Houston We Have a Problem… 036 26/05/07


Distant Monitor

I wish to use my TV as a computer monitor when viewing photographs (the TV has this capacity) but they are in separate rooms and I have been unable to buy a connector cable of sufficient length. I need about 10 metres of cable and the longest I have found so far in shops is 1.8/2.0 metres.

Robin Macdonald, by email


Specialist PC monitor cables of up to 25 metres are available, beyond that there would be a noticeable drop in image quality and stability. There’s not much of a demand for cables of this length but you will find them on the Internet; try Aria.co.uk website they stock a 10 metre cable which will set you back £8.17, plus postage.


Alternatively, you could use an AV wireless ‘sender’, which are readily available from TV and video dealers for around £30. However, most of the models I’m aware of require that your PC has a ‘composite’ or ‘S- Video’ output socket. These are common on laptops but comparatively rare on desktop PCs.


Better still, if you have a DVD player connected to your TV, why not just copy your images to disc using the CD Slideshow facility in picture viewer/editing programs like Picasa (free from: http://picasa.google.co.uk/).



Cellular Regeneration

I have a Hitachi HPW-200EC handheld computer. It's fairly ancient, but it runs well on Windows CE and
has the advantage of a near full-size keyboard and decent size screen. The trouble is the battery barely holds a charge so that frequent mains connection is required to retain data.

The battery-pack is a sealed unit with a special connection, which excludes replacement with standard cells. Is there anyone who can supply replacements? I'm loath to scrap the machine, which is otherwise sturdy and is outlasting a three-year old laptop, which is physically disintegrating.
Thomas Quinn, by email


I very much doubt that any original replacement packs are still available for this model as it went out of production some years ago and rechargeable cells have a finite life. It’s worth checking ebay for a late model with a battery pack that still has some life left in it, otherwise it should be possible to replace the cells in your old pack, even though it is sealed. A number of specialist firms provide a battery refurbishment service; try cellpacksolutions.com and battery.co.uk



YouTube Go-Slow

When watching YouTube videos the picture and the sound sometimes freeze for a few seconds at a time. At other times the reception is perfect. Can you help?

Jessica Patch, by email


This is a symptom of a sluggish Internet connection. Data simply isn’t coming down the pipe quickly enough and your PC has to keep waiting for it to catch up. It is unlikely there is a fault at your end but the fact that it works sometimes suggests that you have a slower broadband connection – I’m guessing 512kb or 1Mb/sec. However, it could be your ISP’s ‘Contention Ratio’, which is a measure of how many other people share a data connection between the exchange and your ISP. It may be you are simply logging on at peak times and downloading popular videos but either way there’s little you can do, apart from changing ISPs or upgrading to a faster broadband package.


Incidentally, it’s worth checking your download speeds to see how well it matches your ISPs claims. I suggest a using the on-line tests on couple of websites like Bandwidthplace (http://tinyurl.com/1t3u) and PCPitStop (http://tinyurl.com/363g8o). Run the tests at various times throughout the day and average out the results and if it falls significantly short of what you are paying for, have a word with your ISP or get BT to check your phone line.



Word Pictures

I have written a 30-page Word document with photographs interspersed with the text. Photographs were inserted from My Pictures via Insert > Picture > From File. I have edited the document on several occasions and the photographs were in the right place. On the last edit, however, they had disappeared, but with a red cross in its place. I have two questions: How/why did this happen and how can I avoid it happening again?

Ron Meyer, via email


Although Word lets you include pictures and graphics into documents it is important to remember that it is first and foremost a word processor and not a desktop publishing program. When you insert an image in a document by default it is aligned to the text, not any particular point on the page, so when you add, remove or edit the words there’s a good chance the picture will move. There are various ways to anchor your images but the simplest method is to specify a ‘text wrap’. This forces Word to arrange text around the picture. You’ll find this option by highlighting the image then go to  Format > Picture, select the  > Layout tab and choose a ‘wrapping style’. You can precisely specify the size and position by clicking the Advanced button.


The disappearing pictures suggests that you have accidentally told Word not to display images, to put this right go to Tools > Options and select the View tab and in the Show box uncheck ‘Picture Placeholders’. 



© R. Maybury 2007 1405


Search PCTopTips 



Digital Life Index

Houston 2006

Houston 2007

Houston 2008


Top Tips Index

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Internet & Email

Microsoft Word

Folders & Files

Desktop Mouse & Keyboard

Crash Bang Wallop!

Privacy & Security

Imaging Scanning & Printing

Power, Safety & Comfort

Tools & Utilities

Sound Advice

Display & screen

Fun & Games

Windows 95/98/SE/ME








 Copyright 2006-2008 PCTOPTIPS UK.

All information on this web site is provided as-is without warranty of any kind. Neither PCTOPTIPS nor its employees nor contributors are responsible for any loss, injury, or damage, direct or consequential, resulting from your choosing to use any of the information contained herein.