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TechLife November 2020

TechLife is a tech mag with a difference. It focuses on how technology can help you rather than on product specs. In an era when the tablet and smartphone have joined the personal computer as essential devices in our lives, TechLife shows you how to get the most from them.

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Future Publishing Ltd
13 Issues

in this issue

6 min
network attacks

Though less common than malware and social engineering, network-based attacks are still a threat to every computer and mobile user, and everyone should have at least a basic understanding of what they are and how to avoid them. So this month let’s look at how these attacks work, and what you can do to guard against them. Nmap/port scanning Port scanning, most commonly done through an app called Nmap, is not an attack per se. It’s an attempt to check your system for attack vectors by seeing which ports you have open on your router and therefore what servers you might have running on your network. Then they can tailor an attack to that kind of server. For example, if you run an email server from your network, you might have forwarded port…

5 min
here come the self-managing robots

EMERGENCY ROBOT Steel hero that fears no flames How do you tackle a blaze that’s too ferocious for a human firefighter to go anywhere near? Easy, just send in a robot firefighter instead! Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Japan has crafted a team of robo firefighters that combat industrial fires, working together just like human firefighters do. Each one comes equipped with laser sensors and GPS so they can find their way to the fire. Once there the Hose Extension Robot brings the super-long hosepipe to another robot that has a huge water cannon. It can then unleash its payload and squirt up to 4,000 litres a minute! It may sound like science fiction, but this team of robots is already up and running, and has been tested at Tokyo’s Research Institute of Fire and Disaster. If…

2 min
xiaomi mi smart band 5

$69, www.mi-store.com.au At first glance, the Mi Smart Band 5 at first glance doesn’t look all that different from the Xiaomi Mi Band 4. It still pairs up a similar-looking tracker module with a TPU plastic strap that comes in six different colours (compared to eight for the Chinese version). It’s a bit of plain in terms of design, and less stylish than Fitbit’s trackers, but it feels well built and nowhere as ‘cheap’ as some trackers at this price point. It’s the display that really elevates this tracker above the competition, though. Xiaomi uses a 1.1-inch, 126 x 294 resolution AMOLED touchscreen, which is a bump up in size and resolution on the 0.95, 120 x 240 resolution screen on the Mi Band 4. Xiaomi has also upped things in the brightness…

1 min
mysterious radiation spike detected over scandinavia

Radioactivity levels have spiked in the atmosphere over northern Europe, and that could indicate damage at a nuclear power plant in western Russia, according to a Dutch health agency that has analysed the data. The radioactive spike suggests damage to a nuclear fuel element. However, the Russian nuclear power operator Rosenergoatom has denied problems related to facilities in Kola and Leningrad, the two nuclear plants operating in the region. Several Scandinavian watchdog agencies detected the elevated levels of the radionuclides, or radioactive isotopes. Radionuclides are atoms whose nuclei are unstable; the excess energy inside the nucleus gets released through radioactive decay. In particular, concentrations of the radionuclides cesium-134, cesium-137 and ruthenium-103 rose in parts of Finland, southern Scandinavia and the Arctic, confirmed Lassina Zerbo. Though these pose no harm to humans,…

1 min
wi-fi 6 routers

All the big router manufacturers have Wi-Fi 6 routers available already, or are due to launch them imminently. For example, Asus’s RT-AX88U is the company’s first Wi-Fi 6 router. It’s dual-band and offers up to 6,000Mb/s of Wi-Fi throughput, along with four antennas, and eight LAN ports. Asus also has the gaming-oriented ROG Rapture GT-AX11000, a tri-band router that can keep one 5GHz band dedicated to gaming. There’s also the Asus AiMesh AX6100 Wi-Fi System, which is a mesh Wi-Fi system that can cover the whole home. As one of the biggest names in networking, it’s no surprise that Netgear is going all-out on Wi-Fi 6, and the company has a number of Wi-Fi 6 routers already available. The Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80) offers eight streams of wireless connectivity, 160MHz channel support,…

6 min
fantastic reader shots from home!

1 ‘My Spoons Runneth Over’ by Peter Baker “Searching for inspiration for a camera club competition entry, I spotted a picture with a spoon being tipped and syrup starting to overflow. From there it was a short leap to one spoon with syrup being poured into it and overflowing, but it looked a little empty, so I built up the frame from there. My wife helped me overcome the challenge of all the things that had to be held: three spoons, a syrup bottle, a flash and a remote trigger.” TechLife says: From the top of the frame to the bottom, this is a very well-executed image. Aside from the meticulous composition, with the spoons all arranged at complementary angles, and the even lighting, which Peter set up without blowing any highlights,…