October 2015

Two achievements today

by Volker Weber

ZZ76D4D876 ZZ7243CF17

Once I hit my step goal, I stopped counting. At the end it was a bit of a burden, because I have already moved on to tracking activity on the Apple Watch. And that does a lot more than a simple step counter. Today I completed the fifth full month since I got Apple Watch.

The other achievement is the longest move streak of 155 days, which means 'every single day since I put the watch on'. Tomorrow all the 7/7 badges will light up, for the 22nd time. And there will be a new 11/2015 badge to earn. I am continuing on the program: don't break the chain.

Update The new badges are in.

ZZ7F6217E9 ZZ365D9A41

Sonos HLS streaming beta

by Volker Weber

Most streams are MP3 or AAC, but some sources have switched to HLS. BBC is one of them. Apple Music is another. HLS streaming is now in beta on Sonos. Important for those in the UK. And soon for all of us.

Need some input on Android in business

by Volker Weber

ZZ65005B73

I am writing up my thoughts on professional use of Android. Maybe you can help me calibrate my mind. Comments welcome, or just hit the email link at the bottom of this post.

Just a lot of talking points: Android for Work, KNOX, management API relatively new, no mandatory device encryption, rooting, custom firmware, Android as the new Windows, fragmentation, malware, tinkering, affordable devices, abandoned without firmware updates, security updates questionable, ruggedized devices, strong market leader, low profits for OEMs, serves mostly Google's interests, not that many business apps for tablets

I have many questions you could answer. Do you use Android devices in your business? Are those BYOD or does the business "roll them out"? Do you have security concerns? How do you address them? Is the software you need readily available? Is this just email + PIM or any business processes? I am sure you have more answers than I have questions!

Can you drop me a comment or an email? German or english.

Update: Thank you. I have received quite a bit of feedback per mail. Usage is very diverse and own view of the situation turned out to be quite complete.

Two weeks to SONOS 6.0, four weeks to PLAY:5

by Volker Weber

ZZ79266B88

Sonos lifted an embargo today, so we can finally tell you that Sonos 6.0 is due in two weeks. It will come out Nov 10, and it brings Trueplay Tuning to your existing PLAY:1, PLAY:3 and PLAY:5. When you calibrate your players, they will play a swooping sound and you measure with your iPhone or iPad microphone while waving it around in your room. No Android at this time (or ever?) because you need to know the microphone to make this work. What does it do? It measures reverb and frequency response. Then it adjusts the sound output to match your room. Trueplay Tuning is most pronounced with PLAY:1 and PLAY:3, especially when the speakers are placed in a corner. I have also had a case where two PLAY:1 and a SUB were too bass heavy. Once I tuned all my rooms, they sound the same. Within the speakers' capabilities, of course, but before Trueplay Tuning, they were very different. You can switch from the new profile to the factory preset and back. If I would have to describe the effect, it sounds like you pulled back a curtain.

The new PLAY:5 ships two weeks later, on Nov 25. I expect that supplies will be limited. Sonos always has great difficulties ramping up the production. The agency offered to send me a loaner for two weeks, and I told them to keep it. There is a snowball's chance in hell that I would have returned it. And they don't have enough PLAY:5 to let this happen. Do you need to replace your existing PLAY:5? No. But the new PLAY:5 is without a doubt the best speaker Sonos has made so far. It is strong, loud, all the way down to deep bass and it projects a very wide soundstage, much like PLAYBAR does. Don't know which one to get, PLAYBAR or PLAY:5? Simple answer: you get PLAYBAR, because you want to connect it to your TV and you want to play music on it. If you are just after the music, get the PLAY:5.

If you need a new PLAY:5 by Xmas, I would pre-order now. $499 USD, $549 CAD, $749 AUS, €579 Euro and £429 Pounds. Everyone else, just relax. Your Sonos speakers will sound a whole lot better in two weeks. For free. Don't you love that?

My use of social networks

by Volker Weber

Twitter is in the news. No growth, Wall Street is not happy, users are going elsewhere. This got me thinking about my use of social networks.

It's pretty clear to me why Twitter isn't thriving. For years they have made things worse for their users. First they pissed off their 3rd party developers, then they started mixing in ads into the stream, posing them as regular posts. Suddenly Instagram photos would not be shown inline anymore because that belongs to Facebook. And on, and on, and on. Much in the way that Facebook tried to force their stupid games on you. There was no way of saying "stop it right now, I don't want to see this". Which brings me to my short list of networks I use, how I use them and why.

What about you?

Autsch

by Volker Weber

Ich habe eine Theorie, dass man alles, was man in den Händen trägt, irgendwann auch fallen lässt. Wobei 'manchmal' auch 'am ersten Tag' heißen kann.

IBM closing Connections sites

by Volker Weber

Does anybody know what is going on here? Greenhouse has been around for a long time and is a good showcase for IBM collaboration solutions. Partnerworld serves the IBM business partner community.

Es ist zwar kompliziert, aber lösbar

by Volker Weber

ZZ15B04B58 ZZ5E96BF31

Ich bin drin. Über den Browser geht es nicht, aber mobil. Mobile First, meint IBM ja. Warum geht es über den Browser nicht? Weil ich mich einmal bei IBMverse.com angemeldet habe. Die IBMer kennen das Problem nicht, weil sie ja ihr eigenes Verse haben. Die können sich rauf und runter in ihrer Cloud bewegen, aber so als Externer ist das natürlich schwieriger.

Was übrigens auffällt: Das mobile Connections ist noch für iPhone 5 entwickelt. Auf einem 6(s) Plus sieht es etwas ... krude aus. Zum Vergleich mal die Informationsdichte in Outlook und Connections:

ZZ3757BBE9 ZZ3C59CA54

Der Vergleich hinkt etwas, weil Microsoft viel mehr in iOS investiert als IBM. Also, was die Office Worker Software angeht.

