Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2006 December 2

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Computing desk
< December 1 << Nov | December | Jan >> December 3 >
Welcome to the Wikipedia Computing Reference Desk Archives
The page you are currently viewing is an archive page. While you can leave answers for any questions shown below, please ask new questions on one of the current reference desk pages.

December 2[edit]

Good Audio Players[edit]

Are there any good audio players for GNU/Linux that come in Deb packages with customizable effects like crossfade, stereo widening, or something like the Winamp SPS (you can program your own effect)? Every single audio player I've looked at only plays audio, no effects. Thanks --wj32 talk | contribs 00:51, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Amarok supports crossfading and a bunch of nifty things, though I'm not sure it's exactly what you want. There's also the old standard, XMMS, which has plugins (i.e. Crossfade plugin); Audacious Media Player; and naturally several others. You might also have success running foobar2000 with WINE, though that obviously breaks your initial requirement that it comes in a Deb package. -- Consumed Crustacean (talk) 01:07, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Mmm, I can't get the volume to change on XMMS-related players like Audacious and Beep... --wj32 talk | contribs 04:37, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Similar Media Players to Windows Media Player[edit]

I'm considering moving to Linux but one thing that's bothering me is losing out on Windows Media Player. I've gone through a few other players (WinAmp, VLC etc.) and they all have their advantages but the one thing that keeps me with WMP is the Media Library. I know there's a few Linux media players which are similar to iTunes in this respect but does anybody know of any software that is similar to WMP 10, since it doesn't seem to work too well with Wine. --Kiltman67 04:12, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

yep, for KDE Amarok is the player of choice. --frothT C 03:15, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Amarok does seem to be the closest to WMP that I've seen but is there a GNOME version? I'm using Ubuntu --Kiltman67 06:27, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Amarok will work under GNOME. It might take a little longer to load, as well as using more memory, and you'll have to install Qt if you don't have it already; probably not noticeable issues with a modern computer. There are alternatives though; Exaile, Rhythmbox, Banshee, and probably others. I haven't tried any of these, so I can't vouch for stability or anything. All of them seem to be in sub 1.0 releases. -- Consumed Crustacean (talk) 07:55, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

GFX Card Upgrade[edit]

I am thinking about upgrading an older Nvidia PCX 5750 to another graphics card with more memory (currently 128MB) and a higher clock speed (475mhz Core 550mhz Memory). Will a new video card (possibly a 7600GS with 512MB mem) have any large effect on improved gameplay and graphics rendering, or does the CPU have more of an effect on this? In other words, would upgrading my processor have a larger effect on gameplay than upgrading my GFX card? Help would be much appreciated. Thank you Mango Sango 05:38, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

It depends on what the CPU upgrade difference is but I think probably you'll get most for your money by buying a decent 3d card if you already have a modern CPU --frothT C 06:15, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the advice, I think i'll probably upgrade the GFX card (it does seem cheaper than upgrading the CPU). One question still plagues me: does the graphics card have a larger effect on gameplay than the cpu? I heard somewhere that upgrading your cpu will result in improved game performance. How does this actually work? ("this" as in the CPU's job in the process of rendering a frame and having it appear on a monitor).--Mango Sango 06:43, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
The CPU tracks the game engine, bullets flying (hit detection), often the sound rendering, user input, stuff like that. Basically the only thing that the graphics card is good for is holding the gigantic 3d representations of the level and the models in its memory, doing operations on them like transforms and stuff, and mostly rendering effects like shading and reflections and shadows and lighting. This takes titanic processing power (that's why it has its own dedicated hardware) so while it sounds like the CPU does the most practical work -and it does-, what work the graphics card does is extremely intensive. You'll be able to turn your graphics settings (texture quality, resolution, and AF/FSAA are the most noticable changes) way up and maybe play some more advanced games, though moving up in the game-generation bracket from a mediocre computer usually takes a full system overhaul (mostly a more powerful cpu, though it can also involve a memory upgrade - and of course the gpu upgrade) --frothT C 08:01, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Thanks alot, that made much more sense than the Wikipedia article on GPUs--Mango Sango 16:07, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Depends what you mean by "gameplay" - some games are way more power hungry than others. If you're playing anything in real-time for example first-person shooters, you would certainly need a bump up. Don't forget than RAM makes a huge difference as well, just bumping your system up to say 512M or even better 1G would make a surprising difference. I've recently upgraded my card from a 5700 to a 6600 and found I could suddenly play games like Need for Speed at a higher resolution, native to my LCD monitor. A 7600GS would certainly bring you up to date with most games at a decent resolution, even with anti-aliasing and vsync turned on. Importantly, you don't need to upgrade your system to support PCI-x; I've even seen a 7800GT advertised for older AGP 8x systems. Sandman30s 12:12, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
vsync isn't necessarily a performance hit; it's highly dependent on card architecture and especially the API (direct3d/opengl). --frothT C 04:55, 6 December 2006 (UTC)


