A little insight into the simplicity of Youtube.

Simplicity Recipe.

  • One Camera that is able to shoot some video (most digital fotocamera's do).
  • One account on YOUTUBE (its free and you can upload all the video's you want).
  • One subject( in this case the new dog at my inlaws)
  • Shoot the video,
  • Make an account on youtube
  • Upload the video
  • Publish the video via Email / on the youtube site / or link it into your own site.




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Star Trek Theme Day.

Tatadaaaaaaaaaaaaaa ratatata taaaaaa  !

Just a little bit of pop-cyber-culture for you today with this great mashup of the original Star Trek song and the theme music from the Simpsons. Though the guy looks like he just had brain surgery done and the patients front and rear lobes have been successfully removed, its still a great track to listen to.





And speaking of theme music.

If one thing annoyes the hell out of both me and Nyana, then it has to be the theme-song of the new series Star Trek Enterprise. I cannot believe the dumbed down the opening credits into some idiotic theme song that makes it all just a little more hey hey USA. Bless the power of the internet to let the true creative souls stand up and produce their own theme. Using title music of StarGate Atlantis (great music – bad show ) they combine it with shots from Enterprise and Stargate to make a truly great opening trailer. Maybe if Mr Berman (Producer behind Enterprise) would have listened to these guys , Enterprise might still be on the air and he would not have been fired from Paramount (although I think its a GOOD thing). For those Blissfully ignorant : Here is the Original version .







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Coast traumatic stress syndrome.

 Carpe Diem.
Aah , weekend comes and an entire sunday lies waiting for the plucking. Carpe Diem ! I shout as the half cooked idea for a day to the sea side pops up in my brain. I awaken my significant other and convince her to join me in an exiting day full of sea, sand and relaxation. Some 18 hours later we come back home.. The brisk sea-breeze still in our hair, the views and the food not completely digested, but with an aching back and but after spending almost 6 hours in the car traveling a pathetic distance of some 400 kilometers.So lend me your translucent screen as I give you some tips and pointers how to tune technology into your life to avoid (and if push comes to shove , survive) “Coast Traumatic Stress Syndrome.”

Tip nr One : Get your gear.
– Before you head out : Get your geeky gear together. There is nothing more annoying than having the family geek turn around the family car to pick up some more geek stuff. My advice is , better to take more then to take less. The times i’ve been caught with my digital pants down have been too many to count. You forget your camera : Something cool to film will appear. You forget your MP3 recorder : you can bet you’ll run into some marching band worth while to record. Forget your Ipod : You can bet you will run into a situation you would have wished you brought all those nice episodes of “sponge-bob square-pants” to watch. When my wife started saying : You should have brought “ Insert Geek tool here ” I thought … what the heck . So on excursions take your digital survival kit !

zeeTip nr Two : Entertainment.
– Listening to your Ipod with headphones on is not very social. But using speakers in the car beats listening to the radio. It brings atmosphere, lets you set the mood and turn a long drive into a romantic / fun / trancy / adventurous  experience. NEVER trust mainstream radio to bring quality content : Always carry your own.
– The long drive back is the hardest part : Avoid falling asleep by talking to eachother and if you are alone or your passenger has blissfully dozed off into lala-land : Listen to some podcasts. Hearing people talk and paying attention to what they are saying keeps you awake more easily (although there are some podcasts out there that might put you straight into a coma)
– If you have kids in the car or your passenger is bored : Bring your laptop. Its great to keep people entertained : Play games in the car (not the driver off course) or watch a DVD. Beware that as a driver you don’t peek over the passengers screen while you are driving. Better to let them wear headphones.
– Have a car charger for your laptop / ipod. Never trust entirely on their batteries. Avoid Battery deprivation syndrome to ruin your digital day.