Nun, ich bin also drin. Den Level habe ich durchgespielt. Nächste Aufgabe: wie lädt man die PDFs aus Connections Files herunter. Bei OneDrive würde ich sagen "Download Folder" und hätte ein ZIP File. Das scheint es in Connections nicht zu geben.

Update: Es geht. Es geht! Ich habe noch einen Browser, mit dem ich garantiert noch nie in IBM Verse war:

ZZ20D93603

Und jetzt habe ich alle Dateien ganz einfach konsumierbar. Game over.


Ralf Groene erklärt das Surface Book

by Volker Weber

Ich mag dieses Produkt, aber ich mag den Designer noch mehr. Wir hatten ein interessantes Gespräch.

Microsoft Outlook and IBM Verse :: On the iPhone

by Volker Weber

ZZ151B9BB1 ZZ1DDDB2B3

Most people just use the native iOS apps for mail, calendar and contacts. But there are in fact a lot more clients. I just want to briefly talk about two from Microsoft and IBM. And I am not going to compare them.

Outlook first. Microsoft did not build it. They bought Acompli who built it. And it quite frankly is the best mail client on the iPhone, even for Gmail. It works with O365, Outlook.com, Exchange, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, iCloud and any IMAP server out there. And it works with IBM Traveler because it behaves like an Exchange Server. Surprise! You can have a really good mail, calendar, contacts client for IBM Notes & Domino. Caveat emptor: Accompli has built a client/server app, where the server is on AWS (Amazon). There is two ways to look at it: great, because it can deliver email right now through push, without having to keep a TCP port open. Or bad, because ... NSA. These two views explain, why the ratings in the app store are so different between the US and Germany.

IBM Verse, the client, not only works with IBM Verse, the service, but also with your own Domino Server, if it runs the latest version of Traveler. Try it out, and then tell IBM what you think about it. That is really, really necessary. It has only 14/28 (latest/all) ratings in the US, and 0/9 in Germany, compared to 91/16906 and 13/1770 for Outlook.

Kostenschätzung

by Volker Weber

Ich habe ein einfaches System der Kostenschätzung empirisch entwickelt. Es umfasst folgende Schritte:

  1. Schätze konservativ, wie lange das dauert.
  2. Multipliziere das Ergebnis mit π.
  3. Wenn der Kunde ein "Enterprise" ist, multipliziere erneut mit π.
  4. Hat der Kunde eine IT-Abteilung und ist die involviert, multipliziere nochmals mit π.
  5. Ist der Einkauf beteiligt, multipliziere ein letztes Mal mit π.

Im zweiten Schritt sind die späten Änderungswünsche eingepreist, im dritten Schritt die Steering Committees, im vierten die Vorschriften und die Sicherheitsbedenken, im letzten dann die unrealistischen Preise.

Ich vermute, beim öffentlichen Dienst folgt dann noch eine Multiplikation.

Es ist kompliziert

by Volker Weber

ZZ1F2F4FD9

Ich bin da irgendwie auch schon mal rein gekommen. Wenn ich jetzt wieder rein will, dann leitet IBM mich zur einer Anmeldeseite um, die für mich zuständig ist:

ZZ60FD9274

Und das ist dann die von IBMverse.com, das aber nicht für diese andere Community zuständig ist. In Verse kann ich mich anmelden, aber dann habe ich Access Denied. Oder ich kann das richtige Login verwenden, aber das nimmt der Server nicht, weil dieser Login nicht für IBMverse.com gilt.

Dann könnte ich mir die Vorträge aber auch wohl auf einer anderen Seite anschauen, aber die zeigt mir gar nichts, bevor ich dieses Adobe Sicherheitsloch installiere.

ZZ10079E17

Ich könnte ein Dutzend Lösungen anbieten, ein paar PDFs oder PPTs zu hosten. Und die kosten nicht mal was. Aber damit mache ich mich bestimmt wieder unbeliebt.

Während der Konferenz habe ich einem Mitarbeiter geholfen, folgendes Problem zu lösen. Er hat per Mail ein Bild als Anhang auf sein iPad in IBM Verse bekommen und wollte es an einen Kollegen weitergeben.

Dauert normalerweise ein paar Sekunden. Forward, neue Adresse, boom. Dumm nur, dass an der weitergeleiteten Mail kein Bild anhing. A new way to work heißt ja, wir "sharen" jetzt, statt per Mail zu schicken. Nächste Stufe: das Bild auf dem iPad ablegen, neues Mail erzeugen, anhängen. Da schlägt jetzt die Sicherheit zu. Man kann ja nicht einfach ein Business Dokument in den privaten Bereich legen. Also das Bild in einen sicheren Bereich auf Box ablegen. Aber wo ist es jetzt? Ach, da, ja. Jetzt ein neues Mail anlegen, und wie kriege ich das jetzt da rein? Vielleicht doch besser in Box gehen, dann von dort den Link teilen. Geschafft. Kurze Zeit später klingelt das Telefon: Adressat hat keine Berechtigung, das Dokument zu öffnen. Also nochmal, und jetzt festlegen, wer das Dokument sehen darf: alle in meiner Firma. Mail schicken. Kein Telefonklingeln mehr. Hat wohl geklappt.

Es ist kompliziert. Alles ist kompliziert. Deshalb habe ich viel Respekt vor Menschen, die in so einer Umgebung überhaupt irgendwas bewegt bekommen.

Update: Ich weiß jetzt auch, warum das so kompliziert ist. Die Community der deutschen IBM BusinessConnect liegt in der nordamerikanischen IBM Cloud, mein IBMverse.com aber in der europäischen. Deshalb kann ich mich mit der deutschen ID dort nicht anmelden. Es ist also gar nicht möglich, mich etwa mit dieser @ibmverse.com-Adresse dort einzuladen. Nein, ich muss meine nordamerikanische ID nutzen. Das geht aber nicht, weil mich die nordamerikanische Anmeldeseite, auch wenn ich sie per URL aufrufe, sofort auf die europäische umleitet, wo meine nordamerikanische ID nicht gilt. Ein IBM-Techniker vermutet, ich sei noch mit der europäischen @ibmverse.com-Adresse angemeldet, was definitiv nicht der Fall ist. Im Gegenteil, ich wäre froh, wenn das überhaupt ginge, anstatt jedesmal wieder die Credentials einzugeben, wenn ich nur mal kurz weggeklickt habe.

