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.


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Pimp an old laptop into a surveillance system with Skype.

A couple of days ago I got a second hand 7 inch EEE-Pc as a gift from a friend. Its a cool little system and I was looking for an interesting way of putting it to good use. Of course our “Return of the Netbook” podcast brought many an idea to mind, but I wanted something different. Instead of using it as a workstation, I thought that a little bit of “Server Side technology” would come into good use. The thing is pretty small, consumes no power whatsoever and can do some cool things should you want it to.

Turn it into an “on demand” Nannycam. : One of the simplest alternatives is to install Skype on it and turn it into a Nannycam. 

  • Install Skype.
  • Create a separate account for the laptop
  • Set up the laptop to automatically send video.
  • Add your Skype account to the friends list.
  • Configure : Auto-answer to have the laptop “pick up” whenever you call it using your account.
  • Mute the speakers on your laptop.
  • ( Or follow this guide

This is by far the easiest and most cross-platform friendly solution for your old netbook that will help you get some use out of the old baby. Make sure to tweak your security settings on Skype so the laptop won’t accept calls or chats from people outside the contact list. (and just to make sure , cover the webcam with a post-it note when you want to be sure nobody is watching.

What would you use as surveillance software ? Tell us in the comments section.

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5 tools to become Omnipresent.

The downside of having both Tech Skills and a family … is that sometimes you become the family helpdesk. Before you know it people ring you up to fix their computer, and for some (like my mum in law and my wife’s “Ubuntu” Granny) a smoothly running computer is VERY important. But sometimes when the phone rings i’m wearing my PJ’s and don’t feel like hopping in the car and driving over. Or sometimes the people I need to help out live halfway around the planet. Time for my 5 favorite tools for digital omnipresence. All I need is a computer, a fast pipe and these tools and “Killroy 2.0 is .. everywhere”

Teamviewer : When it comes to cross-platform remote control of systems over the internet, Teamviewer takes the cake. Because I love to control all kind of systems without having to bother about the OS, Teamviewer is the perfect tool for the job. On demand or unattended remote control sessions, a chatbox and file transfer. Teamviewer does it all. I install teamviewer on all the systems I manage for remote control without needing to bother with open ports or IP addresses.

Dropbox :  Suprising as it might seem, I use dropbox for a lot of my remote work. The Ubuntu granny has her pictures and document folder stored on her dropbox accounts. That ensures simple but effective backups. But with access to her dropbox account I can drop or pickup files she needs. Picture from her grandchild not opening ? Strange attachment ? Dropbox is the perfect tool for remote file management.

Skype : (auto Answer) : Sometimes it helps if you can talk to the people you are helping out. I use Skype to do just that. The combination with teamviewer is excellent and it allows me to talk and type at the same time. The difference with “being there” is very slight indeed. : When the ‘remote person’ has a dynamic IP address its sometimes hard to “find them back” on the internet. If you google “what is my Ip” you get just that, but to avoid that extra manual step, its nice to bind a domain name to a dynamic ip. Dyndns used to offer this service for free, but not anymore. does do this and gives you a choice of several ‘client’ applications to install on the remote systems.

SSH : When it comes to remote controlling systems via the command line, sending files back and forth or even piping through X or VNC sessions , SSH is ‘tha bomb’. Versatile, secure and a great way to tunnel through the internet for remote omnipresence.



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Blackout during Globalgeek Podcast Recording.

Yesterday morning was your average sunday morning at casa del Knightwise. As we where enjoying daylight savings time an extra hour of sleep for some was turned into an extra hour of lounge for us. Childish as it may be , my wife and I love hanging out in front of the tv/computer on a sunday morning , watching cartoons like sponguebob and some silly american sitcoms. This of course would not be geek enough where it not that while i was having breakfeast/nickelodeon I was also browsing through the shownotes of the global geek podcast that we where going to record that same day. 

hackSo at 10'ish the homework was done and my good friend Dave Gray calls in to do some chitchat / soundcheck just before we start recording the show. Mind you : Dave is on the other side of the planet ( Near Brisbane Australia) and recording the whole podcast over skype in the two hour window we set up in our busy lives, is not always easy.  But no problems where expected. Or so we thought.

