My week in Tech.

Its been quite a busy week this week with quite a bit going on, so I’ll just try to list up whats going down.

Triple dose of Knightwise.com
Coincidentally (or via devine intervention) those who would like to get their dose of Knightwise every week, might find out that they can OVERDOSE this week. Recently I was interviewed by two fellow podcasters : The lovely Alison Sheridan of the Nosillacast
Podcast over HERE AND by David Allen for the Mac
20 Questions podcast.
So for those of you who want to here my thoughts
on Cross-platform computing OR shed some light on the apple-fanboy allegations that have been thrown my way : Please check out these 2 great apple-centered podcasts.
I had a wonder full time as a guest on both podcasts and could not help myself in teasing some fellow "Belgians" in the Pod-o-sphere.

Upgrade-Day.
This weekend I also kept myself busy installing Snow leopard on most of our macs in the house. I passed by the Apple Store in Maastricht and asked them for the price of the new Snow Leopard cd, cause I heard that they did an ‘upgrade promo’ for about 29 euros. Turns out  that this promo is a "constant price point" and that the so-called "upgrade" version is in fact a complete retail version of Snow Leopard. Ok, if you are already running Leopard, 30 Euros might be a little much for a "service pack’ ( Cause lets face it, it is an "enhancement" to the current leopard distro) but for those of you who come from a 10.4 version, its a nice price point. The family pack ( 5 licences ) was only 49 Euros, so that’s definitely a bargain. Looking at the alternative ( Downloading a torrent of the os from some hack site and risking a piggy-backing Trojan)
the price for Snow Leopard did not make it worth the wile to pirate it.
So i bought it and installed it on the systems at home. I think this is
the only way you can market an OS these days, for 30euros its a very cool deal (or 50 euros
for a multiple licence) make something so cheap, it isn’t worth the
risk of pirating it.  The installation ( I did and upgrade on theuni body MB pro and a bare bone install on Nyana’s
MB) did give me a system that was faster and had a smaller hard-disk
footprint then its predecessor. The ability to directly connect to my
Google Calendar (and preform a seamless 2-way sync) gave Icall
the right to exist in my dock. I love the fact that Apple is finally
integrating cloud based services like Google into their OS, this way
you can have the convenience of the Mac OS tied in with the
cross-platform abilities of your cloud data. As an addition I threw
fiveeuros at the Itunes store for the 3.1 software version for the touch. So far i LOVE it ! I can play podcasts at double speed, hop back 30 seconds in a podcast at the touch of a button AND shake my Ipod
when I don’t like the song its playing. I’m pretty pleased with all of
these new upgrades because they enhance the capabilities of my existing
hardware and let my tech work for me .. a little better.

Rethinking the way we work.

In our old house in Hasselt,
i had "an office" . The biggest room in the house was devoted to my
computer office that sported a giant desk and a lot of computers. After
about a year we dragged in a Sofa and a TV so Nyana
and I could hang out together while I was computing. In our new house
the computer corner was integrated into our hobby room, but soon enough
that was rendered obsolete as we moved the 24 inch Imac down to the kitchen. These days we spend most of our computing time at the kitchen table. Nyana behind the Imac, Me behind my Macbook Pro. All though I miss my "screen real-estate" of the 19 inch external monitor, I can still fallback to the Imac whenever I need to.  Extended periods of working on the Macbook
are made more comfortable by dragging my notebook-riser and external
keyboard downstairs. This however turns our kitchen table into a
computer-desk that does not give us a lot of room to eat dinner. So
since we are looking to ‘re-organising’ our living room, the issue has
come up that we might need to to somehow incorporate a "laptop
workstation" that you can sit at and work. So the idea of "the
computer-room" has become ancient history, but also the idea of "the
computer desk" ( a static setup for the computer) is no longer valid.
So now we are looking at a small,convert able solution to sit at when
you want to use your laptop. (and perhaps use and external screen,
keyboard and mouse) without being to "intrusive" for our little living
room. Ikea has some nice idea’s on that so we might go and check them out on Saturday for somthing like the GUSTAV

Tablet-time.

