Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2008 September 8

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September 8[edit]

In firefox (or windows, really), how do I set the option to only have 1 window of a program open at once?[edit]

Most people want to get rid of this feature; I want it because my younger sibling doesn't realize that only one window needs to be open at a time (since there's tabbed browsing), and when 57 windows are open at once, the computer sloughs down.

Actually, I'd prefer that I could set a limit, like say three windows, so necessary popups wouldn't be affected. I'm not sure if this is a firefox option, or a windows xp taskbar option, or a third-party program or what. Much help greatly appeciated ! -=- Xhin -=- (talk) 00:30, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

First, why is your younger sibling opening 57 windows? If it's because certain links automatically open new windows, in Firefox, in Preferences -> Tabs, there is an option that says "New pages should be opened in:" with choices of "a new window" and "a new tab"; but I think the latter is default anyway. If it's because he/she doesn't know a good way of opening new tabs, then teach him/her something like that, with the above option set to tabs, one can simply middle-click or Ctrl-click a link to open it in a new tab (add Shift to open tab and switch to it), or press Ctrl-T (or double-click on an empty part of the tab bar) to open a blank new tab. If the problem is that he/she knows how to open new tabs, but likes to open 57 new windows anyway, then that's really his/her own problem. I don't know if Firefox has an option to simply disallow opening more than a certain number of windows; but I doubt it. --Spoon! (talk) 01:31, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
I have to say that the best solution would be to simply teach your younger sibling how the program works. If he (I'm making a bold gender assumption here and certainly not using "he" as a generic pronoun) is old enough to figure out how to browse the internet, is the concept of tabs really too complicated for him? I'm saying this because, first of all, I don't think there's a technical solution to this short of something you program yourself, and also because in my experience, teaching someone the proper use of an application (especially when it's a pretty simple thing like this) will save you time and effort in the long run. -- Captain Disdain (talk) 07:39, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
With Tab Mix Plus (a Firefox plugin) you can make your browser into "single window mode" that forces every new window to a new tab. Unfortunately that plugin is not (yet) available for Firefox 3. --antilivedT | C | G 07:43, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm fairly sure unless you specifically ask Firefox 3 to open in a new window by default it opens in a tab anyway. TheGreatZorko (talk) 08:10, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Reactivate Windows?[edit]

If i install a new video card on my computer, will i have to reactivate windows? Everyone i've asked says yes, but i've added hardware to my computer before and never had to activate windows again. I need some help plz... 31306D696E6E69636B6D (talk) 13:15, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Which version of Windows do you use? I have seen cases in Windows XP where activation was not required, however in Vista it is very likely. Activation links your product key with a collection of components Microsoft consider "core" to your system. As part of the Windows license stipulates using it with only a single computer, changing any part that causes Windows to see itself as a new computer will cause need for activation. The most obvious component is the CPU, however i've switched Vista Harddrives to other computers without it complaining about reactivation so there is no obvious answer. Best thing you can do is change it and see. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 14:33, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Its Windows XP Home SP3. And i don't actually have the card yet. Would windows even let me reactivate? 31306D696E6E69636B6D (talk) 16:00, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't want to give legal advise on whether it's allowed by the license, but the license (Windows XP EULA) definetly states you may need to reactivate after changing Hardware. - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 16:48, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
I've had to re-activate XP SP2 after changing my CPU, hard drive, and memory (one at a time, on three separate occasions). But there was no hassle—entering my license key worked fine, and I didn't have to call Microsoft or anything like that. -- Coneslayer (talk) 16:53, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
And I didn't need to re-activate after changing the mainboard, cpu, RAM, sound card, video card, and hard drive. You never know. --Carnildo (talk) 22:57, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Cool. Thanks. 31306D696E6E69636B6D (talk) 16:32, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

