July 2016

A few things I like about the BlackBerry DTEK50

by Volker Weber

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I have used the DTEK50 pretty extensively for a few days. And I quite like it. One of the first things I noticed when watching YouTube videos was stereo sound. There are speakers at the top and bottom and when you turn the device sideways, that gives you stereo sound. Believe it or not, but that makes a big difference.

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At the top, there is a notification light. I just received two notifications, one from YouTube, the other one from Gmail. Even with the sound turned off, I will see this LED flashing. It's not red, as it used to be on BlackBerrys, but as a white LED it serves a second purpose. Can you guess it? It's a flash for the front facing camera. And that camera was designed as a selfie cam. Most important feature of a selfie cam? A wide angle lens. I would not be able to take these photos with the iPhone (and without my Olloclip lens):

A video posted by Volker Weber (@volkerweber) on

When I got the phone, I was also offered a hard case or a holster. I turned both offers down. You won't need a holster since the DTEK50 slides just nicely into your pocket without a case and it has just the right size. I also feel it does not need a case, since everything is well protected:

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Do you notice the rim around the glass? It is slightly higher than the glass and I think it is going to protect the screen from most falls. Also, I don't think it is likely that I will drop it since the back provides a reassuring grip. Even the camera and the main flash enjoy an extra layer of protection.

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This smartphone was not developed by BlackBerry. And it shows in a really nice way. It does not feel like one of the tanks that BlackBerry used to build. And I don't think there is anybody left in the company who knows how to make those. No, this is a breath of fresh air. It's a very enjoyable Android device. It just happens to have a more secure architecture that does not bother the user at all.

It's not perfect though. The biggest miss for me is that you can only unlock it with a passphrase. BlackBerry has promised a software update to bring back Picture Password. What I really want is a fingerprint sensor. That will be coming in the third BlackBerry Android device. Not for the same low price though. It is going to sit somewhere between the PRIV and the DTEK50.

Dating at scale does not seem to work

by Volker Weber

Dating is like enterprise sales. When your customer goes for a competing, more compelling product, you’re never told and you don’t get any feedback.

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Security Experts

by Volker Weber

Read this:

Sorry, folks, while experts are saying the encryption checks out in WhatsApp, it looks like the latest version of the app tested leaves forensic trace of all of your chats, even after you’ve deleted, cleared, or archived them… even if you “Clear All Chats”. In fact, the only way to get rid of them appears to be to delete the app entirely.

What do you take away from this? Most people read this as:

WhatsApp is unsafe.

I read this as:

Self-important prick.

Why? Because he can do it on his phone, but he can never do it on mine. Next time somebody wants to demo in a live hack how unsafe Android is, I am going to hand him my locked BlackBerry Android and tell him to make my day. Spoiler alert: he can't. Because all of his assumptions are wrong.

Slightly related: BlackBerry is already field testing the next Android patch:

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Microsoft Word vs Google Docs

by Volker Weber

Interesting quote on Recode:

Microsoft owns individual work and Google owns collaborative work, but each company definitely wants to own the other’s domain

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Kurzes Kabel für SONOS PLAY:1

by Volker Weber

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Der PLAY:1 hat einen speziellen Winkelstecker, der ins Gehäuse greift. Ich habe einen PLAY:1 Pure Black auf der Küchentheke direkt bei einer Steckdose stehen und brauche eigentlich nur ein sehr kurzes schwarzes Kabel. Heute habe ich bei Flexson solche Kabel gefunden.

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Hands-on: BlackBerrys zweites Android-Smartphone DTEK50

by Volker Weber

Can you make a secure Android phone? I think you can.

by Volker Weber

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Not too long ago, when you were a BlackBerry fan, then Android was the enemy. A big pile of code, quickly hobbled together, with loads of security issues. Never in your life would you deploy this PoS in your enterprise.

Then BlackBerry launched an Android Phone.

I understand why BlackBerry needs a popular platform. But how do they make Android secure? The only thing I got to was "security is in our pedigree" b/s. I had to cut deeper. I tried to go through PR but they could not get anybody to meet with me. I asked a few people I know within the company, but they would not know enough.

All of this changed last week. I met with BlackBerry CISO David Kleidermacher, then with his direct report Alex Manea, who finally got me in touch with the Principal Architect. No, I will not reveal his name. But he was able to make me understand.

I worked this understanding into an article that will most likely be published next week in c't 17. Please bear with me while I wait until you bought this magazine. I promise I will explain things later.

The bottom line is: can you make Android as secure as BlackBerry 10? And the anwer is: yes, you can. You leave the user bits and pieces alone. The user only sees a familiar Android phone. But you change the fundamentals in a big way.

