Kc207 : "Cloud Computing"

The silence before the storm has passed and the Knightcast is back on the air. In episode 7 its time to take a look at the smallest affordable laptop on the planet. (No , not the OLPC) and debunk the myth that you need a lot of storage space on your harddrive to remain a happy camper. We show you how the net can become your mobile office and take you to cloud number nine in our overview of “Cloud computing”.

Shownotes.

 

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Meet PasCale… He's from .."Genk".

I seldom post ‘funny video’s’ but this one is a little exception. Unfortunately for all you non-Flemish speaking people you will be only able to appreciate the acting. This is a cool little video of a local comic who made up this "macho" character called PasCale. For you Yanks : Remember how the Italian Macho’s sound in Jersey .. This is kind of the same. PasCale speaks "Cité’s" a local variation of our lingo drenched with Italian, Spanish, Greek, Turkish and other accents. He is from ‘Genk’ a nearby town that is famous for its mining heritage and the fact that a lot of immigrants live there. They came to work in the Belgian mines after the war and the mixing bowl of all those cultures has made Genk one of the most tolerant, multicultural and economically strong cities in Belgium (not to mention they have the hottest chicks) And they have the Lingo to match. For you Belgians .. Welcome To Genk! 

 

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Doing the Samba.

Its all over the TV these days. Celebrities trying to impress the crowds (and revitalise their dwindling careers) by doing some ballroom dancing. To me this kind of entertainment is enough to wish for some king of sensory failure of my higher brain functions, but luckily i can just zap away when it gets too much. As for my own attempts at dancing .. they have not been very successful so far. I have trodded on the virtual dancefloor and have been spinning my feet in a futile attempt to learn another dance : The Samba.

No of course not the real "dance" but the SAMBA server on Linux. Filesharing under Windows is based upon the SMB protocol, its open source counterpart is the SMB or SAMBA server.  A way to turn a Linux box into a file server where Windows clients can logon to. All pretty great, if you remember our ‘Feisty for the Family’ series, we managed to get some simple filesharing up and running using a Linux box, webmin and some windows clients. If you use webmin its pretty easy, click to install Samba, Click to install shares, click to add some users and you are basically done. Who said Linux was hard.

So far no problem, unless you try do to things that are a little harder, like turning that Samba box into a Windows Domain Controller. This means that the "linux" box recognizes all the users that log onto the system and gives them the appropriate rights. Instead of having to configure every user manually on the Windows clients, you create them on the Samba PDC (primary domain controller) and let him handle it.

Thats where the problem lies. Trying to let Linux machines do Windows things, works, but the documentation is very very hard to find and damn complicated if you are not an advanced Linux user. I have been wrestling through howto’s, fighting with manuals, chatting on IRC channels… and all in all it gets more complicated by the minute. There are a few typical things that still exist in the Linux community and that really need to change : For one : If you ask a question about letting Linux do Windows things, some smart asses still go like " Well don’t use Windows then " Thats not the real world now is it. The one and only way to get more Linux out there is to have it exist side by side with Windows. The other pain that is still out there is the "binary" way manuals are written. Sometimes a manual is very nice and easy to follow. Yet sometimes it looks like its been written by some highbrow Linux programmer with much better things to do then to write manuals for us noobs, so he just scrabbles down some commands and some endless code on a strip of paper and tells you to do "man – the command you dont understand because he did not explain it right" whenever you have a problem.

But I have decided not to give up on the whole thing and valiantly continue to stump my toe against the next hurdle, learning more and understanding more about linux in the process. Right up to the point where I CAN … do the Samba.

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Star Trek "Fallen Angels" part 1

As most of you know I’m kind of a Star Trek fan and many of my English writing skills come from reading English novels and literature. Most of these novels are Star Trek paperbacks, of which I have quite a collection. To get my mind off the constant overload of technology I decided to plant myself behind my Asus EEE pc and carefully peck out the first part of a little project I’m working on : My own little Trek fan fic. Don’t worry, its not going to be one of these ‘ Picard vs Kirk ‘ pieces of crap you find all over the net where you can smell a costumed fan sitting behind his computer yelling "make it so" This is my attempt to fondle with a period of Star Trek history that has always interested me. The time just after ‘The undiscovered country" where peace between the Klingons and the Federation is only just beginning and where loyalties are still not settled in on one side or the other. I’ll publish the next "parts" as I write them so you guys can tag along.

 Star Trek "Fallen Angels"

Star Trek "Fallen Angels" takes place 3 months after the initial Kithomer conference mentioned in Star Trek 6 "The undiscovered country".

Prologue. 

