Read a book sometimes (Free audiobooks)

Every morning I have this little routine. After breakfast I go up to my home server, and disconnect my Ipod that has been charging all night. I mostly do it JUST before I leave the house ? Why  ? So I can let my Itunes scan for content until the last minute. Why's that I hear you mumble once more . Well , THAT is because i'm subscribed to some 30 podcasts that I like to listen to every week. Most of them are about news and technology of course. But there is the occasional off-topic podcast (about Ghosts, about Buddhism ..) that slides in.

But the last few days i've become addicted to this great audio book by J.C. Hutchins called : Seventh Son. I think this is about the fourth complete book i've listened to on my Ipod. It started out last year with Scott Sigler's EARTHCORE and after that his other 2 books Infection and Ancestor. Two fantastic works of fiction, read by Scott himself. The cool part is : not only are these great stories to listen to, you can listen to them for free. And because they are read by the author, the really knows how to "tell" the story.

Since there is a new episode out of their story every week, it of course keeps me craving for more as yet another podcast ends on a cliffhanger. So dive into Itunes or look for these gentlemen on their respective websites and become entangled in the Pod-iobook web.

 

J.C. Hutchins : Seventh son Audiobook. 

 

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How I use my Treo.

treoOne of the gadgets i've been lugging around for the longest time now is my Treo 650. Its quite remarkable if you look at it. I used to have the reputation to switch phones faster then Dame Edna would switch wigs, but still .. It has been by my side for over a year now.  Now why do I think so high of my Treo ? Well , cause its the merger between my Cellphone and my PDA for one. But also because it has become more then just a fancy gadget. A cool toy to play with when I have five minutes to throw away. Instead It has become my digital lifeline away from home. The things I do from this baby are sometimes a little amazing :). 

I'll take you through some applications I use.

Versamail : Obviously not the BEST mail client for your Treo , but good enough for me. It is my main line of communication in this little phone. 90% of my com. traffic goes via Email. Thanks to the not-so-bad keyboard on the Treo, I can get quite some text done. By forwarding all my Emails to a separate Gmail account, I can let my Treo retrieve all my mails, and still be able to pop3 my original mailbox using my client on the laptop.

Camera : The Treo comes with an online camera. People use it to snap silly pictures , I do more. Whenever I need a visual memory-boost to remember something by (setup of a patchpanel, the way dials are arranged on my mixer and so on) I use the camera. I just snap a pic , store it , or just keep in on the screen. I don"t use it for extensive picture-taking. Just a visual – flash drive. When in need I can pop the pic in the Email application and fire it away.   (" Honey , do you want THIS coffeemaker for  Christmas .. PIC INCLUDED IN EMAIL …)

 -Browser : The Treo comes with a built in Browser, and we all now that ALL browsers on PDA's suck. The one on the Treo is no extension .. if you visit normal webpages. But with a service called MOBIFEEDS  you can  access special webpages made from the rss feeds of any site you want. Mobifeeds takes DIGG for example and sizes the content down to exactly something that is readable on your Treo. Very nice to quickly glance up at content while on the road.

Gcalsync : Perhaps the most important application  It does a two way sync between the calendar on the Treo and my Gmail calendar. Using my gprs connection this means I can update my calendar ANYWHERE.

and finally : PSSH :  or should I call it Palm-Putty !  This recent addition to my mobile pack enables me to setup a terminal session on my linux server. Text only of course , but thus a great way to interact with the commandline of my Ubuntu server over a small pipe 🙂 Its ultra cool to sit somewhere during lunch and while others are yapping away, you just "sudo apt-get upgrade" all the software on your linux machine .. From your phone ! I love it ! 

In hindsight ?  Sometimes I come home after being on the road all day and am amazed at just how much stuff I can get done using just my Treo. No way is it a media storage device, or somewhere where I have 500 installed applications on the palm of my hand . Its a TOOL , with a few simple but powerful applications that allow me do get stuff done when i'm away from a broadband internet connection. GPRS used to be a gimmick for me. Something to "play with" but thanks to my Treo, it has become my connection to the net from just about anywhere.  

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Another week .. Another Geek.

modemWith the weekend rolling around it was time to can another episode of the Global Geek Podcast. This time me and my technological urges had made the pre-production of the show a little more stressful then usual due to the fact that I wanted to get my entire Routing setup overhauled before we got started. So it was bye bye to my Linksys BSFRX41 router and hello and how-are-you to a new US Robotics 8200 router with built in VPN endpoint capabilities and FTP Server. What is funny is the atmosphere in which this all takes place. Its not that I just yank everything off the wall and calmly an quietly put everything together again. No ! A migration of any peace of hardware that is required for our internet connection is done with extreme care. Looking at contingencies in case that our new peace of gear would not work right away, a deadline at what point the new hardware should be working before we fall back to the old situation, And a schedule that includes only the times that our internet connection is not really needed. Believe me 🙂 Those times are few and far apart.

