Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2007 December 15

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December 15[edit]

What is the name the computer we (most of users) use??[edit]

What is the name of the computer that we use, many people name him pc, but pc means personal computer, and him is not the only personal computer that existed (talk) 00:47, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

I don't think there is a single good answer for all contexts. Plain "PC" is commonly used, but overbroad. "PeeCee" has been used to specify the narrower meaning, but seems to be generally pejorative. Wintel is another possibility if you consider the ability to run MS Windows as the defining characteristic of this class of machines (which may inadvertently exclude some of the earliest ancestors, and inadvertently include the newest Macintoshes). The historical name, IBM PC compatible, is nicely descriptive, but not popular anymore (probably because makers of these machines don't like to emphasize the fact that their basic design is that old). --tcsetattr (talk / contribs) 01:07, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
The history is that all small computers (like Apple II, TRS-80 and Commadore PET) were called "Personal Computers" - then, when IBM came out with their first small computer, they called it the "IBM Personal Computer" - which got shortened to IBM PC. This machine became spectacularly popular - and pretty soon there were people making clones of it, which were generally called by the name of the manufacturer plus "PC" - so we had the Amstrad PC 512 for example. Generically, these were all "PC-compatibles" - which gradually got shortened back to "PC" again. So by a long process of name lengthening and shortening, we have PC's - and Mac's (which while they are Personal Computers - are NOT PC's!). Technically, we should only use the term "PC" for the hardware of the computer - but alarmingly, there is a tendancy for some people to talk about "Software that runs on the PC" - when they really mean "Software that runs under Windows on a PC". This is alarming because we also have Linux and various BSD-Unixen that also run on the PC - which typically won't run Windows software - so misusing the term PC in this way makes talking about this kind of thing much harder! SteveBaker (talk) 14:52, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

OpenOffice 1.1 > .doc files: conversion en masse[edit]

I have a folder containing subfolders containing OpenOffice files which I'd like to convert to .doc files or .pdf files. I would not like to do each conversion manually. Can I feed the folder into a program that will make a batch conversion automatically on all files within the subfolders? --Seans Potato Business 01:21, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

I found a Python script which does that for you. This OOO-wiki article may also be helpful. ›mysid () 12:51, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm using Windows XP... gave up on Linux a while ago after spending months trying to get all sorts of different things working (with limited success). --Seans Potato Business 22:51, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Huh? OpenOffice and Python run fine under Windows. When people suggest gently pressing the accelerator pedal, do you reply "I'm driving a Ford. I gave up on Chevy ..." :-) ? -- (talk) 07:53, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
But the script linked to contains lines like /usr/lib/ooo-2.0/program --Seans Potato Business 18:01, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

can linux run windows programs?[edit]

Can I run windows games on linux? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:55, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Possibly yes, through the use of the Wine compatibility layer. It's a good idea to consult the Wine AppDb to determine if your game is playable on Wine. Splintercellguy (talk) 05:44, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
WINE certainly allows you to run quite a lot of Windows software - but it's fairly poor at games because they rely heavily on Windows graphics libraries that don't have an exact counterpart under Linux. So you might be lucky - you might not. Alternatively, there are quite a few systems out there to let you run Windows INSIDE a Linux window, so at least you don't have to reboot into Windows to run your game. SteveBaker (talk) 14:33, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
...such as QEMU. ›mysid () 15:50, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
He said windows games, so unless he has 8 cores and 16GB of memory, that's not the way to go --ffroth 20:50, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
You don't want an "emulator" - those are very slow. You need something like VMware which is a 'virtualization' layer that literally runs both operating systems at the same time. Sadly, you still need to have Windows installed on the machine to do that - but at least you don't have to keep rebooting from one to another - and you can still do stuff like deal with your email WHILE the game is running under Windows. (Check Comparison_of_virtual_machines). Nifty stuff. SteveBaker (talk) 04:32, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Wine is not actually an emulator. It does interpret some library calls to redirect them to the appropriate Linux equivalent, but that's mostly it.(mostly.) On programs that work with Wine (and only some do) they often wind up being as fast, or (rarely) even faster than they do on windows. Some programs run slower, of course. I've noticed that disk access seem to be a bit slower in Wine, so that's something to keep in mind, depending on the application. If we're talking about games I recommend Wine's closed-source cousin, Cedega which is similar, but can also handle programs containing DirectX calls, and is specificaly tuned to work well with many big-name titles. I don't want to give the impression that either of these programs work perfectly, but properly configured they can do pretty well. (talk) 15:52, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

