Death of the butterflies.

Tap.. tap .. taptaptap.. Grunt, blowing sound, tap tap TAP.. yeah, it sounds like somebody is frustrated behind their keyboard write ? Some Shmo pounding out an angry flame mail to a bunch of co-workers with half the org-chart splattered across to to and bcc field. But .. thats not the case. It”s just me trying to write up a little blogpost on a computer that suffers from dying butterflies.

Downside ? It makes EVERYTHING you type sound like an angry hate-mail to POTUS, even if you are doing a love letter.

‘Chokin the butterfies’
The butterflies I refer to are the keys on my keyboard. In Apple’s grand opus of “Thinking Different”, somebody in the giant glass donut thought it would be a good idea to radically change the way they keyboard worked on their new Macbook Pro’s. So they decided the butterfly key would be a great idea. Superslim keys that have virtually no “keytravel” (How ‘deep’ your key goes when you tap it) and that make the keyboard look like a giant touchpad. Upside ?: Cool and pretty thin (allowing them to thin-down the laptop a few millimeters). Downside ? It makes EVERYTHING you type sound like an angry hate-mail to POTUS, even if you are doing a love letter.

DD I press ‘i’ ?

But the biggest downside is that these keys are NOT dirt resistant. Tiny mote of sand or dust gets underneath your key ? Boom. no more room for travel. If you are lucky the keystrike is still recorded and you get your character on the screen, but it “feels” like you just didn’t strike that key. And that totally throws you out of the zone. If it is worse , the just doesn’t work at all and you end up POUNDING the letter out of the laptop by jamming your finger on it with too much force required.

‘Cupertino is gonna fix it’
Its a known issue with Apple and they promised to fix it in the NEXT generation. But for the current owners ? Well, there is a replacement program. Only you need to bring us your Macbook Pro so we can fix it. Well, Fix it is a big word, they are going to replace my keyboard (AND my Touch bar AND my battery, because the glued it all together) with similar hardware. So the chance that THOSE butterflies are going to “clog up” is still very real.

Well, the only thing I can do is wait for my Mac to be back. In the meantime I’ve ‘Fallen back’ to my Dell XPS 13 laptop (Running Windows 10 Pro) and that is NOT a bad place to be. The machine is slim, light and fast and the keys are .. well, better. Rattling out blogposts like this kinda feels like being a coder pounding out the next killer app. No dead butterflies here ūüôā Keep you posted.

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“Whats in your bag week” Day 4 : Knightwise.

kw

With all these amazing guest bloggers showing us what gear they use and what is “in their geekbags” I feel a little intimidated showing you what I drag around. My “Bag” is my daily companion for the days I work onsite as an IT consultant. It is focused on portability AND the ability to facilitate my creative and commercial activities while i’m out the door.

2014-10-27 16.39.27

The Bag : I have a thing for bags. I don’t have just one : ¬†I have several. As my wife jokes from time to time “I’m like a woman” when it comes to computer bags. Perhaps she is right .. The¬†thing is : I don’t believe in “one bag” for every occasion. Depending on where you are going, what you need to take with you and what kind of venture you are attending … a different bag ¬†(or even a different setup of selected gear) might be required.

So in this case i’m showing you my “Day to day – on the road” bag (and its contents). The bag I carry around is a Thule Gauntlet 13. It was orignally designed for a 13 inch Macbook pro, but as I talked about it in the INITIAL REVIEW I did for Knightwise.com, it is a bit of a “Too tight fit” for the 13 inch Macbook but perfect for the setup I use it for. The bag is more of a ‘hard-case” then a messenger bag. This makes it compact AND keeps you from “over stuffing” your bag with things you don’t need. Like an old ‘attache’ case, it offers sturdy¬†protection but also allows just ¬†a finite amount of stuff you can cram in it. This is both a positive and a negative thing. The bag is stylish (important) rugged (it protects my gear) organised (it has pockets and compartments) and waterproof (I tested that by aiming a garden hose toward it.) You can go for a detailed review HERE¬†.

The laptop : I have a 15 inch Macbook Pro I use for just about everything. But I also held on to my 11 inch Macbook air that I got last year. Partly for sentimental reasons (its just a great device) but also for practical reasons : I would be terrified taking my 15 inch Macbook Pro¬†on the road with me every day. Its too valuable for me ¬†(and also a little bit too bulky). The Macbook Air ¬†is also my¬†‘experimental machine’ to run Linux distro’s and stuff. It is encased in a clear plastic hardcase I bought on Ebay (i’m also a little bit of a case-afficionado) and on its 128Gig ssd drive I’ve dual booted Osx Mavericks and Elementary OS Linux.

