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Issue 444

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DITCHYOUR
7 - 20 March 2018

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■ Cancel your rip-off phone contract
■ Never get scam calls SAVE
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■ 4G from EE, Three and O2 TO

■ Beat the hated landline tax


+ Best broadband-only deals p40
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AMAZON ECHO 6 Ways To Stop Your STOP HACKERS


Invent Your Own Voice Browser Crashing MINING BITCOIN
Commands For Alexa p58 Fix Chrome, Firefox & Edge p50 ON YOUR PC p38
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Homepage Issue 444

Time to tell Buzby to buzz off


I
t’s that time of year when we wail at the without going offline, by getting your
annual rise in our energy and council-tax internet from a separate source. We
bills, the cost of renewing our TV licence look at the best broadband-only deals from
and the apparent reduction in the number of major and lesser-known providers, round
Walkers’ crisps in a packet. Yet millions of us up the latest devices for getting online
still happily pay every month for a service without a landline, and outline both the
we don’t really need – one that infiltrates our benefits and the drawbacks to giving BT
walls, invades our rooms and was once the heave-ho. Nobody should be without
propagated by a sinister yellow bird called the web, but nor should we have to pay
Buzby. Yes, I’m talking about your BT for unnecessary extras.
landline, which may be the most redundant
piece of technology in your home. Robert Irvine, Editor
In this issue’s cover feature, we explain robert_irvine@dennis.co.uk
how you can cut off your phone line #webuser

5 Things you’ll
learn this issue
p54
1 How to restore the ‘View
image’ button that’s been
removed from Google Images
page 7

2 How to remotely monitor


your PC’s health, update
software and fix problems
e 30
page

p40
3 How to change the
number of suggestions
that Chrome makes in the
address bar page 32

4 How to find out what’s in


n
your text messages without
needing to look at them
page 57

5 How to stop the free


Malwarebytes nagging you
p50 to upgrade to the paid-for
version page 71

p58
p38 Subscribe to
Web User!
Never miss another
issue – subscribe at
Average sales, Jan-Dec 2017, 27,156 copies per issue subscribe.webuser.co.uk

Share your knowledge at forum.webuser.co.uk 7 - 20 March 2018 3


FREEivver

Contents
r
S cr e w d
Se t

SSUBSCRIP
TIONSS
TTurn to page 62
for
sp
spec
ecial subs offefersrs
ISSUE 444 7 - 2O MARCH 2018

COVER E
FEATU
R

DITCHYOUR
LANDLINE!
Save hundreds of pounds by switching to
a broadband-only or mobile Wi-Fi deal p40

How hackers hijack your PC to Tips and tricks to stop your Can toothpaste brush away
mine cryptocurrency p38 browser freezing p50 screen scratches? p47

IN DEPTH Articles on the latest tech topics REVIEWS Apps, sites and products on test

38 FAQ 14 Best New Websites


Cryptojacking Get spaced out on Virgin Galactic’s new site

40 COVER FEATURE 22 Product Test


DITCH YOUR LANDLINE! • Zyxel Multy X mesh router
Follow our guide for a landline-free existence • CyberLink PowerDirector 16 Ultra

47 Does it REALLY work? 28 Best Free Software


Use toothpaste to get a scratch-free touchscreen Highlights from the new VLC media player

48 Free image-editing software 32 Best New Browser Tools


Six free programs for improving your photos Smarter browsing on Chrome with HabitLab

50 Stop your browser freezing 34 Best Free Apps


Diagnose and fix hangs and crashes Transfer photos to a PC with Photos Companion

4 7 - 20 March 2018
Contents

www.webuser.co.uk www.facebook.com/webusermagazine www.twitter.com/webusermagazine

FAVOURITES Must-read regulars EDITORIAL


Group Editor Daniel Booth
Editor Robert Irvine
Technical & Reviews Editor Andy Shaw
6 What’s New Online Art Editor Laurence Hallam
Unlock the Secret of Happiness Production Editor Miki Berenyi
Editorial Tel: 0203 890 3890
Visit forum.webuser.co.uk
8 Need to Know for technical and buying advice
This fortnight’s top tech news stories ADVERTISING
Tel: 0203 890 3846
Advertising Director Charlotte Milligan
12 Stay Safe Online Advertising Manager Alexa Dracos
Security advice for PC and mobile
ADVERTISING PRODUCTION
Barry discovers the true Group Production Manager
18 Build a Better Site meaning of S Mode p74 Stephen Catherall, 0203 890 4050
Production Executive Lawrence Brookes, 0203 890 3794
Expert tips, tools and practical help
MARKETING
Marketing Manager Rachel Hare
20 What to Watch Online 60 Broadband Deals Marketing Production Manager Gemma Hills
Films and TV shows you can’t miss Find the best-value package for you
MANAGEMENT
Tel: 0203 890 3890
26 Best Buys 71 Inbox Managing Director John Garewal
MD of Advertising Julian Lloyd-Evans
Our pick of the best new products Tell us your views and opinions Commercial and Retail Director David Barker
CFO/COO Brett Reynolds
Chief Executive James Tye
37 Take a Screen Break 74 Page 404 Company Founder Felix Dennis
Try our new Guess The Year quiz S is for... Shambles!
SYNDICATION AND USE OF LOGOS
Syndication Senior Manager Anj Dosaj-Halai
Tel: +44 (0)203 890 3816

pa 16
Email: anj_dosaj-halai@dennis.co.uk

Practical
Workshops, tips, projects and problem solving
ge
s
INTERNATIONAL LICENSING
Web User is available for licensing overseas.
Licensing & Syndication Assistant Nicole Adams
Tel: +44 (0)203 890 3998
Email: nicole_adams@dennis.co.uk

SUBSCRIPTIONS
Tel: 0330 333 9493
Email: subscriptions@dennis.co.uk
52 Workshop 1 You can manage your existing subscription through
www.ManageMyMags.co.uk. This should be your first
Control your scans with NAPS2 port of call if you have any queries about your
subscription. A subscription to Web User for one year
54 Workshop 2 costs £47.99 for UK subscribers, £95 for Europe and £151
for the rest of the world. Call 0330 333 9493 to get the
Secure webmail ProtonMail next issue, delivered free to your door.

PRINTING
56 Workshop 3 Printed by Wyndeham Bicester, Oxon
Sync documents with OneDrive Distributors Seymour 020 7396 4000
Unhackable, anonymous PERMISSIONS
57 Workshop 4 email p54 Material may not be reproduced in any form without
the written consent of the publisher. Please address
Find out what’s in phone messages such requests to: John Garewal, Dennis Publishing,
without looking at your screen 31-32 Alfred Place, WC1E 7DP

LIABILITY
58 Weekend Project While every care was taken preparing this magazine,
the publishers cannot be held responsible for the
Create your own Alexa skills accuracy of the information or any consequence
arising from it. All judgments are based on equipment
available to Web User at the time of review. ‘Value for
64 Web User Masterclass money’ comments are based on UK prices at time of
Virtual desktops review. Web User takes no responsibility for the
content of external websites whose addresses are
published in the magazine.
66 Ask the Expert © Copyright Dennis Publishing Limited. Web User is a
All your technical questions answered trademark of Felix Dennis.

A DENNIS PUBLICATION
68 Readers’ Tips Web User is published fortnightly by
The best tips from our readers Dennis Publishing Ltd, 31-32 Alfred Place, WC1E 7DP.
Company registered in England. Material may not be
Use Storyline to create reproduced in whole or part without the consent of
71 Readers’ Helpdesk Alexa skills p58
the publishers. ISSN 1473-7094
Answers from our reader forums WEB USER
PRINTED IN THE UK

Subscribe to Web User at subscribe.webuser.co.uk 7 - 20 March 2018 5


What’s New Online
Make cashless purchases with
Google Pay
U
ntil now, Apple Pay has led the
way in phone-based payment
systems, but Google seems
determined to catch up. It has now
rolled all its payment apps and
services into one single Google Pay
product, which replaces both Google
Wallet and Android Pay. Google hopes
it will become the go-to payment
method in high-street stores, on the
internet and within lots of apps.
To use Google Pay, you need to
download the new Android app. All your recent purchases appear payment system. However, if you
Once it’s set up with a payment in a Home tab in the app, while your want to send and request money
method, you can tap your phone credit, debit, loyalty and gift cards from others, you’ll currently have
at an NFC terminal in a shop can be found under Cards. to use the Wallet app (rebranded
to make a payment or tap a button Google Pay can also be used on the Google Pay Send), until this
on websites that read ‘Buy with Tube and on London buses, and shows functionality is added to Google Pay.
Gpay’, Google Wallet or Android Pay. you which nearby stores accept the pay.google.com

Unlock the secrets Track Elon Musk’s


of happiness Roadster in space
secretsofhappiness.co.uk www.whereisroadster.com
Have you ever wondered what makes you happy? Then take As you may
this online test to find out. Created by a psychology have heard,
professor from the University of Liverpool in conjunction serial
with the BBC, it runs you through 20 minutes of questions, entrepreneur
ranging from how optimistic you feel and how well you Elon Musk
concentrate to how much you’ve been enjoying recent life recently
and queries about your work, hobbies and routines. launched
Once you’re done, it collates the data and offers you his Tesla
personalised tips on how to improve your mental wellbeing Roadster
and health. You can read the feedback via a unique link sent skywards
by email or text. Crucially, the answers are also pooled for on board
important research to see whether the way we interpret life SpaceX’s
events influences our risk of developing mental health newest
problems. It’s certainly insightful and the researchers rocket, the
promise that all data is stored securely and anonymously. Falcon Heavy. Sitting in the
driver’s seat was a mannequin called Starman, who is now
zooming around the Solar System on a journey set to last
tens of millions of years.
This online tool lets you view Starman’s current
whereabouts, using data from NASA’s Jet Propulsion
Laboratory to visualise the location of the car in real-time.
It provides continually changing statistics to show the
vehicle’s distance from Earth, the Sun and Mars, and there’s
also an animation of the car’s future location. Eventually, the
site will have a simulated 3D view of the Roadster and some
branded merchandise to buy.

6 7 - 20 March 2018
What’s New Online

We pick the 10 best things you must do on the web this fortnight

View Snapchat’s Snap map NEW VOICE


COMMANDS
map.snapchat.com
You can now see what users of Snapchat Get better sleep
are sharing across the globe – even if you If your sleep is frequently
don’t have an account. This new map disturbed by external noises, put
highlights areas where a lot of images and Google Home by your bed and say
videos are being posted, and displays “Hey Google, play white noise”
Snapchat’s public content stripped of to tune out and doze off.
user-identifiable information. Each Snap can
be embedded or copied to a clipboard. Find specific podcasts
Say “Hey Siri, play the
podcast [X]” – where X is the name

Listen to a sound Revive Google’s


of the podcast – to find it in iTunes.
If you like what you hear, say, “Hey

map of the world View Image link


Siri, subscribe to this podcast”.

Get insulted by Gordon


bit.ly/soundmap444 bit.ly/viewimage444 Enable the new Gordon
Cities and Memory is a quirky art In a controversial move to clamp down Ramsay skill (“Alexa, enable
project that maps the audio of various on people downloading copyrighted Gordon Ramsay”) and ask the
cities around the globe. Its wealth of pictures, Google has decided to foul-mouthed chef for his opinion
field recordings lets you listen to remove the View Image button from on your dish by saying, “Alexa, ask
sounds from 73 countries, including its search engine. Unfortunately, Gordon Ramsay what he thinks
birds and planes over Abbey Wood, having to about [X]”.
London, and a Gulf War protest from click Visit
1991 in Washington DC. You can also to go to the
click to hear a second audio file that website
uses each location’s audio to create a hosting the Listen to Winamp online
‘sonic reimagining’ that ranges from image is bit.ly/winamp444
abstract noise to ambient music. It’s a hassle, The popular music player Winamp
fun to explore and you can contribute so the launched almost exactly 20 years
your own sounds, if you wish. new View ago, and you can now play around
Image with a recreated version in your
extension for Chrome and Firefox browser, adding MP3s and skins,
(bit.ly/viewfire444) reactivates the and fiddling with the equaliser.
function as it was before the change.
If you don’t fancy doing that, Bing
Images (www.bing.com/images) Use a particle equaliser
allows direct image downloads, or you bit.ly/particle444
can simply right-click a result in Give this new Chrome experiment
Google Images and select ‘Open access to your microphone and the
image in new tab’. colourful on-screen particles will
pulsate and morph in reaction to
the audio. On-screen controls let

Hear the world’s creepiest lullabies


you play around with the effect.

bit.ly/lullabies444 Visit Amazon’s Treasure


Rock-a-bye Baby may sound sinister Truck
enough but that’s tame compared bit.ly/truck444
to some of these weird and Amazon’s Treasure Truck,
wonderful lullabies from around the which offers special daily deals, is
globe. Death and kidnapping seem to now visiting many more UK cities
be a common theme in songs from including Coventry, York, Slough,
Nigeria to Russia, and this beautifully Reading, Maidenhead, Windsor
illustrated map lets you hear and Portsmouth. Text ‘truck’ to
renditions of the ditties and read the 87377 or visit the website.
original and translated lyrics.

Tell us your favourite new things at forum.webuser.co.uk 7 - 20 March 2018 7


Need to Know
Social networks are failing
to tackle cyberbullying
What happened?
Social-media companies have been
accused of failing to protect young
people online, amid research that
suggests websites and apps such as
Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are
damaging mental health. Tech firms are
said to have offered only a “tokenistic”
response, according to MPs and leading
charities.
A cyberbullying inquiry by Alex Chalk,
MP for Cheltenham, and the charities
The Children’s Society and YoungMinds
(bit.ly/children444) found that half of
young people have been targeted with
abusive or threatening messages online. survivors of the school shooting in What do we think?
One in 10 youngsters said they logged Florida. Whether this pressure ever If social media makes you feel unhappy,
in after midnight every night, with one leads to the end of the “wild west” days why not just stop using it? That’s the
respondent saying that social media of social media remains to be seen. response many adults may have to the
was “like a drug”. Two-thirds of those bad experience suffered by young
surveyed who said they had been How will it affect you? people on sites such as Facebook and
cyberbullied admitted that they The proposed measures for tackling Twitter, but while that’s good advice
wouldn’t tell their parents. In the most cyberbullying are a welcome move for and meant well, it’s easier said than
extreme cases, it has pushed users to anyone whose children or grandchildren done, and places the blame in the wrong
the verge of suicide. use social media (and most do). The place. As one respondent told the
The Safety Net report quoted a charities have called on social-media researchers: “The reaction from adults is
15-year-old girl as saying that nasty sites and apps to remove bullying just delete your account to stop the
comments are expected online. “I feel comments within 24 hours and take bullying, but that’s taking something
like it’s something people don’t take tougher action against users who break away from that young person’s life for
seriously… but leaving just one nasty platform rules. Additionally, they called something that’s not their fault.”
comment could really hurt someone.” for the government to build online Even setting aside the social
The charities called on social-media safety lessons into school classes and to implications of ditching a service when
companies to do more to address such force social-media firms to share data all your friends are on it, such websites
complaints, such as speeding up their on cyberbullying. and apps are designed to be addictive,
reporting processes for cyberbullying The government is currently running a and even adults have a hard time
and cracking down on abusive users. consultation around online safety, so we quitting. Facebook and Snapchat both
The calls come amid a heavy backlash can expect some ideas soon, though it’s have a lower age limit of 13, though it’s
against social networks on a wide range worth noting that previous consultations easy enough to sneak past. Such bans
of issues, from propaganda bots and have had little impact. But it’s not just should be better patrolled. We don’t let
fake news to extremist content, and up to government to take action. If you children drink alcohol because of the
most recently the ‘trolling’ of teenage have young people in your life, don’t just health risks, and social media has a
roll your eyes at their Snapchat use – talk detrimental effect on mental health,
to them about their online experience, according to academic research.
explaining the dangers and telling them So what can the government, parents
where to ask for help. Keep in mind they and schools do? It’s hard to see an easy
may not want to talk to parents and solution but remember that 10 years
grandparents, as the report shows, so ago, most of these sites and apps didn’t
may need an alternative option. exist – if we lived without them before,
Ironically, recent reports suggest that we can certainly do without them again.
Facebook is losing ground with younger It would be wise for social networks to
The report found that nearly half of young groups of people, and gaining more remember that, and help fix these
people have been threatened online users aged over 50. problems before we abandon their sites.

8 7 - 20 March 2018
Need to Know

What we think of this fortnight’s top tech news stories and rumours,
and how they affect you

Sky broadband prices Chrome’s ad filter


set to climb in April doesn’t block ads
What happened? provider. There’s no
Sky has warned customers penalty if you’re already
that prices are going up outside your minimum
from April 1 – and it’s not contract term.
an April Fool’s joke. The If you’re still on contract,
increase will apply to some you can cancel without
broadband packages as charge if you contact Sky
well as selected TV within 30 days of receiving
packages, with prices the price increase
climbing by as much as notification, so keep an eye
£30 annually. out for a letter or email.
Sky said that not all The same get-out clause
customers will see a doesn’t apply for TV
change to their monthly packages, however. What happened? Google will send the
bills, and pointed out that Google rolled out its much publisher a warning
for some broadband and What do we think? anticipated Chrome ad message giving them
TV products it’s the first Britain’s broadband prices filter on 15 February – to 30 days to clean up their
price rise for two years. are among the most little discernible benefit. act. If they don’t comply, all
The increases range from competitive in the world, Many of us already use ads will be stripped from
50p to £2.50 more a but no one wants to pay ad-blocking tools to clean the website by Chrome.
month, depending on more – especially when up our browsing In other words, if you
which package you’re on. they signed a contract for experience, but the feature don’t want to be tracked
an agreed monthly cost. now built into Chrome isn’t by ad networks online or
How will it affect you? Before getting too upset quite the same. The ad see any ads at all, you’ll still
If you’re one of those with Sky (or BT or Virgin filter targets annoying and need to use an ad blocker.
affected, Sky TV Original, Media, who also raised intrusive ad formats, such
Box Sets and Variety prices recently), it’s worth as uninvited pop-ups and What do we think?
packages are increasing by taking a quick look to see if videos that automatically Google is smart to
£1.50 a month, while you could get a better deal play sound, but that encourage better
Broadband Unlimited, elsewhere. A good deal on doesn’t mean Chrome advertising practices, to
Connect, Fibre Lite and broadband price requires users will stop seeing them. stop web users resorting to
Fibre capped to 25GB are shopping around, even Instead, Chrome will strip ad blockers and depriving
all reportedly increasing by when you think you’re out all advertising from sites of revenue. Reports
£1 each month. Many other locked into a contract. websites that overuse such suggest between a fifth
broadband products will See our cover feature on ads, to encourage online and a third of Brits already
not see a rise. page 40 for our guide to publishers to stop block ads, which is a
If your contract price is saving money on displaying them. concern for Google
set for a hike, you can opt broadband by ditching because it makes much of
to leave Sky and find a new your landline. How will it affect you? its money from online
Chrome users won’t see advertising. The bar for
much of a difference on which ads are deemed
most websites, with Google irritating is set by the
admitting that only about Coalition for Better Ads
1.5% of websites will be (www.betterads.org), of
affected. If a site uses the which Google is a founding
odd pop-up ad now and member, which gives it a lot
then, it won’t be filtered. of power in the online ad
If it overuses irritating ads market. Hopefully it’s using
– such as large video ads or that power to improve
overlays that use advertising formats, rather
countdowns before you than further consolidating
can see the content – then its market share.

Discuss web news at forum.webuser.co.uk 7 - 20 March 2018 9


Need to Know

Councils hit by nearly 100 million cyberattacks


What happened?
Over a quarter of UK councils have
had their IT systems breached in the
last five years, according to privacy
campaign group Big Brother Watch
(bigbrotherwatch.org.uk). Freedom
of Information requests by the group
found that 114 councils experienced at
least one serious incident between 2013
and 2017, and that local councils across
the country suffered around 98 million
cyberattacks in total.
This amounts to 37 attacks launched
every minute on local governments,
with successful attempts potentially
giving hackers access to sensitive and
personal information, said Big Brother utmost to protect citizens’ sensitive proper steps to protect their systems
Watch in its ‘Cyberattacks in local information. We are shocked to discover against cyberattacks is troubling.
authorities’ report (bit.ly/report444). that the majority of councils’ data
The group’s research also revealed breaches go unreported and that staff What do we think?
the councils’ failure to report data losses often lack basic training in cybersecurity. Other than the sheer number of
and breaches, which organisations must Local authorities need to take urgent cyberattacks targeted at councils,
do within 72 hours under the EU’s action and make sure they fulfil their the most alarming aspect of Big Brother
General Data Protection Regulation responsibilities to protect citizens.” Watch’s report is how little is being
(GDPR) – as well as shortcomings in done to safeguard against these threats,
staff training. Despite human error How will it affect you? despite human error being the
being the main factor in a successful We’re so accustomed to hearing about main factor in successful hacks. We
hack, 75% of local authorities said their security breaches that this news is understand that local authorities have
staff don’t undergo compulsory unlikely to be a surprise, but that limited budgets (despite the planned
cybersecurity training. doesn’t make it any less worrying. rise in Council Tax next month), but
Jennifer Krueckeberg, lead researcher Local councils hold a lot of sensitive cybersecurity should now be of the
at Big Brother Watch, said: “With data about us, from our bank details utmost importance to any official body
councils hit by over 19 million for council-tax payment to information that deals with sensitive information.
cyberattacks every year, one would about our homes and families, so the Hopefully, councils will work to improve
assume that they would be doing their revelation that they’re not taking the their practices as soon as possible.

FIRST LOOK
Matrix PowerWatch ‘real-time power’ that’s being generated.
www.matrixindustries.com If you remove the watch from your wrist,
it will automatically enter Power Save
The Matrix PowerWatch’s unique mode after 45 minutes and turn off
selling point is that you don’t have the screen. When fully charged, Matrix
to charge it – ever. Thanks to a built-in claims the PowerWatch can remain
thermoelectric generator (TEG), the in this state for one year or more.
watch converts your body heat into However, this feat isn’t achieved
energy, so you’ll never be subjected without compromises. There’s no
to the maddening experience of high-resolution touchscreen and it
glancing down at your wrist and doesn’t even display smartphone
finding your trusty timepiece is notifications. In fact, apart from telling
about to run out of juice – a daily the time, all you get is step, sleep and touchscreen. All in all, it feels
occurrence with smartwatches such calorie counting, and a stopwatch. a bit like a watch designed for
as the Apple Watch. At $230 (£165) including delivery, it’s a life-size Action Man.
The TEG recognises the difference significantly more pricey than a fitness The thermoelectric technology
in temperature between your skin tracker such as the Fitbit Alta (£100). is certainly worthy of attention,
and the watch’s casing – the greater At 46mm across and 15.5m thick, the but as wearables become more
the difference, the more energy it PowerWatch’s part-plastic, part- lightweight and power-efficient,
generates. Glance at the device to aluminum body feels chunky but cheap. it’s difficult to see a device as bulky
check these temperatures and, by There are two buttons and a crown for and basic as the PowerWatch proving
turning the crown, you can see the navigating the watch’s interface, but no popular in the long run.

