November 2015

Apple Music on Sonos goes live on DEC 15

by Volker Weber

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Apple and Sonos announce today, that Apple Music on Sonos enters public beta on December 15, 2015. Beta means there may be issues. But I am confident that they got this.

If you can't wait two weeks, apply for the closed beta.

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Half a perfect year

by Volker Weber

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No matter how you count it: six perfect months, 26 perfect weeks, 185 days longest Move streak. It's half a year without breaking the chain.

Zu schwierig für Google

by Volker Weber

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Eine gescheite Tastatur zu bauen scheint für Google eine nicht zu lösende Aufgabe. Oben das schweizer Layout, unten das deutsche. Die Schweizer kennen kein ß, aber die Tasten sind nicht korrekt angeordnet. Bei der deutschen Tastatur verzichtet Google gleich auf alle Umlaute.

Dazu kommt dann noch das Material Design, das anscheinend keine Abgrenzung der Tasten erlaubt.

Update: Damit sich niemand mit Empfehlungen ins Boxhorn jagen lässt, hier noch mal SwiftKey, erst Android, dann iOS:

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Und zum Vergleich Apple:

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What you don't read on this site

by Volker Weber

I write because I like to write. And sometimes I don't write because I don't like to. One of the things I hardly ever write is a bad review.

There is a story behind that. More than 20 years ago I reviewed a product for c't. And it was terrible. So, that's what I wrote. A few weeks later I met the people who made the product. It was a mom and pop shop. Just two people, and they thanked me for my review. Because I was the first person to even notice them. I felt like I had abused them, and here they were.

And to this date, I try to find some good things to write about. It took me six reviews until I truly understood Sonos. They insisted on sending me two players, and I didn't know why. I had this one stereo. Why would I need two players? The answer is simple: you change from going to a particular room to listening everywhere. And with that, you listen a lot more.

Every new product that I see today, I always watch through those eyes. What does it add, that I did not have before? This Bluetooth speaker is splash-proof, yes, that is useful if you forget it outside in a rain shower or if you are close to a pool. Or that keyboard, yes, that fits into an even smaller pocket. And it works with Android, iOS and Windows. Yes, that's a thing.

But if you ask me to write about yet another "Sonos killer", puleeze. Or another generic smartphone, phablet, tablet? An "Apple Watch killer"? Hey, we have enough killers already.

What I look for is excellence. Stuff that you are going to enjoy when you have long forgotten the pain of paying for it. There is excellence in many products, and I am only covering a tiny fraction of them.

The other day somebody asked me whether he should buy an iPad or what his more affordable options were. I did show him a more affordable product that was "good enough". But my advice was simple: you are probably going to enjoy your iPad a lot longer.

That is what I am looking for. And it is often as simple as that.

And then there is the editor-refuses-to-give-it-back award. That is a huge win for you. Even if you temporarily lost control of one of your samples. You will get it back when you send an even better one.

How Sonos is getting better, year over year

by Volker Weber

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I have been around since the first Sonos products. And I am impressed by two things: how the products improve year over year. And how the company keeps improving products that are already in customers' hands. Let me explain.

It all started with a product called ZonePlayer ZP100. What is called rooms today was zones way back when. The ZP100 could do everything. Connect your existing speakers, connect to your existing amp, connect to a separate subwoofer, connect to your CD player. And it was all wires. It even had a four port Ethernet hub. But it was also wireless in that it created SonosNet, a mesh network based on 802.11b/g technology. In order to control your music, you had to buy a piece of hardware from Sonos. I dubbed it the Russian iPod and that name stuck with Sonos. I believe the CEO calls it by that name until today.

Then Sonos started adding a new product: ZonePlayer ZP80. It was a bit cheaper, it did not have an amp so you had to connect to your existing amp. It went from 4 to 2 port Ethernet, so you could wire "through". ZP80 was later replaced by ZP90 with improved wireless technology based on 802.11n. ZP90 was rebranded as CONNECT and is still available today.

Then Sonos refreshed ZP100 with the ZP120. It had digital amps and dropped line-out. ZP120 was meant to drive your speakers while ZP80/90 was meant to drive a full stereo. ZP120 was later rebranded as CONNECT:AMP and you can still buy it today.

Then two important things happened: Sonos started making software controllers available as apps. And they created the S5 which was later rebranded as the PLAY:5. S5 had five digital amplifiers for five drivers: two tweeters, two midrange, one bass. The importance of this speaker cannot be overstated. You could tune the speaker with a software update. After a long beta phase it finally rolled out, not before beta testers were asked to let it run at 100 percent volume for hours on end.

The Soviet iPod (CR100) was replaced with a touch screen controller (CR200). Sonos had scrapped one project before it came to market, just because it wasn't deemed good enough. So it took many years until CR200 was released. By the time it came out, the iPod touch was cheaper and did the job well enough. Now we have controllers on iOS and Android but sadly not on Windows Phone/Mobile. Microsoft has Phish Alpha, which is actually good enough to ship, but it hasn't.

When the PLAY:3 came out, the speaker "below" the S5, the whole rebranding exercise happened. S5 became PLAY:5, ZP90 became CONNECT, ZP120 became CONNECT:AMP. PLAY:3 had only three drivers but it added 5 GHZ wireless and an orientation sensor. Standing on its side, it became a mono speaker with a different sound characteristic. And you could pair two of them to form a stereo pair. The deluxe version of that stereo pair was two PLAY:5.

And then Sonos went on a new trajectory. It came out with four products, each one more impressive than the other. SUB, PLAYBAR, PLAY:1 and finally a new PLAY:5. I still cannot wrap my head around how the company was able to improve so much year over year. And to top it off, they just introduced Trueplay Tuning, which will improve your listening experience with all the gear that came out starting with the first PLAY:5. Safe for the PLAYBAR for now, but that will come as well.

Best of all, you can still use that old ZP100 and the Soviet iPod. They don't have all the latest features, but they show up in your controller and will play your music just fine.

