June 2006

Searching photos with Riya

by Esther Schindler

Nominally, this is a conflict of interest since I'm pointing to an article/video on my own site. But maybe if I disclose that first, it'll be okay.

DevSource.com has had a whole bunch of video interviews over the last few months. The last one is only vaguely related to software development, but it's interesting simply because the technology discussed is innovative.

I saw the CEO of Riya demo his stuff at the DEMO conference in February, and he certainly deserved the accolades. Riya lets you search inside photos, and its indexing is context based. For example, I take two photos of, say, Vowe at a bar. The first one is head-on; in the second, he's turned away from the camera, or he's moving, or the beer mug is in front of his face. An ordinary online search might figure out the first image but it wouldn't get the second. As a human, I'd recognize both photos as Vowe, in part because they were taken two minutes apart and he's wearing the same bright green shirt. That's what Riya does, too.

Anyway, the DevSource interview goes into a bunch more detail, and it's pretty cool. This link goes to an introductory article first, before you click to load up Windows media player.


by Ragnar Schierholz

Bitte bis zum Spiel heute Nachmittag einstudieren: Argentinien Goodbye :-)

Gone fishing

by Volker Weber


Ceci n'est pas un blog

by Volker Weber

Felix hat's kapiert:

ich bin nicht dick, ich sehe nur so aus.
dies ist kein blog, es sieht nur so aus.

RSS newsreader for Series 60

by Volker Weber

nokianewsreader1.png nokianewsreader2.png nokianewsreader3.png 

It was always there, right under our nose, an RSS reader for Series 60 phones like the Lenovo P930, Nokia N70, Nokia N90, Nokia 6682, Nokia 6681, Nokia 6680 and Nokia 6630. Go get it.

Neulich im Café

by Volker Weber

Nr. 1: "Habbich der Sista angecheckt, dass sie mich fett lecken kann."
Nr. 2 (gespannt) "Und Sie, abgespackt?"
Nr. 1: "Hat auf Volume gemacht. Ich hab mir voll den ass weggeroflt, Alter. Hat sie nicht gecheckt."
Nr. 2: "Wie geil ist das denn? Voll Porno!"

More >

[Danke, Oliver]

Beobachtungen am Morgen

by Volker Weber

  1. Wenn man zu einer Konferenz erscheint, dann kann es durchaus sein, dass die gar nicht stattfindet. Auch wenn man angemeldet ist und die Konferenz immer noch beworben wird.
  2. Wenn einem in der eigenen Straße ein Audi entgegen kommt, dann kann man damit rechnen, dass der Fahrer sein Lenkrad keinen Millimeter dreht, auch wenn eine Kollision droht.
  3. Wenn man sich einer Rechts-vor-Links-Kreuzung nähert, an der schon zwei junge Damen in ihren Corsa eingetroffen sind, dann kann man beruhigt weiter fahren. Auch 15 Sekunden später sind sie noch nicht zu einer Entscheidung gekommen, wer jetzt zuerst dran ist.

iSync 2.3 and Nokia 9300

by Volker Weber

With 10.4.7 Apple has updated iSync to version 2.3. Good news: They now support the Nokia 9300i. Bad news: They do not support the Nokia 9300. Small difference, one might think. Well, it isn't. Instead of using their own iSync agent on the phone, Apple is now syncing via SyncML. Novamedia has plugins which should work with the Nokia 9300. But they don't. I diligently followed their instructions, three times, to no avail:

If anybody else finds the secret handshake, let me know. Meanwhile I am a happy camper with the N70.

Update: Novamedia says that the old S60 agent leaves dangling pointers everywhere, so you need to format the memory. Although I did remove the agent before making a backup, I think there are still residues in the backup messing up the OS. I have now flattened the 9300 storage without a restore. This times it works.

iSync works after flattening the 9300 memory

And yes, I took the liberty to replace the ugly Novamedia icon with a 9300i.

It's "Make your own caption" time

by Volker Weber


Do. Not. Move. OK?

by Volker Weber


[via Daily WTF]

Update your N70 Opera browser to version 8.6

by Volker Weber

Johnny Max wrote a short review about his new Nokia N70 and mentioned that you can update the preloaded Opera 8.01 with a current 8.6 release. What a change. The new one even supports RSS feeds:

n70opera861.png n70opera862.png

You can download the new browser directly from your phone and install it right there. Highly recommended.

Great photographers on the Internet

by Volker Weber

I don't want to give it away. Read it yourself. Hilarious.

[via Haiko]

How much is one Notes seat per month

by Volker Weber

This seems to be pretty easy* question, doesn't it? I only need a rough estimate of what people are paying right now. It does not need to be as low as it can, or as precise as possible. I just need a rough estimate.

What should the price include? All software licensing, the server(s), mail storage, administration, second level support. Not user help desk, not the PCs, no install. 500 users, so I assume, we are fine with one server cluster.

*) You would not believe which global services company cannot come up with a number.

MacBook: First impressions

by Volker Weber

There is a new Mac in the house. But before we get to that ...

Yesterday I was in a huge notebook showroom in Darmstadt. They had four Apple notebooks on display: 17" and 15" MacBook Pro, white and black 13" MacBook. You will be surprised how big this store is, and how much stuff they have on display. The sticker prices look pretty good, but beware if you want to upgrade. They were asking 399 Eur for 2 GB of RAM in the MacBook and 129 Euro for an HD upgrade from 60 to 80 GB. I laughed in their face and the price for the memory was down to 199 Eur with the blink of an eye. I don't like this style of business.

Since I was looking for a 13" MacBook there was one question: black or white. While I would go for the white one for practical purposes, the black one is not only 150 Eur more expensive, it also looks and feels more expensive. The matte finish does not look and feel like plastic at all.

