Interesting thing happened last week, my fibre connection went offline for around 5-10 minutes then came back online – Chorus pushing out a firmware update? Maybe, but everything so far has come back online so I’m a happy lad. There hasn’t been any Ubiquiti updates this week for me UDM or HD AP AC but I think they’re getting close to it – I’m happy that they’re taking their time to ensure that they get it right or at least launch without any glaringly obvious bugs.
I had a wonderful dinner from my local Turkish restaurant – grill chicken, fresh salads, wonderfully puffy rice etc. then to top it up all off a couple of pieces of baklava. This week I grabbed some fish ‘n chips from the local take-away store – one of the few fish ‘n chip stores that really do a good job where large numbers these days try to cut corners and it really shows in the final product.
Something interesting that flew below the radar was the announcement as part of Biden’s tax policy was the idea of a global 21% minimum tax (link) and when I heard it I was wondering how it work but it turns out that it’ll work exactly the way I expected. Lets assume that an US based company makes tractors, on paper the company has an office in a country that charges 15% tax, so what will happen is that the office in the country that pays 15% will ‘sell’ their US based office a tractor at the retail price and then sell it at the same price it was bought in at resulting in no profit being made by the US office which reduces the tax but because the tax is calculated on the world wide profits then things start to get interesting.
It’ll be interesting to see the 21% minimum global tax interacts with the 28% US business tax – will at some point the 21% become the minimum effective tax rate? Sounds like a good start if it did. Janet Yellen talked about having a minimum global tax rate – imaging having a minimum effective tax rate of 21% and tariffs on countries that don’t abide to that minimum effective tax rate. If we really want to fix up the situation of income inequality then we really need to deal with those at the top avoiding paying their fair share – paying taxes in proportion to the benefits that they get from the society they exploit.
Good Friday was a nice day off but I’m excited that I’ve got my annual leave sorted out which will be from 2 June to 16 June – covering the WWDC21 which has been rumoured to be a big year and then add to that the announcement of ARMv9, it will be interesting to see what is announced. I don’t expect any sort of hardware announcement but I could imagine some big software announcements particularly around the macOS underpinnings – closing off the kernel to third party extensions as Apple finish up providing the last remaining username based API’s that developers have been eating for so then they can move their driver out of kernel space to user space.
Another week comes to an end and looking forward for the coming week – looking forward to Ubiquiti releasing a new firmware for my HD AC access point which comes with a new firmware, driver etc. which apparently will improve throughput, add WPA3 capabilities etc. so I’m looking forward to that being released. I’ve decided through that I’m going to keep my old Skinny number and focus on getting my life sorted out and once that is done I’ll move back to Skinny Mobile since it offers the best deal (I’m sticking with Skinny Broadband for the exact reason along with the fact that I don’t have to mess around with VLAN tagging and all the fun that comes with that territory).
I’ve gone back to using MarsEdit – the good side is that it is Apple Silicon native along with all the other applications I have. I was reading an article linked on Reddit to Apple Insider where the author was complaining about how developers aren’t porting their application fast enough – all while ignoring what the migration from PowerPC to x86 was a lot more rocky – I remember how long it took for Microsoft to release a x86 native installer even though the bundled applications were universal binaries, then there were many big name applications that didn’t come for at least 1 1/2 to 2 years after the launch – the fact that we’re getting beta releases even at this stage is a damn site better than what it was back with the last transition..
Things for National keep going from bad to worse and once again they flirt with the hard right, the electorate will reject them and then eventually a moderate person like a John Key will emerge out of the wilderness. With all that being said, lets remember that National only has at their disposal what I like to call ‘the four step tango’ which consists of 1) Tax cut 2) Deregulation 3) Privatisation 4) Build a road – look back at least 50 years and you’ll find that theory is proven time and time again. Lets hope that Labour finally grows some stones and make the necessary investments instead of being a watered down National Party with a leader that loves talking about how much their administration cares.
The end of another weekend but things have gone well – cleaning the house inside and out along with the great weather meaning I can open ever door and window t0 give the house a good airing. All the washing sorted out, a nice home cooked meal of fish, mashed potatoes and baby carrots with garlic butter over the top. Nothing better than after a long week at work to be able to have a nice home cooked meal which can be enjoyed rather than rushed as with the case of when one is at work and having to squeeze it in a 30 minute break time.
My sisters MacBook Air of 8 years has finally died – the SSD storage suddenly died in that it is not detectable by a USB thumb drive, the firmware itself cannot locate the build in storage. On a good side, she was smart and bought the MacBook Air ‘Apple Silicon’ so I had the honour of being able to experience ‘Apple Silicon’ first hand. I installed all the latest updates and afterwards I was able to experience ‘Apple Silicon’ the way it was intended (with most of the teething problems addressed by the updates). If this is any indication of where Apple is going then the future of the Mac platform is going to be awesome.
