HOW TO LAUNCH IN A CROSSWIND

HOW TO LAUNCH IN A CROSSWIND

When you learn to fly, you are told it is dangerous to launch with the wind beyond 45 degrees off “straight up the slope”. Crosswinds cause turbulence. So why would you launch in a crosswind? In hike-and-fly, you often cannot reach a perfect launch slope. It might have taken hours to get to your chosen peak, and the weather might have changed. The forecast might be wrong. Or you just need to get off the mountain before the rain comes in. If you can do it safely, there’s no reason to restrict yourself to “perfect direction”. But it can be risky to ignore the dangers of the crosswind. So what to do? In this article I’ll show you how to keep yourself safe on a steep slope. Here are 10 steps to help…

NAKED PILOT JESSICA LOVE

NAKED PILOT JESSICA LOVE

I learned to fly on the coast in California in 2004, then I went to Bir, India, with about 10 hours airtime. I did my first XC flights there, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I worked as a tandem and parahawking pilot in Nepal for several seasons. I also flew tandems in Spain and Austria. Then during the pandemic, I shifted my focus to academia. I dropped out of university when I was younger. I couldn’t sit still and focus. I moved to London, where I trained as a hairstylist at Vidal Sassoon. I went back to work as a hairstylist in California but shortly after, I learned to fly, and like all of us, I was obsessed! I wanted to travel and fly all the time. I quit my job…

ALL ABOARD THE SUBMARINE

ALL ABOARD THE SUBMARINE

Luc Armant’s vexation was subtle, but perceptible. Sitting forward, staring at me intently, then leaning back in his office chair, patiently awaiting my response, I felt like Luc was evaluating me, my questions, and where they might be leading. It was clear early on that Luc’s slightly reserved demeanour was a function of his busy mind. “What is the experience like? What do you feel?” I finally asked. “It’s quiet,” he replied, contemplatively. “Drag, you know, makes noise.” Nearing the end of his workday, he was kind enough to entertain my questions on his years-long project: Ozone’s Submarine harness. The production version was released as I wrote this. It’s been on Luc’s mind for some time, since at least 2006, before he even worked at Ozone. Thinking back to engineering school, Luc’s response…

Horizon

Horizon

1 iPHONE 13 • From £679, apple.com Apple’s four new iPhones don’t look too new – we’re in the ‘hardware refresh’ point of the iPhone cycle rather than the ‘radical redesign’ bit, after all – but they’re absolutely some of the most exciting the company has ever released. From the dinky 5.4-inch iPhone 13 mini all the way up to the big-boy 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max, with the 6.1-inch iPhones 13 and 13 Pro between them, the entire line has been given a bunch of salient upgrades. They each get new batteries with smarter power management, offering between 90 minutes to two-and-a-half hours extra life on a charge. Apple’s newest 5nm smartphone chip, the A15 Bionic, brings six CPU cores, between four and five GPU cores, and a vastly upgraded neural processor…

AIRDESIGN VOLT 4

AIRDESIGN VOLT 4

Roll back to Coupe Icare 2021 and the talk on the stands was the impending change in the rules to allow the use of folding lines when certifying EN-C wings. Why was this important? Simply put, it is very difficult to induce collapses on a two-liner. So, so-called ‘folding lines’ are used for certification – a special set of lines fitted just for the certification process that are used to induce consistent collapses. Until last year using folding lines during certification gave the wing an automatic D rating, regardless of the wing’s behaviour. However, the rule change allowed them to be used when testing EN-C gliders. And that opened the door to EN-C two-liners. First to release a two-liner EN-C were AirDesign, who announced the Volt 4 at the virtual Stubai…

DUST DEVIL BASICS

Dust devils occur when a thermal lifts off in superadiabatic conditions. Superadiabatic conditions mean when the lapse rate of the day is greater than the dry adiabatic lapse rate. Or to put it another way, when the temperature decreases with height at a rate greater than 10C per kilometre (1C per 100m). This usually only happens in hot, desert-like conditions, which is why dust devils are common in the flatlands of Australia or South Africa but less so in say, Annecy in the northern French Alps. The air rushing in to fill the area below the thermal usually has some turning motion. When this air comes together its spin is exaggerated, just as a skater spins faster when his or her arms are brought in. This spinning air would soon lose…

DUST DEVIL BASICS

HOW TO KEEP A HEALTHY BACK

“My back hurts!” We have all heard or said that many times. Back pain comes in many forms and for many reasons. Stiff neck, sciatica, poor range of motion, pain radiating to your extremities, and angry nerves are just some of the issues people face. Back pain has many causes but most generally can be traced to a few issues. Pain can manifest from past traumatic injuries including impact injuries (car crash, drunken fall, paragliding crash) or poor form while lifting or moving heavy objects. Others may experience back pain from being badly out of shape, living a sedentary lifestyle or simply from spending too much time in a chair while working, commuting or at night in front of the television. Back pain can cripple your season, making it hard to…

HOW TO KEEP A HEALTHY BACK
THE TRUE STORY BEHIND THE IBM PERSONAL COMPUTER

THE TRUE STORY BEHIND THE IBM PERSONAL COMPUTER

No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.” So begins The War Of The Worlds by HG Wells, and while some IBM executives of the late 1970s may have taken offence at this comparison – the world being watched was the explosive growth of personal computers, the eyes behind the microscope belonging to IBM – there is a ring of truth to this parallel. The main difference…

Letters

Letters

Email: letters@computeractive.co.uk Facebook: www.facebook.com/computeractive Twitter: @ComputerActive www.twitter.com/computeractive Teenagers give thumbs up the thumbs down It didn’t surprise me to read about youngsters finding the ‘thumbs up’ emoji insulting (Issue 644, page 8). According to my teenage grandson, the world of emoji etiquette is complex and constantly evolving. He said that you should never send the ‘crying with laughter’ face because it could be seen as an inappropriate response. Apparently, youngsters prefer the skull emoji (pictured below) to illustrate amusement. I have no idea why. He also advised me to avoid the hand-clap emoji because it’s seen as sarcastic. But the biggest faux-pas you can make when texting a teenager is ending a sentence with a full stop. This tells the recipient that the conversation is over, and you don’t desire a reply. For this reason, it’s…

The secret security firm that you pay for

@bazzacollins I hate paying for something and not knowing what it is, like one of those cryptically named transactions on a bank statement. Yet, UK taxpayers, we’re all paying for a secretive consortium of IT security companies called Vivace – and the Home Office is not keen to tell us what’s going on there. Vivace first came to my attention when it was named as one of the “industry experts” consulted for the NSPCC’s highly dubious report into end-to-end encryption, which I wrote about here a few months ago (see issue 322, p22). I’d never heard of Vivace, and its website (vivace.tech) left me none the wiser, offering little more than a full house in buzzword bingo (“providing innovative, agile and flexible solutions to problems in the communications data space”) – and…

The secret security firm that you pay for
Letters

Letters

Having to cancel Netflix is ‘unsettling’ Katherine West is surely right to say that being forced to cancel Netflix doesn’t mean you’ve been reduced to poverty (Letters, Issue 643). TV-streaming is a modern luxury that anyone should be able to live without. But nobody likes having to cut back on what they’ve become used to. A more proportionate view is that people are cancelling Netflix and other subscription services because they are feeling poorer, and are worried about the future. That sense of anxiety shouldn’t be so easily dismissed. It must feel unsettling for many to have cut back in unexpected areas. Julie Arundel Could it simply be that millions signed up to services like Netflix during the lockdowns when they had time and money on their hands? I signed up to Netflix in…

Letters

Why are you so obsessed with Windows 11? I’d like to ask Computeractive a question: why are you so obsessed with Windows 11? Every other news story you publish seems to be about new tools added to it, and yet interest in the operating system seems lukewarm at best. It makes me wonder whether you have a hidden agenda. Are you in league with Microsoft to encourage us to upgrade? As you may have suspected, I’m still on Windows 10, and intend to remain so until it’s no longer supported. I’m still interested in the changes Microsoft makes to Windows 11, but I don’t want to be bombarded with this information all the time. Can we have more balance, please? Surely the majority of readers haven’t upgraded yet, so it makes sense…

Letters

NEW GLIDERS

KARISMA II Apco say the Karisma II, their new lightweight EN-A, has top-level safety and inspires confidence. It’s a school wing which Apco say will take new pilots on their first XCs. They add it’s “by far” their bestthermalling EN-A ever and has very good, usable performance on bar. It is made from siliconised zero-porosity ripstop nylon, which is double-siliconised for the top surface. It has sheathed lines and stainless steel karabiners and line attachment loops, and is still 20% lighter than the original, at 4.5kg in M. Five sizes are planned. It will be certified for paramotoring too. apcoaviation.com AD EAZY 3 AirDesign’s updated EN-A is ready. They say the Eazy 3 is as easy as ever, but now with a bit more performance. It’s made for fledgling pilots for their very first…

NEW GLIDERS

Reasons to be cheerful, part 3

@bazzacollins I’ve moved home a lot recently. Not my actual home – I last did that 15 years ago and I understand they’ve still not introduced solicitors to the concept of email. I’m not moving again until they do. No, I’m talking about moving my virtual home, the computers and phones I use for my day-to-day existence. And unlike hoiking the family from one plot of bricks and mortar to another, this process has become a lot easier over the years. Switching computers used to be an eight-cheese-sandwiches-before-bedtime, wake-up-dripping-insweat nightmare. Just getting your files from one PC to another was a chore when I first started banging out words for this magazine in the late 1990s, what with removable storage having all the capacity of a Pimlico bedsit. Not to mention the hunt…

Reasons to be cheerful, part 3
Why is Electron so controversial?

