Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2009 June 12

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June 12[edit]

Externalize a video card[edit]

I am considering converting my desktop computer into a dedicated server, and my laptop into a portable desktop. If I do this, can I turn my desktop's GeForce 7600 card into something external that I can plug into my laptop, ideally in addition to its existing video accelerator? Will USB latency be an issue? NeonMerlin 01:08, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

No. USB provide a meager 480mbps (60MB/s) bandwidth while a PCI-E x16 link used by graphics card provide 4GB/s bandwidth. USB video adapters exsit but they do not provide hardware acceleration, mainly due to the bandwidth limit of USB. --antilivedT | C | G 01:29, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
There really aren't any external ports on a laptop that can provide the speed you need to keep a graphics card fed at anything like the speed you need...but even if you were to suffer USB performance (it would be AMAZINGLY slow) - I very much doubt you could find a way to get the card interfaced to USB - or the graphics drivers to recognise the board as a USB device. When you buy a laptop - what you have on the day you buy it will pretty much be what you have on the day you throw it out. You can often replace the hard drive with something bigger - and perhaps increase the amount of RAM - but that's pretty much it. SteveBaker (talk) 02:49, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
What about the PCMCIA slot? ~~ Ropata (talk) 04:45, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
The laptop has an ExpressCard slot as well as a regular PC Card slot; I expect I'd want to use the former. NeonMerlin 20:40, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
You will likely find that an expresscard to PCI-Express expander costs more than your video card easily. You can get USB video cards, but I expect their performance is limited to 2D applications. Gigs (talk) 21:51, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Count lines in file (bash - Linux)?[edit]


What is the easiest/cleanest way to count lines in bash? I have:

 grep -c "" ~/info.txt

But I just got this working by chance and I'm not sure is there is a "better" or "canonical" way of doing this. I know there is wc -l ~/info.txt however, that also prints the filename, and I only want the number of lines. Thanks _ Hacktolive (talk) 03:08, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

wc -l < filename -- the redirection will make the file name not appear. (talk) 06:18, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks a lot, that worked! I have already included that in my program! __Hacktolive (talk) 21:57, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Supercomputer today, Desktop tomorrow[edit]

I'm having some trouble working out computer benchmarks. The way I figured, an off the shelf computer bought today (with an Intel Core i7) is roughly equivalent to the Cray-2 supercomputer of 1985. A five year old computer (2004) with a Pentium 4 would have the same computing power as 1982's Cray X-MP. I realize it's difficult to compare, what with FLOPS, Instructions per second, etc., but am I roughly correct? Also, is there a trend (say, a supercomputer to desktop in 25 years) that can be measured? The question came to me as I was trying to figure out in what year the computing power of the IBM Roadrunner will be available as a laptop. Of course, you never know what will happen in the future, the singularity, quantum computing, etc, but a rough estimate would be nice. Taggart.BBS (talk) 09:27, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Yes there's a trend, it's called Moore's Law. ~~ Ropata (talk) 09:44, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
This question was asked recently. According to Supercomputer#Timeline of supercomputers the 100 GFLOPS mark was reached around 1993. A current SiSoft Sandra benchmark list shows the top Intel CPU's (i7 ~4Ghz etc.) at around the same GFLOP rating. This makes a difference of 15 years. According to the supercomputer timeline, Moore's Law has been superceded by a long way, no doubt due to the massively parallel systems with thousands of CPU's. However, it is not only the CPU that makes a fast system; it is the overall I/O achievable between CPU, memory, cache, storage, the busses/interconnects, and of course the low level software that drives all these things. Because of these variables and the advent of quantum computing (which will be the first revolution of computing, as opposed to the evolution of Von Neumann architecture), and goodness know what else afterwards, it's impossible to predict or maintain a 15 year gap. Read up on what futurists like Raymond Kurzweil think about what's going to happen in the next 100 years. Sandman30s (talk) 20:40, 12 June 2009 (UTC)


What do I type to make iMacros run a script at a specific time, say 10pm? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Obakfiames (talkcontribs) 11:53, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Windows 7 IE to Ship w/o IE in Europe[edit]

According to this BBC article Windows 7 will come without IE, supposedly to make it easier for people to choose another browser. How will this happen? If Windows doesn't come with a browser, how will the average non-techie download a browser without having a browser to download it with? Will there be a special program which lets people browse for software downloads or something? --KageTora - (영호 (影虎)) (talk) 12:08, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

