What does “having it all” mean to you? Is it attainable?

Daily writing prompt
What does “having it all” mean to you? Is it attainable?

It is probably best if we first define what ‘having it all’ actually means, ‘having it all’ at least to me can be understood as having all your wants and needs taken care of. Is ‘having it all’ attainable? the reason why I believe it isn’t attainable is because it presupposes that ones wants (and needs – many debate over what could be classified as a need vs a want) are finite and thus when you obtain all the wants on the list that the desire for want will cease – the reality is that it won’t. The question is how do you deal with that insatiable appetite of want. I don’t think it is feasible to deny it’s existence or engaging in asceticism but rather acknowledge it’s existence and what drives it forward. In my opinion I believe it is compelled by ones innate drive of the ‘will to live’ by having meaning and purpose to ones life, to set goals and work towards them thus giving oneself meaning and purpose to continue driving forward.

This drive could manifest itself in the form of reproduction so then your focus becomes raising offspring thus driving your will to live on the basis on ensuring your children survive and thrive or the desire to meet materialist needs with the accomplishment of the goal being the primary focus and the byproducts such as profit being then outward demonstration that one has achieved that end goal. If you know the source of the drive for want then there is the ability to be consciously aware and not allow it to be in the driver’s seat in much the same way that the stoic philosophy wasn’t about denying one’s emotions thus turning people into the equivalent of the Vulcan but instead acknowledging that those emotions are real but not allowing them to be in the ‘driver’s seat’.

What can be done if you can’t have it all – learn how to triage and be willing to differentiate between what is an absolutely must have need vs. a want that would make life better in some way vs. it would be nice to have but if it didn’t happen then it wouldn’t be the end of the world. If you ultimately try to do everything then eventually something will have to give – it’s like creating a product or a service that tries to be everything to everyone and the end result is a product or service that is so compromised that it ends up making none of your customers happy in the process. In the case of trying to ‘have it all’ the price you end up paying is a lower quality of life, stress related health problems, etc. I used to see it at Christmas time when I worked on the checkouts at the supermarket where people whip themselves into a frenzy about how they must have this or that when preparing Christmas lunch/dinner because of their inability to say no, trying to be everything to everyone and in the process make a time of the year that should be enjoyable into something that one dreads coming around each year.

Personal · Technology

Almost ready for holidays to begin.

Only another three days to go before I am officially on annual leave for two weeks. I’ve decided that this year rather than waiting up until 5am then try to watch WWDC as a complete zombie resulting in almost 90% of what was said ended up being forgotten (assuming I didn’t fall asleep while it was streaming) I decided to have an early night in bed then get up early so then at least I’ll be bright eyed and bushy tailed for not only the keynote but also ‘Platforms State of the Union’. Personally I don’t see any major occurring other than maybe a preview of the Mac Pro, incremental improvements to the various platforms rather than anything revolutionary. I personally find the more interesting part of WWDC are the individual sessions where there is a focus on deep diving into the various under the hood changes – maybe this year they’ll fully close off the kernel to kernel extensions in favour of user space drivers.

I’ve been giving Safari a try with the recent update that came with macOS 13.4 but so far I find the functionality of Safari’s extension framework to be rather lacking which is why, even with the best of attempts by AdGuard, that various ads still make their way through along with popups etc. that uBlock Origin wipe off the map fairly quickly. Workspace is going well – I’m on the rapid release cycle but I have a feeling that the roll out of the AI features that Google talked about at their I/O conference will looked at by early adopters and Google One subscribers then once they get sufficient feedback then they may offer it to Workspace subscribers.

Regarding Google Workspace, I’ve signed myself up for a years subscription (but paid monthly) which has worked out at around NZ$12.61 per month which is pretty good value particularly when you consider that with iCloud for 2TB of storage the cost is NZ$16.99 with the added bonus on Google Workspace that you can have up to 30 aliases from a custom domain (yes, one could use ‘hide my email address’ but the randomised email addresses that are generated as hardly professional in nature if you want an email address that presentable but can be disposed of if it attracts spam).

As for my iPhone situation, with my goal of going for a trip to the UK and tour around Europe next year, I need to tighten my belt and focus on what is and isn’t important in terms of spending money. The temptation to fritter away money is certainly there but I also had to ask myself whether it was absolutely necessary to upgrade when my Nothing Phone 1 does everything I need, I can upgrade to Android 14 and still receiving bug fixes and security updates for many years to come. The one thing I’m not going to compromise on is making sure I upgrade my seat on the flight to premium – I can’t stand flying but if I have to fly then I’m going to make sure that I’m comfortable.