Tip Three – Know your GPS.
The most important part is using your GPS when you have one. You should think of it as an aircraft. The navigator doesn’t suddenly say : “Where are we going to to today “ after the plane has been airborne for an hour. Most people use their gps to give them directions when they are lost. I use it to PLAN my trip. Using technology while driving can be dangerous. So be sure you know your GPS and have tuned it right. Pull over when having to adjust settings / routes etc. I’ve seen people do the most crazy things with their gps and veer off towards the left line on a collision course with a dairy truck . “ Destination : Afterworld … BOOM .. you have arrived’ .. thank you GPS. – BEFORE you leave do a pre-flight check of the GPS : Is it on , is it working, does it have power etc.  THEN (if your gps has this)  check the TRAFFIC INFORMATION SYSTEM. This will give you an overview of where all the traffic jams are. I have one that not only shows them on the map , but also lists them down so I can see WHERE the jams are and plan my route accordingly.- Simulate your route. Let your GPS “demo” the route your are going to take. Nothing more  annoying then suddenly having the thing say “ GO LEFT” as it makes you drive onto the causeway of your worst nightmares. Be sure you know where it is going to take you.-Beware of auto-calculated alternative routes your gps might propose. Other people with the same brand of device or program then yours might also be on it. All GPS’es from the same brand think alike. Make your own alternative route by zooming out and planning your own beeline manually. I cannot stress this point enough : Don’t be afraid to deviate and use your own wit to navigate. You can always use your GPS to get back on track.So with that in mind you will be able to survive any trip to the coast or another place without going mad in that four hour drive.

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Why you never see me outside on a saturday morning.




This is my idea of an average Saturday morning. 


About Half past nine.

up and at this since 5 30 am. 


One Mac G3 running Ubuntu Linux (command line only)

One Mac Mini running Mac OSX (controlled through the macbook via a remote secure shell)

One Macbook remote controlling 2 secure shell sessions on the G3 and one on the mini.


Testing remote sync software to securely backup files off site without eating all my bandwith.

Number of tasks running.

About four , File transfer, setting up IRC client on remote machine, Listening to music, Writing article for the site. 


About 12 browser windows with information and one book "Linux for Windows System Administrators" by Mike Minasi

Music :

Itunes streaming MP3's from central server over encrypted wifi connection. Cygnus X : Collected works.

Drink :

Earl Grey tea , two lumps of sugar.

Means of communication :

Skype : Online MSN: Online Mail :Online. 

Learned :

A lot about the Rsync Command , About public and private keys in encryption and that I no longer need a graphical user interface on my Ubuntu machine.

State :

Hyped up because its working and yet wonderfully relaxed because this is my idea of fun. 

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Dell Laptop Bombers no longer alone ?

Dell Laptop Bombers no longer alone ?

dellMeanwhile in the real world Dell owners walk around with their laptop-bags with beads of sweat on their forehead. Packed with a heavy load of a overstuffed bag on one shoulder and a fire extinguisher on the other, their own mortality is very apparent to them As they leave for bed the laptop is stored outside, on an inflatable mattress in the middle of the swimming pool, if only to comfort its endangered owner that no indoor fireworks will go off inside the house thanx to of the Nr 1 hardware supplier DELL.  It might sound funny, but just imagine having one of these baby’s in the house. Ok, on a statistical scale the rate of failure / explosion of a dell laptop battery is remote at best .. but still ! Would you sleep at night ?So yesterday when I read an article about Apple recalling 1.5 million (hello !) laptop batteries in the US, I was not really worried. Nothing to affect little old me here in downtown Belgium. Although I am an owner of one 12 inch Ibook (confiscated for personal use 6 months ago by my wife) I didn’t think much of it. But just to be on the safe side I surfed over to the Belgian Apple Site where indeed there was a link to the battery recall program. (you had to go under SUPPORT and hire a private detective to find the link, but none the less it was there). So i popped the battery from my wifes Ibook and law and behold the type number AND serial matched those of the ones that where franticly recalled to Silicon Valley. Imagine my surprise that 1.5 YEARS after selling me my Ibook, Apple suddenly comes to the conclusion that .. ‘oh yes .. there is a little issue of a Fire Hazard’ And if I would not have been an avid listener to Slashdot Review I would not have even found out about it.




FIRE in Babylon.

I mean : We are talking fire here people. We are talking Laptops that lie on the couch , are crammed in bags, lie in cars, or sleep UNDERNEATH my bed after a late night chat session. And the error here is not that the mouse cursor might go astray at any given time .. NO ! The flaming thing can BURN ! Its downright incredible that Apple only finds this out ONE POINT FIVE  years after purchase AND does not yell “BEWARE ! FIRE ! “ on its homepage instead of hiding the recall program in some dark corner of the white website.

Laptop self-combustion risk… Nice .. very Nice.