10 7 - 20 March 2018
Need to Know

WHAT’S THE RUMOUR


WEBOMETER
Will Android 9 be called
Pistachio Ice Cream? WE LIKE...
Google Lens coming
to Photos
Android 9 is being referred Google has
to as Android Pistachio Ice announced that its
Cream within Google, Lens tool, which
according to reports. Around uses image-
this time each year, rumours recognition
begin to swirl about what algorithms to
the next version of Google’s identify objects,
Android operating system will soon be added
will be called. Since 2009, its Photos app for Android and
Google has named its mobile iOS. Previously, Google Lens was
operating system after a only available on Pixel phones.
sweet treat, in alphabetical
order (Cupcake, Donut, Eclair BT told to share telegraph
and so on). Last year’s release was Oreo, fits both the alphabetical and the poles
so we can be confident that the next dessert/confectionery requirement Ofcom has said BT must make
version’s codename will begin with ‘P’. of Google’s naming scheme. it easier for rival
But what could the P stand for? That said, what Google calls its new internet providers
There’s pecan pie, peanut butter- version of Android internally and what to use its telegraph
flavoured chocolate – even pear drops the actual name is on release are poles, so they can
and peppermint creams could get a frequently two different things. deliver faster
look in. However, according to Android K was called Key Lime Pie internet speeds
Bloomberg, Google’s upcoming Android by Google staff, but was named to more of the UK
release isn’t going to be any KitKat at launch, while Android O using fibre cables
of these. Instead, it’s being referred to metamorphosed from Oatmeal rather than traditional copper
internally as ‘Pistachio Ice Cream’, which Cookie to Oreo. phone lines.

LIKELIHOOD RATING ✓✓✓✓✓ WE DON’T LIKE...


Pistachio Ice Cream is a bit of other options as well: maybe it Microsoft Word used
a mouthful (pardon the pun), but could be Pecan Pie or Peppermint? for cryptojacking
that doesn’t mean Android fans Or what about Petit Four – the Hackers have
should dismiss the name completely internal codename for Android 1.1? reportedly used
– after all, version 4 of the mobile With the new operating system not Microsoft Word’s
OS was called the less than snappy expected to launch until August, online-video feature
Ice Cream Sandwich. there’s five months of sweet-tooth to hijack users’
However, it’s worth considering speculation to go! computers with
cryptojacking
scripts so they can
mine for cryptocurrency.

What’s new on Kickstarter


See our FAQ on page 38 for
more about cryptojacking.
Our favourite new project on the crowdfunding site
Russia behind Winter
Olympics hack
Surface Charge US intelligence
bit.ly/surface444 | From £179 agencies believe
that Russian hackers
If you like to keep your phone on your bedside table were responsible for
overnight, you’ll appreciate the idea behind Surface Charge. a cyberattack
This ‘intelligent furniture’ charges your gadgets wirelessly and its handcrafted against South
Scandinavian design means it complements your décor, too. It supports all Qi Korean computers
wireless-charging standards, and up to three devices at a time, and uses Foreign during the 2018
Object Detection to ensure that stray metals such as keys don’t interfere Winter Olympic Games. The
with the charge. Each desk also comes with two receivers that bring wireless hackers made it look as if North
charging to non-enabled gadgets. The team hopes to raise £50,000 by 11 March. Korea was behind the attack.

Discuss web news at forum.webuser.co.uk 7 - 20 March 2018 11


Stay Safe Online
News about the latest threats and advice from security experts

SECURITY ALERT! | What’s been bothering us this fortnight


New Meltdown and Spectre researchers believe software patches because they
flaws discovered addressing the original Meltdown and fear they will
Researchers Spectre flaws will be enough to deal with receive
have the Prime variants, although hardware unrelated
discovered manufacturers will still need to tweak notifications.
new ways that their designs to prevent future problems. It was not our
hackers could Meltdown and Spectre are referred intention to
exploit the to as side-channel attacks that exploit send non-
Meltdown and computers’ processor architecture. security-
Spectre flaws, Meltdown effectively breaks the related SMS notifications to these
which potentially go beyond the mechanism that allows instructions phone numbers, and we are sorry
security concerns that have had to access the system memory at random; for any inconvenience these messages
companies scrambling to patch Intel while Spectre tricks the processor into might have caused.”
and AMD processors. assigning instructions to predefined Some users who experienced the
The exploits have been discovered memory locations that a hacker can bug also discovered that when they
by a team from Princeton University, exploit. sent replies to the notifications asking
in collaboration with Nvidia. Dubbed bit.ly/spectre444 them to stop, their messages were
MeltdownPrime and SpectrePrime, posted to their Facebook walls.
the flaws are able to take advantage Facebook apologises for Two-factor authentication, or 2FA,
of modern processor designs that authentication bug is used to add an extra layer of security
prioritise speed and efficiency Facebook has revealed that a flaw with to online accounts. When you log in
over security. its two-factor authentication that meant using a username and password,
The researchers managed to prove some users were sent notifications by a second, unique code is generated,
their theory on an Apple MacBook text message was a bug. In a blog post, usually sent by SMS, to stop anyone
using a 2.4GHz Intel Core i7 it said: “The last thing we want is for else from accessing your account.
processor. The good news is that the people to avoid helpful security features bit.ly/factor444

Security Helpdesk | Your questions answered by security specialists


THIS ISSUE’S EXPERT: which provide extra benefit in having a
David Emm, principal convenience because smart meter. The
security researcher they can send data convenience is all on
at Kaspersky Lab automatically: in the case the side of the power
(www.kaspersky.co.uk) of smart meters, data on company, while
our energy consumption. consumers bear the
But if smart meters are risk of having these
open to attack from devices infiltrated.
cybercriminals, this This is extremely
should concern us all. worrying, given that
How worried
Q
Even if there are no the government plans
should we be personal financial details at who gets the most out of to roll out these devices
about smart stake, a criminal could falsify these smart devices? The across the country – which
meters being hijacked a bill, which could lead to a benefit for energy companies would essentially leave
by hackers? customer paying extra. The is clear: they don’t need to every homeowner or
Luke Barrett, via email energy company would send someone to read the energy user vulnerable to
receive the correct payment meter, or wait until the attack. Unless customers

A
Today’s homes and would be none the wiser customer does so. But for a can be sure that the smart
include a about the surplus payment customer who can already meters are secure, what’s
proliferating skimmed off by the criminals. log in and check their bill at the incentive to install
number of smart devices, This raises the question – any time, there is very little them?

12 7 - 20 March 2018 Email us your security questions at webuser@dennis.co.uk


BEND YOUR REALITY
AG352UCG AG352QCX
Best New Websites
Site of the Fortnight
SPACE RELAUNCH

Virgin Galactic
www.virgingalactic.com
It’s unlikely that many of us will be able to
afford a suborbital spaceflight in the near EXPLORE
future, so Virgin Galactic’s relaunched Drag with your mouse to look around the
site could be the next best thing. The spacecraft or view it in VR on a phone
homepage has a rather retro vibe but it
successfully showcases the cutting-edge
tech of the company’s space fleet,
offering a 360-degree tour in your
browser and the potential for stunning VR
on your phone. You can read facts about
the spaceships, watch videos and view
in-depth descriptions, technical diagrams INFORMATION
Learn more
and info about the purpose, mission and
about the
vision of the company. Easy to navigate
vehicles and the
and lavishly created, Branson’s ambitious process of
project is certainly a five-star experience. becoming a
Virgin astronaut
Our rating ★★★★★

NEW
CYCLING

Close Pass
closepass.cc
Even if you’re not a cyclist, it’s easy
to imagine how scary it feels when
NEW a car gets dangerously close to your
ACTIVITIES bike. Steven Piper was so fed up with
Get Outside being nearly knocked off the road, he set
up this site to encourage bikers to record
bit.ly/walks444 close passes and capture the extent
Based on the ITV show Britain’s Favourite Walks, this impressive new section of the of the problem. He’s hoping the
Ordnance Survey website certainly goes the extra mile. It compiles the top 100 walks crowdsourced data could be used by
in the country as voted for in a poll of more than 8,000 enthusiasts and allows you local authorities to tackle blackspots and
to view the mapped routes, alongside details of their length and the time they’re by cyclists to avoid particular routes.
likely to take you. Each printable walk is concisely described and rated for its But although we like the idea, we found
difficulty, with strolls broken down into areas of the UK. You can jump straight manually scouring a map for locations
to a region to view the hikes or select a route from the large map. You can also feast to pin with a date and time felt clumsy.
your eyes on stunning scenery and share the walks on Facebook and Twitter. It’s crying out for a street-search facility.

Our rating ★★★★★ Our rating ★★★★★

14 7 - 20 March 2018 Reviews by David Crookes


Best New Websites

We review this fortnight’s best new and relaunched websites and


rate them for content, design and features

VISION
Virgin explains
its vision for
Galactic and
offers the latest
news and
updates

MEDIA
View stunning photos and a series about
the people making spaceflight a reality

NEW RELAUNCH NEW


PARENTING GAMING HOMEWARE

Shared Parental Leave Headup Games Leaping Foxes


sharedparentalleave.campaign headupgames.com www.leapingfoxes.co.uk
.gov.uk Headup Games is best known for its Run by someone with an obvious love
Introduced in 2015, shared parental leave Bridge Constructor series, but it has also for hand-printed fabrics and rural
allows couples to take up to 50 weeks of created lots of other fun titles, each wildlife, this delightful website does
leave between them, but as this new site listed on this relaunched site. You can a fine job of promoting and selling the
explains, only 2% of parents who qualify filter the games according to the well-crafted homeware items created
do so. Cue lots of help and advice, with platform they’re on – from Android to by Leaping Foxes and other like-minded
detailed information for parents and Windows – and check out the regularly companies. Simple navigation allows you
employers, and lots of testimonials from updated news section, screenshots, to quickly view all the well-explained
real-life couples who have benefited. trailers and links to its Twitch and Mixer items, which can be filtered by price and
All the content is contained on a single, channels. You can also chat with fellow colour. Although the blog needs more
clearly designed page with an FAQ, gamers on its Discord channel. Because time spent on it, the owner is active
videos and examples of ways to take the site is centred only on Headup’s on Instagram, where she regularly
leave. There are also links to factsheets games, you need to be a fan to get showcases the latest designs. The simple
and an eligibility checker, but the latter is long-term enjoyment from it, but it works checkout process and email newsletter
a clunky multiple-page Word document. well as a shop window for its products. should also encourage buyers.

Our rating ★★★★★ Our rating ★★★★★ Our rating ★★★★★

Tell us about your website via webuser@dennis.co.uk 7 - 20 March 2018 15


Best New Websites

NEW NEW RELAUNCH


LIFESTYLE PROPERTY GAMBLING

Livingetc Vesta Paddy Power


www.livingetc.com www.vestaproperty.com www.paddypower.com
Designed by the bods behind the The concept behind Vesta Property is not Paddy Power, the betting company that
interiors magazine Livingetc, there are a new one. It lists homes with tenants in isn’t afraid to crack jokes and troll a few
plenty of inspiring images adorning the place, so landlords can continue making sport stars, has unveiled a new-look site
pages of this site. They give you ideas for money until they’re sold, and buyers can – and we’re betting you’ll rather like it.
your bedroom and living room, but veer earn income right away. By focusing Not only does it make it quick and easy
towards the aspirational, with photos of solely on such properties, the site makes to find appealing punts, it also offers
dressing and powder rooms (no, us them easier to find, letting you search clearly displayed odds, prominent links
neither). The lengthy pages can feel by price, type, gross rental yield and HPI to various sports and even a UK and
a little exhausting, with too much white growth, and instantly see the rents per Ireland filter on the horse-racing page.
space, endless scrolling and images annum and the number of offers for each Just as importantly, the My Accounts and
sometimes taking a while to appear, but available house. Since it’s early days, My Bets sections have been improved to
the photography is top-notch and the there are a only a few houses listed and better manage your transactions, and
shopping section is packed with you have to register with the site to view there’s a new range of options to control
appealing design classics. Also, the style the properties in depth. It does, however, the amount of cash you’re willing to lose
area has a nice range of designer profiles make life for existing tenants easier, since over time. You can also read tips on
and the search engine is speedy. they don’t need to move out. betting within your limits.

Our rating ★★★★★ Our rating ★★★★★ Our rating ★★★★★

DO
CO B E
UL TT
D ER
NEW
SHOPPING

Patria
www.patriagb.com
Patria is a crowdsourcing site that
offers a small range of luxury fashion
designs that are 100% British-made.
RELAUNCH You choose the items you like and
RELIGION pay for one-off bulk production, with
The Archbishop of York 10% of the profits going to military
charities. The site is certainly simple
www.archbishopofyork.org to use: just click an item to see how
The Church of England seems to be on a mission to improve its web offerings. Having well it’s funding and how long is left,
already relaunched churchofengland.org (reviewed in issue 438), it’s now given the then click Commit. The items are
websites of the Archbishops of York and Canterbury (www.archbishopofcanterbury well described but there’s no
.org) a new lease of life. Both adopt a similar clean look, with a large photos, lots of indication of how many units are
information about the men and their roles, and news of their activities, with a handy being made, and the homepage
link to switch between the two sites. But they are also personalised: you can learn seems more keen to emphasise the
about John Sentamu’s typical day, read a Q&A, get a flavour of Justin Welby’s site’s process and philosophy than
speeches and see an overview of Lambeth Palace. Holy satisfying! showcasing its items.

Our rating ★★★★★ Our rating ★★★★★

Tell us about your website via webuser@dennis.co.uk 7 - 20 March 2018 17


Build a Better Site
Specialist tips, top tools and practical help

Top Tips of the Fortnight Web-building Helpdesk


THIS ISSUE’S EXPERT:
Find the right colour scheme Free PHP-coding tool Hristo Pandjarov,
Choosing the right colour scheme If you want to tinker around under WordPress and SEO Specialist at
for your website is a challenge if the hood of your WordPress SiteGround (www.siteground.com)
you’re not a skilled designer, but website, it’s worth learning a bit
there’s a science to matching of PHP – the programming
I’d like to create a website but
Q
colours and Adobe’s Colour language that the content-
Wheel website (bit.ly/colo444) management system is built on. I don’t know where to start.
can help. Choose the colour rule You can edit PHP files in Notepad Should I build it in HTML or use
from the drop-down menu on the but it’s better to use a some kind of site builder?
left, then use the colour wheel to development environment, Ralph, via email
locate your preferred base colour which lets you lay out your code

A
properly and mark it up so you More than 29% of all sites on the
can read it more clearly. web are now built using WordPress.
CodeLobster (www.codelobster It’s a great system for complete
.com) is a free program designed beginners, and you can either host on a
specifically for PHP, and includes website (wordpress.org) or have WordPress
an integrated debugger to root host a site for you (wordpress.com). There
out errors. are some beautiful themes and useful
plugins to provide endless possibilities.
Even without its many extensions, you can
(or type the RGB or HEX value Deal of the Fortnight easily build a basic website made up of a few
into the bottom, if you prefer). GoDaddy is offering ‘.uk’ and ‘.co.uk’ pages. If you want to launch your site quickly
The other colours are set for you. domains for 1p for the first year, as long as and seamlessly, SiteGround has a great
If you’re not keen on the results, you sign up for two years. Subsequent option for one-click installation to help you
try moving the colours around the years cost £9.99 start your WordPress site in no time at all.
wheel or choosing a different rule.

MINI WORKSHOP | Let Google help improve your search-engine optimisation


Lighthouse: bit.ly/liho444 | 10 mins | Chrome browser
Google’s website-auditing tool Lighthouse now includes SEO (search-engine optimisation) tips. It’s always
worth listening to free advice from Google about your site’s ability to rank on its search engine

1 2

2 1

1 To get Lighthouse, go to bit.ly/


liho444 in Chrome and install the
add-on. Once it’s installed, click the
2 Click OK, then ‘Generate report’.
The website will be shrunk to the left
side of the screen 1 and the add-on
3 Your site’s overall score out of
100 is displayed 1 with a colour
indicating its success. Below, you can
icon 1 and select Options. You’ll see window will run through a series of tests. see which audits you passed and failed.
a list of ‘Audit categories to include’. 2 Leave it to do its business – it might 2 Click the arrows to reveal more
You can run them all if you like, but take a couple of minutes. When it’s information, which should help you fix
in our screenshot we’ve selected finished, the results will open in a new any problems. Some of these may be
the new SEO tool 2 and deselected window. simple and speedy fixes that take little
everything else. effort but make a big difference.

18 7 - 20 March 2018 Email us your website building questions at webuser@dennis.co.uk


Ultra Wide-Color
with 4K in an immersive design
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resolution display with Ultra Wide-Color offers the richest
and most vivid colours wrapped in an immersive curved
design for a your best creations yet.

UltraWideColor

CurvedDisplay

4K UltraClear 4K Ultra HD

40" 4K curved display


(BDM4037U)
What To Watch Online
Pick of the fortnight
W
Watch Netflix film premiere
A
Annihilation
Fr
From 12 March
Netflix surprised a lot of people last month when – with no fanfare –
Ne
itt released the third movie in the Cloverfield series. The Cloverfield
Paradox was snapped up from Paramount for a rumoured $50m
Pa
after the film studio decided against releasing the movie in cinemas.
af
That’s not the only new Paramount picture that Netflix has got its
Th
hands on, either. Annihilation, the second movie from writer/director
ha
Alex Garland (whose directorial debut, Ex Machina, was a critical
Ale
hit) is also debuting on Netflix in the UK. Paramount will still be
releasing the film on the big screen in the US, Canada and China,
but due to a dispute over the final cut (which producer David
Ellison reportedly described as “too intellectual” and “too
complicated”), it will be on the streaming service everywhere else.
The science fiction/horror film stars Natalie Portman (Thor, Black
Swan) as a biologist investigating “the shimmer”, an ominous and
expanding rainbow-patterned barrier in the Florida swampland.
While reviews of The Cloverfield Paradox were mostly scathing,
reviews of Annihilation have been much more positive, with The
Guardian awarding it four stars out of five (bit.ly/greview444).
You can watch the official trailer for the movie at bit.ly/
annihilation444.

Catch Sneaky Pete Season 2 (played with just the right amount of family, but it doesn’t take long for his
From 9 March menace by Breaking Bad’s Bryan old life to catch up with his new one.
We very much enjoyed the first season Cranston). Using his new identity, Marius Season two of the show (which,
of Sneaky Pete when it arrived on “reunites” with his cell mate’s estranged incidentally, was co-created by
Amazon at the start of 2017, so we’re Cranston) picks up where the last one
looking forward to the next left off, and there’s a trailer for it
instalment. The American crime available to watch at bit.ly/pete444.
drama follows con-artist Marius
Josipovic (played by Avatar’s Marvel at the second season
Giovanni Ribisi), newly released from of Jessica Jones
jail, who adopts the identity of his From 8 March
ex-cell mate to avoid a ruthless The highlight of season one of Marvel’s
mobster who he once ripped off Jessica Jones was unquestionably David
Tennant’s (Doctor Who) sinister turn
as the psychopathic Kilgrave, a man
with the ability to make anyone do
whatever he wants. There’s some
uncertainty as to whether he’ll make any
kind of reappearance in the new series
or not, but this time around the focus is
very much on Jessica Jones (played by
Big Eyes star Krysten Ritter). The private
eye, with Marvel-grade super-powers,
is still as angry as ever, and we wouldn’t
have her any other way. Check out
the trailer for the new season at
bit.ly/jjones444.

20 7 - 20 March 2018
What To Watch Online

We reveal what’s new on Netflix, BBC iPlayer,


Amazon Prime Video and other streaming services

and will feature up to 670


athletes (a 24% increase on
the 539 that competed at
Sochi in 2014), competing
in 80 medal events across
six sports: alpine skiing,
biathlon, cross-country
skiing, ice hockey,
snowboard and
wheelchair curling.
UKTV Play now available The official mascot of
for Roku and Now TV the PyeongChang 2018
UKTV’s catchup app lets you watch Paralympic Winter Games
shows from channels such as Dave, is Bandabi, an Asiatic
Yesterday, Really and Drama, including black bear who
a number of original programmes. symbolises “strong will
The app is now available for Roku and courage” – clearly
devices, including the Roku-powered the perfect choice.
Now TV, and will be included on all new You’ll be able to stream the games Get charmed by Benji
hardware. If you already own a Roku live on the Channel 4 website (bit.ly/ From 16 March
product you can find the app in the Film paralive444) and catch up on All 4. In America, Benji is a well-known,
& TV category in the Roku Channel Watch a trailer for it at bit.ly/para444. well-loved canine hero who has starred
Store. Now TV owners can download in a number of movies over the years,
it from the App Store. Watch Nailed It including Benji (1974), For the Love
Announcing the move, Richard From 9 March of Benji (1977), Benji at Work (1980)
Williams, general manager of UKTV Play Ever watched The Great British Bake Off and Benji: Off the Leash! (2004).
said: “We’re always striving to give and thought to yourself, ‘you know what Now, Netflix is bringing back the
viewers easy access to the shows they would make this better – if it was filmed lovable doggie in a new, original movie,
love and want, on as many platforms in America and filled with the first in what is intended to be
as possible. UKTV Play offers instant people who don’t know a whole series of Benji
access to so many brilliant programmes how to bake!’ If so, adventures. Set in the
and with four brand new UKTV Original then Nailed It is for modern day, the film
shows recently announced – Judge you. The idea is takes place in New
Romesh, Jon Richardson: Ultimate that a group of Orleans and follows
Worrier, Inside The Vets and Cop Car amateur bakers two kids who
Workshop – and even more in the attempt to befriend the
pipeline, viewers will have plenty of new recreate a cake orphaned, scruffy
shows to watch on Now TV and Roku masterpiece, stray. If you want
in 2018 and beyond.” aiming to win to find out more,
a $10,000 prize. and don’t mind
A trailer at bit.ly/ spoilers, there’s
nailed444 will give a trailer to watch
you a taste of what at bit.ly/benji444.
it’s all about.

