The Digital Life, Houston We Have a Problem, 100 13/09/08
No Fan of Loud Laptops
I have a laptop PC and
the constantly whirring fan is driving me nuts. It is distracting when trying
to listen to music or anything else with sound, or just trying to work
quietly. I do not expect there is
anything I can do about it but I believe these products should come with a
noise rating. If I buy another laptop
how do I know how quiet it is?
David Sargent, by
This is a growing problem
and as laptops become thinner designers find it harder to circulate cooling
air, so the fans have to work really hard. Nevertheless, most models are
reasonably quiet when they are brand new but fan noise often increases as time
goes by. This is due to the narrow airways becoming clogged with dust, hair and
biscuit crumbs, so the fan has to stay on longer and run faster to dissipate
the heat. If this is happened to your machine try using an air duster’ (a can
of compressed gas,) to blow through the vents and grilles. They are available
at most computer stockists and stationers.
Noise can also be
transmitted and amplified by whatever the laptop is resting on. It will sound
louder on a flimsy thin-topped desk, compared with a thicker one, for example.
You may find a simple rubber mat, or a couple of mouse mats can help dampen the
sound; just make sure it doesn’t obstruct the cooling vents. The bearings on
cooling fans also get noisier as they get older, especially on well-used
machines. However they can be expensive to replace and on some models it could
be more than it is worth.
As for finding out how
loud a laptop is before you buy, relatively few manufactures quote meaningful
noise figures and direct comparisons are difficult so let your ears decide; pop
along to your local PC superstore to audition a few machines.
I have been trying to
draw basic street maps with MS Paint but I have found it impossible to draw the
parallel lines needed for roads. Is there any way of making the brush or pencil
function draw parallel lines?
Mark Clemence, by
Not as far as I am aware
though there is a simple kludge you can try. Drawn your road layout then click
the Freeform Selection tool and closely outline the design. Now hold down the Ctrl
key and drag the box a few millimetres diagonally and this create a duplicate,
slightly offset and parallel with the original. Try it with small sections,
rather than the whole map, and this will help to reduce the amount of tidying
up you have to do.
It’s certainly possible
with more advanced drawing programs like PhotoShop and there’s a simple
technique to turn thick lines into parallel lines in Corel Draw and PaintShop
Pro, see the tutorial at: http://tinyurl.com/6ngkps.
It may even be possible to adapt this for other programs.
Searching for an
As good as Google,
Yahoo & Co may be, lots of times I just want to see if a company has a
website but often the name of the company I'm looking for is not that unusual
and others may have already claimed it for other websites. Is there a search
engine that will first search for, then list relevant URLs and website names
before then listing all the other links for that name?
Jim Hyde, Lismore, Co
Not as such. Most search
engines work on keywords, relevant links or specialise in a particular subject
but one way of getting straight to a site is to do a ‘whois’ lookup. Simply go
to http://www.whois.net/, tap in the name
and it displays links and links to all domain variants (i.e. .com, .org,
.co.uk, .net, .tv, etc.) of that name.
I use Windows XP
Professional and when I switch on my computer it displays ‘Hardware Profile
Recovery Configuration Recovery’ menu, I then have the option to select
either 1 or 2 but if I do nothing it continues with the normal start up
process. Windows then
operates normally. Please advise.
Sandy Geyer, by
A Hardware Profile
is an advanced configuration option that allows you to set up your PC to work
with different peripherals at different times. It’s mostly of interest to
laptop owners who use their computer in different locations. This warning
message appears because your computer has two profiles, so if you are not using
this facility you might as well switch it off. Press Winkey + Break, (or go to
Start > Control Panel > System) to open System Properties. Select the
Hardware tab and click the Hardware Profiles button at the bottom. Normally
Profile 1 is the default, so highlight that, click the Properties button and
uncheck ‘Always include this Profile is
selected…’. Click OK, highlight and Remove any other Profiles then make sure
‘Select the first profile…’ is selected, and for good measure set the time
delay box to 0 seconds, click OK and that’s the last you’ll see of it.
© R. Maybury 2008 1808