Sun VirtualBox 2.2

I came across the Open Source Edition of virtual box a few days before and am thrilled at the experience of working with it. For more detailed info visit -> wiki page.

I have a Dell Vostro 1310 laptop with 2GB ram, 128MB NVidia GeForce 8 series card with 160GB hard disk and a 2.1 GHz Intel Centrino (Core2Duo).

The primary purpose to use Windows is for running softwares like FLUENT and CATIA and to play some games occasionally. Dual booting in such a case is a preferrable option but with the availability of the powerful hardware i decided to go in for Virtual Box.

The possible alternatives that pop up are WINE . WINE is an Open Source Software for running Windows applications on other OS’s is a good alternative if you lack the hardware to carry out virtualization. However , making larger programs like FLUENT and CATIA work with wine can be a hassle. In such cases virtualization comes in very handy.

Another problem I was facing with WINE was its lack of connectivity with the Local Network i.e. I could not connect to the LAN , probably coz WINE couldnt access the ports on the system. Hence , playing Age Of Empires on the LAN was impossible.

Working with VirtualBox and configuring it on LAN was easy and hassle free. Also , I managed to play AOE on LAN without any lag in the system.Read further to know more on going about the installation.

Virtual Box emulates hard disks in a special format known as the “Virtual Disk Images”. These files are normally stored in $HOME/.VirtualBox/HardDisks. It supports both  Intels VT-x and AMD-V.

To install VirtualBox download the deb/rpm package from here .

Further in the terminal cd to the location where you have downloaded the deb/rpm package. In my case it being $HOME/Desktop. The following commands will run in Ubuntu 8.10 .Then run the following commands to install the software.

sudo dpkg - i virtualboxversionname.deb

Follow the instructions in the dialog boxes. Make sure that you have gcc installed prior to it as it requires it to compile the kernel modules.If you wish to work your way around the installation with apt-get then do the following .

1. Open /etc/apt/sources.list and add this line deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian intrepid non-free
sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

2. Import sun public-key and register it using apt-key (wget is for downloading, apt-key is for registering the key to your machine)

wget -q http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian/sun_vbox.asc -O - | sudo apt-key add -

3. Update your system’s package index file

sudo apt-get update

4. Install virtualbox 2.2

$ sudo apt-get install virtualbox-2.2

The installation wont proceed until the necessary kernel packages are compiled.

If you wish to do so later make sure that you run:

sudo /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup

Restart your computer. A suitable icon would come in Applications -> System Tools.

Start the Application.

To create a new Virtual Machine click new and follow the instructions on the wizard.Make sure that you give suitable amount of RAM. My system without the VirtualBox uses 458 MB of RAM as shown by System->System Monitor. I alloted around 1.1GB for Windows XP on VirtualBox.On running FLUENT the system monitor showed usage of 1.5GB of RAM with a small amount of SWAP usage . Make sure that you do not give too much to VirtualBox as it will affect the performance of the system. For Vista , a minimum allocation of 1GB of RAM is necessary for smooth operation.

If you have a CD/DVD image for install load it in the CD/DVD ROM tab in the settings tab. If you want to install via a CD  in your drive make sure that you check the Host CD/DVD drive option.

cd

After the installation sharing files between the host (your computer) and the guest (virtual OS) can be done via adding the suitable share paths in Folders option. However , this didnt work for me that well and Windows XP on the VirtualBox did not recognize the network and the shared folders. I circumvented it for the time being by sharing the necessary files via ftp by copying suitable files in /home/ftp/ . For a permanent solution however I decided to share the files via the SAMBA server protocol. Install SAMBA and share the folders you want to over the network . Windows XP would recognize these and file sharing is easier.

To connect to the LAN via the ethernet controller on your system do the following :

Select the suitable OS and in the Settings -> Network Tab enable Adapter 1 and select the Bridged Network option in the Attached To drop down list.

bridgednetwork

There are certain issues with allocation of IP via the DHCP method with version 2.2 with XP as the Guest . It seems SUN has fixed the problem as mentioned here and would make the patch available in the forthcoming releases . Configuring a static IP works fine.

Run all the required programs as usual. You do not have to install the drivers if you are working on a Laptop. All the best with the virtualization .

Also keep visiting the official VirtualBox website for updates and the discussion forums.

Complaints:

i) Sharing Folders was cumbersome in my case though its worked for many as per the internet.

ii) Network speeds are fairly low.

A pic showing FLUENT running in the Guest OS with the System load.

fluent1

Bye,

Jai Gurudev.

Why should the youth vote ??

