Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Computing/2013 April 3

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April 3[edit]

Which laptops have the best keyboards for fast typing?[edit]

Hi, I'm thinking of buying a new laptop, and wondered whether anyone here had experience of laptops with keyboards that allow fast typing. I've had a couple where I've had to keep repeating missed keystrokes, and even had to use an external keyboard with one, so this time I'm looking for one with a really good-quality, responsive keyboard, if such a thing exists. Any advice at all would be very helpful. SlimVirgin (talk) 04:30, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

I've always found the apple style chiclet keyboards to be excellent (for me the shorter keypresses just feel more responsive). I have been particularly impressed with the ASUS zenbook keyboard which I tried recently that uses this style of keyboard. Alternatively the Lenovo thinkpad family has always had a very good reputation for keyboard quality. Do you use a desktop regularly? If so, I find it nice to have a similar style of keyboard on both the desktop and laptop so the typing feel is more or less consistent (it may be easier to change the desktop keyboard to match whichever laptop you get). 143.65.196.20 (talk) 10:13, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
They’re all pretty bad (short travel, flat keys, cheap components, form over function). You might put hands onto a ThinkPad keyboard—despite being redesigned to look more like (awful) Apple-style keyboards, underneath the keys the mechanics are almost exactly the same (as they were before).
Something else you could try is getting a tablet with laptop equivalent hardware and capabilities and simply use one of your externals. ¦ Reisio (talk) 20:10, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
Many thanks for the replies. I keep seeing the ThinkPad come up as having a good keyboard, so I'll definitely look into that. I've been using an external keyboard on and off (the same kind as with my desktop), but it kind of defeats the purpose of having a laptop, and the screen is then so far away that it feels odd. So I'm hoping I can find a laptop where I can stop having to think about the typing. SlimVirgin (talk) 21:47, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
My IBM ThinkPad keyboard isn't bad, I agree, but making a keyboard small enough to fit on a laptop is bound to cause problems. Perhaps one with a huge screen will have a bigger keyboard. Also, if you don't want to use an external keyboard, they also make an external numeric keypad, which is far more portable, and can speed things up when doing number intensive tasks, like accounting. StuRat (talk) 21:55, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
Hi Stu, I'm looking for a keyboard without a numeric keypad. When you have one of those on a laptop keyboard, it pushes the letters (and trackpad) to the left of the screen as you look at it, and there's nothing you can do about it – unlike with an external keyboard that you can position wherever you want. If I sit in the middle of the screen (and it feels odd not to), it means when I'm touch-typing that I keep hitting the wrong keys, and the whole experience feels oddly off-centre. This is a separate issue from the keyboards that keep missing keystrokes, but it's an extra factor in having to think about the typing rather than the writing.
I don't mind the MacBook chiclet keyboards, but the letters are spaced slightly too far apart for me, which slows typing down a little. The ThinkPad is the one I've seen praised most often specifically for the keyboard. People rave about Das Keyboard too, but then I'd be back to using an external one. SlimVirgin (talk) 23:42, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
Yes, my point was that with an external numeric keypad, this allows you to get a laptop without an internal numeric keypad, which allows it to be spaced out better. However, the external numeric keypad is still there when you want to type in lots of numbers quickly, and is reasonably portable. StuRat (talk) 01:13, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
Yes, good point. SlimVirgin (talk) 01:46, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
I’ve been contemplating this issue for a while (read: years :p), and I’ll probably end up going the tablet + external route myself. You can get some pretty compact external keyboards that are also undeniable typing machines, such as the Noppoo Choc Mini or Happy Hacking Keyboard (none of them are absolutely perfect, of course; the noppoo makes use of function keys smartly but still has an extra column of keys on the right, and the happy hacking is actually missing keys where you’d expect them… but they’re about as good as you can do short of waiting for a Miniguru). You can of course make your own as well, heh. For joining with a tablet there’s 3D printing (or duct tape!). :) ¦ Reisio (talk) 15:01, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

steps of writing a system proposal[edit]

What are the steps of Writing a System Proposal — Preceding unsigned comment added by Maddalaratan (talkcontribs) 09:47, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Step 1 is to know what a "system proposal" means. This is not a common expression. When you have solved that, tell us what it means to you, and we might be able to help you with it. Looie496 (talk) 19:41, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Inserting an image into an Excel-type spreadsheet[edit]