Premier League rights


There have been lots of rumours that Netflix,
Google and Facebook were readying bids for
the TV rights to the Premier League but it seems as if – at the time of writing,
at least – Sky and BT will be the ones to snap up the rights for live games
played between 2019 and 2022. This makes a lot of sense, especially as the
Stream the companies recently agreed to offer each other’s programmes – including
Paralympic Winter Games sporting packages – to their respective users. This would be a case of history
From 9 March repeating itself as combined, the two media giants paid a record £5.1bn
If you’ve enjoyed watching the Winter for three seasons back in 2015.
Olympics this year, the good news is It’s believed Amazon could still tender a bid for one of the less attractive
that the sporting action isn’t over yet. packages (bit.ly/premier444).
The Paralympics run from 9-18 March

Tell us your favourite new TV at forum.webuser.co.uk 7 - 20 March 2018 21


Product Test
We test and compare the latest products

Zyxel Multy X
We test a new mesh router that outperforms
every model we’ve ever tested

M
esh routers are and the original signal grows Design and performance a reason: each one crams
a relatively new way weaker as walls, ceilings and A few months on, Zyxel has in a dedicated 4x4 antenna
of solving the floors act as obstacles. joined the fray with its Multy array to boost the connection
perennial problem of weak A spate of mesh routers X. Compared with BT’s stylish between the two units,
Wi-Fi. Such systems consist was released last year, and discs and Google Wifi’s dinky providing a huge theoretical
of two or more units – each we reviewed the Netgear cylinders, Zyxel’s bulging bandwidth of 1,733Mbps.
one a router in its own right Orbi in Issue 415 (bit.ly/ Multy X modules look a bit Alongside are separate 2x2
– using a strong, dedicated issue415), the BT Whole cheap. With a sizable arrays to connect with your
connection to create a series Home in Issue 419 (bit.ly/ footprint of 236 x 178mm, individual Wi-Fi devices.
of seamless hotspots around issue419) and the Google they take up more shelf space In practical terms, this
your house. The aim is to Wifi in Issue 423 than their rivals. However, means that communication
provide blanket coverage for (bit.ly/webuser423). these nodes are large for between the nodes is faster
the entire property, rather and stronger, with more
than the traditional router reach, than most other mesh
system which amplifies the systems. In our test house,
signal from the entry point A generous four ports on each unit mean we were able to connect the
of your internet connection, you can attach up to seven wired devices primary unit to the modem
producing diminishing in the living room, place the
returns as you move further
without needing any extra hardware other one in a far distant
away from the main router utility room at the rear of the

22 7 - 20 March 2018
Zyxel Multy X Product Test

Mesh speeds compared PRODUCT INFO


Zyxel Multy X
Price: £269
Zyxel Multy X
Buy from Amazon:
bit.ly/zymx444
Netgear Orbi
SPECIFICATIONS
BT Whole Home Wifi ■ Qualcomm IPQ4019 quad-core
processor
Google Wifi ■ 512MB of RAM

■ 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi on 2.4GHz band;

Existing router 802.11a/n/ac on 5GHz band


■ 4 x Gigabit Ethernet ports per unit
0 3 6 9 12 15 18
■ Guest Wi-Fi
5GHz Wi-Fi speed (MB/s)
■ Parental control

We tested four mesh routers and our current router in five rooms around a typical ■ Compatible with Amazon Alexa

house. This chart shows the average overall download speed on the 5GHz network ■ Mobile app supports iOS 9 or

better and Android 5.0 or better


■ 236 x 178 x 51.5mm
house, and still – according to networks is as easy as flipping shouldn’t be there. You can
■ 890g
the signal meter that’s built a switch in the Multy X app. cut off their internet access
into the Multy X smartphone By default, the 5GHz network but they can still talk to other
app – enjoy a “perfect” is distinguished by having a devices on your network. FOR
connection between the two. ‘.speed’ suffix for its SSID, but Be warned that while the ✓ Great value for money
This translated into some you can change it to whatever smartphone app is capable, ✓ Brilliant performance
seriously impressive wireless you like. The parental controls it’s also irritatingly slow: as
coverage. No matter where are very simple to use and let you tap around its various AGAINST
we roamed in and around the you schedule internet access pages, you’re frequently left ✗ Slightly quirky controls
house, we enjoyed the kind for single devices or groups. staring at a spinning wheel ✗ Unattractive units
of blazing speeds that had Another bonus is that the for five seconds or more while
previously only been Multy X system works with the app scans the nodes for
BETTER LOOKING
attainable when sitting right Alexa. If you have an Amazon whatever information it needs.
next to our existing router. Echo device, you can verbally You can’t even work around Netgear Orbi, £287
Even on the slower 2.4GHz instruct it to disable the guest the issue by using the web Buy from Amazon:
bit.ly/net444
band, the connection topped network, test your internet interface, because there isn’t
5MB/s almost everywhere speed or temporarily suspend one – if you visit the gateway
in the building. internet access. Sadly, you in your web browser, you will
This alone is enough to earn can’t reboot the router with be greeted with a terse
the Multy X a warm a voice command but if your “not found” error.
recommendation, but there’s internet is glitching, Alexa A final caveat is that the
more good news. Most mesh probably won’t be working Multy X doesn’t operate as
units only provide two Gigabit anyway. a true mesh network – it uses
Ethernet ports, which isn’t a ‘star’ configuration in which
enough for a system that aims Considerations all nodes talk directly to the MORE UNITS
to replace your router. The The Multy X gets a lot right, router. An update is promised
Multy X shows how it should but it also has a few foibles. this month that will add BT Whole Home Wifi,
£185.98
be done, offering a generous You’re stuck with a custom support for daisy-chained
Buy from Amazon:
four ports on each unit, so you IP range (196.168.212.x) which configurations, but if you bit.ly/bt444
can attach up to seven wired is frustrating if you prefer were thinking of investing
devices without needing any to set up your IP addresses in additional units then be
extra hardware. It’s a shame, how you like them. And, like warned that, as things stand,
however, that the units’ USB 2 Google Wifi, you can inspect they may not extend the
ports don’t currently do your connected devices but system’s range by as much
anything – it would be an you can’t blacklist any that as you might hope.
asset if you could connect
an external hard drive, for
example – but Zyxel says the OUR VERDICT ★★★★★
connector is “reserved for
future usage”, and we suggest As long as you don’t live in reasonably priced, FEATURES ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
you don’t hold your breath. an absolutely massive home delivering excellent speeds PERFORMANCE ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
requiring several chained and impressive coverage.
EASE OF USE ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Simple tools and useful units to extend your Wi-Fi It’s not the most
VALUE FOR MONEY ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
extras to far-flung corners, the aesthetically pleasing kit,
Unlike some of its rivals, Zyxel Multy X is a great but it’s affordable, effective
splitting the 2.4GHz and 5GHz system. Its two units are and the extra Ethernet ports are a welcome addition.
wireless bands into separate

Discuss this review at forum.webuser.co.uk 7 - 20 March 2018 23


Product Test CyberLink PowerDirector 16 Ultra

CyberLink PowerDirector
16 Ultra The latest CyberLink video-editing
software is crammed with powerful tools

U
pgrades to video-
editing software often
introduce the capability
to work with a new
technology, and this edition
of PowerDirector has added
tools for editing 360-degree
video. Making your own
360-degree film may seem
beyond the means of the
home-movie enthusiast but
there are surprisingly
affordable cameras available,
such as the Samsung Gear
360 (£219 from Amazon
at bit.ly/sams444). When
you upload your footage 2D view to use with standard footage of the same subject out the task manually.
to YouTube, anyone with footage. It can stabilise from different cameras or There are four different
a smartphone and a cheap 360-degree footage, which settings. You can select two versions of PowerDirector 16
headset can explore your is impossible with regular clips and colour correct one – Deluxe, Ultra, Ultimate and
videos in virtual reality. 2D-video tools, and comes so that it matches the other. Director Suite. The Ultra
PowerDirector 16’s with a collection of title tools The core sound tools in the version is just £43 on Amazon
360-degree support includes to add text to your videos, software now include ‘audio and represents the best value
a number of useful tools. You which move around as the ducking’. This is where the for money. However, it’s also
can set which direction the viewer pans. They can even volume of a music soundtrack worth considering the
viewer starts in, and extract a have motion tracking applied. can be set to automatically fill Director Suite, which comes
The one thing the software gaps in a speech audio track. bundled with PhotoDirector 9,
lacks is ‘stitching’ – the We found the default AudioDirector 8 and
PRODUCT INFO process by which footage parameters ColorD
ColorDir
ColorDirector 6, providing
CyberLink from the various streams needed careful a wider range of
PowerDirector 16 created by a 360-degree tweaking so the tweaks for serious
Ultra camera is brought together to volume changes editors. We’d also
Price: £43 make a fully 360-degree don’t sound too advise you avoid
Buy from Amazon: movie. If your camera doesn’t abrupt, but it’s the Deluxe version,
bit.ly/cyb444 do this itself, it should come not hard to because it lacks
with its own software, but it achieve good some of
WHAT YOU NEED would have been good to results and is PowerDirector’s best
■ Intel Core i-series or AMD Phenom integrate this process into much quicker features, such as the
II or better CyberLink’s editing suite. than carrying multi-cam editor.
■ 2GB of memory If creating virtual-reality
■ 7GB of hard-drive space films isn’t your thing, there are
■ Microsoft Windows 7, 8 or 10 other useful new tools to OUR VERDICT ★★★★★
explore. A collage designer
has been added for creating CyberLink PowerDirector FEATURES
FOR ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
rapid multi-clip opening 16 is one of the most PERFORMANCE ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
✓ Refined video- and audio-editing sequences: you simply drag powerful video-editing
features EASE OF USE ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
and drop the clips you want suites available. Our
✓ 360-degree video support VALUE FOR MONEY ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
to use into the predefined favourite is the Ultra
✓ Great value for money slots, though you don’t get version, because it’s
any control over how the clips packed with tools but bundle provides a wealth
AGAINST are cropped. remains remarkably of extra tools in CyberLink’s
We were particularly affordable. If you want image editor, advanced
✗ Of most interest to 360-degree
impressed with the colour- to maximise your options, audio and colour-grading
camera owners
matching tool, which is though, the Director Suite software.
✗ Doesn’t stitch 360-degree videos
extremely useful if you have

24 7 - 20 March 2018
Web User’s Best Buys
Web User and its sister titles test over 2,500 products every year

HARDWARE
PC SMARTPHONE
Palicomp AMD Gravity RYZ1 Samsung Galaxy S8
£799.99 from www.palicomp.co.uk £506.99 from bit.ly/sams442
Tested: Issue 443 Tested: Issue 442

This is the best PC we could find for The Samsung Galaxy S8 is a terrific
under £800. It’s powerful, well built and all-rounder. It’s fast, looks wonderful,
well balanced, so long as you’re happy has a superb camera and boasts one of the
to use an overclocked processor. best screens we’ve ever seen on a phone.

KEY SPECS KEY SPECS


AMD Ryzen 5 1600 processor ■ Asus Prime B350M-A Octa-core 2.3GHz Exynos 8895 processor ■ 12-megapixel
motherboard ■ 8GB DDR4 memory ■ GeForce GTX 1060 rear camera, 8-megapixel front camera ■ 4GB RAM ■ 64GB
graphics card ■ 240GB SSD ■ 1TB hard drive ■ 475 x 468 x storage ■ 5.8in 1,440 x 2,560-pixel screen ■ Android 7 ■ 68.1
230mm tower case ■ Windows 10 Home 64-bit x 148.9 x 8mm ■ 155g ■ One-year return-to-base warranty

MINI PC KEYBOARD
Asus VivoMini BakkerElkhuizen
UltraBoard 940
£672.99 from bit.ly/asus440
Tested: Issue 440 £79 from bit.ly/bakk438
Tested: Issue 438
With capable performance, generous storage and extensive
connectivity, the Asus VivoMini is an impressively versatile The Ultraboard 940 is designed for all your computing needs
mini PC. It’s great for use in a home office and usefully – desktop, laptop and mobile. It’s very comfortable and has
offers both a main SSD and a back-up hard drive. a much better build quality than most portable keyboards.

KEY SPECS KEY SPECS


Dual-core 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7200U processor ■ 8GB Compact form ■ Scissor-switch technology ■ Multimedia
memory ■ 128GB SSD, 1TB hard drive ■ 6 x USB ports function keys ■ 2 x USB 2 ports ■ Wireless ■ Height
■ 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet connectivity ■ 190 x 190 adjustment ■ Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS ■ 285 x 147 x
x 52mm ■ Three-years return-to-base warranty 19mm ■ Two-years return-to-base warranty

VOICE ASSISTANT HIGH-SPEED ROUTER


Amazon Echo TP-Link Deco M5
£89.99 from bit.ly/echo437 £229.99 from bit.ly/tpl435
Tested: Issue 437 Tested: Issue 435
All prices correct at time of review

With its sophisticated speech recognition, This is a finely balanced mesh system
ystem with
Amazon’s second-generation Echo proves good range, although it isn’t the fastest router
that smart digital assistants have a bright available. However, it’s got great additional features
future, and it keeps getting better and better. including built-in antivirus and powerful parental controls.

KEY SPECS KEY SPECS


Compatible with Fire OS, Android and iOS devices Mesh-networking kit ■ 802.11ac Wi-Fi ■ Combined network
■ 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi ■ Line-out with 3.5mm cable or of 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands ■ WPA2-AES security ■ 1 x WAN
Bluetooth ■ 2.5in woofer, 0.6in tweeter ■ 148 x 88 x 88mm port ■ 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports ■ 120 x 120 x 38mm
■ 821g ■ One-year return-to-base warranty ■ Three-years return-to-base warranty

26 7 - 20 March 2018
Web User’s Best Buys

SOFTWARE & SERVICES


CLOUD-STORAGE SERVICE Web User Gold Award winners
WI-FI SCANNER
Microsoft OneDrive
Acrylic Wi-Fi Home
From free from NEW!
onedrive.live.com Free from bit.ly/acry443
Tested: Issue 438 Tested: Issue 443
Acrylic Wi-Fi Home is the free version of a professional tool,
If you use Windows 10 but it doesn’t feel like a cut-down program and offers
or Microsoft Office, virtually all the features a home user will ever need.
then OneDrive is
a no-brainer. It’s simple to use and already integrated into
your PC. Recent improvements have added some excellent EMAIL CLIENT
new features though we wish Microsoft would increase its eM Client
free storage allowance. OneDrive also integrates well with
both Android and iOS. Free from www.emclient.com
Tested: Issue 442
KEY FEATURES eM Client offers a great balance
5GB free storage ■ Web-based Office Web Apps including of simplicity and adaptability. Its familiarity makes it a great
Word and Excel ■ 10GB maximum file size ■ Android, iOS replacement for older tools, such as Windows Live Mail.
and Windows 10 apps ■ Up to 50GB extra storage for £1.99
per month; Office 365 and 1TB of storage from £5.99 per
month ■ Files expire after one year of inactivity RADIO APP
Radioplayer
INTERNET SECURITY Free from bit.ly/radioplayer441
Tested: Issue 441
Kaspersky Internet Radioplayer is limited to UK broadcasts and its interface
Security 2018 could do with updating, but it works really well and is very
straightforward to use, with lots of useful features.
£19.95 from bit.ly/kaspersky2018
Tested: Computeractive
Issue 493 START MENU REPLACEMENT
StartIsBack++ 2.5.2
Kaspersky is rock solid at
protecting your PC from the £2.23 from startisback.com
worst of the web, and has come Tested: Issue 440
top in nine of our most recent StartIsBack’s familiar look and many customisation options
tests, blocking all malware with make it the closest equivalent to the now defunct ClassicShell.
its robust defences. Use the URL
above to save £15.04 on the software (normal price £34.99).
PHOTO-EDITING APP
KEY FEATURES PhotoDirector
Antivirus and firewall tools ■ Protects online shopping and
banking ■ Identity and privacy tools ■ Dangerous-website Free from bit.ly/phod439
alerts ■ New software updater ■ Secure-connection VPN Tested: Issue 439
■ Advanced ad-blocking system ■ Multi-device version Easy to use and very effective at enhancing images. It’s
■ Compatible with Windows 10 a free version of a paid-for app but doesn’t feel restricted.

WEB USER EVERY ISSUE FROM


2014 TO 2017
BACK ISSUES DISCS
Search for ‘webuser disc’ on Amazon

7 - 20 March 2018 27
Best Free Software
MEDIA PLAYER

VLC Media Player 3


www.videolan.org
Min requirements: Windows 7/8+/10,
MacOS and Linux
File size: 37.1MB

There are plenty of free media players


around but few can compete with the
excellent VLC. This powerful program
can handle all the major audio and video
formats without the need to install
additional codecs, and also streams
content over the internet.
VideoLAN has been working on a new
version of VLC for the last three years,
but the wait is finally over. The first
version of the media player on the
‘Vetinari’ branch (named after a
character from Terry Pratchett’s The release has been synchronised, and allows audio pass-through for
Discworld series) comes packed with too, so no matter which operating HD audio codecs.
new features and improvements. system you run VLC on – PC, Mac, Linux, You can now stream video from VLC
Android, Apple TV or ChromeOS – this directly to Google’s Chromecast, even
is the version you’ll get. if the format isn’t supported natively.
The new VLC release doesn’t look Additionally, the media player can
massively different, but it has plenty handle BD-J (Blu-ray Java) menus,
of highlights. Hardware decoding is and you can browse networked drives
activated by default, which means it’s and NAS devices.
capable of delivering 4K and even 8K VLC was already the best media
playback that’s smooth and stutter-free player around, but version 3.0 improves
(depending on the quality of your it significantly. While testing the new
hardware, of course). It also supports version, we found it more stable than
HDR10, 360 video and 3D audio, previous releases.

MINI WORKSHOP | Get started with VLC Media Player 3


1
2

1
1 2 3 4

1 VLC is capable of handling pretty


much any media file. Just drag an
audio or video file to the window and
2 These additional controls let you
record playback 1 (which is handy
for saving a copy of streaming video),
3 One of the most significant new
features in VLC 3 is the ability to
stream video directly to a Chromecast.
it will start playing. Use the controls at and take a snapshot. 2 Recordings You need to have your PC and
the bottom to manage playback. 1 are saved to your Videos folder, while Google’s dongle on the same network
There are some advanced controls screenshots are saved to Pictures. for this to work. To locate your
available, which you can add by You can loop from point A to B Chromecast in VLC, click Playback, 1
clicking View 2 and selecting continuously 3 and move through the select Renderer, 2 click your
Advanced Controls. 3 video frame-by-frame. 4 Chromecast and start a video playing.

28 7 - 20 March 2018
Best Free Software

This fortnight’s top new software downloads to help you make


the most of your PC, and they’re all FREE

New Windows Apps

Amazon Music
bit.ly/amazon444
Min requirements: Windows 10
File size: 64.57
The new, official Amazon Music app
lets you stream songs from the
service (you will need an Amazon
Music Unlimited or Prime Music
subscription) and listen to your own
music tracks.

PHOTO EDITOR
FireAlpaca 2
firealpaca.com
Min requirements: Windows 7/8+/10 or MacOS File size: 22.4MB

This tab-based image editor lets you fix problems with your photos, resize or rotate
them, and create works of art using different preset and customisable brush types. Ark View
It offers several powerful features including layers and levels (although there’s no bit.ly/arkview444
auto-levels option). The interface takes a little getting used to, but it’s worth Min requirements: Windows 10
persevering with. There’s a new, dedicated 64-bit version available, and you can File size: 30.5MB
now select multiple layers. Various problems have been fixed in this release, too. Ark View is a speedy feed reader
with Twitter integration. You can
use it to read updates from your
favourite sites (via RSS) and tweets
that interest you.

SYSTEM TOOL GAMES LAUNCHER YATA - Yet Another


Restore Point Creator 7 LaunchBox 8 To-Do App
bit.ly/rpcreator444 www.launchbox-app.com bit.ly/yata444
Min requirements: Windows XP/ Min requirements: Windows 7/8+/10 Min requirements: Windows 10
Vista/7/8+/10 File size: 834KB File size: 181MB File size: 34.48MB
YATA is a very simple to-do tool. It
Windows restore points can save the LaunchBox is a portable game database lets you add tasks to the list and
day if you install a program and it and launcher that can handle virtually mark finished ones as ‘completed’.
trashes your system, or if your PC gets any game you want to play. Older PC That’s
infected with malware. This portable games can be run via the bundled pretty
tool lets you create system-restore DOSBox and it can also play newer much all
points on demand, and restore any releases – including ones from Steam – there is to
selected one – either normally or in Safe and non-Windows games via emulators. it, but it
Mode. Options include the ability to This update adds Retroarch Netplay does
check Windows Power Plan settings, support and boasts better performance, support
delete restore points and schedule along with a new version of the SCUMM Live Tiles.
system-point creation. adventure-games emulator.

Recommend free downloads at www.facebook.com/webusermagazine 7 - 20 March 2018 29


Best Free Software
NETWORK MONITOR
O&O Syspectr
www.syspectr.com
Min requirements: Windows XP/Vista/7/8+/10
File size: 5.6MB

O&O Syspectr lets you remotely monitor and


manage PCs over a network. You can check
drive health, automatically update software and
install new programs, identify unauthorised
access and shut down a networked device
remotely. It can also tell you what software is
being installed on a connected PC, which is
handy if you’re worried about any programs your
children might be installing without your
knowledge.
O&O Syspectr automatically alerts you to
potential problems with devices and is suitable
for any kind of network, from home to enterprise.
It used to be a commercial product – priced at ¤1
a month per PC – but is now entirely free.

VIDEO EDITOR
Bandicut 3
bit.ly/bandicut444
Min requirements: Windows XP/Vista/7/8+/10
File size: 12.4MB

If you have a video you’d like to share – by


uploading it to Facebook or YouTube, for
example – you might want to do a spot of
tidying up first. Bandicut lets you cut out part
of a video, split a clip into multiple files, join
videos together, merge segments and more.
It even lets you extract audio in MP3 format.
This latest version of the video editor gains
a new, more intuitive user interface and fixes
a number of major bugs.
Although you can use Bandicut for free,
there are some restrictions. The trimming
speed is slower than in the paid-for edition,
and the software adds a watermark to the
finished video.

SYSTEM TOOL
Folder Colorizer 2
bit.ly/fcolor444
Min requirements: Windows 7/8+/10
File size: 7.5MB

If you take pride in having an organised PC,


this useful little tool lets you change the colour
of your favourite folder icons so they stand out
from the less important ones. You can make
your Documents folder purple and your Photos
folder red, for example. To change a folder’s
colour, right-click it and select your chosen
hue from the context menu, or by using the
program interface.
The new version of Folder Colorizer has a
built-in colour editor that lets you choose from
16 million unique colours, so you can personalise
your folders exactly as you please.
Be sure to decline the bundled junk during
installation.

30 7 - 20 March 2018
Best Free Software

Don’t install... ...Install this instead


Password Dalenryder Password Generator
Generator dalenryder.com
www.binarymark.com Min requirements: Windows XP/Vista/7/8+/10
Min requirements: File size: 1.3MB
Windows XP/Vista/7/8+/10
File size: 3.6MB Despite its name, Dalenryder Password
Generator does a lot more than just come up with
This program for creating new passwords. It’s a handy collection of security
secure passwords is tools packaged in a smart, intuitive interface.
certainly packed with The Quick Password feature instantly creates
features, but it also suffers passwords of between four and 30 characters,
from an ugly and confusing which are then stored in the Password Safe in
interface – with a dreadful an encrypted vault. There’s also a PIN generator
GAME website to match. Not only that creates PINs of up to 100 numbers, and
The Golden Tulip that, but Password a Password Lab for generating more complex
bit.ly/tulip444 Generator (also referred passwords that include numbers, lower and/or
Min requirements: Windows 7/8+/10, to as Random Password upper case letters and special characters,
MacOS or Linux File size: 34MB Generator) costs a to make your logins impossible to guess.
whopping £35.99 per year,
Set in Beirut, Lebanon, this adventure when plenty of similar tools
game has you playing a Cold War spy are available for free.
stationed in a building opposite ‘The
Golden Tulip’ hotel to monitor the
activities of a Russian arms dealer. Your
job is to use the equipment at hand to
identify and eliminate the threat,
helping to save the world from nuclear
war. There are plenty of items to
interact with and keep you intrigued.

