Houston We Have a Problem 10



Houston We Have A Problem 109, 19/06/10


Apps for Maps

I am thinking of buying a 3g iPhone with 16Gb of memory. I am not interested in music or video, but want the phone for the apps. Maps and Internet access are the main items.

The question is, how much memory does a typical app take, and how much of the 16Gb is free for them?

Ian Dain, by email


Current iPhones come with 8, 16 or 32Gb of user storage space (some Apple geeks get frightfully annoyed if you call it ‘memory’) but it’s not allocated so you can use it for anything, be it music, video, photos, data or apps. There’s no such thing as a typical app but most of them are between 0.5 and 5Mb. In fact there is a 2Gb size limit and the largest app I’m aware of (a navigation program) takes up1.5Gb, but that’s very much the exception. The point is there are 1024Mb in a gigabyte, so without any media files cluttering up your iPhone you should have plenty of room for your apps.



Down to Earth Complaint

I have been trying to get in touch with Google Earth with no success. Information shown about my property is incorrect and it needs to be amended sooner rather than later!

Christine Alsop, by email


There are basically three types of information displayed on Google Earth. The most controversial is Street View, which shows highly detailed panoramic views of homes, businesses and so on. Google Places are the boxes that appear when you hover your mouse over a marked business or place of interest, then there’s the raw map and image database information. Mistakes can and do occur and in the past Google has had a mixed record for putting it right, but it does seem to be improving now and your first port of call should be Google Earth Help (http://tinyurl.com/3a2fo8a). There you will find a report submission form for all three types of map data, plus links to more detailed help and advice.



Broken Arrow

It used to be possible to remove those annoying arrows on Windows desktop shortcut icons using TweakUI. Can this be done in Win 7?

Brian Ady, by email


Those inoffensive little arrows seem to cause a great deal of irritation, but who am I to argue? Sadly TweakUI was never updated for Vista and Windows 7. There is a Registry hack to get rid of the arrows but there is an easier way. A freeware utility called The Ultimate Windows Tweaker (http://tinyurl.com/38rlxcy) runs on Vista and Windows and is a worthy successor to Tweak UI. In addition to shortcut arrow removal (listed under Additional Tweaks), there are scores of useful customisation and security options – far too many to list here -- that are safe to use and you don’t have to go anywhere near the dreaded Windows Registry.



Pricey Printer

My three-month old printer gets very little use and 99 percent of the documents that I print are in black and white. Whilst I realise that the black ink cartridge requires frequent replacement, what I cannot understand is why the three virtually unused colour cartridges are also showing ‘very low – replace’. Am I the victim of ‘chipped’ cartridges?

David Moore, by email


Inkjet printers do seem to have an unhealthy and expensive appetite for ink but it’s not a complete con nor is it solely due to the chips on the cartridges. The chips are mostly used to lock you into buying the printer manufacturer’s own brand of cartridges; they also identify a cartridge so the printer can log how much ink has been used. However, this is usually based on a rather crude guessimate as there’s no easy way to accurately monitor actual ink levels.


Even though you are not printing in colour some inkjets add a dash of colour to produce deeper blacks but the biggest drain on capacity is cleaning cycles. On some models it can take as few as a dozen head cleaning sessions to deplete a cartridge. Automatic Service routines also take their toll. When a cartridge hasn’t been used for some time small amounts of ink are expelled to prevent the print heads drying out and clogging. Some ink is also lost through evaporation – as soon as the packaging seals are broken – so cartridges have a finite operating life once they’ve been installed.  To stop the printer’s plumbing and print head from drying out some models flag up old or little used cartridge as empty or needing replacement, even though there may be plenty of ink remaining



Play it Again

I spend a lot of time driving and listening to the radio. I often miss interesting afternoon plays on Radio 4 so I would like to be able to listen to them at my convenience in the car using my iPod Touch. The BBC iPlayer allows me to hear them through my computer so is there a way to record these programmes?

Don Turner, by email


Anything you can hear on your PC’s speakers can be recorded and previously I have recommended an excellent freeware utility called Audacity. It’s is still one of my favourite recording applications but it’s a bit excessive for a simple job like this so I suggest a program called mp3mymp3 (http://tinyurl.com/5om5oa). It’s really easy to use and records PC sounds then saves them as mp3 files in a one-step process.



Wayward Window

When I log on to Google Chrome it only displays partly on the screen and I am unable to maximise it to a full screen, as the buttons are not visible.

Jack Law, by email


Normally all you have to do is click on the window’s titlebar and drag it into the middle of the desktop to bring the Minimise, Maximise and Close icons back into view. However, if for some reason the titlebar is off the top of the screen you can move the whole window, using the cursor keys, with the keyboard shortcut Alt + Spacebar + M.




© R. Maybury 2010 2405


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