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TechLife December 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
the ins and outs of wireless security

In the years since its introduction in 1998, Wi-Fi has become a bedrock of most people’s home networking solutions – and that’s why it has become such an important factor for home security. Having your Wi-Fi network hacked can be devastating. It puts the attacker right in behind your network firewall, with direct access to any services that might be running on your home network. While the necessity of proximity does limit the number of attacks that occur through Wi-Fi, the effects of such a hack are potentially enormous. So let’s take a look at how your Wi-Fi might get hacked, how to prevent it, and what the consequences can be. How Wi-Fi can get hacked The goal of a Wi-Fi attack is simply to gain access to your home or business Wi-Fi…

33 min
101 gadgets you can’t live without

# ON YOUR TRAVELS #1 VanMoof S3/X3 If you’re considering an electric bike, nobody does it better right now than VanMoof. From the spectacular styling to the newly upgraded motor, from smart features like remote lockdown theft defence to ride-changers like automatic electronic gear shifting, the S3 and X3 mark a pin-sharp display of bike design expertise. This is the best urban ride going, and great fun with it. US$1,998, vanmoof.com #2 S’well Stainless Steel Commuter Mug Available with a generous 470ml capacity, S’well’s screw-top mug is perfect for a takeaway coffee and vacuum insulated to keep it warm for six hours. Vacuums work both ways, meaning it’s equally adept at keeping a nice draught of water cool for a whole day. Okay, yes, most vacuum mugs do that, but very few manage it with…

2 min
marvel’s avengers

$79, PS4, PC, Xbox www.avengers.square-enix-games.com The Marvel’s Avengers marketing campaign and its multi-weekend beta buried the lede, guys. At the core of this loot-based, cosmetic-heavy, live-service game is a fantastic, roughly 12-hour campaign full of pathos, personality, and yes, a lot of punching. If you’re surprised by that, you’re not alone – I was shocked to complete the now all-too-familiar opening scene and dive into a captivating campaign centered around the perfect protagonist. So shocked, I didn’t want it to end. If Marvel’s Avengers is an Iron Man suit, Kamala Khan is its arc reactor, propelling the story forward and providing necessary emotional torque. She should have been featured in the marketing materials far more than she was, because she really is *the* Avenger in this game. Her story and the simultaneous…

1 min
anatomy of a spy satellite

HIGH-RESOLUTION CAMERA CCDs gather images to form a digital photograph that’s transmitted back to Earth. PRIMARY MIRROR Reportedly some spy satellites have a primary mirror that’s 2.4-metres wide – the same diameter as that of the Hubble Space Telescope. SOLAR PANELS Large, fold-out panels harness the Sun’s energy into electricity to power the satellite. RELAY ANTENNA Satellites use radio waves to downlink imagery back to ground stations on Earth from an altitude of about 320 kilometres. THRUSTERS From manoeuvring itself into the correct orbit to maintaining its position on a target, all satellites need a way of moving through space. AVIONICS The satellite’s electrical systems and software act as its brain, telling it what to do and where it needs to be. SECONDARY MIRROR A steerable secondary mirror helps to enhance the sharpness of the images taken by the satellite. FUEL A fuel called hydrazine…

3 min
huawei matebook 14

$2,499, consumer.huawei.com Huawei’s MateBook 13 scored full marks when we looked at it last year and with new 10th gen Intel CPUs, upgraded discrete graphics and a bigger battery, everything looks in place for this to be another impressive offering from Huawei. The most obvious difference is the new 14-inch screen, which returns with the same 2160 by 1440 pixel resolution in a 3 by 2 aspect ratio that is good for viewing web pages. At 300nits it isn’t the brightest screen available, but it’s bright enough for general work tasks and media playback when cranked right up. The screen also has a decent 90% screen to body ratio with 4.9mm bezels on the top 3 edges after it followed the MateBook Pro X in dropping the webcam to a popup…

2 min
mysterious ‘fast radio burst’ detected close to earth

30,000 years ago a dead star on the other side of the Milky Way belched out a powerful mixture of radio and X-ray energy. On 28 April 2020 that belch swept over Earth, triggering alarms at observatories around the world. The signal was there and gone in half a second, but that’s all scientists needed to confirm they had detected something remarkable: the first-ever ‘fast radio burst’ (FRB) to emanate from a known star within the Milky Way. Since their discovery in 2007, FRBs have puzzled scientists. The bursts of powerful radio waves last only a few milliseconds at most, but generate more energy in that time than our Sun does in a century. Scientists have yet to pin down what causes these blasts, but they’ve proposed everything from colliding black…