App week : Make a 360 panoramic with Cycloramic (IOS)

This app is dumb .. and at the same time its brilliant ! Taking panoramic shots that span your entire surrounding (the so-called “360’s) is not always easy. You have to keep your phone levelled at all times at your “turning in place” skills are obviously not that of a prima ballerina. What to do ?

Enter Cycloramic. An app that lets you take panoramic shots using your iPhone and its .. charger ? Well yes ! Cycloramic uses the camera of your iPhone to take the actual picture, it uses the charger as a base and .. the build in vibrator .. ( Or the built in motor that makes your phone buzz). Its ingenious and pretty spiffy if you ask me.

But don’t take our word for it. Watch the cool little vid and give it a “spin”.  (ps : for iphone 5 models you don’t even need the charger .. the phone ‘dances’ around on its broader base)


Link : Cycloramic (Apple app store for iPhone 5, 5s and 6)

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kw804 : The Cross Platform Startup.

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 🙂 

Shownotes.

 

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Server week : Trust no-one with Owncloud.

Dropbox changed its terms of service so they can give you data to the Feds if they just ask for it, Ubuntu shuts down the online fileservice “Ubuntu One” : Who can you  trust these days ? The great thing with cloud solutions is that they are on a server far far away, most of them are free and you never have to maintain them. The downside is that they are on a server far far away, they are free and you cannot maintain them. We give up a certain level of control for the convenience of the cloud. It would be of course far nicer if you had a service that offered you all the luxury of the products mentioned above .. but gave you full control, absolute privacy and a completely controlled solution. (and free ! It has to be free).

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Do not fear : Owncloud is here.

Owncloud is a self hosted cloud solution that gives you the luxury of the cloud in the privacy of your own home (or on your own hosted environment). Its a cross platform webservice that gives you the ability to store files in the “cloud” and access them from anywhere, Sync those files with your desktop (like Dropbox) You can share your files with friends and access them using mobile clients on Android and IOS devices or a simple browser window.

Don’t trust the cloud with your Calendar and contacts ? Owncloud takes care of that too. Manage your contacts and calendars straight from Owncloud or sync them up with your mobile devices using open standards like .vcard and caldav. 

Tired of the tracks on Groovebox or spotify ? Would you like to stream your music (and movies) from your own hard drive at home ? Owncloud even has an answer for that. The built in media player lets you access your library from anywhere as long as you sport at least a browser (AND some underwear .. Owncloud is classy like that).

Want to tie all of your different cloud services together ? Owncloud supports connecting external storage to the service (like network and usb drives) but can also connect to Dropbox and Google Docs, offering ALL those files up in one simple interface.

So what does it take ? 

Installing Owncloud is pretty simple. All you need is a linux server and you can choose to install Owncloud either from the repositories (if you are using Ubuntu or Debian) or you can go and download version 6 straight from their website. 

Owncloud is based on a web based server so you can access everything from port 80 and add some security by choosing to go for https to do your authentication (highly recommended).  You can run it on your server at home OR on a webspace you rented somewhere (or if you are really lucking on your own hosted server in some datacenter). You don’t need a lot of power, but Owncloud does need some ram and some cpu power if it is going to manage and index thousands of files for you.

So how do I do it.

Find out more.

In all , Owncloud is a very powerful solution when it comes to hosting stuff yourself. It has come a long way since version 6 and I have been a big fan of the convenience, the cross platform compatible-ness (is that a word ?) and the sheer power of integrating multiple storage locations (usb drives, network drives, cloud storage) to ONE single web interface. Try it .. you’ll be on cloud 9.

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Column : To the fanboys : Be free.

