Houston We Have a ProblemÖ 037 02/06/07


Parlez-Vous iPod?

My daughter, who lives in France, has given me her little-used Apple iPod. It is the French version, even the keyboard is French. Can this be up-dated to an English version? Or will I have to learn French? 

T. Dixon, Cumbria.


All iPods are multi-lingual and you can change the language from the main menu, though the precise procedure varies according to the model. Thereís an easy to follow set of step-by-step instructions (which assumes that you cannot read the menu) on the Apple Support website at: http://tinyurl.com/cebgb



The Right Router

I have Sony desktop and laptop PCs plus a Hewlett Packard LaserJet printer and I have just taken out a broadband subscription. I have visited various retailers with the following problems without any success; they were either unhelpful or totally confused by my requests. All I want to know is what sort of Wireless Router do need and I want both PCs to be able to use my printer. However, the printer does not have a USB cable (I think it has a serial cable), so how can I connect it?

Margaret Anderson, by email


I hope you have just been very unlucky in your choice of shops; these are perfectly straightforward questions that any reasonably well-trained sales assistant should be able to answer.


Itís worth checking with your broadband provider to see if they can supply you with a combined ADSL modem/Wi-Fi Router, rather than just the modem on its own. Itís one less box and to contend with, configuration and installation are generally a lot easier and it means you wonít have to leave your main PC switched on all of the time you want to access the Internet on your laptop.


If they cannot help I seriously suggest you buy one, prices star at around £45. If you want to use the supplied modem and connect your PC to a wireless router then thereís really not a lot to choose between the well-known brands and you canít go far wrong with models from 3Com, Belkin, Linksys and Netgear etc. Make sure you get one with at least 2 LAN ports, to allow for future expansion, and help with your second problem.


Sharing a printer on a network is easy if the desktop PC it is connected to is left switched on all the time but this is not very convenient, or environmentally sound. The solution is a device called a Print Server, which connects between the printer and the router, bypassing the need for a PC. The Netgear PS101 Mini Print Server would be ideal for you as this connects directly to the printerís parallel port socket. These are widely available online and sell for around £45.




Sizeable Sketches

What I want to do is bring up my watercolour sketches (scanned and filed in My Pictures and various other places) and use the Paint program to add spots or dots etc. and print out the result. However, when I open a picture only a corner of it comes up, greatly enlarged. I can work on this huge corner perfectly satisfactorily but of course it is hopeless, as I need the whole picture. What is going wrong?

Anne Thomson


Nothing is wrong, as such, it is just that Windows Paint is not the best program to use when viewing or editing large images. Paint has very limited Ďsizingí capabilities; in fact you can only zoom in using its four preset magnification settings (x1 x2, x6 and x8). If you are otherwise happy with the way Paint works then I suggest you try a free program called Paint.Net (http://tinyurl.com/y2plg3), which is based on the Windows program but with many extra features, including a much more sophisticated zoom. Otherwise try my current favourite freeware image editing applications, PhotoFiltre (http://tinyurl.com/45hn6), which has numerous extra tools and effects for manipulating your sketches.




Psion of the Times

I've used Psion hand held computers for the last 10 years or so, but my most recent one has finally given up the ghost and gone to cyber heaven! Can you provide any suggestions as to possible replacements?
John Brown, by email


The Psion was something of a design classic and there is nothing quite as convenient and easy to use on the market today. There are still plenty of decent Series 3, 5 and 7 Psion organisers selling on ebay (www.ebay.co.uk) so thereís no need to give up just yet, but you will only be prolonging the inevitable.


Without knowing more about what you want to use its replacement for Iím reluctant to make any specific recommendations but there are plenty of handheld PCs and SmartPhones to choose from. I would focus on those using the Windows Mobile operating system. You may need to budget for a companion fold-up keyboard if you want to do any serious typing, though. Windows Mobile includes ĎPocketí versions of popular Microsoft applications like Word, Excel PowerPoint and Media Player, so file compatibility shouldnít be an issue. It also comes with Internet Explorer and Outlook Mobile and if you donít get on with those there are plenty of third-party alternatives to download. File transfer and synchronisation with a Windows PC are virtually painless and many models have the Wi-Fi and mobile phone connectivity.




© R. Maybury 2007 2105


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