Houston We Have A Problem 129, 06/11/10
Sing Something Simply
I would like to use a player or reader to both
read text and listen to the music it applies to. Let me explain: I sing in two
male voice choirs. Learning the songs is getting more difficult as I get older.
I have and can make MP3s of the music for my part, which is second bass. I also
have Word document files of the words. Somehow I would like to put these
together so that I can follow the words as I listen or sing along with the
music. I have an MP4 player but the screen is not really big enough. Something
the size of the Kindle screen would, I think, be OK. Do you know of any way I
can achieve this, or is it too much to hope for with present day equipment?
Peter Myatt, by email
Technically it is fairly straightforward and I
was tempted to point you in the direction of DIY karaoke. Various software and
hardware set-ups are available but they are all quite expensive and serious
overkill for what you want to do. The real challenge is to do it as simply and
cheaply as possible and with this method all you need is a PC with Microsoft
Word and a small, free Open Source application called CamStudio (http://tinyurl.com/39oxq38). This
records everything that appears on the PC screen and comes out of the speakers
and saves it as a standard .avi file. So now all we have do is set up Word so
that it scrolls through the lyrics at a steady speed, like an autocue, whilst
playing your MP3 file, record it all with CamStudio and hey presto, instant
home made Karaoke.
The little-known Word feature we’re going to
use is called AutoScroll. In most versions you’ll find it by going to Tools
> Customise. Select
the Commands tab, scroll down the Categories list and highlight 'All Commands'.
Scroll down the right hand Commands window to Auto Scroll, then click, drag and
drop it onto a toolbar and a button appears. Close the Customise box and it is
ready to use. I recommend a few dry runs with your lyrics document and the
music playing to get the hang of adjusting scroll speed to sync with the
playback. You might also want to increase font size and
double or triple space the lines to improve legibility.
When you are ready open the lyrics document,
cue up the MP3 track in your media player and open CamStudio. Minimise the
CamStudio window, right click on its System Tray icon and select Record. Start
MP3 replay and click Word’s Auto Scroll button. When playback has finished save
the file and use Windows Movie Maker to tidy up the beginning. The finished
.avi file will then play as-is on any PC or better still a netbook and many
media players but if necessary you can use a utility called Freemake (http://tinyurl.com/3abbhf6) to convert it
to a format suitable for other multimedia devices and players.
Is there any way that I can print texts
received (and sent) from my mobile phone?
Chris Cadman, by email
Yes, but how you do it depends on the age, make
and model of the phone. The simplest solution, provided that there are not too
many messages, is to Forward each text to your own email address. If your phone
is a few years old it may not have this facility in which case you should still
be able to forward texts to a friend or relatives phone that has email
forwarding. Otherwise check your phone’s instruction manual; most mobiles made
in the last ten years can be connected to a computer via a cable, infrared or
Bluetooth link. The supplied software should then allow you to retrieve your
messages and save or print them as required.
Avoiding A Mac Attack
I have recently bought a new Apple Mac having
previously been a PC user. Should I install anti virus software because I've
received conflicting advice? My local Apple retailer says there is no need
whilst the Apple helpline says yes, you need protection and suggest programs
available from the Apple online store. I've looked through the ones available
but most have received poor reviews because they slow the computer down. Online
forums seem to say there’s no need for antivirus software, where do you stand?
Andy Talkington, by email
Conventional wisdom has it that Macs are
virtually bullet proof and immune to virus attacks. In fact Mac OS’s and Mac
software has its fair share of security loopholes, however, the Mac PC
population is tiny – compared with Windows PCs – and that means
self-replicating infections will be very slow to spread and therefore of little
interest and not much fun for virus and malware creators. The chances of
catching one of the handful of Mac viruses in the wild is vanishingly small so
I feel that heavyweight paid-for protection is unnecessary but if it makes you
feel safer then you have nothing to lose with a freeware virus checker for
emails and web downloads called ClamXav (http://tinyurl.com/bpjw7).
Don’t get complacent, though; Mac users are still vulnerable to malware,
trojans and phishing attacks, so stay alert, be careful what you download and
as always never open unexpected email attachments.
When entering personal information, such as my
name, address etc. into a website, quite frequently the computer takes over and
inserts the relevant details. A cookie I presume. My issue is that this cookie
has an outdated email address and I can't fathom out how to change the default
to my current one
John Hughes, by email
It has nothing to do with cookies. In Internet
Explorer, which I suspect you are using, this feature is called AutoComplete.
You have a number of options; the next time an incorrect entry appears in a
form field, right-click on it select Delete then retype the correct entry. You
can disable the facility by going to Tools > Internet Options > Content
tab and under AutoComplete click Settings and there you will find a button to
delete all AutoComplete entries content, so you can start afresh.
© R. Maybury 2010 1110