Apple acquires Workflow

by Volker Weber

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Workflow is a powerful automation app, that let's your string together a set of applications and actions within those apps to automate repetitive tasks. The screenshot above was resized, renamed and pushed to the site via sftp using a Workflow automation. It returns the html code I need to paste into this entry.

Apple has now acquired Workflow and will make the app available for free. I see it as a sign that Apple cares about power users on iOS.

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Sharing you location

by Volker Weber

Soon Google Maps users worldwide will be able to answer those questions in just a few taps, without ever leaving the app. On both Android and iOS, you’ll be able to share your real-time location with anyone. And the people you share with will be able to see your location on Android, iPhone, mobile web, and even desktop.

You can share your location with specific people for a limited time. And this is the end of Glympse.

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Schönster Stand auf der CeBIT: IBM

by Volker Weber

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Bild: IBM

IBM hat immer einen großartigen Stand auf der CeBIT. Wunderbares Design, großflächige Panele, die den Weg weisen, mittendrin eine Hauptstraße, auf der man schnell von A nach B kam. Was mir dieses Jahr besonders auffiel, waren die vielen Kommunikationsmöglichkeiten. Demopunkte mit breiten Stehtischen, überall Sitzecken, kleine Tribünen, Café-Tische, jede Menge kleine Rückzugsmöglichkeiten ohne "viel Anlauf". Auf dem Bild da oben ist alles noch im Aufbau und wenn ich es selbst während der Messe fotografiert hätte, dann würde man den Stand vor lauter Menschen nicht sehen. Dieser Stand hat im besten Sinne funktioniert.

Plantronics Backbeat 500

by Volker Weber

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Wir haben ein Plantronics Headset, von dem ich nur selten erzähle: das BackBeat Sense, das auf den Ohren sitzt und sie nicht umschließt. Die Scheffin liebt dieses Gerät, um auf dem iPad Filme zu schauen. Plantronics bringt jetzt das viel billigere Backbeat 500, vielleicht in Konkurrenz zu den erfolgreichen Urbanears Plattan ADV Wireless. Multipoint Bluetooth Class 4.1 für zwei Geräte gleichzeitig, alternativ ein Kabel, 18 Stunden mit einer Ladung, DeepSleep (bis zu 6 Monate im Standby). Ich habe es nicht gehört, will auch kein Testgerät anfordern, aber ich habe noch nie ein schlechtes Plantronics-Gerät gesehen. In diesem Sinne: mit auf die Auswahlliste nehmen.

AVM auf der CeBIT

by Volker Weber

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Es gibt nicht mehr so viele Neuigkeiten, die mich zur CeBIT ziehen. Im Wesentlichen sind es die Menschen, die ich treffen will. Heise ist in Hannover und so treffe ich wenigstens einmal im Jahr meine Kollegen, die ich sehr gut leiden mag. Und dann gibt es überall gute Gespräche. Dabei sind es nicht nur die Menschen, die ich eh schon kenne, sondern auch mal neue. So konnte ich dieses Jahr endlich mal den interessanten Siegfried Lautenbacher kennenlernen oder Leute treffen, die ich schon lange über Social Media kenne, wie etwa Anna-Lena Müller.

Wenn ich sage, es gibt nicht so viele neue Produkte, dann gibt es auch eine Ausnahme von der Regel. AVM aus Berlin stellt jedes Jahr die neuen Produkte des Jahres vor und erklärt auch die Weiterentwicklungen. Mit der Fritz!Box 7580 habe ich schon eins der Spitzenmodelle im Einsatz, aber AVM legt noch weiter vor. Die 7590 hat wieder das klassische Pult-Design und nicht das von mir bevorzugte aufrechte Box-in-Box. Während die 7580 nur an reinen DSL-Anschlüssen oder an digitalen WAN-Ports arbeitet, kann die 7590 schlicht alles von Analog bis VDSL mit Super-Vectoring und 300 mbit/s. Die USB-Ports werden vier mal schneller und da der UVP unter dem der 7580 liegt, steht der Sieger sozusagen fest.