Why is Electron so controversial?

Exclusive investigations into technology practices. Email probe@pcpro.co.uk if you have a story Back in August, users of password management app 1Password saw a familiar prompt inside their desktop apps: a new update was available. But the launch of 1Password 8.0 wasn’t a routine update. Under the hood, something significant changed: the underlying architecture of the app was switched to Electron. Electron, or “ElectronJS” to use its full title, is on paper a rather clever idea. It allows developers to write an app only once, so instead of writing an app for Windows, an app for macOS and an app for Linux, the same code powers the app on multiple platforms. It’s both popular and open source, and the framework is used today for a range of popular desktop apps, from Slack and WhatsApp…

Letters

Letters

Amazon’s robots will lead to long-term benefits Amazon’s new robots may cause job losses in the short term, but it should lead to considerable benefits over the long term (‘Question of the Fortnight’, Issue 645, pictured above). This has been the pattern for most technological innovations over the years. When I worked for a big accountancy firm in the early 1980s, we introduced computers to automate some tasks. This meant some staff were surplus to requirements and were let go, but within a year the savings we had made from the automation allowed us to expand in new areas and employ new people. We ended up recruiting at least twice the number of staff that we had initially let go. It’s important to remember that you can’t un-invent techology. Once a company starts…

Google reboots Android tablets

Google reboots Android tablets

Believe it or not, Google cares about Android tablets again. After years of treading water, and effectively ceding the space to Apple’s iPad, the company has announced a new version of Android 12 (dubbed 12L), which will be specifically optimised for making the most of Android on large-format devices. In a blog post detailing the new features of the OS, Google promised a range of tools, guidance and APIs to help developers build apps for the new OS. And it showed off a range of new user-interface tweaks, such as iPad-style split screen multitasking, and new user interface components that respond to context. This means if, for example, you have a list of emails displayed on a phone-sized screen, you may only see the sender and subject lines. But if the…

“Whole man-weeks have disappeared on this journey, but that’ spar for the course, it seems”

“Whole man-weeks have disappeared on this journey, but that’ spar for the course, it seems”

iPerf3 is one of those industry-standard tools for measuring network performance. You run it at each end of a connection and then fire it up to determine how quickly the data gets sent over the wire (or Wi-Fi). It’s been around a while and is very much a known quantity. The app is usually controlled from a command line, which gives a good indication of how hair-shirt it really is, but the core technology is available on just about every computing platform out there. Some developers have wrapped a graphical user interface around the core code to make it more friendly, but being a keyboard warrior, the command line with its endless switches and options is The One True Way. Well, most of the time. I use Magic iPerf on Android, which…

‘Our son was six months old when my husband started to transition’

There is a bench on the Brighton seafront, facing the iconic green railings, where I sat for hours, waiting for my contractions to start. Six months later, I sat there again with my baby and sobbed into the hood of his coat. That evening, I went home to have the conversation that had been looming almost since the moment he was born: my then-husband was going to transition. For months leading up to that moment in 2017, I’d known something was very wrong between us, but it was a battle to understand what. We were still close, there was no shortage of love, and we adored the baby we’d both wanted. But the love was changing shape like a phantom I couldn’t grasp. Each time I reached out, it slipped away.…

‘Our son was six months old when my husband started to transition’
Letters

Letters

Customers will slash both speed and bills One of the side effects of broadband providers sending end-of-contract notifications is that many customers will switch not to cheaper deals and the same speed, but to slower and cheaper deals. I suspect that’s not what Ofcom had in mind though. It wants to encourage a high uptake of fast broadband, and so expects customers to switch from one gigabit package to another, maybe saving £5 a month. But it’s just as likely that customers will slash both their speed and their bills. I don’t blame Ofcom for forcing companies to send notifications. Customers should be told when their contracts are due to end. But if in a few months time Ofcom is reporting a drop in gigabit uptake, it could be because those notifications…

‘Love is what matters this Christmas’

‘Love is what matters this Christmas’

“I want everyone to smile at one another in the street again. I’ve really missed that” When Joanna Lumley arrives at the GH Christmas cover shoot, she brings festive cheer aplenty. As she hangs baubles on the tree and pours Champagne, her laughter can be heard rooms away. She’s characteristically chatty and most of her sentences end with the word ‘darling’, reminiscent of her much-loved Ab Fab alter-ego Patsy Stone. It’s been a busy year for Joanna and she certainly has a lot to celebrate. Alongside filming a slew of new documentaries, she has been editing a book, A Queen For All Seasons, a tribute to The Queen in honour of her Platinum Jubilee. Released this month, it’s a treasure chest of telling insights, musings and memories of the monarch. Joanna turned 75…

Is the UK ready to become a cashless society?

Is the UK ready to become a cashless society?

The adoption of new technology typically moves too slowly for the companies involved and too quickly for much of the public. The growth of digital payments is a classic example. Apple and Google would like you to ditch your cash and pay by phone instead. Their vision is of a society that couldn’t function otherwise. If we sleepwalk into a cashless society, millions will be left behind But not many Brits are ready to abandon coins and notes, according to a new survey by consultancy Accenture. While it found that debit cards are the most frequently used form of payment, 63 per cent of adults still use cash at least five times a month. More significant is that cash remains far more popular than using phone apps like Apple Pay (www.snipca.com/41319) and Google…

Editors’ Choice

Accessory Loudspeaker Budget Component of the Year Editors’ Choice KEF LS50 META LOUDSPEAKER There is no such animal as a “perfect loudspeaker.” But within its limitations of limited maximum loudness—the LS50 Meta will work best in small or medium-sized rooms—and limited low-frequency extension (the reflex port is tuned to 51Hz), this immaculately finished minimonitor offers an almost complete absence of midrange coloration, a musically satisfying balance, and what I described in my review as a palpable “reach-out-and-touch” soundstage. All this for just $1500/pair! Affordable almost perfection.—John Atkinson AUDIOVECTOR R8 LOUDSPEAKER Of the music-makers I lived with this year, I’d rate the Magico and the Audiovector very close, but the Magico already won a big prize—two of them in fact. The gorgeous-looking Audiovector R8 took me by surprise, doing things with imaging that I’ve never…

Editors’ Choice

Consumeractive

Am I due a refund for broken Freeview recorder? LEAD CASE Q In March 2021, I ordered a Humax FVP-5000T Freeview Play Recorder (pictured) from Argos, and have had nothing but problems with it for over a year. Humax’s technical team has tried various fixes, but nothing has worked. It even said there’s an inherent fault, but is now ignoring my emails demanding a refund. Can you confirm I’m entitled to one? Peter Williams A Peter may be due a refund, though he might have to put up with a repair or replacement first. However, he should be chasing the retailer (Argos) for this, not the manufacturer (Humax). His only contract with Humax is through its free warranty. Rather than refunds, manufacturers’ warranties usually offer only continued repairs or a replacement if goods are…

Consumeractive
NAKED PILOT JUSTIN PUTHOD

NAKED PILOT JUSTIN PUTHOD

My father used to take me tandem when I was little, often in the autumn when we went to Saint André-les-Alpes. When I was 14 I spent my afternoons groundhandling. At first my parents were a bit reluctant for me to fly, but when I was 18, in the summer of 2017, I learned with Pegase & Particule school in Allevard. The thing that most attracted me about learning to fly, is how easily you can travel long distances in the mountains, and the pleasure of discovering places from above. My father was my biggest influence in the beginning. I flew my first few flights with him. After that it was my friends from Annecy, who fly at a similar level to me. I enjoy other sports too: skiing, climbing, mountaineering and enduro…

Pilly cam, it was really nothing

Apple’s iPhone development cycle has a problem… and that problem is the cycle itself. The iPhone 11 offered a superb new night mode; the 12 brought a big design change; the 13 remixed the formula and added some decent enhancements, notably in battery life and screen brightness. But it looked the same, aside from a downsizing of the notorious ‘notch’ housing the selfie-cam and the hardware for Face ID. And the iPhone 14 series? It’s a reworking of the same design again, and doesn’t really push things on. There is, though, a change to the notch. In fact, the iPhone 14 Pro does away with it entirely, with the in-display camera cutouts forming a pill shape called the Dynamic Island. What’s more, there are various ways to interact with it in the…

Pilly cam, it was really nothing

‘I’ve discovered I have a brain full of biscuits!’

