Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2009 July 3

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July 3[edit]

Does anyone know of a good macro program?[edit]

I would like a simple program thats free and accurate. The program should be able to record and play back macros for keyboard and mouse. Im looking for something with a low file size, but its not a neccessity. Does anyone have any good programs for this?

I use Windows Vista Home Premium 64 bit version, if that helps. (talk) 00:07, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

(Sorry for the delay, I've only just come across your question!) AutoHotKey will record macros and play them back, and has quite a small size (the program itself is 2.5MB and the macro files are usually under 5KB); but you need to do a little work between recording and playing back to choose what key combination you want to make the macro start. It should be pretty easy, though - I haven't recorded macros myself, but going by it sounds like it's just a matter of adding two lines to the code. has instructions on formulating the two lines. AJHW (talk) 10:55, 9 July 2009 (UTC)


I just purchased morpheus morphing software because I want to take two pictures and ad the nose or eyes of one person and replace the nose and eyes on another person and make it look like another person as a picture. But so far all I can do is make a movie of the two pictures transitioning one after the other. How do I change the features of a person's face and body and make it look like another person without looking all cut nd pasty? Is this called something else besides morphing? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:30, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Just to confirm, Morphing is literally changing one image into another so I'm afraid you're looking at the wrong sort of software, but I don't know if what you want to do actually has a name. ZX81 talk 11:45, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Check out Morph Age 4 Pro. You can morph between two different movies (as well as stills). -- (talk) 02:34, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Attempts to access TCP port 445 and 135[edit]

Today, someone with a residential DSL IP kept trying to connect to ports 445 and 135 on my network for an hour or longer, and I'm not running any kind of peer 2 peer software. My router's firewall continued to block the attempts to access the ports. I've had my IP address for a couple of months. Apparently ports 445 and 135 are commonly abused by hackers. What are the chances that the IP was trying to hack in? PCHS-NJROTC (Messages) 02:29, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Oh, 100% or so. See the ShieldsUP 445 page for some information/ranting about it. I'm glad to see you have a router; keep it between your computers and the wall port, and you have nothing to worry about. Tempshill (talk) 04:26, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Note Steve Gibson, the Shields Up guy, is pretty kooky and you shouldn't worry about his constant fearmongering. This was definitely a hacking attempt, though. -- BenRG (talk) 22:01, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
That IP address isn't necessarily owned by a hacker. It could well be a PC that is infected with a virus or worm that tries to infect other computers at random IP addresses. Lots of worms out there that do that. E.g. the somewhat famous Blaster worm spread through port 135. (talk) 09:27, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Right. It's likely not a "hacker" in the sense of a guy in a basement looking to get your secrets anyway. It's an infected machine, trying to infect you. -- (talk) 13:43, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Standard attempt for an infected host to infect you with malware. Go into your router settings and set it so there is no reply on a ping or something. The infected host gets a reply from your ip, then trys to access those ports. No reply=no attempt. Ivtv (talk) 03:50, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

editing firefox add-ons[edit]

How do I edit the .xpi files? -- penubag  (talk) 07:46, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Change the extension from .xpi to .zip, then you can open the file in a program like WinRAR or 7zip. 8I.24.07.715 (talk) 08:49, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
I do not know anything about .xpi files, but if they really are simple .zip files (but with a strange extension), Windows Me and later versions (e.g. XP, Vista) can open them as well. --Andreas Rejbrand (talk) 15:25, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Thank you. That helps a lot! -- penubag  (talk) 06:10, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

help regarding the asteganography project[edit]

i want to do my project on "steganography on vedio containers" can i get any source code for image container steganography —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sandeepborra (talkcontribs) 10:06, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Facebook's insides[edit]

Sites like Youtube have the videos "available" for download (if you know where to look) in formats resembling the original formats (though probably converted and compressed to a certain degree). Is anything known of this for Facebook? I'm mainly wondering about the images, which I sometimes want to download from a profile but the visible resolution is incredibly small, even when the upload was quite large (images are resized after upload, though obviously the originals might be deleted). Any help is appreciated, thanks! (talk) 10:29, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

