Great Xbox Commercial.

For the one below I need to thank Sharky who gave me a whole pendrive full of goodies that I will release this week. One of them being this great Xbox commercial. Banned in certain "terrorist-sensitive" countries but still hilarious to watch. If you look at the video with the 9/11 events in the back of your head , its probably not very funny. But if you think back further, to the time you where a kid .. then you will understand this video. They always say the world changed at 9/11 and that is very true. But the world did not BEGIN there. I mean , there was a carefree time before all that. There was an entire history before 9/11 where you could joke about a bom and play cowboys and Indians in your backyard with your friends. So have that image in the back of your head and enjoy this great video.

 

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Howto : Do Nothing.

nothingThe greatest challenge in a life so close to the edge of real and cyberspace must certainly be : How to relax. How to wind down from all the waves of information constantly washing up on our shores. How to stand back from the chatting crowd on Instant Messaging, from the many emails that need answering, from the hundreds of feeds and bookmarks.

Being plugged into the information age has not made life simpler for us. There is so much more to see, so much more to do, so much more to learn and so many people to talk to. And with contacts all over the globe, the clock never stops. 

And with the whole "content on demand" thing it even gets worse. Where one could throw a brick at the tv when there was nothing on, get up and go to bed, we now no longer have that excuse. Several very interesting Videopodcasts lure at me from my Itunes playlist  still nagging at my brain that I have not watched them yett. 

My Ipod is filled up with a slew of weekly podcasts that need to be heard and on my usb stick several wonderful Ebooks are screaming to be printed and read.

It should have made it all easier. " Watch movies without ever leaving the comfort of your home " now means that we do not have an excuse to go out and do something totally different cause the "video rental store" was closed.  A bitorrent client is another sure thing to build up a lot of content you have acquired but never installed / looked at / listened to. And your feedreader is actually only a device that tells you how many Items you have not read yet.  Even your email client tells you how slack you have been in your social life when it comes to unread emails or the ones you have flagged as "need to answer this one".

 So with all this and more I find it extremely hard to mellow down and relax. I willingly have to force myself to disconnect from any form of communication. Turn Cellphone, computer and IP-TV stuff off and walk upstairs to a segment of the house I purposely held devoid of computers. I take along a cup of tea (MAYBE just my ipod for soothing music) and a good book with a very slow story. I think you could even call this 'meditation for Geeks" but that is how methodical that I have to be if i want to get my "Relaxing" done. Having to plan it, organise it, schedule and outline its boundries is the only way that it can get done. So "doing nothing" is just another thing I have to do.

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Richard Hammonds Crash on Top Gear.

By popular demad (and for all of you who have not seen it yet) i'll post the Crash of Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond. It's all over Youtube, so its right here too. Enjoy the nine minute segment. (until they yank it off Youtube)

 

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Dual screen setups and another GGP !

ubuntuIt took my quite a while to get it working, but after some research in the Ubuntu Forums I finally found a way to configure my Ubuntu Linux machine for dual screen setup. The one thing I enjoyed the most (except of course the part where it all worked like a charm) was the way I managed to  figure it out for myself. The manual on the forums pointed me in the right direction, but in order to get where I wanted I had to ‘read’ into the code and try to figure out what it meant. After I took a few guesses the graphical shell of my Linux machine died and I had no way of interacting with the machine. I was saved by ‘remote shell access’ which allows me to run a remote command line window from another computer. So it was “tinker-tinker-try” for a while but after a few attempts it worked. The great part was : I learned something new again. I got up to a problem in Linux that challenged me, and instead of copy and pasting every possible howto-configuration and getting quite depressed when it did not work , I figured it out all by myself. Ain’t I great ? (lol)

Of course after that it was time to record the global geek podcast episode 36 !  

ggpThe Global Geek Podcast #036 :: Clippy Does Porn 

Back to our usual format this week after our “How We Do It” Episode last week, we hope you enjoyed that and we are planning on some more special events this year.