Was mir bei AVM besonders gefällt, sind die Softwareupdates. Das sorgt für mehr Sicherheit, aber es bringt auch immer wieder neue Funktionen zu Geräten, die ja schon längst verkauft wurden. Ich fühle mich sehr zu Herstellern hingezogen, die ihre Produkte weiterpflegen, wenn sie schon im Markt sind. Bei Fritz!Box ist es das Fritz!OS, das immer wieder neue Funktionen bringt. Meine 7580 kann etwa Band Steering, d.h. sie schiebt WLAN Clients ins 5 GHz-Band, wo es Sinn macht. Kurz vor der CeBIT erhielt ich eine Pressemitteilung, in der AVM von Mesh-Komfort sprach, ein Begriff, der mich stutzig machte. Macht AVM nun ein WLAN-Mesh, im dem sich Repeater kaskadieren? Auf der CeBIT konnten wir das ausgiebig diskturieren. Die kurze Antwortet lautet "nein". Die lange Antwort lautet, dass AVM daran arbeitet, die eigenen Geräte stärker zu vernetzen. So stellt man alles an der Fritz!Box ein und die Repeater und anderen Geräte werden mit dem gleichen Profil befeuert. Zentrale Updates, eine Gesamtsicht über alle Geräte mit einer verbesserten Autokanal-Auswahl, das alles lässt die AVM-Geräte wie eins erscheinen. Diese Gesamtsicht auf das Netzwerk bieten auch Mesh-WLANs. Mit welcher Technologie man die Geräte verbindet, sei es Powerline, Ethernet, WLAN, kann dem Anwender schließlich egal sein. Warum spricht AVM nun von Mesh-Komfort? Weil viele Mesh-WLAN-Anbieter so tun, als ob sie was ganz neues entdeckt haben, was AVM schon lange bietet.

Wo ich gar nicht mit AVM zufrieden bin, ist die fehlende Offenheit bei der Heimautomation. AVM weiß das, weil ich das seit Jahren anspreche, aber AVM signalisiert mir auch, dass ich der Einzige bin, der danach immer fragt. Ich möchte zum Beispiel eine Integration in IFTTT, damit ich eine Lampe schalten kann, wenn die Arlo-Kamera Bewegung sieht. Ich kann das schon, weil ich WeMo-Schaltdosen habe, aber ich würde das gerne mit AVM-Dosen machen können. Vielleicht hilft es, wenn auch andere Leute mal diese Fragen bei AVM stellen. Ich bin davon überzeugt, dass Heim-Automatisierung nur funktionieren wird, wenn die vielen Insellösungen miteinander kooperieren. Standards wären perfekt, aber das zeichnet sich nicht ab, wenn Apple Homekit machen will und AVM sagt, die Fritz!Box kann das alles.

Als ich den AVM-Stand verließ, fragte mich jemand, wann Sonos denn nun endlich Alexa unterstützt. Ich habe die Frage umgedreht: Wann unterstützt Fritz Alexa? [Nucki fällt raus]

A few thoughts on the new Apple products announced today

by Volker Weber

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I like these announcements that just fall out of the sky without much fanfare. In no particular order:

iPad is the biggest news and it says: the iPad is done. Apple is just refining the components, but there isn't much they can do these days to make yet another super duper earth shattering innovation here. They are making it better, they are bringing the price down, and that puts tremendous pressure on all other tablet makers. This is a high quality product for a resonable price. As is Apple Watch btw.

My wish list for Apple products is short. I'd like them to make an iOS notebook. Let's call it iBook.

Week 11/2017 #dontbreakthechain

by Volker Weber

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Excellent Wednesday after last weeks slump. On Thursday I was a bit too careless and the shoulder was blocked again. Diclofenac-Colestyramin is my friend. Will be more careful next week. CeBIT is coming up Monday and Tuesday and these are always days where I hardly make my 10k. I used to think that CeBIT meant a lot of walking, but it's just a lot of drinks and cookies. Not a healthy week ahead.

