Sep 25

Printing from within a WinXP Virtualbox client with a Mac OSx host

I have an Mac OSx machine on which I have virtualbox installed. My most often used virtual client machine runs Windows XP. Almost everything works great, but I was having a lot of issues getting printing to work. I finally got everything figured out though and figured I’d write it up real quick. So here’s what I did.

The first thing I would recommend doing if you have a setup like mine is to find the driver for the printer that you need to print to. Why? Because the apple software that I point you to below will install a driver by default that technically works, but it makes everything you print come out super small. [Actually, as I’m writing this is occurs to me that it may be doing this when I print because Apple assumes an HP printer in their tool, but mine is an Epson.  So maybe the default installed by the program provided by Apple will work “out of the box” for an HP printer… But I would still go ahead and get the correct driver for your printer first.]

Then once you have the driver on the client do the following (found this at forum and quoted from here):

1) Shutdown the VirtualBox machine
2) Under Mac OS X

  1. System Preferences, Print & Fax, Check “Share this printer on the network”
  2. System Preferences, Sharing, Check “Printer Sharing” and Check the printer

3) VirtualBox machine, Network:

  1. if only one adapter selected and it is attached as NAT [this is the default], then add Second adapter. Make it attached as Host-only Adapter and choose the name: vboxnet0 (see note B at the bottom if you can’t find this).
  2. if the adapter is attached as Bridged Adapter, then do nothing (you have a reason to be Bridged?)

4) Start up the Vbox machine – let it adjust to added Network Adapter
5) Download and install from Apple “Bonjour Print Services for Windows”
6) start Bonjour Printer Wizard and follow the menus

Note A: That wizard will allow you to print from the client using the printer on the host MacOSx machine. But that wasn’t it for me because Apple defaulted to an HP driver which caused the pages to print all tiny on my Epson. It was an easy fix though. I just had to go back and run the brand specific printer driver install (or manually change the printer driver for the printer added by the apple wizard) so that it would use the brand specific driver instead of the Apple default.

Note B: I did a fresh vbox install to test this because some people weren’t seeing the vboxnet0 at this stage. I was able to reproduce the problem and fix it based on another reader’s suggestion. All I had to do to get it fixed was go to ‘VirtualBox’->’Preferences’->’Network’. It’s probably completely blank for you if you’re reading this note. What you want to do is just click the little green plus to add a new hostonly network and it’ll add ‘vboxnet0’. Now go back and finish the tutorial where you left off and you should be printing in no time. Hope that helps.

Note C: In the comments below you’ll see a couple of readers (Jeffrey Weber and Leigh Warren) that were only able to get things working by using Bridged instead of HostOnly (see step 3 above for where this matters). The “method” I defined in the main part of the post seems to work in most cases, but there is obviously some type of setup that requires bridged rather than host-only. I recommend that you try it the original way first and then double check everything if it doesn’t work. After that if the original way still doesn’t work you might try tweaking this setting going bridged instead. Keep in mind that if you’re already bridged and everything is working then, as the original write up says, do NOT add the host-only.

Jan 04

I cut the cord – how to give up cable (part 1)

Not too long ago I got a huge bill increase from my cable company. I was coming off of the 1 year introductory pricing so it wasn’t actually a huge increase in rates, but practically, that is exactly what it was. I was paying $80 or so and then I was asked to pay $135 or so.

It immediately occured to me that even though I liked having access to so much and LOVED my DVR I really didn’t watch but 4 or 5 shows and the same movies over and over (or “whatever” was on). So, I went about the process of researching exactly how I could do the same thing for less money. Below are the notes I came up with during my search. You will want to read part 2 to see how all of this worked out and for something that will be a little more clear. Below is literally my notes I was taking while researching with a slight bit of proofing so I wouldn’t be totally embarrassed for it to make it on my site.

First I sought out people who had done the same… here are some:


Then I went about trying to determine what would get me most of what I already had… basically, I needed to show my wife that she would still have access to most of her shows and the kids would still have Dinosaur Train. So here’s some of your options to cover those things:
·         YouTube,
·         Hulu,
·         Amazon,
·         AppleTV / iTunes,
·         Netflix ($8.99 cheapest)

Other Notes:

  • You can view fox shows at (link to ‘Glee’ for example):
  • I assume 24, Glee, House, Fringe, Bones also.
  • “I also have the privilege of access to my beloved out-of-market NY Giants games each week with DirecTV’s online Supercast service. It broadcasts all of the Sunday Ticket NFL games over the internet, but access to the online content requires DirecTV service and the full SuperFan package that runs a ridiculous $400 per year (Manhattan residents can access Supercast without DirecTV service). However, if you know someone with a Supercast account, you can piggyback.
  • If baseball is your thing, offers a service similar to Supercast for around $100 per year depending on the package—although it only includes out-of-market games. Live golf can be viewed for free on; college sports, baseball, tennis, soccer and more is free on ESPN360 (if you are affiliated with an ESPN-approved broadband provider) and streaming sites like offer plenty of free sports viewing options, including live ESPN. Windows Media Center owners can also get SportsLounge, with Fox Sports.”
  • NBA – (broadband version – not sure about the cost)
  • NFL- Could not find a comparable other than those listed above… Will ask Mike what the UofM video streaming site was that he was using… might be a solution.
  • (a sunday night nfl streaming site)
  • PBS is over the air (Dinosaur Train, Word World [is this pbs], etc) (Can also buy on itunes 1.99)
  • iTunes has TV episodes for 2.99 (current season) and various prices like 1.99 per or discounted packages (previous seasons)

Stay tuned for part 2 where you’ll find out how it worked out.

