Virtual Box on Ubuntu 9.04 Host

Ever since I got my new laptop back in April, I’ve been running the latest version of Ubuntu on it.  Sometimes though, I do have the need for Windows (when I need to use Visual Studio, for example).  In those cases I have a virtual machine with Windows XP installed on it, and any of the often needed Windows utilities available.  This worked great for me in previous versions of Ubuntu, but with the new laptop came a weird problem:  The VM was transparent.  Not completely transparent, but maybe 40% transparent.

Luckily there is a quick fix for this.  With your mouse pointer inside of the guest operating system, make sure the “host key” is disabled, and then hit windows key + c.  That should remove the transparency and you’ll be good to go.



As much as I despise waking up at 6:15am every morning, there are a few things I do enjoy.  I enjoy spending an hour reading articles and catching up with the day’s news.  I enjoy the fresh feeling that the world has at that hour.  The morning dew is still clinging to everything, and the sun being low on the horizon.  Above all else, it’s quiet.  Everyone is still sleeping at that hour.  That’s probably my favorite part.  No phone calls, no talking, just the sound of the wind at my back and the birds singing.

Next time I visit the ocean, I’m making it a point to get up early and watch the sunrise.  I haven’t seen a sunrise in ages.


Free ISO Mounting Tool

Every so often you need to mount an ISO file.  I generally use Linux, so I can just create a loop back interface.  On Windows though, things are a bit trickier.  If your are lucky enough to have money, you could always buy a tool to do this.  However, most of us are either poor or cheap, so that’s where this tool comes in.  Microsoft apparently created a free iso mounting tool that it doesn’t support.  I have used this with great success over the years, so I wanted to share it with everyone.

Click here to download VCDControlTool.sfx.exe


Web-Based Subversion Management Tool

Edit:  Sorry, I didn’t look hard enough.  Check out Submin if you are still interested in this.

For those not in the know, Subversion is a piece of software that manages source code in something called a repository.  While this in itself is nothing special, Subversion and other software like it, allow developers to keep a detailed revision history of the source code.  You can even revert back to previous version in the blink of an eye!  Managing a Subversion repository can be a bit of pain though.

Here’s what I’m thinking:  We need a web-based subversion management tool.  Currently there aren’t any good soluti/ons for this and I’d really like to help the community out with this if I could.  What features would you like to see in a web-based subversion management tool?


The GIF Trend

Over the past 3 months, I’ve noticed an interesting trend popping up across the web.  Instead of using online video formats such as Flash Video Format (flv) or Qucktime (mov), people have been saving short clips as gif files.  Last time I checked, this wasn’t 1997, so why have people started this old trend back up?


First, a little bit of back story.  In the late 90’s, the Internet, and specifically the World Wide Web was a different place.  Rich content on the Internet had just started to catch on, and user driven content was barely even known.  Heck, people still had 486’s back then (guilty).  Probably the most important aspect of this time period was that broadband hadn’t really penetrated the mainstream yet.  Outside of corporations and academia, most normal people had a 56k modem connection.  At the time, this worked great for browsing the web.   However, imagine trying to watch a 15 second Youtube clip on a 56k modem.  Yeah, it’s not going to work out great.  You’d probably end up waiting about 3 or 4 minutes for the clip to cache, and then you could watch it.

Enter the GIF

For years people had been using gif files to animate things on web pages (Hamsterdance anyone?), but some people got a bit more creative with them.  Instead of using gif files for small animations, then used them to create video clips.  If they were sized down in quality, resolution, and frame rate enough, they were considerably smaller than the rich-media alternatives.

Death of the (movie) GIF

With broadband penetration came richer media and easier access to it.  Once people were no longer chained to a dial-up connection, they jumped ship on the movie gifs.  Most of us considered this a blessing and never thought of movie gifs again… until 10 years later.


A couple months ago, the movie gifs started popping up again.  I quickly checked to see if Netscape Navigator was bugging.  But it wasn’t.  Strange I thought, so I checked the page in IE 4 just to make sure.  Still, the movie gif kept showing up instead of a flv based film.  “Why has 1998 invaded my interwebs I said?”.  Here’s why.

The internet loves nostalgia.  Tech nerds can’t get enough of recalling their past tech conquests.  True story, I had this conversation with my girlfriend the other night.

Me: “Hey, did I ever tell you about my first computer with internet access?”
GF: “Are you serious?”
Me: “Yeah, it was a 486 DX-4 with 16mb of RAM and …(interrupted).”
GF: “Why are you telling me this?”

As you can gather from this conversation, she isn’t a tech nerd.  However, other geeks would enjoy the story.  I can already feel the nostalgia oozing from the readers.  Back to the matter at hand though.  The flv format has such a high penetration rate now that a lot of people look right over it.  But if you had a title on a blog that looked like: Jumping Kangaroo[GIF], tech nerds would be intrigued and definitely click it.  More clicks=More conversions=$$$$.

An alternative theory is that corporations have started to block traffic from rich content providers (Veoh, Youtube, Dailymotion, Google Video, etc) so people have started to put REALLY interesting clips in gif format.

Personally, I’m not sure what the right answer is.  In the meantime, I’m going to open up IE 3 and search Dogpile for some cool animated gifs.  Maybe the overwhelming nostalgia (and vomit creeping up in my throat) will provide me with some insight.