Verdi: IBM will entlassene Mitarbeiter nach Protest wieder einstellen

by Volker Weber

In vielen Arbeitsrechtsverfahren zog IBM in erster Instanz den Kürzeren. Gegen etwa 150 erfolgreiche Kündigungsschutzklagen verzichtet das Unternehmen auf die Revision.

Wenn ich richtig rechne, hat IBM 'viele' (300?) Verfahren verloren und will bei 'viele' minus 150 (150?) noch mal. Der Rest kriegt gleich ein besseres Angebot oder wird wieder eingestellt. Sieht nach einem Problem in der Personalabteilung aus.

Die 300, die die Kündigung geschluckt haben, dürfen sich ärgern.

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IBM Connections Engagement Center V6.0 becomes available

by Volker Weber

At the end of May, IBM announced it had acquired an asset from Timetoact that was known as XCC and that it would become available as IBM Connections Engagement Center. This acquisition was driven by Ed Brill, Vice President Product Management and Design, IBM Collaboration Solutions, and Felix Binsack, founder and CEO of Timetoact Group. It probably helped that both have known and trusted each other for many years.

In less than two months IBM and Timetoact have completed the "bluewashing" of the asset. That means you have to touch every single line of code, vet the intellectual property, provide proper language support and turn a business partner product into an IBM product. Here is the annoucement letter, availability is in two days.

If you read the announcement letter, it may not become perfectly clear what the product does. But it's quite simple. Engagement Center augments the collaborate applications from Connections with additional modules you would find in an intranet. It completes the experience, and I believe it's a must-have for a successful Connections portal. Employees will find everything in one place.

Engagement Center is priced between 28 and 35 € per user, if you acquire a license for on premises installation. For enterprise customers, IBM likes to provide special bids.

Moto Z2 Force announced

by Volker Weber

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What makes the Moto Z2 Force so interesting is a 5.5-inch Quad HD POLED display with ShatterShield, which is a layer of shatter resistant coating on top. It makes the display more prone to scratches but it is highly unlikely you ever damage the display by dropping your phone. The Z2 is ridiculously thin and built from reinforced 7000 series aluminum for added rigidity.

On the back of the phone is a new dual camera system witout optical image stabilisation, consisting of two 12 megapixel f2.0 cameras. One captures full color and the other is monochrome. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset brings signal processing to the table that will combine both sensors for color photos with a shallow depth of field. You can also shoot monochrome images with the second sensor only.

The Z2 Force is a flagship smartphone, given its chipset and cameras, and comes with gigabit LTE, dual band Wi-Fi 802.11ac with MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2 with 5.0 support coming with Android O update. It has water repellant nano coating, a USB-C port for data and audio, but no headphone jack. Battery capacity is 2730mAh and thus 10% less than the Z2 Play. It should charge reasonably fast with its 15 W charger. The battery capacity and wireless charging can be upgraded via Moto Mods.

Pricing and availability hasn't been announced for Europe. While the US version comes with 4 GB of RAM, the EU version is rumored to have 6 GB. Internal storage of 64 GB can be expanded via MicroSD.

IBM Connections Mobile 6.0 now available for iOS and Android

by Volker Weber

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The IBM Connections Mobile app now provides a new tabbed navigation which allows users to easily switch between the different Connections services. The navigation is customizable allowing individuals to determine which of the services they want displayed in the navigation menu. Also available in this release is the new updates view, allowing users to quickly see the most recent updates in the network.

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Stuff that works :: Marshall Monitor Bluetooth

by Volker Weber

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The AirPods are my favorite earbuds. And the Marshall Monitor is my favorite over-the-ear headset. It fits my large head and my ears, it plays well with my very own set of music, and the battery seems to last forever. No active noise cancellation but excellent passive isolation, a single brass knob to control everything. Not to forget that is goes to eleven.

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Update for Ralph: yes, it shows its battery level both in the header and the widget. More importantly, volume is coordinated. It does not matter if you adjust it via the brass knob, the iPhone volume rocker or the Apple Watch. Be careful here. I hardly ever have this headset over 50 percent volume.

Wishlist for #Sonos :: The results

by Volker Weber

Sketch

Thank you for your votes on this poll. A few comments:

The strong vote for AirPlay is even more significant if you take into account that only Apple users will benefit from this. Android users couldn't care less. I deduct that almost all Apple users want AirPlay support. We know that Sonos is working on Alexa integration as announced last year in New York, but we don't know about the other options.

