Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2008 May 7

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May 7[edit]

Trying to edit a video[edit]

Hello! My friends and I just finished filming the stuff we needed for our school project. We filmed everything on a camcorder which recorded on a DVD, and now I'm trying to use Windows Movie Maker to edit that DVD. To my utter disappointment, Windows Movie Maker doesn't accept the DVD files. This is what they show up as: VTS_04_0 , VTS_04_0.BUP , and VTS_04_1 .

Right now, I'm using Windows XP, Home Edition. I tried looking for help on various forums, but I kept seeing answers that weren't completely relevant to my question. Hopefully, I can find someone here!

Also, I think it's worth noting that I must get this project done within 24 hours, so I really don't have enough time for a complex situation Also, I'm a high school student who probably wouldn't understand any complicated procedures to follow.

I would greatly appreciate any help --Dem393 (talk) 02:50, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

You need to rip the DVD files into files you can edit. Handbrake is a very easy way to do that—it lets you rip DVDs into a wide variety of different formats. If you rip it as, say, a MPEG file, then you can probably edit that in WMM. You'll suffer some quality loss converting from lossy format to lossy format but if you're in a jam, it's a quick way to do it... -- (talk) 02:54, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for the prompt reply. However, it wouldn't download because I need Microsoft .NET runtime library v2.0. Is this worth downloading?--Dem393 (talk) 03:04, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, it's a super easy to use program for converting DVDs into pretty much any format you want. There are other programs out there that can rip DVDs but I've never found one that was as easy to use. -- (talk) 03:15, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

I just downloaded Handbrake, but now I have insufficient RAM. Is there a way to fix this?--Dem393 (talk) 01:17, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

If I have insufficient RAM, would I have to use a different computer?--Dem393 (talk) 01:40, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

That or get more RAM (which is probably not an option on short notice). Worst case, "borrow" some from a big box store which allows no-questions-asked returns within two weeks of purchase. Ripping DVDs takes serious computing power; some DVDs take hours on mid-range PCs. (talk) 02:50, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
My friend could not get HandBrake to properly rip his home movie on his Windows Vista Home premium machine. Can anyone confirm that it works well with Windows XP? Can it rip DVDs? Kushal (talk) 09:26, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for all of the help! I ended up not doing the project, since my friend just took over and somehow managed to get the work done on his computer.--Dem393 (talk) 03:41, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

MySpace Groups[edit]

If I choose not to have my Groups displayed on my page, is it still possible for people to find out what groups I am in, short of logging on with my name?-- (talk) 03:20, 7 May 2008 (UTC)


why infrared is fast as compare to bluetooth? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:54, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

