February 2016

Budnitz Bicycles bei Stilrad in München

by Volker Weber

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Excited to announce that @budnitzbicycles are now available at Stilrad in Munich. This is one of our favorite city bike shops, anywhere. If you're nearby, drop by and support a top local business, and give one of our titanium bicycles a try.

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IBM Verse - One year later

by Volker Weber

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About a year ago (minus two weeks) I started playing with IBM Verse. I can't really use it because it is not nearly good enough to replace GMail or Outlook.com. Today I got an email from Bruce telling me my mail was bouncing because I had overstepped my quota. Trying to rectify the situation, I found that Verse is still missing even the most basic functions:

I am probably doing it wrong.

Why buy a weather station?

by Volker Weber

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When I said goodbye to Eve, somebody suggested to get a Netatmo. Turns out I don't have to buy one. I can just use any in my neighborhood. Or elsewhere on the planet.

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Gamification continues to work for me

by Volker Weber

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This is now the 9th full month I have had the Apple Watch. I continue to use exactly three features: notifications, telling the time (doh!) and activity tracking. And as you know I have tasked myself with never missing a single day. I have to get up once an hour for at least twelve hours (blue ring), I have to exercise 30 minutes a day (green ring) and I have to burn 600 move calories. When you do it for a week, you get badge for Perfect Week, which I received just yesterday for the 39th time. Just for reaching one of the goals, the Move goal, for a whole month on every single day, you get a month badge, starting at 6/2015 for me. Today I received the 2/2016 badge as indicated by the blue dot. That is also both easier (Move goal only) and harder (29 to 31 days without a miss).

I have also received the longest move streak badge, one row below to the left. This has happened every single day, now for the 277th time. If I'd miss tomorrow, I would need to exercise 278 days before receiving it again. And I don't want that to happen, do I? This is how the "xxx days since the last work accident" display works. You don't want to break that chain and set it back to one.

There are a lot more badges towards the top of the achievements tab, but the interesting ones to shoot for are the ones at the bottom. Tomorrow there is going to be a new 3/2016 badge that has not been earned. There will be 4/2016 and 5/2016 before I can earn the 365 days of reaching my move goal, making it a full year. And of course I want this to happen on the same day I get the move streak to 365, 88 days from now, on May 27. Four days later later I hope to get the 12th month badge with this notification:

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I hope to also make the 500 days badge in October on this Apple Watch. This is actually the hardest part when you try to not break the chain: your Watch has to work and your iPhone has to work. If either one fails, you won't have a perfect month and your longest move streak goes back to zero. I have replaced an iPhone twice and a Watch once, without breaking the chain. All three events were planned.

Don't kid yourself though. It's not really Apple Watch that keeps me in motion:

A photo posted by Volker Weber (@volkerweber) on

How To Ignore The Asshole In Your Mind

by Volker Weber

You can’t listen to the part of you that tells you how much you suck. You know it’s there, I know it’s there — but if you let it dictate your life, you’re going to lose. That voice is what leads to people shutting startups, abandoning blogs, leaving beautifully written novels unfinished and letting themselves down.

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Our third UP24 died today

by Volker Weber

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Last year we replaced an UP24 just before the warranty ended. It took three weeks to replace it. The new band held up for another nine month. Now it's time to ditch Jawbone forever.

WhatsApp discontinuing support for BlackBerry, Nokia, Android 2.2 and Windows Phone 7.1

by Volker Weber

by the end of 2016, we will be ending support for WhatsApp Messenger on the following mobile platforms:

- BlackBerry, including BlackBerry 10
- Nokia S40
- Nokia Symbian S60
- Android 2.1 and Android 2.2
- Windows Phone 7.1

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The greatest pilot that ever lived

by Volker Weber

Captain Eric Melrose "Winkle" Brown, CBE, DSC, AFC, Hon FRAeS, RN (21.1.1919 – 21.2.2016) was a British Royal Navy officer and test pilot who flew 487 different types of aircraft, more than anyone else in history. He was also the most-decorated pilot in the history of the Royal Navy.

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What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team

by Volker Weber

The paradox, of course, is that Google’s intense data collection and number crunching have led it to the same conclusions that good managers have always known. In the best teams, members listen to one another and show sensitivity to feelings and needs.

This is the tl;dr. I would still read the whole thing.

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Moto X Force

by Volker Weber

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Lenovo wird dieses Jahr in Deutschland aufdrehen. Motorola verschwindet als Marke, Moto bleibt. Dazu kommt Lenovos eigene Marke Vibe, unter der sie bereits seit Jahren Smartphones in Emerging Markets vertreiben. Im Prinzip sollen die Premium-Handys Moto heißen, die einfacheren Vibe. Aktuell gibt es aber bereits von Motorola Einstiegs- und Mittelklasse (Moto E und Moto G). Mal schauen.

Timm machte mich auf das Moto X Force aufmerksam. Das hat ein ziemlich unkaputtbares Display und ist mit 699 € auch ordentlich teuer. Ich habe keine persönliche Erfahrung damit, aber die technischen Daten lesen sich sehr vielversprechend. Und vor allem: Android ohne Bloatware.

Handys, die keine Hülle brauchen, sind mir schon mal sympathisch.

