Houston We Have A Problem 063, 25/07/09
MP3 Player Not Loud Enough
I have a small MP3 player, which I use to play music and podcasts
in the car. I transfer the files from the My Music folder on the computer to
the MP3 player using Copy and Paste.
Is there any way of boosting the volume level of these MP3s either
before or after transfer as the volume level when put through the Aux socket in
my car seems very low? With the MP3 player set to full volume, I have to have
the car radio volume set at around 25 where normal radio listening is around
Peter Buck, by email
This is a job for an excellent little freeware utility called
MP3Gain (http://tinyurl.com/2w2na). In
addition to adjusting the volume or gain of a single track it can also
‘normalise’ your whole collection so that all tracks have the same level.
Revert to Type
On a typewriter each character occupies the same width on the
page, which means that characters in following lines can be aligned vertically
with those above. In Microsoft Word, the width taken up by each character
varies, e.g. 'W' occupies more space than 'I', with the result that I find it
impossible to align characters vertically, which I think looks very untidy! Do
you know of any way that the characters in Word can be evenly spaced?
David Lyle, by email
All things are possible, though I disagree that proportional
spacing or ‘kerning’, looks untidy, it is a long established typographical
technique that makes printed text much easier to read. However, I accept that
there are situations when it may be useful to align characters vertically,
lists and charts for instance, in which case try this: highlight the block of
text that you want to change then go to Format > Font, select the Character
Spacing tab and override kerning by changing the spacing. Try increasing the
value to between 0.5 and 1pt and click OK to judge the effect. Another way to
achieve a typewritten appearance is to Justify the copy, (highlight the block
of text and click the Justify icon on the toolbar). There’s also a very good
selection of free Typewriter-style fonts at datafont.com, (http://tinyurl.com/2v4acj).
Seeing The Big Picture
My laptop runs Vista Home Premium. When I start up a magnifier
appears, which I do not want. How do I disable this device?
Brian Watson, by email
The on/off switch is not well signposted. Go to Start > Control
Panel and double-click to open Ease of Access Centre, Ignore the Magnifier
button at the top of the page and scroll down to and click on the link above
Optimize Visual Display, called ‘Make Computer Easier to see’. Scroll down to
the ‘Make things on the screen larger’ and uncheck ‘Turn on magnifier then click
We run a PC and laptop and have been
connected to broadband since last September.
Last week we had thunderstorm, which activated the electricity supply
trip switch. The broadband router,
which I've left connected to the mains, was not working after the trip switch
was reset. I contacted the ISP and they
sent a replacement router as it was still under warranty. I've bought a new
adaptor with a power surge device. Will
this protect the router in future? Is it advisable to turn the router off or
should it be left connected?
Marilyn Pope, by email
Both the mains supply and telephone
network are generally quite well protected against lightning strikes but if you
live in a rural area, your phone and power connections are carried by overhead
cables and a strike occurs nearby then a surge protector isn’t going to be much
use against the enormous voltages and currents involved. Fortunately such
incidents are rare and smaller but potentially damaging voltage ‘spikes’ on
phone and power lines can be eliminated by surge protection devices, so they’re
well worth having, wherever you live. Nevertheless, if it looks or sounds as
though there’s a thunderstorm approaching then it is prudent to disconnect all
electronic devices, including TVs, video recorders, satellite boxes, PCs and so
on from the mains and phone line for the duration, just in case.
Mixing it with Word
I have some old pictures on my computer that have been saved in a
.mix format. Vista cannot open them as
it says it is an "unknown format".
Is there any way I can open the files to view them and save in jpeg?
Barry Toms, by email
The .mix image format is used almost exclusively by Microsoft
PhotoDraw and Picture It. If you no longer have these applications then you should
be able to open it in Word. Open a blank document and go to Insert > Picture
> From File and locate the .mix image and it will open on the page. To
extract it and save it as a jpeg save the Word document as web page (SaveAs on
the File menu) and in the folder where it has been saved there will be a folder
called ‘filenames-files’, your image will be in there, as a jpeg file and you
can copy it to another folder.
I cannot seem to open any attachment sent to me on my Compaq
laptop (Windows XP) when it is sent using .pps, whatever that is. It tells me to
create an association in folders in the Control Panel - but it doesn't work for
me. What am I doing wrong?
Anita Temple, Winchester.
It’s not your fault; this message is really misleading and results
in a lot of confusion. Basically Windows is saying that it doesn’t know how to
open the attachment you’ve been sent because it can’t find the necessary
program on your computer. The file in question is a PowerPoint presentation, so
you either need to get hold of a copy or install Microsoft Office, which
contains PowerPoint, otherwise you can install OpenOffice (free from www.openoffice.org/), which includes a
PowerPoint compatible presentation program called Impress, or download a free
PowerPoint ‘viewer’ utility from Microsoft at: http://tinyurl.com/6b6g5.
© R. Maybury 2009 2906