When I tell you that I’ve been seeing a hypnotherapist, you might have quite a visceral reaction. Your mind might immediately jump to a man in a shiny suit on a 1980s variety show, making an unsuspecting stranger cluck like a chicken, or a horror film in which people commit unspeakable crimes without any real knowledge of why they did it. Let me reassure you that I have never pretended to be a chicken (without my knowledge) or committed a horrific crime (although I did once have a perm and streaks at the same time). This is not the first time in my life that someone has counted to 10 and put me under. A few years ago I tried hypnosis to get over my fear of flying, and it’s fair…

‘I’ve discovered I have a brain full of biscuits!’

Prison for Twitter jokes isn’t funny

Nicole Kobie is PC Pro’s Futures editor and she has deleted most of her tweets. It’s for the best. @njkobie Twelve years ago, Paul Chambers was frustrated by flight cancellations that threatened to keep him apart from his girlfriend. To vent, he posted the following message to Twitter: “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!” No-one in their right mind would have read that tweet and thought Chambers was going to do any such thing, and indeed when the message was spotted by an airport manager a week later, the threat was deemed “not credible”. Despite that, the airport called the police, sparking a two-year long legal battle. Chambers was initially found guilty of sending…

Prison for Twitter jokes isn’t funny
GRAMOPHONE DREAMS

GRAMOPHONE DREAMS

The sound of sound Whenever I install a new, in-for-review DAC, after some amount of spaced-out not-listening listening I find myself just sitting there, being happy I got the damn thing working. Once I recover from the stress of installation, my brain begins, without prompting, to examine the character of sound coming out of my speakers. Half-consciously I wonder: How does this sound sound? Has changing DACs altered the contrast, viscosity, or timbre? Does the energy of recordings feel more or less intense with the new DAC? I make these observations lazily but empirically, with a fair amount of detachment. In an effort to prolong my detached listening, I’ve been starting my new-DAC listening sessions playing recordings with no voices, melodies, or attention-grabbing compositional development. I have an “ambient-electronic” playlist in Roon…

“With a NAS, it’s best to replace before you have a problem rather than after one has occurred”

Network attached storage (NAS) devices are wonderful things. Back in the day, I used to run Windows Server on my network, and it did a good job. Then things got more complicated with Active Directory, which was fine for a large corporate but added a lot of complexity to the SME marketplace. Microsoft, in its ongoing attempt to force every square peg into a round hole, made a Home Server. But complexity was always going to be an issue. NAS devices have been around for a while, of course, and many vendors had a go. Starting with straight storage, they grew into application platform servers with a rich array of additional tools and services. It started with the obvious ones – file server, a spot of DNS and maybe some DHCP…

“With a NAS, it’s best to replace before you have a problem rather than after one has occurred”
Horizon

Horizon

1 SONY ALPHA 7R V • £4,000, sony.co.uk It’s time to make two bold and controversial statements. One, the quality of Sony’s recent camera output now places it directly next to Canon and Nikon in pro cameras’ upper tier. Two: the DSLR is dead. Mirrorless sensors open up new possibilities, and manufacturers are only now scratching the surface of what’s possible. Right now, the Alpha 7R V is utterly remarkable for its AI subject detection engine, which utilises deep learning to pull off what Sony calls ‘next-generation autofocus’, able to not only accurately pick out subjects in frame but to analyse their pose to ensure the 7R V never locks onto a foreground finger. Five years down the line? The entire mirrorless market will be brainier than your cat. The Alpha 7R V also…

BREAKING APPLE’S HARD TO DO

The great wearable gets an extreme makeover and an adrenaline-pumping price ● Toughen up Ever wondered what an Apple Watch would look like if it spent its spare time heli-skiing and kitesurfing rather than having to remind you not to spend all weekend sitting on the sofa? It’d look like the new Apple Watch Ultra: a more rugged smartwatch with a bigger 49mm case that’s made from aerospace-grade titanium. It’ll work in more extreme temperatures and harsher environments, including up to 100m underwater, plus its battery will last 36hrs off a single charge, with a 60hr low-power mode on the way. ● Button up The most obvious addition to the Ultra’s chunkier frame is the customisable Action button. This can begin workouts, advance legs of multisport activities and drop compass waypoints, while the digital…

BREAKING APPLE’S HARD TO DO
SATURDAY Choices

SATURDAY Choices

PICK OF THE DAY Keeping Faith 9.00pm BBC1 DRAMA When Judge Owens (a wonderfully imperious performance by Sian Phillips) told Faith in no uncertain terms to curb her ridiculous outbursts, I wish that instruction had extended to her behaviour beyond the courtroom. The woman’s exhausting: stomping out of rooms, shrieking at her rebellious teenage daughter, snapping at her mother-in-law, ripping up flowers, mouthing obscenities at her soon to be ex-husband Evan (Bradley Freegard, above right) and even kneeing Steve. Although, to be fair, her life is a mess. The arrival of her mother Rose (Celia Imrie), who’s a nasty piece of work, is about to make things a whole lot messier. Faith focuses instead on the stressful case of 14-year-old Osian, who has a brain tumour, and whether he should have an operation the…

HARNESS TECHNOLOGY 2023

HARNESS TECHNOLOGY 2023

Ozone Harnesses were the star of the show in the trade tents at the Coupe Icare this year – and literally hanging high above them all was the much talked about Ozone Submarine. It was prompting both exclamations of awe and sighs of resignation among the other manufacturers. Awe because it’s a stunning piece of engineering and it clearly works; resignation because if you are in the business of designing competition paragliding harnesses, then the bar has just been raised significantly. There was a reason it was hanging 10ft up, away from prying eyes. Among serious competition pilots, the question was “When can I get one?” While the streamlined competition harness, designed by Luc Armant, has been seen on the international competition circuit all year it is only now available to order. But that…

THE NEXT GENERATION

THE NEXT GENERATION

Two-line EN-C paragliders were a hot topic in the trade tents at the Coupe Icare, with many manufacturers planning to bring one out for the start of the season next year. To recap, a change in how the EN certification process is carried out has allowed paraglider makers to bring two-line technology into the EN-C category. AirDesign got there first earlier in 2022 with the launch of the Volt 4 (EN C), and now everyone is at it. Brand by brand, here’s what we heard: Advance did not announce a two-line EN C, but they did use the festival to announce the Epsilon DLS (EN B, and not a two-liner), the 10th generation of their mid-B wing. It is scheduled for February 2023. Meanwhile, the next iteration of the Omega (presumed…

NAKED PILOT VOLODYMYR PEREVALOV

I started flying in Kharkov in my early 20s. I made my first wing out of nylon clothing material and sailing cord. It was a copy of a Flight Design B3, and weighed 12kg. When it collapsed, it didn’t re-inflate. You just had to fly it down to the bottom and walk back up! As you can probably tell, paragliding wasn’t really for me at the time. I was more into sailing, diving, climbing. There were no paragliding schools in Eastern Ukraine – just one guy who thought he understood it. But he basically just taught me to groundhandle for three months. He had no idea beyond that. I fell in love with flying in Crimea. I hooked up with a guy in the Crimean mountains who helped me learn to…

NAKED PILOT VOLODYMYR PEREVALOV
OZONE SWIFTSIX

OZONE SWIFTSIX

When I reviewed the Ozone Rush 6 (EN B) in the middle of last year I found a wing with great handling and performance for its class, especially when pushing into wind. At the time I said I was looking forward to trying the light version – the Swift 6. Roll forward six months or so and Ozone’s Russell Ogden told me they had finished the SwiftSix (note the name), had one in my size, and asked if I’d like to fly it. Yes please. So earlier this year I got to take their “production-check” wing away with me for a couple of weeks in the south of France and Bassano in Italy. Design and materials Although the wing was ready and fully certified in February it wasn’t released when I had it…

SO, YOU’RE DOING THE X-ALPS

SO, YOU’RE DOING THE X-ALPS

Even though I’d made it very public that I was not going to apply for the 2023 Red Bull X-Alps and had my head solidly around the idea of not participating this time around (never say never!) seeing the athletes announced in October was unkind to my ego. The X-Alps has defined a good portion of the last decade of my life, and losing my moniker “USA 1” was a rather bitter pill to swallow. I remember the first time I applied back in 2014 for the 2015 race – the two long months of waiting and wondering and hoping and the absolute astonishment and joy of finding out I’d made the cut, and then the flood of being totally overwhelmed. The race was nine months away. Thousands of hours of…

