Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2011 May 18

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Computing desk
< May 17 << Apr | May | Jun >> May 19 >
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.

May 18[edit]

looking for a word that covers an action or task[edit]

is there a word for the action of using something that has no earthly way of being proven, such as God is used to promote Christianity? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:12, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Faith ? (BTW, this should have been posted on the Language Desk.) StuRat (talk) 03:54, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
False pretense. Something that cannot be proven true or false is assumed to be true to justify the action. -- kainaw 12:18, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
How about not-falsifiable or non-falsifiable? RJFJR (talk) 13:38, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

QAM vs ATSC tuner[edit]

Dear Wikipedians:

I have an Insignia 42 inch TV. I know it has a QAM tuner because I can watch some clear digital channels transmitted through the cable. However, I am not sure if it also has an ATSC tuner capable of receiving HD signals off the air. How do I find out?

Thanks, (talk) 00:41, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Two methods:
1) Read the manual (if you've lost it, you can probably look it up online using the model number).
2) Try it. You'll likely need a basic pair of rabbit ears, which you can hopefully borrow from a friend for the test, although, if the signal is strong enough, you might even get a channel or two without it. On the other hand, if you live in a sparsely populated area, then a roof antenna is likely needed, and that's too expensive and too much trouble for a test. StuRat (talk) 01:11, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Also, if it has a coax jack on the back, it probably accepts over-the-air signals of some type, but you don't know just from that whether it accepts analog, digital, or both. StuRat (talk) 01:19, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks so much StuRat! I am enlightened! Basically HD signals are transmitted in the same fashion as old analog channels, and only TVs with an built-in ATSC tuner will be able to decode HD signals. The rabbit ears will grab all signals indiscriminately. Sort of like modern browsers versus ancient browsers, the HTML data transmitted is the same, but only modern browsers may act on tags that are specified in later HTML versions, while ancient browsers just ignore those tags. Am I right? (talk) 02:18, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Pretty much, yes. They may only use a portion of the analog band for the digital signals, since each digital signal requires less bandwidth. Also, there are set-top boxes to convert the digital TV signals into an analog signal for older TVs. Those boxes cost $40-$70 around here. BTW, there was an apparently legal scam here of people being sold "HD antennas", which were just the same old antennas sold at 10x the price. StuRat (talk) 04:00, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Some additional points:
  • Be aware that not all over-the-air digital channels are HD. If you are talking about all ATSC channels in general, it would be clearer to refer to them as digital over-the-air channels.
  • If you are in the United States, all TVs manufactured March 1, 2007 and after have to include an ATSC digital tuner. There were also earlier requirements for TVs with screens larger than certain sizes, see ATSC tuner - United States government mandates. My understanding is that QAM and ATSC signals are closely related, so TV manufacturers usually include a tuner that can decode both. If you already know your TV can get unencrypted digital cable channels (QAM), then it almost certainly can get digital over-the-air channels (ATSC).
  • Digital signals are not "transmitted in the same fashion" as analog signals, but they do use the same channel frequency allocations. Because of this, you can use the same types of antennas for both analog and digital channels, but you'll need a digital tuner to see the digital channels.
  • The same types of antennas can be used for both digital and analog channels. However, as the signals gets weaker, analog channels will remain viewable for much weaker signals, whereas digital channels will completly go out sooner. Try existing antennas you have first. See Antennas and Digital Television from See also and *
  • Often "HD antennas" are designed to pick up weaker signals or have signal amplifiers, so it's not always an outright scam. The main problem is that calling them "HD antennas" can confuse people into thinking they need a different antenna to get digital channels, and they may not be aware they can try their existing antenna.
--Bavi H (talk) 01:27, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
* Since you previously mentioned you're in Canada, it looks like has the same kind of technical information with Canada dates and maps. --Bavi H (talk) 01:52, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Hacktool message on website[edit]

From Cary Tennis (permanent link here), I visited the first webpage listed under "Links". Within a few seconds, the web address changed, and I saw a suspicious page and a message about a hacktool. I immediately closed the webpage. Has there been a breach of computer security?
Wavelength (talk) 01:46, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

I found a pop-under window with the following information, which I copied before closing the window.