I assume that manufacturers will load new machines with a browser - either one the user can choose or a random browser. I know several manufacturers have been offering this option for some time. The entire lawsuit against Microsoft was due to IE being integrated into Windows, which made removal hard to impossible. By making it stand-alone (User removable) it would cover the issues raised by the lawsuit. Excirial (Contact me,Contribs) 12:56, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

(edit conflict)I would guess that is only an issue if you buy the box version. OEM PCs with W7 will probably come bundled with some sort of browser— probably customized for the vendor. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 12:58, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Website The Register has an article[1] on this which suggests you would be able to install IE via Windows Update. I guess you could buy a CD of Opera and install it, but even Opera hate the idea. The Register says the scheme's just a trick/negotiating ploy by Microsoft and has already been rejected by the EU. MS previously offered a version of Windows XP without Windows Media Player for similar reasons, but nobody bought it. --Maltelauridsbrigge (talk) 10:25, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
It's not as if I don't carry a flash drive on me always, with a bunch of freeware installers including firefox. Easy enough. They don't even cost much anymore! Mxvxnyxvxn (talk) 22:59, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

A new laptop[edit]

My Alienware has died again, after 2 years of constant problems which have led me to conclude that there are inherent problems in the system due to poor manufacturing processes, and I have asked for a refund. I want to get a new one with:

  • Good reliability.
    • Stable.
    • Good or better cooling systems.
    • A reputation for solid components - I don't want to be replacing RAM chips, daughter cards, heating elements and motherboards within two months like I did with this current rubbish system.
  • Faily good specs
    • Capable of handling my workload at university and novel writing
    • Good capacity for significant internet use
    • Can handle its own when it comes to PC games - not a mammoth machine required byt something that could handle two or three fairly intensive games like Red Alert 3, Empire Total War and my beloved.

I do not want another Alienware, or a Dell (as I hear that Dell make poor laptops, and they now own Alienware - hence my problem!) are there any good suggestions? SGGH ping! 12:31, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

My HP G60 laptop is all of the above, so I could recommend it. Empire Total War plays well enough on it, too. Off the shelf for £340, it was. --KageTora - (영호 (影虎)) (talk) 12:41, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Actually, Dell products are quite good these days. Dell used to be low quality in the past but that improved a lot in recent years. In the three years i had my Inspiron i only had to open it for cleaning once - and that was because i was stupid enough to spill a glass of coke onit. Regardless it would be difficult to advice a specific vendor, as it would always be user opinions. We have a list of manufacturers that create laptops that could be used as a guideline.
Personally i would advice looking around for various offers. Sometimes it is possible to find an excellent deal on a laptop that would normaly be much more expensive. If you aren't in a rush it is worth looking around a bit before buying anything. As for the laptop itsself, watch the specs. Especially make sure that the laptop has sufficient memory to handle its operating system. On Windows XP laptops i would advice a minimum of 1 GB for any form of perdormance, and for vista based laptops i suggest 2GB.
As you state you want to play games on it as well choose a laptop that actually has a dedicated video card and no on-board graphics. Video cards from NVidea and Ati outperform on board graphics by several miles. Other then that there should ve fairly little pitfalls. Wireless and networking is standard, and most vendors seem to add enough CPU consistently to make a laptop tick along just fine. Excirial (Contact me,Contribs) 12:49, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
It was opinions I was after :) yes I was planning for 2gig and dedicated cards. I had heard such bad things about Dell, are they ill-founded now then? SGGH ping! 12:51, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
I am of course completely biased in my opinion as i actually like the Dell brand. So far i had two PC's and a laptop build by them and i had no major issues whatsoever. The only time i actually had to open my old PC was due to an issue with the cooling. The PC was 2.5 years old then and had been standing on the same dusty place for all the time - without ever really taken time to clean it. I am still looking for a reason to open my new PC which is 3/4th of a year old now, simply to see what it looks like inside; Yet it does not give me any and i do not want to void the warranty for mere curiosity. Excirial (Contact me,Contribs)
I've had bad experiences with a HP (Pavillion, I think) - overheating leading to broken components and other things. No problems at all with my Dell Latitude D620. In my experience, "professional" laptops, like the Thinkpad, are more robust and less prone to failure than the bloated "consumer" models, but if you want to do gaming these might not be an option perhaps. Jørgen (talk) 13:13, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

