September 2015

Apple Watch keeps watching my activity

by Volker Weber

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At the end of the month it's time to feel achieved. ;-) It's now the fourth month in a row with a flawless track record. The move streak keeps lighting up, as it stands at 124 days. All 7/7 badges have been earned 17 times. The last badge is the 100 days badge, followed by 365, 500 and 1000 days. It will take a long time to get the 365 days badge. But tomorrow, there is going to be a 10/2015 badge that wants to be earned. A new month, everything back to zero.

I shifted my exercise from walking to riding a bike quite a bit. I am still doing 10k a day, but I needed to scale back from doing 25k. Once I complete my 6000 km walking goal for the year, I may ditch counting steps for good and only rely on achieving my activity goals.

With all the focus on activity tracking we should not forget my coach. I would not do it without her.

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Android upgrades. Here: Lenovo

by Volker Weber

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This is the Yoga Tab 2 Pro (YT2-1380L). A wonderful tablet. It shipped with Android 4.4. Less than a year ago. Google shipped two big upgrades, 5.0 and 5.1, both called Lollipop, since then. Next week, Google is going to upgrade all Nexus devices introduced in the last two years to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. And Lenovo has one more day to fulfill on its promise to upgrade this product to 5.0. Two version down by next week. And then it starts delivering the Yoga 3 Pro, with Android 5.1.

If you read this upgrade matrix thoroughly, you are going to buy a Surface or an iPad. Those get the upgrade on the very first day. For three years and more.

Lenovo, if I could make a wish: don't lose time writing software that nobody wants. Ship plain and simple Android, and upgrade in weeks, not months. Keep doing so for three years.

Google announces two new Nexus phones

by Volker Weber

I have always recommended Nexus, if you want to buy Android. They only exist to celebrate a new version of Android, this time Marshmallow. No other device gets Android as Google built it. All other vendors add their own skins, sometimes very thin ones, sometimes really heavy ones.

All Nexus devices introduced in the last two years will get the new Android version, starting next week. This is a comprehensive list of Nexus devices:

Not counting the phones announced today, only four devices get the upgrade: Nexus 5, 6, 7 (2013) and 9. If you get a new Nexus now, you can expect to get timely upgrades through 2017. My 2012 Nexus 7 got its last upgrade with Lollipop and it has been unusable ever since.

Privacy and Windows 10

by Volker Weber

In today’s connected world, maintaining our privacy is an incredibly important topic to each of us, thus we welcome the questions and the feedback we’ve received since launching Windows 10.

Microsoft explains which data it is collecting and why.

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Sonos announces Trueplay Tuning and a new PLAY:5

by Volker Weber

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Two exciting announcements from Sonos today.

Let's talk about Trueplay Tuning first. It works with PLAY:1, PLAY:3 and PLAY:5, as well as stereo pairs and SUBs connected to those players. Here is the deal: those players have digital amplifiers and Sonos can control each individual speaker inside those boxes however they please. And they are using this capability now by measuring your room. Example: if you put a PLAY:1 into a corner it has way more bass than on a table. When you calibrate a room with Trueplay, your speaker plays a well defined sound and the microphone in your iPhone or iPad picks up that sound from the room you placed the speaker in and then compares what it is hearing to what it should be hearing. Sonos then adjusts the parameters in the amp to make sure that you are hearing what you should be hearing.

I have tested this myself extensively. I have quite a lot of those speakers in very different rooms. Some are very large, some have extremely hard surfaces. And they all sounded differently. Once I had calibrated those rooms, they all sounded alike. Within the parameters of the speaker of course. One PLAY:1 cannot produce the same sound as two PLAY:5 and a SUB. But with reasonable expectations, they all sound alike.

A couple of points to note:

Trueplay Tuning will come with a yet unannounced software update.

Next up, a new PLAY:5. That was Sonos' first smart speaker, originally named S5, for 5 drivers. One bass, two midrange, two tweeters. The new speaker could be called PLAY:6 because it has six drivers. But it is going to replace the original PLAY:5 and inherits its name.

I did not test the new PLAY:5 at home, but Sonos gave me ample time to listen to it. And it blew my socks off. If you ever added a SUB to your Sonos, you had that same feeling that I had when I experienced the PLAY:5 for the first time. Then, half an hour later, I listened to a stereo pair. And I was floored.

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How does it do that? This is a matrix speaker like the PLAYBAR. It has six drivers, three for lower frequencies, three for higher frequencies. That makes it three sets, one fires to the left, one fires to the right, and one fires from the center. Depending on how you place the speaker, meaning which side is up, it plays those drivers differently. It does not make much sense to send too much sound to the ceiling when it is standing on its side for instance. And there is stuff inside that Sonos isn't even using yet, like a microphone for instance. This speaker lays the ground work for new generations to come.

