KW1105 60 Minutes of Common Sense

Aug 09

The knightwise.com podcast is back this week with a splash of cold water and a dose of plain old common sense. This week we talk about some strategies to keep you, your devices and your data out of nefarious hands. Vigilance, my friends.

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KW1005 Knightwise on Podnutz Daily

Jul 18

This week we have a special treat. We have a chance to listen to Knightwise answering some questions instead of being on his usual side of the microphone. This week’s show is an interview that Knightwise gave on a recent episode of Podnutz Daily.

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Movie week : Movies every geek should see (1 of 5) : Pirates of Silicon Valley.

Oct 13

Technology and geekery are becoming a bigger and bigger part of our lives. Where the internet used to be something only used by university students with beards and open-toe sandals, it is now an integral part of everybody’s life. So it is no surprise that some of the persona’s who have made that technological evolution happen , have found themselves portrayed on the big screen. Once the silver screen was the exclusive domain of fictional characters portrayed by superstars like Jean Claude van Damme and Silvester Stalone .. These days a movie about how a 17 year old college kid invented a social media network .. is a blockbuster. “Jobs” “The Social Network” … its hard to believe that silicon valley has become so rooted in popular culture that Hollywood has embraced its shady heroes.  But those are the movies that get the limelight , the big productions. This week in “Movie Week” we focus on some of those movies that never “made it big” but that Every geek should see.  3 2 1 … action.

Pirates of Silicon Valley. (IMDB 1999)

Who, in the history of technology was responsible for bringing the PC into our homes. What events transpired to bring a super expensive technology, reserved for boring enterprise calculation work to the bedroom of every teenager in the late 80’s. Who was involved, how did it happen and what is so important about a garden shed. “Pirates of Silicon Valley” shows a young Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Steve Balmer in their struggle to change the world as we know it. An entertaining movie featuring a young Noah Wyle (ER, Falling Skies) in a more unbiased roll as Steve Jobs and Anthony Michael Hall as Bill Gates.

We found this rather blocky trailer on Youtube, but you can watch the entire movie on Netflix HERE. Or you can try the torrentz 🙂 .. but we didn’t tell you that :p

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Server Week: What is OSX Server and Why Would a Home User Need One ?

Apr 02

*By guestblogger Todd Oldhoff *

As someone who teaches about using OS X Server I get a lot of questions from home users about why they would even need a server in the first place. Most people perceive that servers are for big business operations. They are huge machines that sit in a dedicated room and are monitored by IT professionals who make sure everything is running smoothly and fix things when they break down. The whole process seems overwhelming and most feel they lack the expertise and spare room to even consider running a server. So why would a home user need to run it in the first place?

I want to start by saying this is a great question to ask and one that we should ask not only as it relates to servers but all of the software we use. If you don’t have a real need for an application you should just avoid it as it will only clutter up your hard drive and cost you money to purchase. Also, if at the end of this post you still don’t see the need for running a server than don’t do it. This article is designed to help you see what a server could do for you so you can truly determine whether the features fit any of your needs. So let’s get started with why you might want to run a server by looking at the hardware requirements.

One of the myths most people have about servers is they are huge machines that need dedicated rooms to run. The beauty of our current place in history is that servers can be run on very small hardware that won’t take up more than the size of a shoe box on your shelf depending on your needs. You can run OS X Server on a Mac Mini and have plenty of power for your home environment. In fact I would recommend using a Mini for home use because of the power benefits and it’s small size. I would however recommend getting at least 8GB of RAM and, if you can swing it, 16GB. With that you should be in great shape to run OS X Server. But server can also run on any Mac you have in the house so don’t feel like you have to purchase a new Mac to run server (unless of course your Mac is too old to run Mavericks). As long as you plan on leaving your server on and not move it around, you could even use a laptop.

Now that we have the hardware issue out of the way, let’s look at some of the benefits of running a server in a home environment. Each of these things should give you a good idea if Server is for you:

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 Wireless Time Machine Back Ups

If you don’t happen to have a Time Capsule or would rather have your storage space outside your router, you are out of luck when it comes to wireless Time Machine backups. Yes you could do some things to try to get it to work with an Airport Extreme Base Station with an attached drive but things could get corrupted and its not supported by Apple. With OS X Server you can designate any drive connected to your Mac Server to serve as a back up disk for Time Machine and the best part is that it is supported by Apple.

 Your Own VPN Service

With most of us spending a lot of time on unsecured public networks, fear of data being stolen over the air is a real concern. VPN creates an encrypted connection to the internet and protects what is sent and received over the air. OS X Server has a built in VPN service that you can use on all of your devices to make your remote web access secure.

