If you haven’t seen the “remake” of the 1980’s show Battlestar Galactica, you should seriously consider going to a therapist and ask them to examine that hairy ball of fur between your shoulder blades. As any self respecting geek with a sci-fi interest will tell you, Battlestar Galactica ( BSG for Short) is one of the “must-be-seen-before-terminator-gets-me-and-shoots-me” tv shows. Along with Firefly it draws the line dividing the best and the greatest sci-fi shows of the third millennium of mankind (Both shows being in the ‘greatest’ department.) The lords of Cobol (or should I say Scifi-channel) have bestowed upon you, whether thou art BGS junkies or total BSG-Virgins, a prequel. How did the first Cylon-Human war get started ? Where did it all begin ? How did Adama get his command of the Galactica and what happens if a toaster shoots at you. Be ignorant no more sweet friends. Behold “Blood and Chrome” …
One of the very annoying things about having multiple Linux systems (or virtual machines) in the house is that you constantly need to keep them patched and updated. Sure, they are not as vulnerable as some Windows systems but it is still good practice to keep your systems nicely patched. So instead of doing sudo apt-get upgrade every time (or worse , getting a popup from the update manager while you are just in the middle of watching your favorite Youtube video about bunnies ) .. lets schedule this.
Scheduling things is not bad , but you have to be careful just WHAT you want those systems to do. You don’t want to wake up one morning and see that your LTS (long term support) workstation has just done a make-over and rolled onto the cutting edge version of the new release of your operating system. So kernel and distro upgrades should not be a part of your schedule.
The command we choose to use is Aptitude. With the following string you can do an update and upgrade on the same line.
When I take a look at what I cram into my bag every morning, I try not the think of the redundancy that huddles inside. Should my Tablet, Phone and Laptop ever play together using a magical protocol made of fairy farts, I would be able to have a small load balanced computer cluster with a shoulder strap. Each device houses at least both the storage capacity and the cpu power of a 5 year old desktop computer. In essence : I have at least 4 different “computers” in my bag. Never mind the fact we give them different names and use them for different things, in the end they all have the muscle power under the hood .. to do the same thing.
So why should your phone be just your phone ? Why not make it so much more ? “Ubuntu for Android” looks down that path of possibilities. In essence they want to put a desktop operating system inside your mobile device and have it “morph” into whatever you need , depending if the device is “docked” or not.
The whole thing is just an “idea” right now, but Canonical is putting some serious thought and effort into it. As recent builds of “Ubuntu for the Nexus 7” are downloadable for anyone who wants to give it a try , can only indicate .. the term “My Phone, My Tablet and My Computer ” might soon find themselves in the history books.
Getting things done can be a full time job. And I’m not talking about getting any work done. No ! I’m talking about the art of getting things done. Of constantly reorganising and optimising ones work flow, tools and strategies to achieve maximum efficiency in a minimal time span. Nothing better then being able to get a days work done in 4 hours .. so you can idly surf Reddit for the rest of the day. However , sometimes the quest in finding the right tools, takes up more time then the actual work you wish to get done. We have talked about some great apps in this field like Wunderlist, Evernote and Mindmeister, but when you are a real “I do everything in Gmail” kinda guy .. Wunderlist might not cut it for you. Enter Gtasks (for Android). One of the lesser know functionalities of Gmail (and Google Calendar) is the option to organise your tasks. But its all in the web interface. What if you want to go all Freddy Mercury and .. “break free” of your browser ? “GTasks is a simple and efficient android to do list app. It help you to organize your life in a simple and elegant way. It has both local mode and google account mode.” or so the website claims and .. it is correct. Simple in use, modest in functionality, brilliant in simplicity. It helps you to get things done on your droid-friendly device.
Time to deep dive into some geeky solution for running all your favorite operating systems at the same time. We talk to Lord Drachenblut about using Proxmox to build a dedicate server for your Virtual machine needs, and do it all for free. If you ever dreamt of running all of your operating systems at the same time on a dedicated server and building your very own enterprise style datacenter .. tune in now.
With the coming of Windows 8, changes will be inevitable for our fellow computer users who embrace the ways of Redmont. Where we have been used to hitting the Start button for years and have been closing the windows to our virtual world with the little cross, everything is about to change. Sure, the big square tiles on our desktop might be a blessing for those who are shortsighted or have the eye-hand coördination of a drunken elephant… but what about those who would like to keep things the same ?
I’m talking about the grandma’s, the uncle’s aunties and cousins for whome this kind of change would mean hours on the phone with the family geek to get things figured out.. I’m talking about your very sanity. Would it not be great to give these people a chance to continue on an OS that LOOKS like the one they used before, but has the benefits of being safe, secure and open source ?
Enter Zorin Linux. Its tagline “The gateway to Linux for Windows users” does tend to promise a solution to the very problem we face with our bloodlines standing on the precipice of the Metro interface. Zorin is a good looking, crisp and mature version of Linux with a slick but simple look and feel that, with some minor tweaks, could convice a novice user that he IS still in fact still using Windows 7 . Steering away from the Unity interface, this Debian based OS has the additional value that it has a “look changer”. This lets Zorin Linux act like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. As if asked the question “What is your name” Zorin can reply with “What do you want it to be”. This is because this pretty little functionality lets Zorin “Morph” from a Windows 7 , Xp, or even OSX “look-a-like” in a matter of seconds.
