February 2017

How to download IBM Connect 2017 session presentations

by Volker Weber


It's not easy, but it can be done.

  1. Go to https://myibm.ibm.com/ and log in.
  2. If you do not have an IBM ID, you can create one for free. Log in.
  3. Go to https://myibm.ibm.com/events/connect/all-sessions

Good luck though. There aren't that many presentations attached. All speakers had to upload their presentations before the conference, but IBM's processes aren't as smooth as they should be. And yes, same situation for everybody. Attendee or not.

Two questions about Notes & Domino

by Volker Weber


I have two polls running on Twitter, where I ask (a) how you would enable a legacy Notes/Domino app for mobile and web, and (b) how you would describe your usage of IBM Notes and Domino. I let the first run for a day and it just finished while the other one is still running.

This is an interesting exercise because you can see how interested parties try to skew the results by stuffing the ballot. As if that could change realities. In the question above, the overwhelming number of votes went to a migration to a new platform, in second place there was "do nothing" which means to just let the app die from starvation. Migration still won in the end, because there were just too many votes.

The other poll is still running for much of the remainder of the week.

Porsche Design BOOK ONE

by Volker Weber

08 porsche design 02

This is pretty. And expensive. But not more expensive than the Surface Book. Now that I am comfortable with Windows 10, it is also very tempting.

10 porsche design 01 03

Unlike the Surface Book it is a convertible that folds all the way back. It has dual USB 3.0 Type A and dual USB 3.1 Type C ports. One of the Type C ports is on the clipboard. Using the same technology as the Surface Book you can separate the clipboard from the base.

pd book one detach w10 login on wht

The clipboard has a 25 Wh battery, the base contains another 45 Wh battery, which also balances the machine in notebook mode. There is no GPU in the base, but there is still a lot of ooomph with a seventh gen Core i7, 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage.

pd book one tablet pen w10 clean on wht

The pen has a AAAA type battery like the Surface Pen and two buttons. You can attach it to the side of the clipboard where a magnet keeps it in place, but there is no in-device storage.

Love the design. There are three caveats: this will feel boxy, since there are no tapered edges. It does not have the fulcrum hinge, so it will be more prone to tip over backwards when using the pen or you touch the screen. And at 1.5 kg it's not the lightest to carry around. But even with these caveats it is the first device that would push the Surface 4 off my table. Porsche Design, you know where I live. If you forget a machine here, you won't get it back.

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How did February work out for you? #dontbreakthechain

by Volker Weber


Daniel was the first to finish the month (and tell me so on Twitter). If you need any further motivation to not break the chain, look at these two photos. They show the same man.


I am always at awe when I look at them. Conveniently they show up as the first two hits on Google Image Search.

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Myself, I am ending the month on a high note. So, are you with us?

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by Volker Weber

Data Selfie is a browser extension that tracks you while you are on Facebook to show you your own data traces and reveal how machine learning algorithms use your data to gain insights about your personality.The tool explores our relationship to the online data we leave behind as a result of media consumption and social networks - the information you share consciously and unconsciously.

IBM mischt kräftig mit bei diesem Projekt. Es zeigt sehr schön, was Maschinen über den Menschen herausfinden können. Nun ist IBM ja nicht daran interessiert, Dir zu zeigen, was mit Deinen Daten passiert, sondern will seinen Kunden die Intelligenz von Watson demonstrieren.

Dieses Ding ist absolute Pflichtlektüre für jemanden, der sich mit Datenschutz und dem Einsatz solcher Tools im Unternehmen auseinandersetzt. Speziell im Umgang mit den eigenen Mitarbeitern.

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Lenovo Connect

by Volker Weber

Lenovo stellt zum MWC eine ganze Reihe von Geräten vor: MiiX 320,Yoga 720 und 520, Tab 4 Serie. Spannend dabei:

All diesen Geräten ist gemein, dass sie dem Nutzer uneingeschränkte, echte Mobilität ermöglichen, zum Bespiel mit der tollen Option einer nahezu flächendeckenden LTE-Verbindung. Lenovo kündigt dafür die nächste Stufe von Lenovo Connect an, inklusive Unterstützung für umprogrammierbare e-SIMs. Die e-SIM ermöglicht es Nutzern, auf ausgewählten Windows, LTE-fähigen Geräten von den besten lokal verfügbaren Preisen für mobiles Internet zu profitieren, sowohl daheim als auch unterwegs im Roaming-Modus, ohne, dass die SIM-Karte gewechselt werden muss. ... Lenovo Connect e-SIM macht es einfach, sich überall auf der Welt mit dem Internet zu verbinden – das Wechseln von SIM-Karten gehört damit der Vergangenheit an. Lenovo Connect ermöglicht Nutzern eine nahtlose Verbindung und lokales Kostenmanagement, auch wenn sie unterwegs sind, indem sie von den Angeboten lokaler Telco-Anbietern profitieren können. Nutzer können das Datenvolumen zwischen Geräten hin und her schieben, wenn diese Lenovo Connect-fähig sind.

