The Neighbor’s Window :: Oscar Winning Short Film

by Volker Weber

THE NEIGHBORS’ WINDOW (written & directed by four-time Oscar-nominated filmmaker Marshall Curry) tells the story of Alli (Maria Dizzia), a mother of young children who has grown frustrated with her daily routine and husband (Greg Keller). But her life is shaken up when two free-spirited twenty-somethings move in across the street and she discovers that she can see into their apartment.

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HCL starts Domino Volt beta

by Volker Weber

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We are excited to announce the HCL Domino Volt Beta Program! ... With Domino v11, HCL Domino Volt provides new low-code, app-building capabilities that empower IT teams and business users to create web-based situational apps and workflows in minutes. You can now build apps 60-70% faster! And because it runs on Domino, you get all the benefits of the proven, secure platform underneath.

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I am not ready for a foldable phone

by Volker Weber

Consensus around reviewers is that the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is vastly superior to the Motorola Razr. I am not so sure about that. But in any case, these devices are too delicate for me.

Did you notice the other news last week? A Motorola G8 Power with 5000 mAh battery for 229 €, available in March? I bet you did not. This phone solves real world problem, not those created by marketing.

Tools and Weapons #nowreading

by Volker Weber

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Microsoft Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith und die Autorin Carol Ann Browne, Tools and Weapons, The Promise and The Perils of the Digital Age. Jetzt auch in deutscher Übersetzung von Norbert Juraschitz und Anja Lerz.

You are famous on Botnet

by Volker Weber

Botnet is a social network simulator where you're the only human along with a million bots who are obsessed with you.

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Surface Pro X :: We might be ready to switch to ARM

by Volker Weber

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I have been using Surface Pro X for a few days now, and I enjoy it quite a lot. Excellent battery life, absolutely quiet, and never slow. We might be ready to transition business notebooks to ARM.

So I ran a couple of Geekbench CPU tests and the results show why I like Surface Pro X. It feels about as fast as my other Windows machines. I only notice a couple of apps missing from the store.

Newer notebooks with 10th gen Core CPUs have four digit single core and higher multi core results, but for my kind of work that does not make much of a difference. It's also quite impressive how fast Apple silicon is. I am waiting for Apple to make notebooks with this architecture.

You may secretly be a Bing user

by Volker Weber

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Man stelle sich vor, es ist MWC, und keiner geht hin

by Volker Weber

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Eine Nachricht jagt die andere. LG kommt nicht, ZTE auch nicht. Doch, ZTE doch. Und Ericsson nicht, und Nvidia, dann Amazon, jetzt Sony.

Sagt den MWC 2020 doch einfach ganz ab. Ich kann mir schon vorstellen, dass die Huawei-Truppe gerne außer Landes reist, aber viele andere haben schlicht Angst. „Warum schützen die ihre Mitarbeiter und wir nicht?“, wird man sich in vielen Unternehmen fragen. Ich stelle mir so eine Massenveranstaltung gespenstisch vor, wenn jeder andere Menschen zu meiden sucht und abends schnell im Hotelzimmer verschwindet.

MWC besteht eigentlich aus mindestens drei Veranstaltungen: der Handyweltmeisterschaft, den Keynotes und den Geschäften der Carrier. Die ersten beiden könnte man auf Youtube durchführen und das Carriergeschäft ist der eigentliche Kern des MWC.

Diese Simulationen von Steve-Jobs-Keynotes finde ich mittlerweile gähnend langweilig. The Verge und Engadget haben das erkannt und publizieren 5-Minuten-Supercuts.

Surface Pro X vs Surface Pro 7 vs iPad Pro vs iPad

by Volker Weber

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If you need a 2-in-1 tablet with keyboard and pen for work, these are your most obvious choices. I can work with any of them, but let's look at what makes them different:

Multitasking on iPad is dysmal. Everybody seems to be piling on that these days. So is file handling and moving things about from app to app. This is where Windows makes so much more sense. But if you can work on iPad, you will love it, and you can go really cheap on an iPad Air with Apple Pencil and Apple Smart Keyboard Cover. Only if you need the large screen you should need an iPad Pro 12.9.

Surface Pro 7 is generally more expensive and the Surface Pro X easily plays in the same price range as the iPad Pro, but prices are coming down already. So is the price for the keyboard/pen bundle. If you want to use one for yourself, it should be a safe bet. But if you want to deploy it widely, you will have to do an application readyness assessment. Your preferred VPN might not work, or you have an app that users absolutely need to have. In that case, having a Surface Pro 7 as a fallback solutions might help you. Unfortunately Microsoft does not have a current LTE version and I would not recommend buying into a 2017 hardware platform.

How fast is the Surface Pro X :: Just one data point

by Volker Weber

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I have contradicting reviews of how fast or slow a Surface Pro X is, so I wanted to run a benchmark. To me it felt about the same as my 4th gen ThinkPad X1 Yoga. I use Chredge 80 on both and the benchmark do show very similar results.

Then I tried the same benchmark with Firefox 73, and once again, they look nearly identical. But then I tried the same with Chrome, and holy moly, Chrome sucks big time on the Surface Pro X. And why does it suck so badly? Because it is only compiled for Intel and runs in 32 bit emulation mode. When Google makes a better version, I will look again.

