Some thoughts on the price of capitalism

One more day to go – something I need to remember that if I am going to do overtime that I need to get to sleep earlier so then I’m able to fully recover for the next day. Last night I didn’t get to seep until around 3am and I had to get up at 10am to get to work by 11am – an extra hour of sleep would have really helped. That being said, I’m putting my name in for more hours – taking my iron pill each morning so that I keep up my immune system going into winter as to avoid getting sick like last year.

In the lead up to Anzac Day I think it is important to realise that what happened at Gallipoli serve as a reminder to future generations not to get sucked into being the cannon fodder for imperial powers playing out their family feuds with the blood and treasure of the working class all whilst ginning up their population on the hatred of the other. Three arrows does a great video about this very issue:

As cliche as it sounds – “The first casualty when war comes is truth” (attributed to Senator Hiram Johnson in 1917). Yes, it is a time to morn the dead but out of that morning should be a reminder to the future generations not to make the same mistakes. It is today unfortunately that once again we have the powers that be bending over backwards sucking up to the United States especially when one considers the American public completely clueless as to the impact of their voting decisions by deciding to vote in Donald Trump. While all this is happening we are have the usual foreign affairs experts and defence analysts in New Zealand believing that our lot still resides with a country who can’t accept that their century of dominance is coming to an end – no matter how many of the US based experts keep going on Bloomberg or CNBC to claim that the Chinese economy is about to spontaneously combust at any moment.

I’m watching at the moment the documentary called ‘The True Cost’ which investigates the environmental and social impact of the fashion industry. It is important to recognise the difference between what one could be called the traditional fashion industry vs. what has become known today as ‘fast fashion’. It is amazing when I hear people, even the political party I am a member of, keep convincing themselves that what we need is a ‘kinder, gentler capitalism’ instead of what we actually need to do – get rid of capitalism entirely. Just as you cannot live with ‘just a little bit of cancer’ you cannot live with a ‘little bit of capitalism’ because like a cancer it’ll eventually spread even with the best of intentions of trying to contain it.

The best example of that was the period from the end of WWII and the late 1970s where there was a consensus built around the idea of social democracy – to ensure that the gap between those at the top and those at the bottom didn’t widen to the extant as seen during the gilded age, that there were high taxes on high income earners and so on. Well, what happened? Like a cancer, the moment that those who had the money and power saw a weakness they started funding think tanks and academics (so-called ‘academics’ that were considered cranks by the mainstream economists but only kept their jobs because the rich and powerful kept propping up said fatalities etc due to large donations to said universities) but thanks to the rise of Reagan and Thatcher which came as a result of the stagnation of the 1970s (along with the lack of a serious critique and solution by the left) there was an opening provided to the right wing to re-emerge on the scene after a long period of dormancy. Here we are almost 40 years later and now dealing with the consequences in much the same way that the silent generation built the modern welfare state in response to what they saw and didn’t want their own off spring having to deal with.

The week going well so far…

So the week is going well so far with the overtime that I did on Tuesday – I’m squeezing in an extra day each week along with some extra hours elsewhere in the week until I have 9 days off at the beginning of June. My big focus is to be debt free before I’m 40 – I’ll get there before then but I also want to keep my goals realistic which include building in enough of a buffer that if the old proverbial does hit the fan then I’ve got enough wiggle room to manoeuvre my way out of it. At the rate things are going at today I’ll pay off my student loan the end of this year but what I’m hoping to do is with some over time over the next year – picking up an extra days or extra hours where I can that I’ll get it done quicker where I can move onto the next target then eventually I’ll be in a position where I can sit back and plan for a trip overseas etc.

It appears that the IRD are going to upgrade their system – I guess that is part of the larger multi-year strategy of pushing as much as possible online which will hopefully mean that tax returns for someone like me (a basic income earner) will become a thing of the past. Under the present system (before the upgrade) you log into IRD and complete a PTS which is then processed then you’re told whether you owe the government money or whether the government owes you money.

I’ve recently had double glazed windows installed and they’re working beautifully – I’m sitting around mid April and I haven’t needed to turn on the heater once – I’m hoping that if I can make it through to June without needing to turn on a heater then it’ll work out saving $100 – and with the improved insulation it should mean lower power bills even when the heater is on.