Regarding the Nothing Phone – it appears that the Nothing Phone 2 will be launched in July (link) – too late for for Android 14 but it’ll be interesting to see whether they stick with the same linux kernel version (5.4.x) for Android 13 running on the Nothing Phone 1 or whether they move to 5.10 or 5.15 which are two of the most recent long term kernel branches which are scheduled to be supported out to 2026 where as 5.4.x is scheduled to be supported out to 2025. It is one of the best thing’s that Google did which was to seperate the Android release schedule from the linux kernel which enables phone vendors to maintain a stable kernel with back porting of bug and security fixes while allowing the Android platform sitting on top to move forward.

When it comes to the Pixel Fold – I’m neither here nor there in the grand schemes given that the whole foldable segment contracted 35% on a yearly basis (link). As I said previously, it is a niche and once the novelty wears off it’ll be like 3d mobile phone screens and televisions – a splash in the pan of gimmicky features to try and jumpstart growth in a maturing market where people are keeping their phones for longer due to a) people’s needs already being met by what exists b) the tight financial position that many are facing in terms of the cost of living crunch. What I think is interesting is how over the last few months there has been the increase in support by Android builds for Pixel phones in more markets in regards to VoLTE, 5G and VoWiFi support. I’m unsure whether this is an indication that they’ll ship it to more countries but if at the very least one can buy one from overseas and it works out of the box in New Zealand then I’ld be a happy lad.

Politics · Technology

Apple releases a bevy of updates.

After quite a few release candidates Apple has released updates for all their platforms – I’ve installed tvOS 16.5 and macOS 13.4. So far the experience has been great, there has been an improvement in Safari performance, sites that were buggy are now no longer an issue, the over all operating system feels more responsive. There were a sizeable number of security fixes that came (link) in particular there are 3 being exploited in the wild according to 9TO5Mac (link) so this is a good incentive to update asap rather than waiting for Apple to do it for you with the automatic update.

The development of Safari is something that I am fond of following because so much progress has occurred in such a small space of time. One thing to understand with Safari is the focus on not just privacy and security but to also focus on making sure that any functionality that is added to it doesn’t result in a slow down aka zero tolerance for performance regressions (link). More good news also comes in the form of Safari Technology Preview 170 being release (link) with plenty of fixes which will hopefully appear either in a macOS 13.5 update (released in the gap between the announcement of macOS 14 and it’s release) or maybe macOS 14 which hopefully will include AV1 support that was mentioned in a previous Technology Preview change notes then quickly redacted a few hours later (as noted on my blog).

The government budget came out this week and on the whole it is pretty balanced although I think they really do need to have a long term plan when it comes to investing into rail or as I noted on a Reddit post I made regarding this subject and the debt levels over all: “…we have a lot more capacity that we could use to really fix up the infrastructure deficit – our railways for example have been neglected for decades and we really don’t have a long term 10-20 year plan of upgrading, expanding and electrifying it (standardising on 25Kv). It appears that any investments are merely patching holes rather than having a long term vision for rail then making sure all investments are orientated in achieving that vision.”

That has really been a legacy in New Zealand regardless of who is in charge which s a lack of long term planning and investing – by long term I am not talking about the three year election cycle but rather 5-10-15 or 20 years and by vision I am talking about what is your objective, what are you trying to get to so then you measure up all the individual policies and whether those policies get you closer to that vision (and by vision I am talking about are a set of measurable objectives that can can be interrogated, not broad waffly statements that cannot be nailed down).

As for what my priorities are, here are some of them I outlined in an earlier blog post (link). As for who I am going to vote for this year – I’ll vote the way I always do, Labour for my local MP and Greens for my Party vote.

Personal · Technology

The weekend comes and goes so quickly.

Well, that was a quick weekend but no rest for me – back to work on Wednesday and looking forward to the two week break in around two weeks time but in the mean time I’m keeping busy with all the changes at work. The most exciting part about the change is the potential of a new computer system which will make a huge difference for customers. What might also happen is the company that I work for might end up taking on more work from our partner primarily because the cost of labour in New Zealand is cheaper than back in country where partner operates which may indicate more employment opportunities.