NEED TO KNOW

NEED TO KNOW

WHAT’S ON PWCA Superfinal 2022 The Paragliding World Cup Superfinal heads to Valle de Bravo, Mexico in December for a two-week end-of-season showdown with 11 days of competition. This is the highest calibre event in the paragliding calendar. 6-17 December. pwca.org Forbes Flatlands Organisers will be hoping that Forbes, NSW, Australia will have dried out in time for the annual Forbes Flatlands HG competition, from 18-26 January. The region experienced its worst floods in 50 years in November – something meteorologists put down to La Niña. forbesflatlands.com Pre-PWC South Africa Porterville, South Africa is hosting a Pre-PWC just ahead of Christmas. Head here for a blast of sunshine and flatland flying 120km NE of Cape Town. Dates 11-17 December. airtribune.com Las Candelas 2023 Las Candelas, the traditional start to the European paramotoring season, will be celebrating its 25th edition this year.…

LETTERS

I’m back in Years ago, I canceled my subscription because of the general East Coast urbanhipster vibe and other claptrap that seeps into equipment reviews. Then, today, I read this in Robert Schryer’s review of the Grandinote Shinai: “The Shinai mostly degassed those farts, rendering them drier than I’m used to, more defined and solid, with better attack.” I’m back in. —Tom WrennZelienople, Pennsylvania IsoAcoustics Gaia isolation feet Just wanted to thank Michael Fremer for his enthusiastic review of the IsoAcoustics Gaia isolation feet. After reading his review, I bought them. He was not kidding!! In 45 years of hi-fi, I’ve never heard a tweak to a system have such a dramatic improvement. I have been rediscovering old recordings ever since. Thanks again, and hope to see Michael again at Audio Advice in Raleigh…

SOUND & VISION

1 HIBY R2 Entry-level price, mid-range performance: that’s the sweet spot for any hardware, and HiBy’s remarkable R2 digital audio player hits it. Certified for Hi-res wired and wireless playback, capable of 4x MQA reproduction, and featuring HiBy’s own codecs and remastering tools, it does great things for the money. Perfect for a run or, with full Tidal support, a relax. £99, hiby.com 2 SONY WH-CH710N Sony’s high-end cans grab the headlines, but perhaps its lower-end wireless noise cancellers deserve your money more. The WH-CH710N aren’t short on quality – while the ANC isn’t quite to the stellar level of the WH-1000XM4 (or even the XM3) it’s very decent, they’re light and comfortable, the battery lasts for an age, and they’re great for commuting in relative peace. £130, sony.com 3 ROKU STREAMING STICK 4K There’s hot competition…

SOUND & VISION

Readers’ comments

Central cryptoheating The negative consensus assessment of cryptocurrencies in last month’s issue (see issue 324, p26) isn’t strong enough in my opinion. They are nearly useless as currencies because they do not have sufficient transaction capacity and the value is too volatile. As assets, they are a pure Ponzi scheme. Unlike gold, the energy consumption used to limit the supply of cryptocoin is not recoverable. By contrast, the so-called “fiat currencies” are backed by the tax-raising powers of the governments that issue them. The farmer who uses biomethane to generate electricity for cryptomining isn’t being green. He is releasing just as much stored carbon into the atmosphere. Instead, he could sell the electricity to the grid, thereby substituting fossil carbon. On the other hand, it’s increasingly green to switch from gas heating to…

Readers’ comments

HOW TO SLOW DOWN, BUT KEEP FLYING

William Shatner foot-launched a paramotor for his 13th and final time in 2002. It was part of his last official act as Captain Kirk. He did this flight primarily for fun, but it was also his entrance into a charity paintball match between the Federation and Klingons (from the Star Trek franchise). And it required a dead-calm forward inflation which he pulled off nicely, albeit with help. There’s a remarkably low-budget production called Spplat Attack available on Amazon, complete with some of my aerial footage of him in flight. He was 72 years old and not exactly a paragon of fitness. He explained that if we could help him launch, he’d be fine on the landing, probably landing on his butt, which he did. Your fitness I’m of average fitness but recognise its benefits,…

HOW TO SLOW DOWN, BUT KEEP FLYING

LETTERS

Liner notes with downloads, please! Over the decades, I’ve progressed through albums to CDs to hi-rez downloads. Part of my listening experience has always been reading liner notes. Holding and reading an album cover or CD booklet while listening to the music has always enhanced the experience. So what gives with liner notes not being part of most hi-rez download purchases? I’ve complained to one of the major hi-rez download sites about this, and they indicated that their hands are tied by the record companies. So I contacted one of the major record labels and got nowhere: Seems they’re happy for me to spend premium money for their hi-rez files but equally happy to deny me liner notes. Maybe a louder, disapproving voice from the hi-rez music–buying public will get their…

Readers’ comments

Readers’ comments

Don’t delete that! I have an Asus Zenbook with a 250GB SSD. After several years, I am again getting warnings about running low on storage space. I have previously drastically cut my music and photo files, so I’m looking for other ideas. My laptop has an Intel Core i5 processor, but there’s 5GB of AMD64 files on the hard drive, in the WinSxS folder. Can I delete these, as I assume they are not used by the Intel system? Stephen Eastman Darien Graham-Smith replies: I’m afraid you can’t safely delete these files. AMD64 is the standard 64-bit architecture that’s used by both AMD and Intel processors – the name merely reflects the fact that it was originally designed by AMD as an extension to the 32-bit x86 platform, and adopted by Intel for its…

Are the days of ‘no signal’ almost over?

Are the days of ‘no signal’ almost over?

If you watched Apple’s iPhone 14 announcement, you could be forgiven for thinking the firm wanted you to be afraid of, well, everything. We were told stories of people who experienced plane crashes, car wrecks and heart attacks and only survived thanks to their Apple devices. The point of this scaremongering? To show off new features such as crash detection, which will automatically contact the emergency services if your phone or watch detects fast motion and crash-like noises. But what are you supposed to do if you need emergency help and you’re in the wilderness or out of signal range? If you have an iPhone 14, the answer could be to look to the heavens and pray, as your phone sends an emergency message via the Globalstar satellite network. A new…

Me… and my housekeeping!

Tracy-Ann Oberman, 54, lives in London with her music producer husband, Rob Cowan, and their daughter, Anoushka, 14. How would you describe your home? It’s an old Victorian house with a Scandinavian vibe inside. A Danish friend taught me about hygge recently. It means warmth, envelopment and a feeling of contentment – and she said our house has that. How tidy is it? My husband is obsessed with tidiness. If there’s anything that’s out of place, he has to do something about it. He’s the perfect companion for someone chaotic like me! What are your kitchen cupboard must-haves? Chestnuts and shallots – I roast all my vegetables with them. I like to have some anchovies and eggs in there, too. Would you rather cook for friends or eat out? Cook for friends. I’m not…

Me… and my housekeeping!
Fifth-generation Range Rover leads brand-wide overhaul

Fifth-generation Range Rover leads brand-wide overhaul

GOT A STORY? Email our news editor felix.page@haymarket.com “The new Range Rover EV, confirmed for launch in 2024, will be the brand’s first all-electric model” Land Rover’s bold new era has begun with the unveiling of the long-awaited fifth generation of its full-sized Range Rover. The flagship model has been completely redesigned, updated and upgraded in all respects and substantially electrified in line with the company’s radical plan to slash emissions across its line-up. The new Range Rover is making its debut following the culmination of a five-year, seven million-hour testing programme and ahead of its market launch in spring of next year. The reinvented Porsche Cayenne rival will spearhead a top-to-bottom overhaul of Land Rover’s line-up, in which each model will be offered with a fully electric option by the end of the decade.…

UPGRADE YOUR HOME

UPGRADE YOUR HOME

ENTERTAINING 1 PRO-JECT E1 BT TURNTABLE What better way to make holidays even more nostalgic than by listening to those classic Christmas carols on vinyl? You’ll need a stylish yet amazing-sounding record player like the Pro-Ject E1 BT. It boasts a built-in phono pre-amp, a cartridge from reputable Ortofon, and an affordable price. It even comes with Bluetooth for the benefit of the zoomers in the family. £399, project-audio.com 2 SONOS ONE Jump on the smart speaker bandwagon, and discover all of Alexa’s holiday offerings. You can play carols, take part in trivia games, and ensure that those cookies in the oven are baked to perfection. All while enjoying the rich sound and deep bass the Sonos One has to offer. Pair it with other equally attractive Sonos speakers to fill your whole house with…

Sterling service from Stirling engines

If there’s an underlying theme to this column, which may be doubted, then it’s the difference between the physical and the digital worlds. I can sum it up in an aphorism I’ve employed far too many times: “You can order a pizza online, but you can’t eat it online”. I’ve been living in this gap between worlds for 40 years now: my first toe in the digital water was via a Commodore PET in 1981 at the start of the personal computer revolution, though it wasn’t until the coming of WWW that we all got properly connected together. Of course, I was born into the physical world, and inhabited it with increasing curiosity throughout a childhood filled with Meccano (I built the travelling gantry!) and model aeroplanes with glow-plug engines (I…