Is there a way to keep it "inside" a single cell, rather than have it sprawl over a bunch of them, until you click on it? Clarityfiend (talk) 10:26, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Have you tried the instructions that come up if you Google "insert image into Excel cell"? E.g. this sort of thing: ehow.com/how_5452020_insert-picture-excel-cell.html If they're inadequate, let us know, but try those first... it might help also if you clarify whether it is just an "Excel-type spreadsheet" or really that you are using Excel, and what version/OS, as they can differ quite a bit. --Mr.98 (talk) 14:01, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
Okay, that explains how to resize the image (d'oh). Thanks. Clarityfiend (talk) 22:32, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

HD TV channels[edit]

Why do HD TV channels look sped up a bit like a film playing in 48fps? I checked and HD TV channels are broadcast at 25fps so why does it look sped up compared to SD? Clover345 (talk) 14:17, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Your TV probably has some sort of built-in interpolation or tweening. This computer-generates in-between frames to double (or quadruple!) the frames per second.
Philips calls this feature "Digital Natural Motion", I'm not sure what other brands call it.
Personally, I recommend turning it off in your TV's settings. I think real 48fps is great, but faking 48fps is like colorizing Casablanca. IMO, Better to see things the way they were intended to be seen. Flicker and all. APL (talk) 19:31, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
But interpolating frames would not, in-and-of-itself, speed things up. If the broadcast is at 25 fps and they interpolate one frame per actual frame, then they would hopefully be smart enough to play it at 50 fps. However, they may have done something wrong, in which case, turning this feature off might fix it. StuRat (talk) 21:48, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
I assumed it wasn't literally sped up. Some people report that the smoothness of high-framerate video looks "sped up" to them. (And he did say "look sped up".) But you're right, if it's really playing back at a noticeably wrong speed there may be a greater problem. APL (talk) 01:10, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
I can't picture interpolation of frames being much good. For example, if a tossed ball is on the right side of a pole in one frame and the left side in the next frame, how would the software know whether to place it in front of the pole or behind it, in the interpolated frame ? StuRat (talk) 03:56, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
Presumably the same way they knew what color things were when they 'improved' Casablanca : It guesses.
However, I'm forced to admit that any object moving that fast would basically just be a blur anyway, and many people seem to really enjoy the processed effect, despite the artifacts. APL (talk) 04:23, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
(On the other hand, if it acclimatizes people to high framerates so that we can finally have movies with framerate better than they used in silent era, then I'm all for it.) APL (talk) 04:26, 4 April 2013 (UTC)


I myself have noticed when walking through places like Best Buy where many televisions are playing the same movie that some of the upscale models showing the same movie just seem to be different, more "videoey" is the best way I can describe it. 67.163.109.173 (talk) 22:33, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Who manufactured the Osborne 1?[edit]

The article about the company states "Osborne had difficulty meeting demand, and the company grew from two employees, Osborne and Felsenstein, to 3,000 people and $73 million in revenue in 12 months." So who physically made the things at the very beginning when it was just Osborne and Felsenstein? Felsenstein burning the midnight oil in his garage? Or a contracted company not mentioned in the article? 20.137.2.50 (talk) 16:19, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Very begining? Do you mean the first Osborne 1 ever built? If so then it would have probably been Osborne making a prototype. RunningUranium (talk) 08:57, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Not the prototype, the first ones for sale. 20.137.2.50 (talk) 12:43, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Is it just me? (garbled text on web page)[edit]

Does this page have a bunch of gibberish in the last few sections or is it just me? Dismas|(talk) 20:21, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

At a glance it all seems to make sense. What specifically are you seeing? APL (talk) 20:30, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
One of the last lines of the page reads: Dostallatnt pninstds either Java llory aning the Java Navis from ntt>/usrloweining.rong>IInternetytis part of the want t. What is going on here?! Am I having an aneurysm or is that gibberish? Dismas|(talk) 20:33, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
Close your browser and restart it. ¦ Reisio (talk) 20:35, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
It's doing it on both Firefox and Safari. I don't think it's a browser issue but I'll give it a shot. Edit: I restarted Firefox and it's still gibberish. Dismas|(talk) 20:36, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
In that case it could be something worse, something to do with your text or graphics rendering system in general. What do you see if you use wget or curl? ¦ Reisio (talk) 20:39, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
I've never used either of those commands. I'm running OS X. I have the terminal open, what now? I tried wget http://docs.oracle.com/javase/7/docs/webnotes/install/mac/mac-jre.html but that just came back as command unknown. I just tried curl and I got the same text as what I gave you above, gibberish. Dismas|(talk) 20:47, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

I read the final line as

Do not attempt to uninstall Java by removing the Java tools from /usr/bin. This directory is part 
of the system software and any changes will be reset by Apple the next time you perform an update of the OS.

