Well, I’ve enjoyed my 4 days off (two day weekend plus two days annual leave) – being able to catch up with rest, relaxation and being able to disconnect from work to allow the brain not to worry about what is happening in the world. I took my scooter to the local motorcycle store to get the back tyre repaired for a puncher and deal with the oil light coming on (it appeared that it was the service light that needed to be reset). I’ll take my scooter in June for the regular servicing since I’ll be off from work for around two weeks so there will be no great urgency to get the scooter back quickly. Oh well, off to bed, if I have time tomorrow (today I guess) I’ll make a follow up post.
Month: April 2022
Microsoft advances forward and a reminder that not every product is designed specifically for you in mind.
I’ve been reading through the various projects that Microsoft has on the go such as .NET MAUI is the .NET Multi-platform App UI, Windows App SDK and many more. It is amazing how in a space of 22 years Microsoft has gone from ‘protest Windows dominance at all cost’ to now ‘we’re not going to sacrifice the rest of Microsoft to prop up a product that is declining in relevance’. The big focus these days are on hardware, cloud services, middleware software, providing software for both Android and iOS plus much more. Windows is now a vehicle but if customers prefer to drive another vehicle then Microsoft will provide their software for that vehicle – being it Android, iOS, macOS or even Linux for that matter.
I’ve also been following along the development of Windows 11 – the ‘move fast and break things’ associated with Windows 10 development left a bitter taste in the mouth for many end users who frequently found that their installation was messed up even when not operating on the insider builds. I haven’t run Windows 11 code on my MacBook Pro but all the feedback appears that although they are moving the platform forward they’re doing it in such a way that it doesn’t isn’t as disruptive and willing to hold back on a feature before merging it into the pre-release version. The other lesson Microsoft learned is “don’t throw away code that works…renovate it” and that is what they’ve done with Notepad, Media Player and progressively with Explorer.
Another great video by Rene Ritchie regarding the whole meme that the ‘iPad is broken’ as put out there by the Tech Bros on Twitter, YouTube and Reddit:
The big problem as far as I see it are the number of people online who have convinced themselves that ‘Pro’ still means ‘Professional’ (and in their mind ‘Pro’ means ‘replacement for my Mac’) given that it hasn’t literally meant ‘Professional’ for years. The use of ‘Pro’ these days pretty much means ‘this is the ultimate version with all the bells and whistles’ just as you could buy Microsoft Office Standard then Microsoft Office Professional (does the inclusion of Access really magically make the suite of applications more professional than the standard version?).
The iPad is designed to be the appliance for people who want to get on the net, watch videos, email, maybe update their blog, tweet something then turn it off. They want an device that is an appliance that they turn on, use it, then turn it off – the complexities of a traditional disappear. Yes, that does mean that the iPad is simplified, there are certain things that cannot be done or if they’re done it isn’t as flexible as a traditional computer but that is the point – the more powerful you make the OS the more complexity you have to introduce where as the iPad isn’t that, it’s an appliance. As or why it is called an iPad Pro – it is a description of the hardware, “this is the best hardware you can find on an iPad” is the point that the ‘Pro’ is trying to get across, it isn’t saying that it is suitable for a professional (how many of those who buy the MacBook Pro do so because they’re professional vs. someone who just wants the best laptop money can buy from Apple?) but rather that ‘this is the top of the line best in class iPad’.
Apple TV+, the future of Apple Silicon and benchmarks.
Another busy week has come and gone. Last night I got into the Apple TV series called ‘Severance’ – did a bit of a binge last night and watched the whole of the first season. It is one of those shows you really need to have your full attention when watching it because otherwise you’ll miss subtle clues that help you understand what happens in future episodes. I’m looking forward to season 2 to come out but the release date is unknown but on the good side, the end of April the final episodes for the final season for Ozark will be coming out soon along with new series in the pipe line. It is interesting that in the past I used to be really into movies but these days I would sooner binge watch some of the great original content being put out there by Apple, Amazon, Netflix etc.
I’ve been checking out the recent Safari Technology Preview over the last few months and it is great that so much progress has been made. Part of that also getting educated about the ARM ISA and other associated technologies that Apple implement in their own silicon such as the Neon ISA (link). Although there is a lot of focus on SVE2 being part of the ARMv9 ISA there is still a lot of exciting improvements in ARMv8.5-A (which is what Apple’s latest SoCs are based upon) that really open my eyes to seeing why Apple has embraced ARM.
