Monday, February 28, 2011

And the Oscar goes to ABC - almost

Yesterday was the big day for Oscar and i decided to download for the iPad the Oscar application from ABC.

I was amazed, i really did watch the Oscar on the TV and on my iPad at the same time. The app worked impressive well. Before the show we had over days a countdown shown on the app and some video clips. Shortly before the event the app changed and we could see in the lower part the red carpet with 8 cameras. The user could switch through these cameras to see different footage. 3 of them had sound with hosts talking. When then the final event started the look of the app changed again.

With 9 different cameras like backstage cam or control room.
ABC really made it possible to watch on two devices at the same time. When I felt bored at the TV i looked at other cameras on the iPad.
2 cameras did only broadcast when commercials were running, which was great to get coverage during commercials.

The streaming was unexpected good i had no issues, which a lot of people upfront said will be there.
ABC did a great job to keep the streaming up or only a few people did stream the Oscar ceremony.
A few things i have been missing, which might come next year.
I would like to be able to stream the Oscar through my iPad to the TV to see full size movie on the TV and on the iPad only the map to switch the cameras. I missed as well integrated twitter and Facebook for postings within the app. Twitter said there were thousands of posts during the Oscar, I am pretty sure there could have been more, if this would have been integrated in the app. The app did cost $0.99 before the event and it was a good investment. Now the app is free to see other content related to the event, in case you missed the Oscar.

A good execution to combine mobile with TV, before, during and after the event.
If you don't have, download the Oscar backstage pass app and watch yourself some clips from the event or to see all Oscar winners. Interesting was that some winners used words which was not suitable for on air. On TV they took the sound out but on the iPad I could still hear the f words. Not sure if it was a technical mistake on the iPad, but I did like it.
The app was free of advertisement during Oscar but has now video ads which are not disturbing and clear identified.

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Is dead?

Three years ago i was looking for Germans in my area. I did found a group network site. IT has a lot of features on top of groups. You can download badges and charge members of your group a fee. Every location can be defined how many people can attend and it shows rating of the meeting.
However a year ago i decided to give up the meetup group i had because the fees went up to the sky. Meetup is as organizer not free, you have to pay fees which are depending on amount of members. The more members you have the more you pay.
We decided with our group not to charge for our members, at the end i came up to pay over $70 a month because we had over 200 members.
A friend of mine took the group and deleted first all inactive members (which is is a nice feature to see who is inactive - who did not attend any meetings). But eventually he had problems with that they charged more than they should. Maybe they need money.
Meetup is losing more and more groups since Facebook started their groups. We moved as well to Facebook. First of all most of our members are in Facebook and the meetup Facebook connection is not the best. Second of all Facebook is free. No charge for having members. Within only 1 week many of our active members at meetup did join our FB group. FB makes it much easier to have multiple administrators. At meetup you can assign assistants to your account but not other administrators which was many times a problem, since i travel a lot and could not keep up with the group as an adminsitrator.
The group function in FB is perfect integrated in FB, i need only one place to go to see my groups and what is going on. Before i had to log into FB and meetup.
Facebook groups is more than competition to and i can see meetup slowly going away.
Pretty sure Facebook will soon offer administrators to charge members FB credits to be a member and then there is completely no need for meetup.

I you consider to start a social group, you might want to use FB group function instead of meetup. The fees at meetup are too high and if they don't waive the fees they might be sooner or later out of business.
FB groups can have events like at meetup and they show even up in your FB calendar. The communication within FB is much easier than within meetup. Try it out, it is easy.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New MacBook Pro and Lion OS Preview

Apple released today Lion for developers. The OS will be available mid 2011 for the consumer.

Most interesting part is the touch gesture functions. Which is not far away anymore of gestures captured through build in camera, which might come faster than we think (sure a developer will write a plug in for this)


Apple introduced today as well the new MacBook Pro. I have been a little disappointed. IT still has no SSD (you can upgrade to SSD for $1,100 a 500GB hard drive) just normal hard drive and still has built in CD Drive. Most of the software is now available in the app store, so why the need of a CD / DVD drive built in.

I would like to have seen the MacBook Pro in similar design like the MacBook Air.

Otherwise the new MacBook Pro is fast, very fast with i7 quadcore processors and a new I/O technology called Thunderbold developed from Intel.

The 17inch (2.2GHz quad-core, Intel Core i7 , 8GB 1333MHz, 750GB 5400-rpm1, Intel HD Graphics 3000, AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 1GB GDDR5) does not come cheap. It costs you around $2,699 and with SSD 500GB even $3,799, but it is a high tech professional Notebook which is more than just a desktop replacement.

Read more what is new in the MacBook Pro at the WSJ.

So you think Apple computers are expensive?

I hear all the time how expensive Apple is and that there is no reason to switch just to pay a premium. And if we don't look deeper the price of Apple is in average 30% more.

The iPhone 4G 32GB is $299 which is around $100 more than other smart phones, however none of them in the lower price range have as much build in memory. Example: HTC EVO 4G, the price is $199 and same features like the iPhone (plus 4G), however the internal memory is only 1 GB, extra micro SD card with 32GB costs another $70. But the big difference is the quality of the camera, nobody yet could match the photo quality of the iPhone.

The iPad costs between $499 and $829. All are 10 inch the only difference is to have it with 3G and the memory size between 16GB and 64GB. All other high quality tablets running on Android are not cheaper, they are even more expensive and have mostly only 7inch screen.
Example: Motorla - XOOM Tablet 3G with 10 inch screen. This tablet runs on Android and is available at Best Buy for $799,99 but has only 32GB memory. The iPad with 3G and 32GB is only $729.