How strange that it doesn't work for you. APL (talk) 21:10, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Not only does it not work on this computer but it doesn't work on my iPad or my MacBook (in either Safari or Firefox). Can someone please email me the text from the page? Dismas|(talk) 21:30, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
FYI the Google Cache version is here. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 21:33, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
By any chance have you changed your font size ? I've seen problems where each letter is drawn larger, but they don't increase the distance between them accordingly, resulting in overlapping letters. StuRat (talk) 21:35, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, Finlay! That works! I can read it.
Stu, no that's not the issue. I uploaded a screenshot. Dismas|(talk) 21:43, 3 April 2013 (UTC)


[Readability.com Link Here. Hope this helps. APL (talk) 21:44, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

I can read both the Google archive version and the Readability version. Thanks, both of you. Unfortunately, my original problem, the one I was having that made me pull up the instruction page in the first place, is still occurring. So I'm back a square one. Thanks again, everyone! Dismas|(talk) 22:06, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

That's a very odd sort of error. Try turning off Javascript or other extensions and see if that changes it. The two options that I see are either that your client is executing something wrong (unlikely given that you've used two browsers and curl), or that some sort of proxy between you and the server is malfunctioning. --Mr.98 (talk) 22:15, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I am having the same problem with viewing this page as the OP. So it is not just his setup. The strange text is also present if I "view page source". Firefox 17.0.5 on Linux. 109.153.20.62 (talk) 22:26, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
Well, in a way, I'm glad. And yes, I tried turning off Javascript and when I did, I got an error at the top of the page saying that Oracle wouldn't display it, or some such thing, because it required Javascript. Dismas|(talk) 23:25, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
I added to the title to make it more useful. StuRat (talk) 23:17, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for that. I should have come up with something better. Dismas|(talk) 23:24, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
You're welcome. StuRat (talk) 01:08, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
I wonder if by shear chance it's somehow triggering a packet-mangling function on your routers or something.
For instance a DMZ mode on some routers will occasionally mangle packets when it incorrectly tries to translate ip addresses contained in the packet. APL (talk) 01:08, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
Plausible, but I doubt that is it in this case. It seems like a reordering of the data, address translation would mangle it worse. I can't see a pattern in how things got rearranged. I'm assuming that the "Navi" in it got pulled from the "Navigate" instructions just before the whole thing. I can't view the screenshot to see if anything else is garbled because photobucket is blocked in my office. 38.111.64.107 (talk) 13:33, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
Do you have a setup that lets you plug your computer directly into your cable/DSL/whatever modem? It would be nice to see if the problem happens in your router/switch or if it is further upstream. 38.111.64.107 (talk) 13:38, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
I did the view source (IE8, win7, HP elitebook 8440p laptop, company firewall and VPN) and the source it shows me is all garbled. Gzuckier (talk) 16:02, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
  • My guess is that you are seeing a bug in the server (bad php code or something), and that trying to figure it out is a waste of time. If you care enough to do something about it, report the problem to Oracle. Looie496 (talk) 16:11, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

I have reported the issue to Oracle. here. And, as of this writing, my laptop is directly connected to my ISP's modem and I am still seeing it garbled. And no, it's not a cached copy. I refreshed the page. Dismas|(talk) 16:21, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Refreshing the page does not necessarily purge all the cached values. Your ISP, or Oracle's CDN, may maintain multiple cache servers between you and the actual web server (Oracle almost certainly does; Wikipedia does also). If one of those has cached a bad value, simply revisiting or reloading the page will have no effect - you'll just be sent another copy of the bad cache. To make them flush their caches, your browser needs to send an HTTP cache-control header that forces this. Depending on the browser this is done with Ctrl+F5 or ⇧ Shift+reload. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 17:07, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
Finlay, that's what I did. I didn't just hit reload. I hit shift+reload.
And if anyone is curious, I'm at work now and see the same problem using Windows Server 2003 R2 through a Citrix Kiosk account which forces us to use IE 8. I haven't had a chance to get to my office yet where I can try the site on my laptop running Win7. Dismas|(talk) 02:26, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
I guess that limits it to the ISP, likely. ¦ Reisio (talk) 05:44, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
Would a large multi-national corporation go through a local ISP like I have at home? Dismas|(talk) 09:42, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
Our IP user with the same issue locates to the UK, and your user page shows that you are from the US, so it isn't specific to your local ISP. I sent an email to Oracle's documentation feedback address and referenced this conversation before you posted in the forum. I'll let you know if they have anything else to say. That glitch is just bizarre. 38.111.64.107 (talk) 15:39, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

