init - der Wochenausblick: BlackBerry, Microsoft tagt, das iPhone X kommt

by Volker Weber

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Ab Freitag ist das iPhone X vorbestellbar. Am Montag vor sechzehn Jahren hätte man allerdings statt des ersten iPods besser Apple-Aktien erworben. Was die Woche außer der dunklen Winterzeit noch bringt, zeigt wie immer der Wochenausblick.

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What made me go to the doctor?

by Volker Weber

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I keep getting asked the same question: how could you possibly tolerate the pain for so long? This is a hard question to answer. It's a combination of many factors and I am not going to try answering it. The more interesting question is why I decided to no longer tolerate it. The answer is easy: I could see that my body was failing.

Look at the two graphs above, both taken from Apple Health. The data originates from the heart rate sensor of my Apple Watch. I have been wearing it for years, 23 hours a day. That means I have a lot of data to compare against.

The left graph shows how my resting heart rate went from 62 to 85 over the course of only a few weeks. There is no good explanation. Your resting heart rate goes down over time as you exercise and your heart becomes stronger. Mine isn't particularly strong. I walk a lot but I have little cardio fitness. 62 is pretty good for my fitness level and my age, but it should not suddenly go up, especially not continously. My heart was not allowed to rest, not even during sleep.

The right graph shows my heart rate variability. In simpler terms: how steady is the heart beat. I average about 25 ms. At 62 bpm that means I miss the heart beat by about 2.5 hundreds of a second. And this one freaked me out. It suddenly went to 250 ms. (Graph only shows median.) A thousand percent increase! My heart was clearly in distress. Time to seek immediate help.

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Now my resting heart rate is down at 62, the beat is steady at 9 ms and I can see myself getting rid of some of the other meds I still need in the not too distant future. I am very thankful to my doctors and I attribute my strength and ability to heal to my exercise regime and healthy diet over the last four years.

#dontbreakthechain

Alex und Kira :: Eine ganz persönliche Perspektive

by Volker Weber

Alles passiert jetzt. Gestern war nichts, was morgen ist, weiß ich nicht. Ute liefert mich vor dem Alice-Hospital ab und fährt weiter zur Arbeit. Ich bin schwach, alles schmerzt. Ich habe seit Tagen nichts gegessen, viel zu wenig getrunken. Nichts geht mehr. Aber ich will diesen Weg mit eigener Kraft gehen. Ich greife meinen Beutel mit Wäsche und ein paar Stromkabeln und gehe hinein ohne mich umzudrehen. Ich muss jetzt vorwärts.

Der Aufzug bringt mich eine halbe Treppe bis auf die Empfangsebene. Ich gehe den langen Flur bis ans andere Ende des Hospitals zur Patientenaufnahme. Dort fängt mich die stellvertretende Leiterin auf. Sie nimmt meine Versicherungskarten und erledigt allen Papierkram für mich. Mein Finger steckt in einem Pulsmesser. Piep, piep, pieppiep, ..., piep, piep, ..., pieppiep. Mein Herz schlägt, aber nicht regelmäßig. Der Blutdruck ist vorbildlich. Die Frau lässt mich den Aufzug zur Station nicht selbst nehmen. Sie setzt mich in einen Rollstuhl und fährt mich bis zu meinem Bett. Alles tut weh. Alles. Weh. Keine Luft.

Dann kommt Kira. Lange blonde Strähnen, ein bisschen verschmitzt, bestimmend aber sanft. Ich bekomme einen Venenzugang, sofort eine Flasche Paracetamol, danach Wasser, viel Wasser. Trinken darf ich nicht, wegen der OP. Aber jetzt ist das kein Problem mehr. Ich habe ja diese neue Lebensader. Alles wird gut, die Schmerzen sind weg. Ich kann wieder atmen. Ich soll mich auf die Operation vorbereiten. Ich ziehe alles aus, wasche mich noch einmal, lasse noch mal allen Urin ab und ziehe mir das OP-Hemd über. Kira zieht mir die Kompressionsstrümpfe an. Ich kann nicht mehr.

Das Rollkommando kommt und bringt mich zum OP ganz nach oben. Ich werde auf den OP-Tisch umgebettet und festgeschnallt. Es geht in die Schleuse. Jeder fragt mich das gleiche. Wie heißen Sie, wann sind Sie geboren, was machen wir mit Ihnen? Sie wissen es, aber sie wollen es noch einmal hören. Nur damit sie niemanden verwechseln. Zwei Menschen bereiten mich weiter vor. Ich werde verkabelt. EKG. Blutdruck. Mein Chirurg kommt und begrüßt mich. Ich frage ihn, ob er mein Anästhesist ist. Er lacht. Nein, er ist mein Chirurg. Ich erkenne ihn nicht. Er hat sich vermummt. Dann kommt meine Anästhesistin. Wie heißen Sie, wann sind Sie geboren, was machen wir mit Ihnen? Ich erzähle ihr was mir wichtig ist. Und dann gebe ich mich in ihre Hände.

Licht aus.