Zorin might be called “a shallow broad” because of its focus on looks, but underneath the ever changing shell lies a well polished Debian core with thoughtfully selected applications and a stable end result. For new Linux users who love the “old ways of XP” Zorin is a perfect alternative to Windows 8 and a great way to herd those stray friends and family members onto the planes of the penguins.
Zorin is available in free and premium editions over at Zorin-OS.com.
One of the machines I use on a daily basis is my 11.6 inch Macbook Air. I love power and the portability of the system and the fact that it is downright so small and sexy it easily fits into my compact but efficient “mobile setup”. The one thing I don’t like on it is the fact it ONLY comes with OSX. Who would I be if I were to be satisfied with that. Being a cross platform slider I just had to add another OS to the mix : Ubuntu !
Installing Ubuntu on Mac hardware is not that hard, but it is also very tricky. Because of the fact Apple is not very open about its hardware, Linux developers need to “figure out” the hardware drivers themselves, to make things like the sound, wifi and videocard work out of the box once you install. The downside is that when it SEEMS like everything is working .. things might not be so great for your system after all. Take friend of the show Jay who installed Ubuntu 12.04 on his new Macbook pro. It looked like everything worked but the laptop got extremely hot after a couple of hours. The problem ? “Under the hood” drivers. Aside from the drivers in operation you “See and Hear” (Videocard, soundcard) working fine, You also need to make sure that things like temperature control and Cpu kernell things are up to snuff with your mac. Otherwise things could get nasty and you end up damadging your hardware.
One of the tutorials I found to make my setup work just perfect has recently been update to the latest version of Ubuntu. This article on Make Tech easier gives you a step by step howto on creating a bootable Usb disk, installing the os and setting everything up right (including those vital “under the hood” drivers) to make your installation go smoothly. If you are planning to slide your Mac over to the “purple-brown side” you grab the special script linked in the article and store it offline for safe keeping. An essential manual for any slider or anyone wants to get the best experience, running Ubuntu on your mac.
The great thing about having friends all over the world, is having friends all over the world. Over the last couple of years of podcasting I’ve been able to build up a network of dozens of people all over the world who I talk to on a daily basis. There is just one problem. I can communicate via dozens of channels, eMail, instant messaging, twitter or Facebook, but sometimes those channels aren’t realy suitable for the message (for example quick chit-chat) or for my locantion ( I am in the car three hours a day ) where texting/typing & driving are taboo.
And yet the car is an ideal place to ‘catch up’ on your social life. Calling up your friends (handsfree) is a productive use of your time behind the wheel. However, my friends are mostly across the pond and sleep when I’m awake. Recording some voicememo’s in the car and sending them out via eMail once I got home was a possible solution but was quite of a hassle. For the times where both conversation partners were available at the same time, Skype would have solved everything… but keeping a Skype connection alive while driving is hard at best.
So enter VOXER. A free cross platform application that acts as a time delayed walkie talkie. After you install voxer and add find your buddies who also use voxer ( Via their email address or via Facebook) you can get started. The system is easy. You open up one of your contacts and press the big button below. This starts the recording for as long as you hold down the button so .. just start talking. Once you release the button the voicememo gets sent out and shows up in your friends voxer app. He can listen and reply the same way. Think of it as Instant messaging but using voice instead of text. The result is a time-delayed walkie talkie system that is awesome for keeping up with friends, having conversations and exchanging ideas. Voxer is easy to use and safe enough to use in the car. You don’t need to watch the screen , just type the button and talk. Voxer can also send text messages and photos should you need to .. but centers on voice-conversations.
Voxer is a simple app that does one thing and does it well. I no longer need to worry about Skype connections dropping off, sending voice conversations via email or keeping tabs on my friends. The app is free and available on both IOS and Android.
A creative mind can be a blessing in disguise. As most ADD-prone geeks can confirm, it is often harder to herd your ideas then it is to have them at all. How do you keep track of it all ? Sure there are tons of “to-do” and “GTD” apps to be found out there, but the question is : “Do you have them with you when you need them ? ” That was one of the showstoppers when it came to my use of “Ithoughts HD” on the iPad. A truly wonderful mind-map application with plenty of features and dingdongs, but also very “local”. Not only was it only available on IOS, The mind-maps it produced were also stored locally on the device .. This would not do .. It would not do at all.
What you really need is a Cross platform mindmapping application that is available anywhere. On your tablet when you are in a meeting, On your desktop, when you want ‘the big picture’ and on your phone when you are on the road and get that million dollar idea. You want it everywhere, anytime and all in sync. And we have your answer.
Enter Mindmeister. Available via a web interface and via the Google play store and the Ios App store the app gives you online and offline access to your mind maps. If you sign up for a free account you will have a maximum of 3 maps. A payed account at 5,10 or 15 dollars a month gives you loads of extra features and collaboration. But even the free version allows you to share your maps with others.
Using mindmeister is very easy. It might not come with a ton of bells and whistles, but its about working on your idea, not about fancy colored bubbles. As an added bonus they have cross platform widgets and browser extensions to quickly dump your bright light bulbs into Mindmeister.
Mindmeister gets two thumbs up when it comes to “anywhere anytime” and is very slider friendly. Available at www.mindmeister.com , the Google Play store and the Apple App store.