I would kill for a Psion 5mx style keyboard case for my iPhone

No no no, hear me out…

It’s crazy how many things I can get done on this little super computer that is my smartphone but sometimes when writing longer texts, particularly email responses, or blog post, or telling someone on the internet how they’re so wrong about something (kidding), having a physical keyboard is a blessing.

So when this video popped up in my youtube recommendations, I thought, yeah no, not something like this because that’s stupid and unusable unless you have very thin fingers.

I’ve found this little old ThinkOutside foldable bluetooth keyboard for Pocket PCs over a year ago for € 30.— and take it with me as a redundancy if my laptop or iPad doesn’t work on a trip. They keys assignments are obviously made for Pocket PCs/Windows CE and the keys are not big but it’s still a huge productivity boost if you really need to write a lot.

iPhone 7 Plus on the ThinkOutside Bluetooth Keyboard

The Psion 5mx was maybe my favourite PDAs back in the day. The keyboard was big enough for some semblance of multi-finger typing and it was a pleasure to type on. If someone where to make a keyboard case for smartphones with a versatile insert system for different smartphones (read: future proofing) and a wired connection (think: adapters for USB-C, Lightning, Micro-USB), I’d be all …


I could live with a bluetooth connection too and in that case, add a big battery into the bottom to give it some heft and long battery life.

Alternatively, just make the Palm Foldable Keyboard again (at some point Targus had the rights to it), lest I might seriously consider making an adapter for it.

Fujifilm just announced my next camera, the X100V (ARGH!)

Yesterday Fujifilm announced a few new things at their “X Summit” in London. The most consequential one for me was the announcement of the X100V. It’s the fifth generation of the X100 series and it’s going to be my next camera.

I’ve been in love with the concept of the X100 series since shortly after I started shooting with Fujifilm APS-C cameras but it always had too many crucial drawbacks for me to consider actually buying one.

The lens

The first lens I bought for my X-E1 way back when, was the XF23mmF1.4 R. I purchased it because after inspecting the photos I had taken with the XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM kit lens, I saw that most of my shots were in the 22–24 mm range and I wanted something with a wider aperture to play around with. The 23/1.4 is still the lens I shoot with the most. I absolutely love it.

The lens in the X100 series, while decent, simply didn’t have the same versatility. Corner sharpness wasn’t very good at f/2 and shooting at close focus distances wide open resulted in very soft pictures. Coming from the XF23mmF1.4 R, that’s simply not something I would be able to accept.

(As a side note, the same drawbacks of the X100 lens also apply to the XF23mmF2 R WR lens, albeit not in the severity as found in the X100 series lenses up until now. It’s the reason why I sold the lens again after having used it for a few months.)

Weather sealing

I can’t begin to say how much I appreciate this on my Fujifilm cameras. I have it on the X-Pro2, on the X-T3, and I had it on the X-T1. I take a camera with me almost everywhere I go in any weather. Be it for a trip downtown or going hiking with my dogs. The cameras and weather sealed lenses have handled everything I’ve thrown at them so far and I had hoped Fujifilm would’ve added this to the X100F already, but no.

Now, the new X100V is properly weather sealed once you put a protective filter on the lens and that gives you an extremely compact package that you can take anywhere.

Flippy screen

Maybe you like it maybe you don’t, I like having it and dislike not having it on the X-Pro2. To get this in a camera as small as the X100V is just a nice bonus that only increases the camera’s usefulness.

After the announcement, I read the excellent preview written by Jonas Rask and immediately knew that it would be very hard to pass up on the X100V.

Then the first review by Chris and Jordan of DPReview TV was published and that completely sealed the deal. It’s worth a watch.

An observation regarding Fujifilm’s product policy

Chris Nichols and Jordan Drake mentioned something interesting in the video. Fujifilm has put almost all features found in the very recently released X-Pro3 into the X100V. More than you’d typically expect for what is essentially a compact large-sensor camera. Even the video features are solid for the most part.
This really made me happy because it shows that Fujifilm is essentially following Apple’s (and particularly Steve Jobs’s playbook) for positioning and releasing products:
Instead of artificially separating their product lines to prevent cannibalisation, by limiting the feature sets compared to the flagship products, they let their products cannibalise themselves instead of letting products by other manufacturers do so. This creates true choice for customers and—to me—is a sign of respect for the customers by the company.

