December 2014

Slim & fit

by Volker Weber

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At the very high end of Windows devices there are currently two interesting machines: Surface and Yoga, both christened 3 Pro. Surface is a tablet that aspires to be a notebook while Yoga is a notebook that can be used in many configurations, including a tablet. I have seen but not used Surface and I have used Yoga now for more than a week. It's time for a few first impressions.

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Yoga is slim. It's so slim that Lenovo hat to invent a new hinge. Slim enough to fit the Yoga and flexible enough to bend 360 degrees, so that you can fold the notebook the wrong way to get a tablet. As with previous Yoga devices you get two more modes: tent and stand. Tent has the display facing your way and the hinge on top and stand has the hinge at the front. Both let you use Yoga in very cramped spaces.

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If you want to see whether something is beautifully designed, just turn it over and look at the bottom. Yoga passes this test with flying colors. Ten equally spaced screws, four feet, two speaker grills.

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This makes Yoga a serious notebook: a great backlit keyboard and a soft surrounding surface. The keyboard is recessed so you can rest Yoga in stand mode with the keyboard facing down. The extra column of keys to the right of the Enter key makes it very hard for me to switch from Apple keyboards, but that will not be a problem if Yoga is your main computer which it aspires to be.

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This is the on/off key on the right side of the Yoga. And it's not recessed. It forces me to change a habit: when I put a notebook down on the floor, I don't close it but just put it down with my left hand and rest the notebook on its right side. This way I can pick it up in a second without waking it up. If I do that on the Yoga, it will sit on the off key and turn itself off completely. In the future I will need to use my right hand and rest the Yoga on the left side.

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This is the rotation lock key. It toggles screen rotation on/off. I also found out that it corrects an error I ran into quite frequently. Sometimes Yoga does not switch off the keyboard and trackpad when folded backwards. Or it fails to turn them back on when returning to Notebook configuration. Hit this key and everything is back to the way it should be.

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Yoga's problem here at vowe's magic clying circus is my MacBook Pro Retina. It cannot be used in tablet, tent or stand mode. But it's absolutely perfect as a notebook and runs on OS X instead of Frankenstein 8.1. And it supports iA Writer, the essential tool to get my job done. It may appear you could replace it with any plain text editor, but that is not the case.

But that's just me. If you don't rely on OS X or iA Writer, you will find the Yoga 3 Pro to be fast and versatile machine, easy to carry, incredibly thin and light. It's foremost a notebook but it has many uses.

There is one thing I still need to evaluate and that is battery life. Windows 8.1 has no accurate battery meter on the modern start screen. You have to go to the old desktop. And when I go there, I find the battery symbol telling me things like 71% charge, 2:18 left. That would mean less than four hours battery life. I will need to find out how screen brightness affects battery life.


Warum/Why BlackBerry 10? Please comment.

by Volker Weber

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Ich will einen Fanboy-Artikel schreiben. Ich habe ein paar Ideen, aber würde gerne Euch hören. Der Text wird kurz (d.h. eine Seite), also muss er gut sein. Je mehr Input, desto besser kann ich auswählen. Also: Warum nutzt Du BlackBerry? Was gefällt Dir besonders?

Wer BlackBerry nicht mag, kann einfach den Schnabel halten. ;-)

I want to write a fanboy piece on BlackBerry. I have a few ideas, but I still want to hear from you. The text will be short (i.e. one page), so it needs to be good. The more input I have, the better I can select from it. So: why do you use BlackBerry? What do you like best?

Don't bother telling me why you don't. ;-)

And the winner is ...

by Volker Weber

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I tried a couple of solutions to track my steps this year. A Fitbit, a Jawbone UP24, a Withings Pulse Ox, a Lumia 930, a Pebble, and of course the iPhone. I really liked the UP24 until it broke and Jawbone took three weeks to replace it. I lost a few hundred thousand steps and re-started with a new band. Then they "upgraded" (read ruined) the software with a "Smart Coach". I had Withings Health Mate installed to track weight and blood pressure, so I let the iPhone track my steps and record them into Health Mate. Then I tried the Pulse Ox, which gave a few insights I did not have before. Ox level is always 98% and my resting pulse is between 60 and 70. Not much variation here. I also no longer needed to track my sleep, since I learned that I just have to go to bed early, after taking an evening walk, to maximize my sleep. I also tried tracking with the Lumia 930 and the Pebble but found them to be inaccurate. I wanted to try the Microsoft Band but that was not available for testing and is currently completely sold out.

