Houston We Have A
Problem 117 14/08/10
High Hopes for High
Will Freeview HD and
Freesat HD be able to broadcast all of the new HD channels as they become
available, or will they be limited to just a few channels?
Robert Clark, by
Freeview is a
terrestrial service so it doesn’t have the luxury of near unlimited bandwidth
enjoyed by satellite broadcasters who can launch more satellites when they run
out of capacity. Currently there are four HD channels on Freeview (BBC HD, ITV1
HD, 4HD & S4C HD or Clirlun). It is possible this could be increased to
five with some technical jiggery-pokery but it is unlikely there will be any
more in the foreseeable future. Freesat has the capacity to carry more HD content
but since this is a ‘free’ service the chances are they will be news and
shopping channels, rather than movies, sport or general entertainment.
Time for a Change?
A local firm built
my desktop computer for me several years ago. It uses a 1.8GHz processor with
512 Mb of RAM and runs XP Pro. Recently I switched it off at the mains whilst
my grandchild was using the bedroom. When I switched it back on I had a 'check
your anti-virus' program message and the clock was set at the wrong time. I
reset the clock and updated the anti virus program and all now seems to be
fine. Does the clock message mean that battery, which I assume is in the
workings somewhere, is now defunct? If so, is it reasonably easy to change?
If so I might take
the opportunity to upgrade the memory. How do I find out what sort it uses and
what is the maximum my system will take? Or is it all too old to be worth
bothering with, and should I start again? I only need it for email, Internet
Grahame White, by
If your PC is more
than 5 or 6 years old, say, then it is living on borrowed time and key
components will eventually fail, probably sooner rather than later so you
should be thinking seriously about a replacement but it won’t hurt to fix it up
and keep it as an emergency backup. The clock problem does sound like a dead or
dying CMOS backup battery but how easy it will be to replace depends on
the design and layout of the motherboard, case and cables. On some PCs the only
way to get at it is to completely dismantle the machine. As a general rule if
you can see the battery in its holder without disturbing anything then you
should be able to change it fairly easily.
But first, give the
case a thorough spring clean by blowing out the fluff and debris with an 'air
duster' (can of compressed gas) or use the high-pressure airline at your local
garage. Also take photographs of the inside of the case before you begin, just
in case you dislodge any cables or connectors.
XP runs best with
2Gb of RAM and upgrading your memory should bring about a noticeable
improvement in performance, for a relatively modest outlay. You can find out
which type of memory modules it uses from the motherboard manual that should
have been supplied with your machine, otherwise use a freeware utility called
HWINFO32 (http://www.hwinfo.com/), which
tells you everything you need to know about your PC’s hardware.
I recently purchased
a compact camcorder and have been busily practising with it. Unfortunately some
of the recordings are a bit shaky. I know, ideally, I should use a tripod but
this is not always practical. Is there a program available which I can use
after I have downloaded the images to eliminate the shake.
Anne Doody, by email
As you say it is
best to avoid the problem in the first place. Many camcorders have built-in
image stabilisation systems and there are also plenty of pocket-sized tripods
and telescopic monopods to choose from. Otherwise just brace or lean against a
tree, wall or lamppost. Small amounts of wobble can be removed after the event
but a lot depends on the severity of the shake and the quality of the original
recording. Most image stabilisation programs are in the form of add-ons or
plug-ins for editing programs; a few have this feature built in so if you are
already using an editing application, or about to buy one check to see if it is
If you want to go
down the freeware route and don’t mind a fairly steep learning curve then I
suggest an Open Source program called Virtualdub (http://tinyurl.com/yvf46). This is actually a video capture program,
rather than an editing application, but you can use it with a stabiliser add-on
called Deshaker, which you can download from http://tinyurl.com/26zvba. Once your
video is safely on your PC you can use Windows Movie Maker to lick it into
How can I get the
FreeCell game to show as a full page on my Windows computer screen?
Christopher S Wall,
In short you can’t.
Windows FreeCell, originally known as Microsoft 3200 (the number of games in
the first versions) dates back to the early 1990s and it, along with its
library of playing card images, was designed for PCs with a screen resolution
of 640 x 480. You could reduce the resolution of your PC’s display but it’s not
really a long-term solution. Your best
bet is to download a variant of FreeCell that supports full-screen mode. There
are plenty to choose from but I suggest FreeCell Pro (free from
size of the cards can be changed. The
graphics are a touch crude but you quickly get used to them. FreeCell Pro uses
the same game numbering system as MS FreeCell and it provides a number of extra
features and challenges for serious players, including the allegedly unwinnable
game number 11982.
Maybury 2010 1207