Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2009 April 17

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April 17[edit]

How do you raise you miniclip world ranking?[edit]

How do you raise your miniclip world ranking? i have a bunch of highscores and i have star ranking but it wont show my world ranking....why? you can add or challenge me if you want, my user name is dnemo28 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dnemo28 (talkcontribs) 00:33, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

webroot Spy Sweeper[edit]

Is webroot Spy Sweeper vista compatible? I googled it and I got mixed results. Anyone with first hand experience?--AtTheAbyss (talk) 02:42, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Why not check with the source? Their product page on their website says it is. Tempshill (talk) 21:02, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Firefox Ridiculous Mem usage[edit]

For some reason when I'm using Firefox, the amount of memory it uses builds up to ridiculous amounts after a few hours use, often as much as 800K, slowing it down significantly and requiring to both shut it down and also end the process using task manager, If I don't do that too, it stays there, using the same amount of memory and I'm unable to reopen it. Any idea why? Its 3.0 running on Vista btw--Jac16888Talk 02:45, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

800k? That's NOTHING! 0.8Mbytes - that's probably one tenth of one percent of your computer's RAM! SteveBaker (talk) 03:40, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Heh, sorry my bad, I meant 800k as in 800,000, 800Mbyes, around a quarter of my RAM--Jac16888Talk 04:06, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Have you got any plugins installed? Possibly one of those is (very) leaky. Try disabling them and seeing if you have the same problem, if not then reenable them individually/batches to narrow down which one(s) are causing the problem. ZX81 talk 04:31, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the tip, will try that.--Jac16888Talk 04:47, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Just so I know, what kind of memory does firefox generally use?--Jac16888Talk 16:41, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

That really depends on what webpage(s) you are visiting and how many tabs are open (as well as what plugins are active). I've just created a clean install of Firefox 3.0.8 on Vista x64 and on my computer visiting the main page uses 47Mb. I then installed the Flash plugin and loaded around 15 tabs of YouTube videos and it shot to over 300Mb. Closing them all down returned to the 47Mb fairly quickly. Although whilst writing all that I've just noticed that the usage has increased to 58Mb and Firefox hasn't changed page or even had the focus so I don't know what's going on there.... In fact just as I hit save it jumped to 62Mb although it appears to be holding steady now. ZX81 talk 18:40, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Well I have the Facebook page open in one window (I know i know) and two Wikipedia tabs in another and its saying 200mb--Jac16888Talk 19:58, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Right now I'm on XP with FF2and 2Gb RAM, and it's only using 281,000 for 37 tabs, BUT they've been open all day. If I open and close a lot of tabs, it will shoot up to as high as 600,000 (beyond that it is too slow to tolerate so I restart it). Turning off caching appears to improve it, but only a little. Some of it is caused by tracking tabs for the Undo Closed Tab and crash recovery features,

To get rid of some of the leakage, change the configuration to release memory when the window is minimised. This is most effective if used regularly before the usage goes over about 150,000; beyond that it doesn't release much. If using multiple windows they all have to be minimised at the same time.

In the address bar, type about:config and hit enter. Right click anywhere and select New, Boolean. In the dialog that comes up, type config.trim_on_minimize, click OK, then select True and click OK again. Restart the browser.KoolerStill (talk) 06:15, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

.Desktop files and relative paths[edit]

I am currently trying to make a .desktop file to launch portable Firefox (on Linux), but I just can't get it to work! Does anyone know if it is possible to use relative paths on .desktop files? Like this:


I have read the .desktop file specification ([1]/[2]), but that did not helped....... Hacktolive (talk) 03:16, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Hardisk and Hotspot[edit]

1.My laptop is Acer with specs: 120Gb HDD, 2Gb RAM, And OS Windows XP SP3 Balck Edition. one mount ago I install my Laptop with Windows XP Sp 3 Black Edition. Now when I want change my OS with other OS, I Can't install the other OS because my laptop can't detect my HDD (HDD doesn't exis or install). I start install booting from CD and fail. I scan My Laptop With many antivirus, there is no virus. So until now i still use OS Windows XP SP3 Black Edition. My somebody can help me, Please? 2. My laptop can detect hotspot in my area, but that hotspot protected with password. I want to know, How can we input the corect password or we can see the password is? Thank Lott —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cah1126 (talkcontribs) 08:22, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

