Apple has pushed out the public beta of macOS 11.0 which includes a variety of new features (features not found in previous builds) as well as correcting known bugs from previous builds (link). My impression so far is that it is in a better position than it was last time and I think that has primarily due to the fact that the focus has been under the hood changes along with many of these projects having gone on for years behind the scenes before they made the big announcement in much the same way that Steve Jobs talked about MacOS X leading a secret double life.

So I wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing has been happening since Apple developed their own silicon – they’ve been compiling macOS on both Intel and Apple Silicon just in case that day happened and Apple needed to make the switch. I also wonder how many of the drivers that are used in iOS are transferrable over to macOS – are they going to be pushed out of kernel space into the user space? It’ll be interesting to see how it all alines once the first batch of Apple Silicon based Macs are released.

I went to the doctor on Thursday and he advised me to stay at home for the rest of the week until I was fully recovered. It is gradually clearing up – I think it is good to avoid too much stress and getting a good night sleep. I think that is what I’m going to focus on when I get back to work next week – get a good night sleep by getting into bed earlier so then even if I don’t go to sleep straight away I will be relaxed and ready to go to sleep because my mind will be relaxed rather than buzzing with activity and thus difficult to get to sleep.

Well, I turned up to work today and puked a lung out – my boss through it would be best, given the circumstances, to head back home and take sick leave. I don’t know how I got sick but I do know when occurred which was on Sunday and by the time Monday rolled around I felt horrible. After that I thought it would be best to go back home and rest until I was feeling a lot better. I’m going to ring up my boss tomorrow and say I need at least another day or two because I’ve done the stupid thing in the past when I’ve gone back to work believing I was all ok only to then get sick again but even worse – as if it were like a double up.

Apple updated their iMac line up, it is all standardised on SSD’s so no more spinning hard disks but as expected there was no redesign – I would say that Apple is going to leave the redesign for the Apple Silicon based Mac’s that they’ll be shipping as to mark a clear demarkation between the old Macs and the new Macs in much the same way that the iBook became the MacBook, the PowerBook became the MacBook Pro (although the iMac kept the same name funny enough).

Weekend is almost over and looking forward to getting back to work but the mean time MarsEdit’s developer(s) have put out an update which addresses a bug I experienced when sending a blog post to WordPress.com and the category chosen not being synchronised – it comes up on the WordPress.com server as uncategorised. Well, it is all now working which is great. 

Regarding my glasses – it isn’t you’ve upgraded your glasses when you realise just how bad your eye sight has gotten in 10 years. The last pair of glasses I bought when I was living down in Christchurch over 10 years ago so it has been quite some time.

I thought I had avoided getting a cold this year but alas on Sunday it started then on Monday it was the worst, today (Tuesday) I have feeling a bit better – having some Fisherman’s Friends and some Lemsip so hopefully I’ll be all recovered by the time I get back to work tomorrow.

Well, I’ve finally got MarsEdit set up – I give web applications ago but I keep coming back to native applications because they integrate best with macOS. It is the one thing I like about having iCloud at the centre of my life – it avoids the use of web applications in favour of native applications which come with the benefit of integration between various parts of the operating system as well as other hardware. Big Sur will be replacing the macOS version of Messages with a Catalyst version which will close the gaps but hopefully with the use of Catalyst it will open up a situation where all the native applications are eventually using Catalyst resulting in macOS and iOS/iPadOS functionality remaining in sync with each other.

My holiday is starting in seven weeks but in the mean time I’m going to take things one day at a time – I’m looking forward to getting closer to that time off and hopefully during that time off Apple will release all the upgrade goodies. Yeah, I know, I could participate in the public beta but I’m at that point in my life that I don’t want to deal with a buggy experience on my daily driver so I’ll wait until it is stabilised.

I always find it funny when I see people talk about wanting smaller phones – that is right up until I have to deal with them at the call centre by giving them instructions but they’re unable to navigate their phones and/or read what is on the screen because the screen is too small. Moral of the story – buy a phone that is practical, don’t buy a phone because it is ‘cute’, ‘compact’ or ‘cool’ because otherwise you’ll find yourself bitterly disappointed with a very expensive mistake. It is something I see far too often – people who buy technology because of the novelty only to either lose interest once the ‘honey moon’ period has worn off or they recognise the glaring limitations that they deliberately overlooked when looking at which piece of technology to buy.

