fighting the lack of good ideas

hey, virtualbox – don’t be retarded

Ran across this error recently in an Ubuntu guest on my VirtualBox install: VBoxClient: (seamless): failed to start, Stage: Setting guest IRQ filter mask Error: VERR_INTERNAL_ERROR

Gee, isn’t that a useful message.

Fortunately, there was a forums.virtualbox thread on just this error.

The upshot is that this error is actually caused because of a failure during the initial install of the VirtualBox Guest Additions.

In the middle of what looks like, at quick glance, a successful GA installation, is this nugget: Please install the gcc make perl packages from your distribution.

The GA installer can’t compile kernel modules without a compiler.

And that makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense is that this error is even possible to get! The GA installer must run as root (or via sudo).

If those package are missing, the installer should stop what it’s doing, ask the user if they want to install these packages (because without them the GA installer won’t install everything), and then when the user invariably answers “yes” (because – duh! – why wouldn’t they want this to work?), go run an apt -y install gcc make perl.

But is that what Oracle in their infinite wisdom decide to do?

No. They decided it’s better to just quietly report in the middle of a bunch of success statements that “oh, by the way – couldn’t actually do what you wanted, but if you don’t notice, you’re going to spend hours on Google trying to figure it out”.


It realy isn’t that hard to make human-friendly error messages … nor to even try to pre-solve the error condition you found!

knoppix remastering virtual appliance

In preparation for an upcoming post on remastering Knoppix, I have made a VirtualBox virtual appliance based on the Knoppix v7.6.1 DVD all set for remastering.

/dev/sda holds the raw files.

/dev/sdb1 is a swap partition.

To use the appliance, download the Knoppix 7.6.1 DVD. You’ll need a boot environment for remastering, and Knoppix has the tools you need to remaster it.

Make sure you mount /dev/sda somewhere memorable. And that you run a swapon /dev/sdb1 before you start.

Have fun.

Download the .ova appliance from me here.

enable virtualization in the bios of your lenovo t450s

If you install VirtualBox, like I did last week, [at least] under Windows 10, and you have not gone into the BIOS ahead of time to enable virtualization, you will be limited to 32-bit guest OSes.

Enable virtualization, and the 64-bit options become available.

Not sure why you have to enable the hardware virtualization extensions to get 64-bit guest support (nor why it isn’t enabled by default on laptops like the Lenovo T450s which are aimed at business users), but you do.

Thankfully, you can enable virtualization after the install, and you don’t need to reinstall (which wouldn’t be a huge deal, but certainly an annoyance).

ron popeil never had it so good – lex>>fwd talk 04 sep 2014

Co-presented by Wes Eklund and myself

hybrid cloud for dummies by judith hurwitz et al

Many years ago, I started programming C++ with a friend of the family and member of my home church. We dove in with Borland C++ for Dummies by Michael Hyman and Stephen Prata’s C++ Primer Plus (Waite Group). Prata’s book was fantastic – if you were at the advanced high school / collegiate level. While precocious in some areas, I was only 13: and it was too advanced by far in most of its topics.

Enter the “for Dummies” book. Hyman’s accessible, funny, and progressive pedagogical style was fantastic – and not just for me. Jeff also benefited because, while he “knew” C, he was really a Fortran programmer by trade. So he wrote Fortran in C. And then as we learned C++ together, we wrote Fortran in C++.

That aside, I became a fan of the “for Dummies” series because they took [generally] difficult and/or broad topics and condensed them into a format that I could grok rapidly, and could then branch from quickly – kind of an advanced “Cliff’s Notes” approach. In a style not generally as condescending as the “Complete Idiot’s Guide” and “for Mere Mortals” series, the “for Dummies” books were great intros to a variety of topics for me.

I picked up Hybrid Cloud for Dimmues by Judith Hurwitz, Marcia Kaufman, Dr Fern Halper, and Daniel Kirsch expecting to see something I could recommend to non-techies and/or stodgy types who are interested in quickly and summarily grokking cloud technologies.

As has been the case with several other books recently, I’m glad I didn’t pay for the book – the time it took me to skim the material and pick out any nuggets I either was not familiar with, or interested to see a potentially different spin on was about 30 minutes.

Pro Tip: always check to see if your library has a book before committing to purchase from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, etc

Clue #1 (which I would have gotten at my library had I spent a smidge longer with the book before checking out): all four authors are partners with Hurwitz & Associates.

Clue #2: no mention of HP’s competition to the IBM SmartCloud product line (which, ftr, has been around longer than IBM’s) – Cloud Service Automation and*.

Clue #3: barely any depth in any of the chapters … more like a “Cliff’s Notes” book than any other from the “for Dummies” series I’ve run across (which is fairly evident even in the TOC with how close subsections are to one another).


If you truly know absolutely nothing about cloud computing – private, public, hybrid, etc – and the associated *aaS acronyms – PaaS, IaaS, SaaS, etc – then you can pick up slightly more than is in the most recent issue of the in-flight magazine on your favorite airline in the course of a couple hours of skim-reading this book.

If you know anything about cloud – don’t bother. While I am happy introductory materials exist, if you are going to totally neglect some vendors’ offerings, you need to NOT promote other vendors over them – without some form of disclosure indicating why!

If you are wanting to give your CEO something they can skim and perhaps gain some mini insights into cloud computing because they want to keep up with all their peers who are “going into the cloud” … well, he should be able to finish it during his lunch break – without losing any chewing time.

For everybody else … spend 20 minutes on Google or Wikipedia – it’s cheaper, and far more likely to be useful down the road.

*I work for an HP partner, and have been immersed in HP Enterprise Automation products since before HP purchased Opsware in mid 2007