Sure enough I entered the serial and got a nice little email that I will receive a NEW battery in four to six weeks. I was advised to remove the battery from the Ibook and work on main power until the new bugger comes. WHAT ? NOW i need to work without the battery ? For the last year and I have I have been a “human-with-laptop-self-combustion-risk” and NOW you tell me ? Djeez ! Now I Know the thing got HOT ( I made my wife use it on this little table whenever she wanted to set it straight down on the couch) but in my minds eye I see all the nights where the Ibook slept so near to flammable goods that my fire insurance policy is now stored off site in an Iglo !So BAAAD Apple for finding this out SO late and notifying its customers in a rather poor way. I’ll keep you posted on the whole story .. If my macbook does not decide to cremate itself while on my lap.

If you want more information about the Ibook and Macbook Pro issue go HERE and HERE. 

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Do we need cyber-locksmiths?


By Daniel "Captain Command Line" Turner. (more at http://dannyturner.dyndns.org/ )


Everything today is computerized, your comunications, you finances, many people's enjoyment, travel, even friendships! And all of this is passworded. Imagine, having to recite a secret code just to talk to a friend, it sounds stupid, but millions of people are doing it every day, with MySpace, Instant Messaging and VoIP. But what about the things that hide below, the things that no-one talks about–the OS. Mac, Windows, Linux and BSD, They all now have the capability to require a password to login. Linux, Mac and BSD are the worst here, password this, password that. Root to install this, root to tweak that, root to fix something. What happens when end users use this passwording capability? Windows has it covered, with the "Forgot Password" button, that shows a preset hint. But what of Linux, Mac and BSD? Is their security too strong? Say I give a Ubuntu or PC-BSD desktop to a family, give them all a username and a password, but not root priviledges. I wisper the root password in old dad's ear, tell him it's special, to change it, to remember it well.Fast forward 2 weeks, or a month or what ever, and little Johnny wants to install program xyz for his homework (especially easy for  PC-BSD), but keeps getting the dialogue box "Please input root password" What's he to do? He's confused. He goes and asks dear ol' Dad, who by now, having no need for the root password has completely forgotten it, he didn't even change it. Oh dear, they're locked out of their own PC.


They've effectivley lost they keys to their virtual home.Who do they call? Where's a locksmith when you need one. Get a LiveCD you say, change the GRUB kernel arguments you say, use John the Ripper you cry? Sure, this non-techie family is going to know exactly what to do, where to get a live CD, how to find the shadowed password, what program to put it in, how long to wait, what to look for. Yes, they're going to  know all of this. Sure. To them, this magic black box that holds all that is dear to them is refusing to play nice.So, pick up the phone they do, phone up the computer support guy and ask "What's the root password, and why do I need it?" Many computer support operations are Windows-only (not the one in my home town, but many that I know of). So they get the answer back "The what password?" Oh dear, now they're in deep doo-doos. They take it to PC World, who last time I checked in Britain, is a Windows only operation. So what to they see? They see PC-BSD or Ubuntu boot. They see a different login window. They have no idea what "root" is, or why it's asking for his password. If you're lucky, a Linux or BSD 'nerd' might work there, and immediately know what to do, pulling a LiveCD from his kit, loading BackTrack, going straight for /etc/passwd and then the shadow, if there is one. Pulling a seemingly random string of characters, and loading it into John the Ripper. Sure, that might happen, but it might not. So you're back to square one, a 'broken' but some how functional PC.
Who do you call when you're locked out of your virtual house? Grab the yellow pages and look under "Cyber Locksmiths"? No, there's no one, unless you are lucky when you walk through the door of PC World, your home-grown computer support shop round the corner, or you have an extremely techie friend. Failing this, you are done for.

Where is the button ?

So where's the reset password button, I ask, When's the password hint going to make it into Linux and BSD, or is this just to stupid, to question the security of the OS, just for the user to actually be able to use the OS? So far, this has been fine (well, almost) for Microsoft. Microsoft have been to busy putting out patches of XP to even get an OS out in 5 Years, where as Linux and BSD have grown by leaps and bounds, grabbing market share in government and school computers. Even in the developing world, Linux is taking hold. Linux has had a hold for years in the hobbyist, enthusiast market since it was born as a terminal emulator that ran off a floppy so that Linus Torvalds could use his university account, and learn to use the 386 instruction set. By it's very nature, it's heavily technical.So,  I call unto the gods of the copmuter world (Jobs, Torvlads and Gates) create Cyber-Locksmiths!

