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  • Showing only topics with the tag "ask.help". Back to normal view
    1. Home network support: Setting up a network switch

      I moved into a new apartment and was surprised to see that all my rooms have CAT 5 Ethernet ports in the wall. However, cue my disappoint when I try to naively plug my router and machine in two...

      I moved into a new apartment and was surprised to see that all my rooms have CAT 5 Ethernet ports in the wall. However, cue my disappoint when I try to naively plug my router and machine in two separate ports to find that the ports don't actually work. After searching various forums, I found that I have to:

      1. Locate the panel where all the ethernet ports connect
      2. Wire them to an ethernet switch.

      I found the panel but all the wires look like this:

      https://i.imgur.com/Qzm72g0.jpg

      I'm not sure what I need to do from here to plugging into my network switch. Any guides or advice would be extremely helpful. I don't need every port connected to the switch, only one or two. None of these look labelled so I might have a difficult time isolating which cable runs where.

      And about the network switch... Any qualms about using an old router that has the AP turned off?

      10 votes
    2. Tech support request: getting a scanner and controller working in Linux

      Most recent update is here. The Tildes community has been amazing and patient with me as a new and uninformed Linux user, and I'm greatly appreciative of that. I return to you today with yet...

      Most recent update is here.


      The Tildes community has been amazing and patient with me as a new and uninformed Linux user, and I'm greatly appreciative of that. I return to you today with yet another request.


      Hardware

      System76 Oryx Pro
      Distro: Pop!_OS 19.10


      Issue #1 (mission critical)

      Brother MFC-L2750DW

      I have a Brother printer/scanner for which I have installed the drivers using the .deb file provided on the Brother site. It's connected via USB. Printing works fine; scanning does not. My husband and I both need the ability to scan for our jobs, so this issue is pretty important to us.

      I am using the program Document Scanner (I believe it's one of the GNOME default programs?). When I open the program it says "Searching for Scanners" and then recognizes my scanner, giving the model number and says it's "Ready to Scan". Whenever I attempt to scan, however, whether from the ADF or the flatbed, it says "Unable to connect to scanner". I am not sure how to proceed, and any guidance on this would be greatly appreciated!


      Issue #2 (optional)

      Hyperkin Duke Wired Xbox Controller

      This is an optional issue and not at all one that needs to be solved by any means. A while back my husband got me this because it's my absolute favorite controller of all time (I know, scoff all you want!). It worked fine in Windows, but now that I've shifted over to Linux it has been sitting and gathering dust.

      When I plug it in the controller rumbles briefly (which it also did on Windows), but other than that does nothing. No input is accepted. If it's easy to get this up and running in Linux, I'd love to be able to use it, but if it's not that's totally fine. I have another controller I can use, and again, none of this is essential to my work. I just figured since I was asking for help I'd throw this in here too.


      If you need any additional information or need me to try any specific things, let me know!

      10 votes
    3. Tech Support Request: Broken Start Menu on Windows 10

      Solved! Thanks to @pseudolobster's post here, I was able to resolve the issue by creating a new user account on the computer. I'm leaving the post up for posterity, in case anyone else is ever...

      Solved!

      Thanks to @pseudolobster's post here, I was able to resolve the issue by creating a new user account on the computer. I'm leaving the post up for posterity, in case anyone else is ever searching up this same issue in the future.


      My husband is starting to transition to work from home. He is using his personal computer and just yesterday set up a VPN, Microsoft Teams, and Windows' built-in remote desktop so that he can access his work computer. Everything worked smoothly and he was able to finish out his workday from home just fine.

      Primary Issue

      This morning, upon booting his computer, he cannot access his Start Menu. It is on screen, and it appears clickable, but nothing comes up. Likewise, the search bar in his task bar is present on boot, but upon clicking the start menu for the first time it disappears and does not return. Other basic Windows functionality seems to be broken. Alt-tabbing does not work to switch between windows. System tray icons are present, but right clicking them and selecting an option does nothing. We cannot open taskbar settings or network settings this way, for example.

