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 (serving as my personal self-hosted surrogate to Facebook).

As always, the views expressed here are my own and (unless otherwise explicitly stated) I don’t purport that any of my views to be factually correct and opinions on any given topic are most certainly subjected to change. The intended audience of this blog is Family and friends and the content here should be regarded in the same vein as a series of personal Facebook posts as opposed to a fully-fledged blog.

If you need to get a hold of me urgently or at short notice, please either call me or text me or message me via Riot / Matrix (Matrix Account Required). 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

Stream of Consciousness Week 6th April 2019

Stream of conciousness and other personal thoughts garnered throughout the week. These thoughts are unrefined, unquantified, unverified, and raw. Any of these may be either be edited, deleted or otherwise spawn out into it’s own separate post…

  • One positive thing about the lock down is that upon walking once were busy streets, you’re no longer suffocating in petrol and diesel fumes any more. This was especially so with busier roads such as Remuera Road, Lunn Avenue and St Johns Road for example.
  • Discovered some new tracks around the neighbourhood that I haven’t even realized that were there. Will probably go back and explore that track network later on.
  • For a while, between Stuff.co.nz and the NZ Herald, Stuff was originally regarded as the more “tabloid” of the two with having generally more sensationalist and “Click-bait” headlines. I guess this situation has now well and truly been reversed. NZ Herald is now more “click bait” in their reporting and sensationalist than Stuff and probably more so than Stuff ever was. Regardless, I’m still of the opinion that NZ Herald as a brand and format needs to be taken out back and put out of it’s misery.
  • Trialling YouTube red for a while. Probably the best time to do it.
  • With the Layoffs and the economic destruction happening globally, I think it is valid to question whether the measures taken globally are actually better for people’s livelihoods overall or actually worse than the disease itself. No matter how much we try to sugar-coat the situation with stimulus and handouts, many people’s Livelihoods would have undoubtably been wrecked. Based on probabilities, an increase in Suicides will likely happen, not necessarily during this period, but after the CoViD-19 situation recedes away.

 

Stream of Consciousness Week 6th April 2019

Stream of Consciousness Week 30th March 2019

Stream of conciousness and other personal thoughts garnered throughout the week. These thoughts are unrefined, unquantified, unverified, and raw. Any of these may be either be edited, deleted or otherwise spawn out into it’s own separate post…

  • I think once the risks with CoVid-19 begin to cede, we will probably also become more cognizant of other respiratory infections such as Influenza. Physical distancing (my preferred term to calling it “Social distancing”) measures will probably be followed as a matter of habit may be years after the official directives for this round are lifted. Physical Distancing may even stay as a seasonal thing to do.
  • This period, would certainly be a time to learn new stuff. Trying to learn more about general Linux server administration and getting more into the guts of this. More for my own edification mainly for personal projects. In a small way, it may increase, slightly, the opportunities available.
  • While caution and counter measures are most certainly warranted, I am still of the opinion that the (Commercial) Mainstream Media outlets have a considerable lot to answer for causing a level of panic that I feel is counter-productive and unhelpful. Many people now seem to be talking themselves into a needless funk between each other (including by way of lapping up the apocalyptic “fearporn”), and admittedly I am now thoroughly sick to death of it. We now have paranoid people who now jump when you simply go *hem* even if you are well away from them (over 3 meters).
  • The Remuera Golf Course has been closed for golf and has been kindly opened up for public access walking and jogging during the lock-down period. It’s a good large area to walk around and explore and recommend at least 2 hours if you want to stroll the entire area. Though try to stay off any greens that are under maintenance.  Restricted to those local to the area obviously.
  • I think if this “Lock-down” goes on any longer than the initial 4 weeks, I wouldn’t be surprised, statistically speaking, that a small number of people will get fed up and start acting in deliberate defiance of the rules especially with the sunny and settled weekends we’re having. That said, under no circumstance what so ever am I advocating or encouraging anybody to behave this way, I feel it is extremely important we all work to “flatten the curve” as much as humanely possible in circumstances such as these. If not for yourself, for our front-line health workers.
  • Snitching on your fellow citizens… RNZ Audio Bite. While could be argued that the new Police form to report CoViD-19 L4 breaches is an essential tool to aid compliance, I am concerned that it may also enievtably breed fear, contempt and distrust of fellow citizenry in one’s community. I am also concerned that some may be treating this like game in that some people may derive a twisted sense of gratification reporting others… Like idiots who repeatedly upload snore-fest videos cataloguing a series of (minor) driving mistakes to YouTube from their Dashcam and acting all virtuous and sanctimonious about it.
  • I don’t begrudge our own Government imposing a lock down. Given how globalised we were, The NZ Government had to do something (or at least been seen to do something).

