The Office 2.0

livingYes yes , its the time of the year(s) again that the Knights in the Knightcastle get a little uneasy with the colors they painted on the walls , get bored with the arrangement of furniture and get overdosed by all the 'home improvement' programs on the tv. We dash out to the DIY store and go looking for paint. Now I must say I'm blessed with the fact that Nyana has excellent taste in colors. She picks out two shades of gray (that to me are not even different colors) and says.. 'This will go good together. ' As we left the store I remember grumbling and fretting that we did not go for some cappuccino like shades, and turning the room into one big Starbucks.  But when the paint went on .. the result was amazing.The rooms we did so far are the bedroom and the office / small living room upstairs. Now in our bedroom we obviously sleep. (get your brains out of the gutter). But the office / living room is a different matter. This room used to be my office. But because I had room to spare we shoved in an extra couch and a tv so Nyana could hang out while I was behind my beloved workspace. It worked out so well that we spend the most part of the winter upstairs. Nice and cocoon-y. The wife in front of the tube, the resident geek on you-tube.  But the mutter was in the clutter. Soon enough Mr geek thought it was needed to overstock the room with computer books, extra systems, a sound-mixer, microphone, main boards and cables lying around etc. To be honest , it sometimes looked like the lovechild of an overturned dumpster truck and a main board factory. This was neither relaxing nor efficient. Thus : The new office. Or could I say : The office 2.0.

 

office

 

We started out with a ruthless philosophy. This place had to be clutter free. Asides from the absolute essentials this room would have to breath out calm and efficient vibes. In order to achieve a TV-room / loungeroom / workspace we made sure to check some markers.

cables

  • Relaxing colors. Shades of gray replaced the beige and blue on the walls. The colors of the room should reflect calm-and-easy and by far attract any attention to themselves.
  • Furniture : As little as possible. My big office (the biggest one Ikea had) was sized down to its smallest by removing some extentions. Every bit of furniture is color coordinated .. well thats more something of a coincidence since we buy everything at Ikea and it matches nicely.
  • Cables : The lovely misses had an absolute zero tolerance policy for ANY cabling that was exposed to the naked eye. Also : NONE of the cables , power plugs or power supply's was allowed to hit the floor. A downpour of black power cables in front of an exposed office ? No way. Don't get me wrong. The girl is as geeky as can be .. But the place should not look like a fishing trawlers , nets included.
  • No clutter : Books, ornaments and what-have-you's that where otherwise crammed in our cabinets where removed. Just a little plant here, and a model of my  Enterprise NCC 1701 there. (and some nice starship diagrams nicely framed on the wall).Division bell ! : But probably the most important redesign was dividing the OFFICE (where you work) from the Lab / Studio / library part of a geeks room. Now 10 years of research have given us the conclusion that you cannot keep the geek out of the living room. And you cannot keep the clutter out of the geeks setup. So unless you want a TV room / IT-ground-zero.. You have to seperate the working geek , from the tinkering geek.  Our conclusion ? Move the books / spare parts / lab equiptment of the resident geek to the hobby room upstairs. This meant that podcasting- studio setup went upstairs and is now safely out of direct sight.

The results.

 
cablessWhat can I say : The results are great. Allthough  reluctant to give up my 'matrix style' surroundings of screens and keyboards piled up together. i'm honestly impressed by this new approach. My main desk now consists of my Macbook (docked) and one 19'' widescreen display. When in need of dual screen work , i just flip it open and am able to use my isight camera and more. Instead of using speakers and amplifiers I just routed the audio to either my headphones or the internal speakers of the monitor and thus having less clutter around.  Next to this setup resides my Ubuntu machine hooked up to another 19” display. Because the resolution matches up to the resolutions of two other systems I have around the house (my TV computer and my test system) it can run remote desktop sessions to these machines full screen. Its like having them around.. Without having them around.  Next , instead of using yet another computer to run Windows , i've opted to use virtual machine to emulate and run any other system I required. This all works fine on my AMD XP 3200 machine that has enough ram to run a nice little Windows XP either in Vmware  Player or Paralells. So you see : More machines at my fingertips without taking up space.