I was thinking about video from a few days ago regarding the benchmarks which compared the Intel 12th generation to the available Apple Silicon. When the power consumption was pegged at 45 watts for both then the result was similar performance but that isn’t the interesting part since most people use their computer in such a way that bursts performance are needed rather than long sustained number crunching since most of the time the processor is either idle or at the lowest clocked speed. That is where the power savings really kick in because of Apple Silicon’s ability to scale down really low and maintain that for long periods of time with the power consumption measured in low single digit watts (and sometimes even lower). The part about benchmarks (not this specific one but others) is the tendency to ignore power consumption – end of the day it is pretty easy to keep throwing power at a problem because given enough cooling and power it is pretty easy to make the CPU perform better but at what cost? Apple’s focus is about performance per watt – if you remove the wattage cap, double the power consumption but the performance difference is only slightly better then I think most customers would sooner benefit from the more efficient yet slightly slower SoC if it means a whole day worth of productivity time.
AMD vs Ryzen vs Apple Silicon, and WWDC.
I was watching a benchmark video last night which compared an Intel Core i7-12700H to an Apple M1 Pro:
I think what it goes to show is that for most people when it comes to performance the idea of putting a device under constant strain don’t really resemble how most people use their computer. Most people use their computer in such a way that they don’t stress their CPU and when they really do push the CPU to its max then it tends to be short periods of time – small bursts of processing required then the speed ramps back down to as low as it can or in the case of the new SoCs from Apple and Intel the load is moved over to the high efficiency cores until extra grunt is needed. Don’t get me wrong, I think that the Apple Silicon SoC is great but I think it is also important to understand your workflow before running off to buy something that is the fastest but will throttle during a long work load. One of the common pieces of advise is not to waste ones time getting an i9 in a laptop form because the amount of heat it produces means that you can’t run high work loads for extended periods of time because there is a thermal limit thus you’re better off just buying a laptop with an i7 instead.
The reason why I raise this issue is because of the amount of hype around the Apple Silicon SoC. The other point that I have to make is what Scott McNealy (former CEO of Sun Microsystems) said years ago – the world runs on GET – Good Enough Technology. Yes there have been more elegantly designed, theoretically superior, engineering marvels that have appeared but even with the promises the dominant processor today is still derived from the x86 in the form of the x86-64 even with it all is warts in much the same way that even with IBM’s own POWER processor the big Iron mainframes still depend on CISC based z/Architecture SoCs.
WWDC has finally been announced, the dates are 6 June to 10 June which will be great because I’ve got my holiday from 30 May to 15 June although I’m looking at doing some work around the house – cleaning up organising, getting the back and front tyre on my scooter sorted out since it appears that there is a puncher (at the moment I’m pumping it up each day since it s a slow leak). It’ll be interesting to see what Apple announces particularly in the area regarding Webkit given the gap between what is merged into the Safari Technology Preview vs Safari ‘mainstream release’ appears to be getting wider each day. Ideally what I’d like to see is Apple take a more aggressive approach to getting those improvements out there even if the release is on a 6 week cycle and the Webkit that Safari depends on is seperate so that after 6 weeks of end users using it, if the developers at Apple feel confident they can update the Webkit that comes bundled with macOS. What I am also hoping is that they embrace more of the open standards and royalty free codecs such as AV1 which Google has been pushing as the successor to the VP9 codec – at the moment VP9 is supported by Safari but AV1 isn’t.
Giving Safari 15.4 a second chance.
Back to using Safari 15.4 because a new version of AdGuard Safari Extension has been launched, version 1.11.3, which has improved the ad block experience immensely when one considers the changes that were made with Safari recently such as the increase to the number of rules up to 150,000 not to mention all the improvements that have been made for manifest v3 support over the various technology previews. With AdGuard each category of rules is its own separate extension which means each category has up to 150,000 rule each which enables a lot more rules to be made available and hopefully will result in a more secure experience (the big feature I like is the security rules which block websites that try to mine bitcoin). So far things are going well, it’ll be interesting to see what appears in WWDC in June given all the work going on so far around Webkit particularly in the area of implementing the browser agnostic Webextensions API which will allow developers to target the API and as a result target multiple browsers.
I updated Unifi’s built in controller software to 7.0.25 however there appears to be a UnifiOS update in the works for the UDM as well as firmware update for the Unifi AP AC HD.
Got work tomorrow – looking forward to the weekend (Monday and Tuesday).