Upside-down in Australia (literally)

By | November 23, 2015
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An upside-down problem from Australia (actually upside-down, not just because it’s from down-under…) a way to make the talking on some DVDs easier to hear and something that might be useful before the rapidly looming Christmas…

Upside-down in Australia
I had a question the other day from my sister’s fiance.  They live in Australia, so he asked me via Facebook rather than ringing me up in the middle of the night, I’m glad to say…

He’d picked his laptop up to check something underneath it and had knocked a couple of keys as he did it… and the screen had turned upside down.

I mean, the physical screen itself was fine, it was just displaying everything upside-down.

He’d managed to tinker with the settings in control panel and sort it out but wanted to know what he’d done – in case it happened again.

I resisted telling him it should be upside down, that’d make it the right way up for him down-under…

I’ve seen this before and it’s completely mystifying when it happens.

Here’s what’s happened: If you hold down the Ctrl and Alt keys on the left hand side of the keyboard and tap one of the cursor (or arrow) keys, it will switch the screen round – down makes it normal, left or right turns it on it’s side and up turns it upside down.

So if it ever happens to, you know how to fix it!

You might be wondering why you’d ever want to do this – well, I once had a monitor that you could turn on its side.  It was quite useful for editing long text documents, to have it at ninety degrees, so it was the same way round as the document – tall rather than wide.

The only other reason I can think of it maybe if you connect some projectors, maybe they show it the other way round.. I’m not sure.

But it is worth knowing about in case it happens to you – just press Ctrl and Alt and tap the down key and it’ll be sorted.  (I also pointed out that it can be a rather sneaky trick to play on someone – I wonder if my sister might shortly find her computer screen the wrong way up…  Then again, she’s a black belt in karate, so maybe not…)

DVDs and struggling to hear the talking
Julie and I were were watching a DVD the other day.  I can’t even remember what it was (must have been good!) but one thing that was annoying us was the sound.

Now, in the evening we don’t like to turn the sound up too loud because Alastair’s bedroom is right over the lounge – and we don’t want to wake him up.

But some films you find the people who made it made the background music or sound effects really loud… and the talking really quiet.  So you struggle to hear.  And every time one of us asked the other “what did he say then?” we missed the next bit.

I suppose the films are really designed for cinemas and they don’t all remaster the sound for a home TV (or don’t do it properly).

But I discovered something that completely fixed the problem on this particular film.

You see, on a DVD, they often have several different settings for the sound.  It’s the same stuff recorded, but designed for different types of speaker setup.  Stereo is normal – where you have two speakers, one on each side of the TV.  But some people will have a fancier, surround sound setup, maybe called 5.1, where you have 5 normal speakers and one big one for the bass sounds.  It sounds amazing, because you can hear the sounds from all around you, but I think it’s a bit over the top for normal films.

But I found that on this DVD and our DVD player, it automatically set it to 5.1 surround sound – even though we have a normal, stereo TV.  So some of the sound was being sent to speakers that weren’t there.

When I changed it to set it to stereo, suddenly we could hear it all clearly.  (I’m not sure it was worth it, given I can’t even remember what the film was, but there you go…)

To change it, I just took the DVD player remote control, pressed a button marked sound (you might have to go into a menu and select sound on yours – it depends) and chose “Stereo” from the list that appears.

I think this only applies to DVDs, rather than watching films on broadcast TV (though I’m not sure about cable systems), but if you also find yourself frustrated when you’re watching a DVD, that you can’t hear the speaking properly, it’s worth a try to see if it helps!

The tidy-up carries on…
I mentioned last week that we’re tidying up the warehouse – and have been clearing out the Digital Photography videos to clear some space.

Well, there’s something else I want to tell you about.  We’ve also got some copies of videos all about using eBay – both buying on it and selling on it.

It could be quite good timing.  When eBay first set up it was really for individuals to sell second hand things – a sort of electronic small ads or car boot sale.

But now it’s much more than that.  Lots of “proper” shops are on there – selling new things as well as second hand.  And there’s a huge range of things you can find, including things that might be hard to find in a normal shop.

So it can be quite a good place for Christmas shopping.  To say nothing of being a great way to get rid of things that are cluttering up the place and get a few pounds from them (we really need to list an old high chair we don’t need any more – must get around to it).

Anyway, you can read all about them here.  The videos are recorded in Windows 7, but it doesn’t really matter as they’re not about how to use the computer, they’re about how to use eBay.

As with the digital photography ones, they’re half price to clear them out.

Here’s the full information – worth a read.

One thought on “Upside-down in Australia (literally)

  1. John Woodgate

    Hi Mr Tim,
    Your bit about the upside down screen in Oz Land, reminded me of the letter I recently sent you about my screen details suddenly appearing on their side. I explained how I thought I cured it which was similar but not quite the same as your solution, which sounded a bit more professorial. I may have used the Control key with the Alt, but I didn’t bother goping into the control panel because I always get into trouble . But my short cut seemed to work So There! Like your humourus missives, keep em coming.
    Yore new fan, John Woodgate

    Reply

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