March 2016

This completes month #10 on Apple Watch Activity

by Volker Weber


June 2015 to March 2016. The longest Move streak (middle icon in last row) is at 308. That means 57 days, or 27th of May to complete the (365 days) year. Don't break the chain!

I have a bad feeling about this

by Volker Weber


Everybody is talking about conversations and bots. The industry has found out that people like to chat. Snapchat and WhatsApp are big, so is Slack. And old enterprise vendors like IBM and Microsoft want to get in on the action. And since they start to understand human language, they want to build or help others build bots.

Bots are pefectly normal in US businesses. They are still carbon-based though. Try this, when entering a car rental agency. "Hello, my name is Volker Weber, I have a reservation with #ABC123 and no, I do not want any extras or insurance." Now watch the bot.

Today, my first action in Windows 10 is to switch off Cortana. Tomorrow, there will be a lot more bots to shut down. When Marketing gets ahold of bots, I may eventually need to shut everything down and you can come visit if you want to chat.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga :: I hate the software

by Volker Weber


Such a lovely hardware. And a clusterfuck of software. First of all, you are expecting a professional machine. And once you open it, you find Lenosoft (I don't care who gets this wrong) pushing Candy Crush, Xbox Games and so on. I spent two hours uninstalling all the crapware. And then, with Windows Update, it keeps coming back. I don't want to "Get Office", when I have all the Office packages that I want installed. And no, if I uninstall the "Get Skype" package, I don't want it back. And I also don't need 3D builder. You may need it, Microsoft, but I don't. And McAfee? Recommended? You are kidding, right?

Time to check out the Lenovo packages. No, I don't want to create a Lenovo ID and I am also not interested in providing you feedback to enhance your crapware. But I do want to install the critical driver and firmware updates. Unfortunately that does not work, even if I do a couple of reboots in between.


Microsoft is currently proud of 270 million devices they shoved Windows 10 on. Faster than ever. Well, in the past you had to buy or steal it. Now you have to fight hand over fist to not get pressed into upgrading. Press [ OK ] not to continue.

Yes, I can eventually work this out. But why do I have to? And why do I have to constantly fight for those activations? Just today I wanted to edit a Word document. And Word wanted to see whether it is still licensed. Lucky me. I was online.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga :: I love this hardware

by Volker Weber


Believe it or not, but having a pen makes a huge difference when using a touch enabled Windows 10 device. Especially if that pen is well supported by software. I can take notes in OneNote and draw on web sites with Edge. And of course I can rest my hand on the screen without accidentally drawing with my hand.


Even better, if this pen is stored within the machine. And recharged while it is stored. This Thinkpad pen strikes the right balance. It is thin enough to fit inside the Thinkpad base, and at the same time it is substantial enough so that one can easily write and draw with it.


While I have been using Mac notebooks for more than ten years now, I feel right at home with a ThinkPad keyboard. However, I have given up on the TrackPoint. I'd rather have an even larger trackpad while removing the buttons you need for the TrackPoint. But the keyboard? Man, I love it. When you fold the machine over into a tablet configuration, the base around the keys gets pushed upwards so that it all becomes one surface.


And then, there is an excellent fingerprint reader for Windows Hello. No funny iris scan, 3D camera, just a very fast fingerprint reader. This can be awkward, when you have the machine in one of the non-laptop configurations, where the reader ends up in a strange place. What I find myself doing is unlock Windows when opening it and then moving on to fold it for a tablet experience.

This machine is almost perfect. I'd probably like a smaller screen, 12" instead of 14", no TrackPoint (and buttons), a smaller bezel. But even so, this ThinkPad X1 Yoga wins the editor-refuses-to-give-it-back award, hands down. Well, sort of. I promised to give it back. And I will not keep it as long as I am allowed to. This will become harder to give back the longer I keep it.

The big elephant in the AI room

by Volker Weber

I am watching all these demos from Google, Microsoft and IBM - yes, IBM - and everything looks oh so impressive. And then it fails as soon as you are not using a single language. Microsoft Cortana for instance fails as soon as you are using an English version Windows with a German locale. Game over. Cortana and Siri can only understand one language. How easy would it be to discover when I switch from German to English and back? It's just that nobody thought of that. Cognitive? Bah, humbug.

Not restarting my Facebook presence

by Volker Weber


Yesterday I updated my profile pages on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and XING with information from my Ello profile. I found lots of friend requests from people I don't know, or people too afraid to use their real identity. You play with whatever you like to play with. I am keeping three alive, for now:

  1. Twitter is my source of news. I am keeping only a few dozen tweets around. All spammers get blocked. As soon as Twitter forces their own "timeline" on me, I am gone.
  2. Ello is my safe place. No b/s, and a week from now, I will have more followers there than on Twitter.
  3. I am still posting to Instagram. But those days are numbered. It will get as polluted as Facebook. After all, it is a Facebook franchise. Case in point: I can no longer attach places to photos without creating them on Facebook, "algorithmic timeline" with "sponsored posts" and "best photos" will follow.

All of those are linked from the sidebar to your right.

Sonos chief product officer is leaving the company

by Volker Weber

Marc Whitten, the chief product officer of Sonos, will be leaving the company, a spokesperson told Tech Insider.