That might explain some of the things other reviewers said.

Surface Pro X :: Erste Eindrücke

by Volker Weber

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Seit gestern benutze ich ein Surface Pro X und ich bin noch in der Honeymoon-Phase. Deshalb sind meine Bemerkungen sicher etwas mit Vorsicht zu lesen.

Ich habe ja sehr viele Reviews vorher gelesen und bin sehr skeptisch daran gegangen. Dieter Bohn schrieb, das sei ein wunderbares Chromebook. Also habe ich mich dem Gerät genauso genähert: Chredge (Edge auf Chromium) installiert und darin dann eine ganze Reihe von Apps erzeugt: Apple Music, Gmail, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube. Die laufen jetzt mit eigenen Icons im Startmenü und der Taskbar, sind aber eigentlich alle nur Chredge-Fenster. Und das funktioniert alles auf dem selben Niveau wie beim ThinkPad X1 Yoga.

Zunächst hatte ich noch die Version 79 aus dem Dev Channel, aber schon wenige Stunden später kam für mich genau passend das Stable Release 80 mit Support für ARM64. Glück muss man haben und schön muss man sein.

Ich denke, das ist der Hauptfehler der meisten Reviewer gewesen: Erst mal alles installieren, was man "braucht". Und das beginnt dann bei vielen damit, bei Google das Chrome herunterzuladen, das dann als 32-bit-Anwendung emuliert wird.

64-bit-Programme können derzeit nicht emuliert werden und deshalb bin ich gestern über ein Programm gestolpert, das ich gerne installiert hätte: iA Writer läuft nicht auf dem Surface Pro X, weil es nur eine 64-bit-Version gibt, die für Intel kompiliert ist. Da werde ich sicher noch mehr antreffen.

Ich habe mir zunächst mal keine besonderen Gedanken gemacht, sondern habe einfach munter aus dem Microsoft Store zusammengesucht, was ich brauche: Ruff, Appy Text, NextGen Reader, Netflix, Telegram etc. OneNote und Word waren schon drauf. Ich bin schon beinahe vollständig und das Ding brummt.

Bisher habe ich nur zwei Nickeligkeiten: Die Taste am Surface Slim Pen funktioniert nicht, auch nicht nach entkoppeln und neu verbinden. Und dann habe ich manchmal auf volle Leistung aufgedrehte Lautstärke, wenn das Surface wach wird. Ich denke, beide werden sich noch geben.

Eine gute Überraschung hatte ich. Wenn ich meinen Samsung-Laserdrucker sonst bei Windows hinzufüge, dann muss ich immer erst einen Treiber herunterladen. Diesmal ging das völlig reibungslos und ich fand im Windows Store einen Eintrag Samsung Printer Experience.

Gestern habe ich den Akku nicht mehr leer bekommen. Aktuell sitze ich seit sieben Stunden dran und habe noch 41% im Akku. Das könnte eine Liebesgeschichte werden.

Bluestein Milanaise als Schnäppchen

by Volker Weber

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Ich bin dieses Jahr von einer Edelstahl-Watch auf ein schwarzes Modell gewechselt und da passen leider meine alten Stahlbänder nicht mehr perfekt. Nun habe ich mein erstes Armband, das nicht von Apple hergestellt wurde und habe das als echtes Schnäppchen erstanden. Bluestein verkauft gerade ein Milanaise-Band für 20 €, statt des Einstandspreises von 79 €.

Ich habe jetzt mal Bluestein und Apple nebeneinander gelegt und ich könnte sie nicht auseinander halten, wenn sie nicht unterschiedliche Farben hätten. Einwandfrei.

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Why are you still using PowerPoint? :: Geoffrey James

by Volker Weber

Geoffrey James for Inc.:

Everybody hates PowerPoint. Nobody, anywhere, anytime, has ever thought: "Hooray! He's starting his PowerPoint presentation!" That, in itself, doesn't necessarily mean that PowerPoint is useless. After all, dental drills are useful, but nobody has ever thought: "Hooray! He's starting his dental drill."

PowerPoint, however, is much less than a necessary evil. It's a tool that, even when used as intended, does not fulfill its primary purpose, which is to help you communicate more effectively with your audience.

I think you are using it for the same reason you are wearing a tie. You are just fitting in.

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PS: Look at this and find a way to communicate better.

Hintergrund: Wird BlackBerry noch einmal Smartphones herstellen?

by Volker Weber

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Die Abkündigung von TCL sieht nach einem endgültigen Ende aus. Aber das ist noch nicht ausgemacht.

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Here Are the Most Common Airbnb Scams Worldwide ::Vice

by Volker Weber

Anna Merlan for Vice:

Hoping to get a better sense of the issue, we asked readers to tell us about their own experiences using Airbnb. In response, we got nearly 1,000 emails, many of them outlining similar tales of deception.

