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.

Well, I was heading home and stopped off at the local Countdown to pick up a box of ice creams and found that the local one had closed at 9pm so I went to the other on my way home (when going home another way), same situation. It really frustrates me that this occurs because idiots go out shopping to hoard food because they get themselves worked up over what might happen based on extenuating circumstances outside of New Zealand. On my way home from work tomorrow I’ll be able to grab a few things since I’ll be finishing at 8pm which will allow me enough time to quickly sneak in before closing time.

iOS 13.4, tvOS 13.4 and macOS 10.15.4 look at getting release next week either on 24 or the 25 March so I’ll be looking forward at the new features, bug fixes and optimisations. The big contribution is the addition of pointer support to iPadOS which is gradually turning the iPad into a powerful device that is quickly becoming the ‘computer for the rest of us’ while Microsoft is once again failing to deliver a stripped down cleaned up version of Windows 10X.

Work is going well but everyone is a bit paranoid about the whole COVID-19 – the best anyone can do is follow the best advise from those who are advising the government and we’ll all get through this. Lets hope that after this whole experience that it services as a warning to any future governments that running the healthcare system on the smell of an oily rag with very little slack sets up the system to collapse when something like COVID-19 as seen by what is happening in the UK’s NHS.

Another weekend has arrived – time to start doing the washing tomorrow and cleaning around the house, watching some television and unwinding after a week of busyness particularly with the big announcement made by by the government regarding COVID-19 and the steps that the government are taking to slow down the spread. There scheduled a press conference next week (week starting 16 March 2020) where there will be an economic stimulus announced – to keep the country moving along and avoid falling into recession.

I’m going to start something new tomorrow – a new meal regiment which has been organised with my last weekly shopping. The major benefit is having a predictable grocery bill every fortnight along with having a meal schedule at work which balances up having satisfying meals while also ensuring that the food eaten don’t result in me feeling even more hungry later on – the protein in the meals (chicken in one meal and fish in the other meal) do their job making my stomach feel full.

Apple has announced that WWDC will be an online only conference but the date hasn’t been announced yet and no word yet on whether there will be a charge for people to have access to the sessions or whether it’ll be free for everyone and if you want to ask engineers questions then you have to pay a entry fee for the conference. I’m looking at having some time off over June so I’m hoping that in the next couple of weeks that there will be more details made available. It’ll be interesting to see the direction that each of the platforms take – if iOS takes on more traditional features such as pointer supporter then it raises question about the direction of macOS in the future because although there are cross over points I think that macOS will chart a course where more power user features will be added – macOS for the power users, iPadOS for everyone else.

Reading an article about the possibility of Apple moving to their own custom ARM based SoC based on another business who are shipping ARM based CPUs delivering performance equal to that of what intel offers with Xeon with the added bonus of using almost half the amount of power (link).What it goes to show is that there isn’t any limitation architecturally so I’m sure Apple could scale up their core CPU design and the utilise AMD for a discrete GPU then combine that with further investments into their Metal technologies I could see it occurring within the next couple of years. The move to ARM isn’t just about standardising for the sake of standardising but about controlling the entire widget so that the development of components line up with the schedule that Apple want their product to be released on rather than their schedule being dictated by a third party aka Intel’s own schedule.

I’ve been following the Democratic primaries in the United States – once again it appears that people are voting against their own self interest as information leaks out about Biden writing up a wish list of people and which positions he would like them in. The DNC (the establishment/centrists) has made it clear (and reiterated by Chuck Schumer) that they don’t need the left wing flank of the party – that for every left winger they lose they’ll gain 4 moderate Republicans in the suburbs – great, then in which case you don’t need vote shame the left wing flank into voting for Biden but low and behold the DNC are doing just that. After 40 years of ‘bending the knee’ for the centrists by the left wing flank the centrists are now indignant about adopting some pretty mainstream social democratic ideas such as single payer healthcare, free tertiary education and the green new deal (an environmentally focused public works project).

The weekend has been relaxing – being able to sleep in and not have to worry. On my days off I prefer just relaxing around at home – getting some chores done in between watching movies, television shows while replying to twitter. Oh, and I finally found out where the leaking petrol was coming from on my scooter – there was a very slight slit in the fuel line so what I had to do was cut it back to where the spit was and then reconnect it – no problems since then. Tomorrow I’ll vacuum clean the home, finishing off my washing for the new week and prepare something nice for dinner – all in all I am a happy chap.

Well, that day went quickly and once again the American public never cease to disappointment me with their half baked decision making when confronted with a candidate who promises nothing in the way of change vs. a candidate who does the most audacious proposal was to bring the United States inline with almost every other country in the OECD in the form of an expanded social safety net, single payer healthcare, investment into decarbonising the economy and so on.

