Lost-Whisper

Yet another whisper lost.

Back Home!

I’m back home in Maryland now.  Fall semester is finally over.

I’m hoping to take a break from everything, but there’s a lot to do to prepare for next semester.

So yeah…

Final grades came out today.  I’m proud of myself.  I’m hoping to raise my GPA up a little more to be in my happy zone, but it’s sitting at a safe level right now.

Still working on a poem for the Transformations Project.  I was told it good right now, but I still feel like it’s missing something.

As for videos comparing VMWare Fusion to Parallels, VMWare Fusion just published an update that was supposed to fix a lot of stuff. I couldn’t get Team Fortress 2 to run well under Fusion (it kept glitching), but it ran fine under Parallels.  The new update (3.0.1) is supposed to offer a big boost in speed and whatnot.

The more I compare Parallels to VMWare, Parallels seems much better.  The only issue I run into is that Parallels will crash more often, although I’m guessing it’s the same reason why it seems better.

Parallels Desktop 5 vs. VMWare Fusion 3

So Parallels Desktop 5 is out!  About a week after VMWare Fusion 3.

Both are awesome, but I guess it depends on what you’re doing that determines which one you want to buy.  Here are some viewpoints and yeah.  Don’t take me on my word, both offer trials, but this is just from my experience.

Developing

If you’re developing, I say go with VMWare Fusion 3.  VMWare Fusion 3 feels more stable and crashes less on me.  Parallels is pretty stable, but I run into a few quirks every once in a while (mainly with how the windows move or programs closing without notice).

VMWare Fusion also offers some cooler integration features (in my opinion). Both show the windows notification area, but VMWare introduces an application menu as well (which works on Linux as well, at least Ubuntu).  Parallels shows the start menu if you click on the icon in Mac’s Dock (while in Unity), but it shows the Windows start menu, not feeling very Mac-like.  Okay, okay… that’s not really development related, but when I’m testing stuff, I like feeling some connection between everything.

As for speed, Parallels does feel faster, and it does perform some tasks faster, but it’s not as stable.  I’ve had Visual Studio crash a couple of times so far while it’s pretty stable in VMWare Fusion.

Gaming

Not that I do much gaming.  Parallels wins.  That sums it up.  Sure VMWare has made tons of improvements, but it’s not as good as Parallel’s.  I’ll post a video running some stuff in Parallels, then running in VMWare.  I play some simple games, like The Secret of Monkey Island, and there’s a difference.

So if you’re gaming, then I suggest using Parallels.  Some of the bigger games will die or slow down (in both Parallel’s Desktop 5 and VMWare Fusion 3), but the games that do run tend to run better in Parallels.

Office & Productivity

I say go with either.  Parallels is less stable with some applications, but for general office and productivity applications, it ran well.  VMWare runs fine too.

If you’re buying it to run general Windows apps under Mac OS X, then pick either.  If you want to watch some wmv’s under it, pick either.

Linux Support

Go with VirtualBox.  It provides a really awesome Linux experience…  The only issue is it doesn’t integrate with Exposè or the Dock.  It does do OpenGL and DirectX (for Windows) though (I think).

If you don’t want to use VirtualBox (because you’re running multiple VM’s at once, or just want to spend some money), I say go with VMWare Fusion 3.  In my opinion, the features offered by VMWare beat Parallels making the Linux experience better.  It’s mainly just how they handle the “Unity” or “Coherence” modes.

Other Points

  • When switching to Unity or Coherence, VMWare Fusion 3 is faster (at least for me).
    • VMWare has better integration with the Dock.  Applications minimize to their place in the Dock (so I.E. minimizes into the I.E. icon).  Parallels doesn’t do this.
    • Parallels has better integration with Exposè.  Overlapping windows aren’t drawn overlapping in Exposè.
    • For dragging windows, Parallels looks a lot nicer.  I tend to get a trailing effect with VMWare Fusion.
  • For running and starting applications, Parallels Desktop 5 is faster (for things like Firefox, Internet Explorer and whatnot).
  • In terms of stability, VMWare is better.
    • Applications tend to crash less.
  • Feature wise
    • Windows Support: I think Parallels is slightly better at running Windows.
    • Integration with Mac OS X: VMWare Fusion wins in number of features and usefulness, Parallels wins in quality of features (definitely looks nicer).

Buying Advice

Like I said, it depends on what you’re using it for.  I feel safer with VMWare Fusion 3.  It feels more stable, but it is also somewhat sluggish.  If you’re developing, or just looking to run simple Windows apps, VMWare Fusion is good.

For gaming, I like Parallels better.  It’s faster, and the graphics seem smoother.  It also support OpenGL 2 on all versions of Windows, unlike VMWare which only support OpenGL 2 on Windows XP (or is it the other way around?).

Hope this helps you.  Don’t blame me if you spend but don’t like, there’s a free trial for both.

webFaction - Dynamic DNS

So…  This is mainly just for me (so I can keep it somewhere), but here’s a dynamic DNS script for use at webFaction.

I like to carry around my computer, and my computers like to talk to each other (seriously)…  The only problem is that the IP addresses of the computers change throughout the day.