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I am losing a few people from week to week. If you broke the chain, don't sweat it. Just start a new one. Monday starts a new game.

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Netgear improves the Arlo Pro covers

by Volker Weber

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Photo Netgear

If you want to hide your Arlo camera in a tree, the white body gives it away too easily. This is why there are quite a few covers are available for the Arlo. Now with Arlo Pro Netgear improves the design. You stick the camera in from the back and there is a shade that protects the lens from rain or condensation. Very well done.

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OneNote graphs your equations

by Volker Weber

Last summer we introduced Ink math assistant in OneNote—a digital tutor that gives you step-by-step instructions on how to solve your handwritten math problems. Today, we are excited to announce that Ink math assistant can draw graphs of your equations, all within OneNote for Windows 10.

Not a use case for me. But I would have loved to have that as a student, right within a note taking app.

IBM extends Notes and Domino life well into the next century

by Volker Weber

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I won't be around long enough to verify this claim. So I will just leave it as is.

Here is what I know. Last year IBM has extended support for 9.0.1 into 2021. Without that move it would have automatically terminated 5 years after the release, or in 2018. Five years is the maximimum period IBM can commit to. 2016 + 5 = 2021. This time frame gives IBM ample time to figure out what to do with version numbers. 9.0.1 Feature Pack 8 sounds kind of silly. Maybe just 9 and something like 1703 (yymm)? One of the things I did not expect will also happen: Java gets updated to 8, toether with a much needed Eclipse update. Does anybody still call that Expeditor?

Arlo Pro takes it up a notch. A big one.

by Volker Weber

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Arlo is one of those products I continue to recommended. It's a product I don't just review and put aside, I use it every single day. Just today I installed a three camera setup at a friend's house and her 90 y/o father decided to order another set on the spot. That's right, 90. But he doesn't look it and he is still very agile, both physically as well as mentally. I digress.

When I returned home, UPS showed up and brought a new Arlo Pro. That's the one on the right. It also came with a new base station.

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If you already have an Arlo system, you can just buy a camera and add it to your old base station. Arlo and Arlo Pro mix on either the new or the old base station.

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While both the old and the new base station have the same ports, the new one adds two features: it has an extremely loud (110 dB) and annoying siren and it lets you record video to local storage. If you plug storage into the old station's USB port, it gets completely ignored, while the new one offers the new storage option, in addition to the cloud storage. Why do Arlo cameras need a base station? They run on battery power and need to be isolated from the regular Wifi traffic.

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Battery power hasn't been a problem with the Arlo cameras so far. I need a new set of 4x CR123 about once every six month. CR123 are an odd size and you can't get them in a super market. When you buy ten at a time from Amazon, you pay roughly seven Euros for the set of four. The new Arlo Pro has a rechargeable battery. When it is running low, you will have to fetch the camera, connect it via MicroUSB to the included charger and then replace it to the original location. You can also buy additional packs and an external charger. I will see what causes more trouble over time.

One observation: the hole in front of the MicroUSB port is tiny. You will need to use the cable that Netgear supplies. If you don't need the camera to be waterproof, you can also keep it plugged in and don't need to worry about the battery.

Arlo Pro has a new motion sensor that works over longer distance and the camera starts up four times faster so it's more difficult to slip by before the camera starts recording. The lens also went from 110 to 130 degrees viewing angle. It now has a microphone and speaker so you can talk to the delivery man at the front door via your Arlo app.

All important question: do you need to replace your existing Arlo cameras with the Plus cameras? That is a definite no. I still recommend the original system, and it's also considerably cheaper. Only if you want to make use of the advanced features or if you are burning through too many batteries, upgrading to Pro would make sense.

I am going to use the new camera more aggressively than the old one to see how the battery holds up. This isn't going back. I will keep you posted.