Fitbit, Pulse and UP24 had the same weakness: syncing via Bluetooth LE is not as reliable as I expected. The software on the iPhone was never up-to-date. I tried syncing with a BlackBerry and was running down the battery really quickly through the Android runtime. The Pulse would let me check my data, but I had to push a button, even for looking at the time. This could be fixed in software: turn the display on when flicking your wrist.

The winning combination is now an iPhone as tracker and the Pebble as display. Max Bäumle wrote a watchface for me which displays the time and the current step count. It periodically updates from the iPhone or when I flick my wrist. The display is always on so I can check the time and the step count without pushing a button. And I don't have to fetch the iPhone. The Pebble also displays notifications from the iPhone, which is an added bonus.

The iPhone is now silent at all times. The Pebble vibrates on incoming calls. If I do not want to be disturbed I simply take off the watch. Battery life is excellent for a smartwatch. I recharge when the Pebble tells me it has reached 20%. I don't track the time but I am pretty sure it needs a recharge after five to six days. When I get the 20% warning, I still have more than a day left.

A Pebble is now less than a hundred Dollars. You get an additional $20 off through a promotion in Max's Smartwatch Pro. It's a companion app for the watchface and it also provides access to your calendar, reminders and to Twitter. Highly recommended if you have a Pebble.

Update: Discount not working in Germany. :-(

BlackBerry räumt das Lager

by Volker Weber

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Schaut man sich den deutschen BlackBerry-Shop an, dann gibt es noch drei Geräte, die keinen Promo-Preis haben: Classic, Passport und P'9983. Z10 und P'9982 sind nicht mehr gelistet, die Q10 sind ausverkauft. Nun gibt es zum Promopreis nur noch Q5 (schwarz und pink) und Z30 (schwarz und weiß).

BlackBerry konzentriert sich damit auf Classic und Passport. Und das ist gut so. Denn in 2015 wird es eine Reihe neuer Geräte geben, die das Portfolio nach unten vervollständigen. Die alten Produkte würden dabei zu viel durcheinander bringen.

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Microsoft acknowledges WP8.1 Update 2, finally brings Bluetooth HID support

by Volker Weber

Also new is HID 1.1 Host support, which will hopefully bring support for Bluetooth Keyboards.

Microsoft makes a few nice portable keyboards, but they don't work with Windows Phone. This may change next year.

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The problem is all inside your head, she said to me

by Volker Weber

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they'd be asked the "half empty or half full" question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: "How heavy is this glass of water?" Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn't change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

She continued, "The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed - incapable of doing anything."

Remember to put the glass down.

Stuff that works. And a few disappointments.

by Volker Weber

Lots of things coming in (and going out) at vowe's magic flying circus. Here a few things that I use day in and day out:

A number of things have gotten less usage than before.

Biggest disappointment: Sonos on Windows Phone. I really expected them to deliver in the spring. Then summer, then fall. But Microsoft has only recently started to test an Alpha internally. It's still far away and the progress matches that of the Windows Phone platform.

Lumia Denim starts rolling out in Europe

by Volker Weber

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1020 O2 is avaiable, 1020 country variant not. It always amazes me how a country variant can be behind an operator version.

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Le calendrier 2015 d'Aubade est arrivé

by Volker Weber

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[Thanks, Boudewijn.]

Classic Voucher

by Volker Weber

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Wer will einen BlackBerry Classic kaufen? Kostet mit diesem Voucher 75 Euro weniger.