DPReview TV compares the Fujfilm XF35mmF2 R WR and XC35mmF2

Fujifilm continues to give me reasons to like them.

I started the video expecting to see Chris Nichols report on significant differences in optical performance between the € 199,— XC35mmF2 and the € 399,— XF35mmF2 just because capitalism. Sometimes it’s nice to be wrong and particularly in this case.

Fujifilm is taking the guts of this lens and making it available in an even more affordable package. That is such a great move because it gives a customer the option to decide if they want to spend money on weather sealing and a full metal build without having to compromise on optical quality or autofocus speed.

I have the XF35mmF2 R WR. After failing to take to it in the beginning, I warmed to it when I realised how fast this lens was and how nicely it renders high contrast scenes. It’s become my go-to lens for taking pictures when out for walks or hiking with the dog, because I can rely on it focusing quickly on moving subjects and capturing what I see. Then there’s the focal length that, while a bit tighter than I typically like, lends itself well for the types of outdoor portraits that I like to shoot. It really is Fujifilm’s Nifty Fifty and such good value for money. I’ve shot some of my favourite photos of my furry friends and some great portraits of friends and family with it.

A small red-haired dog in a winter coat and a red harness standing in a snowy landscape bracing against the cold wind

A Tibetan Terrier with a stick in its mouth running down a path

A big Leonberger dog yawning widely

The art of David Lanham

I absolutely love David Lanham’s art; he has such a distinctive and captivating style. I’ve gotten to know his work through wallpapers and icons made for macOS for The Iconfactory years ago (hey, remember CandyBar?) and I’ve been following him ever since.

No matter if you like cute or strange animals, otherworldly sceneries, or sometimes downright grotesque imagery, I’m sure you’ll find something you like.

These are two of his recent sketches that I couldn’t take my eyes off of.

David Lanham - Stream Lurker

David Lanham - sketch 2020.01.08

Lanham also recently published another one of his wallpaper packs that contain lots of amazing paintings and exclusive art that you won’t find anywhere else, all in wallpaper sizes. It’s a steal for the price he’s asking.

Die deutsche Autoindustrie hat es verdient zu sterben

Diese Meldung sah ich heute in meinem Twitter-Stream:

Umstellung auf Elektromobilität: VDA verlangt Milliardenhilfen für Autohersteller und Zulieferer.

Ich empfinde das als Frechheit und es macht mich traurig. Ich bin Opelanerkind. Teile meiner Familie arbeiten oder arbeiteten in der Automobilindustrie. Trotzdem sage ich, die deutsche Autoindustrie verdient es zu sterben, statt Milliardenhilfen zu erhalten.

Diese Industrie entwickelt seit so vielen Jahren völlig am Markt, an den Realitäten des Klimawandels und den Veränderungen bei Transport und Mobilität vorbei, betrügt, drückt sich vor den Konsequenzen des eigenen kriminellen Handelns, lässt sich an allen Ecken und Enden vom Staat subventionieren und übertreibt die eigene Wichtigkeit für den langfristigen wirtschaftlichen Wohlstand dieses Landes.
Und jetzt traut sie es sich nach weiterer Unterstützung zu fragen, obwohl die Fehlentscheidungen und die Jahrzehnte an Missmanagement der Altherrenriege dazu führte, dass die Kacke nun am dampfen ist und dieser gewaltige Haufen Scheiße sich nicht mehr hinter einem Berg an SUVs verstecken lässt.

Es reicht.

Diese Firmen, VW, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Porsche, undwiesiealleheißen, sollen entweder radikale Änderungen durchführen und ernsthafte, realistische und innovative Produkte anbieten, oder sie verdienen es durch andere Firmen ersetzt zu werden und zu Grunde zu gehen.

Ich habe keine Lust, dass meine Steuergelder dafür verschwendet werden Firmen am Leben zu erhalten, deren einziges Ziel es ist Shareholder Value zu generieren und den eigenen Top-Managern Millionengehälter zu zahlen.

Diese Firmen sind für mich als Betriebswirtschaftler der Inbegriff von Versagen: der Ruf nach Subventionen und offenen wie indirekten Drohungen, das Land würde wirtschaftlichen Schaden nehmen, zeugt nicht nur von fehlendem Geschäftssinn und Ideenlosigkeit, sondern auch von purer Feigheit und dem Eingeständnis, dass sie zur Teilnahme an einem tatsächlichen Wettbewerb im Kapitalismus weder fähig noch willens sind.

