September 2009

Android 1.6 available for Google Dev Phone 1

by Volker Weber

android16

Just upgraded my Android phone to 1.6. It's a bit of a manual process, but it worked flawlessly. Make sure you give it some time on the first boot after the upgrade.

More >

Kaufe ein e für ein u

by Volker Weber

CalendarDayPersonal.jpg

[Quelle: Palm] [Danke, Benno ]

Microsoft Security Essentials Free to Consumers

by Volker Weber

This is a milestone:

Microsoft Security Essentials, Microsoft Corp.’s new no-cost, core anti-malware service that helps protect consumers against viruses, spyware and other malicious software, will be available tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 29

Microsoft Security Essentials will be available for Windows XP SP2 or SP3, Windows Vista and Windows 7 including Windows XP mode on both x32 and x64 PCs.

Microsoft Security Essentials will be available in eight languages and 19 countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. More information about Microsoft Security Essentials and the product download is available at http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials.

Symantec won't like this, but consumers should. Should go live today at Microsoft >

Need a new Macbook

by Volker Weber

macbookproside.jpg

Sold a MacBook today to a friend who wanted a notebook but would not want to afford a new Mac. So I sold her my old one and plan to buy a new machine soon. 13" is a given since small is practical. I am contemplating waiting three weeks though since mid-October is a good time for Mac updates. Or has been in the past. What do you think?

webOS 1.2.0 is out

by Volker Weber

webOS120update.jpg

Massive change log at Palm >

Nokia acquires Dopplr

by Volker Weber

Espoo, Finland - Nokia and Dopplr announced today that Nokia has acquired Dopplr Oy, a privately-held mobile service provider for international travelers. Dopplr has a team of seven people with offices in London and Helsinki. The Dopplr team brings to Nokia's Services unit unique know-how in creating internet-based communities and showing their journeys, experiences and tastes collectively on the web.

The acquisition does not change the current Dopplr service which is available at Dopplr.com and on platforms where Dopplr is integrated.

More >

Soziales Engagement ist keine Wahlkampfparole

by Volker Weber

Einmal im Jahr organisieren drei Freunde mit mir eine Party, zu der regelmäßig einige hundert Leute kommen. Nach jeder Veranstaltung spenden wir aus den Eintrittsgeldern einen größeren Betrag für soziale Zwecke. Wir haben damit schon einen Babynotarztwagen, einen Verein zur Betreuung schwerkranker Kinder und eine Jugendhilfe gefördert. Heute haben wir uns in unserem nächsten Verein umgesehen, der in Hessen zur Stiftung des Monats ausgezeichnet wurde:

Im Monat September zeichnen wir die Stiftung "Sag ja zum Kind Darmstadt" aus, die junge Menschen aus Darmstadt und Umgebung, die durch Schwangerschaft oder die Geburt eines Kindes während der Schul- oder Berufsausbildung in materielle und / oder seelische Not geraten sind. Das Kernprojekt der Stiftung ist ein Kinderkrippe, in der Kleinkinder von der Geburt bis zum 3. Lebensjahr betreut werden, so dass beispielsweise eine Lehre oder das Studium abgeschlossen werden können. Um dies zu verwirklichen, hat die Stiftung ein Haus in Darmstadt gekauft, renoviert und kindgerecht ausgestattet. Damit wurde die Grundlage für die Kinderkrippe geschaffen, die vom gleichnamigen Verein betrieben wird. Hier arbeiten vier hauptamtliche Erzieherinnen und rund vierzig ehrenamtliche Helferinnen, die die Kinder ganztägig betreuen. Die Stiftung schafft damit nicht nur eine verlässliche, hochwertige Betreuungseinrichtung für Kinder in Darmstadt, sondern sie erschließt Kindern und Eltern Zukunftsperspektiven: Mütter und Väter in Ausbildung können das Fundament für eine selbständige, gesicherte Existenz schaffen und einen Beruf erlernen. Damit wird sowohl die Entscheidung für das Kind erleichtert, als auch die Zukunft für Kind und Eltern gesichert.

Das soziale Engagement dieser Menschen imponiert mir immer wieder. Ich weiß nicht, ob Ihr Euch das Gefühl vorstellen könnt, zwei Dutzend spielenden Kindern zu begegnen, die ohne diesen Verein vielleicht nie geboren worden wären. Vielleicht kommt noch jemand auf die Idee, diese Initiative zu unterstützen. Weitere Informationen dazu erhaltet Ihr bei der Stiftunsvorsitzenden Hildegard Strube. Die Stiftung ist als gemeinnützig anerkannt.

Badetag

by Volker Weber

Photo Francie (the proud mother)

Lazy afternoon

by Volker Weber

Pubertät ist ...

by Volker Weber

Need a free SSL or mail certificate?

by Volker Weber

If you need a free Class 1 SSL or mail certificate, StartSSL is the way to go now. Thawte is closing down their freemail certificates, and Microsoft has just published a root certificate update which includes StartSSL root certificates. Other browsers and mail clients have had them for a while. So does Mac OS X:

startcomrootcert.png

If your visitors or mail receivers have the valid root cert, they will not be prompted to verify your certificate, a problem you often face with CAcert certificates.

More > (in german)

TomTom Spritpreise

by Volker Weber

Letzte Woche bekam ich eine Erinnerung an diese Pressemitteilung:

seit gestern ist der auf der IFA angekündigte LIVE Service Kraftstoffpreise ... verfügbar. ... Um die Kraftstoffpreise auf Deinem TomTom LIVE Gerät nutzen zu können, musst Du zunächst einmalig einen Abgleich mit TomTom HOME vornehmen, bei dem ein spezieller POI-Satz auf Dein Gerät übertragen wird. Anschließend werden alle Aktualisierungen via LIVE Services vorgenommen, ein Abgleich mit TomTom HOME ist nicht mehr notwendig.