Da werde ich nochmal nachfragen müssen.

Love it

by Volker Weber

Samsung Galaxy Book and Galaxy Tab S3 :: First impressions

by Volker Weber


Samsung announced new tablets today in Barcelona. The Android Galaxy Tab S3 and the Windows Galaxy Book. I already had a chance to try them, and I have a pretty solid opinion on them.

The Galaxy Tab 3 follows the same design pattern as the iPad Pro 9.7. It's a very solid device with a georgeous display supporting HDR video, long battery life and pen input. Samsung uses a Wacom pen that works without charging and pairing. It is fast, accurate and recognizes 4k levels of pressure. It has a clip and a button which turns the pen into an eraser. I tried it with OneNote and it worked just as well as an iPad Pro with Apple Pencil. The Tab S3 will hit the market next month at exactly the same price points as an entry level iPad Pro, with and without LTE. The pen is in the box and not a separate purchase like the Apple Pencil. The tablet comes with only 32 GB of storage that can be expanded up to 256 GB with a microSD storage card. If you like Samsung phones, you will like the Tab S3. Unlike the Galaxy Note, it does not provide for storing the pen. It is too big to fit into the device, there is no magnetic attachment, you could only glue a loop to the cover.

I am not into Android tablets, but I like Windows 10 convertibles. So the Galaxy Book is right up my alley. There is a 10.8" model with 7th generation Core m3 and 4 GB RAM and 64 GB of storage, and a 12" Core i5 with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. They will hit the market in June. I find the smaller model to be underpowered on the memory front, while the 12" model looks perfect to me. Like the Surface Pro it attaches a full screen keyboard with magnets and pogo pins and it supports exactly the same pen as the Tab S3. There is no kickstand so you have to use the cover to prop up the device in laptop mode. The smaller model has one USB Type C port, the bigger one two.

The Galaxy Book does not have a fingerprint reader or a Hello camera, but you can log in via the tight integration that Samsung provides with their own Galaxy phones. Once again this looks like a great device for somebody already in the Samsung eco system, which I am not. The keyboard and trackpad work well, you will immediately feel at home. There is NFC support in the keyboard cover to bond the Galaxy Book with your Galaxy phone. Good news: Samsung will offer an LTE version of the device, which makes it truely mobile.

Week 8/2017 #dontbreakthechain

by Volker Weber


The day isn't over, but the week is in. Who is with me?


Ute is.


Are you?

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Apple Watch charging

by Volker Weber


I haven't unpacked the massive cable. But there has to be a better way.

BlackBerry KEYone

by Volker Weber


It's not the DTEK70 after all. As TCL has revealed in Barcelona 'Mercury' will hit the market early April as BlackBerry KEYone for 599 €. That is not as ridiculously high priced as the PRIV was when it launched, but it seems quite expensive for a business device. This will not be the last BlackBerry. There is already another one in beta. I'm a bit puzzled by the branding. Maybe KEYone will be followed by KEYtwo etc. This is going to make sense when we see the first NOKEYone. :-)

I have been playing with this device last year, but I never disclose information before its time. You may think the unique feature is the keyboard, but what I found interesting is the battery, which is rated at 3500 mAh. That is a lot of juice for a 4.5" display. Compared to an iPhone, it's roughly double the size. This thing is meant to be used all day. I am not a huge fan of the design, but it's functional. It combines elements of Nokia, Apple and BlackBerry. The back provides a good grip, it feels very solid, but the keyboard is relatively small. It cannot hold a candle to the keyboard of a BlackBerry Classic, if only because the keys are not sculpted. I am actually faster on a soft keyboard than this one. It does provide the trackpad functionality first seen on the Passport and it introduces a fingerprint reader on the space bar.

This is a solid business phone with Android, but it does not make me drop a PRIV.