The desing is very unassuming. It does away with the old three button controls. It keeps the most important one: start/pause, but other controls like volume up and down, or next/previous are now touch enabled. And since the speaker knows where up is, it will always understand them the same way. Up means volume up, down means volume down, no matter on which side the controls are.

Without having put them side by side, I am pretty sure that one new PLAY:5 is better than two PLAY:3, and two new PLAY:5 are better than either two PLAY:1 or two PLAY:3 combined with a SUB.

These speakers go to eleven. Now you know what's on your Xmas list. Availability is not yet announced, but it will be there in time. ;-) What we do have is a price: $499 USD, $549 CAD, $749 AUS, €579 and £429.

Finde den Fehler

by Volker Weber

Diese Nachricht überschreitet die maximal zulässige Nachrichtengröße. Microsoft Exchange versucht nicht, diese Nachricht erneut für Sie zuzustellen. Verkleinern Sie die Nachricht - z. B. durch Entfernen von Anlagen -, und versuchen Sie dann, sie erneut zu senden, oder wenden Sie sich mit dem folgenden Diagnosetext an Ihren Systemadministrator.

Entscheidende Frage: wie groß ist die maximal zulässige Nachrichtengröße?

Mit Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 gesendet

Und das ist drei Generationen alt.

Apple verkauft 13 Millionen iPhone 6s und 6s Plus am ersten Wochende

by Volker Weber

CUPERTINO, Kalifornien - 28. September 2015 - Apple hat heute bekanntgegeben, dass nur drei Tage nach dem Verkaufsstart bereits 13 Millionen iPhone 6s- und iPhone 6s Plus-Modelle verkauft wurden - ein neuer Rekord.

Zum Vergleich:

CUPERTINO, Kalifornien - 22. September 2014 - Apple hat heute bekannt gegeben, dass es 10 Millionen iPhone 6 und iPhone 6 Plus verkauft hat, gerade einmal drei Tage nach dem Verkaufsstart am 19. September.

Und noch ein Vergleich: 13 Millionen sind mehr als BlackBerry in den letzen acht Quartalen weltweit verkauft hat.

Motivation

by Volker Weber

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Das sind vier der Screenshots, die ich gestern von Menschen bekommen habe, die sich durch meine Transformation vom Couch Potato zum Spaziergänger motiviert fühlen, sich auch mehr zu bewegen. Am wichtigsten ist mir der rechts unten. Du weißt, warum.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen

by Volker Weber

Launching an Android device is a tremendous new market opportunity as we continue our focus on building a cross-platform strategy. It’s a terrific proposition for dedicated Android users who are seeking greater productivity and powerful privacy features.

Like everything John says, you have to read between the lines. I think this is a very clear commitment to Android as the future platform.

At the same time, I want to be clear: fans of BlackBerry’s workhorse BlackBerry 10 smartphones can continue to depend on us, and we appreciate their commitment. We will be releasing new updates of this powerful OS in the upcoming year.

He does not say they are building new devices for the OS. I also believe that the Passport Silver Edition was supposed to be the Porsche Design P'9984.

BlackBerry is a new company. We have new life. And we plan to continue to surprise our customers and the industry. This is just the latest move along that path.

Indeed.

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BlackBerry announces the Android slider Priv

by Volker Weber

BlackBerry's second quarter earnings report:

Today, BlackBerry is announcing two new additions to its handheld device roadmap.

First, the company will launch a flagship slider device, Priv, which will run on the Android operating system, bringing together the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform. In combination with BlackBerry’s efforts to support Android for Work on the BES12 platform, the new device will offer best in class security for enterprise customers. BlackBerry expects the device to be available late in the calendar year in major markets in-store and online, and will release further details in the coming weeks. While the new device will provide a choice in OS to new and existing customers, the company remains committed to the BlackBerry 10 operating system, which enables industry- leading security and productivity benefits.

Second, the company will continue to develop and enhance the BlackBerry 10 operating system and is confirming plans to release platform updates focused on security and privacy enhancements, with version 10.3.3 scheduled to be available in March 2016.

People say that if Nokia had only offered Android devices, they would have faired much better. BlackBerry is now going down that road. BlackBerry 10 isn't going anywhere, Amazon apps were not good enough. Now BlackBerry is going to offer a premium Android phone. If this is a success, we are going to see more of that. If not, I don't have high hopes for the BlackBerry handset business.

