Ask Rick Maybury 2013

  

 

Ask Rick 262 22/06/13

 

GPS Going Walkabout

I have been using GPS on my Samsung Galaxy S2 for some time for recording walks using OS mapping and ViewRanger app. It has been brilliant but recently, and I cannot relate it to any software or other changes, the distance recording has been overstating quite dramatically and the logged speed shows spikes of up to 65 mph, which is a little more than my normal walking pace!  This is making the records something of a waste of time. Do you have any idea what is causing it and what I can do to resolve it?

Ray Lemon, by email

 

The prime suspect is a feature of the GPS chips used in many smartphones, including the Galaxy S2, called Static Navigation. Basically this is a filter that blocks spurious readings that can be caused by reflected signals or a momentary loss of contact with the orbiting satellites. On many devices, including some versions of the S2, Static Navigation is disabled by default. This not a problem when using GPS whilst driving as most of the time you will be in motion and minor deviations are masked by the constant stream of GPS position updates, but if your speed drops to zero, or walking pace ‘spikes’ in position and velocity readings become more noticeable. The solution is to enable Static Navigation but unfortunately this is easier said than done, as it is not a readily accessible option on the S2. The only method I am aware of involves ‘rooting’ the phone, which is a potentially risky procedure, and installing an app called GPS Control SIRF Star IV, available free from Google Play (http://goo.gl/WQVMS). However, it has received mixed reviews; for some it works well, but before you think about using it have a look at this helpful article and the feedback from S2 users who have tried it: http://goo.gl/47G07.

 

 

Waiting For Word

We have a fully legitimate copy of MS Office 2007, which does all we want. However, whilst Excel opens immediately, every time we use Word we are presented with a screen headed Configuration Process telling us to "please wait while Setup prepares the necessary files". This takes several minutes and is surely not right?

Brian Donaldson, by email

 

It sounds as though Office is trying to install or update a missing component and is getting stuck in a loop. The first thing to try is the program’s built-in diagnostic tool, which fixes many problems of this type. To get it started go to Start > All Programs > Microsoft Office > Office Tools > Microsoft Diagnostic Tool and follow the prompts. If you are still having problems there are a number of other possible solutions in Microsoft Knowledgebase article 924611, which you can find at: http://goo.gl/n0oL9. It can also happen if you have an older version of Office (typically 2003) installed on your computer. If so either remove it, or if for some reason you need both versions, there is a Registry hack that will allow you to do so at: http://goo.gl/lJjky, but this is for advanced users only.

 

 

Password Pests

Can you tell me what criteria are used to demand new passwords? I seem to be plagued with requests; I have had three in the last 72 hours from Google and a further one from Skype. The issue is that the security regime has now become so complicated that I have to resort to writing them down, which of course destroys their unique identity, or am I missing a trick?

A. Kerrison, by email

 

New password requests or resets generally only happen when there have been multiple failed login attempts. Unless you’ve been fumbling it, then it may be that someone, possibly even someone that you know, has been trying to gain access to your accounts. They should remain secure, however, providing you use a unique non-guessable password for each account, preferably containing a mixture of 8 or more alphanumeric characters and permissible punctuation marks, but that raises the question of how to remember them all? A password safe or vault is the simplest option. These are small programs or apps that store all of your passwords in encrypted form, and is itself password-protected, so you only have to remember one password to edit or add new entries. They are readily available for all operating systems and devices. Many are free or included, and some of them can be configured to automatically insert passwords when you visit selected websites.

 

 

Vanishing Favourites

Just lately, when I access the web on my Windows 7 laptop, a page pops up inviting me to switch to Internet Explorer 10. When I get rid of this unwanted offer I lose my Favourites bar and I don’t know how to get it back. I have resorted to a System Restore but feel there must be an easier way to deal with this?

Roger Bain, by email

 

I can’t be sure why the Favourites bar vanished but to get it back, usually all you have to do is go to Toolbars on the View menu and make sure Favourites Bar is checked. If the Menu bar is not showing press the Alt key, to toggle it on and off, and make sure Menu bar is checked on the Toolbar. It can also disappear from view if you are in full-screen mode, in which case just press the F11 key.

 

 

Outlook Uncertain

My Hotmail account has been changed to Outlook. Fine, but I used to be able to forward e-mails sent to me on to other people and now I cannot. What should I do?

Rosemary Waring, by email

 

You still can, just click the down arrow next to Reply, and if any other aspects of Outlook.com are eluding you, or appear to be missing there is a quick guide and FAQ on the Microsoft website at: http://goo.gl/XIRBs.

 

 

---end---

© R. Maybury 2013 0306

 

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