I afraid I don't think any higher resolution images exist (it's just not in their interest to store them because of the amount of disk space it'd consume and there's no wording in the privacy policy to say they're storing a higher resolution version), but I'm afraid I disagree with you on the part about images being resized AFTER upload. If you do the "simple file upload" then yes that's correct, but if you use the Facebook Photo Uploaded ActiveX control, all the resizing is transparently done before it's uploaded. This is easily verifiable because in my case I take my pictures at 10 megapixels (~4Mb each) and it will happy upload ~300Mb of images in less than a few minutes and my ADSL upload speed is nowhere near fast enough for that (should take well over an hour). ZX81 talk 11:42, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Hard to argue with your empirical observation about the ActiveX uploader, that's good data. I'd argue against your claim that it's not in their interest to store higher-res photos. Big disks are really cheap. Cheap enough for YouTube to have decided, before their recent "HD format" player, to keep the original higher-res uploaded videos around, at the time when they were recompressing the crap out of every video that got uploaded. When they eventually debuted the "HD format" player, bang, they suddenly had all this content in a higher resolution and did not have to just be "the video site of low res". Tempshill (talk) 16:51, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes you are quite right, I forget how cheap disk space is these days (I've got 4 x 1 Tb disks in my workstation and it really didn't cost all that much). I suppose thinking about it that it is possible they're storing a slightly higher version of the images for future use (although not necessarily as high as the originals), but if they are they haven't mentioned that and it doesn't seem to be web accessible. ZX81 talk 17:30, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
I've used both the Java uploader (Firefox here, so didn't even know an ActiveX uploader existed) and the regular file uploader, and probably simply because I've never thought about it, I never noticed a difference; I'll keep that in mind next time. Mind you, all of my photos are ~5megs, and I resize them to a more reasonable size anyway, because Facebook never lets me upload photos that large. Thanks for the comments! (talk) 08:06, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

What happened to my Copy Response Body option in Firebug's Net tab?[edit]

Using Firefox 3.0.11 on Jaunty (Mozilla Firefox for Ubuntu; canonical - 1.0) and Firebug 1.3.3. I know it was there a week ago, but it just disappeared! I can no longer right-click on a link (or the Response tab or whatever) and select Copy Response Body. The option isn't there. There's only Copy (doesn't do anything), Copy Location and Copy Response Headers.... -- (talk) 19:09, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Turning off DEP[edit]

I am having a problem in which DEP keeps attempting to shut down IE8. I have added it to the list of exceptions, but it continues to pop up. All anti-Internet Explorer statements aside, how can I fix this once and for all? -- (talk) 19:09, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

See :
Plug ins seem to be a major cause of it triggering. including java flash etc - you may need to add those to the list of exceptions? (someone should clarify this)
Alternatively you can turn it off. [1] (talk) 19:23, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Before starting it might be a good idea to check the boot file to make sure DPE is set to "opt out" [2] - might be different for vista - see also BCDedit - below. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:57, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
(If it's vista this [3] to check what is and what isn't using DEP. In XP DEP can't be shown in the task manager.)
If it's behaving erratically one suggestion is to reinstall IE8, or you could just use IE7 [4] (talk) 19:33, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
As a last resort see [5] , [6] which describes what BCDedit.exe is, and how to use it to totally turn DPE off. Don't do this - try other options first. If you get this far, and nothing works (including the reinstall) - try microsoft support - but search the index first.
Hint try uninstalling your plugins (shouldn't do any harm and they are easy to get back) eg java, flash, google toolbar are probably there. See if that fixes it, if it does add them back one by one to see which is problematic. (talk) 19:42, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Delphi Debugging Tips?[edit]

I am currently debugging a rather complicated piece of Delphi code. Placing a breakpoint before the most interesting part of the algorithm, I step the code one line at a time. Eventually, I end up on a while expr do statement, and the expr expression is obviously true, for it is or'ed with a trivially true statement. Yet, the program appears to skip the entire while block, as if expr had been false. I have experienced similar odd behavious previously, and, if I remember correctly, this has been due to some sort of "silent access violation", e.g. trying to access s[4] in a string s with length(s) = 3. This time it is rather difficult to pinpoint the source of the problem, due to the complexity of the code. Is there any debugging trick I can utilize to find the (potential) problems? --Andreas Rejbrand (talk) 20:26, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

