Blog Sunday 27th March 2022 – … You went where?… the Philippines!?!

For the two people I found out who actually ready my last blog, will know that a lot has changed since I last did blogs. I spent literally 10 years without a single post, so what was left were a lot of closed chapters, and, most certainly the beginning of many new ones. I said that in 2022, I’d be stepping out of my comfort zone, they’d be risks, things would be different and I think it’s fair to say, that’s already been achieved, and, we’re barely ending March.

I do feel like my previous relationship became a reason I became a lot more censored, a lot less expressive and changed me in ways that weren’t always in the area of positivity, but, that’s gone now, a new is born and erm… yeah, quite the adventure ended today last week in a pretty warm place!

For context on that, I’m one of those who gets hot at 10 celsius, I’m a fussy eater, lover of the status quo, though not the band, and, most definitely not someone who’s normally making too much fuss … so, I give you the Philippines … wait what??!

Today marks exactly a week since I returned from the Philippines, and I think it’s fair to say, it was not only the most memorable week of my entire life, so far, but, also, the most significant step to what is now, hopefully, a very exciting future.

The beginning has truly begun!

As I mentioned in my last blog, I said that it was early days but I had someone new who was entering my life and I was very excited about where things could go. Now, I must confess, I wasn’t entirely truthful about that, because the early days were “more many months”, at that point, and, the beginning, was more or less already established, but, their was one big huge step I needed to take to confirm everything was in motion, and, that was a visit to the Philippines, specifically the city of Cebu.

After a shock announcement to my family, which was a couple days before the already booked flight and hotel was set … to which they were very happy about, we were set to go. It’s worth mentioning that, was it not for ineffective dumb removal of our civil liberties for no reason due to a bit of Flu, I’d of probably be doing this trip at least last year, but we are where we are.

The journey

To save me from some initial stresses of the trip, my Dad agreed to give me a lift directly to the Manchester Airport I needed to go to, a journey which I would later find out wasn’t as simple for me, but that’s nearer the end. I was soooo lost in an Airport and was pretty much guessing the entire way.

I figured out I was naturally meant to look for the company I was flying with, went there and spoke cluelessly to a woman there who, bless her, helped me out greatly. Got checked in, registered the Philippine Health Pass, presented my negative test and vaccination record, my main luggage was put through then … was clueless again, what now? This bit wasn’t as obvious.

Eventually I was guided to the Departure side of the Airport and my Hand luggage and me had to get some X-ray excitement and, let me just say, dammnn you iPad Pro!!! Bearing in mind, I was terrified of being remotely late (though the flight in the end ended up being itself 1 hour late) my hand luggage DIDN’T go through and I needed to wait for the very slow process of people looking through it. Yyyep, for some reason, I don’t know what this thing is made off, but EVERY TIME my iPad went through, it triggered something which is odd but, once I’d figured out it was the iPad, I was clear to put it on a separate Tray, to avoid the trouble, -sigh-. Now, all we needed to do was wait for when we could board, phew.

And where I was, I was heading to the Philippines to begin the first huge adventure with the latest additional in my life, Hannah. But, not just Hannah, a group of Hannah’s friends, who I’d, consequently, got to know over the last year, or so, and who would also be there for what would be a very memorable trip indeed. So, when I arrived it would be me, Hannah, Chona, Ivy and Meg.

Of course, this is me, so the arrival wasn’t smooth either. I arrived in the Philippines, after the stress of dashing around Qatar due to my late flight, and I was, again, clueless. I figured out the obvious, ”Arrivals”, queued up, all my Documents were perfectly fine, then I was like… well, where now? Put it this way, no word of a lie, I was shouted at by 6 staff, not in English by the way, telling me not to leave yet as I’d to do two pretty important things, register my arrival, I mean sure, but a pretty big one, pick up my luggage! … I was pretty embarrassed, but no one knew who I was so meh.

GOT my luggage, thankfully it stood out amongst the rest, and was ready to leave in to the HEAAATTT and prepare the very nervous …hi’s to come.

Cebu Port Center

I’d booked a hotel very close to Cebu City’s port area, this was actually the view from outside the window, was very happy when I was able to finally check in after the rigmarole.

The thing about flying, which is annoying to me, isn’t the flying itself, as, that’s fairly straight forward, in fact, it feels like you’re on a Train most of the time. The thing that annoys me is the over the top dumb process you’ve to go through. To add to that annoyance, we have the stupidity that is Covid regulations to put up with, so we needed to get EVERYTHING booked … but also temper your excitement in case a PCR test, done within 48 hours before departure, which has to be fit-to-fly so you better get your money out, turns out positive or negative. Thankfully, after feeling like my nose had been drilled off, it was negative (like every Covid test in the history of time) and we were good to go.

After a few hours of criticism of being a bit under prepared by my family, I mean sure I had zero shorts and most my T-shirts were joke T-shirts or RKUK Media branded, I got some donations, but, I honestly didn’t care as I could surely buy what I need there and it turns out the only preparation I wasn’t prepared for was a British one … the weather. My burns are still recovering haha, but it’s all good.

From Pounds to Peso

1,500 Philippine Peso … or just under £22.00

One of the huge adjustments when visiting another Country is of course figuring out international currency. I was able to get quite a lot of Philippine Peso to start me off for the journey, and, it’s actually not too difficult to top it up once over there. One thing that became apparent, after a while, this is after the typical tourist part of going how much is this, ohh it’s that much, oohh here you go. Once I’d actually taken, not much time, out of my hands, to work out the conversion, it became very apparent that the Philippines was a very affordable place! This became more noticeable when order things of equivalence, such as say a 2L bottle of Pepsi, or some Fries at McDonalds. Granted, I understand that the same can not be said of residents of the Philippines perhaps visiting the UK and experiencing OUR prices. Speaking of Pepsi though, and ALL drinks over there, not having the UK sugar tax, I swear, you don’t realise just how ruined drinks have become until you experience what they’re SUPPOSED to taste like ohhhhh. I can actually drink Coca Cola over there, in the UK it’s full of sweeteners which give me a serious headache. Sigh, if only Lucozade wasn’t a UK only product before it was completely ruined.

Speaking of traditional grub, I was actually pleasantly surprised at just how many things from the UK I had access to over there. I mentioned McDonalds, but literally EVERY fast-food chain you can think of is over there and even some additions such as Philippines own Jollibee was very helpful when it came to a decent sea-side like Hotdog with frankfurters.

Arrivals and the “hello… kamusta ka?”

After a total of 22 hours under some regard of Airline shenanigans, many of which included hour late flights, as mentioned before, dashing from one side to another Airport in Qatar, to the eventual arrival in Cebu, just after 5PM local time, plus give or take some hours of immigration, we were finally here!

Prior to arrival, as mentioned earlier, I had arranged to meet up with what would be 5 of us, made up of Hannah, 3 of her friends, me, and I guess eventually a Driver. Once checked in to the Radisson BLU Hotel in Cebu, which apparently is 5 stars over there, though to me it was similar to Hilton hotels … so a Premier Inn with the odd chandelier and marble floor to look more posh than it actually is! Though, at least this one had an inclusive Pool. One thing that actually really impressed me was this was the first Hotel I’ve ever been in with surprisingly good WiFi, which was not only free throughout your stay, no per hour charges like UK hotels, but also Superfast (around 80mbs down) throughout! Though, I didn’t take advantage of much else the Hotel offered, except maybe the free breakfast which included a very small quantity of Cereal. Having WiFi like that was very useful to keep up with the world, catch some Philippine Pokemon in Pokemon GO, though my pretty cheap roaming plan with VOXI worked pretty well, too, and the Networks over there, at least for me, worked pretty well actually, I even got 5G at one point.

The initial arrival day consisted mostly of checking in, the nervous shy hi’s to everyone, and my first experience of something I was certainly going to get used to, sitting on a table in a restaurant and going “don’t like that… don’t like that… do they do Fries?” hahaha, but you know what, we managed and consequently over time found many ways I could eat and consume.

