Another beta, another security bug and Manifest V3 drama.

Another week, another beta release by Apple of the next macOS update, macOS 12.2, unfortunately there is nothing listed in the release notes but that could because the fixes are security focused (the details of those security fixes get made available after the update is released). Regarding whether not Webkit has been updated, I’ve checked the Webkit and it appears they haven’t made available a new build – that could be due to people still waiting to get back from Christmas and New Years break but I guess as we get closer to February that we’ll eventually get to see the updates roll out.

That all being said, there is still a long way to go in regards to filling in the functionality gap between Webkit vs Blink (Chromium engine). There is work being done on the Manifest V3 – although there is a lot of controversy, I’ve been reading through the mailing lists and it appears that all the various players in developing the standard are coming together, listening to feedback, ensuring that all the different browsers are happy with each feature as it develops. The disappointing part of Webkit has also been the latest security hole found in Webkit (it appears to not have been fixed in the latest beta release of macOS, iOS, iPadOS etc. based on the chatter occurring on reddit and twitter):

And to make matters worse it was reported to Apple in November last year. It’s all very well and good to boast about your privacy policy but if your software is like Swiss cheese then it kind of undercuts the idea of being a privacy focused business. As a side note, I really do wish that Apple fans would stop spouting the nonsense that ‘Google sells your data to third parties’ when in reality they don’t – an advertiser says “I want to target…” then followed by a list of demographic information, Google gives them a quote and then runs the ads targeting those people, no data changes hands. With all that being said, why would any business voluntarily give up data they’ve collected which gives them a competitive advantage? this is one of the reasons I unsubscribed to the Apple subreddit – I’m all good when it comes to differences of opinion but that being said we must agree on the same set of facts or otherwise having a discussion in the first place is entirely pointless.

Still using Chrome although I tend to have a love/hate relationship with the Twitter app for Mac (which is based on the iPadOS version which utilises the ‘Catalyst’ framework on Mac ro bring it over with minimal recoding). Unfortunately the integration with macOS is pretty horrible – it isn’t as buggy as it was when they first introduced it but even now really basic things don’t work properly. Take the spelling which is iffy reliability – either missing words completely or putting a red squiggly line under words that are actually correctly spelt. Long story short, although there is a novelty element associated with having those applications on macOS, the problems start to arise when you expect them to behave like macOS applications for example respecting the system defaults (if you click on a link it opens up the link in Safari even though you might have set as the default another brother in ‘System Preferences’.

Woke up this morning and had a quick read up on the Apple event that occurred – as expected there were incremental change with the big focus not necessarily on performance improvements when compared to the previous but rather pointing out that it is faster than the competition then quickly focusing on the battery life, new features etc. We’re pretty much getting to the point of diminishing returns where the additional performance is having less of an impact for the average user with the focus I see being in the future around battery life and what the device can do. Call me an old grouch but I refuse to see the phone as a replacement for a computer – it is a great device when you need to quickly get something done when you’re on the go (like back in the days of the PDA) but for serious work a computer is the best choice (tablets being good ‘computer replacements’ for people who want an appliance rather than a traditional computer with it all the power, flexibility but complexity that comes as part of the package).

I was having a brief look at the benchmarks for the Mac mini and I was shocked about the fact that my iMac (slightly under 4 year old) is being beaten. This has made me wonder whether, when I do upgrade my iMac and MacBook Pro, whether I should use go and get a Mac mini, Apple keyboard and mouse then buy a nice 4K 32inch monitor from Dell. The big factor for me going with the iMac over the Mac mini was because of the discrete graphics but if Apple is going to go with their own GPU for their Macs, from top to bottom, then I might as well look at look what alternatives to the iMac. Maybe the much rumoured maxed out Mac mini or even the Mac Pro mini, both rumours having been making the rounds for quite some time, would be an option. At this stage my only criteria is that it has to be ARMv9 compatible. As for what I’ll do with my old computers – I am tempted to donate them to mum or a family member unless I can get a decent deal which avoids me having go through he rigmarole of couriering my iMac – the iMac will either have to be a local sale or I’ll give it to my sister so they can use it.

I’m going to have a kebab tonight along with a mixed grill – salad, salad and more salad! I need to start eating my greens. It is interesting the number of new restaurants that are making an appearance on Delivery Easy but I wonder whether certain dishes won’t be available since they aren’t exactly the sort of dishes that keep well when it comes to a delivery service.

I’ve move back to Safari and I don’t know what Apple did but their latest update did something because now Safari is buttery smooth again. Although I threw a bit of a temper tantrum about the changes coming in Safari 15, it is highly likely that when I do eventually upgrade to macOS 12 (probably being released in around a months time or so) I’m sure I’ll be less pessimistic (the only exposure to Safari 15 has been through the Technology Preview releases from the Webkit project website). The Technology Preview builds are going to be buggy by their nature but the Safari 15 will be a lot more mature, less on the bleeding edge with the net result being probably a better overall experience.