So here’s to the fanboys.
At the end of switch week, where we gave you a series of articles on how to “move out” of the Apple walled garden and onto a more open and cross platform plain, its time for a good old fashion rant against all brand fanboys. Knightwise.com is a website whose core belief is in a cross platform technology world. We are geared towards those who do not acknowledge the word ‘OR’ when it comes to the choice between one technological solution versus the other. As a result our audience consists of smart people who centre their technological lifestyle around their own needs and believe that multiple brands, operating systems, devices and technological solutions can make up their techno-space. Thus I have the privilege of interacting with a broad scope communities spread out over a wide range of operating systems, platforms and brands. Needless to say : Not all members of those community have the same broad-minded approach to a cross platform lifestyle. To each his own I say .. but next time you encounter one of those people, you might want to steal a couple of random thoughts that I have in my head when I encounter .. the fanboys.

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To those who have one option on their multiple choice shopping list. (The Mono-Choosers)

Dear Apple/Samsung/Hp/Lenovo/Linux/… enthusiast who ONLY buys one specific brand or vouches to buy/use NOTHING ELSE in the future.
First of all : I applaud you. For your loyalty, your consistency and your ability to see into the future. As I patiently hear you wax nostalgically about the first time you bought a product from brand X it reminds me of people who have just encountered a near death experience. Whatever happened at the checkout counter of that store when you purchased your first product of brand X, must have clearly overshadowed all other milestones in your life. Forget the miraculous birth of your first born on the hard shoulder of the snowed in free way, never mind the day you met the love of your life and lets not start about the day you got married. They all pale in comparison to that life changing moment where an everlasting bond was forged between you and your favourite brand. Ever since you have answered every possible technological question with a product from your favourite brand. Never mind if it would actually do what you wanted it to do or required 15 workarounds : You chose your brand for there is nothing better ! I admire your skill of doing a broad market analyses of all competing products and (seemingly at the speed of light) reach the conclusion that they all suck donkey balls in comparison to ‘your precious’. But not only am I bedazzled by your loyalty (you buy EVERYTHING product X produces whether or not you use/need it) and your ability to declare product/brand X victorious over everything else in a flash .. there is more : You appear to be a visionary who can clearly see into a fast moving industries future as you prophesize that you ” Will never need buy anything else ” then product/brand X because it is and will always be superior. I kneel down before you in pure admiration and point you towards the high spires of wall street .. for your vision of the market is the one true vision and should inspire all stockbrokers to buy all the stocks of your product X. Since your unwavering devotion in purchasing it, your assessment of its superiority and your visions of its ever ruling victory .. shall lead them all to infinite wealth.

To those who who post crap about any other operating system/brand/product aside from their own. (The Rediculators)

To those who think that a wallpaper of a Penguin peeing on a Windows logo is cool. For those of you who love to compare unfounded arguments about the vulnerability of operating system X with equally unfounded arguments about total and complete stability/security of your system of choice. To those who still feel the urge to snicker like 10 year olds when saying “Winblows” and to the others equally juvenile. I wish I could call you Trolls. Trolls troll the internet (that’s why we call them trolls) with one purpose : To piss people off for the sheer joy of it. With you it is different. Your attempts at brand/product/system propaganda remind us of our days in kindergarten where witty wordplay like ‘Knightwise – Sheitwise’ was still considered the absolute pinnacle in classroom politics. I resist the urge to ask you if you ever CONSIDERED using/investigating the ‘competition’. I am afraid you will make funny posters of me being sodomised by your favourite brands avatar.

To those who turn it into a religion. (The Flock)

I resist the urge to vomit when I hear that you have spent a whole day of your holiday overseas to visit the “store” of your favourite brand in city XYZ. I’m puzzled what you would actually DO there since you have already purchased every possible item of brand X a long time ago. Clearly a sceptical visit to the store with the intention of possibly buying or comparing a product was not on your agenda. To me it seemed like it was more of a religious experience. As you dribble enthusiastically  about brand/platform X, I classify your as a “mono-chooser” (see rant above) and forgo the urge to argue. Your enthusiasm however does not end there. Mere (distorted) reality is just a stepping stone for your next enthusiastic rant about the near divinity of your products creator. History always agrees with the victors but your view on the past history of your favourite brand seems to be very very much tainted in its favour. While your face starts to flush red, your tirade seems to become that of a TV-preacher on a Sunday morning. The drops of your spittle lash out as you condemn all non-consumers of your beloved brand to digital purgatory. You scare me as you  swing your devoted product around in your right hand like some kind of holy scripture. Desperate not to see you have a cardiac arrest halfway through your sermon, I raise my finger and try to point out that “It’s a store : not a church. Its a product, not a religion”‘. Your eyes narrow and I can clearly smell that fire and brimstone is upon me. The last words I can comprehend are “Blasphemy” and “Non-believer” before I escape into the digital atheism called ‘freedom of choice’.

