In another episode of the “Storytime” series, we let you sit back, relax and hear us tell tall tales about open source quests towards the lands of the big brown tower AND some Star Trek Fan Fiction of our own. So sit back and relax as we take you to the edge of real and Cyberspace in another episode of “Storytime”.
We take an in depth look at “Boxee”, the cross platform media front end software that turns your computer into the next generation of TV-Entertainment. We talk you through the installation process, the configuration, the different screens an implementations of Boxee. Use it as your mediabox, your media player, your social entertainment aggregator or more. All of it is possible using.. Boxee.
So I suppose we have an excuse that our living room is a disaster area.
The trouble with a lot of technology these days is, that devices are no longer satisfied with performing a single service. Somewhere in the not so distant past, a seed of rebellion must have been planted in the minds of electronic devices that to serve one single purpose was below their dignity and that they should endeavor to become more then themselves. It started out small of course, with those digital watches that ALSO became calculators, then we had radio’s that also played cassette tapes, flashlights that doubled as keyrings .. and so on. Of course there where some shady mishaps ( Strollers that doubled as rocket launchers never ‘took off’) but these days there is hardly a single purpose device to be found.
When we started surfing the web on our mobile phones I always compared it with building a jigsaw puzzle, through a keyhole, with chopsticks. Or emptying a Rock quarry with a wheelbarrow. Sure it works, but it isn’t really the right tool for the right job. And speaking of ‘the right tool for the right job”, lets look at one of our most hated software application, who’s quest for ‘multi purpose’ has risen to heights Louis 14th would blush at : ITUNES. Because not only HARDWARE tried to dominate our multipurpose life .. Software was even WORSE.
What started out as a measly music management application has somehow turned into this behemoth that insists on being the gateway for all of the multimedia content that goes onto your IOS devices. Its modest starting point : “Playing mp3 files” is just a spec on the horizon, as Itunes now insists on organizing (or dis-organising) your ENTIRE music collection, Manage your podcasts, Keep hold of your Ebooks and insists on keeping a copy of every Video you want to play on your IOS Device. I’ll try not to complain to loud about the fact its the only way you can get to Itunes U content or managing applications. Itunes tries to be the ‘flamethrowing baby stroller’ that wants everything in its giant library. And I don’t like that ! Sorry ? Why ? Because I hate apps that do things they where not initially designed for (yes, i’m looking at YOU ICQ) and I get a rash from stinking white sync cables. (but you all knew that by now). So I’ll share some dirty tricks on getting content on your Ipad / iphone / Ipod WITHOUT having to use Itunes. ( well almost)
Email to Ibooks.
I mean : Why do you need to have PDF’s in Itunes. There is a quick and snappy workaround to get content on your IOS Device. Set up a dedicated Email address just to receive emails on your device. ( for example : firstname.lastname@example.org or something) and use good old email to get your content over there. Once the attachment is downloaded you can open your PDF’s in Ibooks (where they stay) or save them as for example, a picture. Want to get geeky and throw some wget scripts at it ? Why not have your ‘server’ download and email content to you automatically and setup your own ‘over the air’ magazine server.
This is also an application that spits defiantly at the feet of Itunes. Audio, text and pictures are easily synced over the air between your desktop and your IOS device.
Also an application that I love. After signing up you can drag a bookmarklet to your browser bar (both on the Ipad and your desktop) and whenever you come across a piece of text you want to ‘read quietly’ just click the bookmarklet and the article is reformatted and pushed to your mobile device.
Dropbox to goodreader.
Many IOS applications use Dropbox as the ‘over the air’ middle man. Goodreader (a popular ‘i read everything except Epubs) is also pretty good at that. Chuck your books in your Dropbox and have Doodreader pull them in.