I'd say its not. Kushal (talk) 09:27, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Oh, but it is. At the moment, according to our Bluetooth article, Bluetooth can transfer data at a maximum rate of 3 Mbit/s. High-speed infrared connections, on the other hand, can transfer data at a maximum rate of 16 Mbit/s, according to the Infrared Data Association specification. You're probably thinking of the older infrared ports, which had a considerably slower rate of transfer, but these days the technology is pretty fast.
So, why is it so much faster? I'm going to speculate a little here, because I couldn't find the exact information anywhere, so call this a, uh, semi-educated guess. (People who actually know the technology should feel free to tell me where I'm wrong!) Infrared is just light, of course, so theoretically, your greatest limitation for data transfer is the speed of light. In practical terms, however, the bottleneck comes from processing power -- even if the signal itself moves at the speed of light from the transmitting IR device to the receiving IR device, there's no way the transmitter is going to be able to fire off pulses of light at that pace. It's considerably slower than that, but still pretty fast. Essentially, it's a little like having an optical fiber cable between the transmitter and the receiver, except the light is being beamed over the air. That's a direct connection, so it's pretty straightforward -- the light pulses transmit the data, and the receiver picks them up, and there's not a lot of noise to confuse the process.
A Bluetooth connection, on the other hand, is constantly broadcasting in all directions, possibly (and even likely) in an environment with a lot of other radio traffic, so the receiver needs to pick out the correct signal from among all of that background traffic, much of which may well be in the same frequency. That's not terribly difficult, but it takes a lot of that processing power to sort it out. All data packets need to be verified to be correct and coming from the same source, instead of, say, some Bluetooth-enabled cell phone nearby, so the processor has to work pretty hard to accept the correct data packets and ignore the ones that aren't intended for that receiver. It's not that difficult, but it takes time.
Battery life is also an issue here, because Bluetooth has been designed to have low power consumption. IR has an advantage here, because transmitting a fairly narrow (and weak) beam of infrared light in a certain direction probably takes a lot less energy than constantly transmitting radio signals in all directions at a longer range. The Bluetooth standard probably takes this into account, so the processors aren't too efficient -- the more work they do, the more power they consume, of course, and you don't want to eat up that precious energy and shorten battery life just because someone wants to sync his cell phone with his computer. Of course, as more energy efficient processors and batteries become available, data transfer rates will go up. The new proposed Bluetooth standard, for example, could have a data transfer rate of 480 Mbit/s. But then, the same would probably also apply to IR devices, which are also still improving.
Of course, IR has the disadvantage of being fairly short range and requiring the devices to be in sight of and properly aligned to each other, but that's another issue. -- Captain Disdain (talk) 12:16, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
I'd just like to point out that the speed of light has nothing to do with transfer rates. I could transfer 1 terabyte per second by removing a hard drive and moving it to another computer, at a speed much lower than the speed of light. I remember an old joke about the technology with the most bandwidth is a 747 full of hard drives. The speed of light only reduces the lag between transmission and reception. Mad031683 (talk) 17:33, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
In practice, the speed of light does matter. Almost every data transmission protocol requires two-way transmission: the transmitter sends the data, and the reciever acknowledges it. The limiting factors on the transmission rate are the packet size, the allowed number of unacknowledged packets, and the round-trip latency, which is limited by the speed of light. --Carnildo (talk) 20:44, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
For the sake of clarity, I should probably say that it wasn't my intention to claim that the speed of light had a whole lot to do with the transfer rate as such; I was just using it to illustrate (probably badly, but still) that the bottleneck is elsewhere. I mean, radio waves also move at the speed of light, so I certainly didn't mean to imply that there's a difference in the speed of the signal from the transmitter to the receiver between Bluetooth and infrared. -- Captain Disdain (talk) 23:14, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Also, although Carnildo's list of limiting factors is correct, it's still worth noting that, at least for bulk data transfer, round-trip latency can be arbitrarily well compensated for by increasing the other two factors. The folks doing eVLBI, who tend to have some serious data transfer needs, have developed some specialized protocols like this one for that purpose. Also, if the latency is sufficiently high and you have enough bandwidth, you can even just proactively transmit some extra error correction data, reducing the odds that even a single retransmission is needed. This is commonly done with deep-space satellite communications (see also Interplanetary Internet), where lightspeed delays are significant, but a more mundane example can also be found in the PAR2 format used to post binaries to Usenet. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 19:15, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

GNUCASH user experience[edit]

Can you please share your experiences with GNUCASH. Many thanks. --V4vijayakumar (talk) 10:47, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Tried it long ago. Many features were not implemented completely. Documentation was actually a todo list. Decided to continue using the free copy of Money that came with my Wife's computer (and actually ran under Wine). -- kainaw 12:16, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
I would like to believe that things have changed since. A new stable release (2.6.13 (June 28, 2016; 17 months ago (2016-06-28)) [±]) came out just a few weeks ago. -- (talk) 13:51, 7 May 2008 (UTC)


I use it regularly for keeping track of my own expenses. Wouldn't use it for business though.Wubrgamer (talk) 13:04, 13 May 2008 (UTC)


Are there any anti-filter sites other than Bypass School Filter? (talk) 12:03, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

