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OwnCloud and External Storage via Dropbox.com September 29, 2017

Posted by Steven in In-Media, Innovation.
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I know I am late to the game. But just recently I discovered “OwnCloud“. In my view OwnCloud is mainly a well designed server software which can be used and installed freely. The suite also includes some client-side Apps and some extensions – some of these additional tools require a purchase. When you install your own cloud server you essentially get a nifty cloud file storage solution with easy ways to upload through a browser, manage files and documents, share stuff and keep track of versions and basic collaboration features. You can check out all the details on their official site:

https://owncloud.org/

As I said I am fairly new to that game. And I just recently installed an OwnCloud server on a backup webspace that I maintain since Uni. It works really well and it is a good extension to my regular drobobox and onedrive accounts. Over the weeks I casually looked through the features and discovered nice ways to extend an OwnCloud installation. You can access it through many clients and out of the box it supports the WebDav protocol. Also I would like to mention: The mobile and desktop web client is also really really good.

One nice way to expand is to add your external storage providers. I’ve done that with my Dropbox account and I was quite happy with having everything in a nice view through the lean web interface of OwnCloud.

However since one or two days or so this solution stopped working. I.e. there were error messages in OwnCloud and I could not open my Dropbox folder via OwnCloud.

It turns out that this OwnCloud external storage solution seems to use the OAuth 1.0 protocol as part of the Dropbox API v1. I feel that OwnCloud is already a fairly complex product and many enthusiasts work on the code and tirelessly want to improve the core and key features. The external Dropbox  solution seems to be a lower priority and it seems it was left untouched as Dropbox API v1 continued to work in parallel to the new Dropbox API v2. But just now on 28-September-2017 Dropbox really switched  off API v1.   :-(   for me this means – the just discovered option to use  Dropbox from within OwnCloud does no longer work.

https://blogs.dropbox.com/developers/2017/09/api-v1-shutdown-details/

I believe work will continue on that piece but I may need to stay patient. So OAuth 2.0 and consequently the new Dropbox API v2 needs to be incorporated in OwnCloud. People are already talking about this challenge and work has started:

https://central.owncloud.org/t/gsoc17-dropbox-v2-integration/5901

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Video Conferencing and Screen Sharing – easy and seamless September 20, 2017

Posted by Steven in In-Media.
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I’ve recently had the opportunity to meet some talented developers from the distinguished city of Nuremberg. It was inspiring to learn how they specialized on certain skills and how distributed teams work together seamlessly.

I generally observe that freelance developers and smaller companies can tap into new and innovative tools much quicker than large companies (partly of course due to regulatory reasons applied to large institutions).

Appearin Illustration Banner

For easy stand-up-meetings and to pull distributed teams together they used “appear.in“.

Their tag-line says it quite well: appear.in  –  one click video conversations. But it can do even more. It can share your screen and it works nicely on an Android device or on an iPhone. I tried it out and I was surprised how easy, hassle free and quick it is.

Essentially you:

  • go to their site: https://appear.in
  • pick a name for your room (any kind of name – I know there may be Security concerns for confidential meetings but for quick team huddles it is really nice)
  • and a second later you’re in your meeting room (which seems to use a nice web standard front-end / no flash or plugins needed)
  • you can invite others and start chatting
  • there is easy text chat and screen sharing capabilities as well
  • and as far as I can see: it’s free!

 

And to cater just a little bit for the fine print: they seem to be based on Norway and their terms of service states that they don’t store any transcripts or call content on their servers. Also they have a nice blog and seem to be a cool bunch of people :) go say hi.

go try it out and let me know what you think in comments.

Great Spots Showcased: Awwwards June 13, 2017

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Always on the run for inspiration and for great spots on the world wide web. Now I found one little service that makes for a good starting point.

http://www.awwwards.com

In my own words: it’s a website aggregator which allows users and jury members to assign grades (1-lowes 10-highes) to website projects. It’s updated daily and provides a great overview of well designed or very usable websites. A good place to skim for inspiration.

 

Great Spots on the Web – made with Squarespace May 2, 2017

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Just yesterday I met with a friend who is planning to start her own business. It was an inspiring afternoon with lots of great ideas and the true free spirit of getting things done and working on things who make sense.