An organised home, and organised life

So I’m almost at the end of the week but on the good side I’m cramming as much overtime as I can in before I go on my break from 1 to 9 June this year – earn whole lot of money and use it to get myself into a better financial situation.  Basically if I can nail down 2 months of over time then that’ll get my closer to my goal and thus life is a lot easier for me in the long run.

Finished work tonight and finally got my act together in terms of completing some washing, hoovering the house, and other domestic chores to get the place in good order. Winter is going along with a vengeance but funny enough even tonight at 8℃ my house isn’t as cold as I expected since I’ve got double glazed windows doing a pretty good job to hold in the heat. When I get home tomorrow night/tonight after work I’ll fold everything up and organise my bedroom so it is more organised – an organised home is an organised life as they say.

Looking forward to WWDC with rumours that iTunes is going to be broken down into various parts – hopefully we’ll send up seeing it happen because god knows iTunes is trying to be everything to everyone resulting in a bloated convoluted piece of software that is only made worse the larger your music library gets. Regarding ripping, IMHO XLD does a lot better job.

There is also the other part that’ll make for interesting conversation and that is the removal of legacy components with 10.15 which makes me wonder what is going to happen in the case of XLD which makes references to QuickTime – given that is replaced with AV Foundation and AV Kit I hope that is work being done to shed that reliance on legacy technology so that in 6-7 months time that it’ll be all ready to run on 10.15.

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.

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).

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.

Two more days to go then the weekend

At work and at home I’m been getting better disciplined and focused on at work as well as at home – more reading rather than just mindless doodling on the internet for starters including when I’m at work on my break where as before I would surf the internet on my break but I would get into a bad habit of doing it while working thus making me distracted so I want to draw that clear distinction where at work I work and on my break I read my book to relax – right now I’m reading through the book Chomsky on Anarchism (a collection of essays in paperback form). I really do need to get back into reading because I’ve got so many books that I have yet to read and maybe next week (or the week after) I’ll invest in getting a nice bed side lamp so then I can do some reading before going to sleep – a great way to unwind after work.

There has been a lot of buzz made about the folding phones that were shown off by Huawei and Samsung at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) and the usual suspects come out of the woodworks claiming that Apple is behind the curve but I have to ask, and I don’t want to sound like a grumpy old man, have we see ‘game changing technology’ only to crash and burn when they actually get out into the real world. Anyone remember how 3D televisions were going to be the next big thing? Well, do you see television vendors boasting about their 3D capabilities these days? Remember curved displays? Apart from it being a niche in the monitor world, where are all these curved televisions that the talking heads in the technology press were claiming would be the future of entertainment?

Well, here we are with the latest crop of pointless technology gizmos that sound great in the lab but here is the problem or more correctly, what problem do they actually solve? A consumer has a problem and it is up to the business to come up to a solution to the problem either by recognising the problem or recognising how ever day activities could be made easier (not that doing it the old way was ‘problem’ per se but rather something to make life easier). I’m siting here asking, “what problem does it actually solve”? And the answer is nothing – it is a novelty that fails to address the core fundamental problem with Samsung and Huawei products – that their software is poorly maintained both when it comes to regular security updates not to mention the long times between Android being released and it being made available to consumers as an upgrade not to mention the abysmal support policy where as with iPhone I over 5 years of software updates where as with the latest Samsung flagship I am lucky to get 2 years – close to the same price point and all I get from Samsung is 2 years support and Samsung Cloud garbage rammed down by throat? Oh, but apparently all that can be ignored because “oooh, it’s a folding phone!’. Call me old fashioned but maybe Samsung and Huawei should focus on getting the fundamentals right before branching out to novelty phones that have all the usefulness as lights in the back of ones sneakers or those kids sneakers with wheels in the back of them.

Regarding iCloud, I am hoping that with the big push into services that we’ll see more investment into iCloud beyond it just being a functional cloud service into something that is a lot more feature rich but I wonder whether part of work involves making major investments into Safari given that Safari 12.0.3 that comes with macOS 10.14.3 sits at 468 points but based on what I have read on numerous forums, 10.14.4 will come with Safari 12.1 which has a score of 499 points with rumours that the Safari that is being worked on for the next release of iOS and macOS will have major performance improvements as well as standards compliance. This increased standards compliance points to maybe an overhaul in their own cloud services but I guess at this point it is all speculation until there is a formal announcement.