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Tech Talk with Which? Computing

Welcome to our tech talk area! This is your place to discuss all things tech, get updates on Which? Computing, and discuss the latest goings on with our Computing editor, Kate Bevan.

Hello, world. Welcome to my tech talk area on Which? Conversation.

It’s been six months now since I took over the editorship of Which? Computing, and one thing I’m particularly keen to do is find ways to meet, chat with and learn from Which? members and our community.

I want to be able to be a bit more nimble about reacting to, commenting on and explaining what’s going on in the wider tech news world, and so we thought that opening up this space would be a great way to do that.

A tech space for everyone

This space is as much for you as it is for me. I’m not only keen to share with you what we’re working on in Which? Computing, but I very much want to hear what you’re doing with your technology; what you’re thinking about technology-focused news, and what you’re considering building, buying and tinkering with.

I’ll be posting here in the comments on a wide range of topics. Next week, for example, is Google’s annual event at which they launch their latest consumer devices. Sadly, I won’t be going to New York for that, but I will be at the London event, and I’m planning to report on that as it happens.

I’ll also be letting you know what we’re up to with planning the Computing magazine; I’ll be sharing news stories and – hopefully – helping those of you outside of the tech bubble make sense of everything that’s going on.

But most of all I’m here for the community. It’s a conversation, not a broadcast, and I hope you’ll be joining in and helping to shape it. I’m really looking forward to it.

From the Convo team

This tech-focused area of Which? Conversation is the first of its kind from a Which? editor.

Much like the Lobby, it was born out of an idea from our community – we’ve been asked for a more tech-focused discussion area in the past, and this can act as just that. This area isn’t only for Kate’s updates, but for you all to discuss the latest tech news, reviews and issues you’re interested in.

Kate will continue to write separate Which? Conversations for the ‘big’ tech stories, which we’ll also link to here for reference.

09/10/2018 All the latest from Google’s annual hardware launch

02/10/2018 Was your Facebook account accessed by attackers?

29/09/2018 A brief history of tech: what got you into computing?

16/08/2018 Do we really spend too much time on our phones?

Otherwise, for all things general tech chat and questions for Kate, feel free to get inolved!

Guidelines

To ensure the Computing Corner remains a healthy and friendly place for you all to share your thoughts and musings, all of our Community Guidelines apply.

Comments

Hello World 🙂

😄 we actually considered this as a title…

I’ve given the intro a minor tweak 😉

I hope this is also a good place for tech users to raise concerns or pose problems in the hope of getting some help either from Which? staff or more likely from within the community.

That’s what I had in mind, Kate – the community helping people with their tech queries and sometimes that will include pointing them in the direction of the knowledge base or tech-support or other resources.

It would be better to collect all the queries and responses in one Conversation as FAQ’s can then be dealt with more easily if they have been answered before. That is better than having such items scattered across a number of Conversations. Obviously, questions will continue to go where people have put them sometimes on the back of a relevant thread or topic, but over time Tech Talk will become the recognised place and hopefully will fill up with interesting discussions.

No disrespect to your favoured title, but I prefer “Tech Talk”. It’s more meaningful.

Even though I have very little knowledge of technical things, or much interest in tech products, I like to know what’s going on just so I can break the ice at parties.

A great place for a nybble, or even a byte, and a prestigious face for the launch. Good stuff, Kate.

And on tech-related matters, it took three refreshes for my name and the ‘post comment’ button to appear and I had to use a separate browser just to give Derek an uptick…

Thanks for the new Convo, Kate. I hope if will prove useful and it will give the Convo community the opportunity to exchange advice and improve our own skills.

I would be interested in obtaining my own email address and wonder about how best to proceed. I’m more interested in long term rather than initial cost.

For the past twelve years I have paid for web hosting and email on behalf of a charity and that was very straightforward but the company is gradually pushing up prices.

I’ve done it with several email addresses. One thing you have to watch out for is to ensure you add the SPF record for the domain, otherwise your own ISP can cause a problem.

Thanks both. It’s not so much the technical issues (though I would not have thought about SPF) but some basics.

