Houston We Have a Problem 10



Houston We Have A Problem 113, 17/07/10


Change of Identity

I have two identical Samsung Windows 7 laptops. The first on I bought in January and I put in my own password. The second one, bought a few weeks later was a shop display model and it had its own password. My son says that this cannot be changed, I'm quite happy to keep it but I find that if I leave the machine for a few minutes the password screen comes up. This is not a huge problem but I would be pleased if you could help me eliminate it.

Patricia O'Byrne, by email


Changing your password is easy, just go to Start > Control Panel, click User Accounts then Change Password. You will be asked to enter the original (shop) password then enter and confirm your new password. It’s a good idea to put something into the password hint box, just in case you forget it, then click the Change Password button and it’s done.  If you want to change the time delay before your PC goes into sleep or hibernation mode you can also do that in Control Panel, select Power Options then click ‘Require a password on wakeup’ and follow the prompts.



Capital Punishment

I have a wireless keyboard on my computer, which I am very pleased with, but because it is battery powered there are no LED indicators for the Num Lock or Caps Lock keys.  As a result, I never know when the switches are on.

Leslie Miles, by email


You can disable these keys – more on that in a moment -- but Windows has a built-in facility called Toggle Keys that sounds a bleep whenever the Caps Lock, Num Lock or Scroll Lock keys are pressed. In XP and Vista go to Control Panel > Accessibility Options > Keyboard and click the Settings button under Toggle Keys. In Windows 7 go to Control Panel > Ease of Access Centre and Make the Keyboard Easier to Use. If you prefer something louder, or more visual, I suggest a freeware program called Caps Lock V3 (http://tinyurl.com/35qxzkc). The easiest way to turn off those pesky keyboard locks is to use another freeware utility called FirstCap (http://tinyurl.com/33vw627), which has lots of other useful features for customising the way your keyboard works.



Building Material

I am taking regular photographs, from the same location and using the same lens settings, of a building during construction in order to follow its development. Is there any program that is available (freeware if possible) whereby I can join them all together in order to generate a movie file?

Bob Parkes, by email


You already have one on your PC, if you have XP, Vista or W7. It’s Windows Movie Maker and all you have to do is click ‘Import Pictures’ on the Movie Tasks pane and select all of the images you want to appear in your movie. Now go to Tools > Options > Advanced and change the picture duration setting. I suggest you start with 0.125 seconds. Next, drag and drop the images, one by one in the order you want them to appear onto the timeline strip at the bottom. Try 10 or 20 to begin with then click the Play button on the preview screen to judge the effect. If necessary go back and increase or decrease the picture duration setting. When you have all of the pictures in place and you are happy with it go to Finish Movie in the Movie Tasks pane, select ‘Save to my computer’ and follow the prompts. On the Movie Settings page, if you click ‘Other Settings’, you’ll have a wider choice of quality options.



Blue View

I have just moved from Microsoft Office 2000 where it was possible to have a blue background and white text as the default.  As far as I can see this facility is not available in Word 2010.

Richard Haute, by email


It’s mostly bad news, I’m afraid. This obscure but surprisingly popular WordPerfect ‘legacy’ feature was enabled in Word 2000/3 by going to Tools > Options > General, but Microsoft decided to remove it from Word 2007 onwards. I’m not aware of a permanent solution, there have been rumours of a third-party plug-in but I have yet to see it. There’s also a Registry hack doing the rounds but this has problems. It is possible to change the background and text colours on a per-document basis from the Page Layout tab, and you can save this as a template for re-use but you’ll have to change it back to black text on a white background if you want to print the document.



Sleep Deprivation

There is a lot of publicity about the possibility of brain damage caused by mobile phones. This is not my problem but I do keep a small radio under my pillow and use one earphone (sometimes for many hours) during the night when my mind is racing as it provides an alternative focus and ultimately induces sleep.  Are the radio waves feeding into my ear likely to be equally damaging or are they entirely different from those emanating from mobile phones?

Jane Rowse, by email 


Mobile phones incorporate a radio transmitter that emits low power microwave radiation. It’s by no means conclusive but some studies have suggested that sustained use and long-term exposure may have health implications. Radio receivers do produce some electromagnetic emissions they are at significantly lower frequency and a minute fraction of the intensity of a mobile phone. It’s only measurable within a centimetre or two of the actual radio but in any case the earphone only emits sound, so your brain is safe and you can sleep easily. By the way, I seem to remember that sleeping with an earphone in place can be quite uncomfortable so why not get hold of an mp3 or ‘pillow’ speaker, there’s plenty to choose from online and prices start at around £10.00.




© R. Maybury 2010 2106


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