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.

As a year draws to a close it is interesting how the ‘Plan B’ and ‘we should be more like Sweden’ have been quiet we have been enjoying the hard won freedom of eliminating community transmission of COVID-19 which enables us to enjoy the holidays. I always find it funny how the ‘our plan could have done it better’ never eat that much needed humble pie and I don’t expect them to do that any time soon because it appears that those who are given a platform a quick to make claims but very slow (if at all) to show up and admit they got it wrong.. I look over in Europe at what is unfolding – Sweden which has a population twice the size of New Zealand, has had 7993 total deaths which translates to 3997 based on population when compared to New Zealand’s actual total being 22. For those who say, “but your population is 5 million spread out” – incorrect, 60% of New Zealanders reside in 4 cities, 90% reside in 8 cities – in other words, we’re hardly ‘spread out’ and instead very much an urban population.

The ‘Plan B’ types also said it would destroy our economy – well, we had two quarters of contraction (Q1 -1.6%, Q2 -12.2%) followed by a massive rebound (+14.0%) so I’m sitting here wondering once again whether we’re going to hear the doomsayers and ‘Plan B’ types come out and eat a good helping of humble pie especially when one considers what is happening in the UK with the new strain and a second wave going across Europe, the outbreak in NSW (Australia) and continuing disaster that is occurring in the United States. Disaster unfolds and the very people who have been spreading false information disappear the moment that they’re meant to face the music. I hope that this is a warning in to the public in future to remember those who reported news (RNZ) and those who were more interested in pushing a narrative (NZME, Newshub etc).

I know it all sounds kind of negative but it is rather frustrating when those who are given platforms and as a rest result of that platform the ability to sway public opinion on a given matter, I think it is important that those who do spread false information are held accountable even if it is purely in the ‘court of public opinion’.

The craziness of another election is over and Labour won a majority as expected but the biggest shock was the Auckland Central Candidate from the Green Party, Chlöe Swarbrick, won the seat which is the first constituency seat won since Jeanette Fitzsimons won the seat in the Coromandel. Not only that but the Green Party ended up over performing resulting in winning 7.6% of the party vote. Not only was there a Labour win but a political shift to the left with the icing on the cake that Advance NZ and New Conservatives ended up splitting in the reactionary right wing vote resulting in NZ First leaving parliament.

Oh a good side today I received two lots of confirmation, the first being that Kogan is sending me the Pixel 4 XL that I ordered which will hopefully arrive by early November. The second good news is that my brother tested the Chromecast at home has sent it so hopefully that too will arrive by early November.

Along with that I am looking at the possibility of moving to Vodafone for both my broadband and mobile connection. They’ve got a $300 credit over 12 months (which works out to be $25 per month which translates into $78 per month for 900/500 broadband. I’ve first got to find out how much notice I have to give before I make up my mind.

Another day, another pay – busy at work but one of the perks of being busy is that it makes the day go faster. Tomorrow (Saturday) I’m going to get up early so I can head over to the polling booth and cast my vote for Chris Hipkins for my local MP but I’m going to give the Green Party my party vote. I understand that the Green Party aren’t going to get everything they want but if they can focus on where their strengths are such as the environment, championing public transport etc. then hopefully as a country we can get closer to our ‘carbon neutral by 2050’ (IMHO, I think we could get their quicker if we banned importing ICE vehicles by 2025, banned ICE vehicles completely by 2030, and use that time to build up an electrified rail network to provide competitive long distance transportation so then air travel is left solely for overseas transportation – I guess that is why I’m not involved in politics, I’d annoy too many people).

The Chromecast with Google TV arrived while my brother and his partner were out so they went and picked it up. For some known reason Toll insists on having a pin when picking up – because, you know, ID that matches the name on the parcel itself isn’t good enough. Well, if there is one thing I have learned and that is, when there is the option to ‘upgrade’ to courier I should stick with the standard Australian Post because there is a whole lot less drama that way. As noted in the past, if I do ever get ‘tempted’ by Google’s product launches, what I’ll do instead is schedule a holiday to Australia where I can wrap up my purchasing in with a holiday and enjoy a holiday along side some retail therapy.