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Tivoli Audio Model One Digital :: First Impressions

by Volker Weber

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Everybody knows the Model One from Tivoli Audio, designed by the late Henry Kloss. Although many consider it a modern classic, Model One itself incorporates visual elements similar to Kloss' legendary KLH Model Eight table radio. Tivoli Audio was founded by Tom DeVesto. He moved on to create Como Audio and launched a Kickstarter campaign.

Tivoli Audio has evolved from building the simple Model One to make lots of different products. The Model One Digital is a play on the original Kloss design, unfortunately without the good parts. There isn't a mechanical switch to turn it on/off but this small button that you can press, long press or turn. The ring around the display also turns so you can tune into an FM station, but both are completely without feedback. Everything just happens on the screen. It looks like a round display but it isn't. It's a rectangular display inside a round bezel. The box is well built, the speaker sounds reasonably well, the cloth is a fine quality, and yet, the mechanics feel cheap.

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The new device has the same proportions as the Model One, but it is slightly larger.

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The back is completely different. There is an aux in, but no rec out (fixed) or headphone out (variable). While the Model One has an interal power supply and can be also be run on 12V/0.8A, the Digital version needs its own external power supply which feeds it 15V/1.5A. There is also a MicroUSB service port and two buttons for Setup and Party Mode. Party Mode gives you an indication that this device can join a group of devices to play the same music. Since I have but one of them, that is not something I will be looking into.

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Model One Digital can play from many sources:

  1. Via Antenna it is an FM or a DAB+ radio
  2. Via Bluetooth it is just a speaker
  3. Via Wifi it can stream from TuneIn, Spotify, Tidal, Deezer and QQ Music, or music stored on your Android or iOS device. It also has Spotify Connect.

This versatility is the good news. The bad news is that this device isn't easy. Model One was easy, Model One Digital is complicated. There is an app to control it, but that needs a lot of evolution. I cannot get everything to work, even after putting in two hours. I fail at very simple things. The clock for instance. Do you remember the old video recorders that used to blink with 00:00? I feel this level of stupid.

What I can get to work is FM radio, when I hook it up to my roof antenna via the threaded terminal. No DAB/DAB+ though. With my Model One I was able to just connect a 75 Ohm "external antenna". Spotify Direct works over Wifi, so does internet Radio with TuneIn. But when I switch the device off and back on, I am back in FM radio. I can press the On button repeatedly to cycle through the other options, but none if them starts playing anything without my smartphone or some other external source: FM, DAB (empty), Aux, Bluetooth, Wifi. When I launch the app, it tells me I have no radio. I have set it up a few times but learned to just wait instead. It will eventually find it. More bad news: it hisses and the display is unreadable in daylight.

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But here is the killer. The Sonos Play:1 simply destroys the Model One Digital in every single aspect but FM radio. It's way easier to setup and operate. I think it is prettier, it sounds way better. Make that wayyyyyyy. And that is before Trueplay Tuning. Last but not least, it's also less expensive.

This is going back. No editor refuses-to-give-it-back award. But I am keeping my Model One.

LessThanFive Chair

by Volker Weber

Carbon fiber is a very expensive material to make a chair which weighs less than five pounds. That is about half the weight of an IKEA Janinge.

Atomic Blonde

by Volker Weber

Killer soundtrack. How about Blue Monday?

Tablets and smartwatches: if it's not Apple, it has fallen off the map

by Volker Weber

I completely agree with Marques on this one. Tablets did not become the category that we envisioned and neither have smartwatches. It's either an iPad or an Apple Watch, or it has fallen off the map. That does not mean there aren't any good ones. But they don't matter. Watch the video from 5:12.

Connections 6 announced - available on March 28

by Volker Weber

IBM Connections 6.0 has been redesigned to surface the most useful content from the user’s network. This new feature – called Orient Me – leverages a new containerized, API-driven architecture

I thought Connections already did "surface the most useful content from the user’s network". Although it's a bit obfuscated, I believe Orient Me is the first piece of Connections that runs on Docker instead of Websphere. Every long journey starts with the first step and this is it.

