Ask Rick Maybury 2013



Ask Rick 279 19/10/13


iPhone Video, The Bigger Picture

I recently received a video shot on an iPod, on my iPhone, which I saved and it goes to my photo albums. However, when I try to connect the iPhone to my Samsung TV with a USB cable, I can see the photos but it doesn't show the video.

Margaret McDonald, by email


Unfortunately life and media device connectivity isn’t that simple. USB isn’t suited to video hook-ups and it is further complicated by Apple’s proprietary connection systems, but all is not lost. Provided you have an iPhone 4 and your TV has an HDMI input, then all you need is one of Apple’s Digital AV adaptors. The official Apple model costs around £40 but you can find cloned adaptors selling on ebay and Amazon for under £10.00. Adaptors for iPhone 5 and iPad 4 and Mini fitted with the newer Lightning connector are also available but they cost significantly more. If your TV doesn’t have an HDMI input you could use a composite AV adaptor cable for iPad/Phone. They also cost £10.00 or so online but picture quality won’t be as good. Finally, a couple of exotic options. If your TV supports DNLA (Digital Network Living Alliance) network streaming or it is connected to an Apple AirPlay compatible device then you can set up a wireless connection between your iPhone and the TV but needless to say neither method is cheap, or simple.



Spooky Google Ads

We have two computers, served through a router, in other words, a very conventional setup. This morning I was looking up double-glazing firms by typing their address into Firefox. I looked at two websites. An hour later, I was checking emails on my wife’s computer. She has a Gmail account.  One of the ads in the right hand column was for one of the firms I had looked at. It was very unlikely that it was just a coincidence, as it is a fairly small firm. I find this quite scary. I do not have a Gmail account on my computer. Can adverts be connected in this way? If so, how can we stop it?

Ross Dallas, by email


It can be quite disconcerting when this sort of thing happens but it is not a mystery, or a coincidence. The reason you saw that ad on another computer is simply because they are on the same network and therefore share the same IP address. Although you didn’t use Google to get to the website concerned, it advertises with them and through a cookie on your browser it created an association between your IP address and the company. When you logged on to Gmail on your wife’s computer your common IP address was flagged up by Google, which sent a targeted ad from the company to Gmail. Google is reasonably open about how ad targeting and customisation works and there is more information, and how you can opt out of features like this at:



Mind Your Language On Skype

Recently I was chatting to a friend in Sussex on Skype when suddenly everything appeared in Arabic. I could not continue typing or change back as all of the menus etc were in Arabic. I have since heard that other people in the Hereford area have had the same experience. How could this happen?

Graham Spencer, by email


That is a weird one and in the only other reference to this type of problem that I have found happened immediately after the UK Skype user was in conversation with someone in Dubai. There’s a similar lack of information about the Hertfordshire outbreak, which must have been very confined and short-lived so it doesn’t appear to be a common problem. Hopefully it was just a random glitch and won’t happen again. If it does you can switch it back by clicking on the Tools menu, which on the Arabic language setup is the second item on the Toolbar (normally it is the fifth item but Arabic reads right to left), then click Language, which is second on the menu, and select English on the list. 



Data Dump

When disposing of old office computers I have removed the hard drives which contain client sensitive data. Is there an approved method of disposing the discs to minimise the misappropriation of data they contain?

Graham Stevens, by email


A three-pound lump hammer and a cold chisel generally does the trick. Otherwise, leave the drives in the PCs and download and run a freeware program called Active KillDisk ( This is used to create a CD/DVD disc or USB memory stick that boots the PC and destroys everything on the nominated drive by erasing partitions and overwriting all of the data with zeros. This makes recovery by all but the most sophisticated means virtually impossible. A paid for professional version is also available that uses military-grade data destruction techniques, comparable with the previously discussed lump hammer method



Crippled Card Reader Under Windows 8

After downloading Windows 8 on to my Sony Vaio laptop, which previously had Windows Vista installed, I lost the use of my memory card slots. I now have to use a USB card reader to access my memory cards.  A friend suggested that I probably needed new drivers but I do not know how to go about downloading them, and I couldn’t see anything in Device Manager, can you help?

Jock Moore, by email


The drivers for your memory card reader are specific to your laptop but depending on the model, there may not be one available for Windows 8. The only way to find out is to visit the Sony Support website (, enter the model number or work through the options and click the Downloads button. If Windows 8 is listed, run though the list to see if there is a Memory Card Reader Writer Driver. If so click the download link and follow the instructions to install it on your machine.




© R. Maybury 2013 3009


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