Monthly Archives: May 2006

Cool Video of the Day: Parallels on a MacBook

The Unofficial Apple Weblog had a link to a slick video demo of fast operating system switching with Parallels on a new MacBook. They start off in OSX, flip over to Windows XP (where they download and install Firefox, hehe), and then bump over to Ubuntu. I can’t tell if the emulation/virtualization itself is fast or just that the MacBook is smokin’. Parallels is in beta now, but you can pre-order for a reasonable $39. Apple Boot Camp is cool (and free) but quick switching is something I’d probably pay for.

In my ongoing effort to get off of XP as my primary OS, I’ve been goofing around with QEMU on my Fedora Core 5 box. It seems to work pretty well and wasn’t too hard to set up. Unfortunately, the hardware on my test rig is pretty slow (400Mhz), so its a little too pokey to be useful. My current side project is to repartition my XP machine at home and install Fedora Core 5 and mess around with QEMU s’more on hardware that’s a lot more capable (2.8Ghz, 1Gb RAM, etc.) I also see that the Parallels folks have a version for linux, I’m downloading it now, hehe.

Update: Parallels for Linux doesn’t work on Fedora Core 5 out of the box. Nuts. Gonna have to Google around some to see if there’s a work around.

Ready to Rock

Just signed up for f’ville 10k and paige’s butterfly runs. The former is next Sunday, the latter is the following Saturday. Gonna be a fun week!

Hope the weather is better than than last Sunday. Did 10 miles. When I started off it was gray but brightening up. Mile 2 the sun was
shining, and the warmth felt real good. Mile 3 the wind picked up and the sky went black. Mile 4 and 5 it started to
sprinkle. Mile 6 it hailed. Miles 7, 8, and 9 it was just gray again. Mile 10 it was raining big time. Ick, gotta keep telling myself its May and maybe this stuff won’t last forever.

Training is going pretty well. After doing 5 days straight last week. I forced myself to take a few days off. The result was a decent time for that 10 miler on Sunday and pretty good 6 miler yesterday. Not sure I like my Y running shoes any more, starting to get some blisters. Gonna try some new socks; if that doesn’t help, I’ll be a shoe shop’n again.

Cool Web Technology: DabbleDB

Making my bi-weekly scan through CssMania, I spotted DabbleDB. At first, I thought they were just another webified ASP version of Microsoft Access (there are a bunch of them these days, along with some simpler open source projects that attempt to do the same.) They are kind of like Access, but with a lot smarter and easier for joe public to use.

Be sure to check out their 7 minute demo video, you’ll be impressed. They upload a CSV file and automagically create a database structure from it. Then they do a bunch of database schema changes like changing field types and normalization never having to get into any gory details. Doing this kind of stuff for a living, I’m very impressed how well they’ve put things together. Good job!

BigScreenConcerts: David Gilmour

Hmm, I’d say it was about 75% suck, unfortunately. Turns out that BigScreenConcerts are just crappy concert DVDs, shown in 4×3 with a digital projector. If this was supposed high def digital film distribution, they’ve got a long way to go; a lot of pixelation, some motion distortion (watch the drum sticks), and lots of blooming out. The ad for the show said it was 5.1 audio, but I’m a little skeptical. Kinda scratchy and not much going on in the effects channels. Probably loud enough for most folks, but I would have liked a touch louder myself.

Content-wise it began with a music video-esque version of On an Island; they were shooting for some artsy overlay video effects (dave soloing over water, sky, etc) but it was more distracting than cool. Then there was the obligatory behind the scenes vignette. Nothing terribly exciting there either, most of the stuff was in the video podcast circulating about the time of the album release.

On to the pseudo live content:

  • Castellorizon
    Typical Pink Floyd-eque ramp up.

  • On An Island
    Ok, just in case you didn’t enjoy it enough in the intro, here’s the song again. Its a good song in all, but once’ll do it for me.
  • The Blue
    I think part of the audience nodded off in this slow song. Did enjoy the solo in the middle though.
  • Take A Breath
    Hold the phone, we’re on to something here. Strobe lights, varilights, heavy rock and roll? This is what its all about.

  • Smile
    I really dig this song. This version was pretty good.
  • Shine On You Crazy Diamond
    Ahhh, just feels like home. Dave, we need new stuff along these lines. This version was similar to the one on the In Concert DVD, but had a new arrangement with just him and the guitar in the middle that was very enjoyable. Hearing Rick Wright on the keys again also added a lot.
  • Wearing The Inside Out
    Hey now, were did this come from? A completely new arrangement, sweet! I’ve totally got it stuck in my head. Need to go scan the newsgroups to see if I can find this. Definitely the high point of the show for me.

  • High Hopes
    Break out the division bell. Ding, Ding, Ding. Not one of my favorite songs, but still pretty sweet.
  • Comfortably Numb
    Can’t ever go wrong with Comfortably Numb. Rick sang the lead; I think he was reading the lyrics off a cheat though. Ha!

To give you the full concert feel, they even tease you with an encore song by fading out to credits while the crowd noise continues on. Unfortunately, when the credit list stopped, the house lights snapped on and it was done.

All in all, it was probably worth the $11, but I wouldn’t have minded applying the same money to the eventual DVD release of the same material.

iTalk; what’s to come?

Here’s an amazing video (via) an apple fan put together of what an apple mobile phone and iPod combination might look like. I’d probably go for something like that.

Speaking of phones, it was recently re-up time from my contract. At first, I was very interested in the Sony Walkman Phone, but not enough to switch to Cingular. I briefly flirted with the idea of a Razr or SLVR, but I just could see dropping that much dough on a phone that’ll I’ll barely ever use and would require switching carriers.

So, I just re-upped my Sprint contract and picked up a not too fancy LG LX350. It was one step up from the freebie, works great, and has vastly better sound quality than the Nokia candy bar it replaced. It also has a megapixel (1.3) camera, though I have had a chance to mess around with it much.

VW ‘Safe Happens’ Commercials Work

USA Today reports (via) that the VW Safe Happens commercials (see my related post) are really paying off:

  • Requests for brochures up 37% at call centers
  • Requests for brochures up 56% on their website
  • Requests for dealer quotes are up 58%

I tend to agree with the quote in the article that the commercials are pretty shocking and that they really make you think about the safety of cars. I hope my Passat never meets up with the same fate as those Jettas.