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The statement "platform updates focused on security and privacy enhancements" is missing feature enhancements. That sounds very much like "maintenance mode". If I am reading the tea leaves correctly then BlackBerry is going full Android if that flies for regulated industries.

Dino-Pfleger dringend gesucht

by Volker Weber

Stuttgart-Ehningen, 25. September 2015: IBM (NYSE: IBM) veranstaltet ab 28. September den diesjährigen Wettbewerb 'Master the Mainframe', um technisch interessierten Schülern (ab 16) und Studierenden aktuelle Großrechner-Kenntnisse zu vermitteln und so dem Fachkräftemangel im IT-Bereich weiter entgegenzuwirken.

Das ist ein echtes Problem. Das Personal, das Mainframes am Leben hält, stirbt aus, bzw. geht in Rente.

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How to know if an app is safe?

by Volker Weber

Deciding if an app is safe takes a bit more than just common sense. You can't just judge an app on it's looks anymore. Even Kaspersky, a world-renowned security application, had serious security issues. So the question is: how do you know know if an app is ok to download?

Nice writeup. Maybe you will think a bit longer what you install, or keep installed, after reading it.

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Microsoft Invite lets you organize meetings on the go

by Volker Weber

We all know that organizing group meetings can be tricky—especially when you’re on the move. It’s difficult to coordinate multiple people’s schedules on a small screen. As a result, many of us delay scheduling meetings until we’re back at our desks. Today we’re launching a new app through the Microsoft Garage that greatly simplifies this process. Say hello to Invite—the easiest way to organize meetings on the go.

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Lotus Notes ist schuld

by Volker Weber

Der Sachbearbeiter K. M. hat am Donnerstag im NSA-Untersuchungsausschuss erklärt, dass im Frühjahr intern 'gesendete Mails gelöscht worden sind'. Dies gelte 'für das letzte halbe Jahr'. Es sei 'ein Fehler passiert', sagte der Gruppenleiter den erstaunten Abgeordneten, die auf ein Löschmoratorium verwiesen, das seit Einsetzung des NSA-Ausschusses gelte. Grund war dem Behördenmitarbeiter zufolge, dass 'wir in Lotus Notes eine neue Gruppenfunktion um März herum eingeführt haben'.

Zufälle gibt es!

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New kicks

by Volker Weber

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New experience for me: I wear down shoes. And I never have to replace shoe laces. When I say I wear down shoes, I mean I destroy them. Not only do I wear down the outer sole, but there are actual holes in the insole. My current pace is 17 km a day, that's a little bit more than 10 miles. Seven months ago I replaced the Mojito with a Zen Pro and that one needs replacement again. In those seven months I also wore down a pair of Chucks and bought new Nike running shoes that are still good. It's safe to say I got about 2500 km out of the Zen Pro.

So the new Scarpas should barely make it through the winter and then it's time for new kicks again.

Netgear Arlo :: First impressions

by Volker Weber

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I have had several webcams that can monitor rooms. I have had very friendly ones like the Withings Home, but Arlo is quite different. First of all, what does a security camera have to do? It monitors a house, a room, an alley, and when it detects motion, it records what is going on, and then quickly uploads that video to a safe place. Imagine a burglar unplugging the camera and stealing it. So, storage has to be in the cloud. Home can do that. But there is a catch: the webcam needs power, so you have to run a wire.

This is where Arlo is different. It runs on battery. You can mount it anywhere. And it's weatherproof, so it can live outside of your house and point to your house from an unusual location, where nobody would expect it to be. It's rated -10 to 50 degrees Celsius (that's 14 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit). There are a couple of ways to mount Arlo. Netgear ships two magnetic mounts in the package. You just need to drill a single hole in the wall, fasten the metal mount and then attach the camera via its magnet. This is quite convenient, since you need to replace batteries when they are depleted. You can also use a normal camera mount or place the camera on a shelf.

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But Arlo isn't just one camera. It connects to a base station that you wire up to your router. Netgear sells you a starter kit with one camera and a base station. You can add more cameras later, the Netgear site offers you a four camera kit for instance. Five cameras are covered with the free service tier. You can add more but then you need to buy one of their advanced service plans with monthly fees. The Arlo cameras use four CR-123A Lithium batteries that need to be replaced two or three times a year. That is another cost you need to consider.

You can set alarms that trigger when Arlo detects motion. If you want to see what has been going on, you pull up an app on Android or iOS to view the recording. If your smartphone is not at hand you log into the Arlo portal. Unfortunately it requires Flash:

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I am a bit undecided on whether I like Arlo or not. First of all it is very simple to setup and operate. It has lots of controls to adjust sensitivity of the motion trigger, it can view in the dark, you can mount your cameras in the right spots without requiring an electrician. On the other hand, I would like to just add this to my Wi-Fi instead of requiring its own access point. And I would rather collect the camera, charge it for half a day and put it back, then buying four new batteries every couple of months. CR-123As are used in photography and they aren't cheap.