It's like vaccination. You expect to get sick and you deal with it before it happens. A vulnerability does not mean that you have an exploit. And when you were able to build this exploit, it might infect all Android devices, but not the one that has additional defenses.

There are Anti-Vaxxers out there. "If I cannot root this phone, I don't want it". Well, good luck, dummy. If you can root your phone, so can others. People who are way smarter than you will ever be. I am only waiting for this big malware that is going to wipe out most of Android. Not all of it though. Not all of it.

Can you help BlackBerry?

by Volker Weber

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A week ago I was at the BlackBerry Security Summit. I asked BlackBerry for the presentation slides since I could not attend all parallel tracks. And they failed, big time.

If you are a customer, you probably have a bigger lever than I have. If you have the slides, just share them with me.

Picture Password AWOL

by Volker Weber

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DTEK50 screen on the left, PRIV screen on the right. What's missing? Picture Password. I hope that is coming in an update.

Both DTEK50 and PRIV do not have a fingerprint reader. So you have to enter a PIN or a Password to unlock. The Android pattern is just too weak. But Picture Password is a great way to unlock your device. See this tutorial for BlackBerry 10:

I use it on the PRIV, I also want it on the DTEK50.

Update: BlackBerry says: "Yes, Picture Password will be included in a future OS update."

DTEK50 Size Comparison

by Volker Weber

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It's pretty hard to see on photos, but the DTEK50 is almost exactly the same size as a Nexus 5x and about half a millimeter thinner. That is a very comfortable size and sits right between the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

147.0 x 72.5 x 7.5 mm | 5.2" | 135 g | DTEK50
147.0 x 72.6 x 7.9 mm | 5.2" | 136 g | Nexus 5x
138.2 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm | 4.7" | 143 g | iPhone 6s
158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm | 5.5" | 192 g | iPhone 6s Plus

Microsoft Pix gives the iPhone camera an artificial brain

by Volker Weber

Microsoft Pix captures a burst of 10 frames with each shutter click – some from before the tap – and uses artificial intelligence to select up to three of the best, unique shots. Before the remaining frames are deleted, the app uses data from the entire burst to remove noise, and then intelligently brightens faces, beautifies skin and adjusts the picture’s color and tone. These best, enhanced images are ready in about a second.

I have been testing this for an hour. Verdict so far: it does improve some photos shot against a bright background but I don't always appreciate the edits.

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[Thanks, Ingo]

Angefasst: BlackBerry DTEK50 im Video

by Volker Weber

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Am Mittwoch hat BlackBerry sein zweites Android-Smartphone angekündigt. Nun konnten wir es bereits kurz ausprobieren.

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DTEK50 Camera

by Volker Weber

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I shot a few photos and uploaded them to Flickr. Full automatic, iPhone 6S Plus vs DTEK50 back camera. All of these are "difficult" photos, mostly for the lack of light.

BlackBerry DTEK50 :: I like

by Volker Weber

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Picked up my DTEK50 today. And I quite like it, Do you see it? Or do you not see it? This is my first BlackBerry that does not say BlackBerry on the front. It's just a non-descriptive touchscreen phone.

Some more photos below ...

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Microsoft Hackathon Project: Reuniting refugees with loved ones

by Volker Weber

Microsoft employees came together across continents, time zones, and cultures to address the refugee crisis through Microsoft cloud intelligence. Learn how their Family Finder mobile app could help refugees locate missing loved ones and offer better technical solutions for humanitarian and relief organizations.

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DTEK50: BlackBerry kündigt zweites Android-Smartphone an

by Volker Weber

DTEK50 kommt mit der gleichen gehärteten Android-Version wie BlackBerry PRIV, löst aber das wichtigste Problem. Während der PRIV für 779 € vorgestellt wurde, soll DTEK50 nur 339 € kosten.

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update

by Volker Weber

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Next Tuesday the "Anniversary Update" of Windows 10 is upon us. What does that mean? Nothing.

Windows used to be distributed on physical media. There was a "Release to Manufacturing" date. And a ship date. But today, there is continuous delivery. Features get added, bugs get fixed. You can be on the Windows Insider program and get those changes earlier, you can even be lagging behind the current "release" as an Enterprise that has to be careful to avoid thousands of helpdesk calls.

Windows 10 isn't done. It will never be done. It's under construction, for the foreseeable future. For Windows phone it's not even in a state where it could be rolled out to all devices. On PCs it will be many different experiences, depending on the drivers you need for your hardware.

Windows is work in progress. And it has never been better than now.

Should you upgrade to Windows 10 now, while it is free? I believe you should. Despite all the Microsoft marketing efforts to destroy it.

My Kryptonite

by Volker Weber

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Von Texel über Hannover nach Darmstadt. Danke, Bastian!