This week was a fun show to record and we trust that you enjoy it. This weeks technology news sees Skype users threatened with fines and gaol terms, Microsoft causing 2.6 million users to spit the dummy and how a guy loses weight playing computer games.

We have some great free applications this week such as power toys for photo data editing and syncing files. Some fun software to “grow” a virtual world using the Internet as fertilizer.

Sites and services looks at some powerful search engines to find what you are looking for quickly. A great one ties in with one of our featured Firefox Extensions for this week.

DOWNLOAD THE PODCAST HERE

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All you need to do is Click and Run : CNR store goes cross-Distro !

Another piece* of great Linux news to round up the week : Freespire (or Linspire's) CNR store is going to open up its doors to other distributions. Ok, I'll lay of the geekspeak and try to explain. Linspire  ( and its spinoff Freespire) is a Linux distribution made for Windows users. It was meant to LOOK like Windows, and kinda BEHAVE like Windows (except for the blue screens) in order to make it as easy as possible to use for Windows users. 

cnr

 

One of the cool things about this distro was the " CNR "store. ( Click and Run) where you could find additional software (some free, some not) click on it and it would be installed on your system. Now if you where anywhere close to Linux in the last couple of years you know how hard it was to install a program. Download the source code, Unzip it , or “untar”r it , type make install.. watch it fail, feel bad. Go on IRC , ask help, get laughed at by nerds etc.. But with the coming of the CNR store that was a thing of the past.  The downside was : You needed to have Linspire.Well : No more ! Now the CNR store is going to open up its portals to other distributions. Now wether you run Ubuntu, Suse or Fedore, head on over to the CNR and Click – and – Run !The CNR.com Charts give an overview of the CNR Warehouse which provides users access to over 20,000 desktop Linux products, packages and libraries, all with one click of their mouse. CNR.com users will use their web browser to search for applications by title, popularity, user rating, category, function, or author. CNR.com will bring more choices for desktop Linux users to purchase premium products and services, such as legally licensed DVD Players, Sun's StarOffice, Win4Lin Pro, CodeWeavers' CrossoverOffice, TransGaming's Cedega, and support free open source software applications as well.

Installing applications has been more and more of a breeze lately. On Ubuntu,  Just download the .deb packages and double-click them to install, or use the Synaptic package manager to look for software, but the whole CNR deal is just icing on te cake.

* Piece not 'peace' 🙂 .. Thank Phil from NY for the heads up 🙂 

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Global Geek 35 : Learn how to podcast.

ggpWith all of the things going on this week I did not even have time to mention the last episode of the Global Geek Podcast . Saturday Dave and me threw away our routine, stepped out aof character, shot some pictures and some video ( Still have to put that up on youtube btw) and showed the listeners of the Global Geek Podcast just how the magic was made.

All in all I had a great time doing the show, but what I enjoyed most where the preparations for the episode. As we both lined out how our week evolves leading up to the recording of the Global Geek , it was nice to find out certain details that, even after working together for over six months, we did not know about each other.  Even more fun was disclosing to our listeners the amount of work that goes into the podcast, and showing them how their favorite podcast was put together.

I’m not going to spoil what is in the episode, therefore you will have to listen for yourself, but there is a little surprise at the end. Along with a clip from the very first Global Geek where you can hear a rather poor snippet of Dave’s first co-host Sebastian Prooth (and the audio quality is not so good either) Dave and I walk you through the week of a podcaster, the stress of a recording-morning, the technology required, the stress involved, but perhaps more importantly : The globe spanning friendship that has evolved between the two of us.

So have a peek and catch us out of character .. in the Global Geek Podcast number 35.

To give you guys a sneak behind the mirror, i’ll post my ‘ podcasting studio pictures ‘ here.

 

studio
The podcasting studio.
From left to right : Macbook Pro, Coffee, Dual screen setup with shownotes and Skype window. And the microphone.
mixer
A nice shot of my Behringer Mixer.
studio
A nice shot of the studio. Notice the two clocks on the wall. One on Belgian, one on Australian time.

 

 

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Love comes again. DJ Tiesto revisits Hasselt.

