New CD-R players allow users to take advantage of disc space

HELP LINE

March 12, 2001|By James Coates | James Coates,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

I recently purchased a CD-R/RW unit. I backed up all my data and files to CDs and then started playing around. One feature that I really liked was the ability to record my favorite songs from various CDs to a single CD. This was great so long as I played the CD through the computer. When I tried to play the CD on our separate CD player, it would not recognize any track past 20.

A check of our music CDs showed that 10 percent or less of the CD was ever recorded. This seems like a terrible waste of CD space as well as a rip-off. Do you have knowledge of a CD player that can play more than 20 tracks from a single CD, excluding computers.

A number of products are reaching store shelves that do exactly what you desire, namely allow owners of conventional music players to listen to home-brewed music CDs that hold far more tunes than the discs that are cut to artificial industry standards, which are inefficient and needlessly expensive.

For example, the new RioVolt portable CD-R player from SonicBlue Inc. will play both store-purchased music CDs and also discs burned with MP3 files on home computers. This device includes a line-out port that is easily plugged into the amplifier on any home music system, thus allowing consumers to load up discs with far more than 20 cuts.

The pioneering DVD/CD players from Apex, including the Apex 600A, are high-fidelity components that play both music CDs and CDs filled with MP3 files that consumers either record from their personal music CD collections or download from Internet resources such as Napster.

In other words, you merely are a bit ahead of the pack, and soon the marketplace will be filled with devices that address and solve the problems you raise.

I scanned a page of my stationery into Microsoft Paint (as a .bmp file) to clean it up and change some of the info. I sized it at 100 percent on the scanner's software, but, when I open it in the Paint program, it is huge. This makes it easier to see and fix each little pixel, but when I try to print it out, it's still huge. It wants to use 16 pages of paper! How can I get the thing back to normal size for printing?

Your answer to reduce those huge pictures is well hidden under a menu called Image in the Paint program's Toolbar. Click on Image, then choose Attributes and you will get a menu that lets you slim down that huge scanned file to whatever dimensions you may like, such as 8 inches wide for letterheads.

I am still using Windows 3.1, and want to copy a file to a disk, but that file has become larger than the 1.4 megabytes a single floppy disk will hold. Is there a way I can copy this big file onto two disks?

Your answer is software called PKZip that performs a bit of magic called disk spanning to break up huge files into component parts, compress them and save the results onto however many floppies it takes to hold them.

You can download a trial copy of PKZip at www.PKWare.com. Because your machine is running Windows 3.1, you need to get the 16-bit product called PKZip 2.60. In case you don't have Internet access, check out your local software store.

Whenever I try to run the defragment program or the Scandisk program, they start and then keep restarting. After a while I get a message saying defrag has restarted 10 times and telling me that something is writing to the disk. It says I should close all programs and then try again.

Since I know of no program running except Windows itself, I don't know how to proceed. I always turn off the screensaver before starting.

The only way to be sure none of this stuff can run in the background, and therefore confuse Scandisk and hard drive defragmentation software, is to start your machine in Safe Mode and run those disk maintenance utilities from that condition. Safe Mode boots Windows with only the essential operating system and basic display drivers, leaving all other drivers and background tasks out of the picture.

Various computers use different techniques to call up Safe Mode. The most common is to hold down the Control key and switch the machine off and on. Another common command sequence is to hold down the F8 key while booting. If neither of these work, check your manual or call technical support where you bought your PC.

Send e-mail to jcoates@tribune.com.

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