What is an antifilter? --Kushal (talk) 14:00, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
It is a made-up word for a proxy. The example (Bypass School Filter) is just a proxy site. All the school has to do is block that site and it is useless. -- kainaw 14:53, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
What about Tor (anonymity network) with Privoxy? Kushal (talk) 02:49, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
It's just another CGI proxy. There's more of them around than you can shake a stick at. I'd be somewhat vary of them, though; I'm sure some of them are well written and operated by trustworthy folks, but a lot are buggy and you never know if they might be logging everything you type into them. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 18:29, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, brother, I'm glad you're putting up a fight. Go to when you're on an unblocked computer and subscribe to their mailing list (not a school-provided one obviously), they'll give you secure proxies. There are thousands of proxies (CGI, etc) out there, because once they get blocked, they need to make a new name. For a small list, try or subscribe to the Proxy Announcer mailing list. Ziggy Sawdust 01:28, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

CD player woes[edit]

Hello, I have a Toshiba satellite with Windows XP. recently, I am having problems with my matshita dvd-ram uj-840s. It does not show up under my computer anymore. There is a generic windows file icon instead. I then used Device Manager to uninstall the driver for the device. I rebooted my computer and hoped for the best. Windows detected the cd drive; however, it was unable to correctly install drivers for it. What should I do? Please help me. -- (talk) 13:18, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Search for a driver? --LarryMac | Talk 13:26, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for your answer. I already installed the program (.exe) given by the top hit. There was no effect. How can I find the official website from which to download the driver? -- (talk) 13:48, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Normally I'd say go to Toshiba, but trying to search for that drive on their site didn't get me anywhere. What is the specific model number of your computer? --LarryMac | Talk 17:47, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Its a Satellite M55-S135. --Kushal (talk) 18:29, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Thank you very much. I am downloading a file from Toshiba's website. --Kushal (talk) 18:35, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

I was about to post a link with a similar URL that looks more like an explosion in a typesetting room than a web address.... --LarryMac | Talk 18:38, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
You have been a great help, LarryMac. I don't have any good news yet, however. The software unpacked and installed. However, nothing changed. :( What could have happened? --Kushal (talk) 18:55, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

developing story: It seems that Windows does not have the drivers for any CD device. I plugged in my SanDisk Cruzr with U3 disk, and Windows showed problems with that too! Is there a way that I can force Windows to download drivers from the Mocrosoft website? Kushal (talk) 12:00, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

Rayman sound[edit]

I've been trying to get an old Rayman CD-ROM to work on my XP computer, and everything is fine except the sound; instead of music there are popping noises and the sound effects seem a bit jumbled. What can I try to fix this? Vitriol (talk) 16:19, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Oh, and my soundcard is a SoundMAX Digital Audio. Vitriol (talk) 16:21, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
I would look into the game settings for any menus that allow you to select the type of soundcard you have. If you can't find a setting that works with your SoundMAX, then maybe you can make the SoundMAX emulate on of the game's supported cards --LarryMac | Talk 18:40, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
The older Rayman titles have patches. Did you apply the patches before running the game? See Rayman (video game) for links to patches for the first title. -- kainaw 18:49, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Having downloaded a patch and ran it I see there are three variables I can alter: Port, IRQ and DMA. How can I find out what to change them to? Vitriol (talk) 16:10, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
You can try VDMSound to emulate a soundblaster or some other soundcard... Sandman30s (talk) 19:37, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

777 folders hacked[edit]

On my site I need a few folders with '777' permission on the server (for the content management system to work properly). But these folders all got hacked unfortunately. Someone put a .htaccess file and php file in them, making all kinds of urls available like ../torents.html ../free-serial.html etc. (those pages didn't actualy exist on the server but did show up in Google). Like I said I do need the '777' folders, or I have to change to another CMS (which I'd prefer not to), so my question: How do I prevent these folders from being hacked in the future? Emil76 (talk) 19:19, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

