Jewish World Review Sept. 2, 2003 / 5 Elul, 5763


PrismIQ pumps Net music to stereo system; "Iexplore has caused an error in USER.EXE. Iexplore will now close down." — why?

By James Coates

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | (KRT) Q. I live in Peoria, where the kind of radio programming I like is quite limited. The Internet enables me to listen to stations all over the country.

Sometimes I want to listen over my stereo system. Right now I do that by locating my laptop right by the stereo and connecting the two with a flimsy audio-out/audio-in cable. I want to be able to use my laptop elsewhere around the house and, at the same time, feed the Internet signal into my stereo system. Is there any way to do that short of buying another computer and locating it by the stereo? (I own a wireless router and an extra network PC Card.)

_Joe Felder @bradley.edu

A. What you're looking for, Mr. F., is a product from the red-hot Roxio software house called PrismIQ MediaPlayer, which will perform just as you desire. I've been testing a sample of the $250 gadget for a coming review and can definitely report that you can use it to wirelessly pump NPR rhetoric and Internet radio music from your laptop to your high-fidelity system.

PrismIQ consists of a receiver box that connects to the stereo inputs (RCA, S-video, digital-in) of a home music system. It draws power from a wall outlet and connects to a home computer (in your case, that laptop) either wirelessly or with an Ethernet cable.

For wireless use, one needs to acquire an 802.11b PC Card and insert it into a slot on the back of the receiver. That's where you will use your extra PC Card. Others would need to buy and install a card to go wireless.

The idea is that the audio stuff, and some video files, get played on the computer and streamed to the PrismIQ receiver for display on a television set or play through amplifiers and speakers. You order up whatever is to be played using a remote clicker that manipulates a display of menus on the TV screen. For legal reasons, the device will not let you display Hollywood DVDs that are played on the computer, but it does handle most consumer video files like MPEGs and the public domain DivX format.

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But the main draw is audio, and it can come from Internet radio as well as MP3 and WMA music files on the computer. Also, you can use it to display digital photographs in several conventional formats.

I would add that this probably should be considered an intermediate users' product rather than one for beginners because it requires a bit of serious setup steps. But it does, indeed, deliver as ordered in your case.

It goes without saying that the folks at Roxio fervently hope this will, indeed, play in Peoria.

Q. I hope you can help solve a mystery involving Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 SP1. Starting about a month ago, totally out of the blue, whenever one would double-click on the Iexplore icon, we'd get the following error, "Iexplore has caused an error in USER.EXE. Iexplore will now close down."

I've tried the repair utility in Control Settings. No good. A friend suggested installing Java plug-in 1.4.0. Still no joy. Outlook Express is working fine, but we cannot get Internet Explorer to even display a default page. We are running Microsoft Windows ME.

Any suggestions on how we can get Internet Explorer back on its feet?

_Michael Bieganski, Oak Lawn, Ill.

A. Your friend suggested patching the Java module because of confusion over Microsoft Corp.'s feud with Sun Microsystems over including Sun's Java in Microsoft's software. The fact is many third parties write all kinds of so-called plug-in programs designed to work with the Internet Explorer Web browser, and conflicts can be terribly vexing. Yours is a worst-case example because the browser comes up dead as a digital doornail. So you can't do what most victims do, which is to log on to go on Microsoft's Web site and reinstall the browser, thus writing over the problems.

To address this paradox Microsoft set up the phone number 800-360-7561 where customers can go to order the latest version of Microsoft Internet Explorer mailed to them on a CD for installing over corrupted editions of the code.

Meanwhile, why don't you try using the System Restore tool in Windows ME to return your machine to the settings it was using before you attempted that ill-fated backup? This doesn't always work for browser problems, but it's certainly worth a try. Click on Start then Programs and Accessories and then System Tools to start the System Restore module.

Another possible fix is to open your bad browser and restore all of the settings that deal with plug-ins to their original state. Run the browser, and after the error message appears, click on Tools in the command bar and the select Internet Options and Advanced. There you will find a Restore to Defaults command to click. I raise this last because, while it only helps to change these settings in rare instances, it certainly doesn't hurt to try, Mr. B.

Q. I am considering buying a new Dell computer. I now have a Gateway Pentium III. Gateway has a program called Gateway GoBack. It has gotten me out of many situations. Is there a similar program that I can purchase for my new computer?

_Patricia Sauter @niu.edu

A. GoBack is kind of like the boll weevil of the computer world_it's always lookin' for a home. The critter currently hangs its hat with Symantec, ruling maker of PC utility software ranging from the Norton antivirus stuff to the Ghost hard drive image software.

GoBack started its odyssey at hardwaremaker Adaptec then moved on to Roxio before being acquired by Symantec. GoBack won a huge following when Gateway incorporated it into its product line. It is credited with preserving the sanity of a great many users who, when their PCs started acting up, were able to click an icon and return their computers to a pristine state when everything worked fine.

It was so popular that Microsoft included a similar but less robust feature in the Windows operating systems (starting with Windows ME) called System Restore.

You can find GoBack for $30 at Symantec.com using GoBack as a search term, because it has been relegated to the back shelves due to the huge popularity of the various Norton bug busters.

Appreciate this type of reporting? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

James Coates is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Let us know what you think of rthis column by clicking here.

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