September 2005

Nikon SB-600 or SB-800 - which one should I get?

by Volker Weber


I think I could use a real flash for my D70. But I have a hard time deciding whether I should get the SB-600 or the more expensive SB-800. Any thoughts?

You are all BAD people!

by Ragnar Schierholz

A recent survey sponsored by the Canadian Recording Industry Association suggests that people who are downloading illegal music and other media (video, software, etc.) are more likely to cheat in school or other exams or shoplift. While the survey might well be biased because of the sponsor, some truth might still be in the finding that the increase in illegal file sharing can be considered an indicator for a erosion of values such as intellectual property. What do you think?

Self service

by Volker Weber

Winning hearts and minds

by Volker Weber

Interesting comment on MiniMSFT while reporting on the Microsoft Company Meeting :

As for Mr. Ozzie: where I was sitting, the murmuring of people having low-level conversations grew louder and louder as he talked and people stopped paying attention. He wasn't engaging the folks around me with whatever he was strutting around about ("De cloud! De cloud!"). Sorry, Ray, you need to earn our respect with results right now. Lotus Notes and the saved-from-the-brink of bankruptcy Groove isn't endowing you with much currency.

It is a lot easier preaching to the choir, I guess.

Smells fishy

by Volker Weber


Anti-Microsoft? Me?

by Volker Weber

Nick is a very good observer. And when he casually said "You are anti-Microsoft" I thought about this for a while. I think he is wrong. It may look once in a while that I am opposed to Microsoft but in fact I am not. Apart from the casual Goliath-whacking there are two things that may lead to this conclusion:

Why do I try to avoid using them? That has a number of reasons. First, they are very expensive. I often do get a free ride, but not everybody does. I don't know how many people actually buy Microsoft Office outside of corporate contracts. I see that almost everybody seems to have it on their computer, but how many of those are fully licensed? Small shops who actually care about licensing often use OpenOffice since it fits their needs just nicely and is free.

The second reason is that they are often misused (think Excel as a database, or Powerpoint for meeting notes). The most glaring misuse I come across every day is people who send text as Word attachments in emails. Do you really think I am going to open an attachment to read a press release? Get a clue. Text travels in email messages just fine.

Third, by using Microsoft products you paint a bull's eye on your head. Almost every malware out there is written for Microsoft products. So in order to use these products I need to wear full armor all day. I recently installed XP on a clean machine. It's really snappy when new. Then you need to install brazillions of software fixes, and it is still snappy. But after SP2 it tells you that you are not wearing your armor. Then you install your Virus shield and things go downhill from there. So I'd rather live in a neighborhood that is quieter.

I don't have to elaborate on the second bullet point, do I? Quickplace up to 6.5 is a product that only lives in Internet Explorer. So it is not a MS product I despise here, or do I?

Which Microsoft products do I use? Windows, of course, since I need it to run my accounting. Microsoft Word (on the Mac) for writing longer texts. It is a habit that I have not broken. Most of my text editing is done with SubEthaEdit, but for long manuscripts I use Word. Funny enough, all of my fellow editors quickly export this to plain text and take it from there. Sadly, there is no collaboration around Microsoft's markup features. And these are people who work with text every single day. I would probably use something like OneNote if it were available on the Mac. I don't use Excel, or I should say, I rarely use Excel.

I do think that Excel is a great product. It just so happens that I don't have any problems that need to be solved with Excel. If Microsoft gets Vista right, and I have reason to believe that they will, it is poised to be another great product. It can actually have less features than XP in my view, as long as they are implemented securely and as long as MS does not play any dirty tricks on competing products.

Mac OS X has fewer problems than Windows. But that is not because Apple has smarter developers. It only runs on a few dozen different machines. It only comes with a ton of drivers for printers but not for much else. Want to buy an after market DVD burner? Good luck. Mac folks tend to stick with Apple gear. Speaking of which, I got a Mighty Mouse today. And I love it! Thanks, Martin.


by Volker Weber

Last call

by Volker Weber

What does blogging imply for corporate communications?

by Ragnar Schierholz

A recent survey finds that people trust their primary physician most, second are academics. So far nothing new. But third come peers, people like me and you. And according to the survey, their communication medium are blogs. The survey also briefly goes into the question of what this means to marketing and corporate communications.

Consider yourself warned

by Volker Weber

Make sure you put down that cup of coffee before clicking this link.

How many

by Volker Weber

Donald Rumsfeld is giving the president his daily briefing. He concludes by saying: "Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed."

"OH NO!" the President exclaims. "That's terrible!"

His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the President sits, head in hands. Finally, the President looks up and asks, "How many is a brazillion?"

[Thanks, Wolfgang]

Posting from the Treo 650

by Volker Weber

This is a test post using the Azure midlet. I first tried the Sun MIDP engine, but Azure crashed the Treo on startup. Then I tried Azure on the Nokia 9300, it started OK but I could not figure out how to operate it. Then I installed IBM's J2ME (download via Palm Support) on the Treo. The Azure.prc would not recognize this engine, so don't bother installing it.

It turns out that the IBM engine does not use the PRC hack like the Sun JVM does. You just open the "IBM JAVA VM" icon, then you install Azure over the air. It will then appear in the program launcher. So with this engine it is not necessary to convert the jar files to prc. It is done on the Treo by the IBM engine. Much nicer!

Have you subscribed to the comments feed?

by Volker Weber

My site does not only have an RSS feed for the latest postings but also a feed that contains the latest comments. Without this feed you will never catch comments as hilarious as this one. Hint: Look at the picture. This thread also collects frequent comments.

