Wikipedia:Reference desk archive/Computing/2006 July 23

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Online RSS Aggregator w/o signup[edit]

Does such a thing exist? Thanks! Debigulator 01:18, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Without a login how would the site keep track of which rss feed you want? Jon513 01:06, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
If one would choose a username and attach feeds to that. I suppose it would be 'wiki'ish in principle, only if so and so found the username. Or even a simple signup would be acceptable I suppose. Debigulator 01:18, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
Google Personalized Homepage Jon513 01:38, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
I realised last night all that I really wanted was a place to sign into, and then have it accessible at, so I don't have to sign in to view it. I have personalised a Google homepage, although I don't use my gmail too often, so don't bother signing in. Anyway, I have done some feed to html stuff and whatnot on my own site, although that doesn't have a great layout (need to work on my css). Enough rambling. Thanks, as I have figured out more along what I am looking for! Debigulator 02:09, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

python again[edit]

why is it such an affront to python's worldview to assign a string with a "\" at the end of it? how does this language handle filenames and directories?

Python 2.4.3 (#2, Apr 27 2006, 14:43:58)
[GCC 4.0.3 (Ubuntu 4.0.3-1ubuntu5)] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> s = 'This is a string that ends with a \\'
>>> print s
This is a string that ends with a \
What's the problem? —Keenan Pepper 03:39, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
I think he doesn't know what an escape sequence is? I don't know Python, but I assume that you use \ in order to indicate things like in-line quotation marks (i.e. s = "This is a \"string\"") and newlines and things like that. If that's the case, then you need to use two of them to indicate that you really mean a slash and not an escape character. (Again, I don't know Python but it is the same thing in PHP). --Fastfission 14:34, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
By the way: you do not have to use \ as the directory separator, even in Windows. Windows allows the use of both / and \. --cesarb 16:42, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

What is difference of 700MB & GB?[edit]

I am trying to put the file"My Documents" on Disc's and what I have now are 700 MB 80 minute 32X and 52X, and I got a message saying I needed to remove 4.12GB before I could use the Disc I have. I have NO CLUE as what that means. I am Computer Illiterate and would appreciate any help someone would be kind enough to give me. What kind of discs do I need to get to accomplish my mission? Thanking you in advance.--Gwynnthebaby 14:54, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

That probably means you have too much stuff in My Documents and the disk can't hold that much. --Yanwen 15:55, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

You could burn a bit at a time. 1000MB is 1GB. So I assume the message means that what is in your My D. is 4.12GB + 700MB, which comes in at 4.82GB. That's several times bigger than what a CD can hold. You're better off burning parts of it onto about 6 cd's, cutting some out, or zipping it (makes it smaller. Have you got a DVD burner? --martianlostinspace 16:22, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Unless you have a few movies (which should take up one or two CDs each) or a lot of songs (which could take up a CD or two depending on how many you have), most of you most important documents (text ect) are pretty small. Go through the My documents folder and see what you really need to keep it should be well under 700 MB (certainly not 4.82 GB). Jon513 20:20, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Just to clarify 1Gb = 1024Mb - Spider
It depends on whether you're refering to a decimal gigabyte or a binary gigabyte. A decimal Gigabyte is 1000 MB, but a binary gigabyte is 230 bytes, which is 1024 MB. Harryboyles 02:35, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
So that's how those hard drive manufactures rip us off. Jon513 03:06, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
Rip us off? Impossible! ;) Optichan 19:25, 27 July 2006 (UTC)


whenever i turn my pc on a picture of the desktop flashes before the loading screen comes up. how do i stop this from happening?

thanks -- 18:35, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

What operating system?Jon513 20:16, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
I bet it is Windows 98. The default user (the first one added to the system) has a picture as his/her background. The default user's background loads and then runs the login program that shows the login screen. Kind of a dumb hack, but it functions. So, the default user needs to remove the picture from his/her background. When I had a lab full of Win98 machines, the first (default) user was an admin account and it had a black background so that flash of the background wasn't noticed. --Kainaw (talk) 21:51, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

No it's Windows XP and i've checked and it's only the old desktop that flashes -- 09:06, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

In Windows XP, to change the background colour of the default user, click Start then Run. In the box that appears type regedit. This will open the Registry Editor. After backing up the registry (click on File menu, Export. Select the All option under Export Range. Name it something like registrybackup, specify a location and click Save), expand HKEY_USERS, then .DEFAULT, Control Panel and click on Colours. In the right pane, right click on the Background key and go Modify. In the resulting Edit String dialog box, Leave the Name field as is. The value field in this instance is the decimal RGB number for the colour expressed between 0 and 255. For example with the value "0 78 152", 0 represents the intensity of red, 78, green and 152, blue. 0 is no colour and 255 is full colour, giving 0 0 0 as black and 255 255 255 as white.
In Paint you can get the RGB value of the colour you want by going to the Colours menu and selecting Edit Colours... In the dialog box click "Define custom colours" and select your colour. In the bottom right hand corner there should be three fields named Red, Green and Blue. These are the three numbers you need. Put them into the Value field in the Edit String dialog box in order and with one space between each, eg "0 78 152". Click OK
To get rid of the flashing picture, or replace it with another one, this time instead of clicking Colours in the Registry Editor, click Desktop, right click on the Wallpaper key and go Modify. To get rid of the picture delete what's in the Value field and click OK. To change the picture, replace the value with the full file path of the picture you want to add, eg C:\WINDOWS\Web\Wallpaper\Acer.BMP. Click OK.
Hope this sorts everything out. Harryboyles 12:21, 24 July 2006 (UTC)


i have a computer that isnt connected to the internet, and its anout 2yrs old so pop ups to renew the virus thing that came with windows keep coming up. Is there anyway to stop these pop ups?