The youth vote is sadly underestimated by party analysts.
Yes, it is true, the trend analysts who tell party spindoctors where to target their advertising dollars and public relations efforts traditionally over-look the youth market. Why? Because the sad reality is that election year after election year the percentage of eligible youth who actually register and vote is small when compared with other demographics. This doesn’t mean the youth market isn’t a force, just that it isn’t a main motivator in the drafting of campaign platforms and pre-election advertising. So, like any self-respecting rebellious young person the natural thing to do is go against the grain and do the unexpected. Keep them on their toes, shock them into the 21st century and get out and vote!

The biggest election issues often directly effect the youth of the nation.
The war in Iraq (young soldiers are the ones dying), education funding both public school and post-secondary, employment and job training programs, and reproductive rights issues are just a few of the current hot topics that directly effect the quality of your life RIGHT NOW. Think about the future and the world you will one day “inherit” from the power generation and you can add environmental concerns, fossil fuel consumption, farming and livestock funding (think the food supply is shrinking with every farm that can’t sustain itself) and the list just gets longer. Add any issues that are near and dear to your heart on a personal level and the list becomes a little overwhelming. Don’t vote and you effectively kiss away your ability to have any influence as to how these issues play out in your world, and dude, that’s just lame.

The only way democracy works is if citizens, young and old, are active participants.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, this one is an oldy, but hey let’s face it, it’s also a goody. A government by the people, for the people just can’t work without the people. This is a simple fact. Like a car without an engine, or a computer without a hard drive, a democracy without voters is just a shell and has no power. While it is easy to say “one vote doesn’t make a difference” the reality is that every vote counts… have you heard of Florida? Also you have to remember that as an individual your vote may seem to be little more than a whisper but when your vote is combined with the votes of others who share your views it becomes a voice and the more like-voters there are the louder that voice grows. So get out there and make the youth vote be heard.

If you don’t vote you really have no right to complain about government decisions you don’t like (no matter how much they actually suck).
OK, if there is one thing that is really annoying to us actual voters it is the endless ramblings on the bad political policy of a current government spewing from the mouths of eligible voters who never bothered to cast a ballot. If you don’t vote it is like saying you don’t care how your country is run, so if you don’t care where do you get the idea that you can complain when something happens that you don’t like? If you don’t vote you really have no right complaining about anything the government does and if your like most young people you like complaining and have it down to a fine art. Want the right to complain when TPTB (the powers that be) make a truly heinous decision? Then you must exercise your right to vote.

Bottom line: you should vote because you can.
Voting is a tremendous gift. Believe it or not, young people just like you in other countries actually fight and even die for this right; a right that so many youth in democratic nations take for granted. You should vote because you can, if you don’t you may one day wake up in a country where you can’t. It can (and has) happened. Enough said!

Spy Game.

Watch It

A wonderful watch. Directed by Tony Scott and featuring Brad Pitt and Robert Redford. The movie sets the pace right in the beginning and involves you in every bit of the action till the end. Brad Pitt and Robert Redford have done a wonderful job. So get ready to play the Game …. 😉

Bye,

Jai Gurudev.

braille browser

Long time since I wrote anything on my blog. Its been a hectic schedule here , although things have eased out after subscribing to an internet connection in the room. Elections are coming , so please vote. Its really very crucial that the youth have a say in the immediate future of our country.

Parithi n me were thinking of something for the ECell Ideas Challenge. Its a competition wherein you present a techy and sellable idea.

One of the ideas we submitted was a braille browser. Essentially a browser for the blind.

The Government is putting in a lot of effort in converting texts to braille. It is time consuming and costly too. We thought of designing a interface over which the blind could access the information on the internet.It provides them with endless opportunities in exploring the World Wide Web.

The display would be in braille.

Is it really practical ????

What we need is  a touch screen interface that would dynamically change the indentations on the surface.The next part is about decoding the information on any website. Consider Wikipedia. Removing the unnecessary images like its logo and background the necessary information can be easily decoded by using a suitable standard and further sending the appropriate signals to the microcontrollers on the tablet . It would just be like live feed or feeds that we get in say Google Reader.

The touch screen interface is the tough part. What we need is a material that changes its characteristics dynamically thus enabling us to feel the indentations on its surface. Also , its characteristics should be  modifiable by applying suitable electric or magnetic fields .

We have thought of using ferro-magnetic materials for the same. But the idea isnt tried or tested . Neither do we have any clue on how ferromagnetic materials would feel like .

If you have any material in sight which would do such a thing  or if you have any other way of approaching this problem leave a comment on this blog or write to me at  balkrishnanitt [at] gmail.com .

Bye,

Jai Gurudev.