Tell me your Android patch level

by Volker Weber

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I believe in collaboration. So let's put our heads together. I have created a Google form where you can help me gather data about Android security patch levels. The patch levels have a date attached to them. You find it in Settings/About. Also add the brand and model of your device and the Android version. If you know on which day the patch was available, also fill out the last data, which is not mandatory.

Here is the form >

More than 180 results are here >

Green means you have the latest full security patch 5-Jul-2016. Black means you have the smaller, easier patch 1-Jul-2016. Red means: good luck.

Let's raise the bar for Android recommendations

by Volker Weber

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Nexus or BlackBerry, these are the only phones with quick monthly Android security patches. Lenovo just started shipping their new flagship Moto Z with the May patch. That's a brand new phone with two months old security level, and apparently they have no plans for shipping monthly patches.

From now on, I will check the security patch level and report it. And then come back within a month when I see or do not see the next patch coming in. Security has to become the number 1 feature given the malware situation on Android right now. Remember the top of the line Yoga Tab 3 Pro? Patch level March 1. Lenovo passed April, May, June and the huge July patch.

Vote with your money and only buy secure devices.

The cultural renaissance of the Art Deco-era’s rolling sculptures

by Volker Weber

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This October, a new exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of Art will display a number of Art Deco-era cars and motorcycles under the title ‘Rolling Sculptures’. We could think of no better person to explain their flourishing status as dynamic pieces of modern art than curator Ken Gross…

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[Thanks, Vesey]

Traveling ultralight

by Volker Weber

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4.3 kg (or 9.5 lb) was the weight of my 'luggage' on my New York trip. That includes all the gear, toothbrush, toothpaste, a clean shirt every morning, underwear and the bag itself.

No need to leave anything behind at the bell hop when you check out. No wheels, just a messenger bag thrown over your shoulder.

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Google Arts & Culture

by Volker Weber

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What a great app. Download for Android or iOS and explore.

Here we go again

by Volker Weber

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Installed the latest update and the Microsoft Crapware is back. You have one week to get the new advertising platform Windows 10 for free. That is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will never come back, I'm sure.

Qualitätsjournalismus

by Volker Weber

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In Zeiten der Krise kann man erkennen, was guter Qualitätsjournalismus leistet. Statt atemlos Gerüchte, Meinungen und Stimmungen zu verstärken, einfach die Fakten zusammentragen. Nein, einfach ist das falsche Wort. Was einfach aussieht, bedarf jahrelanger Übung und Disziplin. Meine Favoriten: Die Zeit und Deutsche Welle. Sehr gute Arbeit, vielen Dank.

Ganz schlimm, einige Journalistendarsteller auf Twitter.

Listen to this!

by Volker Weber

A video posted by Manorath Dhillon (@sabrinadhilon) on

Headset recommendation

by Volker Weber

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I was asked which headset I would recommend for this profile.

- pure telephony, no music features needed
- small and lean as possible
- budget EUR 300,-

#1 makes it a Plantronics Voyager, #2 makes it the Edge model. #3 is too much money. They are way cheaper.

UC model for mixed PC/Mac and phone use. Regular one for phone/tablet only.

Stuff that works :: Olloclip Active Lens

by Volker Weber

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This is one of my favorite things. Olliclip makes many lenses for iPhone, but this is by far my favorite. When I travel, it just wear it around my neck. When I am shooting photos with the iPhone, I can grap the lens with my other hand and remove it from the lanyard.

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The Active Lens has two lenses: a 2x telephoto and an ultra-wide lens. And they work on both cameras, main camera (iSight) and front facing (FaceTime). You will hardly ever need the telephoto on the front facing camera, but it'S great to get closer to the action if you can't walk there.

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Sonos 101

by Volker Weber

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Sonos customers know the product line, much like Apple customers do. They can give you the full list of options. Sometimes they know the difference between PLAY:1, PLAY:3 and PLAY:5, sometimes they don't. But there is one thing that is really, really hard to understand and to communicate for that matter: what makes Sonos more than a speaker.

There have only been two ways to "get" Sonos. Visit somebody's home or take a leap of faith by trying it yourself, at home. I helped quite a few people to take that leap of faith, and our home has also been a Sonos showroom.

And now there is a third one.

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Sonos has built a unique retail experience with their new flagship store in the middle of the New York fashion district, just a few steps away from the iconic Soho Apple Store. 101 Greene Street, New York, New York.

This is not a store you need as a Sonos customer. This is a place for people who fit the profile of a Sonos customer, but who did not "get" it until now.

And here we are again: you don't get the store until you experienced it yourself. At least I didn't. Not from the photos, not from the stories. But now I did. I spent two hours with the people who created the store, and they explained every little detail.

I will try to explain, but I guess I will fail as much as everybody else who did.

