KEY2 :: What makes a proper BlackBerry?

by Volker Weber

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What makes a BlackBerry a BlackBerry? I think the most defining property is the keyboard. The second defining property is software and security. But although there are three generations of software on these nine phones, they are all proper BlackBerrys. Let's zoom out for a moment:

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Yes, these are a lot of phones. And it's not even the complete collection. The first one on the left is the legendary BlackBerry Bold. It defined the category of the executive messaging phone. The last one on the right is the latest KEY2, and I will look at it in a couple of posts.

First row, third phone is the Bold 9900. People loved this thing, even when iPhones had taken over. BlackBerry made some attempts with touch devices, but none of them succeeded. They were buggy and late. The slider in the third row was an honest effort to deliver a larger screen, but it was top heavy and I found it inferior to the Bold 9900. So did everybody else. Why did people love love love the Bold 9900?

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It was the keyboard.It's hard to see but the keys are ever so slightly sculpted and you could write on this thing without looking. To this day I know how to write an @-sign. Hold down the alt key and hit the p. It's pure muscle memory.

Unfortunately, the software was completely outdated. Those weren't really smartphones and it was really hard to write software for different formfactors. So BlackBerry set out to build a new operating system, that was extremely well done, but failed to find customers. For many reasons, one of them being, that they started with a keyboardless Z10 and and only followed up with the keyboard Q10. Those are in the fourth column. The sixth phone in the first row is the Passport, which I still consider one of the best phones ever made.

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The seventh one is the Classic, where BlackBerry tried to recreate the Bold 9900, only with BB10, down to the trackpad that was missing on previous BB10 devices. It addressed the muscle memories of people still holding on to their Bold 9900. BB10 failed for many reasons. You had to set up new infrastructure (BES 10) and it had a huge app gap. You just could not get as many apps like on iOS or Android.

For that reason, BlackBerry switched to Android and launched the quite expensive PRIV and chose to build a slider, the least popular form factor for a BlackBerry. Sales of the PRIV were disappointing and BlackBerry started to get out of the handset business. TCL took two of their reference designs and the Android distribution made for the PRIV and manufactured the DTEK50 and DTEK60 for BlackBerry. Since this collaboration worked out OK, BlackBerry had an escape route to get out of the handset business. DTEK50 was moderately successful, despite having not keyboard. DTEK60 was not.

Now TCL set out to make proper BlackBerry phones with a keyboard. The licensed the name, set up shop as BlackBerry Mobile and launched the KEYone, to be followed up by the keyboardless Motion. Again the KEYone was more attractive to BlackBerry buyes and TLC started to build a successor..

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They KEYone got it almost right, but the design was a bit too flashy, it had medioce hardware (SD625, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB storage) and the keyboard was too small. Enter the KEY2, which doubles both RAM and storage (there is an option to go to 128 GB storage) and upgraded the chipset to SD660. Most importantly however, they improved the keyboard with talled keys that are easier to hit. And while my muscle memory still works perfectly, they also added a new key, pictured here next to the sym key. It's a shortcut key which allows for two sets of 26 speed keys to launch apps or functions. Hold down this key and then either short or long press on one of the 26 letter keys.

And what about the software? KEY2 ships with Android 8.1 on the May security update. That is already one month down, as are the KEYone and the Motion. Those two should get an upgrade to 8.1 soon, either in July or August. I believe that development ressources are stretched out already. Only the PRIV has dropped out of support and nobody talks about upgrading DTEK50 and DTEK60 from Android 6. Even though TCL built them, these are not their phones.

It would probably be easier to recommend the KEY2 if it ran on AndroidOne. But that does not seem to be inline with customer demand from enterprise client. They want the extra layer of security BlackBerry adds as well as their enterprise ready apps.

What makes a BlackBerry a proper BlackBerry? The keyboard. You know when you want one. It's that old muscle memory.

Notes/Domino: Neues Leben für die Kollaborationsplattform

by Volker Weber

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Domino ist eines der ältesten Softwareprodukte: als Lotus Notes geboren, immer wieder für tot erklärt. HCL will für eine dringend nötige Auffrischung sorgen.

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Besonderes elektronisches Anwaltspostfach: beA-Abschlussgutachten - und viele offene Fragen

by Volker Weber

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Die Bundesrechtanwaltskammer beweist Transparenz und veröffentlicht das Sicherheitsgutachten zum beA. Darin finden sich allerdings erhebliche Einwände.

