Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2010 December 11

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December 11[edit]

printing with low ink "harmful"?[edit]

I searched the reference desk for an answer but it doesn't seem anyone has asked this question yet, and I had trouble finding it on google too. My Canon photoprinter is rather cautious when telling me that my ink is almost finished, and just today it told me that my black ink (there are two types, I guess this was the larger black for printing text) had run out, and furthermore I would have to push the stop button for 5 seconds in order to override the "safety" mechanism and force it to print anyway, thus voiding my warranty! now i would never plan on using a printer for any extended period of time while missing a color, and this seems to be a lot of crock. are print heads really tha easily damaged, and should i worry about getting close to running out, or is this just a ploy to get people to buy more ink more frequently? for the record, I ignored the warning, and though a tiny bit faded there is still a few pages left in the cartridge. thanks! (talk) 00:05, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Print heads can be clogged if the catridges run out of ink. These can sometimes/usually? be cleared but may require either lots of wasted ink or trying to clean them by soaking in alcohol etc (which requires they be removed). On the other hand some printers are known to report out of ink conditions with something like 25% of the ink remaining [1]. Note that printers which require you to force printing without ink will usually record in the EEPROM when you do so, therefore this will be known if you send the printer for any warranty claim. Nil Einne (talk) 11:00, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

its a scam to make you buy more of those expensive cartridges that often cost literally more than the price of that brand new printer with a full set of ink cartridges. many major printer manufacturers are selling printers at a loss just to make money off of the ink cartridges. just refill your cartridges when they are actually empty. Roberto75780 (talk) 13:34, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Another all-too-common printer money grab is the $14.99-$29.99 printer cable that has to be purchased sepperately. It does nothing differently or better than the exact same USB A-B cable sold at every dollar store for $1.00-2.00 Roberto75780 (talk) 13:42, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Great thanks! I'm past warranty anyways, so I'll make sure to (carefully) use the ink properly until there's none left! (talk) 05:00, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

I would suggest that's a bad idea. Unless you actually plan to get a new printer, it's far better to get (far) cheaper generic ink catridges or refill your ink catridges then printing until you really run out of ink and potentially cause a clog. In other words, it's better to waste some ink (even if not as much as printer manufacturers get you to waste) then try and print until you're literally out of ink and unfortunately there's no real way to know when you're genuinely out of ink just by looking, at least with Canon printers I've used (yes the sponge may still seem to have ink but it doesn't come out). BTW be wary when comparing the price of a new printer with that of ink catridges. Many new printers nowdays come with smaller 'starter' catridges with significantly less ink then the normal ones. Nil Einne (talk) 15:02, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

App development and compatibility[edit]

Why on earth has Apple made both the screen resolution, and the aspect ratio of the iPad different than the latest iPhone??? what's wrong with the sweet and simple 3:2 ratio of the iPhone? wouldn't it be way easier and way more consistent for the appearance of apps to make the two the same, so developers can focus on one resolution (or aspect ratio at least) for both? they are already surprisingly close in resolution....why not keep them the same? Roberto75780 (talk) 13:30, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Because they are more interested in having, perhaps, better size format for people to use. That could be why.General Rommel (talk) 02:30, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

Network drive[edit]

If I share a hard drive across a network with another computer, are there any limitations the other computer will experience when accessing it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:54, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Consider the limitations of throughput of the network, which the other computer will need to abide by, as well as the fact that if you make intensive use of your hard drive/system, the other computer will experience more latency - it will have to wait longer to download the files it wants from your drive over the network. Also, there is the thing that the primary computer (sharing the drive) has to be switched on in order for the second computer to be able to access it. Can't think of any others at the moment. Just a thought since nobody was answering. --Ouro (blah blah) 20:20, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

4GB instead of 8GB RAM[edit]

I have the choice of a laptop with 4 or 8 GB RAM (paying for the upgrade, of course). What's the difference for a normal user (surfing, text processing, some basic image processing, DVD films) who do not use it for the latest video-games nor video processing? (talk) 14:08, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