The cheapest notebook from Apple is the MacBook Air or just the MacBook starting at $999. Notebooks from other vendors are starting in average at $500. This is half of the price, but unfortunately as well half of the quality and speed.
Let us compare a notebook which is almost identical to the MacBook air in speed, size, design and quality. The Samsung 9 Series.
MacBook Air:

Samsung Series 9:
This notebook comes very close to Apple, but unfortunately the price is far from a competition. The notebook will be priced around $2200, twice than the MacBook Air.
The Specifications of Samsung 9 series laptop:

Samsung 9 Series Specs ($2230):

CPU: Second Generation Intel® CoreTM i5 Processor 2537M (1.40 GHz, 3MB; turbo up to 2.3 GHz)
Operating System: Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium (64 bit) / Windows® 7 Professional (64 bit)
Memory: 4GB DDR3 * Storage (max): 128GB Solid State Drive (SSD)
Screen: 13.3-inch HD LED-backlit SuperBright Plus display (400 nit)
Resolution: 1366×768
Graphics: Intel HD GT2 Integrated Graphics
Speakers: 3 watt (1.5W x 2) stereo speakers and 1.5 watt sub-woofer
Battery: Lithium Polymer; up to 6.5 hours
Wireless: 802.11b/g/n; WiMaxi
Weight: 2.89 lbs.

Apple MacBook Air Specs ($1299):
Product Height 0.7"
Product Width 12.8" Product Weight 2.9 lbs.
Product Depth 8.9"
Processor Brand Intel® Processor Intel® Core™2 Duo
Processor Speed 1.86GHz
Battery Type Lithium-polymer
Display Type Widescreen LED-backlit (1440 x 900)
System Bus 1066MHz
Cache Memory 6MB shared on die Level 2
Type of Memory (RAM) DDR3 SDRAM
Digital Media Reader or Slots Yes, select memory card slots
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 320M
Video Memory 256MB (shared)
Built-in Webcam Yes
Wireless Networking Wireless-A+B+G+N
Bluetooth-Enabled Yes
Speakers Internal
Laptop Weight Ultraportable (5.5 lbs. or less)
Operating System Mac OS X Snow Leopard
Included Software iLife '11 and more
ENERGY STAR Qualified Yes
Drive Capacity 128GB flash storage
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce 320M
Yes Apple seems to pricey, but when we compare competition with same features then Apple is not more expensive. But one thing almost none of the competition has is the the beauty and aesthetic and ease of use with almost no viruses. Only Apple can offer this at the moment.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Amazon offers live streaming

Amazon is now offering free live movie streaming for their prime members. Amazon has right now over 5,000 movies for streaming, with a better selection than netflix for movies.
Prime members pay $79 per year, the cheapest Netflix account (for streaming only) is $96 a year.
But Amazon does not offer free rent, the average rent is $2.99. However Prime offers free shipping and some extra bonuses. Ifyou are buying at least once a month at amazon, then prime is a very good selection alone for the free shipping.

Amazon known as the big competition for eBay takes now on Netflix. Many internet connected TVs or set up boxes are working with Amazon streaming, unfortunatelly not yet the Apple TV, but rumors are talking about a September release. Amazon with one of the biggest cloud service has a faster streaming than Netflix which is nice.

People can stream these movies and shows on PCs and Macs, or through about 200 different Internet-connected TVs, set-top boxes and Blu-ray players.

Netflix's service also can be streaming through many of the same devices as well as the top-selling video game consoles, mobile phones and Apple Inc.'s popular iPad tablet computer.

Most of the movies and TV shows that Prime members can stream for free are at least several years old. Amazon has a broader catalog of about 90,000 movies and television shows that people can either rent or buy, often on the same day they become available for sale on DVD. That means Amazon customers who want to watch more recent movies and TV shows will have to pay extra to rent or buy those titles.

Netflix's streaming library also leans heavily on older material, although the company has been spending more to obtain the right to show some more movies closer to their DVD release dates. Netflix's DVD library offers more than 100,000 titles, including recently released movie
Amazon plans to add to the collection of movies and shows Prime members can watch for free, Janes said. He declined to be more specific.

This week Amazon as well announzed an Android app strore and is waiving the $99 developer member fee.
With all these changes, we should monitor Amazon more, they are certainly a key player not only Apple and Google.  It is interesting how Google and Apple are fighting in public and Amazon slowly increases their service.

The big advantage of amazon is their cloud service and their deep knowledge in eCommerce and payments.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Is Apple playing dirty games or is Apple just smart?

I did read today on that Apple bought almost all touch screens that it is impossible for competition to deliver enough tablets in the near future. Maybe Samsung could keep up, because they use their own AMPLED screens.

This seems to be a typical pattern of Apple. They bought almost all flash memory in 2004 which delayed the production for other companies of music players using solid state flash memory instead of hard drives which gave Apple a big advantage.
Another example was, when Apple bought almost all of Samsung NAND (Flash memory, faster than the NOR flash memory) in 2009 which gave Apple an advantage in their iPhone build in memory.

Apple isn't a new customer to Samsung's electronic components - but it could become its largest by spending $7.8 billion on Samsung parts.

(image and some text comes from

According to the Korean Economic Daily, Apple will spend $7.8 billion in Samsung component parts this year – which makes one of the manufacturer’s largest competitors simultaneously its best customers.

Apple and Samsung have a variety of products directly pitted against each other. The iPad and Galaxy Tab go head to head, as do the iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy S series phones (and if you want to go international, you can throw in the iPad Touch versus Galaxy Player, as the latter is currently unavailable stateside). And it isn’t just that these products compete in the same market; they are largely standouts that are seen as the iOS or Android version of the other. So, how do these two relationships coexist – one based on demand and supply and another on rivaling products?
Buying almost of the supply does not only give the advantage to have technology which nobody might get, but as well reduces the costs for these components.

Of course other electronic companies can get somehow touch screens but to a much higher price and less units a month.

It could be seen as a way to give competition a disadvantage. We know that Apple has a lot of cash-flow and can buy more components than they really need to control the market, but on the other hand companies like Samsung are at fault as well.

They signed contracts with Apple to deliver x amount of units in a time when they (Samsung) believed that there will be not a big demand besides Apple.

A d now a big company like Samsung can't just give their own tablet department enough screens because the internal order would be much smaller than from Apple and therefore more expensive.

I remember (when i worked at NEC) it was cheaper for my department to buy CD ROM for our PCs from Sony than using NEC CD ROMs even if at this time (1990) NEC was market leader in CD ROMs. But my department only needed for an order 300 units and Sony made me a better price than our Accessories department.

On the other hand HP had at this time NEC drives because they could order millions units which made the price cheaper.

I am not sure, but I think to a certain part, the buy of components should be a little bit regulated by the international market control to ensure that one company can't just buy the whole market and therefore out price and outrun the competition.

