Houston We Have a Problem 09



Houston We Have A Problem 065, 08/08/09


Cordless Constraints

I have a cordless phone system from BT, which runs 5 handsets off the base unit, but I want more handsets!  I don't live in a mansion, but I find the internal intercom facility immensely useful.  Ideally I could do with around 8 handsets but I can't find a system, which extends to that size.  I understand I could run handsets off an additional base unit, but then the handsets would not all communicate with each other, which would not be what I want.  Any ideas? 

Fiona Buckley.


In theory it shouldn’t be a problem. The Digital Enhanced Cordless Telephone or DECT system used in the UK (and throughout much of the world) operates on scores of channels but for various reasons, including cost, complexity and the need to avoid interference in crowded urban and office environments, many systems support a maximum of 6 handsets. On some budget models it can be as few as 2 or 4. There are exceptions and several office systems can support 8 or 10 handsets but these are fearfully expensive. One alternative worth investigating is a combination DECT/IP phone system, like the Snom M3 (http://tinyurl.com/brjkfw).  It’s still quite pricey comparable with top-end DECT phones, but you can connect up to 8 handsets, and since it uses VOIP technology though your broadband connection, each handset can have its own phone number and up to three handsets can make and take calls simultaneously.



Second Class Email

I have been using my GMail address for at least the last 5 years. On many websites I get the message when I complete a form that I must fill in a valid email address. This is the only email I have and is definitely valid as I am using it daily. Can you help?
Neels Kriek, by email


You must be one of the very first GMail users (the beta test began in April 2004 and was only available to invited testers). In which case you should know by now that webmail and free email accounts are often regarded as second-class services for the simple reason that they are widely used and abused by scammers and spammers. Many organisations and websites concerned about security or used for online transactions and financial services are reluctant to allow them as it can be difficult, if not impossible to verify whom the address belongs to. Clearly that’s unfair to the vast majority of honest and responsible users but assuming that you have an account with an ISP then you should have been issued with at least one ‘proper’ email address, so try using that.  



Playback Problems

I have burnt several DVDs on a Panasonic DVD recorder and found that some disks pixilate and stop playing after around 45 minutes so that now have many unwanted DVD drink coasters. What causes this? 

Mr A. Thomas, by email


The quality of DVD-R/RW discs varies enormously, even from the wekk known manufacturers, but whatever you do avoid ultra cheap or unbranded discs, which are often seconds or rejects. The other problem is that the optical characteristics of recordable discs differ significantly to those of commercial recordings. The reflective 'pits' that represent the digital data stored on the disc are nowhere near as well defined and this causes errors, which some players are better at correcting than others. Playback of home made discs is also more easily upset by dirt, dust or fluff on the laser pickup and you would be surprised how often playback problems are cured after run-though with a good quality disc cleaner, and switching to another brand of discs.



A Different Outlook

I am using Outlook for my e-mails and would like to do the opposite of one of your recent correspondents and ensure that when I send pictures they do appear in the body of my message. However, having followed your instructions and gone to Tools > Options I couldn’t find out how to proceed.

Alan Clare, by email


In spite of the name and some superficial visual similarities Outlook and Outlook Express are two entirely different programs. In most recent versions of Outlook to insert a picture into the body of an email first open a new message window then go to Insert > Picture. On older versions go to Insert > File and on the Insert drop-down menu select Insert.



Slowly Getting the Message

Often when I try to send digital photos over the Internet they take ages to transmit. I believe it is possible to convert digital photos into Adobe files and they transmit more quickly.  I have Windows XP and have Adobe 6.0 downloaded. Is it possible to convert my photos into Adobe files and will they transmit faster and if so, how do I do it?

Alan Mansfield, by email


The format of the files you are sending makes no absolutely no difference to how quickly emails leave your PC; it's all about the amount of data you are sending and the speed of your Internet connection. You can easily reduce the size of picture files by letting Windows 'compress' them; this option appears when you right-click on an image file and choose Send To > Mail Recipient. Otherwise you can do it manually in most picture editing programs, which usually have the option to change the compression setting and file format (some types of image file cannot be compressed). The only other way to speed up your emails is to upgrade to a faster Internet service.





© R. Maybury 2009 2007


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