Chilling out at home before I head off to sleep and while doing so it is fun reading through the technology news, in particular, the whole to and fro that is happening between China and the United States (and it’s allies). I’m not going to pick sides since I’m not well versed regarding the ins and outs of all but it appears that each side is dragging out the dirty laundry of the other side. Thomas Friedman made a great point regarding what the Trump administration had done – yes, there were legitimate issues regarding China but the lack of multilateralism in terms of the US working with its partners has resulted in a disjointed and incoherent strategy between the different countries which make up the ‘western alliance’ with little in the way of a strategy of divestment and moving supply chains out of China towards countries that have a more productive working relationship.

Side note: I don’t think it is controversial to state that China has its interests so as a consequence their economic and foreign policy reflect those interests. It isn’t being conspiratorial to point out the blatantly obvious, as I and others have in the past (present and the future) that China and the West will have divergent views but that being said it is important for the West to admit that China is where it is today because of decisions that Western governments made for the sake of maximising profits in the believe that ‘rational self interest’ would never result in what the West today is accusing China of doing. When you treat China as the factory of the world then it shouldn’t be surprising that the factory decides that it wants to move beyond merely being a factory, a destination for outsourcing, in favour of making their own goods that they themselves have conjured up so that they can make higher profits and higher paid employment.

The government, after pressure from other parties in parliament, have announced that the election has been postponed a month so that the COVID-19 clusters can be addressed so that voters can feel safer turning out to vote. I find it funny how those parties that put pressure are convincing themselves that it gives them room to maneuverer – the sad situation is that rather than National taking advantage of the extra month to clarify their message they’re doubling down and triple down on their watered down Kiwi-ised version of Trumpism and it is working out as successfully as you imagine – like a lead balloon.

It appears that there is another software company going to take a run at the ‘wall gardened’ model that Android and iOS have used since the beginning:

I’ve been a critic of the whole store based model for quite some time – the percentage is too high when you consider the amount it costs in terms of bandwidth and storage used. As I noted in a reddit post I made on this very subject:

The ridiculous part is that Apple is quite happy with allowing Citrix Workspace which allows remote access to applications but they won’t allow cloud gaming? I mean, they’re essentially the same thing except instead of productivity applications being used it is games. Regarding future revenue, ultimately it is Apple who have decided to constrict themselves – they could have built out a great portfolio of middleware aimed at creatives, engineers, scientists by using their war chest to buy names like Maple, Mathlab, Affinity Photo/Designer/Publisher, Hype, OmniGroup, Dassault Systèmes (bring Solidworks to macOS) etc. and developing a cloud based services such as custom domain hosting with full MDM management in the cloud to gear towards small to medium businesses. There are opportunities they could have made for themselves which would have voided this paranoia around clipping the ticket as people went through the AppStore but they decided not too – now they’re getting attention by anti-competition regulators because of that.

What is the alternative? They’ve already got notarisation which they use for macOS – make notarisation compulsory for third party side loaded applications so then it is easier to load them and the ability to remove them if it turns out that the application is doing something dodgy. Allow people to drag and drop applications into iTunes to install it on an iPhone. If you want people to use your services then you should be trying to make it as desirable as possible by reducing barriers, reducing costs and creating a business model at Apple that doesn’t depend on screwing over third parties all for the sake of ‘doubling service revenue’ (which Tim Cook promised in 2017 (and delivered – but I ask, at what cost?).

Apple seem to have an aversion beyond doing the least amount humanly possible – there is an opportunity to carve out a niche in the PC industry for scientists, engineers, creative types which Microsoft has neglected via their mishandling of Windows 10 – an opportunity to provide cloud services and software along with selling hardware and professional support for said hardware at the high end market who are happy to pay through the nose for 3 hour replacement part on site repairs. There is an opportunity to take iCloud beyond what it is today to custom domain hosting for the education market, small to medium businesses, cloud based MDM management etc. Again, such an investment would yield significant revenue without the political fall out associated with having a walled garden model that involves squeezing as much revenue out of third parties like a train conductor demanding payment for a new ticket every time the train goes past another train station.