Purely by accident I stumbled across a personal add on some Belgian bargain site from a guy who is selling his Hp Tc1100 Tablet pc. Now i have owned one of these before (not for very long) because at the time the concept of the ‘tablet pc‘ was not very attractive to us. Ok , I pushed it in Nyana’s
general direction and let her use it for a couple of weeks as her "main
system" and to be quite frank : she did not like it one bit. True : The
tc1100 is
more of a gadget then a die hard computer and if you look in the
"ergonomics" department, long time exposure to the TC1100 might make
you blind AND give you the biggest case of RSI of all times. The
"Tablet" functions of Windows XP are worthless, and when you’ve seen my handwriting, you know a stylus is not a good idea. So why reconsider ? well, for one : Ubuntu linux Netbook Remix ! How about a "netbook sized" touchpad that you can operate with the stylus ? How about turning that TC1100 into a portable media player OR a linux
server that you can mount on your kitchen wall (and operate via a
stylus). But the important note here is that i can get it at a cheap
price and would like to give my geeky-ness a go on a system like this. And to be honest : 12inch is a very nice size to work with when it comes down to computing. Whist fully thinking back to my Ibook
days I can remember that the portable A4 like size did offer you a
decent-size keyboard while still offering a compact screen and form
factor. So why not try out this Tc1100 as a netbook alternative ? Apparently Ubuntu 9.04 supports all most all its functionality out of the box .. So lets try it out !

 

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Kc226 "A little bit of everything.."

Why not hop in the car with me and join me on a drive through the country as we chat about a little bit of everything. After a morning fuel-up ( and a quick chat to a “total stranger” (in Dutch), we buzz away and talk about my Issues with Windows Vista. After i’m done ranting i’ll disclose my thoughts about Windows 7 and i’m sure i’m gonna surprise you there. The final part of this long podcast is devoted to some listener Email and we dive into the issue of “rolling out technology” in a real life situation. Add some music to the mix, shake-n-bake and add sugar for flavor .. Voila ! Knightcast 26 is done.

Shownotes

  • Intro: Topping up for the working day.
  • Thoughts about Vista and Windows Marketing
  • First impressions of Windows 7
  • Consulting on Technology : A real life scenario.

 

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Plausible future : "Boyfriend" A great audio story.

Today I would like to share a wonderfull story with you from the audo podcast "Escape Pod". Escape pod features a weekly short-sci-fi story from various authors read by a variety of people. Some of you may remember the story about the "masks" I linked to a couple of days ago, because it was so wel read. Today I would like to point you to the great tale of "Boyfriend’ by Madeline Ashbey.

Not because its a nice story, i mean .. it is, but because it paints a very realistic future of where technology could be going and how it will impact our lives. I’m not going to spoil the cake by telling you the plot, I implore you to be patient and listen to the story yourself. Why ? Because I think it is right up your alley. If you like the Knightwise.com way of looking at how ‘technology should work for you’ you are going to love " Boyfriend ". As an after note I want you to know I have been doing some thinking about this little tale and the future it projects.

I am unsure to be afraid or drawn towards a future where stories like "Boyfriend" become reality. Somehow we cannot have our cake and eat it. Cannot embrace technology without losing something of the "real world" around us. You can chat for hours with a wonderful person on the other side of the planet, but miss the sunset in your own back yard. You might spend a fulfilling life in cyberspace (if there is such a thing) but your next door neighbor might not recognize you on your obituary because you never spoke. It makes us wonder what technology can give us .. and what we need to give up in return.

Curious ? well .. "Its Storytime" : LINK

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The CLI is a Tool !

For some the command line interface is a dreadful place. It is a large
black box that stares at them, forming some kind of singularity iside
there computer screen. A black hole that sucks up their confidence and
renders there mouse pointer obsolete and spews fountains of doubt. When
you think of the people who use the command line on a daily basis
(Coders, scripters)
and the magic they do inside that little black box, its not hard to be
impressed , or terrified. Seeing lines of code scroll by while rakatack
keyboard strokes perfume the office air with a tang of magic, one would
think coders can re-write the DNA of the universe in there. But it does
not have to be so complicated. Thecommand line is a tool, a means, not
a goal. It may be a very ‘"geeky" way to do things and offer up some
interesting ways of working with computers (over a terminal connection
like SSH or on the command line of an underpowered system), but some
tasks areactually more productive when done via the command line.