Das ging erst mal schief. Wahrscheinlich, weil ich das Gerät bei meinem Kartenupdate versemmelt habe. Also, Gerät zurück an TomTom, neues (gebrauchtes) an mich, und schon klappt das. Im Prinzip 'ne gute Sache. Wer sieht das Problem?

tomtomspritpreise.jpg

Die Preise können bis zu fünf Tage alt sein. Und wie oft werden die geändert? Richtig, mehrmals am Tag. Abends ist teurer als morgens, am Wochenende teurer als unter der Woche. Fragt mal jemanden, der an der Tanke jobbt.

Was mache ich nun mit Preisen, die bis zu fünf Tage alt sind? Jet ist billiger als Aral und Shell. Das weiss ich auch so.

Wie kann man das besser machen? Mit einem ins TomTom integrierten Fahrtenbuch. Kriegt man die Kunden dazu, die Tankbelege sofort reinzuhämmern, dann werden die Daten aktuell. Live-Geräte haben eine Verbindung zum Internet. Von den Mineralölkonzernen kann man kaum erwarten, dass sie den Markt transparent machen.

Projektanfrage, abgelehnt

by Volker Weber

Wir möchte zusammen mit unserem Kunden X den Launch des neuen Y Phone über Social Media Maßnahmen unterstützen und hier auch die Blogosphäre aktiv mit einbeziehen. X möchte allerdings in Form einer Kurzvorstellung von einem Blogger sehen, dass wir die Kampagne mir sehr affinen Bloggern umsetzen können.

Daher meine Frage - würde Sie uns bei dem Projekt unterstützen bzw. würden Sie generell Aufträge dieser Art übernehmen und zu welchen Konditionen?

Demnächst können wir dann mal schauen, wer solche Aufträge annimmt.

Hier geht das so nicht. Wer ein gescheites Produkt hat, was mich interessieren könnte, der kann mir das (nach Anfrage) einfach schicken. Wenn es mir gefällt, schreibe ich drüber. Wenn es richtig schlecht ist auch. Nur die langweiligen werden ignoriert.

[Kunde und Produkt entfernt, um die Schuldigen zu schützen. Wenn die allerdings ihre Hausaufgaben machen würden, dann wüssten sie auch, wer die richtigen Jubelperser sind.]

Truth in advertising

by Volker Weber

lotusknowsbus1

Lotus has a bus. The claim is credible:

lotusknowsbus2

It's a traveling salesman problem. But shouldn't this be quickr?

Location Scout for Android and iPhone

by Volker Weber

Ever wondered which movies were filmed at or near your current location? Location Scout is a mobile application that helps you discover filming locations for thousands of movies via information compiled by the Internet Movie Database.

Location Scout is available now in the Android Market and the iPhone App Store.

More >

Party like Microsoft - The Remix

by Volker Weber

Genius remix from original.

[via mashable]

IBM wants a patent for injecting laughter into conference calls

by Volker Weber

IBM collaborates through conference calls. If you have ever been in one of them you know how incredibly boring they can be. Technology to the rescue:

A method, system and computer program product for enlivening conference calls. Noise detectors are placed on the telephone lines for the participants to a conference call. These noise detectors are used to monitor for noise on the telephone lines. A pre-selected stored sound (e.g., an interjection such as a laugh) may be generated if there is a period of silence on one of the telephone lines that exceeds a threshold, if noise is detected on a telephone line associated with a pre-selected individual, or if noise is detected on a pre-selected telephone line. Further, a request may be received from one of the participants of the conference call to play a provided interjection. The received interjection is later generated during the conference call. By including interjections during the conference call at appropriate times, the conference call may be enlivened and more interesting to the participants.

I would have a different idea which cannot be patented: skip four in five conference calls. The interesting stuff will be handled offline anyway.

Microsoft launches WebsiteSpark for companies with up to ten employees

by Volker Weber

For the development tools they’ll get three licenses of Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition, two licenses of Microsoft Expression Web, and one license of Microsoft Expression Studio. They will also get four processor licenses for production usage to Windows Web Server 2008 or R2 (when available), and four processor licenses for production usage to SQL Server 2008 Web edition. ... there are no initial costs or obligations, though at the end of three years there is a graduation fee of US$100.

Now there is a thing Lotus could copy to help Domino as a web development platform.

More >

Nun offiziell: Pre ab 13. Oktober bei O2

by Volker Weber

palmpre13oktober.png

481 Euro will O2 im Ratenkauf (1 + 24 x 20) haben. O2 empfiehlt dazu einen Datentarif für 10 € im Monat, der 200 MB ungebremsten Traffic und danach GPRS enthält. Nach meinen iPhone-Erfahrungen zu urteilen passt das. Aktuell gibt O2 15% Online-Rabatt für den Tarif, so dass man bei 8,50 € plus Ratenzahlung landet. Beim Abschluss von Laufzeitverträgen mit 24 Monaten Vertragsbindung gibt es das Gerät auch für 50 oder 90 €.

Was mir besonders gefällt: O2 verkauft den Pre zwar exklusiv, aber ohne SIM-Lock. Wer einen anderen Provider hat, kann trotzdem bei O2 kaufen und dann die eigene SIM-Karte einlegen. Das zeugt von (berechtigtem) Selbstvertrauen, die besseren Tarife zu haben.

