Houston We Have a Problem 09



Houston We Have A Problem 077, 31/10/09


Signing Off

I hope you can help me but first you should know that I am a computer illiterate. I do create a lot of correspondence for an 85 year old and would like to start using email, but I would also like to be able to append my normal signature to my messages. I would be grateful if you could tell me how to do this.

Derryck MacBryde, by email


There are two types of email ‘signature’. The first and simplest is a line or two of text with your name, email or postal address, phone number or even a witty saying, and this appears at the bottom of every message. The other sort is a graphic and this could be your hand-written signature, a logo, or a picture of some sort. Incidentally, it’s not a good idea to put your real signature on emails. You should create a new one that couldn’t pass for the one that you use to sign cheques, credit cards and documents.


To compose a simple text signature in Outlook Express and Windows Mail go to Tools > Options > Signatures and in the box type in, or copy and paste the text, including web links, email addresses etc. that you want to appear. Graphic signatures are a little more complicated. If you want an actual signature, for example, you’ll have to write it on a piece of white paper and scan it or take a photograph of it so that you end up with a JPEG image file, which you can then crop and reduce in size. That’s the easy bit; the tricky part is telling your email program where to put it and how big to make it. To do that you need to create a file containing the image file and some HTML commands or ‘tags’. Don’t worry, its really not as difficult as it sounds and it only takes a few minutes but there’s not enough room to go into the whole procedure here so have a look at the step-by-step tutorial in Boot Camps 371 and 372 at: http://tinyurl.com/qjtrku .



Standoffish Sony   

I am at my wits end. I have a Sony Digital 8 camcorder and I am trying to edit Hi8 tapes on my Evesham computer, which has Windows Vista Home Premium. I purchased a FireWire lead and connected it to the computer and the camera but when turning on Windows Movie Maker nothing happens. The message on screen reads “Import Video could not find a compatible video device’. Everything is switched on and connected correctly. No video appears so I am left with a pile of tapes containing material which I cannot get on to the computer. Do you have any suggestions please?

Des Costello, by email


It sounds as though the PC is not communicating with the camcorder. As soon as you connect it to the PC and switch it on it should be recognised by Windows and show up as an ‘imaging’ device, even without Movie Maker running. Usually it is due to a problem with the FireWire card’s driver or rarely the adaptor itself but the first thing to do is pop along to the adaptor manufacturer’s website and download and install the latest Vista compatible driver.


If the FireWire adaptor was factory-installed, you may have a problem. Evesham Technology went out of business last year and as far as I’m aware there’s no central repository of driver files. In that case, or if the driver update doesn’t help then the simplest thing to do is start afresh and install a new FireWire card. They are not expensive and can be found selling online from retailers like Amazon for under £10.



Working Theory

Would you kindly explain what the ‘Delivery Manager has stopped working’ error message means. I get this generally if I am trying to attach a picture from Picasa to an email. Everything locks up and I have to shut down and re-boot. It does occasionally work. Needless to say, Microsoft has not managed to solve the problem.

Ken Goatley, by email


I’m not sure how or why Picasa triggers it but this message is normally associated with a bug in the Kontiki peer-to-peer download manager that’s part of the BBC iPlayer. The usual fix is to uninstall iPlayer then re-install the latest version, which has a re-designed download manager.



Slanty Snaps

My recent holiday shots include a lot of Venice taken from the waterbus as it wound its way up the Grand Canal. Whilst the images are clear, regrettably the movement of the craft has resulted in less than perfectly horizontal ground or water lines and, for that reason the images look amateurish in the extreme.


I have a number of photo management applications on my computer but I do not see any facility for cropping images to create perfect horizontals. Can this only be done using expensive applications such as Photoshop?

David S Myles, by emailM


Most photo-editing programs have the facility to manually rotate and then crop an image but there’s a much easier way, and I suggest Google’s free photo manager and editing program. Picasa (http://tinyurl.com/6xst6l) is free, there are no strings, and once installed it locates and organises all of the images on your PC. Afterwards open the first wonky picture by double clicking on it and in the left hand pane, under Basic Fixes, click Straighten. This overlays a grid on photo and by moving the slider right or left you can twist and resize the image in one simple operation.



Apple and SKY Won’t Play

I am a Mac user and find that I can access the BBC iPlayer, Channel 4 and 5 players but not the Sky or ITV Players. As recommended I have Microsoft Silverlight installed. Is this because I am using a Power Mac?

Geoffrey Booth, by email


Unfortunately Sky Player only runs on Intel-based Macs but ITV Player is a web-based application. In other words it doesn’t matter which operating system you are using, The only proviso is your browser must have the Adobe Flash plug-in. It’s highly unlikely that it’s not installed on your machine but just in case it’s been deleted, or it’s corrupt try reloading it from Apple’s download site at http://tinyurl.com/yxwnck




© R. Maybury 2009 3108


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