Es ist kompliziert.

Every day carry

by Volker Weber

ZZ48C170B0

Apple Watch, Apple iPhone 6s Plus, carbine hook, Leatherman Juice, Victorinox pocket knife with money clip, keychain with Utili-Key, 32 GB thumb drive & YubiKey

That is my current EDC. Keychain and Victorinox live in my pocket, carbine hook and Leatherman in my bag, Apple Watch on my wrist and the iPhone in my hand. I use the carbine to quickly fix the dog somewhere and the Leatherman for serious repairs. Both can stay behind. The rest is obvious and always on me.

My EDC changes over time. Two years ago I was carrying a Lumia 1020 and a BlackBerry. Now I am down to one smartphone with no backup. I also had a power bank and an access point with me, but I hardly ever need these anymore.

Today I am no longer attached to a single computer. Sometimes I carry a Retina Macbook Pro, sometimes Surface 3, other times the Yoga 3 Pro. Sometimes I just bring a keyboard.

Makers

by Volker Weber

How to reset your Apple Watch and how to force quit its apps

by Volker Weber

ZZ13E9A505 ZZ47E2F0D3

Apple issued a new release of watchOS 2 yesterday, which is supposed to fix a battery depleting bug I ran into. While I was resolving this bug, I learned how to reset the watch and how to close apps that might be causing trouble.

The two screens above show my favorite watchfaces.

VIP(P)

by Volker Weber

ZZ7AD46596

I am a sucker for anything made by VIPP. At first, their products seem expensive. Until you hold them in your hand. I have this, this, this, and now this. Thank you W. for sending it from my Amazon Wish List.

I could actually live in that, but Amazon does not let me put it on my Wish List. ;-)

Surface 3 :: Five months in

by Volker Weber

ZZ29DDA21A.jpg

When I first tried Surface, it was out of curiosity. I used it for news reading — Nextgen Reader is really nice — and checking up on social media. Then Windows 10 came along and Surface started to shine. Now it has become a daily driver. As always, a few observations in no particular order:

Surface 3 is light and durable. I like to throw it in my bag, just like I did two days ago when traveling to Köln for the IBM event. I can quickly take some notes with the pen, and on the train I can type a few pages in Word Mobile. Surface would run the full Office suite and I am actually licensed for that. But Word Mobile fits the bill very nicely.

I have not been treating Surface 3 very well. It looks beaten, with a big scratch on the back and a few dings. When I talked to Ralf Groene, I showed him the marks, and we both agreed that it ages well. You may chip some of the ceramic, that hardens the magnesium body or the aluminum kickstand, but it's almost the same color as the material.

From a curiosity to a daily driver — who would have thought?

Von der Arc Mouse zum Surface Book: Ralf Groene, Microsofts Head of Industrial Design

by Volker Weber

ZZ279EB958

Ruhig und entspannt, mit freundlichem Gesichtsausdruck sitzt Ralf Groene auf einem dick gepolsterten Sofa im Foyer des Frankfurter Hofs. Der Deutsche ist verantwortlich für das gesamte Industriedesign bei Microsoft und soeben aus Redmond angekommen. Er freut sich sichtlich auf sein schönes Hotelzimmer, aber vorher sind wir zum Gespräch verabredet.

Ein Beitrag auf c't Online >

Apple Sport Band is really nice

by Volker Weber

ZZ7857ADF8

My farovite band for the Apple Watch is the Milanese Loop. I like the look, I like how thin it is, and I like that it is easily adjustable without needing to settle for one or two holes in the band.

For the last two weeks I have been using a Sport Band instead of the Loop, and the experience has been much better than expected. It is very soft, does not irritate my skin, and it's much easier to close and open than I thought it would be.

There is one variant that Apple does not offer: Silver Aluminum Case with Black Sport Band. You either have to get the Space Grey Aluminum Case with Black Sport Band or the Silver Aluminum Case with White Sport Band. And you could (almost) buy both for what you see in the photo above. ;-) Not that I would recommend doing that. There is no convenient way to use two Apple Watches with the same iPhone. What I mean to say is that an entry level Apple Sport Watch is a good choice without compromise. Spending more is just a matter of personal taste.

It has been a good year

by Volker Weber

ZZ7D6C24E9

October 21, 2014 was the last day that I did not walk 10,000 steps a day. Every single day after that date, I walked at least 10,000 steps, come rain, come snow. The longest walk ever was on April 10, 2015 with 45,156 steps. Today marks a big day: I have now completed a full year on this program. And I have walked more than 6,200 km in those 365 days. That's the distance from New York to Darmstadt. No, you can't walk that, silly. There is an ocean in between.

ZZ0C2D9331

The walking distance from Darmstadt to Santiago de Compostela is about 1,900 km, so it's three times that. Speaking of three, three hours walking per day, for a full year.

There are actually two days missing on the record, when the software acted up.

ZZ53930503 ZZ22358BF2

There was a reason I started on this program. I was in a crisis last September/October. I had lost a patch of skin under my right foot due to a large blister, and I was no longer able to walk the 18,000 steps I had worked myself up to. Then my UP24 band broke. And I travelled a lot, three times to London within a month. So there was a real and present danger that I might break out of my exercise regime.

What can you do? I promised myself to not break the chain. Do the 10k every single day. Try to do 100 km a week. I did those 100 km every single week until three weeks ago, when my doctor told me to slow down a bit because of a (temporary) medical condition. Still doing the 10k, but not the 100 km. As compensation, I started using the bike more.