Whatever your RSS reader prefers: or

vowe's choice in Instant Messaging

by Volker Weber

Skype has replaced all other networks for instant messaging at vowe's magic flying circus. I do get online in the AIM network once in a while, but Skype is the only client I use all of the time. Interestingly enough I don't use Skype for a lot of phone calls. But the IM experience is superior. I never hit a limit that a message is too long, as I often do in AIM. It transfers small files easily from peer to peer, and it never fails to do so unlike other IM clients.

If you are looking for my online presence, use Skype. Period.

Skype IDs go here.


by Volker Weber

I have finally gotten around to install my complimentary copy of VMware Workstation 5. I nuked Scooter, made a fresh XP install — that takes hours to update to the latest patch level — and installed VMware on top of it. Created a Windows 2000 Prof VM — again hours of updates — then made a clone of it and installed all my accounting software into this VM. After restoring all data into the VM I was ready to reinstall Kermit which used to do all my accounting. It is only fired up once a month and has not been reinstalled for four years. Hey, it's only been used a few dozen times since I got Lucy. ;-)

Today I nuked Kermit and made another fresh XP installation with VMware, moved over the VMs I created yesterday and put Scooter back into the lab. Now I have a clean Windows installation, a clean accounting VM and a clean Windows 2000 Professional image which I can use for software tests. I think I will also create a VM of my Windows XP so I can use that as a template for tests as well. Just for kicks I just created an Ubuntu VM. Make sure you have gcc and the kernel headers installed before installing the VMware tools.

I have a whole bunch of software packages sitting around here, for instance a Windows 2003 server or an Exchange server. In the future they will go into VMs. VMware must be the best invention since ... whatever. :-)


by Volker Weber

How often do you see a claim like this?

by Volker Weber


[via a a comment on this site]

Palm rolls over

by Volker Weber


Windows-Treo exclusive on the Verizon EDVO network. For now. Or more precisely: "Early next year". With Ed Colligan praising Windows Mobile 5.0 as "second to none", Palm will have a hard time selling their other wares. ;-)

Und tschüss

by Volker Weber

Und der Source Code dazu:

<BODY bgcolor="#0000000" onLoad="Initialize()">
<!-- URL's used in the movie--> <!-- text used in the movie--> <!--DSL | ISDN -->

<OBJECT classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" id="start"
<PARAM NAME=movie VALUE="startseite.swf"> <PARAM NAME=quality VALUE=high>
<PARAM NAME=bgcolor VALUE=#000000> <EMBED src="startseite.swf" swLiveconnect=true name=start
quality=high bgcolor=#000000 WIDTH=400 HEIGHT=300 TYPE="application/x-shockwave-flash"



Anycom Bluetooth Headset HS-890

by Volker Weber

hs-890Ich probiere gerade ein anderes Bluetooth Headset aus, das Anycom HS-890. Das Gerät ist deutlich billiger als mein Jabra 250, zeigt aber ganz ähnliche Leistungen. Der Tragekomfort ist prima, es lässt sich sehr leicht auf's Ohr setzen. Je nach der Form des eigenen Ohres kann man es sogar ohne den Bügel tragen, da der Hörer wie ein kleiner Stöpsel im Ohr sitzt. Bisher habe ich das Headset nur mit Skype am iBook benutzt. Das Jabra bleibt jetzt dauerhaft mit dem Handy verbunden.

Anders als auf der Webseite angegeben, hatte mein Headset nur ein Steckernetzteil und nicht den Autolader oder das USB-Ladekabel. Dummerweise verwendet Anycom einen eigenen Stecker statt des mittlerweile häufig anzutreffenden Mini-USB. Von den Spezifikation her (5 V, 400 mA) würde sich das Headset sehr leicht an jedem PC laden lassen, wenn Anycom nicht ein Spezialkabel verlangen würde. Mein Headset ist übrigens schwarz glänzend, ohne den auf dem Bild zu sehenden Schriftzug. Ich habe auch silberne und rosarote Geräte gesehen. Es scheint also einige Auswahl zu geben. :-)

A completely different animal

by Volker Weber

netgearsc101.gifWhen Netgear announced the SC101, I thought they got it all wrong. It was advertised as a SAN (Storage Area Network), while I thought it is a NAS (Network Attached Storage) like my Linksys NSLU2, only with the disks contained within instead of USB connected external disks. It turns out, I was wrong. The SC101 is a completely different animal.

In Munich I talked to people from Zetera who supply the software for Netgear's box. The SC101 is not another computer on the network but instead it is an SoIP (Storage over IP) box. So you do not map a network drive over SMB or mount an NFS drive. Instead you configure the SC101 with a software that comes with the unit and then it attaches to your Windows computer via a miniport driver as a local drive. You can span drives with RAID 0 or you can mirror them with RAID 1, even across several SC101 units.

It works very much like other storage solutions, for a much lower price of course. I have not had the chance to get any performance data, but I am not holding my breath. There is not a lot of CPU power in the box, the drives are attached with IDE interfaces and it connects via 100 Mbit. But it is a very interesting technology.

So far for the good news. The bad news is included above: "it attaches to your Windows computer via a miniport driver". No support for Linux or Mac OS X for now. So it's completely useless for me now.

More >

Sic transit gloria mundi

by Volker Weber

Schlagzeile heute:

Schröder will sich nicht aus dem Amt drängen lassen

Jetzt mal langsam, Gerd. Du warst Bundeskanzler mit einer komfortablen Mehrheit. Dann hast Du ein Misstrauensvotum angestrengt. Du hast die Verfassung verbogen, um Neuwahlen durchzusetzen. Jetzt hast Du keine komfortable Mehrheit mehr. Dumme Sache, was?

