Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2011 December 15

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Computing desk
< December 14 << Nov | December | Jan >> December 16 >
Welcome to the Wikipedia Computing Reference Desk Archives
The page you are currently viewing is an archive page. While you can leave answers for any questions shown below, please ask new questions on one of the current reference desk pages.

December 15[edit]

Kernel headers[edit]

What are they exactly? The article that should be about them redirects to Linux kernel, which does not explain what they are. Is there any Windows equivalent? Are there other elements which are equally important for compiling in Linux? (talk) 02:12, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

I see that the redirect was created on 6 May 2008 by user:Mac, who then added a section titled "Kernel Headers" which is missing from the article in its current state. Here is the old version of the article.  Card Zero  (talk) 08:15, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Kernel headers are header files that describe the C language interface exposed by the kernel. They serve the same purpose as the headers accompanying any library.
The headers are needed to compile software running on top of the kernel. In Linux distributions, they are normally distributed as part of the development package for the standard C library, which programs use instead of calling the kernel directly.
Every kernel written in C/C++ has headers. However, depending on the degree to which the C library encapsulates kernel functionality, they might not be made available to application developers, but they exist. Bomazi (talk) 09:17, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Where are the cheapest electronics?[edit]

Which country has the cheapest desktops, notebooks, etc. (not considering the salary of its inhabitants). I suppose if a country did no levy sales taxes on them, does have own factories, PCs could be very cheap. I was thinking at something about Japan, Singapore or Hong Kong. (talk) 02:14, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

I'd think China proper would be the cheapest, since they have the lowest wages. StuRat (talk) 06:04, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
And what about the cheapest by country/brand? Can I be sure that Toshibas are cheaper in Japan, ASUS in China non-proper, Samsung in Korea? (talk) 14:49, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
In general a product is cheaper in the nation that creates it, yes, but not always. Some nations engage in "dumping", meaning they sell items at a loss to other nations. Why do this ? They might want to drive the target nation's own producers out of business, with the hope of increasing profits later, or the export companies might get subsidies from their government. This is not allowed under most trade agreements, but it happens anyway. Differential supply-and-demand and exchange rates might also cause unexpected prices. StuRat (talk) 03:49, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Speeding up Windows XP[edit]

Is there a genuine product that will speed up Windows XP.

Hamish 84. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hamish84 (talkcontribs) 04:00, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