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Need your input on enterprise email

by Volker Weber

Despite Enterprise Social Networks and Instant Messaging, there is a renewed focus on email. Vendors have realized that many workers live in their inbox, whether it's in Outlook, Notes or other clients. Google organizes your inbox in Inbox, Microsoft has added Clutter, Sweep, and more recently Groups; IBM made a big effort with Verse.

Please tell me, if and how any of these efforts help you manage your email? How do you deal with the ongoing stream of messages. Do you flag mail, do you organize them in folders, how do you triage your mail? Do you ever delete mail, do you have to delete to stay within your quota? How do you keep track of emails that cannot be answered immediately? Do you use todo lists, inside and outside of your mail client, do you set unanswered emails back to unread status?

There are so many ways to deal with these issues. I'd like to learn from you. Don't feel obliged to comment in English. Use German if you like. Or send me email if you don't want to comment in public.

Btw, this is what I do. I do not file, but I archive. I do not flag but I use filters to tag mails. I strive for inbox zero; it is never longer than one page. Anything that is still in my inbox requires an answer. My mails are short and hardly ever directed at more than one person. None of the new technologies work for me. I need a flat inbox with new messages at the top.

Plane crossing

by Volker Weber

Pebble Time Round

by Volker Weber

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The world's lightest and thinnest smart watch. Probably the most comfortable too.
Full suite of Pebble features, including timeline calendar alerts, notifications, and silent alarms
Battery provides power for up to 2 days, and recharges fast: add a day of power in just 15 minutes
Splash resistant so you can live your life like normal (unless you're Jacques Cousteau)
Quick-change bands and downloadable watch faces and apps for easy personalization

Translated: the world's smallest smart watch display. Small battery, needs a daily recharge. Not waterproof.

Next up, Pebble Time Round Steel?

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ALDI ist nicht Napster. Doch, isses!

by Volker Weber

Essen, 22. September 2015- ALDI Life Musik powered by Napster, der neue Streaming Service von ALDI, MEDION und Napster, startet am 24. September. Für nur 7,99 Euro pro 30 Tage profitieren Kunden von 34 Millionen Songs aus verschiedenen Genres und 10.000 Hörbüchern von renommierten Verlagen - und das komplett ohne Werbung. Nach einer kostenlosen 30-tägigen Testphase ist ALDI Life Musik monatlich kündbar. Besonders attraktiv ist der Service für ALDI TALK Kunden: Diese können auf Wunsch aus zwei Paketen wählen, in denen zum unglaublich günstigen Preis sowohl die Nutzung von ALDI Life Musik als auch der passende ALDI TALK Tarif enthalten ist.

Sehr interessante Tarife. Aber: das ist Aldi und nicht Napster. Geht also nur mit der Aldi-App und auch nicht mit Sonos.

Update: Die Agentur hat mir Blödsinn erzählt. Funktioniert wie jeder Napster-Account.

Ello #Moleskine

by Volker Weber

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I wish I could draw like this.

BlackBerry Popup Store in Frankfurt myZeil

by Volker Weber

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Wenn BlackBerry in irgendeiner Stadt Deutschlands einmal Smartphones an Endkunden verkauft hat, dann war das vor allem in Frankfurt. Auch heute noch nutzen viele Banker ihre alten Bold. Da liegt es nahe, ihnen auch einmal die aktuellen Geräte in die Hand zu drücken. Genau das macht BlackBerry im Shopping Center myZeil. Dort gibt es im zweiten Stock für vier Wochen einen sehr spartanischen Popup Store, der alle aktuellen Geräte sowie ein bisschen Zubehör zeigt. Nicht nur zum Anfassen, sondern auch zum Kaufen.

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Aus meiner Inbox

by Volker Weber

Sehr geehrter Herr Weber,

es tut uns leid Ihnen mitteilen zu müssen, dass wir Ihre Teilnahme an der IBM BusinessConnect 2015 am 20.10. leider nicht bestätigen können.
Aufgrund der erfreulich großen Nachfrage und der beschränkten Kapazitäten an Plätzen, geben wir Anmeldungen von Kunden, die unsere Lösungen als Endanwender nutzen, den Vorrang.

Wir bitten Sie um Ihr Verständnis für diese Vorgehensweise.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen / Kind regards

Albina Spahiu

IBM BusinessConnect Events DACH IMT
Event Organisationsteam

Kein Problem. Volles Verständnis.

