Ask Rick Maybury 2012



Ask Rick 210 24/06/12


Curse You iPad

I am having difficulty moving the cursor on my iPad 3 when changing text in a document or letter. Once one is past the point of entry, i.e., going back through the text to change or add a letter or word, it is very

difficult, if not impossible, to move the cursor to the point where one wishes it to be. Is there a special code etc. that will let me move the cursor, as one does with a PC or laptop?

Chris Dursley, by email


The lack of any obvious cursor controls on the iPad’ (and iPhone and iPod Touch) annoys a lot of new users, until they learn the trick of touching and holding on the point on the screen where you want the cursor to appear. After a couple of seconds a magnifying glass appears and you can gently stroke the cursor in the bubble to the exact spot. It’s a bit fiddly at first but you quickly get used to it.  A more traditional alternative is a free app called Arrow Note ( This adds a pair of toolbars to the touch-screen keyboard with arrow cursor keys and some other useful features, including select, cut, paste, copy and character count.



Space Saver

I have a lot of images stored on my PC taken with my 10-megapixel digital camera. I know I should have changed the setting on the camera or down-sized each image after downloading but I didn't. The image size averages at 4 - 6 megabytes.


I would now like to free up some memory on my PC by reducing the image sizes. Is it possible to do this by highlighting, say, a folder of pictures and reducing their image size en bloc as opposed to doing it image by image?

Tony Service, by email


As I see it your problem is not so much size of your image files, but rather the lack of storage space on your computer. Instead of compressing your photos, which will inevitably result in a reduction of quality, why not add a second slave drive to your computer? If that’s not practical, or you are not keen on messing around inside your PC, get an external drive, which plugs into one of your PC’s spare USB ports. A one terabyte internal or external drive, for example, which cost from around £70.00 online from the like of Amazon, can store something like a quarter of a million images, which should be enough to be getting on with…



Character Building

I recently replaced my ancient PC with a laptop running Windows 7 and Microsoft Office. When typing a document in Word I'm finding that when I use the space bar there is very little space between words and I sometimes find it difficult to read what I've written. Hitting the space bar twice creates too large a space. Is there any way of making an adjustment?

Steve Milligan, by email


If the problem is simply readability on screen try increasing the Zoom setting on the View menu. You can’t manually change word spacing in MS Word; this is determined by the design of the font and whether or not the line or paragraph is justified. You can, however, adjust character spacing, which also changes the distance between words. To do that open the Font Dialogue box, by pressing Ctrl + D (all versions of Word) then select the Character Spacing tab. There are three presets (normal, extended and condensed) and a manual adjustment, in the ‘By’ arrow box. This increases or decreases spacing in increments of 0.1pt. Click the Default button to save your chosen setting. 



Antisocial Networks

I recently bought a new laptop, which operates Windows 7 and want to network it through my wireless router with my desktop PC that runs Windows XP, to share some files and folders. Is it possible to set up this link without having to upgrade my desktop computer to Windows 7? I have tried using the network set-up system in Windows 7 but cannot get it to recognise my laptop’s existence on my home network.

Roger Vincent, by email


Windows 7 and XP will happily communicate with each other, though the W7 Homegroup setup feature only works with other W7 PCs, so you have to do it manually. The usual problems are not using the same Workgroup name and failing to set up file and printer sharing on the XP machine but rather than run through all of the settings I suggest that you have a look at a simple to follow tutorial on the Howtogeek website at:



Boxing Clever?

I have always fully turned off non-essential electrical appliances at night for safety reasons and to save energy. This always included my Sky digibox, without any problems, however when I recently upgraded to a Sky + HD box the engineer said that I should never turn it off because it takes longer to boot-up, but he also implied that to regularly turn it off would in some way damage it. This seems doubtful to me, was he right?

Roger Wood, by email


It’s a grey area but statistically electronic devices are more likely to fail when they are switched on and off. This is due to thermal shock, when components are subject to sudden changes in temperature, and the possibility of peaks or transients in the power supply. The engineer may also be referring to the EPG (electronic program guide) and firmware updates for Sky boxes, which are sent over the air, usually during the early hours. It won’t stop working if it misses one but you might find that the program guide or some features may not work properly. On the other hand, switching your Sky + box off at night could well shave a few pounds off your annual electricity bill. The power consumption of some Sky + boxes isn’t significantly lower in standby mode as much of the circuitry, cooling fans, hard drive and the LNB (low noise block converter – the module attached to the dish arm) remain active in order to receive the over the air updates.




© R. Maybury 2012 2105


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