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Issue #35: March 20, 2008

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Q: I bought a new laptop that was loaded with Windows Vista.  My problem stems from the email system and I don’t really know if it’s related toVista or not – just thought I would pass along that info.  Quite often when I try to delete a read email, the message “unknown error has occurred” pops up and I am unable to delete the message.  Sometimes, it happens when the email contains an attachment, sometimes not.  Do you know a way to correct this?  My inbox is filled with messages I am not able to delete.

– Becky T.
Niceville, FL

A: I assume you’re using the new Windows Mail that comes with Vista?  I’ve read both good and bad about that, but the problem you’re having is not uncommon.  Microsoft has an article in its knowledge base that addresses a similar problem with messages stuck in the Outbox, but I’ve heard that it solves similar problems with your Inbox.  You can read about it at http://tinyurl.com/2447xg.  There you’ll also find a downloadable update in two versions.  Use the 32-bit option unless you know for sure you have 64-bitVista.  If this doesn’t help, or if you’re not using Windows Mail, write again with more information, and I’ll see what I can do.

Q: I’m looking high and low for a sound card that has left and right (red/white) RCA type output jacks for connecting to my stereo amplifiers as an input device, like any other stereo component.  Can’t find one.  They all seem to have the little micro output jack (female) into which I would plug a mini-head phone jack that then splits into white/red for connection to the stereo.

I want this sound card because I’ve iTuned all my music collection and want to connect my PC to the stereo and lose the CD player.  Any advice on where I can find a sound card with left and right stereo output jacks?

– William R.
Fort Walton Beach, FL

A: Most sound cards are equipped with standard 1/8” stereo mini-plugs for inputs and outputs, but cards with other interfaces are not exactly rare, William.  I did a simple Internet search on [sound card with RCA outputs] and went to the very first page in the list and from there found a link to a manufacturer that sells sound cards with RCA output jacks.  I also found them available at local big-box stores.

I just have to ask:  Why do you need the RCA jacks to be right on the sound card?  Why not just use a patch cord as you described?  If it’s a matter of signal incompatibility, you might want to look into an “attenuating adapter” that will cut down the audio level from something powerful enough to drive headphones or speakers to line-level audio compatible with the inputs on a stereo.  Of course, you can do the same thing by just turning the PC’s volume way down.

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