Das ist doch mal schön, wenn ein Unternehmen die Bestandskunden verwöhnt und gar nicht erst versucht, neue zu gewinnen.

Update: IBM schreibt heute:

Sehr geehrter Herr Weber,

herzlichen Dank für Ihre Registrierung zur IBM BusinessConnect 2015 am 20. Oktober 2015 in Köln. Gerne bestätigen wir Ihnen hiermit Ihre Anmeldung.

Veranstaltungsort:
xPost Köln
Gladbacher Wall 5
50670 Köln

Veranstaltungsbeginn:
Dienstag, 20. Oktober 2015 um 10:30 Uhr, Registrierung & Besuch der Ausstellung ab 09:00 Uhr.

IBM ist übrigens darüber gestolpert, dass ich meine Funktionsbezeichnung als Hausmeister angegeben habe. Was übrigens nicht gelogen ist. Die Idee kommt von Bob Balaban: President and Janitor. Fragen nach Telefon und Adresse beantworte ich gerne ebenfalls korrekt mit "ja". Ich hab (mindestens) ein Telefon und einen festen Wohnsitz.

IBM wäre sicher nicht gestolpert, wenn solche Entscheidungen nicht "kostensparend" in vermeintlich preiswerte Service Center in Osteuropa delegiert würden. Billig und gut geht nicht gleichzeitig.

Das Problem ist am anderen Ende der Leine

by Volker Weber

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"Mein Hund spielt Skat. Aber nicht besonders gut. Wenn er ein gutes Blatt hat, dann wedelt er mit dem Schweif."

Menschen unterscheiden Hunde nach "Rassen"; Hunde tun dies nicht. Sie sprechen alle die selbe Körpersprache. Hunde sind deshalb so leicht zu verstehen. Und über die Hunde erschließt sich mir auch ein Verständnis der Menschen. Denn der Hund ist stets so wie der Herr. In dem Sinne ist eine Kampfhundeverordnung unsinnig. Das Problem ist am anderen Ende der Leine.

Kaufempfehlung iPhone 6s

by Volker Weber

Apple schreibt:

iPhone 6s und iPhone 6s Plus werden in den Metallic-Finishes in Gold, Silber, Space Grau und dem neuen Roségold erhältlich sein. iPhone 6s wird in Deutschland für 739 Euro für das 16GB-Modell, für 849 Euro für das 64GB-Modell und für 959 Euro für das 128GB-Modell erhältlich sein. iPhone 6s Plus wird für 849 Euro für das 16GB-Modell, für 959 Euro für das 64GB-Modell und für 1.069 Euro für das 128GB-Modell erhältlich sein. Alle Preise inkl. MwSt.

Farben sind Geschmacksache. Technik ist leicht zu erklären. Ich würde dringend davon abraten, ein iPhone mit 16 GB zu kaufen. Das ist am falschen Ende gespart. 64 GB halte ich für ausreichend. Wir sind also bei 849 € für das iPhone 6s und 959 € für das Plus-Modell. Wer 110 € mehr anlegt, kriegt noch mal 64 GB Speicher dazu. Nachteile hat das nicht.

Plus oder nicht? Ich habe eine ganz klare Präferenz für das Plus. Ich würde sogar ein Plusplus nehmen. Aber ich sehe ein, dass manche Menschen kleinere Taschen haben. Kurze Wurschtfinger habe ich selbst.

Wer ein iPhone 6 hat und ein 6s kaufen will, soll das tun. Kein Kommentar. Auch ein 5s ist technisch noch auf der Höhe der Zeit. Vom 5 an abwärts würde ich zum Upgrade raten.

Der Verkauf beginnt Freitag um 8:00 Uhr. Es gibt Geräte für Laufkunden, aber vermutlich nicht genug. Ab Samstag kann man Geräte online reservieren und dann im Laden abholen.

Hit Charade

by Volker Weber

The biggest pop star in America today is a man named Karl Martin Sandberg. The lead singer of an obscure ’80s glam-metal band, Sandberg grew up in a remote suburb of Stockholm and is now 44. Sandberg is the George Lucas, the LeBron James, the Serena Williams of American pop. He is responsible for more hits than Phil Spector, Michael Jackson, or the Beatles.

This is the Stock Aitken Waterman formula applied to the US.

