Google Chrome – Early Version Released for Mac and Linux

Late last night, Google apparently released an early developers’ build of its browser “Google Chrome” for use on Mac and Linux machines. Reports indicate that the browser still has quite a few issues and bugs that will need to be worked out before it is ready for production, but it’s promising to see Google finally putting something out for those of us that don’t regularly use Windows.

Like the author of the article in InformationWeek, I love using Google Chrome when I’m using Windows. I would love to see a comparable product put together for use on Linux, but the Chromium version just isn’t cutting it, yet.

I hope Google will continue to push the development of the Linux and Mac versions of their browser. If done correctly, it could potentially begin to put a dent in Firefox usage and might make the Firefox developers wake up and start putting real effort back into its development. Don’t get me wrong, I still like Firefox (and really couldn’t get along without some of the add-ons available for the browser), but I am getting tired of the slow startup times and the constant updates to the browser and the add-ons that basically halt my computer while they’re working.

Boxee Releases New Alpha Version

Boxee, the XBMC-based media player I wrote about a few weeks ago, has released a new alpha version. The official list of changes (to the Linux version, at least) is as follows:

  • complete UI overhaul
  • play content available from: Hulu, CBS, Comedy Central, MySpaceTV, NextNewNetworks, On Networks
  • connect to videos from Hulu and CBS straight from friends activity and recommendations
  • manage your personal RSS feeds from http://app.boxee.tv and access them through boxee (on My Feeds under Internet Video or Internet Music)
  • navigation in media is vertical (up/down) instead of horizontal (left/right)
  • mouse is supported and enabled by default for new installations (for upgrades it can be enabled via Settings > Appearance)
  • application settings (YouTube, Flickr, Last.fm) are now accessible from the Settings menu
  • improved SMB support, which also fixes accessing your media via the Apple TV
  • when using a keyboard, the ESCAPE button always takes you to the previous screen
  • improved lyrics support
  • improved subtitles look and feel, support for subtitle switching and fixed media going Speedy Gonzales for a few seconds when subtitle are applied
  • when working in off-line mode, you can now properly access your local content
  • numerous bug fixes
  • many fixes from our friends at xbmc.org
  • moved boxee install directory to /opt/boxee under Ubuntu (POSIX compliance FTW )
I am a bit excited about the addition of Hulu. Unfortunately, however, I found that on my slow “high-speed” Internet connection, Hulu videos are virtually unwatchable. This, sadly, has nothing to do with boxee, as I tested the video outside of boxee. I guess I’ll just have to keep dreaming and waiting for the day that Verizon decides to upgrade the phone lines that run to my house or Comcast decides to run the extra 50 feet of cable it would take to extend cable service from the end of my driveway (seriously, that’s where cable service in my area ends) to my house.

VirtualBox – A Better Virtual Machine Emulator

VirtualBoxI am probably quite late to the party, but I discovered Sun’s VirtualBox a few weeks ago, and have been extremely impressed. In the short time I’ve had VirtualBox installed, I have already installed two operating systems that I was never able to successfully install on Microsoft’s VirtualMachine.

With my Vista Home install as the host system, I am now running Windows 98SE and SuSE (11.0) as guests on my computer. I will most likely install Windows XP Professional fairly soon, as well; though I will have to see what I can do with the licensing, since I also want to run some fairly modern version of Windows as a guest on my SuSE machine.

With Microsoft VM, I was never able to get Win98 installed properly (it always froze when I was trying to install), nor was I able to get any distros of Linux running through VM.

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