Houston We Have A Problem 120, 04/09/10
We've used a Digifusion PVR200 Freeview digital recorder for
several years and it's working fine, except that we no longer have the
Electronic Programme Guide. I thought the machine had broken down until I found
out that the company that provided the EPG has stopped doing so!
We can still record manually but without the facility to
timeshift programs the machine has lost ninety-nine percent of it's usefulness.
We may well be tempted to buy a new one, but once bitten twice shy. What
guarantee do we have that the same thing won't happen again?
John Webster, by email
It’s a complicated story and it also affected a small number
of Freeview boxes from Inverto, Thomson and Sony. The root of the problem was
that for various reasons the contract with the company that provided the 14-day
EPG wasn’t renewed. In theory the receivers should have defaulted to the
standard 7-day EPG service from Freeview but it appears that these digiboxes
were not compliant with that part of the digital TV specification. Fortunately
the vast majority of digiboxes rely on the Freeview EPG and there is no reason
to suppose this will go the same way. There doesn’t seem to be any immediate
prospect of a resolution but you might like to add your name to an online
petition to re-instate the service at http://tinyurl.com/37hrh2h,
which currently has over 1600 signatures.
Anyone who remembers the VCR timer wars of the 1980s may
feel a sense of deja vu. Numerous weird and wonderful gizmos that were supposed
to make VCR programming easier came and mostly went. Some, like VideoPlus+
worked quite well, but others bombed horribly, like the infamous system that relied
on newspapers and magazines printing barcodes next to TV listings. Several
manufacturers dallied with Teletext timer programming, another used chips
embedded in tape labels and my favourite, a voice recognition timer programming
system that couldn’t handle regional accents
I have been using Office 2003 (and Office 97 before that)
for years, with ease. I bought Office 2007 and struggled with the new toolbars
so went back to 2003. Is there any way
I can configure the new version toolbars to look more like the old Outlook?
Chris Hooper, by email
You are not alone but there’s little you can do about it
from the Office configuration menus. According to Microsoft locking down the
user Interface reduces the number of support calls and their surveys suggest
that few users change the way their programs look. You don’t have to stick with
it, however, and there are a number of add-ons that will put things back to the
way you like them. The best known are Addintools Classic Menu for Outlook 2007 (http://tinyurl.com/6xwd9p), which
costs around £10.00 and ToolbarToggle (http://tinyurl.com/34bsqr),
for £12.25. Free trial versions are available for both of them so try before
How I can get Google Earth to display place names? It
used to work but following a virus infection and reformat, place names are
either not there or letters are missing. I have explored all the check boxes,
emailed Google (no reply), uninstalled and reinstalled GE, all to no avail.
Tony Hirst, by email
Here are a couple of things to try. On the sidebar, under
Layers make sure that Labels is ticked, then click the arrow in front of the
box and put a tick next to Populated Places. It could also be a graphics or
display problem, and this chimes in with the hard drive reformat. You can check
if this is the case by going to the GE Tools menu and on the 3D View tab, under
Graphics mode, switch from Open GL to DirectX mode, or vice-versa, depending
which one is currently selected and see if that makes a difference. If it does
check that your video drivers are correct and up to date.
I have a Canon digital still camera, which outputs video
clips in AVI format. My Panasonic DVD recorder has an SD memory card slot,
which requires that video files be in MPEG2 format. Is it possible to convert
from one format to another so I can watch my video clips on my TV?
Peter Philips, by email
Absolutely no problem, and I suggest that you download an
excellent freeware utility called Xmedia Recode (http://tinyurl.com/38ytdv5). AVI to
MPEG2 is just one of the scores of conversion options available, from and to
most popular video formats.
I run a small business and use a program called Go To My PC
to access my computer through the Internet so that I can run day-to-day
operations whilst on holiday or travelling on business. As I connect to the PC
remotely what happens if I have a power cut or the PC powers down for some
reason? Is there some equipment or program that will re boot my PC thereby
still allowing me remote access?
Richard Wain, by email
You can help avoid this sort of thing happening in the first
place by using an Uninterruptible Power Supply or UPS. This is a
battery-powered device that connects between your PC and the mains socket. If
the mains fails for any reason the UPS kicks in and maintains the supply.
Depending on the specification this can be from a few minutes to hours, or even
days. Basic models with the capacity to keep a typical desktop PC powered for 5
– 10 minutes, long enough for most blackouts, cost around £40. If the UPS
battery runs down some models automatically wake the PC when the power come
back on. Otherwise you may be able to set the PC to automatically reboot
itself. Restart after Power Failure and Restore on Power Loss are features on
some BIOS (Basic Input Output System) programs, and you can set the
applications that you need to be running to load automatically by copying their
shortcut icons into the Startup folder.
Maybury 2010 0908