ER is an
American medical drama television series created by
novelist and medical doctor Michael
Crichton that aired on NBC from September 19, 1994, to April 2, 2009,
with a total of 331 episodes spanning over 15 seasons
Airwolf was an
American television series that ran from 1984 until
1987. The program centers on a high-tech military helicopter, code named Airwolf, and its crew as they undertake
various exotic missions, many involving espionage,
with a Cold War theme
This week Knightwise talks about cutting the cable and some thoughts about what this could mean for not just your pocketbook, but also your sanity. There are tons of places you can get content that you source and curate yourself. Come join us to hear about a few.
Producer’s note: Originally recorded in 2017, but not originally aired in KW Season 12.
I love to read. If there is anything that is powerful enough to slow down my ever raging mind, then it’s a good book. But finding the right one is always a hassle caused by the abundance of choice. If you go to the library, you lend out a bo9, put it in your pocket and read it till you bring it back. Reading on an ereader is a different experience. You have a TON of books to choose from and you can carry around a 100 of them at the same time. So picking (and sticking) to a book is sometimes harder then you think.
Stuttering impulse drives
The last couple of months I have been going through a little bit of a crisis. You see: I used to LOVE Star Trek novels and could be enthralled in a good Star Trek story for days. I remember reading entire series of Star Trek books on holiday and enjoying every minute of it. Lately finding a ‘good’ Star Trek novel has been hard. The last series I finished was the ‘a Time to’ series that took place in the TNG era. When trying out the ‘Destiny’ series the impulse drive of my engagement with the story started to sputter. The reason that all the post TNG – post Nemesis books just didn’t ‘click’. Wether its Riker on the Titan or Ezri Dax as Captain of her supership it .. just does not feel right. So I decided to dive off the deep and an go looking for something else.
The Expanse Series: James Corey
Enter James Corey and his series of books called ‘The Expanse’. If you have seen (and enjoyed) the TV show, go pick up the books ..now. 8 massive books later (I even read book 4 and 5 ON PAPER) I put down the cliffhanger book of one of the most intriguing, actually ‘believable’ hard scifi books. The series greatly reminded my of the works by Arthur C Clarke: great scifi where all the math and science lines up. The last book still has to come out by I am already looking forward to it.
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
After that I decided I would sink my teeth into some of the classic scifi authors of the cyberpunk genre. I had tried to get through Neil Stephenson’s Snow Crash as an audiobook. But I had a hard time keeping up my interest with the book. It might be considered blasphemy, but to me the book is a little dated looking at todays technology, and although i’m Belgian and Surrealism is part of my culture, pizza-maffia just doesn’t do it for me. So when I accidentally stumbled across Seveneves I was amazed to find out it was by the same author! The story: The moon breaks up after getting hit by a black hole and the resulting meteor cloud wipes out all life in earth. Earth has 2 years and 12 people on the ISS to get shit organised for the survival of our species. This tantalisingly realistic read will have every scifi nerd perched on the tip of his chair while challenging him or her to Google stuff about orbital mechanics, pooping in Zero G, Dna and genetic manipulation AND how to turn a floating piece of space ice into a steam-rocket. I had a bit of a hard time with the second part of the book (the story jumps ahead 5000 years) but the first half put Deep Impact and Armageddon to shame.
No love for Solo
So time to go on my summer holiday. Problem: I had not found a good fiction book to read. I tried re-reading the original Han Solo trilogy (The story about how Han Solo becomes ..well Han Solo) starting out with Han as an orphan all the way up to the moment where he and his wookie buddy meet this old guy and this young boy in a Bar in Mos Esley. But again, the story just didn’t get me. Although I greatly enjoyed ‘Tarkin’ by James Lucino, the ‘Force’ wasn’t with me this time.
Dan Simmons: The Terror
To spend our first evening in our cottage I decided to try watching the first episode of Amc’s ‘The Terror’ a series based around the failed Franklin expedition: 2 British ships that got stuck in the artic ice in 1845 and their race to stay alive while being chased by a giant ‘thing’ on the ice. I am a sucker for books, tv shows and movies that will have you Googling and Wiki-ing your way through facts and tidbits, so I was thrilled to see that the series was based on a true story AND the novel for the series had been written by Dan Simmons, one of the classic Authors who wrote the Hyperion. So i was hooked, paused the series, downloaded the book on my Kindle and started reading.
