Back to work tomorrow, holiday approved but washing machine goes belly up

Lets start off with the bad news – my washing machine died and it died at the worse possible time. It was able to wash my clothes, moved the water and clothes around but when it came to the final spin cycle to ring out the excess water but the cycle never started. When it ailed to spin up I turned off the washing machine and then turned it back on hoping that it has reset something in the machine that was stopping – nope, didn’t start spinning up after having chosen the spin cycle and pressed start. With that all being said, given that it is probably over 10 years old  along with it having been moved a few times in its life not to mention being bumped and banged about I’m happy that it has lasted as long as it has. I’m looking at getting a front loading washer from Electrolux from Noel Leeming so I can also cash in on the Fly Buys points that’ll get – I’ll pay cash but hopefully if I can max out my points based credit card (which I pay off in full at the end of each month) I’ll get double the number of points.

On a good side I finally got my time off approved! Yay! So when macOS, iOS and more all come out I will be able to enjoy giving all my devices a clean install and enjoy the thrills of running what appears to be a pretty robust operating system thanks to Apple’s use of the public beta process. It’ll be interesting to see whether, upon the release of macOS 10.15 with Catalyst will also result in an avalanche of Catalyst applications being released around the same time such as the Twitter client which will be based on the iPad version. Let’s see how it all turns out.

Got some over time for the next few weeks – gradually working my way to the financial goal that I’ve set. Things are going well – giving myself small rewards each pay to keep myself focused on the prize. The goal is to be debt free within a 18 months so I think at this rate I am on course – less debt means I can start topping up the KiwiSaver account so that by the time retirement comes I don’t look back on these years with regret over what I could have done in terms of sacrifice to make my retirement a whole lot more comfortable.

The CDs arrived on Monday and I go to work ripping all the CDs – everything ripped perfectly and even the ‘Deep Purple’ CD was brand new which was surprising given that I thought it was a second hand version but not complaints from me. Still got some more CDs to add to my collection before I reach contentment but so far I’m pretty happy with where I am – getting to enjoy music after work while surfing the net reading articles.

Half way through the week

Ubiquiti has released a bevy of updates for the devices I have (USG, Switch and AP AC HD) and everything is going smoothly so far. The access point now has support for 160MHz 5G along with improved performance and coverage. There has been a slight improvement in terms of latency but rumour has it that the USG (Unifi Security Gateway) firmware will be getting replaced with a the UDM platform so it’ll be interesting to see the benefits it’ll bring but so far I’m pretty happy with the performance at the moment. The interesting part will be regarding ipv6 support particularly when one considers that in the next few years that I’m sure Spark will be moving its customers over along with its sub brands such as Skinny (the ISP I am with) and Bigpipe.

It appears that there is more overtime after all and there is another 4 weeks of it to come but this time it’ll be occurring on Monday rather than Tuesday but hey – money is money,. What I am hoping is that I can have 5 days off at the end of September so that I can sit back, relax and enjoy the goodies that Apple will push out there in the form of iOS 13, tvOS 13, watchOS 6 and macOS 10.15 along with hopefully all the great new software from vendors such as Twitter returning to the Mac platform thanks to project catalyst which has allowed them to bring their iPad version of their Twitter application over to macOS. It’ll be interesting to see whether the early version that were bought over as part of project marzipan such as  voice memos, stocks and news, will be migrated over to project catalyst which will result in a smoother experience.

The music CDs will hopefully be here by next week so I am looking forward to receiving them, ripping and then backing up the FLAC rips to my external storage as well as the cloud. I am not too sure whether I mentioned this but I bought a ASUS BW-16D1H-U PRO External USB3 Blu-ray Writer and so far it has been rock solid. The one I originally used as a cheap and cheerful Transend one which was cheap and cheerful but was not reliable at ripping so I swapped with my mum since she wasn’t picky and I used the ASUS portable bluray which is substantially better but still error prone but using the new more beefy full size external drive I haven’t had a single cd rip with an error including when I completely re-ripped all my music cds again with that drive. It was a bit on the pricy side but IMHo the price was worth the piece of mind that my music cds were being ripped reliably.

“I acknowledge that there is a problem but I don’t want things to change”

I always find it interesting when people say that “7/10 Americans believe in climate change” but then are shocked that nothing is done politically on this matter. The problem is with such surveys it makes an assumption that out of belief comes a call for action or at the very least that the people say they believe in climate change actually understand and care about the consequences of it. In otherwords, they’re giving the reply they think they should give when the survey is done but their act says the complete opposite.

It reminds me of the whole voting in of Labour and how surveys of New Zealanders talking about how we need to become a more caring society by addressing the gap between the rich and poor but the moment that the idea of a capital gains taxed was even mentioned there was the screaming and howling from the slum lords and the would be middle class who like to see themselves as some sort of landed aristocracy with 3 rental properties. These would be landed aristocracy some how hard done by that they have to pay taxes on the capital gains they made while everyone else income be it interest in a term deposit or money from work is taxed accordingly. Happy to virtue signal their concern as so long as it doesn’t require them to change or that there is any sort of policy that might impact them personally – happy to talk of change as long as nothing ever actually changes.