I did not buy one yesterday, since I knew there was a black one already on the way to vowe's magic flying circus. I will have to return it in two weeks, but for now I have plenty of time to play with it:


First impression: I like it. I like it a lot. The glossy screen does not bother me at all, and I can adjust to the keyboard very quickly. However, the return key is too small for me. I am only concerned with one thing: Heat. It does get hot, but not where I balance it. So I may be happy with out. Just need a few more days to decide on that. I will keep you posted.

It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to move from one Mac to the other. You simply put the old on in Firewire target mode, turning it into an expensive external hard disk, and then you let the new install pull all your data and applications from the old one. I was up and ready in an hour, without even looking after the process. Compare this to Windows, where you need days to move your stuff over. I would never accept an offer to test drive a Windows machine, but with a Mac it is a no brainer.

Which way?

by Ragnar Schierholz

Kids were asked: "In which direction is this bus driving, left or right?"

Do you know?

More >

Site abuse

by Volker Weber

If you are running a site like this you will face a lot of abuse. There are now almost a thousand attempts to post spam comments every single day, up 100 % from last month. Trackback spam is probably not better.

Then you have abusive spiders like this one. They come in lying about their identity, so you already know what's going on. This particular one originates from in Dallas, TX:

Abusive robot

I have already blocked the same bot when he came in as and I must assume this is only the beginning. It has already adjusted to my threshold of maximum 15 page requests per minute.

One of these days, when I am tired of these jerks, I will just shut the site down.

Voices of the people

by Cem Basman

According to the world’s largest ever organized public opinion poll, the 1999 Gallup International sponsored and conducted Millennium Survey of 57,000 adults in 60 countries, as it was quoted in the Millennium Report of the UN in March 2000, the global survey delivered among other results an astonishing fact:

In most countries the majority said their elections were free and fair.

Despite this, two thirds of all respondents considered that their country was not governed by the will of the people. This opinion held even in some of the oldest democracies in the world.

Uh? I have two theories about this:

Theory 1: You dumb.
Theory 2: They clever.

Stan Rogers needs help

by Volker Weber

If you have been in the Notes community for more than a few months, you know Stan Rogers. If you ever asked anything on Notes.net, chances are that Stan helped you. Now it's your turn. Stan needs your help. Now.

Update: It looks like we have a job for him. Does anybody have any good contact details?

Update: We have established contact with Stan. I trust that all will be well soon. Thanks for all your support. On a side note, revisit Stan's site, read the comments, and find one of only two persons permanently barred from commenting on vowe.net.

[via Ben]

Quote of the day

by Volker Weber

The three things you can’t fake are erections, competence and creativity.

Amen. But you only want to hire me for competence and creativity. ;-)

They'll pry Lotus Notes out of my cold, dead hands

by Esther Schindler

If that's your attitude, maybe we should talk.

During Microsoft TechEd, I got in a conversation with someone who spoke wistfully of Lotus Notes, which she clearly loved. She worked in a huge company, so big that her "just a tiny set of Notes users left" was 500 people.

Somehow, Notes has drifted from the "every enterprise runs it, of course" application to a niche product for an ever-diminishing user base. I haven't used Notes in years, and when I did it was (as for most publishers) primarily a bloated e-mail client rather than a powerful application for business workflow. (The Tech editors at Sm@rt Reseller used Notes to track story; eWEEK used an Excel spreadsheet.) Yet, it's obvious from my TechEd chat that Notes is still much loved, even if a company has moved on to other (if not greater) things — the way most professional writers speak of WordPerfect 5.1.

So I'm thinking of writing an article about Notes Loyalists... or at least those who wish they could be. (This is meant to be a "there's life in the old gal yet" article rather than the sort of article that uses the word "beleaguered.") Unfortunately, I'm not in any Notes discussion communities (I don't even know where to find 'em). Since I know that vowe still has a Notes gang hanging around him... hey, anybody want to help me out?

Update: The story is online now. [vowe]

The national sport of the U.S.: throwing a fit

by Esther Schindler

A minor league baseball manager rather, er, objects to the umpire's ruling. (An umpire is essentially a referee; there's one at each base.) Be sure to watch the video; It's quite entertaining.

"I thought the strike was over," Mikulik later told the Herald-Leader. "When will the real umpires show up? That's what I want to know. ... I just wish the umpire's association would train their young men to have a personality. I could get two mannequins at Sears and umpire better than what I saw this whole series."

More >

Inspirational Quote

by Cem Basman

Kathy Sierra at Training Directors Forum:

"You can't kick butt if you have no depth."

[Source Jay Cross]

Standard spin

by Volker Weber

IBM announces integration into Microsoft office:

"With today's announcement, we are giving Microsoft customers the choice to join the open standards world and avoid being locked into closed solutions," said Michael Rhodin

Which open standards? Sametime uses a proprietary protocol. Or has IBM decided to move to XMPP?

This I find interesting:

Location-based Awareness: Lotus Sametime 7.5 is the only enterprise instant messaging platform to offer advanced location awareness.

How does this work? I assume the user says where he is, and this information is displayed on other Sametime clients. Does it discover known locations by itself, like Plazes does?

The "New Germany"

by Cem Basman

The Sunday Times from London about the German football team after the match against Sweden on saturday in Munich:

So here it is: vibrant, young, anarchic, brilliant. But some things are archetypal. Germany are advancing through a tournament and growing with every game.

Nice to hear from the Brits that we didn't pull our tanks out from the bunkers again ...

However, if the 1954 world championships initiated the German "Wirtschaftswunder", than the 2006 championships seem to form a new positive and overall national feeling in Germany. Even if you were not born in this country.

Yesterday in the early morning I saw an african couple with black-red-golden wigs happily wiping the wet floors of our supermarket. Turks across my apartment have decorated their doner kebab shop in German colors and were shouting and jumping at every German goal. In the afternoon after the match there was a special victory parade with loud honking cars - all of them with wild screaming Chinese drivers and passengers waving the German flag!

