March 2005

What's in your bag

by Volker Weber

From one of my favorite Flickr streams: Don't want to get stuck behind this guy at airport security.

vowe.net

Wordpress Website's Search Engine Spam

by Volker Weber

This could turn into a nightmare:

Wordpress is a very popular open-source blogging software package, with a great official website maintained by Matt Mullenweg, its founding developer. I discovered last week that since early February, he's been quietly hosting at least 120,000 168,000 articles on their website. These articles are designed specifically to game the Google Adwords program, written by a third-party about high-cost advertising keywords like asbestos, mesothelioma, insurance, debt consolidation, diabetes, and mortgages. (Update: Google is actively removing every article from their results, but here's a saved copy of the first page of results. You can still view about 25,000 results on Yahoo. Or try this search tool, which searches multiple Google datacenters.)

Why Wordpress? The Wordpress homepage has a very high Google Pagerank of 8/10, largely because every Wordpress-powered blog links to the Wordpress homepage by default. The high pagerank affects their ranking in Google search results, making context-sensitive Google ads very profitable. This, in turn, makes Wordpress very attractive to advertisers.

More >

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Alles ein Euro

by Volker Weber

Radio-Spot, Unternehmens-Broschüre (40 Seiten max.), Webseite (80 Seiten max.), CDROM-Produktion, Umfassende Mailing-Kampagne

More >

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Eclipse as a CMS frontend

by Volker Weber

Wolfgang Schmidetzki, CEO and founder of Innovation Gate, gives his views on what makes or breaks the success of a CMS system. He should know, since Innovation Gate is the maker of WebGate Anywhere, a CMS that runs on top of a Java application server, with the backend provided by Domino or any SQL RDBMS. One of the difficulties is providing a user interface that can be used by the casual user as well as the power user. While most CMS utilize a browser interface that is lacking in terms of features and functions for the power user, IT organizations generally do not like to roll out client software for a CMS. WebGate originated on the Notes platform, so that was not so much of an issue before moving into the Java space. Now Wolfgang is giving us a glimpse of what he is up to:

This is a preview of things to come. Wolfgang is using Eclipse as the application framework for the content management application. Eclipse provides all the widgets he is missing in a web browser, and it is relatively easy to maintain. Of course this would be a very good fit for Workplace, and it probably could be turned into a Workplace application but then he would need an IBM server to maintain the client.

More >

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vowe ante portas

by Volker Weber

Wir reisen nach Hamburg. Ankunft 23.4. gegen 14:00, Abreise fünf Tage später nach 16:00. Ich war schon lange nicht mehr in der Stadt, jedenfalls nicht länger als 24 Stunden. Am 26. bin ich beschäftigt und am 25. will ich einen Geburtstag feiern. Wir freuen uns über Vorschläge, wie man in Hamburg eine schöne Zeit haben kann.

vowe.net

ihkd.de launches

by Volker Weber

www.ihkd.de.jpg

This is the second site I built with Textpattern. Although Textpattern is a weblog publishing platform, I am using it as a general purpose CMS for a simple reason: The CMS interface is very straightforward and can be used after just two hours of instruction. Textpattern is published under the GPL and thus can be used to build sites on a very low budget. I would not want to build anything with an extensive navigation or with lots of functionality but as a straight and simple CMS I like it a lot. The only gripe I have is that the developers of Textpattern seem to be unable to publish timelines and stick to them.

I may have a few bugs in the CSS, so I would be happy if you could test drive the site in a variety of browsers and report if it is looks different than the picture above. I have had reports that the logo drops to the bottom of the left column but have been unable to reproduce this behaviour.

Be gentle on the authors. The content is not yet where it should be when the site is finished. They are artists and not web publishers and these are their first steps on the Internet.

More >

Update: Pascal writes, that the logo (the left margin) drops when the window is resized in Internet Explorer 5.5.

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Google.com 1408, boingboing.net 1202

by Volker Weber

googleboing050329.png

Referrers from boingboing are chasing Google referrers, but don't quite make it. ;-)

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Die Erschießung folgt in Kürze

by Volker Weber

Wie sich vielleicht einige erinnern können, habe ich Anfang Januar Arcor beauftragt, meinen ISDN/DSL-Anschluss zu übernehmen. Soweit so gut. Leider hat Arcor bisher außer einem Stapel Papier nichts geliefert. Der Auftragsstatus stellt im Abstand von ca. zwei Wochen einen Kapazitätsausbau in Aussicht, der dann jeweils kurz vor dem Ende der Frist um weitere zwei Wochen verschoben wird:

arcor050329.png

Ich bin mir noch nicht sicher, wie lange ich mir diesen Spaß anschauen werde. Sollte sich ein Arcor-Mitarbeiter bemüßigt fühlen, diese Verarschung zu beenden, dann nur zu ...

vowe.net

Sprachwurst

by Volker Weber

SpOn:

mit einem noch erheblich deutlich schlechteren Ergebnis

Noch erheblich deutlich schlechter kann man wohl nicht mehr schreiben.

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Lotus: New build for version 7

by Volker Weber

You have seen it here first!

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It's "Make your own caption" time

by Volker Weber

UPS

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Quote of the day

by Volker Weber

Mitgeführte Trinkbehälter sind wie Walking-Stöcke. Sie dienen nicht dem Sport, sondern als Signal: Achtung, hier wird sich total professionell angestrengt.
Achim Achillles


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The Tiger commeth

by Volker Weber

Amazon starts taking orders for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger.

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Schlechten Tag gehabt

by Volker Weber

heiseitmarkt.png

Bei diesem Banner hat der Grafiker wohl einen schlechten Tag gehabt.

