The Digital Life, Houston We Have a Problem, 095 09/08/08


Now Hear This…

I am looking for a new mobile phone, which has the facility to increase the volume, as I am becoming rather deaf. Do you have any recommendations?

Ethel Keevil, by email


There used to be a couple of extra loud models in the late 1990s but I am fairly sure they have disappeared by now. I suspect that’s because many modern mobiles have features that can prove very useful to those with hearing difficulties.


They include vibrating and flashing call alerts and programmable ring tones (if you have problems hearing certain frequencies). A lot of handsets have built-in speakerphones, which addresses the problem of low volume and Bluetooth hearing aids are available, which communicate directly with the phone. Text messaging has become hugely popular with the deaf community and several service providers have voicemail to text services, so really your biggest problem is deciding which combination of features best suits your needs. The Royal Nation Institute for the Deaf (RNID) website at: http://www.rnid.org.uk/, has some useful advice; type ‘mobile phones’ into the Search box and read through the news items, resources and forums devoted to the topic.



Internet Explorer Mis-Informed

I have just noticed an error in the telephone number that is entered when I press Autofill on Internet Explorer. How can I edit the content in Autofill?

Charles Bradshaw, by email


You can't, at least not easily and not without specialist software. The facility to automatically fill out forms is known as AutoComplete and the data is encrypted and stored in the Registry. All you can safely do is delete the lot and start again by going to Tools > Internet Options > Content tab. Click the AutoComplete button then the Settings button and under Delete AutoComplete History click OK.



Changing Defaults

Before the recent failure of the motherboard and CPU on my Vista PC, my emails were through Microsoft Outlook.  However, they are now go through Windows Mail.  Can you tell me how to return to Outlook?

Kevin Bennett, by email


Set your program preferences is easy in Vista. All you have to do is go to Default Programs on the Start menu, click ‘Set Your Default Programs, select Outlook on the list in the left hand pane and make sure it is set as the default for emails.



Windows to Mac

I wish to download some files and documents from my Windows 98 SE computer before it dies; it has only a floppy drive. I tried connecting it to my Mac (Leopard OSX) and Windows XP laptop, using a USB cable, but the computers did not recognise each other.

Jim Corrigan, via email


Never, ever connect two PCs together using a standard USB cable as there is a very good chance you’ll blow the USB ports (or worse) on one or both machines. Specialist USB transfer/link cables and software for Windows PCs are available  – Maplin (www.maplin.co.uk) has one for under £15.00 -- though I have never had much luck with Windows to Mac USB connections. Alternatively, use a USB memory stick. The only thing to watch out for is that it must come with Windows 98 compatible drivers, many do; otherwise they can usually be downloaded from the manufacturer’s web site. Once on the USB stick your files should be readable on any Windows XP, Vista or Mac PC.



Photo Finish

My Canon digital camera has developed a fault. The shop I purchased it from five years ago looked at it and said they think it is the sensor but it will have to be sent away for a proper diagnosis and estimate. As they will charge me £25.00 to do this, just to get an estimate, which they said could be as much as £100 I think I will be buying a new camera.


Whilst I take advice and decide what to buy I am using a Kodak single-use camera. I would like to keep my photos on my computer so when I have this camera developed what is the best way to put my photographs into My Pictures?

Pamela Ford, by email


If you have a scanner you can easily do it yourself; budget flatbed scanners can be found for as little as £20. But why not just ask whoever is processing the film to put a copy of your photographs on to a CD-ROM, USB memory stick or digital camera memory card? Most on-line and high street photo processors will be only too happy to oblige, so shop around for the best prices.



Dim View of Laptops

My 19-inch laptop is 2 years old and the left side of the screen is sometimes darker than the rest of the screen. It is on the highest brightness setting possible. Is this a fault that I can remedy or does it need expert attention?

Raouf Yassin, by email


Most LCD screens use two or three ‘cold cathode’ backlight tubes. With normal use they should last between 5 and 8 years; occasionally the circuits that drive the tubes can fail but generally speaking these components are pretty reliable so manufacturers don’t make them easy to replace. It can be done but if the tube or driver circuit is an unusual type or difficult to obtain then it may cost more to repair than the laptop is worth.






© R. Maybury 2008 2107


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