Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2008 August 27

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August 27[edit]

Updating drivers[edit]

Im completely clueless-what do i need to know in order to update my video card drivers? My computer is messed up and its stuck on 640x480 with 4-bit color. theres no way to change it, even in the adapter settings, so i want to try updating the drivers. please, give me a demonstration. the juggresurection ಠ_ಠ 00:53, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Could you tell us the make and model of your computer? Be as descriptive as possible. --mboverload@ 00:59, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Um, ill try. See, im moar of a software guy, not a damn clue what im doing on the inside of the comp. The brand is NexLink, there are some numbers on the side that i assume are model numbers, i can give them to you but you need to tell me which ones.the juggresurection ಠ_ಠ 01:05, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Okay, either crack that sucker open and find out video card / chip you have, or get the appropriate number from the side of the computer if it's there. If you can't manage that, try the Belarc Advisor, see if it can tell what video card you have. (talk) 01:48, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

I will try both of those. PLEASE- stick around...i will be backthe juggresurection ಠ_ಠ 01:55, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Okay! i did the advisor thing and under display drivers it says...*gulp* none detected. OH MY GOD WHAT DO I DO NOW?!the juggresurection ಠ_ಠ 02:31, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Nothing about the hardware? Bah. Then, do the other ones. Look at the computer, read the manual, and/or crack it open and check the card itself (if it is a separate card). It can't not be written somewhere. (talk) 02:34, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Kay, its open, here comes the really noobish question: where do i find the video card?the juggresurection ಠ_ಠ 02:51, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
If it's a separate card, in the AGP, PCI-E or PCI port. If it's onboard (on the motherboard), you might see a chip on the motherboard, or you might see nothing. (talk) 03:10, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

there is a chip attached to the motherboard, running up and down(raised from the surface). [1] does this look like the right one? the juggresurection ಠ_ಠ 03:35, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

aw crap. [2] heres a better pic. the juggresurection ಠ_ಠ 03:43, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

That's a RAM module. A video card would be like 10 or 20 times that size. It would be held into its slot by a single screw. Here's the easy way: where does your monitor connect? If that connector is on a removable card, that's your video card. If not, your video chipset is on the motherboard. --tcsetattr (talk / contribs) 03:51, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

aw crap...again. Well, it hooks in on this big, pink thing. i assume its a chipset...but its not labeled or anything. do you think i can find the model number somewhere? theres a bunch of nmbers on the bottom of the computer. like s/n number, MB, Cpu, ram, HD, FD, OS, and whql. i dont know if any of this helps. also, everything inside is intel, if that helps.the juggresurection ಠ_ಠ 04:06, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

How hard is it to run a simple dxdiag (yes that's all you do, start/run -> type in dxdiag) to see what your graphics card? There is no need to open the computer or download some random 3rd party software (unless you don't even have drivers installed). --antilivedT | C | G 06:06, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
No drivers, this won't tell him anything. How hard is it to read the manual? (talk) 08:53, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Very hard, considering the fact that i dont have one. it was bought used.the juggresurection ಠ_ಠ 17:19, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

AHA! i tried the DirectX Diagnostic thing and it says there is no device. The driver is vga.dll, which i assume is the default. anything else you need to know just say so. the juggresurection (>-.-(Vಠ_ಠ) 19:28, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

The Internet is a good source for manuals and product information. Try searching for the computer's model number. (talk) 23:32, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree. Just start Googling any numbers you see on the outside of the case. Do NOT download any "driver finder" programs that say they can do this for you. Also, run Windows Update on your computer. Microsoft has some of the most common drivers and will install them for you. --mboverload@ 00:48, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

The persistence of spam...[edit]

Let's say a real spammer (of the penis extension ilk) has my address in mailing list database, and is regularly sending me his crap. Will I probably receive spam from this particular spammer as long as he is in business? Or does the spammer have some incentive to eventually stop sending to addresses he gathered years ago, many of which are probably inactive? ike9898 (talk) 02:02, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

No incentive whatsoever, especially since the bulk of the spamming is probably done by bots. The best you can do is have a better spam filter. — OtherDave (talk) 02:06, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Spammers also sell email addresses to other spammers.. -Abhishek (talk) 06:56, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

So, would you say that any given address will tend to receive more and more spam over time, as it ends up on more and more spammers lists? ike9898 (talk) 08:53, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Probably yes. If you ever reply to a spam e-mail (either to buy their product, complain, or request to be "unsubscribed"), the amount of spam you will receive will probably increase dramatically as you have just proven that your address is "live". As per OtherDave, your best defence is a good spam filter and delete-on-sight for spam messages. — QuantumEleven 10:19, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
That also applies to viewing any image in any spam email. Algebraist 10:49, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
It's obvious from my own incoming spam (when I glance at it) that spammers will harvest part of an address and jam it onto any domain they can. So if your address is, you'll start seeing mail that seems to come from,, — OtherDave (talk) 15:13, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
It is so cheap per unit to send a unit of spam (probably tens of thousandths of a penny) that taking the time to go through a list of emails and do any actual quality control is not worth it. --mboverload@ 00:45, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Mac trouble[edit]

Having a little trouble with a Macbook Pro. My friend's 15 inch macbook will just spontanesouly freeze programs and start the spinning pinwheel of death thing. When ever we try and force quit the application the force quite menu freezes and shows the pinwheel of death too so the only option is to press and hold the power button to do a hard restart. It doesn't seem to occur when and particular program is running and has happened maybe three or four times in the past day or so. If it means anything, the macbook is also connected to a Time Capsule backup thing and there was some trouble getting that set up to work with the Macbook but everything appeared to be fine with it when the freezing things started. Any way someone could help would be great. RedStateV (talk) 06:03, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Iv also had problems with Time Capsule, it seems to have some problems and slows doen the computer. Disconect it and try it again. If that doesnt work, try to set it to back up only at night. As far as i know, Apple has yet released a path to fix the problem. -- (talk) 20:05, 4 September 2008 (UTC)


Whats the main language of computer? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:15, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Uh, what do you mean? What is the most common programming language? Or what language the IT industry generally speaks? Or what? -- Captain Disdain (talk) 07:16, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Ehh... C++? FORTRAN? Do you mean like what the operating system of a computer is programmed in? --Alinnisawest(talk) 09:08, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
I believe that most computers speak Binary. Rilak (talk) 12:09, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
That's just a system - there are different ways to interpret binary code.

