Zu schwierig für Google

by Volker Weber


Eine gescheite Tastatur zu bauen scheint für Google eine nicht zu lösende Aufgabe. Oben das schweizer Layout, unten das deutsche. Die Schweizer kennen kein ß, aber die Tasten sind nicht korrekt angeordnet. Bei der deutschen Tastatur verzichtet Google gleich auf alle Umlaute.

Dazu kommt dann noch das Material Design, das anscheinend keine Abgrenzung der Tasten erlaubt.

Update: Damit sich niemand mit Empfehlungen ins Boxhorn jagen lässt, hier noch mal SwiftKey, erst Android, dann iOS:



Und zum Vergleich Apple:


What you don't read on this site

by Volker Weber

I write because I like to write. And sometimes I don't write because I don't like to. One of the things I hardly ever write is a bad review.

There is a story behind that. More than 20 years ago I reviewed a product for c't. And it was terrible. So, that's what I wrote. A few weeks later I met the people who made the product. It was a mom and pop shop. Just two people, and they thanked me for my review. Because I was the first person to even notice them. I felt like I had abused them, and here they were.

And to this date, I try to find some good things to write about. It took me six reviews until I truly understood Sonos. They insisted on sending me two players, and I didn't know why. I had this one stereo. Why would I need two players? The answer is simple: you change from going to a particular room to listening everywhere. And with that, you listen a lot more.

Every new product that I see today, I always watch through those eyes. What does it add, that I did not have before? This Bluetooth speaker is splash-proof, yes, that is useful if you forget it outside in a rain shower or if you are close to a pool. Or that keyboard, yes, that fits into an even smaller pocket. And it works with Android, iOS and Windows. Yes, that's a thing.

But if you ask me to write about yet another "Sonos killer", puleeze. Or another generic smartphone, phablet, tablet? An "Apple Watch killer"? Hey, we have enough killers already.

What I look for is excellence. Stuff that you are going to enjoy when you have long forgotten the pain of paying for it. There is excellence in many products, and I am only covering a tiny fraction of them.

The other day somebody asked me whether he should buy an iPad or what his more affordable options were. I did show him a more affordable product that was "good enough". But my advice was simple: you are probably going to enjoy your iPad a lot longer.

That is what I am looking for. And it is often as simple as that.

And then there is the editor-refuses-to-give-it-back award. That is a huge win for you. Even if you temporarily lost control of one of your samples. You will get it back when you send an even better one.

How Sonos is getting better, year over year

by Volker Weber


I have been around since the first Sonos products. And I am impressed by two things: how the products improve year over year. And how the company keeps improving products that are already in customers' hands. Let me explain.

It all started with a product called ZonePlayer ZP100. What is called rooms today was zones way back when. The ZP100 could do everything. Connect your existing speakers, connect to your existing amp, connect to a separate subwoofer, connect to your CD player. And it was all wires. It even had a four port Ethernet hub. But it was also wireless in that it created SonosNet, a mesh network based on 802.11b/g technology. In order to control your music, you had to buy a piece of hardware from Sonos. I dubbed it the Soviet iPod and that name stuck with Sonos. I believe the CEO calls it by that name until today. I may have called it the Russian iPod, but who cares.

Then Sonos started adding a new product: ZonePlayer ZP80. It was a bit cheaper, it did not have an amp so you had to connect to your existing amp. It went from 4 to 2 port Ethernet, so you could wire "through". ZP80 was later replaced by ZP90 with improved wireless technology based on 802.11n. ZP90 was rebranded as CONNECT and is still available today.

Then Sonos refreshed ZP100 with the ZP120. It had digital amps and dropped line-out. ZP120 was meant to drive your speakers while ZP80/90 was meant to drive a full stereo. ZP120 was later rebranded as CONNECT:AMP and you can still buy it today.

Then two important things happened: Sonos started making software controllers available as apps. And they created the S5 which was later rebranded as the PLAY:5. S5 had five digital amplifiers for five drivers: two tweeters, two midrange, one bass. The importance of this speaker cannot be overstated. You could tune the speaker with a software update. After a long beta phase it finally rolled out, not before beta testers were asked to let it run at 100 percent volume for hours on end.