AdGuard 1.11.3 Safari Extension was released which has added support for :has() pseudo-class which has improved the speed of content blocking and made it a lot more reliable. I think gradually over time as functionality is added to the Webextensions API which will hopefully mean moving functionality from having to be provided via scripts etc. to having it baked into the browser itself. It’ll be interesting to see what WWDC has inshore but I have a feeling that, based on the addition of experimental WebCodecs AV1 support being added to Webkit I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up seeing it in macOS 14, iOS 17, tvOS 17 etc. (it also appears that AV1 support will also be added to Webkit’s WebRTC implementation).


Reflecting on the Google I/O 2023 Keynote.

It has been a busy week over at Google I/O with the big focus being on AI or more specifically pushing beyond the novelty factor of “suggest a cake recipe” in favour of focusing on where Google are going to use AI to have a material benefit to end users. Below is the video of the keynote:

One thing to keep in mind is the fact that Google have been using AI for many years before Chat GPT became the darling of the informational technology press. If you’d like the TL;DR version then it goes like this – Google is leveraging their own LLM in the form of PaLM 2 to improve existing functionality (grammar, spelling etc) as well as new functionality such as generating letters etc. I think the interesting part was how they’re able to scale down their LLM so that it is small enough to operate on a mobile phone which will enable more operations to be carried out on the phone. I could imagine future Pixel phones the focus will be around making use of future Google Tensor chips. I also wonder to what extent Google is offloading the work from their data centres to the clients device will reduce the load being put on their servers which will benefit their bottom line – a better user experience and saves a few dollars along the way is something I don’t see Google turning down.

The above video has more of a high level over view of Android (the individual session videos is the place where the subject matter is given a deeper level of explanation). We’ve reached the stage where the platform has matured just as in the case of iOS, the days of massive hyped up features that would grab end users attention is long gone and I for one am happy that the focus is around ‘fit and finish’ rather than features. I’ve had a look at the videos regarding the Android 14 beta that is available on the Nothing Phone 1 and so far it appears that the kernel remain the same (5.4.210) but I could imagine that when the Nothing Phone 2 is released towards the end of this year they’ll probably default to 5.15 or maybe 6.1.28 since both of those are the long term stable branch of the Linux kernel.

Will I upgrade to it? depends on what Google has done with the Pixel but based on Geekzone posts that I’ve been following it appears that Google is adding 5G support along with VoLTE so then at the very least if I can’t buy one in New Zealand then at the very least I’ll be able to buy one from Australia then get my brother to ship it to me or buy it from the United States then get YouShop to send it too me. I’m also looking at replacing the security camera around my place with ones from Google due the ability to attach them up to the power directly rather than recharging them which means for a few hours I don’t have any security cameras going. It’ll also be interesting to see where the next major update for Android TV will be made available for Chromecast with Google TV given that Google and other streaming services are pushing AV1 out due to it being royalty free.


More software updates and more fun.

Nothing has released Nothing OS 1.5.4 as an over the air (OTA) update – it’ll be gradually rolling out to customers but there is also the ability to download it directly and side load it (link). There have been some under the hood changes in the form of the kernel version has been bumped from 5.4.197 to 5.4.210 (dated 28 April 2023), Android security updated to 5 April 2023 from February 2023. Regarding the baseband version, I am unsure what the version was before the update but it was most likely updated due to notes about ‘Reduced standby power consumption by optimising 4G / 5G network switching function’ along with the usual optimisations that come with any sort of driver changes. Android 14 Beta 1 is rumoured to be released soon for a public beta but there has been no firm date set for it. On a side note it appears that the software engineers who worked on OnePlus are now working for Nothing where as before the work had been contracted out. It’ll be interesting to see whether there are changes in Android 14 or whether Nothing will keep the peered down minimalist design philosophy that attracted people such as myself to their Nothing Phone.

