Houston We Have a Problem 10



Houston We Have A Problem 110, 26/06/10


Musical Turns

My wife plays the piano and frequently has to pause to turn the music sheet over and sometimes fumbles this task and interrupts the 'flow'. I would like to scan the sheets into a computer then place a laptop on the piano where the sheet music would normally reside. Is there a way of setting the resulting music to scroll down at a set or variable speed?

Michael Ponting, by email


A simple slideshow program is all that you need and one is included with all recent versions of Windows, though Picture and Fax Viewer in XP is not very sophisticated and changing the timing is a bit of a palaver. More flexible alternatives include our old friend Picasa (http://picasa.google.com/), but I think your best bet is a little known freeware program from Microsoft called Photo Story 3 (http://tinyurl.com/32n4ufb). It was originally designed for XP but it runs happily under Vista and Windows 7.  Apart from being really easy to use and with lots of eye-catching options, one of the program’s most useful features is the comparatively rare facility that lets you change the length of time each individual image is displayed.


Another possibility, which may be easier to use on a piano, is to display the music using an LCD photo frame. Most of them are thin and light enough to sit on the music stand. All you have to do is copy the scanned images to a memory card and pop it into the frame, or copy the files using a USB lead and most frames let you adjust the timing. If you want to be really cutting edge, this is the sort of job the new Apple iPad should be well suited to, and if there isn’t already an app for displaying sheet music, there probably will be soon … 



Where on Earth?

I have been using Google Earth for quite some time and have accumulated many ‘My Places’ flags. Will these be lost if I upgrade to the latest version? If so, how does one save the information and apply it to the upgraded version?

G. Webster, by email


There’s no need to worry. Google Earth, and most Windows programs for that matter, stores your User Data, along with your personal settings and preferences in a file in your user account folder and the information it contains is used to automatically configure the program when it is updated.


Incidentally, user data files and Registry entries are often left behind when an application is uninstalled. This explains why reinstalling a faulty program sometimes doesn’t work because whatever was causing the problem is still there. The solution is to use a freeware program called Revo Uninstaller (http://tinyurl.com/56uydj), which digs deep and weeds out all of the detritus so you can start again with a clean slate.



Taming the Tab

I use Mozilla Firefox and have set Google as my home page. However when I click on File, New Tab, the tabbed page opens with Yahoo. How do I change this to Google?

Malcolm Cairns, by email


The way a new tab opens on a blank or unasked for page has been a long standing niggle for many Firefox users and Mozilla has said that it’s something they’ll be looking into but until then I suggest that you install a freeware add-on called Tab Mix Plus (http://tinyurl.com/3adtsx5). It has a fix for the new tab glitch plus an impressive assortment of tab browsing options.



Leftish Tendency

My wife is left-handed and has difficulty using a conventional mouse, requiring instead that the up/down and left/right motions be reversed (i.e. up for down, left for right, and vice versa.)  Up until now, I have got around the problem by physically rewiring the mice she uses but now I would like her to use an optical mouse, mainly to remove the problem of dirty ball rollers. However, the electronics is now all contained within a chip, and I suspect that there is nothing I can do to change it. Is there such a thing as a patch to provide the required facility or is there such a thing as a mouse with reversible motion?

Bob Taylor, by email


Left-handers usually swap the right and left mouse buttons and this you can do from the mouse configuration utility in Control panel. Reversing pointer motion is a new one on me and I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it must be for your wife to use a ‘normal’ computer but apparently she is not alone. Such a utility exists, it’s called SakasaMouse, it’s free and you’ll find the download here: http://tinyurl.com/2vw2a65. It’s also has an option to rotate the motion in one degree increments and if you fancy a challenge try using a mouse with a 90 degree offset…



Saving Skype

From time to time I reformat my hard drive and reload my programs in order to speed things up and get rid of the clutter. The last time I did it I had to begin Skype as a new customer. Can you please tell me how to save the settings next time?

Bob Forrest, by email


A regular format and reinstall can help rejuvenate a sluggish XP installation – it’s less effective with Vista and Windows 7 -- but it’s a lot of hard work. Next time I suggest that once you’ve loaded all your programs and data and the computer is set up to your liking, clone the drive to make the next switchover a lot easier.


But back to your original question; Skype should remember your account details once you’ve entered your username and password on the new installation. The rest of your user data you can transfer by going to C:\Documents and Settings\<yourname>\Application Data and make a copy of the Skype folder. Install Skype on your new drive (or PC) but don’t launch it; copy your old Skype folder to same location (if you are switching to Vista or Windows 7, it’s C:\users\<yourname>\appdata\roaming). When you launch Skype it should appear as it was under your old installation.




© R. Maybury 2010 3105


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