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.

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).


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.

Personal · Technology

Back to Safari and Apple TV.

Well, I’m back to using Safari and I’m finding the overall experience pretty good given all the new features, bug fixes and optimisations that were introduced in Safari 16.4 and the next version is looking even better based on the latest release notes (link). Although Chrome has its benefits I still find that the integration is lacking particularly when it comes to the ability to select text in pictures, to right click and then translate the text. I have noticed that there have been some improvements in performance and reduced bugginess – I am wondering that as part of the move to improve interoperability between the different browsers resulting in Google updating their own websites that may have used nonstandardised ways of doing something and instead updating so that they better conform to those harmonised implementations.

I finally gave in and bought an Apple TV 128GB with internet and wifi because I had enough of how slow and laggy it was and no I’m not going to buy an Nvidia shield given that the hardware is out of date and still has the same sort of lag – maybe not as bad as the Chromecast with Google TV but still pretty bad when compared to the Apple TV. I wantt to give Android a fair shot but each time I am disappointed and it isn’t as though Google is ignorant of these issues but time and time again they match a hungry operating system with underwhelming hardware then they act surprised when they experience customers get is pretty subpar.

I’m looking at getting an iPhone 14 Pro Max in June/July this year – although therre is the tempotation of wanting to wait for the latest version of a particular product while the other side of the argument is that new devices come with new bugs where as an existing device has been in production for a while, software updates have been released etc. The Nothing Phone has been great but there are so many features I miss – iMessage, battery life, the abilty to install web browser extensions etc. 

Personal · Technology

Big clean up and the coming weekend.

It appears that thanks to an accidental leak that the next version of the Nothing Phone will be utilising the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 – although it is a generation behind the one thing to remember is that only the big vendors have access to the latest generation due to being able to buy up in bulk a large number of units. I don’t think there will be a huge difference between Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Gen 2 other than the benchmark enthusiasts. Carl Pei has gotten the old development group back together again so hopefully we’ll see Android 14 making the way onto the Nothing Phone 1 and 2 (I’m assuming that the Nothing Phone 2 will launch before Android 14 stable is released).

Android 14 Developer Preview 2 was released a few days ago (link) but I’d say there will be more details at the Google I/O on 10 May 2023 – it will interesting to see what happens with the big privacy push particularly around third party tracking and cookies in light of the work that Google is doing around Topics API where rather than tracking then forming a profile there is a sandboxed anonymised set of interests that developers can then use regarding what ads should be shown to a particular end user. In a perfect world Apple and Google would standardise on something that both Apple and Google can live with – that can preserve privacy while ensuring that the ads being presented to the user are relevant.

Chrome 111 was released recently and everything is going well – what keeps me on Chrome isn’t just the performance (and the improved memory and power efficiency) but also the third party extension ecosystem. I only have one extension installed and that is uBlock Origin – although Google has been talking about phasing out MV2 in favour of MV3, they’ve kicked the can down the road a few times to now they no longer have a solid date. Long story short, it is easy to make an announcement but it is difficult to stick to it when you make an announcement before talking to all the stakeholders whose extension would no longer work because what is what they depend on MV2 no longer exists in MV3 – the WebExtensions Community Group minutes give a good insight. I think what is going to happen is that they’ll do a piecemeal deprecation of components. IMHO, there is no hurry, take your time and ensure you get it done correctly.

Although I am having some ‘homesickness’ about breaking out of the iCloud/Apple ecosystem I am still enjoying the Nothing Phone, Chrome, Google Workspace etc. so I guess it is the jarring experience of having been using something for over a decade then abruptly changing then finding the experience is disconcerting as one adjusts to the new way of doing things.

Watching the news regarding the SVB, Signature Bank and Silvergate Bank, and once again the right wing are looking to find distractions to move the conversation away from yet another example of Trump era deregulation coming back to bite the public on the backside. Unfortunately in the political world there is a lag between a policy being enacted and for the downstream effects of such a policy to materialise in the real world. It is one of the reasons why I would like to see longer parliamentary terms in New Zealand – move from 3 year terms to maybe 4 or 5 year terms which would encourage more long term planning not to mention giving enough time for voters to see the outcome of the policies so they can then make an assessment whether to vote for said party again.

Personal · Politics

Safari isn’t so bad after all.