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Cow Smart

by Volker Weber

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Probefahrt

by Volker Weber

golf5gti.jpg

Gestern war wieder Probefahrt. Diesmal ein Golf V GTI mit DSG. Und ich muss sagen, ich hatte schon lange nicht mehr so viel Spaß mit einem fremden Auto. Der Wagen hat immer mehr als genug Leistung. Und vor allem immer den richtigen Gang drin. Ich stelle mir da gerne den "sportlichen" Fahrer vor, der eine Hand vom Lenkrad nimmt, um den Gang zu wechseln, den das DSG schon drin hat. Es ist atemberaubend, wie schnell das Getriebe auf wechselnde Anforderungen reagiert. Zum Fahrwerk kann man nur sagen: Passt. Ich wüsste nicht, was man da noch besser machen könnte. Bis auf das wilde Lenkrad und den roten Rand um den Kühlergrill gefällt mir das Design.

vowe.net

Bitte einmal in die Grabbelkiste schauen

by Volker Weber

Ich suche ein kleines Ladegerät mit folgenden Specs:

230 V Eingang
9 V Ausgang
200 mA
3,7 mm Stecker (das ist ziemlich dünn)

Soweit, so gut. Aber jetzt kommt das Ungewöhnliche: 9 V Wechselspannung! Motorola nutzt diese Ladegeräte für die Talkabout PMR Radios. Wenn man 9V Gleichspannung aufschaltet, dann lädt nur das eine oder das andere Gerät (je nach Polung).

Ich habe bei mir zwei Dutzend Netzteile durchgeschaut. War kein einziges passendes dabei. Wieso braucht man eigentlich so viele verschiedene Netzteile?

Update: Rolf hat mir bei einem Steckernetzteil den Gleichrichter überbrückt. Jetzt kann ich Wechselstrom liefern. Danke !

vowe.net

My wonder

by Volker Weber

Today, my month-old iMac G5, which I purchased in the U.S., wouldn't start. It's been working fine plugged into a powerstrip with a breaker, which is plugged into a 220 to 110 transformer. I am an American working overseas. There are also some issues with the American standard of 60hz and the overseas standard of 50hz.

So, when the iMac wouldn't fire up on the transformer, I put an adapter on the plug and tried straight 220v. Pop! Smoke!

More >

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MT-daapd on the NSLU2

by Volker Weber

daapd on NSLU2

Now serving iTunes tracks.

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Orchid

by Volker Weber

We received her for Christmas with three open blossoms, another one opened the next week. While we were in Florida she stayed with Martina and Alexander. When we got her back, she had opened another three blossoms. Now she is also growing a new leaf. What a joy.

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Fileserver up and running

by Volker Weber

nslu2hiding.jpg

This is the Linksys NSLU2 with two 5400 rpm Samsung SV1604N hiding behind the HP 1200 printer. All of the data has been copied to the disks, the more important stuff is on both spindles and the old original still sits on the old server. The firmware is upgraded to Unslung. Time to install some packages, especially mt-daapd.

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My favorite Flickr group

by Volker Weber

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New file server

by Volker Weber

Just picked up my new file server (no, not the Treo). It's incredibly tiny. Again: No noise. I will be hooking up two Samsung super silent drives. More later. I've got Gigabytes to move.

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Bling bling

by Volker Weber

Hey, isn't that my new favorite American car? ;-) Pimp up your Firefox here.

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Help the poor Windows users

by Volker Weber

Stefan has a solution for the Error Loading Operating System Windows XP error message. I think a little Google bomb is in order:

<a title="Error Loading Operating System" href="http://whocares.de/archive/000682.php">Error Loading Operating System</a>

Just copy to your website and post.

vowe.net

Firefox 1.0.2 released

by Volker Weber

firefox102.jpg

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Hooking up an external disk to the BenHur 2-20

by Volker Weber

The good news: It can be done. The bad news: You don't want to. Reason: The BenHur²-20 has only a USB 1.1 port. At least my hardware revision has. In case you do need to hook up a disk before Pyramid releases the LVM (logical volume manager), here's how you do it:

  1. Login with ssh admin@your.benni.network.address
  2. Make yourself root with su -
  3. Find the disk with fdisk -l
  4. Look for /dev/scsi/host0/bus0/target0/lun0/disc
  5. If it does not contain partitions create a primary partition with
    cfdisk /dev/scsi/host0/bus0/target0/lun0/disc
  6. Format the partition with mkfs.ext3 /dev/sda1
  7. Add the disk to /etc/fstab like so:
    /dev/sda1 /export/__shares__/external ext3 defaults,usrquota,grpquota 0 0
vowe.net

Four more free MP3 albums from Mercedes Benz

by Volker Weber

Manfred published this explanation how to download 4 albums from Mercedes Benz. It all depends on which country you select from the start page.

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openBC fun

by Volker Weber

Rainer Wasserfuhr introduces me to Luna. There is only two degrees of separation between her and Alex or Michael. Wanna play?

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Rechtschreibung üben

by Volker Weber

Diesen Online-Kurs "Die neue deutsche Rechtschreibung" von akademie.de können Sie kostenlos nutzen. In zwei Minuten stellen Sie fest, ob Sie den Kurs wirklich brauchen: Prüfen Sie, wie fit Sie sind. Und machen Sie hier den Rechtschreibtest.

More >

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Macindell

by Volker Weber

Matt Billing found an ingenious way to protect his Mac from being stolen: Hide it inside a Dell.

Mac in Dell

I didn't have a way to lockdown my new Mac Mini, but I did have an old Dell case I wasn't using anymore. After gutting the drive bays, it was almost a perfect fit. I figure nobody would look piece at at this old box. This is proof not to judge a box by its cover.

Not sure how well this works out. After all, more people want a PC than a Mac, and large is better than small, right?

vowe.net

Two frogs

by Volker Weber

Apple builds a DRM system that locks the customer in. Customer is happy, because he can buy music from the Apple store.

Customer has music and can share across the internet to his office. Listen to the music he paid for and that sits on his home computer while he is working in the office. Not good, says Apple. You can no longer share across routers. Have to be in same subnet. The next version of iTunes breaks the sharing but is required for the latest and greatest iPod.

Customer can still listen to his music as long he is not sharing with more than 5 computers. The chain is a bit shorter but at least he can move about the house.

Apple decides, five computers at the same time is not short enough. Has to be five computers within 24 hours. Next version of iTunes brings this new limitation, but customer never knows since he is on the older version that suits him just fine. If he bought the latest and greatest iPod that comes without a display, he would have to. But he has not.

Ooops. There is a hole in the fence. People can buy music from the store, but they are not locked in. Must mend fence, so force customer to use latest and greatest version of iTunes. The one with the even shorter chain.