Licht an. Ich weiß nicht wo ich bin. Nicht im OP. Nicht bei Kira. Aber ich fühle mich geborgen. Ich bin in einem halb dunklen Raum. Einem riesigen Raum, hinter mir Maschinen, die röcheln und schnaufen. In meiner Nase steckt ein Schlauch, der mir wunderbare Luft spendet. Sauerstoff. Mein Finger steckt in einer Klammer, die schaut, ob genug davon im Blut ist. Immer wieder pumpt sich eine Manschette an meinem Arm auf. Der Blutdruck. An meiner Lebensader hängt lebensspendendes Wasser. Mein Monitor piept. Ganz gleichmäßig. Piep, piep, piep, piep, piep, piep, piep, piep. Das Herz scheint erleichtert.

Ich bin nicht allein. Ich heiße Alex. Herr Alex? Nein, einfach Alex. Ich will seinen ganzen Namen wissen. Alexander Bruccoleri. Alex meint, das könne sich niemand merken. Er hat keine Ahnung.

Alex ist mein Leben. Er hält es in seinen Händen. Er hegt es, er pflegt es. Er entschuldigt sich, wenn er mal weg muss. Ich bin so froh, wenn ich ihn sehe. Jede Stunde befreit er mich von dem Monitor, hängt meine Drainage um und bringt mich zum Klo. Als nach Stunden immer noch kein Wasser kommt, hilft er mir. Ich frage Alex nach meinem Telefon. Er meint ich dürfe es hier nicht benutzen. Aber er holt es mir, macht es ganz sauber und gibt es mir. Ich schlafe immer wieder ein. Wenn ich wach werde, ist Alex da. Alex ist immer da. Er ist mein Leben.

Ich frage Alex, ob Ute kommen darf. Sie darf. Alex passt auf, dass sie absolut sauber ist. Mein Chirurg kommt und erklärt mir, dass das nicht ganz einfach war und dass ich erst mal hier bleibe bei Alex. Ich bin zufrieden. Hier fühle ich mich sicher. Alex und seine Maschinen passen auf mich auf.

Alex besteht darauf, dass ich etwas esse. Ute öffnet mir ein Joghurt und nimmt den ersten Löffel. Das macht sie immer so. Es gibt noch ein zweites, mit Erdbeergeschmack. Ich bin satt. Ich kann schlafen. Endlich. Schlafen.

Kira kommt. Sie hat mein Bett mitgebracht. Die Maschinen brauche ich nicht mehr. Sie fährt mich alleine wieder zurück in mein Zimmer. Der Aufzug fährt abwärts. Nanu? Kira schiebt mich auf meinen Platz, wo sie mir einen Tag zuvor die Strümpfe angezogen hat. Die Sonne scheint mir auf den Bauch. Das Leben in mir erwacht wieder. Alex hat mich zurückgebracht. Das Gefühl für Zeit kommt zurück. Ich kann mich frei bewegen. Erst ganz wenig. Und dann mehr. Immer mehr. Immer weiter. Kira sagt, ich soll mir was ordentliches anziehen. Na, das sieht doch ganz sportlich aus! Ich muss gehen, gehen, gehen. Und Luft holen und ausatmen und einatmen. Und dann: RRRROOOOAAAAAAR. Ich bin wieder da.

Sonos One needs serious b/s detection

by Volker Weber

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Today I switched my b/s detector back on, and boy was it off the charts reading about the new Sonos One. In many reviews it comes across as a premium mix of Sonos and Alexa. And it clearly is not. So what is it anyway?

Play One looks like a Play:1 Tone Limited Edition when viewed from the side. It's either pure white or pure black. That is a good choice. The top has changed. There are no physical buttons. You control it via a large touch panel. You also no longer have the recessed top that would keep small items like earrings from wandering around your night stand.

Now things become difficult. Sonos One's claim to fame is that it can be controlled by voice. But that part isn't finished. It's "in beta" as Sonos likes to say, but I only call feature complete software as beta. What we have today is software "in development". Before we get to that, there is hardware involved. Sonos One has a microphone array that lets it pick up your voice from the room. And when that microphone array is on, it is hardwired to a white LED on top of the new touch panel, that cannot be turned off in software. This is to ensure the custoner that Sonos One is not listening when the light is off. It kind of kills usage in the bedroom, since that light is going to be on if you want to make use of voice control. In contrast, Amazon Echo speakers switch a light on when in privacy mode. Amazon rightfully assumes you want to use the product.

How does voice control work? The speaker is in continous listening mode. It puts the data in a buffer and analyses what it hears, quickly deleting the data until it finds its wake word. For now that wakeword is "Alexa". As soon as it discovers the wakeword, it streams your room sound to a server process in the cloud which tries to figure out what you are saying. Today this is an Alexa skill. What makes the software "in development" is that it is incomplete. Echo speakers can play from Spotify, Sonos One can play from Spotify, but you cannot tell Sonos One via voice control to play from Spotify. Neither from Apple Music or Google Play. Nor from your own library. Echo speakers have lots of features that Sonos One doesn't. And Sonos does not add any. Example: you cannot group or ungroup speakers via voice.