For this last one you do “need” Itunes, but the workaround is that you don’t have to store the content INSIDE Itunes. With Video this can be a real drag. Having to convert video’s and import them into Itunes to play them in the standard IOS videoplayer is a DRAG to say the least. Buzzplayer lets you ‘drop’ any movie format into the its preference pane in the “apps” section and pulls in the content on your Ipad. So it does NOT get stored inside your Itunes directory.. and the good thing is : Buzzplayer picks up where VLC Player left off. It plays almost anything and is one of my killer apps.
Sure there are plenty more apps out there .. but I just got an Xbox and now i’m gonna stop typing and play Halo.
As reported earlier this week, some people had trouble downloading the latest episode of KWTV from our servers over at Bluehost. Since Bluehost is capping our available bandwith we are looking for alternative hosting locations that don’t cost us an arm and a leg. So today we are re-upping KWTV 0025 to a different server AND dropping the episode BACK into the Podcast feed to check if everybody is able to download the episode and is able to download the episode at a decent speed. Sorry for people who are tight on data to “double download” the episode to you. But we did have some people who had a hard time getting it. If you can do one thing : Please report your download speed of the RE-upped episode into the comments field if you have any trouble. That way we can find out an even better solution should we have the need to
The hosting solution we are trying out right now is “the internet archive A totally groovy place that ASKS you to archive your entire content for ever and ever. For as far as we know the service is free AND offers us more bandwith then we have over at Bluehost (at least thats what we are hoping for). I took the time to browse through the internet archive and .. well lets just say .. its the biggest library where you never want to leave ! Podcast, screencasts, websites, archived versions of websites (the Way back machine), Live speeches, books, performances and so on .. There is soooo much in there .. incredible.
So bear with us as we tinker with some files in order to get you the very best server – service you deserve and continue pumping out content from the edge of real and Cyberspace !
Guest Spot on the Aussie Geek Podcast. Every 2 weeks I sit in as a regular co-host on the Aussiegeek podcast. A podcast featuring a Canadian, an Australian and a Belgian geek (me) who talk about the latest news in technology, rave about new applications, websites and services and have friendly (but not always family safe) banter. If you want to tune in feel free to listen to the episode. Visit the AGP Website for more information and the shownotes or subscribe to the AUSSIE GEEK PODCAST FEED below. This week we talk geeky about Linux, Apple, Google, Microsoft and more. I blooper up so bad that I get the show named after me and everybody ELSE thinks is funny. Want to see this podcaster stumble ? “Check out Aussie Geek podcast 44 : Knightwise intro fail”
James Hance, The name won’t ring a bell I presume, but I bet when you see the picture below, you might have an idea who i’m talking about. James’ art has surfaced all over the internet here and there and kind of clings to you in a geeky-romantic and endearing way. This man has the power to capture simple beauty and “relentless cheerfulness” in subjects that weren’t ‘intended’ to be that way.
That trait is something James is going to need in the next couple of months as his six year old daughter (who won me over by posing with a giant lightsaber) is sick. Medical bills are high and James is looking for help. You can go over to his site and donate, and if you’re over there check out James’ wonderful artwork. As a bit sci-fi geek I love some of the prints he has put up there, and some of the crossovers he makes turn me into a big softie. I mean : a Scout trooper hugging a pet AT-AT ? How cool is that.
So, check out his website, and consider making a donation for this little sweet kid. You can even write her a cool message to cheer her up. And while you are there, browse through the ‘endearing’ gallery of prints, paintings and his illustrations for “wookie the Chew” and if they make YOU smile, why not return the favor to the little girl.
Links : http://www.jameshance.com/
Today we take a quick look at another command line gem i’ve found over the last few weeks and that has been giving me quite a bit of joy. TWIDGE is the name of command line twitter client / command to read and update your tweets. But with most “command line tools” you can use some creative thinking to get a whole lot more out of them. fyi : commands are in bold font.
