Sun’s VirtualBox, the better Parallels or Fusion?

After being a bit frustrated with the performance of Parallels on my MacBook Pro (2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM), I gave VMware Fusion a try last week. At first glance its performance footprint on the host system didn’t seem as heavy as the one from Parallels Desktop for Mac. Of course switching between host and guest system is always a tedious task for he machine. With Parallels I often observed that some of the applications running on the host system stalled, showing me the colorful beach ball of death. This can get really annoying.

After a while, I observed a similar behavior even with Fusion and I got more frustrated, wanting to throw the whole machine out the window, or maybe throwing Windows out the machine (I can’t remember). Anyway, to make the long story short, I stumbled across Sun’s VirtualBox, which is Open Source and just love it. Its footprint on the host performance is almost imperceptible. It boots Windows XP Profession in 1 Minute! Of course VirtualBox is not as feature laden as Parallels or Fusion. But I need the system mainly for browser tests (don’t we all love Internet Explorer?) and some applications that only run on Windows, so I don’t need features like 3D graphic acceleration, Coherence etc. That’s why VirtualBox is now my first choice when it comes to virtualization solutions for the Mac.

Thank you Sun!

Size is everything

Designing web sites, I kept stumbling across the problem that I had to find out the size of certain elements on a page displayed in the browser window. As most of you might know, this is a pretty difficult task. Therefore I was happy when I found a freeware tool for Mac OS X called “Free Ruler” written by Pascal. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a way to keep it on top of the browser window when klicking on that window, so I kept searching and discovered Kevin Freitas‘ Firefox extension “MeasureIt”. This tool does an excellent job. It only has one drawback. You can’t resize an already drawn rectangle. I hope that Kevin will be able implement this feature in a future release. If you need a similar tool for IE on Windows, check out the “Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar” which is still in beta stage. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a way to draw a rectangle like I can do with “MeasureIt”.