The stars shone brightly in the darkness of space. Their glittering pinpoints of light a stark contrast to the inky blackness of deep space. No far stretching horizons, nor the abundance of color of a flowing field of poppies in the summer sun, The simple perfection of silver on black. Ultimate beauty in ultimate simplicity. “odd,” she thought, that she would notice such details amids the havoc that reigned all around her. I’m loosing it .. I’m going mad. But then again.. was madness in an insane world not considered normality ? In her peripheral vision a red glow pulsated off and on. She knew that the pulsing colors should have been accompanied by the blaring sounds of a red alert. But the only thing she heard was the pounding of her own heart. Vacuum did those kind of things. Steeling away the air for the sound waves to ride one, engulfing her in silence. stealing away the air .. Stealing away her friends .. her hope. All of it lost in an instant moment of explosive decompression. She stared out at the stars, Their lights beaconing her through the gaping hole that had once been the port section of the bridge. Now a gaping tattered and jagged black hole, razor sharp pettles of duranium curling out and inward. Was that a peace of uniform caught on there ? she did not want to know.

Looking down she realized she was still clutching the back of the captains chair. Its vacant seat pointing towards the gaping hole. And it was just as empty as the space beyond.. As the rest of the bridge. She prayed it was all just a bad dream.. and if it was not she wished it had happened swiftly.. for everyone on the bridge, For her captain. A voicecrackled in her helmets speakers. Sounding hesitant, in shock no doubt.. and also filled with fear. “ Gomez to Lieutenant Young “ she recognizedthe voice as coming from one of the ensigns that had bailed out on the very errand she was sent on. “ Go to the bridge, find out why they are not responding.. find out what happened” Well now she knew..didn’t she. “ Young here” she answered. “We have multiple casualties down here lieutenant,” Gomez continued. “ The chief .. the chief is dead, whats the status up there” She heard herself reply, her voice vacant of any emotion that could comprehend the horror of the situation. “ The bridgehas been exposed to space, everybody is gone.. the captain is … gone” “What do you mean .. gone” Gomez blurted out. Young continued.. words sliding out as if they where spoken by somebody else “as remaining senior officer..i’m assuming command of this ship” .

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Subscribe to the Newsletter.

Work continues on the Knightwise.com website as we add another cool feature : The KW.com newsletter. It took me some tinkering with the "letterman" module in Joomla but its up and running. If you like to have KW.com content pushed towards you .. Why not subscribe to the newsletter. Every time we release a podcast (yeah yeah 🙂 One is coming your way this week. ) Just scroll down on the left-hand side and enter your credentials. I’m out the door .. stay tuned for the Knightcast coming up this week.

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Radio is Dead to me.

Sunday afternoon, Nice and quiet, Upstairs in the central command
center…
(well, Office .. workplace) Powerbook munching away at some
backups, turning them into ZIP files for later storage. And in the
background : Music. True, I’m good at multitasking but suck at
listening to podcasts and computing at the same time. Guess I’m not a
woman. Music of choice ?  Nothing , that is , I let the choices be made
by somebody else. Somewhere in my aristocratic status as a cyberlord, I
have come across a little butler who queries me what my pleasure is.
"What is your Flavor Mylord" I almost hear him whisper. As I blurt out
a composer or artist that currently suits my whims, this little minion
scours away and brings me his music and that of other artists like him.
From my throne I vacantly pear at the old radio set that sits quietly
in the corner. ITs power cord disconnected, scavanged to feed the
powersupply of some pheripheral. I leer at it and bellow mockingly ..
"You, my dear radio, are Dead to me." 

Having worked in radio as
a DJ I have witnessed it wither away from the powerful medium it once
was to the smoking remains it is to me today.
As a DJ in a small radio
station I thought I could do my thing, let people hear new music, new
types of content. Talk about different things then the omnipresent
commercial crap that was so omnipresent. But the station manager handed
me a poorly copied hard copy of an excel sheet. Telling me to play 16
records in an hour , of which 4 should be in the current hit parade, 4
should be from the 70’s, 4 from the 80’s and 4 of the nineties (and
four from the plastic box that housed the ‘recently fell from the
charts’ category.) Creativity ? Trying to talk him into doing a show
about computers and technology and interviewing people were met with
arguments as being "Too High brow". I gave up. Listening to the radio
these days is the exact reflection of that argument. Let us take a look
at Q-music for example. One of the most popular radio stations in this
part of the country. Filled with DJ’s who think they are half-gods.
These guys must at least once a week get caught at masturbating in
front of the mirror. The music they play is an endless repetition of
the 20 something commercial records that are brutally forced down every
bodies ear canal for weeks and weeks on end. I mean it : Even F**
autistic people could be fased out by this amount of repetition. And
apparently this station is mainly directed towards goldfish. Since they
posses the average memory span of 5 seconds, the radio station assures
they remember who they are listening to by constantly jamming out the
"Q IS GOOD FOR YOU" Jingles. I mean .. Come on. When I listened 5
seconds ago , it was commercial crap, Now, i’m still listening to
commercial crap, I have not switched stations nor committed suicide so
its safe to assume that I am aware this is still the same fracking
radio station !.