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From my inbox

by Volker Weber

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About six months ago we started using Workplace by Facebook and I can tell you that user feedback is great, never seen such a high level of adoption with any other collaboration platform (yes, from QuickPlace to Commections and Yammer)

Workplace by Facebook puts an end to all those discussions about what you need to do to make your employees share ideas and communicate more directly. Give them a tool they use every single day and put it in a work context. They don't need to be told how to use it because they already know. There are still lots of ways to shoot yourself in the foot repeatedly by putting in restrictions left and right.

Facebook is on to something. There are quite a few people across the industry who would like to be on that team.

Their pricing structure is excellent. $3 a month for the first 1000 active users, $2 for the next 9000. $1 for each additional. The keyword is active: you don't pay for every person in your directory, but only for those who use it.

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Week 10/2017 #dontbreakthechain

by Volker Weber

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This was a difficult week. On Wednesday I was suddenly, within about 30 minutes, sick as a dog. I was just lucky that I had finished my 600 cals before my visitor for the day arrived. After only two hours I had to send him away since I started to tremble and could not control myself. Went to bed, slept through the afternoon, the night and the next morning. With all batteries recharged I was back to normal. Thursday was 741 cals, Friday 709, Saturday 996, so I am back on track.

Let's celebrate our success. Stefan finished his first 100 days. That's a big deal!

And for the rest of you:

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Death by Powerpoint

by Volker Weber

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Yesterday I travelled to Munich for a short presentation. It was an 11 hour round trip for an 18 minute presentation. So this is not about killing an audience with PowerPoint but about how information dies in PowerPoint.

I was asked to hold a one hour talk with 30 minutes for questions and answers and I was very firm in that I would not be talking for an hour. My client scheduled for an hour and in the end we needed that hour, but my talk did not take up half of that time. If you ever have been to one of my presentations then you know I don't need an hour to get my point across. And I simply cannot sit through other people's one hour (or 50 minutes) presentations.

Long presentations are a sign of laziness. You fill up a file with lots of slides and you fill up all those slides with lots of bullet points and thus you covered your ass. I remember that around 2000 I was giving an update to a group of IT people and one of them took notes in effing PowerPoint. I had written a full report but this person wanted to present the results as he grasped them in this very moment to his superiors. No time lost. Meeting over, PowerPoint file done. It's incredible how much fine point we lose by relying on condensed information in bullet lists on slides.

I wasn't going to do this. This slide above is my illustration of a Firewall. An illustration that can explain all aspects to business people who do not know what a border router is, nor do they want to. But they will understand, what a firewall does, and they will understand it does not protect them from CEO fraud, phishing or 0days. It takes me about one minute to explain that.

I was hired to explain to a group of business owners how they can improve their IT security. And I have a feeling I did a pretty good job. This information is not on the slides. It's now firmly implanted in their heads.

Corollary: hire me. I explain difficult concepts in simple ways.

Was bei Twitter fehlt: nur mal ein paar Stunden ausblenden

by Volker Weber

Es gibt liebe Leute, denen man gerne folgt, weil sie immer wieder mal kleine Einblicke in ihr Leben geben oder etwas interessantes aufgegabelt haben. Und dann fahren diese Leute auf eine Konferenz und twittern dann im Minutentakt Beratersprech, den sie gerade gehört haben. Twitter bietet drei Möglichkeiten, sich dem zu entziehen:

  1. Unfollow
  2. Block
  3. Mute

Unfollow heißt, die Tweets des anderen rauschen einfach vorbei, ohne in der Timeline aufzutauchen. Block heißt, der andere verschwindet aus der Welt. Er kann Dich nicht mehr sehen, Du siehst ihn nicht mehr. Das Übelste aber ist Mute. Der andere verschwindet ebenfalls von der Welt, aber er weiß es nicht. Er mag denken, Du folgst ihm, aber nichts von ihm erreicht Dich. Mit @-Mentions kann man Unfollow durchbrechen, man muss nicht folgen, um die zu sehen. Aber bei Mute kommen nicht mal die durch. Ich habe ein paar mal den Fehler gemacht, jemanden zu muten und ihn dann zu vergessen. Seitdem benutze ich das nicht mehr zu diesem Zweck.