While...Do loops test at the top of the loop....are you certain the condition is true before the first pass of the loop? is there any need for the ORing? it seems you always want this loop to happen, but it eventually counts down to a False condition that stops it. So replace it with a Repeat....Until, which must always execute at least once, as it only evaluates the condition at the end of each pass. When a pass has just turned the condition to False, it will evaluate as such and not run again.
To test your variable, put a Watch on its value immediately before the While loop and at every line of code thereafter. Or put code at every relevant line to display the value of the variable on screen, with a Break after the non-working loop, and run the program.- KoolerStill (talk) 08:35, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it did not run the block even though the condition certainly was true. I traced the code line by line, and it just skiped the block. However, it works now (even though I have not changed anthing in the code!). Perhaps the debugger displayed the current version of the source code, but ran an older version of it, or something like that... --Andreas Rejbrand (talk) 11:54, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Spider Web Evolution Program[edit]

Hi, I remember reading quite a while ago about a computer program that mimicked the evolution of spider web designs. Essentially you started off with "spiders" who drew random designs of "webs", then "prey" items were thrown at the "webs" and if sufficient were caught the spider could survive and breed with a random other surviving spider, but the "webs" of their offspring would be some kind of cross between the two initial successful designs. Each generation had to catch more prey items to survive. Apparantly from a completely random start within about 20 generations the webs were basically identical to real spiderwebs and as efficient.

I'd be very interested in runnning this program - does anyone know if it (or a clone) was publically released and/or available online? Exxolon (talk) 21:06, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

A search for "spider web genetic algorithm" turned up Analysing Spider Web-building Behaviour with Rule-based Simulations and Genetic Algorithms from 1997 (the download link is broken but the CiteSeer cached copy works). The program was written in Smalltalk on a Power Mac 8100. Nothing about a public release, but you could try asking Vollrath, who's now at Oxford. -- BenRG (talk) 22:25, 3 July 2009 (UTC)
Could be that. Googling isn't helping me much as I'm getting a lot of irrelevant web spider type results. I was hoping for some kind of free version to run on a pc (I don't own a Mac) - thanks for the info anyway. Exxolon (talk) 12:33, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
Hmm - looks like they haven't released it to the public according to [7] - oh well. Exxolon (talk) 12:56, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
Seriously, email Krink and/or Vollrath and ask for a copy. They will probably send you the source code if they still have it, and you could probably get that working on a modern PC Smalltalk like Squeak. -- BenRG (talk) 10:56, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

Use PSP for both music playback and GPS?[edit]

As the map data on my satnav is quite out of date and the map update for it is both itself quite old, and quite dear, I'm thinking about buying a new one

I'm quite drawn to Sony's Go!Explore, as I already have a PSP, but I'm dithering over it. One thing that'd make my decision easier is knowing whether I can still use the PSP for playing back music at the same time as navigation - that'd mean one less thing cluttering up the car.... does anyone know if it can?

Cheers, davidprior t/c 21:19, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

LCD vs CRT VGA ouput[edit]

Just a quick question: Using the intel software for the 945 graphics chips I find that when examining the properties of an attached LCD TV it has its display type as CRT. (Another device is LFP - liquid flat panel)

If the chip thinks it is a CRT will that effect the output? (the default display is a little bright, but otherwise seems well set up)

Also in the same properties box the gamma is said to be 2.2 or something, but in color correction the gamma is clearly 1.0 - is the colour correction gamma applied on top of the of another unseen gamma?

Also I'd like (for fun) to be able to make the display black and white - I can only find gamma brightness and contrast settings - is there a way? Thanks. (talk) 22:09, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

