And a new week at work begins

Lots of fun ahead, pay on Wednesday and on target to get rid of the debt on my GEM Visa which will be all sorted out by early December. When I wake up in the morning I’ll ring up Motorad to organise a servicing of my scooter for next week which include putting two new tyres on the bike along with fixing the starter (I’ve been using a kick start for the last couple of months) along with any other thing that needs fixing up. Since it is within warranty the starter thingy should be covered under warranty where as the tyres are normally around $60 each – I’ll ring them up today mainly because if they need to order in new tyres or a part then they can get it organised but I’ll need to speak to my boss incase there are delays getting the part in which will mean I’ll need to have Wednesday/Thursday off from work or at least I come in and take the train to/from work for those two days and do a mid shift of 11am to 8pm. Hopefully everything will work out well and I’ll get my scooter back on time. Long term I want to get a bigger scooter but I’m going to focus on losing weight, getting my learners motorcycle licence and paying off the loan I have with my parents (after my GEM Visa is sorted out) so then by the middle of next year I’ll have a motorcycle licence, no debt at all except my student loan. I started the ‘plan’ from May 2014 and it appears that within a year I would have reached my target – but I also need to focus on losing weight as well.

For anyone who has ever tried to lose weight the idea of ‘just eat less’ sounds like a very simple plan – akin to telling a drug addict or a smoker, “oh, just stop using it – all you need is discipline and will power!” as if the idea of dieting or any other major lifestyle change is that easy. When you’re working in the fast food industry (or what the industry prefers to known as ‘Quick Service Restaurant’) you’re surrounded by food all day so I have to admit the temptation to eat is definitely there. There is also the other problem – I’ve spent so much time focusing on getting my finances in order I have neglected my own health by simply eating what ever is within grabbing distance than really asking what the health implications are of eating such food over the long term. Denial is a pretty strong thing when your brain is elsewhere and you know what you is bad but constantly telling yourself, “once I get this sorted out I’ll focus on getting healthy” but the problem is that it is something I’ve been saying to myself for quite some time and at the age of 33 (going on 34 next year) it is something that I can’t keep putting off. Eventually 7 years of bad lifestyle will eventually catch up to me so I’d sooner get it sorted out now and put myself on the right track than find that in 6-12 months I’ve got diabetes or some heart condition that’ll throw a spanner in the works long term.

The first focus will be sorting out my diet because that is where the calories and in turn weight gain is occurring since I do enough walking around at work the problem is calorie intake. No more deep fried food at work, no sugary foods, salads and grill chicken, diet soft drink (but in moderation) and focusing on something else besides eating. I’m sure for a few weeks it’ll be like hell on earth but in the long term in 6 months time when I’ve shed a few kilos and I’m feeling a lot healthier I’ll look back at this time and say, “thank god I made that lifestyle change”. So what I’ll be doing form now on is adding a new tag called ‘Getting Healthy’ and provide updates on my progress so it will be a bit of a diary of my experience as well as a good way to give encouragement to others who are on the same journey as I am. Hopefully it’ll also act as a motivator to myself so then others can track and keep my honest as well – the reason why I put ‘Getting Healthy’ rather than ‘losing weight’ is my focus isn’t just on weight loss given that you can eat 1,800 calories of twinkies per day and lose weight through pure calorie restriction. The focus I’ve got is a complete lifestyle change that isn’t focused primarily on weight loss (although that will happen as a side effect of a lifestyle change) but making a lifestyle chain that promotes good health – not living life as a ascetic self flagellating martyr but getting some moderation back into my life so that food doesn’t become the single focal point in my life as it is now.

Things still up in the air

Well I’ve paid off my debt on the 12 month interest free, deposited $450 into my Spark account which will mean that by the next bill I’ll have the last bit of the phone paid off and now I’m sitting here going to sort out my GEM Visa then close it off to have instead an American Express ‘Low Interest’ which has 6 months of purchases charged at 2.99% interest with a fixed of 12.69%. Before on iTunes you could only use Visa or MasterCard but now that it is possible to use American Express on the New Zealand iTunes store it has made having an AMEX actually a viable option. Ordinarily I’d prefer to have the credit card handled by my bank for the sake of ease of convenience but having dealt with AMEX for their customer service I don’t have to worry about too many things. It comes with 55 days interest free but end of the day most of what I’ll buy will be paid back within 2 months (maybe before) so you could call it a charge card that has two months to pay it back rather than it being a revolving credit that results in debt being carried from month to month.

GEM Visa sucks, hostly, from its poor customer service, its high hidden fees that make up for those interest free deals not to mention the fact that that their website is broken so badly and buggy that it is a nightmare to use. Honestly, once I’ve got rid of the small amount remaining on that I’m going to get rid of it. So what I’ll have is a Visa Debit for those purchases I can pay cash up front for and my American Express for buying big tick items. I’ve been treated well by AMEX in the past – I pay my bill on time, my credit limit is increased and funds paid are always precessed promptly.