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iA Mess

by Volker Weber

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I write almost everything with iA Writer. On the Mac I also bought iA Writer Pro when that came out, but I never used it. Way too complicated. But I love iA Writer to bits and pieces. I also used it on iPad, rarely on iPhone, and tested it on Android. To cut a long story short: iA Writer was perfect for me, both on iPad and Mac. I synced all documents through Apple's cloud and never bothered to organize them. Piler vs Filer I guess.

Then iA decided to take iA Writer Pro back to the iA Writer roots. Turn both programs into one. That's iA Writer 3. The original iA Writer was purged from the app stores, iA Writer 3 replaced iA Writer Pro. And that is completely backwards to me. iA Writer 3 should have replaced iA Writer, not iA Writer Pro. Now I have "/Applications/iA Writer" and "/Applications/iA Writer" on my Mac. And in iCloud they point to different directories. I don't really want to upgrade on iPad, because I like the lean iA Writer better. But I also want to see my edits both on Macs and iThings.

Who wins? Microsoft. I have Word Mobile on all my machines. And they all automatically sync through OneDrive. Simplicity wins.

Ride with Stevie Wonder

by Volker Weber

Logitech K380 :: Another look

by Volker Weber

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At IFA 2015 I had a few briefings with Logitech about un-announced products and I received this keyboard in a goody bag. At first I did not like it at all. It's heavy when compared with the Keys-to-go that lives in my bag. But now I find myself using it all the time.

I asked myself why I suddenly like it. Two reasons: it rests quire comfortably in my lap and it is very easy to connect devices and switch between them. If I want to type on my iPhone, I grab the keyboard, hit the F1 key and I am in. Type something on the TV screen? Hit F2. Fetch the Yoga Tab 2 Pro, hit F3. Connect a new device? Put it in pairing mode, hold the F3 key for a second and boom, paired. Pair the Yoga again? Hold F3 once more, pair, boom. Go back to the iPhone? Hit F1. And on and on and on. It's a piece of cake, even for somebody with as many devices as I have.

This is neither the best looking keyboard, nor a really good one. It could not replace my Apple wireless keyboard. But being able to pair three completely different devices and switch around between them, that's very much an advantage. And it's absolutely carefree. It feels like I could drop it down the stairs without breaking. It's two AAA batteries are rated to last two years.

From nay to editor-refuses-to-give-it-back award in ten days. Not bad.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 3 Pro

by Volker Weber

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Lenovo announced a flurry of new products at IFA, many of which will not ship for months. This one should be coming soon. The 8" Yoga Tablet 3 is already available, the 10" should be coming soon, as well as the Pro model.

When I read the specs, at first I could not believe what I saw. Lenovo is going back to 1280x800 screen resolution. That is what the original Yoga Tablet had, both in 8" and 10". I still use that 8" model. Then Lenovo quickly followed up with an improved 10" tablet with full HD (1920x1020) resolution. The second generation brought this resolution to all Tablet 2 models, both 8" in 10", both for Android and Windows. And they added a 13.3" Pro model with a pico projector and a screen resolution of 2560x1440.

This year, both the 8" and 10" models are going back to the old 1280x800 screen resolution. For one simple reason: to bring the price down. Yoga Tablet 3 will be less expensive than Tablet 2 initially was. Today, you can actually get the Tablet 2 for a lower price than the new model. Which I would recommend.

The Yoga Tablet 3 Pro is a different story. That one is going back to 10" and keeps the QHD resolution. The DLP projector should be better, it moves to the hinge where it is more easily adjusted. Battery life goes from 15 hours to a whopping 18 hours. That is the one I want.

The only thing that bothers me is the Android software. My Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is still on Kitkat 4.4. It is supposed to upgrade to Lollipop 5.0 this month, obviously the second or third half of the month. Yoga Tablet 3 Pro will ship with Lollipop. And next month, Google is going to Marshmallow 6.0. It may take a year to reach the Yoga Tablets. And if the future looks anything like the past, there are no major updates after a year.

Groove on Sonos

by Volker Weber

Today we’re adding another great service to your world of streaming music on Sonos with Groove by Microsoft.

This has been available for a while as beta. Now it's officially supported.

Get started by using your Groove Music Pass (free 30-day trial) or by accessing purchased music from the Windows Store or your own collection. Add Groove from the Music menu of the Sonos app available on iOS and Android devices, and Windows and Mac desktop computers.

What's missing? Obviously a Windows Phone controller. Microsoft has been working on one literally for years. The project name is Phish, and Alphas have leaked last year. A few days ago Phish Alpha has updated in the store, after many months being completely dormant. Google for "Phish Alpha 0.25.0.4 XAP" and you find this.

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Ideas are fragile

by Volker Weber

There are two things in this world that take no skill: 1. Spending other people’s money and 2. Dismissing an idea.