My favorite headset design

by Volker Weber


These are my favorite headsets. And they follow the same design pattern: no wires, recharge in their case, sit inside your ear, don't seal off the environment. Both are very comfortable. The AirPods are great for listening, but can't compete in the noise cancellation space. The Voyager Edge has the edge (sic) in phone calls.

I use both of them a lot and you can tell by the dirt they are accumulating.

What is up with Android Messages and RCS?

by Volker Weber


Android Messages makes it easy to communicate with anyone by using SMS, MMS, and more.

Google's handling of messaging rivals only its social network fumblings. There is Hangouts, and Allo, and Duo, and now Android Messages, formerly Messenger. Why all the fuzz? It's because Google is failing time and again.

Android doesn't have something like Apple's iMessage. They don't really have something like Facetime. So they created Allo and Duo. Both are tied to your phone number, copying a successful push by the likes of WhatsApp. And since Google+ bombed, they could not make Hangouts to fly, so that is moving in the direction of enterprise, where it meets the big boys like Cisco. Do you know anybody who uses Allo or Duo? See?

And now RCS? Puleeeeze. That is the follow-up to texting, designed by carriers. They want you to pay for messages, just like you did for texts. I am sure you were just waiting to do that.

Jaybird Freedom and X3 :: First impressions

by Volker Weber


I visited Jaybird at IFA 2016 in Berlin, took a look at their Freedom and X2 headsets and was pretty sure I wanted a Freedom headset. It's just tiny and extremely light. But it did not make much sense to test it then, since Jaybird wasn't shipping here yet.

Fast forward to last week and I received an email from the agency offering me test samples. I thought about it for a bit and then replied asking for both. Not only the Freedom but also the X3, successor to the X2. As it turned out that was a smart move.


Enter the Freedom. Isn't this thing tiny? It ships without the ear gels attached and you have to customize it with one of three sizes of gels, or one of three sizes of memory foam which provide a better seal. And then you can add one of four sizes of fins, that sit inside your ear and push the head of the earpiece in, so it never comes out, no matter what you do.

You have to take your time with this process. Only when you achieve a seal, you will get the full sound experience. If your in-ear-phones sound tinny, chances are it is not the headset but the fit. The good news is that it is very easy to swap gels on these Jaybird headsets, unlike most other designs. So I played with different gels but I could not get them to sound well.


Somewhat disappointed I tried the X3 and they immediately resonated with me. I stepped up from the medium size gel to the large one and boooom, there was the bass. Add two medium size fins and I had the perfect fit. As it later turned out, the Freedom headset fit just perfect into small ears, while my somewhat larger than normal ears needed the X3. So the red Freedom became the Lady headset, and for the first time ever we found an an in-ear-headset she likes.

Both headsets are sweat-proof and you can wear the wire over the ear or casually just hanging out of your ear. The box contains two clips that let you manage the length of the cable so the headset sits firmly on your head with the wire behind your neck. Great for workouts.


Both headset connect over Bluetooth to up to two devices at the same time. So they need power and have batteries that last for eight hours. You charge them via 500 mA and 5 V USB. The Freedom has an interesting design. Half of that battery capacity is located in the in-line controller together with three buttons and the mic. The other half is in a tiny box that has a microUSB connector and five pins. You clip it to the controller to get to eight hours or you use the headset without, rendering 4 hours of playback. While you are using them, you can recharge the tiny box separately. If you buy spare adapters, you can have several of them pre-charged for long flights or you can attach one while you charge the other one. The X3 is simpler. The controller contains the eight hour battery and you need to attach a clip that connects the USB wire to the pin holes on the controller.


The headset are pre-configured with an equalizer setting that provides some "loudness" by raising the bass. You can program them any way you want them to sound through the MySound app. A different sound is just a tap away. There are downloadably profiles and you can also manually set the equalizer any way you want.

These are great products if you want a headset for sports, that is customizable to your needs. Just know that you will need the X3 for larger ears and the Freedom for tiny ears.

IBM Connect 2017 :: Watson über alles

by Volker Weber

IMG 1400

Es sollte ein großer Neuanfang für IBMs Traditionsveranstaltung, vormals als Lotusphere bekannt, werden. Der Umzug von Orlando nach San Francisco sollte neue Teilnehmer bringen, die sich für IBMs Cognitive-Initiative erwärmen. Der Neustart misslang.

