Samsung, Exynos SoC and Microsoft’s attempt at a dual screen smartphone.

I’ve been reading up on the Samsung S20 range with the Exynos 990 SoC that was bundled with it – the pitch forks are being bought in bulk as the gap, in terms of performance, between Qualcomm 865 and Exynos 990 grows and customers (who don’t have access to the Qualcomm 865 model) voice their frustraction online. When you’re selling an inferior product for the same price as a superior version that is only available in certain countries (South Korea, USA, Canada, China, Japan and Latin America) then it shouldn’t be surprising that there are customers who are angry at feeling as though they’ve been shafted by Samsung.

With all that being said, it’ll be interesting to see what happens towards the end of the year when Samsung release the next SoC for next years Samsung smartphone given that Samsung has announced that they’ve cancelled their custom CPU development (link) in favour of licencing ARM CPU designs then tweaking the design rather than building one from the ground up. There is also a new agreement between AMD and Samsung (link) which points to the future SoC being designed around Samsung’s own custom modem (which performs well in the real world) coupled with a GPU from AMD (probably based on the new RDNA architecture).

The other product I’m excited about is the Microsoft Duo – the folio style smart phone with two screens running Android. What attracts me to it is firstly Microsoft’s reputation for long term software support (when compared to other Android OEMs) but the interesting part will be the integration between Microsoft’s services and Android along with seeing what the customised Android experience will look like – will it have a fresh but unique look or will Microsoft attempt to bring the WinUI/Fluent design language so that there is a consistent look and feel between the the Windows 10X (Microsoft Neo) and Android (Microsoft Duo) devices.


The rumour mill has been going over drive with the recent leak of products that’ll be getting launched through out this year – I would have thought that the whole COVID-19 situation would have slowed down or postponed the launch of some products but it appears that Apple is charging forward with their plan. It appears that the rumours of ARM based Mac’s are picking up steam (link) (link) which makes me wonder whether we’ll see a ARM based ultrabook with their own custom GPU as part of their A12Z SoC which has 8 cores so it wouldn’t surprise me the MacBook Pro ends up being some sort of A13UB (UB for UltraBook) where it comes with 12 GPU cores then maybe in the MacBook Pro it is upgraded to a 18 or 24 core GPU design with AMD discrete GPU for extra grunt with the CPU being 8 way and maybe SMT thrown in for good luck.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens when it comes to the software side – the closing off of the kernel to third party kernel extensions makes me believe that Apple have a big overhaul of the kernel planned and by kicking third party kernel extensions out they don’t need to worry about backwards compatibility. I couldn’t imagine Apple getting rid of OpenGL support given the number of applications that very much rely on it but I could imagine them getting rid of OpenCL given that it was never adopted on a large scale by developers. There are rumours that Apple might be looking at shipping a 12 core ARM based MacBook SoC (the CPU not GPU) but if that is the case then it’ll require Apple to make changes to macOS to really squeeze the performance out not to mention the fact that some workflows cannot be scaled up in a linear fashion.

I think the big benefit of such a move to their own ARM based SoC is that they can design their components to suite the products rather than relying on a third party who has multiple customers with each of them having their own peculiarities that need addressing. There is also the benefit of being able to have product refreshes based on their own schedule as well rather than tying to squeeze in between AMD when they do their GPU upgrade and then Intel releasing their CPU refreshes. I could imagine Apple long term that Apple will eventually want to become totally self-sufficient when it comes to their GPU design. Having their own GPU design allows them to develop their Metal Framework and GPU in tandem so that both are optimised to peak performance. 

I think the big factor will be getting developers to have a single unified backend that takes advantage of cross platform frameworks such as Metal, Performance Shaders etc. and then constructing front ends that are form factor specific through the use of SwiftUI which I’m sure will become a replacement for Cocoa. TouchUI etc. once it becomes more mature.

Personal · Technology

Well, it appears that the level 4 lock down has been extended for another week but even with the move to level 3 the amount of movement will be limited – those businesses that can be done remotely have been told that it must be done remotely. I had a chat to my team leader and it appears that it possible that I’m going to be getting the headset from work (along with asking whether I have unlimited internet) which might mean that not only making out bound calls but also answering inbound calls as well. Although I occasionally get a bit of lag I find that it can be kept to a minimum by directly running cable from my computer to my router which keeps lag to a minimum.

macOS 10.15.5 beta now includes a battery life management component that’ll hopefully mean that the battery will last longer before it needs replacing.  For someone like me, I keep my laptop plugged in all the time with the rare occasion of using the battery – hopefully the enhancement will make it last longer.

The iPad Pro appears to be gaining traction, it’ll be interesting to see whether there will be some rationalisation of the MacBook line up if Apple move over to ARM – is the iPad Pro and the Magic Keyboard the future of the Mac or will Apple keep the traditional MacBook form-factor and simply move the internals over to their own ARM SoC. For me at least I think the advancements they have made with the iPad Pro has moved the iPad from merely being a content consuming device so something that, for many people, can be a replacement for a traditional computer.


Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.

It is rather sad that Bernie Sanders has suspended his campaign and thrown his weight behind Joe Biden but it is important for those ‘outside of the moment’ the key slogan “Not Me. Us” is more than just a cutesy saying but the corner stone of the movement. The movement is more than just one person, it is a shared set of policies and a philosophy that transcend a single person so this idea that if Bernie were to disappear that the movement would disappear ignores the reality of what is taking place. Another thing to also consider is that because the movement is bound together based on a shared set of policies and a philosophy then the idea that Bernie coming out an endorsing Biden with the exception (by the ‘enlightened centrists’) that the members of the movement will magically fall into line is an attempt to super impose a hierarchical top down model to one which is a ground up movement.

What makes the situation particularly pathetic are the number of people from the ‘Biden Brigade’ who are throwing a temper tantrum because Bernie supporters demand that Biden win them over all the while the ‘Biden Brigade’ ignore what one of leader’s major surrogate, Lindy Li, said if Bernie had won the nomination (you may need to jump to 13:12 on the video).

So when someone, representing the Biden campaign, openly states that they would refuse to vote for Bernie Sanders there isn’t a single complaint from the ‘enlightened centrists’ crying about party unity but the moment that Bernie supporters demand to be won over through policy concessions (thus indicating that that they’re open to voting for Biden if there are policy concessions vs. Lindy Li who flat out refuses to vote for Bernie under any circumstance) then that is ‘one step too far’.

Take for example the matter of medicare for all – it is understandable that Biden has his own healthcare plan and it would make sense for him to say that he is going to first focus on getting the changes, that he mentions in his manifesto, passed first but he is open to medicare for all at a later date if progressives/centre left are able to get it through both houses. The problem is that Biden has said, even if it were passed through both houses he would still veto it. It is one thing to say, “my manifesto takes first priority but I’m not going to veto progressive legislation that you’re able to get through both houses and can be demonstrated that it is fiscally sustainable for the long term” vs “I don’t care if you get it through both houses, I’m going to veto it”.

Bernie Sanders has come out saying that not getting behind Biden is ‘irresponsible’, which in all due respects, I disagree with. Bernie might have a point if Biden had left the door open to discussing policy with the progressive and left wing of the party but he has openly stated that when faced with with a Medicare for all bill that has made it through both houses that he would veto it. Through that one utterance he has declared that he would vote any progressive/left wing policy even if it received support from a majority in both houses thus indicating that he has no intention of actually being transformative but instead merely treading water doing the least amount that he can get away with. As someone on the left wing or progressive – is it actually irresponsible to refuse to vote for someone who has such contempt for the voter that said candidate have decided to actively fight against progressive/left wing policies?

For those slagging off those who have tweeted that they wouldn’t vote for Biden in the general election by labelling them as ‘privileged’ – need one be reminded that although there are those who have a lot to lose with Trump wins a second term, there are people who have nothing to lose if Trump has a second term because they’ve already lost everything already. Remember the quote attributed to James Baldwin “The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.” – if you want to win over those who have nothing left to lose then you need to give them hope by being genuinely open to listening to them and taking onboard their concerns in a genuine way rather than just dismissing said people as ‘privileged’.

Although I am not an American thus not able to vote in the election, those of outside of the US feel the impact of any political decisions that Americans collectively make. When the marginally better major party makes really dumb decisions then hose of us outside of the US feel the impact – a good example of that would be the US pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, the Iran Nuclear deal, the trade war between China and the US and more. Lets hope that the American voter does the right thing on the day.

Personal · Technology

Goals and aspirations.

Apple has pushed out an update for macOS in the form of a supplemental update last night and I’ve given it test on my iMac – it has addressed the USB disconnection issue that I mentioned in my last blog post. I checked it a few times, put it to sleep then woke it up, put it sleep for longer then woke it up – no warning about how the drive was not removed safely – it appears that Apple have fixed the issue. I might have worried if I had formatted it using HFS+ but I use APFS for my external drive.

How are my finances going? They’re going well thank goodness – I’m in one of those industries that will make money during good times and bad times but I’ve helped out the company by using some of my holidays along with lots of other employees along with working from home so I’m happy that things are pretty stable. In terms of reaching my goal – I’m on track to be debt free by 40 and in fact have some money saved for a trip to go overseas at the end of 2021 where I am tempted to maybe go to China and the United States.

Looking forward to WWDC this year – hopefully since it is all online this year that it’ll be available as soon as possible rather than it sometimes taking up to 24-48 hours after the session has finished before it finally makes its way up on the Apple website. The big question is whether this year we’ll see major changes or whether we’ll see a ‘High Catalina’ where the focus isn’t on new features but refining the existing technologies and dealing with the rough edges – Twitter via the Catalyst framework is working ok but it is unstable at times so I wonder to what extent this is an issue with the Catalyst framework or whether it is a matter of Twitter needing to fix bugs in their code.