777 is read/write access to anyone who can log into your computer (including the "web server" user). Which CMS system are you using? You can use AllowOverride None in Apache config to disallow htaccess files. --h2g2bob (talk) 20:51, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Yup, 777 is the chmod code for bending over and shouting "come and get it!" :-) [1] . If your content management system requires this then I would say that it's defective. Check that it is actually required (sometimes, unfortunately, it is) and not just the result of some dubious path-of-least-resistance instructions. If the software genuinely requires you to leave directories on a public server open to all comers, then your only option is to find something that sucks less. (talk) 22:48, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
I had a similar problem with a Java CMS on shared hosting. The problem was that files uploaded and deployed ran as "me" whereas Tomcat ran as "tomcat". Hence the uploaded web-application had folders that were not writable by the CMS. I too went with "777" permissions as an ill-advised work around. Having being hacked I contacted the hosting company who "chown"ed the offending files for me. -- Q Chris (talk) 08:07, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Win XP SP3[edit]

Apparently, there is ongoing support for Windows XP after all, as I was just notified that Service Pack 3 is available for download (a mere 70 megabytes). Anyone have any experience with it yet? I don't have a burning desire to install a bunch of stuff that I probably won't need, for instance; and being a natural cynic makes me wonder if MS might use this as a back door way to install stuff that I have previously refused (although it is clearly stated that this will not force you to upgrade to IE7.)

I don't want to be the first on my block to do this. Anyone else already done it and found any "gotchas"? -- Danh, (talk) 19:36, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

I installed it a few weeks ago (downloaded from TechNet) and haven't had any problems. —Wayward Talk 20:38, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
Actually, if you install SP3, you won't be able to uninstall IE7 and revert back to IE6. See this site for more info. Useight (talk) 03:24, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Pray this helps to force lazy corporations to support IE7. The more standards compliant and secure the merrier (even if the GUI is insanely stupid) (talk) 03:44, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
More news about SP3 problems.--droptone (talk) 14:57, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
They wont suppot IE7, they'll use Firefox! Sorry, i had to throw that in there... -- (talk) 14:45, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

Increasing font size of a specific font[edit]

I have a regional unicode font whose size I want to change. It can't be done via Personalization->Appearance. As the font's size is pathetically low in comparison to the English ones, I need to change the size of only this font. Please suggest a way to do so. Bobatnet (talk) 21:32, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Hmm, I'd think you would need to find the font file and replace it with one that contains a larger version of each letter. You could most easily make the font 2X or 3X the current size, if you don't worry about "smoothing out the jaggies". For example, a 4x4 font "X" might look like this:
You could most easily make it 8x8 like this:
But smoothing it out like so would require more work:
X    X
 X  X
 X  X
X    X
StuRat (talk) 16:36, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
That's true for bitmap fonts, but almost every font these days is a vector-based format such as TrueType. For those, you just need to adjust the font scaling factor. --Carnildo (talk) 20:46, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, the font(s) I am talking about are Opentype, how do I change the scaling factor for those ? Bobatnet (talk) 16:03, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Simple freeware Windows database for bibliographic details.[edit]

I have about 100 PDF's of academic papers I intend to read. As the file names of the PDFs give no clues to their content, I would like to have a simple free-standing database that allows me to record the title, authors, filename and so on. I have windows millenium, and would prefer to avoid bloatware. What would people suggest please? Yes thanks, I have looked at Comparison of reference management software, but the sioftware there seems more complicated than what I require. (talk) 22:35, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

I am assuming you don't have Office installed otherwise you could have used Access or even Excel. If you don't want to perform for example a SQL query, then I would suggest using the file system itself. Rename your files to something descriptive. Then with PDF's the trick in windows is to right-click on each file, choose the Summary tab, then enter more information under those fields. Once updated, you have to right click on your folder's title bar to show this information. Then you can sort with the title bars, and use the Windows search function, etc. Sandman30s (talk) 13:54, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, I tried right clicking on various PDFs, but no "Summary" appeared in the menu - it was just the same as usual. I am surprised there is no simple card-index type freeware database available. In CP/M there was a non-freeware one built in to Mallard basic as far as I recall. (talk) 10:47, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

