September 2006


by Volker Weber

I have had the pleasure to test quite a few phones in the last weeks, some of them new, some of them even unreleased in the german market, amongst them the Treo 750v. I have also used all recent BlackBerrys, from the 72xx series, the 8700v, the 8707v, the 8700g, the 7130g, to the 8100 a.k.a. the Pearl. Since I occasionally post some quick reviews on this site, I have been asked by many people which device they should get for themselves. This is a hard question to answer.

What I can tell you however is what I am carrying in my pocket.

More >

What a beautiful day

by Volker Weber

I cannot remember a last day in September with a weather as nice as today. We were out and about all day. And this is the result. :-)

OS X Version 10.4.8

by Volker Weber

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your software update.

Notes/Domino 7.0.2 - Is it or isn't it out?

by Bruce Elgort


Notes/Domino 7.0.2 just showed up on Lotus Passport. Note the absence of Designer and Administrator.

While we are talking about 7.0.2 check out Chris's review of Nomad.

Kollege testet Vista

by Volker Weber

Zwischenstand: 1:0 für Vista

It's iLife and iWork update time

by Bruce Elgort

Apple released a bunch of updates for iLife 06 and iWork 06 today:

All of these update address compatibility with Aperture 1.5 which was recently released. The update to iPhoto contains new calendar, greeting card, and postcard themes for use with Apple print services, including a variety of holiday card designs.

Ken sent me

by Volker Weber

Does anybody remember that passphrase from Leisure Suit Larry? :-)

Anyway, Ken Bisconti said:

You will see the name Workplace being pulled from products and being shown as a strategy and direction.

I would go a bit further. Try to find Workplace Messaging under any name for instance. Look for Collaboration Services under WebSphere Portal.

Updating the BlackBerry Pearl

by Volker Weber

Toasting a new firmware on a mobile phone always make me nervous. Will the upgrade succeed or will I brick the device, rendering it an expensive paper weight?

There have been two things bothering me with the Pearl, and both have been fixed with the firmware:

  1. When receiving a call, it took a few seconds after pushing the green button until the other person was able to hear me. This is a big problem since the caller does not know you have answered the phone. You keep saying "hello" a number of times until you have established that you can hear each other.
  2. The trackball was muting the phone ringing. This has been widely reported, but it did not actually affect me. I have had no case that I did not hear the phone ringing because of this defect. Still I was a bit uneasy that it might happen so I am glad to have this new firmware on the device.

When you try to download the firmware, you will find that RIM only lists a Rogers version. This is not a problem. Download the package, stop Desktop Manager, run the installer, then remove the vendor.xml file. Load Desktop Manager and it should ask you to upgrade the phone.

I also edited the BlackBerry.alx file and removed the _vendor tag from the Vodafone Today theme. I think this is the most elegant and functional theme for the BlackBerry. Isn't it funny, that we tried hard to remove carrier branding from our phones just last year, and that this year, Vodafone has come up with branding that you actually want?

IBM/Lenovo battery recall

by Volker Weber

Lenovo and IBM join Apple, Dell, Panasonic and Toshiba to recall another 500,000 Sony batteries:

Lenovo and IBM Corporation, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and other regulatory agencies, have announced the voluntary recall of certain lithium-ion batteries manufactured by Sony Corporation.

More >

Gute Analyse

by Volker Weber

Andreas Nölting: Die Abwrackprämie

7.0.2 (not) coming tomorrow

by Volker Weber

Update: A ship-stopping bug was discovered and the release was postponed to next week.
Update: The ship-stopping bug turned out to be not-ship-stopping, which we now call a NSSSSB (not-ship-stopping ship-stop bug). Say this ten times in a row.

Here is some information from IBM regarding the 7.0.2 maintenance release of Notes and Domino.

Tomorrow <strike>Next week</strike> Tomorrow it will become available (in English only) as an "electronic software delivery", read: for download. Media and documentation will be available on November, 10th. And more surprisingly the multi-lingual (including the German) version does not become available before December 15th. That is more than 10 weeks after the English version. Why does it take so long?

As an update to the Mac client, the announcement says it will be released in December 2006 in English, and "early 2007" in multi-lingual.

While most of the document is factual, I question this part:

To help address customer concerns about cost of ownership, the highly popular Lotus Domino Smart Upgrade capability has improved.

Highly popular? I don't know a single customer who uses this feature. They all have software delivery at the operating system level. User desktops are locked down to not require administrative privileges. In this environment, the Smart Upgrade feature was not so smart, since it required administrator access. I understand this is being fixed:

By adding a feature known as "Run as Admin," administrators can prepare a Lotus Notes client installation kit that includes a prepackaged Microsoft Windows account with administrator privileges. This lets an administrator upgrade a desktop that is completely locked down.

We will see if more people raise their hands in the future when asked if they use Smart Upgrade. On the other hand, if the desktop is locked down, those people must have a mechanism to deliver updates to Office and other software packages. Why use another one?

I think this feature is going to be popular with power users:

The ability to import iCal based calendars directly to the Lotus Notes calendar — This feature provides you with the option of subscribing to iCal-standard published calendars and having key dates added directly to their Lotus Notes calendar

A question to beta testers: Does it copy the iCal into your Notes calendar? If it does, how do you unsubscribe, and how does it handle changing dates in the original subscription? I am asking because the other iCal capable calendar tools keep all iCals separate and only overlay them on the screen.


by Volker Weber

What an amazing video.

[via Christian]

And now for something completely different

by Volker Weber

Fleshbot's sex toy of the week. What a statement.