The easiest solution was to use DynamicDNS.  There’s probably several other ways to do this, and you can probably use some free service with an easy to install script, but if I have a host that supports it, why not use it?

So this is just a modification of the script originally post on the forums.  I tweaked it so the settings are at the top (to make it somewhat easy to modify), and so it can update multiple domains (because one of the computers is setup to send stuff to the older domain, but I bought a new shorter and cooler one)…  The last ip file is also hidden in Unix/Linux.

So here’s the script:

[python] #!/usr/bin/env python import urllib2 import xmlrpclib import os

Settings wfUser = ‘webfaction-user’ wfPass = ‘webfaction-pass’

wfDomain = [‘domain.one.com’, ‘domain.two.com’]

currentip = urllib2.urlopen(‘http://whatismyip.org’).read()

if not os.path.isfile(‘.lastip’): f = open(‘.lastip’, ‘w’) f.close()

with open(‘.lastip’, ‘r’) as f: lastip = f.read()

if lastip != currentip: server = xmlrpclib.ServerProxy(‘https://api.webfaction.com/’) session_id, account = server.login(wfUser, wfPass) for subDomain in wfDomain: server.delete_dns_override(session_id, subDomain) server.create_dns_override(session_id, subDomain, currentip, ”, ”, ”, ”) with open(‘.lastip’, ‘w’) as f: f.write(currentip) print(‘IP updated to %s’ % currentip) else: print(‘IP not updated’) [/python]

Chmod the file “chmod +x updateIP.py”

Add it to your crontab, I have:

0,30 * * * * /Users/scripts/updateIP.py >> /dev/null 2>&1

This runs the script every 30 minutes and redirects any output to null. Every 30 minutes is probably a bit of overkill (since I think the TTL is about an hour, and I’m not too experienced in the matters of DNS), you can probably run it once an hour or so.

So this let’s my computers talk to each other. They steal and store files on each other. There’s some other minor things as well that are cool.

It also allows me (and others) to SSH in without having to remember numbers and do some cool stuff, like compiling homework on a machine more powerful than our laptops.

VMWare Fusion 3, Less Than 24 Hours.

So I was finally able to buy and install VMWare Fusion 3 today.

My first looks at it aren’t too impressive.  It’s been quite sluggish for me, but that might just be the Windows XP VM I have.  Switching to “Unity” was about the same speed, exiting “Unity” was definitely faster.

The new start menu is cool.  Integration with the Mac OS X Dock is a lot better.  There’s still the redraw issue when using expose and the windows are minimized or overlapping.

Applications don’t seem to be starting up as fast since I switched.  Like I said, it’s probably just me Windows XP VM.  I’ll post updates if Vista has the same issue, or if a clean install fixes it.

I don’t really see the “improved drawing in unity.”  It’s actually worse for me.  When I drag a window, I get even more lag than usual (like the trailing window outline).  The mouse does seem more responsive though.

There’s a whole list of new features here, but I think a clean install will work much better than upgrading.

Updates:
Vista is definitely running faster.

Google Voice, Kindof Cool

So I’ve been playing with Google Voice recently.  I think it’s interesting and somewhat useful, but there’s still room for growth and improvement.

Some of my likes:

  • No longer have to tell people to call me at this number in the morning and another number at night (because I don’t get cell phone service in my room).
  • I can use it with Gizmo5 so I can talk to people from my computer if I want.  Kind of cool, but it doesn’t work to well with my laptop since the mic isn’t as good.
    • If you use this with the call feature from Google Voice, you basically can call people for free without using your minutes.  I’m not sure how I feel morally about this…
  • My room phone only allows me to call locally for free, so I got a local number from Google Voice which allows me to call anyone from my room phone.
    • Or I can just use the call feature on the Google Voice page.
  • I really like the voice mail feature.  It’s a lot nicer than my current providers. My dislikes:

  • The SMS feature is okay, but without an awesome phone, it’s like me e-mailing peoples phones (have to launch my web browser to use it)

    • It’s okay if I’m in an area with Internet and no service.  This is more of a phone problem then a GV problem though…
  • Call Screening.  I’m iffy on this one.  The feature is great for me, but people who have called me so far don’t really like it.  I don’t want to disable it, but yeah…
  • When you call your Google Number to configure stuff or listen to voice mail, it’s not as intuitive as it could be.
    • Google is known for keeping things basic, which is good, but I think there could be some cooler things added, I mean it’s Google, right?
  • I really wish there was an advanced setup for the “ring schedule.”  I have classes on Mon, Tue, Wed, Thurs, but not really on Fridays.  But I can only pick times for “weekdays” or “weekends.” Overall, it’s useful.  It’s not something epically awesome or insane, but I’ll use it.  The international call rates are cheap compared to what I’ve found so far (not that I do a lot of international calling).

It’d be awesome if they integrated it with Google Chat (and released an awesome Google Chat client for Mac and Linux).  I’m guessing they don’t want to step too much into Skype’s territory though.

Anyways, after I use it some more, I’ll post some more updates.