UPDATED | New tweaks and fixes for your favourite free programs

VPN SOFTWARE SYSTEM CLEANER SYSTEM TOOL IMAGE VIEWER


TunnelBear 3.2 CCleaner 5.40 Ultimate Windows FreeVimager 7.7
www.tunnelbear.com www.ccleaner.com Tweaker 4.4.1 bit.ly/freev444
Min requirements: Min requirements: bit.ly/uwtweak444 Min requirements:
Windows XP/Vista/7/8+/10 Windows XP/Vista/7/8+ Min requirements: Windows XP/Vista/7/8+/10
or MacOS File size: 10.7MB Windows 10 File size: 1.8MB (installer)/
File size: 64.7MB File size: 679KB 4.7MB portable
The popular Avast-owned
This easy-to-use VPN gives system-cleaning tool gets Ultimate Windows Tweaker FreeVimager is a free and
you 500MB of free data updated on a monthly basis. offers more than 200 tweaks speedy image viewer and
every month. The latest This latest version adds for Windows 10, sorted into editor that aims to pack as
release features a a new ‘Set aside tabs’ categories including many features as possible
completely rebuilt cleaning rule for Microsoft Customisation and into its tiny file size. This
VigilantBear (the tool that Edge, and a warning when Performance. The new update adds bigger Close
blocks unsecured traffic cleaning ‘Old prefetch data’ version is compatible with buttons (which is handy for
should the VPN fail) and in Windows. Be sure to the Fall Creators Update touchscreen users) and
improved reliability. There’s decline the bundled junk and lets you remove the replaces the menu circles
also a new program icon. during installation. 3D Objects folder. with tick marks.

GET FREE SOFTWARE FIRST subscribe to Web User at subscribe.webuser.co.uk

Recommend free downloads at www.facebook.com/webusermagazine 7 - 20 March 2018 31


Best New Browser Tools
CHROME

Browse smarter by changing your habits


There are lots of add-ons that try to stop you wasting time
online by restricting your access to specific websites, but
most prove irritating and get quickly uninstalled. HabitLab
(bit.ly/habit444) adopts a more constructive approach to
help you build better habits online and “achieve your goals”.
Start by selecting which sites you’d like to spend less time
on, either from suggested options such as Facebook,
YouTube and Amazon or by adding a site manually, then
specify sites you’d like to use more – for example,
educational resources or the Web User Forums. Next,
choose ‘nudges’ to display when you visit a time-wasting
site. These include Bouncer, which sets a timer for your visit;
Scroll Freezer, which prevents you from scrolling too far
down a page; and Feed Eater, which removes the Facebook
news feed. You can set nudges to be always on or only active
during work hours. HabitLab keeps track of how much time
its methods save you each day, and rewards you with ‘time
badges’. It’s surprisingly effective, and will make you realise
how often you visit certain sites purely from force of habit.

View more suggestions Turn your LinkedIn profile Download. Ceev is free to use, with
in the address bar into a CV no need to register for an account
If you enjoyed the ‘Secret Chrome (other than your LinkedIn one).
hacks’ feature in our last issue, here’s
another one you can try, which changes Check how securely
the number of ‘suggestions’ the browser you’re browsing
makes when you start typing a search Google has declared war on HTTP
query or URL into the address bar. sites by announcing plans to mark all
By default, you’ll see between four of them as ‘not secure’, starting in
and six suggestions, based on your July. In the meantime, you can check
bookmarks and browsing history, but what proportion of sites you visit are
this hack lets you increase the number HTTP rather than secure HTTPS by
to eight, 10 or the maximum 12. To try it, installing HTTP vs HTTPS (bit.ly/
type chrome:flags into the address Lots of us now use the business- http444). This keeps count of both
bar, press Enter and look for the entry oriented social network LinkedIn to types of site as you browse the web;
Omnibox UI Max Autocomplete share our employment history, just click its toolbar button to view
Matches. Click the drop-down Default educational qualifications and work the numbers of HTTP and HTTPS
menu and choose the number of skills, but most employers still require addresses you’ve visited, and the
suggestions you want to see. you to submit a traditional CV when relevant percentages, and see how
Alternatively, you can disable applying for a job. A new Chrome they compare.
autocomplete matches altogether. extension called Ceev (ceev.io) saves
Restart Chrome for the change to you the hassle of writing or updating
take effect. your résumé manually, by generating an
instant CV from your existing LinkedIn
profile. Simply install the add-on, log
into LinkedIn, then click the toolbar
button and select ‘let’s do this’. Ceev will
convert your profile into a stylish CV,
with four themes to choose from and
options to adjust the colours, fonts and
page size. You can edit the text, and
reorder and delete items. Once you’re
happy with the result, click Print/

32 7 - 20 March 2018
Best New Browser Tools

This fortnight’s most useful tips and add-ons to help you get the
most from Chrome, Firefox, Opera and more

FIREFOX OTHER BROWSERS


Reset Opera in one
Block third-party requests click

on websites
As we explain in our
‘Stop your browser freezing’
feature on page 50, you
It’s rare these days to visit a website and be sometimes have to reset your
connected to that site alone – there are all browser and start afresh to
manner of third-party connections going on reclaim speed and stability. The
in the background, including ad networks, latest version of Opera, 51, lets
analytics tools, social networks, data trackers you quickly and easily restore
and malware domains. Not only do these your browser to its original state,
interlopers threaten your online privacy and rather than having to save
security, but they also slow down your preferences and reinstall. Just
browsing, which is why a new add-on called click the Opera button, choose
3P Request Blocker (bit.ly/3prequest444) is Settings and select Browser in
tackling them head-on. This tool automatically the left-hand menu. Click ‘Reset
blocks all unnecessary third-party requests browser settings’ and Opera will
on every website, with the option to whitelist clear temporary data such as
specific domains if you find that pages don’t display properly. Additionally, it cookies, disable all extensions
prevents the loading of unsecure HTTP content when you’re viewing an HTTPS and restore its defaults, without
site, and blocks potentially dangerous ‘file://’ domains. 3P Request Blocker’s deleting your bookmarks,
developer points out that it isn’t an ad-blocking tool, but it won’t conflict with the passwords and history.
likes of Adblock Plus and it is able to block known tracking attempts.

Change the order of


suggestions
Firefox 59, released on 13 March,
introduces a new option that lets you
change the priority of the auto-
complete suggestions in the address
bar. By default, the top matches are Set a private search
taken from your browsing history, engine
bookmarks and open tabs, with Vivaldi’s latest ‘snapshot’
suggestions from your default search (beta version), 1.15.1094.3, offers
engine listed below. It’s now possible to the useful ability to set a
reverse the order, if you’d rather search named TrufflePiggy (bit.ly/truffle444) different
the web than pages you’ve already expands this functionality by letting search
visited. Click the ‘hamburger’ or Tools you add lots more options to the engine
menu, choose Options and click Search. right-click menu, so you can instantly for when
In the Search Bar section, select the search your favourite sites. By default, you
option ‘Show search suggestions ahead it includes 14 entries, including switch to
of browsing history in address bar Wikipedia, Amazon, Gov.uk, eBay and private-
results’ YouTube, but there are hundreds browsing
and your more sites to choose from – 675, to be mode.
suggestions precise. To keep things tidy, you can This is
will be reorder the right-click menu to put handy if you want to have, for
reprioritised. the most frequently used items at the example, Google as your default
top, and create groups of sites with search engine, but use a more
similar themes – for example, privacy-focused alternative,
shopping or images. Your chosen such as DuckDuckGo, when you
Search more sites from search engines can also be accessed open a private window. To set
your right-click menu via the add-on’s toolbar menu. this up, go to Tools, Settings and
Firefox lets you quickly search for When you install TrufflePiggy, click Search. Choose a private
words, names and other text on web you’re given the option to create search engine in the list, select
pages by right-clicking and choosing an account so you can sync your the option ‘Set as Private Search’
‘Search Google [or your preferred preferences across devices and and click Save.
search engine] for’. The delightfully browsers, but this isn’t essential.

Tell us your favourite add-ons at www.facebook.com/webusermagazine 7 - 20 March 2018 33


Best Free Apps
App of the Fortnight
PHOTOGRAPHY NEW MINI WORKSHOP
Photos Companion Transfer mobile photos
bit.ly/photosdroid444 to your PC wirelessly
bit.ly/photosios444
4.2 10.2

The biggest advantage


of committing exclusively
1 Before you start,
double-check that your
phone or tablet and your
to Google or Apple is that Windows 10 PC are
you barely have to put any connected to the same
thought into tasks such as Wi-Fi network. Open
syncing your photos. It’s the Photos app on your
only when you introduce computer, then click the
a Windows PC into the three-dot menu in the
equation that things get top-right corner and select 1
a bit fiddly. The problem Settings. Scroll down to
is that a lot of people use the Preview heading and
their PC as the main click the switch to enable
repository for storing their the ‘Help Microsoft test
photo library and, aside the mobile import over WiFi
from faffing around with feature option. 1
USB cables, there’s still
no easy way to get the
snaps you’ve taken on
your iOS or Android
2 Close
and
reopen
1

device to appear in the Photos


Windows 10’s Photos app. app on 3
At least, there wasn’t until the new Photos Companion your PC
app from Microsoft came along. (otherwise
2
The idea behind Photos Companion is a brilliantly simple the setting
one. Basically, as long as your device is connected to the enabled
same Wi-Fi network as your PC, you can use the app to in Step 1 doesn’t seem to register). Click Import 1
transfer photos wirelessly to your computer with a few and select ‘From mobile over WiFi’. 2 A QR code will
taps. It’s like a cross-platform version of Apple’s AirDrop. appear. 3 On your mobile device, open the Photos
There’s a little bit of setting up to Companion app and tap ‘Send photos’. Allow permission
do on both the PC and the mobile to use the camera if prompted, then point your device’s
side before you can make the camera at the QR code on your PC’s screen.
transfer but, by and large, it’s all
pretty straightforward.
Developed by Microsoft’s
Garage Project team, Photos
3 Tap OK if you’re asked
permission to access
your mobile device’s photo 1
Companion makes it very clear library, then select the
from the get-go that it is an thumbnail for each of the
experimental app, and we did photos you want to transfer
encounter a few quirks during – a tick will appear over
our tests – for example, you need any images you’ve chosen.
to close and reopen the Photos 1 When you’ve finished
app on your PC before you can selecting photos, press
register the connection to your Done and your images
mobile device (see Step 2 of will magically arrive in the
our Mini Workshop, Photos app on your PC.
right). The app has Whenever you want to
already been updated several times since its transfer photos in the
(very recent) launch, though, so we’re hopeful future, just repeat Steps
that any problems will soon be ironed out. 2 and 3.

Our rating ★★★★★

34 7 - 20 March 2018
Best Free Apps

This fortnight’s top free and paid-for apps for


Android, iOS and Windows phones and tablets

TOOLS NEW PHOTOGRAPHY NEW GAME NEW


Wehe Vimage
bit.ly/ bit.ly/
wehedroid444 vimagedroid444
bit.ly/ bit.ly/
weheios444 vimageios444
4.4 10.3 4.3 9

We all know that Apple’s Live Photos


some ISPs bring still images to The X-Files: Deep State
throttle life by recording bit.ly/xfilesdroid444
bandwidth to a short burst of bit.ly/xfilesios444
certain online video, and Vimage 5 10
services, such as puts a slightly
YouTube and different spin on Dust down your ‘I want to believe’
Netflix. But it’s the same idea by poster – the X-Files is back. If the latest
hard to prove they’re actually doing so adding a layer of animation over an series (currently airing on Channel 5)
– unless you have Wehe installed. This existing still image. You can animate has whet your appetite, then try this
clever little app simulates traffic to such steam rising from a cup of coffee, for free game. Mulder and Scully both
services, making it look (to your ISP, example, or falling snow in a wintry appear (along with other favourites)
at least) as if you’re using a real scene. Vimage looks impressive but and you take role of a young FBI agent
streaming service. Wehe will then it’s somewhat limited – there are a lot over the course of five assignments.
automatically detect whether there’s of photos that just don’t suit the The hidden-object investigations and
any difference in speed effects. There are also other mini challenges are
and report this to you. some bugs in the Android pretty good, but the action
The app is still being beta version, which is can be slow unless you pay
developed, so you may frustrating, and removing for premium energy boosts
encounter the odd glitch. the watermark costs £2.99. to speed up progress.

Our rating ★★★★★ Our rating ★★★★★ Our rating ★★★★★

DRAWING NEW LIFESTYLE NEW


Sketch Thrive
bit.ly/sketchdroid444 bit.ly/thrive444
bit.ly/sketchios444 7
4.2 10
It’s important
Sketch – Sony’s to take
drawing and painting screen
app – has been breaks, but
available for Android it can be
phones and tablets hard to tear
(including Sony’s own yourself away
Xperia devices) for from your
some time, but now devices. This
the app has finally app – originally
made the leap to iOS, developed
complete with support for Samsung
for the Apple Pencil mobiles, but
stylus (on compatible now in beta for other Android phones and tablets, too – lets
devices). The app is easy to use and surprisingly full-featured you impose sensible restrictions on your screen time so you
for a freebie, with numerous preset and custom canvas sizes, can reconnect with real life instead. Its default ‘Thrive Mode’
several customisable pen and brush styles, blocks all apps, notifications, calls and texts
support for layers and lots of other handy tools. for a set period. You can also set daily time
You can import photos and share your finished restrictions for individual apps or even block all
work on all the major social networks, as well as access to your device for a specific period. It’s
via your own personal Sketch feed. kind of like parental controls, but for grown-ups.

Our rating ★★★★★ Our rating ★★★★★

Recommend free phone apps at www.facebook.com/webusermagazine 7 - 20 March 2018 35


Best Free Apps

5 NEW APPS WORTH PAYING FOR


PHOTOGRAPHY The opposite of Die With Me (Issue 442), this slightly silly
Affinity Photo (but fun) app lets you chat anonymously with others, but
bit.ly/affinity444 only when your device’s battery is 95% or above (rather
Price: £19.99 than 5% or below).
11.2
Serif’s answer to Photoshop GAME
for iPads just had a major Final Fantasy XV:
update, adding the ability Pocket Edition
to capture RAW and HDR bit.ly/ffxvdroid444
shots directly from your device’s bit.ly/ffxvios444
camera, plus improved support for Price: £19.99
drag and drop, and more. 5 10
The first chapter’s free, but it’s worth paying for the full
EDUCATION version of this game, which boils down the entire epic
Electronics Toolkit Pro console title into a brilliant mobile equivalent.
bit.ly/electronics444
Price: £1.79
4.1 GAME
This brilliant tool for electrical Game Dev Tycoon
engineers and budding electronics bit.ly/gamedroid444
enthusiasts features handy resistor bit.ly/gameios444
colour-code references, calculators Price: £4.99
for resistance, voltages, 4.1 9.1
Ohm’s law and more. Did you ever dream of
setting up your own
COMMUNICATION video-game company
Alive With Me in the 1980s? OK, so
bit.ly/alive444 just us, then. Starting off as a lone developer in your garage
Price: 89p and working up to cross-console success, this nostalgic,
4.1 self-referential simulation is huge amounts of fun.

Final Fantasy XV:


Affinity Photo Electronics Toolkit Pro Alive With Me Pocket Edition Game Dec Tycoon

Don’t install... ...Install this instead


I’m Rich: Diamond Digger 3 Gems of War
bit.ly/imrich444 bit.ly/gemsdroid444
bit.ly/gemsios444
For those who haven’t encountered the 4.1 8
ghastly phenomenon of ‘I’m Rich’ apps, these
are basically whopping great scams, Frankly, you’d be better off
apparently aimed at installing almost anything
suckering in only the else. But, sticking with the
daftest mobile users. tapping-on-jewels theme,
Apple has effectively we’d recommend Gems of War – a brilliant
banished them, but puzzle/role-playing game hybrid that offers some surprisingly
there are still tons of deep, nuanced gameplay by adding a level of strategic team
them on Google Play, building and character development to the familiar gem-
including this new one, matching action. Some tongue-in-cheek humour and a decent
which goads you into art style help elevate it, too. Best of all, you can play for free
parting with £90.99 in without ever needing to resort to the freemium
exchange for little more content. Gems of War has been around for a while
than a picture of a but was recently overhauled, with tons of new
jewel for you to tap on. challenges, modes, items and more.

36 7 - 20 March 2018
Take a Screen Break
WIN A
Give your eyes a rest from your browser by taking WEB USER
2017 BACK
our fiendish fortnightly challenges. Can you guess ISSUES DISC!
our film-title emoji and work out our web year? Email your
webuser@denn
answers to
is.co.uk
– one correct en
try
will win a disc
CAN YOU GUESS THE FILMS FROM THE EMOJI?
1 2

3 4

5 6

GUESS THE TECHNOLOGY YEAR


Can you work out which year the following tech
news stories occurred in? No cheating!

1 Google unveils
its free webmail
service, Gmail, on
2 Apple launches
a Mini version of
its iPod digital audio
3 A computer worm
called MyDoom
wreaks
4 Mozilla takes
on Microsoft’s
Internet
5 The word of the
year, according
to the leading US
April Fool’s Day – player. The havoc Explorer dictionary Merriam-
but only to people device is across by Webster was ‘blog’,
who have an ‘invite’ available the releasing short for ‘web log’.
to sign up. in five globe, the first
colours and version
and offers becomes the fastest- of its open-source
4GB of spreading email web browser,
storage. worm ever. Firefox.

COMPETITIONS
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Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/webusermagazine 7 - 20 March 2018 37


FAQ Everything you need to know about the most
interesting new technology trends and events

Cryptojacking
Hackers have hijacked thousands of websites
to mine cryptocurrency. David Crookes explains
how they do it – and what to watch out for

What is cryptojacking? Does cryptojacking infect What is the miner actually


Cryptojacking refers to the secret, my device? doing?
unauthorised use of your computer, No. Although your PC’s processing power It’s trying to solve a host of fiendishly
phone or other web-connected device to is used to mine cryptocurrency, no code difficult mathematical problems, the likes
mine cryptocurrency. It’s become hugely is stored on your PC and the mining of which you’ve no chance of calculating
popular among hackers over the past few generally stops when you close the page. in your head. With each solution – known
months, providing an easy way for them We say “generally” because according as a hash – the person instructing the
to earn digital money at the expense to Malwarebytes Labs, hackers are now mining is rewarded with a portion of
of other people’s hardware. using hidden browser windows – cryptocurrency. By controlling lots of
so-called ‘pop-unders’ that fit under the machines, criminals make more money.
How does it work? Windows taskbar and behind the clock
Usually, hackers fool you into installing (bit.ly/mwb444). This method continues So, is cryptojacking harmful?
malware by getting you to click dodgy to mine cryptocurrency when you close Not in the sense that your personal or
links or by hiding it in innocuous-looking a web page, but you can spot it by financial details are at risk. On the whole,
downloads. Conversely, cryptojacking making the taskbar transparent. cryptojacking is a lesser online evil,
inserts a JavaScript component into certainly when compared to ransomware,
a website or an ad displayed on a web What software is but it can still harm your hardware. For
page. When you visit a compromised site, being used? example, a cryptomining Trojan called
the malware runs instantly – without you The JavaScript miner Loapi seeks access to the administrative
clicking anything – and forces your that’s getting all the rights of your Android phone and can put
device to work for the bad guys. attention is called a handset under so much strain that it
Coinhive (coinhive kills it. There’s also a good chance that
.com). It’s a legitimate you will find your computer or device
tool, designed slows on certain websites or lags when
to be embedded Websites embedded you perform an action. Cryptomining
with Coinhive use
in websites to eats away at your electricity, too, which
your PC to mine for
mine a legal cryptocurrency could result in a huge monthly bill.
cryptocurrency
called Monero (getmonero.org). It’s And is the problem growing?
meant to give site owners an alternative Absolutely. Researchers working for
revenue stream to online advertising, ad blocker Adguard (adguard.com) say
by getting visitors to mine the digital cryptojacking scripts were found on
currency on their behalf. The problem is more than 33,000 sites last November
that greedy hackers are forcing Coinhive and that the problem grew by 31% in one
Malwarebytes has been fanning the flames on to other people’s websites, without month. Security firm Sophos also said
about the threat of cryptojacking permission, and using it to make money. Coinhive usage rose during December.

38 7 - 20 March 2018
Cryptojacking

Cryptojacking can lead to a nasty shock Thousands of websites were affected by Monero is the cryptocurrency most likely
when you get your electricity bill the BrowseAloud cryptojacking attack to be mined without your permission

How do hackers embed the code? the video sites Openload, Rapidvideo, isn’t doing anything wrong. The issue is
In the latest case of mass-cryptojacking, OnlineVideoConverter and Streamango that it’s being abused and people visiting
which we covered in last issue’s Need also contained mining software, which sites are unaware of what’s happening
to Know section, hackers inserted the had as many as a billion visitors under the hood. This got a lot of people’s
Coinhive script into websites’ code via unwittingly generating tokens for Monero. backs up and resulted in Malwarebytes
an add-on called BrowseAloud (bit.ly/ and many ad blockers stopping
ba444), which is aimed at the blind Are hackers only after Monero? Coinhive’s script running on sites.
and partially sighted. They exploited No. Hackers have also mined for Bitcoin,
a vulnerability in the tool, which converts Litecoin, Iota, Ethereum and Ripple. Is Coinhive doing anything
website text to audio, resulting in the Monero – billed as being secure, private to help?
biggest attack of its kind, affecting and untraceable – is understood to be Coinhive has released new code called
thousands of sites and even video ads. the most popular among online criminals AuthedMine that works in the same way
since it can be easily mined using a as the previous script, but adds a user-
Which websites are infected? visitor’s CPU (central processing unit). consent page. This alerts visitors to the
More than 5,000 websites are said potential for cryptomining and asks
to have been illegally infiltrated with What’s been done about the them to opt in (coinhive.com/blog/
the Coinhive script in the latest breach, latest attack? authedmine). “The AuthedMine miner will
including the Student Loans company, The National Cyber Security Centre has never start without the user’s consent,”
councils in England, various NHS services carried out an investigation, while the company says, and it’s asking
and even the UK’s data protection TextHelp, the creator of BrowseAloud, developers
watchdog, the Information took its website down while the problem to switch over
Commissioner’s Office (there’s a list of the was solved, to stop further visitors to the to the new
sites at bit.ly/aloud444). In each case, the affected sites being exposed to the method.
hackers were able to mine money from cryptomining code. Yet the threat is However, given
the sites’ traffic, but there are also sites unlikely to go away. Adguard’s research that the modus
that willingly insert Coinhive to make cash painted a bleak picture when it said six operandi of
for themselves, including The Pirate Bay. other mining networks were spotted in cryptojackers
October and November alone. Coinhive is to mine
Which video sites were targeted? remains the most popular, though. surreptitiously,
As we reported in Issue 442, some it’s unlikely
YouTube video ads were found to be Can’t Coinhive be taken out of to stamp out
AuthedMine encourages
illegally infiltrated by the codejacking business? the problem cryptojackers to mine
script. According to tech experts, Technically, Coinhive is legitimate and anytime soon. more responsibly

PROTECT YOURSELF FROM CRYPTOJACKING


It’s no use only sticking to sites you trust, because cryptojacking affects even popular and legitimate sites.
Here’s how to reduce the risk of falling prey

Check your computer’s processes mining – because it slows your system (bit.ly/nocoin444), and for Firefox
Open Windows to a standstill – turn on your ad blocker and Opera there’s Mining Blocker
Task Manager when you visit and ensure the NoCoin (mining-blocker.com).
(Control+Shift filter list is enabled.
+Esc), click the Keep antivirus software updated
Processes tab Block cryptocurrency mining The sneaky nature of cryptojacking
and look for There are several browser extensions means antivirus software doesn’t
surges in that block Coinhive and other always detect its presence,
processor cryptocurrencies but keeping your protection up
usage. from mining to date will
without your maximise
Add sites to consent. For your chances
an ad blocker Chrome, Firefox of catching
If you suspect and Vivaldi, most known
a website is there’s No Coin threats.

