Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2008 January 11

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January 11[edit]

protecting flash swf[edit]

I am learning flash and would like to put some tutorial online (in swf format). What are my options to protect them from being copied? (talk) 03:01, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Why would you want to protect them from being copied? --f f r o t h 05:09, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Your options do not exist. In order for someone to play a SWF or FLV file, they have to download a local copy. EvilCouch (talk) 09:05, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
You can protect yoru SWF from being opened and edited in official Adobe software. The third-party software will be able to open and edit it. As far as being copied in general - anyone can do that. What you can do is check which server delivered the SWF inside of the flash code and, if it isn't yours, stop running. That is normally too much of a pain to mess with. -- kainaw 13:06, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
In general, you can put something online, or you can protect it. Very rarely can you do both. --LarryMac | Talk 13:49, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I might not understand the question, but if you're just learning it, shouldn't you be reading a tutorial, rather than writing one? Anyway, see analog hole. --Sean 14:25, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Indeed, I am reading some tutorials about flash and writing a tutorial about something else. (talk) 14:36, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Actually, the main problem is not the files being copied. But being copied, being decompiled, having my url inside them remove and presented in a 'new' format. (talk) 14:36, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Would it work to just put a line asking people to attribute the source if they are redistributing it? I know its kind of dumb, but as long as your URL is not blocking the use of the document (which I assume is the case), I am pretty sure people will not go through the trouble to remove it. Unless, there is a lot of money involved ... but in that case, you can sue them for licensing violations and land them in court.

Did that make any sense? Kushalt 17:21, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Yes. (talk) 14:43, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Again, what does it matter? If you're writing a tutorial to help people, what do you care if someone steals it and puts their own name on it.. if he redistributes it then more people are just getting helped. --f f r o t h 20:48, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

I am not writing tutorial to help people. I am writing tutorials to attract people to my web-site. (talk) 14:43, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
This may relate some tangential philosophy; and perhaps I will make some broad generalizations about the Wikipedia community, but it is worth noting that Wikipedia and its users strongly support the notion of free content - in fact, even by posting your question here, you have implicitly licensed your question under the GFDL (by submitting the form you have consented). This seems like a very strange community to come to if you are seeking advice on creating un-free content - all of us are here volunteering our efforts so that our knowledge will be shared with the broadest possible audience even if that means we are not given credit. Some licenses explicitly state that credit need not be given. Why do we volunteer our time and effort? Because we believe that information is free. This is not a matter of whether information should be free or "could be" free - but it is free whether you try to restrict it or not. As many prior posts have pointed out, you are attempting to put something on the web and restrict its use - why would you want to do that in the first place? And even if you want to, it can't be done on general principle. Nimur (talk) 21:06, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
I also believe that free information should exist. I am both a producer and consumer of free information. However, I don't believe that all information must be free. It's nice to have common resources (like wikipedia, public transportation, streets, parks), but we also have a right to individuality (own home, own car, my tutorials etc). Both can co-exist and authors (there is always an author, with or without recognition) should be able to choose what license they want to use. (talk) 01:10, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

I am afraid a technical solution does not (and should not) exist to completely protect stuff you publish on the Internet. Your best bet is to make the watermark web address small enough that there is no incentive for anyone to remove it.

Plus, if someone is making outrageous amounts of money from distributing modified copies of your files, you can always identify who they are. Ask people to give you credit for your work. Most people will comply. Those who are determined enough will circumvent any technological measure you put in place (and I am glad they can do that). Please don't waste time in it. Kushalt 01:36, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

String literals in C[edit]

If I want to write a C string with a hexadecimal escape sequence specifying a character which is followed by a digit or a letter <= 'F', is there a way to write the digit or letter directly? I. e. I could write


for the string


but it won't work with


because the '1' character is seen as part of the hexadecimal number. Is there some way to write the '1' directly? Icek (talk) 05:46, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

I could write it as two strings which are concatenated ("A" "1") - but is there another simple way? Icek (talk) 05:50, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't think so. The problem is, as you've noted, that \xNN denotes an 8-bit char literal and \xNNNN a wide char literal, and the compiler's lexical analyzer has to make that call long before the context is examined. While GCC (and I think MSVC) supports a specific decorator that forces a string to be wide, I don't think (can't find one) that there's a specific decorator to force the string to be 8 bits (at lex time). To make your adjacent string thing nicer (and the code easier to read) I'd #define the non-printables thus:
#define CHAR_ESC "\x1b"
#define CHAR_FS  "\x1c"
puts ( CHAR_ESC "hello" CHAR_FS "there" );
-- Finlay McWalter | Talk 12:01, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Octal escapes max out at 3 digits, so you could use "\1011". Just make sure you don't say "\00" when you mean "\0000" --tcsetattr (talk / contribs) 22:08, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Thanks to both of you! Icek (talk) 02:53, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Hardware problem- Requesting advice[edit]

