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Brainstorming: Breakfast in Berlin July 7, 2014

Posted by Steven in Places.
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B Breakfast

I was asked recently – what is a good place in Berlin to have breakfast? Mhh – I thought about it and I concluded that I had so many fabulous breakfasts in our great capitol that it’s hard to give a recommendation.

I browsed through old photos and old memories and here is what I came up with:

Mitte – Barcomis

Prenzlauer Berg – Bar Gagarin

Kreuzberg – Morena Bar

Mitte – Spreegold 

Mitte – Gugelhof

Kreuzberg – Tomasa Villa

 

 

 

Excellent (German) Blog with LED lighting knowledge May 26, 2014

Posted by Steven in In-Media.
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Everyone needs to safe energy. I recently decided to exchange my ancient conventional light bulbs with conventional LED retrofit lamps.

Well to cut a long story short: It’s not so easy. I got nice super efficient Zenaro retrofit lamps but for me they are extraordinary heavy and the light temperature is very cold (although I got warm white versions).

I should have consulted the wonderful blog of Mr. Messer first. Tons of useful information rg. LED lighting.

http://fastvoice.net

fastvoice-blog001

Spring Deals Fitness First – The Word is out and it’s Cheaper April 30, 2014

Posted by Steven in Freetime.
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banner02

Without a long introduction.. as mentioned between 30th April and 8th May there seem to be certain discount code / vouchers available. All details below.

fifis2014-platinum

 

fifis2014-lifestyle

 

fifis2014-women

 

fifis2014-blacklabel

 

fifis2014-kurse

 

fifis2014-detailp1

 

fifis2014-detailp2

 

fifis2014-detailp3

 

fifis2014-detailb1

 

fifis2014-detailb2

 

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Spring local fitness deals are scheduled: 30.04.2014 April 29, 2014

Posted by Steven in Freetime.
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ffirst-offerSpring-2014-a001

As in past years.. the local discount dealer seems to have a spring fitness sale and a autumn fitness sale scheduled. FitnessFirst membership accounts may get reduced as much as 30-40%. Usually the process makes you pay in advance and then print out a voucher / Gutschein and then you go into the gym and get your regular contract without any further costs.

I will be posting regular updates regarding the current details and process segments.

 

Nirgendwo Reue February 16, 2014

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ABMHNG

In der letzten Zeit war es vergleichsweise ruhig rund um die offiziellen Gestalten im RedTube Abmahn-Krimi. Leider wird die Situation komplexer und volle Aufklärung ist nicht in Sicht (die Rechtsorgane arbeiten eben langsamer).

Was ich festhalten kann: zumindest die Deutschen Beteiligten der verschiedenen Kanzleien geben weiter Interviews und zeigen nirgends Reue. Es wird weiter betont, dass man ja zum Wohle der Mandantschaft (THE ARCHIVE) gehandelt habe und dass die gesammelten Adressen ja zu Menschen gehören, die wohl einfach mal ein paar Euro sparen wollten.

Meine Einschätzung: Furchtbar – diese Menschen vernetzten sich um Unsicherheiten auszunutzen und hunderte Tausende Euro von unsicheren Menschen einzusammeln.

Aktuelle Details:

Die Zeit über die Praxis von Rechtsanwalt Daniel Sebastian (der ja im oben verlinkten Interview null Reue zeigt):

“Hätte die Wahrheit in den Anträgen gestanden, dass es sich bei RedTube um ein Streamingportal handelt, wären sie wohl alle abgelehnt worden. ” 

Oder anders interpretiert Hr. Sebastian hat die Warheit laut Zeit bewusst verschleiert um an die Adressen von tausenden Menschen zu kommen.

Und weiter noch eine Watsche für den unschuldigen Anwalt der nur das Beste für seine Mandanten möchte:

“Inzwischen hat das Landgericht diesen Fehler festgestellt und seine Beschlüsse aufgehoben.”

heißt: verschleierte Wahrheit führte zu Adressen und damit dann für irgendjemanden in der Abmahnmaschine zu Geld (mind 250€ pro bezahlter Abmahn-Forderung) — volle Wahrheit führte zum aufheben der Beschlüsse und damit hätte es nie eine Adresse gegeben.

