Apple Pay supported at more banks!

Hot on the heals of ASB recently joining the fold of Apple Pay support (along side BNZ and ANZ) we have Westpac NZ recently join the fold on Tuesday which is inline with my speculation I had a while ago where Westpac will most likely keep their in-house NFC software for Android (their in-house NFC application is really sleek when compared to ASB where ASB tries to ram everything into a single application thus making the overall experience a lot more convoluted than if it were pushed off into its own application).  

Now, the big question is when does Kiwibank make the big move? Every since the giant core banking SAP fiasco where they planned to replace Ultracs with a SAP based core banking system they’ve been trying to move the organisation forward whilst cleaning up the mess as they go along. The situation hasn’t smooth sailing given that already this year I can think of 3 incidents where their Debit/Credit system when hay wire resulting in transaction double ups. There are rumours that whilst all that is being addressed that they’re working on a NFC client for Android but I’d say that like Westpac that they’ll also offer Apple Pay – to ignore Apple Pay would be business suicide because at this point it is a ‘must have’ requirement when deciding what bank to go with.

The big question is whether the banks that have their own ‘custom in house NFC apps’ will eventually move to Google as banks are at the moment looking at whether it makes sense having their own datacentre given that their primary focus is one delivering financial services whereby the datacentre is a means to an end when it comes to delivering services so does it make much sense replicating what already exists if for no other reason than saying, “we did it ourselves”? Westpac will probably move to Google in the long run just as they outsourced their datacentre to IBM when they migrated off the old Hogan system to Celeriti so part of that rationalising will be whether the expansion of what Google Pay can do and the limitations of their own payment solutions will eventually make moving to Google Pay a necessity.

One more day to go….looking forward to overtime

Having a look through the work schedule I noticed some open positions so hopefully I’ll get a reply back soon from the person who does the roster that the opportunity to do over time will be possible. Basically my big focus over the next year is getting financially back on course and part of that making sure all personal debt is primarily paid down to the point that it is bill akin to the amount I pay each month for my power or internet connection. Anyway, the big focus for next week is getting that all sorted out – a few extra dollars each week, no matter how small, will make quite the difference over the long run.

I’m looking forward to time off from work from 1-9 June where I have my birthday on 1 June and then have it follow by a week of WWDC fun and excitement not to mention all the individual sessions that might even motivate me enough to get me up early in the morning to watch the keynote speech. With that being said it will be interesting to see whether Apple use the WWDC as a launch pad for the much rumoured announcement of the Mac Pro which was rumoured to be still on track for a 2019 release. The other big announcement will be the removal of 32bit support from macOS – the ripple effect will be amazing given that it’ll include removing Quicktime support on which QtKit is based along with all the applications that rely on it as well (as mentioned in the latest update to Compressor, Motion and Final Cut Pro X which talks about the need to transition all ones assets to modern CODECs before moving to the next version of macOS and newer versions of said applications).

Anyway, I’ve got work tomorrow and hopefully it will be as uneventful as it was today – a drama free zone where everything works as it should. I’ll wake up, have a bowl of tea and whilst getting ready I’ll watch some news on YouTube then head off for the day. My goal is getting back to my old diet patterns – 2 days of 1800 calories each day and a fasting on the third day – I might even start getting rid of a lot of bad foods out of my diet like cheese, milk, meat etc. move to more of a vegan diet as well. Long story short, I need to get my eating back in order and a greater focus on getting healthy now that I am getting older and the impact of a bad diet will impact me a lot more than 10 years ago where I could be a bit reckless with minimal consequence. Turning this ship around will not only mean a slimmer waist like it will also mean being more productive, having more energy, a longer and more enjoyable life. The big focus isn’t the change itself but the sticking to that change to the point that it becomes second nature to the point that tI don’t have to consciously think about it but rather it becomes automatic like how one breaths without even thinking about it.

macOS 10.14.4, iOS 12.2, tvOS 12.2 released and more

I was planning to stay up to watch the Apple Keynote that was scheduled for 6am today (Tuesday morning NZ time) so I decided instead to watch it after coming back from my sisters birthday party. Here is the link to the stream from Apple’s website (link). To be honest I ended up skipping through the video to get the major points but overall the whole thing was pretty boring – totally US centric with little consequence to someone like me living in New Zealand. I can’t blame Apple given that they’re very much at the mercy US based media companies run by old men who are over the hill and can’t grasp the idea of treating the world as a single market and using technology to sell directly to consumers (it is amazing how someone being paid $40million per year is still clueless about the internet).

I’ve installed macOS 10.14.4 from scratch on both my computers since I wanted to get rid of a whole lot of crap that had built up so I downloaded the latest build off the App Store and then created a thumb drive which I then uses to zero the drive then do a clean install. Apart from the system running a whole lot quicker without all the useless crap I installed I also noticed that both my iMac and MacBook Pro have had their Boot ROM upgraded which is probably part of the on going security efforts (and mitigating any possible performance penalties associated with the fix) that are being addressed through microcode updates.

