Houston We Have a Problem 10



Houston We Have A Problem 119, 28/08/10


Travellers Trails

I've recently started editing my travel videos. Is it possible to create a map of the routes taken during the holiday? Ideally I want to be able to create a progressive route indicator and include symbols to show the modes of travel for any particular day, i.e. air, ferry, road etc.

Denis Micallef, by email


I suggest the My Maps feature in Google Maps (http://maps.google.co.uk/). This lets you create a custom map, indicating your route, points of interest and so on. You can also overlay icons, embed photographs and videos, but in your case the simplest thing to do would be to take a series of screen grabs, as you trace out the route, and incorporate these as stills into your video. Click the My Maps link on the Google Maps page and it’s worth watching the short tutorial video, which shows you how to make the most of the various features.



Card Game

I had a JVC camcorder that used SD memory cards. Recently I part-exchanged it for a new Agfa camcorder and I can no longer view the stored videos. I have been told that there are programs that can convert JVC recordings to WMV format files. Is this true and if so can you advise?

Harry Hignett, by email


JVC uses two different recording formats on its solid-state camcorders, called .mod and .tod; I suspect yours are the former as .tod  is only used on high-definition models. I am not aware of any freeware .mod/tod to .wmv converters but there is a commercial shareware program called Tanbee (http://tinyurl.com/2v8wlln) that will do the job, as well as convert your recordings to most other popular video formats (MPG, MPEG, FLV, SWF, AVI, ASF, MP4, MOV, DivX, XviD, DVD-Video etc.). Tanbee MOD Converter costs around £19.00, but I would road test the free-trial version first, to make sure it works on your footage. It’s fully functional but superimposes a watermark on the finished recording.  



Sound Advice

I have lost the sound output from my XP computer. All of my audio drivers are up-to-date and the computer says they are functioning properly.

Trevor Prescott, by email


You appear to have eliminated driver problems so go back and check the blindingly obvious – the things you always leave until last… In Control Panel on the Start menu select Sounds, on the Volume tab set the output level to halfway or higher, check it isn’t muted then click the Advanced button and make sure the correct speakers are selected on the Speaker Setup drop-down menu.


Ensure the speakers are on and working. You can carry out a quick test by removing the audio output lead from the rear of the PC; dab the tip of the jack plug with your finger and you should hear a pop or buzz from the speakers. Don’t forget to plug it back in if it’s okay; the audio output socket is normally colour coded green. If your PC’s audio adaptor is integrated with your motherboard check that it hasn't been disabled in the BIOS program – instructions are in the owner’s manual. If you have a separate sound card you’ll have to go under the bonnet; seek expert help if you’re not happy tinkering with your computer’s innards. If you are then make sure that the card is properly seated. If it is there may be a hardware fault in which case fitting a new sound card will confirm or eliminate this possibility. They are not expensive and can be found selling online for less than £10.



Source of Concern

You recently described how to view a suspect email, by clicking on the Message Source button. I have just done this on a suspicious email, but the resulting bumf hasn't left me any the wiser!  What should I be looking out for?

Richard Swannack, by email


Good question, basically email messages are in two parts. The first is the ‘header’ which shows yours and the sender’s email addresses, the IP addresses of the various servers that handled the message, the times and dates it was sent and received plus a few lines of technical information about the message’s makeup and content.


This is followed by the ‘body’ of the email, which includes the text of the message, plus a few lines of HTML code that describes how it looks (fonts, size and so on). None of this is dangerous, although if it is spam much of the header information is probably forged.


The real problem lies message that come with attachments, which may contain viruses and other nasties. These show up as hundreds of lines of meaningless alphanumeric characters. If you see that in the body of a message, it is not from a trusted source and something you are expecting do not open it, just delete it.



Netbook Nuisance

I have just bought a Samsung netbook running Windows XP but it doesn’t have a CD drive so I don't know how to connect it to my HP printer. I tried the printer wizard but this could not help, can you?

Linda Williams, by email


I hope so, and you have several options. The quickest and simplest one is to go to the support section of the HP website on your netbook and download the driver and installation files for your printer. Option two is to get hold of an external CD/DVD drive, which plugs into one of your netbook’s USB sockets. These are widely available and cost from around £15 upwards from online suppliers. Option 3 is to use another PC, with a CD/DVD drive, to copy the contents of the printer’s installation disc on to a USB flash drive. Once that’s done simply pop the USB drive into the laptop and run the installation program from there. Finally there’s option four, but only if you have a home network and another PC with a CD/DVD drive. All you have to do is set the drive on the PC as ‘shared’ and you should be able to access it as an external drive from your netbook. Load the installation CD and either run the printer setup program from the network drive or copy the files from the CD to a folder on your netbook.  




© R. Maybury 2010 0208


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