Und weiter:

Gerhard Schröder hat sich entschieden: Er werde alles dafür tun, dass ein Bündnis zwischen Union und SPD zustande komme


Niederfrequentes Brummen

by Volker Weber

Mein Drehmomentschlüssel geht nur bis 100Nm.

Wenn ich jetzt eine Mutter mit 117Nm anziehen soll, kann ich dann erstmal mit 100Nm anziehen und dan mit 17Nm nachziehen?

More >

[Danke, Alex]


by Volker Weber

Another Nürburgring video

by Volker Weber


This time it is German racing driver Hans-Joachim Stuck in a BMW M3 GTR race car, twice around the GP track and then around the old Nordschleife. Click the image or download here.

[Thanks, Josh]

Boys need toys

by Volker Weber

I brought this new toy back from Munich. The Netgear MP101 is a client which connects to a media server, either through a wireless connection or a network cable. You hook it up to your stereo as any other Hifi component. The MP101 has a four line display and a remote that you use to control the device. Unfortunately it does not have a web server, so you need to go through this somewhat awkward user interface. Although the display is quite large, you cannot read it from more than 2 meters away. White text on black background might look cool, but black on white would be much more readable.

The network setup is pretty straightforward, if your network broadcasts its SSID. The trouble starts with the media server. Netgear is a very Windows-minded company. I don't blame them for that since they target the consumer market, but it means you have to go through some hoops to install stuff without a Windows machine.

It appears the best solution is the Twonky Mediaserver. It runs on Linux, Mac, Windows and a variety of embedded devices. This server is not tied to a Netgear device but will also serve a lot of other clients. Twonky will not only serve music but also videos and other media, depending on the client device. At 15 Eur it is quite a steal. I am running Twonky on my Linksys NSLU2.

The MP101 was running on version 1.2.11 and I wanted to upgrade to 1.3.7. You put the upgrade ROM on the media server and tell the MP101 to load it. This turned out to be too tricky with Twonky, since I was getting "wrong image size" errors. I quickly installed the Netgear software on a Windows box, placed the image files into the program directory and upgraded. From what I have seen however, you really don't want to run the Netgear Windows software as a media server. Just plan to buy Twonky instead. :-)

If you are running the media server on a computer that already has a media library, it will use it. You can for instance specify the path to your iTunes library and be done with it. Since the NSLU2 isn't maintaining a library I told Twonky to build its own library:


These categories then show up in the "Browse Music" menu on the MP101. The mediaserver understands the ID3 tags inside my MP3 files. As you can see in musicnode4 you can also browse the folder structure. I am not using the playlist feature.

Regular posting commences tomorrow

by Volker Weber

For the time being you have to put up with crappy pictures from a mobile phone. :-) We will have another go at Oktoberfest tonight.

Zwingen Sie Ihre Träume

by Volker Weber

Das war bisher der Beste:

LifeProfit Inc. kann Ihnen helfen, Ihre Traume zu zwingen, sich, bekommend das monatliche Gehalt, das das Internet einwirkt, zu verwirklichen.

Um mit LifeProfit Inc. zu arbeiten, brauchen:

* Ein Bürger Deutschlands zu sein
* das Vorhandensein der Rechnung in der Bank
* die Vereinigung des Computers zum Internet
* ist ein wenig es Ihre freie Zeit

Wie es arbeitet:

Arbeitend für uns wie die Bezahlung, Die den Manager bearbeitet, werden Sie Teil Aus der neuen Tendenz im weltumfassenden Banksystem. Die Pflichten Die Lage ist einfach, und das Einkommen hangt nur von Ihren Bemühungen ab.

Sie Sollen - die Zahlungen der Sendung zwischen unseren Kunden, die Ihr Interesse von jeder Operation bekommen, machen. Hauptsachlich werden es 5 %, mit jeder Sendung, die Ihr Interesse züchten wird. Unsere Kunden bekommen 1000 EURO zu 20000.

LifeProfit Inc. sorgt sich um Ihr Blühen. Machen Sie Ihr Leben besser zusammen mit der LifeProfit Inc.!

Nur für die Wenigen, die das nicht erkennen: Es geht um Geldwäsche aus Phishing-Betrugsfällen.

Gone fishing

by Volker Weber


See you on the other side ...


by Volker Weber

... hat eine schlechte Kamera, ein kaputtes Auto, zieht von Hamburg nach Bonn, findet keine Mitarbeiter und empfielt heute SPD zu wählen. Aber sonst ist er eigentlich ein sehr netter Kerl. ;-)


by Volker Weber

Da organisiert Knallgrau ein Bloggertreffen bei BMW auf der IAA und nun schreibt keiner was. Na, sagen wir mal so: Einer hat schon was geschrieben, aber er will es partout weder veröffentlichen noch anschauen lassen. Merkwürdig.

Update: Hupps, zwei übersehen. Und die erklären auch, warum man nicht so viel liest.

Cars @ IAA

by Volker Weber

Haben Sie Angst?

by Volker Weber

Eine gute Analyse auf SpOn:

Sie war mutig, sie war ehrlich, sie war sogar präzise; kurz gesagt: Sie hat alles falsch gemacht. Sie hat einen Wahlkampf wider die parteitaktische Vernunft geführt. Sie kündigte eine Steuererhöhung an, sie warb für eine Privatisierung der Pflegeversicherung, sie sagte allen Subventionsempfängern, den Nachtarbeitern, den Autofahrern, den Hausbauern, das mit den staatlichen Alimenten künftig nicht mehr zu rechnen sei.