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Goodbye, Eve

by Volker Weber

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I hardly ever give up on anything. But Eve is an exception. It's just not working for me.

After I wrote this in early December, the agency wasn't happy. I explained my difficulties in private email. It turned out that you can set the unit for air pressure from mbar to hPa and you should be able to set the correct value in a future firmware update that did not materialize since. I also replaced the Apple TV with a 4th generation device since that is supposed to work better as a Homekit hub. Only, it doesn't. Eve never updated in the background, and when I ran it in the foreground it more often failed than succeeded. As the app suggested, I moved closer. Much closer. Still no dice.

I heard other guys have more luck with Eve. I guess it's not her. It's me. Time to move on.

Choosing a smartphone

by Volker Weber

With MWC coming to a close, we have seen lots of new smartphones, almost all of them running Android. Many different versions of Android actually. You can have an expensive one from Korea or an inexpensive one from China. I find it quite difficult to choose the right poison.

If it doesn't have to be Android, it's not difficult at all. ;-)

HP Elite x3

by Volker Weber

This is a surprise. HP is going to make a smartphone that can replace a PC. First of all it's a Windows 10 Phone. It supports Continuum like the Lumia does. It will have a dock to connect your screen, keyboard and mouse. So far, so good. But now it gets interesting:

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HP is going to make a Mobile Extender that looks like a notebook, but isn't. There is no data on this thing. It's just the screen, the keyboard and trackpad. And a battery to run it. Everything else is happening on the phone. You either connect over Wifi or USB 3 cable. Your phone can stay in your pocket, while you work on the Extender.

But wait, there is more. You will be able to run a full Windows desktop and X86 apps. How? They will run in the data center through virtualization. Can't wait to see this in the summer.

Schmutziges Geschäft

by Volker Weber

Es gibt zwei Arten von Lügen: Lügen über sich selbst und Lügen über die Konkurrenz. Lügen über sich selbst ist normal. Man nennt das Reklame. Lügen über die Konkurrenz aber ist schlechter Stil.

Wer Beispiele als PDF oder PPT hat, kann sie mir gerne schicken. Quelle wird wie immer geschützt.

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by Volker Weber

Samsung :: Back to the future

by Volker Weber

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Samsung announces two new flagship phones which are very similar to last year's flagship phones. And without a doubt they are even better. Splash-proof, dust-proof, hardly a camera hump. And they get better by cleaning up last year's mistakes. Fewer camera pixels and bringing back memory expansion via SD cards.

I have a wish for next year. Ship plain vanilla Android and make all of Samsung's bloatware optional. Especially TouchWiz.

Unwahrheiten über IBM

by Volker Weber

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Dieses Pressebriefing fände ich jetzt superspannend. Normalerweise wird ja bei Ankündigungen nicht erzählt, welche Teile gelogen sind. Leider bin ich da nicht mehr auf der CeBIT.

Kraft. Protz!

by Volker Weber

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Equinux hat ja so ein wenig den Hang zu Breitreifen. Wenn vier USB-Anschlüsse am Zigarettenanzünder nicht reichen, dann machen wir halt fünf. Und dann gibt es ja noch den Kraftprotz: 10.000 mAh um iPhone und iPad gleichzeitig wiederzubeleben. Und jetzt dieses dicke Ding. Zum Vergleich habe ich mal den Microsoft DC-21 daneben gelegt. Der wohnt in meiner Tasche und liefert immerhin 6.000 mAh. Schauen wir mal, was dieser neue Kraftprotz kann:

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Hat 'nur' 12.000 mAh. Also nur die doppelte Kapazität. Und wiegt statt 145 g mehr als ein Pfund. Aber halt, der kann nicht nur 2.4 A bei 5 V, so wie das ein iPad braucht. Nein, der liefert 200 A (zweihundert!) bei 14.8 V. Was macht man damit?

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Man kann damit ein Auto anwerfen, bei dem die Batterie leer ist. Diese direkte Starthilfe mit bis zu 200 A ist allerdings für den Akku äußerst ungesund. Equinux sagt, dass der Kraftprotz diesen Superstress nur 20 mal kann. Dann ist der Akku hin. Aber das muss man auch gar nicht machen. Man kann ihn einfach an die Autobatterie hängen und ihn 10 bis 15 Minuten lang Strom hineinpumpen lassen. Um ihn vor dem Start wieder abzuhängen. Den Start-Stress tut sich dann nur die Autobatterie an, die das viel besser abkann. So oder so läuft die Karre dann wieder.

Und das ist der Zweck dieses Gerätes. Handy aufladen kann es auch. Aber ein Auto flott machen, das monatelang rumstand, ohne erst die Batterie auszubauen und im Haus aufzuladen, dafür taugt es viel besser.

Eine LED-Taschenlampe ist auch drin. Damit man das rote Kabel im Dunkeln auch wirklich am Pluspol anklemmt. Nachts sind alle Katzen grau.

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I'd rather be that one guy

by Volker Weber

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Photo posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook

Samsung knows how to put on a show. Sometimes they are whacky. But yesterday they hit it out of the park. They put out thousands of VR headsets and while the crowd was watching a movie, Zuck went up to the stage without anybody noticing. When people took off their headsets, all hell broke loose when reporters tried to take a photo of him. Nobody paid attention to what he said.