Ubiquiti is still working on a new firmware for UDM which includes WPA3 support built into the new Unifi Controller along with the Unifi AP AC HD receiving a new firmware update although as I’ve noted before, when I upgrade my MacBook Pro and iMac to Apple Silicon versions, I will upgrade my access point to Wifi 6 and then install my old access point in mum’s house which will help with improved wifi coverage.
Apple has released the Big Sur 11.2 – I’ve upgraded my iMac and MacBook Pro, and as noted earlier on today the issue regarding scrolling and video playback on YouTube has been fixed which means I can now go back to use the stable build of Safari rather than using the beta/technology build (although I do hope that Apple get their act sorted and make Safari 14.1 available since the scrolling is buttery smooth and a lot faster than Safari 14.0.3). The update also updated the firmware for both devices – most likely including the latest microcode update from Intel along with any optimisations to the kernel to help mitigate any performance penalties associated with the fix (in much the same way that Google created the Retpoline fix to deal with the Spectre variant 2 fix slow downs related to the microcode fix).
Speculation is building about Apple having a spring release of the next wave of refreshes which will bring Apple silicon to more devices. The technology blogs have picked up on an Apple patent regarding multi-level memory (link) which appears to be pointing to a future where Mac Pro’s for example will have super fast on SoC memory with the ability to expand it further via slots which won’t be as fast as SoC based memory but with enough wizardry in the background of swapping things around in the background, Pros will get the advantages of the new SoC with non of the downsides. I think the big question though is how Apple is going to deal with the GPU given that although so far it has performed great against other similar embedded SoC based GPUs, will they stick with discrete GPU’s as an option so that the system switches between the Apple GPU and the discrete GPU based on system demands? I guess in the coming months we’ll find out.
Next week I’m going to take a couple of days off from work (10th and 11th) since I had some lieu days earned. Normally I would cash them out and pocket the money but alas given what the economy has gone through, the business has had to tighten up – I was lucky that I was able to cash in a week of holidays before the email came out which put an end to that practice due to tough trading conditions. Regarding WWDC 2021, assuming that the vaccinations get off the ground and most of society gets back to normal then hopefully that’ll mean I’ll take a week off in June to geek out watching the various sessions regarding the enhancements to the next version of macOS. I think the interesting part will be the under the hood changes particularly around closing off access to the kernel by third parties as Apple replace the various frameworks in the kernel with a user space extension/driver model. It also makes me wonder wether that move is also an indication that Apple will start moving drivers out of the kernel so that, not that they’re aiming for some Mach purity, reducing the amount of code that needs to be running in the kernel kept to the bare minimum which will help reduce the surface attack area.
I finally got around to picking up the Turkish delight I bought online (locally made) and OMG the last few days have beeb absolute heaven. All the flavours are naturally sourced, nothing weird of strange in the ingredients – the Manuka honey was amazing and the rose was absolutely divine. I don’t normally buy sweets but when I do I tend to go for the ‘shop shelf’ stuff so that I can really enjoy it (in much the same way I might only have ice cream every 1-2 months but when I do I get really fancy ice cream such as Kapiti Coast).
Tonight I’m going to have some a couple of tacos and burritos from my local Mexican inspired take away store and have them delivered. If there was one change that has come out of the whole COVID-19 crisis it has been the growth in delivery services and couriers upping their game when it comes to online deliveries. Before the COVID-19 deliveries were pretty much limited to Pizza, Indian and KFC experimenting with their menu for delivery but these days, anything you can imagine can probably be delivered.
The tacos and burritos arrived just then – munched those down while watching some YouTube videos (I like watching those renovation rescue shows where they take a horror of a house and transform it). Yeah, I have YouTube Premium – it isn’t until you’ve had YouTube Premium for a while then start using YouTube at work (since we use G Suite at work) when you realise just how many ads there are which one avoid when having a premium subscription.
One more day to go and then the end of the week – an early start tomorrow (at least for me) at 9:30am tomorrow then off at 6:00pm. I think I might treat myself to something for dinner and grab some movies to watch (either rent them via Apple or jump on Netflix or Neon) along with catching up with the news.
I find it funny that people are playing the victim when it comes to the latest round of right wing noise makers being kicked off then platform. I’ve made my point on Twitter pretty clear by holding the right to the very same standard that they themselves set down. The right were all over the issue of ‘freedom’ when a baker defused to bake a cake for a gay couple with the right wing claiming the it was their right as a private business to decide who they wish to have as a customer. Well, here is the problem, Twitter and Facebook (along with others) have decided that the toxicity of the far right fringe conspiracy theorist fruitcakes isn’t a customer base they wish to cater for and as such they cancelled their accounts – so where is the the problem? Twitter and Facebook are private organisations and using the right wing’s logic, shouldn’t they have the right to decide who they allow on their platform just like the baker who decides whether or not to bake a cake for a particular customer?
