November 2017

Change isn't always progress

by Volker Weber

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The Sonos UX on macOS hasn't been updated in years and it is so much easier to use than on iOS.

Two programs I am missing on Windows 10

by Volker Weber

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Photos and Pixelmator are two programs I am missing on Windows 10. I don't need photos for its photo library but for simple editing tools like removing blemishes. And I am missing Pixelmator for the more delicate stuff. Having these two programs on Windows 10, with pen support, would make me miss the Mac a lot less.

Restoring file share access

by Volker Weber

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Apple fixed the embarrassing root/nopassword bug in record time. However, if you cannot access your file shares anymore, just run this command in Terminal, and you should be good to go. The password it is asking for is your login password.

sudo /usr/libexec/configureLocalKDC

Heute bei Apple

by Volker Weber

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Apple schickte heute eine Pressemitteilung zum Thema Urban Sketchers, aus der ich etwas ganz anderes gelernt habe:

Interessenten können sich für die Today at Apple-Zeichensafaris unter apple.com/de/today anmelden, die von diesen Künstlern in San Francisco, Hongkong, Singapur und Berlin veranstaltet werden.

Auf dieser Website gibt es jede Menge Events. Heute mittag zum Beispiel eine Fotosafari, die vom Apple Store in der Fressgass' startet:

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Leben auf einem Eisberg :: Eine Metapher

by Volker Weber

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IT ist wie das Leben auf einem Grönlandgletscher. Kalt, unwirtlich und mit einigen Tücken versehen. Der Gletscher bewegt sich und so lange man in Bewegung bleibt, wiederholt sich das Leben von Jahr zu Jahr.

Wenn man nicht in Bewegung bleibt oder die Flussrichtung falsch einschätzt, dann landet man irgendwann am Ende des Gletschers und wenn er kalbt, könnte man sich auf einem Eisberg wiederfinden. Der Eisberg ist einfach eine kleinere Version des Gletschers. Zu diesem Zeitpunkt kann man noch nicht erkennen, dass er bereits schmilzt. Je kleiner er wird, desto schwieriger wird es, das Ökosystem zu erhalten. Die Raubtiere umzingeln irgendwann die letzten Beutetiere. Dabei klammern sie sich an die immer gleiche Geschichte: Der Winter wird kommen und der Eisberg wieder wachsen. Das Wasser ist unwirtlich und das Schwimmen beschwerlich. Der nächste Eisberg ist auch nicht besser als dieser hier.

Es hilft alles nichts. Am Ende muss man schwimmen. Mit etwas mehr Weitsicht hätte man sich das Fell nass gemacht, als der Gletscher noch in Sichtweite war.

Huawei Car Kit für Mate 10 Pro

by Volker Weber

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Es nützt ja alles nichts. Egal wie hübsch eine nacktes Handy ist, ohne eine Hülle wird es irgendwann in den Tod stürzen. Vor allem, wenn es rundherum so spiegelnd glatt ist wie das Mate 10 Pro. Das dachte sich wohl auch die Agentur von Huawei und schickte heute unverlangt ein Car Kit für das Mate 10 Pro. Die wollen das Gerät ja mal heil wieder zurück.

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Der erste Teil der Montage war easy. Hülle aus dem Karton und um das Handy. Aber nun, wie geht es weiter. Irgendwann schwante es mir. Der obere Teil ist magnetisch und hinten in der Hülle ist eine dünne Stahlplatte. Induktives Laden verbietet so eine Lösung, aber das Mate 10 Pro hat sowas nicht.

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Mit den beiden Tasten schiebt man die Backen der Zange auseinenander, die sich dann eine Rippe eines Lüftungsgitters schnappen. Das silberne Teil hat einen Kugelkopf zur Justage und hält bombenfest an der Hülle. Und dennoch lässt sich das Handy leicht wieder abnehmen. Das ist eine sehr elegante Lösung, vor allem weil Android Auto kein externes Display wie etwa Apple Carplay benötigt. So wird das Handy zum gut platzierten Navi ohne hässliche Montage. Top!

From my inbox

by Volker Weber

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Merci, Christoph.

Déjà/2

by Volker Weber

Vor knapp 20 Jahren habe ich Richard Seibt interviewt, der damals die OS/2 Business Unit verantwortete. "OS/2-Kunden haben richtig investiert" hieß die Überschrift. Was Seibt noch nicht wusste, oder zumindestens überspielte, war die Tatsache, dass die Company das unbeliebte Betriebssystem längst aufgegeben hatte. Es gab langfristige Wartungsversprechen und auch noch ein letzes Aufbäumen des "OS/2 Warp Server für eBusiness" aber eigentlich ging es nur noch darum, die Kunden zu behalten, die auf das falsche Pferd gesetzt hatten. eBusiness war mal das, was jetzt Watson ist. Mit Windows 95 war die Stimmung gekippt, dann kam NT 4.0 und mit Windows 2000 wuchs zusammen, was zusammengehörte. XP band den Sack dann endgültig zu.