Sterling service from Stirling engines

My photo-editing app turned out to be a threesome

In last month’s column I explained how I came to terms with, and eventually even to love, taking photographs with my smartphone rather than a proper camera. I take even more pictures now because the phone is always ready in my pocket. What hasn’t changed is that I select a very few of the pictures I take to post online, on Facebook more than Flickr nowadays (since the latter was taken over by SmugMug), and recently more on Instagram, too. Before posting them I examine these pictures in a photo editor and often lightly tweak them, with cropping and maybe a touch of exposure correction and/or sharpening. Fewer still get selected for heavier mangling, with special effects making them into graphic art to look like a painting or a poster. I…

My photo-editing app turned out to be a threesome
Big-hall acoustics and hi-fi

Big-hall acoustics and hi-fi

THIS ISSUE: A lesson in acoustics from the Geffen Hall renovation. What do New York’s Lincoln Center and the typical Stereophile reader have in common? Both have recently made large investments to achieve sonic excellence. I doubt that very many Stereophile readers have spent as much as Lincoln Center did on the renovation of Geffen Hall: $550 million. But then few audiophiles’ systems are supported by the likes of David Geffen, a $100 million contributor to the Geffen Hall project, or Joseph and Clara Wu Tsai, who gave $50 million. Geffen made his contribution several years ago, setting the stage, as it were, for the renovation. Tsai’s late-2020 contribution helped accelerate the work so that it could be completed, or almost completed, while the hall was closed due to the pandemic. The renovated…

Everything Pro’s my way

Everything Pro’s my way

New iPhone launches have become a bit predictable, haven’t they? But bear with us here. While the iPhone 13 Pro doesn’t look wholly dissimilar to last year’s offering, it comes with a bunch of tweakments that add up to something more significant. With a better brain, a better battery and Apple’s most powerful camera yet, it’s hard not to get a little bit excited. Apple knows that Apple fans love creative stuff – enjoying it and producing it. That’s why this is pound-for-pound the best little media machine imaginable. For starters, there’s a totally new camera array. Both the wide and ultrawide cameras have been redesigned with wider apertures, meaning loads more light pouring into the lenses for better night shots, portraits and more. Thanks to the new A15 Bionic chip paired…

Moonriver 404 Reference

Moonriver 404 Reference

Joy. It’s all about the joy. Joy manifests during those moments when the critical mind suspends, the lens clears, and only union between you and your experience exists. When joy arises, time stands still, all sense of separation vanishes, and only wonder remains. Many of us live for those moments. Moments of understanding that transcend verbiage and mental chatter and affirm what is real and eternal about the human condition. Music offers the opportunity to live in joy for more than a fleeting second. The sense of oneness can last for an entire live performance or recording. Suddenly, all distance between you, the artist, and their creation vanishes. During those transcendent moments, the acoustics of the hall and the quality of the recording or sound system mean naught. All that matters is the…

The homework hacker’s happy ending

The homework hacker’s happy ending

Back in 2020, my school used a few online learning platforms that allowed professors and teachers to assign homework to students. I, as a lazy developer, wanted to spend more time playing games and writing code, especially when everyone was spending their time at home because of lockdown. I succeeded in hacking our homework system and I was caught – but it didn’t turn out badly for anyone involved. The back story Let’s set the scene. In 2018, my school introduced a new online homework platform for students. It was called HegartyMaths, and it did a lot. It was fairly simple: teachers chose a topic to set for us as homework, we got a 10 - to 15-minute tutorial/informational video on the subject (and on which we had to write notes while…

GADGET GURU

GADGET GURU

Q TOM SMITH, MILTON Is my home Wi-Fi network safe? A Safe how, exactly? Safe in terms of nefarious radio waves that might get through your tin foil helmet? Gosh, reader, let’s look at the wealth of evidence on your lunatic auntie’s Facebook wall, certainly looks like an open and shut case, doesn’t it? Get out of here. Safe in terms of your skeezy neighbour finagling their laptop onto your connection and downloading something dodgy? Modern wireless security is not the easily smashed excuse for a protocol that ‘protected’ early WEP networks. Nobody’s getting through WPA2 without serious tools and a fair amount of laziness on your part: as long as your password doesn’t appear in any known hacks and him next door isn’t able to read the matrix you’ll probably be alright. Safe…

The inn crowd

The inn crowd

The Notting Hill set THE COW AND THE LADBROKE ARMS For years, it’s been a tale of two pubs in Notting Hill: The Ladbroke Arms (super-social) and The Cow (more celeby – think Lady Mary Charteris and the Beckhams). The Cow has had a bumpy pandemic – it was accused of breaching coronavirus rules. But pre-Covid, Hannah Guinness unveiled her fashion line’s resort collection here, and Orson Fry and Alexa Chung liked to dress up for the Dolly Parton tribute evenings. Over at The Ladbroke Arms, Lily Bertrand-Webb, Violet von Westenholz, Zara Valmorbida, Natasha Howard, Evie Henderson, Jazzy de Lisser, Lola Bute, Sophia Hesketh, Hum Fleming and Jean Campbell prop up the bar. The Chelsea set THE BUILDERS ARMS AND THE SYDNEY ARMS One road, two pubs: social traffic flows between The Sydney Arms and…

free ride delight

free ride delight

On a cold, crisp mid-winter’s morning we decided to carry out our long-anticipated project: a day of ski-and-fly in the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland. The plan for our adventure was clear, to combine our passions from two worlds: freeriding on pristine mountain slopes and cross-country flying. Our goal was to complete a day’s ‘heli-skiing’ but without the need for an expensive, loud and gas-guzzling helicopter. To use our paragliders to climb high above the official pistes to the untracked terrain above. Yes, we could have had a hot and sweaty trudge up using skins on our skis, but what we had in mind was much more fun than that! The day dawned perfectly. It had been a clear, cold night and was forecast to be a classic winter bluebird day, just a little wind,…

Is there any point using Chrome’s Incognito mode?

Is there any point using Chrome’s Incognito mode?

That person to your right might resemble Homer Simpson, but it’s actually a lookalike called Guy Incognito. In a 1994 episode of The Simpsons, Homer’s friends mistakenly think he’s wearing a false Edwardian moustache in a pathetic attempt to conceal his identity (watch at www.snipca.com/43679). It’s not a disguise, but had it been it would have failed miserably. This much-loved scene was referenced recently in a court case against Google. The company is facing a class-action lawsuit led by Texan senator Ken Paxton alleging that it misled users into thinking that Chrome’s Incognito mode offers them more privacy than it really does. Critics of Incognito mode have long argued that it doesn’t do what its name suggests. Even some Google employees agree. In one 2018 email conversation submitted to the court, a…

Best Free Software

VIDEO PLAYER FreeTube 0.18 www.snipca.com/44339 What you need: Windows 7, 8.1. 10 or 11, macOS or Linux Watch videos on YouTube and you’ll be watched yourself. This is because Google tracks your viewing habits and targets you with adverts. FreeTube solves both these problems by providing an alternative front-end for YouTube that lets you stream videos privately on your desktop without having to sit through endless ads. This open-source program has a simple, streamlined design that lets you quickly find videos on YouTube or browse its ‘trending’ and most popular content. When you first run FreeTube, you’ll see an empty Subscriptions page, but you can ignore this and start searching for something to watch. Your search results can be filtered by upload date, duration, view count and other criteria, and you can save videos to…

Best Free Software
Why Ethernet just won’t die

Why Ethernet just won’t die

We live in a wireless age. The latest Wi-Fi 6E connections let us stream hundreds of megabytes a second through the air – and next year we expect to see the first Wi-Fi 7 chipsets, promising speeds of up to 40Gbits/sec. With all this data swirling around, traditional cabled connections may seem old-fashioned to the point of obsolescence. But while Ethernet can’t match the go-anywhere convenience of wireless networking, it still has several advantages over Wi-Fi. Five reasons why Ethernet is better than wireless 1 You can’t beat Ethernet for simplicity. Just run a cable from one socket to another and boom, the connection is made. Assuming the devices at either end are correctly configured then the link speed, addressing and routing should all be sorted out automatically. You don’t need to worry about…

Will Microsoft kill off hard drives next year?

Will Microsoft kill off hard drives next year?