146 days ago I started wearing an Apple Watch. And not counting that first day, I have now a "longest move streak" of 145 days at 600 cals a day. Now that I know all distances in steps I am going to stop tracking steps on the iPhone and instead focus on closing all three rings on the Apple Watch. 220 days to go to complete a full year.

ZZ7A1A0DD4 ZZ04E8F993
ZZ51177F64 ZZ15B31F74

Everybody has to find their own way to success. If I'd have to name my winning factors, they would be:

There is another big number. I walked 3 million steps until I got on this program. Now I walked another 7 million. That makes it 10 million since I got up.

When I got up, I could hardly walk at all without pain. But humans are walkers. The bicycle was invented only 200 years ago, we haven't used cars for more than a hundred. That's nothing, in evolution. You may not have walked much. But you have the genes to do it. Start walking. Your body knows which muscles to grow.

If I can do it, you can do it.

Why Ello is Happy (And a Lot of Other Places Aren't)

by Volker Weber

Someone sent me this commentary by Umair Hague about Twitter dying because it’s so negative. There are also many recent articles on how the Internet in general, and social networks in particular, cause so much anxiety and unhappiness. Statistically, the more time you spend online, the less happy you are.

Ello is definitely, completely, and totally unlike that.

I’d like to offer a totally non-scientific explanation for why this is.

More >

Ultimate Ears upgrades Boom 2, Megaboom and Roll speakers with Block Party

by Volker Weber

ZZ64D8E077 ZZ220E8702

I love it when vendors upgrade products that they have already sold. Sonos does this very well. And today Ultimate Ears followed suit. There are new apps for Boom 2, Megaboom and Roll. Those apps will in turn upgrade the speakers to a new firmware. Why does UE have a different app for each speaker? Beats me. I'd rather have one app for all of them.

I have to admit I was confused by the press release. WTH is Block Party? I can connect three of my friends? To my speaker, to their speakers? Hook them all together? Here is the deal. Up until today you could "double up" speakers. That means you could pair a second speaker to your existing speaker and play them as one. You don't even need the app for that. Press and hold the big plus sign and the Bluetooth button on the primary speaker. Then release them and press the Bluetooth button on the secondary speaker twice. Done. UE has been telling me they want to up this to way more than two speakers. So is this Block Party? Turns out it isn't.

What you do is swipe left in the UE app. This brings up a new panel that shows you slots for three friends. One of them is yourself. Then you ask your friends to connect to your speaker in Bluetooth settings. Now they can play anything from their own phone, on your speaker. And you can control the party. If somebody isn't being nice, you can boot them from the party. You can also switch who is playing.

A few unexpected difficulties:

I see the use case, but it feels kind of complicated. As BT often is. But anyway, there you have it: let your friends use your speaker while you hang out.

There is also a small update to the Megaboom. It now has all the features of Boom 2, including the tap control. Tap (or better bump) the speaker and it will pause/play. Tap it twice to skip to the next track.

Who is left out? The original Boom speaker. I am not sure why, but I guess they can't make it work. UE seems willing to upgrade stuff that's out in the field.

Heute: IBM BusinessConnect

by Volker Weber

ZZ18269D11

Ich habe ja ein bisschen gescherzt über die Organisation der IBM BusinessConnect. Aber jetzt stellen wir die Kirche mal wieder ins Dorf, OK? Da war heute (a) der Bär los und (b) hat alles wie am Schnürchen geklappt. Ich habe viele Leute getroffen, gute Gespräche geführt, und eine Boeing 737 in Köln auf dem Flughafen gelandet. Also nicht in echt, sondern in einem Simulator.

ZZ1D8A4240

Das Konzept war mir neu. Man nehme einen sehr großen Raum, etwa wie eine Messehalle. Darin baut man alles auf. Am hinteren Ende Bestuhlung für die Keynotes, in der Mitte die Bewirtung, außen rum kleinere Bestuhlungen und Ausstellung im Wechsel. Und dann gibt man jedem Teilnehmer einen Empfänger mit Ohrhörer. Statt den ganzen Raum mit Lautsprechern vollzupusten, wählt sich jeder Teilnehmer den Kanal, den er hören will. An der jeweiligen Bühne steht die Nummer. Klasse!

Also Frau Mann, alles wieder gut? Ich hoffe es sehr.

Update: IBM hat ein paar Fotos veröffentlicht. Und da habe ich mich wiedergefunden (rote Schuhe):

ZZ7CE70A68

ZZ5A7C7892

Lenovo announces Yoga 900

by Volker Weber

ZZ4726DCD6

The Yoga 900 is this year's version of the Yoga 3 Pro. I am glad they are ditching the "Pro" moniker, because Pro is ThinkPad. Now comes in three colors and the hinge matches the body color. More importantly it runs on Core i Skylake CPUs instead of last year's Core M. Battery has been upped by 50% and the device isn't as thin and light as last year. That's a good change nevertheless.

Lumia 950 XL Disassembly

by Volker Weber

I always find these videos fascinating. But kids, don't try this at home. You might not be able to put it back together:

Olloclip Macro Pro

by Volker Weber

ZZ658E88E8

Olloclip makes lenses for iPhones and I am very fond of their Active Lens. It is the perfect combination of tele and wide angle and a great travel companion. I have also used their 4-in-1 lens which combines wide angle, fish-eye and two macro lens. This lens let me shoot these photos.

Olloclip now has a Macro Pro lens which gives you three magnifying factors: 21x, 14x and 7x. And it comes with two hoods which collect and diffuse light and facilitate instant focusing.

ZZ661A3205

And it's not just for pretty photos. You can also document very minute details like aging skin, tiny components, materials etc., all from an iPhone.