Digging deeper you will find that voice control on Sonos wants to be independent from Alexa. It will add Google Assistant next year for instance. That means it has to do its own wakeword detection and while you can call Alexa on Echo also with the wakewords "Amazon" or "Computer" the Sonos One only hears "Alexa". And it's a bit hard of hearing. More false positives and negatives. It will more often wake up when not called or not wake up when called.

I am sure this will get better over time. This product ships in time for the holidays, but not before software development is nearly done.

This is by no means a concise review. Example: you cannot pair a PLAY:1 and Sonos One.

Restart completed

by Volker Weber

Thank you all for your positive messages. They helped me pull through these difficult days. What should have been a routine surgery unveiled a much bigger monster. I had trusted my fate with skilled medical professionals and they saved me. After the first 24 hours it was on me to dig myself out of this hole and I had more strength and courage than I would have thought. Within 48 hours I was on safe ground and now I am completely restored.

The crisis is over. I am coming out much stronger than I went in.

From my inbox

by Volker Weber

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How I’m dealing with my long-term project

by Volker Weber

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#dontbreakthechain means you don’t skip your daily routine because you are lazy or the weather is bad or you don’t feel like it. However, if you have a medical emergency, that does not mean you are breaking the chain. You are watching your body with respect. The counts may go to zero, but your spirit does not.

I won’t get my rewards for October, but I am already picking up the pieces.

Dramatische 24 Stunden

by Volker Weber

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Es begann mit meinem Freund und Hausarzt Dr. Rainer Müller, ging über den klaren und kurzentschlossenen Internisten Dr. Andreas Niedenthal, den phantastischen Chirurgen Dr. Norbert Runge bis zu meinem exzellenten Intensiv-Pfleger Alexander Bruccoleri. Diesen Menschen verdanke ich mein Leben.

Twitter updates from last 24 hours:

Tissue can have many colors. Black is not a good one. You already started dying.

init - der Wochenausblick: von Moskau nach Kuba

by Volker Weber

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Ein riesiges Innovationsforum in Moskau, mindestens zwei wegweisende Highend-Smartphones, den Rollout der neuesten Windows-Versionen mit passenden Headsets und reichlich Erinnerungen. Die neue Woche hat viel zu bieten.

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#dontbreakthechain einmal ganz anders

by Volker Weber

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Am Freitag schickte mir Thomas einen Artikel, der eine unglaubliche Leistung beschreibt. Der 84-jährige Joses Hein aus Solingen hat 66 Jahre in Folge das deutsche Sportabzeichen erworben, zunächst in Bonze, dann in Silber, Jahrezehnte in Gold. Eine Ehrennadel für 65 gab es nicht, deshalb bekam er vom DSB einen Pokal.

Den Artikel dazu gibt es online bei der RP.

Respekt

by Volker Weber

Fünf Jahre lang saß Murat Kurnaz im Lager Guantánamo, heute ist er Sozialarbeiter in Bremen. Mit einem Appell wendet er sich an Migrantenkinder, wie er selbst eines war – und an junge Flüchtlinge.

Durch die Hölle und zurück. Und (wieder) in Deutschland angekommen. Eine bewegende Geschichte.

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How do you say iPhone X

by Volker Weber

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Last night I started this Twitter poll to find out how many people say 'iPhone 10' vs 'iPhone X'.

Apple reps are trained to say 'iPhone 10' and they will even correct you when you say 'iPhone X'. It's a fun game. You can try it as often as you like and they always respond with 'iPhone 10'. I did this recently in a briefing and then I confessed I was trolling them. We had a good laugh and one admitted it took her a while.

We have been there before with OS X, which followed OS 9. Apple went through 12 versions (10.0 to 10.11) until they called it macOS again. It is going to be interesting to see how Apple brands the successors to the iPhone 8 and iPhone X.

PS: Best comment was from Scott:

My initial reaction was to think "but they're both pronounced the same!" I guess Roman numerals are a bigger thing in the US than in Germany. :-)

Apple trying to make Germans say 10 seems futile. For Americans it's completely natural. The 51st Super Bowl was called Super Bowl LI and Americans have no difficulty decoding this as 50 plus 1.

Speaking of numbers: about one in ten people who saw the poll voted on it. And the results are stable after about 50 votes.

Surface Pro :: It's my preferred computer

by Volker Weber

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Ten months in, the Surface Pro 4 is my preferred computer. I have quite a few of them and rotate them to keep them updated. But I am always going back to the Surface Pro as fast as possible.

I would not be using Windows 10 without this hardware. I have yet to come across any other machine as pretty and as usable. It has it all: a beautiful screen, lightweight, touch, ink, great keyboard and trackpad.

I had a good laugh when Nadella proclaimed he wanted people to love using Windows. Yeah, fat chance. Hahaha. And here I am, it's not getting in the way. Dare I say I love it? Nope. But I do love this machine.

Declan #dontbreakthechain

by Volker Weber

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This is Declan. Last week he completed the first 500 days of #dontbreakthechain. I have known Declan for many years but I would only have recognized him by his voice. Below are earlier photos of Declan showing his progress.

