So I’ve flirted with Google’s G-Suite in the past however each time I’ve bought it I’ve done it via WordPress and part of that was buying a YouTube Premium subscription so when I cancelled the subscription I assumed it also cancelled my YouTube Premium subscription because as part of the G-Suite cancellation that it would also mean deleting he G-Suite account along with the Premium subscription at the same time. So I kept on seeing charges appear on my credit card each month and I couldn’t work out what had happened but it appears that although I had cancelled my subscription through WordPress that the account was still open on the Google server. I’m putting it out there just in case anyone else falls into the same situation and trying to work out why one keeps receiving charges to credit card – it could be due to that.
The refund for my student loan over payment has finally come through so I’ve put that on my debt pile – that is the big focus over the next 18 months is to get the financial house in order because once that is all sorted out I can live pretty comfortably. The next big goal is saving up to go over to the United Kingdom in 2 1/2 years time. It’ll be interesting to see what the immigration situation is with the UK and whether Brexit will result in a deal for New Zealanders akin to something like what New Zealand has with Australia where New Zealanders can go over to work without having to go through a visa process.
Going back to work tomorrow – picking up some over time so that I can get towards my financial goal but also because I would say that as things calm down with the new system that was installed at the beginning of the year that there will be fewer overtime hours so it is the old story ‘make hay while the sunshines’. The other benefit is this; when I’m not at home and it is a cold day then it means I don’t need to put the heater on to keep warm – yeah, I know it is a bit of a pathetic justification for doing overtime but it does save a few bucks as a result.
So the three orders have arrived; Moondog the German Years (2 CD set), Brahms Hungarian Dances and Tchaikovsky Complete Symphonies and Piano Concertos (7 CD set). They’ve been all ripped and now backed up to the cloud where they’re safe and sound but I’m looking forward to my new Blu-Ray desktop external drive (USB 3.1) that will hopefully be arriving in the next couple of days since the one I’m using will go back to mum since the one I’ve given mum is a bit dodgy in terms of reading/writing reliability.
Pay week this week – I love being able to look at my pay each week and not see the huge deduction coming off for my student loan – freeing me up from having to deal with the other big focus in my life with getting everything in a good financial order. I guess it is about walking that fine balance between wanting to live a life where one can occasionally spoil oneself but at the same time ensuring that there is a general trend towards getting to the eventual goal.
I’ve been following the run up to 2020 in the United States and the biggest factor will be whether the media gives the candidates a fair representation and whether they they get sucked into the same pearl clutching bullshit that ultimately got Trump elected in the first place. If the media provide a platform during the primaries that doesn’t tilt in favour of one candidate over another as well as ensuring that reporting on Trump sticks to the facts – such as the fraudulent growth, the $1.2trillion yearly budget deficit etc. then there won’t be the sort of backlash like last election. Lets hope that the main stream media in the United States has learned from the 2016 election and that the rich in the US recognise that paying a little bit extra in tax is worth the stability and predictability that comes with having a sane president in the White House.
I’ve been following macOS Catalina, specifically, the work that Apple is doing with Catalyst – it is great to see, based on a recent article (link) that it is moving beyond a few niche applications into maybe the eventual harmonisation of all the bundled applications to a single unified code base so that when features there added to Messages for iOS that it can be made available on macOS almost instantly. I kind of wonder how far they can take Catalyst and whether long term Apple might be looking at SwiftUI for the way forward.
So it appears that a new cryptocurrency has been launched and it is called Libra (link) which, from my understanding of it (having done a quick browse of the website), will act as an intermediary currency for online transactions so the idea isn’t that you go, buy the currency, then spend the currency but rather it is used as vehicle on which transactions can take place. It is interesting to see that both Visa, MasterCard are in on it so it’ll be interesting to see whether it is ‘being at the table’ for the sake of being at the table or whether there is an intention long term to integrate it into their payment network, replace their existing technology with it or some other plans.
ASB Bank had resisted for so long to support other payment solutions but eventually they caved and result was that a couple of months ago they started to supporting Apple Pay. At that time though ASB was still pushing their own which, at that point, that ASB would end up being like Westpac and keep their own payment solution for Android since it’ll mean keeping a larger cut of what the bank receives for each transaction. Anyway, I woke up this morning to check my Twitter and feed – lo and behold ASB replied back to a tweet I made earlier and ASB is now offering Google Pay along side Apple Pay.
