We Have A Problem 086, 09/01/10
accumulated a number of Video 8 cassette tapes and would now like to get them
onto DVDs via my XP desktop computer. My old Sony camcorder has long gone the
way of all flesh, but I feel there must be some way of converting the tapes
other than through an expensive video to DVD copying service.
Langdon, by email
many ways of getting old home video recordings onto DVD but they all depend on
you being able to play the tapes, so they can be digitised and copied to your
computer. The first thing you need is a suitable camcorder or VCR. Although
production of 8mm machines stopped about 6 years ago, camcorders using later
variants of the format, Hi8 and Digital 8, are usually able to replay 8mm
tapes. Your best bet is to trawl ebay for a cheap Hi8 camcorder on ebay; you
should be able to fine one less than 4 or 5 years old for under £50. Shortlist
Sony models as these were usually the best in terms of picture quality but make
sure it’s in good working order as repairs can be expensive. Digital 8 machines
were produced in smaller numbers so they tend to be dearer and not all of them
can play 8mm tapes.
have the replay side of things sorted out you can concentrate on the digitising
process. The simplest option is a USB AV adaptor module with connections for
the camcorder’s audio, video or S-Video; prices start at around £25.00. The
final step is to chop out all of the rough bits, add some fancy titles and burn
the finished recording to disc. For that you’ll need a DVD editing and
authoring package. You are spoilt for choice but you can’t go far wrong with
software from the likes of Corel, Pinnacle and Roxio; basic no-frills programs
that are ideal for beginners start at under £30
been looking at Ebooks recently and the Sony model seems the best bet but after
further checking I feel the big problem is that there are insufficient books to
download. Even Waterstones and W.H. Smith have only a few thousand titles
available. Should I wait?
Fitzpatrick, by email
the very early days and being an early adopter is always risky but already
there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of books and publications available
for download from free and subscription based web sources. However, at the last
count there were around a dozen different Ebook formats, and no one reader can
handle more than two or three of them. Some models are limited to one
proprietary format or delivery system, which makes them vulnerable to premature
obsolescence. If one of the current models takes your fancy and has enough
titles to keep you interested for the next 2 – 3 years, say, then take a punt
as by that time I expect the industry will have got its act together and agreed
on a set of common formats and new and better models will be available;
otherwise bide your time.
tell me if there is some safe way of opening emails that might be suspect? I
vaguely remember reading how messages could be taken to a ‘safe’ place for
viewing. Most emails can be recognised as either friendly or dodgy. But there
are some in-between ones that might just be the winnings for that lottery I
never entered or an inheritance from a long lost relative.
Brogan, by email
programs let you view just the text content of a message and this prevents
viruses or malware embedded in the message or sent as attachments from being
activated. In Outlook Express and Windows Mail, for example, right-click the
suspicious message in your Inbox, select Properties then the Details tab and
click the Message Source button. However, it’s safer to get rid of these
messages automatically, using a decent Spam filter and as regular readers know I've been a long term advocate of MailWasher (http://tinyurl.com/66mo3p), which is both free and very effective. Otherwise use the junk mail options in
Windows Mail and Windows Live Mail and I promise you that you that you won’t
miss out on any unexpected windfalls from overseas benefactors.
Further to your recent answer about upgrading from XP to
Windows 7, I have managed this on an older PC and demonstrated that it is far
too slow so I am going to buy a new tower. How do I deregister Windows 7 so that I can
register it on my new machine?
How does Microsoft know that I have reformatted my old hard
drive and reloaded the operating system onto my new machine? How can they
detect that two machines running at the same time have the same registration? Would it be illegal to use my old machine under XP as a
typewriter without connection to the Internet? I have no
desire to have my collar felt!
John Beattie, by email
install Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 on a PC for the first time it has to be
‘activated’ within 30 days or all or part of it will stop working. Normally on
PCs where Windows has been preinstalled it happens automatically but on a DIY
install you usually have to click a button to activate Windows online and this
takes just a few seconds.
activation process Windows sends Microsoft information about your PCs hardware
including details of the CPU, motherboard, hard drives and memory. If the same
copy of Windows is subsequently installed on another PC, or you make changes to
your PC, prior to a re-installation, Microsoft online activation spots the
differences, activation may fail and you’ll be asked to call a freephone
number. It’s happened to me many times and when you explain what has happened
and make it clear that you are not trying to run the same OS on two or more
machines they’ll provide you with an activation code. There’s nothing to stop
you installing your copy of XP on another PC and using it offline; you can
reinstall a copy of Windows as many times as you like, but only on one PC at a
time. However, it will still have to be activated, either online, or by calling
the phone number that appears in the activation notice box.
Maybury 2010 1412