The big news was that Facebook is going to work with Samsung on VR. Samsung seems to be sitting on lots of those VR headsets. When you pre-order a new Galaxy S7 (Edge) you get one 'for free'. This markets needs seeding. In 2014 I tried one of those Samsung headsets and I was very impressed. At first you see the pixels on screen but your brain quickly learns to embrace the experience.

Truth to be told, I'd rather be the only person not wearing a VR headset. I'd want to be the smiling and walking guy in the t-shirt (sans his wealth) and not the sitting and staring guy in the blue shirt with his Macbook and VR glasses on, a backpack with his belongings next him and a tag around his neck.

I'd take the dog for a walk. In the rain. Where the air bites my face. The best VR is reality itself.

Navi XXL

by Volker Weber

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Axel recently asked me whether the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro has a GPS. And indeed, it does have one. That is usually a feature that comes with the mobile network modem. Devices that have 3G/4G access come with GPS, those without don't. The Yoga Tab 3 Pro is a an exception to this rule. But is it any good? I had to try this out.

Yesterday we were driving to meet up with @micspehr and he lives out in the the countryside, where I needed some assistance to get there. Of course, the car has built-in navigation, but it was also an opportunity to try out the Yoga. Before we left, I opened Google Maps and downloaded the map I needed. This has become pretty straightforward. Tap on the hamburger button, select offline maps and add a new area. The download was quick and we were ready to go. I could also have used HERE, but that was not already installed.

GPS acquisition was quick although I had turned it off before. Without network connectivity (and thus A-GPS) the Yoga had to get the almanach from the GPS satellite but it had no difficulty doing that. It lead us to the destination on a quick route that was 6 km shorter than what the car suggested. I was even able to mount the device by sticking its kickstand into the glove compartment slot. Power wasn't needed since the Yoga can stay on for up to 18 hours.

So, it indeed does work. However, in offline mode you have no information about current events. You don't know what is going on ahead of you, you cannot avoid traffic. It's like a blast from the past when we had PNDs from TomTom that were not connected. Today, your smartphone can do better.

How many PRIV did BlackBerry sell?

by Volker Weber

When you activate a new BlackBerry PRIV it goes to the Google Play Store and updates lots of pre-installed apps. You can find all of them (and some more) by searching the Play Store. When you look for BlackBerry Launcher, BlackBerry Hub, or Notes and Tasks, you will find they have been installed on 50,000+ devices. When you look for BlackBerry Keyboard and BlackBerry Services, you will find 100,000+ downloads. This just changed from last week, when they still reported 50,000+.

Just by looking at this data, I assume that BlackBerry sold and activated almost 100,000 PRIV devices, at best. It is their only Android device. And since the keyboard is so excellent, there are some Android users who sideload the keyboard into their smartphones without actually having a device from BlackBerry. You need the keyboard app as well as the Services framework.

The store only counts per device, not per download. Updates don't count after you initially loaded the app once from the store. At least that is how I understand it.

Sidenote:

There is one interesting download that does not happen automatically: the MicrosoftexFAT for BlackBerry driver (10,000 to 50,000 downloads). It enables all PRIVs to read/write SDXC cards with files larger than 4 GB. It's not included, since you have to pay Microsoft a license fee. I wish other vendors would make this capability available, especially Lenovo.

Digitale Schutzgelderpressung

by Volker Weber

"Schöne Office-Dokumente hast Du da. Wäre doch schade, wenn da was passiert."

Microsoft lässt die Computer-Nutzer im Stich. Trotz aller Anstrengungen um eine verbesserte Sicherheit haben sie es nicht geschafft, ein System zu schaffen, mit dem man "einfach arbeiten" kann. Überall lauert Gefahr.

Der aktuelle Albtraum heißt Locky. Der Anwender erhält ein Office-Dokument, das beim Öffnen seinen Rechner infiziert. Die Schadsoftware denkt sich einen Schlüssel aus und verschlüsselt damit alle Dokumente, die es packen kann. Auf diesem Rechner, auf Netzwerklaufwerken. Es löscht ältere Versionen und infiziert mittelbar auch die Sicherheitskopien, die nach der Infektion angelegt werden. Wenn der Schaden angerichtet ist, kommt die eigentliche Erpressung. "Gib mir Geld und ich gebe Dir einen Nachschlüssel" lautet das Versprechen. Aktuell ein Bitcoin, oder ca. 390 Euro.

Der Mithelfer bei dieser ganzen Erpressung heißt Microsoft Office. Es erlaubt nämlich, dass nicht nur Daten, sondern auch Programme mit dem Dokument reisen. Die heißen "Makro" und sollen eigentlich bei der Verarbeitung des Dokumentes helfen. Das ist in der Standard-Einstellung erlaubt.