At last maybe we will be one nation - regardless of who will win the world cup. And I hope this will last after the finals, too. BTW, of course I have decorated my balcony with a giant German flag ... [Berlin, Berlin, wir fahren nach Berlin!]

Posting from Textmate

by Volker Weber


I am sure you cannot ignore this text, even if I ask you to. So I am not asking. But you can still ignore it. :-)

Preissenkungen bei Amazon

by Volker Weber

[Danke, Christian]

BumpTop 3D Desktop Prototype

by Volker Weber

More >

[Thanks, Alex]

Sync your Sony PSP with your Mac

by Volker Weber

The Sony Playstation Portable may very well be the coolest mobile device in existence. It lets you play great games, watch full-screen video and sports one of the best mobile web browsers out there. That's nice and all, but it's capable of so much more! The Missing Sync for Sony PSP turns your PSP into a killer mobile media and information center by downloading web sites, bookmarks, videos, and important life information, such as your contacts, notes, tasks and calendar events, from your Mac. Easily. Automatically. With style. Read on to learn more.

An amazing set of features. Not free, but well worth the $30 they are asking.

More >

Nice flagpole

by Volker Weber

Sametime 7.5 Beta 2 client available for download

by Volker Weber

Bruce mentioned that Chris blogged about a Sametime 7.5 demo site. You have to register and then you can download the current beta 2 client for Sametime 7.5.

I have not really done anything other than adding four buddies and one chat, but Sametime is holding 71.82 MB physical memory and 535.22 MB virtual memory while running 28 threads. Skype is at 20.79 MB physical, 221.74 virtual with 14 threads.

Sametime 7.5 add buddy

The "Add New Contact" dialog definitely needs a lot of work, but the buddy list looks almost ok. Only the font in the "Contacts" header isn't looking too good. Also note that the last character in Adam's name is cropped.

Sametime 7.5 buddy list

Compare with this Skype buddy list to get an idea of how a well rendered client should look like:

Skype buddy list

Mike Rhodin told me that Lotus now operates in "design first" mode. So maybe it's the implementation that is lacking. :-)

Sametime 7.5 preferences

Weird link of the day department

by Volker Weber

Nintendo DS Lite: First looks

by Volker Weber

nintendo ds lite

Ed couriered my Nintendo DS Lite from Chicago to Dublin last week. He brought it to the pub where we met on Thursday, and I almost forgot it in the burger joint where we had a quick dinner after all the restaurants had already closed down. Luckily we were all standing outside for a minute before leaving, so one of the staff brought it out to me.

Back at the hotel I tried Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training for the first time. After having three Guinness my score was not to bad: 48 years (exactly my physical age). If I would not have had so many difficulties with the speech recognition, I would have scored even higher. I learned the trick pretty quickly: You have to speak at a low volume to improve recognition.

However, I was expecting better results than that, since I usually score pretty high on brain tests. After training for four days, I just took another test, scoring one minute and five seconds on the color test, 57 seconds on the 1..120 test, and 17/30 on the memory test:


25 years. Wow. :-)

A Wiki in one file

by Volker Weber


Ben just told me about TiddlyWiki:

Because TiddlyWiki is a single HTML file, you've actually already downloaded the entire software just by viewing this site. If you want to be able to SaveChanges, you can save your own blank TiddlyWiki to your local drive by right clicking on this link to empty.html and selecting 'Save link as...' or 'Save target as...'. You can choose where to save the file, and what to call it (but make sure that it's saved in HTML format and with an HTML extension).

More >

Things I learned in Ireland

by Volker Weber

The Irish people are not only very friendly, they are also much smarter than the Germans. At first you don't notice the difference when you are going out with your friends at night. The pubs are completely crowded, lots of people are meeting and everybody is having a jolly good time. And then it hits you: You can breathe freely. No smoking at all. Ireland has passed a law banning smoking in pubs and restaurants two years ago, and now a huge majority supports it. In Germany this discussion has only just started and you hear statements like this on public TV:

Natürlich ist es in einer Bierkneipe völlig absurd, ein Rauchverbot zu verhängen.

In Ireland even the smokers like the regulation. Why is that? It's the perfect chance to meet somebody. You just wait until somebody steps out, and then you follow him/her. ;-)

In contrast to what the tobacco lobbyists scare tactics say, business is up. This is no surprise to me since the air in pubs and restaurants is now owned by everybody and not by the "tolerant" smokers.

Back home

by Volker Weber

Back from the Irish Notes User Group meeting in Dublin. If you have not been there, shame on you. Paul and Eileen have put an incredible amount of time into the event, and they have been wonderful hosts. Many of the speakers were the usual suspects that you will find speaking at Lotusphere and other events, where you have to hand over hundreds of dollars to attend. This event however was completely free, thanks to the sponsors. IBM even paid for free lunch. If you did not attend, that was a big mistake.

I am very happy that I made it. And this is not because I had to attend the sessions, but because of the wonderful hospitality and friendship. Thank you, Paul. And thank you all who will find themselves on these pictures. For now you may want to go to the front page, so you won't miss the captions. ;-)

I forgot to bring business cards — I hardly ever need them anymore — but I had exactly one. Dropped it into a bucket, and then won an iPod. It was pretty clear who would get it:

Google calendar in Safari

by Volker Weber

Google Calender now supports Safari as the third browser besides Internet Explorer and Firefox.

More >

It's "Make your own caption" time

by Volker Weber

Duffbert explaining exception handling. What happens if drinkWater fails. :-)

Ray takes over from Bill

by Volker Weber

The company's chief technical officer, Ray Ozzie, will immediately assume the title of chief software architect and begin working side by side with Gates on all technical architecture and product oversight responsibilities.

More >

[Thanks, Thomas]

Extreme clamping

by Volker Weber

Gone ... ehm ... fishing

by Volker Weber

I can receive email. Also find me on Jabber/Google Talk as volker dot weber at gmail dot com.