Discuss cryptojacking at forum.webuser.co.uk 7 - 20 March 2018 39


DITCHYOUR
LANDLINE!
Why pay £20 a month for a phone line you
COVER E never use and no longer need to get online?
R
FEATU Robert Irvine explains why and how you
should switch to a broadband-only deal

N
ot so long ago, living without a landline was like In this feature, we explain how you can do away with
cutting yourself off from the world. Relying your traditional phone line, yet still enjoy speedy and
exclusively on a mobile was impractical, because reliable internet access around your home. We weigh up
calls were expensive and some companies (and people) the pros and cons of the latest broadband-only deals, look
would only communicate with residential numbers. More at alternative ways to get online and reveal what to watch
importantly, for web users, a landline was essential for out for when you quit your current provider for a landline-
‘logging on’ to the internet. free existence.
Nowadays, thanks to the widespread availability of By following our advice, you could save hundreds of
Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G, it’s easy to get online virtually anywhere. pounds a year. For example, BT’s Unlimited Broadband
A home phone has become not only optional but package currently costs £42.99 a month – that’s £515.88 a
unnecessary, and more likely to leave you open to cold year – but ditching your landline in favour of a broadband-
callers and scammers. So why are broadband users still only deal will cut your costs to as little as £19.99 a month.
forced to pay a ‘landline tax’ just to get online? And if you switch to mobile Wi-Fi, you could pay just £5!

40 7 - 20 March 2018
COVER E
Ditch your landline FEATU
R

YOUR BROADBAND-ONLY QUESTIONS ANSWERED


If you’re wondering what the advantages are of ditching your landline
in favour of a broadband-only deal, read on as we explain all
Why does broadband usually then scrapping your landline is a good
require a phone line? place to start.
Most broadband providers offer services
that run on the UK’s copper-wire phone Will my broadband be faster
network, which is owned and without a phone line?
maintained by BT’s Openreach division. If you switch to a fibre-optic deal, you’ll
This includes phone cables, street definitely experience faster broadband
cabinets and telephone exchanges, and speeds than you would over a standard
accessing the network BT line. Other options, such as Mobile
requires an active Wi-Fi (Mi-Fi) may be slower than what
phone line. you’re currently getting but offer much
Cutting off your
Many fibre- better value (depending on the ‘up to’ landline may affect
broadband speed you’ve been paying for). your credit rating with
services also certain lenders
need a Can’t I just drop line rental from
landline, my current package? a fixed address so if you need to borrow
because their That depends on your current ISP. Of the money, you’ll find some lenders
cables only ‘big five’ fixed-line broadband providers, (particularly at the lower end of the
run as far as only Virgin Media offers web access scale) are more willing to offer you
your nearest without a landline, through its own a loan, mortgage or credit card if you
cabinet fibre-optic network. Some Openreach- provide that contact method. However,
Even high-speed
fibre-optic cables may – hence the based ISPs, including Plusnet, offer you can still ‘fix’ your address to satisfy
require you to have term ‘fibre-to- broadband-only packages that let you potential lenders by registering your
a landline the-cabinet’ – shop around to get your phone services details on the Electoral Roll.
and the from another provider. However, you You may have to pay a cancellation
connection to your home is completed still can’t forego line rental altogether. fee to leave your current ISP for a
through copper phone wires. If you want to stop paying for a phone broadband-only future, especially if you
line, you’ll probably need to change ISP still have several months left on your
What are the benefits of ditching or rethink the way you get online. contract.
my landline? We’ll discuss the best options later in
The cost of line rental typically adds this feature. Can I have broadband and TV
around £18 your broadband bill each without line rental?
month, whether Virgin Media used to offer this option,
you use your but it’s now disappeared from its
home phone or website. We queried this with an ‘agent’
not. Most mobile and were encouraged to go for the full
contracts now broadband,
include more phone and TV
free calls than bundle, which
landline deals, makes line
which are often rental
restricted to “essentially
certain times of free. You don’t
Some ISPs offer ‘broadband-only’ deals
day (and week) that still require you to have a landline have to plug in
and don’t a phone or
include calls to Can I save money by ditching even use it”.
mobiles. Many my phone line? We felt this
people now That depends on how often you use rather missed
prefer to make your landline, but ditching your home the point and
Many people choose free calls over phone means one less bill to pay sounded like
to make free calls the internet because you won’t be charged for line a ‘no’.
through apps such as using Skype, rental. Most ISPs offer discounts on If you’re
WhatsApp Virgin Media offers
WhatsApp or bundles that include several services, determined
broadband-only deals
FaceTime, rather than talk into a including home phone, but the cheapest not to have
but not broadband-
traditional telephone. broadband-only deals could halve your a landline, or and-TV-only
Home phones are also more likely to monthly outlay. unwilling to
receive unwanted sales, marketing and cede control of all your communications
scam calls, although of course mobiles What are the drawbacks to losing to one company, consider getting your
aren’t exempt from this nuisance. If you my landline? broadband and television from separate
want your residence to be ‘off the grid’, Having a landline number ties you to providers.

7 - 20 March 2018 41
CHOOSE A LANDLINE-FREE BROADBAND PLAN
There are currently only a handful of choices for having broadband without
a landline. Here, we compare the main options
BEST FOR SPEED to £48 per month, plus an activation fee
of £20 and another £65 upfront for a
Virgin Media 30-day rolling plan. In fact, its bundles
broadband-only for broadband, TV and phone offer
bit.ly/virgin444 better value, even if you never use your
landline. For example, the 50Mbps
What’s good about it? Player TV option costs £33, the same as
Until EE launched its 4G Home broadband-only for the first year; while
Broadband last month, Virgin Media was Virgin Media’s cheapest broadband-
the only fixed-line ISP to offer home and-phone deal is priced at only £29
broadband without a phone line. Its per month for the first 12 months
fibre-optic broadband network operates (after which it’s £40 a month).
independently of the national-telecoms Another downside is that Virgin Media EE 4G Home Broadband offers an external
network, which is mostly looked after by broadband isn’t yet available across the antenna to boost indoor coverage
Openreach, so Virgin Media is able to UK. Enter your postcode at bit.ly/
offer super-fast connections that don’t vmchecker444 to see if you can get it. What’s not so good:
depend on a traditional copper phone You need to be an EE, T-Mobile or
line. None of the other big broadband Orange customer to get 4G Home
providers comes close to its speeds of BEST FOR COVERAGE Broadband, and it isn’t particularly
up to 300Mbps, which the company cheap. Prices range from £25 per month
credits to its DOCSIS 3 technology EE 4G Home for 10GB of data to £60 for 200GB, and
(Data Over Cable Service Interface Broadband the 30-day plans incur an upfront
Specification) and “unique insulated bit.ly/4gee444 charge of £99.99. On the plus side, you
cable, with a thicker copper core”. can use the EE app to track exactly how
You can choose between a 12-month What’s good about it? much data you’re using.
contract and a more flexible 30-day EE officially offers the fastest 4G in
‘rolling’ plan (that can be cancelled Britain (bit.ly/eefastest444), and its new
within 30 days), with four available 4G Home Broadband brings its BEST FOR SIMPLICITY
speed options – ‘up to’ 50, 100, 200 and impressive mobile network to your
300Mbps – and no data cap. All Virgin house, promising speeds of up to Three HomeFi
Media Vivid plans include its “fastest 76Mbps without a phone line. Following bit.ly/homefi444
ever” Wi-Fi Hub, and let you choose a trial in Cumbria, the service has now
between QuickStart self-install (if your been rolled out across the whole What’s good about it?
home is already wired for the service) country and is specifically targeting Three’s landline-free home broadband
and engineer installation, which may web users in rural areas, who have is based around a tiny (181 x 126mm)
require “a small amount of digging previously been at the mercy of BT. router, made by Huawei, which comes
and drilling”. 4G Home Broadband is very easy with a 4G SIM card
to set up – just plug in the 4GEE router that you simply
and activate your account to access pop into the back
the network. It lets you connect up to of the device to
32 devices and there’s also an optional get you online.
external antenna for customers with Three claims
reliable outdoor 4G but variable indoor HomeFi offers
coverage, although this costs £100 potential speeds
to install. of up 150Mbps,
You can either sign up for an although that’s
18-month 4G Home Broadband contract highly unlikely – its
or choose a rolling 30-day plan, with most recent average figure was 22Mbps,
several options to choose from and a lot less than even that in London
Virgin depending on how much data you need. (see bit.ly/3speed444). The router’s
Media’s Additionally, signal has a reach of up to 250 metres,
DOCSIS 3 if you’re so it should easily cover all areas of your
technology an existing home, without leaving any ‘notspots’.
delivers ultra-
EE mobile HomeFi lets you connect up to 32
fast speeds
without a customer, your wireless devices at once, and Three
phone line monthly data conveniently offers free next-day
allowance will delivery, which makes it a good solution
What’s not so good: be boosted if you need home broadband urgently.
Virgin Media’s broadband-only deals automatically You don’t need to be an existing Three
certainly aren’t cheap, ranging from £33 by 5GB. customer to use the service.

42 7 - 20 March 2018
COVER E
Ditch your landline FEATU
R

What’s not
so good:
Relish is currently
only available in
Central London
and Swindon,
and its coverage
hasn’t
significantly
expanded since Hypertonic claims to deliver speeds over
27 times faster than the national average
Three HomeFi is easy to set up but limits it launched four
how much data you can use each month years ago (check its cheapest deal – which costs a very
if it’s available in your area at bit.ly/ reasonable £19 a month for the first
What’s not so good: relish444). Also, recent reviews on year, and £22 thereafter – delivers
Three offers a choice of HomeFi Trustpilot (bit.ly/trustrelish444) have a download speed of up to 30Mbps.
contracts – one month, 12 months or 24 complained of disappointing speeds There’s no data limit, either, and the
– with prices ranging from £23 to £29 and poor customer service. price includes a HyperHub router and
per month, but all its plans have a data 24/7 customer support.
limit of 40GB (or 100GB for the most Hyperoptic works over its own
expensive option). This is fine for mobile BEST FOR VALUE fibre-optic network, “specifically
usage, but may not be enough for home designed for the needs of the 21st
use, where you’re likely to be streaming Hyperoptic century”. This means
and downloading more. If you want www.hyperoptic.com that (unlike Virgin
more data, you’ll need to buy an Media), its cables go
add-on, with prices starting at £5 for an What’s good about it? all the way to your
extra 1GB. There’s also a £59.99 upfront Hyperoptic might not be a household building, rather than
charge for the 30-day contract. name but it’s currently the smartest a nearby cabinet, with
way to get home broadband without no signal degradation,
a landline, and claims to deliver speeds environmental
BEST FOR LONDON (and Swindon) over 27 times faster than the UK interference or
average (36.2Mbps). Its top plan (£48 slowdowns – even
Relish per month) offers an amazing 1Gbps for during peak times. You
www.relish.net both downloads and uploads, and even can choose between

What’s good about it?


This 4G service uses an Indoor Hub WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
rather than a landline to deliver
broadband speeds of up to 40Mbps.
There’s no limit on how much data you
can use, and it costs £22 per month.

■ Deceptive advertising
Some ISPs claim to offer broadband without a phone line, but if you read
the small print you’ll discover that you still need to pay line rental to BT or
You can choose between a 12-month another company. Plusnet’s ‘broadband-only’ deals offer a £3.50 discount to
contract and a one-month deal, though customers who switch to its phone service, so aren’t really landline-free at all!
the latter charges an extra £70 for the
hub. Relish is operated by UK
Broadband Ltd, a subsidiary of Three
UK, and claims to be the only

■ Credit checks
Even without line rental, most ISPs will run a credit check when you sign
up for a broadband deal, because they technically own the equipment you’re
broadband service that can be delivered provided with. Virgin Media requires details of your address(es) for the past
the very same day (for a fee – next-day three years before you can sign up.
delivery is free). Refer a friend to Relish
and you can earn up to £200 in rewards.

■ Exaggerated speeds
ISPs can no longer get away with
making false claims about their
broadband speeds, but even ‘up to’
figures are usually way off what you’ll
actually receive. Ofcom now wants
providers to quote a “minimum
guaranteed” speed in their ads, too.


■ Installation hassles
Even landline-free ISPs charge an activation fee for their service, but you
should also watch out for installation fees – especially if there’s an option to
set up your router yourself for free. In some cases, engineers may need to drill
Relish offers landline-free broadband the holes in your walls to lay broadband cable.
same day – if you live in Central London

7 - 20 March 2018 43
a no-contract and 12-month-contract to express interest before it will commit
deal, and switch from one to the other to installation. You can register your
if you change your mind. own interest by entering your postcode
on Hyperoptic’s homepage and filling in
What’s not so good: the form. There’s a £40 activation fee,
Unsurprisingly, there’s a catch – getting and setting up the Hyperoptic socket
Hyperoptic installed is no easy feat. The involves the engineer drilling a small
broadband service is now available in 30 (10mm) hole, usually above your front
towns and cities across the UK, spanning door, then running the cable inside your
400,000 homes, but the company is property. Regular installations include
currently focusing on multi-dwelling 10m of surface-mounted visible cabling,
buildings (and small to medium-sized so tenants need to secure the Hyperoptic offers its own fibre-optic
offices) and requires enough residents permission of their landlord first. network but getting it installed isn’t easy

CHOOSE A MOBILE BROADBAND PLAN


You don’t need to be on the move to enjoy the benefits of mobile Wi-Fi.
Here are the best options for cable-free web access
Rather than relying on a router at home, need to connect them to a permanent of the country, so it’s worth checking
you can get broadband everywhere power source, and some can even Ofcom’s map (checker.ofcom.org.uk)
you go by using a mobile Wi-Fi – charge other devices on the go, such as to view availability in your area.
or Mi-Fi – device. These are now offered your phone or laptop. Our chart below shows how the latest
by all the main mobile networks, and the On the downside, the more affordable 4G Mi-Fi devices from the main
cheapest plans cost a lot less than Mi-Fi plans usually have tight data caps, networks compare. Most also offer
a home 4G service, while delivering which makes them best suited to 3G options, as well as old-fashioned
similar speeds (depending on signal short-term or light internet use. ‘dongles’ that plug into your laptop’s
strength). These portable routers run on You should also bear in mind that USB port – but why go slow when you
rechargeable batteries, so you don’t 4G coverage is patchy in many parts can fly?

EE O2 Huawei 4G Three Huawei Virgin Media Vodafone


4GEE WiFi Pocket Hotspot Plus E5573 4G IMO Go R218 4G

WEBSITE www.ee.co.uk www.o2.co.uk www.three.co.uk www.virginmedia.com www.vodafone.co.uk


PRICE PER MONTH £12-£61 £11-£30 £8-£23 £5-£21 £11-£30
UPFRONT COST £0-£79.99 £19.99-£107.99 £0-£29 £0 or £39.99 £0-£35
DATA LIMIT 2GB-50GB 2GB-40GB 2GB-20GB 1GB-10GB 2GB-50GB
CONTRACT 30 days 24 months 30 days or 30 days 30 days
LENGTH or 24 months or pay-as-you-go 24 months or 12 months or 24 months
EXTRAS Free EU 12-month subscription to Go Binge streaming Data rollover, Vodafone Global
roaming data Microsoft Office 365 Personal (£13+ per month contracts only) data-free messaging Roaming in 50 countries
WI-FI CONNECTIVITY 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 802.11 a/b/g/n, 802.11 a/b/g/n, 802.11 b/g/n, 802.11 b/g/n,
2.4GHz 2.4GHz/5GHz 2.4GHz/5GHz 2.4GHz 2.4GHz
MAX NO OF DEVICES 10 10 10 10 5
BATTERY LIFE 20 hours operating time, 10 hours operating time, 4 hours operating time, 6 hours operating time, 10 hours operating time,
180 hours standby 500 hours standby 300 hours standby 300 hours standby 300 hours standby
SIZE 88 x 88mm 168 x 68mm 94 x 55mm 100 x 61mm 105 x 64mm
WEIGHT 168g 200g 75g 140g 102g
All devices offer theoretical download speeds of up to 150Mbps and upload speeds of 50Mbps over 4G

44 7 - 20 March 2018
COVER E
Ditch your landline FEATU
R

CANCELLING YOUR LANDLINE


Once you’ve made up your mind to ditch your landline, what steps do you need
to follow? Our guide walks you through the process

1Find out how to cancel


Most ISPs make you call them in
person to cancel your contract, rather
notified of the price hike, in line with
Ofcom rules.
Most providers now let you hang on
than letting you do so online, so they to your old router, but double-check if
can offer you incentives to change your you need to return any equipment or
mind. Here are the numbers you need to you may be charged for that, too.
ring for the ‘big five’ providers:
BT – 0800 783 1401
EE – 0800 079 0544
Sky – 03300 413 018
3Sign up with your new
provider
Switching broadband used to be a
TalkTalk – 0345 172 0088 complicated procedure involving MAC
Virgin Media – 0345 454 1111 or codes, but Ofcom’s ‘gaining provider-
150 from your Virgin Media phone led process’ has since made the
You may have to pay a cancellation fee handover much more straightforward.

2 Calculate your cancellation fee


If you cancel your contract with the
minimum term – for example, within the
for leaving your ISP early

worth hanging on until you reach your


You now only need to contact the
provider you wish to switch to, and
they will perform the transfer for you.
first year if you signed up for 12 months minimum term, unless you can exploit The deals we’ve recommended in this
– you’ll probably be charged a a get-out clause. For example, you won’t feature don’t require a landline, so you
termination fee, and will have to give have to pay an exit fee if you leave don’t need to worry about switching
your ISP 30-days notice of your leaving within your 14-day ‘cooling-off’ period at all. Technically, it’s possible – if
(14 days with Sky), during which time after signing up, or if your broadband financially inadvisable – to have two lots
you’ll still need to pay. This usually provider has failed to provide an of broadband running at the same time.
equals the amount you pay per month acceptable level of service. If the cost of
multiplied by the number of months left
on your contract.
If leaving now looks too pricey, it’s
your package was increased mid-way
through your contract, you can cancel
without charge within 30 days of being
4Start a new Virgin Media
contract
If you’re a Virgin Media customer and
you want to get rid of your landline but
keep your broadband, you’ll need to
CONSIDER SATELLITE BROADBAND sign up for a new contract and pay an
exit fee for ditching your phone line, if
If you live in a remote you’re still within the minimum term.
area where fixed-line You should also be prepared for Virgin
broadband is painfully Media’s support to ask why you’re
slow or non-existent, and cancelling your line rental while they
where 3G and 4G signals persuade you not to!
are patchy, satellite
broadband might be your
best – perhaps only –
option. It doesn’t require
Web users on slow
connections can
5Recycle your landline phone
There are loads of websites that pay
for old mobiles, but very few companies
get a discount on
a phone line, offers will accept old landline phones, which
satellite broadband
widespread coverage risks leaving you with a now-redundant
(as long as you can point blower cluttering your home. Your best
the satellite dish at the bet is to find a local recycling centre
satellite, you can get that accepts electrical equipment, which
online) and isn’t slowed by obstacles and distances. If you’ve ever used Wi-Fi you can do using Recycle Now’s search
on an aeroplane or a boat, you’ve probably used satellite broadband. It works tool at bit.ly/recycle444. Select
in the same way as satellite TV in that it receives information to a small dish Electricals in the first column and
and transfers that data via a cable connected to a modem in your house. The Telephones/Fax in the second, then
dish also sends information to the satellite, for a fast two-way connection. enter your postcode to find the nearest
Avonline Broadband (avonlinebroadband.com) offers satellite internet from place to dump your old dog-and-bone.
£19.95 per month, with download speeds of up to 15Mbps and uploads at
2Mbps. On the downside, its packages all have a fixed data allowance
(although some don’t count data used overnight) and there’s a £39.99
connection fee plus an £139 installation charge, as well as the cost of renting
or buying the hardware. If that sounds far too expensive, you should consider
applying for a subsidy from the Better Broadband Scheme (bit.ly/better444),
which offers UK web users savings of up to £350 (£800 in Wales) if their
connections are slower than 2Mbps. Dispose of your old landline phone by
taking it to a local recycling centre

7 - 20 March 2018 45
TURN YOUR PHONE INTO A WI-FI HOTSPOT
If you don’t want to commit to a contract, you can get instant
home broadband using your mobile phone. Here’s how to do it

The cheapest and fastest way to get Browsing the web on a laptop data”, although it
home internet without a landline, ISP or connected to your personal hotspot doesn’t go as far
even a router is to turn your smartphone uses a lot more data than on a mobile as blocking the
into a personal Wi-Fi hotspot. This is device. To ensure you don’t exceed your feature. For this
much easier than it sounds, although not monthly limit, you can keep an eye on reason, a personal
all devices support ‘tethering’ and costs your data use by installing the excellent hotspot is best
vary significantly according to your free Android app Glasswire (bit.ly/ used as a stopgap
mobile tariff, so make glass444), which displays a permanent rather than a
sure you check with notification indicating your data usage replacement for
your network for a set period and alerts you when you home broadband.
provider before near your limit. Even if you have an You’ll also find
risking any additional all-you-can-eat data plan, you’ll still that tethering Glasswire ensures
charges. For example, need to ensure you don’t breach your causes your your mobile hotspot
doesn’t exceed your
Three’s Advanced mobile network’s fair-usage policy. smartphone’s data allowance
Pay Monthly and SIM O2, for example, states that “we don’t battery to drain
plans include Personal recommend using your phone as a more quickly than usual, so plug it into
Hotspot, but its personal hotspot, as this eats up a lot of the mains if you’re at home.
Essential and Pay As
You Go plans require
you to buy an add-on. GET SKY WITHOUT A LANDLINE
To set up a
Create a mobile personal hotspot on Sky’s broadband and TV bundle requires you to
Wi-Fi hotspot an Android phone, go pay for line rental and although you can get all
to get internet
to Settings, ‘Wireless Sky TV channels via its satellite dish, you need
access wherever
you are & networks’, tap More a landline to get its catch-up and on-demand
and select ‘Tethering TV. The best way around this is Now TV (www
& mobile hotspot’ (or similar). Next, tap .nowtv.com), which lets you enjoy all the
‘Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot’ to turn on the delights of Sky TV – including non-Freeview
hotspot and choose ‘Set up Wi-Fi channels, movies and sport – without having
hotspot’. Select ‘Show password’ to see to sign up to a lengthy contract with its internet Now TV lets you watch all
Sky TV channels on a
and edit the network name and or satellite service. Priced from just £7.99
broadband-only deal
password, then use the details to a month, it can be used with any of this
connect to your mobile hotspot from feature’s landline-free broadband options to stream both live and on-demand
your other wireless-enabled devices. TV to your telly. You can choose between Entertainment, Sky Cinema and
On an iPhone or a 3G/4G iPad, go to Sky Sports passes (the first two offer 14-day free trials), watch more than
Settings, Cellular, Personal Hotspot and 300 box sets of shows including The Walking Dead, and cancel at any time
tap the slider to turn it on (if you can’t without penalty. Now TV is available as a streaming stick, set-top box and
see it, check that Personal Hotspot is mobile, console and smart TV apps. Obviously, streaming video uses lots of
included in your mobile tariff). Set a data, so be careful if your broadband-only deal has a tight cap.
password for your hotspot and you’ll be Later this year, Sky plans to make its Sky Q package broadband-only,
able to connect it from other devices so even Sky subscribers won’t need an unsightly dish stuck to their homes.
using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB.