My heart-felt congratulations, Sir. And keep it up.

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Apple Watch :: LTE is a game changer

by Volker Weber

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Ten days in I am pretty sure that LTE is a game changer for the Apple Watch. I have worn an Apple Watch for two and a half years and have been hooked on the activity tracking feature. That's why I never took it off.

Notifications were always nice to have, since I did not have to fetch my iPhone for unimportant updates. But I still had it on me, no matter where I went. And this has changed.

I often leave the iPhone behind when I leave the house. I still have my notifications, I get all my WhatsApp or Signal messages, and I can keep conversations going in iMessage or reply to emails via Siri Dictation. I get my phone calls and I place phone calls in a pinch.

I probably would not leave for a full day without the iPhone, but it is a perfect solution for dog walks, bike trips, running errands or going out.

Motion: BlackBerry Mobile stellt zweites Android-Gerät vor

by Volker Weber

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Bild: BlackBerry Mobile

Am gestrigen Sonntag hat BlackBerry-Lizenznehmer TCL nach dem KEYone ein tastaturloses Touchgerät gezeigt, das zunächst nur in den Vereinigten Arabischen Emiraten angeboten wird. Weitere Märkte sollen folgen.

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init - der Wochenausblick: von Rock bis Rock

by Volker Weber

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IBM besteigt in Frankfurt ein kleines Watson-Gipfelchen, Microsoft bereitet die Developer auf das Fall Creators Update vor, ebenfalls in Frankfurt folgt die Buchmesse und in Nürnberg die it-sa. Eingerahmt wird alles von der Musik alter Männer.

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How I learnt to loathe England

by Volker Weber

A Dutchman reflects on what he’s learnt by living in Britain for the last six years - it isn’t pretty:

The Tories are seared by Europe, as they have been for a generation, only now with more intensity; Labour looks incapable of overcoming its own divisions on the question. Neither party dares to speak the truth to millions of people who have voted for a "have your cake and eat it" option that was never on the menu. How to carry out the will of the majority when the majority voted for something that does not exist?

This is a tough reading. The future does not look bright for England.

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Weathered leather case and gold iPhone 8 Plus

by Volker Weber

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This is a powerful combination.

Sunday morning treat

by Volker Weber

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Gregor made these from scratch. Yummy.

Navigating the Sonos 8.0 app

by Volker Weber

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The apps have been redesigned to look more like the iOS 10 Music app and they only use black & white with some red accents. At first I was completely lost in the Now Playing panel until I learned you have to use these two carets to get in and out. You can also swipe the panel up and down.

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If you tap the room name in the Now Playing panel, you are not taken to the rooms screen. Instead another panel appears where you can select which rooms the music should play in. This makes it easier to transfer music from one room to the other.

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When you tap and thus select a room in the Rooms panel the Group button uncloaks. To get to the room you have to tap the room again. If you tap the group button the same sheets appears that you get when tapping the room name in the Now Playing panel. This is redundant.

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There is a very simple fix to make this design so much better. Instead of showing More ... on the main tab switcher, replace it with Now Playing. Then you don‘t have to hide the bar in the Now Playing panel and it becomes much easier to move around. You can then hide the leftovers behind a caret in the upper left.

When marketing and engineering collide

by Volker Weber

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This is Sonos One. It looks like the PLAY:1 special editions from 2015 in pure white and black. And it has the new top with touch controls and the microphones for voice control. It has been in production for a while and needs to ship in time for Xmas. And it needs to ship before too many people buy the Apple HomePod. Unfortunately the software isn't ready.

When Sonos was still the only serious player it would not have shipped. PLAYBAR for instance did not ship before February because it wasn't ready.

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Times have changed and software can be fixed later. 90% of my music is from Spotify, the rest is from my library. Guess what other sources Alexa cannot play from? Apple Music and Google Play. I run into bugs at every turn. This morning I started to play the a-ha MTV Unplugged Summer Solstice concert via Spotify Connect in the Bathroom and later moved it to TV. Now TV is gone and is only recognized as Bathroom.

Eventually this will all be resolved. February looks like a good target date.

Airplay auf Sonos für kleines Geld

by Volker Weber

Ein Raspberry Pi kostet nur ein paar Mark fünzig und braucht nicht viel Strom.

In dem folgenden How To möchte ich euch zeigen wie ihr ein Raspberry Pi als Airplay Relais für Sonos benutzt um euere Sonos Lautsprecher Airplayfähig zu bekommen. Alles was ihr dazu braucht ist ein Raspberry Pi 2 oder 3, Airsonos und ein paar Linux Kentnisse.

Und schon können alle Eure Sonos-Player Airplay.

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So many threes

by Volker Weber

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My Twitter profile today. Not going to last long.