 3 2 1 …. Dave intro's the show and the recording starts. My wife turns to hushpuppy mode not to make any disturbing background noises and gives me a wink as Dave and I start to talk about the first topic.  Its all fine and dandy unti suddenly … no more Dave. I find myself finishing of a topic, waiting for a reply .. and hearing nothing. A quick check shows me : No Dave on line anymore ! I seldom swear out loud .. but this is seldom 🙂 Darn ! Where did Dave go.

Bless the power of the internet , i fire up my skype list , dig up daves personal cellphone number and call him up (thanx to rediculesly low skype costs a call to the other side of the planet is concidered peanuts.) but I get his voicemail. All kind of scenario's go through my head. What the frack is going on : No Skype , No cellphone , No internet connection over there apparently … Has a giant meteor struck Australia ?

But then suddenly I get a request to add a familiar name to my Skype list : James Gray (Dave's brother who joined us as a guest on the previous show). Extatic with adrenaline we try calling eachother right away , each getting a busy tone. But after syncin out who's the boss we manage to setup a call. Enter "Ell Dirty Hack".

 It seems that Daves house has fallen of the powergrid and in panic he wanted to call ME on my cell. Where is Knightwise's number .. Dave fretts .. On the computer .. is the reply. So the only option he had left was calling James using his cellphone. James puts the call on the speakerphone of his landline phone and calls ME on skype. And that way me and Dave get to communicate.  The difference in audio quality is hilarious (not to mention the time delay and the occasional translations having to be made by the 'airbridge operator James) It sounds like Dave is on the moon , James is sitting next to me and I literally feel on the oposite  side of the globe. But as creative as geeks get , we mananged to get it working. 

Thus I get the luminous idea of recording this hilarious skitt . I hit skype recorder and bash together some impromptu show. The whole thing is saved as an MP3 and sent of to our personal FTP server. Since Dave is going to be off line later (the time difference is NINE HOURS) I relay the login and password to James who tries to get them over to his brother.  Redundancy is king so I send both the login credentials AND the file via Email to Dave's place aswell.

Needless to say .. We had a great laugh .. The show we planned for this week is, of course, toast .. but the little skit we recorded is priceless. What did amaze me was the flexibility and the SPEED the all of us had in setting up alternate means of communications and getting things sorted to get in touch with eachoter and getting the necessary recources from one harddisk on the northern hemisphere to another one on the southern one. The smoothness, swiftness and creativeness we use when 'operating' the internet amazes even me sometimes.

You can read Dave's side of the story HERE.

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Skype competitor offers five free hours of calls to any landline on the planet.

Just another mith ?

I get some of these things in my mailbox from time to time. Use this program to call for free and so on. Almost every time it turns out to be a hoax and you have to pay some fee in order to make a crappy voice over IP phone-call to your parents next door. But I got tapped on the shoulder yesterday by one of my wife's co-workers who sent me this little link : Freecall. A free phone-service that apparently gives you five hours of free calls to landline's all over the globe including the USA (Landlines and mobiles) most countries in europe , australia, brazil and so on. So boot up your PC and here we go.

Download the client, yapp away  ? 

You can use either their client application (only for windows unfortunately) or make a trail call from their website.
According to my source (who lives in Belgium) his wife had spent the last three hours last night testing it out and calling her family in Russia, absolutely free.


The rates are almost the same as Skype , For a call to an Australian Cellphone using Freephone I will pay 0.13 eurocent, And with skype it will cost me € 0.19 incl. VAT. Rates vary per country but all in all it looks cheaper. Now this little tool is far from the functionality a skype client has but , to call a landline its an ideal little program. So check it out and tell us what you think about this free-call thing. Perhaps it will stick, perhaps it will fade away , but be sure you get your 5 free hours of yapp-time before the thing implodes on itself.