In
recent months I have found myself looking for an equilibrium
between
web based applications, Applications installed on my desktops ( On the
Graphical user interface) and applications I use via the command line.
The trick here is not to ‘choose’ but ‘combine’. There are things
better done in the cloud , others are better to work with when using an
installed application via the GUI, and others are better suited to do
via the command line. Sure an application like "newsbeuter" will give you a command-line interface to your RSS
feeds, but Google reader is more productive. Sure there are plenty of
cloud-based imaging-manipulation sites , but nothing beats a Picasa.
Sure its nice to unrar 40 or so files using Winrar , but you can’t beat doing it via the command line.

A couple of gems I have found while using the command line make my life a lot easier.
Tasks that take a lot of mouse clicks when I would have to do them in a graphical user interface like downloading a whole lot of Rar files. Ok there are plenty of download managers but none of them really work right , or it takes too long to find out just how they work. The simplicity of the WGET command (and the addition of the right switch to have Wget download ALL the url’s specified in a textfile)
is just simple and downright awesome. In addition to the ‘screen’
command (that lets the downloads run in the background even when you
disconnect your terminal session) AND the addition of a "bandwith cap" switch (that stops the downloads of eating up ALL your band-with) you can realy have your linux machine "work for you’ in the background while you do other things.

Also when it comes to "unpacking" those files its great to use the unrar-x command to do it all. With the addition of the right switches (Google around or ask your Linux-related chatroom buddies on IRC) you can easily tell your system to unpack ALL of the rar files in your directory and throw out the .rar files after extraction. No clicks required.

But  one of the gems that stuck this week, is one I found on Command-line Fu. It enables you to extract the audio from a videofile
and turn it into an mp3. I have been looking for AGES for something
that does this on the mac OR on windows. Downloaded lots of tools but
none of them worked. Sure something like ‘wiretap studio’ or "soundflower" would let me "capture" the audio-stream..
But then i would have to sit there , watch the video while the audio
was recording. This way I feed the file into the command line terminal
and get an MP3 sito-presto.
The advantage ? Now i can turn some movies I love into audio files , so
i can have my own little "audible" audio-drama collection to listen to
in the car.

Summary ? the command line is a tool and works
some some things, but not for others. My suggestion when you are
looking to let technology work for you : Ask the question WHAT you want
to do and THEN figure out the best way to do it ( Cloud / Gui / Cli) and not the other way around.

Links :

Wget
Wget command to download all the links from the file downloads.txt
wget -c –limit-rate=1500k -i "downloads.txt"

unrar
Command to unrar ALL the files in your directory that *part1.rar" in their filename :
for a in *part1.rar; do unrar x "$a"; done

Extract audio from the videofile.
( first do a sudo apt-get install mencoder )
mencoder -of rawaudioovc copy –oac mp3lame -o output.mp3 input.avi

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Five Links for the day.

Just a quick roundup of some nice links I spotted in my Feedreader the last few days. Some of you might find an interesting item among them.

14 great Cheat Sheets For common apps. LINK Aside from being almost unpronouncable these 14 Cheat Sheets help you out when you quickly need to reference functionality in some common applications like Word and Excel and crap like that. The cool ones are the Browser cheat sheets like the ones for Firefox and Chrome. And the killer here is the "Quick Cheat sheet" for VI and VIM. I cannot recount the numerous times I’ve gotten TRAPPED inside VI VIM , so this little ‘escape route" is brilliant. 

Print and Fold your own ipod Dock : LINK Now here is another nice way to ‘prop up’ your Iphone or ipod touch to watch video’s or have the most expensive desk-clock in the office. Download the Pdf, print, cut, fold and place. If I had an ounce of motor skills, I would do it right away.

Msi 12 inch Netbook. LINK   For some reason I think 12 inch is the perfect size… For a laptop/notebook. Don’t get me wrong : I love the Acer Aspire one with its 9 inch Display, but for keyboard convenience and maximum productivity, 7 or 9 inch .. just is not ideal. Take the 12 inch MSI Wind Netbook for example. Its white color and 12 inch display remind me of that little buddy of mine: My first Ibook. Totally portable and still within a form factor that does not make you think you just nicked a Hobbits laptop.