Marc was one of the people I talked to at Sonos, and he was relatively new. Marc came in from Microsoft where he worked on Xbox. There was one thing I expected him to deliver, and he didn't. I wanted a platform, a way to interact with Sonos speakers without using their controllers. That should have happened a long time ago and it did not.

This has become more important now that Sonos faces a somewhat unexpected competition from Amazon.

More >

Thank you

by Volker Weber

Frohe Ostern

A photo posted by Volker Weber (@volkerweber) on


I had to smile when I read this tweet. Reading this site may look expensive, but it isn't. I look at stuff so you don't have to. You save a ton of money by not buying the stuff that doesn't work. Thank you for trusting me. And thank you for writing comments. While I do not agree with everything said, I like the fact that they are always thoughtful and respectful.

Please keep coming back.

I want an Apple Watch controller for Sonos

by Volker Weber

ZZ13A83389 ZZ13A83389

I know that Sonos is notoriously slow developing software. But half a year after you were able to build native watch apps, it's now time to come up with a simple controller glance. Nothing fancy. Start/stop, next previous, volume up/down. I don't need to regroup rooms or edit the playlist.

Marshall Major II Bluetooth

by Volker Weber


This is the perfect headset for people who have been listening to loud music for all of their lives. Which has destroyed most of their hearing. They will hear that these headphones can play really loud music, and they won't notice that they don't sound very good.


This is a marketing play. Marshall is a famous brand. You have been seeing their stacks of amps and speakers behind famous musicians. You can go back as far as Jimi Hendrix and his guitar amp. And Marshall is now taking their expertise and making headphones, Bluetooth speakers and smartphones? You wish. What Marshall is doing is licensing out their brand. This headset isn't made by Marshall, or even designed by Marshall. Take off one of the cushions:


Zound Industries International AB is a Swedish company based out of Stockholm, and they make fashionable electronics, mostly under the Urbanears and Coloud brands. Coloud is cheap, and Urbanears "affordable". Molami makes premium headsets. Zound Industries has some really clever designs and I like them a lot.


This is the unique feature on the Major II Bluetooth headset. A little brass nob behind your left ear controls the device like a joystick. Push it for pause/play or make/break calls. Up for volume up, down for volume down, right for next track, left for previous track. This works really well and is a joy to use.

When you take off the Marshall disguise, you will find a Plattan ADV or more precisely a Plattan ADV Cordless. You can use the 3.5 mm plug on the right earpiece to either connect the headset to your player (Bluetooth off) or connect a second headset (Bluetooth on) to share your music. Same as on the Plattan. Instead of the brass knob, Plattan uses an invisible touchpad on one of the cans. Same gestures, same features.


So all of the clever bits are the same. The Marshall headsets however has a much larger battery which gives you more than double the endurance. It's rated for 30 instead of 14 hours and I have not yet depleted it once. Unfortunately it is less comfortable and seriously more expensive. The Plattan headsets are listed at 59 € (wired) and 99 € (wireless), while the Major II Bluetooth goes for 149 €. For that kind of money you can buy better.

And while they are very loud, you are only getting the badges from this:

Lemmy Kilmister (1945-2015) of Motörhead at Wacken Open Air 2013 (Photo Jonas Rogowski)

More >

Google is making the Nik Collection available to everyone, for free

by Volker Weber

Photo enthusiasts all over the world use the Nik Collection to get the best out of their images every day. As we continue to focus our long-term investments in building incredible photo editing tools for mobile, including Google Photos and Snapseed, we’ve decided to make the Nik Collection desktop suite available for free, so that now anyone can use it.

More >

Blackberry-Betriebssystem: Tod nach Auszehrung

by Volker Weber

@micspehr läutet das Totenglöckchen:

Während das Unternehmen zur rivalisierenden Android-Plattform wechselt, stirbt Blackberry 10 den Software-Tod. Exitus nach innerer Auszehrung, könnte man sagen. Die jetzigen Nutzer werden umso länger an ihrem Blackberry festhalten, je mehr es als Arbeitsmaschine eingesetzt wird. Aber das hilft alles nichts.

Ich bin ein großer Freund des BlackBerry Passport und ich liebe das BlackBerry 10. Aber die Software ist nie in die Hufe gekommen. Im Augenblick kommt nichts gegen Android und iOS an. Auch Windows Phone/Mobile riecht schon komisch.

More >

Wer hat Zahlen zu De-Mail?

by Volker Weber

Wie es wirklich um De-Mail bestellt ist, können nur konkrete Fälle zeigen, in denen es Vergleichszahlen gibt. Etwa beim eBAFÖG, wo Anträge auf Finanzhilfe in einigen Bundesländern zum Wintersemester 2016 hin online per De-Mail gestellt werden können. Nach einer Recherche des Deutschlandfunks wurden weniger als fünf Anträge von insgesamt 5500 bis 6000 Anträgen als De-Mail an das Studentenwerk Bodensee geschickt.

Rund eine Million Bundesbürger sollen mit Amazon- und Zalando-Gutscheinen dazu verleitet worden sein, sich eine De-Mail-Adresse zu "sichern". Mich würde mal das monatliche Nachrichtenaufkommen dieser Bürger interessieren. Meine Schätzung lautet "gar keine". Aber vielleicht hat ja jemand Zahlen.

More >

Pebble lays off 25% of its total staff

by Volker Weber

Pebble, the buzzy startup credited for being one of the first companies to launch a modern smartwatch, is laying off 40 employees this week, CEO Eric Migicovsky told Tech Insider in an interview. That's about 25% of its total staff.

