Story of Life

by Volker Weber

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Best app I have seen in a while. Sir David Attenborough's Story of Life.

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The January BlackBerry Android cycle completed

by Volker Weber

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Two updates today for PRIV and DTEK50. The DTEK60 already installed on the 4th of January, one day ahead of the Jan 5 release date. Now we have:

The DTEK50 update came faster than expected. It is indeed catching up. The next cycle will start in two weeks.

Please report your BlackBerry Android security updates here >

Your next smartphone

by Volker Weber

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I remember a car journalist who told me that he always recommends the car people are determined to buy. He often gets asked what the perfect car would be, and his answer in most cases would be a Mercedes B-Class. But then he would get yelled at, because people want their SUV, sports limousine, convertible, but not a B-Class. So he asks them what they like and then tells them that's a great choice.

As you can imagine, I also get asked this question about smartphones. And my answer is simple: buy an iPhone.

And I am not budging. Look at these 2014 phones in the photo above. Only one of them still gets its updates in 2017, and most likely in 2018 as well. Features and fixes. It gets it on the day the software is released to all the new devices. You can hold on to the other two for dear life, but their software is fading.

The iPhone was the smart buy, and it continues to be.

Google veröffentlicht Riesen-Patch-Paket für Android

by Volker Weber

Google veröffentlicht diese Patch-Pakete monatlich, und mehr als 50 Lücken sind da durchaus üblich. Die aktuellen 94 markieren jedoch einen traurigen Höhepunkt, der etwa Sicherheitsforscher wie Matthew Green zu verzweifeltem Aufstöhnen veranlasst: 'Wie wird ein Betriebssystem, das (größtenteils) in einer 'sicheren' Programmiersprache geschrieben wurde, solch ein brennender Reifenstapel?' klagt er auf Twitter.

Kurzes Update zu BlackBerry:

- PRIV: verfügbar seit 4.1., aber hier noch nicht angekommen
- DTEK50: in Beta, nicht ausgerollt
- DTEK60: verfügbar seit 4.1., an diesem Tag angekommen

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Using your AirPods with Windows

by Volker Weber

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Daniel asks if you can use your AirPods with your iThings and your Windows PC at the same time. Yes, you can. Strictly not at the same time, but they do work. You place them in the carrying case (did I mention you always put them in the carrying case?) and hold the button on the back of the case for seven seconds. Now they are discoverable and you can pair them from Windows. Your iThings will not forget your AirPods and you can pull them over.

However, if you take out an AirPod while connected to Windows, it may not continue to play when you put it back in your ear. I had to put them back in the carrying case (did I mention ...) and then open the case to make them connect again. So, it does kinda work. But I am not sure I like it. Apple would say you should buy more mThings instead of Windows PCs. :-)

Controlling your music from your Apple Watch

by Volker Weber

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Mathias said, he cannot control Google Play Music from the Apple Watch. It took me a while to understand he was confusing two ways you can control music from your Apple Watch. There is Music and there is Now Playing, as seen in the Apple Watch app on iPhone:

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Now Playing shows the same thing as your lock screen or your control center. It is the app that is currently playing from the iPhone, or your Sonos controller, if you use that.

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It will only let you control the volume, play/pause and track forward and backwards. It works with whatever is currently the app controlling your music, whether that is Music itself, Spotify, Google Play Music or the Sonos controller. In that respect it is very versatile.

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Music however is more powerful. It can play tracks you synced to the watch, it lets you select what you want to play and it has access to content in Apple Music. Since I do not subscribe to Apple Music, I never use the Music app on Apple Watch. I just put it into the Dock settings shown in the first screenshot up there for illustration.

Make sure you only have the Now Playing glance in your dock and you will not be confused. You can control whatever your iPhone is playing or controlling from this glance. What is the dock, you say? It shows up when you press the long button on the Apple Watch.

Your questions about the AirPods

by Volker Weber

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You had a couple of questions about AirPods control. Let me try to answer them by talking more about them in general.