So I tuned out of radio altogether 3 years ago,
switching to my own music collection and of course tons of podcasts.
Tailoring the content to my interest and weeding out the narcissistic
DJ’s all together (including Adam Curry). But once in a while my head
is on the virge of exploding with yet another info-rich podcast so its
time for some music. Itunes playlists … yeah .. but I know all my
content. I would like to listen to some "custum tailored radio" if I
may. But without the talk, Without the commercials and introducing me
to new artists and content within the boundaries of the genre I get to
select. If possible provide me with information about the artists and a
direct way to purchase the music online. Could you do that please ? 

The
answer ! Yes you can.
From the ashes of commercial radio and through
the pipes of the internets flows the sweet power of last.fm. The minion
I mentioned above is a free service that you can use to listen to music
online. High quality music, and its free. Just go to their website,
type in the genre or artist of your liking and Last.fm will give you a
cristal clear free stream of music filled with related music and more.
A great free way to listen to music, a magnificent way to discover new
artists and music. No jingles , No Dj’s. No being stuck in the same
playlists. The phoenix of radio has arrisen for me . .And its called
last.fm.

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My new Ipod Touch.

When I take a peek at the receipt of my Ipod Video, I see its almost
three years old. When I take a peek at the receipt of my First 3G Ipod
i see its over 4 years old. That is pretty long for a portable device
considering that none of their predecessors ( A Rio, A creative Zen
Jukebox and some others) never made it over the one year mark. And both
those Ipods do not lie in the "drawer of obsoleteness" that has become
the resting place for some of my gadgets, nor have they been sold
online even though they keep their value pretty well. The reason for
that is : Both devices are still active today. My first Ipod (bought
back in the days BEFORE Podasting) has been going around with me to
work for a few years, has been the major source of music throughout our
renovations of the house (with all the dust and that) and for the last
2 years, has been in Nyana’s possession for daily use in her car. Yet
the thing still unboxkeeps working.  My Ipod video  ? 3 straight years of
daily use (from 2 to 10 hours) have still not worn it down. But still
it was time for a change.

One of the possible successors
for my Ipod should bring something extra to the table
. And I must say I
was not tempted by the Iphone for one second. To me the Iphone falls
into the category of the Macbook air : Overpriced and Overhyped. What
did peek my attention was the Ipod Touch. Wifi on board, Video display
and now, with the software upgrade, some cool little applications to
come along with it. For its price it looked like pretty good deal.

For
once I did not scour the internet for reviews. I heard Kd Murray (The
maclabrat at the GGP) talk about it and was convinced. Having had an
early model of the Ipod touch in my hands a few months ago, I knew the
interface was up to Apple’s reputation. Sure I was looking for a
replacement for my Ipod video (on which I did not watch a LOT of video)
but I did not think it would surprise me like this.

Looking at
the amount of content I carry around with me
: I decided to go for the
16 gig version. I’m not somebody who carries around their entire music
collection. I listen to a lot of podcasts so the content is always
‘fresh’ and changing every day. No massive music collection, just 3
recent episodes of about 25 podcasts, and I’m settled. But when I got
my hands on the device the Wifi functionality proved to be kicker. This
is not an MP3 player equipped with a screen. To me the Ipod touch is a
wireless tablet that lets me read my email (though Imap !) Surf the web
(with a browser and an interface that makes the pocket pc os look like
something from the stone age). And in addition it lets me play my
podcasts and video’s. Oh yeah : There is also a youtube channel that
plays content straight from youtube. That was something I found
amazing. The combination of the screen and the wifi turns the "core
value" of the touch into a tablet pc instead of an MP3 player. The
on-screen keyboard might not be "novel writing" material , even writing
a quick email is not very obvious, but still : When it comes to Hotspot
hunting : It beats the crap out of my (far more expensive)
"htc-Windows-mobile" cellphone that is also equipped with wifi.

If
the keyword is "letting technology work for you"
I would give the Ipod
Touch a silver medal for coming in as one of Apple’s best Ipod models
so far: Who the crap needs GPRS connection using the overpriced Iphone
when you can steal wifi with a much easier and cheaper device. The
added value of being able to make phonecalls, just does not justify the
price for the iphone, where the added value of wifi / email / youtube /
safari to a "horizontal ipod video" surely makes the Ipod touch a
bargain !  

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