KWTV223 : "Turning your smartphone into a camera crew".

In this episode of KWTV we review 2 products that help you turn your Cellphone into a one man camera crew. With the rise in video and picture quality of our smartphones and MP3 players, they make perfect candidates for shooting “real pictures” or some creative videoblogging. We show you the tools of the trade and top off the episode with a Showcase of photographer Konrad Dwojak with his amazing photoshoot of “Belgian Geeks”. All of that and more .. in KWTV

Shownotes.

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KWTV 0023 : Turning your smartphone into a camera crew. from knight wise on Vimeo.

 

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Do we still need pen and paper ?

As dawn slides its silken blue cloack over the star dottet expanse of night, I rise from the slumber of my dreams. Trudding down for the morning coffee, I absently reach for one of my digital companions as I yawn and stretch to greet the new day. While our puppy pops outside to answer natures call, I stand in the doorway, My ipad in hand, and browse through the messages that came in overnight on Twitter, Facebook and Email.. Messages from the world that never sleeps.

Inside the 2 24 inch screens thate make up our major gateway to the digital frontier, form black monoliths ageinst the barren wall. Only
my sleepy reflection appears on their screens.  I shuffle towars the kitchen table and on the way, snatch up another “tablet sized” device that will accompany me in this precious time before the world awakes. Bound in brown leather my Ebook reader is poised to bring me the continuation of the story I am reading.

A few minutes later I am engulfed in my breakfast routine, Coffee ( warm, lots of cream ), toast or cornflakes and .. my padds. The Htc Desire Smartphone displays the stray “SMS” Textmessages that some analog=loving friends still send me over the “Telephone Service”, And while I engullf myself the letters written on the E-Paper of my Sony Ebook Reader, the Ipad lies to the side, playing some gentle tunes to
accompany my dawn.  As I pass  an interesting passage in the book,  I flip open the Notetaking app on the Ipad and scribble away a comment with my stylus as I sip my coffee.  Later on that day, I email that Doodle to a friend in Pdf format.

I gaze up from my reading and take in the inhabitants of my tabletop. An Ipad displaying the scribbles and notes I took, My smartphone, poised and ready for a day on the road and my Ebook reader, holding the secrets of the next chapter of the book i’m reading. Although I have consumed and communicated content… the rattle of a keyboard has yet to be heard in this mellow morning. Gentle taps on touch keyboards, swipes, pinches and zooms have recentely been joined by scribes and scribbles from my pen. And as absent as the sound of rattling keys, have been the sounds of rustling paper.

As i’m starting to feel more and more like some futuristic Star Trek Character from TNG or beyond, his office riddled with ‘PADDS’ and tablets, I wonder … do we still need paper anyway. On the “reading” front, that question has been answered some time ago. Since the Sony Ebook reader entered our house, I have seldon read another paper book. The convenience of having all of my books with me, all the time, in electronic format is just fantastic. For a short while I tried reading a book on the Ipad, but its glossy screen and many many interactions (due to its connectivity to the internet) make it a poor substitute when trying to “read”a book.

On the “Writing and notetaking” front the Ipad HAS entered the scene. Sure “Typing” up emails, notes and comments is not new, but scribbling them down … is. Thanx to my boss at work ( A fairly new but avid Ipad owner ) I was introduced to the concept of a stylus and a writing application on the Ipad. As we sat in a meeting he scribbled away his notes and popped them over to me in a PDF format. Save for the fact his handwriting borders some cryptographic code used by the Mayans, this was a pretty neat trick. So I jumped on the bandwagon and got NOTESHELLF. In my quest for the perfect stylus I also had to follow his lead and hork over 16 euro’s for a Pogo Sketch. Earlier attempts at buying ‘rubber tipped’ Ipad pens on Ebay lead to failure, as they do not agree with the Zagg invisibleshield on my Ipad. The foam covered top on the Pogo Sketch does the trick. well, mostly…

