Rich Karlgaard, Publisher Forbes Magazine interviews John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry

by Volker Weber

Although I have been in the same room with John Chen a number of times, I watched every minute of this intelligent interview, and I am glad I did. John Chen is the best industry leader I know, and I have met quite a few of them.

In this interview he answers two questions about BlackBerry's plans with Android in the most charming way. He does not flatly come back with a "I cannot comment on future plans and products" as most other CEOs would do. Instead he enables you to construct a solution inside your own brain without announcing anything. After you heard him, you will know that BlackBerry might be onto something really great: a more secure version of the Android experience, with all the Android apps out there.

That's what may be on your mind after having seen all the leaks about the Venice slider with a BlackBerry launcher. But John Chen has so much more to say. How you turn around a tech company, what people you need to attract, how you focus your business, all the way to an assessment of the current situation in China. Watch it. It's going to be the best hour you spend this week.

Deutsche Standortvorteile

by Volker Weber

Der nPA ist der neue Personalausweis, dem die Kennzeichnung des Rufnamens fehlt. Bürger mit mehrere Vornamen, bei denen aber nicht der erste Vorname auch der gebräuchliche (meist geburtsurkundlich bestimmte) Rufname ist, freuen sich über eine Umbenennung. Die Speicherung der Fingerabdrücke in diesem Dokument ist freiwillig und wird nach entsprechender Belehrung in der Regel abgelehnt, sodass der nPA dann nicht mehr einem ePass gleichberechtigt ist. Der Ausweis könnte theoretisch auch eine qualifizierte elektronische Signatur enthalten, mit der Bürger rechtssicher Dokumente signieren und schützenswerte Dokumente verschlüsseln könnten. Praktisch jedoch wird der Ausweis ohne eine solche QES ausgeliefert und muss nachträglich kostenpflichtig bei einem Zertifizierungsdiensteanbieter nachgeladen werden. Das deutsche Signaturgesetz (SigG) hätte der Herr Staatssekretär sicher auch als Standortvorteil gelobt, wenn die meisten Zertifizierungsdiensteanbieter nicht mangels Umsatz ihren Betrieb eingestellt hätten.

Dieses Drama steht den Anbietern von De-Mail, dem auf E-Mail-Technik beruhenden, hiervon aber technisch getrennten Kommunikationsmittels, erst noch bevor. Bislang lassen sich nur Schnäppchenportalnutzer mit Zalando-Gutscheinen dazu verleiten, sich eine De-Mail-Adresse zu "sichern". Wer einen solchen Vertrag abgeschlossen hat, kann ihn nur mit klassischen Mitteln wieder loswerden:

Apple Music on Sonos coming this fall

by Volker Weber

What happens when you slide the Note 5 pen in the wrong way

by Volker Weber

36 seconds into the video you can see the little sensor that catches your pen and breaks off when you remove it. I have no idea how you can come up with such a bad design. There are so many ways to design this in a failsafe way.

Pebble auf der IFA

by Volker Weber

Aus einer PM:

Pebble wird in diesem Jahr auf der IFA in Berlin am Stand von KOMSA vertreten sein. Neben der Pebble Smartwatch, der Pebble Steel und der seit Kurzem erhältlichen Pebble Time, wird dort auch die brandneue Pebble Time Steel ausgestellt sein. Wir möchten Sie herzlich einladen, in Halle 4.2, Stand 111 vorbeizukommen und das neuste Premiummodell kennenzulernen.

Mein Problem mit den neuen Pebbles ist der Preis. Knapp 300 € für die Time Steel, 50 € weniger für die Time, das ist arg dicht an der Apple Watch. Das Original liegt aktuell um die 100 €, in USA wurde sie bei Target schon für $50 gesehen. Das ist eine ganze andere Dimension.