1. If I managed to get hold of a domain such as john.smith@domain for an annual charge of £xx, could I move it to another service provider if I was unhappy with the service, just as I have done with a website domain?

2. I’m not sufficiently keen to run my own server, so presumably I’m looking for a service that provides an email management service, backup, spam filtering and probably more. I fear that what looks inexpensive could soon work out expensive with the extras. What are the most important questions I should be asking?

One thing I am sure about is that want to continue to use a mail client rather than webmail.

Thanks Kate. I will probably leave this until after Christmas but will report back.

Speaking of email, I use to have 2 Yahoo email addresses but they were hacked into and their password changed.

I can’t login to them using security question and answer either, as I can’t remember the answers I gave.

What can I do to recover my email accounts?

Does Yahoo Mail have a UK office?

I may be wrong here Wev, but I have a vague recollection of Yahoo deleting email addresses if they are not used for a certain length of time. Could that be why you can’t get into your account?

No, they were hacked. I use to login to them every day, then one day the password stopped working

What FTP server is best for a PowerMac G4?

I use Fetch which, in its latest incarnation, is very easy and reliable.

I used Fetch in the days when I had a PowerMac G4, and in these days it was free. Unfortunately, a PM G4 will not run any supported version of OSX and would not be secure.

I think it’s great to keep these old PC’s going instead of just sending them for scrap (or eco-friendly disposal). These days, I usually consign any redundant PC hardware to my local Emmaus charity store.

Where up-to-date security is an issue, I believe it is even possible to upgrade old Power PC macs to a modern supported OS:

macobserver.com/tips/deep-dive/revive-powerpc-mac-running-linux/

I’ve done the equivalent with my early 2008 MacBook, so I can either boot into its legacy version of OS X, or the LXLE flavour of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. For internet facing roles, I usually only use the latter.

A simple alternative is to continue to use old computers offline. I use Adobe CS4 (InDesign, Photoshop etc) and it works as well as it ever did. Nowadays you are expected to pay to lease the current software.

As our Macs never die I’ve re-purposed them as I’ve upgraded. One older G5 sits atop the study doorway from where it powers displays in the entrance hallway, supplies music to the inner hall and can still be used as a functioning Mac.

…whilst theoretically functional, I have a Pentium III that remains in use as a shelf, so that my other two desktops don’t have to sit directly on the floor.

My other oldest PC is a ~2003 Compaq Presario 2100. It still functions, but is really too slow for rendering modern web pages (including those here on W?C).

The minis are awkward to upgrade, too. I can see why the friend offloaded gave you it, Kate.

Good use of the G5, the old Apple Macs seem to be build of much studier stuff than the modern all in one Imac things

Cheers for the link, exactly what I need!

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Thank you for the thumb first aid, Duncan. I agree that this Convo should be taken seriously and it would be a great opportunity to demonstrate that our can support others. There were some concerns that offering advice on repairing products might put people in danger, but that should not be a problem here. 🙂

The move to Intel Macs was a major challenge and resulted in a lot of online help, like the examples you have given.

Larry; the G5s are, without doubt, superbly effective workhorses, and they’re very easy to upgrade. I have two, and the more recent is in use on a daily basis as the main media server working on 4 x 4TB discs through a USB 3 card which I installed.

I also have the latest (but very small) Mac Pro Desktop, which relies on Thunderbolt and USB 3 for the i/o tasking. I need the speed of that for video rendering but even so it takes a good 12 minutes to render a 40 minute video.

The snag is that machine can’t be easily upgraded.

Can anyone recommend a QR code generator? One that worked well in the past now inflicts advertising on the user before taking them to the required page.

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The one I used four years ago was free but the QR codes that I had produced started taking the user to adverts before going to the required web page. That’s no fun after having a stock of display leaflets printed.

It’s not something I would use on a regular basis so I’m reluctant to pay an annual fee, but paying a small amount per code generated would be OK as long as no adverts appear at a later date.

It occurs to me that I may have a contact with paid-for software, who might be able to help.