More >

GPS

by Volker Weber

Made in Germany

by Volker Weber

iphonecaseluca.jpg

Sebastian recommended the Samsung NC10 to me last year, and I have been pretty happy with that choice. Since then he left the company and co-founded a new shop which has a single product: iPhone sleeves. And they are quite unique, because they also let you carry a few credit cards and some money. You don't want to hold that to your ear where everybody can snatch it away from you, so the cases are designed for the iPhone to be taken out. They come in a variety of colors and materials, and the exclusive ones are handmade in Germany, which is pretty exclusive. ;-)

I have not seen one in the flesh, but I am sure Sebastian is going to change that one day. ;-)

More >

Zwei Wiesn dieses Jahr

by Volker Weber

zweiwiesn.jpg

Kevin with Dave on Twitter

by Volker Weber

Gefunden via lasse laufen. Zu Kerner sage ich nix, aber Kevin ist impossibly cool. 1.2 Mio Follower, das ist ein Messer. Und Pipifax verglichen mit den paar Milliönchen, die Letterman schauen. Ich könnte mich immer wegschmeissen, wenn jemand stolz drauf ist, dass ihm ein paar tausend Twitter-Accounts folgen, von denen wahrscheinlich acht Zehntel tot sind.

Taking the browser away from Microsoft

by Volker Weber

googlechromeframe.jpg

Preparing for the general launch of Google Wave to 100,000 users next week, Google's Chrome Web browser team today released Google Chrome Frame, an open-source plug-in that enables Chrome's WebKit rendering engine to run in Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

The problem, the Chrome team said, is that IE does not adequately support newer Web technologies such as HTML5 or offer the performance boost associated with JavaScript.

More >

iPod nano 5G and 4G

by Volker Weber

Hard to see in a photo, but the shell is little bit thicker, making the iPod 5G more sturdy. Nasty: Apple moved the connectors around so your old dock does not fit. They ship with a piece of plastic for the universal dock, but that won't help you if you have more than one.

While the 4G and 5G appear to be similar, you can see the larger screen and nicer material here:

ipodnano4g5g.jpg

Google pushes mail to the iPhone

by Volker Weber

Earlier this year, we launched Google Sync which allows you to synchronize your Gmail Contacts and Google Calendar with your iPhone, Windows Mobile, and S60 devices. Today, we're adding Gmail support to Google Sync for iPhone, iPod Touch and Windows Mobile devices.

Works for me. Caveat: you can only have one Exchange account on your iPhone at a time. If you access your work email on Exchange, you can't have Google use ActiveSync at the same time.

More >

Lederhosen at the Apple Store in München

by Volker Weber

applelederhosen.jpg

LotusKnows.com has launched

by Volker Weber

lotusknows1

LotusKnows.com has launched and lets you chose between a Flash "fullscreen" site which keeps a scroll bar visible

lotusknows2

and an HTML site with an internal scroll bar

lotusknows3

The HTML site lets you download videos and images to your computer and I watched all of them:

lotusknows4

I don't know how these videos work for you, but while I think Dov Zmood is kind of cool, I still prefer There's An App For That.

iPod nano 5G

by Volker Weber

ipodnano5g.jpg

I haven't been very impressed when I heard about the 5th gen iPod nano. Now that I have used one, that has changed. All the pictures don't do the device any justice. The silver one for instance does not look grey. It looks silver - very shiny. The screen is a little bit larger than on the 4G, the shell feels more solid. Adding radio, especially with "live pause" is great.

The biggest change however is the video camera. And it does not matter in which direction you hold it. Your videos will be landscape or portrait, no matter how you hold the iPod, up stays up. Indoors and outdoors, the video quality is quite good. Not in a bar or when it is quite dark, but you would be amazed how much you can see even in low light.

If your mobile does not have video (my iPhone does not), this is the device to get. Plus, you can listen to music without wearing the phone battery down. I would suggest you put this in your pocket and have it with you all day, no matter where you go and what you do. It's so small you hardly know that you have it, and its built-in pedometer will tell you if you walked enough during the day. Should you ever need a video camera, you have one with you. And the best is that nobody knows that this small thing is a camera. Very sneaky.

Google Book Downloader

by Volker Weber

Google Book Downloader is small utility which allows you to save book as PDF from google to your local filesystem.

More >

Oktoberfest

by Volker Weber


Photo ragingwire

O'zapft is. Wir sind dabei.

Programmer's calculator in Mac OS X

by Volker Weber

macprogrcal.jpg

I knew that Mac OS X had both a basic and a scientific calculator, but Wolfgang showed me there is also a programmer view. Cool stuff. Just don't let your mom use it.

Net neutrality

by Volker Weber

Engagdet writes:

Based on what we're hearing, a slate of soon-to-be-proposed FCC rules may stop the likes of Comcast from discriminating against P2P applications on their networks, and AT&T sure will have a tougher time justifying why it won't let the iPhone's version of SlingPlayer run on 3G while giving WinMo and BlackBerry users all the bandwidth they can handle.

A similar (EU) ruling would be necessary for T-Mobile.de discriminating iPhone tethering against other mobile phones.

More >

Lotus Notes RSS reader unsafe

by Volker Weber

The vulnerability is universal. You don't need any exploit. Notes downloads HTML code embedded into the RSS feed, dumps it into the file system and asks Internet Explorer to interpret it. Since the file is local, IE treats it as local code. From there you can do pretty much everything that is possible with Javascript, Flash or other embedded code.

