Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2007 December 23

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December 23[edit]


If I do a whois query: it comes back "ERROR: IP Range Reserved by". What does that mean? —Moondyne 00:15, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Use instead. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 00:18, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Grabbing data[edit]

I am not a programmer. Are there any easy to use, automated ways of grabbing certain data off of a website and then taking that data and inputting it to another website? Both sites require a log in. Any help would be appreciated. (talk) 00:50, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

You definitely need some programming experience for these kind of things. Can you please elaborate more on your requirements of the tool before suggestions can be made? --antilivedT | C | G 00:54, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
If you were a programmer, there are libraries that make this sort of thing easier (I've used snoopy for PHP before, which is pretty useful), but to my knowledge there aren't any "easy to use" or "automated" ways of doing this which don't require at least scripting knowledge (and a good understanding of how HTML works, especially forms). The problem is that every web page is going to do things differently, and the information you want is probably stored differently on the site you want than on any other site, so coming up with "one size fits all" solutions is not usually feasible. But if someone knows better than I, I'd be happy to hear it! -- (talk) 03:11, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
Unless your website has a API, you're pretty much stuck with screen-scraping, which is bad for the website (bandwidth) and difficult to script. -Wooty [Woot?] [Spam! Spam! Wonderful spam!] 09:20, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
Is the bandwidth that bad? Whenever I do scraping I just pull the HTML text and not any of the images or other bandwidth-heavy things. Even if you're requerying a site 100 times, if the page is only 30K that's not really that much bandwidth, as far as things go (which is to say, for a lot of sites that is a lot less than if you just queried the site once with a regular browser). -- (talk) 14:55, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Keeping an HTA window on top[edit]

Good day wikipedians, i have written a small HTA to help me manage some repetitve tasks, and i was wondering how you can set it so that the HTA window will always be on top (like floating above other windows even if inactive).. Thanks a heap in advance :)

Unless I'm mistaken, HTAs are shown in IE browser windows. To my knowledge there's no way to tell a browser to stay-on-top using its own code (imagine what malicious webpage creators could do with that!), but if you google around for "application stay on top" you can find a few third-party applications that can make any window stay on top, presumably including the HTA's. -- (talk) 14:53, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

winners of super bowls and national championships[edit]

What players have won both a super bowl and a national championship in american college football?

You may find another reference desk page more helpful, this one is for computing-related questions. (talk) 13:41, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

dancer/sometime actress[edit]

I saw something about a dancer named Africa Miranda. It's also read that she is also an actress. Is everything true? Is there someone with this name? (talk) 14:06, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

There is a cute someone bearing this name, and her website is [1]. --Ouro (blah blah) 16:00, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
ObComp: STFW. —Tamfang (talk) 00:02, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

Stdout in C[edit]

Hi. I have four little C programs that have their standard inputs and outputs piped together, so that a feeds data to b, b feeds its data to c and c its own to d. They do this by using printf(). Only d can be directly quit by the user, as it contains the GUI. Is there any way I could have these programs to notice that the program they're feeding their stdout has been terminated? (This is a Linux system) ›mysid () 15:24, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

  • This will happen automatically, in that when they try to write to the closed program they will receive a SIGPIPE Unix signal. However, if they are buffering their output (as printf() will), it might not work as you expect. --Sean 16:48, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
    • They will only notice that the program has been closed until after they try to write to it. Sometimes this can make a difference. Also, within the limits of ISO standard C, this will lead to the program quitting. You can use the signal() function to make your program do something different when SIGPIPE happens, but then you're writing Unix-specific code. JIP | Talk 17:22, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
Thank you. Actually, it would have done that if I had really terminated the program d. All I did was close the window, and forgot to connect the GTK delete event to exit. ›mysid () 17:41, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

components of verbs[edit]

deleted because posted in wrong section: should be in language. don't know how I stuffed this up. The ibis in the corner (talk) 16:37, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Computer price difference[edit]

