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Windows 10 Activation Technology January 8, 2017

Posted by Steven in Software.
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Microsoft attempted to make a lot of things very easy and straight forward with Windows 10. This operating system of the cloud-age is supposed to be a no brainer for everyone. Easy to upgrade, initially offered as a free upgrade and not to forget fast and safe for everyday use.

When I recently contemplated the upgrade to Windows 10 for an older living-room PC myself I found some aspects that are quite complicated. Thus today I’d like to talk about Activation.

I believe Microsoft’s intention was to make the upgrade process very smooth end easy for everyone. However this lead to more activation options and to an more complex situation overall if things go wrong.

More Activation Options

  • Microsoft provides a nice overview here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12440/windows-10-activation
  • Today there are two activation routes (Windows setup will chose which one fits your situation).
  • First possible route: Digital Entitlement / Digital License
    • Rule of thumb: everyone who used an activated previous version of windows and took Microsoft’s offer for a free upgrade will get a digital license.
    • There are other cases where the setup will chose digital license (explained in detail by Microsoft)
    • So what is a digital license? Basically it is a digital marker, a license which microsoft creates when you use one of the free upgrade offers or when you are a windows insider. In order to fix issues with that methodology Microsoft has built a functionality to link your digital license with your Microsoft account (and this should help with re-activating Windows after hardware change).
    • Additionally it is important to understand: The digital license is build in such a way so that it is tied to your current hardware configuration
  • Second is the classic Product Key Method
    • What is it and when will it be used?
    • It seems quite obvious: the other more expensive ways to get Windows will in most cases use a Product Key and the classic transfer of some PC data and product key to Microsoft for activation. These more expensive ways include: buying a Windows 10 copy, buying a digital download for Windows 10 or getting Windows 10 with a new Laptop.
    • With the Product key that you acquired there should be no issue re-activating Windows.

As you can see the different routes may make for more options and maybe more issues when changing hardware. The following links can also provide some guidance if you run into issues:

License FAQ
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/ultimate-windows-10-activation-license-faq/

Versus. Background Info
http://pureinfotech.com/how-activation-works-windows-10-digital-entitlement-vs-product-key/

Preparing for hardware change
http://www.windowscentral.com/how-re-activate-windows-10-after-hardware-change

Windows 10 Setup Considerations when using a free upgrade
http://www.howtogeek.com/266072/you-can-still-get-windows-10-for-free-with-a-windows-7-8-or-8.1-key/

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Portals for Design- / Webdesign-Services December 19, 2016

Posted by Steven in The-Web.
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DAS AUGE
https://dasauge.de

Dribble
https://dribbble.com/

Designen Lassen
https://www.designenlassen.de/

Fiverr
https://www.fiverr.com/

Content.de
http://content.de

Freelancer.com
http://freelancer.com

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

Posted by Steven in In-Media.
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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

Three current tips for designing UI February 26, 2016

Posted by Steven in In-Media.
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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

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) :

Graphics Driver Woes January 2, 2014

Posted by Steven in Freetime, gadgets.
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I want to properly record my classic “PC” experiences over the last couple of hours.

I have a rather special entertainment setup in my other small city apartment. I use VLC and Windows Media Center on a mid-range Windows 7 PC hooked up to a good Bose soundsystem and a big simple HDTV. So quite coincidentally I was given an even bigger simple HDTV from my family. It happened to be a nice Toshiba -40inch L2 series screen.

This little upgrade meant, that for the first time I was able to hook everything up to the TV using HDMI connections.

And here the trouble started. When I simply plugged the HDMI cable into PC and HDTV I saw an image. So far so good. The PC set the correct resolution but on the HDTV the image did not fill the whole panel. About 2cm on each side of the panel were left black. This also resulted in text being muddy (I guess when the PC generated image is lets say 1920 pixel wide and somehow on the LCD Screen it gets shown only on like 1400 pixels wide things must get muddy).