"Sir, when i use the internet and visit websites for different purpose or when i search something in search engines and select the most benefit website for me then in some of the websites there are porn seens or pictures or vedios that heated me, so what's the solution of stop the displaying of these things or enable me to use these things in any type of website that i visit?"-- 10:53, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Filtering software like NetNanny might help to filter out the things that shouldn't be seen. x42bn6 Talk 17:32, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

If some one user is using my system and he search some porn things etc(vedios,pictures etc), how to save totaly his works so that he is not able to do such type of things?-- 03:09, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

To stop popups and ads try AdBlock. If you want to log internet access, buy a router that lets you do that --frothT C 03:16, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Creative Labs Sound Cards[edit]

So, I'm putting together a computer, and I need to buy a soundcard, but I have absolutely no idea what to go with . . .

I know a fair amount about audio, but I'm having trouble wading through the differences of some of Creative's new sound cards.

Could someone explain to me the difference between these?:

  • Audigy 2 ZS Platinum
  • Audigy 4 Pro
  • X-Fi Platinum
  • X-Fi Xtreme
  • Audigy 4

Also, which of these is better (if any are demonstrably better)?

Also, would any (or all) of these would support listening to separate audio streams simultaneously via speakers and headphones (as required in many DJ applications)?

I've been scouring the web for hours, but I'm just not turning much up on this one. The Jade Knight 11:35, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

If you are planning to DJ, Sound Blaster is probably not your best bet. Try M-Audio, a company that specializes in digital audio for DJs, musicians, and technicians. Droud 14:32, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Unfortunately, their cards appear to be either/or as well; standard 1/8" + surround sound options, OR 4 I/O (as would be useful for DJing). I'm looking for a lower-scale solution; a card I can plug my headphones into and listen to audio through the headphones at the same time I can output audio to speakers (via any output type). Do any of the Creative cards do this? Do all of them? 23:42, 2 December 2006 (UTC) (jade knight)
I would suggest buying two inexpensive cards and not worrying about whether an expensive one supports discrete channel output. Droud 18:12, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Can you use two separate soundcards without any sort of problems? I'll have an additional soundcard as well as the on-board audio, and if it's as simple as having two cards, I could do that. I thought I heard once that this doesn't work so well, though. The Jade Knight 08:26, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Audigy is very good, I don't know much about the model numbers but it looks like the "highest" version is Audigy 4 Pro --frothT C 19:28, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

The X-Fi is Creative's premier sound card, which has essentially replaced the Audigy. It's an excellent card for music listening and game sound, but I'm not sure how well it will work for DJing. Robmods 12:22, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Oh, whoops. --frothT C 18:40, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Mixing software like Virtual DJ supports any old card even the rubbish that comes on laptops so I would not spend too much money on high-end sound cards if DJ'ing is your sole purpose. Of course if you want the best sound quality possible and you want to experience 3d/environmental effects from games and surround sound, then by all means the Audigy range is superb. I have the Audigy 2 ZS Platinum and it supports all game effects and 5 channels surround. Sandman30s 12:25, 4 December 2006 (UTC)
I managed to get a fantastic deal on that exact model, so it's what I went with. Can I use it with DJ apps to cue to headphones and send the mix out on another line, do you know? The Jade Knight 08:07, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

x86 and x64[edit]