To speed up any version of Windows, or any other O/S for that matter, you generally want to remove things, not add them. However, there are programs which will remove some of the crap that accumulates over time, such as adware. Is this what you mean ? Also, have as little as possible running at once and reboot often. StuRat (talk) 06:00, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes, your Windows XP installation disks. In my experience, all Windows installations seem to slow down with age. Back up your personal data (documents, photos, music, emails, etc), make a list of the programs you actually use and locate their install disks or download URLs, take note of the passwords you might have forgotten, and put all this on an external drive or optical disk(s). You are then in a position to reinstall Windows. It might also be a good time to look into adding more memory and getting a larger capacity hard drive. After reinstalling Windows you will be amazed at how much faster your PC seems to be. You will then need to reinstall your programs and put your personal data back. If that doesn't satisfy you, maybe it is time to get a new PC. Astronaut (talk) 11:51, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Astronaut — unfortunately, Windows systems do seem to slow down with age, at least for me, which I have always assumed was because I install a lot of software on my systems. Erasing the whole hard disk and reinstalling everything from scratch usually helps. Of course it's terribly inconvenient. Comet Tuttle (talk) 18:55, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
I have a computer running Windows XP which was installed in 2009, it has been on 24/7 since then and its last restart was 160 days ago according to net stats srv. I have not noticed it slowing down over time. This seems to support the theory that installing a load of junk onto a computer is the cause of these slowdowns, and not a design fault with Windows itself. (talk) 01:23, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps, but you could also argue that a design that slows to a crawl if it runs anything beyond the operating system is faulty, just like a car that only runs well with no cargo or passengers. StuRat (talk) 03:44, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Windows may slow down if you install software and then uninstall it. Eg you install some software, use it, maybe don't like it, so uninstall it. Now the PC runs slower than it did before you installed it. This can be because the "uninstall" may leave stuff behind - which is (IMO) bad design. For you car analogy, it's like I load the car with passengers and/or cargo, drive them somewhere (perhaps using more fuel than usual because of the extra load, but that's OK) then all my passengers get out and I unload all the cargo - and now my car runs less efficiently than it did before they got in! Mitch Ames (talk) 10:20, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Wouldn't it be more like you are trusting someone to unload your car and they leave some of the cargo behind? I blame the uninstallers for the problem, Microsoft did not write them. Also, people install/get hijacked by horrid programs all the time, not every last bit of damage they do is cleaned up spyware removers; but, again, this is not Microsoft's fault, nor is it the antispyware programs fault, it is the user's fault and the spyware programmers fault (more the latter's really) Phoenixia1177 (talk) 10:52, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
A decent operating system would isolate any download so it all goes in one folder, then delete that folder and all of it's contents on an uninstall. Things like registry entries could be placed in the same folder, with links accessing them from the registry. Also, whenever the registry finds a dead link, it should ask you if you want to remove it. Leaving it up to apps to clean up after themselves will inevitably lead to problems. StuRat (talk) 19:38, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps, but what if you have several programs using shared registry values? Or if a program changes registry values not directly created by it? You are still going to have to rely on the uninstaller and I don't think that the os should guess exactly a program will integrate into the system, I think that software designers should make programs that clean up after themselves reliably. Phoenixia1177 (talk) 12:13, 17 December 2011 (UTC)
I would prohibit those type of changes, as each program should be kept separate. Just as George Washington warned of "entangling alliances", different programs sharing registry values and changing those for other programs is bound to cause trouble sooner or later. StuRat (talk) 19:51, 18 December 2011 (UTC)
I would have to disagree with you there, personally, I think that the option should be open to programmers, and that they are the one's responsible. I don't think Microsoft is at fault for developers using the registry poorly; I think blaming MS for this would be like blaming them for spyware being capable, its the people that make its fault. But, I see were you're coming from, and I don't think that such a system is a bad idea in and of itself. However, my personal opinion is that the OS should allow developers and users to pick their own path and that they, the users and developers, should be held responsible; and, yes, I agree that Windows doesn't fit this is all its aspects, but that's not really the topic. Sorry if I sound disagreeable, I'm typing this in between things at work:-) *Also, what you're talking about sounds a lot like ini files, which weren't so great and had their own problems. Though, you can do something like what you are suggesting without most of the issues.Phoenixia1177 (talk) 11:36, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Going back to my (somewhat modified) car example, the current system seems like a highway where there are no rules, and we just trust all drivers to do the right thing. While the majority of drivers probably would, it only takes a few bad drivers to make the highway dangerous and unusable. So, while it's the fault of the bad drivers, certainly, some blame also belongs to the lack of rules and enforcement of those rules. StuRat (talk) 19:06, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Getting back to practicalities, there are a number of products out there that will clean up both your registry and your file system after deleting programs using the built-in un-installer. I have found these to be effective is stopping Windows systems from slowing down over time quite so much, but they have to be used at the time of deletion and will not work retrospectively. There are any number of registry cleaners and disc cleaners but I have no personal experience of using these. However, in my experience the best thing by far to speed up an older machine is RAM, although this gets progressively more expensive per GByte as the machine gets older! Inspeximus (talk) 18:57, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Logged out of facebook on my PC ,GRAND SON LOGGED IN[edit]

I 'moved' this question from the help desk [1]  Chzz  ►  10:24, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

My grand son used my PC and is loged into my facebook. How do I remove him off my PC and re-log into my face book ON MY PC HAVE ALSO FORGOTTEN MY PASSWORD -this Granny needs help- Mrs Christine Erasmus Many thanks ,much appreciated — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:21, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Go to the Facebook page. At the top there is a blue bar, and to the right of the bar you will see (from left to right) your grandson's picture, then his name, then the word 'Home', then a downwards-pointing arrow. Click the arrow, then choose 'log out' from the menu that appears. Now you will arrive at the Facebook 'login' screen. At the top right of this page there are two boxes, labelled 'Email' and 'Password'. If you remember both of these things, you can enter them and log in. If not, you will need to click 'Forgotten your password', which is just under the password box. This will take you to another page where you can enter various pieces of information to recover your password. I hope these instructions explain things ok, but if you have any trouble along the way, feel free to post here again so we can guide you through. - Cucumber Mike (talk) 12:15, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Do "find your phone" services work?[edit]

Family member has left Iphone in a cab. It's being reported to lost property, police and we can use the Orange number to immobilise it and block calls. It has GPS in it, so can we use that to find out where it is? Is there any point in using something like Itsmejudith (talk) 12:25, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