Last night my Unifi Dream Machine couldn’t connect to the internet so I decided to throw caution to the wind, tether my MacBook Pro to my iPhone then download the firmware to the test firmware then upgrade my router to the latest version. The router accepted the upgrade and everything rebooted with a working router connected to the internet within a couple of minutes. Although the UbiOS for UDM is in beta it is very stable so I wouldn’t be surprised if either in an 1.8.x or future update to see it stabilising and being made available through the release channel.

macOS 11 Big Sur Beta 3 was released around a week ago and it is appearing that Apple is making quick progress at addressing the known issues along with taking on board feedback such as the battery icon in Preferences. The latest release notes (link) goes into more details but so far things are looking pretty good so hopefully Apple will release it while I’m on holiday at the end of September – get to enjoy a week of doing a clean install along with all the fun of playing with the new features and enhancements.

You’ve probably notice that I am not very active on my blog at the moment and that is due to the fact that I was waiting to pick up my glasses on Monday (today). I picked them up as well as getting a eye test to ensure my eyes are healthy – a clean bill of health which is always good. The glasses are working great but it does take a while to get used to them but that is the same situation as my hold one – keep in mind that it has been 10 years since my last new pair. It is amazing how improved my eye sight is with these glasses – riding my scooter is a surreal experience now and I’m sure the other drivers appreciate me now having 20/20 vision when I wear my glasses.

I’ve finally got my annual leave sorted out which will go from 19 September through to 29 September. I was planning to have time off over the Apple WWDC however with the restricting at work and the whole COVID-19 lockdown I thought it would be best to wait it out and see what happens. I generally try to take a week off some time during the year and maybe have some 3-4 day weekends where possible because given the job I am in I like having at least some time off so I can unwind rather than holding it in until the end of the year – assuming I can get Christmas off.

Next year will be the start of things getting interesting in the world of Apple with Apple pushing out Apple Silicon based Macs – I’m waiting out for the second generation as to avoid the first generation bugs, limitations and quirks where as by the second generation they would have gotten enough feedback and my Mac’s will be old enough to justify being upgraded. Will I sell them? not worth it, I’ll send it to Apple and get them to recycle it – if I do all in then I’ll order an iMac, MacBook Pro and if they have upgraded the iPhone and Apple TV I’ll go for that plus upgrade my television (I might as well go ‘all in’ if I’m going to upgrade my setup). I’m looking forward to see what happens with Apple closing off the kernel to third party drivers – could we see a kernel where all the drivers sit in user space? given their recent support for PCIe devices it makes me wonder whether we’re not too far away from Apple moving their display system into user space especially now that ARM isn’t saddled with the costly context switching that Intel based CPUs have courtesy of the x86/x86-64 ISA.

It has been ages since I’ve updated my blog but a lot of stuff has been in my life. For starters I went to the optometrists last week to get my eyes tested and choose my new glasses:

Although my insurance will pay for one pair, they have a special at Specsavers where you ‘buy one, get one free’ which only covers the frames meaning you will need to pay for the second pair of lenses. I thought it would be best to have a backup pair so incase something bad were to happen with one pair that I would have a backup pair. The only saving grace out of all this is the fact that my eye sight isn’t as bad as I expected although my left eye is noticeably weaker than my right eye.

It appears that sometime this week, assuming there is no show stopper bugs, Apple will release iOS 13.6, macOS 10.15.6 plus updates for all the other platforms. Although everyone is justifiably excited about the next version of macOS, iOS and all the other platforms I think what has generated the biggest buzz has been the move to Silicon Apple. Although it is a big step for Apple there is another angle one needs to consider – the fact that although Apple is a smaller player in the traditional computer market they do have a big influence over the market over all. If Apple demonstrate that it is possible to move beyond Intel, move beyond x86 (something even Intel filed to achieve with Itanium) then it opens up an opportunity for other players to enter the market either shipping ARM based CPUs in Chromebooks (think Exynos SoC with AMD GPU in a Samsung laptop) or maybe Microsoft taking it seriously with the much rumoured Windows 10X which scoops up[ the backwards compatibility into a container with a modernised operating system. That being said, not only would a SoC vendor have to have an interest in wanting to invest into a desktop, laptop and/or workstation class SoC it would also require a big customer like Dell, HP or Lenovo to step forward to given the said SoC vendor confidence that the investment is worse the time and resources. For example, if Dell said, “we need 4 million units of n ARM processor that can bet Intel on price/performance-per-watt then it would given the likes of Qualcomm something to strive towards knowing that the investment at the worst it will break even and at best it’ll be a run away success that’ll open up opportunities for the computer companies to take an interest in Qualcomm ARM SoCs.