Two interesting concepts from DELL at CES 2020

CES 2020 is in full swing and two things Dell announced—or rather teased—have me intrigued:

The Concept Duet with its two 13.4 inch full HD touch displays and a traditional keyboard that you can put on one of the sides when you don’t want to type on glass absolutely looks like something is would use. I think it’s a great idea to have two screens that allow for adaptive interaction with content and controls and the option to read on it like a big book when I want to. This entire class of devices that Microsoft has been attempting to generate hype for since their last developer conference could become a really interesting computing experience.

Alienware’s Concept UFO is a gaming PC shrunk down and put into a device that looks and works like a Nintendo Switch. This is certainly a more ambitious project and less likely to ever become a viable product compared to the dual screen laptop Concept Duet. After reading and watching the coverage of this early stage concept, I can’t help but hope that it won’t stay just a concept but become a real thing. I’ve been playing Star Wars – Jedi: Fallen Order on a loaned PS4 and the thought of having this type of game on a handheld console that I can also attach to my TV if I want to is more than a little exciting.

PSA: Lightroom for iPad updated with long-awaited SD card support

Adobe updated Lightroom for iPad yesterday and added a few very welcome features, chief among them direct photo import from SD cards and other storage devices. Many people, myself included, have been waiting for this since Apple announced at WWDC that it was opening up external storage devices natively to third party applications in iOS and iPadOS.

The other big feature that I really appreciate having in Lightroom on my iPad now, is the ability to export data to external devices in different formats, including the RAW files and with predefined settings.

If you’re using Lightroom on your iPad, this application has just become a lot more useful and powerful.

Three trailers that have me giddy with anticipation

Over the past week three upcoming movies had their trailers released that I just cannot wait to see in the cinema.

James Bond — No Time To Die

This is, once again, supposed to be the last Bond movie starring Daniel Craig in the leading role as James Bond. I may have grown up with Pierce Brosnan’s Bond but I still consider Craig to be “my Bond”. His portrayal of the character and the movies as a whole have brought a new grittyness, realism, and emotional component to the franchise that I find very enjoyable.
Still, I think the Bond movies need a bit of a shake-up and for that reason, I’m very excited to see a female 00 agent in the next film. I really hope we’ll be treated to the mantle of James Bond being handed to someone who’s not a white male actor.

Black Widow

It’s sad that this wasn’t released before the character of Black Widow has been sacrificed in “Avengers: Endgame” but I’m glad that it’s coming nonetheless. My secret hope is that they’re not going to hold back on the character and explore some of Romanoff’s past misdeeds and her quest to clear the red in her ledger.

Wonder Woman 1984

This came out yesterday and I was squealing like a little girl. I’m not entirely sure about the fact they’re bringing back her love interest and I’m also not sure if I need another look back, I think I’d rather see Diana Prince/Wonder Woman kick ass in the present after the events of “Justice League”.

Angekündigt ≠ Versandt

Es ist irgendwie jedes mal das Gleiche: ich möchte etwas per Internet bestellen, finde einen Onlineshop mit angeblich zügiger Lieferzeit, kaufe den Artikel und dann heißt es warten.

Meistens kommt im Laufe von 24 Stunden eine E-Mail die mir mitteilt, dass die Ware versandt wurde. In Vorfreude öffne ich die E-Mail, klicke auf den Sendungsverfolgungslink und … … … bin enttäuscht.

Ich kann mich nicht erinnern, wann ich in den letzten Jahren etwas im Internet bestellt habe und mit dem Eintreffen der “Versandbestätigung” war die Ware auch tatsächlich in den Händen des Versanddienstleisters. Fast immer ist der Status, den ich sehe ein “Die Sendung wurde dem Versanddienstleister elektronisch angekündigt.”

Es gibt genug Onlineshops, bei denen weiß ich, dass wenn ein Artikel lagernd verfügbar ist und ich vor 14:00 Uhr bestelle, die Sendung tatsächlich am gleichen Tag auf den Weg kommt. Es gibt aber auch genug andere Läden im Netz, bei denen zwischen der Ankündigung der Sendung bei DHL, Hermes, DPD, UPS, etc. und dem tatsächlichen Paketausgang durchaus einige Tage vergehen können, selbst wenn das Produkt auf Lager ist.

