One week to go then holidays

So I’ve got this week to go and then Monday next week will be my last day at work for a week – I’m going to chill out and relax at home with a busy schedule of doing sweet bugger all. Although I had hoped that my time off would coincide with the release of iOS 13 I’m happy that they’ve pushed it back to October.

When it comes to Safari there is good news on the ‘content blocking’ front with the release of Ad Guard beta 1.5.2 (link) which works around the 50K limit. How they’ve done it is that each category has a limit of 50K which raises the total limit to 250K which will mean I can enable all the filters. Looking forward to all the improvements that have come with Safari 13 – hopefully what we’ve seen in terms of the technology previews are an insight into what one will see in the final version for macOS as well as iOS too.

I’m going to take a couple of ciabatta rolls tomorrow to work to go with the soup. My favourite part is that I put garlic butter and then when I am at work I heat them up the microwave for around 20-30 seconds so then they’re nice and warm. The garlic from the garlic butter goes really well with what ever soup I’m eating and it is a great comfort food on a cold and miserable day. On my breaks I’ve found a great instant coffee from Avalanche Coffee (link) which really hits the spot.

At home I’m tempted to buy a Nespresso – something to enjoy when I get up in the morning and need a good ‘pick me up’ before work but that’ll mean I’ll need to remember to buy milk as well. Great thing about these machines is that I can fill it up with water, put my cup underneath and then press a button so while all that is happening I’ve got the toast cooking and I’m getting ready to go to work.

The overtime is taking its toll some what but that being said it is only temporary because we’ve got three new staff members who have gone through their book training and now it is their practical experience. I wouldn’t be surprised if in 2-3 months the amount of over time drops to near zero – ideally by that time I would be at the point I want to be but that being said I’ll keep doing the overtime until there is none is available. That all being said, I’m waiting for whether I’m going to get Christmas off – hopefully they’ll give me a heads up so then it is possible to organise a flight up to Auckland and then back to Wellington a few days later. By getting it done now I can take advantage of the deals they have going – big discounts if you organise it well in advance.

Things are progressing nicely….

Reading through one of the forums I am a member of and it appears that iOS 13.1 now includes VoLTE support for Spark (carrier profile 38.0 vs. carrier profile 36.0 which is used in 12.4.1). Spark runs a ‘low cost brand’ called Skinny which uses the same carrier profile so I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up finding that I end up getting it around the same time. What it’ll mean is that it’ll no longer drop back to 3G when chatting to someone plus better audio quality when on telephone calls which is always an improvement.

Rumour has it that Vodafone is moving their old HFC customers off their old billing system to their new one but like anything they will need to do it in a piecemeal fashion – I assume in part because it’ll involve giving customers new reference numbers for bill payments. It is the one thing that always hods me off from considering Vodafone is the mess regarding their billing system which makes managing ones account a whole lot more difficult than it needs to be.

Had a small meal when I came home after work and chilled out watching Real Time. I personally don’t watch it for Bill Maher but rather the guests and it is always amazing how people who try to make out that they’re smart seem to miss the blatantly obvious. That being said, I guess everyone has their guilty pleasure – for some it is reading the gossip magazines, some like to watch trashy reality televisions shows so I guess that for for it is Real Time with Bill Maher is my guilty pleasure.

Excited about tomorrow: Apple software and hardware announcement

Well, Apple has their big ‘once a year’ announcement where they announce a refresh of the iPhone but there are also rumours of some new products appear as well as a possible refresh of the MacBook Pro 16″ (16″ screen in a 15″ chassis by removing the bezels) along with maybe some announcements regarding iCloud and Siri. There are rumours about Siri and iCloud appears to be getting a facelift in the beta version of it so it will be interesting to see what that translates to particularly with the work that Apple is doing regarding building its own data centres given that it is decreasing its reliance on third parties such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

Regarding iOS, macOS, tvOS, ipadOS and watchOS – based on what Apple did last year I would say that iOS, tvOS, ipadOS and watchOS will be released a week after the presentation tomorrow and then a week after that they will release macOS. That is assuming that they stick with the schedule of previous years. The interesting part will be the catalyst applications which were mentioned in the WWDC speech and what time line there is such applications as an officially twitter application will make its way onto macOS (a port of the iPad version using catalyst to bring it to macOS).