Den Anwender trifft keinerlei Schuld. Er macht alles richtig. Es ist völlig normal, dass er Office-Dokumente erhält und weiterverarbeitet. Wer das in Abrede stellt, ist vollkommen naiv. Natürlich gibt es super-primitive Workflows mit reinen Textdateien mit fester Zeilenlänge, Formatierungs-Anweisungen im Text, Anmerkungen mit Dollarzeichen. (Wo ich das wohl her habe?) Und es gibt Einsiedler, die überhaupt keine Anhänge annehmen oder mit exotischer Software arbeiten. Um die geht es mir nicht. Mir geht es um die Heerscharen von Normalos, die sich einen Laptop für 400 Euro kaufen und nutzen. Oder die von ihrer Firma an einen Arbeitsplatz gesetzt werden, an dem sie fortan ihre Mailflut abarbeiten.

Wir haben es in Jahrzehnten geschafft, alle Nutzer dazu zu erziehen, Dialoge mit Technikchinesisch wegzuklicken. Zertifikat abgelaufen? Was soll das sein? Wie geht es hier weiter? Wir haben die Nutzer mit hunderten komplizierter Passwörter zugeschüttet, die Rechner mit gefühlter Sicherheit vollgepumpt und doch mit Meldungen wie "Ihr System könnte gefährdet sein" allein gelassen.

Und selbst die angemahnte Medienkompetenz nützt nichts. Keine Anhänge von Fremden? Dass ich nicht lache. Wie einfach ist es, die zehn häufigsten Kommunikationspartner zu ermitteln? Und wer der Experten kann ein sicheres Dokument von einem unsicheren so zuverlässig unterscheiden, dass er gar niemals auf die falsche Schalftfläche klickt?

Wer möglichst viele Anwender erreichen will, baut für die dominante Plattform. Auf PCs ist das Windows, bei mobilen Geräten Android. Die sind nicht nur weit verbreitet, sondern auch ausreichend mit hahnebüchenen Bastelanweisungen versorgt.

Es gibt keine Sicherheit. Aber man kann sich schlau verhalten. Dort, wo man frei entscheiden kann. Vermeiden Sie größere Menschenansammlungen. Also Windows und Android. Diese Option haben nur wenige.

Spracherkennung: Jetzt wird in der Cloud diktiert

by Volker Weber

Unlängst kam ein in der IT-Technik tief verwurzelter Kollege unfreiwillig zum Einsatz der Spracherkennung, denn er hatte sich mehrere Finger gebrochen. Zwar wusste er, dass die Programme in den vergangenen Jahren deutlich leistungsfähiger geworden sind und weniger anfängliches Training erfordern. Aber als er dann gezwungenermaßen Dragon 5 für den Mac selbst testen musste, weil es mit der Hand nicht anders ging, fielen Staunen und Verblüffung zusammen: "Es ist für mich unfassbar, wie schnell ich damit Text verfassen kann. Das hätte ich schon viel früher ausprobieren müssen."

Wer könnte das wohl gewesen sein?

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Outlook.com is moving

by Volker Weber

The new Outlook.com is built on an Office 365-based infrastructure, so you get the benefits of an email service that millions of businesses, governments and schools around the world rely on every day.

With the new platform, everything changes. Tons of new features. I did like the old UI very much, but apparently I am not the norm. I often how hard it is to just say things as they are. Example:

Q. Can I get my Outlook.com account upgraded right away?

A. (Microsoft) We’re rolling out these upgrades to Outlook.com users as quickly as possible, with millions of accounts being upgraded each week. All Outlook.com users will get the upgrade soon, and there is no action you need to take in order to trigger the upgrade.

A. (vowe) No. Please stand in line.

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Pong

by Volker Weber

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Instant Klassiker

by Volker Weber

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Ich habe jetzt eine knappe Woche links die Apple Watch und rechts die Pebble getragen. Aber es geht nicht. Auf sich allein gestellt ist die Pebble Time ein tolles Produkt. Aber neben einer Apple Watch wirkt sie wie ein Comic. Die Haptik, das Material, das UI, überhaupt die ganzen Animationen. Sie hat ein bisschen was von Gameboy und 8-bit. Ich finde sie sehr charmant, aber ich kann sie nicht gleichzeitig an mir haben.

Ich habe in diesen Tagen rausgefunden, was ich wissen wollte: Pebble Health funktioniert. Die Uhr zeigt sehr zuverlässig an, wie lange man schläft und wieviel Schritte man am Tag läuft. Allerdings mache ich auch nichts, was sie verwirren könnte. Ich arbeite nicht körperlich und ich laufe alles, anstatt mit Auto oder Bus zu fahren. Was wirklich wunderbar ist: die Uhr geht tagelang ohne dass man sie laden müsste. Ich habe sie jedenfalls in dieser Woche nicht einmal am Strom gehabt.

Nun also wieder die Apple Watch. Die ist mir richtig ans Herz gewachsen. Oder ans Handgelenk. Das ist kein Spielzeug, dass man schnell wieder ablegt. Wenn es dereinst mal die Apple Watch 5S gibt, dann werde ich immer noch an diese zurückdenken. So wie an das erste iPhone.

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Apple Music and Sonos run an ad together

by Volker Weber

I honestly don't know what is going on there, but right now I would not be surprised to see Sonos integration at the operating system level in Apple products. Sonos already has a special place on Apple Music:

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Aging with grace

by Volker Weber

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This is a table I have owned for 30+ years. It has a hard surface and soft sides. And it has aged rather well. It does not look new but it is nicely worn in. If it were a wooden table, it would have aged even better.

