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The lowdown on Libra: what consumers need to know about Facebook’s new cryptocurrency

Let’s go back to the basics and look at what Libra is, how it compares to other cryptocurrencies and whether you should be concerned about using it when it eventually arrives.

5G: what will it offer and why does it matter?

Never in the history of the mobile phone has there been so much hype about a new technology ahead of its launch than there is with 5G. It seems that the mobile phone operators, handset manufacturers and equipment vendors are locked into a massive global game of one-upmanship, seeking to claim to be the first to achieve something groundbreaking with the technology. But the stakes are high – the mob...[Read More]

What is augmented reality, anyway?

Augmented reality systems show virtual objects in the real world – like cat ears and whiskers on a Snapchat selfie, or how well a particular chair might fit in a room. The first big break for AR was the “Pokémon GO” game, released in 2016 with a feature that let players see virtual Pokémon standing in front of them, ready to be captured and played with. Now, technology companies like Microsoft and...[Read More]

Why does my phone battery die so fast?

Why do batteries die? And, why can they only be recharged so many times before they won’t hold a useful amount of charge? My young son asked me about that years ago when his battery-powered toy car stopped moving, wondering about what he called an “everlasting battery.” And this same question has probably crossed the mind of every cellphone user trying to send one last text before the screen blink...[Read More]

What is 5G? The next generation of wireless, explained

Every decade or so, the wireless industry rolls out a new cellular communications standard that can transmit more data more quickly. Already under development is the next round, called “5G” because it’s the fifth major generation of these standards for encoding and transmitting data over radio waves. The first generation, retroactively called 1G, was a fully analog system for transmitting voice. I...[Read More]

WTF is MicroLED? Samsung’s new TV tech explained

The TV industry loves jargon almost as much as it likes tempting you into bankruptcy with spectacular new sets. Sure enough, just when we thought we knew our nits from our pixels, Samsung used CES 2018 to announce a new tech to keep us on our toes. MicroLED is the new tech behind the company’s impressive 146in modular TV prototype, “The Wall”, and is promising to improve on traditional LCD TVs by ...[Read More]

Explainer: how the latest earphones translate languages

In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy, Douglas Adams’s seminal 1978 BBC broadcast (then book, feature film and now cultural icon), one of the many technology predictions was the Babel Fish. This tiny yellow life-form, inserted into the human ear and fed by brain energy, was able to translate to and from any language. Web giant Google have now seemingly developed their own version of the Babel Fi...[Read More]

Inside the fight against malware attacks

When malicious software, or malware, attacks, computer scientists and security researchers want to know how the attackers got into what was supposed to be a secure system, and what they’re actually doing that’s causing problems for users. It’s a growing problem, affecting government projects, retail stores and individuals around the world. However, fighting malware is a cyclical arms race: As defe...[Read More]

Explainer: how to extend your phone’s battery life

As mobile phone users, all we want is enough battery life to last the day. Frustratingly, the older the device, the less power it seems to have. In fact, the amount of battery life our mobiles have on any given day depends on two key factors: how we use them on that particular day, and how we used them in the past. Mobile phones use lithium-ion batteries for energy storage. In this type of battery...[Read More]

Explainer: how internet routers work and why you should keep them secure

Most of us would be bereft without Wi-Fi but give a little thought to the technology that beams us the internet. The device we pay so little attention to is called a router. Its main role is to connect networks and send and receive data from an internet provider. But many routers aren’t particularly secure. The importance of understanding how routers work and how to protect them from malicious att...[Read More]

Artificial intelligence: here’s what you need to know to understand how machines learn

From Jeopardy winners and Go masters to infamous advertising-related racial profiling, it would seem we have entered an era in which artificial intelligence developments are rapidly accelerating. But a fully sentient being whose electronic “brain” can fully engage in complex cognitive tasks using fair moral judgement remains, for now, beyond our capabilities. Unfortunately, current developments ar...[Read More]

Explained: why a reboot is the go-to computer fix

It’s the most common answer to our computing woes: when your PC or mobile is playing up, try turning it off and on again. Or, alternatively, rebooting. To understand the concept of a “reboot”, it’s helpful to first understand what a boot means as far as computers are concerned. The word comes from the expression “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps”, which I’ve never fully understood, but appa...[Read More]

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