Answer: Your current question is too vague to be answered. Please be more descriptive on what exactly you are looking for. Like how a computer works, what programming languages are, how components inside computers communicate with eachother, etc. --mboverload@ 00:43, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Meh. There are different binary encoding methods, but its all 1s and 0s in the end. Rilak (talk) 12:43, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, in the end it's not 1's and 0's. It's different voltage levels. ;) Phydaux (talk) 10:33, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Let me rephrase my previous statement: Its all different voltage levels representing 1s and 0s in the end... Or is that still too abstract? :) Rilak (talk) 14:08, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

How to modify behavior of embedded assets in flex/actionscript?[edit]


I've been going crazy trying to figure this out. I've written a class that defines some behavior that I want an image of a ball to exhibit:

package nicstuff {
	import mx.core.BitmapAsset;
	public class Ball extends BitmapAsset {
		private var velocity = [0,0,0];
		private var HALFBALLSIZE = 25;
		public function setstats(initvelocity, newlocation) {
			velocity = initvelocity;
			this.x = newlocation[0];
			this.y = newlocation[1];
		public function update() {
			this.x = this.x + (velocity[0] * velocity[2]);
			this.y = this.y + (velocity[1] * velocity[2]);
			if ( (this.x > 550) || (this.x < 0)) {
				velocity[0] = -velocity[0];
			if ((this.y > 400) || (this.y < 0)) {
				velocity[1] = -velocity[1];

But for the life of me, I can't figure out how the correct way to apply this class to an embedded asset. This DOESN'T work:

package nicstuff {
import mx.core.UIComponent;
import mx.controls.Image;
import mx.controls.Alert;
import flash.utils.*;
import flash.display.*;
import nicstuff.Ball;

public class Gamestage extends UIComponent {
	private var BlueBallSprite:Class;
	public function main():void {
		var channel;
		//var BlueBall = new BlueBallSprite(); //when uncommented along with next two lines
                //BlueBall.x = 150;
                //BlueBall.y = 150; //shows an unmoving blue ball
		var BlueBall:Ball = new BlueBallSprite() as Ball;
		BlueBall.setstats([2,2,2], [150,150]);

I know that I don't have any calls to update() at this point. Could someone please clue me in to what the right way to do this is? - RedWordSmith (talk) 07:57, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

A guess from glancing at the Flex reference manual: Declare a constructor in your Ball class that calls the BitmapAsset constructor using super(), then pass the Class object as the bitmap data: var BlueBall:Ball = new Ball(new BlueBallSprite()); —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:32, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
That did it, thanks:
var BlueBall:Ball = new Ball(new BlueBallSprite() as BitmapAsset);
BlueBall.setstats([2,2,2], [150,160]);


public function Ball(theball) {

- RedWordSmith (talk) 22:10, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Regex needed for Degree Min Sec[edit]

Two questions: Thought it would be easier asking here than in a forum.

1> I'm trying to write a script to store values entered in the degree-minutes-second format to individual variables in Perl.

For example: $longitude values can be in the following ways: (note the spacings and symbols)

  1. 22° 15' 23.33" or
  2. 122 15 23.33 or
  3. 52°15'20"

I need a Regex code to store values for $degree $minute and $second. Can this be done? If not how can I do this?

2> Is there a better way of ignoring casing? This is the code:

@files = grep (((/\.jpg$/) || (/\.JPG$/) || (/\.jpeg$/) || (/\.JPEG$/)),readdir(DIR)); 

Thanks, =Nichalp «Talk»= 10:30, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

This regex (untested) will match the examples you gave, and place the degrees, minutes and seconds in $1, $2, and $3 respectively:
but it will also accept things like -12° 34 56.7, which you may or may not want.
Your grep expression can be reduced to
   @files = grep (/\.jpe?g$/i, readdir(DIR));
provided you don't mind it also accepting mixed-case extensions like jPeG. -- BenRG (talk) 11:14, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks! But I think I am doing something wrong with the regex:
#! /usr/bin/perl
use warnings;
use strict;
my $latitude;
$latitude = "22 15 23.33";
$latitude = /^(-?\d+)°?\s*(\d+)'?\s*(\d+(?:\.\d+)?)"?$/;
print $1;
print $2;
print $3;

I get the error: " "Use of uninitialized value in print at..." Any idea what is wrong here? =Nichalp «Talk»= 11:49, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

