Ask Rick 243 09/02/13
Like many others I am deluged with junk email.
Much of it is self-inflicted and comes from web sites that I have subscribed to
and companies I have purchased goods from, which insist on knowing my email
address. In the past I have tried putting in a made up email address, to avoid
them putting me on their mailing lists but often you are required to respond to
an email to complete the registration process or receive an order conformation,
so what is the answer?
Derek Learner. By email
Any website that asks for your email address
should have tick boxes for indicating your preferences for receiving mailing
lists and promotions, though they can be hard to find, or cunningly worded so
that it’s not obvious if you are opting in or out. However, it seems that a lot
of companies send mail shots whether you want them or not so there are a couple
of things you can do to avoid cluttering your primary inbox. The obvious
solution it to set up a free webmail account and use it only for receiving
registration emails and junk, though some companies insist on a fixed
domain-based address. Another possibility is a temporary email service like 10
Minute Mail (http://goo.gl/U3cb). When you
visit the site you are issued with an email address that self-destructs after
10 minutes; this can be extended for further 10-minute intervals if needed. The
page serves as your email inbox, so that any messages sent to that address
while it is active are immediately displayed.
I have a Samsung Smart TV on which I can record
and playback TV and radio programmes without problems, using an attached
portable HDD. However I cannot access the recordings on my PC. When I try to
load the HDD I am told to format the drive because the file system cannot be
accessed. Principally, I record the BBC Long Wave Morning Service via the
Freesat connection, and I would like to be able to transfer the programmes on
to a SD card/CD, to be listened to when convenient. Any ideas?
Denis Wilkinson, by email
There are easier ways to record BBC radio
channels for later playback; if you are using a PC I suggest a free Internet
Radio program called RadioSure (www.radiosure.com),
which records channels in all popular formats, including mp3, or if you are
using an Android device, try an app called TuneIn Radio, free from Google Play.
Back to your Samsung TV, and I am afraid that
it is all bad news. There are several reasons you can’t replay recordings on
your PC. Firstly the HDD is formatted using the XFS filing system, used by
Linux, possibly because the TV’s built-in PVR is Linux based. Windows can read
the contents of the drive with suitable software, but that wouldn’t solve the
problem. Even if you could copy the recordings to your PC they would still be
unreadable as they are encrypted. Whilst decryption is theoretically possible,
they are further protected for Digital Rights Management (DRM) purposes.
Samsung isn’t alone in this though some smart
TV and PVR manufacturers do allow recordings of some free-to-air (FTA) channels
to be playable on a PC but they are in the minority. I doubt that it’s done to
make life difficult for users. You have to remember that products like these
are made for world markets and sold in countries where there are large
variations broadcaster’s licensing agreements, copyright restrictions and local
censorship laws. It would be very difficult for manufacturers to accommodate
every possible variation so they take the easy way out by only allowing
recordings to be replayed on the device they were made on.
I have an Epson Perfection 1250 flatbed scanner
connected to a desktop Windows ME computer. I would like to connect the scanner
to Vista Laptop but I am not able to do so. I get a message asking me to
install a Twain Driver. Can you please suggest a website where I can download
the Twain Driver for free?
Roy Ramesh, by email
Twain is an interface standard for connecting
scanners to PCs and the necessary driver is normally included on a device’s
installation CD. Problems can arise when trying to use older peripherals on
newer versions of Windows so the first thing to do is visit the software section
of the manufacturer’s website to see if there is a suitable Vista driver
available. It’s a bit hit and miss, though and support for discontinued
products can be patchy but you have struck lucky and you will find the Twain
driver you need at http://goo.gl/BxPzC. As a
matter of interest the Twain comes from Rudyard Kipling’s poem, the Ballad of
East and West, ‘…..never the Twain shall meet’.
For Christmas I was given a device called an
Instant TV and Radio USB Stick. It picks up broadcasts from all over the world
by just plugging it into my computer. It seems to have no aerial so I wonder
just what sort of a gadget this little thing is?
Hedley Williams, by email
Sadly there’s no magic or even any mildly
interesting technology involved, and impressive as it seems, it’s basically
just a memory stick. There are quite a few of these doing the rounds at the
moment and essentially all they do is open a database or viewer program that
contains links to streaming Internet TV and radio stations around the world.
You can find these stations, and more besides on Google or through dedicated
websites like World TV and Radio Tuner (http://goo.gl/QGhdS),
and watch and listen for free on any web browser. It seems from user reviews on
sites that sell these things that the links are often broken or out of date,
and the promise of access to high quality entertainment channels and the latest
movies turn out to be somewhat exaggerated, or are in a language you are
unlikely to understand…
© R. Maybury 2013 2113