Mar 02

Pirate Bay case update and some related legal questions

I have been interested in the Pirate Bay trial that has been going on, but it has now taken on a whole new level of interest to me because they are releasing the actual arguments being utilized on each side. I was reading this article about the trial and read the following which kind of brought some questions to mind:

Roswall dropped several charges on the second day of the trial for the purpose of streamlining the case, Ars was told, which leaves contributory copyright infringement as the main charge. The Pirate Bay might not host content itself, but if its main use is as a middleman that arranges illegal peer-to-peer transfers, Roswall said that the site could be held responsible.

“A person who is holding someone’s coat while they assault someone else is complicit in the crime,” he said, according to Swedish paper The Local.

And Monique Wadsted, the lawyer for the movie industry, told the court that it was a basic point of Swedish law that one can’t just walk around with eyes closed when one knows that crimes are being committed.

Wadsted also claimed that The Pirate Bay was built for piracy, and she noted that site admins do in fact police the site for child pornography, inactive torrents, and misleading descriptions. Given that sort of control over the material, is it credible simply to see The Pirate Bay as a hand-off forum that allows all sorts of user postings for which it cannot be held liable?

The defense is continuing to claim that the European Union e-commerce directive passed in 2000 protects them from liability. The relevant part of the directive is Article 12, the “mere conduit” section, which says that a “service provider” is not liable for the information transmitted by its users.

The rule applies only to “service providers,” raising the question of whether The Pirate Bay qualifies, and it only applies when three conditions are met: the service provider must not 1) initiate the transfer, 2) select the receiver of the transfer, 3) modify the transfer in any way.

So what is it that I find interesting? All of it actually. What If someone wanted to start a service that helped drug dealers (not big pharma… the ones that are currently illegal) hook up with those that wanted to buy drugs. If they simply created a website that facilitated the two hooking up and took NO PROFITS from either party would the website be breaking the law? Would I be breaking the law if I DID get paid by advertisers? What if I took a cut of the transaction itself? The last one I think yes, but I’m not sure… the other two I lean towards “no”, but I’m not sure. IANAL – so what do I know? What if I didn’t know about the drug dealers? What if they were just using it to exchange illegal things and I didn’t know?

In the article the prosecuter claims “if [a website’s] main use is as a middleman that arranges illegal peer-to-peer transfers ” then it can be held liable for damages. I assume this <illegal peer-to-peer transfers> could be substituted to be anything that is <illegal>. Fine, what if it’s intended main use is as a chat room, but it just happens to provide a mechanism for pushers and buyers to find each other?

It seems kind of arbitrary for anyone other than the creator to define somethings “main use”. That’s like saying a car’s “main use” is to run over pedestrians just because it happens sometimes. Even if it happens a lot that is not it’s “main use”. It doesn’t really follow that I, the inventor or provider, can invent or provide a service for one use and that someone else call what I did illegal because the way some portion of society chooses to use it is in some other way than what I intended. My understanding is that is in general EXTREMELY difficult to provide “motive” or “intent”.

Is the service a “mere conduit” as defined? I don’t know. I’ve never used it. I make enough money to buy most of my own crap now, and I rarely listen to new music. I do hate for the Pirate Bay that they apparently did remove some material. At that point they actually might have changed their status from “mere conduit” to “data managers” or something like that.

Even for those not in Sweden this could set some huge precedent. I will have to check the American law for further clarification, but to be on the safe side I would say anyone wanting to create a website that allows people to get what they want (files, information, dates [think “dating”], whatever) should atleast make sure they meet the definition of “service provider”. The three requirements were (as listed in the article) that a service provider must:

  1. NOT initiate the transfer
  2. NOT select the receiver of the transfer
  3. NOT modify the transfer in any way

Does (1) mean you cannot be the sender? Or does (1) mean you cannot send to a receiver that has not solicited it? If it is the former, then it seems that (3) means you cannot delete something posted by another user because the sender just uses your platform. If someone else initiates the transfer (ie. A user) and you delete it that would be viewed as a modification. If that is true then it would be in a providers best interest to ignore any Cease And Desist letters, subpoenas, whatever for fear of violating their status as a provider and thus opening themselves up to even more litigation. This is crazy hard to figure out what to do.

Also, the rules do not say that a provider cannot profit. So going back to my drug dealer example it would seem a “service provider” would be able to profit as long as they didn’t skim any of the “product” or any of the money from the buyer. I am guessing that an additional part of being legally NOT LIABLE as a service provider would require that the item being pushed throught the “conduit” is not illegal. Thus, actually setting up a meeting between a user and a pusher would likely be illegal. (What if the site just said “I can recommend a guy” and let them work it out from there? I don’t know.)

This is why “data law” is so much harder (and more interesting) than other types of legal issues. It’s a relatively young area with a lot of gray area. Add on to that the fact that platforms on which it is practiced is always changing and it makes for some very interesting and provactive conversation opportunities.