February 2013

My favorite WRT apps: NextGen Reader and The Big Picture

by Volker Weber

The Big Picture is free, and NextGen Reader is really cheap. You can use an unlimited, full featured trial, that never bothers with ads. That's why I bought the app. We need to support developers who are confident their stuff is worth the small fee you pay.

Slippery when dry

by Volker Weber

Here is a small problem I did not expect. When you prop Surface up on the included stand, it moves around on the table when you touch the screen. At least it does on hard surfaces like a glass table. I never experienced this with the Yoga.

The Touch Cover does not help at all. Even with the Type Cover and its felt backside, that is a problem.

After a few hours with Surface I conclude that Surface is the nicer tablet, when compared with Yoga. As a laptop, Yoga runs rings around Surface. It all depends on your preference. If you want a handheld tablet, that can be used with a keyboard on a table once in a while, Surface is for you. If you want a touchscreen laptop that can be converted into a tablet to be used on the couch, then Yoga is your friend.

Redmond, we have a problem. Make that a few problems

by Volker Weber

I installed the Yoga before Google started pushing me. Then Google extended the deadline for Exchange ActiveSync on Windows Phone by six months. You can still add Windows Phones to your Google account. And device that are already in your account, continue to work.

However, Surface is not Windows Phone. Surface is Windows RT. When you try to add a Google account, and you want contacts and calendars to sync with Surface, you are out of luck. Surface tries (and fails) to create an Exchange ActiveSync account. Only if you uncheck contacts and calendars, it will create an IMAP account instead.

I also tried the my usual setup. vowe@vowe.net as the address, @gmail.com as username. No workie.

This is a serious problem, that can be solved. Enter BlackBerry 10. If you set up your Google account, it will create three accounts. IMAP for mail, CalDAV for calendars and CardDAV for contacts. Exactly how it should work.

BlackBerry smart, Microsoft stupid.

Well, how about migrating to Outlook.com? That would work with Surface. However, Outlook.com does not support IMAP, let alone CardDAV or CalDAV. Stupid.

Speaking of stupid. Surface ships with a preview version of Office RT. The upgrade to the release is an important update. But it was unchecked and never installed. Let's hope this was just a glitch.

PAC-Analyse: Ende der Apfelblüte?

by Volker Weber

Insgesamt unterstreicht das Fallbeispiel, dass die Vorherrschaft nur eines Akteurs im Mobility-Markt auch zukünftig eher unwahrscheinlich ist. Unternehmen, die mit dem Innovationstempo im Mobility-Markt Schritt halten und sich über mobile Lösungen Wettbewerbsvorteile verschaffen wollen, müssen in der Lage sein, ihre Endgerätelandschaft flexibel anzupassen. Eine Lösungsplattform, die sowohl mobile Arbeitsplatz- und Prozessanwendungen als auch das mobile Device-&-Application-Management für unterschiedliche Betriebssysteme unterstützt, ist hierfür unabdingbar.

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Microsoft Surface is here

by Volker Weber

Well, this took a while. Microsoft Surface joins the Lenovo Yoga 11 at vowe's magic flying circus. Both are running Windows RT. That is what I want, for two reasons: battery life and legacy support. Windows 8 machines run only about half the time without a charge, when compared to similar Windows RT machines. That's true for both Microsoft Surface and Lenovo Yoga. They only run software written to the WRT stack. Which means they can't run software that depends on Win32. That's a good thing if you want to avoid the wonderful world of Windows malware.

A few first impressions. It is much smaller than the Yoga. It can even hide inside.

It's incredibly well built. On par, if not better than Apple.

In all its perfection, it misses the human touch. Marko Ahtisarri, who heads Design at Nokia, likes to describe the Lumia design as "human", "never feels cold". The Lumias are reduced to the max, but they still feel friendly and warm. Surface does not. It's harsh and cold.

That is not going to keep me from playing with it. I have an affection for cold and hard tools.

IBM's Social Content Management Evolution

by Volker Weber

our current Quickr customers can either chose to take this step or stay on their familiar Quickr environment... the choice is yours. IBM will continue to support the current Quickr environments; however, we want to encourage our valued Quickr customers to take the next step on their social business journey and adopt IBM Connections Content Manager when it becomes available later in Q1, 2013.

Rob Novak, who is the authority on all things Quickr, exlains your options.

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Kurzes Kabel - schon viel besser

by Volker Weber

Das Yoga 11 hat mich von Anfang an begeistert. Das Ladegerät und das lange Schukokabel weniger - siehe letztes Bild. Nun habe ich endlich Linderung. Ein kurzes Kabel von Kurze-Kabel.de. Am Wochenende bestellt, am Dienstagmorgen da.