The sad part about this is the fact that what was proposed was pretty modest in terms of social democratic reforms – no one is declaring the overthrowing of the bourgeoisie in favour of distributing the means of productions back to the people in the form of common ownership. Heck, someone like me who is stuck in a moderate centre left party would like to see is capital gains tax and for that money to go into building more social housing so that Housing New Zealand becomes the primary provider of rental accomodation so then stability for renters is possible rather than the current situation where the renter is at the mercy of whether the landlord feels like selling thus leaving the renter high and dry with no where to go.

The problem is also the situation where people now see the whole idea of owning a home as, rather than a safe haven in ones old age to provide stability but instead as a way to make a dollar, a asset that increases in value or what I call it ‘a magical piñata’ so the end result is a fixation over price and anything that impacts that price ends up with people voting in a reactionary way even though over the long term they would end up benefiting from it.

Getting back to the original point – it is difficult to establish a link between what people say in a survey and the actions (voting) that they take. People are more than happy to say something but it is en entirely different thing when it comes to putting those ideas into practice and income cases people like the sound of the idea but recoil at the idea of actually having to do wha tis required for the change to take place.

Good day at work

Work went well today and finally cleared out the back log of calls that I needed to get back to customers about. It is one of those things that I want to get back to the customer as soon as I can but in many cases I am dependent upon information from other parts of the organisation thus all one can do is wait.

The end result is that all the backlog has been cleared other than the one sitting there regarding a technical issue do the system we use which uses ASCII but the data feed we get from overseas is. For example, if you were to import a stream of names and one of them includes ü then the system that uses ASCII internally will see ü which is a load of garble which ends up tripping up the system. Now, the solution is to replace ü with u minus the umlaut but you could imagine the work required to either manually rename or the work required to create a filter where by things like umlauts and other diacriticals are removed so then the system can handle the information properly.

All the cds from Amazon UK have finally arrived at the remailer so I’ve consolidated them all together into a single package which costs NZ$34.50 (6 cds) which will hopefully get sent off tomorrow and maybe arrive next week – towns the end of the week hopefully. I’m gradually building up my library of music but the key is, as noted in a prior post, not only finding the cd but ensuring that the cd you buy is the one that you want given that many times they’ll get rereleased under different manufacturers with varying degrees of quality such as my experience with ‘Oh Yeah’ by Charles Mingus where the best version of it was the Atlantic Records.

The beta releases of the next version of macOS, watchOS, tvOS, iOS and ipadOS are coming at a consistent pace. Based on prior releases I expect the release of macOS 10.15 to be some where between 20-30 September but then again it all comes down to how the development efforts are going and whether the engineers are happy at the current state of progress. IMHO I’d sooner see Apple take their time and release a solid x.0 release than release something to meet an arbitrary deadline only for their to be a mad dash over 2 weeks to fix up really dumb bugs such as bug that was found in High Sierra where one could get full admin access without needing to use a password.

The part that I am excited about is the work that has been on Safari, based on the technology previews that Apple have been pushing out, which will hopefully close the gap in terms of web app functionality within Safari. Lots of work is happening over at Webkit such as support for FLAC playback in mp4 file format, support for VP8 in WebRTC. To a certain extent I think the whole WebRTC support is probably inline with Skype via a web browser being reliant on it. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the long term we see the end of the Skype protocol in favour of using WebRTC.

All while this is happening it is interesting to watch what is happening with Microsoft where their focus has been moving to a multi-platform company with a focus on delivering services, software etc. via the web. It’ll be interesting to see how Microsoft Edge, based on chromium, turns out but I’m hopeful that the work Microsoft does will provide some much needed competition.

Apple releases supplemental update and delivery almost here

Apple released a supplemental update for 10.14.6 today and interesting enough on my iMac and MacBook Pro the BootROM Version was updated for both of them – it took a while for it to install but everything worked smoothly as usual. It is interesting to see how things are going particularly with the release of the latest financials and rumours of the continue trade war impacting Apple particularly their Mac Pro which might start being assembled in the United States, assuming the issues from the first round of Mac Pro’s are addressed such as shortages of things like screws etc.

It appears that things are stabilising with macOS with the release of the latest beta (link) so I am looking forward to the release of macOS to the point I might even go all out and put some time aside so I can spend the day upgrading and reviewing the experience for each of the platforms – yes, I am that pathetically geeky but then that shouldn’t come as a surprise given that I took a week off from work in the first week of June to enjoy WWDC sessions via the internet.

