Windows 7: the blue screen with white bird near green branch

Trying to repair a computer this weekend has involved self-tutoring. The tutor mentions the beloved “blue screen with white bird near green branch.”

If you don’t know the screen mentioned in the title, you might be lucky. I’ve encountered it after the repair option from F8 during boot. However, it may not appear immediately after selecting the repair option. Rather, the user may have to wait well over half an hour before it appears.

Likewise, the blue screen with the white bird (near the green branch) may persist another 45 minutes – or longer – with no apparent action. However, it eventually can give way to the Startup Repair window. That process can persist for hours, then possibly offer choices, one of which may be System Restore.

That’s how I remember it, anyway.

With either of those screens (blue screen with white bird or Startup Repair), it’s best the user doesn’t hold their breath.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Computers: why flash drives aren’t vulnerable to magnets (supposedly)

Tutoring, you see flash drives carried around with anything stored on them. The tutor shares some findings about them in relation to magnetism.

I recall holding a flash drive with a magnetic lid, and wondering how it could be so.

Apparently, flash drives hold information using electric charges, rather than magnetism. Two websites tell me that, for that reason, flash drives are not changeable by magnetism – at least, not under normal conditions.

Magnetism and electricity are related. Specifically, a changing magnetic field (for instance, as the magnet moves nearby) can cause voltage in a loop of wire. Therefore, I wouldn’t experiment with a flash drive near a magnet if the data was important.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

English, computer science: disk vs disc

Tutoring English, different versions of familiar words are interesting. The tutor shares a find.

In the context of computers, I recall reading disk. “Is it disc?” I would often wonder. Today the matter surfaced, so I looked it up. I got two points of view:


Disk is particularly used in the context of computers, such as hard disk drive (hdd). Disc can be used that way as well, but is the proper way to refer to disc brakes, flying disc, disc jockey, etc.


Disk and disc are interchangeable. Disk jockey is valid.


Collins Essential Canadian English Dictionary and Thesaurus. Glasgow: HarperCollins Publishers, 2006.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Dedicated video memory (Adapter RAM): how to see it with OpenGL Extensions Viewer (realtech)

The tutor tells one way to find how much dedicated video memory your system has. This article describes his experience with Windows 7.

In my February 19 post I discuss the difference between adapter RAM (aka dedicated RAM, vRAM, discrete RAM) vs total video memory. I mention therein that, in my (limited) experience, it seems that adapter RAM can be more meaningful in deciding a system’s capability towards a given graphics application.

My son wanted to use Blender at home, so I had to install it. Looking at its requirements, it needs, among other things, compatibility with OpenGL 2.1 and 512MB RAM.

I watched this video about installing Blender; it pointed me to the program OpenGL Extensions Viewer by realtech. (I believe you can find it here.)

After downloading and installing OpenGL Extensions Viewer, it seems to open automatically. If not, then keying OpenGL in the search box will reveal a choice with a pink icon that says GLview; it’s the one to pick. Then, go to Summary: you’ll see Adapter RAM listed:)


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Computer systems: graphics memory: adapter RAM vs total memory

The tutor shares ideas about adapter RAM (aka dedicated RAM, vRAM, discrete RAM) vs total.

Apparently, adapter RAM is physically dedicated to graphics.

In the context of graphics memory, total memory refers to system RAM available for processing graphics. (From my limited observation, it may not include adapter RAM. Rather, it’s the chunk of the computer’s RAM allocated to graphics presentation.)

I don’t have much experience with video RAM, but from what I’ve seen, adapter RAM appears the more meaningful number when considering if a system meets a program’s requirements.


eHow tech

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.