The final peace of the puzzle to our home network setup proved to be a router or modem that could natively handle a DYNDNS client without making too much of a fuss. Thanx to codemonkey Rob I had an Alcatel Speedtouch 510  lying around but it was virtualy wothless as a modem or a router due to the fact that the software on it was crap. As it is with the cheapest things, the can do the greatest things. A little searching on the net brought be to the realisation that these baby's are popular as hell and that there are all kinds of nice firmware upgrades to be obtained from the net. So with the new firmware version the little modem got a LOT of extra functionality and is ready to be tested on the next window-of-oppurtunity that presents itsself.

Meanwhile : You can surf over to : THE GLOBAL GEEK PODCAST and enjoy this weeks show. (btw : You hear me fall on my ass in this one.. 3 times in a row.)

geek

The Global Geek Podcast #034 :: Looks are Everything

Welcome to The Global Geek Podcast for this week. It has been a full week of news so we have a great show. But we have tried to cover the stuff that got forgotten in favour of Apple (but we do have something to say about Apple). So enjoy!

This week we cover some items from the Consumer Electronics Show, Adult Films, Firefox 3 and one good reason not to live in Qatar.

Some cool tools that enable you to sync online video with your iPod, hacking Skype, software for your TREO and create killer screenshots.

Our whistle stop tour of the web this weeks brings you a great new blogging platform, a service that makes you money by hosting video and we find out what blends.

 

 

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Sleep tight cyber citizens …

 

pilm

 

At CES halls are filled with thousands of expensive computersystems, High definition TV's and ultra portable cellphones. At Macworld Steve Jobs talked about how "inconvenient" it is to use a modern day smartphone. Bush just asked for a whole lot of money to wage war against an unseen enemy and the RIAA sued allofmp3.com for the sum of a small Island. Meanwhile the modern day geek complains about his broadband speed. Heckles the fact that he cant transfer his funny movies from his Imac to his HDTV without having to downscale the resolution. How they are not seen as the true "blogger" they are or get frustrated about some comment somebody posted on Digg.

Meantime .. in the real world … a child crawls towards a foodcamp, fighting for its own survival ..  while already being stalked by a hungry vulture. The irony ? If this where a scene from some playstation or Xbox game .. complaints would be flying around everywhere. But the kicker is : This is reality. And no one stands up against reality.  I feel like I'm in the Matrix sometimes. Surrounded by technology and progress. Engulfed in a total immersing sensation of wellbeing, with only trivial artificial problems to keep my busy. Why won't my Ipod Sync, Who has the rights to enforce this DRM on this song.. How many downloads does my podcast have. All of this and more keep my focus away from the harsh reality that sits on the other end of the digital divide.

And as children like these die from hunger every single day … We congratulate ourselves on the back for giving them the 100 dollar laptop.

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I know : Lets make something horrible : A story about the WRT54g v7

Wireless networking is sometimes a tricky business. I'm not referring to the countless open access points I count on every day to provide me with a much needed IP when I’m away from home. These are all the situations where everything is fine and dandy and nice. I am however referring to the times it does not work. The houses that suck up wifi coverage like Sponguebob Squarepants in the Sahara. That eat away at transmission ranges of access points like Oprah Winfrey munches lard-tarts. Those kind of things. Cause face it. When you have to do an installation of a wireless product somewhere … its seldom without risk.  First off you have to go out to the shop and buy a wireless access point (or router of course ) next up you need to install it , and pray that it will give you adequate range so you can at least get 5 feat away from your wifi spot and still enjoy wireless surfing. If it works you're in luck, if it does not .. you are proverbially fucked. Cause there is no way to guarantee that any access point will cover the range you need. It depends on your house, the position of your laptop, the wifi card in your laptop and so on. Its a small nightmare.Or at least it WAS until Linksys released the infamous WRT54g Router, running on a Linux derivative. This 80 Euro peace of hardware was not very pretty to look at but it had one big advantage. Since Linksys used an open source firmware, they had to make this firmware public and allow the open source community … to improve it.

