VirtualBox 4.0.0. Changes to VBoxManage Syntax…

I just got home to find a question about my RAC on VirtualBox article. The poster was having problems creating the virtual disks using the commands in the article. A quick scan through the docs reveals a number of changes to the way VirtualBox 4.0.0 handles disks and also changes to the VBoxManage syntax. I’ve amended the article to include a version of the commands for version 4.0.0 which seem to create and attach the shared disks in the same state, but it will be a few days before I get to test this properly.

So what’s happened that affects shared disk setup?

First, you can’t create a shareable disk. You have to create the disk (createhd), then modify it to shareable (modifyhd). That sounds fine, but there is an issue. The manual says,

“Before VirtualBox 4.0, it was necessary to call VBoxManage openmedium before a medium could be attached to a virtual machine; that call “registered” the medium with the global VirtualBox media registry. With VirtualBox 4.0 this is no longer necessary; media are added to media registries automatically. The “closemedium” call has been retained, however, to allow for explicitly removing a medium from a registry”

Well that is not entirely true. When you create a new disk it is not visible in the media manager until it is attached to a VM. That means you have to create the disk, attach it to a VM and then convert it to shareable. If you try to modify it before attaching it to a VM you get told the disk doesn’t exist. This just feels wrong.

As a minor annoyance, the VM detail pane doesn’t notice the “–type” change so the disks still display as normal unless you restart VirtualBox, or click the “Storage” link for the VM and come straight out, which seems to get the screen to update.

This is not a big deal, it’s just a little annoying as the old syntax was more straight forward. I’m sure it was done for a good reason… 🙂



TRON: Legacy…

Just got back from TRON: Legacy. The word “Legacy” seems ever so apt.

I went to see the first TRON film when it came out. I loved it. I was blown away. I wanted it all to be real. Remember this was 1982. The year after the ZX81 was released. I had a ZX81 and I was totally amazed by computers. It didn’t seem like a massive leap to think of programs as little people running around inside the box doing amazing things. It was a brave new world.

So 28 years later we have the sequel. It looks amazing and has a brilliant sound track but the fatal flaw is the concept of programs running round like people. They keep mentioning the “grid” as if that brings the concept up to date. It’s not little people running round in the box. It’s little people running round in “the grid”. Oh please. Give me a break. If that were the case there would be two giant fat people called Facebook and Google and a bunch of ants.

If I were them I would have re-imagined it entirely and replaced the original concept with a submersive virtual reality program. Doh! Already been done by eXistenZ and The Matrix

TRON was amazing in its time. TRON: Legacy isn’t. The best thing that could happen to this craptacular film is they chop it up and turn it into a visually spectacular extended video for the Daft Punk soundtrack. I would probably buy that DVD.



UltraEdit for Mac, Production Release…

Just to let you know, UltraEdit for Mac has now been released to production.

I’ve been using the beta version for a while and it’s really cool. If you love UltraEdit on Windows, then you will love UltraEdit on Mac. It’s been released as version 2.0, which from what I can see has pretty much all the features of the Windows version 16.x. The Linux version (1.0)  is still missing a lot, but it is supposed to have a version 2.0 release in the new year.

I’ve upgraded my Windows license to a multi-platform license with unlimited updates, so I can run UltraEdit on Windows, Linux and Mac and never pay for an upgrade again. It’s not the cheapest option but for a bit of kit like this I’m very willing to pay up.

So now I have UltraEdit on everything and SnagIt on Windows and Mac. If I could switch from Shutter to SnagIt on Linux I would be ecstatic. 🙂




Three of the last four Decembers have been dominated by really bad family issues. My two nephews have birthdays in December and with Christmas too it should be a happy time, but it’s flippin’ miserable. I’ve had enough of death and disease.

Much as I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else, we’ve had more than our share now. Give us a break for a few years!




I’m really interested in the upsurge of high quality low budget films that have been released over the last few years. Monsters is another great example of that. Rather than focusing on big effects budgets or guys running round in bad monster suits it returns to the “less is more” approach. There is more suspense in the sound of something moving in the tree line than seeing an animated monster jumping around. What’s more, in the good examples,  the lack of big budgets generally means they focus more on the characters which gives the film more impact as well.

It’s not a horror flick. It’s not a sci-fi flick. It’s more of a road trip movie, if you can count boats and hiking through jungles as a road trip.

Anyway, I liked it. More please.  🙂