Der Rettungsanker, den IBM den ertrinkenden Kunden zuwarf, hieß übrigens Open Source. Um die Jahrtausendwende stieg die Stadt München ganz groß in Linux ein. Seibt wurde 2002 Chef von Suse. Auch das ist Geschichte.

Und jetzt frag mich bitte keiner, warum ich gerade jetzt daran denken muss. :-)

How to not lose your Surface Pen

by Volker Weber

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This is the official way to stick your Surface Pen via magnets to the Surface devices. While this works well when working I don’t trust the magnets for a second when I put Surface away or carry it around. Instead I use the clip to attach it to the keyboard cover. The new pen unfortunately no longer has a clip.

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init - der Wochenausblick. Von LA und Vegas bis Riga und Helsinki. Und Bielefeld.

by Volker Weber

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Die neue Woche ist pickepacke voll mit Events. 50 neue Fahrzeuge in LA, AWS in Las Vegas, Startups in Berlin und Helsinki, Wolkiges in Frankfurt und München. Und ein runder Geburtstag. Da ist für jeden was dabei.

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Reading with Edge

by Volker Weber

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Most of the people I know will take any new computer and start by downloading Chrome to get "a real browser". I am one of the rare species that just uses the default. Safari on Mac and Edge on Windows 10. With the expection of Android where I immediately replace Chrome with Brave. Google is an advertisement business and Chrome is serving them well.

For a year I have been an Edge user on Windows 10 and it has kept improving a lot. I am not only browsing the web, but I am also reading ebooks (left) and PDFs (right) in the browser. No need to have three separate programs for my reading. And since I keep these files in OneDrive, I can easily switch from Surface to Yoga Book, if I want a lighter machine to read. The other convenient features are the Reading List, which lets me bookmark stuff for later, and Reading View which removes all distractions from web pages.

All my reading in one place, across multiple devices.

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Here is what happens if you let the BlackBerry Motion idle

by Volker Weber

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BlackBerry Motion recently survived four days of light use and I concluded it will take you through the day, no matter what you do. Some of you suggested I wasn't using it all so I did just that. Recharge the battery, put the phone down on the table and check it no more than three times a day. This is what happened. I know this isn't very useful but it shows nicely how battery life depends on your usage. You need to test a device with your typical workload. Playing ten hours of video is as unlikely as stressing it with 3D games. A BlackBerry will typically be used with email. instant messaging, calendaring, some travel apps, conference calls, etc.

How four Microsoft engineers proved that the "darknet" would defeat DRM

by Volker Weber

Ars Technica:

we're resurfacing this story of four Microsoft engineers who predicted the downfall of DRM more than a decade ahead of its time (their paper turned 15 this month). This story originally ran on November 30, 2012, and it appears unchanged below.

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[Thanks, Amy]

Don't buy a PLAY:3

by Volker Weber

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Sonos has lowered the price for PLAY:1 and PLAY:3. I consider both to be clearance items. Trueplay Tuning has leveled the sound differences and PLAY:3 simply isn't much better than PLAY:1. If you want to do better than a PLAY:1, then spend a little extra and buy two PLAY:1 to be configured as a stereo pair. For 360 you get way more sound than for 300.

What you really want is this. A pair of PLAY:5 beats everything else in their price bracket.

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How Panos and Ralf made me love Windows 10

by Volker Weber

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Two years ago I was a Mac user. I had been a Windows user from version 1 but I had converted to Macs when they were still running on Motorola chips. But then something happened: I watched Panos Panay present the Surface 3. This was finally a machine worth a look. I liked it a lot as a travel companion. It was light, it had the right ports: microUSB for charging, USB A for the occasional thumbdrive, microSD for storage, but it wasn't powerful enough to challenge my MacBook Pro.

Then two years ago I met Ralf Groene. He heads industrial design at Microsoft and I immediately connected with him. Ralf is German, he comes from a mechanical craftsmenship background (Werkzeugmacher) and he is a person I could spend weeks with. We only had two hours over lunch in Frankfurt where we spoke about the Surface Book. But I was hooked. I needed to upgrade my computing. MacBooks are great, so are iPads, but I wanted something that does both.

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Much deliberation later, actually one year later, I had decided I wanted a Surface Pro. It's much lighter, it finally had a great keyboard and touchpad with the Signature cover, and it certainly is fast enough for my no-gaming, no-video-editing world. Eleven months ago I started to move my workload over from MacBook to Surface. I made one restart with a fresh install when Windows was causing me trouble, but with Creators Update in the spring I was sold on Windows 10.

