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Posted: Wed, 26 Aug 2015 19:55:25 +1000
Ever since ET coined the phrase in the 1980s, programs which attempt to contact their creator's server in order to send back information about the user are said to be "phoning home". Such behaviour is not uncommon. Adobe Digital Editions, for example, which is a free program for reading protected e-books, was recently discovered to send Adobe details of every book you read, and every page you turned.
Windows 10 continues the tradition of software phoning home, and arguably takes it to new levels. Much of what you do within Windows finds its way back to Microsoft. Whether this is so that the company can make its products better, or display advertising that's more relevant to you, is an argument best left for another day.
Posted: Sun, 23 Aug 2015 19:59:50 +1000
In July, Oracle released version 5 of VirtualBox, and after a couple of recent tweaks the latest version is now 5.0.2.
VirtualBox, which is available free of charge is a program that lets you create and run so-called Virtual Machines or VMs. A VM is effectively a complete
operating system, running in a window on your existing PC. That operating system could be another copy of Windows, or perhaps Linux. You can even run multiple VMs at the same time, giving you a whole collection of computers that can be used for different things but which all share the same hardware.
Using a VM is a great way to try out a new operating system such as Linux. Create a VM, download the installer for the new OS, install the new OS into your VM, and then you can try it out. If you don't like it, just delete the VM and all traces of the new OS have disappeared.
New features in VirtualBox 5 include support for USB 3, better use of the host computer's CPU for faster VMs, as well as data encryption. Perhaps the neatest new feature is being able to drag and drop files between the host and guest. This means, for example, that you can download a file in your VM (perhaps from a web site that you don't necessarily trust), and then drag it onto your main computer once you've checked it out. Read More