Houston We Have a Problem… 021 03/02/07
I buy a lot of DVDs and I have noticed
recently that quite a few new releases will not play on my Philips combi
DVD/Video player. The picture freezes and then jumps to an hour into the
film. However, all DVDs play with no problem on the Philips DVD drive on my PC.
Could it be that new DVD disc technology is confusing my DVD player?
John Allison, Chorley, Lancashire.
the years there have been some minor tweaks to the DVD specification and the
movie studios are constantly dreaming up new ways to combat piracy. These
refinements have been known to cause problems on some older players but in your
case it could be something as simple as a dirty laser pickup head. If a run-through with a good quality disc
cleaner doesn’t do the trick then it may indeed be time to retire your VCR’s
DVD playback facility but with new DVD players selling for under £25, it
needn’t be too painful.
Laptop Lacks the Right Connections
With regard to copying
LPs to CD using a PC you have previously stated that most computers have a
stereo audio line input but on my laptop all I have is a microphone socket. I
tried recording LPs recently using the Audacity program but it was impossible
to get the level low enough to avoid horrendous distortion. As I am just about
to purchase a new laptop, can you possibly tell me what I should be looking for
in terms of sockets, soundcard, etc. that the new computer must have.
Edward Beaumont, Fareham
wouldn’t let a laptop’s audio facilities influence your buying decision. It
really doesn’t matter if the model you want lacks a line input socket, you can
easily add one with an audio adaptor module. This is a small device that plugs
into a USB socket, providing a full range of audio inputs and outputs. One of
the most widely available is the Griffin iMic, which is currently selling on
Amazon UK (http://tinyurl.com/ya2byr) for around £21.
Unable to Install Scanner
My film scanner worked perfectly for almost 3 years
until I bought a new computer. The first time I connected the scanner to the
new PC I got a message that new hardware had been detected and did I want
to launch the Microsoft 'set-up' Wizard? I erroneously clicked on 'No' and now
I can't get that screen message back. What should I do?
Geoff Hood, by email
A. When you clicked ‘No’ you effectively told Windows to
disable and ignore the scanner but there are a couple of things you can do to
make it recognise it again. Plugging it into another USB socket sometimes fools
Windows into thinking it’s an entirely new device. If that doesn’t work then
open Windows Device Manager (press WinKey +Break or go to Start > Control
Panel > System), select the Hardware tab and click the Device Manager
button. Double-click ‘Imaging Devices’ and your scanner should be listed. Right
click on the entry and select Properties. Under Device Usage click on the
drop-down menu and select ‘Use this device (enable). Click Exit, reboot Windows
and it should launch the installation Wizard. If your scanner is an older
model, using a Parallel or SCSI type interface then launch the Installation
Wizard from Add Hardware in Control Panel.
Read Only CD Files
use Windows XP home and when I copy something on to a CD-ROM, I find that it
comes out as ‘Read Only' and that I cannot subsequently do anything with it. Can you help?
Nicholls, by email
is perfectly normal because recordable CDs are a read-only medium and Windows
or your CD recording program automatically applies the file ‘Attribute’. You
can remove the Attribute when you copy data back to your PC’s hard disc but
whilst it is on the CD the data cannot be changed.
This confuses some people because Windows and some CD
writer programs appear to allow files on a disc to be erased and re-written but
this is just a trick. When you erase or update a file on a CD all that happens
is the reference to it is removed from the disc’s Table of Contents or ‘TOC’
and new or replacement files are recorded on unused space. In the case of
Rewritable (CD-RW) discs the whole disc can be erased and used again but on
record once (CD-R) discs erased and updated data remains on the disc and
eventually the free space will be used up.
Copying Slides to a PC
your recent comments about pasting photographs from a digital camera’s memory
card into a computer. No problem there, but is there any way of getting my
old colour transparencies into my PC?
Adams, Goffs Oak, Herts
You are almost spoilt for
choice. Many scanners can be fitted with optional slide/transparency adaptors
and you can also buy dedicated slide scanners. If you are using an SLR type
digital camera you should be able to get hold of a slide adaptor that fits onto
the lens and if you fancy a challenge you could try shooting directly from a
projection screen or a slide/cine transfer screen. Most of these devices can be
obtained from high-street camera shops or specialist companies like Keene
© R. Maybury 2007