Headphones : My wife bought me a pair of Philips Headphones (I don’t know the type, threw away the box) that sit snugly ON my ears (not one of those sets that goes AROUND your ears). I like them because they are still quite discrete and stylish to use on the road, yet offer good sound quality. I also carry around a pair of apple in-ear earbuds. (not in the picture). These are great for recording audio, listening to podcasts while walking outside .. and they are just plain indestructible. (I have had my pair since Christmas 2012 and they have been through the washing machine 5 times now…) What IS in the picture is a pair of el-cheapo Samsung earbuds I keep in my bag as a spare. Yeah .. triple redundant headphone/earbud setup.. i’m a geek.

Cables : Very few. A charger for the Macbook Air and a micro usb cable to charge my phone, the blue thing is one of those adapters that lets you transfer files from a usb stick TO your phone. I have no idea why I keep carrying it around since its a little redundant .. but I haven’t taken it out yet.

“Writing utensils”¬†¬†: Pens : As few as possible. A highlighter, a black and a blue pen (a blue STAR WARS pen !) and a couple of small post it notes I use religiously to keep tabs on whatever paperwork i’m dragging around. ¬†I also carry around a manila folder (the red one) for every slip of paper I need to handle. It keeps the paperwork free from creases and prevents me from losing any document/piece of important paperwork that is smaller in size then a sheet of wallpaper. I don’t carry around a notebook or one of those snobby Moleskin books. I don’t believe in paper.

Harddrive : A one terabyte Western Digital Hard drive (usb powered) for those situations where I need to carry stuff around that does not fit on the drive of my laptop. It is pre-packed with some movies, some music and some tv shows to  watch, should I get stuck on an airport or a train station. I NEVER plug this drive into a foreign computer and have thought about encrypting it too.

Usb sticks : 2 Usb sticks , one 8 gigabyte ‘Darth Vader’ one that sports a Live usb version of TAILS (the super secure privacy oriented linux distro that Snowden used) whenever I need to work on a computer that is “not trusted”.¬†There are also some portable apps on there when I’m working on a foreign Windows machine. The other 16 gigabyte stick is just there to “sneakernet” data across.

Box of business cards : Running your own company means carrying around business cards. My super geeky wife found out that these little plastic “wallets” are perfect for doing just that.

Not in the picture.
My phone ¬†: ¬†I use a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 on a daily basis, combined with a 1st generation Galaxy Gear smartwatch. The Note3¬†takes care of many of my entertainment and communication needs. The Note3 is also the main “connectivity device” when I’m unable to smooch off some free wifi.

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kw607 : Reviewing the Thule Gauntlet 13 inch Macbook pro and iPad attache Case.

We got a nice and juicy hardware review for you on one of our favourite topics : Laptop bags. We take a closer look at the 13 inch Macbook pro and iPad attache Case (what a mouthful) from Thule. We take a good and decent look at the appearance, style and finish of Thule’s carry-case for the Macbook pro .. but most importantly we answer the question no-one dares to ask : Is it waterproof ? All of that and more in this weeks Knightwise.com podcast.

Shownotes.

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kw606 : Making your Mac cross platform friendly.

macbook-sliderWe dive behind the microphone and give all of you Apple users a slice of pie you don’t want to pass up on. We talk about making your Mac “Slider” friendly and how to put up ladders and crawl out of Apple’s walled garden. We have quite a slew of interesting tips and tricks on how to run “cross platform” applications, files, filesystems and connections through your favorite Mac. Learn and listen to this episode of the podcast that is filled to the rim with community feedback and contributions and great music by Youtube princess Juless.

Shownotes.

Tweak code (Copy and paste in your OSX command line)

#make dock appear instantatiously

defaults write com.apple.Dock autohide-delay -float 0 && killall Dock

#don’t reopen every file when you reopen your app.

#in preview

defaults write com.apple.Preview NSQuitAlwaysKeepsWindows -bool false

#in quicktime

defaults write com.apple.QuickTimePlayerX NSQuitAlwaysKeepsWindows -bool false

#kill the dashboard

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES

killall Dock

#show the path in the finder

defaults write com.apple.finder _FXShowPosixPathInTitle -bool YES

#disable window animations

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticWindowAnimationsEnabled -bool false

#enable direct scrolling

defaults write -g NSScrollAnimationEnabled -bool NO

#no more bouncy windows when scrolling

defaults write -g NSScrollViewRubberbanding -int 0

#set time machine backup to 1800

sudo defaults write/System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.backupd-auto StartInterval -int 1800