If you don't have any Sonos speakers yet, get a pair of PLAY:1. You'll be amazed. Or buy a new PLAY:5 and it will blow you away.

I will be visiting Sonos in two weeks. And I can't wait to see what they are working on. Unfortunately that means I will have to guard a few secrets. But I am really good at that.

Further reading: 5 Levels of SONOS addiction

You may want to close this barn door on your IBM Connections site

by Volker Weber

Let's go to IBM Connections and not login. This is the important part. We are a dog on the Internet and nobody knows we are a dog. Let's pick an IBM site and issue a search query against the Profiles application. Let's find everybody who has tagged his profile with "machine-learning".

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The first gentleman has a profile picture so he might be active. Let's click on his profile:

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Looks like he is indeed active and there is a conversation he is having. Notice that we are still not logged in.

When I saw this, I was shocked. And not only does that work on ibm.com/connections but on other sites as well. I thought this was a huge problem, so I contacted IBM on multiple channels. And I got the same answer on each of those channels: this works as intended. It's the default. Profiles are supposed to be crawl-able.

If you disagree and would rather have your Profiles not public, there is a simple solution which will have side effects elsewhere. You can require a login, before Connections discloses anything.


Yoga Tab 3 Pro :: My next travel companion

by Volker Weber

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The Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro oozes quality. I just like to hold and use it. The soft touch back provides a good grip, the buttons are solid. I find the DLP projector quite usable for watching a movie on the ceiling, and even the camera is surprisingly good, albeit a bit slow.

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Battery life is excellent and the sound from the four front facing speakers is crystal clear. It charges over MicroUSB and lasts a good 18 hours playing video. I have a short trip over a long distance coming up, so the Yoga Tab 3 Pro is going into my travel bag, along with some fresh underwear, a sweater, a toothbrush, a bundle of short USB cables and only six more items:

The good thing is that I only need this one power supply, although I have a power bank, an iPhone, a BlackBerry, a headset and the Yoga to charge. There is even one spare port.

I am contemplating bringing a serious camera, but I already have three. The Yoga Tab 3 Pro also lets me play music when I am in my room. It's not a Sonos, but it's good enough so that I don't have to bring a Bluetooth speaker.

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I expect my (soft) bag to be under 8 kg, so it's all carry-on. Did I mention 18 hours of battery life? I am going to need that.

Le calendrier 2016 d'Aubade est arrivé

by Volker Weber

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More >

[Thanks, Boudewijn.]

CIO describes how he moved 125K workers to Office 365 in 6 months

by Volker Weber

The CIO of Swiss power company ABB shared details with CIO.com about its decision to ditch IBM Notes and move 125,000 workers to Office 365. The migration spotlighted important lessons for IT leaders about the scalability of enterprise tools and how innovation can drive staff productivity.

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What is the future of Notes/Domino?

by Volker Weber

After reading a comment that IBM should be talking about Notes 10 early 2016 or else, I was wondering about the current roadmap. Icon UK in September seemed not too long ago, so I went through the slides.

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Apparently IBM sees Notes/Domino now as part of the Connections platform.

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Notes and IBM Client Application Access (the artist formerly knows as the Notes browser plugin) are labelled as Client/Server Legacy.

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And there is a "Notes/Domino Next" scheduled for 2H2015 and another one for 2018 and beyond. I have not heard anything about this next version of Domino, but this particular slide is from April 2015 and looks rather generic. What is Notes/Domino Next? 9.0.something?

IBM (and customers) never got anything out of the humongous boat anchor Eclipse Client Platform that bogged down the Notes 8 client. Even Symphony is gone for good. It was the wrong move and the wrong time. Now it's legacy and apps should be accessible from mobile and browser. IBM can still make money from the CALs required to access those apps.

I see a gap opening between IBM's effort to move to a cloud business and stubborn German customers who don't want to have anything like that. Verse on premises appears as a 2016 deliverable, but much like I had doubts about that happening "in the second half" as announced at ConnectED 2015, I cannot see it in 2016 either.

Any thoughts?

Und Ihr wundert Euch

by Volker Weber

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Kein Schwein nutzt das "Smart" im Smart-TV. Und das hat bei mir einen ganz einfachen Grund. Wenn ich in den "Smart Hub" gehe, dann kommt unweigerlich alle paar Wochen ein "Smart Hub must update". Und dann installiert mir diese Dreckssoftware 29 Apps, die ich nicht haben will, die ich nicht aufrufe und die ich einzeln löschen darf. Dauert etwa 15 Sekunden pro App.

Ich kenne einige Samsung-Mitarbeiter, die ich sehr respektiere. Aber das Unternehmen ist verrottet. Anders ist es nicht erklärbar, dass sie immer wieder ihre Kunden verraten, um ein paar Euro zu machen, in dem sie fortwährend Werbung reinkübeln. Wenigstens hoffe ich, dass sie dafür Geld kriegen.

Fast das gesamte User Interface des 2012er Smart Hub besteht aus Werbung, die sich zum allergrößten Teil nicht mal löschen lässt. Die aktuelle Software soll besser sein und ich schaue mal, ob ich die bekommen kann.

Aber eins ist klar: Wenn Samsung auch nur ein bisschen was aus den Daten lernen würde, die sie von der Plattform abgreifen, dann wüssten sie, dass ich diesen Dreck verabscheue und sofort wieder runterlösche.

So, jetzt geht es mir besser. ;-)

Color me impressed

by Volker Weber

vowe dot net :: Many Steps

by Volker Weber

I saw this four years ago, but I did not get the message. :-)

Windows 10 Mobile is ready to go

by Volker Weber

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Last week I installed the latest build of Windows 10 Mobile on a Lumia 830 and used it for a few days. This is by no means a powerful device. Microsoft called it the "affordable flagship". 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, Snapdragon 400, 1280x720 display. But it does run Windows 10 just nicely.

Build 10586.11 has now been pushed out to the slow ring of Windows Insiders. It's most likely the RTM build.

