Der Fluffy macht's

by Volker Weber


Der Hund wechselt zweimal im Jahr das Fell. Einmal zwischen Januar und Juni und dann nochmal zwischen Juli und Dezember. Mit anderen Worten, Frau Brandlinger hat mich zum Staubsauger-Experten gemacht. Eigentlich sauge ich jeden Tag. Und nur noch mit einem Gerät, dem Superplömp. Vor acht Jahren haben wir mal einen Bodenstaubsauger mit Schnur, auch von Dyson, gekauft. Aber der ist viel lästiger. Den Superplömp nimmt man einfach von der Station und kann dann 20 Minuten lang saugen. Das reicht, denn danach habe ich eh keine Lust mehr.

Wieso Superplömp? Das kommt vom DC30, der schon vier Jahre hier wohnt. Wenn man den Staubbehälter öffnet, sagt er "plömb". Und so heißt er. Dann kam der DC62, und weil der soviel mehr leistet, heißt der Superplömp. Diese ganzen Nummer dienen übrigens zur Verwirrung, was hier DC62 Animal hieß, das heißt in USA DC59 Animal. Warum? Das ist sowas wie ein Region Code, mit dem Dyson versucht hat, die Märkte gegeneinander abzuschotten.


Aus dem DC62 wurde zwischenzeitlich der Dyson v6, was einfach nur ein anderer Name ist. Und dann sah ich auf der IFA etwas neues. Den Fluffy. Den sieht man hier auf den Bildern. Der Fluffy ist eine neue Düse für glatte Hartböden. Und so wie bei Stereoanlagen alles auf die Lautsprecher ankommt, macht bei den Staubsaugern jede Bodendüse eine andere Musik. Beim DC62 kam für uns gegenüber dem DC30 die motorisierte Düse hinzu. Strom kommt vom Handgerät und treibt in der Düse eine Walze an, die mittels Karbonbürsten den Staub vom Boden löst, der dann aufgesaugt wird. Das klappt wunderbar, bis auf ein kleines Problem: die Bodendüse schiebt die kleinen Steinchen weg, die wir mit den Schuhen aus dem Kiesbett reintragen. Genau das Problem löst der Fluffy. Diese Düse ist vorne offen, die weiche Walze nimmt den Stein mit nach hinten und weg ist er.


Man muss sich nur eine andere Fahrweise angewöhnen, ähnlich wie beim Schneeschieben: vorwärts auf die Dreckspur, rückwärts auf dem schon gesaugten Bereich. Sagt, siehe oben, der Experte. Fluffy taugt vor allem für Parkett und glatte Fliesenböden. Auf unserem Schiefer tut er sich schwer. Oder eher, ich tue mich noch etwas schwer. Schiefer ist eine Buckelpiste verglichen mit einem Kachelboden. So bewirbt Dyson übrigens die neue Düse:


Noch bin ich mir nicht klar, welche Düse ich bevorzuge: Fluffy oder die schon bekannte Düse vom DC62. Wer öfter mal Katzenstreu aufnehmen muss, wird den Fluffy lieben. Um die Katzen kümmert sich hier der Hund. ;-)

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Going slow. And faster.

by Volker Weber

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I have been cutting back on walking for the last two weeks. From 17 km a day down to 10 km. I am shooting for 10k steps a day, sometimes I end up with more. I am filling up on the bike which puts less stress on the legs.

Anyway, still doing perfect weeks on Apple Watch Activity, the move streak is now at 135 days w/ 600 cals. The last day with less than 10k steps was October 21, 2014. In ten days I will have completed a year with over 10k steps each and every day.

6000 km in less than a year. Next year will be a lot less walking and a whole lot more on the bike. The dog has gotten so strong, she demands more speed.

Upgrading Jumbotron

by Volker Weber


I pondered the iMac repair for a few days while testing my options. Then I deciced to throw out the defective 1 TB Seagate Barracuda drive and replace it with a Samsung 850 Evo of the same size. I had tested a software to control the fan and that was working in El Capitan.

No more excuse. Action. I got the SSD from a local store; also picked up a mounting bracket to get from 2.5" (SSD) to 3.5" (drive bay).

I had watched a number of videos on how to disassemble the iMac and was confident I could make it. And I did. Clean up a table, place the iMac on its back with the top facing me. Get two suctions cups from the bathroom, place them on the top of the glass and pull. Off came the glass and I put it aside. Remove two stickers at the top of the screen and four T10 screws on both sides. Now I could lift up the screen and removed one cable at the top left of the screen; that was right in front of my right hand.

