It’s labour day in New Zealand today so unfortunately, although my package from Australia (well, one out of the two) is sitting in Auckland it has been delayed so I might not get it until either tomorrow (an unrealistic earliest assuming it comes down on the overnight truck from Auckland to Wellington the courier service during the day) or the most likely scenario being later on in the week.
Work is going well and I’ve put in an application for leave over Christmas, 23-27 December, which will give me 9 days off (5 days annual leave and four days weekend). Regarding Christmas presents for the family, I’ll start having a look around in November but I think I’ll keep it pretty simple; money for my eldest niece, a toy for the youngest two nieces, and some goodies for the rest of the family (although I’ll need to get a virtual gift for my brother, his parter and their baby since sending it from New Zealand to Australia will be costly and liable to be broken knowing my luck).
My UDM (Unifi Dream Machine) received an update to 1.8.2-8 however there was an international user who has an UDM device connected to his ISP which uses VLAN tagging and ipv6 (which is what most ISPs in New Zealand use) but he was experiencing issues so before I take the dive of maybe moving ISPs I want to make sure what issues he is actually having.
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.
I found this amazing piece of software called ‘Mimestream’ (link) which uses the GMail API which means it properly deals with labels, it uses a push based API which means you get notified when new mail arrives rather than the mail application having to poll the server in the background which should help when it comes to battery life on laptops. So far, even at 0.7.0c it is very stable with new releases being made available on almost a weekly basis (sometimes quicker than that). It’ll definitely be at the top of my ‘to buy’ list once it is released but even at the beta stage it is very reliable (keeping in mind I’m not a hardcore email user). There is work on adding address and calendaring functionality so it sounds like the long term goal is to turn it into something akin to Outlook but for GSuite/Workspaces.
I’ve been following UDM (UniFi Dream Machine) firmware development and I have to admit that at this stage I am pretty disappointed. The standard firmware that comes with a UDM (1.5.7) doesn’t support my ISP out of the box which necessitated the need to upgrade it to the latest beta version which introduces its own set of issues regarding bugs relating to memory leaks etc. At this point I am very tempted to looking at getting three Google Nest Wifi routers then daisy chaining them together using ethernet cables under the house which would give a strong coverage for the whole house. The big problem is about getting the ethernet cables installed – I wouldn’t be able to fit under the house but I’d be more than happy to pay someone $100 cash in hand to get under the house thread the cables through because once it is threaded through it’ll all be sorted. That being said, I’ll wait and see what Ubiquiti ends up deciding to do because it is a great kit but it really isn’t living up to its full potential at the moment.
I’m looking forward to the Chromecast with Google TV to arrive because at the moment I’m using my televisions built in software (Tizen since it is a Samsung television). It is ‘ok’ in terms of ‘it does the job’ but the responsiveness is bad not to mention that it doesn’t support 5GHz wifi so I have to enable it on my access point. Looking at all the videos on YouTube it appears to be as fluid as Apple TV (maybe they’ve migrated over to Flutter for the UI?). I’ve sold my Apple TV, bought the Chromecast with Google TV and I’m $150 up which will enable me to pay for my new tyre so I’m a happy lad.
Another weekend has arrived and I’m looking for some relaxation at home. So far the new kitchen is looking good although I have to get the floor covering installed but that being said I’m in no great hurry since there is plastering and panting yet to be done. With all that being said the kitchen does look a lot bigger now that the shelves on the wall are removed along with the divider which made the kitchen feel boxed in.
Rumours are still making the rounds that Apple will still have an iPhone presentation on 14 October (13 October US time) along with maybe announcing the release date of macOS 11.0 ‘Big Sur’ along side the release of the first ‘Apple Silicon’ based Mac (rumoured to be the MacBook ultrabook which would enable Apple to show off it’s architectural chops on the form of great battery life in a thin and light form factor).
The weather is improving and with that I think I’m going to get back on track. I’ve been pretty lazy over Autumn and Winter so this Spring and Summer I’m going to start going for a small walk each night – some fresh air along with getting the body moving. Tomorrow will be a start of a fresh new day – lets see how it all turns out.
Well, I’ve ordered a nice wallet case for a ASUS Zenfone 7 Pro from Aliexpress so it’ll be interesting to when that’ll arrive and how well it’ll look with the Zenfone 7 Pro I’ll be buying off a parallel importer (which also deals with the whole ‘paying GST as it goes through customs) which will be a nice step up from the iPhone I have. I’ve been giving Apple a second, third, forth (you get the point) chance to finally get Safari HTML5 technologies sorted out and yet Safari on iOS 14.0 is still only scoring 494 points on HTML5 test when compared to Chrome which achieves 525 points.
At this stage I really have to ask whether Apple’s failure to implement the numerous APIs that make up the HTML5 standard a situation of Apple wanting to maintain Webkit’s super efficient reputation by ensuring that what is implemented doesn’t result in regressions or whether it is a situation trying to fend off progressive web apps for as long as possible by not implementing key technologies that developers require. Unfortunately in the case of iOS, although you can install other browsers the reality is that they’re merely a front end over the same Webkit rendering engine that Safari uses which includes all the limitations as well.
I have to admit, I am kind of old school in how I use my computer in much the same way that many people by default search for an app on their smartphone even though the website is perfectly fine or in many cases exactly the same as the app itself (where I work the app and the website look exactly the same when accessed from a smartphone). In the case of me I tend to use the blogging app but the problem is that there are features not available on the app which is available on the website. A good example of that would be the auto-arranging of photos – on the app you try to move it around into some order whereas on the website all you have to do is select the photos and WordPress will offer you layout options where you select the one you want and it takes care of all the details itself.
