Regain (or replace) that voice on AOL

May 10, 1999|By James Coates | James Coates,Chicago Tribune

My son has configured AOL's "Goodbye," "You've got mail," etc., .wav sound files into a scary techno-sounding noise and we can't get the original .wavs back. We have Windows 95 and I've tried going to Control Panel, then Sounds, but I still get the awful techno sounds.

I'll bet your son overwrote the original, annoying files. A fix, which I consider no fix at all, is to reinstall the software using one of AOL's widely circulated CD-ROMs. Save the address books from your current version.

Or, replace the techno .wavs by renaming any three sound files you care to use and then moving them into your AOL directory to overwrite the three technos. The file names are welcome.wav, gotmail.wav and goodbye.wav.

I use a video camera to record information as single frames. I use a very old Video Blaster SE100 (Creative Labs) to play the tape on my computer monitor. I can freeze-frame and do limited changes with size and color. I save frames as jpeg files to send them in e-mail or import into WordPerfect documents.

This program is no longer made. I need a good capture system for my new computer. I prefer it to be an internal card operated via keyboard or mouse.

Your best answer is a gadget costing about $100 called Snappy by Play Inc.(www.play.com). The Snappy hooks up to you printer port and lets you plug in a VCR, a camcorder or television receiver. You then can digitize each frame of incoming video. Supplied software does the things you want and more. If you insist on using an internal card, I recommend the sub-$100 WinTV video card by Hauppauge Computer Works Inc., which does much more than still-frame video captures.

What is the best and safest way to transfer important files and programs from one computer to another when upgrading? My old computer uses Windows 95 and the new one uses Windows 98.

There are a great many options, including linking the two machines with a cable through their serial ports with products such as Traveling Software's Laplink (www.laplink. com), which starts around $50.

For about $125, you can acquire a 100 megabyte parallel port Zip drive from Iomega Inc., which will transfer the files on a one-shot basis and serve as a handy backup tool.

What is the value of installing utilities such as crash protection or uninstaller programs? I spend about an hour a day on the Internet and download one or two programs a week.

In my opinion, which is not shared by many of my peers, colleagues and betters, none of these programs, such as Norton Utilities, Nuts & Bolts and Mijenix Fix-it, is worth the bother. The amount of mail I get from readers complaining about their computers starting to act up after installing a utility "just in case something ever goes wrong" is dismaying.

My experience with Norton and others has been that they gum up the works more than they help. If you want to guard against crashes, you're better off saving your work frequently than plopping down cash for something that essentially does the same thing in the background.

Send e-mail to jcoates@tribune. com or argue online at www. chicagotribune.com/go/askjim.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.