Mobalive Cd. LINK   Remember me talking about "companion" operating systems ? How about using Mobalive to run your "companion OS" INSIDE Windows without having to reboot. The only truely embedded version of Linux I found so far that could pull this off is Damn Small Linux. But to be honest ? Me and DSL don"t boogie so well since its not a native Debian distro and all the apt-get magic I know .. just does not work. So this little app might help me out running a Ubuntu OS inside Windows when I need to. Downside ? It is darn slow.

Ubuntu One. LINK Ok for those of you who think Dropbox, as a cross platform free data-in-the-cloud service, just is not suitable for you, you can now try out Ubuntu One. Coming to a Karmic Koala install near you pretty soon, you can even try it out on your Ubuntu Jaunty install. Follow the manual and get 2 gigs of hardcore "Stallman safe" data .. up in the cloud.

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Letting technology work for you : A practical example of a case study.

A Few days ago I got an email from a listener of the show about implementing a server / network setup for his local church. Because it touches on the balance of "letting technology work for you" instead of the other way around I decided to share the mail (and my reply) with you. Thanx to Brent for the permission. ( My  replies are in bold font).

 
" Hey Knightwise,

You
might know me from Twitter as @trucklover, my real name is Brent.
 We’ve talked a few times about various tidbits with Macs and Linux
computers.  For the past week I have been following along with your
Ubuntu Server series with my MacBook Pro and a dual CPU 3.2Ghz IBM Zeon
desktop machine w/ 2GB of RAM currently.  I tried to install Ubuntu
server 64 bit but said it was not supported on the computer.  I guess
that in fact the CPU’s are 32 bit, yet the computer can have up to 8GB
of RAM installed.  That doesn’t make much sense me because a 32bit
system can only address 4GB in RAM. Maybe you can clarify that for me
if my logic is incorrect.

Yeah
, its a real marketing thing sometimes. The mainboards have slots that
can carry up to four 2 gb sticks (or the max size they make a memory
stick these days) but those are just the "hardware specs" When it comes
to software there are not "run of the mill" OS’s that can go past the 3
gig limit when it comes to ram. 

 Anyways,
I am one of the three technically inclined people at my church and I
have been charged with finding a solution to the chaos of the setup
that we have now at the church building.  We have around 10 computers
that are all running XP Pro (just had a fresh install about 2 months
ago) or Vista. Four of those computers are for general public use with
the same standard user account and permissions applied to all four.
 Over time the passwords get told to everyone and then everyone and
(literally) their mom is on Facebook, MySpace, playing games, etc when
they shouldn’t be on the computers.  My suggestion was to have a
dedicated Linux server that would allow any user from any computer in
the church to sign onto the server and have their own user directory at
any location with a specified amount of space that was dedicated to
their home directory.

You
have 2 questions here : One you would like to restrict the access to
the computers with passwords without them being "public knowledge" thus
crashing your entire security policy. That is a "policy" issue that no
amount of software security is going to fix. The best way to do this is
to 1: Set out a clear policy: what is a user allowed to do on the
church computer, and what not. Next communicate this policy to your
users. Explain their user accounts are personal and explain the
repercussions you will imply when such policy is violated.
Two
: You would like to store the location of the files of the users on a
network drive. you can do this with a linux server by simply creating
users on the linux server that also exist on the XP clients , share the
home drives with Samba (see the manual I wrote up on that one) and map
they my documents folder on the XP machine to that shared directory on
the linux server. This is a process that you’ll have to do manually for
each user on the XP systems. A windows Domain Controller WITH policies
IS able to push all of this out, but that would cost you a little money
for the licence.

We need a solution that will allow more privileges to certain users and
limited privileges to others, for example:  never allow anyone that is
not on church staff or leaders the ability to Facebook or MySpace or
even the ability to log onto a computer during specified times certain
days of the week. I knew that this was possible but wasn’t sure how to
go about it.