Im Interview weicht Hr. Sebastian auch aus und verweist darauf wie schädlich das Anbieten von Pornos doch für die jungen Menschen unserer Gesellschaft ist – doof nur, dass er diese Dinge nicht verfolgt sondern im Namen von dubiosen Mandanten einfach verschleiernde Briefe an das LG Köln schickt.

“Die Kölner Richter sagen denn auch, Sebastian habe nicht ‘mit offenen Karten gespielt’. Die Staatsanwaltschaft Köln hat Ermittlungen wegen falscher eidesstattlicher Versicherungen aufgenommen. “

Und zum Thema Rechtekette schreibt die Zeit:

“Oliver Hausner [...] ins Spiel. Er hat zwei Verträge unterschrieben, die The Archive dem Gericht via Sebastian vorlegte, um nachzuweisen, dass das Unternehmen die Rechte an den Pornofilmen besitzt. Doch die Firma Hausner Productions, die die Verwertungsrechte laut Vertrag ursprünglich hielt und an The Archive weiterverkaufte, gibt es nicht. Es hat sie auch nie gegeben, im Berliner Gewerberegister war sie nie verzeichnet. Die im Vertrag aufgeführte Firmenadresse ist falsch. “

 

Picking up on places to go to: Frankfurt Maxie Eisen January 22, 2014

Posted by Steven in Freetime, In-Media, Places.
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Places Illustration

Recently brought to my attention: Apparently the New York Times mentioned in a segment tagged places to go 2014 the NYT mentiones Frankfurt Germany on position 12.

Explicitly they seem to be excited about the renewed trendiness of the “Bahnhofs”-quarter. Maxie Eisen is mentioned as a deli style café and a buzzing bar at night.

https://www.facebook.com/maxieeisen

That place totally seems worth a look. Also mentioned is the Pan-Asian restaurant Moriki and Spanish inspired place Lamoraga. I passed by both of these places recently and they totally seem over-hyped.

Weitere Entwicklungen im Fall Redtube Streaming Abmahnungen January 20, 2014

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ABMHNG

Wieder einmal möchte ich kurz auf aktuelle Informationen zum Themengebiet RedTube Abmahnungen hinweisen.

Vor nicht all zu langer Zeit haben dankenswerter Weise die MÜLLER MÜLLER RÖSSNER Rechtsanwälte das GLADII Gutachten direkt veröffentlicht.

Zur Wiederholung: Ein Berliner Rechtsanwalt namens Daniel Sebastian hatte Anfang August 2013 89 Anträge auf zivilrechtliche Auskunft bzgl. Telekom Anschlußinhaber beim Landgericht Köln gestellt. 62 dieser 89 Gesuche wurden vom LG Köln einfach so durchgewunken. Wie der Prozess so läuft schien Gesuch und Gutachten (sowie Eidesstattliche Versicherung eines Mitarbeiters von itGuards welches die Überwachungssoftware GLADII 1.1.3 herstellt) den Richtern am LG plausibel.

Weiterhin zur Wiederholung: die Eidesstattliche Versicherung die eben auch in Zusammenhang mit dem Gutachten interessant ist, kann hier angesehen werden.

So und wie gesagt seit letzten Freitag gibt es eben auch das Gutachten zum nachlesen bei MMR Anwälte (PDF Datei).

Das tolle ist: der Kollege von http://blog.kowabit.de hat schon einmal eine sehr treffende und schön zu lesende Analyse dieses Gutachtens angefertigt. Siehe:

http://blog.kowabit.de/gladii/

Hier einige Highlights:

  • itGuards Inc in den USA – wahrsch. gegründet im März 2013
  • Test von GLADII aka Gutachten im Dezember 2012 angefertigt
  • “Wenn der Tester nur vorbereitete Funktionen durchklicken sollte, dann hat er das getan. Begutachtet hat er gar nichts.”
  • Es gibt mehrfach Lücken zB wo lief die Software, wie wurde der Zeitabgleich mit der Normzeit bewerkstelligt. Wie wurde z.B. Start des Besuchs einer Seite dokumentiert etc.
  • Es gibt mehrfach Hinweise, dass eine Art Vorschauseite (bzgl. einer Art Phishing Angriff) genutzt wurde
  • So logte GLADII auch das Pausieren und Neustarten eines Videos
  • Es wird immer von Download gesprochen nie von Streaming
  • Nach dem “Test” im Dezember 2012 hat es rund 4 Monate gedauert dieses doch recht dünne “Gutachten” zu verfassen (datiert auf 22.03.2013)
  • … und noch so viele pikante Details mehr

Kleine Einschätzung: Eben mit der bekannten Eidesstattlichen Versicherung und dem Gutachten wird noch einmal mehr deutlich: Beauftragt von THE ARCHIVE AG hat der Berliner Anwalt Daniel Sebastian einen sehr fragwürdigen Antrag gestellt – dem leider in vielen Fällen das LG Köln Folge geleistet hat.

Hinter dem Antrag stehen wie gesagt Versicherungen eines Mitarbeiters der Firma itGuards und eben ein “Gutachten” einer anderen (Münchener) Anwaltskanzlei. Alles soll im Paket eben sagen: da waren Leute die haben urheberrechtlich etwas böses getan und unsere Software GLADII hat sie super toll identifiziert und nun bitte Adressen rausgeben.

Dieser ganze Teil des Themenkomplexes ist angreifbar, denn sowohl “Gutachten” als auch Versicherung lassen unglaublich viele Fragen offen. Kollege Kowalski beschreibt es für mich sehr treffend:

“Es ist wichtig, dass sich am Ende dieses Prozesses andere Abmahner nicht mehr sicher sein dürfen ungeschoren davon zu kommen. [...]

Die eidesstattliche Erklärung, sowie der Antrag des Berliner Anwaltes sind angreifbar! Beide Mitspieler sind nach meiner Einschätzung die wohl schwächsten Glieder der Kette.”

Also würde ich sagen: weiter die Augen offen halten und die Resourcen nutzen um diese möglichen Angriffspunkte anzuvisieren.

FYI: Free Service to review your ip Address for various services January 19, 2014

Posted by Steven in The-Web.
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Recently I reviewed a couple of VPN services. I must say those services – now in 2014 – seem mainly reasonably priced and improved dramatically in performance.

Also with tunnelblick (OS X, Linux) and OpenVPN (Windows) there are decent well supported front-ends for switching the VPN on and off.

Once you play around with VPN services you would like to know how you’re identified on the internet (hopefully it’s with the outbound servers of the VPN services). One interesting method to test this for the bit torrent part of the internet is this site:

http://www.checkmytorrentip.com/#

It pushes a test download file to you and after a few seconds it will show you the ip address the service found. It’s quite handy, free and elegantly done.

Gallery App from the CyanogenMod Team now available for Testing “GalleryNext” January 16, 2014

Posted by Steven in gadgets, Software.
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Gallery-Plus-Cyano-Icon01

Google is on an interesting path with its latest release of the Android operating system 4.4 “KitKat”. For example on the Nexus 5 Google went so far as to make the search app the default launcher. So Google’s closed source search is the part that defines how your icons look on a Nexus 5. Also Google+ is being pushed more and more. Not too long ago Google added a special little App to Android which offers dedicated access to the Google+ Gallery. It also seems that step by step this new app shall replace the default Android Gallery.

So to sum things up: rather generic features on an Android device (Launcher, Gallery) are slowly being replaced with “enhanced” Google services (Google Search, Google+ Photos). So if we follow Google’s arguments we get exciting new features and interesting cloud stuff at the expense of being 100% tied into the Google ecosystem. I am sure there is more to come and other features will be tied into Google’s services as well.

So for people who like the flexibility and openness of Android it may be time to look around for viable alternatives to the “Google way”. For example if you do not want to keep your pictures on Google+ and you are a big fan of yahoo’s flickr then other gallery apps may be better.

Recently I checked out CyanogenMod’s GalleryNext. A sleek little gallery app coming from the people bringing beautiful Android versions to older devices. I must say I like it. It’s lightweight, it integrates Facebook-, Flickr- and Dropbox-pictures (as well as the usual Picasa albums) and it basically has a similar look and feel as the former default Android gallery app.