4GB is way more than enough for the tasks you mentioned. you can do alot more than that and not have to worry about not enough ram. Roberto75780 (talk) 14:19, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
I also work with big pdfs (>100 MB) and I find irritating when they do not react promptly. Will 8GB be significantly better here? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:22, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
No. you'd need to open about tens of those pdfs to use the extra memory. (talk) 14:58, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
(I'm the OP). I forgot to mention a not very minor detail. I plan to install and regularly run a Sun xVM virtual box, to have Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.x running at the same time. Will 8 GB make a difference here? (talk) 03:55, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
okay, what else are you holding back? are you simultaneously working on an intensive modeling problem for NASA? actually, virtual machines are rather memory intensive, especially if you are doing all said tasks in the virtual machine (rather than the host OS). in that case you might benefit from 8 GB... but still, i have a computer with 2 gb ram and modest specs and i can do all of that with my computer without too much lag... so its definitely just a luxury to have more. and one more thing, i better mention, that 4 GB of memory is the absolute limit of useable memory for 32-bit versions of Windows (or any operating system), and the actual usable memory can be limited by other factors to 3.2-3.8 GB. so there is no point (at all) in installing 8 GB unless you are using a 64-bit edition of your operating system. Roberto75780 (talk) 08:50, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
I would definitely go for more ram if you can afford it. Computer software is always getting more resource hungry, and being able to run all your programs simultaneously is great. And if you're running virtual machines you'd probably want to give them at least 1gb each (talk) 09:23, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
I agree. RAM gets eaten up fast on modern computers, and 4GB is really not that much if you are running virtual machines, image processing programs, browsers, etc. all at once (I have 3GB and can do maybe two or three of those things at once, but I do have to watch it sometimes). The real question for me always is, what is the price difference between 4GB and 8GB? If it is lower than it would cost to get another 4GB stick on the open market, then buy the 4GB bundled and then just buy another 4GB stick of the same kind of RAM. Often bundling places (e.g. Dell or Apple or whatever) charge a premium for RAM which is far more expensive than it costs just buying it off of dedicated RAM stores, without any real advantage. --Mr.98 (talk) 13:06, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
I run two Linux VMs on my Windows 7 workstation, which are allocated a total of 11GB of RAM between them. While an Ubuntu VM can be run with just 1GB of RAM, if you're using it for anything other than test purposes, you would certainly want to give atleast 2GB of RAM. I would definitely recommend getting 8GB of RAM instead of 4GB. Rocketshiporion 21:31, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

Excel formula capitalization idiocy[edit]


So I have a custom formula named, let's say, "MyFormula" in Excel 2003 (Windows XP).

I wanted to make sure it worked even if you put in something with totally incorrect case, like "MYFORmULA".

It does. But now Excel won't let me change the case to anything other than the idiotic one. I've tried deleting all instances of it. Finding and replacing. Clearing out the column and saving and re-adding it again. Yet somehow Excel has decided that the one time I wanted to spell it like a doofus, I had made up my mind and should never, ever, be allowed to change it to anything else ever again. >:-/

Anybody have any clue how to override this? It doesn't affect functionality but it looks idiotic.

Just to clarify, the function is capitalized correctly in the VBE environment. It's only in the Excel worksheet (where I have it as a cell formula, e.g. "=MYFORmULA(A5)") that it comes up wrong. No amount of changing it in the formula bar seems to have any effect any more, even though that's all I did the first time. --Mr.98 (talk) 14:13, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Well, I got tired of trying to fix it a rational way, and just ended up restoring from an old version of the file and pasting my new code and changes in over it. So it's OK again. But still, blah. --Mr.98 (talk) 21:24, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

can a 10 min. video be of 750 MB ?[edit]