NEXT ISSUE on sale Wednesday 21 March 2018

WINDOWS 10 PLUS...
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every secret you must unlock SUBSCRIBE TO WEB USER AT
SUBSCRIBE.WEBUSER.CO.UK

46 7 - 20 March 2018
Does it REALLY work?
rk
We test intriguing tech hacks from
om ththe web
to discover if they
they’re fact or fi
th fiction
io

Remove scratches using toothpaste


Wayne Williams tries to rescue a scratched smartphone
screen using a dab of toothpaste, a cotton bud and a clean cloth

S
martphone screens are a lot more robust than
they used to be, thanks to the use of stronger OTHER WAYS TO TACKLE SCRATCHES
materials such as Gorilla Glass. You need to be
quite clumsy and unlucky to break a smartphone screen BAKING SODA BABY POWDER
these days (even a fragile looking iPhone X). We once Mix two parts of the powder Swap baking powder for
dropped an iPhone 7 in a busy railway station and with one part water, and baby powder and follow
accidentally kicked it into a crowd of people, some of turn it into a thick paste. the same instructions.
whom then walked on it. The result was some footprints Apply it in the same way as
on the back (which was protected with a case) but – the toothpaste. VEGETABLE OIL
amazingly – there were no other ill effects. Oil can be used
That said, it’s relatively easy for your display to pick CAR-SCRATCH REMOVAL to temporarily
up minor surface scratches, especially if you carry your CREAM disguise scratches.
phone in your pocket next to your keys. If you find your It removes scratches from Only use a very tiny
screen has some small nicks and abrasions (but no deep car body work, so it could amount because
gouges or cracks), a trip to the bathroom might just feasibly do the same on any excess could
save the day. a smartphone screen. stain your clothes.

1 2 3

Put a small blob of toothpaste on the Spread the toothpaste with a cotton bud Use a wet cloth to remove any excess
scratched area – this is a little too much and rub it in using a circular motion toothpaste afterwards

How we tested it toothpastes are designed for specific The result


Having tried and failed to drown our results, such as whitening teeth, Toothpaste worked at removing very
smartphone back in Issue 442, we reducing sensitivity and strengthening light – almost imperceptible – scratches,
brought it back into service for this test. enamel, but that doesn’t serve any but it did nothing for the larger, deeper
We scratched its screen using an old purpose here. We’re only concerned marks. As with most of the quick fixes
school compass and an awl (a pointed with sanding down imperfections on the we’ve tried in this series, the main
metal tool). It took a surprising amount surface of the screen, so the cheapest, deciding factor for whether the trick
of force to damage the display, but this most basic toothpaste will do just fine. works or not is the depth and severity of
method was still quicker – and safer We used a cotton bud to apply a tiny the damage. We weren’t blown away by
– than jamming the phone into a tight blob of toothpaste to the scratches the results we achieved in attempting to
jeans pockets along with razor blades on our phone, 1 then used that and repair the scratches, but we’ll concede
and screws, then jumping around. a lint-free cloth to rub the paste into that the trick made a difference with the
Once we’d defaced the screen, the ‘wounds’, using small circular lighter scuffs. The problem is that it’s
we set about trying to repair it using motions. 2 We then moistened the the deeper marks that will most annoy
toothpaste. The trick here is to use other end of the cloth and wiped away you, and it’s unlikely that toothpaste will
actual toothpaste, not tooth gel. Many the excess toothpaste. 3 help in such cases.

Discuss screen-mending hacks at forum.webuser.co.uk 7 - 20 March 2018 47


Make your photos look
amazing – for free

Improving photos and


other images needn’t
be complicated or
expensive. Jonathan
Parkyn compares the
best free image-editing
programs for your PC

Paint.net | www.getpaint.net | ★★★★★


FEATURES ★★★★★ PERFORMANCE ★★★★★ EASE OF USE ★★★★
★★★★★

What we liked:
Wh most recently
We’ll freely
We released update
admit that (version 4.0.21),
Paint.net is a along with improved
long-standing support for high-DPI
favourite of displays and large
ours. It’s one of
ou (4GB-plus) file sizes,
th
those rare free as well as other
programs that’s just brilliant enhancements.
at what it does with no
strings attached – no ads, How it can be
no premium features, no improved:
foistware – just all the tools If you’re an
you need to make your advanced user,
photos look great. Paint.net you may find that
has been around for a while, Paint.net lacks the
though, so we were impressive power
interested to see how it of our Silver Award-
measured up against the current crop forums.getpaint.net, as well tons of winner GIMP. It’s also worth noting that,
of free image-editing programs, and online tutorials, user-generated plugins unlike the main version, Paint.net’s
we’re delighted to report that it’s still and more. Windows 10 app (available on the
worthy of our gold seal of approval. But what Paint.net does best of all Windows Store at bit.ly/paintapp444)
This is partly down to the solid set of is provide a workable balance between is not free – it currently costs £4.19.
features that it offers. Everything you power and simplicity. There are easier
could want from an image-editing image-editing tools available, but few
program is here, including a clone of them offer anywhere like the breadth OUR VERDICT
stamp, support for layers and loads of features you’ll find in Paint.net. Paint.net was a great program back
of high-quality filters, effects and tools, Crucially, it’s also intuitive enough to not in 2004, when it was first
such as a red-eye remover. put off beginners. developed as a student’s computer
This continued excellence is also due, It’s reassuring to see that Paint.net’s science project. Now, nearly
in part, to the fact that Paint.net has developer is continuing to make the 14 years later, it still sets the bar
such as great community behind it, program even better, adding a swanky as the free image editor to beat.
with plenty of active discussion at new Dark Mode to the UI options in the

48 7 - 20 March 2018
Free image editors

GIMP | www.gimp.org | ★★★★


★★★★★ BEST OF THE REST
FEATURES ★★★★★ PERFORMANCE ★★★★★ EASE OF USE ★★★
★★★★★
On1 Effects Free
What
Wh we liked: bit.ly/on1effects444
GIMP (short for If you just want to make basic edits
GNU Image and add cool-looking filters that
Manipulation make your photos pop, then On1
Program) is Effects
another
ano free could
prrogram that be the
breaks all ‘too good answer.
to be true’ expectations. It’s a
Advanced users will find freebie
most of the features they from a
might ever need, including company
exposure controls, levels, curves, layer How it can be improved: that makes a decent paid-for Adobe
masks and more, and if you’re familiar GIMP hasn’t been updated in a while, Lightroom alternative (On1 Photo
with Photoshop (the industry standard), beyond the odd bug fix. However, RAW 2018), but it offers a surprising
you’ll find these tools more or less the lengthy list of new features for the level of control over each filter. Also,
exactly where you’d expect them to be. latest beta release (bit.ly/gimpbeta444) effects are stackable, meaning you
The interface aims to please, too – proves that GIMP has in no way been can layer them on top of each other.
for example, if you don’t get on with the abandoned.
floating tool palettes of GIMP’s interface, iPiccy
the latest version (v2.8.22) has the bit.ly/ipiccy444
option to flip to a more familiar Single- OUR VERDICT Like Pixlr, iPiccy is an online image
Window Mode via the Windows menu. Playing City to Paint.net’s United, editor that you use in your web
If you’re looking for a catch, there GIMP definitely has the edge over browser (Flash must be enabled for
really isn’t one. In fact, the only reason its rival in the power and breadth it to work). Deceptively powerful,
GIMP was pipped to the Gold Award by of its features. However, the learning iPiccy’s
Paint.net is because it’s a little more curve is steeper and the software app-style
complex to use and doesn’t provide as is in dire need of an update. interface
much hand-holding. is a
complete
change
Pixlr Editor | bit.ly/pixlr444 | ★★★★
★★★★★ from
FEATURES ★★★★
★★★★★ PERFORMANCE ★★★
★★★★★ EASE OF USE ★★★★
★★★★★ Photoshop – its tools are in tabs
down the left-hand side, some of
which (including Clone) require you
What
Wh we liked: to sign in with a free account. Its
Okay, so Pixlr collage-making and graphic-design
Editor isn’t tools are a welcome bonus.
technically
a program – it’s PhotoScape
a web app. But bit.ly/photoscape444
part from running
ap This handy free tool combines
in your browser instead image editing with a photo viewer,
of its own window, it looks and batch
works almost exactly how an editor,
image-editing program should. animated
Pixlr Editor’s tool set isn’t GIF
as expansive as either GIMP’s or How it can be improved: creator
Paint.net’s, but it supports layers, It’s a web app, so you need to be online and
levels, curves and many other abilities to use it, which is a problem if you need more.
that advanced users might need. It’s to tweak an image while you’re halfway The
also comparatively easy to use, and up Ben Nevis. You also need Flash interface is intuitively organised,
provides support at bit.ly/pixlrhelp444. enabled to run it in your browser, and and each individual component is
Being a web app has its advantages. have to put up with the occasional ad. accessed via its own tab at the top
For starters, you don’t need to install of the program window.
anything on your PC, which is PhotoScape’s editing tools are basic
potentially safer and saves hard-drive OUR VERDICT compared to our award-winning
space. Chrome users can add Pixlr Don’t write Pixlr Editor off, just programs – it’s also ad-supported
Editor to the browser as an app because it’s an online-only tool. and tries to install Chrome during
(bit.ly/pixlrchrome444), and switching It’s got all you need for everyday installation. But our only real beef
to ‘Fullscreen mode’ (via the View improvements, including crop, with PhotoScape is that it hasn’t
menu) makes Pixlr Editor feel more rotate, colour correction and more. been updated in a while.
like a ‘real’ program.

Discuss free image editors at forum.webuser.co.uk 7 - 20 March 2018 49


Stop your brrrowser
freezing

Don’t blame the cold weather for your browser


seizing up. Wayne Williams explains how to diagnose and fix
hangs and crashes in Chrome, Firefox and Edge
Identify and remove dodgy Reduce your browser’s them guzzling resources in the
add-ons memory usage background. You can also set tabs to
Malfunctioning add-ons are the number Browsers consume a lot of memory, suspend automatically after a specific
one cause of browser problems. If your especially when you have lots of tabs period, with the option to whitelist any
browser freezes or crashes regularly, open. If your computer doesn’t have you want to keep active, such as the tab
your first step should be to find out much RAM to begin with, you may find containing your Gmail, for example.
which add-ons you have installed so you that opening lots of tabs slows down Alternatively, you could try OneTab
can remove any you don’t need. your browser significantly or causes it to (www.one-tab.com) for Firefox and
In Firefox, type about:addons into crash. A simple way to stop your Chrome, which converts all your open
the address bar. A list appears, which browser using too much memory is to tabs into a list. This frees up memory,
you should check to see what you have close and restart it occasionally. and you can relaunch any tab by
installed. Disable or remove any you Right-click the taskbar and select Task clicking its link.
don’t want from this screen. In Chrome, Manager, then select your browser in
go to chrome://extensions. Untick the list and click End Task. When you Disable unnecessary scripts
the Enabled box next to an add-on to restart your browser, it should offer you Unwanted scripts can cause all sorts of
disable it, or click the bin icon to the chance to restore all the tabs you browser problems, including hangs and
remove the extension completely. had open when you closed it. freezes. NoScript for Firefox (noscript
If you’re not sure which add-on is the Another way to cut down on memory .net) and uMatrix for Chrome (bit.ly/
cause of your problems, try running use is to install The Great Suspender for umatrix444) block plugins such as
your browser in ‘safe mode’ – that is, Chrome (bit.ly/tgs444). This unloads, JavaScript, Java, Flash and more so they
without any add-ons running and using parks and suspends open tabs (apart can’t run without your permission. Both
the default settings. If the browser stops from the one you’re viewing), to stop add-ons make it easy to allow scripts to
crashing, you should be able to track run on sites you trust. To use NoScript,
down the culprit by a process of simply click the icon when you’re on
elimination. To run Firefox in safe mode, a website and choose between Trusted,
click the three-line menu button in the Untrusted and Temp Trusted.
top-right corner and go to Help (or just With uMatrix, you can click buttons
click the Help menu if you have it to enable or block elements such as
displayed), then select ‘Restart with cookies, images, media, scripts and
Add-ons disabled’. In the box that frames so that web pages load faster
opens, click the Restart button. and your browser works smoothly.
Running Chrome in incognito
mode disables add-ons automatically.
Press Ctrl+Shift+N to open a new
incognito window and see if that Use The Great Suspender to stop tabs
fixes your problems. consuming memory in the background

Check
which
add-ons
you have
installed
to find out
what could
be crashing
your Disable unwanted scripts on web pages
browser to stop them freezing your browser

50 7 - 20 March 2018
Stop your browser freezing

Disable troublesome plugins


Most current browsers automatically
disable potentially dodgy plugins but
there’s still a chance that one could slip
through the net or be reactivated and
cause trouble, so it’s worth checking
them manually. In the past, you could
access Chrome’s plugins by typing
chrome:/plugins into the address
bar, but Google has disabled this option.
Instead you need to type chrome://
settings/content to access the Block cryptocurrency miners so they don’t If freezing problems persist, try resetting
relevant page. From here, you can freeze and crash your browser Firefox to start afresh
manage Flash and JavaScript, and
instruct sites to ask for permission Other, less-scrupulous sites mine Firefox, then reinstall it and copy the
whenever they want to use a plugin. cryptocurrency in the background saved profile folders back to where you
without asking visitors, which can make found them. You’ll need to close Firefox
your browser slow down or even crash. before you can do this.
Malwarebytes (www.malwarebytes To reset Chrome, open the menu and
.com) blocks known cryptominers, as go to Settings. Type reset into the
does the No Coin browser extension search box at the top and click Reset
(bit.ly/noc444), which is available for when it appears in the results. In the box
Chrome, Firefox and Opera. You can that opens, click Reset.
pause
pa the add-on if required, or To refresh Edge in Windows 10, click
temporarily
te whitelist a site if you need Start and open Settings. Open the Apps
to allow mining to access it. See our section and locate or search for
FAQ
FA on page 38 to find out more about Microsoft Edge. Click it and choose
the growing cryptomining trend. ‘Advanced options’. The window that
opens gives you the option to Repair
Reset or reinstall your or Reset Microsoft’s browser.

Make sure plugins are disabled in your


browser The latest version of Opera is very
browser to prevent problems
If you’ve tried everything we’ve easy to reset – see page 33 for details.
suggested and your browser is still
To manage plugins in Firefox, type freezing, you may need to reset or
about:addons into the address bar reinstall it. Doing this in Firefox is very
and press Enter, then select Plugins on easy, but make sure you back up your
the left. The drop-down menu beside browser profile first because this
each plugin lets you choose from ‘Ask to contains all your passwords, bookmarks,
Activate’, Always Activate or Never open tabs and more. Launch File
Activate. You can also choose how Explorer, go to %APPDATA%\Mozilla\
automatic updates should be handled. Firefox\Profiles\ and copy any
profile folders you find there to your
Block cryptocurrency miners Desktop. To reset Firefox, click the
Cryptocurrency miners are a modern three-line menu button, choose Help
scourge. Some websites, including and select Troubleshooting Information.
Salon (www.salon.com), give visitors Click the Refresh Firefox button. If that
who use ad blockers the option to help fixes the problem, you don’t need to
fund their content by devoting some of worry about restoring your saved profile Repair or reset Edge if the browser keeps
their PC’s processing power to mining. folders. If it doesn’t work, uninstall hanging in Windows 10

BEWARE OF TECH-SUPPORT SCAMS


Perhaps the best-known tech- claiming that your ISP has blocked your
support scam is when you get a call PC to stop a virus stealing your data.
claiming to be from Microsoft, You can’t close your browser in the
offering to remove a virus from your usual way, although you can do it via
PC. Web User readers will be wise to the Windows Task Manager (press
this trick, but criminals are turning to Ctrl+Shift+Esc to launch it). The
ever more sophisticated methods. message includes a fake number for
Malwarebytes recently reported Microsoft and urges you to call it to
that scammers are using a trick to unlock your PC. It should go without
freeze browsers, including Chrome, saying that calling scammers is a bad
Firefox and Brave (bit.ly/ idea. You can combat this menace by
scammers444). When you visit using NoScript or uMatrix to disable
a scam site, a message appears scripts from unknown sources.

Discuss browser fixes at forum.webuser.co.uk 7 - 20 March 2018 51


Practical
16 pages of workshops, tips, projects
and problem solving

OCR
The OCR tool

Scan multi-page documents and


lets you create
searchable
PDFs, and
turn them into a single PDF supports
more than 100
languages
Scanning lots of pages usually results in multiple
files, but NAPS2 offers a much tidier solution
NAPS2: www.naps2.com | 20 mins | XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10

N
APS2 is a tiny program that lets to improve their quality. There’s even
you scan multi-page documents an optical character recognition
and turn them into a single PDF (OCR) tool for extracting editable
file. It has several other useful tricks up text from your scans, which recognises
its sleeve, too, such as the ability to save more than 100 languages.
scans as JPEG, PNG, TIFF and other NAPS2’s well-designed interface makes
image file types. You can rotate, crop it very easy to use. You need a scanner
and rearrange your scanned images, or a multi-function printer with a built-in
and adjust the brightness and contrast scanner to use it.

1 3
2
3
2 4
ZOOM
Use the magnifying-glass
icons to change the size
of the thumbnails

1 Launch NAPS2 and click the Scan


button. 1 This opens the Profile
Settings window. Click ‘Choose device’
2 NAPS2 supports both WIA and
TWAIN scanner drivers. The default
option should be fine, but you can switch
2 and, in the Select Device screen that to whichever works best with your
opens, select your scanner, then click scanner. 1 The software also lets you
OK. NAPS2 fills in the ‘Display name’ 3 change the source of scans, 2 set the
automatically, but you can change this page size 3 and adjust the resolution. 4
if you like.

1
2

1
3
2
3 4
1
4
5

3 If you’re scanning plain text, change


the scan bit-depth from ‘24-bit Color’
to ‘Black & White’ to get better results. 1
4 In Advanced settings, you can select
Maximum Quality (which results in
larger file sizes) 1 or use the slider to
5 The program starts scanning your
first page as soon as you close the
Profile Settings window, so make sure
The Scale control 2 lets you increase the manually adjust the quality. You can also everything is ready. A thumbnail of the
size of smaller documents. You can also exclude blank pages 2 and straighten scan appears in the window. 1 Click the
adjust the Brightness 3 and Contrast. 4 skewed pages 3 automatically. If your Scan button to copy the next item, and
Click Advanced 5 for further options. scans don’t come out as you intended, repeat the process until you have
click Restore Defaults 4 and try again. digitised all your pages.

52 7 - 20 March 2018
Workshop 1

EMAIL PDF
Email a copy of
a PDF file or just
a selection of the
pages it contains

IMPORT
Click here to import your saved
scans. You’ll need to install an
additional (free) component first

2 1 4 5

3
3
1 3

1
2
2

6 You can click and drag your scans


to reorder them, or select multiple
pages and use the Move Up and Move
7 Double-click a scanned page to open
it in a preview window. You can click
the arrow buttons to move between
8 When you’re ready to export your
pages as a single document, click the
Save PDF button. 1 Click the arrow to
Down buttons 1 to change their position pages 1 or the zoom icons to zoom in choose between exporting all or only
in your document. If you select a page and out. 2 Other tools let you crop 3 selected pages. 2 Alternatively, click
and click Image, 2 you can view it, crop and make adjustments before exporting Save Images 3 to export all or some of
it and adjust the brightness, contrast, the scan as a PDF. 4 You can also delete the scans as an image. Select the format
saturation and more. 3 any pages you don’t want. 5 you require in the ‘Save as Type’ box.

Subscribe to Web User at subscribe.webuser.co.uk 7 - 20 March 2018 53


Workshop 2

Get a free, anonymous and


unhackable Swiss email account
ProtonMail: protonmail.com | 20 mins | Any browser

EXPERT TIP
I
t’s a shock to discover how insecure email is. Most email is unencrypted,
which means anyone from a hacker to your ISP could intercept your
message as it zips from sender to recipient, and your address can
Andy Shaw says
ProtonMail provides total anonymity,
easily be traced back to you, because it’s most likely linked to
because you’re not asked for any
your ISP or a free service, such as Google, that routinely collects
personal information when setting up
vast amounts of data, from where you live to what you buy.
an account. It doesn’t keep IP address
ProtonMail is a free, anonymous, fully encrypted email service,
logs, so there’s no data to connect
developed by a group of boffins from CERN (European
your computer with any incoming or
Organization for Nuclear Research, mostly famous for its Large
outgoing emails. The service is free
Hadron Collider) and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of
but limited to 500MB of storage and
Technology). You can set up the service with a minimum
150 emails per day. If you need more,
of personal information and encrypt your email so that
you can upgrade to the Plus service
no one except the intended recipient – not even the
for ¤4 (around £3.50) a month.
people at ProtonMail – will be able to read it.

1
1

1 2
Go to mail.proton.com and choose to sign up for a free Once that’s done, you only need to choose your ‘Display
account. Choose an email address (something@ name’, 1 which is what appears in the ‘From’ field when
protonmail.com) 1 and a password. 2 This isn’t stored people receive and read your email. By default, this is set
anywhere else and will never be revealed to anyone. You can to the word you chose as the prefix of your email address,
provide another email account 3 to help reset your password, but you can change it to your full name if you want people to
but this makes it less anonymous. know who you are.

2 3

3 4
Messages sent to other ProtonMail users are automatically Anyone familiar with webmail will be able to find their
encrypted from the moment you send them to the way around ProtonMail. Standard email organisation
moment they are opened, without needing any folders are listed on the left. 1 New incoming messages
passwords. If you can, get your recipient to sign up for a free appear in the Inbox, 2 with the latest messages appearing at
account, too. 1 the top. Select a message and you’ll see the body of the email
on the right. 3

54 7 - 20 March 2018
Workshop 2

1
2
2

3 3
4

5 6
To send a message, click Compose, 1 then fill in the You’re invited to enter a message password and confirm
address of the recipient and type the email’s subject and it by typing it again. 1 If you want, you can add a hint, 2
body as normal. 2 Click the Send button. 3 This will send to remind the recipient of the password or give them a
a basic email that non-ProtonMail users can read as normal. clue to what it is – make it something only they will know the
To send an encrypted mail, click the Encryption button. 4 answer to, such as ‘your daughter’s nickname’, rather than
‘capital of France’. Click Set. 3

2 1

7 8
The recipient will receive a cover note, explaining that they Encrypted messages automatically expire after 28 days,
have a ProtonMail message from your email address 1 at which point they disappear forever. You can change
with a button to click through to the message. 2 This will the duration of the expiration from one hour to five
take them to a page where they must enter the password to weeks. 1 Messages set to expire have to be encrypted. Once
gain access to the message. a message expires, the recipient will still have access to the
cover note but not the message it linked to.

9 10
The service can use folders (as Windows does) and labels To make your email hack-proof, switch on two-factor
(as Gmail does). A message can only be filed in a single authentication. You’ll need to have your phone with
folder, but it can have more than one label applied to it. you in order to sign in, using one of the apps listed at
Click ‘Folders / Labels’ to add new ones. You can set a folder bit.ly/twfaau444. Click Settings, Security, 1 then click Enable
to send a notification if a new message appears in it. 1 Two-Factor Authentication. 2

Get more practical advice at forum.webuser.co.uk 7 - 20 March 2018 55


Workshop 3

Sync desktop and documents across all your PCs


I
f you have separate PCs for work and home, navigating your storing your desktop and documents in
shortcuts on the different desktops can be confusing, and it’s the cloud and syncing them with any PC
frustrating when the folders and files you need aren’t on the you sign into. Any changes you make
computer you’re currently using. OneDrive can sort this out by on one PC are reflected everywhere else.

