Houston We Have A Problem 135, 01/01/11
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.
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
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
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.
© R. Maybury 2010 2911