I spotted a 2 gig Dell with a non-integrated graphics card for about £759. How is the cooling system on yours, Excirial? Also, Jorgen, I am not looking so much for a "gaming" laptop, merely one that one be comfortable running a couple of games every now and then. I want it for good internet connection and University work primarily, but with a 2 gig'er and a good graphics card so it can play games if I want to. SGGH ping! 13:47, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

The cooling system on mine worked just fine, and some analysis shows that even now it managed to keep the CPU temperature in more then acceptable levels. The only issue i had with mine is that i put it on the floot often, which caused an empty compartiment to fill with dust and therefore blocking the cooling airflow. Since i moved it to a higher area it has never been a problem again. Dust collecting inside a laptop is easily detected due to CPU temperature rising. The CPU automatically compensates for the increased temperature and therefor causes the laptop to operate at sub par speed - If you ever think that the laptop uses the blowers to frequent on top speed with little effect its a good idea to see if it collected to much dust. Excirial (Contact me,Contribs) 19:20, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Well I am off to some outlets today to see what they have. Gulp SGGH ping! 10:02, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
First two:

Samsung R710

  • Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T6400 6 gig, 800Mhz, 2mb Cache
  • 3gb memory
  • 320gb hard drive
  • nvidia ge force 9300

HP DV7-2050

  • AMD Turiojn Ultra Dual Core Processor 2.3 Ghz 1600MHz 2mb chace
  • 4 GB memory
  • 320 GB hard drive
  • ATi Radeon HD4530 graphics card

Any thoughts? Both similar prices. SGGH ping! 12:43, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

It's very difficult from just the specs like that. You have to consider what's important to you. I got two different Dells recently and the cheaper lower spec one was fine and did everything required right absolutely no problems whatsoever. The dearer one had rough edges round the plastic I sanded off, the keypad and DVD drive had problems, the controls were hard to see, the wifi had a stupid switch that moved on its own and there was a silly lit up power cable and I removed much of the software to stop it chundering on the disk. Good spec though. So what do you really want? Read reviews. Dmcq (talk) 13:04, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Funny. I see what y'all are saying about Dell, and I find it a bit strange. I run a small business (hobby) selling people computers, and I had way too many bad experiences with them to be coincidental. Yet there are some Dells (purchased at the same time) that have never had any issues. So let me throw a few things at you- 1- I propose that there isn't anything wrong with Dell,, just their QUALITY CONTROL. You may get unlucky. If you must buy Dell, get a Small Business brand and not a Home Office brand. You get better tech support from Small Business as a rule, and almost always a better price. 2- I was surprised that no one mentioned ASUS. They have the best prices that I've seen for specs, almost always have dedicated video, may have free 2 year warranty, and may come with a sleeve. 2 of 2 satisfied laptop customers. Note that thee ones I've seen recently have 14.1" screens. They do have all kinds, though. As for their established business, they only recently started selling ready-made computers, but they sold parts for years. They were responsible for INVENTING the netbook (with Intel), and they have the best battery life among them (9 hours so far). Try 'em. Mxvxnyxvxn (talk) 22:56, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Images organized in folders to PDF (a freeware)?[edit]

Googling for a freeware that converts lot of images to a pdf resulted in a software that lets you a drop a lot of images into it and it generates a pdf document. This is a nice way to do it, except that there are no table of contents for the document. The images are arranged in alphabetical order. As a result, the document looses the intended structure and it cannot be navigated with a table of contents. Anyway to get around this?. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:13, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

What's the name of the software and the URL where you found it? What does the manual say, and how did the "Support" or "Contact Us" e-mail address respond when you asked them this question? Tempshill (talk) 14:34, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
You should first tell us what software you are using. In any case, the odds are it can't do what you want it to do. What you want it something that allows you to arrange the images within the PDF arbitrarily—there are programs that will let you do this (like Adobe Acrobat, which is expensive), or you can just arrange the filenames ahead of time in an order so that the will sort "alphabetically" in the order you want them to (e.g. adding 0001, 0002, 0003 before the filenames to denote page number). But there is unlikely to be anything that automatically creates a table of contents for you—metadata like that has to be entered in by hand. Acrobat lets you put in "bookmarks" which is something like what you want. I don't know what free equivalents might exist that replicate that, though. -- (talk) 15:36, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