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Everything you use every day will suffer from little accidents. This is my MacBook which fell off a table. But it's all aluminium. It develops dents and scratches, but the material takes these very well.

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That is the edge of a metal lens hood. It has protected the glass more than once. The black paint will come off the edges of cameras. All these little accidents tell the story of an item that has been used and abused. That wasn't just sitting pretty.

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Wear and tear shows that tools have been useful. This Microsoft Surface 3 has seen the world. And it has aged gracefully. Because it wasn't made out of cheap plastic.

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Don't cover up your scars and imperfections. Don't color your grey hair. Age with grace.

Wonderful Tumblr :: Photos that the Fuji X-Pro 1 can't take

by Volker Weber

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1/60 f/2.3 35mm

Everyone knows that the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 is a completely inappropriate camera for focusing in low light conditions, taking action shots like running kids, and for making a quality martini. Here are some examples to show how terrible this camera really is.

It is difficult to tell the difference between the best satire and reality.

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Shut up, Microsoft

by Volker Weber

Microsoft, thank you for screwing me with an unwanted Windows 10 install. I was just lucky to have that particular virtual machine on backup. Restored. Now I am applying this registry fix to all of the remaining machines.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows]
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Gwx]
"DisableGwx"=dword:00000001
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate]
"DisableOSUpgrade"=dword:00000001

And I am fetching my Windows 2000 Professional install CD. That does not even require your activation.

Lumia 650 - das Handy zum Anzug

by Volker Weber

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Drei Marktsegmente kann Microsoft mit den Lumias noch adressieren: 950/950XL sind für die Windows-Fans konzipiert. Da steckt alles drin, was geht. Das 550 ist einfach nur billig. Ein solides Handy für möglichst wenig Geld. Das dritte Segment ist für viele, auch für viele Experten weitgehend unsichtbar: die Business-Handys. Die dürfen maximal 200 € (netto) kosten, sollen solide, aber nicht zu dick auftreten und gut zu verwalten sein. Apple hat da nichts, Samsung eher billig anmutendes, BlackBerry spielt dort mit dem Leap auf.

Nun schickt Microsoft ein (vielleicht letztes) Lumia ins Rennen: das 650. Und es passt einfach perfekt. Schlank, Aluminium-Rahmen, dezentes Auftreten in scharz oder weiß. Microsoft kennt die Großkunden, die sowas kaufen. Und schenkt sich darum gleich die ganze Ankündigung.

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FromScratch rocks

by Volker Weber

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Open Source. Available for Linux, Mac, Windows. Download it here >

Almost broke the chain

by Volker Weber

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Last night I looked at my iPhone and checked the Activity app. It had been a rainy day and I only got to squeeze in one long walk before noon. And I almost missed my daily activity goal of 600 calories. I never came this close to the limit.

Half of February is in, 37 perfect weeks in a row, 262 days longest move streak. Don't break the chain!

Tracking with the Pebble Time

by Volker Weber

I was getting so many press releases about Pebble Health, which does not work with the original Pebble and Pebble Steel, that I asked for a Pebble Time to try it out. Currently wearing my Apple Watch on the left wrist and the Pebble Time on my right. Apple Watch is connected to the iPhone 6S Plus, Pebble is paired with the BlackBerry Priv. When I am getting email alerts, there is a lot of buzzing. :-)

I am wearing both to see how accurate Pebble Health is and so far it is working well while I walk. It is registering more steps than the Apple Watch but only at a small deviation. False positives at other activities are a bigger problem with the Pebble than the Apple Watch. Pebble Time is working like a fitness band. It does not rely on the phone's sensor. The original Pebble can also track steps but you need to use something like Misfit which runs as a watchface.

Speaking of watchfaces, Max Bäumle made a version of Futuru Steps for Pebble Health available. Download it here.

Stuff that works: Netgear Arlo Security Camera

by Volker Weber

A video posted by Volker Weber (@volkerweber) on

Almost five months ago I wrote my first impressions about the Netgear Arlo camera. Now I can say that this thing works a treat. It's battery-driven, so it does not need a cable. I am still on my first set of batteries. You just need to put in a single screw and attach the camera to the mount. There is an access point you connect to your network, and that will service multiple cameras. As soon as the camera triggers an alert, I get a push message. That is so fast, that the alert often comes before somebody even pushes the door bell. And it records a short video of what is going on. The footage above is from a friends house, in the middle of the night. Somebody is checking out whether there is something he could quickly grab and take away.

A video posted by Volker Weber (@volkerweber) on

The first video shows a burglar that is checking out if there is anything he could quickly grab. In the middle of the night, when it was pitch dark. Arlo uses infrared light at night. The second video shows a neighbor's dog who is checking on our dog.

I could probably make room for more of those cameras.

Are smartwatches for nerds only?

by Volker Weber

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Selling a smartwatch isn't easy. Most people who can afford one, may already have a better, read "more expensive" one on their wrist. They may be tempted to put a fitness band on the other wrist, but they won't leave their good watch at home. And then there are those, who never really wear a watch, because there are so many places around us which show the time. Including your own phone.