On the road to … places of interest

For the first half of the holiday it was clearly tourism central, we visited some very photogenic places, all were absolutely boiling. We went to Sirao, Temple of Leah, Busay, Daan-Lungsod beach, a water park in Mandaue City, more scenic sights at Valladolid … quite a few places really, plus obviously exploring Cebu itself.

Then, probably my biggest mistake, going in to the ocean unprepared which resulted in the loss of my skin, pretty much. The first few days were spent with us all as a group, me, Hannah, Chona, Ivy and Meg all spent a lot of times together and I’ve many many photos, none of which are going here, but plenty of memories.

The very photogenic Sirao

One thing that really illustrated the heat in the Philippines however, was my first real true experience of dehydration. I was literally heading back in the van, after quite a long walk, I was losing my breathes, I was losing my strength, and all I remember after that was consuming 1 entire litre of water in about 20 seconds, quite scary. So, it’s fair to say when the daily average is 31 celsius, keep up the water.

One thing that was clear the second I even arrived, was not only the huge change in culture, but also that you will see the slums, you will see people truly making ends meet, but, you will also see surrounding you, a very beautiful Country. I’m not personally someone who really cares about the Tourism aspect of any Country really, but it’s hard not to be taken in to what makes this Country what it is.

Alcoy – Daan-Lungsod – Philippines

Outside of all that, is honestly a fairly traditional in-land, you’ve got your shopping centres such as SM which contains pretty much everything you could need and more compared to say White Rose or Meadowhall, I’d argue actually better, everything is refreshingly generic in that regard. But, of course, once you step out, you’re left with that, sandy beaches, REAL palm trees, I mean woah, and a lot of ways you can just be taken in and relax.

But, it’s worth mentioning that was not why I was here. I was here to begin the future of my life with Hannah, but, I’m sure many people will be wondering who the heck Hannah even is, I’ll get to that, but, for now, just know that I was very happy and even more, especially so with the second half of the holiday, where it was finally able to become just me and Hannah.

The end of distraction and the beginning of it all

It’s worth mentioning that everyone I met in the Philippines, including the 3 that joined us at the start, Hannah’s family, 2 other friends of Hannah’s who I finally got to catch up with and so many more, remain very important to me, but, just like the Philippine sights, were admittedly a beginning distraction to the true reason I was there, Hannah. It’s a shame how this being brought up created some, less than pleasant, reaction from some, but it was necessary and the last half of the week was purely me, Hannah, and, what we wanted to do at that time.

Spending time with a group of friends is great, I will admit, though when they speak Taglog, it can be a bit troubling, and it did create some aspects of ”three’s a crowd” mentality, so having some alone time with me and Hannah was incredible at just seeing the striking difference in how relaxed I felt, and how right things begun to feel almost instantly. 20 minutes alone, I was happier than days prior which I think was honestly the most revealing aspect of the entire journey.

Meeting the family 😬

In any relationship there’s those striking moments that you always have to prepare for, those nervous moments where you… basically shit yourself, the first one that comes up, of course, is meeting the family. By that point, you’ve already established how you feel about the one you care about and love, but, at the same time, if the family don’t like you, it kind of puts a spanner in the works, as we say in good ol’ Blighty.

Walking nervously through the passages, entering a door that was, almost not opening correctly just to say ”turn away now Ben, we already hate you”, we finally entered in to a very populated living space, where the interrogation began … ho ho hah haaahh … not really, but you know how it is. Thankfully, it went a lot better than I could of imagined, it seems they liked me, and they accept me for who I am, which was a HUGE weight off my shoulders.

We, consequentially, then spent an entire day with a great bulk of the family, but, once again, it went surprisingly well. Sure, I have I a lot to adjust to, hell yeah, was I the most noticeable out-of-place person in the world, you bet, but, I can honestly say, I felt accepted, which is the most important thing ever.

Who is Hannah?

Bit nosy aren’t we. To get to Hannah, I need to go through probably the last near 10 years of my life, with the odd few things left out because I don’t want to be disrespectful to anyone here.

The fact is in the last perhaps 4 to realistically probably 5 years, hard to tell the years with the madness that was lockdown (that must NEVER be allowed to happen again), things were not feeling right in my previous relationship, many things were attempted to change this, but, the real turning point, was when this was brought up, confronted the issues, nothing changed. The call wasn’t answered, so to speak, so I knew what I needed to do, at that point, and that led me away.

During this time, however, Hannah showed up in to my life. We became friends, we got on really well, but something became apparent pretty early on, I was already starting to feel things for her, something which couldn’t be ignored. Especially, when those feelings were so much different than I was experiencing previously. So, as me and my previous relationship fell further apart, we became closer, then, when it ended at the back side of last year (which amazingly no one noticed), it was obvious where I needed to go. The focus was clear and straight ahead towards Hannah. I’ve actually known Hannah for nearly 2 years, few ups and downs in that time, but really that’s just the process of getting to know the real you and the real her.

Obviously, they remained many things in question, many risks were going to be taken to make this work, not only by basically closing down an almost 10 years of a relationship, though, in many ways that was doing it all by itself, but, when something feels right, it makes you look at yourself in the mirror, and, you just have to say to yourself, let’s just go for it.

Now, I’ve always been that kind of guy, like most from the UK, think it’s in our genes, that instead of taking risks, we just sits there going “oooo I dunno”, but, this time, I thought, look, I’m turning 30 soon (am now) and I refuse to not be happy where I am, and, most certainly, I refuse to let this slide, so I found some backbone and just went there. To simplify everything down to one sentence, based on the week I spent in Cebu, I now know for sure, what I’ve done was 100% the right decision.

I plan on visiting the Philippines again very soon, I also plan on giving Hannah the full UK tour … though, might be slightly less impressive showing off Brid and Skeggy, to the beaches in the Philippines, but hey we’ve British charm dammit! Maybe avoid places nearby like Dewsbury though hahaa

The journey back

Whilst going there wasn’t exactly smooth, with the first flight been 1 hour and 20 minutes late, so my connection in Qatar was … less than relaxing. The same wasn’t exactly smooth sailing back either, though for oddly hilarious reason, which I’ll get to.

The last day was pretty sad as it was full of goodbyes and I honestly miss so much, not the smoothest of goodbyes as the Airport over there has Staff likes of which you’d expect in Kim Jong-Un’s arsenal, but we headed back and I got a little surprise from my Airline shortly before departure, a little offer. I was offered a very affordable upgrade to Business Class in the first, and by far, longest flight, heading back, so I DEFINITELY took that. I was a typical British snob, had all the stickers on my luggage, tested out the Wine, which was awful so went back to Pepsi on the plane, though there was something rather incredible about being summoned at the Airport, down a private escalator in to your own booth for the Flight which was pretty something.

When we arrived at the stop, we were escorted off the plane first, taken in to our own carriage where we, and our luggage were delivered to us, truly OTT, but love it. Granted, the second flight was back to the ol’ regular, but still kept the Business class sticker on, I mean, it would be wrong to not!

I’m actually really glad I did as their was a pretty daunting moment at the end of the trip, arrived in the UK, fairly timely actually … but, there was a problem … my luggage was nowhere to be found. After many many gritting teeth, mine so happened to be THE LAST to come through, and was wrapped around it a nice BUSINESS CLASS sticker, which was helpful.

I got lost… in the UK

Had a sweet reminiscent conversation about the whole trip with Hannah, as I then basically got lost about 5 times IN MANCHESTER … YEP, this British guy has travelled internationally for the first time in his life, stopped off in Qatar, spent time in the Philippines and the first time he got lost was actually in the UK!

It’s worth mentioning that it was 5AM when we landed in the UK, a lot longer to be ready thanks to the luggage, and this was a Sunday, so services were a bit more limited, but once I got told BY NO ONE, that the Train to honestly anywhere weren’t running and their was a substitute bus, which by the way didn’t say on it where it was going so thankfully the Driver came out, noticed I was looking lost, told me where he was going so I was thankfully able to get the bus … phew for that. I was then in Manchester Piccadilly and had… a lot of time to kill.