Interesting time line:

2009/04/07 Identification of the vulnerability.
2009/04/23 Notification of IBM via the customer.
2009/04/23 Technical knowhow exchange between scip AG/IBM.
2009/06/05 Asking for current status by scip AG. (no answer)
2009/07/09 Asking for current status by scip AG.
2009/07/09 Reply with current status and assigned PMR.
2009/08/24 Asking for current status by scip AG. (no answer)
2009/09/08 Public disclosure of the advisory.

Published by IBM today. If you need to fix, you have to contact IBM Support.

Palm dumps Windows Mobile

by Volker Weber

Not really surprising:

Due to importance of webOS to our overall strategy, we've made the decision to dedicate all future develoment resources to the evolution of webOS. Which means that going forward, our roadmap will include only Palm webOS-based devices.

Palm introduced Windows Mobile in order to sell Treos through mobile carriers which did not want another OS next to Symbian, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry. Palm customers always wanted Palm OS, and people who wanted Windows Mobile often bought HTC devices instead.

It's good to see Palm getting back on track with webOS. First the Pre, then the Pixi, and probably more devices in the future. I hope they will be able to get back into the black. The company is still bleeding money, but investors are confident.

Social networks will never catch on, right?

by Volker Weber

Quote of the day

by Volker Weber

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.
— Samuel Johnson

Everything that's wrong with current cameras in one easy picture

by Volker Weber

PENTAX

Interesting how many mistakes you can make in one offering.

  1. Show off the camera. "Look, I am taking your picture." You want a camera that is as unobtrusive as possible. You will see some photographers covering all markings on their camera so that you can't see the camera in a reflection.
  2. Expensive camera, cheap lens. 1:5.6 at 55mm? You have to be kidding. And you print that in big letters on the lens front? See above about masking.
  3. 12.4 megapixel on a small sensor. On a factory tour at Carl Zeiss I asked one of their engineers. He said that 6 megapixels on an APS-C sized sensor renders the best results.

Yes, they will make a black version. And a white one as well.

2TwitMe - a Twitter client for Palm OS

by Volker Weber

Jan Lauer called me yesterday and told me about 2TwitMe. Since I don't have a PalmOS configured with Internet access, I was looking for somebody to test it. SvenR took a thorough look at the program and told me all about it. Installation is a breeze. Copy one application .prc and two libraries to the device and off you go. On the first start it tells you where to enter your credentials and you are all set. 2TwitMe lets you work with three different accounts at a time.

The app supports the most basic Twitter functions like reading your stream, reply, retweet, fav and direct message. You can view a combined stream or filter by account. 2TwitMe lets you add a picture, either from the library or directly from the camera and post it to TwitPict. At least it claims it can, but it failed in this test.

Looks like a promising app. There is still a ton of features to add like follow/unfollow, view user timeline or avatar pictures. It definitely needs to look nicer and deserves a decent icon. I also find the font too small.


Screenshot SvenR

The developer wants 5 EUR or $7 to make this dialog go away and to stop adding the program name in front of the tweet. The dialog is quite aggressive, so testing this app is no fun at all. Kudos to Sven for sitting through the full test cycle. Maybe the developer should encourage people to use the client and tag the messages on the Twitter stream as coming from "from 2TwitMe" rather than "from API"

More >

Moments

by Volker Weber

Oh, the temptation

by Volker Weber

The Onion Releases iPhone Microfiche Reader

by Volker Weber

Dear iPhone and iPod Touch owners,

You are clearly a busy person, otherwise, you wouldn’t have such an important device. How is a person like you supposed to take the time to take in the important news of yesterday that will give you a competitive edge in the marketplace?

The Onion has the solution.

The Onion Microfiche™ application uses digital-capture technology to put a world of headlines at your fingertips. Scroll through dozens, hundreds, even thousands of headlines that have appeared in the pages of America’s Finest News Source. View the most recent or a random set. Mark your favorites. Share them with your friends via email, Twitter, or Facebook.

All this functionality comes in a simulation of analog microfiche technology, making it so simple that even the simple-headed Luddite can use it.

Connect with Onion Microfiche
on Facebook: http://bit.ly/onionmicroficheFB
or Twitter: http://twitter.com/onionmicrofiche

Better yet, show your ultimate commitment by spending your money in the iTunes App Store right now.

More >

[Thanks, Hynek]

Incredible, amazing, awesome Apple

by Volker Weber

Riddle me this

by Volker Weber

What's the most used version of Windows? I believe it's Windows XP. What is Microsoft's next version of Windows? Windows 7. Which versions of Windows can be upgraded to Windows 7? Windows Vista. Unlike Vista, there are only two versions of XP, ok, plus a couple of service packs. Why can't you upgrade from XP to 7? I mean, technically.

Lotusphere registration will open (late)

by Volker Weber

lotusphere

Ed Brill says:

Lotusphere 2010 registration opens in a couple of weeks or so, for those asking. Yes, it's later than usual.

This should stop your worries.

Google releases Chrome 3.0

by Volker Weber

Build 3.0.195.21 becomes the first official 3.0 version. Still Windows only, but faster than ever.

More >

iPhone 3.1 enforces Encryption Policy for Microsoft Exchange

by Volker Weber

If you upgrade your iPhone or iPod touch to 3.1 you may be cutting yourself off from Exchange. If your admin has set the Exchange ActiveSync Mailbox Policy "Device encryption enabled", only an iPhone 3GS will meet this policy.