Otherwise the consumer is the loser and not the manufactures. If Apple buys most of the supply, then they can control the price of the product to have a higher margin and the competition can't compete without selling their products under costs. This keeps the product price artificial high.

I hope the market will change and we see a lot of tablets priced lower with same quality like the iPad. I would not move to another manufacture but i would prefer to pay much less for my iPad. I have the 64GB 3G model and a price over $800 for this product is much too high. I can get for this price a great notebook, or spend just $150 more and get the cheapest macbook air which is much faster than the iPad with better full-size applications to buy.

If i had to pay the full price I would never buy it, or maybe i would because there is no competition and i always like to have the latest gadgets.

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Cracker country goes digital

My family and I have been on Sunday at the Florida State fair.
Besides ridiculous fancy food like
Chocolate covered bacon, krispy kreme doughnut fried hamburger, deep fried butter, deep fried oreo, deep fried candy bars and meatloaf Sunday
and a lot of attractions like double head princess, half man half mermaid and the smallest pig in the world, they had as a small cracker town.
The town had original houses from Florida crackers from the 19th century.
What are the Florida crackers?
Florida cracker refers to original colonial-era English and American pioneer settlers of what is now the U.S. state of Florida, and their descendants. The first Florida crackers arrived in 1763 when Spain traded Florida to Great Britain. The British divided the territory into East Florida and West Florida, and began to aggressively recruit settlers to the area, offering free land and financial backing for export-oriented businesses. The territory passed back to the Spanish crown in 1783, and then to the US government in 1819. Spanish rule in the late 18th and early 19th centuries was only nominal and the territory was wild and lawless.

The town was awesome I felt like going back in time if there has not been something amazing modern.

In front of each house was a sign with two QR codes.

One code for English and one code for Spanish.

The visitor had to scan one of the codes which redirected to a website with an audio file.
The audio file was (for each house) about 5 minutes and explained the history of the house.
I have to say it worked perfect with my iPhone 4, however some Android users had problems because the phone could not find a program to run the mp3 files.

A complete list of the audio files can be found here.

It was a perfect use of QR code. I stopped and watched how many people actually tried to scan the codes. I counted in a time period of 20 minutes 250 people going into the church but only 4 people even trying to scan the QR code which two of them had problems to get the audio file to work.
At least 20 people were wondering for what and what the QR code is.

Giving two more years and much more will do it.

The idea is really great. I remember that in the past i had to rent an audio guide to go through a museum, which did cost money and did never work well.

Nowadays we can scan a QR code and in some cases even use it in combination with augmented reality not only to hear the explanation but to see some extra layer of info on top of the art.

Technology as education, i love it.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Is Facebook getting gay friendly or do they want to make more money?

Facebook did add 2 new relationship statuses on profiles. One is "in a civil union" and the other one "in a domestic partnership".
The question is why they did add this. When i am gay married would i not choose married? And if I am gay and in a relationship would not choose in a relationship.

Ok i know civil union is legally recognized, but is it not a shame that same sex marriage is called civil union? Should we not be allowed to call it marriage?

Offering These new option to choose, does (in my opinion) support that there is a believe a same sex marriage is different than a man-woman marriage. For me it is the same. Two people love each other and want to make a commitment.

However i read that a lot of gays like the move from Facebook.

I read news today that the two new relationship statuses are for supporting gay people.

The social network has "sent a clear message in support of gay and lesbian couples to users across the globe," said GLAAD's president, Jarrett Barrios. "By acknowledging the relationships of countless loving and committed same-sex couples in the U.S. and abroad, Facebook has set a new standard of inclusion for social media."

I believe Facebook does not care to support. I believe their reason is money.
As you know you can run very targeted ads at Facebook, better than anywhere else. In the past if you did want to target only to gays or not to gays / lesbian you had to be creative.
With the new statuses it is now easier to target gays or not to target them at all.
I have gay friends and they say they don't want to be different by relationship status, it does not matter with who you are in a relationship or who you love, you are still in a relationship. And i totally agree.

A German politician made once public a great statement:
"I am gay and I proud of it", but guess what, he still says he is in a relationship and not in a domestic partnership (domestic partnership actually has nothing to do with gay/lesbian, it just means two people live together like a marriage but are not married.)

I would pledge to all of us married people, let us change our status to civil union just to show that we don't care if somebody is gay or straight, we care that we like and love somebody.

I think, with this step, Facebook is discriminating gays and lesbians. People might not want to be friends with somebody because they are gay (then they should not be friends anyway).

But I m sure Facebook is arguing that they help the world to be free. A place where people can show their sexual preference in countries where being gay is not yet accepted (like the USA).

I think it is great that gay people can show that they are gay and that they are proud of it but we should not allow Facebook to take advantage of it.

Let us summarize. Everybody who wants to show they are gay should upload an image which shows that they are gay, but don't name it anyway similar to gay.
Then everybody can see what your feelings are but Facebook can't make money out of it.

But maybe I see everything wrong and these new statuses are the best thing Facebook ever did. I would like to hear other opinions and if possible from gay / lesbian people, i want to understand why it is good or not good what Facebook did.

- Posted using BlogPress, please follow me on twitter @schlotz69

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Angry Birds in Space

I friend of mine (Michael Fogleman) released just few days ago his first game in the apple iPhone store. I had the luck to test the game during development and i have to say the final product got much better than the test version which was already pretty good.
The game is called star rocket and costs $0.99. There is no advertisement which easy justifies the Dollar to pay.

The idea of the game is pretty simple. You are navigating your rocket through space by trying to collect the stars.

The developer did a very nice job in advancing the levels. It gets pretty interesting around level 28.

Like angry birds, the levels are advancing the further the game goes. There are astroids, planets, teleports and shields etc.

Each of them have other little functions. The rocket is not allowed to hit an astroids or planet and the bigger they are the stronger is the gravitation. A teleport jumps you to another place in space. And the shield keeps your rocket save against astroids but not planets.

Even if the game is so simple to understand it comes with a good tutorial.

The idea is to finish the levels as fast as possible to advance to the next level. You have basically unlimited lives, you can try as often you want a level even if you managed a level you can play it again.
The faster you manage a level the more stars you get (up to 3). I believe the app has right now 85 levels. But I am not able to pass 39.

Once you start the game to play you don't want to finish. It is like a drug. I basically replaced my angry birds with star rocket.