I know that both x86 and x64 refer to processor achitectures and that x64 refers to the number of bits used for either the address or the data bus but what does x86 stand for? 17:21, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

x86 chips are called that because they're all descended from related to the Intel 8086. --Kjoonlee 18:03, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
It's called x86 because the early i386 (aka IA-32) processors' names ended with "86". x64 is a different architecture than x86 by the way, absolutely rebuilt from the ground up. --frothT C 19:27, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Actually, no. IA-64 is a completely new, incompatible architecture, but x64 usually (maybe always) refers to x86-64, which is based on and backward-compatible with IA-32. ~~ N (t/c) 22:49, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

But what does the "86" stand for? 21:07, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

I guess because it was after the Intel 8085 --frothTC 21:46, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
The basis for the designation seems a bit (no pun intended) inconsistent.. From the 8085 article: "The "5" in the model number came from the fact that the 8085 required only a +5-volt (V) power supply rather than the +5V, -5V and +12V supplies the 8080 needed." Following this logic the "6" in the 8086 designation should stand for +6 volts. 00:04, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
It's not 6V. Possibly the 6 is simply the next after 5 since 8086 is an improvement on 8085 or it could refer to fuller 16 bit support. There is rarely total logic in trade names. I imagine it was called 8086 because it was an obvious choice for the name. 13:54, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Made a mistake below - I've bracketed it. 13:44, 3 December 2006 (UTC)Correction - might not be a mistake. The 8086 apparently did have fuller 16 bit support.
there was a 8086 processor, then a 80386, then a 80486, the pentium was expected to be called 80586 - hence pent - pentagon:5 (geddit?). So x86 means a continuation of the type of instruction set architecture found in this series of microprocessors. {{The 8086 was a 16bit version of the 8080 (hence the 6)}}, the 8080 was a sucessor to the 8008 which was the 8 bit successor the the 4 bit 4004. And I guess that 4004 sounded like a great name for a cpu back in the 70's.
What? ... --frothT C 03:17, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
What,what????(is there a mistake?) 12:26, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Well I don't think the part about the numbers being based on the word size is accurate --frothT
Ive double bracketed the bit that I think might not be right {[thus]} 17:57, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

C 17:33, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

So the '86' doesn't really stand for anything - but you can trace the origin of the name x86.(apologies for any obvious errors made in my timeline.) 23:30, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
x86 refers specifically to 32 bit processors with floating point abilities (edit: coprocessors were used for floating point, but are required for "x86" software) that implement the IA-32 instruction set. This excludes most of the processors mentioned above and starts at Intel 80386 class processors, which were the successors to the 16 bit Intel 80286 processors. Droud 18:19, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
That article on IA-32 makes it clear that while IA-32 instructions will only run on a 32 bit processors (386 and up), previous 16 bit chips used the x86 architecture. So x86 doesn't refer specifically to 32 bit processors at all. --frothT C 18:39, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification, I was mistakenly defining "i386".  :o/ Droud 01:47, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
Note that AFAIK, only Microsoft and Windows use the x86/x64 distinction. I personally use Windows but prefer x32/x64. Some others, especially open source software use i386/AMD64. x86-32 and x86-64 is also common... Nil Einne 18:18, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

XML converter[edit]

What is the best XML to text file converter for windows XP 64 bit? Adaptron 17:28, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

XML files are human readable text files, sometimes with binary data embedded. If you'd like to examine one, try an XML reader like FireFox. Droud 18:05, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Should i be concerned?[edit]

I just bought a new PC and am very happy with it - thus far. It runs on Windows XP Home edition. I am not IT savvy, just a domestic user so would appreciate any advice here. When exploring the screen buttons, I pressed the Start Button and then SET PROGRAM ACCESS and DEFAULTS - and then pressed ADD/REMOVE WINDOWS COMPONENTS (just being curious-didn't intend adding or removing anything). I got a pop up message box that said "Setup Library ntoc.dll could not be loaded, or function NtOc Setup Procedure could not be found". My question is, is this something I should be concerned about or can I just forget it. If respondents tell me to I will reluctantly call the supplier (in Delhi) and spend an hour or two being guided by their help desk, but I would prefer not to if that can be avoided. Thanks.

