Ask Rick Maybury 2015



Ask Rick 342 03/01/15


Two Hudl 2 Muddles

I read that the Hudl 2 has a micro-SD card slot. I wonder if it might be possible to connect a DSLR camera (a Canon 5D) to the tablet so that portrait sitters could be shown their pictures, in a reasonable size, as a session progressed? I wouldn’t want to keep taking the memory card out of the camera.

John Holt, by email


The SD Card slot cannot be used for anything other than a memory card but there are a growing number of Android apps for operating the shutter, controlling exposure functions and displaying live and recorded images from digital cameras. However, due to the large number of makes and models of cameras, and differences in the control systems and connection options (USB, Bluetooth, wireless, etc.) it can be a bit of a minefield. It is worth trying a free app from the Google Play Store called EOS Remote, which has the functions you are looking for, but it has received some mixed reviews. Another app, called DSLR Controller sounds more promising but it costs £5.94 from the Google Play. If it does not work out you can get a full refund, provided that you return it within 2 hours. If neither work then it is down to some trial and error and there is more than a dozen generic and make-specific apps to try (search the Play Store for ‘DSLR Controller’). Always reads the comments first to weed out the no-hopers, and some apps are reported to be affected by the length (shorter is best) and quality of the USB cable.



Tee’d Off With Tesco

I have just purchased a Tesco Hudl 2 and so far I like what I see, except for all of the Tesco icons, and a large and very annoying letter ‘T’ on the home screen. If pressed by accident it takes me into a morass of Tesco pages that I cannot seem to exit from without switching the thing off. Is there any way to get rid of these irritants?

Colin Shaw, by email


The heavy handed Tesco branding and the built-in apps are one of the reasons this otherwise highly specified 8.3-inch tablet sells for only £129 (less if you buy through Tesco Direct, using a coupon code and there is up to £64 off with Club Card points). You cannot uninstall the Tesco apps but you can remove them from the Home Screen, one at a time, by pressing and holding an icon then dragging it to the X icon that appears at the top of the screen. The ‘T’ icon is more stubborn but you can make it disappear using a free Home Screen Customise app called Apex Launcher, from Google Play, which does a lot more besides, and works on any Android device running Ice Cream Sandwich.



Linux Lifeline

A few weeks ago you advised a reader to replace Windows XP with a version of Linux called Zorin and this idea appeals to me as a way to revive my Advent laptop. I understand how to download Zorin from the source that you gave but I am not quite sure how to remove XP, before installing it.  Can you please give me some guidance?

Peter Cottee


Providing that you have at least 10 gigabytes of free space on your hard drive I strongly advise leaving Windows XP where it is and go for a dual-boot installation. This means that you can set Zorin (or XP) as the default operating system, all of your files will be preserved and you will still be able to run Windows only programs if you want to. The option to dual boot pops up early on in the installation process. Zorin asks if you want to keep the existing Windows partition, and how much of the available free space on your hard drive you want to allocate to the new OS. When the installation has completed you can set the boot order from the Linux bootloader menu, which appears immediately after switch on. If there is not enough space for Zorin simply select the reformat whole drive option in the installation menu, but make room if you can and remember if you wipe the drive all of your Windows files will be lost and there is no way back.



Top Tap Tip

I recently noticed that when my Samsung Galaxy smartphone was close to my wallet it sometimes gave out a bleep. On closer investigation it appeared that my bus pass was the source of the signal. Simply moving it across the phone produced the sound. I therefore thought that other credit or debit cards with the contactless payment facility might have the same effect. But this was not so. What is it about my little used bus pass that has this effect?

David Hampton, by email


Bus passes and ‘tap and go’ contactless payment debit cards use the same near-field communications (NFC) technology, based on RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips embedded in the card. These use electromagnetic induction to power the chip and exchange data over a short-range wireless link. However the way terminals and devices recognise and respond to cards, and the data they contain, varies according to the ‘handshaking’ protocols and data exchange formats that they use. The reason your smartphone reacts to one NFC card but not another is in part due to security measures. These are designed to prevent mishaps and fraud; when contactless systems were first introduced there were reports of users unwittingly paying for items simply by standing too close to a payment terminal, and to stop hackers and villains sucking money out of your payment cards, using modified terminals that can theoretically communicate with NFC chips over distances greater than the nominal 10cm or less, between card and terminal. Unless you are actually using the NFC facility on your phone it is usually a good idea turn it off by going to Settings > Connections > NFC, and this will also help prolong battery life.


© R. Maybury 2014 0812

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