The Soviet iPod (CR100) was replaced with a touch screen controller (CR200). Sonos had scrapped one project before it came to market, just because it wasn't deemed good enough. So it took many years until CR200 was released. By the time it came out, the iPod touch was cheaper and did the job well enough. Now we have controllers on iOS and Android but sadly not on Windows Phone/Mobile. Microsoft has Phish Alpha, which is actually good enough to ship, but it hasn't.

When the PLAY:3 came out, the speaker "below" the S5, the whole rebranding exercise happened. S5 became PLAY:5, ZP90 became CONNECT, ZP120 became CONNECT:AMP. PLAY:3 had only three drivers but it added 5 GHZ wireless and an orientation sensor. Standing on its side, it became a mono speaker with a different sound characteristic. And you could pair two of them to form a stereo pair. The deluxe version of that stereo pair was two PLAY:5.

And then Sonos went on a new trajectory. It came out with four products, each one more impressive than the other. SUB, PLAYBAR, PLAY:1 and finally a new PLAY:5. I still cannot wrap my head around how the company was able to improve so much year over year. And to top it off, they just introduced Trueplay Tuning, which will improve your listening experience with all the gear that came out starting with the first PLAY:5. Safe for the PLAYBAR for now, but that will come as well.

Best of all, you can still use that old ZP100 and the Soviet iPod. They don't have all the latest features, but they show up in your controller and will play your music just fine.

If you don't have any Sonos speakers yet, get a pair of PLAY:1. You'll be amazed. Or buy a new PLAY:5 and it will blow you away.

I will be visiting Sonos in two weeks. And I can't wait to see what they are working on. Unfortunately that means I will have to guard a few secrets. But I am really good at that.

Further reading: 5 Levels of SONOS addiction

You may want to close this barn door on your IBM Connections site

by Volker Weber

Let's go to IBM Connections and not login. This is the important part. We are a dog on the Internet and nobody knows we are a dog. Let's pick an IBM site and issue a search query against the Profiles application. Let's find everybody who has tagged his profile with "machine-learning".


The first gentleman has a profile picture so he might be active. Let's click on his profile:


Looks like he is indeed active and there is a conversation he is having. Notice that we are still not logged in.

When I saw this, I was shocked. And not only does that work on ibm.com/connections but on other sites as well. I thought this was a huge problem, so I contacted IBM on multiple channels. And I got the same answer on each of those channels: this works as intended. It's the default. Profiles are supposed to be crawl-able.

If you disagree and would rather have your Profiles not public, there is a simple solution which will have side effects elsewhere. You can require a login, before Connections discloses anything.

Yoga Tab 3 Pro :: My next travel companion

by Volker Weber



The Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro oozes quality. I just like to hold and use it. The soft touch back provides a good grip, the buttons are solid. I find the DLP projector quite usable for watching a movie on the ceiling, and even the camera is surprisingly good, albeit a bit slow.



Battery life is excellent and the sound from the four front facing speakers is crystal clear. It charges over MicroUSB and lasts a good 18 hours playing video. I have a short trip over a long distance coming up, so the Yoga Tab 3 Pro is going into my travel bag, along with some fresh underwear, a sweater, a toothbrush, a bundle of short USB cables and only six more items:

The good thing is that I only need this one power supply, although I have a power bank, an iPhone, a BlackBerry, a headset and the Yoga to charge. There is even one spare port.

I am contemplating bringing a serious camera, but I already have three. The Yoga Tab 3 Pro also lets me play music when I am in my room. It's not a Sonos, but it's good enough so that I don't have to bring a Bluetooth speaker.


I expect my (soft) bag to be under 8 kg, so it's all carry-on. Did I mention 18 hours of battery life? I am going to need that.

Le calendrier 2016 d'Aubade est arrivé

by Volker Weber


More >

[Thanks, Boudewijn.]

CIO describes how he moved 125K workers to Office 365 in 6 months

by Volker Weber

The CIO of Swiss power company ABB shared details with CIO.com about its decision to ditch IBM Notes and move 125,000 workers to Office 365. The migration spotlighted important lessons for IT leaders about the scalability of enterprise tools and how innovation can drive staff productivity.