More >

Nächste Woche: IBM BusinessConnect

by Volker Weber

ZZ2666B23F

Erst durfte ich wegen "der erfreulich großen Nachfrage und der beschränkten Kapazitäten" gar nicht kommen, dann doch. Und jetzt gleich doppelt. Ja, zwei Registriernummern. Und ich werde auch doppelt erscheinen.

ZZ0F3F7DE4

Und wie ich Bergisch Gladbach kenne, ist das bestimmt auch der Gladbacher Wall und nicht der Galdbacher Wall. In drei Tagen ist übrigens, Moment, Samstag, Sonntag, Montag. In drei Tagen ist Montag. Jetzt ging die Mail ja Freitag nach Büroschluss raus. Dann ist die Veranstaltung am Montag ja schon morgen. Schluck.

Lumia 950 Continuum

by Volker Weber

ZZ1C35AB10

Look at this! This very site on a big screen attached to a Lumia 950.

Which Surface should you get?

by Volker Weber

ZZ3F53C652

Now that Microsoft has three Surface products, I have been getting questions about which one to buy. Here is my initial observations:

Surface Book is way heavier than Surface Pro 4. Almost twice as heavy. But the screen is larger, and when you take it off as a clipboard, it's also lighter than Surface Pro 4. And it's thinner, thinner than Surface 3 even, because it does not have to house USB ports. I's very comfortable to hold.

I am really happy with Surface 3, even without the LTE option. Surface Pro 4 is very tempting, if only for the keyboard, which also fits Surface Pro 3, but not Surface 3, simply because it is too large. Surface Book is too big a challenge for my Macs. Don't want to leave that comfort zone. ;-) Surface Book is actually the only Surface that could replace my MacBook Pro, since it spends a lot of time on my lap while I kick up my legs. Neither Surface nor Surface Pro are usable in this position.

More >

Windows 10 upgrade installing automatically on some Windows 7, 8 systems

by Volker Weber

As part of our effort to bring Windows 10 to existing genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers, the Windows 10 upgrade may appear as an optional update in the Windows Update (WU) control panel. This is an intuitive and trusted place people go to find Recommended and Optional updates to Windows. In the recent Windows update, this option was checked as default; this was a mistake and we are removing the check.

These mistakes are a little desperate, aren't they?

More >

Mac@IBM, Zero to 30,000 in 6 Months

by Volker Weber

To much fanfare from the crowd, Previn said that IBM is deploying 1,900 Macs per week and currently have 130,000 Macs and iOS devices in the hands of users. And all of these devices are supported by a total of 24 help desk staff members, meaning that each staff member effectively supports 5,375 employees. One stat that particularly stood out was that 5% of Mac users call the help desk, compared to 40% of PC users. This shows how simple it is for the staff at IBM to use the Mac platform, and reflects the hard work the team has done to make the experience seamless.

Maybe there is little bit of b/s detection in order here. Within one sentence we go from 30k Macs to 130k Macs and iOS devices. That would mean IBM has 30k Macs and 100k iPhones and iPads. Both are impressive numbers. Let's assume that the brightest and boldest are more inclined to make a move to a new platform and that 5% number makes a lot more sense. And about those 40% of users calling the help desk, are those all Windows problems?

An interesting thing I found about the IBM guy is that we know his mother.

More >

Big Office security update

by Volker Weber

ZZ6A1B4317

This security update resolves vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office that could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted Office file. To learn more about these vulnerabilities, see Microsoft Security Bulletin MS15-110.

More >

Windows RT 2.0

by Volker Weber

windowsphone

With windowsphone.com gone, the URL now points to a landing page in Microsoft.com. It's a little rebranding. Microsoft now talks about Windows 10 instead of Windows Phone 10, and when they refer to old version they call them Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 Phone. Well Windows 10 on the phone isn't really Windows 10, but Windows 10 Mobile. This week there was yet another build, but it's not ready to ship. When the new phones (950, 950XL, 650) ship, there has to be some version running on them but I expect quick updates.

What makes Windows 10 different from Windows 10 Mobile? The latter does not run desktop apps, or as you call them "programs". It only runs Windows 10 Universal Apps from the Windows Store. And that's a deja vù. When the original Surface shipped, there were two versions. One that ran all Windows programs, and the other one only running apps from the Windows Store. It was called Windows RT. Microsoft tried once, then tried again. And Surface 3 finally ran all Windows programs.

The question is, what will happen to Windows 10 Mobile. RT 2.0?

iPhone 6S Plus :: Everything has changed :: Everything is the same

by Volker Weber

ZZ6E9D955A

I have been using a new iPhone 6S Plus instead of a 6 Plus, and it feels exactly the same. I know the internals have changed a lot, but it makes no difference to me at all. Notable differences should be:

Long story, short: if you have an iPhone 6 Plus with enough memory, you should be happy. If you don't have an iPhone 6 Plus with enough memory, get one. Or get a 6S Plus. You should be happy, either way.

The camera upgrade was forced by the market. It's a checklist feature. More megapixels are better, right? The one thing you are going to miss in the future is force touch. Once developers figure out what to do with it, you are going to miss it when it is not present. Like the fingerprint reader now. You want it.

Ceterum censeo Flash esse delendam

by Volker Weber

Attackers are exploiting a previously unknown vulnerability in fully patched versions of Adobe's Flash Player so they can surreptitiously install malware on end users' computers, security researchers warned Tuesday.

More >

New Apple keyboard and trackpad

by Volker Weber

Apple has refreshed the iMac, but I would not swap a new one against my old iMac, now that I have upgraded it to SSD and Apple still shipping 5400 RPM spinning disks. The new keyboard and trackpad, rechargeable over Lightning are sweet though.

They go on my wish list. Trackpad requires Bluetooth 4.0, which my old iMac does not have. Money saved.

