Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2009 February 6

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February 6[edit]

Switching keyboards in Windows Vista[edit]

I recently installed WinVista Business (32) on a computer in an office here. It's English-language Windows, with a standard US keyboard, but because "here" is Japan, I set it up to have the Japanese IME (i.e. the option of inputting Japanese), and of course to be in the Japanese time zone. Perhaps it's for this reason that sometimes Windows "thinks" it is or should be in Japanese; e.g. Gnumeric installed itself with a Japanese-language menu system, without my asking it to do so (and with no obvious way of changing to English). Today Windows announced that it needed various updates, so I stupidly agreed, and it downloaded and installed them. As a result it thinks that it has a Japanese-market keyboard attached. (Thus for example the apostrophe is Shift-7, which I only remember as I happen to have a Japanese-market keyboard right next to me. Just typing this message is a pain, as parentheses etc. are all in different places.)

I want to change back. But how?

Yes, "Regional and Language Options" in Control Panel does have the tab "Keyboards and Languages", which has "Change keyboards..." (and nothing else). But this is merely about inputting languages on your given physical keyboard. Meanwhile, "Keyboard" in Control Panel has "Keyboard Properties", and within this is "Hardware". This tells me that the "Manufacturer" is "(Standard keyboards)" (actually it's Compaq) but it says nothing about a Japanese layout. "Driver" offers "HID Keyboard Device", which lists kbdclass.sys and kbdhid.sys, which Explorer shows me as dated 2 February, which is when I set up the system.

Um, WtF am I supposed to do?

My problem isn't Japanese specific. If anyone knows how to change from a QWERTY to an AZERTY (or Dvorak) keyboard, or vice versa, that I think would answer my question.

(And no, I don't have a backup. I have a freshly burned Clonezilla Live CD ready for that job, and was going to back up immediately after updating Windows. Duh.) Tama1988 (talk) 08:56, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

There's Microsoft's own guide to switching to dvorak (applies to others too I think) at Maybe somebody else here would know why vista decided to switch the layout in the first place? -- (talk) 10:13, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Edit conflict! Thank you, 194.197! In the meantime. . . .
Extrapolating from the advice here (for installing Dvorak on XP), I installed an English-US keyboard. In "Text services and Input Languages" I now see:
EN English (United States)
  • US
  • United States-International
JP Japanese (Japan)
  • Microsoft Office IME 2007
This seems to conflate hardware and software. And sure enough in reality it does conflate the two. I have a choice:
  • Type as expected (e.g. ":" on the keytop brings ":") but not Japanese script;
  • Type in roman letters or Japanese script (though plenty of characters are in the wrong places, e.g. ":" on the keytop brings "+").
Therefore typing Japanese script is most laborious (quite unlike the ease with which it was possible just 24 hours ago on the same computer, running Vista, with the same keyboard).
I have one [physical] keyboard. It's a US keyboard. I want to install Microsoft Office IME 2007 for it, and not for the Japanese keyboard that I don't have.
When I highlight either "EN English (United States)" or the line "Keyboard" immediately below this, the "Add" button is operable. However, I can't add "Microsoft Office IME 2007": this choice is bold, presumably meaning that it's already present.
I'm trying hard not to say rude things about Windows Vista.... Tama1988 (talk) 10:18, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm. I definitely had exactly the same problem when I was in Japan last year. I know your pain. But I cannot seem to remember how I solved the problem... I'll keep thinking about it, and if it comes to me, I'll let you know. Good luck! がんばって! LordAmeth (talk) 11:30, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Thank you! What irritates me immensely is that it was working well yesterday, and then Windows so "updated" it. And what I find bizarre is that all these menus seem to confuse two quite different things: (1) what physical keyboard you have and how it works for Roman letters, and (2) what extras (e.g. Japanese script) you want for it. (Surely French speakers should be able to type Japanese on AZERTY keyboards, etc.) Well, I have to leave the office now; I really hope I get a reply during my night, otherwise my fellow-users of this room will have it in for me. Tama1988 (talk) 11:37, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Once you get the update sorted out you might want to look at the Advanced Key Settings tab in the Language Bar settings. Certain key combinations can be used to switch keyboards. I had a similar problem with the language & keyboard settings apparently changing spontaneously, until I realised that I was sometimes lingering on some keys while typing. Astronaut (talk) 00:43, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, but I have to get things sorted out first.
Four pages about installation for Vista -- first, second, third,fourth -- all show that once you've correctly installed the wherewithal for a non-Roman script you end up with two (or more) "Installed Services" (under "Text Services and Input Languages"), each of which has a "Keyboard"; for English and Japanese, you prototypically get:
EN English (United States)
  • US
JP Japanese (Japan)
  • Microsoft IME
As far as I can see, there's nothing indication there of which keyboard layout you have; I mean, nothing to tell you whether (for example) shift-semicolon is colon (US) or plus (Japanese).
What's interesting is that in the first and second of these links we see "Japanese (Japan)|Keyboard|Microsoft IME" being selected for the installation process, but not also "Japanese (Japan)|Keyboard|Japan"; in the third, it is selected (by mistake?). Anyway, the result of the installation procedures looks (in "Text Services and Input Languages") pretty much indistinguishable from what I have here.
(Oh, at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 are rather more informative-looking pages about XP, if anyone's interested.)
I can't think that I can be helped by installing anything afresh. Rather, I want to uninstall whatever's specific to Japanese, and then to reinstall it with fingers crossed. Windows lets me uninstall, but for reinstallation I fear I'd need the distribution CD/DVD -- which I don't have, as the dual Windows system (you make a one-time selection between Japanese and English; the one you don't want is deleted) was placed on the hard drive by an IBM serviceman. Tama1988 (talk) 05:44, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Fixed (or perhaps resolved) thanks to Oda Mari's pointer (on my talk page) to this informative page. REGEDIT: it's one useful part of Windows. I think I shall now drink a beer. Tama1988 (talk) 07:19, 7 February 2009 (UTC)