Wearables are not living up to the hype. All the Pebble owners I know qualify as geeks. Only very few geeks I know own a Pebble. And most people with fitness bands seem to be giving up on them within the first year.

More >

300 days. Three hundred!

by Volker Weber

ZZ3157F613 ZZ5D4220D1

Almost two years ago I set a goal to do 3.5 million steps in half a year. That was Michael's full year. After reaching the 3.5 million steps, I set the full year goal to seven. And I expanded it to not only do 10k steps a day at a minimum but also at least 100 km a week. After completing a full year on this program, I had reached 6200 km in a single year.

Last May I switched on another regime: 600 calories Move per day, 30 mins exercise, 12 hours standing. What the Apple Watch ordered. Today is day number 300 on this program. 300 days without breaking this chain. The Actitity award presented for a 300 days Move streak is only one third of the story. I also never missed any of the other two goals.

300 days without failing once. Hah! 9½ Weeks to 365. ;-)

Plantronics BackBeat Sense

by Volker Weber


When I talk about Plantronics headsets, I usually mean a headset that has a great microphone and is perfect for dictation or voice calls. But more recently I have also looked at travel or music consumption. This is where Plantronics provides noise cancellation for listening. My first headset in this category was the BackBeat Pro. As you may recall it is a huge over-the-ear headset. The came my favorite ever, the Voyager Focus. It is an on-ear design, much nimbler, and it also has the signature Voyager microphone boom.


This BackBeat Sense is essentially a Voyager Focus without that microphone boom. Same construction, same controls, you can even take a phone call. I loses the boom, but it gains to features: you can connect it via 3.5mm cable and there is a button for OpenMic, which lets you hear a flight attendant or a co-worker without removing the headset.


This is a lightweight comfy headset you can wear all day long. Non-stop music for up to 18 hours, Bluetooth Class 1 for up to 100m, connected to two devices at the same time. It has automatic pause/play when it senses it is off or on your ears. You get whispered status alerts about battery status and connection. There is even a locate function via Plantronics Hub which sends a tone to your nearby headset. If you are further away, BackTrack will show you on a map, where you left the headset behind.


BackBeat Pro or BackBeat Sense? There isn't much price difference anymore. The size however is. And they are different designs: over-the ear and on-ear. I like both.

Muss man nicht haben

by Volker Weber


Das Apple "Smart Keyboard" für das iPad Pro gibt es nicht mit deutscher Tastenbelegung. Weder für das neue iPad Pro, noch für das immerhin schon sechs Monate alte 13". Steht ganz unten im Kleingedruckten, mittelgrau auf hellgrau, in ganz kleiner Schrift.


Blue Note Radio signing off

by Volker Weber


The limited edition PLAY:1 Blue Note came with an exclusive subscription to the Blue Note radio station which is now signing off a year later. Frankly, I have not used it much.

IBM #Connect2017 in San Francisco, February 19-22

by Volker Weber

This is a good move (sic). There isn't much to see in Orlando, besides packing your bathing suit. San Francisco on the other hand, is a wonderful place. And unlike Las Vegas, where the rest of the IBM conferences are, it's a great destination.

I have a good feeling about this.

Keep it simple with the Apple Watch

by Volker Weber


I know a couple of people who are still undecided about the Apple Watch. Do they want one, which one is right, how much money do they need to spend? What does it do for them? Let me tell you what I found out in those more than 42 weeks wearing one.

Let me start with the big elephant in the room: battery life. I never ever depleted the battery completely. And I charged the watch every single day. I connect it to the charger when I go to sleep, and I put it back on my arm the first time I wake up at night. I wake up at least once a night, and putting on the watch while half asleep has become second nature. Why do I put it back on? Because it can monitor me and it also serves as an alarm. The only annoying thing is that I have to bring the charge cable when traveling. I have multiple cables so the one at my bed stays put.

Does it annoy me that I have to charge it every night? About as much as the fact that I have to charge the iPhone every night. Read: not at all.

The big question for many people is: which one? And I have good news for you. You can buy the cheapest one, because it comes with an excellent band. I have used a couple of bands, from the cheapest to the most expensive and I always come back to the Sport Band. It's very comfortable and you hardly notice wearing a watch at all. Especially if you need to rest your wrist on a Macbook. It's soft all around and there is no latch scratching your precious notebook. Most people I know have the 42 mm watch, but many of them would be fine with the 38 mm one. The Apple Watch is surprisingly small, especially when compared with the Android gear watches.

Sport Watch or Stainless Steel? One is matte, the other shiny. Like the color of the band, it has to suit you. You won't be wearing what I am wearing. The difference between a $300 Sport and an $1150 Hermès is far smaller than between having an Apple Watch and not having one. Get the one you want. The one that chooses you.

A friend recently had to turn his watch in because the glass came loose. He felt naked. You know that I am addicted to the Activities app. But even without, this has become my primary screen for keeping on top of things. Whether it is a call coming in, an important email, a WhatsApp message. I can take it from there. Yes, I do answer calls from the watch, with the phone across the room. And with time, you start filtering the messages, so that only those which are important to you get through. Another friend bought his wife a watch for Xmas. She loves it. And he is finally able to get to her on her private phone. It does not matter whether it's in her purse or on silent. He now has a permanent connection.