Just one day later, a new hole in the fence. Who is going to suffer?

If you throw a frog into boiling water he will jump out. If you throw him in cold water and then slowly start to boil it, he will die. Would you buy locked music if you knew your rights five years down?

I told you this before: If your music is locked, burn it to CD and rip it back into MP3 files. Get off the chains as long as you can.

vowe.net

Amazing

by Volker Weber

Try this >

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Do it again, Sam

by Volker Weber

Hippo-Logo.png

12. April 2005. Nur für eine Nacht. Mit der Originalbesatzung. Am Originalschauplatz.

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Mercedes Mixed Tape 06 is out

by Volker Weber

mixedtape6.jpg

[Thanks, Henrik]

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Where bots live

by Volker Weber

The Register quotes these figures from the latest Symantec Internet Security Threat Report. Half of all bots — virus-infected, zombie PCs under the control of crackers — live in the UK and the US:

  1. United Kingdom (25.2 per cent)
  2. United States (24.6 per cent)
  3. China (7.8 per cent)
  4. Canada (4.9 per cent)
  5. Spain (3.8 per cent)
  6. France (3.6 per cent)
  7. Germany (3.5 per cent)
  8. Taiwan (3.1 per cent)
  9. South Korea (3.0 per cent)
  10. Japan (2.6 per cent)

[Thanks, Nick]

More >

vowe.net

Recovering the root password of a BenHur 2-20

by Volker Weber

... or pretty much any other Linux box.

Stefan has written a tutorial on how to reset a lost (or unknown) password on a BenHur²-20 box. This will save you a full re-install. It also leaves you with a nice Linux system on a USB memory stick that might come in handy if you need to repair a hosed Windows system.

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Reviewing the BenHur 2-20, Part 3

by Volker Weber

[continued from part 2]

BenHur2 updating

What you are seeing here is the admin interface to BenHur² in german. You can select the english version at login time or replace ".de" at the end of the url with ".en" any time. Since Ragnar asked me about updates, this is what it looks like. It's a three step process: You download the list of packages, download and then install them. Three clicks and you are done. If the kernel is updated, you need to reboot.

I mention this specifically because you hardly ever have to reboot the system. It has a very clever administration architecture. You can have a number of configurations, and you can choose to save each new configuration as a new named version. The software keeps track of your changes and they are not immediately effective. Once you have decided that you like your new configuration, you then activate it. The software lets you either only update your changes or the whole configuration. It then determines, which configuration files of the various software packages have to be changed, stops the corresponding processes, updates the files and then restarts the processes.

I have now also activated the AntiVir scanner for mails and web content. I believe that the latter will only start to work once I have enabled the Squid proxy. I used a license key from H+BEDV Datentechnik (which can be registered for personal noncommercial use on Linux with this form.

The device also contains exchange4linux 2.5, which has to be activated with a license key as well. A E4L license for 5 users is 299 EUR. If you send mail to n-h.com you can request a free license key. Next month the software will be updated to version 3.0 which will then be able to sync directly with devices like the Treo 650.

With exchange4linux (´ exchange for linux ´) you are able to share calenders, addressbooks, notes, tasks and more by using the Microsoft Outlook program on your desktop. All Outlook data is stored centrally on your exchange4linux server.

Since I don't use Outlook I don't have any use for this software. ;-) I am mentioning this since some of you may need a small Exchange server without paying extra CALs to Microsoft.

If you can supply the hardware, you can actually get quite an interesting system for zero funds. Everything I have talked so far is downloadable free of charge for noncommercial use with up to five users. Start here. And don't install this on your Windows machine. It will be gone for good. ;-)


[to be continued]

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One scooter liberated

by Volker Weber

LONDON (Reuters) - Heidi Brown was told she could park her new scooter outside the vehicle registration office while she waited to get license plates. To her horror, it was blown up by the army after someone reported that it might be a bomb.

More >

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Question

by Volker Weber

What is this:

593A53D0D-E2F7A8BF9-38D5723B9-47A2FD237-
1F53650A8-6A03581A3-D4FC41A11-3A8960928-
3FE11579C-402875827-7CBB775B5-342F0A6D3-
EF96791F7-35CD7ADEA-F385B35EB-8FA5D8B9D-
6DEA6E58F-F474452B3-7235A9962-3171A6936-
6A0B09A17-1D6E6F3E5-65B63704F-D50

Update: This is indeed a license key. There is no way to cut and paste the key. You have to type it in. Some vendors really hate their customers.

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Neulich auf der CeBIT

by Volker Weber

hdu040318.jpg

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Legal implications of serving as a software escrow agent

by Ragnar Schierholz

Does anyone have experiences with serving as a software escrow agent? What are legal liabilities of the escrow? We've been asked whether we would provide such a service, but I am hesitant to engage in major liabilities. Any hints very welcome.

More >

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Microsoft is good at marketing. Right?

by Volker Weber

A Microsoft developer blows off some steam:

It's official: we hate our customers.

At least, we're okay bullying them around and calling them names. I can only imagine Gates sneaking behind an Office customer to get down on all four so that Ballmer can push them backwards and flip them over, bellowing, "Dinosaur! Unevolved corporate dinosaur!"

It's going to be interesting how long this stays up.

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Flickrahoo

by Volker Weber

It's a done deal. Yahoo buys Flickr. Thought I should mention it. :-)

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Reviewing the BenHur 2-20, Part 2

by Volker Weber

[continued from part 1]

benhurscenario1.png

This is the scenario I am running BenHur² in and it is pretty standard. My mail gets delivered to a number of POP3 mailboxes at my ISP and various other mail providers. BenHur² uses fetchmail to pick up mail from these mailboxes and delivers them to the internal Cyrus IMAP server where I pick it up with my mail clients (Apple Mail and Mozilla Thunderbird). The mail remains on the server and is organized in folders. Outgoing mail goes to the BenHur² which delivers it to a relay server at my ISP. There are a lot of options here. Currently I am delivering directly from the client to the relay.