"Your Tickets have been shipped, please expect arrival sometime in the next week" Thats what it read on the Email I got from the ticket-service. The same service that just made a 100 Euro's selling me two concert tickets. "100 Euro's for two tickets ? Isn't that a bit much ? " I hear you wonder ?  Far from it my friends. Cause these two little paper snippets are going to give us access to the "Ethais Arena" a giant concert hall just down the street. Where Nyana and me are going to have a nice evening on May 19th .. When DJ Tiesto comes back to town for another great concert. Thanx to Codemonkey Rob I got tipped of on time that good old "Thijs" was comin to town again. So we got some tickets and are getting ready for another great concert. Why am I so sure .. Because its not the first time. November 6th 2004 was the first, when I got some tickets for my birthday .. And I didn't know what I was in for. I dug up an old webpost about the whole spiel. Enjoy
 

See our entire picture-set of the event HERE.  

tiestoNovember 6th 2004. 

After the construction of the immense Ethias Arena Hasselt was ready for a big event. And so it came. Tiësto's new concert MAGIC hit ground zero @ 22 hours local time at friday the sixth of November. Publicity was HUGE and a large turnout was to be expected. Rumours of 16 000 people attending where overshadowed by the actual number of 22 000 fans turning up to watch their idol. One day after my 30th birtday an omen was in the air. This was gonna be big… and boy… Was it ever ….

At about 22 hours Saskia and me beamed down to the Ethias Arena expecting total chaos. Previous events involving a large crowd at the 'grenslandhallen' had a bad reputation. From long lines at the tickets up to riots at the 'vestiare'. But none of it apperad to be the case. Parking for the thousands of attending fans had been covered thanx to shuttle busses and the Ethias arena was big enough to swallow the immense crown fast enough making it possible to walk just in. My second surprise was the size of the hall. There is no point of reference as for scale but.. you KNOW its big.With cool 3d goggles on stand by a giant screen in the middle of the hall was to be the pinnacle for the warmup. 3d videoprojections that where impressivly real made me notice that 3D TV has come a long way.

As the spacy video's meshed into tantalising recordings of DJ Tiësto virtually 'touching' the crown from the giant screen the crowd was at critical mass for the show of their lifetime. I thought I was going to listen to a 8 hour set of Tiesto just playing records.I was dead wrong. Tiësto's show was going to be MAGIC.

The show kicked of with a mindnumbing opening where I got to see Mr Verwest in real life for real the show came true to its name. Magic was magic ! Not only extatic in sounds but also in vision. Magicians preformed an act making Tiësto disappear and reappear behind his decks. A simple trick but the Ethias Arena was jumping with joy.

teistiGiant screens kept us in touch with Tiësto's every move and the visual animations where spectacular. Allthough concentrated at the front of the Arena it immersed every dancer in an incredible sea of sounds, images and light. Pyrotechnics and INDOOR FIREWORKS would make Lazarus jump with joy.

As the hours went by acts where woven trough the continuüm of music. Djembe players playing live alongside Tiësto's raving rage made us all think of how short ago it was we where all in the cage as the primal rithems swept through our souls.

But it was going to get only better. Immersed in what seemed to be a different world 22 000 people beat their hearts to the bass sounds of Thijs Verwest. We where on track on the highway of melody. It was only going to get better.

Tiesto's Irish Light Crew and mysellf fraternised. ( And this atmosphere was living everywhere.) " Ein Reich ! Ein DJ " we chanted. And that is what is was. No more race, colour, nationality, rich, poor. 22 000 people having being enchanted by the same magic.

Following standard regulations we where (as always) surrounded by nice looking girls. 4 hours into the party we were not thinking about going home AT ALL

The combination of a Bulgarian choir singing LIVE with Tiesto's music moved me beyond what I had expected. Lingering thoughts about what my religion truely is had been answered. When I looked around, saw the people, heard the music and felt the enormous atmosphere I knew : THIS IS RELIGION. A religion of sound ! To whoever was not there it is hard to explain but when you feel a lump in your throat you KNOW you are having the time of your life.

