VirtualBox vs KVM

virtualization_iconWorking in IT, it is often useful to be able to test software and try out stuff in a clean environment, to make sure you do not, inadvertently, destroy your work-laptop. Personally, I have been using VirtualBox for this for quite some time. However, one of my friends, and co-worker, (hi Maarten!) has been nagging me continuously over the past year about why I am still using VirtualBox and why I would not switch to KVM. Especially since I am running Fedora on my laptop, his argument is that using the de facto built-in way for virtualization on Linux is better (and faster) than using VirtualBox, which, admittedly, does have its quirks. Annoyingly, performance comparisons over time, seem to support his claim.

So, after trying KVM out a few times, reluctantly and not really open-minded, and failing in accomplishing what I want, I thought it was time to go ahead and REALLY figure out what is holding me back from using KVM, and if I would be able to switch from VirtualBox to KVM as my go-to virtualization software. Also, it makes for blog-post, which is always a good thing 🙂

As is the case with any kind of switch like this, it is important to define what my requirements are for the virtual machine provider, and of course, as it is a comparison, I will be comparing everything KVM does to VirtualBox, for better or worse. I might even put in some screenshots here and there.


F1 – 4 races down, 15 to go

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“The ancient way” – or why I am still using Thunderbird for mail 1

thunderbird_gmailIn  the olden days, when one was looking for an email client, you either ended up with Outlook Express (as it was included with Windows) or Outlook, as it was included in pretty much all Office versions.

Back in those days, pretty much all email you received in your client would be transferred via POP, or the Post Office Protocol. As user mailboxes were not that big at the time, I believe it was 20MB at most ISPs in the Netherlands, POP would download your mail into your client and then delete it from the server.

When the first free email providers started, Hotmail (which apparently started with only 2MB) and Yahoo! Mail, you started to get the ability to save more and more mails in your mailbox, but occasionally, you would still have to delete items to free up space. It must be mentioned, that emails back then were also a lot smaller than the ones we have now.

When Gmail was first launched, in 2004, it provided users with a whopping 1GB of mail. Hotmail and Yahoo followed suit and also started offering more storage space.


Tools, tools, tools

There are many online tools these days, which you can use for just about anything. Apart from the usual suspects, like Facebook, Twitter and Google (of which the first two are not necessarily tools), there are a number of other tools, which aim to increase your productivity. I have mentioned a number of these in another post, To cloud or not to cloud. Of course, not all tools mentioned there are ones that I use.

As you start looking around to improve your own productivity, you start to try tools, and stick with them, or not. At the moment, the tools I use most extensively are Evernote, Wunderlist, TrelloGoogle Calendar, and Dropbox.

I think that I have written enough about Evernote, but for this article, let’s just keep it at that I use it as my digital filing cabinet. Wunderlist is a to-do-list app, which you can use to keep track of your to-do’s and share them with others as well. Trello is more of a project management application, based on a Kanban Board, I am using it to see if it useful for planning projects. Google Calendar, well, that is basically what the name says: a calendar. It has my appointments in it, and such, which is what it is made for. Dropbox is well-known, I would assume, but just in case someone does not know it yet, it is a file-syncing service, which puts your files in the cloud and makes them (readily) available on every device you have installed Dropbox on. (more…)

F1 – Predictions for 2015

Formula One Grand Prix of AustraliaThe pre-season tests have concluded, and the first practice is upon us, less than 24 hours away at the time of writing. This post will be my predictions of the 2015 F1 season, based on testing times, stuff I have read, and gut feeling. Also, at the end of the article, I give my championship predictions.

I think that this season will prove to be more exciting than last year’s, in the sense that I believe there will be more teams fighting for victories than last year. There were only two teams last season that won races, being Mercedes and Red Bull. However, based on testing times (which of course do not say a lot), I think that Williams, Red Bull and Ferrari have managed to make the gap to Mercedes smaller, which should provide for some exciting races.


F1 – 2015 – Pre-Season Testing starting soon

Formula One Grand Prix of AustraliaIt has been a bit over two months since the last race of 2014, which took place on the 23rd of November, in Abu Dhabi. However, this Sunday, February 1st, the testing for the 2015 season will begin at Jerez.

First of all, let me just straight up say that I am by no means an expert on F1, and that I will mostly just post about the things I read and see around the internet, and of course what happens during testing and the races.

Now, the biggest question up until the first race in Melbourne, March 15th, will be if the (huge) gap to Mercedes will have been made smaller by the other teams. Mercedes’ success last season was largely attributed to the engine, which was rumoured to have about 100bhp more than the other engines in the field. However, the chassis they made was very good as well, proven by how fast they were on the slower-speed-tracks. like Monaco, and Hungary. Red Bull’s chassis was very good as well, as it has been over the past few years, but they were pretty much hurt by the Renault-engine.

Related to that question is also: how will the renewed partnership between McLaren and Honda perform? How will the engine be? Will they be able to compete for race wins?