[via boing boing]

iTunes 7.0.1 available

by Volker Weber

This must have been one of the most anticipated software fixes ever. And Apple is being informative as usual:

iTunes 7.0.1 addresses stability and performance issues with Cover Flow, CD importing, iPod syncing, and more.

And more. Right.

Das schweigende Klassenzimmer

by Volker Weber

Felix macht mich auf einen Beitrag in einer Frontal21-Sendung aufmerksam:

Es geht um Schüler, die 1956 in der DDR mit 5 Minuten Schweigen eine ganze Lawine losgetreten haben. Eine, aus heutiger Sicht, fast unglaubliche Geschichte, die viel über ihre Zeit sagt.

Hier die Story:,1872,3981415,00.html

In der rechten Marginalie findest Du einen Videostream der Sendung.

In der Tat sehr sehenswert.

Notes/Domino 7.0.2 Feed Generator

by Bruce Elgort

Notes/Domino 7.0.2 Beta 2 includes an RSS Feed Generator template that allows you to easily publish RSS feeds from any of your databases. The template publishes all of the feeds you setup from a single database. This is accomplished by generating the feeds via an agent on-the-fly. Each feed is setup using an RSS Feed Definition document which uses an existing view in your database to generate the feed.

I have tested the basic functionality provided in the 7.0.2 Beta 2 and will walk you through the steps on how to create a feed.

More >

PocketMac 4 coming up - and it is looking good

by Volker Weber

PocketMac 4

A contributor to the Blackberry Forums has leaked an email with the download link for PocketMac 4 (beta). I could not help downloading and installing the file, and I am quite impressed. Many of the limitations of the old 3.x client are gone. You can now sync both the home and work address, you can set a default calendar for non-categorized entries created on the BlackBerry (read: you dont have to live in the PocketMac calendar) and it does support the BlackBerry Pearl. Finally I have my data on the Pearl and can use it as my primary phone.

Good news for Notes/Mac users with a BIS account. PocketMac lets you sync directly with Notes 6.5 and later.

The final release of this product is imminent. And as I understand, you will still get it for free.

More >

Lotusphere session proposals

by Volker Weber

There are good and bad problems to have. Ed has a good one:

In the infrastructure track which I manage, we've had over 200 submissions -- for 50 speaking slots. The toughest part is that so many of them are good!

If I may make a suggestion: Chose the odd ones, the one most surprising, with the deepest technical content possible. Stuff that people will be talking about even weeks after the conference.

And: Speakers in tuxedos and kilts must be accepted.

New editor at vowe's magic flying circus

by Volker Weber

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome our new fellow editor Bruce Elgort. As a founder of OpenNTF he does not need a lot of introduction. Like other editors he has his own blog, he is busy producing podcasts, and he still finds the time to post occasionally on I am happy to have him on board.

Silence your PC

by Bruce Elgort

Most PC's that you now see on-line and in stores are built from inexpensive, readily available parts. Fans, power supplies, hard drives and other components when placed in a metal enclosure can add up to a lot of noise. Also consider people who use PC's for podcasting, recording studios, libraries and other situations that demand a "noise free" environment. During a recent project I was working on I had the need to locate a PC that emitted little or no noise and what I found was EndPCNoise located right in my neighborhood.

EndPCNoise specializes in providing "quiet" PC components in addition to full fledged solutions for digital audio and media enthusiasts as well as custom built "quiet" PC's. Silent PC's do come at a hefty price starting at (US) $1,869.00 for their Digital Home Audio System. Systems are also available in rack mountable configurations for professional home recording studios.

So if you have the need for a quiet PC may have the system or components you are looking for.

Streaming to Airport Express without iTunes

by Volker Weber

Mark Ehmann tells me he wants to send music from djay to his Apple Airport Express, a feature currently only available in iTunes. And that he has found a solution:

Airfoil from Rogues Amoeba lets you send audio from any source to an AirPort Express, from Windows and Mac OS X. Get it here >

Mercedes Mixed Tape 14 is out

by Volker Weber


15 free tracks from Amplivibes, Betty Schön & Band, ChinChin Allstars, Driftkikker, Foley, Lady Sa', Lamp (JPN), Magic Arm, Marsmobil, Midian, Mikrofisch, Muet, Napolitano Lounge Connection, Seven & Eightysix, and Standec.

More >

[Thanks, Claude]

Compare for size

by Volker Weber

I posted a few quick and blurry photos of various smartphones on Flickr to give you an idea of how small the Pearl is compared to other contemporary phones. You will also see that the Palm Treo 750 will have a hard time competing with the BlackBerrys. The 8707 has a better keyboard and the 8100 is way smaller, while they all have a similar function set.

More >


by Volker Weber

Seen in front of the edcom office. Photo taken with Nokia N70.

Notes beta for Macintosh coming soon, misses the 7.0.2 boat

by Volker Weber

IBM wants to release a (public) beta of the Mac Notes client by the end of next week. That would coincide with the full release of the 7.0.2 version. As expected, the Mac version is not going to make it into this release. From what I hear, it still needs a lot of work.

Blackberry Pearl browser supports RSS feeds

by Volker Weber

4.2 browser

The Pearl seems to be the first 4.2 device and as such has a new browser which supports RSS feeds in offline mode and with automatic refresh. Woohoo.

More >

BlackBerry 8800 pictures

by Volker Weber


While I am still digesting the 8100, Engadget Mobile has published pictures of the 8700 successor. All three of them show the same control layout as the Pearl, without the camera on the back. One of them has a Quertz layout and displays Edge connectivity. This would hint at a german T-Mobile device. One other shows the same Vodafone theme as the 8707. And yet another one has the same glossy finish as the Pearl.