 

And then there is the matter of the home server / media TV machine.

http://static.flickr.com/57/254610991_919af0e7d5.jpg?v=1159416879Instead of having a big ass tv in our little office/loungeroom we use a mac mini with a 19” screen and a TV tunercard. This whole setup (along with the main router) is compactly crammed into the little TV cabinet that we use. Having all that gear installed in that little space and just one cable leaving the setup makes up for serenity and no clutter whatsoever. To be on the safe side I did mount a smokedetector INSIDE the cabinet. Since the server keeps running at night, I want to be sure we are alerted should anything go wrong. This is a tip I give to all of you geeks who have machines running at night. Smokedetectors are cheap so , mount them over your “beyond midnight” machines.Epilogue.Allthough I did not expect it … the results are quite fab. Keeping the clutter out of the room has given us a very relaxing inviting room to be in. The screens are still the main focalpoints of attention, but due to the lack of crap around them, it works out just great.  My main desk is this minimalistic fortress occupied only by 2 screens and two sets of keyboards. I thought this was going to bugg me. No extra stuff to twiddle and fiddle with seamed cumbersome. No pheripherals piled up around the setup was something to get used to . But imagine my surprise when I actually found out that I was much more focussed on my systems and could work in a concentraded manner. Also the lack of phisical devices makes one use the virtual possibilities of ones computer more. Less craptime = more screentime. The wife is very happy with all this having a couch strategicly posted in the middle of the room , facing the tv. I can look over her shoulder and peer along to the mainstream mayhem withouth having to leave my chair.  All in all .. its a match in heaven.

 

Related Posts

Can you spare a dollar ?

 

Send Steve a Dollar !

Not to start belly staring just now , but one should consider the future every now and then.  What would happen if the sky would fall down, Will we still play world of warcraft online after getting world peace to work. And .. What would we call podcasts if Apple tries to hammer down on the word .. "podcast". Huh ! .. yes  Huh indeed. Recently Apple has been sending out cease and desist letters to a company called Podcast Ready after they filed a copyright regarding a hardware device they where developing. After this letter that stated a big NONO in using the term PODCAST in this context , everybody in the poddosphere (isn't that the lamest word ever) started to get nervous. What if Apple would go after all of us ?  Well , first of all , Apple would need a legal department the size of China, AND you can only sew people for money if the actually have some.  But still , the unease resides.

Que Dave Gray from the Global Geek Podcast who thought .. Well , the mention of the name podcast in our show has an average market value of one cent. If I where to mention Steve Jobs or Apple's name in the podcast, that would be worth 10 cents. So why don't we send a one dollar cheque to Steve , just to cover the expenses. We pay one cent for every podcast, we GET one cent for every Steve Jobs / Apple mention. That, along with or one dollar cheque should cover expenses quite nicely. 

Dont believe me ? check THIS out 🙂 

 

 

cheque
 
 

 

  

Related Posts

Dell Laptop Bombers no longer alone ?

Dell Laptop Bombers no longer alone ?

dellMeanwhile in the real world Dell owners walk around with their laptop-bags with beads of sweat on their forehead. Packed with a heavy load of a overstuffed bag on one shoulder and a fire extinguisher on the other, their own mortality is very apparent to them As they leave for bed the laptop is stored outside, on an inflatable mattress in the middle of the swimming pool, if only to comfort its endangered owner that no indoor fireworks will go off inside the house thanx to of the Nr 1 hardware supplier DELL.  It might sound funny, but just imagine having one of these baby’s in the house. Ok, on a statistical scale the rate of failure / explosion of a dell laptop battery is remote at best .. but still ! Would you sleep at night ?So yesterday when I read an article about Apple recalling 1.5 million (hello !) laptop batteries in the US, I was not really worried. Nothing to affect little old me here in downtown Belgium. Although I am an owner of one 12 inch Ibook (confiscated for personal use 6 months ago by my wife) I didn’t think much of it. But just to be on the safe side I surfed over to the Belgian Apple Site where indeed there was a link to the battery recall program. (you had to go under SUPPORT and hire a private detective to find the link, but none the less it was there). So i popped the battery from my wifes Ibook and law and behold the type number AND serial matched those of the ones that where franticly recalled to Silicon Valley. Imagine my surprise that 1.5 YEARS after selling me my Ibook, Apple suddenly comes to the conclusion that .. ‘oh yes .. there is a little issue of a Fire Hazard’ And if I would not have been an avid listener to Slashdot Review I would not have even found out about it.

 

ibook

 

FIRE in Babylon.

I mean : We are talking fire here people. We are talking Laptops that lie on the couch , are crammed in bags, lie in cars, or sleep UNDERNEATH my bed after a late night chat session. And the error here is not that the mouse cursor might go astray at any given time .. NO ! The flaming thing can BURN ! Its downright incredible that Apple only finds this out ONE POINT FIVE  years after purchase AND does not yell “BEWARE ! FIRE ! “ on its homepage instead of hiding the recall program in some dark corner of the white website.

Laptop self-combustion risk… Nice .. very Nice.