.. recently i downloaded a movie with the help of torrent. and i got to know it was only a part of the movie (10 min. duration).. but i was astonished it's size was 750 MB... and while playing the video in a corner it was written to download a particular video player from a particular play the full movie... are they just fooling me or ...... really i have some problem with my video player.... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:11, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Yes, a 10 min video can be 750mb or any size depending on the bitrate used to encode it. But from your description it seems you downloaded a fake video, there are loads of them on the net and they all say you need special players to view them. Whatever it asks you to download is most likely going to be a virus; don't download or install it. (talk) 15:34, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
Not just the bit-rate, but also the resolution and compression, will affect the size. That size doesn't seem unreasonable for a 10 minute HD 1080p video, to me. StuRat (talk) 07:46, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

thanx for suggestion.... :) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:38, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

I've seen low-quality 10-minute videos reach tens of gigabytes in size. That's what happens when you don't compress video.--Best Dog Ever (talk) 10:49, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Problem with my wiki[edit]

Hello. There is a problem with my computer on Wikia. On Wikia on my bloody computer, it does not allow me to edit at all, create a new page, or see an image at the bottom of the screen. I need some help in how this really annoying problem can be fixed. P.S., Please reply!!!! Velociraptor888 16:13, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

It's actually a problem with editing on Wikia on Internet Explorer on my computer, because it will allow me to edit on Wikia on Firefox on my Computer. So that's it "kinda" fixed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Velociraptor888 (talkcontribs) 16:22, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

So what exactly does it do when you try to edit ? StuRat (talk) 07:43, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

(JavaScript)(animation) How to display sequential images?[edit]

I have created a div element with a unique id. I then used

$('#id').html(image file);

to insert an image into the div element every 250 milliseconds.

The jQuery insertion function and a delay function are enclosed in a for loop.

There is nothing wrong with my coding. The browser shows nothing until several seconds later after the loop is completed. Rather than displaying all images for 0.25 seconds each, it only displays the last image of the sequence (i.e., image000, image 001, ... image999; only image999 is shown).

How do I make the browser display each and every image so I can create an animation? -- Toytoy (talk) 16:36, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

The browser will only update it's display when your script exits. Use the
setTimeout(fn, 1000);
function to call 'fn' after a 1000 millisecond delay. This is a once-only timer; 'fn' should call setTimeout just before it exits if 'fn' should be called again. CS Miller (talk) 17:19, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Error Message?[edit]

Does anybody recognize this? I have had this 'message' a few times over the past few days. The only options I have are to either minimize it or close it (using the buttons you see on the corner). I cannot expand it. Also, TaskManager will not open while the message is there, so I can't use that to get any information about it. TaskManager will, however, open after I have closed the message, if that is any help. --KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 18:19, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

I don't know what it is, but here are some ideas to try to find out more about it:
  • When the message appears, press Alt+Tab and see what the title of the window is.
  • Try right-clicking on the title bar, choose Size, then use the arrow keys to make the window bigger.
--Bavi H (talk) 00:45, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
Thanks - I will try those next time it comes up. --KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 03:56, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
It might not be an error message. some installation setup files re-size command line windows to that tiny shape (perhaps to avoid rolling the script infront of the user on the screen, which may be less appealing especially to novice users) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Roberto75780 (talkcontribs) 08:55, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

how do I get out of this rut?[edit]

I've just had a sad realization. My personal philosophy in life could be summarized as: "If you don't do it, someone else will. Probably better. So, just wait around, and you'll get it better and be satisfied that you thought of it first". So far this has been true of some couple of dozen things. How do I get out of this rut? And take the challenge to do it myself, maybe worse than a million dollar company would or will... (talk) 18:58, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

I think you might get a better answer on the Miscellaneous desk than here on the Computing desk. Marnanel (talk) 19:04, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
no, everything I've mentioned (like all the ideas) are computer-science related. (i.e. specific implementations). (talk) 19:27, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
Sacré bleu! Listen very carefully, I will say this only once. Wait a while and see how another gets out of such a rut. Of course, there is that danger that you will never be able to climb out as well as they, and so perhaps, you are better off staying where you are. C'est la vie See also:Procrastination--Aspro (talk) 19:30, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Well personally I know anything I make is likely to be crap. So if someone can do it better and I can benefit from it (like free open source software) then I'm happy for them. (talk) 19:46, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