2. Ask the hotspot owner.F (talk) 12:03, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
1. Sounds like you need a driver disk so that when XP is starting to install you can press F6 and read the driver from the floppy drive (so it can detect the harddrive). However, because you're using an illegal version of Windows it's hard to say if that would fix the problem as expected (there is no official version called "Black edition" except the pirated version which also contains other pirated apps). Didn't your Acer come with an XP CD/Recovery CD? I'd recommend just using that and then installing Service Pack 3 afterwards, but make sure you've backed up all your files first! ZX81 talk 13:15, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Browser Back button[edit]

Is the web browser Back button a legacy of the days of static HTML pages? Do current web designers frown upon it? Are there usability standards as to what an user experience must be when he hits the back button? Any links to articles or blogs would also be helpful. Jay (talk) 11:15, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

The Back button is supposed to do one thing: Take the user back - to the previous page (the one that was opened before clicking the link or button). (That's one reason why "META refresh" and JavaScript-based redirection are disliked by many - when you click Back, you get to the redirector page, which forwards you to the same page again.) --grawity 13:22, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Current web designers that know what they are doing do not mind the back button at all. They plan for it. Current web designers who do not know what they are doing hate the back button because it exposes their limited ability to make dynamic websites. Instead of learning to do things properly, they attempt to break the back button. There are very rare cases in which breaking the back "function" (not really button) is necessary. Here is an example: You have a special web object that the user can type text into. It is not a text box, but acting very similar to one. You want the user to be able to backspace to delete text. However, the backspace is the keyboard shortcut for the back button. So, when the user has your little web object selected, you don't want the backspace to be a "back button click". In some browsers (ie: Opera) you cannot override the backspace key. -- kainaw 14:06, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Things that matter if you do them twice - like clicking the "buy" button in an online shop - are submitted as a HTTP POST rather than the normal HTTP GET. The browser will warn you if you go back in that case. I guess the source for this is rfc2616 9.5. --h2g2bob (talk) 19:48, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
That is what I meant by programmers not knowing what they are doing. The server should recognize that the same user submitted a purchase (or clicked the buy button) twice. Going back shouldn't cause a problem. -- kainaw 21:25, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
So, the Back functionality is good, and is part of modern browsing. And breaking the Back functionality would mean not letting the user go to the current/cached version of the previous page, even if he is navigating across 2 or 3 different websites. There are secure websites likes bank sites that log you off if you click the Back button. Can this also be considered breaking the Back functionality? Jay (talk) 03:59, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Don't know where you're based, but in the UK usability and accessibility guidelines from organisations such as SOCITM and RNIB, as well as WCAG 1 and 2.0 from W3C all state that web developers should do nothing that has the effect of disabling or overriding the user's browser settings. So yes, breaking the Back function is generally considered bad. I've never personally come across a bank site that logged you off for using the Back button, but as someone has said above, it does require careful coding to avoid unwarranted side effects.Elen of the Roads (talk) 23:23, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

MIME types for tracker modules[edit]

What are the standard (or most commonly used) MIME types for tracker modules such as .s3m (ScreamTracker), .xm (FastTracker) and .mod?

I have found some pages that list all of them as audio/x-mod, but others have audio/x-screamtracker-module and audio/x-protracker-module and so on. Which ones should I use? --grawity 13:19, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Delete Key Launching Task Manager[edit]

Hi. Anyone heard of where the Delete key (one below 'insert' and 'Del' on the numpad) launches task manager screen on its own? Just pressing either of these keys brings up the task manager, and I don't know how to disable this so I can use the decimal point key on the numpad and the normal delete function. Oh, and it's in a remote desktop connection to another workstation that this happens, it opens the task manager or the computer i'm connected to. Any help is appreciated, thanks. (talk) 15:05, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

I've had this exact thing happen in Remote Desktop a couple of times, for 2 different reasons. First, someone had created a macro on the local box binding DEL to CTRL-ALT-DEL due to a physical handicap. The second time someone had left a screwdriver on the local console's keyboard, and it was pressing on CTRL and ALT, so my DEL completed the trifecta! Both rather unlikely circumstances, but they also both did happen, so YMMV. :) ArakunemTalk 16:31, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Sound problem[edit]

My sound is fuzzy. It crackles, like a radio approaching the edge of its range.

It's not a sound card problem, because it happened before I got a sound card and the brand new, mid-range sound card had no effect at all.

It's cured by restoring factory settings, but I don't want a cure, I want prevention. Factorising every three months is annoying.

It's not the speakers; I've replaced them numerous times.

It happened on both my old and my new computer.