Anyway, I’m excited about the direction that Apple is taking when it comes to securing the macOS platform by first of all locking down macOS by putting the system in a read only partition, by deprecating the ability for third parties to create kernel extensions in favour of moving third parties drivers into user space via a DriverKit along with USBDriverKit and HIDDriverKit along side SystemExtensions. What I am hoping is that part of this also involves Apple ‘dog fooding’ these APIs so maybe in the long run we’ll see the XNU kernel shrunk so then only the absolutely necessary components reside in the kernel whilst everything else sits in user space which will hopefully make the system more stable (due to debugging being a lot easier in user space) and more secure.

The two cds I ordered from the United States have arrived in New Zealand so hopefully it’ll arrive on Monday but for the cds coming from the United Kingdom I am waiting for the packages to arrive at the UK remaining service and once that has happened I’ll consolidate the packages into a single one to send to New Zealand. Gradually getting the cds I want whilst also getting myself in a good financial order. Now sure, I could go balls to the wall and spend every bit of money paying off debts but it is difficult to keep motivated if there is little to show a whole lot of hard work in the form of direct material gain. By buying some cds here and there it keeps me motivated, a reward which keeps me on target so I’m a happy lad whilst still making progress towards the goal of ‘no debt buy 40’.

Le sigh…back to work

Ah, back to work on Wednesday but appears that winter is still continuing as I’ve got the heater running even though I hoped that I wouldn’t need to turn it on. Oh well, given that the flue/cold is going through the office like a scene out of contagion I better keep myself health – warm dry home and remembering to take my iron tablet each morning along with a good helping of healthy soups which has so far allowed me to avoid being sick.

Having upgraded all my Apple devices to the latest version of iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS, things are going pretty well. Shortly after interesting enough Apple announced that they bought Intel’s modem (link) business (the Intel business used to be Infineon which provided the first lot of modems to Apple before Apple moved to Qualcomm) but given the lateness of the arrangements with Qualcomm prior to the purchase I would say that the updated iPhone range this year will use the Intel modem but there is speculation that next year or the year after when they launch an iPhone range with 5G that they would use Qualcomm as a once off.

Personally I don’t see it happening because when talking about 5G it is important to recognise there are two parts – there is the sub-6GHz support which is fairly easy to support since it is pretty much a known quantity when it comes to antenna design. The big challenge around 5G, based on reading news reports, isn’t the sub-6GHz support but the mmwave support but here is the rub, Apple could easily avoid that fiasco trying to support mmwave (which is where the problems reside due to the complex nature of designing an antenna given how easily mmwave can be blocked merely by someone placing their hand over the antenna) because globally the standardisation is around the sub-6GHz range.

In the case of the United States there is T-Mobile that will be deploying 5G on the 600Mhz spectrum it acquired and given that Sprint/T-Mobile merger has been approved which probably also means the CDMA2000 frequencies that will be freed up after the EOL will be deployed for 5G as well. Even though Verizon is showing off its mmwave support the one which every will be using will be the 600MHz 5G network that they’re launching as well. In New Zealand there was a discussion document regarding 600MHz deployment along with some existing spectrum that Spark has acquired around the 2300MHz range which would also be ideal for 5G or maybe even redeploy 1800MHz to 5G or maybe even having a long term plan of eventually killing off 3G 850MHz once the VoLTE is up and mature on the 4G 700MHz that is pretty much covering the country at this stage. All in all, an interesting future awaits us all.

Another round of updates released

So Apple has pushed out updates for macOS, IOS, watchOS and tvOS – and things are going great. On the macOS front there are updates which include BootROM updates for both my iMac and MacBook Pro which are probably included microcode updates that intel made available towards the end of June (unless Apple gets microcode direct from Intel before it appears on the Intel’s GitHub page). I’ve did a clean install of it because I wanted to get rid of some cruft I had built up, specifically, I was mucking around with some open source projects to see whether it would address the issue I was having when ripping a CD but it alas it didn’t work but the end result was random files being left around.

Everything is running smoothly – just the way I like it. Funny enough I noticed something strange where there was an update for Ad Guard and the update was pushed to the App Store butler some reason it didn’t appear as an update. Anyway, long story short I upgraded to Ad Guard 1.4.1 and so far it has been pretty reliable.

I bought a few more music cd’s this week – buying a small amount each pay day rather than going all at once. Bit by bit I’m building up a library of music but the big challenge is finding not only the music titles I want but also ensuring that they’re the cd is from a reputable source so that the recording quality isn’t compromised. It is one of the reasons that even if I find the cd I want I end up buying an older version of the cd second hand because the older recording is better quality than the newer one. Best example of that would be the cd I bought of Oh Yeah by Charles Mingus where the first cd I got (which Amazon refunded) was of an inferior quality when compared to the second hand one I ended up buying (and being very happy with) was the better quality Atlantic version which is now out of print.

Regaring gaming – I installed Steam on my iMac and gave Cities Skyline a try – worked perfect and the benefit of moving it to Metal has definitively resulted in a far smoother gaming experience. What I do hope is that with the launch of catalyst that we’ll see more iPad games make their way onto the Mac platform and increase the number of possible games available. If the ability to provide Mac support is only a few clicks away I hope then then that games companies will see it as an untapped market.