The thumbwheel days are coming to an end.

iTunes does not add downloaded artwork to files

by Volker Weber

Thomas had recently authorized my computer to use his iTunes account. Today I noticed that the Sonos controller would not show artwork downloaded by iTunes 7 from the iTunes store. So I performed a quick test: Copy the files from the iTunes directory, remove them in iTunes and add them from the copy. No album art !

I conclude that iTunes does not add the album art to the songs itself but only to the iTunes/Album Artwork folder. This renders this iTunes feature completely useless. Worse, it makes files appear to have artwork embedded, when they actually don't.

Mobile Travel Assist, S60 Edition

by Volker Weber

S60Navman00.jpg S60Navman01.jpg S60Navman02.jpg
S60Navman03.jpg S60Navman04.jpg S60Navman05.jpg
S60Navman06.jpg S60Navman07.jpg S60Navman08.jpg

I have been waiting to tell you about this software for quite a while. Navman has a new Series 60 application which lets you navigate using your standard Symbian phone. Today I have tried it with my Nokia N70 and I was very impressed. You can see some screenshots above. (No, I wasn't driving.)
navman b10
Navman is not the first company to bring onboard navigation to mobile phones, but what an entry this is. My (still in bea) package consists of a 512 MB Mini-SD card and the Navman B10 GPS receiver. I have tried a lot of those receivers lately, and the B10 is the first one I like:

The software runs nicely on my N70, it does not drain the battery quickly when I used it for three hours today. Navigation was flawless, with excellent instructions in a somewhat metallic voice. So far I have only selected waypoints by address, but you can also use the Navpix feature found in other Navman units like the recently announced N-series and the iCN720/750. It uses the Nokia camera to take a VGA picture which it geocodes with Lat/Long from the GPS receiver:

navman navpix

You can send the picture onward via MMS to direct others to the place where you currently are. Or you can use them as bookmarks of where you were.

So far I have been unable to retrieve addresses from the Nokia address book, but that may be due to bugs in the beta version. The feature is there, it simply did not work as I expected. The map on my SD card is supplied by NAVTEQ as are the POIs.

Next week I shall have the final version.

New Lotus product

by Volker Weber

Seen in front of the 100zehn office. Photo taken with BlackBerry Pearl.

BlackBerry Pearl: First impressions

by Volker Weber

We are no longer in Blackberryland. This thing looks and feels like a regular mobile phone. Light and thin as a RAZR, you can easily put it away in a shirt pocket. And it loves finger prints. Shiny, shiny.

The trackball is OK, but I am still a trackwheel user. It will take a while to get used to. If the light sensor thinks that it is dark enough, the trackball will light up. Hence the pearl. I find the new menu and escape buttons really handy. The software has been improved in many respects, for instance the two-line message list which works better than the single line list on the 7130. Menus don't show all options but you can select Full Menu to see them all.

I have had my usual difficulties to get the device connected to my account. The first unit had already been registered and I could not book it into my BIS account. The second one was free, but O2 did not recognize it as a device it liked. I sent mail to the mothership, and RIM wizards made it work.

One obstacle is holding me up: PocketMac does not recognize the Pearl ("BlackBerry Pearl Support Coming Soon"). And one thing strikes me as odd: The Pearl has a camera, but you cannot send your photos by mail. Isn't that strange?

Get well soon, Richard Hammond

by Volker Weber

Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond is improving but remains seriously ill in hospital after he crashed a jet-powered car during filming for the BBC show.

I just love to watch this show, and Richard is such a nice presenter. I hope he gets well soon.

More >

[via Ben, who needs some birthday greetings :-)] restored

by Volker Weber

I had a freak accident in the database yesterday when I hit the quota of my web hosting. With the help of Stefan I have moved my images off the server, and 1&1 has restored my database as of 21:46 yesterday.

All is well now. A big thank you to everybody who has supported me last night.

Still away

by Volker Weber

I am still away, studying Bavarian tribe rites. Meanwhile I have learned a few things:

vowe's magic flying circus may be slow for the next two days, unless Cem & The Gang get going. And there is a surprise guest waiting for his first appearance.

Who is the world's greatest expert on Microsoft Exchange?

by Volker Weber

Hint: He does not work for Microsoft. Don't cheat. Try to figure it out, then click.

Quote of the day

by Volker Weber

Offensichtlich ist Freizeit reserviert für Menschen, die Ihren Beruf als Arbeit ansehen.

Auch wenn das aus einer Rolex-Reklame stammt, kann ich es nur bestätigen.

Six days with the Treo 750v

by Volker Weber

[continued from here]

It has been almost a week since I started using the Treo 750, and I think I have made up my mind about it. It is by far the best Windows Mobile device I have used so far. Which means, you have to like Windows Mobile to like the Treo. I am not particularly fond of Windows Mobile but I am also not completely opposed.

On the battery front things are much clearer now. If you keep the ActiveSync connection open and you don't do anything else, the battery goes down from 100% in the morning to about 51% in the late evening. Which means that I charge it every single night, although it is not completely empty.

Microsoft's "push" mail via ActiveSync is better than polling the server with POP or IMAP, but it isn't anything close to the BlackBerry service. Very often the Treo 750v does not know about new mail when the BlackBerry 8707v has already received a dozen messages. This may be due to a bad coverage but both the Treo and the BlackBerry operate on the Vodafone network. If I tell the Treo to send and receive messages, it fetches mails that the BlackBerry already had downloaded.

Once you have the messages on your device, reading them is very fast and straightforward, even a little bit faster than the BlackBerry. Here the Treo is better than a Series 60 device by a very wide margin. You can scroll through ten emails on the Treo while a Nokia smartphone is still busy fetching the first. What I am looking forward to is the release of BlackBerry Connect for the Treo, which is due very soon. This would combine the reliability of the BlackBerry service with the overall neatness of this phone.

