Ask Rick 216 04/08/12
On The Offensive
From time to time, I receive obnoxious e-mails
from a close relative. What action should I take to prevent such offensive
emails reaching me, apart from planting one on his nose and ending up in the
F P, by email
Violence is definitely not the answer and if
the emails are in any way abusive or legally actionable your first step should
be to report the matter to both your own and the sender’s ISP. If they contain
threats of any sort you should inform the police. However, in most cases the
best way to stop nuisance emails is to simply ignore and delete them. With no
reaction or response from you the sender should soon realise that their
messages are either not getting through or not having the desired effect and
eventually they should stop. Check if your ISP provides any filtering options
and on most email programs you can delete unwanted emails automatically without
you ever seeing them, either by marking them as Spam, adding the address to a
Blocked Senders List or creating a Rule to delete them as soon as they are
downloaded. Make sure that you haven’t enabled automatic receipt confirmation.
This is normally disabled by default but if it is on the sender can tell that
you are receiving their messages.
Improving iPad’s Image
My family presented me with an iPad 2 for my
birthday and on the whole I am impressed but I have encountered a few
drawbacks. For example, I am accustomed to taking a netbook on holiday with me,
for picking up emails, browsing the web and backing up photos from my digital
camera. The iPad is very convenient for email and the web but I can see no way
of uploading photos, other than by using iTunes. Is there an another way? I
also cannot work out how to load Word documents. Is it even possible without
buying an expensive app or connectors for my PC?
David Byers, by email
The first one is easy, you need is a little
gizmo called a Camera Connector Kit. The official Apple module costs around £20
but you will find plenty of third-party alternatives for considerably less.
Amazon and ebay have them for under £5.00, including postage. This lets you
connect the iPad to your camera by USB cable, or read directly from an SD
memory card. As soon as you plug it in there will be an option to open and
import the stored images (ignore the not compatible message that may appear).
As an added bonus you may also be able to use it to connect Apple and some
other USB keyboards and other USB devices (microphones, headsets etc). If you
also want to access files on a flash drive, or external drive you will have to
jailbreak the iPad, but do not try this if you are of a nervous disposition as
there is a small risk of ‘bricking’ your tablet.
The simplest way to get a Word document onto
your iPad is to email it to yourself as an attachment. The iPad can open, but
not edit Word docs. If you want to do that as well then you’ll need a paid-for
app like QuickOffice, Office2 HD or Pages. They are modestly priced (£7.00 -
£14.00), and there are also freebies and cloud services, like Google Docs and
OnLive (soon to be launched in the UK), but one way or another they all have
quirks and limitations so read the reviews and comments.
My son in America thinks it a good idea for me
to switch from my landline to a Skype phone. I am uneasy, the limited info I
have gleaned from the Internet shows that a landline and broadband modem are
required. I have both but doesn’t this defeat the object of saving any money.
What is your view?
Helga Shiekh, by email
My guess is your son is simply suggesting that
you and he use Skype to chat, rather than your phone. It’s not an alternative
to a fixed phone line or mobile, and you can’t make emergency calls but it does
have a number of significant benefits. Firstly calls to him and other Skype
users, wherever they are in the world, are completely free (apart from the cost
of your broadband and phone line). You can also call landline and mobile phones
from your PC or Skype phone, though you will have to purchase credits, pay a
subscription or pay-as-you-go, but this can still work out much cheaper than
normal phone tariffs, especially for International calls. Skype also has some
useful extras, including two-way video calling, conference calls, instant
messaging, SMS text messages and so on. I would definitely give it a try. It
costs you nothing if you have a laptop; if you have a desktop computer you will
have to buy a microphone or Skype handset or headset that plugs into your PC
audio sockets but these only cost a few pounds.
My desktop PC keeps showing a message to the
effect that due to hardware changes, I need to activate Windows within 3 days.
A phone number (0800 018 8354) is given, which I should ring to obtain a code.
I have chosen not to activate and everything appears to work normally. I have
run to System Restore, taking things back a week, but on restart, the message
still comes up. I am suspicious of this for all sorts of reasons. Do you know
if it is genuine?
Derek Acock, by email
The message and phone number are both
legitimate and Product Activation is one of the ways Microsoft tries to reduce
software piracy. The idea is that a change of hardware configuration could
indicate that your copy of Windows, which is licensed for only one machine, has
been installed on another computer. Reactivation is a nuisance but is normally
it is quite painless, and even quicker online, involving just a couple of mouse
clicks. If you continue to ignore it Windows will go into a reduced
functionality mode after a 30-day grace period. Depending which version of
Windows you are using this could mean more frequent pop-up messages,
intermittent logging off or almost nothing will work, except the reactivation
© R. Maybury 2012 1607