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Well of Death

by Volker Weber

Begegnung im Park

by Volker Weber

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Heute im Herrngarten, Pokémon Central in Darmstadt. Frau läuft mit ihrer Tochter, großer Teenager. Tochter bleibt stehen und schaut auf ihr Handy. Genau vor einem Pokestop mit Lure Module. Ich zu der Mutter:

"Das kann jetzt etwas dauern."
"Ja, aber ich bin froh, dass sie mal mit mir läuft."

"Spielen sie nicht mit?"
"Ich habe das nicht drauf."
"Haben Sie kein iPhone?"
"Doch, habe ich. Und Sie? Spielen Sie das auch?"
"Ja, klar. Ist ganz einfach."
"Meinen Sie?"
"Sicher. Sie sind erst alt, wenn Sie nichts mehr lernen. Und wie oft können Sie denn noch mit ihrer Tochter was spielen?"
Zur Tochter: "Du, hast Du das gehört? Kannst Du mir das auch drauf machen?"

Als Alter Sack™ darf man das.

Busy day on Twitter

by Volker Weber

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Phone was vibrating with notifications ...

BlackBerry damage control

by Volker Weber

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Imagine you were BlackBerry and you wanted to move from a not so successful platform (BlackBerry 10) to a wildly successful platform (Android).

Learn from how Nokia messed it up. Symbian was dying, Windows Phone wasn't done. With the burning platform manifesto then Nokia-CEO Elop sank the old ship before the new one was ready. Symbian had been declining and then fell off a cliff.

What we reported was:

  1. BlackBerry is discontinuing the Classic, the Leap will be phased out soon, and BlackBerry stops making the AT&T Passport.
  2. BlackBerry 10 will be supported until the end of 2018 and there are two new versions coming out. 10.3.3 soon and 10.3.4 next year.
  3. BlackBerry is planning three new Android devices. Two touchscreens this year, one keyboard next year.

Now BlackBerry COO Marty Beard sets us straight:

Last week we shared the latest plan to keep advancing our smartphone portfolio. Unfortunately, the news was misinterpreted by many – from the media, to tech observers, to our fans and customers.

He then goes on to explain:

That is why we are committed to not just maintaining BB10 software, but advancing it to be even more secure and provide even greater productivity. You’ll see that with the next 10.3.3 update coming within the next month, which will be focused on enhancing our already-stellar privacy and security features. Future BB10 software updates for 2017 are already in the works.

See Number 2 above.

Meanwhile, BlackBerry 10 devices such as the BlackBerry Passport and Leap are still available to our loyal customers.

See Number 1 above. Yes, they are "still available".

This means we’ll continue to make our iconic BlackBerry keyboard.

See Number 1 and 3. Priv has a keyboard, Passport (still available) has a keyboard, next year's Android has a keyboard.

PRIV was the first iteration… and soon there will be others.

See Number 3.

If you are the COO, you cannot tell this story in any other way. You and I would say: "We are moving from BB10 to Android, and that move is complete in nine months." But then you would be sitting on a lot of inventory that none of your loyal customers want anymore.

You can keep buying these devices until BlackBerry runs out of stock. And then you will be supported for another two years.

Here are two questions to ask:

  1. Do you have any new BlackBerry 10 smartphones in the pipeline?
  2. Will you still be selling BlackBerry 10 smartphones a year from now?

The answer to those questions will be "we do not comment on future plans". That is how you avoid lying.

Don't have a dog? Get Pokémon Go.

by Volker Weber

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A dog is a good walking coach. But Pokémon Go may be even better. Install (Android, iOS), put a powerbank in your pocket, and start walking. Two hours later you will have depleted your battery at least once, walked 10 km and more, and raised your level. I went to the university campus and I spotted dozens of students playing the game. In groups, talking to old farts like me.

People getting out and interacting with each other. That's probably the best thing that could have happened in the USA right now.

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Liebeserklärung am Morgen

by Volker Weber

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That was too easy

by Volker Weber

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If you want to record video with your own voice-over, the sound is never good enough. I had some decent results with the Lumias but never with iPhone or a serious camera. They all assume that the sound in front of the camera is what you want to record. If you stand behind it, you are noise.

I tried to figure out how to use one of my Plantronics headsets, but apparently you cannot route this microphone into the camera app. Then I tried the Klipsch headset, a few of my UrbanEars, but none of them was good enough.

As it turns out, the solution is just too simple: the Apple earbuds that came with your iPhone are brilliant. Just plug them in and start recording. In case you did not know that, the plus button doubles as a camera button. There is your remote.

