Ask Rick Maybury 2014



Ask Rick 339 13/12/14


BBC iPlayer Irritation

I am using a Sony KDL-32S55 TV as a PC monitor. Everything works fine until I go to full screen on the BBC iPlayer. After about a minute the screen goes blank with the message ‘No Sync’. The display returns in about 5 seconds, and then it starts again. Is there any way to overcome this?

Edward Rose, by email


Although most TVs made in the last few years have a VGA input socket that does not necessarily mean that they make good computer monitors. Purpose-made PC monitors are designed to handle a wide range of analogue, and increasingly, digital input signals from computers. TVs tend to have fairly limited PC display capabilities, so if your computer has a DVI or HDMI output socket, you should use that to connect it to the TV. (You can use a DVI to HDMI adaptor cable if there is a connector mis-match). If VGA is the only connector option ensure that you are using the most up to date driver for your computer’s video adaptor and change the PC’s resolution settings to match the TV, which for this model should be 1024 x 768 pixels, at 60 Hz. It is also worth trying a VGA to HDMI converter; prices start at around £10 from online sellers. Incidentally, make sure that it is VGA to HDMI, not the other way around, they look very similar, and avoid simple cable adaptors; they only work on a relatively small number of PCs that have a digital output on the VGA port.


Weighty Tapes

My wife runs a weekly dance and mobility class for over-60s and she is finding it increasingly difficult to carry the heavy bag containing her cassettes, CDs, and a 1990s boogie box to play them on. It has been suggested that she transfer her tapes and CDs to a tablet or iPad. We have used Windows for more than 20 years and are comfortable with documents, spreadsheets, emails etc, but have no knowledge or experience in recording music. Could you suggest a suitable tablet and how can we transfer music from the cassettes and CDs to the device? I presume a tablet or iPad would not have powerful enough speakers to be heard in a church hall, if so, can you suggest something suitable, which won't break the bank?

Bob Young, by email


Connect the boogie box’s headphone output to the line audio input on your computer and using a freeware program called MP3 My MP3 Recorder (, convert the tracks on your wife’s CDs and tapes into digital mp3 files. Virtually any tablet computer can be used for storing tracks, and they all have pre-installed apps for playback and creating playlists, but since you are familiar with Windows I suggest that you shortlist Windows or Android models. File transfer is generally very easy; most of them have Micro-SD card sockets and a USB port, so you can either use your PC to copy tracks to a folder on the memory card in a USB reader/adaptor, or connect the tablet to the PC by USB cable. It will appear as an external drive in Windows Explorer, and you can drag and drop files into the device’s Music sub-folder. You are right about tablet speakers and you will need something with a little more oomph to fill a church hall. However, there are hundreds of portable speakers on the market so you are going to have to do some research, to find one with the same sort of output power as the boogie box, and make sure you road-test a few as some of them can be quite heavy. Connectivity will not be an issue, though, and you can use a direct cable, from the table’s headphone output, or, on most models, a wireless link (Wi-Fi or Bluetooth).



Clear The Crashes

On my iPad, if I go to Settings > Privacy > Usage and Data and then to Data, I find hundreds of entries and thousands of sub entries which I believe are logs of various program crashes over the years. Is there any way of clearing this?

George Teasdale, by email


There is no easy way to manually remove these files but by the sound of it you have not synced your iPad with iTunes recently. Diagnostic logs are automatically copied to iTunes and then deleted from the iPad during the sync operation. By the way, you can reduce the size and the speed at which these files accumulate by turning off the option to Automatically Send them to Apple.



Pop-Up Put Down

Whenever I run a search via Google or Yahoo on my Windows 7 PC, I experience multiple unwanted pop-up ads. I run the free version of AVG and also Malwarebytes, both of which claim to prevent malware and adware. What can I do to block these ads? I don’t see what advantage such methods of promoting products affords advertisers, as I now avoid their products as a matter of course.

Steve Tolhurst, by email


AVG and Malwarebytes prevent infections and remove malicious software that has found its way on to your computer. Pop-up ads are a very different kettle of fish, they are incorporated into web pages and technically they are not malicious, just very, very annoying. Most browsers have built-in pop-up stopper options, though advertisers continually develop new ways to defeat them so over time then tend to lose efficacy. Even so, you should still switch it on as a first line of defence and in Internet Explorer go to Menu (gear wheel icon) > Internet Options > Privacy tab and check Turn on Pop-Up Blocker. In Firefox go to Menu > Content tab and tick Block popup windows. If you are using Firefox you can banish almost all pop-ups with a free add-on called AdBlock Plus. Just go to Menu > Add-Ons, tap AdBlock into the Search box and click the Install button.   



© R. Maybury 2014 2411

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