Ask Rick Maybury 2015



Ask Rick 347 07/02/15


Tesco, Guilty As Charged

I bought a Tesco Hudl a little over a year ago and it seems to have developed a problem whereby the battery fails to charge properly. I don’t know if it is the battery or the mains charger but sometimes I leave it plugged in all day and it is still flat, at other times it charges normally after a few hours and lasts several days. Do you think the battery is failing and needs replacing, and if so, how much will it cost?

Peter Williams, by email


Since the battery can occasionally be charged it is probably okay and the problem is almost certainly due to an intermittent connection on the tablet’s micro USB socket. Judging by the large number of first generation Hudl users reporting this issue it may be an inherent design fault and even though your tablet is now out of warranty you would be within your rights to insist on a repair or replacement. If you cannot bear to be parted from it and you are reasonably adept with a small screwdriver, you could replace the board yourself. They are readily available online, from the likes ebay and Amazon for under £20 and there are instructional videos on YouTube that show you how to fit it. Incidentally, faulty USB sockets are a fairly common problem on other gadgets. The standard micro USB plug puts a lot of strain on sockets and even a gentle bump or tug on the cable can damage it. You can easily reduce the risk, though, by replacing the cable with one that has a stubby and therefore less vulnerable right-angled micro USB plug. They are widely available online and typically cost between £3 and £5, depending on the length.



License Dodge

I have the 3-licence edition of Office Professional Plus 2013. It has been installed on three computers but now I needed to retire one, as it is unreliable. I have a new PC and have been transferring over data and files but I cannot get office 2010 to load as it says I have used all the licences up (which I have). But I still only want to use it on three machines, as is the number of licences purchased. I have tried using the phone service but when it asks you have you installed it on three computes and you say yes, it hangs up!  What happens if your hard drive fails? It seems very unfair to have to buy new software.

David Bradshaw, by email


Initially the 3-licence rule for the retail version Office 2013 was strictly enforced but Microsoft have now changed it, following complaints that it did not cover eventualities like hardware failure; however, as you have discovered they do not make it easy. The trick is to persevere with phone activation, but do not respond to the automated prompts. Eventually the system will relent and put you through to a human operator. Explain the situation and they should talk you through the procedure. There is more about the changes to the license agreement here:



Kindle On Camera

I should like to wirelessly link a security camera (yet to be purchased) located in a bedroom window at the front of our bungalow, to an Amazon Kindle, so that we can see anyone approaching our property from any room in our home.  Is this possible and would it have to be linked through our BT hub?

Keith Hicks, by email


Providing that you have a Kindle Fire tablet, rather than a Kindle e-reader (with a black and white e-ink screen), then yes, it can be done. You will need an IP (Internet Protocol) wireless video camera and a Google account so that you can download a suitable viewer app from the Google Play store. This is needed to display the live image from the camera and, where applicable, remotely control other functions like pan, tilt, zoom, and focus. Your BT hub is the other vital ingredient in this setup and it links the camera to your home network (and the Internet) though a Wi-Fi connection, or better still, by a network or LAN cable. This makes it more secure and improves reliability, especially if the Wi-Fi signal is weak or prone to interference from other networks. The initial setup is often the biggest hurdle with an IP camera and it is usually much easier, and quicker to do it through a web browser on a PC, connected to the camera by LAN cable. This also speeds up the configuration of secondary features, like motion detection, email alerts and remote viewing over the Internet. Once the setup is complete you can dispense with the cable and access the camera’s at home or through any convenient wireless hotspot.



Works Outing

For years as a Membership Secretary, I have been using an old Microsoft Works home database, which gives me information for gift aid etc. and, using mail merge, to print 700 envelopes. I now need to buy a new laptop; what are my options?

Millie Howells, by email


If your current PC is becoming unreliable do not wait for it to fail and export your Works database file to a USB stick, CD/DVD or external drive so that it can be used on your new computer. There are some simple to follow instructions on the Microsoft website at: If you have Works 2006 or later and the original installation disc you can continue using it as it is compatible with Windows 7 and 8, some earlier versions will also work though you may need a free or paid-for upgrade, there are more details on the Windows Compatibility Centre website: If not either get a copy of Microsoft Office, import your database file and as before use the mail merge and envelope and label printing facilities in Word (more details at, or try the free Open Source alternative office suite, LibreOffice, which has similar capabilities to MS Office and there are details of how to use them at:


© R. Maybury 2015 1901

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