Houston We Have a Problem 11



Ask Rick 152 07/05/11


Not Addressed to Me…

From time to time we receive emails from unknown senders and, bizarrely, they are not addressed to our email address.  How does this happen?

Sandra Preston, by email


It sounds spooky but it’s just another one of the spammers tricks, to arouse your curiosity and get you to open their messages then click on a link that could infect your PC or take you to a scam website. They use a number of techniques but the commonest one is to send it to you (and probably thousands of others) as a BCC or Blind Carbon Copy, so you won’t see your address in the ‘To’ line or in the message.



Keeping Keynote

I have an iPad and have assembled several presentations using Keynote. I want to back them up, as I feel vulnerable having all my hard work solely on the iPad, but I only have an ordinary PC. I followed the instructions in Apple Support to backup using iTunes, but where does it go and how can I access it? I am starting to think the only answer is to invest in a Mac.

Rosemary Beney, by email


There’s no need to buy a Mac just for this simple job, and one quick and dirty solution that works with any sort of PC or device is to send presentations from your iPad to yourself by email. If you also want to be able to open them on your PC then before sending save them as PowerPoint files. The iTunes backup is mainly meant to restore your personal settings and apps if your iPad suffers a catastrophic failure, or if you switch to a new model but it can also be used to make selective backups. Connect your iPad to the PC and in iTunes select it from the Devices list. Go to Settings on the iPad, select the Apps tab and under File Sharing select Keynote then Keynote Documents. You should now see all of your presentations listed, select one then Save To and navigate to the folder on your PC where you want to store it, click Choose and it’s done.



Cost Projections

I occasionally give talks to groups of up to 100 people. To add interest I would like to show photographs stored on my computer. A couple of years ago I considered buying a video projector but was put off by the price. I now see them advertised online from about £200, and as low as £80 for hand-held models. Now could be the time to buy one but what features should I be looking for?  Do I just connect a USB cable from my PC to the projector?

George Murrell, by email


I think it will be difficult to find something suitable for less than £500, say, and you can forget low-cost portable or ‘pico’ projectors. They’re designed for personal use and produce relatively small and not especially bright displays. However, since you are not planning to use it for high-definition video you can keep costs down by using a data/video projector, rather than a dedicated video model. You’ll need a screen size of at least 100 inches (measured diagonally) and preferably larger for the sort of audiences you are presenting to, so the key numbers are Brightness (anything above 3000 ANSI Lumens should be okay); and Contrast Ratio (aim for 3000:1 or better). Resolution is important with larger screen sizes but there’s relatively little choice at the budget end of the market. Most models are rated at XGA or 1024 x 768 pixels, but if you shop around you may find a WXGA model with 1280 x 800 pixels. For the record video projectors normally have wider screen aspect ratios and higher resolutions, typically 720p or 1080p (1280 x 720 and 1920 x 1080 pixels).


You needn’t worry too much about the technology (most models are either LCD or DLP and there’s not a lot to choose between then for this type of application), but do take lamp life and cost into consideration, as they can be eye-wateringly expensive to replace. A standard VGA monitor cable is used to connect your PC or laptop to the projector.



Messages from the Past

Is it possible to access an old email address, which I have not used for over six years? I have just found out that information I need has been sent to this address over the past two years. It also raises the question - how long do old address continue to operate?

Richard Burwood, by email


As a courtesy most ISPs keep email inboxes active after an account has been cancelled, but they’re under no obligation to do so, nor is there a fixed cut-off time, but I think six years may be stretching it. However, you can easily find out if it is still working by sending an email to your old address. If it is defunct it will be bounced back to you, or you‘ll get an ‘undeliverable’ message, usually within a few hours. If not, see if you can get into your account’s mail server with your old username and password, and once again the easiest way to do that is to use Mail2Web (www.mail2web.com).



Driver Slower?

I should welcome some advice on how it would be possible to find out or check the rotational speed of my hard drive C. I suspect after 5 years it has become tired!

Geoff Cornell, by email


Generally speaking hard drives do not get tired, or slow down. They either work, or they don’t, though the data they contain can become corrupted, and they can get cluttered, which is far and away the biggest cause of a sluggish PC. Defragging, uninstalling software, clearing out unwanted Start-Up items, Services and so on can help (see Boot Camp 599 http://goo.gl/fRb7z). However, in the end the biggest problem is Windows and after three or four years performance and reliability starts to decline. Usually the quickest solution is to back up all of your irreplaceable data, wipe the drive and reinstall Windows and all of your programs. Yes, it sounds like a lot of hard work, but once it’s done it’s like having a new PC. Better still, you can avoid this happening again by ‘cloning’ your drive once you’ve reinstalled everything, then every year or two swap the drives over, copy all of your data from the old drive to the clone and make a new clone.



© R. Maybury 2011 1004


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