To briefly summarize, before going in to horrible details, the answer is: "Probably, the mis-identification has no effect on signal quality or anything else." But, there is always a slight chance that it may, so here are some gory details.
The video system you are using is VGA over a DSUB cable. (If you are using a DVI or HDMI system, most of the following still applies, because the DDC channel is logically identical to the VGA-DDC version). This connector cable actually contains two "separate" information channels:
  1. VGA video data, (unidirectional, from computer to monitor); and
  2. Display Data Channel, the digital link that provides text and other information about the monitor to the computer. This is the system responsible for identifying the monitor to the host computer (and it is the monitor's "fault" for incorrectly identifying itself to the computer). The DDC controller can be either unidirectional (monitor-to-computer) or bidirectional (able to identify the monitor and receiver commands from the host PC).
LCDs or CRTs that accept VGA input signals accept the same type of signal, but you should be aware that there are several "allowable tolerances" for VGA control signals. CRTs, in my experience, are more lenient about the timing errors allowed (they will display with glitches rather than fail to display anything). Many LCDs (and some CRTs) will detect such borderline-allowable timing glitches and perform a safe shut-down (or display a "Bad video signal" or "invalid frequency" error message). In any case, this should not be a problem if you are using a 945 (which should put out video control signals that are right in the center of the allowable ranges at all resolutions and refresh rates - see below about possible, simultaneous-pathological-design-flaws).
I'm not familiar with the Intel 945 specifically, but most modern VGA controllers separate out the video control from the monitor's digital report (that is, the analog VGA hardware is completely distinct from the Display Data Channel system). The operating system may "choose" to believe the reported data (typically, monitor type, manufacturer, and acceptable resolutions and refresh-rates). However, the "contract" of VGA does not require this, and the operating system may prefer to disregard that DDC identification (or merely display it to you, the user).
If the operating system (or video driver) chooses to believe the DDC data, it will typically use that information to "guide" the video options available (such as only allowing the user to switch to acceptable resolutions). These are often manually overrideable (depending on your video device driver). This is the most common mode of operation. Most likely, your system falls into this category - an invalid monitor ID was sent to the host PC, but your video system didn't change anything or care.
It is also possible, however, that using bidirectional DDC2 with command interface, that the hardware will automatically and directly send resolution changes or other commands to the monitor. This requires that the video driver (or hardware) on your PC chooses to send commands; and also requires that the monitor accepts those commands. The monitor is not responding properly (clearly, it is misidentifying, so we can assume that the monitor DDC controller is not 100.0% correctly implemented). Hopefully, this means that it will not listen for commansd; and also, hopefully the 945 will not send any invalid commands; and hopefully, if commands are sent anyway, the monitor will ignore them. I'm not specifically familiar with the 945's behavior contract (here's the Mobile 945 Express datasheet - you can search for your particular chip - it appears that the 945x will allow a device-driver to issue bidirectional commands to the monitor). So, it can't be guaranteed whether these "hopefully" statements are true or false - (it depends on your device driver software and your monitor). In the pathological case, where several engineering teams from several manufacturers (OS, video driver, chipset hardware, monitor hardware...) all simultaneously failed to design error checks in their products, it is possible that a bad DDC command can be sent to the monitor and cause invalid output and/or irreparable damage. But, this is very unlikely). You can read about the 945's DDC2 mode on pg. 373 of the datasheet.
So - in conclusion, you probably have nothing to worry about. Most likely, your PC will simply ignore the incorrect monitor ID, output a standard acceptable VGA signal, and you will never notice any difference.
As far as the output of only black-and-white, you have many options for this. The easiest way to do this is to write software which only uses black and white (or grayscale) on screen. If you want all software to show up in grayscale, you might be able to write a simple video driver (but this is not easy or fun for most people). Or, you can buy a graphics card or a monitor which allows you to turn the saturation (color) all the way to zero. Or, if you're handy with a soldering iron (and particularly brave), you could splice up a VGA cable that combined the RGB analog voltages in this fashion:

R ----| +1/3       |           /---R
G ----| +1/3       |-- (out) ------G     (to monitor)
B ----| +1/3 Adder |           \---B

where the box in the center is a 3-input analog adder circuit like this one. Have a look at VGA connector for the default wiring diagram. This will cause all VGA monitors to see a black-and-white (grayscale) signal, by literally hardwiring the R-G-B values to be always equal. Nimur (talk) 18:44, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
(If you haven't had enough, here's the Display Panel Debugging with the Intel Graphics Memory Controller Hub. It's for the 800 series including the 845 which is "almost the same" as the 945 ... this app note "may" be too technical for your needs. Nimur (talk) 19:05, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks! I haven't been able to find out if the data link is bidirectional - except that the computer reports that it cannot control the monitors power off settings etc so I guess not. The rest of the monitor info seems right - eg it sends the right resolutions, brand name etc..
As for all black and white - I think the adder would be the easiest bet, assuming the sync signal is separate which I think it is /it is. I'll probably give that a miss for now, the driver solution would be better, but I wouldn't know where to start.
Assuming then that the colour encoding via 'VGA' is the same for CRT and TFT (with the correct gamma provided), I wonder if the manufacturer just set the type to CRT to avoid having to take into account stuff like lcd backlight intensity control - it occurs to me that the TFT monitor may be emulating/pretending to be a CRT monitor, so to speak, for simplicity. (and backwards compatability even?)
It's curious that chipset doesn't seem to support greyscale - at least I couldn't find it, though I can't really think of when it would be useful. (talk) 23:43, 5 July 2009 (UTC)