The story is great, the characters are believable, the monster on this ice is well, a monster, but a lot of the story and scenes are based on historical facts. These facts are abundant in pictures on wikipedia and historical documents online. Some letters in the book written by Captain Crozier: Can be found in a museum in Canada. The book one shipmate lends to another as they leave the boats behind ? It’s part of an exhibition. Even the mummie of a dead crewmember recovered more then a 100 years later is on display. This makes all of it very “real” and very very interesting. The book is well written and prods you to find out more about rigging, masts, sailing, navigation and shipboard life in 1845 and about the technology they used. Very very interesting stuff and a great holiday read. The book of course diverts from historical events (it’s a Novell) but is a great read I would surely recommend.
Lets face it, Reviewing stuff is cool. From time to time we get stuff in the mail that we can tweet or blog our opinions about. This lets us play with some pretty cool stuff, and sometimes we even get to review stuff that you can’t just ship. So when LG asked us to review their 55 inch 4K Oled TV, we thought we were going to need a bigger mailbox. It turns out WE got to go and review IT for a night in a fancy penthouse suite in Brussels. The life of a blogger is hard.
After we had settled into the little penthouse and managed to tear away our eyes from the wonderful view, it was time to check out the tv. The lightly curved 4K 55 inch monster is quite elegant for its size. No overdone “HERE I AM” pimped out casing, no blinking lights.. Just a 55 inch slightly curved monolith … and its “full of stars” !
Black is Black.
Once you turn it on you see what OLED is all about. For those of you who don’t know. Regular LED tv’s have “lightbars” at the edges of the screen, “lighting up” the pixels as it where. This means that pixels that are set to “black” still “bleed” some of this light through resulting in dark grey tones instead of actual black. Depending on the quality of your LED tv this might vary.
With Oled every pixel generates its own lightsource. So when the pixel is told to go BLACK it just switches off … resulting in true black. This is of course a lot of technobabble, so what is the result ? The end result is that the colors are amazing and that black is really black. During our first demo, a scene from “House of Cards”, where Claire is standing with her back to the edge of the frame wearing a black dress, there was no way to distinguish the black dress with the black edge of the tv. Impressive !
So how about this 4K stuff ?
Double the resolution of an HD Tv and you get 4K. That’s a resolution of 4096 by 2160 pixels. Result ? Watch yourself some 4K Netflix and you get to see a whole new level of detail. During the pilot episode of “The Blacklist” we saw small motes of dust floating through the scene. Each individual hair that was somehow out of place on the head of the lead character was visible. 4K will be a makeup artists nightmare ! The level of detail is so uncanny that at some point we noticed a booger (yes a booger) up the left nostril of one of the characters. We seriously shit you not: Much resolution, So 4K wow !
One thing that was familiar on the LG was the Smart OS that runs it. One could not tell by the looks but the “smart” part is actually HP’s WEB OS. Yeah, that’s the OS that never made it to the tablet space and died in a dark corner at Wallmart. But its offspring is alive and kicking. You can control it with the remote, using the buttons OR using it as a pointer. The interface is fine and responds pretty snappy. We liked it.
The only thing we were not that impressed with was the sound. Although the Tv features Harman Kardon speakers, the sound was a little ‘flat’. But I guess when you have the budget to buy one of these beauties, getting a 600 euro sound bar is peanuts.
So in the end ?
The LG 4k TV is a little bit like driving a Tesla for a day. Its awesome, its fantastic, its the best of the best and .. its also the price of 3 kidneys. At 3999 euro’s for the 55″ model and 5999 for the 65″ model, things might be a little bit outside our price range. We worry a little about the amount of 4k content that is available right now. Sure there is some on Netflix (Costs you a little extra though) but does it satisfy the purchase today ?