Give it five minutes.

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iOS 9 :: Beware of Wi-Fi Assist

by Volker Weber

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After you upgrade to iOS 9, there will be a new setting at the very bottom of your Mobile Data Settings. It's called Wi-Fi Assist and it is on by default. Wi-Fi assist helps your iPhone to keep its Internet connection alive. If you are in a hotel and your authorization runs out, rerouting all connections to a captive portal, iPhone will just use your Mobile Data instead. That's good. But it can also be devastating when you are on a metered plan that only gives you very little data per month and you start watching Youtube videos while you think you are on Wi-Fi, when in fact you are no longer.

There is a long list of applications between Data Roaming and Wi-Fi Assist. I cut them out from the screenshots above. Two suggestions:

Boom Boom

by Volker Weber

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If you are looking for a robust and powerful Bluetooth speaker, I recommend Ultimate Ears. Now they have three: Roll, Boom, Megaboom. It's quite easy to devide what you want:

Boom gets an upgrade today to Boom 2. It looks almostidentical, but there are subtle changes. The underside is now exactly like the one on Megaboom. The little UE flap next to the + button is integrated, the mesh is finer, and it's now IPX7 rated: 30 minutes in one meter of water. That's actually true even if the flaps are open, they only protect the ports from getting clogged up with dirt. Boom 2 is built to survive a 5 meter drop. Depending on how loud it is playing the battery lasts for up to 15 hours. Speaking of loud, Ultimate Ears says the Boom 2 is 25 percent louder than the Boom.

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I have no idea whether that claim is true. I had to give back the old unit a few weeks ago and got the new one right after IFA. I also did not choose either color of the Boom 2 or Roll. Interesting tidbit: when I spoke with Svane Hold, head of UE Europe, he said the more colors they put in the store the more black ones they sell. The finer mesh on the Boom 2 will allow them to make even more special edition prints. I'd pick the black one any day.

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Boom 2 has a new trick up it's sleeve. If you pick it up and then whack it over it's head, it will pause/play. Double whack it, and it skips a track. The new Boom 2 is 199 €, just like the old one once was. But you can get that much cheaper now. Either way, highly recommended.

Great OneNote update on Windows 10

by Volker Weber

OneNote

10AppsManager uninstalls Windows 10 bloatware

by Volker Weber

10AppsManager is a freeware that will allow you to easily uninstall and reinstall the default, built-in, preinstalled Windows Store apps in Windows 10.

This is such a relief.

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A few remarks on the Apple keynote

by Volker Weber

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Wow. This was the best Apple keynote in a long time. And, funny enough, it validates a few things that Microsoft is doing. And that’s good, because Microsoft and Apple can both win. This is not a zero sum game. Here are a few remarks:

Back to the Microsoft reference. Notice how Apple is spreading the O/S version across all platforms. So does Microsoft, but they have only one now: Windows 10. In different flavors. Apple also picks up the Surface 3 idea, a tablet that is much better suited for creation than the normal iPads, which compete with el cheapo Androids for media consumption. Apple has one thing going for it: apps, apps, apps, apps. The Windows store is a wasteland. But Surface runs desktop apps, which iOS can’t. And Microsoft is doing another thing right: it builds great iOS apps, as they demonstrated with Office in Apple’s keynote. Apple’s own office apps were nowhere to be seen. And frankly, they don’t matter that much.

The other thing that nobody mentioned was Airplay. It has walked its way. Much like the Bluetooth speaker, it’s not going away. But you clearly do not want to project 4k video over Airplay.

Thumbs up on Apple Watch and iPhone 6S. Cautious on iPad prospects, very cautious on Apple TV.

Want to watch the full two hours? It's here.

BlackBerry aktualisiert alle Smartphones auf Version 10.3.2

by Volker Weber

Mit BlackBerry Protect geschützte Geräte lassen sich nur noch nach Eingabe der BlackBerryID-Zugangsdaten löschen und neu einrichten. Neben dieser Diebstahlsicherung bringt 10.3.2 viele Detailverbesserungen mit.

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Ninety nine one hundred

by Volker Weber

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Six achievement awards today: perfect week (all activites), which includes perfect week for exercise (green), move (pink) and stand (blue), longest move streak and 100 move goals. I have received the perfect week award for fourteen weeks. That means I have had Apple Watch for fourteen weeks and two days. 14 * 7 + 2 = 100. Longest move streak for 100 days and the 100 move goal at the same time means I did not break the chain.

