Ask Rick Maybury 2012



Ask Rick 234 08/12/12


Missing The Bus On The Superhighway

I regularly commute by bus and recently the company have been advertising that the service has free a Wi-Fi connection. I would quite like to buy a tablet PC and surf the web etc. on my journey. However, so far I have been unable to use the bus Wi-Fi on my Samsung smartphone or Acer notebook. Both devices show they are connected, but it seems that no data is received or sent. The bus company have been unable to help. Am I doing something wrong or do you think the data connection just doesn't work?

David Buck, by email


You shouldn’t give up seeking assistance from the bus company; someone must be responsible for the service they are promoting. Meanwhile, if any of your fellow travellers are using it, ask them what hoops they had to jump through to get their connection up and running. It appears that the wireless hotspot on the bus is active so it could be that you haven’t completed the registration process. If you haven’t already done so open a web browser and see if there’s a form to fill out or a terms and conditions agreement box to tick. The other possibility is that the bus’s link to the Internet isn’t working or it hasn’t been switched on, in which case it could be something as simple as asking the driver to press a few buttons  



Mystery Scroll

When I open a Microsoft Word document that I am working on, I press Ctrl + End to take me to the point where I left off last time. However, I find that Word then slowly and automatically scrolls up the page, meaning that I then have to scroll down to enter my new text. If I then pause before entering the next item the page begins to scroll up again. How can I stop this automatic scrolling in a Word document?

Roy Giddis, by email


Word does have an AutoScroll feature but as far as I am aware it can only be enabled from within the deeper recesses of the Commands menu. In other words it’s not something that can be activated just by pressing a couple of keys, unless you have previously set it up and assigned a keyboard shortcut. A more likely scenario is that you are using a wheel mouse and have inadvertently clicked the wheel. This puts it into autoscroll mode and moving the mouse forwards or backwards changes the speed and direction of the scroll. Clicking the wheel again switches the scroll feature off.   



Second Screen Solution

I recently purchased a Toshiba All-in-One Desktop computer. I need to connect a separate monitor to it, but it only has a VGA socket. The PC has an HDMI port but this is for input only. Is there any way I can connect my existing monitor as a second screen, or do I have to purchase a new monitor? If so, what type of connection will it require?

Paul Allcroft, by email


This neatly illustrates the one of the disadvantages of all-in-one PCs. All of the components are shoehorned into the screen housing so there’s no room inside for expansion cards and only basic provision for connecting peripherals. You won’t have to buy a new monitor, though, but you will need a USB 2.0 to VGA adaptor. There are several models to choose from; Maplin has one for just under £40.00 and this model also has DVI and HDMI outputs. You can use it to either mirror your desktop display, or extend it so you can have different windows open on each screen. 



Sony Shortcomings

I have a Sony Ericsson mobile phone and in some places I get no signal but my wife and daughter, who both have cheap phones get signals and can make and take calls. We are all with Tesco Mobile; I spoke to the shop where the phone was purchased from and the only solution they could come up with was to try a new SIM card. Do you have any ideas?

Peter Hammond, by email


Yes, get a new phone. With all other things being equal (your location and the network you are all using) the only difference is the design of your phone, and yours is clearly less capable than your wife or daughter’s, when it comes to getting a signal. Tesco Mobile is a virtual network operator and uses O2 phone masts, so changing to another network might help in locations where O2 coverage is patchy but in the end this is a performance issue and it is likely to happen again the next time you are in a weak signal area.



Regional Conflicts

I am trying to purchase a DVD, which, according to Amazon, is only available from the US. This is an old movie (1960) and the web site states that it is Region 1, US import (NTSC).  I have a Samsung HD ready television with a Panasonic DVD Player and I would like to be able to buy and watch this film, as well as others, which may only be available directly from the US. Any ideas or am I looking for the impossible?

Marian Coombes, by email


You may have difficulty getting Amazon in the US to send a R1 movie to a UK address but even if they do, it is very unlikely that it will play on your Panasonic player as they and most of the other well-known manufacturers stick to the rules concerning regional playback. Regional coding was incorporated into the DVD technical specification on the insistence of the major movie studios and is intended to protect copyright, assist with local certification and censorship and help manage DVD release dates in different countries. However, it’s no secret that a great many budget-price DVD players, with brand names you probably won’t have heard of, and sold in supermarkets and discount chains, have multi-region playback as standard. If not the facility can usually be enabled by entering a simple code into the remote handset. You can normally find this by Googling the player’s make and model number, followed by the words ‘regional hack code’.



© R. Maybury 2012 1911


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