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Computer Shopper

Computer Shopper January 2020

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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.

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United Kingdom
Dennis Publishing UK
Back issues only
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
welcome page

If you look carefully through Shopper this issue, you’ll spot a bit of a recurring theme. Kay Ewbank extols the virtues of Cobol, a program that’s been around for 60 years (page 10); Roland Moore-Colyer despairs at smartphone manufacturers’ obsession with rushing out new devices every year rather than improving existing ones (page 12); and I’m raving about an application about to celebrate its 35th birthday (also page 12). The technology world is so fast-paced and focused on the next big thing, that often older products are dismissed as irrelevant. We’re under constant pressure to upgrade to the latest version of every application we’re using, and shell out yet more cash to buy another device to replace the one we bought only recently. We don’t want to risk missing out on that…

2 min.

letters@computershopper.co.uk Chemical effect @Regarding Madeline Bennett’s welcome letter (Shopper 381), the problem for the future is that all resources of the planet are being used up. All metals except a few such as sodium and iron will be gone in 50 to 150 years. Electric cars use huge nickel batteries and cobalt for the magnets, mainly found in Congo. They will not happen. I read the other day that lead will run out in 47 years. Anyone for a dry cave? And a horse or two? Tony Allsop (chemist) The way the cookies crumble @The internet experience is being ruined by pointless cookie warnings and video pop-ups. I am sure that everyone now realises that websites contain cookies, and if you want to go further you have to accept them on to your computer. Is there any point in…

2 min.
star letter

WhatsApp, doc? @After reading your security article (‘Reclaim your online privacy’, Shopper380) I checked up on the services I use and I’d already set them as recommended. However, there is an issue with WhatsApp. I did a GDPR data request and received two files: one, a readable file that stated my name, email and a few other basic details in readable format. The other was a large file – portability.json – with a covering email that said it could be opened and read. It couldn’t, because it was encrypted. I then had a long-running email conversation with WhatsApp, asking what app or program I could use to read the file. Result, zero, complete stonewall. By this time I had the feeling that there was information in this file it didn’t want me to see, so…

1 min.
in the next issue

Good things come in small packages We test out the latest mini PCs to see which offer the best performance and value in their tiny package Divided we fall Mel Croucher explores the digital divide, from a cashless society and the loss of basic services to measures we can all take to help bridge the gap Security for free We round up the best security tools for everything from checking network security to encryption, and they’re all available at no cost COMPUTER SHOPPER ISSUE 384 ON SALE IN NEWSAGENTS FROM 6th DECEMBER…

4 min.
rebel appliance

Tech pioneer and all-round good egg letters@computershopper.co.uk I’VE BEEN THINKING about apps and slavery. Not bad thoughts, like how humanity has become enslaved by apps, but good thoughts, like how apps can help slaves shake off the shackles of their oppressors. Me? I’m a willing slave. I’ve uploaded over 200 apps on all sorts of devices. I like their little coloured icons, and I often rearrange them by colour or by function, which I find therapeutic. I don’t actually use the apps, but I do obey all the prompts to update them as soon as they appear onscreen, which I admit is time-consuming. Come to think of it, what I really need is an app that tells me which apps I don’t really need. A useful app to help me rebel against useless…

4 min.
learn cobol, young coder

Software guru and Shopper legend letters@computershopper.co.uk I USUALLY BASE these columns around what’s fun, new and trendy in my area of computer use, and this month is no exception: the programming language Cobol has just celebrated its 60th birthday. OK, so Cobol isn’t really fun, new or trendy, but what’s odd is that it’s still really important. It was already seen as boring and unfashionable when I first learned it back in the 80s. These days, hardly any universities include Cobol on their courses, and most people in IT probably think of it as a historical curiosity. So you might be surprised to learn that you’ve almost certainly interacted with a Cobol program recently. If you’ve got money out of an ATM, used online banking, interacted with a government department, sent or received a…