Saturday, December 13, 2008

Configuring Microsoft Outlook 2007 for new mail accounts

Microsoft Outlook makes it easier than ever to configure a new mail account.

Here are the steps you need to take:

1. In the menu, go to Tools > Account Settings
2. Click the button that says "New"
3. Use the default setting, which says "Connect to Microsoft Exchange Server POP3, IMAP or HTTP" and click "Next"
4. Enter your name and the new email address supplied to you by your ISP or web/email host (typically in the email they send you) as well as the password they supplied
5. Outlook 2007 should establish a network connection and search the email server for your settings automatically ...
6. if it says the server is unencrypted, then enter the incoming mail server as sent to you by your ISP. This typically follows the format:

Its that easy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Belkin : Hi-Speed USB 2.0 DVD Creator review - better than "EasyCrap"

After my epic troubles with EasyCap and audio, I bit the bullet and bought a replacement USB video converter - the Belkin Hi-Speed USB DVD creator to convert my old VHS tapes. It typically retails for about $120, but I picked on up on Ebay for $60 - just a little more than what I paid for the EasyCap. I looked at the slightly more expensive Adaptec.

I must say that it is a relief that the Belkin device does not use standard USB audio and comes with a full complement of drivers. Instead of USB audio it routes audio directly through the Line-in on the soundcard (which is great if your soundcard has a line-in that is). And it also works with my Realtek chip.

The whole thing runs better for me than EasyCap, but there was a little fiddling around with settings to get it to work initially. The video through AmCap also tends to wobble on preview sometimes, although fortunately this does not come out on the captured video. The frame rate on both USB devices, however, at 30 frames per second (fps) is noticeably slow sometimes. The bundled ULead software with the Belkin was also a little less up-to-date, but both versions of U-lead seemed to work fine with the device.

In summary I'd definitely recommend the Belkin. I haven't tried the Adaptec, but I'd expect they all offer similar features.

However having played with USB video converters for a while now, I'd have to say that my next purchase will be a PCI card of some sort. I think the faster framerate and higher resolutions would be of great benefit, as playing the results back on a large screen are not quite the same as plugging my old VCR directly in.