Tech & Gaming
Computer Shopper

Computer Shopper August 2019

Computer Shopper is the essential monthly magazine that allows you to stay abreast of the latest news and releases in the world of technology. With more reviews, hands-on guides and features than any other tech monthly, you’ll be better informed by reading Computer Shopper.

United Kingdom
Dennis Publishing UK
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12 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
welcome page

“Alexa, turn on lounge light.” Mmm, that’s not it. “Alexa, turn on living room light.” Nope, not that either. “Alexa, turn living room light on.” Nothing. “Alexa, turn – actually don’t bother, I’ll just get up and do it myself.” For anyone who has used some kind of artificial intelligence-powered voice assistant, whether Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri, this probably sounds familiar. These AI systems promise us an easy life of bossing around an unseen slave, there to do our bidding, from turning up the heating on a cold night to turning down the volume of a tune when the phone rings. But in reality, I often end up carrying out the task myself, as I can’t remember the exact wording required to get my assistant to do it for me. So there’s…

2 min.
⋆ star letter

Passonby @ I’m puzzled by your repeated recommendation of cloud-based password managers, most recently LastPass (‘Use a password manager’, Advanced Projects, Shopper 377). Surely the passwords and other sensitive information which these services gather in the cloud, usually a whole collection of data for each user, represent the most irresistible sort of honeypot on the internet, and therefore will be the subject of hackers’ most strenuous efforts? I’m sure LastPass and others stress how secure they keep the data, but we’ve heard that again and again from the bestresourced tech companies, to no effect. Perhaps I’m missing something, but for this reason I have avoided all such cloud-based password services. I rely on some old software, which doesn’t touch the internet and puts my passwords behind a master password. This gives me a file, which…

3 min.

Mel-ifluous @ Can I use your letters page to thank Mel Croucher? I have been a fan of his work since the first PiMan. In fact, I was very nearly involved with a later PIMan episode on the Spectrum through a mutual college friend, who asked me to investigate copy protection for a later release, but nothing ever came of it for me. But Mel’s article ‘The great digital divide’ (Mel’s World, Shopper 377), I believe, was one of the best articles he has ever written. As well as agreeing with everything he wrote, I found the article incredibly moving. I have grown up – and old – reading Mel’s work, and I have to say the old man still has it. Mel, please don’t stop what you are doing. Mark Painter We wholeheartedly agree with…

1 min.
in the next issue

Laptops on test The summer holidays are fast approaching, and that means it’s time for shops and websites to start offering their back to school/college/university/work deals. We round up the best laptop deals around, from budget models and convertibles to thin and light machines and gaming beasts Use Word like a pro Microsoft’s word-processing application might be widely used, but is it well used? We show you some power-user tricks Happy half-century, Unix! We all use Unix every day, when we browse the web or use our mobile phones. So how did what began as an underfunded attempt to build a simple OS to run a phone network become one of the greatest influences on modern life? Cerebral computation We investigate research into an alternative model of computation, which offers the potential of massive performance gains by…

4 min.
vice control

Tech pioneer and all-round good egg letters@computershopper.co.uk WHEN I WAS a boy, my Uncle Sid had his voice box removed, thanks to a pioneering navy surgeon and a 40-a-day cigarette habit. Uncle Sid’s was the first synthetic voice I ever heard. It was generated by a battery-driven unit that looked a bit like an electric shaver, and he pressed it to his throat when he needed to communicate. The device emitted a very scary monotone, which was a cross between a Dalek and a vacuum cleaner, and Uncle Sid would cough after every word. His favourite word was ‘pfah!’ For years, all synthetic voices sounded like Uncle Sid, from homicidal computers in sci-fi movies to Stephen Hawking. So in 1983, when I got hold of my own artificial voice box, I knew what…

4 min.
it’s a lockout

Software guru and Shopper legend letters@computershopper.co.uk A WRITER AT The New Yorker recently posted a tweet that said: “Uh, this looks fake but, alas, it’s our iPad today after 3-year-old tried (repeatedly) to unlock. Ideas?” The tweet had an image attached of the iPad’s screen saying the device is disabled, along with the message, “Try again in 25,536,442 minutes.” To save you doing the arithmetic, that’s over 48 years. Quite a while to be waiting to get back to your music, photos and documents. What had happened was the toddler had kept trying to unlock the device by typing the wrong password, and Apple devices have a security feature under which the more times an incorrect password is entered, the more time is added to the lockout time. Persistent toddler, 48-year lockout. Apple’s advice in these circumstances…