There are more rumours making the rounds regarding the performance of the next Samsung Galaxy smartphone given what has been leaked so far (link). It appears that there is still going to be a gap between Qualcomm 875 and the new SoC appearing in the next version of Samsung’s flagship smartphone but on the upside the battery life is a whole lot better. There is also a rumour that Samsung will be standardising on their own CPU design globally which given the costly nature of Qualcomm’s up and coming 5G modem/SoC combo – as seen by the rumoured release of the Pixel 5 skipping the 865 in favour of the 765G which has a better battery life (at the expense of performance – but most users wouldn’t notice) which will offset the hungrier 5G modem.
That being said, given that Samsung makes their own modems they might just not even bother with mmwave support given that globally all the focus by carriers has been in the sub-6 GHz zone – T-Mobile deploying 5G on the 600 Mhz spectrum they recently acquired which will given them coast to coast coverage (not to mention the refarming out of spectrum it acquired via the acquisition of Sprint). In the case of New Zealand there is 5G being deployed on 3.5 GHz by all of the three major carriers although things will start to get interesting as lower spectrum is refarmed out or made available in future auctions such as 600 MHz or possibly lower (Scandinavia there is investigation by a few carriers about the possibility of deploying 5G on 450 MHz).
Apple has pushed out Beta 8 of macOS ‘Big Sur’ recently (link) – I still very much have the release date being at the same time as iOS/iPadOS/etc 14.2 being released along with Xcode 12.2 since that version of Xcode will include an updated SDK which supports all those platforms. There hasn’t been any word on next press conference but I’d probably say that it’ll be on 14 October given that 30 September is already the launch day for Google’s own products.
I’m looking forward to seeing the first crop of Apple Silicon based Macs – for me I’m not going to upgrade at least for another 2 years at the very least. The reason for that is firstly finances and secondly I tend to avoid buying 1.0 of any sort of product, I’d sooner let the early adopters deal with the first crop of products and then come in to purchase the next version which has improved baed on the feedback received from consumers in the real world. When I do upgrade I’ll make it an ‘all in one’ affair – iMac, MacBook Pro, iPhone and Apple TV plus maybe a newer television – all in a single transaction.
Things are slowly getting back to normal – Auckland is moving to Level 2 and the rest of New Zealand has moved to Level 1 but it will be interesting to see whether the wearing masks will become mainstream in much the same way that wearing a mask when one is sick is the normal thing to do in many Asian countries. Reading through the Wellington subreddit it was interesting people noting how many were wearing masks on public transport.
Apple released another beta build of macOS 11 ‘Big Sur’ (link) – it will be interesting to see whether beta 7 marks the move to the final stretch or whether Apple will keep pushing out updates to address the last few ‘known issues’. There Is a rumour going around that there will be another event held at the end of September regarding the iPhone 12 and the launch of the first Apple Silicon based Mac so it is plausible that they’re wanting to stabilise macOS as much as possible so that the first round of Apple Silicon based Mac’s give customers the best possible experience out of the gate (although like the Intel Mac’s I’m sure there will be a flurry of updates pushed out to fix up bugs developers find, to improve Rosetta optimisation etc). I have a strong feeling (completing guessing) that macOS 11.0 will be released when Xcode 12.2 and the x.2 series of iOS, iPadOS etc. will be released around the same time.
There was a podcast I was listening to a few days ago that claims Apple were looking at moving to their own ARM based designs for Mac as far back as the 2015 based on Intel falling behind the roadmap that Intel promised Apple but I personally disagree with that assessment. I disagree with with the assessment because of Apple’s historical tendency towards wanting to bring as much as possible ‘in house’ which enables them to control the complete process and for the components to suit their needs rather than a third party developing something aimed for a larger market and it kinda meets the needs of Apple. When Apple started to move to their own CPU design (vs. using a reference design) that long term Apple was going to move the Mac platform to their own CPU design – the situation wasn’t if but rather when. I would say that where the decision in 2015 kicks in is the decision to bring forward the time line – that it was always going to go ahead but sometime in the future but given what has taken place with Intel unable to meet it’s roadmap it brings forward the time line of transitioning over to its own CPU.
On Tuesday (NZ Time) Apple announced that iOS, tvOS, watchOS and iPadOS would be released on Wednesday (NZ Time) so when I woke up this morning I was ready to install it. On my iPhone it was a pretty hefty download of around 2.3GB but I was also surprised that Safari 14 was made available to macOS Catalina (I was expecting the rumoured ‘Supplemental Update’ that was talked about on 9 to 5 Mac (link)). With that I did a clearing out my macOS installation (falling down into single user mode and deleting the contents of ~/Library along with Caches etc).
I’m enjoying Safari 14, it loads websites faster – not only making the initial connection but also downloading and rendering the page as well. It doesn’t include 4K Youtube support in the form of VP9 support being added so that’ll have to wait until Big Sur is released but that being said – so far everything is working well. What I am hoping for is that gradually they’ll expand WebExtensions API so that it has the depth and breadth of support that Firefox has. Although Ad Guard does a pretty good job I do wish for uBlock Origin to make its way to Safari.
I’ll be writing up a longer review once Big Sur is released – I’m hoping that’ll be released while I’m on my holiday – I’ll do a clean install on all my devices so I start with a clean slate which will give a fair assessment of how Big Sur performs.