How Many Times ?

It can happen to the best of us. To be honest , it will happen MOSTLY to the best of us. Your geeky sunday afternoon is brutally interrupted by a friend / family member / aquantance ringing your doorbell while you just need all your braincell to get through a particularly complex chapter in “the hand of Thrawn’. As you sigh, put your ebook reader down and open the door you are greeted by a laptop (or desktop tower) that is extended in your direction with the pleading words ‘please fix my computer’. Now you know Laptops and Desktop towers don’t have arms and legs, thus behind this somehow broken computer contraption, hides a person. A person with whom you hopefully have some kind of social bond and social responsibilities. In other words in order to be a “nice person” its not the question of “Will you fix my computer” but more of “You HAVE to fix my computer” 

Your sunday peace destroyed, you fake a nice warm smile and invite the defective piece of hardware (and its attached owner-family member etc inside). The usual routine ensues. As you hook up their machine, you ask the usual questions : Whats wrong with it , when did it start, do you still have data on it, are there any passwords I should need etc. Best case scenario will give you clear answers to these questions. Worst case scenario ? A lot of blank stares, shrugs, mumbles that “it all happened on its own, I didn’t do anything” and the kicker : ” Don’t YOU know all my passwords ? “. 

But hey, its like I said : “The best of us” and you are one of those right ? So with an absolute minimum of information you manage to tame this mall ware infected , virus riddled hornets nest of toolbars and bad user behavior. You try to ignore the 5000 icons on the desktop, the porn sites that have somehow become the users starting page and the many suspiciously looking EXE’s that where downloaded (and probably executed). You spend several hours prying loose every scrap of data and settings and recover every single lost password. At the end of the ride you have preformed a true feat of geek superiority. The system has been rebuilt, (reformatted and reinstalled) and completely reconfigured in a way that the user can pick it up and run with it. 

If you where a vet you would have taken a sick puppy, replaced the insides of the puppy with a NEW and healthy puppy, put the old puppies memory and personality back into the new puppy and then slid it back into the skin of the old puppy like nothing ever happened. I would refrain from using this very analogy to convince the user of your awesomeness … they would not understand. (and look at you funny)

So you think your work is done, but before you have come out of the dopamine induced rush of your victory over non functional systems … the doorbell rings. A couple of weeks later ( in worst case, a couple of days ) the friend/relative/acquaintance is BACK holding the same system. You query puzzled if there is some data you forgot to restore or if there is a program missing. But the laptop-desktop with arms and legs just shrugs and says ” It’s not working” After recovering from your initial surprise, you boot up the system and see that all your hard work has been for nothing. The shiny new puppy has been dragged through the filthy side of the internets again, towing mall ware, viruses and hidden trojans in its wake. Cpu cycles once devoted to clean system operation are now churning away for some Russian bot net. Clean and available diskspace filled with infected and corrupted crap from a peer to peer network. Once again the user has clicked YES on every dialog box on the internet, including the one ‘Click here to turn your computer into a limping pile of junk’. Shiny puppy is a dirty dirty puppy all over.

So here is my query : How do you deal with this ? Does one just happily start over and REDO the system ? And if so … how many times  ?  I know said answer is influenced by your direct relation with the subject. (mom, dad, girlfriend, neighbor, friend) but where is the limit ? We come to the awkward space where your technological expertise becomes the battleground between social politeness and the mayhem of mall ware that is called the internet. But what is good social behavior in a situation like this ? With the total number of computers on the rise and the average percentage of people who actually know how to operate them slowly declining .. What is good policy here  ?  Do you go for a superiority complex and brush them off  ? Or do you crawl in the sharp gravel of complex social relationships and become their techno-bitch and do as you are asked ?  It is a difficult and complex question that I would love to ask you .. How many times is the limit ? 

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"The Fix" : How many Times ?

In the new interactive format of “The Fix” we ask you a question every week : This week we take a look at the pondering question : How many times do you fix someone’s computer and what is that number related to.   Send us your feedback through the usual channels.

Watch.

 

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Kc255 "The man behind the shades".