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Gewohnheitstier :: Hier, Tastaturen

by Volker Weber


Es ist ausgesprochen schwierig, Tastaturen zu beurteilen. Was gewohnt ist, scheint auch besser. Bisher hatte ich vor allem zwei Tastaturen in Benutzung: ein Apple Magic Keyboard und ein 2013er MacBook Pro. Diese beiden Tastaturen gleichen sich und ich hatte mich voll an sie gewöhnt. Jede andere Tastatur erschien mir schlechter. Die neuen MacBooks hatten zuwenig Hub, die Yogas ein fremdes Layout. Nur das ThinkPad X1Yoga erschien mir super, wohl weil es sich anfühlte wie meine alten ThinkPads.

Nun mache ich seit gut acht Wochen alles auf dem Surface Pro 4 mit der Puscheltastatur und habe mich an diese gewöhnt. Die Mac-Tastaturen finde ich auf einmal zu weich und nachgiebig. Ein neues MacBook fände ich nun wahrscheinlich besser als die alten, auch wenn viele bei der Umstellung den kleinen Hub bemängeln.

Der Mensch ist einfach ein Gewohnheitstier.

Insta360 :: First impressions

by Volker Weber


Weezeeh. This is fun. I never knew what do with 360 degree panoramas. But it turns out you just need the right (inexpensive) tech. Enter the Insta360. This is the same photo, just rendered in a different way.


The Insta360 comes in a box, which doubles as a VR viewer. Any content, from the camera or from Youtube for instance, that is encoded as 360 VR can be viewed. Call up the split screen view, place the iPhone in the box and you are ready to go.


The camera is rather simple. Wipe down the two lenses with the bag it comes in, and then plug it into your iPhone with this Lighting plug.


Downside: this is a tight fit. You cannot have a case around your iPhone. For the first time ever, my iPhone 7 Plus is going commando. Wish me luck that I don't drop it. Insta360 automatically launches its app, and if it isn't installed already, it offers to install it.


Since the camera is plugged into the bottom, the UI of the app is upside down. You get a view finder, you can shoot video or photos, and the app will stitch it together, live, while you are watching. What you see above is Tiny Planet. The app can also render as Fish-Eye and Panorama.

Do you want to see the full Tiny Planet for photo above? You can find it right here. Look in the upper righthand corner. There are many view options.


The camera has its own battery. So you have to charge it. And you can insert your own 64 GB microSD to store photos when not connected to an iPhone.


There is a shutter button. Press it once for a photo. Press it twice for a video. And press it three times for either a time-lapse or a timed photo. For those two you would need the stand, that is not included.

Editor-refuses-to-give-it-back award. Big time. This will be fun. Weezeeh. Watch this video review.

IBM Connect 2017 Opening General Session

by Volker Weber


There are two parts, the first was at 10 am, the second part at 1 pm. I find very little in the first part interesting. Watch for Chris Crummey, the guy with the pocket square (Einstecktuch). The second one you should watch from beginning to end. If you are interested in Notes and Domino, that would be towards the end of the video.


Come join us for IBM Connect 2017

by Volker Weber


It has never been easier to be at IBM Connect without actually being at IBM Connect. After I decided not to travel to San Francisco, I have set up a Slack Team Space for everybody. It now has more than 250 members, about 40% of those members are in San Francisco so we can have a lively disussion. We have eight channels now: #general for announcement, #random for everything that is interesting, then #connections. #dominoappdev and #watsonworkspace for different topics. #photos-only is for collecting photos, #presentations-only for those presentation slides. And finally #twitter, which collects all #IBMconnect tweets.


If you have an email address in one of those domains, you can go right to the signup page to join us:

ibm.com, de.ibm.com, us.ibm.com, uk.ibm.com, br.ibm.com, ie.ibm.com, no.ibm.com, it.ibm.com, ch.ibm.com, panagenda.com, socialconnections.info, timetoact.de, we4it.com, bcc.biz, edcom.de, teamtechnology.de, appfusions.com, agentbase.de, isi.no, sysnet.co.uk, ategra.ch, swingsoftware.com, sp-integration.de, db.com, teamstudio.com

If you don't have one of those email domains, any team member can invite you. That includes me. Tell me if I should add your mail domain to the list above when you ask for an invite, so that others can dive right in.

Week 7/2017 #dontbreakthechain

by Volker Weber


Frau Brandlinger approves. And the people below. Seven weeks is a actually a big deal. If you include the first of January, we are 50 days into the year. That is halfway to your 100 days badge.

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Watson Workspace is coming together :: Just in time for Connect 2017

by Volker Weber

Watson Workspace

When Watson Workspace opened its preview right at Watson World last year, I was underwhelmed, to say the least. And so were other people. You looked, you saw, you went. It was revealed way too early. Progress over the last months was slow, or so it seemed. Until yesterday.