Android 10 has been officially released out to phones and will start rolling out to AndroidOne devices soon but the interesting part is the move away from the playful kind of Google to becoming more of a serious organisation. There is also the Pixel 4 which will be announced later on this year which will make for interesting discussion particularly if Google go beyond just the narrow number of markets they shipped the Pixel 3 to and also include selling it into New Zealand. Now sure, I could buy it from overseas or go to Australia on a holiday and bring it back but I’d sooner now have to go through all that drama.

There is a bit of drama going on in the world of Chrome extension developers with the changes announced to the extension manifest with the announcement that with manifest V3 there will be an API change akin to what Apple did with the move to providing a content blocking API given the spate of extensions pushed out by dodgy software vendors that have compromised user privacy. In the case of Google their reasoning is similar to that of Apple regarding privacy and security along with arguments relating to performance. I guess the concern about performance probably feeds into long standing criticisms of Chrome and its resource hungry nature – be it power usage and its memory usage. The developer of uBlocker Origin isn’t all that fond but keeping in mind that manifest V2 will remain while manifest V3 is being developed and given that Google have received a sizeable amount of feedback (link) unless Chrome want to kill their marketshare overnight (refer to the article I wrote regarding technology enthusiasts being the evangelists within their circle of friends and family as the ‘person who is good with computers’ and how losing that person also results in his unhappiness influencing all those around him as being the person who is ‘good with computers’) I don’t think Google is going to do something stupid. With all that being said, hopefully some healthy pressure and a revived Firefox will put pressure on Google to listen to the concerns of developers. It’ll also be interesting to see whether Microsoft will embrace the manifest V3 or whether they embrace manifest V2 with modifications like what has happened with Firefox which have embraced some of the changes that manifest V3 propose but haven’t adopted the more controversial changes.

Just having a look at the latest wearable sales and it appears that Apple is going from strength to strength but it is also interesting how Samsung has done a really good job with Tizen for both their televisions and watches (along with other devices) while accepting that Android has a role that their consumer base love. It is interesting that at one point there was a tendency to try to unify an operating system so that it scales from servers down to workstations to tablets all the way down to wearable devices but it appears companies are taking a more pragmatic approach. In the case of Samsung you have Tizen and Android being sold side by side with Microsoft accepting the Windows isn’t the be all and end all solution and we’ve seen Microsoft purchase Express Logic which makes a real time operating system for IoT devices. Why is that important? because Microsoft understands it is the infrastructure which the IoT device will communicate with which Microsoft will provide is more important than the operating system. If Microsoft can provide the operating system, the integrated developer experience along with the backend services running on top of Azure then it moves them beyond the fixation on the operating system as the be all and end all of Microsoft. It’ll be interesting to see whether Google keeps trying to push wearOS (formally known as Android Wear) or at some point we’ll see Google admit defeat and create an operating system for wearables using Fuchsia and using Flutter for the native UI kit. It’ll be interesting to see whether over the long term that these various companies can provide the same degree of integration that Apple is providing or whether it’ll never be as seamless as having a single operating system that is reused on different devices.

Busy, busy, busy

Off to work this morning and lost activity straight off the bad as soon as I arrived at work. At the end of each day I try to ensure that all the lose ends up are tidied up so then the next day when I arrive at work I start with a clean slate rather than having to deal with dramas that should have been dealt with the previous day. Anyway, went into work – cleared through the emails and started answer calls from customers. I’m pretty patient with people of my mum’s generation who are never bought up around computers so it is understandable that many will struggle but it boggles my mind when people my age or younger treat it as if it were a badge of honour to be completely clueless about technology.

