Ask Rick Maybury 2014



Ask Rick 295 08/02/14


Service Charge?

An independent computer software servicing company has told me that all tablets, laptops, PCs etc should be serviced about every 40 days. Are they correct, and if so how much should one pay for this?

Tess Colman, Somerset


No, that is complete twaddle. Modern electronic devices are usually replaced well before serious hardware faults have a chance to develop. Tablet computers need little or no attention and providing you make regular backups, when a problem occurs they can be reset to factory condition and restored to their previous state. The vast majority of PC problems are software related and largely unpredictable. They often follow the installation of new applications. In most cases this can be resolved using Windows System Restore but even in the event of a major system failure, down time and inconvenience can be kept to a minimum by making regular backups. The biggest threat to a PC or laptop’s well being is overheating and it is well worth carrying out an annual check on the cooling system. This entails blowing out the accumulated dust fluff, and cat/dog hairs from the fans, vents and airways. You can do this yourself with an Air Duster, basically a can of compressed gas, but to do it properly on a desktop PC you really need to remove the lid. It is a relatively simple job, though, and something any reasonably competent DIYer should be able to do.



Maxed Out Memory

I recently purchased a Toshiba Portege R700 laptop. The new machine was fitted with 2GB RAM, which I upgraded to 8GB to optimise performance. However, I now discover that only 4GB of the RAM is accessible because the machine has the 32-bit version of Windows 7. The laptop is for domestic use and is an improvement on its predecessor but I wonder, is it worth installing the 64-bit version of Windows 7?  Is it a tricky job and will there be any noticeable improvement in performance?

Richard P. Gandy, by email


Unfortunately your laptop’s hardware does not support the 64-bit version of Windows, and I have more bad news. The inability of 32-bit Windows to address more than 4GB of system memory includes the graphics memory, which basically means that the maximum amount of RAM your laptop can use is around 3GB. On the plus side, even if you were able to increase your laptops memory capacity, or switch to 64-bit Windows, it probably would not have made much difference, unless you were using your computer for gaming, video editing, high-end graphics or other similarly demanding applications.    



Predictably Annoying

My iPad 3 thinks it knows my mind better than I know it myself. I am being driven mad by predictive text to the extent that it sometimes becomes almost impossible to switch their idea of a particular word to the one I wish to use. Is there any way of turning this irritant off?

Dr Jane Bond, by email


Yes, and this works on all Apple iPads, Phones and Pods; just go to Settings > General > Keyboard and disable Auto-Correction.



Printing And Skype On The Tesco Tab

I am interested in the Tesco Hudl and despite Which? Magazine’s praise for the machine I think two aspects are unclear. Can one print from it relatively easily i.e., not via a Cloud? More importantly for me and I think many others, is does Skype work fluently? If there are issues, can they be brought under control?

John England, by email


If you are asking if it possible to plug your printer into your Hudl, or any Android tablet or smartphone for that matter, then the answer is no. In spite of your misgivings the Google Cloud Printing really is the simplest and best method, and probably not as complicated as you may think. In fact it is virtually effortless if you have a Cloud Print enabled printer, but you can use any ordinary printer, the only stipulation is that it has to be connected to a PC linked to your home network, or the Internet. All you have to do is load the Cloud Print App on your Hudl (free from Google Play) and install the Google Chrome browser on your computer. Enable Cloud Printing (Settings > Advanced Setting), log on with your Google account and it is ready to use. If there is a compelling reason why you cannot use Cloud Printing there are indirect alternatives. Copy the file to be printed to the Micro SD card, remove it and using an adaptor, plug it into your PC and print it from there. You can also copy the file to a USB memory stick, using an OTG (On The Go) adaptor, or send it to yourself, as an email attachment.


Skype does work on the Hudl but some users have had problems with it, and there are suggestions that it that it helps if you establish a voice connection first, before switching to a video linkup. There doesn’t seem to be a single cause, though, but issues like these are being addressed all of the time so it make sure that you have the latest version, and ask your contacts to do the same.



Now See This

I’m thinking of buying a Now TV box for use on my downstairs TV, which has an HDMI input. My wireless router is upstairs and wired to my computer. Is it capable of sending the necessary wireless signals to the Now TV box?

Alan Sutton, by email


It should be, but if first check that you are getting the necessary broadband download speed to stream video, which is a minimum of 2mb/sec. You should also make sure you have a sufficiently strong wi-fi signal downstairs, where you plan to site the Now box. The simplest way to do that is to open BBC iPlayer on a laptop or tablet and see if you get a decent full screen picture, with no buffering, and it is best to do this in the evening, when Internet is at its busiest



© R. Maybury 2014 2001

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