Our review of the LG 55EG960V Ultra HD 4K TV (as it is officially called) showed us a peek in whats to come in the near future of TV entertainment. Bight colors, solid blacks, awesome resolutions and hopefully a more affordable price range. And lets not forget new drinking games where you have to take a shot every time you see a booger up the nose of one of the lead characters !
The MK802 is just one example of Android “hopping over” to more different kinds of devices then the phones and tablets it was designed for. In essence the MK802 is a little computer that comes with a couple of USB ports and an HDMI port so you can hook it up to any TV/Monitor and instantly turn that machine into a ‘smartscreen’. With devices like the MK802, you can easily turn your television into a media center using applications like PLEX or Boxee who let your Android ‘stick’ become your media front end.
The only thing that is missing is that those applications should ‘start up’ automatically whenever your android device of choice boots. In order to make that work we found the free app called “Startup Manager” (how DO they come up with these original names).
You can either tweak your Android device by removing applications that run on startup (nice way to clean out some branded cruft) OR add some auto starting applications of your own. (perfect for launching VLC, Boxee or Plex at bootup).
“Its about these guys… that are just like you ! .. and they are FUNNY !!!” my “norm”* friend giggles as he waves his arms up and down frantically and points towards the television. Yes … he IS referring to “The Big Bang Theory” a show that has him very excited for he himself is only just dipping his toes into the great “pond of geek”. Having installed his first Linux distribution and discovering the world of Irc and Google+ have been epic tasks that have been entrusted upon him by his wise geek Overlord .. ME. “He is ready” my inner voice says .. “to see the geek classics”. I try to hold back from opening the floodgates to our rich geek culture. Where movies like “The ghost in the machine” are a classic. Where everyone can dub the first lines from the movie “Dune” by heart. Where David Hasselhoff is a cult legend and where Serenity is considered a form of religion.
So I am faced with the difficult choice of offering him his “Next Geek Tv show” to watch. So I go over my shortlist in random order.
Battlestar Galactica. (both the original and the revamped series.)
Star Trek. ( not really a ‘watch this’ assignment, rather a complete lifestyle makeover.)
Serenity. (One must know what a Browncoat is.)
Babylon 5. ( For all women, like centaury, should be bald somewhere.)
A dash of classic Dr Who featuring Tom Baker. (For one must know why ones girlfriend must knit a scarf.)
… and so many more.
So before I make my decision … What do YOU think are the TOP 5 geek shows ANY budding geek should watch ? Tell us in the comments section.
Thank god its Friday : And on friday its time to set your phasers to DROOL as I bring you a little gem I found on Youtube. Before we dive into it, let me explain why I’m so excited about this. When I was a kid we didn’t have cable in our house. That meant that aside from the 2 “Belgian” Tv stations, the only thing we could watch would be some French stations, Dutch stations and German television. And the Germans were way ahead of the game when it came to having entertaining stuff for ten year old geeks like me. I remember watching open university style episodes about robots, classic german detective series (or “Crimi’s” as the germans called them) and tons of (overdubbed) cartoons. On of them was “Captain Future” A cartoon series derived from the mind of Mort Weissinger about a space-pirate captain that would gallop across the galaxy in his spaceship being a hero and stuff. I don’t remember much about the storylines but what I CAN remember is that I found he had the coolest ship and .. to this day still think that this TV show had one of the most beautiful themesongs ever composed. With a faint resemblance to the “Star Trek” opening credits this tune has a female singer, a baby grand piano and .. ahw .. just listen…
The great thing about the “reboot” industry today is that original ideas are hard to come by, so we need to “dive back” into the past to remake some old stuff. Time Warner has released a trailer on Youtube of what could be the next “Captain Future” feature film, but when or IF this thing is ever going to hit the cinema’s is unknown. Nevertheless, it makes for a great trailer.
So .. do YOU still remember “Captain Future” from our childhood ? Tell us about it in the “Comments” section.
