Houston We Have a Problem 11



Ask Rick 162 16/07/11


A Message From Kindle

I read your recent comments about using an Amazon Kindle for email with interest, as I was unaware of this facility. Can one also send emails from the Kindle or would you have to use a smart phone or Internet cafe.

Brian Whale, by email


You can only use the Kindle’s built-in browser to access webmail services like gmail and Yahoo, but yes, you can use them to send emails though be warned that the titchy keyboard is really only suitable for composing relatively short messages.


A number of readers have also asked me to expand on the issue of ‘free’ connectivity when using the Kindle 3G version abroad. To recap, this model has, in addition to Wi-Fi, a 3G modem that connects to cellphone networks in more than 100 countries. Obviously the idea is to allow the user to buy and download books from Amazon but the built-in experimental browser also allows access to the Internet. At the moment there are no 3G subscription fees or roaming charges. All you pay is the initial purchase price, which is currently £152.00. Clearly this looks like an interesting proposition for travellers, though I repeat my earlier comments that web browsing on an e-reader can be hard work due to the narrow, slow, black and white display.


Needless to say Amazon retains full control of this facility and in many countries you are only permitted to visit the Amazon Store and Wikipedia using the 3G connection (there are no limits on Wi-Fi browsing), but here’s a trick that sometimes let you ‘break out’ to the wider web in places where access has been limited. Go to the Wikipedia main page, and type in a subject. It doesn’t really matter what, but the chosen page should have links to external sites. Select one of them and when the page has opened type in the address of the site that you actually want to visit. There is no doubt that Amazon are closely monitoring the use of the Kindle’s 3G facility and if they find that it is being extensively used for overseas web browsing my guess is that it will either tighten its control or start charging, so keep it to yourself…   



Control Your Cookies

I want to be able to reveal all the cookies stored on my PC and select and delete those I don't want. Can you help?

Les Hunt, by email


In Internet Explorer go to Tools > Internet Options > General tab and under Browsing History select Settings click View Files and scroll down the list to find the stored cookies. Right click on and select Delete for any that you want to remove. In Firefox go to Tools > Options > Privacy and select Show Cookies. For Google Chrome click on the Spanner icon then go to Options > Under the Bonnet > Content Settings > All Cookies and Site Data. Select the ones you want to get rid of and click the X icon. Don’t forget that most browsers have options that let you take charge of how cookies are stored.



Camcorder Conversion

I have just returned from holiday with friends who have lent us their camcorder discs but the files are in .vro format. How can I make playable DVDs from them?

Chris Cock, by email


The simplest solution is to use a DVD authoring program such as Corel DVD MovieFactory, (around £20 online). This can import .vro files directly from the discs so you can edit them, add effects, transitions, titles and so on and then burn the finished recording to a DVD. If you want to try your hand with a freeware application like DVD Flick (http://goo.gl/udeZr) copy the .vro files to your PC then change the extension to .mpeg.



Lead Astray

I would like to use my PC to make CDs from recordings on reel-to-reel tape and cassettes. I can’t seem to find a 5-pin DIN Plug to USB lead, or a USB to jack plug lead suitable for connecting to a Walkman. I've tried to make them up from parts but the wire colours don't match.

Barrie Cross, by email  


Such leads do not exist. DIN and jack are for analogue audio signals and USB is a digital connection system and the two do not mix. It’s not a problem, though, use a DIN to stereo Jack and Jack-to-Jack lead to connect your tape machine’s line outputs to the line audio input on your PC and a freeware program called Free Audio Editor (http://goo.gl/J1Kl) to record, edit and create audio CDs



Missing Memory

My PC uses Windows XP and has 512Mb RAM. I decided to install some additional memory and purchased another 512Mb memory module. I believe I installed it correctly and things appear to have speeded up somewhat. However the memory capacity is only now indicated to be 704Mb. I queried this with the supplier and was told that the graphics element in the hardware would account for this discrepancy. If that is the case, why did the original specification indicate 512Mb?

David Colton, by email


To keep costs down many PCs have the video adaptor circuitry built into the motherboard and this uses some of the system memory. It’s a little misleading, I agree, but technically the specifications are correct as the shared memory can be released back to the system by fitting a separate graphics card since these have their own on-board memory. This should also bring about another small improvement in performance. Memory is currently fairly cheap and it is a good way of perking up a sluggish PC so it’s worth fitting the maximum amount your motherboard can support, which on most XP systems is 2Gb.



Refreshing Change

I installed Mozilla Firefox 4 on my laptop - big mistake. It does not have back, forward or refresh buttons. Any idea why they have omitted these important features?

George Sullivan, by email


They’re still there but it sounds as though you may have hidden the Navigation Toolbar. Go to View > Toolbars and click on Navigation. (If the menu bar isn’t showing press the Alt key). Alternatively go to View > Toolbars > Customise and click Restore Default Set. By the way, the Refresh button has been moved on Firefox 4, it’s now on the right hand side of the address box.




© R. Maybury 2011 2006

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