The team was hard at work and it revealed a lot of functions yesterday. Things like alerts for mentions, direct messages, a better way to discover Moments. The list goes on. While it was barely usable when it was first released, it now has become useful. Do give it another try.

If you compare Watson Workspace to Slack or HipChat, you will find it severly lacking, as far as features and functions are concerned. But it is pretty, and it is smart. With Moments Watson tries to surface what is important to you, if you haven't been looking at the chat for a while. This is nowhere near perfect, but it will learn.

The web interface has been updated, a new iOS app is out, the new Android app is coming over the weekend.

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Chromebooks in business

by Volker Weber

HP Chromebook13 G1

Photo HP

There is an interesting development in education, where schools start to rely on Chromebooks for their students. The biggest advantage is that these devices are easily replaceable. Grab any Chromebook, log in with your Google credentials and you are ready to go. There is no admin overhead for machines. You still need to work on your directory and your apps, but the machines itself don't carry anything but a cache.

You can have many Google IDs. A business ID, a private ID, a travel ID, and they can all log into the same machine, while keeping things separate. And you can wipe previously used IDs from the machine. This is an opportunity to keep data safe from border searches. Wipe all IDs from the machine and log into your travel ID. Once you crossed the border, log into your business ID.

Of course there is a bigger question here: whom do you trust? If you trust your business to Google, then this seems like a good idea. Even if you don't trust Google with your data, it still works for you, if you keep that data in your own shop and make it accessible through the web. Google has pretty strong authentication going, including two factor auth with hardware tokens.

DTEK50 and PRIV are updating

by Volker Weber


I have been checking for updates every single day since the update cycle started. The first updates were for PRIV but I did not get them. Today I received the very same update that shipped 12 days ago:

It is pretty clear that the PRIV update to my phone has simply been delayed. Exactly the same version. The DTEK50 has a much higher build number which at least hints at a later release date.

On the upside: BlackBerry delivers its monthly Android updates for all devices. It can still improve on the timely delivery. But that is a lot more than most other OEMs do.

Please report your BlackBerry Android security updates here >

Signal adds video calling

by Volker Weber


Enable in Advanced Settings. Callkit support means you can answer calls from the lock screen. Enable/disable as you like.

But by all means, start using Signal for safe communications. I am now at 144 contacts in Signal, more than half of WhatsApp contacts. We are getting there.

IBMconnect Slack Team Space is off to a good start

by Volker Weber


Team already has 100+ members with one week before the conference kicks into high gear. IBMers with US, UK or DE addresses can dive right in by going to the signup page. I am also adding more domains if you need to invite more than a couple of people. Just tell me what you need. So far these domains are pre-approved:

@ibm.com, @panagenda.com, @de.ibm.com, @us.ibm.com, @socialconnections.info, ibm.com, de.ibm.com, us.ibm.com, uk.ibm.com, br.ibm.com, ie.ibm.com, no.ibm.com, it.ibm.com, ch.ibm.com, panagenda.com, socialconnections.info, timetoact.de, we4it.com, bcc.biz, edcom.de, teamtechnology.de, appfusions.com, agentbase.de, isi.no, sysnet.co.uk, ategra.ch, swingsoftware.com, sp-integration.de, db.com, teamstudio.com

All others need an invitation. Every team member can invite you. That includes me.

Stream what you hear to your Sonos

by Volker Weber


Stream What You Hear (SWYH) is a Windows application to broadcast the sound of your computer (ie: 'what you hear') on an UPnP/DLNA device such as TVs, amps, network receivers, game consoles, etc...

And that includes Sonos players.

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TimeToAct wins Beacon Award

by Volker Weber

That's a biggie for an IBM Partner. Congratulations!

BlackBerry releases new app for Hub Services+

by Volker Weber


Notable is a content creation and sharing app that allows you to quickly capture content on your device screen, mark it up with text or free-form drawing tools, and quickly share it to your friends. The screen capture is triggered from the device convenience key, assigning as a swipe gesture shortcut, or by tapping the dedicated screen capture notification in the notification tray. From there the user can mark up the content they captured quickly in the app – they can draw on it freely, add text, or even add stickers to the Notable to help call attention to something specific, or express themselves. Once the Notable has been created, the user can quickly share it to their friends via the Android share framework.