You may also find that the PDFTK, an open-source PDF tool kit, is useful for automating these types of tasks. It is a command-line utility, but there is very good documentation on how to use it. Nimur (talk) 15:47, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

The freeware is called i2pdf 1.0 and i downloaded it from From what I gather from the help manual, the software cannot do what i intend to do. My objective is to create a pdf document using images, the document would have a table of contents, clicking an entry there would take it to the page containing that image. i2pdf certainly does well what it is supposed to do though (ie, creating a pdf doument from images). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:48, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

About "The images are arranged in alphabetical order. As a result, the document looses the intended structure ...". In i2pdf the sort by alphabetical order based on the file name is optional, you can keep the the order you like. You can also order by chapters if for example you organize the images in different folders and enable the option to include the path in the sort. But you can't have a table of contents, I can confirm that :)

Excel API[edit]

Dear Wikipedians:

I'm thinking of making an Excel data input wizard for a Win32 application I'm developing. But I am loath to wade through 230+ pages of Excel file format material supplied by

Since the excel files I work with are just tables of straight numbers, with no formulas, no macros or anything else. I'm wondering if there is an API that Excel supplies that would allow me to easily extract these numbers. I am developing my software using Dev-C++.

Thanks. (talk) 15:39, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Yes, you should not access the raw file, but you should instead use one of the Office API libraries. These are official APIs and library implementations provided by Microsoft. I'm not sure if they are part of the standard Visual Studio compiler package; you might have to pay a license fee or purchase the IDE pack. This Microsoft Knowledge Base article, How to extract information from Office files by using Office file formats and schemas, gives a good introduction. Nimur (talk) 15:50, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
If the only content you are interested in is numbers held as cell values, you could use "Save As" to export spreadsheet contents to an ASCII text file, either CSV format or tab delimited, then upload to target application from there. If your data is in several worksheets, you will need to export each worksheet individually. Gandalf61 (talk) 16:00, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Thank you both Nimur and Galdalf61 for your help. (talk) 18:29, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Best way to downgrade quality of .ogg files[edit]

Resolved: Apparently the newest version of Audacity has a quality setting. decltype (talk) 19:14, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Hi, I am currently in the process of producing some .ogg files for Wikipedia. Of course, to satisfy our NFCC, the files have to be lower quality than the originals. Around 64kbps seems to be the norm. What would be the best way to do this? I'm using Audacity. Thanks, decltype (talk) 17:02, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Using scanner software with different scanners?[edit]

I have one working scanner, a HP ScanJet 3300C. I have three scanner software CD discs: the HP ScanJet 3300C disc (dated 1999, non-XP), an HP ScanJet 2400 disc (dated 2004), and a Umax Astra 2200 SCSI disc (dated 1999, non-XP, non-USB). These were either given to me, or survive from hardware which burnt out and stopped working. I have spend a few days trying to get the ScanJet 3300C driver including the latest versions downloaded from the HP site to work with XP Sp3, but it will not - that is a dead end I have fully explored. The HP ScanJet 3300C is currently using WIA which can do plain scans only. WIA does not do OCR or even photocopying, although the latter can be done in a long-winded way.

My question is, might it be possible to get any of the OCR software on the software discs working on its own? That is, without the rest of the HP or Umax software, and perhaps using a different scanner than that envisioned? Similarly with photocopying software. As an asside, while my HP printer works very well and is very robust, the HP scanner software I've come across has on both ocassions been very bad and would not work, and my previous HP scanner hardware stopped working quite soon too. (talk) 17:14, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

SilverFast is a scanning application that will work with multiple scanners. It is popular with professionals because it gives you control over what type of mode the image is in, the gamma, levels, curves, etc.--WinRAR anodeeven (talk) 22:22, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Silverfast does not seem to cater for my scanner. But I have found the freeware SimpleOCR although I have not tried it yet. (talk) 19:32, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Where are they getting the (presumably cleared) private data from?[edit]

I like to use Firefox's "Always clear my private data when I close Firefox" option to delete cookies, cache, passwords, histories, etc. However, I notice that data pertaining to my usage is somehow being saved. For example, when I go to this site: <>, it remembers things I typed in the past under "Your Recent Locations". Perhaps it saved that data to its own database and associated it with my IP address. But would they really do that for every instance of someone using their site? Especially when I didn't ask to them save any info? And what if I don't have a static IP? Another possiblity is that it somehow saved data to the Windows system?! That seems even more intrusive.

