About / Welcome

This is a personal blog to compliment (go with) my primary personal homepage and personal photo gallery NUI.NZ.

This site, KAHA, was originally a Forum for family / friends to act as an alternative to using Facebook, however never achieved adoption and was subsequently repurposed into a personal general blog that it is today.

KAHA is where I occasionally post various items, including general thoughts, opinions, observations, notifications and what not.  It is in effect my Social Media Profile surrogate. As explained in my Facebook Notice, have elected to instead go down the route of building my own personal web presence as a key means of keeping in contact with friends and family both at home and abroad as opposed to relying on commercialized and centralized proprietary social media platforms.

If you need to get a hold of me urgently or at short notice, please either call me or text me. Other contact details are available on my about page.

“Kaha” is a Te Reo Māori word for “Strength”

Kia kaha!


Fergus Young
www.nui.nz

About / Welcome

Site Move + State of the web.

Moved again. This time to cheaper hosting at A2 Hosting. Was on Cloudways who turned out to be excellent, though couldn’t justify spending almost 40 NZD a month on what essentially was a personal homepage hosting a bunch of personal photos. Currently on a shared plan with A2 Hosting. New arrangement will probably save me around 300 NZD per year.

I’m probably increasingly one of the last few netizens in New Zealand who still bothers to maintain a fully fledged personal website as the primary means of staying in contact with Friends and Family, particularly where I host my own photos (and video clips) on my own domain rather than putting it on one of the many proprietary services.

I have trouble with supporting the like’s of Facebook given their track record behaviour. After all they are a business whose first and foremost aim is to maximise profits and believe that it is not a good idea for us collectively allowing them to so much power over our communication lines between friends and family and subsequently our lives in general. They aren’t some benevolent organisation, being a for-profit entity, they are ultimately answerable only to their shareholders

Giving the increasing complexity of maintaining a website along with Web development becoming an increasingly specialized field… we are seeing more and more personal websites simply become single page landing sites which contain little more than a series of links to one’s social media accounts on the proprietary platforms owned essentially by Advertising companies.

Site Move + State of the web.

Stoney Creek NZ – Allegedly made tough for outdoors

Stoney Creek appear to be a well regarded brand in the rural and outdoor sector. But have to admit, I just haven’t had the best run personally with their clothing range given the prices they charge for them. The stitching frankly hasn’t been the best – often needing to be restitched after 2 – 3 outings. Drawstrings disintegrating and unraveling, buttons falling off, and fabric that rips after only a relatively short life…

The Stoney Creek “Table cloth” Shirt RIPped just under the sleeve after I tried to reach for something above my head.

…Yes, I did make sure to use a small amount of liquid detergent rather than the powdered one as per the washing instructions on the garment label.

If compared to the other outdoor brands, they are probably on par with the likes of “Kathmandu”, slightly behind The Warehouse’s “Kiwi Stockman” range for durability, but quite a bit behind the likes of say Cactus, Earth Sea Sky, Lastrite (Footwear), Swazi, etc. To be honest, it has been a lot more economic for me to pay upfront for say Swazi (Even at full price) and get garments that have so far consistently lasted me several times longer, not to mention supporting NZ Made.

Stoney Creek NZ – Allegedly made tough for outdoors

But what will be the “Trigger”?

The theme has been the same for years. If the legion of economists and financial experts are to believed, the markets are over valued, the world is awash with money. We are totally hooked on cheap credit and a crash is imminent, but this ‘crash’ never ever seems to come. Indeed, even with me, my feeling is that a sizeable financial correction is extraordinarily well past overdue. The thing I feel hasn’t be covered in great deal is how might such a financial crisis end up being triggered? Hardly anyone I feel has actually really covered this in a great deal of depth.

It appears that as long as central banks keep “printing” Money (from thin air), this action appears to be very supportive of equities and the property market and is insulative of any world Crises that may ordinarily spoke the market. Unless anything untoward happens, Asset prices such as equities and property prices I feel will continue to escalate and may even accelerate in the short to medium term from here on in. There seems to be NOTHING that will cause a crash as long as central banks and commercial banks keep creating money and pumping it into the system by way of Fractional Reserve Banking.