Apple Watch Edition

by Volker Weber

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When you buy an Apple Watch, you have to make one big decision: 38mm or 42mm. Rule of thumb: girls buy 38mm, boys 42. Having a bigger display is always helpful but you don't want the watch to be too big for your wrist. This one decision will set the size of your arm bands. Trust me, you will have a collection that lasts longer than one Watch. At the entry level you also have to decide whether you want LTE or not. It's an option. You can buy it but you don't have to use it right away. That's where you can stop spending. You have multiple choices for colors and bands, and many of them cost the same.

Since buyers want choice and vendors also like to charge as much as the buyer wants to spend, there are more expensive options. You can buy a steel case in two colors instead of the standard aluminium one. You can buy multiple leather bands or steel bands. As soon as you decide for a steel case, LTE becomes standard.

Beyond that we enter the luxury sector. With the original Watch Apple tried to sell a really expensive gold case, but customers weren't too interested. Then they partnered with Hermès which contributed fancy leather bands and exclusive watch faces. This worked much better. And with Apple Watch Series 2 Apple introduced a white ceramic case and called it Watch Edition. Watch Edition Series 3 also comes in grey.

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This is a Watch Edition 3 in white. I always liked to wear white bands on the original Stainless Steel Watch, and even on the space grey Series 2 aluminium watch. For Series 3 I wanted to go back to stainless steel, although I never made a scratch into the softer aluminium case. But then ... what the heck. Go all the way. Now it's white bands only. And it's very pretty. This is not the original band. It's the white Nike Sport band and it's by far my favorite band.

To those who don't know about Apple watches, Edition actually looks cheaper than Stainless Steel. At first you might thing it's glossy plastic. Only if you look closer you understand it is ceramic. And it does not scratch. It is however a coating. And that means the case is slightly larger and so is the digital crown. It's not as ribbed as the Steel one. And since the body itself is larger, the screen doesn't quite flow so smoothly into the case. There is a noticeable ridge. I find it pretty because it adds a little extra shine to the white body but others may be disappointed.

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With Edition you don't just get the Watch, a band and the 2m inductive charge cable. There is bedside charging dock which I like a lot more than I expected, an extra Lightning cable for the dock and a shorter 1m inductive charging cable for your travel. This is something that Apple could improve in the future. You need this special cable. Watch Series 3 does not charge on Qi chargers. Yes, I tried.

As I said, customers want choice. In the luxury segment I prefer Edition White over Grey and also over Hermès because I do not like leather bands. I prefer the Stainless Steel case over the black one. And at the entry level I find the space grey option nicer than gold or silver.

No matter what you prefer, it is always an Apple Watch, and they do the same things. And please, don't buy a Series 1.

No sleep today

by Volker Weber

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Not entirely true. I did get some rest. But I was up every single hour of the day. I will behave better tomorrow.

Android Wear is gone from the Google Store

by Volker Weber

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Go to store.google.com and try to find any reference to Android Wear. They disappeared yesterday. You have to be very ignorant to not understand what that means.

It was nice meeting you, Alexa

by Volker Weber

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Jul 6, 2017, Sonos:

... you’ve asked to get on the Alexa beta. I’ve denied this request for now ...

October 5, 2017, vowe:

Good luck sorting out your edge cases for multilingual customers.

I may have a second look once it goes out of beta.

Google Pixel 2: aus eigener Kraft mehr wie Apple sein - ein Kommentar

by Volker Weber

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Mit dem Nexus One führte Google einst das pure Android-Gerät ein. Mit dem Pixel veränderte Google den Kurs in Richtung integrierter Premium-Anbieter. Der Erfolg blieb aus. Jetzt legt Google nach – und kann dabei auf eigene Stärken bauen.

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Airplay 2 not coming to all Sonos speakers

by Volker Weber

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Airplay 2 can be implemented in software, as long as you have enough memory. And apparently not all Sonos players do. This has yet to be confirmed by Sonos, but the current situation looks like this:

We also don't know if you can target a group where one player is capable. 2018 is near, but also long. We don't know when Sonos delivers. I hope they are not planning on the IBM calender which always had a 62 day December.

Sonos & Alexa: Hilfe!

by Volker Weber

Ich habe seit mehr als zehn Jahren Sonos. Seit Anfang des Jahres habe ich einen Echo Dot und kann mit dem auch einiges machen. Aber jetzt bin ich verloren. Ihr müsst mir da mal helfen.

Ich habe in der Alexa App auf dem iPhone den Sonos Skill geladen. Darin habe ich mich mit meinem Sonos-Konto angemeldet und danach mit dem Amazon-Konto. Alexa hat mein Haus durchsucht und alle meine Sonos-Player gefunden. Und weiter komme ich nicht. Egal was ich Alexa erzähle, stets kommt alles nur aus meinem Echo Dot. Radio-Sender, Playlisten, alles spielt über den Echo Dot. Die Sonos Player kann ich schlicht gar nicht steuern. Nicht einschalten, nicht ausschalten, keine Musik starten. Nichts. Null. Gar nichts. Und Alexa ist halt strunzdumm. Wenn man die Kommandos nicht kennt, dann macht sie einfach gar nichts.