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If you don't want to wait for your carrier to "roll out" Windows 10 next year, now is the time to move. I am going to provision the 930 next. And I believe that if you have a Snapdragon 800 equipped Lumia 1520, you already have the much nicer Windows 10 phone than the 950XL that Microsoft is coming out with. It has the more iconic look and you are only missing Windows Hello that does not work well on the 950XL and Continuum, which you only need if you don't have a PC.

My issue with Windows Mobile/Phone remains: the app gap. None of those six apps that control devices at vowe's magic flying circus is available on the platform:

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If you already have a Lumia and like it, that's no issue for you. As far as I am concerned, Windows 10 Mobile is ready to go.

Update: I have now upgraded three Lumias to Windows 10:

So I went all three paths: Wipe before and after, upgrade and do not wipe, upgrade then wipe. So far, no issues.

More >

IBMverse.com is fading away

by Volker Weber

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ibmverse.com/login still takes you into IBM Verse. But ibmverse.com itself is no longer alive. The URL takes you to the product page on ibm.com.

Looks like IBM is finally going to call it an "experiment". The product is a great upgrade for enterprises on the IBM Connections Cloud, but it's all but unusable for the general public. It never was the proper way to evaluate IBM Verse.

Valentin is doing it right

by Volker Weber

That's my motivation for posting about "don't break the chain". Valentin is another one who got on with the program. But I am not his sole motivation:

"Können wir endlich rausgehen?"

A video posted by Valentin Wölm (@vwoelm) on

25 perfect weeks in a row

by Volker Weber

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25 perfect weeks with all move goals achieved every single day. Plus two days in the preceding week when I got the Apple Watch. That makes the move streak 177 days long. Move goal is 600 kcals, max was 2400 to get the 400% badge. I needed the bike for that. Walking only took me to 300%.

Next up: 183 days (or half a year) Move streak on Saturday, 26 perfect weeks on Sunday, and six perfect months (Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov) on Monday.

Don't break the chain.

How to import your photos from your camera to Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro

by Volker Weber

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I have a trip to SoCal coming up and may be bringing a serious camera. I was scratching my head on how to import photos into the Yoga Tab 3 Pro which currently looks like the perfect travel companion. So I googled, read some forum posts, without much luck. Have you noticed that nobody really answers the question posted but are only suggesting their own particular workaround?

Finally I just plugged it in via the camera cable and a USB OTG adaptor. Bingo. The tablet already knows what to do with it. I was over-thinking.

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro :: Nach einer Woche

by Volker Weber

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Ich habe selten ein Gerät so schnell adoptiert wie dieses Yoga Tablet. Es fasst sich einfach gut an, das Display ist sensationell, der Akku hält ewig. Mehr als halb leer habe ich ihn an einem Tag noch nicht bekommen. Die vier Atmos-zertifizierten Lautsprecher liefern einen guten Sound. Selbst die Kamera taugt was. Man braucht ein bisschen, bis man weiß, wie man das Yoga halten muss, denn die Kamera ist an einer Stelle, wo man gerne hingreift.

So wie der Vorgänger mit dem Lollipop-Upgrade gewonnen hat, ist auch das Tab 3 viel schlanker ausgestattet. Was ich nicht haben wollte, konnte ich geschwind löschen oder zumindest abschalten. Der aktuelle Lenovo Launcher tut nicht mehr weh. Bisher hatte ich immer den von Google installiert.

Es gibt ein paar Ecken, die noch nicht so recht funktionieren. Ich habe zum Beispiel Streit mit Flipboard. Bei einem Tumblr-Blog versagt die App. Das kenne ich von keinem anderen Gerät, sei es Mac, Windows, iOS oder auch dem Priv. Nur das Lenovo-Gerät versagt. Auch ein bisschen frustrierend: beim Bluetooth-Keyboard stimmt die Tastenbelegung der Cursor-Steuerung nicht. Die dreht sich mit der Orientierung des Tablets. Nur im Portraitmodus ist alles richtig. Und das ist genau die Ausrichtung, die man ziemlich sicher nicht mit einer externen Tastatur verwendet. Ich bin gespannt, wie lange Lenovo braucht, diesen eigentlich trivialen Fehler zu finden und zu beheben.

Eine ganz dicke Enttäuschung ist, dass Lenovo immer noch keinen Support für exFAT lizenziert hat. Das bedeutet, dass man SDXC-Karten, die man zur Speichererweiterung für ein paar Euros kaufen kann, erst auf FAT32 umformatieren muss. Und dann passen keine Dateien größer als 4 GB auf das Medium. Eigentlich eine Frechheit bei einem Gerät, das als das ultimative Video-Tablet vermarktet wird. Videos sind eigentlich die einzigen Dateien, die regelmäßig größer als 4 GB sind. Ausgerechnet BlackBerry zeigt, wie man das löst.

Einen Test hat das Gerät mit Bravour bestanden: Sonntagmorgen im Bett Videos an der Zimmerdecke gucken. Wenn man Gleitsichtgläser trägt, dann taugt ein Fernseher an der Wand gar nichts. Mit dem Yoga dagegen kann man noch mal schön rumlümmeln.

exFAT for BlackBerry Priv

by Volker Weber

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SDXC Cards store data in a different format, versus previous generation SD cards. This application lets you unlock the full potential of your SDXC Card for your BlackBerry smartphone. Key Features: - Supports SDXC cards up to 2 TB capacity - Can save files in excess of 4GB in size

Install this app and the BlackBerry Priv can read/write SDXC cards formatted with exFAT.

Digitalisierung bei der Bahn

by Volker Weber

Die Bahn schreibt anlässlich der Bestellung meiner neuesten BahnCard:

Sehr geehrter Herr Weber,

wir freuen uns, dass Sie sich für die BahnCard 50 entschieden haben.

