A little more than a decade after Amazon introduced the Kindle and turned the eReader market on its head, Knightwise reminisces about some of the earlier reading experiences and provides recommendations for a bunch of great reads.
- A Thousand Suns
- A mindfulness guide for the Frazzled
- Dr Who, The Turing Test
- Talk Like Ted
- 50 Shades of Linkedin
- We are anonymous
- Ghost in the wires
- On Basilisk Station
- The art of human hacking
- When digital becomes Human
- Leviathan wakes
- Belter Creole
- Badlands Book 1
- Little Brother
- Pirate Cinema
- Knightwise.com Facebook Group
I have been pondering a while now on how I was going to write up this blogpost, thinking about the title, the lead-in, the postcard, the body and the takeaway (These are copywriting terms BTW) but in the end I decided to ditch the whole idea and just write this one off the cuff.
Truth is, I’ve been crazy busy lately. Having my own company, giving talks, subcontracting as a freelance Project manager AND moving house has left me with very little time to do anything remotely interesting in the geek world. That in itself is sad, seeing how much fun I had doing stuff like the Knightwise.com podcast and website over the years.
It has been SO busy that I even started sliding into “norm” land. You know, Norms, those folks who watch daytime tv and consume mass media. When instead of browsing through some obscure SubReddit devoted to cyborg bunnies, I was aimlessly scrolling through mainstream crap like 9gag, Facebook and some celebrity’s Instagram feed. What has become of me ? ?
So I gathered up my imaginary friends (Neo from the Matrix, The ghost of Optimus Prime and a couple of dead Jedi masters) to host a virtual intervention. A moment in time where I told myself: Enough is enough. I urgently need to get my geek back! I need to read books which are insanely niche or unknown to the general public. I need to watch Youtube channels instead of Netflix enjoying smart content from brilliant people who live in tiny apartments across the world. I need to listen to ted talks in a way other people listen to pop songs AND I need to ramble my thoughts online, on my personal blog.
Yes! Blog, you know, that thing we thought up back in 2004 where everyone with a keyboard a screen a teakettle and an internet connection could write his or their thoughts online. Over the last years my “blogging” has more and more fallen into the pre-shaped constrictions of copywriting because “it reads well”. If you realy geek down to it, the main purpose of a blog is not only to be read, it is also the fact of writing it. Expressing your thoughts with the world at large without having to make it “commercially viable” because .. its geek .. right ?
Case in point: Couple of weeks ago I managed to clump together a stupid Youtube screencast on how I had installed Ubuntu 18.04 on my XPS 13 and what applications I was using. 48 hours later the silly little video was hitting 20 000 views and brimming with comments. Wow! Where did that come from ? Turns out I still have some Knightwise mojo in me after all. Now we must be careful with this because the lure of fame (if you can call it that) is never far away. Before you know it you start looking for topics that appeal to a greater mass, and in doing so start to “dumb down” your geeky video into some shallow commercial youtube-countdown video that says “Top 5 things to do after installing Ubuntu”. Not my thing, not at all.
Where I a going with this insane ramble is that, as a Geek its OK to hang out at the fringes. Obscure knowledge, technical documents, falling asleep while listening to the sounds of a numbers station you found on Vimeo… the weirder it gets the better I like it. So I will ditch the rules of commercial writing for a while and just shoot straight from the hip and try to share with you what geeky finds I came across while cowering the fringes. Because we do live on the edge of real and cyberspace .. do we not ?
If one percent of your DNA is “Geek” and you live in the Benelux area, there is only one thing you can do next Saturday : Immerse yourself in your true geekdom and join us as we do our annual coverage of the F.A.C.T.S. event in Ghent. Next weekend the Expo halls in Ghent will be the “event horizon” for everybody who is into Scifi, Cosplay, Anime, Cartoons and all things geek. As by annual tradition Knightwise.com will also be doing an extensive coverage of the event and you can join us.
We will be roaming the grounds next Saturday afternoon interviewing Cosplayers, Fans, Sellers of strange and desirable geek-toys and if we are lucky we MIGHT just catch one of the celebrities that is attending the event. Hit us up on Twitter ( @knightwise) if you are going and get a chance to shake hands with our crew in “realspace”.
