Android apps on BlackBerry Passport

by Volker Weber

This is all I am seeing when I launch any Android app on the BlackBerry Passport. I have no idea what is broken and I don't really know how to fix it. Tried removing and reinstalling Android and Shell via Sachesi, but that has not resolved the issue. Who knows what is going on?

Madeleine Albright wins at Twitter

by Volker Weber

Microsoft makes a Lock Screen :: For Android

by Volker Weber

Next Lock Screen, a Microsoft Garage project, saves you time with quick app launch and access to the information you need. It’s a time saver lock screen built for busy professionals. See your calendar, missed calls, email and text messages all at a glance. Connect to a conference call in a single tap without unlocking your phone. Next Lock Screen even surfaces the apps you use most based on your location.

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by Volker Weber

PhotoMath is the world's first camera calculator. Just point the camera towards the mathematical expression, and PhotoMath instantly displays a correct result.

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Music on 14 Apple Screens

by Volker Weber

[Thanks, Uwe]

Galaxy Note 4 keeps growing on me

by Volker Weber


Yesterday I visited the Samsung Innovation Center in London. Great meetings covering a wide arrange of topics. It's a difficult topic. On one hand, Samsung can't really tell me what is coming, on the other hand they can speak about the development process. And I was really amazed by some of the people I met.

They had all kinds of gear to try out and that includes Gear. And I had to revisit my judgment on VR headsets. The headset they developed with Oculus is simply amazing. When you first put it on, you do see a lot of pixelation and that's happening with the 500+ dpi Note 4 as the display. I have no idea what kind of resolution you need to make those pixels disappear. Certainly four digits if not five. Anyway, after you wore the headset for a minute or so, your brain filters the image so you no longer notice the pixels. Head tracking was absolutely flawless. Now I can see myself wanting one.


As I get a better feel of the company and try out more of their products the Galaxy Note keeps growing on me. I picked up a really nice cover that completely changed the quality perception for me. Yes, this is real stitching. When the Note is inside this folding cover, it becomes a nice booklet. The camera is not longer sticking out on the back, the decorations are taking a backseat, and the whole experience becomes way more classy. And there is an additional benefit: wireless Qi charging. Works with all my Nokia chargers!

I also have all the vital apps installed now. Here navigation, UP, Withings, Sonos. It's all set up. Now I am ready to learn. The Galaxy Note is a powerhouse of features on top of Android, and it's not obvious how all of this works.

HERE on Android

by Volker Weber

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One of my favorite Windows Phone apps is making its way into the Android world. It's currently available in the Samsung app store for Galaxy phones. And it started to become available in beta for other Android phones. As it stats it runs just fine on the giant Lenovo Yoga Tab 2 Pro.

Here gives you full voice assisted turn-by-turn navigation with downloadable maps for offline use. If you haven't done yet, give it a try. Highly recommended.

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MixRadio on Sonos

by Volker Weber


While in London I learned that MixRadio is now available in beta on Sonos. You need a MixRadio+ subscription for 3.99 a month. Yes, that is $ or €. 7 day free trial.

Apple’s Jonathan Ive describes his design process

by Volker Weber

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has landed

by Volker Weber


Today the Galaxy Note 4, which I find to be the most interesting smartphone/tablet from Samsung, became available in stores in Germany. One of them has landed at vowe's magic flying circus. I just played with it for a couple of hours so it's way too early for any serious review. But I do have a few impressions.


Like all Samsung smartphones it feels rather cheap. Just when Apple moved to curved edges, Samsung introduces chamfered edges, much like the iPhone 5 did two years ago. And this time, it's metal and not plastic. The removable back blends right into the frame, but the front does not. Where the screen meets the frame, there is a notable gap and a ridge, so the front isn't smooth at all.

But Samsung is clearly moving in the right direction. Metal is metal, not on the S-Pen, but on the device frame. The faux leather back does away with the embarrassing stitching. And the USB port on the bottom of the device goes back to version two with its smaller plug. With Google installing my apps from backup, I am immediately comfortable with the Google Now launcher and Gmail and Chrome. Only the Samsung phone icon sticks out like a sore thumb.

I would love love love to have the pure Android user experience, with Knox added. The screen is just wonderful. And a nice touch, compared to BlackBerry, iOS, and Windows Phone: the Note shows me a German keyboard, with proper Umlauts. Without any tweaking on my part.


The Note 4 gets most of the S5 features, like the fingerprint reader and the heart rate monitor on the back. Lots of stuff to play with. The camera is also upgraded with OIS (optical image stabilization). And yes, I did not notice the protective plastic before looking at the photo. It's of course off by now. ;-)


And here is the weird part. Before you can insert a SIM which isn't from Europe, you have to place at least one 5 minute phone call with a European SIM. Excuse my French, but WTF?

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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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