The biggest inhibitor to an Apple Watch purchase is the expensive watch that's already on your arm. If that space isn't taken, get the watch.

BlackBerry cries foul

by Volker Weber

Recently, Facebook made the decision to discontinue support of their essential APIs for BlackBerry and WhatsApp announced they would end support for BlackBerry 10 and BBOS at the end of 2016.

We are extremely disappointed in their decision as we know so many users love these apps. We fought back to work with WhatsApp and Facebook to change their minds, but at this time, their decision stands (but let them know how you feel on social media, using the hashtag #ILoveBB10Apps). Despite this, we have worked hard to ensure our end users have the best experience in light of this decision, and are continuing to search for alternate solutions.

More >

Statistics Twitter vs Ello

by Volker Weber


I have about 3000 followers on Twitter and Ello. 604 people saw this tweet on Twitter, 36 of them clicked the link. Over 1700 people saw my post on Ello. And while you can force-feed ("promote") your tweet on Twitter, on Ello you only get to see what you want to see.


More >


by Volker Weber

Wer mit Terroristen, Rauschgift oder Kinderporno argumentiert, will eigentlich was anderes. So wie bei der Vorratsdatenspeicherung, die vor allem der Abmahnindustrie dient (733377 Abfragen in 2014 und 549233 in 2015). Oder der Verschlüsselung, die angeblich den Terroristen hilft, die wie jeder ordentliche Spion lieber Wegwerftelefone verwenden.

So geschehen gerade wieder beim Fall FBI gegen Apple. Es geht nicht darum, das iPhone eines Terroristen zu entsperren. Es geht darum, einen Mechanismus zu bekommen, alles nach Gutdünken zu entsperren. Und weil diese höchst emotional aufgeladene Situation einen Erfolg versprach, und nun auf einmal doch nicht, tritt das FBI auf die Bremse. Man habe eine andere Methode gefunden, auch ohne Apple zu entsperren.

Macht wahrscheinlich der Osterhase.

Engage UG starts tomorrow

by Volker Weber

Massive speaker line-up. When Sarah Gibbons and Chris Crummey present Project Toscana, pay extra attention whether they are running live code or just the screen show from IBM Connect 2016. Do you know where the name originated? It's an Italian restaurant in Dublin, where the idea was sketched. This project uses all the cool stuff and does not build on IBM technology like Websphere and DB2. And while Verse on Premises was a no-show in 2016, there is now a wild ride to get this going rather swiftly. Inhi Cho Su does not take prisoners.

You can now pair multiple Apple Watches to one iPhone

by Volker Weber

ZZ6C786FC6 ZZ6A6D9E55

Pairing an Apple Watch to an iPhone is a surprisingly elaborate task. And if you wanted to switch to a different watch, you had to unpair the old one and then pair the new one. Does not happen to many people, but it was always difficult for developers who (otherwise) needed one iPhone for each Watch they were testing on.

You still cannot use two at the same time, but it has become quite easy to switch. Just power on the other watch, put it on your arm and then raise it. iPhone will switch to that watch.

Lots of power in a small package

by Volker Weber


I am a Plus size smartphone user. I loved the 6" Lumia 1520, and I would not complain about an iPhone of the same size. As you get older, your eyes don't work so well anymore and size matters.

However, there have been many people complaining that Apple does not make smaller iPhones anymore. Guess what, now they do. The iPhone SE may look like an old iPhone, but it has the same internals as an iPhone 6S. The only thing missing is force touch. Smaller display means smaller body, and smaller battery. Don't forget the bigger battery is a major 6(S) Plus advantage.

If you don't want the stigma of toting an old phone, just get the rose gold version. Ugh. Or, if you do want to hide the fact you have a new iPhone, just get the silver/white one. This is the phone for people who remove the badge from the back of their car, don't buy leather seats but the biggest engine available.

A few thoughts on the Apple Keynote

by Volker Weber


This was a one hour keynote in the small town hall, and as Tim Cook said, most likely the last one on site until Apple moves to the new campus. If you were invited you belonged to the inner circle. I wasn't and even if I were, it would be hard to say yes. The live stream is just too good. And there was nothing unexpected at all. Everything had been spilled before.

A few thoughts, in no particular order:

The big one is often what you do not see. No Jony Ive. Not on the stage, not in the audience.

Why I can't wait for a 10" iPad Pro

by Volker Weber


Ever since I had my first iPad, I wanted to use it with a pen. Not looking at all the cheap trinkets I got at conferences, I own three of them. A Bamboo Stylus, a FiftyThree Pencil and an Adonit Jot Touch. The Bamboo is the cheapest one and it does not have any special features. It just works like a thin finger. The Fifty Three Pencil pairs with your iPad over Bluetooth and if the software recognizes the pencil, it can do something called "palm rejection". That means you can rest your hand on the glass while writing. The problem with the 53 Pencil is that it is still very large and squishy. You can draw with it, but you can't write. The Adonit Jot Touch however has palm rejection, and a fine point, plus pressure sensitivity. It is by far the most advanced of the three. The key point however is "if the software recognizes the pencil". Microsoft has worked with Fifty Three on Pencil support in OneNote, however not with Adonit.