Got some lovely freshly baked Coissants and what was an incredibly disappointing Pepsi … that sugar tax though, but it soon became apparent something wasn’t right. I knew it was Platform 1 I needed to be on, but that became London Heathrow … hmm. 20 minutes left till the Train and something is VERY wrong. Eventually I realised I was LOST AGAIN, I needed to be in Manchester Victoria, which THANKFULLY was close, so was able to get a very rushed Taxi over there, and waiting in Platform 1 was the Train I ACTUALLY wanted to catch!

By this point it was waking hours for the normals, and was able to get a lift home again from my Dad when we entered nearby City. So, yeah, I got lost in Manchester, on a trip to the Philippines … only me.

Summary

It’s pretty sad to think that today marks exactly a week since returning from the Philippines. I was honestly, to be truthful, expecting to hate the place, but I didn’t, I honestly really really loved it.

What’s next, well I’m definitely going back, the future with Hannah is very bright, I will terrify her with the sights and sounds of meeting my friends and my equally mad family at some point, then let the future hold what it does.

One thing that was lacking in my previous relationship was honestly progress, it never moved, whereas in this one, there’s many possibilities to where the future could take us, which is both daunting and incredibly exciting. But, you know what, I’m totally ready for it, and I certainly don’t think this year has finished in it’s surprises and turning points yet to come. I mean, you can tell I’m a different person I’m CHOOSING to do over-time, I mean what’s wrong with me hahaha.

But, seriously, watch this space.

I’m sure, like always, there’s things I’ve missed out, in some cases I still prefer to keep some things to myself. But, that’s about as much as I wish to cover from what was I know, just the start, of many adventures to come.

Anything else of note

It’s fair to say that adjusting back to the UK, with the 8 hour gap between us and the Philippines, though that’s now 7 hours with the change of the clocks now, has been eventful, not really been alive that much since returning. After not believing I’d even gone, my friends now do, probably due to my evidential tan.

Did find out, that unfortunately a death occurred in someone I knew, which certainly put a damper on the week, I won’t get in to who they were, but certainly generated some gloomy times.

Outside of that, the norm sure feels like that now, normal. As I mentioned, I plan on going back really soon to the Philippines, but for now it’s back to the joys of work (woo) and everything that UK life brings.

Blog Sunday 30th January 2022 = End of an era, start of another, Covid madness and more!

March 2012 was the last time I posted a full blog, can you believe that? What’s changed in nearly 10 years, a heck of a lot, let’s catch up

For those who don’t remember, I used to post blogs often, in fact you could argue they were a factor and diary of my life at the time. Whilst it would be wrong to say I stopped for my own accord, I feel it’s more accurate to say I stopped for those around me so things didn’t get too personal.

Since 2012, I’ve been in a relationship, got engaged, ended that relationship, cycled through many jobs, a decade of tech, being trusted with a GRILL….I KNOW, like you had to put up with the BS of a statistical not-pandemic, and more gone through too, it’s certainly more than I’m running through here. Don’t worry, I’m not bullet pointing them all, though I will go over a few big things and changes in my life that I believe 2022 will peak. Be warned, some include rants about the world around us, so you can probably skip those.

Pretty “out there” post I added in early January on socials highlighting some big changes coming.

If I know most people well, people that saw that post probably thought I had either had too many of the ol’ Premier and was singing with the fairies, but, that’s not true at all, though I might have some now!

I believe that in life, everything happens for a reason, so I certainly don’t blame anyone for how I got here, why I’m here, any limiting factors took us to this point, or what luck brought others to where they are either, it’s the same reason I think it’s silly to look back on life with regret. But, regardless, throughout 2021 (and a while before realistically), I knew it was time for a lot of things in my life to either change in a huge way, or, I had to be the one to perhaps close a few doors for the next one to open, so to speak.

I was noticing more and more every day, I was saying to myself, “I’m not happy where I am”

The things I thought were the positives keeping me on my feet, could in fact be holding me back?

Those realisations I’d had for a few years, became so much clearer and are what brings me here

At first, in many ways it still might be, I thought it was work. It’s the easiest thing to blame. In life you’re essentially paid to put up with a certain level of bs, in order to go about the daily trials that life gives us all. And, whilst progression has happened in those areas to make things better, and, also, whilst I do still want to move forward in the future, it was clear that was in fact not the issue that was keeping me down at all. The issue was, I’m afraid, closer to home…just not the…home. Would it be one of my blogs without those weird mannerisms, no it wouldn’t;

End of an era

It’s impossible to say where the exact sign was that led to this conclusion, but it was clear that as the signs were just getting stronger, and more obvious, I needed change … or out. Whilst, some could argue this should have been something that I reached a long time ago, it happened when it did and we’re now where we are at as a result of this.

As a result of this, the back end of 2021, the preverbal ring was removed and I became a “free” man, as the saying goes. But, you know, the most striking thing about the whole situation, wasn’t that it was over, but that it was more a sense of relief rather than sadness. A weight was lifted, rather than a weighing me down of it being over, which if anything perfectly justifies the decision and tells me it was the right thing to do. Obviously, conversations aplenty, but thankfully this was also a mutual sense of release in the end.

This certainly wasn’t an out-of-the-blue thing, but the signs were spelled out, change was asked for in the sense of emergency it got to, and … that call just wasn’t answered, so it had to end.

Of course I’m speaking very vaguely deliberately, but the most important thing is that we’re both in very good terms and moving forward, which is, not only, where I needed to go, but also, where I will be, and I naturally hope she does too in that regard.

I must say, though, I do find it incredible how I’ve not only broke up from a long relationship, but begun a journey of anew, and not a single close friend has even noticed, I think we can blame the pathetic nature of the last 20+ months for that… but even so I’ll just say, well, don’t be the next Sherlock or Jessica Fletcher… you know, the famous murdery mystery writer, yes murdery!

I’m going to cover “events” of the last 20+ months later, but first… new beginning;

The beginning of anew… ?

Now, I know what you’re thinking…. you’re thinking Ben, did you really just make a blog to announce a breakup, well….. no, though if I’m covering life in the last 10 years, it’s a pretty big inclusion. But, as I said in that hint before, it also includes that “new paths begin” and it’s in my continuing vague nature I’m happy to say that new paths are indeed beginning. The signs are looking good, I’m happy, and, I’m not alone in this either.

Obviously, it comes with the obvious sign that we’re in early days, but I can tell you with confidence, I’m happy. I feel a sense of release and things are beginning to move forward in my life in new exciting directions, which when become more official, I might be less vague about it. You know who you are.

In all seriousness, it’s possible this new “beginning” might all goes tits-up, everything falls apart and I’m left on my lonesome, but, it certainly doesn’t feel like that will happen. Although, you know what, even if that ends up a reality, I will be so much happier that I actually tried, that’s the main thing.

I can also see that this new beginning has the potential to send me much further out to field than I’ve ever gone, travelling far, doing new things, making the big future dream a more possible thing to do and I think it’s that mostly that get’s me the most excited about all this.

But, as time goes by, things become more real, then let’s just say I’ll be able to be less vague.


Below here is basically a rant about the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s a divider between that and when I get back to the “personal” blog


Covid madness

You know when things happen in life so pathetic that you lose faith in something, or I guess in some cases, someone. With the exception of very select Countries and US states, I’ve lose faith in the world when it comes to Covid, what a sh**show. Begun in China … yes it was, just like “Spanish” flu, what we now know as Influenza, Covid has become just an excuse to go absolutely crazy, the rich are now more rich, the poor proving how dumb and gullible they are and at the end of the day us with a brain in the middle just wondering what the hell is going on.

