I bit the bullet and went for it: MacBook Pro ‘Retina’

So I sold off my iMac and MacBook Pro (both were circa 2012) and replaced it with the following:

Screen Shot 2014 12 19 at 4 42 06 am

I decided that 512GB storage is more than sufficient but I upped the memory to 16GB and CPU to the highest I could get. Long term I’m looking at getting an iMac but no until they do a refresh of their existing current iMac line up given that their iMac 5K although great has an underpowered GPU that really is put under stress with moderate games not to mention the egg cooking temperature that the GPU can get up to when compared to a similar grunty GPU when running a non-Retina display.

On a good side, I’ve almost bought all the Christmas presents this year; for my niece I bought her two $20 iTunes vouchers, my sister and her partner a $50 petrol voucher and now all I have left is trying to decide what to get for my parents and grandma. Vouchers are the safe choice – more personal than just straight cash but flexible enough as to allow the individual to choose what they want.

At least it isn’t a car analogy

I have to admit, the one thing I love about Mac’s these day with their Intel capability is the ability to run Windows and experience full force why I moved to the Mac platform many years ago – get the inkling like how Bill Hicks would start to think ‘maybe people are ok’ ( link )  all I have to do is head down to the trough of hate and frustration to fill my hump. In the case of me I hear stories on how Microsoft is improving Windows, I see screenshots of how there is an across the board improvement and I think to myself, “maybe Microsoft has finally got it, maybe I should give them another chance” so I download a 90 day trial of Windows 8.1 enterprise and my hate hump refills rapidly from the experience – issues that exist and will continue to exist even beyond Windows 8.1 into Windows 10. I gave it a go for almost a week and then came back running for OS.

Moral of the story: The grass isn’t always greener on the other side and that it is very easy to get sucked into the hype but important to step back and recognise that there is no perfect operating system or perfect computer manufacturer so instead one is on a never ending quest of finding something that sucks a little less than the competition. When it comes to Yosemite, it has its flaws but on a whole, as a complete system, it is still by far better for what I need than what Microsoft is able to provide at this given moment. I am excited about waiting for Office 365 and will be keen to seeing it finally released to the public because eventually I’ll need it for work.

The big decision: MacBook Air or MacBook Pro

Tis another example of the first world problem I face: Do I get a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air. One thing to consider is the fact that it isn’t my main driver so having grunt performance isn’t all that important but at the same time if it means that I’m only saving $600 for a slightly lower resolution screen, slower processor and less memory then maybe I’m just better off sucking it up and spending the extra money on getting a maxed out MacBook Pro 13.3” and get the added benefit of a machine with greater longevity.

Another seed for OS X 10.10.2 has been released which leaves me wondering whether they’re going to burn the midnight oil to get it out the door before Christmas because I’d assume like most organisations they probably close over Christmas to new years given that for around a week nothing really happens. Looking forward to WWDC next year and hopefully hearing more about OpenGL NG and the rumour that as a long term project they’re going to give it a complete overhaul, have a single framework that covers all devices rather than the OpenGL and OpenGL ES divide etc.

Anyway, I better head off to sleep – my eyes are drooping as I type this blog post lol.

Another weekend and back to work

On a good side I can tick off some accomplishments that I achieved over the weekend with the first being finally getting around to cancelling my sky subscription where I originally thought I had a 12 mont contract but it appears that if you already have a dish installed along with the cabling still intact then the amount of time one is ‘bonded’ to the service is less than the 12 months advertised. I guess the 12 months they talk about is the ‘worse case scenario’ where a dish needs to be installed plus cabling any any other freebies they’ve thrown in for good luck. I got put through to the disconnection department but as I explained, I only watch around 6-10 hours of television per week so it makes little or no sense what so ever paying something like $60 per month for a service I rarely use (I pay the extra money for a better decoder because the base standard SkyTV ones have a habit of freezing up and crashing thus rebooting half way through a television show). Just having a look through I realised that a lot of what I want to watch is already available online in the form of live streaming of news for example which means even if I upgrade my internet connection to flat rate VDSL I’m still going to end up being $40 better off each month. Looking forward to eventually getting UFB installed – I’ll settle for the 100Mbps option – although the Spotify offer that comes with the ultra mobile plans does look tempting given that it would give access to a decent selection of music without having to go out of my way to purchase or download it.

Went into Vodafone store to sort out the extra set top box my parents have that they want to return – and sure enough I had to call up Vodafone to cancel the extra box before I can return it. Honestly, there is a reason why the call centre is swamped with calls when you cannot go into a Vodafone store and sort out all your issues with them – not just mobile phone accounts as with the situation today. One of the things I love about Spark is the fact that if the call centre is overwhelmed i can take a quick trip into town and get it sorted out at the local Spark store. With that being said, it does raise some interesting questions regarding getting the programmes from the internet to the television – maybe I should get a low end Mac mini and hook it up to my television then combine it with a wireless magic pad and keyboard to be able to watch television from the sofa without having to drag my laptop out every time I want to watch something. A good ethernet connection to the router and voila – happy times for all. The big aim next is to install some ethernet cabling at some point in the future with proper jacks at both ends but the problem is having to deal with finding some way to run a cable to the various bedrooms either under the house or outside the house (which has its own unique challenges such as making it weather proof). The other alternative is to purchase some ‘power line networking’ ( link ) that uses the internal wiring in the house, I’ll use the old heater wiring which will hopefully provide a more stable and reliable network along with lower latency than using Wifi.