Then comes then even more half baked argument which is the comparison of Twitter and Facebook to ‘the town square’ all while ignoring the fact that there are numerous alternatives to Twitter and Facebook; WT.Social, Mastodon, Diaspora (link) and when it comes to YouTube alternatives there is Vimeo, Liveleak, Daily motion (link) not to mention the fact that billionaires bankroll numerous right wing outlets like Dailywire, Breitbart, Turning Point USA etc. so what is stopping the building of a datacenter and launching a self hosting social network where all the ‘freeze peach’ warriors can sit around furiously jerking each other off for eternity?
None of this should be surprising, these are the same people who claim that ‘blue lives matter’ but the moment that the mob realised that the police are on the side of upholding the law and not supporting the Trump cult is the moment they turned on them as seen by the Capitol Hill riot that took place. Many police also found out quickly that many coworkers were on the wrong side of that riot on their time off – the sort of experience might provide the necessary momentum by the institution itself for policy reform in the United States. When off duty police are turning up to riot then serious questions need to be asked about the sort of people the profession is attracting and how that is leading to the negative outcomes in police targeting black and latino in the communities they patrol.
Could all of what took place been avoided? yes, as Thom Hartmann noted regarding the white paper that was put out in 2008/2009:
I remember when the report came out – the hysterical whining from the likes of Glenn Beck claiming it was ‘targeting the tea party’ and ‘Obama is against freedom’ not to mention the concerted effort by right wing outlets to portray militia members as just “middle class mums and dads concerned about the future of the US and wanting to become politically active”. The question is whether the American public will learn anything from this episode – in New Zealand we learned very quickly after having Muldoon run the country into the ground (on the verge of bankruptcy) which necessitated the radical neoliberal reforms of the 1980s to get the ship back on course so as a result we’ve never voted in a big talking loud mouth like him again – the question is whether the US will learn that lesson? something tells me that given the average American’s propensity of only remembering things from less than 2 years ago that in 2 years time in the mid terms the Republican will rebrand themselves and gain a majority in either one or both houses in congress then obstruct like they did for 6 years under Obama. Nothing learnt at all – in one ear, out the other.
Work has been crazy this week – you’d think with the extra hands on deck due to people getting back from their annual leave that the load would be reduced but not so. I can’t go into more detail but I hope that eventually we’ll get through this patch and things will get back to normal. On a good side, I had a check of the number of hours of annual leave I have available, at the rate things are going, by the time June rolls around I’ll probably have almost a month in leave so I might end up going ‘all in’ and having 2-3 weeks off over June so I can enjoy WWDC, maybe even splash out on a Mac if the new Apple Silicon Mac’s have arrived – I’ll be looking at upgrading both my iMac and MacBook Pro – I’ve currently got a 15″ so I’d be looking forward to getting a 16″ model.
I’ve been following the news even though every time I read or watch something I feel my blood pressure rise as I cannot fathom the ridiculous nature of those who engage in conspiracy theories to justify the unjustifiable. Joe Biden won the election – end of story but of course thee are conspiracy theorists who claim that he stole the election (while ignoring the fact that the election is controlled by the states which would require the majority of the states to be ‘in on it’ (we all know the rule about conspiracy theories – the more people involved the less likely it can be kept a secret)) while ignoring the most obvious flaw – if one were to steal an election then wouldn’t one go all the way and flip the senate? why have a nail biting run off in Georgia? why not flip more state houses to ensure that gerrymandering on a census year is undone when the areas are redistricted? wouldn’t it also bring into question the election over all in general – can we trust that Mitch McConnell really won his seat then? this is what happens when you have conspiracy theorists and run of the mill idiots spewing their half baked opinions, they never follow the chain of events that would unfold if one were to take their theories seriously.
The start of a new year and a start of clearing out the old and starting a fresh new outlook on the year. The first thing I did was getting some omega 3 in the diet with flaxseed being the one with the most packed inside while being at a reasonable price. It was something that I used to take each morning but I got lazy but the funny thing is that after almost 2 weeks on having a tablespoon each morning along side my breakfast I’ve started to feel a lot better – then combine that with limiting the amount of vegetable oil (particularly canola – for some reason it has a smell and taste that I’ve started to dislike) I take in (looking at the ingredients of the packet) I’m feeling a lot better than I did before the change.
With grocery shopping, I’m deciding to have more variety than when I would just eat the same type of thing every day – with more variety means less likelihood to buy take aways because I am bored of what is available at home. On a good side I found some great simmer sauces with one being perfect for a chicken stroganoff although I might some extra mushrooms in – lets hope that this week they have a good deal on chicken breasts. I used to have dinner at work on the days I finished at 6pm but I’ve decided that on Friday and Saturday when I work late (till 8pm) I’ll stick with soups or a risotto of some sort with the other days I’ll just wait till I get home – I’ve just got to remember to get it out of the freezer the night before when it comes to things like sausages so then they’re defrosted by the time I get home.