The software wouldn't have done it. But the hardware Microsoft is building sure did. Watch this video from The Verge to see more of Ralf.

Huawei leaves a good impression

by Volker Weber

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I always like to make fun of Leica fans who shoot their Leica. How do you do that, if your favorite camera is in the picture? The answer is simple: you use your second Leica camera.

I shoot most of my photos with my iPhone. I do have serious cameras from Fujifilm (and an old Nikon), but the iPhone has excellent results. No need to fetch the heavier glass and deal with a complicated workflow. But what if the iPhone itself is in the picture? Simple: I use a Huawei smartphone. I have used the P10 and now the Mate 10 Pro and their cameras have mostly impressed me, with one exception where monochrome shots did not come out as I had hoped.

I should be using the Huawei a lot more, but here is the thing: if you have an Apple Watch or if you use iMessage and Facetime, you are not going to make anything else your first phone. Lots of YouTubers who pretend otherwise are struggling with that. Rule of thumb: only if the iPhone is in the frame, the photo was shot with a Huawei. I would probably be fine with a Pixel or an S8 but I have neither.

I consider the Mate 10 Pro to be on par with the best Android phones. It's about the size of a Plus iPhone. If you are looking for the regular size, check out the P10. Is the camera better than an iPhone 8/8Plus/X? Nope. Nothing is. But consider this: these cameras are better than most photographers.

Intel just forgot to review the security of their firmware

by Volker Weber

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In response to issues identified by external researchers, Intel has performed an in-depth comprehensive security review of its Intel Management Engine (ME), Intel Trusted Execution Engine (TXE), and Intel Server Platform Services (SPS) with the objective of enhancing firmware resilience.

As a result, Intel has identified several security vulnerabilities that could potentially place impacted platforms at risk. Systems using ME Firmware versions 11.0/11.5/11.6/11.7/11.10/11.20, SPS Firmware version 4.0, and TXE version 3.0 are impacted

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Sonos before and after

by Volker Weber

Brian Krebs has indeed been a huge Sonos fan. As have I. Then something changed. And I can smell it. This is former CEO and Sonos founder John MacFarlane commenting on Apple's decision not to ship the HomePod before it is ready.

Sonos is missing his guidance. Sonos One shipped before it was done. So did the Sonos 8.0 software. Alexa is half-baked. It will eventually be OK. But Sonos should fix things before shipping.

BTW: Alex Warning until this Friday.

init - Der Wochenausblick: Hohe Zeit für Schnäppchenjäger

by Volker Weber

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Wer diese Woche einen Termin plant, an dem garantiert keine Amerikaner teilnehmen werden, der muss die zweite Wochenhälfte ins Auge fassen. Thanksgiving ist der Familienfeiertag schlechthin und es folgt der als Black Friday bekannte Räumungsverkauf.

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BlackBerry Motion :: Don't worry about the battery. Ever.

by Volker Weber

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I got the BlackBerry Motion on Tuesday and charged it overnight. Took it off the charger on Wednesday morning and then never recharged it until this morning. Four days. Even more impressive: within one hour on the charger it was back at 75%. That means you can use it all day and then recharge it in maybe half an hour. And that is the charger that came in the box. No additional purchase necessary.

Even if you forget to recharge it, the battery should always last a second day. That is just practical. I am not suggesting to run it for four days. But you never need to worry you will run out of power before you go to sleep.

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How do you make a machine this efficient? First of all you start with a big 4000 mAh battery, then you add decent components like the Snapdragon 625 chipset. It's not the fastest on the market, but it sure is fast enough. And then you work on the software. That is often overlooked. You can have a medium size battery and still outrun a much bigger and faster machine that has better specs on paper. Not all Androids are alike. The Moto Z Play was always famous for never running out of juice.

Four days is so ridiculous that people immediately asked if I even used the device. And I did. Screen was on eleven hours. That is very light use, but the Motion is only my secondary phone. If you are looking at your screen eleven hours in a single day, you may have bigger issues than battery life.

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Tl;dr: This is a great phone. It's pretty, it's practical. It even has a headphone jack.

Animoji!

by Volker Weber

Control Spotify via Alexa on Sonos

by Volker Weber

Sonos has started beta support for Spotify and you don't have to do anything to make it work. I'd advise to set Spotify as your default music service in the Alexa app, but you can also tell Alexa to play from Spotify.

If you have a Sonos One, you are all set. It just works.

If you have an Echo speaker, you have to direct the output, otherwise it plays the music itself. That's on my wishlist: pair my Echo Dot with my Playbar, so that it automatically plays there. Then I could add more Echo Dots to other rooms and have them all play through my existing speakers as easily as on Sonos One.

