Ask Rick Maybury 2014



Ask Rick 291 11/01/14


Talented Tesco Tablet

I have a desktop PC for photo editing and I occasionally take photographic shows on a memory stick (using PowerPoint) to a society that has a laptop PC and a digital projector. Recently I was given a digital video projector, but I need a portable PC to drive it. I have been offered a second hand laptop but I'm attracted to the idea of a tablet PC, which I can also use while travelling away from home. I am wondering whether it is possible to show a PowerPoint presentation on a tablet connected to my projector by an HDMI cable? Also, how would I physically transfer the files from my PC to the tablet? Initial Internet searches haven't been much help so far. Sales people seem to be keen on showing how whizzy the new kit is but light on answers, when it comes to questions of this sort.

Alan Bowler, by email


The budget priced Hudl Android tablet from Tesco is definitely worth short listing. It has an HDMI output for direct connection to your projector. You will need a micro HDMI to standard HDMI cable, but these are widely available from online suppliers like Amazon; prices start at around £3.00, depending on the length. To play your PowerPoint slideshows on the Hudl download a free office suite app called Kingsoft Office from Google Play. You can transfer files to the Hudl, either by connecting it to your PC (Windows 7 or later) with a USB cable, and copying the PowerPoint files to the Hudl’s Download folder. Alternatively you can copy them to a folder on a micro SD card, which fits into a slot on the Hudl, or a USB memory stick, connected to the tablet using an OTG (On The Go) cable adaptor.



Cool Response

When I first started working with computers (almost 50 years ago) the whole computer room was cooled using a positive pressure system of filtered air, which had the obvious benefit of preventing dust etc. getting anywhere near the components. Yet from the very first PCs the boxes were fitted with extraction fans, ensuring that dust is sucked into the components through every nook and cranny of the casing. Is there any logical reason why this method was employed rather than a positive pressure system with a simple disposable filter?

David Male, by email


I suspect that cost, reliability and convenience were the deciding factors. A positive pressure cooling system would require larger or more powerful (and noisy) fans to overcome the resistance of the filters, and some sort of easily accessible filter holder. The designers probably took the view – quite rightly -- that most users could not be relied upon to change their filters on a regular basis, even assuming that they were cheap and readily obtainable. The inevitable result would be a high incidence of damage, due to overheating, caused by blocked filters. It may also be significant that PCs typically have a 3 to 5 year working life, before they are replaced, which is usually before clogged fans, cooling fins and ventilation slots becomes a serious problem.



Security Question

A friend, who does not have a computer, has asked me to copy some video footage, downloaded to a memory stick from her CCTV security recorder, onto a DVD so she can view it on her TV. The files are in .dav format. Is there any software that will convert the files to a suitable format for copying to DVD?

Chris Norton, by email


The problem is .dav is a proprietary video format, and for security reasons and to prevent tampering, files are usually encrypted, making simple conversion virtually impossible. However, on many surveillance recorders .dav format is selected by default, but .avi and mpeg options may also be available, if so ask your friend to make a new backup in a more DVD friendly format. If that is not possible then the recordings on the stick may only be playable using a dedicated viewer program. This may be downloaded to the memory stick at the same time as the video files, otherwise your friend should have a copy of the Viewer program on a disc, or I can be downloaded from the DVR manufacturer’s website. Some viewer programs have a built-in record option, if not you can try re-recording the playback using a screen recorder, though there may be a reduction in quality or frame rate. Try a free Open Source program called CamStudio ( but be careful during the installation and untick the boxes to load third-party programs and browser toolbars, which you almost certainly do not want. 



Brotherly Blockade

I recently received a suspicious looking email, which suggested that my brother in law was in trouble abroad.

I didn't open it fully but deleted it instead. I subsequently discovered that he had a virus in his computer that was sending out these messages. He has now sorted this out but we are having problems communicating. I can send emails to him but he can't send them to me as my computer keeps returning them. He thinks that I have done something to block his emails because of the virus but I have not consciously done anything. I am using Microsoft Security Essentials.

Roger Hulme, by email


Well done for spotting the scam email and it is a timely reminder as this type of fraud, where someone you know claims to be abroad and urgently needs cash after being robbed, is on the increase again (usually a result of them not having deleted their logon details after using an Internet café to access their emails). Your brother in law’s emails are almost certainly being blocked, but not by your PC, though make sure that his address hasn’t been added to your email program’s blocked sender or spam lists, just in case. However, the blockage was mostly likely imposed by your Internet service provider, which has flagged up his address or domain as a source of spam or infected emails. You should be able to check if this is the case by contacting your ISP’s support department, and if there is a block in place, ask them to remove it.




© R. Maybury 2014 2312

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