I think that's everything. Anyone got any ideas what's causing this, and how I could prevent it? Thanks in advance for anything you try. Vimescarrot (talk) 19:34, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Do you live in an area that would have a lot of EM interference? Near an airport, or a radar array or something like that? (talk) 19:55, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
EM interference would be my first guess as well, then I'd look to a driver issue. — Ched :  ?  19:58, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Not that I know of. Would that explains the cumulative nature of this phenomenon - the fact that it just gets worse and worse as time goes on? Vimescarrot (talk) 20:00, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Oh, and I've also moved house since it first happened. Twice. Vimescarrot (talk) 20:01, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
So it happened on two completely unrelated computers, on the second one with a number of speakers and soundcards, and at three different locations? That is highly unlikely. Perhaps the two computers were not completely unrelated, after all? Perhaps you used the same OS on them (an unusual OS)? (And, forgive me for asking, does other people also hear the distortion?) --Andreas Rejbrand (talk) 20:10, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I completely understand your skepticism. Yes, other people hear it. The OS on the first computer (which, if it matters, was used in locations 1 and 2) was Windows XP; in the second computer, in locations 2 and 3, it was (and still is) Windows Vista. I tried multiple speakers (but only one soundcard...well, the built-in one) on the first computer. The second computer has tried different speakers as well as different soundcards. Vimescarrot (talk) 20:20, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

I agree it's highly unlikely, which is why I think something must have caused it - something which I'm doing. I use a webcam with a built-in microphone - someone suggested that could cause it, via feedback. Or something. Someone else suggested a virus, but no scan has found any trace. Vimescarrot (talk) 20:21, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

My radio crackles when I use a hair-dryer. Kittybrewster 20:26, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the only common factor is the user, and the user-specific activities and applications. I do not believe it is a virus, for then a quite rare virus must have infected two different computers. I agree that all audio input devices, such as microphones, are "suspicious". Try to disable them (temporarily). Also, are there any application you have used on all three computers? (Of couse, the application have to be quite uncommon, e.g. Microsoft Word is not qualified.) Or did you experience the distortion when any computer was new and "clean" as well? --Andreas Rejbrand (talk) 20:37, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
The computers were fine when new. I use mostly Internet Explorer (started on 6, am now on 8), a lot of Java, Windows Live Messenger and...that's pretty much it. Common activities are RuneScape and watching videos. I've uninstalled my webcam (which contains the microphone) but did not hear any difference in the sound. Of course, it's possible that the sound stopped getting worse, but since it's over such a long time period (a few months) it's difficult to tell... Vimescarrot (talk) 20:41, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

(P.S. I have to go to bed now, will be back same time tomorrow) Vimescarrot (talk) 20:41, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

I it possible that you've got some sort of software program that's redirecting your "Line-In" or Microphone inputs to the speaker?
Also, stupid question the needs to be asked: When you replaced your speakers, did you also replace the audio cable that runs from your computer to your speakers?
Also, if your sound card supports EAX, you might try disabling that through your sound-card drivers. I used to have a soundcard that would get all staticy when that was turned on. (Never figured out why.) APL (talk) 15:52, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
How would I check/do all of this? Vimescarrot (talk) 22:03, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

iPhone as spirit level[edit]

How can a phone become a spirit level using an "app"? Kittybrewster 20:23, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

From the sound of one reviewer, it doesn't. CTRL + F "Spirit level" here. Vimescarrot (talk) 20:33, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Just to clarify if you don't want to read it, you calibrate it to zero first, using a perfectly flat surface. I imagine it detects its tiltiness the same way a Wii Remote does. Vimescarrot (talk) 20:35, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
accelerometer --Nricardo (talk) 01:55, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
The iPhone has a pair of accellerometers inside that detect when you tilt it or shake it or whatever. They detect when the phone is being accelerated. When the iPhone is perfectly vertical, the up/down sensor reports 9.8 meters per second squared - 1g - and the left/right sensor reports zero. When you tilt the phone, the up/down sensor reads a little less than 9.8 and the left/right sensor reports a little more than zero if you tilt it to the right - or a little less than zero when you tilt it to the left. If the phone is completely flat (sitting on it's back) then both sensors return zero. So the software can figure out exactly how the phone is tilted - so long as the value for 'g' is known. That's why some of the apps need to be 'calibrated' because 'g' varies depending on where you are in the world, etc.
The Wiimote doesn't work quite like that. It knows where it's aimed using a tiny camera to look for the two infra-red LED's in the bar that you put on top of your TV. It has accelerometers too - but they are only used for relatively coarse measurements of how fast the Wiimote is being moved when it's going too fast or when the camera isn't pointing towards the LED tracking bar. There is a new gizmo for the Wii that (IIRC) comes with the StarWars lightsabre fighting game which is supposed to have much more sophisticated accelerometers. SteveBaker (talk) 01:45, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
The Wiimote is perfectly capable of determining it's orientation without using the sensor bar. Several games work that way. Super Monkey Ball, Mercury Revolution, Marble Mania, etc.
What it can't do is handle motion and rotation at the same time. Which makes sense, because it only seems to have one set of accelerometers. You'd need at least two to separate out accelerations due to rotation and accelerations due to movement. APL (talk) 17:03, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