The only few things i am missing is an iPad version and the ability to see an overall high score. However you will see for each level current time and your best time.

The game has a lot of helpful details. For each level you see a preview and during playing you see how many stars are left and a green arrow indicates where the nearest star is.
They thought about everything. The user can even switch the controls around if the user is left handed like me.
i am just wondering what ghost on means.
The designer did a really nice job, especially the planets have a lot of details. Sound effects are nice too.

Overall I will give this game 5 stars and i am pretty sure we will see a lot of cool new features coming up and maybe an iPad an Apple app version.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's a kind of Magic - but only $29.99

Ever wonder what to do with your Magic Trackpad on your iMac?
I am using the Trackpad, wireless keyboard and wireless mouse and move all the time the three items around.
Twelve South has now a very niffty solution which combines your wireless keyboard with your Trackpad. And the magic name is MagicWand, my computer gets more and more magic.
Its is not only functional it seems to be very stable and still good looking.

See yourself

Monday, February 14, 2011

iPhone coming soon as a different form factor?

We read a lot of rumors about a new cheaper iPhone and it makes sense.

Let us go back in time. The first iPod came in 23 October 2001.

It took almost 3 years till in June 2004 the iPod mini was introduced.

See wikipedia for all models.
The first iPhone was available in June 2007. This year is the third year of the iPhone and as we know usually Apple keeps release dates pretty consistent. If so, then we need to expect this year not only the iPhone 5 but as well the iPhone mini.

Smaller form factor, less memory.
The iPhone mini will be then available in 4 and 8 GB memory with much smaller screen than the iPhone or iPod touch to a smaller price break. Which means the iPhone mini will be available for free at all telecom providers. And for all girls, women and fashion guys, the iPhone mini will be available in 8 different colors, from yellow over pink to blue.

It might be that the iPhone mini (at the beginning) does not allow to install applications like the iPhone 2G. Like the iPod nano today. It has a iOS base but does not allow to install software.

I believe the iPhone 5 will be available in 32GB and 64GB like the iPod touch today, with a dual core processor a bigger back camera and but unlikely a 3D screen (just because others have it now like LG). But for sure the iPhone (both) will have a short distance transmitter to use the iPhone as a credit card.

Back to the iphone mini, after six months will be a software upgrade which will allow to install games and apps for the iPhone mini.

The iPhone mini will have Bluetooth, wifi and data plans but maybe no camera or only front camera to allow FaceTime.

I know this is all speculation but by just following Apple it would make sense. The only part which does not fit is that Apple is relying on telecom providers which might for Apple not a reason not to build a different form factor. For Apple it is not important to have number one OS sold but to be number one sold phone. Multiple form factors and offering a phone for all providers would raise the risk of too many problems and user complains, especially that usually the providers want their own special version of the OS.
Apple always prefers to be market leader for a specific product than to satisfy everybody. Apple believes consumers should buy what Apple offers and not that Apple has to offers something consumers are asking for. This is, was and will be the big advantage of Apple. All other hardware companies seem not to understand this methodology and therefore are offering every 3 months a new version of their phones and over 20 different phones (vice versa with PC and notebooks). As a result the products don't look as esthetic and are losing very fast in value.

Possible ideas of iPhone mini:

I personally would like the iPod nano form factor as an iPhone nano. Would be awesome as a second phone.

- Posted using BlogPress, please follow me on twitter @schlotz69

Do you have a HDCP problem with Apple TV and Netflix?

Yesterday night i decided to watch Monk through Netflix and my Apple TV. But instead of getting Monk to run i got an error message about HDCP.

Did you ever run into the problem that you start your Apple TV and from one day to another you can't watch any of your Netflix movies, because of this or similar message:

"This content requires HDCP for playback.
Your device does not support HDCP."

First we need to explain the meaning of HDCP: HDCP is a horrible plague visited on paying customers by movie and television studios that consider us all criminals out to steal their content. They think it stops piracy but — irony of ironies — real pirates know how to get around all types of copy protection and it’s usually only real customers who suffer from schemes like HDCP.
Basically it enforces a secure HDMI connection from content box (example: Apple TV) through intermediaries (like a receiver) to output (TV). Every link along the chain has to be secured with HDCP in order for your video to play.
This is why your Apple TV (or other video equipment) might occasionally barf up a “not HDCP compliant” warning and refuse to play the Netflix you subscribe to.

HDCP definition in Wikipedia:
High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection

High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) is a form of digital copy protection developed by Intel Corporation [1] to prevent copying of digital audio and video content as it travels across DisplayPort, Digital Visual Interface (DVI), High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI), Gigabit Video Interface (GVIF), or Unified Display Interface (UDI) connections.

HDCP does not allow copying permitted by fair use laws. The system is meant to stop HDCP-encrypted content from being played on devices that do not support HDCP or which have been modified to copy HDCP content.[2][3] Before sending data, a transmitting device checks that the receiver is authorized to receive it. If so, the transmitter encrypts the data to prevent eavesdropping as it flows to the receiver.[4]

Manufacturers who want to make a device that supports HDCP must obtain a license from Intel subsidiary Digital Content Protection, pay an annual fee, and submit to various conditions.[5][6][7] For example, devices cannot be designed to copy content; devices must "frustrate attempts to defeat the content protection requirements";[7] high-definition digital video sources must not transmit protected content to non-HDCP receivers; and DVD-Audio content can only be played at CD-audio quality[7] by non-HDCP digital audio outputs (analog audio outputs have no quality limits).

Cryptanalysis researchers demonstrated flaws in HDCP as early as 2001, well before HDCP was deployed in any commercial product. In September 2010, an HDCP master key that can neutralize the key revocation feature of HDCP was released to the public.[8][9] Intel has confirmed that the crack is real,[10] and believes the master key was reverse engineered rather than leaked.[11] In practical terms, the impact of the crack has been described as "the digital equivalent of pointing a video camera at the TV", and of limited importance for pirates because the encryption of high-definition discs has been attacked directly, without the loss of interactive features like menus.[12] Intel threatened to sue anyone producing an unlicensed device.[11]

There are some tricks you can try to do to work around it in general, in order of severity and annoyance.

Check your HDMI cables and make sure they’re securely plugged into your Apple TV, receiver if you have one, and TV.

