Thursday, 29 December 2016

Resize any file without losing quality

Resize any file without losing quality

Files are sometimes too large to store or share easily. Wayne Williams reveals the best ways to shrink images, videos and other files without affecting their quality

Friday, 23 December 2016

Is VR Finally Becoming A Reality?

Is VR Finally Becoming A Reality?

PlayStation VR units are flying off the shelves while Google Cardboard is a cheap-as-chips VR headset. Sarah Dobbs finds out if this means that virtual reality is finally here

Imagine virtual reality and you probably think of the 90s. You might think of The Lawnmower Man, the daft Pierce Brosnan sci-fi movie. Or maybe you think of the clunky graphics and even clunkier helmets of CITV’s Knightmare. But virtual reality (VR) has moved on, and with some of the biggest names in technology getting behind it, it might finally be its time to shine.

The Rise Of Online Shopping

The Rise Of Online Shopping

How did the enormous online shopping market come to be? Let’s find out

You probably think nothing of going online and browsing through places like M&S, Next, BHS, Boots, or Argos. Other high street stores, and sites like Amazon and eBay, have long been household names – even shopping for groceries at outlets such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s has become a staple of online commerce, such is the massively online world we live in. The Internet and practically every company you can think of is there, all willing to sell you their wares without you even having to leave your chair. There’s practically nothing you can’t buy online, if you know where to look.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Fast Fixes for Plex

Fast Fixes for Plex

Rename incorrectly labelled content, fix sign-in problems, rearrange your Plex library and add missing media

Windows 10 in 2017. The changes you need to know about

Windows 10 in 2017. The changes you need to know about

Microsoft has laid out its plans for yet more major updates next year. Mike Plant explains what they are and how you’ll be affected

There are few certainties in life. Taxes, death, and as one year ends another will begin, which leads us to another sure-fire certainty: Microsoft will update Windows 10 again in 2017. We’re not talking about a little polishing and tweaking either, rather a major overhaul as the so-called Creators Update sees the light of day.

Muscling its way on to your PC in Spring, it’s likely to cause the same level of upheaval as the Anniversary Update. But hopefully it’ll all be worth it. We examine the changes, both confirmed by Microsoft and strongly rumoured (see below).

Make Your PC UNHACKABLE in 2017

Make Your PC UNHACKABLE in 2017

Hackers are devising cunning new ways to steal your files and money in 2017. Jane Hoskyn reveals next year’s big threats and what you must do to stay safe

The biggest security story of 2016 is that we’re all fed up with security stories, apparently. According to certain newspaper reports, we’re all so bored of being warned about malware and hackers that we’ve stopped caring. This supposed epidemic of ‘security fatigue’ – based on a study by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology – neatly fits the “down with experts” narrative of recent months.

However, this isn’t what we’re hearing on doorsteps (figuratively speaking). Judging by your letters and emails, you’ve never been more attuned to the dangers of email scams, dodgy software installers and even Wi-Fi hijackers. Of all the security tools we’ve mentioned over the past 12 months, your favourite is an online tool that scans your router for dodgy DNS activity (F-Secure Router Checker: www.snipca.com/22682). Security fatigue? Not among our readers, that’s for sure.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Is The X86 Era Coming To An End?

Is The X86 Era Coming To An End?

Mark Pickavance looks at the shifting relevance of Intel's X86 technology, and if it will soon be a thing of the past

The origins of X86 go back to 1978 when Intel released the 8086 processor, a 16-bit extended version of its previous 8088 series design. It wasn't an overnight success, because there were lots of chip makers then, and many of them had more popular support than Intel.

Early computer makers preferred the chips like the Z80 from Zilog, 6501 and 6502 by MOS technology, the 6800 series by Motorola, among others. But what propelled Intel's technology was IBM's choice to use it in its IBM PC in 1981 and the subsequent success of this platform in standardising Intel instructions and initially the MS-DOS operating system.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Building A PC For The Future

Building A PC For The Future

Mark Pickavance talks about things you might well want to consider if you're considering building a PC in the next six months

There was a time that choosing the parts for a new PC was remarkably simple, because the choice was so limited. When Intel launched the i486, it only made two versions initially: 25MHz and 33MHz models.

These days, the opposite is true, and you're the confronted with a relatively huge range of processors, memory, GPU and motherboards that are widely available.

With so many options, it's difficult to know where to start. I created this small feature to show people preparing to build a new PC what things they might want to consider including and the things they could probably leave out. My suggestions won't fit every scenario, but they should help anyone building something new to strike a decent balance between what’s useful now and what could be ideal further down the road.

But first, let's talk about processors and the best choices for those who want longevity for their system.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Download Without Being HACKED

Download Without Being HACKED

How can you be sure that the file or program you want to download is exactly what it seems? Mike Plant explains how to avoid nasty surprises

The internet is bursting with all kinds of downloadable content. PC programs, videos, music, photos, games and more are all just a click away. But with hackers using legitimate-looking downloads to smuggle viruses and malware on to your PC, will you get more than you bargained for when you hit the download button? Thankfully, there are ways you can make sure the file or program you’re about to download won’t damage your PC. In this feature we’ll introduce you to the tools you need and the habits you should adopt to thwart the hackers.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Are Millennials More Likely To Fall For Tech Support Scams?

Are Millennials More Likely To Fall For Tech Support Scams?

Younger people know what they're doing with technology, right? A Microsoft survey suggests that might not entirely be the case. Sarah Dobbs finds out more...

There's a stereotype for the kind of person who falls for tech support scams. You know the one: when you think about tech support scams, you imagine the person picking up the phone as nervous, not particularly tech-savvy, and probably in an older age bracket. Old enough not to have grown up with computers and the internet, but old enough to have learned to use a computer at work, probably. The kind of person who has a PC at home, but probably has their password written down on a Post-It note stuck to the monitor, because they don't use it often enough to have committed it to muscle memory. You definitely wouldn't think of the so-called 'digital natives'. The generation who grew up using computers every day at school would know better, surely?

California Streams

game streaming

...and so does half the world, it seems. Kevin Pocock skims a gaming phenomenon

Whatever the future of media creation, it's fairly likely there'll be someone sitting at home, broadcasting to the world while receiving support, followers or some sort of income. In a sense, the die is cast: YouTubers can earn millions and command book deals. So what's next? If I had to wager. I'd place my polymer notes at the feet of streaming. Not the streaming of on-demand services, or the watching of 'professionally created' content. No. I'd bet that streaming of games is where the money, mass entertainment, and next surge of interest leads. I'd be cheating a bit as well, because it's already happening.