#force expanded save-and-print  dialogs

defaults write -g NSNavPanelExpandedStateForSaveMode -boolean true

defaults write -g PMPrintingExpandedStateForPrint -boolean true

#no 3d-glassy dock

defaults write com.apple.dock no-glass -boolean yes

#show hidden files in finder

#defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

#killall Finder

#3d glassy dock

defaults write com.apple.dock no-glass -boolean no

#make hidden app icons semi transparent

defaults write com.apple.Dock showhidden -boolean yes

#create a ‘recent items’ stack

defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-others -array-add ‘{ “tile-data” = { “list-type” = 1; }; “tile-type” = “recents-tile”; }’

#screen grabs in jpg

defaults write com.apple.screencapture type jpg

 

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

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.

one does not

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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New Year .. new gear : Whats in YOUR bag ?

Well, not really… but I did buy a new bag and did some tweaks and additions to the gear I drag around all day long. Time to check out the pic and run down the list.

gear 

Laptop : 11.6 Macbook Air 4 gig Ram, I5 , 128 SSD. : This is my mobile base of operations. Although I have a 13 inch Macbook Pro at home, the 11.6 goes with me on the road most of the time. Its small, light, pretty powerful, and versatile. The Snow Leopard install is ideal for the podcast production process, but most of the time I run Ubuntu on it. (I dualboot) After the upgrade from 12.04 to 12.10 the Macbook air runs very smoothly under Ubuntu, except for the hypersensitive touch pad so that explains the extra mouse.

Cables : For those places that only have wired internet (Believe me, I know some of those) I drag around my Usb to Ethernet adapter. I also have a small 5 port USB hub for to expand the two onboard usb ports on the Macbook. The 16 gigabyte USB stick makes sure that I can store some additional data, but is¬†equipped¬†with at least 5 different live versions of Linux like Ubuntu, Backtrack, Clonezilla, Mint and Crunchbang linux. With this stick, “All your computers are now belong to me” The micro usb charger also makes sure I can just plug my phone into any usb port to charge or exchange files.

Phone : Not in the picture : My trusty Galaxy Nexus phone running Android 4.2.1. I just pimped it with a 3800 Mah ‘fat battery’ for extended battery life.

Tablet : Yes : that is a 64 gigabyte Wifi only iPad mini. I still use the Nexus 7 at home a lot, but because I need the storage, I switched to a bigger tablet on the road. The iPad mini houses my books, a lot of music, all of my audio and video podcasts and a ton of pdf files. In short its my digital portfolio for¬†everything. In the car I hook it up via Bluetooth to my car stereo to play podcasts and music. At work I plug in my Apple ear buds (or ‘earpods’) to zone out and knuckle down.

Bag : ¬†Samsonite V7609007 : Not a very exciting name but a pretty cool bag. Slung in ‘portrait’ mode instead of landscape mode its a lot lighter to carry the setup. There is not a LOT of room for extra cables and cruft, so I’m forced to keep the setup lean and mean.¬†

So .. whats YOUR setup for the road ?  Share it with us in the comments. 

 

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#KWPOW : Jay’s Sliders World

This weeks picture of the week comes from listener Jay as he shows us a cross-platform setup that would probably rip a hole inside a proprietary universe. However it does make us proud as Jay lines up his Windows phone, his Nexus tablet and his 13 inch Macbook pro running Ubuntu 12.04. Quite a setup if you also consider that Jay manages to “slide” his productivity from OS to OS without breaking a sweat.¬†

jays Setup

Do YOU have a picture you want to share with us ? Feel free to tagg it #kwpow on twitter or shoot us the link via the well known email address. 

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Size doesn't matter : The 12-inch mobile office.

Since we are doing some home renovation over at Casa del Knightwise for the moment, living space is at a premium. While our downstairs looks like its been raided by a group of angry drunken Constructicons, both @Niejana and I need to “flee” to my upstairs office to spend our evenings watching tv and doing stuff. The otherwise¬†pristine¬†(and organised) room is now packed with boxes, our tv, a couch, @Niejana’s desktop , 2 doggies and a cat. Needless to say : Space is scarce. That requirement comes at a convenient time, since I’ve just shrunk down my “Digital survival kit” to the size of a 12 inch messenger bag. Bigger is better ? Not always, let me show you.

