Ask Rick Maybury 2012



Ask Rick 213 14/07/12


Kindle Kaput?

With reference to your recent reply to a query regarding 4G mobile phone networks, I am concerned that my 3G Kindle will become obsolete.  If, as you say, 3G may be wound up in 3 years or so, how will I continue to download books?

David Pinder, by email


Three years was my guesstimate for the full deployment of 4G networks in the UK. I have no doubt that 3G services will continue for several years after that, allowing plenty of time for users to update their phones and devices. Even if they were to go in such a short timeframe your Kindle would still be able to download books from Amazon and other e-book services using its Wi-Fi connection or via a PC. The question is, will you still have your present Kindle in five years? Possibly not; there’s a very fair chance that you will have upgraded by then, or it will have expired because you dropped it, sat on it or the battery died and it wasn’t worth replacing. Who knows, you might even abandon e-books altogether and revert back to those old fashioned text readers, the sort that smell nice and don’t require batteries or Internet connections…


Multiple Choice Skype

I tried to contact HMRC using Skype; the quality of the call was excellent, until the automated message asked me to key in a number for the service that I wanted. How do I do that?

Brian Lawrence, by email


Old versions of Skype used to display an on-screen numeric keypad but now you use the keyboard’s number keys, or the numeric keypad for dialling. If you need to enter a number whilst in a call simply click the keypad icon that appears at the bottom of the Call Phones window.



Larger Live Mail

I have recently had eye surgery and am finding it very difficult to read my PC screen. I can adjust the size of the image in Word and can use the Ctrl and + keyboard shortcut for zooming web browser windows but cannot find out how to make text larger in Windows Live Mail. Have you any suggestions?

Colin Bartlett, by email


Yes, and all you have to do is go to Tools > Options, select the Read tab and the Font’s button and click Font Size. However, you may find that a better long-term solution is to change the display settings for all applications by going to Start > Control Panel > Display. Either select Medium (125%) or use the Set Custom Text Size (DPI) adjustment. You can also experiment with the display options available in the Ease of Access Centre in Control Panel and if you are using a desktop PC and your present screen is 17-inches or less, upgrading to a larger monitor may help.



Missing E-Books on iPad

I have the Kindle app on my iPad and through Amazon I bought five books. I clicked to download the books and the front covers are displayed but I cannot open them.  What have I done wrong?

C Morris. By email


The likeliest explanation is that you initiated the downloads but closed the Kindle app before they had completed. To restart the downloads first make sure that you have a live Wi-Fi Internet connection; double check by opening a web page in Safari browser. Now open the Kindle app, select the Cloud tab and then the book that you want to download and it should come through. Do not exit the app until you have verified that the book is on your iPad.



Regional Dispute

I have five television sets in my home, all served from the one aerial. Two TVs have built-in Freeview decoders and the other three use digital set top boxes. One of the Freeview TVs receives BBC & ITV south regional programmes, the other one picks up eastern region transmissions.  Of the three TVs with set top boxes, two receive programmes from the east, the other from the southern region. I would like them all to receive the same southern region programmes. Re-tuning does not change the reception status. Can you please explain why this happens and what, if anything, I can do about it?

John Fraser, by email


Freeview tuners normally determine which TV region you are in from the strength of the signals. It sounds as though your aerial is picking up broadcasts from two transmitters and small variations in the sensitivity of the tuning circuitry accounts for the different region choices. You should first check to see if the wanted regional broadcasts have been stored high up on the receiver’s channel list, typically channel numbers 800 and above. If so, and your receivers have the facility, you can re-order or swap them with the unwanted channels. Another possibility on some receivers is to delete all stored channels by carrying out a channel scan with the aerial cable unplugged, then reconnect and tune the receiver manually. Drastic solutions include changing to a more directional aerial and if all else fails, and you have a friend that lives closer to your preferred regional transmitter, load the errant TV and set top boxes into your car, take them around to their house and retune using their aerial…



A Plug For Broadband

I am having trouble getting a reliable wireless connection to my second computer in the part of the house furthest from the Internet hub so am considering buying a Homeplug Ethernet adaptor. However, this area of the house is on a separate ring main to that which feeds the hub. I am unfamiliar with these devices so would this matter?

Mike Poplar, by email


These systems work by superimposing computer data onto a high frequency carrier signal that travels through the mains wiring. The signal can cross between separate circuits or rings, but only when they are connected together on the same fuse box or consumer unit. Incidentally, you may want to check that there are no amateur radio enthusiasts living nearby, as there have been reports of these systems interfering with short wave reception. 


© R. Maybury 2012 2506


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