Thus came the hungry mobs of developers who turned this 80 Euro machine into one of the most versitile and powerfull wireless routers you could buy for the price of a cheap Nigerian prostitutes hourly fee.  Thanks to these 'improved firmware " the WRT54g turned into something far beyond the expectations of the original manufacturer. Using the minute memory space on the router, open source developers turned managed to extend the range, add extra security, opened up the console so you could access the darn thing with putty and so on. But of course the key element was that they pumped up the transmit power over 90%. In many situations this little router saved my life. Having set up one of these cheap ass routers in a local student dorm, i was (thanks to the improved firmware) able to service 15 students AT ONCE with a wireless internet connection, in a BIG ASS old building with LOTS of walls. All of this thanks to the firmware called  HYPERWART.

 

So whenever I had to advise a wireless router to people, the answer was always the same : A wrt54g running Hyperwart. Users where happy, Hyperwart got a lot of attention, Linksys sold a lot of WRT54g's… Until recently.SOMEBODY at Linksys must have gone criminally insane because when version 7 of the WRT54gs came out  .. they decided to rip out the motherboard of their successful router , put something broadcom chipset in there and ship it in the same casing, the same box, under the same name .. Only that their most successful router (thanks to the open source community) does NOT support all the great "function improving' firmware like HYPERWART. And to ad shame to misery (or the other way around) the range on the device is absolutely horrible ! It sucks beyond belief !!! Now at what point do you kill off a successful product ? What board meeting must be swamped with nerve gas to make one decide such a crappy course of action to yank out the gut of a great machine ! Needless to say i'm pissed, (i'm happy i've got a model from an earlier version) but it does leave me without a shit-free router to advise to friends and relatives. Sometimes it just boggles the mind. 

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Hey Steve .. Do you know where Europe is ? Macworld Keynote 2007.

I guess just about everybody on the planet who dares to run a website or blog is probably writing about this stuff, but I can't pass up on chipping in my own two cents on last nights KEYNOTE by Steve Jobs. I can't believe a year has passed since the last mac-world where the intel macs where presented. That time I followed the whole show online with hawk eyes, waiting to see what rumors came true and which ones where just bogus. This year however I was glad the thing was over. Not because I was waiting to find out what was new .. But because I was downright sick of all the speculations in podcasts, on blogs and what have you. While most apple fanatics today ( I close my eyes and see the local mac club panting in exhilaration ) are probably lucky their keyboards are white anyway (get it ) I'm not so over the moon with the entire line of products that are presented and my favor goes out to the underdogs of new products.  Lets go over them.

 The Iphone.

 My god : Has this little baby been hyped. If I have to listen through another podcast that speculates about the coming Iphone or read one more digg entry with yet another mock up shot of the Iphone .. I'll scream.. Oh wait ! That means i'm gonna have to scream a lot .. for a long time .. for about ONE YEAR ! ! ! ! . If you want the specs on this baby or a complete review .. Hit google and knock yourself out for about 3 weeks delving through the press this little device is going to get. What irritates me is that here in Europe we are going to have to wait UNTIL THE END OF THE YEAR before they ship ! What the hell ? One complete year between the launch in the US and the launch in Europe ? Its not that I'm craving for my apple fix here (hell , I'm one of the few people that actually wants to review the product before buying it) but this is too far out. Granted : it might be the killer phone ( I can already feel the loss in weight around my waist as my ipod and my treo merge into just one device) and am surely exited about the specs (Widgets are going to be big ! Dave's prediction on the GGP has come true)  but why wait a complete YEAR before making the switch ! The only thing that REALLY pisses me off on the whole deal is that i'm going to have to endure a whole years worth of press about the 'iphone' .. My iphone blaaa… your Iphone Blaaaa and so forth. Listening to a lot of American podcasts I'm going to feel pretty out of the loop when they chat this cellphone up.

The AppleTV.

tvAh , this I like a little better. Now I can finally have a go at running all the video podcasts I have on my mac mini, straight to my tv set. Mind you the technology of a breakout box is not that new , I've been using my KISS player for the last few months and it too supports playing my Itunes music and my video's on the tv , just not the "IPOD VIDEO VIDEO's" (with Apple's proprietary codec) At about a 150 dollar , the cheapest Kiss player also has a built in DVD player that can handle just about any kind of video codec (as long as it ain't apple). Too bad actually but i've found a workaround that lets me play the video's i've recorded with my EyeTv to the television. Its not top notch .. but it works. The AppleTV is not such a bad thing. Giving me breakout-box power using Wireless Networking technology is always nice for the wife but pumping a lot of video over a 54meg G connection is problematic at best. Thats why the apple TV uses the N-wireless standard and also sports an internal 50 gig drive. My questions are : Is that N standard apple proprietary ? and is 50 gigs of HD space enough. But the last and most important question is : Where the crap is my content. Once again : this appletv works great for playing video podcasts but is actually intended to play video's you bought of the Itunes Video store. … WHAT ITUNES VIDEO STORE. Once again : Europe does not even have one. We can't buy stuff to play on our apple tv. The only thing we can play are video podcasts and stuff. But buying tv series on line and all that crap  ? No way when you are in Europe. Then why buy this 400 euro device ? Just for video podcasts and playing your Itunes music  ? Where is the content Steve ?

