The Discord roundtable is back again this week with the perennial discussion among technology and open source enthusiasts – Will we ever see the year of the Linux Desktop?
- Mix & Production: Tim King
Is your mailbox overflowing ? Is your to-do list getting out of control ? Have you forgotten to pick up your significant other from the airport 3 times in a row ? Sounds to me you need a system to organise the myriad of things you have to do. Good thing there is KW908 : Getting things done the Cross platform way. We talk about the system I use to organise my tasks and my life .. the cross platform way.
Music provided by Daniel Mesner
What does it take to start up a company ? What does it take to make that company cross platform compatible ? What hardware do you choose , what software do you choose ? What services do you go for ? What are the challenges, the easy bits and where does it all make you want to pull your hair out ? We answer those questions in this weeks podcast as we take a deep dive into the technology we selected and used to start up our own IT Consultancy company. Listen up ! You might learn something 🙂
When you think of it “having applications inside of a browser” might seem like a bizarre idea. However this IS the case when you take a look at Chrome and the Chrome OS. All chrome applications that are available in the store (and that turn your Chromebook from a porn-browsing paperweight into an actual “computer”) are also perfectly usable inside the chrome browser.
The great thing about these chrome extensions (or chrome apps) is that they are highly cross platform. Whether you are running chrome on your Chromebook, your windows or Linux machine or even on your mac : Chrome apps will look the same everywhere. The also have vastly the same possibilities (and limitations) everywhere. Most of them might not be usable if you are offline, but most of them do simulate a full fledged application (where it not that you KNOW they are running inside a browser). As we hop from OS to OS we write sweet love poems to the following list of chrome-apps for giving us a consistent and pleasurable experience .
Some chrome apps are just links to web services, and with the Feedly chrome-app there is not getting around it. Its basically a link to the web based interface of Feedly. The good thing is : Feedly looks good, its fast and it works. The Chrome app takes care of logging in for you and BOOM you are reading through your 2908383098 unread articles. Good luck with that.
“Oh – Ah” .. I want to read that later ! That’s something we scream about 4 times a day when we tread upon an interesting article that is just to long to read at that very moment. I hit the “save to pocket” icon in my top tool bar and the article gets saved (with pictures and everything) to Pocket. Whenever I feel that i’m browsing around aimlessly ( Facebook – newspaper- Reddit – 9gag – newspaper …) I punch up the Pocket extension and browse through the articles I saved earlier. Pocket also has a great mobile app that lets you read the articles offline on your mobile device AND have the articles read out to you with a text-to-speech function that sounds like Stephen Hawkings hot sister.
Here we can only say one thing : This is without a shadow of a doubt one of the very best Evernote clients for Linux. By the time that our popular note taking application to release a native Linux application, pigs will have colonised other planets. There have been some attempts by open source beard bearing goblins to make a client that interfaces with Evernotes API on Linux .. but the chrome app takes the cake. Sure it won’t work offline, but it IS the cleanest way to connect to your web based version of Evernote on ANY OS.
Why would one need Google drive when one has Dropbox or even the locally installed Google Drive client ? The answer is simple. This extension does not drop the Google files into your desktop ecosystem .. this IS the Google desktop ecosystem. Not only do you get easy access top all the files you have stored on Google Drive , you can also instantly access them in the very same window, regardless of your OS. Whether you would like to write a love poem to Miley Cirus, do a spreadsheet on how you will managed your finances one you marry her .. or draft up a slideshow on why a care-bear should be featured as your upcoming company logo .. its all right there in ONE window.
Without my calendar I am lost. Browsing over to my calendar in the cloud and logging in to enter an appointment ? I’m too lazy. The Google calendar extension gives you your calendar in a window at the click of a mouse. I love having the short cut to this Google app (Because that is what it is) on my desktop is just too darn handy.
