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When Driver Installations Fail…

June 18, 2012 by Tom Wijsman. 4 comments

Yesterday, after two of my family members in turns tried to fix a video card driver installation error for 2 – 3 hours, they couldn’t get it to work. Trying it over and over, each time it stopped the progress bar somewhere before the middle, to finally throw up this screen:

NVIDIA Installation Failed

Yeah, this is exactly the moment where you would freak and pull out your hair; especially to plan on finishing the day with some casual gaming. So, their next step was to fire up the device manager in an attempt to manually update the drivers by feeding the devices with the directory full of INF files. But apparently, the devices weren’t so hungry:

Want to give the device manager some INF files? ACCESS DENIED!

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What is DNS and which Server do I choose?

February 16, 2012 by Tom Wijsman. 3 comments

Some have heard about DNS and perhaps once configured in a router without knowing what it is or how it works. Others might know it, but haven’t considered to use another DNS server than the one of their ISP. This is what I will go through in this blog post.

DNS simply stands for Domain Name System, which is a hierarchy of Name Servers that have the intent to translate host names into IP addresses on a global scale. A name server hosts and/or caches these translations. In the case where they are at least hosted, the name server is often called a “DNS Server”. If you gave the host name superuser.com to a DNS server, it would give you an IP back. In our case, that would be something like 64.34.119.12.

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WTFriday: http://2915189091

February 10, 2012 by Tom Wijsman. 7 comments

Have you ever heard of a link like http://2915189091? Don’t worry, not a shock site…

While this does not always work in every browser (eg. some versions of Firefox), it does work in most browsers like MSIE and Google Chrome. It really depends on the implementation of how the URL is parsed, Firefox seems to not go beyond our usual ways to type a URL.

This is all about how the URL is stored. Many of you know that you can also access Google through their IP, eg. http://173.194.65.99. Now let’s see how much data storage that IP requires. As one character is 1 byte for ASCII, it takes 13 bytes to store the IP address. Or with Unicode (UTF-16) you will need the double, 26 bytes. Another way to store the IP is by taking each number and storing that apart, resulting in unsigned octets from 0 to 255 which each take a single byte, so that totals out at 4 bytes.

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Are you interested in writing Blog Posts?

February 9, 2012 by Tom Wijsman. 4 comments

The purpose of the Super User Community Blog is to highlight what you want to see.

We are always excited to bring new writers and editors to the Super User Community Blog; so, if you are interested in contributing, please let us know! There are various ways in which you can contribute — ranging from your own stories to product reviews, tips and beyond. Don’t be afraid that you don’t come up with an idea because we already have some ready for you, but you are always welcome to share your own ideas…

Writing a blog post is simple:

  1. Register at Trello and leave us a message in the Super User Blog Editor Room with your Trello user name, we’ll set up access for you so that you can see our ideas and share your progress. Consider bookmarking both links for your convenience.

  2. You can start writing your post while you wait, we can later import it from any format into the WordPress Dashboard. Keep us up to date on your progress, so we can give you access to our WordPress Dashboard after you have shown a first draft, as well as proof-read and schedule your final version.

  3. The Blog Editor Room and Trello are our main communication points about the blog, feel free to share your progress in either. Remember that we are here to help you…

  4. Have fun! Enjoy expressing yourself, as well as being part of the Super User Community.

From idea to draft to finished post.

Blog posts mainly develop out of ideas and questions, for some you might have to do some research. From that point on you can think up the different paragraphs you will write in a draft, then it’s a matter of writing and rewriting them. Just writing one paragraph after another might not cut it for some…

Add some nice pictures for those that are easily distracted, get at least two other editors to proof read the blog post and we’ll schedule it for you. Please note that we don’t publish blog posts immediately, but intend to spread out the posts such that we regularly have new content and they are published at an optimal time. We’ll do this for you.

Don’t have a fear of writing, you know you have been doing it before!

HP unveils a new Intel vPro Desktop; they vow to continue their PC Support

August 23, 2011 by Tom Wijsman. 6 comments

As you have probably heard, HP evaluated alternatives for its Personal Systems Group; which includes the exploration of separating their PC business into a separate company through a spin-off or other transaction.

However, they recently unveiled a new all-in-one Elite business desktop which integrates the power of Intel’s second-generation Core vPro technology; delivering up to 40 percent better performance, 15 percent faster hard drive access, and reduced downtime via remote IT management.