To those who think technology is fashion. (The Cattle)

Remember the 90’s ? When you walked around in those cool buffalo shoes with the platform soles ? Yes : You looked like a total idiot and nearly broke your neck while rushing downstairs to open the front door .. but you were cool .. right ? Its good to see you have not changed and still run along happily with the herd. Now you clutch your phone/laptop/tablet from brand X to your chest not as a result of an informed decision but rather because “all the cool kids have them”. Aside from playing Flappy bird your expensive smartphone has no specific purpose aside from sending text messages. You still have your default out-of-the-box ringtones and the option to turn of keyboard sounds appears to elude you. In short : You are not in touch with the technology you own for you see it only as a fashion accessory. The 1500 dollar Facebook machine you call a laptop has not even spiked above 10% cpu usage but it DOES gets you in line with all the cool kids at Starbucks. Fashion is however fickle and pretty soon the cool crowd will move to another brand/product/platform and then the geeks will have their sweet revenge. I predict you will need to  offload your overpowered machine onto craigslist and get a ridiculously low offer. I also know that you will take it :  Because the followers of fashion don’t know anything about the technology they are using.. even if their life depended on it. Fools and their money must be parted.

To those who don’t have a clue. (The Clueless)

My heart bleeds as I see you browse the shelves of the local department store. Your eyes glazed over as you look upon rows and rows of boxes of all the different brands and products that make up the world of consumer technology today. You are out shopping for your first smartphone because you accidentally dropped your Nokia 3220 on the sidewalk yesterday. Construction workers are currently patching up the massive hole in said sidewalk (your Nokia is fine) and you still need to find a new smartphone. Brands, specifications, screensizes … it could have been written in Klingon for all you care. You do not have a clue.. but at least .. you have a choice.

To those with a brain.

What those who are clueless and what those who are ‘in the know’ have in common is this : You have the freedom of choice. Try to see yourself, your requirements, your personal taste and your budget as the very pinnacle of your technological existence. You are wise (or ignorant) enough to realise that you can choose anything you want to. You choose with your dollars and let brands and products fight and compete for the highest amount of value for the lowest price. You have no shame to switch back from an Android phone to a Windows Tablet. You even have been known to mix it up. To find technological solutions across different brands and platforms and integrate them in your life. You have come to the point that your terms are not dicated by brands or advertising .. you make your own choice to a a “cross platform geek” who loves to slide from brand to brand and from OS to OS. You have a choice .. and you are smart. (and that is exactly why you are reading this blog 🙂 )

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Privacy Week : Surf anonymously on your phone with Hotspot Shield.

Who do you trust ! That is of course the main question in most of the topics of this weeks “Privacy Week” on our blog. When you connect to the internet on your tablet or mobile phone, you have a choice between different networks and carriers.  You can go directly via your mobile phone’s dataplan (if you have one) or connect via Wifi. In both cases “somebody” is going to connect you to your internet. For your cell connection that will be your Telco, for your Wifi connection that will be your ISP or the kind person/company who set up the wifi hotspot you are using. The question is : Do you trust them ?  As we told you in our first post : Sniffing unencrypted traffic is very very easy on a network. So when it comes to those open networks in a coffee shop, you never know who is watching. So why not “tunnel” your mobile traffic too. 

Hotspot Shield VPN is my FREE application of choice. It allows you to tunnel all your traffic through their VPN tunnel and lets it emerge somewhere in the US. So anyone who wants to sniff you (either your telco, your local ISP or the dingy kid in the corner with his laptop running Wireshark) won’t be able to make out what you are doing. But because you “exit” to the internet on AnchorFree’s network (they make the app) , THEY will. 