Brauche Nachhilfe für das Smart Home

by Volker Weber

Folgende Aufgabenstellung: Haus hat jede Menge Philips Hue. Jetzt gilt es, dumme Schalter von Gira (E2 55) für Deckenauslässe zu integrieren. Im Prinzip also: Schalter raus, neuen UP-Einsatz rein, Schalter darauf montieren. Busch-Jäger hat das, Gira nicht. Hue redet Zigbee.

This is how I started programming

by Volker Weber

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Casey just started using the Note 8 Samsung is paying him to showcase

by Volker Weber

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Samsung had a disaster last year with the Gallery Note 7 battery. To turn the tide the company is now dumping big money on Youtubers, or as Casey calls them "creators". Casey's problem is that he does not know much about technology. I bet he did not know that we could see all along he was using Twitter on iPhone (and the web) when he was pretending to have "always been the Android guy". When iOS had this terrible autocorrect bug that turned a simple "I" into "A (illegible)" it became apparent he was just a terrible liar.

I mean what can he do? His wife and kid hang out on iPad and he wants to Facetime and iMessage them. And Candice isn't going to give up her iPhone no matter what. He can wear his Samsung Gear on his wrist and hold up the Note 8 into the camera, but in real life he isn't shooting his videos with the Galaxy and he is a heavy iPhone user.

Now that he knows we know, he is stepping up his Note game and actually using it for Twitter as well. Just keep in mind he is being paid big bucks to pretend.

Update: This did not last long.

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What's a computer

by Volker Weber

I love this video. Need to practive folding down the Smart Keyboard. ;-)

Das ist das BlackBerry Motion

by Volker Weber

What I want from a TV screen

by Volker Weber

I believe my perfect TV does not exist. But maybe you know better. Here is what I want (and don't want):

I love the screen on my 2012 Samsung TV. But the software and especially the missing software updates have taught me to separate display and smarts. I just want the perfect screen.

Samsung PR was very quick to offer a test, but the logistics of setting up (and returning) are just horrible for a home. I will replace my existing TV eventually, but I can't do what I do with other tech. Replacing a smartphone takes only minutes, replacing a TV is a nightmare for me. I need to think this through.

How Apple TV has changed my TV consumption

by Volker Weber

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People have asked me how I find the time for a more active livestyle, and I have two answers: no Facebook, no TV. This isn't the whole truth. I do browse Facebook occasionally, but I don't engage. And I do watch some TV shows and movies, but I only do this on my terms. No schedule, on demand only.

Since the software on my 2012 Samsung TV is horrible, all the content comes in through an Apple TV. When I got the chance to try the 4K model, I took it. This TV won't display in 4K, HDR or Dolby Vision, but I wanted the Apple TV 4K for its faster processor. And when I get the chance to test a modern TV, I need a source to play from.

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I don't need a traditional remote. Apple TV comes with a hardware remote, that is completely replicated in software on the iPhone. I have added it to the control panel and call it up from there. It will switch on the Apple and Samsung TVs. And it will switch them off as well. The connection to Apple TV is over Wi-Fi, and the Samsung TV gets its commands over HDMI.

Sound comes out of my Sonos setup with Playbar, Sub and two Play:3 as surround. Sonos is connected via Toslink to the Samsung TV and I had to tell Apple TV to always send Dolby Digital 5.1 if available, no matter what the Samsung TV says. That way 5.1 gets routed through the TV to Sonos, which otherwise would not happen.

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Netflix is only one of my sources. There is Youtube, there are apps for public German TV (and they are much better than the stuff that runs on my Samsung TV), there is TED, Vevo and Vimeo, and there is VLC and Playable which benefit the most from the faster CPU. It always helps to have superior power if the apps aren't perfect.

Last but not least, I can also AirPlay anything that runs on iPhone or iPad over to the big screen. If I need big sound from Youtube, that's how I get it.

One hundred to go #dontbreakthechain

by Volker Weber

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In September 2015, more than two years and two months ago, I was proud to have completed 100 days tracking on the Apple Watch. Now it's just another 100 days to complete the last achievement of 1.000 Move goals. I have missed it only twice. Once by three calories, because I wasn't paying attention, and then a day I spent in the ICU. I was back on my feet a day later fighting for my health. And it worked!

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Stay mobile, my friends. You don't know when you will need the power.

Control Sonos from Tidal app

by Volker Weber

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BlackBerry Motion: Da ist noch Leben in der Bude

by Volker Weber

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Irgendwie war BlackBerry schon abgeschrieben. Zweimal mit BB OS und BB10 gescheitert, ein Neuanfang mit Android misslang. Aber nun fruchtet die Zusammenarbeit mit TCL. Nach dem KEYone stellt BlackBerry Mobile ein elegantes Touch-Gerät vor.