More >

What is the future of Notes/Domino?

by Volker Weber

After reading a comment that IBM should be talking about Notes 10 early 2016 or else, I was wondering about the current roadmap. Icon UK in September seemed not too long ago, so I went through the slides.


Apparently IBM sees Notes/Domino now as part of the Connections platform.


Notes and IBM Client Application Access (the artist formerly knows as the Notes browser plugin) are labelled as Client/Server Legacy.


And there is a "Notes/Domino Next" scheduled for 2H2015 and another one for 2018 and beyond. I have not heard anything about this next version of Domino, but this particular slide is from April 2015 and looks rather generic. What is Notes/Domino Next? 9.0.something?

IBM (and customers) never got anything out of the humongous boat anchor Eclipse Client Platform that bogged down the Notes 8 client. Even Symphony is gone for good. It was the wrong move and the wrong time. Now it's legacy and apps should be accessible from mobile and browser. IBM can still make money from the CALs required to access those apps.

I see a gap opening between IBM's effort to move to a cloud business and stubborn German customers who don't want to have anything like that. Verse on premises appears as a 2016 deliverable, but much like I had doubts about that happening "in the second half" as announced at ConnectED 2015, I cannot see it in 2016 either.

Any thoughts?

Und Ihr wundert Euch

by Volker Weber


Kein Schwein nutzt das "Smart" im Smart-TV. Und das hat bei mir einen ganz einfachen Grund. Wenn ich in den "Smart Hub" gehe, dann kommt unweigerlich alle paar Wochen ein "Smart Hub must update". Und dann installiert mir diese Dreckssoftware 29 Apps, die ich nicht haben will, die ich nicht aufrufe und die ich einzeln löschen darf. Dauert etwa 15 Sekunden pro App.

Ich kenne einige Samsung-Mitarbeiter, die ich sehr respektiere. Aber das Unternehmen ist verrottet. Anders ist es nicht erklärbar, dass sie immer wieder ihre Kunden verraten, um ein paar Euro zu machen, in dem sie fortwährend Werbung reinkübeln. Wenigstens hoffe ich, dass sie dafür Geld kriegen.

Fast das gesamte User Interface des 2012er Smart Hub besteht aus Werbung, die sich zum allergrößten Teil nicht mal löschen lässt. Die aktuelle Software soll besser sein und ich schaue mal, ob ich die bekommen kann.

Aber eins ist klar: Wenn Samsung auch nur ein bisschen was aus den Daten lernen würde, die sie von der Plattform abgreifen, dann wüssten sie, dass ich diesen Dreck verabscheue und sofort wieder runterlösche.

So, jetzt geht es mir besser. ;-)

Color me impressed

by Volker Weber

Other recent entries

vowe dot net :: Many Steps
Windows 10 Mobile is ready to go
IBMverse.com is fading away
Valentin is doing it right
25 perfect weeks in a row
How to import your photos from your camera to Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro :: Nach einer Woche
exFAT for BlackBerry Priv
Digitalisierung bei der Bahn
Blocking Twitter spammers with three taps
Microsoft, I have a wish
Emulation is often a terrible idea
Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro :: Erste Eindrücke
Equinux Tankstation Mega Toploader :: USB-Lader in der Tischplatte
Jan. 21, 2015, was an interesting day
The evolution of the Lenovo Yoga Tablet
Microsoft removes a showstopper from Windows 10
First Major Update for Windows 10 Available Today
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro finally on Lollipop
What's next for BlackBerry handsets?
Urbanears Sumpan
Telekom betreibt die Microsoft Cloud in Deutschland
Sonos Trueplay Tuning ships today
Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard
A phone that could replace my iPhone

Last 30 days >

Ceci n'est pas un blog

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.

rss Click here to subscribe


About me
Amazon Wish List
Frequently Asked Questions
Follow @vowe on Twitter

Local time is 18:00


Tip jar


As most of my articles roll off the front page rather quickly, I am making an archive of previous posts available here. You can also use the handy search box at the top of the page if you are looking for something particular.

Last 30 days
More archives

Mobile tag for this page

© 1992-2015 Volker Weber.
All Rights Reserved.