The stories quickly started to fall into easily discernible categories. Scammers all over the world, it seems, have figured how best to game the Airbnb platform: by engaging in bait and switches; charging guests for fake damages; persuading people to pay outside the Airbnb app; and, when all else fails, engaging in clumsy or threatening demands for five-star reviews to hide the evidence of what they’ve done. (Or, in some cases, a combination of several of these scams)

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The Ten Most Common Security Problems That Startup Companies Fall Into

by Volker Weber

Mikko Hypponen, CRO F-Secure, for Maki.vc:

Today, all companies are software companies — and this definitely applies to startups, too. Practically every startup ends up writing code, even if technology isn’t the main focus of their company.

Here’s a ten-part checklist to help you and your hot new startup avoid the most common security pitfalls:

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Be careful with your #VanMoof Electrified S

by Volker Weber

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Last week I came across a broken Electrified S made by the dutch startup VanMoof. This is a rather simple ebike that gets lots of rave reviews from gadget sites. It's dragged by a front motor, the battery is in the down tube, the electronics are in the top tube. This is a design first construction with the lights at both ends of the top tube.

The particular bike had a very peculiar problem: no steering, but the handle bar was still attached to the bike and the wheel did not come off. So I removed the screw through the top of the stem, and it was unusually long. As soon as I removed this screw, the handle bar came right off with the top of the fork.

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What is interesting here is that the shaft of the fork broke inside the steering tube, and not below, where the largest forces occur. And it was immediately clear why this happened: the shaft was milled to make room for the wire that runs from the electronics down the shaft and through the fork to the front motor.

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That is the root of the problem because the shaft is made from an aluminium alloy and is usually polished with no holes whatsoever. Aluminium is very brittle and this fork developed a stress fracture from the vibrations it was subjected to. Components made from aluminium lose their fatigue strength if they are subject to a notch effect.

I posted on Twitter and VanMoof was quick to contact me, once they figured out my email address:

I hope you’re doing well. First of all, we’re really sorry to see what happened to your bike. This is a known issue which affects a specific batch of 2016 Electrified bikes. We designed and manufactured a new fork component which prevents this from happening, and contacted every rider of this model directly to assist them with the install.

Please know that we have updated our fork design for all bikes produced after 2016 to ensure this issue does not recur. We’re also happy to report that there have been no instances of front fork damage in 2016 Electrified bikes with the new fork component installed.

I asked VanMoof two additional questions. These are their anwers:

Q: Did you replace the fork in those 2016 bikes or are you referring to the long screw that runs through the middle of the assembly to the bottom of the steering tube?

A: We replaced any forks which were damaged. We also shipped/fitted in person a strengthening bolt that indeed runs through the steer tube. This provides extra rigidity and reduces vibrations. In the unlikely event that a fracture does still occur (we’ve had no reported cases), the bolt means the rider can still control the bike and stop safely.

Q: Can you tell me how the new fork looks like?

A: The front fork was completely redesigned for later Electrified models. The necessary holes for cables have been made smaller and moved to a different point on the stem to minimize potential stress. All of our bikes and components have been externally tested for safety and exceed industry standards. I’ve attached a photo of the new fork design.

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Photo VanMoof

I gather that VanMoof did not put new forks into the 2016 bikes that already shipped. Instead they advised owners to fit the long screw through the middle of the front assembly. I do not agree that this measure reduces vibrations but it does prevent the front wheel from coming off which would mean your face hits the ground about one second later. You still lose steering and the outcome depends on where you will find yourself when that happens.

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I am very confident that all of those forks will break with sufficient load cycles. If VanMoof has not heard of any, they simply are not old enough.

On a personal note, I am unlikely to buy any of their bikes. They do look nice in an effort to hide the battery and the motor. But the industry has more or less settled on the mid-motor design with a transmission and better components than VanMoof provides.

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TCL stops making BlackBerry smartphones

by Volker Weber

Lesson: If BlackBerry stops making BlackBerry phones, you shouldn't start doing it.

Handy am Bett oder nicht?

by Volker Weber

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Nach dem heutigen WuMo musste ich das mal fragen. Wie man sieht, sind etwa ein Drittel der Abstimmenden schlauer als ich.

Smarte Geräte von der China-Cloud befreien :: Felix Frank

by Volker Weber

Sehr ausführlicher Artikel von Felix Frank auf Caschys Blog:

Eines haben fast alle dieser WiFi-Geräte gemeinsam: Als Untersatz findet man in ihnen einen der günstigen ESP8266-Mikrocontroller. Etwas Weiteres hat eine große Schnittmenge dieser IoT-Geräte wiederum gemeinsam: Bei vielen von ihnen handelt es sich um eine White-Labelling-Lösung des chinesischen Anbieters Tuya. Dieser stellt neben Server-Infrastruktur für rund 10.000 „Hersteller“, die Möglichkeit für personalisierte Apps, sowie die Unterstützung von Alexa und Google Assistant (nicht zuletzt finden sich deshalb in den Skill-Übersichten einen Haufen an chinesischen Geräte-Anbindungen mit unterschiedlichen Namen).

Bedeutet so viel wie: Sämtliche Schaltbefehle, ob nun via App oder Sprachassistent dieser Geräte, gehen an chinesische Server und von dort wieder zurück, um die zahlreich vertretenen Geräte zu steuern.

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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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