Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2007 July 13

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July 13[edit]

Connection to my pc[edit]

I connected my fish tank to my pc to get power so that the lighting runs but now all the fish are dead and the lighting doesn't even work. I need help sorting this out before I buy new fish. (Unsigned question by :

Obviously you have a short somewhere, which killed the fish. You need to be VERY CAREFUL that you don't get yourself killed. I have no idea why you hooked a fish tank up to a computer, but this would probably be best handled by an electrician or someone who specializes in Aquariums at this point --Laugh! 00:43, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Are you connecting the SATA power cable to the yellowfins? If so, they have a minor driver issue atm, incompatible with SATA 3.0Gb/s, RMAing the fish might help but I've heard bad things. Goldfish are boring and have low benchmarks but at least they're tested and reliable, I'd go with them first. -Wooty [Woot?] [Spam! Spam! Wonderful spam!] 05:36, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
I sure hope you didn't Boil them Alive. APL 06:19, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps the fish were past their time anyway. Just plug it into a regular power source. However, I have heard of a 400% increase in 3dmark while having appliances plugged into your PC. Early data could be innacurate however and more testing will be needed to insure verifiability.--GTPoompt(talk) 12:46, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
I've found if you're running out of PCI express slots you can just use the GPU in your toaster. -Wooty [Woot?] [Spam! Spam! Wonderful spam!] 17:50, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Facetiousness aside, could you explain exactly how you "hooked your fish tank to your computer" ? 15:21, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
That's the point, this is a joke question. -Wooty [Woot?] [Spam! Spam! Wonderful spam!] 18:48, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

More Firefox Stuff[edit]

Okay so thanks for the Firefox Portable advice but there is a new network at the fine institution I attend and it appears that it is configured to block Firefox. Does anyone know of a way to get around this? Thanks Mix Lord 00:31, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

If the proxy is sniffing the http headers, check out user agent switcher. -wizzard2k (C-T-D) 03:50, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Awesome thanks. I won't be able to try it out till Monday but it seems to be just what I'm looking for.Mix Lord 10:16, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Accidents when e-mailing private information?[edit]

It seems to me quite plausible that a person who was composing two e-mails at once and had finished the headers but not started the bodies might accidentally send the messages to the wrong recipients. As a result, private company business could go to one's kids while private family business goes to one's co-workers -- or worse, both could end up on a public mailing list or Usenet group. Are there any documented instances of this happening? NeonMerlin 05:38, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

It's very common. Occasionally, it even makes the newspapers (I seem to recall a recent case where someone sent a list of several thousand names and credit card numbers to the company's entire subscriber list). --Carnildo 22:24, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
There has been a lot of e-mail accidents and dumb ideas. For example [1] mentions two private e-mails which while sent to the correct person, were on forwarded and given their content, you really have to wonder what the person was thinking sending it in the first place. It also mentions a case where someone hit reply instead of forward. Indeed this sort of reply instead of forward with insulting comment (or whatever) is probably one of the most common e-mail mistakes, there's almost definitely been multiple cases of customers, bosses, dates, collegues etc. Heck I nearly did it once (not an insulting comment but something else). Came across a few more here [2] & [3] (or [4]). A google search for 'accidentally reply instead of forward' finds many stories. Also came across a different case where two secretaries got into a war of words across a company list [5]. Indeed, given how common e-mail is today, any case you can come up with has probably occured. E.g. e-mailed wife instead of mistress... Nil Einne 21:39, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Looking for a good MUD...[edit]

I recently started playing Achaea and I was impressed by the verbose descriptions and serious atmosphere. However a major gripe I had with it was that underneath all that I need statistical information on things like armour class and weapon damage, e.t.c, of which Achaea didn't provide enough of. Could somebody reccomend a MUD similar to Achaea that tries to satisfy the following:

  • Serious or "realistic" atmosphere
  • Adequate statistical information about character / items (I don't mind having to develop it)
  • LOTS of players on at the same time

Basically, if I could take the statistical goodness of Aardwolf and merge it with Achaea's atmosphere it would be perfect. 06:59, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Your third criteria basically excludes MUDs. They're a dying breed =/ --Laugh! 07:17, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Well, I don't mean WoW levels of presence, just 75 players or more at peak times. Achaea had over 200 last night! 07:38, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

When My Internet Crashes[edit]

Hi, just wondering if someone could help me with this. My internet is on a pretty busy line, and sometimes it goes down quite a bit. The problem is: I try accessing a site when it's down (not knowing it's down) and I get an error message saying page not found. But after the internet reconnects I still get the error message saying that that particular site cannot be found, even though every other page that I try works. After a while I stop getting the error message, but this can be up to 15 minutes. Is there anything I can do to stop this from happening? Guycalledryan 07:16, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

I get a slightly similar problem if my cable modem is slow getting a connection. Easiest way I've found around it so far is to close and re open my browser. Another thing you could try is forcing the page to reload by holding the SHIFT key whilst clicking the page reload button, this will force you browser to contact the website and request the latest version of a page. - X201 09:33, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
You can also use ctrl+r to force your browser to reload a page. racergr 02:24, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Monitor aspect ratio[edit]

Back in CRT times almost all monitors haed 4:3 AR. But LCD came and things changed. Every non-widescreen LCD has AR of 5:4. Why this was done? It looks not very logical from the manufacturers point of view, because it requires more pixels in moninitor for the same display size, thus increase manufacturing costs. The same is with widescreen. There are alot monitors with 16:10 instead of 16:9. Why they have done that?