Visit Microsoft’s page listing the system requirements for Windows 11 (www.snipca.com/42250) and you’ll see that you need a storage device that’s 64GB or larger. But nowhere does it specify what kind of drive that needs to be. As long as it’s big enough, why should Microsoft care whether you’ve got a hard drive or a solid-state drive (SSD)? Well, it seems that Microsoft might be developing an interest in what’s under the bonnet of your computer. A report by Trendfocus, analysts for the data-storage industry, says that PC manufacturers claim Microsoft is asking them to ditch hard drives for SSDs as the primary boot drive in all their machines, starting next year. “To keep costs the same, PC builders would have to downsize from a 1TB hard drive to a 256GB SSD” Microsoft…

Technics SL-1200G

Technics SL-1200G

People tend to believe that things are what they appear to be. This turned out to be the case in 2016, when Panasonic introduced the limited-edition Technics SL-1200GAE turntable. It appeared almost identical to an SL-1200—arguably the best-selling and most loved record player series of all time, discontinued in 2010 after more than 30 years—but it cost a whopping $4000. The similar model designation didn’t help stem the griping that Panasonic had made a “fancy” version of their legendary DJ turntable at six times the price of the original. By the time the regular-production SL-1200G was released later in 2016—it was almost identical to the SL-1200GAE and cost the same—most people had realized that this was an entirely new design created for audiophiles, not a new version of the old…

LeTtERbOcks

letters@viz.co.uk THE WORLD is our oyster, e some people say. But the first – and indeed the last – time I had oysters was on a third date with a lass, and it culminated in a fart with an unexpected side of gravy, both of which were highly audible. She instantly left, leaving me with my dirty mess and a heightened sense of embarrassment. Terry Tittybiscuits, Leeds I’VE JUST seen an advert w for Admiral Insurance where the Admiral takes her friend Mrs Taylor for a ride in a hot air balloon, during which she drops a turkey onto her son’s car and writes it off, before knocking the chimney off Mrs Taylor senior’s house. “Luckily the Taylors are insured with Admiral,” the voiceover says. I wonder if they will feel so lucky…

LeTtERbOcks

LETTERS

Off the deep end To me, audio gear has gone off the deep end. How do you expect to get new readers or purchasers of said equipment when the prices are out of this solar system? I make a pretty good living, but I wouldn’t buy this stupidity if I had the money. It also is extremely boring, and why is this ancient technology so blooming expensive? You lost me way back when I read about a Koetsu cart for $15,000—WTF? From that absurd article by MF. Just not that interesting any more guys: yawn. Oh well, it’s just my humble opinion, but you know I’m right. Tim Emons Corrales, New Mexico Mr. Emons, What’s cool is, we all get to decide for ourselves what things are worth.—Jim Austin Qable quackery I wanted to add some of my…

HOW TO KILL YOUR WING

HOW TO KILL YOUR WING

The paraglider is a big wing that generates a lot of power. It’s easy to get hurt when the wind is strong, but if you know the right methods you can kill it. This means disabling the aerofoil so you can take it from a flying position to a controlled stop. If you hesitate or have no plan when you land in strong wind, the wing will be pushed back into a ‘spinnaker position’ which generates drag and can pull you into obstacles. This is very dangerous and hard to stop, so it’s important to have a practised technique, and a plan to use it. Here are some key principles when killing your wing: Land using the rear risers Not all wings are good on rear risers, so you must test it out in…

‘MEET THE NEW GENERATION’

The Red Bull X-Alps has announced its line-up – with 17 rookies joining 18 veterans for the 2023 edition of the race. The line-up also includes five women, the most ever entered in one edition. Seven-time winner Chrigel Maurer (SUI1) will be under pressure. Hard on his heels will be Maxime Pinot (FRA1), racing for the third time, and Swiss teammate Patrick von Känel, as well as Simon Oberrauner (AUT1) and Aaron Durogati (ITA2). Plus, look out for “two new distinct generations,” says veteran race watcher and former X-Alps pilot Tom Payne. “There are those who cut their teeth in the last two races. Damien Lacaze (FRA2) was top rookie in 2021, and Yael Margelisch (SUI3) who not only took the highest ever female position but was also third rookie overall. They…

‘MEET THE NEW GENERATION’
THE DIGITAL ART OF DESIGN

THE DIGITAL ART OF DESIGN

Designing a paraglider without a computer is unthinkable nowadays. But for most of us the design software is mainly appreciated for the colourful images it creates. However, new developments in software mean our gliders get much better, much faster. As pilots we don’t immediately notice all the benefits that computer simulations bring to our paragliders. But you will have noticed the quick evolution of our equipment – and we’ve seen some real revolutions lately. For example easy to fly two-liners, safe EN-A gliders which nonetheless have proper performance, and much lighter equipment that is still strong and durable. For all this, computer simulation was very helpful, if not crucial. Paragliding design by computer first involves determining the shape of the wing. Then it’s checking the airflow around it, which most importantly determines…

THE PERUVIAN LINE

THE PERUVIAN LINE

The Andes are 7,000km long, rise to 6,961m at Aconcagua and contain at least one hundred 6,000m peaks. In 2018 Martin Beaujouan and I travelled and flew 3,000km here, from the south of Chile to the border with Peru. The idea of my trip in May 2022 with Henri Montel – known to all as Riton – was to explore a further 1,200km in Peru by vol-bivouac. Paragliding is not new in Peru, but most exploratory cross-country flying has been done by a couple of pilots: Manu Bonte in the north and hotel owner Franz Schilter in the south. Well travelled places like Huaraz, Cuzco and Arequipa do see pilots, but they have a reputation for strong wind and early finishes; the rest of the country remains little-flown and wild. The best time…

HOW TO MASTER FLYING AT THE DUNE

HOW TO MASTER FLYING AT THE DUNE

You know me I am a big advocate of groundhandling, and I never hide the fact that I think the general level of groundhandling in our sport is too low. One of the easiest, most fun ways to train ground handling is to go to some dunes and play! So here are my top 10 tips to enjoy your trip to the dune. 1. Take the right wing! Most people going to the dune just take the oldest, most destroyed wing they’ve got. And most of the time it’s even too big for them. What a mistake this is! You simply can’t train or get better without suitable equipment, so when going to the dune please take decent gear. And make sure it’s the right size! I see too many people…

Get ready for Windows 11

Get ready for Windows 11

New versions of Windows don’t come along all that often these days. Indeed, if you’d taken Microsoft at its word a few years ago, Windows 11 should never have arrived at all. But here we are, with a new version of Windows on the near horizon, with Windows 10 users set to qualify for a free upgrade to the new operating system. Before you hit that Upgrade button in Windows Update, however, you should take this once-in-a-computing-generation opportunity to get your PCs in order and ready to take full advantage of the new OS. First, however, it’s worth considering if you should – or can – upgrade to Windows 11. We’ll explore the pros and cons of upgrading a Windows 10 PC and dive into the detailed system requirements to help you…

Letters

Pointless to choose hard drive when upgrading old PC… Issue 641’s ‘Question of the Fortnight’ (pictured) raised some interesting points about the relative merits of hard drives and SSDs and you’re undoubtedly right that the former are much cheaper per gigabyte than the latter. But it seems pointless to me to choose a hard drive over an SSD when upgrading an old computer. It’s true that the upfront cost saves you about £50, but think about it spread over five years, by when your hard drive would probably have run out of life. Viewed this way, buying an SSD costs you just an extra £10 a year, and you won’t have to go through the hassle of replacing it as early. I’ve installed SSDs in three of my ageing machines, and…

Letters

NAKED PILOT CLAIRE GARNESSON

I grew up in the south of France. I left for my studies and then came back because it’s the best place in the world! We’ve got the sea, the mountains, everything here. I studied water treatment and I work in microbiology for half the year and fly the other half. I learned to fly completely by chance. My university in Limoges offered paragliding as a sport. Instead of one week of learning, we had two years, flying or groundhandling one day a week. You get a teacher who follows you for a long time; it’s a good and safe way to learn. When I started paragliding in 2013 I wanted to do acro, but then I came to Gourdon and all the boys were doing cross country so I wanted to…

AXPONA!