What are you seeing? How many people around you wear a smartwatch? How many of those would you consider not being a nerd? What kind of wearables do you see? Apple Watch, Android Gear, Pebble, Sportswatch?

Apple Music leaves me confused

by Volker Weber

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I have a few Apple products I love. iPhone, MacBook Pro, even software like Keynote. But Apple Music leaves me confused. Here is what is working for me: I can enter my credentials in Sonos and search the service for music, which will play throughout the house. It has sections with curated music for me, but they never hit my taste or mood. It has a section for new music, same here. It has Beats 1, a radio station where the DJs talk way too much.

But I can't even figure out how to keep track of music I love. When I want to create a playlist for stuff that is only on the service, it asks me to enable iCloud Music Library. That would be fine, if iCloud Music Library would not try to match my local library. Why is that a problem? It appears to enable you to make all of your music available on all your devices. But if you do that, it will pollute your tracks with DRM once you make the tracks available offline on your other devices. And you will not notice until you unsubscribe from Apple Music. Crippled tracks just look like your original ones.

And then there is iTunes Match, which is yet another subscription. It supposedly does the same thing as iCloud Music Library: make all your Music available on all your devices. However, this isn't transparent. Once you go offline, you may find yourself without any tracks whatsoever, since you needed to download them first.

It's all very confusing. Repeat after me: DRM is bad for the customer.

Billboard: What Does Music Do to Us When We Listen Together?

by Volker Weber

People spent more time in the bedroom awake, which turned out to correlate with 60 percent more sex when there was music out loud in the home. So that was the interesting thing to me. Because now you're talking about something that you can tie with our biology and genetics.

That is just one of the findings. Maybe I got you interested. :-)

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Revisiting the BlackBerry PRIV

by Volker Weber

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I love stuff that gets better over time. And PRIV is one of those devices that have continuously improved. There are monthly updates. The keyboard now supports three languages without switching, just like BlackBerry 10. The camera has improved; the pipeline is faster so it stores images quicker, and it also improved its low light performance. I am now using BlackBerry Hub instead of the native Gmail client or Outlook (which is way better on iOS than on Android). One feature that I am still waiting for is the quick overview of all unread messages.

I have now activated a second SIM for two months and I can now use it as my secondary device. Tomorrow I will add a Pebble Time as a smartwatch.

Mixcloud on Sonos

by Volker Weber

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Two months ago I started my (free) subscription of Apple Music. But I have not used it much. The reason isn't Spotify. Nor Tidal (cough, cough). The real reason is that 90 percent of what I am listening to is on Mixcloud. I have subscribed to only a few DJs and their music has been filling the house ever since. This is what is currently on.

Best of all, Mixcloud is completely free. Sign up and enter your credentials in Sonos.

Update: Since Frederic mentioned Soundcloud, that is also available.

Hickies

by Volker Weber

Q got me a box of Hickies for IBM Connect. Love them.

How to clean up your Twitter timeline

by Volker Weber

Twitter used to be easy. You followed people and you saw all their tweets. Then Twitter started to go down the same path as Facebook with "suggested content".

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You can fix some of the defects that Twitter introduced:

  1. To get rid of the "best tweets" at the top of your timeline, go to your account settings under Content and disable "Show best tweets first".
  2. For "While you were away" tweets, click the litte x (Dismiss) and tell Twitter you did not like that. They will ignore you and continue to bother you.
  3. To get rid of promoted tweets, block each and every spammer. Here is a list of spammers you can import into your blocked lists.
  4. You can get rid of Retweets by disabling Retweets from individual accounts you follow. Go to their profile, hit the gear icon and select "Turn off Retweets".
  5. To get rid of bots that retweet everything you tweet, block their accounts.
  6. When Twitter suggests other tweets or accounts, click the litte x (Dismiss) and tell Twitter you did not like that. They will ignore you and continue to bother you.

As the Twitter experience gets worse with every turn they make to appease their investors, you may eventually have to stop using Twitter.

Apple Music now officially supported on Sonos

by Volker Weber

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Sonos Updates its software to version 6.2. You no longer need to run a beta for Apple Music support. I have been using it for almost two months and while there were a few hiccups like skipping tracks, it has worked well so far. I just don't see any benefit in Apple Music over Spotify, safe for the odd artist who does not want to play on Spotify.

Upgrading from Samsung to Apple

by Volker Weber

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When we bought our Samsung TV in 2012, one of the reasons we chose it over competing brands was that it promised to be upgradable. Little did we know that Samsung would not upgrade the software. It would rather sends us a never ending stream of useless apps, that I tried to get rid of. But they would keep coming back.

Two years ago I tried an Evolution Kit, which is a piece of hardware that goes on the back of the TV, with desastrous results. Towards the end of 2014 I visited Samsung's innovation lab in London and learned that (a) yes, the software on the 2012 TV is considered horrible and that (b) the 2013 evolution kit was not usable with Sonos, and (c) that a 2014 evolution kit would be better. Last year I learned that there is no 2015 evolution kit, because Samsung had already abandoned the 2012 TVs. I asked Samsung for an old 2014 kit, but that would have only worked temporarily.