Similarly, I have DownloadHelper, a Firefox extension which somehow remembers how many times I used it (even though it has a "Disable download count cookie" option which is checked). It may not be doing it in a cookie, but it's counting in some way.

Neither of these examples are a big deal, but it is kind of aggravating that they seem to try to sneak around behind your back. I would appreciate any ideas on how they do this (and how I could stop it, if I wanted to). TresÁrboles (talk) 21:16, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

I have to say this site does indeed use a rather interesting method to store data. Your suspicious is likely to be correct - it seems that the site couples an IP adress with a specific session ID. Forcing my connection trough a proxy made the site "Forget" everything about me, even though i did not clean cookies or any other information. When i used a high anonimity proxy it would still store the session data even though cookies, cashing and referals were disabled. On top of that the javascript code(!) seems to indicate it receives values from a database. Since i only did a cursory inspection i cannot be completely sure, but tests seem to indicate it works this way. Excirial (Contact me,Contribs) 23:02, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Good thinking! I tried that myself, and I got the same results. Wow, I can't believe they're actually doing that. Their privacy policy doesn't mention this. They'll probably say that addresses aren't personal info, even though it could be your home address, an address to the local AA meeting, your mistress's address, etc., all linked to your IP. (Personally I only type in an intersection close to my home, not my exact location.)
Just for giggles, what do you all see under Your Recent Locations when you go to (blacklisted site!) and surf on ? This is where I went to do the test mentioned above. TresÁrboles (talk) 18:17, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
P.S. When I first tried to save this page with a link to the proxy site I used (which I got from a random Google search), I got a Spam Filter Notice "The spam filter blocked your page save because it detected a blacklisted hyperlink ..." and when you click on the link "Return to Wikipedia:Reference desk/Computing." your changes are lost! But I think you can use your web browser to go back to your editing session and copy your changes. TresÁrboles (talk) 18:22, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
I've noticed that even after I've deleted all cookies etc with a Ccleaner scan, Windows Live still knows who I am. On the other hand, I have to keep resetting my Google preferances, even though I've told Ccleaner to not delete the google cookie. (talk) 18:00, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
Windows Live knows who you are. Google also knows who you are and what you've been looking for/at. It's based on the MAC address as well as IP and browser user agent. The cookie (which might be an AdSense one or a DoubleClick one) only holds your "user ID" concatenated from these items, so this is easily recreated if you kill the cookies. The search data is actually kept AT GOOGLE, currently for 18 months,although there are plans to reduce this to "only" 9 months before "anonymising" the data by removing the machine-related data. (Neither of our articles mention this data-storage, so they need updating). Windows Live works on a similar method. . So apparently does The Google preferences don't seem to be very sticky; I have not deleted my Google cookies for 6 months, but the preferences keep changing by themselves; particularly the number of results to show keeps defaulting back to 10 in Advanced search, although my Preferences are set for 50, in the cookies for both national Google portals I use. CCleaner works with a rather broad brush. MozillaCookiesView or equivalent for other browsers gives a lot more data, and a much finer control, over what cookies you delete.- KoolerStill (talk) 04:11, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Google Safesearch turning itself on over and over is a FF3 bug. Gigs (talk) 21:55, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Can't start up my Sony Vaio laptop![edit]

(Yikes, it looks like I typed out a whole story. I apologize for the length, but I hope that someone somewhere can read it and give me some good suggestions.)

