The Digital Life, Houston We Have a Problem, 082 10/05/08
On the Cards
Some months ago you
extolled the virtues of Picasa for managing photos on a PC. I followed your tip
and downloaded the program, which is everything you said it was. However I have
a problem to which I cannot find the solution.
The program that came
with my Olympus camera allows me to print a photograph on the bottom half of an
A4 sheet, and then, by folding that sheet in half, I get an A5 greetings card.
Picasa does not seem to have this facility of printing only one photo in a
specific place - or am I missing something?
Ralph Stone, by email
Picasa has a very good
assortment of printing facilities but you are right, thereís no greeting cards
option. However, there is a simple workaround. All you have to do is create a
Ďblankí white image, select the two prints per page option, put your chosen
image in one half and the blank image in the other. You can do a similar trick
with a two-fold card, with your image in one corner, and blanks in the other
I have a fairly modern
PC using Windows XP with a 1.5GHz processor and 256Mb of RAM. Recently I have
noticed a considerable slowing up of the processors ability to do things, like
booting up, opening files, Word, Outlook Express, Internet Explorer, closing
down, etc. Can you give me some ideas on how I can speed things up?
I am surprised that you
even noticed itÖ XP really struggles to get going on only 256Mb of RAM. You
will get an immediate performance boost by increasing your PCs to memory to at
least 1Gb, 2Gb if your motherboard can accommodate it and with memory prices so
low at the moment thereís really no excuse to hobble your system.
However, the usual cause
of a progressive slowdown is clutter and redundant start-up items. The quick
and simple cure is to backup all of your data, wipe the drive and start again,
otherwise treat your machine to a thorough Spring Clean by following the XP
tuning tips in the archived Daily Telegraph Boot Camp articles 355 Ė 357, which
you find at: http://tinyurl.com/cczzr.
I am thinking of
buying a Toshiba Satellite P200 laptop. Can you tell me what the implications
might be as this model has an HD-DVD drive, which has been dropped by Toshiba.
Will this mean the DVD player on said laptop has become obsolete?
Barbara Knowlton, by
Although the HD-DVD
format has been effectively abandoned, unless you were thinking of buying this
laptop on the strength of its abilities to replay high definition movies, I
donít think it will be a problem. The drive is backwards compatible with
ordinary audio and data CDs, data DVDs and standard definition video DVDs and
its CDs and DVD burning capabilities are unaffected, as are the rest of its PC
functions. In fact, thank to the formatís recent demise there may well be some
bargains to be had.
Is it necessary to
leave my broadband modem switched on? The installer said that I should, but
aren't we all supposed to be saving energy?
Maureen Smith, by
Modems and routers
consume very little power, but I take your point, and if we all switched our
modems off at night then the energy savings across the country could be quite
significant. A simple plug-in timer is all you need, just set it to switch the
power off when you have finished using the modem for the day. Whilst it is true
that the lives of some electronic components can be shortened by repeatedly switching
them on and off, itís unlikely to have any effect on the normal working life of
a device like a broadband modem, which will usually be replaced or upgraded
every 3 Ė 5 years. Youíll probably only save between £5 and £10 a year on your
electricity bill, but there are other potential benefits. Every time your
broadband modem connects to your ISP your PC is assigned a new IP Address, this
enhances your online privacy and makes it harder for anyone to hack into your
I have recently
acquired a computer running Vista Home Premium. Can you recommend a program for
translating languages, for example English in to Spanish, and Spanish to
Michael J. Ackerman,
This is not an area Iím
especially familiar with and if more knowledgeable readers have any suggestions
Iíll be happy to pass them on. However, for small quick and simple translation
jobs I recommend the Babelfish (http://babelfish.altavista.com/)
online translation service. It is free, fast, can process web pages and blocks
of text up to 150 words at a time and currently works in over a dozen
languages. Machine translation system like this use a technique known as
Ďgistingí, which means itís not grammatically perfect, but itís usually good
enough to convey meaning.
© R. Maybury 2008 2104