Mal gespannt, wie das ausgeht. Vielleicht zahlt sich Ehrlichkeit doch mehr aus als Kopf in den Sand stecken. Ich finde jedenfalls eine ungeschönten Blick wie diesen besser:

Ein Blick auf die Staatsfinanzen zeigt die Dramatik: Von 190 Steuermilliarden werden 80 Milliarden an die notleidende Rentenkasse überwiesen, über 30 Milliarden Euro fließen an die Arbeitslosen, weitere 40 Milliarden Euro gehören den Banken, nur um die Staatsschuld von gestern bedienen zu können. Der Rest reicht nicht mal aus, die Gehälter des Staatsapparates und den Straßenbau zu bezahlen, so dass immer neue Kredite benötigt werden, damit Deutschland wenigstens so aussieht wie ein prosperierendes Land.

Am Sonntagabend wissen wir mehr.

DJ mobile

by Volker Weber

The power of make-up

by Volker Weber

Now that we have finished our series of IAA pictures, you should remind yourself of the power of make-up.

IBM erhöht die Preise

by Volker Weber

... ab dem 06.10.2005 erhöht IBM die Preise für die Produkte IBM Lotus Domino Enterprise Server und IBM Lotus Domino Messaging Server um 25%. Dabei sind in allen Staffeln Neulizenzen, Renewals und Reinstatement gleichermaßen betroffen.

Ab 11.10.2005 werden ebenfalls die Preise für die Staffeln D bis J um 5% bis 10% erhöht, diese gilt ebenfalls für Neulizenzen, Renewals und Reinstatements. Die Preiserhöhung betrifft alle Softwarebrands (WebSphere, Rational, Lotus, Tivoli und DB2).

Mit anderen Worten: Fragen Sie Ihren freundlichen Business Partner jetzt, wenn Sie noch was einkaufen wollen. Und denken Sie bei den nächsten Wachstumszahlen der IBM daran, dass zweistelliges Umsatzwachstum nicht nur mit der Anzahl verkaufter Lizenzen korreliert.

Mal so richtig krachen lassen

by Volker Weber

Mal so richtig krachen lassen, das befreit. In diesem Falle behinderte und schwer kranke Kinder, die mit der "Hoppetosse" über das Wasser fegen. Der Verein Wings for Handicapped hat mit Sachspenden ein Boot aufgebaut: 250 PS Außenborder von Suzuki, Zugfahrzeug von Mercedes Benz, Boot von Osprey, Sitze von Recaro etc. Damit fährt der Herr links im Bild, selbst seit gut zwei Jahrzehnten auf einen Rollstuhl angewiesen, behinderte Kinder über's Wasser, um ihnen mal ein Erlebnis zu verschaffen, das ihre Grenzen durchbricht. Als aktiver Sportler hat er bereits in der Basketballmannschaft an der Behinderten-Olympiade teilgenommen, 2001 hat er den Bootsführerschein erworben und sich auf Vorstandsebene Unterstützung für dieses Projekt geholt. Während wir uns noch unterhielten, kamen zwei Herren von Rolls Royce mit dem Geldbeutel in der Hand, um zu spenden. Ich habe nicht weiter zugehört, aber ich glaube, da entwickelt sich noch mehr als eine kleine Spende.

Manchmal sind es die kleinen Dinge, die einen erfreuen.

Third day @ IAA

by Volker Weber


Press days are over, the models have been discharged. Time to look for cars. ;-)

Weapons of mass destruction

by Volker Weber

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A suicide bomber lured a crowd of Shi'ite Muslim day laborers to his minivan and blew it up in Baghdad on Wednesday, killing 114 people in the bloodiest of a wave of attacks that took more than 150 lives in the capital.

How many "coalition" troops are currently in Iraq? I'm sure people feel so liberated now.

More >

Was ist jetzt schlimmer?

by Volker Weber

SpOn berichtet:

Das "ARD-Hauptstadtstudio" meldete, es existiere eine detaillierte Sparliste im Bundesfinanzministerium, die ein Sparvolumen von 30 Milliarden Euro pro Jahr vorsehe. Diese Liste sei am 9. August erstellt worden, vier Wochen nach einem Kabinettsbeschluss, der Einsparungen für die Finanzplanung bis zum Jahr 2009 gefordert hatte.

Das scheint mir schon mal ein guter Anfang. Aber wie es weiter heißt:

Ein Sprecher des Bundesfinanzministeriums erwiderte auf die Meldung erneut, die Leitung des Hauses habe nie eine Liste mit Sparvorschlägen zusammenstellen lassen. Der zuständige Staatssekretär und Abteilungsleiter hätten dazu eine dienstliche Erklärung abgegeben und seien auch bereit, einen Eid zu leisten.

Sind die jetzt ernsthaft stolz drauf, nicht sparen zu wollen?

Arcor schon wieder auf Schleichfahrt

by Volker Weber


Einmal ist keinmal. Nun aber geht Arcor schon zum zweiten Mal diese Woche auf Schleichfahrt. Und wie es ausschaut, bin ich wieder nicht der Einzige mit diesem Problem. Was ist da los? Das ging monatelang ohne Probleme.

Bilder vom dritten Tag der IAA fallen deshalb aus. Schaut die alten. Sind ja genug da.

Microsoft copies IBM naming conventions

by Volker Weber

I received my copy of iX today. Page 67 has a Microsoft ad with a kit of two DVDs:

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 June Community Technology Preview Readiness Kit

Further proof that Microsoft is hiring from IBM. ;-)

Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone

by Ragnar Schierholz

Under the label of Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone Yahoo! News will be covering every armed conflict* in the world within one year.