My Sony Vaio SZ780 is useless right now. When I try to bring it up, the power lights come on, but the screen remains black; it doesn't even bring up the Sony /Intel / Phoenix Technolgies splash screen which comes on before I would normally get the option to boot either Windows XP or Ubuntu (which pretty much indicates it's a hardware problem). I don't hear the startup sounds for either Windows or Ubuntu, so I'm positive it's not just the screen that has the problem. So I brought it to a Sony Style store to have a service person look at it, and of course what happens but it starts up right away with no problems! He doesn't give me an explanation, just suggests taking the battery out and then putting it back in. So I take it back, start it up again at a restaurant during lunch, take it home and start it up, so far so good, but I leave it alone the whole day since I was using another computer. When I finally look at it later, it looks like it's suspended. Nothing unusual, but then I discover that I can't unsuspend it. I have to power off by holding the power button down, and then when I try to power up again, it won't work! But wait, the craziness continues! After a couple of days of trying, I come back to it after a week or so, try it again on a whim, and it works! And it continues to work until I take it to a meeting and show off stuff on my laptop, when it of course fails again. Someone there has a suggestion: take out the battery and the AC, hold down the power button for 20 seconds, and then try again (with battery and/or AC back in obviously). It sounds like a strange idea, but it works! I'm confused as to what is happening, but at least I have now have a workaround. Or so I thought up until the point when I got back home and tried my laptop again. Same problem, even after trying the new "solution". And this is the point where I am at today. Power does get delivered to the laptop since the power and Bluetooth lights come on, and the fan, but that's the only thing that happens. I have to hold the power button down to turn off the power.

Even though this is a laptop, I had used it pretty much as just another home computer, and I've never really taken it outside and around with me. So I'm pretty suspicious that the first time this problem occurred was after I had taken it to a meeting (it worked well there though) and back home. Also, after working for a while, the problem manifested itself again after taking it away to another meeting (as detailed above). I wonder if the traveling jiggered something loose? (But this is a laptop; it's SUPPOSED to be taken around with you!) It has only been a few months since I've gotten the laptop back from Sony Service for another problem!! (FYI this heinous one: <>)

Thanks for reading! Signed, Desparate For A Solution! TresÁrboles (talk) 22:13, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

This actually sounds like a loose contact somewhere. Picking up the laptop and moving it might prove to be just enough to shift the contact back into place, or nudge it out. It could also be that one of the internal components is on the edge of dieing, or that the laptop ends up being overheated. The first issue could cause this "Strangeness" due to the component working only part of the time. Since you state you hear no sounds i assume that it is the motherboard, since you would hear diagnostic beeps over the laptop internal speakers otherwise. The latter suggestion Is related to a failure in the cooling of your laptop. If the CPU coolers are malfunctioning the temperature of the CPU rises incredibly quickly (Laptop might not even feel hot, as its the chip, not the casing). Once that happends PC's shut down automatically to prevent further damage. From you statement i assume that a loose contact is most likely, though this behaviour can actually be caused by masses of issues. Excirial (Contact me,Contribs) 23:10, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestions. I'm not sure I normally hear "diagnostic beeps"; when it is either working or when it has the problem, I hear a quick sound right when I press the power button, but I always thought it was machinery (hard drive?) turning on -- is this what you mean?
I would be very surprised if it was an overheating problem, as the fan still works, I seldom do anything CPU-intensive (like heavy graphics), and most of all, the laptop has usually been off for quite a while before I attempt to satrt it up. Unfortunately, you are probably right about loose hardware. @#$%&! TresÁrboles (talk) 19:26, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

I guess the very first thing I'd try would be to look carefully at the copper contacts on the battery and on the laptop. Are they dirty or corroded - discolored? If so, you might very gently polish them with the finest grade of emery board or sand paper...VERY gently. You might also find that the contact is maintained by the springiness of the metal - if so, VERY gently bend them outwards - use something like a wooden toothpick or cocktail stick to get behind them (nothing metal - nothing fat!)...I can't over-emphasise how gentle you need to be. The problem (if I'm right) is - that if the contacts are bent a bit flat - fixing it this way won't be a permanent solution - once they get bent - they get soft and lose their springiness - so in a few weeks it'll probably do it again. SteveBaker (talk) 00:11, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the help. I'm reluctant to do anything with hardware myself. Also, the problem happens whether or not the battery is in the laptop. My laptop was purchased new only in February 2008, and has hardly been taken anywhere (no working by the oceanside for me unfortunately!). I did take a look as you suggested though. The contacts on the battery are hardly visible -- just points. The contacts on the laptop are small, but they look normal AFAIK to me.
But guess what?
After taking out the battery, blowing gently on the contacts on the laptop (even though I didn't see any dust), doing the thing (mentioned above) of holding down the power button (which had worked only once before), putting the battery back in, pressing the power button...
It works! Huh? What?!? Maybe the act of flipping the laptop over to remove and replace the battery is enough to jar things right/wrong?!? (But remember I attempted to start it many times, often flipping it over during this, so it's not a solution.) Even if the laptop continues to work, how can I ever trust it again? I'd have to backup every hour for fear of not getting at my data if it fails again (or else always use an external drive as primary storage, which seems to be both a waste and an inconvenience). I was really happy with Sony for about 6-8 months, but now I'm rather... less than happy. TresÁrboles (talk) 19:26, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
If it is still under warranty I wouldn't attempt a DIY repair; instead send it off to the service centre with a very clear explanation of the intermittant nature of the problem (you don't want he service guys thinking you are wasting their time). Astronaut (talk) 09:15, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
It is a few months past the year-long warranty. I had already sent the laptop off to Sony service (they apparently only have one place in San Diego) in February 2009 for the trackpad problem I had mentioned in my original post. After getting it back, I had to return it back THE VERY NEXT DAY because they had done something to it so that the simple act of my opening the lid caused the left side of the case to somehow dislodge and expose the hardware innards (perhaps they missed a screw or something?). I'm not too trusting of Sony hardware people at this point. In fact, if anyone knows of good technical people who know all about Sony hardware, but are NOT Sony, let me know! TresÁrboles (talk) 19:26, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

