Dialog by committee

April 13th, 2010  |  Tags: , , , ,  |  Leave a comment

After seeing the following dialog box from emacs (a program I love and have been using in some form or another since 1988), I can no longer maintain quite as much moral superiority over the committee of maniacs responsible for the Windows Vista “shut down” dialog with its myriad options:


Virtualizing a physical Linux machine

March 26th, 2009  |  Tags: , , , , ,  |  Leave a comment

Due to some hardware trouble with my main work machine, I’m presently working in a virtual machine on my personal computer. After a few dim trails, I found a pretty straightforward method to clone my work computer into a virtual machine image, so that I am able to work in the exact same environment I would have on my physical work computer. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Clone the drive using dd (the following example assumes your drive is /dev/sda and you have an external drive mounted at /media/removable:
  2. Use qemu-img to convert the raw bits of the drive to an image in the appropriate format for the virtual machine monitor you want to use (QEMU or VMWare):
  3. Create a new virtual machine that uses this drive image, using the interface for your preferred virtual machine monitor.

I was able to image and convert a 100 gb drive in around six hours. My drive was an LVM volume and the home partition was encrypted with LUKS; I was delighted to see that qemu-img handled these oddball features of my drive flawlessly. (I can’t think of a technical reason why these wouldn’t be supported, but I’m nonetheless inclined to be pleasantly surprised when things work as they should out of the box.)

Cross-posted at Chapeau

Gundeep Hora is hilarious

February 28th, 2007  |  Tags: , , ,  |  1 Comment

If you’re a nerd, either you already read John Gruber’s or you ought to. Gruber’s writing about popular technology is always intelligent, insightful, and lucid. A regular feature on the site is the “Jackass of the Week,” in which he dissects the ridiculous claims of some foolish technology pundit.

This week, the award went to Gundeep Hora of for claiming that Apple is likely to stop making OS X. Gundeep Hora is not as notorious as many of the previous JOTW recipients1, but I’m glad that Gruber pointed out Hora’s site, as it is pure comedy gold — it’s the webpage equivalent of that wild-eyed guy on the bus who’s always on a tirade about how Antarcticans caused the national debt.

“CoolTechZone” is a collection of ad-impression-friendly short articles consisting almost exclusively of risible, factually-challenged navel gazing.2 Consider his recent article “Why Microsoft Should Acquire Linux”. The title alone indicates what sort of argument we should expect from this fellow (although he claims in the article that he merely means that Microsoft should acquire all commercial Linux distributors). Hora’s tense, rhetoric, and ability to discriminate between the hypothetical and actual are deeply confused throughout; furthermore, he presents claims like the following without evidence:

Assuming Microsoft makes such a move, it will obviously concern the Linux community, and rightfully so. What would prevent Microsoft from killing Linux just so Windows could continue to be the dominant OS maker? Nothing, to be honest. I suppose the various Linux distributions that Microsoft may acquire would have to work on that with the software giant.

Well, to be honest, one supposes that they would. But Hora’s closing thought is brilliance in 10-point Arial:

With the amount of resources Microsoft has, and its potential threat to Linux, it only makes sense for the two competitors to merge and keep everyone satisfied.

QED, I suppose.

1 As of today, Google identifies only 438 pages linking to; a cursory scan indicates that the vast majority of these are located on
2 Here’s an article template for Hora’s site: I’m making a mildly controversial or foolhardy assertion about something that is unlikely to happen. This might not actually be possible for reason X that I will now ignore. I think that person or persons Y would be happy/unhappy in this event, and person or persons Z would be unhappy/happy. Calm down, person Y/Z! Time to wrap things up. The end.

I’m currently listening to Express from the album “The Roots Of Dubstep” by Bbbb