From 2.0 to 3.0, iPhone and iPod touch have ignored this policy. Microsoft warns: "Not all devices can enforce encryption. For more information, see the device and mobile operating system documentation." Apple recommends that you either use iPhone 3GS or disable encryption. Consequences: newer Apple hardware is more useful than older ones. ;-)

Since I don't have access to Domino 8.5.1: does Traveler in 8.5.1 support this policy?

Update:

Does this effect Traveler? - no. But it is because the Traveler server does not yet enforce the security policies. You can have user's install configuration profiles (xxx.mobileconfig) and this is the way some customers are putting password and other security policies on the device. In fact this is what Traveler is doing for you when you use the iPhone to browse to the Traveler home page on your Traveler server with the device and select the "generate" button to create account settings.

Apparently, Traveler has not implemented these Exchange security policies in their version of Exchance ActiveSync. Configuration profiles are an Apple mechanism which are iPhone-specific.

iPhone OS 3.1 de-crippled

by Volker Weber

PwnageTool 3.1 is out. No support for iPhone 3GS or iPod touch 2G and 3G yet. Original iPhone can once again be freed from its carrier lock. Apple has complicated the 3GS update process which makes it harder to unlock. Interesting consequences: older Apple hardware is more useful than newer one.

This release starts with PwnageTool 3.1 for Mac OS X - this application supports the iPhone 1st Generation (2G), the iPhone 3G and the iPod touch 1G

More >

Elguji announces IQJam

by Volker Weber

IQJam.jpg

Elguji follows up on their award winning IdeaJam software with IQJam, a knowledge sharing application that lets users submit questions or answer previously posted questions. IQJam is written for Domino 8.5.1 and will be released once IBM ships this version of Domino.

You can try out IQJam today running on a pre-release version of Domino 8.5.1 at iqjam.net.

Mixed Tape 28 is out

by Volker Weber

mixedtape28"

  1. Hold It Tight / Pupkulies & Rebecca 4:45
  2. Metamorfosis / Jaap 4:49
  3. Cardboard and Crates / Ehnertia 3:32
  4. Space and Time / Universal Vibrations 4:59
  5. Are You Happy!? / Shakinouts 4:41
  6. Get A Little Coffee / Malkovic 3:33
  7. Mother Of Mine / Shaheen 3:06
  8. Daydream / Starpost 5:42
  9. Jazz Club / Kriss 5:16
  10. Procedere / Bocca Grande 7:51

Download here >

Sling launches iPhone Slingplayer in Europe

by Volker Weber

Sling Media, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation (NASDAQ: SATS), today announced the availability of the SlingPlayer Mobile Wi-Fi application for iPhone and iPod touch customers across Europe. The announcement came at the IBC conference in Amsterdam. The SlingPlayer Mobile Wi-Fi application is now available in 16 additional countries - including France, Germany, Spain and Italy. The application was first made available to iPhone and iPod touch customers in the US, Canada and the UK in May 2009.

"We are disappointed that Apple has not yet approved the 3G version of the SlingPlayer Mobile application for iPhone and iPod customers outside the US," said John Gilmore, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Sling Media.

I have tested a 3G-enabled iPhone Slingplayer and it works well. So does the player on my BlackBerry Bold. The ball is in Apple's court.

iPhone and competition

by Volker Weber

I love the iPhone. It's a wonderful user experience and it has changed the way we look at mobile devices.

What I don't like is the heavy-handedness of Apple and the carriers. Apple sells the iPhone through exclusive partnerships with carriers. In any local market, you can only buy the iPhone through one carrier. There is no competition. And without competition the customer is underserved.

All iPhone applications are only available through a single source. The iTunes store. Again, no competition. And yet again, without competition the customer is underserved.

Two examples:

  1. Any 3G phone can be used as an Internet access device for your notebook. Nokia even ships an application on the N97 which transforms your mobile into a wireless access point, providing transparent service to the Internet. Others need to be connected via Bluetooth Personal Area Network, or USB/Bluetooth dialup. So can the iPhone, but the carriers won't let you use it, unless you shell out more money to enable this option. And, in the case of T-Mobile Germany, downgrade you to a newer contract with more restrictions. Instead you can remove your SIM from the iPhone and insert it into any other capable phone, or USB 3G modem, and it works. Without any additional cost. Get more than one SIM on your contract, and you don't even have to remove it. It all works. Just not with the iPhone. Why? There is no competition.
  2. Sling has mobile clients that access your Slingbox at home and let you watch your TV channels, including the pay channels you subscribe to. On all their supported platforms, it works over 3G or Wi-Fi. The iPhone version however is Wi-Fi only. Why? Apple does not approve the 3G version for the iTunes store. It has to be crippled to Wi-Fi only. Since there is no other option to sell the app, Sling has to comply. No competition.
In Europe, we can work around the exclusive carrier deals. There are countries with legislation that forbids the customer lock-in to a single carrier. So we can buy our iPhones within those countries without a carrier lock.

We can also work around the iTunes store limitation with a jailbreak. It's not really an iTunes store competition, but at least you can run some software, that Apple won't let you have.

Does all of this matter to Apple or the carriers? It doesn't. The majority of their customers don't even know about these restrictions. It matters to the software vendors, and it may matter to you and me. But that is not where Apple and the carriers make their money.

