The Digital Life, Houston We Have a Problem, 101 20/09/08
Convert to Windows
My recently purchased
digital camera can produce short movie sequences in .mov format, which is not
recognised by Windows Media Centre and can only be played through QuickTime. Is
there any cheap software on the Internet for converting .mov files to .wmv
format so they can be played in Media Centre?
John King, by email
There is and I suggest
Quick Media Converter, (http://tinyurl.com/5zzolx).
It’s free and it works with most popular video formats. Otherwise, if you want
to avoid installing software on your PC try the free and very simple to use
online converter at: http://media-convert.com/.
Yellow Line Fever
Our son lives in
Ilkley Yorkshire, and we live in Norfolk. Because of the distance between us we
can't just pop over to see our young granddaughter, so every week my son helps
her to call us using the video facility in Skype. He has a clear picture of us
on his screen but his picture on our computer has a yellow line taking up about
a third of the screen. Any ideas?
Joe Tolch, by email
I am assuming that you
have checked with your son to make sure that there are no lines on his
‘preview’ screen (the small inset screen showing the view from his camera. If
so this could be something as simple as sensor ‘flare’, caused by a bright
light immediately above (but out of view) of the camera lens.
The other, more likely
cause is a DirectX setting. DirectX is
the collective name for a set of software components responsible for handling
multimedia content on Windows PCs. Normally DirectX remains behind the scenes
but you can access a configuration menu by going to Run on the Start menu (In
Vista go to Search on the Start menu) and type ‘dxdiag’. Click OK, then No to get rid of the ‘Do you
want to allow…’ message and the DirectX Diagnostic Tool menu screen appears.
Select the Display tab and under DirectX Features, if permitted, disable
‘DirectDraw Acceleration’ and Direct3D Acceleration then click Exit.
No Wi-Fi Worries in Oz
I am going to
Australia for six months and in the past have used Internet cafes for email and
online banking. However I thought of
taking a small Asus Eee notepad this time.
I am assuming that there will be Wi-Fi hotspots in the big cities,
however one dealer has assured me that Linux, although it has no security
software, is quite safe. A second
dealer tells me not to consider anything less that XP or Vista with Norton
software, which means a more conventional laptop. Would I be better staying with the Internet cafes if the Eee
really is not safe to use for on line banking etc.
Keith Balentine, by
The Linux operating
system is inherently more secure than Windows. It’s also nigh-on impossible for
viruses and malware to spread due to the small number of machines involved,
what’s more Eee PCs are a lot cheaper than Windows models, so could it be that
dealer number two is trying to sell you something? If opt for an Eee I would go
for the 900 or 100 models, which have larger, more useable screens and better
battery life (Windows XP is also available as an option if you can’t bear to be
parted from Microsoft). The only downside is the flexy keyboard, which really
isn’t up to serious typing otherwise they make good travelling companions.
When I try to defrag
the drive on my Windows XP computer I get a message that says ‘Some files on
this volume could not be defragmented. Please check the defragmentation
report’, but no files are listed. I have tried turning off the anti-virus
program and firewall and defragging using Safe Mode but with no success.
Ian White, by email
Unless you are defragging
for a very good reason I would leave well alone and contrary to popular belief
defragging has very little effect on performance. If you want to go ahead then
there are several reasons why this message appears. Usually it is because
programs are ruining in the background or some files are in use, but they are
normally listed and since you have tried running defrag in Safe mode we can
discount this possibility.
Other reasons include a
lack of hard disc space; defrag needs at least 15% free space to run. Very
large, gigabyte plus files can upset it, though sometimes they will be
processed if you run defrag several times. Defrag does not like the Recycle
Bin, so make sure this is empty before you start, and it cannot defrag files
that contain errors. To find out if it is the latter open Windows Explorer,
right click on the disc icon then select Properties > Tool > Error
Checking, make sure ‘automatically fix errors…’ is ticked and click Check
Now. If that doesn’t help, you are
still unable to run defrag, and you are really, really obsessive about getting
it to work then try a third-party defrag utility, like Diskeeper or
© R. Maybury 2008 1808