Then I lifted the screen up further to remove the other three cables that connect to the computer and found it wasn't even necessary. I just proped up the screen at an angle and supported it with an empty iPhone box. There was now plenty of room to disconnect the old drive and replace it with the new one. If you ever built a PC, that is standard fare.

Reconnect one cable, lower the screen back into the iMac, replace the eight screws, reattach the two stickers. Before I put the glass back on, I removed a few specs of dust from the screen and the back of the glass. Then I closed the iMac and the glass slid just in. I worked very carefully, but the round trip was still less than half an hour.

I told you to make a bootable OS X installer, didn't I? El Capitan was installed in 15 minutes, then I added the fan control, TRIM-enabled the machine and fired up migration assistant. Now it needs a few hours to get everything back from ReadyNAS.

A couple of observations:

As always, I should have done that a long time ago. All Seagate Barracudas die. You don't have to wait for it.

BlackBerry CEO wants to sell 5 million phones a year

by Volker Weber

In an interview at the Code Mobile conference today, CEO John Chen told The Verge that his goal is to sell five million smartphones a year, which will be necessary to make the business profitable. If that doesn't happen, Chen hinted that BlackBerry may exit handset business altogether, which would be a huge shift from the BlackBerry of the past.

BlackBerry is faced with a tough situation. The transition from legacy BlackBerry to BlackBerry 10 was not successful. The app gap is too large to ignore and BB10 devices are not sought after. This is a death spiral. No apps, no users, no devices, no apps ... There are customers who don't give a #*$& about apps. They want a secure messaging device only. For those BlackBerry is going to continue to maintain the software, but they are not buying new devices very often.

The BlackBerry Priv has to be a success to keep BlackBerry in the devices business. Android has plenty of apps and buying a Priv does not seem like a bad idea. It's the only viable escape route. BlackBerry cannot license iOS and Windows has its own share of app problems.

We will not hear much about the most interesting discussion: will security conscious business accept an Android device from BlackBerry? If BlackBerry can convince these customers, they may have a shot. BlackBerry cannot compete against LG, Samsung and the new crop of Chinese manufacturers on price. They can only compete on security.

Will there be another BB10 device after the Passport, the Classic and the Leap? I don't think there will. Will there be another Android device from BlackBerry after the Priv? Only if it is a moderate success.

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The bestest laptop of all time

by Volker Weber


It was quite funny watching the pundits declaring the Microsoft Surface Book as the best laptop ever. Ever. Before they even had a chance to touch it, let alone use it. This breathlessness is a consequence of hunting for clicks. Live blog, live tweet, live everything. Microsoft did an excellent job at playing this machine.

Take your time, watch, think, analyze. And then judge.

Microsoft still sells the Surface 3. The LTE version just hit German stores. And to me, that is a wonderful machine. Yes, it is less powerful than a Surface Pro 3, and even less powerful than a Surface Pro 4. But it's powerful enough for what I do with it. Are three burgers better than one? Do you need five? Or is one just right?

I have not tried a Surface Pro 4. I think I would like it, now that the fan does not come on as easily as it did on the Surface Pro 3. Surface 3 does not even have a fan.

And now, for this magic Surface Book. I have never needed a GPU. But I don't do video editing. For me, Surface Book solves two issues: you can actually use it on your lap, which is next to impossible with the Surface tablets. And the other one is, you don't have a MacBook and an iPad in your bag. It's just one machine. And it's oh so pretty. Could it replace my MacBook Pro? Possibly. But so could the latest MacBook, the tiny less powerful one. Remember, one burger!

So, is the Surface Book the ultimate laptop? I am sorry to say, there is no such thing. You always have to trade off power and weight and size and battery life. Your ultimate laptop may not be my ultimate laptop.

Yes, I could use a better keyboard on Surface. And a trackpad that is actually any good.

Backups are important. Restore is more important.

by Volker Weber

Stop what you are doing and make a backup. You already have a backup? Doesn't matter. Make another one. And then, on the weekend, take your time and try to restore it to a clean machine.

You have no idea, when you will lose that data. When you do, you will wish that you had a more recent backup. And when you try to restore, you will wish you had tried it before you lost the data and found out your restore does not work.

What really helps is if that most important piece of data does not require a full restore. My accounting app runs from a thumbdrive, if it has to. I just tried, because one of the things that died last night was my virtual Windows machine I use for accounting. Went to the backup, restored one zip file, unpacked onto thumbdrive and ran on Microsoft Surface. Success. Then I went to the backup of the backup and tried again. Success, once more.

All storage dies. If it's made by Seagate, it will die young. Make a copy. And another one.

