We Have A Problem 092, 20/02/10
you commented that you doubted that Internet ‘Accelerators’ would make any
difference on a broadband connection. I
recently fitted an iPlate Accelerator from the BT shop online. Speed readings
taken before and after indicated an increase of 50%. I live in the country at
least 3 miles from the nearest telephone exchange. I am no apologist for BT but
how say you?
Faiers, by email
impressive but the BT iPlate is
not an accelerator in the usual sense. It normally refers to software that
promises to optimise a connection or a web service that compresses data, making
pages appear faster. The iPlate is neither; it’s a simple adaptor that fits onto
the front of a standard BT NT5 Master phone wall socket. Basically all it does
is isolate the ring wire or bell wire connection, which these days are largely
unused. This third wire, which goes to all extension sockets and remote bells
in older installations, acts as an antenna, picking up interference from nearby
electrical and electronic devices. This reduces the quality of the line and
equipment at the exchange ‘throttles’ the broadband speed to compensate.
Obviously for this
to work you must have a bell wire connection and more recent installations,
made within the past 10 to 15 years, say, and DIY extensions may not have one.
Nevertheless I am guessing that it is still present in the majority of BT
installations so this simple tweak is well worth trying if you are suffering
from connection problems. Actual gains are often quite modest and when it works
BT reckons there is an average increase in speed of around 1.5Mb/sec. I suspect
that your unusually dramatic improvement may have been due to dirty or
intermittent contacts in the socket that were ‘cleaned’ when the plate was
fitted. Of course, if you know your way around a BT socket you can disconnect
the bell wire yourself but be warned that BT frown upon such practices! By the way, any increases in speed may not
happen instantly as it can take time – hours or even days – for the exchange
equipment to adjust the changes.
making some changes to my wireless router my network has started behaving
erratically. I am also no longer able to access the router from my computer as
the password I set no longer works. I have tried going to the routers setup
menu though another computer but nothing seems to work. Where have I gone
Sharp, by email
couldn’t say and rather than waste any more time on it I suggest that you reset
the router to its factory defaults and start again. On most wireless routers
the reset button is on the underside, it may be recessed so you might have to
use an unbent paperclip to get to it. There may an additional action, such as
holding down the power switch when you press the reset button but this should
be explained in the manual.
router reboots after the reset and the Internet light is steady you can
re-configure your connection via your PC or laptop browser, so make sure you
have this information to hand before you begin. You’ll probably have to
re-enable the WEP/WPA security and create new passwords but again all of this
is explained in the setup menu and instructions. Incidentally you should carry
out the setup using a wired LAN cable connection between your PC or laptop and
the router, you can switch back to wireless operation once everything is
spellcheckers very useful, spelling is not one of my strengths, however, try as
I might I can’t seem to get the one in the Thunderbird email program working.
Whenever I click on ‘ ABC Spell’ it never picks up words I know are spelt
York, by email
spellchecker in Thunderbird is essentially an add-on, though it is included in
the English versions of the program. Nevertheless the dictionary can become
corrupt or detached from the program so the first thing to try is reinstalling
it from: http://tinyurl.com/4nwes.
Installation instructions are on the same page and make sure you select the
correct one (i.e. English (United Kingdom), if that is what you need. If that
doesn’t work try a utility called Dictionary Fix, which should resolve any
conflict or corruption problems; you’ll find the file and instructions how to
use it at: http://tinyurl.com/3dx2mz
full use of my desktop PC and have a reasonable basic knowledge of how things
work using it, as I do, on a daily basis. I have now decided to see what
clutter has found its way on to the list of installed programs. I have found
that Java is in the list but is accompanied by a number of updates. My question
is does the most recent update mean that I can remove all the earlier ones as
they seem to be taking up a fair amount of amount of space or should I be
leaving well alone?
Barker, by email
can safely remove the older Java updates from Control Panel (Add/Remove
Programs in XP or Programs and Features in Vista or Windows 7) but in the
scheme of things they are relatively small files and if you are running short
of space then it is time to think about fitting a larger hard drive or
installing a second slave drive.
We have a
3-year old laptop and since upgrading to Internet Explorer 8 we are having all
sorts of problems. Any thoughts on changing back to version 7 and how best to
obtain a copy?
need to worry about finding a copy of IE7, it is still on your machine. All you
have to do is uninstall IE8 from Control Panel (full instructions in Microsoft
Knowledgebase article 957700 at: http://tinyurl.com/dzjtct)
and the previous version of Internet Explorer will be automatically reinstated.
Maybury 2010 2501