The Digital Life, Houston We Have a Problem, 072 01/03/08
Touching on a Problem
After a lifetime
of journalistic touch-typing, mainly thundering on ancient manuals, my fingers
are getting a bit arthritic. Now I'm into the electronic world
and I seem to be brushing left-hand fingertips against the wrong
keys all of the time. Is there any way of making the keyboard a bit less
sensitive, so a casual brush touch doesn’t mean a spelling mistake?
Norman Frisby, by
Keyboard sensitivity is mostly determined by the mechanical
construction of the switches and contacts beneath the keys. A lot of cheapie
keyboards and those supplied with PCs have a very light action and changing to
a better-quality keyboard, with firmer keys, may solve the problem. Why not try
out a few at your local computer store?
However, before you go there is an Accessibility option in
Windows that is worth trying. It’s called Filter Keys and it can be programmed
to ignore very brief or repeated key presses. To set it up in Windows XP up go
to Start > Control Panel > Accessibility Options, select the Keyboard
tab, check ‘Use Filter Keys’ then click the Settings button and experiment with
the ‘Slow Keys’ setting. In Vista go to Start > Control Panel > Ease of
Access Centre > Make Keyboard easier to use > Set up Filter Keys, switch
on ‘Bounce Keys’ and alter the time delay.
Best of Both Worlds?
I'm thinking of replacing my old style monitor with a new flat
screen model, which incorporates a TV tuner.
If I do, will I be able to record TV programmes and turn them into DVDs
Neilsen Webster, Northumberland
Although most new plasma and LCD TVs are fitted with PC VGA input
sockets most of them make poor computer monitors due to the way the display
panel is manufactured and the way the video information is processed.
Even if you do decide to buy one you won’t be able to make
recordings from the TV’s built-in tuner unless your PC is equipped with a
graphics card that has a video input socket, or you purchase a video input
adaptor. You will also need extra recording software and probably a video DVD
burning and authoring application as well.
is buy a proper PC monitor and use a plug-in TV tuner or card, most of which
come bundled with video recorder programs. If possible get a USB Freeview tuner
or ‘dongle’; prices start at under £30. As well as more TV channels and radio
stations these also have an easy to use program planner and picture quality is
often better (depending where you live) than terrestrial TV. You will still
need video DVD burning software, though, but there are freeware alternatives
like DVD Author for GUI (http://tinyurl.com/2m8jcr)
For business use, as
opposed to playing games and viewing pictures, I believe that PC monitors are
incorrectly oriented. We live in a 'portrait' world, so a ninety-degree
rotation of our desktops would be beneficial. I've done this without any
trouble and the results are very pleasing. I can now read a document as I would
normally. However, there's one problem I cannot solve and that concerns my
mouse. It has not rotated so left has become down, up becomes right etc. I
can't find any means of correcting this.
Brian Joseph, Bristol
That is really odd and all of the screen rotation utilities I am
aware of automatically re-orientate the mouse as well. On PC’s with NVidia
graphics cards or adaptors the screen rotate facility is normally enabled by
pressing Ctrl + Alt + Cursor up/down, otherwise, if the facility is available,
it can usually be engaged from Display Properties (right-click desktop
Properties > Settings > Advanced).
I have come across problems with screen rotation on some laptop
touch-pads and graphics tablets and the solution is to download an updated
driver from the manufacturer’s website. This might work in your case,
especially if you are using a fancy or non-standard mouse, otherwise you can
try is updating your PC’s video driver, or – and I’m scraping the bottom of the
barrel now -- use a freeware utility called SaskaMouse (http://tinyurl.com/26u6mp)
that reverses the mouse cursor’s X/Y axis.
re-installed Windows XP, and Office 2003 as an upgrade. Since doing so I cannot
record on CD. The Burning Wizard tells me that the disc is not suitable and the
tray opens with an invitation to change the disc. Every combination of write
once and rewritable CD and DVD are declared unsuitable.
I suspect that after you reinstalled Windows you didn’t load
the correct driver for your DVD writer drive. It is using the default Windows
drivers, which explains why it is able to read discs, but not make recordings.
If the PC was ready built it should be on the driver or utilities disc that
came with it, otherwise you will have to download it from the drive
© R. Maybury 2008 1102