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  • TECH

    Do you have a fear of spying?

    Life, James Hein, Published on 11/10/2017

    » So how safe do you feel in your home security-wise? I'm not thinking of malware but the ability for someone to snoop on you visually or through audio. There have been some concerns about devices like the Amazon Echo and similar being used to tap into what you are saying with everything recorded on servers that authorities could get from say Amazon.

  • TECH

    The problem with censoring social media

    Life, James Hein, Published on 27/03/2019

    » In the aftermath of a recent violent event, there are calls to apply greater censorship to commentary on all social-media platforms. Those living in some Asian nations and elsewhere will already be used to the concept of censorship. That does not mean that others should follow this trend but instead should actively resist, as the ability to freely debate and exchange ideas was the original reason the internet was brought into being. The biggest problem with censorship is perspective. Consider two nation states with completely different cultures and perspectives. Which one and who gets to decide what is a valid opinion when the two are so different? This is the danger that now faces a number of Western nations, and apart from the US, where rights are enshrined in the Constitution, there is little protection. If you live in such a nation, let others know that freedom of speech and debate is a much better option than the alternatives.

  • OPINION

    Burning issues and great expectations

    Life, James Hein, Published on 19/12/2018

    » Another year almost gone, another year of IT improvements, advancements and lower prices. It was a year of missing graphics cards, where Bitcoin data miners snapped up the market for a while.

  • LIFESTYLE

    True cost of mining Bitcoin

    Life, James Hein, Published on 28/03/2018

    » Should you Bitcoin? Short answer in the past yes, now not so much. I've mentioned Bitcoins in previous articles and modern mining, which is how you get them, has driven up the price of graphics processors in recent times. Can you make any money using your spare GPU cycles on your PC? Answering that question is not as simple you might think, despite what a mining application may tell you. It depends on how powerful your GPU is, what the price of Bitcoin is that week and things like how much you pay for your power because you will be using more. The process works by maximising the power of your GPU, using more electricity than for regular use and keeping your PC hotter than usual 24/7. Mining works by solving complex maths equations for the blockchain which over time takes longer and longer and more processing power.

  • OPINION

    A techie Xmas to one and all

    Life, James Hein, Published on 20/12/2017

    » Another year has passed, and it is time to take a look back.

  • TECH

    Raising the bar on performance

    Life, James Hein, Published on 13/09/2017

    » Have you ever wondered why sometimes you have full bars on your phone and a few steps later none? Worse if you are in one room of your house it's all good but elsewhere no bars. There are many factors that can affect your reception including distance from your cell tower, the number of people using the network, what is in between cell towers and you and more.

  • TECH

    Zuckerberg gets all warm and messianic

    Life, James Hein, Published on 19/07/2017

    » I rarely post on my Facebook page, and never about what I am eating. Its primary use, for me, is to reconnect with old friends or communicate with current friends overseas. Mark Zuckerberg has other aims, claiming that Facebook is the "new church" and that his social network can fulfil the role that religion once did in giving people a sense of community and belonging to "something bigger than ourselves". With 2 billion users, 100 million of whom Zuckerberg considers "meaningful", that is a lot of influence he wields. A vice-president of Facebook recently visited Pakistan to assure its leadership that Facebook would be removing anything criticising Islam, but nothing criticising Buddhism, Christianity, Hindus, etc. This should give some indication of where Facebook's "community" may be heading.

  • TECH

    Plugged in, but not all wired up

    Life, James Hein, Published on 27/04/2016

    » So I was talking to a young couple the other day who expressed some surprise at me having a fixed line ADSL connection as my primary internet source at home. They were part of the ever-growing group of younger users that do not have any fixed line services, phone or data. According to the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for example they have found that in the past two years American households having no fixed line services and relying on mobile networks instead has doubled to 20%. This has been accompanied by a drop in ADSL and satellite connections. So while wired connections are still in the majority in the US they are falling.

  • TECH

    MS Windows' new OS nota perfect 10

    Life, James Hein, Published on 06/04/2016

    » Outlook users wanting to upgrade to Windows 10, beware -- you could be facing some trials ahead. One error commonly seen is send/receive error 0x800CCC13, warning of an inability to connect to the network. If you see this or something similar try the following. Right click on the Start button and choose the Admin Command Prompt or PowerShell. At the command prompt, enter sfc/scannow which runs the Windows File Checker Tool. When this is complete -- and it can take some time -- restart your computer. Try Outlook again. While this works for some, others have reported that the only way they could get Outlook working again was to revert to the previous Windows version.

  • TECH

    Coining it in

    Life, James Hein, Published on 03/02/2016

    » So the People's Bank of China (PBOC) is planning to set up a virtual currency for China. The stated purpose sounds reasonable, reduce the cost of paper currency and allow the country to have greater control over the currency supply. Apparently this would also help with money laundering, tax cheats and allow for greater transparency.

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