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Polaroid Insta-Share Printer moto mod

by Volker Weber

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Soon, a dishwasher?

Sonos 8.2 with proper iPhone X support

by Volker Weber

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This was a quick update. Color me impressed. Sonos has tweaked the UI to support the iPhone X. They also made the app more discoverable. If you look at the top, there is now a hint that the Now Playing panel sits on top of the tabbed interface.

US customers also get the ability to play directly from their Pandora app. We already have this with Spotify. This is a great direction.

Firefox Quantum

by Volker Weber

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Firefox Quantum. Zeit für mehr Privacy in einem schnellen, schlanken Browser.

Würde ich mal ausprobieren ...

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OneNote login issue resolved

by Volker Weber

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I still can’t get over how stupid this is. But if you are asked to log into your Microsoft account every single time you open Word or OneNote, don’t login. Instead, go to Settings/OneNote/Reset and delete your credentials. This resolves the problem.

And now I want to know why OneNote cannot do this by itself.

init – der Wochenausblick: BlackBerry, SAP, Microsoft und Minecraft

by Volker Weber

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Von Entwicklern über DevOps bis zu Minecraft - die Woche ist voll mit Konferenzen. Zu Microsoft muss man nicht mal reisen, sondern kann sich alles über das Internet anschauen.

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Stuff that works :: AVM Fritz

by Volker Weber

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Seit Jahren benutze (und empfehle) ich die Fritzboxen von AVM. Mit der 7580 hatte ich anfangs Probleme in Verbindung mit Sonos. Die Box hat sich immer wieder weggehängt und musste komplett neu gestartet werden. Seit Monaten sind diese Probleme verschwunden. Ich habe aber auch fleißig mit dem Support an einer Lösung gearbeitet. Nun ist alles superstabil und schnell. Die 7580 und die (verkabelten) 1750E schubsen alle Geräte wenn möglich in das viel schnellere 5 GH-Band. Dazu verwende ich noch zwei DECT-Repeater von AVM, um das Haus besser für Schnurlostelefonie abzudecken. Das Telefon C4 funktioniert viel besser als unsere Gigasets. Nur für die Heimautomatisierung, etwa mit der Schaltsteckdose wünsche ich mir eine bessere Integration in die Welt außerhalb von Fritz,

Zwischendurch hatte ich auch die 7590 getestet, ebenfalls mit gutem Ergebnis. Andreas hatte weniger Glück. An seinem alten ADSL-Anschluss muckt die 7590 noch immer. Die kann zwei Dinge mehr als die 7580: die alte Telefonie analog/ISDN und das neue Super-Vectoring. Beide sind bei mir aktuell nicht notwendig, drum bin ich zurück auf die 7580.

Ich liebe es, wenn sowas einfach funktioniert.

My Windows clipboard is broken :: I need your ideas

by Volker Weber

This Windows 10 installation is now eleven month old and it is broken in many places. Before I wipe it for a fresh install, I am asking for some ideas.

Here is what is broken. I copy something in Edge, from a webpage, or a URL, and then I paste it into Word Mobile or OneNote, both from the Store. Works exactly once. Then I copy something else. When I try to paste it, I get the first copy, not the second. If I quit Word or OneNote, restart it, and then paste, I get the second copy. It looks like something is stuck. And it is only stuck for those apps. I can copy and paste just fine into JustWrite which is also a Store app.

What is going on here?

And please, spare me any smartass comments about Microsoft, Office or Windows.

Site redirection with SSL

by Volker Weber

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Try this little experiment. Type in these three addresses into the address bar of your browser. Don't forget the s, because that gives you a secure connection. All three sites try the same trick. Only two succeed.

Spotify mit Alexa auf Sonos

by Volker Weber

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Testet das schon jemand von Euch oder fällt das in sechs Wochen wie ein Klavier vom Himmel, mit der Hoffnung, dass es dann auch funktioniert? Mir scheint der Termin mehr vom Weihnachtsfest als von der Entwicklung getrieben zu sein.

"Alexa, spiel Weihnachtsmusik im Wohnzimmer." - "Ich bin nicht sicher, was Du meinst."

PS: Jens hat eine bessere Idee:

Es könnte gut sein, dass Amazon einen solchen Deal hat, um Boden gegenüber Spotify gut zu machen. Wenn das so ist, dann wäre mir wohler, wenn Sonos das transparent machen würde.

How good is your iOS dev game?

by Volker Weber

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Lots of apps already suppport the new iPhone X aspect ratio. Twitter and Flipboard do. Many don’t. And that looks sloppy. I am keeping a timer. And I will judge you.

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Feedly and Signal.