My father's company recently bought a new desktop PC for one employee. It has mostly the same specs as my new home desktop PC: a 3 GHz dual core CPU, 4 GB memory, 500 GB hard disk, DVD drive. The employee's PC has a better graphics card than mine and comes with Windows Vista and Small Business Office, while mine doesn't come with any software. Her PC is also a brand-name HP desktop, while mine is assembled from components. Her PC costs almost three and a half times as much as mine. What are the primary reasons for this huge price difference? JIP | Talk 16:44, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

One - brand PCs cost hugely more than self-assembled PCs. Two - better specs usually mean the equipment costs more, as does software, even when they say it's bundled for free. Three - her PC's costs cover labour costs, shipping and other such things that are not included in the price of the equipment you bought. --Ouro (blah blah) 16:49, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
The software costs go remarkably little to explain the differential. The costs (to a large system builder) of the OS and office platforms really aren't as high as a high-street consumer might believe. Even the single-use OEM license for Vista Ultimate costs less that half that of its retail counterpart - large makers get steep discounts from Microsoft (how steep is a trade secret, but it seems to go as low as about $20 US for XPpro, for example). And big builders subsidize their product further with all that "crapware" they ship - for each trialware antivirus or feature-limited DVD burner they get a couple of bucks from that software's maker (likewise for tie-ins with default search engines and dialup providers whose signup-apps are on the new machine's desktop). And they get co-marketing funding from Microsoft ("we recommend Windows Vista Gigantoslug Version" stickers on the PC and logos on their print ads, for example), which lowers their overall cost. So for a big system builder the OS is almost free and the office package a pretty modest cost. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 17:40, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
So the most important reason is that while her PC is a ready-made product from HP, shipped ready to operate and with full guarantee, mine is just a bag of components saying "you've bought these, now the rest is up to you, and if you break anything, tough luck"? JIP | Talk 17:53, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
More or less. Basically, few people buy the components separately to assemble because few people know how to put them together as they should and have the need to use a truly custom, powerful machine that they know the insides of - most of the population just needs 'a computer'. You have the freedom of choosing what you want exactly and have no sealed case preventing you from upgrading your PC by yourself. I've always had a custom machine - it's more convenient that way. --Ouro (blah blah) 18:41, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
I agree with you about people not knowing how to put a PC together. I know more about assembling PCs than the rest of my family put together and even I had trouble figuring out where to plug all the power supply cables to. The shop assembled the motherboard for me, but I've had to do everything else myself: the power supply, the IDE and SATA devices, and the fans. Sometimes I feel glad I work as a software developer and not as a sysadmin. Sysadmins don't have to worry about project deadlines but they do have to worry about pretty much everything else. JIP | Talk 19:19, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Safely remove hardware[edit]

Why shouldn't I just unplug the hardware from the USB port? --Taraborn (talk) 18:31, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Your OS (I assume Windows) might be buffering written data in memory to speed operations up. If you just unplug the device, data still in the buffer won't appear on the hardware itself. Safely removing the hardware forces the OS to flush all buffers onto the actual device. JIP | Talk 18:37, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
(ec)If the USB device is a disk (or disk equivalent, like a flash drive) there may be unwritten data pending (or being written right now). By stopping / unmounting the device you ensure that the system has flushed all that stuff out to the device before the system says "okay, we're done" and you can safely remove it. If you pull out such a mass-storage device you risk a "torn update", where only part of a change has been written (leaving a corrupt file or corrupt file system). In practice, if the LED on a flash drive isn't flashing (isn't in its "stuff happening right now" pattern) then it's generally safe to pull out the device without stopping it. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 18:38, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
I wouldn't, though. Often when I have moved several megabytes of data onto my USB stick, and I "safely remove" it without the LED having flashed for a long time, the OS still writes a big heap of data, possibly almost everything I've copied. ›mysid () 18:44, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. --Taraborn (talk) 18:42, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
Follow-up question: isn't it so that the system (also) shuts the power to the said USB device when we choose to 'safely unplug it'? --Ouro (blah blah) 19:23, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
It should be so, yes. Linux works just like that. Upon powering down, it automatically unmounts all storage devices, no matter how they are connected. I don't have enough experience with Windows to know if it works like that too, but I should think it does. JIP | Talk 20:32, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
That's not what he asked. I don't think it can "cut power"- the USB controller is hard wired to give power to the device. My external hard drive makes a distinctive spinning down sound when I unplug it, and it doesn't do that when I just "safely remove" it until I actually unplug it. My nice IBM optical mouse doesn't power up until the OS recognizes it though. --ffroth 20:37, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Froth! --Ouro (blah blah) 20:41, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Partitioning USB flashdrives[edit]

Is it possible to partition an USB flashdrive (Apacer something, 1 GB) from Windows?

