Ask Rick 183 10/12/11
When I try to connect to the Internet using my
Three broadband dongle the computer shows No Network. However, I found that by
turning off the computer and restarting, it connects. Can you explain and help?
N. Arundel, by email
Many of the problems with 3G mobile broadband
dongles centre on the supplied dashboard programs that install automatically
when they are used for the first time. These tend to be heavily branded and
customised with crucial configuration settings either locked down or difficult
to access. My solution is to use the dongle manufacturer’s generic dashboard
program; these also let you use the dongle with other network SIM cards, once
it has been unlocked. The majority of dongles are made by Huawei or ZTE and you
will find the appropriate dashboard program for your dongle in the download
sections of the manufacturer’s website. Otherwise check the software library at
Unlocked Dongles (http://goo.gl/bQWnu).
Configuration is usually very straightforward. Normally all you have to do is
create a new connection file and enter the network’s name and APN (Access Point
Name) and any other vital settings, which should be in support section of the
High Definition Dropouts
I recently had my Virgin + HD cable box
replaced with a Samsung model (the previous one was made by Scientific
Atlanta). From day one it has suffered from an intermittent audio dropout
lasting around half a second at intervals of between 30 seconds and 10 minutes.
It is connected to my home cinema amplifier by a digital optical cable.
Dropouts occur on both live and recorded HD programs. However, it doesn’t
affect all channels and on recordings it doesn’t happen in the same place.
John Taylor, by email
Since the problem started when the new V+ box
was installed it’s reasonable to suppose that this is the root cause, though
you should first try reseating and swapping the connecting cable, in case it
was disturbed or damaged during the changeover. There doesn’t appear to be an
inherent fault with this particular model, though audio dropout, pixellation
and momentary freezing of the picture are not uncommon with all flavours of
digital TV. It’s the nature of the beast and any interruption in the flow of
data, however brief, causes these highly noticeable glitches. Similar
interruptions in analogue TV signals are much less obvious with just a small
drop in volume or a slight increase in picture noise. You should ask Virgin to
exchange your box, or despatch an engineer though intermittent faults like this
one have an unfortunate habit of getting better as soon as the van draws
I keep getting sound breaking through when I am
working on my laptop. At first I just muted the PC but after listening to it, I realised it was coming
from an advert on an open web page. How can I stop this happening?
Bryan Horstmann, by email
Blame it on tabbed browsers, which let you have
several pages open at once. Sudden and unexpected sounds from adverts and
auto-playing videos can be really annoying. It can be embarrassing too,
especially if you are supposed to be working and can’t close the noisy page in
time… These sounds mostly come from Adobe Flash Player, which is responsible
for web page videos and animations. There is a web page mute option in Internet
Explorer (Tools > Internet Options > Advanced tab, uncheck ‘Play sounds
in webpages’) but it doesn’t always work on Flash sounds. In Firefox the simplest
ting to do is install a free add-on like Flashblock (http://goo.gl/h5NFN), which is quite aggressive
and disables all Flash content. Otherwise try Adblock Plus (http://goo.gl/0RrQ9, which is also available for
Google Chrome (http://goo.gl/0stAN). In Opera
go to Tools > Preferences > Advanced tab, under Tabs select Content and
deselect Enable sound in web pages.
A few years ago I transferred a number of
photos on to two CDs. They played back OK at the time, but now I cannot read
them. There is something smeared over the surface of these discs and I think it
may have come from the plastic envelopes they were stored in. Other CD's of the
same age and stored in paper sleeves are OK. I have tried a standard CD Cleaner
and it did seem to make a slight improvement, but not enough to be able to read
the discs. Any other suggestions
Keith Lawson, by email
For really stubborn deposits and light
scratches I use Brasso metal polish. It’s a mild abrasive, and you try it at
your own risk, but provided you apply it gently with a soft cloth and buff it
up with another clean cloth, it generally works well. Just make sure you remove
all traces before you play the disc.
Roaming with an iPad
I will be replacing my old laptop before I go
on my annual visit to my family in South Africa. Previously I used a locally
purchased 3G dongle to go online but I think an iPad would be the right way to
go as this would give me email, and allow me to download the Daily Telegraph. I
would also like to use it to watch programmes on BBC iPlayer. How would I go
about obtaining a dongle (or whatever) for iPlayer to work over there?
Sheryl Courtier, by email
You won’t be able to use iPlayer in South
Africa on an iPad, or any other device for that matter as the streaming service
is only available within the UK. There is a subscription-based global iPlayer
app but this currently only works in Europe and is restricted to a limited
range of programs. You shouldn’t have any problems with the iPad app for the
Daily Telegraph and you can use it on the cheaper Wi-Fi iPad, provided you have
access to a wireless network where you are staying, or are prepared to use
hotspots in hotels and cafes. In theory the dearer 3G iPad lets you access the
Internet in most large towns and cities, however, your UK airtime contract
might not allow data roaming, or if it does it will be horrendously expensive.
You might be able to use a locally purchased pay as you go micro SIM (try
Vodacom), but you will need to ask a local resident to purchase it for you.
© R. Maybury 2011 2111