Ask Rick Maybury 2012



Ask Rick 218 18/08/12


Honourable Discharge

From the point of view of battery life, is it better to charge my iPad continuously or wait until it is virtually discharged.

Malcolm Spicer, by email


Apple suggests that you should put your iPad through a complete charge/discharge cycle at least once a month. In other words, charge it fully then allow it to run down to around 10 to 15 percent, before recharging and this also helps to recalibrate the device’s fuel gauge. By the way, this is good advice for any device powered by Lithium Ion/Polymer batteries. If possible charge your iPad in a cool environment and it will receive a slightly deeper charge and don’t forget to remove the case or cover to stop it getting too hot. Avoid leaving it on charge overnight; a full charge should take around 4 hours on the supplied charger (iPad 3 takes a little longer). Do not allow the battery to fully discharge, or leave it in an uncharged state, as this will definitely reduce its lifespan. Apple claims the iPad battery should be good for around 1000 charge cycles, before the capacity falls to below 80 percent, at which point you will be aware of reduced running times. This sounds tad optimistic and in practice it is likely to start showing signs of old age after around 500 or so cycles. Either way I wouldn’t worry too much, replacement batteries are readily available but in any case by the time it happens you’ll probably be too busy playing with your shiny new iPad 5 or 6…



Cycle Track

Migrating birds can be tracked using micro transmitters.  My son and a couple of friends are cycling from London to Olso in a few weeks and I would love to be able to follow their progress via a map on a website?

Robert Edwards, by email


Due to various legal and operational restrictions mobile phone tracking services, which use cellphone mast triangulation, generally only operate within the UK. GPS tracking devices work almost anywhere but they are expensive to buy and there are associated service costs. A smartphone with built in GPS is a possibility, and there are plenty of free tracking apps available for both iPhone and Android models, from Apple’s App Store and Google Play. However, these rely on mobile phone networks to send location reports via email, SMS or data upload to a web site so there could be significant roaming charges if used on a UK phone contract. The best way to avoid big bills is to buy an International SIM card, or get one locally, when you get there. Norwegian phone operator Telenor have some good deals on pay-as-you-go SIM cards with decent data allowances though they can be difficult to obtain for non-residents. Another point to bear in mind is that GPS and frequent data uploads put a heavy strain on phone batteries, which could be inconvenient if they are camping. If you really want to keep the costs down why not just ask him to send you a daily text message to let you know where he is, and all is well, and track his progress on an old fashioned map with drawing pins?



Going On Safari

We recently bought an Apple iPad, which uses the Safari web browser whereas my Windows 7 laptop uses Internet Explorer. Would there be any advantage or disadvantage in changing to Safari on my laptop?

D. Evans, by email


Not really, but many PC users may not realise that browsers are stand-alone programs and you can install as many of them as you like on your computer. The only proviso is that one of them has to be set the default, which will be the one that opens automatically when you click on a web link. What’s more you can also have two or more browsers running at the same time. Broadly speaking there’s not much to choose between the main contenders – IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari -- when it comes to performance and basic functions, but there are difference in the layout, cosmetics, add-ons and plug-ins, which provide extra features, so the trick is to try them all. 



Smart Go Slow

Am I right to be a little cautious about Smart TVs? We live in a village that has a slow Internet line. Just basic ADSL so would downloading from the Internet be a no-go?

Alan Parker, by email


Not necessarily, but first find out what your actual download speed is with an online checker like It’s important to take several readings at different times throughout the day to get an average. If it is consistently below 2Mb/sec then streamed or catch-up services like BBC iPlayer are likely to be disappointing with frequent pixellation and freezing.



Tablet To Telly

Is there anyway I can connect my iPad 2 to a Sony KDL 32S2030 television? It has no USB socket but is there a lead I can purchase and would I get both visual and audio output?

Graham Lilley


Almost certainly yes. You need a Digital AV Adaptor, which costs around £35 from Apple; copycat adaptors are available on ebay and Amazon for around half as much.  This is a small module that plugs into the iPad’s 30-pin connector socket and carries video and audio to your TV via an HDMI cable. The output mirrors the iPad display, so what you see on the screen you see on the TV in glorious 1080p resolution though iPad 2 movie playback will be at the slightly lower 720p.



No Going Back With Windows 8

Full of enthusiasm and thinking it would be easy to revert to Windows 7, I downloaded and installed the preview version of Windows 8 on my laptop without making a system backup. How do I get back to Windows 7?

David Paul, by email


You should have read the installation notes first. There are clear warnings that you shouldn’t load Windows 8 Preview on your primary PC. It is a beta release, which may still contain bugs, and once installed there is no way back to your previous Windows system. All you can do is reinstall W7 from your (hopefully) protected recovery partition or installation discs, or wait for the full product release, which is now expected on October 26. By the way, there’s some good news on pricing. The downloadable W8 upgrade is likely to costs significantly less than previous versions of Windows and the US price is rumoured to be around $40.00.




© R. Maybury 2012 3007


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