Brothers in arms

by Volker Weber

Thomas Gumz is an engineer. An engineer builds stuff. Just because he can. Like a Domino Administrator running in a browser which looks and acts the same as a native application. An application written in DHTML and Javascript with an asynchronous data link to the server. Web 2.0 people call this Ajax. IBM calls it WebAdmin.nsf.

Damien Katz is an engineer. An engineer builds stuff. Just because he can. Like a stand-alone document store, accessible via XML REST. Ad-hoc and schema-free with a flat address space. Distributed, featuring robust, incremental replication with bi-directional conflict detection and resolution. Query-able and index-able, featuring a table oriented reporting engine with a simplified formula query language. Damien calls it CouchDb.

Thomas and Damien used to work for Iris Associates, a subsidiary of Lotus. Iris is no more. It's now an IBM lab, it is still building Notes, and Thomas is still working there. Not Damien though. He is working on his database engine.

Engineers build stuff. Just because they can. Sometimes they need managerial oversight. Otherwise they won't finish stuff until it's perfect. Which it never is. But sometimes they also look after each other. Like Thomas looking after Damien.

Today Thomas gives Damien CouchDb.com. And CouchDb.net. And CouchDb.org. Damien does not know this yet. OK, now he does. ;-)

Hello seven

by Volker Weber


I created a little widget for WidSets, and it is already being used by seven people. Woo hoo. I mean, it's not really work. :-)

Update: Also try out the other one. There is a lot more action in the comments.

From my inbox

by Volker Weber

In reference to this post, I received a little email today — from IBM:

I can barely contain my pleasure at seeing your post on the future (or lack thereof.. ) of Workplace. ... Volker - you are amazing where you get your information. The source where IBM gets it first. ... Always accurate - always the truth.

So where do I get my information? I talk to people, people talk to me. You get a little bit of information here, you ask somebody else, you get some more, and over time you get into the picture. There is no magic. Just a large network. The information is all there, but you can't get to it easily. The corporate world is a lot like China — only much smaller.

vowe's rule of observation: If you are on a cruise, you have to leave the ship to actually see it.

It's "Make your own caption" time

by Volker Weber


WidSets revisited

by Volker Weber

I have been using the WidSets for one day now, and I am deeply impressed. The interface is slick and very, very fast. They run on my Nokia N70, and probably on many other Java-enabled phones with MIDP 2.0.

I have used up 250 kB in the last 24 hours and that includes the initial install. 160 kB of that traffic was generated in the first hour. So I am pretty sure that this software will not run up a huge traffic bill. I also think that it works in a WAP-only environment, since I can connect through my WAP APN just fine. Still waiting for confirmation on that.

The WidSets do not run on a Blackberry device, but I believe this is only a minor issue that can be resolved with some assistance from the Blackberry community. The Blackberry reports that the JAR file does not have the correct format, which leads me to believe that a serious BB developer may be able to fix the deliverable pretty quickly. Talk to the WidSets folks. It's very well worth it!

Workplace dead, parts are still alive

by Volker Weber

Workplace Collaboration Services is a product that few people understand. With that I mean IBM people. Outside the company you will be hard pressed to find anybody who can explain it. And then, ask them to explain the technical differences to Workplace Services Express.

Now it looks like I will soon have to retire this t-shirt. A little birdie tells me that the next version will be called Cold Dead Fish Advanced Components, sorry, WebSphere Portal Advanced Components. And that is exactly what it is — stuff that runs within Websphere Portal. Let's hope it will run in the current version of Portal, which is about to go to 6.0.

Update: Another little birdie tells me, it might also be called Services instead of Components. Also watch out for magically disappearing products formerly sailing under the Workplace brand.

Another update: Surjit is no longer VP of Marketing at Lotus. You have to learn an (old) new name: Marjorie Tenzer, formerly Vice President WW Software Group Channel and SMB Marketing.

marjorie tenzer

Navman iCN 720: Installing additional maps

by Volker Weber

So far my experience with the iCN720 has been stellar. I prefer it over any other navigation system I have used so far. And yes, that includes TomTom.

Now I have set to install more maps than the pre-installed maps for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The unit comes with desktop software for Windows and a set of 3 CDs with maps of Europe. Good news: This set includes Ireland which does not seem to be available for TomTom.

Installation main menu

First you get to select a language (german in this case) then you install the desktop software. The iCN720 runs on a Mobile Windows kernel, so it uses ActiveSync to connect to the desktop. Installation went like a breeze, but registering the device ended up on a blank web page.

Not really there yet

You will find that the Navman page is a bit over-designed and under-organized. The marketing material for the 700 series is pretty good, but the shop and support areas are not. Anyway, this is the desktop software called SmartST:

Navman SmartST desktop

The yellow maps are pre-installed on the device, whereas the light blue ones need to be installed from CD. (full size screenshot) This is where the big disappointment starts. Light blue maps are on your CDs, but you have to register them in order to be able to install them. Then they will show up in green. Not a problem you think. The manual says on page 84:

Enter the Map Product Key from the back of the enclosed CD box when prompted. Your computer will connect to the Internet and activate your Map Product Key. When activation has completed, the map will change colour to light green; continue to step 6.

The trouble is, there is no CD box. They come in white sleeves. My current understanding is that this works as designed. You have to buy the additional maps that are advertised to be in the box.

At first I thought the only difference between the iCN720 and the iCN750 is that the latter has all maps pre-installed on its hard disk, whereas you install maps on the iCN720 as you need them. Big mistake! If you take into account that the street price for the 750 is only 80 Euro more than the 720, the iCN720 looks like a very bad deal.

Here is a challenge: Buy the map of Ireland online.

Update: Navman was unable to send a map key on time, so the iCN720 is not travelling to Ireland.

