The Discord roundtable is back again this week with the perennial discussion among technology and open source enthusiasts – Will we ever see the year of the Linux Desktop?
- Mix & Production: Tim King
What does it take to start up a company ? What does it take to make that company cross platform compatible ? What hardware do you choose , what software do you choose ? What services do you go for ? What are the challenges, the easy bits and where does it all make you want to pull your hair out ? We answer those questions in this weeks podcast as we take a deep dive into the technology we selected and used to start up our own IT Consultancy company. Listen up ! You might learn something 🙂
When you think of it “having applications inside of a browser” might seem like a bizarre idea. However this IS the case when you take a look at Chrome and the Chrome OS. All chrome applications that are available in the store (and that turn your Chromebook from a porn-browsing paperweight into an actual “computer”) are also perfectly usable inside the chrome browser.
The great thing about these chrome extensions (or chrome apps) is that they are highly cross platform. Whether you are running chrome on your Chromebook, your windows or Linux machine or even on your mac : Chrome apps will look the same everywhere. The also have vastly the same possibilities (and limitations) everywhere. Most of them might not be usable if you are offline, but most of them do simulate a full fledged application (where it not that you KNOW they are running inside a browser). As we hop from OS to OS we write sweet love poems to the following list of chrome-apps for giving us a consistent and pleasurable experience .
Some chrome apps are just links to web services, and with the Feedly chrome-app there is not getting around it. Its basically a link to the web based interface of Feedly. The good thing is : Feedly looks good, its fast and it works. The Chrome app takes care of logging in for you and BOOM you are reading through your 2908383098 unread articles. Good luck with that.
“Oh – Ah” .. I want to read that later ! That’s something we scream about 4 times a day when we tread upon an interesting article that is just to long to read at that very moment. I hit the “save to pocket” icon in my top tool bar and the article gets saved (with pictures and everything) to Pocket. Whenever I feel that i’m browsing around aimlessly ( Facebook – newspaper- Reddit – 9gag – newspaper …) I punch up the Pocket extension and browse through the articles I saved earlier. Pocket also has a great mobile app that lets you read the articles offline on your mobile device AND have the articles read out to you with a text-to-speech function that sounds like Stephen Hawkings hot sister.
Here we can only say one thing : This is without a shadow of a doubt one of the very best Evernote clients for Linux. By the time that our popular note taking application to release a native Linux application, pigs will have colonised other planets. There have been some attempts by open source beard bearing goblins to make a client that interfaces with Evernotes API on Linux .. but the chrome app takes the cake. Sure it won’t work offline, but it IS the cleanest way to connect to your web based version of Evernote on ANY OS.
Why would one need Google drive when one has Dropbox or even the locally installed Google Drive client ? The answer is simple. This extension does not drop the Google files into your desktop ecosystem .. this IS the Google desktop ecosystem. Not only do you get easy access top all the files you have stored on Google Drive , you can also instantly access them in the very same window, regardless of your OS. Whether you would like to write a love poem to Miley Cirus, do a spreadsheet on how you will managed your finances one you marry her .. or draft up a slideshow on why a care-bear should be featured as your upcoming company logo .. its all right there in ONE window.
Without my calendar I am lost. Browsing over to my calendar in the cloud and logging in to enter an appointment ? I’m too lazy. The Google calendar extension gives you your calendar in a window at the click of a mouse. I love having the short cut to this Google app (Because that is what it is) on my desktop is just too darn handy.
In know I might be boring you to death with Chrome apps for “standard” Google services .. but they ARE the ones that do what they do just right. The cool thing is that these (native) Chrome apps do give you the luxury of a standard desktop applications like notifications and the ability to become the “default’ application for handling any email shortcuts.
Visio. Microsofts ‘Miauw Du Chat’ when it comes to drawing up complicated flowcharts or organisational charts that feature your name waaaay down the bottom. There aren’t a lot of replacements from this app in the cross platform world. Good thing that there is Gliffy, Gliffy is free and has all kinds of nice flowcharts and funky network diagrams for you to play with. Gliffy even lets you store them on line (all though the number of Flowcharts you can save is limited in the free version).
We all have brilliant idea’s. We just don’t have the brilliant idea to stuff something (like a piece of paper or a pencil) in our pocket to write them down. That’s not such a bad thing because pen and paper is a pretty shitty way to manage an entire brain fart. You want to be able to draw branches and sub-branches. You want to organise your thoughts into categories and subcategories . You want to do this anywhere and preferably .. for free. Enter Mindmeister. A great online mindmapping tool that works on any device that comes with a browser (except the Nintendo Wii). Aside from having native clients on IOS and Android that sync with the cloud, Mindmeister now also has its own chrome app. You can only store one or two acts of brilliancy online in the free version .. but nobody ever said that you should have just ONE brain dump per document.
The one thing you have to DO with TO-DO lists is keep track of your to-do’s. If your to-do’s are stored on different devices, one of the things you need to do is keep them in sync. Any.do does sport a native IOS and Android client that syncs your Todo list with the cloud. The great thing about its chrome app is that it creates a nice pop-up window that you can set to the side and keep track of your to-do list that way. Any-do is as polished as a native app and looks identical on every os. Love it !