9,95 €, Versandkosten inkl. (Aktion bis heute). Perfekt.

Sir James Dyson introduces new Airblade Tap in Hamburg

by Volker Weber

airblade tab

Three years ago James Dyson introduced his Air Multiplier in Hamburg. On Thursday he will once again show a new product, the Airblade Tap. Dyson's core competency lies in the intersection of engineering and design. The Tap is a great example.

When you hold your hands under the middle of the Tap, it will open a valve in a unit under the sink, so that you can wash your hands. You have seen this in a less sophisticated design in bathrooms all around the world. But the Tab also dries your hands, in 12 seconds. Just move them to both sides and the water will stop flowing and a 690 km/h airstream will dry your hands. And since you never take your hands out of the sink, you are not spilling any water on the floor.

At 1399 € this product is beyond my reach. Still loving it anyway.

The Tab is the smallest Airblade. You have seen the big one which sells from 999 €. And there is a model I did not even know, the Airblade V.

More >

Please upvote this idea

by Volker Weber

I want the mute button to also pause/play the player. It would let you use a PLAY:3 like a kitchen radio. Turn it on and off without fetching a remote.

So far we have 121 votes. If you have not voted yet, please do so here >

You will need to login (or create) a Getsatisfaction account, that you can also use for other vendors. Getsatisfaction sends you a confirmation code that you need to enter to make your vote count.

Nokia bringing Lumia prices down

by Volker Weber

Lumia520720

Nokia needs to sell more Lumia devices. And they just announced a major move to make this happen. Starting in Asia this quarter and expanding into other markets in the next quarter, they will be offering most of the high-end Lumia experience at much lower price points.

If the 620 that I tested last week is any indication (and from the specs it should be), you will be getting great value for your money. This isn't cheap & awful, but affordable and wonderful.

Update: To my German readers, you should not get all too excited yet. These prices are without taxes. Let me quote the German press release:

Das Nokia Lumia 520 wird in den Farben Gelb, Rot, Cyan, Weiß und Schwarz in Deutschland voraussichtlich im 2. Quartal 2013 zum Preis von 199 Euro (inklusive Steuern, ohne Vertrag) erhältlich sein.

Das Nokia Lumia 720 wird in den Farben Schwarz, Weiß, Cyan, Gelb und Rot erhältlich sein und in Deutschland voraussichtlich im 2. Quartal zum Preis von 379 Euro (inklusive Steuern, ohne Vertrag) in den Handel kommen.

At 19% MWSt, 139 becomes 165.41 and 249 becomes 296,31. So Nokia is adding a bit more than taxes to their list price.

And the winner is: iPad mini

by Volker Weber

With four tablets in the house, the iPad mini wins hands down against the iPad, the Playbook and the Nexus 7. That's for her. She isn't interested in specs. She uses what works best for her. And it's not even a competition.

For me it's still the big iPad, since I can use it to get work done. It has 3G, I have the Logitech Ultraslim keyboard. But it's already fighting against the Lenovo Yoga. If I can carry a bag, why not have a keyboard attached to the tablet, which lets me work on my lap?

Top 3: Lumia 920, Z10, iPhone 5

by Volker Weber

I like to use one phone and a backup. Nokia Lumia 920 is #1. BlackBerry Z10 is the backup. If I would lead two lives, the Z10 would be #1. It's fun to use, and BlackBerry Balance is outstanding. Without the need for Balance, the Lumia wins hands down. Solid, smart and pretty, with the best camera.

I'd really like to push the iPhone back to #1. It has one thing going for it: best ecosystem. If there is any software out there, it works on an iPhone. There is nothing wrong with the iPhone. The software looks just very quaint, once you used the other two.

People are awesome

by Volker Weber

Previous versions: #1 #2 #3

[Thanks, Hajo]

Lenovo Stromkabel - gibt es die auch 'in kurz'?

by Volker Weber

Dieses Anschlusskabel nervt. Gibt es das auch 'in kurz'? Ich finde nichts unter einem Meter. Gerne auch als Winkelstecker ohne Schnur.

Geschminkt und gestapelt

by Volker Weber

No 23: to air is not human

by Volker Weber

New toys

by Volker Weber

Two things I brought home from Munich:

A tiny and very loud portable speaker/player. You charge it via MiniUSB (nope, not MicroUSB) and connect it via 3.5mm jacks. Both cables are included. The battery lasts for three hours. The speaker can also play MP3 files from a MicroSD card, as long as the files are in the root directory.

A USB 3.0 thumbdrive. If you ever need to go to a remote island, you can bring this stick with its water and dust proof container. "You call that a knife? This is a knife." 64 GB. Sixtyfour, Baby.

