Floating beyond the cloud.

Its been an interesting and very fatiguing couple of weeks for me, but it looks like calmer water is on the horizon. Having to cross the country and work at different offices while de-cluttering some major project related hassle has thrown a spanner in the works of my daily blogging routine. So time for blogging and working on the website has been scarce. However , I have been busy tech-wise with some creative solutions to living and computing on the road.
Continuing on the subjects I talked about in KC0018 (Command and Conquer) I have looked into more ways of working with the two linux servers I have on my remote location , and interacting with them via the command line. Recently, besides having the possibility to use my Instant messaging and IRC via a command line terminal, I have also found command line replacements for interacting with Gmail (Alpine) Posting to Twitter (mitter) and reading my RSS feeds (newsbeuter) Although I went as far as using w3m for a text-based browser , I must draw the line there cause its just not practical to navigate DIGG or SLASHDOT with just text.
Even right now i’m writing this very blogpost in putty, over an SSH connection on one of my linux server. Somehow the simplicity of it all has grown on me and I find myself typing away raving fast on the keyboard, leaving my mouse untouched. Its very strange ! A lot of my "computing actions" are centred around working cross platform and working with web-based tools. But somehow the simple black and white interface of the terminal is even more convenient (and faster) to work with then the spiffy blingy OS or Web-based counterparts ! The absence of mouseclicks is made up for by the rattling of the keyboard. And, by using the SSH connection, the processor power of the machines I physically work on , no longer matters. The two linux VM’s i’m hooked up to have 256 megs of ram each ! Even my 24 inch imac has to do nothing more then facilitate the connection when i’m doing my daily (non graphical) chores.
Funny. Vista gets more bloated graphically, websites get more flashy and ajaxy, computers get faster and faster .. and me ? I’m happy with a linux server running (virtually) on tha 2.4 gig Xeon with megs of ram. Even the old laptop lying around at home (a 366 celeron with 128 megs of ram) could do the trick for me. Is my digital evolution taking me away from the path where i need more and more power ? Is it taking me to a place where I have learned to use computers as efficiently as possible , using a minimum of bandwidth and system resources ?

Seems that my evolution is taking me away from the concepts of "my operating system" (obsolete .. i use 3 of them) its taking me away from ideas like "my computer" (I can use every computer I get my hand) Its taking me beyond ‘my home network’ (I live on the web) My harddisk (everything is on the network) and "my applications" (I can use a myriad of ways to interact with my data) All in all its very strange. Sometimes it seems I’m floating above my own digital cloud , beyond the digital restrictions of location , operating system, processor power etc..
Strange .. but interesting.

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Kc219 "Command Line Conquer"

Time to setup our Linux SSH server and connect from any computer across the world (no matter the operating system) and use our new friend as a powerfull terminal server. Send files securely, Run IM programs, chat on IRC and more . All using the uber-cool command line interface.



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i'm Crackburried .



Ok, I think I can call it official now : i’m crackberried ! Yep , its true, its the horrible horrible truth, but my name is Knightwise and i’m a crackberry addict.

I’ve had the little device for over three weeks now and must say, that I can hardly live without it. Not that i’m one of those work-a-holics that needs to read and forward every piece of CC-mail they recieve, no its not that . I’m a blackberry addict because to me, its my digital lifeline to my virtual lifestyle. The 8310 I bought, second hand of kapaza.be cost me about 200 euro’s. The device was in mint condition (can you say : bubblewrapped ) and had obviously never been properly used when I took ownership of it. The first thing that I noticed is how light but sturdy the device is. The sceen is big and bright, the interface is very modest but very productive and the buttons remind me of my beloved Treo. Hardwarewise ?  I loved it right off the batt. What makes it stand out from the other smartphones that I owned is that its very sturdy and built for productivity, instead of bling – centered and being cluttered with all kinds of applications that don’t realy DO anything for you, besides waste your time. The camera is pretty good and shooting pictures at the 2 mpixes setting results in something more then 1600 x 1200 blobs of noise. The mp3 functionality is awesome and the one gig SD card onboard is home to a duplicate of my daily podcast list. 