If you would like to give the app a try – it is currently in a testing stage, so backup your stuff an follow these steps (outlined here https://plus.google.com/110558071969009568835/posts/KFiGREqst3P) :

Optimized Android Libraries found on Moto X will speed up your Nexus 4, 5 or 7 January 6, 2014

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kitkatsegment01

Interesting developments in the semi-hacker-tech Android space: XDA-Developers forum member “kszaq” posted a nice FAQ / Guide on how to replace certain system libraries on your Nexus Device with Moto X versions.

Apparently by comparing benchmarks the tech-folk discovered that the Moto X scores better than similar devices with Android 4.4 KitKat. By taking the library-innards apart people found optimized versions of  Bionic and Dalvik.

Bionic is a google-created derivative of the Linux standard C library. It is supposed to make developer’s lives easier. A Linux developer group called “Code-Aurora-Group” has optimized the standard library so it works faster on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon platform. Google really should use this optimized version in the Android platform but so far it hasn’t.

The optimized Dalvik library would replace the usual Android-Runtime Compiler. This optimized version seems to be developed by Qualcomm itself and it is closed source. The specific nature of the Qualcomm optimizations is unclear but what’s interesting is: the optimization is so good that this quicker Dalvik library runs even better then the next generation ART compiler.

The Android hacker community now took these optimized versions from the Moto X firmware and made them available for installation and use on Nexus 4, 5 or 7. Relying on these versions would increase performance by some 5-10% on Qualcomm devices.

Rooting your Android is not required – detailed instructions are in the XDA-Developers post.

  • basically you need to read all: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2546120 (download links included)
  • you most likely would void your warrenty
  • you need to have Android 4.4 KitKat on your device
  • to make things easier you should have a Custom Recovery running
  • then (still read the full xda post) upload the provided files to your device
  • flash the images over your current ROM using the custom recovery

Silverlight / AMD Catalyst Issue – Graphics device’s driver certificate is invalid 6036 January 4, 2014

Posted by Steven in Freetime, In-Media.
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Silverlight-Issues

Once again a story of woe. With regards to my secondary PC/entertainment setup I outlined here, that I had basically two important needs: I need to have a fitting picture for my Toshiba HDTV = needing a graphics driver to set underscanning / scaling to 0 and I need a perfect software/driver setup so I can instantly watch DVB-T television. Okay with my very specific setup between the “right” AMD Catalyst Driver and all the other software I have achieved these two needs.

Now slowly a third need emerged. Not quite as high priority but well. I recently tried out watchever.de and now I am trying lovefilm.de. Both are Video on Demand services extremely similar to netflix or hulu plus. Both services use a Silverlight player with heavy DRM measures.

And the basic issue now is: Something is wrong in the setup between Silverlight, my PC, the graphics driver or any other component that has a part in playing a video.

I have tried all the suggested steps to fixing faulty silverlight playback. A lot of websites are mentioning something like this:

Well none of these common techniques helped in my case. I must also mention in Watchever there was no specific error message. But fortunately in Lovefilm something was shown. It reads:

Title not available. System Exception: 6036 An Error has occurred.

Well that is at least something. If you read up on it.. Microsoft is clearly saying something is wrong on the DRM side. In fact the specific description of 6036 on Microsofts Dev Net reads:

Graphics device’s Driver Certificate is invalid.

Oh man. Other people say that the encrypted (HDCP) path between graphics card and Screen/HDTV is not valid or there is something wrong in that line of encryption. I quickly verified that my system is generally fully HDCP compliant by using the Cyberlink BD 3D Advisor. It’s a handy utility which checks pretty much everything related to Blu-Ray playback on your PC (and HDCP and driver stuff is an important part of it). Well no issue here on my PC.

So graphics driver.. I use the AMD Catalyst Package 12.10 for my Radeon HD 6800. Should be okay. Quick web search: I am not the only one having this issue. It really seems some messy dirty corner between the AMD driver and Silverlight. Somehow causing the Silverlight DRM stuff to thing there is something wrong and playback should not start. Absolutely horrible. I poked around tried some stuff (i.e. reinstalling Playready components and reinstalling Windows Media Player none of which helped!).

