Ask Rick 227 20/10/12
A Flash in the Pad
My iPad3 seems not to support the Adobe Flash
Player, which is a nuisance. Is there a
solution or any alternative short of buying a tablet that does support the
David Buck, by email
Not only doesn’t iOS support Flash, the late
Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder, was an ardent critic, citing problems with
security, performance, battery life and reliability, and his faith in HTML5 and
issue on iOS, the fact is Flash animations are very widely used, and will
continue to be so for the foreseeable future and many Apple users are
justifiably irritated buy its absence. Fortunately there are workarounds and
one of the simplest is to use a browser called Puffin, free from the App Store.
This remotely processes Flash content on its servers before forwarding it to
your i-Device. It’s not a complete solution and some videos might be a little
choppy but it’s definitely worth trying.
I recently changed my computer and on the old
machine I was able to connect my Garmin GPS using the 12-pin Serial port. My
new PC only has USB sockets, so I purchased a USB to RS232 adaptor, which came
with a driver CD. However the GPS program screen indicates ‘Not connected’, and
when I attempt to check which COM ports are available it reports that none are
David Morgan, by email
It can be difficult, and sometimes impossible,
to get older hardware and software, designed to use a Serial port, to work
through a USB connection. But don’t give up hope and it may only be a simple
configuration error or conflict. Open Device Manager by pressing WinKey + Break
to open System Properties then select Device Manager (In XP select Hardware in
System Properties, then the Device Manager tab). Scroll down the list to Ports
(COM & LPT), double click to expand the entry, look for your USB to Serial
adaptor. It should have been assigned a COM port number, but it may be in use
or unavailable, so you should change it. Right click on the entry, select
Properties then the Port Settings tab. Click the Advanced button and on the COM
Port drop-down menu select an unused COM port (the lower the number the better)
click OK, exit Device Manager, reboot the PC and run the software, this time
using the new COM port number.
SKY is the Limit
I recently started using SKY broadband and I am
having problems with the email. My wife and I have two PCs and a smartphone. We
want to be able to download emails on any of them, at any time, which is what
we used to be able to do with our previous broadband service. I have tried
re-selecting the option to ‘leave a copy of the email on the server’ on the PC
and phone’s email programs, but incoming messages are downloaded on the first
PC and deleted from the server, so that they are unavailable on the other PC or
the phone. This often means we often miss emails, if the phone is left switched
on, or my wife or I download messages and forgets to inform or forward them to
the other. Is this a fault or have I missed a setting?
Howard Taylor, by email
It also happens with Virgin broadband and other
hybrid POP3/IMAP systems and in both cases there is a workaround, though it has
a couple of drawbacks. Here’s what you do. Open the Account settings menu on
your PC’s and the phone, and in the Account Name or Username box, put ‘recent:’
(without the quotes) immediately in front of your email address, so it reads:
recent:firstname.lastname@example.org (or recent:email@example.com etc.). Now for
those problems mentioned earlier. The first time you log on after the change,
each device downloads all of the messages you’ve received in the previous 30
days but this only happens once, and you will probably receive copies of sent
messages as well.
I have a laptop with Windows Vista and I have
great problems typing. The computer misses letters or fails to use the letters
actually typed in and as a result it is very difficult to use. What is the
cause of this error and how can I rectify it?
Audrey Jones, by email
Compared with their more rugged desktop
cousins, laptop keyboards are more prone to problems and tend to wear out
faster. However, before you go any further try plugging in a known working USB
keyboard. It should be automatically recognised and if all of the keys function
normally then the laptop keyboard is faulty, or its connecting ribbon cable
needs reseating. Either way it’s a job for an expert as they can be quite
tricky to remove. I would also get a couple of estimates as replacement
keyboards on some models can cost more than the laptop is worth, otherwise
there’s nothing to stop you continuing to use an external keyboard.
Where’s it At?
My family and I go on home swap holidays. On
many of the keyboards in our swappers homes across Europe there is no key for
the oft-used email @ ‘at’ symbol.
Ewan Hastings, by email
It’s worth taking a closer look as it’s often
there, but not where you expect to find it. The US layout, where the @ symbol
shares the 2 key is the most popular place; sometimes its Shift + 2 but if that
doesn’t work try Alt + Shift + 2 or Alt Gr + 2 (Alt Gr key is to the right of
the spacebar). In France you will normally find it on the 0 key, whilst in the
Czech Republic and Hungary it’s on V. On Austrian and German keyboards it’s on
the Q key, and again you have to hold down the Alt Gr key to make it appear.
Failing that there is a shortcut that works on virtually all Latin script
keyboards and that’s Alt + 64; press the Numlock key first, and enter the
digits on the numeric keypad.
© R. Maybury 2012 0110