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A brief history of Skype.

fotoIn the beginning there was crap. 

If I do have to point out what programs I use the most beside Firefox, its probably Skype. From what used to be a fancy Voice Over Ip novelty thing where you could talk instead of type it has evolved into a means of communication that has outgrown even my use of IM programs like MSN and all the others. By comparison : I use my cellphone for about 20 minutes a month , while my average Skype time can count up to more then 1 or even two hours a day sometimes. To the amount that what used to be a busy MSN list and an occasional Skype contact fluttering by, is now more of the opposite.
The great thing is that its becoming more and more popular around the world. Not only is the amount of users steadily increasing, the third party technology is finally rising above proto-techno level and is starting to make some seriously interesting stuff.

The Headsets.

First off (of course) there where the headsets. Since the coming of Skype the most exotic headsets in all sizes and degrees of quality have popped up on the market. From the flimsy to the “Nasa mission control” style headsets have been used with Skype with various degrees of succes.Later came the handsets. Nothing more than a headset with a mike and line plug to jack into your sound-card. The only difference was that it looked like the handset of a phone. Slightly more inconvenient then a headset I personally think , but useful none the less.More advanced models used USB and the functionality of acting as an external soundcard to give more buzz to the horn. You could now dial numbers on the horn instead of using your keyboard. Since you where only 3 feet away from your keyboard anyway (the cable is   just that short) there is no use in that whatsoever.So bring on the external DECT phone.


The Handsets. 

Using a wireless handset and a USB Dongle connected to your pc , you could now roam the house when calling on skype. Pretty cool and dandy. You could even call people on your skype list and use some models in combination with a classic landline resulting in a hybrid voip/classic phone. Only bummer ? Your Skype had to be running on your pc. It was getting better .. but not yet.
So what do we realy need : Well , a kind of phone like the one mentioned above .. But without the pc . How about a phone that has Skype running inside it. Embedded so to speak. And wouldn’t it be great if that phone would use a standard wireless ethernet connection as the link? No extra devices needed ? 

In-bed with Skype. 

 Enter the embedded skype phone. First time is was rumored was quite some time ago. Netgear was supposed to be working on their model with the program embedded and using Wifi as means of connection. But at a proposed price of 250 Euro”s it did weigh in quite heavy on the wallet. Time to call our next competitor. That one came in the form and shape of the new BELKIN skype phone . Clearly looking a tidbit more snappy then its competitor the Belkin model actually looks like a real phone. (something of a love-child between a Ericsson 610 and a bar of shoe-polish) but nice in both the functionality department (equipped with bluetooth and actively on the lookout for free wifi everywhere) and the price (at some 170 dollars US) For the moment its only available in the US but we will keep you posted when we get our hands on one.
What it boils down to is that WIFI is a serious competitor for classic cellphone carrier signals, GPRS and UMTS when you start having devices like this. Possibly the greatest intrusion on the market of the classic cellphone industry can be made with devices like these. Slowly but surely the age of the pay-per-second phone billing industry is coming to an and and the landline dinosaurs have outlived the flintstone age.

The future.

But what would be even cooler ? How about an embedded camera in that phone. Now THAT would be awesome. Being able to call hands free, perch the phone on the table and there you go. But besides from a combination of existing technology into a new product this would also require a change of mentality. The age of email made way for the age of chat. The age of chat has made way for the age of talk and the age of talk will make way for the age of image. The mental upgrade you have to make is using video at any given moment as an enhancement of the communication. Either people webcam with far away family relatives or they are teenagers that are trying to undress their female peers in a futile attempt for kicks. The trick is : Tune it into your way of life. Like me and my buddy Dave for example. We just fire up the webcam as I'm cooking dinner. It might be fun at first to have somebody at the other side of the globe yell at you because your spuds are boiling over. Another cool thing to do (certainly with the built in isight) is to give your buddy a tour around the house. Like with all new technology , at first its a novelty , just playing with it long enough so it becomes natural is the trick.

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Skype videochat for mac. The future is here.