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Apple Music with exclusive video content

by Volker Weber

With Spotify firmly in the lead, Apple is trying some exclusive content to get customers to subscribe to their offering. I am not convinced that taking James Corden out of the car will work. And this show?

Office 365 Groups vs Teams: How to Successfully Deploy Both

by Volker Weber

what I can say is that despite perceptions that Office 365 Groups and Teams are opposing solutions, the reality is that they are actually complimentary. In fact, these two need to work together if we are ever to defeat the evils of emails and boring file shares.

To call this a mess would be understating. What were they thinking?

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Echo in Deutschland

by Volker Weber


Echo Dot und Echo sind jetzt ohne Vorbestellung erhältlich.

Imagination is difficult :: Byte April 1981

by Volker Weber


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[Thanks, John]

Week 6/2017 #dontbreakthechain

by Volker Weber


Are you still following?

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Microsoft Surface Pro 4 :: Seven+ weeks in

by Volker Weber


I owe you a short update on Surface Pro 4. It's currently the only computer I use. I need to recharge it twice a day and it lasts about six to seven hours on a charge. Love the Signature keyboard and trackpad. It's not a compromise and the Alcantara palm rest feels so much better than an aluminium body. I clean it up once a week with some soap and it has not turned gross in any way.


I run Windows 10 in Tablet Mode most of the time. That means all apps run fullscreen without any chrome around them. I have a few Win32 apps like Sonos, Filezilla or Blogdesk, but the majority of apps are from the store. There are only a few workflows still on the MacBook that I need to pull over. Documents are in the cloud so I can switch back and forth in a second.

Overall I consider this a full success. I could do everything on Windows 10 now. And I did not have any WaaH moments in a long while.

Slack Team :: Connect 2017

by Volker Weber


I have set up a Slack Team for IBM Connect 2017. I would like to use this to discuss what is happening at the conference. As you know it's only a Remote Connect for me this year, so a little online collaboration might help. It isn't quite as public as on Twitter, so there is less incentive to pose. ;-) You can also share photos, links, or have a private chat.

If you want to be in, drop me a mail. Once you are on the team, you can also invite your friends. To help with the onboarding I have preapproved some domains and will add more. Just head over to ibmconnect2017.slack.com/signup.


Sonos :: Wake up the silent home

by Volker Weber

Music: Jailbreak by Thin Lizzy

A couple of people in a room, everybody is glued to their screen. How do you solve this? Buy more Sonos, says Sonos. :-)

Maybe you want to read the study >

BSI veröffentlicht Studie zu Samsung KNOX

by Volker Weber

Um bei der Vielzahl der Konfigurationsmöglichkeiten und der Komplexität der Knox-Lösung einen roten sicherheitstechnischen Faden aufzuzeigen, beschreibt das Dokument 'Sicherheitsempfehlungen zur Konfiguration von Samsung Knox' möglich Ansätze zur Absicherung und Konfiguration von mobilen Endgeräten mittels der Knox-Funktionen. Dazu werden Basismaßnahmen und zusätzliche Maßnahmen benannt, die auf Knox-Geräte angewandt werden können. Anhand von zwei beispielhaft gewählten Mobile-Device-Management-Systemen (MDM) werden aus Sicherheitssicht empfehlenswerte Konfigurationsparameter für Knox-Geräte aufgezeigt.

Das ist ein solides Stück Arbeit. Sehr trockene Materie, nur mit einem Eimer Wasser zu verdauen.

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The Enthusiast Trap

by Volker Weber

This guy can explain stuff. Today you will learn why Pebble or Cyanogen ultimately failed, or why other companies like Oppo are suddenly no longer interesting to you. It comes down to you. You are not an interesting market to cater to.

Battery Levels

by Volker Weber


At the end of the day, iPhone is still running well, but low on battery. Watch would be good for another day. AirPods have recharged in the case. And the freaking Logitech K780 is still at 100 percent after a couple of months.

In related news, I was active today and am now ready to recharge. :-)

It's back to the office for IBMers

by Volker Weber

The Register:

IBM is cracking down on remote workers, ordering unlucky employees to either come into one of six main offices and work "shoulder to shoulder" – or leave for good.

While The Register mentions IBM Marketing, this is a broader initiative and explains some of the recent defections like Luis Benitez who worked out of his home country Puerto Rico.

IBM has been telling everybody (and itself) that location does not matter anymore and that distributed teams come together through software, but it hasn't been working well for the company. Process rules at IBM and things that seem easy are in fact very difficult. I have the utmost respect for any IBMer who gets anything done. After years of falling revenues the company is now reorganizing. Without a doubt IBM will be losing many talented people who have made other plans.