Shaolin Soccer (Trailer)

by Cem Basman

Looking for the über RSS reader for your mobile phone?

by Volker Weber

widsets1.png widsets2.png widsets3.png

Which phones support WidSets? The rule of thumb is that you'll need to have a mobile that supports Java (most mobiles sold in the last couple years fit this description) and it will have to be able to connect to the Internet. It should also have a color display that is bigger than a stamp. As a summary:

So here is my initial setup. Fifa World Cup, BBC, The Register, Spiegel and Tagesschau, two vowe.net feeds, two weather reports for Dublin and Frankfurt.


More >

Der Tag danach

by Cem Basman

Ich gebe zu, ich bin seit einiger Zeit passionierter Hörbuch-Fan. Es gibt nichts beruhigenderes beim Autofahren als die angenehme Stimme eines Vorlesers und eine interessante Geschichte. Diesmal ein Sachbuch. Deutsche Biografien. Nicht für jedermann.

Der Tag danach - Vom Verlust der Macht und dem Ende einer Liebe, vom schnellen Tod und von einem neuen Leben. Recherchiert, aufgezeichnet und gesprochen von Michael Jürgs, vielfach ausgezeichneter Journalist und ehemals Chefredakteur von »Stern« und »Tempo«.

Aus dem Prolog:

Jeder Mensch reagiert auf seine besondere Weise, wenn auf einmal nichts mehr so ist, wie es gestern noch war. Es gibt für solche Wendepunkte im Leben keine Formeln, es gibt keine Regeln, es gibt auch keine Erfahrungen von anderen, denen so etwas schon passiert ist, mit denen sich etwas anfangen ließe in dem Moment,wenn es einem selbst passiert.

Die Tage davor sind einfacher zu beschreiben, denn an denen ist etwas Bestimmtes geschehen, und das lässt sich an Fakten und Menschen entlang beschreiben: Wenn das Gerüst, das ihre Welt zusammenhielt, zerbricht und sich ihr Innerstes nach außen kehrt.Wenn sichtbar wird, was bisher verborgen war: Gefühle. Wunden. Narben. Stimmungen.

Die einen nehmen als Zufall, was ihnen widerfährt, und die anderen nur als Unfall. Manche fallen um und stehen nie wieder auf. Manche stehen danach aufrecht wie noch nie,obwohl sie gebrochen schienen. Manche schütteln sich nur kurz und machen ungebrochen einfach weiter, als sei nichts geschehen. Manche nutzen die Chance, endlich das zu leben, was sie bislang nur träumten.

Es gibt Tage, da muss man sowas hören. Mehr zu Michael Jürgs.

High on my shopping list

by Volker Weber


Now that I have the game all I need is the console. The DS Lite came out today in the US, but in Germany we will have to wait another two weeks ...

Update: Ed bought one for me — yes, I paid him :-) — and there is only two more days until I have it.

Sunday Morning Sex

by Volker Weber

This just in:

I will never hear church bells ringing again without smiling...

Upon hearing that her elderly grandfather had just passed away, Katie went straight to her grandparent's house to visit her 95-year-old grandmother and comfort her. When she asked how her grandfather had died, her grandmother replied, "He had a heart attack while we were making love on Sunday morning."

Horrified, Katie told her grandmother that 2 people nearly 100-years-old having sex would surely be asking for trouble.

"Oh no, my dear," replied granny. "Many years ago, realizing our advanced age, we figured out the best time to do it was when the church bells would start to ring. It was just the right rhythm. Nice and slow and even. Nothing too strenuous, simply in on the Ding and out on the Dong."

She paused to wipe away a tear, and continued, "He'd still be alive if the ice cream truck hadn't come along."

[Thanks, Schweppes]

What's the Problem Web 2.0 Seeks to Resolve?

by Volker Weber

While researching for an upcoming article in c't, I came across this posting by Michael Sampson:

I think that Web 2.0 can resolve five interlinked business problems: onsite application maintenance, business user frustrations, cross-organizational system nightmares, desktop upgrade issues, and simpler approaches to collaboration.

More >

Das Leben ist schön

by Volker Weber

Sie gehört zu meinen Lieblingsgeschichten, die Anekdote von der Senkung der Arbeitsmoral. Und ich finde, heute ist der perfekte Tag, sie zu erzählen.

God is a DJ

by Volker Weber

Overheard in New York

by Volker Weber

80% of Divorces Start This Way

Man: Do you want fries?
Woman: No, I'll eat yours.

--Times Square

More >

Software for administrators, from administrators

by Volker Weber

Installing software on a Mac is very different from installing software on Windows. You get exactly one icon that you can place anywhere, typically into the /Applications folder. Since this icon isn't really one file but rather a directory that is declared as a "bundle" you need to wrap it up into a Mac file system which understands what a bundle is. You do this by creating a drive image (.dmg). When a user double clicks a .dmg file, it will automatically mount into the file system and open a window like this:

As you can see, the software vendor has placed two icons into the image. One is containing a bundle, the other one is a link to the /Applications directory. Then there is a background image with a logo and instructions. You drop the left icon on the right icon. You double click the right icon and load the application. Simple, isn't it?

It is too simple for IBM. There has to be a way to make this more complicated. And there is:

Launch the install program (st75_beta2_connectclient_mac.command) to extract the Sametime Connect application .dmg file to a directory of your choice.
Launch the .dmg file to create a virtual drive on the Desktop.
Open the virtual drive and drag the Sametime folder from there to your Applications folder.
Go to the new copy of the Sametime folder and launch the Sametime application.

So they built an "install program" which wraps the drive image into a script. If the user downloads that file via ftp however, this script will not be executable. And Mac OS X will not run it. Game over. Of course you can open a shell and issue these simple commands:

chmod +x st75_beta2_connectclient_mac.command

But (a) how many Mac users who are not administrators know this and (b) why bother in the first place? Drive images can be compressed, they can even display oodles of pages with legalese before opening and if that is not complicated enough, you can gzip them. Mac OS X knows how to uncompress a .dmg.gz.