A long time in the making. 

Its been a long time coming , or has it been a long time overdue : Its finally here. The first cross platform VIOP & Videochat application to span the bridge between Mac and Windows users. The switchers holy grail so to speak. The missing link between the two communities.
For those of us who parted the land of the Windows users and boldly buy a Mac, ( either because we did not have the pubes to rebel and buy a harley , or just to score with the chicks) we fairly quickly felt ourselves in isolation of the instant messaging world. Sure , OSX comes with mighty fine chat-tools like for example Ichat .. So that mighty fine Isight web-cam on yours could do some good .. but .. there is no one ON i-chat now is there.

Meanwhile in the Windows world.

skypeMeanwhile in the Windows world people are chatting and nudging and webcamming (and sometimes even stripping) their happy days away with the one big happy family on MSN Messenger. Ok, I was happy to finally get rid of those bouncing smilies, pink backgrounds, screaming avatars and vibrating chat windows .. but this was lonely. Sure there are some good msn clones out there , but none of them support web-camming between YOU and the rest of the world. Sure , there is Mercury ( hellishly slow , weighs a ton, eats memory like Oprah and does not work if you are behind a router) . So there I was , Shiny Isight and no one to wave at. THank heavens to Skype for putting out the great app they make and for bringing us webcam support. I had played with it before : the PC to PC webcam session between two Skype users is faster then watching tv ! If I ever thought the MSN webcam protocol was the pinnacle of streaming video compression : Skype to Skype makes it look like a snail on ice. So as soon as the beta came out I just had to get my hands on it.

Download and install.
Downloaded and installed it on my Imac and rang up my friend Blue on his Windows PC (also with a built in webcam) And both audio and video worked fantastic. Ok the speed is not that good when it comes to video but the quality is awesome. Audio is crispy and when you hit the full screen button .. The future is here.
So with my Macbook on the table , isight tucked away in the lid… Talking full screen to my buddy at the other side of the globe (while doing the dishes) all I needed was a fish in a bowl, a model of the USS Stargazer and a Galaxy class starship beneath my feet.. “ Captain to engineering” .. i shout and tap the invisible communicator on my chest .. No response .. no starship .. As I look at my Skype screen and wave to my distant friend who is tapping finger to his forehead …  At least I can say THIS part of the future .. is here.  Find your Skype for mac HERE

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Early Adopter syndrome.

Early adopter syndrome.

If there is one thing that can really get under my skin, then its an end-user or cyber – illiterate waltzing up to me and lecturing me about a peace of technology that I have already filed under obsolete months ago. “ Hey dude “ he mumbles “ have you heard about this thing called ‘podcasting’ Its like the next big thing man. When I heard it, I thought of you right away .. You Earlygotta try this out.” I sigh and roll my eyes as he tries to (inaccurately) explain the “new gig” he found out. When he is finally done I gently try do deflate his ego-balloon by pointing out that A : this new technology has been in existence for about five months, and B : I’ve been using it for a prolonged period of time in a more advanced way then his little brain can fathom and C : The next generation of this gadget is already out and i’ve been testing it for 2 weeks.
Whatever the next step is , its all a no-win scenario. Either you brake their little techno-spearheading soul (you can hear its little kernel crash right then and there)  OR they insist on clinging to their  ignorance and actually stick to their malformed arguments and delusions of knowledge.

Thank you captain obvious.

Its the curse of early adoptor syndrome. First you crawl the night night and day, beta test software untill you see as blue-screen in the face. Next you twist and turn to tune the tech into your way of life. Then, when you finally have it down and its becoming more of yesterdays news then a force of habit… te rest of the world catches up. Sigh… It just makes me want to scream ‘ I KNOW all this already ‘ and biting back “ And my information is a little more correct” .. And finally you have to sit through the weeks that everybody is clumsily adopting this new technology and is so exited about it you think your at the special olympics.

The new cosmopolitan. 