      This might be indicative of a larger breakdown. Even by command line, I can't get to the Windows 10 settings or Windows Update. It seems like all of the "new Windows"-style interfaces won't start (though the old ones, like the Control Panel, do).

      We can still open up apps by clicking on the links in his taskbar, and those seem to work fine. I can also get to the run command with Win+R.

      He is running Windows 10, and as far as I know, it's fully up-to-date (I can't open Windows Update to check).

      Additional Information

      In attempting to diagnose this issue, I've come across several others that are potentially related. I don't know if these are relevant and they're not a primary concern at the moment, but I'm including them here in case they help contextualize what's going on.

      There seems to be a runaway process that slowly eats up more and more memory over time, as well as a chunk of CPU. Sometimes it's called "Service Host: Windows Push Notifications User Service_#####" and sometimes it's called "Service Host: WpnUserService_#####" with the numbers changing each boot.

      Also, in attempting to restart the computer, it sometimes (but not always) pauses with a notification about programs still running, with one of them being "Task Host Window" with the message Task Host is stopping background tasks. (\Microsoft\Windows\Plug and Play\Device Install Reboot Required) Finally, immediately before restarting, it shows an error message from "svchost.exe" which reads The system detected an overrun of a stack-based buffer in this application. This overrun could potentially allow a malicious user to gain control of this application.

      Is this potentially a malware/intrusion issue?

      Attempted Solutions

      I have tried, to no success:

      • Rebooting the computer, both via a restart in Windows as well as by holding down the power button
      • Signing out and back in to his user account on the computer
      • Running sfc /scannow
      • Running DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

      Request for Help

      I know we have a lot of techy people here, but I also know you are all probably busy with everything that's going on. Nevertheless, if anyone has any guidance or help they could give on this issue, I'd greatly appreciate it.

      Also, it's been a while since I've used Windows, but IIRC there's a way of just resetting the whole thing and starting fresh? That's not ideal, but if that's the course of action I need to take, just let me know. Ultimately I just want this to work, by whatever method, so that my husband can be at home and reduce his exposure.

      7 votes
    4. Some of my internet radio stations aren't playing on my computer [SOLVED]

      EDIT: The problem has been solved. @Sill identified the problem here and @cfabbro found a work-around here. Crisis averted! I listen to some internet radio stations on my computer, but a couple of...

      EDIT: The problem has been solved. @Sill identified the problem here and @cfabbro found a work-around here. Crisis averted!



      I listen to some internet radio stations on my computer, but a couple of them aren't working any more: they appear to play, but there's no sound coming from my computer's speakers.

      It is only two stations. I've tested other internet radio stations I listen to, and they still work: I can hear them. I can play and hear YouTube videos. I can stream Spotify on my computer. I can play and hear my music files stored on my computer's hard drive. So I know my speakers work. I know Chrome works as a music player for other sources, including other internet radio stations. It's just these two radio stations.

      One of them is this radio station. Also this radio station. I know their digital streams are working, because I can listen to them via an internet radio app on my phone. So I know their digital signals are being sent out. But, while my phone app can play them, my computer browser can't play them.

      I've tested both non-working stations in Chrome and Internet Explorer. They both don't work in Chrome, but this station also doesn't work in IE.

      I'm using Chrome 80.0.3987.122. And I'm running Windows 7.

      This problem only started a couple of days ago.

      What's going on? How do I fix this?

      12 votes
    5. Where can I find collected wisdom from Silicon Valley?

      I am talking about advice such as "make incremental improvements" and "ship the minimum viable product." Is there a name for this kind of advice - advice related to software and tech. I am looking...

      I am talking about advice such as "make incremental improvements" and "ship the minimum viable product."

      Is there a name for this kind of advice - advice related to software and tech.

      I am looking to make a compilation.