Came back home and the weather is shocking – must be the weather that has been coming down from around Auckland so hopefully it’ll move on by the time I get up in the morning so then I have a pleasant trip to work in the morning. The temperature has dropped down to 7 degrees celsius – hopefully it won’t get colder than that but if it does I’ve got my heater ready on thermostat.

Apple has put out invitations to the event that they’ll hold on 10 September which will be on 11 September New Zealand time – rumours of a refreshed iPhone with a new naming scheme along with possibly some improvements to iCloud. The most recently release has been a web based Apple Music beta launched which makes me wonder whether this is the start of a larger push into web services especially when one considers the beta refresh of their iCloud services – gone is the moving bubbles in the background in favour of a more minimalist feel and that is continued through to the launchpad for the various web applications that make up iCloud.

There is also a rumour that there is an Apple TV refresh in the works that’ll move it to the A12 CPU which makes me wonder whether this is going to be a second round at the casual gaming market given Apples launch of the arcade game subscription plan. As I’ve said in the past, Apple is going for that 66% of people who sit in the middle which is why they make the computers the way they do and the software is focused on the areas they focus on – because that is what the bulk of users (both existing and potential) want out of their devices.

On a good side, with technology slowing down I’ve pretty much chalked up 3 things I’n holding out for before I make an upgrade – USB4, 802.11ax and 5G. They’re going to be the big milestones at least for me because those are areas where I’ll feel the greatest impact. When it comes to USB4 it’ll be an upgraded connector that’ll rule them all which will hopefully mean an iMac with nothing but those wonderful USB-C connectors where I’m no longer reaching behind my iMac guessing whether I have it turned around the right way. When it comes to 802.11ax, there are big benefits in terms of improved coverage, better through put, the ability to handle lots of devices and so on. When it comes to 5G I think most of the focus I’ve seen with my carrier will be around using it as a way of getting around having to pay Chorus for a line – they’ve got plenty of 2.3GHz spectrum so I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up seeing Spark make use of it and push more of its customers over to 5G thus leaving only the incredible data intensive and corporate customers on fixed line broadband.

Anyway, I’m off to sleep – I will be getting up a little earlier tomorrow so I have time to cook the kumara lentil patties for burgers before work – ciabatta roles and all the yummy fillings that I have find around the home.

Back to work, 3 weeks to go

Well, back to work tomorrow but coming in an hour early because they need some extra cover which I’m always happy with – a few extra dollars in the hand makes life a little bit easier for all concerned. When I get back from my time off at the end of September I’ll keep picking up the over time. I’m still waiting for feedback regarding whether I get Christmas off but given that I had last year off I have to wait to see if there are any counter applications during that time.

There has been much speculation regarding the usual release of an updated iPhone and other devices but I’m looking roared to the formal announcement of when iOS and macOS will be released – based on previous years it is normally a week after the event where the new iPhone is announced then a week after that the updated macOS is released. I’m looking forwarding to step into the new platform and the improvements that have been made.

Ubquiti pushed out a new update for the Unifi Controller but no new updates – not in a great hurry since what I’m waiting on, ipv6, my provider hasn’t migrated to but what I am hoping is that maybe it’ll become part of the new UDM (ultimate dream machine) platform that they’re working on to replace USG. At the moment it is in beta testing but once it is ready I’ll buy it to replace my router and switch so then I can have my single device – from what I have also heard it does away with the need to have a Unifi Controller key but I guess we won’t find out what the specifics are until it is a shipping product.

Still looking for a high temperature tolerant duct tape which exists, based on the Google results, but the question is where I can buy it from. The foil idea of dealing with my noisy motorbike so I’m hoping that a high temperate duct tape should do the job. On my day off next week I’ll head down to Mitre 10 and Bunnings to see what they have available – finally have a quieter ride so then I can enjoy my music on my way to work.

