Ask Rick Maybury 2013

  

 

Ask Rick 240 19/01/13

 

Phoney Calls

Having recently moved home the number provided by BT resulted in numerous calls from collection agencies. The previous user presumably had financial difficulties. We have now been given a new number but unfortunately it belonged to a business that has ceased trading. However, their name is still listed by Google and other search engines. I have contacted a number of the companies identified by the search to correct the information. I would like to contact Google but cannot find an email address or telephone number. We do not wish to change the number again but the calls are becoming a nuisance.

Michael M Holmes, by email

 

Phone companies routinely recycle numbers so there is no guarantee that changing your number will work; it could even make matters worse. Google won’t be able do anything if the company’s website is still active and it is not responsible for the content of other websites. Registering with the Telephone Preference Service (www.tpsonline.org.uk), may stop a few rogue calls from UK companies and you should continue to contact third-party websites listing your number and ask them to remove it. Eventually the number of calls to previous users of your number should go down, and call screening can help keep other nuisance calls under control. You can do this manually with an answering machine and caller ID; if you don’t recognise a number or it is withheld simply ignore it. Otherwise there is a device called Truecall, which does the job automatically. It intercepts incoming calls and if the number isn’t on your ‘friends’ list the caller gets a message asking them to state their name and business, which you can listen to before deciding whether or not to answer it, or have the device inform them that you do not wish to talk to them. At around £100 it is fairly expensive but there is a cheaper and simpler alternative called CPR Call Blocker (around £50 from online sellers such as Amazon). You set it to only accept calls from numbers that you have programmed and reject calls from withheld and unknown numbers. If you inadvertently answer a nuisance call just press the Block Now button, the call is terminated and the number permanently rejected.

 

 

Print Screen doesn’t…

On my Toshiba laptop I have enlarged a small area from a photograph downloaded from my camera. I want to print just the enlarged area only, as I see it on my screen. The print screen button does not respond to anything I have tried. What other method can I use, or what software enables this?

Robert Heath, by email

 

Several readers have written in about the apparently useless Print Screen (PrtScn) key recently so as we haven’t dealt with this for a while it is time for a quick reminder. Print Screen is a hangover from the early, days of computing, before Windows, when it actually did what it said on the key, Under Windows the function of the PrtScn key has changed but the name is so embedded that no-one dared to change it to what it actually does, which is screen capture (CapScn…?). Pressing PrtScn takes a snapshot of the current screen and saves it to the Windows Clipboard as a bitmap (.bmp) image. Incidentally, if you hold down the Alt key whilst pressing PrtScn you capture just the active window or dialogue box. To view alter or print the captured image open it in Windows Paint by going to the Edit menu and click Paste (or press Ctrl + V).

 

Better still, forget PrtScn and edit and print your photos directly in an image editing program. If you haven’t got one your PC try the excellent Photofiltre (http://goo.gl/YG9NY). It is completely free and has a vast range of cropping and editing tools.

 

 

Just Checking

A few months ago I bought a Dell laptop a few months ago, and I frequently get a flashing shield sign towards the left of the bottom bar. When I click on it a warning message appears asking if I want to allow a program called jucheck.exe to make changes to my computer. I have spoken to several people at Dell, and no one seems to know what this program is and whether it was installed pre-delivery or not. Can you tell me what it is?

Alan Rigby, by email

 

Shame on Dell Support; it takes just ten seconds to look it up on Google. Jucheck.exe is a Java utility that periodically goes online to look for updates. The warning message is coming from Windows User Account Control (UAC), which is doing its job and asking your permission to allow the update to make changes to system files. By the way, Java is a programming language, used to display multimedia content on countless websites and also in games and applications.

 

 

iPad Without a PC

We are thinking of getting an iPad but have been put off by the suggestion that we need to have a Mac or Windows PC. Our system is Ubuntu Linux on a desktop PC, with no wireless router. Since the iPad would only be used out and about for reading e-books and emails, is it true that we can't proceed with our current set-up?

Hartley Heard, by email

 

It’s useful but not essential to have a PC or Mac to partner an iPad, but as far as emailing, web surfing and downloading e-books on the move is concerned, they are completely unnecessary as you can connect to the Internet through wireless hot spots or dig a little deeper and get the 3G-equipped iPad. However, I suspect that you will eventually want to use the iPad at home, so get a Wi-Fi router (around £30 online), which connects to your broadband modem.

 

There is no doubt that iTunes is handy for managing an iPad’s media library or for transferring photos and files so on but there isn’t as yet a version for Linux. All is not lost, though and there are ways around it. You could, for instance partition your PC’s hard drive and install a copy of Windows or if you want to stay with Linux, and know what you are doing, try a free utility called PlayonLinux (free from http://goo.gl/fSj0). This allows iTunes and a number of other popular Windows applications to run inside Ubuntu.

 

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© R. Maybury 2013 3112

 

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