      7 votes
    6. Tech support request: recovering from hard crashes in Linux

      EDIT: Latest update This is something so rudimentary that I'm a little embarrassed to ask, but I've also tried looking around online to no avail. One of the hard parts about being a Linux newbie...

      EDIT: Latest update


      This is something so rudimentary that I'm a little embarrassed to ask, but I've also tried looking around online to no avail. One of the hard parts about being a Linux newbie is that the amount of support material out there seems to differ based on distro, DE, and also time, so posts from even a year or two ago can be outdated or inapplicable.

      Here's my situation: I'm a newbie Linux user running Pop!_OS 19.10 with the GNOME desktop environment. Occasionally, games I'm playing will hard crash and lock up my system completely, leaving a still image of the game frozen on the screen indefinitely. The system stays there, completely unresponsive to seemingly any inputs. It doesn't happen often, but when it does it's almost always when I'm running a Windows game through Steam's Proton layer. I suspect it also might have something to do with graphics drivers, as I'll at times notice an uptick in frequency after certain updates, though that might just be me finding a suspicious pattern where none exists.

      Anyway, what I don't know how to do is gracefully exit or recover from these crashes. No keyboard shortcut seems to work, and I end up having to hold the power button on my computer until it abruptly shuts off. This seems to be the "worse case scenario" for handling it, so if there is a better way I should go about this, I'd love to know about it.


      EDIT: I really want to thank everyone for their help so far. My initial question has been answered, and for posterity's sake I'd like to post the solution here, to anyone who is searching around for this same issue and ends up in this thread:

      • Use CTRL+ALT+F3/F4/F5/F6 keys to access a terminal, where you can try to kill any offending processes and reboot if needed.
      • If that fails, use ALT+SYSRQ+R-E-I-S-U-B.

      With that out of the way, I've added more information about the crashes specifically to the thread, primarily here, and some people are helping me out with diagnosing the issue. This thread is now less about the proper way to deal with the crash than it is about trying to identify the cause of the crash and prevent it in the first place.

      12 votes
    7. Why does LibreOffice's font rendering suck so much on mac?

      I'm a happy Ubuntu user. I love it and I wouldn't switch to other OS. But since I do a lot of video editing and design, I have no other choice than using mac. (I completely refuse to use Windows...

      I'm a happy Ubuntu user. I love it and I wouldn't switch to other OS. But since I do a lot of video editing and design, I have no other choice than using mac. (I completely refuse to use Windows at this point.)

      Anyway, I try to use as much FOSS as possible but I'm having a hard time with LibreOffice. The rendering is really bad and I don't know how to fix it.

      Have any of you had this problem?

      9 votes
    8. Some questions about collaborative work being published to YouTube

      I'm a facilitator of a project that, ultimately, publishes its work to YouTube. As the facilitator I am the one and only administrator of the YouTube channel. If, for instance, I became...

      I'm a facilitator of a project that, ultimately, publishes its work to YouTube. As the facilitator I am the one and only administrator of the YouTube channel. If, for instance, I became incapacitated for a long period of time (such as my untimely death) how would I pass the mantle onto someone else to handle the channel?

      Can I entrust administrative privileges, of said channel, to others as a precaution?

      6 votes
    9. What did Google Reader offer back in the day?

      From time to time I see people on the internet who remember Google Reader fondly, and miss it. At the time, I didn't have much use for something like it, so I never used it. But a common theme in...

      From time to time I see people on the internet who remember Google Reader fondly, and miss it. At the time, I didn't have much use for something like it, so I never used it.
      But a common theme in these conversations about Google Reader is that no other feed reader ever offered everything Google Reader could, but I can't seem to find details.

      So what was it? Does anyone here remember Google Reader, or even still wishes it was available? Why did nothing come from the Open Source community that could replace it?

      16 votes
    10. Can anyone help me with home security systems?

      I could use some clarity, as I feel like most of what I'm reading regarding home security is either FUD or marketing. I don't trust most of the comments I read online, as almost everything about...

