The Digital Life, Houston We Have a Problem, 107 01/11/08


Attached to Apple

I have an Apple computer, which I am very pleased with. The only problem I have found is that when I send attachments to other non-Apple users, they report back to me that they cannot open them. I rang Apple but they said the fault was with the recipient.

Wendy Hopkins, by email


Apple Support is usually on the ball and they should have told you that when it comes to sending attachments to Windows users you may need to tweak a setting or two in your email program; and in case you are worried, it shouldn’t affect emails or attachments sent from your machine to other Mac users.


It’s all down to differences in the way Windows PCs and Macs handle files. Mac files are ‘forked’ which basically means they come in two parts; one contains the actual data or ‘resource’, the other one, the ‘data fork’ is a sort of mini database that stores information about what’s in the resource file. Needless to say Windows PC’s don’t like forked files.


If you are using Apple Mail go to the Edit menu then Attachments and select ‘Always Send Windows Friendly Attachments.  


In Entourage in Microsoft Office go to the Preferences menu. Click Compose then under Attachments, in the ‘Encode For’ drop-down menu, select ‘Windows (MIMI/Base64) and click OK.



Shutdown Showdown

I am using Vista Ultimate and for the last couple of weeks on about half the occasions when I try to shut down the screen goes black but the computer continues to run. I have scanned for viruses but found none. What else can I do?

Neil Bravey, Bridlington


Shutdown problems are almost always due to a rogue program or Service that starts with Windows, but refuses to go away when Windows is closed. Faulty drivers (especially video drivers) can also do this, but tracking down the culprit can be a tedious business. 


You need to grit your teeth and try what’s known as a Clean Boot. This is a simple, but time-consuming procedure that isolates the faulty component by a process of elimination and usually involves many reboots. You should get there in the end but save it for a day off or wet weekend… You will find a simple to follow guide in Microsoft Knowledgebase article 929135 (http://tinyurl.com/3rnfan).



Mega Problem

I use a digital camera mainly for uploading pictures to ebay. My old camera, a 2-megapixel Fuji model, has broken. It took excellent close-up photos and they could be uploaded in about 10 seconds. My new camera takes 10-megapixel photos and these can take 4 minutes to send. I have tried to reduce the picture setting to 2 megapixels but the quality is not good and it still takes up to a minute to upload. Can you recommend a couple of cameras that will send pictures in under 30 seconds?

Joe Bellis, by email


There’s no need to buy a new camera, the problem is not the number of pixels in your camera’s image sensor – at least not directly -- but the size of the files the camera creates. You can easily reduce that by ‘compressing’ the data, and providing you don’t go too far, you’ll hardly notice the difference. It’s a fairly standard feature in most image editing programs, check the software that came with your camera, otherwise I can thoroughly recommend a freeware program called PhotoFiltre. Simply open the image, right click on it select Save As, thack that the file names and location are correct, click Save and the compression slider appears. Move it to the left. I think you will find that you can compress the file by up to 75 per cent before there’s any noticeable reduction in quality. You’ll find a link to the download at: http://tinyurl.com/6k6n4v. Incidentally, if, as I suspect you are using a dial-up connection, upgrading to broadband would also help speed things up, and it may even work out cheaper.



Hibernating Mouse

My PC runs Windows XP Home and I use a USB optical wheel mouse. When I click on 'Hibernate' to close down and then return later to open Windows the mouse remains frozen. I have downloaded an upgrade file found on the Internet but this is ineffectual. I have also gone to Control Panel and Mouse Properties but there seems to be no way I can improve the situation. My only solution is to re-boot, do you have any ideas?

Tony Platts, Watford, Herts


Possibly. This is often a power management issue and when the PC goes into standby, power to the USB ports is removed but it isn’t automatically restored when Windows resumes. You should be able to fix this by opening Device Manager (Winkey + Break or right-click My Computer and select Properties then Hardware > Device Manager). Click the plus sign next to Universal Serial Bus Controllers to expand the tree and right click on the first instance of ‘USB Root Hub’. Select Properties, then the Power Management tab and deselect ‘Allow the computer to turn off this device…’. Click OK reboot and retry Hibernate. If it doesn’t work repeat the procedure on the next USB Root Hub entry. You can restore the original settings if you like but on desktop PCs it doesn’t do any harm to leave this setting unchecked.





© R. Maybury 2008 2908


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