Thinking back to my writing exercises on my trusty HP TC1100 tablet pc, I must say that that setup was a lot more efficent and offered a better, cleaner handwriting. Somehow writing with the Sketch on the Ipad is a little “hit and miss” as the capacitive screen of the Ipad does not always agree with the Pogo Sketch. Luckily the NOTESHELLF app comes with a multitude of “paper formats”( Line, grid paper,  to do list, meeting notes etc) that have plenty of room to write, an easy undo function and a “palm protection mode” that lets you rest the palm of your hand on the screen while writing. Exporting your doodles is done via email, Dropbox, Evernote and Itunes via the PDF format. The zoom function lets you write in a big square box at the bottom of the screen, as your writing appears on the top of the page, giving you “more room”to write.

And you do need “more room “because this is still a long way away from “paper”. If you would like to enter a caligraphy course and create
your source material on the Ipad ? Lets not try that shall we ? Write a long loveletter to your better half for Valentine ? Not a good idea
either ( you can try, but it can be frustrating ) Take quick notes in a meeting and plop them over to your co-workers via email ? Perfect !
I’ve let the Ipad, NOTESHELLF and the Pogo Sketch take the place of my “pen and paper notepad” this week and have found the results promising. Sure this is one of these technology hacks that “work around the apple walled garden”to enhance the functionality of the
Ipad, but overall its not that bad. Why apple did you incorporate a “handwriting functionality”into their Ipad is a mistery. But hey , lets remember, the Ipad is the Itunes’ shopping cart right ?

So in all ? Will it replace my pen and paper ? I will surely try, perhaps my handwriting on the Ipad will get better, perhaps its because of the “Zagg invisibleshield” that its not THAT good. But it sure beats taking notes on a flimsy piece of paper that I instantly misplace or loose once I “file”it somewhere đŸ™‚

As I peer outside I see a tree .. its leafless branches wave in the morning sky .. as to thank me for not using a scrap of paper this morning.


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KWTV222 "Ubuntu on a Macbook Air"

This episode we give you a sliders showcase and show off all the fancy moves Ubuntu can make on a Macbook Air. With a simple “bootcamp” setup we run Ubuntu 10.10 on this piece of Apple hardware and push the limits between the different operating systems. Sliding from OS to OS we show you how cross-platform computing can blow your mind.

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Ommwriter : A zen place on your computer .. to write.

On my current quest for some “quiet time” in the digital tornado that is my cyber lifestyle, I’ve come along some interesting tools. While they may be more then known among many of you, being mentioned by Alpha Geeks on their posts on Lifehacker.com and other sites, some of you might not know these tricks.

The hardest thing when writing a blogpost, an article or any peace of prolonged text is not being distracted by the 200 OTHER things that are going down on your screen. Fancy wallpaper, Icons that just beg to be clicked, 20 open tabs in Firefox or the urge to peep at the scrolling Twitterfeed … all of these and more can turn a well focused geek into an Digital ADD basket case with the attention span of a 12 week old puppy. (and believe me, i know how short those spans are).

Enter OMMWRITER, an application for the mac that allows you to “zone and zen out” in the middle of your digital tornado. Download the application, start it up and you are instantly transformed to a peaceful winter landscape (on your computer that is) that takes up the entire screen. Every other piece of you UI is hidden as “the zen goes full-screen”. In the middle of your screen you have a blinking cursor that awaits your creative input. As very very soothing music plays in the background, you also hear satisfying clicks when you enter text, letting you know that you are “finally” being productive.

Ommwriter drowns out any other pop up, sound message, ping or ding from your operating system. As long as you’re in Ommwriter its like the rest of the world (or in this case, your OS)  just does not exist….

“Mousing over” to the side you DO get some options to change your font, typeface, the color of the background (just a few options there) the music that is playing and the option to change the clickety click sound as you enter text. Ommwriter lets you save to Ommwriter format but also to pdf, rtf or txt making your finished work accessible to any open standards.

