Houston We Have a Problem… 010 11/11/06


Radio 4 on the move

I travel abroad a lot and always miss Radio 4 programmes. If I took a notebook PC or a hand-held device such as a Blackberry would I have a realistic chance of hearing these programmes when in, say, Australia or Central Europe?  Would I need a special sound card or other add-ons?

Tom Fox, Poole Dorset


Most Radio 4 programmes are broadcast live on the web or are available from a 7-day archive (Listen Again) and you can listen to them almost anywhere in the world, provided you can access the Internet. Broadband is best but you can use a dial-up connection though the quality may be poor.


However, your hardware options are limited by the BBC’s decision to use RealPlayer format for broadcasting Radio 4 on the web. Real One Player software is only available for Windows (95/98/ME/NT4/2000 & XP), Mac (OS8/9 & OSX), and the Linux and Solaris operating systems, so if you want to travel light then your best option is a Windows notebook or laptop. The Real One player program is free and it’s all you need for ‘streamed’ playback but if you want to record programs, to listen to later, or copy to a personal stereo you will need an audio recorder and editing program called Audacity.



Yuletide Labels

With the festive season fast approaching I am dreading being asked to print off labels for Christmas card envelopes. I create pages of labels using Microsoft Word and check the alignment by printing one onto ordinary paper and matching it against a sheet of labels. However, when I put the label sheet in the printer it starts on the wrong line and the sheet is wasted. Any suggestions?

Dave Hoskins, Harrogate


Word has a specialised label printing tool, which is easy to use but it’s not obvious that it can also produce label sheets made up of different addresses, and I will come to that in a moment.


Go to Envelopes and Labels on the Tools menu, click the Labels tab then the Options button and select the label type (make, reference number or custom dimensions etc.) from the list. It is important to double-check the dimensions by clicking the Details button and compare the measurements (margins, pitch etc.) against your label sheet. You should also verify that your printer settings are correct (paper size etc.) from Page Layout on the File menu.


To produce a label sheet made up of different addresses open the Label dialogue box again and check the item ‘Full page of the same label’ (and no, it doesn’t make sense…) then click the New Document button. The label sheet will now be displayed (if not select Print Preview from the View menu), and you can key your addresses into the boxes, and since it a Word document you can vary font, style and size. When you are finished click print and the alignment should be perfect. Save it as you would a normal Word document and it will be ready for printing or updating next year. 



Copying Images to CD

My problem relates to copying photographs onto CDs using Windows XP. I arrange my photos in folders in My Pictures add captions as appropriate and view them as a slideshow. When I copy the folder onto CD (using Roxio software) as a backup or to use on another PC they appear in alphabetical order not the order they are in the folder so they are useless as a slide show. How can I copy them to CD in the order I have in the folder?

Ian Lenthall, by email


The easiest thing to do is insert a 3-digit code (001, 002, 003 etc.) in front of the filename and this will ensure they always playback in the required order, even if they are copied to CD. To rename a file in Windows Explorer or My Computer right-click on the file and select Rename from the menu that appears. 




Unable to Read or Write DVDs

I am having trouble with my CD/DVD Drive. I can read and write to DVD's but not CD's. Is this likely to be a software or hardware fault?

Brian Maguire, by email


It sounds like a hardware problem and if your driver has never been able to read CDs it may require a Firmware upgrade -- see the drive manufacturer’s web site for details. If it has worked in the past then the chances are the CD laser read-write head is dirty or dusty. A good quality head cleaner disc should do the trick and even if it’s not the cause this time it is worth doing every few months to prevent problems in the future.


There could still be a fault on the drive but the only way to tell is to exchange it for another unit.


I’m not aware of any settings inside Windows (or most CD/DVD writer programs) that can switch off the CD function but it should be due to a corrupt driver so visit the manufacturer’s website and download the latest one for your drive; there should be a help section or FAQ covering driver installation.   




© R. Maybury 2006 2310


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