kw803 : Girls Gone Geek

May 10

Its time to be Mr Journalist and cover Acer’s launch event for their Liquid E3 smartphone in Brussels and take some interesting interviews. We talk to two different sides from the girl-geek spectrum and interview Sunny, a ‘beauty blogger’ who just got her first smartphone and Mee Hyang, one of the members of the ‘Brussels Girl Geek Dinner’ who has been around the tech block a couple of years.  Both ladies give us their vision on technology and the “Girl vs Gadget” ratio in their lives. As an added bonus we talk to Lars Christensen, the Acer Product manager about some of the cool new functionalities Acer will be supporting in their smartphone and ask him the pesky question : ‘What is a PC going to look like in 3 years’.  Enjoy KW803.

Shownotes.

Related Posts


Guestblogger week : How I “Survived” on Android : The app list.

Feb 13

Its guestblogger week on Knightwise.com and today Cody Cooper , Co-host of the “Linux for the rest of us” podcast and all around nice guy, tells us how he ditched his desktop and survived on Android Only.

How I survived on Android.

Would you consider using ONLY your mobile device for a whole day? For all of your computing needs? How about a week? Or a month? With the right amount of preparation and gear most of us COULD do, but would we want to? Wouldn’t that be HARD?

 Imagine this: a snow storm hits and you’re forced to stay in the town you work because all of the roads leading home are closed. For four days. That was the situation I found myself in. I realise that this is far from the worst situation that one could find themselves in, but here is how I “survived” with my trusty HTC One. The Android in my pocket.

 I was lucky enough to have a sister that lived nearby that agreed to let me stay with her family during the storm. This gave me relief in the fact that when I wasn’t running a downtown business during the day I would have a place to go to at night. More importantly a place with internet access, a computer and beer.

Nowadays I’m a little more cautious about using open WiFi and just any computer for my day to day needs, my attempt to be a more responsible and careful technology user. The only machine at her house that I was available to me was her Toshiba laptop… running Windows Vista. I would post a photo of her desktop for fun, but I want you to finish this article and not pass out.

As Knightwise reads this, he says to himself, “But Cody, you’re a Linux user! Just use a Live CD or bootable USB stick to make that technology work for you!”

No optical media in the house and the only USB stick was an old Memorex 128mb… which only read as a 34mb drive! It was used for “backing up over the years”. The nearest store was stripped bare of these devices as well, because we all know that in case of a storm the very first thing you should do is run to the local store and buy up all of the storage media you can. To this day I don’t think I’ve screamed the F-word in a public place as I did that day.

So, here is a list of Android applications that helped me keep my sanity during this “rough” situation.

Screenshot 2014-02-13 08.16.13

1) Writer 

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jamesmc.writer

This is a very nice minimalist word processor that I hadn’t used before. It was a pleasure to use this app as a means of taking notes throughout the day, keeping up on my writing and creating this blogpost.

NOTE – The one extra piece of “tech” that I had in my car aside from my phone charger was an OTG cable, which allowed me hook up a full-sized keyboard to my phone.

2) Pocket

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ideashower.readitlater.pro

For those of you who seem to want to bookmark everything yet find it hard to read anything you have to try Pocket. With an extension available for just about every browser (desktop and mobile) you don’t have worry about bookmarking that article, just put in your Pocket and “read it later” anywhere you want. Having all of these articles that I had saved over the past months helped pass the time and I’m very happy I had these available.

 3) Firefox Mobile + HTTPS Everywhere

 https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.mozilla.firefox

 https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/01/making-the-mobile-web-safer-with-https-everywhere

 The safe browser plug-in HTTPS Everywhere was made available for my favorite mobile browser on the day I got stuck in the snow. Coincidence of the EFF coming to my rescue and providing me a safer browsing experience? You decide?

 4) Pomodroido

 https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.artifix.pomodroido.free 

This Pomodoro timer is essential for me to get anything done. A great way to keep you on track with tasks and make sure you take your breaks.

 5) Camscanner Pro + Docusign Ink

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.intsig.camscanner

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.docusign.ink

I always like get my taxes done ASAP. It was during this time that I had collected all of my financial documents to take to my tax preparer and then I got stuck in the snow. Using these two apps (and PGP encryted e-mail) I was able to digitally scan my documents and send them to my tax preparer, then sign the digital documents and send them back. Who needs a fax machine? This is the 21st century!

6) Doggcatcher

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.snoggdoggler.android.applications.doggcatcher.v1_0

My mobile entertainment source for years. Many podcatchers come and go, but this one holds a special place in my heart with it’s simple and clean interface. I’ve tried all the rest, but I still go back to “DC” when I need to get caught up on my podcasts.

7) Voxer

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rebelvox.voxer

This is the one app that I can honestly say I use everyday. Think of it as a digital walkie-talkie that you can use to have a conversation througout the day with someone, or a large group of people. This app has single handedly kept me in touch with my friends around the world whether it be collaboration on projects or just to keep in touch. You can also send text and photos during Voxer chat.

