Ask Rick 021, 30/01/09
How can I print good
quality photos from images that have been emailed to me? When I try the quality
is always poor, probably due to the photos being made smaller to email? Can I
re-size then back to normal? If so would this rectify the problem?
Rosemarie Williams, by
Unfortunately not, when
someone sends you an image as an email attachment it is normally compressed,
which means a lot of the information in the picture, such as fine detail and
subtle colour variations are removed to make the file smaller and quicker to
send. In short you can’t put back the lost detail and colour information. You
can make the image bigger but that only emphasises the imperfections. All you
can do is ask the sender to experiment with different levels of compression, if
they can keep it below 30%, say, you shouldn’t notice too much degradation.
Otherwise ask them to send you the original image file, though be warned that
most digital cameras create files of between 1 and 2 megabytes per image and
unless you both have a fast broadband connection it could take a while.
I am considering buying an external hard drive as I have so many
pictures and files on my computer. If I use an external hard drive to store
these items should I delete these files on my computer after transferring them
onto the backup drive? Also if I deleted these items would it make my computer
faster and keep my photo's files on the external hard drive safer rather than
on the computer?
Ann Chambers, by email
Quite the opposite. The main reason for backing up files onto an
external drive is so you have a second copy in the event of the originals being
lost or corrupted. If you delete the originals you’re back to square one with
just the one copy and I have to say an external hard drive isn’t the safest
place to store irreplaceable picture files. Drives can be damaged through
mechanical shock; if you drop or knock the drive when it’s reading or writing
data it may never work again. Some models are also prone to overheating and
data can be lost if the drive is stored in adverse conditions, (high
temperature, humidity, close to strong magnets or electromagnetic fields).
Deleting the originals won’t make a blind bit of difference to your PC’s
general performance, apart from brief periods when the computer accesses the
files or indexes the hard drive your pictures and most types of data files just
sit around doing nothing.
Driven Mad by Wireless
There are three PC's in my home. Mine runs Windows 98SE, which is
more than adequate for my needs, but now XP and Vista laptops have been added
to the home network. All have Wi-Fi Internet access so I am being urged to
secure the wireless router. I set up WEP encryption, which worked well on the
XP and 98SE machines but I could not fathom how to set up this up on the Vista
computer. The advice I get on the Internet searches about WEP is that I
shouldn’t use it but I don't want to sacrifice my 98SE machine, with all of it's
adequate but old, non-transferable applications. Does WEP work under Vista, if
so, how do I enter the encryption key?
Otherwise can I get WPA to work under 98SE?
John Flynn, by email
WEP (Wired Equivalent
Privacy) and WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) are wireless network encryption
systems and whilst WEP is less secure than WPA, it’s better than nothing and
certainly good enough for most home networks. You certainly shouldn’t’ run a
wireless network without some form of security.
WEP encryption is
supported by Vista, though it is possible the laptop’s wireless adaptor, or its
driver or utility software isn’t WEP-friendly. There’s an easy way to find out,
let Windows manage the connection. Select the network from the connection icon
in the System Tray (next to the clock). Now go to Start > Control Panel >
Network and Sharing Centre. Under Tasks click Manage Network Connection,
double-click the entry under Wireless Network Connection, click the Wireless
Properties button and select the Security tab. Here you will find the a
drop-down menu for Encryption Type – select WEP, and in the box below enter the
network security key, click OK and see if that works. If not check the laptop
and/or wireless adaptor manufacturer’s support pages to see if there’s an
updated driver or a solution.
Otherwise you might be
able to use WPA encryption on the Windows SE machine. If as I suspect the Wi-Fi
adaptor is a few years old check the manufacturer’s website for an updated
driver. If not, in theory all you need to do is buy a new Wi-Fi adaptor.
However, relatively few come with Windows 98 drivers these days, so you could
end up chasing your tail on this one…
Rip Roaring Effects
I use XP and edit my
camcorder tapes with Windows Movie Maker 2. I can import music from Windows Media
Player with out any difficulty but recently I purchased a DVD of home video
sound effects. I copied it to Windows Media Player to convert it to WMA format.
However whenever I try to import a sound effect to Movie Maker it says ‘…wma is
protected using digital rights management and cannot be imported’. Looking at
the disc’s properties it states there is no limit to the number of times it can
be copied, so why is it protected or am I going about it the wrong way?
Jeff Ward, by email
DRM or Digital Rights Management
can be a real pain and Windows Movie Maker seems to be obsessed with it.
Provided the sound effects disc really is copyright free then the simplest
solution is to ‘rip’ the tracks to wav or MP3 file format and this should strip
out the DRM data.
© R. Maybury 2009 0601