The Digital Life
Houston We Have
a Problem… 007 21/10/06
in the Kitchen
Due to local geography and the poor quality of the local
transmitter we are unable to receive radio or TV at the rear of our house and
my wife is keen to listen to the radio whilst cooking in the kitchen. We have
broadband via a wireless link to a local network; would it be possible to
get Internet radio direct from our broadband feed or would we need to route it
via a PC with a Wi-Fi system? Both being almost fully qualified 'silver
surfers' we prefer not to have anything to complex to set up or run.
Dave Smith, by email
A. Internet ‘radios’ that plug into your broadband connection are
available and there are various ways you could use Wi-Fi to distribute the
signal but I don’t think we need to get bogged down with expensive or elaborate
technology. Firstly check if you can receive DAB Digital Radio signals in the
kitchen. A local dealer should be able to provide you with a receiver on a
trial basis, or a refund if you buy one and it doesn’t work. Otherwise,
assuming that radio reception is okay elsewhere in your home you could
re-broadcast the audio from an ordinary radio using the sound channels on an
‘AV’ wireless ‘sender’.
The sender’s transmitter module connects to the radio’s headphone
socket and the receiver in the kitchen simply connects to a pair of amplified
PC speakers. The same setup could also be used with a PC ‘streaming’ an
Internet radio station, this time by connecting the sender’s transmitter to the
computer’s line audio or speaker output socket.
When I purchased a flat screen monitor last year, the
recommendation was that the resolution setting should be changed to 1280 x 1024
pixels. I did this, and it was fine. Recently, I changed to a new higher spec
computer, and found that at that setting, all script was very fine, spidery and
faint. I have had to change to 1024 x 768, where the script is perfectly
readable, but very dark and somewhat woolly. Can you explain this?
A. It may just be that you need to run the monitor’s auto
configuration utility to optimise the display with your new PC. This is
normally accessed through the monitor’s on-screen menu; details of how to do it
should be in the monitor’s instruction manual. Otherwise there may be a problem
with an old or outdated video driver, or your PC’s video adaptor configuration.
Since your PC is new and presumably still under warranty you should get your
money’s worth and contact the manufacturer or vendor, who should be able to
advise you on display setup and driver updates.
Slow Speed Printer
When I switch on my HP Photosmart printer, a pop-up box
appears, which says ‘This USB device can perform faster if you connect it to a
high-speed USB port’. When I click on the box it says there is no high-speed
host controller on this computer. Is it possible to add such a device?
John Jenkins, Bolton
A. If your PC is less than two or three years old it may
already have the faster USB 2.0 ports fitted but they haven’t been properly
installed. If you know what you are doing try reinstalling the drivers from the
motherboard utility disc that came with your PC. Otherwise you can add this
capability with a USB 2.0 PCI adaptor card, which plugs into your PC’s
motherboard. These usually have 4 or 6 sockets, they are widely available from
PC suppliers and generally cost around £10 to £15. They’re very easy to fit but
if you have any qualms about poking around inside your PC seek expert assistance
Transferring Internet Favourites
Over the years I've built up a long list of Internet
Favourites, and having invested in a new laptop I'd like to transfer them from
the old machine. Is there a way to copy them all en bloc, rather than one by
one? Any tips would be appreciated.
F. Owing, via email
A. All you need to do is copy the Favourites folder from
your old PC into the same location on your laptop. Favourites normally resides
in C:\Documents and Settings\<yourname>, it’s usually only a few tens of
kilobytes in size so it fits easily onto a floppy disc or you could use a pen
drive. Alternatively you could send the file to yourself as an email
DIY CDs Won’t Play
Whenever I transfer
an audiotape or CD to a fresh CD, whilst I am able to play back on my PC I am
unable to do so on my car CD player or my Hi-Fi setup. What am I doing wrong?
A. Two possibilities spring to mind, the least likely is the CD decks
in both your car stereo and hi-fi system are quite old and unable to play CD-R
discs, which have slightly different optical characteristics to commercially
pressed discs. However, I suspect that you are not recording your discs in CD
Audio (CD-A) format. You can easily see if this is the case by opening the disc
in Windows Explorer, the tracks should have the file extension *.cda, if not
check the settings on your disc recording software.
© R. Maybury