Ask Rick Maybury 2014



Ask Rick 341 27/12/14


Dashboard Data Protection

It has been suggested that because I have a camera in my car, it would be advisable to format the SD memory card that it uses every three months, to help reliability.

John Margerison, by email


That is a good idea. Compared to the fairly sedentary lives led by SD memory cards in digital cameras, smart phones and tablets, those used in vehicle dashboard cameras are exposed to a number of stresses. These include large and rapid variations in temperature and humidity, sudden interruptions, instability and ‘spikes’ in the power supply and constant mechanical vibration, any of which can lead to faults that can result in data loss or corruption. Regularly formatting the card on a PC will not prevent it from happening, but it should alert you to any problems with the card or camera.



Nexus No-Show

I have a Dell laptop running Windows 8.1 and it does not recognize my Nexus 7 tablet. What can I do?

William Dale, by email


It should work without any intervention from you so, assuming that other USB devices are working normally, swap the USB cable and if it still cannot connect, try it on another PC. If it makes a connection, then there may be a problem with the tablet’s USB driver. Uninstall the Nexus 7 driver on the laptop from Device Manager (type Device Manager in the Search box, tap or click the Nexus entry and select Uninstall), reboot and re-connect the tablet. If that does not work try an alternative Google USB driver; there is a link and some simple instructions here: If the computer still refuses to recognise the tablet work your way through the suggestions in the generic Android USB connection troubleshooter at:



Light Waves

I installed three LED downlighters in our kitchen. When I turn them on my DAB radio stops working. Any ideas?

Paddy G Walker, by email


Interference from low energy light bulbs, which now comes under the broad heading of Electromagnetic Compatibility or EMC, has been a problem since the first compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) went on sale in the early 1990s. CFL technology has improved but interference from light bulbs is now back on the agenda, with a vengence, following the appearance of low cost, energy-saving LED light bulbs, and this just happens to coincide with the growth in popularity of DAB radio. It is caused by the electronic ‘driver’ circuits, which convert mains electricity to the low voltages used to power LEDs, and it all depends on how well these circuits have been designed.


For the most part it is not a problem with branded LED bulbs made in the EU, which should have the CE mark and be labelled as EMC compliant. The majority of complaints concern cheap LED bulbs, mostly made in China, which do not meet standards for radio frequency interference (RFI), and it doesn’t help that some cheap DAB radios do not conform to EMC standards for immunity or susceptibility to interference.


Unfortunately there is no easy fix. In fact it will probably only get worse as LED bulbs proliferate and it is unlikely that non-compliant bulbs will be banned any time soon. On the plus side the interference tends to be very localised and there are a few things that you can do to reduce or eliminate the effects. Switching to EMC compliant bulbs should work, but only buy one, and see if that makes a difference. Re-orientate or move the DAB radio as far as possible from the lamps; make sure that the antenna is not close to any mains cables or wall sockets, and try plugging the radio into another mains socket. Incidentally, if a lighting system has been installed by a qualified electrician it will be down to them to sort out any problems with interference.



FON Farewell

Whenever I log in these days, my laptop connects to BT Wi-Fi with FON instead of going straight to my BT hub. I then have to fiddle about to connect the system to my own hub, which is annoying. Can I persuade my software to ignore the BT public Wi-Fi signal and just go straight to my own hub, like it always used to do?

John Waite, by email


Yes you can, but the changes that you need to make to your laptop’s wireless configuration settings depend on which operating system you are using. There are some simple to follow instructions for Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, Mac OSX and Apple iOS on the BT support site at:



IE Password Puzzle

Since buying an iPad I have used this for all of my ebay activity. I have now tried to access my ebay account using my Toshiba laptop, which runs Windows 7, but an unknown user ID appears in the sign-in box, and I cannot delete it. The Stay signed in box is ticked and I cannot untick it. After a couple of attempts I get an on screen message saying that IE has stopped working and Windows will try to repair it. It never succeeds!

Anthony Gibson, Peterborough


Internet Explorer has only limited password management options in fact all you can do is delete all saved passwords, which should get you out of this particular hole, but make sure that you have a record of any important passwords before you proceed. Go to Tools > Delete Browsing History and untick anything you do not want to be deleted, then tick Passwords and click Delete. If that does not work then IE may have a more deep-seated problem in which case try resetting it to its default condition by going to Tools > Internet Options > Advanced tab then click the Reset button and follow the prompts. You can avoid problems with troublesome passwords in future by using a password vault utility, keeping a written record, or switching to another browser, like Firefox or Chrome, both of which have options to display, delete or modify saved passwords.



© R. Maybury 2014 0812

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