Mit Ihrer folgenden BahnCard-Nummer können Sie Ihre BahnCard 50 auch mobil mit der DB Navigator App auf Android-Geräten oder in der iPhone-Version nutzen

Au, das ist praktisch. Dann brauche ich dieses unnütze Stück Plastik ja gar nicht mehr mit zu schleppen. Bezahlt ist sie, in meinem Kundenkonto ist sie natürlich auch drin, bei bahn.bonus ist sie eingetragen. Also gleich mal probieren:

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Man lese bitte diesen ersten roten Satz so oft bis er verständlich wird. Ich habe zwischendurch extra die Sprache umgestellt, weil ich dachte, der Übersetzer hat das vergeigt. Aber nein, den deutschen kapiert man auch nicht.

Genau meine BahnCard will der DB Navigator also nicht. Ich habe dann mal beim BahnTwitterOnkel nachgefragt. Stimmt da so? Oder ist das der bahn.twitter.uncle? Der hat es mir dann noch mal erklärt. Ich kann diese BahnCard nicht in die App laden, weil ich sie ja als Identifizierung benutze. Also um zu zeigen, dass ich auch eine habe. Denn auf der Karte ist ja nichts drauf, was mich identifiziert. Die kann ich jedem anderen Menschen in die Hand drücken, der Volker Weber heißen könnte. Der Schaffner will sie ja auch nur durchziehen. Wenn ich die jetzt einfach in den DB Navigator laden würde, dann müsste ich sie ja nicht "mitführen". Aber wenn ich statt dessen eine BahnBonusCard, Verzeihung bahn.bonus Card mitnehmen würde, so zur Identifizierung, ja, dann könnte ich die bahn.card, äh BahnCard im DB Navigator "nutzen". Aber nicht zur Identifizierung, aber als Nachweis, dass ich eine habe, was ja in meinem Kundenkonto auch schon steht.

Ich glaube, die Bahn kann es immer noch nicht verwinden, dass man Handy-Tickets nicht abknipsen kann.

Vielleicht könnte die Bahn ja mal einen Prozess-Designer bei der Lufthansa ausleihen. Dort muss man auch nicht mit der Senator-Karte rumwedeln. Das steht auf dem Ticket. Ja, auch auf dem elektronischen. Und das kann man auf dem iPhone im Passbook/Wallet ablegen. Kriegt die Bahn auch nicht gebacken.

Und weil es gerade so schön ist, noch ein nettes Bahnerlebnis. Neulich wollte ich 1 Fahrkarte im DB-Navigator kaufen. 5 Minuten vor der planmäßigen Abfahrt eines Zuges, der 10 Minuten verspätet war. Was der Navigator auch brav anzeigte. Die Fahrkarte wurde mir dann verweigert, weil sie "so schnell nicht ausgestellt werden kann". Ich musste dann den Folgezug eine Stunde später auswählen, konnte dann eine Fahrkarte "ausstellen" lassen, die eine Sekunde später auch verfügbar war. Mit der konnte ich aber natürlich auch mit dem vorherigen Zug fahren, weil sie schon den ganzen Tag gilt.

Was lernt man daraus? Einfach in den Zug einsteigen. Falls der Schaffner kommt, aufs Klo gehen und eine Fahrkarte für den nächsten Zug kaufen. Die nimmt er auch. Wenn man seine BahnCard "mitführt".

Was tut die Bahn dagegen? Ganz einfach: kein Internet im Zug.

Blocking Twitter spammers with three taps

by Volker Weber

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Blocking impolite Twitter users who force themselves into my timeline has become much easier. Just hold the avatar until you get the menu, select Block and tap Block again. Boom. Never to be seen again.

You can download and import my list of 2500+ impolite Twitter accounts from here >

Microsoft, I have a wish

by Volker Weber

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While attending the Microsoft Technical Summit here in Darmstadt, I had the opportunity to try out the new Surface Pro 4. And with it came the new keyboard. It's so much better than the old one that it does not even compare. Even the trackpad is usable now:

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The good news is that you can buy the new keyboard and keep your old Surface Pro 3. Same connectors, same dimensions. The new keyboard fits both machines without any compromise. Trust me on that: it's really, really good.

Microsoft also had the Surface Book on display and both the keyboard and the trackpad are on par with Apple. And they should be, given that a Macbook is cheaper.

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I was also able to play with both a Lumia 950 and a Lumia 950XL. And I have no good news from that encounter. Both feel a lot cheaper than they are. I had already seen pictures but in the flesh they did not even meet my low expectations. One of the presenters would have traded one of his black 950XL for a yellow 1520 on the spot. I wonder if Microsoft can get at least the software glitches out. No double tap to wake, holding the camera button did not take me into recording a video like it was promised on stage by Panos Panay.

Speaking of Panos, this part of Microsoft needs a restart. We are now where Surface was with version 2. Microsoft needs to take this up a whole level. The software is late, the hardware is underwhelming. Maybe it was good enough for Jo Harlow. But it certainly is not good enough for Panos Panay.

Well that is one wish. But I have one closer to my heart. Make a new keyboard for the Surface 3. One that is as good as the keyboard for Surface Pro 3/4. Maybe when you unveil Surface 4. But then make it work with Surface 3. Deal?


Emulation is often a terrible idea

by Volker Weber

I have been around for a while. I started programming in the seventies, educated students in the eighties, and then helped building systems in the nineties. And I have seen a particular anti-pattern fail time and gain:

  1. When IBM split with Microsoft over OS/2, they built a new 32-bit version called OS/2 2.0. That was capable of running native 16-bit Windows apps in an emulation layer called WinOS2. IBM sold it as "Better Windows than Windows". While that was technically true, it never really worked so well, because Windows felt alien when embedded in OS/2. I had customers running OS/2 hosting only Windows apps. OS/2 apps never really came along, and Windows itself eventually went 32-bit with Windows NT. By the time Windows 95 came out, OS/2 had failed.
  2. When BlackBerry, as many others, were disrupted by the iPhone, they eventually built a new platform called BBX, which was quickly renamed BlackBerry 10. BBX was BlackBerry on QNX. BlackBerry created a multitude of programming stacks to develop apps for the new platform, and none of them really succeeded. Much like OS/2 failed to attract developers. And they added an Android player based on AOSP, the Android Open Source Project. In order to provide a higher level of security they first required Android apps to be repackaged for the BlackBerry App Store. Later they incorporated the Amazon app store that never got any traction, because the Amazon Fire Phone bombed. Now they quit the silly emulation game and go full Android with Google.
  3. Microsoft has an app gap problem of their own and they created four bridges for developers to port apps from the web, from iOS, from Win32 and from Android. Packaging web apps as Windows 10 apps is the easy one. The iOS bridge lets developers create (Intel) Windows 10 apps from within Objective-C. Both are out already. The Win32 bridge is delayed until next year. And the Android bridge never was a bridge. It was another emulation layer built with AOSP. And evidence is mounting that Microsoft is learning from the mistakes of others. Microsoft's Android player seems to be put in the fridge. It was poised to run unmodified Android apps on Windows 10 Mobile, and Windows 10 Mobile only. Even if they could make it work, it would just lead to the same result that IBM and BlackBerry got: hardly any native apps.

If you can't get developers to write to your platform, you are toast. Emulating somebody else's platform will not do you any good.

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro :: Erste Eindrücke

by Volker Weber

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Während Apple dieser Tage ein 13" großes iPad Pro auf den Markt bringt, dampft Lenovo das Spitzenmodell der Yoga-Reihe wieder auf 10" ein. Das Tablet 2 Pro vom letzten Jahr war noch so groß wie das neue iPad Pro. An dieser Stelle muss man kurz innehalten. Apple meint mit Pro, das neue Gerät sei für professionelle Arbeit gedacht. Sie liefern eine Tastaturhülle und einen Stift, und man sollte das als Verbeugung vor Microsoft verstehen, die mit dem Surface 3 Pro auf einmal Erfolg hatten.

Nicht so das Yoga 3 Pro. Das positioniert Lenovo als das ultimative Video-Tablet. Und liefert darum eine Netflix App vorinstalliert mit. Keine Sorge, man kann sie mit einem Schnick auch wieder deinstallieren. Aber die App zeigt, warum man dieses Yoga kaufen soll.

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Wie sein Vorgänger hat das Yoga 3 Pro einen Videoprojektor. Statt 35 Lumen liefert er nun 50. Und das ist weit von dem entfernt, was man von ausgewachsenen Beamern kennt. Und doch ist er überraschend nützlich. Das hat vor allem damit zu tun, dass man ihn nun leichter ausrichten kann. Der Vorgänger beamte noch zur Seite raus und das ging eigentlich nur dann gut, wenn das Gerät auf dem Tisch stand. Nun aber schickt ein Prisma das Bild aus dem Kickstand raus und ist damit viel leichter anpassbar. Dreht man den Kickstand um 180 Grad raus, dann projiziert das neue Yoga das Bild an die Zimmerdecke, während das Tablet flach liegt. Vorteil: Schaut man abends noch ein Video, dann fällt einem das Tablet nicht ins Gesicht, wenn man einnickt. Mit seinen vier Frontlautsprechern und Dolby Athmos klingt das Yoga richtig gut, vor allem überraschend "breit". Überhaupt kein Vergleich etwa mit einem iPad Air und seinem kleinen Leisesprecher.

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Neben der Kopfhörerbuchse, wo früher der Beamer saß, liegt jetzt der Einschalter. Statt eines Schiebers zum Scharfstellen, geht das heute per Software. Auch das ruft man hier auf. Auf der anderen Seite gibt es den MicroUSB-Port zum Aufladen und einen Lautstärkeregler. Was mir fehlt, ist ein HDMI-Ausgang, den es beim Tablet 2 in der Windows-Version gab.

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Wie man sehen kann, ist das Yoga keineswegs dünn. Aber das macht gar nichts, weil es ausgesprochen gut in der Hand liegt. Der richtig dicke Akku mit mehr als 10.000 mAh liegt in der Rolle. Das Gewicht ist also da, wo man hingreift, und nicht am langen Hebel.

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Sehr schön ist auch das Material, auch wenn ich manchmal über Lederoptik meckere. Lenovo versucht nicht durch nachgemachte Nähte echtes Leder vorzutäuschen. Das Yoga fühlt sich einfach prächtig an. Solide, kompakt und griffig. Auch das dunklere Grau gefällt mir sehr gut. Einziger Rückschritt: das dicke Lenovo-Logo auf der Frontseite.

Ich könnte jetzt noch ein bisschen über Android meckern, aber das sind eher Nickeligkeiten. Bluetooth-Tastatur zum Beispiel: nur im Hochformat mit der Rolle links stimmen die Cursortasten. Dreht man das Gerät um und stellt es mit dem Kickstand im Querformat auf, dann drehen sich die Cursortasten mit. Aus links wird hoch, aus hoch wird rechts, usf. Unbenutzbar. Aber das kann Lenovo natürlich noch fixen.

Sehr zu loben ist, dass Lenovo den Umfang der Crapware signifikant reduziert. Das war schon beim Tablet 2 Update zu spüren. Man kann jetzt den Lenovo Launcher nutzen und eine Menge der Zugaben runterwerfen. Überhaupt kein Vergleich etwa mit Samsung.

Aktuell kommt das Tab 3 Pro mit Android 5.1, und das ist schon nicht mehr die brandaktuelle Version. In der Vergangenheit war Lenovo ziemlich langsam mit Updates. Das gerade ein Jahre alte Tablet 2 Pro hat erst vor wenigen Tagen 5.0 bekommen und es sind keine weiteren Updates in Aussicht. Interessant beim neuen Tab 3: Android weist das aktuelle Patchlevel als 1. November auf. Offensichtlich soll es regelmäßige Sicherheitsupdates geben. Und das reicht mir.