For our 55th episode of the Knightcast we break the techno-centric habbit again and walk down memory lane. To answer a lot of questions i’ve been getting all over the years about how Knightwise became Knightwise, and how Knightwise.com and the Knightcast podcast came about. So time to lean back and listen to an old podcaster recount tales of days gone by. Deep diving back into the timestream to 1992 and tracking down all the different “starting points” who’s convergence created the Knightwise.com singularity. Showcasing one of our favorite ambient artists of the moment “planet boelex” the podcast is a subtle mix between storytelling and soundseeing. Enjoy KC 0055 : The man behind the shades.

Shownotes.

Listen.

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Do netbooks still have a future ?

My father in law tends to hoard, and when I say hoard, I mean that. His office is filled with clutter that would make a geek think he went to hoarding heaven. Piles of Cd’s Floppy disks, old computers, discarded printers and forgotten laptops. In his prime (before her retired) this man was the ultimate early adopter. If something new came out, he probably got it, played with it for a while and then moved on the next shiny toy. After retiring he moved on to a whole different life of walking his dogs, going outside to paint the house and other un-geekly activities, leaving behind a whole bunch of “legacy crap” that is too nice to throw out, but too ‘pass

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Getting things done with Wunderlist.

If procrastination was considered an artform, I think us ADD geeks would be considered the very masters. Only we would not have started our artform yett, we would do so tomorrow. First we need to see this video abou this cat on Youtube.

As a remedy to this “affliction” we are blessed with, information overloaded techno-philes with the attention span of a butterfly tend to lean towards guru’s like David Allen and his famous ‘Getting things done’ techniques , or, if we could spare the time, listen to Merlin Man rave about his “42 folders”. Having been at both points I can only conclude that the rantings of these “superheroes of productivity” depress me to no end. I feel like i’m NOT getting things done and for the life of me can’t come up with 42 folders to put those things in.

And yet, during many times my mind is overloaded with tasks, idea’s, things I should not forget, Issues that have been sitting on the back burner for so many months. So “getting those things done” would be nice. If only to organize the myriad of NEW tasks and idea’s, random thoughts and more that I come up with to “drown out” the nagging backlog of what I still need to do.

So here comes rat-hole number 2 : Looking for a “system”. I have seen geeks depart in the valley of the “GTD’s” (*getting things done) in the quest for a perfect ‘organisational system” . I have yet to see one of them return. Looking for a GTD system and tweaking it can be some time consuming it becomes an activity, i dare say and “obsession” all on its own. Defeating the purpose of the system. You get nothing done because you are still tweaking your GTD system.

I’ll spare you that one way trip into that black hole by sharing what I found this week.  The need I have is as follows. I need to keep track of several (many) issues for work, some of them done by others, some of them need to be done by me. I need to keep track of those issues, make notes, follow them up etc. Untill now I had just used Outlook (of all things) and some pathetic attempt at folders to do so. I must say .. it was not a success. Why ? Because Outlook (and the folders) are in my office and I am on the road. Item number 2 brought me closer to my goal : 2do is an App for the iPad that consists of a fairly well featured todo list that let me follow up on all of those things. Allthough there was no link between “2do” and my Outlook, I played “biorobot” and typed over all the things I needed to remember. But 2do was flawed in several ways. Only available on the Ipad and with no “cloud functions”, 2do is an insult to a cross platform slider.

Enter my Solution : Wunderlist : A very well built 2do application that lets you add, categorizdddddde organise and liquidise ( lets mix up the usual adjectives here) your tasks. It looks pretty good , is fairly stable but there IS one thing that lets it rise to the very top of the list : Its cross platform and “cloud bounces” your data up and down to the several devices you have. Did I say several ? That is because I meant it. Available for the Ipad, Iphone/ipod and the Android it helps me “get things done'” in ways David Allen could never do. I love the layout, the reminders, and the sheer fact that I can punch up a Todo list on my phone and have it available everywhere. With desktop versions for Windows, OSX, Linux (only 32 bits) , and the entire range of mobile devices, I cannot hide behind the excuse that my current device has no access to the interface of my 2do list. (When everything fails and i’m stuck in a Cave with a Thin client, I can still use the web)

So give it a spin and … Get things done :   http://www.6wunderkinder.com/wunderlist/  Oh btw : It IS of course … Free.

