VirtualBox “Failed to load..”

Lately I’ve been using the wonderful VirtualBox software to run my Windows virtual machines (Internet Explorer testing etc). It’s just about as good as Parallels or Fusion, but its completely free and open source. What’s not to love?

But once and a while I run into strange errors when trying to boot my VM’s. Errors like “VERR_SUPLIB_WORLD_WRITABLE”, which basically mean the file permissions on some component of VirtualBox are too general.

You can fix most of these errors by opening up Disk Utility (Spotlight search or Applications > Utilities). From there select your system hard drive (likely Macintosh HD) and click Repair Disk Permissions. This process may take a few minutes. When its done restart your computer, open up VirtualBox and you should be good to go!

If you still have trouble, open up the Applications folder and find the VirtualBox app. Right click and open the Get Info screen. At the bottom in the permissions section, make sure “Everyone” only has read access.

Header screenshot by Rafa Espada.

Tethering iPad to iPhone 3GS

If you have an iPhone 3GS, you might already know that the Personal Hotspot feature introduced in iOS 4.3 is somewhat limited. Only iPhone 4 received official WIFI tethering. So what if you want to use your older iPhone’s cellular connection on your iPad?

It turns out you can! Just update your devices to iOS 4.3 or later, then enable both Personal Hotspot and Bluetooth on your phone. Open up the Bluetooth menu on your iPad and pair with your iPhone. You’re carrier may require a plan add-on to enable tethering. It’ll sync up and show the Personal Hotspot icon at the top of the screen. Congratulations, you’re connected.

The setup was seamless, and certainly easier than others methods I’ve tried. Pages and videos load reasonably fast, and emails come through without delay. And, because this is essentially Bluetooth tethering, it has a relatively low draw on the battery. Continue reading

Motorola S305 Headphones

You know how every time you pull out your headphones–they seem to have magically tangled themselves up again? Or how they manage to get caught on everything, or slip out of the connector? Its time to cut the cable.

I bought the MOTOROKR S305 Bluetooth Headphones a few months ago and I’m loving them. Use these with my iPhone 3Gs at my desk and on my commute. They sound fantastic, the on-ear controls are convenient and [the best part] there are no pesky wires! Continue reading

Tagging for Apple TV or iTunes

iDentify file list

Update December 2016: iDentify has, sadly, been discounted. One great alternative is Subler — also available for free. It actually handles movies with common names a bit better, although its not quite as magical in the queue department.

So let’s say you have a bunch of movies or TV shows converted for your Apple TV / iPhone / iPad / iPod. It syncs and plays great on your devices–but something is missing! Its the metadata (aka tags).

When you buy media from the iTunes store it comes with epidsode info or a film description, posters, cast info, air dates and more that make it easy to find what you’re looking for or pick something good to watch. Media ripped from discs (or obtained by other means) simply doesn’t come with those goodies. Continue reading

Converting for Apple TV 2

The Apple TV 2 is a great device if you want to stream content from from Apple, Netflix, YouTube or your own iTunes library. But if you’re anything like me–you already have a huge collection of movies and TV shows that were ripped into a slew of formats that don’t play nice with the Apple TV.

So we convert. I’ve found a relatively painless workflow that will allow you to convert your media from just about anything (AVI and MKV included) to Apple friendly formats, and tag it with metadata so you can enjoy film description, movie posters, episode information and more on your Apple TV (just as if you bought it on iTunes). Continue reading

Using PayPal with Coast Capital

You can link PayPal with your Coast Capital Savings account very easily. You’ll need to have two things in order before we start.

To link a new bank account you’ll want to start by opening PayPal and logging in there. Under My Account click Profile, then under Financial Information open Bank Accounts, and from this page click “add”. Depending on your situation, there are a number of ways you can get the rest of the info you’ll need.

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Haier Portable Air Conditioner

Haier Portable Air ConditionerThanks to global warming, summers probably aren’t going to get any more bearable. Here in Vancouver home air conditioners aren’t all that popular, but I’d wager that’s about to change as heat waves start happening more often and lasting longer. That’s why I decided to order up a portable air conditioner for my home office.

My criteria was pretty simple: its gotta be cold, its gotta be cheap, and it had better not break one week in. So after considering about half a dozen different models, I settled on the Haier Commercial Cool 7000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner (CPRB07XC7).
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EyeTV in Canada

UPDATE: Elgato’s Canadian EPG is now out of beta, and purchasers will receive one year of free access with purchase of an EyeTV tuner.

A couple months ago I ordered the Elgato EyeTV 250 Plus from the online Apple Store (free shipping FTW). Technically speaking its a TV tuner, but I bought it for its cassette digitizing abilities – more on that later. I thought that was the only use I’d get out of it too, since Elgato doesn’t offer a Electronic Program Guide (EPG/listings) for Canada. Until now. The past few weeks they’ve been rolling out a beta version of the EyeTV 3 software that includes support for a Canadian EPG.

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