(and I was heaving the time of my life). 6 hours into the party and not stopped dancing yet.

But it was still to come. Imagine a classical violist playing an electrical violin. When the sounds subside to a techno version of 'Air' by Bach this dude plays a fantastic techno tune ON HIS VIOLIN ! Downright AWE was all i could muster. Mouth and eyes wide open with amazement we could only be sweaped away in a tsunami of emotion as Tiësto joined in with the actual track. The violin player did not stop but went on ending in an climax playing his instrument like an electrical guitar. When the song stopped 22 000 people held their breath for a heartbeat. And exploded in an enormous cheer for a spectacle unheared. As I turned to Steven ( fellow partyer) we looked at eachother totaly blown away. "I have NEVER heared this before". This was enormous.

thijsAnd Tijs kept the classics for the last. Love DID come again and in its tunes. Playing his classic LOVE COMES AGAIN the Ethias Arena must have produced a small earthquacke. Literaly EVERYBODY went into extaxy. The religious experience I mentioned before took on something epical. I had never seen this !.

It was 6 30 AM. Not a fiber in our body thought about leaving. With hard romping beats ripping trough the crowd that despite the early hour was still plenty Tiesto made us explode once again.

And with Deliriums SILENCE as the last record we said goodbey to Tijs Verwest with an enormous applause. This man was and is our hero, the God of our religion, the fuse that set us alight and the true magician behind Tiësto's MAGIC !

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Ubuntu Studio .. Its coming !

fStudio

As most of you know, i'm an avid Ubuntu desktop user. I've come to like it so much, it has become the number one replacement for Windows XP in the house here. If its not a Mac , its probably running some Ubuntu distro. Why ? well , because for me, Ubuntu was easy to install and comes with a very nice way of updating and installing extra software. When it comes to my favourite Linux distribution (as a workstation) Ubuntu wins hands down …

But at a certain moment the novelty wares of, the "alternative choice of OS" looses its gleam and you arrive at the harsh reality of everyday life. Faced with a DVD that I would like to backup, I fret and search through my Ubuntu OS looking for an easy program to do this with. Its one of those situations where you can recite 50 Windows XP programs to do the trick, yet are not in the ability to find one simple solution for your predicament on your linux system. When it comes down to the crunch : Ubuntu should be able to do the trick just as easy as Windows or Mac-OS does. Sure, everybody can smack together a linux distro that lets you surf, chat, email, even play the occasional mp3 and WMV file. But what if things get more complicated.

Looking at the tough decision that my fellow Podcaster Dave is going to have to make : Reinstalling his (only) Windows XP machine, I wish I could give him an alternate choice. Forget Gatesware : Go open source … my heart screams. Yet in the harsh light of reality that is not always an option. Dave uses audio editing software like Soundforge an stuff, in order to work magic with the recordings of the Globalgeek Podcast. He needs multi track editing, compression tools, audio processing and mp3 encoding capabilities . Sure there are some nice programs for that in Ubuntu. But he who says you can do all that in AUDACITY has clearly not been into podcasting for long.

But an sliver of hope does gleam on the horizon. As the new edition of our beloved Ubuntu comes around, so does a special 'multimedia' distribution. UBUNTU STUDIO is the name, and a distribution to fit the multimedia geek is the aim : According to their wiki : Ubuntu Studio aims to be a multimedia editing flavor of Ubuntu for the Linux audio, video, and graphic enthusiast or professional who is already familiar with the Ubuntu-Gnome environment. Ubuntu Studio is currently in planning . So that sounds mighty cool to me. A tailored 'flavour" of a popular Linux distribution for multimedia geeks like us ? Will it be able to pack the crunch ? We"ll see when we get out hands on it.