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I dont know how to quit you.

I dont Know how to quit you

Mac Its been here for over a year now, and when you measure its uptime against the rest of the systems I have , one would think its a lampshade or some fancy ornament for the living room. Yet .. its a computer none the less. Its poor and meager 350 MHz power-processor is four times slower then even the lightest computer around here .. but still this old geezer has not been sent to oblivion as most of its peers have been. So what in hells name propels me to keep this little bugger ? It doesn’t really DO anything, If it did , it would be SLOW at it .. and it isn’t even modern anymore. So why is it still here ?

Simple answer.
The answer is as simple as it is baffling : Its pretty !  and for some unearthly reason I have grown fond of it. The story began over a year ago when I managed to buy two Mac G4’s. As I was loading them up in my car ,the guy says, “Well , those are the last of the working macs around here”  “ Oh” , I asked “ Do you have any broken ones too ?”  The guy nodded and pointed me to a dark and gloomy shed “ Still got an old G3 in there, its broken so I’m gonna take it to the scrap-heap”  All of my “Save the wales, the puppy’s, the baby seals and the old computer ! “- alarms went of in my head as I said , Well , just give it to me and i’ll do that for ya too. My head was thinking: “yea ! spare parts”  Next thing I know the guy pops an old bondi blue G3 in my trunk and tops it of with an old 17 inch bondi blue cinema display. “Broken too” he mumbles.

Don't tell me its broken.
Now .. telling me something pretty is broken and cannot be fixed is like slapping me in the face with a leather glove. I feel challenged, compelled to prove you wrong and fix it. Wether its my God-like itch (to create life from lifelessness) or my Ferengi greed (moooore computers .. mooore !)  I do not know. But 3 days later the Little G3 was up and purring. Replacing the power supply , taking apart the ENTIRE casing in order to clean it and popping in 512 megs of ram revived the little bugger. The screen miraculously healed itself and ( it drew power from the broken power-supply , so DUHUH) and I had kittens from joy.
So now what ? Mac Os 10 would NOT install on it. I spent hours to get it working , tried and tried again , but to no avail. Even my expert mac geek friend gave up and said .. let it go my friend. But i was not going to quit .. Like a regular doc frankenstein I huddled back to my layor with the lifeless hulk and downloaded the one potion that would surely revive even the most simple systems.  I summoned the power of ubuntu !

Running smoothly.
So now i’m more than happy to report the latest distro of Ubuntu is running smoothly on this hand-me-down given-up-for-dead G3. I don”t know what makes me more happy , the fact that it looks cool and runs at a very decent speed or the simple realization that I have made something productive out of a system that would have been sent to the dump.
The funny thing is I have some other way faster computers in the house , yes I remain facinated by this old G3 and keep spending time on it. As said in “broke-back” mountain : I don”t know how to quit you .. and quite frankly I don’t know why that is. But what I do know is that it not only will make a very nice linux testing system it will also be the prettiest ubuntumachine in the house.

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Skype competitor offers five free hours of calls to any landline on the planet.

Just another mith ?

I get some of these things in my mailbox from time to time. Use this program to call for free and so on. Almost every time it turns out to be a hoax and you have to pay some fee in order to make a crappy voice over IP phone-call to your parents next door. But I got tapped on the shoulder yesterday by one of my wife's co-workers who sent me this little link : Freecall. A free phone-service that apparently gives you five hours of free calls to landline's all over the globe including the USA (Landlines and mobiles) most countries in europe , australia, brazil and so on. So boot up your PC and here we go.


Download the client, yapp away  ? 

You can use either their client application (only for windows unfortunately) or make a trail call from their website.
According to my source (who lives in Belgium) his wife had spent the last three hours last night testing it out and calling her family in Russia, absolutely free.


The rates are almost the same as Skype , For a call to an Australian Cellphone using Freephone I will pay 0.13 eurocent, And with skype it will cost me € 0.19 incl. VAT. Rates vary per country but all in all it looks cheaper. Now this little tool is far from the functionality a skype client has but , to call a landline its an ideal little program. So check it out and tell us what you think about this free-call thing. Perhaps it will stick, perhaps it will fade away , but be sure you get your 5 free hours of yapp-time before the thing implodes on itself.


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