You should have the file "ntoc.dll" on your hard drive. To locate it:
  • Click the "start" menu
  • Click "My Computer"
  • Double Click "Local Disk (C:)"
  • Click "Show the contents of this folder"
  • Right click the Windows folder
  • Click "Search..."
  • In the box labeled "All or part of the file name:" type "ntoc.dll" without quotes.
  • Click "Search"

Does it find the file?

If not, you need to get the dll from here.

  • Download the file to your desktop.
  • Click "My Computer"
  • Double Click "Local Disk (C:)"
  • Double click the "Windows" folder
  • Click "Show the contents of this folder"
  • Double click the "system32" folder
  • Click "Show the contents of this folder"
  • Double click the "setup" folder
  • Now move the "ntoc.dll" file from your desktop to this folder

Restart your computer and try opening the Add/Remove Windows Components window again. --Russoc4 19:52, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Thanks Russoc4. I did as you recommended, found the ntoc.dll file was already in the system32 setup folder, but the add remove windows components pop up message still keeps appearing. So I just did a system restore to the date I received the PC, the day before yesterday, in case I had inadvertently done something wrong, and got this message "the system cannot be restored to an earlier date as nothing on my system has changed". So I guess my system has been set up to disallow me from adding or removing windows components, though again, I have no express wish to do either? Maybe my PC has been configured to make it Foolproof, aka Meproof? But once again, thanks for your prompt and helpful advice.

Well you can always try going to Start, Run and typing
regsvr32 c:\windows\system32\ntoc.dll
--frothT C 21:43, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Thanks Froth - Tried that as you suggested but got "Failed - the specified module could not be found".
Thanks Russoc4 and also you Froth. I seem to have solved the problem. I checked the folders in Windows on my mother-in-law's PC (she is 82) and found that whilst she had a folder called System 32 that contained 16 dll files including the "reportedly missing" ntoc.dll file; my PC had an additional Setup folder under Windows itself that also contained the same 16 dll files. So I actually had the same Setup Folder and contents located twice in different places, one under Windows, and the other under System 32. So I just deleted the Setup folder and its contents from Windows, leaving only the Setup folder in System 32, and so far, all is well and I am now able to run "Add/Remove Windows Components" - not that I want to, you understand, but at least now I have solved the problem. So thanks yet again. It's good to have such willing and tolerant advice.
Does anyone know whether simply deleted dlls are automatically unregistered? Not that it matters but I'm curious from an efficiency standpoint --frothT C 18:36, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

dead PSU fan: epilogue..[edit]

I replaced the PSU: everything is ok, but the PC does'nt turns off any longer the fans when I switch to stand-by mode.. --Ulisse0 20:22, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Is this the case with all the fans (PSU, CPU, graphics card if it has one...) or just the PSU fan? I don't see how it could affect the CPU fan turning off (unless the system isn't actually going into standby anymore - again, hard to see how that could be possible), but the new PSU could easily not be designed to turn off the fan when suspending (in fact, I'm pretty sure my parents' desktop's doesn't). ~~ N (t/c) 22:46, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Odds are that when you unplugged the machine off to change the fan it lost some BIOS settings. Make sure all the relevant APCI widgets are switched on. Sockatume 23:48, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Wouldn't this only happen if the backup battery were dead? In fact, if it were dead, wouldn't it happen every time the computer was switched off? How old is the motherboard? ~~ N (t/c) 00:00, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

The motherboard is 4 years old. The fan I'm speaking of are PSU and CPU one. (GPU has no one). --Ulisse0 21:48, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

DVD Ripper[edit]

What can I use as a free or open source DVD decoder / ripper? I want to put DVDs into divx format. Thanks, Mike

use DVD Decrypter to rip the VOB files, and mencoder to encode in mpeg4. Unless you want to spend half an hour reading through the docs, the usage is
mencoder whatever.vob -o out.mpeg -oac mp3lame -ovc lavc -lavcencopts vcodec=mpeg4:vbr=600:vpass=1
mencoder whatever.vob -o out.mpeg -oac mp3lame -ovc lavc -lavcencopts vcodec=mpeg4:vbr=600:vpass=2
replace 600 with a different bitrate cap if you want, but 600kbps is a good number --frothT C 21:15, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Does mencoder do windows? You can use AutoGK to do the same thing with a graphical interface. Downloading it from here. --Russoc4 00:31, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Yeah there are mencoder binaries for windows. And I don't like how GK and autogk install all of their components all over the place. --frothT C 03:11, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
I usually don't like that either, but it's not that bad if you take a good look at where it's going. Personal preference I guess. --Russoc4 04:20, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Looking for automated way to define a list of words.[edit]

I own a windows computer and am looking for automated way to define a list of words. I have a list of about 650 words and need to define each of them. I was wondering if there was a program/website that could be used to do this automatically.

