Pdf’s: We love them, right? They are our favourite cross platform way to replace paper and save trees. That is, as long as it is a passive experience. Like just reading whats on the page, perusing the manual, consuming the content. But when you need to edit them it kinda goes downhill from there.
Well, not entirely: Simple tasks like signing and annotating PDFs has become a lot easier these days. Most browsers (like for example Edge on the desktop and safari on mobile) let you squiggle away with your pen or your mouse and sign your autograph (or an offensive stick figure) under any document.
But whenever you want to go one step beyond its a world of hurt. Before you know it, a simple query on Google to “ split pdf” takes you down a wormhole of costly apps, Adobe subscriptions and if you click deep enough: services that require a human sacrifice to merge 2 documents together.
A good thing I found ilovepfd.com. A free, online browser based service that lets you do just about anything to a pdf aside from the horizontal chacha. Great cross platform stuff. Love it.
I love to listen to audiobooks when I have the time. Nothing is more enjoyable than being sucked into a story read by a good narrator and tearing through the pages of a book with the tips of my earlobes as I’m mowing the lawn or working out.
There are plenty of ways to do that on your phone of course and some are more tedious then others. You can download the audiofiles to you phone and use some kind of audio player (tedious) OR subscribe to an audio book service like Audible to ‘stream’ your books to your mobile device. (While they nickle-and-dime you into poverty one month at a time for books you don’t really ‘own’).
For a while now I have been looking into a way of streaming the audiobooks, documentaries and podcast series I have on my home server. A valid alternative was of course Plex. The reliable home server for streaming whatever content you have to whatever device you have. I played around with the standard ‘Plex’ client but was a bit annoyed at the fact that it’s not optimised for audiobooks. While out and about it would lose the connection to the server and forget the place I left off in the middle of the audiofile. (Not handy).
But by some serendipitous googling I came across “Prologue” in the App store: A fully fledged audiobook client for Plex . It’s quite easy to work with: Install it on your phone, log into you Plex account and point it at the folder where your audio library resides. It will index the audiofiles per folder and bob is your uncle. The free version of the app even allows you to either stream OR cache your audiofiles locally for those moments where your connection might be a bit on the spotty side. Additional features also include variable speed settings and all the dingdongs you expect from an audiobook player.
In short: I love this: It gives me the functionality and convenience of a streaming service like Audible but still allows me to “own” my audiobooks. But who says I need to stop there. Prologue is perfect to stream that downloaded collection of a podfaded podcast, or that audio rip you made from a Youtube documentary. The possibilities are plentiful. Get Prologue in the Apple (and Android) store today.
Yesterdays workout at the gym had me on the prowl for a new ‘random’ podcast episode about no particular topic. I had just re-installed the Google Podcast app in order to be able to cast my podcasts to my office speaker, when I came across a Ted-Talk daily talking about the 3 secrets of resilient people. Resilience is something we need these days. I look towards the south, where only a few miles away, towns were swept away by flash floods and people lost everything in the blink of an eye. It takes resilience to pick yourself up and continue. Lucy Home, the speaker of this short but powerful speech was a trained resilience therapist an thought she had it all figured out, until she lost her daughter in a fatal car crash and had to “move on” with her life. She gives a couple of valid insights on how to “train” your mind and your mindset to be able to “bounce back” from adversity.
One tip in particular stood out: How to deal with the perception of ‘Danger’.
To paraphrase: our minds are much better attuned to “registering and remembering” danger than happiness. It was essential in primitive times when danger was close and lethal. Today we are bombarded with sensational news of danger all around us: Newspapers going for scary headlines, the next “ohmygod” clickbait around the corner. Our reptile brain however is unable to distinguish ‘perceived’ threats from ‘actual’ threats and is (on a subconscious level) afraid of ALL the things we read online. I come back to the age-old mantra of “curating the library of your mind’ and trying to tune the information streams you consume so they don’t ruin your mood (or your perception of happiness) and it was pretty cool to find topic touched on in this very short but informative TED talk. Have a listen and ask yourself “how resilient am I?”
For two decades the era of “Linux on the Desktop” has been just around the corner. This week Knightwise takes us through a discussion of how he’s using Linux to drive some tasks for work, and how the pandemic-driven changes of 2020 might have helped push more Linux to the forefront.
Podcasting has always been a way for those who don’t otherwise have a platform, to get out and share what’s on their mind, share their knowledge and experiences, and do it without having to buy your own small-town radio station. This week Knightwise takes us on another walk through the Belgian countryside to tell you why you should record your own podcast.
This week on the podcast Knightwise takes on the topic of retro computing. Whether virtualized or involving the resurrection of old hardware here are some ideas to put some older tech to use for you in 2021.