Everything in its right place

by Volker Weber

your underlying Google Account won’t be searchable or followable, unlike public Google+ profiles. And for people who already created Google+ profiles but don’t plan to use Google+ itself, we’ll offer better options for managing and removing those public profiles.

'A more focused Google+ experience', Google? Why don't you just admit defeat? Force-feeding Google+ was a terrible idea.

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Stuff that works :: Plantronics Backbeat Pro

by Volker Weber


While at home I mostly use a Platan ADV, an on-the-ear headset from Urban Ears, but when it comes to traveling, I'm always undecided. On one hand I try to minimize my luggage, down to the number of power supplies I carry (just 1), the wires I need, etc. This time I had a record of five kilograms, including the bag, when leaving home.

But I bit the bullet and chose the massive Plantronics Backbeat Pro, which is a noise-canceling over-the-ear headset. And I was so glad I did. Not only does it sound exceptionally, but it also provides a great deal of isolation. Round trip door-to-door was 15 hours to and 16 hours back, more than 30 hours in total for a two night stay, all due to massive delays and traffic. Without this headset I would have been in quite a bad mood.


Tone Black or White?

by Volker Weber


I did not have the time to look at the Limited Edition SONOS PLAY:1 Tone speakers while I was away in NYC. But now I have.

Both are absolutely gorgeous and the difference between a regular and one of these Limited Edition speakers is more striking than I expected. You even want to keep the packaging on display. The speakers are covered in soft paint. Even the boxes feel soft to the touch. And I do have a favorite now. While the white speaker is very pure, the black one is my favorite.

Stuff that works :: Olloclip Active Lens

by Volker Weber


[Click photos for larger versions on Ello]

I have used the new Olloclip lens for most of my Instagrams in New York. Everything is so big or tall that you cannot possibly capture without an ultra-wide angle lens.


At other times, things are far away and you need a telephoto lens to get a decent picture.


I have used the ultra-wide angle way more often than the telephoto lens, so if you have a 4-in-1 lens you should be covered for most situations. The Active Lens also does not have macro mode which is useful for capturing tiny details like insects or flower seeds. But as a travel companion the Active Lens is unbeatable. I also recommend the Ollocase, because it protect the phone and will still allow you to attach the lens without having to remove the cover.


Check out the Olloclip website for other combinations of wide angle, telephoto and CPF lenses. I have never had a bad Olloclip product.

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And here it is ...

by Volker Weber

A few weeks ago I gave you a reverse Alex warning: if you pay in €, buy Sonos now, thank me later. Here is why.

PLAY:1 Tone not sold out

by Volker Weber



Apparently there wasn't such a big rush to pay 50$/€ extra for a Limited Edition. Sonos still shows availability. I still find very pretty and they will sellt out.

The altar has disappeared

by Volker Weber

Photo: Denon

In the 80s of the last century people would buy home stereos and pile lots of components to "stereo towers". Clarion made similar components that young guns would build into their pre-owned Porsche 911s. Your stereo was an altar. Then came surround systems and the back of an AV receiver became daunting. See photo above. Behind that altar there would a snake's nest of cables. You would own lots of LPs, then CDs, then DVDs and pile them up in racks. Been there, done that. And since then have thrown them all out. I remember buying a 400 CD player that was cheaper than buying decent looking racks for 400 CDs.

Then SONOS came along. At first I would connect a zoneplayer to the altar as a component. It lived with the other components like DVD player, CD player, Radio, DAT recorder, amplifier. Lots of cables that I reorganized with ZIP ties.

All of this is gone. I kept two large Braun speakers and connected them to a Connect:Amp. That is the only echo of the past. I hardly fire it up anymore. Because there is an almost invisible surround built with Sonos components in the same room. And there are many more Sonos speakers throughout the house. Physical media have been replaced by tracks on a storage, hidden away in the cellar. Which is being replaced by streaming services. Equipment no longer matters (compare Ken Rockwell's Measurebator for a fun analogy).

The altar has disappeared. It's the music that takes center stage.

Five million. Or eight million. Or seven.

by Volker Weber


Almost exactly one year ago I wrote The first million is always the hardest. I had completed my first million steps since I started tracking three months earlier. It took until November to get to three million. In the meantime, my UP24 band broke and I switched to Withings Healthmate. When I got a replacement UP24 Jawbone decided to "upgrade" their software with Clippy, the Smart Coach. Which made me drop the band.

In November I set the goal to walk 10k steps a day and 100 km a week. I am in week 38 and never missed the goal, not even on a single day. Today I completed five million steps on that program. Add the other three and you get to eight million. Minus the one million I reached a year ago. That's the pace: 7 million a year. I no longer need to track steps, but I continue to do anyway. My daily routine now involves this mild exercise and I could not be happier with the results.

Apple Watch has made everything easier. You wear it while also carrying your iPhone and it will calibrate its sensors to your stride. After a while you no longer need to keep carrying the iPhone because it has become very accurate. When you start using the watch to track your activity, set a low goal like 300 calories a day. After a week it will start to nag you to adjust the goal upwards. I have set the goal to 600 which I reach every single day in the early afternoon. When I reach the move goal I have already closed the exercise ring. The stand ring will close later.

For me it's important to get into a "don't break the chain" mode, where I don't allow myself to lapse. Apple has a nice video about that. The important lesson here is that you don't have to be the fastest, the best, the fittest. You just have to try and not give up:

A year ago my ankles were weak and I would often sprain them. My legs were weak and I would feel pain in my knees. When I started walking I would develop blisters on my feet. A year ago I was proud to be able to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Now I can easily walk from Central Park over the bridge into Brooklyn. And back. I have lost more than 50 pounds along the way. And I am much happier now.

On a side note: yes, treat yourself to an Apple Watch. And then start earning it by closing those rings. Every single day.


by Volker Weber

When I move files between my computers and phones, most of the times, I just use Infinit. Works on Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows. Once in a while I also share files with other people over Infinit. It's incredibly fast and reliable. Free and unlimited.

Go get it with infinit.me/vowe for 500 MB of permanent storage for links.

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The bring-your-own-device fad is fading

by Volker Weber

'There is a clear move towards a policy of no BYOD,' the report stated. Companies find they can pursue mobility initatives just as well by providing mobile devices to workers 'who are often happy to take a corporate device if it is the same thing they would choose on their own.'

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Other recent entries

Should you write Win32 programs or Universal Apps?
Sonos Limited Edition PLAY:1 Tone
The Great Escape
Deezer + Vodafone
Zalando, Saftladen
Sonos 5.4
Olloclip Active Lens + Olloclip Case :: First impressions
Moxie's Signal
HERE for Android Public Beta
Microsoft ships Office 2016 Mac to Office 365 subscribers
The difference 500 days make
Windows on Phones started to smell funny today
Stuff that works :: iPhone 6 Plus with Logitech Keys-to-go keyboard
Annoyed by iPhone calls and text messages on your other devices?
Why I am doing this
Wie man mich am besten nicht erreicht
BlackBerry Venice
Surface 3 (4G LTE) is coming
Beats 1 stream URLs
The Ello Bill of Rights
Microsoft could write off billions on Nokia deal
Apple Watch Sapphire vs Glass Display Shoot-Out
Withings imports from Fitbit
Apple Music on SONOS :: How soon is ASAP?
Earn your breakfast

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vowe.net is a personal website published by Volker Weber a.k.a. vowe. I am an author, consultant and systems architect based in Darmstadt, Germany.

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