Work was ok today but pretty quiet (very few emails) but I think that is because the call centre has reopened so people are opting to call up for support because of the immediate gratification it brings vs, email where it may take a few hours before someone responds (assuming the personally has kept their account details up to date).

There was the announcement on Thursday in the budget that the wage subsidy has been extended another 8 weeks  but there are restrictions placed on it. What I am assuming is that although the government wishes to support businesses it doesn’t want a situation where businesses have built up a dependency on the government to prop up a business that is going to fail the moment support is taken away.

Something that is forgotten in all this is the fact that Grant Robertson, the finance minister, never said that the government could stop every business from going under nor did he promise that no one would be made unemployed (nor would is it practical). At the end of the day the purpose of the income support and other measures was to ensure that the fall out was minimised and with the recent stimulus the focus isn’t on throwing money at the wall then hoping something sticks but rather it is a stimulus to transform the economy from its dependence on low paid highly seasonal jobs such as in the tourism industry and instead focusing on making investments into infrastructure, social housing, re-tooling newly laid off people with new skills so develop newer higher paying jobs.

Of course National is screaming like banshees on heat over the debt accumulated while ignoring these two facts of life 1) The cost of doing nothing or austerity will cause more damage in the long run than a well designed stimulus package that’ll pay for itself with increased productivity in the long run 2) The fact that the debt is primarily funded through monetisation of debt – The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is going to buy up $60billion in government bonds   which will mean that $60billion will be money that the government owes itself meaning that in terms of debt repayment (regarding interest) we’re pretty much in the same spot we were before.

In all due respect, if National believe that they have a better plan as to how they the money should be spent then by all means they’re more than welcome to put forward their competing vision of how they wold have addressed it. The problem is that every time National is asked “what would you do” their prescription comes down to three things 1) tax cuts for the rich and businesses (which primarily benefit big business with minimal benefit to smaller ones) 2) deregulation 3) building more roads.

The net result has been country where people work longer hours, businesses aren’t inventing in themselves and we aren’t moving up the income ladder because of our continued reliance on being a low wage economy. Under the Helen Clark Labour government there was the beginning of investment into building up the skill base to a new economy – too bad National took a hatchet to it (although I admit that National did a pretty good job with he fibre roll out when compared to the mess that the NBN in Australia has become).

Side note: One thing to remember is this; there is another $20billion sitting on the sidelines that hasn’t been allocated – lets see what happens as we draw closer to the election in September.

It is rather sad that Bernie Sanders has suspended his campaign and thrown his weight behind Joe Biden but it is important for those ‘outside of the moment’ the key slogan “Not Me. Us” is more than just a cutesy saying but the corner stone of the movement. The movement is more than just one person, it is a shared set of policies and a philosophy that transcend a single person so this idea that if Bernie were to disappear that the movement would disappear ignores the reality of what is taking place. Another thing to also consider is that because the movement is bound together based on a shared set of policies and a philosophy then the idea that Bernie coming out an endorsing Biden with the exception (by the ‘enlightened centrists’) that the members of the movement will magically fall into line is an attempt to super impose a hierarchical top down model to one which is a ground up movement.

What makes the situation particularly pathetic are the number of people from the ‘Biden Brigade’ who are throwing a temper tantrum because Bernie supporters demand that Biden win them over all the while the ‘Biden Brigade’ ignore what one of leader’s major surrogate, Lindy Li, said if Bernie had won the nomination (you may need to jump to 13:12 on the video).

So when someone, representing the Biden campaign, openly states that they would refuse to vote for Bernie Sanders there isn’t a single complaint from the ‘enlightened centrists’ crying about party unity but the moment that Bernie supporters demand to be won over through policy concessions (thus indicating that that they’re open to voting for Biden if there are policy concessions vs. Lindy Li who flat out refuses to vote for Bernie under any circumstance) then that is ‘one step too far’.