On the "10k a day, 100 km a week" it's now 45 weeks. I can already smell the full year. ;-)

Logitech K380 :: Tastatur für drei Geräte

by Volker Weber

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Hübsch ist sie nicht, die Logitech K380 mit ihren Smarties-Tasten. Sie ist mit über 423g auch ein bisschen schwer, um sie immer mitzuschleppen. Für diesen Zweck liebe ich die Keys-to-go. Aber an den drei hellen Tasten sieht man eine Besonderheit: man kann die Tastatur mit drei Geräten gleichzeitig pairen und dann zwischen diesen schnell umschalten. iPhone, iPad und SmartTV zum Beispiel. Oder Windows Computer, iPhone und Android-Tablet. Die Tastatur kennt alle Systeme und hat sogar verschiedene Aufdrucke für Apple und den Rest der Welt.

Angetrieben wird die Tastatur von zwei kleinen Batterien (AAA), für bis zu zwei Jahre. Logitech sagt, man vergisst, dass da überhaupt Batterien drin sind. Sie wirkt sehr robust und wird jetzt hier im Wohnzimmer leben. Aktuelle Paarungen: iPhone 6+, Samsung SmartTV, Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro.

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Plantronics Voyager Focus UC

by Volker Weber

Plantronics headset

As I was walking the booths at IFA being set up, I suddenly got very excited. A headset I had never seen before. A headset that would combine active noise cancellation, stereo Hi-Fi listening and an excellent phone headset for voice calls and tele conferences, all in one. Until now you had to set your priorities. Either you get a Bluetooth headset for phone calls, usually in ear, with a boom to pick up your voice and cancel out ambient noise from the audio you are sending. Or you buy a stereo headset for use while traveling, which cancels out the noise so you don’t get to hear it. You may be able to answer the occasional phone call, but they are generally terrible for tele conferences or even voice calls. One of the reasons being that you can’t really hear yourself very well, the other one being that the audio you are transmitting is not cleaned up. That is why carry two headsets: a Plantronics Voyager edge lives in my pocket almost at all times, while I wear the huge Plantronics BackBeat Pro while traveling. Both are excellent, but they serve different purposes.

This all changes today.

Plantronics headset

What caught my eye on this headset was the Voyager microphone boom, that works so well on the Voyager Legend. But it was sitting on one ear cup of a stereo headset which clearly had two sought-after features: Bluetooth and Active Noise Cancelation. This had to be it. The headset that would isolate you from your surrounding noise and at the same time a headset that would be excellent for phone conversations.
Fast forward a few hours and I have one in my hand. And it turns out there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. First of all there are sensors. The headset knows whether you are wearing it or not, or whether you are muted or not. A couple of scenarios, supported automagically:

The boom has three microphones which help the headset pick out the voice from surrounding noise. If you have a Voyager Legend, you know how well that works. I can talk while driving in my extremely noisy car (ROOOOAR) and you think I am at home. But this headset does more. It has two very comfy cushions that already dampen the noise when you simply put it on. Lots of high frequencies are gone. But then you add Active Nose Canceling (ANC) and it takes away the lower frequencies like an air conditioning. That means you can sit in an open office space in splendid isolation. You see what’s going on around you, but you don’t hear much of it. Then, when you are on a call, the parties on the call will also not hear any of that ambient sound because the boom only picks out your voice.

Plantronics headset

The headset I have is the UC version as a Microsoft variant. That means it comes with a small Bluetooth dongle that is already paired with the headset. Plug it into any computer and it just shows up like any wired audio device. Add Plantronics software and you get call control in most softphones. It’s also certified for Skype for Business and Lync. In the package there is a soft pouch that holds the headset, your dongle and a microUSB cable to charge the headset. It’s a standard plug on both ends so you can use any USB cable. In the box there is also a desktop docking station with USB plug. Put your headset on the docking station to charge it. You won’t need to charge it during the day. It’s rated for twelve hours talk time, 15 hours listening, the Bluetooth connection is class 1 and good for up to 45 meters so you can get a cup of coffee while in a call.

Plantronics headset

The left ear cup has play controls: volume up and down as a wheel, play/pause, forward, back on the side, ANC switch underneath. The right ear cup has the boom with mute button, Bluetooth on/off, microUSB charging and contacts for the dock. When you point the boom upwards it clicks into place when it is parallel to the headband and that will switch off the booms on the microphone, essentially also muting the call. When you lower the boom again the microphones come back on.

This all comes at a price. The Focus Voyager UC sells for $299.95. In Germany it will list for 299 € starting this month - before taxes. You will need to make a good business case to expense this headset.

The other Voyager models usually came out as a non-UC version without the Bluetooth dongle and the dock for a hundred dollars less. I don't see this option for the Focus yet.

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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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