8) Flappy Bird

Just kidding!

9) Aldiko

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.aldiko.android

My ebook of choice. This very versatile app will read a variety of formats and provide you with a nice interface with which to navigate your digital library.

 10) Archos Video

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.archos.mediacenter.videofree

This app gave me a great interface to watch video that I had saved in the cloud. Very clean interface that gets better with every release. I knew stockpiling those Hak5 episodes in my Dropbox account would pay off someday!

One would assume I would have had a camera app, or a weather app but I tend to treat the outdoors like my ex-girlfriends: Avoid contact at all cost!

 In a future post I would like to share with you my new EDC Bag filled with all my tech goodies that will help me “survive” a bit longer next time as well as some other Android tools that you can use away from home.

About Cody.

Cody Cooper is a tech enthusiast, advocate for The Accessible Computing Foundation (www.theacf.co) and podcaster who co-hosts “Linux for the Rest of Us” on the Podnutz Network (www.podnutz.com) He enjoys food, beer and preparing for his childrens future with technology. Please contact him on Google+ or by sending an e-mail to cody@podnutz.com

Related Posts

kw606 : Making your Mac cross platform friendly.

Jul 06

macbook-sliderWe dive behind the microphone and give all of you Apple users a slice of pie you don’t want to pass up on. We talk about making your Mac “Slider” friendly and how to put up ladders and crawl out of Apple’s walled garden. We have quite a slew of interesting tips and tricks on how to run “cross platform” applications, files, filesystems and connections through your favorite Mac. Learn and listen to this episode of the podcast that is filled to the rim with community feedback and contributions and great music by Youtube princess Juless.

Shownotes.

Tweak code (Copy and paste in your OSX command line)

#make dock appear instantatiously

defaults write com.apple.Dock autohide-delay -float 0 && killall Dock

#don’t reopen every file when you reopen your app.

#in preview

defaults write com.apple.Preview NSQuitAlwaysKeepsWindows -bool false

#in quicktime

defaults write com.apple.QuickTimePlayerX NSQuitAlwaysKeepsWindows -bool false

#kill the dashboard

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES

killall Dock

#show the path in the finder

defaults write com.apple.finder _FXShowPosixPathInTitle -bool YES

#disable window animations

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticWindowAnimationsEnabled -bool false

#enable direct scrolling

defaults write -g NSScrollAnimationEnabled -bool NO

#no more bouncy windows when scrolling

defaults write -g NSScrollViewRubberbanding -int 0

#set time machine backup to 1800

sudo defaults write/System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.backupd-auto StartInterval -int 1800

#force expanded save-and-print  dialogs

defaults write -g NSNavPanelExpandedStateForSaveMode -boolean true

defaults write -g PMPrintingExpandedStateForPrint -boolean true

#no 3d-glassy dock

defaults write com.apple.dock no-glass -boolean yes

#show hidden files in finder

#defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

#killall Finder

#3d glassy dock

defaults write com.apple.dock no-glass -boolean no

#make hidden app icons semi transparent

defaults write com.apple.Dock showhidden -boolean yes

#create a ‘recent items’ stack

defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-others -array-add ‘{ “tile-data” = { “list-type” = 1; }; “tile-type” = “recents-tile”; }’

#screen grabs in jpg

defaults write com.apple.screencapture type jpg

 

Related Posts


What if we took Linux seriously ?

May 12

It had only been a couple of days since the release of the latest version of Ubuntu’s next incarnation 13.04 when I decided it would be time to give it a spin on my Lenovo Thinkpad. I had only purchased the little 11.6 inch I3 laptop a couple of days earlier ( A nice second hand machine if I may say so ) and was planning on using it for most of my day-to-day computing tasks. Having read up on all the ‘latest’ features to come to 13.04 I was looking forward to the next version of Nautilus and having a peek at the new “Friends” application that had come to replace Gwibber. But most of all I was looking forward to the speed increase in Unity.

Four hours later I woke from a daze of searching forums, entering command line strings, downloading packages, fixing dependencies and filing bugs to a system that was actually working. As it turned out the “bleeding edge” of Ubuntu Distro’s had been hemorrhaging into my work schedule where it had eaten up the precious time of “Getting things done” in favour of “Getting things to work”. The system was operational, but somehow I did not have the confidence in my installed machine that I normally have. Why ? Because I take my computers seriously. Computers are an integral part of my work routine and I actually rely on my Linux powered computers to get things done for work, but also for things like blogging, podcast producing and so forth. And I hold those Linux powered systems to high standards : They have be stable, reliable, consistent and most of all, help me to get things done. 

I flash back 7 or 8 years when I bought my first iBook (G4 powered Mac Laptop) and experienced the joy of having a computer that helped me be creative and get things done. This is raw contrast to the dodgy XP and Vista systems that seem to need constant cleaning, maintenance, repair and re installations. I had a computer that got the job done.. And I liked it.

