Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2007 July 3

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July 3[edit]

Macintosh boot process[edit]

Hello, i just want to know how in the world an iMac boots up. It's running Mac OS X and is connected to a domain network. Can aqnyone tell me how?

Depending on your hardware, the boot sequence is quite different. For PowerPC iMacs, they used an Open Firmware boot method, which then bootstrapped the system into the MacOSX kernel (and prior OSs as well). For Intel iMacs, they use an EFI to start the bootloader. Those differences aside, ones the system has loaded a kernel, the system starts up much like any other Unix variant, checking and mounting disks, starting services and eventually bringing up a user interface. -- JSBillings 16:03, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
See the Apple developer documentation for more gory details. Speaker to Lampposts 06:58, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

Driver Problems[edit]

Hello, My computer has always been equipped with an integrated ethernet controller (Realtek RTL8139/810x Family Fast Ethernet NIC) and a HP wireless connection (Wireless LAN PCI 802.11 a/b/g WN5401A). I know that these both worked when I bought the computer. Now I actually want to use the wireless, I find that the devices both have the following error in the Device Manager: "This device cannot start. (Code 10)". I have been through the useless troubleshooter, (I run XP SP2 by the way), reinstalling both drivers and installing the latest updates. This has not worked. I cannot take out the ethernet and then plug in back in as it is on the motherboard. Any ideas? -- 01:24, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Since no-one has answered for a day I might as well say the obvious; use Linux. Rarely a network problem with that OS. No need to manually install drivers because that is done automatically during installation of the system. Provided there is a (good) driver, that is, and that is still the biggest Linux problem, but if your system is not too new and has fairly run-of-the-mill components (such as Realtek ethernet controllers) there shouldn't be a problem there. Same for software - you instantly get a shitload of programs on your system, meaning you rarely need to install anything else after you've installed the system, but then when you do, that might be problematic. I'd say, give it a try. At least you'll be able to get on the network/internet with that, even if you do nothing else with it. DirkvdM 09:20, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Hard Disk Formatting[edit]

Would anyone know how to completely format the hard drive without using window? Or if not, provide a site which does. 02:19, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

XP recovery console, GPartEd, Linux System Rescue CD, etc. Splintercellguy 02:33, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Also might help to know what file system you want to format the disk to. Since (I believe) GParted and other Linux-based utilities probably can't format the disk to NTFS. - Akamad 08:00, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
You can format to NTFS with parted (and therefore Gparted or Qtparted) if you have libntfs and/or ntfsprog installed (forgot which one). --antilivedT | C | G 09:21, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
"... without using window". Do you means without using msWindows or without using windows (ie a gui)? Either way, you could do that with msDOS, using the command 'format C:', or whatever drive/partition you want to format. Beware, though, msWindows and msDOS annoyingly use different letters for the same partition, so check that you're formatting the right one. I'd advise using Linux, such as a live cd, but while you're at it you might as well install it on your system as a backup when msWindows crashes (again). You might even switch to it. :) DirkvdM 09:10, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Try Fdisk. StuRat 01:24, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Should I take this threat seriously?[edit]

Alright, I've been getting cyber-stalked a bit over the past week or so, and on our last IM conversation, he mentioned that he had an application on his computer that could shut me down, he didn't elaborate.

Today, I asked him to explain, and here's our conversation:

[13:26] krileymoto: My good man
[13:27] reaper29622: Better than you know. ..!.,
[13:27] reaper29622: You do realizze that I'm serious, right?
[13:27] krileymoto: Of course you are
[13:27] reaper29622: But you don't believe it.
[13:28] reaper29622: lol
[13:28] krileymoto: Of course I do!
[13:28] krileymoto: I take your concerns and comments very seriously
[13:28] reaper29622: Bullshit. LOL
[13:28] reaper29622: My 'Nuker' program was confiscated, but not before i made a copy of it.
[13:29] reaper29622: It can fry anything connected to your phone lines, cable line and ethernet lines.
[13:29] reaper29622: You think a hard drive is expensive?
[13:30] krileymoto: hmmn
[13:30] reaper29622: Try having to replace anything electrical or electronic because you couldn't unplug it all in 1/10 of a second. ..!.,
[13:30] reaper29622: and that includes Lightbulbs and outlets. lol.
[13:30] krileymoto: speakers?
[13:30] krileymoto: I've got some really sweet speakers
[13:30] krileymoto: I got em for a really good deal too
[13:30] reaper29622: anything connected to a power source that is connected to an ooutlet or light socket.
[13:31] krileymoto: So like, my fan
[13:31] krileymoto: you could kill my fan
[13:31] krileymoto: And my dead grandma's lamp
[13:31] reaper29622: I could kill more than that, if you're leaning too close to your computer monitor. LMFAO!
[13:31] krileymoto: What about my fridge?
[13:31] krileymoto: We seriously just got a new one
[13:31] krileymoto: could you kill that, too?
[13:32] reaper29622: lol. You think I'm joking. LOL
[13:32] krileymoto: No, I'm just curious, how does that shit work?
[13:32] krileymoto: I mean, I'm trying to think about it
[13:32] krileymoto: and it's like
[13:32] krileymoto: Phone lines, and ethernet lines, and power lines
[13:32] krileymoto: how could you tap into my fucking power lines?
[13:33] reaper29622: Don't have to. LOL
[13:33] krileymoto: Yeah you would, that's all my fan's plugged into
[13:33] reaper29622: But then again, the power companies are ineterlinked through the internet. LOL
[13:33] krileymoto: Oh, of course
[13:33] reaper29622: 'interlinked'
[13:33] krileymoto: you're going to hack the power companies
[13:33] krileymoto: and have them fry our shit
[13:33] reaper29622: Not hard. lol.

My question is, is this dude just screwing with me, or if not, what should I do?

I'm a little bit worried. 19:51, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

  • Don't be. That sort of hoax has been around for as long as online chatting. -wizzard2k (C-T-D) 19:54, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Let me put it to you this way. That guy has as much a chance of actually making any of that happen as I do of sticking a hose up my ass, getting in a cessna, attaching the hose to the outside, and flying to the moon on the power of my own gas. And then landing, finding out the moon is actually made of cheese, and starting the world's finest dairy by slowly dismantling the moon. To be quite honest with you, you're at risk of far worse things happening by running Microsoft Windows and connecting to the Internet than you are talking to that joker --ʇuǝɯɯoɔɐqǝɟ 00:48, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

One thing you could do is stop talking to him! Theresa Knott | Taste the Korn 20:21, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

The threat this person is making in that message may or may not be real, but what you can't tell is whether this is someone who knows where you live, and my just be crazy to come over and blow your fridge up while you aren't home. Doesn't IM have a feature to block users? That's what I'd be doing. Vespine 00:31, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Why are you feeding into this? You are giving him exactly what he wants. In other words, you're enabling this. (JosephASpadaro 01:09, 4 July 2007 (UTC))
Life is full of idiots and jerks; avoid them when you have the option to. Anyway, no, he can't do any of what he is claiming to — phone lines don't work that way. -- 01:30, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Dare him to "DO IT!" 02:24, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

My bet is that you could probebly get this guy arrested, he's breaking some kind of cyber theat law and it not that hard for a cop to trace an IM chat name. But for saftys sake don't dare him to do it, these guys are nuts. --Chris g 02:54, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Do NOT do that. It's an online chat.. you shouldn't take it any more seriously than seeing someone threaten the fourth wall on TV. rm off-topic political commentary On a more related note, you can be confident of your complete anonymity if you're going over a IM network (like AIM or MSN) instead of P2P, you don't use your nick for anything identifiable on the internet, and if you haven't given him any personally identifiable information. So even if he did have that impossible program he would have no way of using it on you in particular --frotht 03:48, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
That was a masterpiece :| Read it here - it sha'nt die! --frotht 05:46, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Hello one google seach top of the list [1] that is how easy it is to find a place to trace an im nickname or emial. Preety Scary isn't it? --Chris g 06:16, 4 July 2007 (UTC)


Macintosh problems[edit]

I'm using a Mac right now, and it's fucking weird. Does an Apple keyboard have a "print screen" key? 'Cause I can't find one.

The damn browser also says, "NOTE: Your browser is not unicode compliant, which can make it difficult to edit pages with non-Latin characters. To work around this problem, non-ASCII characters will appear in the edit box below as hexadecimal codes."