At first I thought it was surprising but then again it goes back to what an executive at one of the major banks said about pushing their core banking system into the cloud. Part of that speech was talking about the fact that the focus of the bank is providing financial services – the technology I merely a means to an end as so far as achieving that goal with the assets being the human capital that provides the financial advice through sales channels and other means. So with that being said it goes back to what Steve Jobs said reading Apple selling products that are outside the core focus of the business – unless the point of differentiation benefits the consumer in some material way then let someone deal with it. When it comes to banking – how does it benefit the consumer having a bespoke solution vs. taking advantage of Google Pay which integrates into the larger Google ecosystem which would benefit consumers as so far as being able to take advantage of the services that Google provides.
Regarding my YouShop experience so far – pretty damn happy with the experience particularly when you combine the free shipping to the remailer and then the remailer sends it to New Zealand. I’ve got two more deliveries to the remailer and then I’ll consolidate them all together as a single shipment to be sent to New Zealand and while I’m waiting for that to happen I’ve got 3 already shipped and on their way so hopefully they’ll be here in the next couple of days. I’ll be a happy lad once those CD’s arrive since I’ve been searching for them for ages and I’ve finally got them. Gradually building up my music collection – one CD at a time.
Only two more days to go – I’ll have Monday and Tuesday off but next week I’ll be doing some over time – bits of money here and there which make life a little more comfortable. IMHO I’d sooner do a slightly longer day than come in for an extra day of work but I’ll take any work that is going. With all that being said, my employer wants to make sure that I don’t burn the candle at both ends so it is understandable that they don’t me over working myself or over committing especially given the high rate of sickness over winter.
On the shopping front – the stuff from the UK has left so hopefully sometime next week it’lll arrive but the interesting one will be the ones from the US and whether I can box the whole lot in a single box to New Zealand. It is funny when I hear local retailers complain about people, like me, buying stuff from overseas but what it is ignored is the fact that – the Birkenstock shoes I bought cannot be bought in New Zealand in the size that I require (EU size 46 which translates to UK size 12). When it comes to music CD’s – the kind of music I like to listen simply aren’t available through retail channels such as Jazz, alternative artists, niche once off sessions with limited distribution and so on.
I’ve got a new series that I watching at the moment, Bosch – loving it so far. It is great that there are finally new avenues for content when compared to the bad old days of the same spoon fed garbage masquarading as the best that the television industry has to offer. On my day off I might just chill out on the couch with a bag of popcorn and binge watch a whole season or two.
So the order from my remailer in the United States has finally arrived – the Rachmaninov box set worked perfectly along with the Woody Herman one but the Charles Mingus one however came on a cheap knockoff pressing rather than the Atlantic Jazz version that I was expecting. The problem was made worse when I tried to rip the CD and it was error central; 5 errors on the track 3 then 25 errors on track 4 – what a mess. In the end I contacted Amazon via the website expecting the usual drama of sending it back but funny enough they ended up refunding it and told not to worry about sending back to the United States.I’ve re-ordered the Atlantic Jazz version – second hand but in very good (almost new) condition – serves me right for not investigating before buying.
On a good side, I’m waiting for the CD to come through from Amazon to the UK remailer so then it cam be paired up with the Tchaikovsky and Moondog CDs so then they can be sent to New Zealand – I want to send it all in a single package rather than bundling them up separately. Hopefully that’ll be there in the next week by which time I can get it sent to New Zealand.
On the personal front I had an accident with my phone involving it falling out of my pocket then it being run over by a truck – so as you an guess it came out of that episode second best so I made a claim through the insurance company but given that my mobile phone is my only phone (I don’t have a landline) it was of an utmost importance of getting one. I bought an iPhone XS Max 256GB but whilst I was there I also bought an Apple Watch 44mm as well which helps me as part of my larger ‘getting healthy’ routine where my focus is on having at least a small walk every day even if it is just for the psychological benefits that come with it. The strap itself I had to buy an XL online as the L sized one included is a smidgeon too small for my wrist (it gets to the first hole but it isn’t comfortable). Being able to see where I am in terms of calories burnt, my heart rate etc. serves as a constant reminder and a way of keeping me focused on eating healthy and getting active.
I’m waiting for those three boxed CD sets to arrive which I will wrap up ready for Christmas which I’ll give to my brother and his wife. My brother isn’t into classical music but I think that his new wife will get him into it which should be relatively easy given that it isn’t the usual boring stuff but rather Dvorak, Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky (yes, I love my romantic composers).