Gear for New York trip

by Volker Weber

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iPad Pro 9.7", Apple Pencil, Microsoft Wedge Keyboard,
Universal Cable, Microsoft Powerbank
Apple Watch with Sport Band
iPhone 6S Plus, Olloclip Active Lens

Not in the photo: 5 port USB charger, power lead, BlackBerry Priv (shot this photo), two Lightning cables, one Watch cable, one USB cable.

The keyboard has a foldable protector that doubles as a stand. What you see here is about two pounds. Trying to stay below 10 pounds, including the (messenger) bag. Two nights in hotel, one night on the plane.

Testing at vowe's magic flying circus

by Volker Weber

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I don't break stuff on purpose. But when I test stuff, I use stuff. That means you should never send me anything that you plan to send somebody else later. I always want to be the last person between you and the trashcan.

I do the same with software. But software does not scratch or chip.

Updated list of impolite Twitter spammers

by Volker Weber

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Go get the list here. More than 4000 entries. Instructions: go to twitter.com in your browser, click your avatar in the upper right, Settings, Blocked accounts, Advanced options, Import a list.

Bam, 4000+ spammers gone.

Firmware Update für Eve Weather

by Volker Weber

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Gestern ist was mit dem Luftdruck passiert. Genauer gesagt ist was mit dem Barometer passiert. Eve Weather hat nämlich endlich eine neue Firmware, bei der man die Höhe über NN einstellen kann. Für jede acht Meter gibt es ein hPa mehr. Und damit springt die Anzeige von den falschen 995 hPa auf die korrekte Anzeige 1015 hPa und wird damit vergleichbar mit den amtlichen Angaben.

Ich hatte Weather ein paar Monate lang trocken und in der Nähe von Apple TV 4 gelagert und dort has es weder falsche Angaben zur Luftfeuchtigkeit gemacht, noch die Verbindung verloren. Nun habe ich einen neuen Ort draußen gesucht und bin gespannt, wie es sich dort macht.

So wird vielleicht aus etwas, was gar nicht taugt, doch noch eine funktionierende Lösung.

BlackBerry Won’t Rule Out New Phone Running on its BB10 System

by Volker Weber

“We are absolutely not backing away from BB10,” Beard said. “The company’s never said that we would not build another BB10 device.”

Of course a COO will not rule out options he still has. And I can imagine he has fielded quite a few calls from customers.

Let's recap what we know. Classic has been officially discontinued. Leap is still being sold, but customers have been briefed on the EOL for this device. BB10 is to receive two minor updates: 10.3.3 next month, 10.3.4 currently scheduled for next year. Support for BB10 is guaranteed until the end of 2018.

I expect to hold a new Android phone from BB within a week, maybe pick up on in two weeks, adding a very affordable option to the Priv. Should be on sale in August.

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SONOS opening flagship store in SoHo

by Volker Weber

Seven of the world’s most sonically perfect listening environments. And all the comforts of home. #SonosStore opens 7.19.16 in SoHo.

A photo posted by @sonos on

A dream home for listeners. Beveled glass and 2000 lbs of steel make each unique listening room at the flagship #SonosStore an escape into pure sound. 101 Greene St. SoHo. Open to the public July 19.

A photo posted by @sonos on

And I will be in the city. :-)

IBM to resell Microsoft Surface tablets to businesses

by Volker Weber

A year ago, Microsoft announced Dell and HP would be reselling Microsoft Surface tablets as part of a new Surface Enterprise Initiative. Today, IBM and Booz Allen Hamilton also joined the list of Surface resellers in that program.

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Microsoft Partner Conference in Toronto

by Volker Weber

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I travel to lots of conferences. And I started enjoying keynotes from the comfort of my couch, without the need to spend endless hours in an aluminium tube flying across the Atlantic. MWPC16 is no exception. Today I just watched Satya Nadella's keynote. Don't worry, it's just an hour, and it updates you on what Microsoft is working on. Executive summary: digital transformation with Office 365 + Dynamics 365 + Azure. Dynamics 365 is incredibly important for Microsoft's future when competing with Salesforce.com.

This a huge event. 16000 people, more than 500 partner companies from Germany alone. I really liked the stage in the middle of a stadium with four huge screens overhead.

You can watch the keynotes here 24 hours later. Satya's keynote is already online.

Retro fake

by Volker Weber

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I love Fujifilm cameras because they give me a lot of control over my photos. Nothing beats a physical aperture ring for instance. But this retro design on the X-T2 takes it too far. This is not an old SLR, so there is no prism, where it was on the original. And what looks like a winder, is just a battery grip.

The X-Pro2 is a different beast. It mimics old range finders and it actually is a range finder.

Feature request for Windows 10 Mail: Gmail Alias Support

by Volker Weber

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This is a feature I love on Outlook, my favorite mail client on the iPhone/iPad. You can use any of the aliases you set in Gmail as the default and send mails from this address. Isn't it crazy that Microsoft makes the best Gmail client for iOS? Yes, that is my personal taste and you can of course debate this.