The LASMEX S-01 looks more expensive than it is. With the Corsair Survivor, it's the other way around.

Lumia 620. I like.

by Volker Weber

I always get to use the high end phones. The ones with the most memory, best camera, greatest display. Once in a while I like to recalibrate by using an entry-level "affordable" device. That's usually a little bit of a letdown.

The Lumia 620 is different. I like it. Not as in "I could live with that". No, I really like it.

It's a proper Lumia with Windows Phone 8 and comes with all the excellent stuff that Nokia makes. Navigation, online or offline, Nokia Music, it's all there. And they are bringing something back that Nokia championed with the 5110. Replaceable covers. They pop on and off very easily so you can have many and use them as you please.

Two of the covers I have are matte: the blue and the white on. The green one is glossy. Actually they all have two colors. A transparent one on top and an opaque one underneath. The green cover is a translucent blue over yellow, the blue one is blue over white and the white one is transparent over white. This makes for some really nice color effects. Bright green is not my kind of color, but it sure draws some attention.

Let's not forget the price. A Lumia 920 is between 620€ and 720€ off contract. The 620 sells for 260€ on Amazon. On contract it will be free. This gives you a 3.8" ClearBlack display, 1 GHz dual core Snapdragon S4, 512 MB of RAM, 8 GB of storage, expandable with SD card up to 64 GB. Two cameras, 5 megapixel in the back, VGA in the front. This little sucker even comes with NFC. It's an incredible value.

I'll part with two close-ups of this amazing material. The blue one is my favorite.

Habemus camera

by Volker Weber

I destroyed my Canon G11 last week by dropping it, for the second time. Time to get a replacement. I tried to argue with myself that I did not really need a camera, but I lost. Or won. What do you know? I was on both sides of the argument.

Today I went to Fotogena and bought a Fujifilm X10 for 379€. Great value. Cheapest price on Amazon was 387,10€. Buy local!

Sie haben Post

by Volker Weber

Das ist mir noch nie passiert.

[Klingeling] - vowe wackelt zur Gegensprechanlage: 'Ja, bitte?' - 'Paketpost' - 'OK, ich komme'.

Gelbes Auto vor der Tür. Fremder Fahrer. 'Das ist aber bestimmt für den Nachbarn, ich erwarte nichts.' - 'Doch, Volker Weber'. - 'Ok, danke.' [Unterschreib]

Was kann das sein? Leichtes Amazon-Paket, schnell aufgerissen. Ich liebe diese einfachen Verpackungen! Da drin ein Geschenk von meiner Wunschliste. Ein Knog Blinder. Oh, wie cool. Gleich auspacken. Sehr schön, der für vorne. Der ist wichtiger. Bedienungsanleitung kurz durchlesen, zum Laden anschließen - Geduld, Alter!

[Klingeling] - vowe wackelt zur Tür. Gelbes Auto vor der Tür. Bekannter Fahrer. Das gleiche Paket in der Hand. 'Hah, ich weiß was drin ist. Wollen wir wetten?' - 'Nee.' - 'Ihr Kollege hat gerade schon so ein Paket gebracht.' - 'Ja, den habe ich gerade noch gesehen.'

Und was war drin? Ist doch klar. Die Rückleuchte. Danke!

Yes, Sonos, I have further questions. And I am letting you know here.

by Volker Weber

Executive summary: go ahead and upvote this idea. And write a comment, please.

Every Sonos player has three buttons. Mute, volume up and down. You don't need to fetch the remote if you want to adjust the volume, and you can stop it from playing when the phone rings. A long press will mute the house. That is good, tried and true.

However, there is a problem. If you place a PLAY:3 in the kitchen and you want to turn on the radio in the morning, and then turn it off, and then on again, you can't use mute. The player does not go to sleep. It justs turns the volume down. It keeps hitting your storage, it keeps streaming from Spotify, it keeps streaming the radio.

That is wasteful. Your NAS cannot spin down, you are hitting your internet connection, you even make it expensive for Spotify. They pay per play. And you are not even listening.

I have a solution. Let me program the mute key. I want it to be play/pause. I don't know for sure, but I believe this can be done. The button isn't hardwired to an amp. Otherwise you could not do a "mute all zone players". If you can do that, you can also do a "pause player".

Let me take it up a notch. This does not need to be a per player option. I would be fine, if every single player in my household would have a pause/play switch instead of mute. And a long press could be "pause all". That is the most used function on my Sonos CR200 btw. Before I leave the house, I fetch it and stop all players in the household. Wouldn't it be convenient to have this button on every single player?

If you can't get this fixed, people will prefer a Tivoli Audio ONE. I know that. We have one. And it happens in other houses with Sonos gear as well. So puleeeze, give me that option. More players sold. How does that sound?