Something I penned on a scrap piece of paper while bored. This scenario is probably unlikely to eventuate, but at the same time, wouldn’t be surprised if it does.

There are however underlying risks at any time that can seemingly jump out of the blue and come bite everyone in the arse. When such an event will happen I believe it’s anyone’s guess as to when such a catastrophic event will happen and ultimately such an event is outside our ability to predict with any sort of usable accuracy. A correct prediction by anyone would basically be down to pure chance / luck. Statistically, someone will undoubtedly guess correctly and may get fawned over by the masses looking for any sort of answers as being some guru who had some insight.

The way the system is currently structured, if and when something does occur to be sufficient to get the boulder moving. The subsequent chain of events is going to be absolutely devastating. Once say a bank fails, there is a tendency for others to collapse along with it. Loans may be recalled, Entities stop investing, money stops flowing, More loans are recalled, People get laid off, Home owners may be forced to sell into a sliding market, trigger more loan recalls, panic selling ensues, Sell stops are triggered on stocks dumping more equities into the market, ultimately an unstoppable panic driven chain of events will be happening feeding upon itself in a frenzy and will undoubtedly drive asset prices to absurdly low levels.

So far the ‘Risks’ factors that I can see that may sufficiently trigger a crisis at some point.

  • Some sort of Pandemic, similar to SARS or another airborne virulent infectious agent.
  • Supply side shock of an essential resource, such as Food Shortages / Famine. An event such as plague, disease or disaster that ends up reducing the food supply. Food price going out of control, eventually leading to panic buying feeding (pun not intended!) on itself.
  • Spreading Civil Global Unrest. In the case of Hong Kong and Chile, there were an underlying sense of discomfort. Civil unrest was often ignited by a single policy in the style of a feather breaking the camel’s back.

The reality is, I feel we haven’t learned very much if at all from the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. The credit and liquidity bubble I feel is a lot more lofty today than it was back in 2008 before the shit hit the fan. The last run up of asset prices have almost, I feel, has been entirely credit driven and along with artificially low interest rates.

Indeed, with no end insight to current trajectory of asset price inflation from ever loosening monetary policy.  Have been cautiously investing back into the equity market for the last 3 years.

Have up until recently been focusing my investments primarily towards REITs and Property Stocks, however, it would appear that ship suddenly sailed away from the start of this year catapulting the unit prices across the New Zealand REIT basket from below Net Tangible Asset Ratio to well above it. Additionally, prior was getting yield of 7% pre-tax on that sector, however, this has completely sunk down to a mere 3% dividend yield. Will cease adding any more to that sector and will be cancelling all Dividend Reinvestment plans, I feel this sector is now largely over valued.

The only other near term opportunity I can identify is possibly in some stable higher yielding companies, both here and abroad for which there are still plenty.

That said, am keeping a close eye on the pulse of the global economy. I think regardless though. If and when the next crisis comes and in spite of any safe guards taken, I’m still going to be reamed in some way whether I like it or not.

TL;DR – Financial System no longer obeying usual economic fundamentals. Unprecedented Flood of liquidity sees us potentially on the cusp of a relentless rampant run up in Asset and equity prices. The bubble may be about to inflate even more and faster than it has in the recent past. If something of sufficient severity does managed to spook the market and snow ball, then expect blood on the streets.

But what will be the “Trigger”?

New Zealand Rooms of Riot/Matrix Chat

So far the known New Zealand specific chat groups (chat rooms) that exist within the Matrix chat federation include…

If there are others that you know of, feel free to advise me or post in the comments below.

If people are looking for a viable alternative for staying in contact with friends and family at home and abroad as opposed to using the common proprietary messaging systems (e.g. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc) operated by sole corporations. Then I implore people to start looking at the federation of matrix.org chat servers.

If you want to start chatting. Go to Riot.IM, sign up for a Matrix.org account and start joining rooms such as #nz:matrix.org

Similar to how Email is structured, where Joe Bloggs at Hotmail can seamlessly Email his friend, Max Mustermann at Yahoo without needing to be with the same provider. The Matrix protocol is structured the same way for instant messaging and group chat. No one single company / provider has total control of the protocol.