4-year-old drummer

by Volker Weber

This one is for Bruce. Thanks, Paul.

It's "Make your own caption" time

by Volker Weber


Some openBC stats

by Volker Weber

# contacts: 741
# contacts of my contacts: 101356

Rank in my country:
by number of contacts: 431 (highscore: 50)
by successful invitations: 19 (highscore: 10)

Mitch is still ahead. And my trial Premium Membership at openBC is valid until 19/09/2009. Which is three years from today.

Basic membership is free. Would you like to join?

Gone fishing

by Volker Weber

Photo mfichtner

Out for some extended studies of Bavarian tribe rites. See you on the other side.

Wikipedia forks

by Volker Weber

The Citizendium (sit-ih-ZEN-dee-um), a "citizens' compendium of everything," will be an experimental new wiki project that combines public participation with gentle expert guidance. It will begin life as a "progressive fork" of Wikipedia. But we expect it to take on a life of its own and, perhaps, to become the flagship of a new set of responsibly-managed free knowledge projects.

I'd be surprised if this works.

More >

It's pretty awesome when it works

by Volker Weber

48 hours with the Treo 750

by Volker Weber

[continued from here]

I am charging the battery for the third time. Call time about 20 minutes so far. Online as a modem another 20 mins. Microsoft ActiveSync to Vodafone on 24h a day.

I would not leave home without the charger.

[to be continued]


by Volker Weber

In case you ever wondered why there are more visitors on vowe's magic flying circus during work hours than on the weekend, Alan has found the reason:

Quote of the day

by Volker Weber

I know guys that used to be in LPS with him - they all think he is a dick that would "never be wrong".
— Anonymous


by Volker Weber

Hully Gully

by Volker Weber

Vista could create 50,000 jobs in Europe

by Volker Weber

In "The Economic Impact of Microsoft Windows Vista," a white paper released on Thursday, IDC analysts emphasized that while Vista will earn Microsoft a great deal of money, far more will be generated by European companies within the Microsoft "ecosystem."

"If you add up all the spending on hardware and software that runs on Microsoft operating systems, as well as all the services around installing and maintaining Microsoft applications and solutions, you quickly come up with a number much bigger than Microsoft's revenues," IDC's John Gantz, Al Gillen and Marcel Warmerdam wrote in the study.

It looks like customers can save a lot of money by not updating to Vista.

More >

First 24 hours with the Palm Treo 750v

by Volker Weber

[continued from here]

I like the new Treo. Although in runs on Windows Mobile. Palm has done a wonderful job integrating the phone into the Today screen. Most of the stuff you want to do works as expected. I also like the device itself. Its surface gives you a much better grip than the Treo 600 and 650. And I don't really miss the aerial antenna. ;-)

Having said this, there is only two customers who will be happy with it: Customers with their own Exchange server, and those who want to have their Exchange hosted by a provider such aus Vodafone or 1&1. Everybody else, stay away. Here is why:

The Treo mail client is a dumb POP/IMAP client which cannot even do IMAP idle. You can only poll your server every so and so minutes, or check mail manually. This will hit your traffic bill badly. In order to use the Windows Mobile "push" service, you do not set up an e-mail account. You rather go to the ActiveSync application on the Treo and configure your Exchange server. Either your own, or a hosted one. Other than with BlackBerry Internet Service however, it does not make any sense to redirect your real mail address to a hosted account.

The hosted account has to be your e-mail address, it has to be the address. There is no way to set your FROM address to anything but the address Exchange gives you. In my case that is If I forward my address there (which I currently do), a reply will come from the I cannot even set the REPLY-TO address. The next reply passes my mailserver and goes directly to Exchange. There is no way to fix this, neither for the admin, nor the user. Of course Vodafone could be hosting Exchange for, but then again I could do that myself.

Microsoft is as simple as the church. You cannot be a little bit Catholic.

[to be continued]

Ukraine and China are losing access to

by Volker Weber

Spammers are starting to employ cheap labor in the Ukraine and in China to manually enter comment spam in otherwise protected weblogs. My current countermeasure is to block the whole network after a single incident.

Last login: Fri Sep 15 15:58:32 on ttyp1
Welcome to Darwin!
Raven:~ vowe$ whois
inetnum: -
netname: UKRTELNET
descr: Ukrtelecom IP access network in Doneck

Blocking will solve this forever. Bye bye UKRTELNET.

BlackBerry Internet Service needs an update. Badly.

by Volker Weber

BlackBerry Internet Service is broken. Seriously.

First of all, you need to funnel all your mail through this account. Either by forwarding your real address, or by collecting mail via POP from up to 10 accounts. Polling a server does not really give you the "push" experience, so we can assume we are not facing all the problems of POP-collectors.

All your email gets forwarded into the BIS account. And this account has a quota of 25 meg. Right, twentyfive. How long does it take you to fill this up? One month? One week? One day? You have to decide, because that is your only way to automatically manage the mails in your account. Let's assume you have set this to "remove mails older than one week".

Then one Monday morning, two marketing managers think, that their press releases looks much better in a Microsoft document format than in plain email. Of course they don't know that no journalist ever looks at attachments. You either send plain text, or you are being ignored. Anyway, they have just send you two documents 3 megabytes each.

Then one of your friends sends you a few photos he has made over the weekend. 10 megapixel images, 4 of them, 4 megs a pop. If you are counting, your quote is now down to 3 megs. One of your readers has seen this really cool video, and never having read the FAQ send you the video. Yes, you have seen it before, but it was brand new for the reader. And it was really cool. Who are you to be mad at him.