Updates delivered today, work tomorrow

Apple pushed out updates for macOS, watchOS, iOS and tvOS – all addressing a security vulnerability in the kernel along with general reliability improvements. It is interesting that with the macOS version of the update that the total size is 1.25GB which makes me wonder whether, in the process of patching the kernel, that it requires recompiling of kernel extensions as well. It’ll be interesting to see what happens given that with this coming release of macOS (10.15) Apple is phasing out kernel extensions in favour of making the kernel completely closed off to third parties in favour of moving third parties to deliver user space drivers as to reduce the attack surface when it comes security as well as also improving overall stability as user space drivers are easier to debug.

It’ll be interesting to see whether that process of moving drivers into user space will also involve Apple dog fooding it themselves and moving their own drivers into user space along with gradually making what is loaded into kernel space as minimal as possible – maybe this is the long road to making major under the hood changes to the kernel and by pushing third parties out into user space. Maybe the move in such direction will occur when they move to ARM given that the the performance cost of context switching for ARM is lower than x86 thus making the idea of a microkernel/mach kernel feasible given that one isn’t dealing with the factors that wold impact performance.

I’ve got work tomorrow and although I’m feeling a lot better than I did over the weekend I think I’ll need to reevaluate how much over time I am doing. That being said, I have a goal and my focus is getting to that goal and once achieved I’ll then step back from doing the extra hours. At the rate I am going it, I’m looking at December when I’ll get to my goal. That being said I’ll need to see what will happen over Christmas and whether I can time off. If don’t get time off then that is no big deal since I would have had the end of September off so I would have had a good rest. With the overtime I thought it might mot be available for too long since some new people had been trained up but one of them have dropped out for personal reasons so I’m going to keep making hay while the sunshines plus that time and a half over the Christmas break will make life easier. That being said, if I do get Christmas off I’ll grab some Denheath deserts.

Feeling better but feeling a bit blue

I’m feeling a lot better with some rest – as much as over time is very tempting what I think I need to do is take it easy and after doing some over time in the next few weeks I’m going to dial back the over time. I really need a decent amount of down time in between shifts so that I not only can physically recover but also to allow me to mentally recover as well. The lack of mental recovery time has left me stressed and depressed that even the extra money cannot offset the stress. Basically I want to get myself into a financial position where my debt load is as such that it gives me more room to manoeuvre when working on my normal salary rather than depending on the over time to make progress.

That being said, I think I need to start updating my blog more often as It allows me to have a health outlet where I can express myself in a constructive way – a way of emptying my mind into text format and letting a few people somewhere around the globe to have an insight into what is ticking over in my brain.

On a good side I finally got my chicken flavoured couscous sorted out and I mixed in some vegetables that I boiled up – I’m happy to have it cold with some sriracha sauce on top – the perfect mix of carbs and vegetables, a breakfast of champions. I’ve got some good meals sorted out for the rest of the week but this Thursday I’m going to grab some groceries – more vegetables, maybe some coleslaw to have inside the satay chicken burgers I like and some chilli mayonnaise which goes well with the coleslaw – gives it a spicy hit rather than the just the blandness of mayo.

We’re getting close to the iPhone event that they have each year – it’ll be an incremental improvement as so far as mobile technology which is good because what has shipped so far when it comes to 5G isn’t very mature (link) not to mention the fact that 5G hasn’t bee deployed any any sort of meaningful way and probably won’t be for quite some time as there will need to be more cell sites with fibre feeds particularly with the direction that Spark is heading as a way to bypass the ‘Chorus tax’ and make greater use of their own infrastructure. I think the interesting part will come when the 600MHz spectrum is opened up but that is years away from happening so at the moment the only viable frequencies are the sub-6GHz which will only benefit those in heavily built tup areas. Getting back on track, the big focus will be next years or possible the year after release where we get to see what Apple does with the mobile assets that Apple bought off Intel.