My computer doesnot hold the date though CMOS battery is replaced with new. How to restore the date.≈≈≈≈ —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:12, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

I would ensure that the CMOS battery was replaced with a good battery, it wasn't put in backwards, and it was the CMOS battery (not some other battery that is on the motherboard for some reason). In 30 years of messing with computer hardware, I've never seen a data loss issue that wasn't the CMOS battery. I did see broken motherboards where the CMOS battery wasn't making contact due to a broken run, but that was still a battery issue. -- kainaw 13:04, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

MS Outlook - strange behavour[edit]

Using MS Outlook xp I've been getting some strange results recently. One example is when I copy text from Word into a message I am composing, it seems like this copied text isn't treated like the rest of the message text - if I highlight all of the message text and change font, for example, only the original message text will change, but the text copied from Word will not be affected. Additionally, the recipient of the message often doesn't see the message the same way I sent it; copied text may be completely missing or it may actually say something different! Any idea what is going on? ike9898 (talk) 15:20, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

I have never heard that before. You mentioned that recipients "often" do not get the pasted text. Any idea on which e-mail client (or web-based mail) they are on?

Could you recreate the scenario at will?

Could you try a different e-mail client (such as Mozilla Thunderbird) to see if the copied text works when you send it from Thunderbird? Microsoft Outlook uses Microsoft Word to compose messages. My first suspect would be the Word application itself.

Kushalt 17:12, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Corrupted WMI[edit]

After a Really Bad Crash (tm) (and a looong chkdsk using the install CD), the WMI data on my WinXP (SP2 Pro) installation has become corrupted, and now:

  • Windows Security Center says "Firewall disabled" and "No anti-virus installed", but I do have Kaspersy Internet Security installed. Didn't go away after KIS 6 upgrade to 7.
  • The last tab in Windows Firewall control panel module says "Settings are corrupted, please use the 'Reset' button", but it doesn't work.

Is there a way to reset or recover WMI data without a complete reinstall? --grawity talk / PGP 17:05, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

This script seems to suggest it clears the WMI repository, however I have no idea what the mofthing is. There's also the Official utility [1] and this forum thread. This all assumes it's the WMI repository. (talk) 13:18, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Rockbox / iPodLinux on nano 2nd gen[edit]

Why can't I install Rockbox or iPodLinux on my 2nd gen iPod Nano? (I've heard something about encrypted firmware, is this true?) --grawity talk / PGP 17:07, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

I doubt it.. it just takes awhile to port firmware to new hardware. See --f f r o t h 20:50, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

How do batteryless LED flashlights work and could you use othere magnets?[edit]

I'm building a LED batteryless flashlight for a science project and before I start I want to make sure that if you can use other magnets then just neodymium magnets? Because I don't want to do the work and fail. Thank you!!

You probably will get better answers on the Science Reference Desk; but I will say that in a brief look at the Faraday's law of induction article, I did not notice any requirement for the type of magnet. --LarryMac | Talk 19:17, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
You can use any magnet you want. Neodymium ones are used because they are strong and lightweight. --Carnildo (talk) 23:47, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Fragmented system files on non-system partition[edit]

Im using Windows XP, and one thing that has kept bugging me is how come my non-system partition has so many fragmented system files. I use Diskeeper version 10. Today I did Boot-Time defrag with no effect. Here's a screenshot of the drive fragmentation This (G) partition I use only for installing games and programs (keeping C only for Windows and another partition for data). Any ideas who might be the culprit? System Volume Information maybe? Now, I know defragmentation is not the cure for everything but considering all my other partitions are near-perfectly defragmented and the game I'm trying out right now is considering my 1GB RAM as minimum requirement, I'd like to try alternatives before just buying more RAM... Also, would it be better if I were to just backup/format/restore this partition? — Shinhan < talk > 19:34, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

I don't think that chart is showing fragmentation, just which files are used most or something?? --f f r o t h 20:51, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

just curious, What's the white/green area? Why does this partition have system files? are they there by default? Kushalt 21:23, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Most games have "minimum configuration" and "recommended configuration". It is best to stay as close to, if not exceed, the recommended configuration. If you think adding RAM will solve any slowness in your gaming, I would strongly recommend doing it, as far as budget allows. Kushalt 21:25, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