Was mir fehlt, ist ganz simpel: eine Pausetaste, die sich am nächsten Tag automatisch löst und wieder auf Play geht.

Zwischenlösung

by Volker Weber

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Während die Telekom versucht, ihren verlorengegangen Outdoor-DSLAM wieder zu verbinden, habe ich dank meines Nachbarn mit VF eine Zwischenlösung: Fritz!Box als WLAN-Client an seiner Fritz!Box. Geheimagent 00B (Null Null Baschek) ist schon dran.

Not been there, done that, got the T-shirt

by Volker Weber

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What would we be without Q?

Moving from Keynote to Powerpoint

by Volker Weber

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I am a longtime Keynote user and I am generally very happy with the software. However, there were two problems: I needed to use an Apple device when presenting, and I did not see much affection from Apple for the software. When I moderated the European Cyber Security Challenge I also learned how well you can organize an event if everybody is on the same software. We had two important people in the crew. One was running audio through a mixer remote on his iPad and the other was running all presentations from his PC. There were no breaks in the delivery. He simply froze the projection, loaded the next Powerpoint file, unfroze the projections for the next speaker. It just felt very professional, and that with little effort.

I made the decision to switch to Powerpoint at some point in the future. And then came Surface and with that the opportunity to do live inking during the delivery. That was my style of presentation before there were PCs. I'd just write on the overhead projector. This is back now with Surface. I just put a white page into the slide deck and then write on that when I get there. You can also use that in the Q&A part. Draw a mind map with all the questions and then check them off. Brilliant.

What really helps me in this switch is the fact that my presentations are just photos and very few words on plain white or black slides. I use very few transitions or animations. My signature "Magic Move" from Keynote is called "Morph" in Powerpoint.

That was far easier than expected. And it works on all of my devices, across Windows 10, macOS and iOS.

Android March Security Update :: DTEK50 goes first

by Volker Weber

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I have been checking in all three BlackBerrys since yesterday. And to my surprise, DTEK50 was the first to get the update. That is indeed a first. I will complete this list as the updates arrive on my devices:

Please report your updates here.

SOL becomes Playbase

by Volker Weber

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When I visited Sonos in 2015, there was a challenge. Sonos wanted to show me everything, including the labs, but they could not possibly shut down the labs just for one visitor. So I made a simple promise: whatever I see in the labs stays in the labs. I wasn't going to talk about it, until the product was released. And if it wasn't released, I would keep my secrets indefinitely. Sonos develops many prototypes that never see the light of day.

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Sonos also develops their own custom drivers, components and of course the body of the speaker itself. For the second generation Play:5 they developed new ways to manufacture some of the components. The grille for instance has tens of thousand of holes that are drilled.

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After I agreed to keeping everything secret, my tour guides began teasing me with parts, designs, products. And the first thing that showed up everywhere was SOL. It had a weird form, and they asked me what this could possibly be.

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Well, Sonos makes connected speakers, and this looked like a very big and thin slab. Put it on the wall? Nah. Make big stacks of it? Too expensive. Put something on top? Yes. That was it. This was going to be a speaker that you can put underneath something. And that thing turned out to be the TV.

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Playbar poses a challenge to my setup. It sits in front of the TV because I don't wall mount it. I like to have it on a shelf. And then Playbar obstructs some of the screen so that I had to raise the TV with a board. This is what Playbase changes. You just place the TV on top.

But there is something else. Playbase is very flat, but it's also much bigger than a Playbar and it has enough space for a substantial woofer. And that means it can provide deeper sound than Playbar. And with that, it becomes your sole living room speaker. Same wide soundstage in stereo, 3.0 TV sound with left, center and right.