With that being said , the candidate has to take responsibility because ultimately it is the candidate who is the one giving the sales pitch and that involves predicting the dirty tricks campaign that vest interests have in ensuring that the status quo remains. That means first of all addressing the concerns that people have – some of them misplaced such as the conflation of insurance with healthcare, some very much understandable such as concerns about the existing relationships they have with providers are going to be upended ss with the case many found with the ACA where people were told “if you like your doctor you can keep them” and “if you like your plan you can keep it” but quickly people found out that there was a whole lot of small print that people found out later down the track.

What do hope that in the light of what is happening in the United States that in New Zealand that we don’t make the same idiotic mistake by voting in the Pavlovian dog known as Simon Bridges whose response to any question asked is either i) tax cuts ii) cutting regulations iii) build more roads. Unfortunately I’m not optimistic given how easily the voting public is swayed but a big multi lane high way that they can take their oversize SUV along with the 2.5 kids on a holiday up the coast all while claiming that their car centric carbon emitting lifestyle can be off set by recycle a few pieces of plastic each week on recycling day.

Anyway, I need to head to bed and have a good night sleep for work tomorrow – hopefully it won’t be too busy, I might even get some extra work done during the day.

I’ve been following the primaries in the United States and I’ve made it no secret that my preferred candidate is Bernie Sanders (policy reasons and the best chance of winning) and another candidate has dropped out – Pete Buttigieg. The interesting part is whether that translates into more votes for any particular candidate given that polls (Sanders head to head with other candidates and candidate supporters second choice) demonstrate that who people choose has little to do with ideology and more to do with experience, philosophy, a particular policy or just ‘gut instinct’ that said person is the right person for the job rather than something concrete/tangible one can point to.

Things are going well financially – I was finally able to sell the Pixel 4 XL for an OK amount and used that to paid down the debt while I replaced it with an iPhone 11 Pro Max 256GB ‘Space Grey’. The big goal is to wipe all debt I have remaining with BNZ, move my Kiwisaver over to ASB and then close up all the loose ends. It’ll be a long process of reaching my goal of debt free by 40 but I’ll get there by breaking down the task into smaller goals and then working towards each one. That is the technique I’ve taken when it comes to making changes in my life – focus on one thing, working on it and the eventually it becomes second nature then moving onto the next goal. By doing it step by step it also doesn’t result in taking on too much of a burden then feeling depressed if one slips up and not able to keep all the balls in the air at the same time.

Apple released iOS, macOS, tvOS, watchOS betas in the last week so I’m looking forward to seeing them stabilised and eventually released. It’ll be interesting to see what Apple does this year – whether the big focus is more ‘under the hood’ improvements – building upon what was included with Catalina, maybe even make some major under the hood changes.  With the release of macOS 10.15 Apple announced the deprecation of support in the kernel to third party KEXTs so I wouldn’t be surprised if in macOS 10.16 that Apple remove support which will mean that Apple will no longer be bound to providing backwards compatibility. I’m sure as we draw closer to WWDC that the speculation will start to father pace – looking forward to that week off at the beginning of June to enjoy it.

Just reading yet another example of someone so jaded that they lash out like a wounded animal at anyone close by (link). At first, just after the election of Donald Trump, I gave Hillary Clinton the benefit of leniency given that the election was a horrible experience with it culminating in someone grossly unqualified being made president. I could understand that after working within the system for years to start to second guessing oneself, wondering whether one had done something wrong, whether something that could have been done differently and questioning the system itself that she had grown to respect given her legal training and involvement in politics. I personally don’t think that she would have been as angry had it been someone like Mitt Romney or Jeb Bush winning because had the election being fought on policy rather than having to deal with the constant barrage of conspiracy theories, the blatant sexism etc. 

The problem is that here she is almost 4 years later and still haven’t moved on from 2016 – who is she trying to hurt? She is lashing out at Bernie but is it really going to help her get over the loss in 2016? She is allowing Donald Trump to live rent free in her brain rather than moving on resulting in the only person she is hurting is herself. Something I learned long ago, after being screwed over at a company I worked for, do I allow myself to get wound up where every minute of the day I am constantly bitter and angry at the person who slighted me or do I move on to better and greater things?

What is also pathetic is the lack of self awareness or more correctly how Hillary Clinton loves to play the victim when she doesn’t get her own way – it was her campaign that created the felicitous accusation that Obama had the ‘Obama Boys’ which had no basis in reality but she played the misogyny card. This same move was done when Bernie Sanders ran as a candidate with the same garbage regarding ‘Bernie Bros’. In the most recent primary the same nonsense was tried by the Kamala Harris supporters aka KHive labelling anyone who dared to question her track record as prosecutor or her policy positions as ‘misogynist’ and ‘racist’.