I think the regex line should be:
$latitude =~ /^(-?\d+)°?\s*(\d+)'?\s*(\d+(?:\.\d+)?)"?$/;
(Note the tilde after the equals sign.) I can't test it here, but I hope that helps. Here's an important test case for your code:
-00 30 00.00
Lots of code "forgets" the minus sign when the degree part is zero. Get this right, and you're doing better than a lot of production code. -- Coneslayer (talk) 12:30, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm still getting those errors "Use of..." :(. =Nichalp «Talk»= 14:54, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Is it at the print $1; line, or one of the later ones? -- Coneslayer (talk) 15:02, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
All three. =Nichalp «Talk»= 15:57, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Always check your matches. If the regex doesn't match, $1 $2 $3 will be undefined.
$latitude =~ /^(-?\d+)°?\s*(\d+)'?\s*(\d+(?:\.\d+)?)"?$/
 or die "No match";
You should get a nice clean "No match" report. The reason for the failure to match is probably that you have a UTF-8 degree sign in there (bytes 0xc2 0xb0), but perl is not in utf8 mode so it's interpreting it as 2 separate characters (in Latin-1, 0xc2 is "A with circumflex" and 0xb0 alone is the degree sign). The following question mark only makes the 0xb0 optional, so the 0xc2 is mandatory and fails to match. Two ways to fix your problem:
  1. Put a "use utf8" at the top of the program
  2. In the regex, represent the degree sign as \xb0 or \N{DEGREE SIGN}
--tcsetattr (talk / contribs) 21:32, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Thank you, I set the encoding to UTF8 and it has done the trick. :) =Nichalp «Talk»= 13:29, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Ubuntu Live CD[edit]

I had an Ubuntu Live CD (actually a Live Pen Drive) that was working fine. Then I decided to repartition my HDD. After that the Live CD is not working anymore. It tries to boot and freezes with the word Ubuntu and a thing moving to the left and right below it.

What parameter can be used in this case?

I tried to boot with "Live acpi=off" and it was working. It is a laptop. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:50, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Uninstalling my MSN[edit]

Hello Can someone please help me and kindly explain how can I uninstall my Windows Messenger "MSN", because I cannot find it in the control panel to uninstall it.

T.Cauchi80.254.93.170 (talk) 11:15, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

If every program was in Control Panel, Control Panel would be massive. Go to Control Panel>Add/Remove Programs, and look on the list there.--ChokinBako (talk) 13:46, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
If you are talking about the Windows Messenger that came with XP, it's a Windows Component. You can get to add/remove components by clicking Start → Run and pasting this:
%windir%\system32\sysocmgr.exe /i:%windir%\inf\sysoc.inf
Or going to Control Panel → Add/Remove Programs → Add/Remove Windows Components (should be on the left) → scroll down to Windows Messenger and uncheck it. Louis Waweru  Talk  19:45, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for your help. I removed it

T.Cauchi80.254.93.170 (talk) 12:36, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

computer,calculator and cellphone[edit]

what is the differences among these gadgets? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:24, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

See computer, calculator and cellphone and come back if there is still some confusion. Also, do not confuse the fact that a device can do more than one thing. A car that can act as a boat does not magically transform all cars into boats and all boats into cars. So, a cellphone with a calculator does not magically transform all cellphones into calculators and all calculators into cellphones. -- kainaw 12:36, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
In terms of computer science, I'd say that the major difference is that your cell-phone and your computer are Turing-complete and a calculator (probably) isn't (unless it's one of those fancy graphing calculators). Also, what they are used for. (talk) 13:16, 27 August 2008 (UTC)


Wikipedia archives are so hard to use. how do I see something that was answered on 13 August? I go to Archives (or My Contributions) and click on the link and it brings me back here.--ChokinBako (talk) 13:35, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/August 2008 are the archives for this desk for Aug '08. Just click on "archives" above. Zain Ebrahim (talk) 14:41, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Hmm, I see what you mean. The archive for that day is empty. Here's the diff from just before Scsbot archived that page. I think your question got an answer there. Zain Ebrahim (talk) 14:50, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Okay, I copied that day into the archives here. You should find your question easily now. Zain Ebrahim (talk) 15:01, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

wireless control[edit]

What is a good free replacement for the wireless control in windows? Something I can download. Thank you. (talk) 14:37, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

What file formats can a DVD player play?[edit]

I want to know what I should convert my videos to before burning them to disk. Anthrcer (click to talk to me) 15:10, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

It depends on your player, but if you want to be 100% sure it will play, convert your videos using something like ConvertXtoDVD. Also, good burning software is usually able to convert common formats such as AVI to DVD-video. Your manual will tell you what other formats are supported, and there is normally a list of supported formats on the front panel of the player itself. Most will play VCD, and some will play divx. Sandman30s (talk) 22:03, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Normally, DVD players play DVD-encoded video. That is to say, there are special programs that convert your file format to the correct format (VOB or whatever) and burn it in a special way on the DVD with menus, etc. Such programs are often packages with your operating system or your DVD-R software. Now some DVD players can play DVD-Rs that just have any old video file on them as a regular file, but usually that's not the case. Those that can do that will say so and say what file formats/codecs they support. -- (talk) 05:48, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

SP3 installation[edit]

I have tried about 10 times installing service pack 3 by downloading from the Microsoft website. When it gets about half way through, I get a message box saying 'Access denied' and then it says SP3 failed to install and it proceeds to undo the installation. Any clues as to what could be wrong gratefully received.-- (talk) 15:11, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

At the risk of asking the obvious, have you exited other applications? Do you have any hint that the download is being blocked by your firewall / anti-spy / anti-virus software? — OtherDave (talk) 15:16, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
It seems to be a not uncommon problem. --LarryMac | Talk 15:17, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Go to Start Menu>Control Panel>Security Center>Check for updates. That's a more efficent way. (talk) 18:23, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Actually I would say downloading the redist is more efficient if you are at all likely to ever want to install SP3 again either on the same computer or another compute, but perhaps that's just me Nil Einne (talk) 01:42, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Make sure you are logged on as an admin to install SP3. Access denied issues are usually caused by lack of permissions. -Sish (talk) 15:05, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

US sites similar to[edit]

I am a big fan of - they sell computer parts, laptops, TVs etc. at fairly reasonable prices to UK homes. I was wondering if anyone had suggestions for a similar site (or sites!!) which delivered similar sorts of items in the US (primarily North Eastern states). Thanks! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:19, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Not sure if this is what you're looking for, but sells computer parts (for if you're building a computer, etc.) at reasonable prices. At least that's what friends of mine have told me. --Alinnisawest(talk) 00:40, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Tiger Direct is also pretty good with computer parts and it does sell TVs and cameras and other assorted things at a rather decent price. RobNot an admin  06:46, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks both of you - these were exactly what I was looking for!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:45, 28 August 2008 (UTC)