Microsoft Surface 3 changed all that for me. Microsoft has a Surface Pen that is supported by Surface in a nice way. Push the button on the pen and Surface 3 launches into OneNote and a clean note. No need to login. You can just start writing notes. Push the button again for the next note. Push a button on the side of the pencil, and it starts erasing. This all works so well, that Surface has become my goto device for any interviews or keynotes.

But Surface has a software problem. While it is a full PC, there are hardly any good apps in Microsoft's app store. That's a play dominated by iPad. Not even Android has this breadth of software support. A 10" iPad with Pencil support cures all of these problems. The 13" iPad Pro woke up all those ISVs to support the Pencil. And now we may get a smaller, much more convenient form factor. I can't wait to use one.


by Volker Weber

Warum mich die disruptiv-digital-transformatorischen Keynote-Sprechautomaten nerven

by Volker Weber

Foto @iseifert

Wenn Wirkungen der Digitalisierung für Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft auf öffentlichen Bühnen erläutert werden, purzeln immer wieder die gleichen Formulierungen und Beispiele aus den Keynote-Sprechautomaten heraus: Prozess der kreativen Zerstörung, digitaler Darwinismus und natürlich die Angriffe der disruptiven Innovatoren des Silicon Valley, die zum Sterben ganzer Branchen und Unternehmen beitragen.

Was wohl Charles Darwin und Joseph Schumpeter zu dieser semantischen Brühe gesagt hätten, die jeden Tag abgesondert wird? Menschliche Entscheidungen und soziale Entwicklungen kann man mit biologischem Halbwissen auf der Stufe eines Bio-Grundkurses der 11. Klasse nicht erläutern – das wäre vielleicht die Replik von Darwin gewesen. Schumpeter würde auf seine Hauptwerke verweisen und die digitalen Dauerschwätzer höflich ermahnen, seine Forschungsarbeiten nicht fragmentarisch wiederzugeben und auf den kreativen oder schöpferischen Zerstörer zu reduzieren.

Ein wohltuender Beitrag, wenn man zu viel "Didschitell Tränsformeischen" gehört hat. Auch schon bei TEDx hat mir ein Werber erzählt, was für eine dolle Marktkapitalisierung die Blase hat.

Kleine Hausaufgabe: versucht mal herauszufinden, was IBM in der eigenen Connections-Umgebung gemessen hat.

More >

Dies ist keine Übung

by Volker Weber

Stellen Sie sich vor, Ihr Rechner sei jetzt, wirklich unmittelbar jetzt, von einem Verschlüsselungs-Trojaner befallen worden. Jetzt. Nicht irgendwann in einer möglichen Zukunft, sondern jetzt.

Ignorieren Sie kurz, dass sich einige Daten eventuell noch retten lassen - selbst wenn das klappt, kostet es viel Glück und Zeit und Schweiß und Flüche. Sie erleben gerade Ihren persönlichen größten anzunehmenden Datenunfall.

Gerald Himmelein mit einem eindringlichen Appell. Wer jetzt nicht handelt, soll später nicht weinen. Ich kann dann nicht mehr helfen.

More >

Meet the New Evernote Team

by Volker Weber

We’ve assembled a new leadership team that combines the best of both realms. Drawing from global companies such as Google, Skype, HP, Logitech, Microsoft, Motorola, and VMWare, the seven people I am introducing today are experts in building great customer experiences, scaling cloud services, growing brands, and developing talent.

A brand new management team that promises a great future. I have seen this before. Run for the boats.

More >

Windows 10 upgrade for Windows Phone 8.1

by Volker Weber


Microsoft started the rollout of Windows 10 to upgradable phones yesterday. If you are already running Build 10586, you don't need to upgrade again. And you don't need to restore 8.1 to upgrade to Build 10586. This is the list of Lumias that get the upgrade (after carrier approval): 430, 435, 532, 535, 540, 635, 636, 638, 640, 640XL, 730, 735, 830, 930, 1520.

Any phone with 512MB of main memory won't get the update, but there are others missing as well: the 920, 925, and 1020 for instance, all once considered flagship phones. Those were upgradable on the Windows Insider track, but they did not perform well. The advice from Microsoft is to eventually downgrade those to 8.1.

There will be no second wave according to Gabe Aul. This is it (the Icon is the Verizon 930):

Stuff that works: NYNE Bass

by Volker Weber


Sonos does not have a Bluetooth speaker. Nor one that runs on battery. When I need music around the house, outside, just as a quick (and dirty) solution, I have resorted to the NYNE Bass. And it delivers the sound I need for Vocal and Deep House. Like a speaker that was born as a Beats headset. It's not nearly as portable as a UE BOOM 2 but delivers a lot more sound.

I can't wait to try the NYNE Rock. 65 W instead of 20 W, plus an IPX 3 rating.

Me so hungry

by Volker Weber

Surface Pro 4 mit Tastatur, Stift und O365 für 1000 €

by Volker Weber


Gerade zufällig gesehen: Microsoft Surface Pro 4 - 128GB - i5 Bundle inkl. Type Cover in schwarz, Surface Pen & Office 365 Personal für knapp 1000 €.

More >

Full Transcript of TIME’s Interview With Apple CEO Tim Cook

by Volker Weber


The chief executive of the world's most powerful tech company on your privacy, America's security, and his fight with the FBI

More >

A short look at a trio of Lenovo business convertibles

by Volker Weber

There is only one market segment for PCs that is not shrinking: 2-in-1 laptop/tablet combinations. Two prominent examples are the Lenovo Yoga line of consumer laptops at one end of the spectrum and Microsoft Surface (Pro) at the other end. The most exciting new entry into this market has been Microsoft's Surface Book, which is both a full notebook and a light tablet in one.