A solo journalist ("SoJo"), Sites will carry a backpack of portable digital technology to shoot, write, edit, and transmit daily reports from nearly every region of the world. You'll be able to follow his endeavor through stories, photos, video and audio, and you'll be able to interact with him. [...] Using the latest technology, including high-definition digital cameras and satellite modems, Kevin will deliver stories via a five-fingered multimedia platform of text, photography, video, audio, and interactive chat - all available on one website (

Interesting project, I'd say. This will definitely go to my news roll.

On Microsoft's midlife crisis

by Volker Weber

Victoria Murphy talks about Microsoft's midlife crisis. I get forwarded this article by Microsoft employees, so there must be some truth in it. I would suggest it is the burden of bureaucracy that is bogging down middle management. "The fix is done in a day, but it takes months to get it to the customer".

Murphy is comparing Microsoft to the IBM of the late 80s. From the outside this is a fair comparison. IBM was dominating the market, and "nobody got fired for specifying IBM". Hated by many of their customers, there simply was no way around them. IBM would have died 5 years later if they had not changed. Microsoft at that time was "cool". If you wanted to get something done from the IBM people in your company you died in paperwork. With the Microsoft model, you got your own PC, your own software, and you wrote things yourself. Yes, at that time there were still lots of other players in the market, but the whole thing ran on DOS, some started using Windows, although it sucked until 3.0 came out.

Fast forward to today. You want to install software on your corporate PC? You go through IT and get sign-offs or, most of the times, you are being told that (a) this is not company standard and (b) you are not allowed to install anything. In many companies you actually can't. And if you can, you may f*ck up DLL hell and then get a spanking new image from IT support and everything you've done in the last year is gone. On your own home PC you get Windows XP Dumbed Down Version. (That is why this page is in my top ten every single day). You need to update your virus signatures daily. You run your own firewall. It takes you more than a day to move from one PC to the next, a feat that takes an hour on a Mac. Microsoft is the new IBM. Hated by many of their customers, there simply was is way around them. Or so it seems.

Google is now the next Microsoft. When was the last time you activated your latest Google product?

You just have to love those sub-headlines

by Volker Weber


Best of Show

by Volker Weber

Second day @ IAA

by Volker Weber


On not being evil

by Volker Weber

I saw a few people mention that some recruiter at Microsoft tried to hire Eric Raymond and what he replied. That may have been a funny story, but I found this part to be much more interesting:

I had my serious, constructive converstation with Microsoft last year, when a midlevel exec named Steven Walli took me out to dinner at OSCON 2004 and asked, in so many words, “How can we not be evil?” And I told him — open up your file formats (including Word and multimedia), support open technical standards instead of sabotaging them, license your patents under royalty-free, paperwork-free terms.

I believe Steve Walli went back to his bosses and told them that truth. He is no longer with Microsoft, and what little he’ll say about it hints that they canned him for trying to change their culture.

This didn’t surprise me. Microsoft’s profit margins require a monopoly lock on the market; thus, they’re stuck with being predatory evil bastards. The moment they stop being predatory evil bastards, their stock price will tank and their options pyramid will crash and it will be all over.

That being the case, negotiation is pointless. Microsoft is not reformable. Jeering at offers like this is actually the most constructive thing we can do.

Let's just wait how Microsoft answers to the decision of Massachusetts to require all software to support open standards. For Office that would be the OASIS OpenDocument format. It is a well established, rich format and it would be a piece of cake to write file filters to that standard and provide an option to set this format as the standard for all Office applications. Either that or Microsoft could try to bully.

Don't judge them by their words. Judge them by what they do.

Mini Traveller Countryman Concept

by Volker Weber


by Volker Weber

Walter says, it's the new black.

Domino startup script für Linux

by Volker Weber

If you are running Domino on Linux you want this. No idea, why IBM does not deliver it. You need to ask Daniel "pretty please" to get it. If I were him, I would just make it available for download.

First day @ IAA

by Volker Weber


Ela, in a Lamborghini Gallardo Spider. Yes, there were some cars, too. :-)

It's in the middle of the night and the bells are ringing

by Volker Weber

I was briefly wondering what is going on. Then I remembered. 61 years ago more than 11,000 people died in one night when this city we live in was destroyed. The bells will be ringing for 25 minutes. That was the duration of the attack.


The building in the front is a church that has been rebuilt. I pass by it almost every single day.

Arcor auf Schleichfahrt

by Volker Weber


Arcor schafft heute nur rund 1 Prozent vom Soll. Und wie es ausschaut, bin ich nicht der Einzige mit diesem Problem.

Update: Heute morgen ist der Netzwerk-Operator aus dem Wochenende gekommen und hat Reset gedrückt. Jetzt geht es wieder.


by Volker Weber

Da hat der Udo wohl Recht:

Wie man es also dreht und wendet, der Amtsinhaber ist Vergangenheit. Eine Stimme für ihn ist nur eine Stimme für die SPD. Die SPD nach Schröder.

Advance to 5:30 - this is where the fun starts

by Volker Weber


iPod generations

by Volker Weber

Woodstock is as big as the leftmost. Then there are 3rd gen, 4th gen, U2, mini, 2x nano (b/w) and shuffle.

Gute Abwehrstrategie

by Volker Weber

Malte schreibt:

Die Frau gestern abend, die mir einen DSL-Zugang von AOL verkaufen wollte (oder irgendwas anderes von AOL), ist tatsächlich mehr als 15 Minuten drangeblieben, nachdem ich ihr erzählte, dass ich noch den Herd ausschalten müsste. Dabei ist der Weg zur Küche gar nicht so lang.