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KWTV Live is … well .. LIVE !

And we are LIVE : KWTV LIVE September Edition is in full swing. You can watch the livestream, interact with us via the chatroom or meet fellow “Wiseguys” on twitter with the hashtag #KWTVLIVE

 

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"Yo Nerd" .. is not the way to talk to a geek.

“Hey Nerd !” where the exact words this conversationalist opened up with. Patting me on the shoulder and beaming a broad smile he stumbled into a conversation about technology, that was nothing more then a fluffed up support question. I smiled at him, as he cut through the niceties of his elaboration, sighing quietly inside myself. This was obviously another technological troglodyte who had stumbled into the 21st century and decided to converse with one of its long time residents. ” Hey Nerd ” .. What kind of an opening line is that ?

I’m looking for some analogies here. Imagine some diplomatic mission where the initial ‘first contact’ between two parties is a delicate but important moment: For example a trade mission between a western country and china. You don’t see the Chinese diplomat point , laugh and yell : ‘yo Fisheyes !’ while addressing the other guy ? The simple fact that people still use the term “Nerd” or its terrible twin “Computerfreak” to address a ‘technofilical superior person’ is beyond me.  I have pointed out to people who refer to me as a “computerfreak” if they call their gynaecologist a “pussylover” and address the police officer as “Yo Coppah !” but it did not seem to sink in.

I do think popular culture is to blame. Series like CSI, Bones and others have somehow ‘pimped’ the definition of “nerd” to “anyone who knows how to operate a computer, wears glasses and solves a crime by just licking a random toenail. This was not always the case. Remember “revenge of the nerds” ? No crime solving toe licking heroism there.

Explaining to the troglodyte WHY his initial address could be interpreted as offensive is like trying to talk to a tree. 150 words into the conversation I appear to suffer from “Sheldon Syndrome” (see ‘big bang theory’) where the very point of educating a ‘technologically challenged’ fellow human feels about as pointless as talking to a tree.  I have no superiority complex, but the sheer fact of trying to point out WHY its not nice to call a “geek” a “nerd” is just beyond some people.

Halfway through this internal mental monologue I’m having with myself, I’m interrupted by the silence of this techno-troglodyte as he has apparently arrived at the “inquiry” part of his social elaboration. As he looks at me with raised eyebrows, I focus on my “inner geek” (the one with the social skills that defines me from the socially in adept nerds” and ask him to elaborate. With that very twist I manage to have him refrain the question that I completely missed back there and avoid an “awkward” pause in a fluent conversation.  So there ..another difference between nerds and geeks. Try explaining that one.

If you want to try to educate people about nerds and geeks, try this nice info gram.

PS : My oneliner on the difference between nerds and geeks ?  Geeks can hook up their linux machine in order to stream and transcode video from their homebuilt linux server to their Xbox in the bedroom so they can watch Battlestar Galactica (and porn) with their girlfriend. Nerds don’t have a girlfriend but can translate this entire scentence in Klingon… on the spot.

 

 

 

 

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I present to you : the worst fight scene ever.

Browsing the web this week, I came across an article celebrating the 45th anniversary of the original airing of the Star Trek Series. I was amazed at how fast time flies on the one hand ( I must have been traveling faster then light at some point) and how cool the series still are, on the other hand. So many years later then its original airing date, episodes like “The Cage” and “Where no man has gone before” still form the pinnacle of some geeks afternoon, kicking back watching old scifi. Few to no series have ever accomplished that. With the 4th generation of Star Trek Fans taking over the torch from their grandmothers and grandfathers, Star Trek is still very much alive. Even the original series still have compelling storylines and every time I watch them I find new details .. or just enjoy re-watching those classic moments that have slowly distilled into pure popular culture.  I was reminded of just such a scene when we watched the movie PAUL last weekend. Two sci-fi nerds on their roadtrip down the mid-west meet an alien and hilarity ensues. But NOT BEFORE they visit the site at Vasquez Rocks where an epic battle took place .. between Kirk and the Gorn. Dubbed “the worst fight scene in history” (Although the one where he fights Spock to the Death for a woman is also not bad) this lizard vs human brawl is indeed .. pretty terrible. I’ll leave you with the clip so you can judge for yourself. After 45 years its no longer bad .. its Culture ! 🙂

Wikipedia

Wikipedia on the ‘arena’ episode.