In this scenario I do not need my Domino server any more for mail delivery. Previously I needed two separate packages to retrieve mail (IGetMail) from the ISP and deliver it to the ISP relay (SMTPAuth). Recently I was having difficulties with SMTPAuth delivering to the ISP. They are being currently discussed with the author and are still unresolved. BenHur² could actually help in this scenario as well:

benhurscenario2.png

In this screnario BenHur² is picking up the mail via POP3 and delivering it to Domino via SMTP. Outgoing mail is sent from Domino to BenHur² which then sends them out via authenticated SMTP (which Domino does not support) to the ISP. As you can see there was no need to take down the Domino server. BenHur² would have simplified my setup tremendously by doing away with IGetMail and SMTPAuth. In my case the first scenario was even simpler since I do not have to support Notes clients.

[continued in part 3]

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No, not me

by Volker Weber

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Und nun zum Spocht

by Volker Weber

Ich habe mir ein bisschen mehr körperliche Betätigung verordnet. Dazu gehört es, mehr Wege mit dem Fahrrad statt der Vespa zurückzulegen und die Treppe statt eines Aufzugs zu nutzen, aber auch mehr Tätigkeiten selbst zu übernehmen, für die ich vorher Dienstleistungen in Anspruch genommen habe. Spontane Erkenntnisse dieser Woche:

  1. Reifen der Dimension 255/40 R 17 sind bedeutend anstrengender zu wechseln als solche mit 145/65 R 15.
  2. Die Kellertreppe hat weniger lichte Höhe als erinnert.
  3. Reifenhändler meinen bei der Arbeitsposition "Reinigen" immer nur die Außenseite der Felge.
  4. Wer für Reifenwechseln und Sportstudio bezahlt, hat mehr Probleme als er denkt.
  5. Schwäbische Autohersteller liefern famose Wagenheber aus Aluminium.
  6. Radbolzen mit Schlüsselweite 19 und eine Sicherung des Reserverades mit Schlüsselweite 17 können zu weiteren sportlichen Betätigungen auf der Treppe führen.
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Pressemitteilungen: Vom Papier über E-Mail zu RSS-Feeds

by Volker Weber

So langsam ebbt die Flut von täglichen Pressemitteilungen per Briefpost ab. Nur die ganz sturen Presseabteilungen schicken weiterhin noch Papier, obwohl ich stets um elektronische Übermittlung bitte. Das bevorzugte Medium ist derzeit noch E-Mail, mit dem nicht unerheblichen Problem, dass sich Pressemitteilungen technisch nicht unbedingt von Spam unterscheiden. ;-)

Dabei ist der nächste Umbruch längst im Gange. Eine ganze Reihe von Unternehmen bieten ihre Pressemitteilungen mittlerweile per RSS-Feed an. Und nur wenige Journalisten haben das bisher "geschnallt". Für die Pressebetreuung der Unternehmen ist das durchaus auch eine Umstellung. Sie kennen nicht mehr unbedingt ihre Reichweite. Die Kontrolle geht vom Verwalter des Presseverteilers auf die einzelnen Abonnenten über. Während Unternehmen wie IBM oder Microsoft wenig Probleme haben, ihre RSS-Feeds an den Mann zu bringen, tun sich kleinere Marktteilnehmer da schon wesentlich schwerer. Wie viele RSS Feeds mag der einzelne Journalist schon abonnieren?

An dieser Stelle kommen wie bei den klassischen Agenturen Presseportale ins Spiel, die eine ganze Reihe von Quellen gebündelt anbieten. Das Presseportal bietet zum Beispiel schon länger solche RSS Feeds an. Der nächste Schritt ist konsequent: Presseportal bietet nun den ots.Newsreader kostenlos an. Er basiert auf dem RSS Reader NewsBee, den man einerseits für 29 Euro pro Benutzer kaufen, auf Anfrage aber auch in einer solchen Publisher oder einer Enterprise Version anpassen lassen kann. Einzige Bedingung für die Nutzung: Man muss wenigstens einen ots-Feed abonnieren.

Ich warte jetzt eigentlich auf den nächsten Schritt: Kollaborative Newsreader. Irgendwie muss man den Redaktionsworkflow besser abbilden. Ist das eine wichtige Nachricht? Wer kümmert sich drum?

vowe.net

Reviewing the BenHur 2-20, Part 1

by Volker Weber

benhur2-20-kw.jpgI have received a BenHur² 20 server friday and have spent a large part of the last 24 hours to install it and migrate a lot of services onto the machine. In a nutshell this is a firewall router with VPN support and an application server for mail, web, fax, DHCP, DNS, database, virus scanner, spam protection and content filter. This is the smallest device in a number of appliances sold by German maker Pyramid and is suited for small businesses with up to 25 users. The package is 1199 Eur with one year of maintenance, 190 Eur per additional year of software service. TrendMicro signatures are 36 per year and user. The box I received was missing a license number so I have not checked the update services yet.

The hardware is a tiny box (9.5"x2.5"x6") with a Celeron 400 MHz CPU and 256 MB of RAM. It contains a 20 gig hard disk and runs on Pynix, which is based on Linux and numerous other OSS projects, including Apache, Cyrus, iptables, MySQL, Postfix, Squid and SpamAssassin.

Inside the BenHur2You can download a 5-user version of the operating system free of charge to run on your own hardware. If you look at the specs above this can actually be a 10 year old machine. Take a look at my CPU utilization and you see that the machine is already oversized for me. And this was while importing mail from Domino. Before you give it a try, please consider yourself warned. This is no small feat. You will need serious networking background and quite some time if you want to get a good mileage out of it.

The new BenHur² machine replaces my internet access router and my Domino mail server. The box that used to run the Domino server on Windows NT and Windows 2000 Server will soon be reinitialized. This was long overdue, but I did not want to touch a running setup. I need to move all data from the current Windows shares onto a NAS device before that happens. I believe I could hook up an external disk to the BenHur² but that would require a change in the OS to mount the disk. That I don't want right now. I will rather get a Linksys NSLU2 device and hook up a disk there. This also gives me the opportunity to stream iTunes music directly from the device.

Before getting into any details over the next few days, I can tell you that I am extremely satisfied with the experience so far. The only thing I initially missed was the Spartacus filter that is running on the Domino server, successfully filtering out almost all spam messages. However, I am getting pretty good at tuning the spam filter on BenHur². I believe I will soon be at a comparable protection level.