how can we implement mobile to mobile phone calls via internet —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nidheeshks (talkcontribs) 10:05, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Have you read our VOIP article ? What more do you want to know ? StuRat (talk) 15:59, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

ymmetrical face[edit]

is it ture that, Contrary to popular belief, if you actually encountered a perfectly symmetrical face, you would be repulsed? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:42, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

What -- a face with its right side completely matching the left? Why would you be repulsed? Is this some kind of an urban legend? Let me put it this way: if it was true, it would be easy to reproduce such a face and make it look completely lifelike, and see if it repulsed people. In fact, faces like that have undoubtedly been produced already... fact, I just made one myself, and it took me about a minute in Photoshop. Take a look. I used the image here as a source, simply because it was the first image that popped up when I did a Google image search for "face" -- it's not a photograph, but a composite image of 32 male faces, an "average" face, but that shouldn't matter. Do you feel repulsed? I don't. -- Captain Disdain (talk) 13:10, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I do, thanks for comfirming my theory. I'm sure it's just an urban legend for most other people though —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:29, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
You're repulsed by that? Well, okay then. -- Captain Disdain (talk) 13:33, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
There's the theory that a minor imperfection in the appearance makes one look even better, as in women who put fake moles on their faces in former times. However, at least for me, it doesn't make them look more attractive. StuRat (talk) 15:57, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
This effect (well, not this exactly, but pretty much) is called the uncanny valley effect. flaminglawyer 21:51, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I have no idea why this is in the computing desk but anyway. AFAIK, nost studies show the more symmetrical a face, the more attractive it is. We even have an article Symmetry (physical attractiveness). I'm not sure whether a perfectly symmetrical face will problematic but I doubt it, there are various ways, e.g. highlighted above we can get a highly symmetrical face and I believe there are used in some of the experiments. I don't think the uncanny valley thing is that relevant, it's describing things we know and associate consciously as unreal. Actually more accurately it's desribing things which are almost human but not close enough for us to regard them as human. Edit, remind myself to always read article before linking
"Measures of human body symmetry correlate with attractiveness, but studies manipulating human face images report a preference for asymmetry. These results may reflect unnatural feature shapes and changes in skin textures introduced by image processing. When the shape of facial features is varied (with skin textures held constant), increasing symmetry of face shape increases ratings of attractiveness for both male and female faces. These findings imply facial symmetry may have a positive impact on mate selection in humans."
So it sounds like you were almost right. Facial symmetry is believed to be important, and perfect facial symmetry probably even better but imperfect facial symmetry is not and in fact worse. The problem is testing this. You can't do subjective modifications to try and improve the face to make it seem more perfectly symmetrical since it could easily be you're just making the face seem better in other ways. So it turns out the uncanny valley is more relevant then I guessed (I'm not that surprised that artificial symmetry isn't preferred actually just didn't occur to me it's what we're talking about). P.S. Obviously since most of the imperfect symmetry images were produced with computers the desk is more relevant then I thought but I still feel science would be better Nil Einne (talk) 13:39, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
I'd wondered about why it was asked here as well, but it led to the interesting result of Captain Disdain creating such a face on a computer. I imagine if asked on the Science Desk we would have had answers about the evolutionary pressure to find fit mates, and symmetry of the face being one indicator of fitness. If asked on the Humanities Desk we might have had references to symmetrical and non-symmetrical faces in artwork, and aesthetics in various cultures. If asked on the Math Desk we might have had discussions of X- and Y-symmetry. If asked on the Entertainment Desk we might have had refs to famous actors with symmetrical and non-symmetrical faces. If asked on the Language Desk we might have had some foreign language words for beauty that also mean symmetrical. The Misc Desk might have produced some personal opinions on which is better. StuRat (talk) 15:31, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Well, honestly, I'd probably have created that mug on any desk. I, uh, didn't really even realize this was the Computer desk; if I had, I would've moved the question elsewhere... so really, that's kind of my mistake. In any case, I have a hard time believing that a perfectly symmetrical face would cause revulsion. I mean, they might feel unsettled, but the uncanny valley effect -- if it exists, and that's debatable (though I certainly feel stirrings of something akin to that when viewing things like this!) -- doesn't really cover that, I think. In fact, a further experiment: here's another version of the face. It's very slightly different from the previous one, and it's no longer symmetrical -- but chances are you can't tell the difference without looking very carefully or comparing the two. Is that less repulsive than the previous one? -- Captain Disdain (talk) 04:20, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Dial-up speed[edit]