  • MacKeeper
  • 911 for your Mac
  • Instant Mac cleanup
  • High-level security
  • Mac performance boost
  • (Clean your Mac)
  • Click here to clean your Mac
  • #1 System Utility for MAC in the World

Then I did a Google search for mackeeper, and I found
Wavelength (talk) 02:04, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Well I opened it and nothing happened. Perhaps it was Adblocker. General Rommel (talk) 06:46, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Normal annoying website ad, nothing to be alarmed over. It served you a Mac-related ad because your user agent string or something equally benign tipped it off. I got a netflix ad, not interested in checking what will show up next. ¦ Reisio (talk) 10:06, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Thank you both for your replies.—Wavelength (talk) 23:19, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Diff b/w solid works and catia v5[edit]

What is the difference b/w solid works and catia v5 preferably in Aerospace Domain?? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ambuj 542 (talkcontribs) 06:02, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

About ten grand. (BRL-CAD) ¦ Reisio (talk) 10:16, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
SolidWorks and CATIA are both listed in Comparison of CAD software. Astronaut (talk) 11:45, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Anti-spyware and anti-adware tools[edit]

With advances made by Internet Explorer and traditional "antivirus" programs (things like Norton, F-Secure, and Kaspersky) in recent years, and with adware and spyware programs getting rarer and rarer, is supplemental anti-adware and anti-spyware tools (e.g., Ad-Aware and Spybot) largely redundant for protection (not cleaning) purposes nowadays? (talk) 09:01, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

To put it other way, do I still need to install specialized anti-adware or anti-spyware program (Ad-Aware or Spybot) in addition to antivirus program (Norton, F-Secure, or Kaspersky), now that antivirus programs can also prevent, detect, and remove adware and spyware? (talk) 10:54, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Don't you have to have it installed (at some point) to clean even if you aren't going to use it to protect? (that is: semantics? :p) ¦ Reisio (talk) 10:09, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
I added a paragraph above to (hopefully) clarify the question. (talk) 10:54, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Should you acquire adware and spyware, it is still quite likely ane anti-adware or anti-spyware app will do a much better job of detecting & removing it; they AV apps haven't improved that much. Plenty of people get by without having anti-adware and anti-spyware apps installed, however, by using common sense for the most part. ¦ Reisio (talk) 11:26, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Since each anti-malware program is different, each one has weaknesses relative to the others, as you'd expect. This doesn't mean you should run two versions of antivirus software at the same time — the antivirus software vendors always strongly discourage this, because the two pieces of software will compete with each other every time a file is downloaded, or, especially, when doing a full disc scan, and there will be a performance hit — but it wouldn't hurt to run a scan once in a while with the supplementary software you mentioned initially. If your antivirus software doesn't know about some threat then another piece of software might. By the way, as I always do, I recommend you set up your computer with an account that lacks administrator rights and use that account habitually; this reduces the chance that malware can successfully attack your system. Comet Tuttle (talk) 16:42, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
I believe you should instal only one "protection" anti-virus, but from time to time use cleaners for anything that might have missed. I also use CCleaner and SpywareBlaster which work in different ways. For ocassional cleaning I use Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware and Superantispyware. (talk) 11:51, 21 May 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for all the information. Per your suggestions, I have uninstalled Spybot, as it hasn't removed a single malware since being installed last year, leaving only my up-to-date Norton AntiVirus. I am also saving various "stand-alone" or "portable" anti-malware programs' URL, so that I can download and burn them to recovery disc in case of malware infection. (talk) 10:09, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

Wireless External HDD[edit]

I'm planning on getting an external HDD at the end of this month, but, as I use a laptop and am generally not in the same place in the house for more than a few hours, I would like one which has a wireless connection, accessible from anywhere in the house. Basically, I need one which:

  • Is wireless and accessible from anywhere in the house.
  • Can be password protected to stop anyone other than me from accessing it.
  • Can be plugged into a mains supply.

Does anyone have any ideas?

--KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 11:19, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

That amounts to "Wireless NAS". Several manufacturers make these (Iomega, Lacie, Netgear, D-Link); I've no personal experience of them to make a recommendation. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 11:24, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