The true power of this device however, lies in the software that is available. Pretty soon I had found the MAC OS version of the blackberry sync program and was pushing pictures, ringtones and music back and forth with ease. It also syncs up nice with Icall (nice but useless) and syncs up the contacts with my address book on the mac. So after some cleaning up of both calendar and address book, I had all my contacts on the device.

Now what ? As i said : I was looking for a completely wireless solution to my daily activities. Mail, contacts and Calendar should NOT be synced via a computer ! It should be done right away over the air .. thats what a blackberry is for. Enter Google and the Google plex ! First off all : Gmail supports full imap and instant delivery services on the Blackberry. No pop3 stuff , no sending under the wrong name , no delays. Instant mails on your blackberry from your Gmail account , Instant replication of forwarded messages, sent items and deleted items ! Love it ! . 

But Google took it a step further : Gcalsync does an INSTANT 2 way sync between your Google calendar and your Blackberry. That opened up a fantastic way of ‘groupware working’ between me and Nyana. She can add items to my calendar , I can add items .. and that way she knows where i’m hanging out and what’s on my schedule. The sync is instant and happens behind the screens. I don’t even need to run the app.

For instant communications I’m using the Googletalk client that i installed and that also gives me enhanced communication skills. (i must say , I hardly use the blackberry for calling people, its all mail ) and my facebook and Twitter traffic also goes over the respective clients I installed. 

The bottom line ? I have not switched on my classic cellphone in a few days now. i’ve left a greeting message on my voicemail telling people they must email me instead of using the telephone. And guess what ? It works ! Finally i’m casting of the lines of direct communications  with endusers in favor of a new way of "doing my digital thing". I’m not at the point where I get ‘blackberry deprived’ just yett, but even with the simple functionalities i’ve installed .. I’m crackberryfied ! 

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Oh brave new world.

Yesterday was my birthday. And my birthday is something that I let slide past me without making any fuss about it. Its a slow quiet day where I contemplate about what i’ve achieved in life and where I count my blessings and am thankfull for all I have.  ( I of course also wonder if I am indeed getting older and slowly mutter a curse that my good looks are fading away). But i’m not one of those " Yippie ka Yeey its my birthday types". No big party, no raving half-drunk about the virtues of old age .. no near depressive episodes .. stuff like that.

Usually the day passes with a few phone calls from friends and family who call to congratulate me. (I never know what to say to those, they make me a bit shy and uneasy), the occasional birthday card (fewer and fewer over the years) and that is about that. This year however, that all changed.

The addition of my FACEBOOK PROFILE to my digital lifestyle came with a built in calendar. And that in turn, notified my friends online .. and that changed my birthday experience altogether.



So pretty soon I had friends from far of places sending me best wishes, my Blackberry became abuzz with emails, Text messages started coming in and I even got some phone calls (my mom and my aunt). But all the rest ? All of it was online ! Email, Facebook, Instant messaging.. All of it became digital.

It made me realize just how my life has changed.  How I have become a citizen of the world, and the web. How my "social landscape" is much broader then the town I live in. And how importantly I value that "digital lifestyle". And as my perceptions of the world are those of a shrinking planet, bringing us closer together, I feel my horizons broaden as I get to stay in touch with all these different people all over the world. I love it !.

Oh Brave new world.

I’m generally not much of an optimist, mostly cautious in my views on world events. But yesterday the world presented my with a great birthday present. History was made yesterday, as we saw that change, that ANYTHING is possible. The outcome of the elections in the US resonated across the globe. The speech of Barak Obama made living rooms fall silent as people listened in.  On Cnn a Hologram reported the victory of a black president in the 2008 elections. Online millions of people commented, participated and experienced the event. It sounds like pure science fiction but it was in fact pure reality. For one , wonderful moment, humanity conviced me that anything is possible if we put our minds to it. : YES WE CAN !


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