Just an FYI for anyone reading this Vista uses the same reactivation rules as XP (unless you're using a pirated copy in which case putting a new component in will cause windows to twig you're running a cracked copy when it notices the new hardware and then break the crack) TheGreatZorko (talk) 09:02, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Wow. I didn't understand any of that. Could you explain? 31306D696E6E69636B6D (talk) 13:14, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

File Compression....or Expansion?[edit]


Thanks everybody. -Abhishek (talk) 05:32, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

I am trying to compress a file, but the size is just increasing instead of decreasing :S

  • Original file -- 1000.0 MB
  • .7z -- 1013.6 MB
  • .gz -- 1000.2 MB

Screenshot. The original file's name is "win32", but really nothing related to windows. Its a Truecrypt container. I am using Linux Mint, GNOME. Is there something I'm missing? All I did was Right click-->Create archieve.

Thanks -Abhishek (talk) 13:29, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

File compression relies on redundancy (repeated blocks and patters) inside the thing you're compressing. Truecrypt, like all worthwhile encryption products, uses encryption algorithms which have ciphertexts that have no discernible patterns inside them. So no compression program is going to find anything to compress. Even an entirely empty 1Gb Truecrypt partion file will "upcompress" in this way. The standard solution is compress-then-encrypt - in your case compress inside the truecrypt volume, resize it (can you do that?) to barely contain what you need. Alternatively (better, perhaps) you zip (or tar.gz) the files up and then encrypt that archive with GPG or whatever. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 13:35, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Nope, can't resize Truecrypt containers. Finlay is on the money, if you can compress an encrypted file then you need better encryption! -- (talk) 19:46, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Think of it like this. If your file compressor could compress ANY file and make it smaller - then you could take the file that came out of the compressor and compress it again - and again - and again. Eventually, the file would be one byte long. But a one byte file can only have 256 values - how would the uncompressor "know" which of the almost infinite number of possible files to generate?
In most cases, what happens is that if the compressor can't make the file smaller - it just sticks a little note on the front of the file that says "this file wasn't really compressed" - but that note takes up space. In fact, it's mathematically impossible to write a compressor that doesn't either lose some information - or make some files at least one bit bigger. And as says - if you actually can make a compressed file smaller by recompressing it - then you have a poor compression tool. However, there are poor compression tools out there.
SteveBaker (talk) 02:19, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
Actually, the reason you can't compress encrypted files isn't that they're already compressed. It's that you cannot compress a stream of truly random numbers, and one of the defining characteristics of good encryption is that it is indistinguishable from a stream of random numbers. --Carnildo (talk) 20:58, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
Ha, 12.* reminds me of Outlook PST mailstores. They store their passwords in CRC (cracks any pst in 1 milisecond) and they have "compressible encryption". Even Outlook 2007 has this (sorry) bullshit. --mboverload@ 07:14, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Firefox version 3.0.1[edit]

I'm having a problem with this version. If I use a link to a section that is not at the beginning of an article, (eg, Marilyn Munroe#Songs), the tab opens showing the proper section of the article but then Firefox immediately increases the font size which leads to a redisplay of an earlier part of the article. This is a great nuisance as it means using "find" to get the section I want.

I believe it is going to a larger font size because I used Ctrl + to request a larger font (several days ago). Is there a way to have the larger font taken into account in the initial display when the tab opens so there is no need for a redisplay?

Thanks. Wanderer57 (talk) 17:10, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Following that link works for me with an enlarged font size in Firefox 3.0.1 on XP. I have a similar problem when loading articles with large amounts of LaTeX in them, but that is due to the number of images in the articles and doesn't sound the same as your problem. What OS are you using? Any Firefox plugins? « Aaron Rotenberg « Talk « 23:48, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. I have Windows 2000 "professional". No Firefox plugins. Wanderer57 (talk) 13:18, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
It happens to me on my Firefox 2, I guess it's just a browser feature. Avnas Ishtaroth drop me a line 01:54, 10 September 2008 (UTC)[edit]