Sadly, the same feature is not available in the Mail client on Windows 10.

How Microsoft fools itself

by Volker Weber

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These are the Microsoft Store recommendations for me. The irony is that I don't play computer games. Ever. I learned many years ago that they are a total waste of time. Next time you ask me why I have so much time, here is one of your reasons.

How does Microsoft deem these apps worth my time? Because I have Minesweeper and Solitaire installed. Why do I have them installed? Because Microsoft adds this crapware to my installation every time they update Windows. And somebody who does analytics for the Microsoft Store can't figure this out.

I like to think of Microsoft as a company with smart people. But when they pollute my Windows installation with stuff I clearly do not want and adding insult to injury finally base their recommendations on their own wrongdoing, I have serious doubts.

Surface Pro 4 vs Surface 3

by Volker Weber

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I just told you how Surface 3 became my travel companion. It's silent, it doubles as tablet with pen and notebook. I have the 4/128 configuration, which means 4 GB RAM and 128 GB storage. That's the top of the line for Surface 3. Incidentally, it is also the entry level for Surface Pro 4. And the most interesting feature of that configuration is the fan-less design around a Skylake Core m3-6Y30 processor. That's already quite a bit faster than the Atom x7-Z8700, but does not draw as much power as the Core i CPUs in the faster Surface Pro 4 models. Performance is not a problem for my workload, so the entry level suits me just fine.

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There is however a huge difference between the machines, at least for a writer. Surface Pro 4 has a much better keyboard than Surface 3. Since Surface Pro 4 is larger than Surface 3 (12.3" vs 10.8") the keyboard itself is also larger, it has spacing between the keys and the keys themselves have better tactile feedback. Also, this keyboard cover has a very decent trackpad, compared to the barely functional one in Surface 3. In summary, it is a much better laptop.

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There is one other change that makes it less desirable, but only for me. Surface Pro does not charge over MicroUSB. Instead it has a reversible universal connector, which is able to deliver more power. That means that it recharges way more quickly than Surface 3. But it does require its own power brick. As I said, that only concerns me, since I like to travel with a single multi-port power supply which delivers 5V at 2.4A on each port. Good enough for Surface 3 but not Surface Pro 4. The connector is actually the same on Surface Book, on the Surface Book Clipboard as well as Surface Dock and it connects all relevant ports between those devices. Surface 3 is the odd one out.

My choice of the entry level Surface Pro 4 is also odd for many people. Most strive for faster processors and more storage. But I like the machine silent and "right sized". I travel light. Compared to the other configurations "my" Surface Pro 4 is relatively cheap. Compared to the Surface 3 it is expensive, while basically doing the same job.

A slightly larger screen, more performance, a bit heavier, these all even out. The keyboard would make the biggest difference. And there is a luxury version:

It's working!

by Volker Weber

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Both Jochen and Dennis provided valuable input on how the Workflow app works. I also purchased the awesome Transmit file transfer app.

This has made the iPad Pro even more useful. Expect to see more scribbles in the future. :-)

Help me build a Workflow

by Volker Weber

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I have this nice Workflow app. And I was never able to put it to good use. Can you help me build a workflow? What I need is an image upload to vowe.net.

This is what I do on my Mac:

  1. Drag a photo to ImageWell
  2. Let ImageWell create a random name
  3. Resize the image to 640px width
  4. Push the image via SFTP to vowe.net
  5. Copy the image URL to the clipboard like this

<img src="//vowe.net/images/ZZ113E0D8F.png" alt="ZZ113E0D8F" width="640" height="480" />

Pick image, resize and convert is easy. I will also be able to do something like convert only if PNG and filesize > 150 kB. Creating a random name, putting the URL on the clipboard and uploading to vowe.net is where I fail.

Silent Circle’s Blackphone revealed as a sales flop

by Volker Weber

Silent Circle had expected orders for 250,000 Blackphones from three distributor agreements it thought it had secured, including with Dubai-based BigOn Telecommunications and Kumion in South Korea — but both those deals fell through. In the other instance expected sales of 100,000 Blackphones to America Movil resulted in orders for just 6,000 phones.

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Ello public Android beta

by Volker Weber

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The iOS client has been available for a while. I have also used the Android app in private beta for a while and it has been very stable. Now Ello opens up the beta to the public.

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Is Microsoft learning?

by Volker Weber

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I had high hopes that Microsoft might be able to get their act together when building the Anniversary Update for Windows 10. But so far, things do not look promising.