Und jetzt muss ich erst mal weiterspielen. Das war nicht der letzte Bericht zu diesem sehr interessanten Gerät. Was ich mich dabei frage: wer gibt knapp 500 € oder knapp 600 Euro (mit LTE) für ein zugegebenermaßen sehr nettes Android-Tablet aus?

Equinux Tankstation Mega Toploader :: USB-Lader in der Tischplatte

by Volker Weber

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Ab und an schickt Equinux ein nützliches Gadget zum Review. Manche sieht man kommen, bei manchen ist es eine Überraschung. So wie diese Tankstation, die sich in der Tischplatte versenken lässt. Das geht bei mir nicht, weil das bei mir nur dort passen würde, wo Glas oder Stein liegt. Aber normale Büroschreibtische haben häufig Löcher für die Kabeldurchführung und da passt diese Tankstation einfach rein. Üblich ist eine Bohrung von 60 mm, damit da auch noch Schukostecker durchpassen, wenn schon ein Monitorkabel drin liegt. Equinux liefert aber neben 60 mm auch noch einen Ring mit 50 mm. Ist das Loch erst mal da, steckt man den passenden Ring rein, dann die Tankstation hinterher, schließt unten das mitgelieferte Stromkabel an und schon hat man vier USB-Ladepositionen mit jeweils bis zu 2.4 A Leistung. Begrenzt ist das ganze auf 6 A, aber das dürfte für die meisten Leute ausreichen, um um den ganzen Zoo gleichzeitig zu laden.

Wenn man das in eine Kommode einbaut, zum Beispiel an der Garderobe, sollte man aufpassen, dass im Möbel genug Platz ist. Zehn Zentimeter für die Tankstation und dann noch für das Kabel, was unten raus kommt. Man muss das Biest auch nicht unbedingt einbauen. Auch wenn es auf dem Tisch liegt, rollt es nicht weg, weil eine Seite abgeschrägt ist. Aus Reisen habe ich zu diesem Zweck immer das alte Modell dabei.

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Jan. 21, 2015, was an interesting day

by Volker Weber

Brad Smith, chief legal officer at Microsoft, posts an interesting article about what is going on in this connected world. It shows, that there are no easy answers. Read the whole piece and think about it.

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The evolution of the Lenovo Yoga Tablet

by Volker Weber

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The Yoga Tab line of Android tablets took a turn this year. Lenovo skipped the nonsense of having Asthon Kutcher posing as an engineer. And in some respect the Tab 3 generation did not improve over the Tab 2 generation. Screen resolution for isntance went from 1920x1280 down to 1280x800, both at 10 and 8 inches. But they added interesting new ideas, like a camera that swivels between front and back.

Why would you make a product with lower screen resolution? Simple answer: you have to bring the price down. And you save money where most people don't care. If I look at my first generation 8" Tab, they made a clever choice. I never felt it needed more than those 1280x800. Not for what I use it.

That's the Tab 2 vs the Tab 3. But there is a "Pro" model in both lines. The Pro moniker is somewhat silly. You don't use this device for professional work. "Pro" means "the really good one". For the Tab 2 that meant a giant 13 inch screen and a projector. Plus, a pretty good sound for a tablet. Stereo speakers and a "subwoofer", which in itself is also a misnomer. But this thing was certainly good enough to watch movies on it. And a few times I used the projector to blast a giant image on the wall or the ceiling.

And now there is a new Yoga Tab 3 Pro. First surprise: it went from 13" down to 10". As it turned out, most people don't want a 13" tablet, even if it never leaves the house. It's very unwieldy. I can rest this nicely on my lap, but even on a table, it can get in the way. So, for the third generation, Lenovo kept the resolution, but they made it smaller. Acutally the resolution went up from 2560x1440 to 2560x1600. And I like that. And they moved the projector from the side to the kickstand. It's now much easier to set up. And the projector got brighter and better. And there is a lot more that improved over the previous generation.

I will be back with more about the Yoga Tab 3 Pro soon.

Microsoft removes a showstopper from Windows 10

by Volker Weber

Also in today’s update, we’re delivering on our promise to enable our enterprise customers to turn off all telemetry data if they choose. We strongly recommend against this, as this data helps us deliver a secure, reliable, and more delightful personalized experience. We’ll continue to work with third-party experts and incorporate your feedback on this important topic.

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First Major Update for Windows 10 Available Today

by Volker Weber

... most importantly, with this free update we have reached the point in the platform’s maturity where we can confidently recommend Windows 10 deployment to whole organizations.

Experience improvements in this update include:

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Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro finally on Lollipop

by Volker Weber

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Last night, the mighty 13" Yoga Tablet 2 Pro finally updated to Lollipop. It's now running 5.0.1, two levels down from the most recent Android version. But it's a good upgrade. Lenovo is going in the right direction. Less customization, fewer bloatware additions. I finally dropped the Google Now launcher and went to the Lenovo launcher, which is very close to Google's implementation but optimized for the huge screen.

It was a tight race between last year's Tablet 2 and this year's Tablet 3, which Lenovo is currently introducing into the market, with Android 5.1. I will tell you more about that machine in a few days.

What's next for BlackBerry handsets?

by Volker Weber

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Photo: crackberry.com

Now that the Priv is shipping, what's next for BlackBerry handsets? I believe the company is working on two things:

  1. Move to Marshmallow. CEO John Chen has already said, they are not where they want to be and they will quickly follow up in the Spring to get Android to the security level they want to have. To me that reads they need the more granular controls in Marshmallow.
  2. BlackBerry needs more than one device. The Priv is the equivalent to the Passport. Priced at the high end, bold and innovative design. Now they need a Classic equivalent, and that could look like the rendering that was leaked to CrackBerry. And then finally, they need a cheap one, equivalent to the Leap.

BlackBerry cannot compete on price with the LGs of this world. Chen already said that. They will compete on security and support. They will not spread themselves thin with too many handsets. And that means they can support the few ones with a stream of updates.

One message to the BB10 huggers. This platform isn't going anywhere. It's not going away. And it's not going on new hardware. Or so says my crystal ball.