Logi Circle :: First impressions

by Volker Weber


At IFA I learned about the new Logi Circle, yet another webcam, or so I thought. I shot the camera in a different environment from my other photos. And there is a reason. We will get to that in a moment.


This is the camera you see once you open the box. And this is what else is inside:


What you see is a standard USB power supply, a very long cable with a ring attached, and the camera on its base. The camera and the base are one assembly, so you can't take the ball off that base. The ring has two grooves for two tiny contacts in the camera base. When you place the base on the ring, it snaps in and charges the camera. That's right, the camera has a battery.

Inside the ring is another plastic piece and three screws that that's attach the ring to a wall, letting the flat cable hang down that wall. This way, instead of standing on a shelf, the camera can easily be attached to the wall. Simple to adjust either way.

Since the camera has a battery, you can just take it off the ring and it will continue to stream over three hours. And this is where the whole things starts to be different from other webcams.

Most webcams are designed to be security cameras that alert you when something unusual happens. Or we use front facing cameras in PCs or phones for live chats. The Circle has a different use case. It's for the person who wants to be connected to what's going on at home, when he is not there. It will have it's default place, that's where the ring is. But the family can just take the camera off that place and move it to the kitchen when cooking. Or to a playroom, where the kids are. And inside your Android or iPhone, you can ask for a "day brief". That's a 30 seconds video, where all events are condensed. Time is compressed, but it's not half an hour a second. Logi has invested heavily in spam detection. That's motion which isn't interesting, like the TV playing or a fan moving. Those things will not be in the day brief.

From your smartphone, you can join the conversation at the other end. There is a speaker in the camera and a microphone. Just bear in mind that you will have a latency of typically two seconds.

The closest thing to the Circle that I know is the Withings Home. But Home has no battery, so it has to stay put. And home lets you connect an Ethernet wire, where Circle needs Wifi. Circle has the smarter software, both come with an Internet Service that stores your videos. Both can alert you when they sense movement, and neither can trigger events like the Belkin Netcam can. Circle is also different from Arlo, which is designed to be a security camera you can place anywhere, even if there is no power and no Ethernet.

Finally, a view into my office, just as a screenshot from the app. As you can see, it's very wide angle, as it should be. All of those cameras use 720p which seems to be the best trade-off between bandwidth and resolution.



by Volker Weber

To bring you Twitter, we and our partners use cookies on our and other websites. Cookies help personalize Twitter content, tailor Twitter Ads, measure their performance, and provide you with a better, faster, safer Twitter experience. By using our services, you agree to our Cookie Use.

Replace "use cookies" with "store data in our datacenter outside the EU". That's what we are going to get for denying the US safe haven. Just another click. Everywhere.

Hey, there are people with Android phones concerned about privacy. Cognitive dissonance.

Seagate nicht

by Volker Weber


Gestern macht es laut und vernehmlich BONG! Einige Zeit später fällt mir auf, dass der iMac laut vor sich hinpustet und anzeigt, dass er keine Platte hat. Und was verbaut Apple? Seagate. Das sind die Barracudas, die schon zuhauf bei mir im ReadyNAS gestorben sind.

Ich habe schon genug PCs gebaut, dass mich ein Festplattentausch nicht schreckt. Selbst im iMac nicht. Scheibe raus mit zwei Saugnäpfen, Screen rausschrauben. vier Kabel abziehen, Screen ausbauen. Da liegt sie vor einem, die kaputte Platte. Dann die miese Überraschung. Apple hat eine ganz eigene Temperaturmessung über SATA gebaut. Kein Fühler, kein S.M.A.R.T. Man kann nur gegen ein Originalappleseagate-Ersatzteil tauschen. Als ob ich noch mal sowas haben wollte.

Ich prüfe heute die Alternativen. Wahrscheinlich brauche ich einen Hardware-Hack. Und am liebsten würde ich mir eine Samsung 850 Pro einbauen.

Update: El Capitan auf einem externen Drive installiert. SSD Fan Control installiert. Schon ist Ruhe, auch wenn das noch das kaputte Drive drin ist. Steht also einem Upgrade auf SSD nichts mehr im Wege.

A few remarks on the Microsoft hardware briefing

by Volker Weber


I expected three things to hear from Microsoft today. Surface Pro 4 without a fan. A final date when Windows 10 Mobile launches (for existing devices). A credible plan to close the app gap for Lumia. I did not hear any of these things, but a few others.

Here are my remarks, in no particular order.

Panos Panay is the greatest presenter I know. Think Steve Jobs, but with a lot more compassion.

If you watch the event, I'd dive right in 30 minutes and skip all the Xbox, Hololens, Band reading from the teleprompter.

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Ceci n'est pas un blog 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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