 So having spent 4 hours on a “bleeding edge” Linux distribution to get it working just the way I wanted to had been a learning experience (as most Linux related things are) but not quite what I had in mind for the afternoon. With Blogposts unwritten, Podcasts unrecorded, work email .. unchecked it somehow reminded me of those dodgy XP machines we spent hours to fix.  I wiped the drive and re-installed trusty Ubuntu 12.04 (Long term support) exchanging bleeding edge features for slightly older and boring well supported stability. I did it because I needed to get OTHER stuff done.

 The question has been nagging in my mind ever since : What if we took Linux seriously. And by that I do not mean the “ham-shack amateur passion” in which we all run our own favorite super tweaked distribution. Not in the way we bicker and squabble over the best graphical user interface.. But ‘Serious’ in the way a company would use it.  Over the last couple of years I’ve seen the Linux scene expand in adoption and popularity. From the bearded geeks in their basements whose only source of light was a flickering command line prompt to a much larger host of geeks and even end users who have discovered the wondrous world of Tux. But the question remains if the Linux community with its resources of developers, bug fixers, advocates and users would be enough in a “real world environment”.

To illustrate my point let me pose you a question. What Linux distribution would you pick to install on 2600 workstations, spread over 4 countries. Its average user level “novice” its support and management servers centralized  With Microsoft’s “active directory” things like remote configurations, policies and software packaging are quite able to produce a somewhat uniform and centrally managed workstation landscape. What Linux system would you pick to replace it ? On the one hand stability and support is an issue, so the ‘bleeding edge’ of Debian Testing might not be something towards you would want to entrust your day-to-day business processes. On the other hand there is the issue of support where you need to make sure that your install base is not starved out of patches and support after 9 months. And lastly there is of course the need for a centralized system to make sure system configurations, policies and so forth can be managed from one location.

When I look around the Linux landscape today I see few distributions that are up to the corporate task of being the primary OS for a desktop workforce (I am not talking about servers) As colorful as distributions like Pear_OS or Hanna Montanna Linux might be, they do not have the resources to make in the corporate world. Other distributions like Suse or Redhat ( who have corporate backing ) lack any form of centralized management and configuration tools like Microsofts Active Directory. You might have a fair chance of rolling them out on the desktop, but only to a workforce that is able to install and repair their own workstations. And then there are those other distro’s who are looking for an unity between their different platforms. They are shunned for “selling out” to the idea of “free and open source” in favor of making a buck.

And so I ponder what would happen if some bloggers got what they asked for. “Windows will be dead in 2 years”. Then what ? What os is going to be on the workstation of your aunty Jeanne over at the DMV ?  Who is gonna support Uncle Joe as his Arch Linux workstation reports broken dependencies. What company will be the first to roll out “Hanna Montana Linux” as their strategic choice for the desktop.   We have been touting for years that “The Linux Desktop” is gonna make it to the mainstream, but I wonder what we do if we get there. Because then it will be in the hands of the “average” users. Students who need to get their papers done. Accountants who need to file tax returns, Tattoo artists who need to have a high res picture of that Hanna Montana clipart before they paint it on your shoulder. People who do not have the slightest notion what Linux is about and why it is so great. People unaware they can compile packages from source or tweak their system to a whole new level. People who associate penguins with David Attenborough instead of Richard Stallman. People who are not in the know. In other words : People who need to take this stuff seriously and use their computer not to “do things” but to get things done.

Related Posts

Cross-platform Instagram for your desktop : XnRetro.

May 09

” Hey ! Lets take a 24 gazillion megapixel camera, make it portable and have it shoot high quality pictures. Then lets take an app that makes those pictures look like they were made by a 25 year old throwaway camera” … said “Somebody” “Once”. … However unlikely the idea might have been at the time, Instagram is massively popular these days. Almost every snapshot we take with this popular app gets filtered and warped into something that looks just a liiiiitle more artistic then the shot we just made. All cool as kittens on a spaceship … but what if we want to do the same on our desktop.

The defence calls upon XnRetro your Honor ! This “Instagram clone for ‘real computers'” lets you tinker around with your screenshots to your hearts desire. Throw some filters, borders and light effects around and presto .. there is that one picture of you in your batman suit, hanging from the ceiling chandelier wearing pink mittens. But now it looks like it has been taken in the 60’s … so you have plausible denial.  Once satisfied you can save the pictures OR export them to social-space with the “Share funtionality”

XnRetro (from the makers of Xnview) is a slider friendly application that runs on Windows, Macs, Linux machines and coffee machines who are so dirty they have become sentient. (We haven’t tested it on the latter). The app is functional and free .. So we love it like lolcats !  To prove it works here is a picture of me and my dog, traveling back to the 30’s, taking a picture and leaving it to rot in drawer for 80 years so we could scan it in and put it up here .. for no reason.

Download XnRetro here.

 

Related Posts