In addition to those, lots of games have been ported to Linux - Doom 3, the Quake series, the Unreal Tournament series, and pretty many others. So if you want to try some new games you could buy some new ones, or download free ports of some games. And Wine Is Not an Emulator, and I've actually found it to be of comparable speed to my old windows installation - though I never tried it with games. - brian —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:07, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Let's not forget Cedega "which is designed specifically for running games written for Microsoft Windows under Linux". It is not free, though - in fact, I personally have found it to be ridiculously expensive. -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 10:12, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

IPX on Vista[edit]

Is there anyway to get IPX to work on windows vista so I can play games over a LAN? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:06, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

It seems there is officially no way to get it to work. But you may want to try these instructions I found (at your own risk of course). ›mysid () 12:44, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Easyjet and Paypal are spamming me[edit]

I'm getting unwanted email from easyjet and paypal. Doesn't the EU have a law requiring easy unsubscribing methods? Why don't they have to have a link at the bottom? By far, that's the easiest method. Is there no law requiring this? I've logged into both website, unchecked all the relevant options I can find with no effect. Aren't they breaking the law? To whom can I report this? --Seans Potato Business 03:57, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Those emails might be fishing attempts. Be careful not to click any links in them. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:26, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Yes, most probably they are phishing emails with counterfeit sender addresses. Those people don't care about the EU or the law. ›mysid () 12:47, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
To be completely clear: Firstly it is almost certain that these emails are NOT from EasyJet or PayPal - please don't blame those sites. These emails are from some criminal pretending to be them in order to pursuade you to visit a fake version of those web sites and enter personal data such as bank accounts that would allow the criminal to extract money from your account. This is called 'phishing'. Accordingly: DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS IN ANY OF THOSE EMAILS! DO NOT REPLY TO THESE EMAILS! No legitimate online service is ever going to ask you to do this kind of thing. Furthermore - being criminals - they aren't going to respect any efforts you make to try to stop them. Notably, if there are "unsubscribe" links they either won't work - or are actually a part of the scam. If you click on them, it will make the criminal believe that you were actually taken in by his scam - so he'll try again with even more vigor to try to scam you. Expect to see emails that appear to come from all sorts of legitimate businesses. I even got one claiming to be from the Wikipedia donation system claiming that I needed to provide more information...yeah - right! You can't stop these from coming - you simply have to ignore them. If you have a decent email client (I use "Thunderbird"), you can 'train' it to toss out the vast majority of this junk automatically...and in some cases warn you when you get an email that's likely to be a scam. SteveBaker (talk) 14:26, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Very good advice from Steve, BUT if you have previously used EasyJet and Paypal, the mails might be legitimate. You might have signed up to recieve "newsletters and offers" when creating your user account with these organisations. DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINKS IN THE EMAIL but you might want to visit the "your account" pages at Easyjet and PayPay and change your account settings to stop newsletters and the like. Astronaut (talk) 20:46, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

• A good way to 'find out' is set up a new email address, and foward your emails from the contacts you have. This will send all legitimate emails to a new inbox, so even if your email client feeds em to your inbox, only your address book names will reach the other inbox. (talk) 01:44, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Downloading problem[edit]

Hi I just was wondering how to dowload from this site. I want dslfor my old computer but i dont know how to download from that site [[1]] —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tiggerthecharles (talkcontribs) 08:05, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

You will have to pick one of the mirrors. Specifically, the file you most probably want is () 12:36, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

WinXP Display Properties - Desktop tab freezing[edit]

All of a sudden, the Display Properties dialog box on my computer has decided to chuck a tantrum, and now I can't get into the Desktop tab. All the other tabs in the dialog work fine, but every time I click on the Desktop tab, the dialog freezes and I have to force quit it. Any suggestions on how to fix this? (I'm running Windows XP SP2, by the way.) --Lumina83 (talk) 09:10, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Anyone? Surely someone out there knows how to fix this? --Lumina83 (talk) 08:47, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Firefox plugin idea[edit]