Why are most programmes written in C++ or C# ? What are the limitations of writing programmes in php? Clover345 (talk) 15:23, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Most programs are written to be run as an independent executable. As such, a user with little knowledge of computers can click "install" and the program will be installed and be easily run. Some languages, such as Java, require the user to install a runtime engine. So, if I send you a Java program, you must first install Java and then install my program. That is why those languages are not as popular as C programs. Then, there is the library support. There is extensive library support for the C languages to do just about anything you like. PHP has a lot of libraries for web page stuff, but not for creating windows, menu bars, handling mouse actions, and all the rest of the GUI stuff you can think of. So, if you were to write a program in PHP, the user would need to install PHP to run it and you would need to work very hard at getting any sort of nice GUI since the libraries for that are missing. -- kainaw 15:57, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
PHP/Tk exists, so if you can live within the sort of GUI that the Tk toolkit provides, you can pretty-easily write GUI programs in PHP.
Atlant (talk) 16:04, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
In general PHP runs off of a server and is used primarily for web applications and the occasional terminal application. PHP scripts are also interpreted and not compiled—they need an interpreter installed as well. In a more ideal world there would be a way to run PHP programs installed locally in a browser without installing both PHP and Apache and having all of the settings be identical, but at the moment no such solution exists. -- (talk) 17:46, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
PHP can be run from command line (like Perl or Python). --grawity 18:53, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, that's what I meant by the occasional terminal (e.g. command line) application. But even then you have to make sure all of your install options and compiled libraries are the same if you want to make sure you get the same result as the person who sent it, if the program is of any complexity. -- (talk) 20:14, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
You don't think the same problem (of program vs. library compatibility) doesn't exist for C++ programs? You must not yet have read our DLL hell article!
Atlant (talk) 16:00, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

C++ is MUCH faster than PHP - perhaps 50 to 100 times faster in many cases. For applications that need speed and don't need to run on the web - C++ is a vastly better choice. SteveBaker (talk) 04:13, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

What is this?[edit]

Every 20 minutes or so my computer will pop up a box informing me that:

The web page you requested is not available offline. To try to connect, click try again. Otherwise, click "Work Offline" to see offline web content on your computer.

If i click try again, my computer tries to dial 425-555-5555 on my modem. Now, i have not used a dial-up modem in 10 or more years and my current one is sitting in a landfill. If i click Work Offline, the message pops up again 20 minutes later. Is this a spyware problem or is this a sign of a dying computer? 31306D696E6E69636B6D (talk) 16:08, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Definitely spyware. You can try to root the problem out, but probably the only option is to nuke the OS and reinstall (talk) 17:29, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
See Dialer#Fraudulent dialers. Strange that it's trying to call a 555 number though. — Matt Eason (Talk &#149; Contribs) 18:04, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
If a computer dies, it dies. It doesn't start doing complex behaviours like this; it's even incredibly rare that a computer slows down at all due to age (if it does, it's probably something a bit more complex, like the fan wearing out and the motherboard dialing down the CPU's speed to keep temperature down, or something). It's a far too common misconception that results in too many landfill'd computers. (talk) 23:38, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Oh nuts. my XP recovery disk is not working... it claims that the XP disk is a "Non-system disk" and won't boot from the disk. I know the CD is bootable cuz i've had to do it 3 or 4 times before and this is the first time it hasn't worked. Now what? PS I am not on my computer right now; i dont want the spyware actually doing what its supposed to do... 31306D696E6E69636B6D (talk) 13:24, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

You don't "know the CD is bootable" - all you know is that it WAS bootable the last time you booted from it. If you added just one too many scratches the last time you did that - then you're toast. You could try cleaning the disk carefully - if it has an obvious scratch then you might get lucky with one of the commercial CD scratch removers. Microsoft will sell you a replacement - but it's not cheap. (This is one of the many reasons I don't run Microsoft software on my PC's.) If you really can't get it to boot then you'll have to use some kind of anti-malware software to get rid of the problem - and as soon as you do - your very first job is to burn a new XP recovery disk! It would be wise in future to burn TWO recovery disks - when the first one stops working, switch to the second and immediately burn a third. That way you'll never get into this mess again. SteveBaker (talk) 16:43, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
The very first thing he should do is a System Restore. It's actually a really powerful tool that can root out much more than you'd think it could (like Steve, I'm no Microsoft fanboy, but System Restore is one thing they nailed). Pick a date before the problem started, and then restore it to that date (you will lose any program you installed after that date). Then do all the things Steve said. (talk) 14:13, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Its not a the original XP Disk, its an emachines recovery disk. It uses a program on a recovery partition, which my blu-ray drive somehow replaced. And my computer gives me a STOP c000021a error when i shut down so system restore does not work. God my computer sucks! 31306D696E6E69636B6D (talk) 16:19, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Virus or spyware?[edit]

