Ask Rick 201 21/04/12
I have purchased a HDMI connecting lead for
under £5.00 and this works very well on my laptop, DVD player and my HDTV. What
are the advantages of the dearer ones, some of which cost £20.00 or more?
Doug Pope, by email
Hi-Fi enthusiasts often spend hundreds of
pounds on interconnecting cables and when it comes to transporting analogue
audio signals the electrical characteristics of the cable and the connectors
can affect sound quality but the digital data passing through HDMI cables is
far more robust. It does make sense to pay a little extra for features like
gold plating on contacts as it is an excellent electrical conductor and
resistant to corrosion. Good quality cable is less prone to generating noise or
impeding the smooth passage of digital data. More expensive cables also tend to
be better made and therefore more reliable, they usually look nicer too, but it
is a case of diminishing returns and spending much more than £20.00, say, on
cables between 1 and 5 metres long is unlikely to produce any noticeable
difference in picture or sound quality. It’s a slightly different story for
cables 10 metres or more in length, especially when linking a high-end HDTV
with a Blu Ray player, and there is a valid argument for splashing out on more
exotic Category II cables, which minimise the effects of longer cable runs.
Whilst working, quite happily, on my XP
machine, the screen goes black and the message ‘No signal’ appears. There
doesn't seem to be, to me, any regularity about its appearance nor does it
appear to be connected with a particular job. Any thoughts?
Jack White, by email
That message is almost certainly coming from
the monitor rather than your computer, indicating that the video signal from
your PC has been interrupted. It may be something as simple as an intermittent
connection, so try reseating both ends of the cable connecting the PC and the
monitor, and if that make no difference, replace the cable. If it is still
happening then there may be a problem with the monitor, or your PC’s video
adaptor. The former you can check by trying another monitor; if it’s the latter
then the video card may have worked loose, but if you’re not comfortable poking
around inside your computer then it is a job for an expert.
The Ins and Outs of VHS to DVD
I have been trying to transfer old videotapes
of holidays and family events to computer and DVD using EzCap. My problem is
that my video player only has in and out SCART sockets and the red and white
phono sockets for audio output. Whatever I try I can only get sound not
picture. I have an SCART adapter with red, white and yellow phono sockets, but
when I use that I get nothing at all. Any ideas?
Les Sharp, by email
Your SCART to phono adaptor is wired for audio
and video (AV) input. You need an adaptor that is switchable between AV input
and output, or a SCART to phono lead with both input and output connections
(this will have 6 phono plugs) or an output-only type SCART lead.
I have an Acer computer, running Windows Vista,
which I bought because it had a large 1Tb drive. The C: drive is 457Gb in size
and I only have 103Gb of free space left as I store a lot of photographs. The
D: drive is 457Gb, and has 457Gb of free space. Can you please tell me how I can store files on the D: drive, and
why was the hard drive split into two?
Margaret Whittaker, by email
Splitting or partitioning a hard drive creates
what is effectively a second disc drive, which may be used for backups, and the
files needed to restore your computer, should you ever need to re-install
Windows following a catastrophic failure. It also saves the manufacturer from
having to supply you with installation discs, which are easily lost or damaged,
re-sold, or used to produce pirate copies of Windows.
Windows Vista and W7 have a built in facility
to re-size disc partitions. This lets you shrink the D: drive and expanding the
C: drive to give you more room to store your files. It’s a fairly straightforward
procedure. Go to Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools >
Computer Management > Disk Management. Right click on the partition that you
want to make smaller and select Shrink Volume. To be on the safe side I
wouldn’t increase the size of the C: drive by more than 250Gb, in case your PC
needs more space in the future for backups. There is a simple to follow
tutorial on the How To Geek website at http://goo.gl/OgHX.
On earlier versions of Windows you have to use a third party resizing tool. I
suggest a freeware program called Easus Partition Master; you'll find a link to
the download at: http://goo.gl/G6ctX
Is there a way of overcoming the feature in
Word in Microsoft Office 2010 which, when typing, produces an upper case letter
to the first word when dropping down a line, and for which a lower case
character has been typed?
Bob Thomas, by email
Needless to say Word is just trying to be
helpful and assumes that when you press Return you are starting a new sentence.
You have two options. You can reverse the change, (or any other unexpected
action in Word and most Windows programs) using the undo function, Ctrl + Z.
For a more permanent solution you can switch this feature off by going to the
Office button, click Word Options > Proofing > Autocorrect Options >
and uncheck ‘Capitalize first letter of sentences’. In earlier versions of
Words go to Insert > AutoText > AutoText > Autocorrect tab and
deselect the Capitalize option.
© R. Maybury 2012 0204