Ask Rick 296 15/02/14
Free iPhone Unlock?
Following an upgrade I now have an iPhone 4S
going spare, which I plan to pass on, or sell, I haven’t decided yet, but
either way I understand that it would be better if it was unlocked, so that it
can work with any SIM card. I looked online for advice and found several
YouTube videos that showed how to do it with a free app. They made it look
quite easy but does it really work, and is it safe?
Katie Howard, by email
The app is called SAMprefs but do not get too
excited. The iPhone has to be jailbroken first and the network lock is only
partially removed so that the phone can work on just one other network’s SIM
card. However, this is largely academic since Apple recently blocked this
method and it only works now on iPhones that were unlocked by SAMprefs before
the plug was pulled. If you want your iPhone to be useable on any network then
it needs what is known as a Factory unlock. The best option is to ask your
phone provider. Some of them will put in the necessary request to Apple for
free, providing you are still a customer; others like EE make small charge
(currently around £20). In most cases it takes around a week to ten days to
process and you have to connect the phone to a computer running iTunes to
complete the operation. The alternative is to use one of the high street or
online unlocking services. Most of them offer Factory-type unlocks but prices
vary widely, typically between £50 and £100, so shop around. The procedure is
generally fairly safe but it will not be Apple or phone provider approved, the
phone’s warranty is voided, and there is usually no guarantee that the unlock
will not be undone following a full reset or future iOS update. Beware of other
‘free’ online unlock offers; they are generally scams or very risky.
How can I load DVDs onto my newly acquired
iPad? I have a library of DVDs but I don't seem to be able to put them into
iTunes for transfer.
Martin Ogden, by email
Leaving aside copyright, licensing and copy
protection issues, in order for an iPad to play a DVD it has to be converted
into a format that the device supports. There are several ways to do that but a
good place to start is a free Open Source conversion utility called Handbrake.
Windows (32 and 64-bit) and Mac versions can be downloaded from: http://goo.gl/siGC. It is easy to use and there
is a step-by-step tutorial at: http://goo.gl/PgB8Lo.
The only problems with this method are that it is fairly slow, and the iPad’s
limited storage space fills up quickly. If you mainly want to watch movies at
home then you would be better off streaming them from your computer to your
iPad, via your home wireless network. To do that try free apps such as Air
Video and VLC Streamer, available from the App Store.
Organising A Replacement
I use a Sharp ZQ-570 with 256KB that I have
owned for about 20 years. I use it for taking notes, phone directory and diary.
Could you recommend a something to replace it? I don't want anything that links
to the Internet, so I am finding sourcing a replacement difficult.
D. Pratt, by email
All of the functions of electronic organisers
and PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants), and a lot more besides, are now
incorporated into modern feature phones, smartphones and tablets so, not
surprisingly, those older devices have all but disappeared. You can still find
‘as new’ old stock organisers and PDAs on ebay and Amazon. However, it really
would be easier, and probably cheaper to move on and buy a contract-free
Android smartphone. These cost from around £40 from supermarkets like Tesco.
The phonebook, notebook and diary functions work without a network connection,
but if you change your mind about the Internet, or using it as a phone, it can
connect to your home wireless network or a free Wi-Fi hotspot, or get a
pay-as-you-go SIM card, which is the cheapest option for light and infrequent
I have a Sony KDL 40 HX803 TV and want to use
it to watch videos, which have been transferred from tapes onto an external
hard drive. The TV has a USB port but there seems to be no way to open the
files on the drive.
Alan Coles. By email
There are several possibilities but the ones
that spring immediately to mind are that the USB port on the TV is only
designed to connect USB memory sticks and self-power media players and cannot
supply enough power for an external hard drive. If the drive has the option of
an external mains adaptor try using that. The other possibility is that it
doesn’t recognise the video file format you are using. According to the specs
it supports MP4, MPEG-1 and the proprietary Sony/Panasonic HD camcorder format,
I am Dutch, live in England and therefore
correspond, surf the web and email in both languages. Sadly my Windows 8 laptop
thinks he/she has a better grip on the Dutch language than I, and constantly
corrects any word that does not also exists in the English language. It also
Anglicises words, and adds capital letters to certain words. I tried switching
the language to Dutch, but then everything is in Dutch, which is also
confusing. I am sure there must be a way to switch off the spellcheck, but I
don't know where to find it?
Reinardina Arreman, by email
Click or tap Settings on the Charms Bar (move
mouse pointer to top right or bottom left corner, Winkey + C or swipe right)
then PC Settings > General and under Spelling set Autocorrect misspelled
words to Off.
© R. Maybury 2014 2701