Lenovo is now going full in with very different configurations, targeting their business customers. I looked at three machines today, and I have a very personal view, that you may or may not share.


The most exciting machine to me was the one you would probably find very boring: a ThinkPad X1 Carbon with OLED Touchscreen and Yoga hinges. It has a retracting keyboard and a pen that stores (and recharges) inside the machine. You can use it just as a brilliant 14" business notebook or you can flip it around to turn it into a somewhat large and heavy Windows tablet with pen digitizer.

If you ever used a ThinPad X1 Carbon, you will immediately like this machine. The Yoga experience just adds 90 g of weight and does not take anything away. Without looking at the X1 Yoga print on the screen you would be hard pressed to say which is which.


And then there was the X1 Tablet. It is modular and has plenty of components and I had a hard time figuring out how you assemble it. My kit had the tablet itself, a pen, a keyboard and a "productivity" add-on, which adds ports and more battery power. There are two more modules I did not see today: one contains a projector, the other a 3D-camera.


In its simplest configuration with tablet, keyboard and pen it might replace a Surface Pro. My use cases would not include any of the add-ons, so I am certainly not the target audience. For me, it has too many moving parts.


The final machine would not only be considered as a Surface replacement, it also looks like one. It has a kickstand using two small hinges that work the same way as a signature Yoga 900 hinge. This Miix 700 was introduced as a consumer device, but Lenovo is now also positioning a Business Edition with Windows Pro and ThinkPad support.


I would only want one of those machines. And as always, it is the most expensive one. If I needed a high-end, do-everything Windows laptop that doubles as a tablet, I would have a hard time deciding between a Microsoft Surface Book and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga. The Microsoft option provides for a lighter tablet, but the ThinkPad just looks like a winner.

BlackBerry removes Facebook from BB10

by Volker Weber


The exodus from BlackBerry 10 continues. Recently WhatsApp announced it would be removing BlackBerry support by the end of the year. Now the BlackBerry app store replaces the Facebook app with a weblink and removes Hub integration from BB10.

Here stellt Karten-Apps für Windows Phone ein

by Volker Weber

Nach der Übernahme durch die deutschen Auto-Konzerne bereinigt der Kartenspezialist sein Portfolio: Die Apps für Windows Phone werden nicht mehr weiterentwickelt, die für Windows 10 Mobile verschwindet ganz.

Das ist alles wirklich bitter für Microsoft. Bisher beisst keiner an, der nicht muss.

More >

Werner Vogels: 10 Lessons from 10 Years of Amazon Web Services

by Volker Weber

The epoch of AWS is the launch of Amazon S3 on March 14, 2006, now almost 10 years ago. Looking back over the past 10 years, there are hundreds of lessons that we’ve learned about building and operating services that need to be secure, reliable, scalable, with predictable performance at the lowest possible cost. ... I have picked a few of these lessons to share with you in the hope that they may be of use for you as well.

More >

Import content from Evernote to OneNote

by Volker Weber

Rest easy, we'll import your notes for you. We appreciate that you're thinking about a change to OneNote. As part of the Office family, OneNote will feel familiar from the start. And it's 100% free.

When I moved from Evernote to OneNote, I had to use a third party tool. And I never looked back. Today Microsoft announces their own tool, which initially runs on Windows 7 and newer.

More >

Beating Expectations: Android Security Patching for PRIV

by Volker Weber

Google releases Android security bulletins – a list of vulnerabilities – on a monthly basis, and the timely release of patches for these vulnerabilities is needed to reduce the risk of their exploitation. The following table shows how the world’s Android OEMs (phone and tablet makers) have performed in their patching programs. Each cell shows how many days elapsed between Google’s public disclosure of the monthly vulnerability list and the availability of a corresponding OEM patch to address the list.

BlackBerry CSO David Kleidermacher is rightfully proud of BlackBerry's achievement.

More >

How to miss the next Apple keynote

by Volker Weber


Invitations went out for the next Apple keynote which is scheduled for March 21 in Cupertino at 10:00 a.m. Lots of news outlets and blogs announced their live blogging. And they did so without much thinking.

10:00 a.m. in Cupertino is 19:00 in Germany and 18:00 in the UK, right? Today it is. But not on March 21. Why is that? The US advances their clocks to DST this Sunday, and we wait another two weeks for this change.

On March 21, 10:00 a.m. Cupertino is 17:00 London and 18:00 Berlin. Apple will be live-streaming the event on Apple TV and other devices.

I will go out on a limb about #Sonos

by Volker Weber


Today, the entire music ecosystem is in transition – ultimately for the better – and so is Sonos. We have a good idea of how this will evolve over time, and we’ve never been more bullish on what it means for music fans. But we also know that to continue to innovate and bring compelling new experiences to market, we need to invest heavily against the opportunity.

Sonos has this super-confusing blog post. Let me try to make sense of it:

The confusing part in the blog post is that (a) Sonos is laying off people and (b) investing against the new opportunity. The first part does not really fit the post and I see it as insurance against a backlash from disgruntled former employees. While I hope that none of my friends at Sonos are affected, the interesting question is why Sonos is singling out Amazon.

