Houston We Have a Problem 11



Ask Rick 181 26/11/11


iRepair Touch Screen

I don’t remember how it happened but the screen on my precious iPhone has a crack across the top half. Surprisingly it still works though apps at the top of the screen won’t open but I can live with that. I’m not on a contract and can’t afford to replace it. Is it repairable and if yes, how much will it cost?

Jenny Weeting, by email


It needn’t be a write off, normally only the touch screen element is cracked and they can be replaced. A shop repair costs between £30 and £50, depending on the model. However, if you have a steady hand it’s something you can do yourself. There are plenty of touch screen replacement kits on ebay, costing under £20 and they come with instructions and the tools you need. Be sure to get the right one and check that it includes the thin plastic screen surround as the old one will almost certainly break apart when you remove it. Refitting the new screen is a fairly simple job, there’s just a single ribbon cable connection, which is a press fit onto the circuit board. The hardest part is reseating the screen in the case. It’s a tight fit so take your time and be careful not to press too hard. A couple of other tips: test the screen works before the final fitting, and be sure to clean off any finger marks and dust from the LCD and the inside surface of the touch screen as they will drive you potty.  



Double Trouble

I use OpenOffice on my Windows 7 PC and I don’t like it after being used to Microsoft Word. As a writer I need to submit manuscripts with double spaced words. This has always been a requirement of editors in my experience. There does not appear to be a command in OpenOffice to achieve this and checking online forums, most of the solutions appear to be for double line spacing. Am I missing something obvious? 

Patrick Hawkey, by email


I would check to see if double-spaced text, or even a printed manuscript is still a requirement; these days most editors prefer their submissions in a digital format. If it is then it is not a problem and although OpenOffice doesn’t have a specific command for double spacing text it is very easy to do. Simply highlight the text (Ctrl + A highlights the whole document) then go to Edit > Find and Replace. In the Search For box enter a single space and in the Replace With box type two spaces and click Replace All.



Name Change

When I download photographs to my PC, when the camera holds more than one holiday, they have ended up with incorrect names. Until now I have had to laboriously rename each individual photo, sometimes this means several hundred changes. Although I will be careful to avoid this happening again is there any way that I can change the names of a block of photos en bloc and also give them consecutive numbers.

Greg Roxby, by email


Yes you can and Windows (XP onwards) has a little-known batch renaming facility. All you have to do is highlight the block of files either by holding down the Ctrl key and clicking them singly, or if they are contiguous, hold down Shift and then the cursor down key (or Page Down key for a screen full at a time). One that’s done right click on the first file and select Rename. Give the file a new name and click OK and they will be automatically renamed and sequentially numbered. If you want to specify a start number enter this into a pair of brackets after the file name, for example ‘devonholiday(34)’.



Broken Boost

Having just got a Windows 7 PC I bought a 16Gb USB memory stick to use the Ready Boost feature. On plugging the stick in the Auto Run box opens with only two options, neither of them for Ready Boost. Windows Help directed me to drive’s Properties box and the Ready Boost tab, which says 'This device can not used for Ready Boost… and the service has been turned off’. I don’t recall turning anything off, how do I switch it back on?

D Bradshaw, by email


Briefly, for those who haven’t come across this feature before, Ready Boost is a way of speeding up a sluggish Vista or Windows 7 PC. The USB flash drive takes the pressure off the hard drive by storing files that the computer needs to frequently access. In your case I suspect Ready Boost doesn’t work either because it is a netbook with a solid-state drive (SSD), and there will be no performance gains, or the USB drive fails to meet the strict performance requirements. (Access time of 1ms or less, minimum read speed 2.5 MB/s and a write speed of 1.75MB/s).



Time After Tim

At one time I could dial TIM to check my watch.  After its demise I used Teletext on analogue TV. With the built in satellite delays with digital radio and TV what can I use now that is easily accessible and accurate?

John M Kenny, by email


TIM or the BT Speaking Clock is alive and well and can be heard by dialling 123 though these days it costs a minimum of 31 pence. The hourly pips or Greenwich Time Signal on analogue BBC Radio 4 are free and typically accurate to within 1/1000th of a second or 1 millisecond (1Ms) across the UK. Mobile phone and PC clocks, if set to synchronise with Internet or network time, are normally to within +/- 10Ms. Radio controlled clocks and watches are fairly inexpensive nowadays; online prices start at under £10.00. The clocks used to generate the time signals are pretty accurate too and shouldn’t gain or lose more than a second or so in a million years, however, you have to factor in a time delay of 1Ms for every 300km from the transmitter, which in the UK is in Anthorn, Cumbria.



© R. Maybury 2011 0711


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