100 weeks #dontbreakthechain

by Volker Weber

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Another week, another month of not breaking the chain. It has now been 100 weeks since I started tracking with Apple Watch. Funny thing is that Apple credits me with 147 weeks of reaching all goals.

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The Apple Watch hasn't even been on the market for that long. But there is some truth to it. You know that I started on the UP24 and tried a few other products from Withings, Fitbit and Misfit before settling on Apple Watch. Since all of them synced into Apple Health those 147 weeks are very realistic.

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I never really put my transformation down in numbers, but I lost almost a kg of weight per month over those three years. For the first time since the 80s I am measuring my weight in the 80s. I am no longer considered overweight for my age band, much less obese, which I started with.

If you are overweight, get yourself a nice tracking scale. I recommend Withings. And then step on that scale every morning. You don't have to look at the result but you need to see the long term trend. Weight goes up and down by multiple kg, which shouldn't worry you too much. Don't set yourself a goal, just keep it trending in the right direction.

And don't break the chain.

Samsung Galaxy S8 :: A few additional observations

by Volker Weber

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Before I return the S8 to Samsung a few additional observations, in no particular order:

I will wipe the device on Monday and return it to Samsung the day after.

New Slack Team space :: IBM Think

by Volker Weber

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The Connect 2017 space went really well. That made me register a new Slack Team space for IBM Think, before that name was taken. I am growing membership very slowly. Currently there are two dozen people in the space. I am also not opening up registration by domain. That was one of the things that did not work so well in the old space.

Sales Wick :: Vuelo Nocturno

by Volker Weber

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[Thanks, Stephan]

IBM Think 2018

by Volker Weber

IBM is consolidating its conferences into one big event. Think 2018 will be in Las Vegas from March 19-22. It will replace Connect, InterConnect, Amplify, Edge, Vision, World of Watson and PartnerWorld.

Q: Is World of Watson 2017 being canceled?
A: No, we are moving World of Watson to March 2018 and bringing it together with other IBM events to form one flagship event called IBM Think 2018.

After b/s detection: Yes. World of Watson is dead. Long live Think.

New update options for Windows 10, version 1703

by Volker Weber

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Based on feedback from customers, we are making some adjustments to the updates that we are releasing for Windows 10, version 1703 (also known as the 'Creators Update'). With these changes, we will routinely offer one (or sometimes more than one) additional update each month. These additional cumulative updates will contain only new non-security updates, so they will be considered 'Updates'in WSUS and Configuration Manager.

That is a very welcome change for Enterprise IT. Microsoft separates security updates (must install) from feature enhancements (test, then install).

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Is Slack a product or a feature?

by Volker Weber

This is a very good article on the difficulties you face when you try to replace email with something else. We have been struggling with this for years.

Slack wants us to believe it is the future of collaboration. But is it truly a platform for that purpose or a readily replicable feature set?

I have a pretty simple formula for the success of any tool: people will use it if they get more out of it than they put in. And from this article I learned (again), how Facebook & Co tip that balance towards their favor. They feed on your addiction to likes and comments.

The real question I have for you is: does your team use Slack? Does it reduce your workload or increase your success? Can you walk away from it to do something else?

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Samsung Galaxy S8 :: The verdict

by Volker Weber

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I have used the Galaxy S8 for a week, and by the end of the month, it will be back at Samsung. By and large it behaved exactly like I expected. But I have softened by judgement somewhat.

The S8 is an almost perfect smartphone. There are only two compromises: Samsung had to move the fingerprint sensor to the back, next to the camera. It would have been better placed underneath the camera, but that is where the battery and the wireless charging sit. Yes, you will touch the camera, but that is not a big deal, if you clean it once in a while. The app reminds you to do that. The other compromise is the mono speaker. You can watch beautiful videos in wide screen, but the sound comes out of one end. This device really needs stereo speakers.

With these exceptions, the S8 is best in class. Period.

When you build an Android phone and you want access to Google Play Store and Google Play Services, then Google dictates what you need to deliver with your phone. When you are Samsung and you have ambitions beyond being yet another Android OEM, then you need to also deliver your own software. The user ends up with two of everything. But Samsung is getting better at this. Samsung Experience, formerly known as TouchWiz, is now very elegantly designed, it does not bog down the hardware, and it is actually a joy to use.

Here is my recommendation: if you buy a Galaxy S8, then go with the Samsung Experience. Don't just replace the launcher with the Google Launcher and ignore what Samsung has built. You are fighting with your phone and that will be a frustrating experience. Sign up to a Samsung ID, get Bixby going, help it learn your ways.

And here is my problem: I cannot do that. I do not trust Samsung. Samsung destroyed my trust with their TV. It's not my TV, although I paid for it. Samsung pushes their software and their apps into my TV experience. And I can already smell the same behaviour with Bixby. I never have this feeling with Apple. Microsoft is sort of borderline. But Samsung is not with me. If you don't have my problem, then by all means, buy this machine. You will love it.

The bigger question is of course: do you trust Google?

Marshall Monitor BT

by Volker Weber

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The Apple Airpods are my most used headset. They fit my ears, they work well, they sound reasonably nice, they are easy to carry and charge. When you wear them, you look like a complete idiot. And there are things that they cannot play well. When I need to be alone with myself, when I want to blast my ears, I need something more substantial. Enter the Marshall Monitor BT, an over-the-ear-headset with Bluetooth connection to my iPhone and a cable for everything else.

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They fit my head and my ears, they play for 30 hours between charges, they isolate me from the noise around me, and they are really really loud. And this little brass knob is why I love them so much. Instead of asking Siri to please raise the volume I just push the knob upwards. And then push it again. Downwards is lower volume, but who wants that? Right is next track, left is last track. Push it for three seconds and the headsets turns on and off, push longer for Bluetooth pairing, a short push will pause/play or make/break phone calls. It is one single control and it is effing brilliant.

I can store the folded headset in the included bag for travel, together with the audio and the charge cable. And I can share what I am listening to with a second headset that plugs right into mine.

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This is not my first Marshall headset. I already used the Major II, which I returned with some hesitance. Those were only on-ear, which somebody called the little sister of an over-ear headset. This one is different.

I have headsets with multipoint Bluetooth connectivity, I have headsets with active noise cancellation, I have headsets that may even sound a bit better. But there is more than technology, there is also emotion. And I swear, my air guitar sounds way better when wearing the Marshall Monitor.

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BlackBerry stumbles over April security fix

by Volker Weber

DTEK50 came again first with the April 5 fix and then there was radio silence. Now we learned that BlackBerry had difficulties integrating all the individual patches. But they are handling it differently from the DTEK50 delay in December/January. This time they released the (partial) April 1 fix to PRIV (and DTEK60?). It only weights in at about 20 MB taking the build to AAK689. I wonder how fast they can recover for the May patch which is due in two weeks.

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.

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