The founder of Facebook clearly did not have that attitude. And compare Google with all the earlier search engines listed at Web search engine and now little known. You do not have to be the innovator, you are better off doing an established idea better. (talk) 20:52, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
If you think that FOSS is the way to benefit, but you want to accomplish something, then just contribute to FOSS. --Tardis (talk) 02:15, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
Just because someone else can or even will do it better, doesnt mean you shouldnt throw your hat in the ring too. there will always be users who are not happy with the biggest and best product and seek that little-known, supposedly inferior piece of software that does the job right. Roberto75780 (talk) 08:59, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
I like it! And I'll tell my marketing team: "Gentlemen: we can't be the best. We might not even be the first. But I promise you this: we WILL be the loudest." Inferior it is! (talk) 12:17, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
Depending on what your goals are you might see several reasons to try anyway:
1) Even if somebody else does do it better, you might still make a lot of money from it, especially if they need to buy out your inferior product's patents.
2) You might derive some satisfaction from pointing others in the right direction, even if you don't personally benefit much. Those at Xerox who came up with the mouse and windows interface (see Xerox Alto), before Apple and later Microsoft stole it all, can be still be proud of their legacy.
3) The failures of your product may also be valuable lessons for others. As in the previous example, the Xerox Star made it obvious to others that the price needed to be lower to gain acceptance in offices. StuRat (talk) 07:35, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

LaTeX question - Change the way cross references are displayed.[edit]


I have a rather large document with many chapter and sections and subsections. I want the sections to be labeled like "A. Section Title" and the subsections to be "A.1. Subsection Title" - note the periods. I am able to get this by putting the following in my preamble:

\def\thesection{\Alph{section}.} \def\thesubsection{\thesection\arabic{subsection}.}

Later in the document I want to reference the section in question by using the \ref{} command, but the periods need to be different. When I type "as in Secion \ref{sec:labelhere} of" , I want it to display "as in Section A of". How do I tell LaTeX to use one form for the section headings and a different form for cross-references? Thanks mislih 20:21, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

I looked around the relevant sources, and it appears that these two are not intended to be user serviceable separately. Nevertheless, the following works:
\def\@seccntformat#1{\csname the#1\endcsname.\quad}
(The original definition in tex/latex/base/latex.ltx is \def\@seccntformat#1{\csname the#1\endcsname\quad}, without the period.) No change of \thesubsection is needed.—Emil J. 15:21, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, that works like a charm. mislih 23:31, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Updating Quicktime Alernative; updating Quicktime Plugin in Firefox[edit]

When I check for updates for Firefox plugins, it tells me that the Quicktime plugin is vunerable and should be updated. When I click on the button to do this, it takes me to the QuickTime website and there I am only offered the QuickTimeInstaller.exe, which is over 37mb. I think this is a full Quicktime installation.

But I don't want a full Quicktime instalation - I've got QuickTime Alternative installed instead. QuickTime is notorious for being badly behaved and intrusive.

How do I update QuickTime Alternative (full version) please? The QTA website does not seem to say.

Is there any other way of updating the Firefox Quicktime plugin without installing all of Quicktime?

Is it possible to play all the things that QTA can play - such as .mov - by using other software, so that I dont need to use QTA or QT?

I'm using WinXP. Thanks (talk) 20:46, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

I uninstalled QTA and then installed the latest version from the QTA website, but its exactly the same as previously with ther same plugin (talk) 17:06, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

How much does an .is domain cost?[edit]

--J4\/4 <talk> 21:14, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

39 Euro per year (according to their tariff page.  ZX81  talk 21:49, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

best reader for pdf files[edit]

I realized recently how much paper I wast by printing out journal articles. I have access to free printing, and I don't keep track of the papers once I've read them. I often find myself surrounded by piles of papers in my office. I wonder what is the best device out there that would allow me to never have to print these out again. I was very impressed with my niece's Sony pocket reader, but think I'd want a bigger screen. What I'd like to be able to do is easily enter notes in the margins or in a related document, so that whenever I reopen the pdf file I have access to the notes I've written with it. Should I go for a simple reader device, or get a tablet pc? What are the best products for this purpose? Thanks mislih 22:38, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