What do I need : In order to digitally survive this era of grime and dust I need a mobile setup that allows me to do the three crucial things : Communicate , Consume media and compose content. An added “required factor” is that the setup has to be completely mobile and fit inside a bag that can be carried around ANYWHERE¬†leisurely¬†without yelling “This is a laptop bag, mug me now”

Setup

Bag : Finding the right bag is an art. Call me metro-sexual or just someone with a right balance between appreciating both¬†practicality¬†and esthetics : Finding the right bag is crucial. The trick is to find the sweet spot between ” Too small” Where you cannot get all the gear you want into the bag OR damadge your gear by cramming it in. Samsonite’s 12 inch horizontally slung messenger bag is ideal for this operation. It has all the compartments you need and comes with extra padding and a safety latch to keep whatever you need tucked in safely. With the “Horizontal” orientation the¬†weight¬†is¬†distributed¬†equally so the strap doesn’t wear into your shoulder. The extra “Handles” make it easy to grab and sling anywhere you need to while the whole formfactor is just big enough to encompass anything, but small enough to be casual and unobtrusive.¬†

Laptop : My newly purchased 11.6 inch Macbook Air is a dream here. Dual booting into both Linux and OSX the device offers me the 2 platforms that I need in my daily routines. OSX for content production, Ubuntu for advance geek stuff. The 128 gig SSD might be small but with the addition of cloud storage AND using storage on my home server over SSH connections, disk space is not THAT important. The Air is delightfully light, well built and has a great screen. It lacks the “Hussle” of consiously ” getting out your laptop”. With the size of an A4 piece of paper (or an iPad) it just pops on the table, gets the job done and slides back in the bag when i’m done.¬†

Phone : ¬†The pinnacle of communications here is my smartphone. The 16Gig iPhone 4 might not be the top of the line model, but it does preform the tasks it needs to do. With the Hootsuite and the Google+ app most of my social media channels are covered. I’m tied in to my multiple email and calendar accounts via the mail app. Aside from the music, Downcast takes care of my podcast subscriptions and the Webbased interface of Google Reader together with the Buffer and the WordPress app let me do most daily chores for the website. Crucial here is the presence of headphones (so I can “Zone Out” anywhere) and the “Hotspot” functionality turns it into a crucial component to “connect” the entire setup while on the road.

Tablet : The Google Nexus 7 proves to be invaluable when it comes to this “Compact but Crispy” setup. It’s 7 inch size and relatively long battery size help me get through the day with ease. Reading books, Doing my “communications” on a bigger screen and watching the downloaded Video Podcasts are just cut out for the Nexus. An extra “slide right in” protection sleeve and the vertical orientation of the tablet in the bag, make it great to “grab and check” your device in a tricorder style. The only downside is the smaller ‘diskspace’ (8 gig) and the absence of 3G. But the latter is easily overcome by using my iPhone as a hotspot.

Cables and chargers : The trick here is to have the smallest amount of cables with you, while still covering all the bases.

  • Macbook air Charger (with just the plug connector, not the long cable)
  • Apple iPhone/iPad cable : Used to charge the iPhone using the Macbooks usb port.
  • Usb Microsim cable : Used to charge the Nexus (from the Macbooks usb port.)
  • Usb charger : Small usb charging plug to wallcharge the iPhone / Nexus¬†
  • 16 gig Usb stick : Small and compact but packing 5 extra “Live” linux Cd’s to have any OS I want at my portable disposal.
  • iPhone Tripod : A little tripod to make sure I can use my iPhone as a one man camera crew in a pinch.
  • In the car : The trick of such a compact setup is to make sure you have some “extra’s” nearby. So in the car I have a small bag with a longer powercord, a Usb to Ethernet adapter, a network cable and an iPhone / iPad charger just in case.
 
So where is the iPad : To be honest, my 64 gig iPad ALSO fits into this bag (it adds another layer of protection to the Macbook) but altough its filled with Tv shows and content I like to watch, my iPad is becoming more and more “domesticated” Getting its fair amount of use around the house but, due to weight and size , doesn’t accompany me on the road every day. When I touchdown at home though it makes a perfect “second screen” to this setup that I often use to play movies or keep track of social feeds and stuff.
 
In the end : This setup is no powerhouse, but that’s not what it is supposed to be. For that I have my desktop at home with its big screens. The mobility here trumps the muscle-power the gear has to offer. I can easily dock the Macbook to a second screen and slide in a keyboard and a mouse and transform it into a more “domestic” setup if I want to. And it is THAT combination : Light and flexible to use on the road, but easily transformable into a “home setup” that I absolutely love about my new tiny setup.
 

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Kwtv306 : Installing and SSD into a Macbook Air.

Its tinker time again as we swap out a spinning 4200 RPM harddrive from my 2.1 Macbook air and swap it out with a 60 gigabyte SSD Drive from Macsales.com. A good howto, some smart tips, a cameo from scotty and a speedrace. All of that and more in this weeks KWTV.

Shownotes.

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