Your AirPods are three, not two things. Two earbuds, one case. Think of them as one. When you take the earbuds out of the case, they switch on, put them back, they switch off. There is no on/off switch. When you put them in the case, they charge very quickly. As long as there is juice in the battery of the case, it will fill them up. That is what the metal rings at the tip of the earbud are for. The stem also contains the antennas.

Wireless range is pretty good. I can walk around the room and move to the next room without losing connection. It has to be, because it is actually harder to connect when your body is close and might block the direct line of sight between the AirPods and the iPhone.

AirPods use Bluetooth, and as such they can be paired with any device. Just press and hold the button on the back of the case and they become discoverable. However, they only shine when you stay in the Apple universe. If you're signed in to iCloud, your AirPods are set up automatically with any of your supported devices that are signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID. If your iThing is on iOS 10 and your mThing is on macOS Sierra, you can select to connect with the AirPods. That is how you transfer between your iPhone and iPad. Open the Control Center by swiping from the bottom, then go to the second page, and there are your AirPods. That functionality is built into iOS 10 and macOS Sierra.

And no, they will not fall out of your ear. Unlike the EarPods that have a wire which will yank them out. You have to appreciate the design. They just want to stay in and unless you grab one by the tip, it won't come out. Having said that, they are very slippery and might as well be coated with Teflon. That is why they are also not easily removed from the case. It just takes a bit of adjustment until your fingers learn how to best grab them.

That means you will not lose the AirPods when wearing or carrying them in the case. Inbetween however you will drop them. Repeat: you will drop them. Make sure that happens when you can reach them. And also remember that you need the case to switch them off. Don't just put them somewhere. They have to go back into the case. Did I mention you should always keep your AirPods in their carrying case?

And no, you don't need an Apple Watch to control them. You want one. If you don't have an Apple Watch, all the same controls are on the iPhone lock screen. And you can adjust the volume with the iPhone volume buttons without ever looking.

This is your AirPod control

by Volker Weber

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AirPods don't have any physical controls. You can double tap them for calling up Siri. Or you can set this double tap to Play/Pause. One way or the other it looks kind of silly to tap on your ear. But how do you control the volume or skip a track? Simple: use your Apple Watch. The Now Playing glance lets you control the iPhone. And with that your AirPods.

Most of the time, you don't need these controls, because the AirPods are pretty smart. They know when they are in your ear. Take one out, when the flight attendant asks you what you like to drink and the music stops. Put it back in and the music continues. How do they sound? Pretty similar to the wired earbuds, with a bit more heft. Outbound noise cancellation during phone calls works very well, inboud there is none. And since they don't seal your ears, they are pretty useless when you need to isolate yourself from crying babies or office noise. During a flight, you have to crank them up all the way, which isn't good for your ears.

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The AirPods will not fall out of your ears and I tried them in ears of all sizes. But you may drop them when you take them out of the case. They are safe inside the case and your ear, but not anywhere inbetween. I suggest you use a very strict protocol of moving them swiftly between those two places. The case is a wonderful example of Apple engineering. Everything snaps in place, the AirPods and the lid are held with very gentle magnets. Your iPhone will tell you how much juice there is in the AirPods and the case. They charge faster than they run down the battery. 15 minutes charging equals 3 hours of playing music.

This is a great product. Editor-refuses-to-give-it-back award.

Yolocaust

by Volker Weber

Yolocaust is a project by Israeli satirist and author Shahak Shapira that explores our commemorative culture by combining selfies from the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin with footage from Nazi extermination camps. The selfies were found on Facebook, Instagram, Tinder and Grinder. Comments, hashtags and "Likes" that were posted with the selfies are also included.

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How to make Microsoft Word look like iA Writer

by Volker Weber

WordWriter

Sadly there is no iA Writer for Windows. So I have to fake it.

One of the reasons iA Writer is so good for authoring text is great readability. You are able to see your typos because every character is very distinct. But Nitti, the font that iA Writer uses, also make it very easy to read quickly. It's not as rough as something like Courier. I referred to this five your old post to first find the font, and then a free font that looks remarkably similar.

If you set your document in Cousine 11 on A4, 1.5 line spacing and reduce the contrast by setting the font color to 75% black, you have a similar visual experience to iA Writer. It's not as simple to use but I can live with it.

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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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