I’ve moved back to Safari as my main browser (I still keep Chrome around because my work uses Google Workspace – using Chrome integrates me into work so I have access to the saved passwords, bookmarks etc). The bigger decision is moving back to the Apple ecosystem and by that I mean moving back to the iPhone and AppleTV. The first step will be AppleTV because unfortunately the way in which Google has setup their home software is that I cannot access it from my laptop or desktop along with the insistence of Google Home going through Arlo’s own service rather than providing a hub for the security cameras themselves as with the case of Apple and how the AppleTV acts as a hub which in turn allows me to then open the Apple Home application on macOS to be able to check things out. There are also limitations to the Google Home application, for example, it doesn’t inform the end user of the battery life so one cannot keep track of how low the battery is then being able to guesstimate how much time until one needs to recharge it.

Although I love my Nothing Phone the big problem when reviewers review phones, apart from their obsession over the camera, is the ecosystem in which the device is integrated into. In many cases it is the ecosystem that drives adoption forward of a given device and once a customer has a number of devices integrated into that ecosystem then the customer becomes used to the frictionless integration thus anything that ends up breaking that frictionless integration makes the overall experience more jarring.The big question is whether I wait for the iPhone 15 to appear or whether I just go with the iPhone 14 given that the difference isn’t going to be that extraordinary – we’re in the age of refinement and incremental improvements rather than the massive leaps where moving from one generation to another offered giant leaps but these days most people are updating maybe every 3-5 years (probably closer to 4 years for many people).

Regarding the world of politics, I have to admit I am sitting back and watching the whole Fox News, Dominion Voting Systems saga it is interesting seeing how the various high profile names are dealing with it – throwing each other under the bus to absolve themselves of responsibility. What I find particularly interesting is post 2020 election where Fox News called Arizona for Joe Biden saw their view ship move to OAN and NewsMax – then suddenly all the hosts started to change their tune to give the audience what they wanted. Oh to be a fly on the wall and see the discussions taking place, I wonder whether any of the big names were all onboard with maybe pushing the envelop but were concerned with giving ‘the crazies’ a platform resulting in not only Fox News being impact but also themselves given that many have jobs outside of Fox News such as Sean Hannity who has his own radio show.

The reason why I raise this is because if things get a bit spicy then those networks syndicating Sean Hannity’s radio show (along with other hosts that have their own radio shows and podcasts) might be concerned that what is being said on Fox News might make it’s way onto their radio network thus potentially exposing them to trouble some time down the track. This is where I think that maybe some of the big stars may cut their losses and the big question is what is going to happen with Fox News going forward – do they shut down the channel and relaunch a new channel in it’s place with a focus on not repeating the mistake of the past? the reason why I ask is because I think back to people who have gone to the crazy end of town then realising what they had done to then try and back pedal only to find that the audience they lost in their move to the extreme aren’t coming back and those on the extreme will either abandon them by labelling them as a sell out or find people who are willing to go even more extreme.

Side note: Although Fox News likes to boast about being number one cable channel but one thing to remember is that the media in the US is very fractured with Fox News as of 2022 having an average view ship size of 1.996 million – the average house hold size is 3.13 and a population of 331 million meaning that there are around 100 million households meaning Fox News gets around 2% of households watching their channel. When you break down the numbers it isn’t as impressive as the marketing make it out to be. That doesn’t even touch on the fact that the demographics are certainly not on their side with Fox News (their audience skews towards older demographics) along with not giving numbers on the number of subscribers using Fox Nation – their service that is apparently trying to win over Gen Y and Z. If their numbers were great then it would make sense that they would boast about it at almost every opportunity but from what it appears the fact that the only data has been guesses by analysts and the downplaying it as a ‘companion service’ (link) (I’m using a Google Cache link because the original website forces you to create an account):

Fox News had a business model that worked for 26 years but maybe it is past it’s ‘use by date’ with a core demographic dying off and the new generations coming through that are less and less socially conservative and reactionary resulting in the question – what does Fox News do? where trotting out the ‘socialism’ and ‘communism’ boogyman might get the low information voters and those raised during the Red Scare but hardly an audience size that advertisers are willing to spend money targeting.


Weeding never ends.

Sigh, even with the concrete backyard with limited flower beds I really loath having to weed them – I am getting to the point that I think I’m going to get a big bag of weed killer and make it up myself then use my watering can to dispense it then maybe I’ll look at getting some bricks or logs to build up a bed then fill it up with nothing but pebbles to ensure that nothing grows back. That being said, I am also looking at getting maybe some big pots to bring some greenery to the backyard – maybe a lime tree and a lemon tree? I guess I’ll see how it all works out as I tackle other chores around the home.