Re non-widescreen, I don't think it's really a matter of LCD or CRT. It's just that up to 1024x768 the default resolutions are all 4:3, and suddenly comes 1280x1024 which is 5:4 and was clearly used in pre-LCD times. Perhaps the fact that the VESA BIOS Extensions supported this solution (see VESA video mode numbers section) had a role in this, but this only changes the question to "Why do the VESA BIOS Extensions not support 1280x960?" --Dapeteばか 10:05, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Did you ever try to get a standards committee to agree to anything ;-) ?
Atlant 12:57, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
The reason they do it 16:10 instead of 16:9 is because you can fit two A4 pages on a 16:10 screen side by side, and it also helps when you see a 16:9 video but wish to keep the movie controls (play pause etc) visible. NerdyNSK 03:01, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps I'm mistaken, I've never really looked into LCDs but I've seen plenty with 1600x1200 native which is a 4:3 AR. Looking again, perhaps many was a bit strong but most with 1600 are 1600x1200 not 1280. I suspect the VESA issue is correct although it still doesn't answer the main question. SXGA has some suggestions Nil Einne 21:10, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

music players[edit]

are there any free music players for win98 se that play mp3 and wma format songs ;other than windows media playerAngelofwrath 10:35, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

VideoLAN Client comes to mind. Splintercellguy 11:20, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
foobar2000? Or Banshee, Rhythmbox, XMMS, Exaile, Amarok, Songbird etc. when you update your system to a Linux distribution like Xubuntu? --antilivedT | C | G 11:55, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Winamp is free in its Basic variant. — Shinhan < talk > 13:39, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Ahh Winamp, what a program. Used to love finding great new skins for it. ny156uk 17:57, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
I wouldn't use Winamp if I'm forced to use Windows 98 because of my hardware... --antilivedT | C | G 22:37, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
You dont have to use the newest version... Winamp 2 works fine and will certainly work on Win98. You can get it from 06:33, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Technical Job Spam[edit]

Lately, I've been getting a lot of email for technical jobs such as network manager, software engineer, and systems programmer. I'm not stupid enough to believe that companies are using spam to hunt down candidates, but am curious about how this spam is turning a profit for the people sending it. Anyone know? Are they getting people to reply and then telling them that they need to pay for some sort of job qualification service? -- Kainaw(what?) 12:19, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

See Employment scams#Bogus job offers. Near the bottom, it talks about personal information being sold or for identity theft. Also, you are correct in that some ask you to pay for some bogus travel expenses or training, then nothing ever happens. --GTPoompt(talk) 12:51, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
If you have ever posted a resume with an email address on any of the big job sites like in the US, you are pretty much certain to receive employment spam. Also if you actually have a technical background, you will continue to receive legitimate employment contacts from recruitment companies for many months or even years after you have deactivated you resume. Czmtzc 13:58, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Czmtzc's explanation is probably about right. I found that posting a resume on craigslist generated a lot of crappy job-scam spam, while Monster got me into the databases of recruiters. I found that when I started my current job that after I e-mailed everyone who'd been contacting me about jobs that the volume went down pretty quickly. I'm guessing that somewhere around 6-12 months in I'll start seeing an uptick in messages asking me if I'd like to move on. Donald Hosek 16:08, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Apart from job scams and random job spam originated from online resumes, there are also genuine job offers sent by email, fax, or over the phone, either from employers themselves or headhunters, who look to quickly grab the consultants with the best reputation and the best employees of competitors. This happens a lot to me: I work solo as consultant, but many past employers and clients contact me asking me whether I would like to become their employee, informing me about their new vacancies, their benefits etc. Most of them are polite and don't bother me after 1-2 attempts. But there are also some who are dedicated in their search and never stop. In my case it's usually companies I have worked with in the past, and I refuse politely, but they don't stop trying. It's not bad to receive offers, but sometimes it does get a bit annoying (especially if they call you). NerdyNSK 02:57, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Why is my wireless mouse signal being disrupted?[edit]

