Ask Rick Maybury 2012



Ask Rick 195 10/03/12


Networking With a Newborn

With a new baby in the house, we were reluctant to add to the numerous radio waves filling our airspace; therefore we installed a BT router in the roof-space and hardwired Category 5 Ethernet cables to sockets around the house. Occasionally it would be useful to have a local Wi-Fi hotspot in a particular location. Is there a device that we can plug into one of our Cat 5 sockets that would give us a temporary Wi-Fi connection when required?

Jamie Heron, by email


Yes, and this is a good use for an old Wi-Fi router, which can be set to operate as a wireless Access Point. You will need to make a few configuration changes to the old router, but these are fairly straightforward; have a look at the tutorial on the TweakTown website at:



Pocket iPlayer

I watch the BBC iPlayer regularly on my laptop. Are there any other small hand-held devices that can receive it? 

Barry Hosken


There are free iPlayer apps for the Apple iPod, iPhone and iPad, from the iTunes store and for Android smartphones and tablets from Android Marketplace. As far as I’m aware there isn’t one for Windows Phone 7 devices at the moment. The BBC blames it on WP7’s lack of support for the streaming technologies that iPlayer relies upon but that may well change as the market evolves.



Second-hand Settings

My wife recently purchased a Nokia 5800 smart phone from ebay, specifically to send/receive emails when we are abroad later this year. Quite simply, she cannot achieve what she wants and it seems that every action results in the phone displaying the message ‘Packet Date Connection not available’. She has exhausted the help that our ISP can provide and is heading toward a similar situation with our network operator.

Ian Jefferies, by email


It is possible that the phone is still set for the previous owner’s network. You can try a Soft Reset to return it to its factory defaults (#7370# and press Select), but you will loose your phone book, any stored messages and preferences. If you want to preserve your data go to Settings > Connectivity > Destinations > Internet > Options > Delete and delete all of the APN entries. To force your network to create new connection settings switch the phone off, remove the SIM card, switch it back on again and remove the battery. Wait one minute then replace the SIM and battery and go to Menu > Applications > Phone Setup > Setup Wizard and follow the prompts to set up your connection and mail settings.



Panel Beating

I have recently upgraded to a newer version of Microsoft Word and for the most part it works well but I have one major annoyance. Every time it opens a panel called Getting Started appears on the right side of the page. I can get rid of it by clicking on the X in the top right hand corner, but it keeps coming back. I have tried unchecking the Task Pane box on the View > Toolbars menu, and that also makes it disappear but it still returns the next time I open Word. Please, can you tell me how to make this change permanent?

Mike Wells, by email


The fix for this particular irritant has been quite well hidden. Go to Options on the Tools menu, select the View tab and at the top uncheck ‘Startup Task Pane’ and click OK 



Game Plan

Is it possible to delete, permanently, Games from Windows 7?

Bob Burns, by email


That sounds like a cry from the heart so we won’t go into why you would want to do such a thing, but you have two options. If you just want to stop a non-savvy user playing games on your computer all you have do is go to Start > Control Panel > Turn Windows Features on or off, and put a check mark in the Games box and click OK. If you really want to remove them altogether open Windows Explorer and go to Program Files and locate the Microsoft Games folder. Right-click on it and select Delete and they will never bother you again (once you’ve emptied the Recycle Bin). If there are any other games on your system then you should find them listed in Programs and Features in Control Panel, from where they can be uninstalled.



A Light Touch

I recently purchased a netbook computer and had Microsoft Office 2007 installed on it. Whenever I type an email or use Word the cursor jumps all over the place and even wipes out entire sentences or paragraphs, thus a short e-mail could take up to 30 minutes or more to type. The vendor’s Technical Support has told me that the netbook is very sensitive and I should use just two fingers when typing and not hover over the machine. I have tried this too but it makes no difference. Can you offer any advice to stop this happening?

Josie Hopkins, by email


They are probably correct, especially if you are accustomed to using a full-sized PC keyboard and mouse. Making the transition to a small netbook keyboard can be quite difficult, particularly if you only use it occasionally. Your thumbs or palms may be accidentally brushing the touchpad, which can make Word and your email program do all sorts of unexpected things. Some models have an adjustment for touchpad sensitivity or there may be a feature that prevents unintentional actions. If so you will normally find it by going to Start > Control Panel > Mouse and look for a tab that relates to the touchpad. If not you can try desensitising the touchpad with a small piece of screen protector film. This is a thin transparent plastic designed to protect the screens on smartphones and tablet computers. Cut out a piece shaped to fit over the touchpad, it has a lightly adhesive backing, which should keep it in place. However, in the end the best solution is to learn to keep your fingers and palms clear of the touchpad 



© R. Maybury 2012 0602


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