Well, I’m now in quaratine all because I called in sick on Wednesday with a cold but it is now required that because of the recent ballsup courtesy of a compassionate entry that now employers are being extra cautious. So today (Thursday) I went to the local testing centre – it was uncomfortable having a swab put up my nose but no worse than the STD test where you have to swab the back of your throat. I’ve been given my marching orders and told that I need to self isolate so as I write this blog I ordered for delivery my groceries for this week from Countdown to get delivered.

Next week will be a big week regarding Apple and the WWDC – with the biggest rumour being the announcement of Apple moving to ARM along with their ‘Platforms state of the Union” which will a high level but technical overview of where macOS will be going in the world of ARM – what will be jettisoned as part of the migration, what will remain and what frameworks are being the basis of the future direction of macOS. My speculation, as noted on my prior email is that the long term aim is to replace UI Kit, AppKit in favour of SwiftUI which is the new native UI API that was introduced with watchOS 6 – yes you can have C, C++, Objective-C, Swift etc. backend code and have the nice sleek modern SwiftUI for the front end.

I had a quiet day at home so I cleaned all my Apple devices – erase and then reinstall their respective operating systems as to remove all the tweaking and experimenting as I was working from home. It appears that with some software it doesn’t matter how hard you try, you can never fully uninstall all the various bits and pieces not only copied over when installed but also created when running – the various setting files, cache not to mention system tweaks for integration etc.

I downloaded a fresh most up to date version of macOS 10.15.5 (which has included in it the most recent security update) – clean install on my iMac and MacBook Pro, on my iPhone I did a DFU restore, and on my AppleTV I did a ”reset and reinstall’ where everything is cleared off it and tvOS is downloaded then reinstalled. Everything is back to being snappy although one application I haven’t installed is MarsEdit. Don’t get me wrong, I love the application but the problem is that increasingly it isn’t keeping up with the level of customisation that WordPress offers through their web based application. For example, if I drag and drop photos I am given the opportunity to format it in a particular way in terms of laying out the photos where as if I use something like MarsEdit I’m limited in terms of what I can do or more correctly I have to do a lot more by hand vs. WordPress web application where IN drag and drop the photos then kick from some layout templates.

One more week to go before the start of WWDC 2020 and the rumour mill is starting to kick into high gear with discussions of an extra session, rumours that this will be the time that Apple will announce the transition from x86 to their own ARM based SoC designs that’ll form the foundation of Mac’s future. It’ll be interesting to see whether they do what they did when they moved from PowerPC to x86 by giving developers a developer kit then eventually then release a final products later on or will they do something smart like having a ARM based macOS farm where developers can remotely take advantage of ARM based hardware without Apple needing to hand out hardware and then get the developers to send it all back to them again.

As noted in a prior post I made, the migration is different to what took place in the PowerPC to x86 transition – not only was it a transition between platform it also required companies to move from non-Xcode IDE’s such as CodeWarrior to Xcode, move from one set of compilers with a code base tuned to dealing with the compilers quirks, limitations, work arounds etc. and moving to a new compiler that had its owns set of quirks, limitations etc. In the case of the move from x86 to ARM there is a vibrant ecosystem of third party libraries, open source projects that are working to not only support but optimising their code for ARM,

There was an essay put out by Steven Sinofsky (link) regarding the move by Apple over to ARM. Where do I start because it is one thing to comment about a possible future direct or directions of Apple but it is another thing when one doesn’t even acknowledge where things went wrong at ones old employer. I’ll put some points out there, not in any particular order but rather what came to me when I was reading through the article.