Whilst morons, mainly on the side of the left, I must say, think that Covid is the plague (it was never ANYWHERE near)… more scarily want it to be the plague, all ignoring the fact that it’s only ever proved to be very slightly worse than a typical Flu season, instead of dealing with it like one, instead of following an already set out respiratory condition plan known as “The Great Barrington Declaration”, give it a search, we all decided to listen to the Communists and go in to Lockdowns…madness. We’ve had fake news EVERYWHERE, not just from the proved to be fake picture of coffins in Italy, turned out to be from years earlier and nothing to do with anything out of the ordinary, but led to the west choosing Lockdowns, but generally just the theatre of it all.

  • Hand sanitising: Practically forced upon you at the start, and in some places still, making most peoples hand react (naturally), then we find out they always knew it was airborne so completely pointless
  • Plastic screens: Madness and stupidity, seen a lot still on virtue-signalling TV programmes and more…turns out they actually increase likelihood of spread as they trap airborne particles in to a shorter amount of space; well done
  • Social distancing: This is probably the only remotely plausible thing that was introduced, but it’s all theatre, especially on TV. You’ve seen presenters further apart from each other, even though backstage hugging. It’s all negligible.
  • Masks: Don’t even get me started on the rant you could do about Masks. Isn’t it hilarious how over 100 years of evidence in to what, specifically cloth-based and Surgical masks are supposedly for, has just been thrown away during this pandemic and replaced with something they’ve never been designed for, have warnings on the box saying they cannot do, and evidence proving they can’t … yet, we’ve been forced to wear them…logic.
  • Mandatory vaccines / Vaccine passports: There’s no doubt that for who they were developed for, the vaccines have been life saving, there’s no denying that. They were designed for the over 50s and clinically vulnerable… read that again over 50s and clinically vulnerable. Vaccines have NEVER been recommended for healthy individuals younger than that age, especially children, yet here we are! Unfortunately vaccines are, once again, a money making scheme for the rich. But, the real problem with mandating vaccines is the most important factor of all, below, which let’s be honest, makes the idea of mandatory vaccines, and especially Vaccine passports, completely stupid, illogical and those calling for them clearly have an agenda;
    • You can catch Covid-19 whether vaccinated or not
    • You, yourself, if vulnerable, have a greater survival rate of Covid if vaccinated. That is, after-all, why the vaccine exists.
    • You can spread Covid-19 whether you are vaccinated by as many jabs as you want, or are not vaccinated, at THE SAME RATE
  • Lockdowns: Contrary to belief, not all countries locked down. Sweden and Japan are great examples of countries that never locked down. Also contrary to what morons will tell you, “locking down earlier” makes zero difference either, as countries like Peru will show. It’s now undeniable, Lockdowns have made negligible difference to the spread of Covid, yet have cost Trillions worldwide, destroyed production, destroyed business and livelihoods, yet hilariously there’s people out there that think not only they were the right thing to do, but they want MORE?? What started as a battle against a pandemic to protect the people, isn’t it funny how it’s become a battle agains the people who want to protect the pandemic.
  • Mainstream media provably lying!: This is a big one. Whether it be BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky, all of them have being peddling misinformation surrounding this pandemic since the beginning. Ofcom have been an absolute joke at NOT tackling this. There’s a number of course I recommend for seeking out factual or balanced views surrounding Covid, that does NOT include Twitter channels ironically like “Covid Fact Check UK”, which themselves have posted rubbish. I’ve discovered John Campbell on YouTube, who’s very formative in his approach, very data and post driven, but when it comes to media to watch for Pandemic news, I recommend talkRADIO, specifically Julia, and, most recently “some” GB News, though admittedly not all of it, mostly the former talkRADIO people like Mark Dolan, Patrick Christies and Dan Wooton.

This “pandemic”, if it’s really accurate to call it that, should have been dealt with as it was supposedly planned to be. Isolate the most vulnerable, the rest live their lives and DO NOT SHUT DOWN THE ECONOMY. I find it hilarious how there’s people out there who genuinely think the reason for cost of living increasing, taxes increasing, mental health issues increasing, idiots have the cheek to say that’s Brexit.

We never needed lockdowns, we never needed vaccine mandates, we need basic sensible approaches, but instead what near-all did was focus on getting rich people their private contracts and trick us all in to illogical measures.

For those reading this hoping this was a personal blog, and it’s turned in to me ranting about the scamdemic, I’m sorry, I’m finished. But, it’s important to know that it’s just being ridiculous.


Life and it’s hurdles

When you’re young and pretend you don’t care about relationships, likely playing with Cars, acting out some fight-scene, watching Dr Conrad on YouTube, you never really understand just how much your life can be both turned upside down, or right way up by a relationship. I’ve always said to myself, since day one, that if any relationship, or even any job, was to impact me in a negative serious way, I quit.

Obviously ending a relationship, isn’t quite the same as going to your boss and going F you, but I think you understand what I mean. Whilst I’m naturally being having moments where quitting employment does indeed enter your mind, at the same time I’ve recently begun moving up which has helped that considerably, though naturally you always want to go higher and I see that as a possibility in the future. Probably the only thing that still annoys me about work is that it’s literally the only job I’ve not really made any more than “acquaintances” with…. having said that, I do like to be left to my own devices (in many cases literally) so that works for me. It’s one of the irony of working from home, all News are all like “oooo it’s bad mentally…. oooo people hate not seeing others”, for those EXACT reasons are why it works perfectly for me, and it’s been a golden opportunity to build fresher bonds than I ever could have done.

It’s with that frame of mind, where I find myself now. Everything is beginning to come together and that is incredibly exciting. For the first time in a long time, I can confidently say that this time next year, progress will have been made.

Having said that, I’m still the same ol’ crazy guy who finds himself in the same Pubs, losing the same Quiz, which brings me really to the last of this here blog;

Where the bluddy-hell is everyone?

Probably one of the most annoying aspects of the Pandemic was that in 2019, I literally said I wanted to end 2019 and head in 2020 and see people I’ve not seen in ages…. that went well.

But, 2022 is here an it’s time for that to change. I think of many people I haven’t seen in LITERALLY years now which is absolutely crazy, that needs to change. If you’re reading this and wondering whether I mean you, yes I do. Even some people I may or may not have been thinking it was the last thing I wanted to do… joking aside though, many catch ups urgently needed and I hope those come soon.

To close … how are you

Last few months, probably more likely few years, have been a bit all over the place, but you know what, I’m good, and not just because I’ve finally learned how to cook Eggybread myself … YESSSS I can be trusted with a Pan…though cracking the eggs was erm.. hard.

For the first time, I guess in my life (sounds over-dramatic), but definitely recently, I’m excited for the future. There’s some unknown pathways I’m going down, I’ve already done things I never thought I’d do, took and taking some risks unlike me, and potentially going down the future pathway with someone new? Who knows, we’ll see, watch this space.

I know this blog has turned more in to some weird-ass philosophical thing, that’s what happens when your past forces you to be vague, but the future whilst currently cloudy, is clearing, and I’m ready!

I’ll probably update with another blog, less weirdly spoken as this one, more just me, in the coming months as things become more clear.

New weekly Tech Update service coming in 2021

RKUK Media has always had multiple posts surrounding Technology, however, in light of the recent year, we’ve been put in a situation where we’ve to limit our resources. However, despite this, this has allowed us to use this as an opportunity to create something new.

Whilst their will be exceptions to the rule where we feel some things will require dedicated content, such as some content that we’ve been having over the past couple months, a new Weekly Technology post will be the way that we update on what’s happened in the world of Tech.

Kicking off in January 2021, the plan is for our new “tech’d weekly” service to provide quick bite sized content based on what’s happened throughout the week.

We still have some extra doses of content we’re planning for the coming year, but this is the first of those announcements we can share at the moment.

YouTube removes Episode 7 of Dr Conrad for “violating terms of service”

RKUK Media is a media company that are continuing to aim higher in the media concept of the companies name. To do this RKUK has and intends to make more partnerships with other networks in the field to produce entertainment for the RKUK Media website.

YouTube removes Dr Conrad Episode 7

In a strange turn of events, we’ve found out this week that one of our 10 episodes of our old Dr Conrad series has been removed this week for violating YouTube terms of services.