      I could use some clarity, as I feel like most of what I'm reading regarding home security is either FUD or marketing. I don't trust most of the comments I read online, as almost everything about this seems predicated on creating fear in me so that I'll pay up.

      Simplisafe and Frontpoint are supposedly easy (and Simplisafe is quite cheap), but reviews online are mixed, and many people seem to think a self-installed wireless system is garbage no matter who it's from or who's doing the monitoring. Is this true, or is this just stratrgic doubt trying to drive me to a different or more expensive solution? I don't know!

      Also, ADT sent me an ad that was a straight up lie. The person on the phone had to guess at how they might be able to stack discounts to even get close to the price I was looking at on their flyer, and the best she could offer was ~50% higher than what was shown, with their higher tiers costing well over double the price in the ad. I politely terminated the call.

      My home security needs are simple. All I need is basic protection, and, honestly, I'm less concerned about a break-in than I am a fire. That's what I'd want to make sure I have solid monitoring for. My stuff can be replaced, but my home itself and my dog cannot.

      Can anyone help me cut through all of the crap out there and just give me accurate information? What's my best bet?

      13 votes
    11. Recovering my account on StackExchange

      Occasionally, I lose control of my account on StackExchange. I don't visit for a few months, I get logged out by some process during that time, and, when I try to log in, it tells me my password...

      Occasionally, I lose control of my account on StackExchange. I don't visit for a few months, I get logged out by some process during that time, and, when I try to log in, it tells me my password is incorrect.

      When I go through the "forgot password" process, get the recovery email, and reset my password... I then get told I'm about to create a new account on StackExchange. I actually did that once, many years ago, and trying to figure out how to combine the accounts was messy.

      It's happened again.

      How do I reset my password without creating a new account? StackExchange has always been a little bit like High Dark Magic to me. Its account structure seems more confusing than necessary.

      7 votes
    12. Advice for starting a Wiki project

      I am considering starting a wiki project for an academic niche. I've already started prototyping using Gitit, I've written a bit easy pages to get a feel for the software and am planning to start...

      I am considering starting a wiki project for an academic niche. I've already started prototyping using Gitit, I've written a bit easy pages to get a feel for the software and am planning to start working on the most important page that summarises the topic itself, which I believe will help guide me to which pages to create first.

      Now, here I'm asking for general advice to a newcomer n00bie wiki admin like me: what to expect, what software, etc. Any advice welcome, but I'll list a few questions below:

      • What wiki software? I am liking Gitit, it is nice and easy to set up, and comes with its own server which I run with a systemctl user unit in the background. I tried Oddmuse but couldn't get it to work with a simple server; Ikiwiki setup is too clumsy for my liking (it friggin put stuff on my $HOME by default!); I want to avoid PHP stuff in general; I want a simple wiki that serves simple HTML pages.

      • How to defend against spam? My plan is to keep it invite-only for as long as I can. IDK how to do that with Gitit yet.

      • How to serve it securely and for cheap, once I decide to publish? It probably won't ever grow beyond a few dozens of megabytes in file size.

      • How do you go about promoting a wiki?

      • What peripheral services (issue tracker, mailing list, IRC/Discord/etc channels) go well with a wiki?

      • What tools are available to ensure content quality (no plagiarism, enforce conventions, monitor changes, ...)?

      13 votes
    13. What should I do with all my old tech junk?

      I am currently decluttering, and I have boxes upon boxes of accumulated tech stuff (for lack of a better term). USB cables, dongles, flash drives, cameras, MP3 players, phones, installation discs,...

      I am currently decluttering, and I have boxes upon boxes of accumulated tech stuff (for lack of a better term). USB cables, dongles, flash drives, cameras, MP3 players, phones, installation discs, etc.