Another big question will be how Max Verstappen will perform. He is, after all, the youngest driver ever to start a F1 season, and he is being hyped quite a lot. There has been a bit of criticism as well, wondering whether or not he is not too young to be able to race with “the big boys”.

Hopefully, I will answer these questions over the course of the season, or at least, give my opinions on them 🙂

There is a lot to look out for this season, and I am excited!

Redesigning my Evernote – Making the switch, more considerations

EvernoteAs of this week, my OpenKM installation is no more, and all (well, almost all) documents have been moved to Evernote. I was a bit on edge to shut down OpenKM at first, but after rethinking the past weeks, and realizing how much I had used Evernote, and the documents in it, turning it off was not that big of a deal anymore.

I will have to come back on the heavy usage of Evernote another time, as it is not something that I can speak of at this moment. It suffices to say that it has only been used for good things 🙂

Having used Evernote almost exclusively over the past few weeks for documents, I have noticed two things that could be improved:

  1. The number of notebooks could be reduced
  2. The number of tags could be reduced

As you can see: I tend to over-organize at this moment. I have tags for company name, and also notebooks named in the same way, but they are then either a bill or some kind of correspondence, so they could be put into that notebook as well… However, as mentioned in Redesigning my Evernote – 2 – Tags and in Redesigning my Evernote – Adjustments, I have chosen this particular setup to be a bit flexible in what I wanted and to figure out the best system. Since that process is now coming to an end, or at least starting to come to an end, I can make some more choices to make life easier for me, and the workflow better as well.

The next steps, as far as I can see now, is to simplify my notebook-organization and, later on, to maybe simplify the tags. After that has been done, I can maybe start moving towards organizing the rest of my Evernote…

Redesigning my Evernote – Adjustments

EvernoteAs you probably noticed, I missed a post last week, due to life and things. Another reason is that I lacked some inspiration to write a post, and as I was busy importing documents into Evernote anyway, I figured it would be best to wait a bit until there was more to write about. Unfortunately, there is not that much to write about, so this will be a shorter post.

Importing documents that you have been collecting for about 6 years takes quite some time, and forces you to think more clearly about your organization. As I have written before, I made the choice to organize my notebooks according to who the documents belong to. However, as time went by, this turned out to be a bit impractical, as you cannot have notebooks with the same name in Evernote, and certain companies or government organizations affect us both.

Since my tagging system includes the name of either me or my wife, the decision was quickly made to just create one big Administration stack, and include company-named notebooks in the stack. Apart from the fact that this made everything look more clean, it can also give me a better overview, due to the fact that I now only need to select the stack, and I get everything that is in it. By using Evernote’s search and tagging, I can see and select everything I need. And, now that I have made the switch in my mind as well, this actually works pretty fine.

At the moment, I figure I am pretty much about 80% done with importing my documents, and new documents are going into Evernote directly. I will report back with other findings.

Redesigning my Evernote – 2 – Tags

EvernoteAs discussed in Redesigning my Evernote – 1 – Basics, tagging is going to be an important part of the organization of Evernote, as it will be the “heart” of the system, apart from the notebooks.

First things first though: in the aforementioned post, I showed that I had to choose between two ways of organization, the first being per-company and the other per-year, and my last sentence was that I was leaning towards the per-year organization. After careful consideration, weighing options, and some playing around, I actually decided to with the per-company way of organizing, because it “feels” more natural.

That being said, after having been importing documents over the past few days/weeks, I am actually not quite sure yet what is going to be the most comfortable way to have it set up. One time I am thinking that I have chosen the correct way, the other time I am not too sure anymore. But let’s say that this keeps things interesting, and of course I will keep coming back to this in later times.

So, after all these ramblings, let’s get back to the main point of this post: Tags, and how to define a useful structure, at least, for me.

What I have come up with so far, and it is by no means complete, is the following tree:

  • Administration
    • Accountant
    • Car
      • Lease
      •  Make/Model
        • License Plate
    • Company
      • A whole list of company names
    • Year
      • A list of years, to which the note relates to
    • Type
      • Contract
      • Correspondence
      • Important
      • Insurance
      • Invoice
      • Pension
      • Salary
      • Terms & Conditions
      • Ticket
      • Transcript
    • House
      • Streetname
    • <Name of company that I work for>
      • Expenses
      • Phone

And this is only for my administration. Also, I have a number of tags that I cannot really translate from Dutch to English, so I did not put these in here.

Anyhow, the idea is that each post gets, at least, the following tags: type, companyname and year. As you might have noticed, the companyname tag is kind of duplicate, as my notebooks are already named after the company that the note is related to. The reasoning behind this is that I want to be able to switch over to a different kind of sorting system, if I want to. I have also found out that I want to add my name and my spouse’s name to the list of the tags, so that I can differentiate easily between, if I ever decide to put it all together in a big yearly notebook, which does seem tempting at times.

I will come back in a different post and elaborate a bit more on my system, but first I need to figure it out a bit more myself 🙂