Houston We Have a Problem… 008 28/10/06

Unfriendly Camera and Printer
I find I cannot print directly from my Panasonic Lumix digital camera to my recently acquired Canon Pixma photo printer. The printer says the device is incompatible. I want to print directly from my camera because I find it easier to manipulate the picture and it also means that I do not have to choose which printer to use. I know experts would probably want to use this suite or that, but I just want to print what I have actually taken.

Leonard Simonis, Bournemouth

A. Both products are PictBridge compliant, which is the industry standard for connecting digital cameras to photo printers. As far as I’m aware there are no compatibility issues so if you haven’t already done so review the setup procedures in your camera and printer instruction manuals and check that you are using the correct cable. If you still cannot get it to work there may be a fault. You should be able to find out where it lies by asking the shop where you purchased the printer to check it and verify that it works with your camera. 


Printing directly from the camera is very convenient but if you’ve been put off by the complexity of PC photo editing software try a free program called Picasa (http://picasa.google.com/) and I think you might change your mind.




Security Review

I run Windows XP Home edition on a two-year-old Dell computer. I use AVG Free Edition for anti virus protection and rely on Windows Security Centre for the Firewall. I would like to install a malware cleaner, which one do you recommend and would I be better off with a different firewall? I am really worried about the programs clashing or slowing my machine down, can you advise? 

Geraldine Webster, by email


A. No one malware cleaner does a complete job so I suggest using two or possibly three different ones. Microsoft Defender, AdAware and Spybot Search and Destroy are the best freeware options. They operate independently and happily coexist with one another, just remember to run one or all of them every couple of weeks, more often if you are a heady-duty Internet user.


The Windows XP firewall protects against attempts to infiltrate your computer but it doesn’t stop programs or malware on your PC from calling home, possibly sending personal or private information. The best free Firewall is Zone Alarm and it asks you to approve every new attempt to use your web connection. Other free Firewalls worth considering are Comodo and Keiro Personal Firewall. You will find links to all of the malware cleaners and Firewalls mentioned at www.pctoptips.co.uk/software.html.



Racing Uncertainty

I have over three hundred hours of motor race recordings on tape but they are starting to deteriorate, Can they be transferred to CD? How is it done? What will it cost? Some of the tapes are shop bought, can these be copied? I have spoken to several people and got many different answers, can you help?
Michael Rougemont, Plymouth


A. You can copy video to CD but the quality isn’t very good. I suggest using DVDs, picture quality is better and they have almost seven times the capacity of CDs. In addition to a reasonably recent PC with a DVD writer you will need a video capture module or adaptor card costing around £50, and a DVD editing and authoring software like Ulead VideoStudio or Pinnacle Studio (also around £50). 


Essentially all you have to do is plug the audio and video output from your VCR or camcorder into the video capture module connected to the PC. The DVD authoring program copies the recording on your hard drive from where it can be edited and then recorded into a blank DVD.


Some commercial recordings are ‘copy protected’ but it only prevents VCR to VCR copying. Needless to say recordings of copyright material must be for your own personal use and only used for backup purposes.



Excess Holiday Baggage

Whenever I return from two weeks holiday, during which time I do not access my emails, I read and delete all messages as necessary. However, on re-entering Outlook Express the emails -- some 2000 of them, are still there and they keep coming. Please help before I become the first human to drown by email!

David Gollings, Workington


A. Only 2000 emails after 2 weeks? Count yourself lucky… My guess is Outlook Express isn’t automatically deleting emails on your ISP’s server computer after they have been downloaded them onto your PC. If so all you have to do is go to Tools > Accounts, click on your email account then the Properties button and select the Advanced tab. Near the bottom, under Delivery, uncheck the box ‘Leave a copy of message on server’; click OK then Close to exit the dialogue boxes.





© R. Maybury 2006 0910



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