Who dreams up this stuff at IBM?

Now, THIS is an Adsense Cheque!

by Cem Basman

Adsense Cheque

More >

A very much belated congratulation

by Volker Weber

Since his feed was not working in my reader, I missed the announcement that Michael and Katrina have their seventh child. And as Michael once told me, there is always room for more.

Who is the next Emmanuel Goldstein?

by Volker Weber

Bin Laden elusive, Hussein behind bars, Zarqawi dead. Bush needs a new Emmanuel Goldstein to keep the population afraid of "them".


by Volker Weber

Yahoo berichtet:

... in China stehen zehn Milliarden Menschen nachts auf ...

"Insgesamt 32 Milliarden Zuschauer weltweit" werde die FIFA WM 2006 haben, verkündete FIFA-Chef Sepp Blatter bei der Eröffnung des TV-Zentrums.

Das ist eine recht wundersame Entwicklung. Anfang des Jahres lebten nur ca. 6.5 Milliarden Menschen. Wo kommen die alle auf einmal her?

Keeping track of the World Cup

by Volker Weber

Germany 2006 is an application for managing the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006. With this program you can view the match schedule, save the final score, show both groups and second stage table, build statistics and you can also update the results on-line.

Freeware. Works on Windows, Mac and Linux.

More >

Are you a football fanatic? Then Palm's got the perfect application for you. Football 2006 lets you keep tabs on all the teams, matches and scores day in and day out. And if you have a wireless Internet connection, you can keep the info updated in real-time.

Freeware. Works on Palm OS.

More >


Kein Entrinnen

by Volker Weber

Man beachte den Link hinter "Neu!".

File formats

by Volker Weber

Simon complains about Google:

No ODF? Very disappointing. Not A Team Player.

He also links to Ovum:

t's a pity that Google has not taken this opportunity to use ODF for importing and exporting spreadsheets. While this open standard does not have much traction yet, support from an organisation such as Google would give it a significant boost.

Exactly. The standard does not have much traction, and Google does not care so much about the standard. They care about their users. Chances are, that most users today prefer XLS over ODF. And there is nothing that would prevent Google from supporting ODF later in the beta.

What I find very stupid however is when a company creates their own private format today. Like Apple does with Pages and Keynote. They would be much better off using ODF than living in their own small world.

Lotus Greenhouse

by Volker Weber

Welcome to Lotus Greenhouse - This is where you will experience new technologies under development by the Lotus Software team. We encourage you to explore, provide feedback and become an extended member of our development team. We'll handle the back-end hosting so that you can focus, not on configuring and deploying, but using. We're interested in your comments, feedback and reviews as well as any bugs you may find.

Not much going on yet, but you may want to bookmark and revisit later. Depending on your browser, the exact url and the phase of the moon, the site isn't really working yet:

No workie

Apparently we are a bit early. Update: Now they are mucking around on the live production server:

IBM building on the live production site

More >

[via Ben]

Jetzt geht's lo-hos

by Volker Weber

[Danke, Alper]

Bullshit detection and clue procurement

by Volker Weber

I made a small change to my openBC* profile:


Bullshit detection is so easy. Usually everybody knows the b/s already. But they are afraid to talk about it. Clue procurement is much harder. There are people who won't listen. On the other hand, those would also never ask for my services. :-)

On a related note: A new customer calls today. Smart move! Can I help them? Yes, I can. Do I need a contract? No.** Customer sends fax. I say thank you, but I really did not need it. It turns out he needs it. Not a problem.

Corollary: I never called for work. Work calls me. Don't ever feel intimidated to ask for my service. Yes, I can be hired. And you will never see any customer references here. There is one exception: Speaking at a public event.

*) Still not a member? Be my guest.

**) Trust me, you never want to be on my bad side.

[Hat tip to Karen Hobert for "clue procurement"]

Google browser sync

by Volker Weber

Google Browser Sync for Firefox is an extension that continuously synchronizes your browser settings - including bookmarks, history, persistent cookies, and saved passwords - across your computers. It also allows you to restore open tabs and windows across different machines and browser sessions.

You can only run one Firefox at a time. It's apparently not easy to build a sync mechanism, let alone replication. This would be no-brainer in Notes, and it is interesting to see how other people struggle with the concept.

More >

Spam 400 or why comment moderation does not work

by Volker Weber

Just looked at my statistics and found out that I am receiving more than 400 comments a day. Only about 10 percent of those are posted by readers. The rest never even sees my inbox, let alone being published.

Keep your comments coming. We need to maintain a good percentage of real comments. :-)

Massage capital of the world

by Cem Basman

In connection with this, it's not only true for the U.S. but the whole western world, too:

There are some who see the decline of science and technology as part of a larger cultural decay. A country that once adhered to a Puritan ethic of delayed gratification has become one that revels in instant pleasures. We're losing interest in the basics—math, manufacturing, hard work, savings—and becoming a postindustrial society that specializes in consumption and leisure. "More people will graduate in the United States in 2006 with sports-exercise degrees than electrical-engineering degrees," says Immelt*. "So, if we want to be the massage capital of the world, we're well on our way."

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*Jeffrey Immelt is CEO of GE

On Simple Human Decency

by Volker Weber

I am therefore led to wonder what the common citizen is allowed to "say" anymore, in print or otherwise, and still feel reasonably sure that some indignant team of G-men, or else a pair of gung-ho local screws, will not drag him away to a detention center, there to act out, with the detainee as a prop, that familiar scene in which one hero cop or another is patriotically unable to resist certain outbursts against the detainee and what were once imagined to be the detainee's constitutional rights.

More >

Beautiful balls

by Cem Basman

Amazing footballs

German artist, bora.herke, has created 32 footballs representing each of the qualifying countries in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The cultural references in each are perhaps a little clichéd and in some instances a touch offensive (I'm sure Sweden has more to offer the world than Ikea) but together they are a nice collection and have merited some shelf space at the Colette store in Paris.