Rounding up I must say that with distributions like this and interesting developements on both the Linux and the Apple front, me enthousiasm for Vista is just non existant. Its like having Steve Balmer in a Thong at the side of my bed, begging me to let him do everything my heart desires, yet failing in getting exited about the fact. Exept for some eyecandy the only thing I've heard about Vista so far has been a string of bad news. I'm sorry : Its not that I'm anti MS. Hell, appart from the security fuck-ups I liked their last two OS'es. But .. But together with my Mac and the current Linux systems I allready use .. I find no love for their new OS.  

I wish it was April allready.

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Goodbye "Moe" ..

Today we bare unfortunate and sad news on the Knightwise.com website as we are saddened to reprt the passing of Nyana's grandmother. "Moe" as we called her died age 86. She was one cool lady that will truly be missed. A real "old-school" grandma from way back. A time that did not have computers, cellphones and all that jazz. Somebody who always worked hard and looked towards the ever changing world with a wonderful skeptical look ! Grounded in roots of clay and farmland all the techno-tinker-tanker was no big buzz to her. One wonderful lady who coined the word 'straight talk' before Dolly Parton even had boobs. She will be truly missed !

 

moe

 

After a long battle against her illness she passed away this morning in  Hospital. For most people this means a lot of hassle. Obituaries, letters to family and friends, arranging the funeral and so forth.  And in a Cyber-minded household it is no different. As I look around me is saturated by technology.  Nyana and her sister are writing up the whole paperwork ( Fat chance that the mailman would not be able to read anything at all if I where to do the handwriting) and i'm promoted to geek-for-life , perched behind the laptop (where else) Googling up addresses of long lost family members and shady places of whom everybody knows the name but no-one can remember the adress. Emails fly back and forth between the print-house and the layout department (on my right) and even with death so close at hand… Life on the edge of real and cyberspace .. goes on .

 

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Building your own Backup Server with Freenas ?

backupThe one thing people ALWAYS forget to do is make backups. You know the drill : Once they loose everything, they cry and weep and cry some more and curse and promise that they will make backups next time. We have all been there at one point or another. Well as for me ? I've been there and done that but decided never again. So whenever I set up a fileserver I make sure I have plenty of room for backups. Hell , I just buy an extra harddrive with the identical capacity of my main data drive and let the machine backup everything from A to B , every single day ! Just Rsync from /hd1 to /hd2 at 4 am each morning.

But the thing that nags me is that that backup drive stays powered up all day long. It just sits there for the rest of the day, doin nothing, sucking power. And with the whole 'energy efficient" thing I have going on in our house ( I use timers and stuff like that) I thought : Why not do something about THAT.

The other thing that kept bothering me was the fact that one has all these hard disks lying around. You know : these days disks jump up in size from 120 to 250 to 400 gigabytes in a matter of months. And pretty soon you have all those "older" disks just lying around. Now I know you can put them in a hard drive enclosure and drag them around via USB, but just how many of those can you have. I mean : I've got 4 of these baby's lying around.

A better solution would be to build a server that can use all these disks and combine their storage power. Like an old tower with a lot of disks in them. That way I would have a final resting place for all my old hard drive's and have a "big backup place" to store things on.

But this backup server has some quota to meet :

– Be power efficient : Boot up automatically every day at a given time / Auto shutdown at a given time.

– Have plenty of storage space that can be easily expanded.

– Run an operating system that is fast with low maintenance requirements.

– Have the ability to report succeeded or failed backup operations.

 One likely candidate that jumps to mind is "Freenas"

Its an open source Linux distribution especially designed to serve as a fileserver system. Using a minimal OS Footprint (you can run it from a freaking thumbdrive) it boots up and allows you to share files over the network. Over at Daily cup of Tech  they have a great series of how to's on Freenas. 

freenas Allthough it looks great I still have to some things to check out before I install it.

– Can Freenas shutdown automatically ?  (scheduled shutdown)

-Can the data on the drive be damaged when there is a power interruption ? 

– Do I have to mount / unmount the Freenas shares in order to Push my backups from my fileserver to the backup server ?

– Can I let freenas PULL my backups

– Is the backed up data accessible when freenas is not running ? 

 

 

So perhaps I'll fiddle with it over the weekend and let you guyz know how it turns out.  

 

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