Also, the Mac Internet Explorer browser keeps shutting down rather than show an "edit conflict" page. I think a Wikipedia developer should try to fix that problem. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 20:07, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Internet Explorer for Mac is known to incorrectly mangle some Unicode characters, so MediaWiki has special code to detect it and use a workaround (as explained on that warning message). Also, no web page should be able to make your browser shut down; if your browser is shutting down when you open a page, it's a bug on your browser, not on the page. Try using a more recent browser. --cesarb 23:21, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Internet Explorer for Mac has not been updated since 2003 or so. Don't use it. Use Safari or Firefox or really anything else instead.
No, there is no print-screen key. Are you trying to make a screenshot of the window? If so, to take a picture of the whole screen, press ⌘-Shift-3. To take a picture of part of the screen, press ⌘-Shift-4, then drag to select the area you want in the picture (which is an awesome way to take pictures of the screen — you can be very specific, saves a lot of time cropping.) To take a picture of a window, a menu, the menu bar, or the Dock, press ⌘-Shift-4, then press the Space bar. Move the pointer over the area you want so that it's highlighted, then click. To drag to select the area instead, press the Space bar again. To cancel, press Escape. In all cases it will create PNG files of your selected areas on the desktop (Picture 1.png, Picture 2.png, etc.) It's way more rockin' than the old Print Screen/Alt-Print Screen on Windows.
(Anyway, it is not "weird", it is just that you aren't used to it yet, and as a consequence don't know the hot-keys and don't realize you are using a very obsolete browser.) -- 01:40, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

php (or other) as a "standalone web-app"[edit]

Recently someone asked about running PHP on his home computer. Furthering that question, I would like to "pre-package" a php site so a prospective customer can run the entire application off a CDROM (obviating the need for an internet connection). Is this possible? How many different ways can it be done? (e.g., using knoppix? using windows xp?)

Also, how many other programming environments (assuming PHP is one of them) support this kind of "standalone web-app" deployment style? (NOTE: assume that the target machine is NOT already running a web-server such as IIS or Apache). NoClutter 20:11, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Well you could put something like phpdev on the CDROM and then in the web root folder have all your scripts. This would work on Windows and installs PHP, Apache and a MySQL server (as well as optional FTP). However, PHP or Apache or MySQL (especially MySQL) *may* need to write to the directory in which the service is located - which on a CD-ROM it could not do. A work-around would be a cheap USB Pen which could hold the contents. JoshHolloway 22:20, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
It is not easy to do, unfortunately — there is no other way that I know of to do this sort of thing other than running it as a local server after first setting it up as a regular server. IMHO if someone had a super-easy way of doing this it would make them a lot of money — something that could basically "emulate" a locally run server but without all of the hassle of actually installing a full web server (and all of the unpredictability of installing it on different systems). Adobe had a program they were developing that would do something like that, I think, but I can't remember what it's name was (something with a J?). -- 22:32, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
OK, I remembered what it was called: Adobe Apollo. Not sure if that does exactly what we're talking about but I remember it looking somewhat similar when I wanted to do something similar awhile back. -- 01:27, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Both NetBeans and Eclipse (software) have versions with integrated web servers. These tools are normally used by programmers for developing web applications (among other software). However, I have seen increasing usage of Eclipse as a deployed client software package (usually with the specific application operating as either a plugin, a customization, or a special user-interface within the program). It would not be too difficult to set up Eclipse with a PHP server; then, the user could load it up in the background. You could develop a "console" to control settings, and then run your PHP or more advanced Java web application in that environment; and most impressively, they could even use their own web-browser to access localhost. Naturally you should understand what you are doing before you deploy this system because handing a user an unmodified web-server sounds like a potential security risk to their computer; your design should account for that possibility. Nimur 03:32, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
In fact, here's the Eclipse PHP Development Tools, which is sort of a miniature LAMP server in a can (...not quite LAMP, since it doesn't require linux and does not appear to include MySQL by default, but with a bit of work you could add it). Nimur 03:35, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
If your customer is comfortable with a non-graphical interface, just drop apache and mysql and run pure php with a bash script frontend or something. Use xml databases --frotht 05:48, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

dreamweaver MX feature[edit]

I seem to remember a feature of Dreamweaver MX that allowed you to specify "templates" or "snippets" with fill-in-the-blank content. For example:

   Hello @@@firstname@@@ @@@lastname@@@,
   Your account is @@@numdays@@@ days overdue. Please attend to this immediately.
   Thank you.
   Sincerely, @@@agentname@@@.

I also seem to remember that the "triple at-sign" was the method for specifying the variables. Does anyone know the name of this Dreamweaver feature? Also, a link to the documentation for it would be most appreciated. Thanks for any help you have. NoClutter 20:48, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Mult-mode or single mode optic fibre?[edit]

I know this is more networking than computing.

