ABC Sydney Weekend, 23 November 2003

Tips & Hints

Posted 25 November, 2003

On the 23 November computer spot we discussed buying new computer equipment for Christmas and how to avoid buying a Christmas lemon.

File Associations

A common problem with installing new software is that the software may hijack the computer. One caller had a problem with being unable to play CDs that was due to an old program assuming control of CD playing. The solution is to take control back, this depends upon which files you need to open.

For playing CD’s the solution is to use Windows Media Player, on opening it, click the View toolbar, select Options and change the Format to open the correct files. You aren’t restricted to the Windows Media player for playing CD’s, you can make similar changes in any program you want to use.

Wireless access

The Intel Centrino chipset features built in wireless networking. This has prompted a lot of people to look closer at using wireless networks. You can set up wireless network at home or you can take your computer to a wireless hotspot to use someone else’s wireless network.

Wireless hotspots are run by both companies, which charge for access, and volunteers, often providing free access. Whereis shows Telstra provided hotspots, which are expensive. The Sydney Wireless website shows both free and commercial wireless locations.

Setting up Outlook Express for webmail

Web based email is popular but it has it’s drawbacks, not least that it’s difficult to keep a copy of your mail on your computer. Outlook Express and Outlook 2002 can be setup for Hotmail. Other web based mail services can be setup in similar fashion to Hotmail.

It’s also possible to setup earlier versions of Outlook to receive mail through your web mail account. One program, Hotmail Popper, retrieves webmail to ordinary mail accounts. We haven’t used Hotmail Popper so use it at your own risk.

Errors on startup

When a program isn’t uninstalled properly, Windows can act unpredictably. One problem is that the system may look for the removed program on startup. Any Windows startup error can be diagnosed using the MSConfig tool.

Thanks to all our listeners and callers. As usual, we had a lot of calls we couldn’t get to and our apologies to those who couldn't get on. With the Christmas break approaching, it’s difficult to say when the next Weekend spot will be. Subscribers to our newsletter will get a note when the next spot is confirmed.

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