Category Archives: virtualmachines

VirtualBox – blank screen

I just had a VirtualBox client machine start but the window it was running in was blank. I fiddled around for a while and then waited. Still nothing in the client machine window but blackness.

I looked at the logs held by VirtualBox and there was nothing that looked unusual, although there’s a lot in those logs and I never normally read them so plenty of scope for overlooking something significant.

Then I tried to ssh into the client machine, fully expecting this to fail. It worked!

Then I found this web page and it mentioned Display Memory. Well I knew the display memory had been good the last time I used the VM so I couldn’t see how that was a problem ? But in fact when I went into settings I discovered the Display Memory had been changed to 1MB. My sticky fingers at work I guess ? Regardless I gave it 128MB and closed down the machine through the SSH session, then restarted and, bang !, the machine’s display was back working as it should have been.

Long story short if your Virtualbox machine is blank go and check the Display Memory settings.

Openshift client tools install instructions are wrong for Ubuntu 14.x

Openshift client tools install instructions are wrong for Ubuntu 14.x


This is a short post to provide a correction to the Openshift getting started instructions for Ubuntu for those using Ubuntu 14.x


What follows concerns Ruby and what I know about Ruby could be written on the back of an envelope.


I have an Ubuntu 14.x headless box and I want to make use of the Openshift client tools from it. The Ubuntu machine had never had Ruby installed on it previously and the Openshirt client tools makes use of Ruby so I had to install that.

What do they say ?

Under the heading “Setting up the OpenShift Environment on Ubuntu” you’re told to install Ruby from scratch like this :

$ sudo apt-get install ruby-full rubygems git-core

When I tried that I got :

$ sudo gem install rhc
[sudo] password for rshea:
ERROR:  While executing gem ... (Zlib::DataError)
incorrect header check

So what do you do ?

With help from this Stackoverflow question I adapted the initial command to read

$ sudo apt-get install ruby-full rubygems-integration git-core

Then a bit more

The documentation does tell you to do the following to update your Ruby stack:

$ sudo gem install rubygems-update
$ sudo update_rubygems

It’s a bit odd the way this is tucked away at the bottom as it seems to have been necessary since Ubuntu 11.10. After that I was able to run

$ sudo gem install rhc

followed by

$ rhc setup

After that everything worked as it should.

VMWare Console Timeouts

VMWare and Timing Out

VMWare and Console Timeouts


Avoiding the  “Cannot access virtual machine console. The request timed out” message in VMWare Server Console pane


This explains how to get around a problem it seems a few people have in VMWare Server. I’ve no idea why it helps but it does !

My Problem

Today I’ve been using VMWare Server for the first time. I set up a new Virtual Machine and wanted to boot Ubuntu Server as a VM. The log messages seemed to suggest everything was going well but when I tried to use the Console within the VMWare Server to configure my new guest OS I would get the message “Cannot access virtual machine console. The request timed out” … again … and … again … and … again ! Very frustrating.

I tried a lot of things – read a lot of documentation and then I stumbled on a way around the problem.


Within the VMWare Server control panel is a link “Generate Virtual Machine Shortcut”. I’m not sure why I did this but I used that option to generate a URL and then loaded the URL into a different browser. The resulting screen looks pretty similar to the VMWare Server control panel I’d been staring at for a while but for some reason when I tried to use the console it just worked !

As I say I don’t know why but I hope it helps someone who’s bashing their head against this.


For what it’s worth I’m using Vista Ultimate as the host OS, Ubuntu 8.4.4 Server as the guest OS and VMWare Server 2.0.2.