Ask Rick Maybury 2013



Ask Rick 270 17/08/13


Smart Decisions

I have no need of mobile phone facilities so of I were to purchase a top-of-the-range Windows based smartphone, iPad or Android tablet, would I be able to obtain a SIM card enabling Internet only access and at around what cost? I have no knowledge of any of the 900,00 apps that are available so would it be possible to sample these on my Windows 7 PC? 

Peter J Goode, by email


You really are starting from cold so I would avoid exposing yourself to the hard sell in phone shops until you have had some hands-on experience and feedback from smartphone-owing friends, relatives and colleagues. Most people are usually only too happy to demonstrate their devices and give an indication what costs are involved. Hopefully this will give you some idea of what they are capable of, what they can do for you and the sort of data allowance you are likely to need. For example, if you just want to use it for checking emails and occasional web searches you may only need 1 or 2 gigabytes of data a month but if you want to stream media, download music and movies, play games or make heavy use of social media then you will need considerably more.


Data only SIM tariffs are available but they tend not to be particularly good value, compared with conventional mixed phone, message and data tariffs, some of which have unlimited or ‘all you can eat’ data. Emulation software that allows Apple, Android and Windows Phone apps to run on a PC does exist but it is mostly intended for developers and not really suitable for every day use. You can browse and search app stores on your PC, and usually there is a fair amount of information about what each one does, plus screen shots and user reviews. It is also worth knowing that you can get a refund on paid-for apps that you do not want or like. You have 15 minutes after purchase to decide if you want to keep an Android app and 24 hours for Windows Phone apps. It is a little more convoluted with iOS apps for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch but you can apply for a refund through the Report a Problem button in iTunes Purchase History.



Contact Prints

My Nokia Lumia 800 runs Windows Phone and I would like to print a hard copy of the contacts file. The user guide says one can synch with Outlook via Zune, but it only seems to work for music and pictures. Can it be done?

Chris.Cadman, by email


Yes and you can either export your contacts list as a csv (comma separated value) text file from your browser, you will find it on the People tab. Otherwise login to your Microsoft account, where you will find your synced contacts list and another option to export it as a .csv file. There is also a free app called Print My Contacts, which you will find in the app store at:



Missing Messages

I have an Apple iPad, which was bought for me last year. A fault has developed and it shows the headings of emails but the space beneath, where the text should be, is blank.

Denis Ansbro, by email


This seems to be a fairly common problem and like many iPad glitches, it may be fixed by a restart, or reset. Both procedures are safe and shouldn’t result in the loss of any data, though it is prudent to backup everything first, and you may need to re-enter your Wi-Fi passcode after a Reset, so make sure you have it to hand. To restart close any open applications and with the home screen showing hold down the Sleep button until the red Power Off slider appears. Slide it, wait a few seconds then press and hold the Sleep button until the Apple logo shows and let go of the button. If that doesn’t work try a reset. This time press and hold the Sleep and Home buttons, ignore the slider, keep holding the two buttons until the Apple logo appears, at which point you can release the buttons.



Grappling With Gmail

Our organisation needed an email address so that members can contact our committee. We have set up a Gmail account for this, and now have an address and password for us to get in to read them. I am now trying to delegate this task to others, but three members of our committee in turn tell me they cannot access the account. The message is that the address and password are not recognised. Coincidentally they all already have other Gmail accounts and their computers won’t allow them to sign in with another Gmail address and password. Is there anyway to override these default addresses or delete them so that they can get into another Gmail account other than their existing one on their systems?

Karen Usher, by email


The most straightforward way to manage multiple Gmail accounts is to use a different browser for each one. So, if the first account is accessed through Internet Explorer, for example, download and install another browser, like Firefox, Chrome, Safari etc, and use that to access the second account. There are ways and means within Gmail to set up multiple logins but it can get messy. Assuming that your colleagues want to keep it simple and the two accounts separate then individual browsers is the best solution



Conflict Resolution

In recent months every so often a box appears which says: Network error. Windows has detected an IP address conflict. At this point we lose our Internet connection and cannot receive or send emails.

Janet Bell, by email


This may happen after new device has been connected to a network and the router assigns it an IP address that was previously used by something else. The trick is to switch everything off, including the router and everything that connects to it. Restart the router, give it a couple of minutes to settle down then switch on each device in turn, checking that it has a stable Internet connection before moving to the next one.




© R. Maybury 2013 2907

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