Friday, May 26, 2006

Virtualization and another Buzz

Virtualization is causing a buzz in Technology right now.
It has Microsoft's attention at the moment in the software world with Microsoft releasing the latest update to Virtual Server, Virtual Server 2005 R2 as a free download. Of course this has nothing to do with VMWare offering their VMware Server Beta for free. Then of course there is the buzz about virtualization in the hardware world with Xen for Linux and Intel's whatever...

Without going into too much detail virtualization refers to running more than one Client or Server Operating System at a time on a single hardware box. Of course there is more to it than that, with another flavor of virtualization being an implementation from Altiris that allows applications to run with controlled access to the underlying OS (Altiris SVS). What's great is that a lot of the software tools have free versions. VMwares Virtual Player is one of them.

Virtualization is something I work with almost every day, but another buzz is about something I only just heard about for the first time: Rails for Ruby.

Rails for Ruby, which is being hailed as a successor to Java as it is a whole lot faster to develop web-based database applications. The language itself, Ruby has been around since about 1993.
"Rails is a full-stack framework for developing database-backed web applications according to the Model-View-Control pattern. From the Ajax in the view, to the request and response in the controller, to the domain model wrapping the database, Rails gives you a pure-Ruby development environment. To go live, all you need to add is a database and a web server." this is according to the official website

Instant Rails for Ruby on Rails which includes everything needed to setup Rails for Ruby can be found here

Saturday, May 20, 2006

AOL Music canceled

Well, I finally canceled my trial of AOL Music Service, before the 30 day trial period had ended of course. It was just that it was so difficult. First, because I wasn't sure that the Music Service was what AOL calls a "Premium Service", I got put through to the wrong department who put me through to Bangalore or somewhere similar. I was then advised to phone the number I had phoned. By the time I go through to the right human being it was hard to be civil.

Canceling Rhapsody was easier and they actually asked why. AOL it seems couldn't care.

Monday, May 15, 2006

U3 and PortableApps

That is U3 and not the famous U2.
Both U3 and PortableApps are methods of storing and running Applications from USB Flash Drives. U3 is a platform and a USB Flash Drive has to be a "U3 smart drive" to run U3 applications. PortableApps on the other hand will work on any USB Flash Drive. The other difference is that PortableApps features mainly Open Source (free) software, whereas U3 has some freeware but mainly commercial applications, like ThinkFree Office for U3 (I guess the "Free" of ThinkFree is Free of MS?) and WinRAR for U3.

My boss remarked that this was like the old days of DOS and floppy disks - remember when you could run a program from a floppy disk? In fact, right now flash drives of 512MB or less would be recognized as a floppy drive when it comes to booting from them.
There are a number of ways to make a USB Flash Drive bootable with everything from DOS to Windows versions to (of course) Linux. Unfortunately this will work only if your PC or Notebooks BIOS supports booting from a USB device, and this is limited to PCs from the last year or so. See for more information.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Successful Downgrade

This week I successfully downgraded from Graffiti 2 on my Tungsten T3 to Graffiti 1. Why would I do that you may ask? Well, I got tired of not being able to write the letter "x", no matter how hard I tried.

Admittedly, Graffiti 2 is a lot closer to normal handwriting, although each letter needs to be formed individually like in the first version of Graffiti. I was actually starting to get used to it, but then had to write something on a handheld which had version 1 on it. It reminded me of how quick easy those shortcut strokes are to write.

There are lots of articles on how to downgrade the web, like this one from Palm Infocenter.

As a comparison, the two versions of Graffiti look as follows:

Graffiti 1:

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia has an excellent article on Graffiti and why Palm brought out version 2.

Graffiti 2:

The Palm site has an article on how Graffiti 2 is "intuitive and easier to learn".

Friday, May 05, 2006

Something cool on a warm night.

No, I'm not referring to an ice cold Bud Light, but a Tech kind of cool: Specifically a network update of the Sony PSP firmware to version 2.70. The network update feature has been there since the PSP came out, but I've just never used it before. Of course it makes perfect sense to allow updating the operating system and other features of the console over a wireless connection, since the PSP has built-in Wi-Fi.

Up until now I've done it in the "old-fashioned" way, downloading using my PC. I had forgotten about this feature until I was browsing the Sony Playstation website with my PSP (seemed a logical thing to do), and read up about the new features of the firmware upgrade and decided to apply it. Initially, before I even got the PSP, firmware upgrades were more for taking things away, locking down the PSP and making it more difficult to hack. In fact, the firmware version my Sony PSP came with (2.0 I think), is pretty much un-hackable. Version 1.5 was a favorite of the Homebrew crowd, they could add their own web browser and other software. Then games came out with firmware upgrades on the UMD (disk) - if you want to play the game you had to upgrade your firmware. Anyway, now Sony has been adding features: 2.0 had a Web Browser, 2.6 added support for RSS Feeds, and 2.7 adds support for Macromedia Flash (not a favorite of mine - those Flash ads bug me so much I've disabled them in Firefox, and unless the otherwise excellent Opera browser allows Flash to be disabled I'm not going to bother to use it). More importantly, this upgrade supports audio Podcasts (called something else - "Audio content" - of course), and the saving of multimedia content from the web browser to a Memory Stick. Video podcasts have been promised in a future update.

As an aside, has the Sony PSP Rated as the most popular PVP (Personal Video Player). I've watched a movie on the Sony PSP, and the aspect ratio of its 4 inch screen is perfect widescreen movies. Of course a protective case like the Logitech PlayGear helps, as it can be flipped around to hold the PSP in the right position for movie watching. The stereo speakers are also adequate for the task.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Web on TV? No: TV on Web

After several attempts to get internet content on television, none with much success, now the big guns are trying to get Television content on the Internet. Like AOL Television