20 May 2009

Using .IMG Files with Virtualbox to Test Netbook Operating Systems

For weeks now I've been trying to test the Ubuntu Netbook Remix and Intel's Moblin Linux operating systems, but have been unable to because I've only been able to find them as .IMG files (and not the .ISO like I'm used to).

Now, there is a practical reason why these distrobutions are released in .IMG form -- .IMG files are apparently intended to be immediately flashed onto USB thumb drives, since most netbooks don't have CD-ROM's at all (the usual destination of an .ISO file). However, I haven't found a reliable way to use these images as a boot source in Virtualbox yet.

I've found where some people have said just rename it from ".img" to ".iso". That didn't work. Some people said try mounting it in Virtualbox's virtual floppy drive, which normally takes .IMG's anyway -- that didn't work.

I know I can just burn it to a USB flash drive that I have handy (if I had an empty one handy :P ), but that defeats the whole purpose of being able to test all this stuff in Virtualbox without having to rely on external physical media!

Oddly, the best solution I found was present at the Debian.org website:

VBoxManage convertfromraw -format VDI [filename].img [filename].vdi

Just use that command (replacing "[filename]", of course). This will convert the .IMG file into a Virtualbox .VDI disk image -- now, simply add that disk image as another hard drive, not a mounted ISO. Here's a pic of the Virtualbox config screen I'm talking about:

Now, just start up your Virtualbox VM and press "F12" to choose your boot drive, and select the drive that you've configured as the converted .IMG.

Whew! Lot of steps for something which is supposed to make stuff quicker! :P But it works, and I'm sure there's an easier way -- they're always is.

That being said, I was pleasantly surprised with both netbook OS's. Ars Technica has a great writeup on Moblin here -- the UI is just amazing. You need a modern computer for it to work on (a CPU with SSE3, at least, I think), and my old Compaq EVO410c from 2001 just didn't cut it, so I'll be sticking with the Ubuntu Netbook Remix.

18 May 2009

Abandoned Firefox Extensions for May

I don't dislike these extensions -- don't get the wrong idea. However, every now and then I go through my extension list on Firefox to see what extensions have now had their functionality duplicated by Firefox's native features, what extensions I simply don't use anymore, or what extensions haven't been updated in a long time.

I list them here to remember them by, for some of them have been with me for a long time. (Excuse me, I have a tear in my eye.)

"Blue Ice" Firefox Theme
Hasn't been updated in a long time (since Firefox 2).

MR Tech's "Splash" Extension
An extension that loads a Firefox splash image whilst Firefox is loading. Pretty cool -- just turned it off since it's only eye candy. But a neat extension, nonetheless -- reminds me of the old Mozilla 1.7 days (back when Firefox was only a glimmer in our eyes).

Scribefire: Fire up your blogging
An extension that sought to centralize all blogging from within your browser. I soon grew tired of the bugs. :( A neat idea, though.

Lazarus: Restore lost forms with a single click
While this extension seems like a godsend (how many times have you submitted a web form, only to get an error or a crash or something, and then go back to find all your carefully typed text gone?), it was conflicting with a few of my other extensions, if I remember correctly. Might revist it one day.

Pirates of the Amazon
The infamous extension that provided a shortcut to PirateBay.org torrent pages when you viewed things on Amazon.com. Probably the most over-hyped extension of all time -- it did nothing that you couldn't do yourself in two mouse clicks, but to hear the mainstream news talk about, you'd think it designed by Satan himself.

Personas for Firefox :: Firefox Add-ons
An official Mozilla extension that would allow you to quickly skin and change the appearance of your browser with far more intense and in-depth themes that normal. Just eye candy, but I may revisit.

Adblock Plus: Save your time and traffic
The famous Adblock Plus -- I just don't use it anymore, but it's still great. My method of blocking ads has changed from a blacklist based approach (like Adblock, blocking things explicitly) to a more whitelist based approach (like NoScript, blocking everything automatically, unblocking as you go). I find the whitelist-based approach to be much faster and easier to adapt to new ads over time.

11 May 2009

Connect Betterer - The Daily WTF

Connect Betterer - The Daily WTF

An article on The Daily WTF about the importance of not solely relying upon client-side validation for your needs.

Though, I guess it's really about just poor, poor, poor web programming in general.

My Bookmarked Links for April 2009

Diatomaceous earth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

NPR: Power Hungry: Visualizing The U.S. Electric Grid

Lifehacker - Lesser-Known Firefox Feature Slows Down Mouse Wheel Scrolling Speed - Firefox

Gizmodo - I Would Not Be Ashamed to Have Belkin's Micro Auto Charger in My Car - Belkin Micro Auto

Amazon.com: Universal Mini USB Car Charger Adapter, Black: Electronics

Ford Bets the Fiesta on Social Networking | Autopia from Wired.com

World of Warcraft computer cake on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Webcams.travel - Touristic webcams worldwide

Gmote > Android Remote

Lifehacker - One Dozen Super-Useful (and Free!) Android Apps - Android

List of HTTP headers - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Understanding the Domino CRUD API - the Basics - Chris Toohey | Domino Guru

Gizmodo - Mass Production Planned For HAL Exoskeleton; Your Personal Iron Man Conversion To Cost

BioShock: Breaking the Mold - Developer's Edition Artbook (Pre-order)

Zero Takes Electric Motorcycles to the Street | Autopia from Wired.com

Gizmodo - A Pirate's Code of Conduct for BitTorrent - Pirate's code

01 May 2009

Fun with Cookie Expiration

So, I had a bit of code that would delete a cookie if the date that I set it ("sessionTimeBegan", which I stored in a variable) turned out to be on the previous day as when I was checking it:

if (MDM.VARS.MAIN.sessionTimeBegan.clearTime(true) <
(new Date()).clearTime())
// delete cookie

Then I remembered that you can just set cookies to expire on a certain time and date and that this is utterly stupid.

Don't do this.

That being said, I did learn about ExtJS's "clearTime()" and "clone()" functions for Date objects, and they're really neat.