How about the headline? Well, you asked for it:

Wer nicht gut englisch versteht: der letzte Satz heißt das Gegenteil, also "lass mich in Ruhe".

Sonos Playbar and Surround Sound

by Volker Weber

A few people asked me whether my TV is sending 5.1 sound to the Playbar. Frankly, I had no idea. I just knew the sound was great so I never bothered to check, why it was great. The concern is that the TV downmixes the signal to 2.0.

Time to test. We test so you don't have to, remember? ;-)

I downloaded this video from Dolby. Then I set the Samsung UE55ES8900 S/PDIF out to Dolby Digital and played the video. The other choices are PCM and DTS NEO 2.5.

I can clearly hear all six channels coming out of the correct speaker.

Well, this is the TV without peripherals. Currently I don't need any. The TV has three receivers for cable (TVB-C), digital terrestrial (DVB-T) and digital satellite (DVB-S). It plays through DLNA, from USB, and it has streaming clients from YouTube, Vimeo and services like MaxDome.

However the user manual for my TV states:

When the TV is receiving a DTV signal, the TV will send 5.1 CH sound to the home theatre receiver. When the source is a digital component such as a DVD / Blu-ray player / cable box / STB (Set-Top-Box) satellite receiver and is connected to the TV via HDMI, only 2 CH audio will be heard from the home theatre receiver. If you want to hear 5.1 CH audio, connect the digital audio out jack from yourDVD / Blu-ray player / cable box / STB satellite receiver directly to an amplifier or home theatre.

I am hearing 5.1, because the TV never receives the signal through HDMI. This looks like an HDMI restriction. You can work around that by managing your sound separate from the video. Throw TOSlink cables from the TV, from the Bluray, from the DVD / Blu-ray player / cable box / STB to a switch, and from there to the Playbar. Ben Rose recommended this box to me.

Repeat after me: DRM is bad for the customer.

Photos from 808 Pureview, Lumia 920, BlackBerry Z10 and iPhone 5

by Volker Weber

Same scene as yesterday. The cuddly bear was still waiting for his real photo shoot. Also compare the low light photos.


Nokia 808 Pureview, ISO 100, Exposure 1/50 sec, Aperture 2.4


Nokia Lumia 920, ISO 160, Exposure, 1/100 sec, Aperture 2.0


BlackBerry Z10, ISO 70, Exposure 1/100 sec, Aperture 2.2


iPhone 5, ISO 64, Exposure 1/60 sec, Aperture 2.4

Test setup: I put the cameras on a tripod. I wasn't very careful aligning the shots, but you can see that the iPhone shot 4:3, and the other cameras 16:9. These are from an 8 year old Nikon D70, without a tripod, ISO 200, 1/60 sec and 4.0 aperture. It gets the color right.

Low light photos from 808 Pureview, Lumia 920, BlackBerry Z10 and iPhone 5

by Volker Weber

Very low light from the side and in the picture, no flash. These are the worst of circumstances for any camera. Also compare the normal light photos.


Nokia 808 Pureview, ISO 640, Exposure 1/12 sec, Aperture: 2.4


Nokia Lumia 920 Pureview, ISO 640, Exposure: 1/11 sec, Aperture 2.0


BlackBerry Z10, ISO 678, Exposure 1/8 sec, Aperture 2.2


Apple iPhone 5, ISO 800, Exposure 1/15 sec, Aperture 2.4

Test setup: I put the cameras on a tripod. Without it, the Lumia with OIS would have won hands down on sharpness. I wasn't very careful aligning the shots, but you can see that the iPhone shot 4:3, and the other cameras 16:9. These are from an 8 year old Nikon D70, without a tripod, ISO 400, 1/10 sec and 1.8 aperture. It gets the color right.


Z10 battery performance

by Volker Weber

It's 6:30 in the afternoon. The battery in my BlackBerry Z10 holds a 55% charge. I got up in the morning at 8:00, made a 5 minute video call, checked all my emails, answered a few of them, looked at my Twitter stream once in a while. The rest of the time, the Z10 was in my pocket. Not bad.

One more thing: that was today and yesterday. I have not charged it since 8:00am yesterday.

Two iPads

by Volker Weber

As a daily user of an iPad and a Nexus 7, I was finally exposed to an iPad mini today. Worked a few hours with it. Now I know why this sucker is so successful.