 

 

Stream of Consciousness Week 30th March 2019

Stream of Consciousness Week 23rd March 2019

Stream of conciousness and other personal thoughts garnered throughout the week. These thoughts are unrefined, unquantified, unverified, and raw. Any of these may be either be edited, deleted or otherwise spawn out into it’s separate post…

  • Have ended up disabling notification for several chat groups I am part of (on Facebook and Hangouts specifically) as an interim measure. Sensing too much panic loop fuelled drama. If people need anything from me, they are best to ping me directly. Have left notifications on for the Matrix/Riot channels I am a part of however.
  • Didn’t realize there was a bit of community riff between users of HackerNews and Lobsters. Seems some of those in the Lobsters community often refer to HackerNews as the “Orange” site. As an aside, I have been sensing in the last year or so the gradual “redditfication” of HackerNews along with also sensing some red flags (patterns) of Astroturfing creeping in.
  • Suspecting psychological issues within the general population will start mounting as the “Lock-down” progresses.
  • Wouldn’t be surprised to learn that CoViD-19 had spread around the world earlier than what most believe and so far has commonly been reported.
  • Microsoft Cloud skills challenge contest that was held at work upon further inquisition turned to be an almost total farce. Someone gamed the game (outside of what was clearly the intended spirit of the game) and people cried foul. The organizers eventually cracked and the rules of engagement were changed well after the Challenge had commenced and were not even properly communicated. This is perhaps the first time in 17 years of working in the company that I’ve ever sent off an Email internally that could be described in anyway as “heated” (expressing disappointment but composed in the most civil, considerate and respectful way as I could).

 

Stream of Consciousness Week 23rd March 2019

Mass Clinical Trial of potential treatments against CoVid-19

Clinical trials of potential candidates for CoVid-19 treatments are now currently underway to see if any of the below mentioned drug combinations offer any efficacy in slowing down or reducing the effect of CoVid-19 on patients.

Science Mag: WHO launches global mega trial of the four most promising treatments

Potential treatment candidates include…

  • Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine
  • Remdesivir
  • Ritonavir/lopinavir
  • Ritonavir/lopinavir + interferon beta

I’d expect there will be other potential treatments in the pipeline coming online to be ready for clinical trials.

In my own non-professional opinion, if any of these clinical trials are actually successful, the earliest we could perhaps see these treatments becoming mainstream is may be 5-9 months. I would currently pick in reality this could be over a year, but again I reiterate this is a stab in the dark prediction.

CoVid19 is indeed a very serious series of viruses and firm + swift proactive steps need to be taken, particularly with protecting the most vulnerable in our community (e.g The elderly, those who are immunocompromised and those with serious pre-existing medical conditions). At the same time, I still assert that I see a totally needless, unhelpful and counter-productive level of group think, panic and herd mentality that is being perpetuated in an epic unprecedented feedback loop across social media channels and the majority of the Mainstream media / Mass media outlets globally.

Mass Clinical Trial of potential treatments against CoVid-19

I fear the panic more than the virus itself

In confession, I currently feel greater anxiety towards the panic and public reaction over the COVID-19 virus more than the virus itself. This sentiment of mine is no doubt subject to change however as events unfold.

Yes, Take positive proactive steps to safe guard yourself and your community, friends and family including such precautions like proper and thorough hand washing, staying away from others if you’re sick. But please don’t be an idiot and fan the fear around social media or hoard stuff like toilet paper.

That said, yes, I believe the New Zealand government could be doing more to safe guard our borders and taking stricter quarantine measures at our major ports, at least to slow any spread down and minimize overloading our Health services (by way of helping to “Flatten the Curve”).

I fear the panic more than the virus itself

.NZ Domain Yearly registration prices are to rise.

The .nz Domain prices are to rise after InternetNZ announces wholesale price increases. Claim is that registrations are falling. Monthly Registration statistics can be found here… https://docs.internetnz.nz/reports/

I believe a lot of the more recent new domain registrations were speculative after the release of the direct second level registrations under .nz and feel that may be it’s just a gradual decline back to the mean.

Increasing prices in my view will no doubt accelerate the so-called decline. I plan to have a look into their financials when I get a chance. (I don’t expect to find any irregularities – though worth checking for my own edification)

.NZ Domain Yearly registration prices are to rise.

Stream of Consciousness Week 2nd March 2019

Stream of conciousness and other personal thoughts garnered throughout the week. These thoughts are unrefined, unquantified, unverified, and raw. Any of these may be either be edited, deleted or otherwise spawn out into it’s separate post….

  • Looking ahead for 2020. My travels both internally and internationally will probably be substantially less, probably more so as a result of the reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak. Less photo albums will be posted than usual this year.
  • The above being said, Still in the calendar…
    • A trip to Arrowtown Autumn Festival + More South Island Hiking (April),
      Update 2020-03-22: CANCELLED by the airline.
    • A possible trip to Tasmania (May),
      Update 2020-03-22: CANCELLED
    • A trip to Kamchatka in Russia (July)… If Kamchatka doesn’t pan out, will change plans and just tour around Japan.
      Update 2020-03-22: In jeopardy
  • Locally (in Auckland), still planning to attend this coming weekend…
    • Pasifika
    • Kumeu Show
  • Yes, I’ve taken a bit of a bath on some of my other holdings (as anticipated in an earlier post penned before all this happened) however I am not too worried given such financial calamities have happened many times before and the market to date has managed to bounce back. Should the pull back continue, particularly if the stock market halves in value, it will be an opportunity to bolster my long term portfolio with good strong companies that have good ‘moats’ for bargain-basement prices.
  • Kind of really struggling to connect the dots regarding the hoarding of Toilet Paper. Doesn’t matter, Just slowly accumulating Cans of food by popping an extra handful in my cart every grocery shop.
  • The NZ Herald as a medium / Division of NZME / brand, needs to be taken out back and put out of it’s misery. I feel they have been blatantly irresponsible in some of their editing recently. Why are people panic buying Toilet paper when there are plenty of copies of the NZ herald to go around?
Stream of Consciousness Week 2nd March 2019