Turn everything off and turn it back on. Start with your Apple TV but if that’s not enough, try your TV and receiver as well if you have to.
- this helps me a all the time.

Unplug everything, wait 20 seconds, plug it back in. Again, start with the Apple TV but try TV, receiver, etc. as well if you have to.

Restore your Apple TV to factory settings. It’s amazing how many problems a clean re-install can solve.

Swap HDMI cables. You could have a bad connection between the Apple TV and the TV. Try a different cable. (Don’t get expensive big box cables, it’s digital, it works or it doesn’t work. Try for reasonable cables, you pay a tenth of best buy prices).

You’ll still have the option of taking your Apple TV to an Apple Store and maybe even swapping it out for a non-inflicted unit but start with the above.

I found all these tips at TipB, the number 1 iPhone and iPod blog.

- Posted using BlogPress, please follow me on twitter @schlotz69

Sunday, February 13, 2011

LunaTik and iPod nano just not a good fit.

I had my iPod a long time and never problems. Last year i saw Steve Jobs saying the iPod nano 6th generation is so beautiful it could be a watch. I liked the idea and thought I should invent wristband. I searched around and saw that at kickstarter a company already had this idea too. So i decided to donate money to them to support their project. This was in October. Two weeks ago i got their LunaTik wristband for the iPod nano and the nightmare begun.
I took my iPod and attached it to the wristband. Everybody who saw the watch were amazed about the cool looking watch and did not believe me that it is an iPod nano.

However already in the first week i figured out the watch does not stay when you listen to music. The default screen will be always the song which is playing instead of the watch. Therefore i have to scroll through multiple screens to get the watch back.
Which is pretty annoying if I just want to look at the time. The only way to solve this, is to connect the iPod to the computer and take it off from computer. It is like a small rest and the watch stays as default.
Even if music is on pause it still keeps the music as default screen, once music is played no way to change it without the step named before.

The next issue is more related to me than the wristband.
I collect watches and I have usually only water proofed watches. At the 5th day I took a shower and almost done with the shower i recognized that i was wearing the iPod nano. It was too late, the iPod was dead. Had to get another one.
I thought i learned from this, and did not wear it anymore during shower. However 3 days later same thing happened when i washed my hands, the iPod got wet, just a little but enough to kill it. This time I complained and got a replacement.
A week later i did wear the iPod nano, did not wash my hands too heavy when. Did wear and so it worked till then. We had really bad rain and guess what the iPod got wet and died again. Time for another replacement.
Another 3 days later the iPod screen got black but did still charge and did still show up in iTunes, just the screen will not come back.
I returned the iPod and took the money. No iPod nano for me anymore.

I believe the iPod nano is a nice little music player which has cool tools included like radio or pedometer, but using it as a watch on the wrist is just not a good idea. This electronic device is too fragile against sweat and water and heavy movements with your arms. It is not a device build to carry 24 hours on your arm. But not only because it is fragile but as well the battery is empty every night.

The iPod nano is a good music device for working out or to listen to music during work. But it is not usable as a time piece on your wrist. As soon you have it on your wrist as an accessory you does not take enough care of it because you totally forget you are wearing it. Different than just using the clip and have it clipped on your clothes.

Please don't buy the LunaTik or other wristbands if you think you want to use it as a watch. It will cost you a lot of nerves and money.

But if you are not scared and you want still to buy the wristband, the click here for LunaTik website.

Are there more people who had same experience like me? Please tell me about this.

- Posted using BlogPress, please follow me on twitter @schlotz69

Friday, February 11, 2011

Facebook gets serious - no fun for developers

Facebook is changing their Facebook platform policy. The changes have big impact in Facebook revenue and on 3rd parties developing Facebook apps and content.
Just a few days ago FB announced that in the future all in app payments for virtual goods must be paid via FB credits. This gives FB a piece of all transactions (30%).

Then Facebook moved the tabs away from middle of the page and are now links in the left hand navigation which made it harder for companies to place ads.

But now (starting 2.28.2010) companies are not anymore able to place their own ads on any datebook page. All ads needs to go through Facebook or Facebook approved companies, this means FB will make on each ad 30% revenue share.
Facebook as well forced developers not anymore to use flash to make FB mobile ready. All lot of heavy played games created their own mobile version and FB lost a lot of their traffic.

Furthermore to save in the long term money, everybody has to host their apps now in their own server and bind them through iframes. Which saves FB some server space. Facebook has already one of the biggest server farms in the US and recognized it can't scale if it host all files. I bet next step is that users are limited to post photos or documents or have to pay for more than 5 Gigabyte of stored data.

Right now all optimization in terms of costs and revenue is target against companies and not consumer, however the biggest piece of the cake are consumers with over 90% of traffic and server space.

All these steps are a clear sign that Facebook wants to increase the revenue and reduce the costs for hardware.

A snapshot from their new policy:
Advertisements and Cross-Promotions
1. You must not include advertisements or promotions, cross-promote other applications, or provide web search functionality in content distributed through Facebook social channels.
2. You can only utilize advertising or similar monetization related products or services from companies that appear on this list within Apps on (effective February 28, 2011).

Facebook is growing up and preparing to be a successful company with the potential to generate a lot of revenue. We will hope the changes will not pay in a negative way for FB. Because we should not forget, that all these extra apps made FB big and any change which is negative to the app developers can be fatal.

At least FB is smart enough to partner with their biggest app developers like Zynga and ad agencies.

See a list of approved companies for advertising:

We hope that by providing this list of companies that have acknowledged their commitment to advertising quality that we can all foster a better user experience.

Note: If a company you wish to work with is not on this list please direct them to the terms linked to above.

ad:C media
Adknowledge - (Cubics and Super Rewards)
APP Prizes
Blue Noodle
Casale Media
CPX Interactive
Fox Networks
Lifestreet Media
Live Gamer
One iota
Peanut Labs
Rubicon Project
Underdog Media
Ybrant Digital

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Dvorak keyboard now available for Windows and Mac

The Dvorak keyboard was designed in the 1930s by August Dvorak, a professor of education, and his brother-in-law, William Dealy. Unlike the traditional QWERTY keyboard, the Dvorak keyboard is designed so that the middle row of keys includes the most common letters. In addition, common letter combinations are positioned in such a way that they can be typed quickly.
It has been estimated that in an average eight-hour day, a typist's hands travel 16 miles on a QWERTY keyboard, but only 1 mile on a Dvorak keyboard.
Of course this person has to do other work outs because with this keyboard the user does burn 417 calories less a day.