Mixed Tape "(The) Amplified A" is out

by Volker Weber

mixed tape 50

01 MOODY NEW STAR | LIAM STEWART | 23:36
02 ON MY FANCY BED FEAT. SABRINA | JIMMY WHOO | 2:19
03 LISTEN TO YOUR HEART | NICK WISDOM | 2:31
04 JAZZ & COMIC BOOKS | LORINE CHIA | 2:33
05 CAN WE | LORINE CHIA | 3:50
06 ALMOST PERFECT | KOTOMI | 4:24
07 CINCINNATI MADE | KELVIN K. BROWN | 5:52
08 MIDTOWN IN SEPTEMBER | KELVIN K. BROWN | 4:39
09 BIRD OF PREY (MGEE’S RELENTLESS WIND REMIX) | LIAM STEWART | 3:59
10 RETURN (OLIVER SCHORIES REMIX) | LEFRENK | 7:44
11 NUTTER | GOOD PAUL | 5:05
12 FUN AND GAMES | REPEAT PATTERN FEAT. BROKE | 2:18

More >

Ein Plan

by Volker Weber

Gibt ev. es von Sonos auch eine optimierte Vorgehensweise um eine sichere positive Entscheidungsfindung der weiblichen Hälfte herbeiführen zu können ? :)

Sonos hat sowas nicht, aber ich habe einen Plan:

  1. Man schenkt der Frau einen iPad mini oder ein Nexus 7, je nach Religionszugehörigkeit.
  2. Man schmeisst die alte Stereoanlage aus dem Wohnzimmer.
  3. Man kauft dafür ein Starterset aus zwei PLAY:3 und einer Bridge und baut sie im Wohnzimmer auf.
  4. Man holt sich einen Testaccount bei JUKE, Napster oder Spotify.
  5. Man installiert den Sonos Controller auf dem Tablet und richtet den Musikservice ein.
  6. Man legt die Lieblings-CDs und liebsten Radiosender in den Favoriten ab.

Zwei Jahre später stehen in der Wohnung überall Sonos-Player.

Sonos Entscheidungshilfe, neue Version

by Volker Weber

Eine kleine Entscheidungshilfe. Erklärung hier.

Sonos Playbar

by Volker Weber

Gentlemen, get your credit card all charged up. You will want to spend money. Quite a lot of money. Well spent.

This is the PLAYBAR. It is many things: a soundbar for your TV, a ZonePlayer for your music, the left-center-right for a 3.0 system. With a SUB it can turn into a 3.1, and if you add two PLAY:3 you will have a 5.1 surround system. You only need to throw one tiny weeny optical cable between your TV and the PLAYBAR. Everything else is wireless, safe for the power leads of course.

Remember when I bought a new Samsung TV about half a year ago. There was only one reason: I needed a digital optical out so I could start testing the new SONOS gear that was entering final testing. It took a while to arrive at vowe's magic flying circus, but then, one day, the FedEx truck pulled up and delivered a huge package. Inside was the PLAYBAR. I updated the software on my SONOS, installed new controllers on iPhones, iPads and Androids. Then I was ready to go. One cable to the Samsung S/PDIF and one power lead. "Add a SONOS component", press two buttons, associate the SUB, learn the TV remote, and then . . . I was blown away.

I had tied the analog TV out to my ZP120 before, since I did not like the TV speakers at all. But this was always a bit difficult. While I had programmed the SONOS line-in to auto-play any incoming signal, I had two volume controls daisy chained. One was the TV, and the secondary was the ZP120. Not a good WAF.

This changes now. You tell the TV to switch off the internal speakers and play on external only. The PLAYBAR learns the TV remote. Yes, it has an IR eye, which turns it into the first SONOS player, that can be controlled from a standard remote. There are IR blasters at the back, so you can still control your TV, if you place the PLAYBAR in front of the TV.

This is what the PLAYBAR looks like on the inside. Nine speakers all driven by their own Class D amp. You can place it flat on a table or mount it on a wall. The PLAYBAR assumes that the wires come out of the back, and its sensor tell it which way is down, so it always can tell left from right, no matter how you mount it.

When the PLAYBAR was designed, it was meant to be on equal footing with a pair of PLAY:3, as far as music playback is concerned. The engineers outdid themselves and were able to almost reach a PLAY:5 pair. I think the PLAYBAR can be your only stereo, giving you two things in one: great TV sound and great music.

We can take it from there and add a SUB for earth shaking bass. And if you are rich, you can waste two PLAY:3 to make it a 5.1 surround system. Since those are quite mobile, you don't have to deploy them all the time. Add two of your existing players to the TV zone for cinema night, and then remove them later. They will go back to their old settings once removed from the TV zone.

The PLAYBAR has similar connectors to a PLAY:5. Two ethernet ports, power and instead of the line-in there is an optical digital in. If your TV does not have an optical digital out, you are in the same place as I was half a year ago. No PLAYBAR or a new TV.