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Spotify and Sonos.

Swipe to open

by Volker Weber

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Face ID works just as well as Touch ID. It's completely invisible. Can you remember how we did not have passwords or PINs on our devices, if not forced by corporate IT? You just swiped to open.

When you activate your iPhone X, you are led through a very short process to register your face. Way faster than registering a finger in Touch ID. And then you forget it's there. You just swipe up. This becomes natural in a few hours. After that you forgot how you ever operated an iPhone earlier. Believe it or not, I have difficulties with the iPhone 8 Plus now. And I have 10 years of muscle memory. That is how quickly you learn the new swipe gesture. Now I need an iPad with Face ID.

Apple gives you just a simple biometric solution that works. Touch ID on previous iPhones, Face ID on the new X. You don't need a misplaced touch sensor, an unsafe face recognition and a dysfunctional retina unlock. You need just one thing that really works.

Microsoft, your authentication is FUBAR

by Volker Weber

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I need to stop using O365 if this cannot be resolved.

Qi charging is a big deal

by Volker Weber

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How I was missing inductive charging. My Lumias used to be all charged up all day. With the new iPhones it's back. I am using some of the old Nokia gear and one new Mophie Charger. It's supposed to get an upgrade to faster charging, but I don't really care. I automatically put the iPhone down on the charger when not using it, so speed is not important. It will keep it at 100 percent one or the other.

The coolest charger of all contains a battery. It charges itself via MicroUSB or Qi, and it charges phones via Qi. You can actually stack them to recharge all of them.

Muhammad Ali In His Prime :: Blinding Speed

by Volker Weber

I used Ali this week as a metaphor for the need to be agile.

Apple updates Clips with iPhone X support

by Volker Weber

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Clips is an app that lets you create and edit videos like you would do in Snapchat or Instagram. Clips 2.0 now adds a ton of features, some of them exclusive to the iPhone X front facing camera. You can embed yourself into 360 degree scenes for instance.

It may be a lot of fun for you, but I don't really do videos. I can imagine that people might edit some content within Clips and then post the videos elsewhere. With iCloud support you can now continue editing on your other devices.

Urbanears Plattan 2 Bluetooth

by Volker Weber

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Urbanears has refreshed their Plattan line of headsets. Great colors, very clean design, Bluetooth. And now with the control knob I so like on the Marshall Monitor Bluetooth. (Hint: Marshall Headphones and Urbanears are the same company.)

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These are on-ear headsets and very comfortable. You can fold them to store them away in your bag, you can attach a 3.5mm wire if your battery is low or you need to connect to in-flight entertainment. No active noise cancelling though. If you are listening via Bluetooth, you can connect a second (wired) headset to share your music. It's a great inexpensive headset with a design I like.

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IBM's Quest To Design The 'New Helvetica'

by Volker Weber

IBM is no stranger to icons. Over the years, it’s created quite a few: the mainframe computer, the ThinkPad laptop, the Selectric typewriter, the Eye-Bee-M logo. The company hopes its new bespoke typeface IBM Plex, which launched in beta this week (though the official version won’t be released until early 2018), could become just as iconic–a kind of Helvetica for this century.

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iPhone X :: Here is my problem

by Volker Weber

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How do your review a perfect product? There has to be something that needs improvement. There has to be something that doesn't work.

Nope. I want it just the way it is. I put my b/s detector in overdrive and did not come up with anything:

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Apple keeps stressing the fact that this is the future of the smartphone. And with that they mean iPhone. That is exactly what the iPhone X is. The original iPhone was perfected all the way to the iPhone 8. Draw a rectangle, a line above it, a circle below and a rounded rectangle around it. Everybody will recognize this as an iPhone.

The iPhone X is built around new technology. And we have only scratched the surface of what this front facing camera can do in software. Touch ID through glass? You need to think outside your box. Imagine what you can build on a device that reads your face.

Annoyed by Microsoft

by Volker Weber

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I delivered a presentation today and I had to fall back to plan C. Plan A was to bring my PPTX on a thumbdrive and deliver it through a PC that was already set up at the venue. That fell through since they did not have audio. So I brought Surface Pro 4 and a speaker, testet this at home, and it looked OK. However, when I tried it on site, PowerPoint Mobile froze three out of three times and I fell back to plan C: use my iPhone. In the end I lugged a bag, a Surface a speaker, a power supply, a bunch of cables, and the only thing I would have needed was my HDMI adapter and the phone that lives in my pocket anyway.

That might have been a once off problem, since gazillions of PCs deliver PPTX every day. Maybe it's my choice of lite universal apps instead of full fat Win32 applications. Speaking of which, Word Mobile has developed a problem I cannot get to the bottom of. I can use the clipboard once to copy from Edge and paste into Word. Subsequently it will ignore the new clips and always paste the very first one. Only if I quit Word Mobile and reload, it will paste the last clip. Annoying.