To my knowledge this IBM initiative has not been rolled out to other countries yet. Tell us if you know otherwise.

In this context it is interesting that Microsoft is working differently. Microsoft Germany doesn't count hours or days and they don't make you come to the office. It's only the results that count, not the time you put into them. It has made Microsoft one of the most attractive employers here. And it is working. From partnering to PR I see no other vendor coming close.

IBM Remote Connect

by Volker Weber


It has been a difficult decision but I have come to the conclusion not to travel to IBM Connect in San Francisco. Thank you IBM for inviting me. I hope I will be able to access presentation files and follow the event from here. Let's call it a "Remote Connect".

I have been using Watson Workspace for a few months now and closely watched its slow progress. We all know where Notes, Connections or Sametime are in their respective life cycles. Whatever surprises IBM has in store for us at Connect, I think I will be able to put them into context, even from a remote vantage point.

If you are on site and have anything to share, please reach out to me.

84 Lumber :: The Entire Journey

by Volker Weber

100 GB für einen Monat bei Vodafone

by Volker Weber

Was ist GigaBoost? Streamen, surfen oder downloaden – und das nahezu unbegrenzt. Hast Du einen Vertrag bei uns oder möchtest jetzt einen abschließen? Dann schenken wir Dir 100 GB Datenvolumen für einen Monat.

Vodafone "verschenkt" 100 GB an Privatkunden mit Vertrag. Dieses Kontigent steht einen Monat lang zur Verfügung. Ich sehe das als einen Test, wieviel Kunden tatsächlich verbrauchen, wenn sie eine echte Flatrate haben. Das ist auch ein guter Selbstversuch. Zähler im Telefon auf Null stellen und dann einen Monat lang voll benutzen.

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Week 5/2017 #dontbreakthechain

by Volker Weber


I did not plan to post this past January, but apparently I have to. ;-)

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Three best Apple products of 2016

by Volker Weber


  1. AirPods. No contest. We have had Bluetooth headsets for years. The AirPods redefine the category. You never have to worry about pairing and connection. Hold the case next to your Apple device and it asks you whether you want to connect. All of your Apple devices. It feels like plugging them in. Only, there is no wire.
  2. iPhone 7 Plus. The new camera is the bomb. Portrait mode is still in beta (or is it?), but it works beautifully. And it's a wonderful evolution. I don't want Apple to change the recipe for iPhones. Nobody move my cheese!
  3. Watch Series 2. Just like the original, enhanced, without making the original outdated. Longer battery life, brighter display, waterproof, GPS, faster. But it's all in the software, where Apple got it right with the third revision, for all Apple Watches.

One thing that needs to improve is charging. AirPods and iPhone use Lightning, Watch needs its super special wireless charger. That feels clunky when traveling.

VanMoof fights back

by Volker Weber


It’s 6pm and while most of Europe are clocking off for the day, our bike hunter Marc’s day is just getting started. After a frustrating 12 hours trying to track down a stolen SmartBike in Paris, suddenly its anti-theft tracking springs to life again. There’s just one problem. It’s now 296km from where it was stolen, in an infamous (read: terrifying) neighbourhood in Brussels.

VanMoof promises to track down your stolen SmartBike/Electrified S in two weeks, and if they can't find it, to replace it.

Update: as Ben has pointed out. VanMoof only replaces the SmartBike if they cannot find it. They do make an attempt to recover the Electrified S but you don't get a new one if they would fail.

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BlackBerry starts the February Android update cycle two days early

by Volker Weber


Christian reports the first February update on his BlackBerry PRIV. Let the games begin. None of my devices gets it, even with Checkin (dial *#*#2432546#*#*).

Please report your BlackBerry Android security updates here >

Update 07 Feb: DTEK60 is my first phone to receive an update. Build AAJ051.

Write it down

by Volker Weber


Today I had to recover a security code for a 20-year-old Becker radio in a Porsche. In order to find this code, I first had to recharge this old PDA, and then remember the PIN to unlock it. And this isn't even the oldest device here at vowe's magic flying circus.

Controlling Sonos with Alexa

by Volker Weber


I am getting winks and nods from everywhere about Alexa and Sonos, now that I have an Echo Dot and you know about it. Let me dampen your enthusiasm. And get you all fired up at the same time.

