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Using my personal computer for work

I have been using my personal computer to do my job. How much should they "reimburse" me every month? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jul 21, 2014 - 17 answers

Can I turn a USB keypad into a shortcut machine for complicated tasks?

Let's say I want to highlight a piece of text and hit a button and have it place the text in quotes (or within code) and tweet it, is that possible? I'm on the newer OSXs. Curious about using either a cheap USB numeric keypad or a cheap USB controller like the Korg NanoKEY2 Slim Line. Is this possible?
posted by history is a weapon on Jul 16, 2014 - 2 answers

Please recommend me a book on the basics of how computers work

So... I've been in book shops and the like and all the books they have are just on Windows 8 or perhaps a book in Linux if they're feeling adventurous, but I'm looking for a book that will tell me how computers actually work. I'm not very advanced with my computer knowledge, but I'd like to know about the foundation of how a computer works rather than the operating system or latest piece of software. Hopefully that gives enough information to get a grasp of what I mean. Can I get some recommendations for books like this please.
posted by sockpim on Jul 15, 2014 - 16 answers

Good place to get super-8mm home movies put on DVDs in NYC?

Lots of home movies, some are super-8, some are tapes, some are mini-DV tapes, etc. I'd like to get them put on DVDs that I can then easily edit. I'm in Manhattan, NYC. thanks (oh a long time ago there was another question like this and somebody suggested a mail-order place, but I don't feel comfortable sending off my precious home movies from the 1950s etc. away)
posted by DMelanogaster on Jul 14, 2014 - 6 answers

I need help choosing a mechanical keyboard.

I am super hard on keyboards. I have killed 2 fancy ergonomic ones and more cheap keyboards than I can count in the past 4 years so I have decided to splurge on a nice mechanical keyboard, that can hopefully stand up to my destructive ways, well that and I really like the clicky clacky sensation when I type that you don't seem to get on modern keyboards. I have read various forums & even an old question on the green and all I have done is confuse myself so looking for some suggestions. Thanks. [more inside]
posted by wwax on Jul 9, 2014 - 16 answers

Out of the cubicle, into the light?

I am absolutely convinced that having a job that requires me to spend a good chunk of my day in front of a computer is contributing to my depression. What jobs can I do, given my background, that will get me a bit of social interaction and challenge? (Not too much social interaction, just a little). [more inside]
posted by nubianinthedesert on Jun 20, 2014 - 5 answers

Help me use Excel to save my job

So, I just got promoted to a new position at my company (Yay!). Unfortunately, the new requirements involve scheduling a ridiculous number of people. It turns out my predecessor has just been doing dozens of iterations manually until one kind of worked, but every slight change puts a bunch of other things out of wack. I feel like Excel could probably be capable of doing it, but I have no idea how I would go about designing such a spread sheet. [more inside]
posted by cacofonie on Jun 19, 2014 - 17 answers

Media Center Computer: MadCatz M.O.J.O vs. AppleTV 1/3 with XBMC

I have 2 AppleTVs and I'm considering getting this new MadCatz M.O.J.O. Is it worth the price? Mostly for media consumption, the gaming is just a plus... [more inside]
posted by joecacti on Jun 19, 2014 - 1 answer

My computer got hit by a truck. Sorta.

Yesterday my PC repeatedly failed to update Windows. My attempts to get things back on track went catastrophically wrong. I have a backup system and am now putting my system back together. What *should* I have done? [more inside]
posted by jon1270 on Jun 13, 2014 - 4 answers

Are any computer or IT certifications worth pursing?

I'm in the weird position of being halfway through a psych/programming/IT degree meant to train me as a user interface expert. I'm taking a year off to work. I want to learn more about networks, networking, and network security. I want to learn more about computer security in general, best practices to follow. I want to eventually get a non-glamorous job in tech support or similar to pay the bills until I work my way up. Are any of the current computer/tech/IT certifications worth pursuing? [more inside]
posted by quiet earth on Jun 10, 2014 - 9 answers

How about you tell me how to use a password manager?

I'm getting tired of the constant hacks, and I pretty much use the same passwords across multiple sites. Thing is, I can't keep up with eight dozen passwords. Seems like the answer is one of the password manager programs/apps out there. So which one is the one to use? How do I use it with multiple locations and computers (work/home/mobile)? I'm willing to pay upfront, but not a subscription. No one needs another monthly expense. Bonus points if you can explain it like I'm five.
posted by Willie0248 on Jun 4, 2014 - 37 answers

Default Browser Setting, Where Art Thou?

