Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2007 July 8

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July 8[edit]

Line Noise / Dial-Up / ADSL[edit]

I understand that "line-noise" on one's telephone line will reduce the speed of your dial-up internet. Q1. Does this refer to audible noise - e.g. if I speak on my telephone there is an audible background hiss not evident on other telephones I use. Q2. If I upgrade to ADSL on the same line, will the ADSL be similarly affected by this "noise" ?--196.208.63.230 04:36, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

Yes because dial-up is using the lower frequency ranges of the line any noise that is on the line will produce interference and no, ADSL should not be affected by that noise at all. --antilivedT | C | G 04:57, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
Electromagnetic fields can induce noise at DSL frequencies as well, which would affect DSL communication. But that is rarer than sub-4KHz noise. --soum talk 11:20, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
If there are any noise at that frequency you wouldn't be able to hear it anyway. --antilivedT | C | G 21:56, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
Even if it cant be heard, it can affect the transmission. That was the point I was trying to make. --soum talk 16:12, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
Yes but the OP is asking if a noise that CAN be heard (the hiss) will affect *DSL, and the answer to that is NO. --antilivedT | C | G 22:24, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

Font in <math> formulae?[edit]

What is the font used in <math> PNG renders? Also how can I get a vector (SVG) version of the render either through mediawiki or through locally installed TeX? --antilivedT | C | G 04:55, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

Computer Modern.
Thanks. --antilivedT | C | G 02:14, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

Is there any reason I shouldn't switch to Vista?[edit]

I'm considering moving from XP Pro SP2 to Vista. Is there any reason I shouldn't? The new memory system doesn't interfere with gaming, does it? I've heard games get lower framerates in Vista compared to XP, but I'm not sure if that was fixed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Down M. (talkcontribs)

Well, Vista requires more memory than XP, for a start. Vista's memory management system is on-paper more sophisticated than XP's but it shines only at more than 1 or 1.5 GB of RAM. Less than that, you are probably better off with XP. Other than RAM, Vista's hunger for resource is pretty much comparable to XP's.
Vista keeps frequently used applications in memory even when you are not using them (in anticipation of your use). But this does not affect other apps, coz the memory used by the cached apps is freed as soon as any other app requests it.
As for graphics, in the XP era, a DirectX app had the entire graphics card to itself. But in Vista, everything is a DirectX app and all running instances share the graphics card, much like the procesor is shared by all running apps. This means even games have to leave control of the card periodically and wait for its turn. This inherently decreases performance on individual apps by around 10-15% (but increases sum-of-parts). Moreover, running multiple application further stretches the resources. So, yes, games run 15-20% slower. But if you are running a good graphics card and unless you are running a game so heavy on the resources that it hardly manages to get 30 fps, it wont matter much. For mot games things will not be noticeable.
However, there are other problems with the graphics cards. Even after half a year of availibility, graphics drivers (as well as certain Creative sound card drivers) are not very performing (especially on the OpenGl side of things; dont rely on MS' implementation of OpenGL, its pathetic). Though the situation is improving. Apart from there, there are hardly other problems. Hardware and software compatibility is problemmatic only on x64 platform. --soum talk 11:18, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
Interesting how the graphics card is shared. Do you have a source for those ~10-15% performance numbers? I'd be interested to read more. It seems strange that the graphics card should become a shared resource; a lot of tough tradeoffs are being made with that approach, hopefully (as you say), for the overall betterment of total system performance... Nimur 18:21, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
I cant dig up a source for the numbers ATM, but read the Windows Vista series of articles. I sure as hell remember adding it somewhere (everything was in a monolithic article intitially, but it got factored out into so many articles that its hard to keep track of which is where now). Anyways, if you want more details, I do have something for you: [1], and [2]. Its not much, but is a good start. DirectX 10 whitepapers from MS and Chanel 9 interviews also go deep into this.
Yep, the implications are quite much. Apps arent used to s shared graphics card. That causes a lot of compatibility problems especially when applications (such as Java apps upto version 1.5) locks the DX surfaces. Then Vista turns GPU sharing off and reverts to older rendering technology (thats why running some apps cause Aero to get turned off). --soum talk 05:49, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
And its not me who says that, its MS engineers. :D I happen to agree with the reasoning they have given (Offloading visual rendering of all applications to GPU; since multiple apps need to be rendered simultaneously, the renderer has to be a shared resource and offloading would relieve the CPU to do other stuff, thus improving system perf). --soum talk 06:00, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
Hmm it's actually quite similar to what happened to Compiz/Beryl, with it reducing 3D performance. But with a correctly configured system, I don't see much degradation at all (OK it may be that I only play Warcraft III in Linux, but playing Warcraft with wobbly windows and cube IS quite cool...). --antilivedT | C | G 22:23, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
Yep, its an issue shared by all compositing managers (though in Windows Vista, you dont get any effects other than the default maximize/minimize anim; you need to download them from third-party sources). But yeah, the effects look cool. --soum talk 08:08, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

