Thanks to overpaying for insurance which I didn’t need (thanks to Arnold Schwarzenegger for the push), I am – for the first time in ages (and without the need for credit) – able to make a generational upgrade to my Mac hardware. This is likely to be the last upgrade for 4 years (or so) and the very last Intel CPU-based Mac that I’ll own.

While it’s been predicted that Apple will start to shift Mac CPUs to their own silicon ARM-based processors, with the delivery of the 16″ MacBook Pro and the crazy-expensive, but crazy-powerful Mac Pro that utilise Intel’s 9th generation processors (though that’s now been superseded by the 10th generation processors which are just hitting the market) – I very much doubt we’ll see Macs using AXX chips for another 2-3 years. 5 at a push.

So I’m replacing my 2018 15″ MacBook Pro (2.6Ghz 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor with 6 cores, 16Gb RAM, 1Tb SSD, AMD Radeon 560X graphics with 4Gb RAM) with the new late 2019 16″ MacBook Pro (2.3Ghz 9th generation Intel Core i9 with 8 cores, 32Gb RAM, 4Tb SSD, AMD Radeon Pro 5500M graphics with 8Gb RAM). Bigger screen, smaller bezels, higher resolution, 2x faster graphics and more RAM and storage to play with (which will come in handy when helping to digitise and arrange Dad’s many, many photos, as well as learning to set-up a new Active Directory system from scratch using virtual machines). It’ll be used for work quite a bit too. This is effectively a geek’s car upgrade.

If anybody is interested in taking the old machine off my hands, please do get in touch. I’m looking for around £2,000 (or nearest offer) – but that does include AppleCare up until 19th July 2021, and will remain part of Apple’s free keyboard replacement program until 2022 (though I haven’t used the keyboard much – I tend to use my MacBook Pro with an external monitor, keyboard and mouse). Includes original packaging and power supply brick, etc.

I’ll let you know what I think of the new 16″ MacBook Pro when it arrives, but with a redesigned keyboard (including the return of a physical Escape key which, as a systems administrator, is essential) – the reviews of this new Mac have been extremely encouraging. I just wish it didn’t cost so much!

Ever since I changed jobs back in 2017, it was at the exact same time when South Western Railway took over the franchise from South West Trains. As such, I’ve been constantly late or have had to work from home due to significant delays and cancellations due to a combination of South Western Railway and Network Rail problems. And don’t get me started on the Smart Card ticketing system.

This is in stark contrast to my days working at Memset with South West Trains and travelling between Woking and Guildford. I had to take one of two scheduled company-paid taxis to Dunsfold which, if I missed it, meant forking out £25 extra on a regular taxi to get to work (or turning around and going home – wasting time). I never had to do that because I rarely had any issues with SWT. I can count on one hand the number of times South West Trains had any substantial problem which meant I had to turn around and go home.

The past two years with South Western Railway has been extremely annoying, stressful, and with constant 2-3 hour journeys door-to-door (from Woking to Wimbledon), exhausting. Last month’s strike by the RMT was exceptionally stressful and totally unpleasant. Wimbledon may well as be as far as Mars with SWR in charge.

So I’m not surprised to hear that SWR could lose the franchise as they’ve “been affected by issues including strikes and infrastructure reliability”, and has posted a loss of £136.9m back in March 2019.

Let’s hope something good eventually comes out of this and gives us commuters something better than what we’ve been used to for the past couple of years.

Now that it’s 2020, I felt it was time to cut back a bit on social media, which has recently become so Marmite-ish that everything tastes bitter and salty. So much anger. So much aggression. It’s all become very toxic.

So I’ve made it a New Year’s resolution to cut back on Twitter. I’m kind of scaling back on Instagram too, though mainly cutting back on the number of people and things that I’m following. The biggest problem with social media is that the more people you follow, the longer it takes to read everything, the noisier it gets, and it then ultimately exposes you to the knuckle-dragging Bad People®, and that makes you wonder why you bothered in the first place.

So, I’ve abandoned my 409-odd followers and the 600-odd people/things I were following and started again from scratch – retaining a follow a select few fellow twitterers whose tweets don’t make me want to go out and get a lobotomy.

My new account (@MartynDrake76) is going to be permanently set to private, and I’m resisting the urge to post anything to anybody who chooses to follow me. It’s more of a lurking/read-only account. Useful for checking the latest train info, or news updates.

Bring back the days of computing where nothing was interconnected. Where you had to wait 10 minutes for a computer game to load from tape, and if the system subsequently crashed just after loading the game, you’d do the same thing again. It taught us patience (well, maybe some of us – definitely not me).

Don’t get me started on Facebook. It has its uses (mainly family and close friends), but even then it’s not something I actively engage with much. Facebook’s Instant Messanger and WhatsApp apps are extremely useful – but that’s really the only things that get any kind of decent workout. The site itself I only glance at a few times a week at most – and for a minute or two.