Wikipedia on Vasquez Rocks

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Is social Media killing my blogosphere ?

Before you sigh and note that “this is yet another self reflecting belly button staring article about a Blogger pondering the justification of his own activities and writing about ‘writing’ “, let me stop you there. Most of you know, i’m not an ‘active’ blogger, i’m more of an incidental one. So your sigh might not be justified : This might just be an objective observation.

I used to be an avid blogger with an almost daily routine of posting articles about what was going on in my life. But over the years, and as the general topic and target audience of my blog shifted from “life” to “tech” .. that blogging routine has gone a little bit south ..  One could call upon the excuse of having “a busy life” as to why not to blog. But in a busy life, lots of stuff happens , so there should be plenty to write about.  Or you could also call up “the lack of inspiration” as a possible excuse. But when I see all the things people post on Facebook and Twitter, there is plenty of stuff milling around in their heads, urging them to speak their mind.

 

So I ask : What IS at the very core of my (personal) decline in posting articles like these ?  After reading Peter Hinsens book “The new Normal” one could say that the general message of an article is just “too long”. With the information age speeding up, the attentionspan of our readers narrows down to 140 characters or less. Twitter, Sms, textfields of 1000 characters in Facebook .. All of these call out for a quick and intence form of “blogging” or “microbloggin”. Sift aside the useless messages like ” I just had pizza ” , the endless “@_ discussions” going on between people who should resort to IRC instead of twitter and the foursquare checkins, what are you left with ?  Links TO posts, short smart quotes copies of some random websites and loose thoughts that fit into a tiny textbox ? There appears to be no added value over typing out (or reading) a well thoughtout blogpost.

My initial thoughts to blame Twitter and the like for my “blogging atrophy” don’t hold any ground. Twitter (and Facebook AND Google plus) are addictive shortcuts to self expression. “Why write up a whole post when you can just tweet the core message.”, at least that is what I used to think. The truth (for me) is , that Twitter, Facebook and Googleplus offer easier “interfaces” to post my content, but are by far suited for ponderings with a wordcount like this article. But still I use them a lot. Some of my time is spent by interacting with the community, some of my time by respoding to tweets and conversations, but MOST of the time I spend on Social Media are used to “promote” articles, events, podcasts and other things ON the social media. Twitter, Facebook, Googleplus, instead of taking away the very need to blog, they add another layer of work to the very writing of a post. Not only do you need to write it, you also need to cross post it on your serveral social networks in the hope that somebody comes down to read about it.

And then there is the ultimate question : Will people still offer up the attention span to READ through your article ? Will this 140 character based community be able to focus is Information-overloaded-ADD cybermind on your writings ? 

Rounding up I find no answer to my question, just a paradox. We don’t blog because we tweet. But tweets cannot contain the message of an entire blogpost. So we DO blog and THEN we tweet. But do the peeps who love the tweets click on your link ? I why do THEY read tweets ? Because blogposts are too long ? So if they click the link in your tweet, do they read your post all the way through ?  Well, if you followed this link from twitter, and you read THIS LINE

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KWTV RETURNS !

We are very happy and proud to announce the return of KWTV LIVE. The geek-friendly friday morning LIVE webcast from the Knightwise.com headquarters. I’ve you haven’t had a chance to catch one before make sure you join this one, for every last friday of the month we will be geeking out with Live Music, Interviews and plenty of interaction with our community members via the chatroom, twitter, Skype and more.

You can tweet about it using the hashtag #KWTVLIVE or tell your friends you are joining by signing up to our FACEBOOK event page. Watch Twitter, Googleplus and Facebook for the lineup of topics and guests.

Ps : If you want to see what it’s all about, check out last years ARCHIVES (or watch the clip below)


Video streaming by Ustream

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