Ich frage mich, was die Betatester da geraucht haben. So eine Katastrophe darf doch nie gar nicht aus Closed Beta in Public Beta übergehen. Sowas habe ich bei Sonos in zehn Jahren noch nicht erlebt. Die haben Play:5 und Playbar ewig verschleppt, weil sie noch nicht gut genug waren. Und nun das.

Also, was kann ich sagen? Konkrete Beispiele bitte.

Sonos startet öffentliche Alexa-Beta und präsentiert neuen Lautsprecher

by Volker Weber

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Durch ein Software-Update können Anwender aus USA, UK und Deutschland nun Sonos mit jedem Alexa-Gerät verbinden. Dazu gibt es einen neuen Sonos-Player mit eingebauter Alexa. 2018 will Sonos Apple Airplay 2 und Google Assistant unterstützen.

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Without a little help from my friends

by Volker Weber

Sonos has scheduled an event today in New York at 10am local, 16:00 CEST. That is very close to the Google event around the Pixel 2 et al, which will create a small Tsunami of news. But Sonos is macho. They are not afraid. It's their biggest event of the year. And despite their best effort to hide the URL and the password for their live stream, I managed to obtain that information. Even their agency was only coming forward with the info that press releases will not be sent out before 17:00.

Nevertheless, I will be covering their news for heise online. That is a news outlet in Germany, in case you are wondering.

I can't sit around all day waiting for their show to start. After all, this is a different timezone. And since I cannot be trusted with any information, I shall prepare some remarks about the challenges Sonos is facing.

Update: Press release was in at 19:10, right in the middle of the Google keynote.

Fitbit Ionic :: First impressions

by Volker Weber

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Ionic is the first real smartwatch from Fitbit. It's much nicer than I thought it would be just by looking at the pictures. I don't like to read Fitbit on the front, much like I did not like reading Pebble. There are some really good features. But in the end it fails spectacularly for me. But first things first.

Ionic has a touch interface and three buttons. Your main interaction is swiping: left for apps, right for settings, down for music player, up for notifications. Yes, up for notifications, which is completely backwards since every other platform has notifications from the top.

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I wore the Ionic on a regular dog walk and it logged the same 7000 steps my Apple Watch saw. It came to completely different results for the calorie burn. Where it recorded 600 Cals burned, my watch only awards 300. Which does not really matter, since I take these numbers only relative to each other. I set a 600 Cal goal and if that means two walks, it shall be two walks.

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Fitbit has customers who love the product and everything related to fitness tracking is as good as on other Fitbits. The heart rate sensor appears to be even more accurate.

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The biggest advantage of the Ionic is battery life. It only needs a recharge every five days. That is some Pebble heritage here. On the Apple Watch I recharge every day and that is completely routine. You can do the same with Ionic, but when you are travelling, you don't need to take care of the watch for days.

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Smartwatches differentiate from fitness trackers by supporting apps and notifications. And it is notifications where Ionic fails for me big time. You can't really do anything with them. You can't reply, you can't keep a conversation going, and when you return home, they are still all on the phone.

But that is just my personal preference. I know somebody who wants it exactly this way. Bill, I am looking at you. This might be your perfect watch.

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And then there is the whole ecosystem. Ionic is more like Samsung Gear S3 than Android Wear or Apple Watch. It just doesn't tie as closely into the platform. There isn't really much software and there is little interaction. It has its place but it does not come close to my Apple Watch.

Morten Harket

by Volker Weber

Stellt Euch einfach vor, wie Morten Harket und seine Fans 32 Jahre seit diesem Video gealtert sind. Und dann schaut in diese Augen. Sie lieben ihn noch immer.

init - Der Wochenausblick: Nobelpreise, Pixel und Blade Runner

by Volker Weber

2017-10-02

Trotz Brücken- und Feiertag hat diese Woche einiges zu bieten. Besonders am Mittwoch ist der Bär los. Dazu gibt es jeden Tag Nobelpreisträger.

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Battery always fully charged

by Volker Weber

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It‘s so good to finally have inductive charging on the iPhone. My Lumia never ran dry because I had Qi chargers around the house. The same happens with iPhone now.

The battery on the Watch also holds up well. It‘s at 71% after 13 hours, with about one hour of LTE standby. I did not place any calls though.

Nine months #dontbreakthechain

by Volker Weber

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First nine months of 2017 are completed. Are you still with me? My interesting challenge ist 1000 days. I am 854 days in, 146 to go. Feb 22 is the target date.

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And this is how you evolve a design

by Volker Weber

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These are three generations of Apple Watch. Do you notice the difference? There is none. Apple got the design right on the first product and they have been iterating the internals year after year. They have re-assigned the buttons since they did not get the software right in watchOS 1 and 2. But they kept a steady hand at the industrial design. Your first Apple Watch does not look different from the newest ones.

The Aluminium case comes in Gold, Silver and Space Gray. The Steel case is available in Stainless and Space Black Stainless. The Ceramic case comes in gray and white finishes. Watches can be 38 mm or 42 mm and bands are available in lots of materials and colors. There are special models in cooperation with Nike and Hermès. All of these options allow you to express yourself and to spend anywhere between 269 € and 1499 €.