Roughly how long would it take to download 1Mb of data using a 56 kbit/s modem. I've read the article and similar articles, but I still cannot figure out the speed in practical terms. Thanks.--Shantavira|feed me 12:08, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

1 megabit is 1,048,576 bits, and 56k modem can download 56,000 bits per second, so the time in seconds is 1048576/56000 = 18.7 seconds (assuming by Mb you meant megabit - for 1 megabyte, multiply this by 8). That's the theoretical minimum - in real life it's likely to take longer — Matt Eason (Talk &#149; Contribs) 12:40, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
A couple things come into play that affect the real download time vs the theoretical maximum. In North America, most "56k" actually have a maximum connection of 53k, so that's about a 5% decrease in throughput right off the top. No matter where you are, it takes a very "clean" line to achieve the top speed. The protocol overhead must also be taken into account. Assuming some kind of TCP/IP connection, each individual packet will have a number of bytes attached to it which are used to control the transmission, so a 1MB file will actually result in more than 1MB of data being transferred. And of course there's traffic on the internet to consider, loads on the server and the client, etc. I Googled "calculate download speeds" and found any number of online calculators, two out of the three I tried came up with 2 minutes 29 seconds for 1 MB on a 56k modem, one of them was 3:09, but none of the three I looked at gave any information about their methodology. The 2:29 corresponds to Matt's calculation (18.7 * 8 / 60 = 2.49). So roughly two and a half to three minutes, given ideal conditions. --LarryMac | Talk 14:15, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
My old dialup used to run at 7 kbit/s, and that was near the telephone exchange. Thank goodness for broadband —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:32, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I was on 56k dial up until about a year ago and I remember it taking about 5 mins to download a typical 4-5 megabyte MP3 file. Astronaut (talk) 00:28, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Quite many of the at least more modern phone modems support standards for data compression on the fly, which could give actual linespeeds above 56 kbits/second if the information entropy is low. See ITU-T V-Series Recommendations#Error control and data compression. TERdON (talk) 02:04, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Technically, the actual linespeed is still limited by actual linespeed constraints, however the apparent linespeed can indeed be increased by compression (though this is generally less valuable on larger files because they are more likely to already be compressed). – 74  14:58, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

adobe flash player[edit]

From where can I download adobe flash player to install in another computer which has no internet connection. thank you. (talk) 12:50, 6 February 2009 (UTC) Eason (Talk &#149; Contribs) 13:03, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Windows' emulation[edit]