Sonos is about to make a huge leap in 2017. But it's not happening yet. Let me explain this without disclosing anything that hasn't been announced already.

If you try to use Alexa with Sonos today, the experience sucks, big time. There is no need to get an Echo Dot right now, or in the next few weeks. You have to wait for something to materialize that isn't quite here yet. It is being built as we speak, but you cannot use it.

The only thing you have today is Yonomi. You can try Yonomi without an Echo Dot. Go ahead and do it. Yonomi works like all the other 3rd party controllers by talking to the Sonos players over UPnP. It basically sits on your local network, listens to the chatter, finds your Sonos players and offers simple commands. Yonomi cannot talk to your players without its apps, since there is no other place on your network to runs its code. If you use Yonomi to control your Wemo switches, the experience is different, since Wemo switches connect to the cloud and you can control them remotely.

What is needed is an API and a control infrastructure for Sonos that works without your phone. And that is exactly what Sonos is building. You can see this when you connect Sonos to Spotify. You create a Sonos ID, you login to Spotify and you connect those two. Once you have done this, Spotify can control your Sonos players, without any Sonos controller installed. This is the new API at work.

Sonos internally uses a metaphor they call the beer test: can you leave the house to buy more beer without the music stopping at the party? Apple AirPlay with streaming over Wifi from your phone, or any Bluetooth speaker, does not pass the beer test. What Sonos is now building is a control infrastructure that passes the beer test. Alexa is a cloud service, it isn't even at the party, and it still supposed to be able to DJ. And now move that metaphor up a notch and replace Alexa with anything. You want to be able to interface any home automation system, any voice assistant, and everything that may show up in the future.

These things are coming together. Spotify uses this new API, other streaming services will follow. But you don't have to go through the cloud. You can also issue these commands right on your local network if you have that extra hardware to run the code on. Six home control partners that Sonos announced in New York are also using it: Lutron, iPort, Crestron, Control4, Qivicon and Savant.

I am really, really impatient and pushing Sonos where I can. But these things need to be secure, they need to work, and they have to be resilient. Just give them the time needed to get it right. This integration is controlled by a German. When he ships, it's not going to be an MVP (minimal viable product). It will rock. And it is going to have everything a developer needs, documentation, sample code, Github, you name it. Sonos partners can build today, but they are under NDA.

I have been waiting for at least five years for Sonos to come up with this. And it finally is happening. Are you fired up?


by Volker Weber


If you have a Surface Pro with Pen or an iPad Pro with Pencil, then you have to try Nebo, if you haven't seen it yet. Nebo lets you take notes with your pen, it transcribes your handwriting, lets you add sketches and diagrams, it even does math formulas. Export to Word or PDF (iOS).

Very impressive.

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BlackBerry Passport gets an update

by Volker Weber


It only took two months since the 10.3.3 update started rolling out. But today, my BlacKBerry Passport finally received the update.

BlackBerry 10 version 10.3.3 has passed the NIAP security test to deliver the strictest government-grade security to further support government, enterprise and regulated customers who require the highest levels of protection for critical data.

Not that I needed this. I hope there are some bugfixes and performance enhancements included.

Computer ...

by Volker Weber


FedEx delivered John's Echo Dot. And yesterday, Hermes delivered Jan's anonymous Fabric Case from my Amazon Wish List. It saves me from looking at the Amazon logo and makes the Echo Dot a bit nicer in my home.

Thank you, John and Jan. Now I need to get some work done, before I talk to Alexa.


Respect your elders

by Volker Weber

When talking about software architecture, I often crack this joke:

It does not matter wether you start with Photoshop, Excel or SAP. If you add all the features your customer demands you will end up with Lotus Notes.

That always draws a lot of laughs, because everybody knows that Notes is an unusable pile of code, right? Wrong. It's not just a joke. There is a lot of truth in there.

Do you see where I am going with this? When Notes was first drawn on a napkin, it already had an object store that is now known as a NoSQL database. It had communications before there was an Internet. It had digital certificates before we thought about TLS and signatures. And over the years, it gained all those things that we take for granted.

But all the small mistakes you make, the demands from your customers you give into, they add up. "I am only buying this if you add that". You have those religious wars. "Have to do in Java". You have those platforms that come and go. BlackBerry?

Did you notice which software packages I named in my joke? Photoshop, Excel, SAP. All of them are old. All of them have accumulated layers and layers of new code. And they are still carrying their own luggage.

Respect your elders. In software, and in real life.

Old vowe.net archive pages

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


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