Darauf muss man auch erst mal kommen. Ich habe mir langsam angewöhnt, bei diesen Belästigungen einfach aufzulegen. Es ist aber natürlich viel besser, "Moment bitte" zu sagen und den Hörer einfach daneben zu legen. Hah. Sehr clever.

Build your own iTunes phone

by Volker Weber

So what is all the fuzz about the Motorola ROKR, a.k.a. the iTunes phone? It syncs with iTunes, and it has an iTunes-like MP3 player software on the device. From what I hear, the player on the phone is pretty slow. Nobody will miss that. But it is nice that you drag tracks from iTunes on the phone, when it's connected. That is much nicer than fiddling with directories and files.

Enter SyncTunes. It will let you synchronize one of your playlists and also your podcasts with your phone. It just has to show up as a drive when connected, or you can pop your storage card into any reader you like. This is what it looks like:


There is one thing this does not give you: The option to fill your storage card with random tracks. Other than that it is as good as iTunes in moving files onto the ROCKR. There is a lot of attention to detail in this program, e.g. it removes Mac OS X hidden files from the folders SyncTunes uses on memory cards. Very, very nice. I am going to use this program to sync my Samsung player.

[via Malte]

In search of a Gallery skin

by Volker Weber

I had to upgrade my Gallery installation. Now I am stuck with ugly skins. Gallery was never good looking, but it was ok, when you set everything to black and white. The skins however are all "developer goes designer".

Recently I came across a site that had a wonderful Gallery skin - for download. And I did not download it. Bugger. I think it was a site that linked here, or a person that commented here, or ... I can't remember. So here is my plea:

If you designed a skin for Gallery, please let me know.

Too good to pass

by Volker Weber

I think we had enough Bush-whacking this week, but this picture is too good to pass.

It's "Make your own caption" time

by Volker Weber


Deal breakers

by Volker Weber

Having looked at yesterday's Apple announcement, and thinking over them for a day I conclude that the Motorola ROKR is a dog. Not very capable as a phone, and hampered with a slow and bad interface (His Steveness pressed the wrong button to get out of pause). On top of that it's crippled:

The phone includes a removable 512MB Flash memory chip (found under the battery in the back of the phone). This chip will hold up to 100 tracks but the number of songs it holds isn’t dependant strictly on the size of the chip (though it obviously can’t contain more than 512MB of data). Rather, the 100 track limitation is part of a DRM scheme that prevents the phone from playing more than 100 tracks.

iTunes 5 keeps track of the number of tracks authorized for playback on the phone so even if your 100 tracks have used only 350MB of the card’s capacity, you can’t add more. Similarly, although you can swap in a new card that contains new tracks, those tracks won’t play until they’ve been approved for playback by iTunes.

No 2 gig flash for you. That would hurt iPod sales, eh? Repeat after me: DRM hurts the customer.

The iPod nano in contrast is a hit. No more HD that does not survive a 2 ft drop. My theory is that you will drop everything you operate while walking around. No matter how careful you are, you will eventually drop it. That is why tablet PCs are such a terrible idea. Scoble can peddle them as much as he wants. Forget it. You will eventually drop it, and then it's broken and you are not getting a repair under warranty.

I dropped an iPod and I was lucky that Apple replaced my HD. I dropped it again and magically it did not break. Second time was on a wooden floor. That made all the difference. With the new nano, you no longer need to worry. On top of that it is really gorgeous, does the job and runs for 14 hours on one charge. However, I am not getting one:

According to an Apple representative we spoke with, the new iPod nano can be charged over either a USB 2.0 or FireWire connection, but the nano will sync only over USB 2.0.

Lucy does not have USB 2. And she is the mothership for my iPod. Deal breaker.

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Skype updates Mac version

by Volker Weber

After lots of betas updates the Mac version to

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by Volker Weber


[via fscklog]

Mini icon sets

by Volker Weber

I found those really nice icon sets: Silk and Mini. I briefly considered using them on this site but decided against it. I try to avoid decorations.

A picture says more than a thousand words

by Volker Weber


Apple does it again

by Volker Weber

iPod nano, Motorola ROKR iTunes phone, iTunes 5. This all looks nice. If Apple would not show its ugly sheepish face again.

iTunes 5 once again breaks daapd iTunes. What is daapd? daapd is a lightweight server that runs on a remote box and streams music using Apple's proprietary protocol DAAPD. I have an instance of mt-daapd running on my Linksys NSLU2 silent NAS device. With iTunes 5 it no longer shows up.

Update: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. Apple's and mine. Here is how I fixed the problem:

1. Update mt-daapd to the latest nightly.
2. Delete ~/Library/Preferences/

Step 2 is very important. Otherwise the shared library won't show up. Upon further inspection I discovered this: When you go into the settings, General page and disable the Radio, the shared library will also disappear.


With Radio enabled the daapd server shows up again. iTMS and Podcasts are disabled via "Parental Control".

Free stuff

by Volker Weber

I am a sucker for free stuff. That's why it says on my about page: "If you send me your stuff, I promise to not send it back." So, when I received this email three weeks ago, I could not say no:

St. Martin's Press has just published a Sudoku puzzle book and I'd like to send you a complimentary copy. If you are interested please let me know where to send it.

Today I have this package in my mailbox. It contains not only one, but actually two books: Sudoku Easy and Sudoku Easy To Hard. Here's what the original mail said:

From puzzlemaster and New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz comes sudoku, the new "wordless crossword" puzzle that’s taking the world by storm! Once you start, you won’t want to stop.

