Archive for April, 2011

Bored with your login? Hack it!

April 20, 2011 by studiohack. 5 comments

Do you ever get bored of the same old logon screen every single time you boot your computer?

Windows 7 Default Logon Screen

Today, the Super User Blog is going to show you four ways to customize your logon screen in Windows 7.

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Ubuntu 11.04 and Unity

April 19, 2011 by Lucas McCoy. 3 comments

On April 28th, Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) will be released. 11.04 is slated to be the first Ubuntu release that will use Unity, in place of GNOME, as the default desktop shell.

What is Unity?

Unity is a shell interface for the GNOME desktop environment developed for Ubuntu. Ubuntu 11.04 will still be based on GNOME 3 – the underlying infrastructure, applications, etc will not change; Unity just defines what your desktop looks like (similar to Windows Explorer). Unity was originally designed for netbooks, but over the last few months has shown that it is suitable for desktops as well. Unity puts major emphasis on screen space; every pixel is utilized.

Unity is much more then just a few menu/window tweaks though. Unity is part of a larger project called Ayatana, which adds things like:

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Appeal for laptops

April 18, 2011 by flibs. 0 comments

An acquaintance of mine, Chris John, will be traveling out to Nicaragua on the 5th of June for 3 weeks.  He is taking a stack of laptops with him, and his aim is to teach children the basics of using office tools – word processing, spreadsheets, presentations etc.

He has some laptops already, but he has room to take 5 more.

If you have an old laptop you no longer want it would be great to see it put to good use rather than it being consigned to the rubbish tip or the bottom of the bedroom cupboard. Chris is resident in the UK, so obviously this is only really applicable to fellow UK residents.

The trip is being arranged in association with the Peace and Hope Trust.

If you would like to send your laptop to Nicaragua with Chris please:

  • Make sure it’s in good working order
  • It has a clean installation of an operating system which is capable of running OpenOffice (even better if you can install OpenOffice as well)
  • Contact me directly to check there is still room for it in the luggage and that your laptop is suitable.

Thanks one and all.

Three ways to alias your way to upvotes!

by ivoflipse. 1 comments

By Mark Szymanski

At Super User we were recently asked the question

Any shortcut for “cd ..” ?

Is there any shortcut for “cd ..”?

Well, I answered it, thinking it was just another run-of-the-mill quick questions and answers that we get many of every day.  Little did I know, but things were going to take a turn in a slightly surreal direction… My answer, for some unfathomable reason, got an insane amount of upvotes. 50 to be precise, and still counting, and I am not exactly sure why.

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Stress Testing your Network

April 17, 2011 by flibs. 0 comments

Welcome to part 2 of my little network masterclass.

In this episode I shall show you how to stress test your network to the max. We’re going to try to get those wires to burst, spilling data all over the carpet.

Why would we want to do such a destructive thing? Well, we want our networks to run as fast and as reliably as they can, and we can’t know what the limits of speed and reliability are unless we really push our networks to the max. From this we will be able to work out ways to make the network better, faster, stronger…

So what sort of things are we going to be looking at? Well, here’s a brief summary:

Network Throughput

  • Just how much data can we push through those wires at once without it breaking?

Packet Sizes

  • What happens if we use lots of small packets, or some really really huge ones?

Advanced Routing

  • Trip over a wire and pull it out of the wall – could cripple your network. But, could it go unnoticed..?

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Confused by the output of ‘du’ in Linux?

April 16, 2011 by flibs. 0 comments

One of the questions on Super User that really hasn’t had the exposure it deserves is this one asked by Jason:

I am confused with the output of command ‘du’ in Linux.

Actually, it’s not so much a question and trying to understand some confusion, so let’s take a look at what he’s confused over and pull it all apart shall we?

I create a file named file.o, i want to check the size of the file.o file.
du -h file.o ====> 4.0K
du -b file.o ====> 1120
according to ‘du -b file.o’, i get to know file.o is 1120bytes large. But why ‘du -h file.o’ outputs 4.0K(means 4*1024 bytes)?

So when he creates a file that is 1120 bytes in size and looks at it with ‘du‘, if he gets the ‘Human Readable’ form of the result, -h, it claims the file is about 4 times the size that it actually is. But, if he requests the number of bytes, -b, it shows the real size. What is going on here?

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Downgrading Windows To An Earlier Version

April 15, 2011 by mokubai. 0 comments

In this post we ask two related questions about downgrading.

Can I legally downgrade from Win 7 64 bits to Win 7 32 bits?


Winows 7 Professional downgrade rights to Vista and XP

Granted these are quite distinctly different intentions of end results, but they do share a lot of similar ramifications regarding what you are allowed to do within the scope of your Windows licence.

Downgrading 64-bit to 32-bit.

This not actually a real downgrade as it is simply changing the bit-ness of your operating system but people think of it as a downgrade as it is almost a step backwards in terms of compatibility.  If you have more than 3GB of memory then you should almost never consider this as an option as, for reasons I have already stated, you will be effectively crippling your computer.

I’m going to start again by using the Microsoft End User License Terms search tool and present in all versions of the EULA is the following section:


d.  Alternative Versions. The software may include more than one version, such as 32-bit and 64-bit. You may use only one version at one time.

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Organize your space to be more productive

April 14, 2011 by kronos. 2 comments

Does your work area look like this:


or this:

or how bout this monster:

If it does, then you’ve got a problem.  Having an unorganized area leads to major issues with productivity.  If you have to spend a half hour just looking for a spare part vs. a quick 5, then you’re wasting 25 minutes.  We’re going to go over some steps on what to do with those crazy unorganized areas:

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Signalling for your process’s attention

April 13, 2011 by DMA57361. 1 comments

Recently, Eonil asked the question about keyboard combinations in Mac OS X that let him stop programs in a terminal window:

What’s different between Ctrl+Z and Ctrl+C in Unix command line?

I’m using Mac OS X Terminal. And I use Ctrl+Z or Ctrl+C to stop some programs. But I realized that I don’t know exactly what they’re doing. What are they and what’s the difference between them?

This received quite a bit of interest, and while Mark’s answer is spot-on, we thought we’d take a closer look at what signals are, what they are used for and how you (as a user) might be using them.

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Spring 2011 Browser Roundup

April 12, 2011 by nhinkle. 6 comments

The past month has seen new versions of each of the top three browsers released. Internet Explorer 9, Firefox 4, and Chrome 10 have all just come out, each touting faster javascript performance, improved HTML5 support, better standards compliance, and more customization tools and features. The world wide web is a very different place now than it was even a couple of years ago, and browsers have progressed significantly in the past few years. In this review, we will take a closer look at these three browsers and others, to see what the ultimate Super User should use to browse the internet.


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