Whilst we respect the decision that YouTube makes upon the content available on its platform, what we simply cannot accept however is the timing for which this has occurred.

We uploaded our Dr Conrad episodes 13 years ago. That’s 13 years time for YouTube to suddenly make the odd decision that a single piece of a series should be removed completely.

We have appealed the decision, for which we don’t expect success, and have replaced the main source of sharing our Dr Conrad episodes to our Vimeo service instead. We are disappointed by this decision but have moved passed it and we are where we are.

Luckily, Dr Conrad, and in fact all our RKUK Entertainment productions are archive material at this point and don’t serve as anything for future reference, however it is still disappointing that such event should have taken place on what was such an innocent project we made.

We’ll continue to keep the episodes visible and able through the RKUK Media website, as well as our Dailymotion and Vimeo channels, for which we’ve extra security upon the content remaining visible.

Ultimate ANC Wireless Earphones Comparison = AirPods Pro vs Sennheiser vs Sony

Ever since Apple removed the headphone jack back on the iPhone 7, the industry followed, but what also happened was a massive increase in the number of highly compelling Bluetooth headphones, especially in the Earphones / Buds market thanks to Apple’s tremendous success with the original Apple AirPods.

Only problem, AirPods suck for anyone who actually wants to hear something, and you looked a bit of a dufus wearing them. Thankfully, someone at Apple realised this, then out came the AirPods Pro. Even before the AirPods Pro, however, it was clear that the Bluetooth headphone market was getting better and better, but was fairly dense when it came to true ANC headphones, or Active Noise Cancellation, however now, there’s two options that are easily the best in the competing category and we’re going to compare these now.

We think it’s fair to say, our experience with the AirPods Pro hasn’t exactly been the most smoothest, countless replacement Buds have been needed, and early Software for the things practically made the ANC useless, but now we’re in the better side of polish they’ve seen and we can now compare these with an open mind.

What are we comparing to? The Sony WF-1000XM3 (great name) and the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2, so some pretty big names in Audio. We’ll be comparing theses with elimination rounds, we’ll talk about the design, price, overall experience and more. We’ve spent days of listening to each on their own, as well as multiple comparing of the same collection of songs across a wide range of genres to reach the conclusion we’ve reached, however, one thing became very clear early on, that one of the three had to be eliminated fairly instantly.

Sony WF-1000XM3

We don’t know whether we got a dud, as everyone recommends these, but our experience with these was terrible. They’re easily the most uncomfortable of the three, likely due to the size of them, though Sony do offer smaller alternatives that should offer comparable audio performance as well as sweat resistance, which these lack. One thing we are big fans of Sony for is the amount of Ear tips they provide, including three sizes in both a felt and silicone material, whilst it wasn’t night and day they were a lot more comfortable with the felt tips, but then again, we know people who prefer Silicone but having the option is great.

However, that’s where the conversation closes, because everything else I’m afraid is a negative. First of all, something we already knew, the case is HUGE, so make sure you’ve either big pockets or somewhere else to store these as if you put that in your pants pocket, you may look like you’ve a problem.

When we received our M3s (we’re going to call them this for easier reference), they had a Software Update, which is fair, they didn’t just come out, however they automatically switch off, which makes sense, to save battery, but doing so kept pausing the update progress (which itself took over an hour), so we had to put them on and manually disable this just to update the Software, NOT a good experience.

Sound quality

If you’ve been listening to headphones like Apple’s original AirPods / EarPods or anything cheap, these are going to really hit you, bass is very punchy, even before you touch the EQ, almost too much bass for us, we prefer a more rounded sound profile and the highs certainly suffer from the drastic bass profile, but the biggest issue with the Sonys, and the reason we’ve had to omit them from this comparison first, is stable connection.

Sony offer two modes on their App to help with this, an option to prioritise Sound quality, which we did at the start to hear what these can really do, and an option to prioritise connection. We couldn’t tell the difference between either of them, but one thing we did keep getting, constant cuts in connection … we couldn’t listen to a single 4 minute song without at least a break every minute. Whether this is the latest Software of what, we don’t know, but we do know these are not recommended until Sony fix this.

Eliminated: Sony

Really surprised about the Sonys, we seriously thought we’d have those two pitted against the Sennheiser, but just goes to show how the in person experience can differ from the many reviews out there.

How Sennheiser and AirPods Pro compare to Sony?

Whilst the Sony’s certainly prioritised bass, we didn’t like that, we do like the more fuller sound of the AirPods Pro, offering mids and highs in the most clearest of the three. However, the Sennheiser too do offer a more richer sound profile than the Sonys, but we do notice that for each song on the Sennheiser’s, you do need to prat around with the EQ, but the results were in some cases incredible, but we’ll have a deeper dive at the Sennheiser’s now;

Sennheiser Momentum 2

Out of all the three, if we had our bets on any of them, it was the Sennheiser. Sennheiser has been such a big name in audio for years, respected by even the greyest of audiophile. Plus, they look better, slightly more compact design, still a fairly big case but not Sony bulk. However, it will be interesting how well the felt – almost denim material – will last over time, we guess time will tell.

Like the Sonys, as soon as we got the Momentum’s out of the box, there was a Software Update, however, unlike the Sonys, Sennheiser is, at least, clever enough to let the update go in one go.

So, we installed the App, paired smoothly and began listening. We’re happy to report that the Sennheiser’s paired and stayed paired reliably! And, unlike the Sonys, no drops in connection. They sound, by default, very rich, offer deep punchy bass, but, as a counter to this we were happy to hear also a decent amount of highs, a very impressive audio profile on these.

However, things began to change slightly when we switched gears. Whilst we’re not going to instantly contradict what we’ve just said about them, we do feel like the Sennheiser sometimes try a little too hard, whilst dance music, hip-hop this works perfect for this approach, we do find that if you’re listening to pop, that added bass can be a little distracting. Thankfully, Sennheiser do offer a number of EQ options, like the Sonys, and we think these are actually a lot more feature rich than the Sony ones and do allow for a better listening experience. But, we do wish the default was a bit more rounded.

Testing the Sennheiser’s was going so well, we were loving the audio profiles we’d made for our listening sessions, they have a fantastic ANC and ambient sound mode, however then it came to testing the Sennheiser’s outside, their lies our biggest problem with them, volume. For a pair of earphones, which were literally on track to easily overtaking the AirPods Pro, and the Sony’s (if they worked in first place), this problem however is quite frankly a deal breaker for us, and likely many others.

If you’re playing these indoors, you’ll be fine, seriously, they get plenty loud enough and sound great, however, go outside, perhaps maybe walk past some traffic or when travelling on the bus, these will simply not get loud enough. We had these on full volume and were still hearing the traffic (despite the decent ANC) and that’s a real shame as these were acing everything prior. Whilst we’re hopeful that Sennheiser can fix this in an update, we have to view these how they are today, and after what we said about the Sonys, it would be unfair to judge these differently for problems today.

AirPods Pro

Like them or hate them, Apple is partly responsible for such good wireless ANC headphones being available, thanks to the ever increasing popularity of the AirPods, which is great. How do the AirPods Pro stack up, well, a lot better than the originals that’s for sure. The biggest problems we had with the originals, outside of looking like an idiot wearing them, is they just sounded bad, they sounded like the included headphones you never use (back when they were) and for the money just were not good enough.

The AirPods Pro easily have the most rounded sound of the three of them, you’ve got bass, granted not as much as the others, you’ve great highs but also very clear mids, which is something the Sonys and the Sennheiser do suffer and lack. The biggest benefit with the AirPods Pro is the seamless integration if you own an iPhone, all testing was done on an iPhone 12 for a week, and this could be a turning point to which you do pick.

AirPods Pro benefits over Sennheiser and Sony

Both the Sennheiser and Sony’s are operated by the buds themselves, meaning the battery and the processor that powers them is embedded in one of the Earbuds. The problem with this, is that if you only want to use one bud at a time, you can only use one of the two, as one of them (typically the R) is required as its the brain. With the AirPods, the brain is inside the Case, and each bud has it’s own separate driver, meaning you can use either just L, or just R, regardless.