Sonos and the Russian iPod

by Volker Weber

Sonos Controller.jpg

Almost ten years ago I called it the Russian iPod. And that name sticks until today inside Sonos. Read yourself:

Ten years ago, the world’s most cutting-edge stereo system showed up in my home, offering a glimpse into the digital audio future that today immerses us all. The gray box and oversized, iPod-like remote control was the first product sold by Sonos, which was founded a couple of years earlier in a red-tile-roofed complex just around the corner from my Santa Barbara Street house.

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Did Microsoft fire all of Nokia's designers?

by Volker Weber


by Volker Weber

90 days with Apple Watch

by Volker Weber

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I have been using Apple Watch for 90 days. Why I know it's 90 days? We'll get to that later. There have been some surprises, but generally speaking, it has exceeded my expectations. I do not want to be without it.

One of the things that have changed very quickly was my watchface. At first I added four 'complications': battery status, outside temperature, activity tracking and stop watch. Then I quickly found out that I needed neither one. Battery is not a problem, outside temperature is not that important, activities let me know when I reach them and a stop watch? Yeah, right. So I chose a very simple watchface shown to the left above. The other one is the watch face when I am traveling. It shows my home time zone (Ute), the temperature (in the US you can hardly ever know because it's always freezing inside) and my next appointment. I also put numbers on the watch face so I am not messing with am/pm time notation.


I use one third party app on the watch. Just one. That's Outlook. It just works very well. That of course means I also use Outlook on the iPhone. Again, a very decent app. The only surprising thing is that its calendar does not obey the 24h time format I set on the iPhone.

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Most of my interaction between Watch and me happens in glances. Glances are panels below the watchface. Swipe up and you get to the last used glance. As you can see, I am only using seven: Settings, Now Playing, Heartbeat, Activty, Outlook, Weather and Battery. The Battery glance is the only place you can see how much juice is left in the battery, and frankly, you don't need to know. Just charge Watch at night for an hour. For me it lasts two days. The Settings glance lets you set Flight Mode, Do Not Disturb and Silence. And you can ping your phone. It will make a sonar sound so you can find out where you left it.

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My favorite preinstalled app is Activity. You know that since I have been going on and on about it. It's simply the best activity tracker I have seen so far. And I have seen a few.

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I have not missed a single day without achieving all three goals. And since I get a Longest Move Streak award every single day, I know that I have been wearing Apple Watch for 90 days. The move streak is actually quite longer. The last time I did not meet my move goal was last October, and that's more than 300 days ago.

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Notifications is the other big use case. I have tailored my notifications quite well, so the watch does not interrupt my flow. That's very personal. Some people will want to know about each and every email they get, every new follower, etc. But Watch makes it quite easy. Every time you receive a notification where you think 'ah, I did not need to know this right now' you just go ahead and tune your notifications. After a few days you will have it all sorted out.

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The one thing that I am not really using at all is the friends button under the digital crown. There is a simple reason: I use Siri instead. It has become quite natural to tell the watch what to do. 'Set an alarm for 7:30'. Boom. Done. 'Set timer to 10 minutes'. Boom. Done. Yes, you can do that on your phone. But that is not attached to you. Or it may be attached to you, but not to me. Speaking of which, I often answer the phone from Apple Watch. And that works way better than I expected. I don't really know how it does it (I assume Wifi), but I can be quite far away from the iPhone and still answer it. Talking to your watch feels a bit funny at first, but then becomes very convenient.

I am very much looking forward to watchOS 2. There will be more and better apps once the SDK becomes available.

The Windows Phone ‘Twilight Zone’

by Volker Weber

Windows Phone 8.1 ... is essentially tombstoned at this point. Windows 10 needs to come to mobile in a way that excites people, and then it will have a chance of success.

As much as I loved the 930, 1020 & 1520 Lumias, it seems very unlikely that is going to happen. Microsoft has been asleep at the wheel for too long. The 1520 is still the best Windows phone out there, and that's two years old. The app gap is getting worse, not better.

What I do expect is a Surface Phone, a phone/PC convertible. But that's not going to establish an ecosystem in mobile.

More >

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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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