Not only does Microsoft install this self serving piece of crapware. They also spam the Info-Center with repeated push messages. I assume they want to teach other developers to do the same. And lastly, this piece of crapware does not even know that I am already an Office 365 subscriber. Although I am logged into my Microsoft account.

Microsoft, do you serioulsy assume that Windows users never heard of Office 365? Do you need to push them, repeatedly? Even if they already have the product?

This is just incompetence.

Surface 3 has a winning formula

by Volker Weber

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As I recently said, this is Apple territory. But when I travel, I always pack the Surface 3. It has a unique set of features that would require me to carry much more Apple gear. Since I like to travel light, that is not a good option. The photo shows four important things:

  1. Surface Pen. I could use iPad Pro instead for pen support.
  2. USB A port for thumb drives. Not on the iPad Pro. Would require MacBook Pro.
  3. USB charging. MacBook Pro needs its own power brick.
  4. Decent keyboard with not so decent trackpad.

I could carry the Macbook but then were unable to use a pen and would need the power brick. Or I could use the iPad Pro with Apple Pencil, but then were unable to read USB media.

This is what I am packing: five port USB charger with wires, iPhone 6S Plus with Olloclip Active Lens, BlackBerry Priv, Surface 3, power bank, Plantronics headset. Yes, always two phones.

Zonos 2.0 mit Support für Cortana

by Volker Weber

Ihr kennt die Geschichte: Sonos weigert sich beharrlich, eine offizielle App für die Windows Plattform zu entwickeln. Alternativen gibt es schon länger, eine davon ist Zonos. Als Sonos anlässlich von Windows 10 bekräftigte, weiterhin keine Pläne für eine eigene App zu haben, fassten die Macher von Zonos dem Entschluss, die "beste und schönste" alternative App zu bauen, und seither geben sie auch mächtig Gas.

Neue Features: unter anderem Support für Cortana. Kostet nichts, Werbung kann man für 3 Euro abschalten.

Das sind wahrscheinlich großartige Programmierer. Dieses Design kann nur von großartigen Programmierern sein. Wenn ihr wisst, was ich meine ...

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BlackBerry giving it to you ever so slowly

by Volker Weber

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BlackBerry spinning the news:

the Classic has long surpassed the average lifespan for a smartphone in today’s market. We are ready for this change so we can give our customers something better

This post on BlackBerry's blog is a masterful piece. It avoids revealing the whole story: BlackBerry stops making BB10 devices. The Classic has been very successful, and BlackBerry probably has low inventory levels. Next thing on the list is the Leap, which lasts until the end of September. And then there is the Passport, which sold out initially as BlackBerry was careful not to make too many. Maybe they overestimated demand and made too many. The AT&T model with rounded corners is phased out first with no information about the regular one.

Don't worry about support. That is going to last another two years until the end of 2018. Just don't expect any new features or devices.

With "give our customers something better" BlackBerry avoids saying Android. I would argue that BlackBerry 10 is better than Android in every single aspect but one: market penetration. BlackBerry can't walk alone, so they now try for a unique position: secure Android.

Noch ein Fluffy-Nachtrag

by Volker Weber

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Ralph kommentiert:

Von dem Staubsauger bin ich wirklich sehr begeistert. Das Gerät ist wirklich leicht und auch ebenso leicht zu händeln, kein Vergleich zu einem Staubsauger, den man noch hinter sich herziehen und auf die Kabel achten muss. Die Akkuladung reicht genau aus um das Erdgeschoss, Treppe und den 1. Stock des Einfamilienhauses einmal durchzusaugen. Mit den Katzenhaaren wird die Fluffy-Bürste spielend fertig, und auch unsere eine Katze ist sehr interessiert an dem rotierenden Gerät und verfolgt es beim saugen durch das ganze Haus... Meine anfangs skeptische Frau hat das Gerät auch überzeugt, seitdem es da ist, saugt sie sogar freiwillig. Hätte ich ihn nur schon früher gekauft... ;-)

Wie bei Sonos sollte man nicht den WAF unterschätzen. Bei uns ist es sogar umgekehrt. Erst durch den Dyson hat die Scheffin ein haariges Monster im Haus akzeptiert. Und der letzte Satz beschreibt die Situation sehr gut. Dyson-Geräte sind einfach so unverschämt teuer, dass man ewig überlegt, bis man eins kauft.

Vorher nachdenken: wo kommt das Ding hin? Das muss greifbar wie ein Stubenbesen sein.

Your next Android device should be a BlackBerry

by Volker Weber

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My big frustration with Android used to be how quickly they were abandoned by their manufacturers. That is why I said you should buy a Nexus if you really wanted an Android device that gets updates. But this is about to change in a big way.