Sure enough I entered the serial and got a nice little email that I will receive a NEW battery in four to six weeks. I was advised to remove the battery from the Ibook and work on main power until the new bugger comes. WHAT ? NOW i need to work without the battery ? For the last year and I have I have been a “human-with-laptop-self-combustion-risk” and NOW you tell me ? Djeez ! Now I Know the thing got HOT ( I made my wife use it on this little table whenever she wanted to set it straight down on the couch) but in my minds eye I see all the nights where the Ibook slept so near to flammable goods that my fire insurance policy is now stored off site in an Iglo !So BAAAD Apple for finding this out SO late and notifying its customers in a rather poor way. I’ll keep you posted on the whole story .. If my macbook does not decide to cremate itself while on my lap.

If you want more information about the Ibook and Macbook Pro issue go HERE and HERE. 

Related Posts

No propper MSN clone for the cross-platform community.

A lot of Chitchat. 

As a slider ( somebody who moves swiftly between operating systems like Windows, Mac and Linux ) I am often confronted with the question : What tool do I use for what  ? There are of course plenty of ‘switcher tips” out there to help people out who decide to jump from one OS to the other. These ‘switch-lists’ are composed of tables representing a certain application in one operating system , and its counterpart on the other side of the fence. For example : Microsoft Office on Windows has Open-office as its counterpart in Linux (and also in Mac OS). Some applications are called cross-platform , these are of course the ideal ones. An exactly identical version exists in all operating systems. For example : Firefox , or Thunderbird. All versions look and feel exactly the same no matter what OS you are on.
But sometimes you have to look for stuff that “looks” or “behaves just like” the original version in one operating system. Classic example here  is the Switchers nightmare MSN Messenger. Unfortunately insanely popular among Windows Users here in Europe. But : Microsoft clings to this little peace of software like there is no tomorrow. Deliberately setting back the versions that are brought out on other operating systems (like for example on Mac OSx) and not disclosing any code to the open source community so their IM clients would be able to interact with MSN Messenger. The result is the entire thing has to be reverse engineered to make it work.

dWhat about MSN ?
A question often asked is : What do I use instead of MSN on other systems. Now there are some viable alternatives out there, but the one most commonly found on both Mac and Linux systems is AMSN . This noble attempt at Msn messenger ‘approximation’ has been running strong for quite some years now. Their main concern was to be able to crack the hard nut of enabling cross platform msn audio and video-chat. A noble cause since Microsoft does shield that box of tricks very well to the outside world. Now the AMSN people said they cracked it. They had gotten in working. Onto the labs dear friends ! My first test ( video chat between my powerbook and my girlfriends Ibook) worked just fine .. behind the firewall. But once I tried to talk or send files to the outside world ? No go.. Amsn does not deal with NAT translation very well. ( Well , it can’t cope with it at all). Making matters worse : Amsn runs on the  Mac like a rhinoceros on a valiumtrip. Slow and jerky to respond and not at all reliable. So i’m back to my ‘non video chat’ enabled alternative ADIUM. A great, highly customizable, well supported alternative. The downside ? No video-chat (file transfer works excellent) AND only available on Mac.  As for a Linux alternative to MSN i’ve stuck with GAIM for being the better product.

A loss.
Too bad actually , I mean , these guys over at msn have a quite good cross platform product and are able to crack a fantastic nut in getting video-chat to work .. But then they get stuck on this simple thing like Nat transgression. Perhaps its time for all these ‘alternative messenger clients” to start working together and produce one kick-ass open source Messenger alternative and overcome one of the final pitfalls for users switching to a non Microsoft OS.

Related Posts

The Knightcast Episode 32 : My Macbook.

 The Knightcast Episode 32 : My Macbook. 

 

Direct link to the show : http://www.knightwise.com/podcasts/kc060606.mp3

Summary.

This week we do an in depth 'Knightcast Style' review of the 13,3 inch tinkerbell of technology called "The Macbook". Is it all that its cracked up to be ? Is it realy that great or is it all just a fab ? We dive down into the bowels of this Mac laptop and see if it can tune tech into your way of life.

Shownotes.

Intro.

Part one.

Part Two.

Part Three.

For more information visit our website : www.knightwise.com or subscribe to the knightcast in Itunes.