Your next message comes from the quota manager:

Gesendet: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 16:55:48 +0000 (UTC)
Von: Quota Manager
Betreff: Mailbox full
An: vodade-vowe

One or more messages could not be delivered
to your mailbox because they would have
put your mailbox disk usage over its quota.
The system will keep trying to deliver
these messages. To receive them, you must
delete some old messages from your mailbox.

It can no longer accept messages. Easy, you say? Just delete a few messages? Right. However, for whatever reason, you delete them on the device, but BIS keeps them. You use your mobile browser to connect to the BIS account? Forget it. This magical piece of software is optimized for Microsoft Internet Explorer. Which means, it does not work with anything else but Internet Explorer on Windows. You cannot delete messages with anything but Internet Explorer on Windows. Yes, you can select messages, but the Delete button does not become active, unless you are in Internet Explorer on Windows. Genius!

Cannot delete messages

What do you do as a Mac user? You need to get access to a PC, connect to the BIS server, delete your messages, and empty the trashcan. Funny thing: Although you only have 10 messages in your account, BIS thinks, you have 320 unread messages. Yes, you have read them all on the BlackBerry, but what does BIS care?

320 of  10 unread messages

What do I suggest? Give me better choices to manage these mails. Pump up the quote to something manageable. Let me reply to the Quota Manager with some preselected options like "Delete 50% of my mails, starting with the oldest." And then fix this thing to work at least in Firefox. This is a stupid Javascript bug, which has been around for ages.

And once you are done with this, make BES work with a standard IMAP server. You are using one for your BIS. You have the code to make it happen.

OK, feeling much better now. :-)

[This post is related to BlackBerry Internet Service 1.8, as used by T-Mobile, Vodafone and O2. There are newer versions, but I do not have any experience with those, and I have no idea why the carriers have not updated.]

Success: Using the Treo 750 as a UMTS modem on the Mac

by Volker Weber

Connected to the Internet with Treo 750

[continued from here]

Wow, that was much easier than I thought it would be. I am connected through the Treo 750 as a modem to the Vodafone UMTS network. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Get Ross Barkman's modem script for Windows Mobile.
  2. Unpack the archive and place Windows Mobile GSM 460k into the /Library/Modem Scripts folder.
  3. Pair the Treo over Bluetooth and make sure you check "Access the Internet with your phone’s data connection." If your phone is already paired and you initially forgot to select this option you can find it at System Preferences | Bluetooth | Devices [choose your device] | Configure.
  4. Go to System Preferences | Network | Show: [Bluetooth]. Click on PPP Options and make sure that “Use TCP header compression” is unchecked. Click OK.
  5. Click on Bluetooth Modem and choose the Windows Mobile GSM 460k script from the drop-down list. Disable both "Enable error correction and compression in modem" and "Wait for dial tone before dialing."
  6. Open Internet Connect and select Configurations | Edit Configurations. Select the Windows Mobile GSM 460k script and enter *99# as the dial string. Click OK. Click Connect.

Bang, I was connected on the first try.

[Credits: Ross Barkman and Justin Blanton]

[to be continued]

New toy: Treo 750 with Managed Exchange

by Volker Weber

Surprise, surprise again. I was waiting for a Blackberry Pearl which RIM has promised to send. UPS guy rings at the door, delivers a box. Inside is not a Pearl, but a Treo 750 from Palm, complete with a managed Exchange account. Here is a very quick photo. I did not even fetch the flash.

Instead of connecting to the empty Exchange account I quickly entered my account on the Collax server and was able to pull down new mails immediately. Then I hooked it up to the Mac, which does not work out of the box. Instead I downloaded Missing Sync for Windows Mobile and within minutes had synced all my contacts and (one of my) calendars to the Treo. The 750v is not supported yet, and the sync is only partially functional.

[to be continued]

Sonos with Rhapsody

by Volker Weber

Sonos has made an update to their music system available. Before you upgrade, consider reading this.

The current Sonos software makes it possible to stream content from the Rhapsody music service. You just need to run a PC as an intermediary device. The PC runs Rhapsody's software and Sonos pulls the music from this PC. The new update makes the PC redundant. Sonos players can now directly stream from Rhapsody. You simply click on the Rhapsody choice in the menu on the Sonos controller and you can listen to any of Rhapsody's 2.5 million tracks. Out of the box, the new Sonos system gives you a 30-day free trial to Rhapsody, without even requiring that you enter a credit card. After that, you must pay $10 a month.

There is a catch. Rhapsody is only available in the US. Therefore, you may need to temporarily relocate, if you want to benefit from this trial. When your Sonos controller asks you whether you live in the US, just say yes. :-)

After one month there is another catch: If you like this service, you need to find somebody in the US to pay your Rhapsody service. Maybe I need to start another sponsoring package: "Rhapsody service at vowe's magic flying service sponsored by ..."

There are numerous other updates.

With clock, alarm, snooze, sleep timer, and scheduling features, you can wake up or fall asleep to your favorite music or Internet radio station—in one room or all over the house.

Automatic updates to your library can be scheduled daily—ideal for or podcasts. Maximum library and queue size expanded to 50,000 tracks.

Read about them here.

Things that annoy me about Lotus Notes, part 4328

by Volker Weber

A friend just sent me a mail from Lotus Notes, and it contained three URLs. None of them clickable. Time to look at that message source:

This is a multipart message in MIME format.
--=_alternative 005E503EC12571E8_=
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"

This is a line of text.

