Ask Rick 027, 20/02/09
Webcam to DVD
I have an Acer laptop
running Windows XP. Recently my son gave a concert, which was transmitted over
a webcam that is left on all the time. It wasn’t a concert hall so there are no
copyright issues etc. My question is, can I record his next concert on to my
PC’s hard drive or burn it direct on to a DVD? I managed to record the last
one, sound only, through a Heath Robinson arrangement on to an audio cassette.
Philip Bell, by email
Anything is possible but
I think you would be much better off arranging to record the concert using a
camcorder. The picture and sound quality will be a hundred times better than a
webcam recording and if a DVD camcorder is used you can kill two birds with one
Freeware webcam recording
options are a bit limited but I would definitely try CamStudio (http://tinyurl.com/33hg9y. This records
any streamed video (and audio) that appears on your monitor screen as standard
.avi files, so you can try some experiments with YouTube videos or a streamed
webcam (try this one in Belushi’s Bar in Edinburgh, which has live sound http://tinyurl.com/ab6pbp)
The quality of CamStudio
is just about okay but the capture area is quite small. For improved video
quality try AutoScreenRecorder Free (http://tinyurl.com/2d357x).
Unfortunately the free version doesn’t record sound but you can do this
separately using a free application like Audacity or MP3 My MP3 (http://tinyurl.com/2m8jcr), however, it
will be quite difficult to accurately synchronise the sound audio and video
If you don’t want to mess
around then the Pro version of AutoScreenRecorder may be your best bet as it
combines decent video quality and audio recording. A single user licence costs
$50, which is a tad pricey, so if anyone can suggest a cheaper alternative, or
a better freeware solution please let us know by using the Comments box.
You can edit your
recordings in Windows Movie Maker (included with XP and Vista) and to copy your
finished recording to DVD you will need an editing and authoring program. See
the various offerings from Pinnacle and Ulead, but if you want to try your hand
with some free Open Source software take a look at Boot Camp 464 (http://tinyurl.com/chjeo2).
I have recently installed
Microsoft Excel onto my computer from MS Office. With this version I find that
numbers typed into a cell are divided by 1000 when entered i.e. 123 changes to
.123 when moving to the next cell I worked my way through numbers and other
features to no avail
Peter E Goldsby, by email
It sounds to me as though
you have accidentally enabled an Excel feature called Fixed Decimal. This
automatically inserts decimal points in a specified position. All you have to
do is go to the Tools menu, then Options, select the Edit tab, uncheck ‘Fixed
Decimal’ and click OK.
Can you please explain
why, when I download Google Earth onto my laptop and desktop PCs, I get
different results, even though the program specifications are exactly the same?
On the desktop I get ‘Cameras’, which lets me to zoom to street level
and move around in places like Paris and Sydney. This facility is missing
on my laptop.
Dave Jones, by email
Providing you have Google
Earth version 4.3 or later installed on the laptop then the Street View feature
should be available. My guess is that it hasn’t been enabled. You will find it
on the Layers menu, in the left hand pane; it’s listed under 3D buildings, make
sure the box is ticked and the camera icons will appear.
GetReady Mystery Message
Whenever I log on to my
computer I get an error message that says: ‘…procedure entry point apsGetReady
could not be located in the link library wlanapi.dll’. I just click OK and it
goes away, but I wonder if it has anything to do will the gradual slowing down
of my computer? I have removed
temporary files, emptied recycle bin and defragmented, but nothing seems to
make it speed up.
Catherine Barber, by
This error message has
nothing to do with the slowdown, that’s usually caused by simple clutter, too
many programs and services loading at startup or not having enough RAM memory.
That message box you are seeing is associated with your PC’s wireless
networking facility. It seems to be quite common on Wi-Fi adaptors made by
DLink and after installing XP Service Pack 3, which updates several key system
files used by Windows, including wlanapi.dll. Try updating the driver, either
from DLink or the wireless adaptor manufacturer’s web site.
Included in my on-screen ‘Gadgets’ on my Vista PC I have set
up a rolling view of the pictures in Windows Photo Gallery. When I click onto a
picture in the sidebar to view, it opens WordPad and displays a page full of
gibberish. How do I either make Word Pad compatible or ensure that these
pictures open in some other window? You need to bear in mind that I am a
relatively new silver surfer and hoping for an easy solution.
Jill Campbell, by email
Don’t ask me how but
it appears that you, or someone else with access to your computer has somehow
managed to set image files (jpegs) to open in WordPad, and as you have
discovered is a very poor image viewer. Don’t worry, it’s really easy to
fix, just go to Default Programs on the Start menu and click the
'Associate File Type ...' link. Scroll down to jpeg (and jpg) click Change
Program and associate it with Windows Picture Gallery, or your preferred image
viewer and click OK.
© R. Maybury 2009 2701