I’m also looking at Vodafone for their cable internet – it appears that things are back to normal but my main concern is regarding the consistent reliability issues that Vodafone cable has been having where as if I keep with Spark I get the benefit of UFB flat rate  plus the face that Spark has bought 40Mhz (2 x 15Mhz blocks and 2 x 5Mhz block) of 700Mhz spectrum for their LTE network which should mean more spectrum, more capacity and the ability to offer lower prices for more data along with the fact that the frequencies used for LTE bring them inline with Australia which should result in improved handset choices not to mention no weird compatibility quirks when travelling over the ditch. When it comes to Sky I’m better off just sticking with the status quo given that I already get great reception, it is a great way to wind down at the end of the day without having to actually think about what is on – just switch it on then veg out.

UFB 200Mbps is coming to the area in January/February so I hope that by the time it does arrive I’ll have an iPhone given that Pad and Quill are finally shipping their leather wallet/cover for the iPhone 6. Btw, I’ve decided I’ll go for the 6 rather than the 6 plus – I’ve thought about it but in the end the 6 Plus is comically too big for what I need and given that the screen size is roughly the same as my existing HTC One M8 (of which I’m satisfied with) I’m better off just sticking with the iPhone 6. The Chorus fibre has been laid and hopefully they can reuse the conduit that the traditional copper cable goes down but in terms of where the ONT (optical network termination point) can be put but I’ll probably just get it installed behind the tv next to the power point then run an extension cord from the television and SkyTV box to the outlet behind the single sofa seat. On a good side my existing wireless router modem is UFB read (Huawei HG659b) which will mean I’ll be ready to roll. I’ll start off with 100Mbps and see how it goes – I’m surprised though that Sky hasn’t started broadcasting their service down UFB.

Posters on Macrumors are one of the many reasons why the website sucks

Honestly I made the ill advised leap of faith and decided to have a look at some stories on Macrumours then having a look through the comment section hoping that maybe someone might illuminate the story a little more – maybe a current IBM employee talking about what is happening behind the scenes. Anyway, there was ridiculous post:

We need the iPad Pro, with a decent iOS suited to a device of this size. Until then, Apple’s products are more toys than tools.

As if the individual hadn’t actually realised that this dinky little company called Apple actually makes more than just iOS devices, you know, they make these things called ‘laptops’, ‘desktops’ and ‘workstations’ that run this magical thing called ‘OS X’ and they just recently released a new version with the code name ‘Yosemite’ (OS X 10.10). Honestly, for people like him to some how hang the fate of Apple on a single product line is pathetic and even more pathetic when he cannot work through this basic idea that there are employees right now using Mac laptops every day with Cisco having the largest number of employees using Mac’s in every day office work. What Apple doesn’t need is iPar Pro’s but for idiots like you to realise that Apple makes more than just iOS devices or better yet to refrain from commenting on a forum until you have a firm grasp of reality.

I apologise for this rant but god knows there are far too many people who spew half baked verbal diarrhoea as some how enlighten earth shattering observations worthy of wasting space on a hard disk and bandwidth on the internet. There is a fine line between an actual observation based on reality and an opinion that defies all logic because they can’t even be bothered realising the depth and breadth of Apple’s portfolio and what can be provided to enterprise customers. Honestly, the iPad Pro is as stupid rumour as the fabled xMac, the return of clones or worse the much opined rumour that Apple will leave Intel and magically pull a desktop, laptop and workstation ARM based CPU out of their ass because something something no reason at all. At some point you’d think that this nonsense would be called out but alas here we are hearing the same crap being spewed by people who believe that groundless opinion is worth something. Macrumors, YouTube and Facebook to me have one purpose and one purpose only – why I should never sign up to such services given that as bad as 4Chan is, it pales in comparison to the sewer that are those websites.

UFB looks to be arriving on time

Just looking down the street and it appears that UFB is going to be delivered on time (January 2015) or closed to it given that there has been a hive of buzzing activity. Chorus has started offering 200Mbps connections to ISP’s although the only ISP I’ve seen offer it is Snap but the unlimited 200Mbps download, 200Mbps upload but it is sitting at $179. Alternatively Vodafone has finished their upgrade of their HFC (Hybrid Fibre Coax) network recently which will hopefully translate with them offering speeds of up to 200Mbps and greater capacity of their HFC network so that as flat-rate internet subscribers increase that the speeds won’t drop off the edge of the cliff during peak times.

Now that the debt has been paid off to the bank I’ve organised the final payment for Spark account which finishes off another outgoing which means that by the time Christmas rolls around I’ll have the final bit paid off then all I’ll have left is the loan I have with my parents (my original scooter plus a few dopey purchasing decisions lol) which I’m aiming to have paid off by the middle of next year. The goal is by the middle of next year all debt will be paid off with the only debt left is my student loan which I’ll then move onto paying off which, if all goes well, will be paid off hopefully by the middle of the following year so by that time I’ll be in a situation where the only out goings will be my rent, power, internet, mobile along with insurance – as I said to my old man, once you get rid of those out goings things will be pretty comfortable.