I have been asked weather the optic fibre cabling in a campus area network is multi-mode or single-mode. It has been installed for over 10 years.

I assume it is multi-mode - because generally you would only install single-mode for long-haul telecommunications? Point is, the cablng isn't labelled and I've no as built docos or test results to look at - so how do I tell?

Equipment connected to it is standard LAN switches with both internal optic fibre ports or external media converters depending upon location, when it was installed, if there was a budget.... What I'd really like (rather than just a straight out answer) is a pointer to a good reference source for optic fibre. Google threw me to a couple of sites which were too broad and hand-wavy. Garrie 22:05, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

  • Its probably not Single-mode optical fiber, but Multi-mode optical fiber as you suggested. Some simple google searches on the part numbers of your media converters should tell you that. The port adapters for your switches might also tell you, but you may have to pull them out to see, and that may not be an option. Unless you're building a backbone, you're probably not using single-mode. Also, the labeling on the fiber jacket often tells you what it is. Usually its marked every foot or meter with the start of text (which repeats every set interval). -wizzard2k (C-T-D) 22:57, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
    Also, if one of the switches is a managed switch, you might be able to find out the model of the port adapters without pulling them out. --cesarb 23:00, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

OK, so reverse-engineering from installed equipment is the easiest option for a PC-support person such as myself, rather than for a cable installer who would be able to "just tell" from the cable itself. Media converters / adapters / optic fibre ports will be designed for either single mode or multi mode and the product information should tell me which one it's for. Thanks.Garrie 23:07, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Checking a computer battery[edit]

My computer failed to turn on and I have reason to believe that the battery might be the problem. I have an "amnometer/ohmometer/voltometer/multi-meter" at my disposal (not sure what it is called) and I want to find out if the battery is working properly. The battery is specifically a VGP-BPS2A 11.1V/4400mAh lithium-ion rechargable battery pack made by Sony. Someone told me I needed to find some specs on the battery, but I couldn't find any and don't know which specs I need. What do I need to do to tell if it is working properly? (i.e. it has about X voltage or X resistance when I put the multi-meter across it) I am sorry that my knowledge of electronics is limited, but thanks in advance for any help. 23:15, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

  • Set your multimeter to a range of around 20V (DC current, not AC), and if it reads anything close to 11.1V (the specs are right there in the string you gave!), your battery is good. If its low (around half or less) then you should probably replace it, or look into why it wasn't recharging. Most computers will start, but produce an error (Checksum error, or battery failure etc) when the battery is low, so that might not be the cause of your issue. Good luck! -wizzard2k (C-T-D) 23:22, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
    • Thanks for that! But It just occured to me I don't know where to place the, "diodes/pointy voltage measurement things" The battery has 6 pin holes (? not sure of name) with two longer slits at the ends and four thiner slits in between those. 23:28, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
      • (edit) nevermind. Sorry if anyone was looking for the answer. I improvised by sticking two metal slits in the pin holes. Battery is reading something like 0.8 .Its probably good and dead. sigh... Thanks wizzard2k. 23:58, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
  • There's a small possibility the problem is in the charger/AC adapter. Is it plugged in? To a live outlet? Is its light glowing (showing current is passing through the AC adapter)? If not, the charger might be bad. I found that Circuit City would let me "buy" a new charger, and if that didn't fix the issue, they'd let me return it for a full refund. Very nice of them.
  • If the charger's lights are glowing, is the "charging" light on the computer glowing or blinking as it should be? If it isn't, and if the computer is completely "dead" (no lights, no sound or hard drive noise when you press the start button), something else inside might be fried. Sounds like major service -- hope it's under warranty! :-). I have a very old machine, used for backup purposes, whose battery has been dead for years -- not worth buying a new one. It still starts and runs fine so long as it's plugged into AC. So your trouble might not be the battery itself. GL! Unimaginative Username 02:24, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
I once had a laptop that would not boot due to the battery. If the battery was removed, the laptop would start up OK when powered from the mains. GB 01:24, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm the question poster on a different computer now. Yeah, it's the battery. Came up at .8 V on the multi-meter and dropped. I checked the charger and it was fine. I had a previous problem where my battery was out of place and my computer could not turn on even if I took it out, nor did any of the lights turn on. Symptoms were the same this time around so I figured it was the case. thanks for the help! Sifaka talk 06:34, 6 July 2007 (UTC)