We Have A Problem 107, 05/06/10
would like to send and receive occasional e-mails and buy things online but
without the hassles of a computer. I suggested she get an iPhone, but can she
print out e-mails, maps and airline tickets on our home printer without having
to use her old computer?
Hartley, by email
can print from an iPhone and there are a number of techniques (http://tinyurl.com/yhefpl7) and several apps (http://tinyurl.com/397frzh) but it’s
not always as easy as it sounds. Some of the software is a bit buggy and can be
difficult to use. Also, no matter what the ads imply, web surfing and emailing
from a mobile device is never going to be as easy as a proper PC. I can
understand your wife’s frustration with PCs, especially if she has been
grappling with a clunky old machine, so she may be pleasantly surprised how
much things have improved. Windows 7, and of course Macs are quite civilised
and easy to use these days. If portability is a factor then there’s plenty of
attractively priced notebooks and netbooks to choose from.
I open my Elonex Web Book I get an error message that reads ‘hpqthb08.exe
application error… the application failed to initialise properly’.
Mitchell, by email
error messages like this one are almost always due to a corrupt or missing
program set to launch automatically at boot up. In this case it is a ‘helper’
program for HP’s Image Zone software, but the fix is the same for most startup
messages, so for those who may have missed our previous forays into this murky
corner of Windows here it is again.
Go to Run
on the Start menu (in XP) or Search (Vista and Windows 7) and type ‘msconfig’
(without the quotes). This opens the Windows Configuration utility; select the
Startup tab and search through the list for the offending program or filename.
Uncheck it, click OK and reboot. You may see a message box after the restart,
warning that you have changed the way Windows Starts, if so just tick the box
that says ‘do not show this message again’.
purchased a 37-inch LCDTV and I want to use it for Skype video calls with my
family in the USA. They use a large flat screen TV connected to a computer
behind the TV, while I use my desktop PC and monitor. Do I need to buy another
computer as my Vista PC r is in another room? Otherwise could I connect the TV
to my existing computer by mains wiring or wireless and how would I connect the
webcam? One last question, does the
price of webcams have any bearing on the quality of the image?
Orton, by email
all sorts of ways of connecting a PC to a remote TV but for an application like
this, where you need to be able to operate the PC and see and be in front of
the screen and web cam then answer is to keep it simple. Buy a budget laptop,
notebook or netbook and connect it to your TV; if you haven’t already got a
wireless router for your broadband connection, you’ll need one of those as
well, otherwise you’ll have to connect the laptop to the modem or router by LAN
most portable PCs come with a built in webcam, and it’s worth giving it a test
run but I think you will end up disabling it and using an external webcam as it
will be easier to position it above or below the TV screen. In addition they
have larger image sensors and lenses so they tend to perform better in low
light conditions and whilst there is a correlation between price and image
quality, in this instance it is doubtful that you’ll notice much difference.
Any reasonably well-specified mid-market model should do a good job but be
aware that displaying a Skype video screen on a big TV will magnify the defects
and the results may be disappointing.
way, Skype is trialling a HD (720p) video call system and the initial
results look quite promising but you will need a fast broadband connection with
at least 1Mb/s upload and download speeds and an HD webcam. More details from http://tinyurl.com/3x3wao8
With the introduction of HD on Freeview do you know whether
subtitles will be made available to help the hard of hearing?
John Matthews, by email
new HD service is using exactly the same subtitling system as the existing
standard definition broadcasts, so in theory it will be the same but it’s very
early says so don’t be too surprised if there’s the odd hiccup.
lightness and robustness I want to buy an HD Camcorder that uses SDHC memory
cards. I intend to use it for a 4-week
holiday that includes videoing a wedding. As this will be the only time I
expect to use the camcorder for such a long continuous period, I want to avoid
the need to buy lots of memory cards, or take a laptop. Is there any way of
periodically transferring or backing up the content of a memory card, without
using a computer?
Allan, by email
there are a number of devices available, known variously as digital wallets,
photo banks, multimedia storage and backup drives. Basically they are
multi-gigabyte portable hard drives fitted with a memory card reader, a small
LCD screen and running a simple operating system to manage file copying and
transfer; prices start at around £50 from suppliers like Amazon. Many of them
are battery powered, even so, on a 4–week trip you’ll still have to take a
charger or adaptor with you, at which point your travel payload probably isn’t
going to be much less than a lightweight netbook.
option to consider, if you can access the web through a friend or relative’s PC
or get to an Internet café, is upload the recordings to an online storage
website, or your own personal web space.
Maybury 1904 1005