Many devices don't require a converter

April 22, 2009 By Steve Alexander

Q. We will be sailing in the Greek Islands on a 32-foot boat in May, and I am wondering how to properly charge our various electronic gadgets -- an e-book reader, camera and phone -- so I don't wreck any of them. What should I ask the boat charter company about the power on board?

A. Ask if your boat provides either 110 volts or 220 volts, the electrical power levels most widely used around the world. You're right to be concerned, because if you plug a consumer electronics charger designed for 110 volts into a 220-volt outlet, you can probably kiss your camera, phone or e-book reader goodbye.

But SmarterTravel.com says you may not need to worry about the voltage differences. It says that "most electronic devices sold in the U.S. that use power chargers have a built-in dual-voltage compatible charger that accepts both 110 and 220 volts." See www.smartertravel.com/travel-advice/does-my-digital-camera-charger-need-voltage-converter-overseas.html?id(equal-sign)2517809 .

If you're not sure what voltage your chargers are designed for, you can buy an AC to DC converter that also has the appropriate electrical plug adapters for the area you're visiting. Some of those converters also have USB connections for charging consumer electronics devices. For example, see www.journalism.co.uk/66/articles/531513.php .

Q. I have problems viewing the JPEG image files (used by many digital cameras) that are stored in my computer or attached to e-mails. When I use the Windows picture-viewing software, I often get either a blank gray background with no picture or what looks like a faint color negative on a gray background. In some cases I get an error message. Some other pictures show up fine. What's wrong?

A. The problem may be caused by a software update from Microsoft that was designed to protect the Outlook 2003 e-mail program from Internet attackers but that had the side effect of making some JPEG images unviewable with the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer.

Rather than tamper with a security update, I'd be inclined to find a different picture viewer by going to www.download.com and searching for "picture viewer."

But you can eliminate the update by going to the Windows Start button, clicking Control Panel and using "Add or Remove Programs." Uninstall "Security Update for Microsoft Office Outlook 2003" or the file number "KB945432." If you don't see either, then uninstall "Microsoft Office 2003 Service Pack" No. 2 or 3.

___

(Steve Alexander covers technology for the Star Tribune. E-mail your technology questions to steve.j.alexander at gmail.com or write Tech Q&A, 425 Portland Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488-0002. Please include a full name, city and phone number.)

___

(c) 2009, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Visit the Star Tribune Web edition on the World Wide Web at www.startribune.com
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Explore further: Digital TV likes clear signal path

Related Stories

Digital TV likes clear signal path

December 31, 2008

Question: If I buy a new digital TV, can I just plug it in and use it, as I do the old TV now? My son insists that it has to be hooked to an antenna, but the old televisions worked fine without one.

Windows talks, but it won't listen to him

January 28, 2009

Q. I installed Windows on a new PC hard drive, but failed to activate the software with Microsoft's online service in the required time. Now, when I try to access music, Windows asks me if I want to activate. When I try ...

Photo can be copied from DVD

February 4, 2009

Q. As a present for a wedding anniversary, my children took many of our slides and put together a great VHS tape for us. Unfortunately, in the process one of the important slides was misplaced.

A 'reunion' that left her embarrassed

February 4, 2009

Q. In December, I was contacted by 16 former colleagues and friends who had received "invitations" from me through Reunion.com, a Web site I had never visited. It was quite embarrassing, because the colleagues were at a ...

Here's the way to copy e-mails to save on CDs

March 12, 2009

Q. I have a lot of e-mails in separate folders of my Microsoft Outlook program, and I want to take some of them off my Windows XP computer and save them on CDs. How can I do that?

Recommended for you

Smart home heating and cooling

August 28, 2015

Smart temperature-control devices—such as thermostats that learn and adjust to pre-programmed temperatures—are poised to increase comfort and save energy in homes.

Smallest 3-D camera offers brain surgery innovation

August 28, 2015

To operate on the brain, doctors need to see fine details on a small scale. A tiny camera that could produce 3-D images from inside the brain would help surgeons see more intricacies of the tissue they are handling and lead ...

Team creates functional ultrathin solar cells

August 27, 2015

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers with Johannes Kepler University Linz in Austria has developed an ultrathin solar cell for use in lightweight and flexible applications. In their paper published in the journal Nature Materials, ...

Interactive tool lifts veil on the cost of nuclear energy

August 24, 2015

Despite the ever-changing landscape of energy economics, subject to the influence of new technologies and geopolitics, a new tool promises to root discussions about the cost of nuclear energy in hard evidence rather than ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.