AirPods also wake a lot quicker as well, we’re not saying the Sony’s or Sennheiser’s were slow to start up, but their was a noticeable additional wait time when getting them ready, and that matters.

There’s other benefits such as the easy pairing we mentioned, the seamless switching between Apple devices. There’s also Spacial audio, though for us this is nothing that special. Hopefully the issues that keep plaguing the internal microphone on the AirPods Pro doesn’t become a constant as that has been resulting in many replacements being required, but we’ll see.

Overall winner: AirPods Pro … *but…

Let’s be real, all three have problems, all have their unique advantages, we’ve contacted Sony to find out if our issues are typical of other units, still waiting to hear back though we’ve never had the best experience with their Support, but we can say that our experience with the AirPods Pro has been the most consistent of all of them, both in terms of Audio playback and quality, and sometimes that’s what you need.

We’ve had issues with our AirPods, had to replace each side, they’re not perfect, but as far as the whole package goes, we’d recommend the AirPods Pro over the other two.

However, before you shout us down, we have to commend Sennheiser for their Momentum 2 and if you’re looking for overall sound quality and can put up with a lack of volume and slight discomfort in comparison, you can’t go better than the Sennheiser Momentum 2, they offer the most pop, and if you are someone who loves to tweak your audio, they offer that through a fairly intuitive app.

So, there you go, varying on which camp you fall into, it’s a real battle today between Apple’s AirPods Pro, and the Sennheiser Momentum 2.

Closer look at the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Colour Options and more comparisons!

Apple’s iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are set to begin delivery this Friday, October 23rd, question of course for most purchasing these devices is of course, which colour are you going for? We will also be looking at differentiating difference between the 6.1 inch regular and Pro models before the release of the Mini and Max later next month.

We’re taking a closer look at the options available for you, then let you decide.

iPhone 12

As you can see above, the iPhone 12 is available in a choice of 5 different colours, all supporting the same front design. This years iPhone models have no changes made to the bezel design when compared to the previous Pro models, but do have a change compared to last years regular iPhone 11, and iPhone XR models. Gone is the thicker bezels and LCD display, and replaced by the same OLED display found also in the iPhone 12 Pro, meaning the display is no longer a deciding factor to go for the regular or Pro models. This goes even further when you realise they’re exactly the same size body and display at 6.1 inch, an increase on the Pro side from the former 5.8 inch.

The new colour on the block this years for all iPhone 12 models is of course Blue. On the iPhone 12 it is backed up by a glossy glass back and blue aluminium sides. We think this is going to be a popular choice, especially with the dark blue approach making it likely popular with both male or female buyers.

The second new colour this year is exclusive to the iPhone 12 (regular) line is this pale Green colour. Whilst the iPhone 11 Pro last year had a darker Green colour, this year we’ve more a brighter Green colour. Whilst this is a new colour so, like the Blue, so it will be most obvious you’ve ‘got the new one’, we don’t think this is even close as an appealing choice. We know some people will like it, but we’re definitely expecting this being the least popular choice.

As always, the most out-there colour for the iPhone is of course the PRODUCT [RED] variant and that doesn’t change this year. Just like the 11 before it, the Red iPhone 12 has a striking glossy Red colour on the back glass and a red aluminium boarder. Due to the pandemic, proceeds for the purchase of the PRODUCT [RED] iPhone now goes towards tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Getting back to the more traditional colour iPhone models, it’s clear where the iPhone 5-style design is becoming obvious. Whilst we don’t have diamond-cut edges, which is a good thing so they won’t easily dent, we do have that Black side aluminium boarders and that glossy Black design backed up by a silver Apple logo. For those fans of Black iPhones, you’ll be happy to know this is Black, not some next variant of Space Grey, or in the case of the 12 Pro, Graphite.

Finally we have the White iPhone 12. Like the Black iPhone 12, it’s clear where the iPhone 5-esc design has returned, though naturally not this time with a White facia due to the more covered display with notch design. Also in the same as the Black, the White iPhone 12 is indeed White this time, instead of a Silver or Creamy White design, so we know this will still be a popular choice for those who don’t see the Pro as a worth-while upgrade, and prefer the more classy looking colours. This is our choice of iPhone 12 this year.

iPhone 12 Pro

Whilst you’d be forgiven for not noticing this, but their is in fact 4 colours for this years iPhone 12 Pro line, 3 for which are different than last years 12 Pro, 1 being the Silver variant, stays the same minus the natural change in a flatter side design on the Stainless Steel. Despite this, Apple only seem to be promoting the 2 more striking colour changes, mostly the Blue and the much-more-gold Gold colour.

Last years special colour for the Pro line was a fairly divisive Green colour, this year it’s a much more well received Blue colour. Unlike the regular 12, the 12 Pro blue colour supports the frosted-glass with the hint of Blue colour, which alongside the glossy bold Blue colour on the sides makes for a striking combination. Whilst stock recently hasn’t suggested this, we’re still expecting this to be a favourite for the 12 Pro line.

The Gold iPhone 12 Pro is probably the most Gold iPhone we’ve had for a while, the sides are striking glossy Gold, without any tint of anything Rose at all. Whilst the Back is far more muted, mostly due to the frosted glass, we’re sure this will be a popular colour choice for those fans of Gold. Doesn’t do anything for us, but we know for others, will be different.

This is by far our least favourite iPhone 12 Pro colour, Graphite. Whilst Apple seem to constantly find some excuse not to offer a truly Black Pro model, this year it’s entered the field of bland. Whilst the multiple, ever-changing Space Grey variants were OK if you really had to, the Graphite colour of the 12 Pro is almost begging for a back case.

We told you it was practically the same, this is the iPhone 12 Pro in Silver. We think it’s fair to say, from a distance where the flatter sides aren’t as noticeable, it would be difficult to distinguish this from an 11 Pro, and when it comes to the Back, outside of the LiDAR sensor on the bottom right of the Camera, it’s more or less identical. That doesn’t take away the good looking classy design, we’re a fan of the Silver, just it’s the one instance where this feels like an “S” year.

Which model or colour is for you?

Whilst we’re fairly boring and like the Silver iPhone 12, we can’t deny that the new Blue looks striking on the 12 Pro, but which colour is for you? Will the colour availability be the single factor deciding which of the two you pick?

Naturally, there’s more than colour differences between the two, but you’ll probably be surprised to know how little differences outside of price and Stainless Steel boarders their actually is

What’s the same between 12 and 12 Pro

Not including Mini or Max variants, the 12 and 12 Pro are literally identical in size, this goes from their top to bottom, sides, thickness, everything, the 12 Pro is naturally slightly heavier due to the Stainless Steel, otherwise they feel like the same phone.

Outside of design, Processor, main and Ultrawide Camera, Display (outside of max brightness) and Case availability is literally the same between the two models, which is pretty big as those are normally defining factors to split you to a different variant. It’s worth mentioning these are also same on the 12 Mini, when that becomes available.