And then there is my Microsoft Account. OneNote keeps asking me to log in, at least once per day per device. Word tells me it can't write to OneDrive without me entering the password, every single fc&k!ng day. When I open a PPTX from OneDrive, Powerpoint goes into a tailspin. It just does not work anymore as it used to.

Annoying.


Huawei Mate 10 Pro :: Monochrome

by Volker Weber

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Today I travelled with my iPhone and the Huawei Mate 10 Pro. I wanted to shoot monochrome photos with the 20 MP sensor in the Mate 10 Pro. And I was very disappointed upon return. Most of the photos were blurred and I found them to be boring. OK, that is a photographer and not a camera problem. It's just not for me.

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Ich rede nicht mit Sonos

by Volker Weber

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Die ganze Sprachsteuerung geht an mir komplett vorbei. Ich frage Alexa nach allem möglichen, aber nicht danach, irgendwas abzuspielen. Das liegt an vielen Dingen. Ich höre zum Beispiel kein Radio (so wie ich kein lineares Fernsehen schaue). Ich habe kein Amazon Musik-Abo (und auch kein Prime). Für mich steht das Pferd einfach falsch rum. Sonos-Lausprecher sollen Musik spielen und sich ansonsten raus halten, Ich sage Spotify, was ich hören will, sei es auf Surface oder dem iPhone. Und dann bestimmt Spotify, wo das läuft.

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IBM Bluemix is no more

by Volker Weber

Today we are excited to announce that we are merging the Bluemix brand with IBM Cloud brand since they’ve grown to be synonymous. All the Bluemix products, services, support etc that you know and love will continue being offered with no changes, except for a simpler name ... IBM Cloud.

We’ve simplified our user experience, introducing the new IBM Cloud Lite account that never expires – it gives users access to try services with no time restrictions.

It's all IBM Cloud now. And Cloud Lite.

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init - der Wochenausblick: Klimagipfel, Web Summit, Openstack Summit

by Volker Weber

2017-11-06

In Barcelona, Lissabon, Bonn und Sydney, überall gipfelt es diese Woche. Microsoft tritt mit Xbox One X gegen Sonys Playstation an. Und dann gedenken wir noch des größten Wunders der deutschen Geschichte.

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iPhone X oder 8 Plus :: Welcher Bildschirm ist größer

by Volker Weber

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Es gibt Dinge, die lassen mir keine Ruhe. Und dann muss ich rechnen. So etwa bei den Displays von iPhone X und 8 Plus. Welches ist denn nun größer? Die Antwort ist wie so oft: es kommt darauf an.

Da Apple keine Angaben zu Höhe und Breite macht, habe ich aus den Angaben zu Pixel und Pixel pro Inch die Dimensionen in Zoll (Inch) gerechnet. Höhe mal Breite gibt dann die Fläche, die Diagonale kann man nach Pythagoras rechnen. Könnt Ihr noch, nicht wahr?

Wie man sehen kann, ist die Fläche des X nur unwesentlich größer als die des 8 Plus. Zieht man die Rundungen in den Ecken ab, sind sie noch dichter beieinander. Und dann ist da noch der Notch, der Bereich, wo die Sensoren sind. Zieht man den ab, dann ist das Display des X definitiv kleiner. Die Diagonale ist bis in die "gedachte" Ecke gerechnet. Entscheidender ist, was man sieht. Bei einem Youtube-Video etwa gibt es links und rechts Balken auf dem X-Display, weil es zu breit ist. Beim 8 Plus passt das übliche Seitenverhältnis 16:9. In jedem Fall ist das X-Video nur 2,46 Zoll hoch, das auf dem 8 Plus dagegen 2,69, über den Daumen gepeilt also 10%, in der Fläche sogar 20% mehr. Größere Diagonale, gleiche Fläche, kleineres Video. Wie schon gesagt, es kommt darauf an.

How to schedule an event when you don't want Americans to attend

by Volker Weber

In less than three weeks there is an opportunity to schedule events or meetings you don't want Americans to attend. Thursday, November 23rd, is Thanksgiving 2017. The day before until the Sunday of that week is the biggest travel season in the US because everybody needs to be home with their families. Friday after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday, because it is a huge shopping day where red ink turns into black.

This is your chance to fly under the radar and go completely unnoticed.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro vs. iPhone 8 Plus :: Impressive low light performance

by Volker Weber

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I tried two quick shots with the Mate 10 Pro (above) and iPhone 8 Plus (below). Both one handed with zero support in full automatic. The Mate 10 Pro shot with f/1.6, 1/4s and ISO1250, the iPhone has a slower lens with f/1.8, 1/4s and ISO800. That is why the iPhone photo turns out darker. Both are very impressive but I would give the Mate 10 Pro a slight edge over the iPhone 8 Plus.