Related Posts

Macbook where are thou ?

deliveryThere is nothing as annoying as having to wait. Wait for your girlfriend on the first date, wait for Santa Clause to come at night, wait for the person in front of you on the public restroom when you have to make a mega dump. Or .. Wait for the delivery of your Macbook. Yep, I now curse myself for not being an earlier adopter of the mean machine and waiting until last thursday to order it. Delivery would take from three to seven days the apple store said. With previous orders that mostly meant ' Three to seven days, but in two days you'll have your goodies”. Unfortunately THIS time (of all times) Three to seven days does mean .. to seven days. So as I sit behind the front door like some hungry puppy waiting for the doorbell to ring. But no Macbook yett. A lot of it has to do with this freaking bank holiday we are having. Not only does this means I have four days off (which could have been spent in utter bliss with my new macbook) it also means the transportation and courier industry is a little fucked up and .. guess what , delivery's have been delayed.

But with the use of the tracking number at the apple store and some surfing we can see where our macbook is at this very moment. Lets track the shipping shall we ?

So we take the tracking number of the apple store and hop over to the website of the courier company. There we can see a step-by-step history of where it is.

  • May 18, 2006 om 07:05 PM GMT Order placed.

    Yes indeed , After a little doubt and a lot of research I placed the order , exactly one week before that blasted bank holiday. I could have done it about a week earlier but I decided NOT to be an early adopter.

  • May 22nd 2006 05:22 Suzhou Consignment Received At Transit Point

    So at the early eastern dawn my Macbook arrived FROM the factory at my couriers pickup point. A quick Google lets me see where the town of Suzhou actually is , a tad east of Shanghai.  

  • May 23rd 2006 00:41 Suzhou Shipped From Originating Depot

    Okay, It took my little Macbook a few hours to grab a cappuccino, some croissants and be on its merry way.

  • May 26, 2006 15:50 Arnhem Hub Consignment Passed Through Transit Point

    Probably by boat or by plane (i guess by plane) it arrived at Arnhem in The Netherlands. Pretty late and with no hope of arriving at its destination here that very same day. As I was on the road myself that day I encountered what traffic must have been like for the couriers : Rainy, overcrowded highways and a lot of people on the road that had a day off. Mixing proffesional travelers with leisure travelers and bad weather = Chaos.

  • May 27 th 2006 04:49 Brussels Hub Consignment Received At Transit Point.

    Ah ! Joy to the world, my little Macbook has jumped across the border and has arrived in our nations capital of Belgium. As it is Saturday morning, the 27th of May, 9 AM : The one million dollar question is : Is TNT running errands today ? If so : My Macbook could only be minutes away, If not … its gonna be freaking MONDAY until it arrives.

I'll hope for the former but fear the latter. No matter no matter …..

Related Posts

The Knightcast Episode 30 : What operating system to choose.

 

Showimage

The Knightcast Episode 30  ' What operating system to choose '

Direct link to the show : http://www.knightwise.com/podcasts/kc200506.mp3

Summary.

Join us for show number thirty where we triple the normal crew of the Knightcast and have a globe spanning discussion with two more experts about what operating system to choose.  Windows ? Linux ?  Apple ? Along with Sebastian Prooth and David Gray of the GlobalGeek podcast we compare the pro's and the con's of the major Os'es on the planet. It starts of seriously but goes slightly downhill from there so be sure to listen in for well founded arguments and totally off-topic hilarious banter as the Knightcast has some friends over to come and play    .!!!! This podcast is not entirely family safe. (but we don't swear at all) !!!! 

 Shownotes.

The Experts.

 For more information go to www.knightwise.com or subscribe to The Knightcast in Itunes.

Related Posts

The Guy Goma / Cuney Mixup

The Story is ALL OVER the internet , so we carry our bit .. Just read the little intro below and click play. See how one of the biggest company's in the world (Apple) is represented by .. A random sollicitant coming in for a job at the BBC! (Don't miss the first second of the introduction and check out the face on poor mr Goma). " Guy Goma, a graduate from the Congo, appeared on the news channel in place of an IT expert after a mix-up. But Mr Goma, who was wrongly identified in the press as a taxi driver, was really at the BBC for a job interview ("

 

 

Related Posts

the new macbook pro.

Its here ! Its HERE ! 

I'm a calm person. Introvert, quiet, not easily impressed. Years on the edge of real and cyberspace have left me jaded and therefore not likely to be amazed or star-struck by new technology. As trends evolve and gizmos and gadgets whizz by I raise the preverbal eyebrow and sigh. BUT NOT TODAY ! 