Why is so difficult to run Windows' games using an emulator? (like Wine) Somewhere I read something about access to the hardware, but I want a more detailed answer. --Mr.K. (talk) 15:46, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

First of all, Wine is not an emulator. Second, it isn't that difficult to run windows games in wine; you just need the correct libraries installed in your OS (i am assuming you use linux) to run stuff. For example, running a DirectX game in Wine will use OpenGL/Mesa3D libraries to generate the 3D graphics. I'm not sure what difficulties you may be experiencing with running windows games using wine, most work perfectly (or with only small problems).  Buffered Input Output 17:48, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Windows APIs are undocumented and buggy, so it is hard for people to re-implement the exact behavior in open-source. -- (talk) 19:59, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Well, coping Windows APIs is probably illegal or you have to have a Windows license... :(--Mr.K. (talk) 12:15, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Legitimate and legal FREE photo editing software download?[edit]

Hi, I am not an expert photographer but I do like digital photography and I am busy scanning my old emulsion pics into my computer. But quite a few need to be cropped in some way to eliminate unwanted people, buildings etc. None of my computer-supplied stuff will allow me to do that and I know I can go out and buy some sophisticated software but it would only get used for this one-off exercise as I don't ever intend buying expensive camera film again. Is there a legal download that I could access that would allow me such limited use? Thanks in anticipation. (talk) 16:03, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

GIMP seems to be what you're looking for.  GARDEN  16:10, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
If you have a PC, Paint.NET might be what you're looking for. It's a little easier to use than GIMP, and for your purposes should be fine. -- (talk) 19:33, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
And the free software that is supplied with many printers often allows cropping etc. Dbfirs 21:23, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
If you want a photo manager with some built in editing tools, Picasa is a good choice. (talk) 23:34, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it's not as feature rich as GIMP, but it has some good basic retouching tools. ---J.S (T/C/WRE)
Have a look at Irfanview and Xnview although I dont think they do retouching - try GIMP. There is a lot of graphics freeware available. (talk) 12:19, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

ASP alternatives[edit]

Hello Wikipedia,

i'd like to add a form to my website (nothing fancy, just a space where users can input some key information) Anyway, I'm told that the best way to do this (to recieve the imputted information) is by using Microsoft ASP which is available free on the more expensive versions of Vista. Sadly, my budget dictated that I bought the cheapy cheapy version whcih, apparently, doesn't support it at all.. Does any one if there are any alternatives out there which one might acquire without spending any money?

Thanks81.140.37.58 (talk) 17:40, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

You don't need ASP yourself as such. The key information is whether your host supports it. There's tons of free software for developing ASP, but actually I think your best bet would be to get a simple email form script of the Internet - and that wouldn't require you to have ASP at all (yay). This one doesn't look too bad, but if you don't like that particular one there are thousands out there. Let us know how you get on! - Jarry1250 (t, c) 17:56, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
There are a million other scripting languages out there that don't cost a thing. PHP is very popular; Ruby is popular amongst a certain section of geeks. I'd go with PHP myself—almost all hosts support it, and it's easy to use and learn. -- (talk) 19:37, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
One other thing about ASP is that is it rarely supported by free hosting companies. Astronaut (talk) 00:22, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
If you are using a free hosting company, they might have some pre-built solutions for you, which actually might be the easiest to implement. - Jarry1250 (t, c) 09:21, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Thanks Guys (Jarry -that form you suggested looks fine so thanks!). Just a quick follow up question then - the (not-free) web hosting company i'm using ( supports 'CGI scripting'. I've done a quick google search and would i be correct in thinking that CGI is the generic name for all these langauges (PHP, ASP, Ruby etc....)? So if i used a form on my site using any of these languages, it would work? many thanks! (talk) 14:08, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Right, cgi just means they support scripting, but without more info you don't know what language of scripting they support. Looking at their website, they seem like they only support Perl unless you get a "WebFusion" package that can include PHP. As far as cheap servers go, that's what I'd consider to be pretty minimal scripting support. -- (talk) 16:56, 8 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't usually pimp websites, but if your host does not support the features your looking for you might find as a useful low-cost alternative. The script they use is freely available from and would possibly be compatible with the service you have. ---J.S (T/C/WRE) 20:44, 9 February 2009 (UTC)