For example, today : Skype + cellphone + Skype forwarding + conference call = Telling your girlfriend who is 20 km’s away , that you’ll be a tad later using your Australian friend as a relay. And afterwards , while driving the call calling in to a VOIP phone conference with you (on the cellphone), your girlfriend (behind her pc) and your thunder down under dude (on his pc).  If you tell this to a “normal” person , they are about ready to put you in a mental institution. As my aunt thinks i’ve betrayed my roots just for moving 20 km’s away, she must think i’m the Omen for talking about friends in Chicago, Sacremento, Leeds, Australia and so forth like its the most normal think in the world. They always say : The internet is the death to distance, and the then the early adopter has surely become the cosmopolitan. So when the rest of the world finally catches up .. and starts calling us on skype too.. We are soooo gonna have a bad case of “early adopter syndrome”.

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The Knightcast Episode 32 : My Macbook.

 The Knightcast Episode 32 : My Macbook. 


Direct link to the show :


This week we do an in depth 'Knightcast Style' review of the 13,3 inch tinkerbell of technology called "The Macbook". Is it all that its cracked up to be ? Is it realy that great or is it all just a fab ? We dive down into the bowels of this Mac laptop and see if it can tune tech into your way of life.



Part one.

Part Two.

Part Three.

For more information visit our website : or subscribe to the knightcast in Itunes.

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Loosing cultural ground… and gaining some.

 If there is to be a point where I have to officially admit it .. i guess its here and now.  Besides from losing my mind ( which happened a long time ago), my ties with something that would have to represent reality ( out the window ) I have now also lost all cultural ties with my own nationality / hometown etc. 

The reason you ask ? Well besides from the first two , who where only a matter of time , the loss of cultural integrity is entirely to blame on the internet. And in this case : Skype to be precise.   Over the last week while working hard on the new website design and being in the works of providing the whole idea with some more traction, I have stumbled across two gentlemen who happen to live on other sides of the planet.  Dave ( from Roostersrail ) and Sebastian ( From Sebs Random thoughts ) are two very talented writers / podcasters who happen to hang out in cyberspace together a lot. So as little old me stumbled across their mutual Skype conversation .. The hook – line and sinker scenario unfolded .. And farewell Flemish roots.

But i'm getting ahead of myself. The reason for this loss of cultural integrity is not only the fact that I am spending more and more of my time (online) with people from all over the world (Saturday morning was happily squandered away in a conference call between a Sacramento professional body-painter and his wife, an american college student living in Britain and little old me) I also caught myself talking global events with Wallaby-land Australia while doing the dishes.  And at that point I'm not even mentioning emailing people around the globe and now having to refer to persons with their nationality or personal website attached to their name , in order to keep them apart.

And its butchering my English accent (which is getting seasick from swinging between American-southern-states-style and British-nine-o'clock-news-style) It now has tendencies  to lunge for an Australian-I-just-shot-mysellf-a-crock accent (Thank you Sidney !) But far more worse .. It is absolutely killing my cultural identity. So close to the Eurovision song contest where us Europeans do want to patt ourselves on the chest and shout .. I'm a proud 'Insert-country-here' , I on the other hand feel like a citizen of the world. Knowing somebody personally on every continent and having these people interact with you on a daily bases has done nothing good for the xenophobic backwater-smalltown-mindset that I sprang from.

So there is a wonderful danger on the edge of real and cyberspace. It lurks in every corner and the more people you meet the more dangerous it gets. It takes away these preciously built misconceptions we have. Stereotypes of all kind that help us make sense of the world as we jam everybody we don't even know into preselected cubicles in order to make sense of it all.  This danger is called : REALITY .. The reality that dawns upon you when you start realizing that we are ALL just people and that fearing what you don't know is the dumbest thing you can do.  And more importantly ..After seeing that people are just people , you have to realize, YOU are just people to .. and the cubical of your own nationality / ethnic group has just faded away around you.

People are just people and its great to get to know them one by one.. I'm not a Belgian, You're not 'black' .. He's not a Muslim .. She's not a Republican ..

WE are all just people.



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