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!

The Streets of San Francisco (and Seattle)

No, this is not about a ride down memory lane to join Karl Malden and Michael Douglas but rather about Microsoft’s new feature over at Windows Live Local, called Street-Side. Yesterday the team pulled the curtain off their technology preview.

So what’s Street-Side all about? For that I would like to quote what Microsoft has to say about it:

Historically, maps give you a perspective of geographical information about a place. In Windows Live™ Local, powered by Virtual Earth™, you’ve seen road, aerial, and hybrid maps. Then, we introduced bird’s eye views to give you a perspective from above. Now, we want you to be there, right in front of the pizza shop you are searching for, in the street-side views offered by Windows Live Local. Even though you haven’t left the comfort of your computer chair, you’ll feel like you’re actually there.

At first glance virtually driving or walking around San Francisco or Seattle doesn’t sound very appealing to me because I’m more for the real life experience. But it might be a nice tool for getting in depth driving directions. That way you have the possibility to memorize landmarks, which usually are not part of “traditional” driving directions tools. At second glance it stresses Microsoft’s growing eagerness to grab a large slice of the web 2.0 cake. In my opinion this new feature together will Microsoft’s other new web based services also shows that there are quite a few creative heads in Redmond who do their best to help Bill Gates take a look outside the desktop box. But I don’t quite agree with Michael Arrington’s when he titles his post abou this new service “Killer New Service: Street-Side“. It’s just taking another step along the maps/satellite path. Of course now the perspective has changed to street level but I think it’s not as innovative as for example the introduction of Google maps was. But that’s just my two cents.