Thats a
networking question where you ‘tie in’ user accounts to access control.
There you are looking at a Linux firewall solution ( some of them built
into linux and configurable via the webmin interface) or others like
"Astaro" will be able to help you out there. They allow you to block or
allow certain websites. The trick is connecting this up with their user
accounts. You can do this via LDAP authentication. ( the simplest way
is to setup the ‘firewall / content filter’ on the same server as your
fileserver, thay way ldap authentication is not that hard to implement.
 On the linux machine you CAN say when which users can login to the
network at what hours. 
I do have to point out that
"controlling content" (like blocking out facebook etc) is a lot harder
then it looks ,you would be amazed at how inventive people get to get
to the sites where they want to be. 

I began to dive deeper into some of your screencasts that I haven’t
watched yet only to find screencasts that cover the download, setup,
installation of Ubuntu Server and  Webmin (which is freakin sweet by
the way) and so on.  I am learning more about LDAP, and Domain
Controller’s.  This is the solution that I think our church needs as we
grow in size.  We have on average 130 people for services on both
Sunday’s and Wednesday’s so that means that we would need at least 75
user accounts added to the PDC.  I want to keep all user directories
and files on the server instead on the wired client machines.  This
solution will be much easier to manage and backup when we go server
side administration instead of client side.  So I say all of that to
say this… can you expand on the Ubuntu server and Webmin series to
show the Windows, Linux, and Mac tech geeks around the world how we can
do just that?

I’m not
really sure I can take the contents of the screencasts THAT far because
quite frankly I don’t have that expertise to do that. I will however do
a simple videocast about setting up samba and stuff. The questions you
have are in the area of using a Linux server as a windows domain
controller. Thats kinda hard ground to plow through ( been there
myself) because the "interaction" with your workstations (xp) are not
"open source’" Linux engineers have to ‘reverse engineer’ how to talk
(and modify) those XP workstations. And with Vista and 7 coming around
the bend, that might just change all over again. Microsoft continuously
modifies how there clients talk to the windows servers and the linux
guyz just have to keep up.  Moving files to the home directories of the
clients is not really a problem , but implementing "active directory
policies’ from a linux server onto XP machines is on the verge of
impossible due to the closed source nature of the Windows Kernel. 

Even
as easy as Webmin makes it to configure a Linux server, there is still
a lot in there that I don’t know how to do.  I need the ability as well
as the other 3-4 computer admin folks to ssh or VNC into the Linux
server from home to manage or add new user accounts despite having a
dynamic public IP address at our church. I have created a DynDNS
account but am unsure how to put the server on the network & be
able to access it no matter where I am.  I know I will have to do some
port forwarding to the static IP of the machine.  I have begun to add
Samba user accounts as the server sits on my personal home network.

With
the screencasts I also posted a link to the SYSTEM website where they
give a clear explanation about this. What you need to do is make sure
the linux system has a static ip and has the openssh server installed.
Next configure your router to use the DYNDNS protocol (if it able to do
this) OR install DDCLIENT on your linux system. Either of these ways
will make sure that your dynamic dyndns hostname is tied to your (ever
changing) dynamic IP. Next configure your router to forward EXTERNAL
port 2222 to INTERNAL PORT 22 on the IP of your linux system. Then
connect (from the outside) with putty (using port 2222) and you’ll be
able to get hooked up.

I think I’m almost to the point where I can bring the computer back to
the church and get it up and running there.  Currently the server is
running off of a 40GB IDE drive. If I plug another hard drive into it,
the computer becomes unresponsive and I have to force shutdown the
machine (SSH doesn’t even respond).  The church has 15 SCSI 10k rpm
drives that I want to use in a RAID 5 setup. All the server desktop
machines have the cables for skuzzy drive use, up to 6 drives per
computer. I’d also like to add a second Domain Controller for load
balancing if need be.


Load
balancing with a second PDC for a 130 users is hardly a necessity, the
only reason why you might want to go there is for redundancy.
I
would suggest giving the workstations a very small harddrive capacity
and pump all of your drives in to the server. You have to make sure the
raid card is supported by linux AND make sure that you can still BUY
the scsi drives you use. IF one or two drives fail and you can’t by any
new ones of the same brand and type.. your entire raid setup is lost.
Again : Backing up the data to an external (usb) drive and taking it
offsite is also a valuable backup solution.  