This inspired me and I brainstormed some of my own ideas again. So here we go – directly from the brainstorming session: Some great examples of sites which use Squarespace:

sites made with squarespace (illustration)

quick observation: apparently everyone needs huge images :-)

 

German Startups to watch (Top Startup Growth 2016) December 19, 2016

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Informative Twitter Account to watch: https://twitter.com/bilanz_de

Brief list of fast growing German Startups (value = growth given in relative percentage):

1. Lesara (Berlin): 1.425 percent
fashion and interior online retail

2. Gastrohero (Holzwickede): 1.345 percent
appliance / tool sale for the food service industrie

3. Uberall (Berlin): 754 percent
marketing software

4. Unu (Berlin): 725 percent
e-scooter sale

5. Rebelle (Hamburg): 660 percent
used clothes and accessories sales

6. Contentful (Berlin): 646 percent
content management solutions

7. Thermondo (Berlin): 638 percent
modernization of heating systems

8. Foodpanda (Berlin): 567 percent
online food delivery service

9. Digidip (Berlin): 564 percent
marketing focus on online shop links

10. Montredo (Berlin): 520 percent
time pieces online retail

11. About You (Hamburg): 516 percent
online retailer for clothes and accessories

12. Schmuck-Elfe (Leipzig): 477 percent
online retailer for jewelery and accessories

13. Smartpatient (München): 473 percent
advice concerning medication use

14. Koro-Drogerie (Berlin): 456 percent
online retail for groceries

15. RNTS-Media (Berlin): 444 percent
online marketing and advertising

16. Amorelie (Berlin): 425 percent
online retail for erotic products

17. Metacrew Group (Osnabrück): 381 percent
strategy advice for online retailer

18. Brillen.de (Wildau): 380 percent
online retailer for glasses

19. Hellofresh (Berlin): 363 percent
delivery service for food & groceries

20. TVsmiles (Berlin): 305 percent
Sales raffles and coupons

21. Finanzchef24 (München): 273 percent
insurance comparison

22. Yieldlove (Hamburg): 264 percent
online advertising comparisons

23. Sentinel Systemlösungen (Hamburg): 239 percent
IT security and system administration

24. Applause (Berlin): 223 percent
App testing

25. Deematrix (Fürstenwalde): 216 percent
energy storage (focus on renewables)

26. Allbranded (Hamburg): 201 percent
online retail for promitional products

27. Newsletter-2-go (Berlin): 199 percent
E-Mail marketing

28. Pickawood (Hamburg): 197 percent
customized furniture online sales

29. Mobisol (Berlin): 195 percent
online sale of photovoltaic equipment

30. Meinunterricht.de (Berlin): 190 percent
lesson preparation for teachers

31. Ecratum (Berlin): 186 percent
tool in order to optimize supplier relations for small shops

32. Honestly MT (Köln): 180 percent
non-public review system

33. Golf-Post (Köln): 175 percent
online magazine for golf topics

34. Screwerk (Lüdenscheid): 169 percent
screw sales

35. Blacklane (Berlin): 163 percent
chauffeur services

36. Data-Virtuality (Leipzig): 161 percent
database system for data analytics

37. Springlane (Düsseldorf): 161 percent
kitchen- and kitchen tools sale

38. Cerascreen (Schwerin): 151 percent
lab-test / health-test sales

39. Fincite (Frankfurt am Main): 149 percent
development of financial algorithms

40. Travador (München): 137 percent
travel package sale (short trips)

41. Webdata-Solutions (Leipzig): 132 percent
peer-group- / competition analysis

42. Fastbill  (Offenbach am Main): 118 percent
billing for freelancers

43. Greenyogashop (Wyk auf Föhr): 115 percent
Yoga items sales

44. Finanzcheck.de (Hamburg): 104 percent
online loan comparisons

45. Streetspotr (Nürnberg): 98 percent
analysis for mini-sales-portals

46. Myposter (Bergkirchen): 97 percent
online printing (focus: large format)

47. On-apply (Frankfurt am Main): 94 percent
job applicant management software

48. First-Colo (München): 92 percent
server and computing-services leasing

49. Windeln.de (München): 90 percent
online retail for toddler products

50. Milk-the-sun (Münster): 82 percent
services for photovoltaic products

Domain Name Server settings for times of need November 28, 2016

Posted by Steven in In-Media.
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Recently a large German telecom provider suffered some technical issues in its network. Several publications traced the issue back to an outage of the company’s DNS Servers. So in cases of need please find some information below how to configure your devices to use an alternative DNS Server.

The most commonly known alternative to the legacy telco servers is the google DNS server:

  • 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4
  • beware of privacy issues though

Secondly I came across the Chaos Computer Club which provides some information regarding open and privacy safe DNS Servers:

 

Three current tips for designing UI February 26, 2016

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My general approach to user interface design was simple: Grab a couple of assets and Photoshop and get on with it. A couple of weeks ago I participated in a little Hackathon. I had to realize I was quite slow designing a handful screens for quite a simple App. I occasionally glanced over to the team next to us. I was impressed. They used some fancy software and they were just pushing out fancy screen after screen after screen. So I’ve done a little research and I must say designing screens with Photoshop seems to be very 2001. Now there are different solutions:

 

 

https://www.sketchapp.com

sketchapp0001

 

http://www.invisionapp.com

invisionapp0002

 

http://www.axure.com/

axure0003

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

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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

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.

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.

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