But no matter what you spend, you will get an Apple Watch.

Apple Watch LTE :: This is seriously cool

by Volker Weber

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Oh dear, this reminds me of my very first mobile phone, a Motorola 3200 International. Phone calls on the go, without a landline. Connected everywhere, without much effort.

Now I can do the same. Without a smartphone. This feels so weird. I am always alert because I don't feel my phone on me. Did I forget it somewhere, did I drop it? We are so used to always keep that phone safe, that it is almost second nature.

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It looks strange when you raise your wrist to accept a phone call. But with your AirPods it's completely natural and you cannot hear a difference to an iPhone call. It's not only phone calls. You can also send texts and iMessages. And you can reply to WhatsApp messages since they arrive as push notifications. iMessage stickers also work but show some artefacts from other frames.

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I may have to go back from using Outlook on the iPhone to the native messaging app. Outlook does not seem to work well over LTE, if at all.

eSIM für Apple Watch Series 3 aktivieren

by Volker Weber

Das klingt eigentlich ganz einfach:

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Also habe ich da mal angerufen:

Da sehe ich Verbesserungspotential.

Wenn man dann mal durchkommt, geht alles ganz einfach. Der Kundenberater fügt dem Account eine Multi-SIM hinzu. Dann meldet man sich einmal ab und wieder an. Auf der Startseite findet man unten einen Eintrag mit einem Aktivierungslink.

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Klickt man auf diesen Link, zeigt das Kundencenter einen QR-Code an. Man wählt auf dem iPhone die Watch App und dort die Option Cellular. Dann kann man den Code einscannen und die App lädt das Profil in die Uhr. Fertig.

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Ab jetzt geht eigentlich alles automatisch. Die Watch verbindet sich nur dann mit LTE, wenn keine Wifi- oder Bluetooth-Verbindung möglich ist. Man kann LTE aber auch im Control Center der Watch abschalten.

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Apple Watch LTE :: All the notifications, not all the apps

by Volker Weber

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Apple Watch is designed to work with iPhone. On the App Store you will find iPhone apps that support the Watch. In watchOS 1, apps would execute on the iPhone and display on Watch. With watchOS 2 Apple released a native SDK that allowed apps to execute on the Watch itself, which sped up things considerably. Just by looking at App Store you cannot find out if an app runs natively on the Watch oder on iPhone.

Watch, Watch Series 1 and Series 2 can talk to iPhone via Bluetooth or WiFi. Watch Series 3 adds (optional) LTE. When your iPhone is on and has a network connection, you will get all notifications via WiFi or LTE. Rule of thumb: if your app can connect via WiFi, it can also connect via LTE. The app developer does not have to do anything for LTE to work. His app inherits LTE support from WiFi support.

Twitter just removed Watch support from their app. I have a hunch that happened because they don't support the WiFi connection and don't want LTE users to yell at them. I will have to find out one by one, which apps support this connection.

iPhone 8 Plus :: One phantastic camera

by Volker Weber

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I don't look at cameras the same way as pixel pushers do. The only thing that counts for me is how photos turn out. This is a split second snapshot I made this morning. It's not the best of a series. It's just one single attempt at getting it right. And boy, the camera delivered. For this kind of result I used to get the Fujifilm X-Pro1 with 35mm f/1.4 glass. Megapixels don't matter. If you just compare iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus on megapixel count, you might come to the conclusion that both have 12 megapixels and should render the same results. And you would be very wrong.

Apple Watch :: Do you need to upgrade?

by Volker Weber

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There are three generations of Apple Watches:

The photo above shows an Apple Watch, an Apple Watch Series 2 and an Apple Watch Series 3. I do not have an Apple Watch Series 1. Forget about the material, because that isn't important. It's just a matter of personal preferences and how much money you want to spend.

What you see is that the Apple Watch does not get thinner. It gets thicker. But trust me, it feels the same. The body itself does not get bigger. It's the sensor thing sticking out the back that is getting thicker. It is growing ever so slowly that you do not notice. Since the steel Watch on the left is heavier than the aluminium Watch in the middle it actually feels more substantial than the thicker Series 2.

What is important is that the Watch is getting faster and more capable. Series 2 adds GPS and a better display, Series three adds LTE with the exception of entry level aluminium models. The more expensive ones all have LTE. The thing you cannot see is how much faster it got. And I don't want to give you any numbers. It's very simple: if you only want notifications and simple activity tracking, Apple Watch and Series 1 are good. If you want to track your runs with your route, you want (or keep) Series 2. But if you want to use any additional apps, Series 3 is a great upgrade. This thing loads apps so much faster.

I can say with great confidence that you should buy a Series 3 and don't save some money by going with Series 1. You don't have to invest in fancy bands. Put everything into the Watch and go with the simple Sport band. I love the Nike band, but the new Nike Series 3 isn't out yet.