There are continued rumours about Chromecast with Google TV but given the big improvements in Android TV 14 in terms of memory efficiency I wouldn’t be surprised if Google ends up skipping Android TV 13 in favour of Android TV 14. I think the big challenge is the fact that neither Chromecast with Google support hardware accelerated playback of AV1 (not to mention that AV2 is in early development at this stage). Given how woefully powered the current SoC being used in the current Chromecast with Google dongle I couldn’t imagine seeing it smoothly decoding AV1 where as an Apple TV (the current generation) has more than enough headroom to adequately decode AV1 playback without too many problems. As a side note to this, I always find it funny how businesses will automatically assume that poor sales are automatically due to the price when in the case of the Chromecast with Google came to New Zealand 18 months after it had been originally launched. If you’re not selling enough then maybe it has more to do with the fact that you’re selling it in a limited number of markets and failed to build relationships with internet service provides and retail outlets rather than it being the byproduct of “it’s too expensive”.


Back in the office next week and preparing for annual leave.

I had a chat to my boss today about coming back into the office – I’ve still got long COVID symptoms but I think part of recovery is about getting out of the house, start socialising with colleagues again, get to meet the new team leaders who are coming on board. I also realised that I could get paid by going to meetings where as I thought they were “hey, come along if you want” but didn’t get paid. I can’t believe I could have been picking up easy extra hours just simply by turning up to meetings on my day off.

Getting closer to a two week break in the first two weeks of June – chilling out to watch WWDC, get my scooter serviced, maybe go for a a day trip on my scooter around the area. Hopefully the weather won’t be too bad but having had a look at past weather (link) average the temperature has increased but also the rainfall has also increased (see the graph regarding July rainfall from recent years compared to the historical data).

Did my grocery shopping online – I’m tempted to sign up for the service that Countdown provides because I find that I spend less money when I am buying online vs if I go to the store and wondering around aimlessly looking at stuff that I want but I don’t actually need to buy. Countdown as a service call delivery saver so if I buy 6 months it reduces the cost from $14 per deliver to $4.54 per week which would mean in my case (I go shopping once a fortnight) it’ll cost me $9.08 per delivery. What I’d do is shop on Thursday when I get paid then get it delivered on Friday when I am working at home doing the late shift.

Getting back to the office I am tempted to buy some new shirts for work – my trousers are ok but my shirts have seen better days, I may even get some long sleeved shirts as well. The work environment I am in is pretty casual so I tend to wear Dickies trousers, some betrothal creepers and collared shirt. I am tempted to get something with a bit of colour such as:

So I’m looking forward to getting some duds and getting back into the office. On a good side I have heard they have upgraded the computers being used so hopefully the experience won’t be too jarring – it is easy to get used to a computer that has an overkill amount of RAM installed thus not experiencing the frequent slow downs when using a Chromebox.


Updates and the future of software.

Great news, Ubiquiti has released Unifi OS 3.0.20 (link) which will hopefully mean that the early access 3.1.x builds won’t be too far away thus bringing the UDM and UDM Pro inline with the rest of their product range. The built in ad blocking (as mentioned on a previous blog post) is pretty rudimentary in that it does it at the DNS level rather than intercepting as the page is downloaded. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next few releases the focus is on dealing with bugs then once stable hopefully they’ll make it more feature rich. In terms of its relaibility and performance after the update – everything is smooth sailing but keep in mind that I have a pretty simple setup consisting of an UDM, AP AC HD with the devices connected include: Mac Studio, MacBook Air, Apple TV and Nothing Phone.

Apple has pushed out a ‘Rapid Security Response’ update (link) however there haven’t been any notes regarding what was actually updates but I’d hazard to guess that a lack of details combined with Apple’s use of their ‘Rapid Security Response’ indicates that must have been critical and the lack of details points to Apple wanting to get every user updated before giving out details. It’ll be interesting to know what the details are – I’ve checked a few key macOS components to see whether they’ve been changed (wifi firmware, frameworks such as Webkit) but nothing jumps out at me but they must have been serious enough that they couldn’t wait until the next round of updates (iOS 16.5, macOS 13.4 etc).

Chrome 113 has been released for the desktop (link) which is available for immediate update but Android will be rolled out in stages so it may not come to your Android device straight away (it is available in iOS). If you’re a developer there are plenty of changes (link) along with harmonisation of implementation standards (link). One thing to realise that when it comes to browsers, Google see Chrome like a runtime framework in much the same way one could view Android, Flutter etc. with websites becoming more feature rich – almost like a native application that eventually native applications will become less and less common. When it comes to seemingly native applications aren’t so native after all, OpenMTP for example is an Electron based application even though it makes use of low level libraries and hardware access to access an Android device via MTP.