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I haven't heard Playbase yet, but I know lots of people that have. Play:5 has six drivers. Playbase has ten. This thing will rock. With or without a SUB and back channels.

Playbase will be available in black or white from April 4th for the same price as Playbar. The choice is simple: Playbar on the wall, Playbase on the shelf. If you don't want to get SUB, start thinking about Playbase. There is no other big difference. No microphones, same ports. Sonos is going into voice via Alexa devices and that is a software update for all speakers. I still have no idea what they will do with the microphones in Play:5.

Deutsche Börse moves to Office 365 Cloud

by Volker Weber

Exciting news for global financial services providers in highly regulated countries looking to modernize their business operations with a move to the cloud: Deutsche Börse Group (DBG) is taking a thought leadership approach to digital transformation by moving to Office 365 to digitally transform the way they work. Based in Frankfurt, DBG is a leading stock exchange in Germany and one of the largest exchange organizations worldwide, with offices in more than 20 locations.

That is going to end a few discussions at other financial services providers which believe they need to run on premises. Good customer reference for Microsoft.

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DNUG: Domino Anwendungsmodernisierung

by Volker Weber

Christian Holsing erklärt, wie IBM sich die Modernisierung von Notes-Anwendungen vorstellt:

Die IBM hat – wie versprochen – auf der Connect 2017 zahlreiche Ankündigungen zum Thema Anwendungsentwicklung auf Basis IBM Domino gemacht. Damit wurde eines klar: IBM investiert signifikant und arbeitet daran, Domino weiterhin für moderne Anwendungsentwicklung fit zu halten. Ausgesprochen viele Kunden nutzen heute Domino-basierte Anwendungen für wichtige und absolut kritische Abläufe im Unternehmen und stellen sich die Frage, wie sie die Investition in diese Anwendungen für die Zukunft schützen und ausbauen können. IBM zeigt einen Weg auf, wie diese mit moderatem Aufwand modernisiert werden können.

Ja, ich sage immer noch Notes. ;-)

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IBM Connect 2017 :: Das Eigenbild

by Volker Weber

Das hat Tradition. Zum Vergleich: 2015, 2014 und 2013 Nur 2016 konnte ich auf Anhieb nicht finden.

Time for a new T-shirt design

by Volker Weber

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"I read your email" is so last century. What you think is what you say. What you say is what you write. What you write is what I will read. Start thinking positive.

Week 9/2017 #dontbreakthechain

by Volker Weber

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You know the drill.

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Euler's formula with introductory group theory

by Volker Weber

When I went to highschool. a young math teacher taught us something the parents were absolutely furious about: group theory. They could not see how this would ever help us as adults. As it turned out later, it was probably the most important thing I learned in math, and it helped me sail through engineering without much effort. It's not a method but a vantage point to observe things from.

I would have a hard time learning this at my current age, so if this video twists your mind, that is perfectly normal.

Eine Blume, ein Strauß, eine Wiese

by Volker Weber

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Alexander Kluge (@alecmcint) am

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Who is investing?

by Volker Weber

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I asked on Twitter how you would describe your use of IBM Notes/Domino. There is one surprising result: 16% or roughly 40 votes for "Investing". Can you tell me who you are and how you are investing?

Solsbury Hill :: A montage

by Volker Weber

This montage of live performances of Solsbury Hill includes footage from Rockpalast (1978), Live in Athens (1987), Secret World Live (1993), Growing Up Live (2003), New Blood Live (2011) and Back To Front (2013).

[Thanks, Stephan & Stephen]

IBM Champions :: And then there were three

by Volker Weber

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All photos Hogne Bø Pettersen

Julian Robichaux is the third IBM Champion to receive a lifetime achievement award. Last year IBM gave this award to Theo and Gab, so now there are three. And they are the nicest people you can imagine.

