Month: June 2020

37

Seven days ago I turned thirty-seven.

I took the day off in lieu for working the previous Saturday. My wife took off from her work too.

My wife and son surprised me with a couple of gifts, one of which is my favourite organic dark chocolate from a local co-op. Given the current world events, I did not feel too excited to venture anywhere outside our lovely neighbourhood.

I spent the rest of the day with my wife and son, chatting together, playing video games, and eating out at our favourite places. I also spoke to my parents, brother, sister and an old friend, all from afar overseas.

I had a small and simple celebration.

I feel fortunate and privileged for everything in my life and being able to live how I envisioned. I have several ambitions to pursue, and that is probably a life long endeavour. But at this point in life, I don’t wish my life to be any different. For that, I am very grateful.

HEY, email spy!

I am not surprised by this, but it feels weird to realize actually getting spied! I am sure there will be many more instances of spying and it feels normal over time, but here’s the first one for the record.

I realize in the tweet sent from my previous post I sounded like I sent a pre-populated tweet some services encourage you to share right after signing up for them. 😬

That tweet isn’t something HEY populated or nudged me to send. I should have written a personable custom message to go along with my previous post.

Nevertheless, I am excited about signing up for HEY!

Hey, HEY!

Last night I bought my @hey.com email address subscription after trying it for a few days. I have been following HEY ever since Jason gave a heads up earlier this year. Since this is from Basecamp, I knew it is going to be amazing and it is! I signed up as soon as I got an invite a few days ago and I loved everything about it: the onboarding, speed, features, simplicity and privacy. But most importantly, I subscribed to the HEY Manifesto and the principles of its principals Jason and DHH and their Small Tech company, Basecamp.

I never thought I would pay for an email service, but it is probably the best ninety-nine US dollars I spent lately. Like many people, last time I was this excited about an email service when Gmail was introduced in 2004 (or 2005?). Big Tech is so pervasive, and it is not going to go away anywhere or any soon. But where possible and affordable, I think we should support subscription-based services offered by Small Tech companies; they cost money upfront, but they don’t sell your privacy and data to the highest bidders to display ads.

If you want to check more about HEY, I suggest these links: 

Lockdown update: returning to normalcy

New Zealand is moving to lockdown alert level 1 —and a return to mostly normalcy— from this midnight. Only border restrictions are in place.

I am glad it is over! It won’t be as normal as before all this, and it is still important to follow the hygiene and physical distancing practices, but overall, given how broken the world is right now, I am grateful for where I am. I couldn’t be anywhere better!

Here is the full timeline of New Zealand lockdown.

  • 11:59pm, 25-March-2020 Wednesday

    New Zealand moves to alert level 4; the entire nation goes into self-isolation.

  • 33 days

  • 11:59 pm, 27-Apr-2020 Monday

    NZ goes down to lockdown alert level 3.

  • 16 days

  • 11:59 pm, 13-May-2020 Wednesday

    NZ goes down to lockdown alert level 2.

  • 26 days

  • 11:59 pm, 08-Jun-2020 Monday

    NZ will move to alert level 1 – and a return to mostly normal lives – from midnight tonight.

God Defend New Zealand.

Here is the summary of Covid-19 virus cases in New Zealand.

NZ Herald Infographic of NZ Covid-19 cases
Infographic from the New Zealand Herald.

Fibre Ultra

I upgraded my fibre internet to Fibre Ultra, technically called Gigabit fibre which has the advertised speeds of 900 Mbps down and 500 Mbps up.

First, some backstory.

My first fibre connection I got in 2018 was solid (Fibre 100 – 100 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up). After some time I grew unhappy with the puny 20 Mbps upload speed. I felt uplink could be better and so I upgraded in 2019 to Fibre 200 which doubled the download speed, but oddly enough it did not change the upload speed. So I saw no point in paying extra just to improve only the download speed. I downgraded back to Fibre 100 to save money.

Fast forward to this April. A discussion on Bill Bennett’s blog made me lookout for other offerings with higher upload speeds. After doing the price math, I settled for Fibre Ultra from Skinny.

Fibre Ultra is supposed to get me 900 Mbps down and 500 Mbps up. It does, but only on the ethernet. And I don’t like cables. On WiFi, I get only 300 to 400 Mbps down and 400 Mbps up. Nevertheless, now the downlink is about 4 times and uplink is a whopping 20 times what it was. That itself is amazing!

Was – Fibre 100
Now – Fibre Ultra

But I felt like I am not making the most of the downlink. While I did not expect to get all 900 Mbps down, I hoped to get at least 600- 700 Mbps. I wrote to Skinny and am disappointed by their response:

Internet service provider’s advice 🙄

I generally like the customer service of Skinny (one of the reasons I moved to them), but I wasn’t impressed by this specific advice esp. the note about the hardware. As a professional troubleshooter, I checked and played with the WiFi router settings, and tabled it for later since I couldn’t find that elusive setting that could bump up the download speed to 500+ Mbps.

As luck would have it, yesterday Bill published another blog post in which he clarified:

if you connect to, say, Speedtest, from a home computer connected to gigabit fibre but linked to your broadband port via Wi-fi and nothing else is running you might see speeds of 300Mbps to 400Mbps on a good day. Some connections will be slower.

I like to think of it this way: Gigabit fibre is faster, so the bottleneck moves to the Wi-fi network.

Sigh! Now at least I know that I am not missing out any router settings. Thanks again, Bill! You saved me a lot of time.

I feel better now knowing that I couldn’t have done anything to make the most of my internet connection, other than perhaps plugging in ethernet, which I am not going to do. Around 400 Mbps both ways is still pretty awesome as it is!