The PLAYBAR zone adds two settings: night mode and speech enhancement. Night mode compresses audio in order to save yourselves from your neighbor's ire. Speech enhancement does exactly what it says.

With PLAYBAR, your TV is the command center. You hook up all your peripherals like cable box, sat receiver or Apple TV to your TV via HDMI and then select the source from the TV. Audio goes out the S/PDIF to the PLAYBAR, and that will understand both PCM and Dolby Digital Surround. I think they should have added DTS as well, but I am no expert in this field.

I have been testing PLAYBAR for a while and I was unable to log any substantial bugs. This is a high quality release from SONOS, much like SUB. When the PLAY:5 then S5 came out, I thought that SONOS could not do any better. I was mistaken. Both the SUB and PLAYBAR play on a whole new level.

I told you that today would be an expensive day. I told you to save your Xmas money. Now you need it.

vowe recommends ueberall-musik.de. Make sure you let them know you came from vowe.net. It might save you some money. And no, I am not getting any commission.

A tragic day in Florida

by Volker Weber

If you followed the Connect-o-sphere coverage in the blogs, you may have noticed that this year was less cheerful than previous years. And it had nothing to do with IBM. It was all about a person being missed.

On Sunday, a day beautiful as it can be in Florida, a group of riders started their second day of the Annual Hog Ride. One of them did not return that day. When changing lanes on a highway overpass, he lost control of his Electra Glide, was thrown off the bike and fell off the overpass, 30 feet to the highway below him. Although he was in full gear with helmet on, he was killed immediately.

The accident is well documented since some of the riders were wearing helmet cams. Nobody was at fault. It was a bad combination of circumstances. And yet, those riders who were at the scene, would love to erase these seconds from their memory. But as it is with all bad things that happen to you in life, they are coming back to haunt you. The only way to deal with them is to find a place where to keep them. They are teaching you a lesson:

Go and hug your friends and family right now.

Requiescat in pace, Kenneth Kjærbye.

Video chat between BlackBerry Z10 and PlayBook

by Volker Weber

I was hoping this would work, but I did not try. Then I had a missed call from Henning. He just bought a 64 GB PlayBook from Redcoon, for 179 Euro. Anyway, I called him back today from a Z10 and the video chat worked just great.

PlayBook will get an update to BlackBerry 10 in the future. BlackBerry has not committed to date, but I am guessing it will take them at least another three months. First they have to make sure that Z10 issues get fixed, then they need to push out Q10, and then they can finally update the PlayBook.

Sonos 4.0 has landed

by Volker Weber

Sonos 4.0 has landed. It brings three major changes to the controller:

  1. There is a new feature called Sonos Favorites. It lets you bookmark anything you like. New albums you purchased, radio stations, tracks from Spotify. Everything you have on heavy rotation in one place.
  2. The Android controller now has widgets. This means direct access to your zones. See above. No more switching around rooms. This is very convenient.
  3. iPhone 5 resolution. Finally.

No, we are not done yet for today.

Hasse mal ne Magg?

by Volker Weber

Heute war ich kurz in einer Klemme. Ich musste ein paar Windows Phone Apps kaufen, aber ich will im Windows Store keine Kreditkarte hinterlassen. Also PayPal. Leider war mein Konto auf Null, und eine Überweisung von der Bank dauert. Was nun? Mein Retter war wie immer Federico, der sein Konto um ein paar Freibier erhöht hat.

Update: Vielen Dank für Eure Hilfe. Ich nage nicht am Hungertuch, aber ich hatte kein Geld in der richtigen Kasse. Auf dem PayPal-Konto sind dank ein paar Spenden zwischen 0,51 € (eine Magg) und 15 Euro und einigen App-Käufen immer noch 41,62 € Guthaben. Das sollte eine ganze Zeit ausreichen.

Ich habe den Donate-Knopf mal in die Seitenspalte verschoben, da meine Amazon-Wünsche in der Regel viel zu teuer sind.

View from the top

by Volker Weber

More >

[Thanks, TJ]

Congratulations Mr. and future Mrs. Lepofsky

by Volker Weber

Or shall I say, finally? ;-)

With a great deal of excitement we'd like to announce the planned merger of Lepofsky LTD with Chitayat Corp.

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How to train your eye to take better pictures

by Volker Weber

To take a good photograph you need to know what good looks like — sounds daft I know, but training your eye is very important. In this article, I’m going to show you several free sources of amazing photography one of which even tells you ‘pro tip’ per picture.

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A Monster Nokia Bluetooth headset. A monster!

by Volker Weber

It does not happen often, that I am completely blown away by a new product. From the start. This is one such exception.

Executive summary: WOAAAH. Editor-refuses-to-give-it-back award.