Network Accounts

With most of us having multiple computers at home with multiple users wanting to access their stuff on those computers having the ability for any user to log into any computer on your network to access their files and desktop is a much needed service. With OS X Server you can create your own network accounts and host your user’s home folders on the server so they can access their own desktop and files on any Mac in the house. This really saves arguments over who gets what computer in the house. If you have kids you know what I mean!

 File Server

One of the first things most people think about when it comes to a server is gaining access to files when they are away from their main Mac and outside their network. With a server, you can designate any folders or drives as accessible outside your network and set who can access what files and folders.

 Manage Multiple Devices

Most homes have become mini corporate environments with multiple Macs and iOS devices. Managing all of those devices can be tedious and difficult to set up and maintain. With OS X Server you can manage all of your Macs and iOS Devices from a simple web interface and push changes over the air to your devices as groups or individual device profiles making managing devices a lot easier.

 Personal iCloud Service

For some people the idea of having all of their personal information online in the cloud somewhere makes them uneasy. What happens if a security breach happens with the service you are using? Instead of having those things on a hosted service, they may want to manage their own calendar, contact, iMessage and Mail Server. For those with kids this is a great way to help them get their feet wet in some of these services while you control what they can can’t see or do. Built into OS X Server are services to that allow you to manage these things and then sync your settings to all of your Apple devices.

 Personal Web Server

Built into OS X Server is a web server complete with a built in Wiki website that you can customize. You can also host your own websites with OS X Server though there are some challenges for home users depending on your ISP service and how they feel about home users hosting websites. But even with that limitation you could host an in-house only website that your family uses on your home network only to share things. Another great way to get the kids used to using a website and publishing to it in a safe environment.

 As you can see there are a lot of different uses for OS X Server for home users. If you saw anything in there that you could take advantage of, then OS X Server is for you. You don’t have to use every service to run server but can pick and choose what works best for you. For those of you that like step by step instructions on how to set all of this up, I have a Youtube Channel where I do just that. You can check out more information on my website or on my Youtube Channel. If you choose to get started and get stuck along the way feel free to send me an email or leave a comment.

 About Todd.

Todd Olthoff is a Mac enthusiast who loves to pass on what he has learned to others. He regularly produces screencast tutorials on his website and on his Youtube Channel. He is also a regular contributing screencaster for ScreenCastsOnline and for MacStadium a Mac colocation company.

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Column : To the fanboys : Be free.

Feb 23

So here’s to the fanboys.
At the end of switch week, where we gave you a series of articles on how to “move out” of the Apple walled garden and onto a more open and cross platform plain, its time for a good old fashion rant against all brand fanboys. Knightwise.com is a website whose core belief is in a cross platform technology world. We are geared towards those who do not acknowledge the word ‘OR’ when it comes to the choice between one technological solution versus the other. As a result our audience consists of smart people who centre their technological lifestyle around their own needs and believe that multiple brands, operating systems, devices and technological solutions can make up their techno-space. Thus I have the privilege of interacting with a broad scope communities spread out over a wide range of operating systems, platforms and brands. Needless to say : Not all members of those community have the same broad-minded approach to a cross platform lifestyle. To each his own I say .. but next time you encounter one of those people, you might want to steal a couple of random thoughts that I have in my head when I encounter .. the fanboys.

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To those who have one option on their multiple choice shopping list. (The Mono-Choosers)

Dear Apple/Samsung/Hp/Lenovo/Linux/… enthusiast who ONLY buys one specific brand or vouches to buy/use NOTHING ELSE in the future.
First of all : I applaud you. For your loyalty, your consistency and your ability to see into the future. As I patiently hear you wax nostalgically about the first time you bought a product from brand X it reminds me of people who have just encountered a near death experience. Whatever happened at the checkout counter of that store when you purchased your first product of brand X, must have clearly overshadowed all other milestones in your life. Forget the miraculous birth of your first born on the hard shoulder of the snowed in free way, never mind the day you met the love of your life and lets not start about the day you got married. They all pale in comparison to that life changing moment where an everlasting bond was forged between you and your favourite brand. Ever since you have answered every possible technological question with a product from your favourite brand. Never mind if it would actually do what you wanted it to do or required 15 workarounds : You chose your brand for there is nothing better ! I admire your skill of doing a broad market analyses of all competing products and (seemingly at the speed of light) reach the conclusion that they all suck donkey balls in comparison to ‘your precious’. But not only am I bedazzled by your loyalty (you buy EVERYTHING product X produces whether or not you use/need it) and your ability to declare product/brand X victorious over everything else in a flash .. there is more : You appear to be a visionary who can clearly see into a fast moving industries future as you prophesize that you ” Will never need buy anything else ” then product/brand X because it is and will always be superior. I kneel down before you in pure admiration and point you towards the high spires of wall street .. for your vision of the market is the one true vision and should inspire all stockbrokers to buy all the stocks of your product X. Since your unwavering devotion in purchasing it, your assessment of its superiority and your visions of its ever ruling victory .. shall lead them all to infinite wealth.