AMD vs Intel: current mid-to-high range CPUs[edit]

I've been out of the loop since around the time Intel came out with Core Duo chips. Prior to that, the Athlon was the de facto CPU of choice, and now I'm looking at building a new gaming PC. What are AMD and Intel's top CPUs currently in mass production? Which of their sockets is the newest in terms of high-volume motherboards? Is there an article comparing AMD vs Intel CPUs? I'm hoping someone who has kept up on this can help save me several hours of reading by pointing me in the right direction. Thanks. BigNate37(T) 23:05, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

Eh, never mind. Going with the Q6600 over the 9850 based on this CNet review. BigNate37(T) 00:50, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Unless you know for sure that you need quad core, I recommend going with E8400 which you can easily overclock to 4GHz. -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 14:26, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
The chances I'll be decoding a DVD whilst compiling a large project and then decide to play a CPU-intensive FPS are pretty low. However, I'm the kinda guy that leaves things at stock speeds. I have this idea that more power use and heat aren't worth the trouble—I might bump the clock by 10% or so just with the BIOS setting in the Asus P5K motherboard, and that'll be that. Plus, the Nikon E8400 isn't that fast ;) BigNate37(T) 16:10, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
If you're concerned about heat and power consumption, you definitely don't want a quad core, which will probably use more at stock speeds than a 45nm Dual core at said overclock. Some modern games make good use of multiple cores, but unless you know you will play those heavily, an E8400 @stock will be cheaper, cooler and faster than a Q6600. -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 17:14, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Well you almost have me convinced. I'll take a serious look at the E8x00s after work; I like the faster bus, but I'm not comfortable spending enough to get anything faster than PC2-8500 so I don't know that will make a difference. I hadn't realized they were built using a 45nm process, which explains the value. Does AMD compete significantly with the E8400? The Brisbane doesn't look like serious competition, though AMD hasn't come out with a 45nm dual core desktop chip yet. BigNate37(T) 17:39, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, bus and RAM speeds are pretty inconsequential compared to the CPU frequency - I wouldn't worry about those. To the best of my knowledge, AMD's current processors at your price range are inferior to Intel's. Intel also has 45nm Quad cores (Q9x00), but they don't seem to be as cost-effective. -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 17:58, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Well, my PC-building heyday started around the time you could get a 2.8GHz processor with a 400MHz FSB, so I quickly developed a skeptical view for the "traditional" CPU specs. But I haven't been keeping up enough to know how much of a factor bus speed is, so tips like that are pretty helpful. BigNate37(T) 00:33, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
...The CPU is clocked in sync with the FSB (or HyperTransport) clock, times the CPU multiplier. And the bus clock (along with the memory itself and controller) basically determines memory bandwidth. So kind of a big deal .froth. (talk) 02:34, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree with the E8400 - I have one and love it. I overclocked mine as well, but made sure I stuck a large "Maxorb" cooling fan over it. Good luck with trying to find apps that make full use of quad core, let alone dual core. I eventually found a dual core codec for blu-ray playback, but it wasn't free. Quad core is a little overkill nowadays unless you have specific needs and are sure your apps support it fully. Sandman30s (talk) 21:56, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
Oh, I'm fully aware of the implications of multicore processing and I definately agree that most pieces of CPU-intensive software will not utilize multicore technology very well. Many pieces of software still don't even utilize multithreading effectively, let alone attempting optimal resource sharing across processes. But between say Windows XP, FRAPS, BF2 (client and server), and the BF2 Editor, which I would run all at once if I could... I'm sure there'd be enough independent processes to go around. Especially if I end up running two separate monitors. But yeah, I'm a software engineer by day, so no worries. In fact, part of me just wants quad-core because of my excitement for how four cores could be used, but now I'm really leaning towards the E8400. BigNate37(T) 00:33, 9 May 2008 (UTC)