The paid version of the application comes with more backgrounds and music, but so far I’m really enjoying the free version. The first time I sat down and tried ommwriter, I felt a little like Doogie Howser, typing away on his otherwise “blank screen”, but the results ..Well, you’re reading them right now aren’t you. With 3 blog posts in 3 days I think i can vouch for the effectiveness of Ommwriter. Sitting down behind my Macbook Air in the morning , cup of coffee next to me, Sulu the puppy on my lap, its amazing how I can “ease” into my digital day without being overwhelmed by the digital tornado of the internet.

The internet is a city that never sleeps. Webservers are always awake, On twitter there are people who are getting up, going to bed, but there are always people twittering away in super caffinated days at the peak of their days. Sometimes, the quiet of MY dawn is completely lost when opening up my computer. Its like getting out of bed and walking into a busy train station where everybody is already milling around at 500 mph .. while you’re still trying to rub sleep from your eyes.

So finding a “distraction free” place to wade into your day, or give your own thoughts a chance to arrange themselves on the screen, is a great thing. Now you don’t NEED to use Omniwiter of course. Playing an MP3 by Enya while having your Notepad full screen does about the same thing. (you just don’t get nice chirpy sounds when you enter text). On linux ? enter “nano blogpost.txt” in the terminal and dragg the thing fullscreen, you won’t have any ‘distractions’ either (or for that matter, why boot into your GUI at all). But with over 700 words keyed in in 15 minutes while feeling completely relaxed ? It works for me !

Link : OMMWRITER.

PS : I completely misspelled Ommwriter as “omni-writer” in this blogpost ! thanx to @podfeet for pointing that out and setting me straight.

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Kc248 : "Best of KWTV 2010 : Talking Tablets ".

This episode we talk tablets with Dave, Tim and Steve. Both the Ipad and the Galaxy tab get a hands on review by owners who bring us their first impressions and insights. An in depth discussion about “tablets” that goes beyond brands and models and tries to answer the question how this new interaction form will change our lives. If you thought tablet space began with the Ipad and ended with the Galaxy Tab ? This might be a good place for you to start broadening your mind. (ps : The monolith from 2001 … that’s just a tablet too).

Shownotes.

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Is it a bird .. a plane .. a phone or a tablet ?

Looking at the tracking site of the Belgian post office for the umpteenth time today, i’m still anxiously waiting for the arrival of my new toy. Yep ! đŸ™‚ It’s official, i’m about to purchase my SECOND Android device. After having played around with the Samsung Galaxy S for some months, I thought it was time to sell the device while it still had some value .. and “move on” along the path of Andoid-Device Ownership. Thanx to the charming @rrradiogirrrl I managed to get hold of an HTC Desire HD. Confess I must that, when I saw this device for the first time, I thought .. Whow .. thats big ! A co-worker of mine ( A lovely but very petite girl ) hauled what looked like a giant slab of aluminum out of her bag. In her hands it looked a little bit more like a small size Tablet device .. then a phone.

But the question is, where do we draw the line. Many of the tablets on the market these days (for example the dell streak)  vary from 5 to 7.5 to 10 inches. Where exactly do we draw the thin line that says “this is a tablet, this is a phone ?” If we take the ability to make voice calls into account then the galaxy tab (at 7.5 inches) must be the biggest cellphone made in the 21st Century. Or do we draw the line a a certain screen size diameter ? If so ? Is the Desire HD with its 4.3 inch screen still a phone, where the Dell Streak is considered a Tablet device ?

For me the limits between a “phone” and a “tablet” have been fading away for quite some time now. When connected via Wifi I use my Ipod touch ( which used to be a media player remember ?) as a video camera, a digital snap cam, and a way to make voip calls using Skype or Facetime. Same goes for my Ipad which gives me the same functionality (without the camera though) on a bigger screen. Both devices could be considered “tablets” and, judging by their “communication capacities” both COULD be seen as “phones”. Activate your 3G Mifi or enable the 3G-Hotspot functionality on your smartphone to have these Ipods and Ipads hook up to your data plan .. and they become usefull both inside and outside the range of your wifi router .. as phones.