If Joe Bloggs for example, doesn’t like Hotmail for what ever reason, he is able to choose to sign up to Gmail. Matrix.org is the same way, you have a choice of providers. You can even host your own node (like I do).

Like any project the onset, Matrix was pretty rough around the edges, but I feel the development of the system (being the Matrix Protocol together with the available client software) has now matured to a point where I feel Riot/Matrix is now certainly very usable.

The reason why I favour Matrix over say Telegram, Signal, Slack, Zulip, Mattermost, Rocket Chat, is that Matrix is the only system where you can…

  • Self host a node of your own AND
  • Send messages to users on other servers (Federation) AND
  • Has a usable front end client (Being Riot.im available for Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, and others)

 

New Zealand Rooms of Riot/Matrix Chat

Huawei P30 Pro Camera – Hybrid zoom

Update 13 October 2019 – So took the Huawei P30 Pro and compared it to the Panasonic TZ110 and another quick test…

At x5 zoom…
Native zoom for the P30 Pro’s x5 Camera. To my untrained eye, it is fairly similar enough in detail. The TZ110 may be a touch more natural in detail and colour reproduction.

Continue reading “Huawei P30 Pro Camera – Hybrid zoom”

Huawei P30 Pro Camera – Hybrid zoom

Auckland Local Body Elections

Admittedly, it’s been difficult to figure out who to put a tick against for the Mayor vote for the Auckland Local Body elections. I’ve spent at least two hours in total reading about and researching all the candidates over the last week.

Some may argue that spending two hours is a total overkill, but admittedly, I do hold Civic responsibility quite seriously, and the fact that we do get to vote as part of a democratic nation is something I consider extremely important.

Resources reviewed and canvassed include…

  • The Voting instruction booklet / Candidate information. Same information is available on the Auckland Council Website. (Just click “+ More search options” then “Show mayoral candidates”)
  • The Spinoff NZ – Local Policy Website
  • Radio NZ – Mayoral Candidate Debates
  • The Candidates own resources, such as their own personal (campaign) website and social media accounts.

So far my research has come up rather inconclusive. The decision made more difficult is the candidate information appears to vary between mediums (i.e Candidate information booklet vs the Candidate’s website).

Auckland Local Body Elections

Flu session really took me out

I’m still recovering from this dry cough / chest infection from a full blown flu earlier last month. Tried to go for a walk today primarily to start the process of getting my fitness back, but my lungs wouldn’t have a bar of it. Coughing fits like crazy as soon as an step up the intensity beyond a flat walk in the park.

Looks like I may have had a relapse last week, which hasn’t helped matters. (a 2nd bout, in spite of getting the flu shot this season)

Estimate time of recovery is next coming weekend. Then I need to blooming get my fitness back and see how much of it I loss over the month that I have been unwell.

Immune system wise, I seem to able be bash through bushes, get cut up everywhere, be leaking blood out from my limbs without knowing it and never have a problem. But in terms of respiratory ailments, my immune system is rather weak in that regard.

Flu session really took me out

Swazi Apparel to move part of their manufacturing to Thailand

Swazi NZ, Davey Hughes in a YouTube clip has announce they are moving production of their Fleece and Base layer clothing lines from their Levin Factory (here in New Zealand) to Thailand. The technical garments such as raincoats and jackets will still be made in New Zealand.

This in my view represents a not so insignificant change of direction from their original brand values and which they built the brand on.

Swazi Apparel to move part of their manufacturing to Thailand

Carefully packaged and shipped – License code for Office 365 Online

Well packaged for Delivery. Box containing a Microsoft Office 365 box wrapped in Air Pillows. The only important bit was a line of code to activate your Office 365 subscription online.

May be a just a little bit excessive in the packaging…

Of course an argument could most certainly be made that it would have been cheaper and easier to simply E-mail me the code… though obviously packaged like this as a “matter of process” / “Matter of course” and to their credit, it did showed that Noel Leeming takes the effort to ensure goods are packed in a way to minimize the chance of damage during transit.

Carefully packaged and shipped – License code for Office 365 Online