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.

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.

Updates-a-plenty: Windows 10 Creators Update plus test beta macOS 10.12.4, iOS 10.3 and tvOS 10.2

It appears that the Windows 10 Creators Update is now feature frozen and will be receiving no more features – all bug fixes and from then on out but so far it appears that part of the update has no only been about adding new features but making the whole ‘software as a service’ model work a whole lot smoother when compared to the anniversary update. The biggest problem, as I’ve noted in the past, is the fact that although the idea of ‘software as a service’ (aka ‘rolling release’) is a great idea because it allows features to be rolled out once they’re ready rather than meeting an arbitrary release date the downside is that Windows is a spaghetti code clusterfuck that is a kin to the family tree of the royal families of Europe.

If Windows was a clean layered design then it would be possible to upgrade things in a piecemeal fashion without being concerned that all hell was going to break loose but alas we’ve seen no attempt to fix the mess up before going down this road with the net resulting in an update followed by a flurry of updates in quick succession to address the numerous things that were broken along the way. What Microsoft really do need to do is basically do what they’re doing when it comes to Windows Nano Server and make it clear that things are going to be broken along the way and have a long term transition plan like how Apple did with the movement from ‘Mac OS Classic’ to ‘Mac OS X’ through the use of Classic, Carbon and Cocoa. What would the Window would be like: Virtualisation for exact backwards compatibility, a reformed/cleaned up Win32 for traditional applications that’ll require some tweaking and then UWP for modern applications going forward.

macOS 10.12.4 is at its sixth beta which is quite a record which makes many wonder whether the rumours of a hardware release, as noted on Mac Rumors, could be coming as early as next next week but keeping in mind that no invites have been sent out so I doubt they’ll spring on at the last minute. There has been a rumour that there will be an iPad even in April as reported on 9to5mac which sounds more plausible given that by that stage the new ‘space ship’ Apple headquarters would have been complete which might double as a big unveiling of a new vision for Apple going forward which includes a refreshed iPad and possible Mac product line.

iOS, tvOS and watchOS are all developing nicely with the transition to the APFS appearing to go smoothly with no evidence seen that they’ll be reversing course in terms of case sensitivity so don’t be surprised if we end up seeing as part of the 10.13 announcement a big declaration as to the importance of testing software on the new file system.

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.