We
are a media savvy church and we will have several users streaming
stored video and audio files to and from the server to their desktop
machines for saving, viewing,listening, editing, etc. We have 6
identical machines so even having a BDC would be nice if you think that
would be a good setup. I have tinkered with those drives and have had
absolutely no luck with the system even recognizing them when the
computer was running Linux Mint  & OpenSUSE earlier this week.  I’d
really like to make use of those super fast drives but at a complete
loss on how to do so. I’ve looked into mdadm for the RAID setup but got
kinda lost in all of that. Apple’s Disk Utility makes it super easy to
configure a striped or mirrored RAID array.  I speak from experience
having a dual 1.5TB array in my PowerMac G5 (5 HDD’s total: 1.5TB for
the Macintosh HD & 1.5TB for Time Machine-which I don’t use
anymore. I’m a huge Crashplan advocate now). None of my Linux savvy
friends have ever messed with skuzzy drives before.  It seems as though
that technology was all before our time,  I’m only 25 and I’ve learned
and done all of this in less than a few days in my spare time.

The
main thing you have to think about here is "cost of ownership". The
mestake some geeks make is to implement technology "because they can"
While, from a learning point perspective that is a great idea, its not
always what the ‘customer’ wants. Therefore its very important to list
up the actual needs of the ‘customer’ to the technological solution you
provide them. When you make the technological answer to the demand too
complicated you might end up with a larger financial cost then the
customer is willing to spend ( you buy a pro firewall to solve the
facebook problem) OR you end up with a situation that is
technologically too complex for the customer. 


My
golden advice here is : Let technology work for you. Round up the
‘questions" from your customers and come up with a technological
answer. That answer CAN be linux , but in some cases its not always
linux. With linux you can do anything , that is true. But some of those
things take a lot of time and energy to learn AND maintain them in a
production enviroment. What i’m saying is : Don’t construct a
technologiical equivalent of ‘Devestator_from Transformers2’ only to
come to the point you spend a lot of time maintaining it in a
‘production’ enviroment. If I listen to your question carefully my
advice would be the following.

– Management of Workstations.
 –Protecting and managing the workstations : – Either use Linux workstations (nobody has admin rights and the configuration of user accounts can be done by editing the configuration on the server and pushing them out to the home profiles of all the users that log in) 
– Or use windows workstations but use a windows domain controller to implement policies that manage the users and protect the XP workstations from abuse ( its amazing what you can do with the windows desktop enviroment when you pull in a Windows Domain
controller). Additionally you can setup a linux fileserver ALONG SIDE
the windows machine to handle files, printers etc . Hereby deferring the task that is best suited FOR either os TO either OS. Hooking up a LInux server to a windows domain ( for samba authentication) is simpler then trying to make a windows PDC out of a linux machine.

– Management of the domain.
For easy user authentication and policy distribution in a windows
network ? use a windows server. It will cost but it will save you a lot
of time. If cost is an issue ,
explain to the customer that going towards the linux solution might
save them in cost , but will also mean sacrificing
some functionality. AND that you need to build up expertise and
experience in this field. This might have an impact on the production
environment you are rolling out : INform the client about this so he
can either cut down on functionality or accept your ‘learning curve’

– Content management. Managing where people can surf en where they cant go is pretty hard.
Even with managed content filters that receive updates daily its still
possible to slip by the ‘guards’ to the  occasional pornsite. Content
filtering always means loss of content (good and bad). A good user
policy tied in with some ‘social control’ where people use the computer
in a public place and can be ‘seen’ by peers ‘ is a very good
deterrent. Also inform your users WHY you need to block certain sites
and inform them you might be logging their traffic
.
Whew,
I know that’s a lot of info but I wanted to tell you the environment
for this project and how much help your info and advice is to people
all over the world. I’ve converted 3 people to Linux so far after
listening to your "Switching your family and friends to linux" episode.
I am using the KWTV content as well as recommending it to the other
computer minded folks at church so they can replicate it & learn in
a virtual machine similar to what I have already done on a real server.
 I’m in the middle of getting this project finished.  I just need a
little help with the rest of it.  I think you can understand what we
need and how much is left to do for the environment that I have
explained above.