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Digging Deeper: Searching in Windows

June 23, 2011 by Tom Wijsman. 9 comments

In the series of digging deeper within our files, we’ve had Spotlight and mdfind on Mac OS X. Now we’re back with a Windows counter-part article; where we will outline Windows Search and Search Everything for Windows…

Next in our series will be an article on digging deeper in Linux! :)

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A second look at Soluto: Add-ons and Crashes.

May 26, 2011 by Tom Wijsman. 1 comments

Remember our first review of Soluto where we took you through the installation procedure, improving your boot time and what PC Genome might be? Soluto has released two new features this week, we are going to check them out and tell you what PC Genome really is about!

Never heard of Soluto before or are you new to it? Let me give you a summary:

Soluto’s goal is to bring an end to the frustrations PC users encounter, with transparency, killer technology, and the wisdom of the crowd. Soluto’s software combines low-level technology with collective wisdom to detect PC users’ frustrations, reveal their causes, and learn which actions really eliminate them to improve user experience.

You should already know the boot feature from last review and there were only some minor changes there so in fact it means that you can now “chop” it, let’s instead see how we can “lighten” your web browser and “heal” those annoying crashes.

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How do I plan my vacation? Geek edition

May 19, 2011 by Tom Wijsman. 3 comments

Summer is coming, did you plan your vacation yet? Looking for something else than those pre-made vacations? Read on, we’re going to look at software that helps you plan your vacation in a more productive and geeky way.

Even if you did plan your vacation or went for a pre-made one, you might get to know more about the area you are going to be in on your vacation.

Looking for your ideal location, hotel, banks, shopping, restaurants, info, beautiful places and more…

Google Earth should be your first stop to search for good weather, a location that’s close to the sea or perhaps snowy mountains. Then, you can look around the place and get to know it by watching pictures, 360° panoramas, walking routes, webcams and videos. If you like the place you can start looking into the hotels, knowing where the bank and shopping center are alongside the touristic routes and restaurants.

Be sure to know where the info points are so that you can still go and ask for something more specific; it can happen that you need to visit the local police, garage or doctor. Well, let’s hope it doesn’t happen, but it’s better that you know how to reach those in advance…

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Maximizing the lifetime of your SSD

May 10, 2011 by Tom Wijsman. 33 comments

An SSD drive is a precious investment

An SSD drive is a precious investment, you don’t want your SSD to fail, do you?

So it is interesting to try to do things to increase it’s lifetime and see if it’s worth it. This is exactly what one of our fellow Super Users was planning to do, this user called caveman asked

How to prevent programs from killing my SSD in two weeks?

I just got my first SSD. And I have SSDLife monitoring in the background. After I have installed all software, and did some basic testings. SSDLife said “Total Data written, GB” = 52.1 (40GB used space, 70GB free space).

So, he only installed about 40 GB of data but there is already 52.1 GB written?

He found why this happens in a post which explains:

The problem with an SSD is, data is written in blocks. A block may be 256KB: 256 * 1000 * 8 binary digits. To change even ONE of these digits, you must rewrite the ENTIRE block. That is to say, your OS sees 1 bit being written, but the SSD wear is equivalent to 256KB being written: a 2.048 MILLION fold difference.

Which means that the formula

(SIZE OF SSD) * (Endurance Cycles) = Total data written to SSD before failure

is only for the best case scenario which would allow you to write 1,000 to 1,000,000 times the data of the drive before failure. But, looking at the average to even worst case, those are way more likely to occur with all those small writes going on on the SSD. This is confirmed in

What is the lifespan of an SSD drive?

However, the gist is that SSDs are more reliable than hard disks, and should last a good 20 years at least not counting performance degradation. — Answer by caliban

And that is what we could call an average case. You can do the numbers for the worst case if you want to, I can assure you that it doesn’t look good!

Let’s maximize the lifetime of our precious SSD by wear leveling and minimizing all those small writes to it, using simple and advanced techniques…

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How to get your questions answered?

May 2, 2011 by Tom Wijsman. 3 comments

Sometimes, when you pose a question about a problem that you have for which you are dying to get a solution, you seem to barely get attention. You are about to give up on your problem… Wouldn’t it be a good idea to do a small effort to get a lot of attention to your problem? Examining how top questions get a lot more attention will learn us how to get attention.

First off all, we need a bad example and a good example of questions in order to do some comparison. As the active questions result in a mix of good and bad examples, we will be looking at the hot questions and month questions instead.

Two hot questions that look bad just by looking at the exterior are these:

I’m really sorry if your question is listed here…

Two hot month questions that look very good and received much attention are these:

Don’t the differences look interesting? You can really tell them apart, so there is something we can do about the first questions.

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