I've decided to switch over completely to Google Chrome, and on my work laptop it's NBD. My home laptop, however, asks me EVERY DAMN TIME I START CHROME if I want to make it my default browser; clicking OK does nothing (Firefox is still the default). More inside... [more inside]
posted by IAmBroom on Jun 2, 2014 - 9 answers

ArcGIS on a Mac

I am starting a geography class tomorrow and I am trying to install ArcGIS on my computer. I have a Mac... [more inside]
posted by ekf on Jun 1, 2014 - 14 answers

Spurious correlations in big data

So, "big data" is all the rage among technologists and venture capitalists. Intuition suggests that as the amount of data analyzed increases, so too does the amount of spurious correlations. Have there been any good studies (academic or otherwise) that try to resolve this problem? Or feel free to tell me why my intuition is wrong. Thanks.
posted by dfriedman on Jun 1, 2014 - 11 answers

Can I use these things as external monitors?

I now have two PC laptops that are in the state of "it sounds like it's working but the screen is dead." I tried the take out the battery, hold down the power button trick, and the reboot and hit the F4/5/8 key on both to no avail. The next step in troubleshooting always seems to be connecting it to an external monitor. [more inside]
posted by Calicatt on May 23, 2014 - 3 answers

Calling network engineers: help me understand latency and packet loss

I’m trying to be more pro-active with regard to monitoring the network at my workplace, addressing any issues that might arise, and answering that ever-present question: “My computer is so slow today! Is the problem on our end, or on their end?” [more inside]
posted by alex1965 on May 19, 2014 - 4 answers

Tried to torrent a show, ended up with malware. Help!

Specifically, it's a mplayer virus. It has infected Google Chrome and Firefox, and is showing infuriating pop-up ads and frequently redirecting the browser to ad-like pages. Who knows what else it's doing/stealing/collecting. This may be what I deserve for trying to download some TV, but I need to get rid of it. Running Mac OSX 10.8.5. [more inside]
posted by toomuchkatherine on May 18, 2014 - 5 answers

How do I tell if a file is a real corrupt PDF or a fake broken file?

I make my students submit their assignments (for college writing classes) by uploading them as PDFs to our course management system. Sometimes students submit broken or un-openable files. My question is, how do I tell the difference between a real PDF file that became corrupted somewhere along the line and a fake corrupted PDF file created by a student who didn't do the assignment and wants an excuse? [more inside]
posted by Tesseractive on May 13, 2014 - 28 answers

Are the Skillcrush classes worth it?

That's basically it - I'm not finding any reviews online. Has anyone else taken it? [more inside]
posted by jrobin276 on Apr 27, 2014 - 4 answers

Monitor options for this laptop with these ports?

What are the monitor expansion options for a laptop with these ports? images. I think I see mini-HDMI on the right hand side? And is that DisplayPort on the left?
posted by raspberry jam and clothes iron on Apr 19, 2014 - 8 answers

Looking for a light, Linux-friendly laptop with trackpoint

My Lenovo Thinkpad X220 has been falling apart for awhile, but I've resisted replacing it because shopping for laptops is annoying. But now it's definitely time for something new. I'm overwhelmed by the options, but maybe someone else who's done some laptop-shopping recently can help? I'm looking for something small and light (12-14", less than 4 lbs.), Linux-friendly, and (here's the hard part) with a trackpoint-style mouse. I use my laptop mostly for writing and general Internetting, but also for processing photos, so a decent processor and display is nice. Price isn't a huge issue. I could go with one of the newer Lenovos, and I might still, but I'm interested in other options, as well. I'm not interested in any of the Chromebooks. Any suggestions?
posted by rhiannonstone on Apr 3, 2014 - 10 answers

Physical Switches, Knobs or Buttons for controlling Apps on my Mac?

So, I run everything in my life through my mac computer. My television programming, my music, et cetera. I listen to a lot of online radio throughout the day. I would really like to "flip on" a program (or set of programs) with a single analog switch. [more inside]
posted by amoeba on Mar 28, 2014 - 7 answers

Getting a programming job for non-CS majors

If you work in some area of computer programming, but didn't have a degree in the field, how did you get your start?
posted by drezdn on Mar 28, 2014 - 15 answers

How do I power up for more After Effects?

