Ask Rick Maybury 2014

  

 

Ask Rick 293 25/01/14

 

Taming The Tablet

I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10, which I would like to use for drawing. I bought a rubber-ended stylus, but it is still poor, compared to my Galaxy Smartphone. I have found an app that lets you adjust screen sensitivity, however, having paid a $5 donation and loaded it onto my tablet I find that it requires ‘root access’. Looking on the Internet rooting would seem to be a risky process. Is it dangerous and if it all goes wrong can you reset the tablet to factory settings and start again?

John Beattie, by email

 

The sensitivity of the Galaxy 10 touch screen has come in for a fair amount of criticism but the TouchScreenTune app, to which you refer, has received generally favourable reviews and works for a lot of users. On the wider question of rooting, it can be a worthwhile exercise when it fixes a problem or allows you to do something that is not normally possible on a stock Android tablet. However, it is not for those of a nervous disposition as it involves altering system files and/or updating firmware and although rare, there can be problems. There are ways to reduce the risk, though, and the number one rule is carry out a full backup first and avoid being a guinea pig for a new or untested procedure. A few months after the launch of a new device there will usually be several websites showing how it is done. Review them carefully, compare the methods and be wary of shortcut or maverick techniques. Read the comments sections to identify and be forewarned of any pitfalls. Providing that you use a tried and tested method and follow the instructions to the letter you will have to be fairly unlucky or cack-handed to lock up or ‘brick’ a tablet. If the worst happens there are usually a number of things you can try. Disconnecting the battery will reset many electronic devices, but this is not an easy option on most tablets. The workaround is to completely drain the battery, by taping down the power button, though it may take a couple of days for it to work. More serious damage will probably require specialist knowledge and software but there is usually a way back.

 

 

Design A Label

I have new Windows 8 laptop, and I use Writer for word processing. I have lost my old address details, stored on my previous computer, which I used for mailing Christmas cards etc. I would like to create new list suitable for printing labels. What is the best way of using Writer to create a template?

Richard Perry, by email

 

Writer, part of the excellent free Open Source LibreOffice suite, shares a lot of features with Microsoft Word, including the label making options, but first, I suggest that you use the Database program Base, also part of LibreOffice to set up your new address book. When that is done open Writer and go to File > New > Labels. Select the label sheet format then your address book database file and follow the prompts to choose the fields that you want to print. If you get struck there is a simple to follow tutorial at: http://goo.gl/rpEBXs

 

 

Service Charge

Something called svchost.exe seems to have hijacked almost all of my computer’s CPU resources causing my computer to become unresponsive. If I end the process with Task Manager my power comes back but other things disappear like control of iTunes and speakers. What would have caused this and how can I change it?

Tony Collier, by email

 

This is fairly common on older or very well used PCs, but we should begin by explaining what svchost.exe processes does. Windows depends on lots of small ‘helper’ programs or Services that run in the background; in turn these rely on shared files called dynamic link libraries or dlls. The svchost.exe processes’ job is to manage running Services, by organising them into groups that do similar things or share the same dlls. By the sound of it one of your svchost processes is working overtime and this may be due to redundant Services a corrupt Registry entries or in rare cases, a virus or malware infection. The tricky bit is identifying the rogue Service and since you seem to know your way around Windows I suggest that you download a free Microsoft utility called Process Explorer (http://goo.gl/g88d, for Windows XP onwards). Double-click the suspect svchost entry and select the Services tab, This shows the Services associated with that process and you can manually stop them one by one, re-check the CPU usage and through a process of elimination, locate the one that is causing problems. Google the name of the troublesome Service and find out what it does, and whether or not disabling it is going to cause problems; if not you can do this from the Windows Services Manager (type services.msc in Search or Run on the start menu). Remember, this tip is for experienced Windows users and tinkering with Services might cause your PC to stop working. You have been warned!

 

 

Pass Tense

When logging in to Google Mail, I get prompts for previously used login names. One time I accidentally entered a password as a login name and now this is shown as a prompt for login. Do you know how I could remove this?

John Wreford, by email

 

If you are using Internet Explorer then you can install a small freeware utility called IEPassView (http://goo.gl/s3Z90). This displays saved passwords and logins stored by your browser and allows you to delete entries. During installation you may get a warning from your security software as this program hacks into an encrypted file but providing you download it from the official NirSoft website you can ignore the alerts. In Firefox and Google Chrome the procedure is much easier; go to Tools > Options > Security and click Saved Passwords. Incidentally, this option is unprotected so you might want to tick the box to set a Master Password. In Chrome click the Menu icon then Settings > Show Advanced Settings > Passwords and Forms > Manage Save Passwords, and the same advice applies, about creating a protective master password.

 

 

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© R. Maybury 2014 0601

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