Tag Archives: comparison

MP3Puzzled – Compare MP3 download prices

If, like me, you’re one of those people who still purchase MP3s, this site may be of interest to you.

It’s called MP3Puzzled, and it allows you to compare prices of MP3 downloads from various legitimate retailers – such as iTunes and Amazon.

You can even view how the prices have changed historically – which is both pointless and kind of handy at the same time!

In any case, it’s a handy, free little tool that I thought I’d mention.

Which virtual host do you choose for virtual machines?

I find this to be a very difficult decision. There are quite a few pieces of software that will, essentially, do the same job. However I seem to believe that some are better than others.

In this post I’m going to try and show which piece of virtual machine software I prefer any why I like it.

If you’re looking for free software (which I generally do – who doesn’t?) you’ve basically got three choices – VMware Player, Microsoft Virtual PC (which seems to be getting outdated, but still works fine), and VirtualBox.

Here’s the order in which I would choose them:

  1. VirtualBox – I have to say I like VirtualBox the most. It’s fast and has a very tidy interface that is easy to use. I tried all three pieces of software on the same machine and it was noticeable that this piece of software was most responsive and most effecient – especially when using Windows guest machines. It doesn’t have the handy quick install feature that VMware has, but the speedy performance definitely makes up for that. Sadly it doesn’t support FAT32 file splitting, which is a shame if the hard drive you want to run it on is FAT32 as you wont be able to make virtual hard drives bigger than 4GB. However, I do think that it does work most efficiently and has the best interface.
  2. Microsoft Virtual PC – Despite the fact that Microsoft seem to be trying to phase this out (with the launch of XP Mode in Windows 7) it is still a very good virtual machine host. It not only has a clean interface, but it’s native virtual disk format supports FAT32 file splitting, so you’ll be able to run virtual hard disks on drives that run FAT32 without the 4GB file size limitation. However, I find it to be quite slow. Even when you are performing simple tasks (such as clicking the Start menu in the guest machine) it can take ages to respond. Also, it seems to be designed more for Windows guests, as it’s “Other” host option is very vague. I like Virtual PC more than VMware, but I’d still choose VirtualBox any day.
  3. VMware Player – This is my least favourite piece of software. Despite it being a very popular company who makes VMware Player, I still think it really isn’t up to regular virtual machine jobs. The main thing I can’t stand about VMware Player is the interface – I find it so clunky and unhelpful. I also find it the slowest of the three in terms of performance. It seems to cope pretty well with most operating systems, but the lack of speed makes VMware annoying at times. It does have the Easy Install feature – which is designed to make OS installation much more simple by automatically running through the process, but I’ve never found that particularly useful.

So there you go – if you want a decent, free virtual machine host I’d recommend VirtualBox to you.

Web browsers… is there still one leader and one leader only?

The web browser “war” still rages on.

It’s been going on for years. What is the best web browser? I don’t think there will ever be a final decision, although I would think most people would agree that Firefox has to be the safest and easiest way to browse the web.

The dreaded Internet Explorer is still used by millions. The reason for this is that many people just don’t know about Firefox or other web browsers. They just stick to whatever comes on their Windows PC. I suppose, if you were a computer novice, you’d just do the easiest thing and stick to Internet Explorer. Such a shame… if you use IE, you don’t know what you are missing.

Firefox is still extremely popular. It’s got just what everybody wants. A reliable, safe, fast browser that can be customized beyond belief. It is an extremely good browser – I’m using it to write this post now. It does exactly what it claims it does. It is very easy to use, I can trust it for any online payments, and I can use a huge range of plugins to make it do whatever I want it to.

With new web browser, Google Chrome, has Firefox got a challenger? Well, it has got a range of clever features. For example the tab management is very good. Instead of using just one process to manage all of your tabs, it splits each tab into a different process. This means that if one tab crashes, you don’t have to close the whole browser. And it does this without becoming a RAM-hog. Add to that it’s lightning speed launch times and Glass design (in Vista Aero), it does add up to be a relatively good browser. Google does have work to do to it, I mean it does have problems. My biggest problem is that it just doesn’t render some pages properly, and it claims that some pages are unavailable when they aren’t really.

What about Apple Safari? Well that’s good too. It has its ups and downs. I would only use it on a Mac, since I’m not a fan of the Windows version. It just seems rather pointless in Windows when you could just use Firefox, which is much more reliable and usable.

Opera? No way. I’ve never liked Opera. Again, it comes down to the same thing – why have it when you can have Firefox which is much safer and reliable. I don’t like Opera’s interface, and overall I just think it’s a no-go.

So, if you want an answer. It still remains – there is only one leader – Firefox. It just can’t be beaten for its safety, reliability, speed, and customizability. And those, I think, are the four keys to a web browser. Maybe, one day, a browser may become as good or even better than Firefox, but I think you be safely assured that it’s not going to be anytime soon.