There has been since years print outs available to modify the normal keyboard, however you can buy the keyboard now for $100. See original post at

Facebook changed how to update pages - you upgrade already today

Facebook is going to change the way to update pages if you are an administrator of a page.

Please be careful if you want already upgrade. i upgraded one of my clients page and it throws tons of errors under IE 8.
I would wait a few weeks till Facebook cleaned all errors out.

Here is a post from their blog about the upcoming changes.

Better Communication

Many people have asked for better ways to keep up with activity on their Page. We are introducing a set of features to help manage your Page communication. Starting today, you can navigate and interact with other areas of Facebook as your Page. This means you can choose to receive notifications about fan activity, Like and comment on other Pages as your Page, and get your own News Feed where you can engage with the latest and most important news from other Pages you like.

More Opportunities for Expression
We are introducing new opportunities for Pages to share. We recently launched a new Profile design, to give users more ways to tell their stories with people they care about. Now, Pages will benefit from many of the same enhancements. Starting today, you can feature photos of your Page’s most recent experiences at the top of your Page. You can highlight other Pages you are connected with as well as the people who are managing your Page.

Improve Relevancy
Finally, we are very excited to announce some new features to make your Page even more engaging for users. The “Everyone” filter on the Wall provides a new way for people to see the most interesting posts first. We’ve also created a place for people to discover the friends and interests they have common with your Page.

We plan to develop even more features and improvements for Pages over the course of the coming months.

You can upgrade your Page starting today. To begin, preview the new features. For more details and support, please visit our Pages Guide in the Resource Center and Help Center.

Cheaper iPhone on the way?

New Yahoo is reporting that Apple is producing a new cheaper iPhone which will be $200 without a contract. Not sure if this makes sense. the current iPhone costs Apple $191, so they could sell for under $300 and no contract and still make money on it.
Apple most expensive components are the glass screens where they could save money, but Apple is not famous known for reducing the quality of a product design to save some money. All other components are more or less needed.
I think Apple might include in the iPod Nano a phone, which would make a lot of sense, the could sell it under $200 without contract (if the technology fits into it) and it would be still not a competition to the ipod touch. Consumer is already able to buy 3Gs iphones for $49 at ATT with a 2 year contract. Or we can buy the iPhone 4 at eBay without contract for $200.
Even if there is an iphone without contract, the carrier will ask you to sign a contract. More likely that Apple will open the iPhone 5 to all carirers in the US and the consumer can choose which they want to use. Maybe they will offer then contract free voice and data plan where the user will pay on the go.

In case Apple would produce a cheaper phone then why buying an iPod touch?

I honestly think if Apple brings a cheaper phone for the reason written in the article, then it will be a totally different form factor than the iPhone 4 and it will be still high quality in design and material. There is no Apple product on the market which has not a specific Apple signature in design and material. There is no reason at all to change this just to keep up with Android. Apple is not just an OS, it is hardware and software bundle, and there is no other phone sold so much like Apple iPhone.

I have the iPod Nano and only three things i am missing. Bluetooth (for my headset), Apps to download (to play some cute games on it) and the ability to make phone calls. I am wearing the iPod Nano on a wristband which would be great as a phone.

Groupon pulls their latest ads - people were offended

After the Super Bowl i blogged how ridiculous the Groupon ads were, actually how stupid. Many people felt like this and a s a result Groupon is pulling these ads from TV.

Found at
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Internet bargain coupon phenomenon Groupon is pulling a series of Super Bowl advertisements that critics said made light of the plight of Tibet, whales and the Amazon rainforest.

Groupon chief executive Andrew Mason announced the decision to no longer run the controversial television commercials in a blog post late Thursday.

"Five days have passed since the Super Bowl, and one thing is clear -- our ads offended a lot of people," Mason said. "We hate that we offended people, and we're very sorry that we did -- it's the last thing we wanted.

"We've listened to your feedback, and since we don't see the point in continuing to anger people, we're pulling the ads," he said.

The Tibet ad shown during the Super Bowl, the most-watched event of the year on US television, opens with mountain scenes set to a melancholy flute and the words, "The people of Tibet are in trouble. Their culture is in jeopardy."

Actor Timothy Hutton then quips, "But they still whip up an amazing fish curry," and explains how he used Groupon for a discount at a Tibetan restaurant in Chicago.

Groupon used a similar approach in two other ads which ran before and after the game.

In one, actor Cuba Gooding Jr. somberly describes the need to save whales from extinction but then says it's "more fun" to go on a whale watching cruise using the deal he got with Groupon.

In the other, actress Elizabeth Hurley talks about the threat to the Amazon rainforest. She then goes on to rave about the "Brazilian wax" deal she got at Groupon, saying "not all deforestation is bad."

Mason said the company will run "less polarizing" ads in the future.

"We thought we were poking fun at ourselves, but clearly the execution was off and the joke didn't come through," he said.

"I personally take responsibility; although we worked with a professional ad agency, in the end, it was my decision to run the ads," Mason said.

"While we've always been a little quirky, we certainly aren't trying to be the kind of company that builds its brand on creating controversy," he said.

Mason also said Groupon is matching donations to charities including Greenpeace and the Tibet Fund and the campaign is expected to net $500,000.

Founded in 2008, Chicago-based Groupon offers discounts to its members on retail goods and services, offering one localized deal a day.

Mobile Games not on the Run

Travis Boatman, vice president of worldwide studios for EA Mobile at Electronic Arts, spoke at the Dice Summit about myths around mobile games.

And i have to agree mostly with him. Even i am, as an example, play more mobile games at home on the porch or in the bathroom than on the road when i am travelling.

However i believe dedicated Mobile gaming consoles will be in the future only for niche player, the hard core players. The biggest reason is the price per game. On the iPhone, as an example, i can get Tiger Woods Golf for $0,99 for the PSP i still need to pay $19,99 to $29,99. I used to have the PSP and played every day Tiger Woods till it got stolen. I never replaced the PSP but started to play my favorite games on the iPhone or iPad. It is not as good as on the PSP and less functions but much cheaper than buying a new PSP and the games.