Der Fluffy macht's

by Volker Weber

ZZ2DE09F15

Der Hund wechselt zweimal im Jahr das Fell. Einmal zwischen Januar und Juni und dann nochmal zwischen Juli und Dezember. Mit anderen Worten, Frau Brandlinger hat mich zum Staubsauger-Experten gemacht. Eigentlich sauge ich jeden Tag. Und nur noch mit einem Gerät, dem Superplömp. Vor acht Jahren haben wir mal einen Bodenstaubsauger mit Schnur, auch von Dyson, gekauft. Aber der ist viel lästiger. Den Superplömp nimmt man einfach von der Station und kann dann 20 Minuten lang saugen. Das reicht, denn danach habe ich eh keine Lust mehr.

Wieso Superplömp? Das kommt vom DC30, der schon vier Jahre hier wohnt. Wenn man den Staubbehälter öffnet, sagt er "plömb". Und so heißt er. Dann kam der DC62, und weil der soviel mehr leistet, heißt der Superplömp. Diese ganzen Nummer dienen übrigens zur Verwirrung, was hier DC62 Animal hieß, das heißt in USA DC59 Animal. Warum? Das ist sowas wie ein Region Code, mit dem Dyson versucht hat, die Märkte gegeneinander abzuschotten.

ZZ031F10A2

Aus dem DC62 wurde zwischenzeitlich der Dyson v6, was einfach nur ein anderer Name ist. Und dann sah ich auf der IFA etwas neues. Den Fluffy. Den sieht man hier auf den Bildern. Der Fluffy ist eine neue Düse für glatte Hartböden. Und so wie bei Stereoanlagen alles auf die Lautsprecher ankommt, macht bei den Staubsaugern jede Bodendüse eine andere Musik. Beim DC62 kam für uns gegenüber dem DC30 die motorisierte Düse hinzu. Strom kommt vom Handgerät und treibt in der Düse eine Walze an, die mittels Karbonbürsten den Staub vom Boden löst, der dann aufgesaugt wird. Das klappt wunderbar, bis auf ein kleines Problem: die Bodendüse schiebt die kleinen Steinchen weg, die wir mit den Schuhen aus dem Kiesbett reintragen. Genau das Problem löst der Fluffy. Diese Düse ist vorne offen, die weiche Walze nimmt den Stein mit nach hinten und weg ist er.

ZZ28DE0AD4

Man muss sich nur eine andere Fahrweise angewöhnen, ähnlich wie beim Schneeschieben: vorwärts auf die Dreckspur, rückwärts auf dem schon gesaugten Bereich. Sagt, siehe oben, der Experte. Fluffy taugt vor allem für Parkett und glatte Fliesenböden. Auf unserem Schiefer tut er sich schwer. Oder eher, ich tue mich noch etwas schwer. Schiefer ist eine Buckelpiste verglichen mit einem Kachelboden. So bewirbt Dyson übrigens die neue Düse:

ZZ0198C122

Noch bin ich mir nicht klar, welche Düse ich bevorzuge: Fluffy oder die schon bekannte Düse vom DC62. Wer öfter mal Katzenstreu aufnehmen muss, wird den Fluffy lieben. Um die Katzen kümmert sich hier der Hund. ;-)

More >

Going slow. And faster.

by Volker Weber

ZZ1A292067 ZZ03D17F35

I have been cutting back on walking for the last two weeks. From 17 km a day down to 10 km. I am shooting for 10k steps a day, sometimes I end up with more. I am filling up on the bike which puts less stress on the legs.

Anyway, still doing perfect weeks on Apple Watch Activity, the move streak is now at 135 days w/ 600 cals. The last day with less than 10k steps was October 21, 2014. In ten days I will have completed a year with over 10k steps each and every day.

6000 km in less than a year. Next year will be a lot less walking and a whole lot more on the bike. The dog has gotten so strong, she demands more speed.

Upgrading Jumbotron

by Volker Weber

ZZ7D4EF7D4

I pondered the iMac repair for a few days while testing my options. Then I deciced to throw out the defective 1 TB Seagate Barracuda drive and replace it with a Samsung 850 Evo of the same size. I had tested a software to control the fan and that was working in El Capitan.

No more excuse. Action. I got the SSD from a local store; also picked up a mounting bracket to get from 2.5" (SSD) to 3.5" (drive bay).

I had watched a number of videos on how to disassemble the iMac and was confident I could make it. And I did. Clean up a table, place the iMac on its back with the top facing me. Get two suctions cups from the bathroom, place them on the top of the glass and pull. Off came the glass and I put it aside. Remove two stickers at the top of the screen and four T10 screws on both sides. Now I could lift up the screen and removed one cable at the top left of the screen; that was right in front of my right hand.

Then I lifted the screen up further to remove the other three cables that connect to the computer and found it wasn't even necessary. I just proped up the screen at an angle and supported it with an empty iPhone box. There was now plenty of room to disconnect the old drive and replace it with the new one. If you ever built a PC, that is standard fare.

Reconnect one cable, lower the screen back into the iMac, replace the eight screws, reattach the two stickers. Before I put the glass back on, I removed a few specs of dust from the screen and the back of the glass. Then I closed the iMac and the glass slid just in. I worked very carefully, but the round trip was still less than half an hour.

I told you to make a bootable OS X installer, didn't I? El Capitan was installed in 15 minutes, then I added the fan control, TRIM-enabled the machine and fired up migration assistant. Now it needs a few hours to get everything back from ReadyNAS.

A couple of observations:

As always, I should have done that a long time ago. All Seagate Barracudas die. You don't have to wait for it.

BlackBerry CEO wants to sell 5 million phones a year

by Volker Weber

In an interview at the Code Mobile conference today, CEO John Chen told The Verge that his goal is to sell five million smartphones a year, which will be necessary to make the business profitable. If that doesn't happen, Chen hinted that BlackBerry may exit handset business altogether, which would be a huge shift from the BlackBerry of the past.

BlackBerry is faced with a tough situation. The transition from legacy BlackBerry to BlackBerry 10 was not successful. The app gap is too large to ignore and BB10 devices are not sought after. This is a death spiral. No apps, no users, no devices, no apps ... There are customers who don't give a #*$& about apps. They want a secure messaging device only. For those BlackBerry is going to continue to maintain the software, but they are not buying new devices very often.