I would reverse the question and ask "is there any reason you should switch to Vista", bearing in mind that any benefits must outweigh the costs of new licenses, risks and inconvenience of a new O/S installation, and system performance hits of loading the newest, most bloated O/S products available. Then there are those who think giving Bill Gates more money to crush all competition in the software business is a bad idea. StuRat 00:36, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

If by that you mean doing something in Vista not possible in XP? No. But there are subtle things which are not visible in screenshots, and dont even notice when using Vista. But you miss them when you go back to XP. (I am not going into the technical details, or the usual more secure stuff deliberately; if you are cautious XP can also run without frustration, even without using any anti malware. Though when virii creep in which uses social engineering tricks, lack of UAC means you wont know it is doing stuff behind your back) And if you are a system developer, then yes, the expanded API makes a must switch reason. Its way too cool. Yes you have .NET Framework 3.0 in XP as well, but Vista is not just .NET 3.0!--soum talk 08:08, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

How can some malicious web pages live for so long?[edit]

There is a strange site (WARNING! DO NOT OPEN IT, unless you are sure your browser, antivirus and firewall can handle it) namely http://quicknews.info which, when visited, writes itself as the start page of IE, and infects the Yahoo messenger (and possibly other IM clients) with a virus so that it will send annoying messages, and a link to the site to everybody on the user's contacts list. However, this site is quite old, I remember people having problems with it since many months or probably a year before. How is it possible that it's still not removed, and/or not blacklisted by most ISPs? --V. Szabolcs 16:32, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

It may be hosted in a region that does not stringently enforce regulations on computer crime. Nimur 18:18, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
Lol, 1000%! Ah, the dangers of surfing the web in IE. Never ceases to amaze me that people still do it by choice. -Laugh! 19:15, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
Ignorance is not choice. Telling people to use Firefox is useless when they don't even know what Internet Explorer is. -- Kainaw(what?) 20:31, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
That's wrong on two counts. One, anyone who doesn't know about computers should read a guide, it's their choice to just jump in head first. You wouldn't try to drive a car without learning how first, nor should you with a computer. Two, I know at least three people who use IE, even though they know about the alternatives. --Laugh! 20:37, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
Me too. My brother also prefers IE even though I tried to convert him many times :( At least I managed to teach my parent to use only Firefox and Thunderbird :) — Shinhan < talk > 20:50, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
Then perhaps somebody can enlighten me. Why should a user running XP that has IE7, specifically go out and acquite Netscape, Firefox, or Safari, etc? (and hey, I'm a software developer, I know HTML, and I know IE very well, and I don't feel any need to switch). Rfwoolf 21:50, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
It's incredibly insecure, it has a habit of rendering pages incorrectly, those are the two big ones. Also keep in mind that what you do for a living doesn't change the fact that something is horrible. Plenty of people make cigarettes for a living, and even more smoke them- that doesn't make them good for your health --Laugh! 21:55, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
Its incredibly secure is an argument that does not apply to IE (7) anymore. Just to test it, I disabled my antivirus, and went to the site. The information bar popped up saying the site wants to install an ActiveX control and wants to change some other settings. Just ignore it and nothing will happen. Also check Secunia, number of IE7 vulnerabilities is comparable to what FF2 has had. Though rendering problems is absolutely spot on. You could also say about JS performance, unless you run it compiled via Silverlight. --soum talk 04:42, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
I think a more accurate way of putting it would be "do not apply yet". It's almost impossible to tell with security through obscurity --Laugh! 04:47, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
If political correctness is your aim. :P --soum talk 05:33, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
It seems to be hosted on http://www.servage.net/ (USA, Australia, Germany). Strange... I was waiting for Nigeria or something like that... --V. Szabolcs 21:17, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
DNS Stuff says Germany, although geolocation from IP addresses is a fuzzy art. Maybe just no-one has bothered reporting the site to its host. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 21:23, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

