Don’t pay for a commercial VPN

Security researcher Kenn White added that “for the vast majority of consumers, commercial VPN services add very little value and frankly most incur more security risk for the user.”

One risk is some VPN providers use self-signed root CAs, which allow the creator to read encrypted traffic coming from a computer.

White said this is done in the pursuit of malware prevention, but that “is just a different way of saying ‘intercepting your (otherwise) encrypted web and mail traffic.'”

Some VPNs may collect more information than users anticipate, and in some cases expose that data too.

The advice you get from Youtube influencers, which are paid to sell you a VPN, is terrible. There are very few use cases for those VPNs. It’s mostly for pretending to be somewhere else, to circumvent geo fencing.

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Windows 11 ab heute

Microsoft startet heute den Rollout von Windows 11. Der wird sich über mehrere Monate hinziehen, bei Firmen-PCs eher mehre Jahre. Ich selbst benutze es als Insider Build seit rund drei Monaten auf dem Surface Pro X und bin äußerst zufrieden damit. Mein wichtigstes Feature, ohne das ich nicht mehr sein mag: Windows 11 merkt sich Fensterpositionen docked/undocked. Das heißt die Fenster landen wieder auf dem richtigen Monitor, wenn ich das Surface Pro X mit dem Dock verbinde.

Microsoft hat zwei sehr schöne Beiträge verfasst, davon einen in einfacher Sprache. Das ist eine tolle Idee.

Apple Watch Series 7 verfügbar

Apple Watch Series 7 ist ab Freitag dieser Woche bestellbar und wird eine Woche später geliefert. Die Watch SE bleibt unverändert verfügbar und für mich überraschend auch die Series 3. Ich bin sehr gespannt, wie sich die Series 7 “in echt” anfühlt. Das größere Display ist in jedem Fall willkommen.

Ich trage meine Watch täglich. Nur zum Schlafen und zum Duschen nehme ich sie ab. Nachts wird sie geladen; einen Schlaftracker brauche ich Murmeltier nicht. Und beim Duschen ziehe ich sie aus, damit diese Stelle auch sauber wird.

Im Oktober 2017 gab die Watch laut. Da war das Feature gerade erst einen Monat an meinem Arm. Mein Herz schlug nicht mehr regelmäßig und ich entschloss mich, zum Arzt zu gehen. Vom Hausarzt zum Internisten zum Chirurgen, alles binnen zwei Stunden. Ich musste ganz fix operiert werden und wachte in der Intensivstation auf. Drei Tage später war ich wieder zu Hause.

Noch von den Ereignissen der Woche schrieb ich meinen emotionalsten Beitrag, den ich immer noch nicht ohne Tränen in den Augen vorlesen kann. Den Event kann ich heute noch in Apple Health sehen.

iPhone 13 Pro :: Another camera perspective

I have shown you the difference in camera size between the iPhone 13 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro. It does not bother me in the least, but it has consequences when you add a case. For the iPhone 12 Pro, a leather case would make the back of the phone flat, so that you lay it down on a table without rocking and the camera glass would still be protected. The iPhone 13 Pro is different. The leather case has an extra protrusion that protects the lenses.

Remember, the iPhone 13 Pro got thicker by a fraction of a millimeter and houses a larger battery. With the old camera I could have imagined an ever thicker body that negates the necessity of a protruding lens. But the new camera will never fit in a phone body. And that is true for all serious cameras. The lens always sticks out.

There you have it. It’s not an iPhone. It is the iCamera. All of these photos were not shot with an iPhone but with a vivo X60 Pro. The iPhone 13 is not the only camera that can shoot up close.

#faceFacebook exploring playdates as a growth lever

Story in the Wall Street Journal:

Facebook has come under increasing fire in recent days for its effect on young users and its efforts to create products for them. Inside the company, teams of employees have for years been laying plans to attract preteens that go beyond what is publicly known, spurred by fear that Facebook could lose a new generation of users critical to its future.

Internal Facebook documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show the company formed a team to study preteens, set a three-year goal to create more products for them and commissioned strategy papers about the long-term business opportunities presented by these potential users. In one presentation, it contemplated whether there might be a way to engage children during play dates.

The more I learn about this company, the happier I am to have divorced from them. It is a never ending nightmare.

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Nora – die offizielle Notrufapp

nora ist die offizielle Notruf-App der Bundesländer. 

Mit nora erreichen Sie direkt die zuständigen Einsatzleitstellen von Polizei, Feuerwehr und Rettungsdienst – genauso, als würden Sie die Notrufnummern 110 oder 112 anrufen.

Aktuell funktioniert nora in 15 Bundesländern in Deutschland. In Berlin sind noch Abstimmungen erforderlich, bevor auch dort der App-Notruf angenommen wird.

Das sieht sehr brauchbar aus, aber mein Gefühl sagt mir, dass sowas bei richtiger Last zusammenbricht. [Update] Mein Gefühl war richtig. Die Infrastruktur ist unter Last zusammengebrochen und hat den ganzen Notruf mitgenommen. Nun ist die App erst mal zurückgezogen.[/Update]

Sehr schön finde ich, dass die App alles abfragt, was der Notruf wissen muss. Das könnte den Vorgang enorm beschleunigen.

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Marshall adds Minor III and Motif A.N.C. earbuds

Marshall Motif A.N.C.