Having sold of my Galaxy S at the beginning of the week, I had to insert my sim card into an old “feature phone” we still had lying around at home. Without data connectivity or anything, the device just sat there in case somebody decided to “call me”. Guess what ? Nobody (except mum in law, who couldn’t reach me on skype) did. To me the Ipad became my main “communicator”. Twitter, Facebook, Email, Skype etc .. It was all there. So .. in why not call a tablet a phone .. and vice versa ?

As “voice” communication is slowly fading out to be replaced by “voip” communication the concept of a “phone” will slowly die out. Internet-enabled devices will allow us to take care of all our communication needs not only the concept .. even the memory of “phones” will start to fade away. Wether your “portable communicator” is viewed as a “phone” a “tablet” or a computer are differences that might still matter today .. but will be obsolete in the near future..

So i’m off to the post office to pick up my new … phone / tablet / communicator …whatever đŸ™‚

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Digital Overload.

For those of you who have been waiting for the next episode of the Knightcast podcast, I am indeed overdue. Where I had put out a steady stream of episodes over the last few months, the holidays, and the aftermath of the festive season have been less than inspiring for my “frequent production schedule”.

The main reason for such a “drop” in creative output can mostly be found by using the excuse that “life got in the way”. Juggling a busy job, a new puppy, a social life and a time consuming online lifestyle does make for a challenging calendar schedule, but nothing I can’t handle.

So why the slew ? Well, to be quite frank : I think i’ve come to the point where i’m slightly  ” overloading ” in my online lifestyle. Where the stream of information and communications I need (or want) to keep up with not only is starting to make steam come of of my ears, it is also completely destroying my creative urges (and the patience I need to turn that creative itch into something real and satisfying.

At first, I thought I was the only person with this problem. I talked
to some friends (as a matter a fact to my Chiropractor who does wonders
with my locked up back) and he did suggest to me that clocking up 24
000 km’s in 4 months + consuming a busload of content (podcasts –
websites – information etc) everyday is quite a heavy load for any
brain.

So when I (during one of my many long drives) had a chance
to think about it, I was pretty surprised to find that I do in fact am
nearly drowning in the information stream and it IS having its effect on
me.

Tired, (physically and mentally), agitated restless and
distracted, are just some of the terms my immediate environment
mentioned when they described me. And I can only agree with them. For
some reason this “Connected lifestyle” that lets me communicate,
interact, consume and create content and information .. is getting a
little out of hand.

Aside from the terms mentioned above, the
thing that is most noticeable is the  complete erosion of my
concentration span. Whenever I try to sit down and (try) to write up an
article, (or even an email or something) my attention span is becoming 
shorter and shorter. This to the point where its nearly impossible for
me to create a blogpost from my browser without clicking around in a few
tabs and completely losing my trail of thought. Without noticing I end
up in the ” triangle of no-life ” where I tab around my twitter feed
(and random links posted by people i follow), my Facebook feed, the
website of the local newspaper and back again. ( And repeating the
process at least twice before I even start to notice it).

Reading
: Where I used to enjoy reading books on my Sony E-reader it now lies
(discharged and abandoned) in a corner in favor of my Ipad on which I
can read the same content. However, no books have been completed on the
ipad as i’m constantly distracted by its multitasking abilities,
disruptions of my attention span by incoming tweets or email .. or the
seductive urge to open up a browser and browse around without going
anywhere in particular.

The paradox of it all is that in our
constant quest to let “technology work for us” we have somehow ended up
at the opposite side of that very quest. Where our lifestyle is affected
by our constant connection to information, where our interactions are
affected by our constant ability to communicate,   where the the goal to
“let technology work for us” has US working for that technology
instead

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