Java / Flash / Youtube[edit]

Everytime I try to play a .swf / .flv. or youtube video I get this error message thing, what's wrong with my browser / computer?--172.132.202.195 18:20, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

That's the QuickTime logo... Maybe QuickTime is messing about (assuming you have it installed)? CaptainVindaloo t c e 18:24, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
The question is double fold, why is quicktime even trying to open flash/youtube stuff? and why is it failing?--172.162.187.86 18:29, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
Don't know. Never bothered using it really myself (factory installed on one of my PCs). Perhaps its associated itself with those file types? I hear iTunes has a tendency to do that. Have a look around in QTs settings and see if it's set as the default media player or something. CaptainVindaloo t c e 18:33, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
Checked, quicktime isn't set as the default for much of anything other than .movs--172.144.6.5 18:38, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
Hmm. The only other thing I can think of is make sure you have the latest version of Flash. Have you ever been able to view Youtube videos? CaptainVindaloo t c e 18:48, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
Hasn't worked since this computer was first upgraded from ME to XP, and it isn' the only thing to not work since the upgrade--172.163.158.166 18:53, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
I was thinking Flash didn't survive the upgrade, and was checking Youtube's help pages to find out what it needed, look what I found instead. :-D Hope it helps, CaptainVindaloo t c e 19:04, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
That worked! Only now my youtube works, but doesn't have any sound. Any additional suggestions? Sound card has also been a little weird since the upgrade, works some times but not others--172.146.6.21 02:10, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
This may sound silly, but I've lost count of the number of times I've done it: make sure your speakers are plugged into the right sockets on the sound card. If that doesn't work, have a look at getting an updated driver for the card; there are some fundamental differences between ME and XP, and some drivers come in two different versions, for 95/98/ME and NT/2000/XP. CaptainVindaloo t c e 16:27, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

what does "give us diffs" mean[edit]

Hi, I was trying to ask this on the Help Desk, but it's too long and I can't download it with Firefox. What does it mean on Wikipedia when someone says "give us diffs for that"? I've read both the mainspace article on diff, the computing utility, and I understand that clearly enough, and I've read the WP namespace article as well, and understood that. I think I understand what a diff basically is, but when someone wants you to give them a diff, do they want the actual text, the exact URL for the exact page version, or a pair of page versions for comparison, or something totally different? Thanks in advance. 203.221.126.32 18:36, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

This is a diff--172.144.6.5 18:37, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
It is very common for someone to make a complaint on the help desk that looks something like, "Someone added a nasty comment on the hedgehog article and I think it should be removed." Well, what "nasty comment"? The user needs to provide a link to the addition of the comment by clicking on the history tab and copying the URL in the address bar. Then, others can see exactly what the person is complaining about and fix it. Of course, it is almost always the case that the problem was fixed before the person was able to file a complaint. Also, it is strangely common that the person filing the complaint is also the one who made the change in the first place. -- Kainaw(what?) 20:28, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
Have a look at th article for more general info on diff. - Akamad 22:38, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

CPU Socket Question[edit]

Hello. I'm zer0 when it comes to hardware and I also have a question about it that's driving me mad. If anyone knows of a solution, I'd be very grateful.

The problem is as follows. I have a Socket 423 or PGA423 motherboard and processor. Since I want to change the CPU with a newer Socket LGA775 one, I'm a bit in trouble. After much research, I have discovered that I need a motherboard change, to which my OEM Windows XP will most likely not react to well. Since I do not intend to buy Windows all over again (and I am not prepared to switch entirely to Linux), my question is: How can I use an LGA775 Processor with a motherboard that has a CPU Socket 423?

I have heard there are adapters, but that these do not seem to work in most cases... Then, I have a heatsink and a fan mounted on top of the processor using a complex set of clips (see Socket 423 for details) which would have some trouble fixing back onto the CPU Chip what with an extra adapter there...

