Houston We Have a Problem... 042 07/07/07
Driving out iPod
a mobile life (ski instructor in winter, running a B&B in summer) and so
need things to be portable. I have recently purchased a 30Gb iPod, but iTunes
has really jammed up the laptop's hard drive.
it be possible to move my iTunes files to an external hard disc drive, or does
iTunes have to be on the laptop's hard drive in order to function?
Evans, by email
No problem, open
iTunes and go to Edit > Preferences, click the Advanced tab, make sure ‘Keep
iTunes Music folder organized’ is checked and click OK.
Still in Preferences, select the General tab, click the
Change button and work your way to the location on your external drive where
you want your new iTunes library to go and click ‘Make New Folder’ button. Give
it a name and click OK. Now go to the Advanced menu, click on Consolidate
Library and confirm the action by clicking the Consolidate button then the files
will be copied. Finally, delete your original iTunes folder (usually
C:\Documents and Settings\<yourname>\My Documents\My Music\iTunes), and
empty the Recycle Bin.
I live in France and find getting help with my
computing problems difficult. I have a laptop with 2 USB sockets, the lower one
of which has suddenly stopped working. I can therefore no longer able to use my
HP printer at the same time as the connection to my French broadband
connection. Can you help?
Maureen Benjamin, Bourreliere
USB sockets on laptops are quite fragile – cables get
snagged, plugs strained – and if the motherboard is damaged it may prove
expensive to repair, possibly more than the machine is worth. If so the
workaround is to use a ‘Hub’, which plugs into your working port and functions
like a mains extension socket, giving you 2 or 4 sockets from the one working
one. If any of the devices you use draw power from the USB socket you will need
to use a ‘Powered’ type hub.
Otherwise there may be a driver problem. Press Winkey +
Break to open System Properties then select Hardware > Device Manager.
Scroll down the list to USB Serial Bus Controllers and if you see a yellow
exclamation mark against any of the entries right click on it and select
Properties > Driver > Update Driver; if asked insert the driver/utility
disc that should have been supplied with your machine.
Our 13-year old
daughter has mild cerebral palsy, which means she has limited manual
dexterity and poor balance. Her school is reluctant to issue her with a
laptop (essential as her handwriting is poor and slow) because it fears that it
could be damaged. Are there any laptops on the market that might be robust
enough for our daughter without being prohibitively expensive?
No ordinary laptop
can survive a fall of more than a few centimetres onto a hard surface, though a
well-padded case provides some protection against knocks and bumps. There are
several ‘ruggedised’ models, like the Panasonic Toughbooks (http://tinyurl.com/7au5y),
General Dynamics Itronix (http://www.gd-itronix.com/)
and Terralogic’s Toughnote range (www.terralogic.co.uk).
They’re designed for military and industrial and outdoor users but they are
very expensive, though second-hand
bargains do turn up on ebay from time to time.
Help may be at hand,
though and a new generation of cheap, rugged, but very well specified laptops
is in the pipeline. They’re a spin-off from the One Laptop Per Child project,
and the first model, the Asus Eee PC (http://event.asus.com/eeepc/)
uses microchip memory instead of a hard drive. It is due to go on sale later
this year with an anticipated selling price of £100 for the basic model.
Whenever I turn the computer on, the broadband is
connected straight away automatically.
Nothing wrong with that, but often I just want to write a letter or look
at photos or do something on iTunes and I don’t need it on. While it’s not doing any harm, it means that
when we use the telephone, the connection on the phone is not that great, with
a lot of background noise. Is there an option to tell the computer only to
connect to the Internet when I click on the icon, as I used to do with dial-up?
Carla Maddocks, via email
One of the
key benefits of broadband is that it’s ‘always on’ and you can surf the web and
make and take phone calls at the same time. Those noises are be blocked by
devices called Microfilters so you shouldn’t need to disconnect. Microfilters
are the small white boxes that are supplied with your modem; there’s one for
the modem and you need to fit one on every phone in the house. You can buy
extra ones from your ISP, PC suppliers and online, prices start at around
© R. Maybury 2007 2805