When I see people standing in line for the next big new console game, I always think back of the good old days when I still had my Atari game console and played classic 8 bit games on a run down TV in a backroom. Thanks to the awesomeness of the internet, I can now do exactly that inside a browser window. So forget standing in the rain for the next GTA game (and possibly being robbed in the cue by a 14 year old ‘gangsta’ who wants your iPhone) .. I’m heading out to the Internet Archive. Over there some brilliant programmers have come up with a way to play classic console games right in your 2014-style browser. The “Console living room” as it is called does not only have the coolest cover picture in existence (Check out the neck beard on dad’s picture there) it ALSO has a full listing a tons of games that you could play on your Atari 2600 and 7800 , but also from some more obscure systems like the Colecovision, the Odyssey, the Astrocade and the very very first Sega.
Instead of having to install an emulator an jump through hoops .. all you need is to “click on the pick” and the game will launch in your browser. We haven’t tried this on mobile devices yet (but its worth a go) and so far results are awesome. You can go full screen if you want to. There is nothing like playing ET on a 52 inch High Dev television and waist a ridiculous amount of pixels, resolution and technological progress on a little alien that looks like a turn on the screen. Its a little tricky to find the right buttons on your keyboard, so thank the matrix there is also support for game pads (YES ! game pads and not those 500 gazillion button contraptions they call “controlers” these days ).
So ground your offspring and plop them in front of the television to teach them “How mom and dad Fragged bad guys back in da 80’s”. Finish that never ending argument with your older brother about “who was best at Desert Falcon” and rekindle hours of time devouring goodness on Kung Fu Master. Its GAME TIME !
This week we teach you the art of downloading. Wiseguy Daniel Messer tells you all about how to use the Piratbay browser to anonymise your traffic through the TOR network, circumventing censorship, nosy ISP’s and even our lovely friends over at the NSA. After this insightful tutorial on using this ‘portable app’ its my turn to tell you about “Transmission”, A simple client to download torrent files, with a twist. We show you how to set it up, use it AND control it from just about anywhere. Ever been on your smartphone an thought .. Damn, I wish I could download this torrent back home ? We teach you how to use Transmission from anywhere on any device equipped with a browser. (Even from your phone). Stay tuned till the end because we have a special holiday-cheer announcement for a very special member of the Knightwise.com community.
I’m not a big self help guy, but a little bit of lifehacking never hurt anyone. In this fast pacing world of technology it is sometimes not a bad idea to sit back and chill out just for a while. But that is easier said then done. You always have some distraction waiting for your attention, there is always that one website that you still have to check. So how about some ‘help’ in calming down ?
‘Calm’ for IOS helps you do just that. The app gives you the choice between the length of the relaxation session you want to have, and gradually builds that time up, the more times you use it. This helps you to go from a 2 minute meditation session way up to even a 20 minute chill session. It comes with soothing sounds (a brook, a rainshower) and a silky feminine voice that tells you to KEEP CALM NOW !!! Forget the “Keep Calm and … ” posters .. just “Keep Calm with Calm”. The application is free in the IOS Store but also has a ‘slider friendly’ counterpart on their website calm.com that you can access from any browser.
We have told you plenty of times about the cool things you can do from the Linux command line. From building your own backup script to using an encrypted SSH tunnel at work to chat to your buddies on IRC on your remote EEE-pc that you glued to the underside of your kitchen tablet at home : There is nothing the command line cannot do. As a slider its always important to have that command line with you, where ever you are. So instead of lugging around a Usb thumbdrive with Putty on it, or fighting the terminal app in OSX .. Why not put it in your browser ?
“Secure Shell” is a great chrome extension that does just that. An SSH Client in your browser enabling you to connect to any machine running an SSH server (Your Mac or your Linux machine at home) Its super light, fast and moderately functional (it doesn’t come with ALL the bells and whistles, but hey). The cool thing is, because Chrome syncs your settings and extensions on any machine, you have that shell with you anywhere. So I’ve locked the tab with the Secure Shell extension on my browser bar and have the same command line interface on any system I use, should I need to connect to a remote system. Its free and slider friendly. Just the way we like it.
Torrents .. Oh sweet rivers of digital data that bring us tons of
HD Porn Open Source ISO’s at speeds approaching those of the speed of light .. Or if you are running fiber .. THE speed of light. A fantastic little protocol that requires and equally fantastic application : A torrent client.
Sure, there are plenty of torrent clients out there like Transmission or Vuze, but wouldn’t it be great to be able to find torrent files and download them using the same simple application you use every single day ? What if we could do it in Chrome ? …. the answer is equal to Obama’s slogan : Yes you can !
Bring on “Bittorrent Surf” and gain the ravishing ability to download your favorite torrents straight from and straight IN your browser. Download and install the extension in google chrome and a little blue ball will appear on the upper left corner of your address bar. I could do a boring writeup how it works .. or you can just watch the video instead.
The extention works on Chrome in both Windows Mac and Linux. You can download ‘SURF’ HERE.
How do YOU get your torrents ? Tell us in the comments section.
We close of the year (and season 4 of Knightwise.com) with the video coverage we shot at the “Softlaunch” event of Belgians first ‘Internet only’ TV-Content provider : Weepee.tv. You Cable-Cutters can watch and learn what it is, how to get it, how it works and what other geeks might think of it. Will this be the death of classic television for geeks or just a fab ? Find out in KW408.