In an unrelated to me incident, my parents got a virus/spyware on their computer from a e-mail. After their computer loads ZoneAlarm (Firewall) and Norton AntiVirus, the computer BSODs with a STOP 0x08E error. What is the problem here? PS Please don't refer me to microsoft KB or MSDN; they never help us that much. 31306D696E6E69636B6D (talk) 16:12, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Who knows what the problem is, other than something has been fairly horribly screwed up or corrupted. Your best bet is to load the whole thing up in safe mode, copy the important stuff off, wipe the drive clean and reinstall Windows. -- (talk) 17:44, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Could try running ComboFix in safemode. Generally wiping/reinstalling Windows is the best bet though. Prevention is the most important part of security. (talk) 23:40, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Believe it or not, I had a similar problem once. I had a virus infection, and my computer would blue screen whenever I ran netstat. Uninstalling Zone Alarm fixed the issue. Zone Alarm is notorious for creating bugs inside Windows. After you do that, I would run a virus scan inside Safe Mode. (Press F8 during start-up.) If that doesn't fix the issue, check their error log (Start --> Run... --> eventvwr.msc) for any errors. Your parents need to update or change their browser. It's been years since my computer was last hijacked by a web page.--Birdsusing nnn (talk) 09:29, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for all your help, but nothing worked. We've ordered a new version of XP and are waiting for it now. Thanks anyway. 31306D696E6E69636B6D (talk) 13:25, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Installing Ubuntu from Linux[edit]

I have copied the Ubuntu alternate CD to a separate partition, configurated the Grub loader and I am able to boot from it. However, after the first settings, the installer is not able to mount my partitions, no matter what I do (different fs, different tool, reformat).

What can I do? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mr.K. (talkcontribs) 16:26, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Can you give some more info? The normal way to install is to burn Ubuntu to a cd, run ubuntu from the cd (as a live cd) and run the installer - is this what you did? If you're running from the live cd, it may not let you mount other disks (unless you mount it with sudo mount). But I don't really get why you'd be looking at grub in that case. --h2g2bob (talk) 23:33, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Why so many Linux distros?[edit]

I know the Refdesk is not meant to be a forum so I'll try to keep my questions targeted. Excluding server editions and specialised versions such as DSL,

  1. is there no movement in the "Linux community" (is there such a thing?) to standardise, unify and supply the average Windows convert with a single choice? Debian, CentOS, Ubuntu, and even the Gnome/KDE choice, is simply confusing. The average person knows nothing about how computers and OSes work and just wants to install this thing called "Linux", to replace this thing called "Windows".
  2. In a few short years Ubuntu has become the dominant distro for the "average user", borne out by the number of times it's been recommended on these very pages. Why don't the other "desktop" distros simply fold all of their efforts into making Ubuntu the most fully-featured, best supported OS? AFAICS there is no advantage to be had in fragmenting development efforts across so many different distros. Are there historical reasons for this or is it simply a matter of pride/stubbornness?

In summary, when it comes to a desktop distro, things should be kept simple. Have one distro that everybody works on and supports massively, make it scalable for older PCs by disabling certain features of the standard install set. Specialised distros for specific applications will of course always have their place. Am I missing something? Why can't it be that simple? Zunaid©® 16:59, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