Christmas appear to have come early with Ubiquiti releasing the 1.8.4 firmware update for the Unifi Dream Machine (both the base and pro models) which bumps up the version numbers of the various components plus bug fixes. For me I am pretty happy with how my UDM is behaving how that they’ve stabilised the ‘base’ build which the UDM standard uses – in the new year I’ll look at moving from Skinny to Spark given that there is next to no difference in price plus it enables me to have everything on the same bill. The other thing I am looking forward to is Ubiquiti releasing a Wi-Fi 6 access point (the UniFi 6 Long-Range Access Point looks like a good replacement) to replace my existing access point as I eventually look long term to replace my MacBook Pro and iMac along with upgrading my Apple TV to the much rumoured replacement which will also have Wi-Fi 6 support.
Rumours are circulating about Apple working on their own modem but at this point I think that is more or less pointing out the blatantly obvious. It wouldn’t be surprising if, when Apple bought the Intel modem devision, they were already working on 5G support and then later to flag it because they didn’t believe the amount required to develop it and subsequent sales would marry up. With all that being said, the one thing I do one is whether there is a long term viability for supporting 5G on frequencies about 6GHz given that all the international deployments of 5G have been on the sub-6GHz band with the instances of mmWave (higher than 6GHz) being used for point to point fixed wireless internet which Qualcomm recently tested in Australia (link). Don’t get my wrong, I think that mmWave for point to point fixed wireless internet could be a great alternative for those areas that want ‘fibre-like speeds’ but it is uneconomically viable to run fibre to their premises but I simply don’t see mmWave being a useful technology on mobile phones other than it being used as a tick box and a something for the non-technologically inclined to boast about when comparing their phone to work mates phone when they’re chatting around the water cooler at work.
Over the last few days I’ve been going for a ride around where I live and I am amazed at the number of new houses that are bing built. For example, hearing towards Taita on the land where an old church used to be there is a new housing development, and chatting with my sisters partner he is talking about how they’ve got more jobs than people able to finish it. Then there is the recent announcement of the government looking at reorganising local government regarding water (link) along with the fact that decades of underinvestment has left an infrastructure deficit that is only going to get worse as there is great urbanisation, existing sections are subdivided resulting in infrastructure designed for a set number of houses now resulting in more houses in the same plot of land making greater use when compared to what it was originally designed for. It’ll be interesting to see whether that consolodation and will translate into greater investment now that the government can leverage the balance sheet of the central bank to upgrade the infrastructure. Another thing I do hope they do is buy the council housing off councils and put it under the stewardship of ‘Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities’ (formally known as Housing New Zealand) – councils being able to reduce their debt burden by taking a maintenance item off their budget while still ensuring that those who need social housing are able to access it.
Watching a video about Chrome once again causing pain to end users but this time it is in the form of the updater that resides in the background but resulting in high CPU utilisation by WindowServer. Rather than this being an example of a bug, I feel it is an example of a much larger issue at play which goes right back to when Google decided to take webkit in a different direction with the forking of the code thus creating the ‘Blink’ browsing engine which sits at the heart of Chrome.
It comes down to two areas where webkit and blink diverge. The first being that although Chrome was the first to deliver a multiprocess model that was delivered via ‘bruit force’ when compared to Webkit2 which bought the multiprocess model to the Webkit platform (link). The net result of the design differences translates to a browser that is light weight whose memory usage doesn’t go through the roof the more tabs that are open.
The second area is the differences in developing their code base, from the outside it appears that Google has a ‘add features now, sort out the lack of optimisation later’ where as with Apple, there are constant benchmarks after each nightly compile to check whether there not only have been compatibility regressions but also ensure there have been no performance regressions. Although Apple hasn’t added as many HTML5 features as Google the upswing is that when they are added they don’t bloat Safari meaning that features are added but there is no (or not noticeable) performance hit.
Back to how things are going in my life – I’m 90% of the way there getting holiday presents sorted for my nieces with now the only thing left to do is wait for the desert to he delivered on Tuesday next week and once that arrives I’ll buy some alcohol for the BBQ and get together with family. The eldest one is easy to buy for, the youngest is also easy to buy for but the middle one – there is a reason why I prefer being the ‘cool single uncle’, once the middle one gets old enough then I’ll start giving vouchers.
One thing that I wasn’t expecting this morning was the release of updates from Apple – iOS 14.3 (which updated the modem firmware from 1.14.06 to 1.31.03-05 with the Spark carrier settings updated from 44.0 to 45.0. So far things have been very reliable. When it came to macOS and tvOS (along with iOS) I did a clean install and everything is very robust.