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Lindt :: Oh yeah

by Volker Weber


Vielen Dank für den netten Besuch bei DNUGcomes2me. Ich hatte sehr viel Spaß und habe noch ein paar gute Eindrücke sammeln können. Vielen Dank an Andrew für das schweizer Qualitätsprodukt. Ich habe es schon beschädigt.



by Volker Weber

Richard Jefts, HCL

I am just coming back from a long talk with Richard Jefts, Jason Gary, Andrew Manby and Uffe Sorensen. And what a talk it was. I cannot remember any conversation in the IBM collaboration space that was this honest and open. Zero b/s bingo with workplace of the future, cognitive computing, social business and whatnot. These guys know what they are doing, they know their challenges, they have a plan and they are executing on that plan, while trying to be as transparent as they dare.

I am impressed and I look forward to future discussions.

Who is who? Richard Jefts is the General Manager & Vice President Collaborative Workflow Platforms at HCL. He was previously at IBM, Cisco, Colt, Avid, and Oak. Not a career IBMer but an experienced manager who has been hired by HCL to run this business. Jason Gary is the CTO for this business and I see him as a wild duck who is not afraid to break some glass to move forward. Jason has a long developer history within IBM and he knows both the product from the inside as well as newer technologies that would be benefitial to the product. I met Andrew Manby for the first time and he is currently the Offering Manager at IBM for the Notes/Domino family. Last but not least, Uffe Sorensen, originally from Denmark is responsible for Wordwide Sales. Uffe has been with IBM for 48 years and I seem to have known him forever. Uffe reached out to me and set up this meeting, for which I am very thankful.

What's the plan?

Pay close attention to what HCL is saying. It's all out there. For the next release, there are some things being integrated into the on-premises version that IBM built for the cloud platform. Make it more robust, make it faster, add new interfaces. Then there is some candy like the iPad client that was actually being kicked around for a while but not made into a product. Then start opening up the platform for new ways to develop apps. That is where all the talk about low code is coming from. This needs to be demonstrated much better.

Domino will run in a docker container, so you can deploy it on premises, in your own private cloud or in a public cloud. Next step: componetize Domino into smaller containers so you can run or replace certain tasks. Open source some of this or use open source that is already out there.

And the final goal is to go back to the future. Remember how Notes used to enable line of business people to write "simple forms and views" apps? And then Domino Designer got weighed down until it was this unusable, slow and heavy p/o/s that all developers love to hate. You need much simpler tools to let business users automate.

This is a high risk business. HCL needs to build new trust in the future of the platform. They need to stop the revenue decline. They need to find new customers. Here is how to see them reach the turning point: people start building new applications. These guys are determined to win. Or die trying. I like that.

So why is this "DNUGcomes2me"? I set up camp today at Remember, this is my home turf. It's much nicer than the DNUG venue and a short ten minute walk. I will do this again tomorrow. See me from 15:00 hours. I won't be at DNUG, but some of you will meet up with me. I am very interested in your opinion on this story.

cafe am woog

Suggestion: walk up the hill on the red route to Mathildenhöhe. The walkway is on the right side of Darmstadtium. You will cross two small streets. Continue on the left of the big brownstone building. Take a walk around the area when you are at the Russian Chapel. Then walk south from there, down the hill. It's basically a right turn in front of the Russian chapel. As you hit the Jugendherberge, follow the walkway at the Woog lake. This leads you to my basecamp.

If you are in a hurry, take the blue route. But you will miss Mathildenhöhe. Which you should not.

#dnug45 im darmstadtium

by Volker Weber

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Ab morgen gastiert die DNUG für zwei Tage im darmstadtium. Da ich in Darmstadt wohne, aber kein Gast der #dnug45 bin, treffe ich mich heute bereits konspirativ mit Mitarbeitern von IBM und HCL. Morgen wird es sehr sommerlich werden. Wer sich gerne mit mir treffen will, wird Frau Brandlinger und mich an einem kühlen Plätzchen außerhalb der Veranstaltung finden. Mail oder SMS/iMessage/Signal funktionieren.

