We all like free eBooks . . .

We all like free ebooks when we can get them. One approach is ReadMill (https://readmill.com) a social reading service that provides a reader for iOS and Android that lets you read and share books in it’s library.

Alternatively, you can subscribe to an all-you-can-read service for a monthly fee and read as much of the provided titles as you have time for. There are three of these services I have become aware of:

  1. http://www.allyoucanbooks.com – free trial, $14.99 per month, 30,000 audiobooks and eBooks.
  2. https://www.oysterbooks.com – $9.95 per month, 100,000 eBooks, iOS 7 is required.
  3. http://www.scribd.com – $8.99 per month, free trial, offers a large assortment of free content, including more than 40 million documents and books.

I have not tried any of these yet myself, but Oyster does look to be a promising option. See my Books and Reading page for other information I have collected.

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An Overview of Computer Virtualization

Computer virtualization is something that has been around for several years.  I have used various forms of virtualization on all platforms – Windows, OSX and Linux.
There are three types of virtualization – full virtualization, para-virtualization and OS-level virtualization.  OS-level virtualization allows for virtual environments, but all guests must be running the same OS. Full and para-virtualization allow for guests with a different OS. Both full virtualization and para-virtualization make use of a hypervisor.
A Type 1 hypervisor runs directly on the hosts hardware, with guest operating systems running on a level above the hypervisor.  A Type 2 hypervisor runs within the conventional operating system environment like any other application, with guest operating systems running at a “third” level above the hardware.
Some examples of these are:
Name URL Type OS Cost
XenServer http://www.xenserver.org 1 Free
VMwareESX http://www.vmware.com 1 $
VMware Workstation http://www.vmware.com 2 Windows, Linux $
Fusion http://www.vmware.com 2 OSX $
VMware Player http://www.vmware.com 2 Windows, Linux Free
Parallels Desktop http://www.parallels.com 2 OSX $
Parallels Plesk http://www.parallels.com 1 $
Virtual Box https://www.virtualbox.org 2 Windows, Linux, OSX Free
KVM http://www.linux-kvm.org/ 1,2 Linux Free

None of these virtualization systems support running OSX as a guest. All will support Linux guests and most will support Windows guests. Consult the respective web pages for the details.

Using a Type 1 virtualization hypervisor will usually yield the most performance from the available hardware for the guest systems, however they are more difficult to set up and manage. Generally speaking, Type 1 hypervisors are more at home in the enterprise data center than on a home PC.

Type 2 hypervisor solutions are the ones most often used on the home PC. They allow quick setup and easy management of the virtual environment. They also allow the virtual system to be shut down when not needed so that the PC can be used normally.

All of these will allow one or more guest systems to share the PC hardware. Having sufficient memory (dictated by the guest OS and the application) is critical to having acceptable performance. Likewise a multiprocessor/multithreading CPU is also recommended.

Printing from iOS Device

Being able to print from my iPhone or iPad is something that I have needed for some time.  Unfortunately my printer is no AirPrint compatible. Fortunately there is a third-party solution – Printer Pro.  This app is $4.99, but seems to be worth it as I was able to set up my iPhone to print to the printer attached to my Mac Mini in just a few minutes.

Also, they have a free app – Printer Pro Lite – which you can download and use to test with before committing for the $4.99.  Once you have proven to yourself that you will be able to print from your iOS device, then you can upgrade to the paid version of the app.  Unfortunately, the Lite version is only good for verifying operation and not actually printing.

This is not a new product, but I finally took the plunge and installed on my iPhone.  I should have done that a long time ago as it would have saved me time in the past.  Unfortunately the current version will only work on iOS 6 or later so I cannot install it on my first generation iPad.  However I am going to encourage my wife to install  it on her iPad which is compatible.