A few data points: PLAY:5 has microphones. CONTROL is deprecated because it does not have microphones. I was unable to get clear information about why Amazon Prime Music is not available in Germany. The only answer I got was that something is cooking.

If I would go out on a limb here, and I don't have any specific insights into Sonos' plans, then I would suggest that Sonos might be working with Amazon on adding voice input. Or, Sonos is working on Siri integration, since they seem to be best buds with Apple. Amazon is the safer bet, because that would also work with Android. Maybe, just maybe, Sonos is even working on their own.

But that's just me. If I had any hard information on their plans, I could not possibly have written that. However, I can put a timestamp on it: SxSW starts tomorrow.

Licht und Schatten beim Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro

by Volker Weber


Mit dem Yoga Tab 3 Pro verbindet mich geradezu eine Hassliebe. Einerseits mag ich wirklich alles an diesem Gerät: wie einfach man damit Medien konsumieren kann, egal ob Arte-Sendungen, Musik oder Filmkonserven. Wenn ich reise, reichen mir die Lautsprecher, ein ganzes Hotelzimmer mit Musik zu füllen. Wenn ich ein Video schaue, dann kann ich es an die Wand oder die Zimmerdecke projizieren. Die Ausdauer des Akkus ist vorbildlich, man kann es prima in der Hand halten um etwa ein Buch zu lesen.


Aber die Software stinkt. Anfang Januar hatte Lenovo ein Update gebracht, das endlich die meisten Bugs behob, das nächste machte dann alles schlimmer, sodass ein weiteres wieder alle mehr schlecht als recht zurück rollte. Aktuell sind wir auf dem Android Security Patch Level von Anfang Januar. Die neuesten Stagefright-Bugfixes sind natürlich nicht drin, ganz anders als beim Priv, den BlackBerry schon gepatch hat. Apps schmieren immer wieder mal ab, auch innerhalb von Apps, besonders bei Flipboard landet man immer wieder einfach auf der Startseite.

Das ist mein erstes Lenovo-Gerät mit hartnäckigen Problemen.

Why would you suffer from untested software?

by Volker Weber

First Phandroid tweets this. And then retweets that:

People, don't run pre-release software. Unless you absolutely positively have to.

UE Boom is a great travel speaker

by Volker Weber

A photo posted by Alexander Kluge (@alecmcint) on

Alex posted this photo today on Instagram. His hotel room has a UE Boom. That is the speaker I recommend for travel. If you don't have to carry it, a UE Megaboom is even better since it goes deeper on the bass. But the UE Boom is the best compromise between weight and sound. The UE Roll looks kinda cool, but I found the sound lacking.

More >

A brief look at the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

by Volker Weber


Last weekend I was at a Samsung event and had the opportunity to look at the two new devices. I have not used one, and I don't really have to, because the differences to the "old" S6 generation are immediately noticeable.

First of all, the S7 Edge now has the right size. Not as small as the S6 Edge and not as large as the S6 Edge Plus. With its curved back it is now both easier to pick up and easier to hold. It is by far the prettier of the two devices, but it feels too light, where the regular S7 feels right. I have this theory that heavier things feel more substantial. When the volume or size go up, but the weight doesn't, things feel cheaper to me. In that respect, the S7 Edge looks nicer, but the S7 feels better.

The S7 family may look very similar to the S6 family of last year, but they improve substantially where it counts. Storage expansion via microSD, water-proofing, a faster finger print reader, a nicer design and an even better camera. I was already impressed with the S6 Edge camera, but the S7 takes it even further. I like the fact that Samsung went back from 16 to 12 megapixel. It renders smaller but better photos, especially in low light conditions. This used to be a Nokia domain, but I think Samsung has passed Microsoft's camera performance in every way.

The S7 devices keep all of the strong points that played so well for the S6: support for KNOX in the enterprise, a brilliant screen, fast charing, even wireless charging. They both work well with the same Gear VR headset you could use with the previous generation, because Samsung keeps using the now ubiquitous MicroUSB port and not the newer USB 3.1 port.

I have not experienced this myself, but I hear that the software keeps improving. And with that I mean it has less software. It is somewhat ironic that what Samsung regards as a value add is actually just an added nuisance. Any step towards a pure Android experience is welcome.

History of Rock

by Volker Weber

[Thanks, Hajo]

Ed Brill is now VP Offering Management at IBM Collaboration Solutions

by Volker Weber

After being a customer for a year in the IBM CIO Office, Ed is now the VP in charge of offering management in Inhi Cho Suh's organization. In his new role Ed will be leading the market strategy, technical strategy and design for IBM's collaboration solutions portfolio.

What does an Offering Manager do? This is how IBM defines it:

Apple Stealth Watch

by Volker Weber


Just started using a Space Black Apple Watch with a black sports band instead of the more flashy Stainless Steel with Milanese Loop. And I love the stealth look.

Armin Grewe: Update on my speech recognition software test

by Volker Weber

Two weeks ago I wrote that I was testing speech recognition software. Back then I said I was going to report back in approximately four weeks, turns out I made my decision much quicker. As I was pleasantly surprised how well the trial was going I have purchased a full version of Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium now.

