Watching Netflix On Linux?

The Netflix watch instantly plug-in for U.S. s...

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Watching Netflix on Linux is possible, but it’s not possible in a sense that you can watch Netflix directly on Linux.  Netflix is  using Microsoft’s Silverlight to stream movies.  Unfortunately, Silverlight isn’t fully working with Linux, therefore Linux users have to watch Netflix on Windows or Mac machines.  To circumvent the problem, Linux users can install VMware or Parallels or VirtualBox to run a Windows or Mac virtual machine.

This setting works for me.  I use VirtualBox to run Windows 7 virtual machine.  My virtual machine has at least 3 GB of RAM, max on graphic card memory, Bridge network, Guest Additions installed with experimental 3D hardware support, and guest Windows 7 is up to date with all software.  If you don’t have at least 3 GB of RAM for your Windows 7 virtual machine, you can try to start with around 500 MB of RAM to see if this is stable enough to do most things virtually within a Windows 7 virtual machine.  If not, you can always bump the RAM up little by little until your host machine runs out of RAM (i.e., RAM reserves for a virtual machine).

A weird snag I encountered while using the setting above is that Chrome isn’t working well with Netflix.  I had to use IE9 to watch Netflix smoothly.  Chrome tends to pop Netflix out of fullscreen mode and then Netflix goes black, the stream of the movie stops, and so everything else.  With IE9, I can watch Netflix in fullscreen mode without trouble.  I haven’t yet tested Firefox with Netflix in this sort of virtual environment.  Perhaps, Firefox might work, but I clearly do not know!


HP webOS Kicks The Hornet’s Nest, Releasing webOS As Open Source Software

English: HP TouchPad with webOS on a Touchston...

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HP announced that they will release webOS to the open source software community.  Why HP is so generous?  As how one CNBC commentator put, HP has lost somewhere around 3 billion dollars in trying to unwind the webOS platform (I would love to give him the credit, but I don’t know his name).  Anyhow, even though we might not know of webOS as intimately as how we are with iOS and Android, we might have to agree that webOS is pretty formidable mobile operating system for smartphones and tablets.  Unfortunately, HP isn’t doing so well in marketing webOS to hardware manufacturers right after they had bought Palm (the creator of webOS), and so there aren’t many mobile devices are using webOS.  HP knows that it’s losing money by just holding on to webOS.  If HP ditches webOS entirely, it might arouse angers from few users who are already the reluctant owners of few webOS devices.  Furthermore, ditching webOS entirely equates to accepting complete loss.  I think HP wants to dish out one last effort in salvaging whatever could be saved of webOS by releasing it to open source community.

I think if there are enough developers who take advantages of open source webOS, webOS might stay relevant enough and entice HP to jump back into the wagon of making devices for webOS and reap real profits.  The fear is that webOS might not generate enough tractions to build enough velocity onward, and webOS might just be another open source software.  Keep in mind though, webOS is designed and built with big ambition in mind and backed by huge amount of resources which are now dwindling down to open source; webOS isn’t something cheesy and it has huge potential going forward as long there are enough ongoing contributions in improving webOS as from this point onward.  It’s hard not to be excited if you’re a mobile developer, because there probably aren’t that many open source projects in the mobile category have the same caliber as webOS.  I predict (as bold and crazy as usual) that webOS will garner plenty of contributions in free codes and adoptions.  Perhaps, webOS can be reborn as something that even Android, Apple, and Windows Phone OS have come to fear.  They fear of giving up whatever size of the pie to webOS?


The Kindle Fire isn’t the Apple iPad

Please take heed of this specific warning:  This article wasn’t written by the founder of this blog (i.e., Vinh Nguyen).  This article had been submitted by a contributor, Olivia Lennox, and so the point of view, belief, and other values profess in this article might not be the same values that holds true.  If there are links within this article, please use to check to see if the link is indeed free of virus, trojan, and malware.  Also, you might want to use Google and other well known online resources to validate the contents of such links.  Enjoy!

Kindle Fire: Out of the Box

Image by Brian Sawyer via Flickr

The first five million or so customers now have their new Kindle Fire from Amazon. Over half of those have already played with their new gadget while the rest are being gift wrapped for Christmas. Will those people wish for an iPad instead?

Although people keep comparing them, the two are not really related enough to be an either/or purchase, but the price of the Kindle brings the tablet within the financial reach of most.

The Fire is going to set many people’s Christmas alight, but it’s what the computer doesn’t do that will disappoint so many.

Where’s the Fire’s Camera?

The recipient of your gift will want to know where the camera is. Sorry folks, there isn’t one. You might want to Skype with your new toy, but you will have to wait for the next model. The lack of a camera shouldn’t stop the purchase as everyone has a phone with a camera.

The iPad isn’t really set for camera work, either, though at least it has one. The megapixels are too low for good photography, but they will be enough to take some simple photographs if all you want to do is email them to friends or post on your favorite social media site.

All iPad owners will need a separate iPhone because holding your iPad to take shots will make you look foolish. Try imagining it: a camera that large.

Where’s the Microphone?

Looking for the mike? You won’t find one on the Kindle Fire. If you thought this could take over as your business tool, forget it. The option to take short voice notes or dictate an attachment to your essential email just won’t happen. You will still need to carry around your digital voice recorder. That’s another failing to go with the lack of Skype capability.

Where’s the Rest of the Screen?

You know as soon as you open the package that the screen is so much smaller on the Fire than on the iPad. If you use your calculator app you will find you have 21 square inches against the iPad’s more generous 45. That is less than half the viewing space, for the failing mathematicians out there.