I was really not satisfied with that and in good old Windows 3.1 manner I poked around and during that poking found out my graphics driver was not up to date. So I updated the AMD Catalyst driver package to the then latest version (13.9). The pure update itself however did not resolve the issue.

I googled around and I found this nice tipp. There it is mentioned that the Catalyst Control Center has dedicated Flat Screen options where you can scale the image and specify desired over / underscan. Indeed I was able to locate this setting and when set to 0% overscan and using the TV’s setting “picture size – native” (not movie or wide screen) then the picture seemed perfect!

HDTV Image scaling / AMD overscan problem solved. But it left me still wondering: who’s fault was it? Is it a strange setting embedded in AMDs graphics cards? Or set by AMDs software i.e. Catalyst Control Center? Or is it the Toshiba TV that somehow reports some strange data and the image gets somehow scaled? Mhh who knows but given my next experience I suspect AMD Software to be the culprit.

So with the one problem solved and with super new drivers installed all should have been well – but I noticed another very strange issue. Again a bit of back-story: In the PC I use a TV card for occasional TV viewing pleasure in Windows Media Center. The model I employ is a Terratec Cinergy PCIe Dual DVB-T Card. Up to now it always worked nicely and Terratec provides simple 32 and 64 bit drivers for Windows 7. In terms of other software I really just use Windows Media Center. It’s decent for quickly jumping into a TV show (with EPG data provided) and to record a movie etc.  So enough back-story. With this setup usually working flawlessly I now noticed, that each time when I open Windows Media Center and turn on live TV then the sound would come on (from the TV show) but there was no image. After about 30 seconds of Audio-Only Playback, the playback would stop completely. The ad-hoc “fix” for this strange issue is even stranger: I just needed to change the channel and then back for example and then there was image and sound for my TV programming. Given that this mid-range entertainment setup really doesn’t have to do much (boot up play a h.264 file, play a tv show, browse the web, shut down) I was disappointed but these new glitches.

I googled around again. Interestingly I found reports that people experience similar issues while just being upgraded to a super new NVIDIA graphics driver. So wait a minute.. didn’t I just update my AMD Catalyst driver? Oh man. So I quickly tried out the driver roll-back Device Manager function on my AMD Radeon HD 6800. And voila the Media Center TV stuff worked again flawlessly. But guess what happened: Windows rolled back to a Microsoft driver and there was no Catalyst Control Center anymore. Meaning: Toshiba’s LCD in combination with the Radeon card would do that nasty underscan thing again and my PC image is not filling the LCD properly again.

Not good.

So I spare you the next 2 hours of poking around. So what I basically needed was: some version of AMDs drivers and Catalyst Control Center where I could set the underscan / scaling to 0 – but the driver must not be so new that it shows the Media Center issue (or TV card driver combination what-not-issue).

My technique to achieve that in short was:

  • making sure that all new / old bits of AMDs software = AMDs CCC were removed from my PC
  • I used AMDs Cleanup Utility – which unlike the regular uninstallers and Windows functions I tried – seemed to fully remove AMDs stuff from my system. Sadly this tool seems no longer actively being supported by MAD. Oh well.
  • Then I installed version 12.10 of AMDs Catalyst package
  • And voila now I was able to disable underscan and I can comfortably watch TV again – weeehhhh what a hassle it’s been

So in short: just plugging in my AMD driven PC into my Toshiba LCD results in a stupid looking image. One needs to flip switches in AMDs software to make it work. However new AMD software breaks features along with my TV card / Windows Media Center. All this causes trouble and long long research sessions jumping from Windows resources to AMD resources to Terratec resources and so on. All that in the light of my really simple consumer goals (watch a bit of TV and use a bigger LCD). Horrible. And an absolute stellar example why I am really moving more towards Apple. This PC and driver stuff is so endlessly complex and even for simple tasks there are so many points where things can go wrong. Drivers, connections, updates and so many different manufacturers. Really bad. I like my Windows stuff but please dear AMD,,, dear PC industry get it together and put functioning well working parts that function as a whole out there!

