We get technical this week with a great open source and free network attached filestorage solution called NAS4FREE. After running down the list of things it can do we show you how to tweak into the core of your cross-platform filesharing world, enabling you to use it as a central filehub for all of your devices and from all of your locations. We top it off with some information on how to virtualise the whole solution and give you a spot of music from Planet Boelex’s new track ‘Refurbished’ all of that and more on Kw405.
The most horrible sound that you can imagine is the sound of a smartphone clattering on the floor or the sickening crunch of a breaking tablet display. With many of our favorite devices made out of glass ( I still feel like the Monolith in 2001 a Space Odyssey was actually Apple’s first iPad add) the chance of some of those glass display’s shattering .. is real. But what then ? What when hairline cracks criss cross your screen, (but the touch-part still works) ? What happens when your smart device becomes broken or obsolete. Should you throw away that old or broken phone or tablet ? If its and Android : Don’t ! There is still life in it !
Enter Servers Ultimate.
Servers Ultimate turns your Android device into a home server. It offers you the ability to run “services” on a smartphone or tablet, that are usually reserved for a VM or a beige box. But think about it ! : Your old phone is light, small, powerful, always connected AND has a built in UPS (uninterruptible power supply) called “A Battery”. Why not hook it up to its charger, plop it down somewhere in a corner and start “Serving”.
Servers Ultimate lets you run the following Services on your Android Device
Webdav (web storage)
Scp (secure file transfer)
The free version of the app lets you run 2 services at the same time, the payed version lets you check all the boxes and turn that old DroidX into a small home server. Storage capacity depends on what you hook up to it ( Internal SD card of your phone or some external storage) Power depends on the processor in your smartphone. But all in all : its a great way to setup a server in your house and re-use an old device.
I’m personally using Servers Ultimate to mess around with my MK802.22 stick to turn that into a home server with the Carbon Footprint of a small fly (its very low power) and hook it up the the wild wild web. Servers Ultimate is Free , but the Pro version will cost you a measly 4.99 in the Google Play Store.
Calibre. Without a shadow of a doubt out favorite cross platform ebook management application, is once again the topic of conversation for today. For whoever came up with the idea that ebooks should and could be managed through iTunes .. should be shot, brought back to life, shot again, cremated and have his/her ashes scattered on piles of horse shit. Managing your eBook collection in Calibre on the other hand is a bundle of joy. Ordering and cataloging your books, adding keywords, sorting them around AND converting them to your favorite format .. is exactly what Calibre is good at. So what gives ? Well , imagine you and your favorite ebook reader are out and about on the road ? What if you would like to grab that copy of the Twilight Saga you have stored on your computer at home ? Is there no hope ? Sure there is ! Calibre comes with a built in webserver that lets you acces your ebook directory via a browser .. exactly what you want .. is it not ? “Hotdiggedy YeS” I hear you scream .. but what if you don’t have access to a browser ? (or are in the inability to transfer the downloaded files to your favorite reading app ?) Are you lost ? Should you revert to reading the cerealbox for all eternity ? No ! Enter ODPS : A standard for interacting with ebooks libraries.
How does it work ?
Make sure you have installed calibre on your machine (Duh)
Enable the Calibre web service and make sure to enter a username / password. (you don’t want the entire world to know you read my-little-pony cartoons )
Open up the correct ports on your router (if you want to access this from the outside)
Pick up an ebook reader app on your IOS or Android device that is able to open OPDS libraries.
Setup your home calibre library in the apps OPDS preferences.
Access your ebooks from anywhere.
What do you need ?
One copy of Calibre.
On IOS an OPDS compatible ebook application Shubook
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.
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.
This weeks picture of the week comes from listener Jay as he shows us a cross-platform setup that would probably rip a hole inside a proprietary universe. However it does make us proud as Jay lines up his Windows phone, his Nexus tablet and his 13 inch Macbook pro running Ubuntu 12.04. Quite a setup if you also consider that Jay manages to “slide” his productivity from OS to OS without breaking a sweat.
Do YOU have a picture you want to share with us ? Feel free to tagg it #kwpow on twitter or shoot us the link via the well known email address.
The one thing I’ve always detested when it came to using my mobile devices like my iPad, my iPod Touch or my iPhone (or any “smart device” for that matter) was that you needed to “link” it to your desktop. If you think about it, behavior like that is something you might expect from a Palm Pre (or Apple Newton for that matter) But having a device with 7 antennae (antenna’s ?) require a serial connection to get stuff moved over to it .. It’s too 90’s for me.
I have spent considerable time in bypassing this crippled way of working by writing up special scripts , ssh connections and cronjobs to “ditch the cable”, but I continued to start out from the assumption that the desktop needs to acquire the data (podcasts, music, etc). But what if we let go of that paradigm altogether ?
Enter the mobile podcatching client. On IOS devices creating an application for this purpose has long been considered blasphemous : It “Duplicated” functionality that was native to iTunes. I am unaware what prescription of brain numbing meds the person that made that statement but for the longest time there was no “podcatcher” on IOS.
Luckily that has changed with “Downcast” : A full fledged podcatcher that has all the bells and whistles a stand alone application like this requires. Its very easy to search for podcasts or subscribe to them manually. You can set the number of episodes to keep and to delete. You can choose what to download , when to download it (over what connection) Thanks to location based services WHERE to download your stuff. While playing back audio en video podcasts you can choose the speed, pick up where you left of and tweet what you are listening to. The best thing is you can control all of these settings on a general or per-show basis. For the hilarious amount of 2 dollars you get a good working iPhone/iPod version AND the decent iPad version of the application. Downcast was surely built by people who knew exactly what a mobile podcast-consumer needs to keep him happy.
On the Android side of the pond “Doggcatcher” comes in at a slightly higher price point of 5 dollars but it offers almost the same magic as downcast. One of the added advantages of Doggcatcher is that you can create “Internal” podcast feeds. Mark a couple of files on your SD card into Doggcather and it will treat them as an external source of content. This is VERY handy if you want to listen to an audiobook you downloaded elsewhere and have it play nicely in your podcatchers interface, giving you a nice view what chapters you listened to and which ones you need to get to.
Both applications have, for me, severed the last ties between my iPhone to iTunes and have given extra independance to my Nexus tablet, letting their technolgy “work for me”.
We take a look at one of the hottest devices currently on the market and stare down the bellybutton of the Google Nexus 7. After looking at hardware software and specs its time to answer the important questions : How can this technology work for us AND what will it do to the market. A different approach at a product review this time that will surely enlighten you in some way or form. Spice it up with some great feedback from the voicemail and twitterspheres and we have another Knightwise.com podcast .. in the can.