Virtualbox versus VMWare Workstation

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As an IT guy, I need to be using Windows for my day to day desktop environment as there are many vendor specific applications I need to run on a day to day basis which simply aren’t available on unix variants. However, that doesn’t stop me from wanting to run Linux applications when I’m on the road, or needing to quickly build a server to test something out.

At the moment when I want to get in to the sandbox, I’m using VMWare Workstation. I’ve used it for quite a while, and am very comfortable with it. But there are other virtualisation platforms out there, so I thought it was only fair that I have a look at the other options which are available. So today we’ll be comparing VMWare Workstation with Sun Microsystems’ virtualisation client, Virtualbox.

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Linux… On a Memory Key?

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Yes, you heard right, Linux fans. But it’s not as simple as all that.

Today I’m going to be playing around with the new version of ACE management server from VMWare. As you probably know, they’re all for running normal operating systems in completely abnormal ways, and ACE lets us do even more abnormal things – like installing a virtual machine which can run entirely from a memory key, while avoiding touching the host operating system at all.

Of course, you don’t necessarily need to use Linux for this. In fact, any operating system which is supported by VMWare can run in this manner. So if you’d rather run Windows or OpenSolaris, go right ahead. The principle is exactly the same.

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X11 forwarding over SSH

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Building a Linux server is a fairly simple affair. If you’re anything like me, you had some old hardware lying around which you shoved into a cheap case, stuck a copy of Debian/Ubuntu/Fedora/Whatever on it, and bob’s your uncle.

But once it’s up and running, should you dedicate a monitor/keyboard/mouse to a computer you barely use? Or is there another option?

Thankfully, one thing Linux has in spades is Options.

Today I’m going to deal with X11 forwarding over SSH. As you may know, SSH is one of the primary ways of connecting in to your Linux server, but it’s normally used for terminal commands – something some people aren’t all that comfortable with.

X11 forwarding over SSH allows the display of any programs you’d normally run from within a Gnome or KDE session to be displayed remotely, with only a few steps to make it possible.

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Dr. StrangeRAID, or, how I learned to stop worrying and love ZFS

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So now that we’ve chosen to go with Solaris and use NFS for our filesystem, let’s consider how we’re going to use ZFS to best suit our needs.

So let’s say that I have four 1Tb disks lying around which I want to thow into my new file server. At some point in the future, I’d like to upgrade my capacity by replacing one or all of the disks with larger ones (say, 2Tb).

How do we go about it?

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iPhones and Ringtones, Oh my!

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Pay? Fuck you!

Pay? Fuck you!

When I got my new iPhone 3G last week, the first thing I tried to do was to put a few custom ringtones on it so I could have something different to my coworkers – we’ve all got iPhones thanks to the fact that my company lets us have them at cost, which is nice, but when one phone goes off everyone reaches for their pocket.

Initially I couldn’t see a way to do it. There’s no way you can just right click on a song in iTunes and ‘convert to ringtone,’ and when you search for ringtones on the iTunes store, you get a stack of horrible noises not worth spending money on. Not to mention the commercial software out there to convert tones for you. I ended up Jailbreaking my iPhone so I could scp the files straight to it.

But there is a way to convert your songs. It’s quite simple, and doesn’t require any extra tools or money to be forked out, and doesn’t require jailbreaking.

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Rant: Apple and Steve Jobs

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[image title=”jobsandwoz” size=”thumbnail” id=”242″ align=”right” linkto=”http://irrationale2.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/jobsandwoz.jpg” ]I admit that this is probably a terrible place to start apon my great return to the interwebs, considering the massive polarity between Windows people and Mac people, and the inevitable shitstorm that is created any time the two names are mentioned together in the same paragraph, but hopefully the two sides will stop their petty bickering for a moment and hear me out.

I think Apple is great. I use an Apple at home for my designing/ publishing/internetting/musicing/porning, and am quite pleased with it. It’s not for everyone, but I like it (plus it gives me a nice break from using a Windows PC all day).

However, there is something that Apple has done to earn my ire.

You see, Apple have realised that they make so much money from the new versions of their computer operating system, OSX, that they may as well push this same mentality across to their handheld divisions.
Their new iPod Touch and iPhone products now give users the option to upgrade to the latest version of firmware for a fee of $25. A firmware upgrade, which would normally cost precisely zero.

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R2D2 Mailboxes? Awesome!

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Old, but still cool. Hey, we get news a little slower downunder.

For the 30th anniversary of Star Wars, the US Postal Service enlisted a special little fellow to collect mail. R2-D2 mailboxes were deployed to cities all over the US to the delight of fans.

Fricken’ awesome :)