German ISPs to monitor volume and cap bandwidth October 10, 2013

Posted by Steven in In-Media.
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There are recent discussions in Germany: Triggered by biggest German telecommunications service provider volume caps shall be introduced for regular DSL internet contracts.

I would like to keep an eye on this movement in this developing post. Especially interesting: what is the current status and which big telecom providers plan to introduce caps.

 

  • Kabel Deutschland
  • Already uses caps
  • Details: If a user loads more than 10 GB per day, then the bandwidth for file sharing use cases (peer to peer file sharing and share hosting file sharing) will be reduced for the rest of the day to 100 KBit/s
  • Introduction: currently the cap is in place with a daily allowance of 60 GB – the strict 10 GB rule will be rolled out soon
  • Source: http://www.kabeldeutschland.de/internet-telefon/
  • Additionally – there are reports that the overall bandwidth of Kabel Deutschland gets reduced unless a speed testing site is opened, source: http://stadt-bremerhaven.de/kabel-deutschland-mit-absichtlicher-handbremse/

 

 

 

Compare UK Pay-as-you-Go Tariffs March 18, 2013

Posted by Steven in gadgets.
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MP-Checker-Simple01

I just stumbled across a nice website comparing the conditions and prices of UK pay as you go services. The website is simple, you can put in how much voice minutes, texts and data you need. The site can also take you directly to the deals it has found. Give it a try if you need a UK SIM.

http://www.mobilephonechecker.co.uk/payg-sims/

[Update 1] And I found a very nice review of the GiffGaff in terms of service quality and pricing one could absolutely recommend GiffGaff.

http://www.jameslittle.me.uk/giffgaff-review/

Documenting Google’s Storage Limits May 2, 2012

Posted by Steven in In-Media, The-Web.
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I’ve gotten totally side-tracked when I browsed through recent episodes of “Building Windows 8”.. When discussing the new possibilities of “Skydrive” – the folks in Redmond went the extra mile and neatly summarized Google’s storage limit.

So here I want to share this summary:

Existing Skydrive users must login and claim free storage upgrade April 27, 2012

Posted by Steven in The-Web.
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As you may have heared: Microsoft is launching new options related to it’s Skydrive service. The new basic free offering now includes 7GB (formerly 25GB) of storage. You can extend the storage for a yearly premium (i.e. plus 20GB for 10 USD per year).

There is however an option for existing customers to avoid the downgrade from their 25GB of storage to the basic free 7GB of the new programme. Just log in to your Skydrive and click on the manage storage link. Follow the buttons to the basic offering and you should see a button on the right hand side: upgrade my free plan to 25GB. Click that and in a couple of seconds you are done and back to your old 25GB.

I have done that and I recommend this step to all existing Skydrive users.

Link: Stefan Esser Presentation regarding iOS Security March 15, 2012

Posted by Steven in Apple, In-Media.
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http://antid0te.com/CSW2012_StefanEsser_iOS5_An_Exploitation_Nightmare_FINAL.pdf

My Dropbox Cloud hit 8,38 Gigabytes = 8 581,12 Megabytes :-) February 29, 2012

Posted by Steven in Freetime, In-Media, The-Web.
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Dropbox Logo (darkblue)

Through a lucky hunch I went ‘beta’ with my dropbox client on my Windows PC. That was a good choice. I spent almost two evenings snapping crazy shots with my digital point and shoot. I used the beta direct upload feature and hurray I got almost 5 GB of extra space!

I am so proud now to be the owner of 8,38 Gigabytes of free dropbox space!

Now almost all my stuff will fit on the tiny blue box! I just hope nobody will take away my newly ‘earned’ storage.

For further details I may continue to check out the dropbox forums:  http://forums.dropbox.com/topic.php?id=55007&replies=265

Useful Dropbox Background Information:

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