What is more important than the latest release of Android is the latest security patch. And BlackBerry has changed this game. Nothing has received patches more timely than the BlackBerry Priv. Nothing, not even a Nexus. And BlackBerry has made big changes under the hood to deliver a device that cannot be rooted. That is a problem for tinkerers but not for people who want a secure device.

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The Priv however has been way too expensive for most people. And this is where the game will change. I have researched the three new BlackBerry devices coming up in the next three quarters. The first one is codenamed Neon and it will be announced really soon. My bet is on a price point comparable to the BlackBerry Leap. If you want to spend more, you can wait for Argon, and if you need a hardware keyboard, you can wait even longer for Mercury, or just get the Priv. But Neon is the device that changes the landscape.

You will be able to buy a secure Android device at an affordable price.

Messaging is local

by Volker Weber

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First row of my home screen. These are the messaging apps I use most often. Yours may be completely different and that is both normal and troubling. A few days ago I asked a 17 y/o from New Jersey, what she uses, and she said Messages. And a lot of Snapchat. I talked to a Chinese girl at Mensa the other day and for her it was Wechat. Wechat only. While WhatsApp is almost ubiquitous here, none of my American friends seem to use it. And other than email, chat apps are walled gardens.

Walled gardens benefit the vendor, but they are a risky game. BBM for instance, once known as BlackBerry Messenger, was built to promote BlackBerrys. Either you have one and you are in, or you don't and then you are out. Very late, way too late, BlackBerry opened up BBM to Android and iOS. But the users were already gone, and as much as BlackBerry likes to pretend otherwise, BBM is dead.

iOS Messages still works well in the US, where Apple commands a big market share. And it helps that it falls back to SMS texts when the other party does not have an iPhone. Apple said at the WWDC keynote that Messages is the most used app on iPhone. And as such, I dismissed the iMessage on Android rumor as wishful thinking. Apple has no interest in making the Android platform better. And unlike Facebook their business is selling devices.

What does not belong? FaceTime, because it is not a messaging app. It probably should be part of Messages. What is missing? Facebook Messenger. I have an account on Facebook, but I am not an active user. So far they have not ruined WhatsApp, but I trust they eventually will. Messengers are not making money, and today they are loss leaders to grab territory. Everybody is envious of Asian messaging platforms that have turned into commerce platforms.

vowe's magic flying circus is mostly Apple territory. iPhone, iPad, Watch, MacBook, iMac. Messages arrive on all devices at the same time. So I am using Messages with all other Apple users. I use WhatsApp for all group chats and people outside the Apple continent. Since it only works on one device and cannot be remote controlled from the iPad, it is less convenient. FaceTime keeps me connected to home when traveling. And Snapchat? That is only a phase.

How about you?

DJ Jazzy Jeff & MICK: Summertime Volume 7

by Volker Weber

It's finally here. Download at Summertime.fm

BlackBerry beats Nexus

by Volker Weber

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BlackBerry is rolling out the monthly Android Security Patch a day early. With some OEMs you are lucky to get it at all.

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Aus für BlackBerry 10

by Volker Weber

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Drei neue Android-Geräte wollen die Kanadier in den nächsten drei Quartalen auf den Markt bringen. Das Betriebssystem BlackBerry 10 dagegen läuft aus.

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BlackBerry to go full Android

by Volker Weber

BlackBerry informed Verizon and AT&T that production of all BlackBerry OS 10 devices (Q10, Z10, Z30, Passport, and Classic) has been discontinued. Future carrier order fulfillment will not be guaranteed due to limited remaining stock.

This leaves a little wiggle room, because that message could be that production of branded phones for Verizon and AT& has stopped.

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Despite reports of lackluster sales for its first Android smartphone, BlackBerry is tripling down on the platform in the coming year. According to a person briefed on the company’s plans, the Canadian manufacturer will be releasing one phone per quarter for the next three quarters.

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There is one number frequently misreported. When The Verge et.al. report lackluster sales of the PRIV, they often say that BlackBerry only sold 600.000 in a quarter. That number is the total number of smartphones sold, not the number of PRIVs. My educated guess is that this number should be closer to 100.000.

The story behind Apple's wheelchair Activity app

by Volker Weber

WWDC 2016 and Apple made many moves to improve accessibility across its products, but the introduction of a version of the Apple Watch Activity app for wheelchair users was a particularly big deal. You see, there’s never been an accurate fitness tracker like this before, and Apple has been working on it for at least a year.

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Broke the streak. Didn't break the chain.

by Volker Weber

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On June, 20 I broke the longest move streak by missing three calories on that day. This happened because I was no longer checking my progress.

However, I did not break the chain. This happened because I formed a habit of daily exercise. Which is way stronger than checking your daily progress.

I no longer need the Apple Watch. But I want it. For all the other good reasons.

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Ceci n'est pas un blog

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

vowe

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