As far I know—sure, there are those who think that there should be standardization. But they disagree on what those should be. Hence the big ones you named—many of which are clearly contenders for "the one and only distro to worry about." Without any coordinating committee or centralized organization, and with a long history of vigorous forks, you're not going to get anything but half-hearted centralization unless one particular fork becomes immensely more important than the rest (e.g. the Firefox or Wikipedia scenario, where the sheer popularity of one particular variant on a theme makes it that much more worth one's time to participate in it). I don't think any particular distro is at that stage yet—you still have to be pretty dorky to know the names of any of them. When my mom knows the name of a distro, then it'll be at Wikipedia/Firefox importance. She wouldn't even be able to tell you what Linux is at this point. (And, let's admit it, even the most user-friendly distros require a high level of comfort level with computers.) -- (talk) 17:33, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Point is, the Linux "community" should dam well stop being so insular and try to come up with one distro. The mere fact that Ubuntu has made such inroads in such a short time is telling. It means to say that people were not entirely satisfied with the other distros that had been on the market for years before. With the backing of Mark Shuttleworth the project has no fear of ever losing steam or financial support. Frankly it's crazy that everyone is spending time developing "their" version. But that's just me</rant> Zunaid©® 18:43, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Actually, Shuttleworth is one of those people you speak of who decided to develop their own version for no reason. He had a vision to develop a distro that is easy to use and proceeded to fund his project with a paltry $10 million. Microsoft spent billions of dollars on Vista. There are companies (like Novell and Red Hat) that back their own distros with much more money than him and have been trying to make them easy to use for much longer. I trust them more. He should have invested the money into another distro (like Mandriva or Debian) instead of trying to take all of the glory for himself.--Birdsusing nnn (talk) 03:39, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Or, as another approach, you are arguing for a cathedral, whereas the Linux "community" prefers a bazaar (see The Cathedral and the Bazaar). I think, in fact, that most people in the West actually prefer cathedrals to bazaars in general—we like reliability, we like quality, we like safety, and the closest we have to bazaars in our countries, e.g. flea markets, are completely stale and regulated by comparison to actual bazaars. But it's more fun to participate in a bazaar than a cathedral. And when much of your labor depends on people volunteering their time for free, it's no surprise that's what you get, even if the market overwhelmingly prefers cathedrals. -- (talk) 17:39, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
  • The reason there's only one Windows distro (so to speak) is that it's closed-source and patent-protected. If Windows were free and open source, I think there would soon be multiple Windows distributions too. --N Shar (talk · contribs) 17:42, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
    • This almost makes my point. Let's follow through this thought experiment: 1. Windows is open source. 2. Every man and his dog starts developing forked versions that they prefer. 3. There is no longer one market-dominant version. 4. Thus there is no longer a thing that the average consumer can point to and call "Windows". 5. Consumer confusion. 6. Consumer frustration. 7. Q.E.D. Zunaid©® 18:43, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
The main complaint is that Linux isn't Windows. In Windows, you don't get a choice. It just does what Windows does and if you don't like it, you just have to suck it up and do it the Windows way. After dealing with that for years, Windows users get angry with Linux for making them choose. I use KDE and Yum because I prefer them to Gnome and Apt. I'm sure there are many Gnome and Apt users here who hate KDE and Yum. I'd be rather upset if someone came down and said "All linux users must now use Gnome and Apt or their computer will be confiscated!" As for making it "easy"... Computers are not easy. Windows is not easy. Linux is not easy. Macs are not easy. Even that stupid Ipod thing is not easy ... ever see a first time user trying to get that little wheel control to do what it should do and not what Apple wants you to do? You have to be willing to learn and change.
I believe this is coming straight off the "why is it so hard to install stuff on Linux" complaint above. It is mind-numbingly easy. I just installed Go for the first time. I chose to install qGo. All I did was open "install software" and typed "Go" in the search box. I selected "qGo" and clicked "install". After a few minutes, it was installed. I selected it in my program menu and played it. I suck at Go. -- kainaw 17:45, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Shoot me for saying this, but sometimes choice is BAD. Too much choice leads to massive confusion, especially if the user doesn't understand what he is actually choosing between. I take your point that Go installed perfectly for you. Windows users expect this as a norm, in Linux, it is regarded as something of an achievement. It still grates that Linux distros feel the need to brag about having a good package manager. Zunaid©® 18:43, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
IMO package managers are one of the areas linux is miles ahead of windows in. If I want to install a program in windows, I have to find the website to download it, download it, install it, and then check the website for updates if I want the latest version. the fact that I can just "yum install package" in fedora is a great advantage, IMO. (yeas, I know not all the programs you could ever want are in the repos, but the worst-case scenario isn't any worse thna that in windows.) (talk) 18:58, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
"It still grates that Linux distros feel the need to brag about having a good package manager. " That's not grating, that's envy! Decent package management is one of the things I miss the most on Windows! Every Windows program I install has a different installer, and many of them don't work very well. Removing programs is a little easier, many programs appear on the "Add/remove programs" window, which while deadly slow, will often remove up to 90% of the program you ask it to remove.
I get the feeling that you don't really understand what Package Management is or you wouldn't have chosen it as an example of window's superiority. Just about any Windows user I can think of (fanatical or not) would love you if you could offer them a perfectly integrated, completely seamless way to install and uninstall programs, that is always the same for every program, and doesn't ask any stupid questions. APL (talk) 19:27, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Furthermore, at least in FreeBSD, I can run one command, and upgrade all of my installed software to the latest version, with correct handling of dependencies. I would assume that the various Linux package managers offer similar functionality. (Proper dependency handling also means that programs don't bring along their own copy of shared libraries and other tools. I think I have something like like 3 copies of dcraw on my Windows machine.) -- Coneslayer (talk) 19:34, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Those who don't want to make the choice don't. Again, if any one distro got to the level of OSes that, say, Firefox is to browsers, it wouldn't matter how many other forks there were. There are a million browsers out there in the world. In reality there are really about four that matter. The presence of many doesn't matter, though, because those who aren't interested in being on the bleeding edge don't have to be. If you're arguing, "on set of distros should try and convince everyone else to give up theirs and lobby behind theirs"—well, you can see the difficulty here. There's no central organization. There's no reason to prefer one over the other from an objective point of view. There is not even a shared goal, in my opinion—some people are working for themselves, some for people they imagine to be like themselves, and only a rare few are working towards the idea that their distro should supplant Windows or something like that. Again, you might enjoy the book I linked to up above, it's all about the different organizational models you can use to develop software (and other things). I disagree with the Linux boosterism in the book (for reasons I have hinted at above—the book is very down on the cathedral model, even though there are good reasons to prefer it to the bazaar from a consumer point of view) but it helps one structure one's thinking. -- (talk) 19:03, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
You may as well ask why there are different types of automobiles. Why don't all the automakers of the world make a single "perfect" car? Because different people want different things from their cars. It's not in human nature to agree on a single "best" anything.
This happens even with large closed source projects. See Windows Vista editions. APL (talk) 19:18, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Well applied car analogy, sir. (talk) 02:50, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Actually no, the car analogy is not well applied. People generally buy different makes of cars because they want it for different purposes. The "average person" doesn't even know that he's getting a car, let alone what a car actually is (of course in this sentence car=operating system). Zunaid©® 12:41, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
You've made the common mistake that the world is mostly filled with "average people". There are all sorts of people who use their computers for different purposes. Ubuntu is for home users and hobbyists, Debian and Slack are for old-timers. Red Hat is for corporate customers. Etc. Etc. Many of the distros you're complaining about are purpose built for certain devices. Even devices that the mythical "average people" might own. (DVRs, PDAs, Embedded file servers, web-browsing kiosks, etc.)
Personally, I don't give a crap what car I own so long as it rolls. I'm even ambivalent about the color so long as it isn't pink, but I understand that not everyone is like me. You seem to feel that way about computers. That's fine, but don't assume everyone is like you. APL (talk) 13:44, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Don't pay attention when you see on distro tracking sites that there are "300 distros". Most of them are abandoned. --mboverload@ 00:38, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
There are many distros because it is easy to create them. The code is freely available and legal to modify. Many of them are very specialized. For example, Puppy Linux is good for legacy computers. Others, like Auditor, are good for security testing. However, many Linux projects are created for silly reasons (mostly politics). Gnome, for example, was started because KDE wasn't completely openly sourced. KDE later became completely open sourced, ironically. I didn't care at the time whether it used all open-source code, since it was free for me to use and worked better than Gnome.

So, obviously, this diversity is a mixed blessing. Development efforts are spread across many distros and GUIs instead of one. Bugs are more prevalent than in Windows and OS X. Linux is also less intuitive to use than Windows.