Apple to the rescue. I had already used the previous three generations of the Apple TV and I did not know what to expect of the new one. I was not prepared to be as blown away as I found myself after only a few days of using it. The biggest part of this experience is convenience. I never have to touch the 49-button Samsung remote. Without any manual setup, I can switch on and off both the Apple TV and the Samsung TV with the six button + trackpad Apple remote. Sonos Playbar adjusts the volume with the same remote.

Arte and ZDF have very usable apps, ARD is still missing. Youtube, Vimeo, TED, Dailymotion, Netflix, TapeTV, Watchever are there. I have not played with PLEX or VLC yet. When nothing is on, Apple TV can play beautiful fly-overs. So far I have seen New York, San Francisco and London.

Not everything is perfect. Amazon Prime is missing. And the new Apple TV no longer has a TOSlink out. With my Samsung TV unable/unwilling to passthrough Dolby Digital to TOSlink, there is no path for surround sound.

Ello | herrpunkt

by Volker Weber

Bisher keine Schmeißfliegen. Keine Social-Media-Marketing-Pfosten. Keine Pegida-AfD-Putin-Eierköpfe. Keine Shitstorms. Keine Distinktion durch Empörung. Kein Anbiedern an twitternde Promis. Und zu unwichtig für die Aufmerksamkeitsjunkies.

Ich habe erneut die Hoffnung, dass ello eine Größe bekommt, die für einen lebhafte Betrieb reicht, dass es aber nicht so bedeutend wird, dass die Schmeißfliegen auch hierher kommen.

More >

486.000 Mailboxen in neun Monaten: IBMs größtes Migrationsprojekt | c't Magazin

by Volker Weber

IBM hat hat in den vorigen drei Quartalen beinahe alle Mitarbeiter in einer gemeinsamen Domäne konsolidiert, alle Mailboxen in die Cloud umgezogen und auf ein neues Produkt umgestellt. c't sprach darüber mit dem verantwortlichen Manager.

More >

WhatsApp Web now supports Microsoft Edge

by Volker Weber

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This is one of the last limitations I felt when using the Surface 3. I had to type all messages on the iPhone. With WhatsApp Web I can use Surface just like the MacBook. It's also a capability I miss on the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3, where WhatsApp wants to use the Android app instead of letting me control the iPhone client.

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro has GPS

by Volker Weber

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Axel recently asked whether the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro has GPS. I does have, and there are three settings for location services, as pictured above. It supports GPS and GLONASS, the LTE version (which I have not seen yet) also includes A-GPS. Since Axel is mostly likely asking because he wants to use it on the high seas, I am including this ad:

Courier services

by Volker Weber

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I played courier for Norman, and he solved a problem I could not fix. Norman wanted books that reconnected him with Darmstadt, where he once lived. And my 34 year old honey bear had developed a crack in it's belly, where honey started leaking out. I bought the books directly at the publisher (with Norman's money) and took them to IBM Connect, Norman knew a place where to get an empty honey bear. Now we are both happy campers.

#RIPtwitter is trending

by Volker Weber

Twitter allegedly wants to introduce an algorithmic timeline as early as next week. That means tweets will no longer show up in reverse chronological order, but Twitter will decide what it deems important to you and place that at the top. We all know that suggested and sponsored tweets (paid advertisement) is also very important to you, err Twitter. You see where this is going? Not? Well, look at all the rubbish in a Facebook timeline.

The real problem is that the interests of Twitter users and investors are not aligned.

More >

Update: Jack says, it isn't going to happen next week:

Thundering silence on IBM Notes

by Volker Weber

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The latest release of IBM Notes is version 9, which shipped almost three years ago in March 2013. It has since received five fix packs, the current version is 9.0.1 FP5. There will soon be another fix pack enabling "Hawthorn" which is the server side enablement of Outlook 2013 as a client. Outlook 2010 and 2016 will be enabled in yet another fix pack. This is work done on Domino, the server.

Then there is a big effort to make Verse run on your Domino server as an upgrade. All dependencies on Apache Solr are being abstracted out to spare you from running this extensive infrastructure. Verse is soon receiving offline support, which is completely transparent. If Verse "on prem" does ship in second half of 2016 as currently planned, you will have a big upgrade to Domino and you could rightfully call it Domino Next, or Domino 10.

However, there are no immediate plans on what to do with Notes. I have asked, and IBM has admitted they have not figured it out yet. Three years after Notes 9 came out -- which would have been 8.5.4 -- there is no new version in sight. And there isn't even a plan.

Personally, I think that IBM made two huge mistakes. The first was Workplace Messaging, which never worked and nobody wanted. And then they added this heavy boat anchor (Eclipse/Expeditor) to Notes 8, in 2007. Workplace and its dual lane highway strategy confused the customer base, and Notes 8 created a dual lane within Notes itself.

I would not know how to fix this.

Moving on, the future for IBM Collaboration is adding cognitive into their offerings. Verse, Connections, "Toscana". Notes is not part of that equation.

Aus meiner Inbox

by Volker Weber

Heute habe ich ein interessantes Feedback zu einer SONOS-Neuinstallation bekommen, die ich gerne komplett wiedergebe.