Good morning/evening, everyone. I've been thinking, is there a plugin for Firefox that would do the following: Say I'm visiting a website and find a word or phrase that I'd like to look up somewhere. I'd select it with the mouse cursor, right click and in the popup menu I'd have an option to search the phrase in Google, Wikipedia, what have you... and the other service would pop up in a new tab with the search results. Is there something like this? Just curious. Cheers, enjoy the weekend! --Ouro (blah blah) 14:32, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Try Mozilla Add-ons' list of search extensions. Something like SearchWith? --h2g2bob (talk) 16:33, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Oh, thanks, I'll look over there. --Ouro (blah blah) 18:34, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
That hit the spot! Thanks a bunch, h2g2bob! --Ouro (blah blah) 18:37, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Firefox 2.0 already has this feature built in. Select a word or multiple words, right-click the selection, and on of your options on the menu is "Search Google for <whatever text you selected>". The search engine is whatever search engine you have selected on the search toolbar. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:00, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

UDF ?[edit]

I've a zipped file on my computer. If I try to unzip it there only appears a text file saying:

"This disc contains a "UDF" file system and requires an operating system that supports the ISO-13346 "UDF" file system specification."

My OS is Windows XP. Also, because it speaks about a "disk", I'm afraid I should have originally burned the file on some CD/DVD. Is there anything easy to be done? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:07, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Universal Disk Format is a file system for DVDs, just like FAT and NTFS are for regular hard drives. I'm not an expert at this matter, but I guess your file is actually a disk image of some sort ripped from a CD or DVD. Does it have a weird extension like .iso or .nrg? And how big is the file? Admiral Norton (talk) 18:56, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Ugh, nobody would have problems if the world used WinRAR --ffroth 20:49, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm not at my own computer now, but I can remember its size was about 2 gigabytes. The extension was probably .iso (?), since Windows decided to call the format "PowerArchiver ISO (somestuff)" or something like that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:02, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps the Loop device article will provide some clues. --tcsetattr (talk / contribs) 21:27, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
If it is a disk image, you could try mounting it with I seem to recall it mounting udf files and it will definitely mount .iso. - bwe —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:12, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

What software to use? InfoGraphical document[edit]

What options do I have to create such infographical docs?


[[2]]48 KB [[3]]36 KB [[4]]27 KB

Of course, I don't want a program like Illustrator that gives you the chance to start from scratch. I am searching for a point-and-drag solution.

Thanks in advance. (talk) 15:49, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

While any SVG program will do great for those, I'd probably end up using Dia. It is tailored to diagrams. -- kainaw 16:35, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Printing off Googlebooks[edit]

How do I print off pages from books I've found on Googlebooks? DuncanHill (talk) 17:17, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

If it's a book you can download, download it and print it. If not, take a screenshot, print that. Otherwise, you're not supposed to print the pages off, so trying to just save them or print them won't work. -- (talk) 19:25, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks - it's just rather annoying to have to download a whole book when all I need is a printout of a page or two. DuncanHill (talk) 01:46, 16 December 2007 (UTC)


I'm currently connecting through a big ISP. Is there a way to use a proxy to conceal my identity from the ISP and the outer Internet? If it matters, the ISP uses dynamic IP. Admiral Norton (talk) 19:07, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

You will appear to be the proxy (masking your identity as long as the proxy's not compromised by hackers/police) to the outside internet. To your ISP, it will appear that all of your connections are going from you to one server (the proxy), so it's obvious you're using a proxy. If they have deep packet inspection equipment (it wouldn't even have to be deep; they probably have dedicated equipment to just strip out proxy forwarding requests from HTTP headers for law enforcement purposes) they can also see where you're using the proxy to go, which I guess is another place your anonymity could be compromised. Note that nobody will be fooled here; it's trivial to "the outside internet" to see an incoming IP address and find out that it's hosting a proxy serve, but they can't see who's behind it if the server is well-secured. --ffroth 20:48, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. Admiral Norton (talk) 21:06, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

DIV and SPAN question[edit]

I'm trying to create a page with a set of boxes on the left side in an alternating arrangement. I could do this very easily with TABLE tags but that would not only be clunky but it wouldn't really work right if the user had CSS disabled (I want the page to fail gracefully). Anyway I'm trying something like this:

        <div id="boxes">
        <div class="box" id="bx1"></div><div class="box" id="bx2"></div><br/>
        <div class="box" id="bx2"></div><div class="box" id="bx1"></div><br/>
        <div class="box" id="bx1"></div><div class="box" id="bx2"></div><br/>
        <div class="box" id="bx2"></div><div class="box" id="bx1"></div><br/>

With the divs set to have a fixed height and width (150px by 150px). It doesn't work right, though. Instead of being side-by-side the DIV elements only want to sit on top of each other vertically. Not really what I want. I've tried playing around with block vs. inline elements but inline elements—which can live side-by-side—cannot have their heights and widths set, apparently. What's the CSS solution here? I'm pulling my hair out. It seems like it shouldn't be too hard. -- (talk) 19:23, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Probably adding something like {float: left;} would do the trick. Also, to make the (X)HTML valid the id attribute would have to be different for every box. --Dave the Rave (DTR)talk 19:42, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Also, having re-read what you said, I'd recommend adding something like div#boxes br {clear: left;}. --Dave the Rave (DTR)talk 22:19, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
You know you want them all to be 150px wide and sit left to right. So, set position:relative and set the left:0px on the first one, left:150px on the next one, left 300px on the next one... Relative positions can be clunky, so you will probably want to opt for position:absolute. Then, you'll want to set your main content div to absolute and position it where it needs to go. -- kainaw 20:26, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Divs can't sit next to each other. You can float them, which works but is nasty, or you can just make them inline elements like spans. See the display property to heal all your woes --ffroth 22:23, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
(ec) Floats aren't nasty when properly used! Inline elements you can't set the height of the element, just like what the OP had said. I personally don't like setting position unless I really have to, as it doesn't fail very gracefully. To the OP, you need to use classes instead of ids, but I still don't quite understand what you're trying to do. Are you trying to have a table-like thing with 8 boxes arranged to 2×4 arrangement, or have a bunch of boxes on one side while the content is on the other side in 1 big box? In the first case, I would just use <table> and be done with it, since the data is in table form, and that's how you're supposed to use it. If you insist on CSS, I would group the divs in rows first, and set floats to the divs inside, like this:


<div class="boxes">
    <div> <!-- Row 1 -->
        <div class="box bx1"></div>
        <div class="box bx2"></div>
    <div> <!-- Row 2 -->
        <div class="box bx1"></div>
        <div class="box bx2"></div>
    <div> <!-- Row 3 -->
        <div class="box bx1"></div>
        <div class="box bx2"></div>


.box {
width: 150px;
height: 150px;

.bx1 {
//Or left, depends on what you want
float: right; 

If it's the latter case, you don't have to split your content up, just have a bunch of floating boxes before the content and you're done. Remember though, floated content must always come before non-floated content.--antilivedT | C | G 22:40, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

SVG Images[edit]

Can any SVG images be opened and altered as if they were saved in some image editor's proprietary format? Like suppose you made a picture of a circle and saved it as SVG, can I open it and stretch it out into an eclipse, leaving any other parts of the image untouched? Seans Potato Business 22:46, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Yes, you can modify individual elements independently in SVG. --antilivedT | C | G 23:54, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Note that Inkscape is a free and good vector graphics editor that saves as SVG by default. You should download it and give it a whirl. --Sean 00:39, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Yep, you can even edit it in Notepad, since it's just XML. (I'm replying to sean's potato business, stupid non-indent bullet users) --ffroth 06:05, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Be more polite. I'm not stupid; bullets do indent, and don't suffer the problem of two consecutive posts at the same indentation running together. --Sean 23:38, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
And at any rate, you can't realistically do nontrivial edits to SVG files, since they're even more opaque and non-human-editable than most XML files, in that SVG isn't really XML. —Steve Summit (talk) 04:57, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

installing windows XP onto a computer with Windows vista[edit]

Ok, so I hate Vista, as I'm pretty sure everyone who has ever used it does. I have a Windows XP disc and want to install XP onto my computer. When I try to do so, it says I cant because the version of windows that Im running is newer than the disc. How do I fix this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:50, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

See [5]. Agree 100% on the Vista thing, BTW. I like most stuff Microsoft puts out, but they seem to be really dropping the ball bigtime in the past few years (for a good reasoning why, see [6]). According to [7], the hard drive will be formatted anyway, so you might just format it yourself or uninstall Vista. Might try asking at the Microsoft forum, too. The Evil Spartan (talk) 01:54, 16 December 2007 (UTC)