Classic launch in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

by Volker Weber

Heute ist ein wichtiger Tag für BlackBerry. In Singapore, Frankfurt und New York wird der Classic vorgestellt. So langweilig das Gerät beim ersten Blick auf die technischen Daten erscheint, so wichtig ist es für die Zukunft von BlackBerry.

Der Classic baut eine Brücke zwischen der alten Plattform, immer noch im Einsatz als Bold oder Curve, und der neuen Plattform, deren neuester und ambitioniertester Vertreter der Passport ist.

Aufgabe des Classic ist, den zufriedenen Bold-Nutzern ein neues Gerät anbieten zu können. Die alles entscheidende Frage ist: werden die Kunden das Gerät annehmen? Die Chancen stehen nicht schlecht. Ein erster Bericht erscheint um 16 Uhr auf heise.de.

Bob Hoover Accepts Wright Trophy

by Volker Weber

The 2014 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy was awarded to air-show legend Robert L. Hoover during a ceremonial dinner in Washington, D.C., last Friday. ... Hoover, at age 92, has been at the forefront of the aviation world long enough to have met Orville Wright, Charles Lindbergh, James Doolittle, Neil Armstrong, and virtually every other well-known aviator. Doolittle called him "the greatest stick-and-rudder man who ever lived." Chuck Yeager once described Hoover as "the best pilot flying today."

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iPhone Case

by Volker Weber

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Das iPhone 6+ ist praktisch an mir angewachsen. Meistbenutztes Gerät seit langen. Am liebsten ohne Hülle, aber es ist doch arg flitschig. Und deshalb habe ich bereits ein Apple-Case in rot verschlissen. Damit konnte man sich nicht mehr sehen lassen. Nun setze ich auf braun und glaube, dass das besser in Würde altert. Sollte das scheitern, kann ich noch auf ein abwaschbares Case in bleu ausweichen. Auf die nächsten 1000 Meilen!

Logitech Keys-To-Go

by Volker Weber

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Ich habe ein Problem mit den iPad-Tastaturcovern. Das iPad wechselt zu häufig seine Dimension. Da ich immer wieder neue Testgeräte bekomme, passt nach kurzer Zeit die Tastatur nicht mehr zum Gerät.

Nun habe ich mich für eine universelle Tastatur von Logitech interessiert. Leicht, gegen Staub und Flüssigkeiten geschützt, abwaschbar. Das klingt zunächst mal nicht nach einer gut bedienbaren Tastatur. Aber der 10-Finger-Schreiber im Haus ist zufrieden. Fühlt sich weich an, hat aber einen mechanischen Druckpunkt und ist damit besser als die erste Generation der Surface-Tastaturen.

Was mir gefällt: beinahe das identische Layout wie ein Macbook. Das kenne ich im Schlaf. Kompromisse nur direkt neben der Entertaste. Nicht so toll: der Einschalter rechts hinter dem Logitech-Logo ist etwas fummelig. Jammern auf hohem Niveau.

Müsste ich sie nicht zurückschicken, ich würde sie glatt behalten.

Steve Litchfield: the age of Nokia imaging supremacy is over

by Volker Weber

The tipping point was 2013's Samsung Galaxy S4 (a device I still own and is part of my day to day work cycle), one of the best cameras ever to be put into a non-Nokia phone - I threw it into a big shootout with the Nokia 808 PureView and it matched the 808, albeit helped by quite a few macro shots in the test shots. But still, it showed Nokia's grip on smartphone imaging to be vulnerable. The S5 camera was slightly better, along with the Note 3, but the Note 4's larger, higher resolution sensor and OIS, along with some phenomenal software optimisations by Samsung, has changed the game again, bringing the competition alongside the Nokia imaging juggernaut and presenting a very real threat.

So as I say, the age of 'Nokia imaging supremacy' is very much over, in that it's not possible anymore to proclaim a Nokia flagship to have a camera that's necessarily better than the best of the rest.

Steve is a tireless tester of Nokia cameras. He would be the last person to admit defeat.

