FACTS! FAX! 018 (13/08/96)
had my present computer -- an Amstrad 8256 ‘Joyce’ -- since 1985. Now I’m considering buying an IBM-compatible PC. Do
you know of any books or publications that can bring me up to speed on current
jargon and terminology, so I can make an informed decision about what features
and facilities I really need. The magazines I’ve looked at all seem to assume a
great deal of prior knowledge.
you’ve been looking at the wrong magazines. There are several titles aimed at
newcomers to the PC market, such as What PC, PC Guide and Practical PC, which regularly
cover the basics in considerable depth. Some of the books aimed at beginners
can be rather patronising, and they tend to go out of date quite quickly.
Moreover, for obvious reasons they cannot go in to much detail when it comes to
prices and specifications. Nevertheless, Easy PC by Suzanne Weixel (£22.99) is
worth a look, so too are The Complete Idiots Guide to PC, (£13.95) and PCs for
Dummies (£18.00). They’re available from good bookshops and specialist
retailers like PC World.
some time now I’ve wanted to have access to the Internet, but unfortunately the
price of a PC is prohibitive. I was therefore interested to see an article in
The Daily Telegraph, that mentioned the growing number of ‘cyber cafes’ up and
down the country. I haven’t been able to track any of them down, could you
publish a list?
could, but it would take up rather more space than we have available. There are
now more than 60 Cyber Cafes and bars in the UK, and several hundred
world-wide, with more springing up almost every day. They all offer relatively low-cost
access to the Internet and on-line services, hopefully in a friendly
atmosphere, with experts on hand to help you out. Your nearest one is Cyber, in
Bedford, at 2 Ram Yard, just off Bedford High Street, telephone (01234) 349990.
They charge £2.50 an hour (£2.00 for students) and are open from 11am to 9pm Monday
to Saturday, 3pm to 7pm Sundays. When you get there you can find out more about
the other Cyber cafes in your area, and around the world from:
Don’t worry, you’ll quickly get the hang of it.
you get hooked it may work out cheaper for you to get your own PC. It’s
probably not be as expensive as you think, you don’t need the latest high-speed
multi-media models to surf the net. Perfectly capable 386 and 486 machines,
with a modem, can be found in magazines like Micro Mart for less than £300. The
only other costs are the subscriptions to a service provider, typically £6 to
£15 a month, plus the cost of local calls while you’re on-line. You’ll also
save a fortune on food and refreshments.
times last month my car was scratched by vandals whilst it was parked outside
my house. I would like to use my camcorder, to keep watch on the vehicle and
catch the little swine’s on tape. Is there any way I can rig it up to record
when the car is being interfered with as the cassettes only last for 90 minutes?
lot of camcorders have an LP recording mode, which doubles recording time, though
3-hours is probably still not enough. One solution might be to use your
camcorder as a surveillance camera, and record the activity on a homedeck VCR.
You need to connect them together using the AV copying lead, that should have
been supplied with your machine. You might need to buy an extension cable if
the camcorder and VCR are more than a metre or two apart, they’re available from
most video stockists for a few pounds. A 4-hour VHS tape (E-240), will give you
up to 8 hours recording time when you use the VCR’s LP recording speed. You
will need to set the camcorder to record or ‘camera’ mode and power it from the
mains adaptor/charger. You might find the machine’s battery-saving facility switches
it off after a few minutes. On a lot of camcorders this can be overridden by
leaving the tape loading hatch open.