Went to the supermarket tonight and grabbed some chicken, burger buns and some tomato – home made chicken burger. The chicken I get is a frozen chicken fillet and it actually tastes really nice – like actual chicken because it is actually a chicken proper chicken breast rather than a processed patty. I’ve got some red onions (why do we call them red onions when they’re purple in colour? I guess that is a discussion for a different day) etc. I cooked them all up and they were wonderful. In future I might do a chicken cranberry and brie burger but I’ll keep that for a winter day when the comfort food is most needed.

Went grocery shopping tonight – grabbed the essentials along with a punnet of cherry tomatoes that are super sweet. I’m not too sure whether it is just me but I’ve found strawberries have become less flavourful and sweet where as cherry tomatoes are sweet and more tasty hence if I feel that I need to satisfy my sweet tooth I’d sooner have some cherry tomatoes instead. They say that as you get older your taste buds become less sensitive so maybe that is the reason – oh well.

Personal · Technology

So I caved in.

I’ve tried avoiding Meta for years but I had to give in because none of my family was willing to move to Signal. Ideally we’d all be using iMessage except my sister has disabled it because her and her partner share the same iCloud account which apparently causes them problem, I have a Nothing Phone, brother and partner use iPhones, mum has an iPhone – basically the only unifying messaging solution is WhatsApp. In a perfect world I would have preferred to stick with Signal but unfortunately a messaging application is kind of useless when all the family is using WhatsApp. It’s one of the reasons why the “just stop using xyz platform” because for many the platform is the only means given the reluctance by so many to consider alternatives.

Personally I think the best thing that could happen would be for Meta to be broken up into four separate companies: WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and AR/VR Metaverse with Facebook and Instagram required to implement the ActivityPub protocol so that the ‘walled in’ problem of society networks can be undone by forcing them to federate thus allowing people to use alternatives while still being able to communicate (regarding the Metaverse and WhatsApp (along with Twitter – assuming Elon Musk doesn’t run it into the ground before it is regulated), if they can be federated as well then then that would be great too).

Almost a week and Android 13/Nothing 1.5.2 has been a solid update. As someone who keeps track of Android development, being the first isn’t always the best and I’ve seen my fair share of early releases only for end users to quickly upgrade then get angry that the update has broken something or there are numerous bugs such as the OxygenOS 12 for OnePlus 9 series. There is an old saying, you only get one chance to make a good impression which is why I would sooner wait a few months for the long hanging bugs to be addressed so when it does release if there are bugs they aren’t show stopper bugs that makes ones device next to unusable or so unreliable it cannot be trusted.

What has been interesting regarding Android 13 (and even Android 12) is how Android (like iOS) has moved from making giant leaps to now the focus is on under the hood improvements and quality of life improvements in the area of user visible changes (link). There hasn’t been a blog post for Android 14 over on but that is most likely due to the first developer previews being pretty light on details – sometimes Google likes to hold back on big features when they make the official announcement particularly those that are still up in the air regarding whether they’ll be ready in time to make it into Android 14.

Politics in New Zealand is a nightmare and it appears that the National/ACT are doing the same old four step tango: 1) Tax cuts 2) Deregulation 3) Privatisation 4) Build a road. We’re in a climate emergency and this isn’t the time to give tax cuts to the top end of town when we need ‘all hands on deck’ to deal with not only cutting with GHG emissions but also dealing with the consequences that are already baked in due to past GHG emissions put into the atmosphere. Although on the left there are politicians fighting the good fight, on the right they’ve pretty much given up trying to deal with GHG (not that they ever put any real effort into it in the first place) in favour of “prepare the best we can and hold tight” which fails to address the fact that things will keep getting worse the more GHG emissions we put in the atmosphere. Sigh, adaptation is not a substitute for action but it appears that for some it allows them to keep their corporate masters happy while giving the unobservant voter the feeling that the care.

Personal · Technology

One more day to go.

One more day to go andd then I can chill out and enjoy my day off but in meantime I’ve uploaded the contents of my external SSD to Google Drive – always best to keep an off site backup just in case. It is something I learned many years ago where I had around 130GB of rare MP3s but because I didn’t back it up, when I had hardware issues with the external hard disk I ended up losing the whole lot of audio files with many of them I couldn’t replace since the source of the MP3 no longer exists (they were out of print vinyl rips). Long story short, I learnt my lesson. The one thing I do like about Google Drive is that the uploading is a lot faster – I’m unsure as to the reason but given that they are working on a New Zealand based data centre, hopefully it’ll translate to improved performance goin forward.

It appears that the downfall of Twitter continues – for weeks it was hovering around 300-400 new accounts per hour and then with the recent changes that were made to the algorithm then followed up with the changes regarding 2FA where non-Twitter Blue members would have to start paying with the only other option being the use of Google Authenticator.