Tech News and Commentary
Liz in Windsor, Ontario listening on AM800 CKLW and asked: “I drive a 2013 Chevy Cruze and it is Bluetooth equipped. I used to be able to hold down the phone call button on the steering wheel and a list of my latest calls would come up on my dashboard display. I loved it, until it stopped. Was probably a couple months ago. I don’t know what changed. But now it says call list is empty. I just used to scroll through the list of recents. Any idea how I can retrieve this feature?”
Liz, there’s a chance that the feature broke because your phone got an update.
Cars pitch their fancy entertainment system as a feature but they rarely update them so they’re a little bit at the mercy of changing technology. The call log may have relied on a standard that has since been retired. That wouldn’t be unheard of or even unlikely given that 7 years in the tech world is probably not even a lifetime but more like a couple of lifetimes.
There is some good news though, the phone features in car’s systems often come from the bluetooth standard which is mostly updated for efficiency more than to extend the feature set, so you may be in luck here.
If the problem is just some bug that was triggered by some update and the underlying functionality didn’t change, then you may be able to recover your call list by unpairing the devices and deleting each from the other’s bluetooth list and then pairing them again.
If that doesn’t work, there are rare upgrades to car entertainment systems that come out every now and then, it may be worth asking at a Chevy dealership, but don’t expect a yes. In fact, I’ve got a 2016 Ford Explorer and in the four years I’ve had that car, there has only been one software update to the entertainment system. And it wasn’t even a major one. and, if you happen to get one, don’t expect the service to be free. It isn’t always. Hope that helps!
Jackie in Erie, Pennsylvania listens on “Money Radio” WPSE and asked: “I’m looking for the best option to transfer VHS tapes to a USB drive. I have about 40 VHS-C tapes and I do have a working VCR adapter to transfer. Please tell me which product you recommend, as there are numerous on Amazon.”
Jackie, we haven’t used any of these programs recently but Roxio Easy VHS to DVD 3 Plus has been around for a long, long time and has generally always been well regarded.
It looks like their product is still supported so they’re probably worth a look.
The same goes for Pinnacle’s Dazzle, it’s still supported and has been around for a very long time. Like Roxio’s product you can find Dazzle for around $50-60.
We should mention that there are generic solutions as well in the $15-20 range. If you already have software that can capture the input those may work for you since they would provide the physical bridge between the VCR and the computer.
You will save some money if you go that way, but you’ll need to provide your own software, so it may not be the best solution for you.
There are also conversion services from everyone from small independent video editors doing work on the side to giants like Walmart so you can always outsource the labor to them (it will be a fairly slow process since you will have to play the video tapes in order to convert them), but 40 is a lot of tapes so you’ll probably save money if you buy an adapter and put in the work yourself. Plus, if you do it yourself, you’re not having to give your only VHS copies to someone else and just HOPE that nothing happens to them.
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