And this could be a link:

--=_alternative 005E503EC12571E8_=
Content-Type: text/html; charset="US-ASCII"

<br><font size=2 face="sans-serif">This is a line of text.</font>
<br><font size=3><br>
</font><font size=2>And this could be a link:</font><font size=3>
--=_alternative 005E503EC12571E8_=--

Notes sends you the content of this mail twice. Once in plain text, and then as html. The markup is as weird as it gets, the text is too small to be readable, and http links are not rendered as links. And since this carefully crafted html piece makes sure that http links are not href'ed, you cannot click them.

Needless to say, that only messages from Notes show this behaviour. Conclusion: Notes does not only annoy some of its users, it also annoys people who receive mail from Notes.

Maybe it is time to start a new NotesSucks site, which is accurate and up-to-date.

Skype for Mac now released with video

by Volker Weber


The Skype betas for the Mac used to come with and without video. Now they renamed it to version and only released one version with video.

More >

iPod Interface in iTunes 7

by Volker Weber

The iPod interface has improved tremendously.

Sonos wins Wall Street Journal Innovation Award

by Volker Weber


The Sonos digital-music networking system was the winner in this category. While other companies offer products that wirelessly broadcast music around a home, Sonos's use of mesh networks -- basically an efficient way to route data among multiple devices -- enables it to stream music between distant rooms without lost signals. Sonos got extra points from judges for its user-friendly design, the result of its decision to bring in an experienced product designer early in the development process.

Nobody mentioned the WAF. :-)

More >

New iPod gear and a much improved iTunes

by Volker Weber


I am not going to reiterate all the news that have been announced in Appleland today. Just a few thoughts:

Vodafone bringt Palm Treo 750v

by Volker Weber


München, 12. September 2006 - Palm (Nasdaq: PALM) kündigt heute das Palm Treo 750v an - das erste Treo Smartphone, das von den Vorteilen des UMTS-Netzes von Vodafone profitiert. Das Treo 750v bietet erstmals in Europa die Palm 'Experience' auf Basis des Microsoft Betriebssystems Windows Mobile 5.0. Das neue Treo 750v wird zuerst, spätestens Anfang Oktober, in den Vodafone Shops exklusiv für Kunden von Vodafone in Deutschland verfügbar sein. Neben Deutschland wird das Treo 750v Smartphone in Frankreich, Großbritannien, Irland, Italien, den Niederlanden, Österreich, der Schweiz und Spanien erhältlich sein.

Das ist gut für Palm. Endlich wird ein Treo von einem großen Carrier vertrieben. Schlecht für Palm-Freunde: Windows Mobile macht wieder mal das Rennen.

More >

New toy: Anycom Bluetooth GPS Receiver GP700

by Volker Weber


UPS brought a new toy today. I received the press release many weeks ago, but the product became available just now. First impression: Nice and stylish, very lightweight. Comes with its own chargers both for a car and your mains outlet. Minus: Does not use a USB connector although it wants 5V. Anycom claims up to 14 hours of operation and 300 hours of standby. There is a physical on/off switch which powers down the device.

The spec sheet claims the device can do a cold start in less than 60 seconds, a warm start in under 38 and a hot start in less than 10. An addendum to the manual however warns that the initial acquisition may take up to two hours:

The first time a GPS receiver is used, it needs to perform a basic search that may take up to two hours. ... The basic search only needs to be performed when you change your location quickly by a very large distance (like flying to another country). In normal use the time to fix (TTF) the postition will be very short (3-15 seconds).

This is not a exaggeration since my device has been sitting there for 90 minutes now without an initial fix.

Update: It would not get a fix at all. I recharged it. Switched it off and back on again. It had the first fix within less than 5 minutes. I will watch this space over the next days and see how quickly it starts up under various conditions.

Nuke that hard drive

by Volker Weber

Note to self. Need to erase a few machines before giving them away.

Darik's Boot and Nuke ("DBAN") is a self-contained boot floppy that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers. DBAN will automatically and completely delete the contents of any hard disk that it can detect, which makes it an appropriate utility for bulk or emergency data destruction.

DBAN is a means of ensuring due diligence in computer recycling, a way of preventing identity theft if you want to sell a computer, and a good way to totally clean a Microsoft Windows installation of viruses and spyware. DBAN prevents or thoroughly hinders all known techniques of hard disk forensic analysis.

More >

[via SpOn]

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. 62 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.

[This is a repost from last year. I had to remind myself again that 9/11 was a day to remember for much longer than 2001.]

Widget fetches album art from Amazon

by Volker Weber

AmazonArt Widget

This is one cool widget to fetch album art from Amazon and insert it into the currently selected tracks in iTunes. Great for tagging your imported tracks.

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Overheard in New York

by Volker Weber

Girl #1: Yeah, I need to buy a new cell phone; mine is broken.
Girl #2: How come.
Girl #1: I dropped it in the sand during my vacation.
Girl #2: That's how it broke?
Girl #1: No, it was fine but the sand was all over it, so I decided to rinse it clean with pouring water from the bathroom sink.


Levelling off

by Volker Weber


Hits for the currently most successful post are starting to level off.

Gestiegene Lebenserwartung

by Volker Weber

heise online berichtet:

Er muss außerdem den illegal erwirtschafteten Umsatz von 5,4 Millionen US-Dollar erstatten. Diese Summe habe er nach seiner Entlassung mit einer monatlichen Rate von 200 US-Dollar abzuzahlen.