Can I power up my macbook pro to better run After Effects? Or do I need something else? [more inside]
posted by lpsguy on Mar 27, 2014 - 3 answers

Educational Discounts and Price Discrimination Legalities in the UK

A variety of computer and software manufacturers offer "educational discounts" to students and staff. Which is clearly price discrimination based on the status of the purchaser. I just have two questions related to the practice of providing educational discounts. a) How is it legal for a retailer to use price discrimination (as a long-term marketing tactic) to sell to people based on educational role, when say price discrimination based on say sexual preferences would not be legal. b) Is a customer legally required to represent themselves honestly to a retailer? [more inside]
posted by mary8nne on Mar 27, 2014 - 14 answers

How to paint computer cases with middle schoolers?

I work in a middle school and as a service project, my students want to build computers and paint them in the school colors to either donate to homeless shelters in town or to keep in the trophy case here at the middle school. I don't know what it takes to paint them, though, and I could use some help! [more inside]
posted by Modica on Mar 25, 2014 - 5 answers

Is the upgrade worth it?

I have a late 2008 15" MacBook Pro. I'd like to cram it full of RAM and upgrade to a pretty high capacity SSD - is this worth doing or will the graphics cards, monitor, other relatively unreplaceable elements fry soon? [more inside]
posted by LizardOfDoom on Mar 21, 2014 - 10 answers

Where to find a licensed version of Windows 7 Professional ?

In pushing Windows 8, Microsoft is making it very difficult to find Windows 7: does anyone know a vendor for a legitimate "boxed' version of Windows 7 Professional 32-bit for a single PC? Details inside... [more inside]
posted by cool breeze on Mar 19, 2014 - 7 answers

Can I run Adobe CS (version 1) on a Windows 7 laptop?

I have an old copy of Adobe Photoshop that I desperately want to run on my much newer laptop. Is it possible? I am a fumbling luddite - pretend I'm your 80 year-old grandparent when you explain anything techie to me. [more inside]
posted by Mael Oui on Mar 19, 2014 - 10 answers

How do I reformat my tabs in Word?

What is the quickest and most accurate way to undo manual tabbing in Word and reformat those lines with paragraph alignment? [more inside]
posted by msk1985 on Mar 17, 2014 - 8 answers

CPU fan issue

The fan on my CPU cooler is blowing in the wrong direction! [more inside]
posted by ArmyOfKittens on Mar 17, 2014 - 24 answers

Goodbye, XP...hello photo-optimized desktop?

So. I guess they're finally going to pry XP out of my hands after all. As long as I'm updating, I'm thinking of getting a new desktop which would be used primarily for photo editing and storage. Advice? Special snowflake stuff inside. [more inside]
posted by JoanArkham on Mar 10, 2014 - 11 answers

Too many fonts, OSX Mavericks edtion

Macbook Pro, running Mavericks. I was a bad, bad girl and installed way too many fonts (4000+) by accident. [more inside]
posted by jadepearl on Mar 9, 2014 - 5 answers

Help me pick a travel-friendly laptop

My 6 year old Lenovo T61 is starting to have some issues so I am on the lookout for a new budget priced laptop. In scanning through reviews The Wirecutter really liked the Lenovo IdeapPad Flex. Engadget and other review sites seemed more meh about it though. [more inside]
posted by forkisbetter on Mar 8, 2014 - 6 answers

Managing and backing up files across several home computers

What are your tools and best practices for managing your digital stuff across several computers at home? [more inside]
posted by parudox on Mar 3, 2014 - 12 answers

Help Me Build a New Protools Computer!

I need help designing a new PC for Protools 11. [more inside]
posted by hiddenknives on Feb 28, 2014 - 3 answers

What is this connector on my Toshiba (Dell) DVD RW drive?

Here's a picture - this is the only connector on the drive, so it presumably carries power and data. The drive is a slimline TS -L462.
posted by Sebmojo on Feb 16, 2014 - 4 answers

Poor man's EDMS (electronic document management system)

I work for a small non-profit organization that is drowning in old paperwork, and we’d like to scan it into a searchable electronic archive. Our budget is limited. [more inside]
posted by alex1965 on Feb 14, 2014 - 14 answers

Online Print Shop clone?