I’m writing this one week after returning from Schaumburg, Illinois, where I attended my first real audio show since the Florida Audio Expo in early 2020, just as the pandemic was starting to gain momentum. Everyone I talked to was hopeful, but no one could predict what attendance would be like or what people’s attitudes would be. There were a few glitches, mainly logistical: Shipments didn’t arrive or arrived damaged. One exhibitor had to carry an integrated amp to the show on his lap, first on a bus and then on a plane. (I didn’t think to ask: Did the amplifier fit in the overhead bin?) Another exhibitor had to find a new pair of loudspeakers to demo with—quickly—after the first pair arrived with pieces rattling around inside the box. After years…

FLYING TIP-TO-TIP

FLYING TIP-TO-TIP

Dan Jones, 27, flew the length of Britain in August. He launched from John O’Groats in the far north of Scotland on 16 August and reached Land’s End in the southwest of England a week later on 23 August. Only flying for two years, he completed the flight as a tribute to his grandparents who died with Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia and raised more than £10,000 (€12,000 / $14,000) for Alzheimer’s Research. His Dad, Alan, drove the support van. Dan, congratulations. What a flight! It was! I don’t think it went as smoothly as it could have done, it was supposed to be a nice high pressure weather system all week, but it definitely wasn’t that! We only got rained on one day though, and we flew six days. I’d estimated it…

Letters

Cancelling Netflix doesn’t mean you live in poverty Perhaps I’m missing something, but why is it so shocking that people who pay for broadband, mobile, TV and streaming subscriptions might find it a struggle to afford them all when times are tough (‘Question of the Fortnight’, Issue 642)? We now seem to live in an age when most people think they should never be expected to cut back on life’s little luxuries. As an example, during one radio phone-in I listened to a caller who claimed he was living in poverty because he could no longer afford to subscribe to Netflix. That was bad enough, but rather than challenging the caller on this, the presenter sympathised with him. Ofcom seems to suggest that nine per cent of customers cancelling a service is a…

Letters

AND THE ICARE D’OR GOES TO…

Lumdo Kolola By Nicolas Alliot, Jean-Yves Fredriksen Overall winner and Public’s Choice On a 2016 vol-biv trip through the Himalaya Jean-Yves Fredriksen came across a house in remote Nepal where four children lived without their parents. He learned that the mother was in hospital and the father was taking care of her, leaving the kids to their own resources. His film about this journey, Blutch, won the first prize at the Coupe Icare film festival in 2018. In this new film, Jean-Yves and Nico Alliot return to find the children. They travel, hike and fly deep into Nepal. With humour, reflection and a genuine care for the country and its inhabitants the film documents their search and their contribution to the local community. The Lumdo Kolola association connected to this film continues to…

AND THE ICARE D’OR GOES TO…

A new listening companion

I have a confession, one I’m hesitant to make for reasons that will soon become clear, but my conscience compels me to make it. I have a new dog. A puppy. Her name is Ella Wren. Yes, “Ella” honors Fitzgerald, who started her career singing on the streets in Harlem, not many blocks from here, some 90 years ago. Wren was the puppy’s shelter name; we liked it, so we kept it. To me she is a beauty: brindle all over with a long, elegant snout and sad brown eyes. She’s nearing 40lb at just 4 ½ months: She’s going to be a good-sized dog. We don’t yet know what kind of dog she is, and we don’t especially care, although we’ll know soon, since we recently sent off an “Embark” DNA test,…

A new listening companion

SUPAIR DELIGHT 4

When we reviewed the Supair Delight 3 in XC196 (Dec 2018) we found a lightweight allround pod we didn’t hesitate to recommend, especially to pilots new to a pod. Lots of pilots clearly agreed – Supair’s Clément Latour told us the Delight 3 is their “bestselling harness ever.” The obvious thing missing from the Delight 3 though was a fairing, but of course not everyone wants one. So, when it came time for an upgrade Supair decided to make two versions of the Delight 4: one with a fairing (Delight 4 Sport), and one without (Delight 4). I got to fly both variations. Weight and materials The harness is billed as a light everyday cross-country harness. Materials used throughout are robust. Both versions weigh the same. We queried that as you might think…

SUPAIR DELIGHT 4

The cookies are finally crumbling

@njkobie Go to a new website, or merely one you haven’t visited in a while. You likely won’t be able to see it, especially if you’re on one of these new-fangled mobile phones. That’s because the page you’ve tried to load is probably obscured by the bane of the internet: a cookie banner. In my early days at PC Pro, I spent a lot of time writing about the thenincoming cookie consent law. This was born from an EU directive that web users should know if a website wants to track them, and have an opportunity to withhold consent; here in the UK it fell to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to recommend ways for website owners to implement the warning and ask for permission when the law came into force in…

The cookies are finally crumbling

The WORLD of COMETS

LITTLE MEANS MORE to me than comets. While in the sixth grade at Roslyn School in Montreal, I delivered the first of more than 2,500 lectures I’ve given in my life. The subject I chose for this first talk was comets, and it’s amazing to me to compare what we knew about comets then with what we know now. For example, all those years ago, we knew of a few hundred comets; now we know of at least 4,000. The most famous of all comets, Halley’s Comet, last rounded the Sun on Feb. 9, 1986. Twenty-one years before that, on Dec. 17, 1965, I began searching telescopically for comets. On Nov. 13, 1984, I discovered my first. I’ll never forget my view of a brand-new comet that no one else had…

The WORLD of COMETS

The future is always just around the bend

If you’re a regular PC Pro podcast listener, you’ll know that I should never change occupation to become a futurologist. My record is something like one hit to every ten misses, starting way back in the 1990s when I resisted buying a mobile phone. “Why would I want people to be able to contact me wherever I am?” I almost certainly grumbled to anyone who would listen. “Besides, there are lots of phone boxes if I ever need to call someone.” A few years later, in 2004, you would have found me at the launch of the Compaq iPAQ 3800 series with bulging pockets, lugging around my Psion Series 5mx in one and a Nokia 6310 in the other. I distinctly remember speaking to Compaq’s head of product development at the…

The future is always just around the bend

Horizon

1 GOOGLE PIXEL WATCH • From £339, store.google.com It’s finally arrived. After literally years of speculation, and a fair few leaky months where we were pretty sure of exactly what the Pixel Watch would be but couldn’t actually tell you, it’s here. But does Google’s first official foray onto the wrist make the most of the company’s acquisition of Fitbit and its experience in producing WearOS for others – and has it kept enough tricks up its sleeve for this to be special? All signs point to yes. While the processing package in here isn’t the burliest, comprising primarily of the Exynos 9110 chip found in some older Samsung Galaxy Watches, early wearers suggest that helps its battery make it through 24 hours without the need to drop to a low-power mode or…

Horizon
Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

ANIMATION The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse 4.55pm BBC1 Catch up via iPlayer Adaptations of beloved picture books can often, truth be told, feel quite sluggish. Quick ten-minute reads have a habit of morphing into protracted half-hour animations that are rarely as magical as the texts on which they’re based. Thankfully, the very opposite can be said of this life-affirming film version of Charlie Mackesy’s bestseller, which is so full of quiet wisdom that you can’t help but wish it were longer. On its wintry surface, the story is simple, with a young boy (Jude Coward Nicoll) seen allying with a trio of animals (voiced by Tom Hollander, Idris Elba and Gabriel Byrne) to find his way home. But the sense of confidence they instil in each other will appeal across…

‘ARGENTINA WORLDS ARE GO’

‘ARGENTINA WORLDS ARE GO’

The Paragliding World Championships will definitely go ahead in October/November as planned, according to organisers. They have confirmed ‘elite event’ status for the competition with the regional and national government, which means pilots and those involved in the teams will be allowed to travel to Argentina without the need to quarantine for two weeks. The World Championships in Argentina is happening after the original championships, which were due to be held in France in May, were cancelled because of the pandemic. Guessing that the world would have started to open up by October, the event team at the flying site of Loma Bola in Argentina made a bid to hold the Worlds – which was accepted. Organiser Matias Fortini told us more. Matias, you and your team in Argentina have been working hard.…

Horizon

1 MICROSOFT SURFACE PRO 9 From £1,099, microsoft.com The Surface’s meteoric rise may have passed you by, but it has absolutely happened. The more powerful end of the line now presents one of the most viable Mac alternatives for professionals that need known hardware running Windows. The lowest end offers smart, decent machines perfect for students. And as of now, the Surface Pro 9 is (with an asterisk) the most powerful Windows tablet you can buy. Microsoft’s hardware division is on an absolute tear. There’s a lot here in what Microsoft calls a 2-in-1 laptop (it’s a tablet with a keyboard case) that owes Apple at least a small debt. However, while the Cupertino crew might sell the iPad Pro as a proper computer, it’s not quite – and the Surface Pro 9…

Horizon
Now Intel wants to play nice–with everyone

Now Intel wants to play nice–with everyone

For decades, Intel’s relationship with chipmaking rivals such as AMD and Nvidia has been a feisty one, often seeking to exploit its domination at all costs. In 1999, for example, the company got into a tangle with the US Federal Trade Commission over how it was protecting technical information and patents. And a decade later, the European Commission found “abuse of dominance” as Intel paid retailers and computer manufacturers to only use Intel CPUs. So it’s perhaps a little unexpected that Intel is now suddenly singing Kumbaya and effectively saying to its rivals “can’t we all just get along?”. “We should have an open programming language… that can run on Intel, AMD and Nvidia GPUs without changing your code,” Intel CTO Greg Lavender told the business website Venturebeat, as he sought to promote…

Ask MR

Ask MR

What’s a “demonstrator” locomotive? Q I’m doing research on the Wisconsin Central, Wisconsin & Southern, and the Soo Line. Some photos I’ve found refer to the locomotives as “demonstrators.” What exactly is a demonstrator locomotive? Bob Vysinka, LaValle, Wis. A When a locomotive manufacturer like Electro-Motive Diesel or General Electric comes out with a new model, it will build a few “demonstrator” models. It will then send these locomotives to railroads for them to try out, in hopes the railroad’s managers will see the advantages of the new model and order some for their roster. Since the demonstrator locomotives don’t belong to the railroads, they’re painted in promotional schemes featuring the manufacturer’s name and logo instead of the railroad’s. The demonstrators usually make their tour of several railroads before being sold and repainted…

Apple hangs up on SIM cards

Apple’s press events are arguably the biggest dates in the tech calendar each year. Over the course of an hour or two, the industry looks on as CEO Tim Cook reveals what’s new with the company’s latest hardware – and how the company is reshaping the industry for the year ahead. Because where Apple goes, the rest of the tech industry normally follows. The events themselves are not only about new products, either – with a flick of the Keynote slide, Apple will rewrite expectations and kill entire industries or product categories. This includes the iMac controversially dropping the floppy drive in 1998, the MacBook Air killing the optical disc drive in 2008, and most notoriously of all, 2016’s announcement that the iPhone 7 would be launching without a traditional 3.5mm…

Apple hangs up on SIM cards

Have the digital giants lost the plot?

