Ask Rick 253 20/04/13
I would like to make use of public Wi-Fi but I
want to protect myself. What is your opinion of security programs like Hotspot
Tim Gibbons, by email
Hotspot Shield is a free Virtual Private
Network or VPN service and instead of your PC linking directly to the Internet
it goes via an encrypted connection, through to one of Hotspot Shield’s
web-linked servers. This means that your data should be reasonably well
protected, even if it passes through an insecure or fake wireless hotspot. Your
IP address is also hidden behind the VPN server so in theory you are anonymous
and can log onto websites that would otherwise block access because of your
geographic location. However, as we know free lunches are few and far between.
Hotspot Shield carries intrusive banner advertising and the companies behind
are involved in the business of data mining. It slows down some computers;
disabling it can be awkward and uninstallation may leave behind active
components. The safest thing to do is assume that public Wi-Fi hotspots are
insecure, so avoid using them for online banking or exchanging any personal or
private data. VPN does create an additional layer of security but in general
the paid-for services have fewer strings attached than the freebies.
Windows 7 and use Microsoft Office and if I click on a folder I can scroll
through the documents in alphabetical order. Is there any way I can print out a
list of documents?
Farrell, by email
a nifty little trick that works on any version of Windows and any list of files
used by any program. All you need is the Firefox browser on your PC (free from
mozilla.org). Simply open Windows Explorer, drag and drop the folder icon onto
the Firefox icon, it opens and displays the contents of the folder and you can
print it out from Firefox’s File menu.
I can send emails and attach photos up to 25MB
in size, but I would like to send some video clips, lasting around 2 or 3
minutes, from my photo files. How do I do it?
Wallace Bowden, Denmead
If you want to share your videos with friends
and family, say, who may be using a variety of PCs and devices, then the
simplest and near universal solution is to upload them to YouTube. You should
use the Private setting, so they can only be accessed through a web link that
you email to selected recipients (http://goo.gl/2ZyLs).
There are also plenty of free and paid for web and Cloud-based services that
can send, host or stream your video files, including Skype (http://goo.gl/5GDSc), SugarSync (http://goo.gl/tQyQ), Vidstocloud (http://goo.gl/kAWA5) and YouSendIt (http://goo.gl/LaQnP). They all have their
plusses and minuses but most of them have a free trial option so try a few, to
see which of them best suit the size and file format of your videos.
frequently have to drive hundreds of miles to inspect roof failures. Is it
feasible for a local roofer to send video images to me and save me the journey
and the clients my costs? What kit would be needed?
Hughes, by email
that the remote roofer probably doesn’t want to lug lots of equipment and
trailing wires around with them, then the simplest solution would be to use a
smartphone or tablet PC to stream live video using a messaging app. The choice
of app largely depends on the device used to capture the images and the PC or
equipment you’ll be using to view the pictures but if, as seems likely, it is
going to involve a mixture of devices (Android or iOS device connecting to a
Windows, Mac or tablet PC etc.), then your best bet is Skype. If everyone is
using recent Apple products (iPhone, iPad, Mac PC etc.) then FaceTime would be
your first choice.
Preaching To The Converter
Our Rector, who in his own words is a
‘dinosaur’ when it comes to technical matters, writes his sermons in cursive
handwriting. It would be good to
produce this in printed form, either on paper or for our church website, but no
one really wants to spend ages typing the text having already lived through the
real thing. Is there any software that
might help us?
Lucas, by email
optical character recognition (OCR) software supplied with many scanners is
next to useless with handwriting, no matter how neat it is, but there is
another option. All you need is a microphone a PC and a text to speech program
like Dragon Naturally Speaking. If you can tap into the pulpit microphone you
could do it as it happens, otherwise you, or the rector, will have to go
through a repeat performance.
iPod Battery Blues
My 4-year old iPod Nano does not keep its
battery charge for long. Even when not used at all it is flat in a few days. I
use it when away skiing for outdoor skating and when in my caravan. Do you have
any tips for increasing running times?
Carol West, by email
The lithium ion battery in your Nano is rapidly
approaching the end of its useful life and it is not unusual for them to lose
up to 50 percent of their original capacity after four or five years constant
use. Even when new this type of battery has reduced capacity in cold conditions.
At this point I usually suggest that if you have a modicum of DIY skills, you
can make significant savings by replacing the battery yourself, but not this
time, iPod Nanos are fiendishly
difficult to work on.
You could be in luck if you have a first
generation Nano and qualify for a free replacement. There was a manufacturing
defect on some batteries used in this model that caused them to overheat; there
are more details at: http://goo.gl/AHwKH.
Otherwise Apple’s official battery replacement service (don’t forget to backup
your library) will set you back around £46.00. High street repairers are
usually cheaper but you run the risk that they could fit an inferior quality
battery and you will be no better off, or damage your player. In short, it may
be time to start saving for a replacement.
© R. Maybury 2013 0104