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Yoga + Lumia

by Volker Weber

Ich war die letzten beiden Wochen auf Reisen, mit für mich sehr ungewohntem Gepäck. Normalerweise mache ich alles mit dem iPad und dem Nokia 808 PureView. Dazu ein BlackBerry als Backup.

Diesmal alles Windows. Windows RT auf dem Yoga, Windows Phone 8 auf dem Lumia 920. Und das hat richtig gut funkioniert. Mitterweile mag ich auch das Word RT auf dem Yoga. Die Schrift gleitet richtig, während man tippt. Schwierig zu beschreiben, aber das gibt einen "Flow" während man textet. Fotos und Videos konnte ich zwischen beiden Geräten einfach hin- und herkabeln. Zugleich habe ich die automatisch auf das Skydrive hochgeladen und von dort mit Hannover geteilt. Das ist ein toller Workflow, bei dem man keine großen Brocken verschicken muss. Skydrive passt zwischen den beiden Windows-Geräten perfekt. Sonst würde man vielleicht Dropbox nehmen.

Das Yoga war übrigens ein Einzelstück. Niemand sonst hatte eins. Zwölf Stunden Laufzeit sind eine Bank. Ich habe das noch nie tagsüber leer gefahren, egal wie viel ich es benutzt habe. Gucke ja auch mal woanders hin als auf den Bildschirm. Das Lumia treffe ich dagegen immer häufiger bei den Kollegen an. Die sind nicht zimperlich. Was funktioniert, wird benutzt. In etwa so, wie der Terminator seine Waffen einpackt. Treu sind sie allerdings auch nicht. Wenn jemand eine bessere Mausefalle baut, sind sie wieder weg.

Ich fasse diese Geräte ziemlich hart an. Beim Yoga sind auf einer Seite ein paar Stellen ohne Lack, das Lumia sieht trotz vieler Stürze noch aus wie neu. Dabei werde ich nichts absichtlich runter. Bin einfach ungeschickt. Aber weder das Yoga noch das Lumia brauchen bei mir eine Schutzhülle. Die sind tough.

vowe's choice

by Volker Weber

I am still loving the Lumia 920. If only for the ability to shoot photos at night.

Interview mit Alec Saunders

by Volker Weber

Gestern in Amsterdam, heute auf heise online.

BlackBerry Statement

by Volker Weber

WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 6, 2013) - BlackBerry® (NASDAQ:BBRY)(TSX:BB) today issued the following statement:

"In Canada, yesterday was the best day ever for the first day of a launch of a new BlackBerry smartphone. In fact, it was more than 50% better than any other launch day in our history in Canada," said Thorsten Heins, President & CEO of BlackBerry. "In the UK, we have seen close to three times our best performance ever for the first week of sales for a BlackBerry smartphone."

While I see that people really like the new Z10, I'd rather see some real numbers.

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Congratulations Mr. Brill

by Volker Weber

One of these people is Ed Brill. For a while both* were.

Ed has had a tremendous year. The Notes business was successful. Ed took a new Notes/Domino release all the way into public beta, to be released next month as a product. He is now a published author. And he will finally be able to move on.

More than two years ago, at the 32nd DNUG conference in Berlin, I started a very serious discussion with Ed about the future. He was doing well business-wise, but I felt he was the last man standing, when defending Notes against all adversaries. Any fire that sprang up, the community was waiting for him to put it out. It was Ed Brill equals Notes. This is not a good position to be in. You want to move on, you want to get promoted, you want to move to new challenges. You can't have a career in IBM without rotating.

Ed and I have had our stage fights. He was angry at me once in a while. My sister would not understand how I could be friends with a person who said so many bad things about me. And yet, I consider myself Ed's friend. Many of those quarrels happened because Ed had to put out fires that I started. That I had to start. We both have roles on different sides of a dividing line.

Finally, Ed will be able to move on. A new challenge. Connect attendees had a brief peek into the future. You will have to wait until Monday afternoon for a formal announcement. Good luck, Mr. Brill. And thank you for being my friend.

*) For those not in the know, Ed is on the left, with my dear friend Alan Lepofsky on the right. The running gag used to be that Alan was Ed. Or his evil twin brother. Now you know that's not true.

BBM on BB10

by Volker Weber

I was confused. I was really confused. About BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) and BB10 (BlackBerry 10). Even Crackberry is confused. But I figured it out.

In order to understand the issue, you need to separate technology from contract:



  1. BlackBerry 10 works without the BlackBerry infrastructure. You can get your mail directly from the server, you can access the internet directly through your carrier's gateway, you can do everything via WiFi if you want. But there is one component that needs the infrastructure: everything that depends on the device PIN. BBM is PIN2PIN messaging. It needs the relay to route messages from PIN to PIN. The same goes for EMM (Enterprise Mobile Management), read BlackBerry Enterprise Service. It needs the relay between SRP and PIN.

