Ask Rick Maybury 2012



Ask Rick 205 19/05/12


Touch Printing

I have an iPod touch 8GB. I'm not able to print off emails as it can never find my wireless printer. How can I remedy this?

Shelagh Stewart, by email


Third generation (3G) and later iPod Touches, iPhones and iPads support Apple’s AirPrint facility. The fly in the ointment is that it only works with printers with AirPrint support, and I am guessing that yours isn’t one of them. Fortunately there are ways around this so there is no need to buy a new printer. There are a lot of workarounds on the web but most of them are rather involved, or don’t work so if you want an easy life and don’t mind spending £6.62, I suggest a small utility called FingerPrint ( Versions are available for Mac and Windows PCs and it seems to work with most printers, but try the free trial version first, just in case. Printing from older first and second-generation iPod Touch and 3G iPhones is more difficult, and as far as I am aware the only solution is to hack or Jailbreak the device’s operating system so you can install a third-party app called Cydia, which enables multitasking. This is a potentially risky procedure but if you want to know more there’s a tutorial and links to the software that you will need at:



Traveller’s Friend

I'm considering buying a hand held GPS to measure the distances walked by my partner and myself at weekends. We have exhausted all of the books that give distances for circular walks so now I create my own from Ordnance Survey maps. The problem is trying to calculate how far we have travelled. I have tried using a map and dividers but I suspect it's not very accurate. It there an adequate number of satellites to give a continuous update of our position and would it be possible to take into account the dozens of changes of direction when meandering along woodland paths?

Colin Coomber, by email


There are plenty of GPS units and even some smartphone apps designed specifically for walkers. Most of them log distances and much more besides, including displaying speed, direction, altitude, even your heart rate. Additionally some models can download stored data to a PC so when you get home you can plot or overlay your route on a map. There are some useful articles and reviews of recent models at:


GPS reception in the great outdoors is generally good provided you can see the sky, avoid steeply walled canyons and dense forests. However, these devices can be quite pricey so why not road test some cheap, old technology before you splash out? Simple pedometers only costs around £5.00; they count your steps and from that you can calculate distance travelled with reasonable accuracy. Get two and give one to your partner so you can average the results, which should further improve accuracy. 



Scotch Missed?

I have downloaded the BBC iPlayer app to my iPad 2.  Why can I not access Radio Scotland or other regional stations as I can on the iPlayer on my PC?

Wes Keys, by email


It’s an odd situation but according to the BBC there are unspecified technical issues that need to be resolved… However, they maintain that they are committed to delivering online services to a range of mobile and tablet devices; a solution is in the pipeline and it hopes to have these programmes available within the app later this year.




Going Loco With Floppies

Some years ago a neighbour wrote a most interesting account of his wartime experiences as RAF aircrew. He produced it with LocoScript on an Amstrad machine and has it on a floppy disc. I have seen a hard copy, amounting to 100 A4 pages, produced on a daisy wheel printer, which is perfectly legible. He suggested I make a photocopy for myself, but I would like to present him with a version that could be printed on a modern printer. I can connect a floppy disc reader to my iMac but it won’t accept Amstrad discs. What do you suggest?

Tom Dunsmore, by email


Whilst it is possible to read those old discs on a modern PC the necessary hardware and software is becoming increasingly difficult to find, and it’s harder still for Macs. Several companies used to offer a conversion service but they too seem to have disappeared; if anyone still has this capability please let me know and I’ll pass it on. However, since we are only talking about 100 or so cleanly printed pages I think the simplest solution is to scan them using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software, which is included with most flatbed scanners and multi-function printers. This converts the printed words into a text file that can be opened in any word processor. It won’t be perfect and there will probably be a fair number of spelling mistakes but once it’s done it can be easily printed, and preserved.



Cranky Camera

I have a Canon PowerShot digicam from which I am trying to upload pictures on to my PC. I have installed the software that came with it but every time I try to get the PC to communicate with the camera a message appears ‘no camera found’. I have reloaded the software and tried a different cable and in different ports but the wretched thing just refuses to work.

Rex Gascoyne, by email


It sounds like a driver issue but without a lot more information about your PC, at the very least the version of Windows that you are using, it is impossible for me to say. However, I do have a very simple workaround that works with virtually all cameras and PCs. All you need is a memory card reader, preferably a multi-format type, which you plug into one of your PC’s USB ports. They are very widely available, and cheap, you may even find them in your local ‘pound’ store. Simply take the memory card out of the camera, pop it into the reader and it will appear as removable drive in Windows Explorer. You will then be able to copy and paste or drag and drop the image files to a folder on your hard drive.



© R. Maybury 2012 3004


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