battery life where as my iMac is there for heavy lifting hence I am not overly concerned about whether my laptop has a lot of grunt. I also have an iPhone 6s 128GB. I have a Panasonic LED television with the latest Apple TV but I decided not to go for the largest option since I don’t download but rather stream the content. So far I haven’t missed having access to pay television as I can mirror what is on my iMac to my screen or directly watch what I want via YouTube or the iTune podcasts such as Democracy Now! news show. Basically I am wall to wall Apple and as a result things are working very smoothly with he one exception which is my router and access point which are Ubiquiti Unifi Security Gateway and Unifi AP AC – it goes a fair bit more than a standard consumer grade set up but I’ve had it for quite some time without any problems – updates are easy to install via ssh along with configuring etc.

When did you start using Mac’s and why?

I started using Mac’s back when I moved to Australia for 3 years as I was living in Canberra where I used my first tax return to purchase in 2003 an eMac 1Ghz ( link ) (I later upgrades the hard disk to 60GB, memory to 1GB and a DVD writer) and also purchased a copy of Microsoft Office v. X. Before that I was running a PC with FreeBSD but what I wanted was all the geekiness of UNIX but access to all the big name mainstream titles which is what OS X gave me. So from there I purchased a second hand iBook clamshell then when i came back to New Zealand I upgraded to an iMac G5 then over to an iMac 24” when the change over to x86 and I’ve been on the platform ever since.

Here I am almost 13 years later and I’m still using the platform and although I have posted a lot on my blog where I appear to be incessantly whining about bugs or flaws in the operating system, I do so because I believe that Apple can do better and should do better. Although I look at the alternative, Windows 10, and like a good infomercial always looks better than it is in reality I have been let down in the past as I’ve found that Windows doesn’t live up to the well crafted product display and promises put forward. I’ve flirted with the Windows world on many occasions using computers from various OEM’s – Toshiba, HP, Dell and Lenovo with each of them leaving me dissatisfied be it the hardware or the operating system that simply can get fundamental things like proper DPI scaling correct or the mess that is hardware support where one is forced to install a tonne of crap when all one requires is a bluetooth driver etc. so it isn’t a situation of me writing from a place of ignorance but rather a situation of ‘been there, done that’ and would prefer not repeating the mistakes of the past.

Have you considered using Windows? Windows 10 was released and updated regularly so has your stance changed?

I’ve been keeping an eye on Windows developments as part of my general interest in information technology and the development of Windows 10 is showing that Microsoft has adapted to the new ‘rolling release schedule’. I personally would prefer such a release schedule where features are pushed out once they’re mature rather than a situation of holding back features whilst rushing others to meeting some arbitrary deadline at the expense of stability.

Over the next year Microsoft has a lot of changes taking place, they’ve changed their build and testing process within Microsoft, there are not only large visible changes but also a lot of under the hood changes such as expanding the depth and breadth of UWP functionality so that eventually it becomes a drop in replacement for win32 with the eventual goal, I assume, to get developers off win32 and onto UWP with the added bonus of software being available on the many different device that have Windows at their core (Xbox, Desktop, Laptop, Smartphone, Tablet etc.) Part of that includes decoupling UWP and win32 given that Windows 10 for IoT promises support for UWP applications which will mean any dependencies that might have existed have to be cut because micro devices such as IoT devices can ill afford to have storage space wasting components (dlls etc) included if it can be avoided.

So when it comes to ‘have you considered Windows’, yes I have however it still has too many problems with its inconsistent UI, win32 applications are still a train wreck in terms of messing up a pristine system by spewing crap around the drive not to mention clogging up the registry because developers have used it as a dumping ground for everything and anything. Many of these problems are being addressed in red stone with Project Centennial provides a way for win32 to be sandboxed and deployed using appx which can be deployed through the Windows Store or can be side loaded like one can do today with MSI packages. Once Project Centennial matures in future updates now that Red Stone 2 has been released I hope we will see the likes of Chrome, Firefox and others take advantage of if especially if it means being able to push it through the Windows Store and let Microsoft deal with deploying updates which will utilise Microsoft’s bandwidth capacity. How about in the future? things change in the future then I’m definitely open to the idea of giving Windows another go but having been let down in the past by shiny advertisements that fizzle in reality I have built up an aversion to change.

What is your political persuasion?

I started off as a Libertarian during my time at college but that was primarily due to social policy positions such as same sex marriage, drug decriminalisation etc. but it never quite jelled with the fact that when it came to economic matters the basics ideas of Libertarianism is just…well…bat shit insane. It is cute to believe in the goodness of strangers when it comes to giving to charity, the idea that apparently simply and demand applies to everything even though we have this wonderful concept called the ‘price elasticity of demand’ and so on. Although I can stomach the social libertarian side of the equation I could never quite work my head around the economic argument given that so many of the assumptions defy basic economic orthodoxy whose foundation is based on real world observations rather than theory and what sounds great on paper.

This is another reason that I’ve never been able to stomach the idea of communism in the form of the Soviet Union, China (pre Deng Xiaoping) or Cuba (I leave out North Korea given that the whole Juche is questionable whether it is remotely communist in nature) simply don’t work when the rubber hits the road. Side note, I am not referring to communism in general but specifically the heavily centralised command and control model used in the countries I mentioned.

For me when it comes to economics I am a pragmatist – have government involvement where it is needed but keep the government out of it when it isn’t required or will make the situation worse. This is the reason why I support the decriminalisation of drugs and the legalisation and regulation of less harmful substances so that the focus can be put on treatment and education rather than criminalising large portions of the population resulting in negative down stream consequences. That doesn’t even touch on the large sways of money that are spent on man power worry about Jonny Stoner not to mention the money wasted on prisons etc. all in the mistaken belief that if you don’t criminalise it that people will just go crazy and take drugs left, right and centre because secretly everyone wants to take drugs and it is only thin blue line and the law that protects people from themselves. I don’t know about you but I can think of more creative ways of spending money that would benefit society over all. So from a civil liberties, fiscal and philosophical point of view the idea of prohibition is bankrupt yet here we are.

TL;DR Socially Liberal, economically pragmatic.

I see that you mention on your ‘about’ page that you’re a deist, what is a deist? how is that different to an organised religion like Judaism, Christianity or Islam?

I follow the five common notions of deism which notes the following:

  • There is one Supreme God.
  • He ought to be worshipped.
  • Virtue and piety are the chief parts of divine worship.
  • We ought to be sorry for our sins and repent of them
  • Divine goodness doth dispense rewards and punishments both in this life and after it.

In a nutshell it is the belief in god minus the dogma and institutionalised super structure.