  2. Access to the BlackBerry infrastructure is governed by a contract between the carrier and BlackBerry, the company. Your carrier SIM was provisioned for BlackBerry service. And this isn't an on/off switch. You were provisioned for BlackBerry Messaging, for BlackBerry Internet Service, for BlackBerry Enterprise Service, etc. The carrier would register your device with BlackBerry, the company. And pay for it. In turn you had to pay for the service. This generates a substantial revenue stream for BlackBerry.

So, do you need BlackBerry service for BBM? Technically, yes. Your device needs to be registered on the relay. BlackBerry, the company, does not tell me how this is going to work. The simple reason is that the contracts between the company and the carriers are not in place. Without the contract, provisioning isn't (supposed to be) working yet.

Here is my take: BlackBerry isn't interested in generating revenue from BBM. Customers don't want to be bothered with special contracts. Any SIM should work. They are interested in growing the community since that sells devices. However they are interested in generating revenue from EMM. This makes life complicated for BlackBerry, but not for you.

BlackBerry tried to gloss over this issue by manually registering all evaluation devices on the relay. This is why I get the berry logo with a prepaid MEDIONmobile SIM without BB service. They need a little more time to make it work for you.

Nextgen Reader for Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone

by Volker Weber

This is a proper Google Reader. 2,49 € on the PC, 1,99 € on the phone. Unlimited ad-free trial.

Windows 8 and Windows RT >

All versions of Windows Phone >

LEGO Penguin

by Volker Weber

Got this from Mr. and Mrs. Elsmore

Syncing Google services with Windows Phone

by Volker Weber

the Windows Phone team is building support into our software for the new sync protocols Google is using for calendar and contacts—CalDAV and CardDAV. These new protocols, combined with our existing support for the IMAP protocol for email, will enable Windows Phone users to continue to connect to Google services after July 31, 2013. 

This is the new deadline set by Google.

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Ausprobiert: BlackBerry 10 auf dem Z10

by Volker Weber

BlackBerry Z10 im ersten Test: RIM schafft den Anschluss | c't

by Volker Weber

Das BlackBerry Z10 ist ein leistungsfähiges Smartphone, das sich hinter keinem Konkurrenten verstecken muss. Erstmals seit vielen Jahren hat RIM die Konkurrenz eingeholt, und sogar überholt: BlackBerry 10 bietet das Alleinstellungsmerkmal, private und geschäftliche Daten perfekt zu trennen.

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Travel companions

by Volker Weber

I brought the Lumia 920 as a camera, but did not shoot a lot of photos. The BlackBerry 9900 went into the bag as the "always on" device. When I arrived it would not connect to AT&T. Had to call home to get roaming unlocked. Two phones are never enough, so I also took the brand new Z10. Don't want to look unfashionably, would I? There might have been an iPhone in the bag, but that did not come out.

The big change was the Yoga instead of the iPad. And that worked really well. Laptop, plus tablet, twelve hours of battery life. No new scratches. Monday morning it will travel to Amsterdam.

The events of this week

by Volker Weber

When I am traveling, you won't see me writing much here. There is a simple reason: I need to get away from the action and think. Tonight, as I was flying back to Europe, I had this time. Time for a short wrap-up:

  1. BlackBerry 10
  2. IBM Connect 2013
BlackBerry 10 (BB10) is the easier one. 2013 is the year that makes or breaks BlackBerry, the artist formerly known as Research in Motion (RIM). Years of development have created a new platform and a new device: the Z10. It will be quickly followed by the Q10. People keep asking me whether I like BlackBerry 10 and the answer is yes. Not "yes, but". Simply "yes". It is exactly what we need in a connected world where we want one agent to keep it all together without mixing up our private things with our professional lives. We don't want IT admins to ruin our mobile experience, and at the same time we want to be responsible and reasonable. This is the heart of BB10. It lets you keep an enjoyable device and a secure platform, at the same time, without compromise. This is innovation, not yet another photo app.

IBM Connect is more difficult. My thoughts are very complicated, and I have not yet found a way to express them. Let me try a few touchpoints:

Connect 2013 was very emotional. Lots of folks are afraid of the future. "I wanted to see my friends one last time", that was the most touching statement I heard. Tearjerker.

Let me tell you something: life is about people, not about technology. Your friends will be your friends. And you will see them again. And again, and again. Technology changes, friendship lasts. In change, there lies opportunity.

Ceci n'est pas un blog

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

vowe

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