Hi Volker,

Erstmal "willkommen zurück" im nassen Deutschland. Nach den ersten Tagen mit Sonos bin ich erstaunt, wieviel Musik aus den kleinen Geräten kommt. Jetzt lohnt sich auch das Abonnement von einem Streaming Dienst.

Die PLAY 1 in Stereo Konfiguration sind für meine Raumgrößen mehr als ausreichend, ich habe kaum mehr als 20% Lautstärke abgerufen.

Zur Playbar kann ich kaum genug positive Worte finden. Allerdings muss man ein wenig investieren (Gehirn), um das Gerät richtig zu betreiben.

1. Wandhalterung für die richtige Position
2. Der SUB ist ein must-have
3. PLAY 1 als Surround reichen völlig aus
4. Wenn man Blu-Ray Medien in 5.1 genießen will, braucht man den richtigen Zuspieler. Ich empfehle den Samsung BD-J7500 Player. Der wandelt zuverlässig jede Tonspur während der Wiedergabe in Dolby-Digital 5.1 um (Re-Encode).
5. Das TV Gerät muss ein Pass-Through von HDMI auf S/PDIF können.

Ich bin dann wohl auf Abhängigkeitsstufe 5 angekommen.

Viele Grüße
****

P.S.: Du hattest Recht, diese Empfehlung kostet Geld, was aber bestens angelegt ist.

Ich hoffe, das hilft bei einer Entscheidung.

Android Updates from BlackBerry and Lenovo

by Volker Weber

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Color me impressed, but BlackBerry Priv and Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro both update at the beginning of the month, every month. A while ago you needed a Nexus for this kind of service.

A few thoughts on IBM Connect, formerly known as Lotusphere

by Volker Weber

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Let's start with the big one. IBM Collaboration has a new General Manager. She will make an impact. Look at her history within IBM and you will find that she buys stuff. She does not wait for engineering teams trying to figure it out. I believe she will use some of IBM's core strengths and then augment with proven technology that is already succeeding. Inhi Cho Suh is well connected and respected in IBM. She is not taking this job without a plan and the funds to back it up. I do not know what this change means for Jeff. Make up your own thoughts.

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There was no press at the event, there was no press program, and there were zero announcements. Of course there were forward looking statements but they all carry a caveat emptor. Look at the bottom of the screen and you will see it in very small print. Everything said is subject to change.

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We have a new face for demos: Sarah Gibbons played a bitchy boss to Chris Crummey, IRL she is design lead on Project Toscana, the messaging solution that will have to play catch-up and then compete with Slack and whatever Facebook (Whatsapp, Messenger), Microsoft and Google come up with. Connections needs something like this if it does not want to fall behind, but I see great challenges in the white space. The demo was extremely well rehearsed and completely canned. IBM was showing a video instead of live code, much like they did last year with Connections Next. Project Toscana is still in development and not feature complete.

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Verse is finally maturing and will get many much needed features this year. And IBM will be making it available on premises as an upgrade to Domino. What is missing? Apache Solr. We will have to see whether Verse is more than a pretty face after this brain has been removed. On prem is not the only thing that wasn't delivered in Verse last year. Watson never showed up and it is scheduled again for this year. I hope you speak English. I am not expecting any other languages, initially.

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Speaking of Verse, my favorite presentation was Ed's rollout of Verse within IBM. The best thing about that was that he also admitted problems they were facing from the outset. Instead of putting the brakes on the project, Bob Picciano said "go faster". Congratulations on a project well done. This is a good time for Ed now.

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What used to be the Yellowverse is now the IBM Champions. IBM recognized two superstars with a Lifetime Achievement Award:

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Of course they would not call themselves superstars, but trust me, if you want to make an impact, you want to be like Gab or Theo. Gab isn't only extremely knowledgeable but also great fun. I cannot remember any dinner where I laughed so much as the one where we sat together at the same table. And Theo? Theo is a legend, Theo has style. And he is putting together the best event in this space, year after year. Engage will be held in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, on March 23 and 24. Engage has lots of sponsors, certainly more than IBM Connect, and you can expect to see at least 400 delegates. I would be very surprised if Inhi Cho Suh would not show up.

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At first I did not like the venue. When I arrived, it felt cold. Small windows that could not be opened, none of my friends seemed around. I missed my patio, I missed the warm Florida air breezing into the room. And I was probably a bit grumpy after a 10+ hours flight. But then it grew on me. First I scouted the place and then I found all the nice areas like the Promenade, an inviting open space where you could talk to people. The food was better, they actually had real cups instead of the plastic ones. There was plenty of space for all activities, the labs had windows.

IBM, here is my wish list for next year: come back to Orlando with this conference. Don't let it drown in Interconnect. And give us the numbers, straight. Everybody was second guessing you. For instance: you had 23x6x15 seats in the opening session. About a fifth of those weren't taken.

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I made some fun of IBM when I discovered they had cost cut the conference bag. However, I did not lug around my stuff with the Hilton laundry bag. In fact, I have not used a conference bag in years. But I do know some people collect and use them. You want the best quality available. Panagenda had the best giveaway, not for the first time: Sugru last year, Lapa this year. Very much related, Francie has a new name: Q. I don't want to be without her logistics. And finally, Nathan. If we ever had difficulties, these days are over.

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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