Ask Rick Maybury 2013



Ask Rick 238 05/01/13


Colouring E-books

My kind son gave me a Kindle Touch. It performs entirely as expected, however my favourite reading is non-fiction, mostly history and military history. I wonder if the Kindle Fire would fare better with the images and maps etc. that are an important element of these books? What do you think?

Frances Gabriel, by email


The main shortcoming of e-ink displays is their inability to display images in colour or fine detail. That will change and e-book readers with colour e-ink screens should go on sale later this year but they are likely to be fairly expensive to begin with. In the meantime there are plenty of alternatives with colour LCD screens, including of course the Kindle Fire, but you can install the free Kindle app, and other e-book software on virtually any type of tablet computer or smartphone, like the Apple iPads, any Android device and not forgetting Windows Surface, to name just a few as well as most laptops, notebooks and netbook PCs. However, before you get too excited check that the books that you want are actually available in e-book form and have colour illustrations. Since most e-book readers still have black and white screens many publishers either edit images to suit the limitations of current e-ink displays, or leave them out altogether.


Gone But Not Forgotten

Having installed and uninstalled a program recently I still receive three pop-ups connected with the program when I start my computer. How do I prevent this?

Peter Hill, by email


During installation many Windows programs also load additional Services and utilities that operate in the background and set to launch automatically with Windows. Services have a multitude of functions, from monitoring the status of attached peripherals to seeking updates and in theory they should be removed when a program is uninstalled. However, for various reasons they can get left behind, which is probably what has happened in this case. To stop it happening in future use a specialised uninstaller program, rather than the applications own uninstaller. Try Advanced Uninstaller Pro or Revo Uninstaller. They are free and very easy to use; you will find links to the downloads at: Both programs begin with a basic uninstallation then go on to ferret out all of other the bits and pieces.


If you have already uninstalled a program it’s not too late, simply re-install it then run Advanced Uninstaller or Revo to do the job properly. Otherwise you may be able to manually remove the components responsible for pop-ups. In many cases they can be found on the Startup list, which you access by typing ‘msconfig’ (without the quotes) in Run or Search on the Start menu. Select the Startup tab and deselect the items relating to the program you have just uninstalled. After a reboot you may see a box confirming the changes, if so tick the box, ‘do not show again’.



Pocket Hotspot

I recently purchased a Nexus 7 tablet (not 3G enabled). Is it possible to tether it to my HTC Desire smartphone?

Barry Seaman, by email


Yes, and the simplest method is to use your phone’s built-in Wireless Hot Spot app. It is on the Settings menu, just give your phone’s hotspot a name and create a passcode; you can then log on to it with your Nexus 7 in exactly the same way as any normal wi-fi hotspot.



Smart Decision

I have a mobile phone, which cannot be described as smart but that said I am loath to replace it as it does everything that I want. I use Windows XP and Windows 7 and my question is are there any emulators that would allow for the use of Android apps on a PC?

Jeff Cope, by email


Reading between the lines I get the impression that you would quite like a smartphone and just need an good excuse, so how about this? Contrary to popular belief smartphones can also be used to make phone calls... Back now to those emulators, and a few words of warning. Smartphone apps are designed for touch a screen interface and it can be a struggle to get some of them to work properly with a mouse. The differences between the Android and Windows operating systems means that some apps open and work slowly, or not at all, and you won’t be able to download apps from the official Google Play app store. If you enjoy a challenge try the emulator contained in the free Android Software Developer’s Kit (SDK) ( Bluestacks ( is also free, but strictly speaking it is an app player, rather than an emulator, so there are restrictions and limitations, but overall it works quite well. Lastly there is YouWave (, arguably the best of the bunch, however, it is a paid-for utility (Gingerbread £9.25, Ice Cream Sandwich £12.33) but you can it them free for 10 days.



Block Buster

At the moment we have a fairly old laptop, which connects to the Internet via a wireless router.  We are planning to buy a new laptop and update our router next year, but in the meantime I would like to buy a tablet, probably a Samsung Galaxy Note. My problem is that I will not be able to get online because the router seems to lock out any additional users. My friend tried to go online using her Samsung tablet but we could not get past the block.

Angie Blake, by email


Most wireless routers have built in firewalls and filters that use PC’s and wireless device’s unique MAC addresses to restrict access but you or someone else would have had to configure the router; in other words it’s not something that can happen by accident, or you would forget doing. You should be able to check if this is the case by logging onto the router’s setup menu in a browser window. The routers IP address, logon details and instructions on how to set up filters should be in the user manual. It’s far more likely, though, that your friends tablet cannot connect to your router because of a simple configuration glitch or a wrongly entered Wi-Fi passcode. Try again, but this time switch off the router, your laptop, and any other wireless devices (digital TV box, wireless mouse etc.). Restart the router, then your laptop and there’s a good chance that the tablet will connect.




© R. Maybury 2013 1712

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