An iPad? (talk) 23:17, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
Ha ha, very funny. mislih 01:51, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
I don't think it was meant as a joke. The first hit for a Google search for "best ereader for pdfs" [2] states: "if you really want a hard-core PDF reader, then there’s only one option: the Apple iPad." From what I've read, the main consideration is a large screen (9 inch diagonal or larger). PDFs don't reflow well, so you need a large screen to read letter/A4 size PDFs without constant scrolling. (An LCD-type screen might be passable with scrolling, but due to the slow refresh time, an e-ink screen doesn't cut it.) Then there's the issue of PDF support - a bunch of the e-readers don't support PDFs, or if they do, they actually convert them to a different format first, so the layout gets messed up. This might be okay, except that some PDF conversion software doesn't handle some multi-column text well, so there is a chance that the text will be scrambled by conversion. (And forget about reading old article, stored-as-image, page-scan PDFs.) Finally, depending on what journal articles you're using, you'll probably want a color screen for the figures. -- (talk) 04:50, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
What does e-Ink's slow refresh have to do with it? eInk is pretty much designed for reading books and documents. APL (talk) 20:00, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
While e-Ink is good for flipping pages, or jumping directly to one view to another, it isn't good at scrolling, or constantly updating the view while the document moves under it. With letter/A4 size documents and a small screen, you can't display the whole page at once without shrinking the text to illegibility. This requires repositioning the viewport each time you finish reading the visible portion. On a LCD, that's just a click-drag-scroll, but becomes more cumbersome on a slow-refresh e-Ink screen. eBook formats are set up so that there are clean page breaks, and defined order of pages. The reader knows how to flip between pages. PDFs, because they are a "display" format and not a "content" format, aren't as clean to move around in. This is doubly so as PDF support is usually an afterthought on most eBook readers, and even when they do design for PDFs, they don't usually think about multi-column scientific journal PDFs. -- (talk) 06:48, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
if you cant get your hands on an ipad, try any other tablet pc or internet tablet, but not a mobile phone or ipod. the large screen size is the only thing that will ever compare to the ease of reading paper. E-ink screens produce unbeleivably sharp text, and are not backlit, but dont do color or motion very well at all. Roberto75780 (talk) 09:07, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the advice, I will look at the other tablet pc's available. My initial reaction to the iPad suggestion was because, well I can't stand the idea of having to buy software from the "App Store" or whatever it's called, and also it fails for not having a usb port. I was impressed by the E-ink of the Sony Reader, and might even want it for reading novels, but I understand the point about wanting a large color screen. I will look at the current crop of tablets, anyone have a favorite? mislih 17:17, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
I use an app called GoodReader on the iPad to read PDF files. It cost some token amount from the App Store - it was US$5.00 or something. Comet Tuttle (talk) 17:20, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
The iPad starts at $500. If you want an alternative, there isn't much out there at this moment competing with it. You could look at the Notion Ink Adam Tablet (Starting at $375 for the normal netbook style TFT and $500 for the Pixel QI screen), but it still hasn't been officially released, and I haven't seen any hands on reviews yet. The only other tablets I can think of that can compete with the iPad on price are the Dell Inspiron Duo (convertible netbook, $550) and the nook color ($250) (talk) 16:21, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
I've never felt the slightest desire to use an ipad or other such small tablet device for this purpose. I use a full sized laptop (15" screen) and wish the screen were even bigger. The point of a tablet (as I see it) is go-everywhere portability. For use in an office, I'd use a desktop machine with a large monitor. That leaves you with the software problem of annotating PDF's. I don't know a specific answer for that but I'm sure something exists. Zotero comes to mind but I'm not sure if it can do what you are asking. (talk) 17:35, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
All you need is Adobe Professional. You use its typewriter function (go to view → toolbars and open the typewriter toolbar) and you can directly annotate any pdf.-- (talk) 04:57, 14 December 2010 (UTC)