Ask Rick Maybury 2013



Ask Rick 273 07/09/13


Highs And Lows of GPS

I recently joined a walking group who use a hand-held GPS together with Ordinance Survey maps to get around. At the end of the walk we are all keen to know how far we've travelled but the GPS always shows we have walked a little further, an increase of half a mile over distance of nine miles, for example, compared with the OS maps. Is the GPS more accurate than the maps, or is there another reason for the discrepancy?

Barrie Urwin, by email


Your GPS measures how far you have walked in three dimensions. In other words it takes into account the small increases in distance travelled bought about by changes in elevation. An OS map is a two dimensional representation of terrain and cannot show the extra legwork involved in traversing hills and dales. Accuracy of measurement is another possible factor. On a map you generally calculate distances between waypoints in terms of straight lines, which ignores all of the bends and curves in the path and minor deviations from the plotted route. Sometimes it is only a few footsteps, but they all add up. 



Delta Blues

My Google icon and search engine have been taken over by something called Delta Search. I can work around it but what a nuisance. Uninstalling Delta does not solve the problem. How can I get rid of it?

Mike Edmondson, by email


Delta Search is a particularly pernicious browser toolbar that hijacks your homepage, redirect searches, display ads and links and quite possibly tracks your web searches as well. It usually gets onto your PC through software downloads; usually there is a tick box giving you the option not to install it, but there are plenty of reports of it being loaded without permission. Security programs often miss it and it creates a number of Registry entries, which makes it difficult to uninstall manually but one malware cleaner, called AdwCleaner does a very good job of removing it, and many other common nasties. AdwCleaner is free and there is a link to the download at: Incidentally, there are a number of fake and infected versions of this program doing the rounds so be very careful if you download it from another website.



Chrome Looses Its Shine

I have a 3-year old Sony Bravia TV and a Samsung Chromebook. As per the guide I connected them together by cable via their HDMI outlets and found the correct channel on TV. The screensaver and cursor appeared on the screen but when I clicked on an icon the Chromebook responded but nothing happened on the TV. Any ideas?

Bob Miller, Skipton


There have been some issues with the HDMI output on Chromebook, which appear to be related to a recent update that changed the external display default setting from Mirror to Extended mode. The first thing to try, with the Chromebook is connected to the TV, is click and hold on the PC screen, ‘drag’ it to the right and it should appear on the TV. If that doesn’t work the Chromebook display may be maximised, so press Alt – Fullscreen, and try again. There have also been reports of Chromebooks not being able to match the resolution of some TVs. One workaround is to boot the Chromebook with it connected to the TV, which may force it to set the correct resolution. However, this is a more deep-seated problem and you can add your voice to growing call for Google to come up with a fix, and try some other suggestions on the Chromium Project website at:



Mystery Media

I was recently sent some video clips in .mp4 file format and could not open them with Windows Media Player, which displayed a message saying the file was incomplete or corrupt. I tried various remedies as suggested by Windows Help but to no avail. Eventually I downloaded a program called VLC Media Player and the files opened with no trouble. Should I have received some updates from Microsoft to overcome this problem? 

John Waite, by email


Windows Media Player doesn’t natively support the .mp4 format, so you haven’t missed any updates. If you want an easy life I suggest that you stick with VLC, which is very versatile and copes well with most popular media formats but it is possible to get WMP to play .mp4 files. You need to download and install a third-party codec pack, but be warned that it is an unapproved procedure, and you do so at your own risk. The two packs that work best are the Combined Community Codec Pack (CCCP), which is free from, and K-Lite, which is also free, from



Fawlty GPS

I have a TomTom One Classic GPS and I cannot get through to them to sort out my problem. I have emailed three times since last November, (to the address from which all the offers come), to get them to accept my change of email address. Each time it was returned as failed. I have paid twice to acquire the John Cleese voice, but I cannot get it. Emails are also returned as address unknown. TomTom’s phone number offers four options seemingly related to advanced additions only, and the website doesn’t seem to cover either of my points. The programmed Help assistant does not understand the questions. How does one get help from them?

Peter Reed, by email


I am afraid that TomTom, like many large organisations these days prefers to use the web, rather than humans and old-school technologies like the telephone and email, to communicate with its customers. In this case the solution is actually fairly straightforward. To change your email details all you have to do is go to the TomTom home page, click Support then My Account Details, log on with your old email address and password and click the ‘Change my email address’ link.



© R. Maybury 2013 1908

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