Outgoing UDP to port 0[edit]

When Azureus is downloading torrents, Norton Antivirus keeps telling me it's blocked "intrusion attempts" that amount to my computer trying to open a UDP connection to another address's port 0. Does this indicate a bug in Azureus or something wrong on the BitTorrent network? Is it a false alarm or is Norton right to block it? In the worst case scenario, what harm could an outgoing UDP connection to port 0 cause? NeonMerlin 21:30, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

In *nix systems it can take on special meaning (see here for a basic explanation) but port 0 is traditionally reserved, meaning that it's not used at all for anything legitimate, though technically it's usable --frothT C 21:36, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
It looks like this is the result of stupid people setting their BitTorrent clients to use port 0, and not something to be worried about. ~~ N (t/c) 22:22, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

First dual-processor motherboard?[edit]

I'm writing a paper on parallel programming on personal computers, and I'm having a difficult time finding which manufacturer created the first PC that could use two processors. I've checked the dual processor and motherboard pages, to no avail. Where can I find it?

If it helps, according to Unisys, the Burroughs B5000 was the first dual-processor and dual-memory computer, introduced in 1961.--Folksong 03:37, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
To be picky, that wouldn't really qualify as a PC though. Unfortunately, I have no idea who really made the first dual-processor PC, but I think the lowest odds are held by either Intel or possibly some university (as a research project). TERdON 16:28, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

P2P optimized for LAN with churn[edit]

Are there any peer-to-peer file-sharing programs designed to operate on a LAN with no central server and heavy churn, e.g. a school wireless network with many people logging on and off frequently? ~~ N (t/c) 22:26, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Sharing programs aside (try to find an old Nullsoft program called WASTE), a wireless network topology is horrible for P2P file sharing. Just a handful of users transferring files will bring a wireless network to its knees. Droud 01:50, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

youtube video insertion[edit]

how can i insert a video on youtube? Which is the best camera for it?

You can create an account and upload a video at this link. I imagine the best camera would be anything that takes high-quality digital video, although you could also use an analog camcorder if you have video capture hardware. ~~ N (t/c) 23:58, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
I've seen some pretty low-quality images uploaded from cell phones. User:Zoe|(talk) 02:48, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

component/vga compatabilty[edit]

I've become aware of cables designed for a (HD15)VGA input that are terminated with 3 RCA plugs/sockets. So this must mean that the sync signal is in one of the 'rgb' signals, and there is no separate h-sync or v-sync. eg Sony SDM-E76D [[1] see 'supplied accessories']

My question is this - what uses or how common is a '3 wire' signal for connection to VGA, and could this be compatable with component signals ala DVD outputs etc.

I'll just be grateful if someone can explain the purpose of such a connector - as they are new to me. 22:32, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Hello, the cables you speak of are for using a device with a VGA output, such as a computer or a projector, with a display that is equipped with component video, as long as it supports RGB output in addition to YPbPr. It is not possible to use it in reverse though, since a VGA equipped computer monitor only accepts signals in RGB (unless the input explicitly supports YPbPr). If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me on my talk page. Regards, --Folksong 03:01, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
So why is it (3RCA to HD15) supplied with a VGA monitor? 12:18, 3 December 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps the monitor in question is designed to accept component inputs, does the VGA side of the connect match the monitor gender? Droud 01:52, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
No idea what gender the rca plugs are - though female would work if I already had some composite leads.. There's a link to the specific monitor above - but I thought that if it had component video capability that would be a selling point and so clearly alluded to. I didn't spot any mention of component here [[2] Yours confused.. 18:42, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
Oh VGA side.. No idea though in my experience supplied leads are always directly usuable with the device so I say tentatively yes. (If it didn't that would be doubly useless yes?) 18:45, 5 December 2006 (UTC)