Elgato Eve Flare :: Erste Eindrücke

by Volker Weber


Eve Flare ist eine portable LED-Leuchte mit HomeKit-Unterstützung. Sie ist etwa so groß wie ein Basketball. nach IP65 gegen Wasser und Staub geschützt und wird von einem Akku mit Strom versorgt. Auf der Unterseite lässt sich auch ohne HomeKit die Farbe wechseln und das Licht ein- und ausschalten. Mittels eines Drahtbügels lässt sie sich auch wie ein Lampion aufhängen. Mit der Leuchte werden eine (nicht wassergeschützte) Basis und ein Netzteil geliefert. Die Stromverbindung zwischen Basis und Leuchte kommt über zwei Federkontakte in der Basis zustande, die auf zwei ringförmige Kontakte in der Leuchte greifen, unabhängig von der Richtung, in der man die Leucht aufsetzt.

Man kann diese Leuchte also im Innenraum betreiben und dabei gleichzeitig laden und bei Bedarf mit nach draußen nehmen. Dort wird sie problemlos einen Regenschauer überstehen. Bei einem Gewitter sollte man sie allerdings lieber reinholen. Die nur etwa 800 Gramm schwere Kugel wird zu leicht vom Sturm verweht. Dauerhaft kann man sie ohnehin nicht draußen betreiben, weil die Stromversorgung dafür nicht geeinet ist.


Die Eve Flare lässt sich gewohnt einfach in HomeKit integrieren. Man muss lediglich den Code scannen. Die Verbindung zwischen Flare und Apple TV, Homepod oder iPad als Steuerzentrale geschieht über Bluetooth Low Energy. So kann man sie in Routinen und Szenen von Homekit einbinden. Die Reichweite dieser Verbindung schränkt etwas die Nützlichkeit ein, ist aber dem Akkubetrieb angemessen. Bei mir ist das kein Problem, da die Flare direkt über dem Apple TV steht. Man kann sie aber nicht einfach im ganzen Haus verteilen wie etwa die Philips Hue Lampen. Flare taugt mit ihren 90 Lumen außerdem nicht als Beleuchtung sondern erzeugt nur ein schwaches Stimmungslicht.

Flare kommt in einer Woche am 25.6. in den Handel. Sie lässt sich bereits jetzt vorbestellen.

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HomePod kaufen?

by Volker Weber

HomePod Music-Control 06152018

Ab heute kann man in Deutschland den Apple HomePod für 349 Euro kaufen. Sollte man das tun?

Was ich gut finde:

Was ich schlecht finde:

Was besser werden kann:

Das sind alles nur Gedanken ohne praktische Erfahrung. Ich habe keine HomePods und die wären hier auch in schwieriger Umgebung. Playbase + Sub + 2 Play:3, Playbar + Sub oder 2 x Play:5 + Sub, dazu ein Zoo einzelner Sonos-Lautsprecher, verbunden mit einem halben Dutzend Musikdiensten und Alexa, dagegen ist schwer anzustinken.

Interessieren würde mich schon, wie sich das einsoriert. Meine Erwartung ist, dass ein HomePod mit einem Sonos ONE gut mithalten kann, aber sich einem Paar davon geschlagen geben muss. Zwei HomePods gegen einen Play:5 sind wohl auch ein fairer Wettbewerb, aber zwei Play:5? Bei Sub oder Surround sind wir auf einem anderen Niveau. Auch preislich. Da ist der HomePod geradezu preiswert.

Neues Ziel: 100k #dontbreakthechain

by Volker Weber

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Ich muss wieder mehr laufen, damit mein Knie nicht wackelig wird. Radfahren zählt nicht. Deshalb habe ich mir ein neues Ziel gesetzt: Erst einmal 100.000 Schritte, dann 100 km. Seit zwei Wochen laufe ich morgens kurz nach sieben los. 14 Tage bisher mit mehr als 10 km am Tag.

We are all trapped in the 'Feed' :: Om Malik

by Volker Weber

No matter where I go on the Internet, I feel like I am trapped in the “feed,” held down by algorithms that are like axes trying to make bespoke shirts out of silk. And no one illustrates it better than Facebook and Twitter, two more services that should know better, but they don’t. Fake news, unintelligent information and radically dumb statements are getting more attention than what matters. The likes, retweets, re-posts are nothing more than steroids for noise. Even when you are sarcastic in your retweets or re-shares, the system has the understanding of a one-year-old monkey baby: it is a vote on popularity.

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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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