On my iPhone XS Max I upgraded to iOS 12.2 and I noticed a slight improvement in the Safari performance but like macOS I’ve never had any issues (I use the Ad Guard extension which takes advantage of the more efficient content blocking API), the baseband has been updated to 1.04.30 – I haven’t noticed any difference but I guess that’ll be something I might pick up when I’m out in the real world using it.

tvOS was also released and it is as reliable as usual although I did notice that it might have addressed the issue where the television keeps turning back on again so I wonder whether that is part of the fix.

In terms of security, there are a lot of fixes (link) so it appears that the drive for improved software quality continues – great to see that Apple has realised that they dropped the ball and that they’re working on getting things back on track.

I’m looking forward to WWDC2019 so when I go to work tomorrow I’m going to put in leave from 1 June (my birthday) through to 9 June which will cover my birthday as well as WWDC where I can follow along each da and watch the various sessions about the upcoming changes/improvements that are going to be made to macOS. I’ll do my usual overview of the sessions I am interested in – I might even be motivated enough to watch the keynote but as noted before the one I’m always interested in is the Platform state of the union where the focus is more technical where as they keynote tends to be a high level overview that is more geared towards the technology press rather than someone like me who wants to know about the nitty-gritty details.

Side note: Yes I will be writing a post regarding the whole Mueller investigation soon.

Back to work tomorrow; Product refresh and sixth beta of iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS

Getting back to work tomorrow but happy to get back to work as things start to calm down – a whole new system and customers getting used to it is time consuming but gradually I’d say that as people become accustomed to the new system and the developers keep taking on the feedback it should hopefully mean that there are fewer rough edges. That being said, I’m happy with my work – a job is a job, money is money, and ultimately it is a means to an end so I can achieve what I want in my own spare time.

Apple recently released the sixth beta for iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS – it has been one heck of a journey given the number of beta releases but also keep in mind that part of this journey is the integration of biometric support into Safari which also includes a leap from 12.0.3 to 12.1 – reading through the release notes it appears that Apple has merged a lot of the changes from their technology previews into Safari resulting in a jump from 468 to 499 in the HTML5 test – although not as good as Chrome, which sits at 528. I am happy that Apple is taking its time to focus on not only implementing as documented but also ensuring that It is implemented in the most efficient way possible so that it doesn’t result in Safari becoming a battery hog like Chrome has become.

There is going to be an announcement on 25 March (US time) which makes me wonder whether it’ll be released in conjunction with that – that there are goodies that are dependent upon the up coming updates – maybe even features that have yet to merge will appear in a large beta build that have been getting tested internally. There are rumours regarding what will be announced with most of the big hitters like John Gruber and others have talked about Apple expanding its service side of the business along with greater investment into software (based on the job advertisements).

A wake up call for those with a prominent platform

In the wake of the Christchurch terrorist attack there has been a lot of soul searching but the one that has come to the forefront are things said by politicians (past, present and those who wish to enter politics) along with those in the media and how those ‘hot takes’ contributed, each it its own way, to moving the Overton window further to the right thus making what would have otherwise been unacceptable modes of discourse to suddenly enter into the mainstream. I am not saying that a single person caused it but rather it was a culmination of many different people over many years that fed into the monster. I’m going to put some observations out there and I’ll let you take from it what you like:

  1. I’ve had a look back at my time back when I had a YouTube channel and was involved in politics and I was always shocked even back then when politicians would stoke the flames of prejudice for political points scoring. Did I have some hot takes myself? off the cuff remarks? sure but they were never like what the likes of Winston Peters, Don Brash or recently a tweet regarding post by Stephen Berry (ACT Party candidate) from 2013. What was the most shocking thing I said? “marriage should be privatised” to which I was asked by a reporter “wouldn’t that allow polygamy?” and my response was a flippant “a girl and two guys, a guy and two girls – its all good”. Cringe worthy? sure, but hardly in the same ballpark of Don Brash and his “Kiwi/Iwi” campaign.
  2. It is possible to be critical of something without descending into hatred, racism and bigotry but to avoid that descent you actually have to know what the hell you’re talking about. Nothing irritates me more than reading a newspaper where the journalist is completely clueless about the subject that they’re reporting on – great, you have a journalism degree but that means diddly-squat in the grand scheme of things if you can’t even be bothered educating yourself about the difference between a niqqab, burkha, chador and a hijab. It is abundantly clear that there are far too many journalists who are grossly unqualified for the subjects they’re covering resulting in masses of misinformation being propagated with the newspapers themselves of little interest regarding accuracy. Then the situation is compounded by the fact that these media outlets are more concerned, when hiring, whether the person they’re interviewing has a ‘journalism degree’ rather than whether they’re qualified to cover a given subject. Friendly tip to the editor of the major newspapers in New Zealand – you don’t need a journalism degree to do something that any person with a humanities degree can do given that understanding primary and secondary sources, cross examining credibility and context etc. are part and parcel with getting a humanities degree – mine is in Religious Studies and Philosophy.
  3. People change and evolve – what they might have said 10 years ago might not represent them today and I am reminded of that when I was watching this video (at the bottom of this article) of a gentleman who went from being a neo-nazi to someone that fights neo-nazis. That maybe at the extreme end of the spectrum but the point is that people can change but whether you give them a second chance isn’t about what they claim now but what their actions actually are. Take Tucker Carlson for example, who has been raked over the coals for his racist and xenophobic views. Tucker Carlson is the prime example of what happens when you ignore the festering sore that is racism and xenophobia by writing off some like that as someone with ‘spicy hot takes’ when in reality he was making it pretty damn clear even in the early years what his views actually were. In other words it is all very well to say that what happened in the past is no longer you today but what have you done to distance yourself from that past?
  4. The social media companies need to do a better job at policing their platform and it wouldn’t require much effort. Take the second video from CBSN – a casual look through the comment section then combine that with all the people who downvoted the video – you’ve easily got 2000 people just then you can ban from the whole Google platform and then share those details with Facebook who can see whether any the of the details (email, IP address etc) match up with users on their platform. How long would it take? around 30 minutes worth of work.
  5. If you have a platform – look and learn about the type of people who are quoting what you write and who is reading your articles based on the feedback they provide either directly (assuming you publish on a website that has a comment section) or indirectly such as your article being shared on one of the big websites like Reddit. If you’re getting undesirable characters giving you ‘mad props’ for what you’re saying then maybe it is time you reflect on what you’re writing and whether those are the sort of people who you want your work to be associated with. If your intention isn’t to attract those sorts of people then have a good hard look at what you’re writing and how they’re interpreting it – if you’re using ambiguous language then the net result will always be an audience willing to inject their interpretation rather than allow you, the writer, to speak for yourself. Yes, and if it means you have to clarify what you mean when you use certain terms then expand and keep doing so ensure that no ambiguity is there – that it doesn’t require the user to know your repertoire of writing to understand what you mean as the user will only understand what you meant to say based on what you mention specifically in that article.

*gurgly stomach sound* better stay at home

Woke up, sore stomach, thought I better not risk it and later on in the day I realised it was the best decision I made. I stayed at home but then I went down to ANZ thinking that I can finalise the application but nope, they want me to come back at an organised time – a friendly tip to any organisation, if I cannot set it up online and you require me to come back on my day off to get something sorted then you’ve lost me as a customer straight off the bat (not to mention the fact that ANZ still hasn’t fixed the issue where saved payees setup via the website aren’t available through the mobile applications). Funny enough BNZ on the other hand made it very easy, I plonk in my details, upload a bill from my electricity company, confirmed my address etc. and everything went through without any drama. I’ll contact ANZ on either tomorrow or Monday and cancel the appointment. It is amazing how businesses never learn.

Anyway, I better head off to bed for a good night sleep but I’m still thinking about the article I’ll write over the next few days regarding Elizabeth Warren’s proposal.

Chrome 73 released, PWAs come to macOS and more

Chrome 73 has been released which includes not only support for dark mode on macOS but also a much awaited (well, awaited for me) PWA support on macOS – which has been available on the other platforms that Chrome is available on. In the case of macOS it allows the likes of Twitter to be available in the form of an application that can be launched from the dock and behave as if it were a local running application. The official Twitter application for macOS was officially discontinued in March 2018 thus leaving people with very few choices other than either using the website itself or resorting to third party applications that were intentionally crippled by Twitter by changing the API and charging for more advanced functionality. Windows users were lucky enough to have PWA support built into Windows 10 meaning that when Twitter did kill off their native application it was quickly replaced with a PWA version that was available through the store. In the case of Apple however their support for PWAs very much lingers which makes me wonder whether this lingering has to do with wanting to transform Safari into a feature complete framework replacement for Chromium in Electron based applications or whether it is the last vestige of resistance within Apple against the inevitability of PWAs stepping in where applications (being sold through the store and paying fees to Apple) used to sit.

Chrome 73 has been pretty stable so far although interesting enough my work’s bank that they bank with is ANZ which offers a ’employee package’ to the employees of companies that bank with ANZ. The net result? I’ve signed up for an ANZ account but I’ll see what happens because I’m going to have to go into a local branch with some identity documents to get it all formally setup. The benefit also with ANZ has been the fact that they’ve also moved to Google Pay so they’re one of two banks in New Zealand that offer both Apple Pay and Google Pay support whereas ASB insists on being the most special of special snowflakes with its own NFC payment solution on Android rather than simply doing what is best for consumers and that is embracing Google Pay.

Just a bit of a side note, most of you have probably heard about Elizabeth Warren’s announcement of ‘breaking up the big technology companies’. I’ll write an article about it in the coming week but it won’t be a pro or anti but rather looking into the nitty-gritty. Long story short, I support her end goal but I don’t agree with the method that she is employing to get to that end goal.