Sun Relases Three New Versions of VBox In Two Weeks

On Sept. 2, 2008, Sun released VirtualBox 1.6.6. Then, two days later, version 2.0 was released. Finally, just over one week later, they put out version 2.0.2.

I’m not quite sure what was the reasoning behind releasing three new versions in less than two weeks, but I’m glad I wasn’t paying much attention. I would have been kind of upset if I had upgraded my version three times in that short amount of time.

Regardless, if you’re using an older version of VirtualBox, go ahead and upgrade.

VirtualBox 2.0x added the ability to run 64-bit guests (assuming you’re running a 64-bit OS as your host), along with a lot of other new features. As far as I can tell, VBox 2.0.2 basically featured about 10-15 bug fixes from v2.0.

Boxee – First Impressions

Boxee LogoI recently heard about a new program called Boxee. The program is currently in the alpha stage, so you will have to apply for an invite on their Web site. When I applied, I received my invite within a few days.

Boxee is a media player very similar to Windows Media Center. In truth, it’s actually based on XBMC (Xbox Media Center).

I signed up for the invite knowing that it was only available for Mac and Linux. However, I did not realize that the only Linux flavor for which it’s been built, yet, is Ubuntu (technically, Gutsy Gibbon and Hardy Heron). Thankfully, I was planning to install Linux Mint Elyssa on my home machine, anyway, which is based on Hardy Heron.

So, I went ahead and installed Linux Mint Elyssa (a post about that will be forthcoming) and then installed Boxee.

Google Releases a Browser

Google officially released the first beta version of their browser today. The browser is called Chrome, and is intended to go head-to-head with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (then again, what browser hasn’t been released with that goal in mind?).

I have downloaded and installed Chrome on my Vista machine at home, and am writing this post from within Chrome right now. I have to say that, at first glance, I am extremely impressed at how little screen real estate the browser’s window takes up. If all browsers were to take a note from Google’s browser, visitors’ screen resolutions might actually start to mean something.

CCleaner – Keeping Your Computer Optimized

A few months ago, I was introduced to a great utility called CCleaner. CCleaner is a freeware application for Windows that helps you keep your computer running in its best condition. Following is a quick summary of the features offered by CCleaner.

Clean up

The main feature of CCleaner is to clean all of the unnecessary and temporary files from your computer. It analyzes all of your temporary directories, your cookies, your recycle bin, etc. and finds all of the files you no longer need.

The first time I ran the tool, it found somewhere around 10 gigs of temporary files on my computer at work.

Registry cleaning

CCleaner is also capable of backing up and cleaning up your Windows registry. Every time I run CCleaner, it seems to find unused file extensions, incorrect links, etc. in my registry, so I try to use it at least once a month.

Startup management

CCleaner also offers the ability to manage your startup processes. As we all know, all computers are prone to enabling rogue startup programs that can really slow down your computer. CCleaner allows you to remove any entries you no longer want automatically running every time you boot your computer.

In the old days, it was really easy to manage this, as all startup programs were added to your “startup” folder in the start menu. However, now it’s extremely rare that any of your startup programs actually show up in that folder. Some of them show up in the adminstrator’s startup folder and most of them are actually added to your registry.

With CCleaner, you don’t need to worry about where they’re stored, as you can view and remove all of them within this one utility.

Uninstall

As if the features mentioned above weren’t enough, CCleaner also offers you the ability to manage all of the programs you have installed on your computer from one interface.

Windows has been trying to do this for years, with the “Add/Remove Programs” utility in the control panel (in Vista, it’s called “Programs and Features”, but it’s the same thing). For the most part, it’s been successful. Unfortunately, though, Windows only seems to include those utilities that come with their own uninstallers. I’ve had quite a few experiences where Windows didn’t give me the option to uninstall some software I had installed.

Back when I was using Windows 3.1 and Windows 95, I actually bought a program called “Window Cleaner”, which was built specifically for uninstalling applications. With Windows 98 and my old copies of Windows XP, I purchased and ran Norton SystemWorks, which offered the same features. Now, though, I don’t any of those commercial applications. CCleaner does a better job of recognizing installed applications and uninstalling them.

Conclusion

CCleaner is a fantastic utility. Honestly, I don’t see any reason why any Windows user would not download and install the application. The functionality offered within CCleaner is on par or above most commercial applications available on the market; and it’s completely free.

Last year, I purchased a subscription to Norton 360 for my antivirus and optimizaton needs. This year, however, with CCleaner installed, I have no need for all of the bloat that comes with Norton. I can get antivirus functionality from many sources (including a version of Symantec I get for free from work), and I no longer have a need for all of the optimization features built into Norton.

I give this utility a 5 out of 5, and would absolutely recommend it to anyone.

Gallery2 – A Very Nice Photo Management Application

I have been using and customizing a couple of Gallery2 installations at work and in my personal life. I have to say that I am extremely impressed at how advanced and powerful the application really is.

The installer is probably the easiest (besides WordPress) installation I’ve ever performed. All I had to do was download a small starter package, add a password and upload it to the correct directory. From there, the installer transferred all of the necessary files from Gallery’s server over to mine and gave me very explicit instructions on how to configure all of the settings.

Woopra – Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be

Woopra Promo Screen

A few weeks ago, I read about Woopra over on CN. Intrigued, I decided to give it a try. I registered two accounts (one for work and one for personal use) and signed up all of the sites I manage.

A week or two later, I received notification that my sites had all been approved, and that I could start using Woopra to track them. I got all of the tracking code installed, downloaded the Woopra client to my desktop and started watching the action on my sites.

For a week or so, I was really impressed. The interface is extremely attractive, and has lots of pretty colors. The data it collects seems to be most of what I want from an analytics service.

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