Now that the old server is hibernating I can hear both my iBook and my iMac for the first time. The BenHur² is emitting zero noise. No fan!

[continued in part 2]

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He, himself and his Treo

by Volker Weber

Wie schon weiter unten angedeutet, habe ich von der CeBIT einen Treo 650 mitgebracht. Es handelt sich dabei um das GSM/GPRS-Modell (unbranded). Kurzfazit nach einer Woche Nutzung: Geil!!!

More >

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O2-Festnetznummer gestört

by Volker Weber

Wenn ich von O2 aus meine 06151-3657520 anrufe, dann klingelt das Telefon. Rufe ich aus dem Festnetz oder von D2 aus an, dann erhalte ich die Ansage: "Die von Ihnen gewählte Rufnummer ist nicht vergeben. Bitte rufen Sie die Auskunft an." Was ist da los?

Update 11:00: Auskunft der Hotline: "Störung betrifft alle O2-Nummern mit der Vorwahl 06151."

Update 13:00: Die Störung ist behoben.

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Postpakete verfolgen

by Volker Weber

Jörg-Stefan weist mich dankenswerter darauf hin, dass man auch als "Normalkunde" nun Postpakete verfolgen kann.

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Alarmgesichert

by Volker Weber

tuer2.jpg

Dieser Zettel klebt im Karstadt Stuttgart an dieser Tür.

[Danke, Maik]

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Bitte woanders spielen

by Volker Weber

screenshot_l052.png

Kommentare ohne vollen Namen werden wirklich gelöscht. Und ohne gescheite E-Mail gibt es nicht mal eine Benachrichtigung. Wir können uns alle viel Arbeit sparen, wenn Ihr diese Kommentare gar nicht erst schreibt.

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Evangelisten gehen mir auf den Senkel

by Volker Weber

Junge Junge, was bin ich angepisst von den Leuten, die jede Apple-Nachricht bejubeln.

Ich habe zwei Macs und bin schwer von ihnen beeindruckt. Sie funktionieren tadellos, hatten bislang kaum Mucken und sehen dazu noch sehr schick aus. Sie sind nicht besonders schnell, aber erledigen alles, was ich von ihnen verlange, ganz wunderbar. Wer daraus schließen will, dass Apple "besser" als z.B. Microsoft ist, mag das gerne tun, findet aber nicht meine Zustimmung. Es gibt keine andere Firma in dieser Branche, die ihre Kunden derart in die eigene Lösung einzusperren versucht. Reicht die Verwertungskette iTunes Music Store, iTunes, iPod als Erklärung aus, oder muss ich weiter ausholen?

Ich bin auch schwer beeindruckt von der Qualität von SuSE Linux Professional 9.2, das auf ebenfalls zwei Rechnern hier läuft. Wenn ich mir keinen Mac leisten könnte, würde ich damit vielleicht ständig arbeiten. Dazu müsste ich noch meinen Drucker am Intel Netport ansprechen können, aber das lässt sich sicher auch lösen, wenn ich nur genügend Zeit aufbringe. Wer aber glaubt, dass Open Source generell besser ist, der mag gerne mal probieren, irgendeine Linux-Version auf einem HP Vectra XU 6/200 zu installieren. Ja, der hat einen BIOS-Fehler, über den allerdings Windows 2000 Professional nicht mal die Stirn runzelt.

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Beautiful

by Volker Weber

brunobisang.png

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Und morgen üben sie weiter

by Volker Weber

Konstantin bringt es auf den Punkt:

Kurzer Hinweis an Ministerpräsident(inn)enkandidat(inn)en: Wenn man nach zwei drei vier ... Wahlgängen immer noch nicht gewählt ist, kann man - rein theoretisch, versteht sich - auf eine weitere Kandidatur auch verzichten. Natürlich nur, wenn man notfalls auch was anderes mit sich anzufangen weiß.

Die Sitzverteilung: CDU (30), SPD (29), FDP (4), Grüne (4), SSW (2). Der SSW genießt als Vertretung der dänischen Minderheit ein Sonderrecht und unterliegt nicht der 5%-Klausel; sonst wäre er nicht im Landtag vertreten. Er wollte der SPD-Grünen-Minderheit zur Regierung verhelfen. Das ist viermal gescheitert. Würde sich der SSW der Stimme enthalten, regierte in Kiel die CDU-FDP-Mehrheit.

Die SPD sucht derweil den Abgeordneten Verräter.

Zitat des Tages:

Das Land hat andere Probleme, als dass wir hier solange wählen, bis einer umfällt.
— Wolfgang Kubicki
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iWork05.0.1

by Volker Weber

Keynote 2.0.1 addresses isolated issues that may have affected reliability for some customers. Pages 1.0.1 addresses isolated issues that may have affected reliability for some customers and resolves an issue related to deleting complete pages.

That looks like a change log published by Apple. ;-)

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Warum eigentlich "Intelli"?

by Volker Weber

Die Computerwoche hat mal wieder eine neue Methode gefunden, Leser zu vergraulen. Bislang sind die CW-Texte ja schon schwer lesbar, weil jeder Artikel zur Erhöhung der Page Impressions auf mehrere Seiten verteilt ist. Permalinks lohnen sich auch nicht, weil der Content schnell zum Premium Content wird. Aktuelle Zeitungen sind nicht Premium, aber alte schon. Jetzt hat man sich was neues ausgedacht:

Wenn Sie unsere Web-Seiten lesen, finden Sie einige grün markierte und doppelt unterstrichene Wörter im Text. Diese Links werden durch IntelliTXT bereitgestellt. IntelliTXT ist eine von Vibrant Media Incorporated entwickelte und vertriebene Technik zur Identifizierung von Schlüsselwörtern im Text, die vorher von Werbetreibenden gebucht wurden. Diese Wörter werden markiert und mit einem Link hinterlegt. Hinter IntelliTXT steht ein Javascript, das nach dem Laden der Seite ausgeführt wird und automatisch die grünen Links setzt. Wenn Sie mit der Maus über ein markiertes Schlüsselwort fahren, öffnet sich ein kleiner "Tooltip", der eine Werbebotschaft enthält.

