The Digital Life, Houston We Have a Problem, 098 30/08/08


Sounding Out PowerPoint

I occasionally receive PowerPoint slideshows, with some really beautiful accompanying music. Can you tell me how to extract the sound file?  My laptop is of the Windows Vista variety with Office 2007 and PowerPoint installed.

C. Chan, by email


Clearly we move in very different circles. I can’t say that I’ve ever felt the urge to listen again to a PowerPoint soundtrack – once is usually more than enough -- but if that’s what you want, so be it… Audio and other media components are embedded in the PowerPoint PPS file but there is a way to separate them out.


Open the presentation in PowerPoint then go to File > SaveAs. On the Save As Type drop-down menu select Web Page (*.htm, *.html), give the file a name and click Save. If you open the newly created folder you will find all of the files used to create the presentation, including the .wav or .mp3 audio files.



Email Smiles

Since upgrading to Windows Vista I can no longer send emails with images or animated gifs within the text. I can only add these as attachments. On my previous computer with XP, I could compose attractive and funny emails for the grandchildren by punctuating the text with little smileys etc.  Alas, no longer.

David Knott, by email


Windows Mail in Vista has the same basic options as Outlook Express, but some of them have been turned off to make messages less vulnerable to infection and attack. To switch this particular facility back on go to Tools > Options. Make sure that HTML is selected as the ‘Mail sending format’ then click the HTML Settings button and tick the item ‘Send pictures with messages’.



When the Chips are Down…

I've upgrade to a more advanced sound card, to replace the faulty audio adaptor on my PC’s motherboard. The new software installed without incident but so far there has been no sound from the speakers. I wonder if there's a conflict with the on-board sound. How do I re-configure the computer settings to recognise the new card?

Murray Bush, by email


This option to disable the on-board audio adaptor, so you can use a plug-in sound card, will be in the computer’s BIOS (Basic Input Output System) program, which tests and configures the hardware components of your computer immediately after switch on. To enter the BIOS you have to press a key or combination of keys (sometimes displayed on the screen -- usually something like ‘To enter Setup press F2) a few moments after you turn it on. If you can’t see the on-screen prompt consult the manual or check the PC manufacturer’s website. The switch for the onboard sound card is usually in one of the Chipset menus.




A Bad Time to Save Power?

We keep being told to switch appliances off at the socket to save power.  My question is, what will happen to the video if I do this and will I muck up it’s programming? Also, what about the computer?

Wendy Alexander, by email


Most recent VCRs automatically reset their clocks after a power interruption using time data contained in Teletext signals. Programming information may be lost but this varies from one model to another so you need to check the manual, or carry out a test.


There’s really no need to switch desktop PCs off at the mains after shutdown. Power consumption in this state is negligible. It doesn’t matter if you do, though, as the PCs internal clock is sustained by a backup battery, which lasts between 3 and 5 years. If you have broadband, both XP and Vista automatically synchronise the Windows clock with timer-server websites, though this feature is not enabled by default in XP (to do so right-click the desktop clock. Select Adjust Time and select the Internet Time tab). 



Medical Info Takes a Pasting

Can you please advise how I should go about copying and pasting from a web page?  The information I'm trying to preserve is from a motor caravanning forum. Someone has put together all the details of what medical treatments you can get when travelling in all European countries, including Switzerland, Norway, Iceland (these not in the EU).


I highlighted the relevant info, clicked on Edit > Copy. I then opened a blank Word document, but on going to the Edit menu, Paste is greyed out.

Peter Rust, by email


Normally that should work but if there are a lot of images on the page, or HTML content (ads, fancy graphics etc.), the page or parts of it won’t copy. You should be able to copy it by only highlighting chunks of text and avoiding any graphic elements. Alternatively, switch to the Firefox browser and use the Page Style (No Style) option on the View menu. This displays the page as plain text, which you should be able to copy into Word without any problems. You could also try printing the page, or if you are taking a PC with you, save the page so you can access it off-line.




© R. Maybury 2008 0808


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