Urbanears Sumpan

by Volker Weber

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Urbanears has some really refreshing headset designs. And they just came out with a new inexpensive one. Sumpan has signature features like the textile cables that don't tangle or the cable loop that keeps everything together. You can hook both earbuds together behind your neck when you take them out.

My only issue with Sumpan is that they are uncomfortable in my ears. I can tolerate them for an hour or two, but I'd rather spend 10 € extra and get the Kransen headset, my first ever Urbanears. My favorite ones are Plattan ADV and Plattan ADV Wireless.

Telekom betreibt die Microsoft Cloud in Deutschland

by Volker Weber

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Das hat lange gedauert. Aber jetzt passiert es: T-Systems betreibt ab der zweiten Jahreshälfte 2016 die Microsoft Cloud mit Azure, Office 365 und Dynamics CRM Online in Deutschland mit Rechenzentren in Frankfurt und Magdeburg. Telekom ist der Datentreuhänder. Damit gilt deutsches Recht auf deutschem Boden.

Meine Meinung: das ist der Durchbruch, den Cloud Services in Deutschland brauchen.

PS: Satya Nadella sieht gut aus im Anzug. Muss er auch nur hier zeigen. ;-)

Sonos Trueplay Tuning ships today

by Volker Weber

Today marks the release of Sonos 6.0. And your speakers will sound better than ever. Works with PLAY:1, PLAY:3, PLAY:5, old or new, single or stereo pairs, with or without SUB. Does not (yet) work with PLAYBAR, but will at some time in the future. Unlikely to ever work with CONNECT or CONNECT:AMP.

You need an iThing with iOS 7 or better. If you don't have one, borrow one. And then start fooling around. Fun test: put a box over a PLAY:1 and then tune it.

I have one feedback, where the Sonos speaker sounded tinny after tuning. That is an easy to spot problem. Sonos thinks it sounded muffled before and turned up highs. This happens if the microphone on your iPhone is muffled. Make sure you remove the case that holds your iThing. And make sure the microphone itself isn't clogged. If the results are still unsatisfactory, try a different iThing.

Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard

by Volker Weber

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In red, my current favorite traveling keyboard: the Logitech Keys-To-Go. On top, in black, my new favorite. There is a simple reason. The Microsoft keyboard folds in half and keeps close with magnets. It also switches on and off as you unfold or fold it. You don't need to switch it off like the Logitech one, where the only design weakness is the fiddly switch.

But wait, there is more: the Microsoft keyboard connects to two devices. Like your iPhone and your iPad. Top row, left, there are two buttons. Hold one for three seconds and it goes into pairining mode. Press it once and it reconnects to a previusly paired device. Top row, far right is a key that switches the programming: Windows, Android, iPhone/iPad. That's it: one keyboard, two paired devices, three configurations.

The material is similar to the Keys-To-Go, it's also spill-proof, but it has proper keys with decent travel. The Keys-To-Go is much better than it looks. It also has physical key travel underneath it's red coat. Both are really nice, but I suspect the Microsoft one is even nicer.

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A phone that could replace my iPhone

by Volker Weber

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I like the new BlackBerry Priv. More than I like any other Android phone. The Galaxy almost was able to replace my iPhone. But then it didn't, because activity tracking did not work well. And because I had difficulties while typing. The cursor jumped around because I touched the screen when I did not want to.

To me, the Priv is a grown-up Galaxy. Same gorgeous screen, no bloatware, BlackBerry keyboard. And the promise to make Android more secure.

Next to it you see the reason why the Priv will fail to replace my iPhone.

Six Photographers :: One Man :: Six Perspectives

by Volker Weber

It's not the camera. It's not even the person in front of the camera. The person behind the camera tells the story. Photography is nothing but painting with light.

[Thanks, Alex]

Kondensstreifen

by Volker Weber

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Ich habe immer einen großen Spaß, wenn jemand seinem Dogma unterliegt, seien es selbst induzierte Essstörungen oder alternative Heilungsmethoden. Großartig deshalb, was der Bodo Ramelow da macht. Unbedingt die Kommentare hier lesen. Das Erschreckende ist, dass die alle wählen dürfen.

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It might take a while until you have a new PLAY:5

by Volker Weber

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I am going out on a limb here, since I have zero background on this. But from my vantage point I see a serious shortage of PLAY:5 speakers.

We have seen shortages before with all of the new kits, ever since the SUB. That was in short supply, so was PLAYBAR. The channel never got enough of them, for months. Not everyone understood the value of the SUB or the PLAYBAR for a while. But the PLAY:5 is different.

When the PLAY:1 Pure edition was announced, I didn't think it would sell out quickly, as much as I like it. And I was right. And I have a feeling that you won't have a PLAY:5 under the Xmas tree, if you have not already ordered one.

Or so says my crystal ball.

Upgrades or not

by Volker Weber

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This is a week of upgrades or updates. Sonos is going to release 6.0 which will bring you TruePlay Tuning. That is a great upgrade, since many of your speakers will sound way better. You can test this easily. Put a speaker in a cardboard box and then tune it. It's going to sound as if you had taken it out of the box. But it's not only an upgrade. Sonos is going to drop support for Audible. I don't know the technical details, but it appears, Audible and Sonos have moved on. You can hold on to the old version for a while, but eventually you will have to move on as well.

There is also going to be an upgrade to the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro (1380L) this week, or so I hear. Apparently the upgrade to Android 5.0 has been rolled out to some 1380F already, that's the model without 3G. This particular device is now one year old. It has received numerous fixes and upgrades, but never to a new Android version. Android 5.0 is now also one year old, give or take a few months. It has been superseded by 5.1 and now 6.0.

This bothers me a bit. I mean, the Yoga is still working well, it's stable, it does what it is supposed to to. And there are quite a lot of people out there, who do not care. At all. They never upgrade, they are actually very happy if nothing changes at all. I never really thought about that. Maybe we are all too preoccupied with the latest and greatest.

