Before I left on holiday (a blissful week in the North of France where sunshine is plenty and data coverage is poor) I set out on my little quest to gather all the stuff I wanted to read, listen to and watch during my few days away from civilisation. (Civilisation being the triple screen uber-workstation I call “my office”). It was a nice exercise picking out books I want to read, downloading Youtube video’s I want to watch and some podcasts I wanted to catch up on. Of course I will never have the time to consume all of that content (Unless we get snowed in for 3 weeks straight) but it was a fun exercise in “Curating” my own digital library.
“Curating the library of your mind”
“Curating the library of your mind” had been a topic for a show many moons ago where I talked about ways to “slipstream” the information overload a geek has to live with into something that adds to the quality of your life. Mainstream media (Both online and offline) are filled with 80% sludge and 20% valuable content. Before you know it you spend hours on Facebook, browse endlessly through 9gag or Instagram while you COULD be listening to a lecture from Harvard University or teaching yourself how to program. I try to think about these things whenever I use my computer. Am I using my time in a valuable manner or am I just watching cat video’s ?
To help me in this I’ve started to build a sort of library of content on my Linux machine that I synchronise with my mobile devices where I have divided up this library in “To Watch, To Listen, To Read”. It features download Ted talks, PDF’s of articles online, Books, Courses I found somewhere etc. Because I always have them handy I always have an excuse NOT to surf Facebook for hours because, I have alternative (and higher quality) content.
As a geek it’s important to clean out your “digital gutters” from time to time,
As a geek it’s important to clean out your “digital gutters” from time to time, taking stock of what you are spending (or waisting) your time on and, if it is getting you anywhere. My personal career as a IT professional has been fundamentally altered for the better because I spent 3 hours a day listening to podcasts instead of listening to stupid breakfast-radioshows. There is a lot of information out there that you can get into. You are responsible for the quality of the content you consume.
A couple of days ago I was cleaning out the gutters of our new house (you know, the ones so clogged up your drainpipe has nothing to do when it’s raining). I pinned on my Mike and started a recording for HPR about “Cleaning our your digital gutters”. Hope you enjoy.
“There is an app for that ! “. How many times have you heard that phrase, probably uttered by some smartphone waving geek who instantly shows you how to fix problem Xyz in your life using a pre-packaged app. And there is nothing wrong with that.. as long as there IS an app. But what if there is not ? What if you spend hours online looking for an app that doesn’t exist or doesn’t quite do what you want it to do ? Wouldn’t your wish to be able to TELL your computer exactly what to do ? Well there is ! It’s called programming. Don’t worry if it sounds weird but before the time of beard-sporting iphone hipsters with 5997 apps on their smartphones we used to PROGRAM our machines to work for us.
A great way to start to learn how to program is by using a raspberry pi. The inexpensive mini computer is a great place to start when you want to learn how to program. The Pi is geared heavily towards the Python language and offers great tools which you can use when you want to learn how to code (or teach your kid on how to code). But where do you start ?
The Full Circle magazine has been running a series on “how to program in python” for quite some time. They have collected all these articles into 3 PDF Issues of their magazine that you can download for free. Its a great way to start your first baby steps into Python scripting and discovering you don’t always need an “app for that”. Even with a few basic programming skills you can upstage those app-jockeys by saying ” I WROTE a script for that !”. So download the tutorial, grow a beard, put on sandals and start screaming profanities towards closed source software, because you’re on your way to becoming a Python Programmer !
Linux is a beast that we all love here at the Knightwise.com headquarters. Though it might suck away precious hours of our life as we valiantly try to recompile a driver, rewrite a complicated Conky configuration file or spend HOURS looking for the perfect wallpaper for our Linux desktop .. the power of the penguin is never far off. Getting the hang of Linux is not very hard and if you have Larry and Bill to teach you .. its a breeze. The “Going Linux” podcast is refreshingly structured and it looks for ways to use linux to “Get things done”. With a nicely structured format that deals with Linux on a topic by topic basis, Larry and Bill cut up the shows into “Basic” and “Advanced” episodes allowing you not to loose your mind when its a little too simple for your taste.
The Going Linux Podcast is informative entertaining and consistent. The backlog episodes are just as valuable as the newest shows and chances are you will surely find something to your liking in their massive massive topic list. The Going Linux Podcast is available both in Ogg for beard-sporting sandal-wearing nose-hair-sporting Volvo drivers .. and .MP3 for freedom hating muggle’s like you and me.
The internet is a valuable source of information but the question is : How can we get the most out of it ? In this show we take a look at the possibilities of gaining knowledge and experience from the wide wide web. We look at the different sources of information that are out there and how you can streampunk these informationstreams into your way of life. Last but not least we give you some essential tips on where and how to consume your carefully selected information to “curate the library of your mind’.
Music by Aes Dana : Principles of Gravity.
Our Tablets (wether that be iPads or Android Tablets) are probably the most coveted piece of technology you can find on our ground floor. Having chased our desktop computers upstairs to our Office and herding our laptops in the closet to wait for more productive tasks, they rule supreme. Aside from the average tasks of playing Angry Birds, checking email and waisting time on Facebook, our iPads do offer us another source of content that TV lacks these days. The ability to learn. If you are ever bored or craving new knowledge : here are three killer applications you can not mis out on on your iPad.
Ted Talks : Probably the best know ‘talks’ app on the iPad , Ted Talks gives you access to the thousands of speeches and talks that have been given on the Ted conferences throughout the world. You can search by keyword, browse the latest talks, check out the different categories, but you can also use the “entertain me” option. Just select the type of talks you want to explore, enter how much time you have, and the TED app will make a great selection for you to enjoy. Download the talks you like for offline viewing or share them online ,making you look far more sophisticated then you are to your social circles. Try the TED TALKS APP.
Kahn Academy : Having heard about the Kahn Academy from the founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales himself, I checked out the website to find thousands of cool instructional video’s on a variety of educational topics. Nice ! especially if you are in the educational sector you can find a plethora of content with a far higher degree of quality and accuracy then Youtube ever has to offer. Try the KAHN ACADEMY APP.
ItunesU : For thousands of years TV shows have taught us that you need to be a jock to get a scholarship and get into some fancy college or university. Well that no longer is true. With the ItunesU app you can now not only download lectures and talks from the best universities in the world , you can also download complete interactive courses to take on for free. An amazing treasure-trove of information awaits ( Personally I listened to a few amazing lectures on astronomy and was blown away to see that , not only did it keep up, i was also able to learn something) Turn your local Starbucks into an MIT auditorium with your iPad and iTunes U.