thanks -- 18:39, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm assuming you have Windows XP with SP2, although this might work with an earlier Service Pack, I can't remember. It might also work with Server 2003. Go to Start->Control Panel->Security Center. In the 'Resources' list on the left of this new window, click the 'Change the way Security Center alerts me' link. Uncheck the Virus Protection item, then click OK. However, it is good practice to have a virus scanner even on an offline PC, as viruses don't just propagate via the net, they can spread on things like floppy disks, and presumably, flash drives too. CaptainVindaloo t c e 20:55, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Floating boxes (CSS)[edit]

I have a question regarding CSS and "float" property. Consider the following example:

<div style="border:1px solid black; padding:2px; float:left; width:150px">Left-floating</div><div style="border:1px solid green; width: 100%">Full-width</div>

It generates:


The question is, how do I prevent the boxes from intersecting? I know I can use table tags, but is there a way to do it using CSS? Conscious 21:32, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Float means the "wrappable" items will wrap aroung the floating item. The div itself is not a wrappable item. So, you need to put a margin on the left of it. For what you appear to be trying to do, you will want the first box to be; position:absolute;top:0px;left:0px;width:150px; Then, the second will have margin-left:150px; The kicker (and why CSS sucks) is that your 100% width will mean that since you shifted it right 150px, it will stick 150px off the right side of the screen at 100% width. The simple solution is to replace 150px with a percentage, like 10%. Your first box is 10% width and the margin-left of the second in 10%. Then, make the second box 90% width and it will rest nicely on the right side of the screen. All in all, tables are MUCH easier to work with but they are supposed to be evil now. Until CSS gives you the ability to simply have a header, left menu, and footer, I'm sticking with tables. --Kainaw (talk) 21:48, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
The desired result is something like:
Thank you for your answer. So, are you basically saying that it's impossible to achieve the same with CSS only? Conscious 21:53, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
In Mozilla, you can define top-bottom-left-right positions, which makes it easy to put boxes exactly where you want them. In my experience, IE ignores right and bottom if either top or left is set. Then, there is the issue of overflow. What if I want a footer just below the main content. If I put the bottom of it at the the bottom of the screen, it will be at the BOTTOM of the SCREEN. Not the bottom of the page if the page is longer than one screen. With tables, you know the last table row will be at the bottom. You know the menu column will expand as necessary. You know the main content cell will be as tall and wide as you like. You just have a lot of control with tables. With divs and CSS, you have a lot of guesswork and hope that it looks nice from one browser to the next. Now, where's the CSS-genius who is going to tell me I'm stupid and clue me in on the magic CSS setting that makes divs work like they should? --Kainaw (talk) 21:59, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
See, I just achieved the same with CSS only (while table is considered evil, display: table isn't). By the way, AFAIK it (predictably) does not work in MSIE. --cesarb 22:19, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Oh, I've just discovered that in IE the "Full width" box is rendered below the "Left floating" box. The example for IE is:

<div style="border:1px solid black; padding:2px; float:left; width:150px">Left-floating</div><div style="border:1px solid green; width: auto">Full-width</div>


Conscious 22:05, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

OK, I was joking with the display: table example above; try this one.


--cesarb 22:24, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Thank you; a good idea with a margin. Conscious 19:08, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

You can do it in CSS (well, almost)[edit]

Here's (roughly) how to do your two column layout in CSS - you'd have the two columns as floating divs inside a master div, like this:

  <div style="border:1px solid black; float:left; width:15%;">Left-floating</div>
  <div style="border:1px solid green; float:left; width:84%;">Full-width</div>



You'll notice that, if the browser page gets very narrow, the blocks "delaminate". In some cases, that might be something you want. Look at and resize your browser horizontally.

But if you don't like that, you can hardwire the width of the master DIV:

<div style="width:60em; float:left;">
  <div style="border:1px solid black; float:left; width:15%; margin-right:0.1em; ">Left-floating</div>
  <div style="border:1px solid green; float:left; width:84%;">Full-width</div>


I'll be the first to admit that the CSS block layout model is complicated, and that the "delaminate" thing can be annoying and difficult to avoid (I seem to have avoided it on, although I can't immediately remember how I did it). Right now I don't have a total table-replacement solution in CSS, but that's partially due to my inadequate understanding of the layout model, and partly due to browser bugs. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 13:49, 25 July 2006 (UTC)