I think it bothers me because I see Lenovo as a name brand and not some Chinese manufacturer that builds cheap Android slates and then forgets about them. I expect them to stand by their products and keep on improving them. Maybe not like Sonos, who has been upgrading their products for a decade. But at least for more than a year, and in a timely fashion. As you can see in the table above, the original Tablet 10 and Tablet 8 were upgraded once from Jelly Bean to Kitkat. The Tablet 2 generation were upgraded once from Kitkat to Lollipop, or are going to be upgraded.

When the third generation comes in this week, I expect the same. Maybe an upgrade to Marshmallow, sometimes next year. But beyond that? I am not holding my breath.

PRIV by BlackBerry and Picture Password

by Volker Weber

BlackBerry has actually figured out a way to make a secure, non-biometric password that you don't have to worry about someone stealing or watching you input, and it's called Picture Password.

It does all that. However, according to DTEK it is not the safest setting.

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Ars Technica loves the Sonos PLAY:5

by Volker Weber

Sonos, where have you been all my life? I'm really late to the Sonos wireless speaker party, but after a spending a week with the new Play:5, I'm about ready to empty my wallet directly into Sonos' bank account to kit my entire flat with these things—it's that good. Not only is the Play:5 the best sounding all-in-one speaker I've ever heard (yes, even better than the legendary Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin), it's one of the best sounding audio systems I've heard full stop.

It is a good review because it explains a lot of things that I take for granted and never talk about anymore.

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ISS Commander Sunita Williams gives you a tour

by Volker Weber

It's a fun 25 minutes to watch this tour. And what a great woman! Bonus video: Commander Chris Hadfield:

Angefasst: BlackBerry Priv mit Android im Hands-On

by Volker Weber

Ich habe mit einem neuen Handy bespielt und hier etwas aufgeschrieben. Frau Brandlinger kommt auch vor!

Hier lesen >

Out of Darmstadt

by Volker Weber


Location: Neutscher Höhe


Location: Schloss Lichtenberg


Location: Burg Frankenstein

Nyne Bass :: First Impressions

by Volker Weber

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When I went to the Plantronics event at IFA two months ago, there was another customer of Plantronics' agency present. Nyne, a company I never heard of. They are based in Oxnard, Ca, and the CEO had come over to introduce its products at IFA. And boy, they sure were different.

The company makes a line of Bluetooth speakers in all sizes and shapes, but there is a theme to most of them:

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I was in no hurry to test any of them so I asked the agency to send me the biggest and badest, once that became available. Since the Nyne Rock isn't yet on the market, they sent me the Bass, top of the C-Series, which is comprised of three more models: Cruiser fits your bike, TT your suitcase, and Mini, which is ... mini.

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Nyne Bass is a Bluetooth speaker with NFC pairing. It has two high/midrange drivers and a woofer, in bass reflex configuration. How does it sound? That depends very much on where you put it. When you put it on the ground, a foot in front of the wall, it becomes a very powerful speaker, that delivers quite the punch. When you put it in the middle of the room and you don't sit in front of it, it sounds rather dull. However, if you place it carefully, it's quite enjoyable.

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The speaker has all controls you would expect from a Bluetooth controlled device: Play/Pase, Forward, Rewind, Volume Up/Down. You can also answer phone calls in conference mode, because it houses a microphone. The battery is specified to run the speaker for 8 to 10 hours. It has a round charge connector, which is a easy to plug in, but a little unfortunate given that most devices charge over MicroUSB these days. There is a USB plug, where you can recharge your phone from the massive internal battery. The speaker comes with a universal charger and a collection of plugs for world wide use. There is a line-in and a cable to fit this connection from a computer or phone. On the back there is a handle, so it's easy to carry around.

It's quite an impressive kit and very affordable. The body is a matte rubberized finish that looks like it can take a beating. Since it sits on it's two sides you won't be afraid to put it on the ground. What's missing? An IPX rating that would make you confident, it won't be easily damaged by a rain shower.

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Just to give you an idea. We are talking about 150 €, which is less than you need to buy the UE Roll 2. And there is a rule of thumb: there is no replacement for displacement. If it's bigger, it's going to make more noise. That is why I am still waiting for the Rock. Which also has an IPX-3 rating.

OneDrive is actually being used

by Volker Weber

It's quite simple to offer everyone free unlimited storage, when nobody is using it. That has been the case for OneDrive for quite some time. But things are changing. People are filling up that storage and Microsoft has to move.

We’re no longer planning to offer unlimited storage to Office 365 Home, Personal, or University subscribers. Starting now, those subscriptions will include 1 TB of OneDrive storage. 100 GB and 200 GB paid plans are going away as an option for new users and will be replaced with a 50 GB plan for $1.99 per month in early 2016. Free OneDrive storage will decrease from 15 GB to 5 GB for all users, current and new. The 15 GB camera roll storage bonus will also be discontinued. These changes will start rolling out in early 2016.

Those 15 + 15 GB of storage have always been enough for me. 5 GB would not be and I would have to pay up for the 50 GB plan. But I don't see myself filling up my 1 TB of Office 365 storage.

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How I got to 600 active cals

by Volker Weber

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In my last post I said that I stopped counting steps and I got a few questions about that. It does not mean I am no longer tracking. I need a continuing reminder that I am still on track. I just moved from steps to active calories, as tracked by the Apple Watch. Today was a day that I only walked and I end up with more than 10k steps as soon as I am above 600 calories.

On other days I may be using the bicycle more, which means I may not be getting as many steps, but I still make sure I make more than 600 cals. Very often I end up doing 900, sometimes 1000 and more.

The absolute number does not mean much. 600 works for me. You may need a much lower goal, depending on your weight, height, age. I also found I can trade calories for minutes of exercise. When I go faster, heart rate goes up, calories burned goes up, but minutes of exercise goes down. Because I am finished earlier.

I could set a higher goal, but then I would not make it every single day. And once I allow myself to lapse, I would be breaking the chain. Not allowing that to happen is working very well in my favor.

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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