Wohlgemerkt, nicht wenn man drauf klickt, sondern wenn man zufällig mit der Maus darüber fährt. Zählt da eigentlich jemand mit, wie viele Leute das abschalten?

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T-shirt of the day

by Volker Weber

tshirt050316.jpg

While this message is very true, it does not always apply.

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Treo 650 does charge over the sync cable

by Volker Weber

My understanding was that you can only charge the battery on the Treo 650 with the charger connected to either the Treo or the sync cable. If you look at the universal connector, you will see that the charging contacts are separate from the data bus. If you connect the sync cable without plugging in the charger, the Treo will not display the charging symbol.

However, I have found out with Stefan's help that it does indeed charge even when the charger is not plugged in, albeit very slowly. It ups the battery by 5 points every 90 minutes. A 40% charge will increase to 70% overnight, even when the phone is on.

BTW: The iBook leaves the USB ports switched on while it is sleeping. Be careful if it is not connected to a wall outlet. ;-)

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Court ruling against cell phone branding

by Ragnar Schierholz

According to multiple sources (e.g. Golem, Stiftung Warentest) the Amtsgericht Potsdam (county court of Potsdam) has ruled against T-Mobile Germany (case no. 34 C 563/04) and declared the common branding of cell phones into network operator editions as illegal.

May that be a sign of hope for all users who are sick of these branded, stripped-down functionality phones that come with the plan?

More >

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BenHur 20 coming up

by Volker Weber

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It looks like my Domino server can soon retire. There is a BenHur² server in the pipe. I am really looking forward to try this machine. External power supply, no fan. Hush ...

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Das wurde aber auch Zeit

by Volker Weber

wetter0315.jpg

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JPEGs considered to be harmful for screenshots

by Volker Weber

Attached please find images of the Treo and Pocket PC with xxxxxxxx inbox screenshots saved out as tifs.

This ignorance is stunning. You request screenshots in TIFF format because JPEGs are unsuitable for print. Then some genius takes JPEGs and saves them as TIFF. Wow, I could not have done this myself.

This message goes out to all PR people: Screenshots should never be stored with lossy compression. There are three safe formats: BMP, PNG and TIFF. GIF would reduce the image to 256 colors and JPEG is simply unsuited for line art. The publisher may chose to use JPEG for publication on the web. You should however always keep your screenshots in a format without lossy compression. Before sending them out, you compress them with ZIP. That works amazingly well. A zipped BMP can be smaller than a JPEG.

While we are at it: It never ceases to amaze me, that IBM is unable to provide pictures and screenshots at Lotusphere. And if they do, they will all be not only in JPEG but also resized. The PR people are always so surprised that someone wants a screenshot. "Oh, I can get that to you. They should be somewhere in that Quickplace. Hang on a sec. Hmmh. Yes, I will send them to you by mail." Which never happens. And just to make sure, everyone on the floor is instructed to never give out any screenshots. I then tell them to forward the screenshots to the PR people with instructions to send them my way. That hardly ever works.

So how do I get them for c't? By sweettalking somebody into ignoring the broken process. It usually takes about 2 hours of my time to get one picture.

Update:It has now been 5 days since I requested screenshots and the vendor has yet to come up with something useful. The procedure takes actually less than 60 seconds flat.

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Testing Plogit

by Volker Weber

This a test post from the Treo 650. I am using Plogit which is open source and published under the GPL.

Update: And this is what it looks like:

plogit.png

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Blogger interviewt Kagermann

by Volker Weber

Eberhard Heins im Gespräch mit Henning Kagermann, Vorstandsvorsitzender der SAP AG.

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Treo 650 Sonderangebot zum CeBIT-Endspurt

by Volker Weber

Kam gerade rein:

Besucher der Alatis GmbH & Co. KG auf dem Stand von palmOne in Halle 26, Stand F 36 können am Dienstag, den 15. März das Treo 650 Smartphone zu einem Sonderpreis von 599 Euro inklusive Mehrwertsteuer bestellen.

Und ein Bluetooth Headset gibt's noch dazu.

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Listen up

by Volker Weber

Bono has something to say.

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Music trivia

by Volker Weber

album placeholder

Enter a name in the upper right hand corner and hit Go. Listen to the music and take your pick.

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[Thanks, Hajo]

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Treo 650 crashing?

by Volker Weber

Dial #*377 to get the post mortem error code.

Yes, I am experiencing random crashes, and I am reading rumors of another upgrade at least for the Sprint version. I am currently on 1.06 and talk is that there will be version 1.08 soon. There are also a lot of people complaining about low earpiece volumes and high hiss, which I also experienced on two separate units. Bring on the updates ...

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Smart design

by Volker Weber

treo650headset.jpg

This is one of my takeaways — that is not literally, I had to leave it with its owner ;-) — from CeBIT: palmOne has a new Treo headset that works with the 650. Why would you want this one? It has the same charger specs as the Treo. It comes with a travel charger, so you end up with two chargers, one of which you can leave at home or in the office. Or you can use the same car cable to charge the Treo or the headset.

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CeBIT '05 Pictures

by Volker Weber

All photos by Thomas Cloer

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Accessible

by Volker Weber

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I talked to Ray at a dinner while at Lotusphere. He is such an interesting person and very down to earth. I honestly think he can do good things to Microsoft. It is one great opportunity. There had been rumors that Groove Networks might be acquired by either Microsoft or IBM. And frankly, I think Microsoft is the much better fit.

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Playing it loud

by Volker Weber

yp-t7x-scaled.jpgOne of the things that I brought home from CeBIT is a Samsung MP3 player that packs amazing features into hardly more than one ounce:

Given that many features you should not be surprised that it is quite complicated to operate. You need to go into a menu to switch from MP3 player to radio or any of the viewers. I wonder why it has a dedicated button for A-B loops but none for mode switching. Samsung could use some serious usability engineering.

You can make a playlist on the fly or just play one directory or all files. Ogg support will definitely resonate well with a lot of people. Since my music library is all MP3 I don't care that it does not play AAC files. Having a voice recorder will be very handy at times. Less for short notes but rather for recording an interview. A picture viewer the size of a stamp? I don't know. ;-)

On the PC you are installing a USB driver and a software package. On the Mac it just shows up as a drive. Dump a bunch of files on it and you are ready to go. Thankfully it uses a standard USB mini connector and charges over that cable.