The BlackBerry Priv has to be a success to keep BlackBerry in the devices business. Android has plenty of apps and buying a Priv does not seem like a bad idea. It's the only viable escape route. BlackBerry cannot license iOS and Windows has its own share of app problems.

We will not hear much about the most interesting discussion: will security conscious business accept an Android device from BlackBerry? If BlackBerry can convince these customers, they may have a shot. BlackBerry cannot compete against LG, Samsung and the new crop of Chinese manufacturers on price. They can only compete on security.

Will there be another BB10 device after the Passport, the Classic and the Leap? I don't think there will. Will there be another Android device from BlackBerry after the Priv? Only if it is a moderate success.

More >

The bestest laptop of all time

by Volker Weber

ZZ26D03453

It was quite funny watching the pundits declaring the Microsoft Surface Book as the best laptop ever. Ever. Before they even had a chance to touch it, let alone use it. This breathlessness is a consequence of hunting for clicks. Live blog, live tweet, live everything. Microsoft did an excellent job at playing this machine.

Take your time, watch, think, analyze. And then judge.

Microsoft still sells the Surface 3. The LTE version just hit German stores. And to me, that is a wonderful machine. Yes, it is less powerful than a Surface Pro 3, and even less powerful than a Surface Pro 4. But it's powerful enough for what I do with it. Are three burgers better than one? Do you need five? Or is one just right?

I have not tried a Surface Pro 4. I think I would like it, now that the fan does not come on as easily as it did on the Surface Pro 3. Surface 3 does not even have a fan.

And now, for this magic Surface Book. I have never needed a GPU. But I don't do video editing. For me, Surface Book solves two issues: you can actually use it on your lap, which is next to impossible with the Surface tablets. And the other one is, you don't have a MacBook and an iPad in your bag. It's just one machine. And it's oh so pretty. Could it replace my MacBook Pro? Possibly. But so could the latest MacBook, the tiny less powerful one. Remember, one burger!

So, is the Surface Book the ultimate laptop? I am sorry to say, there is no such thing. You always have to trade off power and weight and size and battery life. Your ultimate laptop may not be my ultimate laptop.

Yes, I could use a better keyboard on Surface. And a trackpad that is actually any good.

Backups are important. Restore is more important.

by Volker Weber

Stop what you are doing and make a backup. You already have a backup? Doesn't matter. Make another one. And then, on the weekend, take your time and try to restore it to a clean machine.

You have no idea, when you will lose that data. When you do, you will wish that you had a more recent backup. And when you try to restore, you will wish you had tried it before you lost the data and found out your restore does not work.

What really helps is if that most important piece of data does not require a full restore. My accounting app runs from a thumbdrive, if it has to. I just tried, because one of the things that died last night was my virtual Windows machine I use for accounting. Went to the backup, restored one zip file, unpacked onto thumbdrive and ran on Microsoft Surface. Success. Then I went to the backup of the backup and tried again. Success, once more.

All storage dies. If it's made by Seagate, it will die young. Make a copy. And another one.

Logi Circle :: First impressions

by Volker Weber

ZZ0DFA714B

At IFA I learned about the new Logi Circle, yet another webcam, or so I thought. I shot the camera in a different environment from my other photos. And there is a reason. We will get to that in a moment.

ZZ42C33D46

This is the camera you see once you open the box. And this is what else is inside:

ZZ1A2AE046

What you see is a standard USB power supply, a very long cable with a ring attached, and the camera on its base. The camera and the base are one assembly, so you can't take the ball off that base. The ring has two grooves for two tiny contacts in the camera base. When you place the base on the ring, it snaps in and charges the camera. That's right, the camera has a battery.

Inside the ring is another plastic piece and three screws that that's attach the ring to a wall, letting the flat cable hang down that wall. This way, instead of standing on a shelf, the camera can easily be attached to the wall. Simple to adjust either way.

Since the camera has a battery, you can just take it off the ring and it will continue to stream over three hours. And this is where the whole things starts to be different from other webcams.

Most webcams are designed to be security cameras that alert you when something unusual happens. Or we use front facing cameras in PCs or phones for live chats. The Circle has a different use case. It's for the person who wants to be connected to what's going on at home, when he is not there. It will have it's default place, that's where the ring is. But the family can just take the camera off that place and move it to the kitchen when cooking. Or to a playroom, where the kids are. And inside your Android or iPhone, you can ask for a "day brief". That's a 30 seconds video, where all events are condensed. Time is compressed, but it's not half an hour a second. Logi has invested heavily in spam detection. That's motion which isn't interesting, like the TV playing or a fan moving. Those things will not be in the day brief.

From your smartphone, you can join the conversation at the other end. There is a speaker in the camera and a microphone. Just bear in mind that you will have a latency of typically two seconds.

The closest thing to the Circle that I know is the Withings Home. But Home has no battery, so it has to stay put. And home lets you connect an Ethernet wire, where Circle needs Wifi. Circle has the smarter software, both come with an Internet Service that stores your videos. Both can alert you when they sense movement, and neither can trigger events like the Belkin Netcam can. Circle is also different from Arlo, which is designed to be a security camera you can place anywhere, even if there is no power and no Ethernet.

Finally, a view into my office, just as a screenshot from the app. As you can see, it's very wide angle, as it should be. All of those cameras use 720p which seems to be the best trade-off between bandwidth and resolution.

ZZ030C6997

Resistance

by Volker Weber

To bring you Twitter, we and our partners use cookies on our and other websites. Cookies help personalize Twitter content, tailor Twitter Ads, measure their performance, and provide you with a better, faster, safer Twitter experience. By using our services, you agree to our Cookie Use.

Replace "use cookies" with "store data in our datacenter outside the EU". That's what we are going to get for denying the US safe haven. Just another click. Everywhere.