To me it amounts to an ordinary hard disk... with an encrypted filesystem... connected to a network that has a wireless router. Ordinary hard disks and wireless routers are cheap and prevalent, filesystem encryption is free and simple (and smart for personal data). ¦ Reisio (talk) 11:30, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Edit conflict twice :(Well the only sort of practical thing that springs to my mind (could be wrong) is a External HD hooked up to a Router with a USB port so you can share it. That means if you have a router already, you won't need another wireless device. Or, if you are more serious, you could consider a NAS, but that wouldn't be that good as large data files are slower over wireless. So if you have a Router with USB functionality, I'd suggest you connect a USB External HD to it, then you can make it so it can be shared only with you. Not sure how to do that, but perhaps others think this would be a good solution. Good luck! Now it's night over here General Rommel (talk) 11:34, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Ah, thanks. Unfortunately, our wireless router does not have a USB port. How would I go about connecting the External HD to it, wirelessly? Also, which would be faster for data transfer - wireless over a home network, or Bluetooth? --KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 12:22, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
You will require an external harddrive that supports this feature: specifically, it will need to run a small server that delivers the files in a standard protocol (HTTP, NFS, Samba, or something like that). A bare external-drive does not supply the needed software to make its data available over a network (wired or wireless). A few drives now support this feature out-of-the-box. Nimur (talk) 15:28, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Alternatively — and I know this isn't really what you want, but it'll function — you could set up a cheap PC to act as a server. It can be connected, either with a wire or wirelessly, to your wireless router, and then you could use a wireless connection from anywhere in the house to access the hard disk. You don't note why you want an external HDD, but I assume it's so you can bring it places — when it's time to do so, you would shut down that server, disconnect the external HDD, and bring it wherever you want. I have a server that uses an external HDD in this way; I formatted the external drive and installed Ubuntu and turned file sharing on; my server boots from that external drive now. Comet Tuttle (talk) 16:37, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
You will want to find a hard drive with an ethernet connection. These will run at least $130 from my experience, so you are paying a premium on a plain USB hard drive. I haven't found any with wireless sharing yet, but if you plug any network aware drive into a wireless router, it will be accessible wirelessly. Caltsar (talk) 20:40, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Right. Would I be able to plug an external HD into our wireless router using an ethernet cable? And then password protect it so that only I can use it (from my own PC)? --KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 14:41, 21 May 2011 (UTC)
You would have to check the specific features of your router and hard drive for that information. Caltsar (talk) 14:36, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

Odd problem with sound icon in tray[edit]

When I double click on the sound icon, the window with the slider (which was usually static) disappears as soon that I move my mouse. Another issue as well, it often takes 3-4 clicks, while it took about two in the past to open. Any ideas? I tried disabling it and re-enabling it. Raskolkhan (talk) 15:32, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

If you are using Windows, is your double-click speed set too fast? Aside from this problem, are you having other problems with your mouse? (talk) 16:17, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
This is the type of thing I expect from Windows, when it gets low on resources, such as memory. Does a reboot help ? StuRat (talk) 18:48, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

No the problem is chronic. Only recent thing I remember doing is updating VLC

I actually found that after one clicks, it DOES show up on a static basis. But there's a 2-3 seconds delay. It closed itself because I was not patient enough. Still, I find the lag quite odd. ~~ Mouse works fine, it's a cheap regular Dell mouse that's over 9000 years old, though. Raskolkhan (talk) 23:19, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

There is nothing wrong with your system. As non-intuitive as it sounds, you really need to click the volume icon once and wait a couple of seconds to open the volume slider. This behavior has been there since Windows 95. (talk) 13:24, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Laptop security[edit]

Would it be possible to have a feature on laptops allowing them to be tracked down if they are stolen? I imagine it might be possible to notify an organisation that your laptop has been stolen, and then when the laptop connects to the internet, it would contact the organisation and then they could track it from the IP address. If not that, why not have a feature to kill a laptop if it is stolen? Thanks SmartSE (talk) 18:20, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Prey -- Finlay McWalterTalk 18:29, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
(EC) Such things already exist; programs that will send the machine's IP and nearby wifi SSIDs to a web address; and kill switches to wipe the drive. Standard features on an iphone, I'm told. --Tagishsimon (talk) 18:33, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
None of those seem like they would work with a competent thief, who would unplug it and remove the battery while transporting it, then would wipe the hard drive before using or selling it. You could theoretically hide a tracking device (with it's own battery) inside, but there's not much free space in a laptop, and what there is is needed for air flow. StuRat (talk) 18:53, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Certainly, it's predicated on the theory that the thief isn't technically competent. Its efficacy depends on whether an incompetent thief will try to sell the stolen device privately (down the pub) as soon as possible (it's only sensible to distance oneself from the proceeds of one's crime), or whether they'll use a fence who may be sufficiently competent to reset it before resetting it. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 19:11, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Or if they stole it for themselves (talk) 19:51, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Remote Laptop Security. Note that the more sophisticated solutions like Absolute's [1] LoJack have stuff in the bios that try to add their drivers back even after you reinstall [2]. There is probably some way to break it (probably just remove the stuff from the bios) and since I think they only have Windows drivers, you could install some Linux variant or even Mac OS X. But if your 'competent thief' is like StuRat or I guess Finlay McWalter and think's a simple format and reinstallation is enough they're still SOL. Intel's anti-theft (AT) tech is also similarly designed to resist simple reinstallation and the like and since it's I think either in the CPU or the chipset it's probably harder to break. Although it's more designed to ultimately render the laptop useless than enable tracking I believe [3]. On the other hand I think it is fairly OS independent. As the LoJack article mentions, these techs do raise security concerns. Also I don't think it's wise to underestimate the incompetence of many thieves. I've know someone who helped someone recover their laptop taking advantage of the fact the thief connected to the internet via the builtin ADSL modem using the owner's account (although to be fair it was a teacher's laptop stolen by a student). Nil Einne (talk) 19:50, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

For your consideration... Find My iPad ?