Drowning does NOT look like drowning

An interactive website I found that provides information on recognising signs of drowning in a child along with the opportunity to practice recognising these signs.

URL: http://spotthedrowningchild.com/

The key take away here is that… Drowning does NOT look like drowning

Quoted from the site… “Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.”

Recognise Drowning in a pool

The Youtube videos utilized on the site are from the Lifeguard Rescue (Channel)

Drowning does NOT look like drowning

Recommend Abolishing the National Lottery

I have to admit, the oft used slogans in Lotto NZ’s marketing… “Got to be in to win” and “Imagine…” troubles me quite intensely, in so much that I feel it traps the more vulnerable people into a dopamine driven false sense of hope and psychological impression that the odds of winning the big one is magnitudes larger than either logic or statistics could ever justify.

It is also I feel serves as another function to distract quite a few people away from their meagre lives and contributing to drawing public attention away from the issues that really need attention and debate. (e.g The Value of Working, Provision of pathways and opportunities to progress and contribute meaningfully to the community, Ending the over-commoditization and downright pitiful rampant speculation on housing, etc)

People argue that Lottery organizations are charities and they give back to the community by way of grants as merely an excuse to keep these schemes around, however I firmly feel the impact (Addictions, distractions) outweighs any community good. Like the Pokie machines (“One arm bandits” I call them), the poor and the ones who can least afford to engage in such pursuits, seem to be the biggest patrons of them.

There I’ve said it… I strongly felt that I needed to at least get this off of my chest.

Recommend Abolishing the National Lottery

Financial Crystal ball gazing 2020

These are pretty much “Stab in the dark” predictions please acknowledge disclaimer

Have quietly Pilot bought into OTC:GBTC, while everyone attention wise appears to focusing their mind elsewhere. However I believe that in the shorter to medium term that prices for the asset class may continue to be soft and may even halve from its present day price (in which case, it would be an opportunity to add to the position)

We may see another parabolic run up in the next 2-3 years, provided some one doesn’t somehow manage to compromise the integrity of this particular asset in the meantime. Even if my “stab in the dark” prediction materializes, I feel the next BTC run up bubble is unlikely to be anywhere near as great (in terms of multiples of gains) as the last few parabolic run ups, given the trend of each such run up has been less than the preceding run up

Equity markets and asset prices behaving as per last observation and have seemingly started accelerating. However I am still cautiously feeling the pulse and this may change at short notice given financial system is behaving I believe well outside historical norms. I still assert things have been deeply distorted due to central banks unleashing the biggest ever liquidity glut known and a significant sustained correction I further assert is extraordinarily well past long overdue.

Away from the purely financial side of things, my prior concerns over global food supply and security have been increasing. How the world can best mitigate such an eventuality, I don’t yet know of an idea.

We’ve been in a very long period of relative calm and abundance (in the developed nations) but see a lot of risk factors that could potentially unseat this in the next decade or so.

Financial Crystal ball gazing 2020

More site Maintenance.

In the latest round of website maintenance issues… In the latest version of Chrome, v79 for Android, it was found the Tiled Galleries weren’t displaying / resizing properly anymore and were ending up being cut off on the right hand side. The funny thing was that the Desktop and iOS variants of Chrome (v79) were unaffected. Similarly, all the other browsers (Such as Brave and Firefox) on Android would display the same galleries fine.

Decided to try and debug it. After much blooming mucking around trying to get Chrome PC DevTools to recognize my phone. Managed to start walking through the code and identify where it was flipping out… but not necessarily understanding why.

PC Desktop Chrome v79 Devtools Debug freaking out and closing the USB Debugging connection

All I know was at the highlighted line, it would skip right out without error. Often at the same time it would cause my USB Debugging / ADB connection to the phone to die, requiring me to revoke all Debugging access permissions on my phone and then trying to re-authorize the connection to get it going again.

The section of code checks if all the images have been loaded up prior to executing the actual resizing / re-scaling of the Tiled Gallery images.

Anyway, have since identified and implemented a workaround in code and I am now testing it out on all the browsers I have access to. I am thinking however that this isn’t anywhere near the last of the challenges I will be facing while maintaining my own web presence and services going forward (as opposed to relying on Facebook / Instagram for that). Facebook have whole dedicated teams to troubleshoot shit like this.

More site Maintenance.

Site Move + State of the web.

Moved NUI.NZ again. This time to cheaper self managed hosting at Digital Ocean. 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. 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.

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. 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

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

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