In know I might be boring you to death with Chrome apps for “standard” Google services .. but they ARE the ones that do what they do just right. The cool thing is that these (native) Chrome apps do give you the luxury of a standard desktop applications like notifications and the ability to become the “default’ application for handling any email shortcuts.
Visio. Microsofts ‘Miauw Du Chat’ when it comes to drawing up complicated flowcharts or organisational charts that feature your name waaaay down the bottom. There aren’t a lot of replacements from this app in the cross platform world. Good thing that there is Gliffy, Gliffy is free and has all kinds of nice flowcharts and funky network diagrams for you to play with. Gliffy even lets you store them on line (all though the number of Flowcharts you can save is limited in the free version).
We all have brilliant idea’s. We just don’t have the brilliant idea to stuff something (like a piece of paper or a pencil) in our pocket to write them down. That’s not such a bad thing because pen and paper is a pretty shitty way to manage an entire brain fart. You want to be able to draw branches and sub-branches. You want to organise your thoughts into categories and subcategories . You want to do this anywhere and preferably .. for free. Enter Mindmeister. A great online mindmapping tool that works on any device that comes with a browser (except the Nintendo Wii). Aside from having native clients on IOS and Android that sync with the cloud, Mindmeister now also has its own chrome app. You can only store one or two acts of brilliancy online in the free version .. but nobody ever said that you should have just ONE brain dump per document.
The one thing you have to DO with TO-DO lists is keep track of your to-do’s. If your to-do’s are stored on different devices, one of the things you need to do is keep them in sync. Any.do does sport a native IOS and Android client that syncs your Todo list with the cloud. The great thing about its chrome app is that it creates a nice pop-up window that you can set to the side and keep track of your to-do list that way. Any-do is as polished as a native app and looks identical on every os. Love it !
Dropbox changed its terms of service so they can give you data to the Feds if they just ask for it, Ubuntu shuts down the online fileservice “Ubuntu One” : Who can you trust these days ? The great thing with cloud solutions is that they are on a server far far away, most of them are free and you never have to maintain them. The downside is that they are on a server far far away, they are free and you cannot maintain them. We give up a certain level of control for the convenience of the cloud. It would be of course far nicer if you had a service that offered you all the luxury of the products mentioned above .. but gave you full control, absolute privacy and a completely controlled solution. (and free ! It has to be free).
Do not fear : Owncloud is here.
Owncloud is a self hosted cloud solution that gives you the luxury of the cloud in the privacy of your own home (or on your own hosted environment). Its a cross platform webservice that gives you the ability to store files in the “cloud” and access them from anywhere, Sync those files with your desktop (like Dropbox) You can share your files with friends and access them using mobile clients on Android and IOS devices or a simple browser window.
Don’t trust the cloud with your Calendar and contacts ? Owncloud takes care of that too. Manage your contacts and calendars straight from Owncloud or sync them up with your mobile devices using open standards like .vcard and caldav.
Tired of the tracks on Groovebox or spotify ? Would you like to stream your music (and movies) from your own hard drive at home ? Owncloud even has an answer for that. The built in media player lets you access your library from anywhere as long as you sport at least a browser (AND some underwear .. Owncloud is classy like that).
Want to tie all of your different cloud services together ? Owncloud supports connecting external storage to the service (like network and usb drives) but can also connect to Dropbox and Google Docs, offering ALL those files up in one simple interface.
So what does it take ?
Installing Owncloud is pretty simple. All you need is a linux server and you can choose to install Owncloud either from the repositories (if you are using Ubuntu or Debian) or you can go and download version 6 straight from their website.
Owncloud is based on a web based server so you can access everything from port 80 and add some security by choosing to go for https to do your authentication (highly recommended). You can run it on your server at home OR on a webspace you rented somewhere (or if you are really lucking on your own hosted server in some datacenter). You don’t need a lot of power, but Owncloud does need some ram and some cpu power if it is going to manage and index thousands of files for you.
So how do I do it.
Find out more.
