Five new years resolutions for a (budding) Cross Platform Geek.

Jan 01

With another successful orbit around the sun completed, its time for us carbon based lifeforms to dream up some list of ‘Things we would like to improve on’ in 2016. Since we all lack the telepathic mind controlling abilities to force these improvements upon others on a global scale, it is perhaps more prudent to start with ourselves. So here are 5 things you might want to “improve on” for those of you who have not taken the plunge into the wonderful world of cross platform computing.

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1: Stop being such a fanboy.
Are you “This guy/girl” at every party that religiously promotes brand/platform XYZ and gets into countless arguments on which is the better brand/platform/phone with your friends and relatives ? Have you spent most of Christmas eve explaining to your cousin why Android is far superior to IOS ? How about you stop doing that in 2016 ? Seriously. Somehow you are playing out the exact scenario that marketeers have planned out for you. Somewhere, somehow you have developed this religious devotion to a certain brand or platform that is just (for a lack of a better word) STUPID.

If you have ever gotten into a situation where app/platform/brand X has NOT been more then satisfactory, yet ignored this issue (To yourself and your peers.) because it didn’t line up with your beliefs / previous statements, then you’re a fanboy and you need to stop.  So stop droning on about how your iPhone is superiour to all other phones on the planet and actually take the time to try out some of the alternatives. God forbid .. you might like them.

Have you ever gotten into a situation where app/platform/brand X has NOT been more then satisfactory, yet ignored this issue ?

2: Stray away from your favorite applications.
“I can’t move to platform X because I use application Y”. I’ve heard it a dozen times over. ‘Nope, Can’t switch to Linux because I NEED Outlook.’ Surprise: You don’t NEED an application, you need to perform the process that is TIED to that application. You don’t NEED Outlook, you NEED to be able to communicate via Email. The correct statement would actually be: ‘Nope, Can’t switch to Linux because I am afraid to learn how to work with another Email client.’ So try to get out of that sticky situation by NOT devoting ALL your time and energy using JUST your favorite apps. Whether its an app on your phone or one on your desktop .. there are probably plenty alternatives out there that you can tinker with, just for the fun of it.  God forbid … you might like them.

You don’t NEED Outlook, you NEED to be able to communicate via Email.

3: Give one flavor of Linux  a try this year, for real this time.
Any self-respecting geek HAS taken the time to “Play around” with Linux. For some this means a devotion to the platform where they live out their entire geek-lives in the command line, but for most this means just slapping in a live-boot thumb drive, fiddling around with it for 20 minutes before deeming it “too slow” and going back to whatever OS you used before.

This year, try something different. Devote an old PC (and some of your time) to actually giving it a go as a primary operating system for a week. Write up a blogpost about what you like and what you hate. If a complete desktop experience is too much for you, try out something small like playing with a Raspberry Pi and tinkering with one of many interesting projects you can build. God forbid .. you might like it.

Devote an old PC (and some of your time) to actually giving it a go as a primary operating system for a week.

4: Lean on the communities.
You might be spending a lot of your online time aimlessly scrolling through 9gag, Facebook or Tinder. So why not spice things up a little by going out of your way to find some online geek communities you can learn from ? If any of the cross platform endeavors stated above trigger you to learn more or get some help .. lean on the communities ! There are plenty of forums, sub-Reddits and Google+ groups about the topic you are diving into. They will be able to provide you with excellent feedback and support. Why waste hours on Googling when you can just ask the experts. God forbid .. you might like it there.

There are plenty of forums, sub-Reddits and Google+ groups about the topic you are diving into.

5: Give something in return.
And if, on your adventures into cross platform computing, have learned something new ? Why not give some back ? Post your experiences back to the forums, comment in the discussions and put your new found experience to good use by helping others. If you are feeling truly daring, why not try your hand a podcasting. Recording a simple episode on your phone and submitting it to the Hacker Public Radio podcast is a great way to get started. You will learn that the best way to learn,is to teach. God forbid .. you might like it.

You will learn that the best way to learn,is to teach.

So let 2016 be the year for you where you step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Try a new OS, a different brand of phone or some geeky new project that lets you control your home lights from the internet. We at Knightwise.com wish you good luck in your endeavours.

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Sync all your iTunes playlists to your Android phone with Tunesync

Jul 30

The thing with proprietary software solutions, is that they are great. Everything tends to work smoothly together right up to the point where you decide to wander off the beaten path of supplier XYZ. A couple of years ago I made the crucial mistake of pouring my entire music collection into iTunes. Now, some 10 000 songs later .. its still in there. Being totally OCD I have organized all my tracks into nice little playlists and enjoy my tunes in the “Apple walled garden”.  Whether I am playing them from the Mac, sharing out the iTunes library over iTunes to my other macs, blasting them from the Airport express speakers or syncing them to my other i-Devices.