And then there is LTE connectivity. I made a couple of adjustments to my Telekom plan and will add the Watch Series 3 soon. This needs further research.

iPhone 8 Plus :: Design

by Volker Weber

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You may have seen a lot of hands-on videos about the new iPhone 8 and some of them have stated that the new devices were only marked with an Apple logo and the iPhone mark on the back. No, FCC markings for instance. If you were looking forward to a clean iPhone back, the European model might leave you disappointed. It adds the CE mark and the don't dispose mark. Rules are rules. To soften the blow, Apple also put two lines of text on.

Most people will never know since almost all iPhones live in a case. Mine do since I drop things all the times. iPhones don't respond well to that. The iPhone 8 now has a glass back like the iPhone 4 did, which is still my favorite design. Apple says the glass is really tough, but you cannot make surface scratch resistant and impact resistant at the same time. If you are like me, I'd recommend a case. Apple has made their new cases a wee bit larger to accommodate both the iPhone 7 and 8. The old cases fit, but they are very tight.

If you are like Ute who never ever drops anything and is extra careful with things, you will probably enjoy the gold version of the new iPhones. The back isn't white but cream, which goes very well with the gold frame. It's not a style I prefer but it is indeed really really nice. I am not particularly fond of the Apple space greay color palette. It's not even a single color. Last year we discussed black and jet black. I had a black iPhone 7 Plus and that turned out to be much more slippery than the jet black one. You can try this with any aluminium back iPhone. They are less slippery if you hold them with the screen in your hand instead of the back.

And that's the less reported good news about the iPhone 8. The glass back makes you less likely to drop the phone.

iPhone 8 Plus :: Qi inductive charging just works

by Volker Weber

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Every single one of my Nokia Qi chargers works with the iPhone 8 Plus. Through the Apple case. It’s good to have standards.

A day to remember

by Volker Weber

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I am not a frequent flyer. I once was, but I have been cutting my CO2 footprint a lot. Most of the events are live streamed today. But once in a while it's good to talk to real people, especially in individual one-on-one meetings. Yesterday was a day I was going to fly into London for two hour meetings. My plan was to go in on LH 928 scheduled to arrive at LCY at 8:40 local and to return from LHR at 15:30, both on Economy Light without checked baggage. Meetings from 10:45 to 12:45 with some breathing time before and after. Little did I know that nothing was going to go according to this plan. But then it did, thanks to Robert, Flo, Martin & Ute.

As I arrived at Frankfurt Airport 7:10, already checked in for a flight leaving at 8:10, I got an SMS from Lufthansa. My flight was cancelled. I approached a desk and was told that I had been reschulded to LH 906 leaving at 12:00. That was too late for my meetings and I asked to be put on an earlier flight. There were no seats available for regular travellers. I asked to be put on standby for LH 900 leaving at 8:00 for LHR. That is a lot further out, but since I had some additional time planned, I would have made it for the meeting.

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LH 900 was fully booked with quite a few people on standby. After everybody had boarded and all the other people from the waiting list had disappeared, the ground crew was missing one passenger with checked baggage. If this passenger would not be found on the plane, that seat was mine. But it should not be. While I was waiting a new player showed up: a status flyer that would bump me off that flight, because she was exercising her privilige to be put on an earlier flight.

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The Lufthansa ground crew was stellar. They put her on that flight, but in the very second they took her off LH 902 they put me into her place. Now I had a confirmed seat and a boarding pass for LH 902 scheduled to leave at 9:00 and arriving at LHR 9:40 local. This was only 50 minutes after my original departure, but in a more remote destination. It would be a tight squeeze. If the flight would only arrive a few minutes early I could make my meetings via Heathrow Express to Paddington and the Tube to my destinationin Soho. Ten minutes later LH 902 was delayed by 30 minutes, and then by another half hour. I arrived about the time my meeting was going to start, still an hour away from the location.

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But I was safe. Before I even boarded Heathrow Express Martin had rescheduled my meetings. Meanwhile LH 909 leaving LHR at 15:30 local was cancelled. I did not know about that but Flo rebooked me on LH 911 an hour later. Lose an hour, win an hour. I still had those two meeting hours I had planned for.

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Back at the airport at 15:00 LH 911 was delayed to 17:00, then to 17:45. I was anxious it might also get cancelled but it eventually left LHR at 18:55 wheels up. Back in Frankfurt one hour later at 21:00 local Ute picked me up. I was home more than 15 hours after I left. Frau Brandlinger was thrilled to see me.

I have to thank everybody who made this happen, despite all the difficulties. You are stars!

Trust is built in drops and lost in buckets

by Volker Weber

There was a Sonos leak yesterday, and it bothered me. It bothered me a lot.

Why did it bother me? The information was leaked by a person I would have trusted. A person who knows exactly what he is doing. Somebody who knows about NDAs, has signed many, and still goes ahead breaching one because he did not sign it himself.

If you trust me with information that should not be published, I will not publish it. I never did, I never will.

And that is why you never need me to sign an NDA.

init - der Wochenausblick: von Ignite bis ABBA

by Volker Weber

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Nach der Bundestagswahl müssen alle erst mal tief durchatmen. Vox Populi hat gesprochen und es wurde erwartungsgemäß Vox Rindvieh. Aber die IT-News lassen sich davon nicht aufhalten

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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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