That is stretching the truth quite a bit. Sudoku does not come from Will Shortz at all. But he puts his name on the cover. So what do you get? 100 Sudoku puzzles each. A short introduction, but no strategy. Looks fine with me if you want to solve the puzzles while commuting on the train.

Your 15 minutes of fame

by Volker Weber

candid camera

How disappointing, Mr. Reeves

by Volker Weber


A "provocative" story building on an aged Daniel Lyons story? How original. I would have thought there would be something interesting going on at Microsoft. Lyons is to reporting what Radicati is to research: A badly cloaked opinion piece.

You have to do better to earn a link ;-)

... sucht Gleichgesinnte

by Volker Weber

Mobiles Dating mit Personen in der Nähe – MECOMO-Service feiert auf dem Sommerfest der Nachtagenten in München Premiere

Unterschleißheim, 07. September 2005 – Mit DATE.nexTOme, dem neuen Location Based Service von MECOMO, wird eine neue Ära des Flirtens eingeläutet: Kontakte zu Menschen, die das Gleiche wollen und sich darüber hinaus auch in der Nähe aufhalten. Deshalb kann man sich auch sofort treffen – sofern es beide wünschen. Der Dienst erspart dem suchenden Single unter Umständen Frust und viele „Körbe“. Im Gegensatz zu klassischen Partnerbörsen geht es nicht um das Vermitteln von Lebenspartnerschaften, sondern um das spontane Erlebnis der Teilnehmer in unmittelbarer Umgebung. DATE.nexTOme differenziert sich damit deutlich von anderen mobilen Kontaktdiensten, die keinen oder nur einen diffusen Ortsbezug haben. Darüber hinaus bringt DATE.nexTOme reale Personen in Verbindung, da bei diesem Dienst nicht mit virtuellen Kontakten über CallCenter gearbeitet wird.

"Wir freuen uns mit diesem Dienst eine echte Neuheit anbieten zu können, die es Menschen ermöglicht, Kontakte dort zu finden, wo sie gerade sind", sagt Stefan Heimerl, Vorstandsvorsitzender der MECOMO AG. "Beim Dating von zu Hause über den eigenen PC kann man sich typischerweise nicht sofort treffen. Mit DATE.nexTOme ist der Flirtpartner in der Nähe - einem spontanen Treffen steht also nichts im Weg!"

DATE.nexTOme ist ein Dienst für Menschen, die Gleichgesinnte finden wollen und bei Sympathie auch im wirklichen Leben treffen können.

Mannmannmann. Das ist aber eine lange Umschreibung für Willzeficken.

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Not my birthday cake

by Volker Weber



by Volker Weber

Was IBM so alles wissen will:


[Danke, Maik]

Migrating data from external disk to iBook

by Volker Weber

Snoopy has a new harddisk after the old one crashed. Did a fresh Tiger install. Now migrating user account, application and files from the backup disk.

Update: All nice and dandy now. The iBook is snappy as new. When a disk goes bad, it slows down the computer considerably. At first you think it is the software, but it is actually the hardware that needs to read sectors a number of times. Of course it also helped to do a fresh install. Now files are no longer fragmented. vowe is a happy camper.

Life as a referee

by Volker Weber


Don't know what to say

by Volker Weber


The new wiki is chasing the old one

by Volker Weber


Neue Fahrzeugpapiere

by Volker Weber

Das war mir neu:

Wer ab dem 4. Oktober ein neues Fahrzeug anmeldet oder ein gebrauchtes umschreiben lässt, erhält die neuen EU-einheitlichen Fahrzeugpapiere ausgehändigt. Wie der ADAC meldet, gibt es dann statt Kfz-Brief und Kfz-Schein die zweiteilige Zulassungsbescheinigung. Teil 1 entspricht dem bisherigen Kfz-Schein und ist vom Fahrer mitzuführen, Teil 2 ersetzt den heute üblichen Kfz-Brief. Damit wurde in Deutschland eine EU-Richtlinie aus dem Jahr 1999 umgesetzt. Eine Umtauschpflicht für Altfahrzeuge gibt es nicht.

Why is it so hard to just tell it as it is?

by Volker Weber

From the Notes/Domino forum:

Some of the IBM Lotus Notes/Domino 7 and Extended Products GA files have been temporarily removed from the download site in order to correct a problem with the distribution site. They will be back online soon (within a couple of days). Those who have downloaded the ND7 GA product already should download and install the restored files, once they are available, in order to ensure they've received a properly distributed product. A notice will be posted in this forum when the download files are back online. We apologize for this inconvenience.

WTF? "... in order to correct a problem with the distribution site". Yeah, right. Both the Partnerworld and PassportAdvantage sites have a problem. With exactly the same files. It cannot be the files themselves. No way. It must be the distribution sites. For sure.

Hire some Germans.


by Volker Weber


Was ist hier falsch?

Inner Peace

by Volker Weber

This just in via IM:

Following a simple advice that I have read in a book of the Dalai Lama, I have finally found inner peace.The step of the book said: "One way in order to catch up the inner peace consists in carrying out all the things that we have started".

Therefore I have watched around, in my house, in order to see all the things that I had begun and left half a way. Before going to work, this morning, I have ended one bottle of Barolo, one of Pampero, one flask of Grappa and the Vodka, the Prozac, four grams of Pakistany, 0.5 gram of coke and one package of mozzarella cheese.

You have no idea how well I feel with myself now...

A picture says more than a thousand words

by Volker Weber

The wiki has moved

by Volker Weber

We have migrated the Usemod wiki to MoinMoin. Stefan did all the hard work. Some pages need editing but for now we have it working.