I am an iPhone user. But my carrier is a lot more user-friendly than T-Mobile. They have to be, because they have strong competitors.

iphoneo2

T-ollerei

by Volker Weber

Immer wenn man glaubt, bekloppter geht es nicht mehr, fällt denen was Neues ein. Die Headline sagt es schon:

T-Mobile: Kein iPhone-Tethering für Kunden mit Complete-Verträgen der 1. Generation

Man darf bei diesen (sehr viel vorteilhafteren) Verträgen sein Inklusiv-Volumen zwar über eine zweite (oder dritte) SIM-Karte in einem USB-Modem verfrühstücken, nicht aber über ein USB-Kabel am iPhone. Nicht, dass ein iPhone irgendeinen Vorteil als Modem hätte. Was soll das also? Es gilt, die iPhone-Kunden der ersten Stunde auf den restriktiveren Vertrag der zweiten Generation zu locken und noch einmal 20 Euro für eine Leistung zu kassieren, die im besseren Vertrag schon drin ist.

Ich habe manchmal den Eindruck, da arbeiten ein paar Maulwürfe anderer Carrier.

More >

Girls of IAA 2009

by Volker Weber

iaa2009

I heard there were some cars as well.

More >

Mark your calendars: edcom Nachlese '10

by Volker Weber

edcomnachlese10

Soeben in den Kalender 2010 eingetragen: die edcom Nachlese '10. Diesmal Montag/Dienstag.

Bowers & Wilkins minimizes Zeppelin

by Volker Weber

bowerswilkinszeppelinmini.jpg

The Zeppelin is an icon. Now they release a smaller version. Both share the same design mistake: you have to let go of your iPhone to use it.

Ute

by Volker Weber

There will be girls

by Volker Weber

iaa_2009_d.jpg

Tomorrow is the first (press) day of IAA 2009. As usual, I will shoot some photos. Just to make sure you are not complaining that there aren't any cars, here they are: Alfa, Aston Martin, Audi +, Bentley, Citroen, BMW, Bugatti, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati +, McLaren, Mercedes, Mini, Opel, Peugeot +, Porsche, Rolls Royce, Smart, Toyota, VW

Palm Pre shipping in a month from O2 Germany

by Volker Weber

palmpre500

According to webos-blog.de there are several incidents of O2 salespeople telling customers that the Pre will be available on October 13 in Germany*. I have no hard information on that day whatsoever, but I find it very credible. I have asked but the (predictable) answer was "no comment".

So it's time for an Alex warning. Don't buy a smartphone within the next four weeks. I have played with the Pre in February and I have been extremely impressed. By the time it ships I will be able to tell you exactly how I feel about it. Not before that day, I am sorry.

There is another reason I would suggest you wait for the Pre. I am currently very pleased with O2. They don't lock you into a contract, there is no monthly fee for the contract, they are not bullshitting you with contracts that won't allow tethering, or VoIP, or Skype or whatever. They don't block UDP ports. It's just the internet in your pocket.

*) The other date being thrown around is October 30. For several reasons that date makes less sense. Apple has been releasing new products on Tuesdays for a while. The 30th is a Friday. Both dates sound very similar when spoken so that may be confusing people. In any case, the Pre is coming very soon. ;-)

Update on the mobile SlingPlayer

by Volker Weber

SlingPlayerMobile_iPhone.jpg

I asked Slingmedia for an explanation on the licensing of the mobile SlingPlayer. It turned out to be pretty simple:

Sounds fair to me.

Wieviele Apps hat der iPhone-Anwender installiert?

by Volker Weber

Aus einem Chat:

Ein T-Mobile Vertreter meinte heute auf der Telekom Mittelstandsmesse nach der Verlosung, dass der durchschnittliche iPhone Benutzer ungefähr 80 Apps installiert hat.

Die Zahl 80 ist wohl hier aufgeschnappt. Auf der vierten Folie steht 65 Apps, auf der fünften dann 80 US-Dollar.

Apple hat gestern Zahlen genannt, bei denen man sich die Umfrage sparen kann. 1.8 Mrd Apps (ohne Updates gezählt), 30 Mio iPhones, 20 Mio iPod touch. Also 1800 / (30 + 20) = 36.

Ich habe 32:

iphoneapps0909

Klotz darin

by Volker Weber

Klotz in, zu plaudern, um per Email zu schicken oder unsere technologische Unterstützungsmannschaft zu nennen. Schaffen Sie Rechnung!

slingdownload1 slingdownload2

More >

Killer iPhone-Anwendung

by Volker Weber

myprospekt.jpg

Erhöht den WAF eines iPod touch oder iPhone enorm. Kostenlos im Appstore.

More >

[Danke, Hajo]

Slingplayer on the iPhone

by Volker Weber

slingipone.jpg

It just works.

What works? You can watch TV streamed from your Slingbox at home, over Wi-Fi or 3G. Minimum requirement: iPhone 3G.

While the Mac and Windows players appear to be free, you have to purchase the mobile players after a 30 day trial. I find it somewhat bothersome that you have to activate the clients, and Slingmedia locks them to the phone. That does not work for me at all, since I have a very high churn on mobile phones. If you keep your mobile for two years, you will find out when you get the next one. The iPhone is somewhat different. You have to buy it upfront without a trial. Still need to find out if you can sync that player to multiple devices.

Since you can only watch your Slingbox from one device at a time, it does not make so much sense to me that you need to buy a license for each phone.

Update: I was wrong on two accounts. It is simple to transfer your license from one phone to the other. And you can run up to five devices with one iTunes account. Read the update here >

Android finally gets a Facebook app

by Volker Weber

androidfacebookapp.png

That was about time. Free download from the Android Market.

Thoughts on the Apple event today

by Volker Weber

This was a very packed session today. But it went without major milestones. Instead there are quite a lot of small updates to the iPod line.

ipodcompare0909

I can't help it, but something is wrong. Shouldn't the iPod touch be the mother of all iPods?