The Apple TV. If you haven’t had a chance to get your hands on the totally jailbreakable ‘Version 2’ of Steve Job’s unfinished “hobby” project.. the chances are you have an Apple Tv 3. And to be quite honest : If you live in a land that does not offer TV⁻Show rentals through the iTunes store .. the Apple TV is about as useless as swimming trunks in the desert. This totally battened down version of Apple’s entertainment hockey puck does not have a lot to offer aside from being able to stream the Knightwise.com podcast STRAIGHT to your living room. This alone would validate the purchase of said device .. but we would like something more.
Enter ‘airplay mirroring’ : The ability to playback the contents of your iPad screen on your TV. Of course Apple would not be apple if they didn’t ‘narrow down’ the list of devices that would be able to do this. Not because it wasn’t technically feasible . just because they want you to buy a new i-Device. If you have a more recent Mac you might be able to do it to, IF you are running Mountain Lion.. So what if you don’t ? Lets go for a few alternatives.
You don’t have a ‘recent’ version of Mountain Lion : “Beamer”.
Lets say you are NOT sporting the latest version of Mountain lion on your mac ? What if you STILL want to stream your movies ? Enter ” Beamer” A 12 dollar application that lets you do just that .. from any mac. Find them at beamer-app.com and chuck those “My little pony” video’s to the big screen. Unfortunately there is no PC version of this app.. so you will still need a mac.
You have Ios devices .. but no Apple TV : “XBMC.”
So what if you have a mac .. but no Apple TV ? Well as long as you have ‘a’ device hooked up to your tv that is capable of running XBMC, you are in luck : XBMC acts as an ‘airplay endpoint’ , enabling you to stream ‘Carebears’ from your iPad to your living room pc.
We close of the year (and season 4 of Knightwise.com) with the video coverage we shot at the “Softlaunch” event of Belgians first ‘Internet only’ TV-Content provider : Weepee.tv. You Cable-Cutters can watch and learn what it is, how to get it, how it works and what other geeks might think of it. Will this be the death of classic television for geeks or just a fab ? Find out in KW408.
If there is one place you should check out for some interesting and crazy content , it has to be the internet archive. Now I know that ‘The archive’ is mostly known by many of you in the form of the “way back machine ” , a sort of time machine that stores old versions of websites. You can have a laugh looking at what yahoo.com looked like in 1994 , or even take a peek at Knightwise.com as it looked like 5 or 7 years ago. There is a lot of interesting stuff. Most of the content on the internet archive is stuff that no longer has any ‘intellectual rights’ tied to it. Meaning that the producers of the content are either dead, that the content is so old even their pet hamster is dead (and so there is no one left to state a claim) or that the creator of the content has donated the content to the public domain. (Like for example .. me !) So I know what you think : The internet archive is just filled with a load of old and useless crap ! .. But there you are wrong. Unlike the movie ‘A night at the museum’ , that still has me waking up screaming at night .. this ‘museum’ of content is filled with the strangest of things. We will tick off 5 interesting finds for you to take a peak at.
‘1984, by George Orwell‘. If you are in IT, Social Media, Management or … are a Biped alive in the 21st Century : This book is a must read. Social visionary Orwell describes a world of total control, zero privacy in a run down reality in 1984 ( Sounds like Myspace ! ) Why read if you can listen .. and why pay Audible some big bucks if you can download the audiobook for FREE
‘NYFD Radio communication on 9/11′ A truly chilling listen : The radio communication logs of the New York Fire department on 9/11. Hearing them go into action , hearing the sirens, the noise and the confusion gives you a chilling feeling that you are part of that day in history … A tribute to the heroic firefighters if there ever was one. A must listen.
‘Cosmos , War of the planets’ A terrible B-movie filled with overacting, poor costumes , horrible screenplay and hilariously stupid aliens. Forget “The Avengers” .. Watch THIS
‘Open Security Training” How about a screen recording of an online tutorial on security ? If you are on the Internet archive .. Why not take the time to learn.
‘Nbc Short Stories‘ Nothing more nostalgic then picking up old radioshows that are by now only consumable halfway on the other side of the galaxy. Their radiowaves have long departed , but you can still listen to them HERE.
So enjoy your little trip through the internet archive. Everything is free and there is no farting allowed in the reading room.
(Thanx to listener Lorddrachenblut for the 1984 tip)