Cleaned up the outside of the house, pulled out all the weeds but next week I’m going to focus on completely covering all the backyard in roundup to kill every living thing under or near the concrete so then I don’t have to deal with weeds coming up between the cracks. After spending a good 6 hours cleaning up the front and backyard I certainly am not the sort of person who wishes that such activities were needed on a monthly basis. Once I get that sorted out hopefully I can put some furniture in the backyard so then on my day off I can spend time in the sun with my laptop, a nice cool Apple cider and chill out with the cool breeze sweeping through.

Oh well, off to finish watching ‘Law and Order: Criminal Intent’ then I’ll head off to sleep for an early start tomorrow – well, earlier than I normally start at.

Windows 10 is pretty tempting but then reality hits plus more bad news with Vodafone and idiots in Bali

Geeze, in a week where I look to the Vodafone NZ Facebook page to cheer myself up after being at work all day I can’t believe it has been this long and not a single executive has come out from Vodafone to say or do something about the issue. Do the executives at Vodafone even know what is happening the real world – outside of the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ board room meetings involving throwing a midget against a target board? Honestly, if we were getting that level of complaints at the organisation I work I’m sure the CEO would be fronting up to the media and there would be emails being fired back and forth between shops, area managers and restaurant managers on resolving this issue and finding some way to rebuild confidence in the organisation. Here we are and not a single person has fronted up, taken ownership which tells me as a potential customer (plus the many customers right now who are pissed off) that they don’t actually give a shit.

On to stories of stupidity we have this NZ ( link ) caught going to Bali with 1.7kg of Meth – all I can say to Bali authorities, you’re more than welcome to keep the guy and what you do with him I couldn’t give the slightest continental about. If you’re stupid enough to go overseas to smuggle drugs then you should accept the full consequence of those actions and that includes being punished according to the destination country’s justice system. Honestly, one less idiot in NZ then I’m happy for him to remain over there indefinitely.

I’ve been following the development of Windows 10 and although there is the appearance of ‘change’, all indications so far it is a matter of putting lipstick on a pig rather than genuine changes that are occurring under the hood. Inconsistent look and feel, various parts of the system still reliant on GDI rather Microsoft moving to Direct2D/DirectWrite and making a clean break from win32 so that the operating system can be moved forward based on modern underpinnings (WinRT) with win32 kept around for backwards compatibility. All the appearance gives the impression on first glance that Microsoft have improved things but as so long as they’re still relying on ancient technology that should have been put out to pasture many years ago then I’ll be faced with the same issues I faced when I had my Lenovo Thinkpad and Thinkcentre the last time I had a brief flirtation with the PC world almost 2 years ago. I’m having a look online and if I save up $1,000, sell my two computes for around $1,500 then I’ll have enough along with the 12 months interest free to purchase a MacBook Pro ‘Retina’, paying that down and then making a decision regarding an iMac once there is a refresh of either the non-Retina or the Retina iMac. Can’t wait – next year it’ll be the year of fibre being installed and two brand new computers, can hardly wait!

All is going well

Just following through the latest drama inflicting Vodafone: different systems, the failure to integrate businesses they’ve acquired and now customers are frustrated after having to wait up to 1 hour and 10 minutes to be served by a customer care representative. This is the prime example of what happens when you have a complete disconnect between management and what happens in the trenches, when the focus is on the razzle-dazzle and not spending the money in terms of going out and building a new billing system from the ground up that can cover the existing and any future acquisitions not to mention a website that is consistently broken (the tool used to match your location to what services they offer in that location is broken more times than it isn’t) not to mention that we’re in 2014 and still unable to use a single log in and manage all services from a single login.

Had the Christmas party for work and everyone enjoyed themselves – a few quiet ones and lots of fun for all concerned. Worked out great when compared to the original plan of going to ten pin bowling them off to a restaurant which would have cost something like $50 minimum which would have excluded many because of the shear cost of the exercise. Honestly, nothing is worse for a crew function if most people cannot turn up because of the cost associated with it – end of the day a Christmas function should be something that allows everyone to turn up and chill out as a team without having to worry about there being yet another out of pocket cost. So we had lots of fun, everyone enjoyed themselves and I decided to purchase a nice bottle of wine for the ‘secret Santa’.

Well now that I’ve got my iPhone 6 I’m looking at paying that off before the end of December with the big push going forward is waiting for UFB to installed up the street where I live and hopefully they’ll be able to reusing the existing ducting because I don’t want them to do the half assed installations I’ve seen online which resemble a Friday job before a long weekend. There has been the winner of the Gigatown announced and the winning town is Dunedin which will be gigabit connections to the home but hopefully Spark will expand their UFB support up to 200mbps download and 20mbps upload and with Netflix coming to NZ (along side Lightbox) I’ll need to come up with reasons to keep holding onto SkyTV. I’ve also had a look at the MacBook Pro and iMac – the plan I’ve got in store is that I’ll sell them both and hopefully if I get NZ$1200-NZ$1500 then I’ll be set to purchase an MacBook Pro then wait till the refreshed iMac ‘Retina’ comes out and then go for that – I’d say that the iMac ‘Retina’ will probably be refreshed in the second half of next year to take advantage of the refreshed mobile GPU line which is rumoured to have a substantially improved performance (either that or they refresh a non-Retina iMac which IMHO would be ‘good enough’ for what I need to do)>