It is not very often I get the possibility to have a few hours to kill, but last Sunday I found a small gaping hole in my agenda that just screamed to be exploited. With our living room redone, I was in dire need of some original artwork for the walls. And when I say original, I do mean : Original. Not your standard ‘everyone has bought this at Ikea’. Time for a little photoshoot : The weather was perfect, the place was deserted and the inspiration was present (although borrowed from my wife who did a similar shoot at this place a few years ago with her analogue camera) With wonderful misty weather the dawn provided me with excellent light conditions and tainted the scene exactly like I wanted it. So take a peak at my little “Castle in the Mist” set that I took at the Castle of Alden Biesen. If you want to you can pop over to my Flickr site and grab a few to give that burnt-in “Nude Lindsay Lohan” background a little break and slide in some good taste for a change. The entire set can be found HERE.
Ok , I could not slip this post up. Being the cross platform slider that I am, I love working with Linux but hate the sometimes rudimentary boxiness of the graphical user interface. Sure .. Beryl and all that stuff is nice. But there must be nicer ways of totaly pimping out your Gnome desktop without turning all your windows into silly putty or spinning your virtual desktop cube ’till you blow chunks. So I really like LIFEHACKERS TOP TEN Gnome Desktop Tweaks that help you put your best foot forward. (get it ? Foot / Gnome 😉 ) ..
My personal favorite must be using your command line window as a wallpaper 🙂 If THAT isn’t geek .. I don’t know WHAT is !
An interesting conversation at work inspired me to do todays article. Topic at hand was a brochure of one of the local supermarkets featuring a very nice desktop system from HP. For a small 900 euro’s you could get your hands on a sleek black compact tower with a 2 gigahertz Octo-Core system. Dvd writer, 2 160 gig drives, 2 gigs of ram and so forth and so forth. According to the folder you could chat with your friends, write emails, process video, play games and calculate the winning formula for the lottery without a glitch. (well maybe not that last one). Coming to think of it, that is one whoopass machine for that money. (you could line it up with a mac pro , but no-one dares to place these two machines in the same room.. The price difference might destroy the universe). But the question is: Do you realy need this amount of power ? And if you do .. For what ? Ok, this might be the only machine capable of at least getting Vista Premium running at a half distant speed (i kid, i kid ! ) But seriously : What do you do with 4 cores ? How many things can you do at once. I mean .. If the end user could keep up with the average word processing / surfing / chatting etc that this machine can handle. The average home user would have to be able to become a lovechild between superman and the flash with some serious ADD on the side. The only way to push this baby to at least halfway its 50% load is probably by never closing any application, run Vista pro with ALL of the eye candy turned on and of course pour frozen syrup into your hard drive in the form of Norton Internet security.
If I look at what the average user does I wonder what kind of system you really need ? To prove my point I have pimped up an old machine to do just these basic tasks. My little niece is in need of a machine that allows her to chat, surf and check her emails. Nothing major. She needs to take a peek at some word documents and that is about it. So I took a look at the old G3 Imac I found at the dump (yes, you heard me right) I found it at the local recycling station when I was dumping the old wood from our living room floor. It has A 15 gigabyte hard drive, some 300 megs of ram and a G3 400 Megahertz processor. It “came” with a fully installed version of OSX but I decided I would be better of installing XUBUNTU for PPC on it. This version still exists for PPC processors and gives you the ability to do some nice things with your mac. The XFCE graphical interface is light and sober but very effective. And with Firefox, Gaim , Openoffice and Thunderbird (AND the Gimp) it gives her a great looking, fast (yep ! its FAST) and free machine. So why not ?
So what DO you realy need ? Let me put the question out there to you guyz : What is the absolute minimum configuration that u still use to do your average work : Surfing the web, Checking your Emails, Chatting, doing some word processing and crop and flip the occasional picture ?
You can use our brand new comment system to .. speak your mind :=)
The web 2.0 does offer some interesting challenges to most of us these days. I for one am constantly feeling that I’m “missing out” on stuff that other people “seem to get”. There is always some news item that is hot on the feeds, or always something going down in one of the many web 2.0 communities that I am a part of. There is just so much stuff out there. I mean .. just look at email, twitter, flickr, my blog, youtube, the Global Geek Website.. Just so many things to keep track of.
So you say .. its time to install that master workstation. That single point of operations that enables me to be my very own ‘Darth Vader’ on his very own ‘Death Star’ . So you set up this awesome workstation with multiple screens and all that jazz only to leave it behind to do stuff like .. go out to work. And being the average geek that one is, one does not only own that ONE major workstation , one of course has SEVERAL computers. Then the whole thing starts. How do we keep track of it all.
Thank the Matrix for RSS feeds, keeping us up to date with all that is going down. A good RSS reader does miracles of keeping track of it all. But when that sucker is installed on your Master Control Station and you are away.. That blows ! One has to be in touch with ones feeds from everywhere (all the time if possible).
So the solution I came up with was Google Reader. Yet another Ball-and Chain to the Google network but I am willing to sacrifice yet another peace of privacy for the better good of convenience. After uploading my OPML feed to the reader, all I had to do was sort out my feeds into different channels and it was time to get the party started. For example : With all my tech-blog feeds in one category I now have a “master feed” to browse through ALL the entries in that category. Dailycupoftech, lifehacker etc .. all a mixed bag.
But became even more interesting when I added the latest feeds from several bittorrent sites and now have a clear overview of what is new on the “dark side” of the planet. Its never been so easy to browse through information without having to surf from site to site or adjust to different layouts and ways of browsing. Its all in one big blue and white list.
Keeping track of what is going down in my web 2.0 world was done by feeding Google reader my RSS feeds of my Flickr Comments, my twitter feed and even the Google and technorati searches of keywords like “knightwise” All tucked into one reader.
But the cream for me is the fact that you can share stories that you like with the world. Google just plunks them down on one page and you can even RE-subscribe to THAT feed. If there is an interesting article you come across and want to “store for future reference” ( Read : I have to download this torrent when I get home”) just Star the Fuckr and it will be stored in your ‘starred items’-list. Once processed you can remove the star and that is that. Much more convenient that bookmarking it. (lets face it : Bookmarking is a thing of the past ..)
So in conclusion ? Google reader ? the ultimate RSS reader ? Probably not. There are plenty of readers out there that are much much better but this baby gives you the option to look at your feeds from anywhere. ( @home, @work etc) + the fact that it sits side by side to your gmail makes it darn easy to forward articles to other people and all that jazz. Definately worth a try .
Links : DOWNLOAD HERE
Thanx to Koen from QueenBlingerie (yes yes , the ones from the add) for pointing out this little one : How about having a go at "Simpsonising yourself" Just upload your photo to this website and make sure you choose the right eyes , color of skin, hair and mouth and after 20 minutes of wasting your life you might get something that resembles this.. Well, erm .. not this exactly .. It has to look like YOU of course ! 🙂 http://www.simpsonizeme.com