S.Ytimg.com[edit]

Hello After hours of Googling etc. I find no answer as to whether this is a harmless cookie or malware that needs attention. Every time I open a video this appears and obviously is a YouTube feature. Any advice appreciated. Peter — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2001:558:6020:153:3D72:ECEF:7370:1ADC (talk) 21:41, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Seems like you answered your own question. ¦ Reisio (talk) 22:17, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Virtual box spawning X windows on host?[edit]

Can I get an Ubuntu virtual machine guest to create windows through an X server on my OSX host? I run the virtual machine in console only, for performance reasons, but I'd like to be able to launch a few GUI applications from the VM to a window that OSX or X11 can see. I know a bit of the basics here, but apparently not well enough to find an answer by googling. SemanticMantis (talk) 22:18, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

So you want to do something like run the Ubuntu version of Firefox and have the window appear on your OS-X desktop (without it being inside the ubuntu VBox window)? Sure, that's straightforward:
  • On OS-X, xhost + (to allow other X clients to connect without the requisite magic cookie); I know very little about OS-X, so I'm assuming its X server is already running.
  • On Ubuntu: DISPLAY=192.168.0.11 firefox, where 192.168.0.11 is whatever the IP address of your real OS-X machine from the perspective of stuff running inside the ubuntu virtual machine. That'll differ depending on how you set up the networking emulation when configuring the virtual box.
That should be it. It's possible to start a VirtualBox session without creating a dedicated window (it's one of the gazillion options of vbox-manage), and you can to the 2nd step above over an ssh from OS-X into ubuntu (which can be automated if you set up passwordless, credentialed authentication in ssh with an RSA keypair in ssh's authorized_keys file). If you need more info, I'll do something tomorrow (it's my bedtime now). -- Finlay McWalterTalk 23:32, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
Note that, if you're in an untrustworthy environment, xhost + is a bit of a security hole. If that's a possibility, tunnel the X connection over ssh instead, by setting up a ssh -X session. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 23:34, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
By which I mean run the following on OSX: ssh -X virtualMachineIPaddr firefox This relies on you having a working sshd on the ubuntu virtual machine (which is usually a good idea anyway); this is probably the simpler, safer way, rather than the xhosts way. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 00:04, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Finlay! I'll try it out in a few hours. I can/do use ssh to connect to the VM, so I guess it's just like any other ssh connection at that point. I'm not entirely sure how to get the host IP from the guest's point of view, but I do know its "real" IP, and it's also matched to a hostname. So, if I can ssh to the host from anywhere as ssh user@hostname, will setting the DISPLAY to "hostname" resolve properly? SemanticMantis (talk) 13:26, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
If you do the ssh -X thing (which you should) then sshd will set the DISPLAY variable to a magic socket it makes itself, which will forward any outbound X connections back to your host machine (so on my machine it's set to localhost:10.0). The host's IP address from the guest's point of view is usually just the host's usual address; to find the guest's run ifconfig inside it to see what it's been given - I usually run VMs with their network set to "bridged" rather than "NAT", so they're given an address by the local network's DHCP server (that is, the internet router box thing). Once you've got it working interactively, you can spin up the VM without starting its own gui with vboxmanage startvm --type headless "vm name"     -- Finlay McWalterTalk 13:41, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
Incidentally, when you're experimenting, don't use Firefox as an example (or run it with firefox -no-remote), as Firefox will otherwise try to talk (over the X connection) back to a Firefox instance on your host machine, which will confuse the heck out of you the first time. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 13:49, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Magic, I was expecting this to be much harder than it was. Used Xterms as examples, ssh -X works like a charm! Thanks again, SemanticMantis (talk) 14:42, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
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