When it comes to Microsoft, it is interesting how they’re gradually killing off native applications – very soon I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up Skype being replaced with Teams. Although they have said that they won’t do that, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a long term goal of doing just that as it would greatly simplify maintenance. I also wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up seeing the online version of Office 365 replacing the native version particularly for businesses that are either new or investing into moving away from bespoke custom line of business apps in favour of using an SDK provided by Microsoft or use another website either by Microsoft or by a third party that can integrate into Office 365.

Side note: There was a report that Google was working on getting Chrome working on iOS so then they’re ready to ship once the European Union forces Apple to open it’s platform for alternative web engines rather than forcing vendors to use the one Apple provides with iOS.I wonder whether the improvements that have come through for macOS in regards to memory, performance and battery life it is the result of inefficiencies being picked up as they develop Chrome for iOS. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is the case given that when the law changes that Google will want their browser ready to go right of the gate. It’ll be interesting to see just how much transaction it will gain when it is an option given how strong the preinstalled option is for most people – “meh, it’s good enough and I’m not motivated to change it” which is part of the reason why Internet Explorer hung around for so long. With all that being said, it is interesting how there is suddenly a sense of urgency within Apple about getting Safari up to scratch – it lacks the sort of feature rich extensions framework that enable me to use the extensions I like but I guess for for most people it’s a bit of a non-issue.

As side note to my side note: I’m going to start deleting some only posts I made. I like purging the old content as keep moving forward. I’m tempted to clear out everything before 2023 so I start with a new fresh start. I’ll make the decision over the next few days. With that being said, I’ll hopefully be providing better coverage to WWDC this year – what I might end up doing is going to bed early rather than waiting up until 5am so that by the time it comes on I’m an absolute zombie. I tried covering it the first time by staying up but by the time I got around to writing my blog I needed to watch it again. Hopefully with a good night sleep I can put it on my big screen, crack out a soft drink and some nibbles and get to watch the experience – I may even do a live commentary via Mastodon for not just the keynote but also for WWDC Platforms State of the Union if I have time.

Politics · Technology

Bless their cotton socks, they really do try.

I’m back to using Chrome after giving Safari another try – I really want to see Safari as a solid alternative to Chrome but what I keep finding aren’t the major problems but rather a columination of a whole lot of small problems in much the same way that a product needn’t be completely flawed for a customer not to be happy with in. In the case of Safari there is the benefit of being able to select text within images but that doesn’t offset websites either not loading or throwing the ‘Webpage is using Significant Memory’ error even though I have 24GB of RAM on my MacBook Air or 32GB of RAM on my Mac Studio (the error mainly appears on feature rich web apps). There is also the fact that the extension framework is limited resulting in the lack of low level access to extension developers which enable content blockers to intercept content and fully block rather than the situation with AdGuard where even with the same filters that are enabled on uBlock there is content that makes it way through.

Side note: If you follow the Webextensions API meeting minutes it is clear that there is still a lot that needs to be done before Google and many of the other parties involved are not ready to make a public announcement regarding when MV2 will be phased out in favour of MV3. For me I would sooner those parties involved take their time and get it right rather than placing some arbitrary time line resulting in third party developers finding that their extensions laeck the APIs for them to be able to deliver their product. At the moment I’m fairly happy with the status quo and I cannot fathom why reason to change it – if you choose to install extensions from dodgy third parties with no established reputation.

It appears that the Google Cloud division has turned a profit (link) (putting aside questions in regards to how the segment business units when reporting financials) which makes me whether Google is trying to push harder in terms of making itself less dependent on advertising revenue. I don’t ever seeing the percentage of their ad revenue reducing quickly in terms of it’s overall contribution but in the long term if they can make it one component in a wide portfolio of services and physical products (hardware) which will insulate them from the increasingly stronger regulation coming down the pipe from both the European Union as well as the United States.

There was an interesting discussion over on Pod Save America particularly when talking about how some people treat politics as performative instead of being interested in politics as a vehicle that can transform society for the better. Unfortunately a good amount of the scolding going online, at least on social media, is about moral posturing for clout and social capital rather than using the platform to build a coalition to push for systemic changes – the regular drama and call out culture being an example of how oxygen is thieved out of the room when someone didn’t say the right thing or had a hot take but not providing context as to the reason why they made that hot take results in energy wasted on something that isn’t particularly important in the grand scheme of things.