Saturday, October 24, 2009

Software milestones (2)

Annoyingly my overnight Ubuntu download failed. Either this was because Vista's power management software put the network to sleep during a period of congestion, or the servers were reduced to stasis by other curious people like myself. I have noticed there are times when there's a so much net activity that even a quick broadband connection becomes turgid due to demand. Often it's when there's a big public event and people are streaming broadcast content from a news or sport site. But it could also be as a result of millions of people updating their systems. I understand it is possible to get Windows 7 by download, as opposed to buying a DVD from a shop. If that's the case, cyberspace is going to be a bit busier than usual, I suppose. In any case, the recommenced Ubuntu download only took half an hour, while I was writing up the previous day ready for posting.

Then it was time to drive down to the Gower. We have a holiday cottage booked for the week in Oxwich, our favourite village. We arrived in time for a pub lunch and then a long windy stroll along the beach. I returned home once it got dark, in order to be home to prepare for Sunday services. It was good to have the benefit of the extra hour with the ending of summer time. It meant that I also had time to try the new Ubuntu in a Virtual Machine environment. It worked perfectly first time.

Virtualisation is a new aspect of computer use for me - using software on top of one's usual operating system to create a separate virtual computer using some of the existing computer's hard disk and memory. So you can install a separate operating system to work independently inside an operating system, (like Russian dolls) and this is very useful for testing new developments. It is also used to learn how viruses and malware attacks work. One can deliberately download files or programs with concealed viruses into a virtual computer, watch how they wreak havoc, then switch off the virtual machine program confident that the computer's main operating system is untouched - known as 'sand boxing', a term derived from the science lab where dangerous or flammable chemicals could be handled in safety without damage to the wider environment.

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