But regardless of your opinion of it, Linux diversity is here to stay. Developers have already spent many hours polishing their own distros, and they're not too keen on abandoning their work. Us end users, too, would not appreciate giving up our favorite distros for whatever's popular. For example, if we had a vote, Ubuntu might win, even though it's buggier than openSUSE and Debian. A lot of people like it for trivial political reasons and claim it's easy to use, but it isn't. I wouldn't sign on to a plan like that and I hope people start exploring more stable distros in the future.--Birdsusing nnn (talk) 03:17, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Exactly, so sometimes it does come down to stubborn pride. Imagine if they decided to merge the best of all the distros, e.g. a KDE/Gnome hybrid that's a successor to both of them, or an entire distro that is both stable and fully featured/regularly updated. At least that way you'd get a distro that pleases most of the people most of the time. Zunaid©® 12:41, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
It's not a contest. Windows already exists. Duplicating it for no other reason than to shout "Yay! Linux Wins!" would be a colossal waste of effort. Linux distros are created to fill particular niches that existing operating systems are not quite adequate for. APL (talk) 13:44, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
Between all the different editions of Windows Vista and Windows CE there are over a dozen current Windows distros available. Why not complain about them for a while? APL (talk) 13:44, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't really think this is a fair comparison. Windows CE has never been, and IMHO is unlikely to ever be offered for desktops so if you're talking about a desktop OS then it doesn't come into consideration. Windows XP is as far as Microsoft is concerned and their old OS and is no longer available for most people (there's stuff like XP Embedded but that's not available to home users so it's irrelevant). Windows 2008 is a Server OS Wso again, not relevant. So all we have left is Windows Vista which does have several versions but Windows Vista Starter is not available to nor offered in developed countries so presuming we're talking about it there, it's irrelevant. For home users there is Windows Vista Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate. There is also Business but that is not promoted by or offered to home users by Microsoft so if you're talking about home users it's somewhat irrelevant. Enterprise is not even available unless your a OEM customer so it's even less relevant. In terms of the 3 versions that are available, I guess you could say it is a bit confusing but Microsoft clearly defines each one as better then the other, with more features (whether you really want those features is a different point). On the other hand, with Linux distros this is not the case since each group simple chooses what they want to package themselves, some are more suited for certain purposes (e.g. Ubuntu for the inexperienced) but you can't say one is definitely better then the other (well I'm sure some supporters of whatever distro will say it but that's neither here nor there). Indeed even with Ubuntu we get Kubuntu etc which have difference in the desktop environment but again, the difference is not a clear cut distinction of one being better then the other we as we have for Microsoft with Vista. I personally don't see any reason to complain about the various Linux distros (I prefer FreeBSD myself), choice is good, but I still think bringing Windows into it is kind of missing the point. If you do want to complain about Vista, you should be complaining about the lack of choice more then the choice being too confusing Nil Einne (talk) 01:37, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
I still think it's a pretty fair comparison. Part of the reason there seem to be so many Linux distros is because many of them are tailored to specific purposes. There are linux distros that compete with Windows CE and Windows XP Embedded, , and so on.
I agree that Linux gives you far more flexibility. But the number of popular desktop distros targeted towards beginners is not really that many more than the different kinds of Vista boxes you're likely to see at CompUSA. APL (talk) 02:51, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Long time later (searching for something) but what's popular and why beginner? If you restrict yourself to 'beginner' then arguably only the Home Premium and Home Basic apply (Starter is for netbooks and Ultimate is not for beginners). So 4 editions if you include Vista and Windows 7 although I question whether that's fair (how many versions of Ubuntu are you going to include)? Even if you restrict yourself to popular there are surely several times more then 2 distros for a beginner. But I think you're partly missing the point that for many inexperienced users, they have no idea what's popular, and if they want to look at what's out there they are likely to look widely only to be confused. The fact that some of these distros aren't popular doesn't help them since they simply don't understand why there are so many. And sure there are distros that compete with Windows CE and Windows XP Embedded but how many? The answer is many. So again you have many distros vs 2 different OSes for 2 differents purposes for Microsoft. As I'm pretty sure I said, I'm not saying it inherently a bad thing, but IMHO the inability to see why things are confusing or to pretend that the number of Windows versions is just as confusing to the user as the number of Linux distros is IMHO harmful to the Linux movement. It's not and there's a good reason. In fact I will go as far as to say that the rise if Ubuntu, becoming a widely recognised brand and widely used, somewhat killing knowledge and becoming the defacto choice has had a beneficial effect in reducing confusing to users although it still hasn't reached the level that Windows has, particularly when Ubuntu is seen as a Linux distro (in which case people may ask what distros) rather then an OS. Nil Einne (talk) 04:54, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

I'm reading some weird shinola here. Not only the implication that Linux should be designed for "the average user" (an odd notion, particularly as it's obvious that Windows NT and beyond, certainly including Vaster, has not been designed for "the average user" but rather for the average user's corporate configuration-setters). ¶ In Windows, you don't get a choice. It just does what Windows does and if you don't like it, you just have to suck it up and do it the Windows way. Oh. Right now, here, I'm using Win2k. (It's my one old computer that refuses to die.) So for a start I've ignored Microsoft's entreaties to "upgrade" (and pay them more). Thanks to Firefox, Becky, Take Command, OpenOffice, and a pile of GNU utilities, I'm definitely not doing it the Microsoft way. ¶ There are a million browsers out there in the world. In reality there are really about four that matter. I don't care that Shiira "doesn't matter"; I do appreciate the way that its kiosk mode works better for a presentation using Dave Raggett's HTML Slidy than does any screen mode of Safari or Firefox (though Opera may now be as good). ¶ Debian and Slack are for old-timers. Er, what's old-timey about Debian? It looks pretty slick to me. -- Hoary (talk) 02:18, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

I was a little tounge-in-cheek when I said the thing about old-timers. No offense was meant, I use Debian myself. It was supposed to be a joke along the lines of "All the cool kids these days use Ubuntu." Perhaps it wasn't as funny as I thought. I do that a lot. APL (talk) 02:51, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
Hmm, and there I was thinking that the cool kids were using Gentoo. (No, I'm not using it myself. I'm using Kubuntu and itching to find time to replace it with Debian.) Doesn't its mere name make Slackware cool? -- Hoary (talk) 05:02, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

GnuPG - Commandline[edit]

Hello Wikipedians!