First of all : Lets start out by taking a look at the basic options.
twidge setup After installing Twidge, use this command to setup your account and enter your username and password credentials. Be sure to have a browser standing by, since you Twidge will setup your own API key on the twitter service and you’ll need to enter that into the setup process.
twidge update “your tweet” The simplest way to ‘tweet your tweet’
twidge lsrecent : For the latest 20 updates from your friends stream.
twidge lsrecent -su : Same thing but only the updates you haven’t read.
twidge lsreplies : This command will give all your @replies.
twidge lsdm : Your latest DM messages.
twidge follow knightwise : this wil let you follow us.
twidge unfollow knightwise : this command you’ll probably never use.
twidge lsfollowers : Who is following you
twidge lsfollowing : Who are you following
Now with some simple bash scripts that you can even schedule via a cron command you can automate tweets. For example I have written a script that goes something like this.
echo “good morning interwebs” | twidge update this script runs every morning at about 5.30 to wish all of you guy good morning. By that time i’m already up and running, but am way too groggy to do that manually. Its of course not meant as spam or something, just a little way to let technology work for me.
I’ve also setup a separate twitter account for our home server. I’ve made the tweets ‘protected’ and i’m the only one ‘following’ this account. This allows me to have my server report things like diskspace and uptime every day. The scripts look like this.
fortune | twidge update This command gives me a daily ‘fortune cookie’ text. I use this tweet just to have my server preform a “ping of life” to my twitter feed.
uptime | twidge update With this command I get a daily report of the average load of my server
df -ah /dev/sda6 | tail -1 | twidge update This command gives me a (condensed) report about the amount of diskspace I have available on my backup drive
There are plenty of simple ways using standard linux commands and pipe outputs to make geeky combination with Twidge. I also put an echo “i’m done” twidge update line under some of the automated scripts I run , that way I’m always in tune with what my server is up to.
Weird ? yes, Practical ? maybe, Geeky ? Sure ! I know its dorky but why not give your home server a little more “personallity” by having it tweet to YOU instead of having to and look for them. Just make sure you don’t write lame twitter scripts that annoy your friends. Keep any automated tweets you do to a minimum. ( Full disclosure : I do two or three automated ones a day at time intervals where some of the fans of the show are awake and i’m asleep. It has to do with planetary rotation and timezones). But aside from that ? echo “have fun with twidge” | twidge update
If you are still on Ubuntu 10.10 best download the Twidge .deb package here.
Hey guyz, girls, time for a little service announcement regarding some bandwith issues we’ve had over the last 2 weeks. Doing a podcast is a lot of work but its also a lot of fun. However it does require a website AND a place to plop down all of those podcasts AND screencasts. Now if you only do ONE show and then podfade, you can host your entire podcasting enviroment on a USB stick, but thats not practical AND we are NOT podfading. So with 50 podcasts and 25 screencasts on the interwebs we need a little more then just a USB stick. Thanx to BLEUHOST we managed to get a place on the web where we could our files in “Unlimited storage with Unlimited bandwit
h” for 80 bucks a year ! Sweet ! However erm .. that “Unlimited Bandwith” promise went away a few weeks ago. So now the site is capped at a bandwith speed of 10mbits. Superfine if its just watching the articles and stuff, but when downloading the 400 megabyte files of the average screencast .. not so fine. Especially if ALL of your podcatchers are doing that at the same time. Suddenly “download times” are going up from minutes to hours and .. well we all know you cant wait for your weekly dose of KWTV THAT long.
So we are going to preform some maintenance and see if we can move the “hosting” of the video files to VIMEO ( This is the same online service we use for streaming the files on the site ) and see If i can still get the files to your podcatchers.
So if all goes well you’ll be getting a “maintenance” episode in your feed the coming week. I’ll try to work up something short to keep your entertained. Thanx again everybody for being so patient with the download speeds and bandwith issues, we’ll do our very best to get it all solved as soon as possible.
This week we take a look at one of the touted “Ipad Killers” : the Motorola Xoom. We turn this 10.1 inch Tablet running Android Honeycomb 3.01 inside out, check out the hardware , the software and see how it measures up to other tablets on the Market.