      It's a giant mess that I want to be rid of, I just don't know the best way to go about it and thus have some questions:

      1. What's my best course of action: Is "electronics recycling" the way to go? Should I sort it and donate the useful stuff to a thrift store? Would local mom-and-pop computer shops potentially be interested in some of it?

      (Note: I have no interest in extracting money from the hoard and would be happy for the useful stuff in there to go to a "good home" that can take advantage of it.)

      1. Is there anything that's simply not worth donating/recycling? Should I simply throw some older stuff (e.g. floppies, component cables, anything with a parallel port) out, or does recycling somehow reconstitute the metals/resources in them?

      2. I have several dead hard drives and flash drives that have personal information on them that I was never able to wipe. Should I just hold onto these indefinitely since someone could use them maliciously, or is the likelihood of that happening close to nil?

      18 votes
    14. What would be a good security setup for me?

      So: I keep all my passwords in my password manager (Bitwarden) All my 2FA codes are generated by AndOTP on my phone. My 2FA backup codes are also in Bitwarden, which I think is a bad idea, because...

      So:

      • I keep all my passwords in my password manager (Bitwarden)
      • All my 2FA codes are generated by AndOTP on my phone.
      • My 2FA backup codes are also in Bitwarden, which I think is a bad idea, because that defeats the purpose of 2FA. So where should I put those?
      • I have my Bitwarden 2FA backup code in my wallet and in a safe at my house. Is that a good idea for the other backup codes?
      • Is there anything I'm forgetting here?
      8 votes
    15. Is a password manager essential?

      I feel like it's impossible to remember passwords that are long, random, and unique for every service. I have too many accounts. On the other hand, I don't like the idea of giving up control of my...

      I feel like it's impossible to remember passwords that are long, random, and unique for every service. I have too many accounts.

      On the other hand, I don't like the idea of giving up control of my passwords to a password manager and using the ones it generates and stores. It feels weird that I wouldn't "know" my passwords.

      Is this a hangup I should just get past? What do I do if I need to login somewhere but cannot access my password manager?

      30 votes
    16. any sites like 23andme that dont sell your DNA to corporations?

      I'd really like to have a DNA test done to know my family history beyond 2 generations (adopted relatives) I've heard numerous times that 23andme will abuse the information they obtain and either...

      I'd really like to have a DNA test done to know my family history beyond 2 generations (adopted relatives)

      I've heard numerous times that 23andme will abuse the information they obtain and either target you with ads or sell your DNA to marketing agencies, are there any non invasive DNA tests available online or elsewhere?

      14 votes
    17. What are the best practices for passphrase security?

      This is a sort of continuation of a previous topic I posted. This weekend I will be wiping and reinstalling my computer and encrypting all of my drives in the process. In doing so, I will have to...

      This is a sort of continuation of a previous topic I posted. This weekend I will be wiping and reinstalling my computer and encrypting all of my drives in the process. In doing so, I will have to choose secure passphrases. As such, I have some questions about how best to do this:

      1. I have three drives that will be encrypted. Is it okay to have the same passphrase for all of them, or should I have different ones for each?

      2. In looking up info on this topic, I came across this article which recommends something called a Diceware wordlist. The premise is that you roll dice which match to a list of 7000+ words. You then string six or more of these words together which become your passphrase. Is this a sound way to generate one?

      3. Rather than using the Diceware wordlist, couldn't I roll my own password of the same type using six "random" words of my choosing? I feel like that would be easier to remember, but am I weakening security in doing so?

      4. If the Diceware method is to be trusted, does that mean I do not need to pepper my passphrase with digits, mixed case, and special characters? Or should I add these anyway?

      5. I'm also considering changing over passwords on a lot of my online accounts based on this method. I like the idea of using a single passphrase as a root, but how do you modify it so that it is different for each account? Would I do something like [dicewarewords]tildes, [dicewarewords]spotify, [dicewarewords]ubuntuforums, etc.? I feel like it would be too on-the-nose, and it would make it easy to guess my other passwords if one were compromised. On the other hand, I don't like the idea of using a password manager to generate a random string for me. I'd like to still be able to login even without my password manager.