I have GnuPG and GPG Shell installed on my system. I have been sent a key (like myPrivateKey.asc) and a couple of encrypted files that also require a passphrase. I can decrypt the files just fine with the gui, but I was wondering how i can accomplish the same using the gpg commandline version (am interested in doing it in a batch file)...

I did a search and found this batchfile (by someone named frank)..:

@rem Script wrapper for GNU PGP utility function: Decrypt a file encrypted
with password-based encryption
@rem Arguments: 1 - password that file was encrypted with
@rem 2 - path to EFTS keystore
@rem 3 - fully qualified name of decrypted file to create
@rem 4 - fully qualified name of encrypted file to decrypt
@rem Watch it! - on Windows do NOT include space between %1 and the pipe
(|) - will get bad
@rem passphrase error

echo %1| gpg --homedir %2 --batch --yes --passphrase-fd 0 --output %3 --decrypt %4

I cant seem to see where the keyfile.asc that i have would go here... and what the 'EFTS keystore' is referring to (running it with gpgBatch my_passwd_here key.asc a.mp3 a.mp3.gpg fails (i path to c:\program files\gnu\gnupg\ before this, the batchfile, key.asc, and encrypted file are in the same dir)

Thanks a lot in advance (talk) 18:11, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Well, usually you aren't "sent" a private key -- that kind of defeats the point of it. The private key is supposed to be your own and kept very secret. If you really do have a secret key, then I think you can import it with something like gpg --import key.asc.
The private keys are usually stored somewhere in the GnuPG configuration directory for your user on your computer. That directory is what the second argument is referring to. This is {your home directory}/.gnupg/ or something like that on Linux; I don't know what it would be for you on Windows. You can probably just remove that option if you don't know. --Spoon! (talk) 22:25, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

html help[edit]

OK, I'm a real html noob. I'm trying to add a caption to an image but I'm having problems. I typed:

<TR> <TD><IMG src="EXAMPLE IMAGE" align=right></TD> <TR> <TD align=right><FONT size=-1>EXAMPE CAPTION</FONT> </TD> </TR> </TABLE>

The caption under the image is fine but the whole lot is on the left hand side even thought the image is set to align right. What am I doing wrong? Is there an easier way to add captions?-- (talk) 18:57, 27 August 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:56, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

You need to make sure that your open and closed tags match up. Notice that you don't close the table row (TR) which has the image in it. Also note that if you are aligning your image you are aligning it within the table element. If you want the table element to be aligned, you have to align it separately. -- (talk) 19:04, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
how do you mean?
As for an easier way, yes, but it involves getting beyond the TABLE element. For example:

<div class="image"> <img src=whatever> <p>Caption.</p> </div>

Then you use CSS to make the .image class do what you want it to (e.g. float: right;), and to make all paragraph elements within the .image class into the size you want for captions, etc. (Note that the downside here is that the captions won't automatically wrap unless you hard-code the DIV size.) -- (talk) 19:07, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

(after edit conflict) The align attribute of the image tag specifies the alignment of the image relative to the text around it. This page shows some examples. And I know you didn't ask, but using tables for layout is frowned upon these days, CSS is preferred. --LarryMac | Talk 19:11, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
It appears you want the table aligned to the right, ie: <table align='right'> or <table style='float:right;'>. -- kainaw 19:49, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
Hello. I have 3 tips...
  • A hacky way to see whats going on is to add borders (using style="border: 1px red solid") to the elements, like this:
<TABLE style="border: 1px blue solid"><TR>
<TD style="border: 1px yellow solid"><IMG src="EXAMPLE IMAGE" style="border: 1px magenta solid" align=right></TD>
<TD align=right style="border: 1px green solid"><FONT size=-1>EXAMPE CAPTION</FONT>
  • Better yet, use Firefox with the Firebug extension. It can do this sort of thing more easily, and mush more too. Give it a go and it'll make life much easier. And don't use Internet Explorer for writing html - it is just wrong, wrong, wrong!
  • Look through W3Schools (here). Lots of very good help pages, tutorials and tips.
For completeness, I should point out that the technical specifications of HTML are written by the W3C (here). --h2g2bob (talk) 23:21, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

aol instant message records of ims[edit]

is there a place where records of my instant messages are saved on my computer? i use xp.Jwb6466 (talk) 20:08, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

If it helps any other contributors, AOL Messenger logs is, succinctly, what we need.My name is anetta (talk) 21:38, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
If you do not save the logs they will not be on your computer. This is my IM program though. RobNot an admin  06:37, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Starting Direct3d 10[edit]

I have been trying to learn OpenGL, but now when the 3.0 is coming out, I got a new computer (vista preinstalled, heh) and wlan card doesn't yet work on Ubuntu I thought it would be nice to see how things are done in Direct3d. So is the "fixed function pipeline" removed entirely from direct3d 10? Is there no default lighting/transformation or should it all be done with shaders? All the tutorials I have found use shaders only. Also, it would be nice if you could point me to a good book. -- (talk) 20:16, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

I'd be surprised if there wasn't some kind of back-compatibility stuff in DX10 - but if you're learning a new API, you REALLY should use the opportunity to get into shaders. OpenGL 3.0 was a horrible disappointment - but if they ever get past that, the fixed function pipeline will certainly be deprecated. Shaders are such a liberating thing - once you start using them, you'll never want to go back to the weird arbitaryness of the fixed function pipeline. SteveBaker (talk) 04:08, 28 August 2008 (UTC)