I recently got a wireless mouse, and every now and then it stops working for a few seconds. I can't move the cursor, it seems like the computer just stops picking up the signal for up to ten seconds at a time. The weird part is that it only seems to happen when my boyfriend's mother is around (she lives with us, but goes to work for most of the day and comes back in the evenings). Is it possible that she is indirectly causing the disruption somehow? I'm thinking it could be something to do with her old cell phone (the only gadget she owns) or the fact that she constantly watches TV (when she's out, my boyfriend and I only use the TV for the Wii or DVDs). Any thoughts? --Grace 12:31, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Wireless phones and other wireless devices can do this. I don't think cellphones can, but ask if she can try leaving certain items she carries in the car (Cell phone, PDA, Bluetooth Headset, pretty much anything electronic) and see if process of elimination helps --Laugh! 12:54, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Microwave ovens use the same frequency allocation, don't they?
Atlant 12:58, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Be sure to place the reciver close enough to the mouse. If its not bluetooth, be extra sure to place it inside the "line of sight" of the mouse. I'v had that problem before. If it's bluetooth try going beserk on all electronics, turn 'em off. If it works, you got the solution. 02:23, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but they're supposed to be shielded (energy at that frequency is what cooks things). You can get leakage however.
Being shielded to the point of being safe for you to be near the oven is much different than being shielded to the point of not interfering with any other highly-sensitive radio receivers in the neighborhood. I assure you that even a properly-operating microwave oven emits enough microwaves to screw up Wi-Fi, 2.4GHz video, etc.
Atlant 20:21, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
I have the same problem with my laser Logitech mouse. My internal hard drive is an Ultra 160 SCSI model, and many times when that drive is being acceseed, my mouse operaion is affected. Drives me nuts, to the point that i no longer use it and have gone to a wired mouse. SCSI drives are rare these days, so you probably do not use a SCSI drive. Microwave overns will freeze most wireless mice for sure. Zeno333 14:25, 17 July 2007 (UTC)


Any idea how come some of the hardware are only compatable with win98 and not with winXP??Cant a simple device driver fix this problem???

It will depend. I believe Windows 98 is no longer officially supported by MS though, so manufacturers have little reason to support it --Laugh! 17:21, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
You probably have some quite old devices that only have drivers for Win98. Perhaps a switch to Xubuntu or Damn Small Linux? Splintercellguy 17:51, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
In my experience, you're more likely to find Win98 support than linux support in any webcam you can find on the shelf today. -- JSBillings 18:05, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
To answer the question, yes. All you need is a "simple" device driver. However, someone needs an incentive to write the device driver. There is very little incentive to write XP drivers for old equipment that most people don't own. However, there are some companies that write and sell drivers to old equipment. I had to purchase one when a scanner I had that worked great in Win95 and Win98 didn't work in WinXP. -- Kainaw(what?) 18:32, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Relative referencing of file names[edit]

How can i create a shortcut to a file or a folder so that when i copy that to another computer it would point to the same relative position in the new computer.Thank you.

What you are asking for isn't how it is done. You make the shortcut something special so it copies with the full path to the actual file. You use a copying program that understands shortcuts and creates new shortcuts when it copies. Because you are using the term "shortcut", I assume you are using Windows. Since I haven't used Windows since 1997, I don't know what the current best file copying program in. -- Kainaw(what?) 18:45, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
As far as I understand your question it is not possible with windows as they allways point to a specific location which does not change when you copy the shortcut. racergr 02:23, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
First you install an operating system which is actually object oriented.... Gzuckier 14:58, 16 July 2007 (UTC)


Could you recommend me a firewall? Minimalistic if possible. Zonealarm causes disruption in my system, but I don't know the reason. --Taraborn 18:34, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Are you using Windows? Why not use the built-in firewall? -- Kainaw(what?) 18:43, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Woooops... sorry. Yes, I use Windows XP, but I don't have the SP2. Is that built-in firewall able to block Internet access to specified programs or it can just block ports? --Taraborn 19:47, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
It can block or allow by program, or it can open specific ports. Why oh why would you not be running SP2? --LarryMac | Talk 20:01, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
I just don't have it. I didn't buy it, didn't install it. It's simple. --Taraborn 10:37, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
SP2 is a free download from Microsoft. Unless you're saying you didn't buy XP at all, in which case I will say nothing further. --LarryMac | Talk 13:11, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
Correct if I'm wrong, but didn't they opt to only ban the most extremely overused numbers so as to allow more people to get the security updates? (I don't have too much experience with fooling Windows Update, so I'm not sure). 15:26, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
As I recall, the Windows firewall is inbound-only. It doesn't prevent programs from calling home. --Carnildo 22:29, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
I would reccomend the use of the buil-in windows firewall for novice users. Third party firewalls tend to poorly cooperate with the operating system and they usually exagerate events so that the user is alarmed without a real reason. racergr 02:21, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm aware of that, I'm not a novice user and I've used many firewalls before, just the newer versions of Zonealarm don't seem to work very well with my OS. Probably because I'm not using SP2. --Taraborn 10:37, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Running a .JAR file[edit]

Hello! A friend sent me a simple program he made with Java. The file extension is .JAR. I'm not familiar at all with Java or this file format, and I don't have any Java editor program on my computer, nor any other Java software that I am aware of. With Windows XP, what is the easiest and simplest way to run this program, with minimum downloading from the internet (since this computer has dial-up)? Thank you!--El aprendelenguas 20:03, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Go to Sun's website, there will be a giant green button, and to the right a much smaller link that says "Do I Have Java?" That will at least tell you if you have any version of Java on your system (probably not, XP did not come with Java installed). I'm not sure what the size of the download is. --LarryMac | Talk 20:07, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
The JRE is about 100MBs. Gutworth (talk) 16:54, 16 July 2007 (UTC)