Today i am jumping up and down with the release of the new Mac-book. Nono ! Not the i've-got-money-to-burn-so-what-the-hell macbook PRO ! (an overpriced over-pimped version of the powebook line) I'm talking about the next generation (long overdue) incarnation of the Ibook. I am NOT going to delve any judgement on the little machine until i actually have one in my hands  ( and am surely not one of those who thinks that no matter WHAT Steve Jobs thought up , has to be fantastic ) BUT I am going to run over the specs of this baby before I slam my Visa card down and BUY one.  `

The New Macbook 

I admit, I have been waiting for this new laptop by Apple. When the Macbook pro line came out I knew I was in over my budget and that one of those shiny things where not likely to appear on my lap anytime soon. ( And i sure as hell was not going to be Steve's personal 2000 + euro personal beta tester.) So i waited and waited for what was going to come. Since I bought my first Ibook some year and a half ago I have been pleased with it beyond belief. I love the little bugger. The best 1200 euros ever spent on a laptop. And now its successor comes along. Lets all take a moment and drool together shall we ? Widescreen 13,3 inch screen with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. 1,83-GHz Intel Core Duo 512 MB Ram (i'm personally opting for 1 gigabyte if money permits me to.)  A 60-GB serial ATA hard drive on  5400 rpm (Bummer ,this should have been a 7200 rpm disk) A Combo drive (dvd-rom, cd-rw) Isight built into the display (owwwkey) Front row with apple remote.Now this looks pretty amazing for a laptop with a price-tag UNDER 1300 euros. you can also go for the 2 gigahertz version OR the BLACK 2 gigahertz version. The 2 gigahertz version is about 200 euros more expensive and to be quite honest , I don't think thats worth the money. The BLACK version is 200 euros extra (but you get a 80 gig hard drive).  Now the first reaction Nyana gave to this was : "black ? What do you mean .. black ?" A Black Mac ?  Well she was right. The black Ipod had made me frown , cause to be frank , the white Ibook I have is babe-magnet numero uno when you use it in a café. 'ooh look its white , its cute etc'.  I'm not an Apple snob but .. black ? no thank you. But black or white at first sight this baby looks like a tough nut to crack for same priced competitors. From personal experience I can tell that laptops around the 1000 euro price-point by for example Acer or Siemens have much poorer quality of design layout compared to even my "old" kevlar-coated (yes-yes) Ibook. Its like comparing a throw away tin foil barbecue to  a concrete super deluxe backyard super-stove.

 

macbook

 

One thing to rule them all.

 But time for the cherry on the pie when we look one step beyond the designed specs and see what loops we can let this baby jump through in the future. If we take BOOT-CAMP into account that lets us run Windows XP on this machine AND we look at the Linux versions that are compatible with the macintells we come to the next conclusion.  This is the sole and single sub 1500 euro computer laptop that will run the three biggest operating systems on the planet.

Needless to say .. as soon as I get my hands on one.. An elaborate review will follow. 

 

Related Posts

MAC OS X – Learning the OS X Ropes

MAC OS X – Learning the OS X Ropes. Posted by Sebastian Prooth 

A small lesson from a beginner MAC user on how to optimise your MAC OS X system! 

A few days ago I told you about buying the iBook G4 and some of the problems with the airport extreme wireless system. Yesterday, I found myself reconfiguring the iBook as I felt like it was running way too slow!

found the program activity monitor (click picture on the left), for those of us still using PC's that would be the TaskManager, it showed all the different attributes of programmes taking up system resources such as CPU, System Memory, Disk Activity, Disk Usage, and Network Traffic. I was checking the programmes that were running and I discovered to my horror that the Dashboard widgets actually take up absolutely huge amounts of system memory and resources even if your dashboard is not being displayed at the time! If your dashboard looks like, this, this article applies to you.

I did some hunting around on Google and I came across several people who were talking about ways to optimise the speed of OS X Tiger. The obvious such as turning off animations and turning off the minimise “genie” effect, freeing up Hard Drive space, and the not so obvious such as removing the dashboard from active running and taking all the widgets out. Once I removed the widgets I freed up over 150 meg of system memory and instead of 100 meg free ram at idle the iBook now has 339 Meg free.

I continued to explore the settings of OS X and as new MAC user I was pleased when I found I could change the system colours such as the highlight colour, which is now a brilliant orange, and the menus to a lovely chromy grey. There are also settings that you can alter the “warmness” of the display so that colours appear more true, or to more suit your personal preference of how you like to see the colours. Just because it is an accessibility function doesn't mean you have to be disabled <!–[if !vml]–>Spotlight<!–[endif]–> to use it.

One last thing I want to talk a little about its the Spotlight feature (picture click picture on the right), spotlight allows you to search for things on the MAC from options and settings in the OS to actual files hanging around on the disk. It was really helpful yesterday to find PC only files and remove them as they are superfluous. The spotlight worked perfectly for this!

As a result of actually reading and exploring my new iBook I now understand more fully how it does and doesn't work and can use it more effectively as a tool for business which is its sole purpose in life.

Related Posts