Ask Rick 051, 15/05/09 & Houston 131, 06/06/09
My mother's oldest friend, a granny in her 70's, has heard about
Skype and is desperate to see her grandchildren. She is not at all computer
literate (has never had one) and suffers from MS, so has a fairly short fuse
for things going wrong. I have been tasked with advising her on what computer
and broadband supplier she should have. I quail at the prospect - can you help
Barry Hillier, by email
I firmly believe that you are never too old to learn about
computers, but it can be a very steep learning curve, especially for novices
with a short temper. Long before you
get to any buying decisions she needs to get to grips with the basics, learning
to use a mouse and keyboard, and finding her way around Windows. She really
needs to spend some time in front of a computer with someone, maybe you can
help? This will also highlight any problems she may experience with the display
and input devices, which is important to know before you buy any hardware.
If Skype is her only reason for wanting a computer, or she doesn’t
take to it, then there are alternatives. Asus have just introduced the AiGuru
SV1, which is a dedicated Sky Videophone that is now selling online for around
£220. It has a 9-inch display, a built-in camera and is very easy to use; all
you have to do is plug it in. If course the user will need a broadband
connection but there are plenty of comparison sites and buying advice on the
web to help you make a decision.
I have Microsoft Office on my laptop, from which I use for letters
etc. Every file gets a .wps extension,
which is OK unless I attach a piece to an email, which the recipient can't
read. Some periodicals will only accept emailed attachments with .doc or .txt
extensions, so how do I change my documents to these formats?
Barry Martin, Bolton, Lancs
By the sound of it you have Microsoft Works Office Suite, rather
than Microsoft Office, which is a completely different animal. You can save
documents in plain text format using the Save As dialogue box on the File menu;
the .txt option is on the Save As Type drop-down menu. You may also be able to
save documents in .doc format, depending which version of Works you have. If it
has Word 2000 go to Word’s File menu then New > More Word Templates >
Other Documents > Batch Conversion Wizard, click OK and follow the prompts.
If your copy of Works doesn’t have that facility then you can
either install Word (or MS Office, older
versions can now be found quite cheaply on ebay), or switch to one of the
alternative word processors, like AbiWord, Jarte or OpenOffice.Org. These have
the option to save documents in .doc format, they are all free and you'll find
links to the downloads at: http://tinyurl.com/28hx9k
How does my Garden Grow?
Is there a program, which will let me put 6 or 8 photos on the
screen at once, for comparison, without any surrounds? In Photoshop Elements I
can open them, but there are various toolbars both for the page and for each
photo, taking up a lot of space. I
don’t want to manipulate the pics, just see how my garden grew from one year to
Jennifer Fletcher, by email
Once again the solution lies with our old friend Picasa, the free
picture organiser and editing program from Google (I should be on commission…).
Anyway, download and install Picasa from http://picasa.google.co.uk/,
and once it has catalogued all of your images it opens in the Library View. The
default setting shows around 24 thumbnail images per page (depending on your
screen size and resolution etc, but just below the Library View window, on the
right hand side there’s a slider that lets you increase the size of the
thumbnails. The maximum setting, around 6 per page, should be just what you are
looking for. The slideshow option also lets you skip backwards and forwards
through your images, so you can make comparisons.
Print Range Ink Saver
Having downloaded a 100 page PDF instruction manual into Adobe
Reader the printer ran out of ink half way through. Is it possible, having
replaced the ink, to take up the printing from where it was stopped instead of
having to print the whole lot again?
Ian Jackson, by email
Yes it is and in Adobe Reader and most Windows
applications with a Print function simply go to File > Print/Print Setup.
This opens your Printer's Properties dialogue box, which should have a
Page Range option, where you can set it to print from Page X to Page Y.
© R. Maybury 2009 2004