OneDrive: onedrive.live.com | 10 mins | Windows 10

1
2
2
3

1 2
Right-click the OneDrive icon in the notification area 1 Still in the settings, click ‘Choose folders’ and select any
(if it’s not there, type onedrive into the search bar to find OneDrive folders you want to always sync with your PC.
and open it). Choose Settings in the context menu and, Make sure the Desktop and Documents folders are ticked.
if you aren’t already signed in, click the Account tab 2 and click Click ‘Auto-save’ 1 and set the Desktop and Documents options
‘Add an account’. 3 Sign in with your Microsoft account. to OneDrive. 2 You can switch photo storage, too. Click OK. 3

1
3 3

3 4
You also need to tell Windows that you’d like to use these In the ‘Select a Destination’ window, open the OneDrive
folders as the default storage for your desktop and drop-down menu 1 in the left-hand panel and click the
documents. Open File Explorer and right-click Desktop Desktop folder. 2 Click Select Folder 3 and click OK.
in the ‘Quick access’ section. 1 Select Properties and click Windows will ask whether you want to move all the files from
the Location tab. 2 Click the Move button. 3 the old location to the new location. Click Yes.

1
3

5 6
Check that the Documents folder is syncing by following Explorer’s OneDrive folders have a Status column with
the same process as Steps 3 and 4. If you have an existing an icon showing where the file is stored: a green tick 1
OneDrive account with files in it, you might find that some means it’s saved on the PC; a blue cloud 2 means it’s
of the files in the cloud service don’t automatically download only online. Right-click a cloud and choose ‘Always keep on this
to the PC. Open the folder in Explorer. 1 device’ 3 to ensure the file is always synced.

56 7 - 20 March 2018
Workshop 4

Find out what’s in your messages without looking


W
hen a new message arrives, Android alerts you delivering smart vibration-based
with a sound and a burst of vibration. You know notifications, which tell you the length and
you’ve got a new message but you don’t know importance of the message, and even offer
anything else about it. Converbration provides extra info by clues about what might be in it.

Converbration: bit.ly/conv444 | 10 mins | Android 4.4+

1 2
Install the free You’re shown a brief
Converbration app on overview, then taken to
your phone. When you the main screen. Tap
first run it, you need to grant the Settings button, then tap
1 it permission to access your Notification Style. If you
notifications and messages. prefer sound to vibrations,
Tap the Enable button, 1 1 you can select that option. 1
then – on the ‘Notification Custom 2 provides a vast
access’ screen – flick the number of customisation
toggle next to Converbration 3 choices. We’ll stick with
to On. Quick 3 for ease.

3 4
Next, select the Context The Ignore Stuff screen
& Emotion category. 1 lets you ignore
1 1
Here, you can choose low-priority or annoying
the different vibrations for messages. You can specify
2 urgent messages and 2 phone numbers to always or
emergencies, 1 questions, 2 never ignore. The Custom
positive and negative Filters section 2 lets you
3 emotions, 3 NSFW (Not Safe create filters to ignore or
For Work), 4 messages recognise specific words or
related to business and 3 phrases. Tap an Edit button 3
4 money, 5 and Yes or No to set one up.
responses. 6 As you set each
5 one up, you’ll feel the
vibration your phone will use
to convey the message
6 content.

5 6
Sleep Mode lets you set Here, you can enable or
a period during which disable Converbration,
Converbration ignores 1 use it with a
all incoming messages. Use smartwatch 2 and override
the switch to turn the feature your phone’s built-in Mute
on or off. 1 You can opt to function. 3 The corner button
1 allow urgent messages, 4 lets you test your settings.
though. 2 Set the Start and Converbration offers 500 free
End times. 3 Finally, open notifications per month.
System Settings. 4 If you need more, you’ll have
3 1 to upgrade to a paid-for plan,
2 from 89p.
2
4 3
4

Get more practical advice at forum.webuser.co.uk 7 - 20 March 2018 57


Weekend Project MTWTFSS

Get to grips with some serious tech tinkering to


boost your computer and other devices

How to
... Create your own Alexa
skills without coding
Wayne Williams shows you how to make your own Alexa skills for
the Amazon Echo u i g a simple
using i l web-based
bb dd g dd
drag-and-drop ttooll

Y
ou expect innovative new w
product ranges from the
likes of Apple and Google, e,
but Amazon surprised everyone ne
when it launched the Echo in the he
US back in 2014. The smart
speaker arrived in the UK two
years later, introducing us to its s
digital assistant Alexa, who couldould
do everything from answering
questions to creating playlists.
Since then, Amazon has rolled
out a number of new, more
advanced Echos; increased Alexa a’s
abilities via ‘skills’; and even added
add d
her to other Amazon products, such s h
as its Fire tablets and TV devices. s.
One of Alexa’s most useful
features is that you can customismise
it by adding skills of your own.
This usually requires a spot of
coding, but for this issue’s
Weekend Project, we’ll explore
an easier way to make and publish ish
your own skills.

“Alexa, how do I make a skill?” building a skill. Five basic tools


The easiest way we’ve found to create Storyline is so simple to use, you can The five tools mentioned in Step 3 of our
your own skills is by using Storyline easily put together something on the fly, Mini Workshop, right, let you build up an
(getstoryline.com). This new web-based but it’s better to have a clear idea of interaction. You begin with Alexa saying
app lets you use a visual drag-and-drop what you’re trying to achieve, and the something and asking some questions,
interface to build skills in a matter of sort of interaction you want to occur then add potential replies. Because it’s
minutes. The website offers a selection of between Alexa and the user. We’ll show harder to guess what a person might say,
videos that show you how to get started. you how to take your first steps in our you can add as many different responses
You’ll need to sign into the service, which Mini Workshop, opposite. Follow this to as you like, to cover all the possibilities
you can do by connecting your Google set up your blank canvas, then return to you can think of. These are turned into
account. Once that’s done, you can begin the next section for more information. separate blocks, in which you can then

58 7 - 20 March 2018
Weekend Project

10 SKILLS YOU CAN


ADD TO ALEXA USING
STORYLINE

Daily Trivia Quiz – Alexa provides


interesting trivia on any topic you
name

On This Day In History –


A roundup of what’s happened in
Test a skill directly in your browser. Select Access your skills on the Project page. Click previous years
the start point in the drop-down menu the ellipses to rename or delete a skill
Today’s News Headlines –
include new Alexa responses to create Developer account, too (if you don’t Keep abreast of what’s going on
a tree-like structure of interaction. already have one, you can sign up by in the world
Since you can’t possibly guess going to developer.amazon.com).
everything a user might say, you can use The deployment process is very Podcast – Have Alexa play an audio
the ‘Handle unexpected user reply’ tool straightforward and, once completed, podcast or read something aloud
to create a new block and add a response you can try it out on your Echo by saying
for Alexa that will kick in whenever the “Hi Alexa, open [skill name]” (replacing Choose Your Own Adventure
user says something other than the [skill name] with the name you gave to – Multiple-choice adventure game
replies you’ve already added. You can your new skill).
have Alexa say something along the lines Daily Affirmations – Have Alexa
of “I’m sorry, I don’t understand’ and Add a newsflash briefing skill make you feel better about yourself
connect that block to an earlier step Creating a news skill is similar to building
to repeat the original question. a custom skill, but there are different Kids Court – Ask Alexa which of
You should now be ready to start options available. Before you can create your squabbling children is right
building up your skill. See our Mini one of these skills, you’ll need to connect
Workshop on page 61 to get started. Storyline to your Amazon account and Sound Effects – From clapping to
Skills can be previewed at any time to create a Developer account. canned laughter, Alexa can respond
make sure they’re coming together as Back in Storyline, enter a name for the however you would like it to
you’d hoped, and you can fine-tune them, Flash Briefing and select your language.
adding different steps and blocks. Skills Start by choosing a date (most likely the 20 Questions – What animal,
can be as simple or as complicated as current day) and click the ‘Add post’ vegetable or mineral is Alexa
you like. button. Enter a title for the new skill and thinking of?
When you’ve finished building your select a post type. This can be Text
skill, you can deploy it to your Echo. (Alexa reads something aloud) or Audio Language Learning – Have Alexa
To do this, you need to connect your (she plays an audio file). If you select the translate words you say into a
Amazon account (the one that’s linked to former, a box will open into which you language of your choosing
your Echo). You need to have an Amazon can paste or type the text to read. In the

MINI WORKSHOP | Get started with Storyline

1
1
2

3 2

1 On the Start page, click the ‘+New


skill’ button. 1 You now have two
options: you can create a ‘New custom
2 Give your new skill a name. The
default suggestion is ‘Daily Morning
Trivia’, so stick with that for the time
3 Double-click the Welcome Block to
open it in the sidebar. 1 There are
five tools available to build up the skill:
skill’ 2 (which includes trivia games, being. Set your language to ‘English ‘Add what Alexa says’, ‘Add what user
stories and the ability to look up (UK)’ and click Start. You’re faced with says’, ‘Handle unexpected user reply’,
information); or a ‘News flash briefing’ a mostly blank canvas, with a Welcome ‘Add short pre-recorded audio’ and
3 (news headlines, newsletters or Block in the centre. 1 You can drag this ‘Add JSON API request’. 2
podcast content). We’ll opt to build around and zoom in and out.
a custom skill.

Subscribe to Web User at subscribe.webuser.co.uk 7 - 20 March 2018 59


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xt issue of our sister title


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Subscribe at www.getcomputeractive.co.uk Weds
14 March
Weekend Project

Storyline’s Flash Briefing option lets you can catch up on the news, or anything You’ll need to fill in a lot of details before you can
else that interests you make your skill available in the Amazon App Store

case of the latter, you need to enter skill, click the Publish button to save
a URL for the audio file. You’re limited it to the Amazon App Store, so other
to a maximum duration of 10 minutes. Echo users can install it. The skill will
When you’re ready, click Save and go need to pass certification to ensure it’s
to alexa.amazon.com or open your Alexa suitable for inclusion in the store and
app if you have one. Click Skills on the meets the Alexa policy guidelines (amzn
left, then click the Your Skills link at the .to/2Ca1XWc). You need to fill in some
top right. Your News Briefing skill should information, such as the category and
appear, along with any others you subcategory, any testing instructions,
created previously. Select it, then click the countries and regions it’s suitable for,
the Enable button on the next screen. and short and full descriptions.
You can try out the new skill by You won’t be able to make any
speaking the suggested phrases (“Alexa, changes once your Alexa skill is
what’s my flash briefing?” or “Alexa, undergoing the certification process,
what’s in the news?”) to your Echo. so you should test your skill fully before
Multiple posts can be created and added submitting it. If you do spot an error
for the same day, which is handy if you after publishing, you can withdraw the
want to include a selection of stories or skill from the certification process
“on this day in history”-style briefings. and resubmit the corrected version
When you’ve finished building your afterwards.

MINI WORKSHOP | Build your first skill

2 4
3

1
1
1
4
2 3

1 Double-click the Welcome Block


and, in the sidebar, click the ‘Add
what Alexa says’ button at the bottom.
2 Add as many responses as you can
think of. In our example, we’re listing
trivia categories. 1 Select the first of
3 Storyline will create a new block
connected to the Welcome one. 1
Select it and that block will open in the
In the box that opens, type (or paste) your user responses. You can add sidebar, 2 ready for you to add your
the first thing that you want Alexa to synonyms for that answer by clicking the responses. 3 Click the Welcome Block
say. 1 If you want it to say more than menu button. 2 Clicking the arrow 3 to select another user reply and create
one thing, just repeat the process. lets you connect this reply to a separate a new block for it. Click Play 4 to test
Next, click ‘Add what user says’. block. Click ‘Create new block’. 4 your skill in the browser.

On sale
NEXT ISSUE How To... Create the ultimate portable USB toolkit Wedn
esday
ch
21 Mar

Subscribe to Web User at subscribe.webuser.co.uk 7 - 20 March 2018 61


Web User Masterclass
Our experts show you how to use
virtual desktops to expand the screen
space available to apps and windows

Add a virtual desktop in Windows 10

W
hen your desktop becomes
so cluttered with open
windows that it becomes
a struggle to find the one you want,
one solution is to spread out across
more desktops. In Windows 10, hold
down the Windows and Control keys
and press D to add a new desktop.
All your open windows and apps will
disappear, leaving a clean desktop for
you to open more windows and apps.
Click the icon to the right of the
search box to see all your desktops
displayed as thumbnail images. You
can then click the one you want to use.
A quick way to switch from one
desktop to another is to hold down
Desktops appear
Windows+Control and press the left as thumbnails at the
or right arrow keys. bottom or top of the screen

Move windows between want to easily access any program


desktops regardless of which desktop it’s
If you have too many windows open running on, set ‘On the taskbar, show
on a single desktop, click the Task View windows that are open on’ to
icon to the right of the search box. ‘All desktops’. Clicking an icon in the
All the windows on the current desktop taskbar then automatically switches
are shown and each one can be clicked, to the desktop that contains that
dragged and dropped onto one of the particular window or application.
other desktop thumbnails to move it. Instead of clicking taskbar icons
Alternatively, right-click a window in to switch between programs and
Task View and select ‘Move to’ followed windows, you can hold down the
by a desktop. You can also make the Drag a window to a desktop thumbnail Alt key and press Tab. Keep pressing
at the bottom of the screen
window appear on all desktops, Tab to cycle between windows, then
or create a whole new desktop. for example, have a web browser open let go when the window you want is
on one desktop, Word or WordPad selected. In Settings, you can choose
Configure options for ‘Virtual on another, and a game on a third one. whether to show all windows on all
desktops’ There are some useful options for desktops when you press Alt+Tab, or
The ‘Virtual desktops’ tool in Windows showing or hiding icons in the taskbar, only windows on the current desktop.
10 lets you have different programs and and when switching between apps.
windows on each desktop. You could, Press Windows+i to open the Settings
app and click System. Select Multi-
tasking in the sidebar and look for
‘Virtual desktops’ on the right.
If you see words that look like If you often have more than
they’ve been typed in a 20 windows open at a time, you may
typewriter, follow the instructions want to set the taskbar to show only
and type them exactly as they the icons for windows on the current
appear, paying close attention to desktop, so your taskbar isn’t too
spaces and punctuation. cluttered. However, if you don’t tend to Configure the ‘Virtual desktops’ options
go overboard with open windows and in Windows 10’s Settings

64 7 - 20 March 2018
Web User Masterclass

Virtual desktops in Windows 7


‘Virtual desktops’ is built into Windows TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL
10 but not Windows 7. However, there More advanced tips for when you’re feeling brave
are tools you can use to bring virtual
desktops to older versions of Windows.
Microsoft has its own solution called Dexpot desktops
Desktops (bit.ly/msdt444). This Dexpot (www.dexpot.de) works with
program doesn’t have all the tools you older versions of Windows, such as 7
get with Windows 10’s version, but it’s and 8. It’s more feature-packed and
very small and compact, and requires customisable than the Desktops tool
little hard drive space or memory, so it’s and is free for personal use.
great for running on old hardware. When you run the program, it looks
Download it, unzip it and double-click like nothing is happening, but look
the program – you don’t have to install carefully and you’ll see icons appear
anything. Click the icon in the taskbar on the left and right sides of the
to show the current desktop and click taskbar. Click the left icon to see the
the tiles to create up to three more. four desktops listed. Select one by Select ‘Full screen preview’ to show
all the desktops on one screen
pointing and clicking. You can also use
the keyboard shortcut Alt+1, 2, 3 or 4. by clicking the arrows at the top. Stop
when you reach the window you want
Move apps between Dexpot and click it to switch to the desktop
desktops that contains it.
Unlike Microsoft’s Desktops tool, The Desktop Manager option
Dexpot lets you move windows from displays four desktop icons in the
one desktop to another. Right-click bottom-right corner of the screen,
the title bar of a window and hover which you can use to select a desktop.
the mouse over the option for Dexpot. Desktop Preview opens a panel split
In the menu that opens, hover over into four for selecting desktops. It lists
Desktops by Microsoft adds up to four
Move and select the desktop you the apps on each desktop and slides
virtual desktops to Windows 7 want to move the window to. out of the way when it’s not being
This menu also contains Copy, which used. Desktop Windows opens
Switch desktops in Windows 7 lets you clone a window to another a window that lists all the open
When you run Microsoft’s Desktops desktop, so the same program is open windows on each desktop, so you can
program, it displays the Options screen, on more than one desktop. The Close switch to a particular window or
which lets you configure hotkeys and option lets you close a window on the desktop simply by clicking it.
set the software to launch automatically current desktop; or on all other
when Windows starts. You can also desktops, so it’s only open in the Dexpot desktop rules
access the Options by right-clicking desktop you’re using. Transparency Dexpot lets you create rules that are
the taskbar icon. lets you make windows transparent, automatically applied to windows.
The default hotkeys are Alt+1 through from 0% to 100%. For example, you could create a rule
Alt+4, with each number taking you that always opens a certain program
to one of the four available desktops. or window on a specific desktop.
You can also switch by left-clicking the Right-click the right-hand Dexpot
taskbar icon. Click the up arrow if it is taskbar icon and select Desktop Rules.
hidden, then click the icon to display Click Assistant, enter a name for the
four thumbnail images of the desktops. rule – such as Start WordPad – and
When you launch a program, you click Next to create a blank rule.
need to make sure you are in the Select Window Title for the condition
desktop you want because there’s no and enter the window title below.
way to move a window from one If the window is already open on the
desktop to another (other than closing desktop, drag the target icon and
the program, changing desktops and Right-click the title bar to move drop it on the window to automatically
a window with Dexpot
then restarting the program). add the title text. Click Next and
select an action, such as Move, then
View Dexpot desktops choose the desktop to move it to.
Right-click Dexpot’s icon at the
right-hand end of the taskbar (it may
be hidden in the pop-up icon panel)
and select ‘Full-screen preview’. This
splits the screen into quarters to show
the four desktops. You can see each
desktop’s apps and windows, and
switch to any desktop by clicking it.
Another option in this menu is
Windows Catalog, which lets you Create rules that move windows
Choose a keyboard shortcut for switching cycle through your open windows to a specific desktop
desktops in Microsoft’s Desktops

Visit our Hints & Tips forum at forum.webuser.co.uk 7 - 20 March 2018 65


Ask the Expert
Roland Waddilove, computer programmer and PC
journalist since 1981, answers all your technical questions.
Email us for help at webuser@dennis.co.uk

security software such as Windows


SECURITY Defender, for example, to catch
Remove persistent problems that Defender might miss.
Antivirus programs don’t always block
unwanted programs potentially unwanted programs (PUPs).
Security companies place them

Q Every few days, I scan my PC


with SuperAntiSpyware (www
.superantispyware.com), and every
in a different category to viruses,
which are always harmful. PUPs tend
to be marketing programs, which some
time the same potentially unwanted people (though no one we’ve ever met)
programs (PUPs) appear. How did Block third-party cookies in Chrome could conceivably find useful.
these pests get on my PC, and is there to enhance your privacy In our experience, Malwarebytes has
a way to block them before they always been good at detecting and
download? I’ve included a log from storing cookies, but setting it up removing PUPs and other unwanted
the SuperAntiSpyware scan. properly would be overwhelming. programs, but you shouldn’t use it
Adrian Scales, via email A partial solution is to enable ‘Block on its own. Either keep the free version
third-party cookies’, which lets sites on your PC as a clean-up tool or use the

A Some of the items listed in your


log are cookies, which websites
and adverts store in your browser as
you visit leave cookies so that they
work properly, but blocks them in
adverts so they can’t track you.
full version for real-time protection
alongside your antivirus software.

you navigate the web. They’re not Are you using the free version of GENERAL PC
a security risk but some people don’t SuperAntiSpyware? The full version Reclaim drive space
like them because advertisers and
other sites can use them to track
what you’re doing online.
blocks PUPs and malware in real time.
Malwarebytes (www.malwarebytes
.com) also blocks PUPs, but again
Q My Asus Zen Notebook has an
i5 6200U processor, 8GB of memory
and a 256GB SSD, which is divided into
To block cookies in Chrome, click you need to pay for the full version two equal partitions. The C: partition
the menu button, select Settings and for the best results. contains the operating system, while the
scroll to the bottom of the page that PUPs are often bundled with D: partition contains everything else.
appears. Click Advanced and select optional extras when you download The C: drive was filling up with emails,
Content Settings in the ‘Privacy and and install free software from the documents and photos, so I moved the
security’ section. On the next list, click web, but you can usually opt out photos to the D: drive and performed
Cookies. You can block all cookies, if you read the installation screens a clean installation of 64-bit Windows 7
but this may stop some sites working. carefully. Always scan your computer Professional. When I restarted my PC, the
There’s a Block list and an Add for PUPs and malware after installing C: drive had only 6.75GB of its 93GB left.
button to stop specific websites any software. Six of the eight folders on the C: drive
take up 7.5GB, but my User folder
contains 15GB of files, and the Windows
SECURITY software and should be used as an folder takes up 70GB. When I opened
Use Malwarebytes as additional layer of security rather than the Windows folder, I found numerous
intended your PC’s sole means of defence. You subfolders that are either empty or

Q I recently read an article that tested


several popular antivirus and
anti-malware programs. Malwarebytes
can run it in conjunction with other contain only a few megabytes of data,
but no Windows.old file.
Where has all the space gone, and how
(www.malwarebytes.com) came last can I reclaim it? I’ve reinstalled Windows
and was rated as very poor at stopping several times but always with the same
malware. Do you think this test is fair? result. I can’t work out how to get rid of
Should I get rid of Malwarebytes and this hidden or non-existent data.
subscribe to the article’s top-rated Ian Read, via email
performer, Bitdefender, instead?
Chris Bagley, via email
A A clean install takes up around
20GB of space, so you should have

A We haven’t seen the article, so we


can’t comment on its findings, but
Malwarebytes isn’t like most antivirus
Malwarebytes aims to catch the problems
other security software misses
around 70GB free (not 6.75GB). We
suspect you have installed Windows
over itself. This replaces Windows’

66 7 - 20 March 2018
Ask the Expert

A There could be many reasons why


an app isn’t compatible with a
device, but Android and the Google Play
Store never tell you what the problem is.
Try opening Settings on the device and
find the display settings. Some top-end
devices let you select screen resolution
and change it from HD+ to WQHD+.
If that doesn’t work, open Settings,
Apps and select Google Play Store.
Press Force Stop, then go to Storage
Use TreeSize to see which folders are Save the contents of your WordPress
occupying the most space on a hard drive and press Clear Cache followed by Clear website by exporting it
Data. Restart the device. This resets the
system files with original versions, but store app, which sometimes makes the £200 from displaying adverts through
doesn’t remove files and junk that have incompatibility message go away. services such as Google Adsense (www
built up, so it won’t recover any space. .google.com/adsense) which would
When you install Windows, it asks WEBSITES more than cover your hosting costs.
what type of installation you want to Back up a blog There are also affiliate schemes, where
perform. Select ‘Custom (advanced)’
for a clean install that wipes the
partition. Choose a partition to use –
Q My WordPress blog has been
getting over 200,000 visits per year
for the past three years, but no one ever
you promote a product or service and
receive a percentage of any sales.
WordPress has a built-in tool to
the 93GB partition in your case. Click makes a PayPal donation for the content download the complete contents of
‘Drive options (advanced)’ and you’ll they’ve been enjoying. Now the price a site. Select Tools in the sidebar, then
see an option to format it. This deletes of my web hosting is going up from $30 Export. The tool creates a file that you
everything on the hard drive and to $100 a year, so I’ve decided to put my can save to your hard drive. If you
recovers the most space. effort into creating digital books for decide you want to put it back online,
Make sure you have your Windows Amazon’s Kindle instead. This is paying you can use the Import function to
licence code ready because you may off, because I have already sold copies. upload it to a new WordPress site.
need to enter it during installation. I’d like to take my content offline and There are several plugins available
Also, back up any files you want to keep back up all the writing I’ve done to a CD that let you back up WordPress sites,
and store them elsewhere. or DVD, but my host won’t send me the including UpdraftPlus and Duplicator.
If you don’t want to erase everything data. Is there a way I can do it myself? To install them, go to Plugins in the
or reinstall Windows, use TreeSize Free Adrian Bonnington, via email sidebar and click Add New.
(bit.ly/tree444) to see what’s taking up You should also shop around for
all the space on your hard drive. Run it,
click the first icon in the toolbar and
select the C: drive. Allow it to scan your
A Before you close your WordPress
blog, consider whether there are
other ways you could profit from it. For
a better web hosting deal, because
there are some that cost less than $100
a year. Many hosting companies will
PC and then browse the results. example, 200,000 visits could earn move your site for free, too.
If you’re really running out of space,
you can compress everything on your
hard drive without affecting your files GENERAL PC
or programs. Open Explorer, right-click
the (C:) drive and select Properties.
Is Windows 8 still
On the General tab, tick the box lurking on my PC?
‘Compress this drive to save disk space’.
You can also run Disk Cleanup from
the Properties window. When the
window appears, click ‘Clean up system
Q While defragging my hard drive,
I found an item called ‘Windows 8
OS (c:)’, which I can’t delete and isn’t
files’. Wait for it to finish scanning, shown in my list of programs.
then tick all the items and click OK. Windows told me it was on the hard
drive – last run 19/01 19.51, current
MOBILE status OK, 0% fragmented – after I’d
The name of a hard drive appears
Force Google to recognise the carried out a defrag by clicking the at the top of the Properties window
Android version Optimise button. How do I delete it?