Dick Pountain is editorial fellow of PC Pro. He is as fond of a pint as the next man, but six quid?! Email dick@dickpountain.co.uk I live in Camden Town, close to the Regent’s Canal, down which I can walk in ten minutes to King’s Cross. The area around this great railway station used to be squalid and dilapidated, but a couple of decades ago renovations began that would turn it into what was briefly dubbed “The Knowledge District”. The British Museum in Bloomsbury was already close, so it was decided to move its famous library to a new building (one that so famously drew King Charles III’s ire). Soon followed King’s Place, an avant garde glass pile containing concert halls, art galleries and the Guardian newspaper. Then came the Francis Crick…

Have the digital giants lost the plot?

Feliz snazzy tab

Adozen years after the original iPad, the home button has finally disappeared from this 10th Gen model. We’ve come a long way from a gadget that was once dismissed as just a bigger iPhone. This tablet brings a complete and much-needed overhaul to the ‘standard’ iPad range, and it’s available in a few nice colours including a rather lurid pink (as well as blue, yellow and a more regular silver). What’s on offer here is essentially a slightly stripped-down iPad Air, and there are several reasons why that makes sense… plus several reasons why it doesn’t. This is not quite the base-level iPad, by the way – the 9th Gen model is still around (complete with its traditional home button). It’s not that Apple doesn’t want to say goodbye; it’s just that…

Feliz snazzy tab

8 things you never knew about PCI EXPRESS

1 PCI EXPRESS IS OLD ENOUGH TO BUY AROUND OF DRINKS We may think of PCI Express as a modern standard, but it was first introduced way back in 2002. To put into context just how long ago that was, the cross-industry group that developed it included Compaq and a company that still went by the full name of Hewlett-Packard, as well as Dell, IBM, Intel and Microsoft. The tech was originally called 3GIO, short for “third-generation I/O”. That reflects its role as a successor to the venerable PCI bus and its short-lived follow-up PCI-X. But while the name emphasises its heritage, PCI Express works in a fundamentally different way to its predecessors. Those older interfaces used parallel data transfer, while PCI Express switched to a serial approach. The reason is simple: while…

8 things you never knew about PCI EXPRESS
JOCKEY’S WHIPS

JOCKEY’S WHIPS

THE LIFE of a jockey is surely one of the most glamorous imaginable. Driving to racecourses the length and breadth of the land in order to dress up in a gaily-coloured clown costume with a big hat before sitting on a horse doing 50mph for ninety seconds. It’s a lifestyle most of us can only dream of. But that is not the half of it, according to one Wetherby-based jockey, who says the rewards of winning races are nothing compared to the perks of the job off the track. Chips Were Down Jonny Bismuth is a veteran of over 10,000 flat and steeplechase races, notching up 3 wins and 520 unseatings in his 8-year career. “I remember one time going to get some chips for my dinner,” he told the Wetherby Avulsion and Fracture.…

MY WEEK IN CARS

MY WEEK IN CARS

SATURDAY, SUNDAY I’ve just spent a first uncomplicated weekend behind the wheel of my new long-termer, a Land Rover Discovery D300, whose arrival I had been looking forward to for many weeks. Major news about this machine will in future appear in another part of the magazine, but I just have to tell you that now, as a result of these two days of driving, I’m already fretting about the closeness of its departure date in September. Lots of nonsense is talked about the latest Discovery, mainly because the ultra-versatile, ultra-cool and remarkably refined new Defender has come along and eaten its lunch. And there’s no doubt that Land Rover will have to position the next-generation model more carefully if it’s to thrive. JLR CEO Thierry Bolloré confirmed as much in a…

Duncan Bell is air frying tonight

Imagine if, instead of calling it a smartphone, Microsoft and later Apple had decided to call phones with computers and internet connectivity built in ‘outer space super communicators’. Sure, it’s a much zappier name, but people would have soon realised you couldn’t actually use them to talk to space aliens, Star Trek style. That’s pretty much what the inventor of the air fryer did, though. You might think, not unreasonably, that they ‘fry’ using ‘air’ – the clue, after all, is in the name. Clearly, they do not. How could they? It’s a physical impossibility. Despite that, air fryers are hugely popular. People love their convenience and affordability. Their running costs are low too – very important now electricity costs slightly more than platinum. But with the best will in the world,…

Duncan Bell is air frying tonight
‘OF ROSES AND POETS’

‘OF ROSES AND POETS’

Rokh. How I have dreamed of flying from this site near Isfahan in recent years. Hammer flights with a base of 6,000m and more. Now I stand and get ready. Around me a crowd of local pilots, their friendly laughter hidden under sunglasses and ski goggles, buffs and hats. The light is sparkling, the wind is blowing hard. Mohamed Semnani, one of Iran’s best pilots, dampens my anticipation: “Today is not a great day. Too much wind and it’s not from the perfect direction either. But we will be able to fly nicely.” And that’s exactly what we do. It goes up to about 3,000m. To the southwest, the last remnants of snow shimmer on the peaks of the Zagros Mountains. To the north-east we see Isfahan, former capital of Persia and…

Paradise found

Paradise found

Longmeadow and BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine are roughly the same age – both sharing a 30th birthday this year. We bought this house and garden in autumn 1991, and because building work took up all of 1992, I did not start planting in earnest until April 1993. “The biggest problem we had in making this elaborate garden was not lack of ambition, enthusiasm, confidence or energy – we were stony broke” I had spent all of the previous year designing the garden and clearing the land that – other than being grazed by a bad-tempered horse that was stabled in what is now the potting shed – was a field of tussocky grass containing a hazel tree in what is now the Spring Garden, and a single hawthorn, where we now have…

KEEPING YOUR WING IN TRIM – SIMPLY

We all know that servicing your glider at a certified service centre is a good idea. Having it checked once a year is even mandatory in some countries. The aim is to spot problems early, fix them, and keep your glider in an airworthy state. What follows is not a replacement for that sort of service. However, there are a few very simple trimming checks you can do to help your wing fly better and stay safe without going to the expense of a full check. Doing these checks might just save you from having an accident. Slow trim As gliders slowly age there is a tendency for the front lines to stretch, and for the back lines to shrink. It is quite usual to see the A-lines stretching by 10mm and the…

KEEPING YOUR WING IN TRIM – SIMPLY
Google’s chopping block

Google’s chopping block

The future of video games was supposed to be in the cloud. Forget the bulky console beneath your television, Google told us way back in (checks notes) 2019, all you need is a controller and an internet connection, and it would stream games right to whatever device you happen to be playing on. The product was Google Stadia, and following the launch Google signed up a number of the world’s biggest publishers to offer their games on the platform, including Ubisoft, the company behind the Assassin’s Creed series, and EA, the company responsible for FIFA. “Our vision for Stadia is simple – one place for all the games we play,” said games industry veteran Phil Spencer, whom Google hired to oversee the launch. Now, just under three years later, Stadia is dead, and…

BEAM ME UP, SQUATTY Sonos Beam 2

BEAM ME UP, SQUATTY Sonos Beam 2

£449 / sonos.com If you’re still searching for immersive TV sound from a compact source, Sonos is back to raise the bar… • Dancing off the ceiling We were a bit bowled over by the original Beam back in 2018. Small, smart and surprisingly affordable, the cinematic soundbar slipped into our living rooms and grabbed Gadget of the Year honours. Now its successor is here to shame your TV’s tinny tweeters all over again… with added Dolby Atmos. • Another grille, another planet Put the Sonos Beam 2 alongside its predecessor and you’ll struggle to spot the difference. It’s still a rounded-off rectangle, albeit with a slightly tweaked grille, and it still packs four full-range drivers, a central tweeter, three passive radiators and five Class D amps. What’s changed is the way these…