Wir rechnen nach: Das T-Ende ist schnell erreicht

by Volker Weber

Der Header des neuen VDSL-Angebots der Telekom verspricht:

Call & Surf Comfort Plus VDSL 25 von T-Home, endlos Highspeed-Surfen und telefonieren + viele Extras - jetzt noch schneller mit VDSL 25

Die Überschrift auf der Seite ist schon etwas schlanker:

Ultraschnell surfen und endlos telefonieren

Im Kleingedruckten wird das endlose Highspeed-Surfen dann schon viel endlicher:

Ab einem übertragenen Datenvolumen von 100 GB in einem Monat wird die Übertragungsgeschwindigkeit des Internet-Zugangs für den Rest des Monats auf maximal 6016 kbit/s für den Downstream und 576 kbit/s für den Upstream begrenzt.

Rechnen wir nach: 25 MBit/s, 100 GB im Monat. 100 GB sind 800 GBit.

800 GBit / 25 MBit/s = 32000 s = 8 h 53 min 20 s

Nach weniger als 9 Stunden ist das Ende also erreicht. Oder auf den Tag gerechnet in 32000/30 Sekunden oder besser gesagt in weniger als 18 Minuten.

Bei VDSL 50 verdoppeln sich Volumen und Geschwindigkeit. An den Zeiten ändert sich deshalb nichts. Rechnet man nur den Upload bei null Download, dann hält das fünf mal so lange. Rechnet man beide, vermindern sich die Zeiten um ein Sechstel.

Quote of the day

by Volker Weber

Chicken.
Andrew Pollack

Needs context.

The Dancing Agile Elephant: IBM Software Group's Transition to Agile and Lean Development

by Volker Weber

Mariano sends me a link to this video:

This session explores the approach and challenges to transforming multi-thousand person division to adopt new approaches to developing software. Questions about how to inspire and motivate change, identifying the change agents, the tooling to enable the masses will be discussed.

Need to put it on my watch list. Can't do it right now.

Update: A view from the trenches: How to inspire and motivate change. In four easy steps.

  1. Fire anyone who doesn't agree that this is a good idea.
  2. Appoint a High Priest of Agile who gets to be final decision maker on all technical issues, as well as interpreter of Agile Orthodoxy.
  3. Allow the High Priest to be in charge of technical promotions.
  4. Make sure none of the line managers gets to overrule any technical or personnel decisions made by the High Priest.

Coming up this week at vowe's magic flying circus: Slingbox Solo

by Volker Weber

slingboxSOLO.jpg

The Slingbox is coming to the German market, so the company is sending me a device to try out. The basic concept is simple: it connects to your TV source, for instance a sat receiver via component video, S-video or composite video and controls the device over infrared. It relays whatever input it gets over Ethernet to your software player, on a PC, a Mac, or mobile phones. It supports BlackBerry, Symbian with S60 or UIQ, Palm OS, Windows Mobile and the iPhone. The idea is that you can use your paid for channels while away from your home.

slingboxSOLOback.jpg

I will of course tell you how it goes, but so far I can already see a few limitations: you have to have a separate receiver from your TV, because it does not have its own. The Solo can only connect to one input. There is another somewhat larger version with more inputs and its own DVB-T receiver. I wish it were DVB-S though. And finally, no HDMI, the connection of choice for HD TV.

Update: Setup with a Kathrein sat receiver would not work. I had video and audio, but no control. Then I switched to a TechniSat Digipal 2 and that did indeed work. Trying different clients now. Symbian client on Nokia N97 does not work, BlackBerry client on Bold does. Mac client works, have not tried Windows. Tomorrow I shall have two iPhones (3G and 3GS) to test. The original iPhone does not seem to be good enough, at least not according to the vendor.

This is a a weird digital-analog-digital bridge. You take a digital TV signal, decode it to composite or component video, capture it with the Slingbox and then distribute it again over a digital channel.

slingplayerondesktop.jpg

Here is a use case I like: remote the TV to your office, so you can watch a video at the side.

The Nokia N97 is starting to grow on me

by Volker Weber

While I am still finding S60 too complicated, I am seeing the progress Nokia is making. The UI is getting much nicer in S60 5th Edition which runs on Symbian OS version 9.4. Some of the applications have also improved quite well. While the web browser is still a lot worse than the webkit browsers on iPhone and Android, and Mozilla on the N900, Nokia Messaging has proven to be quite usable and well adopted to the touch UI.

It also helps that I now have a black N97 instead of the white one I have used before.

More >

If you fixed a lot of bugs, that means ... you fixed a lot of bugs

by Volker Weber

You may have noticed quite a few posts on Planet Lotus about Notes/Domino 8.5.1, indicating that beta participants are now officially released from their NDA*. There are conditions, for instance a mandatory disclaimer that this is beta code and may or may not be representative of the final product.

The unwritten rule seems to be that you also are supposed to write nice things about it. That rule was broken by Ben the other day, when he wrote I wish Lotus knew quality assurance better. You have to understand that Ben makes a living off the fact that IBM (and also their competition) can't be bothered to fix their outstanding bugs in rendering rich text, for years on end. Read his post, and the comments.

Charles also wrote over the weekend about My (his) impressions of Lotus Notes and Domino 8.5.1 beta. His post acknowledges that there is progress so that Domino Designer finally becomes usable and that he is no longer suffering from bad performance. This is on the other hand quite a statement about the quality of the released product.

