Ask Rick Maybury 2013



Ask Rick 287 14/12/13


Picking Mix

I have an ordinary 27inch flat screen TV, 4 years old and HD ready with inbuilt Freeview. Several months ago I noticed that a new channel, called Movie Mix, was starting on channel 32. So far I have been unable to access it. If I select channel 32 nothing happens, despite the fact that it clearly states that Freeview is being received. Am I doing something wrong?

Jennifer Cook, by email


Freeview channels come and go all of the time but most tuners, whether they are stand-alone set-top boxes or built into the TV, need to be periodically retuned in order to update their channel list. Many tuners tell you when new channels are available but clearly not yours. The tuning option on the TV (or set top box) is generally on main menu, usually listed under Initial Setup. If you are in any doubt about how to do it consult the instructions but it is usually very straightforward, just follow the on-screen instructions. It should only take a few minutes and you will probably find that you have several new channels, in addition to Movie Mix.



Web To Word

Whilst engaged in research for a degree course I need to be able to copy and paste text from websites, quoting sources of course. A lot of sites have coloured background and some have white text on black that when copied into a Word document look unsightly. I have tried hard, within a text document, to have all text in black 12 pt, Times New Roman on a white background, but without success. Most times I end up entering the text via the keyboard! Is there a way around this?

Mike Browne, by email


Highlight and copy the text as usual then, in Word, use the Paste Special command. In older versions you will find this on the Edit menu, otherwise it is on the dropdown menu on the Paste icon. Select Paste Special then Unformatted text and click OK. This will strip out any web formatting and applies the attributes (font size and so on) of the page into which it is pasted



Thermostatic Hot Spot 

My wireless central heating thermostat, which has been working for 8 years, suddenly failed. A garage door opener on the same frequency now needs to be much closer to the receiver than in the past. British Gas diagnosed interference after changing equipment and found that the thermostat works if within 2m of the boiler.

Norman Parker, by email


Given its age your thermostat probably uses the LPD433 (Low Power Device 433MHz) standard, which has been around for a while. This band of frequencies has become very congested with all manner of wireless gadgets, especially in densely populated areas. There is also a problem with older devices, which often use simpler, less selective receivers that are more prone to interference. The chances are that someone nearby has recently installed a wireless device operating on the same channel as your thermostat. You might be able to change the channel it uses (check the manual) or, if you can locate the source of the interference, ask whoever is responsible to change the channels on their equipment. However, the only permanent solution is to replace it with a wired type thermostat or get a more recent wireless model, which uses 868MHz band. This has yet to reach saturation point, and the equipment is generally more discriminating and better at rejecting interference. Don’t be too surprised, though, if the same thing happens again in a few years time.



Wind Back Windows

I would like to pass on an 8-year old PC with Windows XP. I want to leave the operating system on the hard drive but remove all of the data I have put in. How can I do this without losing everything?

Dick Bizzey, by email


Reinstall Windows, either from the original installation disc, if you have one, or the recovery partition. This deletes all of the files that you have created and as an added bonus, it also gets rid of any troublesome software, malware, viruses and system file faults that were probably slowing it down or making it unreliable.


Absent Apostrophes

A couple of weeks ago we received an automated message from a colleague saying he was unable to answer emails as he was out of the office. Bizarrely apostrophes were replaced with the following: &apos. The first time we thought this was a bizarre typo but since then it has appeared on several incoming emails - often not when they are first received but when they are re-opened a few days later. I have done a full virus sweep, which detected a possible virus, which I subsequently removed but still the problem remains. I called in an expert who said he had no idea what was causing the problem but he advised me to install Norton virus protection instead of the Microsoft anti virus software currently on the machine.

Sheila Holland 


This is a very long standing glitch with the hidden codes used to construct web pages, and emails containing web type elements, such as web page links, graphics and so on. There is a dull and long-winded explanation, but the abridged version is that the official HTML (hypertext markup language) code for an apostrophe is &#39, but for various historic and technical reasons &apos is also used but not always recognised by applications used to display web pages and emails containing HTML, so it displays the code, instead. There is no easy fix, and the only way to stop it happening is to go back to the source and alert whoever created the code for the HTML elements in the message.




© R. Maybury 2013 2511

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