I also got a lot of other suggestions as replies to this poll. Here is a short list: battery-powered PLAY:1, Apple Watch and Siri integration, a kids' mode for the app, a touch-friendly Windows 10 app, support for IPv6, Audible, Bluetooth, SMBv2/v3, 24/96, and TV remotes, list albums by year, HDMI switch in/out on Playbar/Playbase.

I think the strong vote for AirPlay and Alexa means that people are OK with their current remotes but want additional alternative options. I am using Sonos mostly via Spotify Connect these days. And the biggest item I have isn't even on the list. I want to be able to direct any sound, from a Windows PC, a Mac, an Android or an iPhone to a Sonos speaker. And I want the choices to be presented to be smart. There are many ways to detect a speaker near me.

Bad streaming and good streaming

by Volker Weber

Sketch

When Apple started AirPlay, it would stream everything three times across the network. From your library or music service through your access point to the app on your device, then back to the access point, then to your speaker. When you stream to a Bluetooth connected speaker, you are also streaming everything to your app and then via Bluetooth to the speaker. That's bad streaming.

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What Spotify Connect does is good streaming. You start streaming to your app, but then you tell it to cast to your speaker instead. A Spotify Connect enabled speaker knows how to pull your music from the service, without going through your phone. There are plenty of Spotify Connect certified speakers and amps on the market, and Sonos only entered this game in 2017. The downside of Spotify Connect is that it only works with Spotify, not with anything else. If you want to switch to Apple Music, you are locked in.

Sonos is agnostic to streaming services. When you add them to your household, they will all use good streaming. Your controller tells your players what to pull from where, and the music traverses your network only once. If you stream to multiple rooms, the music is pulled from the service only once and then distributed inside your local network from Sonos speaker to Sonos speaker. You will also notice that you can play multiple different streams from Spotify and it only counts as one user. The downside is that you have to use the Sonos controller plugin to select your music and fill your queue. That plugin is often less capable than the native app.

How do you know you are using good streaming? Take your device off the network by going into flight mode. If the music stops, you are using bad streaming. Sonos calls this the beer test. Can you leave the party to get more beer without the music stopping?

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Spotify is not the only service that can cast to your Sonos speaker directly from the native app using good streaming. On Android you can also use Google Play Music and then cast to your Sonos speaker, at which point it will pull directly from Google without going through your device. If you try the same on iOS, you will find that Google Play Music has no mechanism to cast to Sonos.

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What is badly missing is a way to tell Apple Music to play to Sonos from its native app. That is going to become very obvious when Apple HomePod ships. iOS users are likely to be Apple Music subscribers and Sonos speakers will be at a terrible disadvantage. If a customer buys a HomePod instead of a PLAY:1 he is unlikely to buy a PLAY:5 or other Sonos speakers later. And if an existing Sonos customer with Apple Music buys a HomePod, he may be using his Sonos speakers a lot less.

When AirPlay launched you needed to buy a piece of silicon from Apple to enable your speaker to receivce the encrypted stream. That is no longer the case and you can build an AirPlay-compatible device in software. I always thought that Apple was hard to work with but I have learned they are actually pushing vendors to support their architecture.

Now would be a good time for Sonos customers to convince their vendor to support AirPlay.

Sonos, please update your ancient network stack

by Volker Weber

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We love that Sonos keeps its old gear updated and functional. That is pretty much unheard of in this industry. However, there is one big omission. You really need to work on your network stack. Two problems:

  1. Every recent piece of malware used SMBv1 as its attack vector. If you disable it Sonos is unable to find its music libary anymore. No support for SMBv2 or SMBv3. This needs to be fixed ASAP.
  2. Your STP implementation is ancient. If you add Sonos to a network with smart components that use STP (spanning tree protocol) it messes up the network. Yes, you can fix the path costs everywhere else, but why don't you just fix it in your own stack? This discussion is already seven years old.

If you like to discuss this, you know where to find me.

IBM Dumps Remote Work, Blows Off Its Productivity Kneecap

by Volker Weber

With a focus on US policy:

IBM has destroyed a remote work policy that brought them provable gains, because a fashion exec says it’ll save the entire company. The IBM decision-makers are either voluntarily ignorant, or they think they’re above the market.

20 straight quarters of declining revenue says they are wrong.

Make that 21.

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Listen to podcasts on Sonos

by Volker Weber

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Today we’re excited to announce that Pocket Casts support for Sonos has gone into Beta! Judging by the amount of tweets and emails we’ve had over the years this is one of your most requested features and we’re excited to finally share it with you.

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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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