White/Green, as it says down below is reserved system area. No idea whats actually there, but at least its in a single chunk. And I asked this question precisely because I did not know how could this partition have any system files, much less fragmented system files.
ffroth, the pink are fragmented system files. When normal files are fragmented, they show as red and in logs I can see the precise list of all fragmented non-system files. — Shinhan < talk > 22:38, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
It doesn't look like you have a lot of free space on that drive. If you look at the documentation for Diskeeper, it says that for efficient defrag you need a pretty high percentage of free space (I forget the number, maybe something like 15% free space). Also check that your regular (not boot-time) defrags are set to "comprehensive", as that's the one that's meant to make the data contiguous (eliminate the spotty whiteness in favor of one long bar of white). Beyond that there's not much you can do. Diskeeper isn't too clear on exactly what "system files" the pink represents (theoretically nearly any type of file should be moveable at boot-time). Back when I started using Diskeeper I too was wracking my brain trying to condense all the pink together, but it's really no use trying. It actually happened sporadically on its own -- I've come to the conclusion that Diskeeper doesn't even try to rearrange boot files, and leaves it up to Windows' boot-time optimizer, which runs once in a while on its own, rearranging system files on the disk to make them more quickly accessible. Check again in a few days or so, and you might see that the pink bars have repositioned themselves.
As for why Diskeeper would see system files on a drive where there shouldn't be any, that I don't know. Maybe you have an old "program files" or "windows" folder there from a previous installation, or perhaps those are "System Restore" backups. You could try disabling system restore for that drive and clearing out the restore points. Backing up and restoring might be worth a try if this bothers you that much -- but I'd recommend just not looking at the graphical drive view. Blue bars mean optimally-performing files, so performance-wise, your drive is as healthy as it's gonna get. Equazcion /C 01:00, 12 Jan 2008 (UTC)
Diskeeper recommends 20% free space. I have 31% free space. Set it and Forget it Primary defrag is set to Comprehensive. This partition was never used as a system partition, so there is no Windows directory. Also, I have had System Restore turned off for a loooong time. Guess I'll just try and ignore this. — Shinhan < talk > 07:33, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
If that's an NTFS disk, it's almost certainly the Master File Table. (talk) 13:07, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
I doubt that. If it is, you could have Diskeeper defrag it (there's an option for that), but with the number of fragments you've got, I don't think it's possible. The OS keeps the MFT mostly contiguous -- I've never seen it in more than 3 or 4 pieces. Equazcion /C 16:57, 12 Jan 2008 (UTC)

avi video[edit]

how do u see the picture in an avi file? or if its not possible how do you convert it to a wmv file? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jwking (talkcontribs) 20:04, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Many people recommend VLC media player to view random AVI files, because it is compatible with many different codecs. It might also be able to convert the file for you. --LarryMac | Talk 20:11, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't really like the program myself, but if you are on windows XP, Windows movie maker might do the trick for you. Kushalt 22:17, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
You can use any video player to play AVIs, as long as you have the right codecs installed. If you install K-Lite Codec Mega Pack (click here to get it), chances are your video will play via Windows Media Player (included in Windows XP) or any other player. VLC isn't a very well-designed or easy-to-use program, but it's good if you don't want to bother with codecs, because it contains everything needed to play almost any video file without requiring separate codec installation. Equazcion /C 00:03, 12 Jan 2008 (UTC)
I have been using VLC for a few years and have found that it plays basically everything. I have never had a file that won't play. Windows Movie Maker is the reason for the question posted below (Yet Another Waste Of Time Product). VLC is fine.--ChokinBako (talk) 09:38, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I was talking about converting AVI to WMV. Doesn't Microsoft want everyone to use its proprietary WMV file format? I believe that WMM (Windows Movie maker) has the capability out of the box. If WMM is not good enough, we can ask for a better solution for converting the file. Kushalt 01:28, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

VLC plays almost everything. Its the only video player i use.--Dlo2012 (talk) 20:04, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Yet another waste-of-time product[edit]

I have a vista machine. Is there any way to disable the automatic 'this program will be closed while Windows searches for a solution to the problem' thing that it never finds a solution for? It's just annoying and I want the program to continue so I can get on with my work. Pointless, Windows!--ChokinBako (talk) 21:48, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

