Houston We Have a Problem 09



Houston We Have A Problem 084, 26/12/09


Blocking the Stream

I live in a rural area, where broadband exists but is not very fast. I like to get my news from the BBC website (I also read The Telegraph by the way). However, when I select an article it usually contains a video clip. My PC insists on streaming in the video content before allowing me to see the rest of the article, forcing me to wait. I hardly ever want to watch the video so it is a complete waste of time. Is there any way I can persuade my PC not to stream in the video content until I select to watch it?

Nigel Lawrence, by email


Not a problem and in Internet Explorer all you have to do is go to Tools > Manage Add-Ons > Enable or Disable Add Ons. There you will find Shockwave Flash, click on it and in the Settings box select Disable, then OK. After IE has rebooted whenever you go to a page with video content the text and graphics content will load straight away and the video screen will show a ‘Cannot Play…’ message. If you want to re-enable Flash Player simply click the Manage Add Ons icon, which now appears in the Status bar at the bottom of the screen. The procedure is broadly similar in Firefox, go to Tools > Add-ons. Select the Plugin tab, scroll down the list to Shockwave Flash, right-click and select Disable.



Poster Poser 

I have been preparing a poster for an art exhibition, using Microsoft Publisher. It has ended up 1MB in size but I am unable to send it on for approval to the committee because it is too large to send from my laptop.  Is there a way to reduce it before sending?

Caroline Waldman, by email


Yes, you can and data files of any type can be ‘compressed’ to make them smaller. Various utilities are available, including the ubiquitous WinZip but I prefer a small free Open Source program called 7Zip (http://tinyurl.com/ydote2p). It’s easy to use and has useful one-click facility for compressing a file and attaching it to an email. This program uses a number of archiving systems but I suggest that you stick to industry standard .zip format as compressed files can be opened on almost any Windows, Mac or Linux PC.



Wireless Wrinkles

I recently bought a brilliant little netbook in the US and the wireless connection worked well there and in Canada. Back home in the UK it won’t connect wirelessly and I keep seeing the message ‘acquiring network address’, though it works fine with a wired connection to the modem. Is the wi-fi system used in the USA different to the one we have? If so must I use a wi-fi dongle here?

Keith Atkinson, by email


Wi-Fi is an international standard, though there are some minor differences in the number of channels allocated to each region. For example Europe has 13, whilst there are only 11 in the US and Canada, however, this shouldn’t stop your netbook’s wi-fi working in the UK.


Usually it’s due to a configuration problem with the router or PC and quite often switching the PC off and rebooting the router sorts things out. Otherwise there are several possible causes, including entering an incorrect WEP/WPA key (and watch out, they can be case-sensitive). It could be due to a router setting and you can verify this by trying to log to a friend or relative’s wireless router (with their permission of course), or a free wireless hotspot. If the PC works on another network then try this simple trick. Open the router’s setup menu (the manual will tell you how) and change the SSID (server side identifier or the ‘name’ of your wireless network), save the changes and reboot.



Thump or Dump

I have a 4-year old PC with XP and a Dell 17-inch monitor. I am plagued with a blue padlock icon and various menus labelled ‘Error, Positioning, Image setting, Colour setting, OSD setting…’ and so on. It is impervious to any attempt to copy its image or get rid of it by any mouse or cursor action. I can sometimes press the third button from the left on the monitor - that gets rid of it. Otherwise it just vanishes and reverts to the padlock icon. Help!

Tim Lack, by email


This has nothing to do with the PC. The icons and menus you are seeing are generated internally by the monitor’s display system. It could be due to something really simple like an intermittent connection or switch inside the monitor but in my experience the cost of having it repaired will be only marginally less than a new monitor. If the problem persists after giving it a good hard thump then you might want to think about replacing it



Windows 7 Deadly Sins?

My Canon 3200F scanner does not work with my 64-bit version of Windows 7. Canon does not provide a driver or even confirm if they will provide one in future. For a product that was only discontinued within the last few years, this is very poor and will probably lead to me avoiding Canon products in future. Do you know where I might find a workaround to allow continued use of this scanner?

Jeff Z, by email


According to Canon’s support website it has never produced a 64-bit driver for this model; 32-bit drivers are available for XP, Vista and Windows 7, so perhaps you are being a little harsh and you should always check driver availability when moving from a 32-bit to a 64-bit system.


However, all is not lost, if you have the Professional or Ultimate versions of Windows 7. You can download a free copy of Windows Virtual PC from Microsoft (http://tinyurl.com/dh2mvq). This lets run a specially adapted version of XP inside Windows 7 and should allow you to install your printer, probably…


If you are using the 64-bit Home Premium version Windows 7 your options are more limited but it’s worth trying the operating system’s Compatibility features. Copy the driver installation file onto the W7 desktop. Right-click on the icon, select Properties, select the appropriate operating system from the list, click OK, right-click the file and select Run As Administrator to start the installation.



© R. Maybury 2009 2311


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