It’ll be interesting to see what new features Apple will add to their SoC such as support for VP8, VP9 and AV1 which will hopefully mean a lot smoother experience when it come to video playback – I wouldn’t be surprised if we eventually start finding that as time goes on that new features are either ARM only or if they are available on both Intel and ARM that the experience on ARM will be far superior to the Intel experience. It’ll also be interesting to see the work that Apple has done with LLVM (and all the associated projects) in terms of optimisations for their ARM based family of SoCs especially when one considers that eventually Apple will launch a range ARMv9 based SoCs which will include SVE2.

Had a shocker of a sleep on Sunday night meaning I only ended up getting around 5 hours of sleep but on the good side all I had to do was muddle through the day on Monday but then I fell a sleep at around 6pm when I woke up at around 11:30pm, went to the toilet then back to bed for another 10 hours sleep. After 15 hours of sleep I feel I’ve finally caught up on the lost sleep from Sunday night lol.

I work up this morning and Apple has released iOS 14.8 and macOS 11.6 – they were pretty big updates with macOS 11.6 being around 2.46GB which makes me wonder whether a few extra fixes were snuck into the update given Apple’s tendency to not always list all the changes that they’ve made but rather focusing on the most high profile changes they’ve made. I’ve updated my iMac, MacBook Pro and iPhone withe everything working perfectly fine and no adverse reaction from any of the third party applications i run such as Chrome.

Tomorrow is the big day for Apple as they’re hosting an announcement – questions are still circulating around whether this will be the announcement day for the next iPhone or whether they’ll maybe launch an Mac refresh then in a months time launching the iPhone refresh. As iPhone sales slow down the big question is how they’re going to create their services revenue particularly when you consider the recent changes regarding allow developers to collect payments through their own payment processing rather than being forced to use Apple’s own payment system along side allowing developers to link to their own website so the customer can add payment information.

Samsung has released One UI 4.0 beta to the public (link) and here is a video from Sam Mobile that covers the most visible changes that have taken place:

It’s good to see that Android 12 with One UI from Samsung is using the Linux kernel version 5.4.x with the changes being more about refining rather than anything radical but then again this is a very early beta so it could be possible that we may see either features being added or maybe seeing Android 12 with One UI being released before the end of this year and then in 2022 when Samsung releases the next Samsung S device we might see the the One UI 4.1 and possibly have One UI 4.1 also made available on the Samsung S21 series. The presenter in the video noted improved optimisation which does’t surprise me given that Samsung has moved from their custom architecture and instead using off the shelf ARM designs from ARM so I wouldn’t be surprised that as the code base matures that we’ll see improved performance. The biggest improvement to the Samsung S platform will be when the Exynos with AMD GPU is launched next year but even with the leaked information so far it appears that the gap has narrowed between Exynos and Qualcomm so I wouldn’t be surprised that we end up seeing Samsung launch Exynos SoC based phones where they used to ship Qualcomm.

Yesterday the government announced that level 2 outside of Auckland has been extended to 21 September so that’ll mean working from home for another week which I’m happy about – not having to spend money getting to and from work is nice but I wish it were a more permanent option or at least be able to work from home for Wednesday, Thursday and Sun with Friday and Saturday at work in the office (I don’t start until 11:30am those days). With all that being said, the big focus by me is to get rid of the interest free payments for my phone from Spark and focus on saving up for either the Pixel 6 Pro or next year the Samsung S22 Ultra (assuming it adopts the S22 branding). For me, I’m in no rush although I’m quickly realising that I’m more dependent on the Google ecosystem particularly as Safari doesn’t seem to be up to the task as Apple appears to be focusing on everything but getting the core (Webkit) sorted out by addressing the many developer complaints (I’ve linked to a blogpost addressing the many complaints).

New Zealand’s vaccination rate is sitting at 69% for at least one dose and 35% (slightly over half) have have had their second dose (with extra supplies obtained from Spain and Denmark). It appears that the government will be going with Novavax for the booster shot (link). It’ll be interesting to see when the government will start the booster shot deployment or whether the government is keeping their options open as generation 2 COVID vaccines are getting close to regulatory approval. Hopefully once we get everyone vaccinated it’ll be a matter of a COVID vaccine become like getting an MMR vaccine then followed up each year with a booster shot.

Oh, upon reflection, I think the headache I’ve had today was the result of keeping away from sugar and processed foods (prepared meals from the frozen section) – I’m sure after a week of withdrawal symptoms that my body will get used to the ‘new normal’. Tonight I was lazy and ordered a meal from Bowel which had a grilled chicken breast with lots of vegetables etc. which is a lot healthier than what I would have normally have. For me it isn’t about being a ‘health nut’ but more about making those incremental changes that’ll stick for life. I have a tendency of wanting to do a whole lot of changes all at once and within a matter of weeks it becomes all too much (overwhelming) that I end up slipping back into old habits – let’s hope that taking it slower will make the transition seemless and a permanent change. I guess when I was younger I could get away with treating my body like a garbage can – consumption with very little reflection of how it’ll impact my long term heath but now that I’ve hit 40 I think I need to start taking what and how I eat a little bit more seriously.