I’ve also bought myself a whole heap of music CD’s – primarily ones that are almost run out and are on special so that will be arriving at the remailer at Portland, Oregon which will then be boxed up and sent to New Zealand. The total number of CDs is 9 with one of them going to the remailer in the UK which will be bundled with the Moondog (Germany Years) along with the other classical music box set that I also bought – bundle the three of them into a single box to be sent to New Zealand.
I’ve also sort out my shoes – I have so many shoes that are unwearable, unsuitable or worn out – I’ve been too lazy to get rid of them so I’ve just let them build up more and more. So I’ve decided to buy these two pairs of shoes:
Along with the shoes I’ve also ordered some pants as well – I’ve only got one pair of Dickies work pants so I’ve bought a couple of pairs online which will go well at work. Hopefully they will arrive on Tuesday which will be all ready for getting back to work – normally they put it on an overnight courier.
On the good side it appears that IRD has finally gotten my student loan sorted out in terms of the overpayment from my employer so hopefully it’ll be floating back into my bank account in the next week or so – hopefully that’ll get things sorted out soon enough. Anyway, off to bed I go – its been a late night.
It’s been a week so I’m ready to write my report on WWDC 2019 – and my conclusion is that it was awesome. No gimmicky features, it was all under the hood improvements, bug fixes and optimisations particularly in the area of the use of Metal given the launch of the much promised Mac Pro. I was particularly pleased about iOS being split into iOS and iPadOS given that for too long the iPad had been treated like a jumbo sized iPhone/iPod Touch rather than being treated as a unique product requiring its own category and thus its own dedicated operating system that builds upon the foundations in iOS. For those who want to view the videos, they’re available via the WWDC 2019 schedule (link).
1) The new Mac Pro is exactly what the professionals wanted – a box with as much power crammed inside with maximum expandability. Is it a computer designed for people like me? No, and for the vast majority of people it is a massive overkill but for those who do need that power it is a great deal particularly when you look at the work done with developers to get them to take advantage of the afterburner card particularly when doing real time 8K video editing where as today it requires a number of steps to make it possible.
2) People gasping at the price of the monitor ignore the fact that a reference monitor can set you back $17,000 or more so the idea of being able to get a 6K monitor that is of reference quality but 1/3 to 1/5 the price of an actual reference monitor – it is an absolute steal. Is it an overkill for most people? Sure it is but nothing is stopping you from doing what you always do – buying a Mac Pro then jumping on Dell to order a 4K display off them.
3) All the feedback so far when it comes to iOS and macOS has been how fast and responsive it has been which is probably a byproduct of the work they’ve done with Metal along with moving more of the UI over to being drawn using Metal. Something that Microsoft has promised for years and failed to deliver (as seen by their continued use of GDI 7 years after introducing DirectWrite/Direct2D) it appears Apple is full steam ahead with a fully hardware accelerated GUI. MacRumors has a good video giving a nice top level overview of macOS 10.15:
4) iOS 13 is looking good with my favourite feature being dark mode which I’ve been holding out for. On my desktop and laptop I stay with the standard light theme but with reduced transparency but on the phone my preference is dark mode – which is particularly useful when using the phone in bed. Once again MacRumors does a quick overview of iOS 13:
5) Apple Sign In is one thing that has gotten me excited in the hope that we’ll see some of the big sites make use of it – it’ll be also interesting to see if a number of the big players, such as Google and Facebook, will offer Apple Sign In as an option for when one is setting up a new account. At the moment I keep seperate logins for each of the websites I use since I prefer it that Google and Facebook cannot traverse my the websites I use to mine more data than what is absolutely necessary for me to be able to use their services.
6) WatchOS 6.0 will be less dependent on other Apple devices which will be great for those who want to get into the ecosystem but might not have any other device. The stand alone native applications using SwiftUI will make for interesting discussion in regards to the adoption of the Swift language and whether we’ll see other platforms also provide Swift support such as Android and Windows.
7) tvOS 13 gains Xbox and Playstation controller support which will be interesting to see whether that will translate to more Apple TV 4K devices being sold now that it is a good fill in for those who want to do some casual gaming but don’t want to have to spend close to NZ$600 for a gaming console when most games could easily run on a Apple TV 4K device without too many problems (as long as they’re optimised for Metal).