Keyboard mailing for Monday,
Keyboard is still unheated, although the plumber has promised that, even as you
read this, he'll be installing the new boiler. Although it may not work until
tomorrow, and in any case he refuses to come into the house on his own for fear
of breaking something else (he turned off our fridge-freezer last time and
ruined the contents, and is now disputing the list of spoiled food we gave him
on the grounds that 'No one keeps chocolate in their fridge'). This one will run
and run, as should our Landlord for inflicting all this grief on us.
I'm here in unheated and unfriendly London where it's raining and freezing cold
and bus drivers get out of their vehicles to abuse me on the pavement. I am not
making this up.
this week’s Dr Keyboard column:
Q: I am trying to download a Chinese font
with Internet Explorer so that I can view Chinese
website pages. I logged onto yahoo.com and found that I have to download the
file before I can proceed any further. But the File Download dialog box kept
saying "Getting File Information" for couple of minutes and then the
Microsoft Internet Explorer dialog box appears with the following message:
"Internet Explorer cannot download.....Internet Explorer was not able to
open this internet site. The requested site is either unavailable or cannot be
found. Please try again later." What is stopping the download?
Q: While browsing the internet with
Internet Explorer I regularly get the message that "This program has
performed an illegal operation and will shut down". What am I doing that's
illegal? What laws have I broken?
Q: While on a website my cursor just disappeared completely, so I lost any form of control. I got out of it by unplugging the phone line and was thrown back to the opening page of AOL. I then did Ctrl-Alt-Delete and when the window came up with choices, my cursor was back. My question is, how can I get the cursor back if this happens again? CTRL+M with arrow keys rang a faint bell but it didn't work. Is there something I could have done?
A: If this doesn't happen regularly there's probably nothing to worry about. If it happens regularly but only on the one website, it could be something wrong with that site - some try to install clever programs which take over your mouse cursor and change it from an arrow to something else, and this doesn't always work properly. Politeness dictates that they should ask before doing something like this but there's not a lot of politeness around in many places on the internet these days. If it's happening regularly, it could be a problem with your mouse drivers or the drivers for your graphics card. Check with the respective manufacturer's websites that you have the latest drivers for your specific operating system, e.g. don't try to use Windows 98 drivers on Windows ME. And if it does happen again, try hitting Alt-Tab to move to another program window and see if the cursor comes back. You can also minimise your browser window by hitting Alt-Space and then N.
Q: When opening e-mails in Outlook 97
(Word is the e-mail editor) I keep getting this message: "Insufficient
memory for this font" I and am unable to open them.
Q: I've bought a cable to connect my
mobile (GSM) telephone to my computer and installed all the necessary software.
But no matter what I do I can't make a connection - what could be wrong?
Q: I've a long flight coming up soon but
can't afford to fly business class where the seats have power points to keep my
laptop going. Is there any alternative?
Q: When I fire up Internet Explorer it
freezes trying to find something called 'www.cache.freeserve.net'. How can I
Q: I keep being asked for a password by something called 'Content advisor'. How can I stop this?
A: You need to ask Microsoft Support about this. It involves editing your registry and also isn't a publicly available fix to stop young eyes getting round bans imposed by parents.
Q: I used to have a Font Listing
programme that fitted into MS Word 97 (also giving visual appearance of fonts on
drop-down list). I've lost it and have forgotten where I found it. Can you
Q: I enjoy reading your daily diary at http://www.chateaukeyboard.com.
Are there any other like this?
For Absolute Beginners - buying a
The only real revolution that's happened in the world of computer printers in the past year or two is on the price front - you can now buy for under £100 what would have cost you double that a year ago, and four or five times that two or three years before that.
There are any number of potential alternatives: lasers, inkjets, LED, dye-sublimation, dot-matrix…the list goes on, but if you apply and slightly modify my 'How to buy a computer' maxim about working out what you want to do and then choosing the software and hardware to match, you'll be well on the way.
It's tempting to just add whatever you're offered by whoever sells you your computer to the package, but a little thought could save you lots of money and a heap of time.
With printers, you need to consider whether or not you're going to print in colour or just black and white, how many copies you're going to want to print over a given period, and - as always - how much money you have.
If you need to print in colour, inkjets are the only reasonable alternative at the moment - there are colour laser printers, but only at very high prices. Unfortunately, many inkjet manufacturers work on the razor blade selling principle - you buy the printer itself for a hundred pounds or so and then spend a fortune on ink cartridges. So look at the total cost of owning the machine - the maintenance price as well as the initial buying cost. The same principle applies if you decide you can manage without printing in colour and will buy a laser. The initial purchase price may be higher than for an inkjet - although not necessarily so these days - but you need to look at the cost of toner cartridges. However, you will get many more prints from each toner cartridge than from an ink cartridge in an inkjet printer.
Indeed, you may come to the eventual conclusion, as I have, that you should use a cheap laser printer for day-to-day black-and-white printing and have a good-quality inkjet for when you need colour prints.
With inkjets, go for one with as many individual ink tanks as possible. Most work on the principle of mixing three primary colours plus black. If these are all in one tank, when one colour's finished you have to replace them all. Canon now, for example, have four individual tanks - one for each colour plus black - which can save you a fortune. Equally, avoid those which make you replace the inkjet's print head when you replace the ink. This adds to the price and, generally, the head should last for many refills.
The same principle applies to laser printers - some make you replace various parts of the mechanism when you buy a toner refill, others don't, so take that into account when buying.
There are many brands available, and you'll
find reviews of many machines most months in one or other of the computer
magazines - have a browse. Personally, I've always used Canon laser and inkjet
printers and never had a problem. Others swear by Hewlett Packards and Epsons.
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