To those who who post crap about any other operating system/brand/product aside from their own. (The Rediculators)

To those who think that a wallpaper of a Penguin peeing on a Windows logo is cool. For those of you who love to compare unfounded arguments about the vulnerability of operating system X with equally unfounded arguments about total and complete stability/security of your system of choice. To those who still feel the urge to snicker like 10 year olds when saying “Winblows” and to the others equally juvenile. I wish I could call you Trolls. Trolls troll the internet (that’s why we call them trolls) with one purpose : To piss people off for the sheer joy of it. With you it is different. Your attempts at brand/product/system propaganda remind us of our days in kindergarten where witty wordplay like ‘Knightwise – Sheitwise’ was still considered the absolute pinnacle in classroom politics. I resist the urge to ask you if you ever CONSIDERED using/investigating the ‘competition’. I am afraid you will make funny posters of me being sodomised by your favourite brands avatar.

To those who turn it into a religion. (The Flock)

I resist the urge to vomit when I hear that you have spent a whole day of your holiday overseas to visit the “store” of your favourite brand in city XYZ. I’m puzzled what you would actually DO there since you have already purchased every possible item of brand X a long time ago. Clearly a sceptical visit to the store with the intention of possibly buying or comparing a product was not on your agenda. To me it seemed like it was more of a religious experience. As you dribble enthusiastically  about brand/platform X, I classify your as a “mono-chooser” (see rant above) and forgo the urge to argue. Your enthusiasm however does not end there. Mere (distorted) reality is just a stepping stone for your next enthusiastic rant about the near divinity of your products creator. History always agrees with the victors but your view on the past history of your favourite brand seems to be very very much tainted in its favour. While your face starts to flush red, your tirade seems to become that of a TV-preacher on a Sunday morning. The drops of your spittle lash out as you condemn all non-consumers of your beloved brand to digital purgatory. You scare me as you  swing your devoted product around in your right hand like some kind of holy scripture. Desperate not to see you have a cardiac arrest halfway through your sermon, I raise my finger and try to point out that “It’s a store : not a church. Its a product, not a religion”‘. Your eyes narrow and I can clearly smell that fire and brimstone is upon me. The last words I can comprehend are “Blasphemy” and “Non-believer” before I escape into the digital atheism called ‘freedom of choice’.

To those who think technology is fashion. (The Cattle)

Remember the 90’s ? When you walked around in those cool buffalo shoes with the platform soles ? Yes : You looked like a total idiot and nearly broke your neck while rushing downstairs to open the front door .. but you were cool .. right ? Its good to see you have not changed and still run along happily with the herd. Now you clutch your phone/laptop/tablet from brand X to your chest not as a result of an informed decision but rather because “all the cool kids have them”. Aside from playing Flappy bird your expensive smartphone has no specific purpose aside from sending text messages. You still have your default out-of-the-box ringtones and the option to turn of keyboard sounds appears to elude you. In short : You are not in touch with the technology you own for you see it only as a fashion accessory. The 1500 dollar Facebook machine you call a laptop has not even spiked above 10% cpu usage but it DOES gets you in line with all the cool kids at Starbucks. Fashion is however fickle and pretty soon the cool crowd will move to another brand/product/platform and then the geeks will have their sweet revenge. I predict you will need to  offload your overpowered machine onto craigslist and get a ridiculously low offer. I also know that you will take it :  Because the followers of fashion don’t know anything about the technology they are using.. even if their life depended on it. Fools and their money must be parted.

To those who don’t have a clue. (The Clueless)

My heart bleeds as I see you browse the shelves of the local department store. Your eyes glazed over as you look upon rows and rows of boxes of all the different brands and products that make up the world of consumer technology today. You are out shopping for your first smartphone because you accidentally dropped your Nokia 3220 on the sidewalk yesterday. Construction workers are currently patching up the massive hole in said sidewalk (your Nokia is fine) and you still need to find a new smartphone. Brands, specifications, screensizes … it could have been written in Klingon for all you care. You do not have a clue.. but at least .. you have a choice.

To those with a brain.

What those who are clueless and what those who are ‘in the know’ have in common is this : You have the freedom of choice. Try to see yourself, your requirements, your personal taste and your budget as the very pinnacle of your technological existence. You are wise (or ignorant) enough to realise that you can choose anything you want to. You choose with your dollars and let brands and products fight and compete for the highest amount of value for the lowest price. You have no shame to switch back from an Android phone to a Windows Tablet. You even have been known to mix it up. To find technological solutions across different brands and platforms and integrate them in your life. You have come to the point that your terms are not dicated by brands or advertising .. you make your own choice to a a “cross platform geek” who loves to slide from brand to brand and from OS to OS. You have a choice .. and you are smart. (and that is exactly why you are reading this blog 🙂 )

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