5G, the big buzz word for the new iPhone models, likely due to Qualcomm, was rumoured to be different between the non-Pro and Pro models, but we can confirm that ALL iPhone 12 and 12 Pro models support the same Wireless standards both in terms of WiFi with WiFi 6 (802.11AX), the new Ultra Wideband chip, 5G Sub-6 and Millimetre Wave* (*currently US only)

The differences

Outside of the increase similarities, their are some differences between the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro and we’re going to run through these now, disappointingly this won’t take long;

  1. Alleged RAM increase: Naturally this can’t be confirmed until units enter peoples hands, but there’s expectation that the regular 12 models will support 4GB whilst Pro models will be supporting 6GB of RAM. Granted on iPhones, RAM is far less of an important factor than the more bloated Android though
  2. Telephoto lens: If you’re coming from an iPhone X, or XS, your secondary Camera is a Telephoto lens offering optical-class zoom for your Photos, you won’t find that on the regular iPhone 11 models, instead you’ll find an Ultrawide, which, whilst is probably the more useful of the two, is something to keep in mind for the extra ~£150 typical price point.
  3. LiDAR for AR: Whist Apple has been trying to convince us for years that AR is important, LiDAR is definitely the next step towards this. Originally present in the iPad Pro models, the LiDAR sensor allows far quicker mapping of the area and should present better AR performance, though iPad users will tell you that’s not always the case.
  4. The design: We mentioned earlier, and it could be true, you may quite frankly prefer the 12 or the 12 Pro due to their design. The Blue, in our opinion looks better on the Pro, but you’ve other colours like Red and Green not even on the Pro you can choose from.
  5. 512GB Storage: One configuration you will not find on the iPhone 12, or 12 Mini is the option for 512GB of Storage, there’s some out there wondering where the 1TB option is from the iPad line, but there you go. Naturally if you are going to be recording using 4K 60fps (especially the new HDR mode) you will be using up a ton of space. For most 256GB max is more than enough space, but something to keep in mind should you be incredibly heavy on local Storage

Overview and general recommendations.

For the first time since the iPhone 6S days, we can say with confidence there’s a very few select people who we’d be recommending the iPhone 12 Pro models over the iPhone 12 this year, which is surprising and we must be honest, disappointing. The rumours of Apple adding Promotion this year, we know, would have been the ultimate reason for Pro users to opt for the Pro model this year but that didn’t come to be. In fact the only reason to opt for any model in the Pro line will be in the iPhone 12 Pro Max, where Apple has updated every Sensor with big improvements across the board, as well as for those who want that bigger display. Outside of that, we must be honest and state, for the extra money, you’re getting very little with the iPhone 12 Pro, but again, that also reiterates just how good the iPhone 12, and 12 Mini for that matter, really are.

Developer Mac mini running on 2 Year Old iPad Processor, OUTPERFORMS a NATIVE ARM Processor in Emulation!

Ahead of the WWDC 2020 announcement, that the Mac, with macOS 11 Big Sur will finally enter the realms of ARM Processors through Apple Silicon, it’s probably no big surprise that the release of Apple’s Developer Transition Kit has garnered some interest.

Apple’s Developer Transition Kit slide, showing a custom Mac mini running Big Sur

It’s worth noting, however, that no one is meant to perform benchmarks on these systems, but, this is the Internet, so, of course, everyone will.

It’s worth noting that ALL benchmarks done on these will be essentially EMULATED using Apple’s Rozetta 2 technology as no native Apple Silicon version of benchmarks such as Geekbench exist just yet, but, despite this, these are some pretty interesting numbers. It’s also worth noting, before we get to the numbers, that Apple aren’t planning on releasing a Mac with the A12Z Bionic processor, with Apple’s Craig Federighi saying the performance we’re seeing here is Apple “not even trying”.

SINGLE CORE: 833 MULTI-CORE: 2582

This is running, by the way, in X86 mode, which is NOT native to the ARM64 of the Silicon, so this is the performance of Rozetta 2 in beta!

Now, naturally those numbers mean nothing without comparisons, so here we go, below is an iPad Pro running the SAME Silicon on iPad OS 13 natively;

SINGLE CORE: 1114 MULTI-CORE: 4645

Should come as no surprise that the numbers are far greater on the iPad Pro, as this is running the Silicon completely natively under refined codebase, but what’s going to be really interesting to see, over time, is the numbers of the Mac mini when an Apple Silicon version of Geekbench (or any comparable benchmark) become available, as it’s clear Apple are running the A12Z with a higher clock speed and more RAM.

In terms of Apple’s own Mac line, these numbers are actively very comparable with Apple’s MacBook Air 2020 with a Core i5, which itself gets marginal Single and Multi of 1200 and 3500 respectively.

Comparison with Windows ARM on Surface Pro X

One of the biggest announcements at Microsoft’s Surface announcements last year was the introduction of an ARM based Surface Pro device. The device was much thinner, essentially fan-less design, running on Qualcomm hardware built for the device.

So, how does it compare … well, not very good;

SINGLE CORE: 764 MULTI-CORE: 2983

Now, sure, the Multi-Core benchmarks of Microsoft’s SQ1 Processor do beat the Mac mini score, BUT it’s important to remember, the SQ1 is running natively, whereas the Mac mini using the 2 year old iPad Processor is running in an emulated environment using Apple’s Rozetta technology, that’s before we even look at the iPad numbers.

What does this mean for future Apple Silicon Macs?

In a simple term, this should shut up everyone questioning the move to Apple Silicon, as Apple are already beating any ARM based alternative processors and in the transitional period where software slowly gets Universal 2 support or native support, the performance will still be very decent.

Source material: Mac mini Geekbench, MacBook Air, Surface Geekbench

Apple announce all-new iPhone SE featuring an 8 body and 11 Pro internals!

Here it is, the much rumoured all-new iPhone SE has arrived and whilst it may have an older look and feel, what it’s packing internally is actually incredible for the price!

Available in Black, White and Product (RED) and design mirroring an iPhone 8 (which is now discontinued), the new iPhone SE has the power and performance of the iPhone 11 Pro, seriously, we’re talking A13 Bionic Performance, which is still besting the chips from Qualcomm, all in the smaller 4.7 inch familiar form factor.

The new iPhone SE 2020 really is an iPhone 8 supercharged internally, and also features an improved Camera at the back with XR / 11 style Portrait mode, however one thing you will not find if you were a fan of the iPhone 8, is a Plus model, you’re stuck with a 4.7 inch iPhone SE.

Apple’s Phil Schiller had this to say about todays announcement;

The first iPhone SE was a hit with many customers who loved its unique combination of small size, high-end performance and affordable price; the new second-generation iPhone SE builds on that great idea and improves on it in every way — including our best-ever single-camera system for great photos and videos — while still being very affordable. iPhone SE features the industry-leading performance of A13 Bionic that enables great battery life, takes stunning Portrait mode and Smart HDR photos, shoots amazing videos with stereo audio, is great for games and super fast web surfing, and is built with the same industry-leading security features our customers expect. We can’t wait to get iPhone SE into customers’ hands.

Considering that the iPhone SE 2020 has a very capable Camera, the fastest mobile CPU currently in the A13 Bionic, Apple have actually priced this at $399 in the US, and £419 in the UK. Granted, that does start at 64GB, but to be fair, that’s plenty for most people. An extra £50 will double that to 128GB, then £569 will get you 256GB of storage. Apple also offer 0% finance options, should you wish to pay differently, but considering those prices expect some pretty attractive network deals too.

The iPhone SE also features WiFi 6, and Gigabit class LTE, Bluetooth 5.0 and this well known feature called Touch ID in the Home button. Apple state the battery life of the iPhone SE to be “about the same as iPhone 8”.

So, there you go, what do you think of the iPhone SE 2020, does it offer enough for you to consider it? We were honestly expecting a slower processor, but if Apple want to release their fastest CPU for just over £400, count us in.

How to turn on the macOS Chime on newer Catalina Macs

In newer Macs, Apple, for whatever reason, removed the infamous “dong” sound which plays when you boot. This is true of all MacBook models from 2015 onwards, iMac Pro and newest generation iMacs, the Mac Pro and Mac mini.

But, what if you want to bring it back. Well, whilst there’s naturally being hacks to get this done, there’s now a native way in macOS Catalina to bring this back, and this is how.

1. Open Terminal

Open the Terminal application from Applications > Utilities > Terminal, or via the SPACE + CMD typing “Terminal”.

2. Type the following command

sudo nvram StartupMute=%00

Type the above command

3. Push enter and enter your Admin password

Done. Try restarting your Mac and hear a familiar sound.


Want to turn it back off?

Should you prefer it the way that Apple have changed it, you can naturally change it back with a very slight change;

Open Terminal again, however this time type;

sudo nvram StartupMute=%01

Tap enter, type your Admin password and, done.


