Monthly Archives: December 2010



Hmmm, interesting project: libguestfs. Back when Windows VMs were more a daily part of my life, I might have really had a use for this; now I’m just sort of curious about it.

From the description:

libguestfs is a set of tools for accessing and modifying virtual machine (VM) disk images… libguestfs can access nearly any type of filesystem including: all known types of Linux filesystem (ext2/3/4, XFS, btrfs etc), any Windows filesystem (VFAT and NTFS), any Mac OS X and BSD filesystems, LVM2 volume management, MBR and GPT disk partitions, raw disks, qcow2, VirtualBox VDI, VMWare VMDK, CD and DVD ISOs, SD cards, and dozens more.

my first thought was that they had integrated a whole lot of libraries to support reading filesystems from disk images, layered perhaps on top of some libraries to support reading the various disk image formats. But they actually use a sorta more interesting approach: they use qemu to boot a little VM that attaches the target disk image and then acts as a server with which the library communicates to do its things. I assume (haven’t verified) that the little VM is based on a Linux kernel, for which drivers are available for a lot of that stuff. ‘course, depending on how abstract you want to be, you could consider the two approaches to be the same, with different meanings of the term ‘libraries’ and different sorts of layering. Anyway, it’s an approach I’ll have to keep in the back of my mind in case there are other problems where it can be applied…


Nosy phone

Did I ever share my little vision of future phones that listen in and contribute to conversations? When voice recognition and some basic conversational AI are well-developed, I can imagine that phones would listen to the conversations, both calls and environmental conversations (when they’re sitting on the table between two people), and constantly scan for some sort of question they could answer.

Just now someone asked me in a call “What time is it?”. Of course, I had to look at my phone to answer that, so it’s sorta obvious that a nosy phone could answer that one. But the scope could be much larger than that with Internet-connected phones running little background searches for anything interesting and piping in with answers.

Futurama had a good bit about that, though the computer wasn’t in portable form. See number 12 here.