[via 30gms]

Zwanzig Jahre später

by Volker Weber

Wir haben für die Vergabe von unserer Kundennummern einen Bereich von 1-99999. Aktuell sind wir bei der Nummer 96000. Es ist also nötig, dass wir den Nummernkreis aufbohren; oder hast Du eine andere Idee?

Wenn wir den Schlüssel um eine Stelle verlängern, steht er in 200 Jahren schon wieder auf der Matte.

Spot three errors on this map

by Volker Weber

[Thanks, Dietmar]

Angela Merkel - die Kanzlerin direkt

by Volker Weber

Frau Merkel

Politik anschaulich machen und erklären. Mit "Video-on-demand" erläutert die Bundeskanzlerin ihre Politik. Am Vorabend der Fußball-Weltmeisterschaft fällt der Startschuss für den Video-Podcast "Angela Merkel - die Kanzlerin direkt" Die Video-Botschaften können ab dem 8. Juni auf der Website der Bundeskanzlerin abgerufen oder bei den bekannten Podcast-Portalen abonniert werden.

Trailer >

More >

Navman iCN720: First impressions

by Volker Weber

Wow. What a big box. The iCN720 arrived today, and the package is really, really big. As is the unit itself. It weighs a hefty 294 g, whereas the iCN520 is only 166 g. And this is a problem, as you will see later.

When the unit boots from a cold start, you get to select your language and then it presents a short introduction. You can switch off both, so you are not bothered again later. The widescreen is fantastic, and so is the software itself. What an improvement over the 520. The map display is wonderful, and the instructions are very timely and precise ("Take the second left", "In 400 meters you have reached your destination to the left").

I took a few NavPix, and this is my favorite lunchtime spot. If you download the original size, you will find the geo coordinates embedded into the picture. Upload the photo to your device and you are ready to navigate there.

When I reviewed the iCN520 I complained about the confusing inputs. There was a thumb wheel, a 5-way-navigator, a touch screen and a pen. This is all gone. You have five buttons and a touch screen. They are all a different size so you can operate them without looking. The first two lead you to the nearest gas station or parking lot. The third button opens the home screen, the fourth one displays the "Goto" screen, and the fifth button will toggle the map display between its various modes. Nice. Very nice.

On the top of the device there is the on/off button and the shutter button for the camera. If you press this button while the device is navigating, you get to the camera screen. There you can take pictures and quickly return to the navigation screen as needed.

Now what about the weight? Well, it does make the device feel expensive, which it is. But it also poses a problem for the screen mount. It is not easy to support this weight 10 cm away from the windshield with just a suction cup and a bit of plastic. Depending on the car's suspension (and there isn't much comfort in our cars), the device starts to move about. After a bit of shaking it started to fold downwards. Tightening the screw then broke the joint:

Broken mount for Navman iCN720

This isn't really a problem since the iCN720 sits nicely on my center console. And with the new GPS it has no difficulties picking up the satellites even if it is not looking out the window.

I know, I'm bad. I break things. But I only do it so that you don't have to. And I have done it before.

Update: The GPS is so good that it actually gets a fix in my living room. Can you believe that? Ok, the room has three windows, but they have shades, the room is on the second floor, and there are three story houses (3 + roof) around me. Unbelievable. My current theory is that it can pick up signals bounced off the other houses.

Mindjet releases mind mapping product for the Mac

by Volker Weber

Mindjet releases their MindManager 6 Mac. At $229 it is pretty expensive, so I will probably continue to use the open source program Freemind. In Germany Mindjet charges 199 EUR + 16 % MWSt = 230.84 EUR = $298.85.

[via Bruce]

New Navman review coming up

by Volker Weber

iCN720 Front

Navman is going to send me a new navigation system to try out and review. As you can see in the picture above, the software has been completely revised and provides for a much cleaner interface. The unit also has a GPS receiver based on SIRFstar III, which should make it get a fix much faster than the iCN520 I have been using so far. The new device comes in two flavors: the iCN720 and the iCN750. They both look the same, but the 750 model comes with a hard disk and maps for Europe* pre-installed. That is the one I want, but there currently is 'only' a 720 available, so that is what I will be looking at first.

Besides the much welcome upgrade to a cleaner display and a SIRFstar III GPS, there is an interesting feature which only Navman provides. The device has a 1.3 megapixel camera, which lets you take pictures with embedded GPS coordinates:

iCN720 Back with Camera

You can send those pictures to other people who can upload them to their devices to be used as navigation targets. Much better than writing down geo coordinates or street addresses.


Once I have the device, I am going to shoot some better pictures and post them, but as you can see above, the GPS data is readable by the Preview application in Mac OS X. It's a good thing that Navman is simply following a standard while implementing a unique feature.

*) The Navman website is in pretty bad shape. It is full of sloppy errors and you get conflicting information about what is included in the box. The 720 seems to come with European maps on a CD but it is unclear whether you get the keys to unlock them, or whether that is a separate purchase. Since I want to go to Ireland next week, a map would be nice. :-)

German Lessons for World Cup Visitors

by Volker Weber

[Thanks, Dietmar]

Google to offer spreadsheet service

by Volker Weber


Watch your clock tonight

by Volker Weber


vowe goes to Ireland

by Volker Weber


OK, Paul, I give up. You can't pose as a sponsor, and then don't attend. :-)

So, who else is coming?

How about you? The event is free. You only need to pay your way to get there.

Indian Wisdom from the Workbenches (Update)

by Cem Basman

IT Outsourcing - two sides of the coin: Vivek Seal, 23, is a technology reporter for Global Services based in New Delhi, India, blogs as a guest at Rogers Cadenhead's Workbench:

I just wanna ask one thing: If some American company invents a machine that can replace 100 laborers working in India, does it mean that the Indian company should not buy that machine which is economical and efficient? Just because the situation is the other way around, there is a such a hue and cry about it -- that we should make a policy to retrain those displaced and provide them employment.