Ich frage mich in solchen Momenten dann immer ob die Onlineshops wirklich denken, dass es in ihrem Interesse ist, wenn ein Kunden sich kurze Zeit nach der Bestellung verarscht fühlt. Es kann nicht so schwer sein, den automaticshen Versand einer E-Mail-Versandbestätigung an den Status “Die Sendung ist im Verteilzentrum eingetroffen und wird für den Weitertransport in die Zielregion vorbereitet.” eines Versandunternehmens zu koppeln.
Für mich als Kunden würde das weniger höhnisch, deutlich aufrichtiger wirken, und die E-Mail hätte einen tatsächlichen Informationswert.

Achievement unlocked: a second wheel set for my bike

Two DT Swiss CR 1600 Spline 23 wheels with different tyres leaning against a wall

After my failed experiment of trying to mount 650b wheels on Battle Cat, my gravel bike, I couldn’t get the idea of having two wheel sets out of my head; one for off road riding and one for road use.

After a bit of searching on eBay classifieds, I found a lightly used (e.g. ridden for ~ 700 km) set of DT Swiss CR 1600 SPLINE 23 wheels for a decent price. These things don’t come cheap when new and the person selling them had used them on a Canyon Inflite AL as well, before upgrading to carbon rims.

For me, this is ideal because a) I know that these will fit my bike well, b) changing between wheels for road and off road use is going to be almost seamless with no need to readjust the brakes or the rear derailleur (I’m using the same Shimano XT CS-M8000 11–40 cassette on the road set up, and c) these rims will likely last me for years.
I’ve ridden the existing set I have hard over the past two years and while they do have a couple of scratches and one of two dings, I have not yet managed to get them out of true. In addition to that the DT Swiss Ratchet freewheel system is great to ride and easy to service. Having it on both wheel sets is another bonus.

Oh and my Clement/Donelly X’Plor MSO tyres have made a quicker comeback than I expected. Yes, they’re not dedicated road tyres but they are starting to show signs of age anyway and I’m going to use them for winter riding, enjoying the extra grip they provide, instead of buying a new pair of road rubber.

First ride with the WTB NANO 40

On Wednesday, in an attempt to make good use of the surprisingly sunny weather, I took my gravel bike out for a first ride with the WTB Nano 40.

Wtb NANO 40 on DT Swiss CR1600 Spline db 23 wheels in the forest

My recent experiment of using 650b × 47 mm tyres on my bike failed due to tyre rub on the left chain stay, yes, but it gave me a taste of what wider, higher-volume tyres with an aggressive tread could do for riding gravel and some tame singletrack. So after doing some research on 700×40c rubber, I had high hopes for the WTB NANO 40.

(I set up the tyres tubeless with Muc-Off’s No Puncture Hassle Tubeless Sealant and inflated them to 37 psi up front and 38 psi in the back referencing the handy tubeless tire pressure recommendations published by ENVE.)

For this outing I put together a 20 km route that I had ridden before, at least in parts, comprised of fire roads, some root-y singletrack, a few fast descents on what I thought was going to be either fire roads or well-worn foot paths. The bad news is that some of the paths had been shut down years ago and were very much overgrown and hard to navigate, the good news is that I was not only able to try the NANO 40 on loose, muddy, sloshy, puddle-dotted forest roads, I was also treated to a crazy fast descent on a 3 km hard pack and relatively dry gravel road.

Ride on 20191120

After finishing the ride, I was left with two dominant feelings from this first experience with the NANO 40:

  1. What an insanely fun ride. These tyres did such a good job and provided loads of grip even in ankle-deep mud.
  2. You idiot. You had considered buying these almost two years ago when you replaced the Schwalbe X-One 33 mm tyres on the Canyon Inflite AL that brought you to gravel cycling in the first place but you didn’t do it because you were too chicken about trying a tubeless setup and the tread looked too aggressive.

So what did I learn?

For one that tubeless setups are the way to go for me moving forward, it seems.
Don’t get me wrong, the Donnelly X’Plor MSO 700×40c 120 TPI tube tyres I’ve ridden so far are crazy good. Having now ridden a properly supple and comparatively aggressively treaded tyre, I appreciate them even more. For a tubed tyre, they are very comfortable and robust even when ridden below the manufacturers specification of ~ 50 psi and they offer great traction within their limits.