Hey, there are people with Android phones concerned about privacy. Cognitive dissonance.

Seagate nicht

by Volker Weber

ZZ32768BC3

Gestern macht es laut und vernehmlich BONG! Einige Zeit später fällt mir auf, dass der iMac laut vor sich hinpustet und anzeigt, dass er keine Platte hat. Und was verbaut Apple? Seagate. Das sind die Barracudas, die schon zuhauf bei mir im ReadyNAS gestorben sind.

Ich habe schon genug PCs gebaut, dass mich ein Festplattentausch nicht schreckt. Selbst im iMac nicht. Scheibe raus mit zwei Saugnäpfen, Screen rausschrauben. vier Kabel abziehen, Screen ausbauen. Da liegt sie vor einem, die kaputte Platte. Dann die miese Überraschung. Apple hat eine ganz eigene Temperaturmessung über SATA gebaut. Kein Fühler, kein S.M.A.R.T. Man kann nur gegen ein Originalappleseagate-Ersatzteil tauschen. Als ob ich noch mal sowas haben wollte.

Ich prüfe heute die Alternativen. Wahrscheinlich brauche ich einen Hardware-Hack. Und am liebsten würde ich mir eine Samsung 850 Pro einbauen.

Update: El Capitan auf einem externen Drive installiert. SSD Fan Control installiert. Schon ist Ruhe, auch wenn das noch das kaputte Drive drin ist. Steht also einem Upgrade auf SSD nichts mehr im Wege.

A few remarks on the Microsoft hardware briefing

by Volker Weber

ZZ20021414

I expected three things to hear from Microsoft today. Surface Pro 4 without a fan. A final date when Windows 10 Mobile launches (for existing devices). A credible plan to close the app gap for Lumia. I did not hear any of these things, but a few others.

Here are my remarks, in no particular order.

Panos Panay is the greatest presenter I know. Think Steve Jobs, but with a lot more compassion.

If you watch the event, I'd dive right in 30 minutes and skip all the Xbox, Hololens, Band reading from the teleprompter.

New T-Shirt design

by Volker Weber

ZZ5BF85C26

Alan asked me what my new t-shirt design would be. How about that?

Google starts shipping Android 6.0 Marshmallow

by Volker Weber

Today we’re starting to roll out Android 6.0 Marshmallow to Nexus users. Of course, the new Nexus 5X and 6P will ship with Android 6.0, straight from the factory. Android Marshmallow is the sweetest, smartest Android version yet: Now on Tap serves up assistance when you need it, battery-smart features keep your device going longer, and new app permissions give you even more control.

My Yoga Tab 2 Pro is still on 4.4.2 and Lenovo says it is the current version.

More >

Gefällt mir

by Volker Weber

ZZ42D96BD9

Der Bedarf an Apple Watch ist gedeckt. Aber die gefällt mir!

What makes us human

by Volker Weber

Watch the movie >

Machen

by Volker Weber

SOLLTE
HÄTTE
KÖNNTE
WÜRDE
MACHEN!

Lee Morris: The iPhone 6S Takes Better Video Than My Pro DSLR

by Volker Weber

The iPhone footage looked way better than my $3 to $4,000 camera setup - and honestly this footage is kind of depressing to see. It doesn’t just look a little better; it looks way better than the footage out of [the Nikon D750] at ISO 100 at f/8, which should be the highest quality that you can get.

More >

How to get rid of impolite Twitter accounts

by Volker Weber

ZZ129F8A93

There are two ways to get into my timeline:

  1. You tweet stuff that I find interesting. Then I follow you.
  2. You pay Twitter some money to squeeze yourself into my timeline.

Number 1 is good. Number 2 is rude. If you choose to be impolite, I block you. Even if I found you interesting in the first place. And here is the cool thing: this scales very well, because everybody is invited to just import my list of impolite Twitter users into their settings. As of today it has more than 2300 entries.

You can always find it here >

The simple life

by Volker Weber

ZZ68067857

I watch the news around smartphones, tablets, convertibles, the whole post-PC world. Hexacore, Snapdragon 8xx, Adreno nnn, Gigahertz, and RAM. I see Nokia, then Microsoft "starting to roll out" updates. I see Lenovo promising updates to a more recent version of Android for a device that's less than a year old, and then not delivering it. I see lots of abandoned hardware that never gets updates at all. I see devices that will never get this important security fix.

And then I look at the iPhone and smile. Like all the other iThings at vowe's magic flying circus, it just works and gets all updates at day one. I don't even care how many cores the processor has or how much memory. I just know that it never makes me wait for anything.

All but one of the iPhones in the photo above run the latest version of iOS. It's a simple life.

Slack’s $2.8 Billion Dollar Secret Sauce

by Volker Weber

Figuring out why something is successful in retrospect is like trying to describe the taste of water. It’s hard. We aren’t big on process. We prefer to just put our heads down and design stuff, iterating over and over again until something feels right. Slack was no different — there wasn’t any magic process we used — but looking back, I’ve identified a few key things that helped make it the huge success it’s become.

Interesting read. Design matters!

More >

Update: Two links that @elsua added in his comment:

Create a bootable El Capitan installer on USB

by Volker Weber

ZZ2E27C523

After you downloaded El Capitan, and before you install it, you can make a USB thumb drive that lets you install the O/S on other computers without a new download.

Erase a 8 GB thumbdrive in Disk Utility. Choose the GUID partition scheme and format as Mac OS X Extended (Journaled) and name it Untitled. Then run this command (in one line):

sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/Untitled --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app --nointeraction

Be patient. It is going to take a few minutes to complete. There is a lot of data to be copied to the thumbdrive.

Ceci n'est pas un blog

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

vowe

Contact
Publications
Stuff that works
Amazon Wish List
Frequently Asked Questions

rss feed  twitter

Local time is 15:35

visitors.gif