Marshall Headphones always had a confusing line-up of earbuds. This is getting better now. I was disappointed by the tiny Mode II because I could not get a proper seal and thus no bass, but the two new models are solid entries.

The Minor III is an AirPods clone with a dark bad-ass design. You pair them, you stick them in, you play music. That’s it. No settings, no app, nothing. They play up to 5 hours, are IPX3 rated and you can recharge them from the case four times. They have one microphone each for phone calls, you can use either one or both, and they have touch control for music and call control. The left one works exactly like the right one. Like the AirPods they do not seal the ear canal, so the bass volume is somewhat limited but in true Marshall style, they can get really loud.

Marshall Minor III

Motif A.N.C. is a different beast. They seal the ear canal like AirPods Pro, they have ANC and transparency, and you can configure them in an app. I had a perfect seal with the medium size ear gels. If you don’t hear a thumping bass, try other sizes. This is really important and was the source of my frustration with the Mode II.

Battery life depends on ANC use: 4.5 hours with, up to 6 hours without. The case will recharge for a total playtime of 20 or 26 hours respectively. The buds are IPX5 rated, the case only IPX4. Both earbuds have two microphones each for ANC and one microphone each for voice pickup, which gets augmented by one of the ANC mics for beamforming.

Marshall Motif A.N.C.

The Motif earbuds are clearly my favorite of the two since I can make them mine through customization. Touch control can be turned off, custom touch actions on both ears let you control different aspects, they have a five band equalizer and three profiles. Clever: you can charge to only 80% for a prolonged battery life.

Both cases can be charged with USB-C or on a Qi inductive pad. The earbuds connect via Bluetooth 5.1, the smarter Motif buds use an additional Low Energy connection for control. The sound on both is solid, the matte black color is a welcome departure from the AirPods white. What I actually like best is the fat stem that provides a good grip. The case however feels cheap because the hinge does not open or close as solid as competing earbuds.

Marshall Mode II, Minor III, Motif A.N.C.

I am a huge fan of the Major IV on-ears and the Monitor II A.N.C. over-ears. The true wireless line-up is less convincing. List prices for the three products is 179 Eur for the Mode II, 129 Eur for the Minor III and 199 Eur for the Motif A.N.C. There isn’t much you can design-wise with earbuds that mostly disappear in your ears, but Marshall did a good job on the new earbuds. Mode II is tiny and did not work for me. The other two do work but they do not earn the editor-refuses-to-give-it-back award like the Major IV and Monitor II A.N.C. did. My favorite Marshall product remains the Stockwell II portable speaker.

Skype Universal Translator for Voice and Video Calls

While we love that you have so much fun during your Skype calls, sometimes the time comes when you need an incredibly practical feature to use — Skype Universal Translator.

If you’ve ever seen the television show Star Trek, you might have seen Captain Kirk talking with a being from another planet using a marvelous device called the Universal Translator. You might have thought, “Wow, I wish I could have something like that in real life!” Well now your wish has come true!

With Universal Translator, you can communicate with anyone in any language, on a landline or a video call. Low-cost calls with a real-time translator on top, we love bringing that science fiction from Star Trek to reality!

I thought that Skype was going away with the move to Teams. But that is only Skype for Business. For consumers, Microsoft is doubling down. And as you know, I am a huge fan.

Read the whole thing so see what is coming.

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iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro :: First impressions

I am moving my stuff from an iPhone 12 Pro to an iPhone 13 Pro. And I am shooting some quick photos with a Fujifilm camera. I apologize for the bad photo quality, but I cannot shoot the iPhones with the iPhones. We will return to the old quality after this. 🙂

Here are some quick observations:

I knew that the new camera is bigger than the old camera. I did not imagine how much larger it is. Very hard to see in a photo, I used perspective to make the difference more pronounced. Just by looking at the camera I know which iPhone I am holding.

Although the iPhones look very similar at first glance, the iPhone 13 Pro is noticeably thicker and heavier. All buttons have moved slightly towards the bottom and that is a very good thing for my fingers. Also, the SIM card slot has moved quite a lot towards the bottom left side, but I only touch that twice, when I put the card in and when I finally remove it.

The bigger camera, the thicker case, the moved buttons all mean you cannot use an old case. That was to be expected.

I use a MagSafe Duo charger and I was worried it would collide with the new camera hump, but it does not. It has actually become easier to put the phone down on the charger. Just place it face up, a little bit too high, and then draw towards you. Bamm. I always have to do this in complete darkness and it worked better on the first try then did after months with the iPhone 12 Pro.

However, if you get the Apple leather case, you will get a collision between the high lip that protects the camera and the Duo charger. The normal MagSafe works just fine.

This collision is purely cosmetic. The charger works just fine and it does not apply to me since I have used the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro without a case, and will also do the same with the iPhone 13 Pro.

This is just a first impressions before getting too much use out of the iPhone. I only got it yesterday but I am already liking it. Moving data and apps from one phone to the other was a breeze. The only thing that always worries me is the TAN generator one of my bank uses. You have to enroll it again on the new phone. For those who don’t move iPhones as often as I do: you basically place the old phone next to the new one and follow the default options. After that it moves the data, reinstalls the apps, pairs the Apple Watch and the Apple headphones. Only the information stored in the secure element needs to be recreated.