Dell Latitude E6220

Dell Latitude E6220

My Dell Latitude E6220 with a unique branding.

My backup laptop during the last two years has been an 11,6″ Acer notebook in a netbook size. “Backup”, as in “a second computer that works when machine no.1 doesn’t and else works as a logbook for amateur (ham) radio and other experiments”. Armed with an 1,5 GHz Intel Pentium 987 CPU, 8 GB of RAM and an SSD, it scored okayish on Geekbench and also has a very portable power supply (which in my mind is one of the most important aspects of mobile computing). The Acer, however, lacks VT-x, which prevented Virtualbox from running properly. And the irony is that I also have an identical Acer Chromebook C710 with a partly broken screen that I had bought for spare parts and managed to restore – which has a Celeron 847 CPU and thus an enabled VT-x. Read more →

Email clients on MS Windows

The following could be a long rant on bad email clients for MS Windows, but instead of describing the agony I’ve experienced with various email clients in the past few years, let me just ask this one question (from a user perspective):

“Why do we have really smart apps on our mobile phones, but when it comes to email clients on a desktop computer, there is no perfect solution?”

Yes, there may be legal reasons for this development (i.e. patents) and the fact that most consumers just don’t care, but then: it’s email, the most important (business) application next to Excel or Word. How come this still !!!!! has such a low priority? I don’t get it.

I keep coming back to this blog post on the subject. Matteo is a Linux dev who occasionally uses a Windows machine. For a project, he required a “perfect desktop mail client”. Ha! Welcome to the club, Matteo. They obviously all suck for one reason or another, and my particular requirements are rather mundane:

  • Fast and reliable IMAP sync
  • Decent HTML rendering
  • Integrated calendar and contact sync
  • Global Inbox

That’s it. And yes, support for encrypted mails would be a huge bonus, but one step at a time.

Going by this list of requirements, I have now eventually switched from MS Outlook 2010 to eM Client. Which also means: no Postbox, no TheBat!, no Mailbird, no Thunderbird,  no Windows Mail (lol), no Eudora, no EssentialPIM, no Sylpheed (which is really nice). Conversation threading? Hell, no. Or the new N1 by Nylas? Not yet. Just a client that looks like MS Outlook 2010, imports all the stuff from there (!) but also doesn’t bug me with idle time. All email accounts accessible via IMAP, calendar and contacts sync without issues (like they used to with plugins in other clients) and all mails show up in a global inbox and global junk mail folder.

Looks like MS Outlook, but with less bugs: eM Client.

Looks like MS Outlook, but with less bugs: eM Client.

Em Client is advertised as the “best email client for Windows”, which Mailbird 2.0 btw also claims. The Bat! also claims to be “the best secure email client software”. Which is probably true, but also begs the question: if they are all “the best”, how come they are still not as popular as the rest? Costs? Em Client is expensive, a full licence costs around 47 EUR (incl. VAT), no discounts granted. A free version is available, but limited to two email accounts. I will still cough up that amount because a good email tool should cost money. Which is why I also bought Postbox in the past. I am willing to spend money on good software. A) to support the developer and show my appreciation and b) because I don’t want my data to be their business model. But that’s just me, others are more into open software, or even the “free” (as in free beer) side to it and probably don’t agree.

Coming back to my initial question: how come that we have a lot of nice apps on our mobile devices, while email is so neglected? Why can’t email as an application be as smart as SMS or the use of other Instant Messengers? Kids have their mobile number and user name as an entry card into the digital world – not necessarily email (like we did). While this may answer the priority on optimized communication channels, it still doesn’t answer why MS Outlook or even Lotus IBM Notes (and Thunderbird for many private and Linux users) should be the best options. Could we please have a great email client software? Something that just works?

Endlich Funkamateur

Ein Funkamateur, der das Hobby Amateurfunk betreibt. Also mit erfolgreich abgelegter Amateurfunkprüfung bei der Bundesnetzagentur und zugeteiltem Rufzeichen.

Die erste Berührung mit Funkgeräten waren japanische (CB)-Funkgeräte in ca. 1980. Ich habe die immer noch, natürlich stark zerbastelt, liegen in einer Kiste im Keller. Dann ca. 1985 bei einem Sommerkurs in der Bremer Kunsthalle: ein Kurs, in dem wir uns mit wenigen Bauteilen auf Reißzwecken ein Radio gelötet haben. Empfangsdraht an die Heizung, Stöpsel ins Ohr, bißchen drehen irgendwo, zack, der erste Sender im Ohr. Später dann – in Kenia – der erste Elektronikbaukasten, als sog. Short Wave Listener (SWL) täglich Radio hören, mit 18 irgendwann das erste Amateurfunk-Handfunkgerät in der Hand: Standard C168, das der mittlerweile leider verstorbene Funkamateur Hermann (DK8RT/5Z4RT) aus Deutschland organisiert hatte. “Wenn Du damit funken willst, musste aber die Lizenz machen.” Yo, will ich. Funkgeräte sind verlässlicher als die Telefonleitung im Haus, die in jeder Regenzeit den Geist aufgibt. Mobilfunk gibt es in Kenia zu der Zeit nur nach ETACS-Standard, für das in Kenia nur 2000 Leitungen/Nummern im System vorgesehen waren. Zwischen den vielen illegalen Kurzwellensendern aus Somalia sind auch etliche Funkdienste in Nairobi auf VHF unterwegs, die größtenteils keine Betriebsfunkfrequenz beantragt haben. Alleine, sie fallen weniger auf als die dicken Geländewagen der Vereinten Nationen mit ihren Kurzwellenantennen an den Stoßstangen. In einem Land ohne verlässliche Normen und funktionierender Infrastruktur sind autarke Kommunikationsmittel wie Funkgeräte eine sinnvolle Investition.

Standard c168

Nicht unser Auto, dafür mit etwas längeren Haaren, hippem FjällRäven-Rucksack und dem geliebten Handfunkgerät Standard c168: JKE in ca. 1994 bei Maralal in Kenia.

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Upgrading from a Dell Latitude E6430 to an E5450

Dell Latitude E5450 vs E6430

Dell Latitude E5450 vs E6430

My Dell Latitude E6430 has a great performance, has enough room for an extra SSD, has never let me down during the last two years and came as a refurbished, 1yr-old laptop from a dealer in the UK. It also shares the same birthday (date) with me and is just a very, very solid workhorse. The keyboard is great, it has extra keys for volume control, the touchpad does support two-finger scrolls, it has a very durable frame and to clean the vent, I just need to remove 5 screws. Even it’s bulky size and waste of space (= 14″ laptop in the body of a 15″ machine) are okay in the end. I don’t care about that extra inch or the weight. I am a tall person and small laptops look stupid on me. Read more →

Dann also zu mir.


Als ich mein erstes und letztes Auto – einen ’89 VW Golf 2 – Mitte 2006 für 150 EUR an einen verrückten Bastler in der Lüneburger Heide verkaufte, verspürte ich einen kurzen Trennungsschmerz, genoss dann aber die Freiheit, die ein Autofreies Leben mit sich bringt. In einer Stadt wie Frankfurt braucht man eigentlich kein Auto, weil man für die Parkplatzsuche oft länger als für die eigentliche Fahrtstrecke braucht und alle wichtigen Ziele auch anderweitig zu erreichen sind.

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