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Hallo iPhone X

by Volker Weber

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Fühlt sich super an. Wie ein schwereres, längeres iPhone 8.

Nicht nur das Gehäuse sondern auch der Bildschirm ist kleiner als der des iPhone 8 Plus, auch wenn die Zahlen etwas anderes suggerieren. Der Fehler entsteht, weil Apple nur die Diagonale angibt, nicht aber die Höhe und Breite. Dazu wird die Diagonale auch noch in die gedachte Ecke des abgerundeten Rechtecks gemessen. Aktuell benutzen die meisten Apps den zusätzlichen Platz oben und unten noch nicht.

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Face ID funktioniert tadellos. Ich denke, nächstes Jahr sind alle neuen iPhones wie das X aufgebaut.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro :: First impressions

by Volker Weber

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Three weeks ago I was supposed to be at the Huawei Mate 10 Pro launch in Munich. Instead I went to the doctor. Which was a life-saving decision. Nevertheless, Huawei asked me whether I wanted to take the Mate 10 Pro for a spin. Of course I want. This is a beginning of a longer journey.

There aren't any bad smartphones anymore. And the Mate 10 Pro is Huawei's best. It competes directly with the iPhone 8 Plus, in size, capabilities, speed, camera etc. First impression: totally worth the high price. Excellent build quality, beautiful colors, excellent look & feel. This is a premium phone. Feauture surprise: this phone has an infrared transmitter and can replace multiple remote controls.

The Mate 10 Pro is running Android Oreo 8.0 on the October 5 security level, unfortunately with Huawei's own EMUI 8 skin.

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The backside is glossy and a fingerprint magnet. It does provide a good grip and I am confident I will not drop it. There is a clear skin in the box, but it makes the phone feel cheap. I am leaving it off for now. The fingerprint reader is the fastest I have ever seen and it is in the perfect place, right where your index finger rests when you are holding the phone.

I shot a few quick photos and they appear to be at the same quality level as the iPhone 8 Plus. It will be very hard to work out differences, but I shall try. I do like the photo app very much since it caters both to novices as well as more advanced photographers. This will be fun.

Android One :: So wird ein Schuh draus

by Volker Weber

Aus einer Pressemitteilung von HTC:

das Gütesiegel Android One garantiert drei Jahre lang monatliche Sicherheitsupdates und mind. zwei Jahre lang das jeweils aktuellste Android Betriebssystem. Das HTC U11 life läuft unter Android Oreo und bringt damit das aktuellste unverfälschte Software-Erlebnis von Google in die Mittelklasse.

So wird Android für Otto Normalbenutzer endlich brauchbar. Keine Crapware, aktuelle Sicherheitspatches und Software Upgrades.

Wireless headphones I use

by Volker Weber

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These are not recommendations but simply headphones I use for various reasons:

There are quite a few headsets that are probably better. Sennheiser has excellent gear, so does beyerdynamic. I don't like the sound of Beats and I have no experience with B&O Play, Audio-Technica, or Bowers & Wilkins.

If you need good headphones for travelling and don't mind spending a lot of money, Bose QC 35 is the headset of choice. QC 30 is an interesting alternative because they let you sleep easier. Bose is the master of noise cancellation.

What are your favorites?

Alexa on Sonos to get Spotify support by Xmas

by Volker Weber

Spotify users: Currently you cannot ask Alexa to start music from Spotify on Sonos. You can start music with the Sonos or Spotify app. We will offer full voice support for Spotify by December 21.

There is really only a handful of services supported. Amazon Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn Radio, SiriusXM. This is dragging along ...

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watchOS 4.1 :: Listening to Beats 1

by Volker Weber

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That was easy. Upgraded to watchOS 4.1 last night, opened the new Radio app and started the free Beats 1 station. Watch connected to Airpods and it just works, over WiFi or cellular. I am not an Apple Music subscriber, so I am hoping that Spotify might one day come out with a watchOS app.

Microsoft Surface Pro with LTE Advanced

by Volker Weber

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Photo Microsoft

Microsoft announced an LTE-enabled Surface Pro with Cat 9 modem (20 bands, 450 Mbps) yesterday at Future Decoded in London. It's available for pre-order now for enterprise customers and ships in a month. Consumers should be able to purchase it early next year. Two configs: i5/4/128 (1329 €) and i5/8/256 (1629 €), SRP including tax.

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Signal Desktop

by Volker Weber

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Signal finally gets a desktop client which replaces the Chrome extension. Halleluja.

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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.

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