You should be able to. I have bought USBs that came pre-partitioned with a bunch of software loaded onto one of the partitions (which annoyed me, though I know some people like that sort of thing). -- (talk) 21:58, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
sorry, forgot to say: absolutely no software was provided (even no drivers for Win98).
and if it's possible, then how? what software do I need?
I use Windows XP Pro SP2. --grawity talk / PGP 12:16, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
Do you see it as an ordinary drive in Windows? If so, can you see "Format..." or something in the context menu (right-click on the drive icon)? ›mysid () 13:51, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
Ah, you'll probably need to disregard that, I thought you're just going to format it. ›mysid () 13:54, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
Win + R (to bring up the run prompt), type in diskmgmt.msc and voila, you have the disk manager where you can repartition your drives. --antilivedT | C | G 23:30, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

FCC Rules Part 15[edit]

A few days ago I was remodeling my room and came across my tv tuner's instruction manual and on the cover on it was something that made me curious. On the cover was written that my tv tuner complied with part 15 of the FCC Rules and that it's operation is subject to 2 conditions, that the tv tuner was to cause no harmful interference and that the tuner must accept any interference even it may cause undesired operation. And then I remembered that I saw those exact provisions on all my PC parts from the CPU to the hdd from the graphics card to the power source to the monitor and my question is why? Why must any component accept any interference regardless of the efects if might have?

I think "accept" means "it's okay to blow up, so long as you don't re-emit bad stuff" or "even receiving harmful interference isn't an excuse for emitting harmful interference". It doesn't mean "even if you put this tv tuner card into a running microwave it must still receive tv signals perfectly. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 20:00, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

The tuner was just an example, I want to know why is it required by law that any PC part must accept any intereferece regardless of it's efects.

My answer holds for everything, not just for TV tuners. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 20:07, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't understand what question you're asking; as I read it my answer covers everything. Please ask the part you're unsure about again, in the most succinct manner you can. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 20:21, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
Maybe the confusion is because really the two sections means the same. The first means "don't give off bad signals" and the second means "don't give off bad signals, even if you think you've got an excuse". -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 20:28, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Yes, what you say holds true for the first condition "That the devices are to cause no harmful interference", but not the second condition "That the devices must accept any interference even it may cause undesired operation" which is the one I'm asking about.

The FCC's job, in this context, is to protect the radio spectrum - nothing else. So that's the limit of the regulation. "That the devices must accept any interference even it may cause undesired operation" just means that devices don't have any excuse to emit harmful signals; even if they're receiving harmful signals; even if, to avoid emitting harmful signals, they're have to explode and shower little children with jagged fragments of burning plutonium, even then they mustn't emit harmful signals. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 20:40, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
Part of "must accept" means is "no active countermeasures". If your cordless phone is getting interference from your neighbor's cordless phone, it's not allowed to send an "off" signal to shut it up. --Carnildo (talk) 02:48, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

Scanning on Windows Vista[edit]

I'm trying to scan on Windows Vista with HP PSC 2510 Photosmart and I was wondering if anyone on the Reference Desk knew how to from scratch.

Hopefully you just install the driver and associated software from , and in addition to the drivers it'll have an HP specific scanning program. Unfortunately my experience with Vista (not with HP, hopefully you'll have better luck that I) was that many drivers (for older equipment) that the manufacturer says work don't, or don't work well. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 21:02, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Name that Bioshock tune[edit]

Moved to Wikipedia:Reference desk/Entertainment --Tagishsimon (talk) 22:04, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Georges Bizet.[edit]

Moved to Wikipedia:Reference desk/Entertainment --Tagishsimon (talk) 22:04, 23 December 2007 (UTC)