Houston We Have a Problem 11



Ask Rick 154 21/05/11


iPad Cost Cutter

As a prospective purchaser of the Apple iPad, who already has a 3G phone, would I be wasting my money paying for the 3G version? Can I connect my phone to the iPad on the rare occasions when I'll be out of reach of my home network or a Wi-Fi hotspot?
Andrew Greenhalgh, by email


Get the Wi-Fi only version and use the considerable amount of money you’ll save to buy a Mi-Fi device. They cost from around £50, connect to a 3G network, using your existing SIM card, and create a mini WI-Fi hotspot, which you can log onto with the iPad. Depending on your mobile tariff it may be cheaper to get the Mi-Fi device unlocked (this costs about £5.00) so you can use a pay-as-you-go SIM from another network. You’re probably not thinking of getting a new mobile phone just now, but if you were, you might like to consider an Android model with the Wi-Fi Hotspot app. This works a lot like the Mi-Fi, turning the phone into a personal wireless hotspot.



Lost for Word

I created a letter in Microsoft Word, which was sent but it missed a deadline. Can Word produce a record/log stating the date that a document was originated?

Terry Dunn, by email


It can and all files produced or stored on your PC are date-stamped by Windows. In addition Word logs the date it was created, most recently modified, accessed or printed and it can also be set to track any changes. To view the basic information stored within a document, open it then go to File > Properties and select the Statistics tab. In Word 2007 onwards click the Office button then Prepare > Properties > Document Properties > Advanced Properties > Statistics. If the letter was sent as a Word file and eventually received the embedded Properties data can help bolster your claim that it was created on a particular date but I doubt that it would have much value in a dispute if the letter was lost in transit as it is fairly easy to change or falsify this sort of information.



Browsing by eBook

I travel to South Africa for 3 months each winter and use an old PC with a dial-up connection to stay in touch with home and family. The computer has since died and I need something new and not too expensive or heavy. You can only get broadband in SA on a yearly contract, which is expensive for just 3 months. Some suggest using a laptop with a 3G dongle but I’ve heard they are not reliable. Would an iPad or similar fit my needs and what kind of Internet supplier should I use?

Patricia Burton, by email


I have a slightly controversial suggestion, and that’s to use an Amazon Kindle. They have a built-in web browser (under Experimental, on the Home menu page), and you can access all of your messages through a webmail services like Gmail and Yahoo. The Kindle 3G, which costs around £150 has both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity built in, so you can log on at any wireless hotspot, and there are plenty of those, or use the 3G connection, and despite what you may have heard, coverage is actually very good in and around the major towns and cities, and even deep into the countryside in some areas. The icing on the cake is that 3G connectivity on the Kindle is free worldwide (currently over 100 countries, and in some territories it's only possible to access Amazon.com and Wikipedia). The only downside is the screen, which is black and white and it can’t handle animated graphics or video. That hardly matters for emailing and basic web browsing plus it will easily store 3 months worth of books for you to read while you are away and on the long plane journeys.



Virgin on the Absurd

I have a Virgin V+ HD Box and on the back it has a USB socket. Is this connected to the hard drive, as I would like to transfer selected recordings DVD? I have used my DVD recorder for copying but it has to be done in real time. I am reluctant to connect it to my laptop in case it causes a problem.

Derek Turner, by email


As far as I am aware it has no use other than for diagnostics and firmware upgrades but it definitely won’t allow you to directly copy program data from the hard drive. No PVR lets you do that as infringes the many and various digital copyright and rights management agreements. Connecting it to your laptop is not a good idea, but it’s not completely useless. The port is powered, so you could use it to recharge your MP3 player or mobile phone or drive one of the many USB gadgets now available.



iPhone Irritant

I sometimes download my emails onto my iPhone. However, I must also be removing them from a server somewhere because the next time I download my emails on my PC they aren't there.  Is there any way of stopping this happening?

Allan Breese, by email


No problem and assuming that you are using iPhone Mail, tap Settings on the Home screen then go to Mail, select your Account, then Advanced and under Incoming Settings tap Delete from server and chose Never.



Sticky Situation

I want to add a message to my computer screen so that every time I switch on there is a reminder in the form of ‘Don’t forget to…’ At the moment the only way that I can think of doing it is to take a picture, add text to it, and use that picture. There surely must be a better way?

Bill Alden, by email


Yes there is and if you are using Windows Vista or 7 enable a Sidebar Gadget called Notes (in Vista), which looks and works just like paper Post-It notes stuck to your screen, or Sticky Notes in Windows 7. Type Gadgets in the Search box to find out how to install and use the Sidebar and download more Gadgets from the web. Windows XP doesn’t support Gadgets but there are plenty of freeware alternatives, including one that also called Sticky Notes. You’ll find a link to the download at: http://goo.gl/Xs7Mz





© R. Maybury 2011 0205


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