Houston We Have a Problem... 040 23/06/07
Firewall for Vista?
I have purchased a new
PC running Windows Vista. I previously used the ZoneAlarm Pro firewall on
my old XP computer but I understand this is not yet compatible with
Vista. I'm told I don't need any additional security programs for
Vista. What is your view?
Stuart Bolton, by email
Iím a big fan of
ZoneAlarm because unlike the built-in firewall included with Windows XP, it
monitors both incoming and outgoing traffic. This means that all software on
your PC, legitimate, suspicious or malicious, has to first ask your permission
before it can use your Internet connection.
At first glance the
firewall included in Windows Vista appears to be the same as that in XP and
only checks incoming connections but it is a little known fact that it also has
the capability to block outgoing connections. However, Microsoft, in its
infinite wisdom, decided to disable this facility on consumer versions of the
operating system as it was concerned that users would find it too difficult to
configure. But there is a way to switch it back on again, giving you the same
sort of two-way protection as ZoneAlarm and other more advanced firewalls, and
that is to use a free utility called Vista Firewall Control (http://tinyurl.com/28tgrg).
Once installed every time a program requests an outgoing connection for the
first time you can decide whether or not to give your permission.
This program is fairly
basic but it does the job, however if you need more configuration options then
take a look at the paid-for versions, or you could wait a few more weeks for
the Vista version of ZoneAlarm Pro, which is now in the final stages of beta
Ten Thousand Slides to Copy
I have 10,000
colour slides: is there a cheap, fast way to read slides
digitally without loss of quality? I visualise a light
box with a rig to hold a digital camera and a "sliding" (can't
avoid the word) framework to hold 3-5 slides for manual
loading/unloading. Is such a thing
Not quite but you could use a flatbed scanner with an automatic
slide feeder attachment. Canon and Epson make these and they can speedily
process your images in batches of a dozen or so. The trade-off is quality,
since these types of scanner are designed to handle A4 sized documents and
images, nevertheless the results can be quite acceptable and a complete kit
will cost you in the region of £150.
If you canít compromise on quality then you should go for a
dedicated slide scanner. There are several to choose from but I would shortlist
models that have built-in slide feeders or magazine holders, like the Braun
Multimag Slidescan 40000 (around £730). Alternatively slide scanners like the
Nikon CoolScan range can be fitted with a companion automatic slide feeder
(Model No. SF 210), which holds up to 50 slides. Needless to say this option
isnít cheap either and together both devices cost around £750, maybe a little
less if you shop around.
Free Recovery for Deleted Images
accidentally deleted some photographs from the SD memory card used in my
digital camera. I have purchased a file recovery system, which says it has
restored the files but it will not let me open them.
David Small, by
The first thing to
do is ask for your money back, then try a free memory recovery card tool, like
Digital Photo Recovery (http://tinyurl.com/65wyt).
iPod Euro Volume Limit
I suffer from bi-lateral deafness and wear a hearing aid
in both ears.
I have an iPod Nano, which I understand conforms to EU standards for
maximum volume. My
original iPod developed a fault and was exchanged but I now find that I
struggle to hear the music with hearing aids out Ė even on maximum volume,
where I could hear the older one quite comfortably. Iím told thereís a program
that I can install to increase the volume to the original level.
David Walters, by email
There is, but first a quick disclaimer. Fiddling with your iPod
will void the warranty and there is a small chance youíll muck it up completely
so you try these remedies entirely at your own risk.
iPods sold in the EU have their maximum volume limited, ostensibly
to prevent hearing damage to the young but as you point out it is unhelpful to
people with impaired hearing, (though itís possible an excessively loud output
could further damage your already limited hearing, so be careful!). It also
means that tracks or Podcasts recorded at lower than normal volume settings can
be difficult to hear.
Incidentally the facility to limit the volume is also now
available on iPods sold outside the EU and you can download a software update
from the Apple website at: http://tinyurl.com/nmvrd
There are two possible solutions. The volume levels of the tracks
stored on the device can be globally increased, or the iPodís firmware can be
modified to remove the limit. The only trouble is Apple regularly update player
firmware, which overwrites the change and fixes for some very recent models may
not be available yet.
If yours is a 5.5 generation model than you should read this
article first: http://tinyurl.com/27nvbo. If you have an
earlier model and an Apple Mac then try the iPod Volume booster (http://tinyurl.com/ynuzl5),
and for users with Windows, Mac or Linux PCs thereís GoPod (http://gopod.free-go.net/), which purports to disable the volume limit on
almost any model.
© R. Maybury 2007 2805