These services may be useful, but don't guarantee you'll get your phone back. You can read a bit about mobilelocate on their website; they use GSM network-based tracking which tells you the area to a few hundred metres; other systems use GPS which is more accurate (at least outdoors) but require an app on the phone. Mobile phone tracking has a bit of info on the different methods, or read this. All services require the phone to be turned on (they may record the last position it was used if it was switched off) which is a limitation. Many of these services, like mobilelocate, are intended for tracking legitimate phone users (children or employees) rather than stolen phones. Most services allow legitimate users to stop the service (so someone who steals it may be able to disable the service if the phone isn't passworded), and it may be possible to circumvent it if you can jailbreak the phone, re-flash it, change the sim card, etc, so a determined thief who's planning to sell the phone on could probably get around it. But if you leave it in a bar it could tell you which bar, etc. --Colapeninsula (talk) 12:47, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
I read the links, thanks very much, but am not sure what I can do next. We are waiting to hear from lost property whether it has been handed in, and if it hasn't then will contact the police. If not prompted, they are unlikely to do anything to track it, but if we could say "it's at this location" then they might follow that up. Itsmejudith (talk) 13:09, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
There are many phone tracking services (many free ones too, like Latitude). The problem that most people have is that they decide they want to install it on their phone AFTER they lose the phone. Obviously, you can't do that. So, it is good idea to install it ahead of time. My wife and I have Latitude running on our phones. She lost her phone. I used it and went straight to the store where it was. She left it on the counter, and a worker put it behind the counter. I found it because I tracked it and, once nearby, called it and heard it ring. If we had waiting until her phone was lost to worry about installing a tracking service, we'd most likely never have found it again. -- kainaw 13:57, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Kainaw. If only... Does anyone know if there is any possibility that an iPhone contracted to Orange would have had such software installed as standard? I don't think the owner installed anything. Itsmejudith (talk) 15:42, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
How new is the iPhone. The newest ones are supposed to come with "Find My iPhone" installed. That is a subscription service from Apple. You have to sign up with MobileMe to use it. I do not know if you can subscribe to MobileMe after losing the phone and get the phone to be tracked by it (big security issue there - what if you sign up and have it track your ex-girlfriend's phone). So, if it isn't already set up on MobileMe, it probable cannot be tracked. The main issue is that if you don't have the phone in your possession, setting up software to track it is hard. It is intentionally hard because nobody wants you to be able to set up a service to track someone else's phone without their knowledge. -- kainaw 15:51, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
With Android phones, it's possible to install locating software AFTER you lose the phone. See Plan B. I just tried it out with my phone and it works pretty well. It located my phone (which was sitting next to me) within a minute. - Akamad (talk) 22:47, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Have you tried the obvious ? That is, have you called the number to see if anybody answers ? If so, perhaps they would then return it to you for a small reward. StuRat (talk) 03:41, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes, unfortunately. Apparently on first attempts it kept ringing but then appeared to be switched off. It was fully charged. Should have heard from the cabs' Lost Property by now, but will chase them up, as that seems to be only real hope. Itsmejudith (talk) 09:46, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Somebody taking the trouble to turn it off is a good sign. Probably the ringing annoyed the cabbie, who dug it out from under the seat, turned it off, and later turned it in to lost property. StuRat (talk) 19:32, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Huffington Post and sign on with Google[edit]

You can sign on anywhere from anywhere these days it seems. So I tried to use Google for Huffington Post.... is asking for some information from your Google Account

  • Email address: Richard Farmbrough (
  • Language: English
  • Google Contacts

Er.. does that really mean they are asking for my contacts? Is this Phone hacking scandal all over again? Or am I just out of touch with the technology?

Rich Farmbrough, 21:47, 15 December 2011 (UTC).

You're of course not obligated to help Google share your private information with any other website. I would decline any such request, but I would also know that it is technically possible that Google might choose to share any of your private information it already has, even without your consent.
I'm curious which website you were viewing when you saw that request: Google or Huffington Post?
I wouldn't call yourself "out of touch with technology," simply because you're reluctant to collude with major advertisers seeking to surveillance your online activities. The less consent you give, the more recourse you will have, should anything illicit ever be shared by a web company. Nimur (talk) 22:19, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes I was planning on commenting on a Huffington Post column. They will be denied my sagacity.Face-smile.svg I did decline the request, while I doubt it is sinister, it does look at least misleading and at worst a blunder. Incidentally I recommend Ghostery as an anti-major-advertiser-surveillance tool. Some sites have half a dozen or more tracking bugs on each web page. Rich Farmbrough, 23:07, 15 December 2011 (UTC).
Is this Google+'s equivalent of Facebook Connect? So you can see what all your friends are doing everywhere on the internet and vice versa. (How fascinating for everyone to see.) --Colapeninsula (talk) 10:27, 16 December 2011 (UTC)