Ask Rick Maybury 2014



Ask Rick 297 22/02/14


Gmail Goes POP…

We have just returned from France where we had France Telecom (Orange) as our Internet service provider. My wife had an Orange email address and this was accessed through Microsoft Outlook Express. She now has a Google Mail (Gmail) email account. I have tried to substitute the email account details (POP and SMTP) in Outlook Express, but it does not work. I have not yet changed any settings in Gmail. How I can get her emails from Gmail into Outlook Express?

Allan Pirrie, by email


Outlook Express and most other email programs, for that matter (Windows Mail, Live Mail etc.) can access a Gmail account but there are some settings that you may have missed. Check that the email address, password and server addresses are correct, ( for incoming mail and for outgoing messages). Tick the box that says your outgoing mail sever requires authentication. On the Account > Properties > Advanced tab, change the Port settings to 465, for Outgoing Mail (SMTP) and 995 for Incoming Mail (POP3). Finally, tick the secure connection (SSL) boxes for both servers and click OK. Incidentally, if your wife wants to access and sync her gmail messages on multiple devices then it is advisable to use IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) instead of the outdated POP (Post Office Protocol) system, in which case see this simple to follow tutorial from Google Support:


Ink On The Blink

My printer advises me when ink levels are low, providing I use HP cartridges. This doesn’t happen when I use refills. Is it possible to overcome this limitation so that I get low ink warnings when any cartridge, of any make is used?

Ernest Bide, by email


The chip on new and original HP cartridges tells the printer how much ink it contains so it can make an informed guess about how much is being used, based on the number of pages printed. However, it is only an estimate so there may still be dozens pages left in the tank when the warning appears. Third party and re-manufactured cartridges are also chipped but it seems that the ones you have been using do not carry capacity data, which is quite handy because it means that you only replace them when the tank is actually empty. By the way, you can safely do this on HP cartridges, which have integrated print heads, but it is inadvisable on printers with built-in print heads, which may clog if the ink tank runs dry.


Fire Distinguisher

I was given a Kindle Fire HD as a Christmas present.  When travelling, holidays and so on, I usually take a laptop and each day backup photos from our digital cameras to the laptop. The reasons for getting the Kindle was to save weight by taking fewer books with me, and leave the laptop at home.  However, I have been unable find a way to transfer photos from the cameras to the Kindle without going through a PC, can it be done?

Ken Haddon, by email


Whoever chose the Kindle was badly misinformed, if it was being sold as a laptop replacement. It is primarily a device for downloading and displaying media sold by Amazon. To be fair it can be persuaded, albeit reluctantly, to do some of the things a normal Android tablet computer can do but that does not include USB hosting. This is the feature that allows most Android tablets to copy files from memory cards and sticks via a simple and inexpensive OTG (On The Go) adaptor cable. Some users have managed to hack the Kindle Fire HD’s firmware and operating system to give it this kind of functionality but it is a complex and risky procedure.


I suggest that you sell or pass the Kindle Fire on to someone who wants an e-book reader and media device, and replace it with a proper Android tablet. It should have a minimum of 16GB on board memory, support for USB hosting and, ideally, a built-in SD (or Micro SD) memory card reader. You can easily transfer and manage your photo files using ES File Explorer, free from Google Play, and all of your e-book needs will be met by the free Kindle app, or free e-reader apps like Aldiko, Better World Books, Cool Reader and FB Reader.


Convert To E-Books

I recently purchased a Nook e-book. I have found this new technology very useful for accessing and storing countless books in EPUB format, which relate to a research project I have undertaken. Is there a safe program that will allow my home PC to convert EPUB files into other formats, such as PDF?

Mike Christian, by email


Look no further than Calibre, an excellent, free, Open Source e-book library management program. Amongst its many talents is a comprehensive file conversion utility for all popular and many obscure text and e-book formats. There is more information and a link to the download at:



IPlayer Abroad

I shall be taking my iPad when we go on holiday to Florida. Will I be able to use it to listen to BBC Radio and watch BBC iPlayer?

Bob Pawsey, by email


There is no problem accessing BBC Radio content abroad, but various rights agreements prevent the BBC from streaming TV channels outside the UK, other than edited news and sports highlights. There is a free iPad/Phone app called iPlayer Global, which provides access to selected ‘Best of British’ BBC programmes, but this currently only works in some European countries. However, there are ways to trick the BBC servers into believing that you are in the UK. These include proxy servers and VPN (Virtual Private Network) services. The free ones can be unreliable and the quality poor; they may be riddled with intrusive advertising, privacy and security may be weak and the BBC regularly blocks them. Paid for VPNs and proxy servers based in the UK are a better bet but prices and the level of service varies enormously, so you will have to do some homework.



© R. Maybury 2014 0302

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