For more details you can visit the official F.A.C.T.S webpage to see what is going down, who is coming and how to get your hands on that inflatable life size doll of Lara Croft you have been craving for. See you there !
This is my idea of an average Saturday morning.
About Half past nine.
up and at this since 5 30 am.
One Mac G3 running Ubuntu Linux (command line only)
One Mac Mini running Mac OSX (controlled through the macbook via a remote secure shell)
One Macbook remote controlling 2 secure shell sessions on the G3 and one on the mini.
Testing remote sync software to securely backup files off site without eating all my bandwith.
Number of tasks running.
About four , File transfer, setting up IRC client on remote machine, Listening to music, Writing article for the site.
About 12 browser windows with information and one book "Linux for Windows System Administrators" by Mike Minasi
Itunes streaming MP3's from central server over encrypted wifi connection. Cygnus X : Collected works.
Earl Grey tea , two lumps of sugar.
Means of communication :
Skype : Online MSN: Online Mail :Online.
A lot about the Rsync Command , About public and private keys in encryption and that I no longer need a graphical user interface on my Ubuntu machine.
Hyped up because its working and yet wonderfully relaxed because this is my idea of fun.
The New lords of the Media.
I sit here in the darkness, broken only by the light of my monitor typing away the morning dawn. My fingers huddle around the warm cup of cappuccino i just made myself , to avoid cramping up in the cold. I could turn the heater on but I refuse. Outside the drizzle marches on for the fourth day in a row , Its presence only occasionally broken by an outright downpour or the faintest illusion of a clearing of the clouds. It does sound like an autumn tale .. But its actually mid August.
This summer has been a truly weird one. Having frozen our preverbal behinds off in ‘the winter that would not end’ giving us the chance to fire up the boilers until may, the brief glimpse of summer we had was like looking into the exhaust of a launching space-shuttle with temperatures of 36 degrees and more for days and days straight.
Binary Weather system.
And now .. plunk : Rain-season has been bestowed on us ! Incredible but true. Its like we have a binary climate system here. Summer / autumn / summer / autumn etc etc .. Not that I mind the latter weather. I mean , OK , its drowsy and cold .. but one must admit, the drizzle brings the chisel to the geek. What better excuse to spend hours behind the computer then a never ending monsoon season outside. And thats what I have done yesterday all afternoon. With my wife (still sounds weird) having a cold in the midd of summer and feeling poorly, stretched out on the couch underneath a pile of pillows.. I was hammering away on one of the most time consuming varieties of computer use : Video editing. The down part of having 400 pictures, 2 hours of video and 3 hours of audio recorded on your wedding day .. Is the fact that you have to edit it all ! Wanting to make something special for our guests I am going with the ‘video’ approach and am pouring everything into my own ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ epic wedding video-with-more-pictures-then-actual-video. All-tough fascinatingly interesting to do, peaking all of ones creative hairs .. its actually quite amazing if you think of it. With a 1200 euro laptop and the enclosed software one is able to edit pictures, organize them, turn them into movies, arrange the movies, edit the movies, add effects to the movies, add menu’s to the movies, animate the menu’s to the movies, add titles and scores to the movies and utterly come up with a completely ready to play DVD.
Ok , 99 % of what people make is utter crap , (possibly including mine) but the fact is that its incredible that this kind of multimedia editing power is at the fingertips of the average computer user. Add a pinch of talent and one does get a dangerous alternative to the crap thats on TV. In the span of 5 years , from the analogue linear editing consoles to the completely computerized home video studio , a lot of power has been put into the hands of the average joe and I'm utterly fascinated at what people do with it. Where places like Youtube are piled up to the rim with crap, the occasional gem does sparkle in the form of some beautiful contribution to the meld.
We become the media.
The conclusion : WE have become the media. And as the power to create is bestowed on us , I hope the big time media conglomerates are finally seeing that : Maybe they should get their act together. As PVR’s and Portable media players free us from the linear consumption of media we are no longer shackled by the bounds of ‘what’s on now’. We have become not only the kings of the realm of ‘anytime anyplace and on any device’ when it comes to consuming media .. We are also the ones that say : If its crap ? We’ll make our own.