The Digital Life, Houston We Have a Problem, 088 21/06/08


Time’s Up for Sound Recorder

I have been trying to record some audiocassettes on my PC using the Sound Recorder in Windows XP using a microphone. The idea is to import the .wav files into my ITunes library and save them onto a CD.  This program seems only to allow up to 60 seconds of recording at a time before it automatically cuts off the recording.  Is there a way on increasing the length of recording time?  I cannot find anything in the Help menu.

Chris Stevens, by email


Windows Sound Recorder is very basic and designed to capture short snatches of sound for system events, such as tunes for Windows start up and shutdown. It was never meant for serious audio recording and there are much better ways – but more on that in a moment. There is a way to extend the 60-second limit and all you have to do is make a silent 60-second recording, save it and call it something like ‘blank’. Next go to Insert on the Edit menu and select your ‘blank’ file and make a new silent recording, which this time will last for 2 minutes. Repeat the process as many times as necessary to achieve the recording time that you require. It’s a good idea to save a copy of your ‘blank’ file for further use. When you are ready to make your recording go to Open on the File menu and select your blank.wav file, to make your recording.


Better still, download and install a free audio recording and editing program called Audacity (http://tinyurl.com/2m8jcr). There’s some tips on how make CDs from tape and vinyl and a short Audacity tutorial in Daily Telegraph Boot Camp articles 450 – 454 (http://tinyurl.com/ya4pjp)




The Number’s Up for Word

Is it possible to use page numbering in a Word document but start numbering on the third page (as Page 1) and omit numbers on the last two pages?  I used to be able to do this sort of thing quite easily in WordPerfect. 

John Gandon, by email


Yes it is and all you have to do is click Page Numbers on Word’s Insert menu, set the position then click the Format button. Choose your numbering scheme and under Page Numbering select Start At and put ‘3’ in the Start At box.



Picasa Posers

You have recommended Picasa picture manager in the past and a friend has also spoken favourably of it. I have some questions. Once Picasa arranges my photos will I still be able to import them into Adobe Photoshop? If Picasa is uninstalled will all photos be arranged as before?

Sandy Alderson, by email


There’s no need to worry, Picasa (http://tinyurl.com/yuxms7) doesn’t overwrite or alter your original picture files or folders in any way and they can still be opened viewed, edited and copied by any other program on your PC. When you use Picasa to edit an image it saves a list of the changes you make in a separate data file and they are applied whenever you display, print or export a picture. The only images that actually change after editing are the small thumbnails displayed in the ‘Library’ view. In Picasa 2 (the current version) there is an option to Save an edited image and this does overwrite the original but Picasa automatically creates a backup of the unedited image, which it stores in a hidden sub folder, called ‘Originals’ in the same folder.


By the way, several readers have asked about backing up images edited in Picasa. Picasa has a built-in utility on the Tools menu for saving a selection or all of your edited images to CD or DVD, and it even tells you how many CDs or DVDs you will need to store the photos.



Taken to Task

In the last couple of days strange things have been happening on my computer. When I open My Pictures all of my picture files appear as normal, but the pane on the left hand side of the screen is headed Music Tasks and below it are the tasks associated with My Music e.g. Play Music, Shop for Music Online etc. Similarly when I open My Music all my music folders appear but the pane on the left is headed Picture Tasks and below are the tasks associated with My Pictures. System Restore has not corrected this. How has it come about and can it be corrected?

John Henry, by email


I haven’t the foggiest idea why this happens, and it’s not that unusual, so we’ll just have to put it down to another one of Window’s funny little ways. There’s a couple of fixes that seem to work for most users. You should be able reset the ‘Common Tasks’ by opening Windows Explorer and go to Tools > Folder Options, and select the General tab. Click ‘Use Windows Classic Folders, then OK, close Windows Explorer, reboot, return to Folder Options and reselect Show Common Tasks in Folders and click OK. You can also change the Common Tasks on a per-folder basis. This time in Windows Explorer right click on the folder, select Properties and the Customize tab and choose Pictures or Music from the ‘Use this folder type as a Template’ drop down menu.





© R. Maybury 2008 0206


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