This is not going to replace Woodstock but is definitely a good addition to the travel bag.

More >

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Doing e-mail via GPRS

by Volker Weber

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While I was at CeBIT I checked my e-mail with VersaMail on the Treo 650. I did not fall for one of the WAP flat rates, since I heard that they are all but unusable on the Treo. I also did not want to try GPRS without knowing how much traffic I was using. At 9 ct per 10 kByte this can get out of hand rather quickly. It turns out that I did not need more than roughly one Euro a day.

The Treo does not have a traffic monitor (GPRS seems to be unmetered in the US) so I had to use TrafficStat:

TrafficStat should work with any PalmOS based device (version 3.5 and up) and with any connection type. This includes Handspring Treo 270, 180, 300, 600, 650 with wireless connection, Palm V with PPP over infrared or serial, Kyocera QCP smartphone, etc.

It turns out that I needed about 100 kByte a day. Since my provider has a 10 MByte data plan for 10 Euro (or 5 for 8), I could get mobile email for that amount and still have some volume left. Your mileage may vary considerably. I am successfully filtering all spam messages and I am only downloading messages up to 4k via IMAP. The full message and the attachment remain on the server.

I still think that 10 Euro for 10 meg is outrageous. But at least it works a whole lot better than checking mail in a 5 Euro WAP flat.

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Eyes on fire

by Volker Weber

Eyes on fire

Home, sweet home. Back from CeBIT after another not quite as mad day as Thursday. It was an interesting drive back from Hannover via Kassel. We have had some snow on the road. In the middle of March! If this goes on for another two weeks, we shall switch from winter to summer, without spring in between.

Best party award goes to Heise. What a nice evening!

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Guarding the Vodafone staff area

by Volker Weber

Guarding the Vodafone staff area

This photo taken with a Treo 650.

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Cinema bed

by Volker Weber

Cinema bed

If you can't afford a living room and a bedroom ...

More >

[Thanks, Hajo]

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P.S.: Microsoft to Acquire Groove Networks

by Ragnar Schierholz

Prof. Dr. Ludwig Nastansky from the Groupware Competence Center the University of Paderborn, Germany has published interesting thoughts on this.

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What a day

by Volker Weber

Six press conferences, two talks with palmOne executives, one with the CEO of Xtended Systems, a short meeting with Hans-Werner at the iF awards, and one with Heiko who's had some interesting news, one briefing with the WebSphere team, a dinner with Robert LeBlanc and a late night party with palmOne again. And in addition to that I saw some cool gear that is coming out in a few months; not ready to talk about this yet. Briefly talked to Raymond, who wrote the CeBIT special for Playboy and he had one for me. ;-)

Mitch alerted me of the Groove acquisition and Thomas called me on the mobile. Now it's kind of late in the night, have to get up in six hours and still need to write up the Groove story. Thanks to John for posting it here.

The pedometer says I walked around 17 km today with quite some baggage but my feet actually feel much better than yesterday. All in all I did much better than this guy.

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Microsoft to buy Groove

by John Keys

Microsoft has announced that they will be taking over Groove Networks. Ray Ozzie, father of Lotus Notes, will become Microsoft's CTO, reporting to Bill Gates.

More >

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Error 500 issue resolved

by Volker Weber

Stefan Funke alerted me about the fact, that vowe.net was sending out Error 500 messages. It turns out that they were actually 403 messages (forbidden) that could not be served because the they were unaccessible.

It turns out that 1&1 may have switched off the ability to compress the traffic with gzip, presumably to take load of the CPU. Unfortunately they did not tell me. I have removed the compression now and everything should be back to normal. When I get back home, I will investigate further.

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Off to CeBIT

by Volker Weber

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If you see me in Hannover, talk to me. If you need to meet, call my mobile. Will try to answer e-mail at night. Don't expect lots of updates here until the weekend. :-)

To people who have not been there, but attended something like Lotusphere: Take 100 Lotuspheres and put them in one venue. Crunch time.

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Top 5 on vowe.net

by Volker Weber

top50307.png

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It's "Make your own caption" time

by Volker Weber

car

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Formula 1 season has started

by Volker Weber

pole position

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Life and Death

by Volker Weber

400 bullets did not kill her. They killed a hero who had just helped to release her. And you lost another "battle for freedom".

More >

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Aus der Serie: Teuer muss nicht gut sein

by Volker Weber

Man sollte seine Website besser nicht von Accenture bauen lassen.

Update: Diese Seite wurde nicht von Accenture gebaut, wie Pascal schreibt. Pascal schreibt nicht, warum sich das Arbeitsamt die Arbeitsagentur so eine Website leistet. ;-)

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Skype hardware hack for the iBook

by Volker Weber

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AirStumbler

by Volker Weber

airstumbler.jpg

I just came across this program on VersionTracker that I was not aware of. I have used both MacStumbler and iStumbler. AirStumbler rings a sound when it finds an access point (as does Macstumbler) and it will also allow you to join the network it found right from the program (as does iStumbler). It will also allow you to automatically join open networks. This would automate my mail pickup while drive-by surfing. ;-)

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Methodologies

by Volker Weber

I had a discussion this week about an organization that tries to solve every new problem with a process. (No, not IBM). It was about people hiding their incompetence behind new ways of filling out paper. This so reminded me of Katie's take on the Rational Unified Process (RUP):

Step 1: Write about running really fast.
Step 2: Go and draw a plan of the racetrack.
Step 3: Go and buy really tight lycra shorts.
Step 4: Run really, really, really fast.
Step 5: Cross line first.

Step 4 is the really hard part that is hidden in meaningless methodology. Lesson to learn: You cannot overcome incompetence with methodologies. You can only hide them really well.

Unfortunately, the outcome of RUP is that you end up with extremely well documented TERRIBLE designs. Unless you have a good OO designer to start with. In which case they'd have come up with a good design anyway, but on less paper.

Amen.

