February 5, 2009

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A thousand ways that didn’t work

I spent the entire afternoon trying to figure out how I can do a live teleconference with screensharing so that I can show people actual Drupal tips and tricks instead of handwaving through a bunch of slides. Rube Goldberg would probably have approved of all the different things I tried. Unfortunately, none of them worked. <sigh>

The web conference application-sharing feature is only available on Internet Explorer. My development environment is definitely Linux-based. Here are all the things I tried:

  • I thought of running my existing Linux partition within Windows as a virtual machine, but I couldn’t find a free way to work with raw disk partitions with a Windows host.
  • I thought of using VNC to connect my Linux laptop to a Windows desktop, which would then be in charge of running the web conference. I _think_ it works… but I can’t view the shared screen on Linux, and we don’t have another Windows . Maybe there’s something wrong with the version of Java integrated into my browser.
  • I tried booting to Linux and running Windows inside a VM, but the VMWare Server I had just installed didn’t seem to have a way to create an image that uses an existing partition.
  • I eventually figured out how to create a SCSI passthrough device, but I got “Disk read error” when trying to boot Windows from Grub.
  • I found an older copy of VMWare Server on my hard disk. I remembered getting this to work before, and after some fiddling, I got Windows to boot again. Except I’d forgotten my Windows password.
  • After I reset my password, I booted Windows again as a virtual machine. It was really, really slow, and there was no way I was going to be able to run that, Eclipse, Emacs, Firefox, and the LAMP stack without speaking… really… slowly…
  • And somewhere along the way, I managed to break my Lotus Notes installation – I must’ve upgraded or uninstalled one of the libraries it wants. I’ll need to fix that tonight.

It was an exercise in frustration, but I needed to probe this to see if it was doable. I guess it’ll be back to slides for the teleconference, with more details in blog posts or recordings. For my talk at DrupalCon, I can do it live from Linux (assuming I get the projector stuff sorted out).

Ah… It’s a really good thing that W- and J- are so good at cheering me up! =)