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Microsoft Gestures Beta

by Volker Weber

Our first release will enable you to control calls and silence your phone conveniently. You can:
- Answer a call by picking up your phone and putting it to you ear
- Mute your mic during a call by placing the phone on a flat surface with the display facing down

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Mehdorn Triple

by Volker Weber

Die Erfolgsserie setzt sich fort:

Was nun? Keinen Bahnhof tieferlegen? Keine Philharmonie fertigstellen?

500 miles in 50 days

by Volker Weber

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It's now been seven weeks in a row that I walked more than 100 km a week. The record was set two weeks ago with 150 km in seven days. Over those seven weeks (and an additional sunday) I have now completed more than 800 km, almost exactly 500 miles. 10 miles a day! A year ago I would have laughed at you, if you had told me that this was possible.

Idiotentest für Journalisten fordert die ersten Opfer

by Volker Weber

Garms ist somit die erste, die mit Pauken und Trompeten durch den Idiotentest gerasselt ist. Ihre niedrigen Instinkte und ihr Hang, Männer als eine homogene Gruppe zu verunglimpfen, sind ihr zum Verhängnis geworden, ebenso wie ihre Gewohnheit, Pressemeldungen einfach abzukupfern und als Eigenleistung auszugeben. Dem British Medical Journal, so muss man feststellen, ist dieses Jahr ein besonders guter Prank gelungen, einer, der es ermöglicht, die Journalistenlandschaft zu entidiotisieren. Wir beginnen hiermit eine List der Journalisten, die durch den Idiotentest gefallen sind, derer, die denken, sie könnten die Öffentlichkeit mit absurden Meldungen, in denen gesellschaftliche Gruppe zuerst homogenisiert und dann denunziert werden, traktieren.

Köstlich. Lesebefehl!

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IBM publishes Design Language

by Volker Weber

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IBM Design, over a year ago, created the IBM Design Language, which we first made available to IBMers. Throughout the year, we updated the language based on contributions from our global community. Now, we make the IBM Design Language available to the world.

IBM Verse is an example for bringing this to life.

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Migrating data from Nokia to HERE

by Volker Weber

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I have been using Maps and Drive+ for quite a while on Lumia Phones and before that on Symbian. It's my favorite navigation tool and it often provides better guidance than in-car navigation units. Now it's also available on Android and will come to iOS.

When I installed the first Android beta, I was unable to login with my Nokia credentials and had to create a HERE account. All the data I have accumulated over the years wasn't accessible to me. Last week the software also updated on Windows Phone and I needed to login there with my HERE credentials as well. The software was supposed to prompt me to import my Nokia data but it wouldn't.

A brief cry for help rendered a working solution. Go to account.here.com and login there. You will find your migrate option there. Now I am all set.

Beyoncé :: Yours And Mine

by Volker Weber

You are faking it. And I know you do.

by Volker Weber

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Social douchebag in five easy steps:

  1. Upload your CRM database to LinkedIn.
  2. Accumulate 165 gazillion LinkedIns.
  3. Download them into your address book.
  4. Upload your address book to Humin.
  5. Piss off everybody.
Easy, isn't it?

[Yes, I did proceed]

The New Microsoft

by Volker Weber

I agree. However, the Old Microsoft has a huge legacy: Windows. And does New Microsoft really need to win with devices? I would think it's a distraction. New Microsoft is no longer trying to copy Apple.

Zscaler Research :: Trojanized and Pirated Assassins Creed app

by Volker Weber

During our daily research, we recently came across Android malware disguising itself as an Assassins Creed app, which is a popular paid gaming application. The malware in question will install a pirated version of the Assassins Creed game that functions normally, making end user oblivious to the malicious activities it performs in background.

This hurts the right people. Smart enough to steal apps, but not smart enough to not do it.

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Margaret Hamilton, lead software engineer, Project Apollo

by Volker Weber

In the photo above, she is standing in front of the printouts of the code for the Apollo guidance system, a lot of which she wrote and which she oversaw. She was all of 31 when the Apollo 11 lunar module landed on the moon, running her code.

