Ask Rick Maybury 2012



Ask Rick 230 10/11/12


Kindle Connections

I already have an Amazon Kindle but I’m thinking of buying a Kindle Fire as well. Will I be able to pick up and send emails when I visit Spain later this year, so I won’t have to take my laptop?

Gerry Fitzhugh, by email


The Kindle Fire tablet has built in Wi-Fi so it can log on to wireless hotspots and receive emails using the built-in browser and email apps. However, the usual restrictions apply when it comes to sending messages and you normally won’t be able to do so using your existing email account’s SMTP server. The solution is to use a webmail service like Gmail or Yahoo, your ISP’s own webmail facilities, a specialist, paid-for SMPT service or reconfigure the email program with the hotspot’s SMTP settings.


First generation Fire tablets do not have 3G connectivity, and if later models get it you can be reasonably sure it won’t be free, unlike the Kindle 3 with 3G. As you may know this model connects to Amazon’s Whispernet via mobile phone networks in scores of countries throughout the world. There are no monthly charges or roaming fees and this little-known facility can receive messages sent to the device’s own email address. More importantly it can also send and receive emails using the ‘Experimental Browser’ option. As I predicted last year it was too good to last and these handy freebies are not available on the new Kindle Touch 3G and there’s now a cap of 50Mb of data per month on 3G Kindle 3’s, though unsurprisingly access to the Amazon Store (and Wikipedia) are unrestricted. 



Missing Messages

I need to retrieve a series of emails from 2007/08 for evidence in a court case. I deleted the received messages, as at that time they seemed unimportant. Is there any way of retrieving them? Could my service provider have backed up my messages?

G.Stephenson, by email


ISPs are naturally cagey about the customer data that they store. You can be reasonably sure that they keep detailed logs of your web activities, such as the IP addresses of visited web sites, email addresses, times, dates and so on. However, it is very unlikely that they retain the actual content of your messages, at least not for any length of time. They may remain on the servers for few weeks or months but eventually they are deleted or overwritten. In any event it is usually impossible for anyone other than the police, security services or government agencies to gain access to this sort of information. There is a small possibility that the deleted messages may still be on your computer, even if you emptied the Deleted Items folder. However, you will need specialised software, like Email Recovery ( or RecoverMyFiles ( but I suggest that you download the free trial versions first, which tell you what, if any, information can be recovered, so you can decide whether or not to buy the full program.



Faster Fire or Nimbler Nexus?

I am thinking about buying a Nexus 7 or a Kindle Fire. However, neither seems to have 3G as an option and rely on Wi-Fi to access the Internet. In my part of the world maximum broadband speed is 1.5Mb/sec, which is pretty useless for films etc. I am attracted by the possibility of using a mobile wireless hotspot, but I assume that I would need some sort of app for the tablet before I could do this? Are such apps available for the Nexus and the Kindle?

David Barron, by email


I suspect that you are referring to a Mi-Fi type device, which is basically a cut-down 3G mobile phone with a built-in Wi-Fi router. You won’t need any extra software or apps because as far as the tablet is concerned it is connecting to an ordinary wireless hotspot; all you have to do is select the hotspot and enter the appropriate login code. Whilst this might sound like an attractive option, until 4G services are fully up and running 3G download speeds are likely to be slower than your current broadband setup. It can also be expensive, depending on the tariff, especially if you intend downloading or streaming a lot of media. In short there’s probably no advantage, unless you want to be able to access the Internet on the move, in which case you may be better off getting a smartphone and using its mobile broadband connection. Many models have portable wireless hotspot apps, or they can be ‘tethered’ to the tablet by a USB cable.



Screen Saver

I have broken the glass face on my iPod touch and I wonder if you know of anyone who could repair it?

Len Battyll, by email


It’s easily done and there are plenty of companies that can fit replacement touch screens for popular devices like iPhones and Pods, from around £30 upwards. Many high streets now have one of two shops offering phone unlocking and repair services. Some can do the job while you wait, but get a couple of quotes as prices vary widely. If you have steady nerves, and hands, you can replace the screen yourself. Kits are readily available on ebay and prices start at £10.00. Make sure you get the right one for your model and that it includes a specialised parting tool, needed to separate the old screen from the case. I would also get one with a screen frame as this is easily damaged during removal. If you are unsure of your abilities have a look at the instructional videos on YouTube to see what is involved. Removing the old screen is relatively straightforward; the tricky part is re-fitting the fiddly ribbon cable connector and reseating the new screen. Excessive pressure can easily result in another cracked screen! Take your time and I suggest wearing a pair of cotton gloves, to avoid getting greasy finger marks or dust on the inside of the new screen.



© R. Maybury 2012 2210

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