While the old wiki had to be locked down to protect it from spam, I try to open the new one once again. The only thing you need to do is to create a login. Look at the top of the screen. The smartest choice for a login name is your full name in CamelCase. Mine is VolkerWeber, not vowe.

And don't worry, no link is lost. works just as well as

How do I backup an iBook?

by Volker Weber

I think I am losing the harddisk in my iBook. The system is very unresponsive, the disk is operating all the time and when I tilt the iBook it emits very loud and nasty sounds. I first thought that this was a fan, but it turns out that it develops quite some gyro forces when making those noises.

I will turn the machine in Monday. Before I do that I would like to backup as much of the disk as possible. What is the best software to do that? It should not stop copying when it hits a sector/file it cannot read.

Update: This is going much better than expected. Carbon Copy Cloner at work:


Quote of the day

by Volker Weber

I heard about a woman giving birth on a pavement on the side of the street. It's amazing what people do to stay alive.
—Female (!) reporter on CNN

It keeps you wondering

by Volker Weber

I just heard on CNN that one of the aids from Europe the US adminstration is asking for is oil. Why is that? To keep the price of gas down in the US. Let's do some quick math. I believe the price is hitting 3 US$ a gallon in the US. Google tells me that 1 gallon is 3.78 litres and $3 is 2.42 Eur. That would be 2.42 Eur/ 3.78 litre = 0.64 Eur a litre.

In Germany gas sells for 1.40 to 1.60 Eur a litre. That is $6.55 to $7.49 a gallon.

Notes 7 disappeared from PassportAdvantage

by Volker Weber

Still available on Partnerworld. Does anybody know what is going on?

The mayor of New Orleans has had it

by Volker Weber

Listen to this this interview with WWL (3.2 MB .mp3). No idea how long this will stay up.

Klappt das noch mal?

by Volker Weber

SpOn titelt:

US-Nothilfe - Schröder nimmt Koordination selbst in die Hand

Gerd, Flutopfer in USA wählen nicht in Deutschland.

Please help me understand this

by Volker Weber

When the WTC towers collapsed you could see people walking over the bridges out of Manhattan. When the tube was closed down in London, people started walking. But when I look at the pictures from News Orleans, I see people sitting in front of the convention center doing absolutely nothing. They are throwing around their trash, they don't try to organize clean areas and dirty ones, they are not walking out over the bridge that happens to be right in front of the convention center.

Is that because people in New York and London knew that they were walking home or is it that these people need to be told what to do? Why can't they take their life into their own hands and walk out of there?

Update Friday 12:47 CEST: Here is why people are at the convention center. Police is obviously not letting them out. Unbelievable!

Supply and demand

by Volker Weber

With gas prices skyrocketing Americans are starting to look for smaller cars.

E-Plus hat es kapiert

by Volker Weber


Während sich die Kollegen bemühen, VoIP zu blockieren*, kooperiert E-Plus mit Skype und bringt als erster Anbieter eine mobile Flatrate (Preisliste). Das erinnert mich an die arrogante Aussage von T zur CeBIT, die Zeit sei noch nicht reif für eine mobile Flatrate. Ein halbes Jahr später scheint sich das geändert zu haben.

*) Bevor jemand zu euphorisch wird: Auch E-Plus blockiert SIP-Traffic. Skype ist also drin, die anderen draußen.

[Dank an Malte für den Hinweis auf die Pressekonferenz]

Et tu, Brute?

by Volker Weber

I take the liberty to remove comments that do not follow my very simple rules: You need to enter your real name and an email I can respond to. This is hard to get, especially for my fellow countrymen. Sometimes it so happens that I also remove comments to protect the guilty. This comment would have been the only Google hit for this person:

A new comment has been posted on your blog vowe dot net, on entry #6263
(Katrina disaster relief).

IP Address:
Name: xxxxxxx xxxxxxxx
Email Address: (yeah, right)


Donating? Why?

Have you forgotten the deliberated insults and the threats shouted from 'gods own country' to 'old europe'? Have you forgotten the 'don't bother us' reactions in the course of the Iraq invasion? Yes, of cause there are some people in trouble. But sorry, I can't donate. I haven't forgotten.

Let me help you a little bit with something that happened 60 years ago. This organisation helped to protect both of my parents from starvation. That was after some "deliberated insults" which put millions and millions of people to death. There are real people behind an organisation like this. People who could forget, people who could donate. Their hearts had not died. As yours has.

Thanks for listening.

Treo 650 now stable again

by Volker Weber

treo650gsm.jpgTreo #5 arrived last week. I synced all the data back in, installed the most important apps and inserted SD card and GSM chip. After one week of continous operation it has not crashed once. However, it has only been running as a backup phone, since I am still running my phone number through the Nokia 9300.

A quick run-up what has happened so far. Treo #1 was a pre-production unit that I used until the final Treo 650 shipped. All subsequent units where from the same batch. After the Treo was announced I switched to #2 which always served me well. There were some issues with VersaMail that went away with the firmware upgrade, but other than that everything was smooth sailing.

Then Treo #2 started developing a problem with the keyboard. The space key would not work all of the time. Instead of having the unit repaired, it was being replaced with #3. That's where the problem started. It kept rebooting when waking up. Within a few days #4 replaced #3 but the problem did not go away. I tried all kinds of remedies but none worked.

I was getting a little wary of the Treo and switched to using the Nokia instead. However it did not make any sense to let this situation go unresolved. I hoped I would be able to recover #2 but that has gone missing in all the swaps. Finally Timm volunteered to swap #4 with #5, a unit he had been using for the same time I had used #2.

So it does not really come as a surprise that this Treo now works as well as #2 did for months.

Old archive pages

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


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