Similar technology could conceivably be integrated into any location-aware, network-able device. Nimur (talk) 20:05, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

The most notable use of the iPad's "remote wipe" feature, it must be pointed out, was when the decentralized hacker group "Anonymous" was said to have used the feature to wipe the iPad of the CEO of HBGary Federal, a security firm that had claimed it had infiltrated and/or "owned" Anonymous. Comet Tuttle (talk) 21:20, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the answers - Prey looks good. Now if only I not asked too late! SmartSE (talk) 19:01, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

Good alternatives to YouTube?[edit]

Any list with known good alternatives to YouTube? in particular Flash-10 is a source of incompatibility problems. Preferably ones where you can just go ahead and upload without registration nonsense nor Flash-10 nonsense. Electron9 (talk) 22:25, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

You could try the HTML5 version of youtube if Flash player is giving you problems. I've not used it myself so I don't know how well it works. The only video site I've seen that didn't use Flash was Stage6 but that closed down a long time ago. (talk) 23:08, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Why does Google News Search return fewer hits when you expand the search?[edit]

If I do a Google News Search on "Bin Laden" assassinated, I get 4,599 hits.[4] If I expand my search to also include assassination, I should get more hits. Instead, I get 3,871 hits.[5] Does anyone know what's going on? A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 22:37, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

By default, a Google search is for pages that include all the search terms, so searching for "Bin Laden assassination" will only return hits for pages that include all three words. This will be a subset of those that just contain "Bin Laden". Rojomoke (talk) 13:09, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
You need to type OR between the words assassinate and assassination. Theoretically, this should increase the number of hits, but Google search algorithms don't always work quite as expected, and they may well treat those two words as identical for search purposes.--Shantavira|feed me 15:18, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Hmmm...I thought | was the same as OR. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 15:36, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

320kbps MP3[edit]

Not seeking to start an encoder flame war; is there a way to prove that one file is an original 320 kbps file, rather than some cheap (let's say 128 kbps file) masquerading as one? As if someone ripped 128 kbps files from a CD, and later fraudulently transcoded them to 320 kbps? Raskolkhan (talk) 23:24, 18 May 2011 (UTC) (Audacity can also do spectrograms, but apparently requires alteration of default prefs to be useful). But why pick nits, lossless is the only way to fly. ¦ Reisio (talk) 00:16, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
For this purpose I use Spek, great piece of free software. doomgaze (talk) 13:22, 20 May 2011 (UTC)
You technically haven't "proven" anything by showing a band-limited spectrum, though. If the original waveform was actually band-limited, as represented by that spectrum, and 320kbps faithfully reproduced it, it's totally plausible that there was never an intermediate encoding step. Any hard-core audiophile should, off the top of their head, be able to think of a few dozen good reasons why waveforms can be band-limited. All you have shown is that the spectrum is consistent with an intermediate, low-quality encoding pass. The same spectrum is also consistent with certain studio room acoustics; certain intentional electronic signal processing; certain microphone/transducer characteristics; certain analog signal path characteristics; and so on. In fact, it is provably impossible to distinguish the type of signal processing, unless you have a canonical waveform to compare to the output. What ultimately matters is the aesthetic quality of the sound; not whether you can prove the presence of certain intermediate processing stages. Nimur (talk) 15:21, 20 May 2011 (UTC)
It's all in the context. After you see a few graphs of one genre of music, say dubstep for me, you can not only hear how a typical pure 320 sounds like but now see it too and using this combination you can tell a 'fake' a mile off. doomgaze (talk) 15:32, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

Word Being Stupid[edit]

Hey all. My version of Word (2010) says it can open OpenOffice documents, but when I go to open one, Word just freezes up. WHy is this, and how can I fix it? Thanks. (talk) 23:45, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

(in the absence of an answer) There could be a million different reasons why an application freezes, but are you sure you're not getting an error/information window opening (modally) and it's gone into the background? Sandman30s (talk) 10:49, 20 May 2011 (UTC)