PPTP VPN considerations[edit]

Hi All,

We use have 2 LANs with separate ISP's. On both of these LANs we have dhcp enabled and both of them assigns ip address in the form of 192.168.1.x.

I've recently been playing around trying to get pptp to work on these so I can be on both networks on the same time (so i can manage/monitor on both networks, so am not really trying to bridge both networks completely).

I have been able to enable pptp on the router (a dedicated computer running pfSense on the target network ill call Network A) and connect to it successfully from the network I'm currently on (Network B). on XP, I can do a ipconfig /all and it lists the pptp adapter showing the ip I assigned on the router of Network A. My problem is I dunno what I have to do to specify which network connection should be used when I issue some sort of command: ie how do I ping on Network A? It always defaults to pinging the ip on my current physical connection (Network B).

Do I have to change one of the LANs to use a different mask (192.168.2.x) to get it to work?

TIA PrinzPH (talk) 22:35, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes, you will need to renumber one of the networks, otherwise the local route will win. Gavint0 (talk) 12:37, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Am I allowed to name ISP's here?[edit]

I have been a subscriber with AOL BROADBAND in Scotland Uk for many years and have no issues with that. But recently, I have noticed that the longer I stay online, the slower the service becomes ie., slower, erratic and at times unresponsive. BUT when I disconnect and reconnect Hey Presto, the service goes back to being fast and slicky. Can I be forgiven for suspecting that I am being penalised the longer I stay on? Secondly, AOL used to have a LIVEHELP button that connected me in realtime with a LIVE helper who would answer problematic queries and help me to solve them. But for several months now, whenever I click that button, I get a message telling me that AOL are in the process of improving that service????????????????? and offering instead a 48 hour e-mail question and answer service. My question? Oh yes. Can I believe the second part of that summary? And how can I decide which is the best all-round alternative ISP in my area given my scepticism about AOL. Thanks. (talk) 23:37, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

AOL does seem to be in a downward spiral, constantly lowering services, losing customers as a result, then lowering services further to save money so they don't suffer a financial loss. The root cause is probably that they just took on too much initially. For example, they have their own browser (based on IE). Why ? Most ISPs are sensible enough to allow you to use your own browser. They also have their own e-mail system, instant messenger, bulletin board, news, etc. Most of that is overkill, since other web sites can provide all of that. So, they've set up a business model that requires a large staff to support, at considerable expense, with little benefit to the customers (since just about every add-on that AOL offers is available for free elsewhere). It's a bad business model. I can't make recommendations for other ISPs in Scotland, but perhaps others will do that. StuRat (talk) 14:56, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
AOL has been around for a long time. Their custom software once ran on the Commodore 64 and Apple II. There was no public data network for them to use, no standards for email or instant messenging, no preexisting client software, certainly not any free client software. The Free Software Foundation wasn't even founded until 1985. That's why AOL has custom versions of everything—because they were early adopters of everything. Not that I'm sorry to see them falling on hard times. Good riddance, and hooray for the open Internet. -- BenRG (talk) 21:34, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, long ago I called them and asked that they create a low-cost version of AOL that just provides the Internet access, without all the other crap. They didn't listen to me. StuRat (talk) 15:26, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Selecting part of a raster object in Inkscape[edit]

I opened a scan in Inkscape because I am trying to autotrace part of it. Inkscape treats the entire scan as one object, which I expected, but unexpectedly, I cannot select part of the object, the part that I want to trace. Is there a way to do this on Inkscape or is this a lost cause? I have Version 0.45 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Elatanatari (talkcontribs) 23:42, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

path -> break_apart -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 22:52, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Incidentally, if you can move to 0.46, then you'd be well advised to do so. The Inkscape people don't release very often, so even that single-minor-digit change actually reflects a considerably improved product (not just minor fixes for issues you probably don't care about). -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 22:55, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. I'll get on that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Elatanatari (talkcontribs) 19:01, 19 April 2009 (UTC)