Thats
great to hear 🙂 Moving people towards a Linux desktop solution does
save you hours of support as a result. I’ve also switched 3 more people
towards a Ubuntu Desktop and when they have their firefox and can chat
via pidgin, they are mostly pretty happy with the os they have and
don’t want to switch back because linux is ‘so darn safe’ So good on ya 

phoSo
is it in the pipe line of the server series to include how to set up a
domain controller for a family or small business?  I think the topic
would be quite useful as today’s families are having more than one
computer and having a central domain controller server that can be
accessed from any computer and from any OS is a handy little thing to
have.  It falls in the category of ‘letting technology work for you’.
I’m glad @podfeet had you on her podcast a few months back. I love
listening to her show, she’s funny and fun to listen to. Through her
podcast she was able to get you more listeners to your podcast. You
have (or will soon) enrich the computing lives of well over 150 people
because of the information that you give back to the community, for
that I am grateful and will dutifully recommend your website &
podcasts to other like minded folks like you and I.  The same goes for
Allison too. 😉  Gotta give some credit where credit is due.

Thanx
for your compliments 🙂 Its great to hear from listeners how they enjoy
the shows and I never stop blushing when I read such praise. I love to
do the Knightcasts and KWTV episodes to ‘preach the gospel’ of linux
(no pun intended) because it is so versatile and I can do a lot of cool
things with it without cost.  I might do a video about the ‘feisty for
the family’ series where i’ll go a little deeper into setting up
printers and such, but building a "domain controller" ( Which is a
purely windows term) might be out of scope for my series. The only
reason why you might need the "domain controller’ is if you decide to
work with (and manage) windows workstations. You might ask yourself
(and the church) the question : Do we still need these windows machines
? Would it not be more cost effective to switch to linux machines (that
the users can no longer frack-up by installing stuff etc ?)  

My
final advice when I see people rushing into Linux solutions comes from
personal experience. The answer to the question ‘ CAN LINUX DO this and
that ? is mostly YES , linux CAN do just about anything (and even for
free) The question you have to ask is " can I do this and that " and
"can I MAINTAIN this and that" ITs true , you can setup a complete
"variant" to a windows PDC controller using LDap and stuff. But the
question is : How much time will it take you to really learn the
technology AND to maintain it. When having to plow through heaps of dox
and spend hours tinkering and fixing in a production environment to
setup your linux machine as a software router .. It might be a better
idea to just "buy" a cheap hardware router. So don’t get caught in a
situation where you have to ‘work’ to keep your technology going.

I
hope i’ve given you some pointers, if you need more info you can
contact me anytime ( my name is "knightwise" on skype) I was wondering
if i could post our little email to my website because it is a
wonderful example of how you can let technology work for you , and what
hurdles one might run into ? 
Regards 
KW.

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My Week in Tech.

No no, don’t worry. I’m not going to jabber away about Leo Laporte’s podcast and how I think it is the longest, most ego-bloated audio-file
in existence. I’ll leave that up to another post. But in the spirit of
" blogging about daily life and mixing it in with technology " I
thought it would be a cool idea to tell you guys about my week and most
importantly, about what technologyI’ve been using.

Drive Drive Drive.
Well If there is one thing i’ve
been doing a lot this week, then it is spending time in the car. My
commutes and appointments for work had me scuttle around from the North
of the country to the south part, and even a quick pop-over to France
and back in a days work. Needless to say the "hours in the car" quickly
add up and you need something to keep you sane. Listening to commercial
radio stations with their stupid games and DJ’s who think their arse is the black hole at the center of the galaxy, just does not do it for me. Thank the heavens for podcasts. So this week I juiced up the little Ipod on about 24 podcasts and I’ll give you some highlights : Episodes that kept me wonderfully entertained.

Escape pod episode 214 : Sinner, Baker, Fablist,
Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast. : A pretty LONG title
for a short audio science fiction story. But this one caught my
attention because it was so well read ( I believe by the author) and
asks us the question : "What composes our identity" Its a fantastic
story about a society where everybody wears a different mask and plays
a different role .. every day. Having quite a few "professional
identities" myself, I found the story VERY intriguing.
LINK.

