The Digital Life, Houston We Have a Problem, 089 28/06/0


Taken to Task

In a recent Houston… you explained how to reduce the size of pictures for emailing. In the My Pictures folder when I select ‘Send To’, Mail Recipient does not appear on the menu, only the drives and Desktop are listed. Also in the 'My Pictures' folder I do not get the sidebar on the left hand side showing Picture Tasks, File and Folder Tasks, Other Places etc. that appear on my wife’s computer. Both computers are XP2.   Can you please help with this problem?

Gordon Hartley, by email


Normally these options are displayed by default but if someone has been tinkering – and you know whom I’m talking about – then they can disappear. To get back Picture Tasks in the left hand column click the ‘Folders’ button on the Windows Explorer/My Pictures toolbar, and this works for all Explorer type Windows. If it doesn’t then you have to go to Tools > Folder Options > General and make sure 'Show Common Tasks in Folders is checked.



Plus Points

I have some programmes saved on my Sky+ recorder and I wish to keep them long-term. I am aware of how to save them to good old-fashioned video, but can I save them to my laptop for subsequent burning to CD/DVD?

Peter Skinner, by email


Yes and no… As far as I am aware it is not possible to directly download digital recordings from a standard SKY+ box to a PC. Apart from anything else there are no suitable data ports on the SKY+ box. The USB socket on the back is not used at present; it’s quite handy for charging your iPod, though… As you say you can record the analogue video and audio outputs on a VCR, DVD recorder or PC but the digital to analogue and analogue back to digital conversion processes usually result in a noticeable drop in picture quality.


If fact there are ways to extract recordings and convert them into a format suitable for DVD burning but it involves removing the hard drive from the SKY+ box and connecting it to a PC. You also need a fair amount of expertise plus some specialist software and it is quite time consuming. Needless to say, it also invalidates your warranty and I have no doubt there’s something about it in the small print in your SKY subscriber agreement.



On the Slide

I have received an email with a slideshow that opens on my XP computer. I want to take some photographs from this slide show and use them as a screensaver. I have transferred the show to My Pictures in the hope that I could stop on the pictures I want and remove them but I have tried everything and have come to the conclusion that it is not possible.

Tony Pearce, by email


If you can find out which program was used to create the slideshow it may be possible to install it and pull out individual images, or maybe the person who sent them to you can oblige and send them to you? Otherwise you can capture images as they are displayed, by pressing the PrtScn key on your keyboard. The image is saved in the Windows Clipboard and from there Paste it into an image editor, such as Windows Paint, by pressing Ctrl + V. You can then crop the picture and use SaveAs on the File menu to save the image as a jpeg file.



Save or Run?

I was delighted to read in a recent edition of Houston…. that the AVG anti virus program is still free. I followed your advice and went to the website to download the program, and hesitated, when faced with the choice ‘Run’ or ‘Save’. For some reason I chose Run and everything seems to be okay but I would be grateful for an explanation of the pros and cons of these choices.

Dominique O'Hara


Save is usually the best option because it means the whole program is downloaded and stored on your PC’s hard drive. When it has finished you click on the file to start the installation process. If you choose the Run option the program starts installing straight away, while the data is still downloading. Normally it doesn’t matter but if for some reason the download is interrupted the installation will fail, and if it happens at a crucial point, it could be difficult to unpick the mess.



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?  This is to form a booklet. 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 the 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.





© R. Maybury 2008 0906


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