In all , Owncloud is a very powerful solution when it comes to hosting stuff yourself. It has come a long way since version 6 and I have been a big fan of the convenience, the cross platform compatible-ness (is that a word ?) and the sheer power of integrating multiple storage locations (usb drives, network drives, cloud storage) to ONE single web interface. Try it .. you’ll be on cloud 9.
We close up 2013 AND season 7 of the Knightwise.com podcast with out Android Essentials list for 2013. Whether you have an Android Smartphone, Tablet or Mediasystem, this is the list you can’t afford to miss. Check out our selection of cross-platform friendly Android apps and enjoy some cool photography tips from Konrad Dwojak in the feedback section. Packed to the rafters its KW708.
Yes, because, quite frankly, that will be the end of your current todo application. Wether or not you are using a modern day todo list like Wunderlist on your smartphone or you are writing down your items on a running Cheeta (It takes a while but it’s a great workout ) you might just switch to todo.txt after you read this post.
Why ? Because todo.txt is a slider friendly way of keeping track of things. They offer an an Android version (1,47 $) and an Ios version (1.99) that will give you a nice mobile application, but the kicker of this service is, they also offer a command line interface ! Straight from your favorite command line (if you are using Linux of course) you can manage and update your todo list from anywhere. The command line script can be downloaded for free.
This “compatiblity” is because todo.txt stores your todo list in a textfile, a human readable textfile that can also be opened using just any text editor, AND you can actually read and understand what it says.
Todo.txt is pretty brilliant in its simplicity. I love adding another command line app to our list, but a little disappointed these guys don’t have a free app in the stores. (Like for example Wunderlist). Todo.txt also lacks a web interface (bit of a bummer there) but overall offers their users great value for money. You might want to try it out : Its explained in this video here
Links : todo.txt
How do YOU keep track of your todo’s ? Tell us in the comments section.
We get technical this week with a great open source and free network attached filestorage solution called NAS4FREE. After running down the list of things it can do we show you how to tweak into the core of your cross-platform filesharing world, enabling you to use it as a central filehub for all of your devices and from all of your locations. We top it off with some information on how to virtualise the whole solution and give you a spot of music from Planet Boelex’s new track ‘Refurbished’ all of that and more on Kw405.
A creative mind can be a blessing in disguise. As most ADD-prone geeks can confirm, it is often harder to herd your ideas then it is to have them at all. How do you keep track of it all ? Sure there are tons of “to-do” and “GTD” apps to be found out there, but the question is : “Do you have them with you when you need them ? ” That was one of the showstoppers when it came to my use of “Ithoughts HD” on the iPad. A truly wonderful mind-map application with plenty of features and dingdongs, but also very “local”. Not only was it only available on IOS, The mind-maps it produced were also stored locally on the device .. This would not do .. It would not do at all.
What you really need is a Cross platform mindmapping application that is available anywhere. On your tablet when you are in a meeting, On your desktop, when you want ‘the big picture’ and on your phone when you are on the road and get that million dollar idea. You want it everywhere, anytime and all in sync. And we have your answer.
Enter Mindmeister. Available via a web interface and via the Google play store and the Ios App store the app gives you online and offline access to your mind maps. If you sign up for a free account you will have a maximum of 3 maps. A payed account at 5,10 or 15 dollars a month gives you loads of extra features and collaboration. But even the free version allows you to share your maps with others.
Using mindmeister is very easy. It might not come with a ton of bells and whistles, but its about working on your idea, not about fancy colored bubbles. As an added bonus they have cross platform widgets and browser extensions to quickly dump your bright light bulbs into Mindmeister.
Mindmeister gets two thumbs up when it comes to “anywhere anytime” and is very slider friendly. Available at www.mindmeister.com , the Google Play store and the Apple App store.
We kick off season 4 with a great tutorial podcast on how to let the internet work for you. A deep dive into the functionalities of ‘If This Then That’ enlightens you how to tie all of your social platforms together and through automation, have cyberspace work for you.