Agp episode 27 " Sas
because ASS was not cool " Great to hear Kate and Dave (Keith had been
replaced by a video) rant again about all things that have been going
on in the technology world. A very well produced podcast that is a lot
of fun to listen to. What bugs me though is the extensive and
continuous coverage of Twitter. For gods sake : Twitter is a tool,
don"t talk about it, just use it !  LINK.

BBC
History magazine September 2009, Part one
. It does not always have to
be "technology centered" One other podcast I also enjoy is this one. In
this episode they give us a breakdown of how the second world war
started and what it was like for British citizens. Breaking away from
their "interview style" episodes where they ring up a historian and let
him babble away, this time they took exerts out of 2 great BBC history
documentaries with actual footage from the BBC radio service during the
second world war. Very informative, but also incredibly well made. LINK

Cross platform Toolbar.
When
I did get down behind my computers, I thought up a little tip/trick
that might have been used by others for ages, but seems very handy to
me. Since i’m
a cross platform, cross-location, cross-computer slider, web
applications are pretty much a part of my daily life.  Most of the time
when I do an installation of Firefox, I disable the "bookmarks toolbar" to have more screenspace.
But this week I decided it would be nice to try out something
different. I re-enabled the toolbar and deleted all the links that were
on there. Next I started surfing to my favorite (and most used) web
based applications ( Gmail, Google reader, Google Documents, Google
Calendar (yes I am a Google Slut) Facebook, the backend of the knightwise.com website and so on. Each time I created a link to my Firefox toolbar and edited the description down to the bare minimum. Facebook = Fb, My google mail account = Kw.com M  Google Reader G-Rdr etc .. What I ended up with was kind of an web based ‘start bar’ that now syncs via Xmarks to every other computer I use. XMARKS LINK.

Google Reader Ftw.
Yes I’m a Google slut, but not because I’m a fan-boy, just because its damn convenient. I had been using "newsbeuter" (a command line newsreader) on my linux system until this week. Although it looked nice and spiffy and navigated like lightning, the problem was "quickly" adding an RSS feed. (Copy the feed from your browser, open up the terminal window, open the config file with all the feeds , paste the line in, close and save the file , restart newsbeuter)
It all became a little TOO much hassle for me. So I re-visited my old
Gmail account (not my Google-apps-for-domains one) and reloaded my
Google reader. After cleaning up some old feeds I was surprised to find
that they have done quite a lot of work with the Google reader.
Subscribing to a feed is pretty easy (again, another link to the Firefox bookmark bar) but you can also LOOK for feeds. Using the search-box I quickly "Googled-up" all the RSS feeds of the podcasts I follow. This way I can easily pop into my reader and read the show-notes. Google reader even lets me listen to the embedded audio. So I’m pretty pleased with it now I have "tamed" my RSS content down to something that works for me. LINK.

Itunes 9 and a freakin NANO ?
By chance I got to follow the Apple keynote live via the Engadget feed. Looking forward to "something new" from Apple (I knew it was going to be something to do with the Ipods) I had checked my financial status, should a fantastic new ipod arrive. I was disappointed. A new NANO with a camera and a pedometer ? A freaking NANO ? The thing is to damn FLAT to use as a decent camera. For all the functionality an ipod nano did NOT need .. it would be a camera. If they would have placed it on the freaking’
TOUCH, THAT would have been a good idea. How about a camera at the
front AND the back of the touch. Combine THAT with its big "screen" and
wifi
capabilities and you would be a step closer to a ‘mini tablet’ I’m very
disappointed in Apple this time around. The "great new features" in Itunes might provide a little solace, but not much. The improvement of the genius playlists and the better sync options for the ipod DO brighten the mood a little .. But a freaking NANO ? come on Steve.

Miro Time.

And finally one of the application that has given me great joy is MIRO. Heralded as a great podcatcher for video podcasts, its also great at streaming content of a networked harddrive. I’ve been using Miro on my Macbook to watch episodes of Hack5 and Tekzilla ( Together with Geekbrief they make up my own little Geek-Tv
station) BUT Miro is also fab when it comes to streaming the Star Trek
episodes from our central server to my computer without any hickups (AND full-screen) Vlc is lovely but when it comes to streaming stuff .. Miro takes the cake. LINK.

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