Houston We Have a Problem… 007 21/10/06


Radio Off-Limits 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.



Woolly Monitor

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?
John Martin

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 Otherwise there may be a problem with an old or outdated video driver, or your PC’s video adaptor configuration.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 attachment.



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?

Duncan Boston


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 2006 0910


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