Hopefully there is a lot of focus on Device Kit – improving documentation (I’ve read a lot of complaints about the lack of in-depth documentation particularly in the Rea of migrating code from being compiled as a KEXT to utilising Driver Kit) along with making the depth and breadth devices supported to the point that we start seeing Apple move all (or as many as they can) the drivers that reside within the kernel today out to using Device Kit, maybe create a file system user space framework and move file system support out of the kernel to improve stability.


Apple has pushed out an update today for iOS and iPadOS to address FaceTime compatibility issue when trying to create a FaceTime session with someone using a device running older version of iOS or iPadOS. I’ve installed it on my iPhone 11 Max Pro – no problems so far, everything very stable. 

There has been a nasty bug (link) found in macOS 10.15.4 but in the comment section it appears that it has existed prior to 10.15.4 all the way back to the release of 10.15.0. It will be interesting to see whether Apple releases an out of band patch or whether the solution is probably complex enough that it requires Apple to push the fix into the 10.15.5 update so that it is tested along side all the other updates to ensure that the fix doesn’t result in a regression in reliability (aka ensuring that a fix doesn’t create a new set of bugs). The one thing I noticed on my iMac is my external hard disk – if I put my device to sleep then wake it up the next day it says that my USB hard disk was not removed safely. It never used to happen with 10.15.3, it has only just happened – I wonder if it is related to it.

Reading through Twitter and it is amazing the number of Bernie supporters who get sucked into the vortex of bullshit by taking the bait laid down by professional shit stirrers such as Neera Tanden. Her whole mission is to put provocative tweets out there so then she can get a response by Bernie supporters which enables her to go on MSNBC or CNN to talk about how she is the victim of the ‘Bernie Bros’. Bernie supporters need to think and act smarter – feeding the troll might give you an endorphin and adrenaline rush of putting someone in their place but long term it’ll make the situation worse because ultimately the results of elections are decided by people who watch such channels, whose minds are still shaped by those on television using their position as an example of being in a position of authority (so therefore what they have to say as carrying more weight than it would otherwise if it were a level playing field of the real world or or a social network like Twitter).

This is the reason why the mainstream media and the pundit class dislike social media because social media levels the playing field – their ability to use a platform like television as a de facto legitimisation of their opinions on the basis that it is worthy of consideration by virtue of it being given an prestigious platform with a wide reach is something that has died with some in generation X, and pretty much with all of Generation Y and Z. The most eye opening part is looking at the break down of demographics that watch cable news – there are YouTube channels that focus on news and opinions that have higher subscription and viewership. The mainstream media is dying – the question is whether there is thee ability to resuscitate it or is it doomed to a permanent downward trajectory.

Personal · Politics

Back to work…working at home and I kind of enjoy it. The ability to get up 30 minutes before starting work; putting on a coffee, have a quick shower, get into something comfortable and log in to start the day. So I log in at 11:30am, start replying to emails and contacting customers (through the AWS service – I had to install Firefox because it is only compatible with Firefox and Chrome but not Safari) then off at 8:00pm. I wish this was my full time job – being able to chill out at home working and not have the constant stress.

I’ve been following the Democratic primaries – it appears that Biden will become the nominee but with that has come a group calling themselves ‘Bernie or bust’, not because they want Trump again but want Biden to move further to the left to address the legitimate concerns which led to the likes of Trump gaining traction in the first place. The material conditions fed into the rise of Donald Trump ( he saw a rising tide of people angry at a system that threw them overboard 40+ years ago and Donald Trump saw it as his opportunity to ride that anger into the White House) if left unaddressed will result an even worse Donald Trump. Unlike the Trump of today the future demagogue will actually have the political skill to get their own way made worse by a subservient Republican Party who will do anything to hold onto power combined with an impotent Democratic Party that prefer being in opposition because of the grift they can have running by scaring donors.

If Biden is serious about winning over the progressive he needs to be willing to bend the knee and that involves not only nominating a strong progressive as a running mate. As Lawrence O’Donnell noted in an interview:

If you want to pull the Democrats to the left you have to show that you’re capable of not voting for them – that is the purpose of the ‘Bernie or bust’ movement – to send a clear message to the establishment (who by the way have been disparaging Bernie supporters the whole primary cycle – insisting that Bernie supporters aren’t needed because Nancy/Chuck have this wonderful plan of pandering to moderate Republicans in the suburbs – that same wonderful plan that….oh, did Hillary become president? No, that plan crashed and burned but I guess they think that giving in a second go will be a charm) that they have to win over the base, not just take them for granted just as the Republicans have to win over the base.