Then there’s the realisation that once the fear of pinch flats is reduced and I embrace lower pressures, it opens up a lot more paths to ride. That said, I am going to increase the pressure in the back wheel for the next ride to 40 psi, because at 38 psi, it sometimes squirmed too much beneath me especially on faster, slightly rockier roads.

Lastly that I felt the NANO 40 provides a very good mix of a fast rolling 700c tyre and some serious grip on loose ground that the WTB Sendero 47 got me hooked on.

Oh and they look oh so nice on my bike 😏

Battle cat on the bridge over the kurparkweiher in weisskirchen

The iPad is still being held back by its operating system and Apple isn't being straightforward about the why

My colleague and friend Mike sent me a link to an interview with Phil Schiller on c|net conducted by Roger Cheng. The core part of the interview concerns the new 16” MacBook Pro and the redesign of the keyboard away from Apple’s butterfly mechanism to an improved scissor mechanism. Later in the discussion, they talk about how iPads and Macs coexist and the purpose of each device. Schiller’s answer to a question about whether Apple can see the iPad and Mac merging like this:

No, that’s not our view. Because then you get this in-between thing, and in-between things are never as good as the individual things themselves. We believe the best personal computer is a Mac, and we want to keep going down that path. And we think the best tablet computing device is an iPad, and we’ll go down that path.

iPad benefits because we assume that you need to be able to do most everything with touch, and we don’t have to trade off on that experience. Mac assumes you want to do most everything with a keyboard and mouse input. We don’t have to trade off on that path. You can look at some of the other products that will try to go halfway between the two. They end up just compromising experiences. That’s not good.

I have a 12.9” 3rd generation iPad Pro. It’s a device that’s as close to my teenage self’s Star Trek P.A.D.D. dream as I could hope for. But what drove me to stop using iPads for a couple of years after the iPad Air 2 and what still bugs me, even in iPadOS, are the limitations Apple places on the software of the device and on the capabilities of third party software. The way Schiller frames the separation between iPads and Macs is based on the type of input and that, to me, misses the point.

Let me put it this way. When I was shopping for a new tablet at the beginning of the year, the decision to go for the top-of-the-line iPad Pro instead of an infinitely more capable Surface Pro 6 came down to two things:

  1. I put a gigantic amount of faith and € 2,000+ in Apple, hoping they would come through and at least add support for external storage with the next major release, as had been speculated. Thankfully, iPadOS delivered.
  2. The quality of third party software on iOS (and macOS), particularly from indie developers and once you venture outside of the big name applications, is still completely unmatched on Windows and in all areas: touch-friendliness, UX and UI design, etc.

On this I agree with Schiller: it’s important to have proper support for touch and proper support for mouse + keyboard in the devices you offer.
The best example sits in front of me daily; my lovely Surface Pro 2. This is a full-fledged Windows PC with all of the potential you expect it to have but using the operating system and third party applications in touch mode is a compromise at best and impossible at worst (and don’t even get me started on the schizophrenic nature of Windows 10 itself with a Settings app and the Control Panel app).
But the above also goes to show that it’s not a matter of the devices’ form factor or input methods but a matter of having the operating system expose as much potential to the software running on it and enforcing a high standard of optimisation for the form factor and input methods.

Comparing a modern Surface Pro 7 to a current iPad Pro leaves me with this conclusion:

Windows 10 limits how comfortably I can accomplish my tasks but iPadOS still limits what tasks I can accomplish.

And this is what I continue to have issues with, this is the thing that drives me to pick up my MacBook Pro or my Surface Pro 2 for tasks as trivial as using some necessary extension in a browser like Brave 1, or quickly converting a video file I created on my camera into a different format, or adding new music to the Music app on my iPad, or inspecting the code of my website right in the browser I’m using. Tasks that the iPad, as a device, is absolutely capable of but that iPadOS keeps me from doing.

  1. I am fully aware of the fact that allowing extensions and other features common on Windows and macOS needs to be done carefully because of the security and privacy implications. That still doesn’t excuse, in my opinion, why Apple hasn’t made any visible efforts to solve these problems on a platform that’s been around for over 12 years. [return]