A lovely reminder that women create.

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Luftschlösser

by Volker Weber

'Das ist ein großer Schritt für iPhone und iPad im Unternehmen und wir sind sehr gespannt, wie Organisationen in Zukunft die Möglichkeiten der iOS-Geräte nutzen werden', so Philip Schiller, Apples Senior Vice President Worldwide Marketing. 'Die Geschäftswelt ist mobil geworden und Apple und IBM bringen die weltweit beste Technologie mit smarten Datenanalysen zusammen, damit Unternehmen Geschäftsprozesse neu definieren können.'

Pressemitteilungen von Apple sind schlimm, weil sie sklavisch übersetzt werden müssen, ohne auf lokale Sprachgewohnheiten Rücksicht zu nehmen. Wenn man das mit dem Enterprise-Sprech der IBM zusammenbringt, dann entstehen Luftschlösser. In diesem Sinne:

'Was wir anbieten, zielt genau auf die Herausforderungen der Geschäftswelt von heute - smarte Technologien, die an der Nahtstelle zwischen Big Data und individueller Nutzung Mehrwert erzeugen', so Bridget van Kralingen, Senior Vice President, IBM Global Business Services. 'Unsere Zusammenarbeit verbindet die Branchenexpertise von IBM und unsere herausragende Stellung im Bereich Unternehmens-IT mit Apples legendärem benutzerfreundlichen Produktdesign. So können wir die Leistungsfähigkeit einer neuen Generation von Mitarbeitern steigern.'

Ich fasse zusammen: IBM entwickelt Software für iOS-Geräte. Und erst ganz ganz hinten kommt der wichtige Verweis, auf IBM und auf Apple. Schaut gut aus, nicht wahr? Hätte aber beinahe keiner gemerkt.

Simple flowchart: Should I lie? - No.

by Volker Weber

I know that it is common in today's business world to lie. There are many weasel words around it. "Misrepresenting the facts" is one of them. I call it a lie. And here is my piece of advice:

Do not lie to me. Ever.

There may be times when a lie seems to be the easy way out. But it's not. The problem is, I may catch you lying. And if that happens, all of the trust you have built over time is destroyed.

How did you earn this trust? You have been tested. I may ask you things that I know the answer to. And I will know that you told me the truth. Even if it was difficult. Time and again. I will tell you secrets that only you and I know. If you are trustworthy, I will never hear them again.

An uncomfortable truth will earn you respect. A lie will destroy it. I am not mad at you because you lied. I am mad because I can never trust you again.

Simple flowchart: "Should I lie?" - "No." - "But ..." - "NO!"

Southwest Adds A Passenger En Route

by Volker Weber

ATC was great, we told them we were declaring an emergency and what the problem was, it was like Moses parting the waters, they got all the traffic out of the way

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HERE for Android now available for free on Google Play

by Volker Weber

More than a million of you have already taken HERE for Android beta for a spin, with the most active downloaders coming from Germany and the USA. Today, the playground gets bigger with HERE for Android arriving for free on the Google Play store across the world**.

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Don't Believe The Hype

by Volker Weber

There is always the temptation to make statements that feed sensationalism, or make executive decisions that chase hype and trends. I have found telling it like it is the best thing to do, even if it hurts in the short-run, because it builds a foundation of trust over the long-term. And that is the time frame I operate in.

A lesson from John Chen. Who might be the most down-to-earth CEO there is. Read the whole (short) article.

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This week in Ello

by Volker Weber

Over the last few days we had a few people with attention issues doing bad things, so we nuked their accounts. We will continue to do this without apology. The Ello community has zero tolerance for abuse.

You can help keep Ello safe by flagging people who make inappropriate posts so we can recommend them to a good psychologist.

I love this place.