Ok, and if Hillary Clinton is going to play the game that the candidate is responsible for what their supporters do then would it be fair to link birtherism (link) to Hillary Clinton’s campaign?

“There has never been evidence that Clinton or her campaign started the birther rumors,” said Ben Smith, editor in chief of BuzzFeed, who as a POLITICO reporter in 2011 linked the origin of the “birther” movement to a fringe politician in Illinois. Some hardcore Clinton backers circulated the rumors in 2008, but the campaign itself steered clear.

After all, a small number of Clinton supporters started spreading the misinformation – using the same criteria should Hillary Clinton apologise? Step down? Perform self flagellation to demonstrate true contrition or should people be expected to behave like adults and accept that we aren’t responsible for what others do in our name when it is clear that there is no connection between ourselves and that particular persons actions? This is what happens when you weaponise identity politics, be it the identity politics of the right wing or the liberalism, rather than arguing based on track record and policy you end up with the likes of Donald Trump. In the case of Donald Trump he offered simplistic solutions and peddled in white identity grievance culture where he framed ‘the white man’ as the perennial victim but he, the great man of history, was going to swoop in and save them and make them great again. The lack of analysis which involves the intersection between class, race and other identities (intersectionality) results in a grotesque bastardisation of identity politics which ultimately fails to help the very people it is claiming to advocate for.

When you take economics at high school the very first thing you learn about is supply and demand – the ‘customers’ have a demand for a given good or service then the that sends a signal to the marketplace to which the response is the creation of businesses that meet that demand. The point of marketing? to tell the consumer, “hey, you know that thing that you’ve always wanted? well, we make that very thing!” and if there is a competitor making the same product then that marketing will also talk about why your particular product is better than the competition. Like many things you learn in economics, when first starting out, the explanation is simple and straightforward – there is demand and in respond someone addresses that demand through building a business to produce a good service or service. Once everyone has obtained that given product or received that particular service then how do you have a repeat customer? you create an upgraded version but what happens if customers are happy with what they have even after explaining all the benefits of the new version? well, there is planned obsolescence where you’ll say that you will only provide software updates for a set number of years but then there is a more ingenious way of getting to people.

With the rise of YouTube a whole new genre of videos emerged in the form of ‘unboxing’ and ‘product reviews’ which are another avenue of marketing that a business can take advantage of. A business will recognise that a certain reviewer has a large enough audience and will send a review unit so then, rather than having a someone from the business speaking about the product you have someone whom the audience already has a parasocial relationship with – a sense of implied trust that the person speaking is speaking from a place of genuineness rather than it being the result of that person simply carrying out their job as a spokesperson for the business aka “I have no skin in the game so I’ll give the upfront truth”. Then there are the influencers, be they online such as Instagram or offline, that imply that if one wishes to be ‘up with the play’ and on the ‘cutting edge’ then one should get this new product or service that they are using.

Then there is the role of social pressure which is amplified not only through real world interactions but also through social media. Where such products and services are seen as embodiments of social capital – friends and family only ever uploading videos and photos of the good things in their life thus giving the perception that everything is going well with examples of that success being that they have bought in terms of ‘symbols of success’ (along with the cultural cachet that comes with it) such as the latest phone, laptop, desktop or some intangible such as a holiday. The company taps into the angst over whether you’re missing out/falling behind your social circle and because we’re social creatures we want to conformt to be seen as part of the group – we’ll of course try to justify the purchase to ourselves but ultimately it is the peer pressure to ‘keep up with the Jones’ and be part of the ‘in crowd’ which will shape our behaviour.

Then there is the atomisation of society of individualism off the rise of capitalism then it taken to the extreme with the rise of neoliberalism and its emphasis on the individual but as noted before we’re social creatures so in lieu of a sense of a community based identity a new form of neo-tribalism has developed around companies, products, sports teams etc. where we associate our own self image to the image that those particular vestiges of identity which are associated with particular brands, sports teams, products etc. If one were to slip into Marxist mode, one could see this as an example of people trying to deal with alienation by substituting real relationships based on shared interests, values, religious beliefs etc. with the fetishisation of commodities then creating common interest around that shared commodity usage through virtual communities online.

The below video makes a light hearted look at the situation – reminds me of when I see an smart watch, I think of all the things that I could find useful but then I quickly realise that I’m trying to justify an impulse buy rather than a situation where the product itself is addressing unaddressed needs that existed before the arrival of the product to the market claim to address a need that in reality never actually existed in the first place.