Ask Rick 221 08/09/12
Taking The Tablets
For a forthcoming trip I plan to buy a tablet
computer to keep copies of documents, books and to maintain contact with the
outside world. But I also want to
preview and back up photos (jpegs) taken on my Pentax SLR and Nikon compact
cameras, both of which use regular SD cards and have a micro USB slot. The new
Nexus 7 has had good reviews but I have not been able to establish if it is
possible to get pictures on to it direct from a camera or an SD card via a card
reader without the use of a PC?
Peter Graham, by email
For some inexplicable reason this basic and
extremely useful facility isn’t available on the otherwise excellent Nexus 7,
but it can be enabled, either with a paid-for app from Google Play called Nexus
Media Importer, this costs £1.27, or a free app called Stickmount. They both let the Nexus read flash drives and
memory cards but before you get too excited there’s a catch with Stickmount. It
only works on ‘rooted’ devices. Rooting allows full access to the device’s file
systems and overrides security features designed to protect the operating
system, and it will invalidate the warranty. However, it’s a relatively quick,
simple and safe procedure using free PC utilities like Nexus Root Toolkit;
there’s an easy to follow online tutorial with links to the necessary software
on the How-To-Geek website (http://goo.gl/WJtq8).
Make sure you carry out a full backup first as rooting deletes user installed
apps and data. By the way, whichever method you choose you will need an OTG (On
The Go) adaptor as well. This a micro USB plug at one end and a standard USB
socket on the other, so you can connect directly to a flash drive, a camera via
a USB lead, or a SD card reader; you’ll find OTG adaptors on ebay and Amazon
for a pound or two.
Some weeks ago a reader wrote that their iPad
could not always connect to wi-fi hotspots, and you took them through the
various procedures. However this does
not answer my problem, which is that the iPad does not always 'see' known
wireless networks. I have just returned from a sailing holiday in Greece,
intending to log on to weather forecast web sites. Fortunately I also took an
old Samsung notebook. Throughout the two weeks, the notebook would connect to
several networks each day and log on where allowed. The iPad picked up only two
hotspots during the whole time, which suggests that there wasn’t a problem with
Greek networks. I’ve had the same issue in the UK, failing to see a hotel
network. Is there anything that I can do to locate these perfectly good
Kathy Mallam, by email
A quick trawl through the forums suggests that
quite a few iPad users have been experiencing this and similar wi-fi
connectivity problems so there does seem to be a glitch with the new model.
Apple tends not to be very forthcoming when there are ongoing issues with
hardware or software, so assuming that you have tried all of the standard fixes
(clearing old settings, renewing DHCP lease, resetting etc.), you should return
the iPad for investigation and possible replacement.
Blowing a Raspberry
I have just acquired a Raspberry Pi, £30
computer, and can access the Internet with it. I presume it is just as
vulnerable to malware as any other Internet linked PC. It has no antivirus or
firewall protection. How secure does that make my local network, which is used
by two other PCs?
David Booth, by email
I really wouldn’t worry, at least not for a
while. The Linux operating system, which this ingenious little computer uses,
is very secure and isn’t yet under serious threat from malware or viruses. The
only minor concern is remote access, through insecure network and Internet
connections, but this is easily countered by changing the default login
password, and keeping the operating system updated.
Like many others in the 1980s we bought a Kodak
Disk camera. The format eventually disappeared and the actual camera has long
gone. I recently came across our collection of the disks and wonder if you know
of any way we can get prints from them using a scanner? There is an example on
YouTube, but that involves cutting the disks.
Ken Davison, by email
The DIY methods I have seen are far from
satisfactory; the negatives are small so the quality is likely to be poor – it
wasn’t that good to begin with -- and you run a high risk of damaging them if
you remove them from their holders. I’m not aware of any consumer film scanners
that can handle this format, but if there are, I suspect that the ones that do
a decent job, are going to be horribly expensive. Your best bet is to have them
professionally reprinted or scanned; it won’t be cheap but you should be
assured of the best possible results. Several firms provide such services. Try
Process C-22 (http://goo.gl/uPoZ2), which
charges £20.00 per disc for reprints or scan to CD for £15.00 a disc.
Fotostation (http://goo.gl/rGCHW) reprints
are dearer but scanning is also £15.00 per disc.
I recently bought a new desktop PC with Windows
7 home edition. I feel disinclined to spend a further £70 to £80 to buy a new
copy of Microsoft Office, so I can transfer files from my old PC. Is it possible
to download the Office program from my old XP computer? I still have the
activation code but I am bit nervous of mucking things up.
Jack Woods, by email
You can’t transfer installed programs from one
PC to another and the only way you could use your existing copy of Office would
be if you had the original installation disc. However, it sounds as though it
was pre-installed and you don’t have a disc, in which case I suggest that you
try LibreOffice (http://goo.gl/dwCUa). This
is a free office suite, based on OpenOffice, and it is compatible with MS
Office programs. It’s actually very good, you won’t have to learn any new
tricks and it should do everything that you want. Otherwise, if you want to
stay with Microsoft you will find plenty of new and unregistered copies of
older versions of Office (2003 onwards) on ebay selling from £20.00 or so, and
these work perfectly well on Windows 7.
© R. Maybury 2012 2007