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IBM Design

by Volker Weber

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I have been really impressed with some of the designs coming out of IBM. They don't just happen, and they are not the work of one or a few brilliant designers. What IBM is doing, or better what IBM Design General Manager Phil Gilbert is doing, is implementing design at scale. IBM is a huge company, and if they want to get back to the greatness of design giants like Eliot Noyes, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, Paul Rand and Richard Sapper, they have to bring design everywhere, especially into software. They have to build a design culture. To understand what's going on there, watch these videos:

Phil Gilbert also published a very interesting piece in the New York Times: Hearing Every Voice in the Room. (Google helps you to get around the paywall.)

HERE gets a big update

by Volker Weber

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HERE.com gets a big update. If you haven't used it in a while, try again. Here is an update. I mean here.

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The key to life

by Volker Weber

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.
— John Lennon

John Lennon was shot dead on this day 34 years ago in front of his home in New York City.

Make your own snarky headline

by Volker Weber

To celebrate all these changes we’re running a promotion! BBM users can take advantage of a limited time promotion on BBM Stickers. Starting December 9th at 12:01am EST, all BBM sticker packs are $0.99 USD for a limited time. That means the Christmas pack is now only $0.99 USD, Penguins of Madagascar is only $0.99 USD and Disney Frozen pack is only $0.99USD!  Stock up on sticker packs now, they’re a great way to bring some fun into your BBM chats.

I know that BlackBerry can make some fast money on these. But this "business in the front, party in the back" dilutes the enterprise message that BlackBerry is trying to convey. Maybe it's only me.

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Da oben kein Licht

by Volker Weber

A video posted by Volker Weber (@volkerweber) on


Radpolitik (sic!) meint dazu:

sonos-monitor by Michael Otto

by Volker Weber

Start this as a daemon (sample init.d-script included). It connects to your Sonos Connect and your Yamaha Receiver. Whenever the Sonos Connect starts playing music, radio or whatever, it turns on the Receiver, switches to the appropriate input, sets the volume and changes to the Sound Program you want to (e.g. "5ch Stereo").

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[Thanks, Hanno]

Is there really going to be a ConnectED 2015?

by Volker Weber

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It's seven weeks until ConnectED is supposed to launch in Orlando. And PR is maintaining absolute radio silence about the event. In previous years we would have booked weeks ago. Maybe IBM does not yet know about the scope of the event?

I am hearing a few (good) rumors. IBM is no longer going to pretend there are 6000 people at the event by filling up the seats with students or IBMers. They may be shooting for an attendance number that starts with a 1. That also means scaling down the size of the venue. I hear it's going to run in the Swan conference center only. All rumors of course ...

BTW, the name ConnectED still gives me chuckles. You know why. ;-)

Update: [Thanks, Karl-Henry Martinsson]

No rumors - target is 1500 attendees, Swan only, no Business Partner Development day, no theme park, Opening Session on Monday, Closing Session on Wednesday, all breaks in the showcase area. Lots of weasel words around an overdue downsizing.

Leistungsschutzrecht-Filter von Ole Albers

by Volker Weber

Eine Chrome Extension unter dem Motto "Google darf es nicht, Du darfst es schon":

Diese Extension filtert automatisch alle Links zu Seiten heraus, die dem Leistungsschutzrecht zugestimmt haben. Sei es, um zu verhindern, dass man sich strafbar macht, weil man versehentlich die Inhalte teilt, oder einfach nur, weil man etwas gegen das #LSR hat.

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Withings Pulse Ox

by Volker Weber

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My Withings setup is now complete and all devices sync with the iPhone 6 Plus. Weight, blood pressure, workout data. Withings Health Mate is a great app and you can track weight and blood pressure without buying anything from Withings. You will want to, but you don't have to.

The Withings Pulse Ox is the newest generation of their tracker. It senses motion and it can measure your pulse and your blood oxygen level (SpO2). It comes with a nice watch strap that lets you wear the Pulse around your wrist, but you can also attach it to your clothes or just drop it into a pocket. Much like the Fitbit One it will track your steps and also the altitude you climb. It syncs all data in the background over Bluetooth and it will also sync on demand if you press and hold the only button for three seconds.