Article below found at GamesBeat
Travis Boatman, vice president of worldwide studios for EA Mobile at Electronic Arts, spoke at the Dice Summit, the elite game industry conference in Las Vegas, where he talked about the major myths about mobile games. Here are the myths described by Boatman, an 11-year veteran of mobile games:

1. Myth: People play mobile games on the run. The truth is that 47 percent of the time, users play mobile games while at home. At home, they can more easily download games over their own wireless networks. About 12 percent of the time, users play games during a commute. About 1 percent of the time, users play games in an airport. Users play mobile games in the restroom about 7 percent of the time, play at work 14 percent of the time, play at school 3 percent of the time, and play in other places for the remaining 4 percent.

2. Myth: The top mobile games are all casual. Casual games are snacks, where you play for a short time while waiting in line. But Boatman said that at different points in history, casual games have dominated the top games on mobile platforms. But hardcore games are an under-served market on the iPad, iPhone and other smartphones today. Hardcore games such as Epic’s Infinity Blade and EA’s DeadSpace have shot to No. 1 on the iPhone and iPad, showing that users appreciate hardcore titles as well.

3. Myth: One size game fits all platforms. But mobile game platforms are multiplying and splintering. Quite often when phone makers change screen resolutions or screen sizes, they force changes in game development. Developers have to adapt by making many versions of their games to run on all the relevant platforms. Android in particular is causing a big splintering.

4. Myth: Brands don’t matter. EA, of course, believes that brands rule, since it has launched titles such as Need for Speed — a racing game brand familiar to hardcore gamers — to great success on the iPhone. Over time, Boatman pointed out, the number of brands in the top ranks of the mobile game charts are based on brands. Right now, eight of the top 25 iPhone games are brands.

5. Myth: This is as good as it gets. Boatman says the mobile game industry will be far different in three years and will make huge progress.

Twitter a big bubble?

Wall Street Journal reported that twitter is in low- level talks with Google and Facebook to sell it's Company. The estimated selling price would be between $8 and $10 Billion.

Let us get this straight. Only a few months ago Dick Costolo announced that twitter will be never sold.

But now they are starting talks to sell. The pressure might come from their investors but if so, then twitter is not confident it will produce sufficient revenue even close to $8 Billion.

Or twitter is gambling for an IPO. The talks are helpful to value twitter higher and up to $10 Billion.

Selling to Facebook would be a shame. FB has different audience in terms of usage. Twitter would be integrated into FB and then disappear. A lot of tweets are around business and articles. Most things in FB are about private things.

Google might be the better partner, they would keep twitter alive but integrate it better in their search. Google does not need to monetize twitter from the beginning. They waited a year before they started to monetize YouTube. Google search technology would help twitter a lot. Because search is a weak point within twitter.
Plus google has a browser (chrome), twitter could be a part of if.

Either way, if twitter get sold, then we know that twitter was a great idea but failed to generate a lot of revenue.

Maybe twitter should talk with Apple. Apple might be the best choice. Twitter could be 100% a part of iOS and instant available on all iOS devices. Apple has no Internet search engine but otherwise all what google has and more.

Siliconbeat believes Google is the best choice.

What do you think?

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Paris Hilton got makeover

For some Paris Hilton is the most beautiful woman and for some people not. But as we know every woman is beautiful and now there is a way which allows women to try jewelry on before buying it and without leaving the computer.

An E-commerce website in Australia is utilizing augmented reality (AR) for this.

See a übergizmo video about the this website.

Does it not look great? But unfortunately, even if the idea is great, the execution is poor.

First of all it is done in flash which limits the usage. Non of my mobile Apple devices can handle flash. My fault, should have a Dell Streak.

Lucky I have an iMac. Which makes anyway more fun because the screen is 27 inch and the iSight camera has a much higher resolution than the iPhone 4 or iPad2 front camera.

But neither i had luck on the iMac. My iMac has flash, and the flash did load, however the flash piece is only developed against windows computers. As described on their website it a small window pop up which asks me to allow the app to use my video camera. And this little popup does just not react on my clicks.
Next i started Parallels with Windows 7, but i did not get my iSight camera to run because I forgot to install from MacOSX DVD the bootcamp drivers, no idea where the DVD is (must be in one of my CD boxes i have in the attic). I could not get it run on any Mac neither in MacOSX or Windows. My last chance is my only Windows computer i have, which is my office notebook.

The idea of the AR is great but really poor executed. Not only does it not work with all OS and devices (70% user reach is still good enough) but the jewelry looks too unrealistic and cheap. It is already hard to show the elegance of gold and diamonds on website photo, it is harder to render it as vector.
The movement of the pieces don't follow perfect with your body movement, and even with a fast dual processor and big graphic chip it still does not go fluently.

This application has same issues like most of the AR i saw so far. It seems there are some designers and IT people developing this stuff without consulting or hiring a CGI expert from the movie industry.
They know how to do these things and they know all little tricks to make this looking great. Of course they have better equipment and the rendering is not realtime, but even with technology good enough to work via Internet, they would do a better job.

AR is the future but the future comes faster if we take more time and money to do a better job.

I am seriously thinking to start an AR company and would hire a few professional CGi guys, an doctor, a physics professor, a stylist, some designers and some good developers. This combination is required to understand and create good AR.

Let us see what comes next.

Did anybody of you see a really good execution so far?

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SMALLVILLE last episode in May 2011

Ok, this is not a usual blog. However I am a fan of Superman. As you might know there is a show about the young Superman and it is called Smallville. This show is longer on the than Seinfeld.

The press release:
February 7, 2011 (Burbank, California) – The CW will present the series finale of SMALLVILLE as an epic two-hour television event on Friday, May 13 (8:00-10:00 p.m. ET.)

The story of a young Clark Kent (Tom Welling) and his journey to become the Man of Steel has captivated audiences for a decade. This final season, Clark attempts to find a balance between saving the world, which becomes even more difficult as the Vigilante Registration Act separates a nation, and spending time with his new fiancée Lois Lane (Erica Durance). Whether it’s donning glasses as a disguise, changing in a phone booth or learning how to fly, this season has put Clark closer to his destiny than ever before. Taking on Darkseid and battling the darkest of his demons, this two-hour event will send Clark soaring towards his birthright to secure his place in history as the world’s greatest protector.