Regarding my plan for upgrading my MacBook Pro and iMac – I’m going to first get an iPhone 6 with case then I’ll sell my iMac and MacBook Pro then use part of those funds to purchase a MacBook Pro then an iMac the end of the year – space it out over a year and maybe we’ll see a refresh of the iMac non-Retina. One thing I found out, which is a downside of UFB, is that it isn’t compatible with the Airport Extreme base station since it requires tagging to work on the UFB network where as with the Vodafone it uses bog standard PPPoE where as UFB requires that a capable router is hooked up to the Optical Network Termination (ONT) point then the Airport Extreme base station is hooked up to that – in other words, a multi-port clusterfuck in the making that I’d prefer to avoid.

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve got my Vimeo up and running then moved my original HTC One M8 review across plus a fresh video uploaded in the last couple of days. I’ll upload future reviews when I buy an iPhone 6, iMac and MacBook Pro along with the change in internet connections – with from from VDSL to UFB or VDSL to 100Mbps cable via Vodafone (but knowing my experience so far with Vodafone I’ll probably stick with Spark and put up with the fact that I’ll keep using the hg659b rather than using my Airport Extreme base station).

Btw, when it comes to Facebook and business pages, just don’t waste your time because Facebook is where all hope in humanity goes to die. Honestly it is a sad state of affairs given that otherwise ‘rational’ people scream and whine like spoilt petulant children because 90% of the time they screw up but turn around to blame the company rather than themselves. Just reading through Spark NZ and Vodafone NZ page and the replies are pretty sad indictments on the average New Zealander if those posts are anything to go by.

American Express on iTunes, HTC One M8 follow up and Drobo 5D Review

Apple has finally added American Express payment to their iTunes store in New Zealand – maybe they’ve cut a deal with American Express to get the fees they pay cut down to something reasonable. With that change that has taken place I’m wondering whether I should go with the low rate Visa card from ASB Bank or whether the low rate card from American Express. I think I’ll end up sticking with the bank since I’ll still get a low rate and the fixed account cost per year is around $20 cheaper and the added benefit that if I do need to speak to someone I can just go into a branch anywhere in NZ and sort what ever I needed sorted out.

I’ve made a video follow up to the HTC One M8 Review as well as a small Drobo 5D review:

One more day to go

One more day and then I’ll be heading in to move my superannuation from Australia to New Zealand which should boost my Kiwisaver above ten grand and once I’ve got my loan with my parents sorted out by mid next year I’ll start making voluntary payments but I wonder whether, after the 5 year Kiwisaver holiday whether I just go for another 5 year Kiwisaver holiday because then at least it gives me the ability to make manual payments into the scheme rather than having it binding upon me every single week – even when I really do need the extra money because an unexpected bill has come up. With that being said although I have a student loan of around $23,000 and there is no interest I really do want to get rid of that after I pay off my parents so then when I hit 36 years old I’ll be 100% debt free which still leaves me another 40 years to make contributions to my Kiwisaver so when I do retire at some ripe old age I’ll be debt free, stable job, a house to live in and a nice nest egg that’ll top up the national super. Although I’d love to upgrade to the latest and greatest iMac, MacBook Pro and/or iPhone I also realise that I’m better off getting my financial situation sorted so that I don’t look back at the years working and regret the money I squandered because I was too short term focused in my decision making.

Updates and drama

Well I’ve updated the HTC One M8 review so it now points to the Vimeo version which uses the HTML5 video tag rather than relying on Flash which should make the blog a little less CPU heavy. Once I’ve got my debt paid off I’m going to have a look at paying to upgrade my WordPress account so that it no longer has advertisements on there – I loaded my blog at work and I now realise just how obnoxious those ads are so that is next on my ‘to do’ list of things I need to sort out.

Affinity Designer appears to be a pretty good drop in replacement for Illustrator for those wanting a vector image application but without the Adobe price tag attached – of particular importance now that Adobe has gone 100% to subscription and really unless you’re using it every day either as a student or in a business then you’re better off looking for an alternative. Pixelmator has received an update for Yosemite and hopefully we’ll see applications in the future become ‘iMac 5K aware’ as I’m sure eventually the non-Retina iMac will be phased our – maybe have a 4K iMac and a 5K iMac aka prosumer build for those who want the bleeding edge at a reasonable price (reasonable price being subjective of course lol).

At the end of November I’m going to take my scooter in for its 6 month check up – I’m going to ask the guy at the shop to replace the front and back tyres because they’re running out of tread and they have a tonne of holes that’ll eventually require me to replace it at some point in the future. I’l also get them to tighten up anything that is loose and tweak anything that needs tweaking. Hopefully it won’t set be back too much but it’ll mean that I have my bases covered in the coming year knowing that everything is going well.