 

Idea for post inspired by video from Zollotech

Apple updates iPad Pro with new upcoming Keyboard accessory with full Trackpad support!

Apple have updated the iPad Pro with a fairly minor processor increase, but more notable it was announced alongside the all new Keyboard accessory which with it brings a full Trackpad. The iPad Pro also brings quite a big increase in the Camera performance at the back as well, integrating the same lens options as the iPhone 11, with a bit more of a surprise for AR.

The design of the Keyboard case is actually fairly unique, now offering a floating position for the iPad Pro, which is actually adjustable and offers a USB-C charging input at the bottom sides allowing the USB-C port on the iPad Pro to be used for other accessories.

One thing more for note, is that this also works with previous generation, though for both generations of iPad, you’re gonna have to wait quite a while until this is released. Which is good as you’ll likely have to save up, £299 for the 11 inch iPad Pro or £349 for the 12.9 inch iPad Pro is how much this will cost you! This will only work with current and last generations of both however.

The only other major change to the iPad Pro 2020 line is the change to the Cameras at the back, there’s more of them. Now the iPad joins the iPhone 11 with the singular Camera and a Wide Angle shooter, but it goes one step further with the introduction of a LiDAR Scanner which will be incredibly useful for AR applications as for those who don’t know, LiDAR technology is what is used by Self Driving Cars, so needless to say this is pretty advanced stuff for AR. This could also paint the picture for what is included on the next iPhone Pro models.

The internals of the iPad Pro though are surprisingly disappointing. The A12Z … yes Z, is more or less a variant of the same processor already in the previous generation iPad Pro which supports the LiDAR technology. Thanks to this, it has been found that the actual performance of the iPad Pro 2020 is pretty much, the same. The iPad Pro does have some extra RAM, now 6GB, which may help if you are regularly using multiple Apps or browser Tabs at the same time.

However, whilst you would think this would be a perfect opportunity to run out and check the prices of second-hand or refurbished iPad Pros, Apple have actually made the new one slightly cheaper by doubling the Storage capacity, meaning for £769 you can now get a 128GB iPad Pro 11-inch, or £969 for 12-inch.

However, if you can find a low cost previous generation version, I’d honestly recommend that, or keep your. existing iPad Pro, and if you’re interesting in the Trackpad support, this is part of the iPadOS 13.4 update and that Keyboard accessory (and third party) will be available and work with that too.

Apple updates MacBook Air with “Magic Keyboard” and provide an unsubstantial update to Mac Mini

Whilst Apple couldn’t provide an Event this March for obvious reasons, Apple did provide a website refresh as part of some of the updates they have provided. Amongst these was an update to the iPad Pro, but in this we’re going to focus on the Mac updates that Apple have provided.

MacBook Air

Apple have actually provided a fairly decent update to the MacBook Air, updated now with 10th-generation Intel Core CPUs, and probably much more welcome, the replacement of the much hated Butterfly mechanism with the “Magic keyboard” which uses the more conventional Scissor switches.

One great thing about the MacBook Air finally moving up to the latest generation of Intel processors, skipping 9th-generation meaning the improvement differences will be fairly drastic, in some cases improvements of 76% specially in the Graphics department where the MacBook Air is actually able to do something even the current iMac Pro cannot, and that’s drive an Apple Pro Display XDR at full 6K Resolution. Granted, no one in the target market for a MacBook Air will own a Pro Display XDR, but it says a lot when a MacBook Air is able to drive a Display, that an iMac Pro cannot do with dedicated AMD Vega graphics, although that just further reiterates the sheer need for Apple to provide more Navi Graphics options to their Desktop line.

The new MacBook Air also has the option to, for the first time, bump up to a Quad-Core CPU for the first time, this is the case with the upper base model or the custom Core i7 model. Thanks to this, the MacBook Air is now actually more faster in every way than the current 13-inch MacBook Pro, which is actually kinda wild. Granted, we’re expecting Apple to update that shortly, but it’s now a much more powerful and more portable machine from Apple.

Outside of the internal bump to the CPU, Apple have also doubled the storage capacity and price, now starting at a slightly lower £999 for, granted still a Core i3, but one faster than last generations i5, with a much better 256GB option. Though, we think the £1,299 Quad-Core Core i5 option with 512GB is most definitely the best option Apple sell of this one, and would be the better buy until Apple update the MacBook Pro 13 inch.

Other than all those things, however, everything else remains the same, which is both good and bad. On one hand it’s great that the MacBook Air retains it’s portability and no one can deny it’s not a premium built and looking device, however there’s no updates to the Display, which sure is Retina but not colour accurate, the webcam is a 720p Camera which certainly doesn’t look it.

Mac mini … this one’s a stretch

I would love to tell you that Apple have continued to show their commitment to the Mac mini, offering a favourable update to keep it going, and whilst you will see the “New” tab on it, stating this is a new machine is quite frankly a joke.

Apple also provided a pathetic update to the Mac mini, as in they doubled the default base Storage configurations … that’s it. That’s the update. Apple could have updated the Mac mini with updated 10th-generation Intel CPUs, but they didn’t and it stands with it’s pretty mediocre 8th-generation Core i3 base and more. Hopefully it won’t be the near eternity until we get an actual update on this one.

TCL to no longer make Smartphones for Blackberry, end of the line for good?

It hasn’t been the best few years for Blackberry, though, to be fair, to be fair Blackberry have been living in the shadows since the fall of the companies Blackberry 10 operating systems fell and they were ‘forced’, if you like, to use Android.

The move to Blackberry using Android back in 2016 wasn’t just a software change, it was also when Blackberry signed a deal with Chinese manufacturer TCL to design and produce its Smartphone hardware for it.

However, it appears this is now going to end in August 2020 with the following statement announcing that TCL will be no longer producing Blackberry hardware for the company;

Statement from TCL Communication

When TCL Communication announced in December 2016 that we had entered into a brand licensing and technology support agreement with BlackBerry Limited to continue making new, modern Blackberry smartphones available globally we were very excited and humbled to take on this challenge. Indeed our KEY Series smartphones, started with the KEYone, were highly-anticipated by the BlackBerry community. What made these devices great wasn’t just the hardware developed and manufactured by TCL Communication, but also the critical security and software features provided by BlackBerry Limited to ensure these were genuine BlackBerry devices. The support of BlackBerry Limited was an essential element to bringing devices like BlackBerry KEYone, Motion, KEY2 and KEY2 LE to life and we’re proud to have partnered with them these past few years on those projects.

We do regret to share however that as of August 31, 2020, TCL Communication will no longer be selling BlackBerry-branded mobile devices. TCL Communication has no further rights to design, manufacture or sell any new BlackBerry mobile devices, however TCL Communication will continue to provide support for the existing portfolio of mobile devices including customer service and warranty service until August 31, 2022 – or for as long as required by local laws where the mobile device was purchased. Further details can be found at http://www.blackberrymobile.com or by phoning customer support at the numbers found at https://blackberrymobile.com/hotline-and-service-center/.

For those of us at TCL Communication who were blessed enough to work on BlackBerry Mobile, we want to thank all our partners, customers and the BlackBerry fan community for their support over these past few years. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to meet so many fans from all over the world during our world tour stops. The future is bright for both TCL Communication and BlackBerry Limited, and we hope you’ll continue to support both as we move ahead on our respective paths.

From everyone who worked on the BlackBerry Mobile team at TCL Communication over the years, we want to say ‘Thank You’ for allowing us to be part of this journey.

Source: BlackBerry Mobile Twitter

Think it’s fair to say it doesn’t get more blunt than that, from August this year, you will stop seeing Blackberry Smartphones on sale from TCL.

What is unclear, however, is the next direction for Blackberry. TCL makes Smartphones for a collection of other companies, including some of its own, but Blackberry’s future is, as of yet, unproven. The company does have a collection of security features and Enterprise solutions, which they will likely continue, though on the hardware front, could this really be the end?