Take for example the matter of medicare for all – it is understandable that Biden has his own healthcare plan and it would make sense for him to say that he is going to first focus on getting the changes, that he mentions in his manifesto, passed first but he is open to medicare for all at a later date if progressives/centre left are able to get it through both houses. The problem is that Biden has said, even if it were passed through both houses he would still veto it. It is one thing to say, “my manifesto takes first priority but I’m not going to veto progressive legislation that you’re able to get through both houses and can be demonstrated that it is fiscally sustainable for the long term” vs “I don’t care if you get it through both houses, I’m going to veto it”.

Bernie Sanders has come out saying that not getting behind Biden is ‘irresponsible’, which in all due respects, I disagree with. Bernie might have a point if Biden had left the door open to discussing policy with the progressive and left wing of the party but he has openly stated that when faced with with a Medicare for all bill that has made it through both houses that he would veto it. Through that one utterance he has declared that he would vote any progressive/left wing policy even if it received support from a majority in both houses thus indicating that he has no intention of actually being transformative but instead merely treading water doing the least amount that he can get away with. As someone on the left wing or progressive – is it actually irresponsible to refuse to vote for someone who has such contempt for the voter that said candidate have decided to actively fight against progressive/left wing policies?

For those slagging off those who have tweeted that they wouldn’t vote for Biden in the general election by labelling them as ‘privileged’ – need one be reminded that although there are those who have a lot to lose with Trump wins a second term, there are people who have nothing to lose if Trump has a second term because they’ve already lost everything already. Remember the quote attributed to James Baldwin “The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.” – if you want to win over those who have nothing left to lose then you need to give them hope by being genuinely open to listening to them and taking onboard their concerns in a genuine way rather than just dismissing said people as ‘privileged’.

Although I am not an American thus not able to vote in the election, those of outside of the US feel the impact of any political decisions that Americans collectively make. When the marginally better major party makes really dumb decisions then hose of us outside of the US feel the impact – a good example of that would be the US pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, the Iran Nuclear deal, the trade war between China and the US and more. Lets hope that the American voter does the right thing on the day.

Back to work…working at home and I kind of enjoy it. The ability to get up 30 minutes before starting work; putting on a coffee, have a quick shower, get into something comfortable and log in to start the day. So I log in at 11:30am, start replying to emails and contacting customers (through the AWS service – I had to install Firefox because it is only compatible with Firefox and Chrome but not Safari) then off at 8:00pm. I wish this was my full time job – being able to chill out at home working and not have the constant stress.

I’ve been following the Democratic primaries – it appears that Biden will become the nominee but with that has come a group calling themselves ‘Bernie or bust’, not because they want Trump again but want Biden to move further to the left to address the legitimate concerns which led to the likes of Trump gaining traction in the first place. The material conditions fed into the rise of Donald Trump ( he saw a rising tide of people angry at a system that threw them overboard 40+ years ago and Donald Trump saw it as his opportunity to ride that anger into the White House) if left unaddressed will result an even worse Donald Trump. Unlike the Trump of today the future demagogue will actually have the political skill to get their own way made worse by a subservient Republican Party who will do anything to hold onto power combined with an impotent Democratic Party that prefer being in opposition because of the grift they can have running by scaring donors.

If Biden is serious about winning over the progressive he needs to be willing to bend the knee and that involves not only nominating a strong progressive as a running mate. As Lawrence O’Donnell noted in an interview:

If you want to pull the Democrats to the left you have to show that you’re capable of not voting for them – that is the purpose of the ‘Bernie or bust’ movement – to send a clear message to the establishment (who by the way have been disparaging Bernie supporters the whole primary cycle – insisting that Bernie supporters aren’t needed because Nancy/Chuck have this wonderful plan of pandering to moderate Republicans in the suburbs – that same wonderful plan that….oh, did Hillary become president? No, that plan crashed and burned but I guess they think that giving in a second go will be a charm) that they have to win over the base, not just take them for granted just as the Republicans have to win over the base.