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First look at the palmOne Treo 650 GSM

by Volker Weber

I have to make a confession: I have been testing the Treo 650 GSM for a while but could not write about it yet, since I was under an NDA. Now that a number of dealers started listing the new Treo as being available next week, I can finally start writing up a few things I have wanted to say for a while.

So, you already have a Treo 600 and are asking yourself whether you should upgrade? It would answer with a qualified No. The Treo 600 is a wonderful smartphone, and it continues to be. Yes, the Treo 650 does away with the two major weaknesses (bad screen and missing Bluetooth), but if you could live with that so far you can continue to do that. It does not make that much of a difference if you continue to use the same applications.

Having said that, the Treo 650 has changed one major thing for me: I can now use it as a mobile navigation system. GPS receiver and SD card from the T3 navkit worked without a hitch. Mind you, TomTom will run down a fully charged Treo in less than 6 hours since the screen is always on and it maintains a Bluetooth connection to the GPS receiver, so you may want to buy a charger for the 12V outlet in your car.

With Bluetooth I can also use the recently acquired Jabra headset. Although the headset is paired with the handsfree profile, I have had no luck so far in redialing the last dialled number as documented in the Jabra manual. It does work with the RAZR, but not with the Treo 650.

The camera resolution remaines at 640x480. The picture quality however is much better, especially in low light situations. Since the screen is a whole lot better you can actually watch the pictures on the device. If you want to send pictures by MMS please note, that you can annotate the picture by drawing on it.

I have one complaint: The Treo does not display the O2 Homezone. I have switched on the audio alert (call 1212 from your Genion phone) so I know that I am in the Homezone when placing a call but I cannot see whether I am "in" without dialing.

I am also not using the mail client or the browser since there is no data tariff that I would want to use. I have been told that O2 blocks the Blazer browser on the WAP gateway so the O2 Surf&Mail pack is useless and I am not going to risk running up a huge bill on metered GPRS usage. I am pretty good at trying out new stuff, but if none of the providers can come up with a limited data plan that protects my wallet, I am not buying.

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Trigger happy

by Volker Weber

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Freed Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena was injured and another person killed on Friday when "multinational forces" fired on a speeding automobile at a military checkpoint in Baghdad, the Pentagon said.

Multinational forces? Yeah, right.

More >

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A good start

by Volker Weber

In my mail this morning:

Well, after seeing the "Firefox" logo on your blog and spending a day with one of my favorite clients (that are BIG Firefox fans), I downloaded and installed the software. Wow, what an excellent piece of software. I can't believe that I waited so long. Fast, easy, no popups, and some excellent extensions and hacks.

Thanks for taking that logo off of your site when I hit it now. :-)

Are you seeing the Firefox logo? Now you know how to switch it off. ;-)

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Treo vs Razr

by Volker Weber

Now that I have some experience with both the Treo and the Razr, here is a list of things I prefer in both phones:

Razr
- clamshell design does not need a keyguard
- much lighter and thinner
- large buttons to dial numbers
- superior sound

Treo
- quick switch between ring and vibrate
- handles much faster (picking from address book etc.)
- full keyboard for text entry (as in SMS messages)
- loads of applications for PalmOS (navigation etc.)
- full address book

The Treo also does not display the Genion homezone indicator. The camera in the 600 is much worse than the Razr, the 650 is better. They all have VGA resolution, which is large enough for me.

Anyway, I think I need a second chip. Removing one from the Razr is a major PITA. And I do want to use both phones. If I had to give up one of them, it would be the Razr. YMMV.

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Genion "Festnetznummer" - gefällt mir

by Volker Weber

Mit Genion habe ich jetzt auch eine Telefonnummer in meinem Ortsnetz bekommen. Das ist ein feine Sache. Unter dieser Nummer ist man zu den üblichen Festnetztarifen auf dem Handy erreichbar, sofern man sich in der Homezone aufhält. Wenn man ausserhalb der Homezone ist, dann kann sich Genion alternativ so verhalten:

1. Das Gespräch wird kostenpflichtig auf das Handy weitergeleitet.
2. Der Anruf wird kostenlos auf die Mobilbox umgeleitet.
3. Der Anrufer erhält kostenlos eine Abwesenheitsansage. "Dieser Teilnehmer ist vorübergend ..."

Bei 1. und 2. zahlt der Anrufer ein Festnetzgespräch, bei 3. zahlt niemand. Diese Variante habe ich jetzt gewählt. In den meisten Fällen ist ein Festnetzgespräch billiger als ein Mobilfunkgespräch*, also kann man erst mal bei mir "zu Hause" probieren, ob ich erreichbar bin, und ggfls. dann entscheiden, mich auf dem Handy anzurufen. Wobei "zu Hause" jetzt viel größer ist, weil die Homezone einen großen Teil der Innenstadt abdeckt. Also: Statt 22618 nun 3657520 wählen! Wenn ich da nicht erreichbar bin, dann sicher nicht unter 22618.

*) Blödsinnige Ausnahme: Tagsüber erreiche ich jedes Handy für 29 ct/min, für Festnetzanrufe soll ich 49 bezahlen (außerhalb der Homezone). Warum eigentlich? Die Durchleitung ins Festnetz ist doch viel billiger, oder?

Update: Mitch hat mich auf einen Fehler aufmerksam gemacht. Ich hatte statt der 2 eine 3 geschrieben. Bitte korrigieren.

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PalmOne Treo 650 ab 10.3. lieferbar

by Volker Weber

PalmOne hat offensichtlich eine Deadline auf den Beginn der CeBIT gesetzt. Bei einigen Online-Händlern ist das Gerät schon im Angebot und soll am 10.3. ausgeliefert werden. PDA Max will sogar schon am 7.3. liefern. Alle drei Händler träumen zufällig vom selben Preis, Widget bietet zudem verschiedenste Bundles mit Mobilverträgen an.

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Don't try this at home

by Volker Weber

baselondon.jpg

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Schnappi, das tote Krokodil

by Volker Weber


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The Tilley Hat

by Volker Weber

Kevin Kelly of Cool Tools fame talks about Tilley Hat. Although I prefer the T2 over the T3, I agree with his assessment. You may spot the T3 in one of those pictures. ;-)

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Pirelli or Michelin?

by Volker Weber


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Ceci n'est pas un blog

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

vowe

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