Is this site legit? I can't find much about it on the old internets from reputable sources. A family member wants to know if they should use it. My instinct is to say "no" if I haven't heard of it myself and instead direct them to AVG Free and Spybot (esp. since they seem to do pretty much all you'd need for free, whereas the other one has a lot of features that can only be unlocked for $25 or so). But I thought I'd ask on here, since I'm not necessarily up to speed with the anti-virus world as I am a Mac user. -- (talk) 17:52, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

I myself use AVG and it is an excellent program. In general, only use programs that have reviews that don't say OMG THIS THING GAVE ME VIRUSES. half of the time is pretty reliable, as it scans everything. Pie is good (Apple is the best) 20:59, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
And in general, if you pay for something, you should be sure what you'll get out of it. If you pay for anti-virus software and then get a virus, what will the software company do? For 25 dollars, they'll have forgotten about you the second they got your money. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:50, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
As I said, I know these things. My question is whether anyone knows anything about this particular site. -- (talk) 23:20, 8 September 2008 (UTC) says it's legit. ~EdGl (talk) 15:26, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
I work in a computer repair shop, and we use Malwarebyte's Anti-Malware (mouthful!) and SuperAntiSpyware almost exclusively (though I lean towards SuperAntiSpyware, seems slightly faster). The basic functions are all free. What you're paying for is basically on-access protection (like virus scanners that are scanning all opened files) versus user-initiated scans ('scan now' functionality). Frankly, when it comes to spyware/adware, I wouldn't worry about paying. I'd really only pay for virus protection, though AVG has always worked extremely well for me at home. Washii (talk) —Preceding undated comment was added at 20:23, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

Google Maps and GPS[edit]

I have a mobile broadband card from AT&T that has built-in GPS. I was wondering if there was a way to somehow integrate this GPS with Google Maps? I would like to have it guide me to a destination (just directions, don't need turns or anything) and reposition the "location" on the map and have the map follow it as I travel.

Now, I know that you can integrate it with Streets and Trips and Google Earth but those both cost money. I am looking for something free or extremely cheap. The company I work for has a small budget for this kind of thing and I am already spending my money on an expensive wireless card to help out getting my service calls.

Thank you Wikipedia gurus. I'm looking for anything, I don't care how ghetto it is. I have searched for about an hour now comming up empty.-- (talk) 19:47, 8 September 2008 (UTC)


Hi, is it possible to work on the computer in Eastern Europe, but the time zone to be like Canada? (if I am talking on messenger for ex.) Thank you very much. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Adina40 (talkcontribs) 21:55, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Sure. You can set the time zone for whatever you want, regardless of where you are. -- Captain Disdain (talk) 22:11, 8 September 2008 (UTC)
If you are unsure how to change the timezone:
  • Windows: Right-click the clock, hit Adjust Date/Time... then click the Time Zone tab. Use the drop-down to select your zone.
  • Mac OS: Go to the Apple Menu, click System Preferences then Date & Time. Untick the "Set date & time automatically" box. Click "Time Zone" and choose your time zone.
Xenon54 22:31, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Does Gears of War for PC have copy protection?[edit]

Does it have anything obtrusive like SecuROM or any of that foolishness that could muck up my system? -- (talk) 23:14, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

Are you suggesting SecuROM could "muck up your system", or did you simply word that badly? I've never heard any case of SecuROM messing up a system, and no Gears of War does not have any noticeable Copyright infringement prevention in place, however who knows if there are any that are not "obtrusive". - Jimmi Hugh (talk) 14:31, 9 September 2008 (UTC)
It has and does; it's easy to accounts of this happening find with a bit of googling. Personally, I experienced the bug where the SecuROM bundled with the Command & Conquer 3 expansion pack caused explorer to crash when right clicking on executables (it includes a shell extension to block you from properly interacting with 16-bit executables in explorer, for some reason). -- Consumed Crustacean (talk) 19:12, 9 September 2008 (UTC)