Please respond, and thanks, Danielsavoiu 20:51, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but yeah, those adapters will probably do more harm than good. You're going to either have to buy a new copy of Windows, do potentially illegal things to make your current copy work, or switch to a free OS such as Linux or FreeBSD --Laugh! 20:56, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
You might be surprised how XP reacts. If you install drivers for the new motherboard before swapping it may just work, and if not you are perfectly entitled to re-install your OEM XP, assuming you have disks for it. A new motherboard is still within the realms of an upgrade, which you are allowed to do on an OEM XP license. Any problems activating phone MS product support and they'll sort it for you. As above though, don't bother with the adapter or whatever, more trouble than it's worth, just buy the bits you need and use the copy of XP you have. Provider uk 21:09, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
The trouble with OEM installs is that they (sometimes) check for the specific OEM's BIOS and refuse to work if they find something else - indeed some (mostly laptops) even recover the Windows licence key from the EEPROM on the motherboard. As to whether Danielsavoiu's install will do this check only on install (in which case your suggestion is a fine one) or on boot time (in which case it will refuse to work) depends, I think, on the specific OEM. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 21:14, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
I had the problem Finlay described - OEM windows didn't work when I changed my mobo. Not to be the devil on your shoulder, but often Microsoft tech support people will give you a wink and a nudge (as well as another activation key or whatever) if you call them up and give them a story about how your motherboard exploded or something. -Wooty [Woot?] [Spam! Spam! Wonderful spam!] 00:10, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

Website development[edit]

I have a fantastic idea for a website, but i know very little about html programming, and my website needs some server side programming (for a gallery that is combined with a forum).... is there any place where i can find someone willing to volunteer? [perhaps even here? ;)]

172.130.80.217 23:43, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

Over the last 10 years, I've met at least one person a week who has a "fantastic idea" for a website. The hard truth is that any truly fantastic idea will have someone willing to fund development. I've worked on a handful of those "this is fantastic and it will make us all rich if you program it for us" deals. They've never made anyone rich. Then, I've worked on many of those "this is fantastic and we have investment to pay you do develop it for us" deals. Only one of them did not do well. So, what I'm trying to bluntly say is: Tell your idea to investors and get someone to pay a professional to do a professional job. You will want at least three years of development and operational investment before you even consider moving forward. That is why the one project failed - they had no operational investment, so they had a project they couldn't afford to operate. -- Kainaw(what?) 02:11, 9 July 2007 (UTC)


first off, its not about money, initially. It is to promote a community which follows a set of ideals. secondly, whats operational investment? I was just hoping to find a community of people who would be kind enough to assist, i dont have alot of money, and i worry that if i do put money into it ill pay out my ass and then end up with something that might need maintennance that i cant provide :o ehhh.... its a tough issue, lol

172.145.146.149 03:57, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

Without monetary initiatives, it will be hard to find people who will "do it for you". You can start open sourcing the component first. You can learn about server side development (in JSP or ASP.NET or even PHP; all three are cross platform. To use ASP.NET on anything but Windows, use Mono) pretty easily. Then create an open source project hosted for free (for development, not operation) at Sourceforge or CodePlex, and advertise about it at relevant forums et al. You do not need to make anything groundbreaking, just a very basic overview. People will come to take a look at it, and if it is as awesome as you say, they will get interested in developing it. So you will have a community that actively develops it. Once its mature enough (and you have saved some money), get some web site hoster to host the app for you. Or create a server yourself and host (even your personal computer might suffice for the initial days). Get a web server software like Apache (cross platform) or IIS (the latter is included with all versions of Windows, NT series, but in client editions of Windows like XP it is functionally crippled - like one website and only 10 simultaneous users or something). And sign up for adverts or donations. Once its popular and you have got revenue get more servers. And who knows may be you will be the next Sergey Brin? All the best. --soum talk 04:54, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
If your fantastic idea does not depend on revolutionary programing, there are many forum programs. Some shared hosting will have option to preinstall forum software (most often phpBB), and adding a gallery plugin is then pretty easy. At worst, you will have to hire somebody to install and setup forum and gallery, which shouldnt take more than a few hours. — Shinhan < talk > 10:41, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

The hardest (i imagine) part of the coding is implimenting a system where both the forum and gallery are accessible through one account. (you only have to sign up once, etc.) The gallery system will not only display the persons personal photograph, but also the flag of their country, and those two images would then also automatically also become the avatar in the forum section... im sure its relatively easy for someone with skill in the area... but im obviously not that someone or i wouldnt be writing here ;)

172.145.35.41 18:41, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

Your best bet would be to learn web programming yourself, or get out your wallet --Laugh! 20:32, 9 July 2007 (UTC)