Good point, Vivek. But some Americans didn't see it the same way.

Update: There was too much controversy about Vivek's guest postings. The blog owner Rogers Cadenhead says: "Outsourcing: Not Safe for Work - I've taken Workbench back from Vivek Seal" ... But don't forget: The world is flat, Rogers.

Quote of the day

by Volker Weber

Don't put the power on until you know you never have to take it off.
Sir Jackie Stewart on Top Gear

Gartner Report: ISO Approval of OASIS OpenDocument Is a Blow to Microsoft

by Volker Weber

International standards bodies' unanimous approval of ISO/IEC 26300 moves OASIS OpenDocument Format to being the official XML document format. It is now unlikely that ISO will adopt Microsoft's Open XML document format.

More >

Breite Schlappen

by Volker Weber

Photographed and edited with Nokia N70

The Extreme Diet Coke & Mentos Experiments

by Volker Weber

What happens when you combine 200 liters of Diet Coke and over 500 Mentos mints? It's amazing and completely insane.

The first part of this video demonstrates a simple geyser, and the second part shows just how extreme it can get. Over one hundred jets of soda fly into the air in less than three minutes.

It's a hysterical and spectacular mint-powered version of the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas, brought to you by the mad scientists at EepyBird.com.

Watch the video >

100 pictures tell more than 100,000 words

by Volker Weber

Photographs of residents in their flats in Hong Kong's oldest public housing estate. Amazing pictures by Michael Wolf.

ThePirateBay.org is back

by Volker Weber

Pirates under attack

ThePirateBay.org was taken down by a police raid three days ago. Now the site is back.


Russia is next on the list to gets its laws twisted by the US administration.

Why there are no trackbacks at vowe.net

by Volker Weber


I switched them off last year, since more than 99% were spam. There you have it. You can stop asking.

Quote of the day

by Volker Weber

What's really strange is when a company lifts good ideas and makes them worse, not better.
— Scot Finnie in 20 Things You Won't Like About Windows Vista

Vista mobile

by Volker Weber

Some interesting data from a CNET review of Windows Vista. Task: Play a DVD on an Acer TravelMate 8200 and measure the battery rundown time. Here are the results:

Aero is the version of Vista that tries to look as nice as OS X. The other two use the familiar style. If Microsoft uses the remaining time to innovate even more, they may be able to lower battery life to under one hour. :-)

Lotus Hannover demo

by Volker Weber

IBM has posted a Lotus Hannover demo on their demo site.

[via urs]

It's "Make your own caption" time

by Volker Weber


Serious games

by Volker Weber

I was attending the GameDays 2006 conference. It tries to build a bridge between science and gaming. There were lots of interesting sessions today, and since I am not an expert in this area, I had a tons of questions.

Marko Hein (Nintendo Germany) was one of the speakers I enjoyed most. His session was entertaining as ever. And after thinking about this for a while, I believe that Nintendo is about to change many things we take for granted with computer games. If you look at their upcoming Wii offering you will see that they are moving to a design that resembles Apple's consumer gear. They are building a revolutionary controller that is going to provide new interesting ways to interact with computer games (Watch the trailer).

At last year's conference Marko previewed a game, that was going to be a huge success: Nintendogs. Today he talked about a game, that I find even more exciting. It is already available in the US as Brain Age, but it will only be released in Germany a week from now as Gehirn Jogging. This game is addressing a completely new audience. You have to see it to believe how good it is. Or you can just trust me and get one. And while we are talking about the Nintendo DS, the new DS Lite is so much nicer than the old one.

I asked Marko to send me one, and if he does follow up, I will let you know of my first hand experience.

Das Rad neu erfunden...

by Ragnar Schierholz

Der Verband der Deutschen Verkehrsunternehme (VDV) hat lt. computerwoche.de das Rad neu erfunden, es allerdings nicht ganz rund gemacht. Bei einem auf 2 Jahre angesetzten Feldversuch können Fahrgäste des ÖPNV in (u.a.) Essen, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Nürnberg, Ulm, Wuppertal sowie dem Vogtland nach einer Registrierung mittels eines J2ME-Clients oder teils auch per SMS ihre Fahrscheine bestellen.

Weshalb ist das Rad neu erfunden? Weil's das schon gibt, nämlich in (u.a.) Köln/Bonn, Gera, Hamburg, Osnabrück, etc. und nicht von SBS, sondern von MyHandyTicket. Nur, dass man da nicht kostenpflichtig per J2ME-Client bzw. SMS bestellt, sondern kostenfrei per 0800-Nummer. Da muss ich mir natürlich keinen Client installieren.

More >

Viral? No, not really.

by Volker Weber

Date: 1. Juni 2006 05:01:04 MESZ
To: vowe@vowe.de
Subject: Viral Marketing?

I have to share this with you, as it makes me laugh.

We have a couple of Apple stores here in Ohio, and we always make it a point to stop in whenever we are in the area. This past weekend, we were in Columbus, OH, and made it to the store in the Easton Town Center. A few weeks prior to that, we were in the one in Legacy Village. As the rest of the family looks at the iPods/iMacs/MacBooks, I run around the store changing the web browsers to vowe.net. Every one of them (except for the MacBooks - those are hard to get to, as everyone is crowded around them).

I am still laughing at this "viral marketing." I hope that you get some traffic from those Apple stores. :-)

I would not call this viral. But it definitely is insidious. ;-)

How to delete a shortcut in 7 easy steps

by Volker Weber

Windows Vista is supposed to be more secure than Windows XP. It asks permission before doing something potentially 'dangerous'. Multiple times. Such as deleting an unwanted shortcut from your desktop. Here is what happens.

Old vowe.net archive pages

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


Paypal vowe