Q Your article on Files Go (Issue 440,


bit.ly/webuser440) says the app
Derek Wellings, via email at the top of the General tab. Does it
say ‘Windows 8 OS’? If it does, then
works on devices running Android 5.0
and above, but when I try to download
it from the Play Store, I’m told that it’s
A It sounds as if you previously had
Windows 8 installed on the hard
drive, and the name of the drive
no space on the disk is being used by
Windows 8 so you don’t need to
worry about deleting anything.
‘Not compatible’ with my Samsung wasn’t changed when you upgraded It’s possible to change the name
Tab A. I have the same problem when to Windows 10. Open Explorer, right of the disk in this Properties window,
I try to download the Edge browser and click the C: drive and select Properties. but we wouldn’t recommend doing
Cortana, both of which should work. You’ll see the name of the hard drive so because it could cause problems.
Christopher Clayton, via email

This fortnight Roland has switched back to OneDrive, having previously abandoned it for Google Drive

Find more solutions to PC and web problems at forum.webuser.co.uk 7 - 20 March 2018 67


Your Top Tips
Our pick of the best advice from our
readers. To get help or offer it to others,
visit forum.webuser.co.uk

Mug
TOP TIP winner
ANDROID

Ad-free Chrome browsing


Google doesn’t want you Google Play Store. (bit.ly/tmp444), which appears to be
to block ads because the You can download it from a major issue for many users. I was
search engine makes GitHub at bit.ly/brom444. concerned by this, too, but have resolved
a significant proportion The interface is just like the problem by installing the Firefox-
of its income from the regular version of based browser Pale Moon (www
advertising. However, Chrome, but you should .palemoon.org).
someone has built notice a complete Pale Moon is very customisable,
a version of Google’s absence of advertising. It much faster than Firefox and still lets
Chromium browser for also blocks click-tracking, you use Tab Mix Plus. I now have it set
Android that works just so companies can’t trace as my default browser.
like Chrome, but which you as you move from George C Griffiths, via email
automatically blocks all one website to another.
adverts, all the time. I’m all for putting up
It’s brilliant! with ads on my PC,
The browser is called which has the space and
Bromite and you’ll need bandwidth to incorporate
to sideload it to your them, but I’ll be using
Bromite is a Chrome-
mobile device because, based Android browser
Bromite on my phone
for obvious reasons, that aims to block all from now on.
it isn’t available in the advertising Charlie Finch, via email

SOCIAL NETWORKING Friends list, my posts, my date of birth Pale Moon looks and acts like Firefox,
Protect your Facebook and more. It’s a real privacy invasion! and will also run the Tab Mix Plus add-on
account However, it’s easy to stay in control
When you log into a website or app of who has access to what and remove SECURITY
using your Facebook account, you often any websites or apps from Facebook Add KeePass to your browser
grant accounts you no longer use or trust. KeePass (keepass.info) is a fantastic
permission On the iOS Facebook app, tap the menu free password manager that stores your
for that button, choose Settings, Account passwords safely and securely on your
website or Settings, Apps, and finally tap ‘Logged PC. However, because it’s a Windows
app to have in with Facebook’. This list shows all program, it can be a bit clunky at getting
access to the websites and apps that are your passwords to the places you need
your data authorised to view your profile and
without really personal information.
giving it If you’ve never seen this setting before,
a second you may be alarmed by the number of
thought. entries, but it’s easy to get rid of
The anything that you feel is overstepping
screenshot the boundaries. You can perform the
on the left same action from the website – just click
shows the drop-down menu and choose
Microsoft’s Settings, then Apps.
website Simon Mellor, via email
requirements
for logging in BROWSERS
Some Facebook apps
request an extraordinary via Facebook. An alternative to fussy Firefox
amount of unnecessary It asks for my Firefox Quantum doesn’t permit the Access your KeePass passwords from
information basic info, my installation of the Tab Mix Plus add-on your browsers

68 7 - 20 March 2018
Readers’ Tips

them – namely, your browser. occurence of a search term.


To solve the problem, try a Chrome Various – In Edge and Explorer, F4
add-on called KeePass Tusk (bit.ly/ jumps to the address box. However,
tusk444). The process works by saving Alt+F4 also closes most programs down.
your secure KeePass data in the cloud, Refresh – In web browsers and
using an online storage service such as Explorer windows, F5 refreshes and
Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox. updates the screen.
You can then show the Chrome add-on + Show password – When you’re
where you keep your password file, and logging into Windows, you can check
it will use the information to find the what you’ve typed in the password box
password you need, when you need it. with Alt+F8.
Select friends to help you if you are
You don’t need to have the KeePass locked out of Facebook + Right-click – Select something
software installed on the computer and press Shift+F10 to bring up the
you’re using, so you could even use it Bookmark the Facebook support page context menu, as if you’d right-clicked it.
to access KeePass-protected sites on at bit.ly/fbtc444, which tells you what to Chrome help – Quick access to
a Chromebook. do if you can’t log into Facebook and Chrome’s Help Centre.
Arthur Moorhouse, via email how these friends can help. Eric Walford, via email
Ross Woods, via email
EMAIL
Listen to your email GENERAL PC
Did you know that Outlook.com can read Know your function keys
out your emails, so you don’t need to I haven’t seen a list of function key
look at your screen? It’s not worth it for actions in Web User, so here is mine.
short emails but having a long message Get help – Click the desktop in
read out means you can do other things Windows 10 and press F1. Your browser
while checking your mail. opens and searches Bing for ‘how to get
Select a message in your inbox, click help in windows 10’.
the three-dot menu icon and select Rename a file – Select a file on the
‘Show in immersive reader’, then click desktop or in Explorer and press F2 to
the Play button at the bottom. The cog rename it.
icon on the right lets you choose Search – In Chrome, Edge, Explorer
between a male or female voice, and set and possibly other programs I don’t
the reading speed. know about, pressing F3 opens Search. Press F1 in Windows to search Bing for
Phil Wright, via email Sometimes F3 searches for the next Windows 10 help

BLUNDER OF THE FORTNIGHT


GENERAL PC
Control the Photos app Live tile
We had an awkward situation
the other day when a photo
I had taken on my phone of an
item I wanted to buy for my
wife’s birthday appeared in the
Start menu while she was using
the PC. I hadn’t even purchased
If your emails are long, get Outlook.com it and the element of surprise
to read them out was already lost!
It happened because my
SOCIAL NETWORKING phone photos sync with my PC,
Choose your trusted Facebook and Microsoft uses its Live Tile Choose a new photo to become the Live
friends system to keep the picture on the Tile for the Windows 10 Photos app
I was exploring the settings in Facebook Start menu fresh and interesting. Since
and found myself in the ‘Security and spoiling my wife’s birthday surprise, a drop-down menu lets you choose
login’ section, which you can access from however, I’ve found that it’s possible from ‘Recent photos’, which is where
the main drop-down menu by clicking to change the image to a permanent the photo is selected, and ‘A single
Settings. It has an option to get help picture, so there’s no risk of exposing photo’, which lets you choose the
from friends when there’s a problem with secret photos to the Start menu. photo you want. Click the latter option,
your account and you can’t log in. Open the Photos app, click the menu then ‘Select photo’ and choose an
I went through the setup and added button and choose Settings, then scroll image from your collection.
three friends – you can choose between down to Appearance. Under Tile, Eric Franks, via email
three and five. They may or may not ever
be needed – it will depend on the
Have you managed to fix a PC-related disaster?
problem and whether you can access
If so, please send your story to webuser@dennis.co.uk
your email or phone.

Send your tips to webuser@dennis.co.uk – win a Web User mug! 7 - 20 March 2018 69
Readers’ Helpdesk
Our pick of the best solutions posted on our
reader forums. Visit forum.webuser.co.uk
– it’s friendly and free!

SECURITY

Control Malwarebytes settings


SECURITY
Uninstall IrfanView to update
Q I have run Kaspersky’s Vulnerability
Scan (www.kaspersky.co.uk) and it
Q I have been using the free
version of Malwarebytes
(www.malwarebytes.com) for
has identified installed program IrfanView some time, running regular
32-bit version 4.40 (www.irfanview.com) scans at least once a month.
as among the nine vulnerable It always reports about 40
applications installed on my Windows 10 PUPs (potentially unwanted
64-bit desktop PC. The solution offered programs) which I quarantine.
by Kaspersky was to update to the latest What I find really annoying
version of IrfanView (64-bit version 4.5), is the insistent pop-up window
which I have done. indicating that the premium Minimise the length of time that pop-ups appear
I’d now like to uninstall version 4.40 trial has expired and that in the Settings of the free version of Malwarebytes
but it’s not showing up in my ‘Add or I should upgrade. Can I get rid
remove programs’ tool. CCleaner’s of this message or is it the price If that doesn’t work, try uninstalling
Uninstaller tool doesn’t list it as present I have to pay for free scanning? the software and reinstalling it. You can
among my installed programs and If my only alternative is to delete the then turn off the premium trial straight
neither does Revo Unistaller Pro. whole program, is there another one away by going back into the Settings
So how do I uninstall it? that’s as good at dealing with my PUP and finding the Account box.
cromwell1230, Web User Forums problem? CCleaner (www.ccleaner It might be more prudent to run
.com) doesn’t seem to pick up on them. a full scan at least once a week, and

A I ended up fixing this myself!


I reinstalled version 4.40, then went
Blotmice, Web User Forums run the Threat scan as often as you like.
It sounds like you’re getting regularly
to ‘Add or remove programs’ where
I saw ‘IrfanView 32-bit (Remove Only)’.
I clicked it, which brought up the
A I use the free version of reinfected, if you’re seeing the same
Malwarebytes and my nag message 40 PUPs each time you scan. Try
isn’t particularly insistent. If you go into running Malwarebytes’ Adwcleaner
dialogue box to uninstall it and the old the software’s Settings menu, you can for a more aggressive clean. You can
version isn’t bothering me at all now. reduce the time that messages are download it from bit.ly/mbadw444.
cromwell1230, Web User Forums displayed for to just three seconds. george29, Web User Forums

and then use the software to transfer this Note that this process might take
backup to the new device. Has anybody a while to complete because everything
done this before, or is there an alternative has to first upload from one iPad to the
method that can be recommended? cloud, then download from the cloud
davord48, Web User Forums to the new device.
Sneakybeaky, Web User Forums

A If you want to transfer the content


from one iPad to another, without
the need for a computer with iTunes
installed, you can back up to an iCloud
account instead. On your old iPad,
Kaspersky’s security software scans for go into the Settings app, tap your name,
vulnerable programs on your PC select iCloud then ‘iCloud Backup’
and ensure that it’s switched on.
IOS On your new iPad, sign into your
Switch to a new iPad iCloud account with your Apple ID and

Q I have found various methods for


transferring the content of my old
iPad to a new iPad. The obvious way is to
password. When you’re asked, choose
a backup from the available options.
You’ll find more help with this on Apple’s To easily move content to a new iPad,
make a backup of the old iPad in iTunes support page at bit.ly/ipad444. switch on iCloud Backup on your old device

Share your knowledge at forum.webuser.co.uk 7 - 20 March 2018 71


Inbox
You can let us know your views via:
webuser@dennis.co.uk, www.facebook.com/webusermagazine,
www.twitter.com/webusermagazine and forum.webuser.co.uk

Back
Issues
Star Email Disc
Winner
Mastering a new browser takes time

I
n a letter entitled ‘Vivaldi and As for bookmarks, you can easily to set its options to suit your needs
Opera were non-starters for me’, import them into Vivaldi and Opera by and a lot more. If you’re not prepared
your fairly regular correspondent clicking the menu button and choosing to invest a bit of time and effort in
Martin Fletcher of Thorpe Hesley Bookmarks, ‘Import Bookmarks and getting to know your new browser,
(Issue 442) complained that Vivaldi Settings’. This means that, contrary to Mr or any other program, then it’s best
has no start page. In fact, it does. Fletcher’s claim, both browsers allow you to stick with what you’re used to.
Vivaldi’s start page displays various to import bookmarks from Firefox. When Madeline, Web User Forums
‘speed dials’ that you can delete or I originally installed these browsers,
sers,
add to as required. You can set the I exported my bookmarks from Firefox
browser to show this page when it as HTML and imported them thatt way.
launches by going to Settings, Startup Both Vivaldi and Opera have
and setting Start Page as your comprehensive Help menus, which hich offer
homepage. Alternatively, you can open plenty of information on how to use the
one or more pages and set those to browser. Just press F1 or go to either
ither
ith
open when you launch the browser help.vivaldi.com or help.opera.com.
om.
– go to Settings, Startup, Startup From what Mr Fletcher said in his
Pages and either tick ‘Use current letter, I’m not surprised that he wasn’t
pages’ or add the relevant web impressed with Vivaldi or Opera! It takes
addresses. Setting your start page time to get used to anything newew and this
in Opera is a similar process – just go applies to browsers, too. You need to find
to Settings, Browser, ‘On startup’. out what features the browser has, how

ScanTransfer steams The new V6 box must be connected a fault and needs to be replaced, it may
through copying to your router or Super Hub. A three- result in a two- or three-day outage
I tried using ScanTransfer (scantransfer metre Ethernet cable is supplied, but if while you wait for a new one.
.net), as recommended in Best Free the router or Super Hub is further away, In the past, these outages only
Software in Issue 442, to copy images you will need to buy your own Ethernet affected your internet connection
from my iPhone to my desktop PC. cable. Failing that, you can connect
It worked so quickly that I had to check it to your home network over Wi-Fi.
the download folder to make sure Whichever method you use, your TV
the photos were there. service is now provided over the internet
This will save me having to use the as opposed to cable. This means that
clumsy iCloud service on my PC or email if your router or Super Hub develops
the photos to myself. I take on-the-fly
photos of a Heritage Steam Train
restoration project, so this excellent
tool will be very helpful.
Quiz Answers: Issue 443
Meester Chris, Web User Forums
1 Facebook
WINNER!
Well done to
Paul Bundey,
2 SoundCloud who wins a
Web User
3 YouTube Back Issues
Disc
4 LinkedIn
WORD PUZZLE
The downside of Virgin
Media’s upgrade 5 Airbnb Image map
Anyone thinking of accepting the free
upgrade from the Virgin Media Tivo box
6 BBC iPlayer
to the new V6 box should consider a few
things the company doesn’t make clear.

72 7 - 20 March 2018
Inbox

(whether wired or wireless) but now


your TV service will also be unavailable I went to Maplin’s once for a Sony
during that period. That’s why I have
decided to stick with my Tivo box What you Vaio adapter and they wanted £55.
I got one in the end via Amazon
until I am forced to change – which,
according to Virgin Media’s customer say... for £20. Boom!
Neil Wipperman
service department, won’t be for at
least two years.

There’s no need for foul


George C Griffiths

S MARTPHONE SALES FELL


LAST YEAR, FOR THE FIRST
D OA YOU STILL HAVE
LANDLINE?

abbreviations TIME EVER. WHY? I use Skype with a SkypeIn number.


Can I say that I am surprised and No line rental, just a subscription
disappointed by your use of the Great improvements used to be made to Skype to keep the number active.
term ‘WTF’ in your ‘What’s new from every year. Now manufacturers Small Biz Geek @SmallBizGeekUK
Google’ article (bit.ly/webuser442). struggle to find things to tempt
I must confess that I was a little puzzled people with. My Samsung Galaxy S7 Yes, but only because it is tied to
by the abbreviation, so I checked what is two years old, but there’s no reason our contract. The only calls we get
I presumed was text speak, only to find for me to upgrade. are from cold callers trying to part us
that it actually meant ‘What the F**k’. Andrew Duerden from our money.
Is this really necessary? Having taught Charscot Wanderers @Charscot
IT in a boys’ school for over 15 years, Everyone has one. They only replace
few things surprise me. I sought to it if it breaks, gets lost or is damaged. I ditched mine years ago and use
maintain the standard of no foul Iain Kenworthy-Neale Skype. People think they are calling
language in my classroom and in a landline number and get charged as
classwork, so I think that the use of They are running out of ‘must if they are. I’m with Virgin broadband
WTF in your magazine is unnecessary upgrade’ features. A 2016 phone is so I don’t need a landline.
and a bit too close to the mark. Does perfectly adequate for most people. Eff Clarke
seeing yourself on Street View warrant Chris Armstrong
an Anglo Saxon expletive? Is this Landline is incoming only. I have BT
abbreviation so much part of the way Price and features are not in line with Infinity 2 with 70Mbps speeds. I use
you express yourself as to pass through previous expectations. Why fork out Sky mobile with roll-over data, but
editing unnoticed? Does your office have £800 for minor updates? make most calls through WhatsApp.
a swear box? Perhaps it should. Stephen Perry Jason ‘Boz’ Bowyer
T King, via email

Web User says: We’re sorry that you


were offended by the ‘WTF’ in our
Google cover feature – it certainly wasn’t
M APLIN IS LOOKING FOR
BUYERS TO STAVE OFF
ADMINISTRATION (bit.ly/
H AVE YOU NOTICED CHROME
BLOCKING MORE ADS SINCE
IT ADDED A BUILT-IN BLOCKER?
our intention. We’re aware that the maplin444). WHY IS IT IN
abbreviation can be interpreted as TROUBLE? I’ve noticed some sites recognising
including an expletive, but these days that an ad blocker is being used, then
it’s commonly used They were great when they produced asking me to disable it.
both online and off a full catalogue but then they couldn’t David P-Smith
as an expression of be bothered anymore. People went
incredulity, and can online to browse. I now shop on I use a VPN DNS to block all ads on
equally stand for Amazon and eBay. my PC, including Chrome. And I’ll be
‘what the flip?’ Cheyvonne Bower sticking with it whatever Chrome
(bit.ly/whatflip444) brings out. Chrome’s offering is not
or ‘what’s this I guess if you wanted to pay £20 for enough.
foolishness?’ a cable, then Maplin was the place to Sir Cumference @Gary_Olsen
(bit.ly/foolish444). go. I shopped there a few times, until I
As an example, the realised you could get the same things Exactly whose ads would Google
respected political cheaper in other shops and online. (who basically built their business
journalist Robert George McPhail model on selling ads) be blocking?
Peston recently It’s hypocritical, and allows Google
published a book They’re pretty bad at mainstream stuff to dictate to companies how they
with the title WTF (bit.ly/peston444), and their advice is usually awful. should conduct their business.
so we considered the abbreviation fair Carl Peto Jarrod Ushkowski
game for inclusion in our feature.

Air your views, write to us at webuser@dennis.co.uk 7 - 20 March 2018 73


Page 404
Barry Collins finally discovers the hidden
meaning of Windows 10 S

Now we know
what the ‘S’ stands for
W
ell, that’s one mystery reason makes you pay extra to fully a program written by the bloke next
solved. I spent the past unlock your operating system. door to monitor pigeons landing in his
year wondering what the I wouldn’t get too outraged over this, back garden, right through to Adobe
‘S’ in Windows 10 S stands because no PC manufacturer in its right Photoshop. When people get a
for and now I finally know: Shambles. mind will risk infuriating customers by Windows 10 device home and discover
Microsoft is reportedly abandoning forcing them to pay another £50 that they can’t install either Pigeon
Windows 10 S as a separate version of for full-fat Fancier 2.0,
Windows 10, which makes this the Windows Photoshop or one of
second time in recent years that it’s when they High on price, low on the other gazillion
given up on an edition of Windows that first fire up quality. Not a great tagline for apps out there, they
only lets you install apps from its own their PC. get frustrated and
Store. Remember the risible Windows Why can’t a store you’re attempting to start hitting things.
RT? No, neither does anyone else. Microsoft force people to use Often, the poor
Microsoft will instead continue make a Saturday lad in Currys
flogging this dead horse in the guise of Store-only PC World.
‘S Mode’. This will allow either the user version of Windows work? After all, The quality of the Store also leaves
or the PC manufacturer to effectively every app you install on an iPhone, iPad a lot to be desired. At the time of
flick a switch and block installation of or Android device has to be installed writing, the top paid-for app is
anything that doesn’t come from the through the relevant app store. Paint.NET – a fantastic, lightweight
Windows Store. If you want to switch The problem is one of legacy. One of art package, but one that’s free to
S Mode off and run normal Windows, the great strengths of Windows – and download if you go to getpaint.net. I’m
you can – except if you buy Windows 10 one of its biggest weaknesses – is that delighted the wonderful developers are
Pro, which for some unfathomable you can install almost anything, from getting some reward for their work, but
that kind of thing leaves people feeling
cheated. Meanwhile, the ‘top’ free app is
China Daily HD, a woefully designed
version of the Chinese newspaper. High
on price, low on quality. Not a great
tagline for a store you’re attempting to
force people to use.
What’s more, Microsoft has done a
terrible job of defining both RT and S,
and has completely failed to explain
their benefits. The names themselves
are confusing: what do RT and S
actually mean to a computer buyer?
If the feature had been promoted as
Illustration: Andrew Torrens

Secure Mode – a version which prevents


the kids downloading any old trash
they’ve found on their Minecraft sites,
and that spares you from ransomware
and other nasties – more people might
be inclined to go with it.
As it is, S Mode is destined for another
potential definition for that mysterious
S: the scrapheap.

74 7 - 20 March 2018 Do you agree? Let us know at webuser@dennis.co.uk


SU
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BS OF NFO
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ENJOYED

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