It does give you a much smaller and more portable gadget. You can carry it anywhere and it will fit in a surprisingly high number of pockets, but this might make it the next best thieves’ target.

How the smaller screen will affect your game playing is down to your preferences, but those on public transport may prefer the smaller model. It will be interesting to see if Apple launches a 7 inch model like the Fire and the smaller Samsung or whether Amazon goes for a 10 inch screen first.

I Can’t Find My 3G

Like the Nook tablet, with the Fire you don’t get the option of 3G or, what the latest gadget people require, 4G. You will only be able to connect online via Wi-Fi with the Fire. This shouldn’t cause a problem in most stationary uses, but for those roaming in the back seat of an auto, the lack of 3G might prove costly. Wi-Fi has become free almost everywhere, so at least your 3G data costs will be low.

The Difference Is In the Price

It’s not really fair to compare the two toys/computers. While some will argue that the difference is in the availability of apps for the iPad, that bridge is closing fast. Soon that won’t even be a consideration.

Whichever model you choose, you will have to battle with the brand’s parent company who insists that you trade exclusively through them. That is Amazon’s selling point; everything is available at a click and for those replacing their Kindle reader with the Fire, as long as they aren’t outside in blazing sun, the experience may be improved.

The lack of GPS in the Fire shouldn’t be a deterrent, but the lack of gigabytes under the hood might be, so you will be forced to use Amazon’s cloud experience. (How long before they start charging for that, we wonder?)

The price difference will be the tightest call. At just $199, almost anyone can buy a Kindle Fire while the $500 to $650 required for an iPad might be a bigger stretch. Perhaps the answer is to stop seeing the Fire as an iPad competitor and buy a Samsung tablet (with better use of the screen, Android and apps) instead.

Olivia Lennox is a writer, bookworm, and gadget-obsessed ebook fiend. She loves digital books and the freebies made possible by paperless reading, but hasn’t quite been convinced to sell her paperback library just yet.

Please take heed of this specific warning:  This article wasn’t written by the founder of this blog (i.e., Vinh Nguyen).  This article had been submitted by a contributor, Olivia Lennox, and so the point of view, belief, and other values profess in this article might not be the same values that holds true.  If there are links within this article, please use to check to see if the link is indeed free of virus, trojan, and malware.  Also, you might want to use Google and other well known online resources to validate the contents of such links.  Enjoy!

Cannot Install Guest Additions For VirtualBox 4.1.2? Having d3d9.dll Error? What’s The Deal With Virtualizing Windows 7 Inside VirtualBox On Linux?

English: Original source file of the “About Vi...

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Some of us love to virtualize Windows 7 inside a host, because we think we need the host to be as secure as it could be and the virtualization would be a sort of sandbox to add one extra layer of security for the virtual machine.  Of course, the security of the sandbox would give a false sense of security for whoever runs it if he or she isn’t keen on securing the virtual machine also.  Some hackers could be so smart and create a hack which allows him or her to leap from the virtual environment into the host environment.  Plus, what the use for a virtual machine if it isn’t secure enough to be used, right?  I think you get the gist.

Anyhow, the idea for those who want to virtualize Windows 7 inside VirtualBox 4.1.2 could hit a snag if they also want to run Guest Additions for Windows 7 virtual machine.  How do I know this?  I tried to install Guest Additions the normal way by clicking on Device > Install Guest Additions, but this method failed me as it could not find Guest Additions anywhere.  I guess for an unknown reason, VirtualBox 4.1.2 failed to include Guest Additions somehow.  Of course, this might not happen to everyone, but it might be just me.  Nonetheless, if you are one of those people who experiences this exact situation, don’t sweat.  Just go to, and then you need to download VBoxGuestAdditions_4.1.2.iso.  Get back to VirtualBox window, click on the Windows 7 virtual machine, click on Settings > Storage, and make sure you add VBoxGuestAdditions_4.1.2.iso as virtual CD/DVD disk file.  It helps if you remember where you had saved your VBoxGuestAdditions_4.1.2.iso on the host machine.

During the installation of your Guest Additions for Windows 7 virtual machine inside VirtualBox on a host machine, you might hit another snag where an error would complain that it could not find or open d3d9.dll file.  It might be the permission for d3d9.dll file is too strict.  You need to allow write permission for d3d9.dll file before Guest Additions could finish the installation.  So, when you see d3d9.dll error, don’t exit the Guest Additions installer, but make sure you are inside your Windows 7 virtual machine, go to Windows\System32\ and search for d3d9.dll file, right click on it and choose Properties, click on Security tab, and then from here you need to allow write permission for all users.  Get back to Guest Additions installer and try to finish installing the Guest Additions.  When done installing Guest Additions, don’t forget to remove write permission for d3d9.dll file for all users so this file can once again be secure as before.

In conclusion, Windows 7 virtual machine inside VirtualBox on a Linux host is ideal for security.  Nonetheless, if he or she forgets to secure Windows 7 virtual machine, he or she is not that secure in term of allowing Windows 7 virtual machine to be hacked easily.  If he or she is lazy, it’s best to use NAT network, but it’s always better to use Bridge network as it’s much more flexible.  NAT network hides the virtual machine inside a host’s network (i.e., not using the router’s DHCP or manual IPs), therefore one could say as long the host has a strong firewall, the virtual machine too could be protected by the same firewall.  Without the installation of Guest Additions, he or she could not open Windows 7 virtual machine in fullscreen mode, and so don’t forget to do this.