      6. For people that have used something like this, how do you then deal with password restrictions on sites? I know that no matter how great I set things up I'm still going to have to make exceptions for sites that that either require or forbid numbers, mixed case, or special characters, have character limits, or make me change my password frequently.

      14 votes
    18. What are the best practices regarding personal files and encryption?

      Over the past year I have done a lot to shore up my digital privacy and security. One of the last tasks I have to tackle is locking down the many personal files I have on my computer that have...

      Over the past year I have done a lot to shore up my digital privacy and security. One of the last tasks I have to tackle is locking down the many personal files I have on my computer that have potentially compromising information in them (e.g. bank statements). Right now they are simply sitting on my hard drive, unencrypted. Theft of my device or a breach in access through the network would allow a frightening level of access to many of my records.

      As such, what are my options for keeping certain files behind an encryption "shield"? Also, what are the potential tradeoffs for doing so? In researching the topic online I've read plenty of horror stories about people losing archives or whole drives due to encryption-related errors/mistakes. How can I protect against this scenario? Losing the files would be almost as bad as having them compromised!

      I'm running Linux, but I'm far from tech-savvy, so I would either need a solution to be straightforward or I'd have to learn a lot to make sense of a more complicated solution. I'm willing to learn mainly because it's not an option for me to continue with my current, insecure setup. I do use a cloud-based password manager that allows for uploading of files, and I trust it enough with my passwords that I would trust it with my files, though I would like to avoid that situation if possible.

      With all this in mind, what's a good solution for me to protect my personal files?

      26 votes
    19. Windows Controlled Folder Access

      I recently enabled controlled folder access in Windows 10. It restricts programs from modifying folders in a blacklist. I have all of the music/pictures/videos/documents/desktop folders and...

      I recently enabled controlled folder access in Windows 10. It restricts programs from modifying folders in a blacklist.

      I have all of the music/pictures/videos/documents/desktop folders and folders containing backups added, is there anything else I should consider adding?

      7 votes
    20. Does a trustworthy VPN provide privacy? If so, how do you know if a VPN is trustworthy?

      It's hard to get a straight answer on this because there are allegations of shilling everywhere when it comes to VPNs (particularly when you discuss specific providers). There's also this post...

      It's hard to get a straight answer on this because there are allegations of shilling everywhere when it comes to VPNs (particularly when you discuss specific providers). There's also this post which gets linked pretty frequently and which seems to throw a wrench in the whole idea.

      For context, I ask because I have two main concerns:

      1. I have been the subject of a mild internet stalking/doxing, and I have no wish to relive that experience.
      2. I live in the United States and, if I am understanding things correctly, my ISP now has the right to sell my browsing data without my consent.

      I have no love for my ISP and am all about the idea of blocking them from gathering data about me, but it seems the only other option is to hand all of my data over to another company who simply promises not to do anything with it. While I'm sure some of them are legitimate, how can you tell the difference between a genuine privacy tool and a honeypot?

      23 votes
    21. Is there anyway to redirect to compact reddit on iOS?

      I dislike reddit's mobile site, as it is slow, filled with app popups, and my content blocker ends up creating software gore situations. On the other hand, i.reddit.com is faster, simpler, and the...

      I dislike reddit's mobile site, as it is slow, filled with app popups, and my content blocker ends up creating software gore situations.

      On the other hand, i.reddit.com is faster, simpler, and the one popup it has is easy to block with element hiding.

      Unfortunately, tapping on a username or subreddit link automatically redirects me to the newer mobile site, and I have to add /.compact to the end of the url.

      On Android, this is easily fixed by installing an Firefox extension to always use i.reddit, but iOS Firefox doesn't support addons.

      So is there anyway to avoid going to reddit's new mobile site? Maybe use a pi-hole to redirect www.reddit.com?

      5 votes