The Digital Life, Houston We Have a Problem, 052
Dubious about Digital
Some two months ago I bought a DAB radio. It’s a top of the range
model but I find it quite temperamental. I particularly like LBC but some days
it is almost unobtainable, the next day it might be clear as a bell. I live in
Somerset, which apparently is perfectly OK for DAB reception but I get the
impression that there is still quite a way to go.
I have been leaving it switched on 24/7 not playing all the time
obviously, but still on with the time showing and with the back-light switched
to zero, I probably listen to it on an average 2 hours a day. I pay my
electricity bill by direct debit and until now had always been in credit but
the last bill stated that they were going to have to increase the Direct Debit
by a whopping £7 a month
Has the radio got anything to do with this do you think? I had
read that DAB radios are quite heavy on juice, needless to say I have left it
off now except when I use it.
Reg. Evans, Somerset
I suspect the intermittent reception is simply due to a poor
signal. On an analogue radio the sound fades or becomes hissy if the signal is
weak but with digital it's all or nothing. If you are in a fringe reception
area changes in atmospheric conditions could be enough to cause the signal
level to fall below the required threshold and the station just disappears. You
should be able to check if this is the case by connecting an external aerial or
trying the radio in an upstairs bedroom or a location closer to the
As for the increased energy bill, it is true that DAB radios
consume a little more electricity -- compared with analogue radios -- but this
would only add a few pence to your quarterly bill. Something else must be
responsible, has your tariff changed recently?
The Need for Speed
Can you recommend a free program that will help me to
speed up my computer, which has become cluttered and is slowing down? I am
running Windows XP.
John King, by email
No single program can speed up a computer, and I would be wary of
any that make such claims as the slowdown you and every other Windows users
experiences is caused by a combination of many different factors. The most
effective cure is to save all of your data, reformat the drive and re-install
Windows every couple of years or so, it’s like having a new PC. Otherwise you
can try some manual spring-cleaning and fine-tuning, such as uninstalling
unused programs, clearing temporary files, cleaning the Registry and disabling
the many unnecessary programs and ‘Services’ that load automatically with
Windows. Have a look at Boot Camp 355 (http://tinyurl.com/cczzr) in the
Telegraph.co.uk Archive for more detailed help.
My hobby is
collecting books on the typology of an area in West Yorkshire and I want to
compare my collection against the local history library holding. The library
has a very large collection, which is catalogued by means of typed index cards,
which are held in punched-hole files containing several hundred references. I
have tried copying down titles by hand but it is too time consuming and prone
to error. The cards have been typed at different times and there is no standard
format or positioning of the text on the card. Can you suggest a way of
digitally extracting the library card details and generating a single
searchable text file database containing all the details?
typing is clear and legible then it should be possible to scan several record
cards at a time and use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software
(included with most scanners), to convert the scanned images into text files.
These can be opened in your word processor then edited into a common format,
suitable for importing into a database program.
Virus Protection and Clunky Clocks
I am still using
Windows 98 and I have a couple of problems. The subscription to my anti-virus
program has run out and now I learn that the newest version does not support
Windows 98. Do you know of any good anti-virus programs that still run on
date and time on the computer seems to have a life of its own. Each time I
correct it; it changes it to former dates and time when I switch on the
computer again. Any idea what I can do to stop it?
Carole Kirby, by
Two of the best
anti-virus programs, AVG (http://tinyurl.com/2n49nd) and Avast! (http://tinyurl.com/8z9h5) both run perfectly well under Windows 98, and
as an added bonus they are both completely free. Ironically your PC is probably
now a lot safer than most machines running Windows XP and Vista, which are now
the focus of attention for virus writers and hackers
A dead or dying
‘backup’ battery on the computer’s motherboard causes your clock problem. This
is responsible for keeping the computer’s RTC or ‘Real Time Clock’ module
running, which ensures that Windows knows the correct time when it is running,
even if it has been disconnected form the mains. These ‘button cell’ type
batteries generally last for between 3 to 5 years, they are quite cheap and
usually fairly easy to replace but if you have any qualms about poking around
inside your machine ask an expert.
© R. Maybury 2007 0209