5.400.000 / 200 = 27.000

27.000 Monate, das sind rund 2250 Jahre.

Using the Oxford Dictionary in Mac OS X

by Volker Weber

Oxford Dictionary Oxford Thesaurus

This feature has been reported widely, but I thought I should also mention it. Mac OS X comes with an Oxford Dictionary, and you can look up words with a shortcut. Just highlight the word and hit Ctrl-Command-D (Crtl-Apple-D on german keyboards). Very neat. Unfortunately it only works in english. There are no other dictionaries included.

What has been less reported is that there is also a Thesaurus.

How to take a small problem and turn it into a big one

by Volker Weber

Mordac, the preventer of information services, is my hero. He is the quintessential corporate IT guy, who never stops thinking about how to make the computers less useful. What is Mordac's biggest nightmare? USB. Any user can connect USB devices to a computer, and some of them do not even require a driver. Like the ubiquitous thumb drive.

Ray Ozzie once told me that he has seen organisations where users have two computers. One supplied by their organization, and another one which they bought themselves. They did all their work on their own computers and then transferred the results to their employer's machine. How do you do that? You use a thumbdrive. Plug in, transfer file, remove and plug into other machine, transfer.

Even without this absurd situation, people have good uses for thumb drives. They are this decade's version of the floppy disk. Need to go to a meeting and take your presentation? Put it on a thumb drive. Mordac cannot allow this. He does not care about usefulness. He thinks about control. So he must close that hole. Disable the USB port.

So what does the user do? He has to find a way around Mordac. Ask Paul. The user will simply send the file by email. To a public address. On Google Mail for instance, since he has lots of storage there. That would be a novice user. An experienced user just attaches the file to a draft on Google Mail.


by Volker Weber

Von amerikanischen Unternehmen ist man ja einiges gewöhnt, aber geht das jetzt auch bei deutschen los? Habe heute mal wieder einen Standard-PC in der Hand gehabt, den man als Angestellter von seinem Arbeitgeber in die Hand gedrückt bekommt. Der zeigt bei jedem Login erst mal einen Dialog mit diesem Inhalt an:

Rechtlicher und Compliance Hinweis

* Der Zugriff auf diesen Computer ist verboten, wenn Sie nicht autorisiert sind.
* Der Zugriff auf Programme und Daten, die Sie nicht für Ihre Tätigkeit benötigen, ist verboten.
* Jede Mails muss nach Form und Inhalt professionell sein.
* Bedenken Sie bitte, dass Dritte Zugriff auf Emails und deren Inhalt erlangen könnten.
* Emails dürfen keinen beleidigenden Inhalt haben.
* Ergreifen Sie angemessene Massnahmen, um vertrauliche Informationen zu schützen.

Da fehlen eigentlich noch eine Reihe von Hinweisen, z.B. "Es ist verboten, diesen Computer zu verlieren." Oder "Bedenken Sie bitte, dass Dritte Zugriff auf Passwörter, die Sie auf die Unterseite schreiben, erlangen könnten."

Für wie blöd hält ein Unternehmen eigentlich seine Mitarbeiter, wenn es ihnen diesen Text bei jedem Login präsentiert? Nimmt hier jemand an, dass dieser Hinweis wirklich immer wieder gelesen wird? Oder dient das dazu, das "Wegklicken" von Dialogen zu trainieren?

PS: Wer Schreibfehler in dem Hinweis finden, kann sie gerne behalten. Das Deppenleerzeichen auch.

Get rich and famous by blogging

by Cem Basman

CNNmoney reported yesterday about Arrington's blog TechCrunch:

More than 1.5 million readers regularly check out his site. But here's what gives Arrington real distinction: He's pulling in $60,000 in ad revenue every month. That's 10 times what the site was making earlier this year, which was when Arrington, convinced of the potentially monstrous riches ahead, quit his day job as president of a startup to blog full-time.

$60,000 every month? Jeezaz. We're all suckers, honey.


by Volker Weber

Gestern war wieder mal ein Tag, der ein Tor zur Vergangenheit öffnete. Das Telefon klingelte und am Apparat war Dieter Elbracht. Ich weiß nicht, wer sich an Dieter erinnert? Vor 15 Jahren war er stark im Fidonet engagiert und damals der größte Echo-Knoten in Deutschland. Über seine Rechner lief praktisch der gesamte Datentransfer. Und Dieter war immer eine Bank, wenn es galt, ein Problem ohne viel Aufhebens zu lösen. 1994 dann scheiterte er mit seinem ambitionierten Geschäft. Aber er ist wieder aufgestanden, und hat neue Dinge unternommen. Heute versorgt er zum Beispiel seinen Heimatort im Hessischen Ried mit WLAN, weil es dort keine brauchbare DSL-Versorgung gibt.

Er rief mich gestern wegen eines Treffens der Usenet-Betreiber in Heidelberg an, und bei der Gelegenheit habe ich gelernt, dass er seit Ende letzten Jahres unter der Adresse Usenet-Zugänge anbietet:

Wir, die Firma Elbracht, sind wahrscheinlich der einzige "richtige" (nicht Resale-Kunde) Usenet-Provider in Deutschland.

Unter bieten wir seit Dez. 2005 unter eigenem Namen Usenet-Zugänge an. Die Zugänge bei uns starten bei EUR 9,95 / 50 GB / Monat. Es gibt kostenlose Test-Accounts, welche NICHT automatisch in ein Abo übergehen.

Dieter ist jemand, der wieder aufsteht, wenn er eins auf die Nase bekommen hat. Ich bewundere solche Menschen, die sich nicht entmutigen lassen.

Do you still trust your Targus lock?

by Volker Weber

Targus Armor decoding

Somewhat related to Kensington locks.