More >

And then this happened

by Volker Weber



by Volker Weber

More >

Marktanteile vs Nutzungsverhalten

by Volker Weber

Ich habe gestern mit Federico diskutiert, warum eine Verkehrsplanungs-App für die Öffis zu mehr als der Hälfte von iPhones benutzt wird. Das entspricht weder dem Markanteil noch dem vermuteten Profil eines Öffi-Nutzers. Die Daten sind nicht wegzudiskutieren, aber auch nicht so leicht zu erklären.

Vermutung: ein großer Teil der Android-Handys wird von Menschen gekauft, die einfach nur ein Handy zum Telefonieren, Texten und vielleicht als Kamera haben wollen. Da sind schon so viele Apps drauf, dass sie vielleicht gar nicht auf die Idee kommen, selbst welche nachzuladen.

Four things I learned about Sweden today

by Volker Weber


Federico came to visit me today and I learned four things about Sweden that I did not know:

ZZ07751030  ZZ7A38A4AC  ZZ1E28D619

I think I need a new iPhone case

by Volker Weber


I think the silicone cases for the iPhone work much better than the leather ones. They provide a better grip and the leather gets dirty quite quickly. I had a brown one that is now almost black, and I had a red one that looks nasty.

I used a blue Silicone Case for the iPhone 6 Plus most of the time and then carried it over to the 6S Plus. It held up well over a year. But if you take the phone out often enough it will eventually break like you see above. B/W photo for drama. :-) Plenty of colors by now.

I am now using the Olloclip case which lets me attach a lens without taking the phone out of its case. I'd rather use it without one, but I broke the glass on the & Plus once.

BlackBerry starts selling to business customers

by Volker Weber

Starting today, business owners and IT administrators looking for a cost-effective way to purchase and deploy unlocked BlackBerry devices in-volume can now buy direct from our Smartphone Business Sales Team.

BlackBerry has traditionally only sold through partners, either carriers or business partners. Yes, there has been an online shop. But that is a channel that only works for individuals. Companies need a business connection, where you can negotiate pricing and payment options.

Direct sales is a classic channel conflict. I have to assume that it became very hard for BlackBerry to sell through carriers. If a company buys all their phones through T-Mobile and T-Mobile does not want to list the Priv, BlackBerry would be cut off.

More >

Sleep Study works with Apple Watch, iPhone and IBM Watson Health Cloud

by Volker Weber

WASHINGTON and ARMONK, N.Y., March 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) introduced the SleepHealth app designed for iPhone and Apple Watch and the patient-driven SleepHealth Mobile Study to help identify connections between sleep habits and health outcomes. The SleepHealth study uses the open source ResearchKit framework designed by Apple to enable participants to easily complete tasks and submit surveys right from the SleepHealth app. SleepHealth is the first ResearchKit study to run on the data-rich Watson Health Cloud.

Only available in the US.

More >

Help me fix my iPhone weather app

by Volker Weber

ZZ7FE04E81 ZZ3C54B7A3

I cannot change the list of locations in my weather app. Well, I can. But a little while later it will revert to Darmstadt and Santa Barbara. I tried adding cities, deleting all of them, rebooting, log in/out of iCloud. Nothing fixes it. Any more ideas?

Update: Resolved! Thanks to Michael Witrien. Turning off location services for the app, then rebooting resolved it.

This Galaxy S7 unboxing delivers

by Volker Weber

How to get $50 off a Pebble Time

by Volker Weber


Pebble just knocked $50 off the Pebble Time price. And you can get another $50 off the Pebble Time by spending $4 on SmartWatch Pro. There is a promotion inside. Hit the red button and get the discount. It does not matter whether you already have a Pebble. You do this from your iPhone. And I would suggest you buy that app anyway. :-)

This works in Germany and the EU as well. Pebble just converts the $50 to €. And if you are lusting for a the old model, you get $20 off. But I would suggest the Pebble Time anyway. In the US it brings the watch down to $100.

Pebble senkt die Preise

by Volker Weber


Ich schenke mir mal die Jubelworte und addiere 5 ct zum Listenpreis. Das kostet eine neue Pebble nun:


Für Kunden, die ab dem 21. Januar 2016 auf eine Smartwatch bestellt haben, korrigiert Pebble nachträglich die Kosten und passt sie so an den neuen deutschen Preis an.

Bis zum 1. April 2016 eine E-Mail mit dem Betreff „Price Adjustment“ an schicken. Dabei die Bestellnummer oder die E-Mail-Adresse angeben, mit der die Bestellung durchgeführt wurde.

Empfehlung: Ich würde die einfache Pebble Time nehmen. Da passt UI und Design gut zusammen. Die beiden anderen Time finde ich zu teuer und auch nicht so schön. Die alte Pebble ist auch noch schön, aber kann nicht mehr alles, z.B. kein Pebble Health.

Und noch ein Tipp: Wenn man Smartwatch Pro kauft, dann erhält man einen Discount, der die Pebble um $50 billiger macht. Das geht jetzt auch hier.

Free textbook about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies

by Volker Weber

There’s a lot of excitement about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Optimists claim that Bitcoin will fundamentally alter payments, economics, and even politics around the world. Pessimists claim Bitcoin is inherently broken and will suffer an inevitable and spectacular collapse.

Underlying these differing views is significant confusion about what Bitcoin is and how it works. We wrote this book to help cut through the hype and get to the core of what makes Bitcoin unique.

This is the real deal.

Download >

Old archive pages

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


Paypal vowe