Pressing the button lights up the LCD display and with each button press flips you through a number of panels, that are user customizable from the Health Mate app: horzontal watch, vertical time (left and right), steps, elevation, distance, total calories, active calories, heart + sleep. It's a touch screen which lets you swipe through your history for steps, elevation, distance. Heart starts the pulse and oxymeter. For that you have to take it out of the band and place your finger over the sensor on the back. It's not a continuous readout that some smartwatches provide; for a good reading you need to be standing still. Sleep will start the night and sleep tracking.

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Likes: the tracker is way smaller than I expected and I can wear it very comfortably with the wrist band. The display lets me read all vital data without the app on a phone. Pulse charges over standard MicroUSB cable, no adapters required.

Dislikes: it's inconvenient as a watch since the display is off until you press a button. The whole device has a matte soft finish, including the display, which makes the small fonts look fuzzy. A MicroUSB plug probably means this is not waterproof in any way.

The step counter seems to be very reliable. It does not register any false positives and errs on the conservative side. And there is a nice little swith in the Health Mate app: "Forgot my Pulse". Flick the switch and Health Mate uses the iPhone as a tracker.

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Microsofts Sprachassistent Cortana lernt Deutsch :: heise online

by Volker Weber

Microsoft hat seinen bisher hauptsächlich englischsprachigen Sprachassistenten in einer Alpha-Version für Deutschland, Frankreich, Italien und Spanien freigegeben. Registrierte Windows-Phone-Entwickler können Cortana ab Freitagabend herunterladen, teilte Microsoft mit. Entwickler in Österreich oder Schweiz können den Sprachassistenten installieren, wenn sie die Sprache ihres Windows Phone auf "Deutsch (Deutschland)" einstellen.

Cortana hat in Deutschland zwei Probleme:

  1. Die deutsche Grammatik ist viel komplizierter als die englische. Wer nicht nur Text erkennen und als Suchabfragen abschicken will, muss viel investieren.
  2. Cortana nutzt Bing. Das ist in USA recht gut entwickelt, aber nicht in Deutschland. Hier hat Microsoft in der Vergangenheit wenig investiert. Keine Reichweite, keine Werbeeinnahmen, kleines Budget, wenig Entwicklung.

Während Cortana in englisch und chinesisch als Beta bezeichnet wird und standardmäßig aktiv ist, nennt Microsoft die deutsche Schwester erst mal Alpha und gibt sie nur an Entwickler.

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IBM Cloud Wins Aren't Pure Cloud Revenue ::Seeking Alpha

by Volker Weber

Check the headlines in recent days, and it looks like IBM (NYSE:IBM) has been winning big cloud computing deals left and right, involving customers such as ABN AMRO, Thomson Reuters and WPP. ... But take a closer look at each "cloud" victory and you'll discover a somewhat different reality than the media suggests

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BlackBerry CEO John Chen :: Interview on Bloomberg

by Volker Weber

My bullshit detector remains completely silent with this man. Very rare for a CEO.

Strange affection to a small BlackBerry

by Volker Weber

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When BlackBerry offered to send me sample of the P'9983, I almost turned them down. I had seen the device on several occasions and saw no point in using it. But I have changed my mind, and that's why I recommended the white Q10 recently. It's on sale for 150 € and a tremendous value. If it's out of stock, sign up. There are more trickling in.

As it happens, I have a small defect on the superior Passport. It's decommissioned and I am waiting for a replacement. Which gave me the time to play with the P'9983. While the iPhone 6 Plus is replacing most other devices like the iPad, a Kindle, even the Lumia as my main camera, the smallish BlackBerry is always in my pocket. It's probably a better companion than the Passport, if only for its small size.

I'm sure my affection is only temporary until I have a Passport in full working condition. But I can certainly see why not everyone wants a phablet.