RIM introduces the BlackBerry Pearl

by Volker Weber


The thumb wheel is gone, and will be from all other future models. It is replaced by a trackball on the front of the device. The Pearl is similar to the 7130, but a lot thinner. It sports a number of features found on consumer phones, like a 1.3 megapixel camera, MicroSD storage, a mediaplayer and such.

The Pearl is the best looking BlackBerry so far, it has all the features you would expect. But it has tiny keys, uses SureType to predict what you want to write. The SD card is behind the battery, so you have to turn the device off to eject it. Maybe they sell this as a security feature. :-)

More >

2356 days - a work in progress

by Volker Weber

[via Benjamin]

Where are all those great developers?

by Cem Basman

Joel on finding great developers (and how to get them anyway maybe):

The great software developers, indeed, the best people in every field, are quite simply never on the market.


24 inch? Holy cow!

by Volker Weber


Twice the screen estate of Lucy, four times the memory, three times the disk space, a whole lot faster. And still cheaper. Ok, Lucy has been upgraded to the same amount of memory and disk, but still. A sweat deal.

Effectiveness of the war on terror

by Ragnar Schierholz

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghous (TRAC) at Syracuse University has analyzed justice departments' statistics to assess the effectiveness of the "war on terror". The results are now published in a TRAC Report.

In his blog, Bruce Schneier highlights some of the ironic results. You want examples? The median sentence in terror-related trials range from 28 to 20 days, depending on how long after 9/11 the trial took place. U.S. prosecuters rejected slightly more than 9 out of 10 cases of international terrorism brought to them. Several more can be found in the original report.

[via Schneier on Security]

SonyEricsson P990i

by Volker Weber


Owners of older UIQ devices have been waiting for this a long time. The Register has a review.

Paul blowing out the candles on his birthday cake

by Volker Weber

Wild Bill @ AdminCamp 06

by Volker Weber

Domino Worst Practices

by Volker Weber

One of the more interesting and certainly most entertaining presentations during Lotusphere 2006 was "Worst Practices", presented by Paul Mooney and William "Wild Bill" Buchan. You can imagine that IBM was kind of anxious to have a presentation about what can go wrong with Notes and Domino. This is one complicated product, but of course IBM would prefer not to tell. ;-) Anyway, Paul and Bill's session was accepted, and it filled the room twice. A rather large room actually.

I heard the presentation again at EntwicklerCamp, and they are going give an updated version of the Administration Worst Practices Tuesday evening at AdminCamp. The whole idea is, that you can learn from the mistakes of others. This where worst practices become best practices.

At EntwicklerCamp I suggested to Paul that he starts a website so that others can contribute their own mistakes, and they are now starting to appear. Have a look here. Now they can take the whole effort from a presentation to something much bigger.

If you plan to attend the session at the conference, I would advise not to look at all the cases. It is much more fun if you don't know in advance what went wrong.

Surprisingly funny IBM ads ...

by Volker Weber

... that's what Bob said about about these videos. Start from the bottom.

Thanks ...

by Volker Weber

... a million. What's your high score?

Night train to Hannover

by Volker Weber

Our own Esther Schindler reports from the Advisor Summit in Phoenix:

It's common for companies to make announcements about their new or upcoming products from a business or marketing perspective. Techies, however, usually want to know more about the elegant way in which the bits are configured, and what effect their new aesthetic arrangement will have. Happily, at the Lotus Advisor Summit held this week in Phoenix Arizona, the techies who use Lotus Notes/Domino were given a technical perspective of "Hannover," the code name for the next version, which is currently slated for release sometime in 2007 and expected to be available for Windows, Linux, and Macintosh.

More >

Esther also made a photo that looks like Rocky's wig is coming off. Must see this.

Too much

by Volker Weber

Which is the most successful page on, only second to the RSS feed? This one. I am now redirecting all external links directly to her. :-)

AdminCamp in Gelsenkirchen

by Volker Weber

Rudi Knegt hat mich erfolgreich überredet, nächste Woche zum AdminCamp nach Gelsenkirchen zu kommen. Vier mal gab es bisher ein EntwicklerCamp, und beim letzten war ich erstmals dabei. Diese Konferenz verlief mit sehr viel Engagement der Veranstalter in einer hemdsärmeligen Atmosphäre. Mit hat das sehr gefallen, und den meisten Teilnehmern wohl auch. Während das diesjährige Entwicklercamp in der Pampa südlich von Kassel aufgeschlagen wurde, geht es jetzt mitten in den Ruhrpott. Zur Erinnerung: Gelsenkirchen ist direkt bei Schalke. :-) Ich bin gespannt.

Und: Es sind noch Plätze frei. Keinen Schreck beim Preis: Der ist All Inclusive, einschl. Hotelzimmer, Essen und Trinken.

Interesting review of the Collax Business Server

by Volker Weber

Collax Business Server

Collax Business Server, formerly known as BenHur2, replaced my Domino Server eighteen months ago. It has been smooth sailing ever since. Now CRN compares it to Microsoft Small Business Server, a very successful product in the small business space:

With the release of Collax Business Server (CBS), Microsoft's Small Business Server 2003 (SBS) is starting to look a little like France in 1940, with Germany amassing troops on the border, readying invasion.

More >

DIY Nokia updates

by Volker Weber

Finally, you can update your Nokia phone without going into a service center. There are only a select few models supported to far. Get started here >

Profis am Werk

by Volker Weber

// define constants
define("DBNAME", "blogmonitor_alpha");
define("HOST", "localhost");
define("USER", "bm_alpha");
define("PASSWORD", "qrnruftbrezelburg32");
// connect and select database
$mysqli = new mysqli(HOST, USER, PASSWORD, DBNAME);
if (mysqli_connect_errno()) exit("");


Old archive pages

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


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