Everyone remembers Broderbund Software's The Print Shop from the 80s. I am looking for a similar desktop publishing experience today. Pixelated fonts, limited clip art, and quarter page greeting cards. Is there a webapp out there that will let me do this sort of thing? Again, I'm looking for super basic functionality.
posted by bowbeacon on Feb 13, 2014 - 7 answers

Remote access software

I've been using logmein.com (like GoToMyPC) to admin family computers remotely. They will no longer be free in 1 week, asking $10/month per remote computer which is too much. What free alternatives are there that work well?
posted by stbalbach on Jan 27, 2014 - 14 answers

Osborne One glitches, now what?

Totally longshot obscure question here, but i found an Osborne One at a thrift store. It's complete, and in great shape and seems like it was nearly not used since it was built. The inside of it is immaculately clean with no dirt or anything. I inspected it a bit, and turned it on... and then this happened :( [more inside]
posted by emptythought on Jan 21, 2014 - 11 answers

How to find totally, utterly random musical selections

I'm looking for a method, or algorithm, to identify completely random musical selections, across all genres (from Norwegian black metal to Renaissance madrigals to Pygmy chants). How can I do it, given that there is no single catalog that lists all music? [more inside]
posted by alex1965 on Jan 19, 2014 - 7 answers

Help me feed my 20-something wanderlust. Difficulty level: Wheelchair

I'm like every other post-college twentysomething in lots of ways: I make too little money, watch too much Netflix and indulge in an existential crisis oh, about once an hour. Also, like many in my cohort, I love the idea of packing up a ratty old duffel bag and heading off to some far corner of the world to taste, see and do all I can, while maybe giving myself either a leg to stand on once I return to the job market here or the warm-n-fuzzies that come from volunteering and/or service learning. All pretty standard fare. Here comes the doozy of snowflake: I'm in a wheelchair and have certain difficulties with speech fluency, owing to my CP and spastic diplegia diagnosis. Try as I might, I can't get myself to give up on the dream of spending a year or more abroad, even with all this in my way. Help me get there, oh beautiful hivemind? [more inside]
posted by marsbar77 on Jan 19, 2014 - 16 answers

Tablet piano instruction?

I have an electric, piano-weighted keyboard that I want to learn how to play. I can't afford lessons right now. It has MIDI in and out connectors. Is there a hardware/software combo that will take that MIDI out connection, plug it into an Android or iOS tablet, and provide a more interactive teaching experience? [more inside]
posted by jsturgill on Dec 23, 2013 - 4 answers

Help me learn how to collaborate with programmers!

Hi everyone, I will soon be working on a project that involves the development of a web platform and will be hiring part-time engineers. I would like to know enough about programming and web development to be able to collaborate with them and understand the language, and have realistic expectations of when things get built. So I am not looking to learn how to program (I wish I had time for that), but rather have a basic understanding of how the system works and fits together (front-end, back-end, etc.) Anyone know of any good online resources- online courses, websites, etc. for this type of knowledge? I've checked out Code Academy and Khan Academy, but both seem heavily focused on helping you learn how to write code vs. understanding the system abstractly and holistically. But I may have missed something. Thanks in advance for your help!
posted by tessalations999 on Dec 21, 2013 - 19 answers

Is the AppleCare warranty for an Imac worth the money?

I'm looking into buying a new Imac 21 1/2" for about $1300. They offer an AppleCare extended warranty for $100 a year. Is it worth it? What's your experience with the Imac? Thanks!
posted by crazylegs on Dec 19, 2013 - 33 answers

Worth springing for Macbook upgrades?

Is it worth paying for the upgrades on a new Macbook Pro? [more inside]
posted by Nightman on Dec 13, 2013 - 23 answers

New computer desktop prank

I am setting up a work associates new computer and decided to have some fun with it. I’ve added a theme and desktop slide show featuring things like William Shatner, clowns, Captain Picard, Duck Dynasty, among other silly things. How do I lock a desktop background slideshow in Windows 7 other than with group policies? [more inside]
posted by Che boludo! on Dec 3, 2013 - 2 answers

High-DPI Linux?

I have a Yoga 2 Pro, freshly purchased, with an insanely high resolution screen (3800 x 1800). I generally run Xubuntu in a VM alongside windows, but I'm struggling to make it truly workable. What is the state of the art in resolution independence when it comes to Linux? What window manager should I be looking at, are there guides and tweaks etc.? [more inside]
posted by jsturgill on Dec 2, 2013 - 3 answers

Looking for a new laptop.

I'm looking to replace my development laptop with a more powerful model. I'm having a hard time finding a model with everything I need. Do you have any recommendations? [more inside]
posted by Vorteks on Nov 27, 2013 - 10 answers

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