Houston We Have a Problem 11



Ask Rick 184 17/12/11


Going Digital on an old VCR

My TV area goes digital next February. An analogue TV can be digitally enabled by a video recorder with built-in Freeview tuner, but can a 4-year-old VCR be used with a TV that has a Freeview receiver?

Rod Mundy, by email


Most TVs with Freeview tuners have audio-video (AV) output – usually on one of the SCART sockets -- and if you connect this to your VCR you should be able to record the channel that you are currently watching. However, if you want to record one channel whilst watching another you will have to buy a separate Freeview tuner, and connect that to your VCR’s AV input.



Getting the Price Right on ebay

I have some unusual items that I would like to sell but I have no idea if it is worth putting them on ebay. It would be useful to know how much similar items have sold for in the past, so I can price them appropriately: is there a way of accessing this information?

Tony Rickard, by email


Ebay archives details of all sales and auctions held within the past 15 days. In some categories, such as Collectibles this is extended to 90 days for items that have sold, and 45 days for those that haven’t. To search for listings that have ended click the Advanced link next to the search button at the top of the page. Enter a description or keywords of the items you are looking for and in the ‘Search Including’ section check the Completed listings box. Any other information or options you can enter on this page will help to narrow your search. When you have finished click the Search button at the bottom of the page.



Led Astray by Satnav 

Ever since moving to our current home we have had problems with home deliveries as satellite navigation systems erroneously direct drivers to the next village along.  Even my own satnav tells me to turn around where possible, when I pull into my driveway!  I have tried uploading a correction on my TomTom to their website but nothing has changed, and of course this will not work for other manufacturers.  Is there any way I can get this mapping error corrected?  I am sure I can't be the only person with such a problem.

Mat Newman, by email


You are not alone and accuracy and omissions are one of the frequent complaints about satnav systems, providing newspapers and newsrooms with amusing and sometimes tragic stories. Unfortunately there is no central database; most satnavs rely on maps produced by one of three companies, Navteq, TeleAtlas and Google, but there are others. They all have links on their web sites where you can report errors but it can be a very slow process. Even if a change is accepted it can take months for it to filter through to devices in cars, if ever, if a satnav’s database isn’t regularly updated. Residents in areas where satnavs lead drivers up impassable roads and tracks often take matters into their own hands and erect warning notices but in your case, all you can do is notify the three main mapping companies and alert the delivery company in the hope that they warn their drivers. 



Smartphone Storage

I entered into a monthly paid contract for my HTC Desire smartphone at the beginning of this year. Over the last couple of months an icon has appeared at the top of the screen, which tells me that I have run out of storage space and indeed some of my downloaded apps will not update as a result. The amount of memory space taken up by the apps it doesn’t seem to equate to the small amount of memory remaining?

Clive McMurray, by email


Running out of internal storage space is becoming an increasingly common problem on some smartphones. There doesn’t seem to a be a single cause but there is a known glitch on several HTC models that allows the contacts list to inflate to several times its normal size. Moving apps to a removable SD memory card can also help, though some of the biggest ones, like Flash can only be installed on the internal memory. One way to take charge of where your phone stores large files is to ‘root’ the operating system but this is a tricky procedure that will almost certainly invalidate the warranty and if you botch it the phone can be rendered unusable. There is still a lot you can do to claw back space, though, including fixing a bloated contacts list and transferring apps that can be moved to the SD card and there is a simple to follow tutorial at http://goo.gl/woGIU.



iPhone Spam?

I have just returned from the US where I kept roaming switched off on my iPhone 4 and just used hotel and other public wi-fi services. On my return, people in my address book started receiving spam, as if from me.

I have three address books, on my iPhone, my Hotmail account and my Yahoo webmail service. I keep them separate but accessed them all whilst I was away through my iPhone. It was my Yahoo webmail address book, which has been copied. Is there anything you would recommend for the iPhone to prevent this?

Tony Cross, by email



I doubt very much that your Yahoo contact information was extracted from your iPhone, unless someone else had physical access to it, or were able to observe you entering your logon details. But is far more likely that your account has been remotely compromised, or your home PC is infected by malware. The first thing to do is change to a new, stronger password. For the record you should avoid using personal information, guessable names or whole words. It should be 7 or more characters long, a mixture of upper and lower case and include numbers and symbols. If spam continues to be sent from your account after the password change run a full malware scan on any PCs that you use and follow the steps on the Yahoo Help web pages at: http://goo.gl/7qxY0.




© R. Maybury 2011 2811

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