  1. The problem with Microsoft’s attempt to create a platform that could go beyond win32 on the desktop into a broader operating system with a unifying API is the lack of any real vision communicated with the developer community. They first started off with Windows Phone 7 with a Windows CE base and utilising Silverlight for the development platform, that was then reset with Windows 8 and the future then was WinRT which was then reset once again with Windows 10 with the future now being UWP. As a developer are you really going to dedicate limited resources (time and money) in moving beyond win32 when there is no clear indication that the parent company even knows what it wants.
  2. The lack of a clear vision manifested itself in the form of Microsoft failing to articulate where they want to take the platform – where does win32 fit into this? if UWP is to replace win32 then why keep adding new features to win32 or making new features access to win32 developers when you want developers to move over to the new platform? by making those new features accessible to both then aren’t you sending a mixed message, “UWP is the future but we’ll make all new features available for win32” thus sending the message that they’re not completely committed to the new platform.
  3. The new platform that was developed (UWP) was developed by sitting on top of win32 resulting in all the dumb decisions that were made 30 years ago being inherited – MAX_PATH limitation rearing its ugly head as one example of that. It is one thing to keep win32 around for backwards compatibility – it would be business suicide killing off backwards compatibility but UWP should have been an opportunity to make a clean break and deal with the limitations and design flaws of the win32 API with a clear indication to developers that it was the way forward by pushing forward a gradual deprecation of parts of win32 along with deep restructuring of the system by removing large parts of the win32 out of kernel space to avoid a repeat of a fiasco which earned its ugly head not too long ago (link).
  4. Microsoft demonstrated no confidence in their own platform when they failed to move the whole UI (shell) and bundled applications over to the new framework nor was there any announcement of Microsoft migrating their own products over to the new platform The net result? what developers saw was a new platform and its operating system vendor that was happy to encourage others to ‘dog food’ but not themselves. If you want third party vendors to use your platform then you need to be willing to use it yourself – “yes, you can use this platform for serious work”.
  5. There is no reason for Apple to abandon AppKit and there is a tonne of developers already utilising AppKit already – for Apple not to provide AppKit on their ARM based Macs would be the same business suicide that removing win32 backwards compatibility would be. When it comes to the practical side, there is no technical reasons – it isn’t as though it is an assembly code riddled monstrosity that cannot be recompiled – they bought it from PowerPC to x86 and I’m sure they’ll bring it from x85 to ARM, and after all Catalyst relies on AppKit.
  6. I see Catalyst as a short term stop gap measure because long term their eventual goal is to replace UIKit, Catalyst and AppKit with SwiftUI – a unified UI which has certain UI elements exposed based on the platform(s) targeted by the developer with a shared set of UI elements that are shared by both platforms. Over the years parts of the AppKit have been gradually been replaced with seperate frameworks resulting in movement away from having one big giant framework that does it all in favour of specialised frameworks instead. Btw when I am talking about ‘long term goal’ I’m thinking 3-5 years time frame.
  7. The interesting part will be the parts that will be jettisoned – OpenCL is an obvious one they’ll get rid of given that almost no one takes avantadale of it and it has since been replaced with Metal Performance Shaders. OpenGl will be interesting given that everything from OpenGL 3.2 forward it is based on a modem LLVM based code where as everything prior used an old way of delivering OpenGL that I could see Apple dropping even that I’m sure those who do rely on OpenGL have already moved over to OpenGL 3.2 (or higher) or maybe have migrated to Metal.
  8. Stop allowing or expecting third party developers to control parts of the application Ui that quite frankly they should have nothing to od with – the window management should be part of the system itself and it shouldn’t be an opt in situation where developers have to make their application compatible rather than the application automatically inheriting the change. Just take a look in house built modern applications that still need to be hand coded to take advantage of new features. At some point the operating system, not the developer, should be dealing with many functions that Microsoft have expected their parties to deal with resulting in the mess that exists today.

Well, that was relatively quick – I put my router, switch and cloud key up on a technology website I frequent and within a few hours it was sold and today I sent it off via courier. I’m looking forward to Ubiquiti releasing the update that brings UDM and UDM Pro into line but so far things have been pretty good over the last 24 hours.

I’m looking forward to 22 June when WWDC 2020 starts. Interesting enough there haven’t been many leaks so far other than iOS 14 rumours based on analysing code and speculation based on past announcements and then there is macOS where the only announcement so far has been the rumour that Messages on macOS will be replaced with a Catalyst version which will bring feature parity between the iOS and macOS platforms when it comes to Messages.

It will be interesting to see how the new development methodology that has been talked about yields positive results for macOS, iOS, tvOS etc.