My Week in Tech.

Sep 12

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.

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because ASS was not cool " Great to hear Kate and Dave (Keith had been
replaced by a video) rant again about all things that have been going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.

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.
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 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 = 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
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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