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There are of course a lot more IBM Champions than these three, but all the others need to be nominated and vetted year after year. They come from all walks of life and from all over the world. Which leads me to two other important people in this program: Penumbra Prism Award winner Amanda Bauman (center) and The Libby (right):

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Amanda and Libby manage the community. A community that spreads around the world. Why would they be threatened by an IBM program, that forces employees to work out of a hub office, when they have absolutely no business there? Amanda is in Austin, one of the IBM hubs, but not necessarily her designated one. The Libby is in Houston, which looks close enough on a map, but really isn't.

Suggestion for IBM Champions: stay in close contact and raise hell when necessary. IBM needs you more than you need IBM.

Jaybird X3 :: Now my favorite ear canal headset

by Volker Weber

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I always take a few days after a "First impressions" post to follow up on a product. And the X3 has proven themselves worthy. They provides a complete seal without being uncomfortable. I also tried the Freedom once more, but I cannot achieve the seal even with the exact same ear gels. This is one of the rare exceptions where a less expensive product wins. :-)

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I ran the battery all the way down while working today. Recharged it and then used the X3 some more. Very comfortable after I made sure they fit perfectly in my first session. I tried them without the fins, but they won't stay in as perfectly as with them.

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Slack Team Space lives on

by Volker Weber

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At the end of IBM Connect 2017 I did a quick poll amongst the users of the Slack Team Space asing if people would be OK if I did not close it and just keep on going and the vast majority agreed that would be a good idea. There are now more than 300 people registered and quite a few of them are having a good discussion with IBM about Domino App Development. That is the most active channel.

If you want to join, you are still invited.

It's kind of over, isn't it?

by Volker Weber

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As the press was flocking to Barcelona for MWC, the biggest news was Nokia with their 3310. And this isn't even Nokia, which does not have their six giant factories anymore. And it also isn't really a 3310. It only looks familiar and it's pretty much a dumbphone.

What does that say about the smartphone? LG announces the very decent G6 with dual camera instead of a stupid modular set, Huawei tries again to get some respect with their Leica badge, Sony is back with a 4k display, BlackBerry Mobile has the KEYone, which only people who forgot the Bold and the Classic see as a BlackBerry and not a chicklet-keyboard Android.

Where is the beef? Is there anything that you really need or want, making you dump your 2014 iPhone 6 Plus? One of our lead editors on mobile is pretty happy with his Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (SM-N910F), which is getting monthly security updates. I think we have reached a stage where we are moving sideways. It is becoming very hard to improve on the status quo. That does not mean we are going back to dumbphones, but the excitement is gone.

Did you notice that "Nokia" announced three inexpensive smartphones with pure Android? No skin, no crapware, just Google Android, promising monthly updates. I hope that this is where we are going, not the Leica-Zeiss-Hasselblads. Wanna buy a Rolex?

How to download IBM Connect 2017 session presentations

by Volker Weber

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

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

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

Two questions about Notes & Domino

by Volker Weber

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

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

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

Porsche Design BOOK ONE

by Volker Weber

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

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

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

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

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

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How did February work out for you? #dontbreakthechain

by Volker Weber

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

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

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

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Dataselfie.it

by Volker Weber

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

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

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

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Lenovo Connect

by Volker Weber

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

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

Da werde ich nochmal nachfragen müssen.

Love it

by Volker Weber

Samsung Galaxy Book and Galaxy Tab S3 :: First impressions

by Volker Weber

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

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

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

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

Week 8/2017 #dontbreakthechain

by Volker Weber

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

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Ute is.

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Are you?

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Apple Watch charging

by Volker Weber

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

BlackBerry KEYone

by Volker Weber

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

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

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

My favorite headset design

by Volker Weber

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

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

What is up with Android Messages and RCS?

by Volker Weber

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

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

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

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

Jaybird Freedom and X3 :: First impressions

by Volker Weber

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IBM Connect 2017 :: Watson über alles

by Volker Weber

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

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Gewohnheitstier :: Hier, Tastaturen

by Volker Weber

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

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

Der Mensch ist einfach ein Gewohnheitstier.

Insta360 :: First impressions

by Volker Weber

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IBM Connect 2017 Opening General Session

by Volker Weber

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

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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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