The new airport !

airporstNow here is the peace of hardware I like best. Priced at 150 euro's is the cheapest slickest wireless router you can buy. Equipped with TWO antenna's it can do both Wifi N (FAAST !) and Wifi G at the same time. So that would make a very good solution when you are upgrading from one standard to the other (otherwise your wifi router would switch everything to the speed of the slowest client). So i'm happy there. It looks cool, can sport a hard drive and (for us Europeans) might be the best buy so far. (if this N-standard is going to be THE standard) 

 

Epilogue.

I think Steve Jobs needs another geography lesson. He should probably try to zoom out on Google Maps and see that there are other continents on the globe as well. Now i know that their are legal deals stopping him from opening up the Itunes Video store but putting a year between the launch of the Iphone just to get it across the pond ? Do these buggers have to swim themselves ? I'm pretty disappointed at the US-centered policy of apple in this last keynote. Not because I'm begging to buy , but because I have to endure the press for a whole fracking year before I can counter it with some valid arguments of my own.. As a user.  I guess they can't spell EUROPE in LA.

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Back from the dead !

OUch ! allmost a month since I last updated  ! Not good at all. Lets just start off with the usual crap wishing everybody merry Christmas, happy new year and all that jazz. With all the holidays over, the Christmas lights boxed up and the plastic reindeer in quarantine we can do away with all the festive nonsense and get on with it. Before I start over on my daily rant, I just want to give you guys a few quick updates about whats goin down.

 

realLife update : One of the things frequent listeners to the Knightcast and the Knightwise.com website know , is that we have had a hard time keeping our house over the last few years. We bought our place three years ago and starting ten months after the purchase we've been haunted by real estate developers who want to tear down half the street and build an apartment complex here. After doing negotiations for two years with several of these developers in order to get a good deal for our house, the city of Hasselt has finally decided that its NOT going to happen. Any one-family house smaller then 250 square meters is not to be torn down in favor of some real estate jockey who wants to plant the next empire state building in the hart of our town. So thats actually good news. It means that we can stay in our house and finish up our renovations. So we are very happy about that.

New years resolution : I just have one new years resolution this year , and the effects are hopefully going to be noticed. This year I want just a little more time for little old me. I know its a classic , but if you see that it has been almost two months since I've been able so take some time out for myself , sit down and have a coffee in a cafe somewhere while reading a book or typing up a post ..  you can imagine how hectic my life is. I'm on the road a lot and when I am not at work or commuting to or from work , my Google calendar looks more like the "twister" mat then the pale blue it should resemble if all of my free time was indeed "free time" So this year I have some things planned. I have some classes I would like to take, have my bachelors degree in telecommunication to finish of and I want to have time to sit down and drink an occasional cup of coffee , while staring at a blanc google calendar. More ME time .. (or is that "mii" time)

Speaking of Mii's (and not wanting to rant about the Wii once more) I'm happy to say that we took the Wii to our family diner over Christmas. And let me just tell you If you guyz think Nyana is scary while boxing, her little sister is even worse. As a Tae-Kwon-Do Black-belt fighter she is not only ultra cute in her evening wear , she also has fists that fly like rockets. Thus when I played Wii-Tennis against her .. all hell broke loose and my little Mii's had so scramble for cover. I'll include a picture.

anneleen

Podcasting : I always forget to mention : But the Geek is up ! After a 2 week hiatus you can enjoy the Global Geek Podcast episode 33 over at www.globalgeekpodcast.com and hear me and Dave rant in the new year. The presence of episode 33 of the GGP makes me look at the sad score of the Knightcast podcast , its been another few weeks since i've gotten an episode out and i'm not sure if i'll be able to ship one soon. The calendar is just booked full . With production time for the GGP growing (cause there is work to be done , can"t let my buddy Dave do EVERYTHING) my free time is dwindling away. So i've been toying with the idea of letting the Knightcast gently podfade away into the Globalgeek podcast, where you (thanx to Dave) can enjoy a rock solid weekly dose of tech news.

 

 

Rounding up.  Gotta dash to work my friends , hope you enjoy this little post and i'll see you guyz and galls tomorrow !

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