Houston We Have a Problem 11

  

 

Houston We Have A Problem 135, 01/01/11

 

Sticky Solution

In these days of electronic banking and invoicing a lot of documents are sent to me in PDF format.  That is fine but what I want to do is to add a short note (paid/disputed etc.) to the document. I have tried to find a way of amending the Subject field when they are displayed in Windows Explorer without success. I have come across a number of programs for editing PDFs but they all seem to be aimed at company users (with prices to match). Do you know of a suitable program or know of a way to edit the subject line?

Ian Hunter, by email

 

PDFs are generally ‘locked’ to prevent them being altered though both Foxit Reader and PDF-XChange Viewer (both free and faster and less intrusive than Adobe Reader, download links at: http://goo.gl/rb7k1) let you add Sticky Notes to pdf documents. Adobe Reader (version 7 onwards) also has a Sticky Note facility but it only works on PDFs with commenting rights enabled. 

 

 

Wimpy Wi-Fi

My neighbour has been having problems with her Wi-Fi. Her laptop won’t connect unless it is within about two feet of the router and it disconnects if moved more than a couple of yards away from it. My iPod Touch gave slightly better results but it still loses the signal after five yards. She has a fairly new installation with a master socket and an extension socket, both installed by BT. I have checked or eliminated everything I can think of, including conducting a 17070  'quiet’ line test, and BT says the line is okay. She tells me that her laptop works fine at her son's house and the router is a replacement, the original one had the same problem. Is it possible that a noisy phone line could affect wireless range?

David Pilling, by email

 

Line quality can affect data transfer rates over a broadband connection but it has little or no effect on the range of a wireless link. You can confirm that range is the issue by progressively moving the laptop further from the router and observing the signal strength indicator on the computer's wireless utility (usually next to the clock in the System Tray).

 

Factors that can affect range include distance, solid objects, walls and so on, in the path of the radio signals, hardware faults and interference. You appear to have eliminated everything except the latter so begin by switching off all wireless devices in and around your neighbour’s home, and don't forget things like alarms, central heating controls, baby monitors, security cameras etc.

 

If that doesn’t help here’s a couple of other things to check. Make sure that the router’s antenna is properly connected and try moving it to another location, well away from any other electronic devices. Also change the wireless channel; you’ll need to consult the router’s manual to find out how to access the configuration menu.

 

If the interference is coming from an external source, and it’s not immediately obvious, like a nearby cab company or radio mast there’s not much more you can do without expert assistance. If you believe the interference me be coming from an illegal broadcaster your first port of call should be the Ofcom website http://goo.gl/j9xtC. Otherwise the BBC have now assumed responsibility for tracking down other types of radio interference though it mostly only deals with problems with radio and TV reception, nevertheless it's worth having a look through their FAQs at: http://goo.gl/zeF3U

  

 

DAB to Disc

My DAB radio can record programs on a SD memory card. When I transfer the recording to my PC it accepts it as an MPEG video/audio stream and plays perfectly well, but if I try and make a copy on CD, to play on my hi-fi, it does not work, even though the data is on the disc. How do I change the nature of the file from MPEG to something that I can listen to on my CD player?

Ian Allman, by email

 

Most DAB radios with a record facility store the data as it comes in, in MPEG layer II (MP2) format. A few models helpfully convert the data to MP3 so that recordings can be played on personal stereos. Either way, in order to put those recordings on a CD they need to be converted into CD-Audio (CD-A) format, before being burned to disc. There are plenty of ways to do that but if you want to keep it cheap and simple I suggest opening the file in an excellent freeware application called Audacity (http://goo.gl/hY2I5). You can use this program to chop out any parts of the recording that you do not want, or just go straight to File > Export and save it as a .wav file. Now all you have to do is pop a blank CD into your drive, open the saved .wav in Windows Media Player, click the Burn button, drag the file onto the Burn list, click the Start Burn button and away it goes.

 

 

APS to CD

I have about 30 rolls of APS film that are around ten-years old.  At that time the films were processed and most of the prints have long since disappeared. I would like to transfer the contents of the film cassettes to my six-year old XP laptop.  How can I do this in a cost effective way and any advice on opening a cassette would also be useful?

Peter Graham, by email

 

Several film scanners can handle APS format film, but finding one with XP compatible drivers could be a problem, and you really need to be thinking in terms of spending upwards of £300 on a scanner to do the job properly. Even if you splashed out on a high-end scanner I doubt that you would be able to do as good a job as a specialist using professional equipment. It’s worth paying a visit to your local high-street film processors and camera shops otherwise there are plenty of web-based companies able to do the job with prices starting at around £2.50 per film (try Photo-Express at: http://goo.gl/sXgWB). Given that you have so many films I suggest that you get a few quotes before deciding.

 

 

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© R. Maybury 2010 2911

 

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