Printing onto Canvas with an Inkjet Printer[edit]

Hi all,

I wrote a query a while ago about printing onto canvas using an Epson R2880. Having got it working, I find that the prinouts are much darker on the canvas than onscreen (much darker!). I take this to be because of the absorbency of the canvas. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Would it suffice to brighten up the image considerably using the levels tool in photoshop to get better results?

Lukerees1983 (talk) 22:32, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Well, there are really three ways to "lighten" a picture. I'm not really familiar with photoshop - but in GIMP there is a tool that shows a graph of how you are altering the brightness.

 |          *       |            *      |     ********   |                *
 |        *         |        *          |    *           |           *
 |      *           |    *              |   *            |      *
 |    *             |*                  |  *             |   *
 |  *               |                   | *              | *
 |*___________      |______________     |*____________   |*______________
    No change         Less Contrast      More brightness   Gamma adjustment

(Within the limits of ASCII art!)

The "No change" situation has the graph of input-brightness (along the bottom axis) to output-brightness (on the vertical axis) at 45 degrees.

The other three represent three common ways in which you might "lighten" the image...and unless you understand why your image is dark, it's hard to guess which one is the right thing:

  • Less contrast gives you less black blacks and tends to make the whole image look "foggy"...I suspect it's not what you want...but who knows?
  • More brightness might be what you need - but if there is any white on your canvas right now, it'll tend to "blow out".
  • Gamma adjustment is often the right answer - but it's hard to know with ink on canvas. What it does is to brighten the mid-ranges without either washing out those solid black or blowing out the white.

If the canvas isn't too expensive, I would try all three and see which one looks best. If you're trying to save the stuff - I would try the gamma adjustment first. SteveBaker (talk) 23:57, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Test prints on ordinary paper, even on a draft quality setting, will give you a fair idea how much to lighten it. Don't forget the screen has luminescence, which the printed version lacks. This makes the image look brighter and lighter. The best image on paper is going to look too light on the screen. "Electric" colours won't transfer to printing at all because they depend so much on luminescence.- KoolerStill (talk) 08:03, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
The above answers are nice but they misunderstand the fundamental problem here: your printer uses a different color model than your screen and unless you set things up to account for that they will not match up very well given the same color values.
If you are doing work on your computer and want high fidelity to your output you need to set your OS (or at least Photoshop) to have the right color management profile. If you have Photoshop you should have a program called Adobe Gamma on your computer that will help you coordinate things so that what you see on the screen will give you some indication of what you will see when you print it out. Otherwise you are just fishing around in the darkness with two totally different color schemes. You should be able to set things up in a way that will let you see, on screen, what things will look like when printed. The medium you are printing on will have some effect on it but in most cases it should be that dramatic in terms of making things darker or lighter unless the medium is itself colored (which changes the white point, obviously).
Color management is a big pain in the neck when you are new to it, and even then it has many apparently mysterious things (you can easily get totally strange results, in part because not all programs deal with color management as good as others), but it is worth looking into. The problem is almost certainly related to the gamma settings you are using for your monitor -- most people prefer in a monitor a much brighter "black" and "white" than you can get on paper. Depending on your computer there are different ways to manage this but Googling "photoshop color management" should point you in the right direction. -- (talk) 01:18, 14 June 2009 (UTC)