This is the flip side of any progress. If you squished a lot of bugs to improve quality, there were a lot of bugs to begin with. And there are most likely quite a few more. Killing a hundred mosquitos a night does not say anything about the remaining ones. There are of course (yet) unknown bugs, but there is also a list of known bugs, which won't be fixed, because in the world of software a product has to ship even if it isn't finished.

If there is one software product out there which can claim to be of good quality, it's probably TeX. Quoting from Wikipedia:

Knuth has kept a very detailed log of all the bugs he has corrected and changes he has made in the program since 1982; as of 2008, the list contains 427 entries, not including the version modification that should be done after his death as the final change in TeX. Donald Knuth offers monetary awards to people who find and report a bug in TeX. The award per bug started at $2.56 (one "hexadecimal dollar") and doubled every year until it was frozen at its current value of $327.68. Knuth, however, has lost relatively little money as there have been very few bugs claimed. In addition, recipients have been known to frame their check as proof that they found a bug in TeX rather than cashing it.

One of my colleagues at c't owns one of these checks.

ad *) I have participated in quite a few beta programs which would not even allow me to acknowledge that a product was being developed.

Nokia N97, encore

by Volker Weber

n97encore.png

I wasn't really happy with the N97 on my first trial, so I returned it rather quickly. But then I saw a couple of things at Nokia World that I wanted to try out. And frankly, all the action at Nokia is happening around touch screen phones, so I swapped the N86 for an N97, and I am back in the game. This time much faster than the last time. What helped tremendously where the ins and outs of Nokia Messaging so I could Exchange ActiveSync as well as Google Mail going in a couple of minutes.

Facebook is already aboard, I also installed a 10 day trial of Gravity, the Social Messaging Beta, Ovi Maps Beta, and Ovi lifecasting is about to follow.

Sonos integrates with Twitter

by Volker Weber

twittersonos.png

Sonos ... today began publicly beta testing Sonos System Software 3.1 featuring the integration of Twitter updates into the Sonos experience. This new feature is designed to help Sonos customers tell friends and followers what is playing on their Sonos Multi-Room Music System by sending Twitter updates direct from their Sonos controller.

Using the Sonos Controller 200, Sonos Controller for iPhone and the Sonos Controller for Mac or PC, Sonos customers will be able to edit and post the name and artist of the track they’re listening to on their Twitter feed.

Invitations to join the beta trial have been closed. The new Sonos Software will be available to all Sonos customers later in the Fall.

The Sonos team will be able to answer questions, show a demo version of the beta and talk more about the Twitter beta at IFA (Hall 1.2, stand 130).

Entirely new ways to annoy your friends.

Leaked: BlackBerry Desktop Manager for Mac

by Volker Weber

Time to rejoice Mac users, today is your day. That is because the BlackBerry Desktop Manager for Mac has just been leaked.

More >

Snow Leopard users, check your Flash plugin version

by Volker Weber

flash100231

If you installed Snow Leopard, chances are that you have this somewhat vintage Flash plugins that has a number of vulnerabilities. You can check your version at this Adobe page. After you updated your plugin here, you should see this version info:

flash1003218

Bluetooth Headset BH-214

by Volker Weber

bh-214

Somehow I forgot to pack a headset and then was sitting on the train to Stuttgart being forced to listen to loud business people on their phone. Well, you can't plan for that, but I happened to walk past a booth where Nokia was handing out some A2DP stereo headsets, and boy did I want one.

It's actually been working very well on both the N86 and the BlackBerry Bold, but not on the G1. And that's the phone that needs a bluetooth headset because it does not even have a 3.5mm audio jack. What happens is that the audio drops out once or twice a minute for maybe half a second. And that ruins the experience.

Anyway, the headset sounds rather nice, but - with the exception of the G1 - heaving a headset that needs to be charged and attaches to your shirt somehow defies the purpose. Why not use an iPod instead. Ok, you can make phone calls, that's nice. But somehow I think this will get left behind more often than not.

In-ear-phones are the way to go, and that's the nice part about this little gadget. Plug the ear phones in, put on some music, and you are completely isolated from your surroundings.

Back from Nokia World: Out with the N86, in with the N97, waiting for the N900

by Volker Weber

nokia-n97

It's been two (and a half) crazy days at Nokia World. It was a very well run show. Press interviews were well organized one-on-ones and not the group chats I know from IBM events. There was plenty of time to get all questions answered and both Nokia and its agency did a fine job.

Besides the usual keynotes, Nokia World is very different from other events I have attended. There was a huge lounge with breakout areas in the same room as well as bean bags, catering, excellent food, healthy drinks. And then there were four large areas (discover, play, share, organize) where you could experience devices and solutions in a very relaxed way. I never had anything like it. There was way more networking than in other events where people disappear in hallways and small breakout rooms. This is a format to copy.

So, why out with the N86 and in with the N97? I enjoyed the N86 a lot. Very solid phone with a great camera. But frankly, all the action is happening on the 97, and soon on the 97 mini. I need to test a few betas, and that is why I have to swap the device.

What I am really looking forward to is using the N900. I played with it for a little at the conference, and I was very impressed. This isn't yet for the masses, but it's a fast device with interfaces that don't suck. Nokia has brazillions of devices out there running S40 and S60. So one little N900 is not going to cause a revolution. But it's a great example of what might be in store for the future. It's not an iPhone killer, it's not a Symbian killer. But it's a very exciting device, especially since it is completely open. You do with it what you want, not what somebody else wants.

Ceci n'est pas un blog

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

vowe

Contact
Publications
Amazon Wish List
Frequently Asked Questions

rss feed  twitter

Local time is 09:48

visitors.gif