SONOS 5.2 is here

by Volker Weber

Ladies and gentlemen, update your SONOS players. 5.2 enhances two major areas:

Holiday shopping advice: buy two PLAY:1 and use them either in separate rooms or as a stereo pair. Play with your options. If you already have two SONOS players, consider buying a PLAYBAR for your TV and replace your old stereo. If you have two PLAY:1 and a PLAYBAR, get a SUB. Use SUB with your PLAYBAR and add the two PLAY:1 speakers on movie night while using them in different rooms throughout the week. You can take it from there. ;-)

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Frederic Back :: The Man Who Planted Trees

by Volker Weber

Yotaphone 2

by Volker Weber

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Last week I received an invitation to fly to London for the Yotaphone 2 announcement. I didn't go, but I followed the news. The Yotaphone 2 is a very interesting device because it has two displays: an LCD at the front and an electronic paper display like a Kindle on the back. The back display is always on and it can display notifications. There are lots of customizations available. Beyond that you can also use the display to read books, Facebook updates, etc.

While it's interesting, I fail to see who would buy an Android phone for 699 €.

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Bahnchef Grube: "Das kostenlose Wlan für alle kommt"

by Volker Weber

Kostenloses Wlan für alle Fahrgäste kündigte Grube für das Jahr 2016 an. Vorher sei das leider nicht möglich.

Wäre das WLAN im ICE kostenlos, dann würde jeder merken, dass es nicht funktioniert. So merken es nur die zahlenden Fahrgäste.

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Wire

by Volker Weber

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A new stylish messenger is in town. Encrypted voice, end-to-end. Encrypted messages and media, client-to-server. Android, iOS, OS X. With Soundcloud and Youtube.

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BBM Meetings

by Volker Weber

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We have been testing BBM Meetings several times in the last 24 hours. The results are very encouraging.

BBM Meetings is a conference call system supported on Mac and Windows, Android and BlackBerry, and soon iOS. You need a BlackBerry ID to participate. No matter which device you use, you will always log in with that ID. If you want to host a conference you need a subscription which is roughly 10 € a month. Participation in your conference is free. You can test with a 30-day free subscription.

We have tried several conferences, started from a P'9983 or a Mac, several people have used a number of different devices but mostly BlackBerry Passports. In the meeting pictures above, I am hosting the conference from a Mac and both Michael and Ralph are on their Passports. Michael is on Wifi, Ralph mobile on HSPA. Joining a conference is just clicking a link you get through your invitation. You can also just type in the conference ID.

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So far I have only used ad-hoc meetings, but you can schedule a meeting in advance and protect it with a password. But there is more:

Looks like I am going to use it for lots of calls.

Withings Health Mate

by Volker Weber

withings withings

I have completely switched over from UP to Health Mate after Jawbone introduced their Smart-ass Coach. Today I earned my 1000 km badge. That means I have now accumulated roughly 1250000 steps on Health Mate without any additional hardware to the iPhone 6 Plus. I had clocked around 2750000 steps on UP when I started using Health Mate to record my weight with the Smart Body Analyzer and later my blood pressure. Now it's all in one place.

Since my desk is only a few dozen steps away from my bed I have no morning or evening commute that I could walk. Instead I walk 12 km at noon, mostly skipping lunch and a nap that I was used to. In the evening I add another 4 km walk before bed time. That's about 10 miles a day. Without a fitness tracker I am missing most of the other steps around the house, but they make up only about 10% of my exercise anyway.

Last week I spent a little more time than usual and went 34% higher than my 100 km goal. Friday through Tursday was even higher at 180000 steps and almost 150 km. I am holding up longer than I thought. Temperatures are still above freezing and we have not seen any snow so far. Depending on the type of winter we have this year, I will have to dial down a bit. But then I can add snow shoveling. ;-)

Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard

by Volker Weber

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Microsoft has a mobile keyboard that's universal. It does not only work with Windows, but also with Android and iOS devices. The lid serves as a stand that holds up you phone or tablet. I haven't seen it in the flesh and I do not know the German keyboard layout, but it looks like it is worth a try.

I am getting a bit tired of replacing keyboards with new tablets. Logitech is going to send me a Keys-to-go keyboard, as soon as that becomes available in a German layout. This looks very much like a Surface keyboard.

Erik Wernquist :: Wanderers

by Volker Weber

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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