Ask Rick Maybury 2013



Ask Rick 248 16/03/13


Avoiding The App Trap

Friends and family use the WhatsApp messaging app and are encouraging me to do so. However the permissions one has to grant it seem pretty daunting. Is it safe to use?

Mahomed Hajat, by email


As far as I am aware there is nothing unusual or suspicious about the Permissions sought by this particular Android app but on the wider question of privacy and security, then it is fair to say that there are risks. It is not just Android apps either; a number of iPhone and iPad apps have been found to contain malware. Due to the open nature of the Android operating system it is more vulnerable to abuse, but at the same time the Permissions feature provides a useful safety net. However, it only works if users read and understand what they, but that is easier said than done without a certain amount of technical savvy. There is a fairly simple explanation of all 22 Permissions on the Technology Personalized website (, which all Android phone and tablet users should take the time to read. It is also wise to avoid apps from unknown sources and read the comments and reviews on Google Play before installing any app.


Colour Blind Printer

My Hewlett Packard B210 refuses to print on coloured paper and just spits out the sheet. I can’t find anything in the documentation about this and Google searches have not yielded any meaningful results.  Is there a something I can turn off or a firmware hack that will allow it to use coloured paper?

Gus Carnegie, by email


This is a quirk on several recent HP models and appears to be due to a sensor in the paper path that regards darker coloured papers as no paper, so it keeps feeding sheets until one with adequate whiteness is detected. To stop it happening go into the printer’s Properties menu and change Paper Type from Automatic to Plain Paper.



MacBook on TV? 

I recently bought a Thunderbolt to HDMI adaptor in order to connect the display from my MacBook Air to my Panasonic HDTV.  However, I am unable to get any kind of picture.  Unlike my old Dell laptop, there is no obvious ‘Fn + F8’ command to transfer the image to an external display.  Internet searches have not provided a solution. 

Richard Sims, by email


You are almost there and the final step is to tell your MacBook that it is connected to a TV. To do that you go to System Preferences then Display > Detect Displays > Arrangement and click the Mirror Displays checkbox.



Update Umbridge

My 4-year old laptop runs Vista Basic and I am constantly bombarded with updates. A couple of times after installing one it wouldn’t start without going through multiple re-boots. Are these updates really necessary, and if not, can I stop them?

Derrick Hannam, by email


They vary in importance from critical system updates that fix serious bugs or plug newly discovered security loopholes, to patches for minor glitches and cosmetic tweaks. You can opt out from receiving Windows Updates in Control Panel, but in general this is not a good idea. There is a halfway house option, though, and that’s to download the updates, but only install the critical ones, at your convenience, when you are not busy or using the PC.



Protect Your Photos

I need some advice about storing photos taken on my camera and mobile 'phone on my PC. After I have copied the images to my computer I delete the photos on the camera. However, eventually my camera re-uses file numbers, so there must be a danger that I might copy a photo to the PC, which will overwrite one with the same number. How can I stop this happening?

Andy Locker, by email


Windows does its best to help and when you try and copy a file into a folder where there is already one with the same name or number it gives you a number of options. Copy and Replace is usually the first on the list but don’t click that because it will overwrite the original. Instead click Copy and Rename which gives the new file a slightly different name or number leaving the original intact. In the end, though, it is best to avoid this sort of problem and organise your photo collection into clearly defined folders. The simplest method is to stop using the Windows pre-set Library folders (My Photos, Pictures etc.) and create a new folder on the C: drive; call it something memorable like AndysPhotos or AndyPix. Inside that create new folders for each year, and within each one of those create a new folder for each batch of photos (e.g. Cornish Holiday, Muriel’s Wedding, and so on). Once you get into the habit of managing you photo library in this manner you will find it is quite hard to make mistakes, and it also makes it a lot easier to backup or transfer your photos to another PC.



Recipe for Reading

I have a Windows 8 laptop and a Canon Pixma 5250 printer. I have worked out how to copy items from web pages and send them to Word for printing but when I scan something, like a recipe, it appears on my computer as a jpeg image. I can’t work out how I can change it back to a document so I can put it on Word and annotate it as I wish. I have Googled my question but I cannot understand the answers…

John Plampin, Suffolk


The software package that came with your 3-in-one printer includes an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) utility, which converts scanned documents into editable text files. It is quite well hidden, though and to use it you have to open MP Navigator and the option can be found by going to Scan/Import, select Photos/Documents and on the Document menu select Text. Be warned that like most OCR programs it works best with plain, clearly printed text, and it may have problems with coloured or shiny paper and photos on the same page.



© R. Maybury 2013 2602

Search PCTopTips 



Digital Life Index











Top Tips Index

Smartphones Tablets & ebooks

Windows 8

Windows 7

Windows Vista

Windows XP

Internet, Email & Network

Word Processing & Office

Folders, Files & Backup

Desktop Mouse & Keyboard

Crash Bang Wallop!

Privacy Security & Environment

Imaging, Scanning & Printing

Power, Safety & Comfort

Tools & Utilities


Display & screen

Fun & Games








 Copyright 2006-2013 PCTOPTIPS UK.

All information on this web site is provided as-is without warranty of any kind. Neither PCTOPTIPS nor its employees nor contributors are responsible for any loss, injury, or damage, direct or consequential, resulting from your choosing to use any of the information contained herein.