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But a couple of weeks ago I could not help myself myself and crawled over the walled garden into android territory with my purchase of a Galaxy Note 2. And accessing my delicately curated iTunes library from THIS device turns out to be an near impossible task. The deep crevasse that divides me from listening to my tunes on my “droid” consists of an incompatibility to sync with iTunes (only IOS devices of course) and the total inability to get the music on my Android in an organised form. Sure I can browse the filestructure of my iTunes library and copy over files to the SD card on my Phone .. but iTunes has “reorganized” my music into folders according to artist .. not according to playlist.

Enter Tunesync. A two-part application app in the android store that saves the day. The deal is simple. Download the server part of their app and install it on your Mac that is running iTunes. Download the CLIENT side of their application and install that to your Android device. Make sure both are on the same wifi network and be amazed !

Tunesync detected my (massive) iTunes library and started indexing the playlists right away. After I selected the playlists I wanted to have on my Android it started to copy over the tracks AND the playlist order in my Androids music collection. 20 minutes later I had all the grooves I needed on my Note2. Tunesync regularly “checks” if the playlists are still up to date and “updates” them whenever I connect or start up the app.  I had expected some glitches and on one occasion Tunesync had given me all my playlists .. with no tracks inside ( it erases and re-copies all the  tracks on every sync instead of doing an incremental) but when I retried the sync it worked flawlessly.

Tunesync does one thing and it does it well, and the hilarious part is , it does it better then Apples iTunes-IOS wireless sync ! The app is 4.99 in the Play store and worth every dime.

Tunesync is available from the Play Store.

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kw603 : Talking Mumble.

Jun 12

mumble2Privacy is at a premium these days and on the heels of the whole Prism scandal, we also look back at Microsofts apparent ‘interest’ in the links in your Skype Chat Conversations. Is your favorite peer to peer voip client not that safe anymore  ? And if not, what are the alternatives. We talk to expert CafeNinja about the ultimate Slider Friendly Cross Platform VOIP client that will have you “mumbling away” in no time.

Shownotes.

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kw506 : Sliders academy part 2 : Linux Everywhere.

Mar 13

We take up part 2 of our Sliders Academy series and take the Linux system we installed in lesson one a step further. Follow the tutorial and learn how to connect to your Linux machine from any operating system and with multiple users. Build your own terminal server or “slide” from Windows to OSX while taking your personal Linux desktop with you anywere. Using the NX Server and the NX client we slide another powerful tool into your Sliders toolbag.

Shownotes.

 Part one of the series : Installing the Ubuntu system.

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How about a Citrix session in Ubuntu on a Macbook Air.

Jan 11

The one upside of being a slider is that you can do whatever the hell you want with your computer. I mean, its not only thinking outside the box, its like thinking about the box outside the box before there ever IS a box. The fun part of doing all this is that you can hack your hard and software the way YOU want it to work for you.

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As you know I have an 11.6 inch Macbook air that I drag around everywhere. It would be quite dull if it ONLY ran OSX. Of course it doesn’t. Since the day I got it I fought, tweaked and tinkered right up to the point that I had it running exactly like I wanted to. In my case : on Ubuntu 12.10. After tweaking the fans, the keyboard, the screen illumination and the function keys, I had trained my Macbook to behave like a Mac, while still running Windows.

The only time I had to really boot back into OSX is when I wanted to access our work Citrix server. Since I take my little bundle of joy to work from time to time, but also work from home, it was always a little sad to say bye bye Ubuntu, JUST to use the silly Citrix client.

And when you tell me I HAVE to use a CERTAIN operating system JUST to use a CERTAIN application .. I get antsy and start looking around. So my new goal for the week was : Get a Citrix client working on Ubuntu .. ( on a mac ) and access your work deskop (A Windows 2003 Terminal server environment).

After finding this brilliant howto on installing the 64 bit Ica Client under Ubuntu I had the Citrix client running in no time. The only downside came when I started typing.

Remember : This was a Windows 2003 session I had open, with a Ubuntu operating system and a Macintosh keyboard. So when I started typing it looked …. Fracked up.  So how was I going to fix it.

After some searching in my home folder I found the Ica client config file.  in  /home/%username%/ICAClient/wfclient.ini

The first lines in the config file pointed towards the keyboard layout looked like this.

KeyboardLayout = (User Default) 
KeyboardMappingFile = automatic.kbd
KeyboardDescription = Automatic (User Profile)
KeyboardType=(Default)

I remembered I had kinda the same problem when I tried to run the Citrix Receiver client on my Mac (under OSX) and got a wonky keyboard. The solution there was to also look for the config file an change the keyboard settings to FRENCH (Since I have a French Macintosh keyboard layout) So I changed the first line.

KeyboardLayout = FRENCH

Now everything works perfectly ! I can now happily run my work “Windows” session under Linux on my Macbook Air. Sliders rule !  

Link : Ubuntu howto on running the ICA client.

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