“Paying homage to 10 seasons is no small task, and wrapping up each character and story arc has been extremely important to everyone involved in the show,” said executive producers Brian Peterson and Kelly Souders. “We’re excited to be able to make the final moments of SMALLVILLE a television event, as the character we’ve grown up with makes his legendary transformation.”

Please note SUPERNATURAL will be pre-empted on May 13 but will return with a two-hour season finale on Friday, May 20 (8:00-10:00 p.m. ET.)

SMALLVILLE was developed for television by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar (“Shanghai Noon,” “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor”), based on the DC Comics characters. Kelly Souders & Brian Peterson serve as executive producers, along with James Marshall, Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins, Joe Davola and Tom Welling. The series is produced by Tollin/Robbins Productions, Millar/Gough Ink and Warner Bros. Television. SUPERMAN was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Missed hidden code for Angry Brids in Rio Commerical?

For all who missed the hidden code. See below a screenshot of second 0:27, when the monkey jumped down.

But you have to find out by yourself what you can do with this info :)

Super Bowl 2011 - and the winner is.....

After a hard night watching all the Super Bowl commercials (yes i only watched the commercials, not the game), i decided that the livingsocial commercial is the winner. I liked the VW beetle and the Doritos pug commercial but the best i saw was "Living Social changed my life".

The worst i saw was the groupon commercial which is a competition of Groupon had a great idea but it just did not come around. Groupon talks about Tibet and how the country is in jeopardy and at the end it shows how great the food is and how you can save money to eat Tibet food in Chicago. I just did not get the fun out of it.

Audi had a commerical with a hashtag for tweets, however it was so fast that a lot of people might have missed it.

Angry Birds' Super Bowl ad was the first to be broadcast with an embedded code.
The code will unlock a secret level in the Angry Birds game, normally inaccessible to players, according a report from Reuters.
The 30-second commercial did spotlight the upcoming Angry Birds Rio game app for smart phones and tablets, developed by game company Rovio, which is hyping the upcoming Fox animated movie "Rio."

Super Bowl commercials are all about fun and livingsocial made me laugh.

Amazing how companies are fighting for a 30 second spot and pay for this $3 Million, but it is a good investment.

According to the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association’s (RAMA) 2011 Super Bowl survey, conducted by BIGresearch, the average consumer will ramp up their spending from $52.63 to $59.33 this year, while total spending on game-related merchandise, apparel and snacks is expected to increase to $10.145 billion from $8.868 billion a year ago.

Based on the RAMA/bigResearch survey, football fans tune in for the action, with 47.0% of viewers saying the game is the most important part. However, over one-quarter (25.8%) watch for the commercials, with nearly three-quarters (74.9%) of viewers say they see the commercials as entertainment.

Read the Full article at RetailSails

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Daily - first magazine only on iPad

The daily was long in production and had some delay, but is now available in the app store for download. The daily costs $0.99 per week or $40 a year. The first 2 weeks are free - sponsored by Verizon. Which is an irony because 3G version of the iPad does only work with ATT.

The magazine is taking a lot advantage of the iPad OS. You can rotate the iPad to see different content.

If you rotate the super bowl article you will get movies to watch which you would not see if you don't rotate.

When loading the app it connects to the Internet and loads the latest articles. The main page is a carrousel where you can swipe through all articles which are grouped by news, gossip, Opinion, Arts & Life, Apps and Games and Sports. I am missing technology and international, but I guess I am not really the audience.

The app allows you to save articles if you want to read them to a later point.
The app has a lot of interactive features. There are polls within to see instantly results or even live twitter feeds about the super bowl game.

Even the weather is always up to date. Games like crossword and sudoko is in the app which counts the time how long you need to solve the crossword.

Overall there are many special effects and a lot of thoughts how to make the magazine more interactive. It is almost too much. The design is nice and easy to read.
However there is some weird things going on, sometimes you have to swipe from left to right to get to the next page, sometimes you swipe from top to down. I am still not clear when which approach is the correct one.

The app has a lot full page ads which are very interactive and informative and sometimes it is hard to tell if it is an ad or an article.

The amount of articles is limited, a lot of high resolution photos and videos, but not much to read. The best part is gossip. Apps and games are only featuring a few apps for the iPad or iPhone for direct download. I am not sure with the selection of the apps, it seems more likely that they are paid advertisement.

The app takes too long to load, especially if you have only 3G and no wifi. Unfortunately the app crashes often, at least twice a day for me.

The content is very load intensive, it takes sometimes 20 seconds to go from one page to another and the content page shows half of the time only a part. All videos are starting almost instantly when the page is finally loaded, but sometimes it takes up to 30 seconds till the video reaches best quality.

Not sure if i want to pay for it. It is great look and feel with a lot of cool features but the selection of articles is not my main interest.

It is no wonder that the daily has a low rating. People are rating it either as 5 stars or as 1 star. Either you like it or you don't. Many people are reporting to long load times and crashes, same problems I had.

I am disappointed that a magazine which had so much hype and support from Apple has such a low quality in terms of stability.

Please test it as long it is free, maybe you might like it.

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An elk around Europe via geocaching

In 04/24/2008, Ollie Homann had the idea to send an elk through Europe via geocaching as a trackable. A Trackable is an object which travels between geocaches. A trackable has an unique ID number which can be used to look it up and to see its mission. A trackable can have a goal, like the elk Ollie did send. His goal was to get the elk from Hannover Germany to Sweden, Finland, Norway and back.

The text with the elk did read:

Mein Name ist deElch und ich möchte gerne durch Schweden, Finnland und Norwegen reisen. So lange, bis mein Besitzer mich wieder zu Hause haben möchte… Auch möchte ich gerne zum Nordkapp. Schön wäre es, wenn ich den cache „Europe’s Northernmost Cache“ (GCWR1C) besuchen könnte… „

The elk went from Germany to Finland to stay there a while till it came to the Northcap and back to Germany. It made it even to Europe northern geocache location.

It took almost 3 years but eventually it came back with over 4000 miles of traveling.
The elk arrived in Hannover on 2/6/2011 after 2 years and 8 months.

The original blog can be found here:

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