Recently, the news broke that Microsoft was adding VPN to their Edge browser. Naturally, it didn't take long for doubters to weigh in. Why would Microsoft do such a thing? Would the folks in Redmond be able to rise above themselves and put out something cool for the benefit of their users? Offer them a potential way to save money even at the risk of muddling their beloved ad-optimized user profiles? It sounded to good to be true, so I did some research. Turns out, the benevolence is limited.
I was recently looking for a new Bluetooth speaker to add proper sound to the upcoming balcony season. I have little expertise in this area so I looked around the Internet and did some research. I quickly chanced upon a product with reviews that promised "unmatched rich basses", "crystal-clear highs", "incredible runtime" and that was lauded as the "perfect companion for every party". These were either highly enthusiastic customers–or fake reviews. Amazon just recently sued two companies that sell phony reviews on a large scale.
Meta, formerly Facebook and still a genuine tech giant, has recently made a scary threat: Either we (EU) allow the company to process our data the same way it did for years, or Facebook, WhatsApp, and even Instagram have no future in Europe. The threat literally took our breath away–never before had we laughed so hard! It's difficult to imagine a company would kill its golden goose without a fight, after all. But what caused this hilarity and what are the opposing views exactly?
It's now been two years since I wrote my last Christmas blog. As we all know by now, many things were bound to change–not necessarily for the better. So this is another year I find myself struggling to get into the Christmas spirit, despite the neat decorations on our tree in the foyer, and the Christmas balls and elves lining our window sills. For quite a while, I was in a rather sullen mood and mostly ignored the lights, after all, deadlines were rushing up fast and work makes no allowances for Christmas sentimentalities. And thus, December seemed gray and and full of business as usual–until Christmas finally caught up with me. It was because of a little tree, and old German Christmas song, and an American who sang it.
I recently had a chat with one of our US partners, who mentioned in passing that Ashampoo has now been around for 21 years and has certainly come of age. Since I generally tend to forget anniversaries, I wasn't aware of that. So I took a trip down my Ashampoo memory lane, which has been under construction for 13 years now, and reminisced about how it all started. Every now and then I get emails asking me to tell you more about Ashampoo and the people behind it–so here you go: Brace yourselves for pretty women, volcanoes and software in Low German.