The "this program will be closed" part is because the program malfunctioned. Take that away, and you'll be back in the days of Windows 3.1, where a broken program could make the whole system stop working. Getting rid of the "Windows searches for a solution" part would be nice, but I'm not aware of any way of doing so. --Carnildo (talk) 23:49, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Goto Start > Settings > Control Panel > Problem Reports and Solutions > Change settings (Sidebar) > Advanced settings > "Off" and then OK back out. You'll still (I'm pretty sure) get notifications that the program crashed, but none of them should ask to check for a solution and you can just hit "Enter" when they show up to dismiss them. (talk) 13:03, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Yep I've had that turned off for awhile. It just pops up a box saying the program has died and do you want to kill the process? --f f r o t h 22:40, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Deciding which mouse to buy[edit]

Whenever I'm playing a first person shooter game, if im using low sensitivity and I do a 180 turn or just move the mouse a lot, it freezes for about 2 seconds. I have very big space to move my mouse because I dont use a computer table with the pull out keyboard and mousepad. My computer is located on a regular table. The table is smooth so I dont use a mousepad so this way I have about 40 cm times 30 cm of space to move it. Whenever I'm in the game, if I move my mouse from the center of my space to the left as fast as I can and then quickly move it 40 cm all the way to the right, it freezes and no matter how I move my mouse, the computer wont respond. I use a standard lazer mouse that came with my computer. I dont know the cause of this problem but I'm thinking about buying a new higher quality mouse. I cant decide whether to buy the Logitech G7 or the Razer Lachesis. If they had the same specifications I would buy the g7 cause my friends say its a good mouse and its wireless and its cheaper. And also it just looks more natural for your hand. But I look at the razer website and it says it has 4000 dpi compared to the G7's 2000. Is low dpi the reason my mouse is freezing? Or is it because of the low max speed? Cause the Lachesis's max speed is at 60-100 inches per second and the G7's is 45-65 inches per second. If the dpi or max speed is the reason my mouse is freezing, I will buy the Lachesis but if its because of some other reason, like perhaps all mice freeze if you move them too fast, then I will buy the G7. Theres also other terms they have that I dont understand much about such as maximum accleration which is 20 g on the G7 and 25 on the Lachesis. If you want the website here is the logitech one:,en and here are the razer ones: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:51, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

By "freezing" I assume you mean the game's video freezes. I would tend to doubt that your game freezing would have anything to do with your mouse. It's more likely that your computer can't keep up with your quick movement and is lagging while trying to render new scenes. I'd look to your processor speed, RAM, and video card first, compared to the game's recommended hardware. If you tell us the specific game you're playing and your hardware specs that might help. Equazcion /C 23:56, 11 Jan 2008 (UTC)

I play Wolfenstein Enemy Territory. It's a very old game and even though my computer sucks I think it's still good enough. My processer is a celeron at 3.06ghz. The video card is some crappy one thats included within the motherboard. I have 2 gigs of RAM. I think this is enough to run the game. Like by frezzing I mean like your moving the mouse but it goes in weird directions. You can see what I'm talking about if you open up control panel, click mouse, click on the pointer options tab and slide that bar to the left and then try moving your mouse 40 cm left then right then left again as fast as you can. It goes in weird and ramdom directions. If you were to do it slowly then it will move good. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:43, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Ah. That's not really "freezing"... yeah I've experienced that before, and a better mouse will possibly solve it. I don't know if you're gonna notice any real difference between 2000 and 4000 DPI... 4000 seems insanely high to me, where 2000 is already really high. If this is a DPI problem then they will both solve your erratic mouse behavior -- it's not like the 2000 will still be too low. So if you like that one better otherwise, go for that one. PS I use a 1000 DPI mouse (Logitech RX1000) and I've never had the problem you're describing while using it (and I've used it to play lots of first-person shooters -- Battlefield 2, Crysis, BioShock...) . Equazcion /C 08:33, 12 Jan 2008 (UTC)

I don't think the problem is with the mouse at all. You have an absurd mix of components on your PC. You have WAY more than enough RAM to run an old game, but yet you are still using a celeron and even worse by your own admission a 'crappy' onboard graphics card which is usually abominably bad. It doesn't matter what mouse you use, there are going to be delays with whatever game you play. It's like trying to put a Ferrari engine in a Hyundai body, it won't work. All parts of your computer work in tandem. Sandman30s (talk) 13:18, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

He just said it's not a delay. It's erratic mouse movement. And he sees it even in Windows' pointer options tests, not just in games. This isn't a video card or other performance problem. Besides which for such an old game you shouldn't need a good video card anyway. Equazcion /C 14:18, 14 Jan 2008 (UTC)