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Hotspot shield VPN is free and easy to use. Its not always fast and it comes with adds. Opinions about this service might be mixed, but I regularly use it when I take my IOS or Android mobile device onto an open wifi network that I do not trust. Hotspot Shield also comes with a paid plan with “Monthly and Annual subscriptions available for faster connection, better cost savings and enhanced security. All subscriptions provide unlimited VPN bandwidth and NO ADS” So you can even pay if you want to. Keep stuff safe in a simple way, but remember that every connection (no matter if its through your ISP, the hotspot or these guys) requires ‘trust’ in whoever is carrying your data.

Get Hotspotshield VPN for : ANDROID and IOS

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Podcast week : “The cross platform lineup”.

Five days is of course never enough to cover all the good podcasts you want to listen too. There are just too few hours in a day to cramp all that good content into your puny little mind. But we did think that you just HAD to get the rest of our list. Beware for cerebral overload should you subscribe to them all … but here we go : Straight from our podcatcher to yours .. The list.

 

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Windows

  • Windows Weekly : A weekly Twit show that talks about the wonderful world of Windows and Microsoft.
  • This week in Enterprise Tech : For you corporate mouse  jockeys who use Microsoft (and other technologies) in the corporate sector.

Linux

  • Linux for the rest of us. A great show by the mighty DoorToDoorgeek who talks about Linux, open source and squirrels.  SQUIRRELS ! ! ! 
  • Linux action show. What happens if you splice together the DNA of 2 geeks with an espresso machine. This happens ! Morning-Radio style , geeky content.
  • Ubuntu Uk podcast. Served with tea and crumpets (crumpits ? armpits ?) this is a great podcast that talks about Ubuntu and its community.

Mac (and IOS)

  • The Nosillacast. Mac mayhem begins with the pod-princess. Great consistent high quality content with interesting interviews, product reviews and tons of Mac tips. (Warning : This show features an unusual level of Belgians).
  • Mac Power Users. For the advanced Mac users that wants to go all Chuck Norris with his Cupertino machine. Great content, excellent tips.

Android

  • Android App Addicts. Another great show from the Podnutz network. Great app tips every-single-week. Beware of installation-craving-overload and don’t call us if you have five thousand apps on your homescreen. We TOLD you ! 

Security

  • Security Now. Deep geek security with Steve Gibson. Although the show is quite long and they sometimes beat around the bush before getting to the main topic, the content is rock solid.

Music

  • Sometimes you just have to chill or rock out. Podcasts are a great way to get weekly free music delivered to your mobile device. If you like to chill, there is nothing like the soothing sounds of Spacemusic. Podcasting veteran TC has been doing this show for nine seasons and has always delivered the highest quality audio (and the cutest Dutch-English accent in podcasting history)  Download your ambient experience HERE.

General knowledge

  • There is more to life then technology (Is there ?) so why not slide in some podcasts that improve your general knowledge. TED TALKS is the essential podcast to listen to for thought provoking lectures on a variety of topics. You can use the TED APP on your mobile device or subscribe to several of their audio or video streams. Ted talks are just awesome . If you don’t feel like subscribing you can even ‘pick and choose” what talk you would like to listen to in this massive spreadsheet.
  • BBC History magazine. You might have dozed off during history class at school, so why not catch up a little. This cute little podcast always has something interesting to teach you without sounding as boring as your history teacher. (and this podcast does not have a bad breath like he did, nor does it have hair growing out of its ears .. we hope).

But of course there is more. We just scraped the surface of the awesome thing that is called podcasting. There are plenty of other podcasts out there that will give you hours of entertainment and education .. right from your mobile device (or computer .. or media player .. or usb powered adult toy .. no wait .. Strike that) The list above might help you to get started and find out that there is PLENTY of stuff out there to learn and listen to. Enjoy ! 

Do YOU have any good podcast suggestion that just HAS to be on this list ? Tell us in the comments section. (Be sure to provide a link where we can subscribe to your awesome find)

 

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Review : The Netatmo : your cross-platform weather station.