So for now the only Solution I found: uninstall the Catalyst Drivers for example with the build in installer or with the AMD Cleanup Utility. Once completely uninstalled restart your system and then open Lovefilm Netflix or whatever. Voila the Video plays with no issue. But: of course with no proper AMD driver (maybe Windows picked some generic driver or you are just seeing some sort of 800x resolution). Just for fun I tried a lot of Driver combinations Catalyst 11.5 – 13.3 but none of these would work for me.

So summary: If you have the 6036 issue – All the web seems to know right now is that it’s an issue. If you’re really desperate you can uninstall the driver and the Silverlight DRM videos will play. But with no proper graphics drivers this is not a permanent solution rather a quick fix.

Simple Non-sientific Guide to HDMI Cables January 3, 2014

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HDMI-Composition-01

Ever so often in my quest for the perfect home-theater solution I come across stores which sell HDMI cables. And I am so puzzled with all the names and numbers these wires are branded. So I have read-up again on the details, mainly in this Wikipedia article, and here is my summary.

From my perspective when looking at the current state of HD and 3D home-theater (considering what is widely used now and discarding UltraHD etc.) there are only a few things to consider when shopping for HDMI cables.

As I see it there is the original idea of an HDMI connection which transmits Audi-, Video- and some auxiliary data. Also the smart people working on the HDMI Standards have right away in the initial idea included the transmission of “Control Data” i.e. to turn TV and DVD Player on at the same time. So all that with a decent signal band width is included in Category 1 of an HDMI cable. Due to the bandwidth it only supports pictures up to 1080i resolution (so not quite full-HD and no 3D as well). This incarnation of the cable is also called Standard HDMI Cable.

Now the industry quickly became aware that 1080p full-HD and also 3D is a thing. So the bandwidth aspects in the cable were redesigned mainly asking for higher grade inner streams in the cable and now the updated cable would support all of the above plus 1080p resolution and a sometimes people would attach some marketing buzz to the higher bandwidth i.e. 3D, deep color and so on. The updated standard is called Category 2 or High Speed HDMI Cable.

Even later in the game two other clever things were brought to life: Audio Return Channel (or ARC) and HEC – HDMI Ethernet Channel. As stated in the name these things call for additional channels. Not simple defining channels for A/V Data and Control/Auxiliary data but now defining additional channels for return Audio i.e. sound coming from your TV when it serves as the tuner for DVB Television. Now I believe the way the cables are produced means that many Cat. 2 or High Speed cables can actually support ARC or HEC or both. But the key is they are not guaranteed to do so. So if you require an audio return signal or if you want to make sure all devices can access the internet (more on that a little later) than you should shop for a cable that is clearly marked as supporting ARC and HEC. I’ve mad that little summary of my cable guide:

HDMI-Cables-Illustration-01

Now a couple of things on HDMI Standards: A standard encompasses many many details not just the cable itself. In the case of HDMI standards the chapters detailing the cables are relatively short and consistent. For example you may read the important HDMI Version 1.3a Standard Specification here. I would not look for HDMI cables marked for a particular standard as a) this is not the official way the guys developing the stuff call the cables and b) the standard contains much more than what is defined by the cable so you get an HDMI 1.3 cable and you still can’t see a 3D image.. well there may be another issue on another end of the whole entertainment rig. I just find it easier to think of HDMI cables in the above categories: Standard or High Speed and then the current king: High Speed with support for ARC and HEC. That’s it.

Now once again coming back to HEC – HDMI Ethernet Channel: If HDMI in its early forms can send and receive auxiliary data and also control some home entertainment functions why does one need HEC? Well I found this guide and the images explain it quite well:

So basically: even now the chance is you have a couple of HDMI connections between for example TV, media streamer and Blu-Ray player. Earlier you would have to set up an Ethernet connection or a WiFi connection on each device that needs the internet (TV separately and media streamer separately) now with HEC you can just set up one device for internet access and path this access through HDMI to any other device. Pretty cool.

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