Houston We Have a Problem 11



Ask Rick 156 04/06/11


Face Off for Picasa

I have a problem with Picasa in that it gathers faces from all my pictures stored on my computer. This includes faces from crowd scenes, as well as those of my friends and family. I trawled through 3900 pictures of faces and deleted them all and now to my disgust I still have People Folder showing 3900 ‘Ignored faces’, which I cannot delete. I feel that this is an unwanted intrusion and I would be most grateful for your advice on how to really rid my computer of it.

K Widd, by email


This feature seems to have annoyed quite a lot of otherwise enthusiastic Picasa users, and to make matters worse it’s enabled by default and there’s no obvious way to stop it or delete the People folder, but there is a solution. Step one is to go to Tools > Options, select the Name Tags tab and uncheck Enable Face Detection and Enable Suggestions. Step two, go to Tools > Folder Manager and on the Folder list select Desktop at the top. Now go to the For the Current Folder box and at the bottom click on Face Detection Off. Repeat this step for My Pictures, My Documents and C:\ on the Folder List. Click OK and the People folder with the stored faces will be no more.



Slow Learner

I am learning to play an acoustic piano accordion and would like to slow the tempo of music on CDs so that I could practice playing along with them, hopefully increasing the tempo as I improve. Do you know of any computer software that would enable me to do this?

Richard Bolton, by email


Not exactly, CD decks are designed to read the data off the disc at a constant speed. A small handful of specialist decks have a variable speed facility but none, as far as I am aware, are fitted to PCs. There is an alternative, though, and that’s to copy or ‘rip’ the CD to your PC using Windows Media Player and then play it back using the Audacity audio editing program (free, download link at: http://goo.gl/hY2I5). This program has a variable tempo option, or you could try the Winamp media player (also free: http://goo.gl/Pzfcj), which has an optional plug-in for variable speed replay.



That’s a Big Help…

Every week I order my groceries online from Waitrose.  If there is a problem I go to Help and up comes 10 pages of instructions in very small print. To read this on screen without hurting my eyes I use the zoom feature on my browser but I would prefer to print them out in a reasonable sized type so I can refer to them whenever I need to. But when I click the Print icon on the page the result is in the original very small type. How can I print out the instructions in the same size as they appear on my zoomed browser screen?

Michael Holden, by email


Printing web pages can be a real problem as there’s no fixed shape or format and the text and graphics they contain may include hidden formatting commands that can really mess things up. There is a Text Size option on Internet Explorer’s View/Page menu (select Largest), but this doesn’t always work. In most cases the simplest thing to do is to highlight the text. If there’s a lot of it with no graphics just press Ctrl + A to highlight the entire page, then press Ctrl + C to copy the highlighted text to the Windows Clipboard. Next open a new document in Word or WordPad and press Ctrl + V to paste in the text, which you can now edit it to make it more readable and print out as a hard copy



Cartridge Choice

Concerned at the high cost of ink cartridges for my Canon printer, I started using cheaper cartridges obtained online. Unfortunately one of them leaked, ruining the printer. So for my new printer I only use the official cartridges, costing about £12 each. Given this high cost, is it worth the risk trying again with a cheaper, compatible cartridge?

Steve Short, by email


My general advice is to stick with the manufacturer’s original cartridges until the printer’s warranty runs out and you can make significant savings by shopping online and bulk buying. After that, by all means experiment with compatibles but avoid the very cheapest Internet deals, it’s just asking for trouble. You are normally better off with refilled original or remanufactured cartridges and high street stationers and supermarkets are usually the safest place to buy them. The cost savings may not be so impressive but they tend not to take chances with quality as they have an aversion to disgruntled customers bringing inky printers into their shops.



Mystery Extension

Our son sent us some email attachments with a file extension .mov. When I try to open them it elicits the message ‘This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Create an association in the Folder Options control panel’. I can't see anything relevant in Control Panel and wonder if you could tell me how to open the attachments?

Gavin Inglis, by email


That error message is a menace and confuses many users into thinking that there’s a box they can tick somewhere that will make the computer open the file. In fact it is simply saying that Windows cannot open the file or attachment because the program needed to do so isn’t installed on your computer.


For example, if someone sends you a Word document, with the file extension .doc or .docx you can only read it if you have Microsoft Word (or a Word viewer) on your computer. If you do when Word was installed it told Windows to associate .doc and .docx files with Word and when you click on one Word opens automatically and displays the document. The .mov file extension indicates that it’s an Apple QuickTime media file, so you need to install QuickTime on your computer in order to play them. It’s not a problem, all you have to do is go to http://www.apple.com/quicktime/, click the Free Download box and select the version you want (with or without iTunes). 




© R. Maybury 2011 1605


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