So have you ever wondered what the humidity level is like in your living room ? Or how far the temperature drops outside during the night. Would you like to know the decibel level in your house during the night or the overall air quality ?  It might not seem essential information you CANNOT live without but its just a small selection of the information offered by the Netatmo weather station.  

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Now some say that weather stations are for old uncles with bushy nose hair who like to smoke a pipe, drive a volvo and quote Carl Sagan during birthday parties. Who tell you (while using dramatic gestures) that the amount of hectopascal pressure is ..”Too damn high” for the time of year.  

And lets face it .. as an information junkie having access to this kind of information is just too cool to pass up. But you’re not a creepy uncle (yet) and surely lack the bushy nose hair .. and you are a geek .. So what do you do.

169 euro’s later you might find yourself the proud owner of the Netatmo weather station. Forget old school weather station contraptions that are bolted to the outside of mouldy cabins in the woods. These 2 battery powered cylindrical devices (one for the inside and on for outside) have sensors for temperature, humidity, CO2 levels, Decibel levels, Air quality and more. Nice if you are “in the room” but with the wifi hookup you can access this info anywhere you go.

A very easy setup process lets you setup an account with Netatmo and install their mobile application on your favorite Android or IOS Tablet or smartphone to access your weather station from anywhere.

I must be honest : At first we thought .. What are we gonna DO with this ? But the fact that you can access the “real time” indoor and outdoor weather stats on your portable device ANYWHERE is pretty darn cool. But the real fun starts when you start looking at the “logs” of all the sensory information collected by the Netatmo.  Instead of just “sayin” the weather was good the last week, you can just whip up your phone and show off a very detailed graph of the moisture level in your garden over the last 23 days.

The power of the Netatmo lies in its well designed apps for the IOS and Android platform. Though the sensory range of the Netatmo is “limited’ ( We find that a Geiger counter would be a nice geeky addition) the total package is pretty cool. The sound meter is great but may give you the accidental ability to find out what weeknights your parents have sex. Whether you will be using your Netatmo on a daily basis once the gadget-factor wears of is something that we don’t know but it sure is cool to play with.

At a 169 Euro’s for the basic set (additional outside modules available) the Netatmo is not cheap but if weather stations are your thing , this is one of the best geek-friendly ones you can get.  With its high build quality, pretty design and perfect app execution the Netatmo never ‘rains on your parade’ .

Buy the Netatmo on their website HERE.

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KW Videoblog for 7-6 : Cyberpunk Librarian tells us about cross platform sliding at work.

Together with some great community content from viewer Cyberpunk Librarian who is showing us “How he uses cross platform technology at work” we also have a guesthost for this weeks videoblog.

Shownotes

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kw603 : Talking Mumble.

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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Any.do : Slider friendly todo application keeping you on your toes.

You have heard me tout praise about the wonderful todo application Wünderlist before. This nice looking todo application helps you keep track of items to procrastinate, while they are easily cataloged in lists and available on your various mobile devices. Sure : Wunderlist comes with an IOS app, a Chrome extension and a web interface. However lately the Android version of Wunderlist seriously got on my nerves. A known bug (even with the current version) makes the application start “flashing” on and off, if you accidentally rotate the screen when the app is open. Since I was not in the mood to have a stroboscopic todo list.. it was time to jump ship.

The requirements were simple : A free application, with clients on the 2 biggest mobile platforms, a free synchronization option, to-do lists, browser extensions for Chrome or Firefox and a good old web interface : Slider friendly. 

Remember the Milk came close, but you can only sync your items once every 24 hours when you use the free account. Hopping from device to device every 3 minutes does not make that a good thing. So ANY.DO is the great alternative. Its free, has a very VERY good looking IOS and Android application and a killer chrome extension that lets you add pages to your todo list, but also manage your entire todo environment just from the corner of your address bar. 

So .. if you want to cross-platform slide your way out of procrastination, we highly recommend you give any.do a try.

Links : any.do.

What is YOUR favorite todo app ? Tell us in the comments section.

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