The Digital Life
Houston We Have a
Problem… 016 30/12/06
you please tell me where I can find a definitive and simple guide to the
various types of recordable DVDs? Being new to DVD I find it all thoroughly
White, by email
worry it’s not as bad as it looks. All you really need to know is that there
are two types of recordable DVD, called DVD-R (minus R) and DVD+R (plus R).
Both types of disc hold 4.7Gb of data and they are ‘read-only’ formats, which
means you can record on them only once. There are also ‘rewritable’ variants
called DVD-RW and DVD+RW and when a disc is full it can be erased and used
again. In terms of cost and performance there’s almost nothing to choose between
the two types.
days most DVD-writer drives in PCs and laptops are multi-standard and can use
both ‘plus’ and ‘minus’ R blank discs otherwise they will be clearly marked.
Some recent PCs and laptops can use ‘Dual Layer’ discs, which have twice the
capacity (8.5Gb) of ordinary recordable DVDs. DVDs you have recorded should be
readable on any PC DVD drive (or DVD player, if you have used it to record
the sake of completeness you should also know that there is another type of
re-recordable disc called DVD-RAM. These work like giant floppy discs and data
can be recorded and erased at will. You need a special drive and blank discs
are fairly expensive. It is not very popular on PCs, though, and tends to be
mostly used on DVD video recorders and camcorders. There are also two
high-capacity DVD formats (HD-DVD and Blu-Ray) waiting in the wings. They are
designed for recording high-definition TV and movies and are about to engage in
a pointless format battle and we’ll have to wait for the dust to settle to see
which one has won.
you want to know absolutely everything there is to know about DVD then I
recommend the DVD FAQ.
Don’t be put off by its size; it is well indexed so you can dip in and out and
it is written in a very approachable style
Does Size Matter?
friend of mine wishes to transfer about 50 photographs from an old Windows ME
laptop to a new PC.
has been suggested that she use a USB Flash Drive, what would be the smallest
Robins, by email
USB drive is the quickest and simplest method of transferring files and unless
your friend has a high-end digital camera it is unlikely that the picture files
amount to more than a few hundred megabytes of data. A 512Mb pen drive should
be more than enough but I have seen 1Gb models selling on
line for less than £20.00 so there really is no need to skimp on capacity.
use a laptop with a wireless connection and I had been intending to do all my
banking online but friends with considerable IT experience have expressed
doubts about wireless security. Is it really possible that other, neighbouring,
wireless enabled PCs and laptops could hack in to my PC?
Wireless networking can be very secure, the only trouble is most Wi-Fi-equipped
devices are sold with their encryption systems switched off! There are two
types of wireless encryption. The older WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) system
is fairly easy to ‘crack’ by anyone with some expertise and the will to do so
but it is sufficient to keep out casual snoopers. The alternative is WPA PSK
(Wi-Fi Protected Access, Pre-Shared Key) encryption. This is capable of near
industrial-strength protection and you can reduce the chances of someone
breaking in to almost zero by using a 10-digit random character ‘passphrase’,
rather the name of your cat or favourite auntie.
that the data on your PC will be vulnerable if you use your laptop at a
wireless ‘hot-spot’, as you will normally have to switch your security systems
off, so remove or encrypt any sensitive or private data before you take your
laptop on the road.
Runaway Web Pages With
Internet Explorer 7
week I downloaded Internet Explorer 7 and I now find that when I scroll down a
web page it just keeps going. It is driving me mad because I can’t read pages
properly without grabbing the side scrollbar. I rang Microsoft and they asked
me to do a System Restore, which didn’t work. Can you shed any light on the
scrolling problem? Maybe I'm not the only one?
You are not alone and this
quirky behaviour has been vexing a lot of readers lately. Most of the time it
is due to a compatibility problem between IE7 and Logitech mice. The trick is
to let the Windows XP control the mouse; go to Start > Control Panel >
Mouse, click the Buttons tab and select ‘Use MS Compatible scroll only’ on the drop down menu and select
‘Scroll in Active Window only’, and click OK.
If you are not using a
Logitech mouse here’s something else to try; in Internet Explorer go to Tools
> Internet Options and select the Advanced tab. Scroll down the Settings
list and under Browsing uncheck: ‘Enable Visual Styles on Buttons and Controls in Web Pages’ and click
© R. Maybury 2006