As it is very geeky
A wife asks her programmer husband to go to the store.’ Can you go down to the store, and get a loaf of bread, and if they have eggs, get 12.’Later on he returns home with 12 loaves of bread. His wife said ‘Why the hell do you have 12 loaves of bread?’ He responded ‘They had eggs.’

It would work better if you precede ‘get’ with ‘then’. But not bad.

Too many “ands” and after commas……..

Computer documentation is like sex because:

When it’s good, it’s very good;

When it’s bad, it’s better than nothing.

A man flying in a hot air balloon suddenly realizes he’s lost. He reduces height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts to get directions, “Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?”

The man below says: “Yes. You’re in a hot air balloon, hovering 30 feet above this field.”

“You must work in Information Technology,” says the balloonist.

“I do” replies the man. “How did you know?”

“Well,” says the balloonist, “everything you have told me is technically correct, but It’s of no use to anyone.”

The man below replies, “You must work in management.”

“I do,” replies the balloonist, “But how’d you know?”*

“Well”, says the man, “you don’t know where you are or where you’re going, but you expect me to be able to help. You’re in the same position you were before we met, but now it’s my fault.”

Hello. I am trying to source the best home 4G. Our Briadband is RUBBISH and the chances of it improving are zilch and the chances of it ever improving ZERO. Therefore I am asking for guidance for the best deals for home 4G that does not need a telephone line. Many thanks.

The first step is to establish which network, if any, provides a good reliable signal, Alison. There are some very good routers for mobile broadband, though you could start off by tethering to a phone to find out if mobile broadband is fast and reliable enough. If you do have a decent mobile signal and modest requirements for broadband then it’s not expensive.

What is meant be ‘tethering’ to a phone? Everyone in the house have O2 and we get good 4G

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Alison, if you get good 4G reception via O2, then that sounds like a good start.

“Tethering” is the practice of sharing a mobile phone’s internet connection with other devices, e.g. PC’s. Most smartphones will do this by functioning as a wifi hotspot, so no wires (or “tethers”) are needed.

Many mobile phone contracts don’t allow this – but O2 ones typically do.

O2’s budget offering, giffgaff also allows it, but only with bundles that give fixed (as opposed to unlimited) data allowances.

In order to use tethering to a phone it’s necessary to check that the service provider allows it and to keep a careful check on data use, because going over the allowance is very expensive. PAYG eliminates this possibility. About ten years ago I bought a 3 MiFi and a 10GB PAYG SIM card that allowed me to check my email and do web browsing on my laptop whenever I was away from home. The data remained available for a year from when it was first used and then I would put in a new card. I switched to tethering to the phone about five years ago to save carrying around the MiFi. A proper mobile broadband router is the best option for those intending to use this as an alternative to landline broadband.

Patrick Taylor says:
8 October 2018

A Best Buy that shouldn’t be? Major security hole ignored. Reader reviews and comments have been wiped generally from all products reviews.

Samsung SmartCam SNH-P-6410 smart home security camera
theregister.co.uk/2018/10/08/smart_camera_which_wtf/

Brilliant stuff from Kate in the Google convo right now:

https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/google-pixel-launch-event-new-devices

She’s there commenting live for us 🙂

The Best Buy rating has been removed which is good. What is not good is that when text is altered after a change it has been traditional and also best practice to say why and when this occurred. Subscribers may otherwise become confused and annoyed.

Samsung SmartCam SNH-P-6410 smart home security camera
theregister.co.uk/2018/10/08/smart_camera_which_wtf/

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Well, they’ve announced they’ll do it but it was on the cards, given they’d bought Github earlier this year.

Wasn’t that M$ not IBM?

Ahh…yes, it was. Must be putting up the Christmas lights that’s confused me.

Ian, that said, I wouldn’t be surprised if M$ were to buy a major Linux OS vendor soon…

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Duncan – I was more thinking about them buying someone like Red Hat, to help them jump start their take over of existing Linux server markets…

Also, it remains to be seen whether not Linus Torvalds will return after his current “break” from leading the Linux kernel team.

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This comment was removed at the request of the user